Thursday, 6 August 2009


I never did get to chill out like I wanted to. The joy of genuinely choosing when I went to bed, rather than feeling the need to keep someone company or wait for someone to fall asleep, was somewhat lost as on the Monday dd2 wanted to watch tv downstairs until later than I would have liked, and on the Tuesday she was ill and I was cleaning, tidying and packing until later than I would have been if she'd been fit to help me. Also discovering that my bedding was damp in the dryer when I was intending to go to bed didn't help. There was much more cleaning and tidying to be done than I had thought and it didn't all get done, not by a long shot.

We got away safely on the Wednesday morning to catch our train. We had plenty of time in the end so I wished I hadn't rushed quite so much at home, as I accidentally shut a cat in my bedroom, doh. They had all been seen outside shortly before, but I'd gone back in to sort out an order. Thankfully she was found the next day so we didn't come home to a disaster. Meanwhile, as my Facebook friends will know, our first train of two was late, and we missed our connection by a bare handful of minutes. This was doubly frustrating as the platforms were back-to-back, we could have simply stepped off one and more or less onto the other without having to cross any tracks. (By the way, if anyone needs to know for some reason which platform a train is arriving at or departing from, try the National Rail website, though not all stations give platform information.) We waited for the next direct train, which was two hours later, in the Costa coffee shop (I do like Costa...) which at York station is in the old waiting room, a brilliantly-situated space at the end of the bridge, with a good view across the station. Fantastic for people-watching!

By missing our connection we also lost our reserved seats, and the next train was quite busy. We got two seats together, though not at a table, and also we were between windows, and settled in. At Newcastle we had a delightful addition to the carriage, a woman who proceeded to announce loudly over the phone that she was on the train with a can of beer and then spend most of the journey swearing down her phone. Thankfully that was the limit of her obnoxiousness so I read, and dd2 occupied herself, and we occasionally looked out of the bits of window that we could see. The view of Alnmouth in full sun from the train is stunning.

We did a lot of the same stuff we did last year at the same place but some was different... In the couple of days before we joined them, dh had taken the kids to shiver on North Berwick beach, and to pick fruit at Belhaven Fruit Farm but they mostly seem to have enjoyed the Burns' wii and trampoline, and the unfamiliar toys in the house.

Posting this now before I go away again! Will come and post some more another time...

autonomously learning to read...

This is prompted by another blog: Home Education Heretic - Real Books- learning to read autonomously

See what I did with the title? I think that I've just said what he meant to say. Or maybe not, it's hard to tell. I guess I could go and ask him but, well, as an autonomous educator I am clearly far too sloppy in my thinking to go "Hang on a minute, what did you actually mean here?" If Mr Webb means to discuss the process of an autodidactic child learning to read, that's one thing. If he means to discuss how a child learns to read and then uses the skills autonomously, that's something else. Isn't it? Let's be precise about this now.

Anywho. If I can rise above the snarkiness that such uneducated polemic produces, I'll try to get my words out straight...

Here's my problem with your supposition, Mr Webb, that learning to read by 'osmosis' is the preserve of the supposedly very special conditions that are described in that blog. The conditions required for such learning are supportive, interested caregivers and a written-language-rich environment that the child can explore more-or-less at will. Visible examples of the use of reading, for pleasure or for the benefit of the reader in some other way, will contribute to the child's interest and desire. These conditions are not, or at least should not, be that special in our culture, and they are not related to the education level or wealth of the parent(s.) I was one such child who does not remember learning to read, could certainly read before the age of 5, my parents are very averagely educated. I left school at 16, have a little bit of further ed under my belt, not what I would think Mr Webb would consider 'well educated' and my self-taught readers are doing just fine, thanks.

The real problem with 'Real Books' in the classroom setting that Mr Webb appears to have overlooked is that the conditions are so different to the individualised learning of home-ed, whether intended or otherwise, that there is no starting point for the osmosis of reading to spread from. The group setting is too large for the random 'what does this mean?' and the passive learning from watching someone read instructions or labels or directions because they need to understand something cannot occur. The teacher-pupil relationship and the scale of the setting is the problem, not the method.

Having got that out of the way, now I'm left wondering what prompted the blog in question. Because I can't imagine any autonomously home-educating parent suggesting that leaving a child completely to their own devices will automatically result in their learning to read. So who, exactly, is promoting this without the understanding/assumption that autonomous ed. is about facilitating when required? And what parent would deliberately say 'I'm not going to tell you what that word says, you'll have to learn it by yourself'?? It makes no sense. Perhaps I'm expecting too much clarity of thinking.

Monday, 20 July 2009


Dh has gone today to Scotland with 3 of 4 offspring. Dd2 and I are travelling up by train on Wednesday, which gives me a couple of days of not having to cater for small people's demands, being able to do jobs and tidy up without interruption or it being undone as fast as I can do it, and having a bit of genuine help. I've been looking forward to this for ages now, this is my holiday.

Since they left I've tidied a bit, made tea, walked to the shop because I didn't have any breakfast cereal, watched Twilight with dd2 (I really need to watch it by myself, or perhaps with someone who won't start commenting on the bits that don't mesh up with the book, lol, to properly let myself get into it and enjoy it, I think, but it was still nice) and sat and listend to 1 and a half (so far) Muse albums.

Tomorrow I plan to do as much cleaning as I can, do some reading, maybe play Lips or Singstar with dd2, watch some more telly.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

toooooo hoooooottttt

Melting. Brain is melting.

Reminded myself to blog by following link on my twitter page (I'm trogglicious on there)

Not sure what I'm going to blog about, other than being too bloomin' hot to think. Heartily sick of small people whining at each other today, a general air of niggle going on... dd2 being greedy and using xbox and my laptop, which she needs for the walkthrough. Apparently.

I should talk about fun stuff like booking tickets to see Muse in November but it's such a long time away... I did just book tix for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, on the Thursday rather than the opening Wednesday because the premier seats are all gone (well, there was one left, not much good when there are three of us going) for the 8pm showing. And also I've booked train tickets for our housesitting holiday in Dunbar, dh is taking dd1, 3 and 4 up in the car on the Sunday and I'm going with dd2 on the Wednesday, giving me a couple of days of relative quiet at home and saving the massive sum of £4 on the train fare, getting a little bit of use out of the free Family-and-Friends Railcard. Must remember to get the half-price offer this time.

I've been posting on TwilightMoms, enjoying the analysis of the books (oddly enough, as I'm not usually that keen on analysing art, it's too personal a thing IMO, but discussion with enthusiasts for the fun of it is decidedly better than having to do it for grades!) and making new friends, I hope :-) There doesn't seem to be anyone very local to me, which is a shame because really I'm looking for someone to go to see New Moon with who won't be surprised if I'm a weeping mess throughout.

Right I must away, to let dd4 use a puter before she explodes, and to make good on my promise to myself that I would make a start on my dress this afternoon. Need to clear a patch of floor first!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

more dreaming

I'm blogging this because it was fun! lol...

So I ended up, at the end of this long rambly dream that I can't remember, other than needing to change my clothes at some point, and Sarah of Ethics Trading was in it, snogging Will Greenwood. Anyone who doesn't know who he is, well you can utilise your favourite search engine, lol, but he's not exactly pretty to look at. But he could talk rugby to me for hours and hours...

Not going to think about analysing this one beyond remembering that I was going to sleep thinking about the idea of embracing one's other half's interests. Think I took it a bit too literal somehow!! lol

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

accept, adapt, move on?

I woke up early this morning, it was about half past 6 when I was conscious enough to remember to check the time. I'd had a dream, and it's stuck with me, unlike most dreams. Well really it's just the ending that I remember. I'm guessing the dream was sparked off to a degree by reading Rosalie's story in Eclipse, as I was part of some royalty and there was a big do, I think it was my wedding, so there were loads of guests and preparation and it was all really weird (well duh, it's a dream! but anyway...) I was going to wear a certain outfit, it was a bit Barbarella I guess, or perhaps original series Star Trek (hm, could I be Spock's bride, the new Spock that is? That would work for me, oh yes.) but when I came to wear it, it was too small as I had put on weight since I wore it last, and I had the court dressmakers fussing around me trying to sort it out.

And then I woke up, so I never got to see the finished article. But a mantra's been stuck in my head all day, the title of this post. On the surface it sounds healthy, to accept the current situation as being how it is, how it's going to be, adapt to it to make the best of it and move on from stressing/obsessing about it. But that unfinished dress is bugging me too. If I accept the status quo, will it all come back to bite me on the arse the next time I lose the plot like I have this Winter? And what part of the status quo was the dream about? My size? My home-life? My marriage? All of it?

If the thing that's really bugging me right now, which is my lack of time at home alone, is just how it's going to be, am I letting dh off? Can I really accept it or is the resentment going to build up and explode later on? I guess it feels more like admitting defeat than accepting the inevitable.


Sunday, 26 April 2009

forgot a couple of things...

This is what happens when dd4 doesn't get to watch a dvd in bed. Clearly it's the only way, still, that she will lie down for long enough to go to sleep. So if I can't persuade the bugger to work today we'll have to get a new one :-| Still, cute pics though eh?

Some of the things distracting me from blogging and fanfic-ing this week... New Moon and Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook

another week...

So Gloucester have crashed and burned in the past few weeks, gods know what they're thinking. If they're thinking. Ugh.

And yesterday was yet another focusless Saturday morning, but I'll let dh off a bit this time as he has hayfever pretty bad and I didn't want to wake him. But being woken up almost an hour before the time my alarm was set to go off by dd3 shouting, "Pye! Pye! Pye! Pye! *whistle* *whistle* Pye! Pye!" and this was about 40 mins after I'd already woken up for some other random reason, meant that I wasn't in much of a fit state to do anything anyway. *sigh* Our wedding anniversary is next Saturday, we're planning to go out for a meal, seems a bit unfair to hijack that for a 'meaningful discussion' but it's probably the only way, and fairly fitting really.

I haven't even looked at my fanfic this week. Maybe that means I'm in a better mood overall, it's pretty dark stuff and I need to be in the right frame of mind for it to flow. Makes one wonder how crime novelists and scriptwriters do it all the time.

I got round to getting my bass from my mum's but I can't find the lead now, doh. I don't often get into town or go anywhere near a music shop, though actually there is one quite near an alterations shop that I didn't know about until I was dropping dd1 off at St John's Ambulance Cadets last week. I could go and see if they might have the right sized press-stud machine for my faulty jackets, and go get a new lead and a tuning fork or something, and talk to them about the piano too. It's a shame the excellent fishmonger round the corner from there is long gone.

Speaking of fish, must dash, going to Sainsburys to see if they still do tuna fishcakes, if not I'm getting salmon for tea. And this afternoon I'm going for a walk.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

another day...

Another Saturday morning goes by without me being able to say 'this is my working time.' I really need to figure out how to nail this down with dh without it turning into a row, which could happen, or the conversation being about him, which is what usually happens when I try to go in empathetically. I don't want to lay down the law either, but the way things are isn't really working for me, something's got to change, and not drift back like it often does when we try to change stuff. It's not like there's the excuse of a dodgy back any more, dh shouldn't have to lift dd4 at all unless she throws a strop I suppose. Ah well, will brace myself to sort it out soon...

Meanwhile, it's the EDF cup this afternoon, come on Gloucester! When I get my head on right and stop overeating I might be able to fit the shirt that dh got me for Christmas or birthday or whenever it was, lol.

Monday, 13 April 2009

that's another fine mess...

Not blogged for a few days, though I have been writing. I finished the chapter I was on and started a new one, but the first still needs editing. I still haven't transferred the doing impulse to work though.

I may be appearing to be invisible on msn/wlm as I have a new friend, who is male, who doesn't yet know that I can't really play on msn in the same way I might elsewhere. I'm sure he's just having a laugh, I'm also sure that dh wouldn't remotely see it that way if he happened to see flirting in an individual message box :-|

Back to Midnight Sun, or writing, or reading New Moon news... anything to keep me away from kids' tv...

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

bass notes...

Dd2 wants to learn to play bass guitar. Cool! That's alright cos we already have one, and a small practice amp. If they still work. Been several years since I touched them, and I never really played properly. I got them before I got pregnant, thinking I could pick it up fairly easily as I played double bass in school, but I just didn't get round to playing. It will be really nice to see them get some use, if she follows through. I'm going to try to play the piano more too, it needs tuning again. I'm a bit puzzled though, I watched a couple of youtube piano lesson videos yesterday and our piano was way out from the one on the videos, like a good couple of tones out, does that mean it was badly done before? Or that there's some weirdness going on with the puter? Hm, answers on a postcard...

Monday, 6 April 2009


I feel like a worn-out dishrag today. Not that I actually know what a worn-out dishrag feels like, but hopefully you get the idea. I got woken up in the middle of a dream, which I can't remember apart from the vague idea that there was a man I didn't know in it, by a delivery dude. He had the order of two new mice and a new dvd drive for the kids' puter, which hopefully should reduce the level of frustration in the house somewhat, but banging on the door when I'm sound asleep hasn't helped me at all. It's probably not the only cause of my malaise today, period day 3 is most likely more to do with it. But there's something about that kind of disturbance-induced brainfog that's hard to shift.

The end result though is that I'm lurking in my room (again) hoping that I'll get left alone with my blergh. Vain hope.

I've had more of a go at my fanfic, I think I need to pull it to bits and start again somewhat though *sigh* as I've managed to contradict myself and I hate that. It's not flowing all that well but I'm not expecting it to really, the subject matter isn't one that I know that much about other than from tv and films and I'm not throwing myself into research for this! Though the little bits I have googled have been interesting... My playlist is just right though I think, if I can add a few more tracks it will help set the tone for when I do have the headspace for writing.

Think I need to make one or two for work now, lol. Not sure what works best for writing about baby stuff, or for pulling website code to pieces, or for doing accounts...

Sunday, 5 April 2009

a bit more on watching the Twilight DVD...

Dh sat at the table while dd1, dd2 and I watched the film. He was internetting, watching baseball on his laptop (big ups for MLB's updated online tv service, btw, it's awesomely smooth and clear even over wifi and though we haven't tried streaming it to the tv yet I'm pretty sure it won't be pixelly at all) and I didn't know if he was really watching the film or not. He's had to live with my obsession for the past few months, dd2 and I sharing quips and quotes and laughing at in-jokes, and I suspect he thinks a bit of my recent weirdness is down to a Rob Pattinson/Edward Cullen crush (he's not entirely wrong but I think that's more about things being thrown into sharp relief, as the saying goes, by immersing myself in romance-driven fiction, than me actually fantasising about being with another person. And even if I were, Edward's not my favourite Cullen, lol.)

So I had a feeling he was prejudging it, sneering at it. Of course with him not sitting where I could see his face or hear him I couldn't be sure. And really I shouldn't make assumptions about what he's thinking because that old saw about assuming making an ass out of u and me is quite often true when I think I know what he's thinking. And more so when I think he knows what I'm thinking. But it did add to my unease while watching it and may have stopped me getting sucked in like I would have liked to. I think I was right though, when it finished he said the action sequences were poor...

...and that the love story was just like Buffy and Angel. The three of us on the sofa turned round and exclaimed 'What?!' at him. I'm not sure why it feels so different though. His argument was the group of geeky friends and he's a vampire and she's a human. Except that Bella has no supernatural powers and their relationship doesn't have any massive repercussions in the supernatural world, they're not on a hellmouth, there aren't any demons... The language and settings, beyond the high school part, is much different. Their motivations are also different, though Buffy and Bella are newcomers to their towns when their stories begin.

But if anyone is actually reading this who is familiar with both , I'd love to hear what you think on this point.

The commentary on the DVD is fun, by the way.

once again I'm doing a 'long time no blog' post...

So. Hm...

Well see it's like this. I'm writing a piece of fanfic. Which isn't something I've ever done before. I do write quite a lot but it's mostly chat, forum posts, facebook and the like. Sometimes I write for work. Actually I need to do a lot more of that than I have been, but maybe this whole process will help with that too. Anyway I was sort of in the mood for writing but not really in the right place mentally for my fanfic thing, it doesn't really go with tennis on the tv and I don't have headphones for my themed playlist right now, so I thought that maybe if I come and blog I might get more into the habit of writing stuff.

I had a thought about blogging, a week or so ago, that I'm grasping at the remnants of right now. It was about how I've never really got into it, because even with regular commenters and that kind of feedback it's pretty narcissistic (clicks spellcheck, yeah that's right) if you see it as *publishing* yourself, I'm not even much of a thread-starter on forums, but perhaps if I see it as just having a space to write stuff down it might go a bit better. And as long as I don't expect anyone else to be reading it and then get disappointed when I don't get comments, lol.

But hm, what am I blogging about? See this is my other problem. Do I rabbit on about the kids and dh, essentially invading their privacy unless I write solely about my thoughts about them, which is still exposing them in a way? I'm not going to write about business stuff here, I have another blog for that, and I'm woefully underblogging there too. I have a few minor niggles that I could share... I might go there later. I could go for the entertainment review thing, but anyone who has me as a friend on facebook or reads CosyNostra will know I'm pretty much obsessed with the Twilight saga right now, in fact I'm rereading Twilight for the 5th time. So that could get a little bit tedious... Oh hang on, I'm not blogging for you am I? I'm blogging for me.

Well let's go with that then.

Twilight, for anyone who doesn't know, is a romance. With a twist. If you aren't aware of it at all (oh come on who am I kidding? How can you be on the internet and not be aware, somehow, of Twilight? I'll ditch that thought then. Hm but then how much do I say about the plot? Oh well, it'll work out I guess.) So, scratch that.

OK so if you don't know already it's utterly incredible but it's a romance between a human and a vampire. The vampire happens to be part of a family who don't hunt humans, and has an extra talent, he can read minds. The girl is a normal human girl, ridiculously clumsy (really, I'm surprised no-one mentions dyspraxia in the books) and the only person who the vampire can't mind-read in any way. She is also the most delicious thing he's ever smelled, to the verge of breaking his fast, so to speak. So it's a classic 'boy meets girl, boy runs away to avoid killing girl, boy comes back but avoids girl, boy and girl obsess over each other without the other knowing, boy rescues girl, they figure out they're in love, things get a bit hairy...' type story.

I saw the film first, with fairly low expectations as I was taking dd2 and her friends to see it for dd2's birthday treat. And was completely blown away by it. It's an atmospheric production, the two leads are intense, the vampires are beautiful, the story is powerful... It all added up, possibly along with the pre-teen oestrogen hit, to an intense overwhelming slam of emotion. I was dragged along with the intrigue, the tension, the power of the first love/lust thing. And then we went shopping, a couple of weeks later, and dd2 bought the books with her Christmas/birthday money. Oh and the soundtrack album.

So I read the first one, and as is usually the case with books, and why I generally prefer to see the film or tv production first, there was so much more in the book than the film. Certain pertinent points were in different places but I wasn't so bothered about that. I read it again. And played the soundtrack lots and lots. And we went to see the film again, and for some reason I wasn't quite so taken with it, not so swept away of a wave of emotion. Well fair enough, the timing might have been off, and maybe I underestimated the power of 5 10 to 13 year olds in an enclosed space beforehand, and though I'd tried to not compare the book to the film I couldn't help myself. And, of course, I knew how it was going to work out.

I had thought I might not read the rest of the series until after those films came out. I really should have known better, lol. I picked New Moon up while at a loose end and rattled through it, and then the next one. And then I had to wait for the last instalment, Breaking Dawn. Dh gave it to me for Valentine's Day, bless him. I spent the evening and the next day reading, finishing this humongous monster of a book in around 18 reading hours I think. Damaged my hand in the process. And like I said, I'm rereading Twilight for the 5th time, I've read the others 3 times each, and the partial draft of Midnight Sun, which is Twilight from the boy's side (it's written in first person so you really only see what Bella sees. Midnight Sun fleshes the whole thing out so much more, I really hope it gets finished, properly and in the spirit of Twilight.)

Anyway... So I know the books pretty much inside and out. I've done a bit of the fangirl thing, facebook quizzes, the odd youtube vid, listening to the same music as the author, finding the soundtrack artists on and pre-ordering the dvd. Which is officially released here tomorrow, but arrived here yesterday. I enjoyed the 'making-of' bits and the music vids, haven't quite watched all the extras yet. And I hustled dd3 and 4 upstairs after tea so that we could watch it before they had supper, I figured I had a better chance of watching it uninterrupted that way than later going by recent form. But dh was a bit oblivious to what I was doing, and for one reason or another I'm a bit lacking patience for repeatedly explaining myself to him right now, so I was narked by the time we got round to watching.

So I don't know if that was it, if it was too light outside, if I'm going to have to be really in the mood (or ovulating!) to really 'get' the film or what but I was pretty disappointed. I wasn't gripped, the tension didn't get to me, some of it seemed pretty cheesy, some of the effects looked lame... I don't know. Perhaps it just has too much to live up to now. When I read the book I see and hear the actors and some of the locations, so I basically have the film playing in my head, but more of it. And I really love the books, they don't fail to make my breath catch, my eyes start, my heart race and my lips lift at the corners in all the right place whenever I read them.

I'm glad I saw the film, I might not have got so sucked in to this wonderful alternate reality otherwise. But I don't know when I'll be able to watch it again now without this disappointment and sense of lacking.