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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Birthday Loot

I had a very gratifying umpty umpteenth birthday a couple of days ago.  Not a significant number, but a significant number minus one.

Loot was acquired.

George gave me this gorgeous pendant.  It is an early 20th century print encased in resin in a silver setting.  It may or may not be Ernest Shepherd, the jewellery assistant had no idea what George was talking about!  I love that this is a mixed media technique that I know a lot about, translated into high quality silver smithing.

The flash bounced really badly off this.  Wombat gave me Michael Palin's diaries from the Monty Python years.
 Baby Bear gave me this exciting account of the REAL Robinson Crusoe.  Someone pointed out to me that I have an eclectic taste in literature.  They are dead right!  And unbeknown to me, Baby Bear has joined the whole reuse and repurpose art thing.  Apparently some time ago she cut up all her Mr Men books from her babyhood and turned them into cards.  This is obviously the first one I have seen!
 I always buy myself a birthday present.  It was these two books.
 My mother-in-law bought me this apron at a country show recently.  Not because she thinks I need to spend more time in the kitchen, but because she knows I enjoy doing just that, and thought I ought to be more colourful when I do it.
One sister-in-law made me this gorgeous little bag out of Moda fabrics and hid this resin necklace in it.  I might use the bag for a sock knitting bag.
And George took me out for coffee.  Doesn't everyone eat chocolate mousse for breakfast on their birthday?  Bobby helped.  He thought it might be too much for me to manage on my own.

My mum gave me a gift card and my other SIL is recovering from food poisoning so is rather out of action at the moment.  All in all I had a lovely day and felt thoroughly spoilt.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teddy Bear Tuesday

I have decided to start a new regular posting thing.  So welcome to Teddy Bear Tuesday.  I have been collecting little bear figurines for years.  Sometimes I have bought them in places I have been visiting and putting stickers on the bottom to remind me where I bought them.  George found this old printers' block tray in an antique shop in England and gave it to me to display them in.  Over the years some non-bear items have been added.  I thought I would write about one per week.  That will keep me going for a long time!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Adventures of Bobby the Ram, Part 3

Bobby and his friend Momo the Lemur have had a wild week. They went to see Despicable Me, in 3D, and now want their own minions.

They went to see the Tim Burton exhibition, and were not frightened.

And they abandoned all ideas of a healthy diet, in the face of this huge bowl of fat chips!

They also went to the Melbourne Show but George has not downloaded those photos yet. I believe there may be scenes of alpaca loving in those.

Proper exhibition and film reviews may follow in a later post, if I am ever at home. I have been out every day for the last seven, mostly doing school holiday stuff, and am reduced to checking Facebook on my phone, and not much else computer wise.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book Meme - a completely different one

It's ages since I did one of these"


1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read.
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list so we can try and track down these people who’ve read 6 and force books upon them.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible - does reading half of it count?
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 .His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare - again about half
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corellis Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres 
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I don't know what happened here.  I was adding tags to old posts and accidentally republished this one from a couple of years ago.  And I obviously had no brain in operation at the time as I had already read most of these then but didn't bold them.  SO I have edited the list to show the true state of affairs!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Meme - Day 30

Day 30 - What book are you reading right now?

So finally, and a little sadly, I come to the end of the Book Meme.  It;s been fun!

I am currently reading The Return of the Dancing Master by Henning Mankell.  I have already mentioned, somewhere, my fondness for the Kurt Wallender books by this author.  According to Wikipedia, this is supposedly part of that series in a loose way, but having almost finished it, I think I can say pretty definitely that the only connections are (a) it's Swedish and (b) one of the minor characters is the brother of one of the murder victims in Sidetracked, the fifth Wallender book.

That's all rather academic, actually, as it is such a good book that I only found myself missing Wallender rather peripherally.  It's fascinating and I thoroughly recommend it.  It;s always hard commenting on the writing style of someone who is translated into English, but I have now read nine of Mankell's books with about four translators between them, and they are all wonderfully written.  I think he may come under the heading of 'genre writers who would never win a ... prize (say Booker Prize, Pulitzer, whatever) because of being a genre writer, but who should because of the quality of their writing'.  My favorite examples are Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine and P.D. James, but he's certainly up there with them.

The book meme has been great fun, and best of all it has got me back into more regular blogging.  I just hope that will continue!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Book Meme - Day 29

Day 29 - Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)

I have already blogged about Vera Brittain's books Testament of Youth and Chronicle of Youth.  Well, they get another guernsey here too, for the saddest death scene.

I have read both of these books repeatedly and was obsessed with Vera Brittain for many years.  Many, many years.  I'm feeling a bit better now but I will probably reread them again int he next year or so.

Roland Leighton dies on his last day at the front before coming home on leave.  It's bad enough in
Testament of Youth, where the image of Vera waiting by the phone in a seaside hotel to hear news of his arrival, and the eventual phonecall, reduces me to floods of tears every time I read it.  But it is even worse in Chronicle of Youth, which is the (presumably edited) diary she was keeping at the time, and is much rawer.  In this we discover that she fully expected him to whisk her off and marry her hastily, and that a desk job had been fixed up for him. 


I am pathetic.  Who cares!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Meme - Day 28. and the Adventures of Bobby the Ram, Part 2

Day 28 - First favorite book or series obsession

Probably the Chronicles of Narnia and the Swallows and Amazons books, as previously blogged.  I was about five when I started reading them.

That wasn't very interesting, was it?

So without further ado I will update the adventures of Bobby the Ram.  Our hero was last seen on the top of Mount Ainslie.  He enjoyed the rest of his time with us in Canberra (or, as I just mistyped it, Canberaaaa).
He listened to music (I think it was Linkin Park).
He drank long cool drinks (it's a lemon lime and bitters, don't worry, he is not being corrupted by us!)

He indulged in a spot of photo bombing.  (Black Mountain Tower, I think).
He very carefully coloured within the lines.
He met some metal creatures that appeared to be sheeplike.  Both he and Momo the Lemur were dubious, but posed bravely in the winter sunshine.

Then we went home to Melbourne.  On the drive through the Monaro Plains, near Cooma, he stopped to check out some local talent.  Thought they were quite cute, but decided that the urban environment was rather more him, really, so off to Melbourne we went.

And he has settled in nicely, is a real family animal, and occasionally gets to go out and do things.  He's content.  And we love him.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Meme - Day 27

Day 27 - If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!

After much thought I have decided that there is no definitive answer to this question, not from me anyway.  There are lots of things that will entice me to think about reading a book, but none of them will be enough if the book sounds dodgy in other ways.  In other words, what I think I mean is that the inclusion of one or more of my favorite topics, etc, does not necessarily guarantee an enjoyable book.

But for a list of the things that are more likely to make me want to read a book:

Magic realism (yes, I know curmudgeonly people say that is the same as fantasy.  I think it is slightly different.  I could draw a Venn diagram but then I would look obsessive and geeky.  Like I usually do).
Apocalyptic fantasy.
Interesting detectives.
Occasionally, really good romance writers.  (There aren't many I like).
Historical fiction - again it has to be really good.
Apparently, Steampunk and Mannerpunk!  
Old-fashioned thrillers (sometimes).
Well-written social history (either in non-fiction or fiction form).
Real crime - which is nearly always badly written (why is that?) but I am a bit obsessed with serial killers.
Psychological mysteries.
Craft books!


And as promised, some pics of the book signing with the frabjous Andy Griffiths.  Knitters please note the stitch holder used as punk safety pin on koala.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Meme - Day 25

Ok, so 26 always goes after 24 doesn't it, to be followed by 25.  Whoops!!

Day 25 - Any five books from your "to be read" stack

My 'stack' is more like a mountain range.  This is a selection from the more visible bits near the top.

Jodi Picoult, Songs of the Humpback Whales.  I have read quite a few of her books and enjoy them, though she annoys me with her shameless pushing of buttons - as mentioned in a previous Book Meme post, though I can't remember which one.  It's a bit like chocolate - I know it;s not all that good for me, really, but I keep going back.

Stieg Larsson, The Millenium Trilogy (Ok, that's 3 books, but I will probably read them in one go). Well, everyone is talking about them, and reading them, and they have been recommended by a number of people whose judgement is usually pretty spot on.  If I hate them, the church fete will get them next year.

Hilary Mantel, Beyond Black.  NOT because she won the Booker Prize last year!  I discovered her ages ago.  Over the years I have read her books Fludd (which I desperately wanted to like, but was ambivalent over) and A Place of Greater Safety, about the French Revolution in general, and Danton in particular, which was the most fabulous book I read in that particular year, which must have been 1993 (because it was published then and I know I got it brand spanking new from the library).

George R.R. Martin, The Game of Thrones. Because Baby Bear was given it for Christmas and enjoyed it, and we often swap books.  It is one of those humungous fantasy novels that has sequels to keep people hooked.

John Pilger, Hidden Agendas.  Because I have known of his stuff for many years but never read anything.

This does not necessarily mean I will read these immediately next, but as I said, they are near the top, so who knows?

Book Meme - Day 26

Day 26 - OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending

Tim Winton, The Shallows. Everybody I know raves on about Tim Winton.  I always had it in for him because he won the Vogel Prize the year I entered it.  OK, my MS was a pile of crap, but even so, it was personal!

I found this is the library a couple of years ago and thought I should at least try to read one of his books.  I didn't like it that much but I did persevere - it was short, he's meant to be one of Australia's best living writers, yada yada yada. It was OK.  It was the short of book that forces you to put quite a big emotional commitment into reading it.  I started to care about what happened.  And then all the whales died anyway.  I hated the ending!  I don't automatically expect a happy ending to a book, but it felt like a cop-out.  It felt like a kid knocking down his Lego creation because he was bored with it.


Wombat has a Drama assignment to do.  I usually have to help him with school work, but at least one was fun!  He had to pick a film or TV performance and analyse it in terms of use of voice, movement and space.  He made it really easy by choosing Christopher Lee as Count Dooku in Revenge of the Sith.  He's only on screen for a few minutes, which made it easy to analyse fully.  And his performance is a real gift!  It was so simple and fun to answer the questions.  And Wombat was able to pick up most of it himself with me making notes (and even showed knowledge of some quite sophisticated dramatic conventions - I guess at those countless hours watching TV has paid off!).

On Saturday we went to a book signing by Andy Griffiths, childrens' author extraordinaire , who was delightful and genuinely pleased to meet his fans.  He was also obviously genuinely thrilled that Baby Bear produced two first editions of his earlier books to be signed.  Pictures may appear on Facebook when I download them.  Maybe even here.

George and I made a major effort in book sorting yesterday.  We have sort of finished, in a sense - the boxes of books still exist but they have been sorted into SPECIFIC boxes.  This counts as progress.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Book Meme - Day 24

Day 24 - Best quote from a novel

I can't find the exact paragraph, so I will have to quote the first bit from memory.  This is certainly one of my favorite quotes of all time:

From Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake, 'I need a cynic for a friend'.  There's another sentence or two, but this is the bit that always sticks in my mind.

I am crazy about the Titus Groan books, also known as the Gormenghast Trilogy.  I first read Titus Groan when I was at school, and the other two a couple of years later when I was at university, and have reread them a couple of times since, the most recently a few years ago.  While looking up a link on the Internet for this post, I discovered that they are considered to be the forerunners of Mannerpunk, of which I had never heard.  Apparently it is a weird mixture of novels of manners and, well, a less steam-related version of Steampunk.  I know that Steampunk is very trendy right now, but I have been obsessed with it ever since I read The Difference Engine and Tim Powers a long time ago.

I shall have to take some time to absorb Mannerpunk.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Meme - Day 23

Day 23 - Most annoying character ever

Widmerpool from A Dance to the Music of Time naturally comes to mind, but he is MEANT to be annoying and he is a valuable theatrical device.

So Steerforth from David Copperfield.  I hate those smarmy charmers who know they can bat their eyelids and everyone, male and female, young and old, will  fall in love them, with fatal consequences.  He is the first I can remember in a book (I read Dickens at a precocious age) and I have met too many of them in real life.

OK, Steerforth is meant to be like that, too, and is also a useful theatrical device.  But I hate him more.

Book Meme - Day 22

Book Meme - Day 22

Day 22 - Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)

Can I say Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh?  The first wonderful non-sexual relationship I can ever remember reading (and I DO NOT want to hear anything to the contrary, please!!!!).  I played wonderful games with my stuffed toys and always thought Pooh Bear had a great life.


Fortunately the visit to the-doctor-who-always-sends-us-to-hospital went well.  He said she just needs another few days to fully recover.  He also said to go back if she wasn't better by the middle of next week.  If that happens I will take a sock to knit...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Book Meme - Day 21

Day 21 - Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)

I'm in a sci-fi state of mind .... (to be sung to the tune of I;m in a New York State of Mind, Billy Joel).

I;m going to cheat here - these are only books as an afterthought, they are really television series, but after breathing in some air from WorldCon yesterday (I didn't have a ticket but was meeting a friend outside), I am definitely in a sci-fi frame of mind.

Captain Jack from Torchwood and pretty much every man, woman and alien he ever comes across in any world, planet or time era.  Who couldn't love him?

And Dr Who and Rose Tyler.  The only time he even came close to saying 'I love you'.


I didn't go to WorldCon owing to a severe lack of planning ability, but did meet up with Deborah who was down from Sydney, and we had the best time!!!  Discovered just how much we had in common, and talked nonstop for at least three hours.  I also got to read her timetable thingy and realise just how much fun I had missed out on:(  But then it is hard for me to plan even a day ahead, what with unpredictable kids and so on.

  I am still reeling at the thought that I have booked a bead embroidery class for one afternoon in November.  What dread disasters will await me then?  I also feel that I am cheating a bit with this class, it is for beginners and I am actually very experienced at bead embroidery, but the teacher does a technique that I want to pick her brains on (that the class is actually going to learn), and it wouldn't be the first time I have taken a beginners' class in a technique because I have wanted to learn extra tips from an acknowledged master in the field.  Whenever that has happened they have always been very happy for me to steam ahead at my own pace.  So please, whatever or whoever manages these things, let there be no disasters on that day!

Taking Baby Bear back to the doctor today.  It is nearly two weeks and she is still not well.  The tonsils are going down but her asthma is spiralling out of control.  I am dreading this because I could not get our good, wonderful, worship the ground he walks on GP today, but a new GP who is a nice person but, the only three times I have taken someone to see him, he has flicked us on to casualty.  Twice with Wombat, once with George in an ambulance.  I am just dreading what he will say today!  Will he break the run and just say that she needs a bit more time to get better?  Or will I spend another ten hours at the Monash Medical CEntre wondering when I am going to be charged with having Munchausens by Proxy?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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Book Meme - Day 20

Day 20 - Favorite kiss

Vera Brittain, Testament of Youth, when Roland first kisses her, either on a train or a platform, I think it was a train.  It is so full of unrequited passion and horrible things to come, and every time I read it (and I have read it, and Chronicle of Youth, over and over again) I weep.


Baby Bear is holed up at home with severe tonsillitis (since last Monday).  Fortunately she does not get it very often but when she does, it knocks her out for at least two weeks.  A pity, she was meant to be singing at a concert tonight, and can't.  At least I no longer have to listen to less wonderful VCE students murdering music.

Fab day out on Monday.  More of that later, there is a more suitable themed Book Meme day for what I am thinking about.

Still knitting kitchen towels out of leftover cotton yarns.  Completely destroyed the whole reduce, reuse, recycle thing, though, by buying yarn for another two pairs of socks, and a bamboo wrap.  I have more sock yarn than will fit in the sock yarn box.  You;d think that would tell me something!

I am noticing that this blog has veered away from craft and towards books in recent times.  I guess I am reading more and crafting less.  Or doing a lesser variety of craft.  This will not be a permanent state of affairs.  I have ideas brewing in the background.  I have just lost the mojo a bit in recent months, but I know it is just on a backburner rather than gone away forever.

Man Booker Prize 2010

The Man booker Shortlist has just been announced.  This always interests me.  I only once, in about 1990, tried to read all the books on the shortlist.  I only liked one of them and have never tried to do it since.  Life is too short to read books you dislike, or, still worse, hate.
I sometimes read the ones that appeal, either before or after the prize is announced.  I have never read one purely because they are on the list or have won the prize, though occasionally their appearance on the list has jogged my memory that that was a book I had intended to read at some point.
At first glance the only one that immediately appeals is the Peter Carey.  I adore Peter Carey and read most of what he writes, but not necessarily at the time they are published.  This was one I already wanted to read regardless of its appearance on any lists.
I don't know enough about any of the others.  Their appearance on the list means that they will be prominent in bookshops and libraries between now and the announcing of the winner, so I might look at them to see if they look interesting.
Some people are adamant that they will never read a book just because it has won a prize or been on a shortlist.  I would certainly never read a book solely for that reason.  But I have met people who seem to think that because a book has been chosen by a judging panel, that it is automatically not worth reading.  I don't agree with that either.
Peter Carey Parrot and Olivier in America (Faber and Faber)
Emma Donoghue Room (Picador - Pan Macmillan)
Damon Galgut In a Strange Room (Atlantic Books - Grove Atlantic)
Howard Jacobson The Finkler Question (Bloomsbury)
Andrea Levy The Long Song (Headline Review -
Headline Publishing Group)
Tom McCarthy (Jonathan Cape - Random House)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

More Booky Goodness - also to be known as the blog post called In September I am Reading...

I have just discovered Krafty Kuka and more literary goodness.  So now I am going to bore my two and a half readers with a frequent account of what I am reading.

Currently - carrying in my handbag Those in Peril by Nicolas Freeling.  It isn't a Van der Valk book, but a Henry Castang book.  I like to carry thrillers and murders in my bag that can be dipped into for a few minutes here and there.  It's about sex crimes and art fraud.

In bed at night - started two other books which I will mention when I read more of them, but currently We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.  Baby Bear read it and thought I would like it.  Well, maybe not 'like', as she pointed out it is incredibly confronting.  It is unputdownable in a 'there but for the grace of God' sort of way.  It's about a high school mass murder by a teenager who was never 'quite right' but only his mother really noticed, and she was so ambivalent about motherhood that everyone ignored her.  It is like being constantly slapped in the face by one's own prejudices and it is scaring the pants off me.

Book Meme - Day 19

Posted by PicasaDay 19 - Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!).

There is a multitude of wonderful cover art out there.  So I have picked the cheesiest rather than the best.  This is the sort of book that I might read once and then give away.  But something about the extreme cheesiness of it endears it to me, and thus it stays in my voluminous book collection.  Believe me, the contents are everything that the cover promises!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Book Meme - Day 18

Day 18 - Favorite beginning scene in a book

I've wracked my brains but don't think I can come up with an all-time favorite.  But I do love this one:

From Markus Zusak's The Book Thief


First the colours.
   Then the humans.
   That's usually how I see things.
    Or at least, how I try.


You are going to die.

I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most  people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations.  Please, trust me.  I most definitely can be cheerful.  I can be amiable.  Agreeable.  Affable.  And that's only the A's.  Just don't ask me to be nice.  Nice has nothing to do with me.


Another day at home with sick children.  Wombat is going back to school tomorrow.  At he is only allowed to go to Friday night Youth Group if he is at school on Friday, he usually feels better by then!  To be fair, if he is still genuinely sick by the Friday he usually accepts it with a good grace.  Baby Bear is being dragged to the doctor tomorrow.  Just as the doctor was closing for today she casually announced that she had looked at her tonsils and they looked awful.  She doesn't get tonsillitis very often but when she does, she is REALLY SICK.  This is particularly upsetting for her as we have tickets for West Side Story on Saturday.  She is determined to go no matter what, but I have explained that I will not sit in a theatre with her while she throws up into a bucket!  (Baby Bear - temperature - throwing up - regardless of precise nature of illness, this is just a given.  It rather took the shine off watching Neighbours with her yesterday, though many people might consider throwing up into a bucket the only possible way to watch Neighbours).

I have been valuing books.  A fascinating exercise!  Many are bread and butter books - I'll probably get $5 for them on Ebay, which is fine as there are hundreds if not thousands of them.  Some look rare and valuable and turn out to be worthless.  Some look boring or otherwise unprepossessing and turn out to be worth a lot more.

And knitting more kitchen towels.  I found three more lots of cotton yarn waiting to be used up.  

Cute Sirius

Baby Bear took these close-ups of Sirius recently. There hasn't been enough puppy love on my blog recently.
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Book Meme - Day 17

Day 17 - Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)

I don't really have a favorite one of these.  In general I find short stories a rather frustrating literary form.  You are just getting into the characters, plot, whatever, and then it finishes.  Even the best ones, the ones that do encapsulate memorable character and plot and a satisfactory conclusion in the short space of time, leave me feeling that I want more.

But two memorable ones that I have enjoyed over the last ten years, and hold pride of place on one of my many, many bookshelves, would be:

Dreaming Down Under, a 1998 anthology of speculative Australian fiction, edited by Jack Dann and Janeen Webb, and Dreaming Again, another similar anthology edited by Jack Dann and published in 2008.  

There are lots of interesting, weird, satisfactory (ish) and unsatisfactory stories in these books, plenty to make one think, and the ten years between them allows one to have interesting thoughts about the state of the speculative fiction output in Australia over time.   (Healthy and productive, in general).

When I was a child the only short stories I ever really liked were collections of myths and legends.  I devoured them.  Norse and Greek/Roman were my favorites, but any culture would do!  I haven't read any of them for a great many years, but just thinking about them makes me want to find some and reread them.


Finding time to blog has been proving difficult recently!  There has always been someone else queuing up for the computer.  Two adults and two teenagers and one computer makes for log-jams.

While sorting through my late father's books I have actually come across a collection of myths written for children that belonged to me a long time ago.  I had thought that I had got all of my old books but obviously this one slipped through somehow.  It brought back good memories, something that is sadly lacking when I think about my father.  I have decided to set up an online shop, probably on Ebay, to sell off a lot of what he left Baby Bear.  She doesn't want them, but the money, if there is any, could go towards a car or something in the next couple of years.  And I have long wanted to try my hand at second-hand bookselling, and doing it this way costs me very little upfront.  So watch this space.  I am spending time most days sorting and valueing books.  The house is full of boxes, which is depressing.  But it is also fun in a way.

The kids are sick again.  I think it might be time we got everyone taking multi vitamins.  Monday was one of those days - called to the school at 12.45 to pick up one of them, and 1.45 to pick up the other.  It's a good thing we are a 5 minute walk away!

George is in Sydney, and, probably, in Cairns later today, coming back tomorrow.  We haven't planned anything much for Father's Day because he refuses to say what he wants, which usually means, quite genuinely, that he doesn't really want anything.

I am supposed to be taking Baby Bear to see West Side Story on Saturday, so she had better recover from whatever flu-like virus she has at the moment!  It is her birthday present (two months late, but it wasn't on in July and it;s what she wanted).