Oops, I Did It Again

Glandular fever, or mononucleosis as it is known in the States, is an infection by the Epstein Barr virus which is a herpes family virus. And, like other herpes viruses, it stays in the body even after you have ‘defeated’ it.

Glandular fever becomes dangerous when it causes swelling of the liver and/or the spleen. However, most people get ‘really bad cold’ symptoms for one to four weeks and then it goes away. For the majority of the population, the first time is the only time they will ever have to deal with it.

But I wouldn’t be making this post if I was in the majority of the population, now would I?

About 6% of people get glandular fever more than once. A relapse or recurring glandular fever means that the immune system is less than ideal and needs to be strengthened in to keep the glandular fever symptoms at bay.

The thing that pushes me into glandular fever zone is stress. If I have an Achilles heel, it’s stress. I’m not good with dealing with it, letting things go and all the other coping mechanisms. I have been careful since being laid up for about two months last year and made an effort to keep my stress levels from crossing that line.

Unfortunately, I internalized a lot of stress this week and look! Crimson crescents (a sign of GF) have appeared in my throat along with the exhaustion for no reason and bloody blazing headache.

Greeaaaat. And I was just getting back to normal after being completely healed from gallbladder surgery.

The good news is that I know what to do now. I recognize the symptoms, have caught them early and am now dosing myself with plenty of rest and heaps of vitamin C. Given that I now recognize what’s going on, I have no doubt that I won’t be laid up for as long as I was and it won’t get as severe as it was last year.


Wordless Wednesday

Balmoral Sun


I'm Back!

Oh, wait. You didn't know I was gone?

All of last week, I was staying at the Western Hotel in Balmoral (Victoria) for a self-imposed writer's retreat.

And I completely forgot to post anything about it here. Ouch.

I blame my nervousness for forgetting to post anything about it here.

You see, going and staying in Balmoral for a week - four hours away from home with no car and a single bar of mobile service if I put my phone up on a shelf - was about things other than seeing if I still have it in me to write.

(Which I do, by the way. Short story completed. Score!)

I haven't lived on my own. Ever. I stayed in my Aunt Rubber Ducky's apartment alone sometimes back in the States, but that's about it. Not only that, the longest I'd spent away from The Bloke since I moved here was about... three or four days.

So, beyond the writing, Balmoral also became a test of how I would go being on my own for a week without the input of internet, husband or even home environment.

Even though the time away involved a lot of arse in chair writing time and wandering around the small country town thinking time, I consider it to be a great growing experience.

I learned some things:

1. I can still write and finish something fiction.
2. My personal demons will not come to drive me crazy the moment I am left completely alone.
3. I'm at least mildly attractive, judging by the number of drinks bought for me.
4. I could be happy in the country.

I've come back to the hustle and bustle of suburb living, and I realize that this isn't really the place for me. It's nice and all, but there is a peace in the country - not to mention a sense of safety - that we just don't have here.

Moving is definitely back on the agenda.

All in all, I learned that, yes, I can be happy and content. Now we just need to win the lotto so we can move there...


Friday Funny - Divorce vs. Murder

Found at The Fantasy Pages

A respectable lady went into the pharmacy, walked up to the pharmacist, looked straight into his eyes, and said, "I would like to buy some cyanide."

The pharmacist asked, "Why in the world do you need cyanide?"

The lady replied, "I need it to poison my husband."

The pharmacist's eyes got big and he exclaimed, "Lord have mercy! I can't give you cyanide to kill your husband. That's against the law! I'll lose my license! They'll throw both of us in jail! All kinds of bad things will happen. Absolutely not! You CANNOT have any cyanide!"

The lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in bed with the pharmacist's wife.

The pharmacist looked at the picture and replied, "Well now, that's different. You didn't tell me you had a prescription."



Write Like an Australian - A Lesson in Fast-Paced Writing

If you’re a non-Australian looking for a good lesson in fast-paced writing, then you need look no further than Australia.

One of the first things I noticed about Australian language and speaking, besides the actual accent, is the habit of the majority of Australians to interrupt. But far from simply being a very rude country, it’s actually the way of the language.

Maybe it’s because Americans have guns, so if you piss them off you could get shot, but Australians don’t place such a high importance on waiting until a person is completely finished speaking. Instead, if they think they know what you are going to say, where you are going with the conversation, or even if something relevant has popped into their minds, they won’t hesitate to speak up.

I’ve puzzled over this for a while and come to the conclusion that Australians place more importance in the ideas and messages being conveyed rather than the actual words.

How does this help you with your writing?

If what you’re working on is starting to turn yawn-inspiring, take a lesson from Australians; don’t be afraid to interrupt your characters. Be it their inner monologues, discussions with other characters, or even switching perspectives from one chapter to another. Don’t place the ultimate importance on what they are saying or thinking.

Don’t be polite to your characters.

If you want to try this out in exercise form first, take two characters and write a scene (or more) consisting of interruptions galore. Just remember that moderation is usually a good thing.


Friday Funny - Infinite Tunnel of Webcasts

I don't understand why, but this cracks me up every time.


Blogging Naked

I have always admired bloggers who share everything - down to the nitty-gritty 'I am so embarrassed' stuff - on their blogs. I want to do that. I've always wanted to do that. This may be my Australia blog, but this is still my blog. I want to be open and honest. I want people to know what my American life was like, everything that brought me to move to Australia, everything you want to know about Australian life and adjusting to living here...

...but I feel like the secrets I keep - the things I don't tell because I'm afraid of causing trouble, afraid of who might read what, afraid that someone might disagree with a review or opinion.

Catch the theme here? Fear.

I don't want to to be a blogger who worries about if so-and-so finds my blog. Who cares? I am me, and if you don't like me, then that is your decision. I need to stop modeling my behaviour on what others might think or do and start doing what I truly believe to be good and right.

I don't expect this to be a flip of the switch, but I am going to try to embrace the process. I am going to try to blog the way I want to blog.

Of course, it does help to have some input, so if you have any questions about my past, my impression of America vs Oz, anything about life in Australia... Feel free to suggest.

This is the first step in hardening up and being the woman I want to be.



Changing Names

A few weeks ago, one of my friends mentioned that her birth name is Rachel. I’ve known this lovely lady for nearly two years, shared many ups and downs of life with her, found out we have an amazing amount of things in common… and I had absolutely no clue that the name she used wasn’t her birth name.

Mind you, there really was no way I could. She uses the name everywhere – regular life, publicly (we were both on a convention panel together), online – and everyone calls her by it.

Even so, I had a moment of pause when I adjusted to her birth name, decided the name she used suited her better anyway, and then moved on with my life.

Alternate name? No drama.

In Australia.

Once again, I have found myself in love with a facet of Australian culture: the alternate name.

Growing up, I had one of those names you couldn’t do much with. Nicknames were never fun because no one I knew felt creative enough to grant me one. And nicknames are no fun if you have to create them yourself. I did give it a go, but it never quite felt the same as the satisfying nicknames I gave my friends – nicknames that have stuck with them even now.

Changing my name to another name rather than a nickname never occurred to me. I’d been given a specific name at birth and that is what I was stuck with throughout my life. I couldn’t even go by my middle name because I liked that even less than my given name.

I wasn’t the only one who felt that way about their given name, either. We commiserated about our sad, bad-name fates.

In Australia, it appears there is no such need to be stuck with your given name. Don’t like it? Change it!

A few months after we started dating, my husband and I had no doubt that we were meant to be together. Our talks often went to serious matters like overseas trips. After just a few of those conversations, my husband told me that, given things were going along well and seriously, it was time that I knew his birth name.

While it obviously didn’t change my feelings for him, it was still a shock to the system. Back then, using one standard non-nickname name instead of your birth name seemed strange. Since when did you just get to switch just like that? No one I knew (at that time) did anything like that no matter what the circumstances. Your birth name is your birth name whether you like it or not.

At least, that’s the sentiment I was raised with.

In Australia, there appears to be a philosophy of being all you can be – in a real sense. In the States we have that drilled into our heads – ‘you can be anything you want to be’ – but many of us have heard it too many times to truly believe it anymore. The philosophy is regarded as just that: a philosophy. All kinds of pretty talk that doesn’t actually happen to the bulk of us.

Here, you are doing it. Most often, you’re doing it in the most important ways: the little things. Taking a holiday to explore your surroundings. Being brave enough to change locations and jobs. Going to uni and going back to uni to further yourself for work or passion.

What I grew up with as a rule in the States has become a reality in Australia. Nothing feels permanent here (in a good way), and there is always the feeling that you truly can change your life. Even better, actually doing it. Something so simple and yet so permanent as your birth name is as easily changed as your jocks are if you simply keep at it.

I’m thinking about a name change of my own now. Why stick with something I’m not satisfied with? The amount of choice is amazing, and I’m ready to start hunting.

Any suggestions?

Until next time…