Monthly Archives: September 2010

Sometimes being a mother sucks.

Today I was a good mother but in a way that made me feel like the worst mother in the world. Miss Four (five next week) has toileting issues (daytime pants wetting), that we’ve been trying to deal with in various ways for over two years. We’ve tried rewards, punishments, incentives, ignoring, getting extra cross, just about anything anyone suggested, we tried. I finally took her to the doctor a few weeks ago, to ensure that there’s nothing wrong physically (there’s not). We can go for weeks without a problem, then multiple issues daily. It’s frustrating and maddening and I’m at the end of my rope with it. Last week, I "cancelled" her birthday party. Since then we’ve had five days of no problems. We had a birthday party to go to today, which she was REALLY looking forward to (her best friend). We’ve talked a lot about how she has to keep doing the right thing or there’d be consequences. I constantly ask her if she needs to go to the toilet, and ask her to really THINK about her answer before saying no. She got all dressed up in her beautiful fairy princess outfit. We did her hair. We were pretty much ready to go. And then I noticed she had changed her underwear. And tried to hide that she’d done that. And so, as the known consequence, she was no longer allowed to go to the party. 

I felt awful about it, because she’s still only four, and she loves parties and her friend was only having a couple of guests, so I knew this would make HER feel bad too, but I felt like if I didn’t follow through on this, I was only making things worse. And I’ve felt like shit about it all day. Sometimes being a mother sucks.

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Movies

Meant to put this in the previous post but forgot. Have been to the movies a couple of times in the last couple of weeks. Hubby and I went Gold Class the other week, and there weren’t many choices so we saw The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I really enjoyed it – nerdy guy being the hero, Nick Cage being all brooding and sexy, and while the women weren’t absolutely central to the story, I liked their characters. I thought it was a lot of fun, a switch off your brain flick, really.

The other film I watched was Tomorrow When the War Began on Friday. I’ve been DYING to see this. When I first heard they were finally adapting this excellent novel for the screen, I was pretty nervous, because it’s such a challenging thing to do well. Then, the first preview I saw had a bloody BIKINI shot front and centre, and I thought that was a very bad sign, cos, yanno, no bikinis in the book, and I would have hated for the girls to be sexed up for effect. But then reviews started to filter out, which were pretty positive, and girliejones was coerced into watching it and RAVED about it, which sealed the deal (cos I trust her judgment). So I took my last opportunity to catch it with only the bub (no opportunities on the holidays, and then going back to work…) and went on Friday. And LOVED it. It was so well put together, with solid performances by the young Aussie cast. I was very impressed by the modernisation of the story (just little touches, but enough to make it real) and by the fact that the film makers have made this story completely plausible. I’ve read the book a heap of times (have taught it lots in school) and while I think Marsden wrote a great book, it was never completely realistic to me. Somehow the film managed to create a wholly plausible depiction, and it really worked. 

Only a couple of very minor complaints. I don’t think the portrayal of the character Robyn was true to the text – they kind of focussed on one aspect of her personality, but left out the mad netballer side (which was my favourite bit about her in the books!). Having said that, the actor was great, and had me in tears near the end. I could also have stood a little more development of Homer’s character as leader – Ellie is totally believable to me, but Homer needed a bit longer to get there I thought. 

And while I KNOW it’s straight from the book, it’s still interesting to see that all the girls had to convince their parents to let them go on the original camping trip, but none of the boys did… :)

There’s a fair bit of action and relationship building left out, as well as some minor plot points (the Hermit storyline, in particular), but the film makers have been very clever about what they’ve taken out (and none of it is missed, in the tight story telling), and I didn’t miss it. 

I’m so delighted with how good this adaptation is, because it means I now have a film text to use in the classroom with the novel – yay! And also? A really, really good movie – I laughed, and I cried, and I had goosebumps from the tension. Very cool. Oh, and the bikini scene from the previews? Totally made sense in the context of the film, and was literally about five seconds in duration!

Favourite quote from the film:
Ellie: Good book?
Corrie: Better than the movie.
Ellie: Yeah, books usually are. 

Heh. Clever and fun. I wish my local cinemas were doing smarter showing times of the film, because I don’t think this movie is getting the exposure it should – highly recommend catching it at the movies!

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What? Only TWO WEEKS LEFT?!

 Somehow, I only have two weeks left of maternity leave. Where the heck has the year gone?! Bub is now eight months old, and has had a real development spurt in the past couple of weeks. He’s now sitting up very happily on his own for ages, playing very cutely by himself. He’s also starting rolling, and just today managed to get himself back from his front for the first time. He’s suddenly got very long as well – seems to have grown about five centimetres in a week! And he’s most cute :) 

Big brother has buggered off to Queensland on his own again, for two weeks this time, to go fishing with Grandpop. Have managed one mono-syllabic conversation with him on the phone since he left on Thursday, so clearly not missing us at all.

That leaves Miss Four (nearly five!), who has been super-good since Master Seven left. No competition? Looks like we have another very social round of holidays ahead of us, including swimming lessons, birthday parties, ballet classes and hanging out with friends. We started that off on Friday night with an Intimo party hosted by a school mum, followed it up with a big tidy up Saturday morning, then headed to Mandurah. First stop (after a quick drop off sale of Worlds Next Door!) was the Batt-house for a baby shower. Naturally we stayed all afternoon (seems to be very hard to LEAVE these things – too much to talk about!). Then we headed to  ‘s for dinner and Worldcon debrief (with   and   too) which was absolutely lovely (although the maths nearly broke our brains!). Didn’t leave til after midnight! Baby and Miss Four were both awesome, despite a very late night (and  ‘s Chickie was once again fantastic with them!). But it made getting up at 6 this morning really hurt! Bub is an excellent alarm clock, but had to get up anyway as I was going to a farewell breakfast for the wonderful lady who took on my role at school for my leave this year. She’s sadly not able to come back after her long service leave next term due to family commitments, but looks like we’ve found someone else to share with me, which is great! Breakfast/brunch was long and lovely, and I didn’t get back until nearly midday. Picked up a quiche and a pavlova and took it to the friends who were looking after Miss Four, and ended up hanging out with them for a couple of hours. Eventually got home around 2, and all three of us went to bed for a couple of hours! 

Also in the last week, we’ve decided to get some renovations done on the house, so have quotes for new patio and pool fencing, building in the carport, carpets, vertical blinds and a couple of other little things. Means a busy couple of months ahead as things get done, but really looking forward to it! Hubby and I spent the weekend in the yard last week so we no longer have a jungle out the back, which is nice :) Pool liner is buggered though, so we need to replace that as well and that hopefully happens very soon as the weather has turned GORGEOUS!

Tonight I’ve finally caught up on some jobs and am determined to finish my marking by the end of the weekend. Tomorrow we’re off to try to change swimming lesson times to a little earlier in the day, then to a cuppa with   and the first of the birthday parties. Onwards!

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Australian Spec Fic Events Calendar

Thanks to hosting by [info]girliejones  over at ASif, we now have an Australian Spec Fic Events Calendar. I’ll be adding events as I run across them, but such a thing works best when folks send in details, so please do! Updates and new events welcome :)

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Lots of Ce’Nedra, and a few other people: the Belgariad Book 4

See Alex’s post for the comments she gets!

Castle of Wizardry: Book 4 of the Belgariad

David Eddings

Spppooooillllers!!

ALEX
This may have the dumbest title in the whole series. I don’t anyone ever calls Belgarath a wizard. And what exactly is meant to be the castle – the stronghold at Riva? That’s just ridiculous. I choose to believe that some editorial knob decided that it was the sort of title that would appeal to the BFF fans, and ignored the fact that it doesn’t represent the storyline at all.

The big OMG REVELATION of this book is that OMG REVELATION Garion is actually Riva’s descendent and therefore the rightful Rivan King!!! And most importantly that means OMG REVELATION that he has to marry Ce’Nedra!!!! And most importantly to her, scullery-boy Garion now outranks her!!!!! Oh, the drahmah.

Heh. I don’t remember whether this really was a revelation to my 13- or 14-year-old mind. I’d like to hope not, but even today I try to cultivate something of a ‘don’t anticipate the storyline’ attitude: I like being surprised, so if I can help it – especially if I think it will spoil the book or movie – I try not to figure things out in advance. Of course, sometimes I can’t help it, and sometimes it’s more fun being smug that you had it figured out waaay in advance.

TEHANI
I didn’t read this til I was at least 19 or 20, so yeah, totally knew all the big “surprises” WAAAAY before they were revealed! But I’m the opposite of Alex – I love figuring out stuff in advance. It’s kind of like when people tell you stuff that’s embargoed and you get to feel all smug that you know something other people don’t. Well, kind of the same, cos, yanno, there’s all those OTHER people who figured it out first. Or read the book before you. And the author… Well, it makes ME feel good anyway!

ALEX
So, yes. Garion discovers that he is rightfully a king. All of that whinging and feeling sorry for himself ought to stop now … although of course it doesn’t. I actually really like the revelatory scene itself, with Garion still uncomprehending and Errand finally completing his errand, and everyone excited – and Ce’Nedra devastated. Eddings never mentions it, but I always imagined her as having read too many Arendian romances and really quite enjoying the pathos of “oh I love him but we can never be together.” And then, all of a sudden, she gets what she wants … but not how she wants it.

TEHANI
It’s true! It’s like a Shakespearian tragedy as far as Ce’Nedra’s concerned, but then all of a sudden she’s told she CAN have what she wants, and that kind of takes lal the fun out of it! She does do very well with coming to terms with it – and turning it to her advantage. Definitely a product of her upbringing there…

ALEX
I love Errand, the little boy who managed to steal the Orb. I love the fact that he makes everyone wet their pants by offering the Orb to them out of the blue. The idea of a genuine innocent is of course a fascinating one, particularly when you think about the fact that Errand was brought up by a man who had sold his soul to a malignant god rather than the pure one he’d originally served. You’d think that would make Zedar incapable of not corrupting the boy. And what about the circumstances in which he grew up? Are we to assume that Zedar cared for him so well that he never misbehaved to get more attention? – or does that behaviour not count? Of course, we find out in the next series that Eddings is a cheat, when it comes to Errand, but still; interesting questions.

TEHANI
I wondered the same thing when I reread – between Ctuchik and Zedar, surely he’d HAVE to be exposed to some corruption. Although was it mentioned at some point how confining and challenging it was for Ctuchik to contain himself from his usual debauches? Regardless, there is the “cheat” aspect revealed in the Mallorean, and, well, Errand is just so CUTE!

ALEX
One of the tangents of the gang turning up at Riva is Garion’s reunion with Lelldorin, now sort-of married to a Mimbrate woman, whom he would formerly have sworn off as an enemy. What I love about their little story is that it has all the elements of a classic medieval romance … and it’s just so ridiculous. Eddings plays it with a straight face, but it just gets more and more insane, until it’s quite obvious that he’s totally gaming the reader. I love it.

TEHANI
All the relationships in these books are fun though – there’s always something that sets them apart from the norm just a little, and the couples all have their little quirks. One thing that bothers me, and I think you’ve mentioned it before, Alex, is the way the women all seem to have some little (or big!) manipulative tricks that make it seem like they are always the ones controlling the relationship. Ariana does it to Lelldorin, Ce’Nedra does it to Garion (and her father), Polgara does it to Belgarath (and everyone), Taiba does it to Relg, the Queens do it to their husbands, and so on and so forth. Which is a bit sad, because while it’s intended (I guess) to show how women are just as able to control their lives as men, despite outward appearances, what mostly comes across is that women have to be scheming and deceitful to get what they want…

ALEX
Getting back to Ce’Nedra, I really really like her part in the last quarter or so of this book. Garion, Belgarath and Silk are off on another journey, but Ce’Nedra womans up and organises a great big damn army to distract the Angaraks away from his and his vital mission. I love her armour, and that she makes the armourer give it bigger boobs than he had originally forged. I love that she gets so nervous before giving speeches that she feels sick. I love the dramatic speeches, the Churchill-esque eloquence, and then – the cold-hearted, calculated, bitchy climax – the way she manipulates both her father and the Tolnedran legions is absolutely, totally, gold. Although, seriously? All of that at barely sixteen years old?

TEHANI
Hey, we just had an Aussie girl sail around the world on her own at 16… Certainly I can see Ce’Nedra succeeding in this with the backing of the Kings and Polgara, and when you consider she was raised as the daughter of an emperor, it makes sense that she has the statesmanship to come up with the idea and have the nous to pull it off. This is my favourite Ce’Nedra of all the books I think – she’s really shown off to great effect in this section!

ALEX
The book as a whole has a different feel from the others, and it’s largely the “breaking of the fellowship” effect. We get to see Belgarath being compassionate towards Vordai, the witch of the fens – but we’re not stuck with the three boys off gallivanting. Instead Polgara and Ce’Nedra have – no, they don’t have. They compose the Tantrum to End All Tantrums, and then get on with actually leading the West, rather than traipsing around. I really, really like that we get more of an insight into the kings and how they relate to one another – I still like Anheg a lot. It’s also quite remarkable because we actually see serfs, if only briefly. While they’ve been occasionally noticed in the background – and, in a smart-alec way, Garion has previously overheard the two serfs whom Ce’Nedra meets – it’s a nice touch that Eddings actually includes a little story about how the serfs end up in her army. Of course, being in the army is actually a horrible, horrible thing, and the main (aristocratic) characters couldn’t usually care at all about the people dying in droves around them. But the fact that Eddings condescends to include this little vignette is nice.

TEHANI
Have to confess, one of my favourite things about big fat fantasy is the multiple viewpoints of characters all living separate lives until they come together, so this book is just up my alley! While it’s been a separation, rather than different storylines, the back and forth between events really works for me!

ALEX
There is no climax in this novel. It’s a classic middle-of-the-series book, moving all the pieces into place for a resounding finale. Which is fine, if you have the final book to hand.

TEHANI
Which fortunately, we both did! Onwards, to the “end”!

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