Friday, June 28, 2013

Mazes, stomping and apples.

Red Hill mini-holiday!  Following Oprah Winfrey, my favourite things for the season are:

1. mazes
2. stomping
3. apples

First stop was the Ashcombe maze, a hedge maze over 3 metres high.  I liked it in the maze and decided I should live there, where no one would bother me.  Eventually Jason coaxed me out. 

The next day we did a long walk from Red Hill to Merricks, on the old Red Hill railway trail.  It was a beautiful day, plenty of dappled sunshine and soft pine needles underfoot. I did some good stomping on  dry leaves. We saw some bulls, plenty of cows and horses, and rolling hills.  Each time a pair of riders approached us on the trail, I would say to Jason, "They must be bringing us an important message!" But the only message was, 'Chilly out, isn't it?'  Chilly out indeed.

At Merricks we ate lunch at their general store.  For a general store it is extremely fancy.  In fact, this was a recurring theme - every time we tried to get a simple meal, we ended up at a two-hatted fancy restaurant.  That said, there were a lot of delicious apple products on the Mornington Peninsula. I ate caramelized apple on my porridge, Red Hill apple cider, apple sauce with roast pork and apple pie.

At the Merricks General store there were a very handsome father and son sitting across from us.  The younger man had a James-Franco-esqe smile, whilst the older man had a ridiculously thick black moustache, and a shock of grey messy hair.  Quite a charming pair.  In contrast, the table next to us at dinner were screeching women who talked loudly about their parking and speeding fines, collected in Barker's road Kew and Middle Park.  "I said to the officer, "I'm driving a Landrover.  Does it look like a $262 fine is going to be a problem?!"  

On our final day we went to Point Leo and Arthurs seat.  More stomping.  There was supposed to be another maze in Arthurs seat, but we couldn't find it. (Or perhaps we did.) Then our final round of delicious apple products at Johnny Ripe, a 'farm gate' store specialising in pies and preserves. The sign out the front said, 'Welcome Baked Goods'. A sentiment I share, and a fine end to our mini-holiday.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pillars of my (in)sanity

My specialty fellowship exam is but 6 weeks away.  I am the first to admit that my mental state is precarious at best.  Here are the pillars of my sanity:

1. Reading non-medical books
I am currently reading 'May We Be Forgiven' by A. M. Homes.  It is so funny and heart-wrenching that Jason threatened to confiscate it last night because the bed was shaking from my silent laughter.

2. Eating lunch at Cibi
Meg always gives me a friendly smile.  Exiting the house forces me to change out of my study uniform/pyjamas. I eat vegetables!

3. Ignoring well-meaning advice
A direct quote from an ACEM examiner: "If you want to pass this exam, you must only study.  You may walk outside occasionally."

4.  Telling Jason that I love him
I do this when I am feeling anxious.  Jason feels very well-loved at the moment.

5. Planning holidays, exercising and cleaning.

5. Staring out the window

Sunday, June 9, 2013

the documentary project

My New Year's resolution for 2013 is to watch one documentary per month for the year.**

Here is my year so far in documentaries:

January: Searching for the Sugarman

Oscar prize winner, watched at Nova in 35 degree heat with no air-con.  But still amazing. My favourite scene is the interview with Rodriguez's labourer-workmate, describing his disbelief that Rodriguez is an internationally famous musician.  "They put your face on a milk carton?!?'

February: If you're feeling sinister.  

A Belle and Sebastian documentary.  Watched in bed, on my phone, whilst failing to sleep at 5am after nightshifts.  I fell asleep to happy West End Glasgow dreams.

March: West of Memphis

Bleak, but beautifully shot by Peter Jackson.  Covers the conviction and eventual release of the 'West Memphis Three'- three teenagers charged with killing and mutilating three young boys.  Falls squarely in the genre I like to call, "Those Crazy Americans."

April:  Grizzly Man

BEARS!!  Ever since we visited Yosemite National park, Jason and I have been a bit bear-obsessed.  Oh, and there's a crazy blond American guy- but don't worry,  he gets decapitated.

May: How to survive a Plague

AIDS in the 1980s- back when it killed *Americans*.  A case study in effective advocacy and activism.  Peter Staley comes out very well- an impressive, articulate spokesman.

June: Ping Pong

We drove to Elsternwick  to watch Ping Pong, a documentary about the 2012 World over-80s table tennis championships in China.  It was a lovely piece on ageing well. The highlight is a Chinese TV reporter asking a 101 year old participant, in stilted English, "Why are you even in the championship?  You are so old!"

**To clarify for those who think I am completely crazy: this is in addition to essential TV shows (eg FNL repeats, Mad Men, Top of the Lake) and films.