Friday, December 30, 2011
Four people sit, staring enraptured at a TV screen. On it, actors and actresses play out the stories of their characters. As a certain character comes on, they are greeted with smiles or groans. Every so often someone explains a minor detail to one of the others. This is me, Charlotte, Mum and Dad, watching 'Little Dorrit'.
Ever since I received the 'Little Dorrit' mini series for my birthday, I have loved it. The actors caught me from the first few moments, and the story sucked me in and held me. I enjoyed the series so much, that I wanted to share it with someone. And who better than Mum and Dad?
Mum was enthusiastic about it, having started the actual book. But before she would watch the mini series, she wanted to finish reading the book. So we set ourselves a challenge. Read the book, and finish it this holidays.
Charlotte charged through the book, finishing way ahead of the rest of us. Mum finished next, persevering longer than me. Me? I just finished the book yesterday, after putting it off and reading around it with great skill.
Only a few nights ago we sat down to start watching the mini series. Mum, Charlotte and I knew the story almost off by heart by then. Dad however knew nothing about it. But he quickly picked up on it, and hardly needed any explanation from us.
When we finished watching on the first night, Charlotte and I waited anxiously to see what Mum and Dad had thought of it? Would Mum be bothered by the fact that it wasn't exactly like the book? Would Dad not like the characters? Had they enjoyed it as much as we had?
Yes, they had enjoyed it. 'Little Dorrit' was a great success. Everyone watching it had found a character they liked. Everyone had something to say. Watching the mini series again was great fun for me, but what was even better was that I was sharing it with others, who loved it too.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
A few months ago I broke my ereader. The button for turning the pages gave up between page turns. I had worn it out through copious reading. Which meant that I was stuck, halfway through a book.
This meant that I had to go back to reading paper books. While I loved paper books, I missed the library of classic books I had had. After all, paperback books must be bought, while classic ebooks are free.
Christmas came, and I was still borrowing free ereaders to read on, or reading on my computer if I wanted to read ebooks at all. I managed, but really missed my poor, dead ereader.
Opening one of my presents on Christmas Day, I was surprised and delighted to find myself staring at a brown box with the word 'Kindle' on it. My very own Kindle! At once I knew I was going to love this present. After all, Mum
loves her Kindle, and it is such a pleasure to use. Plus, as I soon discovered, it has two sets of page turning buttons, I assume in case you break one set through heavy reading.
Because Kindles don't come with covers, I made my own out of felt and silver beads. It turned out better than I thought it would.
I love using my new Kindle. The buttons are so nice to work, and I navigate the menu so easily. I love it even better than my dead ereader.
Right now I am working my way through 'Little Dorrit'. The percentage counter on the bottom of the screen is perfect or keeping track of where you are in the book. In 'Little Dorrit' the meter doesn't move very fast.
I love my new Kindle, and I look forwards to using it for a long time to come. Hopefully I won't break this one through my dedicated reading.
Monday, December 26, 2011
It interested me, and I joined in a few times, though not consistently. I wasn't disciplined enough for that. But I did well enough, and even placed a couple of times. But for the most part, I never really though about the contest. It was just another way to practice my writing.
In the meantime I kept writing for myself too. Mainly I worked on my novels, though I attempted short stories too. Normally I don't show my writing to anyone, but I decided to show one of my stories to Mum.
I was filled with pride in my work when I handed my laptop to Mum. Mum read through my writing, then gently told me that it was good, but not a short story. She suggested several ways I could change it and make it better, more what I wanted.
I was crushed, and put on my best 'I'm upset but pretending not to be' face, mumbled something about thinking about it, and promptly decided not to even attempt short story writing again.
But I did, and with much better success than before, thanks to Mum's suggestions which I finally made myself use.
A few days ago an email dropped into my inbox from the Go Teen Writer's blogger, Stephanie Morril informing me that I had won a 5 page critique due to my having joined in with the competitions and having placed.
I told Mum and Charlotte at once. Charlotte screwed up her nose when she heard what my prize was.
"Who wants five pages of criticism?" she asked in scorn.
I attempted to explain what a critique was, but she still maintained that she wouldn't like 5 pages of criticism.
Mum considered this, then asked, "How do you think you'll be able to take this criticism? You didn't like it when I made suggestions."
I have no idea how I'll feel about the suggestions made on my writing. Will I get all uptight and defensive again? Or will I listen to the suggestions and act upon them? I sincerely hope I'll manage the latter, but, knowing me, I'll probably do the former!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Around the house it's feeling like Christmas. The Christmas tree twinkles from it's corner, presents from friends and extended family strewn about it's trunk. Christmas decorations hang from the windows. Cats sit around the kitchen, their noses quivering as they try not to jump up and investigate the wonderful scents of food.
The air is filled with mouthwatering smells. Chicken and turkey smells mixed with the tang of lemon and the luscious smell of chocolate. Christmas dinner is in the making. Cinnamon scented candles give off a spicy scent that tickles the nose.
Christmas music floats through the house. Beautiful voices, delicate music and bells charm our ears. Hissing and bubbling, rustling and clinking noises come from the kitchen as Dad continues to cook.
In a few short hours we'll be placing our gifts under the tree. They'll spread out over the floor in a sea of wrapping paper and curling ribbon. Then, filled to overflowing with excitement and anticipation, we'll hurry to bed and hope that morning comes soon.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
It never occurred that anything would be done about our old poles. But, checking the post one day, we found a slip of paper informing us that the power would be turned off while the power poles were replaced.
At 8:30 the fridge's buzz ceased. Sophie flicked at the light switch. The power was gone. We sighed, and settled down for a day without power.
Sitting by windows, squinting in the dim light of an overcast day, I soon grew tired of our powerless situation. No light. And no internet! How could I check blogs, moderate comments, write emails?
While we amused ourselves without electricity, a great operation was taking place down the road. Three work teams were yanking poles out of the ground, drilling new holes, and putting in the new poles. Well, some of the men were.
Three men worked one cherry picker, seeing to one of the poles. Two men with road signs stood at either end of the roadwork zone. The rest of the men...sat around in a perpetual tea break. Occasionally the tea group would break up, each man picking up his chair and walking along the side of the road. A few metres on, they would reform the circle and continue their break.
As the day grew darker and longer, we all wished heartily for the power to come back on. But alas, there was still another hour to go.
My eyes followed the clock. 3:05. 3:10. 3:15. Beep, beep, beep. The washing machine buzzed back into life. We were free! At once we set the kettle going for coffee, opened out netbooks, and resumed normal, electricity filled lives.
I never realised how much we really do rely on power for everything. I knew we would miss the cooking appliances but until we had no power, I never knew how much I rely on power for everything else. Now we have power again, and I hope that we shan't lose it again for a long, long time.
Monday, December 19, 2011
My cousin emailed me a couple of day ago with the news that, for the first time ever, her family had a real Christmas tree. This was a strange thought for me, as our story has been quite different.
For years and years we used to have a real pine tree for our Christmas tree. Dad would set off, two weeks before Christmas with an empty van and one son in search of the perfect tree. Many hours and several tree farms later they returned, always with a beautiful tree shedding it's needles in the back.
Then the stand was nailed onto the tree and the boys and Dad carried it in through the door, covering the carpet with more shed needles.
The real tree filled the house with the smell of pine. Every day the floor needed cleaning, but the real tree was so perfect for us that we never minded the extra work it caused.
But then, two years ago, disaster happened. The van returned without a tree of any kind. The tree farms had no trees for us.
What to do? Dad had checked everywhere for a tree. Were we doomed to a treeless Christmas?
No, it wasn't that bad. We were only reduced to a fake tree. Mum and Dad bought one at once and we girls started to put it up. I was ready to hate that tree. How could a fake tree compare to a real tree? There was no possible way.
But I couldn't hate it for long. The tree hardly shed any needles. It went up so much easier than the real tree. It even looked real. The only thing missing was the smell. And, though it was fake, it was a tree.
This year I don't mind the fake tree. It can't help not being real. And it does it's best to be a real tree. Plus there is space for all our many ornaments.
I love real trees. I love the smell and the mess. But the fake tree is tidier, more perfect, and can be used year after year. It's not real, but it is still a tree. And I don't hate it. I think I might even love our tree.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
I crack one sleepy eye open and glance blearily at my bedside clock. 6:10. Too early to be awake yet. I snuggle further under the blankets. Mm, it’s nice in here.
The moment I step outside the door, I snap out of bed and back into reality.
Halfway through the second lap Charlotte slows to a walk. Bother, I was just getting used to running. Couldn’t she keep going for just a little longer?
Sunday, November 27, 2011
The NaNoWriMo official word count goal is 50'000 words. When I started NaNo, I thought this sounded like a great deal of words. More than I could handle almost. But as the days of NaNo passed, and I ripped through the word count, it suddenly didn't seem like much of a challenge.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The Defense Against Radical Exploits
The Department of Accidentally Removed Elements
The Death Administration for Rapid Eradication
The Detective Academy for Rookie Education
Sunday, November 20, 2011
When Imogen was born 17 years ago, we suspected she was one of ‘my’ children. And as she grew, she became more and more like me. Our suspicions were confirmed.
People think we look alike. Can you believe people even muddle us up?
We go to a party and a friend bumps into me. “Oh Sue, I thought you were down the other end of the room…. That must have been Imogen.”
We visit the supermarket and we’re at the check-out. The operator looks from me to Imogen and back again. “Are you two related? You look so alike.”
I post some photos of Imogen on Facebook and someone writes: “Sue, she has GOT to be yours… she looks just like you! :)”
We’re walking down the street and someone shouts, “You’re twins!”
Yes, we are twins.
I can’t imagine why anyone would say Imogen looks like me, her ageing mother. But I am not objecting. I think Imogen is beautiful. I don’t mind being compared to her at all.
I ask Imogen, “How do feel when people say you look like me? How do you like being compared with your 50 year old mother?”
Imogen is very gracious. “I love it, Mum! I think you’re beautiful.”
It is Imogen’s birthday on Sunday. My daughter is turning 17. But I am wondering: does Imogen look 50 like her twin mother? Or… does her mother look 17?
Imogen and I have great fun pondering such silly questions…. We always have fun, my twin and me. We are kindred spirits.
What would I do without my kindred spirit twin? We write stories, we talk about anything and everything, we drink coffee, we eat enormous gooey cakes, we read great books, we blog, we sew, we exercise, we shop, we work, we learn, we cook, we laugh, we laugh a lot… All these things we do together. I love my kindred spirit twin. I love her very much.
Happy Birthday ‘my’ Imogen!
Do you think we look alike? Can you tell we are mother and daughter?
Saturday, November 19, 2011
It's morning tea time. Time to do the blogging rounds. I check my blog feeds, read new posts, and jump out of the blogosphere leaving no trace behind. No, not even one comment. I'm the blogging ghost.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Being in a drawing mood today, I opened my sketch book, grabbed a pencil and prepared to draw. What could I draw today? What is big in my life at the moment? The answer was obvious. NaNoWriMo. Yes, I'd draw a piece of NaNo art. But what?
Sunday, November 13, 2011
After finishing my NaNoWriMo novel so early, I found myself wondering what to do next? No one else in my family had finished theirs yet. I was one on my own. Well, it wouldn't be any fun to go back to normal while everyone else was enjoying themselves. And so, I planned and began my new novel 'The DARE Squad'.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
When I first thought about NaNoWriMo, I wondered how I'd ever get anything else done in November. Writing 50' 000 words takes a lot of time. Would I still have time to read, and do craft? Would I be able to continue blogging? Most of what I heard told me I couldn't.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Wandering around the blogosphere a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon several posts about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Many writers whose blogs I read, have signed up and are eagerly awaiting the start of November to begin this month long challenge.