(This is a mirror site of my webpage karenjcarlisle.com)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Creating a positive from a negative.

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/01/29/creating-a-positive-from-a-negative/

Dear Reader,
Today's post is late. And there's a reason.
I had originally penned my thoughts on the Australia Day debate: to change the date or not to change the date? (To boil it down to basics:  The meaning of the day is more important than sticking to a date that celebrates only part of our melting pot of cultures, and creates a day of mourning for our indigenous people - who, by the way, is the longest surviving culture in the world. Think of that. Wow! I think May8 (Maate!) sounds good.
But recent worldwide events have overshadowed this (important) question.
Regular readers will know I suffer from anxiety, brought on by my previous job. After years of trying to cope with work stress and the weight of worrying about my patients, taking on their worries as my own, I broke. I took up writing, first as a distraction then a form of catharsis.
Recent global events broadcast live via social media, have re-ignited my empathy and worry - worry for refugees, worry for legitimate citizens born outside their place of residence, worry for women's rights, for gay rights, native land rights - all swept away with a stroke of a pen, defying even the courts of the land. (I was barely coping with similar things in my own country, but this latest onslaught, this is mega. This is beyond belief. This is overwhelming.)
I feel for the people of the world. I fear for the people of the world.
And Friday night I had a wake up call. I woke at 2.30am - sweating, with palpitations and pain. Stress? Migraine? Or...?
My anxiety escalated.
An ECG was performed, with, shall we say, not perfect results. A blood test was ordered. Four agonising hours later, I was cleared. Not a heart attack.
This time.
Tomorrow I see the doctor for a follow up and, most likely, a referral to a specialist. Was the ECG a false positive or is there something that needs attention? We'll also discuss over the counter medications and other reasons for the palpitations.
I've had another wake up call. And I've made a decision.
I will try not to dwell on the negative of the recent events but look to the positive: the resistance, the fight, the wins. Rather than share the negative posts and tweets of hell unleashed, I will endeavour to share the positive results - the solidarity and resistance.
I will try to relax and focus on the victories, my family, my friends and the good times we have. I can delve into antagonist's thought process in fiction - where I can explore them (and control them) in a safe environment and purge my soul of the anxiety. (Well, I'll try.)
Yesterday we had a few friends over to play board games. We introduced Terry to Steampunk Munchkin (she won). We were confronted by a most foul opponent of almost impossible strength:
A +5 radium-powered Robot Queen Victoria, empowered by Gear Beer and ready for a bar room brawl - defeated by the co-operation of all the players. Huzzah!
That, dear Reader, is how we can heal the world - by joining together against our common foe - hate and racism. Divided, we fall. Together we can triumph.
Photo ©2017 Karen J Carlisle
All rights reserved.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Photo Friday: Dinosaurs Alive!

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/01/27/photo-friday-dinosaurs-alive/

A few years ago the Dinosaurs Alive show came to Adelaide. At the time we couldn't attend. But now they're back! This time they're roaming the Adelaide zoo. And this time, we got to see them. (And parking was free. Bonus!)
Dinosaurs Alive was originally planned to end this Sunday but their stay has been extended. You can now see the zoo's newest but most ancient residents until 5th February, due to popular demand. For more information, check out the Adelaide Zoo's website.
Photos ©2017 Karen J Carlisle / ©2017 MJC
All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Flash Fiction: Dagnal's Bane.

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/01/22/flash-fiction-dagnals-bane/

Last night's regular D&D game inspired me to pen a flash fiction, recounting an all too common occurrence for our unfortunate dwarf.
Dagnal’s Bane
© 2017 Karen J Carlisle
The stench of brimstone caught in Dagnal’s nostrils, burned her throat.  The faint crackle crept closer.
Fire giants. She licked her lips and peered into the darkness. Finally! She hefted her war axe in her hand, turned to her companions and grinned.
Moth nodded, skittered up the wall and clung to its smooth surface. An arrow dropped silently onto its rest. Tasheen remained on the ground. Her fingers slipped into her belt pouch and retrieved a fresh sprig of mistletoe.
Flames roared as the giant charged.
Dagnal’s heart raced. She gripped the axe in both hands and raised it high in the air. Mithral armour tinkled as it rippled down her arm. The air shivered and rushed over her face, tugging at her fiery braids as it ebbed away from the oncoming giant.
The giant slowed. Its fire sputtered.
Dagnal strode forward as the braid settled onto her back.
The giant’s flame withered; its skin faded to ash. Its eyes widened.
Dagnal’s axe swung through the air.
Three arrows whistled past her ear, sinking into the giant's arm and chest and forehead. It halted mid-step. Blood trickled down its forehead.
The axe sliced through the now vacant space and trailed her toppling quarry to the ground. Both shuddered at they hit stone.
Dagnal sucked in a breath. The axe scraped on stone. She roared with frustration. The giant was dead. She glared at her companions. And not by her hand.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Photo Friday: Water, Words and World Wide Web

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/01/20/photo-friday-water-words-and-world-wide-web/

This week we had to get the plumber in to repair damage done by a workman who drilled through a water pipe. We now play the waiting game. If the water doesn't clear he'll have to go searching for other leaks. (Smell bad!)
Not only do we have to deal with the smell of stagnant water, but a stream of trucks carrying bitumen for nearby roadworks. They park in line out front waiting their turn to deliver their load.
I'm back in writing mode after the holidays. I've transcribed half of From the Deep, the first short (well, it's about 8000- 10,000 words - so a long short) story in the third volume of The Adventures of Viola Stewart.
I've pulled out my research and drawn up maps of the setting.
The first two rewrites of this section are complete and I've received the first beta-reader feedback today. Very happy with the progress so far.
And finally we have our NBN (National Broadband Network) boxes installed inside the house. We've only a few more months until the final changeover. My Dearheart is now content.
Photos ©2016 Karen J Carlisle
All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Clearing out the Cobwebs

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/01/15/clearing-out-the-cobwebs/

The first two weeks of 2017 has flown by. I paced the house during the mini heatwave (I survived), not able to focus my thoughts into words on paper. I spied the costume cupboard doors, groaning under the weight of decades of an ever-growing collection of projects. It was the perfect analogy for my cluttered brain, suffocated by its own clutter, crying out to be free.
And decided it was time...
Time to cull the dreaded costume cupboard.
Once the doors were wrenched open, it was clear how much stuff I've collected over the years. Costumes and historic garb packed so tightly that, even though some hangers had failed, the outfits had not fallen, having been wedged in place for eternity.
Oh dear.
I enlisted the help of my Dearheart (without back and shoulder issues) to help wangle long neglected pieces from their tomb. First the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) garb. There were at least five gowns I hadn't worn for over twenty years (and a couple of sizes ago). They would never fit again. They were the first to go.
A few hours later there was a pile of items - too good to throw out. Just the material and buttons were worth saving. So began the great costume sale of 2017. I posted the items for sale and, to my surprise, most had been spoken for within a few hours.
I've now sold these outfits (I feel like part of me has been ripped away. The process has effected me more than I had predicted; I haven't seen some of these outfits for over a decade - in some cases, almost two - yet there was angst over parting with some of them. The hardest to let go of were outfits I made for our daughter. Each held many memories.
But that's the point in clearing out the cobwebs - out with the old, as they say. I can't enjoy the new memories, if I don't first clear my head and reconcile the past.
     (You can find out more about my costuming at my Florence Files/ Purple Files webpages)
Next we vacuumed and compressed the remaining outfits into storage bags (oh my, they work!) We've now clered over a third of the costume cupboard hanging space and a quarter of the cupboard top storage free (to fill up again, no doubt. Well, steampunk outfits do take up a lot of space). All of the remaining SCA garb now fits in one trunk - the contents of the cupboard and previous inhabitants of said trunk. Woot!
Coats are now organised together in the cupboard. Steampunk outfits nudge each other. Long items at one end. I've folded up the under linens to store together; no more scrummaging around drawers and cupboards and coat bags to find the appropriate petticoat or corset. Six corsets to be exact: four Victorian ones (one under the bust), one 17th century and one 16th century (not counting my Bellatrix leather 'under the bust' corset).
Oh, organised bliss. Oh, what will I do with myself?
And look how many hangers we have left over! It looks like my brain has felt for the past few years.

I really need a cup of tea (and a ton of dark chocolate) after this week. It's been exhausting - both physically and mentally. But it was worth it. All that clutter gone - and not just from the cupboards. It's been cathartic.
And thank you to everyone who purchased my beloved costumes. You've helped me more than you know. I'm off to do some research on the best way to dip my foot into marketing my books and perhaps some giveaways.
Onwards and upwards!
Photos ©2016 Karen J Carlisle/ D. Carlisle
All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Photo Friday: All in One Week!

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/01/13/photo-friday-all-in-one-week/

Another busy week:
Tuesday - off to a talk on 3D printing with my friend, Terry. Oh, so many potential projects I have planned... Huzzah for libraries!
Wednesday: Off on a cafe and bookshop crawl with fellow writing group members. We had brunch, tea and chocolate at Koko Black, then adjourned the air conditioned comfort of Dymocks.
Last stop was the pen shop, where I finally found a purple fountain pen (and purchased obligatory purple ink). I signed my first webpage shop order with my new pen and posted it off (waves to Courtney - hello!)
Then off to see Maona, with the family, at the gorgeous Art Deco Capri where an organist greets the audience. And popped into Kappy's Tea and Coffee Shop on the way home. Roman's blend is of Assam and Darjeeling, specially formulated for a friend of ours to replace his favourite brew when another tea house closed down.
Thursday: Rolling up D&D characters for a new campaign.
Photos ©2016 Karen J Carlisle All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Summer projects

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/01/08/summer-projects/

It's been a scorcher of a week. Over thirty-five earlier in the week, and over forty degrees Celcius two days running with minimum of a sticky thirty-three overnight. We've shut all the internal doors and holed up in the lounge and dining room, huddled under the air conditioner (and feeling a bit like we're trapped in a MARS module).
Have I mentioned I don't like summer?
Then the internet and Foxtel died, first on Wednesday, then again on Friday, only to reappear on Saturday afternoon.
What to do?
I caught up on some culling of my costume cupboard and made a new skirt for my new 'work wardrobe' and rolled up a new D&D character.
I found some funky octopus material in the cupboard (I've already used the map material for a blouse) - only two metres but I managed to eek out a longish skirt by narrowing skirt panels and shortening the length to fit the pattern onto the available material.
I had some thread in my thread box - perfect match. I cheated and used some (leftover) bias binding to finish the hem (and get back 3cm of length).
Add a blouse and a wide belt or cinch corset and I'm ready for another book signing!
I've packed away the sewing machine for now (it's just too hot to do anything). It truly needs a service. I don't think I will be able to make a planned blouse before the tension is rectified.
Photos ©2016 Karen J Carlisle
All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Photo Friday: Curious Beasts and Where I Found Them

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/01/06/photo-friday-curious-beasts-and-where-i-found-them/

Inspired by the recent film, we went in search of amazing beasts at the South Australian Museum's recent exhibition: Curious Beasts. The exhibit bookends British Museum Animal prints - woodcuts and engravings from the 1400s through to the 1800s - neatly with specimen exhibits from the SA Museum. Art meets science - perfect!
And more amazing beasts lie within the museum walls.
From the sea...
From indigenous art... and treasures formed in our past (the largest opalised fossil)
and joined us for lunch.
Curious Beasts exhibition ends the first week of February.
Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle
All Rights Reserved.