Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category

IMG_5708On Sunday I started a three-day writer’s retreat at my parents’ weekend house in the country. The plan was to come home after dinner on Wednesday. Today, Tuesday, I finished that retreat, at 4.55 am.

I’ve done a couple of these little three-day stints in the past few months, and until now they’ve been fantastic for getting a huge amount of work done in a really short time. There’s something about not having to get small people’s lunches made, clothes on, and delivered to school and preschool, then not having to plan dinner, shop for dinner, and do laundry and bath, dinner and bed that really helped me focus on the book.

Lots of people, when I said I was going to the country on my own to write, expressed concern. Mostly the people who have actually been to the house, because it is big, old and, not to put too fine a point on it, haunted. (more…)

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This seems lovely, doesn’t it? Until you realise that is not the ocean Garnet is wallowing in but actually self-pity. See the ripples of misery he is causing? See how they threaten to knock H off his stand-up paddle board? 

The school holidays are over. May Blossom went back to class this morning, creeping like snail unwillingly to school, after we’d located her lunch bag and drink bottle, and wiped the slug trails off her hat.

The family Gusto spent a good part of these holidays on a tropical island in Vanuatu, which was, as always when you travel with a three- and a five-year-old, roughly equal parts so good we never wanted to leave and so bad we wished none of us had ever been born. (more…)

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Dumbledore (left) and Huntsman Who Did Not Heed Me (right)

Sydney’s in the middle of a plague of spiders. Summer forgot to end and for weeks the weather has been like a skipping CD: humid, 30 degrees, sunny – every single day. Mostly people have been enjoying this, except for the fact that you cannot walk anywhere without charging face first into a spiderweb. For safety, you have to walk with one arm flailing in front of you, like a Dalek at a Donald Trump rally.

Apparently because it rained a lot in January there has been a boom in spider food, aka bugs, and the subsequent warm dry conditions meant that more baby spiders than usual have been surviving.

We’ve met some delightful spiders this year. There is a small spider who lives in the passenger-side wing mirror of my car. For safety when driving I have to wipe his web off most mornings with a piece of my children’s artwork, which I mostly keep filed on the floor of the car. I then fling the web collage out the window into the garden. That spider doesn’t seem to mind and he creeps out to start rebuilding the web whenever I stop the car at the lights. (more…)

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globeSydney’s weather over the last few weeks has been stifling. Humid, hot and generally unpleasant. It’s always like this in February, and it makes people cranky and forgetful: every year we act like this weather is out of the ordinary. February coincides with everyone sobering up from the summer festivities that begin here with the Melbourne Cup in November and run pretty much through until Australia Day on 26 January, the kids all head back to school, and the daily rhythm of life returns to normal, just with more sweat.

How I cope with this is to put aside what I should be doing (perhaps preparing my keynote speech for the International Conference on First-World Problems) and spend a lot of time researching where to go on holiday later in the year. I am looking exclusively at places where the weather is exactly like the weather I hate so much here. I’ll admit it doesn’t make much sense. (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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Apocalypse now, or have we time for another coffee before the end of days?

‘Why do I still have to go to kindy?’ May Blossom moaned  to me yesterday. ‘I already know so much stuff.’

‘You don’t know everything,’ I told her. ‘There’s still lots for you to learn, and that’s why you get to go to school next year.’

‘I know enough. I know redback spiders are poisonous.’

She might be right. That might be enough. After a weekend of bombing and shooting and earthquakes and their attendant horrors, I wish all I knew was that redback spiders are poisonous. (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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