Taking Stock : November

November 21, 2017

I woke up at 5.45 this morning, needing to pee. Normally I’d then get back into bed and sleep for a few more hours, but this morning, with the sun starting to filter through the blinds, I was just…awake. Rather than lying there annoying Steve, I decided to get up and go for a walk/run along the beach. Best. Decision. Ever. It’s going to be 31 in Melbourne today, but at 6am the sun hadn’t quite hit the esplanade, so it wasn’t too hot. I jogged along for a bit, then walked, then stopped to do some stretches and look out to sea. I saw a fin. Surely not…a shark? I kept my eyes on the water, and there it was again. Not a shark. A dolphin fin. TWO dolphin fins, one big, one small. A dolphin and its calf swimming around down at Middle Park beach, ten metres from the shore. Myself, a couple of dog walkers and an elderly power-walking lady stopped and gave each other looks. Dolphins in the city. It’s going to be a good day.

And now…taking stock for November!

Making : Ottolenghi’s Burnt Eggplant w Tahini. I know I know, totally hipster, but have you ever made it? You put the eggplant right smack in the middle of the gas flame and just let it burn. It’s awesome.
Cooking : see above
Drinking : OJ. Coffee. Water.
Reading: lots of interesting YA books. Fire in the Sea by Myke Bartlett. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.
Wanting: a new Status Anxiety wallet (this one). Not that I am anxious re my status, but I am anxious that my wallet is about to fall apart. But I think I might wait for the Boxing Day sales before I make a move.
Looking: at a perfect pink rose that I got at a funeral yesterday. It’s like the rose from Beauty and the Beast.
Playing: with words and ideas
Deciding: that it was time to give up my office space in the city, for now. Just got a bit noisy and distracting. It served its purpose, and for that I thank it.
Wishing: we had the ability to literally put ourselves in someone else’s body for a day/week/month. But
Enjoying: that reading books and listening to people talk about their lives is the next best thing. Listened to this Mia Freedman interview with Roxane Gay on my beach walk. So enlightening. I never thought much about what it would be like to move through the world as an obese woman. After listening to this, I have more empathy, at least, even if I can’t fully understand.
Waiting: for the next episode of the new series of Would I Lie to You to come out. Man I love that show. The first ep of Series 11 is here on YouTube if you’re interested.
Liking: the term bad feminist. I am a feminist. a bad feminist. Yesterday I painted my nails, and I actually felt guilty that that made me a non-feminist. #conflicted
Wondering: where to go camping over new year
Loving: this warm weather. See ya later boots and stockings.
Pondering: the nature of ambition. And, really, of happiness. This Dear Sugar podcast episode with Hilary Rodham Clinton, The Double Bind of Female Ambition, made me think/feel a lot of things. I  never wanted to be the US President (or the Australian PM, really), but I am definitely ambitious. And I don’t want to have to apologise for that.
Considering: whether it is time to feed Neo. He is meowing a lot. I think it probably is. Also, considering how cute Neo is. So. Cute.

Buying: clothes from a garage sale, and then realising they don’t fit, and then giving them to the op shop. Oops.
Watching: Back, a new British comedy/drama starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb. I think David Mitchell might be as close as I get to a celebrity crush. Funny + smart + self-deprecating = a win in my books
Hoping: that our book is a) finished and b) good and c) published. Fingers crossed.
Marvelling: at the power of routine. It really is crucial for getting things done.
Cringing: at rubbish on the beach. People, there are dolphins bringing up their babies out there! Bin it already.
Needing: to re-pot my parsley. It’s looking pretty droopy. Basil, however, is going gangbusters.
Realising: how little we really know about about the people we interact with. I went to a funeral yesterday afternoon (96 year old woman who I knew through choir/drama group) and it was completely fascinating hearing about her early life, growing up in Adelaide during the depression, her work at a casino in Tasmania and hotels in Melbourne, all her talents and passions. What you know about someone may be just the tip of the iceberg.
Smelling: not a lot, actually
Wearing: don’t ask. Working from home brings your dress standards waaaaaaay down.
Following: Leunig’s advice, and getting plenty of rest so as to avoid becoming rest-less
Noticing: how peaceful it feels to not always want more more more of everything
Knowing: that next year is next year, and the only place you can ever be is right in the moment. I’m definitely future-oriented, but I do try to draw myself back to the present when I catch myself thinking too much about the what-might-be
Thinking: about next year. HA! But also about right now. And how pretty this South Melbourne lane looked last Sunday.

Admiring: Roxane Gay. And also, my beautiful parents. They are very good people. I love them enormously.
Sorting: through old photos. Here are my parents in their 20s (I think). Aren’t they gorgeous?!

Getting: excited about Christmas baking. I think I will make these biscuits and they will be delicious.
Bookmarking: my latest book with a photo of my friend Lauren and her cute new baby girl Greta.
Coveting: a swim pass. Think I need to get more into swimming in this warm weather, even though I’m not a natural. But pools are quite pricey, it seems, or the ones around here are at least.
Disliking:the advice-givers. Apparently people give Roxane Gay weight-loss and nutrition advice when she is backstage about to give a speech. Or they tell her she will cut ten years of her life off because of her size. There are people who ask me and my friends (in our early 30s) – ‘So have you thought about children? Because you might really want to, you do know that…X Y Z’ Are we not intelligent people? Do we not think for ourselves? It is NOT YOUR LIFE. Don’t give advice unless it’s asked for. It’s the worst.
Opening: a letter from my pen pal Philippa. Also, a letter from VicRoads telling me I’ll be off my Ps in ONE WEEK. Yep!
Giggling: at this New Yorker article about food hacks. Funny.
Feeling: happy. And a little hungry.
Snacking: on prawn dumplings and Chinese omelette (soon). Mmm.
Hearing: a helicopter flying by.

What are you pondering/coveting/opening/reading/watching? How do you feel when people give you advice? Are you a bad feminist too?

Have a cracking day and week!

x Iz

More about isabelrobinson

Isabel is a writer from Melbourne. She loves long train journeys, Vegemite toast and cryptic crosswords, preferably all at once.

    1. Well, you know what I’m reading! It’s making me think a lot about how difficult some people’s lives must be. Roxane Gay is super interesting to listen to . She certainly opened my eyes to the way it may feel to be overweight. I love the pic of your Mum and Dad. They look very comfortable with each other. Nice! How lucky to see dolphins this morning. Very special! 8 saw some lovely rainbow lorikeets on my walk this morning. So pretty! And yay to you for becoming a fully licensed driver!

      1. It’s a nice picture of them, isn’t it. I like thinking of their life pre-me and my brothers. Kids are so selfish and think life begins when they are born – but its doesn’t! Love Roxane Gay. And love dolphins too. Still awaiting The Trauma Cleaner, fingers crossed I get it in time for book club! x

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