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Thursday, August 26, 2004

I'm bored

Lee's having an all day KSP-a-thon with not only the word thirst group this morning and the kids writing group this arvo, but also the teenage and adult groups tonight. I could write. I could watch SVU. I could sort out the baby's cupboard. I could do house work.

What I'm actually going to do is curl up in bed with the Locus Awards Anthology. It's fantastic. I love dipping into it and discovering 'new' old writers. I have a new favourite story. It's Bloodchild by Octavia Butler. Oh. My. God! It's fantastic, it's sublime. It's pretty much what I tried to accomplish when I wrote Learned Instincts.

I began a new story yesterday called Simeon The Monkey. The title and first paragraph came to me while I was soaking in the bath yesterday morning. I'm nearly 700 words into it so it looks like being a flash piece.

One step forward

Lee and I met our marriage celebrant yesterday. She's lovely and doesn't seem at all daunted by the prospect of performing our wedding in front of an audience of SF fans. Battboy and I have decided to write our own vows. We both have a lot we want to say to each other and some of it can even be repeated in public :)

Well that's it for now. Have fun.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Monday, Monday

What a weekend. I had the kids which is always wonderful. I have a sinus infection which has really grounded me with a constant headache on the left-hand side of my face (if I'd had a pair of pliers I'd have ripped out my teeth). The kids were so considerate, keeping the noise down and making sure I was all right. I took Blakey-Boy to a gaming workshop on Saturday morning. I was not in the least amused when I was informed he was too young (he turns the necessary minimum age of 10 in 3 weeks). I sat there, in pain, while they explained to me the reasons why they couldn't bend the rules. I continued to sit there, resolute, determined not to let them or the headache beat me. Finally they backed down, saying they'd let it go this week. Then Blake told me he didn't have a brush. That's when I gave up. The paint fumes were killing my head and I couldn't take anymore. I offered him a milk shake in return for him letting it go this time and coming back in three weeks. He said "Cool, if you make it a frozen raspberry drink." Deal made, I was allowed to collect said drink and return to my bed.

The thing was, I was more devastated than Blake. He took it in his stride (he's that sort of kid) and I felt heart-sick for him. I bought him a brush so that he's prepared next time.

Uni Stage One

I have an assignment due on Friday. The infection made it impossible for me to make any sense of the material (a Foucaultian reading of "Bartleby the Scrivener") but after a big sleep on Saturday afternoon, I was finally able to get a start on it. I'm now 1100 words into the 1600 word essay and it's looking good. I'm off to the uni library today to do a little more research and hopefully it'll be finished by tomorrow's lecture.

The boys are home today due to a pupil-free day, so I'm taking them with me to uni. They're excited because I'm buying them lunch at the cafe. I guess they haven't had uni food before :) Aidie-Baby's using the time to finish his Hercules homework and Blakey-Boy will probably design and create more Yu-Gi-Oh cards for himself.

Cassie and I seem to have patched up our differences. She was wonderful all weekend with very little arguing involved. Of course, she spent half of it at her best friend's house.

Workshop fall-out

Lee led a writing workshop on the weekend. One of the tasks was this. He typed out a paragraph from his story "Brillig" which was first published in TOTU in June 2002. He then cut out the indiviual words and had the participants rearrange them so they made sentences of their own.

My three little geniuses (genii?) became very interested in the task and offered to help cut out the words. Lee explained what he was going to do with the words. The three kids immediately set about doing the task themselves.
This is what they came up with:

Uncomfortably there, a box sits blinded by stands. The box opens them. They lead Brillig. He feels the centre. The ceiling wires crackle grey against his head. (Blake, Age 9)

The room, hidden uncomfortably beneath covers standing above, opens, forming a shadow against the walls. (Cassie, 13)

And my personal favourite:
Uncomfortably wires pulse, machines across machine, blinded. There against, he led from the chairs feet. Closed shadow puddles, water ceiling grey. They, the City. (Aiden, 11) How cool is that line "Closed shadow puddles, water ceiling grey."? Wow.

Lee read these out at the workshop, much to the astonishment of the adults. They couldn't believe children had written such amazing stuff. I don't know why. They are MY children :)

Cassie took it upon herself to do a really long one which also blew my mind, but I can't find it anywhere.

The kids attend a writing group on Thursdays which they really enjoy, but I think the exercises they get from Lee are much more creative. They really stretch their mental muscles.

Thank goodness

I've taken a lot of Panadol this week. The doctor says it's safe to take 8 in a 24 hour period. I hate taking 2 when not pregnant, so imagine how I feel when I take 8 at the moment (the only way I could get that assignment under way). I took 8 on Saturday and 4 yesterday and have felt so guilty as a result. Doctors continually comment on two things. The height of my fundus (the uterus. It's bigger than it should be) and how active the baby is. He never stops. Well, he just started moving after a night of nothing. I'm one very relieved mummy. I might also take the two that I've been putting off.

A Day Out

We took Batt-Brat and the boys to the Parenting Expo yesterday. I am now the proud owner of 3 - yes 3! - dummies, even though I am very anti-dummies. I also have a tie up bib (another thing I hate), fifty sachets of baby lotion (ditto), a spoon set (No, that's fine) and enough leaflets and brochures to reconstruct a small forest. We ate a lot of lollies, and received a huge amount of rusks and fruit fingers. We arrived early, which was lucky as we left just when the crowds were really forming. Dorothy the Dinosaur appeared to sing 2 songs, which led to much joyful screaming from Erin. We were pretty much over the experience by that time. Lee and I were both in headache meltdown mode and headed for the exit. Easier said than done. It took us 40 minutes to cut our way through the myriad of pregnant women and prams. What is it about pregnant women that makes them think all personal space becomes their property? Yes, I know, I'm pregnant, and yes I have this attitude too.
Lee and I play a little game at the moment. It's called "count the pregnant women." I'm always number one, so each day we start with a fresh tally. Yesterday we walked in, looked at each other and went "Naaah."

Bad Movie Night

Calli, Chesh and Splanky came for dinner last night. I made a cajun beef casserole with rice, Calli made a salad and the Splank-meister brought chocolate mousse. My best-friend Sharon turned up. She needed a shoulder for a few minutes and I'm always happy to provide. We all ended up watching the second episode of Chances which was good, cheesy fun.

The movie-du-jour was Tank Girl. Not as bad as I expected. I love Ice T.

Well that's enough for now. Panadol calls me. Have a fun week.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Sop Factor One, Mr Sulu

(Warning: This post contains a large dose of gushing)

In the fashion adopted by exes throughout the ages, I was yesterday asked, "Why Lee?"

There are a million reasons why I love Lee, but none stand out so clearly as the reason I found at 3:45 this morning.

I spent most of last night in pain. My chest and back felt as if someone had placed a steel band around them and was slowly winding it tighter. By 3:30 I was struggling for breath. I'd been having asthma attacks since Sunday night. That and the huge amounts of Ventolin taken in had taken their toll. Lee, sensing my distress, (I was also having a panic attack by this stage) woke up and asked if I was okay. Quickly realising I was not, he grabbed 2 Panadol and ran me a hot bath with lavender oil in it. I was shaking uncontrollably by the time he helped me into it. Placing a handtowel across my chest, he continued to talk to me as he poured water over it. It took about 15 minutes, but my body began to respond to both the medication and the care.
By 4:30 I was tucked up back in bed and was comfortable enough to fall asleep for the first time. I know my being sick terrifies Lee, especially as this pregnancy progresses. Yet he remained calm and in control the whole time. He is the most attentive and caring person I have ever met and I adore him.

Lee's Residency Day Two

A slack morning as I recuperate from last night. Erin's at Child Care today. I have a doctor's appointment at 11 to find out why my asthma has become so bad then uni this afternoon. I love uni. I've always enjoyed the learning process, but I especially love coming home and discussing it all with Lee. It's fantastic to have a long discussion with someone who understands what I'm talking about. It also helps clarify what I've taken in. The unit I'm doing is quite difficult, but by rehashing the lecture and how I applied it in the tute, I come away with the knowledge that I really did get it. A nice feeling.

Aftermath

After last night/this morning Lee and I are in the process of rethinking the home birth idea. My doctor warned me recently that an asthma attack in labour would deprive the baby of oxygen. It's one thing to weigh up the risks to myself, it's quite another to weigh them up for Connor. I'm thinking the birthing centre at King Eddie's could be a good alternative. It's set up like home, but is close enough to the hospital if there are any problems. My best friend Sharon has taken it upon herself to find out if St John's Ambulance hire out Oxyvivas. She's doing a course with them at the moment for her work so is asking them today. She's taking her role as our support person very seriously.

Take care and have fun.



Monday, August 16, 2004

Residency Day One (A Wife's Perspective)

So, Battboy toddles off to become a full-time writah-dahling leaving me at home on my own. While he's at the centre (where he has both Tim Tams AND Ferrero Rochers at his fingertips) I go it alone for the first time in seven months.

This is how my day went.

8:00 Battboy leaves with the boys. He's dropping them off at school on the way. I chat to Sharon about recent events in the TriffBatt house-hold. She gushes about boyfriend Chris (ain't new love grand? :)) Take Erin to potty. Wash potty.

8:30 Sharon leaves. I begin first of four loads of washing up. (Dinner party last night. See Lee's blog) Take Erin to potty. Wash potty.

9:00 Throw boys' weekend washing in machine. Hang out three loads that are already sitting there. Turn computer on. Refill sink and begin second load of washing up. Take Erin to potty. Wash potty.

9:15 Read emails. Begin war of words with ex-husband. This will continue for some time. Take Erin to potty. False alarm. Just wants a sticker. Deal with tantrum.

9:45 Decide to buy some petrol and put money in bank. Realise Battboy has car seat and pram, leaving me grounded. Take Erin to potty. Wash potty. Find a sticker.

9:50 Drag Erin out any way (we are, after all, only a 5 minute walk from Galleria. 5 minutes when you're not pregnant or nearly 3. 15 minute walk when you're one of these. 23 minutes when you're both.) Go to two banks and a lawyer's office.

11:30 Return home. Phone lawyer's office. After about 20 minutes of utter silence, realise that it might be time to check on Erin. I finally track her down to her bed. She's fast asleep. Slush four stories for ASIM.

1:00 Praise Erin for putting herself to bed. Wish she'd thought to put a nappy on herself before doing so. Strip bed and put on another load of washing. Wash third load of dishes.Take Erin to potty. Wash potty and floor around potty.

1:30 Feed Erin lunch. Wash fourth load of dishes. Burn my lunch. Heat up another bread roll. Eat that. Take Erin to potty. Wash potty. Give Erin her toothbrush with strict instructions not to use it on the potty.

2:45 Write about 600 words on a story called "And Still I Dance Under An Ochre Moon." This finishes story off nicely. Take Erin to potty. Wash potty and retrieve toothbrush from toilet. Throw in bin.

3:15 Put Erin in bath. Work through another three stories for ASIM. Decide I'm not doing any more. Find that I've completed them all anyway. No potty. Yay.

3:45 Dress Erin in pyjamas and read her a story. Put a nappy on Erin. She immediately says she needs the potty. I tell her "later."

4:30 Battboy comes home. Is greeted by two whirling dervishes who try to strangle him with their affection. Erin tells Lee she wants potty. Yay me again.

4:45 Off to cheese and bikkie thing.

6:25 Leave cheese and bikkie thing.

6:50ish Get home. Yay. Put Erin on potty. Wash potty. Disinfect for tomorrow. Potty now cleanest thing I've ever owned. Put Erin to bed and relax on couch while waiting for four shots of ventolin to work.

Now. About to collapse. Have a great week.

PS Okay, I only wrote about 10% of Lee's word count, but have you compared our day??? :) Did I mention the Tim Tams????????



Monday, August 09, 2004

The weekend that was

Battboy and I spent the day at the KSP centre yesterday. In the morning we had the Word-Thirst 2 launch which gave us an opportunity to show our stuff and sign our names on things. I actually had some people come up and tell me how much they loved my story The Dolphins of Haven Bay which was a bit of a thrill. I like didn't know them or anything.
The afternoon was the SF awards for which Lee received a Commended for his story Dark Ages. This is a story I've always felt uncomfortable with, but that doesn't change the fact that it's an excellent piece of fiction. I was very proud of him.
My best friends Sharon and Shirley came along with their kids to show their support. Shirley's girls Laura and Ambrosea were brilliant as they kept the Battbrat entertained all the long day. Erin never handles such outings well, but the girls kept her going in the garden and with the contents of their handbags.
A gorgeous moment however. I stood up at the podium to read an extract of Dolphins. Erin followed me, stood by my side, turned to the audience with her finger to her lips and gave a stern "shhhhhhhh". Every one giggled, including the proud mummy, then settled down to hear it. Who needs a publicist when you have a 2 and a 1/2 year old?

The awful bit was: my kids weren't there. It just felt wrong to be having this nice family time without Casi, Aiden and Blake. Everyone asked where they were which made it even harder.

On the positive side

Battboy and I came home raring to go on our writing. Lee got really sick however at about 5 o'clockish and was in no condition to do anything other than crawl into bed. Undeterred, I alternated between my laptop, Erin's dinner, Erin's bedtime and nursing my extremely sick man.
In between mopping his brow, running him a bath, and stroking his back, I started work on a new story currently called Unnatural Selection (until another title turns up). I managed 1540ish words last night and added 3220ish today for a grand total of 4761. It took 20 hours (or 9 if you include bedtime, chasing after Erin, meals and giving Erin a lolly every time she used the potty) but it's now complete. Lee started to feel better after lunch today and joined me on the couch this afternoon for a spot of restorative writing. He's working on Father Muerte and the Flesh at the moment and has written about 2500 words so far. We call those sort of word counts "moving into Adrian Bedford territory" :)

I'm really pleased with myself for both my determination in getting the story written and for the story itself. I actually had this idea about 6 weeks ago but have been wrestling with how to start it. Yesterday the opening scene came to me in a flash and I was off. I think the story is of the same quality as my current favourite story The Memory of Breathing (appearing in Andromeda Spaceways issue 18 which comes out next August). It's the first time in a long while that I've actually felt moved by passion rather than "I really must throw some words down."

And now for the obligatory baby update

Connor is now 22 and a 1/2 weeks. He kicks constantly and I feel pretty good. I'm huge!!! Everyone comments on how big I am and how big my boy must be. He's not. He's your average 22 week old size, or maybe a little smaller. I'm hoping he remains that way. I don't want to give birth to something Erin-size.

I watched Compass last night which featured a documentary about abortion. I've always been anti but I'm always open to other peoples' opinions. The woman presenting it was Pro-Choice, but was facing a dilemma in the face of the fact she was about to give birth to her first child (second pregnancy. She aborted her first at the age of 21). I found all this interesting as she was exactly my age and aborted her baby at the same age and in the same year that I fell pregnant with Casi. Using 4D ultrasound technology she showed what a 23 week old foetus looks like (they can abort up to 20 weeks in Australia and 24 in the UK where the doco was filmed). I looked at this amazing picture and immediately thought of Connor. He's nearly 23 weeks so I could see clearly what he looks like at the moment. He's just like a person, only smaller. Huge Wow factor.

Well, that's enough for me. Have a nice week and take care.

PS Lee has just finished Father Muerte and the Flesh. Total word count is 5029. 2979 today.



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