Monday, April 28, 2008

My Writing Corner...

I finally managed to sort out a writing corner for myself... It's not well decorated atm, but give me time! I've put up calendars for 2008 and 2009, that's a start.


So, anyway, it's funny, but I do feel a little more focused now, and have been able to get into the work mind set sitting here. Which is a good thing because I really wasn't "feeling it" over on the dining room table.

So, today's job is all about getting a timeline sorted. Having looked at dates etc. and taking into account the ideas my supervisor put forward, it looks like I'm going to have to spin out 4000 words a fortnight. That's a bit scary, but if I think about it, that's really just a short story every couple of weeks, and I can spin one out in a day quite easily once I'm on a roll, and this is just a draft level anyway, not polished - that comes later...

I need to have the entire 40 000 word draft completed before bubs arrives, and with the current timeline, I'll be finished with the draft on October 3rd. That gives me a couple of weeks until my edd (and just in case I fall behind, eeek!), and bubs will probably arrive some time after that. My supervisor (the main one) wants me to have a 4 week break before editing... I might take 6 though in case bubs doesn't arrive till the end of October.

Ok, enough procrastinating...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lest we forget: the mythology of war...

Yes, hold onto your hats chickadees, I'm about to be blasphemous...

Was watching the ANZAC Day coverage yesterday - well, the short version shown on the 6 o'clock news anyway - and apparently the crowd at the Melbourne Memorial was huge and comprised mainly of young people honouring their grandfathers and great grandfathers (and a few grandmothers and great grandmothers as well). The news crews interviewed a handful of these young people as to why they were there and as if indoctrinated by some sort of undercover agents (I shouldn't have watched The Manchurian Candidate last week), they unanimously came out with, "Well, if they [the ANZACs] hadn't gone to war, we wouldn't be here now." Tears of thankfulness glistened and even I felt some remnant of Aussie pride at how these soldiers had saved Australia from peril...

But then, they crossed to Turkey, and to France as well, and told the tale of how tens of thousands of Australian servicemen and women had died in the course of a couple of bloody, ill-managed battles, and it dawned on me... These men and women WERE NOT defending Australia. In fact, MANY of the battles Aussie servicemen and women have fought in over the past 100 years were NOT in defense of Australia at all. The first world war wasn't even a battle over territories, but over treaties and European infighting.

My FIL actually defended Australia, in Darwin, in the second world war, and had he died, then DAVE wouldn't be here now. In fact, BECAUSE of the many thousands of Aussies who gave their lives to fight other people's wars, many thousands of Australians ARE NOT here!

Had the ANZACs NOT gone to war, I'm guessing all the young people who thanked them for their lives on the news yesterday would still be here, but a few thousand more young Aussies would be here as well, because all the young men and women who died over the years in battles that were not in defense of Australia would have lived to have children and see their grandchildren and great grandchildren born.

So, let's not forget that while these servicemen and women showed amazing selflessness offering up their lives in defense of people living in other countries, in other parts of the world, the mythology of war can be a mind-numbing machine that creates placebo pride and forgives the sins of politicians and warmongers across this globe...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Blogging because I know I should...

Back from Adelaide.

It was a good trip. Figured out how to pay for Foxtel on the way there (yay for me!), so the trip over was bearable... The trip back was a tad more of a pain though, not screens, night time, so no view, and basically feeling tired...

Oh, I saw some DVDs while I was over there; Hairspray (I liked it though I can see it wouldn't be everyone's taste), The Brave One (with Jodie Foster) and The Manchurian Candidate (WEIRD conspiracy movie with overtones of Hamlet), and Children of Men, which wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, though there was basically no character development to speak of (and that would have improved it)...

Ate crap and am suffering the unmentionable consequences that only other pregnant woman might guess at - argh, pass the Rennis and the licorice...

Oh, yeah, and I saw my supervisors. A much more positive experience than I was expecting it to be. My female supervisor is just BRILLIANT, I wanted to pack her in my bag and bring her home with me! My male supervisor was actually ok this time, though we've now both established that he probably is most afraid of having to actually READ my "Chick Novel", rofl...

The working title is "The Obstetrician's Daughter"... Just for a tease, but it gives you some idea of why my 40 something academic, Aspergers spectrum, ADD suffering male supervisor might not be THAT enthused... He STILL thinks the baby should be born in the middle of a supermarket and that the woman's husband should be having an affair with a shark...

Never mind...

Lots of work ahead. My main supervisor - I shall call her Roseanne - wants a work timeline from me asap, as well as a more in depth synopsis. Then she'd rather read the entire first draft (to get a fell for the strengths and weaknesses of the plot) in one go and would like me to aim for one chapter a week (2000 words), or so (maybe one a fortnight, depending on how I think I'll go) and then we'll work on the edit... I'd like to have the first draft totally out of the way before bubs arrives.

At least she was the one to say that I have a year from NOW to finish, as opposed to a year from February, whoo hoo!

Oh did I mention I have to wtite an exegesis (look it up!) for the novel, that's another 10 000 words on top of the 40 000 word novel, and consists of a review of three texts that are similar to the one I'll be writing in some way and influenced my writing in some way. An objective review of all my research (from journal articles, books, the media, interviews etc.), and a review of writing texts I referred to and used in the writing of the novel...

Monday, April 14, 2008

A meeting of the minds...

So, Dave took Luey out with him yesterday to meet up with an old friend, and then go see another old friend who runs a shop in Camberwell. As they were leaving the second old friend's shop, Dave says to Luey, "So, are you going to say goodbye to Marty?"

Luey goes, "Goodbye Marty Farty," and giggles...

Marty replies, "Goodbye Luey Pooey," and laughs back...

Hahahaha, Luey met his match! Luey thought this was fantastic, btw, wasn't upset by it - and now rates Marty amongst his closest friends, I think...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

NT scan, and a ramble about "choices"...


No, my baby is not a pteradactyl, LOL... S/he just has her/his hands up by her/his face...

Well, I had my NT scan yesterday :). I wasn't sure if I was going to have any scans this pregnancy, but then I felt it was the right thing for me to do. I had concerns, especially about having twins, but also about having a missed m/c. I had been feeling movement for weeks already, and that was fueling my concerns about twins (I was excited at the idea that I might be having twins, but having mounting concerns about how Dave would cope with that, and it was impacting my experience of this pregnancy)...

My midwife is NOT a fan of scans, and I completely understand where she is coming from on this, I too have read a lot about the risks of scanning, but for me, it was a calculated risk that I was willing to take. I'd like to juxtapose this with the fact, that she supports vaccinating, which also has known risks, but she feels those risks are balanced by the benefits of vaccinating, where as I completely disagree... Everyone has risks they are willing to take, and those they are not...

I did sense a lot of "people wanting to share why they wouldn't scan" with me after I announced I was going to scan... One argument I encountered was that people often do things like scans "just because it's what you do"... When I encountered this argument I felt compelled to show that this was not an autopilot decision on my part - I have actually actively chosen NOT to do the NT scan in the past, and this time I actively chose TO DO the scan... It got me thinking about the how one of the major criticisms of the medical community is it's proscriptiveness, and yet MANY communities, including alternative community such as homebirthing communities can be highly proscriptive as well... So, let me quote from a post I did on a forum this morning...

And here comes some rambling - feel free to tune out if you've got better things to do with your time, hahahaha!

I've been thinking about this this week, just as part of my own pregnancy journey... Does anyone else feel that at times the homebirthing community can be AS proscriptive as the medical birthing community? Sometimes I do.

There is a lot of emphasis put on women "trusting themselves and their bodies, in the process" and yet, there seems to be less acknowledgement that pregnancy, every pregnancy, is a new journey that opens the woman's soul and subconscious to all those things that usually lurk deep down, unaddressed, because women (people) are mostly too busy to let themselves reflect on their deeper emotions.

If a women NEEDS to talk to a wise woman, be she a midwife or a mother figure, or sister figure, this is somehow viewed as not trusting oneself enough, and therefore being somehow weak. I find this concept rather disturbing, because even in cultures where women are not attended by persons with medical education backgrounds (doctors and midwives), they do have all the access they need to wise women who can listen to their concerns, be they pregnancy related or not, and be reassuring.

In our current society, there is such a huge emphasis on being STRONG, which is somehow equated with STANDING ALONE, managing without having to consult with others, being independant of any systems or support - and to me, this seems to completely contradict the human condition, the need for society and community and emotional support at tall stages and phases of life...

The home birthing community, though not throughly cohesive, seems to espouse a proscriptive stance... A strong homebirthing or freebirthing woman *should* only participate in certain practices sorrounding pregnancy, she *shouldn't* need to ask for advice or direction from anyone else, she *should* have an intuition about everything regarding her own body and pregnancy, even if she has never been around other pregnant women or experienced birth second hand, and especially if she HAS already experienced pregnancy and birth.

Apparently, intuition is a consensus, too, a woman is trusting her intuition ONLY if everyone else agrees that intuitively a woman would make all the same choices as "the consensus"... If a woman doesn't agree with the general consensus, she is afraid, not trusting herself enough, not caring enough for her baby's wellbeing, taking risks, putting herself and her baby in dangers path... Rofl, this sounds like a lot of medical talk, hahaha!

I'm wary of any community that proscribes for a woman how she should experience her pregnancy and birth, what choices she should make, who she should trust, what she should think and feel... These perspectives are all external to the woman and don't serve her. If a woman's intuition tells her to do ANYTHING, then isn't that HER intuition, isn't that what everyone is telling the woman to listen to?

I once heard a homebirthing advocate say that women these days don't read enough books in preparation for giving birth. They'll study for their lisence, but don't inform themselves about their bodies and babies, and the process of pregnancy and birth. Another woman said to her, "I read MANY books in my first pregnancy... They didn't help me at all..." This woman replied, "Well, you didn't read the RIGHT books, did you!"

Ok, the second woman had read books that told her not to trust her body, and might have been better off not reading books at all, but for the first woman to say, "I know what the RIGHT books are..." was, in fact, AS proscriptive as an obstetrician saying, "I know how you should birth."

If women are to truly follow their intuition, then does anyone have the right to tell them how they should feel or what they should need or do? If pregnancy and birth, like all other parts of life, is a journey that teaches us, is it right to try and force other people to walk "our" journey?

To tell others what choices they should be making in life, especially if they haven't asked for the "advice"...

Ok, rambling over...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Cheeky Monkey!

Last night Dave had gone out to pick up some milk. Erik and Luey were in bed already, but Bryn had had a rare nap, so was still up. There was CRAP ALL on tv (some days I wish I could afford Foxtel!), and we'd been on channel 10, but I flicked through the channels and found a fascinating episode of InSight on SBS about identical twins and genetic inheritance research...

Anyway, so I was watching this for a minute or so, and then Bryn pipes up with;

B: Mum, did you change the channel to SBS?

Me: Yes

B: Turn it back to channel 1

Me: No, bubba, there's nothing on channel 1 and I'm watching this...

B: Turn back to CHANNEL 1!!!

Me: Hey, you, bossy boots (smiling), I want to watch this!

Bryn cracked up laughing at this stage...

B: Turn over to channel 4!

Me: No! I'm watching this!

Bryn cracks up laughing again, then gets down from the couch, and picks up a toy and thumps it on the coffee table with his face all screwed up in mock anger and punctuates his words by thumping the table with the toy...

B: TURN. THE. CHANNEL. OVER!!!

And he collapses on the floor laughing - obviously thought this was a fantastic game... I just had to laughed... It seems we were re-enacting an oft witness interaction between Erik and Luey...

Meanwhile, the InSight episode was fascinating, and apparently the research out of Britain into biological inheritance vs environmental influence (Nature vs Nurture) has shown, overwhelmingly, that most everything about how we are is genetically predetermined by our genes - apparently sense of humour isn't, and a few other things, but most things are at LEAST 50% influenced by biological, INCLUDING the environments we choose to live in! So, our nature also influences our nurture!

Fascinating stuff and the show will be repeated on Friday at 1.30pm, and some other time as well - check your tv guide! Well worth watching.

For me it underlined that although as parents choosing our child's environment, we can have SOME influence on their behaviour and way of interacting with others, there might well still be aspects of our children's personalities that make our desire for them to be a certain way, or to hold certain views, an uphill battle...

An interesting finding of the research is that our level of attraction to religion is also GENETICALLY based, including what kinds of religion are more likely to attract us.

I thought what was discussed last night might explain why, as people, with preferences and differing view points, it can be so difficult to understand how and why other people would choose so differently from us. When we "just don't get it", could this be because our biological make up is simply opposed to that of the other person and so there is no compatibility, no common ground...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Erik, my little social blotting pad...

This child has always been so observant and such a social sponge, and yet he's - at the same time - socially naive...

When he was about 5, I found him and Luey playing with their "babies" and putting them to bed etc. Erik directed Luey to give his baby a bottle, and I (ignoring the fact them my sons weren't likely to ever lactate) asked him why the baby was having a bottle. He said that babies have bottles, and I said that he didn't, and Luey didn't, and most babies we knew in person didn't because they were breastfed, and he came right back with, "Well, SOME babies have bottles!" What could I say, all the modelling in the world hadn't stopped him absorbing that in our society, many babies DO feed from bottles...

So, then yesterday, at the shopping centre, I mentioned something about being pregnant. I'd already told the kids a couple of weeks ago, but it's like he didn't hear me the first time, and so he goes, "You're having a BABY?" I said, yes, I'd already told him this (deja vu to so many conversations with his father)... He goes, "How do you know. you haven't been to the doctor!" Well, rofl, after picking my jaw off the table, and rolling my eyes, I say to him, "Let me just explain something to you here and now, so you know this for the rest of you life... Women do not NEED to go to the doctor to find out they are pregnant!" So, then he wanted to know how I knew, and I told him about my the home pregnancy test I did - yeah, yeah, I could have told him about the missed period, the sore boobs, the morning sickness, but well, we were in a food court at lunch time, and I didn't feel up to the whole birds and bees conversation there and then...

Again, why would he think I had to go to the doctor to find out I was pregnant, I've never done this before. He's just absorbed it, like a social blotting pad!

And yet, he can be so socially naive. He completely does not pick up on people getting tired of his endless energetic outbursts, or letting other people finish talking before he starts, that sort of thing... Yes, he is a lot like his mother, hahaha...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

It's just amazing to me...

Bryn outside the front door: Mum, help me, mum!

Me: What's up?

Bryn: Putting the bats away in the bedroom.

Me: Ok (I open the front screen door for him, then open the bedroom door for him)...

Bryn: Putting the red bat and the blue bat away, and then honey toast!

Me: Do you want lunch now? (it's five to 12, his internal clock is spot on)

Bryn: Yes, putting the bats away, and putting the swords away and having lunch!

Then he goes outside and retrieves the swords, brings them in, puts them in the bedroom...

Bryn: Ok, I've put the bats away and the swords away, not you make lunch!


OMG, it's like this all day. Six months ago he had lots of words but the sentence structure was very scetchy and now, it's all chat, chat, chat all day, and it just blows me away! The range of what he talks about is just so huge now, I can't keep track; there's daily activities, then there's future plans, there's emotional stuff, and family stuff and his own interests. He talks about the weather, and cause and effect and he counts everything and groups things and adds and subtracts.

The other two did all of this as well, and Luey, in particular did it at the same age, or earlier, but it's like I've completely forgotten and it's all taking me by surprise again (I'm like a gold fish in a glass bowl, rofl)...

It just all seems to happen so fast...

Now he's playing hide and seek and roaming through the house calling out, "Luey, where are you, Luey where are you, ready or not here I come!" I think I'm going to drown in a puddle of cuteness!

Teenagers and the failing parent...