Tag Archives: family

Writing – Mothering – Balancing

It occurs to me that the blog has become less and less personal. I write a lot of pop culture essays, and put up links, but I don’t talk much any more about process, or my writing career, or even personal everyday stuff.

I’m not sure why that it – the process stuff I understand, because I’m so wrapped up in the -aargh- phase of finishing my new novel that I’m not ready to talk about it. And, you know, my kids are cute and all, but there’s only so many pictures I can post of them dressed as Doctor Who characters.

Still, I’d like to continue talking about home and domestic stuff, if only to continue my theme of – hey, writing and parenting, go together pretty well but it’s HARD sometimes.

I didn’t work this weekend at all. I often don’t – taking weekends has been a big and important step for me, and one I’ve only come to in recent years. Partly it was deprogramming from the PhD years, and partly a symptom of working from home – I’ve always been self-employed/freelance/creative and that means you never have a structured day off. You have to make one.

As a parent, the weekend is the time when I have a fellow parent home all day, and there’s a lovely decadence in that. Baby smells whiffy, there’s a 50-50 chance I don’t have to deal with it! But because of that, I regularly slip into the bad habit of assuming I will get more done on the weekend than I actually do, and feeling on Monday like I’m WAY BEHIND which is stressful and horrid.

Also there’s the thing where, during the precious Nap Hours that still occur most days (that’s when the 2 year old naps, not the rest of us), my seven year old daughter quite reasonably expects that sometimes we’ll do something together. Something Jem-free. I had no qualms about telling her to go read a comic or something, Mummy was busy, during the school holidays, but now she’s back at school, there are very few Mummy-Raeli-Jemfree hours.

So I try to keep my expectations of the weekend to a minimum, unless I have a dire deadline. This weekend, once I got the head’s up that we were going to have crazy 35 degree days with it not cooling down much at night (a rare occurrence in the Tassie summer) I decided that okay, I wasn’t going to try to get ANYTHING done this weekend at all, except for maybe catching up on my bookshelf reading.

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Twas the Night Before Birthday Party…

Here, for those who requested it, proof that I made a TARDIS cake for Raeli’s birthday party tomorrow. It’s not finished yet, as I plan to have a cupcake light on top, and some decorations around the border, but those will be added tomorrow, so more pics then! (as well as pics of my two lovely girls, dressed as an astronaut and the TARDIS)

This is basically cake (two packet mixes swirled together so some is vanilla & some choc), cut to size & liberally spread with chocolate frosting. The windows and panel are made from roll-out white icing, the details from slices of a metre-long liquorice strap, and the fancy white writing parts from one of those squeezy writing icing things. All bought from the supermarket.

I had a near-disaster when I put gladwrap over the whole thing (having refrigerated the cake for some time I assumed all the icing was set – the frosting WAS but the writing sadly got smeared all over the place) so I recovered by putting a whole piece of liquorice strap over the mess, tidying up with a bit of spare chocolate frosting (always save the last spoonful just in case!!!) and re-writing the text.

It looks like a TARDIS, anyway! Imperfect, but delicious.

[and if anyone, not looking at anyone in particular, hon, thinks I was overreaching myself, I show further evidence that my goals in cakeitude are sensible, rational and achievable, unlike some people who take TARDIS-related cake art to EXTREMES – thanks to @greenspyders for the link]

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Life with a Miniature Batgirl

Hot evening, nearly-seven-year-old daughter to entertain.

Me: How about we watch that animated Batman movie you got for Christmas?
Him: Okay.
Daughter: Yay, Batman!

*family starts Batman Year One*

–Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham
–Lieutenant Gordon gets beaten up in street
–screen fills up with thugs and (underage) hookers

Me: Starting to think this film is not in fact appropriate for nearly-seven-year-olds
Him: Most definitely

*family examines DVD case*

Me & Him: Oh, crap, M Rated!

*lunge for DVD, turn it off*
*daughter wails with disappointment*
*we explain why M rated means not appropriate for nearly-seven-year-olds*
*we put on other animated Batman episode which is far more appropriate, with icecream to help daughter through the transition*

Me (guiltily): I think I just remembered that Batman: Year One was originally written by Frank Miller
Him: That explains a lot.

And this is why checking the film rating is sometimes not a bad idea, the end.

Tansy Reads Agrippina: Republic Reading 2 October 2011

Tasmanians all take note! I’m reading at the Republic Bar on Sunday 2 October, along with first time novelist Cameron Hindrum. The event goes from 3-5 PM.

My plan is to read from Love and Romanpunk, probably the opening Agrippina story, because seriously that story was made to be read aloud. I’m really looking forward to it. If you haven’t been to a Republic Reading before, they are very fun and relaxed, you can have a drink or something to eat, hang out and listen to stuff. They also have an open reading towards the end of the session – I think they used to put it in the middle but then everyone used to leave straight away and not stick around for the featured readers. Heh.

The event is about as family friendly as stuff in pubs is – which is a whole lot friendlier than it used to be thanks to the glorious smoking ban – and I’m pretty sure my kids will be there. Hmm. Not sure how family friendly what I *read* will be, so if you have smart old-enough-to-get-smutty-references kids you might want to take that into account. Or bring headphones for them. But you can rest assured I will not be reading anything that I couldn’t in front of my six year old.

Oh dear. Maybe I have to re-think the story. Eh, I’ll just let her play with my iPhone, she won’t hear a word I’m reading.


DATE: Sunday 2 October
TIME: 3-5 PM
PLACE: Republic Bar, North Hobart, TAS
RSVP: Nope, just turn up.
COST: Free!
WILL COPIES OF LOVE & ROMANPUNK AND SIREN BEAT BE AVAILABLE FOR SALE: Hell yes! Not officially or anything, but I’ll have a stack of both books propped precariously beside my cute children.

My Daughter’s Doctors

As we while away the long wait for the second half of the next Matt Smith season, Raeli and I have been catching up on previous Doctors.

I find this rather surreal, because I remember watching Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant with her already, experiencing the show through her eyes… but she was three and four years old, and she doesn’t remember thim now that she is a big girl of six. For a little while there, Matt Smith was the only Doctor in her living memory, HER Doctor.

Something I have learned about my daughter over the last few weeks is that she is a) fickle and b) a true Doctor Who fan.

We’ve been making our way through seasons 3 and 4 (Martha and Donna) plus a few classic stories along the way, and she triumphantly announced a week ago that Matt Smith was no longer her favourite – it was now David Tennant! She had been holding out for Rose as her favourite companion, despite not remembering any of her appearances, so I let her watch season 1… and it’s been really fascinating seeing her watch one of my favourite seasons of Doctor Who, as if for the first time.

The big difference between 3 year old Raeli and 6 year old Raeli is that the smaller version of her was pretty fearless about anything she saw on TV. In the last several years, she has developed huge panicky fears about all sorts of things – she’s terrified of dogs and cats, gets freaked out by all manner of sounds, and in the last 18 months in particular developed a deep horror of Sontarans, Daleks and other Doctor Who monsters.

But she’s a determined little thing, and while we’ve had years of her completely collapsing into panic attacks, she’s now starting to take control of her fears and her boundaries. She declared a few months ago that she was no longer afraid of dogs, which was a huge deal (much like her claim not to like pink, it was a total lie, but one we don’t call her on, because it’s one we thoroughly approve of) and a sign that while she is still severely hampered by overwhelming fear and panic, she is actually starting to imagine a future when this won’t be the case. And lo, the Stubbornest of Daughters Made Progress.

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unexpected tuesday links!

I skipped my Friday links post last week, because… well, you know. It was one of those days. I have so many links building up, though, I thought I’d better get one in now or I’ll end up having to produce a whole magazine by the time Friday comes around again! Also, some of my links are in danger of looking severely dated…

In other news, it is raining. Grim, vengeful rain. How else would you expect rain that holds off all day and then starts while I am EN ROUTE to pick up my daughter for school, with the baby in the back seat, so I don’t even get a head’s up that maybe today was not the day to put the baby in soft slippers? In other news, Jem has grown so much now that her feet entirely stick out of the stroller, and the plastic rain cover for said stroller. All of these facts are related.

Deb Biancotti is interviewed by Alisa at Galactic Chat!

Fabulous roundtable about (global) Women in World SF
– every comment is packed with intelligent, thoughtful ideas. I am delighted such a thing exists in the world. Some important questions are asked, like – why is it so easy for urban fantasy to be excluded from any discussion on spec fic? And why is it that crime readers are so much more open to female authors than SF readers?

The roundtable was in response to this original post by Joyce Chng about women outside the English speaking world are doubly marginalised in the science fiction field.

Maureen Johnson takes on the writer of that Wall Street Journal article (podcast), on the topic of whether YA fiction is getting too dark for teenagers to be allowed to read – fabulous radio and it’s cool to see how articulate Maureen is in person. It’s irritating that the final word goes to a caller who is obviously just out to plug his own book and hasn’t actually been listening to much that has been said in the conversation, and I was disappointed Maureen didn’t get to comment on what he said, but for the most part I think her point of view came across clearly and the conversation was absolutely one worth having.

This post by Tricia Sullivan is getting a little long in the tooth now, but I think it’s absolutely worth checking out if you haven’t already. To put it and the conversation it responds to into context, it’s also worth reading these two posts by Cheryl Morgan: Here We Go, and Further Thoughts. There is some intelligent, interesting conversation in the comments of all three of these posts.

I’m still chewing over my thoughts on the upcoming DC reboot, and this is one of the best posts I’ve seen exploring some of the problematic aspects of regressing storylines, particularly when it comes to female and minority characters.

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Night of Necklaces, Day of Ferries

I felt like such a jet-setter, getting on a plane yesterday morning for a single night in Sydney for the Aurealis Awards. I arrived in the early afternoon and met up with Tehani, Helen and baby Max at the airport so we could taxi in to the hotel together. It felt so decadent to hang out and chat with friends I normally don’t get to see more than once every few years – twice within a month!

We went down to the hotel restaurant for a (very) early dinner, correctly guessing it would be our last chance to eat for the night. Some familiar faces were already down there, with the same idea, and we added a table on the end of theirs – and as more and more people arrived, kept doing so, until we had at least 20 people there, and the table had turned into a long L-shape!

Then of course we all had to disappear to frock up, as the new arrivals were looking increasingly glamorous.

The Aurealis Awards were held at the Independent Theatre, a lovely venue only a few minute’s stagger (a bit longer in high heels, but I was wearing flats, hehehe) from the hotel. We met and mingled at the cocktail party (sponsored by HarperCollins), many of us marvelling at how utterly weird it was to be together again so soon after Swancon – when we’re used to an 18 month separation! Of course there were people there who hadn’t been at Swancon, too, so it was a general crowd of happy reunions, gossip and hugging. With champagne. I had lots of lovely conversations with lots of adorable people, though the highlight for me was getting to meet IN PERSON the amazing Nicola, who has edited all three of the Creature Court books with me, one way or another. To get to talk to her in person about the choices we made and how much we love each other’s work was very, very cool.

And oh, the fashions! We are a gorgeously dressed bunch. Tehani referred to it as the ‘night of necklaces,’ and there was certainly some spectacular jewellery on display. Kirstyn wins the prize, of course, for her bird skull necklace that made people go ooh, and then, erkhhhh when they looked more closely…

The theatre itself was the perfect size for an event like this – grand but cozy at the same time, if that makes sense? Tehani and I decided to start a trend by sitting in the front row, since we knew I had to go on stage at some point to present (and we knew Helen would be going up too, but more on that later!). Spec Faction deserve a huge amount of kudos for the event – it ran smoothly, with any dramas rendered pretty much invisible to the rest of us. Cat had put together a hilarious and touching montage of Aurealis Awards photographs (the overall theme was people we knew looking overheated, a bit drunk and terribly happy) which broke the ice marvellously, and there was a really good vibe in the theatre, all that community spirit stuff.

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