Friday, September 30, 2011


It's been a lo-o-o-ng week. From Monday onwards, I was convinced that the week was two days further ahead. It's felt like Saturday for a while but Saturday hasn't even reached here yet. So while my brain is fuzz, I'm borrowing an idea I've seen floating around other blogs, but first seen at Rachele's. If you feel inspired, do give it a try, too. It's a fun way to share the small details which might get missed in the usual blog post.

A. Age: well there's a 1 and a 3 in it, and I'm not thirteen.
B. Bed size: single; a white cast-iron frame that's probably a hundred years old.
C. Chore that you hate: cleaning the toilet (because it seems icky).
D. Dogs: I'm not especially a fan -- too much slobber and too much hair. I have nice memories of the dogs we had as I grew up, though.
E. Essential start to your day: my little morning ritual which includes breakfast, some reading, and checking my email.
F. Favorite color: this comes with too many disclaimers: for home decorating, soft white; for wearing, black (always classy); for painting, orange; for a bright splash, deep red.
G. Gold or Silver: I might be odd, but I like both -- just not at the same time.
H. Height: 5’7 1/2"
I. Instruments you play: piano.
J. Job title: writer and sometime music tutor.
K. Kids: I hope so, someday.
L. Live: pretty much everywhere, it seems.
M. Mother’s name: Catherine.
N. Nicknames: DeeDee and occasionally Dani.
O. Overnight hospital stays: only when I was a wee child.
P. Pet peeves: you're/your; tailgaters; serial speed-limit breakers.
Q. Quote from a movie: "I don't even remember Ruthie Pigface Draper!" [Dan in Real Life]
R. Right or left handed: right.
S. Siblings: four; two brothers and two sisters.
T. Time you wake up: this varies, and is usually my alarm set for 7 hours after I go to bed (which is, of course, never enough sleep).
U. Underwear: is essential.
V. Vegetable you hate: not a fan of tomato in big chunks.
W. What makes you run late: wasting time. Wouldn't this answer be the same for everyone?
X. X-Rays you’ve had: feet and teeth, both repeatedly.
Y. Yummy food that you make: um, can't think! Those who may have eaten my food and found it yummy may fill in their own answer here.
Z. Zoo animal: meerkats are kind of dorky, skitchy, and cool.

Okay, Saturday is less than twenty minutes away, so happy weekend!

* * * * *


Laura Elizabeth -- you were first and only! How doubly glad I am for your comment of greatness! I love that you called my parents' place The Big House. That's awesome. And yes, I must make those brownies. I really must. If it's finals week for you, hope it all goes well. If you are finished for the term, ENJOY! xx

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Adventures in webland:

Wow. Who knew that old mate Facebook would generate so much discussion? Love him or hate him, it appears that Facebook is the guy whose parties we always want to get invited to, but who doesn't really seem to be our friend. We like hanging around him. We like the people we spend time with when we're at his place. But we really don't like how he runs things, and we especially don't like when he changes plans on us without our knowledge or permission. Plus, we're not sure about the fact that he seems here to stay, ushering in a whole new social era that has changed (and keeps changing) how we interact with each other. What a weird weird world we live in.

If you're thinking more about whether facebook is right for you -- particularly regarding privacy concerns and the company policies behind the whole thing -- you might find this article from the UK's Guardian to offer some rumination fodder (thanks to Alastair for the recommendation). Yes, I do realise that in light of that article, Twitter (which I love) and Blogger (which I love even more) also come under fire. However, I think both have managed to avoid most of the serious criticism that Facebook has brought on itself, and Blogger in particular has a great track record.

Absolutely on the other hand (and I like zee uzzer hand as much as Tevye), if you and Facebook are BFFs but you're not sure what to do with all the recent changes, you'll really appreciate Gretchen's in-depth posts, Understanding the New Facebook and Facebook Landing Pages and SSL. I hereby vote that Gretchen writes how-to posts every time our favourite technologies change things on us. It would help us all, I'm certain.

If all that Facebook talk is making you hungry, please go check out Laura's post about the amazing chocolate chip cookie dough brownies she baked. No, the post will not make you less hungry, but it will inspire you to bake something incredible to fill that void. I have not made said brownies yet. Why, you ask? Because I know I would eat the finished product and turn into a brownie myself. That is food for sporty people, not chubby book nerds.

Speaking of book nerds (chubby and thin ones alike), my friend Katie passed on a link to Writing Australia's Unpublished Manuscript Award. If you've been working on an adult literary or genre fiction manuscript, this award could open amazing doors for you. Do check it out!

New favourite artist new favourite artist new favourite artist.

Finally, two links of my own: I actually posted a review at my languishing little book blog (believe it or not) and I created a new (or, rather, replacement) tumblr. When I first joined tumblr, I used my account mainly as a bookmarking tool for stuff I found that I liked. Nebulize is less about reblogging and more about sharing little pictures, snippets, and quotes that are more instant (and shorter) than my usual blog posts. If this blog is something like my journal, then tumblr is a bunch of post-its.

And now, adieu.

* * * * *


Karley -- I approve of your ironic liking.

Carla & Alastair -- I got an adorable picture in the mail todaaaaay!

Staish -- your words empower me onto a life facebook-free!

Jessica -- and there's actually something freeing about limiting connectivity, even in such a basic way. Better to have a few really great friends than hundreds of meaningless acquaintances.

An Australian Housewife -- if you do so, welcome to the ranks of facebook backsliders! :D

Tegan R -- if you're in the club, then it's bound to be cool.

Laura Elizabeth -- I'm amazed at how pervasive it is. Already today I was trying to lurk somebody from my childhood and realised that, without facebook, it isn't very possible. A good thing, I think. The comparison and feelings of missing out were definitely the worst part of facebook for me, too; all my problem, of course, but doing away with the source will hopefully help in some part. Yay for possibly clearing schedules and the chance for coffee dates! Also, FYI, you are one of the most literate people I know, typos or not. (Ooh, I just wrote typosm. I really should have left it there because of the irony).

Samantha R -- pictures are one of the best things about facebook and something I will definitely miss!

Amanda -- you're a sweetie! I'm glad we were real life friends before facebook friends. And we'll always have LJ!

Caitlin -- you can't shake me so easily and I'm glad I can't shake you!

Katie -- isn't it interesting? I feel I am more interactive via Twitter, and more of a spectator via Facebook. It's crazy. I guess that's why we call them tools, though; they have different and varied uses, and we get to decide how we use them and which ones help. I look forward to seeing how Google+ evolves. I do hope it doesn't become just another Facebook. Oh, and I so relate to your thoughts re. Facebook doing the thinking for you!

Un -- always in with you, no matter what.

Cara -- I think you nailed it. We get to peer into others' lives without actually interacting. Of course, the same is possible with any form of contemporary social media (blogging included), but it seems people take their guard down on Facebook whereas blogging requires a more far-thinking approach (at least, I think so). Yes! The Joy devotional is great! I really recommend it. I think you'd love it.

Rebecca Simon -- you're so right. We all have to decide for ourselves what is useful and what will just get in the way of a fruitful life and healthy communication.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Deactivation station:

Oh, facebook.

You inspire such love and loathing in me. One minute I can't bear the sight of you, and the next I'm logging on so I can be sure not to miss some important tidbit of information. What is this mighty weapon of influence you wield over me?

I've deactivated you once or twice before, always temporarily, mainly because I needed to get on top of my emails or curb minor distractions from my life for a season. I've always come back to you. But lately the dissatisfaction just can't be assuaged. You annoy me, facebook, and I think it's time for a separation.

Facebook, it's not you, it's me. Okay, it's partly you -- especially lately, with your weird new layout and cluttered way of showing me information. We're supposed to talk to each other before we have makeovers. I don't like what you've become.

But yes it's me, too.

It takes two to tango, and though I could blame you for making me crave information, for making me desperate not to miss out on things, I'm really the one at fault. It's my problem if I have to know what's going on in the lives of acquaintances I haven't spoken to since primary school. It's my problem if the green-eyed monster emerges when I see that friends whom I've been trying unsuccessfully to pin down for a coffee date have caught up with other friends three times in the past fortnight. It's my problem if I share things and judge their coolness or intelligence based on whether others 'like' them. It's my problem if I'm scared that I'm going to miss out on something.

So I'm calling for a time-out, facebook. I understand I'll be out of the loop. I understand I won't get invited to things. I understand people won't notice I'm gone because -- well, that's your nature. It's what we see in you that keeps us interested, facebook, not what we don't see.

But that's okay. I'll handle it. And -- for now, at least -- I'm going to kick it old-school, you know, emails, texts, all that jazz.

Facebook, we're kind of over (even if only temporarily). Don't call me.

Oh, and here: have a butterfly. He was hanging out with me today.


* * * * *


Laura Elizabeth -- Whoa! Your weekend sounds insanely busy! Four emergencies? Yikes! I'm glad you came out the other end unscathed. The DW episode was The God Complex; I might watch the last ten minutes on iView so I can at least see how it ended! (I liked the dollhouse episode even though it was kinda creepy for a while there, too).

Carla -- haha, good spotting, eagle eyes! That's my favourite box design from there, too :).

Ruth -- please please steal this idea! I'd love it if you did. And I stole it from somewhere myself, though of course I can't remember where. Imma email you back! I'm sorry your kidlets had sniffles :(.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

[lately] my saturday; picture-an-hour

It was the first Saturday in many that wasn't planned out with people, events, and things-to-be-done. I even took the entire weekend off study, and had a sleep-in. So good.

10.30 -- Tumblr and reading in bed.

11:30 -- brunch! Grilled ham and cheese.

12:30 -- work for a writing project due at the end of the week.

1:30 -- my room gets some required attention.

2:30 -- hitting the road.

3:30 -- enjoying coffee with these beautiful belles.

4:30 (actually, more like 5) -- heading home.

5:30 -- amazing sunset reflected in the window.

6:30 -- dinner with my family.

7:30 -- Doctor Who time!
(I didn't finish watching this ep; too creepy!)

8:30 -- hanging out with Mum.

9:30 -- still chilling; also lurking.
(hi Hayley!)

10:30 -- the great Australian snack,
followed by exercising and organising.

12:30 (yeah, I skipped an hour) -- ablutions.

1:30 -- devotions and bed
(too late, I know! I'm working on that).

What did your weekend look like?

* * * * *


BushMaid -- his tour might be finished now. I'm not sure. I hope for your sake it's not!

Project 52: sixteen

-- at a Colin Buchanan concert with my little bro and goddaughters.

PS. Stand by; I took a photo-an-hour yesterday and will be posting soon.

* * * * *


Mothercare -- perhaps we can persuade you over to the dark side -- the side of Oxford comma devotees? Now they've done away with it altogether, the Oxford comma is subversive and rebellious. Maybe it's even hipster?

Katie -- I have no doubt that your blog will indeed be a thing of awesomeness. It always has been!

Laura Elizabeth -- I remember seeing this quote from a love letter once, which said, "You and I were always better written down than standing up". I thought -- other people feel like this, too??

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


The excellent Laura -- whose witty and whimsical blog is an absolute favourite of mine, and who is just as cool in real life -- gave me a blogging award. I'm honoured! What's more, I get to keep the fun moving along. It works like this:
  1. graciously accept your award.
  2. complete the death-defying stunt of telling your readers seven random things about yourself.
  3. pass on the love to three more bloggers.
I'm random (times seven):
  1. my head is a weird shape. I try not to think about that too much.
  2. when I was four, my parents gave me a bear with a big head and a zipper in his back for storing pyjamas in. I named him Pippi, and he has been hugged to within an inch of his life, thrown up on, put through several washing machine cycles, and pegged to the clothesline. When I was ten or eleven, my uncle gave me a Pippi clone, only this bear's body was pink instead of green. I called him Bippi, and I have both of those bears to this day. Bippi is pristine, clean, and his fur is shiny. Pippi is slightly threadbare, washed-out and nubby -- and of course I love him the most.
  3. although I love conversation and spending time with special people (plus I tend to be talkative), I'm actually a closet introvert. I don't like big parties and I need time on my own to recharge. I feel most happy and creative when there's an even balance of family-and-friends-time and in-my-own-company-time.
  4. following on from that, I guess it makes sense that the written word feels more natural to me than the spoken word. Again, I like talking! But speech for me is so much clumsier than writing. I nearly always fail to say things exactly as I mean them, and I'm good at making a hash of what I'm trying to say. Writing makes so much more sense and I'm more me when I write.
  5. I like the tv series' Nickelodeon makes -- but not the cartoons.
  6. I'm not an animal person, but it would be very cool to have a miniature turtle.
  7. no matter how often people change the rules, I will always use the Oxford comma.
Versatile bloggers (times three):
I want to give this award back to Laura as well, but that makes no sense, really.
  1. Staish of Anastasia Does is not only one of my favourite people, but she's also a wondrous blogger. Honestly, if this girl published a newspaper, I would be at the newstands waiting for it to arrive. I only wish she published blog posts five times a day. At her blog you'll find ruminations on marriage, church, creativity, and Jesus -- as well as really excellent pictures and impeccable style.
  2. Jessica of Greengate Photo constantly blows me away with her wondrous photography skills. I especially love the pictures she shares of her family and of the wildlife she spots in her local area. Jess also has a deadpan sense of humour and good taste in sarcasm.
  3. Katie's blog, Katiefoolery, is on hiatus until October, but I'm going to go ahead and direct you there anyway because Katie is an accomplished writer and a thoughtful blogger. She shares about her writing life, her travels with her cool group of girlfriends, and her photography. Look out for mysterious and atmospheric pictures of abandoned houses.
That was fun.

* * * * *


Laura Elizabeth -- those were my sentiments exactly! Although today actually felt like real spring instead of sneaky summer. I'm glad. Summer can hold off forever, please thank you.

Un -- you're welcome :)

Katie -- just seeing that little bee bouncing around there took me right back to childhood and summer holidays :).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Project 52: fifteen

Hey there, spring bee.

(and happy happy birthday to my lovely little sister, A!)

* * * * *

Laura Elizabeth -- OH MY. Please immortalise these brownies in a blog post, once you make them. Please. Oh, and I am super honoured by the award! Eeee!

Cara -- you are delightful. I'm glad you got to have a lovely holiday! I'm behind on blog reading so I look forward to catching up on yours :D.

Staish -- YUM.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cookies and cream cupcakes v. 2.0

I couldn't make it to my Bible study group last week, so I sent an email in apology and suggested the others devise a suitable penance. A reply came back from one of the guys: That's disappointing. Bring a cake. I haven't done much baking in the Housie oven yet, so I thought a cake might be ambitious until I work out whether the fan and temps are reliable. Cooking dinner is one thing, but cakes and pastries are more... delicate. I went for cupcakes instead. My reasoning was: they're smaller and baking time is less; therefore, less time in the oven means less chance for them not to work out fine.

I gave the cookies and cream cupcakes another try (Oreos were on sale -- yay!). The oven worked dandy and, since I made the cupcakes a little smaller this time, I got two dozen out of the batch. I forgot how hard the icing is to spread nicely, though. Heavy icing with big chunks of Oreos does not make for pretty cupcakes. I wrestled some icing onto the cakes for study last night, and shelved the rest until today when I had some other baking to do. I had the food processor out already, so I blended the remaining icing and the result was so much nicer. The colour is yummier and it spreads smoother and just looks less... weird. So my tip is, if you try this recipe, process the icing. So much better. Nom redux!

What's your favourite treat to cook lately?

PS. Sorry for the fluffy, sugary post which is basically a long-winded thought-out-loud about food. It's been a full-on week!

* * * * *


Meaghan -- yes.

Carla -- it's one I want to remember, too.

Samantha R -- I agree :).

Laura Elizabeth -- I totally recommend The Valley of Vision if you're looking for some amazing prayers. It's beautiful.

Amanda -- wow is right.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Peace on the inside:

Today's mail brought with it that all-too-rare treat: a beautiful, handwritten letter from a lovely friend (if you're passing by my little home in webland, RMB, thank you). On the back of the envelope, she had written, in immaculate cursive, a prayer from Theresa of Avila. It was just right, and so I share it here in the hope that it may be right for one of you, too.

May you trust God that you were exactly where you were meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love has been given to you...
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.

* * * * *


Laura Elizabeth -- I like your spirit! It's our meme, so we get to decide whether we will post or not :D. Oh, wow, yes! Definitely give Freestyle another go. You do indeed deserve to be wowed.

Samantha -- thunderstorms definitely fit my picture of Spring, too.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Project 52: fourteen

a spring bouquet from mum.

* * * * *


Anon -- true, true ;)

Laura Elizabeth -- I've always secretly wished I was a mysterious person with many secrets. Alas, I am not, but it's nice you discovered a factoid about me you didn't know :D. I teach piano and music theory. I used to do it full time, but now it's more of an occasional student thing.

Carla -- 'godliness with contentment is great gain'; what an excellent way to summarise this whole discussion. Thank you for relating! I love you. Also, a million stars for making a blog comment whilst settling into life with a new baby.

Samantha R -- stormy frizzy hair sisters unite! My hair's like a barometer.

Staish -- 'we do what we can with joy'. I like that a lot.

Lauren -- yay a comment from you! I'm glad you could relate. And yesterday was fun :D.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The elusive/illusive normal:

I had four assignments to finish and hand in for school this week, so this morning found me making last-minute adjustments to the final two. Printing, editing, scribbling with a red pen, tweaking stuff; you know how it goes. By midday, they were done and emailed. I had a bunch of errands to run, so I changed out of my lounging/editing clothes and tried to work some level of appropriateness into my hair before joining my mum and little brother for the quick drive to the mall. There, I tried on a variety of clothes in an attempt to use a gift voucher before it expired (success -- I hope. Things invariably look different once you put them on, at home, a few days later). The three of us ate lunch in our small-town excuse for a food court before heading out in search of various groceries (them) and some last-minute gift additions (me) for a birthday package to be posted tomorrow. Back at home, I had half an hour to do a quick pick-up of the house (a few days of under-the-weather and things looked partway to topsy turvy) before my music student arrived.

Tidying done, I was brushing my teeth and attempting not to look dog-tired when I started thinking about the rushed (but-not-frantic-really) pace of the day, how I always seem to be handing my assignments in the day they are due (and never a week or two early, as in my happiest dreams), how I was tidying things because a student was coming and not because I'd actually made a space in my day for doing that -- and I thought, it would've been different if this week was normal.

Of course, it struck me immediately like a smug little tweak of the nose: THIS IS NORMAL, DANIELLE. Whatever a day throws at you, whatever life requires, is your normal. You just have to take what comes and make the most of it.

Following that line of reasoning reminded me that shopping doesn't disrupt a 'normal' day; it becomes part of the normal day. Handing assignments in early doesn't matter. Getting them done and done to the best of my abilities by the deadline is all that's required. And who cares why the house gets tidied? -- just make sure it does get tidied. This is life, Danielle. Live it.

(and it makes me laugh that just last night I asked my mother, How can we learn to live in the moment?)

* * * * *


Jessica -- ha! I relate to this line of thinking.

Bethany -- absolutely! (although today does feel like Winter all over again!).

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Project 52: thirteen

Hello, Spring.

* * * * *


Jessica -- never too late to the game! Do you have an Android phone? There are some similar cool apps to use on those.

Samantha R -- I'm definitely having fun with it :).

Laura Elizabeth -- I guess I forgot to tell you about the whole Narnia world I live in for a rare hour or two on cool mornings. I really am sorry! PS. You're right about the instagram pictures looking good; I am terrible at taking iPhone pictures (some people get really expert-looking ones) but instagram makes them kind of look like the poor lighting and the grain is intentional. Sort of.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

[lately] life in instagrams

Instagram is perfect for visually recording little moments when the camera isn't handy. Like when your mum randomly brings home the cutest little tub of choc moose...

or when you're admiring some sweet baby cheeks...

or the water (& dolphins!) put on an amazing show...

or when stuff is just cute...

or you find your little brother's to-do list, complete with checkboxes...

or you're sunning it up...

or your lunch looks great...

or it makes you happy that your little brother has the same Tintin crush that you once had...

or when the morning light is magical.

* * * * *


Laura Elizabeth -- ooh, well your zeal has made me feel more enthusiastic about tackling The Shifting Fog. I hope I like it as much as you did! And yes, fiction is such a brain-saver during the school semester.

Daisy -- yay! It's fun to get new book recommendations :).

Katie -- I'll definitely have to report back on my favourites.

Elisabeth -- Tolkien was quite the critic of his friends. Apparently he thought the Narnia series was a simplistic sell-out, too? I'm glad his blunt critique didn't put Lewis off :).

Bek Axe -- Captain Americaaaaa!

Eweight -- ooh, good to know! I'm looking forward to reading it.

Cara -- ah, beautiful long comment! Spring arrived on the first of September, so happy sunshiny times! Oh, I'm sure you will love The Help. And I've never read Lark Rise but I've seen the series, too. Oh, the Gluten Free girl cookbook would be amazing! I'd be hungry all the time just paging through.

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