Archive for the 'life' Category

Where I Settle for a While

November 15, 2013

Double Bay Library

I started a new job recently in a beautiful old public library building surrounded by gardens.  There are kookaburras in the trees outside my office, and I can walk barefoot down to the beach at lunchtime and go for a swim.

So my life for the next few years will involve sunshine, trees and other greenery and sand between my toes.  But also new fiction, interesting and quirky non fiction, book clubs, poetry performances, picnics, author talks, artists and architects, and morning teas.  Not a bad way to spend my days.


Farm Life

March 16, 2013

sheephaymakingnz gothic

A trip to the family property in Waikouaiti, just outside Dunedin, usually involves hanging out with the sheep and chickens and a bit of hard work – usually gardening or helping with the sheep.  This trip both my sister and I were home and helped with the end of summer haymaking.  Our father cut the grass using his vintage tractor, and we then spent three days raking and turning the hay.  I will always remember the smell of the grass drying in the sun and whenever I close my eyes all I see are Dorothy Norman’s photos of grass.

Tara (with butter)

December 6, 2011

One of my favourite reading finds this year was Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer.  It’s a Romance novel and an Action novel, but mostly it’s a novel about food.

Agnes is a curvy food writer who lives in an old plantation mansion in Georgia.   It’s her dream house, just like the house in Gone with the Wind, only better… because it comes ‘with butter’.  There is so much cooking and food in this book, mostly breakfasts and cakes.  I don’t know why Agnes has so much food in her fridge/pantry, and who does the washing up.  But she feeds everyone.   It certainly made me want to cook for a crowd.

And Tara (with butter) has become a bit of a mental touchstone for me.  Having a huge mortgage on a big old house is pretty stressful for Agnes (she’s about to default on her mortgage payments, has to host a wedding for inlaws from hell, oh, and everyone seems to want to kill her), but the essence of the idea of Tara (with butter) is, for me, having somewhere to settle, somewhere to call home, with enough produce and supplies on hand to be able to eat well.  Really well.

At the same time as I have that dream, I also dream about vagabonding and going on a long adventure (knitting in iceland, bicycling my way through tuscany, learning french in paris, hitting the chicago blues festival, walking the high line in nyc).  And you can certainly eat well on the road.  But I also carry that idea of this place with hummocky paddocks, higher hills in the distance, a bit of a house to bang around in, friends who come visit, a cat on the porch and a long narrow twighlight.

With butter.


October 14, 2010

This photo is of my Mother, and was taken in 1967. I think she must be sitting on a lawn in the Wairarapa, in New Zealand. How cool are the Hydrangeas?

Things I love about my mother: her compassion and complete acceptance, her love of words, her secret subterranean girlishness. Her cooking.

I wish we didn’t live so far away from each other.

a room of one’s own…

September 20, 2010

(photo by Jessica Williams, from a new book curated by Lena Corwin - Brooklyn diary)

Is it wrong to take a picture and use it as a place holder for your longing? Sometimes I see photographs like this and feel like… this… this is what I would like my life to be like.

But the really nice thing is that this is pretty much how I feel about my life at the moment. I am loving having a nice place to live and such good company. So much laughter and ease and peace. Everything is good.

(the photo is by Jessica Williams and is from a new book curated by Lena Corwin, Brooklyn Diary)


September 13, 2010

So, a month ago I gave up my beautiful, sunny, upstairs room in an awesome Newtown sharehouse. It was nice living with caring people for a year, but I felt the increasing need for my own space and started hunting for a new home.

I looked at a couple of places, and became rather despondent rather quickly when faced with the lack of nice one bedroom places available at a reasonable price… but finally I found a place in nearby Dulwich Hill. I found the house on gumtree and am renting directly from the owner.

It was a pretty crazy move, because I was gearing up to write a conference paper and attend a conference in Melbourne at around the same time…. but I managed to move myself, Milla, and all my stuff. Well, most of my stuff. Dave helped me a lot, and I was incredibly greatful for all his assistance, practical advice and easy temperament. I couldn’t have asked for a better moving buddy.

And I am now the proud inhabitant of the ground floor of a wee little victorian terrace in Dulwich Hill (in Sydney’s inner west). Just me and my cat, (and often times Dave), and friends dropping by, and all my books and little projects. It’s so nice to be able to spread out! I have my own living room with a bay window and a fireplace, and a beautiful little bedroom that is just begging for nice bedlinen. My kitchen is lovely, and has a little skylight built into the old oven chimney – where my cat just sits in the sunshine and watches the sky go by.

Sorry for being too busy to blog about the move. I always find moving posts so interesting… it would have been fun to document all the excitement. I guess, instead, that I’ll have to settle for documenting getting the place all spruced up. There are curtains to make, and pillow cases. There are pictures to take down and new artworks to hang. There is much baking and cooking to be done, and I am very excited about being able to start a little kitchen garden out the back.

Herein lies the end of a very strange and uprooted time in my life. You can expect much nesting and general at-homery from me for the next little while.


I saw something flash open then lost it

June 7, 2010

Apologies for the lack of posts the last couple of months. The truth is that I’m really quite sad about the state of my life at the moment, even when I have no real reason to be, and it’s hard to keep a fledgling blog going under those circumstances.

If I was feeling better and happier, I think I would be writing more, even though the posts would probably be the same. I have been knitting a lot, and would love to post about owls and fibre and design problems. I would like to post about the bowl of quinces that I have sitting on a bench in my kitchen, and what I want to make with them. I love winter and all those wintery things like warm clothes and comfort food… but winter is also really getting me down.

I might try again. Posting might even make me feel better, in that it might remind me about all the things that I enjoy, and all the things I hope for. The slight autobiography that I intended to record in this blog is based upon desire, afterall. I tend to think that all crafty/lifestyle blogs are often grounded in some sort of proleptic wishfullfillment.

So no promises… I’m not going to say that I’ll post every evening or anything unsustainable like that… but when I hope or wish or long, or when I just simply appreciate (this last would be the best outcome of all), I will try and bring it and share it here.

could my life be like this today, please?

February 24, 2010

Originally uploaded by wailintse

I love this photo. I just want clean white sheets.

Was it The Velveteen Rabbit that had the image of the counterpane as a rural landscape? I remember this really vividly, for some reason… the little boy looking over the contours of the patchwork bedspread, all the different paddocks.

(I am taking a day off from my life today.  Or am trying, at least.)

drops in the river

February 13, 2010

I have had a lovely, rainy Saturday.

I got up and went to the Everleigh Farmers’ Market.  Ate delicious things.  Got muddy feet.  Caught the train to Central.  Walked up six graffiti-laden flights of stairs.  Went to a great vintage clothing sale.  Walked back to Newtown.  Tried on clothes in Yoshi Jones (they don’t have the beautiful retro, graphic skirt that I have loved for ages in my size any more… woe is me for missing their sale last week).  Browsed multiple bookstores.  Looked at the Araki book.  Bought fresh produce at Alfalfa House.   Crashed briefly.  Went back out to Reclaim the Lanes.   Got sidetracked.  Went and ate pastizzi.  Came home and drank ginger beer.   Cooked with someone I love.  Drank too much red wine.  Watched the West Wing.  Waved goodbye.  Basked in solitude.  And now I’m about to curl up on my beautiful red bed and read.

It’s still raining.

A perfect day.

I feel she’s loaned to me. We’re veiled in flesh. That’s all.

February 5, 2010

I don’t have time this week for anything other than a brief post collecting some random moments.

When Andrew Bird tells me not to worry about the atmosphere, it eases my heart in so many other ways.

Last night I stood in a dark, dripping room and found myself grinning ear to ear.  It was like some sort of time slip.  Silence, just off a busy street.  So exhilerating.

I took a break this week from the 800+ page novels I have been trying to read over the summer in order to dip into something comforting: In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje.  I am in love with giant engineering feats at the moment, and beautiful prose.  I just want to disappear into the deep snow of upper america and the streets of Toronto for a little while.

Fresh raspberries.  Figs.  Plums.  Homemade Baba Ganoush.  Beetroot with leeks in cream sauce.  This week has been a good food week.  I want to eat like this all the time.  Just fresh, slow food.  Or sometimes just fresh, instant food.  Did you know there’s a vulgar way to eat a fig?