Wednesday, 31 December 2014

5 reasons & a few flimsy excuses for not belonging to a book club

 Ding-dong merrily quite high… I have a post-Christmas pile of soon-to-be-lost hours of intrigue and edification. Such joy.

I maintain I’m easy to buy for…books, music, food or alcohol… with the occasional scented candle (preferably not floral… something sapid like lemongrass and ginger… orange and cilantro…lime and basil — perhaps I’ll repost this in November… just in case you lose the note you just took). Life’s essentials: ambrosial combinations of words, mouth-watering sometimes foods, heavenly scents and grog. No excuses or adjectives for that last one on the list. In my life, it’s always pinot grigio o’clock somewhere. And this year, I received all four of those essentials. In abundance. Yay, and verily yippee ya-hoo I say.


A delectable mixture of fiction, non-fiction and poetry was lovingly selected for me, and on Christmas Day I was delightedly informing my sister-in-law’s sister-in-law of this fact when she began the conversation I have so often had:

“Oh, well you must belong to a book club then.”

“Ummm, no, I don’t.”

“Really? Well you absolutely should.”

Should I? Why do you think that?”

You see I have never belonged to a book club. I’ve often thought about it. I’ve talked about it. I’ve even tried to find one I could join. But, truth be told, I’ve never followed through. So it’s with thanks to Shirley that I hereby explain why.

1.     I don’t always finish what I read. Some of you are aghast at that confession aren’t you? Nope. If it doesn’t grab me, I dump it. There’s too much great stuff to waste time on anything that’s badly written. So if I was in a book club, I’d feel obligated to plough through pages that annoy the utter be-hooey out of me or leave me cold. What a waste of good reading time.

2.     Following hard on the heels of the last point, I understand that the theory behind committing to read the entire book list is that stepping outside what’s usual for me is mind-expanding and beneficial.  I suspect, however, that reading stuff that bores me up a drainpipe might just make me the weensiest bit belligerent, and then I’d end up being the nay-saying party-pooper of the group. Nobody wants a nay-saying party-pooper in their group. They’d be better off if I stayed up my drainpipe.

3.     I fear landing with book-knobs. No, I don’t mean book snobs, I definitely mean book knobs — people who only read what they think makes them at least 10 per cent
smarter or hipper than anyone else…or at least appear to be 10 per cent smarter or hipper than anyone else. You know, the ones who say things like you really MUST read Proust because wah wah wah… and… Oh dear me no, I don’t waste my time on derivative things like THAT but I did just finish that plotless streams-of-consciousness post-modern deconstructionist novel recently translated from ancient Tibetan by a barista from Brunswick.  Total knobs.

4.     I have an even greater fear that a book group may be a whole new way for me to be my own worst enemy. My natural inclination to over-prepare and over-think could lead me down the rabbit-hole of checking Goodreads and researching ABR to see what others think, which behaviour would expose me to the very real danger of disappearing up my own butt-hole.

5.     I worry that while I’m reading, instead of just floating with the rhythm of the structure and absorbing the music of the language, I’ll be thinking about what I’m thinking. That’s not fun. That’s anti-fun. I don’t want to think about what I think while I’m reading. I just want to read.

6.     I’m aware that many book groups are largely social, with the reading only an incidental part of the drinking. Naturally, I’m all in favour of that, but what if they all drink sauvignon blanc? Okay, so I might be starting to get to the flimsy end of the list here, but seriously the only upside of sauvignon blanc is that I can sit on just the one glass all night. I. Don’t. Love. Sauvignon. Blanc.

7.     What if they all find out that I’m an editor and start trying to get me to read the manuscripts they have had on the back-burner since they took that creative writing class at the community centre a few years ago?

8.     What if they all hate me?


 So there it is. What do you reckon? Was Shirley right? Am I candidate for book club membership or is the Groucho Marx approach the right way to go?

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christmas Gift Fails

I’m crap at Christmas presents. Well, that’s not exactly true. I actually enjoy buying stuff for people. It satisfies my second-X-chromosome connected need to shop, neatly combining it with my equally second-X-chromosome-connected need to please other people. And I delight in finding gifts that match my friends and family, I really do. There’s a kind of creative satisfaction in it. Don’t ever get me started on the whole ‘just give them a gift card’ copout… which is only marginally better than the ‘ask them what they want’ scenario. And as for the ‘go buy yourself something and I’ll wrap it’ shirk… Pffft…  But that’s a whole other story, what I want to tell you about are the two ways that I’m crap at Christmas presents.

The first of my Christmas gifting fails is due to the fact that I’m not a last-minute-impulse gift buyer. I’m a yearlong purchaser-hoarder. Whenever I see something that I think will be just right for X, I get it right then and there. And then I stash it away and forget what the hell I’ve already bought… and I go on squirreling merrily away until some time in late November, when I spread out the plunder and start the annual pre-Christmas-wrapping self-flagellation ritual.

Really? Is she really going to like that?

Am I thinking that’s perfect for him because I’ve already given him one of those?

Is this enough?

Is that too much?

Should I swap that for a blue one?

You know how it goes. And it goes on and on and on until I finally bite the bullet and begin the annual Christmas-wrapping ritual —which involves lots of tinsel and glittering, colour-coordinated ribboning and black-and-white movie watching. Very therapeutic.

Once everything’s wrapped, the panic subsides… Sort of.

The second way I’m absolutely crap at Christmas presents is very closely allied to the first way I’m crap at Christmas presents. You see, because I have this stockpile of great stuff that they’re gonna just love, it’s as if I have premature-gift-ejaculation-syndrome.

If, at any time …any time at all… not birthday, not holidays, not any damn special celebration of even the most miniscule kind… if I happen to spend time with this person and they even kind of sort of maybe vaguely hint at something that kind of sort of maybe reminds me of the thing I have amassed in my hoard, I’ll go get it and give it to them right away. Yep. I just hand it over with a stupid grin and it’s all over. In an instant.

I don’t think I’m Robinson Crusoe here. There must be others who share my Christmas-crappiness and there probably isn’t a double-X chromosome bearing human being alive who doesn’t experience some sort of anxiety about the whole festive season thing. That’s why champagne and chocolate were invented, right?

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Dropping the f-bomb

I think I broke my mother. Well, not broke her exactly. Maybe cracked her a bit.  Corrupted her a wee tad. And it’s all because of my penchant for bad language.

I say fuck a lot. I say fuck a real lot. In fact, I say fuck so fucking often that my mother has become desensitised to hearing me say it. She no longer tut-tuts, or reminds me to watch my mouth. She doesn’t give me a disapproving look. She doesn’t even flinch. You know how there’s been about fifteen million pieces of research into how constant exposure to brutally graphic computer games and death metal causes teenage boys to become indifferent to violence? Well, it’s like I’m the Postal 2 of language and she’s Justin Bieber. Truly. These days, sometimes she even SAYS fuck.

When I was growing up, our household was the quintessential middle-class suburban family. No swearing was tolerated. I distinctly remember being dragged to the pink pedestal basin when I was eight or nine to have my mouth washed out with soap. I don’t recall what I said. It might have been shit. Or bugger. It might even have been shut-up — back in the 1960s  shut-up was considered offensive language. But it most certainly would not have been fuck. Fuck came much later. If it’d been fuck I might have had to eat mustard.

We had a swear jar too. For years we all had to pay a fine every time we dropped a swear word in the house. Even Dad. If I implemented one of those in my house, we'd be neck deep in gold coins in no time.

There were also words that were not cussing or blasphemy that were forbidden. Mum couldn’t abide the word fart, for instance. It was vulgar. Crude. Unacceptable. It was right up there on her Top 10 Things Never to be Said. Or done. Actually, it was probably in the Top 5 Never to be Done. Although she did let one slip one time. Just the once.

She was clearing the table, carrying the dirty plates to the sink. She had her back to us. She must have. Because I can remember staring at the bow that held her apron tight. My brother and I were too shocked to laugh. It was as if the Queen had ended her Christmas message by mooning the Commonwealth. Unthinkable. But she didn’t acknowledge it in any way. There was no pardon me for the fluff/bottom burp/ pop-off (all of which terms could be used free of charge). She just pretended it never happened.

I discovered that other families outlawed particular words too. One mother I met disallowed the word stupid. Seriously. The designated replacement word was silly. How fucking ridiculous is that?

I guess it was probably while I was at uni that fuck became part of my daily lexicon. Ironic really. The more I studied language, the worse mine became. But I’m living, walking confutation of the theory that people who swear have a poor vocabulary thus are unable to express themselves any other way. I’m proof that it’s not only the uneducated who drop f-bombs into everyday sentences. And I make no apologies for it. 

But I am sorry that I broke my mum. Really I am. She used to be such a nice little lady before she met me.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A kestrel for a wench

A small kestrel hawk hovers outside my study window. She hangs in the air, only the tips of her wings quivering almost imperceptibly as she fixes her sights on the something in the grass that will be her meal.  Freedom, power, fearlessness — she is all of these. But she does not glower with menace, for she is also patience and grace.
Why do I assume her to be female? Is it her determination? Her single-mindedness? Or merely her beauty?  Her size? Perhaps I confuse her with the doomed creature in A Kestrel for a Knave. There is no logic in my choice. And yet I am certain.
Magpies, gulls, even mud larks and swallows dart and dive about her, trying to distract her from her task, to divert her attention and repel her from their patch. But she is not pressed. She will not be moved. She will fold her elegant wings and dive only when the time is right, or stretch them further and beat in a wheeling turn that carries her to another possibility.
Sometimes, if I am lucky, she will settle just beyond my frame of glass and I am utterly awed. I understand in every cell of my being how Hopkins 'Stirred for a bird, —the achieve of; the mastery of the thing'. 

And I feel blessed.


Monday, 8 December 2014

I used to be a christmas tree nazi

I used to be a Christmas tree Nazi. I really did. When Number 1 son was just a little bloke, I would climb the step-stool to hang the lights and then he would cheerfully loop all his favourite ornaments around the branches he could reach. The lower branches would be a festive cacophony, while the top remained tastefully minimal. 

There would be mutual congratulation and plentiful admiration. And then, as soon as he was in bed, I would begin to rearrange, relocate and reduce. Every year. Without fail. On the first Saturday of December. 

Shame on me.

Today, when Dr Dad and I went down to select the tree from the local farm, Mr 16 didn't want to come. He can't cope with watching the ceremonial chopping down of the tree. It makes his heart ache to think that this glorious green-scented beauty must sacrifice  four years of development for our Yule-time pleasure. He can't watch.

 So when I finally collected the dusty boxes marked 'Super Fragile' from the shed, it was only child number three, Girlchild — Miss 14, who was keen to be part of the annual decorating ritual.

Like me, she revels in the rediscovery of the treasures that have been boxed away all year. But she's not systematic or ordered about it. She bounced joyfully between the boxes and the tree, leaving a trail of bubble-wrap in her wake, singing as she went or chatting incessantly over the soundtrack of the cheesy Christmas movie I had chosen. I just sat and watched.

Number one son is already 31 years old and long gone. Mr 16 is a planet who spins in his own solar system. My baby girl is already a teenager. I didn't want to do anything to break the spell.

Finally, as she appraised her handiwork, she expressed how glad that she feels that we don't have one of those catalogue trees made of plastic. Or worse, one like the silver tinsel and wire thing that Grandma has because pine needles make too much mess. Or a perfectly co-ordinated affair, each year a different matching pair of colours: red and gold, green and silver, pink and blue. Like a department store. I always admire those glamorous creations; they're so thoughtfully designed and perfectly balanced. But I too love our mismatched tree. It speaks of my life.

Whenever I have travelled, since my first overseas trip, I have collected ornaments for the tree.  A Tiffany's box from New York, pandas from China, an embroidered royal tea cup from London, Pinocchio from Milan, satin balls from Beijing, beaded beauties from East Africa, silk animals from Malaysia and Korea, hand-painted balls from Paris and Washington, angels from Indonesia. Every one of them tells its own story.

Then there are all the gifts I have received over the years. Irreplaceable hand-made jewels, delicate glass baubles that belie the enduring strength of true friendship, and lovingly chosen ornaments that reflect how well others know me... like the frankfurt Karin brought me from Germany.  Impossible not to smile.

So this year I think I should apologise to Number 1 son for all those years of insulting his aesthetics. It really would have been magic if all three of them had been here to trim the tree together. 

Maybe next year.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Long Distance Love

Just recently, Dr Dad returned from a business trip to the other side of the globe. When he’s home, he hates to shop. Despises it. To be perfectly honest, as much as the weekly supermarket visit makes me want to bellow “Who died and left me in charge of trivia?!?…” it’s even more painful when he comes to help.

After almost thirty years of living with me, he still seems to think that the shopping list is a complete and total inventory of every item that we actually need/ will probably run out of/might fancy nibbling on at some stage. Nor does he have the vaguest understanding of how two teenagers can stand staring into the expanse of a vast fully stacked pantry and a double-door fridge that is groaning under the weight of stunning seasonal fruits and vegetables and declare disgustedly that there’s never anything to eat.  I swear; if you ever hear that the end of the world is nigh, head on down to our place. There’s enough in our cupboards to keep us all going until the smoke clears.

But truthfully, he whips that trolley around the supermarket aisles so damned quickly that on a number of occasions I have had to ask if I had missed the news that the sky was going to fall at 11:13 precisely, or whether he was just shooting for a personal best.  

When he’s away, however, if time allows, he shops for gifts to bring back for us. It’s kind of sweet, really.  I guess the habit harks back to those days when the kids missed him when he wasn’t around. Way back in the days when they made those ‘Welcome home, Daddy’ banners and knocked him over with enthusiasm as he came through the door. He’d let them rummage through his bag full of random documents and dirty business shirts for their surprises. A reward for each of them for being good while Daddy was away, and a prize for me for surviving.

He has no idea that these days they don’t even notice he’s not around.

This time, he arrived home in the wee small hours. We were all snoring. Even the dogs didn’t stir as he tiptoed in. But he did his wonderful good-dad thing, despite having been travelling for almost 27 hours straight, and before falling unconscious into the bed next to me ( by this stage I was, of course, just pretending to be asleep because surely nobody wants a welcome back kiss from someone with evil bed-breath)…before falling into the depths of jet-lagged darkness, he had begun to unpack his bag.

So that when we got up in the morning, there it was. His London shopping. Spread out on the table in neatly ordered groups so that we knew who was getting what. His way of telling us that he loves us and he missed us. 
You won't be surprised to hear that the Bombay Sapphire and wrinkle creams are for me. 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Blog of Eternal Stench

From overload to withdrawal… that’s how it feels having completed the November Nablahblah blogging challenge and then taken a few days to cogitate on why and what and whether I’d do it again… And I have to confess, I find myself back in the same sort of mess I was in before I started.

During November, I took a tangled ball of yarn — different colours, different textures, different ply —  and managed to extricate enough usable lengths to knit thirty squares of varying sizes. Disparate patterns. Some more pleasing than others but all of them creatively challenging and, to some degree, satisfying.

Word by sentence, I knitted my way around the maze of beginning a blog, through the labyrinth of self-doubt. I turned at the prickly hedges of uncertainty and increased beyond the black holes of despair. And at the end of the month, I cast-off with a sigh. Challenge met. Indeed, more than that, I felt some degree of joy and pride that I had developed new skills, practised some old ones, and met some talented and like-minded writers …and readers…along the way.

But in the four days since I stopped, I’ve fallen back into the Bog of Eternal Stench. And I'm pretty sure I dropped all the squares in too.

It wasn't actually my idea to write every day for thirty days. That's something else I fell into. At the Gunnas Writing Masterclass I attended back in September, Catherine Deveny talked about and how November was to be the month of writing. She told me about the challenge in that writing workshop I hated... the one I cried for a week after... the one where I was sure I felt my arse hit rock bottom. 

And then on October 31st, Gael over at The Vinyl Edition sent me a message to say she was going to give Nablopomo November a go. So I said I'd join her. Just like that. Why not?  Nothing to lose. Stop being a gunna. Maybe it really would help the happy hormones surge. Maybe I could find an opening for the light to shine in on the demons of the dark space inside my head. And for the most part, it did.

And yes, I met some 'incredibly helpful' worms along the way.

But this week, I fell back into the stinking quagmire of uncertainty. My bog of qualms. 

After my month of blogging, I still have fewer followers than you can count on one hand. I spent November reading and commenting on all sorts of blogs. Learning about what others do. Hearing what others say. But numerically, I failed. 

During the month, I found myself checking daily to see if anyone had visited my post, left a comment, noticed me. Pathetic. Embarrassing. Needy. Fail.

History repeated, regurgitating images and feelings from that time nearly fifteen years ago when we lived in a towering apartment block in Kuala Lumpur and I would click on the dial-up link every time I walked past the laptop...every time... hoping for an email from home. A connection to outside. Proof that I exist.

So in the past few days, I have examined my ugly need for validation. I have confronted the shallowness of my not having grown out of the need for approval. I have stared at the bubbling mud and breathed in the rancid fumes of self-loathing at my blog of eternal stench...

And I have decided that I will just keep on going until I reach the castle.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

...the applause jobs

Somehow I’m often the person in the line who doesn’t step backwards when a volunteer to do a particular less than glamorous job is needed. Yep… just call me Muggins  —it’s a whole lot nicer than a heap of other names I’ve been called over the years. And I’m not playing my tiny violin or trying to pump up my own tyres here, truly I’m not. What I’m actually trying to get at, and Part II of the Legend of Lawnmower Man, has to do with what I call applause jobs.  


 Any SAHM will understand what I’m trying to say, and working mums will get it entirely. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the trait I'm going to expose is connected to the Y-chromosome. 

 Yes, I will own that I’m being just a wee tad on the sexist side of politically correct here. OK. More than a wee tad. A shitload. But I’m not going to take it back. Not ever ever ever… So there… And you can’t make me. Because, with apologies to Jane,it is a truth universally acknowledged that even a man in possession of a good wife needs applause.

One of the reasons Dr Dad loves to mow the grass on his Yee-hah-check-me-out red ride-on lawnmower is that after he’s finished, everyone can tell what he’s been doing. He is rewarded with:

“Wow! That looks great.”

“Gee, how long does it take you?”

“Gosh, it must be hard to keep all of this in check.”

 There’s no applause for any of these:



Nobody notices when all the invisible, crappy, repetitive, kill-me-now-I'm-dying-of-boredom, please-God-don't-make-me-do-it-all-again-tomorrow brain-atrophying jobs have been done. But you can bet your left tit that they'll all comment if they haven't been done. Somehow, all those who-died-and-left-me-in-charge-of-trivia tasks amount to zippedy-doo-dah. But cut the grass or dig a hole or burn a goddamn sausage on the bar-be-que grill  and it's:

Truth be told, I actually quite enjoy spending a few sunny hours on the beastie cutting swathes through the waving tussocks myself. In fact, I have been known to slash the occasional obscenity across our tiny acreage as a kind of ride-on-mower created way of flipping the bird to those annoying helicopters that buzz over our block all summer. But nobody ever thanked me for that.

There's a theory that people who choose only to do the applause jobs are the ones who have never recovered from being a kid like this:

Because of course, as I've said before, EVERYTHING is ALWAYS the mother's fault.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

The truth about cutting my grass

The grass needs mowing again. We’ve had a week of alternating rain and sun—perfect for growing grass. You’ll notice I didn’t say ‘lawn’. It took me ages to stop referring to the sort-of-green stuff that we have here as lawn. Lawn goes hand-in-hand with lush and manageable. Lawn is a neatly edged pocket-handkerchief of something verdant. Our home is a 4-acre block covered with grass-like vegetation that is substantially more weedy and bice than lawn.
Random pic of how the dogs feel about the grass.
There’s something so civilized and polite about a tidy lawn. A neatly clipped lawn with a pin-line edge shouts, “The people who live here are proud and responsible citizens.” Either that or it mutters something about OCD and anal-retentives. And the raucous Sunday sound of a lawn mower is practically a suburban anthem. Which is probably why it drives me nuts that Dr Dad is so obsessed with keeping our grass cut. At this time of the year, no day is safe from the cowboy accountant on his trusty ride-on steed. He’ll straddle that roaring beast as the sun sets on even the most perfect of days.
On evenings when we should be wallowing in the soul-bolstering calm that surrounds us — the white noise of surf punctuated by the calling birds, nightfall stretching across the horizon, both kids locked away in the bedrooms plugged into their earpods pretending to do homework — Lawnmower Man goes into overdrive. It’s almost annoying enough to put me off my pinot grigio. Almost. 
Lawnmower Man in action.
 Actually that’s another thing about cut lawn. Some people go into raptures about the luxuriant aroma of freshly cut grass. For them, it evokes childhood, or summertime or holiday memories. Not for me. It reminds me of sauvignon banc. I’m not a fan of sauvignon banc.
I don’t think dogs are enraptured by the smell of freshly mown lawn either, because every dog we’ve ever had… hang it, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say… every dog in the history of the universe, finds the smell of cut grass to have a laxative effect. Am I right? The damn dog can’t wait to lay a barker’s egg right there in the middle of the newly neatened plot. Every time. But I digress. 
Lawnmower Man’s excuse for his obsession with keeping the grass down is that he spends so much time cooped up in the windowless over-air-conditioned environment of the workplace that he just loves to get out there in the fresh air and do something constructive. Yeah, right. I know better. I know that’s only the Y-chromosome-bearing reason. There are two, interconnected real reasons. The first has to do with the fact that, as you can see from the photos, we have a large dam.

 Lawnmower Man has a pathological fear of snakes, and the local copperheads (which only rank seventh, by the way, in the top ten of Australia’s most dangerous snakes) like to live around water. I can confirm this because just last week one took up residence beside the drainage pipe at our letterbox. And even though these reptiles are described as shy and slow to strike, Lawnmower Man is not willing to take any chances. Especially since that day one of the dogs brought us a live hissing plaything, right up to the back door.
So don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining that he wants to keep the property snake free…well, not snake free exactly, that’s impossible, just with grass short enough that we can actually see a snake if it’s sunning itself or making its way somewhere for a drink. I’m just having a whinge about his timing. His timing and the noise.

 I’m so used to sitting here at my computer veritably bathed in the sound of nothing man-made, except the occasional crunching on the unmade road of a carload of sight-seers who’ve lost their way down our dead-end street, that the damn lawnmower chopping it all to hell makes me want to throw myself off the nearest cliff.  

So that’s truth number one about what why Lawnmower Man’s obsession gets up my nose. Call by tomorrow for truth number two.

Same blog time. Same blog channel. 


Friday, 28 November 2014

Liebster: Spreading the love to newbie bloggers

 As this is only my 34th post ever, newbie bloggers don't come much greener than me. I am still stumbling around somewhere in the wonderland of words and images down the rabbit-hole that is the blogosphere, still very much the teeny-tiny Alice hoping one day to reach my full potential.

It's utterly amazing to have found some wonderful kinfolk already. One of whom, the lovely and extremely talented Mary-Anne — writer, thinker, wool wizard — over at Breathing Life  has awarded me a Leibster here. Drop in and I can promise she'll make you welcome. Thank you in bucketfuls, Mary-Anne.  And if I was clever enough to create a new logo in your honour, I'd do it. But I'm not. (So I have another idea.)

Naturally, I did a bit of research and background reading, and it seems this truly lovely blogging tradition of offering support to newcomers has been going on for years. There's more about it here by Lupey Loops, who nominated Mary-Anne. 

The 'rules' vary, so I'm going to use the ones Mary-Anne listed PLUS, in her honour, I'm going to reinstate what appears to be an old tradition of adding a list of 11 random facts about me. 
So the rules I'm handing on are:
1: Acknowledge and accept the Liebster Award by leaving a comment on the blog where you were nominated.

2:  Copy and paste a Liebster logo onto your own blog.
3: Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
4: Answer the 11 questions put to you by the person who nominated you.

5: List 11 random facts about yourself.
6: Nominate and link to 3—11 other blogs you enjoy that have a small readership (say less than 200...ish)
7: List 11 questions for your Liebster Award nominees on your blog.
8: Inform your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog.

Again, thank you, Mary-Anne, for including me in the fun.
Here are my Liebster offerings..

1. Who is the audience you write for on your blog?
I write to engage my brain, and so I I'd say my audience is anyone who 'gets' me. 
2. How did you decide upon your blog name?
That actually took quite a while. It was my ready-made excuse for not starting a blog for ages. The tiny island where I live is known to locals as The Rock. I am a music tragic, obsessively into rock. Got my first record player  when I was eight and have never looked back. Anyway, I was going to call it  Views from the Rock but decided to woman-up and use my name, own what I'm putting out here.
3. What are your hobbies and/or creative pursuits?
Apart from writing, I knit blankets — not amazing tricky patterns though. And I love to do crafty stuff... a bit of sewing, a bit of card-making — just stuff. I also take photographs.
4. How has technology affected your creative pursuit(s) and hobbies?
Oh that's easy... Pinterest makes me feel less and less adequate by the day.
5. What is your current job (or what are you retired from)?
In my first working life I was a secondary school teacher of English Language and Literature, then I became an Education Publisher for Oxford University Press Australia. Since then I have filled my days with freelance writing and editing, part-time teaching of Professional Writing and Editing at tertiary (college) level, providing training in corporate communication... and being an unpaid houseslave.
6. Where is somewhere new that you would like to travel?
My BFF and I crossed East Africa off our bucket lists a short while ago. We're now planning an Antarctic Cruise for our 60th birthdays.
7. Would you describe yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?
I'm an introvert who works hard at kidding herself and fooling others.
8. What movie(s) have you watched over and over again?
I'm huge fan of movies, so too many to list them all. But some absolute faves are: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Princess Bride, An Affair to Remember, Bladerunner, School of Rock ... and anything with either Hepburn.
9. What book(s) have you read more than once?
Again, too many to list. Bigtime faves: Wuthering Heights (or anything Brontë sisters really), Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler.
10. What would you tell your ten-year-old self?
I'd like to say something cool like, 'Stay gold, Ponygirl' but that would just be inappropriate. I'd probably tell her to cut herself more slack over the coming years.
11. What would you like to learn to do in the future? 
I volunteer at a military museum, and have just started learning to be a curator.

11 random facts about me:
  1. I have never read a Dan Brown novel.
  2. My elbows are kind of wonky double-jointed.
  3. I loathe massages.
  4. My brother once tied me to a tree then went inside for lunch and told Mum he had no idea where I was.
  5. I wish I could tie scarves the nonchalantly stylish way women in Paris and Milan do.
  6. Given the choice of pearls or gemstones, it's pearls all the way.
  7. I wear a mouthguard to bed because I grind my teeth with gusto.
  8. I don't like the taste of fishy fish.
  9. If I could rebuild my body, the only piece I'd keep to recycle would be my hands.
  10. I prefer savoury to sweet.
  11. My favourite word is meninabobokan — it's Indonesian for to rock the baby.

And here's where it gets a bit tricky, because as yet I don't follow many other blogs. Some I do love to read have large followings and others have probably already been nominated for the Liebster... a couple of times... so I'm going to jump right in there and nominate:
The Vinyl Edition  
Leila's Mixtape
Jahn 1: Mainly fair with occasional rain
Edwina's Episodes 
Life in Training

Your 11 questions are:
  1. Why did you start to blog?
  2. How did you decide upon your blog's name?
  3. What other talent/s do you have apart from  blogging?
  4. Which three words best describe you?
  5. Where is your happy place?
  6. What movies have you watched over and over?
  7. Who is your favourite fictional character? Why?
  8. What would you tell your 10-year-old self?
  9. If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose? Why?
  10.  What is your most cherished possession?
  11. Who inspires you?
I'm really happy to be part of spreading the Liebster love. Thanks again, Mary-Anne.