Friday, October 19, 2012

Beach Mouse [still movie]

A while ago I did this when I had a random collection of photos from a trip which I couldn't be bothered writing about.

Loony Brother
Mouse with Pink Toes

Friday, September 28, 2012

WWW: Inimitable

Exhibit A: My younger brother pretending that I'm not taking photos of him at the train station.

(Today is his birthday.  He's turning 20.  Twenty.) 

Exhibit B: My younger brother testing out the photobooth.

(Apparently it's his birthday today and he's turning 20.  I'm having trouble grasping this concept.)

Exhibit C:  My extremely old younger brother's natural facial features.

Today's Wonderful Word of the Week is dedicated to the birthday boy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Adventures in Omelette: Herb & Cheese

Today I was prowling around the garden trying to get some sunshine on my sun-starved winter skin, and I noticed all the herbs growing in our courtyard.

Time for another omelette adventure.

We didn't have much else in the fridge so I decided to keep it simple and herby.  They key here is using two different types of cheese.  Tasty cheddar for the taste and mozzarella for the creamy texture.  Trust me, The Mouse knows her cheese.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wednesday to Friday (and The Pincushion)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  So, theoretically, if I don't have a picture for Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, I could just give you three thousand carefully crafted words to form a mental picture?

Three thousand words is a decent sized academic essay, and usually by the end of one I'm a nervous wreck. A very informed, well cited nervous wreck.  Recovery usually involves a lot of sleeping, and then eating, and then more sleeping, and several animated movies.

On Wednesday I was going to take another photo of my laptop and then decided not (you're welcome).  Thursday is a blur because I was finishing a paper, and then on Friday morning I was running out to the car when I realised I didn't have my camera with me.  I looked at my watch.  I looked at the car.  I looked back at the house.  I looked down at my nice boot which was slowly sinking into the mud.

I didn't go back for the camera, so no shots of what I did on Friday morning.  That's the morning I work at the library, so just picture rows and rows of bookshelves.  In between all these rows is a girl with a trolley, and she's frantically trying to remember her alphabet while creatively re-arranging the fiction so she can fit about 275 new books on the shelf.  (That girl is me.)

On Saturday I took some photos of the nice things I do when I'm stuck at home studying, in an effort to stay sane.

I like to think I'm scrapbooking.  I've started several scrapbooks but I think I'm going to actually finish this one!  I'm enjoying using up all the ink in my gel pens from primary school.  I knew they'd come in handy one day.

I also pretend to play the piano.  I'm not going to talk anymore about that.

Sometimes I even use my sewing machine (gasp).  Here you can see that I'm making something with a tail and if you're really good you might notice what it is.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Monday & Tuesday (and The Cow)

Before I rashly decided to take a photo of 'wherever I am' and 'whatever I'm doing' this week, I should have looked at my diary and calender.

What was I thinking?  That I could take a photo of my laptop from a different angle each day?  I'm an online university student.  My laptop is my window into the world.  How depressing.

On Tuesday my window into the world told me that spring is definitely in the air.

Check this out:  my 'window into the world' actually reflects the real window into the outside world which sits just behind me when I'm in front of the computer.

Same picture as above but focused differently.

You can probably tell that I'm scratching around for things to take photos of here.  I did leave the house for a haircut yesterday, and stopped off at Nonna's for morning tea, but I didn't bring my camera.  ON PURPOSE.  Because I didn't want to distress the hairdresser.  You should never distress the hairdresser when they are using scissors on your hair.  A lot of people seem to get distressed when I start using my camera around them (and I'm still not sure why).

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Weekend

In honour of Collingwood's win I have ruthlessly used a black and white filter on these photos.

(This also sort of hides the blurriness)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

And suddenly it's Spring...

I have to say that the first day of spring has lived up to all of my very high expectations.

Look... I even got to stand barefoot in the grass without my feet turning blue:

Notice how blindingly white these feet are.  This is a symptom of a long, cold, and very wet winter.

I just rushed outside half an hour ago to take these photos while I was checking to see if my camera still works after months of disuse.  The poor thing has been sitting in its camera bag under my desk, getting dusty and dented.  After my 21st birthday party I ran out of things to take photos of, besides salami.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Winter Perspective

It's one of those clear cold days.

And I'm in a vegetable garden.

It belongs to my Nonno and Nonna, and they grow vegetables because that's what you do when you have space in your garden.  Supermarket?  Why would we buy vegetables at the supermarket?

Nonna is getting together a box of vegetables for me to take home.

Today's box is full of winter vegetables.  I know these are winter vegetables because they are growing in winter (booyah!).  Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce...

Now I am in the shed.

It also belongs to my Nonno and Nonna, and this is where they hang the salami in winter.  That's what you do when you have an empty shed, and the need for a year's supply of homemade salami. 

Now I am standing by the barbecue.

I'm going to stand here for a while because it's nice and warm.

And it smells really, really good.

I'm going to go inside and have some of that winter salami and some of those winter vegetables for lunch now.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

(Sorry about the bizarre narration.  I'm in a strange mood after finishing a major essay on public policy failures and government implementation plans.  I thought I'd post about the 'normal' winter things I experience because I'm pretty sure not everyone has grandparents who feed you fresh homemade salami and cabbage for lunch.  Grandparents are the best.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WWW: Dissimulate

According to my sketchy records, the last Wonderful Word of the Week appeared at the beginning of November.  I think I remember explaining the lack of WWWs as a result of studying too much literature and too much sociology at university level.  There were so many big words flying around I didn't feel up to squishing any more into my brain.

I just applied for graduation at the beginning of the week which means I'm definitely on the homestretch of this BA.  Soon I'll be able sign my name like Anne Shirley does in Anne of Windy Willows:

(Letter from Anne Shirley, B.A., Principal of Summerside High School, to Gilbert Blythe, medical student at Redmond College, Kingsport.)

I may not be studying literature in this final year, but I have a few more politics units to go.  Politics units don't really bombard me with new big words.  But when I was writing out an answer to a quiz question last week, I realised that I needed a new big word to describe a new problem caused by the study of politics.

Dissimulate {v}  /diˈsimyəˌlāt/ 
Conceal or disguise (one's thoughts, feelings, or character)

I chose the word dissimulate because the word 'fudge' didn't sound intellectual enough.
You may recognise some of the other synonyms of dissimulate... pretend, sham, mask, hide.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Uncle's Harley

Back in the day when I used to pretend to blog regularly, I used to pretend to have a photo of the week.  More like photo of the month.

Anyway, the last photo I posted as photo of the week was taken in September last year so I'm thinking it has been sitting there for a while.  hehe?  

I can't just delete it without explanation, especially since my photos of the week were supposed to prelude a new blog post.  In this case, a blog post full of shiny Harley Davidson fittings (I know. You were dying to seem them, right?)

The thing is, a few months after I took thirty-five pictures of Uncle B's Harley in our driveway, a miscreant stole it.

They stole an entire Harley Davidson motorbike.  From the footpath outside my uncle's office in the CBD.

Can we just pause for a moment of righteous anger.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sophistication & Maturity

After months of inactivity in the blogging sphere I was beginning to feel that I'd have to do something drastic to get back into the Mouse Files mood.

So I thought about a new header, maybe a new font, a fresh look.  Except I've run out of photos of my head in the grass/leaves which could be conveniently cropped and converted into a Mouse Files header.

Who needs a photo header anyway!

So, being an extremely professional designer, I opened Paint and created something that could only be made in...well...Paint.  (I don't like Paint)  But at least I had more than five fonts to choose from!  I like to think that the new Mouse Files look oozes things like "sophistication" and "maturity".

(Except I miss the Mickey Mouse ears, so I might have to tastefully squeeze them in somewhere.)

Now that I've turned 21, it's probably a good time to start leaning towards sophistication and maturity in all areas of my life.

Yes, sophistication.

And maturity.

Never mind.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

One Hundred

Well, I've been waiting for this moment.  

Post number one hundred.

Ironically, one of this week's creative writing topics for uni is blogging.  As we are reminded during class that blogging is an excellent way of establishing a regular writing routine, and also a way to inflict our good writing on the world, I am getting those guilty prods in the stomach and making all sorts of crazy resolutions to blog more frequently.  I know, crazy.

Sometimes I try to work out why I like to write so much.  I know that I like chocolate because it tastes divine, and I like reading because I can travel to different worlds while staying in my own armchair.  I like cooking because I like to eat, and I like hanging out with family and friends because I love them.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dear Mouse Files,

I've missed you.

Today when I signed into Blogger for the first time this month, it was like coming back to an old friend, one I haven't seen for a while, but think about often.  Very guiltily.

You've made me feel guilty Mouse Files.

Why are you so neglected?  Oh well.  It's nice to know that you're always there, waiting for me to return and start taking photos again and writing about random things.

Lately I've been...

prowling around the library after-hours, enjoying the dark, mysterious and empty spaces between the shelves where the books live.
(i.e. working at the library)

pushing a miniature John Deere tractor up steep hills, wiping snotty noses and watching ABC Kids with two little people who say the most wise things which make me laugh hard inside.
(i.e. babysitting often)

staring at the computer screen with vacant eyes, scrolling through pages and pages of information about the 12th century Renaissance, Kate Grenville's Australian sensibility, and current policy on Australian Aborigines, until my vacant eyes begin to water and my brain feels like it's sliding down my nose.  
(i.e. studying, studying, studying)

a wing on the sardine can (i think planes feel extra cramped because there's
all this marvellous empty space outside the window)

flying in a sardine can across Australia to the great sandy place where the sun always shines and the sea is always warm.
(i.e. trip to Perth)

eating many scones with homemade plum jam.
(i.e. hanging out with my nonna)

watching old British television series in my pyjamas while drinking herbal teas and emptying boxes of tissues at an alarming rate.
(i.e. being sick)

But I still think of my Mouse Files often, and today I've enjoyed seeing you again.

Until our next post,

The Mouse.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


After many failed attempts to hit the Australian beach this summer, I finally made it on what was probably one of the last beachy days this autumn: Good Friday 2012.  

beachy {adj}
Sunny and warm, with a slight hint of saltiness, stickiness and summer fun in the air.  Usually accompanies a public holiday and/or the last day of Term One.

It was Mum's wonderful idea to spend the public holiday out and about, so we looked for the closest beach on Google Maps, packed lunch, and then drove off without looking back.

In a few minutes I went from this:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How the Locals Like It [Part 3]

Continued from Parts One and Two...

Every locality needs an oval.

The oval is where people meet on the weekends to watch barbaric forms of Australian Rules Football.  Or twelve year old boys playing cricket (all dressed in white, you can see them from miles away).

While I recognise that an oval is an important part of a community, I've never personally set a toe on this one. The only thing I would do on an oval is lie in the grass and stare at the clouds.  But I can imagine that this sort of behaviour tends to infuriate the sports people, especially when they are trying to use the oval for its intended purpose.

I've come here to drop off my brother at cricket training, or attend a 'function' at the cricket club.  Outsiders might see a squat, ugly brick building, all concrete and wooden benches.  Well, a bare building gives a sporting club a place to meet, and when a sports team meets, so do local families.  Trivia nights, barbecues, awards ceremonies, planning meetings.

The cricket club by the oval has established itself as a permanent part of the community.  I think this is why the bare clubhouse was even used for a memorial service, in memory of two teenage boys who died in the Black Saturday bush fires.  One of the boys had used that very clubhouse when he was on the cricket team.  Little things like that force you to stop and appreciate your own home town - a place where people actually stick together.

Speaking of of the most important parts of our little neighbourhood is the CFA.   Country Fire Authority.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

In which I post about not posting...

I think I need to start a series of blog posts along the lines of 'The Mouse's Various Excuses for not Blogging Regularly, and Instead Letting Drafts Pile Up, Memory Cards Max Out, and Ideas Form and then Dissipate.'

These blog posts would appear every couple of weeks, usually after a long silence on The Mouse Files.  In them I would probably begin by complaining that I am very tired, and that I've had assignments due, and then I would appease my conscience by posting some random pictures and then frantically begin eight new posts for the future (I have a lot of posts sitting in Drafts, let me tell you).

But there are always two reasons behind an absence of blog posts on the Files:

1.  I've been writing so much for assignments and personal enjoyment, that I just didn't need to vent on Blogger.

2.  I've been busy living a life away from the screen. {whoohoo}

This post would not be complete without a random picture to appease my conscience.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lily's Old Book

Whenever I find myself in a second-hand shop I always make a bee-line for the book section.

In the book section, treasures can be found.

I define 'treasures' as antique books.
I also define 'antique' as anything made before my parents were born (I'm not sure if this is technically correct).

The last time I was in the book section of a second-hand shop, I found this little treasure in amongst the redundant dictionaries and parenting guides from the '80s.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Adventures in Omelette: Stir Fry

It's been a while since my last omelette adventure

For an omelette to work you need to be a) at home, and b) not too hungry.  These requirements are important, because it's best not to trash someone else's kitchen while experimenting with eggs, and if you are too hungry to begin with, you end up eating all the ingredients before they make it into the omelette.  Trust me, I know.

So when it's suddenly 1:30pm (been studying all morning), and your stomach feels like it's poking you maliciously from the inside, it's really too late to try get fancy in the kitchen.  Instead, you go rummaging in the fridge for leftovers.

I'm not sure if I can really call this omelette an adventure.  It's a quasi-adventure, using leftovers.

(Does 'quasi' do what I think it does when you add it to the beginning of a word?  Doesn't it sound really funny on its own?  Quasi, quasi, quasi)

Leftovers!  Stir fried veggies from the night before.  Very limp and soggy and in need of some disguising.

Disguise = soya sauce and eggs.

And why not some sesame seeds for good measure?  Sesame seeds are so tiny and cute and virtually tasteless, making them a wonderfully ineffective ingredient (my personal opinion - plus they get stuck in your teeth).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How the Locals Like It [Part 2]

Our local post office is currently in a barn. I'll bet it's one of the only Australia Post outlets in a barn within a 45 minute radius of the CBD. {Oh yeah}

Before the barn, it was in a shack tacked onto the side of an old weatherboard house which was the home of three or four bachelor brothers.
When we moved into the area, Bob ran the post office (he was the most outgoing of all bachelor brothers).  Everyone knew Bob, and Bob knew everyone.  When you had to pick up a parcel, you didn't pick it up from the post office, you picked it up from Bob.  At the time I was about 11 years old so I took this for granted (what? you don't pick up your parcels from a man named Bob?)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How the Locals Like It [Part 1]

Melbourne is a large city.

Not large like New York large, or Rome large, but just really spread out.  Where does Melbourne begin and end?  Does anybody know?  If you live at one end of 'Melbourne' then it can take up to two hours to get accross to the other side, which makes it a little difficult when visiting rellies who supposedly live in the same city as you.

{I'm allergic to four hour car trips in one day, especially during peak hour traffic}

Throughout my short life I've lived in a few different patches of Melbourne.  Moving around is not very fun, and when we arrived in our current patch of Melbourne, the first thing I thought was 'this must be the bush'.
Which was silly, because there was a golf course down the road, and the local state park was more of an empty paddock than thick bushland.  And my 'this must be the bush' thought wasn't along the lines of 'the bush is an awesome place to live!'... no, it was more like 'living in the bush is living in the middle of nowhere!  Get me out of here!'.

It was an over-reaction.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Two Cents: Routine

Today I woke up feeling like I need to spend time re-discovering a little thing I like to call routine.

This is my first week of Semester One 2012, the beginning of the final year of my degree.  Final year.  Did anyone just hear me say final year? I'm not sure if that is possible.

For the past two months I have officially been on holidays.  This means I've been living life without the shackles of study holding me back from staying up late, spending an entire day just baking, or watching two movies in a row.  If this sounds decadent, let me tell you, after two months of decadence I'm just rearing to take back the shackles of study.  I've run out of movies to watch, my baking has damaged the kitchen, and I'm beginning to remember that I'll stay up late studying all year...

Holiday routine:  Sleep until we wake naturally.  Shop spontaneously.  Volunteer for everything.  Begin lengthy craft projects. Spring clean.  Read when not doing any of the above.

Actually, I didn't turn into a completely lazy young adult with nothing to do (two months is a long time to do that).  I was born a list-maker.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Summer Reads: Bleak House

Over the past month I've been reading from this pile of books from my local library.

After having the genius idea of borrowing Charles Dickens' Bleak House which is probably the thickest book I've ever read...  well, I haven't read too much else.  I'm the type of manic reader who can read a novel a day.

Bleak House is five or six novels.


This large volume has been my dear friend for the last few weeks.  It came with me to the doctor's waiting room, to Nonna's house (there was waiting involved), in my carry on luggage on an aeroplane (I know, I'm crazy), and it kept my company during a seven hour delay at the airport.

When I finished the final page (the 1010th page including appendices), I felt compelled to throw a party for the book.  It was a long and epic journey.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Seventh of February

Today is an important day on the Mouse calendar.

(Mum's birthday)

It's also a special milestone anniversary for a special friend.

(You know who you are, chicken)

These are nice things which roll around on the seventh of February each year.

Last night I was trying with great difficulty to fall asleep.  Have you ever had a night like that?  Your body is screaming out for rest, your eyes are glued shut, but still your mind won't calm down, your thoughts are racing around your head, and your so worried you won't sleep at all and that you'll be a zombie the next day.

Zombie days.  Not good for someone who can't drink coffee or utilise other various stimulants in order to trundle through the day.

After getting up, walking into a wall in the dark, turning on the light (argh, my eyes!), and reading the first novel on hand (World War 1, in the trenches = depressing), I was in a pretty dysfunctional state of mind.  I even sneezed so hard that my lip started to bleed.  Has THAT ever happened to you?

Then I had a little déjà vu.  (How cool is the word déjà vu?)

It wasn't the lip thing.  My lip has never started to bleed after a sneeze before in my life.
More like the problem of a sleepless night in February.  I déjà vu-ed back to February 2009.
To be precised, the week after the seventh of February 2009.
Also known in Victoria as Black Saturday.

If you live in Victoria I'm sure you know a lot about the bushfires on Black Saturday 2009, so I'm not going to write a whole lot about facts and figures.  The rest of you can look that up if your interested.

I remember Black Saturday because it was close.  Really close.
It was a day which brought fire, destruction, despair, desperation, and even death... really close.  When you live my nice and sheltered little Australian middle-class life you don't expect sudden and horrible death to come really close.

Sleepless nights in February 2009 were a symptom of fear.
Fear for friends near the fires.
Fear for all the local CFA volunteers risking their lives.
Fear that the wind would change again.
Fear that the nearby bush would go up in flames and burn through the suburbs.
Fear because no one really knew what was going on, or what to do, or where the fires were, or where they were going.

It's really hard to process, even now 3 years later.

Last night as I couldn't sleep, I remembered lying awake in 2009, listening to the whirl of my ceiling fan and smelling the smoke, wondering if the wind had changed and was blowing the fire our way.
I remembered the sound of ABC Emergency Radio in the lounge room, remember gathering around to listen to updated warnings.  Biting my nails as local suburbs were read out to be on high alert.  Freaking out when our own suburb was read out.  Trying to get onto the CFA website which kept crashing.
Redoing our fire plan over and over again as situations changed.

That was the one summer we almost moved from our little patch of semi-rural paradise on the fringes of Melbourne.

There are drawbacks to living near the bush, but hello, Victoria is one of the highest risk places for bushfires on earth.  We shouldn't be surprised, just prepared.  Now we know how terribly wrong things can go.

File:St.Andrews Kinglake Road April 2009.JPG
Photo source: Wikipedia

I'm more of an optimist than a pessimist (unless I'm running on no sleep - then the world is a dysfunctional place, people).  So I tend to look for the positives when something bad happens even though it annoys the stuffing out of lots of people (pessimists).

Summer 2009 faded into winter, the fires went out completely, Australia went absolutely nuts helping all the people who had lost everything they owned, the local community hereabouts went nuts supporting families who had lost people they loved.
And it rained.

It rained, it rained, it rained... all through summer 2010 (terrible for beach holidays, but hey).
Events like Black Saturday literally burn memories onto certain days of the year.  My déjà vu won't let me forget that.

The seventh of February is also Mum's birthday, and Nonna has just arrived (with Nonno) and she bears gifts of olives, tomato sauce, fried zuchinni flowers for dinner, fresh basil which survived the storm (hallelujah) and a birthday cake.  She does things properly.  (I go nuts for basil)

I did finally fall asleep last night, because after re-living fearful moments during bushfires, I was then thinking about my Mum.

My Mum is very cool.
She gets all my blog posts delivered to her inbox and then she gives me constructive criticism on my grammar (just kidding, sort of).
I inherited my love for English and writing from my Mum.
So really, without her, I wouldn't be tapping away, spilling my thoughts in a dangerously public arena.
I guess without her I wouldn't even exist right now.
I thank God for my Mum.

And with that, I fell asleep.

Thank you for reading. ;)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Anniversary Cake

I was born one year after my parents were married.

1991  (undoubtedly one of the best years to be born)

Every time their wedding anniversary rolls around I can remember the exact number of years they have been married (as every responsible and caring child should), just by adding one year to my expected age for that year.  I sometimes get confused and add a year to my current age and then fall short (awkward moment).

I just re-read the last paragraph and I'm not sure it even makes sense.  But since this is the Mouse Files and I'm  the Mouse I can write whatever I like!  Excuse me while I go and revel in that extraordinary power.

While I'm revelling, set your peepers on this:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Australia Day 2012

I've been pondering a mysterious question about my nation for the last couple of days:

What do Australians do on Australia Day?

My observations:

Day off work.

Nothing too stunningly patriotic there I must say.  I can say that because I don't actually do anything very Australian on Australia Day either.  That in itself is very Australian.

I hope no one from overseas ever reads this semi-confession of an un-patriotic and confused Australian.

I feel like I've typed the word 'Australia' too many times to pass as good English so I'd better move on to some photos which can speak for themselves.

This is where I found myself this morning, on the 26th of January 2012.

Scot's Presbyterian Church in the heart of Melbourne city.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Summer So Far (Rain)

Last night I wore my winter pyjamas to bed, threw an extra blanket on the bed, and even ended up cuddling a hot water bottle early in the morning.

Oh, and it's January on this side of the globe - heart of the Australian summer, land of deserts and golden beaches, sunburnt plains, bush fires, and all.

I think I'm getting a cold.

Good news is that I'm about to leave frosty Melbourne and head north on the weekend.  Ironic news is that the weather is going to go back to behaving normally and frying Melbournians on that weekend.  Irritating news is that it's going to be four degrees colder, and raining, in Brisbane while I'm there.

Obviously the rain is following me for a reason which I have not yet worked out.  I'm watching you, weather.  You can't get the better of me.

It was also mysteriously raining when I travelled down to the beach before Christmas.  I say mysterious because that morning had been a scorcher, hovering in the high thirties, and as soon as we started down the highway to Frankston in the afternoon, huge raindrops started hitting the car.  By the time we arrived there had been a cool change.

Thankfully, we were there for more than one cold afternoon/evening.  The next day the sky was that certain shade of blue which makes me feel like cart wheeling very happy.

Here is a rare photo of me on this anonymous blog:

What?  You can't see me?  I'm the blob in the middle.  Thank you to Sam for running off with my camera without permission and taking many out of focus shots.  That's what happens when you get some males to carry your very large camera.

It was still too cold to go swimming in the Victorian waters (ie. icy waters), but who can resist jumping over the water from orange rock to orange rock.

The water was so sparkly (I love sparkles).

I should also thank my erstwhile sibling and his photo-taking sidekick for taking me to the beach after lots of whining and pleading  I asked really nicely, when they could have spent the afternoon playing PS2 instead.

Thanks guys.

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