Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Fixit Shoulders

Climber is going to a party this weekend, a 14th birthday celebration for one of the girls in his class.  This is the same crew he went trick-or-treating with on Halloween, without adult supervision, to a vaguely specified location a few streets away, which was fine except he said he'd walk home and when it got to dark-time, he hadn't come home and wasn't answering his phone, and I got a bit anxious about him walking alone in the dark. Well, it turned out he'd lost his phone during the trick-or-treating because he'd gone dressed up as a ninja, and as such had done a lot of ninja dives and somersaults during their travels (quite understandable), and the phone had come out of his pocket.  That whole tale is very typical of Climber.  The phone was found and returned to us next day, so no harm done.


This is his crew, and for the sake of fairness, here is a picture of Cherub and his friends in their Halloween garb.  Cherub went as a pirate, arrrr.


I got to stay home at Halloween and hand out lollies to the local kids in the area.  I think Halloween is settling into being a thing here. The 'trick' part of 'trick-or-treat' seems to have disappeared, which is good, and the kids know to only knock at the houses where Halloween decorations are displayed, ie willing participants. (I prefer that, small children dressing up and asking nicely for sweets is one thing, but threatening harm to your property if you don't cough up is quite another!)  So as it stands, the Melbourne version of Halloween is quite a fun evening, with community spirit and friendliness and adorable dress-ups. My kids certainly enjoy it, and are still working their way through the substantial haul of sugar they received. Our dentist will be able to holiday somewhere nice.

Anyway, back to the party.  Climber asked if I could take him shopping to buy a new shirt to wear, so we did that yesterday.  It was actually really nice walking round shopping with him, although I could sense he was hoping he wouldn't run into anyone he knew, sigh.  We eventually found a shirt we liked in a department store, a boys' size 16.


We'd tried a few men's size-extra-smalls on, which were a good fit across his swimmer's shoulders, but were too long for him.  I was telling Fixit about this later and he shook his head and said the Curse of the Fixit Shoulders.  This made me laugh.  Shoulders like theirs will never be a curse. Climber just has to grow into his.


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Puh-hickle Cha-hicken

Puh-hickle Cha-hicken is the current phrase that my boys use to make themselves laugh. It's in high rotation. Previous phrases in this series are: wheeeskers and: it's pronounced [insert opening of mouth and closing of eyes while touching index fingertip to thumb-tip] "neggie".  Yep. I don't really know either, but I do know I like how well they get on together. On the weekend when we drove out to visit the Fixit clan, the boys spent the journey making sentences or sums by taking turns to opera-sing a word. Climber: eight Cherub: pluuuuus Climber: seveeeen Cherub: equaaaaaaals Climber fifteeeeeen. The remainder of the journey was spent sticking their heads out of the window like dogs.

Head out the window

Car window hair

They laughed and laughed. I hope they get on this well as adults too, the loonies.

Basil is well. He's been helping me sew.  Not that I've been sewing very much, even when he doesn't sit all over my project.


Fixit seems pretty settled in at the job and it looks like they are treating him like the second-in-charge. I don't have a picture of this so here is one of Basil helping Fixit sort out his work toolbag instead.

Basil helping sort out the toolbag

They have not as yet made a firm offer for his long-term prospects (which I am cranky about) so he is still on a casual rate of pay and not eligible for sick leave or holiday pay.  He is not keen on rocking the boat, probably because 9 months of unemployment dented his confidence. Allegedly they will sort this out in a couple of weeks.  (Why? Why can't they do it now, since they know they want him?)  I don't have a picture of this, but I do have a picture of a new frock I bought as retail therapy for the stress I've been feeling about it.

New frock

I also bought a computer, but not as retail therapy, I bought it because we desperately needed one with an up-to-date operating system that could read modern websites.  I'd been meaning to do this just prior to Fixit being made redundant, so we've been making do for more than a long time.  It is such a relief to have something that works although I'm still ironing out a few bugs with software/organisation.  I have the makings of a new professional website that I'm really keen to get up and running, once the ironing out is done.

2014-07-22 preshus

My poor Mother-in-Law in back in hospital AGAIN. She has had the worst year for health. On top of diabetes and chronic arthritis and an ulcerated foot which has meant months in a moon-boot, she spent the second half of last year in rehab hospital following a nasty fall in which she broke her leg and arm on one side.  Last month she had a heart attack (luckily she was already in hospital to check out what felt like an angina episode so they were able to perform CPR and bring her back to life) so that was another week in hospital.  And then yesterday she went to unlatch the door to let out the dog and fell and broke her hip.  Back in hospital again!  I don't have a picture of this so here is one of Basil helping me sort out the clean laundry instead.

Basil helping with the washing

It was Bookweek at Cherub's school and he chose to dress for the parade as The Joker, from Batman.

Bookweek Parade 2014

For form's sake I was heard to mutter that Batman isn't really a book, but both boys assured me that comics count as books for the purposes of Bookweek.  Cherub was very focused about this dress-up and made sure that I had plenty of notice and a clear idea of all the items required for his transformation.  Both of us were very pleased with the result.

The Joker for Bookweek 2014

Joker transformation

Cherub also had his first turn at playing Goalie for his soccer team, something he has only been interested in this year, despite or perhaps because of his brother's prowess in that position.

2014-08-24 10.36.58

Fixit and I and Cherub's coach all thought he did a really good job.  Being a goalie is a tough gig.

2014-08-24 10.42.59

This week Climber has two school band competitions in Ballarat, as well as his first ever flute exam (Grade 2). Go Climber! He has been given a flute solo in the Junior Stage Band's rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow which is very lovely. I don't have a picture of him doing any of this, so here is a picture of him with fluffed up hair from sticking his head out the car window instead.

Fluffed up

There are little pops of spring in our much-neglected garden.

Surprise daffodils

Fixit was hired out as a Neighbourhood Fixit this month.  It felt like we never saw him when that project (hanging some doors and shelves for some friends-of-friends) was on, what with the 12 hour days he already puts in at work and him also being manager of Climber's soccer team. So he has only this week started to put our own garden to rights. Here is a picture of him multi-tasking, instructing Climber on the correct techniques of shoe-shining (the afore-mentioned band competition performances require shiny shoes) and weeding the little herb garden.  Now our Vietnamese mint can breathe again.

Shoeshine lesson

See how Basil is helping?

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


My mum was convinced that nobody photographed her having a toboggan ride during our family visit to the snowfields at Mount Stirling, and she was rather miffed about it.  Fair enough, it is pretty impressive that a person of her years was able and game enough: she was the only senior cit in the snow, let alone on a toboggan, that we saw all day. So impressive, and she only needed a bit of help climbing to the top of the slope, and being lowered onto the toboggan.  But the truth of the matter was that it was only my-sister-the-photographer who didn't have the fancy camera out on the three, yes you heard that right, three occasions when Mum decided to have a go.  When I showed Mum that actually I had taken a photo of her, using Fixit's phone, she declared that it wasn't her and muttered darkly about photo fixing. But as you can see, the lady in the red parka with the purple backpack is the same lady sailing elegantly down the slope.  Et voila, Grandmere sur le Toboggan.

Here is Mister Fixit, who managed a few goes in between hanging with the boys or giving my niece big pushes. I do like the way his leg is sticking up and out as he careers down towards the temporary fencing.  He crashed out quite a lot. He was probably a bit big for the toboggan.

But now we should look at the good quality pictures, the ones taken by my-sister-the-photographer.  They're much better than mine.

C'est moi. Whee! 

Cherub. He had the best time.

Climber. Climber was very good on the toboggan, but he was a fiend with the snowballs as you might be able to see in this collection of shots. No one, apart from Grandma, was safe. He got me a beauty, smack on the cheekbone as I whizzed down -which really hurt- but at least he gave me a slightly stricken apology when I climbed back up the top.

In point of fact, the only person who did not get a photo of herself on the toboggan was my poor sister-the-photographer. Ain't it always the way. So here is a collage of the terrific bus we took to the mountain top, just so you can see that my-sister-the-photographer was also part of the snowday fun. Hi sis!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Queen's Birthday

8 Jun 2014 9:17 am

I think it's very ace of QEII to hold her faux birthday celebration on my actual birthday weekend. That extra day-off in June means our group of Glampers (Glamour Campers, absolutely no roughing it in this establishment) can escape to Craft Camp at Sewjourn for four whole blissful days.  And because my fellow Crafty Campers are such awesome and generous women, they treat a birthday girl very royally indeed. Much more than the boys at home would have.

Here's how they did it:

They gave me the Princess Room, ie the one with the big bed and no room-mates.

8 Jun 2014 9:31 am
(I don't have a picture of it, so here's one of Jenny and Kate discussing darning.)

They put up birthday decorations : streamers in the studio and balloons in the house.

6 Jun 2014 1:20 pm

They made me a birthday cake. I haven't not made my own birthday cake for many many years now.
 7 Jun 2014 4:31 pm

Not only that but they all chipped in for a massage voucher which I duly redeemed on Saturday afternoon.  After which I had a lovely, lovely bath in the Sewjourn clawfoot.  Bliss.

7 Jun 2014 3:51 pm

(My fluffy pink onesie was the perfect article of clothing for Crarf Camp; warm, comfortable, snuggly and tres chic. I don't care what Susan M. says! She said No. And she shook her head at me.)

The gels also entertained me with their witty, erudite and frankly hilarious company.

6 Jun 2014 8:56 pm

They only required me to cook once for the entire weekend. (I made poached quince and pear, with raspberries for added tang, and a delish golden syrup pudding.) The rest of the time they took turns at whipping up delightful meals and desserts.  That's when they weren't offering up tea, wine, G&Ts or delicious snacks.

7 Jun 2014 8:59 pm

They inspired me with the things they created. Jenny and Susan M. definitely took the prize for the most prolific crafters, but everyone was making wonderful and clever stuff.

They encouraged me with my own endeavours, which were:

(1) A Merchant & Mills shirt-dress in some light blue linen given to me by my Mum in a recent de-stash.  I felt a little like Wee Willy Winkie when I wore this, but have since washed it, and hope it may come to feel less night-shirtly. Possibly if I add a belt....

9 Jun 2014 2:59 pm

(2) A tunic that started life as Dress A from The Stylish Dress book.

I had made it up at home over summer but when I tried it on I was horrified.  The book illustration looks nice enough on this charming waif, but it made me look frumpy.  And like I was wearing a tropical sack. At first I toyed with putting darts in to shape the dress a bit more, but then I decided to make it tunic length.. 

I also decided to add pockets because: very useful things, pockets.  The purple batik came from a tap students who had also de-stashed in my direction.  I'm really pleased with how it came up in the end.

9 Jun 2014 1:50 pm

(3) A self-drafted skirt in a soft purple suede-like fabric.  I used the Sew What! Skirt book and designed my own pleats.

 8 Jun 2014 11:09 am

Such a good book, I think I've learned so much from it. The skirt is not quite right around the waist  & zip area, so could possibly benefit from a little topstitching to help it sit flat (it's been under-stitched but it's not quite enough) and a little bit of jiggering with the facings, which all got too complicated when sewing on the daisy ribbon.  But I love how the design came out and feel pretty pleased with the sense of accomplishment I have from having designed it myself within the guidelines.

9 Jun 2014 10:12 am

So our weekend was a lovely creative, productive and also relaxing time, and we were sad to say good-bye to each other on Monday.  Thanks again to all my fellow Campers: Susan, Susan M, Kate M and Kate C, Magda (who turns out I didn't get a photo of, sorry love), Julie and Jen. And love to Janet who couldn't join us, but who was in our thoughts the whole weekend.

 9 Jun 2014 3:08 pm

Thanks also to my boys for getting on with their game while I was away. Came home to a clean house and a cooked dinner, and lots of hugs.  A birthday weekend fit for a queen.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Twenty Years.

Last night the whole family went out to dinner to celebrate the fact that Fixit and I have been together for twenty years. (I think this means we must have started going out when we were children, because twenty whole years can't possibly be right! Not when I'm still this young.)  The actual anniversary (of the party where he was brought along to be 'set-up with someone' and that someone totally got to give him their phone number by the end of the night) is on Friday, which is also my birthday, but I am nicking off early Friday morning to Craft Camp for the long weekend.  (Best birthday treat I could have, Craft Camp. Fabulous company, food, drink and crafting, plus a bath and a massage planned.  I am only sad that we won't be joined by a treasured member of our clan this weekend, owing to family circumstances.)

Anyway. We had a lovely time out at a local groovy Vietnamese restaurant last night. The food was delicious and the kids were excellent company. Impressively, Cherub was able to spot yet another poisoning attempt on his life before it came to pass, and politely-but-firmly declined the waitress' offer of chocolate or strawberry topping on his plain vanilla ice-cream.  These would-be assassins must be so frustrated with Cherub's vigilance.

And twenty years, hey? Twenty really good years: lots of laughter, lots of kindness, lots of pleasure in each others' company.  Annoyances and spats, yes, because living with other people brings that in its wake. (And men can be so annoying.)  But always there for each other through illness and adversity and challenge and change.  We never got married and set it out in public that we would do this, but we have.  And best of all we can share the love with our two gorgeous boys, who light up our lives every day.  So Happy Anniversary Mister Fixit.  Here's to the next twenty xxx.

4 Jun 2014 6:40 pm

How I ended up with a onesie for Mother's Day

Fixit has been enjoying the new job. As I predicted, on his first solo delivery (he delivers rehabilitation equipment like wheelchairs, walker frames and chairs that help you stand back up again) he was asked to help with more than just the delivery and set-up of the equipment, and was soon being thanked profusely and treated to cups of tea and biscuits. Typical Fixit.

2 Jun 2014 11:54 am

The kitty obviously got into a bit of a fight over the weekend - nothing too unusual there and it's generally just a few scratches - but on Sunday he curled up on our bed and stayed there all day and when he did get up he had a pronounced limp on his front left paw.  When I took him to the vet I commented that he was letting her have a much better look at the sore paw than he'd permitted me, and she said cats try to pretend there isn't anything in the least bit wrong with them when they go to the vet. I am a well cat. There is no reason for me to be here at all. You are totally wasting your time. I am 100% a Healthy Cat. She also said he must be a brave cat, because all the scratches were on the face, paws and chest, which meant he stood and fought. Cowardly cats have scratches to their bottoms as they attempt to Run Away! All of which I found very funny. Basil ended up with an antibiotic injection and a painkiller and has been improving ever since.

Climber took part in a Flute Guild Competition and his ensemble achieved 3rd place.  They were much the smallest group, which apparently makes it easier to hear any mistakes.

1 Jun 2014 11:29 am

Although we don't make a big deal about Mother's and Father's Day here, I was slightly miffed that my family - in the midst of soccer games and family lunch with the Fixit Clan - pretty much forgot to mark my Mother's Day, until I said at 6pm, in a slightly pathetic voice: Aren't I getting anything for Mother's Day this year?, knowing full well that I'd previously given Cherub $10 to spend at the school Mother's Day stall. And given that was the only thing that had been organised for me (by me, I organised it!) I took myself and my pique off to the shops the next day for some retail therapy. Part of the therapy involved the purchase of a fluffy pink onesie for myself. Sooooo comfortable, I can't even tell you. It is something to do with the absence of a waistband I suspect. I would gladly wear mine all day.

14 May 2014 4:43 pm 
(Please note. All the [dangly, pink. round] pompom jokes have been done.)

I also bought one for Cherub who has been desperate for one ever since they became a fad. He was over the moon. The only one I could find in boy size/range was light-weight so he is wearing it as his  pyjamas. He looks incredibly cute in it, and delights me by jumping around in ninja poses whilst wearing it.

 14 May 2014 9:05 pm

Someone else who loves a onesie is Basil.

14 May 2014 9:00 pm

With or without me in it.

31 May 2014 9:45 pm

Sunday, June 01, 2014


If you were concerned about that very high pitched noise coming from Melbourne's northern suburbs earlier today, please don't be: it was only me shrieking in delight because Climber had just scored the very first goal of his career. Climber is a very valuable defender and as such has not had many goal scoring opportunities, but lately his coach has been giving him an occasional run in the midfield. A couple of weeks ago Climber came oh-so-close to scoring and was gutted when he fluffed it, so much so that his team-mates, a lovely bunch of boys who are very fond of each other, immediately rallied round to comfort him. Today when he positioned himself neatly by the edge of the goal and cleanly received a cross and pegged it in, all of his team-mates shared his delight and came running up to congratulate him as he ran up the pitch with his arms outstretched in joy. (That was the bit when I cried.) It was smiles all round. Happy, happy, happy.

1 Jun 2014 1:48 pm

1 Jun 2014 1:48 pm