Tuesday, December 4, 2012

birth plan

Today I am 30 weeks pregnant. Three-quarters of the way through; shit is getting serious. The books are telling me to make a birth plan to give to my hospital, so I did, and I thought I'd share it with you.

  1. Whale sounds will be played until full cervical dilation is reached and the pushing stage begins. At this point Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song will be played on a loop. Midwives are encouraged to learn the words and sing along (lyrics provided, see Appendix). If you are tone-deaf please only mouth the lyrics!

  1. I will be wearing a horned Viking helmet throughout labour. (This will need to be sterilised.) Please do not attempt to engage me in a debate about the historical authenticity of horned helmets.

  1. Our videographer will be present throughout the labour, however he will only be filming my face (NOTHING BELOW THE NECK) in order to record my spiritual journey. This will later be released as a DVD entitled My Triumph and will be made available to hospital staff at wholesale price.

  1. My husband will cut the cord with a broadsword (will need to be sterilised).

  1. My husband will wrap the still-bloody infant in furs (to be provided by the hospital).

  1. My husband will place my son on my bared breast.

  1. Medical staff will file past the bedside paying tribute to my son and myself. (Tribute in the literal sense; gold coins will be provided.) All medical staff who assisted in the birth will take part, although other staff are welcome to join. Please do not look me in the eye! I will be gazing at my son.

  1. My son will gaze back at me, full of awe at the goddess-like creature who brought him into this world.

  1. I will be served a cheese platter.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

holiday: south-western australia

We wanted to have one last little holiday before the baby comes, so we went south to Bridgetown. We like old-people holidays: driving to a small town, staying in a little house, driving around to other small towns. We like to go into op-shops and look at old buildings and funny little museums and take photos of fallen logs. Then at night we like to read and go to bed early. We have very convenient tastes for people without much money and with a baby on the way.

Here are a few photos I took of spring in the south-west of Western Australia.

 Protea in a garden in Donnybrook.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

vintage baby: the horror

If you have a lot of spare time that you would like to get rid of, may I suggest getting pregnant, going to Etsy, and typing 'baby' in the vintage section? This will also help you get rid of any pesky money you have lying around.

However, in amongst the adorable lurks... the horror. Let me show you some of the things I have seen, and can never unsee. (Click on the image to buy it, IF YOU DARE.)


Why do people think crying dolls are so cute? This is seriously upsetting, although that might be partly because they look like Dr Moreau-esque half-monkey creatures.

These things are called Plumpees, and they reflect a very different attitude to childhood obesity.



Well there's the opening credits for the next season of American Horror Story.

This thing is a bank. It works because once you drop money in, you never want to touch it again.

An adorable depiction of BOUNDLESS RAGE.

You better pray, kid.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

the thing that's making me happy today

...is how much this baby bear on Cute Overload looks like Maurice Sendak's Little Bear.

Monday, September 10, 2012

inspiration: colour

From Marc Jacob's Resort 2013 collection. Wear all your clothes, wear them all at once

 Mandarin ducks, the most beautiful ducks

No post about colour would be complete without a Mary Blair painting. 

Giant pencils by Jonna Pohjalainen

Anonymous artist. Found at Project Thirty-Three, an amazing collection of vintage album covers designed with typography and simple shapes.

Friday, September 7, 2012

why i'm having a fight on facebook

 When you see a friend say something you have a problem with on Facebook or Twitter, do you say something? Or do you keep quiet?

For me, it depends on how much I respect the person. If it's someone I think is an idiot, I won't bother (and I'll generally de-friend them). But if it's someone I respect and I want to engage with, I will say something.

I've just had an argument on a friend's Facebook wall. He is an intelligent person whose comments I really enjoy, so when he posted a caricature of Gina Rhinehart I wanted to say something. The caricature focused on Rhinehart's weight and unattractive appearance. While Rhinehart is a terrible person with despicable political views, I can't help but notice that a lot of the criticism of her has focused on her body and used words like 'fat,' 'greedy,' 'disgusting.' Some media coverage has been truly repugnant, with comments about her vagina as well as her fatness.

Rhinehart's politics disgust me; her body does not. I have a problem with this fat-shaming, not because I care about Rhinehart's feelings, but because I think that every time this kind of thing appears in the media (yes, including my Facebook feed) it adds to a culture of fat-hate that is particularly gendered.

So I said something.

Predictably, I got the usual responses:
  • It's just a joke/cartoon. Don't take it so seriously.
Sorry, but no. Racist jokes are not OK. Misogynist jokes are not OK. Jokes which perpetuate hate and shame are not OK. (And spare me the argument about how racism and fat-shaming are not the same thing. That is not my argument, I am making an analogy.)
  • Making fun of people's looks is a time-honoured tradition of caricature.
I have no problem with a cartoon which shows a fat person as fat. I have a problem with a cartoon which equates fatness with greed and evil.
  • People make fun of my chin dimple. This is exactly the same thing.
Oh fuck off. How many people die every year from being ashamed of their chin dimple? Eating disorders have the highest death rate of any mental illness.
  • The artist posted a funny cartoon and doesn't deserve to be criticised.
Actually, the artist posted their work in a public forum and therefore laid himself open to criticism. And the fact that I believe him to be intelligent and mature enough to engage in this discussion is a compliment to him.
  • It would be offensive if it was someone good like Dawn French, but it's an evil person.
My problem with this isn't that I think Rhinehart will see it and be upset. My problem is that this contributes to a culture of fat-shaming. 
  • She deserves to be criticised and you should pick your battles.
Once again, Rhinehart herself has nothing to do with this. It's the fat-shaming I have a problem with.
  • Wil-E Coyote cartoons show explosives, which are dangerous. Should we ban the cartoons?
Thanks for the straw man argument, it always livens up a discussion. I'm not going to dignify this with an answer.

Of course, posting a dissenting comment on someone's Facebook wall has consequences. The person's friends will see you criticising their friend, and will jump to defend them. Many of them will be angry that you are being 'serious' or 'too intense' in a forum that they see as exclusively for fun. (To give them credit, this cartoonist's friends were almost all polite and did not attack me.) The thing that drives me crazy about arguing on the internet is that people are so free to ignore what you're saying and not address your actual argument, which they can't do in person because I will yell at them until they answer my question.

So what's the point? I could say that maybe someone will go away and think about it, and my comments will change their mind. Or that speaking up when you see something you disagree with is important in its own right. But the truth is that I'm an argumentative, scrappy person and I can't keep my mouth shut.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


 Sugar cage available here.

I have always known I wanted to have babies. My husband and I have been ready (well, as ready as you can get) for a while but we wanted to pay off our debts and save a little money. When I saw the second pink line on the test I burst out crying and literally fell on the floor. I am very happy!

Is it okay if I'm also freaking out a tiny bit?

See, this is the first thing I've ever done that is truly irrevocable.

Everything else has an escape route, even if it's difficult. Jobs can be quit. Houses can be sold. Pets can be given away. Marriages can be ended. Countries can be fled. But this baby is FOR EVER.

I have been in bad situations, and I know the suffocating feeling of being trapped, and the giddy elation of escaping. One of the reasons I knew it was a good idea to marry my husband is that I never felt trapped with him. And now I've voluntarily put myself into a position where there is no escape.

And it's already started. I can't take drugs and stay up all night partying. To be honest, I don't really want to. I didn't before I got pregnant, either. BUT NOW I CAN'T. I have a human being inside me and I have to look after it!

This isn't something that's keeping me up at night. I think I'm just hormonal and predisposed to anxiety and I'm exercising one of my greatest skills: finding something to worry about. The truth is, choosing not to have a child would be just as irrevocable.

It's hard being a grown-up.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

guess what?

It's been more tracksuit pants than Givenchy gowns, but I'm having a baby!

Monday, July 9, 2012

my etsy favourites: things i'm not allowed to buy

I have too many Things. Some big things, but mostly small things, things that don't have any use and take a lot of dusting. My husband was looking for some Useful Thing the other day and found a ceramic cat playing a violin. For some reason this was the last straw and he is now convinced that I have too many things. (I agree, but that cat has REAL WHISKERS. And several bandmates. I'm not getting rid of the cat.)

So when I see Things on Etsy that I want, I add them to my favourites. It's like walking around a shop, filling your cart and then abandoning it. It's almost satisfying.

Plus, I have all these Things ready to buy when I move into a mansion.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Is there anything more sexy and exciting than budgeting? Oh, I wish I were joking, but I'M NOT. I love budgeting, I really do.

I never used to! I would make a half-hearted attempt at working out how much I needed for shampoo and electricity and shoes, try to smoosh it together with my income, and then... what? I have a budget, I guess? Well, that's done! Now to go put some stuff on my credit card.

Not surprisingly, I ended up with a bunch of debt. I had to ask my parents for a loan, because the credit card interest was killing me. My dad gently but firmly suggested that he sit down with me and work out a budget. I didn't see what use it would be, but I didn't feel like I was in a position to refuse.

Guess what? It turns out that there is a way to use a budget so that it actually works. And the purpose of a budget isn't to constrain you; it's to set you free. Your income already constrains you; you do not have infinite moneys. But if you face up to that fact, decide exactly where you want your money to go, and make a few simple changes, you will be free. Free from that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when a bill comes in; free from having to put off having your car serviced until you save up the money; free from throwing money in the pit of credit card interest.

This is how my husband and I manage our money. It's easy to adapt to one person: before we married, I did the same thing except with only one income coming in. (Or you can add more incoming money and adapt it to your commune, or your polyamorous household. This budget is inclusive!)

The trick is to segregate your money. This should be done as soon as it hits your bank account. The easiest way to do this is to do all your banking online (which is really easy and kind of fun, if you're a dork) and have lots of different accounts. Most banks now will offer free Net accounts (no charges, good interest, but you can only manage the accounts online-- you can't take money out at an ATM, for example). Think of them as envelopes, compartments you use to sort your money, and set up a bunch of them. Now you can set up automatic payments into these different accounts.

Expenses are the costs you can predict throughout the year. This is the lifesaver: when your car battery dies, when the gas bill comes in, when the rent is due, you don't even have to think about it, because the money's right there. Here are some things you might want to put under expenses:
  • Rent/mortgage repayments
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Insurance
  • Repairs/replacements (ie washing machine, vacuum cleaner)
  • Lawnmowing
  • Landline
  • Mobile phone (if you have a fixed plan or regular habits)
  • Regular medication
  • Physiotherapy
  • Gym membership or regular exercise classes
  • Dental
  • Pet medical 
  • Transport (bus/train)
  • Regular charity payments
  • Union dues
  • Car, including:
    • Licence
    • Registration
    • Insurance
    • Servicing
    • Repairs
    • Tyres/battery
    • Roadside assistance
Housekeeping represents the amount of money you will spend on consumables during the pay period (let's say a fortnight). This means groceries, petrol, pet food, and non-regular medication (aspirin, antibiotics etc). I use a debit account for this, so that I get unlimited withdrawals.

Savings is self-explanatory. You might have a specific goal in mind, or just want to put money aside. This money is not to be touched except a) when that goal needs to be paid for or b) in extreme emergency.

Travel & fun is useful for us, but it might not be for you. It's for fun stuff we do together. It pays for holidays, things we decide to buy together (such as a games console), fancy dinners, and whatever else we agree to use it on.

Pocket money is just that. We use this for buying things for ourselves (books, games, fun stuff) and presents for each other, as well as for incidental fun stuff that's not covered by housekeeping (a coffee with friends, for instance).

Debt money goes directly to the loan or credit card you are paying off. I am very happy and proud to say that the amount we now put into the debt fund is $0. To work out how much you should be paying, first work out your interest per pay period. You need to be paying that off as an absolute minimum, and then as much more as you can afford. Paying off your debt is the most important thing, because the more you pay off the less interest you will pay. Working out how much you're paying in interest is definitely a good motivator to pay off debt!

Does that make sense? Do you have any questions? How do you manage your money? Let's talk budgets!

Friday, April 13, 2012


Today I took the day off, and went op-shopping. It was wonderful.

Two classics.


I have a huge collection of Little Golden books, but there's always room for more.

This amazing, hand-crocheted owl tea cosy was at a tiny little church op-shop I'd never seen before and happened on by accident. It's kind of jammed on because my teapot has a weird spout, but you get an idea of the awesomeness.

I bought its sister too. Is this an owl? It doesn't have the feather 'ears', or a beak...

Vintage Tupperware is a current obsesssion. It's hard to find these lovely decorated ones!

The avocado green containers are my favourites (along with the bright orange ones).

And I couldn't resist this teeny tiny glass unicorn. I'm only human.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

happy easter

 All photos by Sky Croeser

Every two weeks a group of my friends gets together for Crafternoon. Recently several of us were complaining on missing out on fun ethnic traditions because of our boring backgrounds so this weekend Sky, who is of Greek heritage, hosted Greek Easternoon.

 We made tsourekia together and dyed and polished eggs. Making bread as a group felt like a ritual.

It must seem strange for people from the Northern Hemisphere to see traditional holidays taking place at the opposite end of the seasons. All the traditional symbolism of Easter is about its traditional roots as a spring festival: eggs, rabbits, birth and rebirth, fecundity and fertility.

But summer is so brutal in Perth that this time of year, when the weather starts to cool, feels like a rebirth to me. After being battered by the heat for so long, I feel revitalised by the cooler weather. I want to bake and potter around and nest again. Plants and lawns are recovering from the blistering sun and starting to grow again. We're all coming back to life.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

bad blogger

This blog has fallen down a little lately! One of the reasons for that is that I've been devoting a lot of my creative energy to my podcast, The Book Was Better. This is a humour podcast in which funnyman Luke Milton and I discuss novelizations and read hilarious passages from terrible books. If that sounds good to you, go check it out! We've recently done episodes on Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium (puke) and The Smurfs (what an unbelievable bucket of garbage). This week's episode is on Stargate, which I consider to be a pretty decent movie but the book is AWFUL.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

the book was better episode 11: alien

Oh my lord. This book was really painful to get through, so please listen to the podcast and make it all worth while!

Monday, February 6, 2012

best spam ever

Subject: I spit in it and sent this to her mother... :) @gmail.com right?‏
Sent: Sunday, 5 February 2012 11:49:03 AM

Hey, arent that absolutley dumb?
My girlfriend enhanced her tits to C cup, but forgot how to create eatable food.
Come on, I want to look at her awesome body... and eat trash that? 
Check out this (pizza): 
I throw it on the ground!
John Wacke

Thursday, February 2, 2012

on fear

Last night I had my first swimming lesson since I was a child. I was a timid kid and I absolutely hated swimming lessons. My sense of survival stopped me from putting my head under water. Why the fuck would I do that?! There's no air down there!

It took a long time for the smell of chlorine to inspire in me anything but dread. But my dad taught me how to tread water and float, and I learned how to doggy-paddle, and now I snorkel at the beach. But I still can't swim properly, with my face in the water, moving faster than six feet a minute.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

the boook was better episode 10: back to the future

Oh my lord, we messed with time travel and now we're all doomed. There's a new episode of my podcast The Book Was Better out, go listen to it!

Friday, January 27, 2012

recap: project runway all-stars, episode 03

Why is this recap so late?!? It is because I'm a terrible person? Yes. Also it is very hot and my brain has melted and it's hard to do stuff. But now it's time to MAKE IT WORK!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the boook was better episode 9: flubber

Oh my LORD this is a crazy book. I am pretty sure this is a funny episode although I have not had the stomach to go back and listen to any of the episodes we have recorded because I do not enjoy WRITHING WITH SHAME. I am a bit worried I come off as racist at one point but hopefully you can tell I am joking? Now that is a good motivation to listen.

Friday, January 20, 2012

stuff to read, stuff to do

 Here is some stuff for you to look at.

1. The amazing Sara Bauer (@yellowcardigan on Twitter, owner of the world's only comic-making cat Paisley) mdae her own spice rack and then put up a tutorial because I asked her to and she is sweet. This is exactly what I need in my new, smaller kitchen: easily accessible, taking up no counter or cupboard space.

2. This Tumblr is fantastic: Citation Needed, a collection of the worst Wikipedia writing. If you need convincing, read some of my favourites.

3. Please watch this:

"YOU OK YOU OK YOU OK." This is my favourite video of all time maybe? I have it bookmarked so I can watch it when things go wrong in my life. Via Videogum.

4. Yelping with Cormac is a collection of Yelp reviews "written by" Cormac McCarthy. This is hilarious and beautiful.

5. I want to make this, how is it even possible? Radmegan posted a great tutorial but I am pretty sure it is mostly magic. Via Craftzine.

6. This Raindrop music maker is so soothing and happy-making. Play with it for a while.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

recap: project runway all-stars, episode 2

It happened again! Project Runway: All Stars continues, despite the gaping void left by Tim Gunn's absence. Luckily the fact that these are hand-picked all-stars doesn't stop them from making terrible, terrible clothes that I can make fun of.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the boook was better episode 8: crossroads

After taking December off, and then missing our return date because I was disgustingly sick, my podcast (with Luke Milton) is BACK with a blistering look at the novelisation of the 2002 Britney Spears movie Crossroads! Learn about love, friendship and other totally girly stuff over at The Book Was Better.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

recap: project runway all-stars, episode 01

When I found out that the next season of Project Runway was going to be a) an all-stars season (no fresh talent) and b) would not feature my beloved Tim Gunn, I was pretty disappointed. But I strapped on my beaded wrist-spats and trimmed my asymmetrical hemline, and watched the first episode. And once I realised that most of the all-stars had been chosen not so much for their talent as for their personalities, I knew there would be plenty to keep me watching. 

(Note: please excuse the drawings. I have an iPad and I did these with my finger in front of the television. That is how it's going to be from now on.)