Sing Oh For The Want Of A Phone

You wouldn’t read about it. (Unless, of course, you are here now reading this text, in which case, SURPRISE! You are about to read about it!) You know how my wallet has been missing for a Significant Period Of Time? Well. WELL.

Episode nine-hundred-million in Amy Does All The Things: This Time, A Baby Shower Cake. This baby shower cake, in fact, if you are interested in pictures (and if you’re not, you might want to blink for a moment, ‘cause Imma post one here anyway HA).

Front shot of cake, a single-tier 23cm round cake covered in fondant (with sharp corners!), sprayed gold, with a glittery gold dream catcher centered on the front side of the cake (it extends above the edge of the cake by about a centimetre); three sprays of purpley-blue wisteria are arranged around the bottom of the cake at the front on the white platter; they are filled out with three baby pink daisies, three white daisies, some white daisy buds, a few wisteria leaves, and a gold glittery feather or leaf made to match the dreamcatcher.

This instalment of Doing All The Things involved finishing work, heading home to collect the fam + one extraordinary Canadian, packing All The Things into the car (because Cake, and trust me, when I say All The Things and there is Cake involved, I pretty much actually do mean ALL the things, forbearing only that proverbial kitchen sink), and driving 2.5 hours to my mother’s house. This is because I am a super sane individual who would never agree to make a cake for someone interstate during term time that they wanted ready for collection at 730am on Saturday morning.

AH HA HA HA HA.*

Oh yeah, SANE, that’s totally me.

Ahem.

ANYWAY, I’d also had a particularly emotional day at work, and packing All The Things was busy and intense because I was rushing because I really, really wanted to get to Mum’s asap so I didn’t have to stay up ucod***** to finish the derned cake. Lodged somewhere in the back of my consciousness was the fact that my phone was running flat, and I needed to grab my charger so that once we finally arrived at Mum’s, I could put set phone on to charge.

I grabbed the charger. We arrived at Mum’s. We hastily made beds for the small people (well, person; the larger of the small people is big enough for a non-small-person bed) and put them to bed, and lo, I dug into the cake. (Literally; I had to level the thing off first and foremost, har.)

And then there was this super lovely moment where husband revealed the good news he’d alluded to when he’d collected me from school: He’d Found My Wallet.

Rejoice!

Celebrate!

Sing oh for a wallet in its place!

…If only the story ended here. But it doesn’t, and because you are a Well-Trained Reader and because I have used Adequate Amounts of Foreshadowing, y’all know exactly what my next words are going to be (squee, mind-reading!):

I can’t. find. my phone.

As of writing this my phone has now been missing for five days and I have to say, it’s gigantically more of a pain in the bee-hind than losing my wallet ever was. I HAVE NO PHONE. This leads to tremendously awkward situations like realising I have a scheduling clash****** and having to pull a call out ON FACEBOOK to ask for babysitting assistance.

Or like my husband being called to say the baby need collecting from daycare because: Sick, only I’m the one with the car but also did I mention no phone, and him having to send me emails about this and me being three steps away from class (I lie: I was actually IN the classroom when I read said email, though to be fair the students weren’t yet, nor had the final bell gone. PHEW.).

BLAH.

PHONELESSNESS.

WHAT EVEN IS THIS.

And we don’t even have a landline, so I am all like HEY I NEED TO CALL— and then I’m like BUT WAIT NO I CAN’T.

So you know. Doing All The Things, new subtitle: Perpetually Hunting For My Stuff. Or you know. Just, My Life: Losing All The Things. Or at the moment: Do All The Things (Except All Those Things That Require A Phone).

THIS IS SERIOUSLY CRAMPING MY STYLE, Y’ALL.

MY STYLE.

CRAMPING.

Oy.

Also, vey.

And if you have spare positive thoughts you could send towards my phone, I’d definitely appreciate them <3

* To be fair, I did practise being assertive and informed them that the cake could only be collected at 11:30am, because I did require SOME sleep after all.**

** “Some” in this case means about 5.5 hours; I finished up at 2am for the night***, showered, went to bed, and groggily arose 15 minutes after my alarm went off, at 8:30am.

*** This is one of those TOO TIRED TO OPERATE DO NOT DRIVE HEAVY MACHINERY moments, because I literally could have gone to bed 1.5 hours earlier but I broke the first batch of ganache**** and didn’t make quite enough the second time >.<

**** By which I mean, I was stupid enough to assume that even though white chocolate ganache is a finicky little bastard to work with, because I had been successful once before I would thus be successful again, at late notice, running short of sleep. Spoiler: I was not successful.

***** Until Crack Of Dawn (TM)

****** Wait, no, realising I had a scheduling clash was caused by my own stupidity, not by losing my phone. Though if losing my phone was caused also by said stupidity we can extrapolate that possibly this splitting hairs. Woo, extrapolation! *\o/* <— (a pompom-waving person, in case that needed clarification)

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#MadeItMonday: Baby Pretties

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

Pretty baby things this week, because brain = dead and – confession – I haven’t actually really made anything this week. I mean okay I probably cooked food and made lesson plans and STUFF, but you’re getting baby things. Because I figured you’d prefer that to a powerpoint on how to use quotations, which, while an INCREDIBLY AMAZING RESOURCE, is probably not so interesting to the vast majority of the population.*

So. Pretty baby mat. Rawr.

baby mat drawn up into a sack with dark denim on the outside, a baby pink cotton fabric on the inside, and baby pink twisted rayon cord drawing it all together. baby play mat laid out on floor with edge flipped over to show underside and upper side at once. Upper is baby pink cotton fabric with a classic Winnie-the-Pooh print. Under is dark denim. Pink twisted rayon cord edges the denim. A toy sack (which lies flat as a baby mat) made from dark denim on the outside, a baby pink cotton fabric on the inside, and with a draw-cord of twisted rayon cord in blossom pink.

* If you’re part of the minority who would actually really be *interested* in a powerpoint on the subtleties of quotations and how to use them to prove your point, feel free to shoot me an email through the contact form in the menu, or leave a comment here, or contact me on social media etc etc etc and I’ll share it with you 😉 <3 

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

So, About Those Priorities

Trying so, so hard to make this wonderful quote from the inestimable Maggie Stiefvater my mantra this year. I’ve noted before that getting enough sleep is the key to managing my stress levels, anxiety, and also healthy eating. Some days I’m better at it than others. When we have company, I SUCK at it, because although I do actually passionately adore sleeping (because DREEEEEAMS, y’all, DREEEEEEEEEAMS!!!), people are also INCREDIBLY SHINY and VERY, VERY STICKY, just like this lounge I’m presently sitting on which is super sticky because I should get up and go to bed but it seems like someone has superglued me here oh wait that’s just the remnants of the kids’ breakfast okay never mind move along nothing to see here. O:)

SLEEP. I should get some, you should get some, and we all should be happy and sleep together.

Uh, um, or not. I mean, like we should all sleep at the same time. Or, like, in times appropriate to our particular time zone. Or, look, you know what? Just go to bed already, okay? I don’t care what time it is, just go… sleep.

Sleep is important. You should probably get some.

<3

Do All The Things: The Post Office Incident

Through no specific purpose or conscious design, one of my life mottoes seems to have become DO ALL THE THINGS (and probably do them Now, and definitely do them Well). There’s a reason I recount an incident in the introduction of the forthcoming Darkness & Good anthology whereby the Twinny One, Liana Brooks, tweeted that if you agree to a ‘small and simple’ Amy Laurens plan, you need to realise that you’ve just agreed to a ten-year magnus opus complete with references and footnotes.*

However. Being that I am not actually Superwoman (yet), trying to Do All The Things (Now + Well) comes with inherent perils and pitfalls. Mostly because, in order to actually attempt to DO all the things, my time/life/sleeping/eating/oxygenation is rigorously scheduled and ordered, because I MUST USE EVERY MINUTE WELL.

And yes. I have spontaneity scheduled as well.**

One of the most evident pitfalls, then, is that when every minute is booked out, Things That Go Wrong can often have a bigger snowball effect than they ought (which, yes, means that sometimes I overreact way more than I ought. Sorry ‘bout that *cringe*). Sometimes this leaves me feeling grumpy and put out that the universe is not magically aligning to enable my quest for superheroism; but other times it really just gets to the point of absurdity and there’s nothing you can do but laugh.

I’ve lost my wallet. This, in and of itself, is not an entirely unexpected thing. For someone whose time is so rigorously plotted, you’d think that a) I’d be prone to encouraging anything that would increase my efficiency (spoiler: I am) and that b) this would include having set places to leave things like wallets so they didn’t inconveniently disappear at regular (scarily regular) intervals. AH HA HA. You’re so cute.

Look, I have to have SOMETHING that prevents sheer hubris, okay? Misplacing keys, wallets, hairbrushes and sanity are this something, as well as my persistent inability to stop trying to kill myself with sugar and my inability to put myself to bed on time. I am secretly five. Whatcha gonna do about it.

Okay, so, wait. I have points here. My wallet is lost. Usually this is not a terribly stressful thing, because I know inherently that it is Around The House Somewhere, and lo, it usually is, and this turns out Fine. However. It’s actually been nearly four weeks (probably five or six by the time I post this) since I last saw my wallet, and it’s becoming moderately inconvenient. I can only say ‘moderately’ because of this marvellous and terrifyingly-possibly-maybe-insecure invention called my phone, which has a bank app on it and the ability to connect with things through NFC***, where ‘things’ in this instance means ‘payment machines that accept paywave’. Paywave on my phone, LIFE SAVER.

Except.

So there’s this post office just down from school, right? The people who run it are lovely, and I taught their child once upon a time, and said child was lovely and so the lovely people with the lovely child think *I* am lovely,**** and so visiting there is an experience of mutual loveliness. Also I run a not-a-small-business-it’s-just-a-hobby-I-swear with my husband sewing baby stuff, like dribble bibs and burp cloths and portable play mats and scrap bunnies. Pretty, and something I can create that doesn’t a) involve a computer screen and b) won’t be destroyed within a matter of hours, unlike, say, cake. (Though cake is pretty awesome still, let’s face it.)

So. Sew? So. Post office. Baby goods that need posting. A missing wallet. My time scheduled to the minute. Lovely post office people. A phone I can make payments on. Probably we can see where this is going, if we pretend my life is a novel, but I don’t generally actually go around pretending my life is a novel, so I didn’t see the inevitable conflict. Also, I’d experienced this IDENTICAL set-up numerous times before and everything had been fine.

Wait, that’s how jokes work, isn’t it? Round 1: all good. Round 2: all good. Round 3: HA HA YOU JUST SET YOURSELF ON FIRE.

*sigh* I knew my life was a joke.

In this instance, ‘setting myself on fire’ involved having a parcel that needed to go out urgently because the not-a-client-it’s-a-hobby had paid extra for express post, and a phone that randomly, for no apparent reason, chose that moment to stop allowing me to use it to pay for things.

Scan phone. Screen: Processing. Me: Nonchalant about the big green circle with the tick that’ll come up in just a second to show I’ve paid.

Just a second. Any moment now.

Okay wait just let me try that again, no one saw the big red circle with the cross, we’re good.

Aaaaany minute now.

Yup. Uh huh. Lookit me pay for things on my phone!

*sigh*

Spoiler: the phone did not pay for things.

Additional spoiler: the lovely people, because they are lovely, took the parcel anyway and assured me they would post it, but that I needed to come back tomorrow with cash.

CASH???????????? I am paying for things with my PHONE, and you want CASH??? This is the financial equivalent of asking a hyperdrive space pilot who hops back and forth between here and Alpha Centuri in less time than it takes to blink if she could maybe just bring the 1950s Toyota next time. CASH?! What even IS this thing of which you speak???

True confession: I once had to pay for $2.19 of groceries on card, because I didn’t have the cash.

Additional true confession: For several years that was a good story, until I paid for 39c on my phone at a grocery store two weeks ago.

BUT. Lovely post office people were doing me a HUGE favour here, and I was pretty epically embarrassed to be taking such advantage of their apparent good will, so cash it was, and tomorrow it was, because good heavenly frogs if not being able to pay on the day was embarrassing, not paying for a week was exponentially more so.

…Do we remember that bit about my time? And scheduling? What do we think, lovely reader? Did Amy have time in her schedule AT ALL the following day to get to the post office before it closed? Anything? Even half a thirty-second minute?

AH HA HA HA HA of course not.

And because ‘Think Things Through’ is not actually an item on my to-do list, did Amy remember to do this? Spoiler: No. No she did not. Instead, she realised AFTER she arrived at work that morning that a) the money was due, b) the husband had not magically acted as an intermissiary between Amy and the ATM, and c) there was no time to rectify either of these situations.

Spoiler: This story has a happy ending.

Additional spoiler: It involves my sister.

See, due to the aforementioned Lack Of Time, I’d already arranged for my sister to pick my son up from school, because it was Swimming Day and also Meetings After School Day and, my super powers being as yet disappointingly underdeveloped, I was not able to attend meeting, collect son, and then be on time for swimming. (As it turns out I’m not so good at just ‘collect son, be on time for swimming’, let alone adding in the first, HAR.)

So I called sister. PLEASE, PLEASE DEAREST OF ALL DEAR SISTERS, I probably began.

What do you want? she probably replied suspiciously.

I explained my predicament, promised I would immediately transfer her the money required, and she, because she is awesome, said that she would make it happen.

Apparently ‘making it happen’ involved making her husband do it (thanks, husband-of-sister!), which, I can only imagine the experience from the postal workers’ end: Hi, I’m a random guy who is not the husband of that disorganised-but-apparently-lovely woman you know, but here’s her money, because I’m here to SETTLE HER ACCOUNT.

(I don’t know what that’s in capitals. It just felt ominous.)

I’d like to pretend that this post has a sensible, thematic resolution, but—No, wait. I’d like to pretend that this post has a sensible, thematic resolution. There. Okay? Good.

Possibly we could thematise that Amy should not be allowed out of doors on her own. Maybe that if you want to schedule your life to the minute, not losing Important Goods like wallets should be a priority. Maybe that Having Friends And Family To Rely On Is Necessary When You Are Trying To Go Insane. Possibly that it’s not actually POSSIBLE to Do All The Things. Definitely that When Things Explode In Your Face, You Should Turn Them Into A Blog Post Instead Of Crying About Them.

Look, life’s crazy, okay? And if, like me, you’re trying to do too much, it’s just about insanity. Things are going to break. YOU are probably going to break. But you know what? That’s okay. Because really, we’re all just broken weirdos desperately trying to pretend the spandex is a superhero costume. It’s all good.

And when all else fails, laugh.******

 

 

* I like footnotes.*****

** I really wish I was joking. Alack. (Also, a lack. Of time, common sense, humility, you know. WHEE. SEE ME BE SUPERWOMAN, RAWR!!)

*** NFC. Not for consumption? Not for couples? Network for coupling, in the strictly technological sense? Nice friendly chickens. This seems most plausible. I’m calling it my Nice Friendly Chickens from now on. As in: Oh, I need to make a payment? No worries, let me just turn the Nice Friendly Chickens on on my phone!

**** I am lovely, of course, but the funny thing about people is that the more lovely they are, the more lovely they tend to assume you are. Yay humanity, etc.

***** Rather a lot. More so in this post than usual.

****** Though probably not at a funeral. That would be moderately insensitive.*******

******* Unless of course the speaker made a joke. Then it would probably be insensitive not to laugh.

#MadeItMonday: Ah ha ha. I Love That You Thought This Wouldn’t Be Cake.

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂
A baby shower cake this time, in fondant, spray painted with edible gold paint :3

Canted angle shot of side of 1-tier gold fondant cake with purple wisteria, pale pink and white daisies, and daisy buds on a white round platter  Canted-angle side shot of other side of cake; more white daisies and wisteria leaves are visible on this side. Front shot of cake, a single-tier 23cm round cake covered in fondant (with sharp corners!), sprayed gold, with a glittery gold dream catcher centered on the front side of the cake (it extends above the edge of the cake by about a centimetre); three sprays of purpley-blue wisteria are arranged around the bottom of the cake at the front on the white platter; they are filled out with three baby pink daisies, three white daisies, some white daisy buds, a few wisteria leaves, and a gold glittery feather or leaf made to match the dreamcatcher. Canted-angle front shot of cake - 1 tier round sprayed gold with a gold glittery dreamcatcher mostly visible in-shot, accented with a spray of purpley-blue wisteria, two white daisies, a white daisy but, a spray of wisteria leaves, and a white star flower all arranged around the bottom of the cake where it sits on a white platter. A gold leaf skeleton or feather is also visible, made of the same materials and in the same style as the dreamcatcher.

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

Every Time.

Every time I begin to despair about the futility of my efforts, the largeness of the task, the apparently insurmountable stupidity that stands between us and a better world… Every time, when I am tempted to give up, to feel like nothing I do could posibly matter, I am sent something that reminds me otherwise.

One week these stories.

The next, this blog post.

And today, this awesome video.

Enjoy.

I’m Never Allowed To Make Mistakes (Also, A Free Short Story)

Darkness & Good button with red text on a white background, with shadowed, dark grey leaves in the background. The leaves have red ribs and stems. Link goes to http://darknessandgood.blogspot.com. I was trying to think of a story for the Darkness & Good blog the other day, because it’s my turn to post this week, and me and short story ideas are kind of hit and miss sometimes (AH HA HA ALL THE TIME HA HA SOMETIMES HA), and first of all, I ACTUALLY THOUGHT OF A STORY RIGHT WHEN I NEEDED ONE AMEN HALLELUJAH, and second of all, in doing so I had a bit of a revelation about myself. The story starts with the protagonist making a stupid mistake that they really should have known better than to make, and it puts their life in danger. Usually in my stories what happens next is sudden, inescapable DEATH.

But this time, I realised that that’s how the story would usually go, and it made me realise something else: I’m really not good at giving myself permission to make mistakes. Like, really not good. I’m better than I used to be, and I know enough now to recognise when I’m beating myself up over something I shouldn’t be and to take steps to stop that, but yeah. I still have this subconscious expectation that I really should be superwoman. Making mistakes when I didn’t know what was going on or what was happening? Yeah, okay, that sucks, but it happens. Making mistakes when I really should have known better? That is pretty much unforgiveable.

Except, it shouldn’t be. I’m human. I’m not *actually* any better than anyone else, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to retrain damaging perfectionist tendencies. I’m learning where the boundaries are between ‘good enough’ and ‘killing myself with perfect’, and I’m getting better at realising innately what my mum taught me while I was first married and studying at uni: I only have 100% of myself to give, and the more things I spread that between, the less I have to devote to each thing. I can’t expect to achieve 100% in fifty-million things, because that’s fifty-million-hundred percent, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

But. My fiction, apparently, still keeps telling me otherwise. I still keep writing stories where stupid mistakes cost people their lives, out of this perverse and totally subconscious belief that I’m not allowed to make stupid mistakes, that I’m better than that, that doing so is a failing on my part.

So this time, I let the protagonist win. This time, she got hit by a mistake, and came back up swinging, learned from her mistake and triumphed in the end. Because let’s face it, that’s what I do in life. You make a mistake, and you’re allowed to beat yourself for a minute or two, but then you have to figure out what you did wrong, what you’re going to fix the situation, and how to avoid making the same mistake again. Sometimes that actually means remembering to not over-commit yourself, or making sure you protect your sleep so you’re not walking about like the zombified dead–shockingly enough, sleep deprivation is not conducive to avoiding mistakes!!!!!!

If you’re interested, you can read my short story over on the Darkness & Good blog right here. But either way, leave a comment and let me know: Do you get frustrated when you make mistakes too? How do you cope with residual perfectionism, if so?

#MadeItMonday: A Rocket Cake

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

I know, I know, like practically every second #MadeItMonday post these days is cake. What can I say? I like cake!!! Anyway, this one was my son’s birthday cake recently. It was a Toy Story party, but I refuse to do commercial-themed cakes, hence, Buzz’s rocket! I was planning to get a photo with Kiddo’s Buzz toy standing by it, but it was so hot at the park that after literally 2 minutes of the cake being there, the fins (which are made of white chocolate) melted o.O So not cool. Also, it nearly fell over sideways at 10:30pm the night I was making it. That was a terrifying moment, but I chocked it up with some spare cake and it ended well in the end, and Kiddo was super impressed, so yay :3

Birthday cake shaped like a tall rocket - cream with purple drippy icing and lime green fins with sparkling sprinkles.  The rocket cake on a concrete bench at the park.

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂