Thursday, 30 January 2014

Thursday and 14degrees

well it was 14 when I took daughter dear to school this morning. It was more like 22 when I collected her at 11am and what a lovely day. Sunshine, breezes, fluffy little clouds. Daughter dear is working on math and younger son is well negotiating. He will do fine in the industry he is planning on going into. They need negotiators.

Here is another flower for the 52 week challenge.

The offspring both enjoyed the first day back at school - well maybe. They both achieved several outcomes so that was good at least and they both practiced their instruments which was delightful.

I signed up for the February Picture Book Marathon and an online commitment thing so I will have to sign in fairy regularly to update my word count and daily activity. This picture also counts toward my daily sketch but does not fit in the 52 week challenge of sketching for 52 weeks each week on a different theme.

The marathon is an event in which the participants challenge themselves to come up with 26 picture book manuscripts in 28 days. There is no expectation that any of them will be even close to more than a first draft at best but the idea is that 26 new storylines have been explored with the potential for some to become fully edited manuscripts. I felt this was a good challenge to add to my 12 x 12 goals of 12 manuscripts in 12 months. I have my January story well on the way to being a polished piece ready to send into the big wide world. Maybe the marathon will produce many more great ideas to develop into picture book dummies with all the skills I expect to learn in the Picture Book Dummy Challenge which runs January to July. It is exciting to be involved in all these challenges particularly because of the people I am meeting.

I began a new YA novel yesterday and like where it is going. Okay I am going to eat my rice pudding before it goes cold.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Interviews and paperwork

Today I took dearly darling daughter off to school for her interview. It was a bit of a disappointment. I always hope there will be goal setting and guidance instead it is locker numbers and fee paying. I returned my work keys and the staff ipad and said hello to former staff colleagues. Things have changed over the summer, new doorways, paint and rearranged walls. Plenty of new people and a few older faces. Daughter darling finally gets a top locker. Youngest son has emails from some of his teachers and we set up a notice board and started the timetable talks. There is only so much i can do to help them get set up but ultimately the effort has to come from them to make their year successful. I have been goal setting for the past 12 months to achieve the results I have so far. I want to encourage them to do the same, I have timetables and planning sheets and I tick the boxes as I complete each task.

The hospital called. Evil twin is being cauterized next week. I am growing an evil twin out of the side of my face and I am having him cauterized and half a face lift in the process and was awaiting a date to joke with my handsome surgical team in the chilly pre-op. My evil twin decided recently it wanted to grow big and bigger so we have sped up the date and I will be post op next Friday 7th. After recovery I will have all my glamour photos taken on the left side of my face where I will have a beautiful new jawline to show off and a smooth baby soft cheek with a wicked pirate scar to be proud of. Since the last two surgeries had some glitches I am hoping third time the charm and it is all smooth sailing. They should be used to me by now but I am facing the prospect with a modicum of trepidation.

I just 'Rick Rowled' the daughter. What a brilliant belly laugh. Told her there was something I urgently needed her to hear on my computer and she ran up the hall without listening ahead. Air punch! Gotcha!

more flowers for 52 week challenge. This is week five and it is 'flower' as a theme. I was playing with pastels, chalk pastel rather than oil. The pastel pencils make my teeth ache with their scratchiness but the pastel stubs are lovely and smooth to put on the paper.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014


I stepped out of the air conditioning of the department store and gasped for breath as the sudden change into the hot gusty wind sucked the air from my lungs. The temperature gauge on my car said 47.5 Daughter darling says the only thing making it bearable is it is dry heat and I totally agree. The dust blowing around town gives the air a reddish tinge and my heart goes out to the firefighters dealing with this disastrous wind in a fire day labelled 'catastrophic'.

The old signs said low, moderate and high and very high and extreme

Because there is always fire danger even when it floods

and the fires of recent years have seen a change to the signs so now we have the catastrophic warning

The fires up and around the Grampians lately have been both terrifying and magnificent in their beauty. It is always easy to admire from a distance of course, being in or near or threatened by fires is not something that leaves any capacity for admiring beauty. The following images belong to people in and around Stawell and the Grampians and do not belong to me but I share them to give a visual of what the fires of the past week have been like.

Monday, 27 January 2014

public holiday


I went to bed early, well before 11pm and I meditated for a while then fell asleep. I woke at 12ish from an odd dream involving driving up rock strewn mountain tracks in a sedan and negotiating the potholes and boulders which then morphed into patterns and swirls like a magnificent mandala. I fell asleep again and woke at 2 with the ides for two stories swirling through my brain but by the time I wrote the first one I had lost the other into the miasma that is the storage of my brain. I needed a glass of water to rehydrate my mouth and ventolin and nasal spray and finally I got out of bed made myself a vanilla tea, a bowl of porridge and had a chat with number two about his game plans. I went back to bed at four after turning off the alarms for the 6am start. i woke again just after 9am.

I love my brain. I love the stories that gloop and gurgle deep in my storage dimensions and then gurgle back to the top and demand to be written.

I have a few alternate story tellings from old fables and fairy tales. So many stories - so slow a typist. Matters not, I will put several thousand words on the page each day and they will manifest.

Okay I need to go to the supermarket for salad fixings. Here is a picture for the day. I like this one a lot - the seed of potential.

okay so now it is 11.15. I went for a late walk on the breakwater because the temperature is high and will be hotter tomorrow. A busy day ahead tomorrow. We put up a shade sail over the living room window and moved all the pot plants around the side of the house in the hope that some will survive. I will put up two more shades tomorrow after sundown and also find a way to siphon the tank water. (the tank has no tap)
My legs are aching. Might have something to do with three hours of cycling yesterday. So all good things.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Australia Day

I missed a blog post yesterday and was feeling somewhat at a low ebb so I didn't write either. Several things did not go according to plan but in the end it worked out that the new and different plans would be worth while. I am hoping to get us all into work routines tomorrow and have told the offspring we are goal setting and timetable planning tomorrow. I am off to bed in half an hour so I thought I would do my blog post and upload today's sketches. My new timetable starts at 6am. Daughter dear is going to aim for her grade 4 sax AMEB and we have put a new one on layby and selling the old one. I did not get to several parties I was invited to and neither did the youngest offspring because we were mislead by the public transport personnel. I have been practicing my language and I am making slow but steady progress and I also have six notes on my clarinet now. Almost an octave. The start the eyar off write challenge has now ended and I am very pleased with the prompts that were given by the guests on the blog and very grateful to Shannon Abercrombie for her wonderful organisational skills. I am also finding my way around the 12 x 12 forum and beginning to make contacts. I uploaded my first illustrations to the critique group albeit nervously.

a cauliflower and a fireflower. Next week the theme in 52 week challenge is flowers (I best check that) and I started off the new sketches a few days ahead.

I watched a video by someone who teaches a particular digital art tool, today. I am making a habit of watching video's by the 'experts' in the field. I put the word 'expert' in '' simply because the videos are unedited and a painful thing to watch in general because the people may have expertise in their drawing or writing skills but seriously lack public speaking skills, video editing skills or even agenda writing or lesson plans and they need to seek assistance in learning to use video conferencing tools and microphone techniques. So far the videos I have watched tend to waffle on and waste at least half the time allocated. I prefer instructional videos on youtube where the people actually know how to put an instructional video together. I am learning a lot about what not to do when making a video.

I am going to try and work out how to use my digital art tools in the next few weeks. The one vital piece of information I gleaned from a one hour video today is that belief that some publishers are asking only for digital art. Best I learn how to do that. I can start with my own drawings but need to know how to manipulate them.

I signed up for a few more writing challenges over the next few months. I need the challenges to keep me moving forward.

I did two hours of cycling today with weights. Not nearly enough water though. Time to rectify that.


Friday, 24 January 2014

what is it all for?

I stabbed myself in the thumb trying to pack the dishwasher and it hurts and I threw the cutlery in the sink making an horrendous noise. It has been an odd day. the weather looks like it is going to rain but the temperature stayed warm. Daughter had a melt down because she was so upset her work experience had come to an end. Someone congratulated me on my new job but I don't have one just yet. My rent went up, my income went down. My thumb hurts, did I already mention that?

An odd day. Number one may have a new job which would suit him mightily, number two is making progress on his game, number three was asked to let me know if he is not turning up so I don't sit around twiddling my thumbs waiting, number four came home and seems to be in fine fettle, number five cried and was told off for concentrating on her phone instead of talking to me when we were having lunch together.

The problem with any device that isolates a person from their surrounds is that it isolates the person from their surrounds. There is a picture circulating the internet of people using their phones in restaurants, cinemas, theaters, in the street and even at parties. None of them are interacting with each other and there are various captions about zombie Apocalypse being here already or quoting some scientific historical figure who warned of technology outstripping the human capacity to keep up with it. I think when we introduce a new technology we need to also introduce new social protocols to know how to deal with them. I remember when people were first using walkman's and strutting down the street with giant headphones oblivious to anything but the noise in their heads. The uproar and disgust was no different than that being expressed about mobile phone use or the inability of social website users to understand they are in a public domain even if they sit in their bedrooms.

Must be a low ebb kind of day.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

23rd January 2014

Today will be a good day. The sun is shining, birds are warbling and cawing, the breeze is soft and gentle. The daughter was up bright and early to go to work experience. She even made me a cup of tea. I have been slathering lanolin and zinc on my face and it seems to have 'cooled off' the heat in my cheek. no word on a surgery date as yet.
My darling Paula and Adele made me a calico teddy for my birthday and embroidered it. I love hand crafted things and I am so in awe of people who can do wonderful things with textiles.

How awesome is that? I have a hand made lace table cloth which is possibly 100+ years old and a beautiful comforter on my bed which is quilted by a friend and gifted to me as a birthday present and another friend is making me a crochet shawl. I had a dolly given to dear daughter one year with a whole crocheted outfit in white and yellow, socks, nickers, petticoat, hat and dress. Sadly the doll went missing along with a whole box of porcelain dolls belonging to her when we moved to our current house but I digress from my amazement at the marvelous skills of people who can knit and sew and embroider. I have quite a number of friends who are quilters and I greatly admire the skills of their hands. I am simply too impatient for hand crafts which take such dedication and patience. Which is a silly statement when I think about it because it takes hundreds of hours for me to create a novel with all its convoluted twists and weaving of character and plot. It is interesting that writing a story is often referred to as weaving and I guess they are similar.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Oh what a beautiful morning...oh what a beautiful day...I've got a marvellous feeling...

everything's going my way.

So today I cooked bacon and eggs for the young one and myself and a lovely cup of tea. I took her to her work experience where she is having so much fun she never wants it to end and she became misty eyed and clingy at the thought of only being there for a week.

My dear guests stayed overnight and hubby went fishing early in the morning. I now have several in the freezer, fish not guests. Mumsy and child came out sleepy eyed and had breakfast with me (second breakfast for me, I feel so Hobbit) and we did some drawing. I had given a costume of one of the girls from Frozen(disney/pixar animation)to squidjet(aged 7) and we drew some of the characters and had a wonderful time playing with my new gel pens. I am going to have to work on my shading.
I used a mixture of pencil, fine liner and water colour pens with water to get thsi far but I am going to keep working on shading.

Then we all went to pick up daughter dear for lunch and went to a cafe. Lunch was lovely and we farewelled our guests afterwards and daughter dear headed back to work for the afternoon.

I purchased some fans which are on special just before the next heat wave and silly me forgot to plug one in and wondered why it would not work.

I am finding some excellent videos to help me improve my art skills.

Today I have done no writing so far apart from this blog post. Tomorrow I am having more guests so I am guessing I will need to put a solid piece of writing time into this evening. ReviMo is over now and we are on day 18 of Start the Year off write and both have been enormously beneficial in terms of pushing my writing along. I am very grateful I found these ladies and their blogs.

I uploaded all my selfies to the 52 week challenge. There are some awesome artists in the group and lots of children who can only benefit from the experience. It is so lovely.

I may upload my prompt responses tomorrow.

Monday, 20 January 2014

guess what... is the 20th of January and it is also 1.47am so I decided after a hot chocolate and plenty of exercise and a movie with interesting characters and a lot of focussed thought that I would start today's blog nice and early. I have to be up early to take Izzy off to work experience and drop in at C'link and pop into the pet store for fish things for the new addition to the house and I need to do some other things too but can't remember at this hour what they are. I shall do some art and definitely need to warm up the clarinet as it has not have a practice for two days. I did get back to my Spanish lessons and went right back to the beginning. I know about 17 words now. I can't neglect my January drawings for the 52 week challenge so I will do something different today. ReviMo has finished and it was a terrific week of revising, cutting, splicing and rewriting. I managed every day to do some significant changes and I hope I now have some very workable manuscripts. I submitted my echidna to an online critique and I think I should have put a different story in. The audience is predominantly American and the MS rated as a year 8 level reading whereas I believe the words are quite suitable to an Australian PB because they are relevant to Australian kids. I am seeing some PBs from the American contingent that have references I don't understand too which makes it a great learning forum. Cultural exchange is a great thing. My eyes are tired but the rest of me is rebelling a little. I will go to bed again shortly and try for sleep.

It is now 5.52pm and the day has been lovely. I feel asleep after doing some visualisation and focused thought meditation. I slept well and woke feeling pretty good. The daughter was already up and keen for her work experience and I zipped her off to work. I went to C'link to work out where I stood and found out I have a...gulp...debt. dang it all to murgatroyd but nothing that matters. It will all work out. Then I bought myself a present. I feel quite buzzy.
I bought myself some ink pencils and some water colour pencils.

I have also done some more selfies. One as a caricature of me sort of 80s in theme and one of me as something fey. I am thinking in these pictures I can be anything I want to be and I can change the face any way I want. I might go play with the technology and see what I can do to a photo. Could be fun.

The one with the babies is done with ink pencil so I have a before and after water shot to show the effect. i am so going to enjoy playing with them. The fey face is done with derwent colour pencils. Now off to Spanish and Clarinet. Then more writing.

What do I really want? 19th

If a person is never told they are beautiful, how do they then recognise a complement when they hear it and not judge it as merely one more nasty comment passed in their presence. Last night I was having a conversation with my sister about how we perceive our self worth and how our self esteem developed in such an environment as the one we found ourselves growing up in. I found myself musing on what I want out of life. I know adults usually encourage children to start making plans and setting goals in their high school years and even back earlier when they ask 'what do you want to be when you grow up?'. I recall it didn't matter what I wanted to be as a child my ideas were usually ridiculed.
I want to lose weight, have wanted to lose weight all my life but instead I gain it. I was a chef for a long time and I was good at delicious. One of my signature dishes was a chocolate hazelnut swirl baked marble cheesecake. You only have to read the name to see the calories in it and I would never serve something I didn't like. I don't do any other thing that people might do to cope with the stressors of life except eat. I eat when I am sad, angry, depressed, worried, frightened, lonely...I joined groups. Lots of groups and I am always successful for a little while then I quit. I am now the size I thought I was when I was half the woman I am now. In the 52 week drawing challenge I am doing on FB next week the challenge is to do a selfie. I have been crying for days. I don't want to look at myself or draw myself and honestly I don't like much about myself. I am talented, intelligent and kind but...and there is always a but. I tell people I am good at this that and the other thing but I am a lousy housekeeper or I say, yes I can do all those things but can't manage to keep a partner. The clown, the jokester, the entertainer who hides behind the laughing. My sister called yesterday and we spoke of the cruelty of our past and we each tried to recall just once in our childhood and youth when someone significant in our lives said a kind thing or told us we were beautiful. An art teacher told me once that I reminded him of Botticelli angels, I thought he meant I had weak shoulders, a double chin, a round tummy and was girly and pathetic. Girly was pathetic in our childhood. Girly meant useless, lacking in value and ugly or worse. I didn't know the art teacher was complimenting me and saying I was beautiful.

I made myself that poster. The hand pointing at the viewer (me) and asking "What do you really want?" because I need to make firm decisions about my life. I have been making solid decisions over the past year but it took an almighty kick in the pants to make me do it and the results are showing already. I have stories published and art published and I am beginning to know people in the writing and art world who are worth knowing. My art is growing and my writing is beginning to shine. I still want to get healthy and I want to feel like a I belong. A sense of belonging is something most people take for granted. They understand the rules of friendship and socialising that seem to bypass my understanding. Some days I feel a bit like the Sherlock Holmes character who just does not get the people thing. I ask occasionally and people look at me as if I am weird or crazy and a look of 'how can you not know that' comes over their faces so i don't ask again. I watch and I watch but I seem to miss the cues.

Anyway yes I am a bit weird but mostly an okay person which is a long way from where I was five years ago when I still believed I was invisible in the sense that once people were not looking at me I no longer impinged on their awareness in any way. Odd way to see oneself I suppose but I truly believed it. How does a person reach that kind of place of non existence?
I have been incredibly fortunate since being in Warrnambool. I have met some beautiful people who have taken me under their wing and given me their friendship. I am no longer invisible and I feel more loved than I ever have before not forgetting the beautiful people I have met throughout my life who have helped me along my life's journey. I truly am a very fortunate woman in the kindnesses bestowed on me.

I have drawn nine pictures of myself for next weeks challenge and really had to look at my own face carefully. Daughter tells me there are times I just do this thing with my jaw and it is terrifying and there are all these other faces I make, she probably knows my face better than I do and she loves my face. I want to see my face through her eyes so I did these.
I will load them one at a time next week in the challenge. The photo for comparison. it was weird drawing my own face.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Each day I grow a little more and learn something new

Today was cool, deliciously cool and I drove to Portland. There were huge ships in the harbour.Daughter darling came for the journey and we stopped to photograph those beautiful gates on Dutton way. They haunt me those gates and I think somewhere deep in my mind is a story that those gates will feature in at some time. I have written a few new picture books stories of late and had some feedback on my very Australian story. I don't think the non Australian readers are going to get it. I am being interviewed about my journey into writing and finding that a good venture in really looking at who I am and where I have come from. Answering questions such as 'what inspires...' me and where do my stories come from makes em answer those questions after a careful soul search.
I have been working daily on the start the year of write prompts and finding that the prompts are churning up some interesting material and challenging me to think a bit outside the comfortable ruts into which it is so easy to fall.

I had some odd commentary on my art work that had my hackles rising. I have been rediscovering my art after many years without it and it has become my meditation and a perfect tool for focusing my concentration. often when I am drawing it allows my mind to develop ideas. I have a sketch on my craft pad at the moment which is just grey lines and some words but already a story is drawing up out fo the mists on the paper and the mists don't yet exist except as a word. I wonder why it is that people seem so threatened by my declaration of being a real writer. They question it and scoff just as they did when I was living off my art many years ago. That time I went and found 'real' work and gave up my art but that will not happen again. I have too many stories in my head needing to be told to listen to naysayers ever again. I don't care if I have no money for the basics. If I have to use a candle and hand write then so be it. If I have to walk to the library to connect with my online community then good. If I have to eat rice and pasta for a year well then I eat rice and pasta for a year. I had to make this poster, partly for me and partly for naysayers. Thank goodness my support network is gaining the stronger voice.

I have neglected my clarinet, my Spanish and my exercise these past few days but that must change tomorrow. No more neglect of the things that bring energy and balance.

this is not my drawing and I thank whoever made it. It is a philosophy I like to think I practice and would encourage others to do so too. Okay off to write