Wayfaring: a ranty rant about urban planning

So yesterday I decided to WALK to work. It’s about 6 kms away, but the sky was lovely and overcast, the weather a perfect 22 degrees centigrade, and I had new walking boots I intend to wear in NY. It would take me a little over an hour and I needed to increase my exercise regime from one paltry PT session per week.

I googled my walking path and noticed a thing. It’s an actual problem thing. Brisbane has nowhere nice for people to walk long distances. I live inner east. I’m not too far from the Brisbane river, but in between my house and the river are several main roads that are actual arteries to get into town. These roads are 6 lanes wide, that sort of thing. They are not pleasant to walk along. They are noisy, I am increasing my CO2 and toxic metal levels simply by being near them, and I really just want a nice walking path into town. Do you think I could find one? NO.

Here’s the screen shot of what Google thought would be several good ways to get into town:

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The blue path is a major arterial road. So is the second. The third way, I kid you not, involves a fucking ferry and 2 river crossings. I have, in my desire to get some exercise, stumbled on what I believe is a significant issue facing Brisbane. We’re fat fucks because there’s nowhere to WALK. The two shorter options are major arterial thoroughfares for CARS. They are not easy walking options. Also, Norman Creek (that wibbly wobbly green thing bifurcating my walk at the right of screen) has about 1 human-crossing bridge available along its length. So in effect I’m stuck walking along a stupid fucking main road OR I can tack across some fields in the vain hope that I’ll find a river crossing to get to the main river.

This is a tragedy. Also, the pretty walk along the river doesn’t start until Kangaroo Point cliff walk because there are no boardwalks between Hawthorn and Kangaroo Point, but do you think there’s a pedestrian crossing on Leopard Street from East Brisbane? NO. I have to risk life and limb trying to navigate across this really busy road when there’s also a SCHOOL nearby without access to a pedestrian crossing. I cannot tell you how pissed off I was trying to simply navigate through town on foot.

This is why Melbourne wins the best city in the world for liveability while Brisbane is shit. Cities like Melbourne, Paris, even London and NY, recognise the need for traversing spaces for pedestrians. There you can walk along the rivers to get into town and you don’t come across a fucking Maritime museum with barbed-wire fencing as you approach it from the south. I’m not holding Melbourne up to perfection but at least they have boulevards and beautiful walking paths nearly every direction you approach town from. You can walk along the river in either direction, you can walk along St Kilda Boulevard (cars are set in the centre lanes and there are TREES), you can approach from the north via Royal Parade (same deal). In Melbourne it’s pretty and lovely to walk in, and right now, with blisters on my heels from boots that were clearly not made for walking and a sense of impotent rage about this city with its heat and humidity and my incapacity to deal with either, I’m not in the best mood about Brisbane and its shit urban planning.

 

Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee (or a brew), I’d be inviting you to sit with me on our small enclosed porch, which I’ve recently dressed with some fresh greenery and new cushion covers. It’s amazing how awesome a nook can look with some palm fronds and a pot plant or two. And a stray climber to add some hipster greenery chic. (No, I’ve not done that deliberately: it grew all by itself.) Sorry about the image size: WordPress used to have small, medium and large sizes but they’ve taken out the medium one. Bad, bad WordPress.

 

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I’ve been doing some cushion updating recently. Diabolical for my DH, who thinks the following scene is an appropriate reminder of what I’m doing to him:

I think they look quite nice but I concede I may have reached the limit:

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The stabby Ben Stiller limit. The truly sad part is that the old cushions are still on the bedroom floor awaiting repurposing!

While I’m waiting for my job interview, I’m doing some soft furnishing upgrades. I’m not yet ready to start painting the interiors again but it’s getting close! In the meantime, I’ve created rooms of colour stories. The master bedroom is and will be a combination of soft blues and greys, navy and white soft furnishings married with warm antiques and soft white walls. The lounge room is the winter room, best enjoyed with a comfortable rug and a glass of red wine. It’s warm reds and autumn colours married with dark wood furniture. The kitchen has splashes of red but I’m not being precious about the colours there. The dining room is a bright mish mash of primary colours, turquoise, orange, blues, greens, pink and yellow. It sounds too much but they’re mostly paintings and glassware, riotous pops of colour. I’m loving colour right now, but it’s best enjoyed with bright white walls and that means house painting. Not yet.

If we were having coffee you’d notice I’m rather enjoying some home time right now. I’m cooking a bit more; I’m baking, I’m loving the chookies. It’s easy in my household to be so outward looking that we don’t get to spend time making our home lovely. The DH, who it must be said is not a homebody, has finally mown the front lawn and we’re slowly cleaning up the garden in preparation for some landscaping. This morning DH cleared away a garden disaster zone near the house in the backyard and I have a cunning plan to level the area and pave it, giving us a bit more usable outdoor space while we wait in vain for the next lot of funds to renovate the remainder of the house.

As the wife of a VIP who runs a music school, I reached my functions threshold this week. Last night, to be precise. Sometimes I just need some quiet nights at home and this week was one of them. Never mind we’d been out Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings! This weekend is an ensembles festival. I begged off. Hubby has in no way tried to persuade me to accompany him, luckily.

Tomorrow is Mothers’ Day in Australia. I’m truly hoping I get to wish my mum a happy day, because it’s all getting a bit difficult to stay in touch from far away. You’d think birthdays and special occasions would become more important away from family. Truth is: life gets in the way and I often forget to plan for special times. I always swore it was due to busyness. Nah. I’m just forgetful, and the birthdays and special moments just seem to get closer and closer these days. The older I get, the faster they go by.

Screw you, old age.

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Nah. Seriously. Have a great day, ladies. May your young children give you a piece of pottery they made in Art class; may your teenagers do the dishes, laundry, wash the floors and clean the bathroom and kitchen; may your adult children give you something really really special. Like a gift card for a massage or something. And champagne.

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This post was brought to you by Diane, at Part Time Monster. There’ll be a linky very soon!

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Holiday FuntimeĀ 

DH and I are on hols right now, although it doesn’t feel very holiday-like to me. Last Friday we flew south to my home town Melbourne for my son’s engagement party on the Saturday and I’ve been schlepping about so hard I’ll need a holiday to get over the holiday. 

Friday am we arrived and promptly went to bed for a bit, because I’m tired all the time. In the afternoon we dragged ourselves into town to visit Whistler’s Mother, which (who?) was on show at the NGV International. Then it was an early dinner at a Korean diner before 2 comedy shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Folks, there were 500 shows at this festival. Unbelievable. Then cocktails at my favourite little bar Double Happiness, which is quiet yet buzzing. Not too loud and shouty there. 

   
 
Saturday was the engagement do, but not before DH and I went back to the NGV to see Warhol and Wei Wei. An amazing exhibition. Then it was a delicious Mexican lunch at a great place on Chapel St before seeing another silly show at my favourite venue Chapel off Chapel. This time it was Songs for Sarah Connor, terminated. Not as original as I’d hoped: I wanted more original songs rather than rewrites of well known show tunes. 

Then, Sunday morning after the engagement party we borrowed my sister’s car and headed to Aireys Inlet for a brief respite from the world. It’s quiet here and you can hear the ocean from the house. 

  
Then on Tuesday I headed back to Melbourne for my sister’s PhD graduation. Very proud. We now have 2 doctors in the family, neither of the life-saving kind. 

  
Of course, a real doctor would have come in handy for when my newly minted Dr sister decided to have a mild allergic reaction to the shellfish at lunch and get an itchy redness. I didn’t leave town until well after 7pm, so am in bed today recovering. 

Tomorrow we must leave my favourite place but I’m pleased to announce that not only am I writing a cabaret but I’m also starting my crime fiction novel. At the moment I’m just writing a bunch of disparate scenes to see how I write fiction. There’s no plot yet. Mostly descriptions of Brisbane. I think I haven’t read enough crime fiction set in hot climates; mostly the books are set in temperate zones or cold climates. Time for some steam heat. 

Australia Day: plainspeaking.

Retired Australian Army General David Morrison was yesterday announced as the Australian of the Year. This was 3 years coming as I think he couldn’t be nominated for this award until he had retired. The one great reason (and there are many more than this) is the following speech made to the Australian Army. It was a private speech, but it quickly went viral. What plain speaking can do, eh? This speech is worth sitting through for the plain prose and stark message, and its emphasis on diversity and equality in the workplace. I loved this speech when it came out and was uncertain as to why he hadn’t been nominated earlier. Anyway, the last two years saw an Indigenous AFL footballer Adam Goodes as Australian of the Year, and Domestic Violence victim, survivor and passionate advocate Rosie Batty. This year was an ex-army leader whose straight talking speech is something all (reasonable) Australians found compelling and honest. Enjoy the clip.

 

Another speech made by the wonderful and under-appreciated indigenous journalist Stan Grant also stirred Australians, as an impromptu speech he made in October did the social media rounds just now. This is the voice of desperation from our indigenous Australians, with a call to action: “we are better than that”. Australians (again, the reasonable ones that make up the majority vote, thanks for asking) have responded wonderfully well to this speech. Grant is characteristically humble about his speech and his role in advocacy for indigenous rights: he names many great advocates before him whose speeches are braver and stronger and better than his. However, this speech comes at a time when there is a sharp division in the media between the noisy right and the desire of the Australian majority to be better than our international image would suggest.

 

So today, on Australia Day, hubby and I will go to an Art auction. The auctioneers we know well, and lots of wonderful indigenous artists are represented there. We probably won’t buy anything but it’s good to value stuff for future reference. We have lots of cheap and cheerful wall art as we have bought at least 5 pieces from them, all under $1000 each. DH took two pieces to work as his workplace won’t release artworks they buy as there is a stupid loophole in Australian Tax law that says if you buy artwork for superannuation purposes it cannot be shown or hung in public spaces. For reasons entirely unknown to me. Anyway, it means we personally buy the art for the work space. Sometimes it’s bought back by the university as part of general decoration, but I think we own all the pieces there at present.

I love indigenous art: it’s abstract and non-figurative (mainly), but has a definite visual narrative that you understand as you get to know the artist’s vision. The works we buy are usually narratives of nature, place and country. Given the ongoing arguments Australians have about Australia Day, with its hellish history for our First Peoples, it’s good to be able to, in a small, entirely selfish way, give something back to the first Australians. And to those who may think these folk are being exploited: no. I did my due diligence. The artists are represented with dignity and their copyright and artist rights intact.

So off we go, to sit in a room and be yelled at for a few hours. On Australia Day I can think of nothing more fun. Happy Australia Day to you.

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Australia Day

In Australia we don’t really celebrate Australia Day, mainly because it’s the punctuation point for the end of the school holidays. And it’s hot. Most people are at the beach. Also, we have problems with it being kind of known as invasion day, because it marks the date of the first British landing in 1788 by Captain Cook or something. The indigenous Australians have a righteous grievance. 

Anyway, in the last few years the meat industry have been airing ads that promote both Australia Day and lamb, starring someone called Sam Kekovich. They are funny, irreverent and rude. Btw, lamb is eaten in large quantities here in Oz. I like a lamb chop myself, and lamb roasts are part of a long heritage of sheep eating. It’s a very strong flavoured meat, and to be honest sometimes I’m not fond. Goat is milder and not as fatty. But a good lamb roast will cope with very strong flavours and middle eastern cookery works a treat with the meat.

So for all my readers not from Oz, here’s a joyfully irreverent and slightly dodgy ad for your viewing pleasure. Sits alongside Ricky Gervais’ latest Golden Globes outing for eyebrow raising humour. 

Australia Day and Lamb

Today I feel like gardening.

It’s Monday morning here in sunny south-east Queensland and I’ve been awake since 6.15am. The new food plants have survived the possums for two nights although maybe not forever because the possums are hungry like raccoons without the smarts to get into rubbish bins:

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I planted sweet basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano, thyme, chilli, Vietnamese mint, and common mint. I wish I had bought some coriander but it usually goes to seed before I’ve harvested the leaves. The one plant that has survived ALL attempts to kill it was a wedding gift from the in-laws and sits on the chair. It’s super happy right now because I’m watering it regularly and feeding it. The petunia plant on the right of the stand is looking a bit sad but it’s not mine. I just rescued it from my daughter who had forgotten to water it.

When my brain finally clocks this as a good thing I’m going to move the old concrete laundry tub closer to the kitchen door and plant lemongrass and sage and lemon verbena and dill and stuff. And if I stay in this state rather than moving to another state such as NSW (because job), then I’m getting chickens and a veggie garden. We don’t have any (decent) food trees in our back yard. This makes me sad. Subtropical Brisbane can grow just about any tropical fruit, including avocado and guava and paw paw and bananas and mangoes, but I’m told mango trees are invasive because they seek water, and I’m just no good at picking (or eating) fruit. Nevetheless, I’m going to plant an avocado tree and a lemon and a lime tree because we inhale avocados and use a lot of lemons and limes in our cooking.

We DO have a compost bin but it’s ages since I’ve fed it and I never know quite what to do with it once I’ve composted stuff. I tell you what, though, when I finally move the bin the compost inside will be amazing. It’s been fermenting for 4 years!

The better half at 8.00am decided he wanted to Karcher (water-pressure-clean) the front fence in preparation for its second coat of paint. The first coat is already 3 years old, and is starting to come away from the palings, despite a great undercoat and primer job back in the day. Today is MONDAY. He should be at work. I’m not sure why he’s doing this now but the fence looks a lot cleaner. Not sure when we’ll get to paint the fence though. It’s hot out there in Brisbane land and the fence gets full sunlight all day. Yesterday DH created a rustic (read didn’t prepare the ground or lay sand or anything because why) brick patio by the fence for the rubbish bins. The lawn (it used to be called the weed) is looking really gorgeous, neat and green, and DH bought with his gift voucher a new petrol line trimmer, which works a treat.

We’re both a bit bored, I think. Yesterday we went to see Sisters, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Which was hilarious, as you’d expect.

This year, if I don’t get any permanent work, I will spend the year gardening, and chook farming, and painting, and exercising, and getting my monograph published and NOT worrying about money.

Happy gardening to you!

PS here’s a picture of the dear little injured possum with a big gash on the head (old injury), who has come to the porch for a wee rest because it’s not coping in the sun. I’ve called the wildlife rescue and left a message but I’m not sure they will ring back.

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Reasons to hang out in my writing room

I’ve had a lovely week this week. No longer in a depressed and angry mind-frame, I’m feeling positive about life possibilities, some of which do not include any music or music teaching at all. I’m even investigating administration positions. Not that I have any experience in those but dammit I have a PhD! I’m sure I can construct letters for signing, organise a calendar, plan meetings and events, work on excel spreadsheets, field inquiries, chase errant paperwork, that sort of thing. Actually, I’m not sure I have any of those skills, but I reckon it would take me 2 months to learn all the ins and outs and 6 months to feel like I know what I’m doing.

I’m on holidays as of today – no teaching singing for 2 weeks, and there’s a conference trip to Hobart I’m looking forward to. I lived in Tasmania for a few years when I was a young woman, and I loved the people, climate and the artisanal lifestyle some Tassie residents followed.

I think some of my contentedness stems from finally having a room of our own right next to our bedroom. It makes such a difference to our outlook, and I get to look over the city through the lovely greenery of my neighbours’ gardens. Which are mostly shrubbery, but you get the picture:

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I can see right over to the city buildings, which when lit up at night are absolutely gorgeous. It’s bright and cheerful in the room, and slightly less noisy than my former workspace. A lovely room for most of the day, it only gets really hot in the afternoon as it’s due West. But in the morning: wow. What a great space to be. I’m actually wanting to write more and develop ideas in this space. Amazing how a small change to one’s environment can make such a difference to one’s outlook. We’ll see how I feel in the height of summer without an air-conditioning unit, when temperatures can daily hit 35 degrees Celsius and 90% humidity or more.

I’m applying for an entry-level lecturer position at my local uni – tenure track. I think I have Buckley’s chance of getting an interview (there’s an Australian colloquialism for you – it means I have no chance – but don’t ask me the etymology of the phrase as there are several possibilities), but I possess many of the attributes required for such a role and I believe that I am a decent contender for the position. Anyway, that’s 2 jobs I’m going for, including the post-doc. However, I’m in such a cheery mood at present I don’t really care if I don’t get the job because right now working sounds like a horrible idea. I just like hanging in my beautiful writing room (shared, better still, with DH, which is awesome because we like working together). I feel like I’m having my very own writing retreat here in my house. Now isn’t THAT a great thought!

Do you have a favourite workspace or creative space? A room to call your own?

Hoarder disorder. A tale of spring cleaning.

Folks, this is a rather long post about hoarder disorder and spring cleaning. Grab a cuppa.

I had a little brain snap over the weekend. I’ve been angstified about my stepson using as his bedroom the verandah space RIGHT NEXT to our bedroom, which is accessible from our bedroom via a set of ill-closing French doors, the only thing between us and computer games when he visits. It has been like this for 4 years, which is long enough in my opinion for a regime change. He’s now 17 years old, needing some privacy. He has also had to share his space with the Oh Jesus* room, a euphemism for the office space DH uses, which also serves as a storage area.

Sunday morning I woke up with the niggling feeling that THINGS NEEDED TO CHANGE. After I nagged gently suggested DH mow the lawn because forest, I started thinking. What if, instead of Waiting for Godot** we created our own dressing room and study right here, right now, in the West Wing? And that’s what we did. On the very weekend anniversary of our move to our house 4 years ago, DH and I changed some rooms around. It took more and less time than I expected. More time because OMG the crap, but less time because the crap could have been worse. Stepson has been moved into my old teaching space, rattly louvre windows and all. DH and I now share a study – WITH A VIEW – and we finally have a private dressing room/wardrobe in the west wing. Huzzah!

Our house is partially made up of uninsulated but enclosed verandahs (with linings and all, fully electrified – they’re not THAT crappy), and it’s there where the stepkids sleep and where our stuff goes. The verandahs are each 2.6 metres wide by 8/9 metres long, so they’re a useful space, if somewhat long and thin, with cracks between the floorboards. There’s an East Wing and a West Wing. Originally, stepson lived in the west wing while stepdaughter lived in the other bedroom. Then my youngest child moved north to live with us and we had to move everything around. We’ve been living in the house rather uncomfortably for 18 months now, and it’s awkward with three permanent adults and 2 visiting stepkids trying to squeeze into a small 3 bedroom house containing a teaching studio.

I taught singing in the east wing for three years, and it’s the detritus from this phase which is the saddest turning of the tide moment. There is no longer anywhere to put the music gear. I’ve been teaching at the local conservatoire for the year, and the study wasn’t being used. If I am still teaching singing in 2016 I will be hiring an external space. Anyway, the keyboard is now skulking in the space next to the bathroom, an entirely unsuitable spot for electronic equipment. But there’s nowhere else to put it. Also, as with all good music teachers, I have a raft of gifts from ex-students and my old pre-school teaching days. There’s certainly nowhere to put all THAT stuff. I’m talking about picture frames and fun music toys and music mugs and my rainbow flag, that sort of thing. I also have decorating items from my former selves. Little knick-knacks which are adding to my sense of desperate overcrowdedness.

Yes, folks. Time to admit it. I am a bit of a hoarder. Not the reality-TV kind. More the kind that would prefer a little more storage. Just a bit.

DH is always impressed when I do a clean out. He would much prefer to live with a lot less. I’m not untidy, but I do collect stuff. We have no real storage solutions in our hundred-year-old weatherboard home, with 2 households of stuff to make room for (and we have already gotten rid of SO MUCH JUNK). The things we buy for the house now tend to be storage solutions. New coat hangers or pantry containers, that sort of thing. Yesterday we bought a third portable wardrobe, one of those sturdy if industrial-looking chrome storage units. Very retro/trendy. DH can’t believe it. He finally has somewhere to hang his shirts and get his shoes off the floor. A moment of quiet jubilation for him.

DH gets antsy when I bring a new thing home. He asks me – only partly joking-: “what are you now going to throw out?” Looking at the STUFF, I finally see how he is feeling. It’s too much. I regularly clean out my closet, removing old, mouldy or long-unworn shoes and outfits that are out of fashion, tired or ill-fitting. I began this habit a few years ago, and I’m now trying to extend it to other areas in the house, but it’s hard. My worst hoarding habit, I think, is book buying. I rarely throw out old books, as I often re-read them. I’m looking at one of our bookcases as I write this. It’s double stacked. All of our bookcases are. We have 10 large free-standing bookcases, including one in the toilet. Each bookcase holds about 300 books. So we have about 3000 books, texts, academic books, magazines, recipe books, CDs, photo albums, and music books in our little house. No wonder DH is overwhelmed! I also buy art glass, pottery and porcelain things. Usually from overseas trips, they are almost always small, but where to store them? We have stacks of little decorative bowls in our kitchen cupboards, although I now throw out any old glassware and china that’s chipped.

Another of our equally serious problems is the paper trail dogging our heels. We have lots of the stuff. Every six months or so I have a bit of a clean up and manage to partially empty my in and out trays, but almost immediately they fill again. DH is the same. He can’t keep a clean desk at home (given that his desk is bright pink – an old pine desk from years ago that we painted for my stepdaughter, it could be worse), and nor can I. He collects playbills and concert programs and receipts and things. I collect bills and invoices and decorating magazines and receipts and things. I am a hoarder of old electronic equipment and pretty paper things. In my desk drawers are about 100 old computer wires. No idea of their purpose, but I’m pretty sure I don’t need most of them.

In the master bedroom I have a lot of cute little decorative boxes (many of them gifted to me) in which I put all my mostly cheap paste jewellery, which then sit on my tall boy making a visual mess. This stuff is horrible to keep clean and dusted. I even have a white and gold porcelain heart-shaped box WITH A BROKEN LID in which I put my single earrings and jewels THAT ARE BROKEN. Why?! (I just threw it out, with sorrow because it was a gift from my daughter from about 1998. It has been broken since 1998).

We went away for a holiday a while back and to ensure our housesitters felt comfortable sleeping in our bedroom I cleared out all of our bric-a-brac. I liked it so much when we returned I haven’t put it back. This includes my perfume bottles, jewellery boxes and decorative items – things from a former design look (girly romantic, if you must know). It’s getting annoying now, but I loved the streamlined look. It also made me realise I can live with much less than I thought. I’ve worn the same 2 bracelets for months, and rotated the same three pairs of earrings. I’ve worn the one perfume. Now I want to expand a little, but I can do this without the jewellery boxes that hold earrings I haven’t worn in 25 years. While I’ve been writing this post I’ve been quietly going through these old boxes, throwing out broken pieces and empty perfume bottles. I’ve popped all the earrings I’m never likely to wear again but are a reflection of my past in one of the boxes, which I’ve taped shut and stuck in the bottom of my tall boy. A memory of me. Not important to anyone but my grandchildren, perhaps.

Now, the master bedroom is looking roomy, clean and tidy, although long overdue for a dust. The dirty laundry basket has been removed to the “dressing room”, and an old comfy armchair has likewise moved into the west wing. DH’s shoes have gone from under the bed, and we removed the French doors from the doorway. I’ve cleaned out one of the Oh Jesus* boxes and the other is now full of unused picture frames, postcards and some scrap-booking things (scrap-booking: one of my little projects for when I have a project room. Why scrap booking? Because STATIONERY, folks. I have a thing for it).

The next area to tackle will be the paperwork, my desk drawers and the music stuff. I’m not looking forward to it. But already I feel so much better. And I’ve been writing this post from my new study area, which overlooks a view of the city and greenery from my neighbour’s garden. Beautiful.

 

*Oh Jesus rooms were labelled as such by my mother. They are rooms so full of crap that when you look inside the room, you think “Oh Jesus”, and close the door again. Not intended to be blasphemous.

**Waiting for Godot. Things that will never arrive. In our case, builders’ quotes and renovation commencement.

 

 

I must be feeling better: I’m filing.

I must be feeling better – I’m having a paperwork clean up. And clean out. I’m getting rid of 5 years of PhD stuff that’s either already replicated online or old obsolete drafts; I’m cleaning up my single sheet downloaded song scores to take with me to work; I’m FILING, people. I hate filing. But today I’m doing it. Maybe to avoid leaving the house because it’s stinking hot out there, but maybe too because I needed to get it done. Ah, the joys of working from home. Not.

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I’ve had to move my home teaching to my DH’s workplace this year because we’re about to renovate the house and the room will be torn apart at some stage. Therefore I had to move stuff out of it and find another place to teach from. Momentarily I’m already feeling better about the home office. I’m taking the opportunity – now that I’ve removed a bookcase and some of my MT scores – to rearrange the room slightly, so that it feels more spacious to work in. I’ve stored my piano keyboard to one side and underneath it I’ve popped a bunch of my old gig gear. Because let me disabuse of you of a typical urban myth about musos: I never play piano at home. I never sing at home. I never play any music at home except the occasional Plainchant (Hildegard of Bingen for studying); Baroque instrumental music (I love you Bach), OR Jenny Morris’ Honeychild (when I’m cleaning the house). Because as a musician who teaches ALL THE TIME I get sick of music, especially vocal music. And besides, I have music in my head all day. Earworms. I don’t want to be blind but I won’t mind going deaf. I got the music in me!

I have two in/out trays that have been full for a while, so I’m taking the plunge to see what’s in them. I’m clearing off my desk, which usually gets filled up with bits and pieces of not-quite-junk, like hair ribbons and makeup and pens and flash drives and receipts and bills and stuff. I’ve even rung some of my superannuation providers to find some missing money! I found the money, there’s quite a bit – not enough to retire on though.

I keep thinking I only work 4 days a week, but it’s not true. I do really work 5 – but I forget that my business and the accounts and the paperwork all count as administrative work. And that ALWAYS happens on the non-teaching day.

So my new office space has to double up as a spare room. It’s going to have its own ensuite (but on a landing so it doesn’t feel creepy), it will be 3.5 metres wide by at least 5.3 metres long (not including the ensuite). It will have doors and windows at the front and windows along the side. Under the side windows will be several Ikea bookcases (because cheap) and at the rear of the room will be a built in bookcase and desk. It won’t look like the image below but it will have a skillion ceiling. And a Persian rug. And bookcases. And a desk. And windows. I’m so excited I could spit.