Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Book Preference Meme

Finally, a meme I can sink my teeth into. Yay! The Book Preference Meme.

Gratefully supplied by Sunday Stealing.

Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror? 

I don't read much of any of these genres - maybe a bit of speculative fiction and the odd bit of fantasy like "Harry Potter" and "Game of Thrones". They're just not my genres - especially horror.

Hardback or Trade paperback or Mass market paperback? 

Trade paperback. I tend to read the good stuff. Rarely do I buy a book in hardback.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar? 

Amazon. Though I buy a lot through Book Depository.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? 

Neither sellers are in Australia (Borders has closed down) so I go to Dymocks or independents like Reader's Feast and Readings. The last two are great bookshops.

Bookmark or Dog-ear? 

I tend to use a book mark, though I will dog ear paperbacks. Having a Kindle removes the need for bookmarks.

Asimov’s Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction? 

I haven't read Asimov, so Fantasy and Science fiction it will have to be - even if I really don't get science fiction, unless it's literary science fiction, such as Margaret Atwood and Kasuo Ishiguro.

Alphabetize by author, Alphabetize by title, or Random? 

Random. Life is too short. Though my books are organised into Kids, Classics, Modern Lit and other junk.

Keep, Throw away or Sell? 

I'm a mix of keep and sell. Happily sell on popular stuff on Ebay. I keep classics. My bookshelves keep growing. I'm buying more and more ebooks. Easier to store.

Keep dust-jacket or Toss it? 

Kindles don't have a dust jacket.

Read with dustjacket or Remove it? 

I always remove the dust jacket. Why mess it up. If I have a hard cover it's normally somebody else's book anyway.

Short story or Novel? 

I'm a great reader of fiction - and I love both genres.

Stop reading when tired or at Chapter breaks? 

I try to stop at the chapter breaks - though reading on the train in the morning means I have to stop when I get near my station.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time?” 

Arrrrggggghhhhh! Bulwer-Lytton - run a mile (Look it up) I'm a "Once upon a time" girl.

Buy or Borrow? 

I'm dreadful. I pretty much always buy my books (unless somebody provides me with an e-book of the text I need).

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse? 

I get books through a mix of these three forms - mainly through reviews and browsing, but sometimes through a recommendation. I'll read anything.

Collection (short stories by the same author) or Anthology (short stories by different authors)? 

Anthologies can lead to to great writers.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger? 

It doesn't matter as long as the book is well written.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading? 

I read any time of the day or night, though I like to start the day with a bit of reading.

Standalone or Series? 

I'm more a standalone reader. I've been finding that I get a bit disappointed with books two, three etc. Though Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket are the exceptions to this. I was ready to ram the last of the Twilight books up Stephenie Meyer's right nostril. The last book in the Hunger Games series was a bit disappointing from a writing perspective too.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?  

Ah. Geoff Nicholson's "Footsucker". Read at your own peril. Chris Cleeve's "The Other Hand" (also known as "Little Bee" is phenomenal.

Favorite genre series? 

You really can't go past Harry Potter. I can still read the series end on end and not get tired of it.

 Currently Reading?

Alexis Wright's "The Swan Book". Possibly the hardest read I've ever tackled. Also one of the most important books I've ever read. Never though I would say that.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Little Things Make Big Things Better

I can't remember a week being as hard as this for a long time. Last night at 10 pm, I crawled into bed and fell asleep almost immediately, dreaming about the queen and how she was coming to tea while we were waiting for Tony Abbott to arrive. Tony Abbott appears in my dreams every now and then - at least he didn't turn up this time.

Thankfully work has not been too bad. That is a blessing.

Looking at it all logically, things are okay. Just some medical tests, a funeral and some upsetting news about my niece and by last night I was ready to fall into bed and sleep.

The medical tests were minor and everything looks okay - nothing too nefarious that can be sorted fairly easily. That is the good thing. Going in for the tests I wasn't too worried. It wasn't that perturbed about the actual tests. I've had this procedure before and other than some minor discomfort and a bit of a loss of dignity for a few minutes, all went well. Nothing really that awful, everything where it should be, all will be well.

What got me going about this was that the tests were held at the local IVF clinic scanning facility. Pictures of babies and pregnant women everywhere. As somebody who will never have their own children, I've reconciled with this fact - however there are times when this fact about my life can make me feed decidedly uncomfortable. This was one of those times.

Walking home from the hospital, I was out of sorts. I knew it. 15 minutes and three Krispy Kreme donuts later I admitted to myself that the half hour prior had left me rattled.

Admit it and move on. All that's okay now.

The following day I arrived at work at 7.30 am - stayed until 12.30 and proceeded to go to the funeral of a friend.

As funerals go, this one was one of the easier take. Eileen was a Freemason friend. She was the person who helped bump me in. She passed away quickly and peacefully about two weeks ago. She was 91.

I am honoured to have called her a friend and I'll miss her gentle, happy presence.

A couple of us carpooled out to the cemetery in the South Eastern suburbs. Alice, Angelica and Maureen joined me on the way out (Median age - about 60). The funeral service was followed by a short Masonic service, which was moving as it was intense.

There is something rather gut-wrenching about standing at the foot of a coffin, a sprig of acacia in my hand, saying goodbye.

Following this, the RSL gave a short service. Eileen was in the Women's Air Force in WWII.

We found out so much about her in the hour of the service. How she was great with animals. How she used to abuse the umpires at Windy Hill. How she and her husband Ray had been married for seventy years and four months.

As her husband was heard saying at a lull in the ceremony, she was the best thing to ever come out of Wagga Wagga.

It was lovely to hang out with most of the lodge out of lodge days. We had a good giggle on the way home as we dropped of Maureen, then came back here. We also worked out that in her 91 years, Eileen had the same haircut - it just depended on how long she cut it - it appeared that all it did was grow up. Bless.

As much as the day was a celebration, it was emotionally exhausting.

Needless to say, not that much work was done on Friday. Just shattered.

And then there is my niece, who's battling leukaemia. She ended up back in hospital mid-last week with an infection. As the chemo has effectively knocked out her immune system, this is a must when her temperature spikes.

Word back today is that she's been in intensive care after she had chest pains and couldn't breathe on Thursday night. They found that her lungs were clogged with fluid. Filling her with lasix, she pissed out something like three litres of fluid - she only weighs just over forty kilograms at the moment. Maths like that frightens me.

After all this, she then had a fit. If you're going to go into convulsions, I suppose intensive care is the place to do it, but I just wish she, and by extension, my sister and her family could cut a break. She back on more of an even keel now, spending the day having scans, MRIs and other tests to find out what's going on - but it's all incredibly hard.

And I'm here in Melbourne and all I can do is knit beanies.

I booked a ticket back to Adelaide for a weekend in a few weeks time. Hopefully by then, this awful stuff is over and she's back on an even keel.

So now, it's the weekend. I'm dividing my time between baking Barney's birthday cake, doing some study, knitting and trying to finish Alexis Wright's "The Swan Book" for book group on Tuesday. The last thing in the list is not that easy either. It's one of the most challenging reads I've ever met - and I recognise the book as a very important book - but gee, I could really use something lighter at the moment.

It's nice to have some time out, anyway.

May this hard, hard week finally be over.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Sizzle Says Meme

Like so many of these memes, they get started at an airport.

I'm once again, at an airport waiting for a plane. There is a little bit of bittersweetness to this trip, but that is another story for another time.

Anyway, I can take my mind of my minor woes by doing my weekly meme. Sunday Stealing has provided the questions once again.

1. If money were no object, what would be you doing with your life now?

Three things - I'd be travelling, writing and renovating an old castle somewhere in France where I could own and run my own small hotel - complete with inside, heated swimming pool and day spa. The writing might be funding these ventures. You never know.

2. Money is just that - an object, so why aren't you doing that?

Well, I am writing, and travelling at this very moment. Two out of three things aren't bad.

3. Which are better? Cows or horses?

Neither - they're both great. Cows have pretty eyes and give milk. Horses are cuddly and smell wonderful. I love all animals.

4. What do you think is the secret to happiness?

Kindness and cuddles - if you distill it down these two things can make most people very content.

5. When was the last time you had a vivid dream you remember or didn't want to wake from? Can you share a bit.

I'm in a dream group, and I periodically remember my dreams. The one set in a local forest with a train carriage with lots of dead women in it was pretty spectacular.

6. When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronaut, a doctor or a writer. I got my last one.

7. Complete this statement: Love is...

... patient. Love is kind... Go look at Corinthians 1:13. (And this is about the only bit of the bible I can quote chapter and verse)

8. Can you tell a good story?

I try. I'm working on it anyway - hence I'm doing a Masters in Writing.

9. Can you remember your last daydream. What was it about?

It was of an intensely sexual nature involving somebody I probably should not be thinking about. It was very satisfying indeed.

10. If you were to thank somebody today, who would you thank?

I had a wonderful hypnotherapist who helped me turn my life around a few years ago - I wish I could thank him for his help.

11. If you could be anyone's mojo, whose would you want to be, and why?

Nobody. I'm perfectly fine being myself. Though Mrs Clive Owen would be wonderful... :)



Sunday, April 5, 2015

The More or Less Meme

It's Easter Sunday. I have a usable bathroom - the first shower in it was absolutely magic! Downstairs cat has been let in after his night's wanderings - the little shit didn't come when called so he stayed out for the night. He was quite happy when I opened the door for him this morning. I have my friend's Dyson so I can clean up after the reno. All is in order really.

Anyway. Here's Sunday Stealing's list of questions for this week.

Happy Easter / Passover / Chocolate Overdose Day.

Three (or more, or less!) things...

1. ...you cannot live without. 

Friends
Books
Dr Blake
Gin and Tonics when Dr Blake is on.
Maow Maow cuddles
The gym
The internet

2. ...you CAN live without, but cannot seem to part with.

Ice cream
My iPhone
Dream group
Two showers a day
Clean clothes

3. ...you wish to accomplish this COMING week. 

At least three sessions in the gym
Finish my weekly tutorial
Finish my current book
Have the tradies out of my bathroom.
Finish the hat I'm knitting for my niece.

4. ...you have accomplished this PAST week.

Finished my last book (Elizabeth Gilbert's "The Signature of all Things", loved it)
Introduced Jay to the joys of the Vihn Ky's Crispy Dry Beef with Chilli Sauce (Totally amazing)
A Barre Attack Class - which is something like a mix of ballet, pilates and rhythmic gymnastics and I can still feel my butt. It was brutal.
Went and saw my annual Comedy Festival show (Adam Hills - Clown Heart - he was wonderful)
Didn't go mad whilst showering at the gym while my bathroom was being renovated.

5. ...on your holiday (or non-holiday) 'wish list.' 

Japan
More of Spain
More of Italy
Visit every cathedral, operational and defunct, in England
Thailand, five star
A weekend at Daylesford
More of Tasmania
Might go over to the South Island to see Geetangeli
Would love to spend a month in New York
Do I have to stop?


6. ...you would like to change about yourself. 

I'd love a flat stomach.
A bit more natural oestrogen would be nice.
I'd love it if the toenail on my big toe didn't have the tendency to grow in,
Perkier boobs. OKay I'm 46 - not going to happen without surgery and I'm not into that.

7. ...you like about yourself. 

I'm kind.
I'm compassionate.
I'm loyal.
I'm pretty smart.
I'm fairly tenacious.

8. ...you should be doing right now instead of what you ARE doing. 

I should be dusting.
I should be finished the beanie I'm making for my niece.
I should be getting my tutorial done for this week.
I should be finishing my assignment for uni.
I should be out for a walk - but I'm not.
I should be finishing the hoovering - I got my friend's Dyson in especially (Love the Dyson)


9. ...in your life that could use a little more organization.

My study habits.
Dinner on Wednesday night before dream group (so I can get there on time for a change)
My handbag.
My day to day existence.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Reno - Day Three and Four


Day Three

The call came at 7.30 Thursday morning.

"You're early." I said into the phone, the last remnants of my breakfast muesli at the back of my mouth.
"Neil's at the front gate."
"I'll go let him in."

This has been the go for the last three days. A phone call. Go downstairs. Let in the guys.

It's now Saturday afternoon and I'm once again waiting for tradie.

It's nearly there. Nearly.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Reno - Day Two

There is something strange about getting dressed to go for a shower.

At 6.00 am I rose with the alarm, got dressed, drove to the gym and went and had a shower. I could have walked to the gym, but it was 1) a bit dark 2) a bit nippy and 3) I needed to be back in good time so I could let Craig and Neil - tradie and tiler extraordinaire, into the block. This was the case yesterday as well.

On the good side of this reno, I'm getting to work a bit earlier.

I'm also glad I didn't have to go up to Sydney for the day today - wouldn't have been able to shower before getting in the cab at stupid 'o' clock to allow me onto the plane at an equally stupid time - I'm really not that human without my shower..

The bedroom door is shut  - made sure of it before I left- thank goodness. Hopefully that will keep a bit of the dust out of the place. I've also remembered to close my laptop and upend my keyboard.

So at the end of day two the floor is now re-tiled, two walls have tiles on them, the shower base has been replaced and the ceiling sanded.

On the not so good side of things, the flat smells of solvent, my laundry trough is in the middle of the lounge, there is dust everywhere and according to Craig, he'll come back next week to fit new cornices and a new ceiling - but I should have a useable bathroom by Friday morning.

If I don't I'll have to cadge a shower off of my downstairs neighbours. Joyful is that. Thankfully I get on well with my downstairs neighbours. I feed their cat.

The dusting can wait until the weekend when the worst of it is finished.

The only cost to me is two hot cross buns a day - I'm feeding them to the boys to keep them sweet. I found it most interesting when I asked them if they wanted either fruit, chocolate or mocha buns, they both put this dopey smile on their faces and looked like little boys being offered a lolly. "Chocolate, please!" they said in unison.

Keep 'em sweet.

Actually, more to the point, they're nice people doing a good job who clean up after themselves. A hot cross bun in appreciation is not hard at all.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Reno - Day One

I got home to this tonight.


Let two men in your flat and this is what they do.

My bathroom is being renovated this week. I really hope that they will be finished by Thursday night, Friday being Good Friday and all.

I'm showering at the gym this week.

Teeth are being cleaned at the kitchen sink.

The flat is covered in a fine layer of dust.

I'm playing tag with my lovely tradie, Craig, who turns up when he says he's going to be there, only to give him the gate opener. He leaves it on the kitchen counter before he leaves.

Him and his mate Neil have been hard at work. The floor tiles are new, replacing the dreadful pink ones that were there this morning (I like the grey better)

It's all for the best.

They're going to have to get used to me going to the gym at strange times.

And I must remember to shut my bedroom door tomorrow morning to keep the dust out.

It's going to be a fun week.