9th Nov – Accidentally gave my dog three lamb chops I’d bought for dinner. For us.
10th Nov – A penpal from Germany phoned me today from Central Australia. Our first conversation after two years of handwritten letters.
11th Nov – When I give a student the writing prompt, “Heaven is like this…”, I often doubt we could imagine it. Earlier this evening, in the garden lit by filtered sunset and perfumed by jasmine and roses, the street beyond quiet, all neighbours and dogs at peace, I imagined it.
12th Nov – Making up a bed, I threw a clean fitted sheet over the mattress, and a small bird’s nest fell out of one of the elasticised corners.
13th Nov – Hands are constantly visible when tutoring. I notice nails growing, each day a fraction longer.
4th Nov – Heard recently that Jack London’s books are great to read when learning to write fiction. I wouldn’t have picked him for inspiration. But today, my husband and I were reading White Fang aloud and I was all ears listening to London’s masterful use of short, active, common words. Here’s a pretty good paragraph:
5th Nov – Three and a half years ago I applied for work with a tutoring company. This week they’ve offered me a temporary job.
6th Nov – A strange building, a strange lift, a stranger, mop in one hand, cleaning bucket in the other. As we moved from the 5th floor to the ground she established from my basket of teaching materials that I could help her son learn to read, and took my number.
7th Nov – Every week for the past six months, my neighbour has put a vase of fresh flowers in her kitchen window (which is happily opposite my own). She’s trying to sell her house, but hasn’t. It seems buyers aren’t swayed by flowers.
8th Nov – In two shops this morning, Norah Jones was singing Come away with me. Must be the ultimate music for relaxing a shopper’s grip on her purse.
30th Oct – I’ve watched every 7 Up episode since I was 7, and today I watched the latest, 56 Up. Michael Apted didn’t plan it this way in the beginning, but thanks to his perseverance, every 7 years I catch up with people I’ve known since I was a child.
31st Oct – There’s a Halloween party for 20 children under way next door. This is unusual where I live.
1st Nov – Tutoring a student in a college library, we were asked to leave for recess. The library closed for 15 minutes. Who made up that rule?
2nd Nov – A tutoring agency asked me to fill in my details on a page entitled “Teachers Backend”.
3rd Nov – In the last two years my neighbour in the Housing flats has had two babies. The father has taken them away to another town. She accepts it; she has no money to get them back or even to go and see them. Her life is so different from mine.
20th Oct – On someone else’s computer I saw, for the first time, an advertisement on my blog. It’s for an expensive car. My husband reckons the car maker chose my blog for its readers.
21st Oct – Some kangaroos love the beach as much as I do.
22nd Oct – A man I know who was from childhood a practising atheist, and who in recent years became a Protestant, has recently been baptised as a Catholic. A coincidence for me – I’ve just translated a story about a character who did exactly that.
23rd Oct – 30th wedding anniversary today.
24th Oct – A female politician (the PM) has loudly accused a male politician (L of the O) of being a misogynist and sexist. Yet I heard today that he cycles long distances every year to raise buckets of money for good causes including breast cancer research, a women’s shelter and Carers Australia.
15th Oct – Thought it would be easy to change my blog header, but, searching for a new photo to suit the long rectangle form, I found only one that had an interesting horizontal slice. Still, it’s now in place and reminding me of a very good day I once spent in Collioure, France.
16th Oct – Today I was pleased to see high up in my spruce tree an adult magpie and its fluffy-chested baby. It was some consolation to know she had one left after my dog killed her other chick last week. Bad dog.
17th Oct – At a student’s house today, her spoodle, a good dog, was sitting in a leather armchair like a person, its elbow leaning on the arm of the chair.
18th Oct – On the ancestry site today I found photos of my great-grandparents!
19th Oct – Asked a 12-year old student, a new migrant, to invent a bug and name it with a made-up name. She called it Justin Bieber.
10th Oct – This morning I typed for an author writing about an ancient document written in gold, emerald and purple. Tonight I translated a passage about an ancient manuscript written in gold, azure and purple.
11th Oct – Read that almost half the population of the Pacific region is living in poverty.
12th Oct – Got locked out when I was doing some gardening.
13th Oct – Today I completed the first draft of my first book translation. Woo hoo!
14th Oct – A Sydney teacher has just received a Guinness Book of Records award as the oldest active teacher in the world. He’s 99.
5th Oct – Heard this morning that Rwanda has more females in parliament than any other country – about 56%.
6th Oct – At the clothing shop where my son works, several members of the Rebels bikie gang came in to buy jeans, black only. And shirts, also black. And long-sleeved – “Don’t wanna look like a faggot.”
7th Oct – Today I read a blog written in three languages. http://lespetitspasdejuls.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/oh-my-god-im-a-teacher/
8th Oct – Met a girl today in the flesh. I’d previously claimed I hadn’t met her, though we’d been introduced on Skype. Can you say you’ve met someone if it was on Skype?
9th Oct – Asked 2 libraries to get me books from interstate; both of them charge $16.50 for 2 weeks’ borrowing. But I’ve also found the books for sale online and can buy second-hand copies for less than the library charges, and they won’t take much longer to arrive from overseas than books from interstate.
30th Sep – Listened to a beautiful voice singing ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’ to the tune of Bette Midler’s ‘The Rose’. This can also be done with ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and the theme from Gilligan’s Island. Keep the tunes, change the words.
1st Oct – Watched one of many episodes of a documentary about the Amish. It’s unusual that so many thousands of people manage to remain separate from the rest of the Western world. But for a safe and healthy life, the price is living with motorless transport and gas lanterns and fetching water. Not to mention hands-off courtships.
2nd Oct – After watching several episodes about the Amish, I chose not to drive my car today because I have a perfectly functional pushbike. I didn’t regret riding it.
3rd Oct – An author I work for always closes the door to the room where we work in her house, even though no one else is there.
4th Oct – Read about King Solomon’s 1000 women. ‘Solomon held fast to them in love,’ the writer of 1 Kings tells us. For a thousand nights he could hold fast to a different woman each night, then start again. Wonder what the Amish think about him…
25th Sep – My son recited pi to 81 decimal places.
26th Sep – My Chinese student gave me a box of Moon Cakes to celebrate mid-autumn (in mid-spring). Normally they have a dried raw egg at the centre – that’s the moon. Mine are moonless.
27th Sep – In my husband’s car, a song title, incorrectly entered by someone in the process of ripping my CD, appeared on a digital screen in the centre of the dash, in big letters, as “Chest of Draws” instead of “Chest of Drawers” by Jenny Biddle. It’s one of my favourite songs so I looked out the window until it was over.
28th Sep – Read on a French news site that J.K. Rowling’s new novel was released in English on Thursday and in French on Friday. That’s confidence in her writing. And the translator’s.
29th Sep – At the National Portrait Gallery today, saw a new and amazing portrait of the Queen in a reflective mood, painted by an Australian artist, Ralph Heimans.