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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Notes to Self.

I have a note stuck here beside the computer in front of me that says,

"Have fun with Land of Giants. If you don't, who else will?"

I like to write myself little motivational notes, but you need to keep changing them or you stop seeing them.  For the time I was writing the Freya sequel, I had one up that said.

"Choose the wildest option. Freya would!"

(And I totally did!)

Two 'notes to self,' on my wall to the left of here that don't change are one that says,

 "Dear Brave soul: finish one thing, dammit. With love, Dr E. " (Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes)

And one that says,

"Just do the work and remember that I love you." (Odin.)

No, he doesn't mind this picture, or any other one. 
Above those two notes is one that says, "I release the need to be afraid."

And another that says,

"Listen, you are meant to matter." (Durga Holtzhauser)

Another note to self that I really like is one given to me by my Mickel Therapy Practitioner:

"Self Esteem is seeing yourself as God sees you, nothing more, nothing less."

Her God is different to my gods, but it still works for me.

Cool art by Joseph Weston

Just do the work and remember that your god loves you.  And, finish one thing, dammit!

What notes do you keep around to inspire your work and life?    


Friday, 29 July 2016

Music to Write to: Show of Hands, "The Long Way home."

Writing for Land of Giants is still going well. In my last session for the week, I went over 70 000 words.  I'm right on track.

One of the albums that is currently giving me a little thrill every time one of the songs comes by my writing shuffle is this one by Show of Hands.  I can't say as I have a pure favorite. I pretty much love every song, but here are some that might just edge in over the others, although, what about... oh heck, these will do or I'll end up posting every one! 

The title song:

Such a great lively song. 

This one, When Breme Fell at Hastings, is the song that spurred me to start learning Anglo-Saxon.  I just love the language as used in the start and finish of this song.

This beautiful, timely song, Mesopotamia, gives me goosebumps every time.

Keep Hauling.  An anthem for anyone having a hard time, and makes me think of my fellow Lymies in particular.  Keep Hauling boys and girls!

This is the song that was played on Druidcast Podcast and got me onto these guys (and sometimes, gal too).  Damh the Bard plays so much great music on that podcast!  

And finally, a bouncy singalong one.  Sweet Bella.

The whole of this album has generously been put onto Youtube by Show of Hands, but if you love it as much as I do, please do buy it to help keep them making more music.


Monday, 25 July 2016

Bonfires Are Cool!

We had three bonfires ready to go, and it was time to light the biggest, dryest one.  We are rather spoiled for bonfires here, what with all the tidying of trees we have to do, and I always think that the best way to make them special again is to do it with other people who aren't so lucky. It seems, though, that every time we light one, it ends up with just us and maybe mum to enjoy the flames.

So, since we feel so much better these days, we decided to go for it and invite our Brigade to come for the first bonfire of the year. It was a bit of a milestone because we haven't held a party since before the Lyme really took hold.

Reminds me of the sort of fun things we used to do, and often I would make silly invites to go with them. This pair were favorites so I kept them. 

From the Asterix comics, of course.

Well, he did look a lot like Buddha before the beard!

Anyway, after fifteen years and more, it was finally time for another party, so we made two sorts of soups, wrapped tatties in foil, watched the radar with fingers crossed, and just in time the rain clouds blew away and we got to have our party under the most beautiful, crisp, clear skies. Some of these pics were taken by Andrew, some by me, and some by my good Bro-in-Law, Craig.  

As you can see, Labradors featured highly in the party, since all five of our family dogs were there.  The night was truly lovely.  Set to go as low as 3C down on the flats, it would surely come close to zero up here in the hills.  Warm jackets and hats were the order of the event! 

It got darker.  The fire blazed and warmed us all. We ate yummy food.  We chatted amenably.  Dogs cadged off people. Kids ran about.  It was truly a community event!  

As it got colder, the hardy types crowded closer and closer to to the mellowing flames. Stars blazed above us.  Much chocolate was eaten, except by dogs of course!

I must admit, though, that my favorite time was at the end with only a few of us left, sitting almost in the fire to keep warm, periodically getting up to turn and warm up our cold backs and bums, and chatting peacefully as we gazed at the living coals.

Life is good!


Friday, 22 July 2016

Great Danes, Monsters and Men.

Another busy week.  I keep saying that, I know.  I'm not trying not make a virtue of it.  Damh the Bard's blog post the other week was on an article he wrote about how people make a virtue about being busy nowadays. Actually, I am kind of glad that I CAN be busy these days and not flop into a heap of goo in the middle of it all.

When I have sat down for quiet time this week, I've been making daisy squares for the afghan I'm making, and listening to Bram Stoker's Dracula audiobook, or I'm reading the second book of the Expanse series by James S. A. Corey on kindle.  This is the first book in case you want to hunt it out, which I recommend that you do.

Man these are great books, fantastic space opera, but with totally cool woman characters and complex characters all round.  Best Sci Fi I ever read.  Thanks for putting me onto them, Cuz!

If we sit quietly enough, this little guy or gal, a Quenda, also known as a Bandicoot, sneaks out from under the railway carriage next to the cottage and does a bit of daytime insect hunting to make a change from nocturnal diggings. Pics taken very quietly from inside.  

I hope he or she is smart enough to keep out of the clutches of the dogs.  At least she's picked a good, safe hidey hole to run back to.

This marvelous gnarly old Marri tree was beside the trail on one of our walks this week.  Look how strongly he leans and holds himself up, despite his great weight and age!  I know you have to tilt your head but it was the only way to get him into the shot!

Andrew vibrated all his lyme bugs into doing him damage this week, while compacting on the driveway for the fire station ready for it to be concreted. Must be a bit like those rife machines that kill them with certain frequencies.  I've noticed the same thing using the brush cutter.  You herx.  It's weird. 

We popped back up to the station this morning after our dog walk and they were busy pouring the concrete.

No more bumpy turnouts!   Yay!

Writing on Land of Giants has gone well this week.  Over the 65 000 mark and it is really flowing well now.  We are deep into both action and feeeeeelings!  Oh my!

We also visited our friend Suzy this week. She has a new Great Dane puppy, Ruth the Harlequin, and we went to go see the new baby, and give Suzy some of my excess kefir grains.  Woody, who was a puppy last time we visited, has pretty much doubled in size at nine months, and man, when he jumps up, he towers well above my head.  So funny for him to be such a goobery puppy, but sooo huge!

Andrew had a lot of fun with all the dogs, even though at one point he and, I think, Murphy knocked heads.

Sweet Rumour is still my favorite. She liked her ear rubs from Andrew.

We both loved little Ruth's confidence and sweetness too.

And little Gizmo made sure he got lots and lots of cuddles from the best dog-patter in the West!

Niamh and I went looking at Of Monsters and Men videos yesterday. The first album had the most amazing fantasy videos, including mind opening lyric videos that just repeat and repeat but somehow blow my mind. This one reminded me of Bunyip Dreaming, though the creatures aren't the same as my Broofers.

This is the video I looked out for Niamh because I knew she'd love it.

I play this song on guitar. The first time I heard it I knew it was a song for Andrew and I:  King and Lionheart.

The second album is just as beautiful.  The official lyric videos have been blowing my mind again. Such a simple concept: Have other people mime/sing the songs.  Such passion and beauty is what came of it. Love them all but this one really struck me.            

 Ahhh, music, what would I do without you?  Not delight, dance or cry as often, that's for sure!      

Tomorrow night we are going to try for a bonfire in the bottom paddock.  The forecast is looking a bit dodgy, but the mulligatawny soup is all made ready to go. Fingers crossed!    



Sunday, 17 July 2016

Slouchie Beanie and dark mornings.

Our walk this morning was down the Jane Brook Valley a ways. We've been using the map and slowly walking bits of the local bridle paths that we haven't walked before.

We were on the south side of the valley, a little way up the hill, and it was interesting to see the slanting sun just popping in behind the trees on the north side. There were some houses down by the brook that must have still been so dark and cold.

Light absolutely glowed out from high up the hill on the other side, leaving our walk even darker by comparison.

Then just before we got back to the car, we got high enough and the sun came up enough, and our last few metres of walk were sunlit.

Here comes the sun! 

It really has been a cold winter, a least it has for Western Australia.  Andrew got these shots when we had the frost the other day.  I guess for people from other places it is pretty small beans, but to us, wow, visible icey bits!  Amazing! 

The plants weren't enjoying it much, though, but I should think that both dandelions and lupins have evolved to cope, coming from colder climes as they do,  

It's been perfect weather for wearing my new slouchie beanie.  Still loving it!   What do you think?


I wore it yesterday when we went to watch mum in her first performance with the local choir.  Way to go mum!   That's her, third from the left in the front row.


They did a selection of songs with sewing as a theme, because it was being done at an exhibition of historical sewing machines and sewing.  It was much more interesting than I expected, and the singing was lovely.

My Bro-in-law just sent me this pic he got of mum looking so happy.  Singing is so good for you!

My favorite exhibition was a good old Aussie Hills hoist with many soft old pattern papers pegged out on it, and each had a story written on it about people's memories of sewing.  So many were funny and so many were touching.  There was a lady there having people tell her stories and writing them directly onto a paper pattern and hanging them up.  Art in motion! 

Niamh and Molly had a great time using old hand-driven singer sewing machines the exhibitors had there ready to go.  I too remember using my grandma's old Singer foot-treadle sewing machine when we stayed at her place.  In fact, I still have it here because we couldn't part with it after she died.  The belt needs work, but yesterday we found a person who can repair it.  Yay!


Friday, 15 July 2016

Creativitiy in the deeps of winter. And pink boots.

Do you like my new pink work boots? Sis came with me to try on Firey boots to fit her and I found these and, well, the rest is history.  Nice to be chainsawing in something a little tougher than Volleys.  :)

It's been a creative week here. Hit the 60 000 word mark on Land of Giants and having a good time rolling out the Megafauna and tricky bad guys to test my characters. I'd say 60 000 words is about the halfway mark for this book, since I'd planned it being about 120 000 all up, a similar word count to Land of Fire.  Halfway!  Yay me!

Also this week I composed a little tune that I've been calling, "Muninn's Journey." This week, rather than work on the song I have been adapting, I just felt like plinking away on my lyre and purely composing, something I haven't done for a little while.

It's been a good week for sitting by the fire playing music.  Cold!  Cold for here anyway!  

So, I got my little song sorted, then videoed it with my phone so I would have a recording in case I forgot some of it, always a danger until I get around to roughly annotating it. I think I would normally play it through twice, or perhaps each half twice at once. This is just once, through, with usual deliberate mistakes.  :P 

Here is Muninn's Journey, via belly cam. I know, I know, I missed most of my hand, but the tummy angles were just wrong for any better view.  :D

It's also been a good week for crocheting.  Cyrano likes it best if I crochet up at the table, which I do for more complex things like my slouchie beanie.  It's finished, by the way!  Wove in the last ends just today.  I love it!  Feel like it was made for me!  (Which of course it was!)

I haven't got a pic of me wearing it yet.  Andrew did get this pic the other night of Cyrano and I enjoying some quality crochet time, while we listened to Bram Stoker's Dracula on audiobook.

Wednesday night we went to drum circle and had a good time.   We've missed it the last few weeks for one reason and another, so was good to get Old Goaty out and really go for it. 

It's been a very good week!  Hope yours was too!  Tonight is the local folk and blues club, and tomorrow is Fireys!  Yay!   


Sunday, 10 July 2016

Poem: Fox

I wrote this poem when I was still Kristina Fry.  That was a long time ago!  It was published in an anthology created from the entries to the Newcastle Poetry Prize in 1995.

Dorothy Hewett, a writer I admire and a judge of the competition, said, "What I look for in a poem is risk taking, a sense of the fabulous,and a sophisticated technique.  All the best poems in this collection share these qualities."

I hope mine was one of them!


In the bright greyness
of before-dawn
my speeding eye
is caught by a flashing of movement
through the long grass of the fallow paddock
here I've often watched
and pitied
the single sheep in his lonely flockless life
slow the car
the sheep is lying under the tree
watching too
right in the centre
a fox
a fox dancing
he glows
he is young slim alive
I stop the car
the fox is dancing through the paddock
one step two step three step
change legs
one step two step three step
tiny tiny feet
as light as a butterfly
his ears are pricked
above his delicate foxy face
his tail
what do you call it?
his brush
a brush is a dead trophy on a car aerial
his tail
is defying gravity
floating along straight back
as if on water
I sit in my car
on the way to my mundane job
and know and feel this for a magic moment
this wonderful creature of fantasy
is not the feral pest of the biology books
nor the gingery shadow
which slips under the headlights at night
nor is he the same as the skulker
who took my hens
one by one
six in six nights
scorning my protective efforts
leaving their severed heads behind for me to mourn
no this fox is lightness and brightness
wildness and so alive
as I watch he slips through the fence
out of sight
heading for home in the hills
I drive in the other direction
smiling feeling good
feeling privileged
Ah young one I think
be careful
you are not wily yet
but my thoughts are of
guns traps poison
as I speed along in my lethal weapon
and when I drive again to work
along the same stretch of road
in the grey brightness of near-dawn
the small ginger carcase
at the roadside
is as saddening and personal
as a death in the family
and I am crushed
by the guilt of my species.

All three beautiful artworks are by Katie Grove.     

Friday, 8 July 2016

Skies and Other Art

It's been a week for great skies!

Mostly dawns:

And one sunset:

The other night we saw our niece Molly in a play.  It was Wyrd Sisters, based on the Terry Pratchett novel, so you just know I was well into that!  She is a fantastic litt... oh can't really say little actress can I?  At 12 she is way taller than me already!   Was a really fun production and the depth of talent was great to see.

We wore our cloaks because, well, why the hell not?  And because it was cold in the old theatre, and to dress up for the play a bit.   

This week I also finished the little portrait I started of Niamh when she was working on her own portrait, just because I had to have a canvas to demonstrate on, and she was what was in front of me.  She liked it so much I said I'd finish it and put her hand and a paint brush in it and she can hang it right next to her own work, so it will be a painting of her doing a painting next to the painting.  :)

It's not a perfect capture.  I was using a scuzzy old brush and weird colours with the canvas on my lap, because she had all the good stuff, and I never expected to keep what I started, but she likes it so that's what matters!

Cyrano, the artist's kitty.  He was hoping for some more life-modelling work.

Last weekend we were up at the polling station recruiting for the brigade and mum came up to vote.  These are her two kids, Angus and Tess, waiting for her to come back out.

And here is Tuppy with her Grandma Tess when we minded her for a while on Sunday.

I think this pic of Andrew out recruiting is adorable!