Saturday, August 31, 2013

Assorted August

Fixit has manflu. I think he's had it extra badly because he's been laid off, that crash you get at the end of a long run of tension. I've tried to put up with it, and suggested Vicks Vaporub and steaming, and delivered cups of tea and hot dinners, but we're now up to Day 15 and I think someone needs to come and get him.  Maybe a Department of Human Services Intervention Unit? Because he and his sick-man noises have been around me pretty much ALL THE TIME (not going to work anymore, see) and I'm about to harm him. His mega-decibel cough, painful snoring and various disgusting snot related noises have made me so uptight that my chiropractor said there were tensed and locked muscles from the base of my neck, all up through my jaw and right to the top of my head. Enough is enough. The Top Of My Head is Tense. It's been much worse for me than for him.

Lots of Cherub doings at the moment: He had his first ever athletics carnival and came home with a 4th place ribbon in the Triple Jump. I tell my kids that Triple Jump is the one to work at, because they have dance experience and can master a step-hop-jump (or whatever the correct action is) without getting fouled, which lots of boys can't. Play to your strengths.

2013 4:12 PM

He also had a couple of school dress-up days. There was Dress As a Mad Scientist for Science Week, so we revamped the Graeme Garden from the Goodies outfit; the best Loony Scientist Ever.

 Graeme Garden costume for Mad Scientist Day

Then there was the Bookweek Parade. It's all about Hobbitses for Cherub. Last year he was Bilbo Baggins, this year he was Frodo, and asked me to make him a new cloak. Ta-da! Green Frodo cloak with hood and cross-over tie in front.

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He looks quite a lot like Frodo, I think.

2013 8:38 AM

I love that he still likes a dress-up. On his birthday list, he's requested a Superman Costume. We used to have one and gave it away to a smaller friend, so now I need to rustle something up. As if I don't have anything else to do. In his own quiet way Climber has also been dabbling in dress-ups. He has been very interested in soccer videos, particularly relating to the World Cup, and for many nights was wearing white shirt and shorts to bed because that's what David Beckham wore when he curved in an incredible free kick in an England World Cup Match. Then the other night he'd changed to all green because he was being an Ireland International. Pyjamas, pfft, who needs them?

2013 7:41 AM

Cherub has been reading his way through the 5 Rowan of Rin books. I read these to the boys when Climber was Cherub's age (Climber loved them) but Cherub does not really remember this. Another avid reader in his class got interested and borrows the books when Cherub finishes them, which lends a bit of competition to the reading endeavours and meant I woke up one morning to see this. Generally speaking I'd expect to see him playing lego before breakfast.

2013 7:15 AM

We bought our first ever brand new fridge with a Family Allowance refund. It is very ace having a new fridge, that seals, and doesn't frost up, and has plenty of room, and all its shelves and doors and bits. We've always had hand-me-downs before. The fridge inspector gave it an A+.

2013 9:01 AM

On our shiny new fridge is a magnet war. The boys place magnets on photos of each other. Every so often we'll notice that a different boy is covered up. Makes me laugh.

 DSC_1747_1 DSC_1748_1

Climber gave up technology for The Forty Hour Famine, which was his high school's philanthropic project for the year 7s. He raised $320 for World Vision. He was back on the technology pretty much straight afterwards but gave it up chererfully and with pride for the duration. I was very proud of him.

 2013 2:24 PM

Fixit is doing lots of fixitty projects, and putting in a few resumes to industry people. His shed is getting organised within an inch of its life. I think, like the husband of a friend of mine who was also recently retrenched, he might be enjoying unemployment a little too much. Coffees, walking, crosswords, shed-play. Interestingly though, he had a get-together on Friday with the other guys who got laid off, and they're all missing being able to talk technical talk. Seems I'm not the only partner whose eyes glaze over.

2013 9:02 PM

We've been to see Horrible Histories, Hot Shoe Shuffle and Stomp! at the theatre recently. What cultured boys. Another tap show coming up next week called Bang! Crash! Tap! It is nice to take the kids to shows, I hope they grow up to be people who go out to enjoy and support the arts.

 2013 7:43 PM 2013 11:44 AM
I cracked a tap plate on my trusty purple tap shoes. The store I bought them from replaced the plates free of charge. Cracking a tap plate is pretty rare I think, but I guess I work my shoes quite hard.

2013 9:54 PM 2013 3:14 PM

Today is the last day of winter, and the sun is shining. And Fixit is getting better. Slowly. And noisily.

 2013 2:12 PM

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Stomp Girl

On Sunday, our whole family went to see Stomp! at the Comedy Theatre.

2013 12:44 PM

Stomp! is my favourite show in the world, so it was wonderful to share it with my kids, and of course they thought it was great.  It is great, it's a great show. I first saw it in 1992 and I fell in love with it. When I watched it, I felt absolutely exhilarated and inspired and elated.  I just wanted to be in that show. I wanted to sweep the brooms and bang the bins and stomp my feet. I still do. When I saw an audition notice the following year looking for Melbourne performers to be part of an expanded 'Large Scale' Stomp, I was beside myself with excitement and took myself along. 

I still remember getting the phone call telling me I'd won a spot. The call came through to me at Charmaine's Icecream where I was working, and when the lady said I was in, I felt higher and happier than I'd ever felt. It was the biggest thrill. And when I hung up I turned around to see my two co-workers - one of whom was Mister Fixit - watching me with puzzled smiles, wondering what the news was that had just visibly and audibly made my day. We hadn't started going out at that stage because I was still with the moody English boy. I really like that Fixit was part of that special day, I can still, in my mind's eye, see him smiling at me while I dropped back on to the bench in happiness.


We local performers were in the brooms routine at the start and the bins routine at the end, plus either the plastic bag routine or the tea-towels, and a few oddments involving stage clearing. I must have seen a version of the tea-towels in 1992, because I remember being absolutely determined to be chosen for that one. It involved swinging knotted tea-towels onto 40-gallon drums that had water on top, and I was chosen to perform it. I can't actually remember how they picked people for this, but I suspect I had my hand up first and highest. It was gloriously good fun to do, comic and rhythmic and wet.


I became so fit doing that show, and I had the best arm muscles of my life from all the drumming. We worked incredibly hard at rehearsals, learning our rhythms and coming to grips with our props.  You could see it was easier for anyone who had drumming experience. I had no drumming experience and very little formal dance experience either.  But I had had 3 years at drama school with lots of movement training, and I worked really hard at anything that didn't come easily, like the broom handle triplets: bang broom-handle on ground, step right, step left, over and over again at speed. Try it, it's harder than it sounds. At the after-show party, the creator Luke said to me Respect. You worked really hard, I could see you did.


The show was performed at the Melbourne Town Hall.  It was a lot of fun running around in there, and incredible to perform in front of such a large audience.


In our down time, I learned the rudiments of cryptic crosswords in the dressing room with two others.


But I spent as much time as I could peeking through gaps in the stage to watch the masters at work.


I couldn't get enough of all the routines - the zippo lighters, the sticks, the matchsticks, the buckets.


A review in The Age mentioned the local cast, saying we were lithe and beautiful, mostly.


A special Stomp shirt was made for us all with that quote on the back. I still have it.  It's tatty, and the signatures from the proper Stomp people have all but faded away. I can't throw it out though.

2013 1:03 PM

Being in Stomp! changed my life.  When it was over I knew I wanted the rhythm to go on, and not long after that a woman walked into Charmaine's Icecream to put up a poster for tap dance classes. Stomp creator Luke Cresswell had taps on the bottom of his boots. So I went along to try a class and have been tapping ever since.

stompshirt 1775

Monday, August 19, 2013

The End of Heavy Maintenance

2013 8:28 AM

Mister Fixit was made redundant last Friday. It wasn't unexpected, but, in true form for our family, when it was announced that 40 jobs were being cut Fixit thought he'd go and I thought they'd keep him. I mean, why wouldn't you keep Mister Fixit? He's fantastic; Fantastic Mister Fixit. But he was right and I was wrong.

It is slightly hard to say to people oh by the way Fixit's been made redundant so I emailed our family, and I guess people around us will find out when they see Fixit hanging round the neighbourhood drinking coffee. I don't want to catastrophise it, because it may turn out to be a good thing. That workplace has been a poisoned chalice from the start, owing primarily to the management. So it is possible that he'll find another job before too long and we won't have to chip into the redundancy payout, in which case we'll be better off.  We don't know yet if it's a bad thing, so there's no point getting worked up about it. Having said that, I noticed that we both slumped a little this weekend, that we were both grumpier and touchier than normal, but I daresay that will wear off soon. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again, as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sang.

2013 11:40 AM