Stenolube (and all the rest of it).

My job has many perks. Carrying 14kg of equipment to work every day isn’t one of them. I know my gear weighs 14kg because I have an argument with Cathay Pacific every time I travel for work about how far you can stretch the hand luggage restriction of 5kg. I say nearly tripling it is quite negligible; they generally don’t agree.

After years of dragging around a cheap purple roll-along case I got at Kmart when I was still a student, earlier this year I forked out for this lovely Samsonite joint.


I really love it because it matches my handbag, and also my dog. (Handbag for colour-matching purposes). (Dog for scale, not colour-matching, purposes. But GOOD MATCH, right?)


While it’s true I do appreciate having a luxe case now, my irrepressible parsimony/dodginess cannot be denied and I still pad the whole situation with a bit of closed-cell foam from Clark Rubber, ripped into kind of a rectangle shape.


Here’s all the stuff I manage to pack inside. The only way to pack it so that it all fits is by meditating oneself into the mindset of playing Tetris on speed. Because really this much stuff shouldn’t fit into an overnight bag.


Pictured clockwise from top left: realtime cables (serial to USB, whoo!), steno machine, tripod, laptop, power supply for laptop, pencil case filled with small tools/invoice book/headphone adaptors etc., backup recording devices, USB stick with friendly owl decal, essential tripod tilting mechanism (seriously I can write on any steno machine with that thing, and none without it), US$4,000 dongle that allows my software to work, screwdriver to adjust steno machine, headphones, lubricating oils, and a few more cables and power supplies.

What the cables usually look like when I unpack them at work. Speed-addled Tetris players aren’t known for their cord-winding techniques I guess.


A closer view to show that I finally learned how to use the macro setting on the camera some of the small and odd gadgetry I use.


One of the highlights is this syringe full of wheel grease, because my steno machine is pretty much from the same era when nightmen still came to collect buckets of poo from outside dunnies i.e. it needs regular oiling of its mechanical parts. I also use to threaten long-winded, fast-speaking counsel. Sharp, messy AND toxic!


And lastly, my tube of “Stenolube”, which I never use for any purpose whatsoever.


What’s in your handbag?


(Please click on the β€œCircle of Moms” button to the right to vote for me in the Top 25 Expat Mom Blogs. You can vote once a day until 6 June. Your vote will bring me a small moment of pleasure when the debilitating joint pain from lugging all this shit around every day becomes too much to bear…)

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Rhi says:

    Love it! How do you keep Rufus and Zadie from playing with all those goodies!?
    My handbag at the moment is a nappy bag – usual suspects there. But when I used to travel for work, it was a proper tool set with cordless drills, alan keys, screwdrivers etc, plus all the bits and pieces needed for possible emergency repairs of objects – so, glues, fancy papers, fancy stickytape, bug catching specimen jars, scalpels, and needles and invisible polyester thread. Once when I was arguing with QANTAS check-in staff about my tool-kit, they could only see the cotton reels and some fabric on the top layer, and asked me “is it just a sewing kit?” I was so mortally offended that I said “No!”, but I think everything might have been easier if I had have just said “errr, yep”.

    1. jadeluxe says:

      I fail at keeping Rufus and Zadie out of the bag. They are both in tears each morning as they fight to be the one to wheel it out the door.
      I tell you what, I can’t wait until you go back to your job…I’ll be so excited to read all about it! I love how all your tools are so random too, like full-on construction tools, and delicate scalpels and needles! So fascinating.
      Travelling with work stuff is such a hazard. I’m lucky I guess because although I ALWAYS get pinged by the metal detectors and scanners, and have to unpack everything, as soon as they hear that I work in “the courts” they’re like “OK LA!” As if I have the power to actually do anything legal πŸ˜‰

  2. Rodney says:

    How can I get some Stenolube? And will it help my arthritis?? Loving your blog. X

    1. jadeluxe says:

      You can use it to fix squeaking door hinges…

  3. Jo Black says:

    Please post larger photo of friendly owl. Thank you.

  4. Toni says:

    I feel so boring. I have tissues and a lipstick in my bag. That’s it.

    1. jadeluxe says:

      My handbag has that. Plus, usually, an embarrassing paperback that always falls out in court or on the train. Currently it’s a full sensationalist book about Melbourne’s gangland killings with drips of blood painted on the cover etc.

  5. Hmm, so curious what your job is.

    Just found you via Top 25 Expat Mom Blogs – I’m an American expat mom in England XOL

    1. jadeluxe says:

      Hello! I’m a stenographer (court reporter) – I reckon it’s the best job in the world!
      So good to meet you. Love your link-up πŸ™‚

  6. G.D. Warner says:

    Hi, Jade.
    Wow, those cables …! (*shudder*)
    Looks like I’ll have to take a few pictures of my cables sometime! I’ll shoot you an e-mail when I’ve got them posted. If I write the instructions correctly, your cables will look a *lot* neater!

    1. jadeluxe says:

      GD, as you can see, I’m in desperate need of your instructions – why did I know you’d have an article about this? πŸ˜‰

  7. Kathy says:

    Love your blog! I’m a steno student…and a little scared at the thought of carrying all that around one day…if I ever get up to speed!! I’m sure you’ve had some questions at airports about that syringe! You are inspiring to me because you manage to a)do this job and b)do this job as an expat and c)do this job as an expat with a husband AND kids! Wow!

    1. jadeluxe says:

      Hi Kathy! The good news is the gear gets lighter as the years go by, and it gets more streamlined – so if you take a long time in speedbuilding, that’s one positive to look at! πŸ˜‰
      Would you believe I get most questions at the airport about the tripod. They hate the tripod.
      Good luck with it, hey!

  8. G.D. Warner says:

    Hi, Jade.
    Nope, I don’t have an article on the cables … but from your picture, I see that one is needed!

  9. Glen Warner says:

    Here ya go, Jade:

    Still working on the actual article, but there’s a shot of what my cables usually look like. Power adapter cables can also be wrapped this way.

    1. jadeluxe says:

      Tidy work G.Warn; I expected nothing less πŸ˜‰

      1. Glen Warner says:

        As the article will tell you, I learned how to do that in the Navy … except instead of cables, we used paper tape, for teletypes … like so:

        The little bits of paper punched out for the data got *everywhere*! While I do miss the Navy (somewhat), I don’t miss cleaning that stuff up ….

  10. G.D. Warner says:

    Hi, Jade!

    You’ll be pleased to know that the whole article is up and ready for your perusal! You can find it here:

    Good luck . . . and I hope that helps you with that angry mass of cables!

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