Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

IMG_9256

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…)

Read Full Post »

 

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…)

Read Full Post »

goodkinguselessness

Last week Garnet turned three. He’s not a hundred per cent ok with that. The boy has a complicated relationship with the ageing process. He likes being three, but he wants to be a three-year-old baby. In all the games he and his friends play, he must play the baby. The baby pirate. The baby brother in Peter Pan. Baby Cottontail in Peter Rabbit. He’s dipping his toe into the world of superheroes with a character he has invented called – you guessed it – Superbaby. He gets strangely cross when people call him a big boy.

About a month ago he toilet trained, and apart from a small amount of unorthodox backward loo sitting and a misunderstanding about where you are supposed to stand during a standing-up wee (tip: not on the toilet seat) it went off without a hitch. I heaped praise upon him, as you are supposed to, telling him over and over what a good big boy he is now and wow, what a grown-up fellow, gosh. He didn’t respond with ecstatic pride like I expected, instead getting very quiet. After a day or so he finally said, ‘Mummy, can I please not be a big boy? Can I just be a little boy who wears underpants?’ Sure, be a little boy who wears underpants and MAKES HIS MOTHER’S HEART EXPLODE WITH THE CUTENESS. I think the subtext there was also ‘Please could you shut up about my undies and my age and just let a person’s toiletting habits be his own business?’ And of course I can. You know, except for blogging about it, obviously. (more…)

Read Full Post »

IMG_0328

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…)

Read Full Post »

compostbin

Hiding in the corner, not doing its job well. Come on, compost bin, lean in.

Hello! Well, Mental Health Week came and went last week, and with it my intentions to write a really great post about mental health. I didn’t, because my mental health got in the way. What a jape! Mental health, you trickster, you.

The last few weeks my mood has been, like the Sydney weather these days, running very hot and cold, with a side of near constant anxiety.

I’ve been anxious about my little girl, who struggled all through the school holidays with the bullying issues she has been confronting at pre-school. She seemed to have read some textbook on being a small child and instead of behaving like a sensible adult about it, as she normally does, and thinking and discussing the problem until it is manageable, she behaved like a four year old and dealt with the problem by drawing on the living room carpet and cutting her own hair. So there was that.

There were also a lot of weeping meltdowns (from her and me), plenty of fraternal envy (mainly her, although I do have a brother living in New York so a low level of fraternal envy is a constant for me), topped off with some sleep regression (both of us). This culminated in a weekend of fevers, just before school resumed, and she now has a terrible cold. On the up side, things have improved at preschool this week and she is generally a lot happier. I on the other hand, have been left in a heap. I’m not as resilient as she is.

We’re also planning a fairly huge renovation of our house, which scares the crap out of me. So much money. So many decisions. So many panic attacks to have in tile shops.

Our plans look so lovely and sensible, and like they will solve so many of the issues the rabbit warren of a downstairs of this place currently has, but I can’t help wondering, when I look at those plans, if the people who previously renovated the house felt the same way when they created all these problems. Did they think it was a really awesome solution to have the main entrance of the house open straight into the toilet? Did they think seven doorways within a two-metre square space was going to look fabulous and lead to a relaxed flow of traffic? Did they have a reason for putting the only phone point so far from a power point, so you have to have cords draping all over the kitchen? Am I just those idiots, with Pinterest?

Basically, my mental state at the moment is precisely analogous to our compost bin. There is a lot of stuff in it, but it’s not breaking down properly. There are too many food scraps and not enough green waste. It’s sort of rotting a bit, in a smelly way, but it’s not turning into compost. And now there’s no room to put anything else in. It really needs to be dealth with: removed from the bin and turned, thoroughly, but ain’t nobody got time for that. So we have squeezed some bought compost in and a handful of worms from my mum’s house and put the lid on and we’re going to ignore it for a while. That’s how my brain is.

I think perhaps I need to write more. For me, writing mixes the eggshells and the carrot peelings with the grass clippings and creates a bit of heat in my head. Maybe heat that will break all this crap down into some lovely dirt I can grow things in. I’ll plant seeds of inspiration and grow a beautiful garden of intensely laboured metaphors. But probably the fucking possums will just come and eat them.

Read Full Post »

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…)

Read Full Post »

IMG_3819Isn’t that a cheery and not at all daunting start to the year? I’ve made it to my new office. I’m sharing a space with a photographer and a winemaker. What could possibly go wrong? This amazing photograph (by Toby Dixon) hangs just outside my cubicle, and I’m going to think of him as my boss. He doesn’t look like the sort of person you’d want to disappoint. I’m pretty sure he would not approve if I spent today tarting up my very stark, white cubicle. Even virtually. Pretty sure it wouldn’t wash if I spent a few hours idea hunting on Pinterest and Instagram. He expects a certain typing speed from me and if I slow down I will have some explaining to do.

This morning was officially the second day I was to leave the house and come here to work on the blog and other self-directed (aka not-yet-existent) writing projects, but I didn’t make it yesterday. I had some very important life admin to attend to yesterday, namely getting my hair and my face sorted out. And Garnet needed a new scooter helmet. He wanted one that was orange and had an elephant on it, but the best I could manage was yellow with monkeys. He took it well, the little trooper. I figure if I am going to abandon him to a babysitter all day, the least I can do is offer adequate head protection. Not that he will have it on when he randomly smashes his head open, because that isn’t how it works. I know all about random head smashing, you see, for I am now the mother of a scarred child.

The week before Christmas we flew to Perth, waking up at 4 am to get our flight. By the time we made it to the apartment we had rented in Fremantle, it was 12 hours later and May Blossom rather desperately needed the toilet. So H dashed inside with her, leaving me in the cool air-conditioned car with a sleeping Garnet. About thirty seconds later H was banging on the window of the flat, trying to raise my attention. There was a look of terror on his face. And there was blood. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: