The search is finally over

“Mein gott !” you are all crying: “does this mean she’s going to STOP WHINGEING ?!” ..

And the answer, my poor suffering friends, is resoundingly “YESSSSSS !”

I’ve found a really nice (nothing fancy, mind !) apartment, a small one in a small apartment building .. and that last phrase is true either way you interpret it: there are some larger apartments on the 3rd and 4th floors, but none is really big.

There you go – well, looking in one direction, anyway. Turning around you see the rest of the living-room and the bedroom, and the bathroom’s off the corridor, just inside the front door.

Oh, and the European laundry is behind the space between the bathroom door and the edge of the ‘floating’ bedroom wall (the bedroom is quite roomy enough for all my crochet stuff).

I reckon I can get my three big chairs in there no worries, and put ’em around the big grey ottoman that’s actually a spare bed. AND fit in my mesh metal kitchen shelves set. But I’ll need to get rid of the dining-room table and replace it with something smaller. I like to have challenges to occupy me.   :D

It’s in a Melbourne suburb called Essendon, in a shopping kind of area. The building itself is on a main road that has a tramline taking one directly into the city, should one have such a yearning. But my apartment is on the far side from that road, facing away from it and thus protected from traffic noise. WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, she added loudly so as to emphasise the joy, it’s three doors away from the most wonderful market hall I’ve ever seen !, and five or six away from a “Parisian boulangerie” .. Coles is a five-minute walk away. The tram goes through Moonee Ponds and Ascot Vale, both of which shopping centres are impressive.

The afore-mentioned market hall will have a post ere long, because I ain’t seen nuthin’ even remotely like it in this country. In France – yes; in Italy – yes. In Germany – sorta. In Oz – nup. A wine room; a real deli bar including a huge cheese selection (which could be larger, imnsho – but hey, who’s complaining ?); a meat section; the main enormous area filled with breathtaking fruit and vegies; a specialist groceries section; and even a section for pot-plants !! I am going to have a real problem keeping within my budget ..

So there it is. I’m housed again. I can leave this place of no intercoms and a washing-machine with a circuit-breaker that keeps failing (or however I should describe it when the bloody machines just switch off in the middle of a wash and/or a dry). One thing I’ll regret leaving: my local pharmacy, where the staff are just delightful and the service exemplary, as well as the stock’s being terrific. But who knows what I’ll find at the other end ?

Late addition: my moving day will be Tuesday fortnight – 12th April. Got a removalist booked !

From the BBC

I’ve always been a fan of Arnie’s – he never took himself seriously when he moved into the film industry but just enjoyed himself enormously and made POTS of money.

As he ages with grace (yes, I believe even Arnie can be graceful) he’s become something of a commentator on Life.

Click on the screen-grab above for a truly thoughtful but impassioned address to the Russian people ..

Another dream shattered

I viewed a wonderful cottage on Saturday morning, in St Kilda. It was heaven, honestly. I’ll post some photos so that you can see why I fell in love with it instantly .. Or .. because I’d need to re-learn that stuff, I’ll re-post the ad ..

Half an hour ago I called the leasing agent to see if the owner had made her choice: Luke told me he was waiting on a call back from her. He also said that he’d read my application and that there might be a problem with my having a cat, as her dog isn’t good with cats. I, unthinking, told him that Boodie is an indoor cat, too precious to be let out where a dog might find him .. And then I did a mental double-take. I sent Luke an SMS, asking “You don’t mean that her dog roams at will in the cottage garden, do you ?” – and he responded in the affirmative !!!

There was a lot of toing and froing by SMS after that: I couldn’t trust myself to speak to him. I told him that even if there being some dog wandering around in the garden of the property wouldn’t scare the shit of out Boodie, I find being asked to pay $300 pw for the dubious pleasure of having the landlord’s dog outside all the time to be outrageous. And that even if I had no cat I wouldn’t proceed because of that.

I cannot indicate how disappointed and unhappy I am. Back to the bloody drawing-board for the umpteenth time .. I’m so tired of it all: so tired of viewings ..

I might just sit down and weep from frustration and unhappiness.

Late addition: here is a screen-grab of the house and the cottage (and the garden):

The ’54’ at the bottom of the main building is what’s now called 54A, and is the cottage, separated from the house by a wall. The separate ‘building’ at the rear of the block is a kind of summerhouse. I’d lay odds, now knowing about the dog’s free run of the garden, that it’s not for the cottage’s tenant but for the owner.

On changing ..

I’ve always thought of myself as a person who doesn’t like change.

But now I think that’s bullshit: I’ve been occupying myself with nothing but change since .. well, probably since Chic died. (I’m so repulsed by the use of “passed” ! – what’s it supposed to mean ? Passed from this world to the next, probably. Seeing as how there isn’t another one, it’s a meaningless and euphemistic term and I eschew it.) I’ve moved from one place to another in an unceasing round of seeking a home and never finding one, which I attribute to a lack of the necessary funds. I mean, had I been still working, say (at the age of 69 which was when I rejoined the human race), or the winner of a small but satisfactorily sufficient sum in the lottery (for which I’ve never bought a ticket) .. why, then I could’ve rented a nice little unit in Sydney somewhere and settled into a life of ease.

And I would never have met those met after leaving Sydney; I would never have come to understand how it’s Melbourne that’s now my emotional ‘home’; and most of all, I would never (I’m almost sure) have decided to pare myself down.

I was telling my very old friend S on the phone just yesterday that I don’t FEEL any different – that I still feel like the great fat slob who’s the only person I can actually recall myself being.

I mean, HONESTLY ..! Why did the unfortunate Stringer have to have a wife looking like that ?! – and he actually loved me !!! I did once tell him that he was an idiot for it; but he only did his hangdog routine about “You just called me an idiot ..” that always made me laugh. Btw, I wasn’t always as fat as in that photo; I reckon I was at Peak Plumpness then – 110kg—115kg !

What I said to S is absolutely true: when you’ve looked at yourself and seen a large, fairly-shapeless-but-for-the-roundness-or-convexity person for years and years, it’s a very strange – weird, really – thing to know you’re not that person any more but to be unable to accept it.

When I sit back on the recliner with my feet on it so that my knees are together and on a level with my nose (I hope you get what I mean !), there’s a gap between my thighs !!! – big gap. SO odd .. And when I have to look in the mirror to pull out an eyebrow hair that’s trying to do a Little Johnny Howard on me, I see that my cheeks go IN now – not out any more. But I can easily forget these oddities so that within moments my brain has me looking like that person up there with huge arms .. Pertaining to which, just try to imagine where the skin holding in all that ‘avoir dupoids’ has gone – like, nowhere. It’s all still here !
ACK !!! That’ll teach me to lose weight at my age ! {Late addition: I laughed loudly suddenly, remembering that phrase from the ’70s – I think ! – that was so popular when blokes met: “Gimme some skin, man !” [grin]}

Maybe that’s why I have such trouble thinking of myself as anything but the person I’ve grown so used to – that I still need to wear clothes as camouflage rather than as a covering. I look around me and see women in their hundreds who are far fatter than I’ve ever been blithely going about in sleeveless blouses and shorts and I can only marvel at their strength of character. Where did they find the power ??!

Anyway. I know, finally, that I’ll never return to the fatty up there. I’m now this other person, and it would kill me to return. There’s no rhyme or reason to it: I still don’t know why I did it – well, other than a kind of niggling wish not to be quite as I was .. I recall posting whingeingly about trying this or that (e.g., smaller portions – hyoh hyoh !) and my lack of success. And I recall Whispering Gums’ suggestion about Weight Watchers .. who now chase me by SMS, hoping I’ll fall into line and behave as I’m meant to, rather than following my own personal methodology (and why is she continuing to achieve weight loss when she does NO exercise ?!) – which is not a methodology at all but merely laziness.

There’s some mystery here, my weight loss. Truly ! And no, I don’t have some lingering disease that’s slowly consuming me – or a tape-worm !!! My wonderful but grossly over-worked GP, Cecile, together with her wonderful but grossly over-worked Practice Nurse, Dora, look after my health sternly, and I love them both. But when I weighed in this-morning at 78.8kg and understood that it’s true, I can still lose weight, and maybe even get down to that fantastical 70kg one day, I was very pleased but primarily mystified.

I can’t help wondering if the inability to accept myself as I am is an indicator that I really DO hate change ..

There are such great people here and there ..

Today I came across a new-to-me crocheter – another American, as are so many, but one who has opened my eyes !

Her name is Doris. She has a YouTube channel, a husband and a pretty impressive craft setup. She also has a kind heart and a generosity of spirit that I’ve found rewarding, so far, at least three times:

  1. how to stop my crochet fabric from gradually widening as it gets longer
  2. how to use my swift gainfully, so that a skein doesn’t keep jamming the yarn-winder
  3. how to design a cardigan or jumper that really, really, REALLY fits me.

Christ on a bicycle ! – all this from one small (5’4″, she tells us) woman !

As I have (1) skeins I haven’t wound into balls because I’m sick of the tangles I get myself into; (2) a half-made cardi I haven’t finished because I’m sick of the way the back at its top is about 5cm wider than it is at the bottom; and (3) a deep-seated yearning to just MAKE A CARDI MYSELF, regardless of yarn, weight, colour or anyone else’s directions regarding any of those .. why, I have to bless Doris and her Rose Cottage YouTube channel (not to mention again her big heart) !

This may all seem so, so boring to you lot who never pick up a crochet hook from dawn to dusk, 24/7, right ?

To me it’s a really important part of my pretty solitary life, my crocheting; so that my continued lack of FOs, coupled with my ever-improving ability to frog at speed and re-wind by hand, has needed some kind of injection of DIRECTION for longer than I can recall. Doris gives me that.


The answer is “Nothing !”

I was wondering what’s wrong with me that gets me rejected as a tenant, yes ?

Cf my heading up there.

This ad is from today’s list. In other words, they haven’t yet managed to let it; but they have told me that I’m out.

So it’s definitely the fact that I have a cat. The owner doesn’t want a pet.

Those ‘marvellous’ changes to the tenancy laws are not policeable.

Still, I comfort myself with the very unappealing thought of living in a place whose owner doesn’t like pets ..

And with the fact that I have a viewing Monday lunchtime of an apartment I’d really like – and so would Boodie ! It has a balcony he’d LOVE, the little darlin; and no huge sliding doors. I’ve had a brief chat with the Property Manager and she said she’s seen my application and she thinks the owner and I would get on like a house on fire !


Oh, NEARLY, darling ..

That was a quote from my mama which has no meaning for any of youse but can be found within the pages of ATLMD, described as ‘a Stringerism’. It still makes me laugh.   :D

I employ it here to draw attention to the near impossible fact of having found a place to rent – no need for a spoiler alert because the agency hasn’t yet announced the owner’s chosen tenant – that meets every item but one on my list of criteria:

  • not situated in the middle of acres of concrete
  • not on entrance where others go in and out
  • not in hilly area
  • not on heavy traffic (in both senses) road
  • not facing west
  • not in the wilds of suburbia
  • ground floor or lift
  • water pressure good
  • large enough tank if electric hot water
  • on sufficient number of elec. circuits
  • dishwasher or double sink
  • on public transport or close to
  • shopping close by or transport thereto ditto
  • taps for washing-machine
  • intercom or direct access

It’s the dishwasher or double sink criterion that isn’t met. This will be met, somewhere down the line, by the purchase of yet another Domain brand benchtop dishwasher – my third.

It’s an absolute ripper of a little machine: washes glassware so that it sparkles. While I don’t absolutely HAVE to have a dishwasher, I do love the knowledge that I’m eating off really clean crockery and drinking out of really clean glassware and using really clean cutlery. For in my current hovel I am facing into a blind wall and unsure of how well I’m doing with washing the dishes. As well, being unable to rinse them maketh me very mad indeed; and I don’t have room for a bowl of clean hot water even to dip them into. I reckon I eat an awful lotta soap ..

Anyway. Apart from all that nonsense, the fact is that this little unit is an excellent example of how one can find a 93% successful place in the most unlikely kind of guise. It’s the back half (bit less, actually) of a longish house, and has been made into an independent living place. It has a lovely piece of lawn outside, with trees and all, and a Hills hoist. As you will’ve immediately worked out, it’s there for both halves; meaning that there will be some degree of meeting in the garden on weekends – possibly ..

Well, I met the bloke of whoever live there in the front half, and he’s delightful. He emerged to bring in his drying from the hoist, which gave him a big tick to start with. AND it turned out that it was he who had put in several above-ground vegie patches ! (so I do not see why I couldn’t do the same with flowers), which is several hundred ticks. He is far from being a bogan. I could share the garden, de temps en temps, very well with him.

You are instructed to fall to your knees and pray that I get it, OK ?

No, I don’t give a rat’s if you know perfectly well that there’s no-one up there: just do it. Nike away like anything.



Game-changer – thumb down ..

I’d done all the PT preparations for going up to Ballarat today – done ’em at high speed, as I only discovered when I got back from viewing the truly lovely but much too small studio in North Melbourne (the sleeping|living area is, I believe, about the size of my current kitchen) that there was a viewing on this-arvo that they’d whipped in while I was gone – but from wake-up this-morning I’ve been doing the maths.

The bottom  line is that I can’t afford to move out of town – to anywhere. About 18 months ago it cost me $1,000 to move from North Geelong to Maribyrnong. That’s a distance of roughly 65km. Imagine what moving from St Kilda East to Wendouree would cost today ! – it’s about 125km. Those big sums – big for just the one person’s possessions – are due in large part to the truck’s having to be paid also to return to base.

So, of course, the further away I go the more the cost goes up by a factor of 2 – well, a big chunk of it, anyway.   :(

Thus am I right back to where I was: nothing lined up for checking. Are my criteria as picky as all that ?:
not situated in the middle of acres of concrete
not on entrance where others go in and out
not in hilly area
not on heavy traffic (in both senses) road
not facing west
not in the wilds of suburbia
-ground floor or lift
-water pressure good
-large enough tank if electric hot water
-on sufficient number of elec. circuits
-dishwasher or double sink
-on public transport or close to
-shopping close by or transport thereto ditto
-taps for washing-machine
-intercom or direct access

You gotta laugh, team: those are indeed (in no particular order) my criteria – in a perfect world. But as this one isn’t quite perfect, I’m only too aware that  I ain’t NEVAH gonna find a place like that. Some are immutable: not facing west has risen to the top after my nearly twelve months in the top floor of the Maribyrnong high-rise; taps for the washing-machine ditto after my nearly five months here with a communal laundry. You could amuse yourselves rearranging that list in order of what you think a grumpy old person would do, and it might help ME !   :)

Anyway. That’s the latest problem re moving. If it ain’t one thing it’s another, or some such fairly mindless aphorism ..

MAJOR milestone !

This-morning I very nervously weighed myself again.

I did it because yesterday, having donned a pair of leggings (I can’t keep buying jeans and finding they’re unwearable after a while) and gone shopping, come home, finally finished an umpteenth enormous bunch of delicious white grapes that the Woolies Metro over the road has been tempting me with and settled in to do some serious overlay mosaic crochet, I realized I was distinctly uncomfortable around the waist. Going to remove the leggings I saw (1) that my flab was being forced out above the waist by them and (2) that their waistline was all bent over. The obvious conclusion was that I HAD PUT WEIGHT ON. Ugh !

Hence this-morning’s activity with the scales.

Expecting to find myself something like 3 kilos up, I found to my astonishment that I am in fact another half-kilo down: today I weigh

79.4 kilos.

That may make you wince and wonder why I would be chuffed, considering that ..

(typical bloody Google: June 2013 ???!) ..

but I’m about 168 cm, just for starters; and somehow I dunno that the average Aussie sheila has grown 7 cm, even in 9 years !

But the real point here is that I haven’t been in the seventies, kilo-wise, for longer than anyone alive can remember. Certainly I can’t !

And together with my new-found lack of kilos comes a new-found thinking about Moving Out: I’ve come across a delightful unit at an amazing rental price in .. wait for it .. Ballarat. And if they accept my application I SHALL GO THERE. I’ve dithered and havered about leaving the big smoke for so long that I disgust myself.

In fact, I disgust myself on many levels, these days ..

I have no friends here in Melbourne, not any more. No-one travels here to visit me, not in these C-19 days, when Victoria is riddled with tales of infection. So why should I stay here ? Why not go Somewhere Else ? Stringer is with me wherever I go, after all .. And although I’m going to view a truly beautiful place in North Melbourne on Monday, it’s a studio; and I don’t really think it fair on The Boodster to not provide him with at least one room to get away from me ! (Yesyes; there are those who consider that perhaps an eight-room house wouldn’t be enough distance ..)

The one thing that might keep me tied to Melbourne is my wonderful GP, Cecile. However, she herself has pointed out that we can do video consults so there’s almost zero need to visit her; and an occasional trip down as necessitated by, say, my bi-annual exhaustive health check would be a pleasure. Ballarat isn’t far:

Anyvays, that’s the current thinking. Knowing me, I may well disgust myself further and decide on relieving myself of most of what’s left of my possessions in order to move in to a studio (it is such a beautiful environment !).

So you ain’t hoid de last of dis ..