Sunday, October 31, 2004


What is the best medicine for a girl who is tired, run down, grumpy and stressed out? How do you brighten her up after a fortnight of bad sleep, frantic work, pesky assignments and a family emergency thrown in for extra worry?

I mean, of course, aside from constant cups of tea, a little paracetamol, a few comfy bowls of pasta and lashings of thoughtful TLC from a certain lovely fellow…

Why, naturally I refer to

Shoe therapy!

Now the sceptics amongst us may consider the cost of this medicine a little bit too extravagant, but in this day and age, one must take care of one’s self if one is to make it from one Boxing Day to another.

So allow me to introduce my latest self-prescribed balm…

I call em “Big Reds”.

They could heel any sole. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist that one.)

So soon after the last ones though Franky?

Yes, yes. I know. I assure you though that I felt an appropriate amount of guilt.

And they were on sale- really on sale!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Nanna Report

Thanks for your kind words last week.

Last night it was a week since Nanna’s accident. I am so happy to say that contrary to prognosis, she is steadily recovering. Yesterday, after a week of wowing the intensive care staff with her astounding progress, she was moved to a rehab hospital where she’ll get constant care and a whole new set of nurses to battle wills with. (I do not envy whoever gets stuck with the job of telling Nanna what to do!) They just don't make 'em like they used to!

I would not have believed this news if I'd read it last Tuesday.

Friday, October 22, 2004


Damien Rice

Yes. I agree. Damien Rice IS the most talented and amazing musician/human on the planet today.

I, Franky, do hereby pledge unlimited funding towards my own procurement of Damien Rice albums and same-city concert tickets as long as we both shall live.

Hmm. Now wasn't he on your list of "lovely" music not so long ago, Franky? Why the sudden surge of veneration?

Well it just so happened months ago that my little brother had alerted me to the sale of tix to see Mr Rice, minus his band, at the Metro here in Sydney on Tuesday night last. As an admirer of his album, I jumped on the phone and snaffled tix for myself and the Professor- always on board for some melancholic live music.

Come Tuesday night, though there was much to-ing and fro-ing after the drama with my Nanna, the decision was made that we would use our tickets, in the expectation that we would have a "nice" relaxing night out together with a very "lovely" soundtrack to soothe my nerves and pick me up.

Oh Boy!

It was, without a doubt, the BEST concert experience (sharing top place WITH the Eels 2003 show in Melbourne) of my life.

I have to admit that the emotional drain of the preceding 24 hours had left me as the perfect receptacle for some delicate soulful music. However, Damien’s brilliant songs were delivered in a perfect live performance- innovative, stirring and seamless. He engaged us with charming stories that eventually intertwined magically with songs we thought we knew so well. A wonderful intimacy developed between the adoring audience and the musician as he struck a perfect balance between wry reservation and soul-baring generosity.

After the mandatory faux conclusion (Why do they even bother saying goodbye? We all know they’ll always just grab a drink and then come back out for the "encore"!) he surprised us with the impromptu visit of Missy Higgins, whom he had met that same afternoon, and the two of them continued to stun us with beautiful duets while they casually shared a bottle of wine and a cigarette.
Missy Higgins

I reserve the right to gush and conclude that it was a magnificent spiritual experience never to be forgotten!

Thursday, October 21, 2004


It’s been a nasty few days for me and mine. It started on Monday night when Ma and I were winding down after dinner with a bit of telly. We got the phone call that shattered the night into strange chaotic fragments and sent us into a frightening slow-motion tunnel as we struggled with the news and fumbled through the necessary chain of activity.

My wonderful Nanna, Ma’s ma, had been taken to hospital. She had been found confused and quite badly injured on the road in front of her home with her car smashed backwards into the house across from hers. Through a number of proceeding calls we managed to establish that she had sustained bad bruising and grazes to most parts of her body, a deep gash to the back of her head and several broken ribs. She was conscious but unable to recognise my uncle who had been called in straight away. An hour or so later it was revealed to us that the results of a brain scan showed severe haemorrhaging between her brain and skull and that the 87 year old would not survive the necessary operation.

With shaking hands and vision blurred by tears, we booked the next flight for Ma to fly over to Perth to be with her brother and sister and hopefully get there in time to say goodbye to her mother. By the time we managed to pack her case and make a list of arrangements for me to look after in her absence, it was nearing 2am, and we slept like lead until 5am when it was time to send Ma off.

I spent most of Tuesday in a state of semi shutdown, hovering around the phone, waiting for news and making calls to cancel Ma’s commitments, explaining the bad news to concerned friends, and trying to keep my mind off all the possible scenarios that could play out in the next few days.

It was just when the Professor arrived on the scene with a big bunch of roses in hand and a warm and comforting cuddle that the call came from Perth. Nanna had survived the night, stabilised and may not need the operation at all. Here it is, Thursday afternoon, and the old girl is struggling on, despite massive injuries and sceptical medical staff, complaining that she wants to go home and water the garden. Her doctors are astounded by her survival so far and the family remains cautiously optimistic that we’ll eventually be able to take her home.

This is no daily jolly for me. It’s a wonderful blessing that I got to talk to a groggy old woman on the phone again and send her my love and best wishes for recovery.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Welcome, my pretties!

Make yourselves right at home.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Out and About: Wollongong?

Generally, when I think of the Southern NSW coastal city of Wollongong, I know I am not alone in remembering towering dirty smoke stacks, the messy sprawl of manufacturing sheds, the cluster of industrial mish-mash that clings around the edges of the sparkling blue ocean and the thunder of laden semi-trailors lumbering up the steep road to Sydney.

However, if you cut past the city turnoff and almost bypass Wollongong, you’ll see a turn off to the Nan Tiem Buddhist Temple. On a bit of a ladies’ jaunt yesterday with my Ma and her sister (visiting this week from Perth) we did just that and after the two hours spent battling against Sydney peak hour traffic to get there, a little Buddhist calm was just what we needed!

The gardens are simple and calm, the temples are a cool and tranquil place to stand bare footed on the cold marble and reflect a little on the simplicity and wisdom of the dozens of clever Buddhist sayings dotted around the complex. There’s a strange mix of ancient culture with the oddity of 21st century conveniences, like the dog eared word documents, complete with printed bamboo borders, blue-tacked up as signs.

For a meagre $8 you can sit down to a very plain but generous vegetarian lunch, making for a rousing game of “name this wobbly colourless morsel”. I hear that on a weekend the Pilgrim’s Inn does a much fancier version for a much fancier price for those who like to mix their culture watching with some fine food.

For us though, we took our empty heads and our bellies full of who-knows-what and headed back to the insanity of Sydney.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Class of '96: Generation Next

There are times that call for a good old fashioned girly purr and tonight I had one of them. I was emailed some photos from a wedding I went to on Saturday, where the bride was a girl from my close little grade at high school and the groom was an old pal from the same era. The wedding itself was a strange shock to my concept of time, with old teachers looming out at me, the appearance of long lost school friends suddenly sporting sophisticated outfits and perfect manicures and the absurdity of seeing the two seemingly unchanged school kids wed. The biggest surprise of all, however, was seeing the beautiful daughter of Bri, one of our funkiest classmates, trundling down the isle as the cutest flower girl ever. When did she learn to walk? I swear it was only a few months ago that I last saw her and dribbling was her only real form of communication! Ok. Maybe more than a few months...

But since when was the class of 1996 officially all grown up?

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Spring Clean/Archeological Dig

You know when Franky suddenly gets a burst of domestic energy and hurtles head on into a huge cleaning project it can only mean one thing… She’s got heaps of study to do. So it was this morning when I finished my museli and took my last glimpse at the day’s crossword it struck me that I simply could not start the big assignment on “HR Policies and Procedures” when such a suddenly pressing task had dawned on my horizon. (Strange that until now, I was perfectly happy hopping from one little bare carpet patch to another, cramming things into overflowing draws and going without certain buried treasures from time to time.)

Let the games begin! Armed with only a dust cloth and vacuum cleaner, I began the meticulous task of gently uncovering the layers of civilization that have been building up in my bedroom for months. The deeper I went, the further I realized I had to delve into cupboards, under the bed, through draws, discovering precious artifacts dating as far back as the highschool era.

Then the real battle began, the wrestle with my inner hoarder, the struggle for domination over my over developed sense of sentimentality. What should stay? What should go? Do I really need ALL these postcards sent to me in 1996? Should I chuck out any of these 14 lip balms? (Yes, but only a couple!) Can I really do without this old t-shirt? Will I ever need this 4 year old cosmetic catalogue again? Is it time to chuck out these half finished Christmas ornaments Miss Pipstar and I started painting in 1994?

With much agonizing and mind-changing, the rubbish pile was finally decided upon and I am proud to say, has left the building. Yes, it feels quite good to have dust free, super clean sleeping quarters again. And now I guess it’s time I faced facts, knuckled down, went to the computer and…