radegund: (poitiers)
This week I'm working through the first round of copyedits on my novel. Oh em gee.

Thing is, I've waited half my life - at least - for this experience. "My first novel arrives back from the copyeditor" is for me, in the Girlish Dreams stakes, somewhat akin to "man of my dreams goes down on one knee and produces polished rock".

(For the record, I didn't do that latter dream. The actual man of my dreams, viz. [livejournal.com profile] niallm, proposed morridge to me on his two feet, while I was brushing my teeth ... so my first response was to spit. This is not to denigrate anyone else's Girlish Dreams, but simply to emphasise the relative importance of the copyediting thing.)

This is the first round of edits, which aim to clean it up enough to go out in advance of the Frankfurt Book Fair. And that's another squee: I remember my father going to the Frankfurt Book Fair in around 1980 - it was clearly an occasion of unparalleled glitz. Apparently nobody reads books at the fair, don'tcha know, so it needs to be ready in advance.

Deadline on Friday.

Word by word...
radegund: (poitiers)
I like Avaaz. Today's campaign is focused on getting GAP to sign a strong fire safety agreement in Bangladesh. The shareholder meeting is tomorrow, it seems.

For pig iron, here's what I wrote to the CEO of GAP:

Dear Glenn Murphy,

You and I, we live in a world where we can go to work every day without fearing for our lives. Our physical safety, as workers, is deemed important by our society.

But the people who make our clothes don't live in that world. They put their lives at risk every day to earn a living.

This is wrong.

Did you know that clothing workers have been exploited throughout human history? From the slave weavers of ancient Crete to the cottage knitters of Victorian Scotland, the people who dress the elite have been treated as expendable. Out of sight, out of mind.

But just because exploitation is traditional does not mean it's justifiable. You, sir, are in the amazingly fortunate position of being able to take a simple, concrete action to shift the balance a little - just a little. Just enough to lessen the mortal risk the garment workers of twenty-first-century Bangladesh put themselves in every day so that you and I can enjoy getting dressed in the morning.

Please sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement. There is no moral alternative.

radegund: (Default)
TheJournal.ie had a piece yesterday about Amnesty's ad campaign for an equal health system in Ireland.

(Incidentally, for me, this comment on that article sums up exactly why a one-tier, free-at-point-of-access health system is really the only defensible approach: "...as soon as rich people have to avail of the same services as the rest of us you’ll be amazed how quickly it gets sorted.")

So I went to sign the petition, and ended up finally writing something that's been brewing for months.

And this is what she said... )

I wonder will it be read?

I've sent an edited version as a letter to the Irish Times, which is probably still too long to print, so I thought I'd just publish it here too. You know, for closure.

It's worth noting that until [livejournal.com profile] ailbhe and I were discussing my A&E experience I had no idea how low the cut-off point for a medical card actually is. If I'm reading the Citizens' Information figures correctly, a 40-hr/week job at minimum wage puts you over the threshold unless you have 3+ children and no other household income (if you're under 66, that is).

Anyway. Go and sign the petition, if you're in Ireland.

If you're not in Ireland, feel free to gnash your teeth at our iniquitous set-up.
radegund: (blue-pansy)
It's [livejournal.com profile] niallm's and my thirteenth and seventh anniversary! (We got married on our anniversary.) And we are both on for another thirteen years! Woo!

The Feaster and I went to collect the Oyster from his music class, and on the way home the Oyster snapped at the Feaster and called him stupid for no reason, and I threw a totally adolescent strop and said I wasn't talking to the Oyster until we got home.

And far from being squished by this, as traditionally he might have been, he shrugged it off and began telling me to raise one finger for no and two fingers for yes ... and three fingers if he could talk to me even if I wasn't talking to him ... and four and five fingers for I forget what.

So I stopped being cross and started to laugh, and asked how many fingers I should raise for "I love [the Oyster]"?

"Six!" he said. So (the car being paused) I raised six fingers.

And then when I turned my head to park, I saw the Feaster enthusiastically waving six fingers at the Oyster, because he loves him too.

Ah, my menfolk. Sometimes, you know, they are very, very lovely.

I miss LJ

Jan. 22nd, 2012 11:05 am
radegund: (Default)
Are you still here, lovely people?

I've been howling at this blog post quoting extracts from "Are Women People?" (1915) (via Twitter; I think [livejournal.com profile] ailbhe linked to it).

For instance:

If They Meant All They Said

Charm is a woman's strongest arm;
My charwoman is full of charm;
I chose her, not for strength of arm
But for her strange elusive charm.

And how tears heighten woman's powers!
My typist weeps for hours and hours:
I took her for her weeping powers—
They so delight my business hours.

A woman lives by intuition.
Though my accountant shuns addition
She has the rarest intuition.
(And I myself can do addition.)

Timidity in girls is nice.
My cook is so afraid of mice.
Now you'll admit it's very nice
To feel your cook's afraid of mice.
radegund: (Default)
...or does the same-sex section of this wedding planner's "services" page start off a bit clueless (though apparently well meaning) before veering into crassly offensive territory?

I quote:

Same-sex weddings have a reputation for flamboyance and extravagance, and rightly so. Wecater for all aspects of the ‘wedding’ even down to finding an outfit for the happy couple’s Chihuahua (I kid you not). This includes transvestite and transexual weddings with the ‘bride to be’ taken through every aspect of ‘her’ wedding in the same way I would with a female bride.

Yes. I think I've just answered my own question, haven't I?

Oh dear.
radegund: (swans)
The boys were having a game on the way home from the food co-op just now:

The Oyster: This is a ghost train, and I'm a vampire, and I'm going to chop off your head at midnight!

The Feaster: I'm pretenting to be a toy toothbrush with a gun!

I do heartily wish they'd put a sock in the whole violence schtick.

"Play is a processing mechanism. Play is a processing mechanism," I say to myself. (Sometimes it helps.)
radegund: (Default)
12 years since the sleety Monday morning when [livejournal.com profile] niallm & I agreed that we'd fallen in love.

6 years since we informed the State.



Sep. 27th, 2010 05:57 pm
radegund: (Default)
It turns out, right, that living in squalor is really not where I want to be.

But all our housekeeping mechanisms broke down in the onslaught of 2009 (the construction of the south wing) and the early part of 2010 (my vitamin B12 deficiency), and they're only just beginning to come back.

I still feel at sea. So I'm going to take a leaf out of [livejournal.com profile] ailbhe's book and start by keeping track, every so often, on a haphazard schedule and without rigid criteria, of the stuff I do.

I think it may help, at least to pinpoint what's getting done, what areas of work are "mine", what's being neglected, and so on.

Here's today's:
click if you really need to know! )

That brings us to 17:25ish, when I started writing this. I may come back later and update when I've done some more.

if anything, even less interesting than the first list )

Moar update:
you know the drill )

There are mountains of laundry waiting upstairs, and the kitchen backlog will take a while to clear. I want to be doing things like building the new utility room shelves, but clean clothes, meals, and a usable kitchen take precedence.

Maybe I'll get to measure and mark the timber for the shelves this evening. If I can find my effing set square, dammit. I hate it when my tools go missing.

Question: Are you overwhelmed by the maintenance of your living space, or does it feel basically under control? If the latter, what are your top tips?

Feast Day!

Aug. 13th, 2010 02:56 pm
radegund: (Default)
Happy St Radegund's Day, everybody!

I am celebrating by ... um ... doing lots of laundry. Calling out Robin Hood related spellings to the Oyster. Watering the new arrivals in the garden. Cuddling the Feaster. Ironing lengths of organic fair-trade cotton that I'm going to turn into headscarves and capes and wraps.

Tonight, being Friday, is Pizza & Film Night in our house. Fun times.

How are you celebrating?


Jul. 24th, 2010 09:34 pm
radegund: (wine-pansy)
We are back from four weeks in California, where the weather is apparently always hot and sunny at this time of year. Which gets disconcertingly boring after a while. The drizzle at Dublin Airport this morning was an unexpected pleasure.

Some Random Things I Liked

The residents' pool and jacuzzi. OMG. I haven't been swimming regularly since our last French holiday in 2005. As a child I went on family holidays to the Continent most summers (my parents lecture in French and Italian), which entirely ruined me for indoor swimming pools. (Yes, this is incompatible with my new-found drizzle-love. Work with me.)

The one where we stayed is particularly beautiful - set among white-painted pergolas clothed in wisteria (just finishing, but it must have been incredible two months ago), with white roses and gardenia(?) all around, and birches and mystery flowering trees on the street outside.

The pool was generally deserted during the week, and we never saw it with more than about 30 people. The water didn't smell chlorinated - it seemed to be treated with some kind of salt. The boys and I went nearly every day, and it turns out that the Oyster shares my extreme delight at being in the water. I watched him at the end of each visit - dragging himself along to the steps, not wanting to get out until he absolutely had to - and I thought, I remember that.

The Oyster can basically doggy paddle now, and he can jump in over his head and push himself back to the surface if I'm there to catch him. The Feaster bobs around in his armbands and ring, and can get himself from place to place quite efficiently when he wants to. They both like clinging to my back while I swim. I like that too.

BIG Trees!
We went to Muir Woods. And even though the Oyster was in a mood so finely calculated to push his parents' buttons that it's a wonder we didn't explode, it was spectacular. Coastal redwoods! They are tall. The end.

Car seats for people the Feaster's size come with a chest buckle, as well as the crotch buckle we're used to. This is just a plastic slidey thing, but it has the very desirable effect of preventing him from wriggling out of the shoulder straps (something he does regularly in Dublin for the purpose of putting the heart across me). I must see if they're available here.

Cafés and foodcourts have this brilliant gadget. You place your order at the counter and pay for it. They hand you a square plastic device like a very thick coaster, about the size of your palm, with their logo on it and some little LEDs around the rim. You find a table. After a few minutes, the device buzzes and the LEDs flash, and you go to the collection counter and pick up your food.

It is magic.

Actually, it reminds me of the first time I was in California, in 1997. I went To The Mall, tee em, with one of the Irish friends I was staying with, and she urged me to buy a newfangled drink I'd never seen before. It was a smoothie, and my mind was blown. Within a year, they had hit Dublin.

So I'll be very much looking out for these food buzzer things. (Or am I just fearfully out of touch and everyone else has been using them for months already?)

Right, the Feaster has awoken. I'll be off.
radegund: (wine-pansy)
I've been thinking about visibility, and audience, and related matters.

So, out of curiosity, a poll.

[Poll #1545144]


Mar. 29th, 2010 11:56 pm
radegund: (swan-head)
This evening, K stayed home with our sleeping boys, and [livejournal.com profile] niallm and I went out.

Like, together.

As in, we actually had a conversation.

With each other.

And it ranged over multiple topics.

And other than waitresses bringing our drinks and so on, nobody interrupted us.

It was Ay. May. Zing.

And because I love you all so much, I'll share two little thoughts that occurred to us. They made us larf and larf.

1. Marxist workplace poster: "You don't have to be alienated from the means of production to work here - but it helps!"

2. When you give your toddler over-the-counter antihistamine to help him sleep, and it doesn't work? Phenergans Wake.


As you were.
radegund: (Default)
1. This morning, very unusually, the Oyster woke me and the Feaster up at 6:30, and I didn't really get any more proper sleep after that. I am a walking ball of exhausted, irascible self-pity. Snarl.

2. The builders were meant to come at 10:00 to do the final snagging on our extension works (which began on 6 April 2009, I wish to note). Did they show up? Did they fuck.

3. At lunchtime I managed to superheat the dish in which I microwaved the peas, and burned my fingers when I went to pick it up. Ow. Ow. Ow.


4. Just after lunch, I took my iPhone out of my pocket to phone the builder (again). The phone dropped from my INJURED FINGERS to the floor, whereupon THE SCREEN SHATTERED. Like, badly. It still works, but there are little holes in it, and shards sticking out here and there.

So now I need to get everyone out the door and into town to buy a new phone.

Gah! And also, bah!

[livejournal.com profile] niallm IS COMING HOME TOMORROW.

Please send a time machine so I can skip the next 24 hours.
radegund: (swans)
Now I know why I'm so hungry.

The Feaster has had so little solid food this week (see under: winter vomiting bug - better now) that he has reverted to producing breastmilk poo.

Ah, smell-memory!

(Please send calories.)
radegund: (swans)
Oh, look, here I am again, being BORING about SLEEP. I'm so sorry. Perhaps one day I'll have something new to whine about. Won't that be nice?

In the meantime, boring boring boring boring boring.

In fact, I might almost go so far as to say, YAWN. (See what I did there?)

But it kind of helps to write it out. So here we all are.

Look, universe, am I not allowed to have a good day without paying for it, or something? It really felt, yesterday, as if I'd come through a hard patch and things were going to improve. I got stuff done! The children went to bed at a reasonable hour! For the first time in I don't know how long, I had normality, or some semblance thereof, in my sweaty paws.

I went to bed just after 11, and I read for a while, then settled down to sleep and found it hard on account of the whirlybrain (but that's common enough), and then [livejournal.com profile] niallm came to bed and we chatted for a bit, and some time after 1:00 I went to sleep.

1:50, the Feaster arrives in our bed wanting milk. I notice that he smells a bit, but decide that it's not something I'm prepared to investigate further. Probably just gas, I tell myself. He feeds for a while, and we doze off.

Some time before 4:00, the Feaster wakes up again and commences his infernally irritating switching-sides drill. To ensure that Niall, at least, gets some sleep, I bring the Feaster back to his bed.

That smell's pretty bad, actually. By the light of my iPhone I confirm that he has pooed. (This is extremely unusual - normally he only poos in the daytime now. I think it's the tail end of his upset tummy, working its way through.)

Grossly, I actually wait to see if he'll go back to sleep first, before submitting to my fate and bringing him downstairs for a change.

I'm drawing a veil of decorum over the ensuing scene. Let's just say that this was one of the truly GREAT nappies. When the mighty excretory epics come to be written, this nappy will take its rightful place in the firmament of nappies. Its olfactory nuances alone will require cantos and cantos to explore. Its exquisite textural intricacy and subtle gradations of colour will inspire flights of literary virtuosity that are nothing short of breathtaking. Aging warriors with rheumy eyes and crooked backs, sitting by sunny walls with their preprandial snifters, will gaze into the distance and remind each other past glories - "Ah," they will say, "this was a nappy!"

So I deal with that. And then we go back to bed.

Of course, the Feaster is thoroughly awake by now. Argumentative, wriggly, rapacious. Also, for various reasons, I have a major desire not to fall asleep next to him. I want to put him back to sleep and spend the rest of the night in my own effing bed, kthxbai.

5:00 comes and goes. I read blogs on my iPhone ("feed reader", ahahaha). The Feaster switches sides, kicks me, sits up and converses. I think I probably couldn't have slept anyway, even if that were what I was trying to do. I watch in numb disbelief as 6:00 comes and goes.

The Oyster gets up at 6:08 and goes downstairs to play.

Eventually, at about 6:25, the Feaster falls asleep. I go back to my bed, a broken woman.

Next thing I know it's 9:00, and the Feaster wants me again. Niall brings him downstairs and distracts him with, I don't know, rum or crack or something. (Do I care? I do not.)

But Niall is on call today, and he gets paged at 9:25, so I have to get up.

Which was ... challenging.

So universe, cut it out, OK? Stop it! Cease and desist! You've made your point, whatever it is. Now, GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK.

Message ends.
radegund: (swans)
I am repeating the drastic experiment of April '09 (or was it in fact '08? I can't actually remember), and going to bed at 11pm every night this month. January had got ridiculous, and I was officially Not Coping.

NOT THAT THIS HELPED last night, when I both (a) signally failed to make my deadline, and (b) ... well. Read on.

After a lovely phone call with [livejournal.com profile] ailbhe, I was all ready to bed at 23:15, but just then, [livejournal.com profile] niallm came home (Thursday being his Evening Off). And he'd had an exceptionally interesting and varied day, all about which he proceeded to tell me.

And then it was 23:55.

So I went up to bed and read for a while, then settled down to sleep.

Then at 0:35, the Feaster went bump. (I found him sitting on the floor beside his bed, still mostly asleep.)

So I fed him all the way back to sleep, came back to my bed at around 0:55, read Niall's new poem (that's what he does of a Thursday evening), and slept until 2:30something, when the Feaster arrived in for more milk.

So then Niall went to the Feaster's bed, and we all slept until 3:30, when the Oyster woke up and got enormously distressed because I'd forgotten to bring his alarm clock upstairs last night. He screeched at Niall for a bit, then came in and began to screech at me, but I persuaded him not to because the Feaster was asleep (with his head on my shoulder, as it happened, so I couldn't get up to deal with the Oyster). So the Oyster went back to Niall, who went down and got the alarm clock, and then they had an incredibly loud conversation about why I had forgotten to bring it up. Whyyyyyy???

Meanwhile, I edged out from under the Feaster without waking him (woohoo!) and went in to comfort the Oyster, because Niall was losing his cool. And the Oyster was in total shuddering meltdown for a bit, and then began to calm down. We had some logic, then some illogic, and then just soothing noises. But he couldn't settle because of a pain in his ankle - which I suspect is what had woken him in the first place. (Growing pain? Do they actually exist? I couldn't see any damage.) So I went and got him some Calpol, and after a bit he consented to let me go back to bed.

So I got into bed without waking the Feaster again (I am NINJA-MAMA) and settled down to sleep at about 4:00.

And at 4:12 the Oyster came in to tell me that the pain in his ankle had gone. Which was lovely of him. But really.

So THEN I slept until the Feaster woke up at 6:20 for more milk, and then again until the Oyster and Niall started moving around some time before 8:00. Then endured the Feaster climbing around on my head (this is not comic exaggeration) until about 8:50, when Niall took him downstairs and I slept until 9:35 and dreamed I was on the run from the police over some vague involvement in a drug deal, and had to take care of an elderly man who was in it with me and wasn't so quick at climbing through windows and similar.

Then I had to get up because Niall was going to work.

It was a hard day. But both boys were absolutely lovely, and I barely lost my temper at all, which was kind of miraculous.

At one point, the Oyster was leading me through an improvised "choose your own adventure" game, and I realised that I simply wasn't following, and his voice was driving spikes through my brain, and so I appealed to him - said I knew he wanted me to play, and on a normal day I'd love to, but I was just too tired.

So he went away and drew me this, which is me sitting on my high-backed desk chair beside my computer monitor:

Made me feel considerably better.

As did the Feaster's contribution at lunchtime, when I put my head down on the table for a few seconds.

Feaster: You go a-seep, Mama!
Mama: *goes a-seep*
Feaster: Cock-a-gooooo!

Which about sums it up, really.


Dec. 11th, 2009 02:05 pm
radegund: (swans)
The Feaster is TWO (and six days, because I'm disorganised like that).

We had a lovely party, with balloons and cake and popcorn. None of the other children we'd invited were able to come, until the 12-year-old and 9-year-old turned up in the early evening. But that was fine - he had plenty to take in, what with all the adults and the rain of presents, so it might have been a bit overwhelming if there had been half a dozen toddlers there as well.

He is so not a baby any more. His language has exploded recently: he's doing lovely syntax like "my hat came off" and "wh'are you, bear? a' can't see-um! oh! there you are!", and he's started to ask "what's that?" and "why did you say [x]?" (just like his brother).

To start a race, he says "sadie, sadie, go!" He counts up to ten (fairly accurately), then says "ready or not, here I come!" (not quite as clearly as that, but he hasn't said it today so I'm not sure of the precise pronunciation). When the Oyster and I were discussing infinity the other day, the Feaster piped up with "to i'windy ... a' beyond!"

He's also in the process of dropping his daily nap. This is excruciating. But it will be over soon. Won't it?
radegund: (swans)
I just love these stories so much, you're getting more of them.

More from the Oyster )

What I find interesting about these is that we don't actually read fairy tales to the Oyster that often. I'm not sure where he's picked up the detail in these ones. Of course, some crucial details have escaped him in the case of Jack and the Beanstalk (he added the ropes at the end of the story, because he was worried about what would happen when the giant woke up - he doesn't really do death). But he clearly has some understanding of fairy tale structure and narrative conventions.

I'm thinking CBeebies has a lot to do with it, actually, which is kind of fascinating from the point of view of cultural transmission.