It’s Summer in Australia – where is MLT?


Well, for a change, I am not actually ‘at large’ but at home in Adelaide. I did have a very long trip to Europe which started in Italy (2 months there), continued to Switzerland and Austria then on to the UK before finishing with a few days in Dubai.

My companion blog ‘With my heart in Abruzzo‘ is where I am still writing about my adventures in Italy, with a focus on our time in Abruzzo.

Sadly, upon our return, Andrew’s mum was unwell so we headed up to Queensland to be with her and her companion. Hilda passed away two weeks after we got home. We were fortunate to be with her for the few days before, but we aren’t certain she was really aware of who we were. Her dementia had gotten worse than before we went away and we tried to just agree with her and make sure she was comfortable. Rest in peace dear Hilda.

Hilda and I back in 1990

Back in Adelaide some weeks now we are contending with summer. It’s hard, I know, but seriously, it had been hot and sometimes uncomfortably so. I’ve had to resort to spending time at the beach or reclining with a fan blowing on me while I read books.

We’ve day tripped down the Fleurieu Peninsula to enjoy the coastal scenery, cooked a few summery meals, drunk some yummy wines and generally enjoyed ourselves.

My hubby, Roo, gardened and completed some painting and picture-hanging tasks while I relaxed and contemplated returning to work and dreamt up schemes for another adventure.

Batteries recharged, it’s time to get back to a routine.

So we are both back at work. I am doing a casual writing job that has started out full-time for a month or so then will slow down a bit to part-time.

I am planning another trip to Italy to continue my study of ‘la bella lingua’, this time for a month in Lecce, Puglia. That’s way down on the heel. I have not been that far south before and look forward to studying at the University of the Salento and exploring ‘il tallone dello scarpone’, ‘the heel of the boot’ that is Italy.

January is nearly over already. I hope you are all starting 2016 out right and enjoying life, wherever you are on the planet!

Looks like a monthly update is all I can handle…

There seems to be a lot going on, and little time to blog about it.  I’m thinking that perhaps I am too connected and a bit disjointed in my approach to social networking and blogging.  I have been considering only updating my Tumblr blog MLTuckerAtLarge, which feeds to my Twitter and my Facebook and just leave it at that.  More photos taken on the run, less writing.  But the whole idea of this blog was to write more. Easier said than done.

The day job at the documentation factory and my ongoing love affair with studying Italian seem to be getting in the way. Maybe it’s just that I have been busy with summer (now more or less gone) and blogging will be easier to do over the colder months (from the cozy couch). So, I am not giving up yet. This year will be the test.

But right now, I have Italian homework to do…i compiti.

Mi piace i compiti!

Life at the documentation factory and other December observations

I am currently easing back into work after nearly 3 months off (refer with a few odd jobs. Some of my work mates will be going on well-earned leave for up to 4 weeks and I’ll be odd jobbing and helping out around the department. This week I have been updating our policies (one of them ironically on keeping policies up to date) and I have handled a few staff suggestions related to our new smart forms (interactive PDF forms). Next year will bring a swag of new projects and I have a feeling I’ll be deeply involved in making a few of them happen. This is both exciting and a bit scary as all the thinking I have had to do for a while has been related to decoding menus in Italy and seeking information on the wily ways of public transportation in Sicily. I guess, thinking about what a challenge that was, that I am up to the task at hand….

Everyone around me is in a pre-Christmas frenzy. I am so fortunate that I did not grow up with the ‘Catholic Guilt’ thing. I don’t celebrate Christmas because I am not a practising Christian and, after all, I try to show ‘goodwill to all’ throughout the year and not just save it up for December. As my mother used to say “It’s Jesus’ birthday honey, not ours”. Smart woman, that Louise.

Living in the southern hemisphere also somehow takes the winter festivus feeling out of the season. For heaven’s sake it’s summer and I am sitting here in a sarong.

So I hope everyone has a peaceful time but remember not to buy me a present. If you must, make it a goat for a village in Africa or a donation to an aboriginal community. OK? Cheers!


The pleasures of home

Today is my last day off before going back to work. I have been off since the 3rd of September, with most of my time off spent in Italy.

Travelling is great, there is no doubt about that in my mind. Here’s a favourite quote of mine:

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
Mark Twain – Innocents Abroad

Just as I love travelling, I also love coming home and want to celebrate some of the pleasures.

Lunch in Chinatown
Chilling out in the garden
Seeing the Jacaranda trees in bloom
Our buddies Speedy and Jose Gonzalez

And there are more which I will write about in the future. So welcome home us!

Twittering, catching up on US politics and just reflecting

I am a twitterer and am probably more suited to the short format.  Whether it’s finding time for a concentrated bout of writing, short attention span or just my nature, I am not sure.  Most of my work day I spend at a screen and keyboard so I am probably a bit averse to logging on at home each night for any length of time.  An hour at the keyboard can easily turn into three and then I lose my much-needed beauty sleep.

Or maybe I have just spread myself too thin:  I blog here on occasion, I Twitter and I also use Facebook.  Plus 3 emails to check and numerous must-read web sites, mostly related to news, cycling, music and books.  Am I too connected?  Am I being enriched by all or any of this information?  Or is it just too much static?

Sometimes a bit of info sticks.  Like today someone else’s Twitter re-tweeted a link to a recent Obama speech. Being an expat American I have a renewed interest in what’s going on in the US since the change to Obama last year.  I don’t follow politics closely but I like the non-partisan way in which Obama is trying to resolve some of the deep problems with America.  Health care reform is a huge issue there and the right-wing sees any kind of state supported health system as nothing short of Bolshevism.  So Obama will have an uphill battle. In this speech I think he gets off to a good start.

The tyranny of the day job

In itself, my job at the documentation factory is not that bad.  I am currently redesigning forms for a credit union using Adobe LiveCycle Designer.  “Designing forms, how boring” I hear you say.  But, believe me, if you like technology and getting to play with new software, and feel good about process improvements and that sort of thing, it’s actually a great job.  In the main, the people I work with are funny and interesting and have interesting skills and knowledge to bring to the team.

The problem is that I spend five days a week at work and there are so many other things I want to pursue.  I am not getting any younger and the days are not getting any longer than the standard 24 hours. Most days go by so quickly. I have not written in this blog since the new year’s long weekend ended and I went back to work. Perhaps I am just not disciplined enough.

On a more positive note, I began my stint for 2010 as a volunteer with the Adelaide Fringe working in the workshop where the opening night parade floats are built. Adelaide’s Fringe is second in the world only to Edinburgh, Scotland. And it’s the largest fringe festival in the southern hemisphere.

Some familiar faces at the workshop: Tsubi and Katherine who I met on the 2006 Fringe.  Both women are parade designers and both are talented, easy-going and fun.  I look forward to working with them again. Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons. The parade is on the evening of 19 February in the streets of Adelaide. Be there or be incredibly square.

Call yourself a blogger?

Well, I have not typed a word here for many months, so what is going on?  Well, I think work is getting in the way of life.  Common problem I know…

However, recently I have had the opportunity to go away and spend some time away from the ‘documentation factory’.  Because I spend 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week at the keyboard and monitor, I do not race home to do more keyboarding and monitoring.  The up side of this is that I have read a few more books in 2008.  In a typical year I manage 3 or 4. In 2008 I did closer to about 12.  “Still not a huge amount”, I hear you say.  True, but I do read all day at work.

This year I have read books loaded or recommended by friends.  Some highlights were:

  • The Book Thief
  • The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
  • The Rip
  • The Last Chinese Chef

All for different reasons.

Currently working on Cloud Atlas and 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel.

Having a break from Society of Editors duties until end of January.  So I will see how much ‘a bloggin’ I will achieve until it all kicks in again.

Catherine from our China trip is coming to town soon, so there is a very strong chance that we will be having Peking Duck at Ming’s Palace, the place for duck in Adelaide.

Entertainment horizon ~ Neil Young at the Big Day Out in Adelaide (woo hoo), Leonard Cohen at Leconfield Winery’s Day on the Green with Paul Kelly (mmm, a Canadian theme with Young and Cohen) , then the Fringe, whatever that brings…now I must hang out the laundry.

Life of a part-time blogger

The stats are in — I am officially a very part-time blogger.

Just what have I been up to since March 08 when last I tapped these tiny keys?

Changing jobs, twice; writing PR articles for the IPEd (Institute of Professional Editors) conference next October (2 of 4 articles here:; travelling to Perth for merger related work; discovering new winter recipes to warm the house (braised pork chops with grated apple, leeks and apple juice); going to the Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Market; reading books (The Book Thief, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, A New Earth, 13 ways of looking at the novel, The Inheritance of Loss, Dirt Music and more I can’t recall); loading photos on my Flickr site (; watching my cats grow; going to the gym; working at a day job 40+ hours a week; following the election in the USA.

So what does this mean for my blogging future?  Ah, that is to be seen.  But now I have a publicity article to write…