Thursday, January 31, 2013

A last small stone.

January 31st. Thank god. 21 small stones published including this one. Not bad considering I started on the 5th. Am now certain people who blog daily are mad or insomniacs. Some updates! The last scab dropped off on Monday night. It took Cushion 15 hours to notice. Yes, he's still in the doghouse. No more green puddles from the scavenging pigdog, but she might be doing leash walks for the rest of her life. The sun is back. The sun is back! It's as yellow as the rubber ducky! that has sadly left our harbour. The fishermen are still being stoopid. And as far as I know, the madman is still terrorising bus commuters. I now gratefully return to my life of scobberlotching. Signing out, where it all started, on the potty.

Thank you fellow philocynics, for all your thoughts this very VERY long month! Without your support, I would never have made it. A special thank you to Barb for introducing me to this torturous lovely 30 day challenge in mindful writing. Same time next year?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Small stone, a few hours later, Tuesday 29th January.

The rain and wind made it hard to sleep. Lucky. Because I suddenly heard the sound of a dog running down the stairs. I leapt out of bed and ran downstairs myself. [Nothing like a little foreboding to make one nimble.] Georgia was standing in the kitchen. I opened the back door. She looked at the rain, at me, made a mewling sound and walked back into the house towards the front door. Don't do this to me, girl! I yelled at her in my head. She came back, took a few tentative steps outside, sniffed the wet air, blinked at the rain, skipped gingerly up the steps to the top, walked anxiously round the yard a few times, then disappeared from view behind the orange murraya bushes. A fetid smell wafted down towards me, followed by a dog in a mad hurry to get away from it all. Oh Murphy. Nothing like green puddles at 4a.m. to make an already memorable night unforgettable. Only 3 more puddles after that. And 2 more on her walk.

To find out more about Small Stones and the 30 day mindful writing challenge, CLICK HERE.

A small stone for Rose, 12.25am, Tuesday 29th January.

The carpets already smell musty, the mood is sour. It's been raining since Sunday morning. Sometimes it pelts down hard on our tin roof, a strangely hypnotic drumming. Then a wind gust blows the fat droplets away and the rain becomes a gentle, swishy, soft shower. Then back again in a mighty gush! plak! plak! plak! plipping and plopping from the overflowing gutters. 

Some screen captures from the telly, of the flooding in Queensland.
This car emerging from the foam caught everyone by surprise! You can watch the video if you google "ghost car foam".

I've been waiting for a lull in the rain, to get Georgia out to toilet in the backyard. I have a feeling it's not going to happen. 
The weatherman says we're going to cop it in Sydney tonight, the tail end of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald that battered Queensland. A last check then, that the windows are closed tight, and good night.
This guy isn't worried.

To find out more about Small Stones and the 30 day mindful writing challenge, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A small stone contributed by Cushion, Australia Day 26th January.

I haven't left the house since last Friday. Yes! I'm being vain! but I do not want to step out with dried black scabs half hanging on to patchy shiny pink speckly brown skin. 

Yesterday arvo, I complained to Cushion about how I was getting cabin fever and missing capoeira. This is what the man said to me.

"You should go! If I saw you on the bus, I wouldn't give you a second look."

A pregnant pause followed.

Our eyes locked over the kitchen counter. 

I could see his face change as he suddenly realised [and regretted, no doubt] what he'd just said. 

Being a kind person, I laughed! and responded with the only witty thing I could think of at that delicious moment.

"What?" I said.

HaPpStryliah DaY! :)

To find out more about Small Stones and the 30 day mindful writing challenge, CLICK HERE.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Small stone and personal space, Friday 25th January.

"Deeeeep breath," the yoga instructor calls out, and we all suck in a big round of air. "Ohmmmmm...." She releases the sound ever so slowly with her breath. "Ohmmmmm..." we chorus self-consciously.  "Namaste," she says to us. Class over. I keep my eyes closed, turn and lie down on my bright blue yoga mat. Around me, I hear my fellow classmates stirring, packing, softly chatting. Suddenly! Something plops down on my mat. I open my eyes and there is a sneakered foot next to my head, a woman standing over me. "Coffee ladies?" she calls out brightly to her group of friends by the window. "Yeah, I could do with one," Woman 2 replies. "Loo first! Meet you outside," Woman 1 says. Then, without a thought, she continues walking on my mat on her way to the exit.

This happened a while back. I found it particularly ironic that the woman behaved like that right after an hour of yoga! and thought a mindful writing challenge like this would be the perfect time to bitch tell you about it. 

Got a pet mindless act of your own to share? Spill! :)

To find out more about Small Stones and the 30 day mindful writing challenge, CLICK HERE.





"I don't know whether you're aware, Typist but you have a seriously poor understanding of personal space."

Speaking of personal space! Ever wonder if your dog really enjoys having you in theirs? Find out in this interesting post from Mel.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Small stone, Wednesday 23rd January.

I had a serious case of dysania this morning and it was 8.29 precisely before I opened my eyes. Outside, crepuscular rays were shining (okay I made that up just so I could use the word). It was actually grey, and smelt petrichor (this is true). My stomach was wambling. So was Georgia's, I could hear it. Poor thing has been eating pap since chucking up 4 times the night before last. Yawning, still suffering from obdormition, I dragged my body and polka-dotted face out of bed to make my doggy brekkie.

I'm blaming this Small Stone on an article I read (decades ago) describing flowers as sex organs, and my nutrition lecturer at college for calling milk the pus of cow. Some things you never forget. All definitions of curious words in this post >>> HEREMore fun ones >>> HERE. Care to comment using some? :D

Excerpt from 2nd link:
"A friend reports that he was in a Boston taxi last week, and because he'd heard about all the great seafood available in the area, he asked the cabbie, "Say, where can I get scrod around here?"  
The cabbie laughed and said, "I've been asked that question a thousand times, but never in the pluperfect subjunctive."

What is scrod? A young fish (as a cod or haddock); especially : one split and boned for cooking

 I hope you liked that! A last check to see all my tittles are in place before tapping PUBLISH!

To find out more about Small Stones and the 30 day mindful writing challenge, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Small stone, Tuesday 22nd January.

My jaw feels tight and I suddenly realise I haven't stopped grinning since the Obamas started their dance at the commander-in-chief inaugural ball. A few sweet kisses, sigh, singing along a little with Jennifer Hudson, some whispering oh how I wish I could read lips. Here we go, the news team has started talking about important things now. The colour of Michelle's gown, whether it's chiffon, who the designer is, how it enhances every feature she's known for, her cut arms, what? no mention of her bangs? must be yesterday's news. Gosh. I sure hope nothing pressing is happening in the world right now.

To find out more about Small Stones and the 30 day mindful writing challenge, CLICK HERE.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Small stone, Monday 21st January.

More grey. More tender. 

Less inclined to argue. Less playful.

Happy to sleep in past 6 past 7 past 8.

I fear my doggy is already growing old.

To find out more about Small Stones and the 30 day mindful writing challenge, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Small stone, Sunday 20th January.

Day 1.
There are small brown scabs all over my face. I can feel a few of them. Dotted across both cheeks to the jawline. More on the right side than on the left. A sprinkling over my nose. Exactly 10 on my forehead. Only my chinny chin chin is spared. My face is burning. The ice pack has gone tepid and useless. "This feels worse than getting kicked in the eye," I moan. Cushion calls me a wuss. 

Day 2.
The scabs turn brown black. I begin to panic slightly. I wonder what I've gotten myself into, when if I'll ever be able to leave the house again, and [worse comes to worst] if I'd look good with a face tattoo. 

The scabs are breaking up! One drops off as I dry my face. In its place, a tiny pink circle. I hope I haven't just replaced 50 years of sun damage with tiny pink circles. That would be so stupid. 

To find out more about Small Stones and the 30 day mindful writing challenge, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Medium stone CONTINUED, Saturday 19th January.

Thanks for having a guess yesterday! I love that all of you were funny and upbeat. This makes me particularly sorry to finish writing this Stone! which happened on Thursday late afternoon, on my way to capoeira class. 

If you'd like to start at the beginning, CLICK HERE. 

WARNING!  Some !*!!f*^!!! ahead.




"I'm on the bus," he said. "I'm on. the. bus. Why won't ya believe me?" His voice was heavy and thick. "Bus draiva!" he called out, "Tell er I'm on the bus!" I guess the driver ignored him, because he then said, "Woman! Boi! Tell er I'm on the bus! She won't believe me. Tell er!" The woman and boy must have ignored him too, because the next thing I heard was, "Tell er or I'll bite yer leg." By this time, there was some nervous fidgeting going round the bus and the bodies in front parted, just enough for me to see a man in dark clothes sitting on the floor next to the driver. I couldn't see his face. I heard a boy's voice say,"He's on the bus." Then the man, "Did ya hear that?" Then he fell silent and I think everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief. After many, many seconds, "You keep the bag. Why don't ya just keep the fuckin bag." Minutes more followed of bag. Expletive. Bag. Expletive. I began to get an image in my head. Nasty break up, got thrown out, got drunk. Then, "Keep the bag mum. Keep it ya stewpid bitch." I dare say, we were all listening in by then and wishing the bus would move, just an inch, just to the corner with Sussex, just to the next stop. Eventually of course, it did. And although my stop was still up the road and round the corner, I jumped off, together with a good half of the passengers, away from the sad mad man.

Heard anything bizarre lately yourself? [Apart from the Armstrong interview.]  

To find out more about Small Stones and the 30 day mindful writing challenge, CLICK HERE.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Medium stone, Friday 18th January.

The 442 was already standing room only by the time it arrived at my stop. I ended up halfway down the bus, sandwiched between an older portly man and a young girl who'd boarded with me. The bus made 4 more stops. Each time, more people got on than off. I barely moved from my spot and the area next to the driver was tight with bodies. The bus crawled through the bumper to bumper traffic, over Anzac Bridge. By the time we got to Darling Harbour, we were at a complete standstill. I kept glancing surreptitiously at the portly man's watch. We didn't move for 15 minutes. It was almost 6. I couldn't see the duck, but even the duck would have looked stupid at that moment. My feet started to go numb. I lifted one foot, rolling it round to get the blood pumping. Then the other. Then back to the first. Hot sunlight flooded in through the big glass windows and I could feel the front of my neck and chest starting to burn. The annoying chatter from the young ones at the back died down. People started nodding off, texting, calling to make excuses for being late. Then a very loud deep voice boomed out from the front of the bus.

What do you think he said?

To find out more about Small Stones and the 30 day mindful writing challenge, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A small stone by Georgia Little Pea, Thursday 17th January.

I cowered in a corner but he found me. I tried to run up the stairs but he caught me. The blue noose around my neck was tight and unyielding. I shivered as I was led to The Corner. The hose unrolled. Cold water hit my hot belly and ran down my legs. "Mmm! Mmmph! Mmm!" I whined softly. I pressed my ears to my head and looked pitifully at the monster, but did he care? Water in my eyes! up my nose! gurgling in my mouth! ARRRRGGGHH! Suddenly he said, "Done! Shake Georgia!" He brought out a towel. I buried my head gratefully in the dry rough cotton." Do I get a peanut butter bikkie now?" I asked him.

To find out more about Small Stones and the 30 day mindful writing challenge, CLICK HERE. 

"You know guys, I would love to do my bit to help you save water. A simple plan comes to mind. How about giving me less baths? Once a year perhaps? For sure, it'll be terrible not having soft shiny fur that smells of oatmeal. But you know what? I'm ready and willing to make that sacrifice! for you! for our collective wallet! for the planet! Truly. Want to give it a go then?" 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How to use water like a Rwandan.

Cushion just spoke to my brother in Brisbane. Apparently, the water board called to inform him that his weekly water consumption had jumped from 80 litres to 400. Did he have a leak, by any chance?

No, dear Mr Water Board Man. It was just Cushion, Georgia and me on holiday.

My brother is a frugal water user. He has a rainwater tank as well but 80 litres is pretty much the amount of piped town water than he uses in a week. I'm sure it's a meagre number, even for a 1 person household. 

Chart from HERE.
In fact, based on this chart, my brother uses just a little more water per day than the average Rwandan.

In our defence, we did a lot of cooking, cleaning and laundry in the 10 days we were with him. Not to mention, 1 laundry load for Georgia, 2 baths after swimming at muddy Nudgee, and a tub of water for cooling down after walks.
Dogs can and do account for a lot of water usage.

Ideally, Georgia would get a bath no more than once a fortnight. Unfortunately, she has dermatitis and allergies, so we end up hosing her down after almost every walk. Add that to her over-active anal glands, swims in muddy water and predilection for rolling on dead things, and she's actually likely to have a bath every week.

Our water bill went down immediately after Rufus died. He was a giant dog with a lot of fur, and was both #1 and #2 incontinent towards the end. I did a lot of cleaning after him. Soiled sheets, towels, floor, butt. 

It's amazing how quickly it all added up.

Doing laundry, the Uncle E method.
I'm not sure why my brother tops up his washing machine this way, maybe to make sure it's just enough water to cover the clothes?
Rinsing is done with rainwater from his tank. I'm afraid that tank got quite depleted during our stay. 
Grey water from the wash then gives his yard a good soaking. No lawn there! Lots of unswept leaf litter and mulching.
Notice how dirty Georgia's tub of cooling-off water is? It turned brown within a day from all the flower and leaf litter but I wasn't allowed to change it. I did suggest it, but backed off after a truly menacing glare from my brother. Instead, every morning, I used a little sieve to remove the litter and dead insects. Voila! Worked just as well. Lesson learned.

We learnt a great way to save water from my frugal brother! which thrills my frugal husband! because he's been ranting about my water wasting ways for years. Danger! You are now entering a smug zone!



Mellow yellow. I hope you know what this means because I do not want to go into details. Cushion reckons the flush is one of the biggest water wasters, despite the fact that we have half-flush toilets. So now, we follow the mellow yellow rule. My only proviso...last person to go to bed must flush. I draw the line at funky smells first thing in the morning.

And here are a few other water saving ideas we've been working on -
We changed all our tap heads from twist to flick. 

I still prefer this look but... 
Water deal: In short supply

Pic from HERE.

...I've never regretted changing over.
We did this a few years back. I think it was a great investment. However soapy, bloody or oily my hands are, I can turn the taps on and off with a nudge. I'm now so used to washing without running water, when I heard water gushing from a bathroom tap on telly a few days ago [I think it was an episode of Homeland Season 1], I had a major cringe.

. We turn the tap off when soaping or shampooing in the shower, and turn it back on to rinse. Easier in summer than winter, no doubt.

. We never turn a tap on full. Because. it's. not. necessary! Unless you have a stubborn booger stuck in the basin.

. The floor gets mopped only when it looks like it needs it, instead of 2 times a week. [My personal favourite.]

. The car gets washed only when it's cocooned with cobwebs, the bird poop on the bonnet has solidified or the neighbours are looking at us funny.

. I don't water the garden every day, but I give it a good soaking when I do. There are water restrictions in place in many parts of Australia. Here in Sydney, we're not allowed sprinklers, trigger nozzles are a must, and watering has to be done before 10 or after 4. 

Georgia's stale drinking water, leftover bath water, and water from rinsing fruit, vegies or rice also gets tossed into the flower pots. My nanny used to pour water from cleaning fish into the garden beds. It stank, as you can imagine, but it must have been good for the plants because that garden was lush!

Learning how to save water is a work-in-progress for me. I've discovered it can be both a challenge and fun, and I can't wait to see our next water bill and usage figures!

Do you have any other water saving ideas to share? 


We looked into getting a water tank some years back, but there's not enough space in our little courtyard. 

"Are you sure, Typist? They come in all shapes and sizes, y'know."


And if only we could put in a composting toilet, like this one at our little cabin in the Byron hinterland. 
The picture right at the top of this post, is the bucket of wood shavings that was sitting next to the loo. However frightening this sounds, I can assure you there was zero smell emanating from this toilet. ZERO! And I have a pretty good snout.

What do you think goes into the wheelie bin below the toilet? 
The hose is the venting system. The PET bottle is  for drawing bugs to the light, which can then be released, if you're so inclined. 


While we're at it, some reading... 
. Water restrictions in Australia.

. Sydney Water's Water Wise Rules.

. A mighty interesting Challenge.
Excerpt: "...Americans consume an average of 575 liters of water a day, while many Rwandans, who have to walk miles to collect their water, only consume 10."

. A post from Kirsten that I've wanted to share since reading. Not exactly about water, but definitely in the ball park. She's inspiring.

. And lastly, a post from a lady whose entire annual household budget for clothing is $100. Clearly, I have a lot to learn about living a frugal life.