Postbox Fairy

Child sponsorship

So, friendslist, what do you think about 'sponsor a child' schemes like Plan or Action Aid?

I'm considering it, particularly as a way of introducing my children to world inequality in a graspable and hopefully not too overwhelming and depressing way. Daniel has shown quite a lot of interest and concern around the latest Action Aid commercial which shows a 5 year old girl living in an Indian slum. I think it might also spur me on into taking more action generally - keeping abreast of international developments; writing protest letters etc. just because it's much easier to get motivated when faced with a single human face than a bunch of statistics.

However, I also have some reservations - obviously it incurs more admin costs than giving direct to a charity and letting them spend it as they like, but I'm also worried about whether it is essentially treating a child as a form of entertainment in a way that does more harm than good.

Also, are there any significant differences between the different organisations that offer this and their approaches? I'll do my own research of course, but if anyone knows of any examples of particularly good (or bad) practice, that would be helpful.
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(no subject)

I'm just about to finish my (third? fourth?) replay of Deus Ex
Poll #1522551 Next Game

Which game should I play next?

Dragon Age: Origins
Fallout 3
Mass Effect
Extra information which may or may not be useful:
  • I own all three already (presents from my wishlist) so cost isn't a factor
  • I'll be playing on a PC
  • As the above list suggests, I like RPGs. I like open-endedness and player freedom, but I'm willing to forfeit a measure of them for good story (I enjoyed KOTOR for this reason)
  • I already started Mass Effect a while ago and didn't really get on with it (interminable wandering around an easy-to-get-lost-in space station, plus dialogue options that didn't come out the way I meant them) but I'm willing to give it another chance if people think it's worth it
  • I tend to play as a fairly moral character - not killing things that aren't a threat to me; trying to talk my way out of trouble before attacking - but some fighting is still fun
  • In general, I prefer shooter-style combat where you just aim and fire/hit where the stats are hidden than ones where you're queuing up special moves
  • I like games where the stats actually mean something - where gaining XP allows you to decisively trounce a foe who was previously super-tough to beat. I didn't get on with Oblivion chiefly for this reason
  • I'm going to be playing in short-ish bursts (probably 30 mins to 2 hours) and may go a week or two between plays
Postbox Fairy

(no subject)

Another Daniel story - feel free to skip if you're not into 'cute kid' tales

D: *listens to his new (Christmas present) music box clock* What's that song, Mummy?
Me: It's called My Grandfather's Clock. *sings lyrics*
D: "When the old man died?"
Me: Yes, that's what it says in the song.
D. *thinks for a second* Maybe someone put poison in his ear or something.

(background: I watched the David Tennant Hamlet when it was on television over Christmas. Obviously, more of it was retained than I'd realised...)
Postbox Fairy

(no subject)

Now Daniel is three, he is spending an increasing chunk of his play time in roleplaying: doctor, postman, etc. Today things took a slightly more unusual turn when he decided to roleplay a Jehovah's Witness. The conversation went something like this

D: Mummy, you be in your house
Me: OK
D: [knocks]
Me: [pretending to open door]. Hello?
D: Yes, hello. Would you like to come to our church? 'Cos we don't have many people there.
Me: I'm not sure. What do you do at your church?
D: Well, we sing and things.
Me: Do you have to pay any money?
D: No, it's free.
Me: Okay, I'll come. Is it near here?
D. No, it's a long way away. You will have to come with me in my car.
Postbox Fairy

(no subject)

Matthew having taken several afternoons off in the last few months to play golf, today took a day off so that I could get a bit of a break (outside weekends which always feel like they should consist of going out & doing lots of stuff)

One of the things I did was to experiment with applique by decorating two of Daniel's old tops to make pretty new ones for Abby, and I'm rather pleased with how they came out. They're a bit wobbly in places, but not enough to spoil them.
[cross-posted to facebook]
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Postbox Fairy

Free energy monitor

On a visit to my local library today, I discovered they are offering the free loan of an energy monitor for a two-week period as part of an initiative from the energy saving trust. This gives you a moment-by-moment update of how much electricity you're using, so you can track down wastage e.g. from things left on standby. They only had one at my local library and it was out; but it's part of a nationwide initiative so if you're looking to get a handle on your energy usage it might be worth finding out if your local library is offering the same thing.
Postbox Fairy

State of the Liz

Haven't posted in a while so thought it was time for a brief update

Daniel starts preschool tomorrow (3 afternoons a week). Cue my first "wow they grow up so fast" moment. I'm fairly confident he'll enjoy himself and settle in without problems, and I think he will benefit from being in a different environment with people other than family. Since I'll still have Abigail at home I don't think it'll free up that much time for me, but we shall see.

Talking of Abigail, she's growing up fast too. Her vocabulary at the moment consists of the spoken words mama, dada (Daddy or Daniel), teeth, this, and cha (chocolate) together with signs for food, sleep, hat, no, and open. She's also toddling about at quite a pace.

I'm running in the adidas Womens 5k in Hyde Park next Sunday. I ran the course last week in 28 minutes 15 seconds, and will be aiming for something similar, or a shade under on the day itself. I'm halfway to my sponsorship target of £250 - thanks to medievalbunny, almooredudley, and smhwpf who've already sponsored me. If anyone else would like to, you can do so at I've already signed up to try for a 10K next May - if that goes well, maybe a half-marathon later in 2010, and the London Marathon in 2011 (or 2012 if that proves too ambitious)

Have been using the bank holiday weekend to have a bit of a clear out - sold my first thing on ebay (a 21 inch television) this week. We have a lot of baby stuff (cot, moses basket, steriliser etc.) which we no longer need, and which I'd prefer to pass on to someone I know rather than sell/freecycle it, but most of the people I know locally already have children. If anyone reading this is thinking about having children in the next couple of years & might be interested then let me know (obviously I would keep this in completed confidence and wouldn't bring it up in conversation either). I'm happy to keep stuff in our loft for a while if there's a reasonable prospect of it being useful, but there's no point in things gathering dust up there for years.