Saturday, 25 August 2012

More birds - alive!

Very pleased to report more bird sightings this trip to Phillip Island -- this time alive! In fact, this time the theme is baby birds, perhaps not surprising, given the season.

So far today, we have seen:
- two little cygnets with mummy and daddy black swans;
- two baby penguins nestling in separate burrows at the nobbies;
- a quintet of baby cape barren geese with mummy and daddy.

We also saw a beautiful wedge tail eagle soaring high over the wetlands (probably checking out the cygnets), various other waterbirds, multitudes of wallabies...

A very satisfying day of wildlife spotting.

Friday, 24 August 2012

A week of fire-breathing dragons

It's been a hell of a week.

I've seen it coming for some time, hurtling towards me like a herd of shiny fire-breathing dragons. There was no avoiding it. Three major work projects heading for one hulluva collision. All I could do was gird my loins, and mentally resolve myself to deal with whatever was dished up.

After three big weeks (none bigger than this past week) I now feel like a wrung-out rag. There's been very little recreational writing (only on the weekends)... and this week I abandoned any thoughts of counting calories or exercising. To get through this week, I needed cake and other yummy food. Moreover, tonight sees me finishing off a bottle of red and rapidly demolishing a block of chocolate -- completely flaked out on the couch and almost comatose.

Yesterday saw my anxiety peak, and the preceding night I lost sleep due to work for the first time in years. I spent a horrid Thursday morning contemplating curling into the very spacious cavity beneath my desk -- which is conveniently in a corner -- before I took deep breaths and put my head down and worked through some stuff, so that by the end of the day (~8:30pm) I was feeling moderately in control.

Today I felt calmer, despite still having a huge amount to do, but it turned out both projects which were to end today have drifted into Monday. This is both good and bad. Good, because I needed the extra time to be satisfied; bad, because I so wanted them to be over!

I'm going to abscond to the Island tomorrow and I'm almost resolved not to take a computer. (gasp!) We'll see how my resolve lasts, but I confess it's much easier to contemplate given the availability of a smartphone. I'm not sure I'm ready to be completely cut off from my social media. But I think I want a break from computers for a couple of days.

Besides, I need to be ready for next weekend, when I'm off on a writing retreat for four days - huzzah! So I think a couple of days break is in order. Means I can spend the time reading and walking along the beach instead. Just what I need.

Come Monday it's back to the grindstone, although hopefully I can have more normal hours next week. Yet there's still project number three to finish off and project number four to kick-off. September isn't looking too much better - alas.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Winter of the boots

I remember a period during my undergraduate university years when I was in the habit of wearing skirts -- the long, flowing kind. I can't remember why I stopped (maybe they went out of fashion), but I did stop, and for years after that I became convinced that I 'don't wear dresses'.

For the next two decades (thereabouts) I habitually ONLY wore pants -- jeans, crops, tailored work pants, shorts -- unless I was going to a wedding. I never even looked at dresses or skirts in shops, and marvelled at all the women who wore them, wondering why? Selecting dresses to wear to weddings was torture.

I dress for comfort, while trying to not entirely sacrifice style (even if my own personal style). I spend so much time sitting at computers that my clothes need to have stretch. They need to be machine washable. They must not need ironing. In recent years I've developed a love of marino and modal, which meet ALL my criteria. Perhaps somehow I gained the impression that skirts and dresses didn't.

Anyway, the astute reader will have realised by now that I'm about to declare a change of heart. And it all happened because I finally bought myself a pair of boots.

Now, being a fantasy reader and writer, I'm partial to the idea of men and women in long boots with breeches tucked in. I can remember being a kid, wearing long boots over tracksuit pants (of all things -- how embarrassing!) and thinking myself very smart. But for many of my adult years my legs were simply too fat to wear boots, and by the time I was thin enough (although I still think I have fat legs) I just didn't get around to taking the plunge.

Even when I was in London 18 months ago in the dead of winter, and boots were everywhere, I didn't buy any. There were simply too many to choose from and I was completely overwhelmed.

This winter I decided to make it simple. There's a shop near me called Step Ahead, which stocks several European brands, including Wonders. I've bought and liked Wonders in the past. They're Spanish. They make boots. So I set off one Saturday to Step Ahead resolved to purchase a pair of boots. I tried on two pairs, both of which were wonderful, and settled on one.

OMG I love my boots.

They're flat and a fairly casual style, designed so you can walk in them, which is a must for me. (I've never worn heels much and now my podiatrist won't let me at all, owing to ligament damage.) And they have caused me to completely revise my wardrobe.

Firstly, I got to start wearing skinny jeans tucked into boots. For the past few seasons I'd been enviously watching other women doing this, and now I get to do it too. But that wasn't enough. I can't wear jeans to work, after all.

This is where dresses come in. I've discovered a penchant for tunic-style dresses. I can wear my marino icebreakers underneath with leggings and my boots-of-Spanish-leather, and the whole ensemble is way more comfortable than wearing 'normal' work clothes. AND, secretly (ssh), I can totally imagine myself in the garb some of my characters might be wearing! There's one of my tunics in particular, a blend of marino and something, in a soft shade of lilac-grey, that I'm sure my main character is going to wear at some point!

So this winter will go down in history as the winter of the boots -- and it just goes to show that one can completely redefine one's style at any time!

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On other topics... As suspected, the TV has been on a lot during the past two weeks of Olympic mania. I'm hoping to get more disciplined with this; however, I must realistically acknowledge that
1) I'm working longer hours than normal at the moment, which means unwinding time in the evening is necessary; 2) I'm still targeting a 30min workout on my elliptical trainer each evening, which further eats into my time. My current daily writing goals have therefore been revised to just 100 words a day, mainly to keep my head in the story. Having said that, for the past fortnight, I've only written on the weekend, courtesy of an awesome new weekly cafe writing session with friends. One of these days, I'll get it all together! (But both August and September are going to be particularly work-hellish.)