little red jottings

when a little red pen wanders off the page

Tag: music to my ears

Nothing left

I guess I’ll have to write about the US election soon, or maybe things closer to home, but in the meantime there’s Leonard.

You might like this and this.


Mothers’ day song


This year’s Mothers’ Day post comes with a theme tune, lists and links. It was that kind of day.

Previous instalments
Non-ideal, but better than expected
Much improved

Rough timetable
5.30am: Wake to smoke alarm. No smoke, but alarm has to be dismantled to get it to stop. It’s on the hall ceiling, so the dismantling involves two children waking, a stool on top of a chair, and Ian’s long limbs. Awesome.

After that: Not much sleep.

Later: Rabbit comes in. Ian goes to make breakfast. Rabbit stays in bed to “keep mama warm”.

7.30am: Croissants and coffee in bed. Also, children in the bed. Cards and flowers. Lots of cuddles. Not too many crumbs.

Too much of the morning: Getting organised and doing stuff.

11am: Gorgeous outing to Pūrākaunui to collect cockles on a wide-open mudflat. Birds everywhere, and the water coming in.

20160508_141624_resized1pm: A feast of pasta, homemade tomato sauce and steamed cockles.

Afternoon: Idle parenting by the fire, chores, digesting.

6pm: Probably the last BBQ of the season.

Evening: A deep, hot bath. Bed.

Overall rating: One of the best.




I’m just going to start right out by saying that Word is driving me up the wall today. I’ll explain (or rant) soon, but first have to sort out problems with Spotify and my memory. Between Word and this sex abuse case that’s national news at the moment and that blatantly and excruciatingly exposes the rampant rape culture in this country, I’m in a vile mood and need music, so I thought a bit of cowboy folk might help, specifically a band I’ve been listening to since uni days, which I damn well know the name of and you will too — two women, guitar, rocking, been around forever and hopefully always will, you know the one — and I’m sure it will come to me by the end of this post, but if it doesn’t, I’m going to have to start eating more salmon and doing crosswords, because that sort of forgetfulness isn’t really acceptable. Anyway, I tried Cowboy Junkies and that wasn’t right, so then I tried the name of one of their albums, and that led me to 10,000 Maniacs, which is also good, but still not right, and now I’m going to talk more about Word and hope that some other part of my brain keeps trawling through its musical archive for me.

So, I am working on a large document that has been hacked about to the point where it may well be in terminal decline: it started off neat and lovely with a full set of nicely organised Word styles, but things have been pasted in from other documents, other authors have added material with different formatting, I’ve broken it into about 20 chunks, all of which have been substantially edited, then I’ve shoved it all back together, and now it’s just sitting there looking pathetic and refusing to do anything I ask.

Somewhere in this (admittedly appalling) process, the bulleting went astray, so I cleared out the bullet styles and have spent the last hour or two trying to reset them. I know exactly how I want them to look and I’m not a complete Word idiot, but it keeps defaulting to List Paragraph, and if it’s not doing that, it’s doing this other irritating thing where every time I try to base one bullet style on another one, it REMOVES the bullets from the original style, perhaps as a tax on excessive style mongering, I DON’T KNOW. I may be complicating things by having separate styles for

  • bullet lists
  • final items in bullet lists
  • numbered lists
  • final items in bullet lists
  • checkboxes, and
  • dashed lists

but I really feel that this isn’t too much to ask. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? If anyone can help me before my empha-capsing gets out of control, that’d be awesome.

Sweet Jesus, it’s girls. Something girls.

Maybe if I try to create styles in a blank document, then import them? I did get the page numbering to work, so that’s nice. I can’t even charge for the hours I spend being stupid, which is a little-acknowledged downside of the self-employed, freelancing lifestyle.

I refuse to scan my CD rack or do Google Deduction. MY BRAIN WILL WORK.

What do you know, the name was sitting on Spotify next to the 10,000 Maniacs playlist.

INDIGO GIRLS. I wonder how long it would have taken me to get there?


Update: Word just crashed and I haven’t yet dared to look and see what I lost. Vindictive bastard.

Taking stock

I’m on a new mission to WRITE REGULARLY, which I imagine will go much like my perpetual mission to EXERCISE MORE and BE NICER, ie. I’ll slowly build up my capacity to do these things over a few months, then lapse, then get cross with myself, then start again, although hopefully from a slightly better starting point than the last time. If I look back, I am fitter and writing more than a couple of years ago, but I’m still a cranky old troll, so I guess that’s five points to will power and habit and ten points off for genetics and embedded personality types.

Anyway. We’re home after an excellent holiday in Melbourne, and I have nothing much to say, so I thought I’d just do a general round-up of my state, mood, environment and outlook.

1. The world is unbearably sad and it’d be great if people could stop shooting each other, planes, animals, etc.

2. The rivers are all fucked and I felt less responsible for this when I wasn’t eating cheese.

3. Keeping warm requires significant effort, wood-chopping, fire maintenance and hot drink consumption during the Dunedin winter.

4. I discovered the Dixie Chicks. Slow, I know.

5. If I can watch five episodes of West Wing in the time it takes Ian to watch one, should I bowl ahead and let him catch up in his own sweet time, or should this be a “together” activity?

6. My sister’s having a baby really soon! And I’ll be there! And she is amazing! And I am really looking forward to meeting the wee one! You can expect more exclamationary posts on this topic in weeks to come.

7. Our house is not sunny, but it is light, clean (this week), and pretty.

8. Soon it will be spring and the bulbs will come up.

9. The Cat’s favourite holiday activities were: iPad (strictly rationed), soccer, the zoo, the children’s farm, and book shopping. He just got 30 soccer books out of the library. I really must remember that he’s an introvert and needs equal doses of fresh air and solitude. This shouldn’t be hard. He’s quite a lot like me.

10. The Rabbit’s favourite holiday activity was vacuum cleaning, and he deeply appreciated the heating system in the house we stayed in. I should remember that he likes to keep his burrow warm and tidy. This shouldn’t be hard. He’s quite a lot like me.

Get thee to a library

Another piece for my sporadic but fervent library fandom, geek-happy, book-philic, dance-crazy series.

But who gets to do the reshelving?

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