Locketts are NEVER late.
If someone invites us over for dinner at 7.30pm we invariably pull up in the street at 7.29. Love Chunks and I can't help it; we're extremely punctual.
Except for this time.
Three weeks with no access to a computer meant that the arrival of 2010 was only noted by me when I woke up the next day. So I've gone and stolen a meme. Yes, unheard of in the blogging world, but there you go. This one is from Terence McDanger, a wild and crazy Irish bloke who may be leaving his green land for somewhere with more people and chopsticks but less drinkable beer and ways of saying 'feck' so fetchingly. The meme covers what you were doing in 2009.
Where were you on New Years?
Lying in bed at my parents' house in South Australia with Sapphire and Milly the dog shaking with fear at my feet. Everyone else had gone to see (and hear) the fireworks on the Esplanade and I stayed home to make sure that Sapphire went to sleep and Milly didn't have a seizure due to terror.
Did you drink?
I'd like to say 'yes', but no, I didn't. My parents don't drink and even though I'm a big girl and able to live my own life, I still feel a bit uncomfortable having a glass of wine in front of them. Mum can't help but form a cat's bum of disapproval with her lips, as if she's thinking, "Oh, so you need the aid of ALCOHOL to enjoy our company, then?'
Did you kiss anyone when the ball dropped?
Sapphire's warm soft hair and Milly's velvety ears. No balls were dropping (Love Chunks is far older than that), just fireworks and the occasional backfire from the hoons doing donuts in the carpark across the reserve.
Did it snow at all during January?
Of course not. In South Oz it's dry enough to suck the moisture out of your eyeballs the second you open the flyscreen door.
Were you single on Valentines Day?
Nope. Love Chunks has been on the scene since 1993 but we don't 'do' Valentine's Day.
Were you in school?
Sapphire was, does that count?
Any new addition into your family?
A treadmill (for me), a massive barbecue (for the house), some party lights and a light-up fake aquarium (for Sapphire) and a new bike (for Love Chunks), to celebrate our move from Adelaide to Melbourne.
Did you wear green on St. Patrick's Day?
No, but I wandered down Racecourse Road and saw a few dozen drunk uni students outside the Quiet Man pub being anything but.
Did you graduate in May?
I certainly did, but the actual ceremony was in May 1989 and I had to get the day off from the ANZ Bank to attend. Mum, Dad and my grandfather were there, and we posed for many photos in front of Bonython Hall as three generations to have graduated from Adelaide Uni. It was only a month later that Dad had the courage to call me (at work, so I couldn't carry on too much) and admit that whe he got home he found out that there was no film in the camera. The moment couldn't be recreated quite so perfectly: we borrowed a friend's Science Gown (mine was Arts) and I stood in front of our house's back wall (not Bonython Hall) without Grandpa, holding not a degree (which had already been framed) but a rolled up 1987 calendar.
Summer 2009 - Who did you hang out with the most?
Sapphire. We had a three weeks to kill until she started her brand new school and she had many moments of anxiety. We'd take Milly for a walk to the school ground and roam around the empty place, familiarising ourselves. One day, the principal was there letting in some tradesmen and came over to introduce herself. Lesley then very kindly gave us an impromptu tour of the inside of the school for over an hour, which was a pretty nice way to ease Sapphire into the idea of starting there.
Where did you go?
The school, streets around Flemington, brother and sister-in-law's house in North Melbourne, tram rides into the city, lunch with Love Chunks in the Docklands, movies (all G-rated of course).
Did you meet someone new that you still talk to today?
Having moved into a new state, new city, new suburb, new home, new school and new job, the entire year pretty well involved this.
Did you still work?
Yes. Writing articles, mostly, but also blogging, chocolate reviewing, research, book reviews and interviews. The much-discussed memoir did not eventuate. Maybe this year.
Did you end any relationships?
Only by refusing to send Christmas cards any more.
Did you go swimming or tan more?
I went swimming, but always clad in board shorts and a rashie and slathered most unbecomingly in SPF45 or I'd look like a saveloy with removable skin.
Where did you spend the most time?
At the computer. Or ogling/eating/photographing/savouring/writing about chocolate. Or running. Patting Milly. Nagging Sapphire.
Did you take lots of pictures?
Yep. So many that LC and Sapphire bought me an SLR for birthday/christmas combined which means I now permanently lag behind on bush walks and strolls, striving for that perfect artsy fartsy shot involving foliage, fetching ruins, blue sky and creativity (all yet to be achieved).
What did you do for Halloween?
Stayed in watching 'Entourage' with Love Chunks as Sapphire went trick-or-treating with her buddies. She came home a few hours later laden with sugary crap in a plastic black cauldron and revealed that half of the doors they knocked at were full of drunk people who'd just returned from the spring racing carnival. "One of them was just wearing his boxers and offered to give us a slice of his pizza!"
What did you do on Christmas?
Well I didn't do anything on Christmas, I'm not that kind of a person. However we did drive ten hours to Victor Harbor in a car that - after three weeks of money, stress and the attempts of three separate mechanics - was finally rid of the contaminated petrol and was suitable to drive by lunchtime on Christmas Eve. That was cutting it way, waaay too fine for me, but we pootled along the highway like a suburban version of the Clampetts in our ageing station wagon filled with three humans, a friendly orange dog, a nibbly white rabbit, luggage and many badly-wrapped and already-starting-to-rip-thanks-to-the-cheapness-of-the-paper presents.
Did you get good presents?
Oh jeez, how do answer this one? My SLR camera was both a birthday and Christmas present from Love Chunks and Sapphire, so I wasn't expecting any other surprises. They did, however, also get me a scary-looking hardcover book on how to be a better photographer and the 'Spicks and Specks' boardgame but I'm worried that not having access to hilarious comedians and iconic musos could make it less exciting when played at our dinner table.
Did you have a good birthday this year?
Well I felt a bit 'special' because it fell on Melbourne Cup Day which is a public holiday, so I told myself that it was a day off for all in my honour.
My eyes are rolling so far back in my head it's a wonder I can type this.
Went to a crazy party?
No. The idea of a 'crazy party' these days is to do my utmost to avoid them. Living in the inner city means that we tend to hear the end results of such parties as they wind their way past our house at 3am, hollering, vomiting and littering, back home to throw up.
Spend too much time online?
Of course. I'm a blogger.
Did you watch lots of football?
No. I went to one 'live' game and spent most of it crowd watching, eating and annoying the Essendon fans by daring to answer back their nasty jibes and thus embarrass my daughter most greatly. If it was on TV, I'd retreat to blogland in the study.
Did you learn anything new?
How interesting Flemington is; how to win a grant; what happens on the camping ground stays on the camping ground; that musk lifesavers are considered about as tasty as urinal cakes to Dutch backpackers and that Love Chunks prefers to go to sleep facing his wine collection instead of me.
What do you wish to accomplish this year?
1) Enlisting more Flemington Litter Ninjas to the cause
2) Write - and complete - and get a publisher for - my second book
3) Find radio work slightly closer to home than three time zones away
4) Finish the un-fun, uninteresting and un-useful editing and proofreading course
5) Stop nagging Sapphire and be more patient with her
Do you snore?
Like a drunken sea lion when I have a cold, according to Love Chunks.
Lover or a fighter?
Lover first, but if vitriol is hurled my way and it's unwarranted, mean or unfair, I'll fight. To the death, baby! Trouble is, it's often me who ends up suffering the most.
What's your worst fear?
Never amounting to anything, not being a good mother and running out of blog ideas. All equally scare the crap out of me.
As a kid, were you a lego builder?
Having two brothers and a suitcase full of lego, then yes, I was a builder. We'd have periodic crazes and Mum would rather generously let us take over the pool room (yes, we had a pool room but I found it more fun to make cubby houses underneath the table than actually learn how to play snooker) for a few weeks as our village grew. After we got sick of that we'd have Monopoly marathons, Meccano multi-function polises and sandpit sessions.
Were you a cute baby?
Sadly no, and Mum never sugar-coated the truth either, proclaiming that all three of her children "looked funny" and even in my toddlerhood I'm seen with bright red chubby cheeks and an annoying tendency to pout.
Do you sing in the shower?
Yep. Nothing like steam, hot jets of water and a well-lotioned body puff to get the vocal chords a-workin'
Have you ever bungee jumped?
Yes, in Normandy France, January 1992. We drank all the way there (took all night to reach it from Barnet, Herts), drank before the jump, threw up, did the jump head first (that's what cheap plonk will do for you), drank some more to celebrate, went to bed just in time to throw up in the hotel room's handbasin, got on the bus, drank some more.....zzzzzzzzzzz......... But I didn't dip my head into the water because it was the middle of winter and the river underneath the bridge was frozen over. Even in my sozzled state I could appreciate the sense of the bungy cord being shortened a smidge.
Any secret talents?
Some generous folk have said that I'm a reasonable mimic and this has passed on to Sapph who does a rather hurtful impression of my good self. I used to be reasonable painter and drawer too, but have since 'lost it'. I might also be half-decent these days at being able to walk into a party or event not knowing anyone and be able to strike up a conversation. Either that or I'm the bore that everyone twitters about afterwards...?
What's your ideal vacation spot?
It's called 'holiday' here, dearie. Somewhere all-expenses paid (by someone else, naturally), four star plus, warm, full of opportunities to relax and see the sights (again, all included). Throw in some fishing opportunities for Love Chunks and for Sapphire to invite a friend along and a heap of good books and I'm there.
Are blondes dumb?
Bottle blondes tend to be but us NATURALS (if they barely have visible eyebrows, they're naturals, folks) ooze intelligence, trustworthiness, talent, beauty and unrestrained wit and good taste.
How do you like your eggs?
Fresh but preferably without smears of chook shit and straw on the shells.
Do you cry at weddings?
I can't remember the last time I went to a wedding - in the nineties I reckon.
When was the last time you said, "i love you"
Last night. I can't go to sleep (even with Love Chunks facing the rows of booze) without saying it.
What are you allergic to?
Vacuuming, changing light bulbs, pumpkin and sweet potato, idiots.
Do you like your handwriting?
I used to, before my typing speed changed from 41 words a minute ala two index fingers to 90 using all ten. Now it's illegible and stretched out like a slinky being tied to a brick and hurled off a balcony.
What's your stand on hunting?
Eye for an eye, I say. Surely the fox deserves a turn at hunting some toffs using cavalry, a trumpet, some guns and several dozen angry beagles?
Do you give a darn about the ozone?
Yes. It's pretty sobering that the sun is brighter, harder and meaner now than when it was in my childhood and sharing a house with a meteorologist means that the data and proof is readily available.
Have you seen the movie "Donnie Darko"?
One of my utter favorites and their version of 'Mad World' always stops me in my tracks.
Have you ever hitch hiked?
Hell no. I've seen too many movies, heard too much about Ivan Milat and Belangalo State Forest to consider it: I'd rather sell my body in a bus shelter than jut my thumb out on the highway!
Are you wearing socks?
I am. It's only 20C here today which is rather cold for a summer day and I'm about to get Milly and Sapphire and go for a walk that is always better with shoes on than thongs.
Is drug free the way to be?
Umm....well......many's the time I've been insanely grateful for caffeine, codeine and effexor.
Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?
Yes. See 'effexor' to give you a hint as to why.
What are you addicted to?
Chocolate. Good coffee. Love Chunks. Sapphire. Milly. The internet. My blog list. Writing in my notebook. Reading. Back rubs. Sniffing in the petrol aroma at the bowsers each time I fill up the car.
Do you prefer baths or showers?
Showers. I've never seen the appeal of a bath. You sit in and get far too good a look at your stomach rolls and genitals as they stew in the water whilst your top half freezes. Or you slump down into the water and have your legs up the wall like a performance artist, again wondering just why sitting in your own filth is fun.
Do you like your life?
Mostly. Even when it is tough and I struggle, I can now see why it's rewarding sometimes instead of mindlessly joyful.
When's the last time you cried?
This is very embarrassing but it was at Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. The cabins we stayed in had Austar telly and a movie called 'College Road Trip' was playing starring the unsubtle and funny-as-a-strangled-kitten Martin Lawrence. I literally only caught the last ten minutes when the daughter (Rayven Simone, I think, she of the hugely generous chesticular growths?) was leaving her parents and the tears started flowing.
What color are your eyes?
Infected-phlegm green. Sometimes yellow with tiny red capillaries as additional decorations, so if you see anything like that in your hanky, go and see the doctor.
Have you read "Catcher in the Rye"?
Yes and I don't GET IT. There. I said it. I don't GET IT.
Do you play any instruments?
No, I'm the musical illiterate in this house. Love Chunks can play trumpet, guitar and piano and Sapphire can play the recorder (amazingly well, considering it's a recorder), viola and guitar.
Do you like camping?
Not really. Love Chunks does everything he can to make it as comfortable and as organised as he can for me, but the first time I lift up the lid of a long drop toilet that's been overdue a chemical de-lousing or squat to wee and some of it splatters on my ankles and the realisation dawns that it'll be another three days before a hot shower features in my timetable and I'm already sticky and stinking and just dropped my friggin' burnt toast in the ashes and had to get up to pee in the dark after wrestling out of my sleeping bag three times the night before, nearly garrotting myself on the tent ropes....
Do you snort when you laugh?
No, but a fart pops out far too often so at least my hooting shrieks hide the sounds if not the stench.
Can you do the moonwalk?
Yes, actually. I remember showing my mate Philippa how it was done during year ten biology on the forgivingly smooth linoleum. Trouble is, my kiaks kept gripping the floor so that each 'gliding, mesmerising step' was accompanied with an ear-piercing squeak. She was impressed though.
What was the last thing you ate?
Home made gnocchi in a tomato and zucchini basil sauce that Sapphire and her friend Juliet made for our lunch today. It took 45 minutes to make and eat and another 45 minutes for me to clean up afterwards *sigh*
Do you wear nailpolish?
Nah. My nails are kept short so that they don't scratch anyone I'm trying to hug and don't get gunk underneath 'em. If I ever do bother putting any polish on, it's chipped before the lid of the bottle's been screwed back on.
What's the most annoying tv commercial?
Go Harvey, Go Harvey - Go Harvey Norman, Go! Plus the hysterically shouting of the bloke who does the voiceovers for them. Oh and the current KFC ads that are played during the cricket featuring a chap who we're clearly meant to admire for his cleverness when really we think, 'What an utter creep.'
Do you like someone right now?
Yeah Love Chunks is pretty alright.