Friday, July 30, 2010

The slippery sleeve.

Yesterday Jess Jo statused on Facebook about how she wished there was an invention for holding your sleeves down when you put a jumper on. Nothing more annoying than the light layers bunched around your elbows under your coat sleeves.

I have invented that invention!

I haven't made it yet, because I only thought of it while walking to work this morning, but I shall describe it to you. You get some slippery material, satin like a skirt lining or polyester like a parachute tracksuit. Maybe you even have a parachute tracksuit hanging in your wardrobe you could use for this purpose.

You make a tube (or use the arm of your parachute tracksuit), so you have an arm sleeve without a body. Have both ends open. It should slip on your arm without pulling your sleeves up. Cut a hole in one end for your thumb to stick through.

Then, when you are wearing a slippery sleeve on each arm over the top of your skivvy sleeves, put on your jumper. In theory, the slippery sleeves allow the fabric to travel smoothly over your arms without pulling up your sleeves. The thumb holes will keep the slippery sleeves in place.

Finally, pull the slippery sleeves out via the wrists!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blogged from my icomputer. Ooo-er.

Mac adds tags onto the end of emails sent from its mobile devices. "Sent from my ipad" and "Sent from my iphone". Not, notice, sent from AN iphone. Sent from MY iphone. They use the possessive, or something grammatical, and presume that every iowner is proud to tell everyone that they own an idevice. It just adds to the pretentiousness.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Halfway day post.

Sometimes, you just have to wait for the week to be over. Moods will swing back up, looming events will be past, perceptions will change. You just have to wait.

Oh look! Shan Dong chicken :) and it's better already.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Haircut time again.

I put off going to the hairdresser as long as I can. I dislike going to a hairdresser. I prefer the dentist, and that is saying something because I've had enough dentistry in the past 2 years to put me off it for a lifetime.

Why I don't like getting a haircut.
  1. Timing the appointment. Figuring out which upcoming event I would most benefit from having nice fresh hair. Wedding? Weekend away?
  2. Choosing a hairdresser. Cheap asian or Tony & Guy? What is the cost/risk benefit?
  3. Wearing the cape. I hate the high-necked cape. It is a What Not To Wear sin.
  4. Staring at myself in the mirror under unflattering lights with my hair clipped backwards.
  5. Chit-chat. Salon chit-chat irks me.
Dentists, on the other hand, have space-age recliner chairs, soft music, no mirrors, and don't feel obliged to chat to you in a chirpy shop-girl voice. It's an exaggerated contrast, but I do have a disproportionate dislike of haircuts.

Conversations (via email) with a 60 year old boy.

[Emails occasionally pass between Sydney and Maitland. Excerpts from a recently received reply.]
Now, I must approach a delicate subject. One of the reasons you were sent to Sydney (and indeed, commissioned by your church I believe) was (not to put too fine a point on it) to find a bloke. Having been trained in all the skills and qualities lionised in Proverbs 31, we (and I speak here in loco avus - in place of your grandfather, (who I understand is quite incapacitated at the moment)) knew there was no-one in Maitland who was worthy of you …
[continued rant at the apparent blindness of young men in Sydney…]

To conclude, dear Jess; you were given the mandate to hunt. It didn't seem likely that you would have to invoke that mandate - it should have been enough just to announce your arrival in town, but it seems that you may need to move to the next phase of attack. Having said this, I quite understand if you are delaying a strike until you get your braces off. But I trust it's only temporary temporising.
[my reply explaining my theories on why I have not been snapped up]
You certainly face a challenge. I always found that belonging to a group (a ghetto of single girls doesn't quite cut it as a group Jess) with a common cause (outreach, social action, musical, knitting (hmm, perhaps not the latter)) was the best way to find a mate. There is commonality of purpose and interest that allows one to have an eye legitimately on two goals. Take a friend, but not two (overwhelming). You seem to be a 'girl's girl' and it is good to have mates, but to a guy that's intimidating. A bit like a shark chasing a school of sardines, he won't know which direction to turn for a meal and just blunders about. Not a real flash analogy, but an interesting picture of the hunt, and a lot of blundering does go on.



Gotta love

You gotta love friends who text you,

Did u knw that u pee purple pee and poo purple poo when u eat fresh beetroot?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Suggestions of things to talk about now that Masterchef is finished.

Anything, really. I've been waiting for this moment for ages. I don't care what the new topic is, it's a breath of fresh, handee-ultra free, air.

Flanny purchasing.

I checked out Cotton On and a few other likely shops, but in the end nothing could beat Lowes for value in the flannelette department, so I went back there. The men's shirts were plentiful, and there was a range of colours. There were only 4 women's shirts in 2 colours, and they were in the short dress style, IF a short flannelette shirt dress could be called a style.

Now here is an example of how women are routinely ripped off in the fashion world. The men's shirts were $10 each, the women's long shirts were $13. $3 isn't much, BUT if you look at it another way it is a 30% increase! There was not a 30% improvement in the women's shirt, and despite the extra length they did not use up as much fabric as the men's shirts, which go from M to XXXL.

I had to buy ladies for the size, and chop the length off. Ripoff rant aside, I am very pleased with it. It is warm and snuggly, has a nice strong red and black check, and a big collar. This is definitely an Underrated fashion.


It's been too long, really. Even though Elsie can't make it this Friday for an official Eat Street Challenge, I can't live any longer without it. So meet me at the front of the TAB on corner of Borrodale and Anzac Pde, and we can either go on to Honey Wok or revisit something we liked (Golden Tower!).

Steamin' beetroot!

How to steam beetroot:

How not to steam beetroot:

You can't see it clearly in the photo, but there was beetroot juice splattered all over the microwave. Yay.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Don't beat yourself up

One thing I've learnt is not to beat myself up over bad decisions. I need to accept that I've made a bad decision, learn what I need to learn from it and MOVE ON.

Case in point: I need to buy a microeconomics and macroeconomics textbook for class. I can buy them together as a bundle, brand-new for about $145 (the macro one alone costs $112 brand new!).

I took a risk and decided to buy them separately second-hand. I bought the micro one for $65, but could not get the macro one at $60. I'm now looking to buy it second-hand for $75.

So effectively, I've only saved $5. For the time and effort put in to source the second-hand textbook, I should have just bought it brand new as a bundle. Part of me is tempted to kick myself for not buying the brand new bundle to begin with, but what does beating yourself up over it achieve? No good.

The lesson I need to learn is, if I can't make a significant saving buying books second-hand, and if the time and effort put into sourcing them isn't worth the monetary saving, just get the bundle brand new. You're making a saving there anyway. You can't always get the best outcome possible. Sometimes good enough is good enough.

Sometimes it helps to take a step back and look at the whole situation. A friend is lending me a textbook for one of my subjects, so I've saved there! Plus this kind of thing isn't worth worrying about in my current situation. Get just the textbooks and get on with the study.

Now to move on.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I want to buy a shirt with a collar. Not a chinese collar, but pointy flaps which fold over, because they look so nice under a jumper and elongate the neck. Real collars are not easy to find in the shops, though. And I am starting to really search, because both my white shirts (with a chinese collar) are dead. Last night I discovered that the shirt I had worn all yesterday under my cardigan and skivvy had split right up the back. Thank goodness this happened in winter.

There's a bonus tip for you though: when a shirt is getting old and thin, or has stretched out or something, you can still wear it in winter for the collar effect, under vests and jumpers. And when it dies, it is safely hidden.

Actually, what I really want is a flanny. Like wearing a pyjama top, but with cuffs to keep your arms warm. I reckon in the Eastern Suburbs it would be OK, cos I could pretend to be a hipster—the perfect disguise for a westie-born flanny wearer. I think Lowes is the only place that sells them; I shall look for one tomorrow.

Not quite a retirement village

In case you've been living under a rock, these facts exist:

- there are a lot of single people in society AND

- housing affordability is bad in Sydney.

When you're single and of a certain age, you start to want to live alone. But you don't want to be completely isolated. You want the benefits of having a flatmate (someone to come home to, someone to zip you up when you're getting into a dress) and living alone (having the furniture you want, structuring your household the way you want). For a single female living alone, I would want to live somewhere that offered a degree of safety and convenience (especially if car-less).

I've raised this topic with a few people, and what we need is sort of a retirement village for single people. That is, you get your own apartment, or room to live in, but there are some communal areas available for you to get your daily dose of human contact. Kind of like a dormitory, but home-lier and much nicer. Or like a share house, but centrally organised by someone, with a regular cleaner, and a few living rooms for doing things in. That way, you can hide in your room when you need to be alone, but come out and frolick when you crave company.

Perhaps you could even get a car sharing scheme going if there were enough of you.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How to save time when using the microwave.

If you have a keypad operated timer and want to cook for one minute, instead of pressing 1, 0, 0 press 6, 0!

Obviously, 60 seconds is the same as 1 minute, but it requires 1 less button press!

Weekly Schedule on a Magnetic Whiteboard

Has this been done yet?

I'm surprised no-one's made and marketed an A4 (or larger) magnetic whiteboard with a blank weekly schedule with one hour slots from 6am to 11pm printed on it. You could fill in your weekly schedule with whiteboard markers, or make magnets for regular, weekly items that need some flexibility regarding when they are completed. Would make planning for the week very handy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why we don't share our struggles

- People don't understand the burden of the sin or struggle you are working through and they are (sometimes unintentionally) dismissive about it. They say things which make you feel worse or that don't help, which in turn, makes you not want to share.

- People don't believe you because they think you've got it all together. Of course you need to have it all together some time - how are you supposed to cope and function in life otherwise?!

- You fear the vulnerability of revealing your weakness.

- Your fear how crazy you will sound, especially to people who don't understand why your struggle is a struggle.

- You fear people will judge you when they see you working through the struggle (e.g. if you struggle with anger in a particular situation, you think they are watching you whenever you are in that situation).

- People are generally not good listeners and are too quick to jump to their own conclusions about what's wrong with you and what you need to do.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Underrated: library books.

I have recently discovered the non-fiction section of the library. Or at least, I have discovered it for the purpose of reading for pleasure, rather than being forced to use it for studies. Non-fiction books are very interesting. You can learn stuff about the Real World, which is an even more complex, interesting and confronting place than the worlds of fiction books. You can find out Actual History, rather than the smooshed up versions you learn from movies. There are books about money, art, religion, food, health, politics—how very useful!

Books are often expensive to buy and take up a lot of space in the house, but libraries are free, and have quite a lot of good books in them. Browsing in a bookshop is fun, but browsing in a library is better because you can take any book you like, for free, and when you are finished you can get rid of it. You get the experience without the price of possession.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Someone a little bit like me.

I think the more obscure your obsessions are, the more delightful it is to find someone who shares it. Like, who cares about Mr Darcy? He's so mainstream. A Mr Darcy obsession is as common as muck. But a Captain Wentworth fan, or a Henry Tilney fan, is a rare and special creature. A little while ago at the Twist music weekend I found a girl who loves weatherzone. We were practically hugging each other and screaming "there's a little windmill when it's windy!" and "you can change the colour!". An obscure obsession is so bonding.

Friday, July 16, 2010

If only first love could last.

That sensation when you discover some music, and want to listen to it over and over again. It is all so fresh and wonderful.

Second love is good, when you start to hear the lyrics, and be able to sing them. But even as you familiarise the song and get deeper into it, you lose the pleasure of the mystery. It's not first love anymore, and never will be again with that music.

At the moment, I melt with delight when I listen to songs like Pacific Street and Carry Me Home by Hem (stumbled upon Hem in the itunes store). But my obsessive relistening is gradually killing the wonder. Why can't I hold on to that first experience of the discovery of beauty…

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Letter to James Valentine.

Dear James,

I am an adoring fan of your radio show. My working day is dark without you. The afternoons are so loooong. Instead of lunch, then 2 hours of James and 2 hours of something, it is lunch then 4 hours of something, which gets boring for my ears. Even 'Nothing' with you is better than something without you.

The situation is now critical. I had 2 weeks holiday out of Sydney. When I returned, the thing I looked forward to most was you. And you were off the air. For 2 weeks. If only you had been away when I was away, I wouldn't have minded so much, knowing that I wasn't missing anything. But what cruel happenstance of fate deprived me of afternoon radio for an entire month?!

Nobody understands.

Yours on afternoons,


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Underrated: tourist culture.

Touristy things in Sydney are actually quite fun for a day out, even if you live here. People travel here from all over the world to do things that we ignore. The Aquarium is absolutely wonderful, as is the Art Gallery; Luna Park is a good half day of Pirate Ship rides. Or just see the city itself: ferry rides across to Manly, a walk over the bridge, or a stroll past the Opera House and through the Botanic Gardens. On the weekend, the city has a completely different vibe, so if you hate it for it's traffic and intensity, spend some time doing fun things and exploring the place.

Letters from the Wayside Chapel.

I've been meaning to mention this for ages. Every Monday at 1.35pm, ABC 702 play an audio letter from Graham Long at Wayside Chapel. You can listen to the most recent online here; it is always five minutes well spent, especially compared to other Kings Cross related media productions (I'm scowling at you, channel 9).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Underrated: entertainments.

1. Going to the movies by yourself. Organising a group turns it into a hassle, sometimes. If you want to go see (A Lame Vampire Movie), just go on your own one cheap Tuesday or random Saturday. Added bonus, you can enjoy guilty pleasure movies in secret.

2. Local theatre. In particular, local musical theatre societies. For the price of 1 ticket to a big spectacular show like Wicked, you can see four local shows. The production values are obviously less, but that is an enormous part of the charm! Next in my diary is Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Rockdale in September.

3. A cheap surprise. Spend little or no money on something not normally up your ally. I can highly recommend The Beatnix, for example. Rob Smith is playing with them this weekend, at Bankstown I think. Or be in a TV show audience (like one of the dancing shows or quiz shows).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Observations of a six-year-old boy

I've spent some time babysitting this week. I don't usually spend very much time with kids, so I've been reminded what funny and interesting creatures young boys are. Firstly they have so much energy and imagination! He'll happily play with his Lego by himself for hours on end, making battleship noises, or have imaginary battles with one of his many light sabers, waving it around the living room. When we took a walk, he imagined so many things happening around him. His world is full of play (and of course they say very cute things).

It did make me wonder.

What happens when we grow up? Do we lose our imagination and creativity? Does it get stifled? Do we still play? What does playing or having fun look like for adults? How does playing/having fun change as we mature into adults? Could we play all day the way kids play all day?

Conversations with a six-year-old boy

Boy: Are you too young?

Me: Too young for what?

Boy: Too young to get married?

Me: How old do you have to be to get married?

Boy: 30?

Me: How old do you think I am?

Boy: 26?

Me: I know some people who get married at 20, 21. How old will you be when you get married?

Boy: I'll be 21 when I get married!

Me: How will you know who to marry?

Boy: God will give you someone to marry.

Me: But how?

Boy: You just bump into them!

Boy: Why don't you have a car?

Me: Because cars are expensive.

Boy: You could get a cheap car.

Me: (chuckles) Cars are troublesome. You have to fill them with petrol, check the tyre pressure, get them serviced, clean them regularly-

Boy: You could get a servant to clean it for you!

Me: Where would I get a servant from?!

Boy: My mum! She's really good at cleaning cars!

Me: So I should ask your mum to clean my car for me?

Boy: Yes!

Boy: Why don't you have a husband?

Me: Can you find one for me?

Boy: (to mum) Mum! Where did you meet dad?

Friday, July 9, 2010

How to fall ill

I'm experiencing my second sore throat in the space of a month (*dislike*) and I'm starting to notice a pattern. It goes a little like this:

1. Feel majorly stressed out/overwhelmed about something -> 2. Start to have sleeping problems from the stress -> 3. Feel tired from lack of sleep -> 4. Ditch the regular exercise to catch up on sleep -> 5. Eat junk food/unhealthily to cope with stress or you just don't put in the effort because of stress -> 6. Sore throat -> 7. Whammo! Sick as a dog.

If I've learnt anything, it's that all those little factors of good stress management techniques, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and eating well that keep you healthy and feeling strong. It doesn't make you immune from illness, but it does keep you healthy most of the time. And for me, I know that regular, daily exercise helps me to sleep better. So it's all a nasty cycle when you get caught in ditching the exercise to sleep, and then you don't exercise because you're tired.

Last month, when I got my first sore throat, I denied I was falling ill and pushed on, and it was not a pretty sight. This time, I'm going to admit I'm sick and rest, rest, rest.

Attention toothbrush engineers!

...or whatever you're called. Listen: you can stop now. The over-designed and impressively marketed oral equipment you keep coming up with is getting ridiculous. You should have stopped when you branched out into ergonomic handles and everyone discovered that their toothbrushes no longer fit into their toothbrush holder slots. All we want is a stick with bristles on one end.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How busy to be.

I try to be unbusy. I actually think I can't cope with having my time full. I don't like the effects of stress, which some people seem to thrive on—some people are just high energy people.

Even when I enjoy all the things I do, I know there is a level of activity I can't sustain. And, here is the crucial point: I try and do less than I can sustain, because if I do as much as I can sustain and then something extra comes along I realise I am suddenly overburdened, and collapse (or do Eleven Days Of No*). I need down time. So I try and be a bit unbusy, so that when things come along extra I am still within my limit of sustainable business.

Also, what seems sustainable at first becomes tiring over time. You take on lots of exciting things at the start of the year, carrying it all comfortably, and then you get tired—like at the supermarket—your basket accumulates things, and is OK to carry, but your arm is tired by the time you get to the checkout, let alone carry it home.

So in the cause of well-being and efficiency, don't be too busy.

* When I was so tired and frazzled that the idea of another fun social event with friends made me cry in dread, I blocked out my diary for 11 days and became a recluse. I think that's a good technique for introverts. It really worked.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


For the sake of appreciating small things, this is a new series of posts about stuff which is quietly cool. First of all: the park.

I don't have a backyard, and my unit is not very windowy or sunny, so I have adopted the park near Randwick Pressy as my own, and it is my default choice on a sunny weekend when I just have to get out of the house.

Everyone loves the beach. The beach is nice, sure, but it's always sandy, grotty and filled with fitness freaks and exhibitionists, especially in summer. Parks are often very lovely and not as trendy as the beaches. They are more relaxed, with more personal space, and unless you are doing a lap around Centennial Park there is much less physical activity to make you vicariously tired. People are fully clothed, which I think is a bonus. And, trees are really nice. Lean against them to read a book, or lie on your back and look up through the leaves. Grass is nice, too. Grass is almost a topic in itself.

Enjoy parks wherever you can!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Health warning for single men.

Interesting fact which sparked me posting about this: Men who are married live longer on average than bachelors. There are added benefits if they marry women younger than them. This is because men who marry are looked after by their wives, we can suppose.

This is golden proof for my long-held theory that singleness is as bad for men than for women, or at least quite bad in different and unnoticed ways. The following observations are general* and based on my limited experience, and I'm not talking about young single men who haven't married so much as maturing men who seem to be aimlessly or unwillingly single, so don't go applying it all to your own situation. But I think there is a grain of truth here, among my random opinions.

1) Single women are high-profile; not, like, whinging, but everyone knows that they are single and it is unfortunate… biological clocks, real grief at missing out on raising a family, etc etc. There is nothing obviously unfortunate about single men—it can seem to be simply their own choice, mistake or failure. So women are getting all the pity and attention.

2) Single men do not seem as interested in singleness as an issue. Where women go "why, God? I want to be married!" and read books about singleness, listen to sermons, spend time questioning God's purpose for their life outside of marriage, blog and vent about it, and for fun watch chick movies about finding marriage, men don't. They are missing the bad things but also potentially the helpful and guiding things, and missing the pastoral care that single women seek out.

3) Single men are more likely to end up loners. Women are more naturally social, and get together to empathise and support each other. Unmarried men miss out on the socialising influence of their wife and family. Single women are more likely to flat together, men are more likely to flat alone—possibly for financial reasons, but it's another element of aloneness.

Single men are more likely to get weird. I'm not sure if all weird older loner men are single because they are weird, or if singleness is actually a major contributing factor to weirdness. Or if it comes down to the socialising factor of the wife/family. Either way, the value of having a wife to choose a shirt for you or nag you to get a haircut is enormous.

4) Men who stay single because it is more fun than marriage, who think they have the social skills to stay cool and want to enjoy their freedom to travel or be a slob or a workaholic or whatever… end up lame. It backfires on them. You can be single and cool and free when you're 28, but 5 years later you'll be single and sort of lame and immature, and in another 5 years you WILL be in the weird loner category and no woman will want you, because you were trying to extend your youth—while she was crying out "why God?" and growing in godliness (hopefully).

5) Unfortunately, according to Phillip Jensen at least, it seems that after 30 or so single men lose confidence to ask women out. Perhaps the rejection of a few women solidifies into self-doubt. Although much worse in my opinion are the desperate and not-shy men who hang around only the pretty single women in church. That is not the way to go! As mentioned before, women notice everything, and you will alert the Creepy Stalker Radar of every woman very quickly.

So if there is anything helpful I want to say about this, it is that older single men are probably more unsupported by church community than single women, and should fight the pull of loner land. And young single men should take warning and not leave it too late—get married before you get weird. Just kidding. They should prayerfully consider their reasons for singleness and the implications for ministry and their future.

* Where an opinion is general, it is usually correct. Jane Austen.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Things I learned on my vacation.

  1. I need more vacations.
  2. I don't need the internet.
  3. Music sounds completely different in different environments. Drive out of Sydney and listen for yourself.
  4. Merriwa is a great place to take a rest stop. It has more public toilets than it has public, plus you can buy home-made preserves and knitted things.
  5. Pianos should have a view, not face a wall.
  6. I now know how to find celestial south.
  7. Star-gazing in Coonabarabran is not ideally done in winter.
  8. I want a north-facing room with views of a lake and hills, say at Orient Point.
  9. Trail mix has an infinite number of uses in (Sam's) cooking.
  10. If you spend 2 weeks wearing track pants and eating well, expect consequences when you put your jeans on.
  11. You can fit five people and their luggage into Denise's smallish car.
  12. Dan Wilton can sing every song from Sister Act 2.