A miscellany

I am the slackest blogger. It’s me. I haven’t even been writing in my offline journal, I’m so slack.

I’m not going to start the next paragraph with “in my defence”. I can have written the beginning of fifty billion posts but it doesn’t matter because none of you can see them! So there is no defence, really.

I did get rather irritated by an article called something like “Things you shouldn’t have in your home after 30″ – to pick a few examples, pine furniture is lovely, mismatched crockery is a valid lifestyle decision, and if you did pry my Ikea goods from my cold dead apartment you would be left with very little – but on reflection it was obviously clickbait, and now I can’t find the article anyway. Probably for the best! The argument against mismatched crockery hinges on whether it will impress people at dinner parties. I am forty years old and have never held a dinner party, and if I did, my guests would be suitably impressed by my well-curated eclectic dinnerware collection, and if they weren’t, they could bring their own plates next time. Or I could dig out my grandmother’s Royal Grafton, but I wouldn’t waste that on the sort of people who’d scoff at my octagonal Arcoroc.

I was going to write about my no-makeup look, but my no-makeup look is, in fact, no makeup. My full-makeup look involves at most six products anyway (BB cream or light foundation; brow pencil; eyeshadow; eye liner; mascara; lippy of some description) so it’s not a radical departure. It’s not a political statement either. It’s just that when it’s 35 degrees inside and I’m closing up the caravan and getting ready for a five-hour drive I can’t be bothered putting makeup on. You’re lucky I bother with clothes half the time. And by “you” I mean “everyone between the lower mid north coast and the inner west of Sydney, and also Mr Wright for not having to fund a charge of indecent exposure”.

I was also going to write about my recent nasty cold and the effect it had on my life. It is very difficult to barrack properly when you have lost your voice! There is no hand signal that you can perform that will fully express the concept of “excuse me, umpire, but that player obviously had prior opportunity to dispose of the football before he was tackled, and in consequence you should penalise him for holding the ball and award a free kick to my favoured team immediately” and that is also performable in half of a double bed, and it wouldn’t be as viscerally satisfying as yelling “BAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL” anyway.

(Addendum: Go Hawks! I am Swans 4 lyf but I was also a paid-up Hawthorn member when we lived in Melbs (they’re Mr Wright’s team; we went to see them beat Geelong in the 2008 grand final), and besides, if Hawthorn keep winning premierships then we’ll keep being the previous reigning premiers, and that can’t be a bad thing.)

(Are the previous reigning premiers the dowager premiers? They are now.)

I would write about the nasty sunburn I picked up over the weekend. It was hot, we were fixing the gutter on the dairy, I wore a swimsuit top that was much more low-cut at the back than I thought, I completely forgot that sunscreen existed, thank you ADHD. But if I tell you about the nasty sunburn then I have to mention waking up in the middle of the night on Sunday morning with my shoulders a fused mass of agony from an exciting synergy of sunburn and overworked muscles, and I don’t want to relive that experience. It’s bad enough a day later.

(I’d attempt to justify the phrase “the middle of the night on Sunday morning”, but I think either you accept it or you don’t.)

I am looking forward to when the skin starts peeling, though, because I am a ghoul.

Right! Panadol, aloe vera and a nice cup of tea, methinks. And maybe an exciting synergy of a cool damp towel and a pedestal fan.

This applies to blog posts as well

How I expect normal people do the vaccing:

  • decide to do the vaccing
  • pick up everything on the floor
  • get out vac and plug it in
  • vac lounge, bedroom, kitchen (we live in a small flat)
  • unplug vac and put it away

The Shelby method:

  • decide to do the vaccing
  • two days later: decide to do the vaccing
  • one day later: decide I really must do the vaccing
  • next morning: stand in the kitchen vaguing out for ten minutes before realising I haven’t taken my tablets
  • make a pot of tea
  • take my tablets
  • have a game of Two Dots
  • have another game of Two Dots
  • run out of lives on Two Dots
  • notice shoes on the floor, remember I was going to vac
  • pick up slippers, take them into bedroom
  • go through pile of clothes in the corner of the bedroom; discover a jacket to wash, one cardigan to wear and two to take to Vinnies, and a surfeit of summer dresses
  • put dresses on the bed so I can go through them and decide which ones to keep
  • look for the take-to-Vinnies bag so I don’t have to start a new one
  • start a new one anyway
  • go through the boxes underneath the clothes, looking for the printer cable and the batteries
  • find the batteries!
  • have another game of Two Dots
  • find the take-to-Vinnies bag, which is full, so I’d have had to start a new one anyway
  • pick up the rest of the shoes, put them on the chair
  • get out vac
  • pick up the rest of the stuff on the floor, pile it on the couch
  • look up Australia’s population density
  • trip over vac
  • plug in vac
  • start another game of Two Dots; fling phone metaphorically away; get grip on myself
  • vac lounge room
  • vac bedroom
  • get briefly distracted by the dresses on the bed; talk to myself sternly
  • vac kitchen
  • vac kitchen again just to make sure
  • turn vac off
  • start tidying the kitchen table
  • wonder where the electricity bill went
  • look for electricity bill
  • trip over vac
  • unplug vac and put it away
  • go to pour a cup of tea, realise I never actually put any water in the teapot
  • remake tea, wash up, take the bin out, finish game of Two Dots, etc.
  • three hours later: move everything off the couch
  • twelve and a half hours later: move the dresses off the bed and back to the pile in the corner so I can go to bed
  • two days later: decide I probably ought to vac tomorrow

Triumphant return?

Shelby, Shelby, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to visit the Queen

…actually, “I’ve been in my bedroom listening to Queen” might be a bit more accurate on that front. And I haven’t even been doing anything useful like practising my Roger-Taylor-on-’39 impression! Shelby, you slacker.

So what have I been doing? Let’s see…

I got a job! (Yay!) Then I lost my job (Yay! …It wasn’t a very good fit and the pay was pants). Then Mr Wright got a job! (Yay!)

I moved to Bankstown for the job, then came back to Nerdhaven, then we both moved down to the inner west for Mr Wright’s job. We started off sharing a nice quiet apartment with a neat freak, then got kicked out (b00!) and had to move in with my parents (who are wonderful people but the commute was shocking), then found a nice house with a nice flatmate and a nice dog (yay! And awww, a dog) right on one of the busiest intersections in Sydney (um…), and are now renting a teensy flat with an outside loo and a separate laundry with no power. It’s a bit of a dive but it’s ours, and more importantly it’s quiet. (Yay!)

The goats are now living down the road with a larger herd and two guard alpacas. We see them when we drive past. Sherri (the big bossy one) seems to have installed herself as goatriarch; Terri (the little anti-social one) can now browse in peace.

I got re-diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression (yay?), had a medication adjustment (yay), and was formally diagnosed with ADHD, backdated to roughly 1980 (YAY). I’ll probably write more about this later, but: get yourself diagnosed if you need to. It has seriously changed my life.

Also, sleep apnoea. Mine is only moderate; I can’t quite afford a CPAP machine but I’ve got some exercises to do.

And I turned 40. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. Still, it means I’ve been here for 40 years, and that gets a yay. (Yay!) Also a cheesecake.

I’m sorry if you’ve left a comment and I haven’t published it, but I have so much spam, I am unable to even. I shall install Disqus! It’s on the list. A list from which I can finally, finally cross off “put up a blog post”.


Next year I am getting a flu shot

Oriental two-minute noodles!
In my flu-addled state
I can’t tell if that’s racist
or just correct
and I don’t want to be racist
(even though I am very tired
because that’s only acceptable if you’re Collingwood
and I’m Sydney
since 1996
until they repeal the No Dickheads policy
or I die
whichever is last)

but I do like to be correct
and it does say “oriental” on the packet
so I guess I’ll go with it
and let Maggi take the rap

Oriental two-minute noodles!
You take longer than two minutes to cook
and you’ve changed the instructions
I swear the packet used to tell me
to boil up the noodles
and then add the flavour sachet
and then drain off the broth
I mean–
what’s the point of that?
Which explains why you changed the instructions
I guess

I have evolved too
I used to add tinned peas
now I add frozen peas
it’s cheaper
and produces less waste

Oriental two-minute noodles!
I used to enjoy you
for breakfast before primary school
for lunch at uni
and now
for dinner
when I have the flu
which is now

Oriental two-minute noodles!
I have a confession
I have been cheating on you
with Fusian soy and mild spice
they’re not the same
but they’re all that Coles Wingham had
I have the flu
and couldn’t make it to Taree
especially after I accidentally went to Vinnies
and accidentally bought some ankle boots
they’re nice
I like them a lot
but they couldn’t get me to Taree

maybe next week
if I’m feeling better
did I mention
I have the flu?

A bit of a whinge

We’re still cut off, as you’d expect, with the bridges being underwater and sideways and all. Council estimates a week. This does not help me get to Melbourne.

One of our neighbours is on the other side with her car, so we might be able to get a lift into town on Saturday if we can cross the raging Caparra Creek, but I only have enough Lexies to last me until next Thursday, so I emailed the council to see how I could get some more, who told me to ring the SES. They told me three times, in fact, which is excellent (I am not actually being sarcastic here)

So I called the SES. Continue reading


I went to the RTA today, because I’ve been living in NSW for ever so slightly under three months, no more than that, please don’t fine me.

“I don’t know the first issue date of my Victorian licence,” I said.

“Just make something up,” she said.(*)

So I did. And it went through the system. Note to people getting their Victorian licences converted to NSW ones: make up a first issue date and then you won’t have to pay $8.50 for the letter! But don’t tell the RTA!

For eye tests they have a cunning setup where you look into a mirror suspended above the desk and the RTA person opens a cupboard under the desk and the eye chart is reflected in the mirror. It’s really cool. I want one to go with my box of lenses.

“Can you read the fifth line from the top?” she asked.

“I can read the bottom line!” I said.

“That’s the same as the fifth line from the top,” she said, shattering my illusions. But I read it anyway and was rewarded with the removal of the S of shame from my licence. (Not the S of my middle name, though.)

Another note for people getting their NSW licence: as with passports you’re not allowed to smile in your photo. Knowing this will make you want to smile when they take your photo. Also, you can’t have floppy emo hair or anything in your face (although heavy-duty concealer to hide dark circles appears to be OK). Unlike a passport, if you make a mistake on your form you don’t have to go and stand in the naughty corner while you think about what you’ve done.

So now I have a shiny piece of plastic with my current address on! Now I can join one of these new-fangled video libraries. I think there’s still one in Wingham.


(*) Actually she said “do you know approximately when it was? Just put down the month and year”, and then she said “put the 8th for the date, go on”. Don’t tell the RTA.

I am a miracle of modern science

So last week I went to get my eyes tested, since it’s been three years since the last time. I’ve had glasses since approximately age 4 (this is what happens when you start teaching your children to read before they can talk) and I’ve always loved getting my eyes tested. I want to go to an optometrist’s closing down sale and get an eye testing machine of my own, or at least one of those cool boxes full of lenses. (If you’ve never had your eyes tested you are seriously missing out.)

The optometrist’s assistant sat me down in front of this machine that looked a bit like a printer and made lovely futuristic noises, and balloons suddenly appeared before my eyes as I peered through the viewfinder.

“Is that it?” I thought, disappointed. But it was just a preliminary thing to give the optometrist an idea of what my eyes were like. Of course she could have just looked at my prescription, but that’s not nearly as futuristic and involves many fewer balloons.

I went into the room with all the cool machines and sat down in the comfy chair and read various lines on the eye chart (and might I say they could do with a better font, it was hard enough to distinguish P and F even when I could see the line clearly), and went over to the other machine so I could have air blown in my eyes (twice, because I’m a flincher), and then came my very favourite part of the eye test – the bit where you have to look at the optometrist’s ear while she shines a bright light in your face and you can see all the little veins in your cornea.

This time the optometrist looked worried.

“You have a big ulcer on your cornea,” she said. I’d had an optometrist notice this before so it wasn’t a shock.

“The cornea has the largest concentration of nerve endings in the body,” she continued.

This is also good information to have.

“You really ought to be screaming in agony right now.”

I guess I could try?

So some incident in the past that I can’t recall has given me an active ulcerated scar on my cornea, about 5-7mm across, a sort of oval shape, just below the pigmentation line and out of my field of vision. You can see it if you look closely, and if I could get my macro lens to cooperate, I could take a decent picture. And the size of it means I should be in extreme agony. The words “vomiting from pain” and “verge of hospitalisation” were used. Sadly this has not got me out of a single night’s washing up duty.

On the bright side (well, semi-bright side, since it’s going to cost) my weaker eye has improved to the point where it’s on par with my good eye, although there’s a bit of astigmatism so it’s still my less good eye. I’ve been getting around without my glasses on quite frequently (when I don’t need to drive a car, anyway; I’m short-sighted so I don’t need them for reading, and my camera has auto-focus) and my inner 14-year-old wants all the cheap $2-store sunglasses that I could never wear when I was an outer 14-year-old. Enormous polarised mirror wraparound cat’s-eye sunnies, here I come!