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Pheweee! November 6, 2012

Posted by phoenixaeon in Animals, Dogs, E301, Kaya, OU, Proud Mummy, The Principessa Files, TMA01.
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Yay! My result has been returned for the E301 essay I submitted the other week and I am pleased to say I am chuffed with it. I would have been chuffed with 40%, simply because I don’t think I understand the course yet, but I cashed in the bonus. I tumbled my way to 78%! Well happy with that! And even more happy that I have also been given some good feedback to bumble my way into the next essay. Yay! But one thing that pleases me more than that – I am so glad I have a tutor for E301 who doesn’t take two weeks to mark assignments. The last few courses have been horrible for extending the torture of self-doubt and the unknown. So I am doing a little dance for the one week turnaround for this essay.

And I am not the only one pleased with my achievements this week. Princi was awarded a merit ribbon and the coveted class silver cushion on Monday.

Merit Girl! She’s totally awesome!

She was awarded the merit ribbon for, in her words, ‘a fascinating explanation of hieroglyphics in Ancient Egypt. And for using the word ballistic.’ I am a very, very proud Mummy this week.

Kaya is also going to school – she started puppy training two weeks ago. However, while she is doing well there, she isn’t here. She still won’t do her business outside and she has a horrible habit of jumping and nipping at Princi. I am hoping we can work that behaviour out of her soon, as she is getting very big now. She no longer looks like a puppy, she’s all legs, nose and ears. And teeth and claws. And destructo-monster-dog! I am hoping the giant ham-bone she has been given will keep her from destroying plates, toilet rolls, pillows and whatever else she can get her teeth into for at least three days. Fingers crossed!

How she’s changed: Kaya from the first week she was here to now. She is twice as big as she was when she first arrived.

And with that picture, it’s time for me to toddle off and get back to reading and studying. Oh, the joy!


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!

Divine intervention. October 26, 2011

Posted by phoenixaeon in EA300, Mythology, OU, reading, Reading with Principessa, TMA01.

Woohoo! After a year of rubbishy TMA results (by my stupidly high standards), I am back in the land of TMA results euphoria. I had been dreading the fateful ding of the impending percentage that I use to constantly re-affirm my intelligence by, and today was the day of ding.


The usual apprehensions gripped me. How crap am I? Do I really want to know how little I actually understand? Ah, stuff all that, I’m brilliant! But then, look how crap I was last year… So I ignored the inner turmoil and signed into the OU site. Tippety-tap. Click. Click. *Close eyes tightly, then peek through fingers* Woohoo! Distinction! And for once, really relevant comments on how to improve the marks for next time. Yay! So I am now in love with this course and raring to get going with the next essay.


But that will have to wait. I have a ton of reading to do before I can even contemplate planning the TMA, which makes me think reading Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Murakami maybe wasn’t my smartest move. And even more stupid, ordering the new Murakami book 1Q84. I am so going to want to read that as soon as, because I am loving Hard-boiled Wonderland. Add to that reading Matilda with Princi – she’s outgrown the Oxford Reading Tree books that her school was having her read, so she’s now reading the children’s novels we have at home. I think my head might just explode with all this reading!


So, time to get back to it… Once I’ve talked Princi into bed – she is playing golf with a green plastic golf club and a  Hello Kitty bouncy ball, jumping around shouting ‘Yay! Go me, go me, go me!’ I wish she’d give me some of her energy!



Divine whirlwinds and lightning-carrying eagles. October 17, 2011

Posted by phoenixaeon in A330, Mythology, OU, Pirate Penguin, Principessa art, The Principessa Files, TMA01.

Ganymede and the golden eagle of Zeus by Catherine H. Miller

As I’ve moaned about previously, I’m not writing – here on the blog (sorry! Meant to try and write more often) or creatively – but I am now writing academically. My current OU course, Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds, is in full swing.  This morning, I finally worked the nerve up to press the ‘Submit’ button on the first essay – a three source analysis of the myth of Ganymede. The picture there isn’t one of them, though!

Previous to this assignment, I’d known that Ganymede was something to do with mythology, that this was the alias that Shakespeare gave to Rosalind during her time in the forest of Arden, and through my teenage astronomy addiction that it is one of Jupiter’s moons. I didn’t know what the story was about, or even what it represented in Classical terms. So now to have studied they myth and understand its underlying socio-historic relevance, well… It’s a whole new level of understanding when looking at Ganymede in the forms I am familiar with, and the making of links and theories in my brain makes me happy! I am looking forward to diving deeper into the Classical world now.

So far, I am really enjoying the course. I’ve even met my tutor too, something that doesn’t happen often, but that’s my fault. I find reasons not to go to tutorials, so I’ve decided that I will make an effort to get to my tutorials this year. They are helpful, so I’m only spiting  myself by not going.

But I’m not the only one indulging in ‘the arts’. Princi recently started drama classes, so she’s been coming home telling me how she had to imagine being a strawberry and other things. Over the last week she’s had to learn some poetry, particularly a poem called ‘Sock Song’ by Ian McMillan. I can’t believe how fast she remembers things, she read the poem twice and had it memorised! The same happened with three of the other four poems that were on the sheets she’d brought home. She really does amaze me. Anyway, she was asked to draw a picture of the poem too, so this is what she came up with:

I love that she’s managed to find a place for her latest obsession, with two ‘Pirate Penguin’-style penguins appearing on the picture. And just so you know what I’m on about, this is Pirate Penguin (vs. Ninja Chicken):

Pirate Penguin vs Ninja Chicken by Ray Friesen

So now, with TMA01 thrust on a wing and a prayer into the divine ether of the ‘net, it’s time for me to get reading Hippolytus. What mythic goodness (or tragedy, even) awaits me there?

What’s going on? November 13, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in bed, Children's Literature, EA300, OU, The Principessa Files, TMA01, TMA02.

The poor blog. I’m neglecting it a bit with trying to get through the reading for the kidlit course. So I think it’s about time I posted again. (To the sound of an angle grinder… Or maybe that’s just the sound of my tired brain.)


Well, the new mattress finally turned up last Friday. Yay, I thought. Comfy sleep, here I come! Yeah. Not so much. The mattress was about three inches higher than my old one, and had a button-quilt effecty thing on top. Nice, yes, but practical? Not in my terms. The top of the mattress is done in such a way that it feels like traversing a mountain range. Now, you’re probably thinking “Just stop whinging already!” And you’re probably right. A mattress is a mattress. But it’s important to understand that with the muscular dystrophy, I get used to things in a certain way, move onto, off from, and across things in ways that accomodate my limited muscle strength and movement. A simple, flat mattress would have done me fine. This one looks comfortable, but it’s incredibly impractical and difficult to move on. The one plus is does have is that it’s easier to get up from. But that’s it. It’s not even particularly comfortable. Well, not for me it isn’t, either. I suppose that is what comes with asking another person to pick out a mattress for me. I’ll know, next time!


As for the kidlit course, well, good news. I received TMA01 back on Tuesday to rapturous self applause. I had been hoping to get around 60-70%, but the mark came back as 83%. Woohoo! I was very pleased. I’m not sure how I’m going to keep that standard up for the next one, but I’ll try. I’m struggling to get through the reading at the moment, let alone get my head around how I’m going to answer the essay question, but hopefully I’ll get there. I need to get past the next essay as I am looking forward to having a go at TMA03, which is focused around poetry for children. But first I need to fight my way through ideologies and focalisation.


As for Princi, she is still my little star. Her reading is going great guns, she has now learned to break difficult words down into smaller, managable fragments before trying to say the whole word, giving her lots more confidence reading aloud. Not that she didn’t have confidence before, but she is now needing less help and can happily sit and read quietly to herself, although she much prefers sitting with someone and reading to them. She is also practicing her writing more. The school sent a homework book home with her last week, so we do a letter (or two) each morning before school. At the moment she’s not too pleased about the writing, especially when she gets to the end of the dotted letters and has to try writing the letter herself. But she does try after a little moan. It’s also good that the school uses the Jolly Phonics system, as that is what we have at home too. Yay!


As for the building work. Here is it as it was yesterday morning:

Day 19

Day 19.

Right. Now I’m off to prop my eyelids up with Acme matchsticks and continue on with Little Women.

Little Red has left the building. October 28, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in Children's Literature, EA300, General rubbish, LRRH, OU, TMA01.

Thank the oral folk tale tradition! I pressed the button and send Little Red scurrying into the dangers of the binary forest earlier today, much to my relief. I’m not expecting good marks for the essay, I’m not sure that I structured the argument well enough for that, but I tried. And that was really all I could do. I can only hope that I can continue to get the new vocabulary fixed in my brain ready for the next essay – the one that I am dreading. Now I HAVE to get through Little Women and finish Treasure Island (yeah, I’m still reading it. Other things have distracted me) and start thinking about the next argument, this time something to do with the gender divide in children’s literature. Yikes!


I am hoping that the road for the next essay is a bit easier than Little Red’s. There have been many things to distract me – Princi’s illness last week, half term this week, the start of the building works (and wow! Are they motoring. And no, that is not sarcasm), and worrying about debts that I know I don’t owe. But I am glad that Princi is better now, that the essay is gone, and that the building is going better than I expected it to go (although I hope I haven’t just jinxed it by writing that). All I have to do now is compose a letter email and send it recorded delivery to the debt recovery company – I received the first threat letter this morning – and then I can take a break. If my head doesn’t explode first!


Anyhows, Guitar Hero calls. I need to wind down. And I shall catch up on blogs and various other things tomorrow.

Knock, knock. October 19, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in Building work, EA300, OU, sick Principessa, TMA01.

Yay! The builders have started work outside. At the moment they are finishing cleaning up after knocking down the old coal shed. I tell you, the back garden is going to look very strange. But I’m so glad it’s being done, the extension is going to make life easier – although I will not be able to take Princi to bed once it’s done. That’s the biggest grr about the whole thing.

As for things getting done… The essay isn’t getting much further. Princi is off school as she has an ear infection and a kidney infection, so she is stuck at home with me. I’m going to have to dig out the Jolly Phonics workbooks so we’ve got something to do, as well as getting her to do some reading. Currently, she is watching Tom and Jerry on her computer. Oh, no she’s not. She’s just clicked onto Danger Mouse (dadum, dadum, dadum). At least this post on Dadwhowrites blog has helped me to crystalise my thoughts where LRRH is concerned. (Yes, I know it’s about Thomas the Tank Engine, but a comment I was going to make also made a pretty good argument for my essay!)  All I need to do now is structure it around the essay plan and I’m more or less done with it – apart from a quick edit and putting in references. Ugh. References. I hate doing references!

Well, I suppose while I’ve got five minutes I could do a quick bit of the essay. Maybe.

(Oh no. The skip we hired still hasn’t been moved and the builders need to hire a new one. It’s skip gridlock!)

Cloud fluff brain. September 25, 2009

Posted by phoenixaeon in EA300, OU, The Principessa Files, TMA01.

We’re nearing the end of the second week of Princi’s full days at school. All I have to say is I’m exhausted and it was all a terrible, vicious lie. What, you may ask, was the lie? The false hope that Princi would also be exhausted from spending all day at school. Oh, no! In fact, she has been even more energetic when she gets home from school. It’s also playing havoc with her bedtime routine in that she is now opposed to going to sleep. Argh! It’s knackering me out!

Still, all this free time has allowed me to get ahead with the kidlit course. I’ve worked through the first three weeks of study and later today I will make a start on the first draft of the first assignment. I’m almost certain that I am going to work to the Red Riding Hood brief, as I think this is the only time that fairy tales are covered in the course and I can go back and work with Northern Lights for the fourth assignment. I’m actually looking forward to writing this assignment. Problem is, I know what comes next and I am not looking forward to that! So the plan is to get the first draft of this assignment sorted by mid next week and then start trawling through Little Women again. Yipes! I hope I can do myself justice on this course!

Fine tooth comb. October 27, 2008

Posted by phoenixaeon in A215, OU, TMA01, writing.

Yep, still editing, combing out the kinks. I was so sure I’d finished it. Carp! I think I might just leave it for now and get the commentary done. I need to get that done, can’t leave it on the backburner for too long. I need to start compiling the TMA so I can attach wings to it ready to set it free in cyberspace. At the moment Icarus has run out of cyber-feathers.

And now, I don my Traffic Cop outfit in order to direct you to the new post at Wrapped in brown paper.

Wishful thinking. October 26, 2008

Posted by phoenixaeon in A215, TMA01.

Ah well. The editing wasn’t finished. After sending the story to my bro to read, he made some helpful comments, and off I went to re-write the ending. Fingers crossed it reads better now.