Monday, 30 July 2012

Another blog linked

In the side-menu, you'll find a new link: the link to the blog of Marco and Catherine. We met them when we were living in Martinborough, a tiny rural wine village near Wellington. Marco is a Dutch guy, moved to New Zealand a couple of years before us, and was/is tennis coach. I think that's how we met, as Age took up tennis there. It would have been quite hard to avoid them by the way, as it was a very small town :-)

Catherine is one of the founders of Trilogy skincare products. After I'd won a pack with Trilogy products at the local squash club, all the girls there were very jealous. I didn't know why, as I had never heard of Trilogy before. But now I am totally converted, and still try to get everyone on to it. It's great stuff, and organic.

Anyway, they're travelling through Europe for nine months with their two little daughters of 2 years and 15 months. It's always nice to see the perspective from people from down under on Europe, and The Netherlands in particular.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympics - something funny

Something funny this morning in one of the newspapers here:

Australia's federal sports minister has traditionally had a Olympic wager over the medal tally with their British counterpart.

If Australia tops the host nation in the medal tally, British Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson must don a Kookaburras' (Australian men's hockey team) shirt, arm himself with a hockey stick and dribble a ball around Australia's High Commission in London.

If Great Britain leads Australia, Senator Lundy has to wear a Union Jack shirt and row a length of the Eton Dorney Olympic rowing course.

- Evelyn

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Horses V

Still not finished, but getting there - slowly.
Need some other brushes, with long, thin ends, to add detail.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Lots of little things

What's happening here at the moment?
  • It looks like the spiders are waking up again. A bit strange, because it should be the coldest month. Maybe because it has bit less wet? Anyway, in exactly the same spot where we had that redback in the bathroom, another spider appeared. To me it looked like a redback again, altough fairly smaller, and without a red back - maybe a male? Everytime for the last days when I entered the bathroom in the morning, or at night, when it's dark, he was there. Switching on the light made him disappear. Age didn't wait to find out what species it was, he just sprayed it.
  • I went for a lovely walk yesterday, picked a bag with olives underway - there are quite a few abandoned olive trees in along the track. I was just walking nicely along a creek, when I had to stop: spider crossing the track! It was a male mouse spider. And quite big. Better to wait, I thought. You never know if they jump straight in your face (no, they don't, but since watching Australia's funniest home-videos, featuring lots of spiders and other creepy crawlers I keep my distance. Funniest home-videos in other countries feature dogs and cats).
  • I posted a while ago about a training program I've developed. Well, we are full! We have 40 participants. And have a waitlist going. That's slightly scary, but also quite encouraging. That hopefully means I'm going to make a lot of coaching hours - a requirement of the program is that the participants are being coached or mentored for the whole duration.
  • Age has been in Canberra for a couple of days, and will be next week too. When Age's parents were here in April, they visited Lois and Richard in Canberra, and got a bag with roadmaps on loan. Well, Age finally thought to bring this bag with him to Canberra - he'd been in Canberra multiple times, and never took these @#$@$#maps with him. But forgot to give it to Richard when they met! So the bag is in Adelaide again. Maybe more luck next week.
  • And I've reached page 120 of my manuscript. Just 230 to go :-) If you ever wanted to write a book, do it, as it's great fun.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Horses IV

I did the background tonight. That was easier than I thought. And fun.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Horses III

The horses are now 60% complete, so it's time to get the background to 60%. Started with that when it was time to go, so doesn't look finished or anything yet.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


I did it! I finished the first 50 pages plus a one-page synopsis of my manuscript on Tuesday, and submitted it (via snail mail - they don't accept email submissions). Pfew!

After I'd been to the post office, I decided I deserved a nice late lunch plus a hot chocolate at one of the cafe's in Blackwood. While enjoying my lunch I started planning finishing the remainder of my manuscript. It wasn't completely clear when everything needs to be finished by, but I remembered reading 'you'll hear something in about eight weeks time'. If you are one of the longlisted persons that is. If you're not, you'll hear nothing. And as soon as they notify you of being on the longlist, you have to give them your finished manuscript within 72 hours.

So on a piece of paper I drew a table, with a calendar of eight weeks. Crossed out a couple of days that I wouldn't be able to write. Then decided how many pages I want my manuscript to be - which is quite arbitrary really. The parameters from the competition are 55.000 - 120.000 words, which is 250 - 600 pages). I've looked in my bookcase at home, and saw that the average novel is about 300-500 pages. I thought 400 pages would be nice, but when I started planning there is no way I can get 350 pages done (I've got 50 already) in 8 weeks with the amount of time I have available. I should be able to do 300, although it's a bit crazy. So that's what I've planned.

The next thing is now to decide how my story will evolve over all these pages. I know what the book will be about (I had to write a synopsis), but have no idea yet about the exact contents per, say, 50 pages. So I've got some designing to do first - but that's what I'm good at, as I am a designer (albeit an Instructional Designer :-) , but hey, the process is the same). And that's the fun part.

I found that with those first 50 pages my design helped me heaps. I had made a grid, with per 5 pages some keywords of wat should happen in those pages. It helped me getting started, and building bridges from one part to the next part. And then the only thing I had to do was just dreaming up the story. And that's the best part.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Hobart again

This morning, for the first time since our arrival in Adelaide, we had to de-ice the windows of the car! Full moon, clear skies, temperatures dropping close to zero, and now sunshine. Lovely.

I've been to Hobart (Tasmania) this week, for a conference on Higher Education Research and Development Australasia (HERDSA). It was a good conference, and I left with some good ideas of what other Universities are doing around Learning & Teaching, and where we could take our L&T strategies for the coming time. Nice to see a good turnout from New Zealand too, and I met a previous colleague of mine, whom I've worked with at the University of Twente, and who moved to New Zealand a couple of years before us. Every now and then our paths cross, and it's always nice to catch-up with her.

Just like last time when I was in Hobart, there wasn't any time to explore much of the city, let alone Tasmania. Initially I thought I could add a couple of days, and Age could join me, but we didn't really want to spend much time (and money) in the winter there.

This discussion did bring up the topic of a holiday to break the winter a bit. We could choose 'snow' or 'sun', and 'sun' was the winner, after a 30-seconds discussion. It's going to be Noosa, and we're now considering our options.

Age had motor-troubles on monday, when he was leaving work and about to drive home. He couldn't get his bike started. We've heard that before, haven't we? So after trying for some time he left the bike in the city and took the train home. The next day he drove to work with the car, tried the bike again, and it still wouldn't start. He'd tried to get the bike transported to the mechanic, but the transporters had a job that would last the whole day. So what did he do? Lured two colleagues into pushing the bike to the mechanic, which they did, and according to Age it was easy-peasy. Afterwards, Age took them out for lunch at our favourite Italian cafe.

There was no painting class for me this week, as I was in Hobart. But I did spend some time on something else: writing. The last assignment of my writing class is to finish our short stories and write a letter to an editor. But which editor? So I had a look around on the web, and found heaps of competitions and openings for submissions of short stories, manuscripts, poetry and what more. I found a good publication opportunity my short story, but found an even better opportunity to send a manuscript in. One problem: I don't have a manuscript - yet.

So I started reading the criteria - submitting the first 50 pages of your manuscript by 12 July - and did some planning. And actually, it seemed doable. I figured that I had 40 hours to spare to write 50 pages of my new book. What that book would be about, well, I had to figure that out as well. And quickly. Anyway, long story short, I'm now at page 21, and should reach the 50 pages on Tuesday.

What they're looking for in this opportunity is a commercially viable manuscript of 50.000 - 150.000 words (a whole book basically. My 21 pages have 5000 words), and from the truckload of submissions they'll get, they'll choose 10 lucky people for a retreat of one week, in Brisbane in November. In this week, editors and publishers will guide you through polishing your manuscript, making it ready for publication. Well, that sounded quite attractive, I thought, so I'm just going for it. If I don't make the cut, at least I have the first 50 pages of something, and a synopsis, and can use that for any future submissions.