Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Nose Knows

What is this? Looks a bit reptilian, don't you think?

Not so snake-like in this pic, though. But still mysterious.

Don't worry, I'm not going to tease it out. In the interests of public health and utensil welfare, I'll tell you.

It's one of my u-beaut magnetic measuring spoons.

See, magnetic spoons and metal cake tins have this attraction for each other. In this case the attraction was so strong it caused this little 1/4 teaspoon measure to commit harikari in my oven.

I really should not have ignored that smell of burning plastic. Always trust your nose. The lives of little teaspoons could be saved.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Fixit went back to work yesterday after 2 weeks of holiday; time spent lounging around with me and the boys. He got to see Cherub's kinder and swimming class (he shook his head and asserted Cherub was definitely the dunce of the swim-class. Just because he's not putting his face in yet, after a whole 4 classes; fathers are harsh sometimes aren't they?), he attended assembly at Climber's school ("little bit boring", apparently, so I can stop feeling guilty for always missing it to go to aerobics) and encouraged me to drink way more coffee than usual as we moseyed our way in between child pick-ups and drop-offs.

We haven't officially heard "fail" about the medical so we're assuming that means "pass". Now he has to have an aptitude test but I'd be VERY surprised if he failed that. All being well though he should start the new career in 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, I have escaped eating Stomper-food for 3 consecutive nights this weekend, which was fun for lots of reasons, and not just because I am completely bored with my own cooking.
  • Friday night was my Mothers' Group Kids-free Night Out for the Grown-up Girls at a yummy middle-eastern restaurant. Good company, good food, and nobody fighting, stealing toys, whining or shouting. Actually, we may have done a leeetle whining - to each other - and we did have to shout because that restaurant is a particularly noisy one, but we absolutely did not steal each other's toys.
  • Saturday night home delivery Vietnamese with Fixit and Nell.
  • Sunday night out to groovy Brunswick Street with Crafty and visiting blogger Kirsty from Two Lime Leaves. We admired lots of wares in shop windows (I've now got a terrible urge to go shoe-shopping) before deciding on a Japanese restaurant. We were the first to arrive and the last to leave so I think that gives you a good indication of how well we got on. I took a photo but have since realised I didn't actually check with the other two if they were comfortable having their mugs plastered across my blog so I've compromised...

I've always thought when I read Kirsty's blog that I would like her in person and I was right. (I already knew I liked Crafty in person because she used to live next door to me.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The thing about.

The thing about Waterford crystal mantle-clocks for 10 years service is that they are probably not worth as much on ebay once your soon-to-be-ex-employer has engraved the bottom of it.

The thing about a forthcoming crafternoon is that it is a motivating force to try a new project from the lovely knitting book my sister gave me for Christmas.

The thing about the prescribed "Show-off" wool called for in said pattern is that it has changed since the book was published and instead of having pretty rainbow inserts it is now hairier than Austin Powers' chest. Which makes it a complete cow to knit with. Especially for novices like me. I cannot tell AT ALL what I've knitted, so when I suspect a mistake I have to pull the whole thing apart and start again. Five times so far! If it wasn't pretty and purple I would have junked it by now.

The thing about buying a brand new motorbike is that occasionally one of them will have a warranty issue that will take up an owner/mechanic's every waking thought because it needs to be fixed - by him, natch - before he stops being a motorbike mechanic.

The thing about medicals is that they take a while to let you know the results.

The thing about having a son who is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine is that even if you relent and buy him - as a little treat - the train he says he really wants, there is always another train that he Just Needs.

The thing about letting the kittie sleep on your bed is that while the purring cuddly part is lovely, the 4am pouncing-practice session is very annoying.

The thing about having long red hair is ...
1. if you moult it is super easy to identify you as the culprit.
2. your future Mother In-(common)-Law will have a fair idea of what you look like before her son has even let on that he has a new girlfriend. Just by washing his socks.
3. the way you find out the kittie has ingested your moulted long red hair is really disgusting.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

You spin me right round

I have stuff I could blog (awards to pass on, challenges and memes to name but some) but unfortunately this week I've been having attacks of vertigo and it's made it very hard to think straight because my head keeps spinning around. It feels like my brain does a rotation inside my skull. Slightly nauseating but mostly freaky.

Certainly put a dampener on the romantic St Valentine's Day breakfast planned for Thursday. The doctor calls it benign positional vertigo which means there is nothing sinister behind it, and that the attacks are brought on by positional changes. He thinks most likely a 'blockage' in my balance centre. My ears are fine, so it could be the back of my neck or the bit in between the shoulder blades. This is what I do with any tension apparently. I store it in my back. A couple of years ago this storing-my-tension-in-my-back behaviour caused my whole back to go into a full agonising spasm, virtually paralysed myself with the pain. Now that my lovely chiropractor has got me breathing and self-adjusting so I don't do that any more, the tension has found a new way of making me acknowledge it. Hello, I'm your tension, and I'm going to make you fall over. I can tell you that teaching the kiddies tap class this morning was pretty hard work, lots of positional changes going on there, not to mention actual spins which were no help to the imaginary spins.

* * *

Some very ace bloggers gave me this award. Which made my day three times over and they make my day anyway just by blogging. I have to pass it on to ten other bloggers, which feels like a lot and a little. So I picked these ten blogs: Peppermint Patcher, Two Lime Leaves, House&Baby, Only Books All The Time, My Float, Six Impossible Things, Badger Meets World, Aunty Cookie, Melinda, Aunty Evil, and everyone else on my sidebar is a really really close runner-up and I hated leaving you off, but the rules said I had to. I'm too dizzy to link them properly, sorry. But there you go. I did achieve something.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm sorry too.

In between dropping the Climber to school and taking the Cherub to swimming class, I tuned the car radio to hear our new Prime Minister apologise to the indigenous people of Australia for past injustices, crying as I listened and drove. This long overdue apology is an emotional moment in our history. And a good one. I am glad that we have finally acknowledged past wrongs, because how else can we address this issue if we never admit fault? I am glad that we are rid of the small-minded government who thought it was unnecessary for so long. I am glad to have a Prime Minister and government who realise that not only is saying sorry important but also that government is not just about business and foreign affairs, it is about our people and their rights and their welfare.

All those people who were separated from their loved ones and traumatised and made to suffer. How could we not be sorry?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Up, up and away.

Fixit clocked up ten years service at his work last November, which meant he got :
  • long service leave,
  • an invitation to a slap-up meal with the bosses and the other long-standing employees (an annual treat apparently),
  • some crystal.
This Christmas he received another timepiece. From me. And despite the fact that my little key-chain watch is worth about 10% of the Waterford Mantel Clock, Fixit preferred the one I gave him.

Not just because it is a really cool keyring but because it was representative of better things. Yesterday Fixit quit his job. He is forgoing the annual dinner and cashing in the long service leave. And he is making a bold leap into a whole new career and becoming, for the second time, a mature-age apprentice.

Yes. Say good-bye to Fixit the Motorbike Mechanic and hello to Fixit the Aircraft Mechanic! (I'm sure it's got a more technical name but you get the gist).

He made enquiries last year and sent out resumes, he had a very informal interview two weeks ago and this week he received the letter of offer and a wad of paperwork to sort through. It then took him a day to take it all in, because after all it is quite a big step, before he handed in his letter of resignation to general astonishment and sudden offers of pay-rises. Too little, too late. His first-year apprentice wage at the new job will be $19 a week more than his fully qualified, long-standing member of staff wage at the old job. And it's not just about the money. It's about the level of frustration he felt in his working environment. He's looking forward to this new job, because if there's one industry where you'd expect them to be paying meticulous attention to their work it's aircraft maintenance. I know I'd feel safe flying if Fixit was mechanicking the plane - well, I mean, obviously, after he has been trained and all...

We are slightly sweating on him passing the physical. Only because of his chequered medical history with it's broken bones, dvt/pulmonary embolisms, encephalitis and the fact that he's down to his last kidney.

Fingers crossed for that next Wednesday, but in the meantime, yay!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Is magic real?

At school last Friday the Climber lost his other front tooth and is currently sporting the look we like to call the Toofless Tiger.
I think Climber and Crafty's boy monkey may have had a Tooth Fairy discussion recently. Suddenly her non-believer is enamoured of the coin under the pillow and Climber meanwhile starts in with is the Tooth Fairy real? because there's no such thing as magic, really, is there? Fortunately I was able to construct, hastily, a cogent argument based on the psychic connection between twins, which culminated in a resounding if that's not magic what is? Reassured, he decided that the Tooth Fairy should swim for this tooth and it was placed in a glass of water forthwith. Then, of course, conscience struck and he dictated the following note to be left out for her :

The Cherub said wistfully on the day after his first day, I really miss my kinder. Later that same morning he requested a daytime sleep. This was a surprise, because we recently lost his daytime sleep due to Christmas, heat-waves and school holidays. ( I know! A four-year-old still having a day sleep! Climber was the same, but don't be jealous; remember my kids are Very Fussy Eaters). When I looked askance at him, he explained that he wanted to dream about his kinder. I was a little bit overwhelmed by this huge kinder-love after only one day, but then I worked it out. The Cherub is mad for toy trains; indeed, the reason I never got any artwork from him is that he spent every possible inside moment at crèche crouched over the train track. At kinder there is a whole new set of tracks to fall in love with. With the added bonus of a really good large bit of floor so he can set up a decent sized track. No wonder he wanted to have a quiet little lie-down while he contemplated the glories awaiting him. I understand this. I'm a day-dreamer myself.

The house is being tackled bit by bit. The good news is that the boys' room is once more fit for human habitation, (not that it ever stopped me from making them sleep there, mind!), in fact better than that, it is spotless! It had got so bad it had assumed the proportions of Poe's Tell-tale Heart, because of all the Christmas presents and the spare mattress for the hot nights (the top bunk is too stifling) and the friends coming over and allright, yes, my general slackness. All I could think about was the terrible mess in there and I got to a stage of virtual paralysis with the other housework. Anyway, Bertie Wooster and I spent a day cleaning it up and I have to say that housework is much more fun when you have a pouncing kitty for company, but not necessarily faster. And although technically, the completion of this room should have meant I was free to get on with the rest of the house, I instead allowed myself to be distracted by a flying visit from my Mum, here to celebrate her little sister's 50th birthday.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

First day of Kinder

He had a great day!

Predictably, I had a little sook in the car after I dropped him off. But I'm alright now.

Monday, February 04, 2008

End of an Era.

Last week for us was about beginnings : swim classes, tap classes, Grade-2. But in the midst of this we had to say good-bye to something which has been a big part of our lives for the last 5 years. Our crèche. Cherub is a big boy now. He's 4. He's going to 4-year-old kinder and he starts tomorrow.

Crèche was a wonderful experience for us. Ours is a parent-run co-operative, so the ethos was always about wonderful care and a great environment for children, never about profit.

I was a working part of the crèche community within 6 months of us starting there, because I had experience with accounting software and the Co-ordinator at the time was part-time and needed a hand. When she left, the new Co-ordinator was an excellent manager but barely knew how to turn a computer on, so I stayed on. I came in every fortnight (as a volunteer) and helped with banking and statements. I don't think I missed a fortnight, I even came in the week after I gave birth to Cherub which when I look back to his birth is a pretty fair effort. But that's the way with second babies, you're up and doing much faster.

Eventually they talked me into joining the committee to take on the newsletter and the fortnightly parent bulletins. I was in the office anyway, covering that stuff when required. I couldn't attend meetings due to my tap teaching but it didn't matter. My bulletins became a bit of a hit because by then I was a seasoned blogger and it was second nature to make them funny and chatty. Ridiculously and to my immense and not-so-secret pride, I got the loudest applause and even a cheer when the outgoing committee members were thanked at our last Christmas party. It's like that song from Singing in The Rain - make 'em laugh, make 'em laugh...

My kids loved crèche . They were well cared for by really fantastic staff, and in a room full of well-thought out activities and toys and hands-on experiences. We were blessed with staff who stayed for a long time, due partly to the centre being a really nice place but also largely to the Co-ordinator. She and I became good friends and plan to keep in touch.

You know how some children fall apart when their parents leave them at daycare? I've always been very grateful that mine never did. I think I'm lucky to have children who separate well. But it turns out that I don't separate well. I was in tears as we said good-bye last Wednesday. On and off all day actually, because I was in there doing my last lot of statements, sending out my last bulletin (and don't think I didn't use it for my last little grandstand and personal good-bye because I did). I saw the babies at sleep time and remembered Cherub in that room - the easiest child to get to sleep in his day because he just pulled the sheet over his face and lay there quietly till he passed out - and I cried. After school I watched Climber play happily and beautifully in the sandpit with Cherub and all the little kids, who adore him and persecute him the second he walks through the door, Climber, Climber!, and I blinked back tears. I suppose no-one had to forcibly push me out the door as I wept but I did sniffle all the way home.

I joked in my last bulletin that I was considering having another baby just so we could stay but that I remembered just in time about sleepless nights and nappies. It's almost true.

I know kinder will be beautiful, but I am not good at shutting the door behind me...

We left the staff with chocolates and tim-tams; a small thankyou and not at all commensurate with the wonderful memories they gave to us.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


In the much over-hyped Sydney / Melbourne rivalry, here is one area where Sydney is a clear winner. They have cockroach supremacy. Bigger, uglier, more numerous and more pestilent. And virtually indestructible too. I remember staying in a hotel room in the western suburbs when a gigantic cockroach wandered across the floor. I was armed only with a soft rubber-soled suede boot, and had to pound it to death for a good 15 minutes. Of course, once it lay flat and still, and its guts were safely on the outside of its carcass, I ceased to beat it. More fool me. Five minutes later it was moving across my carpet once more, dragging its guts behind it. See? Sydney wins.

Melbourne has less cockroaches, and their size is puny by comparison. Until recently, when the warmer, dryer conditions forced the humble black bush cockroaches into our city. They are not pestilent or a menace to society, they probably don't even really want to live with us. According to the article you should really just grab the dustpan & brush and whisk them outside again.

So if you see one on top of your cereal box (on top, not inside) there is really no need to squeal, retch, knock it into your kitchen sink and then carve it in two with a butter knife, spray its dissected halves with a liberal dose of fly-spray and then wash it down the plug hole with hot water. That really would be excessive.

Friday, February 01, 2008

What we have been up to:

  • Back at school. In the Senior building. But he's not a senior yet, don't rush me kid!! They couldn't fit all the Grade 2 classes in the Junior building. He says he likes his new teacher - another male teacher! - and that he's nice and doesn't shout.

  • Enjoyed his party despite having no school friends and no Harry Potter theme. He started worrying that his party was not going to be up to scratch in the week beforehand which was making me feel awful, but as my friends so kindly reminded me, he had a perfectly good party despite its low-key-ness. And do you really need to organise a theme party when 3 boys can pick up twigs for wands and run the length of the park bellowing Expelliarmus and other spells in between diving for cover and hiding from any enemies?
  • Has been told some really good news on the job front but we're still waiting on confirmation. Touch wood, cross fingers.

  • Has booked holidays in a week's time to fix up the Yamaha for sale . So he can take me couch shopping.
  • Practising his pouncing. All. The. Time. He is really rather good at it.
  • Helps me blog.
Our socks.
  • Living in fear of Bertie the Sock Slayer. They are not even safe in their drawers, much less lying vulnerably in piles of unsorted clean washing.
  • Had his first ever swimming lesson. And got quietly anxious about it, which was so sweet. See, what he knows of swimming lessons is Climber in the big pool doing laps in the deep water. So at first he told me he was too little for swimming lessons. After I reassured him he'd be in the little pool and it would be fun, he was still slightly worried, but willing. Then on the morning of the class we had a discussion about goggles and whether he would like to borrow Climber's pair. To which he responded: I don't need any gobbles mummy, I'm not going under the water.
And he didn't. His teacher didn't push it. It's his first class after all.

He did have a really good time though.
  • Back at tap. I'm so happy. I've missed the weekly dancing, the endorphins rush and the smiling faces of my students. (And just quietly, it is really good to be earning again!! Things got a bit tight towards the end of January...) And the boards have been a big hit! Especially the stars.
  • Forgot to bring a knife to Climber's birthday party. Luckily Nell is a dab-hand with a toothpick.