Monday, August 10, 2015

Day 357: Can Eight Pairs Make You Happy?

Ironically I find it more difficult to find things to write about when I write less often than when I do it all the time. All the time means you need to think outside the box, be creative. Once in a while feels like it should be a catch up. For lack of any other bright ideas, I was going to tell you about the holidays we had been on since I became a slack writer/blogger—Jervis Bay (dogs in water) and the Gold Coast (dogs in hammocks)—but a couple of weeks ago I had a spell in which I was so-oooo-ooo blue. And it got me thinking about a different topic altogether: Do the people who do okay in the First World have the right to be unhappy?

Mr Earwig and the Earwig babies at Australia's, and maybe the world's, whitest beach: Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay

Because, really, I am doing okay. I have a job. Maybe it is a stressful, anxiety-producing and under, or not-at-all, appreciated job. Maybe it is a job that doesn't let me use my brain enough or my creativity at all. But it pays. Pretty well. I have a home. Our own home. Well one point one nine percent ours—the bank owns the rest, but that is a privilege in itself. I have people who love me: more importantly they put up with me. Not all of them are human. I have access to information and technology and health care (if I really, really had to!) and food, utilities and clothing and transport, clean water, books and education—I even live where there is a slightly more progressive social attitude to gender, justice and inclusivity (progressive I said, not perfect).

Given all that, I feel obliged to be happy. That makes being unhappy a lot, lot, well ... unhappier. Do you ever feel like this? I don't have high or unrealistic expectations of happiness; I know that contentment is a much better goal. Maybe it is chemical, maybe hormonal. Maybe it is the swing of life going in the other direction. Maybe I feel my life has no meaning or worth or value. Am I alone in this? In a world where we have everything we could want, what is it that would actually make us happy?

I have no idea. I don't know what drives me, I don't know what I want to be when I grow up (and that day is fast approaching, I am sure), I don't know what I am passionate about. Or maybe I do, but I am scared to commit to changing it in case it takes a lot of work and I decide I was wrong. Although, would that be any different to where I am now? Maybe nothing I do will make any difference; maybe life isn't dependant, at all, on what you do, but only how you look at what you do. Maybe I think about it too much. Maybe life is not meant to be any more than four days of the craziness of humanity lumped onto my screen at work to dispatch, and then four days of hiding under a blanket reading books and ignoring the state of the house! Maybe life is just absurd!

I believe there are two keys that will unlock the puzzle box: 'creativity' and 'meaning'. And I believe there is one thing that is willing me to, wishing I would, kicking me in the butt with spurs in the hope I turn those keys, even though I seem so reluctant—the idea of doing what I do for a living until I am seventy. Mortifying! Putting creativity and meaning into either of the four day blocks in my life (work or home) is what needs to happen. Working out how to do that is what is making me unhappy. Whether I have the right to be or not?

The very picture of unhappiness? Gold Coast, Queensland

But about the shoes. Pair eight is a new trend for me in two ways: they are neutral (I know!!) and they are from the op-shop (thrift store for you Northerners). I have managed to get a nice little thrifted collection of shoes recently—criteria being they fit, and that they seem unworn to the highest possible degree. These meet criteria.

The Outfit
Mohair jumper: Thrifted in the USA
Jackette: Op-shopped
Skirt: Op-shopped
Belt: Gold and Op-shopped
Shoes: Op-shopped

Photographer de Jour: Moi

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day 356: Seven—Showing and Going

I am bowing out this pair of shoes—number seven. I have worn these shoes through. Literally. I can't show a better picture of them because they are all holes. Sparkly with a flowered, sequinned toe; darkly with insides splattered with (fake) blood. From Iron Fist. They did me well. I think I'll pop over and see if there is something I might like to get from them again ...

No luck.

But that doesn't mean I haven't been shopping.

Are we fools when we blackmail ourselves? Or does it work? Do you do it? I have started a scheme by which I reward myself for walking. Each month I choose an item I would like. This premier month it was a pair of the flat chunky sandals that are so 'in' at the moment. I chose these ones from Dirty Laundry via Modcloth:

In order to have those in my grubby little hands rather than on my wishlist, I told myself, I need to walk over ten thousand steps a day for at least fifteen days in June. The ten thousand step thing is, it seems to me, often made out to seem easily achievable. I walk more in the daily grind than a lot of other fishes I know. I take the dogs out, I walk up and down the railway station when I am waiting for the train, I don't own a car. But to get to the ten you do have to actually walk, or run, or hike, on top of all of that. And some days I end up running up and down on the spot as well to make it up and over.

About twenty days into the month I realised the shoes were nearly sold out. I gambled. I bought them. If I didn't get the requisite number of days, I self-reasoned, I would immediately take those shoes over to the op-shop (thrift store for the Northern Hemisphere-ians). As of yesterday (twenty-ninth) I reached the fifteenth ten thousand step day. *Phew* Safe.

Next month I would like a yellow raincoat.

Walking more is a part of the ever present need desire obsession to lose weight. I don't do it for health or to keep diabetes away. I do it to get into clothes I have bought because I love them not because they fit. My mother was visiting recently. She needed a cardigan and so I took her to Savers (thrifting superstore). No ulterior motives. She picked up two cardigans, a coat, a bag and a puzzle. I walked out with the other fifteen items on our docket. I snatched a couple of S/S, or A/W 2015 as it is here, must-haves. The button front denim skirt and the shirt dress. Neither of them fit. I don't believe in trying things on. But now I have to believe in doing whatever it takes to get smaller.

Since April Mr Earwig and I started on Lite n' Easy. Calorie controlled meals; everything you need for your day delivered to your door. It was more food than I had eaten in, well, forever. Definitely more bread and rice and corn. I'm not sure if my metabolism is so badly damaged that it is in shock with this latest development, but nothing happened. I'm going to persist with tricking my metabolism. And I am going to walk myself to that yellow raincoat. Hopefully the combo will result in being able to wear the trending items in the trending season. We'll see.

The Outfit
Jumper: Op-shopped
Tutu: Modcloth
Necklace: Modcloth
Puzzle Ring: Store in Taxco, Mexico
Felt Ring: Gifted, The Barony Centre, West Kilbride, Scotland
Shoes: Iron Fist, retired

Photographer de Jour: V——

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Day 355: Six—They're a Bit Pink Aren't They?

*This post contains Spoiler and Spoiler-by-Implication Alerts*

**This was going to be one of two posts I sent to Book Riot to try and be a contributor. Why waste it?**

Do you like Harry Potter? The person? Yeah, yeah, I know he isn't real. People don't have to be real to garner our opinion. Do you like Severus Snape? Rowling set us up to keep a corner of our hearts open for Snape. Not matter how bad he may have seemed at any given time, Dumbledore trusted him. And surely Dumbledore couldn't be wrong. Surely? It is a classic authorial ruse. We need our antagonists and enemies and nemesis-is-ises-es-ees (what is the plural again?) We like knowing who the goodies (protagonists) are, and the baddies, and the baddies-who-are-actually goodies. But what about the weird subsets? I have read three books lately whose characters were splattered in odd spots on the good-to-bad spectrum: the likeable bad good guy; the unlikeable good guy; and; the really likeable but not main player—the one with spark and gumption and character—who dies right in the beginning just when you were getting to love her. What? That last one is a category, even if I just made it up thirteen seconds ago.

The Likeable Bad Good Guy

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

Frank. A strange, quiet, spooky, (mostly) loner who lives with his father on a small island in Scotland. He is essentially a creative serial killer. Decidedly odd. But strangely likeable. How is it that we like a person who is doing bad things? Is it because we know it isn't real? It's fiction? Do we read a sadness or a cause in the behaviour? Or is it that the characters are written in a way that makes us consider what makes a person likeable in the first place. Life is filled with nice people who do bad things. Unlike Harry Potter, real life is greyer. In fact life is wholly grey—even if it so light it appears white, or so dark that it appears black. We like flawed characters. They remind us that we are okay despite being flawed ourselves. The likeable bad good guy is a common character. Dexter. Walter White, or Jesse Pinkman. A myriad of noir detectives or Supernatural boys who get the job done even if a few rules have to be broken. These bad good guys are often more like the romanticised rebel. Almost sexy. Often Sexy. Frank is just disturbing. And asexual. (Great twist—read the book!). Is that deliberate Mr Banks? The more I watch Breaking Bad, the more I wonder if Walt is even good. Are we too attuned to labelling the protagonist the 'good guy'? Maybe what we have here, after all, is much simpler—a likeable bad guy.

The Unlikeable Good Guy

Vulgar Things by Lee Rourke

Jon. Because of recent bad turns in his life—divorce, job loss—Jon is the obvious (available) choice to go to Canvey Island to sort out the belongings of his recently deceased Uncle. Atmospherically strange and haunting, the place and people of the island and its adjacent township, not so much lead, but misguide, Jon towards a revelation of a family secret. The sub-plot follows Jon's obsession with a woman from town who we are led to assume is possibly the victim of sex trafficking. But, oddly, he can never really be sure he keeps seeing the same woman, or, perhaps, a series of mistaken identities. To sum it up like that makes the premise engaging, but this book got one of my lowest Goodreads ratings. Ever. And I'm not sure I even rated it low enough. I didn't like the protagonist. He annoyed me. And I have been unable to analyse a literary rationale for an unlikeable good guy. Can you? What, despite an obsessional disorder, would keep you reading about someone who doesn't have your empathy or understanding. I wouldn't mean 'like' or 'enjoy' but I do 'like', in some other sense of the word, to read books that I dislike (make sense?) because they show you what makes a book unlikeable. A book doesn't get published and critically received if no-one likes the protagonist. The only thing that counts here is that I don't like him. It's personal. It's not about writing, it is about reading. This isn't a tool that Rourke has used to make us think about the issues he has raised. In fact, it's a distraction. I will never get what other people get from this book because I'll spend my time obsessed about my annoyances. It's my loss, but what can I do about it? It's The Cable Guy all over—man, I hate that movie, because I hate Jim Carey's character. I bet you love it though eh? It's just me.

The Really Likeable, Although Not Main, Player—With Gumption and Spark and Character—Who Dies Right in The Beginning When You Are Just Getting to Love Her

The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid

Shaz. Our wordy descriptor above refers to one of the psychological profiler, Tony Hill's, new students on the National Profiling Squad he is building. She is feisty, smart, witty and engaging. You can't wait to see what happens. How she will be instrumental in solving the crimes, catching the bad guys. And then? Dead. End of Shaz. Two hundred pages into a five-fifty page book. In a literary world glutted with crime fiction this seems like a very cruel and cunning way to get our attention. With the empathies of those of us who indulge in the dark side (crime writing, not Death Eaters) being pulled so many ways, this is a very useful way to make us care more for the victim. Often victims hang between two and three dimensions of characterisation. Shaz doesn't. She's fully blown. You didn't know this would happen. It won't make you pick up the book in the first place, but it will certainly make you keep reading. I have just recently started a Goodreads shelf called 'abandoned-150'. On it are the books, or book rather, which, by the time I got to page 150, I just couldn't force myself to keep reading. It happened once before. In London. I borrowed Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward from the library. I pretended later that I couldn't keep borrowing it and that was the only reason I hadn't finished it. It was, at the time, the only one of its kind, but now I am getting too old to waste time on the seriously-unable-to-finish books. The flaw in my narrative theory for this character is that two hundred pages in you aren't going to abandon. Seriously? You won't, will you? So why kill Shaz? Maybe it happens often, and I have only just stumbled over an author who does it? Crime writing is rarely about the one-off book. It's the series. Is Shaz a sacrifice who had to be made to ensure that I, List_addict, keep reading the series until the end instead of wandering off to peruse another author I might like more. Conceivable. I am reading the third now. A little over two hundred pages in. Who will McDermid kill off on me now? Have to keep reading. Now! Mischief managed.

What about you? Do you like your characters black or white? Or is it more interesting to work out what shade of grey they are?

P.s: The shoes. Pair number Six. My sneakers. They are the shoes I wear the most actually. On the commute, on the dog walks, on the occasional exercise jaunt. Ugly, even they are pink. But practical and required.

The Outfit
Swimmers: Retail
Top: Op-shopped
Shorts: Target
Hat: Convenience store, Koh Samui
Shoes: Nike *tick*

Photographer de Jour: V—— (Filmed on location in Koh Samui, Thailand a little while ago)

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 354: Missing It, Missing Out. Five.

I spent a small fortune today. Okay. I'm being modest. It was a medium sized fortune.

I went to Target for thermal leggings (it's winter here in the Antipodes—or it will be in two days time). No thermal leggings. But I did get white jeans. What! One, they're white! Two, it's winter! Everyone knows you can't wear white after Anzac Day. I've made up the Southern Hemisphere version of the rule. But I won't obey it. Always seemed like a silly rule. I know I have a shoe problem (that is pair number five down there in the pictures: had them for ages, boring in comparison to some, useful in comparison to others), but I now realise I have a jeans problem too. I buy them all the time. But I hate trying them on and they never seem to fit properly. It is a disease I can't get antibiotics for.

I also bought running gear. Phaa-phh! What! I think the running gear and another purchase you will hear about later are in the 'build it and they will come' category of shopping. Maybe if I have the running gear, I will run. Maybe if I have the other thing, I will use it for what it is intended for. Actually, if you are reading this, the latter has worked. I haven't been running. Not yet. Or yet. Nope. Still no running. We'll keep tabs on that one.

The next expense was very unusual. I went to a medical professional. I don't do medical professionals. What's the pass rate for a medical degree? If it is anything less than one hundred percent—which I am fairly sure it is—I don't trust them to not have the missing percentage pertaining to whatever it is I have. I am just as capable of Googling a diagnoses as they are, so why have a middle man is my theory. But today I went to an optometrist. And then I bought a pair each of prescription glasses and sunglasses. Turns out I am not as blind as I thought I was. And I don't have a weird, vertical, straight line of blindness in my right eye that the rest of the eye tries to compensate for when I am reading at three in the morning. I think it is just tiredness. But the immediate future—especially when I look up from a computer or a book and look at it directly—is fairly fuzzy. In seven to ten working days, it won't be anymore.

The thing that took the fortune from small to medium was the Macbook Air I am currently speaking to you from. It is my first Mac—or non i-Something Apple product at any rate. It is the other 'building' item I was talking about earlier. My hope is that a lovely new computer will get me writing again. And so far, if you are seeing this still, it is working. If you are back again reading something else in a couple of days, a couple of weeks, maybe months, then it really is working.

I miss the writing. I have written here at Fur Earwig about losing the blogging impetus a few times. What other forum allows you to write whatever you like, whenever you like and put it out there for what you imagine will be the world to see. (In reality it will only be someone who googles MacBooks and thermal underwear together—but let's not over-analyse!) Two opportunities came my way recently. Writing opportunities. Nothing fancy. I wasn't about to become an über blogger, or the sixth writer in Australia who earns a living now that Bryce Courtney has opened a space with his passing. I realised that not writing my blog is actually worse than writing it in an unexpected way. Writing is all about social media now. By not writing my blog I had lost my footprint. I was ashamed to apply for one opportunity (writing posts for Book Riot), and applied for the other (writing a number of travel related posts for TID) with fingers crossed, because it has been a while since I had posted anything. I didn't expect to feel that way.

My hiatus relates to the fashion, and the angle or point of difference of the blog being misplaced. Not the writing. And long time persisters followers know the writing and the fashion co-exist here like the Oscar Madison and Felix Unger. Writing is all about social media, but social media is all about images. The fashion (I'm going to call it that even if you are looking at the pictures and saying 'ummm, that isn't fashionable?' because we all know that a-fashion is the fashion right now) is the hook. If someone comes here for the pictures I will think they are here for the writing, and in a way that is enough.

So I will head out onto my balcony in strange outfits and speak to my camera so that it takes pictures of me. I will get back into getting dressed—maybe a big cleanup is required, followed by some serious op-shopping. I will edit and collate and paste photos. All so I can write about things absolutely not related to anything you see in the image, but write anyway. I miss it.

P.S: This outfit and the accompanying photos of pools and sunsets were taken last October when V—— and I visited Koh Samui. It is a visual idea of the extent of what we did there. Nothing! Well nothing that didn't involve pools, lounging and pink coloured alcoholic beverages. I'd tell you about the trip, but it relates too closely to the images and I think I have exceeded the word count!

The Outfit
Kaftan: Op-shopped
Stuffed Patchwork Dog: Mantra Samui Resort
Shoes: Myers

Photographer de Jour: V——

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Day 353: Four, Knock on Our Door

It took eight months to find ourselves a house. Actually that is a lie. We found houses the first time we went looking for them. And everytime afterwards. But it took nine months to get to the end of the process. Sort of like birthing a baby I suppose. Costs as much. Without all the nasty nastier bits though. In a funny way I miss going out every Saturday with a long list of closely timed appointments. I miss racing from one side of the mountain to the other. The mountain?, you ask.

Both Mr Earwig and I, prior to this momentous shacking-up occasion (and no, we're not going to get married or anything silly—why waste good money which could go towards great pieces of furniture, on something that says 'we're committed' in any way more powerful than co-signing a thirty-year payment plan does), lived in the inner city, close to the beach. That, there, is not affordable property. So when it came to deciding where to buy, I had to opt (and co-opt) for the hills. If I couldn't live near the water in the manner in which I deem is the only suitable way to live near the water—see here or here—then I needed some other sort of nature as a substitute. I couldn't do suburban tract. So we chose to look in the Hills. The Dandenong Ranges. Google images of that: it looks spectacular! You'll be in no doubt as to our decision. Except when you start to think of any of the following: bushfires, bugs, spiders, snakes, meat eating birds. Eh! You can't have everything! Oh, and the last, the kookaburras, sound scarier than they are, and are beautiful to see and joyful to hear.

Every weekend we would find a house we loved. At first we thought that the hills' eccentric lack of auctions was in our favour. We would simply negotiate with the vendor and settle on a price that made everyone happy and we'd have a house in no time. I know! Naïve eh? We didn't count on: the Hills' affordability being a magnet for everyone (especially when Spring came around); real estate agents, or greed. Let me tell you, in hindsight, an auction is a much better, open and honest way to buy a house. A private sale—at least here—is basically a blind auction where you don't know how many other people (if any, are they making this stuff up?) are bidding, or how much their bids are. Effectively it's a guessing game and a gamble. A gamble we lost time after time. Now, sitting in our perfect house—the very best house of them all—it seems worth it, but at the time there was a lot of frustration, annoyance, anger and tearfulness. The sensible advice is to know what you want, know what you are prepared to pay, and know your market. But advice is idealistic. The area we were looking in is relatively inexpensive compared to the over-inflation of the burbs: people selling homes in the suburbs and relocating here had so much more to spend and could blow 'expected prices' to pieces and still feel they had a good deal. Typically honest (not) Estate Agents, of course, adjusted the asking prices so that they gave people a realistic idea of vendor's expectations (again, not).

Garden views, closer-ups and our lime tree waiting to be planted

Fed up, we blew part of our deposit and booked a holiday to Thailand. As it approached, we decided to stop looking. But there was this one little house I kind of fancied seeing. And another we thought we should revisit. Our flight was Saturday. On monday we looked at both. We decided to put a bid in on one that was brand new but oddly designed. It had an upstairs and downstairs sections, but no staircase between them. We figured we could put one in and so we made an offer in writing. While the vendor ummed and aahed, we researched staircases. They came back asking for another five thousand dollars; we decided we had made a mistake and a staircase would be expensive, if at all possible, and we pulled out. (That vendor ended up dropping his price seventy thousand dollars in the end, and still not selling! More fools them: for the sake of five grand they could have had it off their hands!) One Wendesday we made a single offer on the other little house. On Thursday, with no arguing, no greediness, no hassle, it was accepted. On Friday we put down a holding deposit and on Saturday we flew to Thailand. From Thailand we organised a building inspection and a bank loan and the full deposit.

All up, as far as we can work out, we looked at around ninety-three houses before we found this one. Houses with fire bunkers in the garden, and plots so steep you couldn't walk down them; houses where the water tank was filled by the neighbour who was on mains, and houses where you co-owned a sheep to maintain the lawn. Ugly houses in beautiful places, and beautiful houses in terrible locales. Houses that looked beautiful on the internet but smelled like catteries in real life; houses that I needed to twist arms to get to see but turned out to be magnificent. Houses that we didn't try for because we thought they would never be in our budget and houses we thought were a rip-off and sold anyway. Forty-five degree driveways, doorways to underground storage areas from the loungeroom, en-suites built into cupboards; bizarre body corporates. Even a house with a coffin in the loungeroom. My best friend just won the first bid she gave on any property to get her amazing new home. At the time I would have loved to have that happen for us. Now I realise it was part of an adventurous eight months we will never forget. And worth it in the end: I don't believe in fate: but sometimes I am given pause in that disbelief.

Shoe-shelves day one: Shoe-shelves now

Four: Ice Cream Honey. The closest I have to blue suede shoes. And please don't step on them. Irreplaceable. These were purchased in New York City. And there is no longer an Irregular Choice store in NYC. At the time I thought they were rather plain. A staple purchase. Now I think they are comfortable and they make my feet feel beautiful. Less is more people, less is more.

The Outfit
Dress: Op-shopped
Jacket: Op-shopped
Shoes: Irregular Choice Ice Cream Honey

Photographer de Jour: V——

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 352: Three—Past, Present and Future

Okay. Let's try this without Irene ...

The eighties girl in me has a thing for white shoes. These were bought for a ball when I was a travel agent a few years ago (ra, ra, ra). When I bought them I had a badly twisted ankle. Again. It is never a fabulous idea to buy shoes when you have a foot injury. Especially shoes on an insanely thin metal stiletto. Ironically, even though my foot is better (well, not since I twisted it again a couple of weeks ago), I haven't been able to walk in them as well as I did during that ball. Did alcohol help? Stunning white and silver shoes which are great for sitting in! Three.

New Year, or close enough, is a time for reflection and contemplation. And for the use of graphs. Combining the two, here are my reading achievements for 2014. You will notice that, once again, the total number of completed challenges is zero. Finishing is over-rated. Reading is a journey—I like to think of challenges rather as quests.

Goodreads Challenge 2014

Everything I read for the year. Forty-six books.

101 Books

Book'd Out's Eclectic Reader Challenge 2014

The Boy Next Door; Meg Cabot
The Cat Who Could Read Backwards; Lilian Jackson Braun
Gone Girl; Gillian Flynn

12 Books

Giraffe Days' Around the World in Twelve Books Challenge 2014

Kabu, Kabu; Nnedi Okorafor (Africa)
The Terminal Man; Mehran Karimi Nasseri and Azndrew Donkin (The World, or No Place)

12 Books

Semi Charmed Kind of Life Summer Book Challenge 2014

A Rogue By Any Other Name; Sarah MacLean
The Man in the High Castle; Phillip K Dick
The Name of this Book is Secret: Psuedonymous Bosch
Gone Girl; Gillian Flynn
The Hanging Valley; Peter Robinson
Highland Surrender; Tracy Brogan

13 Books

Four quests have still a couple of months to go. (Or forever). Here are a few more graphs:

ToB (Tournament of Books)(until March sometime)

Some portion of one book: The Signature of All Things; Elizabeth Gilbert

17 Books

Book Journey's Harry Potter ReRead (until 31st March)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

7 Books

Semi Charmed Kind of Life Winter Book Challenge 2014 (until 28th February)

Dolores Claiborne; Stephen King
Knots and Crosses; Ian Rankin

13 Books

A to Z (My Own Challenge to myself in which I read a book beginning with each letter of the alphabet: Started December 1st, 2014; Finished Whenever)

Abducted; TR Regan
(The) Beach House; James Patterson
(The) Cat Who Could Read Backwards; Lilian Jackson Braun
Dolores Claiborne; Stephen King

26 Books

And I might as well get all the book stuff over and done with by telling you the quests I am doing this year. Including the one I am not!

Any Semi Charmed Kind of Life Challenge that comes along!


Book'd Out's Eclectic Book Challenge 2015

  • Retellings (of fairytale, legends or myth)
  • A book set in a country starting with the letter S (eg. Sweden, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Slovakia)
  • PI Crime (fiction featuring a private investigator)
  • A novel published before you were born
  • Contemporary romance
  • Fiction for foodies (fiction featuring food/food related business)
  • Microhistory (Non Fiction)
  • Science Fiction set in space
  • Sports (Fiction or Non fiction)
  • Featuring diversity
  • Epistolary Fiction (fiction written in the format of letters/emails/diary entries)
  • Middle Grade/YA Adventure

They write books about sport? How dreadful! Oooh, actually. Tour de France is a sport isn't it?

A (more) "Sensible" Goodreads Challenge 2015

My Goal: 53 Books

* Updated 30 June due to being ahead of schedule: 65 Books

Bookmark to Blog 2015 Monthly Key Word Challenge

In which you choose a book with one of these words in the title each month.

JAN- Bird, Girl, Ever, Silence, Bad, Truth, End: The Tattooed Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
FEB- Key, Water, Lie, Chase, Heir, Once: The Lie by Chad Kultgen
MAR- Kind, Face, Power, City, Blue, Night, To: Same Kind of Different As Me byRon Hall and Denver Moore
APR- Dream, Prince, Long, Wind, Rose, The, Rock: Dreamland by Kevin Baker
MAY- Ash, Road, Thief, Bend, In, Far: The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland
JUN- My, Together, Whisper, Win, Soul, Sleep: My Notorious Life by Kate Manning
JUL- Sun, Unto, Energy, Fate, High, Look
AUG- Fall, Boy, Glass, Heart, Lost, Now
SEP- Color, Touch, Life, Day, How, Sweet
OCT- Ghost, Home, Beach, Away, Test, Number
NOV- Rise, Holiday, And, Little, Call, Dark
DEC- Space, Mirror, Over, Flower, Trap, Cold

And lastly. Because I don't want to go crazy with this book challenge thing (too late!)

Avant Ciera 2015 Let Me Count the Ways Reading Challenge

In which you count the number of pages you read each month. I would love to go for Gold (4001-6000). I think Silver is a more realistic but still stretchy target. But like CS Lewis says, and I paraphrase*, you are never to old to set yourself unrealistic and unachievable dreams to aim for. It is countered by W Clement Stone's quote about aiming for the moon and hitting some stars if you miss. Gold it is!

*The quote actually reads: You are never to old to set another goal or dream a new dream.

  • January: 1887 pages
  • February: 2491 pages
  • March: 2436 pages
  • April: 3197 pages
  • May: 3973 pages
  • June: 1951 pages
  • July:
  • August:
  • September:
  • October:
  • November:
  • December:

P.S: Just realised (by reading the comments!) that this is a yearly goal, not a monthly. So I am down for 'Multi Diamond' (a girl can't have enough diamonds!) which is 10000+ pages. That's me.

But what I most definitely am not doing, no matter what, no. For sure no. Absolutely not doing. Is the Goodreads Seasonal Challenge. Oh yeah. On the surface it looks fabulous. Such alluring and convaluted categories. Such unusual and unique ways to choose books. I started. The Winter challenge runs December 1st to February 28. But it is a logistics nightmare. I got myself a name, I posted the books I had squeezed into the categories. Bump-Pow! I had to run through three hundred pages of comments to find what had gone wrong: you didn't post including your name which isn't the same as your profile (more idiot me!). I re-posted. Bump-pow! Seven hundred pages of comments to sift through to find that there were no links to the books on my post. Duh! The i-Pad version of Goodreads doesn't give you the option to link the books. And seeing as ninety percent of my internet-action is i-Pad, I have popped this straight into the too hard basket and then cleared the basket. Not happening.

I may have found something way worse though. And I am doing this one. In fact, I am putting it over there in the side bar. Via the already counting Avanti Ciera to the source at Butterfly Feet: Read a Million Pages in your Life Time! That is a list no List_Addict can resist. I have made a spreadsheet to try and account for all reading prior to my Goodreads account in 2012. When I get to the point where I have to think too hard about whether I have read any given book or not I will call that number, plus the last three years on Goodreads my 'to date' and go from there. I am not decided yet if the inter-world needs a full list. I am sure that (1) no-one cares, and (2) no-one will notice its absence or presence amongst all the other stuff out there so I'll decide on that later.

Epic post. I am sure many of you gave up after looking at the pictures. I, however, have my head around challenges and a valid and solid reason why I never finish any of them. How do bloggers get anything done if blooging takes so long? Retorical. I don't want to know where so many succeed and I dismally fail!! Have a great reading year!

The Outfit
Dress with Belt: Op-shopped
Jacket: Thrifted, USA
Necklace: Retail
Bracelet: Op-shopped
Shoes: Urban Soul

Photographer de Jour: V——

Getting linky today with:

pleated poppy


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Day 351: New; Two, Buckle My Shoe

That's right. Over the course of a mere two months I have managed to advance the shoe count from 'One' to 'Two'. I have also managed to get myself into grown-up debt by finally buying a house (see below), whisk away on a Thailand holiday, settle my house, help my interstate Dad sell the house I did live in, completely change my work schedule to night shifts only, work through Christmas and New Year, pack a house, move two houses, pay the first mortgage payment, and, finally, start the process of unpacking in my new, amazing, characterful, beautiful, peaceful and simply stunning home. (More about our new home soon.) It has been a little crazy!

Just because I haven't been writing them, though, does not mean I haven't been reading your blogs and it looks like everyone has been having a grand old silly season and are making great plans for 2015. My plans are simple: blog more, read more, knit more, make my house a haven, develop a green thumb, fit into all amazing clothes in (many, many) boxes I have just moved from one house to another and enjoy every moment of this new instant family we have made in the hills (borrowing the Eccentric Owl's idea of partner referencing, I refer here to Mr Earwig and our two fur babies).

Catelyn               List_Addict

A glimpse ...

Me, Mr Earwig and the threshold of Earwig House

I am looking forward to spending more time here at Fur Earwig! I miss the writing more than I thought. I don't miss the amount of time it takes to do photos. Today's photos introduce my avatar, Catelyn Covet (just made that up). She is wearing the closest equivalent of my outfit that I could find on Covet. (P.S: results from the Covet experiment are now live - check it out here. I was wrong.) I had to introduce Catelyn because my wardrobe has been disappearing into boxes and hard to access for dressing Irene up in. I'm not sure if I should leave Irene (and Catelyn) to moulder quietly in the night-shift bedroom (or cyber-space), or keep dragging her out numerous times a week to look better in my clothing. She is my perceived point of difference in a sea of fashion blogs. I also feel a tad self-conscious if it is 'all about me'. If I get rid of Irene I would have to up the ante on better photographs. What do you think? Is life worth blogging about without Irene?

But, about the shoes. Pair number two. Op-shopped/Thrift-stored. Lime green Scooters in near-pristine condition. I don't usually do shoes from second hand stores. I get feelings of ickiness if I think about it too much and trying to not to makes me obsessively think about it. I bought these in my 'shoe-making' phase. I was going to use the skills I had aquired, from a course I had done, to alter them. But, with their flick-flack comfort and kitten-heel cuteness, I ended up wearing them often and they remain unchanged. They are too much a staple to ever be removed from the collection. They are safely stored on the 'green' shelf of the new shoe-space in my new house space. Two.

The Outfit
T-Shirt: Roxy, Wet 'n Wild, Surfers Paradise
Jacket: Thrifted, USA
Skirt: Op-shopped
Shoes: Scooter

(Catelyn wears, in the same order, Cynthia Rowley, Black Orchid, SKOT and Madison Harding)

Photographer de Jour: V——

Getting linky today with:

pleated poppy

The Fabulous Kimba Likes' Wardrobe Wednesday!
(I just can't seem to get that button copied over?)