August 19th, 2013 | 7 Comments »

1. On Sunday, Miles had to be removed from church after he repeatedly pointed to a cartoonish picture of Abraham (on the OHP during the children’s talk) and shouted “Batman!” Question: Does this mean he has watched too much Batman, or not enough?

2. I have learned something new. I am terrible at making bread.

This came as something of a surprise, as I have been making bread for, what? Over ten years, at least, and I haven’t had any complaints about the loaves produced this time. But I discovered an artisan breadmaking site, and it turns out I’ve been doing pretty much everything wrong. Way too much flour in the dough. Slashing incorrectly and at the wrong time. Putting the bread in a cold oven in the hopes it would rise a bit during the preheating stage. Not using a baking stone. Not autolysing. Not knowing what autolysing was. Not using preferments. Not knowing what preferments were. Then thinking preferments were pronounced ‘prefer-ments’, not ‘pre-ferments’. Overhandling the dough after the first rise, leading to degassing and a closer crumb. Cutting into loaves before they cooled. Not folding slack doughs. Rising freeform loaves on a flat surface. Using way too much yeast.

It also turns out that no-knead bread is not, as I snobbishly assumed, a recent and plebeian invention designed only to save time. It’s a more traditional method than kneading, and produces a better crumb colour.

So there you go. I am quite exhilarated. Throwing the vestiges of our already failing no-white-flour diet out the window, I am making vast and floury plans to conquer the world one boule at a time. I have learned about ears and couches and bannetons and hydration percentages. I have baked two loaves in a preheated Dutch oven and marvelled at the oven spring. I have rashly gone out and bought an oval cast iron casserole in case I ever want to cook long loaves. (It was on special.) I have read up on tangzhong and sworn off olive oil in my pizza dough.

And I have tried my hand at a very wet dough base for a raisin-orange loaf. I may have rushed into that one. I hadn’t read up on the folding method yet, and the resulting loaf - which is still in the oven - is looking rather less loaf-like and more splat-like than could be wished. (But at least I know why it failed. No gluten shell. And it might still taste OK - ooh, timer. Hang on.)

Oops. Make that splat-like and burned. Further blogging must wait while I hastily whip up some scones or something for after-choir supper. I don’t feel depressed any more, though. Funny old world, innit?

Posted in challenges, havers, writing
March 30th, 2013 | 6 Comments »

1. I made myself a dress.

Further details here if you’re into that sort of thing. I like it - it’s just 50s enough that I feel I should be wearing it with cherry-red pumps and cherry-red lips, sipping root beer from a Mason jar and perching ingenuously on a bicycle with cat’s-eye glasses and a heavy Instagram filter over the whole. Sadly, this is not a look I am ever likely to pull off. I do have a cherry-red lipstick - one of Helpdesk Man’s clients sent it to me (long story) - but I wore it the other day at the pig’s insistence, and Tiny Miles pointed at my face and squeaked in outrage “WazZAT?”, and I cannot disagree with his assessment. Also, Helpdesk Man refuses to let me buy cat’s-eye glasses. Still, I like the dress.

2. Here’s a question for you. For $100, would you sleep for a night on a pile of peeled bananas? No pillow; a blanket is allowed, but it must not come between you and the bananas.

Helpdesk Man says no. I am inclined to agree, although oddly, if I could sleep for ten successive nights on a pile of bananas (fresh each night, obviously) and make $1000, I’d be more inclined to consider it. I dislike bananas, and the smell would be off-putting; and I imagine it would be an intensely unpleasant experience, especially around 4AM or so. But still. We’re trying to save for Disneyland. Thoughts?

3. This evening I was looking through some old photos on the computer while Miles sat on my knee. I unearthed one of me carrying him at six months or so.

“Girl!” said Miles. “Girl!”

“That’s me!” I said. “That’s Mummy. See, Mummy?”

“Girl!” said Miles.

Apparently these last sixteen-odd months have aged me beyond recognition. He still recognised Daddy, of course, from photos of a similar vintage. Rotten little blighter.

4. The snortlepig’s latest thing is watching childbirth videos on YouTube. Whenever she’s bored. It unnerves Helpdesk Man no end when he emerges from the office for his bihourly coffee. The pig will not, she informs me, be having any babies herself; I’m not sure whether she watches the videos to bolster that conviction, or simply because, she puts it, the babies are “so cute and squashy”. Either way, she’s learning a good deal about amniotic fluid. SCIENCE, guv’mint.

May 29th, 2012 | 6 Comments »

1. Today we noticed that the glass wall of the shower is suspiciously cleanly. Goodness knows we didn’t clean it. I think we have a poltergeist; I have christened it the OCDmon. Will keep a sharp eye out for further instances of unexplained hygiene. Maybe I should pull up the clary sage from the garden, just in case; I wouldn’t want to accidentally exorcise it.

2. In the past week, we have caught nine mice in the kitchen. I would like to report that we used those humane see-saw traps and subsequently released them among the apple trees, where they could return to their roots and become orchard mice once more. But no. Snapped their necks is what we did. They’re cute, but they were nibbling holes in my bags of flour, and really, one must take a stand. In other news, I am apparently too inept to load a mousetrap without causing myself severe pain. That’s three fingers I’ve killed so far. Am quite skilly at sprinting to intercept Miles as he reaches for the traps, though. He set one off once, but I knocked his hand aside at the last second and it missed his fingums.

3. I got a new dress today. From ModCloth. This is very exciting, firstly because I never get new clothes - that is, I rarely obtain clothes of any description, and when I do they’re usually second-hand. I bought a pair of shoes from KMart a few days ago, but only because I had literally no other shoes except my ancient gardening sandals, which I was wearing at the time. With tights. Because it was cold. I kept expecting to run into my nemesis and have to stare her down.

I was looking for boots, but apparently providing me with a pair of knee-high, flat-heeled brown leather boots is beyond the aspirations of our quaint hamlet. So I trucked round about eighteen shops with the pigs in tow, splitting my left-hand bicep because I’d forgotten to bring the mei tai (correction: I didn’t think I’d need it, but every shoe shop I left empty-handed only fuelled my determination not to return home until I fulfilled my quest), and ended up in KMart gesturing with my head for the pig to pull down shoes for me to try on, while I breastfed a very angry baby. And they had some ballet flats (”Synthetic Sole Synthetic Upper Made in China RRP $19.00″, no less), which I couldn’t see in the little foot-mirror because a lady had put her jacket in front of it while she had a little sit-down, and when I gave her the faintly interrogative, apologetic yet goodwill-infused smile which means “Would you mind? I would like to see my feet” - at least, as well as I could carry it off while breastfeeding, which tends to add layers to social interaction - she simply stared off into the void with the cold, dead eyes of people whose sunny afternoon has ended up in the shoe aisle of a KMart.

So I threw self-respect to the wind and got them, out of equal parts “it’s this or fling meself off a bridge” and a faint hope they would make me look casual and retro. Then I got them home, put the angry baby in its cot and tried them on. They do not make me look casual and retro. They make me look stumpy and pig-like. And they hurt. And somewhere, a sweatshop owner is rubbing his greasy hands together and cackling with glee. So there that is.

Where was I? Yes. A new dress. Secondly, it is exciting because my last, and indeed first, ModCloth purchase never turned up at all. And thirdly, it is exciting because it’s buying clothes off the internet; an always fraught endeavor, especially if one is shaped like me.

Yet it is here. And it fits. It is a rather violent hue - the snortlepig and Helpdesk Man both took one look at it and said “Whoa, that’s very blue” - but I am holding out hope it gives me Pep and Vim. And I would totally wear it to choir tonight to show it off, except Tiny Miles pooped on it, then crawled through a garden bed and decided he loved me very much. This is OK: I got a new top at the same time, and I will wear it instead. Flexibility is the key to Zen.

4. Today I got a prescription for folic acid, purely because it occurred to me that I make my own bread and eat very few fortified cereal products, and as a woman of child-bearing years and hips I owe it to the neural tubes of future generations to Be Prepared. Wasn’t that altruistic of me? I picked up my new lot of anti-depressants at the same time; the pharmacy lady was tactful about the combination, especially given that Tiny Miles was pulling Pinetarsol off the shelves and eating it, but I suspect she despaired of me inside. Still, I feel very responsible. Maybe one of these days I’ll get a mammogram or a mortgage or start changing the bedsheets.

December 31st, 2011 | 3 Comments »

This is Miles.

.

You will notice Miles is a catfish.

Miles mocks you with his eyes.

No, I jest. He likes you.

Miles don’t take no guff, though.

Miles fears no Commies.

Miles fears nothing.

Yet this tough exterior cradles the soul of a poet. Sometimes, for instance, Miles feels a pang of melancholy in the produce section, because he gave up brassicas. For Lent.

Miles is a delicate soul. Sometimes things that amuse coarser mortals shock him to the core.

Then he silently judges.

Take, for example, his large, tiny sister.

His sister has body art and drives a motorbike.

She is pretty hardcore.

Miles recoils from some of her lifestyle choices.

But he still likes her.

January 13th, 2011 | 4 Comments »

Life goes on. I still find myself getting dizzy and having to sit down every time I stand up. Doctors are flummoxed. It isn’t low blood pressure and it isn’t anaemia, or hypothyroidism, or gestational diabetes, or indeed poor potassium levels. I had ‘em checked. So I have been informed that it’s probably hormone-related and may or may not last for the entire nine months, but that if I continue to feel worse I should get checked out for mono and/or hepatitis C. Also, while the second trimester has not delivered the relief it oughta, it has endowed me with intermittent heartburn and pelvic girdle pain. So there’s that.

In other, potentially more cheerful news, I am today sitting my restricted driver’s licence test. It is manly of me to admit it, as the custom among my family is to pretend one isn’t going to do it until one has passed, only to admit years later, once the sting has gone, that it was on the second try; but this is a weaselly attitude, and unworthy of a Smokey. If I fail, as is very possible, I shall darn well blog about it, and revel in the condolences of my friends (many of whom failed themselves the first time, and they’re much more savvy than me; so there you go. Of course, they were mostly like fifteen when they did it, which I am conspicuously not; but still though.) Plus, I need my father to drive me to the test.

Asking friends and family for advice on how to pass has proven to be an interesting exercise.

FRIEND WHO TEACHES BURLESQUE: Wear a low-cut top. Show a bit of leg. That worked for me.

LAID-BACK FRIEND WHO MEDITATES: Oh, you’ll be fine.

FRIEND WITH WHOM I DROVE ONE TIME, HAD TO PARALLEL PARK WITH REAL CARS FOR THE FIRST TIME, AND SHE SQUEAKED A LOT AND MUTTERED THINGS: [Don't know, too scared to ask]

FATHER: Oh, it all depends on who you get. There are some real rotters in the business; they fail you for anything. In Australia they always fail you the first time on principle. Just don’t take it personally. [This is, of course, a man who considered it his fatherly duty to tell me before the births of my little sisters that Mum might die in childbirth; before anybody had surgery, that they might die on the table; before my wedding, that most marriages end in divorce; before I had the snortlepig, that a lot of marriages break up after the birth of a baby; before Helpdesk Man started working from home, that most home businesses fail; and so on. It is his way.]

PREGNANT SISTER-IN-LAW: You should try some Hypnobabies techniques to relax you. Just don’t fall asleep.

FATHER-IN-LAW WHO MOSTLY TAUGHT ME HOW TO DRIVE: [doubtfully] Well, you’ve come a long way.

MOTHER: [tactful silence]

EHOW: Even if you’re not a makeup person, it’s vital to wear some matt foundation and a bit of lippy for your photo, or you’ll look washed out.You don’t want to cringe every time you pull your licence out to buy beer.

HELPDESK MAN: Honestly, stop being so negative! This is the problem with you, you never think you can do anything! If I thought like that, do you think I’d have started my successful home business, Information Highwayman? [He talks in hyperlinks. He really does.]

SNORTLEPIG: OOH, Mummy going for a DRIVING lesson! So clever! I come too?

Posted in challenges, havers
May 19th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

Today Helpdesk Man and I sallied forth, pig in tow, on a cast iron pot mish. Our previous frying pan (Analon anodised aluminium, we’re looking at you!) had begun to flake Teflon into the food and smell vaguely rubbery when heated. And then there was the matter of Helpdesk Man growing fingers out of his armpits and the pig speaking Cantonese for an hour every time she had a fried egg. So it was time.

We didn’t get Le Creuset, partly because of the half-mortgage price tags, but also because they’re enamelled and we liked the idea of absorbing iron into the food, which apparently happens with true cast iron. (And a similar thing with Teflon, apparently…) Incidentally, I may have been pronouncing Le Creuset wrong my entire life. Leh Crusoe, I thought it was, like the chappie - but the lady in the shop pronounced it Lah CrooSAY, which now I think about it makes more sense with the spelling. I am deeply shamed.

Nice pots, though. The Old Lodge, pre-seasoned, black, could kill a man. And a whisk, because our old one was of feeble construction and one wire kept pinging out and hitting you in the eye. We needed a new fish slice too, after Helpdesk Man used it to swat flies one time and I said “Don’t do that, it’ll break” and he scoffed at me and then it broke, but the pig was pesking around the shop and we forgot. The lady gave us a free teatowel, though, to wrap ourselves in on those cold winter nights under a bridge due to having spent all our money on cast iron pots.

I want a grain mill, also.

Further along the crunchy front, tomorrow I will be in possession of milk and water kefir grains. It is a little scary, like finding a chinchilla on your doorstep. I’m not sure how to make them not die, and I’ve never tasted… them, and what if I don’t like ‘em?

Also, becoming tired of my own stagnancy and lack of fame and riches (see above re grain mill), I am hereby setting up a writing schedule for me to stick to. I don’t want to, mind you. It sounds ghastly. But the one-hour-of-housework thing has worked surprisingly well this year, so here goes.

So.

Until I complete these goals every day (Monday to Friday), I will not surf the Internet:

  • 20 minutes of Suite101 writing/editing/publishing
  • 10 minutes of UTH editing/writing
  • 10 minutes of marketing, ie. queries or invoices
  • 10 minutes writing print articles, if they are due in 2 weeks or less (obviously, it will take longer once the deadline looms, but this will help, one hopes)
  • 15 minutes writing fiction
  • 10 minutes writing/researching/find agents for my non-fiction book

Making 75 minutes in all. This is a lot. But my ability to read xkcd depends upon it. And when I look back on my wispy existence in twenty years’ time, will I wish I had spend less time writing and more time googling “really awesome coat”? Probably not. I may wish I’d eaten more dietary fibre or refrained from trying to knock over a bank with a Sharpie, but those are different issues.

I feel virtuous already. Gonna go put trousies on, and everything.

Posted in challenges, havers
January 19th, 2010 | 2 Comments »

So Helpdesk Man and I are watching our way through the Harry Potter films. Hermione’s eyebrows notwithstanding, I’m enjoying them more than I expected. The Order of the Phoenix, which we watched last night, was positively arty in a few spots. That bit where Fred and George were consoling Nigel after he’d been using Dolores’ torture quill was actually moving. Also, I’d never before considered the awesomeness of the name Dolores Umbridge. She’s good with names, is JK Rowling.

Here’s the thing, though. The Triwizard Cup. Now, clearly it didn’t matter how the contestants got to the cup through the maze: they were being judged on results, not the wizarding prowess they showed during the process. (Which made their previous accrual of points kinda redundant, which was silly, but never mind.) So if Harry proved himself a one-note wonder, it wouldn’t affect his win. That being the case… why didn’t he go with “Accio Firebolt” again? He could have zoomed over the maze looking for the cup found it in seconds. Better yet… why not “Accio Triwizard Cup“? I can buy that the Cup was maybe enchanted to keep it in place, but the broomstick thing should have worked. Silly Harry.

Also, I like that they didn’t tart Hermione up too much. They de-bushified her hair movies before they were supposed to, and put her in civvies when she still should have been wearing robes: but she wasn’t in crop tops and miniskirts, and that is something. There are Standards left in the world. And hoodies, apparently.

Anyway.

Much to my surprise my one-hour-of-housework-a-day resolution has left me eager and sprightly, so my added challenge for this week is to tie up loose ends. Which sounds like killing my ex-bosses, but it isn’t. I’m fairly fond of most of my ex-bosses, with the exception of Simon the evil manager from Rialto who once spent five minutes castigating me for stealing a piece of company scrap paper to write an amoosing story on to pin up by the freezer. Oddly it wasn’t the story he objected to: it was the stealing. Of the scrap paper. Which never actually left the premises, so technically it would be what, vandalism? Graffiti? Anyway he ended up filching $400 from petty cash, so ha.

Most of said loose ends are fairly routine - I have to fix a few flagged articles at Suite, complete my shopping tote bags and mend a few clothes. Sadly, I also feel morally compelled to do my taxes. Yes, those taxes. The ones that should have been done last March, or whenever it is one traditionally does taxes. Helpdesk Man and I have made a date to stare them in the face tonight, and I am hoping to contract fulminating lupus before then in order to gracefully back out. It’s not the money - I’m pretty sure I owe a paltry amount, plus of course the late fee - it’s the psychology of the thing. Ever watch Black Books? Exactly.

January 3rd, 2010 | 14 Comments »

The snortlepig and I have broken a cup each this evening. I wonder what it portents. Thirst, probably.

You know how one occasionally buys a kitchen appliance and then never uses it? I have personally moved the majority of the food processor attachments from house to house three times, while being absolutely convinced I will never use them. Yet somehow, I can’t bring myself to break the set by chucking them out. What if Helpdesk Man loses his job, the snortlepig requires a brain transplant and I have to sell the food processor on TradeMe in order to afford a pair of nifty wristlets?

Beside the point. Where I was going with this is that our new ice cream maker (Helpdesk Man’s present to me and vice versa for Christmas) is not one of those items. We’ve had it for ten days and have already used it five times… seven by tomorrow. I love it dearly. Lemon sorbet, frozen Coke, vanilla ice cream, butterscotch maple ice cream and strawberry sorbet so far… and another strawberry sorbet and some mango sorbet are in the offing. For the record, sorbet is an excellent answer to the question of What to Feed One’s Vegan Sister, as well as What to Feed One’s Lactose-Intolerant Friend.

Speaking of lactose, the snortlepig has finally mastered the word “milks”. Until today, I had thought that this was a good thing - arguably more subtle than clawing at my chest, would you not think? Only today I was sitting on the piano stool at church, eagly alert for my cue to play “I Stand Amazed In the Presence”, when the snortlepig eluded the clutches of Helpdesk Man and ran up to me shouting “Milks!” Helpdesk Man had to carry her down the aisle as she shouted “Mummy! Milks! Mummy! Noooo!” in full-blown tragedy voice. The congregation was most entertained. I think I’ll pack a cosh in my handbag next week.

You will be happy to hear that so far, I have not broken any of my New Year’s Resolutions. On New Year’s Day, despite the fact that it was a public holiday, I put in my time and did my hour of housework. And didn’t I feel smug! I have also made some progress on the road rules, although it may come down to working the psychology of the multi-choice quiz rather than actually knowing the rules. The test is kind of passive-aggressive, so when it says things like “How fast can you drive if you see a school bus letting off wee cherry-cheeked urchins?” and the options are A) 20 km/h, B) 3o km/h, C) 40 km/h and D) 50 km/h, you can just tell it’s waiting for you to tick D and then scream at you “FIEND! BLACKGUARD! WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!” So you tick the holier-than-thou-est answer listed, A, and lo and behold, you are right. (Don’t even get me started on its smugly leading questions about the Effects of Alcohol.)

Tomorrow Betty Scandretti, as she is known to her adoring fans - Uncle Bizzy, as she is called by the snortlepig, and practically my only sister - is gracing our township with her presence. The plan is to watch Up while Helpdesk Man and Betty’s somewhat male nattily dressed counterpart go out to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie. This is partly a Plan B occasioned by the inability of the snortlepig to behave in a movie and the inability of my mother to babysit said pig, on the grounds that her home became inundated with fleas while they were on holiday (!) and has to be fumigated. However, let it be noted that I am also not attending “Sherlock Holmes”* because, if the trailer is any indication, it is a travesty and a farce and should be boycotted by all right-thinking people. K? :) (Uncle Bizzy and I were going to see The Lovely Bones, but it is not to be. Up is smashing, though.)

Then the following night, several of my dearest friends (a phrase virtually synonymous with “only friends”, for the record, meaning “ones I can run into without having to say things like “Hey, didn’t you have a baby?” and “So are you and, um, still - no? Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Oh, well, OK then!” “) are coming over to eat nachos and watch Star Wars. As little as watching Star Wars needs a reason, we actually have one - my belly-dancing friend codenamed Perdita, it transpires, has never seen it. Can you imagine? And I met her working at an arthouse theatre, of all things. So this is very exciting. We have managed to work her into a state of cautious anticipation, and will do our best to avoid peering at her avidly and nudging her in the ribs to make sure she takes in all the good bits. From time to time I feel a moment of panic, thinking “What if she doesn’t like it? S– from the movies didn’t like it. What if she thinks it’s rubbish?”… but then my inner Yoda calms me, replying “S– is dead inside, and Harrison Ford will work his magic. You are trying too hard. Do, or do not. There is no try.”. And then I am calm anew.

Do you remember the first time you saw Star Wars, then? I will always associate it with Raro, a repellent powdered drink mix, because I first saw it on TV with the Raro logo popping up at vital moments. It wasn’t as earth-shattering an experience as the first time I saw The Fellowship of the Ring or even The Princess Bride, mostly because I initially watched half of The Empire Strikes Back late at night and didn’t have a clue what was going on, and had to get my friend’s little brother to fill me in weeks later on who was doing what. But it was still pretty awesome. And much more memorable than my first taste of Star Trek. (”Dark Page”, the one in TNG with Deanna’s dead sister. I mostly remember a lot of shots of people climbing down Jeffries tubes… not exactly the stuff of legend.)

Also, I am making the snortlepig a pair of shorts. And the mango sorbet is almost done, and tastes pleasing. And that is all.

*I usually italicise movie titles. This is not an inconsistency. Those are scare quotes, meant to indicate a withering sneer at the thought that THAT film is worthy to lick the boots of the great detective himself. K? K.

January 1st, 2010 | No Comments »

Right. After much deep thought I have finalised my list of New Year’s Resolutions. Here they do am.

  • Get learner’s and restricted licence
  • Spend one solid hour a day (Monday to Friday) doing housework and/or food preparation. Counting up the random minutes of domesticity during the day and hoping they came to an hour does not count.
  • Have nine articles accepted for print
  • Get singing group ready and worthy to busk by November
  • Write one hour’s worth of fiction a week
  • Learn to make ferments a la Traditional Foods
  • Increase my Suite101 income from *ahem* dollars a month to *cough* dollars a month by December

Now I need to figure out some kind of spreadsheet dealio to put on the fridge and tick things offa, because we all know ticking things off is the essence of success. (Or crossing things out, if you swing that way.)

I also need to hunt up my old road codes. I’ve been taking this test several times a day with increasing levels of success, but I’m still a bit fuzzy about the colour-coding of cats’-eyes and tbe exact applications of the Give Way rule. Once I figure out the soonest time I can go in to take the test, I’ll make a plan of study. (Does anyone know? Do you have to book, or can you just show up?)

Last night we had a successful if sparsely attended braai in order to celebrate the New Year. We drank peach-flavoured grape juice (forbidden under Levitical law, but extremely nommy), watched Zombieland and got sat on by the snortlepig.

Posted in challenges
December 26th, 2009 | 3 Comments »

We had it. I shall not dwell on the particulars. Always forward-thinking, is Smokey, despite an occasional yearning to travel back to 1977 in a time machine and see the first showing of Star Wars. (Wouldn’t that be awesome?)

Anyway. The fallout: my excellent mother gave the snortlepig a potty. This means we have to house-train her. So far she has had a fine time prancing around the house naked, smacking her squish and trying to remove the receptacle part of the potty in the hopes of using it for water play (which… never mind). Signs of Elimination Awareness are notably lacking, but I will keep you apprised.

The passing of Christmas has given me thoughts about the next milestone, New Years Resolutions. I have not always kept Resolutions, excepting an annual angsty determination during my troubled youth to become thinner than my thin sister (which never eventuated; still hasn’t; but I can make puff pastry from scratch and she can’t, so ha. Come to think of it, there might be a causal connection here.) Two years ago I had a very specific and concrete list of Resolutions, which worked to some degree - not the degree of actually fulfilling them, ’cause that’s crazy talk, but the degree of doing more of whatever it was than I otherwise would have done. F’rinstance, “read one theology book a month” didn’t quite pan out, but I did read several, which I otherwise might not have done.

(Interruption: snortlepig throomed on my trousies.)

Then the next year I abandoned concreteness in favour of vague general intentions, and pretty much did squat. Moral: concreteness is key.

So this year, I have some fairly specific goals and slightly less than a week in which to revise them.

(Interruption: snortlepig throomed in the potty while reading Animalia, another Christmas gift. Go snortlepig! Yay for throom! Rah rah rah, etc.)

Let me tell you them.

-Get my learner’s and restricted licence. This is a tad intimidating and I’d really rather not… but come on. I’m 23. It’s getting pathetic. And I have a copy of the Road Code… somewhere. My friends assure me that the learner’s test is dead easy, but I’m not sure they have fully engaged with the cluenessness of a Smokey on the road. Where others subconsciously pick up road rules just by driving around with their parents, making the whole process seem absurdly intuitive, Smokeys… don’t. A quick readthrough of the Road Code was something of a revelation, similar to the discovery of Tolkien’s hobbit runes, but slightly less obvious. Still, we shall do our best.

(Interruption: the snortlepig throomed on the floor again. Twice. I guess she peaked early.)

-Publish 9 print articles. I had a vague aim for 12 last year but totally didn’t make it - I published what, four? Not very many. But it’s good money and keeps the old synapses perky, so I should make more of an effort.

(Interruption: good golly, that’s one leaky pig.)

-Handmake all gifts. I’m of two minds about this, mostly due to laziness, but I feel faintly obliged as a blogger to have at least one goal that’s eco-friendly or anti-sweatshop or similarly noble. And I feel even less inclined to vow only to eat the produce of my veggie garden or live on $30 grocery money a week, or whatever the cool people do. I could manage a “no buying clothes new” thing, but that wouldn’t really be a challenge now I’m into sewing. I will think on it.

-Learn to make ferments, a la Traditional Foodism.

No more ideas as yet… but note that in a rare moment of realism, I have not put “learn Spanish”. I might have to add “Potty train the snortlepig”, though…

Posted in challenges