Thursday, 30 April 2009

Love Letters

I can't decide which I prefer – love letters from people who know me

Or from people who don't:

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Not Left Behind

This is a photo of our dear friend Jeff on the front cover of last week's local paper. 

When February's bushfires threatened our town, Jeff packed his car with all the books he is reading for his PhD. Everyone who evacuated because of the fires had a story to tell about what they decided to take and what they left behind.

Jeff and another friend, Alison, have organised Not Left Behind, an exhibition at the town hall of objects, stories, images and reflections of what people took with them when they fled.

PJ and I were among the first to drop off our goodies today, so we haven't yet seen what other people are contributing. After all his promoting and organising, Jeff won't get to see any of the show at all as he flew out this morning to spend the next three months with his darling Cath in Shanghai.

Bye Jeff!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Boing Boing

Oh delicious tomatoes! For breakfast and lunch today I ate them thinly sliced on rye bread. We still have some ripening on our vines but because of the early autumn frosts, these are amongst the last of the season.

Oh dastardly frosts! I'm sure there is a good reason you exist, I just don't know what it is. Rain on the other hand, rain I understand completely.

It has been raining here these last few days, which, although signalling the beginning of the colder weather, also declares the end of the bushfire months. The rain has put a spring in my step so bouncy, I can hardly stand still without boinging up and down with rejoicing.

Monday, 27 April 2009

This Red Chair

It was my friend Ollie's birthday yesterday. He is just over three years younger than me. We used to go out many years ago and I feel pretty lucky that we are still in touch. In fact, I am still friendly with nearly all of my ex-boyfriends. They are all great guys but for one reason or another, things didn't work out for us in the romance department.

I had an OMG moment sitting on this chair at the kitchen table today. I was sitting and thinking about my love history and I realised that all my exes have been younger than me and that one of my problems has been that I fell into a pattern of wanting to look after them, not in a supportive partner way but maternally.

I am still taking on that mothering role, but for the first time in my dating history I am doing it in an appropriate way. I have a partner who is my equal and a school age boy I get to mother.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Tins of Teas

These are the tins I have collected over the years to undertake the important job of safekeeping my tea. They are in order, from left to right, of the frequency I open them.

My daily tea is Pu-erh. When I first blogged about it eight months ago I was still a coffee drinker who occasionally flirted with loose leaves. Now I am a monogamous tea drinker who consumes between one and three cups a day made according to a loose version of George Orwell's tea manifesto.

Concealed within the Uncle Toby's oats tin is coincidentally Toby's Estate's Organic Refresh: peppermint, lemongrass and green tea. Because of the caffeine in the green tea I can't drink this too late in the afternoon so rather than risk a poor night's sleep I will steep a handful of peppermint from the garden.

The little Chinese tin is home to a black tea given to me by PJ's parents. In my haste to try the tea I ripped open the packet then threw it away. (The packet was orange as I recall.)

And finally on the right is a jasmine tea whose tin never ceases to make the corners of my eyes crinkle up with a smile because of the brand name: Phúc Long.

Friday, 24 April 2009

For All the Tea in China

Some days I feel as though I have conquered mountains just lifting my bones from my office chair to go to the kitchen to put the kettle on. 

Oh the lengths we go to for a good cup of tea!

Photos are of the journey to the Hua Shan teahouse in central China.

Thursday, 23 April 2009


From Tea Finely Brewed:
Stain is a unique tea cup created by Bethan Laura Wood, a designer from the UK. At first, the cup looks like any other cup, but the natural staining that comes from using the cup reveals a hidden pattern.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Guest Blogger: My Mum

Once when I was a child I was eating a teddy bear biscuit and drinking tea with a table of grown ups.

‘Do you mind if I dunk?’ I asked the man sitting next to me, a friend of my family’s.

‘No, not at all,’ he said, impressed by my good manners.

‘Oh that’s good,’ I said as I reached across and dunked my biscuit in his tea.

I grew up in a tea-drinking household. We only ever drank coffee when we had dinner party guests. I learned to appreciate coffee, but my first love is a steaming hot cup of properly brewed tea.

Every time I make myself a cup of tea – even if it’s just for me – I go through an elaborate routine of warming the teapot and mugs and covering the teapot with a cosy. I even set the kitchen timer for 3 minutes, because if it doesn’t steep long enough the tea will be weak, but left too long it’s bitter.

When the timer goes I pour cold milk into the warmed mugs and then pour in the tea. I know that seems an odd way of doing things, but to my taste it makes the best cup of tea.

My mother and I rarely went out to cafés together. When we met it was usually at her kitchen table over cups of tea. Now she’s gone that’s how I picture us – sitting at that table, drinking tea in floral mugs and talking, mostly about her favourite topic – her grandchildren. That includes you, Meg.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Your Favourite Cup

From The Telegraph:
Tea really does taste better from your favourite cup

Dr Tom Stafford, psychologist from Sheffield University, says a person's brain is trained to believe the daily ritual of making coffee or tea should be done in a certain way in order to derive maximum enjoyment.

He said: "Drinking tea and coffee is very ritualistic and people become very addictive to the way they want their brew made.

"Caffeine is very much a drug of reward and like any addict, people develop passions on how the drug is delivered.
"Where ever there is drug use then rituals will always develop.

"The long association with the delivery of a morning cup of coffee or tea people genuinely think it tastes better out of a particular cup.

"It might be irrational or arbitrary but it's absolutely true. Your daily brew tastes better from your favourite mug.

According to research, 65 percent of Brits have a favourite cup or mug they use for their morning cuppa.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Tea Week

It's Tea Week here in the Land of Meg, (which incidentally coincides with Communi-tea Week in the UK), and to celebrate I will be sharing with you a whole week of tea themed posts.

To kick things off, here's this little video of Chris, the perpetual tea drinker:

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Too Much of Me

I took these photos yesterday at the Monash University Museum of Art in Melbourne. PJ and our friend Jason Workman, who together make up WorkmanJones, had two of their films showing in a group show entitled Too Much of Me: 7 Paths Through the Absurd, (with Detour).

If you live in Melbourne, I recommend you make the schlepp out to Clayton. It's a really great show.

Some of my favourite pieces were by the Austrian artist Erwin Wurm, whose One Minute Sculptures comprise several low white plinths on which he had instructions/encouragements for how he envisaged people to interact with the object or objects on the plinth.

Take your must loved philosophers, this one says, in relation to a pile of philosophical texts.

Carrying a bomb for a minute, this one says. 

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Eyes Wide Shut*

I took this photo of PJ yesterday at ACCA. You can't see it from this angle but the face has been printed onto stainless steel that has then been laser cut and pulled out convexly. Apart from this piece, by Justine Khamara, it was a very disappointing show.

* I don't remember liking the Kubrik film especially, though I very much enjoyed reading the 1926 book the film was based on, Traumnovelle (Dream Story) by Arthur Schnitzler.

Legend has it that when Kubrik bought the film rights, he sent his peeps out across the lands to buy up all the copies of the Schnitzler book so that nobody would know the story.

I read it while I was travelling through India many years ago. I had bought it at a second hand bookshop. I was sitting reading it on a train one afternoon when a couple of tourists walked by me. When the guy saw what I was reading he told me the story of Kubrik buying up all the copies and begged me to post it to him when I had finished reading it, which I did.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Ben Kweller

My relationship with PJ has been full blast since we first hooked up. We were sharing finances after a couple of months and share nearly everything, except two things.

Our books live on separate shelves at either end of our office. His are neatly arranged into categories such as Experimental Poetries, Obscure Nonsense and Ecological Counterculture, while mine are stacked randomly according to the order I pulled them from their boxes when we first moved into this house.

On the whole we like the same music, which is a very lucky coincidence, though we still like to listen to music that the other can't stand. I have a playlist on my iPod full of songs that I know PJ doesn't like that I often play loudly when he goes out.

Last night I trained to Melbourne and went with my sister Emily to see Ben Kweller. Oh what joy to share such a great experience with her and to be surrounded by people in a sold out venue who like his indi pop ballads as much as I do.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Good News

To keep things nice and neutral, we meet Z's mum up at the post office when he goes to her place or when he comes back to ours. Yesterday while we waited for his mum, the mail was being collected and I just couldn't resist asking the postman if I could take this photo.

And my other good news is that the personal essay I wrote about my experience as a stepmum has been accepted for publication in a book; a collection of essays written by women about becoming mothers for the first time. I am not sure when it will be through the editing tunnel and out the other side, but I shall let you all know the details when they're delivered.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Six Days

Seder night at my grandfather's.

Stretching our legs on the way to Canberra.

Not shaving for a week.

Spending time with PJ's gorgeous family.

Secret handshakes with the gang.

Feeling incredibly lucky.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

The Mix

This is an old photo of Z. His grandmother made the little apron he's wearing. He looks so cute in it. See how careful he's being not to miss out on any of the chocolate cake mixture? Mmmmm. Yummo!

We are going away for a few days today to stay with PJ's parents at their holiday house and yesterday I made a cake to take with us. I had Justin Townes Earle's latest album up loud as I sifted and measured and stirred.

The cake turned out perfectly, I had a great sing-a-long and the kitchen was clean once I'd finished baking. Everything was good, albeit uneventful. It might be easier to bake on my own, but it's so much more fun when Z's around.

Growing up with three sisters, it was such a treat when I got to lick the bowl and I still relish in this quiet joy when I bake. But I would give up that simple happiness in half a heartbeat to see that pleasure on Z's face, (along with all the cake mix).

Z is away with his mum and we are heading off to meet them today, then we'll take Z with us to stay with PJ's folks.

Thanks for looking after our house and birds while we're away, Ping and Hal! 

See you all next week.

Happy Passover and happy Easter!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


One of the things I like about not having a TV is that we can self-program what we watch. We download and borrow films and are regularly given discs by friends (thanks Jiga!) full of random goodies we watch on one of our laptops.

I like buying second-hand things for the same reason. Op shops, markets and garage sales – I love them all. I love browsing through people's discarded things because you never know what you're going to find, or what's going to find you.

I found these coffee and sugar containers at two different op shops, several years apart. Although my style is by no means neat and tidy with everything catalogued and in its correct place, I just couldn't resist buying these oil and vinegar bottles at a trash and treasure market recently, because they match the jars exactly.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Gettin' High

PJ does some physical graffiti in the bush.

Next time he might take the stairs.

From here.

Monday, 6 April 2009

The Get Go

Two of my nieces stayed over last night and are again tonight too. Just before bed this evening, Indigo asked me what my favourite part of the day was.

My answer felt like such a grown-up's answer. I didn't say the bushwalk or the two hours on a neighbour's trampoline, or the colourful drawings we delivered to all the mail boxes in a nearby street. I didn't say picking wild apples and grapes or watching Mary Poppins or going on the flying fox, or meeting some friends up at the skate park. I didn't say playing mums and dads (why do I always have to be the naughty cousin?), or eating corn and cucumber fresh from the garden, but I did say the quiet breath I inhaled before any of this.

When I got up this morning, it was to the two girls and Z sitting quietly in the living room. They were writing all the activities they wanted to do on little pieces of paper, which they then picked out of a hat and completed one by one throughout the day.

My answer felt so goddam diplomatic. And although it was true, it was also because I just couldn't decide.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

I am the Door

I took this photo down a side street in Braidwood last weekend.

I am not the door, though last night I was the door whore at The Palais, where a couple of Melbourne bands played, including the fabulous Tinpan Orange. 

When I wasn't charming the patrons, selling tickets or crossing names off the guest list, I journalled, knitted, listened to the music, sipped champagne, felt thankful that smoking is no longer allowed inside music venues, sold CDs and thought romantic thoughts about my man in our cosy home putting the finishing touches on an essay due this week.

Friday, 3 April 2009


While interviews traditionally present what people say, in Perspectives the interviewees don’t actually say anything. With the spoken portion of the footage edited out, Perspectives leaves only body language, pauses for thought, and interjections to do the communicating.

More interviews here.

Growing Up With a Sister

From The Times:
Growing up with a sister makes people more balanced

Growing up with a sister makes people more optimistic, more ambitious and better balanced, psychologists have found.

A study of 571 families comprised of brothers, sisters, a mixture of both and only children found that having a sister in the home led to siblings of either sex scoring more highly on a range of standard tests for good mental health.

They were found to be better at coping with setbacks, more highly motivated, had more friends and a better social life than those who grew up with just brothers.
The rest here. 

(Thanks for the link, Becky!)

Thursday, 2 April 2009


I was a movie star yesterday. 

Actually, that's a big fat lie. I did spend all day on a film shoot, though merely as an extra.

As part of the bushfire recovery package, the Victorian Government is spending $7.3 million on a three minute advertisement to highlight all the great things about the region I call home.

Fifteen of us from our town were in it, making all the boring bits of waiting around and doing the same thing over and over and over really fun.

I don't think that any of the virtues espoused in the ad are the region's finest (but I'm still looking forward to seeing the ad when it airs).

In fact when I think about it, the qualities that marketers always attribute to this region concern decadence and indulgence; the very things that lead to global warming, to the bushfires and the need for this ad to be made.