5 lists from the year of turning 60

Being afflicted with a congenitally over-developed case of self-examination, I was reflecting on the best and worst bits from the year I turned 60.  It went like this:

5 best books I read (all by women authors as it turns out)

liz gilbert

  • The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  • Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
  • Foal’s Bread – Gillian Mears
  • The Light Between Oceans – M L Stedman

5 best tracks I downloaded from iTunes (and paid for)

  paul kelly

  • Little Aches and Pains – Paul Kelly
  • Loretta – Lyle Lovett
  • Babel – Mumford & Sons
  • Big – Sneaky Sound System
  • That one with the unprintable name, you know, the one about her dad – Martha Wainwright

5 most embarrassing moments

  • Being told by my daughter, “It’s good to see your hair colour is resolving itself – grey.”  Then falling for the suggestion by the artistic director at the salon (i.e. the bloke who cuts my hair) that he could put some dark highlights in my hair so it wouldn’t look so grey; getting a plastic bonnet put over my head and tied under my chin, and having little strands pulled out then having to wear it for an hour; then seeing a bunch of women I knew in the colour-setting lounge.  Couldn’t convince myself I was just one of the girls.  After all that, no-one even noticed anything different.  Now going grey defiantly.
  • Getting my annual skin cancer check-up, and having the doctor inspect every skin irregularity.  “What’s that?” she asked.  “Where I fell off my bike.”  “And that one?”  “Where I hit a tree riding my bike.”  “And that one?”  “Where I stabbed myself on my bike’s chain sprocket.”  She concluded the examination with: “Are you sure you should be riding a bike?”
  • Going up to the ticket machine at Redfern station for my over-60s $2.50 train ticket and finding I had to push a button that said “pensioner excursion” to get it.
  • Getting sucked into a conversation about shaving my legs, only for it to lead to revelations from the other participants (girls) about how painful it is waxing your own bikini line.  Won’t be trying that one.
  • Falling off the stand at the gym that lets you do forward facing sit-ups.  The armhole of my singlet got caught on one of the supports, and ended up suspended in space, and having to be rescued by one of the hardline body-builders.

5 least credible people of 2013


  • Christopher Pyne – come on, all that Gonski bullshit?  If I was that other David, I would be thinking about changing my name.
  • George Brandis – you appointed whom to the Human Rights Commission?  The guy who thinks it should be abolished?
  • Ray Hadley – for all his multiple inanities and insensitivities.  I was cheering about that defamation judgement.
  • Bronwyn Bishop – hadn’t we finally got rid of “Madame” Speaker and those old robes?
  • Kevin Rudd –the most self-indulgent concession speech ever.

5 miscellaneous things

  • Best box set I watched – Breaking Bad Seasons 1-3 and yay, there’s still 3 seasons to go.
  • Most disappointing award-winning novel I read – Questions of Travel, Michelle de Kretser – did I wade through all that, for it to end like that?  Or am I uncool?
  • Best re-read book – Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card – after I read somewhere that it was prescribed reading for officers in the US Marine Corps and before I heard it was being made into a movie.
  • Most difficult parting – the MGF, after 13 years.  It had to be towed home just a couple of times, nothing major, but Brigitte got a bit over that minor inconvenience, and a bloke was begging me to sell it to him.  All things must pass, just like George Harrison said.


  • Most extravagant purchase – Brigitte’s Fiat Abarth.  Can you really pay that much for such a tiny car?  But it does go like the clappers when you press the “Sport” button.  And it does say “Brembo” on the brake callipers.