Saturday, 31 May 2014

It's a cliffhanger... BEDiM Day 31

The best tv shows end their seasons with a cliffhanger. And so it is with Blog Every Day in May.

My readers have followed the saga of the washing machine, but now we have the saga of the dishwasher. 

Wednesday afternoon, when I got home from work eager to finish off reading Michael Dobbs' "First Lady", I found the lights working but the power points not working. After some investigation, I discovered that it was the dishwasher that had caused the circuit breaker to blow. 

We've decided not to pursue the task of fixing the dishwasher until after the un-laws' visit this weekend, and until then, we're back to good old manual dish washing.  I just did some this evening, and I'm missing the dishwasher already...

Like I said, it's a cliffhanger. Tune in next month for the continuing adventures of Chez Stutters. 

Friday, 30 May 2014

Family... BEDiM Day 30

A brief post on Family, which was the prompt from a few days ago.

My GF's parents are here for a visit. I generally refer to them to others (not to them! the relationship with them is still too new) as "the unlaws".

They're not in-laws - my relationship with my GF is not recognised by law, nor is any ceremony we might have between ourselves.

I have friends who use the term "out-laws", and I respect that, although I don't feel it appropriate for my circumstances. It just doesn't fit.

So, I have un-laws. And I look forward to the day when it will be possible to call them "in" instead of "un".

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

What to write about... BEDiM Day 29

I have no idea what to blog about tonight. I only know I don't want to miss more than one day in a row of Blog Every Day in May.  

I do know I've enjoyed and benefitted from the challenge..  I'm trying to put together a bunch of prompt to use next month for my three blogs (not all at once - one blog per day, at most. If I can manage two posts a week on each blog next month, I'll consider it successful. 

For those who don't know: my other blogs are my discernment blog and a book/reading/professional blog.  

I might see you here, or there, next month. 

Not to mention the fact that there's still two days left in May. 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A current project... BEDiM Day 27

A project I'm working on:

Yes, it's a little bendy.  But it's my first ever attempt at a ripple blanket.  I'd say I'm about halfway done. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

What's wrong with this picture? BEDiM Day 26

It must be said that the Nazi leaders, including Hitler, had no moral difficulties with homosexuality.  Many of the early figures in the Nazi movement were homosexuals, Ernst Rohm and his strutting cronies among them.  Hitler has plausibly been connected to such activity.
-- Eric Metaxas, "Bonhoeffer", pg 305.

There aren't words.

Among a book loaded with lies and bias and slander, and then this?


He killed us. He  LITERALLY KILLED US.  And I have never heard the slightest, quietest whisper of 'plausible connection' of Hitler with homosexual activity, (and note the conservative usage of the medicalised term when 'gay' would do in the second sentence.)

Pink Triangles.

Concentration Camps.


If I had had any sympathy at all for Metaxas (which I didn't), that passage would have been the end of it.


Goals review - BEDiM Day 25

It's the last week of May.  For those goals that I haven't met yet, this is it.  So looking back at the goals I mentioned at the beginning of the month - how am I going?

My May goals are

  • post every day in May - mostly going okay.  I haven't done *every* day, but I'm persevering!
  • get my craft room set up - Not quite.  I'd love it if I could, but there's so much happening in the next week I don't know that it's entirely possible.
  • catch up on Project Life (the move has meant I've done little to none in April, simply because there's been no time at all to get photos printed) - photos for all of April have been printed; I won't catch up all the way, but I'm a lot closer than I was.
  • get our herb garden planted - Done!  Today we added dill.
  • track my spending in preparation for a budgeting effort in June. - doing okay.
  •  complete a full closet purge - don't think I'll manage this.  The washing machine breakdown has caused probems.
  • read the Metaxas 'Bonhoffer' in time for book club, and chase down some progressive/liberal reviews. - Don't know that I'll get all the way through, but I have an annoying four-hour church meeting tomorrow, and I'm planning to bring Metaxas along with me.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Dinner Guests... BEDiM Day 24

Pronpt: If you could have 3 people to dinner tonight, who would you invite?

As a matter of fact, I have been out to dinner tonight, to celebrate my birthday (which is tomorrow).  We had a lovely Indian meal, even though two of the guests invited had to cancel due to one of them being in the Emergency Room.

Because I'm so deep in the Metaxas biography, and my own battle against the idiocy of it, obviously, Dietrich Bonhoeffer would be one of the guests.  I'd have to polish up my German, however.

I think Archbishop Desmond Tutu would be the second.  His work on reconciliation is amazing, and to have him alongside Bonhoeffer to discuss the second half of the twentieth century, and his views on forgiveness and reconciliation and the love of God for God's people would be amazing.

My third guest would have to be a woman, or else I'd be horribly outnumbered.  And I'm thinking Nadia Bolz-Weber.  She's Lutheran (like Bonhoeffer, although ELCA, which takes its heritage from Scandinavia rather than Germany) and she's awesome.  She's coming to Australia later this year for the Uniting Women conference, but a) I can't get that kind of time off work and b) gender-specific conferences kind of annoy me.  Especially from the UCA.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Who inspires me? BEDiM Day 23

(This was the prompt for day 19 or 20...)

Less than a week from now I have the May meeting of our theological book club, for which we are reading George Metaxas' biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It's something of a tome... In fact it's a brick. I don't know that I'll get it finished in time for book club this time next week.  This morning I posted to Facebook that I would have loved to sit at my favourite cafe with something light and airy like Mary Robinette Kowal's "Glamour in Glass", the second in her Regency-magic series that I'm really enjoying.  But Metaxas must be read.

I haven't heard much good about the Metaxas bio: I'm pretty sure I first heard about it on Fred Clark's Slacktivist website.  A quick Google has revealed the following, which are a good example

I really love the Paeth post, among which is the following fabulous point:
The unfortunate truth is that, because he was murdered, we have no way of knowing what direction Bonhoeffer's thought might have taken after the war. It's therefore worth displaying a bit of humility in attempting to assert with confidence what Bohoeffer "really" thought near the end of his life.
The Metaxas is living up (down?) to its reputation.  I found the first blatant error on pg 19, and even before that had been finding the glamourisation of homeschooling and wifely submission rather... anachronistic.  Now around pg 200, the best description I can come up with is "shallow" - which is saying something for a book of 500+ pages.

It is, however, making me think, which is always good.  It's had me frantically search through as-yet-still-packed boxes for my copies of Letters and Papers from Prison, the Christmas Sermons, and Eberhard Bethge's collected Essays

It should be clear from this that the one who inspires me is NOT Metaxas.

Obviously, it's Bonhoeffer.  I think Bonhoeffer inspires most people who know about him.  If he didn't, people like Metaxas in the US and others here in Australia wouldn't be so intent on making sure that Bonhoeffer "agrees" with them and not whoever they're arguing against.

To which Paeth responds perfectly. 

It's therefore worth displaying a bit of humility in attempting to assert... what Bonhoeffer ... thought.

(Will be cross-posted to my book blog and my discernment blog.)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

National Simultaneous Storytime - BEDiM Day 21

It's National Simultaneous Storytime today!  All over Australia, schools and libraries will be sitting down at 11am to read "Too Many Elephants in this House" by Ursula Dubosarsky.

At my workplace, we are lucky enough to have our local Federal member of Parliament, Cathy McGowan, AO, MP and all around awesome woman as our guest storyteller.

Dubbo Open Plains Zoo had an actual elephant help out with their Storytime yesterday. No offence to Cathy, but that is absolutely awesome!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Make me happy... BEDiM Day 19

So, this was actually yesterday's prompt... Ten things that make me happy

1.  Top Gear - I hate that this makes me happy, but it does.  Top Gear (the real one, not the Australian one) makes me happy.  Despite the fact that I hate it the homophobia, racism and sexism of Clarkson, in particular.

2.  Pro cycling.  See previous posts.  An additional love is #trolldj on SBS - the people who choose the music for when you come back from the ad breaks. They're snarky and awesome and I love that we get even more #trolldj with extra Giro coverage.

3.  KikkiK - the Swedish design stationary store. It's a very good thing there isn't a KikkiK store up here or I'd be entirely broke and swimming in stationery.

4.  Project Life - even though I'm so far behind.

5. Tea2 - as I write this I'm guzzling down my umpteenth cup of T2's Lemongrass and Ginger tea, made in the Teamaker, which is also awesome.

6. Our new house. It's awesome, and I love it and it's ours. So much love.

7. Cooking. The kitchen of our new place makes me want to cook, which is fabulous, because I love cooking, and the kitchen in the old place didn't encourage cooking.  I may even get around to baking one of these days.

8.  Good coffee. When I have the chance, I go to the Deli Bean for a morning coffee, but I also have the joy of a wonderful coffee machine at home.

9. Flowers. In particular daffodils and tulips. My GF puts up with me planting flowers because she knows it makes me happy, and at the moment we have a bunch of tulips on the kitchen bench for the same reason. Yay!

10.  First and foremost, my girl. She makes me laugh when I'm down; she buys me presents even when she shouldn't; she buys me purple tulips and cooks and cleans the house, and she hugs me and tells me that everything will be okay when I'm being neurotic, which is too much of the time. She puts up with all my faults and foibles, and on top of all these things, she loves me. I don't entirely know why. But I love her too. Lots and lots.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Sunday evening update... BEDiM Day 18

I'm sitting on the sofa watching Masterchef, while the GF works on the second of three Fantastic furniture bookcases, the last furniture-related stage of moving in.

Update on the washing machine: still not fixed. It's an electrical fault that will hopefully be fixed this week. 

Update on the garden: things are growing! We could have had spinach from the garden with dinner tonight, but we were too lazy to go out and pick it. We're planning to use the thyme in a tomato dish during the week. 

Update on Blog Every Day in May: I've missed a couple of days, but no more than two, I'm sure. Personally, I feel like I'm doing okay. 

And Cadel Evans is now in the Maglia Rosa at the Giro. :-)

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Sharing the Love... BEDiM Day 16

Back to the prompts: "Blogging is about sharing the love.  Tell us about 5 blogs that you love reading regularly."

Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist - Celeste Liddle is increasingly getting her writing into the Guardian and the Fairfax papers, but her best writing is at the source, her blog.  I also follow her on Twitter, among the many Indigenous Australian women I follow. 

Jim Hines - a Michigan-based feminist sci-fi/fantasy writer.  I'm promoting this one rather than Scalzi's "Whatever" (Google it) because awesome as Scalzi is, he has enough promoters and Jim needs the extra eyes.  Jim will be among the Guests of Honour at Continuum this year, although it's more because of Amber Kwaymullina (a young Indigenous Australian sci/fi author) that I'm thinking about going to Continuum this Queen's Birthday Weekend.

Adventures of a Subversive Reader - and related blogs.  These are the blogs of a dear friend, who blogs about pretty much everything, but started out blogging about reading to and visiting libraries with her baby son.

No Award - Social justice, media, fandom, drop bears.  Half of "No Award" is a friend of mine, the other half is an acquaintance.  They are an awesome media fandom feminist anti-racism blog from an Anglo-Australian and Asian-Australian point of view.

The Organised Housewife - I love this blog because it's an organisation blog by an Australian!  The seasons are right, the holidays are (mostly) right (she is a Queenslander), and she's just that bit more down to earth than people like FlyLady.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Cycling season... BEDiM Day 15

Hi, folks!

As I type this, I'm watching recorded coverage of the Giro d'Italia, which started this past Friday.

For the first time, Australia's Special Broadcasting Service, SBS, is showing every stage of the Giro live.  The Tour of California is going on at the same time, although I haven't been recording that at the moment, I really must start.

In case you don't know, I love watching professional cycling.  I have loved it since SBS's 6pm show "Going Home" got preempted for highlights from the Tour de France back in 2000.  Since then I've gotten cousins, friends and parents hooked on the sport, and I'm slowly converting my GF as well.

The Aussie team Orica-GreenEdge are totally awesome, and as much as I'm a lifelong fan of Cadel Evans, I adore Simon Gerrans (who's practically a local boy)  and love seeing Aussies riding for an Aussie team riding well.

If I keep up with this regular blogging lark, you'll be sure to hear more about cycling as the Giro finishes and we get into the Tour in July.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Some thoughts on a common organising tip... BEDiM Day 14

A lot of organising blogs and books talk about how all your problems are solved if you just get up an hour earlier.

And my question is; do none of these people have partners?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Washing Machine, cont... BEDiM Day 13

The repair man is coming to see the washing machine today.  I won't be there - I have to be at work - but I want this sorted out sooner rather than later and my mother was kind enough to say she'll go over to the house and be there for the repair guy.

One of the reasons I want it sorted sooner rather than later is that I had to take my washing over to my parents house on Sunday, and there's nothing worse than arriving at your mother's house, on Mother's Day, with a basket of washing.

And it's also about meeting my goals for the month.  You see...

* without a washing machine, I can't wash a whole pile of non-seasonal clothes that are hanging around post-move.

* until those non-seasonal clothes are washed, I can't do the closet purge that is my May goal.

* and until I do my closet purge, there will be too much crap hangng around the house for me to get to setting up my Craft room, which is another of my May goals.

So you see, it's really all about goals.  And wanting to have not killed my washing machine by being an idiot.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Why Chez Stutters? BEDiM Day 12

I missed yesterday's post. ~sad face~. I blame the washing machine.

Today's prompt is 'tell us how your blog got its name.'

Basically, it's a portmanteau name, and what my GF and I ironically call our house, mostly because it's ridiculous.  The most obvious portmanteau name for us is one I can't imagine giving to actual children, but as a blog name, Stutters isn't too bad.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

A Life Tip... BEDiM, Day 10

Here's a life tip: remove the transit bars from the washing machine before trying to use it. 

It's not like I didn't remember.  I knew it needed to be done, but for some reason I thought that the transit bars weren't in it. Despite the fact that I put them in six years ago when I left Melbourne, and the machine went straight into the storeroom at my parents' place and didn't come out again until Tuesday  when it moved from there to our new house. 

I don't know why I thought that the transit bars would have been removed during the past six years. 

And now I don't yet know how much it will cost to repair...

Friday, 9 May 2014

Five things... BEDiM Day 9

Five things I love on a Friday

I love... That our house is slowly, slowly coming together.  We got the desks out of the garage and into my eagerly awaited craft room last night, and the room itself is now clear enough that if I can just manage to print out photos in the next fe days, I should be able to get back to working on Project Life next week. 

I love... That I'm writing this sitting at my favourite cafe, with a fabulous cup of coffee. It's the first day in a long while that I've managed to get here before work to actually sit down and relax, and today I did it after doing dishes, making the bed, and doing some rapid tidying before I left. 

I love... That I just had a quick Facebook chat with a friend bitching about all the ridiculous fads our church keeps running with. Now if they wouldn't force us to run with them, too.

I love... The difference my bullet journal seems to be making to my time management. Long may it last.  I've only been  using it a week and already I want to post about it. 

I love... Eurovision weekend!  We have a few people over here on Saturday night to watch the second semi-final, and we'll watch the final on Sunday even thought it will go ludicrously late even though we have to go to work in the morning.  It's Eurovision. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Books... BEDiM Day 8

Today's prompt is "Share a book that you’d like to read, but haven’t yet.  What draws you to it?"

Of the many, many books I want to read but haven't yet, I'm supposed to choose just one?  Seriously, I have 279 books on my 'owned but unread' pile and another 89 on my 'to track down' list. 

Here, have a link to my Goodreads account.  Browse and ask away..

By the way: I have a book blog

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Where I write (or don't): BEDiM Day 7

I had planned to write this post at lunch time, when my answer would have been different, but I got distracted by the arrival of four sets of stamps from Kelliestamps.

So, here I sit, on the sofa at home, typing this on my iPad while I watch Spicks and Specks for the first time in the new house, because we finally have TV reception (just in time for Eurovision, yay!) The GF is sorting our ridiculously large DVD collection by movies vs tv, and then alphabetically by title. 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The closest I'll ever get to Alabama - BEDiM Day 6

Today's prompt is "a favourite photo of you".

Blaming the move as I currently always do, the majority of my photos are on an external hard drive that is currently ... somewhere.  All I have on my computer are the photos from the current year, plus a few from some specific projects that I've been working on PLing.  From one of which comes my favourite photo:

This is me in Geneva, Switzerland outside the room in the Hotel de Ville where the Alabama Claims were heard.  This was one of the first cases of International Law, so there's a plaque noting the place.  Many years ago I was the editor of an International Law journal, and so I was fascinated to see the place where the Claims were heard, and later that day the sets of silver given as "gifts" to the judges by the two claimant nations (the USA and the UK).  I've always thought this was a particularly nice photo of me - I like the way my hair looks :-)

How to:... BEDiM Day 5

It's twenty past ten in the evening, and I need to be getting to bed. I've spent the day at work, then on the phone with the bank that holds our brand new mortgage organising payments, cooking dinner, going to my Monday evening madrigals group. Then coming home for dinner, cleaning up so that the last piece of furniture from my parents' house can be delivered (my piano!), and making elements of tomorrow's bento lunches.

Today's prompt was How To, and I thought about doing a How Not to Move House post, How to make Bentos, how to make tuna and broccoli crumble (tonight's dinner), and a few other ideas.

But today I've also been discovering and experimenting with a new productivity model: the bullet journal. It turned up on my Pinterest last week, and my only slight discomfort with it is that it's a pen-and-paper method. On the other hand, my new boss likes pen-and-paper, and trusts it more than digital.

So, instead of actually writing a How To post, I'm going to provide you - and me - with links about the bullet journal.  Only I might not get to actually finishing this post until tomorrow:

There are others, but those are the most useful links for me so far.

And this is the symbology developed by Dee Martinez, which I found via John Cooper.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Beginning the Chez Stutters Garden - BEDiM Day 4

I'm going off prompt today, because we've just spent the last hour and a half out in the garden for the first time since we moved in, and this did start out as a gardening blog

Unlike Chez Stutters 1, where it felt easy to just start digging and planting, Chez Stutters 2 has a very small lawn and large patches of concrete.  We've got some raised garden beds to put together that can go on top of the concrete, but today's gardening was pretty much all planting in pots.

We're going to have flowers at the front door and herbs at the back, which we started today with rosemary and a bay tree.  At the front door, along with mostly pansies, there's a pot of nastursium, which counts as both flowers and edibles, obviously :-)

Today we also got three little garden gnomes.  I know - garden gnomes!  But Bunnings had Smurfs and the Seven Dwarves and Beatrix Potter, and once it was obvious that the GF was determined to get Dopey and a gardening Smurf, I figured I could at least get Jemima Puddleduck to join the party.

It was cold out there, and beginning to get dark, but at the same time, it was so very nice to be gardening again after what feels like quite a long time.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Less and More - EDiM Day 3

Today's topic is Less/More, which is something I've been thinking about a lot during this move. I have so much stuff, and do I really need all of it?  Will I ever get around to reading all those books I 'rescued', when Borders and Book Affair and other stores were closing down? Is there any point to keeping things bought on sale for a craft project 'one day' when I've now changed my plans to some entirely different crafts? Do I need any more candle holders ever? (Answer: no, and get behind me, Dusk Australasia!)

Yesterday we finally finished the move and handed back the keys. Chez Sutters Mk 1 is no more, but Chez Stutters 2 is now overflowing with stuff (seriously, in my head it's always in italics). One of my goals, listed in my first post for Blog Every Day in May, was to complete a full closet purge, which I'll be doing as I unpack.  I hope I'll also being doing some other massive declutters as we unpack - we have one whole box of books to get rid of already (don't ask out of how many total. I gave up counting).

I think I'm summing this all up by saying LESS stuff - MORE mindfulness. Live simply, that all may simply live. (It's a goal: I'll probably never get there. The consumerism is strong in this one (ie, me), no matter how hard I fight it. 

[Posting now, but hopefully I'll find a photo during the day to add.]

Thursday, 1 May 2014

What's in my cup?

(Every day in May - prompt #2)

I have this plan, one of these days, to do a PL weekly spread that's just cups of coffee.  All the cups of coffee from the week.  Even if it's going to end up terrifying me.

Most mornings, I have a cup of coffee before I leave the house.  A sort-of housewarming present from my GF for the new house was an Expressi coffee machine from ALDI, and I love it.  For the last few years we've had my dad's old home espresso machine, but it's never worked nearly as well as the Expressi does.  I feel guilty about it (any coffee pod machine is horribly wasteful) but the coffee is so very much better than the instant (Moccona) I used to have every morning.

I also love my tea.  Especially my T2 tea (which I've been known to review on this blog :-)

Here we have an attempt to collage my two morning coffees today: both at home, one when I woke up at 6am to discover that the sun wouldn't rise until 6.50 and thus we had some time to kill before doing the final (oh finally the FINAL) bits of cleaning at the old, without electricity house; the second right now as I eat breakfast, blog, and complete some paperwork to drop off at the agent's before work. 

(Collage attempted on the "Beautiful Mess" app - lack of ability in collage solely my own fault.)

Every day in May: Day 1, goals

Via one of my new favourite bloggers, Kellie Winnell, comes the "Blog every day in May" challenge from Sunday of Love Happy Daily (I love discovering more Australian bloggers.  I'm getting less and less tolerant of the North American orientation of just about everything - Easter isn't in Spring all over the world, people!)

It probably seems weird to pick up a crazy project like blogging every day for 31 days when I've not been able to blog three times a month so far this year.  But hey, when have I not done crazy projects?  And there are so many things that I want to be blogging about.  Project Life, our new house, the way that we're developing routines in our fabulous new house.

So, this morning, before I go and get into a full day of final cleaning of the old house, I'm giving myself the length of time of episode 2 of the Jim Henson Creature Shop Challenge (I love this show!) to post the blog for this morning's prompt - goals.

My May goals are

  • post every day in May
  • get my craft room set up
  • catch up on Project Life (the move has meant I've done little to none in April, simply because there's been no time at all to get photos printed)
  • get our herb garden planted
  • track my spending in preparation for a budgeting effort in June.
And I honestly think that's enough!

Edit: Actually, I forgot a couple. 
* complete a full closet purge
* read the Metaxas 'Bonhoffer' in time for book club, and chase down some progressive/liberal reviews.