Tag Archives: life

I have an excuse, really!

These long gaps between posts have become more the norm than not, which is a bit sad. Twitter and Facebook tend to suck out a fair bit of what I used to blog, but this time, it’s not the only reason for the radio silence! After a good school holiday break in which the family and I kept pretty busy (but stayed home mostly, other than me spending the last weekend in Sydney at the Sydney Writers’ Centre Speculative Fiction Festival), I went back to work feeling good, as you’d expect. Nice and rested, all caught up on things, ready for another big term.

That lasted a week. On the first Friday night of term I went to bed early, but within a short while was feeling a bit odd. Our nanny had been ill with a tummy bug just that morning, so I thought it was probably the same thing – unpleasant, but over in a relatively short time. So I put up with the pain, even though I couldn’t sleep. By midnight, I was exhibiting all the symptoms, but the pain seemed to be getting worse. And worse. And then more worse. By about 4am, I probably should have called the ambulance and gone to the hospital, but I held out until 6am, then woke the nanny and got her to take me to Emergency. Apparently 6ish on a Saturday morning is a good time to get sick because there was no one else there and I was ushered straight through and into a bed. The pain was absolutely awful, and I could have kissed the lovely nurse who finally administered morphine through the IV – that stuff is astonishing, though it still took at least half an hour for my body to unclench all the muscles I reckon!

IMG_0713Early diagnosis indicated probably appendicitis, but I had a barrage of tests throughout the day, including an MRI, before they pronounced it the case. Up to the surgical ward I went that evening, but didn’t get the operation until Sunday morning. Relatively straightforward, thank goodness, a laparoscopic appendectomy with no major issues (though I had a bruise on the back of my hand from an IV I never saw for WEEKS after!). I managed to get up and about within a few hours, and felt okay about it. A fairly sleepless night thanks to a very annoying young woman in the bed across the way, but I was allowed to go home Monday morning.

All good, right? Well, I thought so. Sleep wasn’t terribly easy, and I wasn’t really feeling all that great, despite regular naps and doing nothing at all. In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, my pain racheted up and I got my husband to take me back to the hospital, because it didn’t feel right. Cue another big round of tests (another MRI, chest x-ray and a VERY thorough ultrasound), another night in hospital, with no real outcome. The pain had abated, and so I went home again.

IMG_0747I shuffled around the house for a few days, worked up to driving on the weekend (cos kids, right), and then presented at the doctor on the Tuesday to get the “fit for work” clearance required by my work. Ah, nope, says the doctor. My pain still wasn’t great, and it turns out my x-ray and MRI showed some lower lung collapse and fluid, which accounted for the fact I couldn’t get a deep breath (and probably the pain too!). Doctor prescribes some stonking penicillin and sends me home for the rest of the week. The new antibiotics worked great, and I started to feel better within hours – magic stuff!

So I eventually get back to work on the Monday, after two weeks wombling around the house feeling horrid. Things seemed to be on the mend. I got better as the week went on. And then on the Saturday I woke up with a super still neck and the start of a head cold. By Monday, aches and pains and lightheadedness had started too. And so I’ve spent the past two weeks battling the flu! Ended up back at the doctor again last Monday, because the pain I’d had before recurred, so I figured it was the same issue – seems so, because some more antibiotics set me to rights! And now, though I’m still not 100%, I’m well on the road to being so!

I’m very grateful to live in a time where we can be treated for the things I’ve had these past few weeks, and to live in a country with a free (well, other than the GP visits!) healthcare system. The Canberra hospital staff were excellent, and I while I don’t know how much they are paid, the nurses deserve more. They’re amazing.

IMG_0725You know who else is amazing? My staff at work – they just made all the things happen and kept me up to date. They sent flowers and brought food and cake and kind wishes. I’m super lucky.

And who else? My au pair, Trisha – have no idea how we would have coped without her!

And that’s my excuse for the past five weeks. The six or eight before that? Erm, well…life!

Currently I’m working on having two books (one print, one e-only) ready for Conflux in Canberra on the first weekend in October – I’m a guest at the con, and really looking forward to it! Four weeks left of term, and a busy holiday period ahead. Bring it on in good health!

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2014 in review

Seeing as I barely blogged (here – I did blog a fair bit at FableCroft and also for my school websites, but Facebook and Twitter tend to be my go-to social networks these days) this year, I figured it might be worth a brief post looking at the year that was. The fact January is almost half over already by the time I’m doing this may indicate what sort of blogging year 2015 will be as well…

1546382_10202569827183393_103299899_nJanuary saw me start a new job in Canberra, commuting to the family in Tassie for the first term while living in a little granny flat during the week. The new job was, and has remained all year, fabulous. I love it, love my staff, love the kids. Very pleased to have made the leap, despite the fact it meant we left (and sold) our lovely home in Tassie that we adored, as well as our fantastic friends there. Due to the travelling, I was quietly tickled to reach Platinum membership status with Virgin Australia, which has made flying a very pleasant experience this past year! Unlikely I’ll maintain it, but it’s fun while it lasts!

Husband started a short-term job midway through the first term, which meant the children were parentless. Thankfully my parents and then a very good friend of the family stepped in for several weeks to take care of them while we both worked. I then shifted the whole family up to Canberra during the Easter holidays, as well as friend from WA who came to be our nanny for the rest of the year. Couldn’t have done 2014 without all the support.

Cranky Ladies logoMarch (and the lead up to) were super busy as we ran a crowdfunding campaign for the Cranky Ladies of History anthology project. We got a lot of media and smashed our target, which was brilliant! The book is due out in early March 2015 and we’re putting the final edits together now. It’s a fantastic book and I’m super proud of it, as well as very grateful to my co-editor Tansy Rayner Roberts and all the contributors for their work. Can’t wait to show it off! As well as projects still yet to come out, 2014 also saw FableCroft publish:

  • the original novel Guardian by Jo Anderton
  • the (mostly) original anthology Phantazein
  • reprint anthology Focus 2013: highlights of Australian short fiction
  • “Sanction” by Dirk Flinthart
  • The Pratchett’s Women and 50 Roman Mistresses essay collections by Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • reprint (ebook) novel The Tainted by Glenda Larke

We had several launches/book parties through the year, including one in Hobart to celebrate (belatedly) the launch of Tansy’s Ink Black Magic and Dirk’s Path of Night novels from late 2013, one at Continuum for the release of Guardian, and one at Conflux for the release of Phantazein, all of which were great fun.

photo (36)In early April I had the five day Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year judging conference (for which I was the Tasmanian judge), which coincided with the announcement of the Aurealis Awards (for which I was judging co-ordinator), both in Canberra, which was most handy. This made for a super busy long weekend but one that was filled with collegial conversations revolving primarily around books and publishing – fantastic! Was absolutely delighted to have several shortlisted works on the ballot, and to see Joanne Anderton take home the Aurealis Award for Best Collection for The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories (it also won the Australian Shadows Award for the same category and was shortlisted for a Ditmar!) and that we co-won the Best Anthology category for One Small Step – we’ve had a few shortlistings and one win in a short story category in the past, but this time I got to bring home a trophy! We also had shortlistings for the Ditmar Awards, the Australian Shadows and the Washington Science Fiction Association’s Small Press Award.

I had quite a few conferences during the year, including Continuum in Melbourne, SchoolsTechOz in Melbourne, Conflux in Canberra, the inaugural International Library Symposium at the Gold Coast, CrimeScene in Perth, and others here and there. We also spent several days in Queensland at Mum and Dad’s (and driving to and from) during the July school holidays, and finished the year there as well, though at the coast with them and my brother and his family, which was nice. Driving the distances with four kids on my own isn’t the most fun ever, though it seemed to be the only time I caught up on podcasts during the year, so that’s a win. I’m glad I got to spend time with my aunt in October when I was in WA for conferences, as sadly she passed away in December, and will be much missed.

Other things in 2014? We did the Australian Spec Fic Snapshot again, with an enormous number of interviews being conducted and posted over a two-week period; continued with David McDonald and Tansy our Doctor Who in Conversation series of reviews (for which we won the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism and Review!); with Jo Anderton and Alex Pierce reread and reviewed the David & Leigh Eddings Elenium and Tamuli trilogies; hung out with friends when possible; unintentionally started a bit of Twitter fun with the #FakeCon hashtag; watched a LOT of shows (on DVD or computer, none of that free-to-air business!) with favourites being BBC Musketeers, Outlander, Defiance, Orphan Black, Doctor Who, Arrow, Flash and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD; read a LOT of books, too many to list but you can see them at Goodreads; chauffeuring children from pillar to post (the big kids also both had interstate trips on their own – Master J to QLD to his grandparents in April, Miss G to Tassie to her mates in October, including for her birthday!); I finally got my butt into gear and started actively working to lose some weight (so far about 10kg); and probably a million more things I’ve forgotten but there you have it. My 2014 in 1,000 words (and some pictures). Thanks for being part of it online or in real life, and here’s to another great year!

Christmas Wessely Kids  10410278_10204388469008302_8456898195796568932_n (1) 10847783_10204716753775216_7468526947719541367_n

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Hello blog, I miss you

While I do write up over at FableCroft more frequently than here these days, it’s not really at all the same thing, and I miss blogging here! Hopefully we’re getting back on track with our Doctor Who reviews soon, but I’m also going to make a concerted effort to put down more words in general at this place, else otherwise, where’s the proof it all happened? :)

Gosh, scrolling back through the last few posts here (and goodness, a long time between drinks there too!) it seems I really haven’t recorded much at all this year! I suppose a full-time job (and family and everything else on top) will do that to you. So, to sum up:

  • Still loving my job – it’s full on, engaging and lots of fun. There are challenges, but I’m enjoying finding ways to overcome them, and there are fantastic opportunities, which I’m loving grabbing hold of. This was a good move.
  • We had a FableCroft book party in Hobart in March, which was fun, and was nice that my parents were there (child-minding for a week!).
  • The CBCA Judges’ Conference in April was interesting – a very passionate group of people and some really hard decisions. As with any other judging panel, but bigger!
  • photo (36)Awards! Delighted to say we won an Aurealis Award for One Small Step in the Best Anthology category at the Aurealis Awards in April, which was awesome – it’s not the first AA something has won, and we’ve been shortlisted a few times, but it’s the first time I got to bring home a pretty trophy! I was also stoked that Jo Anderton won Best Collection for The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, and she also took out the Australian Shadows Award for the same category! Super cool. And at the Ditmars earlier this month, Tansy, David and I were awarded the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism and Review for our conversational Doctor Who reviews, and because they both got pretty trophies (designed by the amazing Kathleen Jennings) for wins in other categories (yay!) I got to bring that one home too! Are they not beautiful? :)
  • I’ve more projects going on over at FableCroft than I can shake a stick at. Cranky Ladies was fully funded (148%!) in our Pozible campaign in March, and is simmering away with stories starting to trickle in; Insert Title Here is on the bubble, with a table of contents to be announced very shortly (and another special announcement to go with that too!); we launched Jo Anderton’s new novel Guardian at Continuum, and it’s starting to get some reviews around the traps; and there are another couple of things going on that are yet to be announced. SO MUCH GOOD STUFF!
  • I didn’t win NAFF, but I did make it to Continuum over the June long weekend anyway, and had an absolute ball. Only had two days there, but I think it’s possibly the most fun I’ve had at a convention ever! I was certainly on more panels than I’ve ever been on before! Caught up with loads of people, sold some books, learned some things – it was great.
  • Undertook my two CBCA Judge’s talks (one in Launceston, one in Hobart) to small but engaged audiences. Can’t say I’m sad I’m not judging again this year, because I’m still in a bit of “forced reading” fatigue. Hence probably the fact I’m doing a new reread review project of The Elenium and The Tamuli with Alex Pierce and Jo Anderton now – comfort reading for the win!
  • Aurealis Awards will soon open to entries – we’re trying to fix up some behind the scenes problems with the entry form before we go live, but looking forward to another year of finding out about all the great work that’s been published this year.
  • I’ve been gradually getting out and doing a little bit of socialising with friends around Canberra. Had an unexpected movie date with Shauna O’Meara the other day when I took a group of students to watch How to train your dragon 2 (which was fabulous!), so that was lovely, and met up with Rebecca James last weekend and Donna Hanson yesterday. Saw Nicole and a few others a few weeks ago at a Canberra Society of Editors meeting where we talked about our editing processes, and went out to dinner with my library staff last Friday. Still have lots of people I really want to see, but time is against me! I will get there…
  • Probably the biggest thing in the past few months is that the family have made the move to Canberra! With all the time sink and financial expense that goes with an interstate move. We’ve been trying to sell our house since January and FINALLY (having changed agents a couple of months ago) have an unconditional contract on the property. We’re losing a bucketload of money, but at least it’s (hopefully) done now. Holding our breath until it’s finalised though! Of course, that has meant a whole heap of living out of boxes, unpacking boxes, chucking stuff out because why have I bothered to cart it about for so long… All that stuff, but we’re slowly getting there! Just renting now (and for a while, I think) but a pretty good place, even if it can’t hold a candle to our lovely Launceston home :( Oh, and we have a nanny now! Because I have no idea how we would manage otherwise. She’s great, a young lady who used to babysit for us in WA, and we’re super lucky to have her. Kids are all settled into schools and doing pretty well, though we still miss our friends in Launceston. And WA, for that matter! Stupid nomadic family… :)

Is that it? No, of course not! But it will serve as a catch up for now. I’ll try to do better. Really, I will!


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It’s not the ending, but the journey that’s important…

…and boy, has the journey been busy lately! I’ve been working full-time since the end of January, coming home each night (sometimes as late as 7pm or so) and hooking straight back in to my “other” jobs, particularly FableCroft things, but also CBCA and other roles as well. And I’m loving it, though I’m rather worried about dropping any of the balls I’ve got in the air right now! And I’m being EXTREMELY cautious about taking on anything that looks too far ahead, because while it’s been fantastic having time on my own in Canberra to get settled into my job, I’m very aware that once the rest of the family relocates, my time shrinks dramatically! So I’m saying “no” a fair bit, which is a good exercise :)

Cranky Ladies logoTaking up most of my time in the past few weeks has been the Cranky Ladies of History campaign. There’s a lot going on, including a bunch of media interviews (including one with Alex Pierce over at Galactic Chat, which went live yesterday), the Cranky Ladies blog tour and the like (which is fantastic!), and maintaining the momentum of the campaign. I’m so lucky Tansy is on board the project, because there’s just no way it would be doing so well without her! Having someone else to bounce ideas off and work with to make the very best book possible is a huge bonus. Not just a bonus – it’s making the project happen! She’s awesome, and this weekend is in Beaconsfield for the inaugural Festival of Golden Words, so I hope she has a lovely time!

I’m also noodling away on slushing for Insert Title Here, thankfully with the support of the very excellent Dirk Flinthart, and working on final edits for Jo Anderton’s new book. In addition, the Aurealis Awards are speeding up on top of us (have you got your tickets to the ceremony yet – it’s going to be a blast!), as is the CBCA Judging Conference (the same weekend!) which means all the final re-reading and collation of reports is underway. Add to that the editing of the next issue of the WASLA journal, and organising the family from afar, on top of a full-on, full-time job, and some wonderful friends I’m enjoying catching up with? Well, let’s just say I’m certainly not bored!!

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Winter germ-buckets

photo 1Heh, it amuses me that the last personal post I did here was about finally sending the baby to daycare. Ever since, one or the other or more of the family have been sick! Bubs kindly brought home a gastro bug from daycare, which four out of six of us experienced (though Master Three was spectacular in his recovery from one single massive vomit, with no further symptoms! It wiped husband and I out for a day each though – different days, luckily). Then we were hit with another cold (we’d already had one a few weeks before), which has taken down Bubs, M3 and Miss Seven, with the lingering cough the worst hangover. Bubs also manifested conjunctivitis, so I took him to the doctor, who diagnosed an ear infection and prescribed antibiotics, which worked a treat! Eyes cleared up within 24 hours, which was a relief. M3 and M7 both missed a bit of school/kindy, but I sent them all off on Thursday again, and Bubs had his first full day (he only had five hours the first time), and he seemed to really enjoy it, which is good. Master Ten has managed to avoid ALL the bugs, which is good!

photo 2In the past few weeks we’ve been to Hobart for a birthday party, had some lovely play dates and get togethers (except when sick!), M7 did her first cosplay as Amy Pond (start ’em young) and I (almost successfully) made Grandma’s Gingernut Biscuits for the first time (they were YUM, but were flat sliced up squares rather than biscuits!) AND spinach & feta pie – I’ve tried more new recipes in the past four months than I ever have before I think. Amazing what having a nice kitchen will do :) Oh, and did I mention that Bubs now has FOUR teeth (they all sprouted within a week of each other), is commando crawling to complement his rolling, and getting into EVERYTHING. How quickly they grow up…

photo 4What else have we been doing? Procrastinating on all the things I have to get done before the marking starts to roll in (Tuesday). Why do we do this? *sigh* Anyway, house is clean now, so I’ll get a few things done this afternoon and tomorrow. Bubs has reverted to several wakeups at night again, and I’m getting a bit knocked about by that, but still plugging away at various projects. Naturally, despite my best intentions, I have four books all at a similar point of the publication process, which is annoying! Hmm, I need to stop mucking about here and get on with it. Time is fleeting!

photo 5 photo 3

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