Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Week

Monday, as you know, my step-father died.  But our life still went on, so in between phone calls and stuff, the boys had to go to tennis and then I had to go off to teach tap.

On Tuesday, Climber had his school swimming carnival.  He made the final in every event which is awesome, and squeaked a ribbon for 4th place in the butterfly.  I'd really thought he was going to do very well this year, given his performance last year against boys a full year older than him, but what kept him out of contention for ribbon glory was lack of race experience. The kids who do swimming 'squad' were pretty much cleaning up in every event.  I think he was a little bit dashed not to have done better, and we might have a think about this squad thing when I've got some head-space to spare.

Tuesday night was swimming lessons for both boys, and then I went off to teach tap as usual.

Wednesday the boys and Nell and I went to see Mary Poppins.  Oh my God, I loved it. Loved it.  It really was magical and I thought the choreography was fantastic.  However, I realised that we were sitting too far back in the stalls to be able to see the tapping upside down on the proscenium arch bit, despite alleged A-reserve tickets, so after stewing for a while, when that bit came I dived over the elderly couple sitting next to us and crouch-ran down the aisle to a likely spot so I could see it.  Nell said later the kids were a bit startled and wanted to know what Mummy was doing.  Then just as I was wondering about what the best thing to do would be to get back to my seat, an usher came and tapped me on my back and ordered me back, so that was a relief really and I made my apologies to the lady next to me who I had to dive over twice.   She was very kind and understanding and we had a good chat later.  Later being at the end of the show when she saw my face completely wet with tears because what with everything I'm probably a bit more emotional than usual and also the show was well, magical and really touched my heart or my inner child or something.  The boys and Nell also enjoyed it.

We left the theatre and had to rush home so that Climber could make it on time for the last cricket match of the season (they lost) and then had to sit through the entire match (Cherub and I often slope off early or don't go at all, seriously I am out most nights; what I crave is nights in) because there was an end of season sausage sizzle.

Today being Thursday, I had The Guy round because he sourced a free G5 computer with more bytes to replace our nearly full and therefore reeeeaaalllly slow G4 computer, so I entertained his 3yo daughter while he did the techo stuff.  And tonight there was more tap.

Tomorrow I'll be up at the crack of dawn to fly to Sydney for my step-father's funeral, and will be returning home later that night so that I can still teach the kids' tap classes on Saturday morning.

And then after that, I am having a lie-down.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Step-Father.

My step-father died quite suddenly yesterday.  All things considered it was not a bad way to go, he had toxic shock from an infection but died peacefully with my Mum by his side, and has I think been spared long years in a nursing home with a failing mind.  He was part of my life for 20 odd years and though I was not particularly close to him, I was fond of him and liked him a lot.  My thoughts are with my Mum at this time.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bow Ties Are Cool

Nell bought the boys a Doctor Who magazine pack, complete with some badges and a bow-tie, which were immediately snaffled by Cherub.  We then had to find him a collared shirt to wear with the bow-tie - I don't think he's ever worn a collared shirt before - and as he admired his reflection in the mirror he commented I look like an important person. Quite.

bowties are cool 6137

We harvested our very first eggplant this weekend.  We ate it over 2 days: half of it went in with the lamb roast and the other half we tried grilled.  Verdict - quite nice.  I don't think I'm a big fan of eggplant but I don't mind it either.  I was wondering if growing our own would tip the scales in favour, but suspect it would take a bit more cooking effort/knowledge on my part. Climber gamely tried some, but we gathered he didn't much like it after watching him swallow it with his face screwed up, and we didn't even offer it to The Fussbudget aka Cherub. I doubt I would have liked eggplant at their age.


In other news, I took the boys shoe-shopping today, because their old ones were so dilapidated as to be embarrassing.  I should really have taken a photo of Climber's old pair of [allegedly] white Dunlop Volleys, just to record how atrociously soiled, battered and holey they were, but the instant I'd handed over the money for the new ones I made Climber put them on whilst I dropped the smelly old shoes unceremoniously into a Shopping Centre Bin.  Climber, who becomes very attached to his belongings, was slightly stricken at the thought of his old shoes languishing away in the garbage, but he is quite mature these days and only needed to take one last sad look at them in the rubbish before philosophically and physically moving on.

Anyway, it's official.  Climber, at the ripe old age of 10, and I are now able to share shoes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lipstick Therapy

Over a coffee two of my girlfriends were discussing the effectiveness of lipstick therapy, ie. going and buying a nice lipstick to make yourself feel better.  And later that week I ran across a normally very sporty looking adult tap-student of mine wearing a pretty blouse and some bright lipstick, who explained to me that being in Italy for the Christmas holidays had inspired her to make an effort with her appearance.  She'd never owned a lipstick before but her friend (a real signora, she said) took her out to buy one and she described how much fun it was.

I'm not really a lipstick wearer as such (I always feel you can't kiss anyone when you're wearing it) but I am completely addicted to lip-balm and have it stashed everywhere so that I never have dry lips: one in either door of the car (so I can drive or be driven and still have ready access to lip-balm), one for my tap-bag, one by my bed, and of course a couple in the handbag.  Actually, I'm not really a make-up wearer at all, apart from the compulsory mascara for the short fair lashes, and when I thought about it some more, I realised that most of the lipsticks and indeed all other types of make-up I own, with the exception of the compulsory mascara, are hand-me-downs. My Mum or my sister will get something in a gift bag free with a moisturiser, or buy a promising looking lipstick and then decide it isn't quite their shade, and ask me if I'd like it.  Of course I always say ooh yes, that looks nice, and then only actually wear it about 3 times.

But what with one thing and another, I have been feeling a bit down and out, so I have been trying various treat-based therapies.  On Friday I took myself to see The King's Speech which I thought was magnificent, possibly my favourite movie ever actually, and today I had one of those Chinese massages in a shopping-mall which was very beneficial.  And a couple of days ago I was in a discount chemist shop purchasing an iron supplement when my conversation with friends came back to me.  I did run my eyes over the lipstick section but was almost immediately distracted by some purple eyeshadow and a purple eyeliner. And it seemed a shame to leave them in the shop on their own.

I've been wearing eye make-up every day since! I'm so fancy. It has been quite fun, mucking around with make-up. And you know what they say: a little bit of what you like will do you good. Seems to be working so far, anyway.

Monday, February 14, 2011

St Valentines Day

We're not heavily into celebrating the Day of St Valentine at our house, but after the kids had left for school I was overtaken by a sudden urge to .... defrost the fridge.  Because srsly: Look at it...

Defrost Me Please 6081

But once the fridge door was propped open and the towels put on the floor, I had another urge; this time to bake some heart-shaped biscuits for Mister Fixit.


When they were baked and I began organising the post-school/pre-tennis sustenance for the childer, I thought it would be good to bring some hearts to school for my lovely boysies so I could wish them a happy St Valentine's Day.  Then I thought that that would be a nice thing to do for Mavis' boys as well.  And then I thought let's go the whole hog and put some in a bag for the boys to give their teachers as well.  Possibly I was inspired by the little love note left on my bed by Climber last week, complete with instructions to build a lego loveheart.  Romance: at our house, it is alive and well, edible and build-able.

DSC_6073 DSC_6074

Orange Shortbread
from Everyday Cooking by Campion & Curtis, my favourite cookbook at the moment
255g (1 and 3/4 cups) plain flour
100g (2/3 cup) rice flour (I used cornflour)
250g soft butter, diced
110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
zest of 2 oranges, chopped
pinch of salt
water, if required (I required it)

Preheat oven to 170oC.  Line baking trays with baking paper.  Rub together the flours, butter, caster sugar, orange zest and salt.  Knead well until combined.  Add a little water if the mix is very dry.  Roll to 0.5 cm thickness and cut into heart-shapes, or whatever you fancy.  Place the biscuits onto prepared trays and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, and cool on a rack.

For icing I used the juice of 1/2 orange, some sifted icing sugar (maybe 3/4 cup?) and some softened butter. 

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Jiminy Cricket!


The morning after the night before (at Climber's friend Ari's house for a superb dinner which culminated in Cherub walking out the delighted new owner of Ari's old outgrown Harry Potter broomstick), we awake to find Climber in our room, clutching an envelope.   Following very closely behind him is Cherub.  Mummy, says Climber, what is Ari's address? I tell him the street name but can only narrow the house number down to 92 or 94. Climber writes busily for a moment then the two of them disappear out to the kitchen.   It seems slightly odd, but they do not explain themselves and after all, Climber is a one for writing letters. Maybe he is sending a thank you note for the broomstick?  I roll over, preparing to go back to sleep. Fixit, meanwhile, hauls himself up to organise breakfast for the boys (this happened in the holidays when Fixit was also having time off.) Something about the envelope has caught Fixit's interest. He takes a peek and sees it is not quite flat, as if it holds something more than a letter.  So he asks Climber about it.  Climber is at first reluctant to tell, but with a little gentle questioning, it all comes out.  Climber has discovered that Cherub, who had been playing with Ari's very cool Lego by himself that evening while the big boys played on the computer, had pocketed a few choice pieces.  (It was, Cherub says later, just that those pieces were so cool and he thought he wouldn't be able to get them any other way. He is a very focussed child.)  And like the awesome big brother he is, Climber decided to sort out his brother's misdemeanour for himself.  First he lets Cherub know that stealing is not okay.  Then he writes Ari a formal letter and prepares to post it off, without any parental involvement.  This is why Cherub is following his brother round like a chastened puppy.  When all is revealed to us, we of course have a big Stern Chat to Cherub, expressing our disappointment.  Fixit says you mustn't steal from your friends, and I quickly jump in with you mustn't steal from anybody darling.  Cherub is abjectly contrite and has a big shamed cry in my arms.

Later that day I receive a text message from my lovely friend, Ari's mum. 
Oh my god that letter is so cute.  I love the way it is written like a legal letter. This letter is going in the special things box.  Ari wanted Cherub to know that he appreciated the letter and tell him not to worry.  These were his words.
I texted back telling her that I didn't actually get to see the letter so she sent me back the exact phrasing.
to ari on fri 28th i found out that cherub stoll 6 of your lego pieces and we send them back with our sorries.

Peter Pan 5999

I am left thinking that this whole incident has been rather good for the Cherub, and feeling very impressed with Climber.