Category Archives: family / personal chatter

Swiftness of the seasons

Lately I’ve been struck by how quickly time flies, mostly in relation to Rhys and I.

13 years together – it shocks me sometimes, when I look back. I have a photo of him and Vincent as a newborn, sleeping together. I see the photo and note how young and … light… Rhys looks in that photo. It brings tears of joy to my eyes. Tears of sorrow too, because I know why he aged, and it’s not just the passage of time. We’ve both aged, and the scars still bleed.

Still, somehow, we’ve survived and we’re somehow still going on.

So as part of getting myself back on the thing of drawing after a long hiatus due to health and RL concerns, I’ve been drawing. I’ve had some images stuck in my head inspired by various pieces of music. I’ve been drawing them as best as I can; the others are not finished yet, but this one I kind of didn’t want to continue touching up any more, because of the emotions it conveyed for me.

Thirteen years. Wow. It seems like such a long time but it sure flew by really fast. If I feel like this now, I wonder how it’ll be like when we’re both in our sixties, or older. Continue reading

Books Old and New

So, my son literally (hahahahaha see what I did there?) devoured every single Matthew Reilly book I have, except for The Tournament. He barely had put down The Four Legendary Kingdoms and was already looking for more. (He was VERY upset with what happened in Scarecrow.)

So I gave him what I had of Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series, scraped together the money for  Games Wizards Play and it arrived just as he got through The Wizard’s Dilemma. I read GWP first of course, but hesitated on giving it to my son initially because of the sexuality/relationships subthemes. Son has a puppy-love girlfriend, but he isn’t mature enough yet for the more complicated hormones-sexuality-etc soup; and since I’d told him to come to me and ask if he had any questions, the introduction of a couple of young openly gay characters wasn’t something I was sure I’d explain just yet. So I went to have a chat with my son about the book.

Turns out though, he already knew that ‘gay’ = people who date/fall in love with the same sex, so while he doesn’t know/care about the nuts and bolts of it, he knows about that. (How, he’s not really sure. Kids pick up stuff.) Since Games never goes into more detail than ‘he’s/I’m gay/have a boyfriend’, I changed my mind on that score. Since we were talking about it already, I explained, very simply, what asexuality was, since that crops up too. (Son knows basic biological scientific sex; e.g. what makes a baby.)

I know there are some folks out there who will scream ‘censorship’ but, quite honestly, sod off. My son might be more emotionally mature than most kids his age (the death of two siblings will do that to a child who’s old enough), or perhaps a bit smarter (reading will do that) but I am pacing what he reads based on what I observe he’s ready to handle, or understand properly, or understands so he can properly enjoy or react to the work.This is a kid whose level of relationship is that ‘you’re boyfriend and girlfriend if you like each other and kiss and hold hands.’

In much the same way I wouldn’t hand him any of Anne Bishop’s books, and I love her writing, and am waiting until he’s a bit more mature before I give him any of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series, and going by current development, the boyo might not read the Monster Hunter Memoirs books until he’s 14 or 15.

Toward that end I’m trying to get my hands on hardcover David Eddings books; and trying to find the first trilogy of Dragonlance.

It’s rather interesting that most of my book purchases of late haven’t been new release books, but trying to hunt down older ones. I prefer hardcovers now because they’re more durable and stand up to re-re-re-re-reading. I got lucky and found a Domes of Fire volume that has Larry Elmore’s art on it.

This is the reason why ultimately, my Dragon Awards nominations are rather sparse.

Best Science Fiction Novel : Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz

Best Fantasy: Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners by John Ringo & Larry Correia (I know Larry recused himself from further Dragon Award noms, but John Ringo’s still game for it)

Best YA novel: Would have voted for: Games Wizards Play – Diane Duane (released too early to qualify; first half of 2016)

Best Horror Novel : Etched in Bone – Anne Bishop

Best Graphic Novel: Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Wild Card

Best Movie: Dr. Strange

Best video game: Would have voted for: Nier: Automata (released too early to qualify; first half of 2016)

Best Mobile Game: Would have nominated : Shadowverse by Cygames or Sword Art Online: Memory Defrag

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Devouring Books

Earlier this week I noticed that my eldest son was almost done reading Matthew Reilly’s The Six Sacred Stones, mostly because he was asking if there were any more books in the series. I proceeded to dig out my hardcovers of the next two volumes, The Five Greatest Warriors and The Four Legendary Kingdoms, and handed them to him. He happily puts them in his room, and I figure he’ll be entertained by that for a while.

Two days later, the boyo suddenly starts talking about something that happened in The Four Legendary Kingdoms over dinner, and I interrupt, saying, “Hang on, didn’t I just give you those books practically yesterday?” Continue reading

Zest and headaches

Of late I have been suffering from severe headaches. They start out as tension headaches then become migraines. I have been trying out several different pillows, rotating them. So I guess it will just be a matter if time before this resolves itself.

Sadly this has been limiting my screentime. Some days I am rather light sensitive so I can’t leave my room in those days. I save the painkillers for the days when I do have to go out. Continue reading

A bit of colour

Just got home from running some errands. Been craving fruit; I guess as a response to my getting repeated 48 hour flu sessions over the last month. I can’t resist the seductive scent of Golden Delicious apples. There is a pomelo and two Japanese Fuji apples too; they smelled so good!

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The Illusion of Memory

Recently I watched two sci-fi movies that I deeply enjoyed; Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, and the live action version of Ghost In The Shell starring Scarlett Johansson. Despite vastly differing source material, they touched on related themes. Memory – or what is perceived as memory, also played heavily in the movie The Arrival. All of these were excellent movies that I highly recommend watching, as they both entertain and, for me, are incredibly good science fiction stories, full stop. Speaking of stopping, if you haven’t seen these, you’d probably want to stop here.

(Spoilers abound, you’re forewarned.)

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Redback spider!

Instead of an April Fool’s joke, I figure, I play up on one of the joking-not-joking things that is associated with living in Van Diemen’s Land.

Since I live in Australia, it was inevitable that we would one day encounter one of it’s deadly inhabitants, for which the Land Downunder is known, and indeed, famous for. While working in the back yard, we found, in a knothole, the Australian cousin of the Black Widow, the Redback Spider.

 

Isn’t she cute? We call her Scarlett. (Ba-bum-dum tish!)

That’s all she did, by the way; just sit there, as still as could be, and in fact we called the children over so they could have a look and identify her, and recognise her for what it was. Afterward, my handsome, manly Aussie hubby very gently caught the spider and released her under the fence, where her would surely find a nice place to hide and lots of other bugs, and spiders like Sydney Funnelwebs to eat.

I am extremely unfond of Sydney Funnelwebs, by the way. They’re freaking aggressive little bastards, who meet with crunchy stompy death and spray o’ bugger off. Or fire.

Speaking of spiders, my hubby has had lots of experience with the things, including the massive golden orb weaver spiders. He’s told me stories of walking through the bush, and finding one as big as his wristwatch… well, clinging to his wrist, where his wristwatch is, probably as surprised to be on him as well, hubby’s co-workers are to see the thing on him. Rhys just brushes them off onto the nearest tree branch, saying that he already has something ornamenting his wrist. He also recounted how he was talking to someone while walking through the bush, and in the same conversational tone of voice tell the other fellow, “oh, and you have a massive spider on your arm,” and keep going with the rest of the conversation.

“Wait? What?!” cue screaming and flailing

He told me that he saw a huuuuuge hairy wolf spider run across the floor of the place where he works recently too. “Oh crap, the humans are back! Run awaaaay~!”

Second Year

Today my baby Brandon would’ve been two years old. I think he would have been having a fun time today; though perhaps his birthday would’ve been much quieter than Vincent’s party a few days ago.

We gave him his presents – a toy tank and a toy helicopter, and his Grammy and Grampy sent a hand made card.

It’s the one with the little dinosaur on it. Brandon’s urn is the one with the birds. His brother Damien is in the smaller round urn next to it.

Rhys and I spent a little time reminiscing fondly about his birth, and a few delightful memories. I wonder about how he and Damien would’ve been like now, but that happens a lot. Perhaps his hair would have been gently curling, like his eldest brother’s was. We still can’t imagine him smiling, however, as he was a baby with a rather impressive scowl. I think Damien would have been the plague to him at the same time being a favourite playmate.

What could have been…

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Cake and work area

I’ve been busy RL with things; one of them is making my son Vincent a Minecraft themed cake. It’s not Pinterest worthy; but eh, he was happy with it and considering that I’ve never worked with fondant before, or done anything with fondant other than eat it, I’m okay with the way it turned out. The cake itself was yummy and fluffy and the children were greatly entertained by the fact that the sparklers were set into the TNT block’s ‘fuses’.

The other thing I did was to rearrange my workspace again. I’m rather pleased with how it looks so I took pictures.

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Lost Day and Dream Stew

Yesterday was weird. I woke up thinking it was Wednesday (and it wasn’t it was Tuesday, but when I woke up I didn’t know that.)

I woke up and thought about the dinner specials a pub we go to has, and looked up the pub’s menu, and let Rhys know it was one of the specials we like to take advantage of for our date nights. These Date Nights aren’t fancy; we go to the pub, have dinner out, come home after a lovely meal. Continue reading

Because Dragons

My son is reading, because of dragons.

I’m very happy that my eldest son is into reading fiction now. It was very difficult to get him to get away from computer and TV screens. I’ll admit that getting him to read segued from the kiddlywinks watching a movie then finding out that the movies were books first.

That, and the long periods of time when they couldn’t play video games because we couldn’t afford to fix computers/replace expensive parts. For years we didn’t have TV (it wasn’t plugged into the antenna) and they’d run out of DVDs to watch. “I’m bored,” holds no water when the parental response in the household is to brush a finger down the spines of several books, select one and hand it to the kidlet, “you can’t be bored, you haven’t read all the books in the house yet!”

So the trick to get him to read was to give him books that he liked. In this case he was very much into dragons, so I got him dragon-centric fantasy books and fantasy adventure books that I felt were straightforward engrossing stories that any of the children could read. Wings of Fire was obtained, along with some volumes of Brotherband (we’ll really have to try get him a boxed set at some point, because we fell behind, in favor of Wings) and then for his combined Christmas and birthday money, we went digging through Book Depository for books he wanted.

 

To my delight there’d be times where he would opt to read instead of watching TV or playing video games. In the morning after breakfast and before going to school he’d be curled up on the couch, reading. At first he rehashed all the ones he’d already read, and then I pointed out that he had unread books on his shelves waiting from his last book buy binge. It took some doing, but we got him Dave Freer’s Dragon’s Ring and Dog and Dragon, which he enjoyed.

Recently, I handed him Matthew Reilly’s Troll Mountain. He liked it a lot as he finished it the same day, and remarked about how the cure for the disease turned out to be such a simple thing. I told him that the disease in the book was actually a disease that exists in the real world and it used to kill people very regularly. Right now, he’s working on The Great Zoo of China. He got through the first three chapters bam like that. Continue reading

A Year Since Then

forget me not flowers

This is going to be one of those posts on my grieving, so I’ll pop it behind a cut; not because I’m censoring myself, but rather I know that grief and mourning – especially of a parent mourning the loss of children – is really hard to read.

 

 

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Getting Wired Wirelessly

My hubby got me a surprise – a smartwatch, with a pedometer and some other features. It was a prize or a free gift with something, and he knows I gleefully enjoy such things.

Early experiments trying to pair the damn thing with my phone resulted in vast irritation so I stopped that.

Sigh. Technology. Younger me would be shaking her head in disbelief at current me.

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What You Do

Besides the comment above, which was written on Vox Popoli (the post being a topic-related jump off from Jerry Pournelle’s) the other reason why I bought the book was because, as I leafed through it, this passage caught my eye:

The other big disadvantage involved public perception. No matter what you did as a Kennedy or a Shriver, no one gave you credit for your accomplishment. Instead, people would say, “Well if I were a Kennedy, I could do that too.” For all these reasons, Maria had to fight harder than most people to carve out her own identity.

While nowhere near the level of Maria Shriver, I can relate to that. People frankly expected grand things from me, upon finding out I was Antonio Modena’s daughter. “Oh, so are you going into journalism, like your father in his youth, or going straight for the DFA?” (The Department of Foreign Affairs.) To this day I still feel a little twinge of guilt that I didn’t do any of that, even if my father never urged me toward those careers and was keen to have me forge my own path through the jungle of life. Arnold’s straightforward, little paragraph brought that back for me.

I was also keen to read what he had to tell about what life was like for him, being born on the heels of World War II. I don’t think I’m going to be in the least bit disappointed with this, or bored.

I’ll admit that I find biographies a bit hard to read. I’m not sure why, since I enjoy hearing what my family calls people stories, but biographies tend to feel rather flat to me, when read. But Arnold’s autobiography, when I leafed through it, is thoroughly readable, and I can even hear it in his voice. The narration even sounds like how he talks, and it’s …relate-able, as if you’re listening to the man himself talk.

If Keanu Reeves came out with an autobiography, I’d actually like to read that too. That man has had a completely relate-able experience of loss and tragedy, and he seems to come out of it scarred but intact. I’d like to know what he did, to hang on to his sanity, how he was able to make it through each day.

Life’s recent rather severe stresses seems to have taken a very huge chunk of my own ability to deal with the setbacks in day to day experiences. I don’t like this, because of how it cripples my ability to think. Rhys, because he’s been deployed, got the ‘things you watch out for’ and reckons I’m suffering from PTSD. It’s pretty severe, since a lot of the time I have nightmares and flashbacks to the horrible day that I woke up to discover Brandon had died in his crib while we both napped, or the day that we lost Damien to stillbirth.

I’m sure some fool with a brain riddled with more maggot than brain matter out there will read the above and translate it as ‘she’s saying she’s just like Keanu Reeves, because Keanu Reeves lost a baby to stillbirth’ or ‘she’s saying she’s had it worse than Keanu Reeves because she lost a baby to stillbirth AND SIDS.’ Fuck you. Losing children isn’t ‘fun,’ and it’s not what any real parent would want to have as a Victim Olympics competition. (Unless, obviously, the ‘parent’ in question is a self-centered, self absorbed virtue-signaling SJW. Those idiots seem to WANT tragedy, so they can milk it for attention and victimbux. Healthy human beings would not trade a the life of a child for attention and pity money.)

But I am not a leftist social justice wanker. I’m not a CHORF.

It’s a normal human reaction to want to know how someone else who has survived a similar experience did to survive. It’s normal to think “This person made it through, so I have a chance of making it through this.”

Well, normal, that is, for those who want to live, want to survive, to grab on and climb out of the pit of despair that circumstance has thrown them into, to refuse to be identified solely by the tragedies of their life. While losing my children has deeply scarred me in ways I have no words to express, and that pain on some days is all I can feel, I am not defined by that loss. It is the awareness of being wounded, and that I can choose to want to heal by doing what will bring that healing in time, or cripple myself, in body, mind and soul.

That choice makes the difference between someone like Stephen Hawking, or the invalid.


Jerry Pournelle’s post also included talking about backing up one’s data, and improved ransomware. I am very grateful, once again, to have made such a wonderful friend like Aff. Thanks to him, our network is safe and continues to remain so. I asked him about the improved ransomware and he said that our network is not vulnerable to such.

I sometimes get asked how I manage to ‘still have faith’, when really, the fact is, as hard as my life has been, I still have many, many blessings. I met Rhys, without whom I would have far less reasons to live. He and I have wonderful, caring children, who are surviving the hardships of the past few years with better I met Aff, who has become an important part of Rhys’ and my family, and cares for our children like they were his nephews and niece, and makes sure they’re safe online. I was blessed with friends who encourage me to write, to continue my art, learn things with and share joy with.

There are things to smile about, despite all the sad things that have happened to us, somehow.


Rhys brought me back a magazine from the grocery; and just leafing through it makes me kinda hungry. I think I’ll make sweet and sour fish tonight, because of it.

+++

Aff says that his mother rung up because she was told that he had passed away. There are, apparently, more than two or three people with his name in Australia. We joked a bit about that, that he is now a ghost in the machine, a zombie admin, and so on.

Uprooted and Rerooting

Vast disapproval

The post here is me complaining about my ongoing moving into a house and getting things ready again. Also, wrenched muscles. If you’d like to skip that, here’s a better post for you to read. Really, it’s worth it; if only to restore your faith in humanity even a little.

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