Sunday, 29 July 2012

Now the netball's over, guess I'd better get productive

Today I finally had my Sunday afternoon back. For the past four months it's been netball season -- and that's meant double-header netball games on the TV or else a trip into Hisense Arena to watch the Melbourne Vixens live. (And then home again quick smart to watch the game again!)

Don't get me wrong, it's been a wonderful season. The Vixens finished the home and away rounds on top of the ladder after several amazing escapes that earned them the nickname 'comeback queens'. Those games, with the largest netball crowds ever in Melbourne, screaming and cheering and foot-stomping the team on to win in the dying moments, were spine-tingling.

The girls subsequently earned the right to host the grand final last weekend -- which I of course attended. All was looking good for most of the game, and then it fell apart in the last ten minutes and the Vixens went down by three goals to NZ's Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic. It was a great game and the Magic were worthy winners, despite it not being my preferred outcome.

But although I love the netball season, I'm happy it's over. That's a whole lot of time I now have back to reallocate to more productive endeavours.

And indeed not-so-productive endeavours. Today, for instance, I went to Chadstone Shopping Centre. I needed to go to the Nespresso store (only it turned out I didn't) and thought I'd take the opportunity to visit JB HiFi (where I was similarly thwarted). In fact, the only good thing about my visit to Chadstone was the fact I accumulated nearly 5,000 steps on my pedometer. Chadstone, I have decided (not for the first time, but I had forgotten), is horrible. It messes with your mind until you forget half the reasons you went and scamper away, totally traumatised.

I'm looking forward to utilising my Sunday afternoons to get some writing done in the coming weeks. I've identified a few cafes where I think I could sit for a couple of hours with the computer -- for weekend writing this seems to work best, because otherwise there's all that housework (and gardening) screaming at me. I might even make it a morning ritual... not sure what's going to work at this stage. No doubt it will vary. But so long as I can find a couple of hours of writing I'll be happy.

With reference to last week's stated mission to turn the TV off, I will report moderate success during the last week. It wasn't always easy, but I managed it most evenings. Yay! However, with the Olympics now having started, I fear this progress was short-lived. Random sport is exactly the type of 'background' viewing that begs to be left on while I sprawl out with my computer (exactly as I am now). The good news is that I don't actually have to watch it, so might actually be able to write. I can certainly blog!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The TV must go off

I've resolved to attempt weekly posts on this blog, and since discovering I can post from my phone I think it might actually be achievable. It's not ideal, but it does allow me to utilise some of the moments 'between'.

Right now, for instance, I'm sitting in the hair salon with a bunch of foils in my hair.

I've just been chatting with Dianna, my hair-guru, about how I need to start turning the television off. Yeah yeah, I know it sounds obvious, but I've got into some very bad habits. My current routine is this: home after work, TV goes on for the 7pm news, followed by 'something' at 7.30 while I eat dinner and unwind after work. (Currently the amazing race Australia on Monday, once upon a time on Tuesday, dr who on the other days.)

Then I'm supposed to turn the TV off so I can go write, but it seems I'm no longer capable of this. I tell myself I'll keep the TV on as background while I 'write' on the sofa... Or I nudge myself into a half-hour session on my cross training machine, which at least has the semblance of being productive (and while on WW and participating in the global corporate challenge I feel guilty if I don't do it).

And then there's social media and blogs... Time saps all of them. So, often by the time I'm ready to be productive it's late at night and I'm too tired for anything worthwhile.

Several years ago my routine was much better. I scoffed at people who had the TV on as background. I would come home, cook and eat at my computer, all without switching on the TV. I'd be writing by 8pm, with time and energy at the end for a blog post if I felt so inclined... Or I could go to bed and read (now there's a thought) satisfied I'd put words down on the page. The TV would only go on for something specific, and then it would go off again. I didn't mind spending all evening at my desk, after a day at the computer. I relished it!

Somehow I need to recapture that old routine. I know I must be able to do it. It all starts with not turning on the TV in the first place.

Last night I forced myself to switch it off at 8.30. My finger trembled on the remote and I had to pick it up three times before I pressed the button, but I did it. I switched on the study computer (as opposed to the couch computer) and after catching up on social media, managed to write a blog post (for the other blog). It was a start!

This coming week my mission will be to switch it off after my 7.30 shows, or not switch it on at all. The other thing I'll be attempting is writing BEFORE I look at email or any form of social media/blogs.

I'll report back on my progress next week!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Tea Party are splendorous!

The Tea Party are reformed and back in town with two gigs in Melbourne this weekend past. I was lucky enough to attend the first on Saturday night at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda. With that beautiful old theatre packed to the rafters with Tea Party devotees, the band treated us to two hours of all our favourites -- with some surprises embedded. (Midway through the wonderful Save Me, for instance, the band transitioned into a version of Hallelujah, and then back into Save Me again.)

Jeff Martin's gravelly velvet vocals sent shivers down my spine and I sat there for much of the evening with a stupid smile on my face. There were also foot-tapping and swaying in abundance. Fire in the Head, one of my favourite songs, was a highlight.

Somewhat wonderfully, the band recorded the gig and have plans to release a live double-album based on their Australian concerts. I only hope they don't get lumped with some of the nasty sound issues that plagued Saturday's performance. (A strange highlight involved Martin bringing all the sound down, pointing at an offending speaker/amplifier/whatever spewing out a dreadful hum and saying: "We gotta get rid of that.")

Technical gremlins aside, it was a fabulous gig enjoyed by a respectful and knowledgeable audience (for the most part). I can't wait until the live CD is released!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Two dead birds

I'm down at Phillip Island, sitting in my favourite cafe, empty breakfast plate before me, hugging my wonderful coffee. And I thought I'd try posting from my phone... So far so good.

I've sadly seen two dead birds in strange circumstances. Both remarkably intact, as though freshly deceased. The first was in our fire place! I opened the door, intending to light a fire -- because it was FREEZING -- and there it lay in the old ash. It was so intact I had to stare at it to make sure it was in fact dead. When I poked it with a stick, it wasn't stiff or dried out at all. It could have been there as long as three weeks, but it seems unlikely. And how did it get there??? Could it have fallen down the chimney flue? I thought it was covered...

Anyway, I cursed somewhat because it always seems to be me dealing with dead things, then disposed of it. (It didn't smell either.)

The second dead bird was a little penguin washed up on the beach this morning. Again, it looked intact, with no insects buzzing around, as though it had just been washed up -- although it was high up the beach and the tide was out. Very sad to see :-(