A little story (and some regulation trivia).

Continuing on with my short piece, The Appointment, because I am too lazy to think of another blog topic and also because I like stories and wanted to see where this writing prompt would go.

Image credit.

All credit to: Urban Circus.

The Appointment – Part 2

Although feeling a little adolescent, Miranda silently chanted her mantra as she stepped onto the train: ‘You’re okay’. She’d had a few mantras over the past three years since “that awful business”, as her mother had put it. Kathleen O’Sullivan had only censured her daughter once but her bewildered expression stung more than any curt retort. Her father hadn’t said a word, but the look on his face spoke volumes – tomes. He’d already had his piece when she’d moved out and in with Jimmy: “’Shacked up’ with more like! You’re a fool, my girl, if you can’t see the real Jimmy…the man beneath that smooth front.”  Patrick O’Sullivan was proud of his only child. She was the first, the only, member of his family to go to university, but somehow that made the shock of her decision to live with Jimmy worse. It was 1963 and not yet commonplace to live in sin, at least not for good Irish Catholic families newly arrived on these vagabond shores.

Jimmy was everything that her father wasn’t. At times (not often, for she’d tried to expel him from her mind during the past two years), she’d wondered if that had been the attraction. Where Patrick O’Sullivan was dour and economic with his words – joking rarely and only in a grim, scathing fashion – James Nelson was warm and loquacious. Charming. There was no avoiding the fact that Jimmy was charismatic, despite the pain it cost Miranda to acknowledge it. He laughed a lot and had a way of looking into her face with a peering intensity that made her feel as though she were fascinating. No one before or since had ever made her feel that special.

Her mother was less critical and inclined to hope that Jimmy would do the right thing. She hinted about an engagement and Miranda’s heart ached that she couldn’t produce one just to satisfy her mother’s dogged sense of convention. She herself didn’t mind, so heady was her adulation of Jimmy. “Mum, I don’t care about the ring…it isn’t important. He loves me!”

Miranda blushed to think of it now. Enough! She swept the rogue thoughts from her head and opened her briefcase, withdrawing the contract and smoothing it over her knees. Is this skirt too short? She’d been a bit daring but then it was an informal kind of affair. Affair…what a faux par – a Freudian slip! It was an interview, an appointment, that was all. Miranda couldn’t work out which was the more daunting word for her meeting. She felt a bit like a schoolgirl, not a junior partner at Bradley, Stein and Parker.

Her heart began to pump at an eager staccato pace and to deflect her nerves, she at once began scanning the document. She knew just how much reading she could accomplish on the forty minute commute.

….to be continued.

Image Credit

All credit to: My Darling Darlinghurst.

Regulation Trivia.

On writing.  Apparently adverbs are the enemy. Experts of a high calibre have warned writers and would-be writers (who are writers anyway as they write), to avoid using adverbs because they’re clumsy and bad writing. My friend Pinky is working on a novel and she’s been advised not to go down the adverb-path-of-ruination, however, I am sceptical. J.K. Rowling got away with an abundance (but then she was J.K. Rowling) yet Stephen King hates them. Jane Austen rarely used them but ‘Adverb’ was Charles Dickens’ middle name. That probably gives us modern wordsmiths scribblers carte-blanche. :)

I’ve only included ONE adverb in the above little piece and feel very virtuous. But before I become overly pompous, I’ve used twenty four adjectives! :(

Food Selfie. I frequent a lot of cafes because I am a decadent and self-confessed cafe whore. Also, it’s easier to meet friends in cafes rather than subject them to my inferior coffee and cake. I recently blamed Poppet for taking ‘food selfies’ and posting them on Instagram but if I’m honest, snapping pics of nice food is a teensy bit addictive.

I simply had to take a photo of this when I caught up with some friends in the school holidays (that was 2 weeks ago, but we all know I’m a bit slow with posts). This gastronomical experience was a first for me – a Scone in a Pot. BizarreA purist would be appalled as I don’t think it’s etiquette to dig scones out of earthenware pots. :)

Scone in a Pot (bizarre)

All credit to: ME!!

Enough about me, what do you think? :)

  • Do you to prefer to have friends over instead of going to cafes? It’s certainly easier when you have young children. But then you miss out on all the gossip when you’re stuck in the kitchen frothing milk and opening packets serving freshly baked muffins.
  • What’s the rule on adverbs and adjectives? Do you like your prose richly descriptive or spare and economic? Seriously, life is too short to stress about parts of speech – even in the interests of your epic masterpiece!

I’ll leave you with a meme my Pinterest addict expert sent me. It highlights the perils of online dating superbly (another adverb – why oh why are they so bad?)

pinterest - pitbull

 

Next time, I am moving out of my comfort zone with a post entitled ‘My Friendly Stalker’, on flirting – a true story. However, on reflection, I may not as it shows my character in a very poor light…

Linking up today with Jess and IBOT because, well, it’s Tuesday. Joining Grace’s FYBF  for her bevy of blogging brilliancy. :)

Short Sojourn Shameless Selfie.

Nothing deep or philosophical today…

It’s school holidays and we escaped the city to see a family member starring performing in the chorus of a production of Legally Blonde. Reece Witherspoon made a guest appearance Family member autographed my program, though I’m not one to name-drop. IMG_1656The seaside hotel had a tolerable view of the sea.   Poppet on balconyOn a raving recommendation, we eschewed the hotel buffet (what were we thinking?) and had breakfast in a cafe on the beach, where the prices were pretentious and we queued to get a table, then waited so long for our food that we began attacking the serviettes (or is it napkins - I never do know which?) Of course, Poppet posted her elegant meal on Instagram. Hand up if you remember a time when we ate food instead of taking a photo of it?

What's that darl? #thecastle

Just eat it!

There was a sunrise where the sun spilled like molten gold into the ocean. It was worth sacrificing sleep for.

Sunrise.

Molten gold.

Last week was exciting as Pinky made an impromptu visit to Sydney and we caught up. It’s a bit daunting meeting blogging friends as you wonder whether your online persona equates with your real persona. Pinky is just as warm and lovely as her blog reveals. This brilliant overexposed selfie showcases my new teapot, courtesy of Pinky (pink of course).

Teapot selfie.

Teapot selfie.

Next time she comes to town we’re planning a blogger-fest so if you’re in the vicinity (and even if you’re not) please join us. :)

It is Wordless Wednesday and I must avoid waffling at all costs. Over to you and your views on some very important trivia.

  • Do you resent paying high prices in trendy cafes and restaurants? Do you actually complain or smile sweetly and vent privately?
  • Do you take pictures of food or are you sensible and mature, and just eat it?
  • Do sunrises or sunsets move your thoughts to poetry?
  • Have you ever attended any blogger events? Please share!

Linking up with Trish and My Little Drummer Boys and Wordless Wednesday and joining With Some Grace’s FYBF.

*Clutching the baton*

While this post deals with the much vaulted topic ‘Why I Write, I must first be consistent with my reputation and blog title – Important Trivia - and start with a meme.

 

Image: Pinterest.

Image: Pinterest.

An array of dazzling blogsters, from the famous Mrs Woog to the infamous Pinks Pointer (JOKE), to that feisty queen of hawt hot (spelling counts – at least in my classroom blog ;) ), the Fab Mumabulous…it’s now down to little moi. *Attempts stoicism under pressure to be entertaining and witty. Loses battle and buckles. Reaches for wine tea*

This move of Pinky’s has propelled me from blogging complacency to posting twice in 3 days. “Ho hum” you say but for a novice who only posts once a fortnight, this is traumatic!

As I’ve alluded to previously, I don’t have a niche. I am niche-less.  But rather than be scarred by this gaping hole of niche-lessness, I’ve acknowledged – like many bloggers before me – that as well as narcissism, blogging in any form, is therapy. Coupled with abundant coffee and cake, wine and cheese or magic tea, it is far more enjoyable to baring (or is it bearing??) one’s soul to an expert.

Work Stations (pretentious moi?)

I rather like the term ‘work stations’. It’s a bit like the ‘learning spaces’ that schools and education are fond of, and lends a certain gravitas to my frivolous penning.

I am incapable of remaining in one spot.

Desk, kitchen bench, gazebo and garden.

Desk, kitchen bench, gazebo, garden.

Down to the business:

Flippancy aside, I was flattered – honoured – to be mentioned by Pinky, whose eloquent wit is legendary in the blogosphere. However, such an honour involves reigning my usually wayward ideas into the semblance of order:

Why do I write?

In short, because I enjoy it. I didn’t write as a teenager as I thought I was much too cool for doing anything so nerdish. But one of my best writing memories is sitting beside the sandpit writing long-hand, while my toddler made a castle. I was lucky enough to have this manuscript published by Penguin as a little teenage novel – This Summer Last – a big fluke really, since it’s not high literature. It’s about loss and deals with the theme of grieving. Heavy stuff I know, but I’d just heard a true story about a family who’d experienced a sudden death of a child and I thought about how difficult this would be. I based my book around their inability to come to terms with the tragedy.

Again fortune beamed kindly on me and I won the Ashton Scholastic Award for Older Readers with Jake, about a damaged city kid, fostered by a family in the country. There was another book but before you hate me for all this insufferable bragging, they’re all out of print and only available in the National Library Archives. Haha, so much for fame and fortune! ;)

I got very busy with more kids and teaching in High School so writing took a bit of a back-step until recently when Poppet was badly bullied, (cyber and face-to-face). I wrote So Not Funny, as a parents’ and teachers’ resource, releasing it as an e-Book. I was advised to start blogging, but have never before used my blog space to promote my book (except now – please don’t hate me!)

How does my writing differ from others in my genre?

I’m not sure, except that I am VERY flippant and much of what I babble about is either tongue-in-cheek, ironic, silly, or all of the above. I probably include too many chook and dog pics, but hey everyone has their Achilles’ heel.

 How does my writing process work?

Randomly. As the above fancy collage suggests (for a non-techno person aren’t you impressed?) I am hyperactive and can’t sit too long in one spot. So when I’m not in the classroom or attending to domestic/family/farming matters, I’m hyped on tea and writing something.

What I’m Working on.

I won’t bore you because I’ve already written a post about my brutal rejection by a large publisher for my latest literary masterpiece little manuscript, Non-Compliance. Suffice to say, I am EDITING. This is a painful process, involving a self-discipline that is quite foreign to my character. So, my writing consists of:

  • shopping lists.
  • marking students’ work and writing tactful suggestions on essays, stories et al.
  • new units of work to stimulate class into brilliant adequate English skills.
  • ‘to do’ lists (to make me a more efficient, productive and better human being).
  • posts – the best fun of all.

Now it’s my turn to pass the baton to two bloggers, and it was a difficult decision as there are just so many brilliant bloggers out there. I’ve chosen Deb and Susan, each accomplished and eclectic in her own way.

But just before I leave the subject of blogging, one of the things I love most about this type of writing is – corny n cheesy as it sounds – the friends I’ve made. And the comments. I think I can safely liken the high of a delightful comment to a hit of ice (in my cocktail of course).

Credit: Pinterest.

Credit: Pinterest.

I can’t claim credit for any of the silly pictures I include in my posts – they’re down to Poppet and a funny dog-friend. (I do, however, claim credit for being consistently silly).

Over to you. What’s your best skill – within or without the blogosphere?

Just added my link to the delightful Always Josefa and Maxabella Loves and their ‘Why I Write’ link-ups. Joining With Some Grace’s FYBF, as it’s Friday. :)

The Appointment.

 

It’s been months since I wrote any fiction in response to a writing prompt, but inspired by Lydia (Where the Wild Things Were) and her ‘first of the month’ writing prompt (and as a nice foil to my current regime of editing), I embraced this creative little project and wrote a short piece of 100 words entitled ‘The Appointment’.

 

As Miranda stepped outside, a blast of air tussled her carefully blow-dried hair. Buttoning her jacket, she wound the scarf twice around her slender neck.

Winter had arrived. Breathing in deeply, she lifted her chin and strode the well-worn path to the train station. Her calm gait was at odds with the thoughts in her head, which ricocheted like the remnant gold leaves flung high by the helter-skelter wind.

The appointment. A fifty minute slot (they were precise), could make such a difference to her, to everyone. Its power loomed and Miranda dipped her head and repeated her newest mantra.

 

Some clever person once said something like, “It’s not about originality, it’s what you do with it that counts.” What prompts you? External stimulus or do you have a fertile imagination, just bursting with original ideas? :)

Flogging today With Some Grace and FYBF.

A little tableau of trivial importance.

IMG_1367 Poppet sent me this. It really isn’t the sort of thing a girl should send her mother, being inappropriate on all levels. I sniggered then began doubting my parenting skills, while acknowledging how hard it is to raise children to be decent, well-rounded individuals. Parenting is a challenge, requiring an abundance of these liquids qualities: wine, patience, ingenuity, Buddhist-calm, kindness, alcohol, patience, resourcefulness, tolerance, humour, energy, Zen, empathy, champagne, liquor, aperitifs, patience. Unlike the classroom, where you’re on call for a 50 minute period per grade per day, parenting is relentless. And just when you think you’re through the taxing early years, they morph into teenagers and cause you more worry and angst.

This quote by Oscar Wilde is food for thought: “Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.”

Skeleton tree.

Skeleton tree.

A few posts ago I was going on about the beauty of Autumn leaves. Well, our Chinese Tallow tree is a skeleton that signals winter. It is no longer “Winter is coming”, winter is here. (BTW I’ve seen all 4 seasons of Game of Thrones and I don’t recall it ever being Summer. Did I miss it, is it just me?)

 

So after the hottest May on record, I’m welcoming the cold and its accompanying haute couture uggs and trackies, but especially food like this, Mini Cottage Pies. Cool weather makes me hope global warming is an illusion…

Blossom and Poppet. Lots of selfies go on Blossom’s ‘story’ on Snapchat. For blog Poppet tells me Shapchat is all about the narrative and not just fleeting photos to interest and dazzleI obviously misuse Snapchat because I just send the 3 people on my list, photos of the cake I’m about to eat so they’ll be very jealous.

But seriously, dog or Ewok? Those ears are growing exponentially! It’s a pity the Star Wars prequels and sequels have waned because Blossom might have scored a cameo appearance. IMG_0962The Pecking Order: In the little coop, chicks Lasquisha, Lacy, Cinnamon and Princess are fast growing into hens. IMG_1384 Lasquisha continues to dominate. Not content with pecking her minions on the head, she now jumps on them.

I'm Lasquisha and I'm GORGEOUS!

I’m Lasquisha. Get in my way and I’ll jump on your head.

A similar dynamic exists in the big coop where Madam Peck is bullying the new pullets, Cherry and Merry, who’ve taken refuge in the shed.

"Has she gone yet?"

“Has she gone yet?”

"Don't mess with me!"

Madam Peck.

For an ex-battery girl, she has a lot of attitude. On the one hand, it’s great she’s recovered from the first traumatic 18 months of life in a tiny cage. On the other hand, you’d think she’d be more sensitive, a little kinder to her flock. This is probably what George Orwell meant in Animal Farm – the oppressed become the oppressors. A grim world view…but on the plus side, there are DUST BATHS. In the chicken world dust baths aren’t just fun, they eradicate lice and other parasites. (I wonder if it works for headlice?)

Chook equivalent of bubble bath.

Cherry and Merry in dust bath (equivalent of bubble bath).

Our local florist had this quotation written on her blackboard and it reminded me of the concept of average and our endless quest to rise above it.florist quoteBlooming is an individual thing and everyone’s blooming is different. I see it in the classroom when the ‘under-achiever’ has a good idea that sometimes eclipses the confidently brash student’s idea. The tentative smile of delight on her/his face – the bloom – is wonderful. :)

And while I’m on the subject of average, a few months ago in A Waiting Game I wrote excitedly about a manuscript that had survived the publisher’s slush pile – the first harrowing step in the process to turn Word document into book. Well, the waiting is over – my manuscript has been jettisoned declined.

Image courtesy of Amalie Howard

Image courtesy of Amalie Howard

The word rejected is never uttered in these ever-so-polite letters. How the world loves euphemisms! “We have decided not to proceed with an offer of publication at this stage”. Evidently, and I say this with no sarcasm (for they do know their stuff), my ‘book’ lacks structure and its context (Sydney in 50 years) needs work. Oh well, back to the drawing editing board. It was the first draft, so what was I expecting?!

I’ve found that in publishing – for self-protection at least – you shouldn’t be too optimistic; hopeful and doggedly persistent, but never overly confident or presumptuous. But manuscripts are a bit like babies, they make us a little protective and sensitive to criticism,. So I’ve devised some rules:

  • Rule 1: let go of ego.
  • Rule 2: develop the skin of a tyrannosaurus.
  • Rule 3: share manuscript with an expert - a paid mentor or a clever friend who will tell you the truth, even though you will hate her/him forever be hurt or offended and probably both.
  • Rule 4: Give clever friend a VERY nice present.

My 1 year Plan:  EDIT. Don’t waste time. In spare time (after school work, family and urban farming duties) be more disciplined, EDIT, refuse coffee/drinks with friends. Work harder, EDIT, avoid being frivolous, EDIT, avoid whiling away hours on social media. EDIT.

I don’t need an epiphany to tell me that this 1 year plan may not run to schedule.

Over to you. What is your biggest challenge and what do you need to be more disciplined about? What virtuous goals are on your 1 year plan?

Linking up with My Little Drummer Boy and joining Grace for FYBF.

Average is the new black.

Photo courtesy of imgquotes.

Photo courtesy of imgquotes.

I have a weakness for dog quotes/pics and Andrew Rooney’s little message made me reflect on the whole concept of average. It made me realise some sobering facts:

  1. I’m okay at some things but don’t really excel in any.
  2. I’m a pretty average blogger who probably hasn’t found her niche, if one exists. And do we need a niche at all?

I know you will stampeed might reassure me and say, “Nonsense, you’re great, you’re special.” (BTW this blog post is not a fishing for compliments exercise – though who doesn’t like compliments?) Anyway, my average epiphany got me thinking… Is average okay? Is it alright to be quite good  at a few thing but genius at nothing?

LOOK AT ME!!

LOOK AT ME!!

Look at this amazing pic I saw on Pinterest about refusing to be average and soaring to dizzying heights. Soaring. I’d try it but it just looks like so much EFFORT. Plus those muscles are seriously scary and I don’t want to scare people.

Perhaps we were more content when we were allowed to be average. We were more relaxed certainly, before all the reaching our potential pressure to rise above everyone and excel – to achieve our dreams, become rich and famous or the very best. Maybe just doing something quite well is okay, yet it doesn’t seem to be valued in our aspirational times. Maybe putting in a modest day’s work, caring for loved ones and languishing on the sofa watching Q and A  Offspring is okay, after all.

British/French writer and philosopher Alain de Botton proposed an interesting theory in his book Status Anxiety. Status AnxietyEssentially, de Botton says that life was happier back in feudal times when we were locked into serfdom and didn’t expect to rise above our stations. We weren’t aspirational, we didn’t hanker to be lord and lady of the manor because there was just NO CHANCE it’d happen. No matter how hard you worked as a serf, you could never own any land. It was an austere life and we mightn’t have been consciously happy – working hard for the squire, getting old and bent at 25 and dying of old age at 35. Yet we weren’t consciously feeling inadequate or striving to be well above average. We might have been content. We didn’t covet celebrity because we didn’t have celebrity.

That said, Elizabeth Woodville was something of a fashion icon. She looks hot comely in that elegant ensemble…I might have coveted that, serf or no serf.

Flippancy aside, our raison d’etre in feudal times was average. It was probably average until the Industrial Revolution created the middle class and allowed some movement between the classes.

As I was contemplating what to write about for this post – preferably something illuminating and insightful – I came to the conclusion that I have no real expertise. I’ve NEVER received a trophy for anything in my entire life, even though I did sports, music and dancing as a child (I got a ribbon once but the memory is hazy). What does this reveal about me, that I am mediocre? Why do we fear mediocrity so much? It’s such an awful word – mediocre – it’s average in a bad way, but what is average in a good way…normal, typical, unexceptional?

Dusting off my average-ego I faced the fact that there is no topic on which I can eloquently waffle knowing that I am shedding light and wisdom.

Book reviews: I’d like to write these because I am the suppository of wisdom averagely clued up on books, but it occurs to me that I’m not well organised enough to read and review books with any kind of regular discipline. And there are some bloggers who do this very well – definitely not averagely.

Politics: I’d like nothing more than to weigh into political debate, lampooning our reigning politicians and government with zeal and acid wit…But over at Crikey, The Hoopla, The New Matilda – among others – they cover this very unaveragely. I’m content to read their articles, giggle and shake my head at  human folly.

Nature: I’m a HUGE fan of the natural world. As I’ve said before (probably very inappropriately), “Who needs cocaine when you can gaze at Nature and get high?” But can I translate this passion for Nature into brilliant photography? No, though I do participate in Wordless Wednesday and the Weekly Photo Challenge to try to show off showcase my talent averageness.

Urban Farming: I’ve alluded to my genius attempts in the vegie patch in Transgender Hen. I’ll leave you today with proof of my teetering on the brink of below-averageness with these before and after pics of my amazing deficient ability. I took a photo of a recently purchased hydrangea last Spring as it sat resplendently in a pot on our deck: potted beauty This is that same hydrangea recently, after I released it into nature and dirt and soil….so it would die flourish. But before you dis me completely, grab a microscope and examine the photo carefully. Do you see a minute green shoot? Not HOPELESS after all – just the wrong side of average!IMG_1326Maybe I’ve come at this from the wrong angle.  Maybe it’s the trying, the effort that counts…perhaps that’s good for us. The trying. We like to rise above average and shine a little even if the end result is a bit averagey.

Over to you. Are you a bit, very or below average? And are you cool with your this? (Or maybe you’re a little bit genius?)

Linking today with Essentially Jess and IBOT. Joining Grace for FYBF

The right time.

Meet Blossom!

Meet Blossom!

It’s been over three months since she died. Although Daisy was only a dog, Poppet wasn’t moving on, she was bogged down, bereft with grief. As mentioned in A Little Tribute, she couldn’t recall a time before Daisy. So, very impetuously, I jumped in the car and drove to a faraway place to rescue Blossom…and Poppet, who would never have made the decision to get another dog – she felt guilty and disloyal even thinking about a replacement. Blossom isn’t a replacement. Daisy was unique and so is Blossom.

Since this photo was taken, Blossom has matured morphed into a minx, creating joy havoc all over the place. Basically, the pic below encapsulates Blossom.

Who have you rescued lately, animal, vegetable or human? Or maybe you’ve been rescued rather than the rescuer – restored and revitalised by someone or something…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joining Trish and My Little Drummer Boys and linking up With Some Grace

SERIOUS and other important trivia…

Those of you who read this blog and they’re aren’t all that many, (but it’s QUALITY not quantity that counts right? ;) ) understand that flippancy is my middle name. That my preference in writing posts is for tongue-in-cheek, self-mocking nonsense about chooks, dogs, coffee and Poppet, although anyone who is the parent of a teenager or remembers being a teenager, will appreciate that teenagers and in particular, teenage girls, are anything but trivial individuals. And indeed Precious Poppet is every bit an important and high-maintenance individual.

Autumn Perfection.

Poppet and Autumn Perfection.

 

S & M     D & M

Occasionally though, I do get a bit existential deep and meaningful and wax on about something weightier, more philosophical.  I’ve read a few insightful posts this past week or two on a variety of serious topics – too many to mention now, so please don’t be offended if I’ve commented on your post, but haven’t mentioned it here.

One on incivility in social media stands out: Let’s Talk Twitter and Trolls and Dinner Parties, shall we? Kat’s post looks at ‘trolling’ and general impoliteness on social media and urges us to engage in virtual discourse as one would do with face-to-face discourse, with good manners and decorum. This post made me think about life before social media and I got all contemplative. Of course, there was work, family commitments and writing a year ago, before I started writing a blog and twittering, and I was very busy but it was a different kind of busy. I didn’t jump with glee when I received notification of a comment or an email to inform me I had a new follower on Twitter. I was a rather simple creature in my non-virtual world. I didn’t squeal with girlish delight when my tweet was retweeted or avidly read a particularly warm and charming comment on my post. I was spared the pleasure, or pain…if my tweet disappeared unanswered into cyber space or my post languished comment-less. I wasn’t needy. I think I was a bit cooler.

Yet there’s so much good about social media – engaging with clever and interesting people everywhere – the sheer scope of talent and opinion is vast. They might not be real friends in the sense of those we meet up with regularly for coffee or brunch or dinner or just meet up. But real ones, nonetheless.

SERIOUS

I read several brilliant posts written on ANZAC Day and its significance and one lingers:  ‘Reflections on the selflessness and sacrifice of some ordinary Australians…’ I’ve never before read anything more lyrically worded on war and its devastating implications than that of Wing Commander Sharon Bown. Simply beautiful words. Then there’s Majoring in Literature, an erudite blog that’s good value, reviewing books with a close understanding of the text, combining travel and history, interspersed with beautiful photos.

And there was Deb’s interesting post on idealised TV shows and life envy: ‘Why I won’t be watching Offspring.’ I seriously believe ‘life envy’ has increased exponentially since the advent of social media. There might have been perfect people with perfect lives around before but we didn’t know about them. We were spared their perfection.

Bad Behaviour and Girls’ Schools.

Jonah Takalua has a lot to answer for. I recall when Summer Heights High came out  a few years ago and Year 8 boys thought it was funny to draw dictation on the black/white board. They chanted “Puck you, Miss. JOKE Miss!” with monotonous regularity until I wanted to send them all back to Tonga, except they weren’t from Tonga. They were typical Aussie kids just trying to escape writing essays.

Image courtesy of: futuremusicgroup.com

Image courtesy of:
futuremusicgroup.com

Jonah from Tonga is back. No wonder Pinky (that witty minx blogger I know) wants to work in a girls’ school. This post is HILARIOUS: ‘Why I want to work in an all girls’ school!‘  And you don’t need to be a teacher to appreciate it. (Apparently smiling – even the act of stretching your lips in a grinning expression whether you feel happy or not – releases feel-good endorphins that literally lift your spirits). I guarantee that after reading this post you’ll be giggling, very naturally. :D

CHOOK UPDATE – THE STORY OF RED.

We bought Red, Snowy and Blacky as two day old chicks  all ostensibly GIRLS. Snowy and Blacky were feminine hens but Red was always a bit butch blokey. But hey we’re not discriminatory about gender in our family, feathers or no feathers. But when she he started crowing pre-dawn, a VOCIFEROUS TRILLING “COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOO!” it was time to take Red back to the farm (we’re in the middle of suburbia!) I should’ve noticed before this, especially when she he was mounting cuddling the other hens in an unplatonic way. The Sexer had got it wrong. (Bizarre as it sounds, there is a profession/job entitled “Sexer”. They look at chicks’ private parts and deem them male or female…Sometimes Sexers get it wrong).

CHICKIBABES.

growing chickadees

They’re getting bigger and have moved to a larger pen, but I’ve observed an undesirable hen dynamic: Lasquisha – the biggest and bossiest – dominates. Unfortunately, the pecking-order is alive and flourishing in real life. Lasquisha keeps Cinnamon, Princess and Lacey under control. She pecks them on the head for no apparent reason except to show she’s the boss…a bit like the classroom/playground bully, really.

I'm boss!

I’m boss!

Who is big and bossy in your life? Or are you the boss? And I’m not being sizeist either, I mean big in the metaphorical sense…

Linking up today with Rhianna and Thankful Thursday which has made me focus on the things I am grateful for: I’m thankful that Lasquisha can’t boss me around (I just can’t avoid flippancy!) I’m thankful that Poppet is no longer being bullied. And I’m thankful for the dying splendour of Autumn leaves. Is there anything in your life that you’re thankful for?

Joining With Some Grace for FYBF

Transgender Hen.

Visiting Grace at FYBF today.

Red.

Red.

You’ve probably gleaned that the above isn’t a real rooster, it’s made of metal. This statue is in memory of Red, the handsome hen-rooster we had to take back to the farm. You see Red was meant to be female. We were assured he was a girl-chick when we bought those three tiny chicks prior to ‘the massacre’. Red’s story is diverting, if only to show what an accomplished  incompetent urban farmer I am. We picked up two day old chicks – black, white and red – from the free-range farm and gave them the imaginative mundane names of Blacky, Snowy and Red. They grew into gorgeous hens. Well, two did. But more about this later. It’s Wordless Wednesday and I’ve already written too many words. More pictures…

Our latest chicks are growing fast, losing their fluffy feathers, gaining sleek ones.

From left:  Princess, Cinnamon, Lasquisha, Lacey.

Princess, Cinnamon, Lasquisha, Lacey.

Identical twins Cherry and Merry will start laying in about a month. Meanwhile they’re exploring the garden…

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The hens might look pretty but for an urban farmer my gardening skills are amazing  horrendous.

Image courtesy of: homeimprovguide.com

Image courtesy of: homeimprovguide.com

 

This is how I envisage the vegie patch.

 

 

 

Image courtesy of: ourlocallife.com

Image courtesy of: ourlocallife.com

 

 

This is the reality.

 

 

 

 

However, The Orchard is flourishing alive . A lemon and an orange tree are clinging to life after the lime tree dropped dead retired. But who needs a lime tree when you can buy that nice condensed lime juice in a packet and keep it in the fridge? It never dies.

 

The Orchard (note metal sunflower - will not die).

The Orchard (note metal sunflower – will not die).

Are you an urban or country gardener? Can you grow anything – herbs in a pot on the windowsill, tomatoes on the balcony? Any tips?

Linking up with Trish over at My Little Drummer Boys.

Chicks, cafes and other important trivia…

Linking up today with Essentially Jess and IBOT.

Poppet with Lacey.

Poppet with Lacey.


We bought chicks this week. It’s been eighteen months since ‘the massacre’, when we lost all seven of our hens to a fox attack in suburban Sydney. I don’t blame the fox – it was Spring, prime breeding time and no doubt it was a hungry vixen with a den of cubs waiting for a tasty chicken breakfast. But I won’t deny it was traumatising to go into the chook pen in the morning and face an eerie silence and corpses strewn around, bloodied and headless. We lost more than egg-laying birds, we lost pets – hand-reared, all with names and individual personalities. We couldn’t replace them immediately and when we did – six weeks later after a massive fox-proofing operation – it was with generic Isa Browns from an intensive chicken farm, still laying but in bad shape – debeaked, scrawny, missing chunks of feathers. They’d spent their short lives standing on wire in a small cage and when we first put them into the pen, they stood motionless for an hour, shocked to feel earth beneath their claws. They’d never walked about on soil before, never dug for worms. Very slowly they began to scratch (important piece of chook trivia: hens live to scratch). Those five generic ex-battery hens had entered Chez Chooky Heaven. They are now fat and fluffy…wish I’d taken before and after pics – you’d be very impressed. :)

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When you cheat on your local cafe…

Have your ever offended your local cafe owners? Bizarre as this sounds, it’s precisely what I did. We have eight cafes in our suburb, three of which make decent coffee, so naturally we only visit these three. But I’d been lax, I’d neglected one cafe. I didn’t give it a moment’s thought when I picked up a takeaway over the Easter break but I was met with a distinctly frosty reception. No smile or How are you? and a muttered, What coffee was it again? (been drinking skim lattes there for years). I found myself gushing and grinning in a fawning, demented way as I recalled that Wait, I haven’t been to this cafe for ages! I’d been unfaithful, I’d cheated…in short, I am a cafe whore. Guilt washed over me as I acknowledged how thoughtless and cruel I’d been in going to my other two lovers baristas for at least three weeks, behind their back. The cool demeanour was payback. 

cafe pic

Note to self: Cafe proprietors have feelings – very delicate sensibilities, in fact. Don’t spread yourself around too thinly. Do not be promiscuous in your coffee/tea drinking. Or if you do two-time or three-time, do it with more panache than I.

Are you or have you ever been, a cafe whore? Or are you loyal and faithful, eschewing beverage infidelity?