To Santa, or not to Santa?

I was just reading this blog entry by the hilarious Alice Bradley (of finslippy) and I was thinking about the whole conundrum parents face in the Santa fable.

As a child, I remember Christmas as utterly magical. The dull glow of the colored lights on the tree, the anticipation, and the indescribable leap of my heart when I'd see my stocking - limp and forlorn the night before, now misshapen and bursting with untold delights. Diving into it, til my entire head was buried within, squealing in delight with each new discovery. As an adult, Mum has told me how she spent literally all year collecting bits and pieces for our pillow-case sized stockings and would slowly build up a stash of quirky, cheap, yet novel items.

When Finn was a baby, J and I discussed our stance and decided that we would go ahead with the Santa tale, but perhaps only make the present he delivered a small thing, and the main things from us. This way, we felt, when the truth was revealed, it would not be so disappointing, or such a big deal.

It doesn't seem to be happening that way the last 2 years, though. Santa keeps bringing a kick arse present! I wanted to recreate the magic for Finn, that I felt as a kid. That has made Christmas eve remain my favourite day/night of the entire year, in fact, I still regret not marrying that day though it would have been a logistical nightmare for our guests!

I guess I feel that children have that innocence and purity for such a short time, they truly believe in real magic for what is really the blink of an eye, that I don't want to be the one to take that away early. I want to indulge it, stretch it out and enjoy it myself, too, as a parent.

Finn enjoys the Santa idea, he is a little annoyed he cannot seem to catch sight of the elves that I see monitoring his behaviour (especially when he is having a tanty - yes I unashamedly I use bribery as well as 'lie' about Santa's existence, I really am going to hell); but he is not totally caught up in Santa - or even Christmas for that matter. He is excited, but I suspect he would be the same kind of excited with or without the Santa concept.

I understand some parents feel it is 'lying' to the child and so tell them the truth. Some of these kids blurt it and ruin it for others, some manage not to. But what DOES get my goat a bit, is when the parents try to limit these instances of blurted thoughtlessness by telling their children it is 'an idea that some like to believe is real.' I feel patronised by that. It irritates me. I understand the intentions are well placed, but it just feels like these kids are being told some children are slow and like to be a bit silly... Perhaps its just me.

We all like to do what we feel is right and best for our children, and so I don't like to judge others for their decision on the Santa thing, but I dislike that attitude towards those of us who DO decide to perpetuate it.

Anyway, I have presents to wrap, and biscuits to bake with Finn so that we can leave some out for Santa to devour tomorrow night. Merry Christmas, everyone!

I'm so excited...

...and I just can't hide it!

I got approved into the research unit of my choice for next year! Hurrah! There are pretty strict entry requirements in that you need a Distinction average and formal approval and it took a while to hear back from the unit chair, but eventually I did indeed get approval and my enrolment forms into the Master of Arts (Writing & Literature) are being processed as I type. So exciting!

What this means is 20,000 words, as I chose to do one enormous unit, rather than split it over a year or do smaller ones. So its a challenge, thats for sure. 16,000 words of creative and 4000 critical. It will involved a great deal of discipline to make sure I write often and a lot, not leave it all til late. In fact, I already have an idea that I love, and am beginning to research it thoroughly.

Its a bonus that I have the summer before I officially start to play around with it and see if it develops okay before I commit to it as my idea/proposal. the idea is complicated, but has a lot of potential.

So right now, its back to researching 18th century England (one of a few time periods I need to look at!) Shine ya shoes, guv'ner?

We went Wigglin!!!

The Wiggles really do put on a good show. Its always entertaining and energetic, and theres always things to amuse the parents as well as the kids (no kid would have understood either the My Sharona or MC Hammer references!)

Finn is Wiggles mad, has been for some time now, and after yesterday, is somehow MORE so. He got into it more this year than last, and was SO excited beforehand. It was really lovely taking him to something he got so much enjoyment out of. He is also a really good kid to take places. He doesn;t run off or get too hyper, e does as he is told and he behaves brilliantly. We had to walk about 15mins or more from the carpark and he didn't complain though it was quite a ways for little legs to walk. I am so proud of him, he really is a good kid! So lucky!

Our seats were fab, second row on the side, and so only a couple of feet from the wiggles. Finn of course, doesn't get that whole concept of good and bad seats, but I do! I always enjoy that! So, some pics:

Anthony pulling an odd face for a reason I cannot remember -



They couldn't find Jeff, but he was the weasel popping (!!) -



Sam Wiggle (I reckon hes a bit of cute, is Sammy!)



Benny, a wiggly dancer... Finn adores Benny -



Murray in his "rockin' threads" -



Toot Toot, Chugga Chugga -



Finn at the end, having had the time of his life -

Tis the season...

... To be unwell. I got a cold 2 weeks ago, came on from the grief/stress of the failed IVF; as it started to ease, Finn hurt his arm and I got all stressed out about that and I ended up with a cough/chest infection as well. So its been 2 weeks of fairly heavy sickness. Have truly had enough, very very over it. Finn had xrays and such but was nothing serious in the end, just a strain of some sort and after a week it has returned to normal and he is using it again. Poor bugger had his vaccinations as well and has contracted my cough and cold, so hes had a tough time as well. Its been intense!

Getting ourselves ready for xmas, Finn wrote to Santa last week and asked for a drum kit. Santa, silly old fool that he is, has decided to grant the wish. Crazy! Still have a stocking to fill, and need to decide what he gets from his parents - minor thing. How many days have I got again? 18? Best get organised.

J and I are getting one another a ticket to Frank Woodleys new solo show next year. Not sure what else I will get him... His birthday is this week and I have his presents bought but now need to get paper to wrap them, card, something from finn etc. Would help if I was 100%, but it all feels like a super effort at the moment being this sick.

Finn and I are off to see The Wiggles next week. WAAAAY back at the start of this blog I wrote how I got tickets for us and my brother and niece. For some reason at the time, I was sad about our crap seats so bought 2 good seats as well, just from sheer frustration. I must have known something because brother bailed last week and I had to sell the 4 together (not quite making the money back :( ) - thank god I hung on to the 2 second row seats or I would have been really pissed off. We have gone the last 2 years and had front or second row as well, Finn loves it. Hes so wiggle mad. He is 4 now, so I think our wiggling years are not far from over, so best make the most of it!! It is always hectic though, so not looking forward to that part.

Looking forward to camping over xmas/new year down at Aireys Inlet. Need the getaway! Having fun buying new gear as well, its fun. I think the boys are having a test run in the backyard tonight, means I get the house to myself.. bliss!

The worst nightmare I have ever had..

Last night I had a dream that today, I can't shake off. It was the worst dream I have had in my life, and believe me, I have had some doozies.
For some obscure reason, my son, who is 4, was convicted and sentenced to death because he had accidentally shot someone somehow. Insane I know, but it was a dream!
So I had to watch him be injected, and feel the panic, knowing he was about to die, and I couldn't reverse it. The panic and terror is indescribable. They told me he would start vomiting soon and then would die. I was holding him, screaming, looking for antidote, hoping vomiting would mean he would vomit the poison out. I feel sick just typing this and I am already crying.
I then said I had to leave the room, that I couldn't watch him actually die. But then I came back, and they removed the plastic hood from his head, and his face and lips, were all covered in sweat, from being in the plastic hood. And he was still, not quite dead.

Oh my god. i think I am going to go and throw up.

Its all over. For now.

And I am a postgrad! I have finished uni for the year and expect to pass the final assignments without too much stress, and so have satisfied the requirements for the Grad Dip of Literature. Hurrah!!

So when results come out they will process my articulation into the masters with the full advanced standing and I will have just 4 units to complete. I want to do them all in one in a research unit. That will require writing a 20,000 ish word fiction piece and a 4000 word exegesis. I can do that twice over on infertility with the interviews, diaries, and information I already have. But I feel like I should take the opportunity to challenge myself while I have support to do so.

Problem is, what to write about!? I am vaguely inspired, but also sort of not completely so. I have a few ideas, but nothing that is begging me to write. I just don't know what to attempt. I have to submit a proposal soonish to get into the research project, so I need to work it out NOW. I also need a Distinction average across 2 units, so waiting for my Fic B mark with baited breath!

Also, the unit chair that I enrol through, seems to be pushing me toward doing half semester 1 and half semester 2, but I want to do it ALL semester one (also an option); because if the IVF works, any of them; I could be pregnant and with a small babe semester 2! And if it doesn't work, then we could be onto cycle 3 or 4 of IVF and finding it increasingly difficult to cope with. Will see what happens when the prospective supervisor returns and it begins to take shape some more. I will put my case to them then.

I have loved this years study, it has flown. I have learned an enormous amount, and my writing has improved far beyond what I expected. Its been fantastic, I wish that I could keep going with it. The research will be good though. Anyone got some inspiration for me?!

Tough questions

So, we have already had the questions about why some people have brown skin, and the toughey about death. So the other day he asked if we could have a brown baby please. I had to explain that babies are a little bit of their mums and a little of their dads, and so, we could only have "skinny" skin (his term) babies. Someone asked how I would ever explain the answer to where do babies come from, given I will need to discuss science laboratories and test tubes.

Today, he piped up with "boys like girls and girls like boys." And, me being me, I decided to delve further. So I asked why he said that and got the usual "I don't know" response. I said that mostly that was the case, but not always. That sometimes boys like boys and girls like girls, it depends, we are all different... which then led to a discussion about how all our voices are different. Go figure.

He likes to give me the big questions, this child! Where does he get this stuff from?

Hmmm

Not sure what to make of this, its a bit odd. I was telling Finn a made up story last night about a King and a Queen and their daughter the princess. Anyway, at one point, I said that the King died. Finn asked why, and I said "Oh he just got very old, and thats what happens when you are really, really old!" And he got all teary and said that he didn't want to die, and didn't want Dadda or Mama to die. I replied that wouldn't happen for a long, long time, and that he wouldn't die for maybe 100 years yet! Lightened it sort of jokey etc.. But it disturbs me that A) he understands the concept of death enough to know its upsetting and B) is concerned about it.

He is 4. How is that even possible? I really don't know what to make of it nor how to address it. He hasn't really known anyone who has died. Funny little thing he is, far too intelligent for his own good! He was fine after it, hasn't been mentioned since, just interesting. Poor possum!

My Brother

It is only fair, after going on about my big sister, that I now go on about my little brother. If my sister and I argued as kids and are close as adults, Ray and I are the reverse. We had a close relationship as kids, and then as adults not so much. Or we do, but we both have to really work at it.

We clash. We are both tempestuous, fiery, hotheads. I have tamed and calmed mine over the years, maybe his will come. When he was a baby, he was doted on by Shell and I, this golden curly haired angelic little boy - so cute. We used to go to opposite ends of the hallway and call him to see which of us he would go to. LOL. And we'd make him choose whose "mate" he was going to be each day.

He met his now wife when they were just 14 or 15 at high school. They had a mostly on, but sometimes off again relationship and are now married with 2 children - a 1 year old and a 6 week old. He and his wife used to spend every new years eve with us when we lived in Warrnambool. It became a tradition, and we had many a good night! We all got along so well then. J and he were great mates and in fact, Ray was best man for J at our wedding.

I don't know when it all got hard. I don't know when it started being difficult and I don't know why. Maybe it was a result of Ray's temper and my infertility (and thus impatience, and low tolerance). I found out they were pregnant with their first child literally the day after a negative AC cycle and so their entire pregnancy was hard for me always thinking I could have been... It wasn't their fault of course, but it was hard. And hearing they were pregnant with number 2 fairly soon after was difficult as well. I think its put distance between us because they don't understand it, and I find it difficult. Add to that his temper and tantrums that I refuse to tolerate, and it makes a good relationship hard to maintain.

That said, I would do anything I could for them in a heartbeat, and I know he would do the same for me. We still love one another, and think a lot of each other. In fact, when I told him the other week that J and I had decided to return to treatment and give IVF a go, he was absolutely over the moon for us. That meant so much to me. He has a good heart, my brother, and would always do whatever he could for us, without hesitation.

I find sibling relationships interesting given Finn has none. I worry he misses out on the things that I have. I know they are no guarantee, but I feel he is being ripped off. Its hard to swallow. I think as a kid, you need an ally in the world growing up. Just gets me down a bit. Even if we have success now we are looking at 5+ years age gap and that might be too much to have any decent relationship anyway. I don't know. As adults it won't though, and thats important for when J and I cark it.

Ok, getting morbid now! I am really lucky to have the siblings I do. I'd not change either of them for the world.

My sister

I was surprised this week, when I told a friend my sister was coming to visit, that she didn't know I had a sister! I realised though, this is a good thing. I suspect I have mentioned my brother and our run ins before, and I hadn't mentioned my sister because we don't have run ins!

My sister is older than I am by 3 years. She is gorgeous... imagine growing up though, the ugly ducking (or at least the chubbier duckling!) with this goddess older sister. It was tough!! I know she reads this blog, but Shell, if you are reading, you are not allowed to mention this entry to me. I don't handle emotional mushy moments well, but I need to tell everyone how cool my sister is!

When we we were growing up, we shared a room until I was about 16. Oh my god. Sharing a room with my sister was just.. lets face it.. challenging. I remember when I was 14 and she was 17 and she was a social butterfly - aside from parties and the usual stuff, she was also doing debutante rehearsals and was involved in a play that had her rehearsing during the week as well. I actually developed a sleeping problem because I would work myself into a state trying to get to sleep, but knowing that even if I did, she would come home late, turn lights on, wander about the room making noise, doing her thing... oblivious to the fact that I was trying to sleep!!! Mind you, I also recall us both waiting til late at night, then sneaking a shared cigarette and opening the window and spraying perfume to cover the smell. (When Mum reads this we are SO busted!)

Once we got separate rooms (for some reason I had the power to choose which room I wanted, but she made me choose which when they were still at slab stage, because she wanted to bury something in the concrete in hers...) but from then on we got on MUCH better!!!

She was the cool older sister. She was popular, she was trendy, she was beautiful and she had LOADS of friends. This helped me out immensely, and my schoolyard stock rose in value just because I was her sister. No one would mess with me, and risk getting her and her friends offside. Very handy, let me tell you.

What was even better, was that when she got her licence at 18, and I was a lowly 15 or so, she included me. She and I would often get in the car and drive the 30 minutes to the closest McDonalds, get something from the drive through and then sit in the car in the carpark and eat it because we were too lazy to get out of the car and go and sit in. She would go and do things with her older male and female friends, and she would often let me tag along. I think I was at a weird place at the time with my own friends. My closest friend had started a serious relationship with a guy that I hated and who hated me, and I felt a bit lost. You know, to take your nerdy little sister with you and your cool friends and look out for her... at that age... I dont think many would do that. I was pretty lucky, and it meant a lot to me.

Rachelle and I are connected with rubber bands. Sometimes they stretch and we can go a little while without contact, and then we snap back and spend lots of time together. There is no question we adore one another. This is one special woman. She came to visit this week, and brought this enormous bunch of lillies for me. She "gets' the infertility stuff, and she always knows the right things to say to make me feel less alone, and more supported. She and Finn have a relationship that he doesn't have with anyone else in his life. Its hard to put into words... he absolutely ADORES her. He is completely smitten and thinks she is this magical, amazing, wonderful creature that was put on earth just for him to enjoy and love. Good old aunty LoLoshe!

I'd be lost without my sister. I really would! She takes care of me, she looks out for me. Not just as a nerdy teenager, not just as someone finding her way in the world, or having troubles conceiving.. she looks out for me in that way that only someone that is connected to your very soul can.

Bit of a ramble

Today I seem to be thinking a lot of the friend I lost recently. It has been almost 3 months now, the first month was weird and sad, then things improved a bit and today I feel sad again. Its because I had another dream about him last night. Just after he died, I had two really weird dreams about him. He had come to spend time with me/us (my sister and mum too) and always had to "return" to death I guess? at the end of the dream. The second one we just sort of hung out and chatted and spent time together. It was so good, because we had not done that in years which made the way I felt about losing him weird. I felt like I shouldn't be grieving someone I had not spent time with in a number of years. I felt stupid for it. But, he was someone I admired and respected a lot (again snort at my choice of words because our initial relationship was based on hatred!!)

Argh. this really is a ramble. All out of order!

When we first met, he and his brother and mates used to give me a hard time at school and i HATED them. Then when I was about 16, my sister became good friends with him, and I came home from school to find this bully in my house. Imagine how that went down!!! But god, he not only made up for it, he went the other direction. I remember he wrote me a long apology letter, and during my final couple of years of high school, he was like an older brother to me, at the same parties etc. Stirring me, but in a good natured way, and looking out for me.

Anyway, given I moved away after high school, I didn't see him much, but my sister did, and Mum was friends with his Mum, and often updated me on his latest. I was always interested in hearing about him, I cared about him. He was a cheeky bugger, funny, and a bit of a ratbag. I really did think of him as an older brother figure. Anyway in that second dream I had not long after the funeral where we spent time together I thanked him in the dream, for taking the time to do that for me, and said it had meant a lot to me and he said he was privileged to be able to do it. I dunno what that means, after life privileges?! I don't even believe in an afterlife, so it was weird. But comforting, and sad too. Because I missed him more.

Last night I had another dream, nothing much different. Less poignant, more normal. But today, I miss him again. And I just wanted to ramble a bit, and think about him, and remember him. :(

Ode to mothers...

Clever AND funny!!!

The Apple Reporter

Finn has created a game called The Apple Reporter. Now I have NO idea what the apple reporter actually is, nor where it came from. I asked him what an apple reporter was and he said "a apple reporter, reports apples." Well, der mama.

Anyway, the game is, you dress up in J's big sunhat, these groucho marx style glasses and nose, and you hold some papers, hunch yourself over and tighten your lips and shuffle into the room claiming to be the apple reporter. The other two people do naught but piss themselves laughing. Frankly, its all you can do when you see the apple reporter in action. Its the funniest thing I have ever seen, Finn looks hilarious in the glasses/nose and I cry laughing.

Here are some pictures of the apple reporter:

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Close up:

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Here is J being the apple reporter also:

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I hope they make you laugh as much as they do me!

More ttp

Sorry, I need more about this song, its just that good.

if fate holds a purpose
you feel fate will lend a hand
it saves face deserts you
it deals grace from underhand
and every time the past's awakened
every time your soul starts breaking

you can't stand the distance
you can't stand to not be afraid
you won't show resistance
you can't seem to run away
because every time the past's awakened
every time your soul starts breaking

in the face of the fire
you see angels conspire
will they hear you desires
will they stop your soulbreaking
could they stop your soulbreaking

you won't say you're hurting
you still dream in the undertow
just a safe place a haven
just a kind face just to overthrow
every time the past's awakened
every time your soul starts breaking

in the face of the fire
you see angels conspire
will they hear your desires
will the stop your soulbreaking
could they stop your soulbreaking
will they stop your soulbreaking
could they stop your soulbreaking
please love

every time the past's awakened
every time my soul starts breaking


Music that moves

I've always liked music, ever since I was a little girl standing up in church at the age of about 4 screaming "Turn me loose!" at the top of my lungs, music has always made me happy. I never really played (playing skip to the lou and other daggy songs with the even daggier primary school principal on guitar and belting out some god knows what tune on a tenahorn also primary school = uninspiring and so not cool).

Of course as a teenager, music played a big role in my life from teenybopper boy bands (woot, new kids!) through to tunes that got me over many a broken heart, and the obligatory angry tunes... there is always something to fit what you feel right? Music is wonderful that way.

It wasn't really until I was an adult though, that I found music that actually moved me. The really sort of connected with my soul. This was not just music I liked or enjoyed or thought was clever etc. This was something I had not ever experienced, nor truly believed existed! I guess that kind of thing would be individual. One womans moving music is anothers grating screech perhaps.

When I discovered the tea party, I discovered music that blew me away. A few of theirs in particular, stir emotions deep inside every single time I hear them. Psychopomp has this sad undertone of desperation and pain to me; Save Me is like an intense yearning, and Soulbreaking just clicks into something inside me that nothing else has ever discovered. And that is just a start, there are many more.

Was I devastated when they split up? Sure, I think I all but cried! But theres still all those albums that exist already, that have so much more left to explore on them, even after hundreds of listens. I think I was more pissed off. Jeff Martin, heretofore a bit of a hero of mine, fell from grace in a bad way, and I don't think I have ever quite forgiven him. I am sure his heart bleeds. I've not really listened to his solo stuff, even though I have it. I just think now... hes a bit of a jerk really. And that influences how the music feels to me - even the ttp stuff if I let it.

I am positively champing at the bit though, to hear what The Art Decay has to offer. Yeah Jeff could write and had that mystic thing going, his voice was soulful - but so much of what the ttp is and was to me, is in the work of Jeff and Stuart. I cannot wait to see what the two conjure up between them now.

Oh so tired

I am exhausted. Emotionally drained! I have had a sick little boy for almost a week now, and we are all so over it. Nothing worse than him in tears because he is sick of being sick, poor love. Has missed 3 days of school now too and its the last week of term so thats shitful also. Admittedly at times like this I want to yank him out just to keep him well so the holidays are good timing in that sense.

Uni is going okay, I have 4 assignments left for the year (and grad dip will be mine!!!) - I have one in very early stages of info collecting, two half finished and one not even thought about. So not too bad really. Its just reviewing I have to think about now. Only received one mark back, so its a tense time not knowing how I am doing. It won't match last semesters marks, too much more is going on.

I am less motivated after only a 3 week or so break, as opposed to 3 months at years end, I had that tonislitis that knocked me out and have had Finn sick as well. Plus a bunch of other stuff to think about and so on, its just been hectic. No matter, so long as I pass. And I need at least a credit for Fiction to be able to do research to finish off a masters next year.

What else? Not a great deal. Just plodding along :)

Funny, and so clever

I decided to get Finn back and ask HIM hard questions and asked why am I his mama:

F: Because you do things properly.
M: What things?
F: umm. You wash my clothes and other peoples clothes.
M: What else?
F: Iron them.
M: Yeah?
F: Buy Dadda a hat.
M: what else?
F: Eat tea with me and dadda. Thats why you're my mama.

LOL. How cute! So thats it. Thats all being Finns Mama is! I said to him: Who looks after you when you're sick? Who cuddles you when you're sad? Who reads books to you and gets your food? Who loves you?!?

He said: You, you, you, you.

ZACLY!

ratbag.


Spoke to one of Finn's teachers today when I collected him from school, and she said that he is doing so well - they have the learning to read words in sets and he has pretty much mastered the first set.

She said that as of next term, they will start him on readers!!!!! She said "he is probably ready now, but we'll spend the next 2 weeks setting the foundations a little more then next term move forward." I am so excited and proud of him! He is just barely 4 for goodness sake! Apparently, some of the third year cycle 1's say "he is only a first year, how come he gets to do that!?" And she says to them "well, because he is ready to, isn;t he?!"

I am so proud of my clever little boy!

Oh my!

So slack!!! Where oh where have I been? Not even anywhere interesting. Just here! Had tonsilitis which was a bastard, then spent ages catching up on house and uni stuff. Doing so-so with uni this semester, certainly not as well as last which is a shame, but life has been busier. Such is life!

My new nephew was born on Fathers Day, he is a tiny little thing, very sweet of course! Finn thought he was great and wanted to take him home. Was kinda hard explaining he wasn't ours to take home and why we didn't have a baby. Hard being the understatement to end all understatements. Hellish. But we're moving on from it all ok.

Friday night we went to the small mans first ever school concert. God, how cute was it!?!? Just gorgeous. I beamed from ear to ear the entire time, so proud!! Just a really cool experience. He was shy and nervous at first, grinning and cheekily waving at us, was into it by the end though, bless! Took some pics but none were great, took video also. Here is a pic though -



Today he and I went and spent a sunny afternoon in Lygon Street eating cake and icecream and catching up with Lalee girl. Was so good to see her, and Finn thought she was "mui loco", rofl. Well.. she is! :P Its why I love her!

Not much else, some... cool decisions and stuff afoot but not getting into it yet. All in good time. So.. anyone want to write a life writing thing for me because I am dreading it. Not real good at that, it is my big worry - for this week anyway.

My son is such a boy.

I am lazy so pasting a copy of an email to a friend sent today:

I am still cringing each swallow in pain, still unable to sleep for more than 30mins without waking because of a painful razorblade type swallow, and this morning I even threw up. What fun it is. Actually, it was sort of funny. When Finn has been sick in the past (actually just a big TMI gross warning for the next paragraph, skip ahead if need be); he calls it 'doing white' because, well, much milk does he drink. Anyhoo, this morning I said to him "oh god Finn I think I need to do white, can you grab me something" and he came racing back with a container for me (bless his cotton socks) and I proceeded to make use of it. With each hurl, I hear this chuckle and look to see he is like a audience member, on the end of my bed, watching with glee, giggling every time I hurl. He thought it was the best! Such a BOY. Sigh. Its very hard to be sick when you have someone finding it so fun to watch, let me tell you. He was lovely looking after me though.

So anyhoo, I've lost my train of thought entirely. I am feeling somewhat vaguely, maybe remotely better on some level of which I am unsure. I think. I wish and long for much sleep. I write in odd ways. I am delirious. With love, me xx

Sorry - will write soon. ish.

Still fricken sick as a dog with this agonising tonsilitis. It just will not ease up. I have so much to do, blind panic and not up to doing a thing. Have not slept properly in almost a week and am so exhausted. PLEASE let me get better soon :( :(

Argghh!!

Officially freaking out.

I have 2-3 weeks worth of fiction exercises and life writing exercises to do, am supposed to start posting 1000w x 3 reviews in draft form, I have life writing due next week and then other stuff in the 2 weeks following and I am so behind.

I am juggling a sick child, school runs, uni, family stuff, household chores and now I have tonsilitis and I only ever get that when am badly run down and stressed. I could cry!! I am freaking out.

Mum was going to come down tomorrow and take Finn for the day, but she can't, because SIL is in hospital with high BP and just a few days left til having her baby - another stress for me in itself.

I am tired and achey and just want to sleep but have so much to do. J - bless him - has offered to pay to get a cleaner in once a week or fortnight which would be a godsend. So whilst I have been sitting here with sick boy, and too sick to concentrate and spending too much time on Facebook, I thought I might as well do something useful, so have started researching and tracing my family tree. It is so very interesting. More on that next time, must make a start on at least one review draft. :(

Pardon my fainéance

And admittedly, I did look to the thesaurus for that word. To save you hunting, it means I am: n. An irresponsible idler; a sluggard. Fairly accurate wouldn't you say?!

Anyhoo, so where have I been? Nowhere, really. Completely lacking in motivation and with naught to report is all. I am slowly slipping behind in weekly tasks for uni also, and need desperately to catch up but just don't seem to have the time when I DO feel like it, or the inclination when I have the time. This is not good. I did do an exercise for travel, and finished the assignment for same. I have an assignment due each week now for a few weeks and also need to be posting drafts for others. It is a tad stressful to say the least.

Yesterday I became godmother to precious baby Jack, which was pretty cool. It was a good day, and Megs outdid herself in all the finer details (cake, little gingerbread in the letters JACK to take home, she made the gown even, for goodness sake!) One very clever cookie that girl.

So, have I written anything? Not a sausage. Second semester is painful, the difference between 3 months and 3 weeks break I guess. I haven't even started any of the creative pieces for this semester. Sensing a touch of panic? Me too. Need to get these next three assignments out of the way. I swear I will work this week. At LEAST one assignment finished. Promise. Mostly.

And still this entry is scattered! Hopeless!

Here. Sort of.

Just busy with uni and school and stuff. Will do an update soon I promise!

ETA: Emma is offering free digi-scrapping projects (including forum & blog stuff, and photo xmas cards etc). She does amazing work (just see her blog banner and posts for samples - awesome!). Get some while its free, she will be able to charge the earth soon!! See her blog entry HERE for details.

Another photo post

And another birthday over for my boy! He had a great time on Saturday at his wiggly party. I am just going to start with some more photos from the school birthday thing, from mums camera (her photos are better than mine!)



And another (isn't he so cute!?)






Yummy cake!



Wiggle birthday boy - hooray!!



School mates!



Party time -



Presents!



Cake - I was not overly happy with it. Did the job but meh.



Blowing out candles with Dad (My fave pic!)



Lego - Woot, had fun building this with Finn!



And finally, what he has been taking to bed and playing with a lot!



He also got the friends figurines (captain, wags, dorothy and henry); dora boots and swiper toys, wiggles books, wiggles pop up book, gumboots, a top, an awesome wiggles watch that I REALLY want to keep myself... Stickers (he is sticker mad!), crayons, coloring books (wiggles of course!); a cd/book, pencil case, money... and I always forget stuff... As I said, he got far too much!

He had a bloody good day, and spent yesterday playing with it all and said last night "today was a great day mum!" Today is a stay at home and catch up day. He starts his 4 mornings this week so that will be interesting!!

Happy Birthday Babe-a-licious!

Hooray! My babe is 4! Actually, not until 7pm on the dot. About now, I was just in a whole lotta hurt!

This morning we had presents - first the guitar. I asked him to smile and he said "rockstars don't smile mama." Touche.



Then the Wiggles shirt; he posed this without prompt:



Then I took him to school and do some shopping and cleaning up. Mum came and then she and I and J went to Finn's school for the birthday celebration they do. We had previously given them a photo of Finn at each year (so newborn, 1, 2, 3) and they strung them in a vertical line down some ribbon, and these hang on the wall. Today, when we got there, all the kids were in a circle (including Finn) and we sat down and on the floor in the middle of the circle was his sun:



The teacher held up his newborn photo and they all talked about what babies are like at that age, what they eat (milk) what they do (nothing much!) and so on. Then Finn took this globe:



And the class all sang: "The earth goes around the sun, the earth goes around the sun. Around, around, around, around, the earth goes around the sun." Finn walked around the sun with the globe to show the passing of one year.



Then they talked about what 1 year olds were like and asked J and I was Finn crawling? Standing? etc. Then they sang again and Finn walked again; likewise for three and then they did a last one for four and talked about what he might do now he is 4. Next they little candles on the cake and sang Happy Birthday and he blew them out and cut the cake. He also then handed out the pieces to us and to the other kids which he loved doing!



Then he came and sat with us, we held his photo strand and they took a photo that will be added on now, as his 4 year old photo. Afterwards, we came home and Nanny and Pa gave him his next present. A kickarse slot car/bike track thingamy. Took a while to set it up, but its a huge hit!



Then he spent ages playing with J reenacting various wiggly scenes in his Jeff shirt and pretending to play his guitar with his mouth (albeit the wrong way around!)



At about 5pm, his Uncle and Auntie called in with little Shelby his cousin, so he had a blast playing with them for an hour as well. They have just left, and we are off to get something yummy for tea - Finn's choice of course. He has had some lovely messages and calls and emails from so many beautiful people, all of us have such gorgeous people in our lives to think of him, and us. Thank you!!!!!

Soon cake and mercifully, bed - I'm pooped! And we haven't even hit Saturday party day yet!

Rock on!!

Tomorrow marks 4 years...



Finn post haircut today, looking somewhat unimpressed...

Dearest Finn,

And so, your fourth year comes to an end. It has been a busy year, it doesn’t feel too much like it has flown as it has in years gone by. A lot has happened. Just after your last birthday, we took a family holiday for a few days to Cowes at Phillip Island. We had a great time at the beach, the playground, seeing the penguins, koalas and Churchill island. Was a really nice break, and we named it Finnfest06 because it really was all about you and what you would enjoy! This year (Finnfest07?) we are off to Tassie!

You are a funny boy, from as early as 3 you were memorizing entire books and reciting them back to us in their entirety. These were not short books either, but decent length ones – utterly gobsmacking. You are a clever clogs, no doubtski aboutski!
We moved to a new town, before we really wanted to, it all happened very fast and coincidentally the weekend we came to check out houses, there was a sign out for the Montessori schools open day. This is a twice a year event, so pretty freaky timing! We went along and they had 3 spots left so we snapped one up on the spot. As I said – all very fast and god it has been the best thing!!! You are thriving and they really know you, and are doing everything to help you reach your potential, including increasing you to 4 mornings now, as of next week. When you first went, I cried and cried. It was so difficult to let you go! You did well, my little trooper. You have had some wobbly moments, and some tears, but you really love it. You have mastered a lot of what is being taught, and are ready for the extra morning. The teacher told me that she was teaching the older kids numbers 1-20 and turned around and there you were, having done the lot when even the older kids were struggling. Bless! There was also mention of you in the school newsletter one week as “a first year with beautiful language such as answering ‘of course’ when asked a question, and ‘that’s fantastic.’” They comment on it a lot to me,, that you are an amazing little boy. We are so proud!

You have been toilet trained since the end of last year, including overnight. I think I could count the number of accidents you have had in total on one hand. You did it yourself really, one night you asked to wear undies to bed, no more nappy – and we’ve not looked back you little gem! I was rapt!

This year you have had your first nights away from home, having spent a night at Nanny and Pa’s three times now. You did that well and happily too, though we walked round the house in circles feeling lost for the most part! It was odd, you really are growing up fast babe. You adore Shelby and she is just enamored by you, utterly smitten by you, its very cute! She has just started walking and talking to you (in her baby language) which is sweet! They are expecting baby number 2 in a matter of weeks, and we have explained it to you. Your reply was that you didn’t want a brother or sister, just your mama and Dadda, because we’re a team. How sweet! I think that will change one day but you are happy for now!

You are also now writing letters and numbers which are just gorgeous (sometimes backwards and heart meltingly sweet) and you can read words if they can be sounded out phonetically, which is exciting! Also why the teachers want you for an extra morning a week now. They report that you are a perfectionist and also like to watch something in action before attempting it yourself as you hate failing at things and like to be confident of completing it right before trying. I am always telling you mistakes are okay!

You are still Wiggles mad, happy with Sam replacing Greg, and often reenacting things they do (e.g. origami whale!) You love imaginary play full stop and often re enact various shows you watch (and want to do everything the play school lot do!) Your drawings are now very realistic and you draw animals, people and scenes brilliantly. You love using my laptop and do so expertly now, clicking and dragging and using the touchpad like an expert. You are music mad – video hits is your favourite show and your fave band is probably Silverchair. We watched a concert of theirs on ABC2 last weekend and Daniel Johns was playing his guitar with his mouth. Well! You just thought that was the coolest of cool, and you often play a pretend guitar with your sunglasses on and say you are a rockstar. Rock on dude.

You chatter non stop (get that from your mum!) and are Dad’s mate, and Mama's little boy. Normally, I feel bittersweet and sort of sad on your birthday as you grow up; this year I just feel excited. You are coming into your own so amazingly well, and it is so cool to see. I am excited to see you continue to grow and learn. You have lost your baby face almost completely now, which is sort of sad, but you are such a good looking kid (no I am NOT biased!)

A list of beautiful things you have said this year:
You're my best friend.
I said I was scared of sharing my writing with uni and you said “I’ll do it for you mama, I'm not scared of writing!”
Why does every people look different?
Why has Jai got brown skin?
One day I woke to hear this: Dadda, isn’t mama beautiful?
Conthirty (not confetti)
Where is the earth of Jeff?
I’ll draw a loveheart to cheer you up mama. What makes you think I am sad? I just know.
Knock knock. Who's there? Who do you expect?
Puh-lease knock it off (felice navidad).
All I love is just you.
You know how I feel? I feel loved.
Ive got something to say to you mama. Sometimes you ARE clever and sometimes you're NOT clever.

Love you so much, more than I will ever be able to let you know. You’re the best babe! Love you!
Mama xxxxx

Puh-lease knock it off

Finn was watching Dora's christmas show today and she sang the Spanish song "felice navidad" (Merry Xmas); Finn began singing it himself.. "Puh-lease knock it off... puh-lease knock it off" he sang in his dreadfully out of tune way. No idea where he got it from or where he has heard that said before... teehee.

Before, he was pretending to be a witch with a wand and hat. Me being me, I stole the wand and hid it, and then when he wasn't looking, I put it back on the table and he turned around and there it was. The look on his face as he picked it up and walked off - I kid you not I had tears streaming down my face and J was also in hysterics. It was a look of such derision and a complete "don't for one second think I don't know what just happened here, but no way in hell am I going to verbalise it and give you the satisfaction you're after!" Oh tears and wheezing... so funny.

So, what have you been up to this weekend people? Me? Not a great deal. Yesterday Finn and I went to the park, library and DVD shop, household stuff, watched You, Me and Dupree with J and last night, I spent a great deal of time sorting these:



So that only Wiggle colors remained and the orange and green were gone. Now they are ready to go on his cake, took a long time, and was insanely tedious... things we do huh?

I did eventually, complete the task:

Master of the Universe!

I was rather excited to discover that the units I have decided on to finish my masters next year, are all available first semester. Initially, I thought I would need to spread the final 4 units over the entire year to be able to do units I wanted to actually do!

So, its all very exciting, though it will be a hectic semester. I am going to do research and reflection (explores the role of research in communications/arts field); an internship (no idea where yet) and a double weighted unit of a research project; which will basically be a creative piece and a related exegesis.

So this time next year, I will be a master of the universe! woot! All rather exciting, really. In the meantime I really need to get bloody writing on assignments that are due in 3 and a bit weeks. Fark.

My little Montesaurus

I took Finn to school this week and found a note stating they would like to offer Finn an extra morning per week at school. I should clarify, this is preschool, but in Montessori, they go in cycles, and so there is 3, 4 and 5 year olds in together. The 5yo are full time prep equivalent - prep in Victoria is called something else in other states, its the first year of primary anyway!) and the first years do 3 mornings, the second years in cycle one do 4 mornings.

It said I could meet with his teachers to discuss so I did that yesterday. They said that he had already mastered a lot in the room, and seemed to be moving on to concepts that would be best worked with given more time - he is writing letters and words, learning phonics and numbers etc.

He loves watching the older kids make sentences and so on and will then try himself. The teacher was teaching the older children to write numbers from 1 to 20 and turned around and there Finn was, having written 1 to 18 and upset that he didn't know how to write 19. She said "Upset?! Here I was teaching these older kids who didn't know!!" So that was cool!

He seems more relaxed with them and in the class at the moment. We have noticed at home, he has drastically stepped up the desire to do more proper activities and structured play.

My only reservation is that he still seems to get upset sometimes and miss me. Before I could raise that, they did. She said that they felt an extra day would actually benefit that, because the smaller gap between going would get him more used to it, rather than it sort of be a bit more of a big deal with 3 on, 4 off all the time. That actually resonated with me as making sense where Finn is concerned.

So, we agreed to it... sob... When I took him today, the teacher said, oh we'd like to start him the 17th as the extra day, not the 31st... Its so much sooner! It means I only have 2 Fridays left with my baby at home with me! Sigh... STOP GROWING BOY.

What does please me, however, is that these teachers know him so well. They know he loves routine, they know he takes time to get used to new people (and said he had really improved there also) and that he likes to watch before trying things for himself. They know he is capable of more and are wanting to help him maximise his potential. They recognise his strengths and help them, and they see his weaknesses and work with them... it is really incredibly impressive. It goes beyond the staff in his room too. The principal, knows him and the administration/finance woman, knows him and its such an intimate, nurturing environment. I really am so happy and impressed with it all. Just, so good for Finn. Its exciting! (and yes, a little sad and bittersweet!)

Being Healthier

J and have decided that we need to be healthier than we have been the last little while. We both feel sluggish and bleaugh so we found some great recipes and have been taking the dog for longer walks. Some of the meals we have planned for the fortnight sound beautiful:

Asian style chicken salad
Balsamic steak with cannellini bean mash
Beef bourguignon with parmesan dumplings
Beef stroganoff with steamed vegies
Honey lemon chicken stirfry
Thai beef stirfry
Pasta with smoked chicken, asparagus, and pesto
Vegie burgers
Chicken and spinach curry
Yogurt rubbed chicken with tomato lentils
Vegetarian Fajitas
Low fat chicken, lemon and herb burger

We also have a night out at gold class and Finns birthday which are both likely to be a little on the indulgent side, but thats ok. Moderation! All the recipes came from the Taste website, from categories such as heart smart, low fat, low GI, low carb, low kilojoule. Yummy!!!


ALSO, whilst I am thinking of it, I was intending my life writing to be about my childhood, but was trying to work out how a bunch of stories could become something with more meaning, and now I think I will combine stories of my childhood, with commentary on Finn's somehow, and make it intergenerational or something. Just an idea I am toying with that I wanted to write down before it flitted out of my brain again, as so many things tend to do!!!!!

Take me away!

Are you a holiday person? J and I have very different requirements from holidays, which always makes things... interesting. He wants to stay home and relax, I am at home all the time, and so want to go away somewhere.

Usually we compromise. I put up with staying home and pottering round the house, and he indulges my need to get away and we have short breaks. Unfortunately, J has not taken much leave in the last 2-3 years. A week at home, and literally 2 days away has been about the extent of it. He has changed jobs twice in that time, first the move to Melbourne where we took his leave paid out to help with relocation costs, and then took it paid out because the former employer begged him to stay and the new employer begged him to start ASAP.

This is frustrating me!!!!! I want a holiday! A big one, a long one. Somewhere warm and relaxing. We have 4 days in Tassie booked at the end of November, but thats it. I think I am going to book us somewhere toward the end of summer. In fact, perhaps thats something I would prefer to do for my 30th. Maybe we'll skip Tassie and go to QLD instead.

Might look into it, the idea of finishing uni, turning 30 and having a holiday all in one go has me all a quiver!!!!

Umming and Ahhing

Every now and then, I spend some time reevaluating the decision we made to have no more kids. It was not much of a fair decision, given that to do so involves a lot of treatment, a lot of stress for all 3 of us, a lot of money and a lot of travelling.

Mostly, I am happy with the decision to just make the most of our boy, and give him everything. Every now and then, doubt creeps in. It might be someone else's baby or pregnancy announcement, it might be looking at his baby photos, or something else that makes me wonder if I do want another.

J does not, but would support me if it was what I wanted to do. I think that perhaps many people when they complete their families - infertility aside - may have doubts. How am I to know this is not normal and unrelated to infertility?

I talked it over with a good friend which helped me work through all the thoughts and really get to the heart of it all properly which was good (thanks Em xx) and again I came back to the same conclusion. This was the right decision for us.

I have gone too far forward with this decision now to go back, and I like it here. I like where I am with uni and writing and I like that I can see travel and opportunities for Finn and for J and I. I may look back across the fence to the green grass at times, but if I stop and look around properly, I can definitely see it is just as green over here.

Fic B week 2 exercises

Prompt: Skin…
Sensual and supple, soft and the power of touch so underestimated.
Skin against skin, the closest we can be. Wanting to be united, but
constrained to this touch.

Summarised: Warm. Powerful.

These ARE themes I am keen to write on. Or perhaps more what I want
my writing to be?



Ecphrasis
Jen looked out across the lake, she wanted to dive in, never to
resurface. It was so still, and so welcoming. She waded in, and
gasped at the cold, but forced herself forward. She turned her face
to the sky then fell backwards, the water catching her in a cold
embrace. She floated, staring at the sky, swirling her arms lazily to
keep her from submerging completely, but toying with the idea,
indecisive.

Summarised: An obsession with death.



What image comes to mind to write on now?
A teenage girl, on her back, in a bath, being held under the water by
a person who is ranting, violent, and psychotic. Her hair is spread
out in that strange floaty way, but she is not struggling against her
attacker. Her eyes are open.




Had some good feedback on them already, so that's encouraging. Why do I write violence and a sense of unease well? I always feel far happier with something like the above than I do when I try to write humour, romance or anything else.

Ohmegosh!!! 2 weeks to go!

And my baby turns 4 just 2 weeks from tomorrow. How did this happen? Where was I in this time?! I think I am going to give him a wiggle themed birthday (AGAIN). He is not into lots of kids and a big party, just family would be his comfort zone. He wants to have it here but I keep trying to con him into having it at nanny and pa's because there is more room there!

So! For his bday we have a kids electric guitar and if not sold out, I want to get a vtech globe from the target toy sale thats on at the moment. Otherwise, something wiggly probably. Although J wont let me get him a wiggles doona as a bday present. Fair call I s'pose but the kid has SO many toys and so much stuff...

So! What am I planning for the bday party? I have given it exactly 5 minutes worth of thought thus far. Make everyone dress in a wiggles color I think. A cake with a wiggles topper of some sort. Or a big red car shaped cake that frankly, theres no bloody way I'd be clever enough to pull off. But I could pay someone else to! Wiggle colored balloons and a banner, wiggle plates etc. I might buy a couple of roasts for Dad to whack on the spit, and do some salads or vegies.

What have I forgotten?! HELP! What else can I do to make it a bit special? Please ideas are not my strong point (the above are pretty much ALL Lea's ideas), I need muchos helpos.

This weeks uni catch up

Have to get my thoughts in order, bear with me, or skim over!! This will hopefully help me feel I am not as out of control as I feel.

Fiction B - week one notes complete, reading and writing journal started; week 2 notes out this week. Have started creative piece.

Life Writing - week one notes complete online, no record yet. Read Student Chronicles, would like to try and read Balanda also if time permits. Have to read 2 travel books first as both assignments due end Aug. Think about concepts of identity and self and memories etc relating to the memoir. Week 2 notes out wed night. Throwing ideas around re: creative piece.

Reviewing - week one task to map review sites. Have bookmarked several aussie sites under food, film and literature. No american, british yet. Needed? Week 2 task is to read first 2 readings and compare the opinions of reviewing role and of Peter Craven. Also to find a review thats strongly positioned in terms of reviews position in relation to readers. Do today. Wonder what assessment things are for this unit. I cannot remember at all! Note to self: Find that out. Not due til mid sep and end oct. She be right!

Travel - week one task was to read 3 pieces and discuss what makes good writing and what doesn't. Week 2 involves reading 5 readings and discussing how various techniques convey a sense of place and distinguishing myth and reality. This unit has a pack of intellectual wannabees using big words and generally annoying me with their desire to appear to be knowledgeable. This unit is going to piss me of as a result. There are so many fuckwits in postgrad, honestly, and this unit has most of them. Must read 2 of the texts for the assignment due in 5 weeks -ish at the same time as LW assignment is due. Look to borrow something less pretentious than Theroux. If possible..


Create folders on desktop, notes are mixing up. Sorry for the boring entry, my brain was going in circles, now I have direction. Cheers!

The ultimate reading sin

So, the new Harry Potter book is out, the finale, so to speak. Don't worry, I promise this post will contain NO SPOILERS.

But I did commit the ultimate book reading sin. I read the final chapter, first. People seem horrified when I tell them, aghast even. The way I see it, I could then not worry or stress about people ruining it and could know it for myself. I then read the book at my leisure and enjoyed it, there were still surprises!

I won't comment on my opinions of it in fear of ruining it for people. Aren't I kind?



So, this weeks life writing class had a task where we were to write about our most memorable family photograph. I wrote about one of we 3 kids in the bathroom brushing our teeth. My brother was about 2, me about 5, my sister about 7. I wrote how we used to pretend to be the "dribble man" when we rinsed. The dribble man was an old man we occasionally came across in the park, who, as the name suggests, dribbled a lot. How mean are kids?! We weren't scathing or hateful, just matter of fact, but still!!

I also wrote how being the only dark haired child meant the other two often told me I was adopted. Bastards. teehee. Kids are funny. So this semester I have to write a life writing creative piece. Initially, I thought I would write about when J and I had stuff going on and I was going to Italy and then found out I was pregnant with the boy... but it reminds me of all things negative, as interesting and spellbinding it may be as a tale! Now, I think instead that with the dribble man elaborated, the kidnap story etc I might make it about my childhood. I'll add in the lost at the shopping centre story too. Now to conjure up so more tales of that ilk...

Frankly...

Today sucked.

Disorganized & Chaotic

That's where I am with uni at the moment! I am completely overwhelmed. I have too much going on and I have been unable to find my groove so far.

I did this weeks fiction exercise this morning - I had to write from the prompt "The door creaked open..." to flex and stretch the writing muscles a little. Then I had to discuss the normal me Vs the writerly me. The normal me is the person who seems harassed and rushed for time, reading a sentence here, writing a paragraph there in between "mama, can I please have..." and trying to get a million things done. The writerly me sees possibility and imagination everywhere. In a snippet of conversation I overhear at school, in the things that I read, see or say. There is a man in the town I live in, and he sits in his car at the bottom of our hill each morning, reading his paper for hours on end. He is generally gone by lunchtime - I cannot tell you the number of "stories" I have had in my mind about why it is so. The world is different through writing eyes.

I also then had to comment on stories from "The Best Australian Stories 2006" (ed Robert Drewe) and why they appealed, particularly what I found unique in ideas or innovations. I have to be honest and say some of the stories in there had me looking so confused and what the?!?! They were just WEIRD! (Will Elliot's 'Ain't no ordinary ham' comes to mind!) and I really liked 'Emily' by Daniel Wynne. But in terms of innovation and ideas, so far from what I have read, 'Loved her more than lettuce' by Gavin Carver was brilliant. Such an interesting protagonist and plot, so different to the usual read, I loved it (almost as much as I love lettuce!)

Writing is so subjective. What one agent or publisher hates, another may love. This makes me determined to succeed. I wouldn't get an HD in Fiction after just a few months of writing if I didn't have something there to develop, right? RIGHT!? It is also interesting to note that of the 3 stories I highlighted, 2 are by as yet unpublished authors.

I now need to go and read eleventy billion review sites. Not overly inspiring..

It's snowing!




Isn't it pretty? I've not ever really seen snowfall before. I know it gets cold where we live, this is our first winter here, but snow is exceptional still. Just gorgeous. Finn is back at pre-school this morning, term 3 has begun. I hope they are looking at it too.

I feel very flat. Funeral is Thursday afternoon and I had to really press J to take the afternoon off to watch Finn - he is at too vulnerable an age to come with me, I feel - and J agrees. Of course, my family will all be there, so it has to be J who watches him. J has work, but hopefully he can still get away.. sigh. Not like I WANT to go to a funeral. I am dreading it. I don't want to go to be honest. I know that is really awful of me, but I hate funerals. They freak me out. I know I am going to end up an anxious, panic attacking mess, but its important to me to go too. My brother and sister are going, we will go together. Mum will probably be with the family, given she is his mothers closest friend. I helped Mum put a notice in the paper for us, we went with simple about him sharing a tin with his best friend, who killed himself some years ago. Ugh. Its not fair. Life is shitty when it comes to death (ironic statement huh?)

Anyway. I don't know.

Sorted

Hi Kelly,
I have looked at my spreadsheet, and it definitely says 66 C for your grade, so I really don't know where the 34 came from. I'm terribly sorry that Deakin caused you such stress over the weekend (and a little worried about the results of others!). I've just filled in an 'Amendment to Result' sheet.
[Lecturer's Name]


Phew. Thank goodness, naughty Deakin! It was my worst unit so I was a little concerned! That sorted, I can get reading underway for semester 2. 1 down 8 to go. Oh, wait, I added another, "Reading autobiography: A guide for interpreting Life Narratives by Smith & Watson" - so 1 down, 9 to go. So why am I sitting here? Not in the mood for reading, thought its probably a good distraction. I find it interesting (?) that sometimes you give and give of yourself when people need you, then as soon as you could do with an ear, theres no one about (or they still talk about themselves and their issues). Why is it so??? No matter, such is life I guess. Luckily I do have a shoulder or two to use, I'll get by.

Stuff

Got an email from my lecturer last night, she assured me it was definitely an administrative error that she would confirm it Monday and sort it out for me. Thank goodness, a definite relief there.

Mum rang me yesterday with sad news. A friend of mine from high school times had died, he was only 32 and he had a heart attack. The weird thing was he had been at the Doctors about an hour before. What sort of incompetent quack saw him and dismissed it all??? I don't understand that. Anyway, I had not seen him in a number of years, he was more my sisters friend than mine, but we had some good times. We used to go to the same parties when we were about 17, 18. He would always look out for me a bit, which was nice. Sort of like what I imagined having an older brother would be like. His mum and mine are still very close friends, so Mum was called from where it all happened and went straight in. She said she went and saw him, afterwards, and said goodbye. That is always an eerie experience.

Bodies, dead bodies, are always so cold and heavy and empty. It's really strange. I am glad she got to say goodbye, they had a good friendship and I know he had a lot of respect for her, and thought highly of her. I think the funeral will be on Thursday. There will be a coroner's inquest given he saw the Dr so soon beforehand. I'm ok, as I said, I hadn't seen him for a number of years, but I always was interested in hearing what he was up to from mum. I always thought a lot of him. He and his twin brother and mates all come across as hard, tough blokes - but they're all really good guys at the heart of it.

Ugh. Just sad. Very, very sad. I'll feel your loss mate, but I can't help feel you finally have the peace that you tried so hard to find in life. :(

Bloody Hell!!!!!

How is this for worrying!?!?

My results were out today, the sms came through just after 530pm.

Erm. It says I failed Editing!!! 34, Fail. It says!!! I checked online at 6pm, same deal. Wtf?!!?! I emailed my lecturer and said given I got credits and distinctions for all my assignments, what the?! I am sure it is wrong, but still I can't help think, god did I miss an entire assessment piece or!?!? Bah! Not happy!!!

That aside, I did well for the rest! Ds and HDs. Woot! Thrilled to bits with that. Given its postgrad, full time and I have a child home with me all but a few hours a week - I rock!! Very happy.

Just fix the grade already! Argh!!

Good day!

Firstly, that cat video, I still piss myself laughing at the last one: "Why I eyes ya..." oh my god, I literally have tears EVERY time. rofl. Ok, breathe..

So, ever had one of those days that keeps getting better and better?! Allow me to brag. Firstly, I got an email from an old uni friend. Second one this week! I went to that schoolfriends site, and I am too cheap to pay to contact people so the 2 people I genuinely wanted to chat to again, I left these free buzz things... I dont know, theyre just a little standard message for free. Anyway, I also snuck my email address slyly into my profile, as did the guy I was contacting so I emailed him and had a bit of a catch up via email and msn. The memories flood back as though it was yesterday we were all living together on campus. They were definitely some of the best times of my life, for sure. Such brilliant memories, first time I smoked pot (and second and third...); berocca in vodka, hungover in lectures, climbing the Fletcher Jones tower, walking all the way from the gal (nightclub) back to uni because we had no taxi money....

Today I heard from one of the best girlfriends I had at the time, who I always thought was a top chick. So far just a quick one to check it was my email address, but hopefully will hear more from her soon, I can't wait to see what she has been up to the last eleven years! The piece of writing I have been concentrating on from last semester is set in that time and prompted it, so I really do feel like that time has just evaporated and I am going to wake up in room 5, manor 4 all over again!

Then I got my final piece of work for the semester back. My creative piece for my Fiction unit which was worth a whopping 70% of my grade (!) I had been having yet another crisis of faith in my ability, so was thrilled to see I got an HD. That gives me a HD overall for that unit too. Bloody brilliant!! I got kickarse comments too:

Kelly, a powerful, moving story, beautifully written and crafted and containing profound insights. this narrative is brave, daring and speaks what is often not spoken - and for many (including me) this is a quality that draws them to the reading of fiction: we want to read what doesn't get said in every day communication. In this respect, this work makes an achievement and does so in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Seriously - tf?!!? Thats such amazing feedback, am so excited! Inspiring, and the things that were highlighted for improvement I agreed with and knew something was not right with, so that was encouraging too.

THEN... a package was delivered. I thought it was something from ebay, but opened up a digital camera. I was emailing J and asking if he had bought it or what the? Thought it must be an ebay stuff up or something amiss... Found the envelope that came with it and J had won us a digital camera in some competition that came with the plasma. How funny, its better than the one we had! Stoked!! Takes a brilliant piccy! It also has a rechargable battery, meaning I don't have to spend a fortune on batteries anymore either. Bonus!

Great day!

Funniest. Video. Ever.

Just like me! Funnies...



Drowning, not waving

... In a pile of books. READ FASTER dagnammit. So I have ordered all these books from the prescribed list for my 4 units, and for those without prescribed, some from the recommended list. Keep in mind that for travel writing, this list is an A4 page long; various travelogues and such. Geebus!

So I have 9 books to read in the next 4 weeks. 9! I love reading, I am a fast reader but feck! They are:

Reviews & Reviewing: A guide by AJ Walford
Fresh-air fiend: travel writings by Paul Theroux
Music in every room: Around the world in a bad mood by John Krich
The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing by Hulme & Youngs
The Best Australian Short Stories 2006 ed Robert Drewe
Hoi Polloi by Craig Sherborne
Balanda: My year in Arnhem land by Mary Ellen Jordan
The Student Chronicles by Alice Garner
Jonestown: The power and the myth of Alan Jones by Chris Masters

I felt overwhelmed at the start of last semester too by the sheer volume of reading matter I had to get through. comes with a lit/writing degree! It settles though, I spend the first 3 weeks or so reading at top speed, skim reading, note taking.. then I get into writing etc. Hope there are some gems amongst them as there were last semester!

Apprenticeship

Thats me, an apprentice of the craft of writing. I keep freaking out that I want to write but no time, no time! Which is sort of true, but I have to remind myself that just blogging, or sentences here and there, and especially uni, is practicing and honing and refining. And really, thats the better way to do it long term.

One of the pieces I submitted this semester, for a young adult audience, is one that I want to turn into full length, so I have been playing with that a bit. It has me remembering my own time of uni and the fun I had. It doesn't seem as long ago as it actually was, I am not sure how I came to be this old.

Life is good at the moment, very good. Good things are happening and I can't help but feel positive and excited about the future, its a great feeling.

When I grow up...

I know what I want to be, finally.

I would like to be a moderate - highly successful author (multiple books, but not necessarily, the next JK Rowling); and as well as that, I would like to be paid for writing freelance articles on the finer things in life. Indulgences and so on - naturally, all expenses will be covered by the place commissioning the article(s). I can't wait!

Have been planning already, for these uni travel articles. I thought I might do a family type one somewhere in winter for kids. Warrnambool, the snow.. somewhere. We'll make it a weekend away for the 3 of us!

The other I might make my birthday spa treat early, and combine it with something on this region I live in, in general. So lunch at a swanky restaurant in Daylesford (or for novelty - the Italian themed lavandular farm); some antique/secondhand bookshop/gallery visits, the chocolate mill for some handmade chocolates, a winery (or 2!) and an olive grove for some Tapenades for J, and some Olivatas and oil for me!

What do you think? No really, what do you think? Comment! Also, these would assist in my reviewing unit - at least for a food review. Then I could do 2 of either literature/film/theatre one and be cruising. I sense a semester of indulgence, under the guise of research and work... :D

Men & Bargains

They just don't get it. J and I had the following conversation, as I was organising an internet grocery shop while I am sick:

"Ooh in the easter section, they have bargain easter stuff!"

"Probably all off by now."

"Naaa... ooh look... assorted color box.. $1.99! Save $7.99!! Ooh I am SO getting that!"

"What is it though?"

"I don't know, but I save $8. Easter stuff. Maybe boxes. Ooh I could use them for gifts if it is!"

*dumbfounded look on his face*

"I save 7.99!!!"

"But you don't even know what.."

"Its 80% off and it is only 2 bucks! Who cares!"



Must be a girl thing.

A 15 year old in a 3 year old body.

My son has attitude. He has what I swear is teenage attitude, and he is not quite 4. Why? Why is it so? Yes, chortle amongst yourselves that given earlier blog entries, you may call it karma. Ho ho ho... so clever and funny aren't you? NO! Its not right!

An example is necessary here. Yesterday I asked said child to clean up the lego that he had tipped all over the floor. He said he didn't tip it out. Well then, who did? I asked. He shrugs and goes back to his drawing. "Oi, I said clean up!" says I.
"I. Don't. Want. To." he says as though I am unable to speak English, or perhaps, some sort of utter moron. He even has the pout and sneer perfected already.

"Did I make the mess Finn?"

"No."

"So... why should I clean it up. Do you clean my mess up for me?"

"No."

"Aha!!! So get to it then Mister."

Cue tanty. Tears and slamming things around and general carry on. So I sent him to his room, and from the lounge room I can hear tears and sobbing interspersed with "This is STUPID!" and also "I don't WANT to clean UP!" So I turned the stereo up to drown him out. Nice parenting huh?

Anyway, eventually I go in and offer to help him clean the mess up, he agrees, job is done. He then mutters somthing under his breath using the word stupid again. I stop and he knows I have heard him so he immediately tries to turn invisible and sit in the corner.

"You BET you can go to the corner, and don't even think about TOUCHING that toy!" I shout.

"STOP TALKING NOW!" my 3 year old shouts back at me. I look at him, blinking, uncomprehending. Who IS this boy and why did his parents raise him with such a rude attitude?

I stride over to him and say "STAND UP, COME WITH ME." And take him to the blank wall of the dining room (open plan to kitchen where I was getting dinner). I say "Stand here and face the wall til I say so."

What does he do? GIGGLES!! Starts giggling and chuckling at me! I have to try not to laugh myself, because really, its pretty funny, my boy facing the blank wall, laughing, full of 'tude... I go back to the kitchen and go to close the blinds and catch sight of myself in the window reflection. No wonder he is laughing, I still have the kings crown on from an earlier game we played. Yes, I was trying to be authoritative and in control in a kings crown. I would have laughed at me too!

Anyone got a paper bag!?

Need to breathe into it... in...out...in....out...

Just got unit guides for the coming semester's study. So. Much. Work. Last semester was probably about the same, and I am now wondering how I managed it.. It is a tad overwhelming!

I have:
Fiction B (creative piece + reading/writing journal)
Life Writing (creative + critical essay)
Travel Writing (2 creative + research assignment)
Reviewing (3 reviews + critical essay)

EEEEP. The upside is that the travel writing reviews have to be from trips taken in semester, even if it is just to a nearby town. What a shame huh? I'll have to plan 2 weekends away, or daytrips, or holidays... Tassie falls after semester ends so cannot be that one... :D

2 weeks til official start and counting...

Such is life

I hate being sick, its so depressing. Whats so hard about curing the common cold anyway? Come ON scientist type people. Bah.

Also, most people know I cancelled Italy, very happy with the decision, no regrets, only confirmations that it was right. I refunded Lea her deposit since it was my decision, even though I couldn't really afford to - it was the right thing to do. We're having a mini holiday in Tassie as a family in November, and then a week on the gold coast next March (ish). Looking forward to both!!

I think I will stay in bed today and sleep. ugh. Sore throat, tired, stuffy head... I HATE BEING SICK!!!!!!!!


ETA: It seems a disclaimer is needed. Please be aware at no time did Leanne ASK for a deposit or guilt me into giving it back, it was what I felt was right. It is obvious, I would think, that no one can easily afford to throw away $250 let alone a total of $500, but again, I felt it was the fair thing to do. Some have said a portion was fair, or a booking is made knowing stuff can happen, but this was what I decided, and my offer, because it felt like the right thing to do. I hope this is now ABUNDANTLY clear?! Good!

Feel Good Funnies



Need a laugh? Check out these sites, I don't know why, but I find them hilarious!

LOLCats and also StuffOnMyCat.


Too, too, funny!!! :D

Me? A shit of a kid?! Pfft.

So, have you forgiven me yet? I confessed, after all, so you have to give me kudos for that right? Least I got most of you commenting, sheesh, throw a dog a bone sometimes!! Some of you feel sorry for my Mum... Poor old Mum. She has a patience level that is really high, so high in fact, that it became my duty - as elected by my siblings* - to be the child to test how high it actually went. When I was 17, I was a nightmare of a teenager. I was hanging out to leave home, and get some freedom, felt so cramped... so I pushed those limits effectively and found they are not actually infinite. She does have a level at which patience runs out! Not so superhuman after all eh Ma?! teehee. Poor Mum, she threw a plate when it ran out. Smashed it on the kitchen floor. Was met by "Oh yeah, real mature Mum" from my sneering 17 year old face which must have made her want to empty the entire china cabinet. How we are best of mates these days is anyones guess! :D

After I wrote up the last entry, Mum and J both said "Geez I wonder where Adrian is these days?" So I googled him, and google knows all! Turns out he is a very successful short film and commercial director. So I sent him an email and have been in hysterics ever since. The memories the two of us have been dredging up are fantastic! He recalls things I have no recollection of.

He swears I went through a phase of drinking hot water from a thermos. What the!? Who DOES that?! Man, I was a little freak. I reminded him of the time we all broke into a house across the vacant lot, and found guns in there (which, come to think of it, may well have been pretend). He doesn't remember that (but this could be a ploy to escape prosecution if ever our 9 year old selves are identified). I confessed that the kidnap attempt was entirely false too, and he was both horrified and amused...

Some pretty funny memories about school too (we went to the same primary school til we moved away when I was 10). It was living next door to Adrian and his beautiful Italian family, along with learning the language at school, that first planted the seed of love for Italy with me. The amazing food, the rhythmic language that sounded musical to my child ears... its no wonder.

Oh the laughs I am having now at our hijinks! We wanted a dog, so we made Adrian help us make posters and we walked around the front yard chanting "we want a dog! we want a dog!" til my parents (tearing their hair out no doubt) acquiesced.

I was somewhat naughty as a teenager too, but as Leanne and I have discussed, most teens are, its just that I was stupid enough to get caught... I am not telling those stories though! :P Fun times as a kid with Adrian though, I hope Finn has a neighbour or a friend that he gets up to mischief with soon. Only, not quite the same level as his mother, preferably. That would really be too karmic.


*I may or may not have made that part up.

Encouraged, inspired, excited.

I am still not telling you my secret. Its a good one though, mortifying, but sort of funny. Very naughty!!

But I did want to share that I got some writing back this week from uni, my young adult unit. The feedback was really good, some excellent suggestions, most of my trouble, my lecturer felt, came from being cramped by the word limit. She said to keep at my writing because my " sense of voice and emotional intensity/anxiety are top notch."

I sent her an email thanking her for the feedback and saying I am going to have a go at extending it into novel length as she suggested, and that I appreciated her critique. I said that I have no idea if I have any talent as such, but that I love writing, so I will do it anyway! She replied with the following:

Hey, for what it's worth, I do think you do have talent as a writer. I'm kind of nervous about putting forth that kind of subjective commentary as part of the assessment comments because they're based on taste rather than the kind of literary criteria I try to focus through when I mark. And to be honest, my taste is a long way from what publishers seem to publish. so much YA is frankly terrible in my view and so I do also feel worried that I'd be off the track in commenting on the quality of your work. but in this format, I'm happy to say I really like it. gawd, put your stuff against (in the fantasy stuff) Eragon, and you're streets ahead - especially in terms of originality. All the writers I know who have made it just suffer through the slog and the humiliation of lots of rejections, lots of rewriting and lots of horrible moments of writers block until they finally crack something that is published. So try to stay emotionally strong and, as you suggest, stay focused on the pleasure you get from the process without over investing in the outcome - recipe for sanity in my humble opinion. keep in touch if you need anything along the way.


In all honesty, its left me gobsmacked and frankly, I think she must have mixed me up with another student! Its inspired me though, I do believe in myself, just have to keep plugging away.