Monday, May 28, 2007

It's all go around here.

Party update. Here's a sneak preview of my frock, purchased from one of Melbourne's famous shopping strips, Bridge Road in Richmond. The indefatigable Elda traipsed around with me in her high heels (she swears it's comfortable) for 4 hours until we had a winner. The woman should be a professional shopper - the company is fantastic and the eye for what will be a possibility is unerring.

Here's our noticeboard at the moment. RSVPs still trickling in.

Here are some party decorations in progress. Nell and I found pre-cut stars at Officeworks, which will be threaded on fishing line and hung from the rafters. Nell and Steve have also been to Bunnings Hardware for fairylights, Elda found some purple fabric for $2 a meter, and we're all unearthing hidden stocks of tea-lights.

Babysitter booked. Organised the catering today (cheap and cheerful), the alcohol & glasses yesterday, and have the name of a recommended teenager to call after school tonight to see if she'll work on the night. Haircut tomorrow. Took Nell frock shopping on Sunday, still need to have a discussion with Fixit re his outfit. Still need to sort out sound equipment and microphone hire.

Are you tired just reading this?

Now for my shorn sheep. Here are some photos (post hair-hack) taken from his little creche excursion to the Melbourne Museum. Twelve little 3-year-old taking the tram to the museum and back, they were so cute.

Cherub is in the middle walking next to Fixit wearing a red and blue hoodie top and beige pants. So that's the back view and you can see that the length looks almost the same, a few straggly bits gone. And below you can see a side/back view. The top layer where I've chopped looks mostly straight now, the underneath untouched bits are where the ringlet action is at.

The thing that concerned me about giving him a haircut was losing the precious curls. This hack job was by way of being an experiment to see if the length of his hair was straightening out the curl and whether it would spring back if we cut it. Well, at the back it looks like the answer is NO! If I cut the curls of from there he will be left with a soft wave and none of the pretty ringlets. I'm not so sure about the front though, it looks like it is slowly twisting itself back into a ringlet.

But anyway. It's made me very reluctant to do any more chopping because I just love the ringlets so much. Even if it does make him look a bit like a girl....

Friday, May 25, 2007

Shuffle off to Buffalo!

Happy International Tap Dance Day to everyone.

International Tap Dance Day began as a brainstorm of tap dancers Carol Vaughn, Nicola Daval, and Linda Christensen. It was first marked in November 1989, when Representative John Conyers of Michigan and then-Senator Al D'Amato of New York won congressional passage of Resolution 131 declaring May 25th National Tap Dance Day. As Conyers said, "By golly, there ought to be a law to make everyone love tap dancing." The date chosen, May 25th, is the agreed-upon birthday of legendary tap pioneer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (Robinson had no birth certificate), because he was a tap dancer known and loved worldwide for his work onstage and in movies. In tap circles, he is famous for dancing on the ball of the foot, in split wooden soles, and in perfect time. Over the years, the celebration of tap-dance moved beyond American shores and now International Tap Dance Day is observed as far away as Australia, Japan, India, and Iceland.*
Really, I should be celebrating it by a public display of fancy footwork but I've been out frock shopping ALL DAY (with some success I might add) for my party, then at the pool for Climber's swimming lesson followed by the AGM at Cherub's creche. Plus the whole lack of thyroid function means I've not been operating at maximum energy so whaddya know, here I am sitting exhausted in front of the computer now, too tired to even work up a Shim-sham-shimmy. Instead I give you this [modified] meme, which has arrived at me via the published bon vivant man himself, Joke.

1. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog tap? Noise, fun, music, infectiousness (not in a germ-way, more making people want to jump up and join in because it looks and sounds so good)

2. Are you a spiritual person Fred or a Gene fan? Both. Gene for loose legs and relaxed styling, Fred for elegance and grace. Both of them have a beautiful sense of humour in their dancing which I love, and their individual stylings are almost a disguise for the pin-point precision in their technique. Also, I don't think you have to be either/or in this field and I'm not just talking Fred vs Gene or black vs white or rhythm tap vs trad. The diversity in tap is one of its charms as an artform.

3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you songs would you take to dance to? Big Noise from Winnetka (not sure who my version is by but it is F.A.B), Candyman (Christina Aguilera), On The Sunny Side of the Street (haven't found the perfect version yet, but I love that song).

4. What’s your favourite childhood tap memory? Meeting and learning from visiting American tap artists like Rusty Frank, Brenda Bufalina, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and Jason Samuels -Smith has been wonderful. I'm also made really happy when my choreography goes over well. And also any time I'm up on stage with the shoes on.

5. Are these your first (tagging) memes pair of tap shoes? No, this is my 8th pair.

Some Random Tap Stuff.

1. Tap skills that adult beginners find most difficult to learn are : turns, balance and doing arms and legs at the same time.

2. Apparently the worst thing you can say about a pianist is that they play like a mathematician. I think the same could apply for tap. Technically adept can be dull, dull, dull.

3. The sound you hear when Fred & Ginger dance is actually Fred and his co-choreographer Hermes Pan.

4. The kind of tap taught to kids at ballet /dance schools is NOT my cup of tea AT ALL. Way too formal.

5. Reggae music is quite hard to tap to.

6. You can learn to tap at any age. I took it up at 25. (And look at me now...)

7. When I talk footwork, I mean tap footwork. I've tried other styles of dance, and when they talk about the "footwork" I try to be polite but inside, I am scoffing at them.

I'm not going to tag on this one (I'm not. You can't make me.) because I reeeeee-lly fink everyone what wanted to 'as done it. (Please read that last bit with a pathetic attempt at a Cockney accent)

* source Jane Goldberg in Dance Magazine May 2001

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Owner of a bleeding heart.

Here is the Climber pictured with his autobiography from the Open Morning at school today. I've been helping out in the classroom with these so I've been aware of what's gone into them, and have to admit to feeling some disappointment in the Climber's answer to the question what would you like to be or do when you grow up? Fixit and I were kinda hoping that he could be a well-paid high-flyer of some sort to make up for the shortfall in our superannuation plans. Premier-league footballer and prize-winning author have been bandied about from our end. But for the last month while this autobiography project has been going on, Climber has stuck to his guns. What he would like to be when he grows up is ...

... "a Shop-Keeper."

Of course being a kind mother I have never suggested that I wasn't that enamoured of his choice of profession. BUT!! I cynically suspected his motives to be based on a desire to have lots and lots of lollies at his disposal, all day every day. Silly me. I forgot about my child's kind, kind heart! I forgot that 2 days ago we'd read an amusing book about a Dad who embarrassed his kids by making duck noises when he dropped them off at school and when the Mum in the story said he couldn't take the kids anymore because of the embarrassing duck noises the Dad got all indignant and ran out of the house just wearing a bathtowel (post-shower) quacking like a duck, so the family locked him out of the house in the rain with only his towel on until he promised never to quack like a duck, and I forgot this story made the Climber burst into tears because he was so worried about the Dad in the story and say it was the worst book he'd ever read.

This is why the Climber wants to be a shopkeeper:

However, lest you think I am raising a potential saint, I will also throw in this story. Our school has a great canteen which is partly staffed by parent volunteers, and apparently the kids get very excited and proud if their parent works on canteen. I haven't done it yet, I'm hoping to put it off until both boys are at school. But then Climber asked me:

Climber: When are you going to work at the canteen?
Stomper: I don't know darling. Why? Would you like me to?
Climber: Yeah.

Oh, I think. He wants me at the canteen so he can feel proud and special. Then:

Climber: Then you can make lots of money.
Stomper: Err...for the school?
Climber: No. For us. You could make lots of dollars by selling all that stuff.
Stomper : *explain, explain, yada yada, school needs money to buy more food to sell at canteen and extra to help run the school etc etc*

Climber: Oh. *thinks* Well. You could just slip a dollar into your pocket when no-one was looking...

*Looks a bit embarrassed. Decides to about-face on previous suggestion*

Climber: You wouldn't do that.
Stomper: No.


Guess what? I went the hack on Cherub's hair. Look.

Photos of the Shorn Sheep next time. Don't worry, nothing too drastic.


And now, for some knitting content.

*Do not adjust your reception.*

*There really is going to be Knitting Content on This Blog.*

So there's a sentence I thought I'd never write. That's the sort of the thing you read on all those Crafty Blogs where clever people make gorgeous things and non-crafters like me look on longingly like orphans outside a sweetshop. But I had another knitting lesson with Craftymum and this week I learned purl (again with the words I thought would never cross this blog) so behold my stocking stitch people.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Who knew?

The Climber was overheard having a quick over-the-fence chat with Next-door-boy this morning.

Climber: "Who's that man on your roof?"
NDB: "The plumber"
Climber: "So does he just eat plums all day?"
NDB : "Yeah. Yeah, I think so."

Did you hear that, Bronnie? Now you know what your partner really does for a living.


You know that thing where you live with someone and your personal thermostats are very different? So for example in bed one of you requires the doona, pyjamas and possibly probably the electric blanket while the other one thinks a sheet is plenty. Or one of you likes the heater on in winter and the other one comes in the room and makes this weird blowing noise designed to show displeasure at the oven-like state of the loungeroom.

Or is that just Fixit and me?

Anyway, during the past few years, Fixit has started to refer to me as a snake. (NOT because of my scales. He likes them. Because of my inability to self-warm.) And neither of us questioned the anomaly of someone as fit as I am having such a hopeless metabolism.

But I found out yesterday I am not in fact a reptile. I have hypothyroidism which as soon as I started telling everyone in sight, including all my poor tap students last night, I discovered is actually pretty common, especially in women - including my mum. And maybe this explains why my hair looks so crappy (I thought that was neglect), why I always feel tired (I thought that was just how all parents felt) and this bloody unfair 5 kilos that won't go away. Not that I'm complaining about my weight I hasten to add! But I do 3 x 2 hours and 2 x 1 hour blocks of exercise minimum every week, and eat a balanced diet, so it just seemed a bit unfair to have this extra 5 kilos clinging on for dear life. Like, what more did I have to do, starve myself?

My Thyroid
Basically I see it like this. My thyroid ought to be like this busy little chimpanzee, absorbing iodine into my system and pumping out hormones to regulate my metabolism. But instead of a quick, clever, nimble monkey, I got a fat, sludgy, lazy hippopotamus and it's just wallowing at the base of my neck telling my poor pituitary gland, which was desperately pinging "get on with your job" messages at it, to Sod Off and Leave it Alone.

So as well as the daily aspirin for my weird blood disorder thing, I will also need to have a daily thyroid drug for the rest of my life, and I tells ya, taking 2 pills every night before I've even reached 40 is a bit depressing. Imagine the motherload I'm going to have to swallow when I'm nearly 80.

The good news is that unlike Fixit my cholesterol is okay. Which given the fact that he has no family history of high cholesterol whereas I do, might at first seem a little unfair. But if you'd ever seen the way Fixit eats cheese and chocolate you would know it was not.

Not my Thyroid

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


(I realise this is my third post in 2 days, but it's just a short one.)

Here's my entry in the little "Anonymous" book that is a work in progress attempting to travel the world. It came to me from H&B and Peppermint Patcher.

My page is an anonymous dance routine, conjured up via shadowy images of dancers, obscured by scattered dance instructions.

Then I sent it on to Arty Nell. Here's her page.

She's good, isn't she? Nell has sent it on to her arty mother in New South Wales. Who knows where it will travel after that.

Also. Still in the anonymous vein, kinda...

I just wanted you all to meet my neighbour and knitting instructor! Sometimes referred to here as Next-door-Mum. Please feel free to pop over the fence and introduce yourself. She may even let you borrow a cup of sugar.

This is her new blog : Craftymum

You guys!!

I am feeling better today. In fact I am fine. And although this is partly due to the fact that the toilet is now cleaned, and the anaesthetic has left my system, it is also largely because of the kind & supportive words from you lovely people. And for this I say thanks.

And I also say sorry for having such a wobbly. Honestly if this is the worst thing that is happening in my life (I'm about to have a birthday party, for fuck's sake) then really what AM I complaining about?

Panic attacks suck.

But! it does make me want to give blogging a big round of applause.

Because there I was, stuck at home with a semi-clean bathroom, in a complete state, tears pouring down my face, and in desperation I sent a cry for help into cyber-space - and got answers and hugs and kisses and all sorts. Even a speech! Which is pretty cool when you think about it.

Cyber party at my blog in about 3 weeks time, okay? You're all invited.

This was waiting for me when I got home from tap last night.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

little panic

I am having a bad day. It happens right?

I am worried no-one will want to come to my party.
I am worried no-one will be able to think of nice things to say in the speeches because I am not a very nice person and nobody really likes me.
I am really scared about being 40.
I am having a little meltdown and yes, I am crying. I think this is panic.

But I need to go and clean the toilet before I pick the kids up.

I will probably cheer up soon. Maybe I shouldn't go to the dentist AND do housework on the same day.

Monday, May 14, 2007


LOOK!! I'm learning to knit!! Next-door-Mum is teaching me. Why? I hear you ask... Well, I think I've either caught some kind of internet knitting envy virus from too much blogging OR I'm taking this getting old thing way too seriously...

Here are my Mother's Day gifts : (L-R) Flowers from Fixit, handmade lavender bag from the Metanical Gardens excursion, vase and butterfly beaded pen (can't have too many of those!) from the Mother's Day stall at school, and hand-made bag whipped up by Nell and hand-painted under her expert supervision by the boys. Couldn't ask for more. The bag is officially My New Handbag and knocks the flinders off Louis Vuitton.

Got tagged by Soozadoo and now I have to tell you 6-8 random things about myself. So here's 7.
  1. I hardly wear any make-up. Not because I'm naturally gorgeous either. Just because I prefer the look and feel of real skin. BUT!! I always wear mascara. Mother Nature was not kind to me in the eyelash department. She was generous to my children though.
  2. I am an impatient person. I will finish your sentences for you. If I feel your story is going on too long or including too many unnecessary details my legs will start jiggling. This does not stop me from telling a really long story with lots of unnecessary details, mind. Strangely, I am marvellously patient with my tap students. This is true, I'm not pulling your leg. It gets remarked upon quite a lot. I think the secret there is that I just want and am in a position to help. Poor Fixit and my immediate family would be amazed probably. Actually, I am also (I think) astonishingly patient with my own children, and seriously if anyone is going to try your patience it's your kids, don't you think? So there you go. If you are Climber or Cherub or one of my tap students, you'll be okay. Everyone else needs to be succinct and Get On With It!
  3. I am not above being petty. I keep myself pretty nice on this blog, but I do think mean, petty things. For example. My second favourite moment of the Tap Show I went to last year was not inspired by watching the wonderful dancing (to be honest, there wasn't a lot of wonderful tapping in this show) but was inspired by mean-spirited joy when a person who I know and dislike did her solo in a line of other soloists and she was the only one NOT to get a whoop or applause (because she is technically excellent, but boring to watch). I try to rise above myself but often I fail.
  4. I have a tattoo of my cat (RIP) on my lower back. This gives me undeserved kudos with the bogan rednecks at Fixit's work and occasionally leads to the untattooed Fixit being rubbished for being a wuss by comparison.
  5. I like to have a theory about things. My theory this week is about Myspace. I think it's blogging for the pathologically vain (I've got 165 friends! - including Jennifer Aniston!!) and/or the chronically illiterate/inarticulate. (wat r u up 2 2nyt? lolz mi olds r drivin me mental... )
  6. I have 3 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon. I was rehearsing this god-awful play (dropped out rather than go on stage with it though) with someone who appeared in The Secret Life of Us and one of his co-stars was in a play with KB. (So you've all got 4 degrees now)
  7. People assume that because I dance, I will be the one leading the charge to the dancefloor and always grab me when the music starts. But I will only dance to music that makes me groove and I am a little bit fussy about this. You know how everyone loved Blue Monday by New Order and it was the dancefloor hit? I never understood that. I quite like the song, but it didn't make me want to dance.

Edited to say: This meme is free to any good home, but Meggie and Fairlie do you see how I have wrapped it in pretty paper for you and added a gift-TAG?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hearts & flowers

Mother's Day tomorrow. Which is something that always seemed like a marketing ploy to sell a whole lot of slippers and domestic equipment, not to mention flowers. But I know tomorrow when Climber proudly presents me with the little gifts he's been organising over the last week and both boys climb into bed to give me a kiss and a cuddle (mind out for my cup of tea darlings!) I won't be thinking cynical thoughts. I'll be bursting with love for these two tremendous children of mine who make my heart swell each day with the immense love I have for them and who make me a happy happy woman every day, not just on Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, with extra special love to my mother Margaret and Fixit's mother Elaine.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I think I need a lie-down

My head is in such a spin this week, although I think I am now coming out the other side of it. I've been organising in my slightly scatterbrained way a party for someone who has an important birthday coming up in LESS THAN A MONTH! Yes, that's right, Me!

Anyway, so far I have checked off my list the following:
  • Book the Venue (my tap-dancing hall).
  • Book swing-dance teachers.
  • Design & print invitations.
  • Work out guest list.
Still to do:
  • Finish sending out invitations (nearly done).
  • Get hall decorations organised with help from Elda and possibly Nell, although should probably run that past Nell first before I blog it. Oh well.
  • Organise food caterers.
  • Find a gorgeous frock (have had offers from helpful fashion-savvy girlfriends to take me out shopping, excellent!)
  • Organise sound equipment, including microphone.

That's all I can think of so far, can't organise alcohol till the rsvps come in, ditto speeches.

This is all fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants event management, I tells ya! I will be SO glad when it's over.

Oh and I've done an internet wishlist as a present buying guide because I figure it's my equivalent of the Bridal Registry but I can't even begin to tell you how awkward I feel about it all. The idea being that I will be given stuff I like and will use instead of candles and foot lotion, one or both of which I receive Every Birthday and neither of which I use. And thank goodness for girlfriends who are abetting my pragmatic realist side about this because the rest of me feels greedy and bossy, especially when I put in expensive stuff, even though the idea of that is so groups of people can chip in together. And I also must remember to tell Nell that I've appointed her Gift Guidance Officer and Wishlist Co-ordinator - probably should have done that too before I blogged it. Oh well again.

Anyway, in other news around this house :

A superhero helped me bake a cake.

Climber went on a school excursion to the Metanical Gardens (Botanical/Metanical. Whatever.)

I was guest teacher at my friend's tap school on the weekend and had a great time doing it. We all enjoyed it I think or else she just has very polite students - they all came up later and thanked me personally. (Evidently her school is in a very well-brought-up suburb.) It took me an hour and a half in football traffic to get there. But the money earned means I have finally bought new tap shoes and I LOVE them. Aren't they gorgeous? And so comfortable.

Oh yeah. And we've acquired this part-time dog. He just comes and goes when he feels like it, but we've been teaching him new tricks. Today he learnt "beg."

Good dog!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Bill

People I like called Bill.

My Uncle Bill. He's a good bloke.

Bill Oddie.
He was my favourite Goodie. He was always defending the workers. He somehow carried off being the bearded hippy because of his cheeky charm and revolutionary zeal. He did all the music for the show and the Goodies' music was awesome. (Spicks and Specks once featured a kick-arse version of Do The Funky Gibbon sung by the daughter of Bill Oddie's musical sidekick which I wish I could find on Youtube. I've looked. It's not there.)

Bill Bailey
You might know the name from the TV show Black Books. Fixit and I went and saw his sell-out Melbourne shows at the 2005 Melbourne Comedy Festival and I was also lucky enough to be part of the studio audience on Spicks and Specks when Bill made an appearance on that. He had me doubled over with laughter both times.

I think my favourite ever Black Books was The Backout when Bill's character Manny overdoses on coffee and assumes the persona of a police officer circa The Sweeney. When he sits on himself it makes me cry with laughter.

He is also a very talented musician and his musical parodies are superb. The version of the Hokey-Pokey that he used to close his Part Troll stage show is a masterpiece. And I'm not even a Kraftwerk fan.

Billy Bragg
He features very prominently in my CD collection. (Fixit very sweetly recently replaced my stolen Billy CDs) My friend Matt can't stand the tone of Bill's Cockney singing voice but I really like it and the poetry of his lyrics always get me.

When I used to work for Australian band Weddings Parties Anything I had a few opportunities to meet the great Mister Bragg. And guess what? I was too awe-struck to ever talk to him. I'd be there in the same room having just been on the guest list to his live shows, I'd be kicking back with Mick and the boys in the same room as Billy and I couldn't even get the guts up to say Hello. Working in rock 'n roll was completely wasted on me, I was too straight. And kinda shy around all those party-hard muso types. I never thought they should be bothered by the likes of me, even though any other drunk bastard who'd blagged their way into the bandroom never seem to feel the slightest qualm about boring on and on about themselves to the band. I've met heaps of great Aussie rock types and barely said anything at all to them : Paul Kelly, Tim Rogers, The Whitlams for example. I did a bit better with the more girly bands like Tiddas and the Waifs.... And anyway, I just wanted to do tap-dance and that doesn't cut a lot of mustard in ROCK!! Even though I probably worked for the nicest bunch of blokes in Australian rock. (Although, I have been recorded tapdancing on 2 cds purely because Mick Thomas knows me. Which is a good thing. The cd I did last year is looking like a July release so I'm excited about that and was really happy with the version Trish sent me in January.)

Anyway. The point of all this is : LOOKIT what I found on Youtube the other night!!!

TWO of my favourite Bills performing on stage together!

Enjoy. I certainly did.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Out and About

So the Adam Hills show was really good and Astrid and I had a great night out. Adam said hello to her during the show - and she was really embarrassed and uncomfortable about everyone looking at her! Not. Go see him if you can, he is VERY funny and also about the nicest, most charming person on the planet even when he's being rude to little old ladies (he made it up to them later by taking them with him to appear on Rove.)

This is Astrid in front of a stunning Melbourne night-time background.
Which you'll just have to imagine as it didn't really come up in the photo...

Don't eat at Transport though, if you're ever in Federation Square looking for food. (Or Fed Square as it's more commonly referred to because we Australians don't like words with too many syllables.) We sat down, waited while the so-called waiter ignored us a few times, then politely and nicely asked for a menu. Whereupon he took a moment to look very offended at this outrageous request and then without even making eye contact he chucked a menu onto our table and walked away before we could bother him any more. Needless to say, we left.

There appears to be a plague of Ferris Wheels in Melbourne this week. Sadly my camera is very bad at night photography.

Yay for nights out with the girls.