Thursday, December 28, 2006

Relaxing holidays

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. My Christmas tree is going a bit brown but otherwise, I'm still feeling Christmassy. I love the holidays.

I have recently scanned some more pics, so I have included two here. The first one is me at school (excellent hair) holding up the first book I ever read. Who could have predicted the trouble this event would cause for me later in life...

The second is a very thoughtful shot of me in London when I was seven.

I have no idea why I'm looking so worried... Possibly because my future held many dissatisfied years of study until I worked out what I really loved doing (no, it wasn't just about stalking Johnny Depp when he was in 21 Jump Street), cutting off all my hair to give to my bald Grandad, dating a bunch of dorks, a couple decent guys, one or two sweethearts, ten years of poverty struggling to be a freelance writer, living in a house with four excellent women (and five cats) breaking my arms (once on the dance floor at Le Rox, once while riding a bike through the parklands and banging into a goth (she was invisible in her black get up until she turned her death white face to me but by then it was far, far too late for both of us), breaking down (in my dad's Merc, with the death knell of a snapped timing chain) outside a petrol station a hundred kilometres from Adelaide after driving seven thousand kilometres around Australia while researching my first book (see pic - note dirty blonde natural hair colour, penchant for mini-skirts and - at the time - hugely hilarious ironic billboard) with my dear pal Dave Sag.

Or possibly it was because i'm wearing my school sandals on a social occassion...

For fans of the Cassidy Blair series, and other books of mine, the winner of the recent competition was Brionie Hansford of Mannum, SA. She won three of my books. There were several runners up who also won a book, mostly because it's the season for giving.

On this exciting topic, I recently won two prizes myself. The first one was an brown Elizabeth Hurley beach kaftan (weirdly comfortable and, despite the fact that I don't go to the beach or wear brown - ever - I wore it all day because I have no clean clothes). The kaftan is very drifty wafty seventies. I felt pretty smug about winning something that was worth eighty quid, (which is about a million dollars Australian) and also (not all that alluringly) see-through. Fortunately I noticed the latter issue before going to the shops.

I also won a Trill/Harmony bird feeder. I was very excited to win anything as I love entering competitions. I used to create competitions at school, get prizes, and have people drawing and writing and colouring in, and each week they'd win a prize. I was such a dork...

But still, I enter competitions all the time, especially the 25 words or less ones, as they are a real pain and i am determined to figure out how to master it. I'm sure I could spend my time more wisely...

Congratulations to Brionie, thanks to everyone who entered, and I hope you have a safe and beautiful holiday.
I was asked my new year resolutions by the Adelaide Advertiser recently too, and I gave up three of them, but there are many many more. Once I got started, I had no idea there was such room for improvement. It was a bit startling.
One resolution I didn't mention will be to write more often on this blog, and to create more (hopefully helpful) articles about writing, publishing, editing and my own books.

Here's a shot of one of the window displays on my first interstate author tour.

p.s I know this sounds kind of daggy but loads of good things are, actually daggy and so I'm going to ask anyway. Please put out water and/or food for the native wildlife if you have the time. There are so many awful stories of koalas and birds drowning in pools, and dying of thirst/hunger. My friend Robin tells me that you can't put out plastic bowls or tubs, only ones made from ceramic as animals don't like the taste of plastic in the water.

I hope that 2007 will bring more care and compassion for the animals and people around us and far away.

Listening to: The Adam and Joe podcasts on XFM London
Eating: My favourite sweetchili tofu stir fry with yogurt
Thinking about: The next chapter in The Tequila Bikini
Watching: The third series of LOST
Wearing: Bandaids from having a bloodtest - I have some freaky flu virus
Reading: My favourite Yen and Frankie magazines from last year that I wanted to catch up on


Monday, December 04, 2006

Jones has a girlfriend (but I think she just wants to be friends)

Anyone not interested in birds, just skip this bit. I had to get it out of my system but I promise not to go on about my birds much more on this blog.

We have a new bird called Lucy. She's a 10 week old cockatiel. She all smudgy looking because most female birds aren't as glorious as the males (see Lyrebirds for example). But she is sharp as a tack and cute as a box of puppies. She has learned all of the songs I taught Jones and is mega-mixing them in her own unique style.
She destroys most plants and fights with Charlie over the flowers, so that keeps him on his toes. She sits VERY close to my neck, which feels really nice and soft, and she is VERY clingy. - i.e. climbs up the towel rack and sacrifices dignity and cool by revealing her very meagre flying ability by sucker-jumping onto the side of the bath and thus up my hair and and into 'prime position' by sitting on my head while I have a bath.
Any bird worth his or her salt knows that to get higher than the other birds means they are for that brief time superior and more beautiful and clever than their fellows. This lengthy and dramatic behaviour infuriates Jones - who used to think the bathroom was his spot for gentle preening and admiration of his increasingly regal plumage in the many chrome fictures.
Now, however, he storms off, muttering to himself, but Charlie persists with sitting on my book while taking the length of bathing time to pluck up the courage to dive into my bath and clean himself. All in all, the relaxation level is low but the entertainment is off the scale.
There is a photo here of Charlie fluffed up to almost three times his size to get maximum water coverage before diving into the water bowl. he does pretty much the same thing from the top of my book only he jumps about like he's at Wet'n Wild and hasn't paid the fee and is nervous he'll get busted any moment. I have a shot second later of him all frail, dripping and almost black with water, but it's too funny/vulnerable to put on my blog, mostly because he looks nude and a completely different bird, tiny and frail and well, not the proud man he is. Speaking of which, much the same thing happens to Jones when he gets that wet. He looks like an old vain dude with a really shameful comb-over, his triumphant cockatiel crest dripping over his face.
Jones loves being spritzed with a water sprayer or wandering into the shower but rarely gets into the water bowl himself. I figure he thinks it's beneath him. Most days outside the window there are a couple pigeons sitting in the bird feeder like huge grey stones, cooling off before sunning themselves on the pavers. I've never seen the sparrows do this.
That's it for now, apologies to any non-bird lovers. - and for mentioning my undies in the previous post. I have no class at all.
Listening to: The Virgin Suicides - music from the motion picture - there's something about Heart's Magic Man that puts extra sauce on my burger every time.
Eating: Leftovers from a Christmas party on Sunday. Smiths Original chips taste amazing at 6.30 am.
Thinking about: Teaching the birds some new songs. 'She'll be coming'round the mountain' is getting really old
Watching: Will & Grace - Season Five
Wearing: A skirt I pulled out of the bottom of my wardrobe that makes me look like I think I'm Courtney Love. Even worse than actually looking like Courtney Love.
Reading: 'Marley & Me - life and love with the world's worst dog' by John Grogan - It's good, but needs a lot of editing. Still, I wish I had a dog - even one that ate clothes. Hell, it could eat this skirt for starters...