Thursday, July 29, 2010


About a month ago I was surprised by a gorgeous gift from bloggy friends, Kirsty and Sussanah. They sent me some divine purple merino 8-ply and the sweetest pair of knitting needles you ever saw, made from Tasmanian Oak with purple spotty knobs on the end.

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I was desperate to knit something with both these items, but the yarn and the needles were not meant to be used together. I showed the needles to knitting expert Stacey who advised me to get 10 ply wool, so, armed with that knowledge, I dived first into Lincraft to get me some yarn (harder than I thought it would be, there were exactly 3 choices in 10-ply and two of them were acrylic) and then into Ravelry, online knitting wundersite, to see if I could find a project that fitted my yarn, my needles and my abilities.

The yarn I used was Jet by Patons, and actually, I think it's the same I used ages ago to make a pair of wrist-warmers, with the lovely Monet sunset colour scheme. The pattern was Calorimetry by Kathryn Schoendorf, and I really enjoyed knitting it. It was quick and easy, and that's how I like them. It was also an excellent handbag project, because I could pick it up and put it down again without losing my place.


The only problem with it was answering the question what are you knitting? Because I can knit a calorimetry, easy-peasy, but I'm not sure I can pronounce it properly. Ca-LOR-i-meh-TREE?

The name has something to do with measuring heat lost or gained, but as I see it, it's basically a hat for the days you want to wear a pony-tail. I think it would also look awesome on thick curly hair.

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I'm a bit happy with it. Just got to find the right project for the purple merino now....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hello the Outside World

The kitty has had a big couple of days. Friday he went to the vet to be vaccinated, micro-chipped and castrated. He recovered very quickly, came home and ate and played as per normal. Gosh his little shaved .. er... area... looks peculiar though. Saturday we gave him his very first collar. It's still on him too, although he got the bell off. (Bertie Wooster the badass had his first collar off in under an hour, and then went on to 'lose' several collars in his short life.) And then today, Sunday, we let Basil outside for the first time. He had a very big look around, and frankly, he thought I took him inside way too soon.


It was very interesting out there.


See the big block of vacant land behind Cherub in this next picture? The neighbour's shed was actually the fence between our properties and now it's all been demolished we're left with this gaping hole. So handy for robbers. On the bright side, the boys had spectacular fun this morning playing in the mud there. Climber's white Dunlop Volleys are now officially the Worst Shoes In The World.


Seeing as there's no real way of keeping the kitty confined to our property he will only be going outside with supervision at the moment. One visit to the vet is quite enough for the time being!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fixits vs Creeps

Fixit and I confronted the threatener-Dad in the playground on Wednesday, and this is how I would score it:

Delaying the confrontation by a week so that Fixit was with me? WIN. Excellent decision. He stood there strong and true and wouldn't take crap from the man, which allowed me to say most of the things that needed to be said.

Getting through to the creep? FAIL. He blustered and lied and denied and took no responsibility. Interestingly I think the incident has been weighing on his conscience because he knew exactly what we were talking about, despite it having happened 9 months ago. He did initially flirt with trying to pretend he didn't, but then quickly changed tack and swung between playing it down (it wasn't threatening, apparently) or asserting his right to protect his own child, and once he even tried to shift blame for the incident onto Climber. What a nice guy he is, to be sure. He also tried to tell us he didn't know who Climber's parents were to speak to at the time, which is an awful lie, and one that we called him on, with maximum derision. He and I have spoken many times, and his dreadful wife absolutely knows who I am.

Demonstrating to our kids that we have got their backs? WIN. And that was one of the reasons for going through with it. I explained to Climber later what had happened and said quite openly that a mature adult would have felt sorry for so frightening a child, but that this creep is both dumb and mean, so no luck there. But I said to Climber main thing is, we are looking out for you and the creep knows that now.

Demonstrating to that family not to mess with us? WIN. Pretty sure anyway. You can't always tell with nutters.

Saying all the well-thought out things that I wanted to say? SCRAPED A PASS. The guy's bluster and denials and lies were off-putting, and meant that he got to be in charge of some of the conversation. But having Mister Fixit standing next to me saying bullshit! at regular intervals meant that we were able to press on. The one thing I really wish I'd got to say was how would you feel if someone had done that to your child? because that was going to be my killer line but oh well, I'll just save it up for if the wife decides to have a go.

Have we made things better or worse by saying something? ie will it now escalate unpleasantly? REMAINS TO BE SEEN. Let's not forget that they are unstable, selfish and mean-minded.

Use of confrontation as a means to calm me down? WIN. I've had this gnawing feeling in my guts ever since Climber told me about it. As soon as we'd had our chat with the creep, my stomach settled. Brain's still thinking about it but less and less every day.

How did it end? Well, it ended with us walking away from him in disgust and I have to say, I was, in my Pollyanna-ish way, very disappointed with him as a person, even though I did kind of know what sort of weasel he probably was. But still! Why can't people be better, hmm? My parting words to the creep, issued in scornful tones as we both stalked away, were I've reported you to the school. Keep away from my children. And I think Fixit may have called him a scumbag. I guess if Mr Creepy wasn't going to rise above, then we had to sink to his level a bit to get the point across. I'm happy with our exit lines actually. I think we told him. On balance it feels like a win.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Young Love

Someone has scratched I love Climber F. into the stairwell under the school library. When Climber and his posse discovered it they were bursting with curiosity to find out who had written it. Climber and I had a big chat about it. He wasn't sure how he should be feeling. I said I'd feel flattered that someone liked me enough to risk defacing school property. (I had to just try and imagine it, mind. To my knowledge no-one has ever scratched my name into anything. *le sigh*) But I said he shouldn't try and find out who it was. I said if it was scratched by someone he liked, he'd feel embarrassed in their company. And, if the person he liked found out he knew she'd written it, she'd be embarrassed round him. That's just way too much embarrassment for little 9-year-olds to cope with. And if it was someone he didn't like then he'd still feel embarrassed but also possibly revolted. Ignorance is bliss, I said. Just take the compliment and move on.

Climber and his current obsession: Meerkats.

Meanwhile, the gorgeous feisty tomboy in Cherub's class wrote this letter to Cherub.


(If there are parts of this letter that are incomprehensible to you, try inserting the following:
trade football cards
tiggy - ie chasies, tag)

I think it is an awesome letter, so open and enthusiastic and vibrant and affectionate. It may well be the best love letter he ever gets in fact. He thinks it's okay but he is far more interested in football cards, and wearing his new St Kilda jumper (early birthday present from Grandma and Pa) to school so he can show his friends.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blog blurt, post school holidays

Yesterday they demolished the house next door.

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It took 20 minutes to knock a whole house down.
It's taken two days to clean up the debris.
Cherub was very worried about breathing in the dust.


This was the view from my kitchen window.

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The noise of all that heavy machinery is driving me a bit mental.

The kids are back at school.
We had a great school holidays.
As well as our big family trip to the maze, we went to the Museum, ...


... Scienceworks, the Zoo, ...


... the pool, Fed Square, ...


a castle park (full of wooden forts and stuff), ...


... had visits to or from friends, including Stacey and her boys who came over to meet the kitty, saw Toy Story 3 (waaah!), slept-in a lot, watched dvds, and generally trashed the house.

We've been loving the World Cup but every time Climber watched any soccer he immediately ran outside to have a kick and came back in covered in mud, a major contributor to the house-trashing mentioned above. He was playing the Kids' World Cup in his head, I'm pretty sure the Kid Socceroos won it too. The boys are fascinated with my crush on Socceroos captain Lucas Neill: Mum come and watch the ad Lucas Neill is going to smile! or Mum what would you do if you met him? (answer: get really embarrassed and tongue-tied.)

I cleaned the house up Monday, their first day back at school. Me, not the cleaning lady. Having a cleaning lady has given me a reduced threshold for coping with household disgracefulness.

I've made up the start of 2 new routines for the new term of tap-dance, only 6 more to do.

I've (well alright then, Uncle Mark has) done my tax for last year and the year before and the news, most surprisingly, was good not bad. I thought we'd have to pay but some low-income offsets came to our aid.

I reported the threatener parent to the school, first thing Monday morning. The principal and Climber's teacher were not in the least bit surprised (the family's reputation precedes them) but they're not, they say, really able to do much because it happened off school property and 9 months ago. They did call Climber in for a big reassuring pep talk and he says it was really good and made him feel very supported. I still think I need to confront the scumdogs myself, just so they know I know. Looking back, I think they were tip-toeing round me last year expecting an outburst but now they think they got away with it. I don't know what to say to be honest. They've actually been in my sights in the playground twice now and I didn't march up to them. I feel a bit overwhelmed, like I'm too angry to start, and worried that if I go up when I'm still this emotional about it I'll end up stooping to their level. I don't want to stoop to their level obviously because they are dickheads, even if part of me thinks it might actually be the best way of getting my point across.
Fixit has holidays next week so I'm thinking it might be better to have him there too, looking imposingly big and strong and cranky at them.
One thing holding me back from going up to them was that I was struggling to come up with a good strong opening line. Maybe you threatened my child? what were you thinking?

Or there's always this one:

my name is inigo montoya
you threatened my child
prepare to die.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

School Holiday Bitzer Edition


After carefully counting out the days on a calendar, Cherub realised there was only 90 more sleeps! till his birthday and immediately began preparation of the Secret Birthday List, which I am not allowed to look at. I said how can I get you what you want if you won't show me the Secret List? and he quite saw that that might make shopping a problem so he will let me see it as of September 15th. It was going to be a mere one week before the birthday but we haggled.

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Yesterday we took Nell and the boys to Arthur's Seat to run around The Enchanted Maze. We had a great time. As well as a proper hedge maze, there were brain teaser mazes, like the giant tyre one where you have to get to the middle following the red-blue-green pattern, or the one where you can only turn left or go straight ahead. There was also a childrens' maze featuring a big Snakes and Ladders game (Cherub defeated me) and to cap it all off, a lolly shop. The boys loved it, and we adults also had a good time.

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Look, two Cherubs!

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Mister Fixit was once again awarded Outstanding (in his stream) Apprentice at TAFE but the award ceremony was a daytime event, possibly un-catered, so we didn't go like last year. The certificate arrived in the mail last week, unaccompanied by a cheque sad to say. Last year it was a sponsored award and he received $200. But Fixit says he'll tell his work about the award because when his work eventually got the memo about last year's achievement (6 months after the fact) they gave him a Myer voucher for $100.

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And Fixit's Mum says if work doesn't come up with the goods this year, she'll get him something. So ace.

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We've done a lot of talking with and in front of Climber (and Cherub) re the whole dropkick-threatener-Dad situation and I hope the lesson my boys have come away with is that they absolutely must come talk to us if anything like that ever happens again. I'm still very cranky and not hiding that from the kids. As we read Harry Potter together the other night I said I'd love to send The Loathsome Bully a Howler, right in the schoolyard. How good would that be? Climber tells me that if he'd seen the Creep in the playground he used to detour so as not to walk near him. Flipping heck.

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I mentioned in Climber's hearing that I thought that the way in which Climber had been so fulsomely and excessively punished for a relatively minor wrong-doing (he laughed at the other child, for goodness' sake!) had resulted in him feeling unfairly hard done by when he'd received other more legitimate tickings-off during the last 6 months since that idiot threatened him. It was like the scales fell from Climber's eyes when I said that, he said yes, that's exactly how I did feel! That really makes sense. I suspect that all that non-specific misery he's been feeling about school was in large part related to this, and am therefore hoping he can now relax and enjoy again, and concentrate on learning.

Even though this was a negative thing to have happened, we can still take some positives away from it. Such as learning that the worst thing you can do in such a situation is to bottle it up and not tell someone, and that bad things are survivable.

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