Sunday, November 30, 2008

Greedy reading

I've been feeling a bit frail over the last few days, nothing major, just sore and tired, and pissed off with not being able to walk any faster than a steady hobble. Still, I must be grateful that I can walk at all, and get off the whinge wagon. It's still a treat to not have to do anything, and yesterday and today I decided to do what I've always loved doing -- lie in bed and read.

The book I chose was Wendy James's The Steele Diaries, a book that, I should openly state, was sent to me by the author, *not* as a review copy, but rather that if I liked it, could I tell my friends about it, as a kind of viral campaign. Of course! I love telling my friends about books I read, and if I liked it enough, I thought at the time, I'll blog about it.

I loved it. The link I gave above gives a great precis of the story, and is worth clicking. It's one of those books that sucks you in and doesn't want you to put it down. I read it in two big greedy sessions, only broken by sleep and a quick (and well-needed to escape cabin fever) hobble from car to seat excursion to the cinema to catch Brideshead Revisited before it finished.

Apart from the well-constructed plot, there are lovely references to figures from Australian art, shape-shifted just enough to be recognisable but refreshed, moved geographically and their familiarity used to add depth to the central premise -- the quandary that all creative women have to face regarding work vs family choices. It's a theme that has both local and international flavour in this book, but the most recognisable historical thread is that of the lives of John and Sunday Reed, Joy Hester and others of the Antipodean scene of the '30s, '40s and '50s. If you know their stories, this novel is rich with layers.

As far as Zelda's art was concerned, I could not help thinking of one of my favorite artist/illustrators, Wanda Ga'g, whose biography, Growing Pains, a lovely old hardback, was given to me years ago by a friend. Wandy wrote and illustrated 'Millions of Cats', which is a book no cat-lover should be without. I'm not sure if Wendy meant to evoke Wanda (who also did her own versions of Grimm Fairy Tales), but it was nice to be reminded.

Wendy also deals with one of my pet issues with modern literature and film and Hollywood in general, which is the nonsensical idea so beloved of creative/ beautiful types that two brains make a brainier or two people altered by plastic surgery will create a perfect looking child. It's the thing that made me throw The Time Traveler's Wife across the room and against the wall when [SPOILER ALERT - BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE READ IT BY NOW] they have a child and she's brilliant and has all the best of both parents and is able to manage time travel much better than her father did. GAH. DOUBLE GAH. And then I picked up the damn book and finished it because I just can't leave books unfinished.

Wendy spends a lot of the book exploring the pressures placed upon the child of two brilliant parents. Granted, Zelda turns out to be pretty special too, but in her own way. And that is not a spoiler. That is as it should be.

And since you and I have always been interested in book covers, it is worth waggling a finger here at Wendy's publishers, who gave The Steele Diaries a cover that visually slots it beside Colleen McCulloch novels in the Chicklit section. NO! Boo! There's a wealth of fabulous Australian art -- particularly prints -- out there that could have been used, or simulated, to create a rich, evocative cover that could have attracted quite a different readership. Never mind. Truth will out, as someone cool once said.

So yes, I'm recommending Wendy's book to my friends. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

On another note, I had a abdomen-wrenching-but-worth-it guffaw this morning listening to the Radio National News. I'll type it as I heard it:

Tributes are pouring in this morning for Joern Utzon, the man who designed the Sydney Opera House after his death at the age of 90.

Wasn't he clever!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stouch of the century

The Canberra Times had its usual share of junk tucked into it today, but layered under the Spotlight sale catalogue was a booklet-shaped advertising feature called Imaginem, 'Your 24-page guide to promoting your brand or business with the help of Canberra's "creatives"'.

Flipping through the pages, glancing at the different pleas for being more creative than the team on the next page, I came across an article called Print is Greener by Rodney Wade, a sustainability consultant. It's a ripper little piece about print reading vs online, and uses The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, a 700-page report, as its example:

Print 85g
The printed version of The Stern Review was validated as 85 grams of CO2 in total for the complete manufacturing process and the paper. Because it is a finished printed book, that is the maximum CO2 it will ever amount to and can be read as many times as you like over the next 100 years.

Online 226g
For every hour that a person reads The Stern Review in PDF format on a typical desktop computer, 226 grams of CO2 are generated. This does not include the CO2 footprint for the IT infrastructure to deliver the PDF via the Internet, nor does it include the footprint to print it out on an inkjet or laser printer. Of course, a typical reader will print out parts or all of the repoprt. Why? Because the majority of people generally prefer to read from hard copy.

CD 300g
A study in 1007 by Australian Dr Tony Wilkins, Group Manager, Environment and Climate Change for News Ltd, has validated that the manufacture of a CD with The Stern Review data generates 300 grams of CO2 per disk or a DVD 350 grams and that is even before it is put into a computer and viewed or printed.

I'm interested in whether he factored into the print version the energy needed to distribute the volume, by post or via bookshops, but even so, they are very impressive figures.

One of the first things I read online this morning (via Editorial Anonymous) was about the declining state of school libraries in Britain, which is an article less about computers taking over books and more about ignorant ideas of staffing needs, but still, in a world where people think children are getting a well-rounded education from computers alone, shouldn't this sort of environmental calculation be taken into account?

Walk with me, tell me what you think. Are books sustainable, really?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy anniversary, baby...

I woke up this morning at about 4.30am and couldn't get back to sleep again for hours. I eventually did sleep, and awoke to find the boys had tip-toed around me and gone to school etc. Best Beloved was glued to CNN watching the Mumbai situation unfolding, and so it wasn't until about 11am that he came in to the bedroom where I was being a Roman snotting the Greeks in Civilisation on the gameboy and said

'I just realised -- it's our anniversary!'

We looked at each other and laughed, because neither of us had done or planned anything, and I certainly didn't feel up to doing anything. So we just held hands for a while and made sure neither felt like breaking up with the other and then got on with our day, me lolling around feeling fragile and him cooking a batch of Christmas Pudding.

I'm still pinching myself about the studio turn-around; I'll give out more details about the space when I've signed the dotted line and actually held the key. Suffice to say that my going-to-sleep routine over the last few months has been to lie and imagine a phone call telling me that the space is mine, and then mentally working out where to put all my equipment; by the time I think about opening the garage door and showing the removalists where the press is, I'm asleep. The weird thing about the other day is that the phone call was so close to my dream conversation that I'm afraid that I'll fall asleep halfway through the lease signing! Heh.

So tonight, as it rains (which it, thankfully, didn't on our wedding day), we toasted four happy years, him with champagne and me with a Nudie, which is the most luxurious drink I can think of drinking at the moment, because alcohol is out and I won't touch anything bubbly (believe me, anything gas-filling or producing is torture!).

Have to go. Bumblebee is hassling me to read another chapter of The Pinhoe Egg. Ah! Domestic bliss.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Talk about putting things out to the universe...

I just got a phone call from the local government-subsidised art studios who had broken my heart a couple of weeks ago (see point 6 of the last post)... Studio Duck is GO! Some circumstances have changed, and the space is now offered to me. I think I laid an egg during the call.

Best Beloved was out picking up the boychild, as were most of my local friends, and I had to talk to someone before I popped, so I rang Bernice and hyperventilated while she told me to breathe. And shrieked along with me when I did.

Holy shit! My whole universe just revolved around me and suddenly the world is a completely different place. I've had it happen to me plenty of times with bad news, but this beats all.

I wish I could drink, I'd be having a few tonight. I'm just going to have to eat chocolate until I burst my stitches. WOOT!

7 (working) things

Wow, I forgot about memes. What a perfect way to blog when you're thinking about things to blog about. Christie brought this one around again, and I've been saving a few others up my sleeve, so prepare for some serious meme time over the next few days. Hopefully I can find something fresh to dredge up (that doesn't work, should be 'rank and dripping', shouldn't it?)

And welcome, anyone who has found my blog via the article in the Age on Sunday. I hope you find some amusement on this scrolly thing. If not, follow the links, find your bliss elsewhere and no hard feelings. It's a wide blogosphere out there.

OK. Seven Things Meme.
Rules: Link the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links. Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog (this is the only thing I hate doing with memes. It's so 'name ur frenz').

1. I'm insanely messy. It seems to be one of the fundamental things about my personality. No matter how hard I try, in various ways, to institute a cleaning routine, it always lapses. I tell myself it could be a Buddhist discipline, and if I mastered neatness I could move on to a Tai Chi practice, but I always fall by the wayside and end up beating myself up about it. Luckily I married a messy man, but every now and again we beat ourselves up about it. I still have hopes about the Tai Chi practice (just have to find a class that fits the flight path) but I'm afraid I will always have a floordrobe.

GAHHHHHHH. Apart from KNOWING that I've written something close to that para somewhere on this blog before, I think I need to take a different tack today. I just went out to the lounge, where I patted Mr Pooter for a while (curled up asleep on the airbed, giving me the perfect excuse not to put it away yet) and thought. And I've decided to use this meme to write about seven things about my art/craft practice, if only to remind myself before I can get back to it. Here goes:

Seven things about my working processes:

1. I believe in the power of the hand. Something about everything I make has to be done by hand. I can't see myself designing something and then handing it over to someone else to produce. I do that with my freelance money work and I hate the loss of control. With my own, personal output, it needs to have something personal about it. So, for example, if I make a photocopy zine, it will be hand-stitched, not stapled. Also, in a more direct sense, there's nothing quite like using your hands when making. Using your hand to smooth cloth onto a book cover gives you a control that you can't get with a bonefolder, although you need the bonefolder afterwards to attain a crispness you can't get by hand. But never under-estimate the importance of touch in relation to art and craft. It's primary.

2. I love the notion of the multiple; it is the reason printmaking developed, to be able to make many images out of the one matrix. Over the last few decades, printmakers have been exploring ways to make multiples that are also individual, so that they start with a set matrix but then 'progress' or 'vary', either by varying the inking or printing methods or they are then pushed past the initial print stage by folding, cutting or touching up in some way. This is a way I try to work, and it is very easy with letterpress: you can vary the material upon which you are printing; you can print text and then add hand-printed elements; you can hand-colour the text and print upon the same background, the varieties are endless. Even when I make traditional image prints, I like to vary them somehow. It's never boring.

3. I try to make books and prints that are hard to reproduce photographically. That is, they can reproduce, but the images are nothing compared with holding the original. For example, here is a scan of front cover of my upcoming book (it will be available late Jan/early Feb):

Poems to Hold or Let Go, front cov
I'll show you more of it and the book later, but for now I just want to talk about its reproducable qualities. This is the front of the dustjacket, and it's printed in two shades of metallic ink on dark blue Wibalin bookpaper, which is a reinforced paper product suitable for bookbinding purposes. Both shades look dreadful here, because they're flattened out and caught in one pose so to speak. When you hold the paper or covered book in your hand, the printed woodtype of the typographical pattern has a grey-blue sheen that shimmers subtly as you turn your hand, and the yellowy-green metal type title pushes itself forward out of the dull navy blue. It's a combination that calls, not shouts, which suits the modus operandi of the poet herself.

4. I like to use materials, tools and processes that give my work secret properties, load it with layers of meaning that sometimes I'll be the only one who knows and cares, or can be unpacked if anyone wants to know. How would anyone know that the metal type used on the cover shown above once belonged to the poet's late husband, unless I told them? Or that the cover (back and front) contains the entire alphabet, because it is an important symbol itself in the poet's work (she has written a number of poems about type and the alphabet, but the whole notion of literacy spools through her oeuvre like a glistening thread), but the letter O shows twice, because it is so present in the title? And that the poet goes by her married name by day, and I have arranged the letters so that her married initials are on the dustjacket and pare down to her working initials on the book's actual cover? There you are. All my work has these physical notions, they appeal to the fiction reader in me.

5. I am a messy worker. It's my biggest fault, and working clean and neat is such a challenge. But I do devote myself to this challenge, and maybe forcing myself to do everything -- paper preparation, design, setting, printing, folding, binding, publicity, accounts -- is akin to the Tai Chi practice I aspire to. It's not efficient (dear Ceiling Cat I wish I had an agent or dealer of some kind) but it's deeply satisfying, and very faithful to my yearning for the slow making life, even though it seems to push me faster and faster.

6. I yearn for a Room of One's Own, because I find trying to do all this making in a very public space quite stressful. I know that when I have a studio, my output will be better, because I will have the mental space to concentrate. Unfortunately, the hints I'd got about getting a space in the next few months turned out to be wrong; I'm back in the realm of Waiting, for who knows how much longer. I found this out the day before 'me op', and I spent a few therapeutic hours sobbing out my anger and fear. I'm ok now, just resigned to another possible 12 months or longer living cheek to jowl with my printing equipment around the house and having to find space and time at the art school to get things done. Sigh.

7. I know that this is a Bad Time for producing luxury goods for the sale of, but money has never been an issue with this endeavour. I contacted the National Folk Festival a few months ago, to see if they were interested in some letterpress demos in return for a free ticket. They were very interested (it's not going ahead, for reasons I can't divulge, but may happen the year after) and said that they were ALWAYS keen to hear from 'tradition bearers'. After the call I sat for a while and thought about that. Australia has a funny relationship with tradition. We like to dispense with it, yet revere it when it manages to survive. I'm very happy to think of what I do as tradition-bearing. Makes up in a way for the failure to bear other things :)

I said I hate tagging, and I do. But I'd like to know seven working things about other people, so I'm going to throw a few blogs in the mix: Poppy Letterpress, Rainy Planet Press, Artnoose's Sitch, Double Elephant, Viminalis, Strange Fruit, and May Day Studio. Tell me/us seven things about your working or creative processes. Please... or not. It's totally your choice.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A post that Colonel Duck will appreciate

I wondered, before I was housebound, how I would cope with spending the time in the house looking at all the things that have needed doing for so long and not able to do anything about them. I'm the 'home handy' person in our household; BB is more the 'homemaker' type, into providing routine and nourishment. I didn't worry too much about BB's two weeks off, because he's very adept at lolling about, cooking, watching, reading and listening to the radio. But maybe I've had him wrong; maybe the lolling is legitimate tools-down time from his high-stress office lifestyle. You see, we've never had more than a week stuck at home together, we've only had time off when we've been able to do things to stave off boredom.

So imagine my excitement today when he got up, looking way better than he has for days, and started getting busy in a way I've never seen before. He didn't, as I expected, roll his sleeves up to make Dr Sista Outlaw's excellent pudding now that she's divulged the recipe, no, he went to the hardware store, and came back with stuff that fixes stuff.

Are you sitting down, Colonel Duck?

Since breakfast, he's fixed the leaking toilet that has been leaking for months, and -- gasp -- got my whippersnipper working, the one I got for my birthday back in October and was still in the box thanks to a combination of my busy-ness and inconvenient weekend rains. I can hear the buzzing out there now as he's slashing the backyard jungle. He's also weeded a huge patch of the neglected veggie garden. And now he's gone off to pick up the boy from school.

I cannot begin to tell you how joyful this makes me. There are burdens lifting from my chest! My to-do list is shrinking slightly! I'm writing this because I'm afraid that if I make too much fuss over it to BB he'll stop. He's not big on fuss. So if any of you are talking to him, don't make a fuss either. He really doesn't read this blog :)

But I just HAD to share. It's an amazing day. Colonel Duck is one of the few who will really know why.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

patients, always a virtue

I'm bored. I don't feel like reading, and sitting at the computer makes me stiff and grumpy so far. I've knitted a scarf, and I'm well into the Blue Poles jigsaw. This is the third time I've done it (1: pregnant, 2: after I finished art school), and it's fulfilling the side of my brain that wants to be at the Book Stud, working. Sifting and sorting jigsaw pieces of blobs of paint is quite similar to dissing* hell type.**

A couple of days ago, Best Beloved started coughing. I made a joke that he was an illness diva, unable to watch me suffer without joining in and topping my pain. We laughed, but OH NOES! He has developed a man-flu cough. I think at least half the world knows what that means...

He is doing his best to stay nice, but he is naturally grumpy when ill (you do know, don't you?) and the best we have come up with is circling each other around our tiny house and trying not to cross paths too often. He is very worried that I might get the cough, and I'm grateful that he's thinking like this, as I sneezed for the first time a day or so ago and discovered the pain of abdominal paroxysm. A cough would indeed be hell.

I have, for a long time, been saying that when (when! I'm refusing to say IF) we expand our house, we should have separate bedrooms. It's always troubled BB, who seems to think that if we don't share our bed our marriage will crumble, unlike me, who thinks that, along with the dishwasher we bought as a wedding present, it can only strengthen our relationship. Well, last night we -- he -- pulled out the queen-size airbed from the garage, moved the loungeroom around, and we set up an alternate bed. I took the airbed for various reasons, one being that it's much more comfortable than our bed (and, I discovered last night, I can sleep sideways on it and it supports my stitches beautifully), and another being that I could watch tv in bed and go to bed as late as I wanted without huffs of nagging tiredness from the sleep nazi usually next to me. I love that man, I do, but he's dreadful in bed (on one level, anyway).

So both of us had a lovely sleep last night, and I greeted him this morning to find a man halfway on the road to Damask-us, much more willing to think upon the separate rooms debate. Hooray! One small step for me, etc. I'm thinking of staying on the airbed for a while, because of that nice support it gives me.

And he's still doing a good job of looking after me, as well as himself. Bumblebee is pretty much doing his own thing, playing with his stuff and chatting (loudly) to his friends on the phone.

This afternoon we all lolled around the lounge and watched Mon Oncle, a film that delights us all nearly as much as Tati's Monsieur Hulot's Holiday. I especially like the trip-traps of every female's high heels, which add to the film in a vaguely similar way that the sound of a typewriter adds to the film Atonement.

Afterwards Bumblebee and I watched Classic Albums on ABC2 which was exploring Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life, certainly one of my favorite albums. SW has always intrigued me; how can someone who can reach such heights of brilliance also get down to such depths of mediocrity? I mean, take someone like Billy Joel: you can draw a distinct line at the point in which his career turns to mush -- Christie Brinkley. With Michael Jackson, his career deteriorates as his face does, in a steady curve. What's Stevie's excuse? Meeting Paul McCartney? Hanging with Michael Jackson? Any opinions?

Hmm. Anyhoo, back to the jigsaw. I'm certain I'll be bored enough to start doing something creative soon, but so far the braincells just haven't regenerated enough after the big sleep at the hospital. I am enjoying this cold snap we're having, because it's always nicer feeling housebound in a fluffy dressing gown and slippers, don't you think?

* putting back into the type cases: DISTRIBUTE, not DISRESPECT.
** letterpress that has been set and forgotten, often for years, sometimes jumbled up or bumped, sometimes of different fonts.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Feeling full

[discussion of lack of ladybits warning]



Thank you for all those lovely well wishes, I'm sure they were floating around my head in hospital like some kind of charm shield. The nurses were all commenting about my swift progress when I was showering myself on day 3. Not that I particularly wanted to shower myself -- I wasn't given a choice, they were majorly understaffed -- but when you need a shower, you need a shower. And I could sit and hold onto things at the same time, so it wasn't too big a deal.

The surgeon said I could go home on Monday. He's very nice, but he's a bit perfunctory. I decided to stay another day (I had the luxury of a private hospital, which is really the only thing I can thank Mr Howard for after forcing us to take health insurance a few years ago, even though I choke on the thought a bit. I did draw the line at watching him on Monday night, though. He still makes me ill when I hear his voice.) because I got a bit wobbly about being at home with our bed that hasn't got a really secure bedhead for sitting up, and that has two huge prowling kitties that like to leap on my lap unexpectedly. So I stayed until Tuesday.

Then on Tuesday the surgeon said that the nurses could take off my plastic wound dressing before I left, to save me coming back to his rooms the next day. He went, and when the nurse came in I asked her about it. 'Nope,' she said. Keep it on until the weekend at least. It has healing and supportive qualities and you'd be much better off. Take it off yourself then.'

I love that sort of knowledge, the stuff that actually benefits the patient rather than is convenient for the doctor. But I shouldn't moan -- my surgeon, and anaesthetist, were fabulous. I've now got no womb, but two healthy ovaries and I still have my appendix (did I mention removing it was an optional extra if it looked a bit peaky?). Which means that I get to keep my wurty hormones, and I get to have a 'normal' menopause, whatever normal means.

At the moment I don't feel like anything has been taken out; when I was a small girl I had a recurring nightmare that people would steal into my bedroom at night, cut me open (in a very small-girl un-gory way, sort of like opening one of those teddybear pyjama-holding pillows) and take out all the bits, replacing them with assorted nasties -- machinery, snakes, stones, whatever -- and sew me up again. I'd wake up, be alive for a few moments then die agonisingly. And then wake up, and prod my tummy cautiously. I feel like someone's done that to my abdomen, it's bloated and full of odd pains and aches and wind. I'm being careful to keep up my pain relief!

The womb itself was apparently very distended with fibroids, so once this bloating disappears I SHOULD feel like something's gone. The poor organ has been to the pathologists to be checked; I haven't heard back from my doctor so I presume there's nothing urgently nasty about it.

The thing that surprised me most about the last week is how little I felt like reading. All that time, all that lying about, and my brain just wasn't interested in text. I watched a lot of bad television, things that made me very glad I don't usually watch a lot of live television. I played a lot of gameboy, particularly Sid Meier's Civilisation Revolution, which is easy and just involves wandering around building cities and snotting other people's armies. I used to play Civ I on my Mac Classic, and don't like many of the changes made to the game, there's less of the actual city control and more emphasis on the snotting. But good when your brain doesn't work.

I'm playing Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass at the moment, and I'm halfway through the game, with the help of the occasional cheatsheet, which I justify because my brain still a bit of a puddle. Bumblebee is very jealous of the fact that I spend my days lolling about playing games, so I've taken to reading to him in bed after school. We're reading Diana Wynne Jones' The Pinhoe Egg. The one book I did read in hospital was her The Merlin Conspiracy. I think I could read her anywhere. People say she's better than JK Rowling; I think they've got separate strengths. Diana's characters aren't as lovable as JKR's, but her vision of magic is, for me, more appealing, much more wicca, or even shinto than JKR. I can see why the Japanese adore her.

My goodness, I'm blathering a bit, aren't I? I'm getting a bit stiff, so it's time to walk around a bit then lie down a lot. I'll be back before you know it, maybe tomorrow. Before I go I just want to say that Best Beloved is still earning his name, big time. He's spending his time cooking me the most wonderful meals (of which I can usually only eat a little bit) and making me comfortable. I have to think of a way to thank him properly.

*THANK YOU (properly) to Laura and Dorian. This image is the front of their get-well card, greeting me when I got home, made by old-fashioned cut & paste methods. I lurv it. (And, BTW, the kitties have behaved themselves beautifully.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Womb with a view

Colonel Duck, on the phone tonight: You've been a bit slack on the blog lately...
Yes, I have.

Talking to someone, a few days ago:
Me: It's the same old, same old, rushing around trying to get everything in order before I hit another deadline. But this time it's different, in that I *really* just have to drop tools and stop.
Her: I bet you're really busy trying to cook meals and freeze them for the boys, too.
Me: ... um, actually, no.
Her: NO? How are they going to cope?

How? They're going to cook their own meals, wash their own clothes, and make their own brekkies, just like they always do. I tell you, I am fully cognizant of the wonderful of being smitten with a man who can do his own washing, cook his own meals and wrangle a child, but never more so than now. He has freed me up fully over the past couple of weeks so that I can just get things done. And after next week, he'll be looking after me and Bumblebee as the primary carer. This is why I dubbed him Best Beloved. He earns it.

So. I can't really believe that I'm only 3 days away from a day that's been looming for so long. I feel a bit foolish, making such a long lead-in to an operation that isn't really that dramatic, but it's taken a lot of planning to make the space in my obsessively busy life, and now that it's here I feel a bit odd. Most people -- who have private health care -- just make the decision and do it within weeks, but we've been talking about this for so long that it's become a Big Thing.

Anyhoo, I've almost finished my duties... I've burned disks of layout work to pass onto editors and indexers, sent off files and invoices, now just have to finish up at the BookStud tomorrow, drop some books off to the Aged Poet on Wednesday, and run a few chores, and then pack and clean on Wednesday afternoon. Stop ingesting at midnight on Wed, then my number comes up 7am Thursday morning.

It really didn't feel real until last Thursday, when I had a pre-op clinic appointment with a leathery Barbie doll of a nurse with a name that is the American word for lollies. She was amazingly weird; very fun to talk to, but hypnotic to watch, with her dark wrinkly tan, fluffy white-blonde flippy hair, thick makeup, lashing of jewellery and teetery heels. Thin as a piece of wire, and skin-tight dress. I felt very surreal telling her that I had *no* idea what I weigh, haven't weighed myself for years. She, on the other hand, looked like she whipped onto the scales every time she was alone in the room, just in case.

She sent me off to have blood tests, and when the needle went in, reality finally connected. That's right, they're going to cut me... it's going to hurt. I got the shakes. I kept the shakes all day, until Bernice showed up with champagne to toast Obama's victory. Irrational, but realistic. I feel a lot better now, but I know it's not going to be the easy holiday I've let myself think it will be.

Still, there are probably worse ways to spend 6 weeks. I've got a fantastic pile of books, two new Nintendo DS games, the entire series of Deadwood to watch (courtesy of the kind people at Artwranglers), and a computer to blog with. Plus cats to train *not* to leap on my lap. Spoiled rotten, truly.

And a mindset to shift. Once I have no choice about my fertility, I have to work on the guilt of having failed to provide such a wonderful man with a baby of his own. He hasn't contributed to this guilt in the slightest, except for a bad habit of wandering around the house with a cat cradled in his arm, murmuring 'now, you have to be sure to support the head' that makes Bumblebee laugh but tweaks my tearducts slightly. No, the guilt is all mine, but I have to learn to knock it on the head, as I've tried my hardest, and also offered him many alternatives: leave me, & find someone fertile; have an affair; donate sperm to some lovely lesbian couple who will give him visitation rights; adopt; donate sperm generally & allow the result to look for him down the road; whatever else he can think of. He's thinking upon it, but his general philosophy is that he has a wonderful partner who pushes him to think differently, and a fabulous stepson who entertains him mightily, plus cats who fulfil his need for nurturing, so who is complaining? See? Best Beloved.

And I have to stop my habit of saying, when I love a man's work, that I'd love to have his babies. I said it aloud to myself on Saturday as I was binding books to the sound of Ben Goldacre talking about Bad Science on RN's The Science Show. Woof! I said, I'll have your babies, as he made some uber-nerdy sexy point about fish oil. Slap the wrist. Find a new statement of admiration. It wasn't very feminist anyway, and I'm sure I started saying it years ago very ironically. Well, I won't be able to have ANYBODY's babies soon, and won't that be liberating? Maybe I can keep saying it, just recover a more ironic tone.

So I've been enjoying riding the bicycle hard around the streets between home and the uni, enjoying walking freely and upright, and looking forward to the moment that the doctor promises will come, when I'll be a New Woman. Woot!

I'm sure I'll get a chance to blog before then, but if I don't, see you in the soup.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

They can has, and they can has not

Found this at What Ladder? Dunno if they made it up or She hotlinked it, but so I'm hotlinking it, because better late than never and it's just SO GOOD. I've been too busy to blog, but I'm terribly happy that Obama won. Not because he's going to save the world, but at least he's going to try. For the moment. I'm sure at some point he'll have his Henson moment and we'll all go back to normal. But in the meantime:

But spare a thought for poor New Zealand, with wunder-pollie Helen Clarke ousted by NZ's version of Malcolm Turnbull. Only time in the last 15 years I've not wanted to move there.

I'm cleaning up the studio frantically after a wonderful last weekend's labour.
Back soon.
Sometime in the next 4 days, anyway.

Monday, November 03, 2008

major imposition

For the past few weeks I have been falling in love with a blog called Editorial Anonymous. Very good advice about publishing, especially if you aspire to be a children's book writer.

The post I read today is *exactly* what I need for explaining page imposition. Not so much for explaining how to print in sections, but why books have to be planned around certain magical numbers, and they are never odd ones.

Read it and understand, aspiring book-makers (and writers). I will be putting this on my FAQ-so-go-and-look-it-up list in the BookStud (with full acknowledgement, but of course).

I have been binding furiously, filling backorders and trying to get ahead of myself a little bit. I'm almost there. 10 days and counting until I'm under the knife. Same deadline as the students getting ready for assessment at the art school. As you walk down the corridors, you walk through weird balloony walls of anxiety and stress like the bubbles in Donny Darko.

First reminder: the annual ANU School of Art graduating student show is on Friday the 5th of December at 6pm, and will run through to the 14th of December. It's well worth a look, and there's some good art to be had at very reasonable prices.

Oh, and I just can't resist these two to finish:

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions