A boy and his dog

by Elizabeth on March 23, 2014 · 1 comment

in Cool stuff, Stuff, Videos

A  little film about a brave little boy named Owen and his  three-legged dog.

(I know, you’re not crying.  You just have something in your eye.)

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by Elizabeth on March 21, 2014 · 0 comments

in Family, Life, Stuff

I feel like I’ve been limping towards this Friday since about Tuesday morning. It’s been the kind of week where we’ve done way too much, but it’s all been good stuff so I don’t get to complain about the exhaustion.  The very definition of a first-world problem.


  • We ate at Rosetta, a Neil Perry restaurant at the Crown Casino.  It’s his first stand-alone Italian restaurant, and the food and service was nothing short of perfection.  We were happy that we chose to be there on a Sunday night because the restaurant wasn’t totally packed and we were able to take our time.  This place has earned a special place in my heart alongside Taxi and Nobu.  They make their pasta and ricotta fresh every day.
  • I had my very first cello lesson.  God, I can’t wait until I can zoom all over that fingerboard effortlessly!  It makes the prettiest sound in the world and I am really convinced that this is an instrument I want to pursue seriously.


  • Tim bought me a ukelele!  (Can you tell that I’ve been trying to put an end to my muso drought?)  It’s a concert grade instrument with a pickup, and maybe one of these days I might record my progress so that you can laugh at my expense.  My neighbours must count their lucky stars that we moved in next door.
  • It’s been a pretty big week for presents: pretty flowers delivered to my office, a classy bouquet of Caramello Koalas (!), a necklace and… a pony!  I don’t have to remember to feed it and it even came with a matching plastic stable that stands about 20cm tall.


Meanwhile, while I’ve been living it up for my birthday there’s been a lot of worry for my family in Brisbane.  Last night my grandmother spent her first night in a nursing home, and it’s been a pretty big decision for all involved.  It’s the first time she’s really needed help to get by – she was happily doing her thing until a couple of weeks ago when she fell and broke her collarbone.  She already knows most of the staff from years of visiting her sister, and she was lucky to be given a room just nearby.  Mum & Dad found her a beautiful antique desk/dresser for her new room and put up lots of her photos and paintings to make it feel like home.

She (thankfully) sounds really happy about the decision and we’re all happy that she can hand over some of the boring chores to the staff there.  She was recently diagnosed as being 103, and the treatment is not having to clean your own bathroom anymore.


Happy weekend, everyone.  I’m looking forward to putting in some serious hours for the stuff on my list – more updates on that soon!


lastweek : thisweek

by Elizabeth on August 26, 2013 · 2 comments

in Life, Stuff


A little watercolour sketch from May 2013.

Last week…  we had one final burst of Winter.
This week…  looks exactly like Spring, and it too wonderful to be stuck inside.

Last week…  I learned that when the Receptionist hits her duress/panic button a very loud alarm sounds above my desk.
This week…  I think we should both ask HR for danger money.

Last week…  Tim slept on the floor of the living room every night with a prolapsed disc.
This week…  he’s still sleeping on the floor, but seems to be slowly getting better.

Last week…  we got our bathroom back after its mini renovation.
This week…  I don’t have to shower at the gym at 5.30am!  Awesome.

Last week…  the floor of our bathroom was covered in dirty, ugly, paint-spattered vinyl flooring.
This week…  the floor of our bathroom is covered in slightly less ugly, clean vinyl flooring.  It didn’t cost us much and was a major upgrade to the room – the best we can do in our little rental.

Last week…  we tried to replace the taps on our bathroom sink.
This week…
  we think maybe we will call a plumber.

Last week…  we exceeded our usual quota of home delivered food.
This week…
  we really should go grocery shopping.

Last week…  I successfully did not buy any of the following things that I really really want: a great big fiddle leaf fig, new lipstick (Clarins Joli Rouge poppy red), nailpolish (Essie mint candy apple), shoes, dresses or investment properties.
This week…  I may cave in and buy that lipstick and get a haircut.

Last week…  I organised a big event at work, and was told that I have ‘military potential’.
This week…  I must remember to check whether this was a compliment.

Last week…  I made peace with something that has been troubling me.
This week…  I feel a little lighter.

Last week…  Tavi Gevinson and I chatted in my office about Melbourne’s vintage clothing scene, and she knew more about it than me.
This week…  I am unlikely to have any fangirl encounters, but who knows – my job gets weird sometimes.

Last week…  was difficult.
This week  will be better, I hope.

Here’s to a wonderful week, for you and for me x


“Two Chips” / An Animated Short from Adam Patch on Vimeo.

In March this year Adam Patch’s wife drank a bottle of wine and then told him a joke.  I wonder if she knew he was recording it?

I think Adam Patch’s wife and I should be friends.


Can you top this?  Please leave me a dad joke in the comments, but remember that you will lose points if it’s actually hilarious!





I’m so excited about Friday that I could smooch it riiiiiiight on the kisser.  I’ve had a pretty good week really, but it’s been so frantic that every single night I’ve collapsed into my bed and been fast asleep before my head has hit the pillow.

Let’s hear it for Tim, who has been known to check on me in the middle of the night to make sure I’m breathing.  I guess I really have been sleeping like the dead lately.

Anyway, I thought we could kick off the weekend with some great stuff that’s been happening around the web lately.  Follow me!

Rules for life by The Bloggess.  It’s basically perfect.

The 101 Most Useful Websites of 2012.  Most of these are smaller sites or web apps that do one thing really really well.  There are some excellent resources in here – definitely one to bookmark!

How To Not Be Boring by Belle Henley.

Overcoming Procrastination, Money Problems, Self-Doubt & Other Creative Distractions.  Easy, right?  Not according to Chuck Palahniuk, who once wrote, “People don’t want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. Their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messes cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown.”  I would love to see Chuck and Kate Reid debate that one!

And speaking of Speedy Reidy, Kate has prepared a complete guide to this year’s Eurovision.  It has been a long time since I have seen this level of dedication and statistical analysis, and I for one cannot wait.  Will we ever again find a song that can rival Safura’s Drip Drop?  Oh 2010, you smell like lipstick again.

Did you know that MoMA offers online courses?  You can choose between self-guided or instructor-led courses and some of the topics look great.  I wonder if I should tackle one of these for task #8 on my list

Skillshare is another cool resource for learning.  It’s an online marketplace for classes, and anybody with knowledge can apply to share it.  The best part is that the prices are extremely reasonable, and there are heaps of topics that don’t take themselves too seriously.  Courses range from typography to app-building to cooking and even makeup.  Heaps of fun to be had here!

How to network without feeling gross.

Georgia wrote a beautiful post about learning to live simply.

The value of ugliness by Clem Bastow, who writes some of the best opinion pieces out there.

How to break the online cycle of “compare and despair”. – Hello, gorgeous.  (Farewell, productivity!)

LOVE this DIY concrete letter tutorial by Wit & Whistle!

Today Kellie shared these cute ideas: DIY instagram wrapping paper and spotty jars with nailpolish.

I’ve been craving soups with this cooler weather, and I’m looking forward to trying these recipes for curried split pea soup with coconut milk and spicy sweet potato and peanut soup.  Yummo!

I’ve noticed a bunch of North American bloggers embracing spring and filling their homes with indoor plants.  I adore having greenery inside, so it’s been great to peek at other peoples’ green thumbs!  Check out Katie’s bedroom nook with mini terrariums, Rachel Denbow’s creative planter ideas, Kaylah’s pretty succulents, Elise’s beautiful bedroom plants and also her tips for keeping indoor plants healthy.

Allie Brosh is back with another incredible Hyperbole and a Half.  ALL OF THE FEELINGS.

Portraits of soldiers before, during and after war.

H&M Shows Collection On Plus-Size Model, Doesn’t Make a Big Deal Of It.  Are we living in the future now?  Hooray!

Design*Sponge shares the story of Crayola.  That vintage packaging is RAD.

Thanks to Nova, Kellie and Danielle for finding some of these great links!

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THEY WERE WRONG (Shane Koyczan)

by Elizabeth on February 28, 2013 · 1 comment

in Life, Stuff, Videos

we weren’t the only kids who grew up this way
to this day
kids are still being called names
the classics were
hey stupid
hey spaz
seems like each school has an arsenal of names
getting updated every year
and if a kid breaks in a school
and no one around chooses to hear
do they make a sound?
are they just the background noise
of a soundtrack stuck on repeat
when people say things like
kids can be cruel?


For Emily.

I promise you that one day these people will not matter.  You will leave them behind, and your life will be so full that there won’t even be space for them in your thoughts.  But until that day, please just remember this one thing.

They were wrong.

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Quiz Meme! (Blame NaBloPoMo)

by Elizabeth on November 2, 2009 · 0 comments

in Stuff

It’s only Day 2 of NaBloPoMo, that wonderful event which rewards quantity over quality, and it’s already time for a cop-out post! I thought I’d borrow this meme from Nailpolish Psychosis.

Feel free to answer these yourself, but you can only use one word…

Where is your cell phone? Desk
Your hair? Ponytail
Your mother? Worried
Your father? Old
Your favorite food? Japanese
Your dream last night? Swimming
Your favorite drink? Pinot
Your dream/goal? Peaceful
What room are you in? Study
Your hobby? Art
Your Fear? Loss
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Melbourne
Where were you last night? Home
Something that you aren’t? Tall
Muffins? Raspberry.
Wish list item? Diamonds
Where did you grow up? Queensland
Last thing you did? Yawned
What are you wearing? Jeans
Your TV? Flat
Your pets? Sleepy
Your friends? Funny
Your life? Fulfilling
Your mood? Satisfied
Missing someone? CuzMcB!
Vehicle? Shiny
Something you’re not wearing? Jewellery
Your favorite store? Shoes
Your favorite color? Red
When was the last time you laughed? Moments
Last time you cried? Unsure
Your best friend? Bald
One place that I go to over and over? Park
Person who emails me regularly? Mum
Favorite place to eat? Chapel


A lesson in hanging toilet paper

by Elizabeth on June 21, 2009 · 5 comments

in Funny Stuff, Stuff

I have an aunt who refuses to acknowledge alternate toilet paper configurations. When confronted with back-to-front paper, she finds herself unable to leave the situation as she found it.

Secretly, I am proud of her stance on line-of-sight paper positioning, and feel exactly the same way.

(But that doesn’t stop me from deliberately flipping it over if I know she’s coming over to visit…)







An open letter to Santa.

by Elizabeth on November 29, 2008 · 3 comments

in Stuff

Dear Santa,

Let’s not beat around the bush. We both know which of your lists has my name on it this year, and the many, many ways in which I earned my status. I think we’re also on the same page about how much fun I had getting there.

Look, you seem like a great guy. You’re always laughing at the hos, so I’m pretty sure you have a good sense of humour. Word on the street is that you also like to drink on the job, so already you sound like my kind of person. You wouldn’t begrudge me the little bit of fun I’ve had this year, would you?

I understand your strict naughty/nice policy, but aren’t you sick of those goody-two-shoes kids by now? Nobody has to know that you bent the rules for little old me! I’ve even gone to the trouble of developing a short-list from which to choose.

(Maybe address them to my dog Harry so that none of the elves catch on. It’s the perfect crime.)

Thanks in advance, big guy. Come through for me this year, and I’ll forget all about the childhood trauma you caused when that pony never came.


Tiffany 1837 circles lariat
A timeless Tiffany favorite. Interlocking circles lariat in sterling silver. 18″ long.

Elsa Peretti Teardrop Earrings
Reminiscent of a solitary raindrop or a shining bead of morning dew. Hoop earrings in sterling silver, for pierced ears. Original designs copyrighted by Elsa Peretti.

Pandora bracelet
Build your own bracelet

Crumpler 7 Million Dollar Home

Hot Air Balloon Flight

PS: I am still accepting ponies.


ATTN: Women in shirt-dresses

by Elizabeth on March 23, 2008 · 4 comments

in Stuff, WTF?

99.98% of you look completely ridiculous.

My hope is that you look back on this period in your lives with a healthy mixture of shame and amusement – much like the time you bought those pants with the built-in skirt. Make no mistake – history will judge you.

I am hoping that Winter takes care of this alarming trend.


Never feed your dog the following foods: grapes, raisins, sultanas, onions, macadamias, chocolate, garlic, coffee or fruit pips.

To find out more, read on.

It’s a rare pet owner who doesn’t slip his critter the occasional treat. Our pets add so much to the quality of our lives that we look for ways to return the kindness, or to at least impart some measure of thanks for all they do. Yet though the urge to do good is there, the mechanism often isn’t.

Humans and the pets they keep have widely differing views on what constitutes welcome rewards or recognitions. Your dog, for instance, wouldn’t think much of a thank-you card, nor would your cat feel properly appreciated were he the recipient of a dozen roses presented in a nice vase. (Likewise, you would probably feel far less than delighted by the gift of a headless mouse.)

Yet food transcends the species. Almost every creature we would think to keep as a companion appears to take some delight in eating, so a gift of tasty yet out-of-the-ordinary ingestibles becomes a workable way of communicating “I love you,” “Well done!” or just “Thanks.” Unfortunately, good intentions can have deadly consequences when pet owners make the mistake of assuming all their favorite snacks are also suitable for their animals.

via Snopes

Word is spreading that dogs and onions don’t mix. Even so, Harry and I had to learn this the hard way after a big meal of bolognaise sauce a few years ago. There’s nothing like seeing your living room floor covered in blood-filled pee to make you remember that rule.

Harry was fine, although he risked acute renal failure and was very anaemic for about a week. Had I hesitated before taking him to the vet he might not be with us.

Somehow after 18 years of dog ownership no vet had ever warned me about the dangers of onion. This week I discovered a few more human foods that are also potentially fatal to dogs.

Please read the list, and pass the information on to any dog owners that you know. I’m living proof that a responsible pet owner can be completely ignorant, and risk making a horrible mistake.

It doesn’t take much onion to kill a small dog, and repeated small doses are just as harmful as a single large dose.

Onions and garlic are other dangerous food ingredients that cause sickness in dogs, cats and also livestock. Onions and garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Onions are more of a danger.

Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop haemolytic anaemia, where the pet’s red blood cells burst while circulating in its body.

At first, pets affected by onion poisoning show gastroenteritis with vomiting and diarrhoea. They will show no interest in food and will be dull and weak. The red pigment from the burst blood cells appears in an affected animal’s urine and it becomes breathless. The breathlessness occurs because the red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body are reduced in number.


This was news to me until a few days ago. Harry always whines at me when I eat grapes, so I’ve slipped him quite a few over the years. Once again, I had absolutely no idea that I was feeding something that could cause his kidneys to fail.

The database showed that dogs who ate the grapes and raisins typically vomited within a few hours of ingestion. Most of the time, partially digested grapes and raisins could be seen in the vomit, fecal material, or both. At this point, some dogs would stop eating (anorexia), and develop diarrhea. The dogs often became quiet and lethargic, and showed signs of abdominal pain. These clinical signs lasted for several days – sometimes even weeks.

When medical care was sought, blood chemistry panels showed consistent patterns. Hypercalcemia (elevated blood calcium levels) was frequently present, as well as elevated levels of blood urea nitrogen, creatinine and phosphorous (substances that reflect kidney function). These chemistries began to increase anywhere from 24 hours to several days after the dogs ate the fruit. As the kidney damage developed, the dogs would produce little urine. When they could no longer produce urine, death occurred. In some cases, dogs who received timely veterinary care still had to be euthanized.


It’s crazy that an everyday fruit can have such dire consequences for a domestic animal. I wonder how many people know about it? That article goes on to say that pesticides, heavy metals and fungal contaminants have been ruled out as the cause of grapes’ toxicity, so it’s something to do with the grape itself.


The toxic compound is unknown but the affect of macadamia nuts is to cause locomotory difficulties. Dogs develop a tremor of the skeletal muscles, and weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters. Affected dogs are often unable to rise and are distressed, usually panting. Some affected dogs have swollen limbs and show pain when the limbs are manipulated.

Dogs have been affected by eating as few as six macadamia kernels (nuts without the shell) while others had eaten approximately forty kernels.


Most dog owners already know that dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate, but here’s why. Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic.

When affected by an overdose of chocolate, a dog can become excited and hyperactive. Due to the diuretic effect, it may pass large volumes of urine and it will be unusually thirsty. Vomiting and diarrhoea are also common. The effect of theobromine on the heart is the most dangerous effect. Theobromine will either increase the dog’s heart rate or may cause the heart to beat irregularly. Death is quite possible, especially with exercise.

After their pet has eaten a large quantity of chocolate, many pet owners assume their pet is unaffected. However, the signs of sickness may not be seen for several hours, with death following within twenty-four hours.

Cooking chocolate and cocoa are the most toxic forms of chocolate to a dog, so something like mud cake is a real landmine. A dog has to eat a fair amount of milk chocolate to be affected, but I have a policy of never buying “doggy chocolate” treats so that he doesn’t develop a taste for it.

According to Petalia, these are some of the other human foods and household items that are especially toxic to dogs:

  • Pear pips, the kernels of plums, peaches and apricots, apple core pips (contain cyanogenic glycosides resulting in cyanide posioning)
  • Potato peelings and green looking potatoes
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Mouldy/spoiled foods (duh!)
  • Alcohol
  • Yeast dough
  • Coffee grounds, beans & tea (caffeine)
  • Hops (used in home brewing)
  • Tomato leaves & stems (green parts)
  • Broccoli (in large amounts)
  • Cigarettes, tobacco, cigars

The Pet Center adds the following:

  • Mothballs, potpourri oils, homemade play dough, fabric softener sheets, dishwashing detergent & batteries could be dangerous for your pet.
  • Be aware of the plants you have in your home and yard. The ingestion of azalea, oleander, sago palm or yew plant material by your pet can be fatal. Easter lily, day lily, tiger lily and some other lily species can cause kidney failure in cats.
  • Be alert for antifreeze/coolant leaking from your vehicle. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste and ingesting just a small amount can cause an animal’s death. Consider using animal-friendly products that use propylene glycol rather than those containing ethylene glycol.

If you’ve read this far, thank you! Don’t forget to tell other pet owners about this post, so that we can raise awareness of these foods. It’s not my usual style to embark upon a crusade like this, but what’s more important than protecting the animals who can’t take care of themselves?


Danger! Women at work.

by Elizabeth on January 31, 2008 · 5 comments

in Australia, Stuff


With thanks to Katie Chatfield for this disturbing piece of history.

1943 Guide to Hiring Women: The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. This was written for male supervisors of women in the work force during World War II.

Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees

There’s no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage. Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from western properties:

1. If you can get them, pick young married women. They have these advantages, according to the reports of western companies: they usually have more of a sense of responsibility than do their unmarried sisters; they’re less likely to be flirtatious; as a rule, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it — maybe a sick husband or one who’s in the army; they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.

2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Most transportation companies have found that older women who have never contacted the public, have a hard time adapting themselves, are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.

3. While there are exceptions, of course, to this rule, general experience indicates that “husky” girls — those who are just a little on the heavy side — are likely to be more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.

4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination — one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job. Transit companies that follow this practice report a surprising number of women turned down for nervous disorders.

5. In breaking in women who haven’t previously done outside work, stress at the outset the importance of time — the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.

6. Give the female employe in garage or office a definite day-long schedule of duties so that she’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.

7. Whenever possible, let the inside employe change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be nervous and they’re happier with change.

8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. Companies that are already using large numbers of women stress the fact that you have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and consequently is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.

9. Be tactful in issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way that men do. Never ridicule a woman — it breaks her spirit and cuts her efficiency.

10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl’s husband or father may swear vociferously, she’ll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.

11. Get enough size variety in operator uniforms that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too strongly as a means of keeping women happy, according to western properties.


Word of the day: Enormity

by Elizabeth on November 28, 2007 · 3 comments

in Stuff

n., pl. -ties.

1. The quality of passing all moral bounds; excessive wickedness or outrageousness.
2. A monstrous offense or evil; an outrage.
3. Usage Problem. Great size; immensity: “Beyond that, [Russia’s] sheer enormity offered a defense against invaders that no European nation enjoyed” (W. Bruce Lincoln).

[French énormité, from Old French, from Latin ?normit?s, from ?normis, unusual, enormous. See enormous.]

USAGE NOTE Enormity is frequently used to refer simply to the property of being great in size or extent, but many would prefer that enormousness (or a synonym such as immensity) be used for this general sense and that enormity be limited to situations that demand a negative moral judgment, as in Not until the war ended and journalists were able to enter Cambodia did the world really become aware of the enormity of Pol Pot’s oppression. Fifty-nine percent of the Usage Panel rejects the use of enormity as a synonym for immensity in the sentence At that point the engineers sat down to design an entirely new viaduct, apparently undaunted by the enormity of their task. This distinction between enormity and enormousness has not always existed historically, but nowadays many observe it. Writers who ignore the distinction, as in the enormity of the President’s election victory or the enormity of her inheritance, may find that their words have cast unintended aspersions or evoked unexpected laughter.

In my reading today I’ve come across this word 3 or 4 times, and in each case the author meant “enormousness”. I’m not a complete pedant, but this does seem to be one word that is misused by lots of people.