Friday, April 29, 2011

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Well, no actual arrows, but here are the slings in our life. Cherub is back at school although yesterday he only lasted half a day. Fair enough. At first he thought the sling was a nuisance and asked if he had to wear it. The doctor said it was a good idea, if only to let other people know to be gentle near him. By the end of that first day Cherub was really feeling the weight of his splinted arm, and both mornings since I've been awoken by Cherub standing next to my bed asking me to help him get the sling on. The poor kid is starting to realise the ramifications of being maimed. No swimming, soccer, tennis, trampoline, running or climbing. No two-handed games on the computer either. Even lego is difficult. I suggested he could read books but apparently that was boring too.


As for the kitty, he still really, really wants cuddles. He limps around after me sometimes, looking up at me pathetically. But I can't always be sitting in a chair, there is dinner to cook and stuff to do. So yesterday I tied the ends of a pashmina together and he snuggled in.


He was pretty happy with the arrangement.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Small Break

It was the first day back at school this morning and guess what? Poor Cherub fell off the play equipment before the bell rang and [a] winded himself (very frightening for him) and [b] broke his wrist.


Ten and a bit years parenting and we've got our first broken child! And, as Astrid so rightly put it, we all thought it would be The Climber, what with his innate urge to leave the ground far behind him. But when you think about it, it makes sense that it was the smaller, less-co-ordinated brother; the boy who always tries to keep up with Master Anti-Gravity was actually the one who fell to earth.


Anyway. I took him to the Childrens Hospital where they gave him some pain relief and an x-ray, which revealed a buckle fracture in the radius (the larger arm-bone). So they put on a fibreglass splint and we were free to go. No manipulation of broken bones required, thank goodness. Slight possibility of a proper cast if the pain gets worse. He's fine. He ought to be back at school tomorrow and learning to do stuff right-handedly.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Making and making do.

More Easter baskets!

Even though you know that a bit of disappointment is not going to kill your children - and might possibly teach them a bit of fortitude - it can sometimes make you feel mean or sad when you have to tell your kids No. As in: No Climber, you can't do an extra day of tennis clinic this holiday even though you really want to come back tomorrow and do the Easter Egg Hunt and the Tournament With Prizes because we spent all our money on saving the cat.  It is even worse when your kid tries to be really brave about it in front of you, quickly wiping away tears so you won't see how much he minds.  It's not that my kids can't take a No.  I am absolutely not scared to say it, and they are mostly complaisant about taking it.  I just think that there is some pre-programmed section in a parental brain which inclines you to give your little darlings everything they want.  Madness.  Nobody should have everything they want.    

Still.  You have spent all your money on saving the cat, so how can you make this less sad for your trying-to-be-brave 10 year old?  I suppose you could just tell them to get over it, be thankful for what they already have, think of the kids in poor countries, tell them the privations you endured back in your day etc etc.  But although that sort of talk can help them with perspective, it doesn't really deal with their disappointment.  What you want is a softer option, an alternative, a compromise.  Like say, buying a $3 bag of chocolate eggs and taking them to Astrid's house the next day for a little playdate egg hunt.  Seemed to do the trick.

On Easter morning we received a phone call saying that Grandma Fixit had maybe broken her toe and that Fixit and Climber would not be able to go stay at the Fixit's holiday cabin in the hills as planned, something that Climber had been very excited about.  Of course, he was disappointed, but Easter Sunday is a pretty fun day so he didn't seem too devastated.  After all, my Dad came to visit, we made pink lemonade, we had a fun Easter Egg hunt with clues ...

... and later on in the afternoon we drove over to visit poor Grandma Fixit to cheer her up.  She was feeling pretty terrible about letting him down too, poor soul, but we said we'd try again later in the year.

However.  In the same spirit of solving the tennis disappointment by secreting $3 worth of chocolate eggs round a friend's loungeroom, Fixit and I decided to bring the mountain to Climber anyway. Well, not so much the mountain as the campfire, which had been, we think, on top of Climber's To Do list for the getaway. So to top off a lovely Easter Sunday, we made a camp-fire in our old Weber and let the boys eat their dinner outside. There was also marshmallow toasting.


Nobody went to bed disappointed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Getting Ready For Easter

On Good Friday I made some Choc-mint Slices and some Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts for the family gathering that afternoon.


(The gathering was lots of fun and my sweet offerings were a smash)

On Easter Saturday I made some Easter baskets.  One each for the boys so they can, as requested, have another Easter Egg Hunt.


(We had the inaugural Egg Hunt last Easter and it was a smash.  PS If you follow that link, check out the amateur baskets I cobbled together last year. I am so on my Sewing P-plates now.)

As for Easter Sunday, well, unfortunately I think once the search for chocolate is over and we farewell Fixit and Climber for their little jaunt to the hills I will have to spend the rest of the day dealing with the mess all my creativity created.


Yikes!  Lucky there'll be plenty of chocolate to sustain me.


Wishing you a Happy Easter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


At various times of the day, Climber will disappear to the trampoline, armed with two plastic wickets from a beach cricket set. He will then proceed to have a lengthy battle, using the plastic wickets as light-sabres, with an Unseen Opponent who is clearly highly skilled in the use of The Force. (That is a Star Wars reference just in case you were wondering. Surely no-one was wondering though.) This Unseen Opponent chucks my poor child around ferociously, although I gather, via the many sound effects emanating from the trampoline, that Climber gives him/her/it as good as he gets.  I went out with the camera yesterday to capture Climber in motion. He is not, in this instance, in full Jedi mode, rather he is appearing just as himself, demonstrating for the camera his Magnificent High Back-Bounce.   (Recently Astrid and I were privy to Climber trying to teach Astrid's girls how to effect the Magnificent High Back-Bounce. The younger, more fearless girl got it, but the Pea could only manage a bit of a back sit-down and I really don't blame her.  It is quite terrifying.)  Anyway, I liked the photos so much I put them in a slideshow.

Also, here is the Cherub having a little go with just the single light-sabre. Check the trampoline hair! Seconds after I took that last photo, all the static electricity in his hair was transferred into my left shoulder. Zap! Ow.


Monday, April 18, 2011

What I Learned On My Holiday

My latest Sewjourn sojourn was shared with Jenny & Astrid (aka the Mothers Group Girls), Nell, and some other lovely friends (including Ali-who-used-to-live-next-door); a most excellent group to spend 4 days of crafting, eating and relaxing with.

Every craft camp I learn new stuff. I was talking to someone recently who asked if we had someone who "led" the retreats but it's really not like that. We all know different stuff, even if it's just that the sleeves look better this length instead of that length. What you do is, you hold up your thing you don't know about and say I want to create/change/improve this but I don't really know? and someone always comes up with a great suggestion. It is awesome and organic and much nicer (I think) than having a bossy scout leader telling you what to do all the time.

So here today, I shall present to you the things I learned at my most recent craft camp.

1. How to use the gathering setting on Jenny's overlocker/serger. Voyez la jupe twirly pour moi:


Unfortunately I ran out of time. Or maybe steam. There's a LOT of sewing in a tiered skirt. What you save on the cutting you lose on the gathering, sewing and topstitching. Also, I'm not sure if the overlocker gathering is actually the best way to go, although it is a much quicker way to do it. Pulling the gathers in to the correct size was really tricky and mostly why I put the skirt aside at the last frill and took up hand-sewing Easter chicks.

2. The setting of decorative pockets on fleece pants by eye.


Cherub's are okay, Climber's are like a teenage boy's jeans-line, bizarrely low. Fortunately I think Climber can carry this look off and you may see low-rider pockets as the next trend in boyswear. You saw it here first.

3. How to use the twin needle setting on my sewing machine.


I bought a Goodies t-shirt for myself a while back which had a man's neckline, too high and harsh and horrid for me. So, at Justine's suggestion, I just cut the nasty rib collar off and turned the edges. The twin needle not only gives you a pretty line of double-stitching, it also overcasts on the wrong side. It's just a shame my cutting was not ezackly perfect but shh! We'll just keep the messy bit our little secret.

4. How to copy a bag panel using the original as my guide.


I bought my handbag from the lovely Glorydaze and wore it to death. It was mostly the detachable panel that had karked it, so I contacted Megan about buying a replacement, but she has just had a baby and a renovation and won't be sewing until July. And I love the bag so much I really didn't want a new one, so I decided to have a crack at sewing the panel myself. I will definitely know to do the velcro first if I ever try it again but on the whole I am pretty pleased with it. Oh and ps, I have discovered that drill tape is very splitty and fray-ey.

The thing that I already knew about a Ladies Crafting Retreat at Sewjourn was once more reinforced: It is really, really great to go away with a bunch of like-minded women and make stuff and chat and eat well and laugh and relax. Even if you do come home to a Very Bad Pile of Laundry.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Carnevale and Chickies

Aaaargh. I'm soooo behind on my blogging. First there was craft camp, then when I came back there's been school holidays/cat care and plus I was a little bit sick for a day or two. I really want to do a post about the gorgeous craft camp, but I need photos of some stuff I made, and two of the items -fleece pants for the boys that they wanted to wear straight away - are now malingering in the festering mound of dirty clothing in my laundry waiting for it NOT to be raining in Melbourne so they can be washed, dried and photographed.

So in the meantime, here are the disguises the children wore to last Friday's Carnevale Parade at their school. Climber opted for a simple mask and cloak, and looks, I think, rather like a golden child.


Cherub, currently obsessed with the Plants vs Zombies game, chose to go as a Zombie and when he walked slowly at you mumbling Brains it was quite terrifying.


I much preferred it when he removed the mask.


Elsewhere, Basil has started to act like a well cat, albeit a gimpy-legged one. I took him to have his stitches removed, except it was really more of a check-up seeing as he'd already ripped every single stitch out by himself: disgusting! He still really, really wants to be with people as much as possible. If you sit down he will limp over and look up at your lap and you have to pick him up before he attempts to jump up there. He also managed, by dint of enormous perseverance and sheer bloody-mindedness, to break out of the battened down suitcase that he is supposed to sleep in overnight. What else could we do in the face of such determination but let him sleep on the bed with us? Fixit constructed a pillow-y ramp so he could wonk his way up there, and we were rewarded with happy purrs as soon as he reached the doona. It seemed like his whole journey since he dragged himself home to us had been leading to that point really.

And a little craft camp sneak-peek: I made Myrtle & Eunice's gorgeous Easter chickies. Pattern works fine, Tania, although I might need some advice on how to do neat blanket stitching on the beak... I hope you approve of the very free-form and relaxed feet, I really tried to stay true to the spirit of your instructions.


Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Ministry for Silly Walks

Basil's recovery continues apace. Mostly he lies around in the suitcase or a box, getting lots of zzzs. But if one of us comes to sit on the floor next to him, he wonks over to sit on our laps.


If we [thoughtlessly] sit on the couch he deadset thinks he's going to jump up there to sit on our lap. He has nothing - nothing - in his hind legs at the moment, can barely balance on them and yet he reckons he can make it up to our laps. Insane kitteh. I am still taking him outside for a daily spot of glorious Autumnal sunlight, which I think is good for him. He again shows some misplaced confidence in his abilities by trying to go for little walks though. Just sun yourself, kitty. Seriously.

His wonk-walk -which I try to prevent - goes like this:
(1) left front leg [fairly upright]
(2) right front leg [bit wobbly but still upright]
(3) left rear leg, the one that is a bit damaged [wobbling like fun, tilting to side]
(4) completely *knackered rear leg [gracefully falls down on side]
(5) haul self up, start again.

He goes surprisingly fast.

*which no longer has a ball joint connecting legs to his wired-together hip & is held there only by muscles which need to adapt)

In other outside adventures, the non-eating cat, because of still being tube fed so not particularly interested in real food, ate some blades of grass yesterday. Not to make himself sick either, as far as I could tell. Just because he felt like it. And he completely freaked out when he heard the postman's motorbike ride by our house, and I mean completely. Can't decided if this is just sensible fear of all things motorised or if Australia Post owes me a small fortune in vet fees. Where is the CCTV when you need it?

Best of all though, was watching him wonk-walk as far as the door last night, whereupon he lay down next to the rug there and started to fight it. Take that rug! I got no back leg strength but I still take you!

What else?

Well, I won some very cool packing tape from the lovely Miss Pen at Cottage Industry, and it arrived yesterday along with some extra purple love. Spoiled, I am. Thank you Pen!


I've run out of my expensive French perfume, and wondered briefly if I ought not forswear such luxuries in light of the embarrassingly large vet bills (I've decided not to add them all up as actually I don't want to know just how much we spent). So I've been using up an inherited sample which is Tresor by Lancome, and yuck! It's just not me. I hate smelling it on me. Whereas the Samsara was perfect on my skin and I received lots of compliments when wearing it. Anyway, in one of those weird I-hate-my-brain-things, I keep thinking of Angela's Ashes, where the kids were starving but Angela still found the money for her cigarettes and wondering if buying the perfume I like would be the same but even worse, or allowable because we can still afford to feed the children. First world problems, eh? I suppose I could go back to Dewberry Oil from the Bodyshop for a while, recreate my teenage aroma...

I made an apple and rhubarb pie, adapting this recipe. I used 6 small granny smith apples and a bunch of rhubarb, but note to self; always check your mixture before cooking the final dish. Could have done with more sugar, I think both the rhubarb and the grannies were on the tart side. It's still lovely but gives you mild lemon-face when you eat it.


And I'm off to another Crarf Camp tomorrow with non-blogger friends - I know, here I go again with luxuries but this has been booked for ages and is my last one for the year so I think I can rationalise it to my own satisfaction. I am not at all organised for this one, beyond knowing that I'll be making apple pie for Saturday dessert and Jenny has kindly decreed that I can have The Princess Room (double bed, room to myself) in light of all the cat-stress. And on that note, I should really go pack.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Meester Fawlty.

DSC_6651 100_2155

Apart from the fact that he is not very interested in eating actual food, Basil is on the mend.  He is getting plenty of nutrients via the oesophageal feeding tube so I'm not too worried about the lack of eating; although if he could manage a bowel motion I'd feel he was really getting back to normal.   But he is still on a morphine patch, which is, as my nurse-friend puts it, very binding.  He is definitely showing signs of feeling more himself, he quite often makes the effort to get himself on the litter tray, he has started to do a little bit of grooming, has managed some weight-bearing on the side with the iliac subluxation (in other words, the side that has the problem we are treating conservatively rather the completely shattered side that required the surgery)  and best of all he is seeking out cuddles.  Indeed, if one of us sits anywhere near him he drags himself over to our laps.  I've taken him out for some sun both days, believing, as I do, in the restorative powers of sunlight and fresh air, and he was very happy about that.  I also put a towel down in front of the lounge-room heater last night and kept him company while he slept contentedly.  He most definitely resisted any attempts to put him back in the suitcase, and really, can you blame him?

In other news, Cherub woke me the other morning with a request to make his breakfast because his stomach was so hungry it was meowing.

My little tap student H, from this post looked at the new posters I have in the tap hall, specifically one that looked like this...
and said in pleased tones to me: Hey! There's your brother!  Because boys of that age are of course brothers.

And Climber had his cricket presentation last night.


He received a bowling award and mention was made of his excellent fielding talents too.