Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Birthday Miss Bugalugs.

Today Miss Bugalugs turns two. Christmas/New Year is a manic time in our house, with two birthdays amidst the usual celebrations.

I fell deeply in love with Miss Bugalugs the moment she was placed in my arms. Even then, when she was just a few minutes old and howling the place down, it was clear she had incredible spirit and life. She hasn't let us down.

She is stubborn and persistent, never defeated, loud, tempremental, and can throw and tanty that even impresses the child-care workers at her daycare. She's never scared (except in thunderstorms) and gives everything a try (okay, not any form of vegetable). She loves to dance and sing, adores the Wiggles and knows how to work an iPod and a DVD player. She is one of the best cuddlers I've ever met, she has this way of relaxing onto you that makes you realise that no matter what, everything is going to be alright. No is her most favourite word in the world, closely followed by Mine.

Happy Birthday little girl, I love you.

2007 Round Up

2007 has been a year with massive ups and downs for me.

The ups have been huge, including becoming a published author and holding my very own book in my hand, going to the RWA conference and having people ask me to sign my book, having my own author signing and so on. Its hard to describe the impact this has had on me. Before, when I wasn't writing, I always felt I was missing something. That there was something out there that I was meant to be doing. Only I couldn't figure out what it was. I remember once asking my first husband if he ever felt that way, but he just shook his head and said he didn't understand what I meant.

When I started writing Running Scared I finally figured out what the missing piece was. Everything in my life slotted into place, the yearning feeling dissapeared, and I began a phase that has been the most challenging and the most fulfilling I've ever experienced. To hold Running Scared in my hand was the epitome of all this.

The downs of this year have dragged me lower than I thought possible. The worst was in the latter part of 2007 when I lost two dear friends and my Grandmother in the space of a few weeks. Tomorrow is my birthday and this morning I remarked to my husband that Grandma would call , just as she had every birthday since I could talk. The phone will be silent of course, but deep inside a part of me will be waiting, just in case.

So farewell to 2007. Farewell to being 35. I'm looking forward to the future.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's starting to get to me...

Yes, this is how much cake I've eaten so far.

So far today, that is.

I cooked it last night for various guests who'll be traipsing through the house over the next few days. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but now, given the day I'm having, I fear my too-tight-already jeans will be starting to give at the seams.

Its been a disaster from dawn onwards. The small screamies, neither of whom are morning-people, outdid themselves. I always find tantrums first thing hard to deal with. I like mornings, I love getting my cup of tea and wandering about checking how the garden is doing and murdering a few snails. Its a beautiful way to start the day. Two small people howling the house down because they want coco-pops, even though the packet is waiting on the table, just make me want to... well.... eat cake.

So after that start, we go to the doctor, to get Miss Beanies ears and throat checked after she was so sick the other week. Then its time for the big outing. Going to visit Santa.


I should've known better.

I dress them up. Do their hair. Keep foodstuffs to the unsticky, unstaining type. We're first in the queue. Santa arrives. Kids go all shiney-eyed with awe and wonder. We chat to Santa, presents are promised, and I love them just that little bit more.

Then Miss Beanie spots the camera on its tripod and totally loses the plot.

She screams, and screams and screams. All the way out of the shopping centre, all the way to the car, and most of the way home.

I really wish I could've screamed as well.

I had a nice trip all planned. Photo with Santa, then to a cafe (my kids love baby-cinos) for morning tea, then visit the fountain and the huge Chrissy tree.

But no. Now I'm doing my fifth load of washing for the day and eating cake.

I know this is all part of being a parent and that one day I'll look back and laugh, but right now I'm so dissapointed. Everyone else has Santa photos. Why can't mine, just for once, behave themselves?


Friday, December 14, 2007

Why the Car hates me - the final chapter

I have complained at length over the last couple of years about my husbands &*$*ing car. It hates me. If can break-down in heavy traffic or cause me to be pulled over for speeding for the first time in fifteen years of driving, then it will.

Yesterday we had our final run-in.

Hubby and I did a car/child swap yesterday afternoon, and I took his car over to Chatswood where I was meeting Al for dinner.
"It's being a bit temperamental," he said, looking scared.
"I'll be fine. Stop fussing," I snap. Lordalmighty, I've been driving for 15 years without a speeding ticket or an accident I know what I'm doing! Ahem (talked my way out of afore-mentioned speeding ticket).

So I coaxed the blue-terror as far as Roseville. Its actuator is broken, so when accelerating from a stand-still, especially going up a hill it donkey-hops, even in automatic mode. I avoided hills and kept the car moving all the way until I got to the Pacific Highway. Long steep hill, heavy traffic, very slow traffic lights at the top.


Suddenly it wouldn't move forward at all, just rolled back and when I put my foot down I nearly got whiplash as it jerked forward, I wheel spun a few metres forward, but had to stop as the lights had changed again. I watched those lights, and the IDIOT behind me that was sitting 20cms off my bumper with more terror than I have ever felt in my life. The lights go green. I try a hill start, the wheels spin and the car jumps forward with an almighty bang from the engine then it died completely. Flashed up "Engine Failure" on its LED display. Well DER.

Panic. Put on hazards. Ring Hubby.

Phone battery dies.

Let the car cool. Manage to get it to start (after it told me the fog light wasn't working - okaay) and coax it to the carpark at Chatswood - donkey hopping 5kms in heavy traffic. Words cannot describe the stress.

Have restorative sticky-bun and, oddly, inspiration for next Mills and Boon novel from seeing cute red-head man with tiny baby. Meet Al for dinner, great time had by all. Al has been internet dating - more excellent novel material. Then it was time for the trip home.

Car starts fine, but won't go into first gear. Fog light working - well PHEW.

Phone hubby, eking out last of battery. Phone dies mid-conversation.

Keep trying gears (mostly out of fury) and eventually get into first. Put carpark ticket into barrier, had 41 seconds left on ticket otherwise I'd have been stuck there. BIGGER PHEW! Dash home, fingers crossed I don't have to stop, running amber lights, made it without too much problem until I got to Mount Colah.

So near and yet so far.

Was waved in for a random breath test.


Last car in the line and had to proceed up a small hill. So. Passed test no problem. All other cars have moved along and there I am, seven bored policemen on my left, and two on my right.

The car sees its last opportunity for humiliation.

We donkey hop for a full fifty metres, and glutton-for-punishment that I am I leave the window down. At first there is silence, then one policeman starts to laugh and by the time I made it to the road they were all rolling around. I have NEVER been so embarrassed in my life. NEVER.

I lurch onto the road, indicating in the wrong direction, which didn't matter, there wasn't a soul around - well if you don't count nine cackling policemen. I SO wanted to shout at them that it was the car's fault and I wasn't some blonde chick who couldn't drive a manual - but I suspect that would've got it impounded.

I made it home alive, but with no dignity. Hubby tried to sympathise, but I could only lie on the couch and shudder from time to time at the memory. Even chamomile tea didn't work.

The car is gone. Its too dangerous to drive. I'm not remotely sad.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Starting to get Christmas Fatigue

Spent a lot of time yesterday making biscuits. Christmas Trees with red and green icing plus silver balls (dragees I think they're called, or maybe cachous - oh I dunno). The kids helped and the little silver balls are still lurking all over the kitchen floor. Of course the dog doesn't like them. Only I would end up with a picky dog.

Also made stained-glass biscuits. Cute bikkies that you cut a hole in the middle of, add bashed up boiled lollies (I had to get the lump hammer from the shed to smash the ones I bought, I dented the rolling-pin on the first attempt), the lollies melt and form a stained-glass middle to the biscuit. Looks rather good.

For once it all went smoothly. Nothing burned, nobody choked, no tantrums. I know. The house was filled with Christmas cheer and the smell of baking. Lovely. Not the usual story at all! It did take me over four hours to get them all made though, AND the little petals at the Playgroup party today prised out the stained-glass bit, ate that and left the biscuit, but other than that a huge success.

But am starting to get Christmas fatigue. Worrying if I've got the right presents, or enough, and the food. Its too early to buy food yet, but I'm still worrying. Will the vege shop have brussels sprouts this year? If so will there be enough? What if they smell like pond slime as they did the year before last? (Yes, I invest a lot of emotion into my sprouts).

And then there's the Chrissy cards. Have GOT to do them by Friday. All forty odd. Plus the overseas presents. We are not giving up and ordering hampers this year. Too expensive. Must send presents by Friday.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Spring Cleaning (Yes I know its Summer)

Miss Beanie has been not-veby-well, poor little mite, and it has kept me more than occupied this week. In the last twenty-four hours she's started to come good, but since last Sunday night she's had a sky-rocketing temperature, peaking at 40 on Thursday night. Turned out she had tonsillitus and the first batch of antibiotics didn't have any effect.

Have to say its been a looong week. Rain, one very poorly child, and another very bored child and being stuck in the house only allowed out for trips to the doctor has had me climbing the walls.

I've managed to keep myself busy though. First I harvested our mega-huge onion.

That smaller one is a normal sized onion, a bit smaller than my fist. Am still deciding what to do with it, probably onion soup.

Then I decided it was time to spring clean the house. The carpet in the play-room cops a lot of abuse, and lately its started to really smell. So I heaved it outside and used a broom to scrub it down with wool-mix. Great. Excellent. The pale bits on it went from grey back to cream.

Only problem is we've been on about 85% humidity, that's when its not pouring. I doubt we'll ever get it dry.

Its been there for three days and its still dripping.

But at least it doesn't smell of pee anymore.

I attacked the rest of the house with the same enthusiam, but a bit more sucess. We've had a run of illness since early November, so the house-keeping has fallen behind. Still, its been liveable. Or so I thought until this morning. I decided that today would be the day for giving the kitchen a good once over. Wipe down the pots and pans cupboard, throw out the rusting train-shaped cake tin, that sort of thing.

So you can imagine my horror when I lifted the knives and forks sorting tray out of its draw and saw that this was below it...
It smelled as well. Really, really bad.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Root Canal Therapy

Am doing a slash and burn on The Millionaire's Fake Fiancee. And it hurts. Oh how it hurts. All those wonderful words, the pages and pages of witticisms going into my bits-i-can't-bear-to-delete file. Am already down 3,000 words from my hard won 37,000. Okay so those 3,000 words are mostly about a sick Red Panda (who had no actual relevance to the plot apart from making it very clear the heroine was overly emotional about small furry creatures), and the hero (Sam) and the heroine (Cathy) making each other cups and tea and unexpectedly blurting out their insecurities, but still... ouch.

Its also become clear that the plot (hero wants wife/baby to satisfy dying wishes of beloved Grandmother) is very much a Harlequin Presents (Mills and Boon Sexy) storyline. Haven't written a Sexy before, so have done a raid on K-Mart and stocked up on all the latest Mills & Boon titles to do a bit of research and see how others are writing Sexies. Hmm. Plan of attack was to focus mostly on the Sweet imprint, as they're what I tend to read, but the story just doesn't fit Sweet. Its a dilemma and having put so much effort in so far I don't want to abandon the book.

Its exciting as well. I feel like I've been sent off in a new and unexpected direction. Who'd've thunk!

And Well Done to all the Nano Winners

And I wanted to say Congratulations to everyone who finished Nano. You gals (and guys) are amazing, and I am pea green with envy. Am hoping that one day we see the novels in print.

Monday, December 03, 2007

BHG is driving me nuts again...

Better Homes and Gardens is scaring me again. We get a subscription - from the electricity company we're with, and hubby chose the mag, need I say more...

So it turns up here, once a month, filled with delicious recipes that will make me fat, photographs of immaculate homes that make me feel inadequate, and advice on children that makes me laugh and laugh. Its an evil magazine and the Christmas issue is the worst of the lot. All those nifty craft projects that look easy, take hours and come out crap, all those immaculately wrapped presents, themed Christmas table decorations, and colour coordinated Christmas trees. Groan.

I still read it from cover to cover though, and the following tid-bit on wrapping amused me...
Disguise a bottle of wine as a large cracker, or a gift of a guitar or ukulele as an unrecognisable package. Bubble wrap and corrugated card will to the trick...
Ukeuleles? Okaaaay...

Then there was this pearl of wisdom about growing veges...
Growing your own produce is more popular than ever...
So, more popular than say one hundred years ago when you grew your own or starved?


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Decorating the Tree

Early December and we're well and truely on the homeward stretch for Christmas. In previous years the kids have been pretty oblivious, just too young. Not the case this year, oh no. Miss Beanie is enchanted by all the decorations in the shops and this morning we spotted Santa at Westfield. Suddenly it all came together and she realised that HE was going to give her PRESENTS. Am trying to explain that she won't be getting pressys for another three weeks or so, but in vain.

Yesterday we decorated our tree.
It was not without its disasters
And I did some baking...
Hubby bravely tried to eat one!

But we got there in the end.