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Archive for the ‘101 Uses for an English degree’ Category

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Curious George is a movie that can penetrate even the most noise-cancelling of headphones. Writing a novel in the same room as a four-year-old watching Curious George is not in my top 10 productivity tips.

It’s been a long time between posts here on Life With Gusto because I’ve been devoting my writing hours and, frankly, all my jokes, to this novel I’ve been working on. That seems to have paid off because a very nice fiction publisher at HarperCollins has acquired it, and its younger sibling which is currently only a gleam in its mother’s eye, for publication.

This is a dream come true, as I say in the press release they sent out today*, only slightly marred by the fact that I now have to do a huge amount of work. Now don’t get me wrong, I love hard work. Mad for it. It’s just that up until now I haven’t had to juggle a whole lot of it with those attention-sapping, disrespects of deadlines and creative process known as my children. But everyone else manages it and so will I, and I’ll complain about it extensively here on the blog.

The news of this book deal has been received with great excitement by almost all my family and friends, with the notable and vocal exception of Garnet. To be fair though, he’s been really sick the past couple of weeks with influenza, which is currently tearing through our community. (more…)

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sketchofme

Me, making a to-d0 list. Sketch by H. 

  1. Attend My 20th High School Reunion

This weekend I’m going my 20th high school reunion, an event that simultaneously makes me very excited and want to fake a bad case of gastro.

I’m curious about what the women I went to school with for six years have done with their lives, although a lot of it I already know because of the massive spoiler factory that is Facebook. For many people, the only revelations left will be what everyone looks like without several filters and when viewed front on, and not from an artfully high selfie angle. Speaking for myself, I’d recommend people come to the reunion in extremely high heels, or perhaps stilts, and with one of two extra pairs of contact lenses in, so I will look as svelte and dewy of chops as I look on the Internet. Related to the school reunion is the second item on my to-do list: (more…)

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And well might you ask, Talking Heads, well might you ask. Is a psycho killer a killer of psychos, or a psycho who kills? It’s a crucial distinction. We’ve been dealing with this particular grammatical point at home today.

This morning May Blossom realised her face was covered with mosquito bites. The rest of the family already knew, but we’d decided not to mention it because we could do without the drama.

But you can’t stop the drama, because mirrors exist. Once she caught sight of her face she was very angry about the spots, in a sort of Why Does Everything Bad Always Happen To Me? way, which, to be fair, it sort of does. Actually, that depends on your opinion of whether something like, say, putting her hand through the upstairs window last night and getting cut (not badly) was something that just happened to her or something more that was a result of her running on her bed (FORBIDDEN) towards the window and tripping. I tend towards the latter theory, in which she had more agency. She did not appreciate me mentioning that theory when we were steri-stripping her wound. (more…)

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wewillrockyouMy dad is not a fan of musicals. He has long professed that his favourite musical, if forced to pick, is Westside Story, because all the noisy people get shot at the end. So it was with some trepidation that I went to see We Will Rock You with him last night.

We Will Rock You is a musical by Ben Elton, based on the songs of Queen. When arranging the tickets I made very sure Dad was aware that it was a musical. With musical numbers in it. Sung by people in character. It’s a singy play. You know, like an opera but less in German, and with more drums. There’s going to be dancing. There’s a high likelihood of the audience being bullied by the cast into clapping our hands above our heads in certain parts. Are you really sure you want to come, Dad? Because Mum does want to see it, and if you’re just going to come and have a sitting-up nap or fume all the way through, please allow me to not get you a ticket. (more…)

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Obviously this is not the beach we went to in this story. This is Waikiki beach, where I have also been grumpy in the recent past. 

I’m very grumpy these days. My wonderful mother suggested she could babysit while H and I went out last week, so we took her up on it, because I have this idea that maybe if I leave the house more I won’t be so crabby.

The first thing I do after leaving the house for the evening is tell H I’m in a grumpy mood. Because what if he can’t tell? What’s the point of being in a foul mood if no one knows? There’s no point sulking in the passenger seat if your spouse just thinks you’re happily enjoying the drive. So just in case my bad vibes aren’t strong enough any my sighs are mistaken for bliss, I generally announce how I’m feeling. ‘I’m in a terrible mood,’ I tell him.

‘Yes, I though you might be,’ he says.

He questions me about why and I get even crosser and attempt to fob him off by saying I do not want to talk about it. I clearly want to talk about it. (more…)

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NoveltiesphotoWe’re two weeks into the fitness kick here at the House of Gusto and slowly but surely, things are changing for the better. We have been aided by an unprecedented run of good health for the whole family – although obviously having typed that I will return today to seven plagues upon my house.

I have been exercising quite a lot. It turns out the trick to exercise is not trying too hard. Apparently I knew this when I was a child but had forgotten until now. A few weeks ago I came across an old homework book from when I was eight, in which I wrote the following sentence:

‘If it does not rain we are going to have our athletics carnival on Wednesday and I am going to get lots of energy so when the starter goes I am going to be champion of the novelties.’

Now that sentence says a few things to me. It says that my habit of writing overly long sentences goes back a very, very long way. It says my pessimism is deeply ingrained – these good things were only going to happen if it didn’t rain, which it probably would. And most importantly, it says that even at eight I knew that aiming low is the key to exercise success. I was not planning to win a running race. I was not planning to jump the highest or throw a javelin the furthest. I was aiming for ‘Champion of the Novelties’, which I think means things like the egg and spoon race and the sack race. History doesn’t relate how I actually fared at this carnival, but the lesson is one I carry with me today. (more…)

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nearly 3-1

Tomorrow is May Blossom’s third birthday. If you’d asked me three years ago what I thought my life might look like now, I would have looked at you like you were crazy, because I now realise I never really looked much further than a few days ahead.

Pregnant, I could only focus on the birth. Once I had a newborn I couldn’t picture her as a toddler. As a toddler I couldn’t picture her as a pre-schooler. When I was pregnant with Garnet I couldn’t see how I could ever love another baby. Until a few weeks ago I couldn’t picture ever being able to work again for money. But lo and behold, here I find myself, 20 hours short of three years into this mothering business, and this morning, while my daughter rather too expertly navigates her way around ABC’s catch-up channel on the iPad, her 10-month-old brother naps in the pram, and I sit in the window seat writing this, I have already worked for three hours. It is 9.15.* (more…)

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