J and have decided that we need to be healthier than we have been the last little while. We both feel sluggish and bleaugh so we found some great recipes and have been taking the dog for longer walks. Some of the meals we have planned for the fortnight sound beautiful:
Asian style chicken salad
Balsamic steak with cannellini bean mash
Beef bourguignon with parmesan dumplings
Beef stroganoff with steamed vegies
Honey lemon chicken stirfry
Thai beef stirfry
Pasta with smoked chicken, asparagus, and pesto
Chicken and spinach curry
Yogurt rubbed chicken with tomato lentils
Low fat chicken, lemon and herb burger
We also have a night out at gold class and Finns birthday which are both likely to be a little on the indulgent side, but thats ok. Moderation! All the recipes came from the Taste website, from categories such as heart smart, low fat, low GI, low carb, low kilojoule. Yummy!!!
ALSO, whilst I am thinking of it, I was intending my life writing to be about my childhood, but was trying to work out how a bunch of stories could become something with more meaning, and now I think I will combine stories of my childhood, with commentary on Finn's somehow, and make it intergenerational or something. Just an idea I am toying with that I wanted to write down before it flitted out of my brain again, as so many things tend to do!!!!!
J and have decided that we need to be healthier than we have been the last little while. We both feel sluggish and bleaugh so we found some great recipes and have been taking the dog for longer walks. Some of the meals we have planned for the fortnight sound beautiful:
Are you a holiday person? J and I have very different requirements from holidays, which always makes things... interesting. He wants to stay home and relax, I am at home all the time, and so want to go away somewhere.
Usually we compromise. I put up with staying home and pottering round the house, and he indulges my need to get away and we have short breaks. Unfortunately, J has not taken much leave in the last 2-3 years. A week at home, and literally 2 days away has been about the extent of it. He has changed jobs twice in that time, first the move to Melbourne where we took his leave paid out to help with relocation costs, and then took it paid out because the former employer begged him to stay and the new employer begged him to start ASAP.
This is frustrating me!!!!! I want a holiday! A big one, a long one. Somewhere warm and relaxing. We have 4 days in Tassie booked at the end of November, but thats it. I think I am going to book us somewhere toward the end of summer. In fact, perhaps thats something I would prefer to do for my 30th. Maybe we'll skip Tassie and go to QLD instead.
Might look into it, the idea of finishing uni, turning 30 and having a holiday all in one go has me all a quiver!!!!
Every now and then, I spend some time reevaluating the decision we made to have no more kids. It was not much of a fair decision, given that to do so involves a lot of treatment, a lot of stress for all 3 of us, a lot of money and a lot of travelling.
Mostly, I am happy with the decision to just make the most of our boy, and give him everything. Every now and then, doubt creeps in. It might be someone else's baby or pregnancy announcement, it might be looking at his baby photos, or something else that makes me wonder if I do want another.
J does not, but would support me if it was what I wanted to do. I think that perhaps many people when they complete their families - infertility aside - may have doubts. How am I to know this is not normal and unrelated to infertility?
I talked it over with a good friend which helped me work through all the thoughts and really get to the heart of it all properly which was good (thanks Em xx) and again I came back to the same conclusion. This was the right decision for us.
I have gone too far forward with this decision now to go back, and I like it here. I like where I am with uni and writing and I like that I can see travel and opportunities for Finn and for J and I. I may look back across the fence to the green grass at times, but if I stop and look around properly, I can definitely see it is just as green over here.
Sensual and supple, soft and the power of touch so underestimated.
Skin against skin, the closest we can be. Wanting to be united, but
constrained to this touch.
Summarised: Warm. Powerful.
These ARE themes I am keen to write on. Or perhaps more what I want
my writing to be?
Jen looked out across the lake, she wanted to dive in, never to
resurface. It was so still, and so welcoming. She waded in, and
gasped at the cold, but forced herself forward. She turned her face
to the sky then fell backwards, the water catching her in a cold
embrace. She floated, staring at the sky, swirling her arms lazily to
keep her from submerging completely, but toying with the idea,
Summarised: An obsession with death.
What image comes to mind to write on now?
A teenage girl, on her back, in a bath, being held under the water by
a person who is ranting, violent, and psychotic. Her hair is spread
out in that strange floaty way, but she is not struggling against her
attacker. Her eyes are open.
Had some good feedback on them already, so that's encouraging. Why do I write violence and a sense of unease well? I always feel far happier with something like the above than I do when I try to write humour, romance or anything else.
And my baby turns 4 just 2 weeks from tomorrow. How did this happen? Where was I in this time?! I think I am going to give him a wiggle themed birthday (AGAIN). He is not into lots of kids and a big party, just family would be his comfort zone. He wants to have it here but I keep trying to con him into having it at nanny and pa's because there is more room there!
So! For his bday we have a kids electric guitar and if not sold out, I want to get a vtech globe from the target toy sale thats on at the moment. Otherwise, something wiggly probably. Although J wont let me get him a wiggles doona as a bday present. Fair call I s'pose but the kid has SO many toys and so much stuff...
So! What am I planning for the bday party? I have given it exactly 5 minutes worth of thought thus far. Make everyone dress in a wiggles color I think. A cake with a wiggles topper of some sort. Or a big red car shaped cake that frankly, theres no bloody way I'd be clever enough to pull off. But I could pay someone else to! Wiggle colored balloons and a banner, wiggle plates etc. I might buy a couple of roasts for Dad to whack on the spit, and do some salads or vegies.
What have I forgotten?! HELP! What else can I do to make it a bit special? Please ideas are not my strong point (the above are pretty much ALL Lea's ideas), I need muchos helpos.
Have to get my thoughts in order, bear with me, or skim over!! This will hopefully help me feel I am not as out of control as I feel.
Fiction B - week one notes complete, reading and writing journal started; week 2 notes out this week. Have started creative piece.
Life Writing - week one notes complete online, no record yet. Read Student Chronicles, would like to try and read Balanda also if time permits. Have to read 2 travel books first as both assignments due end Aug. Think about concepts of identity and self and memories etc relating to the memoir. Week 2 notes out wed night. Throwing ideas around re: creative piece.
Reviewing - week one task to map review sites. Have bookmarked several aussie sites under food, film and literature. No american, british yet. Needed? Week 2 task is to read first 2 readings and compare the opinions of reviewing role and of Peter Craven. Also to find a review thats strongly positioned in terms of reviews position in relation to readers. Do today. Wonder what assessment things are for this unit. I cannot remember at all! Note to self: Find that out. Not due til mid sep and end oct. She be right!
Travel - week one task was to read 3 pieces and discuss what makes good writing and what doesn't. Week 2 involves reading 5 readings and discussing how various techniques convey a sense of place and distinguishing myth and reality. This unit has a pack of intellectual wannabees using big words and generally annoying me with their desire to appear to be knowledgeable. This unit is going to piss me of as a result. There are so many fuckwits in postgrad, honestly, and this unit has most of them. Must read 2 of the texts for the assignment due in 5 weeks -ish at the same time as LW assignment is due. Look to borrow something less pretentious than Theroux. If possible..
Create folders on desktop, notes are mixing up. Sorry for the boring entry, my brain was going in circles, now I have direction. Cheers!
So, the new Harry Potter book is out, the finale, so to speak. Don't worry, I promise this post will contain NO SPOILERS.
But I did commit the ultimate book reading sin. I read the final chapter, first. People seem horrified when I tell them, aghast even. The way I see it, I could then not worry or stress about people ruining it and could know it for myself. I then read the book at my leisure and enjoyed it, there were still surprises!
I won't comment on my opinions of it in fear of ruining it for people. Aren't I kind?
So, this weeks life writing class had a task where we were to write about our most memorable family photograph. I wrote about one of we 3 kids in the bathroom brushing our teeth. My brother was about 2, me about 5, my sister about 7. I wrote how we used to pretend to be the "dribble man" when we rinsed. The dribble man was an old man we occasionally came across in the park, who, as the name suggests, dribbled a lot. How mean are kids?! We weren't scathing or hateful, just matter of fact, but still!!
I also wrote how being the only dark haired child meant the other two often told me I was adopted. Bastards. teehee. Kids are funny. So this semester I have to write a life writing creative piece. Initially, I thought I would write about when J and I had stuff going on and I was going to Italy and then found out I was pregnant with the boy... but it reminds me of all things negative, as interesting and spellbinding it may be as a tale! Now, I think instead that with the dribble man elaborated, the kidnap story etc I might make it about my childhood. I'll add in the lost at the shopping centre story too. Now to conjure up so more tales of that ilk...
That's where I am with uni at the moment! I am completely overwhelmed. I have too much going on and I have been unable to find my groove so far.
I did this weeks fiction exercise this morning - I had to write from the prompt "The door creaked open..." to flex and stretch the writing muscles a little. Then I had to discuss the normal me Vs the writerly me. The normal me is the person who seems harassed and rushed for time, reading a sentence here, writing a paragraph there in between "mama, can I please have..." and trying to get a million things done. The writerly me sees possibility and imagination everywhere. In a snippet of conversation I overhear at school, in the things that I read, see or say. There is a man in the town I live in, and he sits in his car at the bottom of our hill each morning, reading his paper for hours on end. He is generally gone by lunchtime - I cannot tell you the number of "stories" I have had in my mind about why it is so. The world is different through writing eyes.
I also then had to comment on stories from "The Best Australian Stories 2006" (ed Robert Drewe) and why they appealed, particularly what I found unique in ideas or innovations. I have to be honest and say some of the stories in there had me looking so confused and what the?!?! They were just WEIRD! (Will Elliot's 'Ain't no ordinary ham' comes to mind!) and I really liked 'Emily' by Daniel Wynne. But in terms of innovation and ideas, so far from what I have read, 'Loved her more than lettuce' by Gavin Carver was brilliant. Such an interesting protagonist and plot, so different to the usual read, I loved it (almost as much as I love lettuce!)
Writing is so subjective. What one agent or publisher hates, another may love. This makes me determined to succeed. I wouldn't get an HD in Fiction after just a few months of writing if I didn't have something there to develop, right? RIGHT!? It is also interesting to note that of the 3 stories I highlighted, 2 are by as yet unpublished authors.
I now need to go and read eleventy billion review sites. Not overly inspiring..
Isn't it pretty? I've not ever really seen snowfall before. I know it gets cold where we live, this is our first winter here, but snow is exceptional still. Just gorgeous. Finn is back at pre-school this morning, term 3 has begun. I hope they are looking at it too.
I feel very flat. Funeral is Thursday afternoon and I had to really press J to take the afternoon off to watch Finn - he is at too vulnerable an age to come with me, I feel - and J agrees. Of course, my family will all be there, so it has to be J who watches him. J has work, but hopefully he can still get away.. sigh. Not like I WANT to go to a funeral. I am dreading it. I don't want to go to be honest. I know that is really awful of me, but I hate funerals. They freak me out. I know I am going to end up an anxious, panic attacking mess, but its important to me to go too. My brother and sister are going, we will go together. Mum will probably be with the family, given she is his mothers closest friend. I helped Mum put a notice in the paper for us, we went with simple about him sharing a tin with his best friend, who killed himself some years ago. Ugh. Its not fair. Life is shitty when it comes to death (ironic statement huh?)
Anyway. I don't know.
I have looked at my spreadsheet, and it definitely says 66 C for your grade, so I really don't know where the 34 came from. I'm terribly sorry that Deakin caused you such stress over the weekend (and a little worried about the results of others!). I've just filled in an 'Amendment to Result' sheet.
Phew. Thank goodness, naughty Deakin! It was my worst unit so I was a little concerned! That sorted, I can get reading underway for semester 2. 1 down 8 to go. Oh, wait, I added another, "Reading autobiography: A guide for interpreting Life Narratives by Smith & Watson" - so 1 down, 9 to go. So why am I sitting here? Not in the mood for reading, thought its probably a good distraction. I find it interesting (?) that sometimes you give and give of yourself when people need you, then as soon as you could do with an ear, theres no one about (or they still talk about themselves and their issues). Why is it so??? No matter, such is life I guess. Luckily I do have a shoulder or two to use, I'll get by.
Got an email from my lecturer last night, she assured me it was definitely an administrative error that she would confirm it Monday and sort it out for me. Thank goodness, a definite relief there.
Mum rang me yesterday with sad news. A friend of mine from high school times had died, he was only 32 and he had a heart attack. The weird thing was he had been at the Doctors about an hour before. What sort of incompetent quack saw him and dismissed it all??? I don't understand that. Anyway, I had not seen him in a number of years, he was more my sisters friend than mine, but we had some good times. We used to go to the same parties when we were about 17, 18. He would always look out for me a bit, which was nice. Sort of like what I imagined having an older brother would be like. His mum and mine are still very close friends, so Mum was called from where it all happened and went straight in. She said she went and saw him, afterwards, and said goodbye. That is always an eerie experience.
Bodies, dead bodies, are always so cold and heavy and empty. It's really strange. I am glad she got to say goodbye, they had a good friendship and I know he had a lot of respect for her, and thought highly of her. I think the funeral will be on Thursday. There will be a coroner's inquest given he saw the Dr so soon beforehand. I'm ok, as I said, I hadn't seen him for a number of years, but I always was interested in hearing what he was up to from mum. I always thought a lot of him. He and his twin brother and mates all come across as hard, tough blokes - but they're all really good guys at the heart of it.
Ugh. Just sad. Very, very sad. I'll feel your loss mate, but I can't help feel you finally have the peace that you tried so hard to find in life. :(
How is this for worrying!?!?
My results were out today, the sms came through just after 530pm.
Erm. It says I failed Editing!!! 34, Fail. It says!!! I checked online at 6pm, same deal. Wtf?!!?! I emailed my lecturer and said given I got credits and distinctions for all my assignments, what the?! I am sure it is wrong, but still I can't help think, god did I miss an entire assessment piece or!?!? Bah! Not happy!!!
That aside, I did well for the rest! Ds and HDs. Woot! Thrilled to bits with that. Given its postgrad, full time and I have a child home with me all but a few hours a week - I rock!! Very happy.
Just fix the grade already! Argh!!
Firstly, that cat video, I still piss myself laughing at the last one: "Why I eyes ya..." oh my god, I literally have tears EVERY time. rofl. Ok, breathe..
So, ever had one of those days that keeps getting better and better?! Allow me to brag. Firstly, I got an email from an old uni friend. Second one this week! I went to that schoolfriends site, and I am too cheap to pay to contact people so the 2 people I genuinely wanted to chat to again, I left these free buzz things... I dont know, theyre just a little standard message for free. Anyway, I also snuck my email address slyly into my profile, as did the guy I was contacting so I emailed him and had a bit of a catch up via email and msn. The memories flood back as though it was yesterday we were all living together on campus. They were definitely some of the best times of my life, for sure. Such brilliant memories, first time I smoked pot (and second and third...); berocca in vodka, hungover in lectures, climbing the Fletcher Jones tower, walking all the way from the gal (nightclub) back to uni because we had no taxi money....
Today I heard from one of the best girlfriends I had at the time, who I always thought was a top chick. So far just a quick one to check it was my email address, but hopefully will hear more from her soon, I can't wait to see what she has been up to the last eleven years! The piece of writing I have been concentrating on from last semester is set in that time and prompted it, so I really do feel like that time has just evaporated and I am going to wake up in room 5, manor 4 all over again!
Then I got my final piece of work for the semester back. My creative piece for my Fiction unit which was worth a whopping 70% of my grade (!) I had been having yet another crisis of faith in my ability, so was thrilled to see I got an HD. That gives me a HD overall for that unit too. Bloody brilliant!! I got kickarse comments too:
Kelly, a powerful, moving story, beautifully written and crafted and containing profound insights. this narrative is brave, daring and speaks what is often not spoken - and for many (including me) this is a quality that draws them to the reading of fiction: we want to read what doesn't get said in every day communication. In this respect, this work makes an achievement and does so in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Seriously - tf?!!? Thats such amazing feedback, am so excited! Inspiring, and the things that were highlighted for improvement I agreed with and knew something was not right with, so that was encouraging too.
THEN... a package was delivered. I thought it was something from ebay, but opened up a digital camera. I was emailing J and asking if he had bought it or what the? Thought it must be an ebay stuff up or something amiss... Found the envelope that came with it and J had won us a digital camera in some competition that came with the plasma. How funny, its better than the one we had! Stoked!! Takes a brilliant piccy! It also has a rechargable battery, meaning I don't have to spend a fortune on batteries anymore either. Bonus!
... In a pile of books. READ FASTER dagnammit. So I have ordered all these books from the prescribed list for my 4 units, and for those without prescribed, some from the recommended list. Keep in mind that for travel writing, this list is an A4 page long; various travelogues and such. Geebus!
So I have 9 books to read in the next 4 weeks. 9! I love reading, I am a fast reader but feck! They are:
Reviews & Reviewing: A guide by AJ Walford
Fresh-air fiend: travel writings by Paul Theroux
Music in every room: Around the world in a bad mood by John Krich
The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing by Hulme & Youngs
The Best Australian Short Stories 2006 ed Robert Drewe
Hoi Polloi by Craig Sherborne
Balanda: My year in Arnhem land by Mary Ellen Jordan
The Student Chronicles by Alice Garner
Jonestown: The power and the myth of Alan Jones by Chris Masters
I felt overwhelmed at the start of last semester too by the sheer volume of reading matter I had to get through. comes with a lit/writing degree! It settles though, I spend the first 3 weeks or so reading at top speed, skim reading, note taking.. then I get into writing etc. Hope there are some gems amongst them as there were last semester!
Thats me, an apprentice of the craft of writing. I keep freaking out that I want to write but no time, no time! Which is sort of true, but I have to remind myself that just blogging, or sentences here and there, and especially uni, is practicing and honing and refining. And really, thats the better way to do it long term.
One of the pieces I submitted this semester, for a young adult audience, is one that I want to turn into full length, so I have been playing with that a bit. It has me remembering my own time of uni and the fun I had. It doesn't seem as long ago as it actually was, I am not sure how I came to be this old.
Life is good at the moment, very good. Good things are happening and I can't help but feel positive and excited about the future, its a great feeling.
I know what I want to be, finally.
I would like to be a moderate - highly successful author (multiple books, but not necessarily, the next JK Rowling); and as well as that, I would like to be paid for writing freelance articles on the finer things in life. Indulgences and so on - naturally, all expenses will be covered by the place commissioning the article(s). I can't wait!
Have been planning already, for these uni travel articles. I thought I might do a family type one somewhere in winter for kids. Warrnambool, the snow.. somewhere. We'll make it a weekend away for the 3 of us!
The other I might make my birthday spa treat early, and combine it with something on this region I live in, in general. So lunch at a swanky restaurant in Daylesford (or for novelty - the Italian themed lavandular farm); some antique/secondhand bookshop/gallery visits, the chocolate mill for some handmade chocolates, a winery (or 2!) and an olive grove for some Tapenades for J, and some Olivatas and oil for me!
What do you think? No really, what do you think? Comment! Also, these would assist in my reviewing unit - at least for a food review. Then I could do 2 of either literature/film/theatre one and be cruising. I sense a semester of indulgence, under the guise of research and work... :D
They just don't get it. J and I had the following conversation, as I was organising an internet grocery shop while I am sick:
"Ooh in the easter section, they have bargain easter stuff!"
"Probably all off by now."
"Naaa... ooh look... assorted color box.. $1.99! Save $7.99!! Ooh I am SO getting that!"
"What is it though?"
"I don't know, but I save $8. Easter stuff. Maybe boxes. Ooh I could use them for gifts if it is!"
*dumbfounded look on his face*
"I save 7.99!!!"
"But you don't even know what.."
"Its 80% off and it is only 2 bucks! Who cares!"
Must be a girl thing.
My son has attitude. He has what I swear is teenage attitude, and he is not quite 4. Why? Why is it so? Yes, chortle amongst yourselves that given earlier blog entries, you may call it karma. Ho ho ho... so clever and funny aren't you? NO! Its not right!
An example is necessary here. Yesterday I asked said child to clean up the lego that he had tipped all over the floor. He said he didn't tip it out. Well then, who did? I asked. He shrugs and goes back to his drawing. "Oi, I said clean up!" says I.
"I. Don't. Want. To." he says as though I am unable to speak English, or perhaps, some sort of utter moron. He even has the pout and sneer perfected already.
"Did I make the mess Finn?"
"So... why should I clean it up. Do you clean my mess up for me?"
"Aha!!! So get to it then Mister."
Cue tanty. Tears and slamming things around and general carry on. So I sent him to his room, and from the lounge room I can hear tears and sobbing interspersed with "This is STUPID!" and also "I don't WANT to clean UP!" So I turned the stereo up to drown him out. Nice parenting huh?
Anyway, eventually I go in and offer to help him clean the mess up, he agrees, job is done. He then mutters somthing under his breath using the word stupid again. I stop and he knows I have heard him so he immediately tries to turn invisible and sit in the corner.
"You BET you can go to the corner, and don't even think about TOUCHING that toy!" I shout.
"STOP TALKING NOW!" my 3 year old shouts back at me. I look at him, blinking, uncomprehending. Who IS this boy and why did his parents raise him with such a rude attitude?
I stride over to him and say "STAND UP, COME WITH ME." And take him to the blank wall of the dining room (open plan to kitchen where I was getting dinner). I say "Stand here and face the wall til I say so."
What does he do? GIGGLES!! Starts giggling and chuckling at me! I have to try not to laugh myself, because really, its pretty funny, my boy facing the blank wall, laughing, full of 'tude... I go back to the kitchen and go to close the blinds and catch sight of myself in the window reflection. No wonder he is laughing, I still have the kings crown on from an earlier game we played. Yes, I was trying to be authoritative and in control in a kings crown. I would have laughed at me too!
Need to breathe into it... in...out...in....out...
Just got unit guides for the coming semester's study. So. Much. Work. Last semester was probably about the same, and I am now wondering how I managed it.. It is a tad overwhelming!
Fiction B (creative piece + reading/writing journal)
Life Writing (creative + critical essay)
Travel Writing (2 creative + research assignment)
Reviewing (3 reviews + critical essay)
EEEEP. The upside is that the travel writing reviews have to be from trips taken in semester, even if it is just to a nearby town. What a shame huh? I'll have to plan 2 weekends away, or daytrips, or holidays... Tassie falls after semester ends so cannot be that one... :D
2 weeks til official start and counting...