Feb. 19th, 2013 10:20 pm
catsidhe: (Default)
I seem to have misplaced a decade somewhere.

It's Miss A's tenth birthday today. how did that happen?

BRB, checking down the back of the couch...
catsidhe: Per pale sable and vert, two chevronels argent (SCA)
It turned out that the Cockatrice drawing I knocked off in a couple of hours appeared on the front cover of the Cockatrice publication. People have said that they like it, which is gratifying.

After a week of not quite panicking, things more or less worked for 12th night, heraldically speaking.

I ran Henri and Beatrice's last court, handing off to [personal profile] actreal for Teffania's Laurel ceremony, and only almost ruining it in the introduction.

The final court also included, amongst lots and lots of Cyphers, a Cockatrice, Prometheus, a couple of Silver Pegasi and a White Scarf, [personal profile] felinophile being admitted as a Pelican.

The final court segued straight into the investiture ceremony, which I also did the shouting for.

After lunch, the first court of Felix and Eva, handled by [personal profile] actreal. This was all about the Royal Household, and no awards (requiring entry into Canon Lore) were given.

After tourneys and other such entertainments, first court of the evening was run by Sorle, who passed off to the B&B Stormhold who allowed me to pass my Office of Goutte d'Eau off to [personal profile] pearl, who very shortly thereafter was also admitted as a Laurel.

Paul Mortar was granted a Golden Tear, there was another Cockatrice, a Star and Lily, and Dante the newly appointed Deputy Goutte d'Eau was granted an Award of Arms.

And [personal profile] actreal was made a Court Baron.

The chest I made at Mistress Antonia's workshop did not win the Arts and Sciences competition, but it was very handy to carry our feasting gear -- and it fits almost perfectly into the boot of Mim's car.

People said nice things about my shouting, including that they were entertained when I pronounced people's names as they were meant to be, not as they might be read out naively.

Sunday was at a site a long way away. [personal profile] actreal was not there, so I did the courts, and Sorle did his shouting duty at the tourney. One of the items of business was that the previous evening the children had chosen a king and queen by the finding of a bean in a cake. Miss A was the queen of the children. They came up in court to ask permission to hold a children's court, which was graciously granted (their Majesties seemed taken by the idea), and their majesties ran the King and Queen of the Children through a quick oath to Do The Right Thing, and granted them tokens. (Which was not expected or planned, but was a lovely touch.) Miss A in particular had a strong clear voice in court and her petition and answers were note-perfect.

During the day there was wandering, and talking, and Being Hit On The Head Lessons, and the Children's Court (they appointed their own lords and ladies of the court, and a herald, and gave out awards and prizes, and waved banners, and generally demonstrated that the College of Heralds and the various aspects of nobility will be in good hands when it comes their time.

I heralded the final court, which had a Golden Tear (for the Steward), a Star and Lily, several gifts and offers of fealty, and one huge glaring stuff-up on my part when the court was closed, we had had cheers for the King and Queen, and I then declared three cheers for "the Barons and Baronesses, the Peers, and the populace of Stormhold".

I didn't even realise I'd said that (at the top of my lungs) until the Kraé Glassians all looked at me horrified, gave confused cheers (knowing what I meant), and then informed me what I'd said.

Autopilot can be a bitch.

And there's documentary evidence of the coronation.

And Sorle Canon was right there, so all the CHAF forms went straight to him then and there, and it's already up on Canon Lore.
catsidhe: (Default)
Primary achievement: still not dead.

Looked at the weather reports and decided not to go to the tournament on Saturday. Mostly because all of us were still coughing and drugged up. We got to the tourney site in time to help pack up, and to the feast site to help set up.

There was an Arts and Sciences competition, which featured painting a portrait in Italian style. I was handed the task of painting a portrait of Her Majesty. I had a couple of handicaps in this: I had white, blue, red, green and yellow paints, and the darkest mix I could get was a dark purple; they were somewhat gloopier in consistency than I am used to; I had to finish the last few details by candlelight; the table kept getting bumped by curious children; and I have face blindness, so I was painting a portrait from memory of a face which I could not picture to save my life.

I think the painting took about half an hour... maybe 45 minutes, go to whoa.

Miss A was snarking about how much she wanted to be a member of the Mouse Guard, and it was gratifying to see the look on her face when she and Miss S were summoned in court and given their Mouse Guard pouches.

Mim and I were somewhat more surprised when the girls' first duty was to bring us in front of Their Majesties, where Mim was awarded the Star and Lily (for her Guild), and I was made a member of the Order of the Cockatrice (for Linguistics, especially as applied to Heraldic Commentary and Consultation).

Friða also was hunted down and forced to join the Order of the Cockatrice. And at that there was general acclaim and much rejoicing.

When the Arts and Sciences was announced, it turns out that my portrait won, despite having no resemblance to Her Majesty whatsoever. Her Majesty even requested the portrait. The portrait which my girls and the elder daughter of B&B Kraé Glas painted of His Majesty was also given to him. He was very gracious.

Sara's Pelican ceremony was grand and dignified, and the hall was completely silent, except for the sounds of a very bored and tired toddler, but no-one held it against her or her family.

Today was simply too miserable, and we are all still too unwell, to have considered going to Bash, even if it weren't cancelled because of precisely that bad weather.

And although I'm still not recovered, and probably still sicker than anyone else in the house, the doctor's certificate has run out, so I'm back at work tomorrow to see if I can stick it out.
catsidhe: (Default)
  1. Set a problem for homework.
  2. Provide a suggested method for finding a solution of, essentially, "randomly shuffle these numbers until it kinda looks right".
  3. ...
  4. Profit! End up with children who are frustrated and angered by the sight of numbers, and have little to no idea that there are ways in which this sort of problem can be approached, let alone relatively simple and rigorous ways to prove them correct, let alone that the solution raises all sorts of other questions, which can themselves be answered...

The actual problem was "Take the nine numbers 2 to 10, and arrange them in three groups of three so that each group adds to the same number."

The suggested approach was to "write the numbers on pieces of paper, and arrange them into the right groups."

No, seriously, the suggested approach was to randomly shuffle the numbers until they (magically) come out in the right order. Personally, I'm wondering if there is a worse possible approach to the problem.

When I sat down with Miss A to approach this, my first question was: so, what is the number they have to add up to?

What you're looking for is
x = a + b + c
  = d + e + f
  = g + h + i
So the first thing to notice is that
a + b + c + d + e + f + g + h + i = 3x

The sum of 2..10 is 54, so the answer to each group of three must be 54/3 = 18.

So then we need an algorithm to fill in the blanks. Start with the biggest number, so
18 = 10 + b + c
b≠9, because that is already too big. And while 10+8 = 18, that only works if c=0, which isn't an available value. Neither is 1, so b≠7. So by elimination, we have a=10, b=6, c=2. Then do the same with the remaining numbers (d=9, e=5, f=4), and the remaining three must be g, h and i. Luckily, when you check, they are.

There was a secondary part to do the same thing with the set B = [3..11]. And yes, we showed that the algorithm still works. Only now the sum to each group is 21.

Hang on, 21 = 18+3, and we're dealing with groups of three... that can't be a coincidence, can it? It turns out, if you compare the ordered sets, then you see that each number Bx is just Ax+1. So if each number has 1 added, then each group must have 3 added to the total for it to work out.

And if we've just solved this problem for the set N2 = [2..10], and for N2+1, then we've demonstrated that the solution will work for Nx, where x is any positive integer. So for the set [1..9], the sum to each group should be 15... and when you check, it is.

But wait... what we've got can be drawn in a grid

If we re-arrange the numbers within each row, then we get

And if you do a bit of matrix manipulation, then you get a Magic Square, where the rows, columns and diagonals all add up to the same magic number.

And we've proved that this pattern is a Magic Square whether you pick your nine numbers starting from 2, 3, 1, 512, 100473, or whatever. I wonder if it works for other progressions? Say, N55 = [5, 10, 15, ..., 45]? (It does, but proof is an exercise for the reader.) Or for negative integers? What would we have to do to the algorithm to make it work? What about magic squares of order 4, 5, 19? What about...?

Just look at all this number theory we got from a question where the suggested approach was to "fiddle randomly and hope you trip over the right answer."

I'm sure there's some sort of pedagogical approach which calls for the systematic frustration of children, and the comprehensive murder of any potential joy of mathematics, but for the life of me I can't think what it is.
catsidhe: (Gilgamesh)
A week ago today, Miss A was away from school. She, and the other girl in the school Chess Club were representing the school in a Girls Chess Tournament being held at Lauriston.

Now, I want to make it clear that it didn't matter how well the girls played, they had next to no chance whatsoever of winning. There were only two of them, and the scoring was done by teams: the best scoring four had their scores totalled to determine the winning team, and some teams had seven players to pick from. Even if Miss A and her teammate won every match, they weren't going to win the tournament.

As it was, of seven games, Miss A won one, drew three, and lost three. Which is a creditable result (and probably influenced by her tendency to play very defensively).

I took Miss S in to school on that day, and hung around for the Monday Assembly. There was no mention of the Chess Tournament, or the two girls representing their school -- both of them for the first time.

Later in the week, when the newsletter came around, I searched for even a mention of the tournament. In vain. There were, on the other hand, many columns devoted to football and netball and athletics and collecting tshotshkes from a supermarket to buy more soccerballs and cricket bats.

Mim made a point of telling Miss A's teacher and principal about the tournament, and asking for the two girls to be at least recognised for their efforts.

And at this morning's assembly... oh go on, guess.

The Grade sixes who participated in the Tournament of Minds were called out and recognised. Which is something, at least.

But fuck it pisses me off. Once again, those who use their brains are ignored and rejected in favour of boofheads chucking balls around. And more the point, girls who use their brains are ignored and rejected in favour of chucking a ball around in short skirts.

They might say they support intellectual pursuits, but this is given the lie by their actions: all praise, all attention to the jocks. The 3rd division under-10s get a mention for coming 9th place, but you smart kids shouldn't bother looking for recognition until you've got to Nobel levels. Encouragement along the way? Why would that be relevant? It's not like anyone cares.

And even if we do manage to beat into these people's minds that maybe they'd get more participation in the Chess Club (and more female participation -- right now there are exactly three female members, and two of those are Miss A and Miss S), why do we have to fight to get the merest nod of barest grudging acknowledgement, when the Netball team(s) and Football team(s) and the rest are lavished with praise and attention and money and support merely for existing?

To look at it another way, when you compare the love lavished upon the ‘jocks’ and the ‘geeks’, I don't think you could actively drive children away from intellectual pursuits (and thereby freeze out those who aren't physically inclined) any better, short of outright punishment. AND EVEN THAT WOULD CONSTITUTE MORE ATTENTION THAN THEY'RE GETTING NOW!

Why is it that the geeks get to build the modern world, and the jocks get to treat running it for their own benefit as their goddamned birthright?
catsidhe: (Default)
It has been a long time between drinks.

We went down the road, and Miss S was fascinated by water running in the gutter.

“It's a river!”

“No, it's a gutter.”

“Oh. What's a gutter for?”

As an Oklahoman is supposed to have said: “I wish it would rain. Not for me, I've seen it, but for my ten-year-old son...”
catsidhe: (Default)
On Saturday evening I went to a fundraising trivia night held for Miss S' kindergarten. Even before the evening started, as I was still introducing myself to the others on my table, the host came around asking ‘is there an IT person here?’

So amidst everything else, I got to discover that there was nothing wrong with the sound after all, but it helps if you turn the volume up on the amp, showed the presenters how to change the video presentation mode on a laptop, and diagnosed that the CD they were playing from was badly scratched.

And my table came second. Yay us.

Sunday, Miss A had a school friend over for a playdate. This is part of an ongoing project to help Miss A get over the biggest hurdle of being an introvert, and provide her opportunities to play with and get to know some of her peers, in a setting where she doesn't feel crowded out and ignored. We thought it went well enough: they decorated mini-muffins, they watched Loony Tunes and the Disney Robin Hood movie, they played in the park when the weather cleared up a bit.

Late last night, though... Mim and I had only been asleep for a short while when we were woken by sobbing and sniffling. Mim had given A some panadol before bed for a complaint of a sore ear and some decongestant for a runny nose, but this time she had a blocked nose, and was just plain miserable. To the point that rubbing vicks on her chest and letting her nose clear (and I could hear it clear) did nothing to lessen her gloom. And then the real reason for her distress. “K,” (the girl who had visited earlier), “doesn't like me, she won't play with me at school, she's always busy playing with other people... no-one ever plays with me...”

A is like her parents: she's an introvert. S is an extrovert; she'll happily make friends with anyone. A, on the other hand, is shyer, more reserved, more reticent. She doesn't like to put herself forward, and so can be easily left behind. Her teacher has said that she doesn't think there is a problem, as she works well with people in organised environments, such as class, or playdates, but in the playground is another question again. And it turns out that in the playground, A feels isolated and neglected and alone. We tried to convince her to try putting herself forward more, to ask people if she could play with them, but it's a hard slog. She's already in the mindset that they'll just say no anyway so there's no point asking, and I don't know that she could bear any rejections before success. She's so socially fragile that the first rejection would be confirmation that no-one wants to play with her, and be a reason to scupper any further attempts.

It's heart-breakingly hard. And it's a battle we can't fight for her, we can't even really help her with. We can give her all the advice we have to give, all the love we have, all the support in the world, but it all comes down to her self-confidence, versus the casual callousness of the schoolyard.

But besides that, her ear kept hurting. And she kept waking and crying. And we kept waking and trying to calm her. And eventually she ended up in our bed, taking over the entire middle, and keeping us awake with sniffling and elbows in the back.

She went to the doctor this morning, and it looks like she has an external ear infection. Antibiotics and painkillers, a day home from school, an afternoon nap, and I hope she is doing better tonight and tomorrow. Tomorrow especially, as after school she is rushing off to her second Girl Guides session, and after that rushing back to go to her school concert (where she and the rest of her class are to be munchkins, singing Ding Dong the Witch is Dead).

Ye gods, I hope I have enough energy.

But for someone who loves school and learning as much as A does, it was disturbing and sad that when she was informed that she would be staying home, her reaction was “Yay!”

She really is like her parents. Alas.


Sep. 5th, 2009 09:57 pm
catsidhe: (Default)
Took the girls to see Up today. Both were very excited, both were well-behaved, both liked the movie. So did [ profile] mimdancer and I. It's bittersweet, though. The start of the movie is the story of a life together... and how those childhood dreams got put off and put off... until it was too late. The kids were sad. The adults were quietly weeping.

But it's a Pixar movie, and therefore absolutely brilliant. Kevin the bird is not a human in a feathery suit: she's a bird. Doug the Dog is a dog, albeit one who can talk. But even being able to talk emphasised how much he is a dog. “I've just met you, and I love you— SQUIRREL!...”

Susi was quiet, laughing at all the right places, concerned at others. Abi was more actively involved in the story, leaping to her feet, standing in concern, occasionally shouting “No! Don't do that!”.

Earlier in the day Abi came in while I was putting my boots on and had a snuggle. She is looking forward to Father's day, as if it were Christmas day or my birthday or something. (She even woke this morning with a cry of “Susi! Tomorrow is Father's day!”)
As she was snuggling, she said “Daddy, you're the best father I've ever had.”
“I'm also the worst father you've ever had,” I pointed out.
She looked thoughtful for a moment. “Yeah,” she said matter-of-factly, “sometimes.”

Mouths of Babes.
catsidhe: (Default)
Miss S spent much of this evening taking advantage of her new-found ability to blow up a balloon. She would blow up a balloon, then grab the sides of the neck so that it made a prolonged farting noise as it deflated, while she giggled with abandon. And then she did it again.

She had an immunisation session yesterday: a big one, MMR, Tetanus, and something else, I think. Other kids were coming out weepy, or crying, or were, like Miss S, completely fine. Mim reports that when she was about to be stuck, she said “I don't want to: it will hurt.” And she was given her first jab. And she turned to Mim and said accusingly “that hurt, mummy.” The other jab(s) went with even less incident, and then we had a play in the park and went home. One poor kid, however, obviously had a better imagination than the rest, and made the connection between going into the other room and the crying. She worked herself up into a fine hysteria over the imagined horrors awaiting, and literally had to be dragged in kicking and screaming.

As I type, Miss S is taking advantage of the acoostics in the toilet to sing the ABC song at the top of her voice, and Miss A is writing in her diary, and asking me how to spell words like ‘focus’ and ‘concentrate’. We keep telling her that she needs to focus and concentrate, and she now has a note in her diary to that effect.
catsidhe: (Default)
Vignette: Cold has been going round the family. I got a light brush, Susi got a cough, [ profile] mimdancer is still hacking and wheezing and generally miserable. Susi has been more than usually exposed, therefore, to the emanation of snot.

Mim just told me that, in this context, Susi had walked up to her during the week and said:
“Mummy: I a green volcano.”
catsidhe: (Default)
As my Good Lady has said, last night was a trial. Little Miss S. with an earache is not pleasant, for her or anyone around her. She was unsettled, waking from the pain, and crying, and not being able to go to sleep, so tossing and turning, and then, because she was utterly exhausted, yawning, which would set off the ear again, and make it all worse.

I didn't go to the heraldry meeting, so that we could comfort her in shifts.

At one point Abi turned over and told me that Susi had told her "I don't like you!". I explained that Susi was in pain, and grumpy, and that she didn't really mean it. I old her that Susi was so grumpy that she was saying the worst thing she could think of, and "I don't like you" is it. If she were older, and knew some swear words, then she would be saying them instead. I also said that Mummies and Daddies used swear words sometimes when they were upset, but that didn't mean that they meant it.

"What words, daddy?" asked my little angel.
"You'll learn them in good time," I replied.
"Will you tell me some?"
"No, a cuisle, you'll have to learn them on the playground like everyone else."
She was most understanding. She did say that if Susi was mean, that she would be mean back, but I convinced her that Susi wasn't being mean, she was just hurting and swearing as much as she knew how, and Abi accepted that and rolled over.

In other news, my grandmother was in hospital recently.
She has RSI damage from using her walker, and was in for surgery to correct it. But because she still needs the walker to move around, she was booked in for a few extra days to recover a little before going home. Sounds straightforward, right?

She discharged herself early and went home almost in tears. )

I found the cantact details for Nanna's State MP, and she says that she will follow up with him. I suggested writing to the hospital again, cc-ing the MP, the Minister for Health, and optionally the Age and Herald-Sun, and that this might get a response from them. We'll see how she goes.

And what she is describing from the nurses, is something I recognise where I am. It is a symptom of a service staff, highly trained, having been demoralised and overworked and strangled in a twisty little maze of procedures and protocols and hierarchies which, from the lofty heights of management look like they'll bring in a New Golden Age of efficiency and productivity, but in practice only inflate the workload while simultaneously utterly failing to do anything to address the real, structural problems which only serious action can even touch.[1] Handover procedures are all well and good, but when they add half an hour to every shift change, and the shiftchanges are frequent because there aren't enough people to do the work, then they are actively preventing the actual work from happening. Procedures for keeping track of patients when they are moved are icing on a turd when patients are being moved twice a day because there aren't enough beds. More strictly defined and enforced hierarchies only make things worse when the real problem is that you have to get more beds and more wards and more staff, or else stop admitting as many patients.

I know this because, although my job isn't anywhere near as important as a nurse's, all of these things have been happening at my work. And, like the nurses, there isn't a damn thing I can do about it except ride it out and hope that sanity is restored sooner rather than later, or look for another job (which is kind of pointless, because all the employers are doing the same thing, or will be soon).

[1] (Wow, that's an impressive sentence if I do say so myself. I don't have the time, alas, to make it shorter.)
catsidhe: (Default)
Work sucks. No, really.

Back hurts a little less than usual. New physiotherapist making inroads.

Abi has just lost another tooth (semi-incisor). She also has spent the last couple of days home with a throat infection. Mim says she has stopped being a soggy lump on the couch and started getting bored and restless. She will probably be back at school tomorrow.

Once a week or so I get to read a bedtime story to Abi. (And ostensibly to Susi, but she is usually too rambunctious for it to really count.) And when I do, my choice is another couple of pages of A Comet in Moominland. Abi loves it. Her favourite character is the Snork Maiden. (We think it is because she is the girl with whom Abi identifies, although the scene we just read was where the Snork was trying to chair a meeting about what to do about the comet, and generally being a stuck-up twerp proclaiming his own in-charge-ness, while the Snork Maiden calmly sent everyone off to gather firewod and such, then made fruit soup for dinner with whatever they happened to have on them, then they all went to bed on a mat she made... or in other words, while she was saying girly and useless things in the meeting ("Oh my!", "Oh dear!", &c), she then went ahead and was just competently in charge.)

Abi's reading is really really good. She is eating up grade 1 books, and even has a red hot go at the Moomintrolls (although she usually manages a paragraph before getting tired of the effort and asking me to continue). She regularly reads to her sister. Mr Men/Little Miss books are standard fare, but she has been bringing poetry home from school this term as well.
In Italian class in school she has learned to count to ten in Italiano, and after reading a Dora the Explorer book, she can count to six in Spanish as well. And the Spanish words don't faze her either: ¡Hola!, ¡Vámonos!, ¡Mira!
Next step: a haon, a dó, a trí, a ceathair, a cuig, ... bwa-ha-ha!

Her writing needs work. I've been having an interesting time explaining to her the concept of x-height, ascenders and descenders. She's starting to figure it out. I started drawing parallel lines to illustrate the letter alignment, and she's begun drawing lines herself, and practising writing within them.

Susi's language is getting better. She uses "I" more consistently. Instead of declaiming "No!", she now tells us why not; usually along the lines of "No, mummy, me-- I don't want [whatever she's being offered]: It's yucky!". She has also picked up from somewhere an exclamation, which is used whenever she sees anything worthy of exclaiming about: "Oh my gosh!"
We have no idea where she got this from, but it's amazingly cute.

catsidhe: (Default)
Mim and I went shopping last weekend.

We bought a DVD set. We couldn't resist. It called to both of us from deep in our childhoods.

The Mysterious Cities of Gold

6 DVDs containing all 39 episodes, including the little featurette after each one.

And watching the first few on Sunday, they were in a lot of ways really low-budget. The animation was competent, but not inspiring (the story, that's another thing...), and the audio -- listening with older ears, it has a Vangelis tribute for a soundtrack, and a fairly ordinary attempt to have sound effects. (On board ship, for instance, I was actively distracted listening in vain for creaking ropes and timbers, the slap of waves against the ship.)

And yet... Susi and Abi sat in rapture for four episodes straight. They love it.

And so another part of my childhood becomes part of that of my children.
catsidhe: (Default)
When I said at 00:00 1-1-2008, as I do at that time every year, "May this year be better than last", for the first time in a very long time I had the faintest whiff of hope that it might be.

Life )

Politics )
catsidhe: (Default)
As reported by Mim not so very long ago:

Mim and Abbi are shopping for bread and such like. On their rounds, they go past those abominable Bratz dolls.
Abbi responds instantly: “Ugh, Bratz! Yuck!”
Mim looks down. “Where did you hear that, honey?”
Abbi looks up and replies, “You keep saying it, mummy.”

So there you go. Even with the bombardment of ads for objectionable crap, it is still possible to influence children against it: just let them know how much you dislike it. Children are impressionable creatures, and their parents are their rôle models. They might chafe and fight, but they still take who they are and what they should like from the grownups they spend all their time around.

To a degree, of course. But it is thought provoking how much they take from you. And while the Bratz==bad thing is, in our opinion, a good development, there are other less happy memes which are also passed on, will you or nil you. Some of what Abbi and Susi are getting from me are not things I am proud of, nor that I would like to see reflected in my beautiful darling girls. But the only way to do that is to change myself, so that those memes are not there to be copied.

And that's hard. But not nearly as hard as dealing with the results of not making the effort, and even if success is not total, the effort to change is part of the lesson, too.
catsidhe: (Default)
Today was Abbi's first day at Kindergarten.

Mim took a camera )
catsidhe: (Default)
As I have said before, Abbi and Susi love My Neighbor Totoro.

Yesterday morning, Susi on her own initiative went and found the DVD and brought it to me so I could put it on, and both girls sat and watched intently, often giggling with great glee.

It's Abbi's birthday coming up, and Mim and I thought that it would be nice to get a Totoro toy for her. A stuffed Totoro, for example, or a catbus. We know that stuff like this exists, as we have seen it in, e.g., the dashboard of cars belonging to asian first-years.

So we went looking.

The nearest we've come is that Animasia on Grattan st. has two stuffed Totoro dolls ... for $95 each.

We love Abbi immensely, but that's a bit rich. So: does anyone know where we can get our hands on reasonably priced Totoro Merch, suitable for a 4-year-old?

And, yes, we've looked at eBay and 1) the only stuff was sourced in Hong Kong (and we've been burnt buying things from OS before and not getting it), and 2) I really don't like eBay. At all. Really.


Kid Stuff

Mar. 10th, 2006 10:02 pm
catsidhe: (Default)
Fled work at 11:00am today to help Mim.

Susannah had a temperature, which turned into a fever, after a restless night and a morning where she didn't want to roll around on the floor as usual, but demanded to be held while she went to sleep in my arms. I came home to look after Abbi, because Susannah's temperature kept rising and Mim couldn't really deal with sick Susi and bored Abbi at the same time at the doctor's surgery. When I got home (an hour after leaving work), I found Mother-in-Law watching Abbi watching Play with me Sesame. This was a valiant effort on her part, because she spent most of last night with the joy of food poisoning (she considered calling an ambulance at times, but she passed out before she could do so. She feels much better now ... which is to say, she still feels wretched, but at least she can (carefully) eat and keep liquids down).

Susannah, it turns out, has tonsillitis. She is on Amoxicillin, and feeling very sorry for herself.

Abbi spent today being a frog, (hopping around and going "ribbit, ribbit") and this evening counting her dinner (instead of eating it... hrumph). Abbi has decided that she likes honey joys. Can't think why... that's not like her at all. Abbi's current favourite phrase is "Abbi's turn now!" When we were waiting in the pharmacy for Susi's prescription, Abbi sat on a chair in the makeup department, carefully investigating her own face in a mirror. When I caught sight of her, she had the most serious, determined expression on. She was keen to let us know that "Abbi in the red chair... Daddy in the white chair". She also carefully investigated the little hair samples on the hair dye display, despite every passer-by agreeing that her hair is wonderful as it is. Mim posits that this is prima facie evidence of Abbi's inherant and overpowering Girliness. I suspect much of this family's future will involve, in some way, the colour pink.
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So yesterday was Jingo Day: everything was as Aussie as, and the bushfires triply so. The news was basically "It's Jingo day, and many people had barbeques, and some angry Abos burned a flag, and several towns are at immediate risk from these photogenic infernos, how Aussie is that?!, here's a live cross to the Aussie Bushfires," on all the channels I saw.

Yes, I know that the bushfires are serious and important news, and that Kinglake is in trouble (hopefully the current showers will help...), but couldn't they have at least tried to disguise their glee at Aussie Bushfires featuring on Aussie Day, so they could alternate the Aussie Flag with shots of Aussie bushfires on the Aussie newsroom backdrop. Aussie.


We spent the morning chasing Abbi through the Aquarium. The fishbowl in the basement is very impressive, and so is the Architeuthis Dux on ice. There were lots of people. The entry cost was exhorbitant, even if the girls got in free. The corned beef bagel was nice. Abbi held a starfish. There were lots of fish.

*drinks more coffee*

So, Palestine. The Democratic Process is a wonderful thing, if you vote for the people you are supposed to, it seems. Palestine has not voted for the people it was supposed to. It seems Hamas has won. Everyone is pulling out unfeasably large testicles and uttering (voce basso) manly declamations of How It's Gonna Be. Israel won't negotiate with any government with Hamas in it. Neither will the US. Other Manly Men like Howard and Blair have said that Hamas must renounce terrorism before they will talk to them.

What pompous, simplistic twaddle. )

Do I like Hamas? Actually, no I don't. I would far prefer that someone else had won the elections. But for that to have happened, there would have to have been somebody else. The reaction of the right is sadly predictable: force them into a corner, leave them only one option, then punish them for taking it. Fucking grow up, you Calvinist hypocrits. And stop comparing me to Chamberlain.

Toy ads. Slutz Bratz are bad enough, but at least they are presented as of-age vapid whores. Bratz Babyz, above and beyond their crimes against the English Language, are simply abominable, and I use that word advisedly. They are an abomination against childhood and innocence.

They are sexualised Goddess-damned TODDLERS. The ads feature the four of them, with bottles and the proportions of a three-year-old, in nappy-bikinis, with wide hips, canted and tilted towards the viewer. And these 'toys' are aimed at six-year-old girls. As rôle-models: "This is what you should aspire to be, forget 'princess', or 'nurse', or godforbid, 'policewoman' or 'astronaut', your life-goals should include fishnets and miniskirts, shopping and getting drunk and advertising your sexual availability -- even if you don't know what that means."

For Fuck's Sake.

And then you have The Teen Trends dolls, which are at least more vapid than slutty (No sign of fishnets, micro-mini-skirts and CFM boots, for example), and are meant to be teenagers. Still. I wonder how much of a coincidence it is that the ad is punctuated with the cry "Ho's!".
"Teen Trends, the girls know what to do (HO's!), Teen Trends, Teen Trends..."

I was so much happier before Abbi reintroduced us to early morning cartoons. What happened to Transformers, Battle of the Planets, or the Mysterious Cities of Gold? Even the Mattel/Cadburies Chocobot hour Machine Men would be preferable to this.

Quote just heard on JJJ from a -- dare I say -- White Supremacist:
"Racism" is just a word used by the Left to confuse the Right.


If I don't respond to emails in a hurry, it's because I'm on holiday for a fortnight, and Mim doesn't like me looking sideways at the computer. If you have to get in touch, phone me. If you don't have my number, email and I'll give it to you when I next log on. And I'll try and stay connected when I can.
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Abbi was playing my guitar again last night. She started singing, and it went a little like this:
Mummy... Daddy... Train... Susy-rabbit... Drawings... um... Abbi-chair...
Basically, she was singing a little song featuring whatever she looked at in the living room. Mim was almost giggling.

When Abbi doesn't want something, however, or if she is being denied something she does want, it sounds more like this:
NO, no, no, no, NO, no, NO! ... Go 'way!
She's trying to be the fearsome alpha, but her display of absolute outrage just makes Mim and I laugh. She'll probably desribe that to a therapist later on, but at least we're not allowing her her own way on every whim. She's even starting to accept that sometimes she can't have something and only complain moderately, instead of hurling herself to the ground and (carefully) headbutting the floor. Oh, she still does that, but not every time she's thwarted.