Joy in the simple things

Birds having a great time frolicking in the rain

The lad and I were driving to go and help with the food shopping for his camping weekend away the other night when we saw and heard all these birds frolicking up on the wire. He got me to stop the car and got out to take some photos (so photo credit to my son on this one). I’m glad I took the time to stop. It was a back street making it easier to pull over and stop. We’d actually left the house a bit earlier instead of the last minute rush as is often the case.

It was raining and the birds were relishing the rain. It’s been a dry summer, therefore we’ve not had too many rainfalls recently.

They were making a heck of a noise and there were even birds hanging off other birds. It was great to see, and to hear. Do they normally hang out together like this around sunset, or did they come together because of the rain?

Too often the rain keeps us indoors but I quite like a walk in the rain. The dog doesn’t mind it either. He doesn’t like a gentle sprinkle with the hose and he definitely doesn’t like being washed, but add a lead and walk into the equation, getting wet doesn’t matter. The rub-down when we get home is worth it too.

Adelaide Festival 2015 – Blinc

Adelaide Festival - Blinc

It can be a Herculean effort to take the teenager out with you, but persist. It’s easier to leave them at home to do more Xbox time, but once they get over the whinging they can be quite pleasant company and actually enjoy themselves.

Mama and son

This time we went into town to see the lights of Blinc before they finish up this weekend.

It’s pretty special seeing Parliament House and the Festival Centre adorned in pretty pictures and lights and the accompanying sound interrupts your thoughts every now and then when you’re close to the speakers.

Adelaide Festival - Blinc

Adelaide Festival - Blinc

I would have liked to walk through the lights in the rotunda in Elder Park but I hate queues so satisfied myself with a non-interactive look.

The elephant was pretty spectacular and the lad helped out a woman who wondered when the effin’ elephant was going to turn around. You have to go to the other side to see the other end, he informed her.

Adelaide Festival - Blinc

We wandered along the Torrens and admired other lights from Blinc and nearby buildings.

Adelaide Festival - Blinc

Adelaide OvalAdelaide Festival - Blinc

There are probably some we missed either because we were sick of walking or I’m crap at reading maps. But it’s great seeing Adelaide so busy and bustling with all of this activity. Pity there weren’t more regular trams at night-time – we saw our tram pull away just before we got to the stop and the next one didn’t arrive for another 20-25 minutes.

Looking a bit alien

‘So, how did you get to be an alien?’ I was asked.

‘You have to know the right alien,’ I answered back.

This was a brief exchange at Surrender the other night. About 40 of us gathered outside Parliament House to get our photos taken, professionally and by passers-by.

Alien invasion at Surrender via Parliament House

Alien invasion at Surrender via Parliament House

I think we were a bit of a sideshow for people walking past.

Alien invasion at Surrender via Parliament House

And I love how inventive a few of my friends got with their outfits.

Alien invasion at Surrender via Parliament House

I went green. Body and facepaint for my face and neck, green hairspray, my green 70s onesie and my son’s cape worn inside-out (and borrowed with his permission). I’d bought some alien eyes to go on top of my head but will be returning them because the elastic wasn’t going to hold anything up, so I improvised with some pipe cleaners. And a little behind the scenes secret, it’s really hard to go to the loo in a portaloo when you have to negotiate a cape and a onesie.

Alien invasion at Surrender via Parliament House

I didn’t take any photos at Surrender, but below is one at the end of the night outside the Festival Centre.

Alien invasion at Surrender via Parliament House

Introverts at job interviews

Against a brick wall. Day 175/366.

I had a job interview recently and to put it succinctly – I bombed at the interview. I had a great written application and had it got to the referee stage they would have talked me up I’m sure, but the actual interview – it sucked. I sucked!

Yes, I had prepared but when it came down to it, all that preparation went out the window.

I really hate the format of the we’ll ask you a question comprising at least two parts, and we’ll sit here and look at you while you answer. I inevitably forget what the question is and I forget what I know.

I wondered if I was alone in this so I did a search, and surprise surprise – it’s a thing!

Susan Cain, well-known author of Quiet – a book about introverts says:

“The modern-day interview is mostly designed to hire narcissists,” Cain says, pointing to a recent study that indicates narcissists who have overt charm, verbal fluency and a take-charge personality, do better at job interviews than modest people.

I thought about it afterwards and thought that if the interview process were different, ie more conversational, I would have done a lot better. Or if I were given the questions in more of a role play situation I would have done a lot better.

I’m not afraid of talking to people and explaining my work to them. I’m not afraid of interview panelists either, but when a job’s riding on the balance there’s more to lose isn’t there?

I’ve rehashed over the process and wish I’d done a couple of things differently, and said a whole lot more but it’s in the past now and there’s not much I can do to change the outcome.

But I know I’ve got a bit of work to do for the next time.


Reminiscing already


I’m on holidays again. Last week we went away down the coast for five nights with some friends in a house we hired.

As it was pretty close to the beach I went for a walk along the beach every day. There’s something about walking along the beach with your bare feet in the sand and the water that’s very therapeutic. I love it.

Our five days went in a blink. One minute it was morning, next minute it would be time for nibbles and drinks before dinner. Times this by five and there goes your time away. Most of the holiday houses I stay in these days are newer than my own with newer everything (except kitchen that is). It doesn’t mean they’re necessarily better except for if they have two bathrooms. Usually they’re lacking in the things you take for granted in your own kitchen, ie oven mitts, roasting pan, a decent potato masher, cake tins.

The cheaper places I’ve stayed at since I’ve been an adult have pretty much all had mice. In one place we could hear them in the walls and could see them running around at night. I’ve lived through mice plagues growing up in the country but even this put me off enough not to go back there even though it was a third of the price of places I’ve stayed at since.

Did you know that mice like chocolate? Another place I stayed at had mice come and nibble away to my room-mate’s chocolate during the night. We soon learned to keep everything as clean as possible and put food away.

But it’s this place that’s my favourite location. It’s a private property on Kangaroo Island with two, two-bedroom little shacks. The bed mattresses sag but usually you’re so tired at night that it doesn’t really matter. It’s near a river where you can fish, paddle your canoe and with a bit of an extra walk, get to the beach. Because it’s not really near anyone else the beach is usually empty from other people and it’s a gorgeous beach even if the water is a bit cool that side of the island.

There’s no tv in the shacks but it doesn’t matter when there’s a few of you. We’ve stayed up till all hours playing cards with the friends I’ve gone with.

Next week I go back to work and as usual I’ll miss this time of summer holidays. I’ve been grocery shopping for the week ahead. Back to making school and work lunches, getting up earlier rather than lying in bed reading, and – working.

Dishwasher – love em or hate em?

After - kitchen sink/dishwasher/cupboards

I recently renovated my kitchen. Well, when I say ‘I’, I mean I organised for a team of people to do it.

Part of the renovation was a brand spanking new dishwasher. I’ve never had one of these before and I’m in love.

I love that dirty dishes now have a home and when you’ve filled the dishwasher up, you put some powder or a tablet in it, turn it on, wait a couple of hours and voila – clean dishes.

I love that my kitchen routine has changed because of it. After dinner I used to wash the dishes and I hated having to do that. I’d rather just relax after dinner. Now, I might have a greasy pan to wash by hand, but otherwise into the dishwasher go the dirty dishes.

However, my son is not a fan. He hates having to open the dishwasher up every time he has to put something into it. He also doesn’t like having to put the clean dishes away. He, however, is begrudgingly getting on board. Obviously he didn’t spend enough time washing dishes pre-dishwasher because if he had, he’d appreciate this technology much more.

I had read that dishwashers are more environmentally friendly than washing by hand and upon further reading found that when many people wash dishes by hand they leave the hot water tap running. That’s incomprehensible to me. Before dishwasher, I had two sinks. One would be half filled with hot sudsy water, the other half-filled with hot water for rinsing and this would do for the whole wash unless it was  particularly large, greasy batch. I always started with glasses and cups, then cutlery, then plates, then plastics, and lastly saucepans and other cooking pans. So I don’t think my pre-dishwasher footprint was too bad. The downside was the the shoddy job I was doing, usually because I’d wash while not wearing my glasses.

Now I have a dishwasher I run it roughly every second day for two of us. I sometimes rinse things off before hand but I try not to and dishes are mostly coming out much cleaner. I’m using Ecostore’s dishwashing powder which is working really well for me and doesn’t leave that weird finish on the clean and dry plates that the dishwashing tablet often used by others does.

Oh, and incase you wondered, I bought an Asko dishwasher. I have no complaints so far. To me, it was worth spending the extra few hundred dollars. Others I know have bought cheaper ones and complain about them not cleaning properly.

Fire fire

Smoke from bushfire looks like clouds

Yesterday the temperature rose to about 44 degrees celsius, with a hot north wind to go with it. In other words, a good day for a fire to burn out of control. Days like these are total fire ban days but apparently someone decided that lighting their incinerator would be a good idea. One spark from that and it’s a potential catastrophe.

The photo above shows the smoke from the bushfire – it’s not clouds. The fire this smoke is from is still burning and people are evacuating from of their homes and some people have lost their homes.

But others who aren’t directly affected are driving to the fire to have a look. I can’t believe the  arrogance and stupidity of these people. Well, yes I can because I know some people only think of themselves. Bastards. Does doing something like this give them a story to tell their mates to make them look cool? I don’t know, but it’s very selfish. Someone suggested these people should be fined and the money go to the fire fighting service.

When I walked the dog this morning I could smell the smoke where I live and luckily I’m not close to the fire. The last thing I would do is go for a look. I wish I had a tow bar on my car and a horse float as some livestock need clearing out. While I feel sorry for people who are affected I feel more for the animals who can’t hop in a car and leave. The photo of the lone koala sitting in a tree while the ground around him has burned makes me feel sad that his home has burned but glad that at least he’s still alive.

But while some people are selfish idiots, others offer their homes and their services to help affected people. I like to see that.