Includes book reviews and bits from writer's journal. For the professional stuff, see website link below left.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sad

"O golden child the world will kill and eat."

Saddened by the suicide of Nicholas Hughes, son of Sylvia Plath (who wrote those words).

Best (non-ghoulish) article here:

http://www.newsminer.com/news/2009/mar/2 3/nicholas-hughes-son-major-poets-emerge d-prominent-/

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IRONY … AND DILEMMA

We received a letter from the Housing Department. We have been on a waiting list for low-cost housing for years. Last we heard, we still had a ten-year wait ahead of us. But now that Andrew has turned 80, we are given priority. They can’t say exactly when an offer will happen. The man I spoke to last night said, ‘We don’t know if we’ll get a vacancy in the next three months.’ The woman I spoke to today said cautiously that we’re well ahead in the running and will probably get an offer within 12 months.

This would be wonderful news if we hadn’t just moved house. I don’t know if I could cope with another move very soon. Even with help from friends and family, it was a costly and physically exhausting exercise. And now that we’re here, we love the place. On the other hand, the reduced rent would be such a huge saving for us that it would radically improve our lifestyle and remove a lot of stress – and they tell us we’ll probably get a 10-year lease.

We only get two offers. If we reject both without good reason, we’re taken off the list. If we reapply after that, the waiting time will start from the date of the new application. Oh how I wish we had accepted the six-month lease we were first offered here! But we said, ‘No thanks, we want more security of tenure than that’ and went looking elsewhere. The landlord came back to us with the offer of a 12-month lease because we were just the sort of tenants he was looking for, and so we grabbed it.

I looked up stuff about breaking a lease and found dire warnings that it can be very costly – although not necessarily. One legitimate reason for doing so, which might mean not owing the landlord compensation, is if we’d suffer significant hardship by staying here. That could certainly be argued, but in this case it’s not a matter for which the landlord is in any way responsible.

The lady I spoke with said she could suspend the priority until after our lease finished and then restore it without disadvantaging us, but Andrew was horrified at that idea, so we have left it as it is. And I dare say when the time comes we could always ask to terminate the lease early, and/or find someone to take it over.

We’re listed as wanting Murwillumbah, the town around which we’ve lived in various locations for the last 15 years. This is the furthest out from it we’ve been, here on the coast – and now we think we might prefer to be here after all. (Though we remain fond of dear old Mur’bah and have many friends there.) If we want to change our preference to Pottsville, we have to write a letter pretty swiftly. We won’t necessarily get the exact place we specify anyway; we might, but we’ll be offered whatever comes up in the general area.

I’ve hurt my back, Andrew’s had a crook leg and hasn’t been able to help much with anything, and in the last week or two I’ve been inexplicably weepy at the drop of a hat. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to depression in my life; just not a thing I normally suffer from. ‘You’re exhausted!’ says one of my closest friends. ‘Next time you move,’ says our massage therapist, ‘I’ll come and help. It’s too much for you!’ I tell her we had help, and she says, ‘I know, but I’ll come and help too.’ I do mental calculations and think, ‘Well, we’ll get our bond back, and that’ll mean we can pay the removalist to do the packing for us next time….’

Much as I dread another move, much as we love being here, it would be wonderful not to be always budgeting so tightly. So I think I’ll take Andrew’s advice and leave it up to the Universe, trusting that we’ll be looked after, as we always are. Meanwhile I’m going to get those books on the shelves and make the most of this place while we’re in it!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weight Loss Film Trailer

May I urge everyone to please watch and rate the trailer of the weight loss film I'm in? This weight loss program is unique! It's a holistic lifestyle program, and is NOT in any way a diet. (People find that so hard to believe.)

This me at the start of filming in August '08 (in purple) and three months later (in the pink ;>). Although the photos are different sizes – beyond my meagre skills to adjust, lol - you can see the difference in MY size.






















Actually at the moment, three months later again, I look awful in my own eyes as I have got thinner everywhere except mid-section. This is my usual pattern for weight loss, so I know it won't always be so. And we have been told that on this program it's gradual at the start, then towards the end the weight falls off - the exact opposite from all those other programs that worked for a little while.
But at present I have these lovely slender ankles and shoulders, smaller boobs, reduced upper arms and so forth - and it's all out of proportion so the tum looks bigger than ever.

The pink dress above is now unwearable; it hangs on me like a Mother Hubbard. And I gave two pairs of slacks to the op shop late last year because they had got so loose on me. This proves that the mid-section is smaller too, even if out of proportion just now! I can see the results better in the other cast members. We are all having to buy new clothes!
Now please go have a look at our trailer! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WdAo281urc

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Hi honey, I'm home! Didja miss me?

What a saga! Six weeks offline took me through fury, despair, insanity, and finally into deep resignation. At that point the problem was suddenly fixed, and now I am jubilant, ecstatic, excited, whole.

The first month was down to our server, Gotalk (yes I will name names!). We called in the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, the Gotalk Resolutions Team, our local member ... all to no avail. I'll spare you all the boring details of their dereliction of duty. They finally connected us on Feb 20th but didn't bother to tell us until we phoned yet again on 23rd. Then no-one could figure out why things weren't working our end. Finally a technician called in person to check things here - which had by then been checked many times by every other means - and, finding nothing wrong, went to the local exchange. As he thought, they had not yet got around to wiring us up, so he did that. In the process of which he found they had been going to connect us to a faulty wire – whenever they finally would have done it. So he changed that, and suddenly at 11.39 yesterday morning we were up and running. I told my writers' group in the afternoon that it was a measure of my great dedication to them that I actually showed up there instead of staying home to play on the net! As it was, Andrew and I were up till all hours catching up with voluminous correspondence. (Yes I have been able to use Neighbourhood Centre computers, but they are old and slow and much in demand, so it was very limited access.)

Whew! What a relief! Apart from feeling emotionally bereft without my online pals, it has been costing us a heap to use our landline instead of email, engin and Skype - not to mention the hours waiting in queues during the many calls to our server. Our bill jumped from an average of $80 per month to over $300 - and that's without downloads. Yes, we will be disputing it!

Well, there was one bonus from not being online. I'm now Secretary of the Neighbourhood Association, which involves sending files by email, amongst other things. When the Coordinator of the Neighbourhood Centre realised I didn't even have a flash drive (memory stick, for the uninitiated - of which I was one until recently) she arranged to get me one. 'There aren't many perks of your position,' she said, 'But this is one. We need our Secretary to have this piece of equipment.' And she got me one in a luvverly shade of magenta which of course matches everything I wear. It even has an attachment to clip onto my keyring. I feel flash all right!

Any'ow, apart from that we successfully moved, with much physical and financial help from loving friends and family. The new place is lovely! AND is lower rent. It has the same number of rooms but they are all smaller, so we have been doing a lot of what one pal calls de-materialising. The Op Shop has become used to us popping in every few days with yet another load of contributions. Nearly all the teddy bears have gone to bring joy to others, after all. The one I acquired first, which I actually bought new for myself some years ago – a very traditional, teddy-ish teddy – has been passed on to our new god-daughter, Flo, who was born 5 weeks early and is amazingly strong, present and calm, also beautiful. I have kept only the newest one, Snowy, who came from the same Op Shop a couple of months back ... partly because he was the smallest. (Also he is marked unsafe for children under 3 - but that's all right, I'm nearly 5.)

After the frantic effort to clean, pack and vacate the old place asap, we have been settling in here slowly - so no, there are no photos just yet. We're pretty right now, only a few more boxes of books to bring in from the garage. I devoutly hope to get them all on the shelves this weekend.

We have installed a cat door, which was not possible at the former home, and Levi and Freya love the new freedom. Like us, they seem to like the atmosphere in general much better than where we were.

I didn't want carpet but we have only a little, not at all offensive – and it's a Stainmaster! It's an easy-care sort of place, with a well-established native garden, also easy-care. There's a spacious patio area at the back, where we like to sit. Our neighbour is an artist about our vintage and a real sweetie with whom we discovered various friends in common. She has a boarder she's been trying to get rid of, who is apparently leaving soon, and her divorced son is staying with her until he finds a place. We like the son and don't warm to the boarder, but both blokes have been helpful in handyman ways during the move. We're even closer to the shops than we were. And we have now found the quickest and easiest way to get to the beach, after exploring all the other ways first. We love walking on the beach, and have been doing a lot of it.

Hope to catch up with everyone else's posts soonish.

Love and hugs to you all!