Category Archives: Musing

reno(vation) update

Time I updated my view of the view

Yesterday, I worked in the CBD. Of course it was a chance for me to check the progress of the renovations on the old GPO. As you can see, the knocking-down stage appears to have finished. The large crane at the left of the photo is concreted in place and being used for construction. There’s a sad irony in comparing the amount of new concrete used to ensure machinery is safe and secure with the enormous amounts of it that were removed from the demolished part of the building.

Of course, in Australia we simply say “reno”, but if you don’t understand that it’s a shorthand version of “renovation”, you might want to pronounce it more like Reno, the city. That would be quite wrong.

In blanket news, I have about six squares left to enclose in row 20 before I get to turning that Very Exciting Corner. I’m off to wield my hook. Hope you’re able to wield yours, too 😀

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Posted by on April 12, 2022 in Crochet, Musing


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mealtimes da noi

“Funny cartoon butterfly hunter in vintage suit, painted by photographer in watercolors.” Image from here

Conversations roam freely: sprag clutches, aka one way freewheel clutches. Flip-flop hubs. Bendix brakes. What sort of gearbox did you say?? What the heck are tall gears? Does a swager assuage anything? If you call it a swaging tool, does it crimp the silliness along with whatever else it’s crimping?

Discussions of fill-in flash, shake, low ISOs, and focus being all. Followed by the next four of the five top tips in order of importance as all being, “Learn to use flash.” That was more sensible and definitely my language so I could – and did – contribute willingly and meaningfully to that animadversion. Dr B and I made YoungB laugh by answering as one, “Fill-in flash,” to a question he posed (probably not expecting me to respond at all, let alone promptly and accurately).

Back to boxer engines. Also the Boxer rebellion. Inline 4. Drifting. Roman taxi drivers. Dialects. Podcasts. Ceramic jockey wheels. The dreaded threaded spline bolt; whatever that might be.

Volatile RAM. P-RAM and flushing the buffers. Sysops and Sysutils. Resetting the cache. Even I know that COBOL is the computer language, not cobalt. That’s a colour!

The “remembering the days of yore” meal that we shared at the pub to celebrate something celebration-worthy. All the famous names (to those in their fields) and highbrow conversations that were once part of our everyday life, and helped keep us sane in an environment that presented spectacular landscapes but wilful procedural impediments.

Big Johnnies. They’re not large glasses of Johnny Walker, although I don’t see why not. They’re tyres, I’m told. Very fat tyres. Or rather large versions of all sorts of other things, if you happen to be in the USA. Which we’re not.

As for what I misheard as a “bang cankle”? It’s a bank angle. When they were talking about wiring looms and harnesses with gremlins in them and the necessity to hunt same, I was imagining them away with butterfly nets and safari hats to capture any they might find. It wouldn’t have been any sillier 😀

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Posted by on February 13, 2022 in Musing, Photography



back on the bus, lucky me

Output from bus trips and dedicated evenings

The building where I work has a corporate overlord and a staff member who is their community manager. She’s in charge of much that’s serious as well as more lighthearted things such as promotional events, sponsorship and raffles. So, if you’re signed up to the building’s business portal and actually make the effort to engage with the site, sometimes you win prizes. Often those prizes are vouchers for coffee or food. Last week, I received a message to say I’d won a voucher for a meal at one of my favourite in-building eateries. Well! That was me taken care of at lunchtime on Friday.

As the voucher was generous enough to buy two meals, I suggested Dr B might like to come and join me. He did. It was truly delightful to have our lunch together in a sunshiny corner, protected from the worst of the wind. We ventured out into the wilds so we could have coffee somewhere else. He went home, I went back to the office and, before I knew it, it was time to pack up the laptop and leave.

The bus rides lately have been extraordinarily bumpy, so my commuter crochet hasn’t been all I might hope. However, I’ve made a few production line centres when I could, and added middle rounds once home. I had a little pile of six or seven two-round squares waiting for me on Friday night. I finished adding them and made one more centre before finishing for the night. I’ve added a few more squares today, slotted in around helping Dr B with an online application.

So that’s been my fill of luck for the week: a delicious, free meal and enough time to sit and crochet without being overwhelmed by domestica. Have you also had a lucky week?

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Posted by on February 5, 2022 in Crochet, Musing


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a generous rescue

The place is deserted but we still have to eat

Turns out, YoungB can pick up our Christmas lunch as a takeaway! It won’t be the same as enjoying it at the pub, we won’t have the benefit of the wine package that was part of the deal, and we’ll have to clear up after ourselves.

However, for those minor inconveniences that allow us to be safe and sound while adhering to regulations designed to keep others equally safe and sound, we will be able to have a delicious, four-course meal that Someone Else has prepared.

Tonight, as we sit about in our Silly Christmas Pyjamas and sip quarantinis, practising ahead of schedule for the event itself in that respect, it is heartening to know that we’re helping a local business, they’re not losing financially because of our unexpected cancellation, AND they’re kindly helping us to share the festivities as we all negotiate the current chaos.

Tomorrow is, of course, the last day of office work for the year. My workgroup is having an online, virtual morning tea – Christmas attire compulsory – before the office closes at 12.30pm on the knocker. The hope is that we will next see each other in the early part of the coming year, negative test results permitting.

Let’s keep our fnigres corsesd that that’s how it turns out. May it be the same for you, too 🙂

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Posted by on December 23, 2021 in Health, Musing


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that view we had?

There is still something to keep our interest

We’ve been living on borrowed joy when it comes to the view from the office window. There’s to be a posh hotel built on that bit they’re busily knocking down. The approved plans are for a building lower than ours, but it will be as high as our floor and even a lower building will block our view.

The excavator operators have done an excellent job, although a couple of the blokes in my team wondered “Why didn’t they just bring in a wrecking ball?” Uh, yeah. That close to existing buildings? When the other part of the development is heritage listed and to be retained as a ritzy shopping “precinct”? Perhaps not; although I’m sure it would have been Very Exciting.

In news that I find truly exciting (as opposed to cynical or merely sarcastic), I’ve had a productive week on the temperature blanket – in part, by determinedly crocheting en route to the office and sewing in ends at lunchtime – and am now working my way back along enclosing row 13. This means there are only seven – seven! – rows remaining. I can’t truthfully say that the end is in sight, but I feel that it might be within reach.

I hope your long-term projects are also making measurable progress 😀

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Posted by on December 18, 2021 in Crochet, Musing


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different sort of hooky

Colder, wetter weather, but about this peaceful

I didn’t go to work yesterday! It wasn’t really hooky, though, because I’d booked the day off in advance. The reason for such indulgence? It was so that Middle Aunt and I could help Youngest Aunt celebrate her birthday. Since COVID, the three of us have had fewer chances to meet up and restrictions around dining have added to the obstacles. We’d been waiting for our chance, and yesterday was it.

I can’t adequately express how weird it felt to simply sit and chat and nibble for hours, and not have to worry about how dreadful my flex balance would look at the end of it, or how strange it was to look out the restaurant window and see the waves crashing on the shore below, all during work hours. I have a wonderful view from my office window, and if I crane my neck in a different direction it’s possible to see the sea. But it’s not the same as being there, right there, with the salt spray and the rain adding to the holiday atmosphere. It was undoubtedly beneficial for mental health and wellbeing.

Also, we wanted to have that celebration before the borders open again. Who knows how long this degree of freedom will last? It’s always possible that we’ll go into another lockdown. So it really was special to be able to forget the clock and simply enjoy spending time with family.

I hope you’ve been able to do that, too.

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Posted by on November 13, 2021 in Food, Health, Musing



the hilarity of it all

“Ride like the wind, Bullseye.” Or not!

Recently, YoungB and I were discussing group projects and how there’s always one person who does the bare minimum to get the passing grade. For an individual unit where it’s only Pass or Fail, and all you have to do is – say – submit a 250-word commentary every week, and make one comment on one other person’s commentary, that’s all they’d do. They’d still pass. You couldn’t fault it as a technique for successfully completing the pertinent qualification, although you might argue that the wider benefit of true interaction with other students would be sadly lacking.

I was mumbling about a few workmates who fit that mould. YoungB pointed out, very calmly, “They’re still getting paid exactly the same amount of money you are, Mum.” When I replayed that conversation, I decided there had to be a less stressful way to come up with a jockey’s outfit. I managed to find an old blouse that I’d put aside for the scrap basket, but which I hadn’t yet stripped of buttons. OK. Job done. It even had sleeve frills that could be sliced off and used to decorate the jockey’s helmet. Another job done.

My chief partner in crime in all this silliness is a member of our wider team. She made the nose and ears and the hessian bridle, to ensure that our steed was ready for any eventuality. She also stuck the colours on the helmet and plaited my hair for the race today, achieving the Pippi Longstocking look I’m sporting in the photo. I was struggling to do a braid. I hadn’t thought about plaits, or I probably could have managed that myself. Anyhoo, our efforts garnered us the prize for best dressed horse and jockey. That I managed to come second in the race was, well, secondary. We had a great time!

Tomorrow it’s back to the serious business of getting through a huge backlog of reporting, using some new systems that aren’t always as smooth and seamless as you might hope. But I won’t let myself worry about things beyond my control: I’m not paid enough!

Now that the Cup is over, the next Big Event on our horizon is the Pageant. Then, well, you know. Tinsel galore and things of that nature. Eek. All the best with your dash to the finish line, no matter what level of remuneration is involved 😀


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what’s your coffee name?

As long as there’s coffee 😀

I understand why long names are shortened or altered to meet comprehensibility in noisy surroundings. I don’t usually shorten mine, though YoungB has a few coffee names and Dr B has been known to borrow one or another of them from time to time. Me? I’d probably miss out on my coffee because I wouldn’t remember what coffeenym I’d chosen.

However, I had cause to think about what coffee name I could use when I was in a noisy lunch bar recently. Most of the staff were NESBs, some perhaps born overseas, others locally born but whose speech still bore the distinctive cadences of a different mother tongue.

Any monosyllabic choice could sound like too many others. Flick might sound like Nick, for example. Swift mental consideration ensued, but no blinding inspiration. Anything I could come up with seemed set to have as many problems and as little chance of being understood as my full name.

One of my colleagues, who is Scottish, has a surprisingly similar difficulty. His name is John, which he says is sometimes mistaken for Joel, or Jo, or – he’s not sure what! Cue the rest of the team coaching him on a more Strine pronunciation. No matter how he tried, he simply couldn’t get a sufficiently hard final “N” to convince us that his order would ever be in his name. We suggested Johnno as a potential halfway point. He was neither amused nor convinced.

It turns out that I really can’t think of anything useful but only once have I seen a glazed look on the barista’s face. I made sure I stood somewhere readily visible so she could beckon me over when appropriate. That worked so well that, when I won a corporate voucher for a free coffee from their franchise, she recognised me immediately. Now she’s seen my name written on a list, I may be in with a chance of her having a better handle on my handle next time we meet.

Do you have a coffeenym?

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Posted by on October 12, 2021 in Musing


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son of plant-killer?

Irrepressible as ever and incorrigibly growing anywhere

Here were are, almost at the end of August again. Life continues to be a mix of good news and bad. I’ll be back at the office tomorrow, with my moon boot. I anticipate that’s going to be tiring but considerably less painful than being without it. Wearing the moon boot will be situation normal for another couple of weeks.

YoungB is about to have a week’s holiday. He’s leaving a job where he worked for only a few months. Despite the prospect of permanency offered by that employer, he’s moving to another contract position that’s more customer-facing, as today’s jargon has it. I (and others of my generation) might say he’ll have face-to-face interaction with the people he’ll be recruiting to clinical trials. Either way, it is more the sort of work that plays to his good looks and charm, aka emotional intelligence. Ahem. He is also well qualified and with sufficient experience in the field, or he wouldn’t have been their top candidate. It will be challenging but more personally rewarding than the largely administrative position he’s just finished.

As a tribute to the strangeness of the world in which we live, and acknowledging that the company he’s leaving is one where teams and clients are all around the world, his farewell card was, in fact, a digitally-signed e-card. There was also a genuine, living, ficus plant, which he’s brought home and promised to do his best not to kill.

We have to hope it will be as hardy and irrepressible as the violets that pop up every year in the wilderness that’s our back garden.

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Posted by on August 29, 2021 in Health, Musing


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In case of homesickness, insert background image

We had a team meeting this morning, via video. I used the above image as my background. It’s a view taken from the office window. Today’s weather has not been anything like as cheerful as that, as it’s been very cold and very wet. However, the image created a couple of laughs, perhaps partly because it contrasted so starkly with what was actually outside our windows, so it served its purpose.

I hope your backgrounds are cheery, too 🙂

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Posted by on July 22, 2021 in Musing


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