Sunday, March 29, 2009

A fete and a break.

On a perfect autumnal day in Melbourne the Tap Kids and I gave another thoroughly enjoyable public performance, this time at a school fete. Rather than bombard you with another million photos, I will just share this one. (There are more pictures over here if you are interested, but only for Flickr members.)

These are the beautiful big kids but if you look closely you can see Astrid holding up my cheat sheet and me reading my instructions.

reading the cheat sheet_7965

Oh, go on, alright, I'll show you another one featuring the lovable littlies; off to the side you can see the group of teenage girls who had a ball copying all the moves.

littlies & the teenage fanclub_7935

Oh look, fine. I don't want to leave anyone out. Here are the marvellous middle-sizeds, going for the big finish. Ta-da.

Ta-da 7955

More fun at the fete was had checking out Jenny's craft stall. We couldn't walk away and leave these purple wheat bags behind, obviously.

This is all much nicer news than I had on Thursday night when one of my adult beginners fell over and broke her arm in class. It was just One Of Those Things, we weren't even doing anything difficult or dangerous. I have insurance, in case you are worried. Still feel crappy about it though.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Small Things

( Words & Pictures)

A cup of tea in the morning to help me wake gently and face the day. The driveway gates left open and the outside light shining bright for me when I come home after a night's teaching. They sound like small things, these little kindnesses.

He doesn't sweep me off my feet with grand gestures or lavish gifts. But he has driven me to work during thunderstorms when my own phobias have prevented me from doing it myself. He fixes my punctures. He fixes my aunt's punctures. Actually, he fixes everything. He accepts my utter squeamishness and deals with the vomit clean-ups and the dead birds. He comes to my tap performances and acts as my roadie.

He wanted to surprise me once with a pushbike. A friend passed on a red womens bike and he spent ages doing it up as a surprise, his little secret-in-the-shed that only he and the boys knew about. And then when it was finished he decided that my original chunky purple bike was far more me and fixed that up instead. I remember that as one of the most romantic things he's ever said to me.

He remembers (mostly) to tape shows for me when I'm out working, to turn my electric blanket on before bedtime on cold nights and to check first before he organises a night out or a weekend motorbike ride with his mates.

He's a male, he's fallible. He doesn't always get it right. But the small things he does for me, willingly, reliably and lovingly add up to a great big love.

small things_7904

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Treasure Hunt

Climber planned a Treasure Hunt for me as he lay in bed last night. This morning he put it all together. Here he is explaining it to me.

Treasure Hunt

Before he handed over the starting clue, he warned me about some of the scary imagery.

Treasure Hunt

The Starting Clue.

Treasure Hunt

Starting Clue.
Near the lego room their is a book shellf on the side look for a baby with a black and red cap. remember all the Clues have the words: Caroline open this
Good luck

Book shelf near the grown-ups' lego room. The baby with the black and red hat.

Treasure Hunt

Reading out Clue #1. Cherub follows us round raptly.

Treasure Hunt


...well done you have found Clue 1 you must now go to the
b _ y _ b _ d _ o _ m
were on the ground there will be some stair cases pick the right one the paten of the block is blue yellow green red and purple then take off the red well good luck
sined Skelliton Face

The B[o]y[s'] B[e]d[r]o[o]m

Treasure Hunt

Stair cases.

Look under the red...

Treasure Hunt

Aha! There's the purple...

...and here's my next clue.

Treasure Hunt

Clue#2 well done you found Clue 2 you now must go to the Islane bar and look for a lego man with black pants and a white somach and a yellow head.
Good luck

The Island Bar and the Lego Men.

Treasure Hunt

Which one, which one?

That money is not the treasure.

Treasure Hunt

Lego Hedwig delivers my post. Apt, very apt.

Another clue!

Treasure Hunt

Clue #3
well done this is your last clue go to the front door and a supirs awate's you...
(Note how encouraging his language is)

Front door.

Treasure Hunt

My surprise awaits me... (I opened the door and looked outside, expecting treasure on the ground. This made Climber snort and giggle madly because I'd walked straight past the prize)

My treasure.

Treasure Hunt

Hello Kitty!

Treasure Hunt

My treasure.

Treasure Hunt

Dear mum you have found your mistery prise congratulations
you are the best Person in the world (so is daddy)
here you go

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tapping at the Toy Library Fair 09.

Sunday March 15th, 11am.
Darling Gardens, Melbourne.

Totally adorable Small Kids. Happy Little Vegemites. And Nell in the background, borrowing the red coat and womanning the sound system. I brought my own equipment, and there were no malfunctions.

Gorgeous Middle-sized Kids. Under The Sea, a fairly complicated routine. This year each class had a brand new routine that they learned in just 4 weeks. The Middles love this one. Can we do it again? See Fixit paying close attention to his beloved family as they dance? (Edited to add that although he is talking to someone in this shot he was watching for the show and was also my number one roadie, hefting boards to and fro, and packing up on his own. So don't be misled by my flippancy, Fixit was 100% there for me.)

Totally talented Big Kids.

So clever.

Louie the Fly. Mortein genocide on all my innocent tap students. Check out Climber and [one of] his girlfriend [s] at the left of the picture, giving that extra bit of drama.

This is me wearing make-up. Doesn't actually happen a lot, and I got quite a few comments from people. Wondering if I should make more of an effort with myself now. Or if I was just freaking people out with my painted face. My FIL thought there was a stranger at family lunch that day.

Is that seriously what my butt looks like? Oh my God.

Cherub strikes a pose. It amazes me how relaxed all the kids are at the public shows. I always feel sick beforehand. They just get up and do their thing and have fun. Maybe it's because they get an icecream afterwards? Poor Climber. He was eyeing off the Mr Whippy truck all morning but Fixit said No because we were off to Grandma and Pa's for family lunch afterwards and lord knows there is no shortage of sugary treats there. But then Every Single One of his friends got to have a post-performance icecream and the poor kid was practically on his knees begging me to allow him to have one. I solved this dilemma by directing him to my Video-Cameraman (aka my Dad). Climber got the treat, parents kept face. Win-win.

I had to get one of the Mums to hold up a cheat sheet for the new routines, just so I always knew what was coming next. You can see her standing at the front of this picture, watching her son (they're both wearing black) and holding my paperwork. Although you can't see my head in this shot I am probably staring intently at her stomach. Autocue for tap-teachers, albeit a very low-tech one.


Monday, March 16, 2009

More Blog-meets

Just a few photos from the Stitches & Craft blogmeet. I was excited to meet the prodigiously clever and hilarious Jodie from Ric-Rac and she did not disappoint. It was also lovely to meet a host of fabbo craft bloggers. It was a really good night.

Thanks to the organiser [L] and the creator of my lovely present.[R]
(A book of poems by Eleanorfromthecommentbox)

Sooz_7845 Eleanor_7844

Better accounts of the evening here and here and here, thanks also to Pea Soup for driving me home!

Cheers. That's Janet with the beer.
I warned Eleanor how it would be.
Nicole, Jodie, Michelle_7848
Nicole, Jodie and Michelle who lives in the same street in Canberra that I used to. Well, I say I lived there, really it was the ex-boyfriends house. Small world. Also Jodie, don't forget. If she LOLs you, just ROFL her back.

Tomorrow I'll tell you all about the tap performance I did on Sunday.

You're Nicked_7851 The Bill_7853

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bad Bad Bertie Brown

The other night we watched Bertie Wooster speed-slink past the loungeroom door, and we knew. That guilty run of his means only one thing: he's caught some prey and he's hotfooting it to our bedroom to whack it round for a while. Before leaving it there to rot.

Sure enough we followed him into our bedroom to find an enormous rodent lying dead by the bed. It was a big mouse, big enough to be a small rat or a little marsupial. Much to Bertie's disgust, Fixit wrapped up the dead mouse / rat/ marsupial and put it in the outside wheelie bin. After which he closed all the windows and locked the bad cat out.

However, an hour later we walked into our bedroom again, only to find an identical large rodent in exactly the same spot. Leaving us to wonder: could Bertie have opened a wheelie bin and done a spot of retrieving?

We checked. No. Large Rodent #1 still there.

He'd gone and caught an identical rodent and placed it in the same spot. Just to teach us. I think it was his way of giving us the finger, frankly.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

School Lunches

I'm doing the Words and Pictures challenge set by Pip at Meet Me At Mikes.
(Once you get bitten by the
homework bug, you're hooked apparently.)
This week's theme is "school lunches". I think you can look at other participants from

Making school lunches for my children is no big deal. There is an upside to having fussy eaters, and it is that they don't complain about having the same old boring lunch every day: yoghurt, fruit log, sultanas, crackers, sandwich. I can assemble these ingredients in a very short period of time as I trudge around on sleepy feet, cup of tea in hand. The last task in the production line is always making the sandwiches. Ham for the Climber, Vegemite for the Cherub. Cut in half for the big boy and quarters for the small.

It is the sandwich cutting that triggers an odd emotional response in me, a strange leftover bit of angst from my childhood years. Angst over sandwich cutting, you ask? I could not blame you for wondering if there was some tragedy in my early life involving a bread knife and possibly the loss of a finger. But no. My schoolyard angst was rooted in the fact that my mother cut my sandwiches in rectangles, not triangles.

My younger self worried about this. The other mothers cut triangles for their kids. I thought this was the proper way, the method that gave you the best sandwich presentation and better biting access whilst eating. I thought my mother didn't know the right way to make sandwiches. It's just possible that my sandwich-related paranoia was triggered by some lovely schoolmate making a disparaging remark about the contents of my lunchbox. It would not surprise me in the least if this were so. But I don't remember that, I only remember the angst.

When I think about this more deeply, I can see it objectively: what need had my mother for sandwich mores? Why would anyone feel the need to keep up with the Jones' in this regard? My mother thought about classical music and art, about politics and social justice and rights for women. She didn't, and still wouldn't, give a flying fig for what Martha Stewart might say about her lunchbox presentation. I applaud this, I endorse this.

When I was older, Mum organised us into making our own school lunches; sandwiches and cakes made, then cut, wrapped and frozen. The Sunday night production line. Oddly enough, and despite my angst, I'm pretty sure that even when I gained sandwich autonomy, I cut my sandwiches in rectangles. They were much easier to freeze that way.

But look:

Look how I cut the sandwiches for my children.

Monday, March 09, 2009


This week saw Climber take his turn as the class "VIP". He got to sit on a beanbag during listening time instead of the hard old floor and was allowed to stand at the front of every line with a partner of his choice. In return he had to complete a couple of activities from the list of VIP options and fill in a double page all about himself in the VIP book.

Now, I'm pretty sure his teacher won't read this so I'm going to make a small admission here. I did a LOT of work on Climber's VIP week. When he said he wanted to do a magic trick I researched (to the tune of $9.95 for a book of magic tricks) an appropriate, fool-proof pick-a-card-any-card trick and then I made him practise and practise till it ran smoothly. I also organised a guest speaker for his class. (I have family in high places at the Melbourne Museum.)

You might be able to infer from this that I take homework seriously. (You should have seen me with the normal homework sheet from last fortnight, nag, nag, boss, boss.) Possibly too seriously, seeing as the success or otherwise of Climber's VIP week will have no bearing at all on his academic career. Still, once a girly swot, always a girly swot. And may I just say: VIP Student week my arse. It was bloody VIP Mother week here at Chez Fixit except I didn't get to sit in the beanbag.

Anyway, apart from the fact that his teacher was absent on his presentation day, I hear everything went smashingly well. My Aunt M was a wonderful guest speaker and impressively, she came bearing a stuffed platypus and a stuffed echidna for the kids to look at, which almost caused pile-ups in the corridor. (Are they real? they'd ask in passing and Aunt M said Yes but they're dead. Actually she might have said stuffed instead of dead.) The magic trick was also a success. He found 'the card' and managed his patter as well. (You see how much effort I put in here? Patter, I made him do patter.) I also organised the photos for his VIP book for him. Oh allright, and gave him a few suggestions as to the things he might include. I may have made spelling suggestions too. Climber did actually say to me (more than once) : Mum, this VIP thing doesn't have to be perfect you know. But that's just crazy talk.

Then, as if VIP week wasn't enough, Cherub got to take home the class toy for the weekend. Harry the Dirty Dog. Poor Cherub. He's been soooooo desperate to get Harry. In fact, last week he burst into the saddest tears twice, once in class with his adorable teacher and again as I picked him up, because for the third week running, another child got to take the toy dog. When I asked the teacher what her system of allocation was (alphabetical? age?) so I could prime Cherub on when he could expect his go, she looked at my tear-stained child and mouthed I think he might be SOON over the top of his head. So an ecstatic Cherub bounced out of class last Friday and Harry came to stay with us for the long weekend.

Harry the Dirty Dog comes to visit.

When Harry comes he brings with him the Dirty Dog Diaries but this was an easy homework challenge for a blogging Mum. We photographed him at the pool, in the bed, meeting Bertie Wooster and at tap class. I think it's made for a very good couple of pages for the Diary.

Only problem is, I've done all this fabulous work and I won't get any feedback for it. It's not even graded so I can't cross my fingers for an "A". And then I thought, wait. I know where I can put my homework for some feedback.



Friday, March 06, 2009

The Night We Felt the Earth Move

So the kids were in bed but not asleep, and Fixit and I were sitting on the loungeroom floor (old habits die hard I suppose - the new couch is perfectly comfortable) when the ground started shaking. Our brains could not make any sense of it. At all. We just sat there looking surprised for a few seconds. Vibrations, quite big ones, coming up through our floor.

Fixit at first accused the kids of rough-housing on the bunkbed, but really we knew it was a tremor. He's felt one before, years ago, but I never had. The only information that came into my completely freaked out brain was that everyone needed to stand under a door frame. So we did. I mean, the shaking had stopped by then but we still stood under the door-frames, just in case. As you do.

The kids were completely unnerved, and I think it was worse in the top bunk because Climber was fighting back a few frightened tears. We went out the front door to have a look. What were we expecting to see, crevices in the front yard? Everything was quiet and we were the only ones who came outside in our street.

The instinct in that situation is to reach out to others, so Fixit rang a friend who lives nearby, and his parents, and I came down to the computer where I watched Facebook and Twitter light up. Oddly comforting to hear about it from others.

Still haven't seen Bertie Wooster, who had been quite the psycho cat earlier that evening. Did he know? They say they do.

The kids were soothed and sent back to bed. It took a lot longer for my jumping nerves to calm. The thing is, I think, that here in Victoria, we're a little bit scared of Mother Nature right now.

Bertie Wooster - Action Kitteh

Stumpy Legs_5407

Pictures taken by my sister on the fancy camera.

Boxing Cat_5481

I've just discovered LOLcatz. (I'm a bit behind). Unfortunately I am no good at funny captions.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Stupid Cat

stupid cat_7794

Somehow he failed to notice this really big cake as he went to investigate the dinner smell near the oven. There was a lot of paw-shaking and paw-licking afterwards.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


The thing about blogging and the interweb is that you can end up being friends with people who are geographically very far away from you. People you'd really like to meet in person but don't realistically think you ever will.

Tracey of Peppermint Patcher blog was one of those people, someone I've liked and read for a few years now. She lives in Far North Queensland, I live in Melbourne. May as well be the Equator to the South Pole.

But then she and her husband Pete just stepped into an aeroplane last weekend and flew down here to see me. Just like that. (There may also have been a quilt show she was interested in and some other bloggers she was keen to meet. But I don't want to spoil the story with distracting details.)

I organised a blogmeet with Melbourne blog-friends for the Saturday night. This earned me a set of lovely purple coasters from Frogdancer, just for some emailing. How nice is she? Here, look. Pretty.

This is us at the blogmeet. I only had a skerrick of battery left in the camera which is why I had to post the shot where the girls were trying to hide the wine bottle. There were also 2 husbands present but they were shy. Or taking the photo.

Blogmeet for Tracey_7781

From left to right we are Pea Soup, Craftymum, moi, Tracey, Fairlie, Frogdancer, Matching Pegs, Don't Look Now. An excellent group of people, and the evening flew by.

Tracey gave everyone there one of her little love chickens. This is mine. I think it should be a Christmas decoration but am loathe to hide it for the other 11 months of the year so I have to think of an off-season occupation for my little chicky.

I was desperate to see Tracey's Imagine That blankies so I invited her and Pete over on Sunday evening. The quilts, which feature a photograph of a child of your choice in a fantasy setting of their choice, are superb and even nicer than they look in the photographs. Cherub liked this one the best.

The boys were most impressed with the quilts. Come to that, the boys were very impressed with Tracey and Pete. Pete got taken out to the backyard where he was made to engage in various sporting activities and Tracey was called upon to admire trampoline prowesses, and to read the story she'd so kindly bought for them. Bedtime was delayed because Cherub kept getting up from bed to give Tracey one more kiss.

Tracey reads to Cherub_7786

They charmed us all, did Tracey and Pete.