Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Testing... Testing... Is this thing on?

I wasn't going to blog tonight. I don't feel ready. My new office is too... packed. Boxes litter the floor. The glamorous new-to-my-office sofa (I have room for a sofa! In my office! All I need now is a feather boa and a glass of champagne!) is piled high with coats and dinner suits and - yes, I think I see my wedding dress at the bottom of that heap - stuff. The kind of stuff that you simply have no room to keep once you no longer have built-in wardrobes. Stay tuned for the 'first anniversary of the sofa heap' post in a year or so.

But I digress.

I am still at the stage where the room feels echoey. I need a rug on the wide, dark floorboards, to soften the stomping of my grumpy 'go to work' feet. I need pictures on the walls to help stop my hectic thoughts from bouncing off the walls. I need a light shade. Bare lightbulbs might be very so-hot-right-now-industrial, but I feel as though I'm working in Stalag 13.

So not ready.

But for once I'm taking my own advice. I bang on so often about how you can't wait for the 'right room' and the 'right time' and the 'right view' and the 'right place' to write. So here I am.

In a few weeks' time, when the power points are in the right place and the extension cords are gone, when the rug is down and the pictures are up, when the french doors are open and the scent of the garden is wafting through on the breeze (I am imagining a very warm winter's day in a few weeks time... go with me on this), then this will definitely be the right room. (And I'll take a picture to prove it, I promise...)

For now though, it'll do.

[image via Pinterest with no credit - please let me know if it's yours]

Monday, June 18, 2012

About that moving house thing

The final week is upon us. By the end of it, Fam Fibro will have upped sticks and resettled elsewhere. I underestimated just how unsettling this would be from a writing perspective. Somehow, I thought, I would manage to produce whimsical little blog posts about life whilst walls of cardboard boxes built up around me.

I was wrong.

I cannot think about anything but boxes. Packing boxes. Moving boxes. Unpacking boxes.

So I'm giving up on pretending to be a blogger this week. Instead I will be a wannabe-blogger. I will compose pithy posts in my head as I wrap my glassware in newspaper. I will apply SEO to my headlines as I cull the pantry. I will imagine perfect images as I dust down the blinds and sweep away cobwebs (not that I ever had any).

And I will be back next week with the real thing.

In the meantime, I'll be tweeting and writing fascinating status updates on my Facebook page. Oh, and a word about Facebook - if we're friends via the Fibro Facebook page, I need to let you know that I won't be updating that page after today. If you'd like to stay in touch on Facebook, please visit me at my official Allison Tait page. It's very... officially unofficial.

Thank you so much for sharing my years at the Fibro with me. I'm really happy that I get to take its spirit to my new home.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

10 things I learned this week

I am having a bit of trouble blogging at present. Every single sentence I begin has the words 'packing boxes' in it. Which, I have to tell you, is about as riveting to read about as it is to actually do. So I'm going to try something a bit different. A simple list of things I learned this week. Feel free to add your own in the comments below.

1. Sadly, it is not a shock when the husband is arrested.

2. Little boys carry big thoughts. Mr5 is currently walking around the Fibro taking photos of rooms on his Dad's iPhone. So he 'won't forget'.

3. Uranus rotates totally on its side. Its atmosphere is made up of hydrogen, helium and methane. Mr8 could tell you more, but I'd probably have to stop him somewhere around about the point at which your eyes glazed over.

4. I know where Keith Urban lives. Doesn't that sound crazy stalker.

5. Mr5 knows all the words to 'Someone like You' by Adele. In the sense that we all know 'all the words' to anything - he fills in the bits he doesn't know by making very emotive, vaguely musical sounds, sliding in a consonant when he remembers one.

6. Chanel No 5 doesn't smell as lovely when it is sprayed around the bathroom by an eight-year-old boy making 'potions'.

7. I really, really, really don't want Lance Armstrong to be guilty. Sigh.

8. Those romance novel manuscripts that I have, stuffed in the back of my filing cabinet, may not be as dead as I thought.

9. Even Telstra has good days. My iPhone, which has never worked properly, will be replaced next week with a shiny new one. One that works. Hopefully.

10. The paid work comes first. Always. So if I'm a little bit sporadic over the next few weeks, blame it on a major time squeeze. That, and packing boxes.

Always with the packing boxes.

What did you learn this week?*

*I may or may not have stolen this idea from Maxabella. I think she used to do it and now she doesn't, but maybe I got that wrong. Either way, I hope that you (and she) will forgive me.

[image: designinspiration]

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Problogger event: It's all in the interpretation

If there's one thing I love about my job, it's the people I get to hang out with. Sounds strange, given that I'm sitting in my study on my own most of the day, but true. Being a writer and a blogger brings me into contact with all manner of fabulous, effervescent, smart, funny chicks (and blokes too, but we'll focus on the female for today). Nobody gets a writer like another writer.

On Friday afternoon, I spent an hour or so at the Sydney Writers Centre with the team, eating cakes and serenading Keith Urban discussing important things, and then several more hours closeted away with Valerie Khoo and Kerri Sackville, to discuss our session at the Problogger Training Event in Melbourne in October.

We're talking about how to get paid to write - making money off your blog, if you like - and judging by our session on Friday it will be hilarious very useful. A blend of the creative and the brass tacks of business. Much like our team. Picture Kerri doing high kicks on the conference table and Val outlining a strategy on the whiteboard and you've pretty much got it.

Unfortunately, when we tweeted our plan to conduct the entire session in song to Darren Rowse, Mr Problogger himself, he asked for a few changes. Along the lines of incorporating interpretive dance. Which may require an entire new meeting.

What a shame.

Seriously, though, here's a question: if you were to attend our session at the Problogger event (and I sincerely hope that some of you are going to be there!), what would you most like to know?

We'll call it a focus group, if you like. The Fibro Focus Group. Makes it sound very official.

And if you can deliver your question alongside a suggested 'interpretive dance' move, well, then, so much the better...

[image: valentinovamp]

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Packing boxes, packing bags

I feel as though I've been moving house since about 1974. The settlement has been long, which means that the packing can be done in dribs and drabs and dribs and drobs (technically, no such thing, but you get where I'm going with this).

Earlier this week, The Builder packed the clocks. To find out what time it is, it's a matter of checking the microwave or the computer. Or a phone. Or something. The boys and I have been late for school every day since the clocks disappeared into cardboard. I mentioned something to The Builder along the lines that it is possible to be too efficient.

The great cull continues. When we started this process we decided not to have a garage sale because 'we didn't have enough stuff'. Famous last words. We could have held a garage sale for the past three weekends and still had Wiggles DVDs left over. On that subject, does anyone want a bread-making machine? Rarely used (are they ever?). Pick up only.

In the meantime, I'm also packing bags. Off to the Big Smoke to 'do coffee' and meet some people. I have a new book to read because I'll be spending the better part of my day on the train, getting from Point A to Point Z and then back to Point B. I don't really mind. It's rare to get uninterrupted reading time these days.

Two more weeks and the Big Pack will be over. Then shall begin the season of the Great Unpack. Which, frankly, doesn't bear thinking about.

[image: Bonnie Branson]

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Happy Jubilee to me

As the Queen celebrates her 60 years in the crown, so too do I celebrate my 600th post. Which practically makes us related.

We have a lot in common, it has to be said. We're both slowing down in our old age (this blog is two and a half now, which is practically geriatric in blog years, right?), we've both had an image overhaul or two in our time (though I must confess that her hat-and-coat combos are a tad more stylish than my slanket), and we both understand the importance of showing up when we're expected.

That's probably it, now that I think about it. I had some ideas about tying together 'rain' and 'reign', given that we're both experiencing one or the other, but I think I'll quit while I'm ahead.

Thanks for sharing 600 posts at the Fibro. Sorry the parade fell through. But, stay tuned, I have Elton John and Kylie lined up to perform a special Fibro medley. Any minute now...

[image: stylemepretty]

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday confessions: I'm not a fan of silicone

I've been doing some baking recently - a muffin here, a slice there, cupcakes in the middle. What with the World's Biggest Morning Tea, the cross country and a sudden desire to stop spending $16 a week on muesli bars, the stove at the Fibro has been cranked up to red hot. In the midst of all this stirring and rising, I've come to one conclusion I simply must share:

I hate silicone bakeware.

This is not a subject about which I ever thought I'd have strongly held notions. But there you have it.

At one stage, I had a fair amount of the stuff. Somewhere along the line, in the obscure manner of these things, I'd collected a loaf 'tin', a cake 'tin', a slice 'tin', two muffin 'tins' and a star-shaped arrangement, which was clearly aimed at a baker of higher standard than I. As I clear out my kitchen in preparation for my move, I note that only the muffin 'tins' and the star-shaped thing remain.

I remember well what happened to the slice tin. I made a slice in it. But slices require hard surfaces. Any bend or curve, weft or weave, and the whole slice falls apart. I think the crumbled slice and the slice 'tin' went into the bin holus-bolus as I wept and wondered if I had the makings of another one in the cupboard.

The muffin 'tins' have survived longer, simply because, tis true, the muffins do slide out of them more easily than they do the standard, er, tin 'tin'. But I made some lovely pear-and-almond muffins for a communal morning tea today and they're just looked... anaemic. Things just don't brown. Crusts don't crust. There's no lustre to the baking.

As I tried to unobtrusively slide my pale little muffins onto the table this morning, one of the other mums commented on how lovely they looked. I couldn't help myself. "Aaaugh," I said. "They're lily livered. I baked them in silicone--"

"Don't tell me," she said, holding up one hand. "They don't brown, they don't crust. I hate that silicone bakeware. I've chucked out all of mine." Another mum nearby nodded.

So now I must know. My random survey of three mums (including myself) has uncovered no friends of silicone cookware. Are we missing something?

Are you a fan? Can you explain what we're doing wrong? Or maybe you've got your own silicone horror story to share?


Friday, June 1, 2012

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