Sunday, May 30, 2010

Typhoid Climber

I kept trying to work out where Climber could possibly have contracted chicken pox and have come to the conclusion that it must have been at the Titanic Exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. He and I went to see the exhibition the Monday before the Friday he came down with it, as part of his Mental Health Day Off From School. He has been unhappy at school lately for non-specific reasons, so I figured a day off might break the gloom, instead of which he ended up itchy and sick. C'est la vie, I suppose.

Climber was also mortified because the Principal sent a letter home to all families to notify them about a case of chicken pox in the school. Whilst she didn't name him, she did say which grade it had broken out in and now he is feeling like Typhoid Mary, not helped by all his classmates reading the letter and saying that's you, that's you, stay away!

He's still got some nasty looking scabs but not much itch and he seems almost fully well, just a tad on the tired and emotional side. During the week he came up with the very nice idea of a family post box where we could write little notes to each other, which he would deliver on Saturday morning. And by deliver, he meant chuck them on the floor of the recipient's bedroom. I thought he'd be coming round to each of us personally.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chicken Pox

One of the best reasons for writing this blog is so that in 20-odd years time when my memory is even more ruined than it is now, and Climber for whatever reason phones me and says Do you know if I've had the chicken pox? I will be able to execute a quick search and say to him Why yes darling, you had it when you were 9 and a quarter, despite the fact that you and your brother were both vaccinated against it as babies, and it was a reasonably mild case.

Chcken Pox 3137

And then if he wants to know anything more about it I'll be able to tell him that he got his symptoms on a Friday night and saw a Doctor on Saturday afternoon and by then we'd pretty much missed the local chemists and so I made a judgement call that a mild case would not warrant a special trip to a far-away chemist and that was a shame because he then proceeded to have a very bad night and I only had a hotch-potch of home-made recipes to help him with, like the not terribly effective oatmeal bath before bedtime (made from pureeing some rolled oats which I think destroyed the blender motor), and the calamine lotion in a spray bottle that I gave him to get him through the night which wasn't anywhere near good enough, so he spent basically from 12-3am awake and in distress, till I got him up and put him in a bath with all the available bicarb and some drops of lavender oil and then daubed the worst sores with lavender oil and that let him sleep through till morning. And then he'll be able to say Thanks Mum and I might hear him telling his partner that they really ought to go to chemist immediately for phenergan and pinetarsol bath solution just in case, but to check the stores of bicarb and lavender oil as a back-up. And I'll be able to ask him if there's any other disease he needs to know about because I know for a fact that he had scarlet fever when he was three-ish, also parvovirus and molluscums at about age 8, both of which his brother had too, and when is he coming round for dinner and to help us move the heavy thing?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mad About The Boy

Having the new kitty is, as Jac predicted, making me remember the last kitty, but not in a sad way anymore, which is a good thing. And this is not only because we keep accidentally calling poor Basil Bertie. It's about and because of their differences really; we'll observe that Basil is barely noticeable when he sleeps in our bed and remember that Mister-light-sleeping-Fixit was always having to turf Bertie out because of Bertie's determination to sleep under the doona. Or we'll see how sweet-natured Basil is and remember how Bertie was endearingly a bit of a bad-ass, right from the start. As Basil squirms uncomfortably when we pick him up we'll think back to the way Bertie was completely happy and relaxed lying on his back in our arms.

Suddenly and belatedly I found myself pondering the wisdom of letting myself get attached to another little ball of fur when losing the last one had so totally broken my heart - but by then Basil was in our home and had stolen into my affections without me quite realising. He's just so very sweet you see, and funny, and lovely, and loving. So now we are just relishing having a pet in the family again, and being kept amused by all his little ways.

There's the way he seeks out your lap as soon as you sit down....

Basil helps with homereading 3031

... and the way he goes all ninja when he playfights you (mid-air somersaults or sideways roundhouse kick-pounces, completely hilarious and unexpected).

ninjakitty 2978

There's his predilection for shoes; always either trying to sit on or in between your feet if you stand in front of a heater for long enough or else attacking shoelaces for all he's worth.

And just general cuteness and prettiness, really. This is how I found him when I came home from school drop-off the other day, enjoying a bit of table soccer.

Foosball Kitty 3055

When Bertie disappeared I spent ages listening out for him, hoping to hear the noise of him jumping through the back window. So it is so very nice to have kitty noises in the house again, purrs and thuds, a meow when the fridge is opened, a mad galumphing of small furry feet as he does a psycho-run through the house, legs skidding out the side from under him as he flails madly round the corner, all these things we missed since Bertie went away. I think my favourite noise is the cat-induced laughter in the house, especially when he play-fights us, because then what I hear is ha ha ha Ow.

ha ha ow 3020

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Granny Goodness

I'm a big admirer of the work of both Victoria Mason and Kirsty from Kootoyoo, and was watching with delight when they collaborated on this teeny granny square necklace.

victoria mason granny square necklace

So I was very excited when they announced they were giving it away and over the moon when I found out I was the lucky winner.

victoria mason granny square necklace3074

Thank you so much Kirsty and Victoria for your talent and generosity! To see more of Victoria's gorgeous jewellery (who wouldn't want a ring with a Nice biscuit on it, hmm?) go here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fair exchange no robbery

Apparently, toddlers are meant to become fussy eaters as a biological imperative. In that, once they learn how to walk & start wandering off on their own, they must outgrow that babyish habit of putting everything in their mouth or risk death by brightly coloured poisonous berries and the like. Unfortunately, both my children were fussy eaters even before they hit that annoying no-eat stage, so the toddler close-down on tasting and trying new stuff has been (a) of epic proportions and (b) going on for ever round here.

I reckon Climber was about 7 before he'd even try something as radical as a hot-dog with sauce, but at least his sweet-tooth led him to try new stuff if it was coated with sugar. And these days he is reasonably good about trying new and different food -thank you Masterchef- although the incident with the snow-peas (both children in tears because I made them eat ONE DELICIOUS SNOW-PEA each OMG WTF) was a slight blip in his improving record. At least he tried to like the snow-pea - which is why he ended up distressed - unlike Cherub who viewed it with misgiving from whoa-to-go and was never going to like it, never. Cherub, you see, is just terrible, and even sweet stuff is viewed with distrust. I have to tell you that as chief food provider, I find it more than a little insulting, this suspicion in my child's mind that I am continually trying to find new ways to poison him.

Anyway. The menu at our house, especially where the children are concerned, is limited and repetitive. And then last Saturday night as I was scouring the fridge for something easy, nutritious and quick to serve them for dinner, I bethought me of boiled eggs and decided to give them a shot, knowing that Climber likes scrambled and poached eggs and in fact, greedily scoffed one of the boiled eggs we'd cooked for Easter decorating which had cracked and couldn't be used. So I boiled up the eggs and served them with raw carrot-sticks and the pumpkin-pea-and-corn fritters known as Shrek Patties round these parts. Climber said yum and proceeded to polish off everything, but I took one look at Cherub's face and knew that even if he liked the boiled egg, he wasn't going to like the boiled egg. We tried. We put salt on, we put it in on toast, we talked it up, but eventually I knew I was looking down the barrel of stand-over tactics (which I hate using for food, except for the bit where I use dessert as a carrot-and-stick ie all right then no icecream for you) or: Bribery.

And that is how, my friends, even though I am anti trading-cards (waste of paper and money), especially the Australian Rules Football cards that all Cherub's Grade One friends are mad for, to the point that I didn't even let Cherub use his own money to buy the stupid official AFL folder he's been begging me for, because we don't even watch or care about the AFL, that is how we came to this:


One stupid football card folder paid for with his own money in exchange for eating a boiled egg without whinging. I think the expression on his friend's face shows exactly my opinion of those stupid cards, but the good news is, he ate the egg. With barely any whinging and only slowed by his continually popping out of his chair to discuss and arrange exactly where and when he could go and buy the folder.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Adventures in Knitting

Let me introduce myself. My name is Stomper Girl, and I am a beginner crafter, with my L-plates firmly stuck to the back of my sewing machine. In 2007 I received my first knitting lesson (and here's my first ever completed project, oh the pride) but I've also tried my hand at t-shirt embellishment, card-making, and sewing (bags, soft toys, clothing, bunting and tea-towels to name a few.) Actually, now I look back on it, there's a goodly swag of creations. I might be eligible for P-plates soon.

Craft Mosaic
Craft Mosaic2

I think the reason why I've cast my net so wide is my shortish attention span and my gung-ho attitude : I can probably do that! and I don't really care if it's a bit crap.

Anyway. My sewing machine is a bit dodgy at the moment so although I have plans for some skirt-making, I've put them to one side and picked up my knitting again, which was neglected during the hot summer months. Ages ago, I'd flicked through my own Bible of Beginner Crafting (aka the Meet Me At Mikes book) and liked the look of the Chevron Clutch by Kylie of Kgirlknits. The specifications called for 2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden Yarn, but because I am gung-ho and all about instant gratification (if I want to start a project I want to start it now, right now) I just wandered into Lincraft, couldn't find any Noro yarn and without further ado picked up a skein of purplish variegated yarn that said it was silk. Then I put it in the knitting bag and forgot about it over summer.

chevron clutch 3006

But, as I said: dodgy sewing machine, cooler weather = knitting. So now I will tell you about the things I have learned since commencing work on the Chevron Clutch.
  1. If you buy yarn in a skein you should wind it into a ball BEFORE you start knitting with it. Otherwise there will be tangles.
  2. To wind your skein into a ball you should use the back of a chair, (or your offspring's hands but I doubt modern children would put up with this the way both Fixit's parents tell me they were forced to) or better still get a methodical friend to do it for you.

    nell winds the skein 3000
    (Nell with another skein of wool found in an op-shop by Pea Soup and kindly given to me because of my known colour preferences. Basil is helping her.)

    On no account should you attempt this in the car while waiting to pick the kids up from school. This will result in tangles. (It is also not advisable to let your kitty get involved with your yarn but if you are still in the he's so new and so cute love stage you'll probably ignore this advice.) If you, like me, are gung-ho, and completely ignorant of knitting lore, then pray you have a nice Mother-in-Law who will sit patiently with you on Mother's Day and help you detangle, despite her arthritic fingers.
  3. Don't make uninformed guesses about wool substitution. Just don't. The yarn I started with was too thick, and too stiff, knotty and bobbly. This meant that knitting in front and back was a nightmare, and a row of purl (110 stitches) took me 35 minutes and made me late for pick-up, plus gave me severe cramps in my hand. I ended up pulling the whole thing out. The yarn itself is now in about 5 small balls of wool due to it's breaking during skein detanglement, oh, and the bit the kitty bit off. If I ever get over my hatred of it (and let's face it, it wasn't the wool's fault that I used the wrong needles and pattern on it) I might make a scarf, but only after I get proper knitting advice on what needles to use. Which might be tricky seeing as I threw out the cardboard label telling me the specifications.
    bad wool chevron2988

  4. The bit I really really hate about knitting is stitch counting. And because I am a crap knitter I have to go back and count my stitches a lot. Especially if I am knitting and watching telly. And I quite often have little knitty accidents like pulling too hard to get a stitch off and losing the next one or just stitches sliding merrily off the needle when I take a sip of wine and then I have to go back and count again, and man that's annoying.
In the end I went to a wool shop and asked someone for help. She counted stitches against a ruler and said 8-ply was the answer, so I bought some [purple] 8-ply. And I've got the chevron pattern happening now but this is going to take a while to knit I think. My technique is a bit dodgy so I'm still working out how to move the knitting along the needle smoothly for the next stitch - there MUST be a better way than I'm doing at the moment which involves stabbing my index finger repeatedly with the pointy end of the needle, I'm sure that's not how the clicketty knitters do it. Also someone commented once on the fact that I lift my hand off the needle to pass the wool around so I'm trying not to do that but it all feels a bit crap and since everyone seems to have a slightly different technique I haven't done much research on correcting mine. Because gung-ho, instant gratification etc.

Also, when I look at the picture in the pattern, I seem to have way more chevrons than the clutch so I'm a bit worried about that.Not enough to stop, mind and research it. But I seem to have 10 dip-down bits and clutch looks like it has 5. Does anyone else think that? *Edited to add, I went back to check the pattern, you fold it in half and sew it together at the side, thus the need for twice as many. Make that 5 things I've learned doing this project: 5. Reading the whole pattern before you start is a good idea.

chevron knitting3007

Anyway, it's good to learn stuff, even if, like me, you do it the hard way!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stitches, Craft and Random

I keep forgetting to tell my (horsey) sister that I've finally been inside Caulfield Race Track! But only because I went to the Stitches & Craft show last Friday, not a live horse in sight. The happening place to be for blogger-types was definitely the Ric-Rac stall with Jodie and her Mum. Everybody comes to visit Jodie. Her stall was a hive of bloggers and blog-readers. Jodie's Mum is very good value, I have to say, despite the evil eye (apparently it was a bit red on the train and the next thing they knew, evil). And Jodie's stall was ace, her stuff is all wonderful, her packaging is superb and she uses Australian currency to stabilise a couple of her soft toys. It's true! She's a great girl, is Jodie.
Stitches & Craft Show 1133
(Jodie's Mum, Jodie and another blogger whose name I've forgotten. Sorry about the blurry shot! and look! spot my tap poster on Jodie's stall wall.)
While I was there I met Tania (Myrtle and Eunice) and Cindy (Bug and Pop) and forced them to have their photo taken with me in front of Tania's extraordinary crafty sandwich board (all hand-sewn and the best blanket-stitching I've ever seen!), and I am, as threatened, posting said photo because I am a woman of my (evil) word.
Stitches & Craft Show 1134
(That's Tania on my left and Cindy on my right)
I also got to hang out with Stacey (Sheeps Clothing) and watched in awe as she got people to crochet or knit small objets at the Craft Bar. She's very good, you know. I watched her crochet demo, and thought I could do that crocheting thing. I didn't though, no seats left at the baaa (that's a woolly joke for you there, you're welcome). Stacey and I ventured downstairs to check out Shannon (Aunty Cookie) getting all the high stuff down for short people at the Kelani Fabric stall. I meant to take a picture of the red and white cookie skirt she had on her stall because it was so lovely but we were too busy chatting. I also met Curlypops, bought some Pippijoe craft panels but was too shy to introduce myself, agonised about whether to get the purple key fabric from the Ink & Spindle stall but decided I'd already spent enough at that stage and somehow, on my way out, ended up sitting down for a sewing machine demonstration with Pat from Camberwell Sewing Machines because she made me.
* * * * * * * * * *
Just days after I was wondering to myself whether it wasn't time to throw out all our playdough, the boys rediscovered it of their own accord and have been having a wonderful time playing with it. So I guess it stays.

(playdough being squished out as hair)
* * * * * * * * * *
Basil is settling in fantastically. He's lovely. And a bit posh. Prefers his water from a glass. Thus:

* * * * * * * * * *


Climber has a laugh trigger game with his best friend at school. He says a series of words and the friend tries not to laugh. His friend can never not laugh. The laugh trigger words are:
Raspberry plastic ticklebear
If that doesn't break him up, Climber then says:

He tried it on me, and I didn't laugh the first time, but somehow the combination of repetition, 2 giggling boys and those quite silly words has turned it into a laugh trigger for me too. I can just make it through him saying raspberry plastic ticklebear, but elbow gets me every time.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

This is my 10th Mothers Day of being a Mother. Far out, brussel sprout.


These are my special presents. Flowers from Fixit, chocolates, a mobile-phone charm and a bracelet from Climber, and a tea-light candle holder thing and a silk purse from Cherub.


If my children give me a candle-type present I tell them it's lovely. If anyone else gave me a candle-y present I would be very underwhelmed. I might look like a hippie but I'm pretty paranoid about housefires.


Happy Mothers Day to all the Mums out there, especially Persiflage and Elaine xx.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Garbage Juice

Mister Fixit and I hardly ever go on dates at the moment, but we did manage to get out during April to see a Comedy Festival show: Lover, Fighter, Dancer by Sarah D.

Nell was Le Babysitter (her rates are VERY reasonable) and Fixit and I took a tram into the city on a Saturday night, and saw the show at the Eurotrash Bar. It was a good laugh, and made me think that someone ought to give her her own television show, only our tiny television industry doesn't really work like that. Then we ate a pretty average meal in Chinatown (it was a Japanese meal, maybe that was the problem? Actually, I don't think I've ever eaten well in Chinatown, someone needs to tell me where to go next time), before tramming it home again. All in all, a good night out, even if we were home by 10.45pm. I can sit up at the computer till midnight, but drag me out on the town and my face is splitting with yawns by 10pm. Sad.

The reason we did actually haul our arses out was because we knew the girl doing the show, and because our children were in it. Well, when I say in it, what I mean is: it was a skit-based show, so in between skits when the performers were madly doing costume changes, she screened pre-recorded comedy advertisements, mostly crazy info-mercials.

Our kids were in the ad for Garbage Juice. It was pretty funny, and fairly disgusting. The version shown here is the family friendly one, the proper show-version featured some rather less savoury items in the garbage (hint, think iron and protein but I'll leave that to your imaginations.)

I of course thought the boys were completely adorable in it, and nearly burst with pride when we saw it. I only just restrained myself from digging nearby audience members in the ribs to tell them they'd just watched my progeny. Hey, I'd had a few wines by then. But this afternoon when I screened a copy of it for the kids to see, Cherub covered his face in embarrassment and then burst into tears. Climber liked it though.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Basil The Cat Q&A

Our last kitty was called Bertie Wooster, which was a name I absolutely LOVED. It was really hard to think of a name that could live up to that, especially because Cherub kept nagging me: he needed the name NOW. So I was harassed-ly flicking through my mental library of well-known literary or real or film/tv characters and Basil Fawlty cropped up. Basil seemed like a good name. When he's naughty I can do my Sybil Fawlty impersonation. Basil! We most definitely do not say Bay-sil in Australia.

Basil 2867

We got the new kitty from a breeder in Macclesfield, which is a long drive from our house, all the way to the Dandenongs. His breeder was recommended to us by Bertie's breeder, and I'd been watching the ad for him for a couple of weeks while I agonised over whether we could afford him, in light of the great motorcycle disaster. Of course, we can't, not really. But he was still there after a couple of weeks, so I figured it was meant to be. He is, after all, a lilac burmese.

Basil 2862

The family who sold him to us had 3 very nice boy-children and such was their rapport with my kids that the Climber and their eldest boy exchanged email addresses and have been sending each other little messages all day. It also turned out that the family ran an online toy shop so I was able to buy the kids a Sonic Screwdriver at the same time, because I have started letting the kids watch Doctor Who this year. It scared them so much the first time that Cherub was glued to my lap and Climber was awake from 12.30am to 2am that first time, but they've got the hang of it now.

Doctor Climber attacks a Dalek-Cherub with the Sonic Screwdriver

Basil is a Burmese cat, they make extra good pets because they are so friendly and clever and affectionate and playful. Even better, he is a lilac Burmese, which considering the whole purple fixation I have going on, made him fairly irresistible to me. He even has a purple nose.

Really well, considering he's just been ripped from his home, his mother and his many kitten friends and siblings. He seems to have a really sweet nature, not so much of the bad-ass attitude of the last puss. He's successfully acquainted himself with the litter-tray (after having an accident on the sheepskin rug I'd given him to make him feel comfortable). He's eating, he's cuddling, he's slept on Cherub's bed, he's played. He's just lovely actually. He's not 100% at home yet, but he's doing really well.

Teeny. Soft. He has a croaky meow like a creaky door. Extremely pretty. Smoochy. Still a bit nervous, but getting braver.


Oh yeah, baby.

Saturday, May 01, 2010