Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My imagination is alive and well

This morning at 6am I woke up and the first sentence of a new story was in my head. It was either sleep in and lose the story or get up and write. So I got up. Then found my notebook and crawled back into bed to finish writing.

At 7.20am, I had finished scrawling and got up and showered. Katie still asleep so I made a cup of tea and sat down at the PC and typed it all up. 1500 words later and I was feeling quite chuffed.

Katie woke at about 8.15am, and I got her up at 8.30, after I finished typing the last few words.

It is a story for the competition with the theme, Heroes from Near and Afar. Just a bit of tweaking and a bit more detail, something I am rather sparing with on first drafts, and it should be ready to enter in January.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Rock Pool at Tuncurry



I thought I'd share a photo from out little holiday last month. 

We had great weather and a lot of fun at the beach.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Farewell Nicki



Tonight we said goodbye to our cat, Nicki.

She was 17 years old. Peter had had her since she was a kitten. He was given two cats as a Christmas gift. The other cat, Whinger, disappeared in 1996, so Nicki was a little survivor. I had been her other mum since she was 5.

When we had the other cat, Nicki was always the wanderer, away from home all day only coming home by nightfall for food and a bed. Once she was an only cat, she stayed home and made use of the comforts. In winter she would climb up on top of the pantry to sleep because the air was nice and warm up there above the heater.

Nicki never liked strangers, always hiding under our bed, until getting older when I think it was too much to have to move. And when Katie came along, I think she took any attention she could get even if it was a pat from a stranger.

She threw up all over the carpet, peed regularly on the laundry floor and was so fussy when it came to food unless it was food off our plates.

Nicki loved to eat corn and mashed potatoes, especially leftover gnocchi. Chicken out of someone's fingers was a treat although she often took our flesh as well as the chook.

She loved to curl up on my lap on winter's nights, espcially if I put her fleecy rug on my lap. And she loved to sleep on the bed with us, which she hadn't been able to do since Katie was born. She especially loved to curl up behind our knees under the quilt.

Peter and I have both been in tears (big softies) and don't know what we will say to Katie when she asks us where Nicki is.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Aunty Belle's 5-minute Lemon Cake

This is the cake I made. Usually it is foolproof, but obviously I was feeling foolish the other night when it collapsed on me!!! I changed the mixture but didn't change the time.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
4oz. soft butter
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
Grated rind of 1 lemon

Sift flour; combine with sugar and lemon rind.
Add soft butter, egg and milk.
Beat well.
Pour into well-greased 8" ring tin and bake in moderate oven (180 degrees C/350 degrees F) for 35-40 minutes.
Ice with Lemon icing and sprinkle with coconut.

It really is one of the easiest cakes to make and is really moist. Just put everything into the bowl and stir.

Aunty Belle was my paternal grandmother's sister. She lived at Wingham (NSW) and was a really lovely lady. My Grandma and all her sisters made the best cakes - sponges, date loaves, all that sort of thing. I remember Aunty Belle having a silvery white bun on the back of her head and a few whiskers on her chin. And she had a slightly husky voice. She always wore an apron round the house, something not done so much nowadays.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Finally... got some writing done

Last night I sat up in bed and wrote. Not sure how many words yet as I haven't typed it up, but I wrote! Something new too, not just reworking an old story. It was inspired by a challenge made on a writing board I lurk on every now and again. I will post it there and see what comments it brings.

I have also critiqued a story for a friend, which is also a major positive when it comes to writing.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

FlashSpec review

The first review of FlashSpec, where two of my short stories have been published, has just come out at OzHorrorscope. There has been mention made of both my stories.

Horrorscope

See review dated August 1, 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

K.'s First Story

Once upon there was a puppy dog.

His name was Puppy Dog.

He said Woof Woof!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Katie's Artwork



This work is entitled "Birthday Balloons." On the day of K.'s birthday she received an easel from her Grandma. I had to move the easel to the dining room so she could draw her balloons.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Last drawing class

Last night of drawing class for me. Have really enjoyed it and can see a definite improvement in my drawing. I would really like to continue so now will have to find another avenue to continue learning. We again drew the face of the person we drew on the first night of class so we could compare what we drew then with the hopefully improved version from tonight's lesson. I am more detail oriented, which also shows in my love of cross stitch and scrapbooking, so I need to include more of the emotional side in my drawing apparently, which the teacher said would come with practice and time.

Friday, June 02, 2006

May Writing Review

I have decided to review where I am with my writing each month. More often than not it will probably show me just what I haven't done.

* 2 short stories accepted to FlashSpec - The Hounds and Pest Control

* Read 'The Artist's Way' and started 'Character & Viewpoint' by Orson Scott Card, which I need to read before starting on rewrite of 'Only Serious Applicants Need Apply'

* Wrote two pages of world building on my environmental SF short story

So now I'll just have to wait and see what June has in store.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Laura Green and Doulton

I have been looking into an ancestor of mine again today. Don't know why - actually I do; a guy on an LJ blog was talking about genealogy and how he had discovered something belonging to a great-great someone that he was able to buy. I decided to do a quick search on some of my ancestors, just in case. The one most likely to have something on ebay was my great grandmother who was an artist at Royal Doulton in the 1870s-1880s before she married and came to Australia. Her name was Laura Green.

Nothing on ebay so far but, when I googled her, there is a web site in Germany that has a piece of pottery with her signature on it (can't afford that) and I found another antique site that lists the marks used by the various artists at the different pottery works. So today I discovered the marked used by Laura Green on any pottery she was involved in.

I didn't discover she was an artist at Doulton until last year when I found an entry for her in the 1881 Census of England that gave her occupation as artist. We knew there was some connection to Doulton though. I have a photo of a woman signed with a mark of and H surrounded by two B's, the one on the left is backwards. I have always wondered about this photograph, as I was told many years ago by my Aunt that she had been an artist at Doulton and was a close friend of Laura's.

One night I was watching the Antiques Roadshow and they were showing a Doulton vase and were discussing the artist, Hannah Barlow, and showed her mark. It was the one on the photo. I raced into my study and found the photo to check the mark, and it was identical. I finally had the name of the friend of my great-grandmother who was a Doulton artist. Apparently Laura was her assistant for a while at the Lambeth Doulton works. I have yet to get hold of a definitive Doulton history so I can find out more about the type of work she did there.

It is funny that for all those years I knew there was some connection to Royal Doulton but only discovered it by a fluke of watching a show on TV.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Another story to be published!

Well, 'Pest Control' is being published in FlashSpec as well as 'The Hounds.'. I sent it off on Sunday afternoon, received a response within an hour and later that night, the proof. So 2 publications this year! Yay! I have already exceeded my goal for publications for this year. (A friend is getting on my back about setting that goal higher. I haven't been interested up until recently, as my time has been pretty much solely focussed on Katie, but I know I need to aim a little higher now. I have more time to devote to writing, but still not heaps.)

Drawing class tonight. We learnt about measuring. A very painstaking process, measuring all the dimensions of an object and drawing it using the measurements to get the dimensions right. Not something I would want to do too often.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Drawing Class

Tonight was my second drawing class. We learned about negative spaces. Very interesting. You look at an object but look at the spaces and shapes around the object and draw those instead of the actual object. The white space in between those drawn shapes represents the original object. I started going cross-eyed after focussing on a picture of a motorbike and drawing the spaces inbetween the spokes of the wheel for half and hour or so. But it was fun and challenging. I think it appealed to my mathematical side.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blue dark

K. and I were sitting at the dinner table in our living room and she was eating her dinner. She looked up and out the window and turned to me and said 'Blue dark.' It was about 5pm and it was beginning to get dark outside. K.'s description of it was spot on. It was blue dark. Not yet black or silvery night. That deep blue tinge that the sky takes on as the sun sets beyond our sight, yet still lightens the sky enough to see the blue.

Happy Birthday Bruce! Hope the blue dark doesn't set in too early on your spring day out.

Monday, May 08, 2006

First drawing class

Tonight was my first drawing class. We were shown a technique, the name of which I can't remember, which is to do with looking at an object, tracing its shape with your eyes, whilst drawing the shape onto paper without looking at what you are drawing. This is to get your right brain active. before we started this activity the teacher had us all draw a portrait of another person in the class, so that at the end of the course we can do it again and see the difference. That was a bit confronting but it will be interesting to see the outcome.

The course is for 8 weeks and my friend and I am going to look for something else to do, art wise, at the end of that time. I don't think one night a week off is too much to ask.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I'll have cream with that, please

We have a new bakery not far away and just next door is a Gloria Jean's coffee. This is dangerous. I went and bought a loaf of bread to try yesterday and whilst there bought a flat white for Peter and a hot chocolate for me. The bread was so good that the whole loaf went yesterday and for breakfast this morning. And the coffees weren't bad either. So today, we needed a new loaf of bread for lunch, so we got coffee and hot chocolate again. I refused their frequent sippers card yesterday, but got one today, and they remembered me, so marked down the two from yesterday as well. Will be avoiding the bakery tomorrow and hopefully, won't feel the urge for a hot chocolate. But, boy, it was good! Especially the extra cream.


---------------
I wonder...

'Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise'

So does the opposite stand true?

Late to bed, late to rise, makes a woman sick, poor and stupid

...I have no hope then.
---------------

What triggers your memories?

I was reading another blog today and the writer was talking about how smells trigger memory for him. Some smells do this for me but I find that it is food that triggers memories for me most often.

Apple turnovers for the time I visited a bat park (weird on it's own) with my dad and we sat at a picnic table eating apple turnovers dusted in icing sugar whilst bat's screeched in the trees around us.

Date scones for my grandma - she showed me how to cook them the first time.

Freshly baked bread and fresh prawns from the co-op at Tuncurry remind me of all the holidays I had there as a kid with my family.

Dried figs and my dad.

Boysenberry jam reminds me of trips to New Zealand where I first tried that jam - homemade by my Aunt.

I'll never forget the raw octopus I tried in Japan at a New Year's feast put on by friends of my father's.

White chocolate ice-cream with macadamia nuts in a humungous waffle cone reminds me of Dallas, where my stepmother and I ate one ice cream each for our lunch that day. We couldn't have fit anything else in. We were out walking around, looking at the sights. The tourist bureau couldn't believe we had walked everywhere. 'What? No car?"

I am sure there are more, and if they come to me, I'll jot them down.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Funnel-web

I wrote a new short story last night that Peter says is rather creepy. I am very pleased. I just need to run it by a few other readers and then I'll try and send it out. It is about spiders, very appropriate what with our encounter with a funnel-web a few weeks back. I was inspired as I was reading a message board about horror and what kind most people are writing nowadays. There is a lot of gore and splatter horror out there, and dark fantasy/psychological horror and not as much creepy, things in everyday life/ boogeyman type horror. It made me think about what makes my skin crawl and the story popped into my head.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Little Red Tin

I was in the bedroom this morning looking at a small red tin that I have had for a very long time. It is an oblong with rounded corners, about 10cm long by 7cm, and about 2cm deep. On the front is the word "Milky" and a cartoon picture of a little girl. On the back is a listing of the contents - at least I assume it is, as it is all in Japanese. I bought that tin, full of very nice lollies, when I visited Japan in January 1983 with my father and stepmother. I have used it ever since to carry my jewellery, nail scissors and anything else small that I had to carry when travelling. The tin has been to Japan (of course), Taiwan, Hong Kong, Nepal, USA and New Zealand, along with a lot of travelling in the car here at home. The inside is a little tarnished nowadays, but I couldn't bear to part with it.

I look at that tin and remember that trip to Japan, not because of the lollies but because it is my admission ticket to those memories. My father getting tipsy on sake, meeting my penfriend, being nipped on the butt by a hungry deer in Nara, seeing the temple commemorating the three wise monkeys - see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil, catching a glimpse of Mt Fuji, riding the bullet train, having a New Year's meal with friends of my father and playing 'name that object' in English and Japanese and laughing at each others accents, heated train seats in the cold of winter, watching the ladies in the department store wrapping up our purchases with such care and precision, Kyoto, visiting the Hiroshima memorial and seeing the building that was below the epicentre of the bomb. So many memories, and it just takes a glimpse of that little red tin. Posted by Picasa


Friday, April 14, 2006

The Hounds are out

I forgot to mention that I have sent a flash story, The Hounds, (700 words) out today. First I have sent out this year, so fingers crossed. They said on their guidelines that authors may not hear back until June, so could be a long wait. Submissions close on 30 April.

Hopefully more to follow in swift succession.

...
Well, good news already. I found a new Australian Flash fiction market and sent them The Hounds yesterday evening. I got a response today and they have accepted it. It is not a paying market, but that doesn't matter. My story will be in volume 1. Woo hoo!

List of Lasts

Found this list on another blog and thought it interesting. Haven't been into lists much but, what the heck...

Last Book Read: Souls in the Great Machine by Sean McMullen (Australian author). Met him at Magic Casements (SF Writers Festival held at the NSW Writer's Centre). He was on a panel and I was interested in his writing after hearing him speak. A really good book. Very detailed, but worth reading.

Last Live Music Show Seen: How embarassing - I can't remember it has been so long. I've seen comedians and plays but live music? Oh, no, even more embarassing, it was David Cassidy! Went with a girlfriend who was a big fan and had been since The Partridge Family. But it was a fun night, watching all the middle-aged groupies fawning at the stage. Sad though that the ticket sales were so low. They had to curtain off part of the Sydney Entertainment Centre so it didn't look so empty.

Last CD Purchased: 50 Favourite Australian Nursery Rhymes Vol 2. We needed a new selection so that it takes longer to play the same song again in the car. Katie loves her music.

Last Thing Cooked: Bacon and Eggs on toast for breakfast. I know it is Good Friday and all that but it is also the first long weekend for a while.

Last New Thing Eaten: The white part of the shallots. I grew up eating on ly the green part of the shallot and tossing the rest out. Watching cooking shows they cut the white spring onion part up and cook with it. Much lighter flavour than onion.

Last Thing Bought: Handmade magazine so I can look at all the beuatiful things that I will never get around to making.

Last Gift Received: The first 3 seasons of The Vicar of Dibley on DVD. Pete found them on special and thought of me. So a nice un-birthday present.

Last Piece of Clothing Bought or Received as a Gift: A couple of winter tops.

Last Embarrassing Experience: Katie saying to her Granny - "I've got a looney granny"

Last Totally New Experience: Childbirth, breastfeeding, no PMT for 25 months (the best experience of all!), etc. Seeing my child climb on and off the rocking horse on her own for the first time, and seeing her face light up when she realised what she had done. With a child around there are a lot of new experiences, for us as well as her.

Last Foreign Country Visited, if any: New Zealand, 2003. Peter and I had a 3 week holiday one year after my left knee replacement. I was able to walk out along the river bed to the Franz Josef Glacier and back, something I could never have done before the knee operation. We came back home and decided to try to have our first child - Katie!

Last New Bird Seen: A Wattle Bird in one of the shrubs in the neighbours yard. It was making such a noise, so went to check it out. My step mother was with me and was able to tell me what it was.

Last Big Achievement: Katie. But also tied for first place in the NSW Writer's Centre SF Flash Fiction Competition in 2005. The story was then printed in the newsletter for the Infinitas Bookshop, who sponsored the comp, and on their website, and then a request came from a SF newsletter in Israel to reprint it in their newsletter. So a pretty good achievement from one 500 word story. (If you want to read it you can go to www.infinitas.com.au and check out Stories. Look for the story 'We Have the Technology'.

Last Apology Owed: To Peter, because when I get tired I get a tiny bit scratchy, and I was pretty tired last night when Katie did not go to sleep until after 10pm.

And no, I haven't run out of things to say. At least, not yet.