FIVE FOR FRIDAY 4 December



If you live on the east coast of Australia, chances are you felt sweaty (!) this week.


I know it's hot when the cats try to flatten themselves against the bathroom tiles during the day — not ideal weather if you're a never nude trapped in a fur coat all year round.


Let's hope some rain is just around the corner.


In lieu of rain, here are five bright spots as I reflect on the last seven days.


One. One of my shiny moments this week was being visited by a young, apologetic charity worker while I was working from home on Monday. When I opened the door wearing my pink shorts and t-shirt, looking rather like I'd just rolled out of bed, my heart sank as soon as I noticed her clipboard, lanyard, and purple blouse: a charity worker need only get eye contact before I commit myself to a hefty monthly plan (always calculated in some way relating to 'the price of a cup of coffee'). HOWEVER, this girl was so sweet and so nervous — deployed on a scorching hot day for her first round after training — that I not only pledged a regular donation but also made her promise she'd stop apologising for being 'so annoying' and take a more assertive approach. 'Have the confidence of a mediocre middle-aged white guy!' I suggested. 'And check your maths!' She returned several hours later, sunburnt, to say thank you. Oh, my heart.


Two. Perhaps everyone has that perceptive, hilarious friend who's adept at mining the Internet for gold, but my brilliant friend B is next level — one of the few reasons I still scroll Facebook on a daily basis. Aside from posting only the bestest memes, if B posts an article, you know it's worth reading, and this piece about the normalisation of pathological consumption was no exception. 'The fatuity of the products is matched by the profundity of the impacts,' George Monbiot writes. 'When every conceivable want and need has been met (among those who have disposable money), growth depends on selling the utterly useless.' This was a sobering but necessary pre-Christmas read, with a punch of reassuring advice about gift-giving at the end: 'Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care.' Carbs are my love language. Expect cake.


Three. Once again, I 'discovered' a new song approximately one ice age after its release. Wet's 'Deadwater' was my play for the week, as well as Solange's 'Losing You', curiously reminiscent of another favourite tune from the archives, 'O, Lord' by Brisbane band Cub Sport. Apple Music. YouTube.


Four. If you appreciate fiercely dark and spicy gingerbread, this Martha Stewart recipe for chewy chocolate-ginger cookies may be for you. I still have some uncooked balls of dough in the fridge to slightly underbake and dip into my favourite rooibos tea of a late evening. (The recipe doesn't include eggs, so the dough is safe for stashing.) But be warned: the ferrous intensity of the molasses is right up there. I don't think kiddos would particularly enjoy these cookies. Mature palates only.


Five. Routine. When neither intuition nor spontaneity comes naturally during a bit of a slump, routine is my best friend. At the moment, my WFH days typically start with a shower and a little 2km walk, followed by an iced coffee made with my boyfriend's stovetop leftovers, a handful of ice cubes from the freezer, and a generous splash of cold water and oat milk. I try to make sure I get up and move around lunchtime, too, even if it means going to the chemist or checking the mail, and then I force myself to go another walk at the end of the day. No matter how much I dread it (probably 80% of the time, tbh), I never regret adhering to this simple regimen, and I do think that walking briskly — the only exercise I'm currently into — helps keep those feelings of anxiety down to a dull roar. Solvitur ambulando, as the saying goes.

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