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just life

life

Happy new year

January 11, 2018
Sunset on Phu Quoc, Vietnam

So it’s 2018! Kicked off with a full(esque) moon, which I celebrated beneath on an island in Vietnam, drinking pina coladas on the porch  while my children slept inside being devoured by midges. Looked like they had chicken pox the next day. Good times.

Some amorphous goals that definitely aren’t all that SMART, just the way I like to do em:

  • Post to old blogface mcblogerston once a month.
  • Finish, tune & polish the space opera story *pats story* good story.
  • Then query the shit out of it.
  • Create beautiful surroundings (code for: attempt to finish decorating the house) (also: make my office a pretty & inspiring space to write in!)
  • Visit the motherland Aotearoa and fill up my kiwi tank before it runs empty.
  • Rock a personal style, maybe one that involves wearing more lipstick and bright dangly earrings, and definitely involves being ridiculously comfortable.
  • Take more photos. Snap away. Even shitty photos are better than none.

At this moment in 2018 I am:

Wearing – fave black shorts, stripy breton tee, bright pink tassel necklace, and lippie.

Listening toRuel and Odette, amazingly talented young Australians.

ReadingDark Sky by Mike Brooks, second in the Keiko series.

Eating – Pineapple Lumps sent for Xmas by a dear friend.

Dreaming about – A beach holiday (in a resort with a kids club, natch) where I get to read all day long while drinking pina coladas.

WatchingRIVERDALE because I HEART IT. Gives good angst.

Crushing on – Jughead, maybe.

life

Five things on a Friday

July 14, 2017

1. This Ghostbusters Playmobil is awesome! I think my boys need it. Yep. They totally do. (As kids my siblings & I were NUTS about Playmobil and I hope to foster that same enthusiasm with my boys).

2. My precious: Andy Serkis reads Trump’s tweets as Gollum:

3. Got your tissues handy? Mandy Harvey’s performance on America’s Got Talent brings me tears every.time.I.watch.

4. The most bizzare yet hilarious financial advice ever. I mean obviously. Buy solid silver spoons. That is totes how you get out of $187000 of debt. (Possibly this woman is an incarnation of me from another dimension, since my life’s actual financial plan since 1999 has been Win The Lotto.)

5. Stranger Things season 2 is coming on October 27th:

life

A slice of life

April 10, 2017

Monday afternoon.
It’s raining + windy + grim outside.
I think we got all of April’s rain in the last 24 hours. And it’s been lovely. Very autumnal. The first cold of the season always is! (Then it keeps on keeping on, and I quickly turn to despair, and I’ll look back at this and be all WHAT WAS I THINKING)
We’re all holed up inside wearing standard dresscode (gruglies).
There are toys on literally every surface.
And you should know I don’t use the word ‘literally’ lightly.
(A little lightly)
It’s hazardous.
There’s been puzzles, playdough, baking, blocks. The careful application of toys to every surface of the house.
I wrote some words in naptime. And did a million loads of laundry.
And tonight we’re going to have a hunk of roast lamb, with a mountain of crispy roast potatoes, all drowned in gravy (I make a good gravy. This is, I think, an inherited trait. Come over sometime & I’ll show you how to make Freakin Awesome Proper Gravy.)
Hope your Monday is going just as swimmingly.

life

2016 in review & looking forward to 2017

January 24, 2017
2016 in review - my boys

I like how I manage to get these posts up in January…. juuust.

Reading

I read 29 books in 2016. I was so! close! to finishing 30 books but the last one – Life or Death by Michael Robotham – ended up spilling over into January.

I had NO re-reads and NO did-not-finishes. Entertaining new reads the entire year! Goal = tick.

I very much enjoyed the books by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) in the Cormoran Strike series. And I don’t even usually read crime. One of them in particular has lots of scenes set where I used to live in west London, which made for a very vivid read (& a moment of “why did he just take the tube when it would’ve been faster to walk?”). JK Rowling does plot very well, and I love her vivid descriptions of interesting characters.

The sci-fi Something Coming Through by Paul McAuley was fantastic, as was the post-apocalyptic Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.

I also finished a few series this year, reading the following books which are all the final books in trilogies: Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear, Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie, and City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin. (Lush, brilliant, and average, respectively.)

And I smashed the rest of Liane Moriarty’s back catalogue plus her latest novel. Lady better write the next one, stat.

Writing

Well… I had a baby. No, truthfully, I did get some writing done, but not as much as I would have liked. I embarked on edits of Silver & Iron, which I’m currently still doing. The.book.is.so.close.to.being.doneski.for.realski.

Goal: finish edits – finish completely! – by end of March. Including a query letter. Begin querying in April.

Then: write shiny new ideas that are shiny!

Personal

In 2016…
– I had another baby boy! And he’s wonderful. New people are wonderful. Boys are wonderful.
– We went to New Zealand for Christmas and I finally filled up my sadly empty Kiwiana Tank. Phew.
– My personal fashion concept could be described as Fat Preggo followed by Mum Uniform.
– We did not landscape. Boo.

This year, we have already smashed goal numero uno, which was landscape the back yard! It’s done! If I had written this post on time I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that, ha.

I would also like to figure out some kind of personal fashion concept that excites me. Because sometimes the t-shirts-with-holes-in-them and shorts (if it’s warm) or jeans (if it’s not warm) just… does not excite me.

House goals: Light fittings installed. Recover the awesome old chairs I got at a 2nd hand store. Sew some curtains. Furnish the TV room? Get cabinetry in the laundry? Paint the hallway wall. Wallpaper the toilet? Actually, I have a billion house goals, and only 12 months of the year…. Goal one: prioritise goals.

life

2015 in review & looking forward to 2016

January 21, 2016

It’s still January! So this post is still legit! I’m totally scraping it in.

Reading

I read 21 books in 2015. Not a great year but at least it was more than 2014 (although 2014 was skewed by The Luminaries which should really count for at least eight books, don’tcha think?)

Three were did-not-finishes.

Two were rereads (Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells).

I discovered Liane Moriarty in the latter months and burned through a bunch of her titles. Love her stuff. She’s a bit like an Australian Marian Keyes.

My favourite three reads were The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, The Passage by Justin Cronin, and Little Big Lies by Liane Moriarty.

This year, I want to READ MOAR. I’m going for quantity, and for entertainment. I’m thinking about fun, about popular fiction, rollicking sci-fi and engrossing fantasy. I will limit my threshold for boringness. If a book isn’t gripping me within the first few chapters, I’ll be moving on – no wasting time ignoring it and reading magazines instead…

Writing

I edited and finished Silver & Iron (erm, mostly) (previously known as Rukan). I mean, holy shit. A book practically completed – the first one I’ve ever got to this point – that’s a pretty big win for the year. Nothing else got done. A few meandering thoughts on other stories, some poking at short pieces. I was consumed by that book.

This year, I want to send Silver & Iron out into the big wide world. And I want to get a sizeable chunk written on the first draft of my next story. It’d be nice to do more… a short story or two, a finished first draft… but I’m trying to be realistic about my capability.

Personal

In 2015…
– We built and moved into our new house!
– My personal fashion concept could be described as STAGNANT. With a side of Mum Bun Hair.
– I lost a pregnancy 🙁
– I did some adult beginner ballet lessons & luffed them
– I suffered some serious New Zealand homesickness
– My sister briefly lived in the same city as me (yay!) and then moved (boo!)

This year, I want to get the driveway, landscaping and window furnishings completed for our house. Hopefully also: a few light fittings in, and some cabinetry.
And I would like to just, at least, try – a little bit – to get regular haircuts like a normal person. And get some new boots come winter where the zips actually zip.
And we are expecting another sproglet now, which is sure to throw a spanner into the works of all the aforementioned goals…!

life

December like woah

December 16, 2015

We have MOVED!
What a crazy busy wonderful time of year this is.
I went to Sydney to see a friend for a couple of days. There were Christmas parties and presents, birthdays, packing up, moving, unpacking, cleaning the old flat, and multiple trips to Bunnings. I pretty much took out a second mortgage with AusPost, sending parcels all over the world.
Perhaps the very first thing I unpacked in the new house was the Christmas tree…
It’s currently filling up a spare corner of the living room. The place will probably look a bit more empty come January when it is time to pack it up.
Outside our house is a desert of dust and rock and weeds.
We have people coming to quote for driveway, paths, decking, blinds. I just want to get the outside done and then we will be more comfortable here.
Master J is learning to ride his scooter up and down the long hallway. Needless to say, he’s loving the extra space. I am too. I can’t wait to get my study set up with my own desk and comfortable chair – it will be the place of Many Great Words…

life

One year wiser et cetera

October 15, 2015

It was my birthday on Tuesday. Thirty four years on this earth, and four years in Melbourne town. This birthday really snuck up on me. Suddenly it was October! Whaaaat? Wasn’t it just March?

The day passed by without much fanfare – some years are like that, don’t you think? I could have made more time for myself but I didn’t. I did get to have a lunch out, which is a rarity these days. French toast with poached pear and strawberries and marscapone, and a latte. At a cafe which is very not-child-friendly. Boy did I take those for granted.

Thirty four is: another layer to my hair, thinking about the lost baby which would have been due this week, wondering if I’ll ever paint my fingernails again, apprehension at having to move an entire houseload of stuff for the first time, self confidence, experimenting with toddler containment techniques, always giving a cuddle, excitement for the next year to come, only pages away from finishing my first book to an acceptable readable standard!, slight addiction to marshmallowy goodies, content.

Big things will happen in the next 12 months, starting off with moving into our new house. There’ll be so much to organise – driveway, paths, window coverings, garden, lawn, decking, light fittings, mirrors, cabinetry, furniture. ARrrgh. Part of me just wishes it was already 6 months down the track with all these things finished, even though time is clearly flying by fast enough as it is. Hopefully by this time next year, we’ll be comfortably settled in, with all the major items ticked off. I look forward to the slow accretion of a home, of making this house truly ours.

life

Five things on a Friday

September 18, 2015

Another Friday! Man these things keep on arriving, almost like they’re programmed that way.

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These totally adorable ‘tea dragons’ as featured on io9. I love Lapsang Souchong’s flaming antlers, and Oolong’s mossy mane. And Ginger is soooper cute, can I have one please?

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Just cause, you know, Nancy Sinatra is awesome.

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37 tweets guaranteed to make you laugh every time

Number 12.
And 15.
And 22.
And 24 (haha, that’s so me)
And 29.
And 33! Best Jesus ever.

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Martha Marcy May Marlene is a really awesome movie I watched recently. It’s about a girl who escapes from a cult, and takes refuge with her estranged sister. The way the movie slowly layers together clips from her past in the cult, with the current scenes of living with her sister, builds this great dramatic tension. You realise just why she was so terrified early on. You see what they did to her, how they drew her in. You wonder just how damaged she is – what is she imagining, what is now real? She is somewhat of an unreliable narrator in the current scenes. You see her sister suddenly realise something isn’t right with her. You see her sister struggle with how to help her. Highly recommended.

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DAMN YOU STEVE. A very excellent & amusing video on blame. If you have ever dropped something & immediately blamed someone else for your unfortunate accident, give this a watch.