Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Over Parenting

My six hundred and fifty first post. Ah!  Well, actually its probably more like my 700th or so, but in a moment of paranoia some years ago I deleted a lot of posts from late 2006/early 2007. Posts which I think I have lost (or maybe on an old computer somewhere?? will get hubs to investigate).  There was a lot of indiscreet ranting (hell, I was tired, I had a baby and a toddler and book deadlines) AND that was in the days before it was easy to post photos online, so no great loss really.

Aw, sweet little girls playing at the beach... or so it would seem.
School holidays.
Its hell.
Total and utter hell.
Allow me to elaborate...
Miss 4 is extremely tired and over-wrought and is having one screaming tantrum after the other - the best one to date kicked off at 6am and continued until 8, slowed down for an hour and then started up again at 9.  She is also refusing to listen to a word I have to say and this has led to her running out into the middle of a road, taking off across a busy carpark - three times, and running away from me at the beach (she would not stop, and was quickly becoming a speck on the horizon, so I had to go after her dragging Miss nearly 6 along with me).

Its got to the point where I am going to buy a wrist-tether for her and we shall wear it in public - yes humiliating for all concerned, but if she thinks that running away is some big joke and that her Mum is just there to be ignored, then I don't think I have a choice.  Better that than a run-over child.

Earlier today I took them down to the beach, its cold here at the moment, but we did shoes off with dire warnings about not going near the water as there was a heavy surf.  Within five minutes Miss 4 was soaked to the waist and being dragged screaming into the car - I did have dry clothes, thank goodness.  We came right home and have spent the rest of the day watching movies, colouring in and 'resting' after we have started the one billionth fight with our sister.

I am tired, frustrated, torn between strangling her and cuddling her and on the verge of tears over my own apparent inability to parent my own child. I mean she's FOUR, how hard can it be??  I am nearly FORTY, why am I reduced to sprinting up the beach bellowing like a lunatic??

I've read all the books, I know all the theory, and nothing is working.

So over this today.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Hat

I am in possession of a new hat, kindly knitted by my mother.
Yes, shall be wearing this out to Hornsby Westfield without a moment's hesitation.  As we're in for a cold week it will be extremely handy.  They're predicting lows of 1 degree celsius, which, horrors,  likely means we get a couple of frosty mornings - first time in about seven years that's happened.  Fingers crossed that my young Hass Avocado and newly planted citrus handle it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Planting Citrus Trees

First day of school holidays.  Ye Gods.  Its been a long day.

We headed over to Dural to collect some straw for the chooks, then lunch at Maccers - what me? bribe my children into good behaviour? as if.  Then I accidentally stopped at Swanes - the big plant nursery - and may (am not admitting to anything here) have bought a Tahitian Lime and a Honey Murcott Mandarin, just to finish off my citrus collection.  Next up, stone fruit.

The spring roses are starting at Swanes - they have acres of beds - and we spent a happy half hour choosing our favourite roses.  I love Blue Moon - when I was a small screamie I lived in a beautiful Elizabethan farmhouse in Kent (in a little village called Underriver - my pony, Misty and I used to go and have sleepovers at my best friend Eloise's house, with her and her pony, Jerry - yes it was that wonderful).  The house had a traditional walled garden, filled with formal rose beds surrounded by low box hedges.  There was one Blue Moon rose there, and I remember waiting for it to blossom every year, and being utterly entranced.  I used to sing it songs I'd made up - yes, no television has much to answer for.

But I digress.
Here is a terrible photo of the front garden - a new camera is in the pipeline - not only am I using my mobile to photograph things, but when I email them to myself they keep getting lost and turning up three days later.  This is the only one that has arrived so far from the ones I took today.  I know its pretty indistinct, but in the foreground there are three citrus trees that will form a screen to protect the espaliered apple behind - no you cannot see an espaliered apple because despite my best pruning techniques, that particular apple has refused to grow any side branches Whatsoever.  It got dug up and chewed several times by Next Door's Dog, and I don't think its really recovered.


Anyway, I noticed today that the strawberries are starting to develop flowers, the spuds that are helping to kill off the last of the lawn, are going nuts, and the lemons on the Eureka lemon tree are just about perfect to pick.

Not bad given it was just grass this time last year.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Winter Garden

Winter solstice just passed, but things in the garden are growing, albeit slowly, and not helped At All by the wretched possum that keeps nibbling off the new shoots.
Here we have lots of different leafy lettucy thing.  Pak choy, tatsoi, some Cos in the middle and a bit of rogue celery that, after playing dead for months, has suddenly decided to leap into life.  I hate celery. Hate growing it, hate eating it. Yet I grow and eat it.

News just in: First female Aussie Prime Minister!! A lot of me is going YAY because at last there's a girl in the top spot, BUT a lot of me is also going Not YAY, because nobody voted for her.  This is the third time in my lifetime that a PM has been appointed due to a leadership spill, and not democratically elected.  Hmm.

Anyway, back to the garden.  M'citrus arrived from Diggers last week.  This being two oranges (Hamelin and Blood), a lime (kaffir), a lemon (er, I forget what type, but not Eureka or Meyer, Lisbon? maybe, oh whatevs) and a Satsuma (Afoura Murcott).  Have been figuring out where to put them...
That's the Hamlin Orange next to the (recently tidied up-ish) strawberry patch.  Am hoping, in time, that it'll grow up and shade the front door.  Its a very hot spot just there, and though I know citrus likes heat, am hoping its not too hot.

The apple trees are going dormant, which is deeply exciting (well if you are me), even the Cox Orange Pippin.  Am still pretty dubious about how well they're going to fare though, am creating cool micro-climates around them, but still think that afternoon westerly sun is eventually going to spell disaster.  My self-pollinating Almond tree has not shown the remotest hint of going dormant, think it will be re-homed at Mumndad.  The Cherry (Stella, self pollinating), which I was most dubious about, is doing brilliantly though.  Some you win, some you lose.

Today is the last day of term for the Screamies, and right now I'm staring down the barrel of three weeks of 24/7 kids.  Argh.  Me-time I shall miss you.  Still it will mean that I can accidentally smear mud all over my face (was weeding and hair kept getting in the way) and not get funny looks from the other Mums at pick up time.

Note to self: Look in mirror before leaving house ALWAYS.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Grey Man- Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance

As promised. Except, er, I slightly lied about the sex yesterday.  Yes there is sex in the nunnery, but you'll have to get hold of the rest of the story to read about it.

Mick was half-way across the river when the downpour hit.  Seconds later an odd rumble beneath his feet made him glance upstream. He had a moment to realize that there was a wall of black water hurtling towards him, before he - still attached to his forty five kilogram pack - was sucked into a churning, whirling hell. No oxygen, not even sure which way was up.  His rifle was ripped out of his hands by the torrent.
It was three am.
Somewhere in a river in the depths of the Liquica district of East Timor.
And he was about to drown.
Screw that.
The need for oxygen began to nag.
His webbing vest, loaded down with ammunition, and the backpack were making it almost impossible to get to the surface. He tried to drag the backpack off, but something cannoned into the side of him with bruising force, knocking the remaining air out of his lungs and sending his arm numb and clumsy.
He broke the surface and dragged in a desperate breath before being sucked back underwater.
Finally the backpack came off and he struggled upwards again. In the manner of flash-floods, the torrent was ebbing around him and it was easier to surface this time.  He tried to get his bearings, but it was pitch black.  The gush of water eased more, solid ground scraped beneath his boots. He kicked sideways, found his feet, and within seconds managed to crawl onto the muddy shore. Panting heavily.  He was torn between frustration that he’d just potentially screwed up their mission and relief that he was out of the water and not dead.
Below his elbow his left arm felt prickly and strange.
The cloud cleared as quickly as it’d appeared and a huge gibbous moon lit the area. He pushed himself up to sitting and examined the damage as best he could. Blood - he could smell its sharp metallic odour - and quite a lot of it. Black on his fingers. His forearm had been laid open from his elbow to his hand, and a gash spiraled across the veins of his wrist.
He downgraded ‘not dead’ to ‘not dead yet.’ Aware that in the Timorese tropical climate a wound like that would fester incredibly quickly, if he didn’t bleed to death first.
It started to throb and sting, and the pain inexorably gathered momentum.
He dragged off his soaked shirt, wadded it up and held it against the wound as best he could.  He needed help.  The rest of his team would find him, eventually. But the terrain between here and them was steep, covered in thick jungle and likely swarming with Indonesian patrols. It could take a while.
He paused. Listened. Sniffed the air. He could smell smoke. Wood smoke.  He scanned the area more carefully, and sure enough, he could see a distant dim glint of a light, barely perceptible against the bright moon.  He dragged himself up to his feet, and stumbling in the flat moonlight, made his way towards it.  Could be a village. Could be the Indonesian Army. Both had numerous pitfalls.
What he hadn’t been expecting was a nunnery.

The Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance is available from Borders online, Angus and Robertson online, The Book Depository and Amazon (.uk and .com).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy Thirty-Ten

Today is hub's thirty-tenth birthday.  Last night the screamies and I toiled in the kitchen until late.
What? Cake batter is SO a suitable substitute for dinner.

We produced this culinary masterpiece (yet another one - I know, I don't know how I do it either, miraculous really)
The photo is courtesy of my rather stuffed mobile phone as we are still camera-less.  But I think the blurry-ish effect makes the cake look better.  It tasted good too. I knew it would because I scraped off all the burnt bits and slathered on icing made with Lindt chocolate.


Oh, and it occurred to me the other day that one of the reasons I have this blog is to Flog My Books (the other being cheap therapy).  Yes, look long and hard. Nary a mention of the small morsels of brilliance I have propelled out into the world.  I admit, am Not Very Good at this marketing stuff.  sigh.  So check back tomorrow for an excerpt and some enthusiastic paragraphs about The Grey Man, my short story in The Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance.  It may even contain some SEX (Hi Kindi Mums :)) in a NUNNERY - I. Kid. You. Not.

Anyhoo.  Its cold. I think I have a chilblain, and Masterchef is about to start.



Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Worm Plague

Today is 'International Mufti Day' at the screamies school.  Meaning that you send your child dressed as someone from another country.  I feel I have, once again, out-done myself by sending them both dressed in various shades of pink, purple, red and yellow and deeming them to be CHINA.  Just to make sure that nobody confused them for... I dunno... Holland or somewhere, have printed off Chinese flags for them to wave around.  Yes. Yes. I should have whipped up a QiPao on the sewing machine or something (traditional Chinese dress - which I always want to call a Kung Pao - which, as it turns out - is a chicken dish).

Must. Try. Harder.

Now, I vaguely recall myself whinging about not getting any rain a few weeks ago.  Since then we've had almost a quarter of our usual annual rainfall INCLUDING 84.3mm between 1 June and 5 June.  The worms were all so panicked about drowning that they took refuge in our shower - by way of a small hole we have discovered in a corner. 

Mmm. Just charming. 

Now that they have discovered the delights of our bathroom (not a place for the faint-hearted) they don't want to leave, and do, in fact, seem to think its some kind of Worm Brothel. Many have commenced intimate relations in full view of everyone.

Miss 5: "What are those ones doing?"
Me: "Having a cuddle."

Anyhoo.  Tomorrow has been deemed bleach the bathroom and whip out the builder's bog to patch up the hole in the floor - which, I hasten to add, has been caused by rotten wood around a door frame which we are ignoring because that part of the house is going to get renovated just as soon as a rich relative dies we can afford it. 

And you thought my life was non stop Oprah and gossiping on the phone, interrupted by the occasional burst of novel writing...


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Its only me, isn't it

I've lost some weight - nothing dramatic - but progress is being made, and, all of a sudden, my bras have got loose (well the ones that haven't been through the dryer).  Today I was wearing a particularly annoying one, and the strap kept falling down on one side, which kept leading to OMG THERE'S A SPIDER ON ME moments.

So there I am, driving along in heavy traffic just about to fetch the screamies, and I feel the strap start to slide.  Well I hoick it back into place, and...

No there wasn't really a spider
No I didn't drive into a tree/lamp post/ idiot driving that stupid SAAB
No I wasn't stopped by the police

My hand slipped off the strap as I pulled upwards and I punched myself in the jaw, snapping my own teeth shut and leaving a perfect imprint of all of the back ones in my tongue.

Drew blood.  Really really hurt.

I was just wondering to hubs earlier, is it only me that these kinds of things happen to?

I have a nasty feeling that it is.


Despite this I had a good days editing today and got down some new words for Boys of Summer. Hurray.


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

50Ks in 30 Days - YIKES

Today is Day 1 of the 50ks in 30 Days challenge.  I girded my loins (no I did really, my loins) and signed up to add 50,000 words to Boys of Summer.  Then the rewrites for The Bunker arrived AND I realised that on 24 June school holidays begin.

I'm all for setting myself a challenge.  I am not all for setting myself up for failure.  So, I reset my goals, to complete the re-writes on The Bunker - which is 100,000 words long.  And, just because I don't want to lose momentum on Boys of Summer, said I'd add another 23K - taking the total manuscript up to 40,000.

I would like to say I've kicked writing arse today.  Got the whole challenge off to a rip roaring start and all is going swimmingly.

That, however, would be a BIG FAT LIE.

Today I spent a lot of time traipsing up and down Hornsby Westfield in search of the perfect party invitation for when Miss 5 turns six.  A job so nullifyingly mind-numbingly frustrating that it sucked away my will to live.

Not only that, but for some reason best known to itself my handbag decided to set off the alarms in every single shop I went into. Every. Single. Shop. Myers, DJs, Borders, Kikki-K, Smiggle, Target AND Kids Central.  Or maybe it was just my magnetic personality.

Well, after all that sprinting away from security guards... oh kidding, do you think anyone gave a rats that I was setting off alarms. Hell no.  I look far too respectable.  Didn't even get my handbag peered into.  Could've been stealing a lifetime supply of greeting cards and they'd have been none the wiser.

Anyway, so somewhere in Hornsby my will to live buggered off and refused to come back for the rest of the day.  Even Masterchef has failed to ignite anything other than the desire to go to bed early.  Thus my glorious beginning to the 50ks in 30days challenge has been something of a damp squib.  Yes. A total of 122 words added to Boys of Summer, and they were awful.