Letters to My Younger Selves

Dear 12 year-old Ren,

Two important things.

First, don’t be wagging school. You will get caught. And you will be stupid and get caught twice.

And not only will you get caught twice but the risks you take in going all over the western suburbs of Melbourne by yourself are just stupid. No one knows where you are (they all assume you’re at school), anything could happen to you. You’ll also put yourself in a position of being dangerously behind in school after being away for almost an entire term and live for months under the threat of having to repeat Year 7. I know you’re very unhappy there but I promise it will get better. Hang in there. Good stuff will happen by the end of the year.

Secondly, Mum and Dad’s separation had nothing to do with you and absolutely had nothing to do with your sister’s issues. You will bear this grudge for a very long time. Please don’t. It’s not worth it. You’ll come to understand why Dad did what he did. Be patient. Love your sister, she needs it.

Love, 35 year-old Ren.

Renlish.com - Family
Walk like an Egyptian… homie!

Dear 13 year-old Ren,

Being utterly unable to learn Spanish or Italian will have no effect on your life in any way, no matter what your Italian or Spanish teachers tell you. You have no real interest in visiting Italy or Spain at any time of your life anyway.

Love, 35 year-old Ren.

(PS – It wouldn’t hurt if you practiced some key Japanese and Chinese phrases. You’ll be going to Japan and China. It’ll be your first trip out of Australia.)


Dear 14 year-old Ren,

Me again! Just a quick note… PAY ATTENTION IN TEXTILES CLASS!

You will discover cosplay at the age of 35, and that you actually do need those “stupid sewing skills” and you will have to rely on your poor mother instead. And she’s retired. She needs a break.

Cluelessly, your 35 year-old self.

(PS – Seriously girl. You’re going to DragonCon. You need this shit.)

Renlish.com - Steampunk Costume
Costumey glory that your mother will sew for you!

Dear 15 year-old Ren,
They shouldn’t have done that. You were not “asking for it”. You were taken advantage of. Don’t be scared. Please, tell someone.

Love and many hugs, 35 year-old Ren.

(PS – You will eventually learn that not all men are horrible, scary creatures. Most are perfectly nice. You will also learn that you like girls too.)


Dear 16 year-old Ren,

Remember the hard work you put in in Year 8 that impressed your English teacher so much that she insisted you go to that workshop with John Marsden and made that happen? Remember that? Your story was poignant and touching and just plain well written. You did extremely good work in the years that followed that. Until Year 11.

IGNORE MRS BELL.

She is a haggard old bitch who is so unsatisfied with her own life that she will bring other people down for her own amusement – unfortunately those people were her students. Even more unfortunate is that she specifically targeted creatively minded students like you. She will tell you that your work is awful and average and kill any enthusiasm you ever had for creative writing. It will take many years for you to get that back. It’s not worth it.

Love, 35 year-old Ren.

(PS – You will get that desire to write back while writing X-Men fanfiction with a friend in your mid 20s. You’ll also write a 50,000 word romance novel that involves time travel. And pirates.  You dag.)


Dear 17 year-old Ren,

Maths is not your greatest subject, accept it.  Move on.

Love, your 35 year-old self who knows you’ll end up working in finance anyway.


Dear 18 year-old Ren,

Yay! You finished highschool!

Yay! You got into uni!

Here’s a tip – GO TO YOUR CLASSES.  Get your degree. Finish what you start.

But you’re 18 now so you’re not going to listen to anyone anymore because you’re an “adult”.  So here’s what you’re going to do instead:

You’re going to waste days and days in the computer lab playing in chatrooms for eighteen hour stretches. You will fall for an American guy who is *cough*eighteen*cough* years your senior.  You’re going to ignore your lectures and start hanging out with your friends in the Student Union.  You’re going to support a friend who ends up working in a brothel. You’re going to drop out and start the long, arduous search for employment.

The next ten years are going to be pretty crap.

You’ll wish you listened to me!

Sincerely, your 35 year-old self.

(PS – Actually, it’s not all that bad. Lots of good stuff happens too.  Like you’ll meet a whole bunch of new people through blogging who become some of your best friends in the world. You’ll get into photography. You’ll become an aunty. You’ll rediscover your artistic talents. You’ll travel to places you never thought you’d go.)

Renlish.com - Ren and the Peanut
Peanut (aka the nephew) and me.

Dear 19 year-old Ren,

You know that really nice guy from WA you were introduced to?

Yeah, him.  You’ll marry him one day.  Just sayin’.

Love your 35 year-old-and-now-divorced self.

PS: You divorced him because you weren’t happy for years. Don’t fuck around, just leave.


Dear 29 year-old Ren,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

You know how you’re getting married and you want to get married in THAT RED DRESS?

Do it.

Don’t give a fuck about what anyone else thinks.

That dress will look awesome on you.

Cheers, 35 year-old Ren.

(PS – The dress you get will be gorgeous anyway, but definitely get your first choice. Regrets suck.)

(PPS – You might get another chance after all. GET THE RED DRESS.)

Renlish.com - Wedding Dress - Trash the Dress
Trashing the dress, medieval style.

Polymer Clay Adventures – Feathers and Dragons and Tentacle-y-things…

I’ve decided to dive back into the madness that is polymer clay. It’s been fun having a fiddle and a play with the squishy stuff again. I used to enjoy sculpting though it’s been almost two decades since I picked up any sort of clay. As a teenager I used to make cake toppers for my mother’s Christmas cakes and it was something that I always enjoyed in school, but 20 years means that there’s been a huge lapse in the skill set and polymer clay isn’t exactly like working with sugar past or mud clay. Polymer clay has a bit of a rebounding rubbery type texture when sculpting it which takes a little getting use to. Not to mention my fingers are all thumbs and shakiness which makes fine detail somewhat tricky.

I was inspired again by a challenge in the Australian Beading Forum group on Facebook, posted by my friend, the insanely talented Neva of Nifty Creations. What was it? Dungeons and Dragons, of course. Even though I’ve never really played the game except to steal a few ideas for some fantasy fiction I occasionally write, I was all over this.

The chance to make some fantasy themed jewellery? HELL YES! I had been wanting to do something like this for ages and it was just the push that I needed to get started.

The challenge came in the form of the requirement of using two different mediums with which to create a piece that went with the theme. Oh well, nothing like a challenge to inspire new learning! Since I am neither a wire-worker or a clayer, so naturally I decided that those two mediums would be the most fun to use!

And by “fun” I actually mean frustrating swear-word-inducing and almost-marriage-ending tantrums as a result of using…

Anyway…

I knew I needed some practice before I started, and of course I had to buy ALL THE THINGS that go with claying, so I marched on down to Spotlight and bought a week’s wages worth of stuff to add to the collection of bits and pieces that another friend had kindly donated for me to use.

And then I jumped in and started making stuff.

This was the first project I’d done a couple months ago:

Renlish.com - Clay Play - Feathers
Feathery, pearly goodness!

These feathers are based off a tutorial by Mandarin Ducky which you can find here on Youtube and they were lots of fun to make. Unfortunately that same day the manbeast was helping me open a packet of blades (for cutting clay) and ended up gashing the tops of his fingers quite badly. On his painting hand. He still hasn’t forgiven me.

After that successful first step, I wanted to try something a little more sculptural and opportunity came knocking when another friend posted a picture of a polymer clay and dicro cabochon pendant that she’d fallen in love with on Facebook. So I made her one…

Renlish.com - Polymer Clay - Tentacle-y Thing!
A rip-off of someone else’s idea.

I make absolutely no allusions to the fact that I am the original creator of this style of pendant. This is an exact copy (mostly) of the picture I saw on Facebook. I just happened to have the right sort of cabochon and the clay on hand to make it.

So all of that leads us to this, the Dragon Shade.

“The Dragon Shade is a powerful amulet said to be carved from the scale of a slain black shadow dragon. Its jewel holds the spirit of the beast which can be unleashed upon unwary heroes with an arcane spell.

(Which means if you come across anyone wearing this amulet, run. Run far, far away. Run very quickly.)”

Renlish.com - Polymer Clay - Dragon Shade Amulet
As evil as it is pretty.

Technical: Blood, sweat, tears, and many swear words. Also polymer clay sculpting and Viking weave as well as a bit of beaded chain and some coiled and oxidized copper end caps.

All by hand.

I need a freakin’ drink.

The Weekly Bindi – Week 14 to 18, Cheater’s Edition

Ok, so I lost count with my Weekly Bindis.

In my defence, I had a lot going on. I went on a whimsical weekend with my husband and I was busily preparing for my epic-but-very-short trip to the USofA – from which I am still recovering after getting back a couple days ago already.

But for now, here is a collection edition of The Weekly Bindi. And by collection I mean cheating with one session when my cat was being ultra cute shortly before I left on my adventure.

Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“Zzzzzzzzz…”

Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“You, again with the camera?”
Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“Can’t you just pet me? Here – here’s my tummy… Rub it. You know you want to.”
Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“No belly rubs?”
Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“Fine… Then prepare for…”
Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“THE FUZZY CHIN!”
Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“She resisted the fuzzy chin. She is more powerful than I thought…”
Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“Fuck it, goin’ back to sleep.”
Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“Ooohh, NOW you finally pet me!”
Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“Wait… where you go?”

The Weekly Bindi – Week 13 – Of Bindis and Bald Spots

I know that I have fallen behind with my Weekly Bindi.  Pictures have been taken, I just haven’t been able to get on to post them.

See, I am going bald.

Slowly.

Painfully slowly.

But steadily.

It’s a slow-burn sort of agony in the same way that orgasms are a slow-burn sort of agony, only NOWHERE near as much fun.

But it’s that sort of loss where I can see it and very few other people can.  Those who see me every day can see it.

And a few days ago I actually discovered a bald patch that’s appeared.  It’s not completely bald as such, but only the ultra-fine baby hairs that never grow are there. Cue breakdown.

Yep. Very little hair there.
Yep. Very little hair there. But don’t my cheekbones look awesome?

I am not a vain person. I try not to be. But in my life, my one redeeming feature was my hair. Long, naturally honey-blonde, and dense. It’s always been fine but very dense. Not anymore, sadly.

For the past ten or so years, I’ve had a handful bouts of what is called Telogen Effluvium. It’s the natural process of hair-loss but it’s dialed up to eleven. Sadly, each time this has happened, my hair has never fully recovered even though, technically, it’s supposed to grow back as it normally would as hair follicles move out of the resting phase. What has prompted these bouts of effluvium has always been a mystery to me. I know the first time was a reaction to some medication and massive stress. These subsequent times… I am clueless.

And I’m stressing over it.

And of course, the vicious cycle continues apace.

Needless to say, it’s been a distraction.

Anyway, here’s a picture of Bindi and I, cuddling on the couch while watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

"I know you're taking pictures again, Mum."
“I know you’re taking pictures again, Mum.”

The Weekly Bindi – Week 12… and corsets… and OMGI’MGOINGTOAMURRIKA!

Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“I’m cuter than that kitten you’re watching on Youtube, right mum? RIGHT MUM?!”

I actually can’t remember what video I was watching, but I was cackling away and then all of a sudden I felt the SCRAMBLE-THUD of Bindi on the bed. She started on my hip and slowly worked her way up my back until she was within petting reach and purring happily into my ear as I obliged her.

And then of course I flipped the webcam on and took a couple of shots. She didn’t mind so much. It’s cold now and I was the warmest spot in the house.

Anyway… last weekend I went to OzComicCon at the Melbourne Exhibition Buildings in Carlton in search of all things geeky and nerdy and, joy of joys, I found it! I have become somewhat obsessed with cosplay after my first experience playing at SupaNova a couple months ago and I’m now part of Facebook cosplay group where some local talent show off their amazing work and works in progress for up-coming conventions.

Sadly I didn’t get any pictures at OzComicCon because I was simply unprepared for the amount of people there and the crush inside the exhibition hall but the bro in-law and I are planning a visit to Armageddon to take pictures of the awesome cosplayers that show up there. And I know there will be many!

The other reason I went to OzCC was to go looking for bits to add to my steampunk costume.

Because…

Renlish.com - DragonCon
DragonCon. ATLANTA, GEORGIA, USofA, BABY!!!!

I am going to DragonCon!

I’m going to AMURRIKA!

Yes, due to the extreme kindness and generosity of a dear, dear friend, I have found myself America-bound for one of the biggest conventions in that country.

AND I AM STOKED.

Because I don’t really have the body to be comfortable cosplaying most of the characters that I like, I am sticking with what makes me look good and feel good and to that end, I’m joining the American steampunk ranks and revisiting my steampunk costume. Steampunk is huge over in the States so I’m hoping to see some amazing stuff at DragonCon.

As my original corset is looking somewhat sad at the moment, I decided to go corset hunting at OzCC with one of my mates and my mother and, at Wonderland Corsets, found the most glorious corset I think I have ever seen and when the helpful shop lady strapped me into it, it looked like it was made to fit me. I had a perfect hour-glass, my boobs looked awesome and my back-cleavage all but vanished. I bought it immediately. Who wouldn’t?

Renlish.com - Corset of Wonderment
Steel-boned gorgeousness.

I cannot wait to wear this baby out with my new, pimped-out costume.

The Weekly Bindi (and friend) – Week 11

Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi

The only way you can see Dugite’s stripes is if you put false ones on her. She is actually a stripy tabby.

“…She can only disguise, and only for those eager to believe whatever comes easiest. She cannot turn cream into butter, but she can make a lion look like a manticore to eyes that want to see a manticore. Just like she put a false horn on a real unicorn so they can see the unicorn. I know you. If I were blind, I would know what you are…” Schmendrick, The Last Unicorn, Peter S Beagle

The Weekly (back to)Bindi – Week 9

Another sort-of selfie with the Bindipuss this evening.

She was just being so cuddly that I didn’t want to move to go get my camera, so I turned the laptop around and this happened:

Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“Mmmm… a little to the right…”
Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“OMG I LUV DIS LAP!”
Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
“Waaaaaait a minnit! You’re taking pictures again, aren’t you?”

Oh yes… Yes, I am, Bindi. And we’re only up to week 9.

The Weekly Bindi – Week 7

My cat has a weird habit.

She likes to be with me.

That in itself is not weird but the fact that we’ve got a whole house of beds and couches and open-shelf wardrobes with lots of comfy warm clothes to snuggle into and get hair all over and yet… she chooses to curl up on boxes or plastic bags or guitar amplifiers instead.

I’m in the computer room right now and where is she?

Curled up on the box my new keyboard came in, right behind me.

Renlish.com - The Weekly Bindi
Comfortable Cat is Uncomfortably Comfortable.

Both very sweet and infuriating.