Category Archives: Journal

Birthdays are weird

For as long as I can remember,  my birthdays have been weird, a little fraught, a little difficult. I do not really enjoy them. Maybe it’s because I was born in a leap year, or maybe I’m difficult, or maybe I don’t get why everyone wants to make a fuss. Maybe it feels a bit like a test I’m going to fail. Who knows?  But something usually goes wrong, someone or someones usually go away upset, and the whole thing feels stressful.

Even when I have a good birthday — and I’ve had good ones — they are complicated. Maybe it’s because I don’t really like to celebrate the things I do or make a big point of things that put me at the centre, but birthdays sort of make me uncomfortable.

So, it’s my 60th birthday tomorrow and there was a possibility of there being a huge fuss, which I was concerned about. Mostly it made me think about how everyone else would feel, how they would react, the chance for people to be hurt or offended. And so, a year ago, for the first time I took a little control.

I booked a place for lunch — a brewpub we like that isn’t special, but we’ve been to a bunch and is fine and not too expensive — and have mostly discouraged gifts (I honestly don’t want much at this age).  Keep it low profile. Don’t make a big fuss. Don’t spend a lot of money on the whole affair. Make it something we can get through without too much drama. And that’s what I’m hoping for tomorrow — not too much drama.  If I get through the day with that it’ll be ok.



Carrie and Juliet, or a New Year’s Eve for 2023

Was up early, had some breakfast, and then did some novella editing. Afte that, well, Sunday, New Year’s Eve, was a little stormy.  The family was due to go to see the musical &Juliet, tickets having been acquired as part of Marianne’s birthday this year.

For some reason, the eldest took it into her head not to be part of this, so after a lot of disagreement she remained at home. This meant that three of us  headed off to the show, while one stayed home (though ultimately had lunch and spent time with her grandma).

We got to Crown about 11.30am, had a very unspectacular lunch at The Merrywell (like so many places now, overpriced and mediocre), before taking our seats. The show – a jukebox musical that posits Will Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway arguing over the ending of Romeo & Juliet – was amusing fun with a bit of bite to it. Probably the weakest musical we saw all year (after Kimberley Akimbo, Hamilton, Hadestown, Merrily  We Roll Along, which we saw in New York), but still fun.

Then home via nan’s, where we had an unexpected dinner of Christmas ham, lovely salads etc, and got to say Happy New Year.  We got home around 6pm and some idiot who shall remain unnamed left the sprinklers on all night, which will no doubt  show up on the water bill. After that, a quiet evening, an annual rewatch of Carrie Pilby, and then the annual exchange of lists, and bed.

A good day, all in all. The following morning was a little more difficult. I started with a Zoom call with Liza about this year’s Locus Recommended Reading list, which is almost complete, and then a few hours editing that novella, before a very pleasant lunch with Marianne at Leederville’s The Servo (a rare outing for just the two of us), before heading home.  Tomorrow is my 60th birthday, which I feel little enthusiasm for, and then after that, the return to work.

Saturday night

The Bright Sword by Lev GrossmanChristmas is only just in the rearview mirror and the things that made me want to keep a journal last year are reading their heads again, so let’s try.

It’s the 30th so I won’t try to detail the week between Christmas and New Year except to say we watched a lot of movies, I did a bit of work on a Tobi Ogundiran novella and didn’t work on the other things I should be working on. I’m on a break from the day job until Jan 3, so I don’t have to worry about that till then.

For Xmas, the whole family came over as is semi-traditional. It was actually a lovely low-stress day.  Stephen did an exceptional job with the charcuterie board (with B’s help), mum did a lovely salad and provided meringues and champagne, Sophie did a meringue charcuterie board and a watermelon salad, Jess did her dip and made fantastic tie-dye shirts for us all, M did the cranberry sauce, and I did a few bits and pieces. We dined inside (it was hot) but that was fine. There was chat and laughter and goodwill and presents. Sophie came up with a silly karaoke game that was fun and we even played Monopoly.   The family arrived at noon and we kicked them out at 7.30pm or so because mum was tired. It was good.

Presents were successful, I think, and everyone was happy. Boxing Day was cricket, leftovers, movies and such. I think we were all a little ready to put Christmas movies behind us, so we’ve been watching action movies instead.   In the following days we had a plumber out to look at noisy pipes before WaterCorp replaced the meter, bought a new car battery after I was almost stranded at Bunnings, watched season 4 of Bump,  and so on.

I’ll keep a better record of things in future, but we just re-watched The Bourne Identity, which Marianne liked, I didn’t mind,  and Sophie was bored. I’m not really committed to reading anything right now, but let’s say I’m reading Lev Grossman’s The Bright Sword, because I have started it and I do want to commit to reading more.

I think that’s about all for now. Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and some of us are off to see &Juliet, while Sophie and I will probably rewatch Carrie Pilby tomorrow night. Then New Year’s and then my 60th birthday. I’ve pushed to keep it low key and mostly discouraged presents. I’ve even, without quite meaning too, rebooked the same restaurant we went to last year.  I think I want it to be simple, but who knows?  I’m not good at celebrating things.

Oh, and I have an anthology introduction to rewrite.

Weekend of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth

On paper, it was a good weekend.  Saturday I took the youngest out to Costco to pick up some things for her short film shoot that’s happening next week. We then stopped at Whisked the Right Wei, one of the better patisseries in Perth, and got coffee at a Kwik drive-through. I then took the eldest daughter out on our regular carpool karaoke trip to Yahava Koffee in the Swan Valley. Saturday evening was fairly quiet, with me watching a little bit of Fleishman is in Trouble and reading more of Emily Tesh’s Some Desperate Glory.

I was up fairly early on Sunday. Not as early as Marianne, who drove the youngest around to do more film shoot prep. I was out at Clancy’s Fish Pub by 9.15 am for a regular meet-up with my dear pal Richard, and then home by noon, to take M and the eldest out for lunch in Guildford (at the Guildford Hotel). Then home and back out again to the Civic Hotel to see Amanda, Dave, Karen, and Chris for drinks. Dinner was a quick barbecue, it being well into barbecue season. Hit the sack at 9 pm, but was awake by midnight, so not sleeping well.

I remain unfocused, but I need to address that.  There are some underlying health concerns I need to address, but for the moment socialising overwhelmed work this weekend. As for the week ahead, I need to seriously start on the Tachyon anthology, edit a novella, deal with the day job, and do some other stuff too. Oh, and get a haircut.

And that was the weekend that was, that was

I had a fairly quiet weekend by my standards. I had a Locus Board Meeting at 7 am, which is an ungodly hour for something like that, but the only time really to get everyone involved together. We talked about many things, including how Locus can really use your help and support. It was also good to see so many friends that I’ve not seen in so long.

Right after that, I had breakfast with my brother Stephen at Fez in Mt Lawley. It’s had a few ups and downs over the years but serves a pretty solid breakfast right now. Once that was done, home and did some work before a nice lunch out by the sea at Clancy’s Fish Pub, where I scratched my summertime margarita itch. To be honest, it wasn’t a great margarita, but it was fun. Home again to do some stuff before the family went out, M to see Alan Cummings and the girls to see a rooftop screening of Mama Mia. I had a lovely afternoon and evening, cooking up steak on the barbecue before watching some cricket, reading a bit, then having an early night.

Sunday was a little busy too. I was up early as always so breakfast, editing etc. I recorded episode 621 of the Coode Street Podcast with Gary before a long chat with Liza about the recommended reading list. We then had a quiet lunch at home. The girls were all out again so I finished reading Garth’s The Sinister Booksellers of Bath, watched some cricket, the opening of Three Pines, and then we had a power outage just before bed.

On to the week ahead!