Category Archives: Life & Stuff

Lake Burley Griffin's resident pelicans, early in the morning.

Lake Burley Griffin (06/52)

I try, as much as humanly possible, to take a walk around Lake Burley Griffin each morning. I’m generally better at doing this in the summer months than the winter months (as with all sporty endeavours).

This week, I’ve been taking my phone with me on my morning walks. It’s more of a nuisance than anything else since I just carry it in my hand for the fifty-minute walk. I have a separate iPod for music, which fits into my back zip pocket. But my phone? It’s a normal smartphone; which is to say that it has a 4.7inch screen, so it doesn’t fit into any pocket on any exercise pants I own.

Anyway, last year I tried to tell friends and family that there were pelicans in the lake, but only very early in the morning. This surprised me since I knew pelicans as bayside animals (not really thinking about other places they’d live, having only seen them in the bayside where I grew up). The overwhelming response I got back was: we need picture proof. Not only did they not believe there were pelicans in the lake in the early morning, they didn’t believe there were pelicans in the lake at all!

I saw the pelicans two or three times more before the end of last year, but unfortunately, I did not have my camera or my phone with me. This year I was determined to capture them.

And so I did. On Tuesday’s cloudy morning, they were sitting on what looks like a dam divider that separates the main lake from the offshoot on the northern side.

Photo of the pelicans (Tue 10 Feb) taken on my HTC One smartphone. Filter ‘Islandia’ added through the phone. // Other photos (Wed 11 Feb, Thu 12 Feb) taken on my HTC One smartphone. No filter added.

Lake Burley Griffin's resident pelicans, early in the morning. Lake Burley Griffin: sunrise on February morning. View through the planter box trees on the south side of Lake Burley Griffin before sunrise.

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Lake. (4/52)

I love water. I love swimming. I like being around water, I like being in water, I like smelling water. (Yes, really: smelling it.) It wasn’t always like this though.

Apparently, I was scared of water. Mum took me to my first swimming lesson, and I wouldn’t get in. Wouldn’t go near it. Well, that would not do. Especially for someone growing up in Queensland where beaches are our backyards. So that afternoon, an above-ground pool was installed in our actual backyard.

(Please remember, I was three.)

The next afternoon, you couldn’t get me out of the pool. I was a fish from that moment on.

I still love swimming — I don’t do it as often as I would like — but I do like living near large bodies of water. There’s something really freeing about it. As if the water encourages you to think, dream and believe.

Photo taken on my HTC One smartphone.

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Cricket. (3/52)

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Last week’s photo is a little late. I went to the cricket with the husband last Wednesday to watch the Prime Minister’s Eleven. I thoroughly enjoyed the cricket. In fact, I tend to like watching any sport live. Or any sport, anytime.

Photo taken on HTC One smartphone, via Instagram app. Using a forgotten filter. Cropped on my MacBook Pro.

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Rain. (2/52)

Rain. That’s how it’s been here in Canberra over the last couple of days. This is the summer version of the winter blanket day: I even pulled out my hoodie and wore some long pants for the first time in months. The husband and I bunked down with the (summer of) sport — there’s no sport in winter, unless you count the midnight Tour de France sessions — to enjoy the indoor day.

Of course, as I write this, the sky is blue and the sun has reappeared.

Photo taken on Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 Blue. View from the study in our apartment.

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Telescope (1/52)

This year, I have decided to take a single photo each week of my life. This particular photo was taken at Narrabri at the Australia Telescope Compact Array.

After the Christmas/New Year break in Brisbane, the husband and I took a road trip inland to see all the telescopes in Eastern Australia. (We are lucky enough to live in Canberra, so we’d already been to Tidbinbilla’s Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex several times and visited the original Honeysuckle Creek site.)

Photo taken on Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT4 Blue.

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Depth. #onelittleword

As I admitted yesterday, I am a great filler-of-time. I could get the Olympic Gold Medal in time-filling. I do things — future employers: I honestly get things done! — but I can fill time in spectacular ways.

But with my very detailed, very specific new direction with very detailed and very specific goals, I need to fill my time with meaningful things.

It was probably only three weeks ago I came across Ali Edward’s One Little Word. Ali Edwards is quite a celebrity in the scrapbooking / memory-documenting world — she appears to have my ideal life. And One Little Word is one of her projects that has just caught on and spread: you take a word and make it your word for the year. You take it and use it and make it part of your core being for the year.

My word for 2015: Depth.

I often feel I have a very superficial understanding of many things, and this year I want to dive in, get deep, and explore in depth. This is reflected in my goals this year.

So while I may not be taking Ali’s class, I am going to be using this word, reflecting on this word and looking at how I can involve this word in my everyday life.

Image credit: Wallpapers Craft.

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Being a creative

(photo credit: Dani Alvarez Cañellas via photopin cc)

Two weeks ago, I read an interview with Evi O on The Conversation. Since then, I’ve been pondering on one particular quote by Evi:

As a creative, I function better when juggling many different projects at once – different design tasks and processes stimulate me.

I couldn’t agree more about this. Currently, I am working on four different projects. I feel like this allows me to continue to be creative. If I think about something too much, I get frustrated and can’t figure out what is wrong with it. I feel like my brain slots everything into place if I ignore it for a bit. Subconscious thinking.

I’ve been working on a couple of new projects and I feel like it’s about time I share them.

The Charlie & Cub Chronicles. I’m still working on this novel. I’ve got one final plot problem (the Parents’ and Sam’s storylines have been resolved), which means I can then start on the re-write. I am very much looking forward to getting back and writing in this world again. I have been so very lucky with this story. My other ideas (which I’m not working on) are no where near as ‘beautiful’.

Papercut Labs is an online scrapbooking classroom. It should be launching in September. I am passionate about the scrapbooking community – even if I’m apart from the community, and not part of it – and I thoroughly enjoy watching the people I’ve met grow as artists. By extending into the classroom setting, I can meet the artists just as they’re beginning. I’m more an admin of these classes while I let much much more creative people be the teachers.

Letterpress magazine is my ‘fun’ project. It’s a small magazine–almost a zine–that focusses on typography, letterpresses, graphic design, digital fonts and how all these things come about. But the fun part is that a large part of this magazine is showcasing digital fonts and I’m asking creative writers to write fictional histories of the fonts. It’s quirky, it’s niche and it’s going to be beautiful. Sometimes I feel myself drowning in it, but then I just need to remember that it is supposed to be fun, and that creative writers are actually fun people. I can’t decide what the next step is: finding writers or finding graphic artists.

The fourth and final project is this. This blog. Being online. Making myself, as cliched as it is and as much as I hate to say it, a platform. I like blogging and I like being on social media. Blogging allows me to work through problems, make decisions on things I only have ideas and inklings about. I like to be connected. I like to give back. It makes my creative process less lonely. Because, honestly, it is just me.

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On doing less

(photo credit: pierofix via photopin cc)

This year, I have one goal and one goal only.

Do less.

It’s not exactly the New Year’s resolution that most people make. The list of resolutions you usually hear are ones where people make grand plans for their year. They are going to get fit (do more exercise, eat at home more and thus cook more), they are going to get a new job (urgh, job searching), they are going to take that Europe trip finally, they’ll move out of home, they’ll do this and do that and do MORE than what they have been doing. And this is probably why New Year’s resolutions fail, because it’s about doing more with the time you don’t have.

This goal was inspired by a tweet I saw some months ago.

Even if you (or I) can condense our lives in three distinct ‘life categories’ it doesn’t only mean you (or I) will be only doing three things.

I believe I have the first two sorted out. I have a job to do: I’m a magazine editor. It may have not been my original goal, but it is definitely where I want to stay. It is the best kind of editor (in my opinion). I have a craft to master: I am a writer. I want to be good at it, I want to be great at it. And I want a publishing contract. I currently don’t have a cause to champion: I have ideas, but no time to dedicate to it yet. Part of this year will be trying to figure this out.

However, even within the two life categories I have (and I feel I worked very hard last year to reduce all my activities into one of the two categories), I don’t just do one thing.

What does it mean to be a magazine editor? It means a bucket of admin (emails, invoicing, paperwork generally), it means connecting with people (meeting them, talking to them), it means writing (again: emails, but also content for the magazine and blog), it means editing (lots of reading), it means maintaining a presence (marketing, promotion). There are a hundred little things to do each day and this list is only getting larger. This doesn’t even include what I want to do with the magazine this year, specifically in the online space.

What does it mean to be a writer? Yes, I need to write. So this year, I’m going to write another novel. And hopefully a novella. But that means I have to plan. Which means I need time to think. Literally, sit in one place and think. Part of being a writer, for me, is being around other writers, so there’s always writing groups and events that I attend to get my creative fill. And Charlie & Cub? Well, it’s still being edited, so I’m doing that. It’s still being sent out to publishers and agents, so there’s the research that goes with that.

My goal is to do less, but to do what I do well. And that means I may have to say no to things, but that’s okay too, because these are the things that are important to me. And I should spend most of my time doing them.

** obviously this post does not reflect any personal relationships and where they sit on my priorities–it is simply a post of what I should and will fill my time with.
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The #actbookbake check-in post!

(photo credit: edwardkimuk via photopin cc)

Once there was a young girl who loved to bake and loved to share her baked goods and loved to talk about books. This girl then asked if people would come and eat her baked goods and talk about books with her. What happened was that EVERYONE brought baked goods, brought friends, brought bookish things to talk about and had a grand old afternoon.* Very modernly called #bookbake, this now happens in Sydney fairly regularly.

* This may or may not be a true story.

This lovely girl is Rose, whom I met via NaNo one year and has coordinated the Australian Best Blogs Competition for the past two years. She’s coming to Canberra for a weekend and wants to meet us all!

Therefore, #actbookbake was born! (I can not lie, this may become a recurring event. I love books, I love baked goods, I love writerly folk.)

The first #actbookbake will be held on the lawn between the National Library and the lake at 10.30am, Sunday 2 June. So, if you’re coming along, let us know below in the comments! And if you know what you’re baking to bring, let us salivate over that too.

I’m bringing raspberry macarons. See you there!

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On writing while travelling

I had such grand plans. I committed to other blogs. I even had topics and themes to cover.

But the reality is that when travelling, writing is difficult. THe dream is nice enough: be a tourist in the morning, sit in a cafe and write during the afternoon. Admittedly, my dream is very French-themed.

I have been travelling in Japan and the US. These countries are not like the African ones I have visited at all — power is consistent, wi-fi is consistant, my time management (however) was non-existant. I fought the fires that needed to be fought — so I worked before 7am and after 9pm.

I should have realised that this wouldn’t be a writing holiday. We weren’t in one place long enough to develop a routine that allowed me to spend time writing.

That’s the key — going in with not only the desire to write, but a plan on how to write while away.

Of course, after travelling, is the after-effect of travelling, the residue of being on holidays. Now it’s time to re-find the writing routine that I had before holidays now that I’m back at home.

I’m still working on that one.

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