Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A blur of joy

I hope your Australia Day was all kinds of super. Mine was -- though I did get rather glaringly sunburnt (I've never turned quite that shade of hot pink before). However, even that seems very much in the spirit of Australia Day, and so I don't mind too much.

I have nothing earth-shattering to say, only my beloved cousin Annie whom I haven't seen in two and a half years is spontaneously catching a plane in my direction tomorrow and this means a) lots of excitement, and b) lots less blogging. But I will have pictures, when all is said and done :).



Caitlin -- thank you; I did have a great long weekend! I hope you did, too :).

Amanda -- I could watch those eyebrows over and over ;).

Melody -- Cadbury do come up with some good ones :D.

Carla -- love back at ya! xox

Anastasia -- Hi matee! (your Captcha thing is perfect)

Bethany -- Good question! You know, I have, er, dancy eyebrows. Wonder if I could train myself to do that?

Meaghan -- freaky is definitely a good word to describe it! Also strangely compelling and hilarious!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Summer foods enjoyed today:

[feta and potato cakes]
This basis for this recipe came from Bill Granger's Sydney Food, which is delicious for the pictures alone, even if one never made anything from it. But today I tried these potato cakes, and they were awesome. Peel and grate half a kilo of potatoes, and finely dice an onion. Let excess liquid drain in a colander for ten minutes, then mix with salt and pepper, finely chopped mint leaves, two eggs, and a quarter of a cup of plain flour. Shallow-fry until both sides are nicely browned. I had mine with an egg and lemon lime and bitters. So good.
[I made this up; what shall I call it?]
For a snack, I made these healthy yogurt, er, parfaits for the munchkin brother and myself. Organic natural yogurt layered with sliced banana, pure maple syrup, and crushed peanuts. Very summery and very yummy -- and it would work for breakfast, too.
Amanda -- Andrew Murray is great :). I hope you're having a lovely week, too!
Meaghan -- I haven't forgotten! I'm currently re-working some pieces of the novel... but maybe I should send you some anyway and you could give me tips for improvement? I don't know; suddenly I'm shy! :)
Beth -- good travel writing is pure deliciousness. That book sounds awesome!
Catherine -- so lovely to "meet" you ;). Please drop by again! I've never read The Tenant of Wildfell Fall but I really must. Do you recommend it?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bedtime reading

[it really is]

My bedtime reading material lately has been this ex-library copy of Meet the Authors and Illustrators by Stephanie Nettell. Apart from the fact that the cover is gloriously and adorably filled with Quentin Blake's zany and colourful drawings, this book appeals to me because I'm obsessed with processes. Do you remember "Through the Windows" on Playschool, when you would be whisked through a window (only ever rarely the arch-shaped one) and into another world? My favourites were always the factory ones, when you could see crayons being made or eggs being processed or violins being crafted.

It's the same now, only the process I love to learn about the most is the making of books. That's why this one is so awesome; it's filled with interviews with sixty children's (my favourite genre) writers and illustrators, and the stories of how they launched into the writing world.

The accidental ones -- the stories of authors who fell into writing quite by mistake and sold something before they even realised they'd written it -- bug me a little bit. They make it seem all arty and ethereal and like if you've got it, you've got it, and if you haven't, then give up. The hard-work ones -- the tales of people who just really really wanted to be good with words and so they wrote their fingers off -- make me all happy and inspired. And the surprising, unexpected tales just make me feel warm and fuzzy.

The coolest thing of all, though, is when you see how words collide. Witness these facts:

01. I love C.S. Forester's Hornblower.
02. I also love Roald Dahl (in a purely literary sense, of course).
03. I love The Saturday Evening Post (mostly because Normal Rockwell did many of the covers)
04. I also love vintage movies and actors (Paul Newman among them).

That's why it was crazy to discover that the amazing C.S. Forester actually interviewed Roald Dahl -- before he was "Roald Dahl" -- about his wartime experiences. Dahl offered to write his answers to the questions, and when he sent them away, Forester wrote back with, "Did you know you were a writer?" and the Saturday Evening Post printed the reminiscences completely unchanged. Later in life, Dahl married actress Patricia Neal who went on to win and Oscar for her work alongside Paul Newman in Hud.

The world is tiny and getting ever smaller, I have to say. I love these kinds of stories.

What books are on your bedside table right now?



Staish -- I am here to remind you: DO NOT CUT YOUR HAIR. Also: Get Your Words Out *is* a Wonderfalls shout-out! That's where the community name came from :).

Amanda -- you went to that very Speedway? Now what was I just saying about the world being small? PS. I know; Sugar can be a sweetheart when he wants to be.

Rachael -- Carla does have a blog!

Arny -- Ah, I hate it when computers eat things they aren't supposed to! *hi back*!

Carla -- oh no, you're not out of touch! Bronzing balls are just bronzing powder (like blush, only... golden) molded into little balls. It's better for girls like me with less Victorian skin tonings and more... I-don't-know skin tonings. I like to think it's beachy and Australian.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weekend XV :: sunshine and rain and motorbikes, oh my!

My entire Monday has consisted -- except for a few brief but happy interludes on the phone -- in pushing words and pictures around on the page as I prepare the mag for proofing. As a result of prolonged staring at a screen, all my words have evaporated, so I'll leave you instead with just a handful of them, along with pictures, from my weekend.

[I cleaned out my drawers -- and was so happy with the charming neatness that I took a picture.]

[I found money! (this never happens to me)]

[We went to the Gold Coast speedway. It was cold. And wet!]
[But there were bikes zooming at ridiculous speeds round a dirt track and just generally being dangerous and impossible to catch on film. Also meat pies and people wearing very Speedway-ish fashions and haircuts. Mullets a must.]

[I picked up six new-old Ellis Peters books at the Chandler Markets. These babies are hard to find so I'm very happy!]
[And it's my precious friend Meaghan's birthday today. There she is on the far right of the picture from long, long ago. I love you Meaghan!]

Amanda -- your comment cracked me up! Did you finish the chocolate and then start being nasty to sugar? ;)

Bethany -- you certainly must try some Elisabeth Elliot. Let me know what you think!

Carla -- will a virtual hug suffice? Here is one *0 hug 0*. I love you heaps. And I'm so happy you're blogging!

Meaghan -- aren't the shoes just so cheery? You are delightful. Happy birthday, lovely one! (It was so lovely chatting to you). xox

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flashback Friday :: best of oh-eight

[bargain of the week: adorable shoes; today; five bucks; yay!]

Bethany tagged me (hey! And I'm responding in something less than a month or two!) to share the bests of 2008.

[A good book I read] The Path of Loneliness by Elisabeth Elliot. Super.

[A great film I saw] Persuasion. Anne is the Austen girl I can perhaps most sympathise with. And Rupert Penry-Jones makes a most excellent Captain Wentworth.

[A new place I visited] Ben Lomond in Tasmania. I have one word for you: SNOW.

[An inspiring quote I read] Are you truly pleased with yourself as to the simple and lonely fact that God decided to create you in a certain way? (Harold Best, quoted in Scribbling in the Sand) I am frequently not pleased in that simple and lonely fact; I want to learn to be.

[A discovery I made] Cane toads really are as ugly as they are legendarily believed to be. Also, they stink when run over.

[A lesson I learned] Jesus as Lord means more than just Jesus as Lord of salvation; His lordship means sovereignty over here and now and every moment great or small.

[A new skill acquired] The ability to turn skirts into dresses.

[A moment I will always remember] Sitting in the playground of McDonald's at Coffs Harbour, thumbing through a cheap Christian paperback I'd bought at the op shop next door, waiting waiting waiting for the phone to ring and tell me my new little nephew had arrived. Only at that stage, I didn't know whether he'd be a niece or a nephew. Then the phone rang, and I heard the news, and I wanted so much to blurt it to the stranger sitting next to me, but I had to content myself with simply sending wild text messages to my brother.


Bethany -- there will always be more great books in the world than we can possibly read. I don't know whether this is exciting or depressing!

Beth -- it is always good to have some "wild erratic fancies" (as the poet Banjo Paterson puts it) on the list. Good luck with your marriage to Don. Next time I'm hanging out with him I'll put in a good word for you, okay?

Amanda -- I am never quite certain about the witty or mind-blowing bit, but there will be blog posts! :D Let's be nasty to sugar together in 2009!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

10 things in 2009

My very super sister, Lauren, tagged me to share 10 things I want to do in 2009. Part of me wants to pick 29 things, since that's how old I'll be turning (um, eep?) and 29 things in 2009 just sounds so much cooler. But ten is definitely enough to think about -- especially when bundled with the ten spiritual and mental resolutions I hope to focus on (I'll post them later, because the list -- written by another many years ago -- has challenged me so much I really want to share it).

So: let's hear it for the numberrr ten!

01. Make 2009 the Grand Year of Correspondence. This means replying to the letters that have languished on my desk for many months, and then being prompt and zealous about writing in the future. It means keeping on top of emails and notes. Viva la letter!
02. Write 200,000 original words as part of the Get Your Words Out project. This is both maddening and exciting. I don't quite know how it will all work, but I'm eager :). Watch my fingers (try to) fly!
03. Read the masses of unread books in my to-read pile.
04. Make as many gifts by hand, or purchase homemade. I intend to haunt etsy.
05. Tell Mr. Sugar and all his unrefined cousins (among them Dextrose and Sucrose) that they're not welcome in my life except on rare occasions.
06. Invest six solid months in exploring more freelance writing opportunities. Then, we shall see.
07. Make a new and gigantic comforter for my bed.
08. Keep my bedroom tidy. For some reason, this is harder than it used to be when I was twelve.
09. Write incredibly witty and brilliant blog posts with which to amaze the world. Attempt to keep my blog updated. (Your comments at my last post will help here; thank you).
10. Smile lots and lots. Even when I don't feel like it.
What would be on your list?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hello, 2009

Meaghan delightfully suggested I "come back, already!" so I'm here, ready to jump into blog-land for 2009. My summer break was lovely and altogether too short, consisting of a diversity of small happinesses including birthday celebrations, Christmas day, canoeing, visits from loved ones, unexpected gifts of kindness and encouragement, reading in the middle of the day, sleeping in till embarrassing hours, melting in the Queensland humidity, and growing inspired about the fresh beginning.

I'm glad my blog didn't dissolve in the gaping void of inactivity. Sitemeter informs me that numerous visitors kept popping in via a Google search for polyphyria. I couldn't help but wonder how; have I ever used such a word? Turns out I have, in the discussion that took place on vampirism and the Twilight books over here. Obviously, my memory ain't what it used to be.

With the shiny newness of a fresh beginning, I find myself wondering what my blog's purpose ought to be in 2009. I know I'm determined to share more pictures, and to write better and oftener. But a part of me craves the narrowing freedom of a specific goal or theme. Life and faith? Writing? Books? So far, I've explored a bit of each, occasionally mentioning current affairs (which I generally know nothing about), too.

So I require your input, oh smartest of blog writers and readers: does your blog have a specific goal or theme? And if you were my blogging headmaster, what theme would you assign me?

I look forward to exploring 2009 with you.
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