Tag Archives: raeli

Glueing with Peanut Butter

I have been working on my novel edits, honestly, even if they have brought along with them the most titanic attempts of procrastination than I have ever experienced before.

My favourite clanger that I caught in the manuscript yesterday is that if you’re going to use the metaphor that a character “glued himself” to his computer it probably shouldn’t be in the same sentence where he had just made himself a peanut butter sandwich. I just couldn’t stop staring at that sentence! It’s been there for YEARS.

My major achievement for the weekend, though, was something I have been fretting about for, well, years. When we moved into this house seven and a half years ago, with a brand new baby, we came from a compact 2 bedroom unit to a sprawling four bedroom house with lots and lots and LOTS of cupboard space. Naturally we exploded into the house like a cannon, filling every available corner with our (apparently compressed far too tightly) stuff.

The house was so big to us that we spent the first year or so of it living in only half, heating only half (turned out doing that saved no money btw) and sleeping with our baby in the master bedroom at the front of the house. The three bedrooms at the back were, well. Storage. Okay, a couple of studies and… anyway. We were especially cavalier with the built in cupboards because there were so many of them.

When we finally moved little Raeli into her own room at the age of two and a half (we malingered on the decision a bit because we didn’t want her at completely the other end of the house to us – took ages to realise we could move down there too, into one of the little rooms) we focused on the important things: a big girl bed, space for her toys, and so on. Kids have a lot of stuff, it’s true, but she was still tiny and certainly wasn’t going to be using hanging space any time soon.

The room was hers but the cupboards were basically still ours. As indeed were all the cupboards.

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Book Week: Google Buns and Midnight Feasts

So, Enid Blyton. I don’t even know where to start with talking about Enid Blyton books, and the influence they had on my reading as a child. I know that I was reading chapter books early enough that I don’t recall starting, and that when I was 4-5 my Dad moved away for a year and sent me a book a week – Blyton paperbacks, for the most part. I remember walking to the Post Office to collect my regular parcel!

I know that I read and loved the mystery and adventure books – The Famous Five, the Secret Seven, The Adventure Of and The Mystery Of – and those characters and stories are deeply entangled in my heart. I also loved the random children books, and the various Toy stories, especially Amelia Jane (I think I was always a bit old for Noddy). But thanks to some world travelling in my mid-childhood years, I sold almost all of my collection, and the ones I cared about enough as an adult to re-acquire were not those ones at all.

Instead, the Blyton books I was most desperate to own again, and to reread, were the school stories and the magical classics: Malory Towers, St Clares, Naughtiest Girl, Faraway Tree and the Wishing Chair.

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Happy Alice

We have survived Jemima’s birthday! I wanted to do something special for her because she missed out on a party last year, as the whole family was sick, and ever since January when half the people she knew had birthday parties, she has been wondering where hers is. A year is a long time between two and three…

The Alice in Wonderland theme was, admittedly, my plan because I figured it was one of the last birthdays where I would get to decide the theme instead of having to incorporate whatever crazymadawesome ideas my daughter thought up for herself.

I think I made the right call.

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Good Sports, Bad Sports

Australian rowers Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley – winning silver is not losing.

Australia won two gold medals last night, which is lovely, especially for champion cyclist Anna Mears and champion hurdler Sally Pearson, who actually won the medals in question, and are both understandably elated.

But I’ve been far more interested in how Australians have reacted to NOT winning the expected number of gold medals over the last week and a half. This is the first time I’ve watched an Olympics with an animated, interested primary age child (in some cases, thanks to hanging out with friends, several children) who is capable of understanding a good deal of what’s going on, and it has made a huge impact on how angry I have got about the coverage.

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Shakespeare and a Seven Year Old

We have a new TV. This is a big deal for us because the previous TV had been with us for 14 years – I bought it with the first cheque I earned as a writer! Also, Raeli hates any change at all and got immediately sad and nostalgic about the old one as soon as the new TV was wheeled in.

But oh my. It’s not a super fancy TV by today’s standards, but it’s big and lovely and clear and we got Apple TV around the same time – so not only can we look at iTunes purchases and DVD rentals (and subscribing to BBC iPlayer OMG), once you combine the whole thing with AirParrot I can mirror my computer on the TV and thus can finally screen my Digital Theatre purchase from December on an actual screen. And oh yes, it’s been a great distraction this week as we sat out our quarantine misery.

Given that Raeli was still lying wanly on the couch from her week of fever and dreadfulness, and that Jem was napping in the midst of her own fever and dreadfulness, it seemed a good time to give in to her occasional request to watch David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing.

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Jellybean Sick Day

Home for the second day in a row with a flu-sick seven year old. It’s not fun. Poor thing has high temperatures and even higher misery levels. At least yesterday, Jem was at daycare, but today she’s home, she’s cranky and bored because her sister is a whole lot of no fun, and she feels ripped off because she was expecting a fun day of Glammer adventures today (I told my mum to stay away from the quarantine zone).

All this, and Raeli missed school pictures today too! We’re all pretty blah.

So the house is on full sick day mode – the freezer is full of homemade icy poles, the larder is overflowing with croissants and jelly beans (essential supplies, along with lemon squash and butter menthols) and I’ve cracked out the new Young Justice DVD I picked up from Big W the other day. It’s pretty good so far, though… gender issues ahoy! I look forward to when their lineup gets a bit more balance in it. One girl is not enough, especially when she isn’t introduced until after ALL the boys.

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For Raeli: Van Gogh’s Starry Night in Dominoes

My daughter adored this vid, so I thought I’d better archive it on my blog so she can rewatch multiple (more) times. She loves Van Gogh’s work so much, and studies it about as intently as any seven year old possibly could – recreating his better known paintings in chalk and biro. Not sure if she’d quite go this far though…

Best Fan Art Ever

My daughter Raeli brought home a mother’s day gift for me today from school, and was determined that I open it on the spot, since I’ll be away for the Aurealis Awards on the morning of Mother’s Day itself.

The gift was a box with a poem and some marvellous little treasures inside, but that’s not the bit that had me tearing up and hugging her to bits.

It was what was drawn (and written) on the box. My girl, she has such a thoughtful attention to detail.

Why Amy Pond Must Live

Doctor Who, especially the classic show, has a reputation for being a bit sexist. Which is hardly surprising, considering that it is a product of its time across so many different decades. We lucked out in the late sixties when a classic battle of the sexes episode (including a scene where Jamie spanks Zoe, Taming of the Shrew style) failed to be made. But with such a paternal structure, whereby the Doctor is male and also the character who knows most about everything most of the time, and the employment of such strategic companion costumes as the mini-skirt and, in the 80’s, the mini-skirt AND boob tube combination (not to mention poor Peri in her leotard and shorts) it certainly doesn’t escape that taint. Even the female characters allowed to be close to the Doctor’s intellectual equal, such as Liz and Romana, are regularly taken down a peg or two because the entire premise of the show is that the Doctor is more capable at what he does (even when being comedically bad at what he does) than anyone else.

There’s a reason that more action figures have been made of Leela in her leathers and Peri in her leotard-with-shorts than any other Doctor Who companions. And let’s not get into the recent revelations that Jon Pertwee insisted on a recast of the role of Sarah Jane Smith, because the actress cast before Elisabeth Sladen was too tall, and he liked to perform against a physically small woman, one he could be seen to physically protect. Ahem.

But there’s one sexist trope that, narratively, Doctor Who almost never used, and looking back over some of the rather dodgy decisions made by the show and its almost all-male writing tradition, it’s quite impressive that they didn’t. They almost never killed the girl.

[Spoilers follow for a bunch of Classic & New Who]
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Never Mind Domestic Science… my Parenthood is all about Domestic Art

As a parent, you get called on at times in your life to be creative and artistic in a domestic setting. There’s no actual obligation, but we’ve all had those notices about bringing cakes to the school (or as my friend received this Christmas, a summons to provide a plate of “something healthy” arranged in a suitably festive shape, such as a Christmas tree or snowman). There are school plays, fancy dress parties, never mind basic arts and crafts activities.

I’m a sucker for domestic art. I don’t do it very often – and I am entirely comfortable with time saving alternatives – but I love an opportunity to do something creative for my kids, given a comfortable timeframe, a practical plan, and a little breathing space.

The most common demonstrations of my domestic art skills in this house are costuming, and the provision of birthday cakes. Nothing fancy – sure, I once produced a hand-sewn Cleopatra costume for an Asterix party which was worn for all of 3 minutes, but I’m just as likely to run out to the shop to find a lion mask at a moment’s notice (give me a month and ebay, and I can dress you as ANYTHING, my darling, but a week’s notice? Aargh!). I’ve even been known to dress my kids up for occasions other than costume parties – like, for instance, my book launches.

This year, we knew with at least six months notice that Raeli wanted a Doctor Who party, and that she wanted to go as a lady Silurian, and my Mum was totally okay with making that costume, as long as it was confirmed as wanted 2 months before the party. 2 months before the party, Raeli changed her mind, and wanted to be River Song instead. We called the party ‘aliens and earthlings’ so as not to alienate the non Doctor Who watchers who were invited, and sort of forgot about the costume.

Meanwhile, I had a plan for Jem’s costume for the same party, which would be a TARDIS dress. Having seen all the gorgeous ones out there, I plotted to remix a plain denim dress, got the makings, and got very excited when I learned about the advances that have been made in T-Shirt Transfer technology.

Somehow, with less than a fortnight to go, we had not organised Raeli’s costume. Her more recent plans to be young Melody Pond ran aground when we checked that episode, and the kid was basically wearing a dress and a cardigan, which can not be made to look like a proper costume. Alarm bells rang. She was sent off with a stack of Doctor Who magazines to figure out what she wanted to look like.

She came back with bright, starry eyes, and the request for an astronaut costume.

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