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So we're getting rid of the car, like the hippies we are.

It's for a variety of reasons: the primary one is that I can't afford to keep it. I'm only making around $10 thou per year, so I can't afford to spend more than ten per cent of that on registration and insurance alone. Add to that the fact that the last service cost me over $800 and it didn't fix all the problems, and the rising cost of petrol, and the car is dead weight we can't afford to support.

The other reason is the fact that we have both tram and train in easy walking distance. And I have a bike (albeit rusting in the backyard at the moment, because the local Big Road scares the crap out of me). And we have three supermarkets within a ten minute walk. And we can take public transport to a market quite easily to do our shopping.

So yesterday I called up the charity to which we're donating it to find out what the hell's going on. The nice lady on the phone said, "It says here that it's been picked up already." My housemates and I, who have to squeeze past said car to leave the house (poor driveway design) can vouchsafe that this is not the case.

She amends the paperwork, and arranges for the car to be picked up today (Tuesday). She tells me there is a sign I have to place on the dash, and another form I have to fill out, and she'll email them to me. I also have to remove the numberplates, she says, in order to deregister it properly.

I spent yesterday afternoon emptying the car of crap, and throwing in the recycling bin all our old litre bottles of water (we used to have to keep a lot around for some time, before we had the radiator fixed). One was nearly full, so I took it through the house to the tomato plants out the back. Tomatoes are thirsty, so I like to top up the reservoir below their pots whenever I can with "spare" water. (We're on water restrictions.) I came back through the house, and threw away more plastic bags and other detritus that I'd collected into a big cardboard box. I realised I'd left my keys inside. And automatically latched the front door behind me. I had no wallet and no phone.

I had $9.25 in five- and ten-cent pieces that I'd scrounged from the car. We also had our old Yellow Pages sitting on the front porch. Monday nights we have morris rehearsal, and I cook dinner and bring it in. I had no dinner with me. I hadn't even started cooking. I looked up Nat's number and scratched it into the back of my hand with my nail. I walked to the RSL and tried to call her to let her know what had happened – Steph works for the government, so doesn't have her number listed in the Yellow Pages. The phone ate my 50c and didn't put the call through.

My only choice was to head in to the city. Metcard prices had risen again recently, and I knew that they used to be about $6. For those playing along at home, I had $8.75 remaining. I cut my losses and walked to the newsagency to buy a ticket – ticket machines always chuck a tanty if you try to pay with too many coins.

It was humiliating. I had to stand there for five minutes, counting out $6.50 in five- and ten-cent pieces. It also set off my poverty complex. Still, it was a stroke of luck (?) that I'd just pulled all that silver out of the boot, and hadn't taken it inside yet. I came into the city, met up with Steph, and we bailed on morris, so we could still cook dinner at home. It was a little relieving, since I was going to have to ask Steph to cover me for dinner.

Today I went to take off the numberplates. All the screws are rusted in. I manage to snap two of the ridges on our Phillips head screwdriver by trying to force it. So far I've managed to mostly get out one screw. One. Of four. I have NO idea how I'm going to get these plates off in order to take them down to VicRoads. Which, can I add, have no pages on their website about de/unregistering your vehicle. If you search, the only pages it brings up are about arranging for a temporary permit to drive an unregistered vehicle, and pages about reregistering. This says more than a little something about our society, frankly. Clearly I am a REBEL.

I also checked my email. I have not been emailed the sign OR the paperwork. Guess I'm chasing that up come nine o'clock.

changeling: (Default)
A few weeks ago, I went on Adventure to find as many (public) images of the Gods in Melbourne as I could. I knew there were a few around. I was also planning on going to the National Gallery, but it is closed on Tuesdays. Very annoying.
Read more... )


Oct. 9th, 2007 12:12 pm
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I'm thinking about taking a camera and going on an adventure today (it's my day off). I think I'll go to the National Gallery of Victoria, and maybe search out some of the classical statues in the city. I've wanted to do it for awhile.

I keep almost talking myself out of it, but I think I'm going to do it. It'll do me good to get out of the house.
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I have had a rather wonderful day so far. I got myself in gear early – even though I was up late with class last night – and managed to pray in front of my shrine, which is something I haven't done properly in weeks. I also turned the affirmation I was given in Kinesiology class last night into a prayer, and I'll be using that for the next nine days.

I picked up Making a Literary Life, by Carolyn See, which my dad gave me a few years ago, and read it on the tram. I haven't read it all the way through before, and it tied in well with the later theme of the day. I also got to see my girl, as I was bringing in documents from home she forgot. She is feeling flat today, and I made her smile several times on the walk to her work, which was even better. Then, as there's a Westpac right near her work, I deposited my paycheque. *virtuous*

And I decided that I was sick of being upset about missing Anelisseia, especially since it involves Thoth, one of my favourite gods, and Hermes, who has been quietly moving himself to the forefront of my attention recently. So, refusing to wallow in misery any longer, I used my Reader's Feast voucher to buy a book on beginner's book of heiroglyphs published by the British Museum that I've been eyeing off (it's designed for kids and looks like a lot of fun), which is, unintentionally and unconsciously, for Thoth. RF didn't have any books on Greece that I wanted (they had Kerenyi's book on Dionysus, which I'm interested in, but felt a bit funny buying for Anelisseia), so I checked out their YA section and picked up a new-ish Diana Wynne Jones called The Pinhoe Egg, which I suppose is appropriately Hermean since it's about magic. I tend to associate Thoth with non-fiction and editing, and Hermes with the writing of fiction, so it worked out very well.

I went into Haigh's on Swanston St for some cheer-up chocs for Steph, and some ritual chocolates (a couple of dark-chocolate violet creams for Dj, a dark chocolate, bronze-foiled heart for Herm), and made a nuisance of myself asking which of the filled chocolates were dairy-free. There was one that seemed to be a new one, and the woman behind the counter couldn't find it in her book, and ended up ringing the Block Arcade shop to find out. While she was on the phone, the other girl behind the counter struck up a conversation with me. She was a little heavy and about my age. She said that the manager of the store's husband or partner (I forget) was vegan, so she knew all about which ones were safe, but she was on hols. I said I was vegan, and the girl was really interested, and wanted to know what I ate "as a replacement", and where I liked to eat out. She said she used to be vegetarian in her teens, but her parents told her it was too expensive (what bollocks) and put the kibosh on it. She had been vegetarian for animal-rights reasons, and asked why I went vegan. I said that Steph had eczema set off by dairy, and that the research we did caused us to believe that eating animal products isn't very good for people. I mentioned The China Study, and offered to write it down. (I wrote down Eat to Live, too, partly because she was rather heavy and I thought she might be interested, and partly because it's more layperson-friendly than The China Study. Steph refers to it as the "how-to guide" of The China Study.) She said that her brother and sister had really bad eczema, so I wrote down Eczema-Free for Life, which Steph found essential in finally coming to an understanding about what having eczema means.

Anyway, the other woman came back from her phone conversation, and I placed my order (as well as a couple of peppermint centres for me), and she was very stoic with the shopgirl chatting with me. Finally, as I was about to leave, the shopgirl said I had "lovely skin", which made me smile all the way back to work.

I set up an altar on my desk, where the books in their navy Reader's Feast voucher form an altar cloth, and the chocolates sat upon a CD-spindle pedestal. I've got a few important things done at work, which is nice, and as no-one is in the office at the moment, I performed a ritual in my lunchbreak. I read a hymn to Hermes, and a prayer to Thoth, skimmed through the heiroglyph book, read the first few pages of The Pinhoe Egg, and performed bibliomancy in same:

"I only came to find my cat, really," Marianne said.

... which is pretty revealing to me, for a YA fantasy novel.

So I've had a lovely Anelisseia, even ten days late.
changeling: (Default)





I have to be quick, for I have hacked into the lines with my portable "Morser". SLEEP TIME NOW! SLEEP TIME!

Srsly. Have to be fast. Makeshift corset-bone replacement not holding out.

I can't get my fricking treadle machine to work. So far, all I've discovered is that I have a "vibrating shuttle" (which just sounds obscene, frankly), and I've managed to thread the machine (probably incorrectly). I can also actually operate the treadle. I can't get the thread to come up from the damn shuttle/bobbin. No matter how many times I turn the hand crank, I can't get the needle to catch the bottom thread. This is driving me nuts. I might call friend Sean and see if he can help (if Mel can't, anyway).

So, if anyone has any information on a Wertheim Planet M (Anyone else reminded of "House of M"?) and how to get the fricking shuttle loaded into the machine properly, I will love you forever.


ono have to run
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I've been re-reading Living the Good Life: How one family changed their world from their own backyard, by Linda Cockburn (and her accompanying website) I first heard of Linda back in July–August 2005, when Steph and I were babysitting a beautiful house in Kingsville (I want to say "cottage" – it was pretty small), living out of home together and for the first time, going vegan, and embracing wholefoods ... and losing weight without trying. There was an article on what they were trying to achieve in Gardening Australia's organic gardening magazine. Later, when the book came out (February 2006), I snapped up a copy and wolfed it down as fast as humanly possible.

The book charts Linda and her family's attempt to live for six months without spending a dollar (barring things like medical expenses and rates). And they succeed pretty well, considering they're in Queensland and it was one of the dryest six months on record in their region (and frankly, probably in the whole of Australia). I found it so inspirational, as if someone had just projected my desires into a book. THIS is what I want to do with my life.

I have since found Cauldron Farm and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who've also got pieces of the puzzle. These people are all so inpirational. I can't wait until Steph and I have enough capital built up to take our own step.

I just re-took the Global Footprint test online, and my results were pretty good:
GOODS/SERVICES           1.1


It's slightly bollocks: it didn't take into account (for example) that I eat organic food (fewer nasties getting into the environment, less water use); that we flush the loo with shower water (and sometimes with discarded laundry water); that we switch our appliances off at the wall to avoid phantom loading; that we only switch the TV on about once or twice a week (to watch Robin Hood), that we source our electricity from Green Power; that S and I try to shower together, and briefly, only every other day and that on alternating days we bathe out of a sink; and so on and so forth. Still, I got markedly below the average for Australia – 7.6 global hectares per person, meaning that if everyone lived like that, we'd need 4.2 planets.

Still, it gives us something to aim at, and we're improving, too. We're going to get rid of the car indefinitely in the next six months (the only difficulty will be intra- and interstate morris trips – there we'll either have to rely on other people's goodwill or V-Line) and replacing it with electric bikes. Mine will have to get another basket affixed to it, as my pushbike has, and possibly a basket in front, so that I can market shop if we move somewhere further away than we currently are from a market & public transport. Once we have our own place and are not renting, we'll be moving towards sourcing most of our food (we'll probably still be buying sugar and flour). We also plan on getting a composting toilet, solar hot water, and solar panels for electricity.

And we plan on moving out of the city. I want to smallhold (just like Hugh ...) The current plan is to move to Marysville (she says, having not yet visited it). It's sub-alpine, has more rainfall than Melbourne (currently a BIG factor), and apparently has four distinct seasons and tends to the COLD. This all makes me extraordinarily happy. I have planned on moving to England for years and years, but Steph was moved around a lot as a child, so the idea of permanently relocating again moves her to tears. This way I get an England-esque climate, not to mention RAINFALL, and we'll only be a bit further away from Melbourne than the distance between our parents' places.

I can't WAIT to get started. In the short term, though, we have a couple more pots that need filling, which we're going to tuck in to this weekend. (Hooray! Finally!) And I just might plant some basil in the backyard to let it grow wild.

Further inspiring links:
A cute mindmap of things you can do to lessen global warming (I've printed it and it's going on our fridge)
A link to an organic gardening how-to site (this is mostly for me)
A website giving tips on how to lessen global warming, based in Tasmania.
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I was out all day yesterday. First I went to Bridge Rd to practise Bikram Yoga with Issy, but the trams were slow, and then they stopped at Victoria Pde – there'd been an accident up ahead. I had to walk the rest of the way. I felt a bit like Kate at the beginning of The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul, that something was conspiring to make sure I didn't get there. Still, Issy and I talked and I said that I'd meet her afterwards, so I headed over to Macro to do some shopping (toothpaste, rye flour [for bread], amaranth flour [for fiesta], kombu [sea vegetable – also for cooking beans], pinto beans [another bean I've never used before – also for fiesta], some loose leaf raspberry leaf and nettle teas [for about a quarter of what I usually pay for half as much], seed packets for genovese basil and cress) and then hung out in the cafe with a juice (berries, orange, ginger and watermelon – I thought it was a nice combination, sheer genius, but I'm sure I could put it together better than they did) and my Blue notebook and did some writing until Issy rocked up.

We chatted for a bit. She was simultaneously yoga-chilled and exhausted, so mostly I nattered at her. We headed over to Brunswick St (corner of Rose St) where there is a pub (Bimbo) that does $4 pizzas at lunchtime. I had the Organico (or something) which was a thick layer of roasted pumpkin and rosemary and pinenuts, topped with some soy cheese. Very, very nice. I am a big sucker for both pumpkin pizzas and rosemary. The waitress drizzled olive oil on all the pizzas before bringing them over, which I found a bit weird. I tipped mine up and drained as much as I could onto my plate. Brilliant pizza, though, especially for $4. The base was clearly made on premises, which made me think (with all my bread obsession of late) that I could make pizza dough, and then Steph's and my pizzas would be even awesomer – especially with the tomato sauce she made that afternoon. Issy said it was easy to do with a sourdough starter instead of yeast, and that all I needed was to put a cup of flour and a cup of water in an icecream container for a week, then move it to the fridge and feed it each day with a tB of flour and then she kept explaining about proving and things, but I was out of my depth and didn't retain the rest. I shall have to get her to either write it down for me, or I'll have to call her with notebook and pencil ready.

She also showed me her sweetheart's wholefood/organic shop in Smith St, and I picked up (at her urging) some cleavers (which she says goes well with nettle) and some SEKRIT TREAT for after the diet.

I travelled home, stopping to pick up some glass salad dressing bottles (brilliant for fridge storage; we will use these lots) and glass apothecary jars for storing the tea in. I hadn't quite got home when I got a call from Steph to come and pick her up. I started unpacking, and she made herself an awesome pizza (I might have stolen a couple of bites) and then we had to head out again for our appointment with My Wonderful Kinesiologist for a Bowen treatment. It was very nice, but I'm supposed to not do strenuous exercise for the next couple of days, which means no trips to the supermarket on my bike. I may have to take my car. Boo.

I should go. I have Much to Do today, and it's nearly ten. I should at the very least see if I can find some chickpeas to soak ...

Our little dog Charlie's come in to say hello, and he's been sitting on my lap as I write this. It's very nice. He decided to rest his head on the crook of my elbow after awhile, which made reaching the keyboard a little difficult. I think he's actually dozed off a few times.


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