How am I?

May 11, 2020 at 11:16 pm (Fully Sick, general life, Mental illness, Mum Stuff)

First, some kitten content. Specifically, a rambling video of Zoom (and sometimes Zipper) playing.

And now for something completely different. The rest of this blog entry will be all about how I’m coping. Feel free to not read it.

Some restrictions have been lifted, and schools will be taking kids back from next week. It’s clear that a vaccine for COVID-19 is still a long way away, and that governments are under considerable pressure to pretend things are normal and safe before they actually are. A lot of people have been sharing a graph of the deaths from the Spanish Flu, showing a much bigger second wave (and then a rather large third wave as well). Others are pointing out that the restrictions are getting lifted not because things are safe out there, but because there is currently room for more patients in the ICU.

Also, I have diabetes (and an auto-immune disease or two) so my chance of dying is considerably higher than the norm.

Also, those who recover from COVID-19 are just beginning to discover that it has left them with major long-term health problems. Being familiar with long-term health problems, I really really don’t want more.

So no, I don’t plan to send the kids back to school, even though it’s so terribly hard to have them here. They’ll stay home for at least the rest of this term. Although I do plan to arrange some playdates—carefully. My family had a Mothers’ Day get-together yesterday and we joined them after lunch (on the basis that sharing food is extra hazardous), but didn’t see Chris’s side of the family. We’ll visit them for TJ’s 6th birthday day next month, and this coming weekend he’ll have a “party” with precisely 2 friends (held outside, while at the same time Louisette has 1 of her friends over, and they play together inside).

But. Still no school, and for a long time.

Zoom is, obviously, a fantastic source of fun, amusement, and cuddles. Feeding her three times a day (down from six now) is a bit of a hassle, and cleaning up her constant weeing in my bathroom is… not great. But as far as mental health goes, she’s an enormous plus.

I’m the kind of person who would do really well living alone and isolated for months at a time. But that’s not my situation at all. I have one kid who I barely see (luckily for my ability to care for her), and one who wants to be with me, talking with me, for most of his waking hours. So the funny, clever, energetic TJ is… a lot.

My plan for schooling is to set up and loosely supervise the half hour Zoom classes each kid has, plus a little bit of writing practice for TJ (he practises reading with Chris at night). He’s not missing friends too badly (in fact he refuses to speak to them on Zoom), and he’s so obsessive about computer games (including educational ones) that he’s way ahead on both reading and maths.

For Louisette, I plan to do some reading with her each day, and to keep up with her maths assignments.

I’m reasonably happy with how things are going with TJ, but I’m quite far behind with Louisette (who is the one who needs more schooling).

Having said that, one or two good days with Louisette could catch us up on the maths stuff.

So maybe I’m doing well after all. It doesn’t feel like it. I have an alarm set for 9:30am so I can be dressed ready for TJ’s 10-10:30am class (if I remember, I set up Louisette to do Cosmic Yoga at the same time). Then I typically fall asleep until my alarm goes at 1pm and it’s time to put my bra back on ready for Louisette’s class. But a lot of times lately I fall back asleep either during or after Louisette’s class, and I don’t do anything directly with her. Oh well.

Having written it down, I’m not all that far away from my goals. And sure, I’m not getting much done lately, but that’s life. I have tired/useless periods and I have other times when I do well. All I really have to do is wait until I have a good day and hope it lines up with a good day for Louisette.

And I’m missing doing writing, which is a good sign.

Wish me luck, and health. I also had a phone call today about my Disability Support Pension application, which means I had to focus on all my physical and mental issues. It’s exhausting, because I usually try not to think about stuff directly. And I suspect it will lead to more forms, which is terrifying and difficult. Oh well. One step closer, presumably.

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The Virus Diaries: Slowing Down

April 26, 2020 at 3:41 pm (Cat pics, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff)

I’ve been blogging daily since beginning self-isolation on March 15th. I’m not technically running out of things to say, but I am running a little lower on the urge to blog. So I’ll stop doing daily blog entries soon.

It will be a long, long time before my kids go back to school. For me, that’s the main thing (assuming my loved ones and I continue to avoid the virus… which is a lot more likely the longer I keep the kids home). Term 2 officially begins the day after tomorrow and I get panicky whenever I think about it. Ugh. And it’s very likely that there will be a second wave of COVID-19 starting exactly 2 weeks after schools open. Yuck.

Anyway, here’s Zipper being annoyed at me for taking a picture.

Don’t panic if I don’t blog tomorrow (or even for the next week or two): it’ll be laziness, not illness, that stops me.

Art of the day: Have you tried interactive fiction? It’s like those Choose Your Own Adventure books from the 80s, but these days it’s usually digital (which gives it a glorious flexibility eg you can choose your gender) and sold as apps. There’s a huge amount of fantastic content available from Choice of Games (and their unofficial label, Hosted Games, which has published me several times).

My stories are the pirate adventure Scarlet Sails, the magical steampunk tale Attack of the Clockwork Army (which happens at the same time as my third steampunk novel, and features some of the characters), and the cozy murder mystery Death at the Rectory. I’ve also been part of two group-written games, the retro scifi comedy Starship Adventures, and the portal adventure Lost in the Pages.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 15 (the end!)

April 23, 2020 at 11:12 am (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, funny, general life, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

In which Louisette attempts to merge with a bush, and TJ performs a fart dance.

Well, there you go!

Today, Zipper ALMOST managed to get her collar off. But instead she got it stuck around both her neck and one leg.

I laughed when I realised, which did not help matters as she fled into TJ’s room. We all backed off, and soon enough she was in her cat box ready to be caught and freed. She’s fine now—not that she deserves it, the little punk.

Art of the day: Er… how about Farting My ABCs? I’m tired; shut up.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 14

April 22, 2020 at 7:33 am (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

In which I make lots of farting noises while a neighbour (not pictured) attempts to garden.

I stayed up all night and DID finish The Floating City, and sent it off the the publisher, who very graciously let me know right away that they had it. I also saw the sun rise, and gave my kids a good morning hug before going back to bed.

And yes, I feel amazing.

I know what to work on next, writing-wise, but I plan to pause for a week or two and try to steer my creativity towards household things for a bit.

Art of the day: Only Freaks Turn Things Into Bones, which is actually a gothic picture book, and an utter delight.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 12

April 20, 2020 at 1:48 pm (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

We’re in the home stretch of the story now. Four more chapters, including today.

I’ve been running several errands in the local area because of the food pantry (fetching and delivering food). My driving is terrible lately; I’m fascinated by everything I see outside of my own house. And then I’m shaky for an hour afterwards—much worse if I actually interact with a human.

A lot of people are developing obsessive-compulsive disorder and/or agoraphobia at the moment. Fun!


I officially finished my post-sensitivity reader edit of The Floating City, my interactive climate fiction novel. I’ll spend some time playtesting through the endings and then officially submit it. It is FREE HERE… and if you spot any errors let me know via and I’ll add you to the thank-yous.

Art of the day: I’m re-reading The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill. It is heartbreaking and beautiful and kind and fun.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 11

April 19, 2020 at 12:58 am (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

In which my attempt to get a view of the creek in the frame ends in blood and screaming (but can you see that little bit of brown sludge between Louisette’s rainbow dress and the bridge, behind the reeds and below the bushes? Totally worth it).



I am still attempting to lure Zipper into the hammock with me, and she continues to dance back and forth without getting up the courage to try it. However, she cheerfully jumped onto the trampoline with me (I was luring TJ inside as he clearly needed to burn some energy) yesterday, so perhaps there’s still hope.

She looks like she’s rolling her eyes here, doesn’t she?

We’ve been moving around some furniture in order to accommodate a desk in the master bedroom (so I can still lie down while supervising home schooling) so Zipper’s precious box is now somewhat elevated. She doesn’t seem to mind at all, and still spends much of her day there.

Moving furniture is SO exciting by the way. Try it at home today!

Art of the day: Have I mentioned Pamela Freeman’s Princess Bethony books yet? They’re great.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 10

April 17, 2020 at 11:19 pm (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

Here’s the chapter of the day:

There is a lot of scowling into the sun in this video. If you’ve been watching some “Jimmy Fallon” on Youtube (he’s running his late night show from his house) you see a LOT of his two lovely daughters being utterly unimpressed by his comedy. It’s a beautiful thing (although a little too relatable from where I’m standing).

I often drive past this bridge, and I’ve wanted to take the kids there for years. A few weeks ago, before restrictions became official, I was able to do it (while social distancing, of course).

A lot of people are trying out things they’ve always wanted to try: Baking bread, other cooking, home improvement stuff, etc. I am very jealous of all those very bored and/or very productive people. Parents are mostly just desperately trying to keep their head above water as they suddenly have to deal with all the fun of school holidays with no playgrounds, no shopping trips with kids, no play dates… and a crash course in home schooling. Fun!


Art of the day: A lesson for your middle grader.

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Farting My ABCs: Chapter 9

April 17, 2020 at 3:08 am (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, My Novels)

My quest to lure Zipper into the hammock with me continues.

Given that she doesn’t even sleep in my bed, this quest may be doomed to failure. She knows I can never stay still for long. There’s always a million little things to do, so once I rest a little I try and do something useful. Then I need to rest again. Then I do some other small job. And so on.

Here’s Zipper yawning:

Anyway, here’s Chapter 8:

Art of the day:

Willow Farrington Bites Back

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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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