Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Sunday, August 31, 2008

As usual . . .

. . . Sunday weigh in.

I weighed in at 76.0 this morning, so I've only lost 600g since last week. There were three days last week when normal eating was pretty much impossible - Wednesday at the field days, and Friday and Saturday at Mum's - so I'm glad it's that much. Back on the straight and narrow from today!

Overall I've lost 5.4kg. More than halfway to my 10kg goal, and well and truly more than halfway to my 10% goal!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Little joys

I spent the day with Mum and two of my siblings today. 10yo brother and 12yo sister are just getting over the flu, and Mum was going stir-crazy from minding them, so I babysat on Friday night while she and Stepdad went to a concert (WA Symphony orchestra, and they discovered when they got there that they were seated next to two of Mum's oldest friends, totally by coincidence - weird, huh!). I slept over afterwards and spent the day just hanging out and helping Mum get stuff done. It was nice.

Anyways, on the way home I went to the shops, and while I was there I spotted both "The Princess Bride" and a Judy Garland double pack with "Meet Me in St Louis" and "Easter Parade" in it. They were on special, so I grabbed them. I watched "The Princess Bride" as soon as I got home. I hadn't watched it for about a decade, and the last time I watched it was with my first real boyfriend, so I didn't actually *watch* much of it lol. I really enjoyed it, and I'm going to download the sheet music for some of the soundtrack, because it's such nice music. But, I can't get over the fact that Mandy Patinkin - like, Gideon from "Criminal Minds" - played Inigo Montoya. I've seen the image of that character so many times and never twigged. It was him, but it wasn't, but it was . . . lol.

I'm watching "Meet Me in St Louis" now and practically falling off the couch laughing. I've wanted to see it for ages because I love the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". I knew it was about families and was a romance, but I had no idea how funny it was. I think I have a new favourite movie :-)

It's nice to have found some things to smile about this evening. S and I are having some problems at the moment - he is extremely stressed and has gone into shut-down mode (too busy to see me, too stressed to be affectionate, etc), leaving me feeling very unloved and insecure. I'm trying to be trusting and patient, and I'm praying that it's temporary and we'll see it through safely. But it's hard. So I'm thankful for the little joys, at least.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Writing is *Hard*

Around about 3 years ago, back when I was living in Sydney, I was having trouble falling asleep one night and distracted myself by plotting out a new story. As soon as the major players fell into place, it became clear that each of the three 'factions' was scheming against the others, in a format known as a Xanatos Gambit.

Essentially, a Xanatos Gambit is a two-layered plan. The outer, obvious layer is meant to fool the opponent into thinking that they've tumbled on the instigator's cunning plan, and can now diffuse it. However, the opponent is meant to think that, and they are meant to succeed. What the opponent doesn't realise is that by foiling the instigator's obvious plan, they are actually furthering the inner, hidden plan.

For example, a master thief might trick the owner of a precious item into believing that he has worked out how to crack the owner's safe, causing the owner to remove the item to another location. What the owner doesn't realise is that the thief hasn't cracked the safe but has actually worked out how to get into the other location. Now that the item has been removed from the safe to the other location, the thief can steal it.

Anyways, as I lay there trying to fall asleep, I developed this wonderful Xanatos Gambit. It was brilliant. I rehearsed it over and over again in my mind, worked out the kinks, saw the characters clearly . . . and then fell asleep.

The next day, I could remember the name of one character, and the basic characteristics of two others. And that was all. The spectacular gambit had completely evaporated.

Over the weekend I sorted through all of the main themes in my writing, going back years, and started to form a plot around some of the most common elements - the story facets that mean the most to me. The two main characters of that nearly-forgotten night came back to me, and found their way into this story as one of the four main groups, three of which are trying to run Xanatos Gambits against three of the others (the fourth group are interwoven but not combative). So I'm trying to reconstruct the elements of those cunning plans or build new ones, and it's most frustrating to know that I once had one that would have worked so, so well!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Weigh-In

Weight Today: 76.6kg

Total weight lost to date: 4.8kg

Weight loss in excess of expected total for this date: 2.8kg


I originally said 10kg by Christmas, but I'm almost halfway there after only 4 weeks of dieting. With determination I should be able to hit that 10kg off goal by the start of next term. I won't get to my goal weight by Christmas, but I think I can do 15-20kg by Christmas and have the rest of it off by Easter. I'm enjoying this!

I'm now losing about a kilo a week, and I'm moving myself off the frozen Weight Watchers meals and onto things I've cooked myself. I'm trying to get used to the small portion sizes required to fit my meat and carbs within my available weight watchers points. I've discovered a neat trick - no matter what I'm having for dinner, I start by covering the plate in a thick layer of lettuce, sometimes drizzled with a couple of teaspoons of mayonnaise or salad dressing. Lettuce is points-free but very filling and contains dietary fibre and vitamins, so it's all good, and it bulks up a small meal really well! A good way to feel full while staying within my points.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


This evening I've been trawling through all of my 'story' files - all the scraps of planning and snippets of plot I've gathered over the years, along with some actual WIPs that petered out. The reason for the rummaging was that I've been writing all of the different plot themes and good titles in texta on a big piece of paper which I've now pinned to the wall. I want to come up with a new idea and I think having all my favourite ideas visible in front of me will help.

Anyway, during my search I came across a few old WIPs, some dating back as far as 1996. I didn't even know they were still on my hard drive lol - I thought I'd deleted them long ago. As soon as I started reading, I started to giggle. There was some good writing in there, definitely. I showed distinct talent as a teenager. But, oh . . . the derivativeness! The Mary-Sues! The names! The sheer teenaged absurdity of the boy-girl interactions!

In the interests of fair play, I'm going to post a few excerpts from the various stories. They're painful in some ways, but I think the amusement value is sufficient . . .

These first excerpts are from a story which never really had a name (apart from 'mediaeval novel') but I slogged out a good 13,000 words of it in 1996-1997. I started writing it right after I first got my hands on a baby name book, so the names were . . . interesting.

Here's the first section. No prizes for guessing my age and appearance at the time of writing . . .

Princess Nadine of Radnor sat in her throne at the high table, and looked around the banquet hall.
Nadine was fifteen years old. She was very beautiful, with long, dark, brown hair and hazel eyes. She was quite small, but could be very imposing of manner.
She was the eldest child and heir apparent of King Warwick. She had a twelve-year-old sister called Alana, a similarly small girl with blonde hair, hazel eyes and a slender frame, to whom Nadine had been like a mother since their mother had died.
Their mother. Nadine thought about her mother as she sat regally in her throne. Queen Nellwyn had sat in this throne many times in the past, before her death from a pestilence seven years ago.

Nadine looked around the banquet hall again. When she looked down off the podium where she sat, there were always faces upturned towards her, eyes full of respect for their ‘almost queen’. That was what the folk of Radnor had decided to call her since she had taken over the state duties her mother had once performed.
Then there was the fact that this banquet was in her honour. It was a massive celebration to congratulate her on her betrothal.
She sighed. The significance of this celebration was not really the betrothal, but the fact that she and Prince Gerrard of Mansfeild, her husband to be, had realised what their parents had known all their lives.
Gerrard nudged her.
“What is the matter?” he asked her. “You sighed.”
“Oh, all this fancy nonsense is getting to me.” She gestured round the hall. “They already knew we would get married.”
“Hmm,” Gerrard replied. “Maybe we can get out of here in a while and go for a walk in the garden.”
Nadine gave him a sarcastic look.
“Do you think they would let us?”
“It was only a suggestion.”

A gong rang and the revellers below fell silent.
“It is now time for thee, my worthy subjects, to display thy loyalty to me as an exhibition of thy congratulations to mine daughter and son to be, Princess Nadine of Radnor and Prince Gerrard of Mansfeild.” King Warwick, Nadine’s father, announced grandly.
Below them, all the nobility in the crowd rose and lined up before them. Nadine rose and began counting off names in her head.
Count Orvin and Duchess Kestin of Ford,
Earl Fulton of Kenley,
Duke Malvin and Duchess Kyna of Guildford and, surprisingly, their daughter Aidan. Nadine and Aidan had fought over who was going to marry Gerrard and had not spoken to each other since last year.
“Aidan!” said Nadine, delighted. “This is a pleasant surprise!”
“Well, I thought I had better patch things up, since you were obviously right.”
“Thanks, Aidan.” They had to move on now, but Nadine made a mental note to speak to her cousin later.

Count Milbourn and Countess Meara of Crawford, and their three children Brooke, Elston and Irvette, Nadine’s cousins,
Lord Rhys of Harland,
Lady Faine of Cromwell, and her daughter Zenaida,
Lord Lancelot and Lady Athenais,
Her second cousin, Mitchell of Lindley, representing his parents,
Duke Lucas and Duchess Edon from the Island,...
The list, and the people, went on and on. By the time her youngest cousin, five-year-old Maidie of Ford, had lisped ‘Congratulations’, and everyone finally sat down, Nadine’s head was spinning.

“Maybe now we can go for that walk,” murmured Gerrard.
“Do not count upon it,” Nadine replied. “They may want us to make speeches.”
King Warwick stood up.
“On this day, forty years ago,” he announced, “two baby boys were born. One was born to Princess Holly of Mansfeild. This child was named Crosley. The other was born to Princess Farica, wife of Prince Macey of Radnor. This child was called Warwick.
“The grandmother of these two children, Queen Feena of Radcliffe, as the overkingdom was then called, was delighted. She asked the two mothers to raise the two cousins as brothers, and one day, if it were possible, to wed their children. Well, neither of those mothers are alive today to see it, but Queen Feena’s wish has been granted. The son of King Crosley and the daughter of King Warwick will be wed this Holy Sabbath.”
The whole crowd burst into cheers. Many of them would not even have listened, but they cheered anyway. Everyone was in high spirits.

Suddenly, there was a loud thump on the huge wooden doors. Everyone fell silent.
The hall was silent.
“Nadine,” said her father calmly.
Nadine nodded. She already knew the plan for an invasion.
“Alana,” she said, and her little sister was instantly by her side. “Take all the women and children to the women’s hall and bolt the door. Then distribute everyone between the smaller rooms and have them bolt the doors of those too. And I want you to be in there when those doors are bolted!”
Alana nodded and began to walk away.
“Aidan will help you.” Nadine called softly after her.
Alana went from person to person, steadily gathering a group of followers. Soon Aidan was doing the same.
Nadine turned and watched them file out the door. She wondered whether she would ever see them again. She watched the last of them vanish, then regretfully turned to face her King.

Meanwhile, King Warwick had turned to Gerrard, his face serious.
“Gerrard,” he said, “I know that you quite possibly want to stay here and see the action, but there is something you must do for me. There is a tunnel, that only your father, Nadine, your older brother and sister and I know about, or has your father told you about it?” He looked hopeful.
Gerrard nodded.
“The tunnel runs from Mansfeild Castle to the border, where it comes out on this side of the hill. An identical tunnel runs from here to the other side of the hill. The two tunnels join underneath the hill so you can change tunnels without being seen,” he recited.
“Correct. Our tunnel is disguised as a shed where an emergency horse is stabled. We take care that there is always a horse there. I want you to take the horse and, using the tunnels, get your father down here just as soon as you can. You go out through the kitchen to get there. Good luck.” The King cleared his throat gruffly.
Gerrard turned to Nadine.
“Look after yourself, Nadi,” he said. “I’ll be back.”
“You had better be careful,” threatened Nadine gently.
“I will.” Gerrard replied. Then he kissed Nadine and walked away.
Nadine swallowed, then lifted her chin bravely.
“I will retire to my chambers now, Father,” she said.
“Go, then, my child, and with my blessing,” her father gave the traditional answer.
Nadine turned to go.
“Nadine?” her father called her back. “Even if I am killed, and the castle taken, remember who you are.”
Nadine nodded, unable to speak, and left the hall.

Oh, deary, deary me . . .

Nadine is of course captured by the invaders after they kill her father (not without a spirited sword fight between the plucky Nadine and her adult male captor). Nadine is to be married to the invader's son, and she miraculously anticipates her captors' every thought and arranges to have Gerrard rescue her at the altar (while also correcting the behaviour of the captor's younger children, of course . . .). Nadine and Gerrard then get married and fall pregnant and Aidan also meets her true love, and then Gerrard's castle falls under siege . . .

There are also gypsies.


This next is a story about Danica, a young magician, who lives with her magician tutor, who is also her foster father. I wrote 6560 words of this one. In this scene, Danica has been captured by her very evil biological father (although he doesn't know that she is his daughter) and the equally evil arch-sorcerer. She is taken to a dungeon and menaced by her half-brother. Highlights are attempts at scary but sanitary dungeons, and the real name of the sixth sense.

When Logan said Danica was reeling, he was right. Every time she opened her eyes, stars that shouldn’t have been there swarmed in the path if her sight. After a few moments, the gave up trying to see and just kept her eyes shut. She heard many voices and felt herself being carried through a house - her feet trailed on hard floors. They went down steps, shaking her sore head almost unbearably. Hard, unsympathetic hands chained her to a wall - or it could have been a table... she didn’t know which way was up.
Then they left her alone. Danica wasn’t sure how long for; fifteen minutes to an hour was her vague approximation. Sometime during that time she opened her eyes.

The stars that shouldn’t have been there had vanished, but the sight that replaced them was not much better. Her captors’ dungeon was just that - a place of imprisonment and torture. Implements of pain lined a wall - Danica noticed thankfully, that wall was the one furthermost from her.

She was chained to a wall, as she had thought. No-one else was in the dungeon and no skeletons hung from the walls. ‘It might be scary,’ thought Danica, ‘but at least it’s well kept’.

Someone entered suddenly, and Danica snapped her eyes shut, hoping to convince them she was still semiconscious. She could hear someone breathing harshly. She tried to set a spell to ward off pain and was shocked to hear the wavering of failure. She tried again, with the same result. Danica was suddenly very afraid.

‘Power is internal and eternal. It cannot be lost, only blocked or masked’ Loros had said to her once.

The unknown breather chuckled next to her head, and Danica flinched involuntarily, ruining her semiconscious pose.
“Trying to magic your way out won’t help, little lady,” said the voice. A male, youngish adult. Self-confident and evil.
“Those chains have a spell on them. You can’t use magic if you’re in them,” he said. Danica would have cursed if she had not still hoped to fool the man talking to her

“My name is Kane, and I’d really like to know yours,” said the man. Danica ignored him. She felt the spell on the chains now, and knew with a sinking finality that she was helpless. The person who had set the spell was far stronger than Danica ever hoped to be... an arch-sorcerer. The spell also took away some of the sixth sense every magician was born with - the sense of spell.

“I’m waiting,” breathed Kane. Danica wondered if she should lie and get herself out sooner. But advice Kellan had given her many years ago stopped her. ‘Don’t lie unless you know every detail of the situation’. Danica had no idea of the situation - she knew lying could be fatal.

The sense of spell . . . *sporfle*

The last one is from a WIP from my teenage years, but the concept itself is older than that. The first iteration of this story is found in a notebook which I carried everywhere in my first few years of high school. I even made a padded cloth cover for it, as seen in a craft book. I started writing the story aged 12. It featured elves, secret worlds reached through a door in a tree, and a family of 10 princes and princesses, all of whom had gemstone names. It was desperately derivative of JRR Tolkien, Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings and Ursula LeGuin, with a touch of M.M. Kaye. This story was my passion at that age, along with clunky poetry hehe. It's been through many versions, and even now I occasionally revisit the idea and see whether I can re-jig it to suit audiences other than Christine Aged 12. I'm sure I'll get it out there one day - the basic idea is sound, I just need to break it out of its original box.

This version is about a 1997 vintage, I believe, although there are only a few minor alterations to distinguish it from the 1993 version. By this stage, the story had been set in an invented continent, where most places were named after my friends and family. Here, the 10 princes and princesses are picnicking in the forest and discover how to cross into the long-lost world of the elves.

One day, the children decided to go on a picnic. Very soon they were making their way through the Joneen Forrest that lay outside the palace.

They stopped in a little dell, farther into the forest than they had ever been. It was a lovely place, with soft green grass peppered with little flowers. Birds sang in the trees and the music of a nearby brook could be heard.

Diamanta often ‘played mother’ towards the other children, and today was no exception. She sat and watched to see that none of them got up to any mischief. None of the others knew why Diamanta did this - they never did anything mischievous anyway.

Christobel and Grace had brought little baskets with them, and were thoroughly occupied with picking flowers to take back to the castle. Paul and Carmen sat in a tree together, reading a book. The rest - Arren, Agate, Judith, Daniel and Willis - were soon involved in an active game of chasey.

A while later, Agate became bored of playing chasey and left the game. He explored, poking here and there. In one place he discovered a hollow full of violets, in another the tinkling brook. For a moment, he thought he saw a few fleeting figures running swiftly through the thick trees ahead. Agate had been told many stories of the forest and concluded that if he had seen people, they must have been elves. (As a matter of fact he was right, but that comes later in the story.)

Presently he began to hum a song of the elves, taught to him by his old nurse. He sang:

“Once when the wood was young,
And tangled branches gay and free;
Elves light of heart and foot,
Had nothing from which to flee.

None but they roamed the woods,
And trees were their lofty homes,
Many merry songs they sang,
In the woods where freely ‘magic’ roams.

Elisdelle! Elisdelle!
Your boughs once saw the merry elves,
Sad you must be now in the wood,
Where dark instead of magic dwells.”

Agate sighed.
I hope they were elves I saw, he said to himself. How wonderful it would be, if the elves returned to the forest!

Then he turned just a little and saw, in the trunk of an oak tree, a door!
“Everyone, everyone, come quickly!” He yelled. “I’ve found a DOOR!”
* * *
You may be able to imagine the excitement with which the other nine came running.
“Where?, Where!” they cried.
“Sh,” was all that Agate said.

As soon as they saw the door, a hush fell over the children. The door was tall and thin, but beautiful.
“Elves,” whispered Grace.
“Lets go through,” said Judith.
“Will it open?” asked Carmen.
“Try it,” replied Agate.
“Ooh! No! not me!” Carmen exclaimed.
“Well, who should open it?” asked Diamanta.
“Arren!” said Paul and Daniel as one.
“Me?!” Arren exclaimed.
“Yes, you. You’re the eldest.” said little Christobel, looking admiringly up at her eldest brother. Arren laughed.
“O.K., just for you, since you put it that way, Christy!”

“Well, come on, hurry up!” said Judith impatiently, stamping her foot. As she did so, her shoe rang on something. She bent and picked up a key, light and fair, and Elven. She gave it to Arren, plainly (and almost impossibly) overawed by the whole thing.

Arren looked very noble and kingly. He turned to the door and placed the key in the lock. It turned! The door swung open.
“O.K.” Arren said. “Lets go through.”

They looked around.
“Where are we?” asked Willis.
“I don’t know, next question,” replied Arren.
They looked around again. Suddenly a tall figure jumped up.
“Welcome to Eilsemorl, Royal visitors. Come,”
Mystified, the children followed.

Soon is became evident that they were approaching a dell*, which was shrouded in a light, twinkling mist. Through this misty curtain they could see figures moving. Two of them were obviously crowned.
Their guide stopped.
“I am an elf.” he said. “My name is Dodelel.”
Then they continued.

They were in some sort of city. Everywhere, among the trees, there were smaller versions of the mist-shrouded dell ahead. When Agate glanced up, he saw wooden platforms in the trees. Rope ladders allowed the elves to reach the platforms. The whole place was airy, light and glittering. The trees were Yrryn trees, such as are only found where elves have been. Agate had seen a few growing in the Joneen Forest, but there they were old and dying out. Here they grew beautiful, tall and strong. Their feathery, silver-white blossoms drifted down around the children as they walked.

As they reached the dell, the mist cleared. Dodelel stepped forward and knelt.
“My Lord, I have brought ten children from the Eilsedel; through the oaken door.” He rose.
The man wearing a crown stepped forward.
“Come forward, Children” he said in a kind voice.
“I am King Doriel.” he said to them.
“And I am Queen Alilithel” the crowned woman told them kindly.

Oh boy. The memories. The stereotypes. The cringe. The sheer childish pride I took in writing it!

The style does actually improve later on, as the characters move away from Disney sparkles and start to grow some distinguishing features. But the beginning . . . bahahaha.

If you've managed to read down to this point, thankyou for letting me indulge my amusement in the past. I scarcely dare to hope you enjoyed the excerpts, but maybe you've got a few sympathetic lulz out of them.

Weigh-in tomorrow, can't wait to see how much I've lost. Goodnight!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Act - Belong - Commit

Act - Belong - Commit is a new mental health initiative of the Western Australian government, the advertising for which has hit WA's TV screens in the past couple of weeks.

At its simplest, Act - Belong - Commit is a formula for avoiding isolation, loneliness, disconnection, purposelessness and other negative feelings that result from not being involved with the people and activities around you.

There are three aspects involved, as the name would suggest:

Act: stay mentally and physically active, plan to engage in activities that challenge your mind and body.

Belong: participate in activities with family and friends, join clubs and attend their activities. Get involved.

Commit: find causes that matter to you and decide to make a difference. Become an active driver of club activities.

It's a very simple idea, and it still relies on people deciding to follow it and getting out there and doing something. But the simplicity of it can cut through the hopelessness that many isolated people feel, and gives them an easy way to get out of the isolation trap. I wish someone had said something as simple as "Act Belong Commit" to me when I was so lonely and depressed in Sydney!

I don't think it's a coincidence that they've launched the advertising during the Olympics, either. Apart from catching a lot of potentially isolated TV junkies, they're also targeting people at a time when they might be thinking things like "hey, I used to LOVE tennis - I should take it up again". They're hitting people squarely in that half-formed thought and encouraging them to follow through on it.

Anyway, I thought it was worth sharing. Check out the link at the top for more information.

Feeling Better

I'm still missing S horribly, but I've managed to have two really good nights' sleep, and yesterday I went to Perth and spent time with Mum - we went to this fantastic bead shop (Galaxy Beads in Morley, for anyone in Perth). They do these private jewellery-making classes - it was just Mum and I - where you pick out the beads you want to make your jewellery from, and they teach you how to do it. The class is supposed to last 1.5 hours but they wil go over if necessary, and the beads are amazingly cheap.

The class costs $10, and then you pay for whatever beads and findings you use, plus anything you want to take away and play with. They have everything, from Swarovski crystals, to glass beads, metal, semi-precious gemstones, wood, shell, coral, polymer clay and even just plain old plastic. Plus all the findings, chains, ribbons etc to put them together.

This is what I made:

Pendant made from a blue and white glass circle bead and one blue Swarovski crystal, plus little silvery bits.

Pendant made from an aqua and white glass heart and a deep peacock Swarovski crystal, plus silvery bits.

Earrings to go with the above: deep peacock glass hearts and one deep peacock and one white Swarovski crystal.

Earrings made from grey glass leaves with a rainbow sheen, and two rainbow-white Swarovski crystals.

Earrings made from two red glass beads, two white Swarovski crystals, and a silver and red crystal rondel.

(Yes, they are genuine Swarovski crystals!).

The total cost of all of these wonderful pieces of jewellery, plus the class, plus some other beads I want to make things with? $30. Mum paid for it, and also bought me a set of pliers, clippers and wire-turners, so that I can make jewellery for myself at home. This was partly because she just really wanted to spend time doing something together, and partly because she's proud of me for losing weight.

Then this morning I finally managed to get to the little local church on a day when there was a service (normally I'm out of town). It was a bit farcical - there were only 7 people there, and I was the only one under 50 - but they were all very nice and I had quite a pleasant time. I've spent the rest of the day so far just doing this and that around the house, making it pleasant and tidy.

So . . . I'm doing alright. I almost got to see S yesterday - I was going to drop in since the bead shop was 15 minutes from his house - but he was sick and advised me not to come anywhere near him. *sigh* Next weekend hopefully.

No weigh-in today, because I'm having a stomach / gut problem that will make any weight on the scales inaccurate in an above-what-it-should-be manner - I won't go into details but you get the idea! Blech. Hopefully it will have eased by tomorrow and I'll have some statistics. I think it's slowed down to a normal 1kg/week rate which is what it should be, but we'll wait and see!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


This afternoon I found myself absolutely bawling my eyes out to C-the-teacher and one of the aides. I'm just feeling dreadful today. I'm tired despite having gone to bed early, I'm hormonal and cranky, I feel stupid and incompetent, and I miss S so badly that I can barely move. So I cried and cried instead. I don't know what to do with myself. I want to sit down and eat a box of chocolates or a big serve of icecream, but I mustn't and I won't. I have to find some other way to cope but I can't seem to think straight. There has to be some way to get a grip on my emotions and feel positive again. There has to be.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My car . . .

. . . suddenly has a name.

I was thinking about it this evening and started looking at "Vi-" names (because it's a Vienta Grande), but this morphed into something else, so my car is now named Ziva.

Ziva the Vienta? Ziva Grande? I think it works

It's a complicity!

For the last few days I've been weepy and hormonal over anything to do with children. So, of course, I dreamed last night that I was pregnant (heavily and happily pregnant). And now I'm even more hormonal than I was before.


(there is no chance that I actually am pregnant, by the way! It's just a combination of hormones and missing S dreadfully as he's on prac and extremely busy for the next 6 weeks).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


As an Aspie, I have trouble identifying friendship and distinguishing between friendship and polite aquaintance. This has caused me a great deal of embarrassment over the years, when I've either acted shy and stupid when not realising that someone actually liked me, or have appeared rude and presumptuous when I assumed a greater level of friendship than actually existed. This problem has caused some of the most painful experiences of my life.

This year I've struggled with the problem with open eyes, and as previously mentioned I've made pretty sure that C, the other young teacher at my school whom I've bonded really well with, was a real friend and not just using the common politeness that fools Aspies into thinking that people are friendly. It's become pretty obvious even to me that she genuinely likes me - choosing to spend time with me, asking if we can do things together, etc.

This afternoon we had combined our classes for a virtues activity. The chosen virtue was Loyalty, and C was talking to the kids about what makes a loyal friend. She said "It doesn't have to be someone you've known for a long time. Take Miss (my surname) and I . . . I only met Miss (my surname) at the start of this year, but we will probably be friends for life because we've just bonded in such a good way."

If I hadn't been grinning hugely I might have cried right then and there lol.

I'm pretty sure we're friends . . . a speech like that in front of 30 kids is plain enough even for an Aspie like me!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh geez . . .

I don't know if it's a natural hormone cycle, or because I'm always a little bit hungry at the moment, or because the Olympics are an emotionally charged time in some ways, but I'm back in that state in which tears spring into my eyes and I want to bawl every time there's an advert on the TV with kids in it.

And of course, the ****ing Olympics with their ****ing sponsors aiming for the ****ing ambitious parent market are bombarding us with child-filled adverts!

McDonalds is in there, Little Athletics is in there, Coles and Woolworths have adverts all about sponsoring childrens' sports programmes, Telstra's watch-the-Olympics-on-your-phone campaign has kiddies galore, there's ten different family car adverts . . . it's freakin' endless.

And people wonder why I'm in such a hurry to have kids. Having the freedom to sit and watch TV uninterrupted all evening is pretty pointless when you bawl for babies in every ad break!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

WIP Flip-Flop Hop . . .

I just couldn't resist that title after it popped into my head. Sorry!

The meaning of it is that I've been getting driven mad by my childrens' fantasy-real world crossover WIP, so I've gone back to my aimed-at-adults fantasy WIP. Last night a new detail came to me that could make the whole thing work finally, so I'm going to see what I can do with it. Hopefully I'll have a word count soon!


It's Sunday, time for my weekly weigh in :-)

Weight today: 78.6kg

Weight lost since last week: 1.4kg

Weight loss since commencement of diet: 2.8kg

Weight loss in excess of projected total: 1.8kg


PS: I just did the weight data entry on Weight Watchers, and I've dropped that extra point per day as well - I've obviously just got down a notch, into the 21 points per day bracket. Yay!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's still working . . .

When I was 20 (and weighed much less than I do now, alas), I decided that I was tired of being "the overweight one". I talked to Mum, she gave me all of her weight watchers stuff and taught me how to use it, and I took it on board and stuck to it religiously. The result was that over a couple of months I lost 15 kilograms, weighing about 52kg at my skinniest and fitting into Size 8 clothes.

Of course, life happened, I didn't stick to a maintenance diet, and my weight shot up to what it was a couple of weeks ago. I've made many, many attempts to do weight watchers since then, but I've never managed to make it work. I knew I wasn't doing it well, but I remembered that the first time it had been so easy - I just stuck to the diet and the weight fell off. But when I tried again I couldn't seem to stick to it and the weight certainly didn't fall of . . . I never managed to lose more than a kilo or two.

For whatever reason - motivation, emotional security, or both - I've hit my stride with WW this time like I did when I was 20. The weight is just going and I feel so motivated that I can't imagine breaking the diet for anything.

Last night, S and I had a bit of a fight - as couples do from time to time - and I didn't end up getting to sleep until 3:30am. When I got up this morning, after only 4 hours' sleep, I felt as crappy as you might expect. I had a big day to get through today - assembly and staff meeting, ugh - and before I started dieting I would have tried to use sugar to replace sleep, and scoffed chocolate to keep myself pepped.

I was determined, despite the brain-fug, that I wouldn't wreck the diet just because of one hiccup, so the first thing I did when I got up was to weigh myself, as an extra motivator. I discovered that I have lost another 1.4kg already . . . and I'm still three days away from my weigh-in day! By Sunday I might have lost as much as 1.8 this week. WOO! This was all the motivation I required. I've stuck to weight watchers religiously today (I did take a small piece of cake at morning tea, but that was because a girl in my class brought the cake in because she's leaving, and I didn't want to disappoint her. I've counted the points so that's fine anyway). I've managed a really hard day without stuffing up and I'm proud of myself.

The funny thing is that I'm far less tired and icky-feeling than I would be if I'd been propping myself up with sugar all day. This healthy eating business has its advantages :-D How satisfying!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Unexpected Places

Teaching is a many-splendoured thing, and even in a short period of teaching you can encounter a whole range of totally unexpected and out-of-left field experiences.

Our class drew the first assembly this term, and I was fresh out of ideas after last term's extravaganza. The kids were keen to do another play - they're still buzzing with theatrical vibes after doing "The Secret Garden" last term, and besides, they want back into the costume shed :-D. So I got them to collaborate on writing a play, with the sole stipulation that it had to be to do with the environmental challenges facing our world, to tie in with our term theme.

The result, I'm overwhelmingly proud to say, is a short play named "Doctor Who and the Future of Earth", in which Doctor Who and his companion arrive on earth in 2219 (don't ask me why then exactly, they picked it!) to find it desolate, and meet an alien who warns them that the world has been polluted beyond recognition and needs to be saved. The Doctor and his companion then go back to 2008 and meet people from six different continents, who all have their own opinions on how the world has ended up being destroyed. They take all of the 2008 people with them to witness the desolation, and they all agree that a) all of the problems caused the end result, and b) they have to go back and work to prevent it.

It's a neat little play, and I'm rather chuffed at what they've achieved. And delighted that they chose Doctor Who as the vehicle for the play. Awesome kids!

So all of this is the reason why, when the cleaner opened the door of the art room this afternoon, I uttered the immortal line: "don't mind me, I'm just painting a TARDIS".

Unexpected places . . .

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Just when you think you're getting ahead . . .

This morning, I distinctly remember grabbing my wallet and putting it in my handbag before I went to school.

At lunchtime, I grabbed my handbag to go down to the shire office an pay my bills. And . . . no wallet.

It hasn't been stolen at school, I'm absolutely certain of that. Which means that I've lost the blasted thing somewhere.

The kids, the principal, an aide and I turned the classroom upside down, several people helped me search my car twice, I've searched the house four separate times and I've looked all over the garden, car park, my car port . . . et cetera. We've been over every square metre of ground that the wallet travelled this morning, and . . . nothing.

There was no cash in it, and my cards are only accessible with a PIN so they're pretty much useless, and there's not much on any of them anyway because I've done all of my tax return spending and I don't get paid until Thursday. If someone has found it and nicked off with it, there's not much harm they can do. It's just a complete nuisance having to replace all of my cards, especially when I'm out in the country.

I'm not going to let this piss me off too much, and the silly childish part of me is actually a little bit excited about replacing my black wallet - I'm going to get a colourful one this time. But it's going to be a huge aggravation getting new everything. But still . . . lost wallets happen to everyone sometimes. It's not because I'm stupid or a freak or anything, and I've got to keep reminding myself of that. It's just life.

I got a good laugh out of Mum this evening, though. I phoned her to tell her about the wallet, and we were chatting away when she suddenly spoke to my 10yo brother who was busy in the background: "That's really rude! Very rude! And it has an 'h' on the end of it!" Apparently he had written 'bla bla bla' on a piece of paper, although he claimed that he was just writing it and it wasn't about Mum and I lol. I laughed until I was nearly having hysterics. That is such a thing I would say - bust the kid for writing something rude and correct the spelling in the same breath - and it's hard to tell whether it's because we're mother and daughter or because whether we're both natural teachers, or whether I'm a natural teacher because my mother is a natural teacher . . . oh, it's just funny either way :-D

So . . . frustrated, wearied, but staying determinedly positive.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Success Begets Success

It's an old saying, but I discovered a new dimension to it today.

I've had two successes in the past week. The first was getting my tax return in early, getting the money back quickly, and immediately doing sensible things with it - clearing debts, paying big bills, getting stuff I really need, etc. The second was of course starting weight watchers, sticking to it perfectly, and finding that I had in fact lost 1.4kg which was a great start.

These two successes have, apparently, made me feel successful, and today I've been doing the things that successful people do - ie the things that need to be done to get success.

I found myself extra motivated all day at school - I was eager to get into the planning I needed to do, and at the end of the day I launched straight into getting ready for tomorrow rather than sitting around feeling exhausted and defeated. Then I came straight home and finally did what I said I was going to do right from the start of the year - I got changed and walked to the post office to pick up my mail. Simple, no? But I never seemed to find time before. I picked up my mail, brought it home, and sat there and opened and read every little bit of it. Normally I kind of ignore my mail if it's probably a regular bill, which in the past has meant that I've missed changes in payment amounts and things like that. This time, everything got opened. One was a rather overdue bill, which I knew about but was still unpleasant, but nothing else was a reason to be scared. I'm so proud of myself. I have the money to pay the overdue bill so I don't need to be afraid of it, and once I pay that I'm going to be able to say that I'm actually settled up on everything that needs to be paid. I'm actually on top of things for once. And I am NOT going to let myself get behind again.

I am successful, and I'm going to start . . . no, I'm going to keep on acting like it.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I went for a little walk this afternoon and took a few pictures in my garden and around town . . .

Strange plants in my front yard:

Landscapes on the edge of town:

Awesome flowering sundew in the nature reserve:

Pretty salmon gum in the nature reserve:

I also realised that I've never posted a picture of my awesome car. Here it is (number plate obscured of course). You can see the new frangipani seat covers through the window :-D

And as promised, the inspirational mural I was doing for my wall. I ended up changing the design a bit, and just made two posters that were a mixture of helpful quotes, virtues and photographs of me both overweight and at a good weight, photos of people who love me, and pictures to remind me why I'm doing this - two photos of wedding dresses I adore, and a "Dress My Wedding" screencap!

They look pretty cool pinned to the wall. They're quite large - the bottom edge of the pink cardboard is about a metre across. I also have a graph on a piece of A4 paper stuck to a larger piece of purple card, but that's on the wall next to me rather than the one behind me.


So much for worrying that the diet wouldn't work. This morning I weighed in at 80.0kg. I've lost 1.4kg! That's 200g a day!

This won't last, of course - that's quite a high rate of weight loss and it will probably grow less as my body gets used to the lower calorie count, and I'll have to drop my number of points eventually. But for a motivational start to the diet - what a first week!

I'm incredibly pleased :-) If I can keep up this rate of weight loss or something close to it, I'll be at my goal weight by Christmas, never mind the 10kg-off goal!

Adding: I was just checking through my weight watchers account online, and discovered that I never updated my occupation type when I restarted last week - I still had it set up as it was when I first joined and was working a desk job. It had "Mostly sitting" as my daily occupation, when it should have been "Occasionally sitting, but mostly standing". I don't get a lot of time to sit down while teaching! This means that I've actually been eating one point too little each day - I was on 21, but I should have been on 22. Oops! I'll probably keep eating 21, since I know I can get by on that much, and save the extra points each week in case I want a Friday night drink or S wants pizza or something.

*hugs Weight Watchers and feels soooo good*

Saturday, August 2, 2008


The world is so full of a number of things,

I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

I love all of the poems from A Child's Garden of Verses, but this two-line rhyme is perhaps my favourite. It captures the childish joy in little discoveries and everyday things, and the odd phrasing - "a number of things" - makes me think of those times when one is completely and utterly happy due to several unconnecded things.

Today I woke up indecisive about what to do with my Saturday. Normally, on a Saturday, I would sit at the computer all day doing 'this and that' - writing, message boards, various other stuff. I wasn't in the mood for that today, but I wasn't in the mood for sorting boxes either. After pondering for a while I decided that I was going to do two decisive things: phone up the credit institution that holds the debt I need to pay off, get the exact payout amount, and pay it online; and second, go buy the printer I've been dying to get.

The first went very smoothly and I paid out nearly $2900 to completely settle the debt from buying this computer and a few other things back in 2005. I also got them to put a note on my account to say that I want it closed when they receive the payout amount. I should get a letter next week to say that this has been done. This will leave me with an extra $90/month, which will come in handy.

The second, buying the printer, involved lots of ringing around, and it turned out that I couldn't get what I wanted in Big Country Town, so I wound up driving in to a large retail centre on the edge of Perth, about an hour and a half from Little Country Town.

It was on the way to Perth that the poem above popped into my head. It was a cool, mostly sunny day today, and the drive to Perth was glorious. My car is lovely to drive, and I had awesome CDs I'd burned playing, and the countryside . . . it's the middle of winter and everything is green and growing. The farms are a tapestry of soft green pastures, lush green wheatfields, and spectacular fields of bright yellow where the canola crops are busy flowering. These dotted about with the sage, tan and brown of the salmon gums and mulga bushes, and streaked with the rich rust red of the dirt and the glittering ribbons where creeks are flowing. And over it all are scattered herds of sheep, complete with bouncing and bleating lambs. I felt full of life and truly blessed just to be able to drive through such a landscape.

Back to the story lol. I got a fantastic Canon printer-scanner for $140 - it prints photo quality and can take photo paper, and the scanner is much better than the three year old one I already had. And it's shiny :-D I'm going to donate my old scanner to the school where I work. My old printer was dead so there's nothing I can do with that!

While I was at the 'real' shops I took the opportunity to pick up a few other things on my wish list or need list. The 'need' list stuff was boring, but from my wish list I got front car seat covers (really cute ones, black with a frangipani design, I know it's trendy but I loved frangipanis before they were the latest thing :-P). I also popped into JB-HiFi which was nextdoor to the shop where I got my printer, because I wanted the DVD of "The Sound of Music" and hadn't been able to find it elsewhere. After picking up that, I wandered into the music section, spotted the Soundtracks rack, and in a split second had picked up the soundtracks to "Labyrinth" and "Love Actually" - two soundtracks that a) I've wanted for years, b) aren't available in many stores, and c) aren't available on iTunes. I was stoked. And to top it all off . . . they were all on special!

I would also like to mention that I went to the city and back without being the least bit tempted by any food I wasn't supposed to eat. Go me!

I'm feeling pretty good today!

Weigh in tomorrow . . . I'm sure I've lost weight, and I can't wait to see how much!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ooh Goody :-D

My tax return went in today - only 4 working days after I lodged it, which is a record for my tax lol. I got $4988, which is totally awesome and will mean that I can settle a couple of debts, get totally caught up on my bills, and have a bit left over for spending.


I did a wee bit of spending today lol . . . I completely filled my petrol tank (which cost me something like 80 dollars for 50 litres, and I already had nearly a quarter of a tank full! Yowch!). Then I drove down to Big Country Town and bought myself that electric blanket. $79.95 worth of not getting burned by boiling water and being able to get into a nice warm bed when I get tired! I'm really happy about that :-D


Also on the theme of happiness, I just passed the 1000-word point in my current writing project. It's early days - I've barely written the first scene - but it's a nice psychological point. I like how it's going so far, although I'm itching to get past the 'real world' stuff and get my characters into the alternate dimension, which is where the fun starts!


And it's Saturday tomorrow and I'm sleeping in. YAY.