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Flibble, flibble, flibble. October 24, 2012

Posted by phoenixaeon in E301, OU, Principessa, TMA01.

That is the state of my brain right now. Flibbling. Like a flibbly thing. As you might guess, I’m not handling the new course very well. It is, for want of a better word, a headwreck. I really was not expecting it to be so painstakingly difficult.


You know, there is a lot to be said about having a little bit of prior interest in something to stoke the spark. I had it with the kidlit course; the first essay could be about Harry Potter/Northern Lights or fairy tales. Nice, familiar territory. That eased me into the course whilst allowing me to get to grips with new terminology and critical readings. Big thumbs up. I had it with the mythology course; the first essay was on a single character from Greek mythology. Eased into the course with a narrow focus, allowing me to get to grips with a new way of studying and essay writing conventions. Big thumbs up. But with this course? An English language course – a language I speak without thinking (most of the time, anyway) everyday?



It’s like a bloody alien language! And creativity? In English? If it’s been done before then this means it’s creative? Seems back to front to me. I seriously need a playdough brain, just to remould everything I ever knew. I now know that my brain is no longer owl-shaped, rather a flibbling mass of empty nothingness. All I know is that I don’t know nothing. In fact, the level of disorganisation in my head is tantamount to the disorganisation of stuff under Princi’s bed, and considering that her bed is a futon and this is only half of the stuff…

She has taken the art of TARDIS to new levels!


So, this is why it’s taken me two weeks of crying, and reading, and crying, and typing just to write the first essay. It has been the hardest essay I’ve ever had to write. And I know that I go into panic mode at essay time, but all the other times I had at least an inkling that I was understanding what I was reading. No such luck here. I may have encountered some familiar theorists along the way, but for the sheer density of the information being tattooed on my mind in water-soluble crayons, even this little bit of familiarity didn’t help. And this is why I will be happy just to pass this first essay. 40%. That is all I ask. Because I still haven’t got to grips with what was being asked in the essay. I am just hoping that the course clicks for me before the next essay, as I really don’t want to go through this brain-ache again!


Oh, and on the subject of crayons, I really want to write a story with a character called Crayola Jones after misreading the name Carolyn the other day. I have no idea why it morphed into Crayola, but I quite like it! And one last thing, a thing to raise a giggle, it’s interesting to see what ends up on my phone when Princi uses it to keep herself occupied:

The eyes have it!

I am the Grinch. December 17, 2010

Posted by phoenixaeon in Christmas, Parenting, Principessa.
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It is almost upon us. The moneypit of a ‘season’ of gifts and those useless items that end up in a corner never to be looked at again. You know you’ve done it, smiled at a present and wondered simultaneously why on earth the person who gifted it to you ever thought that it’d be the perfect pressie for you. But this is not the reason that I have the self-claimed title of the Grinch.

No. I am the Grinch because I have realised just how much I use the prospect of Christmas as a threat to entice Princi into doing something.

“C’mon, eat your breakfast. Father Christmas is watching. You need to finish your breakfast or he won’t come to see you this year.”

“Princi, turn off that DVD player and get sorted for bed or there’ll be no presents for you!”

Oh, there are various others and they are used in quick succession like the rapid spitting of ammunition from a minigun. And I can’t stop myself! It sickens me that I’m doing it, but I can’t stop. It’s an autopilot situation when I feel like Princi is getting the better of me. The thing is, I know I’m not going to cancel Christmas, but I’m pretty sure that Princi knows that too, as she just continues doing what she is doing. This week’s mornings are testament to that – where she sat and stared at her breakfast and ignored me when I asked, then told, then demanded that she eat. I’m not joking, sometimes it took 45 minutes for a single bowl of cereal to be eaten. (I just hope I’m not giving her a reason to hate food with all my pestering.)

You’d think from this that Princi is a naughty kid. She’s not. The majority of the time she’s fabulous, caring and downright funny. But she knows the buttons and she pushes them when the whim takes her. That it’s mostly in the morning when we’re most pushed for time is the problem. The day is started with threats and not-niceties that sets us both at odds with each other. By the time she’s home from school it’s all hugs and rainbows, but mornings are horrible. And mornings on the run-up to Christmas are guilt-ridden pits of despair due to the threats.

I feel like I’ve taken the excitement out of Christmas for Princi because I threaten a non-Christmas so often. She knows it’s soon, but unlike me when I was her age, she’s not at all phased by it. We sat down the other night and wrote a letter to Father Christmas on emailsanta.com (brilliant site, the letter that arrives back in just under a minute is fab), but even this hasn’t inspired excitement. She’s more excited that tomorrow is the last day in school (and a yay! for a full term without absences. She insisted on going to school despite having a horrible cold) and that she gets to stay up a little later for a couple of weeks. Maybe when the tree is finally up I’ll have the Christmas excitement. Or maybe I should just accept the fact that it’s possible Christmas doesn’t inspire her with glee – though I’m sure that the presents on Christmas Day will.

Or maybe I should hold back from the threats of “There’ll be no Christmas for you” from now on. Maybe then the spirit of Christmas will germinate in the mind of my gorgeous little girl.

Music, Art and Over The Hedge. February 5, 2008

Posted by phoenixaeon in Family history, Ipod, OU, Principessa.
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Music/Stuff uploaded to Ipod:

  1. Transformers Score – Steve Jablonsky
  2. Sweeney Todd Soundtrack – Stephen Sondheim
  3. CD5A (TMA02 Help and Advice) – Open University
  4. Le Sacre Du Printempts; Firebird Suite – Stravinsky (Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
  5. Hits (free CD with newspaper) – Lenny Kravitz
  6. Greatest Hits – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  7. Greatest Hits – Guns ‘n’ Roses
  8. Best Of – Def Leppard

I’ve been working through Block 1 of the OU course. The first block looks at art history, poetry, listening to music, and philosophy. As I’ve been learning more about poetry over the last few weeks (thank you, Mr Stephen Fry!) I feel pretty okay about the poetry part of my next assignment. All I have to do for that part is write it out in some form of coherent analysis now. I’ve worked through the art history unit, though I think I may have to re-read some of it before I attempt to gather my thoughts about the painting we have to analyse – Picasso’s Girl In A Chemise. I’ve not even ventured into looking at the music and philosophy parts yet.

Principessa woke me this morning by reciting parts of ‘Over The Hedge’ in a loud, screechy voice! It’s strange being woken up to “I’d be much less scared of it if I knew what it was called.” “Let’s call it Steve.” “Steve. Steve’s a nice name. I’m much less scared of Steve.” She is currently watching The Simpsons, the one where Bart falls down the well, and eating Milky Way Stars.

Mum has just come to tell me about further family history. She has traced it back to William Tressider who was born in March 1681. That’s some way back!

Possessed! January 24, 2008

Posted by phoenixaeon in Conversations with Principessa, Poetry, Principessa, tennis.
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He’s at it again! Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is just a fantastic player. He is battering Nadal at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching Nadal play too, but over the last few years where it has been just Nadal and Federer at the top it did get a bit boring. But now we have Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Tsonga. That makes all the difference.

(Right now, Tsonga is 2 sets up and 5-2 in the third. I can’t see him losing this. BRB, have to watch this now!)

Match Point! … And gets it with an ace! Absolutely stunning! Take that, Rafa! Sorry, ever since seeing Tsonga play for the first time I’ve been waiting to see what he can do. Smacking Nadal down in the semi-final of the Aussie Open is just an amazing achievement. Wow!

Principessa has been bitten by the tennis bug, too. She dug out her little Wilson racket and one of the red tennis training balls and we spent about half an hour to fortyfive minutes playing thow and hit. To begin with I was counting to three so she knew when the ball was coming to her, then I stopped counting and let her practice keeping her eye on the ball. She did quite well.

She made me laugh yesterday. She was playing with her back to me on the floor in front of my chair. I noticed that she was trying to take the paper off a crayon, so I told her to stop. She turned around, jumped up on my knee and said;

“Silly Mummy!”

She grabbed my face in her hands, and she had a weird smell on her fingers. I said;

“Eugh! Your hands smell! What have you been eating?”

“Crayons,” she said.

Hmmm, honesty!

Still not going anywhere with the story writing, but poetry is a different matter. I suddenly seem very inspired to write poems. I started writing one last night about abysses and demons, and it ended up having a feel of Doctor Who with the appearance of fragments of Gallifrey in there. Took me muchly by surprise as I wasn’t thinking of that when I started writing. I am going to sit and work through it later and tidy it up a bit. I might even post it up here.

I need a cuppa fennel tea.

More excitement and disappointment. January 21, 2008

Posted by phoenixaeon in Family history, Poetry, Principessa, tennis.
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In the tennis, that is. I watched the Ivanovic/Wozniaki match last night. I’d heard of Caroline Wozniaki as she had won the Liverpool tournament two years ago, so I was interested to see how she played. The first set was a complete whitewash, the score 6-1 to Ivanovic. In the second set Wozniaki changed. She was not the same player. She really tested Ivanovic, taking her to a tie break. She played some really fantastic shots, and she’s definitely someone to watch over the coming years.

I am still collating my poetry. I’ve got poems written in books all over the place, so I’m trying to find them all. I’ve got poems dating back to 1991. Once I’ve got them all sorted out I’ll ask Kirst and Gaz to read through them and pick a few, and I’ll put them all together and send them out to the Templar Poetry competition. Let’s see if anything happens.

Principessa was a funny girl this morning. She was still sleeping at 9am, so I woke her up. She jumped up in bed, pulled her dodie from her mouth and said;

“Oh dear! I have sloppy chops! I have to dried off, Mummy Fish!”

Don’t know why I became Mummy Fish this morning. Maybe it was because Principessa was pretending to be a fish in the bath yesterday.

She was also very caring today. She came downstairs with Nanny in tow, calling for our cat Molly. Then Nanny and Principessa went into the kitchen, got a fork and a tin of cat food, and Principessa fed the cat. She was very upset with Molly when she wouldn’t go and eat her food (probably because I get upset with Principessa when she refuses to eat), then she was happy when Molly went to eat, then she was again upset when Molly got upset with her bugging her while she ate!

Oooh, talking of Nanny… or Mum where I am concerned. Mum sent an email to the Alkazi Foundation to ask if they could send us copies of some of the photos they hold in the Tressider album. They got back to her this morning telling her that they would ask the Foundation’s owner about her request, that an answer would take a few days, but that the answer may well be positive. They also said something about how it was a fortunate time for the contact. Sounds intriguing!

Travels in time. January 15, 2008

Posted by phoenixaeon in Doctor Who, Geekworld, Principessa, Torchwood.
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Since Christmas, Principessa has once again become enthralled to the Doctor of Who. At least four episodes every day. She is finally out of the Daleks and Cyberman phase, where we had to watch the respective episodes over and over and over again (and as we only have access to series two of the new Doctor, we only have four episodes). So today we are watching Dancing Doctor Who (otherwise known as The Girl In The Fireplace) and Chips and School Doctor Who (otherwise known as School Reunion). I love how Principessa changes the titles, although sometimes it is hard for me to decipher her code names!

I am made up that she loves Doctor Who (to the point where, about seven months ago, she actually said “Mummy, I love Doctor Who.”), and she has even been watching some of the Tom Baker ones that have been replayed on UKTV Gold. But she still loves the Daleks more. “Mummy, I really like the Daleks,” she said yesterday. I have to agree though, after all, they were given some of the best lines ever in Doomsday. I still laugh when the Dalek says “This is not war. This is pest control,” when facing off against the Cybermen. In the words of Christopher Ecclestone’s Doctor (possibly one of the worst Doctors, ever), fantastic!

I am very much looking forward to tomorrow evening. Torchwood starts again. Woohoo. Not so much travels in time than travels in Cardiff. But whatever, it is still all good. I am hoping that, now the foundation of the first series has been laid, the second series will be amazing.

Birthday and Opera November 26, 2007

Posted by phoenixaeon in Birthday meal, Carmen, NaNo update, Principessa, Wordcount.
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It was my birthday yesterday. I spent most of it feeling quite low, but that’s just the aging process for you 😉

I went to my favourite restaurant, Sapporo Teppanyaki, for a meal. Ooohh, yum yum! I really love the food there. I had Ika Tempura (battered, deep fried squid), Maki sushi, duck in raspberry sauce with fried rice, vegetables and potatoes, and ice cream for dessert. Kayte told them it was my birthday, so they came out with drums and tambourines and a special birthday ice-cream ‘cake’ singing happy birthday. Much fun was had by all (especially when drinking the sake/pimms/ginger ale cocktail.)

On Saturday night I went to see ‘Carmen’. It was the first time I have been to watch an opera, and I was quite impressed. The sets were good, the costumes were fantastic (the flamenco skirts were amazing, I wanted one!), and the music was great. The only problem I had was that at some points the orchestra was much louder than the singers, and the woman playing Carmen didn’t have a fantastic voice. In parts she almost sounded like a pre-pubescent boy when his voice is breaking. The surtitles also helped me a bit, not knowing the language. Someone said that the surtitles distracted from the opera, but I didn’t think they did, in fact, there were times I was totally enraptured by what as going on on the stage that I completely forgot to read what was on the surtitle screen. I think I may have to go and see another opera soon (Madame Butterfly, hopefully!)

Principessa has been a funny one lately. I bought two teddies, one for her and one for me, and you can take the wheat bag stomach out of them and warm them in the microwave. Principessa was quite impressed by that last night, but over Friday and Saturday, she has just been playing with the teddy. She called her ted Jack, and I called mine Frax, after one of the characters in my story. Well, Principessa has decided that Frax is the more cuddly, and has robbed him! Cheeky monkey.

She was in the car when Grandand picked us up last night. She was having fun with Uncle Gaz playing with her Lunar Jim slippers when she turned to Gaz and said:

“Nanny said she would take the scissors to Jim!”

I couldn’t help but laugh at that! I told Nanny, and Nanny said she was a fibber!

Hmmm, NaNo. Not been going too well. I have decided that my goal is to get 10,000 words before the end of the month. So far I have around 7800 words, so I have to do 2200 words in the next four days. That’s 550 words per day. Hmm, that’s some work to do. At least it seems to be going somewhere now!

Day 23: 538 words
Day 24: 429 words
Day 25: 0 words

Oooooh, shoes. September 1, 2007

Posted by phoenixaeon in Charlie and Lola, Principessa, shoes.
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I have indulged in buying some shoes. It’s not often I buy shoes, I’m not one of those ‘I really must have a million pairs of shoes’ type of people. I am really happy with my purchases:

Rocket Dogs.


I think it’s safe to say I have been spending a bit lately. I’ll have to stop, it’s getting close to the buying of Chrsitmas pressies time of year. Argh! I’ve usually started by now, but I have no clue what to buy people this year. And God knows what I’m getting for Principessa, she has too many toys as it is. And the Charlie and Lola books and DVDs are teaching her bad habits. She is getting very mouthy and answering back a lot lately. And, oh woe is me, the ‘I am not tired and I will not go to bed’ Charlie and Lola book has been more a bane than a help. Silly me.

And now I have Principessa sat on my knee, vying for space with the laptop.

“Can we go to the bookshop, Mums?” she asks.

“Not today, babe,” I say.

“Can we go to Boots, Mums?”

Something tell you she wants to go shopping?

Coffee shop muse August 28, 2007

Posted by phoenixaeon in Ebay, Lobo, Principessa, Starbucks, volcanoes, wannabe writer.
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It’s been a quiet few days, really. Spent some time with my friend Kayte, twas nice. We took Principessa to the bookshop, and Auntie Lindsay came along too. After browsing the books, we trundled up in the lift to Starbucks. Principessa gets very upset if we don’t go for a drink. After all, looking at books is thirsty work!

Well, we found a table, ordered out stuff, got ourselves settled, and then I spent the whole time watching a bloke at another table. No, I wasn’t perving! All I can say is JK Rowling and creative writing courses have a lot to answer for! There he was, his drinks (three of them, in varying colours) all lined up alongside his laptop. He was trying to be inconspicuous but he was so obvious as he looked around, his gaze lingering on a person here, a person there. I was so tempted to roll over to him and ask him what he was writing about. Maybe I should have. Well, more power to him. I know I couldn’t concentrate doing something like that in Starbucks, the music is just slightly too loud.

Principessa is doing a lot of drawing and scribbling lately. She was sat at her table yesterday with her Uncle Gaz perched on the second seat (that looked crazy!) having scribbling races. Then, as she always does, she starts asking for specific pictures to be drawn. Yesterday it was volcanoes. So, Uncle Gaz draws a volcano, telling Principessa what he is drawing.

“And that is your pyroclastic flow,” says Uncle Gaz. “Can you say ‘pyroclastic flow’?”

“Pirate-clastic flow,” says Principessa.


I have fallen foul of the perils of Ebay. Okay, so I bought some clothes for Principessa, but I also found myself browsing and bidding on a load of Lobo comics. I loves the Lobo comics! I couldn’t help myself. They were there, and the titles needed replacing in my collection as the originals had been pinched. So yay, but oh so naughty!

Incy Wincy Spider gets flushed again. August 16, 2007

Posted by phoenixaeon in bed, harbinger of tiny fear, kids TV, Principessa, too raining.
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It is once again too raining. If rain really were cats and dogs, then it would have been a lions and Newfoundlands downpour this morning.

I am currently being tortured by children’s programs. Go Diego, Go is on at the minute and he is saving Baby River Dolphin. Principessa is not taking much notice of the television; she has a little table set up with her pens, pencils and paper on. She can be so organised when she wants to be.

She had a bad night last night. She fell out of her bed for the first time since setting it up last week. That led to an hour of crying. First, she wanted me, then she wanted Nanny, then she wanted Grandand, then she wanted her pink potty, then her blue potty, then the white toilet. She finally settled down after she had her first ever wee on the toilet. She was very happy with herself about that. We then had to go and lie in bed and watch cartoons. I just wanted to go to sleep!

There was a horrible eight-legged harbinger of tiny fear in the bedroom last night. Oh, I hate them. Grandand tried to catch it, but the little bugger jumped off the wall. EEEEEEEKKKKKK! It appeared later on, and me, being stupid, was afraid to go to sleep. I didn’t want it’s filthy, little, sticky legs crawling over me. Nope Sir, I don’t like it, thank you.