calissa: (Default)
IMG_20170106_091732_677

Wow, the first week of the year has gone already.

Things have been a bit unsettled for the last few days. There have been a couple of factors. A weather change has been coming through, so Friday and most of Saturday were high pain days for me and left me feeling pretty wiped. It took me longer than it should have to realise I wasn't going to get anything productive done on Friday and settle in with a book instead.

Another thing that has been on my mind has been the demise of LiveJournal. I wasn't really active over there, but had kept my account to keep in touch with a few diehard friends who weren't really active anywhere else. However, now that LJ have moved their servers to Russia, even those few friends have jumped ship and joined up here. I've also gained a few new friends from [personal profile] st_aurafina's friending meme.

It's had me rethinking how I use this journal. I tend to swing back and forth about how much of my personal life I share in public and under filter. At the moment, I'm inclined to be a bit more public. I like getting to know people and I realise it can be difficult for other people to get to know me if everything is under filter. I expect at some point later down the track, I will swing back the other way again.

Also, why don't I write more about my fandoms? I grew up mostly without the internet and wasn't interested in the same media that my friends were. My consciousness of fandom didn't really start until just a few years ago. So I'm still getting used to the idea this is something I can write about and that people will be interested in.

Strain

Nov. 21st, 2016 08:00 am
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)

20161120_094709-instagram

Apparently there’s such a thing as too much reading.

Last week I had some trouble with my eyesight. Both the doctor and the optometrist agreed it was eye strain. I had to drastically reduce the amount of time I spent reading and using the computer. As a consequence, there will be no posts this week.

At this stage, blogging should resume as normal next week. However, my recovery has been slow and I may need some extra time. I’ll be sure to let you know if that turns out to be the case.

In the meantime, I’m keeping myself entertained by listening to the archives of the Reading the End podcast. The Demographically-Similar Jennys are utterly charming and make podcasting seem like a lot of fun. They review books across a range of genres (though tending towards the literary), play games and discuss their thoughts on common tropes. I highly recommend them.

Hope to see you all next week.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

Home

Apr. 2nd, 2016 07:20 pm
calissa: (Default)
20160325_073409

Contact2016, the 55th Australian Speculative Fiction Convention, took place over the Easter long weekend. I've got a report coming up on the EGE blog, so I won't say too much about it. I had a blast but there really is no place like home. The photo above was taken on the flight over there. I made sure to get window seats on both flights and spent a good portion of the journey with my nose pressed against the window as I ogled the clouds. I spotted some cumulonimbus on the way home and experienced some interesting turbulence that caused us to drop elevation like a roller-coaster.

Fortunately, I made it home safely on Tuesday and have spent the remainder of the week quietly recovering. I didn't do too badly with sleep, managing to get a reasonable amount on most nights of the con and sleeping another nine hours the night I got home. However, my upper body was pretty sore after lugging around my book-filled bags. I got a massage on my first full day back and while it helped in the long term, it made me very sore in the short term. I'm glad my muscles have settled down.

I've done a little work this week, mostly consisting of writing up my con report. It has been light work, though. All of the effort that I put into the blog prior to Contact is now paying off--I have 2.5 weeks' worth of posts lined up, meaning I can take next week off. I figured I'd need the recovery time. I'm not quite sure what I'll do yet, maybe do a heap of reading (since Mt TBR is getting out of control) and catch up on S2 of Agent Carter. I'm struggling against the urge to catch up with all of my friends. I'd really like to, but I was peopled out by the end of the convention and it will take longer than I'd like for me to recover my social spoons.

One thing I don't miss about home is all the smoke. There's a lot of preventative burning at this time of year and the smoke triggers my hay fever. Scratchy throat, sinus headache and fatigue. Ugh. It makes for pretty sunrises and sunsets, though I hate being cooped up in the house all day. I really hope it wraps up soon.
calissa: (Default)
20140529 Callistamon bud 3 HDR

(New growth on a Callistemon 'Little John')

What are you doing/thinking/wondering/making/reading/etc. that you don't normally post about? It has been a while since I have done one of these and I thought it would be a good way to post about non-holiday stuff

Doing: I recently acquired six boxes of second-hand books from an acquaintance who was otherwise going to throw them away. Such books would normally be donated to the local crisis-counselling telephone service for their bi-annual fundraising book fair. However, my acquaintance tells me they're no longer accepting paperbacks. I'll be seeking to confirm this once my friends, family and writing groups have had a chance to pick through them. My sweetheart very kindly waded his way through the boxes to my computer and spent a morning helping me to catalogue what was there. My acquaintance is threatening to send another four boxes. I don't mind rescuing the books but I didn't properly consider the imposition on my time, energy and space this would take.

Watching: While down with a cold late last month, I started rewatching the TV show Castle featuring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. It has long been comfort viewing for me. I've also got the fifth of "Richard Castle's" Nikki Heat books to read and so I have been rereading the series in conjunction with rewatching the show. I've just finished Season 3 and have therefore just started on the third book.

Thinking: I'm still processing my thoughts on the return of Doctor Who but it left me prickly. I'm not entirely sure the new doctor was behaving any differently from the last two doctors but the way it came across definitely had resonances of dementia (at least to begin with). Considering how ham-handed they were with Clara (and with Madam Vastra) I'm not sure I can bring myself to think it clever.

Reading: As mentioned above, I just started reading the third of the Nikki Heat books, Heat Rises. I had a review to write for the second book, but have managed to misplace my notes. Suffice to say it doesn't hang together well as a series, since they seem to use a different ghostwriter for each book. I find that makes it hard to settle into the story to start with.

Wondering: September is known around here as "cake month" thanks to all the birthdays. It is truly a month of madness for me and the most stressful part of my year. A couple of years ago I began the practice of not accepting any social engagements other than birthday parties during September. I'll admit that I'm not always very good at sticking to that. I also tend to turn down any editing jobs taking place in September. This year, I'm wondering if there are any other self-care practices I should be engaging in to help make my life a bit easier. I suspect making sure I get enough sleep should be on there. I've not been getting quite enough lately and as a consequence am not quite at my sharpest.

Writing: Still working on Heartwood. Slow and steady wins the race, right? But only if you really are working steadily.

Drinking: I'm currently drinking the Jane Austen blend from Gillards of Bath. A very thoughtful friend brought it back from England as a gift several months ago and it is quite possibly the nicest tea I've ever had the pleasure of drinking.
calissa: (Default)
20140529 Pig's face 1 HDR
(Carpobrotus rossii, commonly known as pig face)

I'm feeling a little swamped at the moment, so apologies if you find me a little sketchier than usual. I've got a cold I just can't quite shake and my pain levels have been up today (could be a weather change on the way?). However, on the whole, things have been going well and I have been surprisingly productive.

Editing has been the biggest thing on my plate--I've got a couple of jobs I'm wrapping up and a few business tasks that are going to keep me busy for a little while.

Last week I took another trip with my family out to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, so I have more photos to post when I get the chance. I was especially pleased with this batch. The gorgeous weather may have played a part.

The neo-Pagan holiday of Imbolc falls on Friday in the southern hemisphere. I have been making preparations to celebrate on Saturday with a small group of friends. However, I will also be taking Friday off to celebrate on my own. How, I haven't quite decided. It might involve some serious writing or cleaning (or both). I also hope to get some photos of the wattle that's in bloom a couple of blocks away. Fingers crossed that the weather is nice!
calissa: (Default)
20140520 Sky 9 HDR


What are you doing/thinking/wondering/making/reading/etc. that you don't normally post about? It has been a while since I have done one of these and I thought it would be a good way to post about non-holiday stuff

Doing: I'm back to swimming after a break of about a month. It wasn't intentional--a few different things were conspiring against me. My shoulder had started playing up again during the break, so I'm glad to be back to it (though I overdid things a little on the first time back).

Watching: On the anime front, I've been watching Sailor Moon Crystal on Crunchyroll. I was never into the original when it aired during my years at high school, but I have become a lot more interested in anime since then.

I am also watching a new anime called Glasslip. It is produced by P.A. Works who turn out the most gorgeous-looking animes and I have enjoyed most of the stuff they have released. This particular show is about the daughter of a family of glass artisans. When she stares into glass she has visions of the future. It is also about the changing relationships between her group of friends in their last year of high school.

On more of a RPG theme, RollPlay have just started up a sci-fi campaign called Swan Song. Utilising the Stars Are Infinite system, the campaign is being run by Adam Koebel. I totally have a new GM crush. He co-wrote the Dungeon World system and his style of game-running clearly speaks of intelligence, passion and long experience.

He and my other major GM crush, Steve Lumpkin, have also just started posting up a segment on GMing they're calling Playing Everyone Else. If you're interested in tabletop RPGs at all--as player or GM--it is well worth checking out.

Thinking: An acquaintance of mine has been getting on my nerves a lot lately. Ze does a lot of complaining about suffering from writer's block but seems to feel that in order to be published, ze needs to write in certain kinds of ways and in certain formats. This single-minded focus on publication seems to press a button of mine. I recently came across this wonderful article from Australian horror writer Peter Ball on why you don't really want to be published--it is simply shorthand for another goal. I'm wondering whether this person's reason for wanting to be published is fundamentally different from mine or whether it is simply our manner of getting there. Or perhaps we have different levels of patience with the process.

Reading: I'm in a weird in-between place with my reading at the moment. I'm slowly making my way through a gardening book put out by the local horticultural society and have been for months. However, I don't have a primary book that I'm reading because I can't decide on what I want to read. My sweetheart has made off with my Kindle in order to read some out-of-print Warhammer books and everything I kind of want to read is on that. Which is ridiculous--I have a zillion print books on Mt TBR, surely I should be able to find something I want to read. If anyone wants to make suggestions, you can check Mt TBR and my 2014 acquisitions list for what I have currently available.

Wondering: A while back, I began studying the AODA Candidate curriculum. I am almost finished--just some loose, time-consuming ends to tie up--but I have been pondering whether this is something I really want to do. While I think their curriculum is great, I'm not sure their philosophy and cosmology is really something that works for me.

Writing: Still going on Heartwood. I originally started writing the story a year or two ago and then shelved it for some unremembered reason. I'd only written two scenes and a bit. When I came back to it this year, I felt it needed rewriting and I bashed my head repeatedly against the first scene, trying different things. I finally got something to work and have been concentrating on getting the words for this new version down on the page without worrying too much about what still needs fixing. I have now caught up to where I was when I first shelved the story and am looking forward to breaking new territory.

Drinking: My mother-almost-in-law recently gifted me with some rose-scented tea that she wasn't fond of. I have zero problem with this because I absolutely adore rose-scented teas.

Earl Grey is generally my default tea (unless it is Twinings which I find way too harsh). I've been drinking much less of it over the last few months but I find myself starting to come back to it.
calissa: (Default)
What are you doing/thinking/wondering/making/reading/etc. that you don't normally post about? It has been a while since I have done one of these and I thought it would be a good way to post about non-holiday stuff

Doing: I recently ran my first RPG in what is probably a decade. The setting is called Monsterhearts and the idea is that players are supernatural teenagers attending high school. It takes a lot of inspiration from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though of course it can fit in with just about any paranormal YA setting that's out these days. The exact manifestation very much depends on the players. I had planned to run it as a one-off session but we just didn't manage to wrap everything up and it seems to be the sort of game that works best with a couple of sessions. I'll be running the next one on Saturday.

Watching: RollPlay R&D just started a new RPG campaign using the Numenera setting. A billion years into the future, Earth is scattered with the remnants of many great civilisations--not all of them human. Much knowledge has been lost and the line between science and magic blurred. It looks like a pretty good setting and one I wouldn't mind playing myself.

Thinking: Actually having to run my own RPG has had me thinking a great deal about what makes for a good game. However, I think I might have to save those thoughts for their own post.

I've also been doing a lot of thinking about energy levels. I've noticed that I've been wearing out a bit more quickly of late. My concentration hasn't been great and neither has my creativity or my productivity. It has been tempting to chalk this up to laziness... but that's not really logical. Laziness and limited energy levels are not the same thing at all, though I often find it difficult to see that.

In terms of what is actually going on, I think there are a number of things. I'm overdoing it, particularly on the weekends, and not giving myself enough time to rest and be an introvert. [personal profile] onewhitecrow also suggested I take a look at my iron levels and that was definitely an astute piece of advice.

Reading: I'm about halfway through What the Robin Knows by Jon Young. It's about interpreting bird calls and behaviour in order to gain a greater understanding of your surrounds. It is quite an interesting book but the tone suffers a little from being too smug at times. I put it down to read Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier (which was on loan from [personal profile] sidheblessed and haven't quite managed to pick it up again.

Wondering: Tonight I'm wondering whether it will snow. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a blizzard warning for the city. This is practically unheard of because it rarely snows here--only on the mountains around us.

Writing: I spent last week pulling together a few things for the Monsterhearts campaign. The system emphasises the importance of not preparing plot, but instead allowing it to grow organically between the players and the Master of Ceremonies. So, no plot--just filling out the characters I'd established and working out their agendas so that I can react properly as the situation changes. Tonight I plan to get back to Heartwood.

Drinking: To help celebrate Yule, I picked up some tasty Christmas Tea. I love almond-flavoured teas and the orange sets it off nicely. I also picked up some Chocolate Mint, since my supplies of flavoured blacks were running low.
calissa: A stalk with drying grass seeds sits in the foreground with a golden hill and blue mountains in the background. (Summer)
There are some impressive looking clouds turning the sky pink in the setting sun. They promise rain but any precipitation that falls is likely to evaporate long before it hits the ground. Southeast Australia is in the middle of a heatwave. Temperatures locally have been hovering around 40C/104F since Sunday and are likely to remain that way until at least the weekend. I count that quite a feat, considering I live in one of Australia's very few subalpine regions. Thank goodness for air conditioning.

The heatwave is not really the reason I have been quiet here lately. Edits for the Gold Coast anthology need to be finalised by the end of the month. I think I'll be done with them all in time but am not quite sure. While I generally enjoy editing, juggling so many stories at once is a bit of a struggle. For the record, I am editing twelve stories and fielding queries from my co-editor on nine more. I really don't remember how I handled Winds of Change all on my own--perhaps I had a longer time frame. I expect that things here on my journal will remain quiet until I'm done.

To make matters just that little bit more interesting, I have come down with a mild cold. Thankfully, it's just enough to be annoying and not enough to make me truly miserable. It has meant that I've had to skip swimming this week, though. Disappointing when the weather is so perfect for it.
calissa: A stalk with drying grass seeds sits in the foreground with a golden hill and blue mountains in the background. (Summer)
New Year's Eve. The sky outside is flawless blue. There's a bit of wind blowing in from the cyclone that is menacing the west coast (and, fortunately, looks to be losing power), but nothing too dramatic.

Landscape photo )

This morning I woke up and was dismayed to discover I had come down with a cold. Not quite the end to the year I would have liked but a good excuse to spend the afternoon reading (in case I needed any extra motivation). I have been drinking lots of ginger tea and orange juice in the hopes I will feel well enough tomorrow to head out to the national park with Sahaquiel for our anniversary.

I know 2013 has been a tough year for many of you. It is my most fervent wish that 2014 treats you more kindly.

Happy New Year.
calissa: A stalk with drying grass seeds sits in the foreground with a golden hill and blue mountains in the background. (Summer)
I'm feeling a bit exhausted at the moment. The last week has not been kind. Editing and Christmas preparations have been keeping me busy, as I have mentioned before, but it is the pain levels and sleep deprivation that has been doing me in.

Summer has properly kicked into gear. Blackbirds sing outside my window in the hours before dawn. The daytime temperatures have been hovering around 37 Celsius/99 Fahrenheit. I spend every second evening watering the garden in the narrow window between the sun setting and the mosquitoes emerging, when the sky turns the most glorious shades of pink and gold. I've been drinking unsweetened iced tea by the jug. There don't seem to be many cicadas around my house, but there are droves at the university.

cicada shell )

I'd had plans to celebrate the solstice but they had to be shelved when I discovered it was a high pain day. I spent it reading on the couch, instead--not a bad way to spend the day, just not the way I had hoped. There have been quite a few high pain days lately... and, more importantly, high pain nights. Combined with the increased daylight, I haven't been getting enough sleep. It's been enough to get by but it has had a bit of an effect on my mood and I am tiring out more quickly than I should.

Tomorrow is still theoretically business as usual for me, though my SO has finished work for the year and I may be seeing my grandma who is in town for Christmas. With some luck, I may yet get through some more editing before family takes over.
calissa: A stalk with drying grass seeds sits in the foreground with a golden hill and blue mountains in the background. (Summer)
The last 36 hours have been somewhat brutal. The last time I checked, most of the east coast of Australia was on fire. I'm fortunate enough not to be at risk (this time around, at any rate). However, the smoke has travelled south and is lingering. It makes for some awesome sunsets and even more awesome headaches for me. Nothing sets my hay fever off quite as badly as the smoke from bushfires (not even wood fires, somewhat amusingly).

Ah, summer.

Except there's another month and a half until summer officially starts.

*sigh*

Yesterday was the worst. The smoke was so thick here that the State Emergency Services had to put out an announcement to say that there were no fires in the local area. I spent four hours playing Robin Hood (more on that at some stage) in a house with all the doors and windows open. I was told I looked quite pale by the end of it. Quite frankly, I'm amazed I managed to drive myself home.

Today, I kept inside and kept the house shut up tight. I spent the afternoon visiting a friend who had her house likewise shut up tight (for similar reasons). The smoke has eased a little this evening but not enough. I'll likely be confined to home until a weather change finally comes through.

Pain

Jul. 11th, 2013 03:50 pm
calissa: (Pain)
It has been somewhat of a difficult week. I have been dealing with what feels like some inflammation in my arms and pain levels have been high. It flared up on Sunday night and I spent most of Monday in utter frustration at my inability to do anything useful. Perhaps one thing I achieved was a renewed appreciation of the spoons analogy. I was completely exhausted by the end of Monday just from dealing with the pain.

Fortunately, the inflammation seems to have eased a bit every day and yesterday I was almost back to normal. It still tends to flare up a bit at night and whenever I shower, though, so I am doing my best to be careful.

The truth is that I've never been very good at taking care of my body; I tend to prefer living in my head. I guess that on some level I feel like I deserve the pain for not doing a better job of looking after myself. Healing--on all levels--seems like an overwhelming and long-term task.
calissa: (Default)
I've got a post coalescing in the back of my mind regarding place spirits. While I work on getting that clear I just wanted to do a quick update.

My health has been going a lot better since I started taking the antihistamines. I'm guessing that since I've been pretty much fine since I've been on them that I either have hay fever or an allergy to something. That'll teach me to laugh at the doctor's suggestion.

Having fully recovered, I went back to my swimming lessons last week. The teacher has been very impressed with how I've been going and has been looking for ways to make the class more challenging for me. Today he got me to tread water using only my feet. I managed twice as long as the other two (rather muscle-bound) students did and they got to use their hands.

On Wednesday night I went out with Andrea and some other friends to see the Avengers. It was a special session ran by the local comic book store and it featured a costume competition. There were some very impressive entrants. It was also a fantastic way to see the movie--the audience was polite and very enthusiastic. I love it when the audience is so into a movie that they'll actually applaud. Andrea seemed to enjoy herself as well.

I'll see her again this coming Wednesday. It would have been Jimmy's birthday and so she's planning a celebration. A number of his friends have been asked over for dinner and she'll be cooking a number of his favourite dishes. She's a wonderful cook and I know it will be a great night filled with lots of laughter, even if there is an undertone of melancholy.

My readathon efforts made a great impact on Mt TBR, even if my lack of willpower threatens to undermine the progress. I thought the like-minded souls here might like to see the graph I keep. The vertical axis represents number of books and the horizontal axis represents what week of the year it is. The red line represents this year (as you can see).
Mt TBR graph )
Now, if I can just keep that downwards trend...
calissa: (Default)
It has now been over a week since I came down with this virus and I'm still feeling dreadful. Every time I start feeling better I take a turn for the worse. I was almost better by Wednesday evening, but then spent most of the night awake and coughing, setting the pattern for the next few nights. I managed a good night's sleep last night and thought I might have broken through. Then I made the mistake of going to obedience class with the dogs. I came home with swollen glands and a fever. I am intensely frustrated by my inability to get better but it seems I need to learn some patience or risk making myself sick yet again. I have already seen the doctor twice this week (Tuesday then Thursday) who told me that all I can do is drink lots of water and rest. I very much hope not to have to visit him again.

There have been good things. I've had enough energy and brain power to read and nap and not much else. This means that Mt TBR is looking decidedly smaller than it was last week (although I don't kid myself; I still have a long way to go). My sister was kind enough to return my copy of Naamah's Blessing and I managed to finish all 600 pages in somewhere around 14 hours. Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest took me somewhat longer, despite being a third of the size, since there was no way I was reading that one after dark. It's an awesomely atmospheric Southern gothic horror that sent my imagination into overdrive--one reason why I rarely read horror or thrillers.

I have since turned my attention to The Count of Monte Cristo, which my Kindle tells me I'm now a quarter of the way through. Hopefully, by the time I finish this quintessential tale of revenge the virus will have finished its revenge on me!

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