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Thursday, May 31, 2007

13 things to write about when I can't think of a thursday thirteen

1) I have a real 'performance anxiety' when it comes to Thursdays.

2) I mean, most people who come here, on Thursdays, couldn't really give two hoots what I get up to the other six days of the week, so why do I stress?

3) I normally try, really really do try, when it comes to these 13 lists.

4) But they're hard work, yes?

5) What do you do when you work on your TT lists (or lists in general, if you do not partake in this particular meme)?

6) I do have an excuse this week as to why this is particularly lame - I have been sick.

7) So why am I bothering?

8) Can you see I am filled with a certain kind of....credential crisis...of late?

9) I've been thinking too much about why I write, as opposed to just sitting down and churning the words out, like I normally do. Like I'm normally paid to do.

10) Am I making sense?

11) Are you still reading?

12) Really?

13) Thanks. You're the best :)

Oh, yes, those of you who read me regularly will see the pathos-ridden irony of this next sentence: now my father is ill, and I have to take Keira to the doctors today. My what a fun week it's been........

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Yes, they're as bad as you think

You must go check these out. They are warped; they are wrong.

They are also very, very funny...

(...if you don't offend too easily...)

Note: this, and the others, are photoshopped. They are not real.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Since I’ve been sick and have had to take to my bed for the past few days, I’ve come to discover something about myself: that is, though I am ill, even during that time, I am pretty much the same control freak as I ever am.

That said, I kind of have to be. Otherwise, the household would sink into chaos.

For example, I am typing this in bed now. I am under the sheets but have ‘made it’ up as much as possible so as to keep a ‘clean’ a look as possible. I’m crouched up in my little pocket, whereas Adam’s side looks pristinely smooth. I have opened the curtains – again – after Adam shut them before, because I like the semblance of normality. I think he believes in total darkness is essential for recovery. I think a black room is depressing.

This bed oasis is a strong contrast to the rest of the house, which has been under Adam’s and my father’s control for the past few days. (My father is visiting us for two weeks).

“What IS that smell?” Adam asked me last night, as he sniffed around for the culprit.

Sorry buddy, I can’t smell at the moment (and it’s probably a good thing!). It’s usually me who’s on ODOUR ALERT. It’s nice to hand it over to someone else for a while.

But, my rest is fleeting. For example, yesterday, as Adam filled in for me at preschool duty, I went back to bed myself, only to be interrupted by my father’s pleas: “Uh – Karen – um…I think Riley has a dirty nappy.”

Why don’t YOU change it? I could’ve asked, but I already know the answer. My father doesn’t ‘do’ nappy duty. Never has; never will.

So I hoisted myself up and did what was necessary.

I also did several loads of laundry, the vacuuming, marshaled my father to do some jobs for me at the local hardware store...etc.etc...because the ‘daddy-state’ of the house needed some ‘mummy-state’ reparation.

So life, really, has been pretty much the same.

How about you? Does your life pretty much stay the same, even sick, even if you take to your bed?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Spanning the language divide on the subject of technology and aqueous substances

We are talking computers with our friends, one of who is desperately computer-illiterate. Let's just call her A (because her name starts with 'A'. How diabolically clever of me!)

Adam (bragging): You've got to get yours set up with a water cooling system.

A: Huh?

Adam: Water cooling. So there's no need for fans.

A: What?

Adam: It makes the computer quieter.

A: So where does the water come out?

Adam (confused): It...like...doesn't...

Karen (cottoning on to where the language was failing the communication process): A, the water cooling he's talking about isn't the kind you drink from.

We all sigh in relief.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

1001 Book Challenge - The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

Maurice is dry witted writer who runs into an old friend one night in a rainstorm. Henry, a boring civil servant, has a problem. He believes his wife, Sarah, has taken a lover and is unsure what to do next. Maurice offers to hire a detective to follow her, but little does Henry realise that Maurice’s motives are entirely selfish.

Two years before, Maurice had an affair with Sarah, who inexplicably broke up with him. Racked by bitterness and jealousy, Maurice wants to find out what Sarah is up too because he is still in love with her. What he discovers will change his ideals forever.

The End of the Affair is a tightly woven, almost claustrophobic text, full of terse and true dialogue. As in life, the characters discover that you often have more in common with your enemies than you realise, and that there are many types of love.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Adoration time in the A's household

(I wrote this last night and decided to 'save' it until this morning, because I have a 'thing' about posting everyday, and so I'm all for hogging one until the clock ticks over midnight because, well, I am strange.)

It's usually pretty boring when you're subjected to a tirade of other people's illnesses and symptoms of such illnesses; but this is not the case with me, I assure you. My cold symptoms are perfectly fascinating; House worthy, actually. Please, someone refer me to Hugh Laurie.

This one:

Or this one:

It doesn't worry me. Actually, I think I prefer him a'la Blackadder, circa late-1980's. He has such impetuous energy; just like a brand new puppy.

[Adam is reading this over my shoulder]

Laurie reminds me somewhat of my husband whenever I play a Blackadder DVD...yes, that must be it...!! Yes husband, you too have an undeniable goofishness that is adorable.

[Adam protests]

No, I'm not saying you're like Hugh Laurie now.

[Adam questions me]

Because...darling...you're not bad-ass enough.

[Adam protests even louder]

[Karen decides it's time to go placate her husband. Fanzine time over, unfortunately]

Friday, May 25, 2007

TV thoughts

I know I said I wasn't going to be here today, but I've heard a lot these past few days about the massive spat that happened on The View a few days ago, and now I've just seen (here) the clips why.

Agree or disagree with what's said there, my interest is that I've yet to see any political discussion by women, on television, in any degree whatsoever, here in Australia.

Do the ladies on The Catch Up? talk like this? (I can't watch it because Libby Gorr's bouncy chest makes me all dizzy. Someone needs to ask her to sit quietly on the couch, pretty please). Do any ABC or SBS current affairs shows? Is there even an audience for it? I doubt it. It's what they said on the clips, you can watch Dancing with the Stars and it's all safe and that's why people do it. Not many people like being the purple cow in the field (sorry, I have been reading Seth Godin).

I'm thinking people squirm a bit because they like their political commentary severed up satire-style (think The Daily Show with Jon Stewart).

What about you?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

This is my post for tomorrow...today. Comprehende?

Dewey tagged me for this meme:

Here are the rules according to whomever likes to make up rules: • Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. • At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

OK, here goes:

1 In high school, I was a mean discus thrower. I have moderate athletic skills to start with (thanks dad), but I have no idea where that ability came from. I went up to the plate and - wham! - I usually got a first or second place.

2 The same goes for backstroke - the most underrated of all swimming strokes. I could do it all day. I love it. Sure, butterfly and breaststroke have some sort of grace to them, but backstroke involves two of my favourite things: exercise and lying down. At the same time!

3 I chew my nails. People who know me will nod their heads at this, and those of you who don't know me won't believe me, but, trust me, I have the ugliest hands on the planet.

4 That said, I also have quite large hands. I was able to span a piano octave when I was, like, five.

5 My eyes change colour occasionally. Usually to a disgusting yellow when I'm sick.

6 I think I need to go to a skin specialist. I have another mole on my head that I'm concerned about.

7 I've had a suspect mole cut out already 8 years ago when my hairdresser said casually one day (well, casually, metered with some sort of internal panic), "Did you know you have a big black mole on your scalp?"

8 My grandmother died of skin cancer, so you can see why I'm taking this seriously.

9 I think Dooce would agree.

10 The previous mole, in the end, wasn't deemed noxious, but still, I'm glad the bugger is gone.

Even if it hurt like billy-o after it was scraped out.

12 That nasty sound of scalpel on bone is one reason why I could never be a brain surgeon.

13 This has gone from being about me to about my moles. If it makes you give your own skin a go-over, then that's fine by me. You never know....

I'm not going to tag anyone. Anyone wants to give it a go, knock yourselves out (figuratively, not literally).

Melbourne Bloggers Meetup

Last night was the bloggers meetup here in Melbourne and after umming-and-ahhing about whether to go or not for a week or so, I said, "Bugger it. I'm going."

So this entailed me spending the afternoon deciding what to wear whilst a sick little boy clung to my leg, and the other sick child, luckily, slept in bed.

I drove against the traffic all the way into the city and waved at all those miserable commuters as they came home.

I parked - badly - on the street and lost about five dollars worth of change down a drain as I rummaged around the dark to pay for the meter.

And then walked in for a most enjoyable few hours conversation with some really cool, interesting people: like Darren John, from Craig! Zack (who easily has the funkiest business card I've seen in a long time - perhaps ever) Miss Eagle Kirrily these lovely ladies Gala. I also remember meeting Jesse, Emily (and her partner - I'm so sorry, I forgot his name!) Anyone else I've neglected to add here I am so sorry. I barely even met anyone! People just kept showing up, and I had to leave early.

I'm looking forward to attending more of these!

Then, I got home and woke up at 1am with what the kids have. Fun times for all. Not!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Further to the education debate from before...

First, read this

Now, read this. I knew I loved this woman for a reason. Her rather black and white perspective is quite refreshing!

What do you think?

Like looking in a mirror!

Note the snot! Yep - the cold weather is upon us now, dammit!

Edited to add: Adam drew this picture. It is of Riley, not me...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A quick visit

How you've all been?

We're the house of sick, at the moment.

For example, yesterday, I did five loads of extra washing; the need arising from an explosion of bodily fluids. Puke, wee, poo - you name it.

The kid's noses are aqueducts of snot, delivering their promise all over my shirts and pants. It looks like I have had teams of snails crawling over me.

On the good side, I have discovered Amy Winehouse. Listened to her yet? You must. She's a grown up Joss Stone; bad ass and awesome.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Book Covers

Designing the book cover for our family history was relatively easy affair. There were really only two shots in the entire album of submissions that family members made that were:

i) Appropriate

ii) Of adequate digital sizing, so as not to be warped or skewed when enlarged.

My talented friend put them together for me, and as I watched her fiddle with margins and bleeds and cropping and all other sorts of business I was again reminded why I didn't become a designer. I do not have the patience.

Then the other day I was reading this very interesting piece in Sarsparilla (I love that word) about books from movie tie-ins, a subject I'd never considered before, and now I do.

So my question is: what book covers stand out for you? Are they from movie tie-ins, or for some other reason.

I must admit, for me, what comes to mind is American Psycho, because the day I bought it, some nine years ago, I pulled it off the shelf in Sydney and was intrigued by it's 18+ bound packaging and then again by it's artistry (more about it's designer here).

But there's more, upon reflection. I remember thinking the ugly yellow cover of Salinger's Catcher in the Rye was just dumb (ignorant teenager that I was).

So okay, if I was just to say the words: book cover. What immediately comes to mind for you? Why? Do you like it, or not?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

More on yesterday's riddle

Sorry if I perplexed you all. Even Adam said to me, as he clandestinely read my blog for the day, "What the hell was that?"

First, I had no time to write anything.

Second, even if I had, I don't think I could've been bothered.

Third, most importantly, I was also trying to be clever.

One of my favourite little stories in literature life is this:

The world's shortest ever correspondence was between Victor Hugo and his publisher.

Upon the release of Les Miserables, Hugo was extremely nervous on what the public and critical reaction was going to be, so he sent a postcard to his publisher with a simple:


The publisher's response was an enthusiastic:


Now, that could open the debate there about the langue/parole split of language, and how in that specific example, there was no better choice for expression, arbitrary or not. But I really don't have the brain cells to devote to adequately explain what I mean there at the moment. And frankly, I don't want to bore anyone who doesn't care.

Let me put it another way: What I was trying to say yesterday was as much as I could, in as little means as possible.

Why do bloggers, I guess mother bloggers are the 'worst' here-- but you can argue with that if you want-- feel the need to 'vent' so often? Is that really why they're driven to write blogs in the first place, as a means to be heard by the nameless, faceless world?

I say 'vent' but that was really a lazy word choice, wasn't it? I should've said: vent, praise, celebrate, ruminate, recollect, legitimatise, and any other of dozens of possibilities.

So I said, "Hi!" yesterday, with my own exclamation point, to see what you'd all say. I got a few "where's the missing link?" questions, because, surely, people didn't think it was 'natural' for someone just to log on and say "Hi!" for no other reason than just to be friendly?! (I'm asking here, I don't know!)

(But then others said hi! back and thanks! I hope no-ones offended by my little experiment. Maybe you should try it on your blog and see what the reaction is?)

Yesterday, I didn't give a quantitative breakdown on a specific theme, or subject, of my day's happenings. No, I gave my salutation and went on my way. And doubtless many of you thought that was rather odd!


Or, why not, as the case may be?

I suppose what I'm ultimately asking:

Do you ever think about what you're writing and how you're saying it? Or do the words just spill out? Could you change it? Should you change it? Do you even care?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

This is not an obsolete post, though it may look like it


Friday, May 18, 2007

The chicken or the egg debate

Keira is becoming increasingly interested in where things come from. Especially food. So, at tea, whatever I get served up is immediately traced back to its (usually!) organic beginnings.

But, then, the other night when we had chicken omelettes, I should've paused before thinking of making that combination:

Keira: What's this?
Me: Chicken.
Keira: Where do chickens come from?
Me: An egg.
Keira looked satisfied.

Keira, two seconds later... What's this?
Me: Egg.
Keira: Where do eggs come from?
Me: Chickens.
Keira: So where do chickens come from?
Me: eggs.

...and so we went for a minute or so when Riley, blessedly (for once!) began throwing his leftover food on the floor, signalling the end of his dinnertime, and my spell of being an amateur biologist.

Fun Trivia: I read recently that British Scientists in a study have proven conclusively (so they say) that chickens could not have evolved without embryonic development, thus ending the debate, full stop. The egg had to have come first.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

7 Things About Me; the teenage years

Scribbit tagged me to do this meme last week, so I am going to be extra tricky and combine memes now, plus do a little extra at the bottom, and we'll be all square.

7 Things About Me; the teenage years

1) England/Canada
When I was 15, I saved up all my pay from McDonalds to go overseas. My parents put up the other half because, frankly, they never thought I'd ever save as much as I did, and I guess they were kind of proud of me. I went with my grandmother. As she still says, if it wasn't for me, she'd still be roaming a Thailand airport, lost. It wasn't the first time I went to England, but it was the first time I went to Canada -Parksville, Vancouver Island, to be exact.

2) Bullying
Yep, for the first few years of my high-school life. It was miserable. I despise bullies now.

3) Discovered my passion
I didn't know how, or why, but I knew I wanted 'something' to do with the written word for the rest of my life. First, I was going to go to AFTRS, but I couldn't get in until after 21, so I went to university to do communications. Until I changed my mind again.

4) Met Adam
Ah yes, the most important part of the list (so says him). I'll have known him ten years come the end of the month.

5) There is a pain worse than childbirth
And that pain is a burst Ovarian Cyst. I was 17. It was agony.

6) Dicky Driver's Test
In Australia, there is your "L" component you're eligible to take once you turn 16. It is strictly a written/academic exam, taken off a computer, with multiple choice answers. It's not that hard: still, it took me five (yes, FIVE) times to pass it. My father was truly ashamed. As was I.
Mind, when I went for my "P"'s (a practical exam where you drive and put the general population as risk) a year later, I passed first time, easy.

7)I can't think of anything else! (anything else that's not too depressing, anyway!) My family who knows me can 'fill in the blanks' in the comments section if they want.

I'm supposed to 'tag' people to do this. I don't know who to tag! So please, take the initiative, and do it yourself. Tell me too, so I can come visit!

And to fill in the rest of the '13', here's six things I need to over the weekend:

1) Do that article draft for magazine

2) Clean bathrooms (yuk)

3) Make dinners for week ahead and freeze

4) Do drafts (if possible) or mind map for two more article ideas I have

5) Think about BlogRhet and what part I'll play in it

6) Decide whether I'll go to Problogger's meetup in the city next week. I'd love to, but I am a wus and hate leaving the kids!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

When lullabies turn bad

Keira has an unusual technique when it comes to singing nursery rhymes to Riley.

This involves getting right into his face, I mean centimetres away, and shouting at the top of her lungs: "Baa Baa Black Sheep....etc.etc".

Depending on his mood, Riley will react in one of two ways:

1) If he's feeling 'punchy', he'll bat Keira away with his hands in a "piss off, why doncha?" way.

2) If he's feeling 'vulnerable', his face will usually drop, the lip will quiver, and he'll look to me for help.

I don't blame him either. When Keira gets loud she can be quite frightening.

For an adult equivalent, I can only think of this:

"Hello, Clarice. Would you like me to sing you a song about lambs? I know how much you love those woolly, playful....lambies."

Oh, yeah. Scary stuff.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm saddened

Schmutzie makes me want to delete my post from a few days ago about periods, because now I feel just so bad.

Go read her account; and be moved by her eloquence, and her depth.

She doesn't know me from a bar of soap, but I just want to hug her.

An Australian education system question

Okay, so, I read in the papers last week that private schooling is climbing up to be as much as $20,000 per child per year in this country. This particular article was about how this is increasingly putting pressure on families and is being linked to causes of depression and divorce rates amongst parents.


Now, I got to thinking...

...although homeschooling in this country, on the average, is quite rare, a couple of families of like-aged kids could pool their money together and privately employ a teacher for that kind of money, at home, and thus - perhaps - save themselves on other overheads like transport, uniforms, etc. The teacher-student ratio for one would be dramatically reduced.

Or am I being too simplistic? Would that kind of scenario even be legal?

Can you tell I'm starting to freak out about the whole 'school thing'? I have to say, living in the city, I guess I am lucky to have so many more choices for the kids than, say, in the town where I grew up. There was public, public, public. With one Catholic primary school. But I went to the public. And my memories of it are that it was a pretty excellent place.

What do you think of the whole debate? (PLEASE, I know this is a passionate subject for some people. Beat your chest if you will, but please also be respectful!)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Icky talk ahead - read at your own risk!!!

Yesterday, as if I had not enjoyed enough bounty, my uterus decided to give me a present I'd not received for 3 years, 10 months and 1 day.

I got my period.

I'd kind of expected it, but when it happened I was a little...stunned. I can't help but be reminded of its (lack) of presence over the aforementioned time, and thus, in that time, I've obviously been in definite 'baby mode'.

You see, I got pregnant with disgusting ease. It seemed all I needed to do was pass a frilly baby shop of goods and presto! fertilisation. So the last two eggs that could have passed out of me in fact turned into two children*.

So it’s not without some reflection that I write this. What if this last egg had been fertilised?

Let’s approach this hypothetically:

1) I’d be four-ish weeks pregnant. Pretty soon I’d be feeling like shit.

2) That would make me due – roughly – at the end of January next year.

3) I would have three kids under four years of age.

4) I would, right now, be officially freaking out

5) I would also, right now, be kind of…special feeling. Victorious. Elated. Scared-Happy. Happy-Scared.

Now, I won’t be doing this every month from now on that I get a period. I promise! Please allow me this maudlin and possibly boring report.

It’s just hit me that I’m shifting back into potential Mother Creator mode. Period-less, I was undeniably Mother Provider. Technically, I still am because I am still breastfeeding Riley, but my body has cranked that lever somewhere back to ‘GO’ and has decided – chemically, at least, that it’s ready to go again when I am.

I must admit, that for the cons of breastfeeding (loss of libido) I enjoy the pros (non-menstruation and lack of psycho PMT hormones). This explains this week the rather irrational feelings I have had: on occasion, although the kids haven’t been altogether bad, I’ve felt like striding out of the house upon Adams return from work and being by myself for a few hours. I’d had it. Sick of domestic labour, the drudgery.

I do not like being this girl. And I will have to be this girl for some time to come!

I am also bracing myself for Keira barging into the bathroom, as she does, only to stare at me as I fiddle with all the cottony and plasticy and femininy effluvia that comes with mopping up the ‘red stuff’. And the “What’s That?” and “Why?” questions.

It’s then I’ll be wishing for the menstrual desert again.

Or not.

Long ago, when I was in a menstrual desert (almost two years); where I was too skinny to even ovulate, and, then, I was terrified I wouldn’t get ‘it’ back again and was one of the major spurrers of my recovery.

How the wheel turns…

In summation: this month, period = weird and sad. Next month? Who knows?

Or, I could be pregnant again.

*Well, possibly three eggs. We’ll never know if Riley was one egg split in two, or one of his own. Being a twin and all. Have I mentioned that before? No? Another time, perhaps…

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day

It's 7.30am. Already I've:

Had Keira say to me (completely unprompted) "Happy Mothers Day!"

Seen Adam somehow mobilise himself out of bed (before the far more reasonable- and usual - time of 9am) with Riley and together they put a nice card into my hands.

Been promised to get some "alone" time today while he takes the kids off somewhere (although I will no doubt use this time to get through some work.....workaholic that I am).

Presents? Pajamas. And he's promised to buy this book once it comes back into stock.

How was your day, mums? Even non-mums, how was your day?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Prospector Keira

Scene: Dinner Table

Keira is eating quietly (for once) and mum is stealing a moment to flick through a magazine.

Keira: Mum?
Me (distracted):Hmm?
Keira: I found a diamond!
Me (grasping the words finally): WHAT?

I look at my engagement ring quickly - no missing jewels. I look at Keira to figure out what she meant.

She gives me a cheeky look and raises her hidden hands, and her thumbs and index fingers are steepled together a'la' the movements from "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star'.

Keira: This kind of diamond!

We both giggle: she laughs more at my relief than at the joke, I think.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I am not here today

(I'm not going to be anywhere else either, in case you're wondering.)

As is the Great Australian Way, it is a Friday, so I am going to take a 'sickie'* from Miscellaneous Mum. I am quite drained, what with working on two books this week, plus yesterday I was commissioned for more work by a magazine. Quite thrilling, yes, so I'd better get cracking...

*otherwise known as a 'mental health day'.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

1001 Book Challenge + 13 reasons to read - Rebecca by Daphne De Maurier

  1. It's the centenary anniversary this week (this coming Sunday, to be precise) of Daphne De Maurier's birth, so it's as good a time as any!
  2. Discover possibly the world’s most famous first wife.
  3. Discover possibly one of the world's most popular estate names.
  4. Discover possibly one of. the world's most famous opening lines: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”.
  5. Here's a novelty - both a romance and a 'thriller' -combined- that I like.
  6. It has a fabulous, twisty plot and a climatic ending.
  7. It was made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock. You've got to know then that the book it's based on is at least half-decent.
  8. Many people have seen the movie (it is actually my grandmother's favourite movie - there's some trivia!).
  9. Judith Anderson's portrayal of Mrs. Danvers was eerie enough to garner her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.
  10. Du Maurier often said that most people who read Rebecca, "didn't get it." Her primary concern was the examination of power/lessness between husbands and wives.
  11. Study it if you must for clues to Du Maurier's rumoured real-life bisexuality....
  12. ....I for one will never look at valleys of rhododendron bushes the same ever again!
  13. Have you read it?


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Reasons why I need a children's television programming intervention

Welcome to any new readers via Problogger!

Well, there are a myriad of reasons, but the Top Five are:

  1. When the Evilness that is Elmo is starting to win my loyalty over from my fuzzy-nihilist friend, Oscar the Grouch. There's something about that red puppet's falsetto that's almost...beguiling. As 'beguiling' as a dentist's drill in the ear, maybe.
  2. I think that dancing along with the synchronised-group actions (think Hi-5) counts as my exercise of the day.
  3. I can confidently place the year Play School was made simply by looking at Justine's hair colour and her pregnant (or not) shape.
  4. It seems other people need interventions too: it's scandalous how many people turn up here via Google, searching for Kellie and Nathan gossip. Get over it people. I have!
  5. And the very top reason: when one (me!) becomes completely outraged when she discovers the melody from the "Time Warp" (Rocky Horror) has been changed to the "Monster Stomp" on Play School. Sure, its a great melody but c'mon the lines got to be drawn somewhere! Soon we'll be seeing Little Ted swanning around in fishnets!

Someone, please check me into rehab. Give me a shot of CSI or Lost or Heroes - STAT!

Written for this.

This is not a trick photo

Why the heck am I posting a picture of an empty hallway?

For precisely that reason.

Look at it! No toys on the floor! Cupboard doors that acutally shut! Clean, vacuumed carpet. No kids. Forget Zen-expensive day spas: just let me sit down on the floor here for ten minutes peace and I'd be happy.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Reflections on readerly first impressions

"A couple of months ago, I became depressed by the realization that I'd forgotten pretty much everything I've ever read" Nick Hornby

I feel like Nick sometimes. Sometimes I wonder if it's not because I've read so much, for so long, that it's understandable if my bookish memories have linted together in my brain. I'm not much for remembering quotes either. Some people just have that capacity, to pull out an erudite quote when the perfect moment calls.

So I'm sitting here writing this, I'm battling to prove that I've not pretty much forgotten everything...

...I do remember as a child pouring over our quartet of Golden Books fairy-tales, wishing desperately to be one of the Dancing Princesses (the irony...) or Rose-Red, or Rapunzel.

...I remember reading Cynthia Voigt's Homecoming at least twice when I was in early grade school, and even then I saw the respect in the librarian's eyes when I carried that tome (well, it's not a short read) around.

...I remember reading Madeline D'engle's A Wrinkle in Time and being unsettled by the experience, and I have been thus 'unsettled' by time-based writing ever since (which may explain my irrational aversion to science-fiction, even the good stuff).

...I also remember reading The Name of the Rose at an impossibly early age and only, barely, managed to grasp onto the narrative in between the almighty tracts of philosophy and history. I remember shutting it, once the 'whodunnit' aspect had been solved and thinking, "Dammit, I have NO IDEA what that was about, but boy I bet that fellow's clever. One day I'd like a crack at it."

What do you think about Hornby's quote. Do you agree?

Monday, May 07, 2007


To get out of the house yesterday, Adam and I decided to go to our place of worship--Borders.

It's getting easier to take the kids there: we just take them up to the children's books and let them go mad. Keira's face was a treat. So one adult goes off while the other babysits, and then vice versa.

The shop didn't let us get away without buying something (we are so weak), but I admit I snuck an extra something onto our pile, which Adam did not see until I meekly scrawled into bed last night with my new treasure.

Adam: "What's that?"
Karen: "The latest imported edition of Writers Digest"
Adam: (sneaking a peak at the imported price tag): "WHAT, WHAT, WHAT?!"
Karen: "Hey, its quality! It's thick. I only ever get to buy one of these a year. It's my mother's day treat."

That seemed to placate him. Honestly though, I could've walked out with a bundle of magazines. That's what I love about Borders. You get a bit sick of seeing the regular two-a-penny rags at the supermarket. I want quality black and white spreads and someone other than Paris Hilton looking back at me off a cover.

What's your magazine treat?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tearing my hair out

Back when I had pretensions of getting into the publishing world (via the editors desk), I would volunteer to do work experience time with any publishing house that was willing to take me.

This time was usually spent going through slush piles they had no intention of reading anyways, or answering phones.

Occasionally I'd do something neat like write reviews/PR blurbs for upcoming releases.

Whenever I did try to learn something, like work out the intricacies of Macintosh's, for one, the designers and layout-people would hover defensively over their keyboards and monitors, like they didn't even want me to see what was going on. I just figured that they were exercising their creative licences and were hired for their professional eccentricities.

That, or they'd done too much cocaine over lunch.

Now, though, I'm beginning to see why they don't want anyone to "touch their stuff". For I have started the bog end of layouts and editing. I've set correct margins and page lengths and the one second I get one page to look good, something bleeds over into the next page and the other 75% of test then gets put out of whack. It's like moating water in the middle of a sandcastle. It all escapes somehow. I'm starting to get all teeth-gnashy. I am talking to my monitor, using expletives I normally reserve for the neighbourhood dogs who crap in my garden.

Still, it's fun.

Wish me luck before this sends me loopy.....

...or is it too late for that?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Some quick, yet not insignificant, points

  • I've just logged on (well, an hour ago - it takes me that long to read all my blogs and bloggging paraphernalia) to see I've been StumbleUpon-ed again to the article I referred to yesterday. I don't know which person(s) did this, but again, thanks!
  • I'll only be around here briefly this weekend as I've set myself the goal of editing the family history manuscript, and I printed it out yesterday and it's going to be more work that I first thought!
  • Most Important: I've neglected to tell anyone this, but for the past eight nights or so, we've had almost complete, total, blissful sleep. We've solved Riley's sleep issues! This entailed us having to hire a 'sleep consultant' who came into our home for a night. I can't/won't go into too much detail here, because I'm to write about it for a magazine, but since then I can't help but regard my son as having graduated from being a 'baby' to a full-blown 'toddler'. It's both touching and emotionally annihilating. My kids are ready to 'move on', but am I?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Random Thoughts....on StumbleUpon


Since we've swapped to Windows Vista (that evil dominatrix of software which does not allow us to think for ourselves) I have not as yet installed the Stumbleupon toolbar back onto our browser, thus denying myself the pleasure of 'stumbling' over other sites in the world I would otherwise never encounter.

(For those not in the know there is an excellent introduction to StumbleUpon here)

When people speak of StumbleUpon, it is usually in regards to potentially driving new traffic to your blog, so it can be an excellent means of social linking/networking.

In my case, this week, it has proved to be an excellent mood boost.

Last week, I posted this. A humble little offering which diffused into the ether pretty much as soon as it was posted, like aspro into a glass of water. Which is fine, I guess. I don't write magnum opus posts in general; I rarely have time to go into loving detail and, to be honest, I rarely read posts which do - - unless I really, really love your writing.

So imagine my happy surprise the other day when I saw in my site meter hundreds and hundreds of extra visitors, all coming to that particular page because someone began the avalanche of clicking "I like it!". Since then, I've seen people link back to it in their own posts and ponder the questions I asked. And, yes, there is a little irony here because I specifically said I was no self-help guru, but perhaps there is a middle ground here that can be struck.

I'm not sure if I have a specific point here; I guess if there is one, it would be to say that no matter how despondant you might get in your blog writing, if you're despairing that your words are going unsung and unheralded, you just never know. It might happen. It probably already does.

And get StumbleUpon, so you may 'share the love' with others, perhaps.

Hello, Gorgeous!

Who's gorgeous? This woman. Thinking of you and your family. Makes one appreciate all the more your own health.

I figure if people are a bit shy to come forward (as you have been - why?!), I will have to 'out' them myself!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thirteen books (out of thirty-odd) that we borrowed this week from the library

1) Awaken the Giant Within, Anthony Robbins- Just to see what the fuss is about. Haven't started it.

2)Self-publishing made simple, Euan Mitchell- For the family history which is about to go to print! So very exciting!

3) How to start and produce a magazine -For curiosity's sake.

4) True Stories: selected notes, Helen Garner -Because I adore this woman.

5) Cool Stuff: 100 great projects -Winter is coming....just getting prepared for lots of indoors time. Bugger it.

6) The castle in the Forest, Norman Mailer -Mailer does Hitler. Could you get any more intriguing?!

7) Ainsley Harriott's friends and family cookbook -To get ideas; but I discovered I'd already borrowed it before.

8) Happy Easter, Maisy! -Who'd've thought it - a Maisy book we hadn't read before!

9) Clive James: Reliable Essays, the best of Clive James - I want this man's brain.

10) When Frank was Four, Alison Lester - One of Keira's all-time favourites.

11) Spot goes to the circus, Eric Hill - Who doesn't love Spot?

12) How to be Interesting, Edward de Bono - Alas, the book doesn't live up to it's premise.

13) Party Cakes for all occasions - Because Keira is still in party mode....

14) Every day a new beginning, Stephanie Dowrick - Riley grabbed it. He must like her as I do. That's spooky.

How many have you read?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Happy Birthday for this week, little lady

Conversations with Keira since Sunday:

Keira: I'm still only three.
Me: You only just turned three a few days ago!
Keira: (Holding up four fingers) I'm almost four now!

It's going to be a long year....

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Never been so glad to hear the dialtone

Guess what: I've just had a telemarketer hang up in MY ear!


Taking back our phone line one call at a time.

Miscellaneous Mum talks p**nography

Please, if this subject offends anyone, or riles you up due to your ethical or religious beliefs ---don't read any further.

But I know you will.

That's cool, but please -- no hate or righteous emails/comments. If you have a bone to pick, write about it on your blog, not mine.

Megan asked, "How do you know what a porno movie looks like? :P "

I will now answer.

The full title of my first degree is a Bachelor of Arts (Cultural Studies and Cultural Policy). I completed a double major, in English and Cultural Studies. The English component was the usual fare; the Cultural Studies part I explain, to those who have no idea what it is, is kind of a cross between sociology and philosophy, with a bit of pop-reference, Andy-Warholness to the side. With more sex, too.

Because Cultural Studies, really, is the study of power and because sex, really, is one of the means of aquiring or withholding (depends on who's talking) this power, it was inevitable we were to be exposed to it; all for the greater good of liberal (small 'l') study.

So in my "TV, Violence, P**nography, and the State" course we watched certain -tasteful - documentaries about p**nography. We watched Andrea Dworkin go red in the face going on about the violation of women's rights and their exploitation and other liberal (small 'l') commentators avoiding the question of whether p**n was bad or not by saying it really depended on individual's 'perception' of it.

One assignment I had to complete was to take a range of p**no magazines, from high-end (Pl*yboy) to middle-level (H*stler) to oh-god-just-how-many-times-can-I-avoid-retching-or-burning-my-eyes-if-I-keep-looking-at-this-page, and examine them....I can't remember exactly what the premise to the essay was now, actually.

It was interesting. Dirty, but interesting.

The funniest thing about that part of my academic career was Adam's shameless pride in my exploits.

"This is Karen," he'd say to his friends, waitresses when we were out on a date, complete strangers on the campus. "She reads Pl*yboy for her university course." I don't think I've seen him that chuffed until after each of his children were born. Or when he's won a four hour plus battle opus on Supreme Commander.

What did I learn?

That talking about p**n is eminently more interesting than viewing it....

...for educational purpose at least...