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Friday, January 28, 2005

Happiness is...

Gathering around the computer last night and checking out the photos from the holiday. It was loud, it was raucous, it was fun.

Sadness is...

Dropping the kids back at their father's house tonight. On the way home Erin asked, "Are you sad, mummy?"

Thursday, January 27, 2005

We're ba-ack!

The Triffbatt tribe are happy to announce their return home. Here are the highs and lows of what we got up to (anything I forget Battboy is sure to remember).

Day Zero

We arrive, after a long flight, and settle in to the university. We each have a room, but naturally Battboy and I share a single bed and put the baby to sleep in his pram with us. We order pizza from Dominoes and settle in with some tv watching. We try to suggest to the children that they should go to bed at Queensland time (2 hours ahead) but this just doesn't happen, nor does it happen at all during entire holiday. They do however quickly adjust to getting up according to Queensland time, so even though they're still going to bed about 9 pm Perth time, they're getting up at 4am Perth time. Lee and I are determined that this Queensland holiday will be better than the last one (I started to miscarry Connor last time)

Day One

We go to the Museum and find it a wonderful experience. Lee and I went on our last trip and are eager to share the experience with the children. Loaded up with bags, camera, video camera and pram, we head out. The exhibitions are great, the kids are well behaved, we take lots of photos. All in all, hours well spent. We decide to head over to the art gallery, do a kid and bag count and discover...

Our video camera is missing. After an hour of fruitless searching we realise it's useless. First lost, we can now classify it as stolen. The last we saw of it was when one of the children put it down when they went to the toilet. Someone obviously found it and decided to take it home with them. Will be phoning HBF today to see if we can claim it on our contents insurance. It's not losing the camera bothers us so much (although it bothers us alot), it's the memories. We'd recorded Connor's first roll over, Erin's birthday and a lot of other stuff that is now gone forever. Lee and I are devastated. The bag also contains all our film for the camera and the video dvds plus a roll we've already taken (Yes it's day one and we've already taken an entire roll)
We leave our details with the museum and art gallery and decide to head out to South Bank. Lee's fuming and I'm trying not to cry. The children are upset and the air is full of tension (and humidity). By the time we reach South Bank we're all snapping at each other and the holiday looks ruined.
Lee lets the four oldest children go on a ferris wheel ride while we discuss the situation. After a while we decide that we have too much holiday to go to let it us down. We go out for dinner.

Days Two onwards

A blur of what happened when. We did Warner Bros movie world, several trips into South Bank, the art gallery (we hated it but the kids had a good time), the Sciencentre (like Scitech but not as big. In many ways better), pancakes at the Manor (an old church in the City), and of course the awards.

Did I enjoy the awards? Very much so. I met up with many friends and acquaintances and got to press the flesh with many of today's leading sf writers and publishers. Met Paul Haines, whose controversial story "Hamlyn" got me into trouble when I published it in ASIM 11. A very dark story, it proved a little too much for some people's delicate sensibilities. Paul was lovely and we chatted for a while. I also met Trevor Stafford and was immediately taken with him (he brought me glasses of water and made sure I was comfortably seated with Connor while we talked).
And then there was Margo Lanagan. I had started Margo's collection "Black Juice" only two days before hand. The first story I read was "Singing My Sister Down". It took me about 20 minutes time to read, after which I put the book down, turned to Lee and said "Best story I've read in the past year." The last story to impress me so deeply was Stephen Dedman's "Never Seen By Waking Eyes". I absolutely loved Lanagan's story and couldn't stop thinking about it. For the first time in a very long time I forgot to be an editor and just read a story as a reader. So imagine my delight when I got to the awards and they announced it amongst the titles for "Best Young Adult". And it won! I was so happy because it truly was a brilliant story. The evening went on and finally the Golden Aurealis for Best Short Story was announced and Margo won that too. I couldn't have clapped any harder if I'd been a close personal friend of hers and apparently everyone agreed with me.
We went on to the cocktail party afterwards and I chatted with Margo for a while, complimenting her on the story and congratulating her on her win.

Did Lee enjoy the awards? Read his blog to find out.

Most popular person award on the night went to Connor. He was held, kissed, photographed with and cuddled by many of my heroes including Kim Wilkins, Sean Williams and Rob Hood. Unfortunately, by the end of the night, it all got overwhelming for his eight week old mind and he began to cry. And cry. And cry. I had to take him off, wrap him and hold him to calm him down. This was when the wonderful Trevor Stafford appeared to keep me company and make sure I was okay.

The other children were wonderful. Cassie dressed up for the event and was both beautiful and entertaining. She walked into the party and was immediately snapped up by the crowd. They loved her and many came over to meet her. I loved watching her working the room. I received comments and compliments on her all night (Including my personal favourite "I can't believe you have a teenage daughter :))

Erin and the boys also made their own fans in their own way. All in all the party was a success.

On another note

I bought my wedding shoes! I had to search the country for them, but eventually I found a beautiful pair of size 5 strappy sandals that I loved. Cassie also found her bridesmaid's shoes so we're almost set.


Movie World

A fantastic day that the kids enjoyed immensely. I got badly burnt on my chest, shoulders and back and Connor's face was half burnt (this all occured while breast feeding) but all in all we had a great day. Waiting for a bus home was murder. We didn't get a bus until nearly two hours after we left the park but once we were on the connecting train we were set. Dinner at Toscani's (quickly became our favourite eating place) then home for yet another late night in bed.

General impressions

At the time it seemed all we did was argue. The kids always seemed to be at each other. Cassie had a go at Lee and I for the way we parent Erin. Neither Lee nor myself believe in smacking, but a few times we had to resort to a quick smack to bring Erin into line. Cassie jumped all over us for it and pronounced that there were better ways to deal with the constant tantrums, rudeness and back chat. We asked her to give us an example. She didn't so we handed Erin over to Cass and said "You think you can do better, you show us." Yesterday morning Cassie handed her back and said "Sorry. You win. I can't deal with this any more."
On reflection though, it really was a good holiday. The kids were snappy and we did tell them off a fair bit, but on the whole they were well behaved and helpful. They helped carry a lot of stuff around Brisbane and helped clean the dorms whenever necessary. They had good manners and were generally delightful in their enthusiam.

Personal highlight.

Wedding shoes. That's one thing on our to-do list I can cross off. It may seem a little thing, but do you know how hard it is to find size 5 shoes in the adult section?

Personal lowlight.

The video camera. It was virtually brand new and held some wonderful memories. However, as I pointed out to Lee, I took hundreds of photos of Cassie as a baby, dozens of Aiden and a couple of Blake, and yet I have thousands of memories of all three of them.

Most trying thing

Sleeping in a single bed. I'll be phoning the chiropractor for an appointment as soon as I finish this. Lee and I are a mess. Our backs and necks are in terrible pain. Thank god we're back in our own bed with our chiro pillows.

Things I'd like to repeat

Shopping at Underworld. I bought the most gorgeous pair of heeled black ankle boots. Wicked and wonderful.

The Daikaiju film night watching Godzilla vs Mecha-Godzilla. The kids had a ball. I did find out I didn't make the Daikaiju anthology but I think the story will place well elsewhere. I think the reason it was rejected was because it fell more into the realm of fantasy rather than sf.

Meeting up with our friends such as Rob Hoge (the kids all fell in love with him), Robert Hood, Cat Sparks, Shane Cummings (an absolute sweety) and Ben Payne (whom I'd met once before and clicked with immediately)

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week.

Oh yeah. You know the first roll of film we'd taken? It turned up in the baby bag so it wasn't lost after all! Yay!!!!!







Sunday, January 16, 2005

Hello sunshine

It's 6am and I'm awake. Connor woke me at 10, which I expected, then 1 which I also expected. What I didn't expect was the fact that he didn't go back to bed until 3. Then woke at 4 and now here we are. Am I tired? Hell yes. Am I a little tetchy? Don't even go there. Half an hour and then I'm waking Battboy for the day shift. Oh, and we're supposed to be going out to the SF group in 3 hours. Hopefully I'll get a nap before we go.

New stresses

The wedding is 69 days away and we're starting to look at what needs doing. We've bought the paper for the invitations, found a font we like, decided what cake we want, and discussed writing a 'to-do' list. Last time it took Jon and I all of eight months to sort our wedding out. Lee and Sharon took a year. This time, due to the residency, pregnancy, newborn, Christmas/New Year and school holidays, Lee and I have pretty much allowed ourselves 10 weeks. Am I beginning to stress? Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!
Lee jokes that his job is to turn up on the day and say "I do". I'm beginning to wonder if this, in fact, isn't the wisest option. I, at least, have paid for my dress. Now to lose a little extra weight and have the dress adjusted.

Other people's stresses

My best friend Sharon got married in New Zealand on Boxing Day. She arrived two days before hand, organised the whole thing, MADE dresses for her bridesmaids, got them and herself ready and had a lovely wedding. She's doing it all over again here in Perth for her family and friends next weekend. Things are going wrong left, right and centre and she has a migraine. Little wonder. We're not going due to our Brisbane holiday which is very upsetting. Sharon and I have been best friends for nearly 11 years now and I hate that I'm going to miss such a big occasion. On the positive side (there's a positive side to everything in my life) Lee and I are taking the kids on a fantastic holiday to Qld.

Catching up

Caught up with an old friend yesterday. Catherine and I met in Darwin due to our then husbands working together at CSC. We both moved back to Perth in 2002 and maintained our friendship. We sort of got caught up in our own lives for a couple of years, but yesterday I dropped in on her unannounced. It was like we'd been together a week ago. She's also trying to break into the writing game and we spent most of our time together discussing our work. One thing we used to talk about was opening a book-cafe together and this came up again yesterday. It's something we'd both like to do and I could see us making a go of it.

On Writing

My goal of 500 words per day is ending up 1000 words every second day. I didn't get to write at all yesterday due to a trip into Subiaco for invitation paper in the morning and visits to Sharon's and Catherine's in the arvo. Hopefully I'll steal some time later and catch up.

Time off for good behaviour

Every day Lee makes sure I get me time, time to write, to go to the gym, to be away from all the children. Yesterday I returned the favour by taking the kids out for the afternoon from 12 - 6. He is so thoughtful and considerate of my needs, I wanted to give him the same space. He wrote nearly a thousand words and cooked dinner so in my opinion it was time well spent.


Time to wake up Battboy. Have a great week,

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Oh happy day!

What a wonderful morning. Not only has Lee sold his short story collection but... wait for it...I got back into a pair of jeans!

There will be much celebrating in the Triffbatt household today (just as soon as I get back from the gym.

The little things in life ARE often the best.

Have a luvverly day.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Avagoodweekend

Lots of visitors, lots of children, lots of food. All in all we had a fun weekend.

Battboy and I went to Ngala on Friday to get some help with Connor and his sleeping habits. Someone mentioned 'silent reflux'. After hearing the symptoms we thought 'this sounds familiar'. Saturday morning we went to the chemist and obtained a bottle of Infacol and started dosing Connor. We now have a different baby. The effect was immediate and last night the Battbaby slept 6 hours. Unfortunately, due to the late night, Lee and I slept only 3 of those hours. But still, I was anticipating a lot worse. He's become easier to settle, doesn't cry as much and sleeps longer. It's early days, but we're hoping that this heralds an easier time.

Grooving along.

I started a new story the other day, tentatively titled "Red River." Judging by how the story is moving along, I don't think the title will stick, but it will do for now. The story is in my head, complete and is likely to be a novella. I'm really excited by how its going. The characters are strong and the plot is working for me. I'm a happy writah-gal.

Sibling Rivalry

Connor is currently having nakie-time in the loungeroom. It's hard to tell he's naked. His brothers and older sister are currently draped all over him blowing raspberries on his tummy. Sometimes I think Casi thinks the only good thing I've ever done is give her a baby brother to play with. She absolutely mothers Connor, from the moment she walks in until she leaves.

Breakfast

We took the kids to McDonalds for breakfast this morning. We usually do this on a Sunday, but yesterday was busy so we did it today instead. Casi used it as an opportunity to tell me she only has unhappy memories with me and no good ones. This broke my heart and I've felt sick to my stomach all day. If Casi knew what I'd been through with my parents, I don't think she'd abuse her own so much. I proceeded to remind her of all I'd done with and for her during our years together but I don't think it makes any difference. She has one memory she holds against me and has closed her mind to all the good times. I know I was a loving, caring, kind and attentive mother. I just don't know why she doesn't appreciate the fact. Once again I'm thinking of moving to Queensland. Everytime the subject has come up I think of the kids and it just looks impossible, but why do I stick around when Cass doesn't feel bonded with me? One simple answer. No matter how badly they treat me, I love those kids to pieces and it would kill me to be away from them.

Sigh.

On a funnier note. Casi just picked the nakie-boy up and he peed all over her. I'll calm down in a minute.

Enjoy your week.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Once more a short one

Connor's asleep so Battboy and I are heading for bed. Last night was a night from hell. I fed Battbaby at 9:30 in the hope that he'd sleep til about 2ish, but no, he woke up at 12:03 and refused to return to sleep until about 3:30. And he screamed the whole time. Lee got out of bed about 2 to help me. Thank god, I don't know what I would have done without him. An hour and a half later, the screaming starts again. I got up, took two panadol for the raging headache that had plagued me for 12 hours and thought I'd feed him, look after him and then get Lee up at 6:30. Within 15 minutes the panadol had kicked in and I collapsed. I mean I literally passed out. Thankfully, I was lying on the bed feeding at the time, so Lee took care of the baby until I awoke at 10:30. I'd expressed some milk the night before, so my hero used that to keep him at bay.

After the horrendous pregnancy, I hate complaining about the baby, but Connor's sleeping habits are killing us. I slumped into a deep depression all day, which was only alleviated by a trip to the gym at 4pm. The panadol are making no impact upon the headache. But hopefully my chiropractor will.

I admitted defeat and phoned Ngala and we're off tomorrow to learn some sleeping strategies, and are enrolled in a Parenting Education course on Wednesday.
Some days I feel like the world's worst mother.

Give a little bit...

I finished work on A Whisper in the House of Angels yesterday and asked Lee to read it. A lot of my own personal experience went into the story, so I really felt exposed as I handed it to him. Lee is the most compassionate and loving person I've ever met and quickly alleviated my fears.

Words

566 words written on a review for ASIM today. Still achieving goals, even if my little darling makes it incredibly hard.

Finally

The kids arrive tomorrow. I can't wait. Three weeks is way too long. My mum is coming down for a visit on Saturday, to see Connor and the kids. She does this every couple of years. Most of the time she doesn't even realise my children and I exist and then suddenly she'll announce a visit. Despite the inherent bitchiness of this paragraph, I am looking forward to seeing her. Mum has been responsible for a lot of pain in my life, but she is my mum and I do love her. I'm fortunate in that she's embraced Erin as her granddaughter, and gives her as much attention as she does the others (which admittedly isn't much, but it is something.)


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Short and sweet

A quick blog before bedtime (Connor's asleep which means we should be too).

I'm so very proud of my honey. I'm not going to go into detail here because generally people jump from one blog to the other and I don't want to rain on his parade, but I'm so very pleased with all he's achieved this year, which is huge considering we're only 4 days in. Well done, my love. I'm proud of you.

First milestone

The Battbaby is now 5 1/2 weeks old and I've been worried because he seems delayed in his smiling (generally a 4 week milestone). Well, after a few "did he, or didn't he?"'s we finally cracked it today. Well, Lee did anyway. He was playing with Connor on the bed while I put out my 500 words (573 to be exact) when he was rewarded with a smile. He called me in and sure enough Connor gave a repeat performance. We were so excited.

Wedding preparation Part One.

I joined Fitness First Health Club today. I have 81 days in which to get into my wedding dress, so I decided that some serious work was in order. I can't wait for tomorrow when I get to step onto a treadmill again.

That's it. I'm tired and need my rest. Take care and enjoy your week.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Another one bites the dust

I found out the results for last year's unit. I received a Distinction. Woohoo to me! I achieved that despite a troublesome pregnancy, a spirited toddler, a house move and a busy writer-partner. Am I pleased with myself? Hell, yes! Only two more first year units to go. This semester I'm tackling "The Search for Meaning." It'll be interesting to see how it goes when I have a baby in tow.

Thank you

A big thanks to the ASIM crew for the lovely dragon they gave to Connor. We visited Sally and Dave today and received this wonderful present. Lee and I are not teddy fans, so the dragon was right up our alley. I really enjoyed my time at ASIM. We were a community within the community, so it was nice to realise I'd meant as much to them as they do to me. They also announced Connor's birth in ASIM 16 which was lucky cos we forgot to put one in the paper :)

Goals

Lee and I set ourselves the task of writing 500 words per day. I'm pleased to announce that it's day 2 and we've both achieved it so far.

Wherefore art thou? (A minor rant)

I've been trying to contact my children for several days now as three weeks is way too long to go without speaking to them. So far I've tried their home number, Cassie's mobile and Jon's mobile without success. By today I was beginning to wonder if they'd left the country without telling me. Yes, I truly was panicking. Now, since I always tell my dear ex what we're up to so he has some knowledge of where our children are at any given time, I would have thought he'd pay the same courtesy. But no. For some reason he thinks it's perfectly reasonable to take off without telling me. Apparently they've gone camping in Busselton and won't be back til Tuesday. How did I find this out? I phoned his dad who informed me of their plans. I don't expect Jon to give me details about all his movements, but I would have thought a trip of over 300 kilometres would have been worth mentioning even if it was "We're going away for a few days and you won't be able to contact the kids."
Humph.

And now for a rave

I'd just like to say a big "thanks" and give hugs and kisses to both Callisto and Ju for the beautiful things they said about me on their LJ's. I love you both very much and you've come to mean the world to me. I treasure your friendship and feel that my life has been enriched by the experience of knowing you. Calli, you're an amazing woman and you've taught me that it's okay to reveal your inner strength. Ju, you're warm and sweet and sensitive and have made it possible for me to laugh at my inner child. I also enjoyed our conversation the other night. I feel we get each other and have probably shared similar life experiences. Stay happy and true to yourselves. You both know where I am when you need a friend.

Take care one and all.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year!

Top 10 Reasons why 2005 promises to be a better year than 2004

10. I will finally finish the first year of my degree (I started in 2000)
09. I won't lose any best friends (out of the three I started 2004 with, I now only have 1 left and we seem pretty secure. Although, I do have to tell her that I won't be attending her pseudo-wedding this month. Hmmm, maybe it's too early to say that :))
08. Lee will finish his novel and send it to a publisher.
07. Lee and I will spend it in our own home and not pay someone else's mortgage.
06. I will get my figure back. I WILL get my figure back. I'm joining a gym next week and the three of us embark on a new eating plan starting today.
05. Battboy's court case will be over, one way or another and he will finally be able to look forward to his future. It's not that I expect him to forget his past, but I do want him to feel secure and happy about where he's heading. The court case has prevented that to a large extent.
04. Pregnancy is over so it will be a relatively pain-free year and Lee won't constantly be worried about my health (which is sort of related to 5.).
03. Lee and I will have taken all the children on a fabulous holiday to Brissie. Whether Lee wins an Aurealis or not, at least we'll have had a fun time.
02. Jon won't be able to hurt me. He took my kids last year. What more can he possibly do?
01. Lee and I are getting married. (85 days to go. See number 6)

Top 10 things that happened in 2004

10. Memory of Breathing was accepted by Sally Beasley for ASIM 18 (but moved to ASIM 17)
09. Lee put his fear of losing me aside and agreed to have a baby.
08. Watching Battboy and the older children bond over Invader Zim.
07. Finished another unit towards my degree and received a High Distinction for one of my assignments.
06. Lee and I made many new friends such as Adrian and Michelle Bedford, Ju and Kenada, Sheldon, Kylie and PRK and Torrie as well as strengthened our friendship with Chesh and Calli.
05. Watching "Chances" on our Bad Movie Night. (Vitamin E cream, snicker snicker)
04. Lee and I spent the whole year in each other's company and found that not only do we love each other, but we really like each other as well.
03. We had our engagement party in January which was the best fun.
02. I fell pregnant to the man I love after only trying for about a week.
01. Connor was born.

We hope everyone is able to look back on 2004 with fondness and anticipate a happy 2005!




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