Monday, October 31, 2011

Spooky? Not at all

Yes, it is halloween. And I have nothing else to say about that, except perhaps I should add 'candy' to my grocery shopping list.

Quite a to-do list today. Tomorrow begins Nanowrimo and I will disappear into novelling madness. My romance novel is all planned out and ready to be written.

Writing a blog post (possibly the last for some time) was on the to do list, along with...
- phone Nana (check)
- phone rest home to organise kids' visit (half-check... I phoned & someone will call me back)
- phone and organise to pick up unpainted blackboard... save the painting of it for another day - a good nanowrimo break activity, in aid of avoiding RSIs.
- email booking to hotel in wellington
- book flights to wellington
- remind Luuk to book car for weekend in wellington
- fold laundry
- touch up paintings for Delta
- add a layer to mum and dad's christmas present painting
- walk to do groceries, unless the weather packs in
- finish up other stories (only 2 or 3 chapters to go) before focussing my fiction-crafting energy on bigger fish
- email celia awesome recipe, affectionately nicknamed 'breast milk pork' because it makes your milk AWESOME and your baby sleep for longer at night. Did I mention it was awesome? It's actual name: Dong Po Pork. And it's awesome.
- make a stack of baby food - apples/pears mix for Louis' breakfasts, and some of mum's awesome chicken and vege soup, which he likes, and which has vegetables in it, and no jam! These are all things in its favour. Louis is being a right pain with food at the moment, decorating the room in general and making a lot of fuss, being contrary as ever - loving cheese one minute and screaming about it, flinging it across the room, the next. Frustrating.

Sigh. Better get on with it all then.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Long weekend, short week

I haven't mentioned it in a while, but in interest of representing life more accurately, Louis still loves to jolly-jump!

Had a lovely long weekend. Luuk home means I can nap while Louis is awake! Also, he constructed greater child-proof capabilities for the computer/stereo cabinet/desk thing. Meanwhile, I constructed a novel outline...

Louis completely lost interest in the increased-security computer desk, of course.

I made fish pie. Yum.

And today I did as little as really possible. So tired at the moment. Went back to bed when Louis went down for his morning nap, then took my time getting going after that. Went into office then did groceries.

Louis has been in an adventurous mood, which means exhausting but good for photos...

and video...

He can be determined... but didn't quite pull down every magnet before terrorizing the plants on the windowsill became the more appealing option.

Guess I'm re-stacking the nappy liners this evening during 'Castle'.

Monday, October 24, 2011

faff day

I always feel like a weekend day should be well spent (read: that you shouldn't spend it watching an entire tv series and eating toasties). But an extra day? A public holiday? A Third weekend day... bring on the tv and toasties!

It's like a free-to-faff day. I already spent my weekend well. This is like monopoly money. Can't use it anywhere else.

Weekend was pretty good. Had lovely breakfast out on Saturday (we were out of bread... what else could we do?) at Browsers - a cafe with a fish tank, which kept Louis entertained while we ate our meal at a normal, leisurely adult-not-parent pace. Joy!

Then we bought bread. And mandarins. And grapes. And a present for a 21st birthday that night. And I bought a lovely new top for my cousin's upcoming wedding. And a new black glassons cardi - so handy. Wear it all the time. Need several in case they ever stop making them.

Was worship leading at church on sunday. Went pretty well okay... who knows. Fine, I think. Read a prayer written by Jane Austen. Fantastic. Then had a lazy afternoon, watched tv, napped, made fish pie, watched the rugby. And that was when the weekend got really stressful. Holy Cow. Thank God that's over. When Richie McCaw was asked how he felt at the end, I thought he must feel just like I did after Louis was born - pure, unadulterated relief. Thank god that's over. And done. And, we won. But mainly, whew!

Today, we've watched tv and parented poorly. Louis has been horrible and tired. It's 11.14 and he's down for his second nap! It's the classic 2-days-after-late-night-it-hits. He's up and down like a bouncy ball. Cute and exhausting and thank god he'll sleep.

I'm eating a delicious pineapple and cheese toastie. We're watching a hilarious sit com called 'Community'. Hi-larious!

"You just wrinkled my brain." - Troy. Current fav. line. Will try to incorporate in a conversation soon. Classic.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Creating Characters

The first thing you have to do when writing the first draft of a novel is creating your characters. I put together this questionnaire that I do for all my main characters. Feel free to use it, edit it, whatever! It's a lot of work to do but pays off when you're writing. The characters drive the plot, or else you're in trouble. So, in light of the nanowrimo coundown, start hashing out those characters!

Characterisation Work-up

Full Name, nickname
and preferred name



Temperament/ personality type

Strengths/Abilities/ skills

Negative Traits



Upset/embarrassed/ irritated by

Opinionated about

Made happy by

Amused by

Fight style

What others think of them

Philosophy is...

Bedroom is...

Carries with them...


Challenges to face

Career/ dreams goals/desires

Motivations/values/ vows/promises


Current abode




Distinguishing Ft.s

Clothing style/ make-up/ careful?/ cost/ fashionable/ comfort/ accessories

posture/nervous habit

Dis/Likes about appearance



Voice/pitch/pauses/ fav. words/ greetings/ grammar/accent

Habits and Behaviour
Daily/weekly routine

Bad habits

Eating habits

Exercise habits

Relational habits


Desired behaviour

Preferences and Favourites




Political groups

Religious groups

Holiday activities

Time of year/season/ weather -best &worst





Pet Peeves

Hobbies/interests/ obsessions

Keeps/throws away

Closest friend/s

Closest family members


People they dislike

Friendships they'd like to invest in

Relationships they'd like to limit/end

Views of kids/marriage, etc.

Fondest memory



Relationships/sexual history

Socio-economic bg.



Past abodes

Worst memory/ regrets

Greatest sin

Rebel against

Aspire to be like...

Major events in life

Monday, October 17, 2011

Summer has come to Christchurch

After a frankly terrible start to the day/week, today turned out to be quite lovely. Was very tired so went back to bed when Louis went down for his morning nap... and work up at 10.50! The whole morning was almost gone. But then I felt just terrible. Louis woke up, so had had his lunch out in the sun. Wasn't very interested in his lunch, and I wasn't very interested in a food fight, so when we started chatting to the neighbours through the fence I gave up on lunch and we went to visit. Louis played with the kids next door (first time on a trampoline!) and I discovered he is not the only child who puts stones in his mouth. Good to know.
 Gorgeous summer-like day. The Kowhai is in full bloom. Never seen one so glorious!

I let Louis play in the garden, but it was really hot and sunny and he refuses to keep his hat on. I sun-blocked us both and let him explore the camelia-sheddings, while I sewed a strap onto his hat. This was a truly brilliant moment of mine, I must say. I found a tiny premie size onesie in the sewing stuff and cut off the strips down the front that have all the domes on them. I shortened these and sewed them onto Louis' sunhat, then put it on his head and snapped it in place. Aha! Mum wins. Hat stayed on after that.

 Louis wearing the un-movable hat! Score 1 for mum. But he's eating my apple. Little thief. I wanted that. Score 1 for Louis.

I had a slightly less brilliant, but not far-off, moment later on: gave him some naked time and squirted water from my drink bottle onto the playmat (it's kind of rubbery - I think it was once a physio floor mat) which Louis happily splashed around in and got totally wet. We'll be playing that game again this summer methinks.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Frantic and Antisocial... for what?

For a favour for a friend.
And a bunch of money.

So Luuk and I have become bad parents and neglected the rest of the world as well. We have spent the last two days working on a project that a friend needs finished. The deadline he had was wrong and so we're helping him out. It's a contract he has to fill and he's splitting the funds. So that'll pay for christmas maybe. And Luuk's 30th birthday party.

We have to write 60 of these short scripts. Fun! Creative! I thought.

But the scripts are to explain computer hardware and networking... so the script writing is less fun and creative than I was expecting.

On the other hand I am learning all sorts of interesting things, like how a CD writer works, and the difference between a modem and a router, and why some websites are constantly updating, but others make you hit F5. Fascinating! (I'm not certain how sarcastic I'm being. There has to be a little sarcasm, but it is interesting, so I'm not being entirely sarcastic.)

Meanwhile, poor little Louis. We stuck him out on the lawn when we got tired of him trying to climb up on the computer desk. Luuk's keyboard makes tapping noises as if it wants to be a typewriter - so appealing when your 11 months old... apparently.

When he's inside he's been working his way along furniture, walking and wobbling and holding on tight. He can now go around corners... very carefully and with occasional bursts of tears which are soon abandoned because he needs all his concentration for not falling over.

Speaking of falling over, there were quite a few spills today. Luuk caught one on video and put it on facebook. It's very cute... and then horrible. Poor little louis.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Catch up

 Lovely afternoon tea with Mum last week. Fresh coffee, gorgeous spring flowers, and delicious belgium biscuits from 'The Village Bakehouse' on Waimairi Rd. Recommend!

 It's good to know someone is enjoying Louis' lunch...

I spent a couple of days painting last week (was watching my way through an old tv series, got a bit hooked, so just kept watching and painting...)
 These are first or second drafts of some illustrations for my children's book. Just learning how to use water colours. Practise practise practise.
This one is painted too now. I'll add the photo next time I post about illustrations. Today, being Painting Thursday, might have been the day to do some more, but I want to make some progress on a large painting, currently in acrylics but will possibly do oil layers later. It is a kind of Christchurch tribute, and will be a Christmas present to my parents.

Shame I've run out of episodes of 'Christy'. What shall I watch next? All of Downton Abbey again? Studio 60? I have had a hankering for You've Got Mail recently. The morning's been a bit of a write-off, and Louis could wake soon, so I'll wait till his afternoon nap, put on a movie, and set up the easel in the lounge.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Motivation Vacation

So lethargic right now. Kitchen is a bomb site with the mess from monday night's chinese food fest and every meal since has added a little to the shambles. I'm vowing to clean it up before/during cooking dinner tonight.
It's wednesday, my reading day, and I've read... facebook.
So very lazy. Perhaps a sleep is in order.  Louis has been down for less than an hour so I can get a sleep before he wakes up if I go for it now.
But then I'd have to move from my seat here by the window, with a slight breeze wafting in from the door. The kowhai tree outside is looking spectacular, the sky is blue, and the weeds in the garden are green and growing! Ah, spring.
Just so unmotivated. Giant coffee and home-baked chocolate afghan didn't perk me up at all, delicious though they were.
A nap might be wise. I'll relocate myself to bed at least, then I can nap without having to move again.
Tomorrow I'll do better.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To ink or not to ink?

I think I prefer them with ink. Now I just need to put this Louis in the picture with the trees. Is it cheating to do it on the computer?
Ah well, have to do it again anyway - there's that big blot under the big tree in the distance.


Finally had a go at water colours. Started off by inking a picture of a couple of trees. Recently started playing with a quill and ink I bought years ago. So I drew my outlines with that, and then added colour...

Sorta looks like a children's book illustration eh? Big ink blot in the middle, but hopefully, with practise I'll get better at the quill thing, and stop splattering spots of ink around as well.  I have a black spot on my middle finger, just like Jo March.

Next picked up my pencil sketch, the cover-in-progress of my children's book. Added colour, then inked after. Can't decide which works better because the pictures are so different.

Yes, another big ink blot... I like the dark, bold, ink lines on the jersey. Maybe next I'll try doing the basic outlines in ink, then adding colour, then going back over in ink to add detail and emphasis...

Bring on the experiments!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Wednesday Wriggle

I keep doing this thing on Wednesdays. Its my reading day, right? My effort to continue my education without the curse of course fees or 'required' reading... suddenly the reading has no appeal.

So this morning, when Louis went down for his nap, I jumped in the shower, then towel-headed, sat by the window, feet up on the opposite seat, and did some reading. But what did I read? The chapter I'm required to read for a discussion tomorrow. So much for self-motivated enriching reading.

And I could move onto reading of my own choice now - I certainly have enough books hanging around, and plenty with book marks a chapter or two in. But I'm hankering for other activities...

- more writing, because I got on a bit of a roll yesterday after I designed my character's house... and plotted the whole novel.

- watching an old tv series (happened upon the dvd case in the office clean-up on monday and it's been in the back of my mind ever since)  and painting... there are a couple of half finished paintings lying around and I keep thinking I'd like to do some more on them.

So the reading might just go out the window today. I'm wriggling out of it and onto Thursday.

Couple of things on the to-do list first:
- book hair appointment for next monday (when mum can babysit)
- book massage appointment for some time next week (luuk has a voucher that runs out in the end of october - already paid for!)
- couple of other phone calls
- empty dishwasher
- email some people who might be interested in being involved in the children's christmas thingy at church... invite them to ideas-session on Sunday evening.

And then Louis will be up and about and painting will become dangerous to the carpet. Ah well, better get on with it then.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Writing, or thinking about it

I'm not procrastinating. I swear it. I am designing the house that my main character inherits and moves into. It is an important setting in the story and I need to get it straight in my head... and so I've spent the entire morning (between serious nose-blowing) designing a freakin' huge mansion and wondering what they need all that room for?? (THEY being people who own/build mansions)

There are a lot of bedrooms, and 'parlours', 'sitting rooms', even a nursery and school room (with a model train set. Nice.)

Used a website to make the floor plans and now I'm going to draw all over them because doing it on the computer takes forever and it feels like a bit of a waste of time.

Next job: plotting the story. Then I can get back to writing :)

And then it will be November and time to nanowrimo. I think I'm going to write a frivolous little romance in November and then go back to this, slightly more serious, venture after November. Which means I have to plan my nanowrimo novel this month too. More house designing? Perhaps. But no mansions. The heroine of that novel is going to live in a tiny little two room cottage. She's a cake decorator whose business is just taking off. Maybe she'll finally splurge on a commercial space and live in the studio apartment above her shop. Ooh, I like it!

Back to work.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Funday

It is housework monday... which means a big fun to-do list!

- dishes
- laundry washed/dried/folded/put away (always tempted to put as 4 seperate things... more regular ticking!)
- tidy the study...

and I should realistically stop there. That's going to take hours!

- sort out the cds (change the ones in player and put cd wallet in car) [DONE!]
- sort out my jewelry
 On my dresser... and my bedside table. What a mess. Very disheartening.
 Perhaps will relocate the entire shambles to the coffee table and sort it out while I watch 'Downton Abbey' (yippee! Out today!)... except first I have to
- tidy the coffee table
- tidy the lounge floor so I can get to the coffee table
- talk Luuk into vacuuming so that its safe for the baby to crawl around on the floor and mess it all up again.
(Luuk is home sick. We're all sick, in fact. But not debilitated enough to get out of housework. Just need regular lemon-honey-drink-breaks, and sips of amazing&disgusting buckleys, and long lie-downs between folding laundry and emptying the dishwasher.)

Note: "Monday Funday" is, at best, hopeful; at worst, ironic.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Eastern Frontier

Went on a bit of adventure (the soft kind where you get coffee and cake, mum's shout) on Saturday... to Sumner. I realised that I haven't been there since January (Celia's bridal shower at "Poseidon" which is now on a tilt and vacant, awaiting rebuild/repair). I realised I haven't been many places at all, in Christchurch, since February. I've been to lots of other places, but not many in my own home town.

We walked along Scarborough after having strong coffee and delish brownie (with pistachios in it!) at a fancy brasserie (which was fancier before Sumner became a lot less accessible/appealing). Lovely walk in the wind. Lovely to see the ocean. Luuk carried Louis in the backpack. Last time we saw the ocean we were at Stinson beach in California. Similar temperature, I suspect.

We were all a bit gobsmacked at this stark evidence of the violence of the earthquakes, and how much the land has actually moved!

On the way there/home we drove under the crumbling cliffs, houses hanging precariously off the edges, or half-gone already in several cases. These shipping containers are stacked along the cliff-side of the road and will (hopefully) protect passers-by in the case of rockfalls.

Certainly puts a twist on lovely afternoon at the beach. I suppose we injected a measly $20 into Sumner's shrunken economy. Why do I feel I need to justify the frivolity of my lovely Saturday afternoon out? There were strange twinges of guilt accompanying me along Ferry Rd, as there often are whenever I am fascinated/amazed by the sights of earthquake damage. I live on the untouched (nearly) side of town and we play tourist, even on the days we carried shovels and wore gumboots, to the damaged areas. Then we go home to our barely-cracked, weather-proof house, with our un-chlorinated water and indoor plumbing. Survivor's guilt someone called it.

But it was a lovely afternoon at the beach. Perhaps the guilt comes because I may have found the excursion even more interesting (enjoyable?) than I would have pre-eq. Anyway, that's all I have to say about that, for now. Bound to come up again. Bloody Earthquakes.