Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Exams are done

Yesterday P had her final exam, another History paper with three essays. She was pleased with it, thought the questions good, and was happy with what she did. I wasn't working, so picked her up, we got DVDs and burgers and sat on the couch from about 3pm watching Freaks and Geeks. I had heard about this show, knew about it, but never investigated. P watched it about 3 years ago and had told me that I should watch but I didn't. Until yesterday. I like it.

We also got some movies. She wanted depressing, tragic stuff, so we got Atonement, Bright Star and Legends of the Fall (we've seen all of these; they are revisits).

I'm struggling with reading at the moment. I'm waiting for the contract to come through. My agent rang me yesterday - an unscheduled phone call. It was on the work phone and I answered in my professional voice, which was a funny moment. She laid out how things will move from here. About the contract, about how my relationship will work with the publisher, a timeline for next year, working backwards. I told her I'm away mid Jan to mid Feb and we agreed it would be best for me to do any edits before I leave. Even to approve proofs, I'm not sure how quickly it will all move, especially at this time of year. We talked about the advance, and how her commission works (which I knew anyway) and how she will hand me over, really, to the publisher so J (publisher) and I can establish our working relationship without agent V in the mix. But she's there if I need her, have any questions etc. SO I'm happy about all that, I did have some questions but I like being clear.

Today I'm calling an old teacher who is published and established and is going to give me some advice. It's important I know the 'score' she said, and 'at the beginning'. I kind of wonder what that means. She's been a published author since the early '90s or even late '80s, so I'm hoping she doesn't have a lot of negative stuff to say (I don't think so) but I'm also hoping she can give me some practical advice, which might help me avoid making some mistakes. Especially things like: How Not to Piss Off the Publisher, also How Not To Be a Complete Pushover.


So the next few months are going to be busy. Which is exciting but also a bit scary because I'm pretty tired. I'd like a quiet summer but it's not going to happen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A good week and it's only Tuesday

1. Princess is probably half-way through her exams. English = finished. Biology (a huge content subject, the biggest stack of cue cards, etc etc) = FINISHED. She has Maths, French and History to go. History will be the next biggest load but she's pretty much learned it all. She felt happy with all the exams so far and has really worked hard to get on top of the Bio content. She's got a good brain but is a very visual learner so I was making flash cards for certain things, and we used mnemonics, and it all helped.

2. My teaching is winding down, and that is really good. All the primary programs are done, so no more full days. Just some skerricks here and there.

3. I got my frocks out of the cupboard and tried them on. I love a frock and in summer it's what I pretty much wear. Frocks and thongs or Dr Scholl cloggy things OR sometimes heels, if going out. But really I am a cave woman and my feet don't like shoes. We would like to be barefoot all the time (well, maybe Uggs in winter.)

4. Getting excited about our trip in Jan/Feb. We've booked flights and accommodation in Budapest, just need to get onto everything else. But it's low season so shouldn't be a problem leaving some stuff until later.

5. This is the best snippet. Something is happening with the book. I can't say what yet, have to be very careful on social media, but it's good and it's exciting. More soon.

Monday, November 03, 2014


So. It's the day before Melbourne Cup Day. Tomorrow something is happening and I hope it has a good result. It's something bookish and I will let you know if it pans out.

Tomorrow also P starts her exams. English Paper 1 or something. It's a poem or a piece of prose, unseen. They have to read it, and annotate and write a commentary. So we've done a bit of work on the language used to describe author choices and literary devices. Cue cards and everything. I think she's pretty well prepared.

She said that her friends' mothers aren't helping them, and I know it's not 'normal' for me to be doing it, or not the norm is probably a better way of putting it. I'm not sure why I've made myself so available to her, wanting to help. Perhaps I have more invested in these exams emotionally than I thought. I'm the first person to be critical of other parents who do too much for the kids, and don't encourage them to be independent and make their own decisions and mistakes. Maybe I need to think about it, but whatever. I told her it's a one-off, and I won't be helping her with anything else like this in life. Not study-wise.

She's applying to go to college next year. You know: Animal House. I'm a bit conflicted but I stupidly said yes, and I do think it would be good for her as long as she's happy living in. Get her out of her comfort zone a bit more; force her to open up social circles. Get her off our couch. I need to find out whether they accept payment per semester in case she fucking detests it.

We just spent time out the back, in the sun, armed with scissors and dog grooming tools, attacking the Gigi. Gigi loves to lie in the bushes and is a licker too. She licks (vet said maybe allergies; maybe boredom, stress. I think the latter myself.) This means she gets very matted around her 'pantaloons' - bouffy hair that grows exponentially between her legs. She also gets matted on her tummy and well, anywhere really. So we did some chopping and now she looks like some poor kid who gets a home haircut. We're going to take her for a walk too. We haven't walked her for ages cause: 1. she's too slow, 2. she always wants to stop and sniff, so we've worked out a plan. We take her for a walk around the block, slowly, and she can stop and sniff. Then we drop her back home and go for our fast, longer walk. We will see how this goes.

Haven't been to yoga for a couple of weeks. Just too hard with the study and everything else going on. But I'm going to get back to it once P is finished. It's something I feel is really good for me.

Clokes has started in a new position at work. He's still in IT but he's doing twitter and facebook for the bank. Which is kind of funny because it's what he likes to do at home too, so I guess not many people can say they do for paid work what they do in their spare time. He has to shirt up though. Before, he was with a team that were very casual: polo t-shirts, jeans even. Now he's back in shirts and the ones he's wearing he tucks in. I've never known this man to tuck, and he does, and it's hilarious. I call him Tucky when he comes home at night. Mean but funny. Before that I called him Stripey, because he wears those striped polo shirts. Mean, I know. BUT FUNNY.

Last night I cooked lasagne. There was a Neil Perry recipe I got online. Not that I love NP or anything. I don't, but this version had buffalo mozarella and white sauce. Clokes is the lasagne maker in the family and he makes a fantastic lasagne, that has superseded my own very good one. His has ham in it, no white sauce, lots of wet meat sauce and lots of cheese. The way he puts it together, lots of layers of fresh lasagne sheets. Delicious. The one I made yesterday was beautiful. White sauce on top with parmesan cheese and dotted with whole basil leaves. It bubbled and browned, and was yummy but I had to say to him that I still thought his was tastier.

We are still watching Gogglebox. We are right up against the present it seems. Last night's episode (which was the last ep of a season) had them all sitting around watching their Logies equivalent, and Gogglebox won! It was more meta than usual. Then the first episode of the new season, about half of the families had new couches/armchairs. Obviously got a cheque. Also last night, they were watching a Downtown Abbey episode that P had watched just that afternoon on her laptop, while she took a break from cue cards.

So it's all happening in our place.

On Saturday night I went to a friend's birthday and it was upstairs at an Italian restaurant in Lygon St. Lots of people I didn't know, and a few I did. Clokes was there (untucked but striped) and they had a quiz and I won a medal and got a little loud. As I do. Then on facebook next day, lots of pictures and I was tagged and I really don't like the tagging thing. It just draws attention. Annoying. But how do you ask people to untag. I thought you had to give permission for tagging. Annoying.

Well, that's about it. Teaching wise we've been pretty busy. Finished a primary program last week (series of three lessons of three weeks) and finish another one this week. Also have been doing Year 5 sessions at a school in two parts; we have a few more bookings and then finished for the year on 2 December (my birthday). P has eye laser surgery on the 5th, then she goes away to the beach with friends (instead of schoolies) and then we are having a big family Christmas here (except for my dad, and my sister and her family, they will be OS), and THEN P goes OS 9 Jan. And I go 16 Jan, so that will be good.

What do you have on for the rest of the year, over Christmas/New Year?