And here’s the moon ..

Beautiful pale morning sky .. pinks and grey swirling gently behind Luna, who might even be full ! — such beauty up there above the gum trees with their slowly awakening bird populations just beginning to be heard ..

And this is right in the middle of a fairly central Melbourne suburb.

Am I lucky ?! – I AM !

There goes a little aeroplane, ‘way up high .. Essendon Fields is just north of me, and provides any time spent indoors with small aircraft taking off and landing (helicopters too she added, without excitement).

No: I think she’s a fraction shy of full – the curve isn’t quite there on the top right. But Luna is lovely: the palest lemon against the sky’s now faded colours.

IF ONLY the camera would show what the eye sees ! But still, you can see the most important things, I think: indisputable evidence of Boodz, and my Breville Barista Express, and the balcony giving onto the trees ..


Recalled to Life (?)

(with apologies to Dickens)

I have a wonderful new Dell laptop with a ‘spill-resistant keyboard’. I have access to the Internet. I have lost an IT support provider. Life goes on ..

I am in my Essendon teeny apartment, and I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. I use that adjective because it’s really much smaller than it seemed when I viewed it empty. But I don’t care about its teeniness: I am enjoying it immensely !

Oh, and I also have Covid.

“Unclean, unclean ..” she intoned dismally, ringing the little bell around her neck ..

Did a RAT on Friday and it came up as positive instantly – no waiting for 20 minutes, no sir !

Its source ? – no idea.

A short essay entitled “On Affection|Love”

It was, I’m fairly sure, only a couple of days ago that I suddenly understood what’s been hovering over me for longer than I can point to; a kind of mysterious miasma of .. something.

Out of nowhere it came to me that I’m absolutely starved of affection, let alone love.

I’m not a person others can easily feel affection for, I think; they like me, and they can even be happy to see, hear or read me. But I do tend to alarm people – in a friendly kind of way – and while I may amuse them, they’re probably somewhat relieved when I leave (or finish).

It’s a grim situation for an ancient, especially for one who is entirely alone – and MOST especially for one who was loved absolutely and unquestioningly for 31 years by the husband she considered as others might god.

Why did I never realize this frightful lack before now ?!

I do have an answer for that question: it’s because I recently came across a person whose brain is admirable, whose ethics ditto, who’s responsible and even occasionally reliable, and who tells me “don’t overestimate my intellect lest I fall short of your expectations”. This combination writes an irresistible siren song for me so that I have, being me, immediately handed over my wrinkled old heart in hope of not having it returned in disgust: it is a young person, after all .. and how much more alarming must I be to one such ?!

There are three women in my life who I can call dear friends; but the one from longest ago is in Sydney, one (the next longest) in Brisbane and the most recent in Geelong. I have a dear male friend, also living in Geelong, from years and years back, and another man who was once my boss in Melbourne but who now lives in Perth. All have full lives, unlike me. All are people I would be deeply unhappy not to have as friends, even at those distances. I love them greatly. Who knows ? – maybe they love me. But I can’t hug them and give them loud kisses on their dear faces and clutch their hands.

Was I ever this demonstrative when I spent time in their company ?

Probably not.

Would I be so were they to haul up over the horizon tomorrow ? – definitely !   :)

I also have three family members left: an older sister who was living in Paris but is now disruptively back in Oz, a younger sister who lives in Tasmania and a nephew who lives in Perth (my home town). With the eldest I never developed a meaningful relationship; I and my younger sister were once very alike in temperament but she is ageing gracefully; I love my nephew very much, but I never see him.

So you see my problem with regard to this so much younger person: there’s possibly nothing more I would like to do than demonstrate my regard in the timeless manner I described above. It wouldn’t be anything more than me saying “I think you’re ACE !” in the same way as I would my extant dear friends; but it would bring on a panic attack.    :(

And were I not so badly in need of some utterly harmless demonstration of affection returned, it might never have occurred to me to even think how delightful my display would be — to me ..

Sighh .. What a silly old fart I am.

Granny stitch ain’t for me !

I made another cardi pattern from a YouTube channel belonging to a hugely talented crocheter called Sylvia whose projects are all subtle and delightful.

This is Sylvia’s finished product. Mine isn’t exactly .. ahh .. like it.

You see how she uses a gradient yarn ? – I didn’t have anything like it in my stash (which consists, as I have confessed to some other crochet people, of a pile of crocheted items  waiting to be frogged because either I never finished them or I finished them but don’t like them !) so I frogged a poncho made of a light self-striping acrylic.

Mine’s a tad less subtle, eh ?

Also, I didn’t want a waist with a cord, so I made it a little bit shorter. Now all I have to do is make two or three little cords for loose ties for the front and Robert will be my avuncular relative. I like the colourway.

But I’m not going to be doing anything in Granny stitch again ! – it made me feel like an assembly line operator, because it’s so quick and so fearfully repetitive.

Fiber Spider loves doing it, he says, and will actually look for patterns in Granny stitch. He must be a .. dammit, word’s gone.

Masochist. Yep.

What happened to THAT ?!

This-morning I went to a shitload of trouble to take a photo of a cardigan I’d just finished crocheting so that I could use Imgur – called ‘image-posting software’ – to put a link to the photo in the Comments below the pattern on YouTube.

This, she said uncertainly, is it:

So it all worked: I put the link to the image into my comment and tested it, and there it was alright .. but some hours later I returned to Sarah’s entry in YouTube to see if she’d seen it and it had disappeared. The entire comment had gone.

The only person who could do that is the YouTube channel owner, yes ?

Looks like it’s so awful she was embarrassed by it because I’d also added a tag to give the credit to her for the design ..

Since this

is Sarah’s own version, made deliberately with ‘scrap’ yarn – i.e., left over from other projects – I’m thinking she feels my use of Lion Brand Mandala Ombre  is OTT ? Dunno. But it’s very puzzling ..

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.