the flipside and a lesson in quityabitchin

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The mantra “Give me what I want. Give me what I need. Hurry up. I want it now…” tempts me. Setting aside my personal agendas & timeframes, and giving them up to Grace, the high cousin of patience, is a lesson that continues to challenge me…

That so many days have passed since I uploaded the last 2012 elladeewords post on Christmas Eve isn’t representative of the thoughts I devoted to the WordPress Community Garden during the interim. Underwhelming results from an temporary-measure antenna attached to the TV aerial on the roof attached to the wireless modem at Taylors Arm meant holiday blogging was limited to a few photo uploads via my phone to elladeeimages and elladeeplaces when we ventured into civilization. A fortuitous cloudy drizzly afternoon gave me a magic few hours catching up on reading posts… but really I was out of action. I didn’t like it one bit.

It’s all very well to voluntarily forsake technology and connectivity. I embraced time out. I read the unfortunately dodgy array of novels I packed. I communed with nature, and the neighbours. I gardened. I walked on the beach. I spent quality time with the G.O.  Holi-days have 24 hours like every other day. I could have afforded a little blogging time. Damn it, I was an unwilling prisoner and there was no virtuous sacrifice involved. I knew from past hunts for internet connectivity that our neighbour has wi-fi. Only the strictest sense of propriety kept me for hacking into it for my own ends. No. I could not. I am an honest Sagittarian. To be very honest, I would’ve if I could’ve but I didn’t want to risk getting caught.

Back in the connected world I fared little better. In my absence the blogging biosphere had not paused. I had a couple of hundred WordPress post email notifications. In my absence the ongoing project in the office had not hesitated. I had a similar amount of emails in my Outlook In-Box. I hit the ground running and amassed 20 hours of overtime in the first working week. In odd moments I clicked on random posts and commented. There was no preferential treatment. All the posts had merit but I had little time. After a week back there were still hundreds of WordPress post email notifications.

An Australia Day long weekend saw us back to Taylors Arm. I didn’t bother packing the laptop. Our 4 day stay away extended into 5 as much needed precipitation from super storm Oswald deluged the east coast of Australia, and rivers ran too high to cross. There was nothing much to blog about anyway. It rained, oh and it rained. This time though I took a selection of novels sourced from Fellowship of the Kitchen’s Garden Farmy Friends and read The Tiger’s Wife.

Once again in the big smoke I managed to make inroads on the WordPress emails, and a semblance of sanity prevailed in the office. I’d barely warmed my ergonomic chair when the weekend came around and with it my Dad’s 70th birthday celebration for which we headed back up the coast for a blessedly short 2 hour drive, totting up #5 F3 freeway trip since the beginning of December.

Back on my blogging horse I charged through the email notifications and posts letting loose a barrage of comments. I posted Ron: clocking up 70 years because blogging is a wonderful forum to get something out of your system. The occasion was great. Dad is entertaining. Shhh, let me tell you just between us, the event had a back-end of annoying, and I was glad to retreat to the apartment and a quiet self-indulgent Sunday writing a blog post about the best bits.

The next business week & year proper started, and I came to the point where there was no semblance of holiday-ness to which I could grasp. There was work to be done, an apartment to be cleaned, groceries to be shopped for, errands to run, bills to be paid. But, I couldn’t let it end there, nooooo. After a challenging day at work, in a fit of impatience and ill temper I threw that beloved blogging tool, taker of photos, player of music – my phone, on the bed… The Universe took the opportunity to give me a hard fast quityabitchin lesson as the phone slid and smacked into the headboard.

The phone appeared intact. Its little light flickered but the web of cracks across the screen rendered it a terminal case. I have seen many iPhones continue to function under a crazed screen but not my old Samsung Galaxy. I kept it attached to the life support of the charger and it’s currently undergoing surgery to release the photos not backed up since the beginning of November. All I accomplished via a self indulgent one woman pity party lasting a moment was to amass more errands and bills.

The Universe offered me a redeeming hand a few days later, when after enduring a series of his own challenging work days the G.O. reviewed our dinner options and uttered “Need comfort food. Butter Chicken”. Highly unusual. Midweek dinners do not normally come in the door. Having no food suggestions of my own, I suggested a walk to the nearby Indian restaurant. Turning the corner to the main street of busy Newtown, we both noted and remarked upon a footpath offering… an old school port atop a faded pink plastic crate next to what looked like a typewriter case, over a dusty collection of miscellaneous boxes.

Being lovers of free stuff and footpath finds a decision was quickly made. The G.O guarded the treasure, and I grabbed Indian takeaway. At the apartment, dinner cooled as we, with can of insect spray in hand, dismantled the assembly of cases and boxes and discovered:

  • Brother Typewriter. I have so long wanted a typewriter, and this one looks to be a similar 60’s vintage as me, and of course it’s Sagi orange.
  • Retro mesh evening bag, colour cream, with a card in the box suggesting it’s provenance, which I was able to verify via Google. Thanks Ms JC, I’ll look after it well, adding to my collection of black, gold and silver.
  • Port containing The Champion and Triumph magazines 1942-1943. Who could resist reading the adventures of Rockfist Rogan, Colwyn Dane, Kangaroo Kennedy, Punch McPhee and Trapper Pete.
  • Wooden jigsaw puzzles, numerous. These are even older than me! I had only ever seen cardboard jigsaws.

Just in case I missed what the Universe was offering me, next morning as I walked the same route to the train station there was a new item on a pile of footpath offerings. From a box of cheap costume jewellry I extracted a few trinkets to add to my collection of love, crosses, hearts and bells… No, no, not for wearing, for upcycling.

I was fortunate this time. I got the lesson lightly. The G.O. kindly offered me his phone but no, it’s my deal. My phone contract is up next month and I’m managing with a spare plain-unsmart phone that calls & texts.  Not having a smart phone makes me realise how much I rely on it for my blogging eyes. My morning walks without earphones & radio let me listen to the birds and nature but not take photos of it.

I recently commented to Robin Coyle “far better to learn the lesson than to be the lesson”. Thanks Universe, I got this one. Figure out what matters and don’t bitch about the rest.

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38 thoughts on “the flipside and a lesson in quityabitchin

    Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said:
    February 13, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Figure out what matters and don’t bitch about the rest. It’s a good lesson, ED. Thanks.. 🙂

    Great read, but I hope you’re not still working as hard – 20 hours overtime in a week is crazy! And I love all the treasures you’ve found.. xx


      EllaDee responded:
      February 13, 2013 at 7:39 am

      Thank you… work and home life has calmed down somewhat so I’m making the most of it. The Inner West is footpath forager’s heaven )


    robincoyle said:
    February 13, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Sometimes a forced blogging break is the best because we don’t often let ourselves “off the hook.” Let me get this straight. You found all that stuff? Our footpaths just have litter. Oh, and thanks for the mention!


      EllaDee responded:
      February 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

      You’re welcome 🙂
      Our footpaths have litter too but Council does a good job…
      We are still thrilled with what we think may be our best ever find… so far. One of the reasons footpath foraging is popular is the Inner West encompasses Sydney University which gives it an impermanent population, and also it’s an eclectic/alternative demographic who are into eco/recycling/upcyling. You can put a discarded item out, and if it’s good it won’t be there 10 mins later! But all around the country, there are kerbside pick ups – recovering and upcycling the discarded items has become a flourishing industry.


        robincoyle said:
        February 13, 2013 at 10:11 am

        That explains the typewriter then.

        One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right?


          EllaDee responded:
          February 13, 2013 at 10:27 am

          There’s a definite deliberate culture of we don’t need it but someone else may, and it’s too good for and we don’t need any more landfill rubbish 🙂


    metan said:
    February 13, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Glad to hear you resisted stealing the wifi, even though we missed you 🙂
    I also find that family affairs are generally more annoying than they are enjoyable, but shhhhhh… don’t say that too loud, they might hear me…..

    What a wonderful hard rubbish find! I can just imagine the G.O. standing over the pile, arms crossed, with a “move on, nothing to see here” look on his face while you rushed off for the Indian.
    It was just like a custom designed treasure placed in your path wasn’t it! Not only a typewriter but a great retro coloured one too 😀 Next time you are stuck in TA without the ability to blog at least you can still get it out of your system… clack clack clack…


      EllaDee responded:
      February 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Thank you 🙂
      I couldn’t steal the wi-fi. I’d be p!ssed off if it was the other way round, and bad karma is a bitch.
      Dad’s birthday was enjoyable – the [lack of care and] organisation around it was frustrating.
      Haha, you are close – when I looked across the street on my way back from the Indian restaurant, the G.O. had moved the box around the corner and was returning curious looks with don’t even think about it death stares.
      The typewriter is definitely going to TA. Imagine the delight of the family & friends when they receive typed notes from me rather than emails 😉 It was reassuring to find that all these years at a keyboard has improved my typing since I never did get much success from that how to type book in the 70s/80s.
      The typewriter was also a bit of nostalgia for the G.O. who said his Pop typed a self-published book on the same.


        metan said:
        February 13, 2013 at 1:13 pm

        We live by the mantra “you do good things, good things happen to you” 🙂 If you had stolen the wifi those treasures would have been picked up by the person walking just in front of you… arrrggghh!

        It is funny how easy keyboard typing is compared to the actual physical effort you have to put in with a typewriter isn’t it, we’ve gone soft! You could write something as an ongoing project while you are at TA. 🙂


    philosophermouseofthehedge said:
    February 13, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I’ve had a saying since college “No matter what you desperately need, someone is throwing away that exact item right at this moment”.
    There’s some curbside browsing that goes on around Houston. The rule is If it’s on the curb, you can have it…some people tape “free” signs on. Lots of people are glad to refinish or repaint things. (We have a great wood slatted bench with delicate iron end pieces – our neighbor bought a new one rather than sanding and doing a little scraping and painting.
    Re-purposing things is so much better. But people are going to have to get over the current attitude of “it has to be new or it’s not any good”.
    What happened to: “good enough” and “worn, but serviceable”(50’s?) or “save the environment and recycle/reuse” (70’s?)
    Sounds like the universe handed you a big gift – not only the wonderful typewriter and cool stuff – but you now get to hear the birds – that’s pretty important.
    (and I am so behind with the return blog visits, too – but decided I can only do what I can…life is running past and I’d like to be in some of it.)


      EllaDee responded:
      February 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      Thank you 🙂
      I like that saying. When I saw the typewriter I laughed out loud, as I have been casually checking them out in the second hand shops.
      We often see Uni students carrying all manner of household effects down the street. Shopping trollies have double service as U-Move vehicles.
      People know better than to leave wanted unattended items on the street. When you move, one person stays and guards the removalist truck (or trolley)!
      If we’re uncertain we knock and ask, or leave it but others aren’t so scrupulous. Both our apartments have overlooked the street and we’ve spent much entertaining time gauging how long a discarded item will last – 10 mins is the shortest record. It’s also not unusual to see one person stay and guard a find while the other goes for transport.
      Other than for essential household items, ie mattress, major electrical items – I prefer secondhand, found, op shop, donated… Dad calls our house at TA the musuem and some who ask re the provenance of an items are bemused to be answered with “footpath/bin room” 🙂
      I try to be grateful for the Universe’s gift, sometimes it has to give me a little jolt with its elbow though.


    cecilia said:
    February 13, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Wasn’t The Tigers Wife just amazing, there are some really good books on that list.. this was a great read.. and it is so true, you can only do what you can.. with all the will in the world.. have fun ! c


      EllaDee responded:
      February 13, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you 🙂 Real life took me unawares… I appear to begin each new year with a lesson to guide me through.
      That book list is a sanity saver… I enjoyed the Tiger’s Wife, and currently The Snow Child.


    diannegray said:
    February 13, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I love the stuff you scored – well done. You’re a woman after my own heart! 😉

    Poor Samsung Galaxy. That’s what my phone is. I’ve often felt like tossing it across the room but have resisted the temptation 😯


      EllaDee responded:
      February 13, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you. I’m still amazed. I can’t wait to get into those jigsaws 🙂
      Do not do anything with that phone other than use it for its intended purpose. Also do not take it sailing. They do not fair well from immersion in salt water even if it’s just a [big] splash. Buy it a robust leather flippy cover thing if you don’t already have one. Back it up photos regularly in case disaster does befall it.
      The G.O. has the same phone as me. I bought him one as well when I replaced old salty. I can’t believe it’s me and not him who has been the phone destroyer lately. Previously the reverse was true, and the phones involved were much cheaper, except for the 2 day old $800 phone he gave me that fell out of my pocket in a cab… oops. I think he’s forgotten about that. I won’t remind him.


    ChgoJohn said:
    February 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Such a time you had, though,I’m glad to read that things have settled back down a bit for you, EllaDee. I envy you your finds while going out to dinner. I may look for things but never find anything worth carrying home. It’s probably just as well. I’ve enough here and don’t need to add to it.
    I’ve an iPhone 5, my first smartphone, and being so incredibly clumsy, it’s ensconced in a case that could be thrown full force into a wall and survive. Granted, my phone is no longer the sleek device that many so admire but, then again, it should last until I’m no longer under contract. That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll see …


      EllaDee responded:
      February 13, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Thank you… it was an unusually hectic re-entry 🙂
      I found it helps not to look and let stuff find you. We also have [more than] enough stuff, and only take what we can use or can’t bear to see get thrown out or lost forever, and give it a good home. I can’t evenn think those wonderful old items might have gone into the back of the garbage compacter. We never sell our finds, but what we will do when we consolidate the city apartment and house at TA, I don’t know.
      My phone has/had a robust flippy leather case that protected it from many knocks & drops. The G.O. has the same and it’s survived many construction site should’ve-been-disasters. My friend Mrs S. has a iPhone with a cracked screen that works fine, and I’ve seen worse. It’s a Samsung Galaxy design thing, and just plain bad luck in the way it turned out and/or a big fat lesson from the Universe… I was going to have to go through the rigmarole of replacing the phones next month, this has just speeded things up, and created a little trauma about the non backed up photos I’m hoping can be retrieved. Fingers crossed.


    dadirri7 said:
    February 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    i can picture it all elladee, from our experience having a place near redfern station (wilson st) … the back lane was the place to give our offerings, and they were only out for an hour or two before they had been collected by someone who was no doubt delighted … we rented our house to a big group of sydney uni students with our youngest son as caretaker …. we had a little bolt hole out the back on the lane for sydney visits … anyway so glad you have had a break and learnt the lesson relatively painlessly … what marvellous treasure you found especially the typewriter!!! we will be up there in april (2&3) maybe we can catch up for a brief hello???


      EllaDee responded:
      February 14, 2013 at 6:05 am

      Thnank you 🙂
      We are very familiar with Wilson Street and the lane, having lived for 8 years on the corner of Ivy & Abercrombie…
      Depending on where you will be & your plans, if you have time for a coffee on 2 or 3 April that would be wonderful, I could meet you before or after work.


    paralaxvu said:
    February 15, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Whoa…how come I never come across piles of fortune? Could it be that I don’t walk enough? Walk in the right places? Walk? Such a great lesson to learn, and in the middle of it, to be able to listen to the birds as well! Love your post. Won’t read The Tiger’s Wife, however, I read some reviews that mentioned horrible things done with and to animals, and I can stand human butchery but not animal. What’s wrong with me? Who knows. Thank goodness there are other books out there;) Did I say I love this post?


      EllaDee responded:
      February 15, 2013 at 6:04 am

      Thank you…
      Footpath/roadside items are usual here, because other people take away your ‘junk’ for you and/or the council does a pick up every so often… most of it though never lasts that long. Of course there are some who will never embrace it and continue to buy new, new new but as long as they discard on the footpath… Even if you don’t walk, a car is handy if you see big things, too big to carry and walk with!
      Shame about those reviews of The Tiger’s Wife as that is a very small part of the story and not at all gratutitous – I was more uncomfortable at the butcher’s treatment of his wife… I don’t like such things either… It’s an enjoyable book but not a life changer… As you say, other books to be read 🙂


    roughseasinthemed said:
    February 15, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Great haul there. Well impressed. Would have been fighting you for it! I have a very old tripewriter that came from a great uncle (also a journo), must post a pic as makes yours look positively modern.

    Now, my how to type book was quite successful. Bashing away at the keys, and learning it by wrote, I’m pretty good these days by feel. Well I should be after all these years.

    Wooden jigsaws. I’ve still got a couple. Wonderful stuff.

    Just get an iPhone in future. That’s all I have to say on the subject.

    Missed you though. But you know that anyway.


      EllaDee responded:
      February 15, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Haha, I’d have paid for a ringside seat to you the G.O. in kerbside stand off with you 😉
      I would consider an iPhone but the Telstra own brand for rural networks (such as downtown TA) android model we are looking at has an aerial attachment socket we can try on that so far useless antenna at TA.
      Thanks 🙂


        roughseasinthemed said:
        February 15, 2013 at 6:15 pm

        It wouldn’t have been the stand-off with me, but with Partner, he is the prize scavenger. That would definitely have warranted a ring-side seat. Although to be fair when he and another guy both saw a bike, they came to an amicable agreement about who took what from it (I think the other guy wanted a wheel or two).

        I didn’t think ‘phones had antennae any more! Does that make a bigger difference than coverage by provider?


          EllaDee responded:
          February 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm

          Settled amicably, you already have a typewriter, and we could have shared the magazines, jigsaws and handbag 🙂
          Our wireless modem, and that model of phone has a port for a patch antenna that links to the big antenna on the house roof, which looks like one of those normally seen on 4WDs in the country, which we will eventually have also. Apparently it does make a difference to coverage, as at TA we went from not-a-hope-in-hell coverage to the equivalent of slightly slower than the old dial up…
          It’s frustrating, there are places remoter but higher that have good coverage but TA village is in the valley on the river so it’s a dead spot for mobiles and mobile internet, which is nice but the novelty wears off in practical terms.


        roughseasinthemed said:
        February 15, 2013 at 7:48 pm

        Ha! You can never have too many tripewriters! Although I don’t know what I did with my newer bigger plastickier one. It probably broke being plastic. Yours is so retro it is rather desirable mmmm.

        You keep the handbag, I’ll take the jigsaws. I have far too many magazines (mostly Land Rover ones) as it is.

        Internet breaks are good. Internetless for ever would not be good. Partner accused me of being depressed because I couldn’t write last week! Given the amount of drivel I churn out though, he may not have been wrong.

        There must be landline internet in TA? Surely? For when you move there to chill, retire, relax etc?


          EllaDee responded:
          February 16, 2013 at 5:57 am

          There is landline at TA. ADSL or something like that . Once we’re there permanently we’ll sign up for a fixed solution but in the interim mobile broadband works perfectly well in Sydney… and if the rural network wasn’t so crap, it should at TA also.


    Kourtney Heintz said:
    February 17, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Sometimes technology feels like a curse. But when it’s taken away, I realize how much I appreciate it, but how important the unconnected time is. 🙂


      EllaDee responded:
      February 18, 2013 at 6:06 am

      I also enjoy the technology downtimes. Sometimes I feel a little swamped when I try to fit in work, home and life 🙂


    Richard Guest said:
    February 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Great post, EllaDee – great to have you back.


      EllaDee responded:
      February 18, 2013 at 6:03 am

      Thank you. I’m back in a somewhat sporadic fashion currently but it’s made me realise that blogging has become part of my life now, so I’m more comfortable deviating a little, knowing it won’t disappear 🙂


    Leanne Cole said:
    February 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    It all sounds very familiar EllaDee, I find myself going through similar things and I don’t have the excuses you do. I know the hundreds and hundreds of email notifications. I have just about given up answering comments, I just can’t keep up. I want to spend more time taking photos.
    I have a Galaxy phone, so I will be careful not to chuck on my bed.


      EllaDee responded:
      February 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      I didn’t realise Samsung Galaxy’s didn’t have gorilla glass, not that smashing the screen was my intention…
      I have seen that you have a lot on your plate… it’s entirely acceptable to take time away from the blogosphere 🙂


        Leanne Cole said:
        February 23, 2013 at 8:14 pm

        Actually you are only the second person I have heard that that has happened to, the Samsungs, seem pretty resistant.
        Thanks EllaDee, really missed you while you were away.


    Pete Denton said:
    March 3, 2013 at 2:32 am

    That typewriter is worth the find all on its own. Great pick-up that one. Great idea to recycle goods that way. Shame about your phone. A shudder ran down my spine reading your post, thinking what I’d do if my smart phone bit the dust. I once walked into the edge of my desk and heard a crunch. As I lifted my phone from my pocket I dropped it and it broke into pieces. I’m off to splash cold water on my face and continue to live in denial hoping it never happens again 🙂


      EllaDee responded:
      March 3, 2013 at 8:03 am

      I know! Given the amount of power cuts we have at our house in the country, which is where it’s (& us, one day) destined to live, practical as well 😉
      I picked up my new phone yesterday, actually 2 – a new phone for the G.O. as well, as our contracts are up… painful exercise. They still aren’t activated. The G.O.’s contacts didn’t copy over. And, I’m paranoid about dropping mine, even though it has a good slip on case – if I want secure (unless you chuck your phone on the bed) flip cases I have to get them from the phone manufacturer in China or O.S. EBay…
      The phone doctors are still trying to extract the images from my old phone – they grabbed the music instead…
      So, your dread is well warranted.
      But, I did use my new phone to take celebratory street art photos yesterday. Stay tuned 🙂


    The Wanderlust Gene said:
    March 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    What treasure – wooden jigsaw puzzles (I hope all the pieces are there?) and an orange portable! Such retro chic 🙂


      EllaDee responded:
      March 13, 2013 at 6:00 am

      It appears the jigsaws are complete. Most of them are in replacement boxes but there are a couple of aged complete packages. I think I got lucky with the typewriter as I’m a magnet for orange (not always as happily as in this instance) 😉


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