Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Teaching moments

The drive to school is about 5 minutes give or take depending on traffic lights. Most mornings that time is spent telling people to stop squabbling or lecturing them about the unwisdom of making me ask 20 times for them to do something that has to be done every single morning. But every so often I find myself having one of those conversations that come out of nowhere and make me sorry the trip is so short.

Today is Grandparents Day at school and for some reason David was speculating on what it would be like if your grandparents were very young. I asked how young he thought it was possible for a grandparent to be, he guessed 20-something, and before I knew it I was discussing teen pregnancy and pointing out that it was perfectly possible for someone to become a grandparent by the time they were 30. At which point I said I'd prefer to be heading for 50 before I became a grandparent and that if they wanted to have sex they didn't have to tell me anything but please use contraception. They all laughed, apparently I'm amusing when I talk about sex.

As they were getting out of the car I was saying "Always use a condom and Caitlin - go on the pill! Seriously guys, if you need to go to the doctors or the chemists, just tell me, I won't ask questions! Have a good day and be good for Grandma!"

David's farewell was "You're funny Mum, love you!"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spotted in Waitara this morning

An enormous 4WD thingy (I'm so not a car person) with the following things plastered across its rear end:

A fish symbol
A sticker with the text "Sportsmen for McCain"
A sticker with the text "McCain + Palin"
A Scouts decal

I was...disconcerted. Has someone gone and developed a teleportation device or something? 'Cause that vehicle seemed a little out of place - though, sadly, only a little.

(I may be paraphrasing on the sticker texts, I did consider taking a photo but on reflection I thought perhaps better not.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Why congratulations?

So, it's like this, some people you know are getting married. They may be close friends, relatives perhaps, or merely acquaintances. They are a cis-gendered, heterosexual couple with an unremarkable age difference, they share the same beliefs and cultural heritage. You've just been told they are engaged, or perhaps you're writing a message for them on the occasion of their wedding.

There are a number of things you might say but I'll bet "Congratulations!" is right there at the top of the list of appropriate sentiments to express. It has certainly been my default message, "Congratulations and best wishes, love Mim" (Damn I'm bad at writing on greeting cards.)

Why? Why congratulations? Has someone won a prize? Overcome some great obstacle? Excelled at something and is therefore deserving of a reward?

I started thinking about this pretty much out of the blue and when I got to the "won a prize?" question my brain yelled "OH ICK!" because it brought to mind all the worst phrases used to describe two people getting married. He has won the girls hand in marriage - she's a possession. She has caught herself a man - how exactly, by trickery?

Then there's the obstacle thing. I can see congratulations being a sentiment I might very much want to express if the couple in question had been forced to battle for their right to choose to marry, but really, that couple I described above are taking the socially approved path, far from a path strewn with obstacles, they are cheered on by all and sundry.

I'm thinking that from now on I won't be saying "Congratulations!" when someone tells me they are getting married, instead I'll go for something along the lines of "How wonderful, I'm so happy for you both and I wish you all the best for your future together." It takes a little longer to type but it has the virtue of saying what I mean.*

*Actually even that phrasing makes the assumption that marriage is an unequivocally good thing, which I'm not at all sure is true, but I figure if two people have decided to do it they clearly believe it's a good thing for them** at any rate.

**Let's not enter the territory of the couples for whom the first thing that pops into your head is "Oh dear god, you're kidding!" or something along those lines.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Clans on the Coast

I'm sunburned. So is Adam. But for some reason the kids seem fine, at worst they have a slight rosy glow on the cheeks. Yeah, I completely forgot to take sunscreen with us today...look, it was DARK when we left the house, the sun was the last thing on my mind!

We dragged ourselves out of bed at 5:00am and managed to be on the road a bit before 6:00am with half a lumber yard in the back of the car. Pretending to be Vikings involves lots of wood. Made it to Nelson Bay by about 8:00am and got all set up for the day. We were at Clans on the Coast, an annual Celtic festival - lots of bagpipes, dancing and tartan everywhere. Will definitely go again next year if the Huscarls are invited back, but we'll make it a weekend away instead of a day trip I think.

Huscarls encampment

Tom started off with enthusiasm on his back-strap weaving but lost interest before any members of the public actually arrived, he did go back to it later in the day - after most of the public had left - ah well, he still managed to charm several women with his weaving expertise.

Adam got the pole-lathe up and running, which brought people over from the other side of the field out of sheer curiosity wondering what on earth that thing with the big stick was for, and I alternated between yet more tablet weaving and working on the dress I've been making for Caitlin. I do not like sewing. So swapping back and forth between the two activities works quite nicely.

Adam feeling chuffed that Dave is doing something crafty!

The Huscarls gave two fighting demonstrations during the day, Adam's swordfighting lessons seem to being paying off, he reckons he threw the last fight on account of thinking it would look bad if he won every bout he fought. (Fellow Huscarls, if you're reading this? Consider yourselves challenged - take him down!)

Huscarls preparing for battle

Woz showed off his woodworking skills in front of his gorgeously carved tent, chest and stool as he worked on a new chest panel.

Woodcarving Woz

The best bit of the day was when David decided to have a go at woodturning and then asked me to teach him to do tablet weaving. Two new things tried in the one day!

He's still going...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tom the poet

A Poem About Spring

Birds sing
Flowers spring
Trees growing
Animals awakening
Water warming
New life blooming

by Tom aged 7 yrs

(This was an optional part of this week's homework. Tom never does the optional bits but he was inspired this time - he's a big fan of Spring.)

Link-fest No. 12 + DUFC

One of the reasons there's been so little blogging going on around here lately is that I'm re-reading The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett at the moment. In fact I'm fighting the urge to go back to my book right now! Here's why: Guest post by Linda Gillard at Rhapsody in Books reviewing the series
ETA: Another lovely review of the Lymond series - Been There, Dunnett by Marjorie Leithead at Textualities

Anyhoo, have some links:

The 16th Down Under Feminists Carnival this month is hosted by Hexy at Hexpletive.

Ariane's Unsolicited careers advice for high school kids.

Lauredhel's recent posts on birth looking at a Canadian study on homebirth and WA birthing statistics.

Jo Tamar at Wallaby on Perceptions of medical risk.

Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony on Men, Women and Risk.

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