Tuesday, June 12, 2007


It’s no secret that I think I’m married to an astonishing woman.

One of the things that makes me most proud is the way that Lyn strives to extend her boundaries. She sets goals, opens herself up to new possibilities, and never accepts the idea that, just because she’s a mother and a woman and a housewife, she should confine herself to the roles that others expect of her. Over the last month, I’ve seen this quality in abundance.


On Mother’s Day, rather than take the breakfast-in-bed and foot rub option, Lyn decided she wanted to enter the Mother’s Day Classic, a 3 ½ kilometre run around Lake Monger that involved working out for weeks beforehand, getting up at the crack of aaagh, and sweating her ass off whilst spotty 15 year olds jogged past her with their rock and roll and their new permissiveness and their long hair and… where was I?

I’ve waffled on, every now and again, about my attempts at weight loss. Lyn’s been just as dedicated in her own efforts, as I have in mine, and she viewed this as a great way to gauge her progress: run for as long as she could, walk for a while, then run again; and so on around the track. That was the plan, anyway. Apart from doing something to benefit a worthy cause (Breast cancer research) and feeling good about her solidarity with other women, she’d have a real-world benchmark for her fitness efforts.

So, given that it was Mother’s Day, and what she wants, she gets, we all piled into the Battmobile and headed off to watch her (Well, the kids headed off to play on the bouncy castle and get their faces painted, and run around on the grass, and play on the bouncy castle again. I watched.) We taped her iPod earphones in, pinned her competitor’s number plate to her back, and waved as the starter got the runners under way and she disappeared around the first bend.

I am not a number! I am a free... oh, wait...

21-odd minutes later, she was back, having run the entire way and finished in the top 30 for her grouping: elated, exhausted, and slightly disbelieving of the magnitude of her effort. This, from a self-confessed non-sporty type, who considered it her moral duty to wag every sports carnival her school ever held. She didn't just push a boundary, she burst through and kept on running. Literally.

Victory isn't just about coming first.


Long ago, when the world was young and Dinosaur Junior roamed the Earth, I graduated university with a postgraduate diploma that I intend to turn into an MA any day now.

At the same time, Lyn was about to give birth to Cassie, the first of three children she would have with her first husband. For reasons to tedious to go into here, she was never able to complete a course of tertiary study, and it’s been a need that has gnawed away at her over the years.

Last year, you will recall, she made good on it, and graduated with a Certificate of Relaxation Massage from the Australian Institute. And last month, we glammed up and attended her graduation ceremony.

The meal was brilliant, the entertainment was hilarious in the way that only people you know happily making complete knob-ends of themselves can be; and Lyn looked stunning beyond words. And when she was presented her graduation portfolio, it was the culmination of something long-held and deeply important, and I was both proud and humbled to be there to see it.

Yeah, baby!


Over the last few years, Lyn has slowly been trying to establish herself as a writer. She’s sold a dozen or so short stories, and edited for a couple of magazines, and developed a growing reputation within the Australian SF community. However, she’s come to a point where selling one or two stories a year isn’t going to develop her career in any significant way. At the start of the year, when we sat down to work out our goals for 2007, she set herself a target of 12 submissions. That would represent a significant increase in productivity, and hopefully, she might see a better return than in previous years.

As of the end of May, 5/12ths of the way through the year, she’s reached 13 submissions, and sold 4 stories. Both numbers exceed my own efforts, and given that being prolific is part of my charm, I think she’s finally set for a period where her bibliography matches her astounding talent.

People constantly underestimate Lyn: she’s small, and gently spoken, and long years of religious belief have given her a forgiving and well-wishing nature. But she has greater strength and potential than she knows, and I am constantly amazed at just what she can achieve when given the opportunity to do so. For most of her adult life, my darling wife has struggled to create a sense of self because the social institutions of which she was a part demanded that she stifle her potential in order to fit their notions of what she should be. She is a woman of unlimited potential.

And I am the proudest of husbands.

The woman I love


Because the internet does not have bumper stickers so I can swan about being all smug in front of strangers, consider this a replacement:

That would be my daughter holding up her first honour certificate, for ‘making a terrific effort to bring a positive attitude to all she does

Whose 2 ½ year old son sat his Mummy down and counted to eleven for her the other day? And then took her hand, held her thumb and said “Mummy”, then held her index finger and said “Connor”, and followed with a finger for each member of his family in turn? (I got the pinkie)

That, also, would be mine :)

Eleven fingers? Doesn't everyone?


Fresh words have been a bit thin on the ground in recent days. I’ve been caught up in rewrites and business matters with Big Finish for Destination Prague, and in the last couple of weeks, have been happily engaged in the first round of flogging poor old Mark “What the hell have I gotten myself into?” Smith as we embark on our AHWA mentorship together. Poor guy: he wasn’t expecting homework :)

I’m thoroughly enjoying my work with Mark, all jokes aside. He’s a humble and hard-working guy who’s determined to make the most of the process, and has already rewritten one story under my bumbling tutelage. It’s both refreshing and energising to be working so closely with someone who just wants to be involved, and writing, and whose only goals are to become a better writer and sell his stories. It throws my own decisions of the recent past into clearer focus, and makes me pleased about the path I’ve chosen— to cofine myself to work for work’s sake, and turn my back on the off-putting and damaging distractions. Mark’s a good guy, fun to work with, and I’m going to be taking credit for every success he ever has from now on…

I’ve a collection of half a dozen stories that I’ve managed to line edit over the last month, and I’m looking forward to getting through them and putting them out into the world. I set myself a target of 12 new sub missions this year, and if I can finish these in reasonable time, it’ll take my tally for the year to 15, so I’ll be a happy writer-boy at that point. Having received 4 rejections in a single day this week (owowowowowowowowwwwwwww) it's fair to day that I'm definitely back in the harness as far as being a prolific writerboy goes.

And I’m pleased to report that, amongst all that lot, I’ve laid down the first words of a new novel, The Death of Vaz Tey. I’ll be discussing it more as the writing continues, but so far, I’ve discovered that it concerns the world’s oldest immortal man, the plot to kill him, and a secret buried on the Mongolian Steppes. I’m letting this one flow organically, rather than trying to plot out every step of the story, so it’ll be a journey of discovery for me as much as it is for the characters involved. It’s much more fun that way.


After some big losses over previous months, my weight has plateaued recently. Try as I might, I’m stuck between 93 and 95 kilograms, and I’m finding it impossible to break that barrier and push towards my get-me-a-new-wardrobe weight of 90kg.

It’s prompted me to examine the way I’m fitting weight-loss into my day, and to see what changes I can make to help me drop these recalcitrant kilos.

The first thing that has become apparent is how difficult it has been to maintain my program of not eating carbs after 4pm. To this end, Lyn and I are keeping much closer track of what we eat, and when: our eating habits become lax quite easily, as we’re both snackers by nature, and love our pasta, our rice, our bread (and, let’s be honest, our sweeties, our chocolate, our Chinese takeaway). I’m also making a concerted attempt to eat six smaller meals a day rather than three big ones, and to control the type of food I eat at particular times.

I’ve also noticed that much of my incidental exercise has dropped off since I’ve started attending the gym. I’ve fallen back into using the lifts at work instead of the stairs, and am catching the bus right to my destination, instead of getting off a stop away as before, or walking home from the train station, as I did on a number of occasions. With the wet weather has come a reduction in my gardening time, too, which has meant less digging, less chopping with the axe, less carting about of paving slabs and broken tree trunks. So it’s back to the stairs, and a concentration upon finding exercises I can do at home and in the in-between times.

And whilst I’m hitting the gym three times a week, and usually working at a pretty high intensity, I’m prone to muscle strains and pulls. Part of that, of course, is down to years of inactivity. But it results in a loss of intensity, and a willingness to give in perhaps a little too easily when the ‘wall’ approaches. From this week, I’ll be gymming it up an extra day per week, 4 visits instead of 3, and setting myself a higher calorie-loss total per visit, concentrating on a rotation of exercises to maintain my interest and provide a balance between strength, toning, endurance and ‘burst’ exercising.

I’ve also recognised the need for regular intervention. The Biggest Loser was great for that: a nightly example of other overweight people working hard and seeing the benefits. Now that it’s over, I’ve been on the lookout for some sort of replacement. Lyn bought me a copy of Men’s Health magazine a month ago, and I picked up this month’s issue during the week. With recipes, exercises, and factoids dotted in amongst the adverts for deodorant and hair products, there are a welter of inspirational moments for me to draw upon as I progress.

The goal is this: my birthday falls on the second day of the Night’s Edge SF convention here in Perth. The night of the 10th, I’ll be throwing a birthday party in our room. Some time during that party, I’ll be pulling out the scales and weighing myself.

I will be down to 85 kilograms by that moment.


All I want is a Whopper, a block of chocolate, a bottle of wine, and an Uzi.

She got the Whopper, the chocolate, and the wine :)


There are times when my bonus-Son absolutely floors us with the quickness of his humour. Last week, we were walking through West Perth when Aiden casually pointed at a wheelie bin sitting outside a restaurant and remarked, “Wow. Exclusive restaurant or what?”

It took me a moment to work out, but when I did, I was in tears:

Do you 'ave a reservation?