Archive for January, 2009

Journey of a thousand miles starts with…

January 29, 2009

 

copyright Michael Leunig

copyright Michael Leunig

…new friends, new ID cards, new photos taken, new access cards, new forms to sign, new buildings to get lost in + new anxieties when it’s revealed in the ‘welcome’ lecture that statistically speaking 10% of the people* sitting in the room won’t finish the course. 

My Bonded Medical Place contract arrived today. This is starting to feel very real. 

*puuuhlease don’t be me

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Bitchtastic Brownies

January 28, 2009

Bitchtastic Brownies Skinny Bitch in the Kitch is one of the books my mum bought + I secretly hoped she would tire of, therefore passing it on to me. But no such luck. She loves it and uses it so regularly the Bitchtastic brownie recipe has to be read through cocoa smeared fingerprints. 

So I bought my own damn copy + went to crazy town with the cocoa. I should have doubled the recipe, like mum does, because there is nothing resembling chocolatey goodness left in our house now. 

Copyright and respect for the genius of this book prevents me from sharing the recipe. But seriously, if interested, you should buy this book. It’s around $22. My only gripe is it’s heavy on the vegan cheese + faux meats that are more easily found in the USA.

I made a clean break with cheese. I live without it rather than screw with my head by eating substitutes that don’t taste anything like my beloved creamy blue or the crumbly Mersey Valley original vintage club cheddar (I stumbled across Cheezly faux cheddar today + apart from the disappointment I knew would come, I just couldn’t stomach handing over $8.95 for 100g of soy cheese). It’s okay though. Cheese + I broke up so that’s that. 

But the brownies, they were fabulous.

Dear Centrelink,

January 28, 2009

centrelinkI’m writing to let you know how confused I am regarding our relationship. I know you’re seeing a lot of people right now + while that makes me feel a little bit dirty, I’m okay with that.

Simon* and I spoke about us getting together back in December. To make it ‘official’ he told me to come into your office early January and I’d be able to go from there. When Mona* had no idea who I was when I came in all smiles in January, I put on a brave face. I was understanding. Mona* made it so easier. She set me up and said I could simply fill in this form and it would all be fine. She then hooked me up with Graham*, who would have a meeting with me in ten days and go over my paperwork. 

I told Graham everything. We clicked. He listened intently with one eye on his computer and one on the ceiling, and I understood when he walked away three times during our interview while I was mid-sentence, because we had a connection. Afterwards, he assured me that all the paperwork was all done with. No more forms for me. I could just go online after today. I preferred it that way, feeling closer to you through technology. 

Then the forms started arriving in the post. The forms Graham said I didn’t need to fill out, that wouldn’t come, that were unnecessary. But, maybe this was your way of trying to tell me something?  So I called you.

Russell* told me over the phone that I definitely needed to fill out the forms. Graham had betrayed me. I needed to get online and fill out another claim form a.s.a.p. “Can’t I do the claim in person at the office” I purred down the line. “NO!” Russell berated. “We don’t do that kind of thing anymore. Online claim only. Okay? They don’t even HAVE paper claims forms these days.”

I trudged off to see you in person to hand in the now-very-necessary forms. Jason* was your rebellious side showing through. He beckoned me from the line with a cowboy nod, looked up my file and exclaimed “Well, what’s going on with you, aye?” Confused, I slid the documents over the counter. He handed me back a paper claim form. “But Russell and Graham and Mona told me I had to do it online?” I exclaimed, surprised. “Ridiculous!”, he scoffed, and said it would be much quicker if I sat in the corner and filled the 273 page form in person.

I’ve just arrived home after spending an hour with Jason* and I’m more confused than ever. He said we may not be officially together for five weeks or so. Did Simon, Mona, Graham, and Russell mean nothing? Is Jason the one doing your bidding now? Who do I believe?

Centrelink, we’ve been in a relationship now for two months. I feel like I’m putting more into this than you are. I’m always calling you. I always go to see you in your office. Not once have you called, or even deposited what you said you would into my account. I don’t care about the money, C-Link, baby. Honestly. 

You just need to tell me straight up what I need to do to make you happy. Just make up your effing mind. Please. 

Sincerely, 

C. 

*No names have been changed to protect the incompetent.

Impending first day of big school

January 27, 2009

polka-dot-school-backpackWhen I buy nice shiny dresses shop assistants ask if I’m excited about my year ten formal. If I dare to accompany my mother somewhere on a weekday I’m asked why I’m “so lucky to be having a day off school, dear?” 

Yes, when I’m forty I’ll be grateful, but at the moment all I’m cracking is a slightly amused fake-smile through gritted teeth. Those of us small in stature can get sick of being treated like we’re prepubescents. On the upside I am used to cheaper movie tickets. On the downside, I’ve contemplated tattooing my ID on my forehead more than once as, evidently, jumping up and down, huffing to the club doorbitch “I’m twenty effing three!” doesn’t make one seem any more mature than club doorbitch assumes one to be… 

So it’s the understatement of the century to say that my excitement at the prospect of being able to casually drop that I’m doing a postgraduate degree is up there. 

Despite how rad the bag in the photo is, I think I’ll give it a miss lest I be shooed out of the med school grounds and frogmarched to the nearby primary school. Ahem.

International Insults 101

January 23, 2009

mapEveryone always says how important  it is when travelling to make friends with the locals. They know which restaurants to avoid, the cleanest public toilets and the cheapest bars. I’ve found the quickest way to make friends is to charm strangers with your handle on their language. What I discovered by accident is that the more insulting the phrase, the faster the bonds of friendship form. Which is convenient as I can only ever remember the incredibly insulting phrases, helping me make some wonderful, close friends from around the world.

I tend to do the “you know, I’ve only ever learnt a little bit of *insert language here* and I’d love to know more. So far all I remember is *your mother is a whore, you pig c&#t*” 

Cue your new best friend falling about laughing and leaning in, conspiratorially, to correct your pronunciation. These are my top four:

Norwegian: Hej, Kukksugere.

Dutch: hallo, stom.

French: Bonjour, salope.

Cantonese: Tsu hai!

Anyone know any more?

Modern Health

January 23, 2009

 

Smokin' hot doctor

 I am not a lover of newness. I like old, pre-loved, used, second-hand etc. My favourite shopping experiences are not at those sanitised Op-shops who actually fold things, vacuum + price their linen/books/crockery similarly to K-mart but the hardcore junk shops, + salvage centres (the ones next to the dump). I prefer my trash to be jumbled up so I have to dig to the bottom of a pile of broken chairs before I find *the* table/sideboard etc. I like my shop assistants to be sweaty, hairy old men who wear singlets + stubbies. They need to grunt + shrug when I ask the price before giving me an overall total of “5 bucks, aye?”. 

This is a family thing. My father does it. My father’s father does it. My father’s father’s father did it. Dad still comes home with stuff from the tip when he drops off a trailer load off even though there are  laws now saying you can’t take ‘rubbish’. Granddad trawls the weekend papers for deceased estates because “that’s where the best bargains are” and my great granddad built his shed (which was his family’s first home) from other people’s leftover wood. 

So that is the background. Here is the story. One of my latest treasures from a particularly authentic, dusty, dirty junk shop is a *classic* textbook called Modern Ways to Health (Volume II), which I strangely can’t find listed anywhere on our suggested textbook list. I can’t find the publishing date, but I’m assuming that’s because back then they didn’t use the current calendar system we do now.

When a scanner is purchased, I’ll scan some of the articles because I really can’t do them justice without photos. For now, please visualise a black and white photo of a fat man eating a large whipped cream-esque dessert with a spoon. Headline reads:

“FAT PEOPLE DIE SUDDENLY!”

(Article reads) This man is digging his grave with his teeth. If he is driving to work, sitting down all day, and coming home to watch his television programmes, he is sitting down too much. His wife may run around the house all day during her work and often walks around town all day shopping. Whatever else she may accomplish, she at least gets some rather useful exercise, which helps to keep her fit. (end quote)

It goes on to suggest ways to cut down animal fats, walk more and helpfully points out how “no person who is already fat can afford to even look at ice cream!”. Suffice to say, I love this book. 

I have an urge to lug it to uni and interrupt lectures to argue “Sir, I think you’ll find in the current edition of Modern ways to Health, page 427 states that a deep sun tan is a sign of good health + we should all aspire to have one.” 

Best be off. I have so much running around the house to do, not to mention the all day shopping I must do in town before dutchboy comes home + needs his slippers warmed. His does get terribly tetchy if they’re not done in time for his programmes.

Some like it hot

January 22, 2009

 

Fraser Island

Fraser Island

I’m trying to visualise that I’m back on Fraser Island with a cool breeze blowing and an icey pina colada. The reality is, the ceiling fans are the only things blowing (on HIGH), we’re constantly raiding the supply of ice cubes + I’m wearing a frozen wet face washer around my neck (think boy scout on laundry day).

Oh, how I laughed cruelly at dutchboy’s whimpers the first few nights in our new house. Australia is HOT. Get used to it. This is a REAL summer, not like the last two pathetic ones you ‘endured’. I grew up with these summers *scoff* *scoff* *scoff*

But it only took a few days longer before I was the one spread out on the floor with a bag of frozen peas stuck on my face crying out “SERIOUSLY?” and praying to the raingods to send a thunderstorm.

This place reminds me of my first sharehouse in Brisbane: double brick with water pipes on the outside facing the sun so in summer the water from the “cold” tap only came out scorching hot, + the plastic toilet seat was always warm as if someone had just sat on it. Luckily the toilet seat here is more protected…

Uni starts next week. I astounded even myself by needing a few phone calls to the help desk + three friends sitting next to me to actually enroll (in my defense, the uni has RIDICULOUSLY poor web design). A promising start to what I can only imagine will be an illustrious four years. 

Ooh, I think I feel a thunderstorm rolling in. *fingers crossed*