Timber Kennel Build

So I’ve been to the hardware store! I’ve purchased all the tools and material that I’ll need to build a kennel for my dogs, and I’m ready to go. First thing tomorrow I’m going to put my protective goggles on, get out my chainsaw and start building. 

I’m very grateful for the guys at the hardware store not far from Bentleigh. They were seriously so helpful. They looked at both my kennel designs carefully and chose one that fits in with what I want and the shape of my yard perfectly. They also took into account my lack of building skills and suggested the one that they think will be easier to build. Guess which one they chose? The one with the two individual kennels connected by a balcony and stairs! I’m so excited.

The building is going well. It’s definitely not easy, especially with my great Dane picking up planks of wood and running away with them like they’re sticks. He’s so big and funny. The planks of wood are literally bigger than my chihuahua. It’s funny to be reminded of how different my dogs actually are. No wonder people love them so much and find the pair so funny. That’s how I feel about them too.

For a bit there during the build, I thought I was going to run out of high-quality building supplies. Cheltenham has plenty of places to buy timber and supplies so I wasn’t too worried, but I’m glad the guys at the hardware store thought about my design correctly and gave me exactly what I needed. They gave me no more, no less. 

The kennels have now been built and they look awesome. I’ve spent the afternoon showing my dogs which kennel belongs to them and where to sleep, but I don’t think they’re taking any notice of it. My great Dane is currently trying to squeeze into my chihuahua’s kennel.

Tooth Brushing Fan

I’m the biggest fan of brushing my teeth! I absolutely love it. I love how fresh I feel after I brush. When I brush my teeth it seriously feels like I’ve washed away all my sins. It doesn’t matter if I’ve vomited from drinking too much, or eaten the worst food in the world that day, if I brush my teeth afterwards then I’m in the clear.

I also like brushing my teeth because my parents spent so much money on my orthodontic treatment when I was a teenager, that looking after them feels like the right thing to do.

But yeah, there really is no downside to brushing my teeth. I brush my teeth at least three times a day. That’s after every meal, and then if I leave the house I brush my teeth too. Sometimes I brush my teeth upwards of six times a day. And I feel absolutely fantastic every single time.

Anyway, got to go! I’ll upload this post even though it’s unfinished and finish it off next time I log on. Chat soon everyone.

Oh, wow. I was logged out for twenty-four hours and I now have thirty comments on this blog post. That’s up there with the most amount of comments I’ve ever received. At first, I was really excited, but now I’m stressed. What do you mean there’s such a thing as brushing my teeth too much? I swear the dentist near Bayside told me that I needed to brush my teeth more. Now that I think about it, maybe they said that when I was just brushing my teeth in the morning.  

Apparently, I can make my gums recede by brushing my teeth too much. Is that actually true? I love my teeth. I don’t want to have ugly gums. That would do the opposite of making my mouth feel fresh.

Keeping teeth nice


This might be quite embarrassing to say but I used to be a child actor. I was known as a ‘triple threat’. Basically, a triple threat is someone who can sing, dance and act. I did a lot of musical theatre and TV ads. As I got older I stopped with the acting as it evolved from something I was proud of, to something that was embarrassing. I’d say a big part of that was due to school bullies. I remember there being quite a few years in school where I was appearing in many TV ads and catalogues. The other kids found this hilarious and would always poke fun at me. Without even realising I found myself slowly quitting all the acting and modelling jobs. I’ve asked my parents about it and they said that I started to lose interest and that they didn’t want to force me to do something that I don’t feel comfortable with. Now that I’m in my 20s I’ve decided to give modelling and acting another crack. I think I take more pride in my appearance than most males. For example, I regularly make visits to the local Bayside dental specialists near me.


As an actor, I like to ensure that everything about my appearance is in top form. I eat well, hardly drink, and I don’t smoke. I exercise each morning and do my best to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. I still have a few friends who make fun of me for being an actor, but when you’re nearing thirty the words do bother you a lot less. Unlike them, I’m also in a much better physical and healthy condition because I have the motivation to look after myself. I don’t see them being committed to strict eating habits or having regular preventative dentistry visits. In fact, whenever something happens to their teeth they just don’t care at all. I like to think that putting all this effort in will not only benefit my career but also benefit my health as I age.


Pool House Door Replacement


Thirty years ago I met my now-husband and moved across the country for him. We only knew each other for a year before I decided to pick up my life to be with him, and I’ve never looked back. I love my family just as much as I love my husband, but I followed the possibility of true love and I’m really glad I did. I now live in Melbourne and the rest of my family live in Perth. My family comes to visit twice a year.

When my family visit they tend to stay for a month or so at a time, which we are all really happy about. However, seeing as we’re all grown adults we are all aware of the fact that we need our own space. When my husband and I built our house twenty-odd years ago, we decided to build a fully self contained pool house to go along with our house. That way my family could visit and live in their own space, and we could have our own too. It was a genius idea. 

As with everything over time, wear and tear happens. Our pool house is in the need of a few repairs including a door replacement. Melbourne homes are built by the best, but after more than twenty years, it makes sense that parts of our house and pool house need fixing. My husband and I are going to get everything in the house repaired before my family comes over next month. We both want my family to be as comfortable as possible when staying with us, especially because they’ve gone to the effort to travel over three thousand kilometres to be with us.  

Whilst we’re at it, we’re also going to get a sliding windows replacement in the main house, which is our home. We can afford it and we enjoy the finer things in life, so we are upgrading our current windows to stunning sliding ones. 

Plumbing Puzzles

Have you heard of that new escape room in the city? My friends and I are going this weekend, and I think it’s going to be a heap of fun. I’ll admit, I was sceptical when I first heard that it was plumbing themed, but Joe has talked me into giving it a chance. Apparently, plumbing can actually be a really exciting topic, and Joe thinks it’s a great idea for an escape room theme. So, I’ve changed my attitude and am really looking forward to it now. Hopefully it’s as good as Joe expects!

Of course, Joe knows all about plumbing, being a professional plumber himself. He claims to have fixed all the blocked drains around Thornbury, which is quite the achievement! On the other hand, that does mean that he finds plumbing more interesting than most other people, so that could be why he thinks this escape room will be so interesting. I’m willing to give it a proper chance, though, even if we do have to drag the rest of our friends there.

Joe originally wanted to go to this escape room with just the two of us, but I thought it made more sense to bring a whole group. More brains mean that we’ll get through the escape room easier. They can be really difficult, and you only get an hour to complete them, so it’s better to have more people, in my opinion. I would have been happy to go just with Joe, but at what cost? How much of the escape room would we have made it through alone?

Anyway, I need to brush up on my knowledge of plumbing before this weekend. Where can you get drain camera inspections? Melbourne, of course! That’s one of my flashcards, helping me get the knowledge needed to pass this puzzle room’s many tests. We’re going to finish this escape room. I’ll make sure of that. If we don’t, we’ll have to come back again next weekend to try a second time.


– Jane

Long Driving Retreat

My favourite thing to do in summer is to take a really long drive out to small towns I’ve never been to before, sleep next to the ocean, check out a couple of antique shops, then head home to catch up on the real world. It generally adds up to around three or four days of solid driving. Most of my friends don’t get it at all, but I enjoy the dedicated time to myself, and my house doesn’t have aircon… seems like a no-brainer to me.

Anyway, today I’m on my way back to a town that has been on my list of places to visit for along time and, low and behold, my car is failing. Please tell there is a highly recommended mechanic in Mornington. It’s beginning to dawn on me pretty seriously that the remainder of the drive is going to be far from enjoyable if I don’t get my car fixed, stat.

I’m guessing that the Mornington Peninsula is the closest area likely to have someone who can help me out on short notice. I’m generally pretty good at making small tweaks to the van on the road, but the air con is one thing I’ve never been any good at dealing with. It helps that I tend to get the thing professionally serviced on the regular, although I did cop out on my last scheduled check-up at the mechanics. In my defence, my registration was due and I had to go to the dentist that month, so give me a break.

I suppose I could use this as an opportunity to get a general car service. Mornington is a nice area to spend an afternoon while I wait right? Surely I can occupy myself there for a day while I wait for the van to get sussed out. I could find a cool cafe for lunch and then take a nice walk along the beach. If it’s nice I  could even book a hotel room and spend a weekend in Mornington enjoying the sea air. It seems extravagant, but when was the last time I did that?

Folk’n Feet Cancelled

I’m so disappointed that the Folk’n Feet Fest has been cancelled. I totally understand that it’s not worth the financial risk at this time; I was just hoping that March next year would be far enough in the future for the organisers to take a gamble.

The main thing I’m bummed about is missing out on seeing the acclaimed Mary Widdlestein Trio. They were billed to be coming out from Memphis especially for the occasion, and given that Mary is 93, I’m not sure how much more international touring she has left in her. Still, nothing surprises me where Mary Widdlestein is concerned. After all, we’re talking about the woman who single handedly positioned toe-picking as a legitimate banjo technique back in the 1960s. She’s a living legend.

She was also the first person ever to receive commercial sponsorship for playing banjo, albeit from a semi custom orthotics manufacturer, which I always thought was a bit of an odd fit. I mean, you can’t very well wear orthotics while toe-picking, in addition to which Mary is almost never seen wearing shoes. I just don’t see her as an orthotics user. But, you know, there’s the whole foot connection so I guess it’s fair.

As for me, I’m not much of a foot specialist. Around Cheltenham, toe-picking isn’t that well known. People tend to look at you funny if you so much as take your shoe off, although occasionally there’ll be one old hippie in the corner who’ll nod approvingly. Maybe that’s why Mary doesn’t wear shoes too often – being barefoot makes it easier to sneak in a bit of fancy toe work before people have a chance to figure out what you’re doing.

Anyway, I haven’t really developed my toe skills, which is partly why I was so looking forward to doing a masterclass with Mary and seeing her in action. I’ve heard her double bassist does some crazy things with elbow plucking, too, and I was very keen to see what that’s all about. Still, there’s nothing I can do about it, and I’ll just have to look forward to Folk’n Feet 2022.

Designing oxygen suite

As an architect I have experienced my fair share of people’s eccentric demands. I have dealt with swimming pools on roofs, upside down trees, walls that disappear and home cinema requirements that would knock your socks off. When I was reading through the plans my most recent client had put together for his Bayside Melbourne home, I was a little stunned. I had never seen someone wanting me to design them a space specifically to house a portable hyperbaric chamber. For confidentiality reasons I cannot tell you the name of my client, but I can tell you he is a professional athlete and he has lots of money to spend. As well a personally tailored oxygen therapy centre, he also plans to build a glass bottom swimming pool that sits above a gym suits so you can admire those swimming above you when working out. As if swimming, running and oxygen therapy isn’t enough, he also wants to have a tennis court on the roof and a half size basketball court around the back. Apparently portable hyperbaric chambers are becoming increasingly popular with athletes in order to increase fitness and activity levels.

My client told me he had been receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy in Melbourne for a couple of years and accounts a lot of his recent sporting success to his oxygen treatments. The portable hyperbaric chamber doesn’t take up too much room so will fit easily into his rather large mansion, he just wants to make sure there is a suitably peaceful space in which he can receive his oxygen therapy so I am designing a room with a large skylight to allow maximum penetration of natural light. I thought it might nicely somewhere around the swimming pool. At some point I will have to remind my client that we are designing him a home and not a fitness parlour, he has not included bedrooms or a kitchen in any of his initial designs. I suppose that is my job!

Door = Portal

There’s something so symbolic about doors. Like, they’re a divider between two different spaces, and yet they’re also an opening that connects the spaces and allows you to pass between them. How can something be both a divider and a connector at the same time? I guess those things aren’t exactly contradictory or mutually exclusive, so I suppose it’s not that remarkable, but still. It’s way symbolic.

What are they symbolic of, you ask? Well, I don’t know. Take your pick: life phases, stages in a journey, the passage of time. Back in the day, folks used to hang all kinds of talismans and charms on their doorways, because they were thought of as portals from the outside world to the inside (or something to that effect). Nowadays, by contrast, people couldn’t care less – they just want something that will prevent their house from getting robbed. 

Maybe there’s not that much difference between hanging a carefully crafted wreath of birch leaves for protection, and getting an aluminium door replacement. Melbourne, after all, doesn’t have that many birch trees to pilfer from, and aluminium doors are just that bit more effective at creating a barrier in practical terms. In other words, perhaps the symbolic nature of doors has not been lost to the mists of time. 

I mean, it’s not like you can really separate the structure of a door from its metaphoric meanings. The only way that could really happen is if we stopped having doors altogether, and god knows why we’d do that. Can you imagine? I wonder if there’d be a spike in sash window installation. Melbourne seems to love those sash windows, although they don’t seem like the most practical means of passing through a wall. But that’s the problem we’d be faced with if doors were abolished.

That’s probably not going to happen, though, is it? We’re going to keep using doors, just as we’ve done since ancient times, to cross the threshold between realms – or, at least, rooms.

Light In The Dark

You’re approaching home at the end of a long winter’s day, it’s been dark for like two hours already, and you feel like you’re about get whisked away by a blizzard… and then you see the glow of your house, lit from within by a loved one who’s making you a bowl of gnocchi as big as your head. Either that, or you’ve lovingly provided yourself with a sensor light system and are soon to be making yourself a bowl of gnocchi as big as your head. You know that feeling? Yeah, you do.

That’s what winter is all about: being in the thick of the dark, cold night, and yet feeling your heart warmed by a welcoming light in the distance. Oh, and gnocchi. It’s a lot to do with gnocchi. Sure, there’s the less appealing aspects of the season, like having to shell out for ducted heating repairs. Melbourne weather doesn’t let you off easily on that score, invariably choosing to switch on plummeting temperatures the moment you’re foolish enough to think the worst of the cold is over. It’s a constant process of keeping everything trucking along.

There’s something about that vibe, though, that’s sort of comforting. Your life starts circling around mollycoddling yourself, and low priority commitments fall to the side. Who needs to be worrying about worldly affairs when you can be adding minestrone recipes to your digital pinboard, or knitting yourself an ottoman cover?

Everything becomes geared, in one way or another, towards heating. Melbourne people might like to think of themselves as sophisticated sorts, but really they’re just as prone to this primal orientation as our none-too-distant ancestors were. We’re mammals, at the end of the day, and we look to our den to keep us alive over the cold season. Whether or not we the type for building fires, a warmly lit house is a close enough approximation, signally safety, food and shelter from afar.