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Ejo #138 – My Green Babies (or Plants Are People Too): Part 2

A few of you have asked me for my top tips for keeping plants healthy.  In my previous post, I mentioned being careful about over-watering (just don’t do it!), re-potting and moving plants around to give them a new lease on life.  The other thing I regularly do for all my plants (except for Eugene, coz fuck that guy) is to wipe their leaves clean from time to time.  Dust (or in our case, sand) accumulating on leaves actually prevents plants from being able to photosynthesise, which can then lead to all sorts of problems.  I like to get some kitchen towel and sit down next to my babies and chat to them as I gently wipe their beautiful leaves clean.  Sure, it can be a little time consuming, but it’s also a special time, a time to bond and to just be with each other. 

Speaking of plant love, shamed by the revelation of my blatant disregard for one of my own plant babies, I’ve spent the last month trying to get to know Sally. Just giving her a bit of my attention. I haven’t been the best mother to her, in the past. But I want to change. I’ve tried to change. It’s taken her a little while, but I think she’s starting to open up to me. She’s starting to come around.

Be still my beating heart. Sally’s new baby shoot.


CHESTER

Macramé is so daggy, but I actually really love it.

Chester is a Monstera adansonii, commonly known as a monkey mask Monstera.  I bought him in a supermarket, where, surprisingly, most of our healthiest plants were purchased.  Nearly all the plants that have perished under my guardianship were bought in nurseries, so I don’t really bother shopping at garden centres anymore.  Chester and I went through a bit of a difficult patch for a few months because, for some inexplicable reason, I kept calling him Charlie.  It didn’t quite feel right, but he didn’t correct me either, so I’d say we’re both a little bit to blame for that nonsense.  Yes, it was awkward for a while, but we’re back on speaking terms now. 


PETER

The strong, silent type.

Peter is a Ficus elastica, also known as a rubber plant.  These guys have always appealed to me because I remember having one in our flat when I was a small child.  Peter isn’t a fancy kind of plant, and he’s always been an easy baby.  I think he’s pretty content to stay in the background and let the other kids steal all the limelight.  However, he is currently growing some beautiful new dark green, shiny leaves, which simply delight me (so maybe he is a little bit of a showpony after all).  When his new leaves pop out of their sheaths and unfurl into existence, I like to give them a little kiss to welcome them into the world (yes, I am affectionate with my children; probably the same way that you are with yours, so… whatevs). 

The magic of nature.


BILL
Bill is a trendy Ficus lyrata, more commonly known as a fiddle leaf fig.  I swear to god, you can’t even open a design magazine these days without seeing one of these hipsters sprucing up an interior.  In fact, when my sisters and I were styling our family home to put on the market a couple of years ago, we went out and bought one of these guys to zhuzh up the house. 

Sexy beast.

I very distinctly remember the day that Bill was delivered to our apartment.  David and I had gone out with a friend that afternoon and… hmm, let’s just say we’d had a little bit to drink.  When Bill arrived, I popped him onto the dining room table to admire him, and as soon as I turned my back, perhaps threatened by all the attention I was lavishing onto the newcomer, David decided to establish dominance by taking a large bite out of one of Bill’s beautiful, crinkly leaves.  I was not impressed, and promptly slapped a restraining order on David, which stands to this day!  He has visitation rights, but only when I’m at home to supervise.  And Bill still bears the scar of the bite mark on his lower leaf.  Whenever he gets self conscious about it, I like to show him my own scars and tell him that it gives him character. Parenting 101.


IVY
Ivy is a golden pothos, just like my work-kid LuLu, who you met last time.  For a while she was marooned in a land-bound pot, while I conducted high level negotiation talks with David to please, please, please let me hang some macramé pots from the ceiling.  Eventually he relented and drilled some hooks into our ceiling from which to hang the kinds of plants that like to hang around.  Ivy absolutely fucking loves hanging around.  She has grown so unbelievably fast since we put her up there, and some of her tendrils are now almost three metres long.  I have grand plans to trail her branches all around the living room, which is actually possible because they can grow up to 12 metres long.  Jungle living, bitches!!! 

She really loves just hanging around.


LOU
Lou is an Asplenium nidus, also known as a bird’s nest fern because they grow out of a central, fuzzy rosette that looks like … you guessed it, a bird’s nest.  Lou prefers to be referred to by the pronouns they/them, and we fully support that.  They were a land-based plant for a little while, but after I convinced David to screw the holes in the ceiling, we hung them up and they’ve burgeoned ever since.  In this photo you can see a brand new baby frond unfurling.  Tell me it’s not breathtaking!!!

My baby’s having a baby!!


TOMMY’S

What? Are? You?

The Tommy’s are (ostensibly) tomato plants.  These weirdos are actually freaks of nature.  I planted some of my Mum’s heirloom tomato plant seeds in October of last year, and a few of them sprouted leaves.  But I must have fucked up the timing, because these guys haven’t grown at all since then.  But they’re not dead, either.  The three that have survived have literally been this size for the last nine months. It’s bizarre.  It’s like they’re in some kind of stasis, and I’m here for it. I’m trying to keep them alive long enough for them to make it through summer, and maybe then they’ll start growing again?  Who the fuck knows.  I’m just winging it here, people, flying by the seat of my pants.  This is completely new territory for me.  Also: maybe science?? 


AZIZ
Aziz is a Zamioculcas zamiifolia, also known as a ZZ plant.  These guys are super duper low maintenance, which is why you’ll frequently see them growing quite happily under the bright, artificial light of malls and office buildings.  And that’s exactly what I love about Aziz – he is quite comfy sitting in the darker areas of the house, where a lot of other plants would suffer from the lack of light.  I’d been on the lookout for a ZZ for a really long time, and when I saw this charmer in IKEA one afternoon I literally jumped for joy.  He’s gorgeous, isn’t he?  I think the other plants get jealous of him sometimes because he sits in a spot I walk past frequently, so I’m always giving him a high five or whispering, “Yo Aziz, whaddup!”   The other plants need to get over it. 

Yo, Aziz!!


SHANE

Shane’s the chickadee on the far right. This photo was taken nearly 10 years ago. They’re in the bathtub because David and I were going on holiday. We aren’t the best parents in the world, but I’ve never pretended otherwise.

Shane is a Peperomia obtusifolia, also known as a baby rubber plant.  She’s one of the OG flora we bought when we first moved to Dubai.  She’s been with us a long time, and I don’t think any of the other plants will be surprised to hear me say that she’s my favourite.  We’ve been through a lot together; a lot of years, man.  She’s moved house with us, twice.  And, I’m not embarrassed to say that she spent a short stint in a foster home when David and I went to Australia for a few weeks in 2016.  Our friends Nat and Andy did a wonderful job of looking after her because when she came back home she started growing like CRAZY!!!  Perhaps the change of scenery triggered a growth spurt?  Who knows.  What I do know is that she started overflowing her pot with this beautiful, lush, dark green leafery, cascading down the side, a luxuriant waterfall of frondescence. 

This was Shane about a year ago, having a shower. Rapunzel of the plant world.

Last year I gave  her a haircut.  I think it makes her look younger and more youthful, and it’s definitely easier for her to manage.  And despite being the grande dame of the bunch, she’s still growing new baby leaves, like a plant half her age.  Shane is a great example of a babe that doesn’t need too much attention to thrive.  In the 12 years we’ve had her, I’ve never repotted her.  And I only water her once a month.  I hope that what I’m doing keeps working and that she sticks around for a long time because I just love looking at her, chatting to her, touching her and waking up every morning to see her at the foot of my bed.  I’m used to having her around, and I love her. 

This is Shane today. No, she hasn’t had Botox (but thanks for asking).


VERA
Vera is an Aloe vera, also known as aloe vera.  I knicked a little cutting from the walking track behind our apartment a couple of years ago and she grows like she’s on steroids.  We have to keep cutting her back as she frequently outgrows her pot.  I like having her around because her gel reportedly has amazing healing properties, not least of which as a soothing gel to apply to sunburnt skin.  I can actually vouch for this one, as I got quite a nasty burn last year and the only thing that made me feel better was fresh aloe vera gel. 

Vera’s a bit of a wild child.


RICHARD
Richard is an Ixora coccinea, also known as a jungle geranium.  We bought him when we first moved into this apartment, just over five years ago.  He could probably do with a little more care, but guess what?  I’m the inside plant parent.  Outside is David’s domain.  I’m not laying any blame here.  Dubai’s “outside” is horrendously hot and inhospitable for most of the year, and any plant that can survive for five years on our balcony is a fucking superhero in my eyes.  In fact, David has done a remarkable job of keeping all the outdoor plants alive.  While Richard definitely looks less vital than when we first got him, he still flowers quite abundantly during the winter months which is just glorious to behold, and which must mean that even though he’s a little bit abused, he probably likes it? 

A friend was over the other day and looked out the window and asked, “Is that a bonsai?”. No, I said, that’s just Richard.


LOLI, ELLIE & BARB

Barb and Ellie. Never turn your back on these bitches – they will shiv you.

These assholes are Yucca gloriosas, also known as Spanish daggers.  As you can see we treat them like absolute shit, and they repay us by brutally stabbing us every opportunity they get.  We get along just fine.  As long as David keeps trimming and watering them (coz I won’t go anywhere near the bastards unless I absolutely have to), and as long as they don’t perforate our eardrums or skewer our eyeballs (which are apparently amongst the more common injuries inflicted by these shitheads) then they can stay.   

Meet Loli (it’s short for Lolita). We keep her on a separate balcony for our own protection.

Ejo #137 – My Green Babies (or Plants Are People Too): Part 1

I’m fairly confident that in my last ejo I made it crystal clear that I am not the motherly type. But that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of being motherly. Or loving. Or that I can’t care for, or nurture, another living thing. I am absolutely obsessed with dogs, and utterly devastated that I can’t have one of my own. I accost the dog owners of our local community on the daily, shouting, “PUPPY!” at every adorable canine I see. But sadly, the wanderlusting lifestyle that David and I have chosen precludes us from owning a pet. But… it doesn’t stop us from owning plants.

As most of you know, my mother had a spectacularly green thumb. Her garden was legendary. I’m not sure I’ve inherited her horticultural abilities, but I don’t think it would be too bold to say that I am pretty good at keeping houseplants alive. That hasn’t always been the case, and many (too many) blameless green darlings have met their untimely demise whilst under my care. I have felt each one, as a dagger in my heart. I love my plants, as I would love my own children (and I will wrestle to the ground anyone who dares to challenge that premise). My plants are my babies, and no, that’s not weird. You’re weird.

My Mum’s glorious green wonderland.

Over the years I have learned to care for a variety of beautiful plants, through the aforementioned trial and error. I can now confidently and intuitively assess what each of my kiddies requires to thrive (or at least not die). The biggest secret I’ve learned? A little bit of tough love won’t kill ‘em. Overwatering is a far bigger assault than letting them dry out a bit. However, it’s not simply a case of popping them in a corner and watering them once in a while (though some plants are easier to look after than others – I’m looking at you Adele!!!). The needs of plants differ from one to the other, and from one day to the next. Houseplants may seem inert, but they are dynamic, living things. They get hungry, thirsty, hot, cold and sick. They can also be happy. I must say that I find it very fulfilling, having something to look after. I enjoy being responsible for these beautiful living organisms. And in turn they repay me with purified air, fresh oxygen and exquisite beauty. Who is looking after whom? Naturally they all have names, but I do want to point out that I don’t ever name them myself. They tell me what their own names are, when they’re ready. Sometimes that’s a couple of days after we adopt them, other times they whisper it to me from the supermarket shelf they’re sitting on. They are all unique and wonderful and I simply adore them. And so, just like a proud mummy showing off her precociously talented youngsters, I would like to introduce you to my green kiddies.


ADAN & LULU

Adan means Garden of Eden in Arabic.

Adan is an Aglaonema silver queen, also known as a Chinese evergreen. And LuLu is an Epipremnum aureum, also known as devil’s ivy. She’s also sometimes called golden pothos and she is ridiculously easy to care for and grow. Adan and LuLu are my “other” plant family. Some people have work husbands or work wives. I have work children. And yes, they are mine. Whenever I would visit the office levels of our building, I’d see all these amazing large potted plants around the place and that made me jealous for us tower folk, bereft of any greenery. So I asked facilities to please bring up one or two big plants for the tower, and what we got was Adan. Better than nothing. I’ve taped a little sign on him asking the other controllers to not water him, so he’s doing really well. He gets a lot of indirect sunlight and is rather delighted to be up in the tower rather than being stuck on a desk in some stuffy office.

It’s lovely to have a pop of colour in the dreary tower.

LuLu is actually a cutting of golden pothos that I rescued from someone’s workstation. She’s unusual in that she can grow in water and doesn’t need soil to survive. Clever girl, LuLu.


ADELE
Adele was a Spathiphyllum, commonly known as a peace lily. More like a grief lily, if you ask me. Adele has been my third attempt to care for a peace lily and she will definitely be the last. No matter what I do, I just cannot keep these little bitches alive. I don’t even think they’re that hard to look after. The folks at gardeningknowhow.com reckon that, “When it comes to indoor plants, peace lily plants are some of the easiest to care for.” What absolute bullshit. Just ask Adele. And Lillian. And Sylvia. I’m pretty sure they would disagree. Look, in the interests of full disclosure I will admit that of the three, Lillian’s death was probably my fault. Mea culpa. She was whining and wilting, so I popped her outside in the sunshine for a couple of hours in the hope of reviving her. How was I supposed to know that direct sunlight would kill her? Involuntary manslaughter, at worst.

I spit on your grave, Adele.

But Adele was supposed to be different. She was my chance at redemption. I kept her away from direct sunlight. I watered her with filtered water, I misted her. I caressed her. I spoilt her rotten. To no avail. She finally carked it a couple of weeks ago after a quite obnoxious, and melodramatically protracted, deathbed scene. That’s it for me, no more. Peace (lilies) out.


LUCY

A fifteenth chance at life.

Lucy is a Dracaena marginata, commonly known as a Madagascar dragon tree. I can’t even remember where I got Lucy, we’ve had her for so long. She’s grown from a wee baby dragon lass of about 20cm tall to the gorgeous Amazonian beauty you see today. But it hasn’t been an easy road with her. She really put us through the wringer, and there was a time that I wasn’t even sure she was going to make it. You wouldn’t know it looking at her lush foliage now, but for a few years she was simply unable to shake a mealybug (or scale) infestation – pests that cause plants to stop growing and start dropping their leaves, eventually leading to their death. I did everything I could. I would pick the little fuckers off individually, by hand. I sprayed her with a special soapy vodka solution. I put her outside. I moved her around the house. I would just sit with her. Nothing seemed to work. She would get better for a while and then the bugs would come back. At my lowest point, in desperation, I told David that if she didn’t get better I would just leave her outside and let someone else take her. Someone who might be able to look after her better. I’m not proud of that moment. But it happened, and I think it’s important that we talk about it. I’m so grateful that (with a lot of love and support) she managed to kick that bug habit to the kerb. After years of being feeble and sickly, she is now absolutely flourishing, strong and beautiful and I absolutely adore her, all the more for what she put us through. Her illness could have torn us apart, but instead it brought us closer together. And the biggest lesson she taught me: never give up.


DORIS
Doris is a Dracaena fragrans, commonly known as a corn plant. Doris is another old girl that once nearly died (though she was never as ill as Lucy). She just suffered from a general malade, and it took me a long time to figure out why. It was Doris who taught me about the dangers of overwatering. You feel that giving them more water is an act of love, but it’s actually a death sentence. Their roots start to rot and they slowly lose the will to live. I look at Doris now and marvel at the difference a cup of water a month makes.

The dry tips of Doris’ leaves mean that I’m still overwatering her. 😦


EUGENE
Eugene started off as a Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, which Google tells me is also sometimes called a ruby ball cactus. That’s because they’re supposed to look like this:

This is what Eugene is supposed to look like.

And Eugene did indeed start off looking like that. I have no idea what happened to him; perhaps he was bitten by a radioactive mealybug. But very shortly after he moved in, his ruby ball started to rot and wither away. Even though he was just a two buck ornamental toy cactus, I felt kind of ripped off. To be honest, I expected the rest of him to follow the ruby ball into an early grave, but shortly afterwards Eugene started growing in his own unique way. He grew so much that he started falling over so I decided to do some horticultural sculpting, practicing shibari, the ancient Japanese art of knot-tying on him. Every few months a cactus segment will grow out the side, so I lovingly and gently, but firmly, wrap the long, woody tendrils around the other ones, tying them all together. I have no idea how long we can keep this up, but I can guarantee that it won’t be me who says the safe word first.

This is what Eugene actually looks like.


SYBIL
Sybil is an Echeveria agavoides, also sometimes known as a wax agave. Sybil started off as one of those cute miniature succulent pots but she very quickly outgrew her home because she kept multiplying. This made her depressed and anxious, and she started dropping leaves so I did what every good mum would do and moved her into a nice big bowl where she has plenty of room to grow her own little babies (very adorably known as pups). You can call me grandmamma, I don’t mind!!

Sybil started off as one, then became two, and now she’s three.


STEWIE
Stewie is an Alocasia mortfontanensis, also known as elephant’s ears. He was another supermarket purchase and actually came in the big while bowl that Sybil is now residing in. The problem with the bowl for Stewie is that he likes a lot of drainage and the bowl doesn’t have any holes, so his roots became too wet and he started drooping and looking a bit wistful. I knew that I had to take immediate action, so I repotted him and moved him to a different spot (these two things really are the best first aid a plant can get). He has rewarded me with three gorgeous new leaves, and I reward him with cuddles and my unconditional love.

You can see why they call them elephant’s ears.


THE GANG

They’re called adult collectibles. I will not be answering any further questions.

Meet the gang. Sarah is a Dracaena trifasciata, also known as a mother-in-law’s tongue, or snake plant. She is a super slow grower which is probably for the best because apparently she has the potential to grow up to eight feet tall. Woah there Sarah, slow your roll girl!

Rico is a Goeppertia makoyana, also known as a peacock plant. What I love about Rico is that every night he becomes quite erect!!! I mean, literally. His leaves all stand to attention like little soldiers. It’s quite amazing to see. Also, when I took his picture right now to identify him correctly, the plant-Shazam app, Picture This, told me that I am a horrible mother and that plant services have been alerted. God, this parenthood jam just never lets up, does it.

I promise I’ll water him less from now on.

Fran is a Nephrolepis exaltata, also known as a Boston fern. I don’t do so well with ferns, and I’ve definitely killed more than my fair share. But I somehow managed to keep Fran from dying, pulling her back from the light at the eleventh hour. It really is a miracle that she’s still alive, to be honest. She has about twenty fronds right now, but after I conducted life-saving emergency surgery on her (with a Stanley knife, no less) she was left with just one sad, droopy little frond. As you can see she is slowly growing back. I mist her once in a while, and she seems to like that so I’ll keep doing it.

Sally is a Schefflera arboricola, also known as a dwarf umbrella tree. Sally is not my favourite plant in the world, and I have a feeling she knows it. She’s just so goddamn boring. Which is the exact reason I’m so glad I never had kids. What if I’d had a boring one!!! A tiresome child that I just couldn’t be arsed with. Imagine wishing (as I do with Sally) that I’d never brought the little bugger into the world/my home to start with. And now I feel guilty so I have to lavish her with some attention to make myself feel better. She’s still fucking boring though.

Fakey is the “plant” next to Sally on the bottom row (see what I did there). I own a couple of fake plants because I really love having greenery in the bathrooms and unfortunately our bathrooms are completely devoid of any natural light, which plants obviously need to live. Here are the other ones. They don’t have names, obvs, coz they’re not real.

I don’t love having fakeys but my brain still gets off on the green factor, and as far as fakeys go, these ones aren’t too bad.

To be continued…..

Ejo #125 – My Diary: Quarantine (Part 2)

DAY TEN
We went to the supermarket today. You know, I realised I am dismally shit at doing a weekly grocery shop. David and I are used to buying what we need, on the day that we need it. Sure, it’s a pain in the ass to go to the supermarket every day, but we’re really well serviced for grocery stores in our neighbourhood. Plus, we tend to waste less that way, and everything is always fresh. Anyway, trying to buy enough food for 14 days has been a total bust. This is our third quarantine run to the supermarket just to stock up on things like avocadoes, tomatoes, herbs etc. that go off after a few days. First world problems, right?

On the plus side, I’m proud to say that we got busy cleaning out our gimp room today. OK, so most people in our apartment complex might call it a “maid’s room”. And that’s because those people are monsters. Their live-in maids are crammed into these tiny, shitty, windowless little rooms that, frankly, are not fit for human habitation. A gimp, however….. a gimp does not have the same privileges as a regular person. No, no, no. Sorry gimp, you know what you signed up for. I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve Marie Kondo’d this room since we moved in four years ago. And it was satisfying as hell to just chuck everything out into the hallway, re-arrange what we wanted to keep and throw the rest away. The gimp stayed, of course. It sparks joy.

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Before

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After

PS Today’s soundtrack was brought to you by…..

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The Who

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The Flaming Lips

DAY ELEVEN
Today I went for a walk while David slept off a hangover from last night’s invitation-only party of one (spoiler alert, I wasn’t invited). No judgement from me. It’s pandemic times, and I get it. But, I must say, as much as I love my delightful party-animal husband, it was nice to just have some alone time this morning. To not have to talk to anyone. To not have to worry about anyone else but me. Just for 40 minutes. It’s not a reflection on our relationship. At all. It’s a reflection on having to spend 24 hours a day with another human being in a fairly small apartment. And I have to admit that now, on Day 11, it’s starting to get to me a little bit. Today was marred by boredom. If you’re not on the internet, if you’re not on your phone, if you’re not reading a book or watching TV or cooking or cleaning out the gimp room, what the hell are you doing?? Huh? HUH???

OK, so today I made some more hot sauce, but this time with fresh chillies. I also designed and printed some labels for the jars. Martha Stewart, how’d ya like me now?

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Fresh jalapeños and garlic (I also added some dried ancho chilli for some fruitiness).

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The Merde! is the fresh chilli sauce, and the შენი დედამოვტყან is made from my Mum’s dried chillies

PS Today’s soundtrack was brought to you by…..

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Curtis Mayfield

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John Coltrane

DAY TWELVE
Eeek. Today I woke up with a cough and a mild dose of anxiety. I’m keeping an eye on the cough because I am prone to bronchitis. But I have no other symptoms so I’m not going to worry about it yet. The anxiety? Well, there’s not much I can do about that.

What else? I cleaned, sanded and taped the window frame in our guest bedroom. I’ve been talking a big game about painting it matte black for about two years. I’ve come to the rather startling realisation that while I might be overflowing with inspiration, I usually don’t have the time or inclination to actually follow through on my home improvement ideas. So, now that I have the time, I’m trying to muster up the inclination.

PS Today’s soundtrack was brought to you by…..

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Cyndi Lauper

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Liz Phair

DAY THIRTEEN
I’m drinking way too much, not exercising enough and feeling the pressures of being stuck at home. Today we got a message from work saying that our quarantine has been extended by another seven days. I am simultaneously overjoyed and overwhelmed by this news. I certainly don’t mind staying at home. I could represent Australia at the Olympics in self-isolation. I have finely honed and sharpened the skill of staying at home during the last 11 years, and I actually love it. I’m a homebody. But still, it’s tough times for me right now. I would have thought that after nearly two weeks, I might be looking forward to getting back out there into the world, to talk to people, to go back to work. But nope, it seems that quarantine has only exacerbated my introversion. I know I just have to ride this feeling out. I know I’ll be OK. I always am.

Hey, in other news I called the guys from a charity called Take My Junk to come and… well, take our junk. The rickety coffee table that couldn’t be salvaged. As well as some old outdoor furniture and a laundry basket full of stuff left over from the Great Gimp-Room Purge of 2020. It was cathartic. David and I high-fived each other after it had all been taken away. And then we washed our hands. You just can’t be too careful these days.

OK, wow, so this just happened. It’s 8pm, and I’m sitting here on the computer, and I heard a noise from outside. I went out onto the balcony and was greeted by a swelling symphony of joyous whistling and cheering and clapping from our neighbours in the adjoining buildings. And it was beautiful, and it truly connected us all from within this weird situation we’re sharing, and I felt the love and I gave the love back, and it turned a crappy day into a wonderful one. And it was almost enough to restore my faith in humanity. For a few minutes anyway.

 

PS Today’s soundtrack was brought to you by…..

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Leonard Cohen

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Bette Midler

DAY FOURTEEN
My Mum died one year ago today. So, you know… it’s been shitty. To be honest I’ve cried a lot the last few days. I’ve been numb. Just really flat. There really aren’t any words that can do justice to the way I feel about it. That hasn’t stopped me from trying to find the words, though. I have been writing about it, and that does help. It always helps. It’s why I continue with my ejos, even when sometimes it’s excruciatingly painful to deep-dive into my thoughts and memories and feelings, just so that I can put a few select sentences onto a page. There’s been a fair amount of self-medicating leading up to this day. A lot of booze. It does make me feel better in the moment, mostly by taking me out of the moment. And that’s OK for now.

To mark the day, David hammered a nail into the wall, and we hung up an ugly, old evil-eye pendant from my Mum’s house. I don’t particularly believe in the evil eye, but I like the iconography of it, and my Mum believed it so… it’s really nice to have it hanging in the apartment. It connects me to her, in a way, and to a sliver of the past that we once shared.

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Ugly beautiful.

PS Today’s soundtrack was brought to you by…..

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Tori Amos

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Peaches (Fuck The Pain Away, fuck yeah!)

DAY FIFTEEN
We played Bohemian Rhapsody at volume eleven this afternoon. I’m sure the neighbours enjoyed it. We certainly did.

That is all we did today, and I’m not even joking.

Quarantine queen, signing out.

PS Today’s soundtrack was brought to you by…..

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Queen

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The Divinyls

DAY SIXTEEN
AS OF TODAY, 28th MARCH 2020, 620,938 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH COVID-19.  I’M WATCHING VIDEOS OF IDIOTS IN AUSTRALIA AND THE US BEING PRETTY FUCKING CAVALIER ABOUT THE THREAT AND I’M GETTING PRETTY FUCKING ANGRY AT THEM.  THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLY QUARANTINING THEMSELVES, AT GREAT PERSONAL AND FINANCIAL EXPENSE, IN ORDER TO KEEP THE NUMBERS DOWN, TO EASE THE BURDEN ON OUR DOCTORS AND NURSES, TO HELP FLATTEN THE CURVE.  BUT NO, THESE DICKHEADS ARE OUT AND ABOUT, FROLICKING ON THE BEACH, DRINKING BEERS AT HOUSE PARTIES AND LICKING TOILETS.  YOU FUCKING MORONS.  I CAN’T EVEN EXPRESS HOW PISSED OFF I AM AT THIS DISGRACEFUL SHOW OF IRRESPONSIBILITY AND SELFISHNESS.

IN TOTAL CONTRAST TO THESE CUNTS, I ACTUALLY MADE MYSELF USEFUL TODAY, AND I PAINTED THAT GODDAMN GUEST BEDROOM WINDOW FRAME.  AND I LOVE IT.  IT LOOKS FABULOUS.  EVEN BETTER THAN I’D IMAGINED.  I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TOOK ME SO BLOODY LONG.  AND OF COURSE I PLAYED PAINTED BLACK BY THE ROLLING STONES.  WHAT THE FUCK ELSE WAS I GOING TO PLAY.  AND YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE, FUCK THOSE ASSHOLES.  STAY HOME MOTHERFUCKERS.  THIS ISN’T A JOKE.  IT’S A GLOBAL PANDEMIC, AND PEOPLE ARE DYING.  THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE DYING EVERY DAY.

FUCK YOU.

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Boring before.

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Amazing after.

PS Today’s soundtrack was brought to you by…..

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The Rolling Stones

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Abba

DAY SEVENTEEN
Today was going to be a total write off due to a complete lack of interest. But then I found myself electric-boogalooing down a very slippery YouTube rabbit-hole, where I chanced upon the wonderful Sarah Beth and her equally wonderful yoga channel . It was love at first sight and she seductively convinced me to dust the cobwebs off my yoga pants, and slam-dunk a super-easy ten-minute beginner’s yoga workout. And bitches, I already feel amazing for it. She has sessions of varying lengths for all levels of yoga experience, as well as specific things like lower back pain, neck and shoulders or menstruation, and even things like anger, depression and anxiety (perfect for these times, am I right?). Gotta say, it feels really good to just get my body moving again. It’s been a while.

PS Todays soundtrack was brought to you by…..

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The Police

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Madonna

DAY EIGHTEEN
I took a sniff of my sauerkraut today and oooooh boy, it smells like arse. I’m not giving up hope yet that it still might come good, but the outlook is not great.

And that’s all folks. Literally. All I did today was smell some shitty fermented cabbage. How was your day?

PS Today’s soundtrack was brought to you by…..

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The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy

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Fat Boy Slim

DAY NINETEEN
In case you’ve been too polite to notice, I am inherently lazy. Which is at odds with the way I was brought up. Both of my parents were very hard workers and tried to instill that in me and my sisters. And sure, I’ve trained myself to have an acceptable work ethic, but at heart I am one seriously lazy motherfucker. Nineteen days of doing nothing has felt like bliss to my idle bones. Yes, I have attempted to do something (ANYTHING) to distinguish each day from the last (and also, from the next). But for the most part I have done a shitload of absolutely not much at all. To be honest, I’m not sure that’s the best thing for my mental health, and yet I am still dreading my return to work in a couple of days.

What’s up with that?

Actually, you know, I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot, and I’ve reached the conclusion that I’m just afraid of change. Staying at home, sequestered away from the world, has become my new norm. What used to be normal has become strange and unknown, and so I fear it. I’m sure that when I do actually go back to work, everything will be fine. But the thought of it right now fills me with anxiety.

Cooking is a way for me to self-soothe and I’ve been enjoying experimenting with different recipes during our lockdown.  Today’s dinner of lemon-yoghurt soup with lentils, brown rice and herbs is super quick and easy to cook (bonus points for being seriously delicious).

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Nom nom.

PS Today’s soundtrack was brought to you by…..

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Tears For Fears

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INXS

DAY TWENTY
I walked 200 metres to the supermarket this morning and sustained a groin injury in the process, which will go some way towards demonstrating how out of shape I am. Sarah Beth is going to have her hands full with this one.

Also, it turns out that smelling like anus is a prerequisite for delicious sauerkraut. It actually turned out pretty damn good. High five! To myself. I’m high fiving myself.

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Sauerkraut is a great pro-biotic and really good for gut health.  Yeah!!!

So, you guys might have noticed that we’ve got a few records (350 and counting, in case you were wondering). I’ll admit it’s a bit of an obsession. Where do we get them from? Whenever I’m planning a holiday, I’ll research and map out all the cool record stores in that town.  And we usually end up loudly, and excitedly, rummaging through them after a few bevvies. Of course this always results in us drunkenly staggering away with hundreds of dollars (and several kilos) worth of vinyl, which is not the most economical purchasing technique in the world. But fuck me, we have a lot of fun doing it!! Playing records gives me a shitload of joy, every single day, and has helped make this whole quarantine nonsense more than tolerable.

PS Today’s soundtrack was brough to you by…..

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Jeff Beck

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Rod Stewart

DAY TWENTY ONE
This coronavirus crap is serious business, huh. A lot of people are downplaying it, but I have a feeling it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better, and I truly believe that things won’t return to normal for a very long time. Self-pity alert: The prospect of spending the rest of the year in this place makes me very sad. The only thing that makes living here tolerable for me is the ability to travel. I have never wasted a single day’s annual leave by spending it in Dubai. We take off whenever we have the chance. But it’s looking more and more like that won’t be possible for the remainder of 2020, which means it’s probably time for a paradigm shift.

Cry me a river, right?

So today is the last day of our work-imposed quarantine. As it turns out, we didn’t catch CV19 in Japan (phew!) and now it’s time to head back to reality, whatever that might be. We’ve had three weeks off work, on company dime, and it’s been kinda fun. Kind of like a little holiday (coz you can’t do ATC from home, kids). It’s also been a little bit unsettling. We are all living through a crazy, unprecedented moment in history, and now, whether I’m ready for it or not, it’s time for me to head back out into the world, and to face what is there. Not knowing what to expect. Not knowing what I’ll find. Just…. not knowing.

So, wish me luck, and I wish all of you luck too.

PS Today’s soundtrack was brought to you by…..

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Easy Rider

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The Big Chill