Justin Cawthorne (dot) com

read, write, ramble

Messin’ with author photos

I decided it was time I had something approaching a decent author photo – something that I could stick wherever my books appear. Trouble is I can’t decide which one to use so I need your help!

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March 13

It’s Fucken Monday and it goes in a blur. I skip my morning shift again. After a week of illness, Rach is able to return to work. We discuss the idea of building an enclosure in the garden for the cats, which sounds like a top idea to both of us. I hope we get around to doing it one day.


March 12

I wake up with another headache. This is frustrating as I did not have any wine last night, and I did have plenty of water. Predictably I elect to skip my morning shift. Once again, however, a proper lie-in is off the cards as Rach’s Big Birthday Celebration continues with breakfast with the family. We head to Gesha in Fremantle where the excellent food and coffee eventually lifts my headache. At one point the Kinderbeast catches his smoothie glass on the table and spills it all over himself, much to his distress. He spends the rest of the morning wrapped in his Nan’s pastel blue fleece cardigan, much to my amusement.

On the drive home we decide that a new plant will be the perfect birthday present for Rach, so we swing by a garden centre and pick an awesome $70 rubber plant. It’s a real plant, not made of rubber. The kinderbesten decide they want in on this game too and each pick a cactus.

We then head to the shops where more money is spent on more things. We wrap up the expedition with a visit to the supermarket, but it’s not our usual supermarket and it’s all wrong and busy and twice as exhausting. Plus it’s hammering down when we return to the car.

Back home I retreat instantly to bed for a desperately needed power nap. I am terrible at power-napping and mostly just lie in bed with my eyes closed, but it still helps to make me feel a tiny percentage more human.

For dinner, after a weekend dominated by junk food, we literally have steamed vegetables, and it’s great. Once the kinderbesten have retreated to sleep I finally have a chance to check out the animated version of Power Of The Daleks, which I’ve been waiting months to buy (I elected to wait for the blu-ray edition, which not only came out about two months after the DVD, but came out about three weeks later in Australia than the rest of the world. Damn you, Australia!). We only get two episodes in, but I’m loving every minute of it. I fully expect it to be weeks before I get around to watching the rest.


My (serial) reading for the night is the second instalment of Second Variety, which I’m really enjoying. I also read both instalments of Monkey’s Paw, which I’ve never read, but was crafty enough to queue up the night before so I get both instalments in one go. See, I’m already gaming this Serial Reader chump.

March 11

Saturday is Designated Lie In day, which is good because I wake up with a headache. It could be the wine from the previous night, but I suspect a combination of tiredness, dehydration and, yes, wine.

But we have to get up because it’s election day! It’s the first election we’ve been able to participate in since emigrating to Australia, and our first opportunity to vote since becoming citizens. It’s over quickly, even though we went below the line, and it feels good. The only downer is that we’re there too early to get a democracy sausage. On the walk back we remark to each other how nice it is to go for a walk on a Saturday morning and agree that we should do it more often. I highly suspect we won’t.

It is also the first day of Rach’s Big Birthday Celebration, and she has chosen to go bowling. We arrive fashionably late and, in my still-headachy state, I’m somewhat dismayed to discover how INCREDIBLY NOISY the place is. It matters little: the bowling is fun and I’m not nearly as bad at it as I thought I was. Well, nearly as bad, but I at manage at least one strike.


We return home in time to enjoy the election coverage, and we definitely enjoy it: it’s a good result for once. Perhaps the tide is turning at last.

I decide to try out a new app I’ve read about on Book Riot. It’s called Serial Reader and it works by delivering a single chunk of your chosen novel (all public domain works) each day; no more, no less. Each chunk is designed to take between 10-20 minutes to read and to mimic the serialised fashion in which certain classic works of literature were delivered. To start myself off I eventually select Second Variety by Philip K. Dick. It’s only 9 instalments. Pretty sure even my attention span can manage that …

March 10

I elect, once again, to skip my morning shift in favour of an extra hour’s sleep. It helps somewhat: I feel less exhausted during the day.

The real bonus is that it’s Fridate, which means a visit from the awesome Seb. The evening is dominated by YouTube trailers including Kong: Skull Island which looks as amazing as everyone said.


March 9

After yesterday’s sofa nap I decide getting the extra sleep is more important than getting up for my morning shift. Thus begins what will end up being an almost two-week writing drought.

The Elderbeast resists going to school once again, but relents eventually. Perhaps he’s too tired to battle as well.

No morning shift means I haven’t had my first coffee of the day. I remedy this by having two coffees at work. The day is nice and breezy–the first day, in fact, that I haven’t sweated half to death on the coffee run. Clearly the perfect day to get bonus coffee.

Later that evening I hear the Kinderbeast crying in his sleep. I go in and find him kneeling up in his bed, completely distraught. At first I think he’s thrown up, but the lack of a telltale pool of vomit lining his sheets puts paid to that theory. Then I think he’s had a nightmare, and hasn’t quite woken up from it. He’s crying, but unable to tell me what’s wrong. Then I finally realise he’s wet the bed. In five years, it’s the first time he’s ever done it.

I hand him over to Rach for much-needed cuddles while I strip the bed, make a futile bicarb-based attempt to soak up the gallon of blissfully odourless toddler pee that has soaked into his mattress, then decide to flip the mattress instead. Meanwhile the Kinderbeast is demanding to return to bed. We hurriedly get fresh sheets on there and he goes straight back to sleep.

Not the adventure we were expecting for the evening.

March 8

I get up for my morning shift but find myself unnaturally tired. After a few moments of holding my head up above the keyboard, with my eyes closed, I admit defeat and retreat to the sofa for a 15 minute nap. This is unprecedented in the history of morning shifts. But the nap helps. Briefly.

There must be something in the air. The Elderbeast,  fully transformed from yesterday, is now a pure hell beast. He makes me fight for every step needed to get him ready for school. The morning uses every last bit of energy and patience I already don’t have. Finally, at the last moment, as we’re getting in the car, he declares “No!” and claims he’s not well enough to go to school. I grab his bag out of the car and leave him behind. It’s really not worth the chance of getting a call from the school an hour later asking for him to be picked up.

(It’s ok, by the way, I didn’t leave him at home on his own!)


I then have to take the Elderbeast to his skating lesson. Again, even up to the last minute, he claims that he doesn’t want to do it. Finally he gets out there. On the way home we have to do the week’s shopping. I’m too damn tired to cook anything, and too damn lazy to drive to get takeout so I end up getting frozen pizzas for dinner. The results are … underwhelming.

An entirely appropriate finale to the day.

March 7

The Elderbeast gets out of bed and, as promised, completes his writing for PEAC. I’ve been very careful to place his previous night’s work, including the printouts, into his folder. Before we leave the house, I ask him to place his morning’s work into the folder as well.

We head to PEAC and guess where his folder is? Not in his bag, that’s where.

I’m absolutely gutted that the Elderbeast doesn’t get to show the results of his sterling efforts from the previous night. I wait around long enough to explain to his teacher what’s happened. She calls the Elderbeast out of the class room and commends him on his hard work, without even seeing it. It’s great to see some unquestioning trust and positivity. Once again, I have high hopes that PEAC is going to do wonder for the beast.

March 6

It’s Fucken Monday!

After almost a week of being pure demon spawn, the Elderbeast abruptly decides to adopt a new, much improved, work ethic to tackle his languishing handwriting and the potential impact to his PEAC work. There’s an outside possibility that the promise of a Nintendo Switch if he works hard might have been an influencing factor. There’s also an outside chance that we’re planning to buy a Nintendo Switch anyway, but we’re not above a bit of creative bribery here and there.

I spent the evening working with the Elderbeast on his PEAC homework (remember? write out ten facts about three great people). I get him to type it out first, and then handwrite it out. He chooses Tesla, King Richard 1 and Winston Churchill–and, whaddya know, I learn some interesting facts in the process myself. It takes the Elderbeast all evening, but he sticks with it. I’m hugely impressed by his efforts. In the end he has to retreat to bed, and promises to complete the last few bits of writing in the morning.

It’s an amazing turnaround. I go to bed exhausted, but bursting with pride.

March 5

It’s another game day, which presents us with eternal conundrum of starting early enough that we get enough game play in, but also late enough that we’re not still eating breakfast when people start to arrive.

Suffice to say we’re still eating breakfast when people arrive. In fact, I’m pretty much still cooking breakfast when people arrive because I don’t believe in half-assed failures of time management. Go full-ass or not at all.

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