Saturday, September 30, 2006

So there we were at the Museum on Wednesday - the cubs, Sarah and I - trailing about having fun and going 'Oooh', as you do, when I got a phone call from a friend of my mum's letting me know that Mum was just being bundled into an ambulance.
Apparently she'd had a mild stroke - ultrasounds and CAT scans later confirmed it - but at the time she was protesting that don't be stupid, she was fine. <rolls eyes>
So, she's in hospital, and not terribly impressed. The stroke's affected her word recall but thankfully not much else by the looks of it. There's no problems with her motor functions, and though she's perhaps a touch slurred in her speech it's mainly that she keeps losing words. And my mum's a great talker so not being able to communicate readily is very frustrating. Trying to convey what it is she needs has been a trial, though vaguely amusing, I have to say. Seems like we're using a combination of mime and telepathy at times and it just makes us giggle at the ridiculous of it all.
Haven't had any direct contact with her doctor yet so we've no idea how long she'll be hospitalised. In the meantime I've got her car - so I can pop in and see her without having to rely on public transport or Soulsis' kindness - and her cat's in the cattery. Poor bugger; I don't like him very much (it's mutual) but he obviously misses her. He was giving me such a look as I was going through drawers and cupboards finding clothes for mum. <g> I had no right to be doing that!
Hopefully she'll be able to go home soon, and without too much disruption to her life. It'd hurt if she had to stop driving, I'm sure, the loss of independence would be awful. Eh well, we just wait and see, I suppose.

Oh, and I have to say big thanks and huggles to Soulsis for running the cubs and I out to the hospital on Thursday, and then over to Mum's to pick up the car. Would've been sooo much more awkward without your help, sweetie, thanks! :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

<happy dance> Finished and sent off my sekrit Snupin Santa Challenge! In plenty of time, too, the deadline is the beginning of November. Thanks, Joules, for the beta - and the Brit-check. I had no idea 'bailing up' is an Australianism...

It's been a laid back kind of holiday. Haven't been tearing around madly doing stuff, mostly cos I just can't afford it. But we've managed a couple of things. Last week Soulsis et al popped 'round for the day; she stayed here with the boys (all four of them) while my niece and I went down to the city for a visit to the National Gallery. It's a big place, a bit overwhelming, not something you can see all of in one day. Best way to tackle it is to go for a couple of hours and look at only a few sections. Bit of a bugger if you're only visiting Melbourne, but honestly, there's so much there.
What did we see? Browsed around the textiles and the European 14th to 18th centuries for a bit, then had a snack, then Becca decided she wanted to see the modern stuff. Not much at all in that collection - that was on display at any rate - but what there was was striking. But, how do you judge 'good' Modern Art? Where's the line between 'wank' and 'significant'? There were a couple of pieces where I found myself thinking, 'Blimey, I could've done that!' But could I? Could I really have tried to play with colour and form and produce something that wasn't pretentious, or worse, ordinary? Some of the pieces looked as though they'd been executed very quickly but that's not to say there was no thought put into them. I know that's how it works when I'm writing, I can (usually) ponder something for ages, then bang it gels, and off I go...

The Gallery's a bit precious about taking photos, too, but I took this before I'd actually asked if it was all right to take photos. I can technically plead ignorance, yes?

Doll's dress

This is a doll's dress from the 1800's. It's about 40cm in length (big doll!) and made of patchwork, specifically the 'tumbling block' design. Cor...

I also had a wander through the photographic gallery upstairs - photos from America in the 1930's to the '50's from various photographers. They weren't 'arty' but they captured a moment in time and made it real. Just amazing, it's the sort of stuff I aspire to.
After that Becca and I had to go home cos we was all culcha'd out. <g>
In the meantime the cubs had had fun with their cousins, and Soulsis wasn't ready to kill any of them by the time we got back so all in all it was a successful day.
And I got presents! A pair of pressed glass plates with goldfish designs! Becca had painted the fish on one of them a lovely, vibrant orange. Gorgeous!

And yesterday the cubs' father offered to take the cubs and I to Puffing Billy! (He'd hired a car for the weekend.) That was great, and the cubs' father's first time on the train. Cold though, and it rained! It hailed, in fact. We didn't stay too long, just took the train to Lakeside, had a look at the model railway, then caught the next train back to Belgrave. Because we had a car we were home by 3. <g> It was a good day and the cubs had a ball. There'll be some photos up at Flickr soonish, once I've winnowed down the 170 to something reasonable. Damn, I love having a camera again...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A snippet of Joules' and my ICQ conversation. Inspired by this photo: Contact!

...which flowed on from something mentioned in my previous post. ("(The cubs are playing a combat game on the Xbox. One of the cubs has draped himself with a green bedspread - his 'camouflage gear'. )..." )

Lutra: I've got a pic, though they posed for it.
Joules: go on then.
hang on...
[pause while I fiddle about sending files...]
<pissing self laughing> um yerrss. I like hte headgear, very camoudlaging.
<giggling> indeed... they remind me so much of myself...
you wander round in a green blanket witha teletubbie on your head? <patpat> keep taking the tablets.
LOL! Well, not that, specifically, but wandering around draped in other stuff pretending to be something else...
That happens less now than when I was 11. all my imagining now goes on in my head.

and I see snowglabes.
globes too

<g> er, yes
<bangs head on desk> <glares at fingerials and leapfrogging keyboard>
actually, snowlgabe is a nice word.

it is! Sounds like a weapon.
a snowglabe... mmm, it does.
snowlgabes.... a kind of owl?

<g> an owl... with weapons!

<g> We can keep ourselves amused for hours...

A header for a bit of spam I received today:
Please your woman Brock
That's a funny name for a woman...

Ack! The cubs tell me they're developing pubes! Nooo! It'll be facial hair next!

I knew I wasn't on par the other day when I made myself a cup of tea but when I looked in my cup I saw I'd only added hot water to sugar. Hm.
What's more significant, perhaps, is that I don't take sugar with the tea I'd been planning to use.

'Snark' is a great word - but it's a fanon word. I don't think it should appear in fics that are trying to follow canon. (And I say this in full knowledge that I've used it before in my own fics. Tch. Sloppy.)

You know what I like most about my camera? (And it is a camera - its secondary function is a 'phone.) It's the instant gratification. Take a photo, download it, have a look. Easy peasy. And one day soon I'll work up the courage to see about getting prints made. One of the photo shops nearby will do prints from digital for 20¢ a piece (cheaper than regular processing). The 'conditions' are that there has to be more than 10 in a batch (<eyebrow> considering I've narrowed my 'must print' list down from umpteen to a mere 200 I don't think that'll be a problem) and it must be a 'next day' service rather than 'instant'. I can live with that. :)

I'm still really enjoying the Tennant series of Dr Who. There's no excessive moralising, the stories are - mostly - sharp, and about as believable as Dr Who gets. Costumes/prosthetics are great, the sets don't wobble... It's all good.
It makes me ponder, too, which is something that happens all too rarely with television. For instance, in last week's episode one of the character's has childhood memories of the Doctor. In the flashbacks we see our hero, but there's no sign of Rose. I got all shivery thinking that with time being as fluid as it is around the Doctor, that scenario could've come from any time in this incarnation. He could've come back to our past years after Rose. Cor...

At least once during any given school holiday I indulge in staying up stupidly late. Night before last I got offline and shut down the 'puter around midnight but I wasn't too tired so I thought I'd make a start on a bit of knitting...
I crawled into bed at 3.45. Needless to say I was useless the next day. <g>

And we're almost at the end of the first week of this two-week term break. Haven't done much at all (can't afford to!) and I'm more relaxed than I have been in quite some time...

(The cubs are playing a combat game on the Xbox. One of the cubs has draped himself with a green bedspread - his 'camouflage gear'. <giggling>)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Michelangelo's 'Dying Slave'. You've got to ask yourself - dying from what, precisely?

So, after months (years!) of procrastination and - let's be honest - outright avoidance, Cathouse Ellis is finally finished. <shakes head> 3 years and 4 months since the first part was posted in Joule's Darkside. My first foray into yaoi, as well - up until then I'd only written yuri or het.
Heh, smut is no easier to write now than it was then. <g>
Anyway, Joules (thanks!) is coding part 2 as I blather. I imagine it'll be posted sometime later today, UK time.
[Edit: posted now, before I finished my update! Thanks again, Joules!]

That's torn it! Literally. My favourite pair of (pink stripey) trousers have ripped and all I've got left to wear is a couple of pairs of tatty trackys. The real crisis, however, is that the trackys don't have pockets! <hyperventilating> Nowhere to put my 'phone! No help for it now, I have to make myself some more trousers. With pockets.

Because we had the use of Soulsis' car on Tuesday the cubs and I trekked off to Scienceworks. Lots of fun. :) The special exhibition this time was 'License to Spy' - with a mystery to solve and clues to be discovered using various technologies. <g> Not a terribly hard challenge for an espionage/crime fiction buff like myself, but very interesting nonetheless. I got a particular satisfaction from opening the safe. Working the tumbler mechanism took some concentration, and some muffled swearing. But I did it! Cubs enjoyed the exhibit as well - we were in there for an hour and a half without really noticing.
I also treated us to the Planetarium for the first time in ages. There was only one program showing that day, 'The Problem with Pluto' and while I'm sure it was really good and informative I'm afraid that I was so comfortable lying back in the reclining seat that I dozed for a bit. Probably just as well, it was a long drive home and I'd started the day tired.
I took some photos (surprise surprise); some of them are up at Flickr...

Got my hands on a couple of interesting books. The first is Terry Jones' Barbarians in which he demonstrates exactly what it was the Romans did for us - and it's not as much we've been led us to believe. <g> I was pleased to discover it's the book that accompanies a series - and then the cubs' father told me that we've been seeing the ads for the series for the past few weeks. Okay, so I'm not all that perceptive some of the time...
The second book is Kafka's Soup, a 'complete history of world literature in 14 recipes'. Have I mentioned that I'm a sucker for quirky recipe books? In essence this is 14 recipes written in the style of particular authors. For example:
Lamb with Dill sauce a la Raymond Chandler.
[snip. list of ingredients]
"I sipped on my whisky sour, ground out my cigarette on the chopping board and watched a bug trying to crawl out of the basin. I needed a table at Maxim's, a hundred bucks and a gorgeous blonde; what I had was a leg of lamb and no clues. I took hold of the joint. It felt cold and damp, like a coroner's handshake. I took out a knife and cut the lamb into pieces. Feeling the blade in my hand I sliced an onion, and before I knew what I was doing a carrot lay in pieces on the slab...'
It's very funny. The Jane Austen recipe takes four and a half pages to describe something that takes 2 minutes to cook. <g> Beautifully done. There's even a recipe a la Marquis de Sade (Boned Stuffed Pouissons) but I haven't attempted to read that one yet, it's even more verbose than the Austen! (Though having just glanced at it, it appears to be in a modern setting - talking about delivery vans being clamped... Intrigued, now.)
Anyway, yes, interesting books. No doubt I'll get around to trying out some of the recipes eventually as well.

Looks like the hard rubbish collection is finally over. We've done well from it this time, however. The cubs' father found a recliner armchair in good nick, the only thing wrong with it is one of the struts has snapped so it wobbles a bit, but otherwise it's very comfy. He also found a tall, thin, chest of drawers that holds all our DVDs with room to spare. I found a pair of wooden kitchen chairs. Given how heavy they are I'm guessing they're from a time when furniture was made of things other than pine. Good, solid construction, too.
I also found this piece of cat-furniture:

Amazing what people throw out (The cat toy, not the cat)

As you can see, KittenKong is quite pleased.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Sparkles illuminating dictionaries and notebooks. Sums up my life nicely... :)

That thumping sound is me banging my head on the desk.
4pm yesterday - camp-eve - I rang the school to let them know the cubs wouldn't be going to camp.
8.30 pm the recovering cub perks up and declares he'd really like to go after all. The change of mind is a bit annoying but no problem, we're basically ready, all I had to do was finish packing and find a few things...
9pm he's wavering and after weighing the pros and cons decides that he'll stay home after all.
I should've listened to my instincts. I should've set my alarm for sparrow's fart so I could poke him awake in plenty of time to change his mind again. Which he did.
7.30am this morning I'm woken by disconsolate wailing and floods of tears. <sigh> Told him to get dressed while I tried to ring the school. My thinking was that, though the bus was due to leave at 7.30 it might have been delayed. If it was and I could let someone know we were on our way (in a taxi) they might've been able to hold the bus for us.
No one answered the phone so as a back-up plan I left an email asking if anyone was planning on visiting the campsite and would they mind a passenger?
In the meantime, in an attempt to cheer the cub up I suggested that as we're going to have Soulsis' car tomorrow we could take a trip somewhere. The cubs immediately suggested Puffing Billy (surprise, surprise) but I pointed out that we could get there anytime by public transport. The place we can't get to without a car is Scienceworks. Trawled about on the 'net for a bit, finding out what special exhibitions were on and what was showing at the adjacent Planetarium. Cub got very enthusiastic about that and asked me to ring the school to let them know he wasn't going to camp. <rolls eyes>
So when the principal rang later to see if he still wanted a lift I politely declined - but I didn't tell him she'd offered because frankly I was fed up.
It is a shame he's missed the camp and to be fair it was a huge decision for him, essentially deciding whether to go off on his own for the first time ever, but, blimey... I don't suppose this will be the only decision he ever regrets, however, and it could be something of an object lesson. It still hurts to see my cubs upset, though.
But, barring any other crisis, we'll be off for a fun day tomorrow - and this time, I've got a camera!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

And so it came to pass that as one cub recovered from the dreaded lurgy the other fell to its insidious clasp. On the day before camp, too. <sigh>
So, while one cub might be well enough to go away for a few days of educational fun he certainly won't go without his brother. Which is fair enough, I spose, cos his brother had no intention of going away without him when he was sick.
But - dagnabbit - looks like I might not be getting my child-free days after all.
But the sicker cub might get better quickly - it's happened before. Either way we probably won't know until the very last minute whether they'll be going or not. <grump> All this shilly-shallying is most aggravating. (And if I sound like Lady Bracknell it's cos I jolly well feel like her!)
It's not just my two either, at the parent-teacher interviews last night I found out that there were 8 missing from one cub's class, all down with this bloody virus. I wonder how many are actually going to make it to camp? Eh well, whatever happens they've got some new clothes at least, and fresh batteries for their torches - always a good thing in their opinion.

I wonder... does reading slash fiction before reading/viewing the original influence one's perception of it? Case in point: I hunted down Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence cos a fan author I keep tabs on wrote a couple of short pieces around the books. I'd only read one of her (very short) fics but if I hadn't, would I have still picked up the slight slashy potential? Hmm, possibly, if only cos I'm alert to those sort of nuances now. <g>

Speaking of fanfic... Sac - it does not mean quite what you think it means.
A baglike membrane-enclosed cavity in animal or vegetable organism; membranous envelope of hernia, cyst, tumour etc.
That doesn't sound that reminiscent of the scrotum, to me. Perhaps I'm just being picky.
But while checking that I found this:
sabulous - sandy, of sand.
<g> "Oh, yes, daaaahling, the beach is sabulous!"
How can you not love this language, eh? :)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Right, so I think I've got all the gear the cubs will need for their camp (D'oh! Except torches and batteries. Tch, I'll pick those up on Monday...)
I like buying clothes for the cubs about as much as I like buying clothes for me, but I've brought on myself the aggravation of trudging hither and yon. I've been meaning to get them new stuff since Summer but, as usual, kept putting it off and off and off... <g>
But my search today led me into op-shops where I found all sorts of lovely things. Some more pretty cutlery; a pair of beautifully shaped rice bowls; a little Chinese teapot decorated with a blue carp; a couple of shirts that the cubs may or may not wear; knitting needles; a hand-painted lizard mug; a touristy book about the Louvre; a Japanese 'bamboo' patterned dipping-sauce dish; and an intriguing piece of junk Chinese pottery, the sort of thing that's produced quickly and cheaply as packaging. This piece is cylindrical, lidded, and decorated with a rough relief of pandas and bamboo. Its glaze is strongly reminiscent of baby poo but despite that I quite like it...
Oh, and how could I forget the large, imitation clam shell fashioned from pearlescent white plastic. <snerk> Pure class, that is.
However, I was just sitting down to lunch (beef tataki! yum!) when I got a call from the school asking if I'd like to pick up my sick cub - the cub I forced jollied into going to school this morning. <sigh> He's got a bit of a cough/cold and is not feeling the best. I'm crossing fingers he'll be all better by Wednesday... and that his brother doesn't come down with the same thing in the meantime.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hm. I can't see any xmas merchandise per se in the shops yet but things like specialty tins of biscuits and buckets of M&Ms have appeared on the shelves. It's Father's Day this Sunday - I suspect the retailers are waiting to get that out of the way before starting the xmas campaign. Hmph.

I ran out of tea! Unthinkable! And I couldn't find my usual brand (Nature's Garden Organic) so I had to resort to Twinings. Admittedly I bought the Lady Grey for Soulsis cos it's her favourite (and she needed coddling cos it's been a difficult couple of days, what with trying to get her head around Bail Justice legislation and having to put up with the street lights down here in the suburbs disturbing her sleep - tch, country folk. Where was I? Oh yes...) but I don't remember Twinings being so delicate. And by 'delicate' I mean 'weak as piss'. <g> That's a daft phrase, isn't it? 'Weak as piss', cos even weak piss isn't weak. Not that you'd want to drink it, but still... Where was I?
I had a lovely Earl Grey blend yesterday afternoon, at a cafe. Not sure of the brand but it's made with real bergamot, and sage, I think. Absolutely delicious and it brewed into a wonderful rich shade of claret. The only downside was that the teabag was made from nylon net fashioned into a pyramid. Terribly stylish but not at all compostable. Hm, wonder if I could buy the tea loose-leaf. That'd be neat.
So, Twinings, it'll do at a pinch, but it's still better than <spitspit> Liptons. :)

I have two reasons to anticipate the beginning of a month now. I get my broadband 'net speed back, plus my Flickr account ticks over and I can upload again. Given the amount of pics I take I think it's not outside the realm of possibility that I'll be pushing the limit for uploads there on a regular basis. <g> That's not to say that all my pics get posted, oh no, just what I consider the best/most interesting/illustrative.
Needless to say, there's a new batch posted...

More bizarre, and strangely analogous, suggestions from Blogger's spell check:
manga - mange
anime - anion
Trigun - truism
Gessekai - gasseous
Nightwalker - nostalgia
daft - deft

Two weeks left of term. Or rather - given the upcoming camp - one week and two days...