Firstly, Western Australian dweller Ms Bloom's. Each of her chosen ones had to visit flickr, type in their answers to each of nine questions and select a photo only from the first page that pops up and copy-n-paste 'em to bighugelab's Mosaic Maker.
Now look here, you: if an ageing and techno-deficient cyber dunce like me can do it, so can you, okay?1. Something that expresses beauty to you - Sleeping dogs. Their utter peace and contentment stirs envy in me as well as admiration for their natural beauty. I like the way they have the one coat that sees them through from morning til night for all occasions and the way their whiskers look as though they've been individually hand-sewn onto their snouts. And when their paws twitch as they run chasing cats in their dreams.
2. A love - Love Chunks. Yes, I'm going literal here. Husband for (thinks hard for a moment or two), um 14 years, together for sixteen. Still my utterly best friend and owner of the warmest feet and the softest lips and the most comfortingly strong hugs. The photograph is actually of Hurricane Dean, but in reality LC is much calmer than that (unless IKEA self-assemblage is required). I still reach for his hand when we're walking down the street. Rubs my sore head for ages when I'm able to sit up and complain instead of lying in the dark, silent.
3. An addiction - Chocolate, what else? This 'reducing your chocolate intake by 90% because of your dangerously high cholesterol' medical malarkey is soul-suckingly awful. I was going to eat some Milo straight out of the tin until I read how much saturated fat it contained. Plus, if I'd accidentally breathed in as the spoon was inserted instead of exhaling I'd have suffered a gut-busting coughing fit. Believe me, it's happened before....
4. Favourite album or style of music - My selection changes every day and my running list has focussed on heavy fast rock and bouncy electronica in order to keep the legs moving and the heart pumping. Off the treadie, I'll go for Tom Petty's album 'Into the Great Wide Open' which is what this bunny photo was called. It's certainly cuter-looking than Mr Petty who seems to be the Love Child of Steve Tyler and Carly Simon.
5. A place you spent your childhood - Murray Bridge, South Australia. Yes, a town on the river Murray, by the bridge. Clearly there were no local heroes or renowned explorers worth naming the place after when the bridge was opened in 1879 and even now the only remotely noteworthy person from MB is Alby 'World Safari' Mangels.
6. An enjoyable pastime - how you spell past time? pastime? pasttime? Writing. Not on walls or toilet doors but on the computer or in my tatty blue notebook. Most of it is drivel ('where is Plastic Bertrand now?') or impossible ('get Dairy Farmers to give me stats on sales of Farmers Union iced coffee per head of population compared to Big M') and occasionally useful ('Trolley Tracker hotline - 1800 641 497 - collects stray shopping trolleys off the streets'). Dream job would be to work from home (tick), earning a decent income (er, not yet a tick) on a slight, humorous column (no tick).
7.Your favourite season - Autumn, especially in Adelaide. After a long dry summer, it finally becomes cool enough to sleep with a blanket on and curl up snugly and yet is still sunny enough to peel off your jacket at lunchtime and sit on the grass.
8. Favourite animal - The Dog. Even being away from Milly for seven days during our recent holiday to the Red Centre saw me rushing up to any vaguely human personage with a dog, saying, "Oooh, is your doggie friendly? Can I pat it?" and seeing Love Chunks and Sapphire roll their eyes and remark to each other, 'Well we might as well go inside for a coffee, because she'll be chatting to this bum/toothless loser/weirdo/bogan for a while')
9.Somewhere on earth you'd like to visit - The Lindt conching machine in my scuba gear and a large straw. No seriously, Canada. Hence the Canadian duck. Everyone I've met from there seems to be nice, as well as what I imagine the scenery, comedy festival, food, lifestyle, bear and beaver wrestling etc. Vague plans are forming to do just that in 2010.
Benjamin Solah is a Marxist horror writer who works in an office as his day job but spends most of his free time fighting for the oppressed and the powerless. As you do in Coburg, whilst wearing a ~shudder~ Collingwood footy scarf.He was recently asked to write a meme based on five words he was given by a fellow blogger, which were:
I love that 'Office' is up there with the other rather noble, but forbidding and frightening topics. It seems to fit rather well somehow.
Compared to his passionate, sometimes-dangerous and always admirably-lofty life ideals, I'm the blogging equivalent of a communion wafer, with about as much depth. Still, Benjamin knows what warms up my uggs and he's given me the words chocolate, Melbourne, freelancing, family and ABBA.
Chocolate. Since the day I was dared to insert an entire Cadbury Creme egg into my mouth in year eight science (thus making me uncharacteristically quiet during class), I've been a convert.
Hmm what can I say about this that I haven't already said before? Perhaps I should plug one of my paid writing gigs - Chocablog. Please click on the link and subscribe to get your online fill of all things cocoa-related (plus, it's cholesterol and fat-free when enjoyed online instead of inmouth). Yes, it's a damn nice gig to be able to review something that I love and not something like dysfunctional aged care facilities, uranium mining disposal policy guidelines or hand made cod pieces. It's (chocolate that is, not cod-pieces) my main food group, the substance I crave the second I wake, what I run over thirty kilometres a week for and what I dream of.
Stay tuned for a bit of blather on how judging the best Australian Chocolates for the Rush Chocolate Festival turned out yesterday....
Melbourne. This is my third period of residence in this interesting city. The first was in 1994 for only a year when LC and I first officially moved in together after finishing our Grad Dip Eds at Adelaide uni. I followed him back to Melbourne and got work at WormWorld Security as the only non-smoking, non-bogan, non-pokies-playing debt collector. It was the year that migraines mysteriously appeared, signalling the arrival of my brain tumour. Sometimes Jan would give me a ride home, chain-smoking all the way with her car-heated on full-blast and windows wound up: no wonder I vomited into an empty KFC carton before we got to my street.....After a stint in Darwin for a couple of years, we returned in 2006, bought our little ex-housing commission clinker brick in Heidelberg Heights. LC was still with the weather bureau and I'd moved from federal government to state - EPA. When Sapphire arrived, there was a sense that Heidelberg Heights wasn't the best address in town when a fellow new mother asked the CAFS nurse, "How many beers can you have when you're breastfeeding?" and LC was erroneously spotlighted and chased down by a police helicopter at 6am whilst innocently riding his bike to work when they mistook him for a bloke who'd held up the service station around the corner from our place.
The third time - this time - was planned a bit more. Work was the main reason behind the decision, but it was also for other opportunities, a bigger cultural blend, better lifestyle.... We wanted to live closer in to the actual city to give Sapphire access to different communities that range from the very poor to the very wealthy, reduce LC's commute time, use the trams, have access to the Queen Vic markets, be in a suburb with grit, history and integrity. We also knew that the 'big move' needed to be inflicted on our daughter at age nine and not fourteen when she'd hate us forever.
Flemington is a suburb full of contrasts, and even houses side-by-side (see above) can be utterly decrepit or beautifully restored. It has drunks wandering along Racecourse road, menacing no-one and sunning themselves on the benches. It has Porsche Cayennes and mansions that overlook the commission flats and kids that line up to pat Milly as she waits by the school gate. A police station that looks like a church and a post office that resembles a cathedral and streets clogged up with litter and cigarette butts. I love it.
Freelancing. I seem to be putting the 'free' into freelancing, and any 'lancing' tends to involve me popping the post-running blisters on my toes and squirting the fluid all over the floor before I step into the shower. Still, some work is heading in my direction and I'll say 'yes' to anything that doesn't involve public nudity, David Koch, eating pumpkin or pretending to like Nick Cave.
Love Chunks and Sapphire are everything to me. Instead of feeling hemmed-in by marriage and parenthood, I feel free. Free to be myself and not worry if I'm hot, or cool, or hip or edgy. They've both heard me sing, do silly voices and dance with the dog, yet I've never felt self conscious or ashamed (maybe I should....?). I think, when Love Chunks describes Sapphire and myself as his 'two chattering birds', it's an apt description: he only starts to worry if we're quiet, because that means we're either sick or sad or both.
ABBA. This is a hard sentence to write - let alone admit to - but I'm utterly sick to death of them. Sapphire 'grew up' listening to them, and seeing 'Mama Mia' last year just completed her full indoctrination of all things ABBA. As such, the old favourites are played over and over and over again. What's even more annoying is that her old favourites aren't my old favourites. She prefers Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen and The Way Old Friends Do to my SOS, the entire Super Trouper album and anything where Frida is allowed to be the vocal star. At least I have head phones and iPod Minis to be grateful for; my pooor mother had to listen to it all via the family's one and only piece of music playing equipment - the radiogram. And my singing.