Wednesday, January 31, 2007
I think a fine time was had by all. The chocolate cake was decorated within an inch of its life and I have to take everyone's word for it that it was delicious because after my baking frenzy I really did not feel like eating anything sugary. I planned to taste some of the left-over at a later stage but somebody stood on it as it laid concealed under the picnic rug away from the feathered scavengers.
These are the boys' Birthday Party outfits. Some heavily discounted local designer threads for the 6-year-old, courtesy of the last day of the Myer SALE. (It was a bit of a happy accident that I was at Myer that exact day to take advantage of the 40% off all kids' clothes. I'd left present-shopping till the LAST minute, and this was n.e.a.r.l.y disastrous because the Lego shelves were practically bare this year. Must have been the toy of choice over Christmas. I did in the end manage to get him General Grievous' ship, which was a roaring success).
And the Cherub, in the aged and skanky Buzz Lightyear outfit from the dress-up box.
Cherub has recently decided to be Buzz, which is very amusing. He keeps hitting imaginary buttons on his belt or shoulder or chest and then spreading his arms to fly off. He likes to do the voice too.
Back to school today. More importantly, my first child-free day in 6 weeks. No-one interrupting me, or demanding food or drink, no place I have to be and only myself to chivvy into the car if I decide I want to go someplace. Peace and quiet. I hope I remember to pick the Climber up at 3.30.
So he's a big Grade One boy now. I'm only feeling slightly sooky this morning. I would have liked to have seen his new classroom and maybe exchanged greetings with his new teacher. Instead, I had to help the Climber navigate his way through the kerfuffle of 70-odd confused ex-preppies trying to sort themselves into their new assembly Grade One positions, and then hurriedly smooch his cheek as they followed their (new to the school and therefore not quite on top of everything yet) teacher into Room 1K. So at least I do know which door to wait outside for afternoon pick-up, providing I don't fall asleep this afternoon and miss it all together.
Here you see the respective activities that MUST be completed by the boys when in the school grounds.
Right. Off to put my feet up for a while. Despite promptings from Fixit, I don't want to waste my first day off with boring housework. There's always tomorrow!
Friday, January 26, 2007
Firstly of course the Climber turned 6 this week. So we have a party to organise this weekend. I've gone as low-key as possible. It's in the park so I don't have to clean the house and I have kept the guest list to a minimum. Tomorrow is bake-off day; on Sunday I intend to sit on a rug watching the kids run around and amuse themselves while I sip an outrageously early glass of wine (morning party) and enjoy civilised chat with adults.
Secondly, Cherub has once again held on for 6 days, although he finally let go tonight thank the lord. I'M SO SICK OF HIS BOTTOM. I won't bore you with the details, suffice it to say our outings are curtailed when he's gone longer than 4 days, I'm wiping his bum more than is bearable and there are a lot of little smudgy undies soaking in the laundry sink, not to mention the stress and exhaustion of having to deal with his being fractious and difficult as well as this feeling that I'm probably handling it ALL WRONG.
(Bless his little curly Cherub head)
Thirdly, some blog-chasey ... you tag someone, they tags ya back. I made Tracey tell us about her blog, now she wants to know 6 weird things about me. Well, all I can say is I'll try but actually I'm very normal, and it's everyone else who is weird. I'm just saying. Or maybe I'm just tetchy. Just don't mention bottoms or constipation to me now because I may snap. Woman on the Edge.
1. I have weird little toes. The nail bed is about the same size as this [__]
I'm not showing you the photo,there's a lot of weirdos out there who are squeamish about feet.
2. I am moderately phobic about thunderstorms. I am twitchy and unhappy if I'm indoors and hysterical if trapped outdoors. Fixit looks bemused as he humours me in this but says there's nothing to be scared of you know. I do know. Phobias are not a rational thing.
3. I faint easily. A nurse told me this was weird (apparently she'd never fainted in her life!). She plainly suspected me of having an eating disorder. Actually I just have lowish blood pressure which can plummet dramatically.
4. When I faint I tend to have a little fit, even though I am not epileptic. Each fit is different, I've gone stiff as a board, I've thrashed around, but I do quite often scream when I'm out. And I can hear it too, even though I'm unconscious. Fainting is a strange feeling, its not quite as 'out' as sleep but your brain (well my brain anyway) feels like it's in a swirly drug-haze black eddy of noise and movement. And people always try to make you wake up! When I do wake up I invariably vomit. No wonder I never want to 'come to'.
5. I find it quite easy to stand on my points, even though I am not and have never been a ballerina. I can do it in sneakers, but it's best in my tap shoes.
6. I just love yodelling. It makes me happy to hear it and I would love to know how to do it.
I think you can't really proclaim yourself to be Another Nutter and not expect to get hit with a tag on this particular meme, sorry babe! I'd like to hear Lazy Cow too. I've met the girl and she seems normal enough but you never know with these Jaclyn Smith lookalikes. And I know it's only books all the time now, so you have my blessing to modify as you see fit.
Here is what happens when you allow your green-obsessed three-year-old help decorate the cake...
And here for good measure is the recipe for the Climber's Birthday Cake. It is delicious and fool-proof. It's famous in my Mother's Group.
Buttermilk Spice Cake
Sift together in bowl:
2¼ cups of plain flour
1 cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¾ teaspoon of ground cloves
¾ teaspoon of cinnamon
125g softened butter
¾ cup soft brown sugar (packed down)
1 cup buttermilk
Beat together for 2 minutes
Beat 2 more minutes.
Pour into greased and floured cake tins, either 2 x 9 inch layer pans or 1 oblong pan 13 x 9 inches.
Bake at 350° for 35 – 40 minutes for layers or 45 – 50 minutes for oblong pan.
Remove from pan. Cool.
Frost with EASY PENUCHE ICING as follows:
Melt in saucepan ½ cup butter. Stir in 1 cup brown sugar (packed). Boil and stir over low heat for 2 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup milk.
Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm.
Gradually stir in 1 ¾ to 2 cups of sifted pure icing sugar
Place pan in iced water and stir icing until thick enough to spread.
Decorate at will and enjoy!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three,
I was hardly Me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am Six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll stay six now
for ever and ever.
Happy, happy birthday!
(but you can't see hers now, she took it down).
Saturday, January 20, 2007
I'll start this by telling you that Fixit and I both have back problems. I have a slight scoliosis and just general pain and tension caused and compounded by wrangling/nursing babies for the last 5 years, and Fixit's back is basically stuffed from his big motorbike accident which was 10+ years ago. Last year we both started seeing Frank, who is a wonderful chiropractor, a family friend and the nicest man. I have a weekly appointment, Fixit goes twice weekly and we've both improved so much. I never thought I'd hear myself say stuff like this, but it is such a good thing to be able to turn my head to look over my shoulder again. If you're younger than 30, shut-up. Or enjoy it while you still can.
Anyway, what with Christmas and going to the beach for the weekend, it has been nearly a month since my last treatment so I was really looking forward to this morning's appointment. Fixit had to work so we were tag-teaming appointments and childminding via a nearby park; he left early and then I hauled myself and the kids into the car, minutes to spare. We made it maybe 10 metres down the road. The poor car limped out of the driveway and even I noticed it was handling like a dog, and I got out to look and there it was. FLAT TYRE. I nearly cried.
The pathetic thing is that it may have been flat-tish for a while, but I'm so unattuned to this stuff that I'll notice in an abstracted sense that something is wrong with the car, and maybe check to see if the overdrive has been switched on by small hands or if I'm in 2 instead of D ... and when I see that neither is the case I'll think well that's allright then and put aside the fact that the car is still handling like a dog and keep driving. If Fixit reads this he will sigh and shake his head (possibly you may be doing the same) and say This is why I worry, even though my driving record is not besmirched with any sins or accidents *touches wood* and his is.
Here's a thing. Yesterday, Climber and I had a discussion about how many wheels a car has; he said 5 counting the steering wheel. I said I'd show him the Secret Wheel, and did an educational explanation of flat tyres. Then I lifted the hatch, preparing to unveil the Secret Wheel and couldn't work out how to unveil it because there was carpet (which lifted) and then heavy cardboard (which wouldn't budge), so then in complete anticlimax I had to say well there is a Secret Wheel under there, but I can't show it to you at the moment.
One of the first things my father did when I bought my first car at age 17 was teach me how to change a tyre. I've done it a couple of times and it's not that hard, except the muscles bit. (My legs are strong but I never, ever win an arm-wrestle). Living with Fixit means my DIY muscles have atrophied. Why keep a dog and bark yourself, you know? And I already knew I couldn't lift the stupid cardboard, let alone do all the "find the jack, get the wheel-nuts off" ... I re-scheduled the appointment for the afternoon and poor Fixit raced home from a crappy day at work to change the tyre. I should probably mention here that he was also severely hungover from carousing on Friday night. At which point he discovers that the
At last, the tyre looks drive-able and although I don't have time to go via a service station to put the required psi into it, it looks like I'll make the re-scheduled appointment. But first we have to go through the pantomime of me backing the car up our very narrow driveway. I hate reversing, it makes me tense. Fixit starts saying unintelligible things to me about left hand down, which confuses me because I am driving one-handed and one of my hands is already at the bottom of the steering wheel so what the fuck does he mean? So then I lift my left hand in the air so he can see it through the windscreen and demonstrate what I think he means. Like this? I ask, turning my left hand anti-clockwise from top to bottom. He rolls his eyes and nods at me. Right hand down he says. What? Like this?
That was my day. I made it to the appointment and I feel MUCH better now, thanks for asking. But after such a heavy duty start, I think it only right that I take the night off from cooking, and as I type this our Vietnamese delivery has just arrived and I am about to pour my second glass of wine.
Here is what the Climber can get up to if you take your eyes off him for a minute.
Does he look worryingly at home on that motorcycle or what?
Friday, January 19, 2007
Yesterday I took the boys to the zoo. The good thing about being a Friend of The Zoo is that you can go there and not feel like you have to spend the whole day seeing everything. It's a big place, the Melbourne Zoo, and the boys were tuckered out from the walking, particularly once the morning heated up into what I think of as Sydney weather; 30 degrees and humid.
The meerkats. So cute.
Some new wire sculptures in the garden beds - I think they're fab.
Giraffe, and an elephant watching us have lunch.
We had to bypass the new tiger-cubs because of a toilet emergency, and after stopping by the butterfly house...
(Climber nearly attracted one to sit on his hand. Cherub got one on his hat.)
... we went to see the real elephants, including the new ones just delivered from Thailand. The Walk of the Elephants looks fantastic, as does the new Orangutan enclosure.
After 2 hours we were desperate to get out, all that walking and the sweaty heat tired the Climber with his lanky long legs, not to mention the Cherub, doing the whole walk on his little fat legs! Graduated from the stroller, he has. Another sign he's growing up.
Last night was my first night back teaching tap. I meant to start on Tuesday but after seeing the weather forecast (39 degree heat) I decided to postpone. Which was a good decision, because it got to around 42 degrees and there were power blackouts. It was fun to get the shoes back on and it was a good class.
Oh! And here's one for the grammar police . Watched news footage of Naomi Campbell's latest assault charge proceedings (On the SMH video news site, can't do the precise link for you but it's still there if you're interested) and the reporter said Campbell pled guilty. Pled!! That's not a word is it?
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Having a whole punnet of raspberries in one go - that's not what you'd call a pig-out is it? Is it? Can't work out why I feel so guilty for scoffing, not sharing. It's not like the boys love raspberries that much. They were so nice. I couldn't stop..
Ewe are Here tagged me for a meme. So I've memed.
1. Do you like the look and the contents of your blog?
I do. I tweaked a blogger template to up the purple-ness and put in a personalized banner (design kudos to Aunty Cookie for the feet by the way).
2. Does your family know about your blog? Yes.
3. Can you tell your friends about your blog? Yes
4. Do you just read the blogs of those who comment on your blog?
Well I tend to read theirs’ FIRST!! But no, I jump around a fair bit. I like to follow up funny comments on other blogs.
Hell, yeah. There’s the writing for brain exercise and Alzheimer’s prevention, there’s the venting as therapy, and there’s the happy and connected feeling when I get comments. It’s good stuff.
6. What does the number of visitors to your blog mean?
That I’m slightly more popular than I was 6 months ago?
7. Do you imagine what other bloggers look like?
I like knowing what they look like but I’m useless at the imagining stuff.
8. Do you think blogging has any real benefit?
Apart from being cheaper than therapy? I know that there are blogs that raise a lot of social and political issues and I enjoy reading them. But I’m going to nominate a smaller benefit. Listening. Blogging is a chance to have your say uninterrupted, and seriously, there are not a lot of opportunities in real life for that luxury. Particularly when parenthood has shredded my capacity for clear and ordered thought. My 5-year-old completes my sentences for me some days. So to set down my ideas, articulately and without interruption, and then to receive thoughtful feedback is a great thing.
9. Do you think that the blogosphere is a stand alone community separated from the real world?
We all live in the real world so how could that be?
10. Do some political blogs scare you? Do you avoid them?
It’s all food for thought. I’m not always hungry though.
11. Do you think that criticizing your blog is useful?
Why would you bother? If you don’t like the program, turn off the telly. No point complaining to the TV Guide.
12. Have you ever thought what would happen to your blog in case you died? Sort of. Because my plan is to archive it, so that if the kids or grandkids are interested they can check it out.
Sort of. Because my plan is to archive it, so that if the kids or grandkids are interested they can check it out.
13. Which blogger had the greatest impression on you?
I read a lot of blogs that I really like and they all have different impressions. Some make me laugh, some make me want to read more books, some make me wish I knew how to knit, sew or craft, some make me wish I was smarter, and some of them I’d just like to hang out with. It’s all good.
14. Which blogger do you think is the most similar to you?
Well, we’re all very different really, but I like to think the people on my blogroll are on the whole kindred spirits.
15. Name a song you want to listen to.
Whoa. Is it just me or does this question belong in a whole other meme? However, this week I'm liking Sexyback by Justin Timberlake. Just because it makes me want to shake my groove thing. The film clip is very James Bond.
I'm tagging Tracey and Joanne.
Monday, January 15, 2007
We've just returned from a 3-day stay at my Aunt and Uncle's house, where we had a magnificent stay. That's the famous bridge from "Seachange" in the background. And somebody else's wonderful sandcastle in the foreground, which my kids had well and truly demolished by the time we left the beach that day.
The boys (all three of them) hunted assiduously for shells. We'll need to find a clever crafty way to use them, like sticking them on a photo-frame. Or we may just put them out in the cubby house and forget about them.
There was no question of me flaunting my legs because the weather was cold - I never made it into the water, and Cherub declined after one attempt. Climber and Fixit didn't seem to notice the temperature.
Cherub skipped happily along the sand, or climbed over rocks or chased seagulls shouting "bottoms" at them (a corruption of "muddumps" which for some reason is what the Climber shouts at birds. No-one knows why.)
Climber enjoyed running up and down the beach too.
My cousin took Fixit and Climber out in a canoe up-river. We inspected rockpools. Climber jumped over waves. We went to some local markets and bought jam and soap. We ate wonderfully well. We played some scrabble. We watched the cricket and wondered if New Zealand vs England might produce an exciting game instead of the one-sided matches that involved the Australian team. I even managed some computer-time where I checked out H&B's account of the Meeting In Real Life between members of what sounds like a low-rent rap group : House, Lazy and Stomper. (For the record, I don't think I can add to her excellent account of the evening beyond saying it was enormous fun and we'll probably do it again!)
The boys shared a mattress, but after the first night we put them both up the same end. This head-to-toe arrangement you see here was disastrous because in the middle of the night the Climber's long legs kicked all over little Cherub who then woke up crying heartily, insisting Climber sleep in our bed, which woke the Climber and made him cry noisily too. Took us over half an hour to stop the tears and get them back to sleep.
Every time we drove downhill the boys played Corolla-coaster. AAAAaaaaaaaaaahhhhh....
I toyed with the idea of staying there longer, just me and the kids. But Cherub was proving difficult, because of what I suppose you'd call psychological constipation. The kid won't let it out and it was difficult to manage away from home.
We arrived back home at half-past nine on Sunday night, tired and happy.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
is a good climber, I've seen her get onto our kitchen table in under a minute, but she's not THAT good.
I've just been sent a couple of photos from the tap-dancing gig we did pre-Christmas, so I'm sharing. The theme was "The Twelve Days of Christmas" where different local dance groups represented each of the days, in front of a big choir and a brass band. So there was the all-boy Greek dancing troupe appearing as the Lords-a-Leaping, a ballet school as the Seven Swans and you see us here as the Five Gold Rings. We got a fantastic reception, including one enthusiast yelling out as we danced "you guys are GOOD!!" and spontaneous applause at the end of our bit (none of the other groups received that much acclaim. Allright yes, I'm skiting a bit but it's nice to be appreciated...)
In other big news, I went out last night!! AT NIGHT!! For a meal and a drink with a girlfriend. It's medicinal, I had to do it to combat my ever-growing cabin fever caused by school holiday over-exposure to my beloved children. Thank goodness creche opened again this week. I love you Cherub but I am enjoying the peace..
AND I have another girls' night out on Thursday ... ;-)
After that, we're going to the BEACH!! Just for the weekend. We're all a bit excited. My aunt and uncle have a nice big holiday house and they are very generous with their invitations. Unlike Fixit's place of employment where he had to scrounge to get one measly day off. He's a motorbike mechanic see, and it's all hands on deck during summer because every motorcyclist in Melbourne needs their bike fixed pronto.
So apart from it being disgustingly hot today and tomorrow, life is good.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Some things my Inner Princess loves:
- Articulate expressions of adoration.
- Receiving flowers.
- Dressing Up.
- Being pampered.
- Time and means to indulge in aesthetic pursuits such as reading, writing, dancing, thinking.
Things she's not so keen on:
- Living in mess and chaos, knowing that it's her responsibility to deal with it.
- Getting dirty hands.
- Listening to other people's burps, particularly if they say yabba-dabba-doo whilst eructating.
- Being too hot.
- Having to wear daggy old clothes that no longer fit properly because child-bearing forever changed her waistline.
She's very shallow and you can see it's a good thing I repress her most of the time. Sometimes I think she wouldn't know a good thing if she tripped over him whilst he was bringing her a cup of tea in bed every morning, and always treating her nicely and valuing her opinions, and NOT being a drug addict or an alcoholic or a wife-beater or a terrible father or even a dickhead.
During discussions of one of the Inner Princess' pet peeves, someone raised the notion of the Inner Prince. Which stunned me a bit. Why had I never assumed men had Inner Princes? Do they in fact have Inner Princes? Yes, according to one source.
So that got me thinking. What does the Inner Prince want? To fight the dragon?
To be waited on hand and foot? To be master of all they survey? To ride the fastest steed in the kingdom?
Does he exist at all? Do men bury/repress their Inner Prince? And do the Inner Royalties seek each other out? What does the Inner Prince want?
Thursday, January 04, 2007
I like this noise. Even though 9 times out of 10 I am the one causing the kids to make it. Currently, I'm enjoying the difference in the way they make it . Climber (nearly 6) makes it almost good-humouredly, particularly if he's just made what we both know is an ambit-claim request, as in:
CLIMBER: May I have some icecream? (well, sometimes he says Can I have but he has been known to use May I so he gets the benefit of the doubt here)
CLIMBER: Ohhh (or/aw) .. Why not?
SG: Because it's nearly dinnertime.
CLIMBER: Ohhh (or/aw) .. Not fair..
All said without malice or indeed any carry-on as he wanders back happily to his lego. It is almost like he makes the noise automatically as the fitting thing to say when a parent denies his wants. He doesn't even bother to sound cross when he makes it. But he always makes it.
Cherub, on the other hand, makes much more dramatic use of the noise. He is, after all, 3, and coming to the height of his small-person powers. So should I say No to one of his requests (usually a request to watch telly) he hurls himself face downward at the nearest surface, raises his voice several decibels and declaims Ohh (or/aw) after which there could be a cry of Not Fair or noisy sobs or both.
I think this photo highlights the difference in their personalities! Little Master Dramatic and the Laid-back Dude. This is them farewelling Grandma Margaret at the airport.
She came to stay with us over New Year. Apart from catching up with us, she also got to hang out with her brothers and sisters, because one sister turned 60 and one of my cousins got married. Our family background is Catholic so there are lots of cousins and they nearly all get married. So we get to see Mum fairly regularly even though she lives in Sydney.
One of these days we'll make it up to Sydney to visit her. In the meantime, she'll be back again for the Climber's 6th birthday and in March when another cousin is due to tie the knot!
My mother hasn't yet had the opportunity to be the mother of the bride or groom. None of her 3 have said "I do" as yet. Possibly because we weren't raised as Catholic the way the cousins were? I don't know. But my brother is getting married this year. On a cruise ship, at his fiancee's request. I feel like a cruise-ship wedding is the equivalent of eloping. Hardly anyone attends because you have to stump up at least $2,000 per person just to get on the boat. But it now sounds like there will be some sort of wedding dinner in Melbourne when the cruise ship swings by so that the large extended family can say "congratulations" to the happy couple.
As for my sister and I ... well I suppose you could say she's engaged. But due to her son's diabetes, her second pregnancy and other complications, their wedding just hasn't happened.
And me? Well nobody has ever asked me. I know, hard to believe.
I'm happy not being married as such.
But my Inner Princess is slightly insulted that no-one's ever asked her..
You could even say that she's feels a bit, you know, like it's Not Fair ... I can hear her now, actually. She's saying ohhh!