Monthly Archives: March 2021

voices in my head

When you look at it like that, there’s nothing to it; just a big loop.

I recently read an article discussing the notion that many people have “voices in their head”. I was intrigued by the idea that sometimes they sound like other people. My inner monologue or dialogue always sounds like me, if the tinnitus doesn’t drown it out. Perhaps that’s what comes of being a singer: you’re always listening to yourself, so that’s what you expect to hear.

In any case, my inner voice talks to me when I’m out walking. During the week it will probably remind me that I have a bus to catch, and therefore the loop I’m doing has to be limited. It might occasionally remind me that I don’t have to go up the steep side of the hill if I don’t want to (read, if I’m too tired). I don’t always have conversations about these things, just constant reminders that I have a choice.

On the weekend, when I’m out walking at a much more civilised hour, my inner monologue is quite different. Then, that voice tells me that I don’t need to take a short cut to get home quickly, because there’s no bus to catch and nobody expecting me home. It tells me I can enjoy the winding path through the park that I wouldn’t attempt on a dark, weekday morning. It gives me permission to enjoy a longer walk.

As the TOTAL CLIMB chart illustrates, a loop walk around here involves some ups and downs. There’s a short, sharp climb at the beginning of that last kilometre or so – as I think you can see from the chart – and by the time I got there on Sunday, I was really ready to be home. After stopping for a drink, my inner voice told me that I had no choice but to keep going, which I knew to be true. I found my legs and, with some inner-vocal encouragement, was home almost before I knew it.

Does your inner voice encourage you to keep going or to take it easy?

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Posted by on March 30, 2021 in Health


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only a few more days

Last year: home office squeezed in among all the books 🙂

March ends in less than a week. Colour me gobsmacked, because I have no idea where that first quarter of the year went!

I continue to record maxima and minima for the temperature blanket. The mornings are definitely getting colder and darker. At least the darkness will recede for a little while, because we turn our clocks back to normal time on Easter Sunday morning. The cold, however, won’t go away for a long while, meaning that the cooler end of the spectrum will now join the blanket’s colour scheme.

I’ve made sure my woollen beanies, cowls (or snoods, if you prefer that term), scarves and gloves are readily to hand so that when I need them, they’re right there where I can grab them. Today has been beautifully sunny, but even when I was out on a long walk – it won’t surprise you that I can go a lot farther and faster in daylight – I didn’t have the sensation of being sizzled by the sun. It was therapeutic.

I hope you’ve been able to get out for some solar therapy, too?

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Posted by on March 28, 2021 in Crochet, Health


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woeful WFH

No description available.
Getting wetter in Sydney; a few days ago

Today I worked from home. It was awful! Being home was nice. The problematic technology was not.

Something global appears to have changed. It took a fair bit of head-scratching before I was able to come up with a back-door solution to one obstacle. Knowing others have had similar problems relieves some of the sting, but it’s disappointing that the new equipment hasn’t resolved many of the issues we were hoping it would.

Oh, well. We’re not flooded, or expecting floods, so I expect that’s a win, really.

I hope your day has been free of technological tantrums?

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Posted by on March 23, 2021 in Health


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whitewashing the lingo

26 years ago, just singin’ in Italian!

Although we speak Italian at home, it is not my mother tongue and nowadays my fluency is poor. It is, of course, Dr B’s mother tongue and YoungB has native proficiency, for which he is often complimented by other Italian speakers. However, for a variety of reasons, neither of the Bs has a readily identifiable regional accent or cadence, and they use few dialect words that might help a discerning listener to pick that they are northerners. They can be a real puzzle.

Today is YoungB’s birthday. Twenty-six years, if you don’t mind. I don’t know where they went, I say, scratching my head in a puzzled manner. He decided he wanted to – and I quote – “eat Wog food” today, so we had lunch at one nearby eatery and afternoon tea at another. At the latter, the menfolk mentioned the celebratory nature of the day when ordering at the counter. One of our cakes came with a birthday candle and the offer to sing. We thought it was a great idea, so Dr B and I joined in. We, however, broke into “Tanti auguri” rather than “Happy birthday”, and the conversation was entirely derailed.

The waitstaff were astonished at how well Dr B speaks Italian. Uuh, yeah. We laughed and explained. The eatery workforce is almost all southern Italians, and Dr B plainly does not fit their mould. He has decided he has a credibility problem. YoungB has decided that we’ve all been whitewashed. I’ve decided we need to throw a few more dialect identifiers into our conversation. The odd word of Friulano would do, but none of us speaks it. We’re trying to remember a few of Nonna’s best offerings so that we can polish them up to provide a spot of colour to the whitewash.

May your lingo not be so whitewashed that it’s unidentifiable 😀


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this time a year ago

St Patrick’s Day meal at the pub. Wouldn’t have happened last year.

I was searching our work chat files the other day, looking for something as simple as the name of one of the several babies born during lockdown, whose mother has now returned to work. I couldn’t find it. Luckily, she mentioned the name when showing me photos, so I was saved from the disgrace of having to admit I’d forgotten. Phew.

I did find a string of messages that reflected a very real apprehension about what was happening elsewhere in the world, and what steps might be taken here. The colleagues with partners at the front line of the fight – airport security staff, health workers and the like – were struggling to reconcile their public and private selves. The rest of us were watching numbers and graphs and, clearly and not without reason, worrying. Some business were proactive and implemented WFH before any official dicta to that effect. Others were reluctant and, in many cases, bound by decisions made elsewhere.

We know what happened next.

This year, now, life has returned to a sort of half-normal state. The roads are crowded with cars because fewer people are willing to risk public transport but the local shopping centres are weirdly empty. Pedestrians observe some distancing at traffic lights, though it’s probably not the recommended 1.5 metres. Everywhere we go, we login with our phones as if we’ve been doing it forever. Large enough private gatherings have Covid-SAfe check-ins and Covid marshalls. Masks have once again become a rarity but haven’t disappeared. Any specialist medical appointment requires additional paperwork around travel, health and potential contact status. Dots and crosses on floors remind us not to get too close, and rows of chairs bar physical approaches to benchtop counters.

Remarkably, or unremarkably, life goes on pretty much as ever, even with all the restrictions; and, yes, we are extremely fortunate to be able to say that. Why, we had a last-minute pub meal to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, whether or not he’s worthy of celebrating. I suggested it because we’d all had a long, tiring day; but any excuse will do. Right? There were plenty of other green-themed suitably distanced groups also having a good time at the pub. We take our wins where we find them.

As for the coming year, what do you reckon it has waiting for us?

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Posted by on March 18, 2021 in Health, Musing


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From where I sit, the crowd looked like ants
Closer to ground level, the crowd gathering. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Occasionally I share photos taken from my workplace, such as today’s top photo. It’s a long way down to the ground, you’d probably agree, and there are people in the office who won’t come near the windows. I have more problems with confined spaces than I do with heights, so I don’t usually think twice about going to the edge of the office to check out what’s going on in Victoria Square.

Today, for example, there was a March4Justice, calling for an end to sexual harassment and gendered violence in workplaces. We could see that it was a large crowd, and we could hear the chanting. Let’s hope the message delivered by these nationwide marches makes a difference.

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Posted by on March 15, 2021 in Musing


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crunchy stuff

Recent catering: healthy stuff to nourish and sweeter stuff to stop spirits flagging!

We had a “Remember the 80s” morning tea at work today; fancy-dress optional. There were some hilarious outfits. The colleague who fished out her legit 80s granny-square crocheted jacket and manufactured some truly over-the-top shoulder pads to bulk it out was the clear winner of the informal competition, judged mostly by the decibel level of the laughter evoked. She would, she agreed, have had an accompanying frizzy perm back in the day. Many of us could imagine it from the perspective of having been there.

In terms of food, there were several offerings of French onion dip accompanied by crackers and what are probably nowadays referred to as crudites. Here in Australia back in the 80s, we simply said carrot sticks, understanding that there would also be celery and sometimes cucumber; as in the photo. It was good finger food and surely not entirely unhealthy, even allowing for higher salt levels in some of the dips.

I remember the 80s as a time when we more usually held dinner parties. But, goodness, who has the time to dedicate an entire day to making almond soup (using a recipe similar to this one)? That was time-consuming and labour intensive but lacked the commensurate wow factor. I haven’t made it since. Or basting a chicken every half-hour so that it turns a glorious brown and you can show it off to your guests as you carve it at the dinner table? Been there, done that, too. But, you’re right. Do it now? Yeah, nah.

I can’t say the rest of the day went quickly, and there’s a general feeling that, despite Monday have been a holiday, it’s been a long week. Yes, it has. But we’ve survived this far, and tomorrow is Friday.

I hope your week hasn’t felt too long. Do you think some of the crunchy stuff would help?

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Posted by on March 11, 2021 in Crochet, Food, Health


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salubrious is the word

All of 10 minutes away, at the bottom of the road and around the corner. With pelicans.

Yesterday, Dr B came home from his latest pushbike outing and suggested we go out for coffee. The sun was shining, the laundry was already hanging out in the sunshine, and – because it was a public holiday – there were no other calls on my time. No-brainer, really. I grabbed my sunnies, locked the house, and away we went. Dr B always intends to park right out the front and usually does. Sure enough, he did it again today.

Gawd, it’s tough, slumming it there by the non-potable (but also non-odorous) waterways and the bound-to-belong-to-a-millionaire mansions! The cafe was doing such a roaring trade that we had to wait for an outside table; any table, really, because they were already beginning to limit their service to takeaway only in readiness for the early close dictated by public holiday demand: busy all day, but everyone fleeing for home at about 3 o’clock because “Tomorrow is a school day.”

We were ahead of the home-going crowd so we came back up the hill in next to no time. We’re very lucky to have such delightful facilities so close to us.

Do you have anything similar near where you live?

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Posted by on March 9, 2021 in Cycling, Food, Health


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squaring up

Eggs Benedict for YoungB – not our photo, but one from the cafe

Dr B recently had a dental procedure and, being allergic only to kryptonite as he is, was cracking fairly hardy – ie, being foolish – about taking adequate pain relief. I lent him my venerable (but still potent) bottle of clove essential oil to assist with topical treatment. He loved its efficacy and – bonus – the house smelt nice. He then went off for a long-planned (and several times postponed) overnight motorcycle jaunt with his group of old codgers. Obviously, the clove oil went with him. It did not, however, make the return trip. He lost it. I don’t want to know how. He probably doesn’t know how!

Back home, YoungB and I were out enjoying a mother-and-son breakfast before going our separate ways for a busy day. Having decided against a couple of popular eateries whose coffee doesn’t impress either of us enough to make the food attractive, we’d elected to patronise a nearby cafe where we know the food and coffee are both good. We were sitting outside in the sunshine, shivering only a bit, when the message came from Dr B: please buy some replacement clove oil. Righto then.

Luckily, there was a warehouse-style pharmaceutical outlet at the shopping centre. I was able to grab the last two bottles they had: one for Dr B to do with as he will, the other for me. I would have paid whatever was necessary as I don’t like being without clove oil and Dr B plainly needed it. But here’s where having a Seniors Card is useful: I got a discount!

Let’s call that all square, shall we?


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it IS autumn

Grey morning, with brown, crinkly end-of-summer grass underfoot

Here in Australia we start autumn on 1 March, rather than on a date dictated by any equinox. The nip in the air and the fact that I’ve reached for my grey woolly beanie a couple of times before venturing out on my morning walks would tell you that, although the equinox is not here, autumn truly is. One day, YoungB cycled off to work at a time almost more suitable to rowing training. He was wearing his warmest cycling clobber; and his halo was, necessarily, blinding. I admired his dedication, but decided I’d had enough of virtue and went back to bed!

I have been managing to walk about 2 Km most mornings: often more, occasionally less. The sun eventually clears the hills and there’s enough light for me not to trip over bits of bumpy pavement. But the light is cool and the grass underfoot hasn’t yet started greening in the natural parks (by which I mean those that aren’t watered during summer but benefit only from what rain falls directly on them). The Easter lilies are not only in bloom but well past their best in a couple of gardens I pass.

We’re undergoing another mid-level-management change at my workplace. It saps the will to keep going when you know that, however you’ve been doing whatever you’ve been doing, you’re probably now going to have to do something else. By way of guarding against the spiritual ennui attendant upon such shenanigans, I’m catching up with an old friend for lunch next week: we think it’s last year’s birthday treat although we’re no longer certain, but we’re going to enjoy ourselves anyway.

May all your delayed treats be thoroughly enjoyable, no matter their original purpose 🙂

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Posted by on March 7, 2021 in Health


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