Farting My ABCs: Chapter 8

April 16, 2020 at 12:24 pm (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff)

At night, I read a book or three to Louisette and then talk to her for a while as we both lie in bed. Sometimes we both fall asleep. Sometimes Zipper graces us with her presence. And sometimes Chris takes a photo of the three of us, all asleep.


And here’s Chapter 8 of Farting My ABCs.

Art of the day: Recreate famous artworks with items you find at home—a facebook group.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 7

April 15, 2020 at 5:42 pm (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

Yesterday, I left the house. Legally.

We needed a working fridge so our food pantry can have milk—so people who are from (for example) immunocompromised households can pop by my pantry for lunch instead of risking exposure at the regular shops. Technically, I’m now an essential service, since I supply food.

My parents had a fridge, but pretty much all of us have back issues so it needed both Chris and I to be there, helping. Which means the kids needed to come too (and thank goodness, because they really need some exercise and they love Nanny and Grandpa’s trampoline).

I’ll write more about the food pantry, I promise you. It’s filling my brain at the moment (yes, in a manic way).

Anyway, here’s the next chapter of FARTING MY ABCs.


Art of the day: Twenty-Five Memories of Viggo MacDuff by Kate Gordon, which you can buy here. It’s a little older than most middle grade books, since the story is about the aftermath of a romance with the titular Viggo. But I love it because the heroine is realising that her ex isn’t as great as she thought she was when she was in love with him.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 6

April 14, 2020 at 1:54 pm (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, My Novels, Steampunk)

For those avidly following my writing efforts, you’ll be pleased to hear that I rewrote a horrifically badly-coded section last night. But it will need another check, probably in a week or two when my brain has had a chance to recover. So the book wasn’t finished on Easter weekend. But it did get a lot, lot better.

Today’s video was filmed in my steampunk room (who doesn’t have a steampunk room?) and I finally managed to convince TJ to get dressed up… for a few seconds.

I ate dinner over Zoom with my side of the family as the Easter weekend began, and it was just as awful as I expected (video conferencing is so socially awkward and I hate it), but also quite lovely. On Friday we ate hot cross buns that I’d been keeping in the freezer (plus ones made fresh on the day by a friend of ours and delivered to our utter surprise), and did a bit of church by Zoom. On Sunday we hunted for eggs in the backyard, and the kids were thoroughly delighted by the whole thing.

But there’s one tradition that I can’t keep, and it’s a little sad. Easter Tuesday is the day when chocoholics rampage through the half-empty Easter shelves, buying weird and much-discounted leftover Easter eggs. I would have enjoyed that.

Ah well.

I am to be congratulated, because I bought our supply of eggs literally months ago and I only ate a little bit of it before Easter. (The key is to have lots and lots of other chocolate and lollies to stave off the egg-specific cravings.) Obviously it was the two delicious lindt bunnies that I ate, since they were meant to be a special surprise for Chris and I. Sorry Chris. Yours was just as delicious as mine was.


Art of the day: The Larklight trilogy (first book is Larklight) written by Philip Reeve. If you haven’t discovered these, you’re in for a real treat. They are hilarious, and brilliantly illustrated too. It’s a steampunk space opera. Philip Reeve is also the writer of the Mortal Engines series (the one with the Peter Jackson movie that was visually brilliant but otherwise pretty bad), which is super dark… Larklight is NOT dark. At all.


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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 5

April 12, 2020 at 10:43 pm (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

Oops, I posted this one early. Well, enjoy.


This is my favourite video, because of what TJ does. And Zipper too.

Yesterday was an alarmingly productive day. I did manage to get some writing done, although I think I may have added more errors than were there before. I also made a no-contact obstacle course with chalk and did more food pantry stuff. I tired.

Incidentally, I am not a vampire. Like most mums, especially overweight mums, I hesitate to appear in photographs. Which means I make sure to take photos of myself regularly. Here’s one from last summer:

Art of the day: Julian Barr writes the Ashes of Olympus series, all based on ancient myths (so yes there’s plenty of battles and so on; not suitable for every middle schooler!) You can find both books here.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 4

April 12, 2020 at 1:53 pm (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

In which someone is missing, and someone else appears for the first time.

I asked TJ this morning if, when he was a grown up, he’d have a cat, a dog, or neither.

“A cat,” he said, “because it would remind me of Zipper.”

That is a cat who knows where it’s at.


My local Buy Nothing (it’s like FreeCycle; a facebook group for giving away stuff, and even requesting it) is particularly good, and a community group has formed because of it. Someone on there was asking if our area had a Free Pantry (operating much like a free local library) and I realised that I was very well placed to have one so… as of about twelve hours ago, I’m running a local free pantry! It’s terribly exciting.

My editing on The Floating City is going pretty well too. I’ll have to be careful to stop my pantry-related excitement and creativity taking over my whole mind.

Art of the day: My own middle grade (8+) fantasy novels are pretty great. They’re sorta like Narnia with pirates. The first book is The Monster Apprentice and you can buy it from my store here.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 3

April 11, 2020 at 2:20 am (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

This weekend is four days long, which means four days in which Chris is Primary Parent instead of me. Which means I get to focus on writing for four full days in a row (that, and sleeping, and resting). It’s terribly exciting. The end of this round of editing The Floating City is nigh (that is, my latest interactive fiction novel, which is climate change fiction). I’ll post a link for y’all to read it for free when it’s ready for more readers.

And here’s today’s Farting My ABCs Chapter 3 reaction video.

Art of the day (I’m still recommending middle grade novels that are well worth reading as an adult): The Narnia series by CS Lewis. If your first language is English, you’ve probably encountered at least The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (incidentally, rather appropriate for Easter). There are seven books in all.

Some people feel cheated at the Christian content of the books (in which case you probably shouldn’t read my middle grade series either). Others feel that the books are racist and/or sexist, or just generally anti-sex (because of a couple of vital paragraphs about Susan in the final book). I think they’re pretty good in terms of female characters, especially considering they’re written by a man in the 50s. But I can’t comment on racism except to say that one of the Calormenes is a vital and brilliant character in The Horse and His Boy, and that Prince Caspian is a Calormene and the heroic title character of his book (and there is another heroic Calormene in the final book). However, the Calormenes are also described as amazing storytellers, but proud and cruel too.

In story order, the first book is The Magician’s Nephew. In my opinion, all seven books are brilliant.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 2

April 10, 2020 at 12:51 am (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, funny, I get paid for this, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

I have some great news about FARTING MY ABCs… but I can’t tell anyone about it yet.

Anyway, here’s Chapter 2!

In other news, TJ is now up to twenty backyard baskets.

Today Louisette is wearing tiara, two tutus, and her dressing gown.

I’m feeling… okay. Four day weekend!!!!

Art of the day: Another middle grade series by a wonderful Aussie author (wonderful at heart as well as talent; I have met both Sandy Fussell and Pamela Freeman and they’re everything you hope a famous author could be): Princess Betony by Pamela Freeman (who also writes historical fiction as Pamela Hart).

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 1

April 9, 2020 at 2:41 am (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, Well written)

A long, long time ago (before I had kids!) I wrote a 7000-word story called Farting My ABCs. It is fifteen chapters long, and I’ll release one chapter a day to help carry bored kids all the way through the school holidays.

Warning: This may cause your five year-old to make more fart jokes than ever. Also most kids older than five will find it terribly immature (Louisette certainly did).

A lot of authors (and readers) have been reading books aloud lately, and I decided to do one better. Instead of merely reading this book, I read it to my kids. Instead of filming me, I filmed them. I also selected a variety of real backgrounds (mostly outside) to help all of us remember what trees look like. Zipper showed up some of the time too.

But you’re here for the first Farting My ABCs video, right?


For those who want text, here’s Chapter 1 (or email fellissimo@hotmail.com to get all of it at once):








Spoiler space…











CHAPTER ONE: The Boy Who Talks With His Bum

Oh no. Please, no.

Please tell me the teacher’s not going to make me stand up and introduce myself to everyone. I’ve already done it in maths, history, and science.

So here I am in English, and I can feel my gut bubbling. It’s been bubbling all day. Today is my first day at this school – of course I’m nervous. But right now I think my bum is going to explode. Pow! Just like that.

I wish I could open the lid of my desk and crawl inside.

My feet drag me to the whiteboard (my belly gurgles).

The school year started only two weeks ago, and I can still see the teacher’s name – Mrs White – half rubbed out underneath today’s work. I bet no-one else had to stand up in front of everyone like I’m doing. They all know each other, and I don’t.

“Tell us a bit about yourself,” says Mrs White.

I face the class (my belly groans). A girl is giggling from the back row. I still can’t think of anything to say.
One boy is rolling spitballs. I heard someone call him Jack, so I guess that means I’ve learnt something today: the name of the most annoying kid in school. No matter how many times Dad makes me change schools, there’s always one person who hates me right away. I don’t know why. Maybe my big nose just makes people angry. Or my red hair. Or my freckles. Maybe my freckles spell out a rude word. I don’t know.

By now I should be used to this talking thing (my belly grunts and grumbles). But I’m not. In fact, every class is worse than the one before.

“My name is Fred,” I say.

Jack says, “Drop dead, Fred.”

I wish I could (my belly howls and growls).

“Tell us something you’re good at,” says Mrs White.

There’s really only one thing – one amazing thing – that I can do. Whether I want to or not.

After this whole long day, I can’t hold it in any longer. So I stare right at Jack’s cold green eyes – and fart.
I fart the alphabet. I fart my last three addresses. I fart my name and the fact that I have a dog the size of a horse. (Probably should have said that in one of the classes today. Everyone likes dogs.) I fart like a brass band.

The girls laugh. The boys clap. Jack swallows his spitball. Mrs White opens and closes her mouth. She turns purple.

My gut is more amazing than it’s ever been before. (It’s actually very difficult to fart the alphabet – even if it really sounds a bit like, “Arg! Blurk! Sss!” instead of, “A, B, C.”)

Finally Mrs White gets a breath. A big one. She screams: “Principal’s office! Now!”

I run out the door and down the hall with my red hair falling into my eyes and blinding me. With every step, I fart.

Pfft, pfft, pfft.

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The Virus Diaries: School/Depression How-To Guide

April 8, 2020 at 11:41 am (Cat pics, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff)

I’m transitioning now to the massive piles of schoolwork that Louisette and TJ’s extremely hard-working teachers have already prepped. This is week 10 of term 1, so it’s a trial week for the online classrooms that will be serious ‘normal’ school next term.

I’m really loving the mathseeds web site (and by “I” I mean “TJ” who LOVES maths and computer games). You can get a 30 day free trial by clicking through that link.

Today TJ did a “watercolour” picture by scribbling on a freezer bag with texta, then wetting a piece of paper and pressing the texta-marked bag against it. (I had to watch 10 minutes of example videos for that, apparently.) He also made a pattern with hair clips, which was actually really impressive.

Louisette did a writing exercise involving observations of our yard, using as many adjectives as possible. It’s hard as a pro writer to encourage excessive adjectives, but of course one must go through the period of using a bazillion adjectives before you can start cutting back sharply to only the very best.

I have been loudly telling other parents, “DON’T do everything the teachers give you! They are desperately trying to give you a lot of schooling as quickly as possible. But you and your kids will be better off if you’re selective.”

It’s very hard to follow my own advice. But it’s still good advice. Primary kids do NOT need more than 30 minutes of “actual” education per week day. (They do generally need more one-on-one time than that, and if you spend the time doing exercise and/or reading with them, great.) I shall attempt to follow my own advice and skip some of the many many activities prepared for us.

At present Louisette is wearing undies, a hoodie towel, wings, a cat mask, and a tiara.

*  *  *

I’m still quite badly depressed, although less than yesterday which in turn was less than my worst (yay?).

Things that actually help my depression include:

NB: I am generally fond of my kids and husband, but they are complicated and risky blessings. Sometimes they scream at me (the kids, not Chris), or cause physical (due to fibromyalgia, not abuse) or emotional pain. Yes they can make me feel amazing, but when I’m badly depressed it’s wise to limit contact (especially with the kids) if possible. (Obviously it’s not particularly possible at the moment, but retreating to my room and letting Chris do ALL the kid things on the weekend is helpful, especially if/when they exercise outside of the house.)

1. Chocolate. It’s #1 for a reason. Chocolate is often the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. It is reliable, more or less harmless (other than the fact I’ll most likely die of something related to diabetes, hopefully not COVID-19) and it has a noticeable effect on my brain chemistry. Every depressed person should have some chocolate on hand to try in an emergency. It works faster than panadol and is more useful for this kind of pain.

2. Good TV (again, risky because there’s a lot of very dark good TV. Comedy is typically helpful, although fat/racist/sexist/etc jokes can strike without warning). I recommend Brooklyn 99, Gilmore Girls, and How I Met Your Mother.

3. Sunshine. When available. Even a few seconds can help. Sunrises and sunsets are well worth noticing.

4. Exercise. Fibromyalgia makes this a lot riskier (exercise often increases pain) but a little bit usually helps. Like 5 gentle (eg walking, swimming, bike riding) minutes.

5. Getting out of my own head. Reading, worshipping God, working/writing—all potentially useful.

6. Sleep, especially naps or sleeping in.

7. Meditation. There are a lot of different kinds to try. The most important thing is to accept that everyone daydreams/gets distracted during meditation so just accept those random thoughts and don’t feel bad that you have them.

8. Water. Drinking water feels good. If I’m feeling fancy, I add ice and/or a reuseable straw.

9. Friends. Listed last because friends can be tricky too. But mostly friends (especially those that aren’t all that close to you, sometimes) are helpful.

10. Be sick. Wallow. Let things slide. Depression is a sickness, and the right response is to lie in bed for a day or two if that’s what your brain is telling you to do.

I hope that helps as a lot of people are in a similar boat to me, brain-wise, at the moment.

Art of the day: The Samurai Kids series by Sandy Fussell. It’s suitable for middle grade, and is a lovely, gentle, funny series (with illustrations). Some of the characters have suffered severely (one of them accidentally killed another child) but the overall feeling of the books is warm and safe. Most of the characters have some kind of physical disability.

TOMORROW I will begin releasing the 15 videos of myself reading Farting My ABCs to my kids.

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The Virus Diaries: Blurk

April 7, 2020 at 9:24 pm (Cat pics, Fully Sick, general life, Mental illness, Mum Stuff)

My manic phase is officially over.

I’m left with the problem that was predictable all along: How do I cope with this?

I’m not well enough to mind the kids for a full day.

But I have to mind the kids for a full day, every day. For a long time.

So…. ?

The world turns into plus and minus, resource and problem.

I’m angry all the time. Mostly at Chris for being healthy and sane, and having to go to work (in the study) instead of being at my beck and call 24/7 (or more specifically, at the kids’ beck and call).

Last night was bad. I didn’t get to sleep until 5:30am (that is, when the kids were getting up) and I spent a good chunk of the night terrified God would kill me because I had bad (depressed) thoughts, and another chunk rather hoping that this really was the end of the world because there’s just too much pain in the world and everything is awful.

Today wasn’t great either, but I survived it without screaming at anyone or breaking anything, which is pretty much the goal.


I’m bored of my end-of-blog categories, so now I’ll just recommend some art (that is, books and TV) each day.

Art of the day: I watched the film Yesterday last night, about a musician who wakes up one day and the world has completely forgotten (among other things) the Beatles. So he remembers the songs and releases them, becoming a massive star. But what about the gorgeous BFF who was always his biggest fan? It’s written by Richard Curtis, full of gentle humour and Beatles music.

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