Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Letter For My Sprocket, Four and a Half

You’re four and a half this week, my little Sprocket. As it’s strange to think you’ve been in the world four and a half years, it is impossible to imagine a time before you.
At four and a half you're constantly in motion. You're climbing a tree, or a curtain, throwing yourself in mid-air to turn a summersault on the trampoline, running after a soccer ball. You are very comfortable within your body and love doing funny walks, making funny faces. I watch you flying across the trampoline, pretending to be a villain or a superhero - it changes on a dime - and think you could be a ballet dancer, your movements are so full of purpose and drama.
Your present loves are robots and dinosaurs. You long for a robot-dinosaur with unassuaged passion. At night before you sleep you want ‘pretend-stories’ about robots. Your requests are simple – the story should be about two green robots with buttons or two blue robots with buttons (they need to be the same colour.) Their names should be Sprocket and X, your best Kindy friend. You don’t mind if the robots don’t do much. Going to the playground together is fine.  When I’m having a brain fry you don’t mind if I substitute a little. So far we’ve had The Three Little Robots and the Big Bad Robot Eating Monster (instead of a house of bricks the third little robot built a spaceship), Goldilocks and the Three Robots and The Three Robots Gruff. Our songs are also getting changed. We now sing about 5 Green Robots Sitting on a Wall and Robots in the Spaceship, (Robots in the Spaceship/eating Memory Sticks/ Data-Fail, Data Fail/ we all Fall Down/ Call in the Computer Daddy/ He’ll know what to do/ Data Save/Data Save/ We all Jump Up.
You’re love for dinosaurs is secondhand but strong – your friends are very interested, so you are too. I read you dinosaur books from the library and you are curious about how the dinosaurs lived long, long ago and the big fire-rock (asteroid) which came and changed their world.  You laughed at me as if I was crazy when we looked at the picture comparison of dinosaurs and people. Of course Mummy’s much bigger than any dinosaur! Silly picture! You also find it hard to believe me when I tell you monsters aren’t real, they’re just pretend. Dinosaurs are real, so why aren’t monsters?
We are in the midst of many, many whys. Why is the sky high? Why does the earth go around the sun? Where has the sky gone? (On misty days) Why can’t I.. Why do I need to? Why do I have lungs? Why do we need air? 
You play beautifully with your little sister, and I love watching you run and give each other hugs when you’ve been apart. You’ll make dens and burrows and robot bases together, hiding under bedcovers with various action toys and teddies. I hear giggles and long stories being told. You run around the world (on the trampoline) then stop to hatch a dragon egg, briefly become a super-hero and then you're a puppy, barking as Poppet leads you proudly round.
You still love kisses and cuddling up and are starting to say “I love you,” more. Each night as we say goodnight you whisper it and it is very precious. You still slip your hand in mine sometimes when we’re walking, and you love telling long and involves stories about robots and kindy.
You love cooking – chocolate brownies, chocolate sauce pudding, chocolate cake, hot chocolate, chocolate biscuits, we’ve made them all. Why yes, there is a bit of a theme here! (I’m not even going to begin on the times you and Poppet decided to do some cooking on your own…) Cracking eggs, adding ingredients, peeling carrots, stirring, all these are the best of fun.
Your determination and problem solving skills are still superb. I locked the marshmallows in a safe, put the safe on top of one wardrobe, the key on top of another… and you managed to retrieve both and unlock the safe. I already dread trying to hide your birthday and Christmas presents!
Your face lights up when you see your kindy friends and you run over to them joyfully. If your daddy and I try to stay for a little you tell us firmly, but politely, “It’s alright, you can go now.” We try to take our dismissal well, but it’s hard seeing our little baby all grown up and independent.
Our Little One, this time five years ago you were growing within me, our longed for bublet. You were our starfish, our arf-ing, milk-drunk selkie, our little Pacific Island adventurer, climbing volcanos, swimming in lagoons and charming everyone at the market. You were our music-loving cuddleupagus, forever in company with Sheba, your grandparents' dog, ukulele in hand, and now you are our dynamo, full of story and action, social and loving.
Thank you for being you and four and a half wonderful years!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weekly Stills

1. My joyful Poppet
2. A handful of feathers at the park. So soft. We saw a flock of masses of sulfur crested cockatoos pass over this week and they have been frequenting our walnut tree.
3. Mist in the garden.
4. More mist. Driving to work and kindy sometimes it seems it's just us in our car, hurtling through grey until another cars headlights shines through.
5. Autumn leaves.
6. Armful of kids, reading in bed.
7. Candlelight and beach treasures.

Joining with Em (and her delightful newborn, Elke) at The Beetleshack for Weekly Stills.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


1. My Sprocket - in perpetual motion.
2. My Poppet, really getting quite good with the ball.
3. Pause. They're trying to hatch the soccer ball as we've recently read a book about a little boy who hatched a dragon's egg. Both of them tried, but alas, no success!

Joining with Jodi of  Che and Fidel for a photo of my kids once a week for 2013.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dreaming ‘n’ Plotting, Dreaming ‘n’ Plotting, Dreaming ‘n’ Plotting

I couldn’t sleep Monday night. I lay awake and waited for sleep. And waited.
And waited. Snuggled into the warmth. Listened to the steady breathing. Nudged my Beloved to stop snoring. And waited. Hello, sleep. I'm here. Hullllooo!
And then I gave up and began plotting.
And not one, but two glimmering plots revealed themselves.
Christmas came very early this year.
I’ve known these stories nearly ten years now. The characters have been sitting around in the waiting room, occasionally playing a back-up roll, but never coming into their own, never coming fully alive.
Suddenly, the spotlights have illuminated them and I know them. I know what makes them tick, I know their true story.
I've been worried about one of the characters because she’s a bit of a prig and I didn't know how I’d carry her off for a whole book. Turns out she’s like that because she lives so deeply and vividly in her dreams she needs complete control in her waking hours. She’s a True Dreamer.
And my vegan, fair-trading, pacifist control freak is just about to meet up with a carnivorous, freewheeling, were-wolf were-cat cross who’s been newly appointed as head of Law Enforcement in the Lands.
The second character I’ve been worried about for the opposite reason – she’s a complete diva, spoilt, indulged and over the top. How to play on her strengths without making her completely unlikeable? I think I’m getting there. My original plot of Death by Chocolate has been strengthened with Lands magic – and I’ve thrown in a truckload of Dragons and a Wizard who is not-at-all-what-he-seems. As well as a ‘trueloves’ kiss that brings her back from death.
The hours ticked over and I knew the following day might have its problems. But the words flowed and I couldn’t bring myself to stop.
Finally putting my laptop away I returned to the warm darkness…. To plot and dream, plot and dream…
Until  my Beloved brought through the first coffee of the day.
Since then I’ve been writing desperately.
They’re pushy, those characters. Bossy and demanding, the pair of them. I was determined to devote the next six weeks to editing and critiquing. Looks like I have other plans.
But I can’t find it in me to really mind.   

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Twenty Weeks into the Portraits already! I'll use that as the excuse for putting up a joint photo - with family dog. You can see the chill in the air and that it's well and truly coat and gumboot weather!

Joining with the lovely Jodi of Che and Fidel for a portrait of the kids once a week.

Weekly Stills: Autumn

1. Autumn Leaves
2. Coffees on a rainy day
3. Crysanthemum
4. Autumn Leaf
5. Autumn Treasures... and op-shop treasures. My new little tea-set
6. Honey Toast. I know you can salt-gargle for cold throats... but lashings of manuka honey on toast is so much nicer. And I think the butter is very... healing.

We've had a week of rain and mist. It's been lovely. We've rugged up and done lots of baking. If you make brownies with wholemeal flour they're healthy. Really. I've loved listening to the rain and looking at it fall, the smells of burning wood and cooking marshmallows. I'm still amazed at how much more active my brain seems in brisker weather. The world seems twice as vibrant, as full of wonder. O, Autumn, I do so love you!

Joining with the wonderful Em (and her gorgeous newborn, Elke) at The Beetleshack for Sunday Stills

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day

I was woken by a kiss on Mother's Day, and then my Poppet whispered, "I love you, Mummy," and I knew instantly how very, very lucky I am.
My little ones, while frequently driving me to the edge of distraction, are also my joy and my delight and crack me up laughing on an almost hourly basis.
Just before she wakes in the morning my Poppet will start giggling, and say things from her dreams. This morning it was "Girls can do anything!"
Of course we can, darling, of course we can.
My Sprocket still climbs into my lap, pulling my arms tightly around himself, to inform me of important things about robots and his Kindy friends. His 'I love you's' and soft kisses are much rarer, but so very  special.
On mother's day, I remembered my first mother's day, five years ago, puke-bucket in hand in bed with morning sickness, my Sprocket still summersaulting in my tummy, the heady smell of lilies surrounding me, and so very, very impatient to meet my baby, to be a mum.
And here it is, I'm a mummy, and it's so very much more than I could have imagined.
How could I have imagined two little people so very much themselves; so droll, so determined, so loving, so adventurous, so curious. How could I have imagined my Sprocket's funny faces as he tells me a story, or my Poppet's hilarious intonation.
We drove to the city for mother's day, to see my own Mama. As always at my parents, we were surrounded by books and music, endless cups of tea, great feasts of food and news from around the world. My Poppet followed my mum around like a little duckling, trailing her down the garden and around the house, my Sprocket pounced on his new treasures, robots found in the local op-shops. As usual, we left with our car laden with gifts -  East Timorese Coffee, wine, special-Sprocket-robots, warm jumpers and dahlia tubers.
And I was reminded of all my parents gave me growing up: a passion for reading and story, the joy of music from all around the world, a passion for justice and to help those oppressed and in need, support and encouragement to follow my dreams, a love of learning and an understanding of the importance of robust debate. The importance of checking your sources. A delight in the outdoors and green, growing things. An awareness of how vast and terrible, fragile and beautiful this world of ours truly is.
And I was reminded again of how much I want to give these things to my children.
As a mother, we have been gifted with so much, and our responsibility is so great.

I'm joining with Maxabella over at Village Voices and 52 Weeks of Grateful, so grateful that two little people have been entrusted to me, and that I'm their mummy, and in overflowing gratitude for my own mum and the world she has given me.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Forgive my Indulgence...

Forgive my indulgence, but I couldn't resist putting up some of my autumn photos. The autumn trees and leaves are just too beautiful. It seems a half hour doesn't pass when I don't find myself stopping and staring at the colours - a tree or leaf caught in light, a scattering of rich coloured leaves on grass. My Poppet and I go on long walks and come home laden with leaves of all hues, nuts and seedpods. The velvety flower stem of the magnolia, acorns, gum-nuts, spiky bobbins are counted amongst our treasures. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness stay longer, please!
This week is forecast for rain throughout, so I am preparing for days of coats and gumboots, for jumping in muddy puddles and coming home sopping to steaming, lavender-scented baths.
We all have colds so we are indulging in lots of manuka-honey toast (with lashings of butter), lemon honey drinks and hot eucalyptus towels to hold against aching eyes. It's comforting and cosy. Sniffles notwithstanding, Autumn is my favourite and my best!


This hasn't happened in the longest time. We're talking years and years.
A brand new story has said (yelled, loudly) 'write me'. In some ways it's a bit of a pain, as I need to add it to the queue now, and the queue is presently seven fiction and one non-fiction books long, plus a good half dozen manuscripts in need of editing...
But because this is a glimmer of a Brand New Story it is also exciting, an unexpected thrill.
I keep getting little glimpses of my story as I go about my day. Seen from the corner of my eye, I see this flash of gold, this tantalising gleam of 'something.'
I don't know a lot about the story.
But I know... the main character is a golden lioness of a women, a flapper with an amazing wardrobe (thank you Pinterest for all your inspiration!) and no patience for fools. (Is she inspired by Dorothy Sawyer's Harriet Vane... I didn't think about it until this very second... but maybe...) Whatever, her wardrobe is amazing. I am going to have so much fun with it.
She's also a librarian. It's entirely possible a body (or two) will be found in the book-lift. Which is the little lift used to move books between floors and which I have often been worried a body will roll out of when I'm on lock-up or first to arrive.
And... it's a steampunk world. So I get to have my Flappers and their amazing dresses but leave out the depression, and add all sorts of funky stuff.... Oh the fizz and fun of it!
I am determined there will be sky-pirates - a word and concept I only came across yesterday and immediately pounced upon and said Yes: there will be sky-pirates.
So... just a glimmering now... but such a lovely gleam of colourful, translucent, promising light. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sunday Stills

1. My Poppet with her baby-doll. Called Baby-Doll. Baby-Doll is about to be deserted as the soccer ball becomes more interesting. I will return to find it in the middle of the oval when it is dark. Oddly reminiscent of a poem I remember reading about a lost doll.
2. Playing in the playground. I love how atmospheric the light is at this time.
3. My Sprocket and my Poppet carefully sharing a large, black bug as they play in the dirt.
4. The green hills around home. Okay, a little bit of a drive, but home-ish!
5. Sprocket resting in the slide at the playground after a hard day at kindy. It takes a lot out of a boy keeping up with his 'pack'.
6. My Poppet giggling on the slide.
7.My Sprocket running on the beach. A glorious beach day at a new beach - Tarwin Lower. We hadn't gone before but instantly fell in love. We couldn't go swimming because of Sprocket's grommets, but had a wonderful time building sandcastles and playing wavey. And who can resist fish and chips at the beach.
8. My Poppet looking out to sea. She's not sure about waves.
9.My Sprocket walking along the fence.
10. Early morning spiders web.
11. Autumn leaves. I am entirely in love. The colours of autumn and the beautiful light are keeping me in a constant state of awe. Why can't it be Autumn all the time?

Joining with the wonderful Em of The Beetleshack for weekly stills.


1. My Poppet. Yes, she wears a lot of pink, but she's great with a soccer ball, and occasionally we go out dressed to play. (Not that frills and tutus have ever stopped us kicking a ball or playing in the mud!)

2. My Sprocket playing hopscotch. Caught mid-jump, my little adventurer in perpetual motion!

Joining with the wonderful Jodi at Che and Fidel for a portrait of the kids once a week for a year.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

O the Places You'll Go...

My kids are into Dr Seuss at the moment.
How many times can one mum read Green Eggs and Ham in a row? Quite a lot.
Last night, cuddled up in bed against the cold, and companionably snuffling, we read All the Places You'll Go and it reminded me of a youtube my baby bro had shown me a few months back when he and my beloved were talking about the Burning man Festival in the US.
Now, the Burning man Festival looks very funky. Which I am not. And it involves camping. Which I do not do unless massive bribery and places of immense natural beauty are involved. (Read: the sea) And I am not entirely sure that people at the Burning man do not imbibe noxious substances. Which I am not a fan of. My beloved and baby bro plan to go one year, and I plan to stay at a nearby hotel with the kids and hear all about it from the comfort of a swimming pool.
But I loved the youtube.
It was so much fun to see a big-people interpretation of a kids book.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Playing with Scrivener

Recently, I downloaded a  new toy. Not just any old toy, but a special novel writing toy.
It's called Scrivener and it's for helping organise (well, yes) your writing.
One of the goodies I won for completing Camp NaNoWriMo was a half-price download, and as I'd been salivating over Scrivener for awhile, I decided to take the plunge.
Don't you love those first heady days of playing with a new toy when it's all sparkly and full of possibilities?
I waited a few days, psyching myself up to read the manual and watch the videos.
I got three pages into the 500+ page manual and gave up.
I started watching the videos, but realised 10 minutes in that I was more engrossed in my multi-tasking pinteresting and hadn't heard a word the guy had said, despite his pleasant, soothing voice.
I'd read a few blogs about Scrivener and the testimonials had been glowing, but scarily technical. In fact, some had been written nearly entirely in geek-speak. Uh-oh.
So I just dived in.
And it's so much fun.
The stuff I want to do, I can do. I didn't want to bother with all the tricky stuff the blogs talked about with importing and exporting. I copied and pasted (chapter by chapter) and my book all appeared on a lovely cork board looking just lovely.

I can colour code to say whether a document is a chapter, a scene, a character sketch or whatever and I can label documents as to whether they're a first draft or a final draft. I've 'lost' what I've wanted a few times, but a bit of clicking turns it up eventually. Already I've sorted out my wonky chapter numbering and I can't wait to get the story line tightened with the chapter synopsis corkboard.
My geeky Beloved (he who did his Masters of IT while doing his Med degree) has already played with it (obviously) and says it would be great for doing research proposals. And of course scripts, non-fiction  books and a zillion other things.
I am already itching to play with my next two novels on Scrivener starting from scratch, rather than shoving in an already completed manuscript.
I. Need. Time.
Playing. With. Cool. New. Toy. Time.
Now I just need to work out how to save...

Do you still love playing with new toys?
Found any good ones recently?

(And no, this isn't a sponsored post!)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dream Garden...

I love playing in the garden. I love the possibilities of planting a tiny seed or seedling and seeing the bounty it produces. I love walking around a nursery and oohing and aahing. I love digging in the dirt in crisp sun. And it's possible I've mentioned a few times before my love of my roses. Four of my roses are out at the moment and I stop every time I see them to coo at them. My pretty ones.
But I'm not much of a planner. I'm more of a 'Oooo. Pretty, lets plonk it in and see what happens.'
Recently we visited friends not far from home and got to admire their beautifully planned and maintained garden and I went into heartmelt. It was just stunning. The colours blending here, the pops of colour there, the symmetry of the hedges, but then the contrasting bounteous blooms...
Obviously I came away with ideas.
Not just for characters of mine who will have green thumbs, but for our garden.
On my to do list are now:
Dahlias. I never knew I loved them. In face, I thought I didn't, but seeing how their colours just glowed in the autumn, the stunning effect of them en masse, and a quick pinterest showing me how stunning they can look up close... I now foresee a lifelong... friendship. Not quite my love-affair with roses, but a strong and joyous relationship none the less!
Hedges. My beloved and I are unanimous. We just like them. My beloved loves the structure and symmetry and I love the green and the idea of half-hidden secret gardens...
Curving red brick paths... There's something about a curving path just crammed with promise, and I love old red brick.
So... garden plans... Our local op-shop is selling little 'box' seedlings for hedges. Only... they're randomly labelled, I think having come from a nursery evacuated with the bushfires. And I'm a little worried about buying a heap of mismatched hedge... but... It's tempting!
My granny has promised me dahlia tubers as soon as hers die down. And I am on the lookout...
And... I'm wondering how my beloved feels about sourcing some red bricks. We have some although they're a little bedraggled, but interest will be added.
I'm very excited and will be taking advantage of the last warmish days of autumn for garden time!

Do you enjoy garden work?
What are your plans for autumn? (or Spring?) Anyone else excited about bulb planting? Oooo... tulips... pretty... fresias, jonquils...Be still my heart!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

18/52 (Sort of)

1. My Sprocket up a tree. He is increasingly to be found aloft and trees are greatly to be preferred to wardrobes! I love watching how quickly he monkeys up and how at home he seems!
2. My Poppet running down one of the roads near home. I know it's out of focus, but it reminds me of what a lovely sunny day it was and how much fun we were having together!

I'm cheating... I admit it. These photos are from last week. (Guilty face!) But the camera charger has gone missing and while I live in hope of finding it today, I lived in hope of finding it yesterday as well!