Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

That is candy corn - for those of you not in the US - its made of sugar and food colouring. Its traditional American Halloween fare (my American neighbour was feeding it to me when I was a small thing in the UK - yes that would be 25 years ago - cripes) It is addictive and tastes like small nuggets of condensed milk only sweeter. So far today I have eaten about a kilo courtesy of the US expats at work. Am not sure if its the food colouring or the sugar that's given me a headache. But one hell of a headache I have.

I love Halloween. Here in Australia it isn't embraced with the enthusiasm that you find in the States and to a lesser extent the UK. Something I think has quite a bit to do with the fact its spring here and its hard to whip up enthusiasm for death and ghouls when the days are getting longer, lambs are cavorting in the fields, and its 36 degrees outside. Okay lambs are not cavorting (too flippin hot), but you get what I mean.

Happy Halloween everybody, or Samhain for all you Wiccans.

Oh what's that you say? Samhain is the NAME OF MY PUBLISHER.

Yes. Its their birthday. I shall be in their cafe posting galore tomorrow in celebration. Also my ad is going up on Coffee Time Romance tomorrow... more on that later. Its going to be a busy weekend.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Woe is I

It is pouring with rain. Here is my washing. All of it. And yes those are hubby's underpants in the middle of the shot. He's 6ft 5 and his underpants reflect his overall enormousness. In fact after four years of marriage they still make me laugh when I fold them up. How can anyone have such ginormous underpants??Anyway, the washing is not just a bit damp, its absolutely totally and utterly dripping.


Oh, its just been one of those days. Am exhausted due to sleepless night, inside with feral bored loud children and on day one of post holiday diet (did pork up rather due to all that eating).

So, at a loss as to what to do with the screamies I decided to make pumpkin soup out of pumpkins and have a go at a bit of Halloween craft at the same time. Yes. It seemed like a Good Idea at the time.

Here is our victim. No not the dog - am not yet that close to the end of my tether.

So without injury managed to get top off and start to scoop out insides. Kids were able to help with that bit. Note excellent and artistic drawn on pumpkin face. All my own work you know.
The flesh itself however is really hard to get out and after a good hour of scraping the screamies had buggered off and I was left to hack at it with any implement that I thought may make the job easier...

Note to anyone else trying this. Vegetable peelers are not good pumpkin gutting implements.
Two hours later we have enough pumpkin to make soup, my hands are orange, the children are orange (due to plastering each other with red and yellow paint which had to be brought out to distract them from trashing the house whilst I completed our project - I had come Too Far to let it go) and I am never ever carving pumpkins again.
And the finished result...

Yes, how completely LAME.

We do have pumpkin soup for dinner tho. Marvellous. Fucking bloody marvellous.

So, then managed to stretch morning tea into lunch and kept the screamies eating until nap time. Was looking forward for a nice sit down, cup of tea and a shower - hadn't actually managed to get dressed yet - ahem. Had nice low fat lunch (okay except for the mayonnaise, but I mean honestly how many calories can be in mayonnaise?) and then went to check on the kids. Miss Bugalugs was hanging around outside her room.

"I've done a poo," she said. Yes. Nothing new there, its happened twice a day for the last nearly three years. Not really bloggable. But what she didn't add was that she'd used it to redecorate her bedroom. I did nearly take photographs. Nearly. But there are limits to what I'd inflict on you guys. I shall not describe it either. Suffice to say teddy, monkey and Baby (a toy called Baby not Miss Bugalugs) are currently going around and around in a boil wash (there is a LOT of stuffing going around and around as well so it looks like we may have had a fatality) and the dog is outside for the foreseeable future (DO NOT ASK).

So, get that all cleared up and its time for our playdate with Diana up the road. Thank fucking christ. By this stage had postponed diet to tomorrow and stopped off to buy packet Tim Tams - I deserved them. No I did. Diana is one of my mother's group friends - a group of women I have blogged about before, who have kept me sane and grounded over the last four years - words cannot describe how awesome these girls are. So today is no exception. Diana sat me down, listened to me rant for an hour, made me two cups of tea, made me put the biscuits down and eat WATERMELON. I know. Watermelon. Given the state I was in that was akin to giving a rabid dog a snuggle. But she did it. What a friend.

I left feeling calm, in control and reassured that my children will not be decorating their bedrooms with their own excrement when they are say 15.

Naturally it all fell apart the moment we got home and I have eaten seven Tim Tams in the last hour, but for that three minute car trip I really thought I'd got a handle on the day.

Rang my mother to complain about the injustices of the day only to be informed she's off to Tetsuyas (posh nosh resturant - yes m'parents are worse about food than me). I wished her poo in her icecream.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Post Guests Slump

Am having a slump. Guests have gone after an exceedingly busy month and am kicking back and taking it easy in anticipation of Nanowrimo that's starting on Saturday. Yes, am once again undertaking to write 50,000 words in a month. Mad, I know this. Just don't tell my mother - otherwise I'll be subjected to endless lectures about overdoing it.

So brace yourselves for a month of blog posts moaning about how much I've written and pictures of LOLcats for when I've been procrastinating. I love lolcats. Hubby reckons that if I'm going to inflict Nano on him again, then the least I could do would be to cut myself off from the internet and give myself one less avenue of procrastination (he may well be hoping that I procrastinate in the direction of the cleaning cupboard instead - HAH).

Without the internet?
How refreshingly amusing.

Here's a lolcat. Just to get us started.

YES. I am aware this isn't a cat.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Herb Garden

Bottom left hand corner is Thyme. I use Thyme heaps. Especially when making exploding pumpkin soup - its my secret ingredient.

Across the top is Rosemary. I use this one a lot too. Mostly when I'm making a slow cooked casserole. I think Rosemary is my all time favourite herb.

On the right is Oregano. Don't use this one fresh really. Usually I dry it which seems to intensify the flavour and then it goes in spag bol with home dried basil. Oregano and Basil are best friends.
The white ones are petunias, whilst very pretty they taste foul and I don't recommend eating them. Also, there is grass growing up in the middle of them. If you are a horse then you will think this is great. Or a queasy dog or cat.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Awesome Meal

We had quite a few brilliant meals whilst we were away. In fact the food was really excellent everywhere we went. But I think the biggest surprise was the Hardy's Bay RSL.

This is the Hardy's Bay RSL.

Yes. When I saw it all I could think of was our Year 10 camping trip to Colo River as well.

Still, its an RSL. They almost always do decent, if a bit unimaginative fare. I was all geared up for my prawn cocktail followed by steak Dianne, and if feeling lavish maybe ice-cream.


When we arrived we were rather nervously told that TONIGHT the chef was unveiling his new menu. For the FIRST TIME EVER. Oh yes indeedy.

Well. The menu was promising, things looked good and the decision was made that we would go the whole hog. Yes. Starters. Mains. Dessert. Coffee.

And go the whole hog we did. I had the most sublime prawn, mango and fennel salad, followed by a divine chicken breast with potato galette, blue cheese tortellini and leek garnish. Then. THEN. I had creme brulee.


Not what we expected, and a most plesant surprise. I really hope this pays off for the chef and the RSL, it was the best meal we've had in a long time.

Last Day

Weather still a complete joke. Photo below of me and in-laws taking late spring stroll along beach. This is in between rain squalls, and in the middle of a Force 7 gale. Children and dog have been blown away. Rest of population sensibly inside.Cos its a classy kind of holiday we took shelter at the Ettalong Pie shop.
Actually, they were excellent pies.
Of course there is always some insufferable smarty-pants making lemonade out of lemons. Two insane kite surfers having unrool fun (or keeping the sea rescue guys on their toes). One is the white bracket in the middle of the photo (NO that is NOT a seagull) and the other is the dark red bracket to his left (NO that is not a mark on your screen). It was a bit beyond the camera's zoom, that's as close as I could get.

So its home tomorrow. Been a good break and have fallen in love with another bit of NSW. Can't complain.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

'm on hoiday & 's raining

So this is the view about five mins up the road from us. That's Pretty Beach down there on the right, Box Head in the middle of the photo and Lion Island behind it.

Box Head 5 minutes later.
And about 20 seconds after that.
Yes, perfect weather for a holiday with small children.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Save that Word

The Collins English Dictionary has decided to delete some words to make room for 2,000 or so new ones. I know. Desperate times people. It was a choice between this or making the dictionary's typeface so small no one could read it.

However, all is not lost.

If by February 2009 any of these words appear six times in the dictionary's English language database (which is complied from books, newspapers, broadcasts and other media) then the word will be saved.

Various celebrities have chosen their favourite words to champion. Stephen Fry has chosen fusby, and Andrew Motion (UK's poet laureate & avid bird-watcher) has chosen skirr.

Here is a list of 24 popular ones (with the top ten first). Which one will you choose? Which one will you champion?
Apodeictic: Unquestionably true by virtue of demonstration
Caducity: Perishableness; senility
Compossible: Possible in coexistence with something else
Embrangle: To confuse or entangle
Fubsy: Short and stout; squat
Malison: A curse
Mansuetude: Gentleness or mildness
Niddering: Cowardly
Olid: Foul-smelling
Oppugnant: Combative, antagonistic or contrary

And then there is...

Abstergent: Cleansing or scouring
Agrestic: Rural; rustic; unpolished; uncouth
Apodeictic: Unquestionably true by virtue of demonstration
Caliginosity: Dimness; darkness
Exuviate: To shed (a skin or similar outer covering)
Fatidical: Prophetic
Griseous: Streaked or mixed with grey; somewhat grey
Muliebrity: The condition of being a woman
Nitid: Bright; glistening
Periapt: A charm or amulet
Recrement: Waste matter; refuse; dross
Roborant: Tending to fortify or increase strength
Skirr: A whirring or grating sound, as of the wings of birds in flight
Vaticinate: To foretell; prophesy
Vilipend: To treat or regard with contempt

Here is the original Times article
And Time Magazine's take on it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Escaping Esky

On holidays things often don't go to plan.

When unpacking the car we had a small milk disaster, actually it was more of an entire esky disaster in which milk was involved. You see we're on a very steep slope, and when hubby opened the boot the esky made a bid for freedom. It shot out of the back of the 4wd and slid at high speed down the drive, hit the curb, turned left without indicating, rolled, and began to spew its contents down the road. I tell you pears can go extremely fast. Faster than hubby can run it turns out. But not frozen casseroles. No, friction slows them down.

So the milk was punctured, right down the bottom and was leaking everywhere. Being the quick-thinking girl that I am, I finished my beer as fast as I could (which was fastish - hell I was laughing too hard at my husband running up and down the street collecting foodstuffs before they got run over) and recycled the bottle.

The teapot behind it is sitting on a teapot warmer that has a little candle in it - just in case you were wondering.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

'm on holiday

I'm on holidays. Yes indeedy. We have taken a week off, and headed about 40mins north of home to a place called Killcare.

Here is our view...

Not bad don't you think?

The kids and the dog think its quite good as well.

I have decided to come and live here. Hubby and the kids can stay at home and I'll come up here and write books. Excellent plan I thought. Hubby's not so sure.

Had to escape from paradise during the afternoon and head back to Sydney for a baby shower (yes, very civilised it was with cups of tea and fairy cakes and me crapping on and on about how horrible Miss Beanie-baby's birth was. WHY do I insist on telling this story to pregnant women? WHY?).

It was my first baby shower ever AND I got to revisit my youth and play pass-the-parcel. Yes an immensly exciting afternoon. Won a jar of age defying cream. Grite. Being one who believes that the Universe sends us what we need in life am now practically glued to the mirror looking for wrinkles. Have found quite a lot. More than I realised I had. Am expecting great things from this cream. Great things.

Seaside Daisies OR Having an Old Lady Rant

Pretty huh? Yes, that's what I thought. Until I found out that my carefully grown Seaside Daisies are in fact a weed that is a particular problem in the Blue Mountains (an area about 50kms west of here).

I bought them from my local garden centre.

I know.

It makes me so immensly cross that they sell these type of plants willy-nilly without any warning or suggestion that they're not an environmentally sound choice for the area I live in. I would've thought that a garden centre was the exact place where anyone could be aware of what is good in the garden and what could turn into a disaster. But NO. Its all about profit isn't it. Its all about what sells.

For the first time this corner of the garden is just starting to look pretty...

And now I'm going to have to take out the daisies and plant something else.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Spike Lavender

Spike Lavender - essential oil good for massaging into sore muscles (its more mentholly than your bog standard lavender).

I love this particular lavender plant. It came from my parents place in Orange. My Mum grew many different types of lavender there for essential oils. They've sold that property now. Orange was too far away, what with the rest of the family based around Sydney, and the four hour drive trip was too much.

I miss that place though. Harsh and beautiful. But hell to get a Pizza delivered.

Friday, October 17, 2008

They're Ginormous...

Went bra shopping.

Yes, probably nuff said. But you know me. Too far is not nearly far enough...

Despite losing weight have gone UP a bra size. F. I ask you. Size F. I nearly cried in the change room at DJs when I realised that good old E was er too squishy. And what is F for anyway? I mean it was E for Enormous, F for fucking gigantic Flipsy and Flop perhaps?

A for appealing
B for beautiful
C for a cupful
D for delicious
E for enormous
F for Frickin huge.

Soon they will be obscuring my belly button. Swing low sweet chariot, la, la, la...

Yes. It doesn't get much worse does it...

OH actually It DOES. If after you've had a small meltdown about your new bra size you decide to go shopping for swimmers. Why I didn't just fling myself off the top level of the Westfield carpark, I don't know.

I bought myself a bikini (yes, I have no brain), convinced myself all the way home in the car it looks fine, and then when I showed hubby he hesitated. And in that moment of hesitation I could see his poor terrified brain going... "If I tell her the truth she'll never have sex with me again, If I don't tell her the truth she'll figure it out eventually and then blame me and never have sex with me again. I am going to lose this badly."
Needless to say its going back to the shop and the purple Target tankini that I've had since 2003 will do me another summer.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Do Not Judge Me!

Just before we get into this post I'd like to say that I am not... REPEAT NOT... the type of person who dresses up her pets on an everyday basis. K? Just so that's clear.

Its been a really busy morning this morning. By 9am I'd achieved a lot. In addition to waking up, feeding the screamies, dressing the screamies, cleaning self, unloading dishwasher... all the usual first-thing chores, I had...

Iced about a zillion cakes for playgroup (I baked them the night before).

Prepared lamb shanks for dinner and put them in the slow cooker.

And had the dog clipped.

Here is the instrument of torture... The dreaded dog clip tardis, into which small innocent puppies dissapear only to return minus about a kilo of hair, de-fleaed, washed, perfumed and with anal glands well and truely squeezed.

And here is the after photo. Is it just me or does that expression say "I'd really like to kill you, but I forgive you?"

So its a really cold day today. Temps are staying below 20 and I'm washing and de-fleaing Ella's bed and snuggle cushion. The poor thing is really cold, so cold she's shivering. So in a moment of inspiration I grabbed one of the kids old jumpers and put her in it.

Yup, I agree. I'd call that expression: "Tonight you will die human."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vege Garden Update

Its been a really busy six months or so. Deadlines have been coming at me thick and fast. Also, in keeping with my new "I cannot do it all" approach to life, I have chosen sanity over keeping up with the vege garden.

Not that its all gone to pot. (Tee hee - pot, gettit! Sorry, for those not living around Sydney there has been a recent spate of nice suburban houses which, upon investigation, have been found to have ginormous crops of wacky weeds either in the garden or growing hydroponically inside).

I did manage to get in some Broad Beans and snow peas.
But, I didn't get to putting in my winter seeds. So instead I took the expensive lazy option and bought some onion seedlings. (Oh, and there was a four for $12 deal going so I got some lettuces as well...

And some celery).
Now I just have to plant them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hubby's First Man-bag

We've got the in-laws staying. The other day we had an adventure to Hornsby for breakfast and a spot of shopping.

Hubby went in search of a jacket in the sales. He ended up with his very first man-bag. Awww. I'm torn between encouragement for thinking outside the box and buying something that isn't boring black, and taking the piss unmercifully.

I didn't do too badly either. Now feel all kitted out for our holiday to Woy Woy. Yes, more to come on that expedition.

Naturally I will be wearing MORE than just the shoe's and the hat.

Monday, October 13, 2008


During a Sydney October its sometimes hard to tell if its Spring, Summer or Winter. Take last week for example 35C one day (that's 95f) and 19C the next (60f). Okay, I know, I'm talking about weather, but just bear with me...

So for me there's one main thing that says Winter is over and its Spring. And that's Lemons.

My lemon tree goes mad this time of year producing fruit and flowers at the same time. Go smell a lemon, that's what those flowers smell like. So beautiful.

These are the last of my home grown lemons.

We had an outstanding crop this year. Hubby claims that its because of all the fertilizer the tree is getting. (Yes, its kind-of an Aussie tradition, men drink beer then pee on the lemon tree - I know. I try not to think too hard about that either - I started saying it when I was six and I haven't really changed my opinion - boys are so gross).

Anyhoo, just forgetting the above paragraph, the main thing I do with my surplus lemons is make lemon self-saucing pudding (or Lemon Delicious). This is my recipe. Its awesome (and not as complicated as some out there).

2 eggs
2 lemons
2 tablespoons self raising flour
2 tablespoons butter
¾ cup sugar
2 cups milk.

Cream the sugar and the melted butter.
Add lemon juice and flour.
Add milk and beaten egg yokes
Whip the egg whites and fold in
Bake in a moderate oven, over a dish of water, for 20 - 30 minutes.
This is a bit like a self-saucing souffle so it should not be cooked too far ahead of time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dancing Girl

I love this statue in my garden. She did have a friend to dance with, but the friend suffered a dreadful accident involving a lawnmover.

Did she jump or was she pushed??

Oh lets not go there.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Borders Binge

Yes. Have been bingeing AGAIN. But this time, surprisingly not on chocolate or cheese or wine. No. This time its books.

You see I didn't have a TBR pile and felt that, as an author I really should have a TBR pile. Also I am sick to death of re-reading all my Diana Gabaldons whenever I run out of things to read in the evening.

SO. Being in the midst of a plot melt-down with the Bunker, I decided to skew towards Romantic Suspense, but with a few others just cos.
  • Overkill - Linda Castillo

  • Tag, You're it - Penny McCall

  • The Darkest Evening of the Year - Dean Koontz

  • A Soldiers Homecoming - Rachel Lee

  • Duty to Protect - Beth Cornelison

  • Fearless Fourteen - Janet Evanovich

  • Pregnant by the Playboy Tycoon - Anne Oliver

  • The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

  • A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
Yes. That should keep me out of mischief for a while. In other reading news I've just been through a Pakistan/Afganistan phase. In the last couple of weeks I've read
  • Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
Words cannot describe how good these two books are. Life and perspective changing good. And as books tackling some of the issues women face in those parts of the world, not too full on either. They look at the humanity rather than the subjugation and deprivation that these women can face. They're books of hope that only reinforce my own personal ethos that under the skin we are all just the same. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

Oh and I'm also having a bit of a Donald Maass swat up in the reading about writing department.
  • Writing the Breakout Novel - my favourite book about writing

  • The Career Novelist - which can be downloaded in pdf form from his website

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another Reader Review for Secret Intentions

Just got an email from Amy entitled Your Book Rocks

Secret Intentions kept me intrigued from start to finish (and I am hard to
keep interested)! I could not put it down!


Aw thanks Amy!

Well Shiver Me Timbers...

You Are 75% Pirate

Shiver me timbers! You be a tried an' true buccanneer. Yer likely the captain - shoutin' orders to scrub the deck or walk the plank.
If anyone questions yer shipmate skills, ye'll jus' crush the'r barnacles!
Ye have been flying the Jolly Roger fer a long time. So long that you likely be havin' a bad case o' scurvy.

Oh, its scurvey. That explains the bad breath, falling out teeth and thinning hair. I was sure it was old age.


Pirates seem to be a bit of a theme with me at the moment. You see I've just been writing a scene in The Bunker where everyone talks in Pirate. Yes, it is a romantic suspense, yes compter hackers are involved and a nuclear bunker. But this doesn't mean there can't be a bit of pirate-speak. No. Not at all.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Teacup Pron

How long has it been since I posted any good tea cup pron?

Here we go...

Mmm, antique teacups.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Can they be any more revolting???

Earlier on I notice that Ella... She's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Had a jelly snake stuck in her fur...
Rather than ask questions - some things are best not to know - I went to get some scissors to snip it out.

But when I returned it was gone.

Miss Two and a Half was chewing.

"How does it taste?" I ask.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Long Weekend

In Australia we have a public holiday to commemorate all women who give birth. Its called Labour Day, and it meant that we all had a holiday on Monday. Some people claim this holiday is something to do with politics and unions and things. But yanno, I know what its really all about.

Anyhoo, what did it mean to me, this long weekend. And NO, I am not about to launch into yet another detailed description of both times I have given birth. I do that every year on each of the small screamies birthdays. No what this long weekend meant to me was three entire days in the company of my husband, his parents and my children.

And it rained.


So you're going to understand why, as I sit here, I really just want to stare into space and ...

Sorry was staring into space.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Guest Blogging at the Deelicious Ms Dees

Am guest blogging over at the deelicious Jess Dees today.

Am being all posh and know it all (hiding my inner shy side that you guys get to see ALL the time). After a spot of googling have even made witty up to date references to the current financial crisis, so they think I'm extra clever over there. (sigh)

And here is the photo of the exploding pumpkin soup that I was so reluctant to put up on her blog. I'll share it with you guys cos, you know, we're mates, and good friends never laugh at other good friends misfortunes. Okay, well not to their faces.

Facebook has a lot to answer for. That is all I have to say. The subject is now closed (although I am still getting pumpkin out of the extractor fan in the ceiling and shall be for some time from the looks of it).


Now I've blogged about shoes before.

You see, I don't get them. I just really don't.

I KNOW. I'm almost ashamed to admit it. They do nothing for me.

I do get why other women love them so much. Kind of. And I have days when I look at the mouldering pile at the bottom of my cupboard and promise myself that I'm going to become a shoe lover and have thousands all arranged in a custom made cupboard like Goldie Hawn in Overboard.

But then I see a pair like this and go all WTF again.