Thursday, August 31, 2006

La Bamba

para bailar la bamba
se necesita una poca de gracia
ay arriba y arriba
(in order to dance the bamba a little bit of grace is needed)

Here's my Cherub and some stills from a gorgeous video of him shaking his groove thang to La Bamba. I wish I had the tech savvy to post the movie. Take my (completely impartial) word for it, he's got the moves. I can't get the kid to join in at tap class but the improvised footwork on display at home this morning was most impressive. And in case you've always wanted to know what the bloody hell you are singing along to (my mondegreen of choice has always been badabada la bamba), there are several helpful sites, I chose this one.

As has already been implied on this blog, I don't really enjoy cooking, particularly since the birth of the sons when it suddenly became solely my job. I don't get excited about recipes, I rarely taste as I go along (in case its awful) and I'm prone to accidents of the blackened food variety or the small kitchen fire variety. It's hard to pay attention to something you really don't like doing that much. The thought of having people over for dinner and whipping up a delicious feast for them fills me with horror. Having said that, I'm mostly a competent cook and have a small but dependable repertoire to feed the family with. But can you believe it, the mechanics at Fixit's work think I'm a culinary whiz. This is apparently due to the delectable smells issuing from his lunch box as he reheats last-night's-leftovers. One of them actually came sniffing over to Fixit yesterday and enquired how much I'd charge to provide similar for other hungry mechanics. Fixit quoted about $3.50 ... I said at least a thousand bucks because I hate cooking so much, after I picked up my jawbone from the floor. Makes me wonder what sort of crappy diet those poor fellas are living on if my cooking is smelling so good. Everything is relative, innit.

PS. If its cakes, biscuits, slices or desserts you're after, I'm your girl.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The family that cleans together ...

errr.... goes to the park together later? I know it looks a little like child slave labour, but they were really enjoying themselves.

I don't usually go shopping but the family went to Brunswick Street on the weekend for Sunday breakfast and as we were wandering up the strip, we found some $30 shoes. It's hard to say no to $30 shoes, right? I haven't spent money on non-dance shoes since I can't remember when, and I can't afford them this week, but here they are, the first pair of t-bars I've owned since childhood.

In line with tradition I give you the before and after on Mr Fixit's haircut (oh, the poor Cherub, still hasn't had his done..) but I warn you that both photos are a little frightening : we have either the boofhead or the Romper-stomper. Never mind, in a week, he'll be handsome again.

Our latest obsessions this week. Thanks to this blog I have had an earworm all night trying to remember the rest of this song. I love the Smiths but my cds were stolen from my house by a skanky ho who was a friend of the chick we shared with back in the house-sharing days. What kind of person comes to your house, drinks your tea & coffee, chats to you about how uni, work, blah-blah is, and then pockets your fave cds when your back is turned? She had good taste though, she took The Smiths, Billy Bragg, Bjork and some ones I hadn't even had time to listen to properly featuring divas like Ella and Doris. Scraggy, scraggy scrag.

On the upside, because of a bureaucratic stuff-up I finally had the readies to get myself a proper speaker for the beloved iPod and it came with a $50 credit at the iTunes store, so I have been able to download the rest of that song and kill the earworm. Also my latest song obsession which is on high rotation at home. I'm thinking it'll be getting a hammering at tap class tonight. The beaut thing about the Bose is that it charges the iPod while it plays, so you can watch all your videos without slaying the battery; the kids are loving this one.

Finally, I'm probably the last person in cyberspace to find this site, but its pretty funny. My best match was a tie between Piper Perabo (who?) and Hilary Swank (not!!). A tip though, there is no point putting in your kids' faces they all eventually match with Shirley Temple. I'm wondering if I should attempt to sit through Coyote Ugly? I heard it was pretty ordinary despite Adam Garcia, mmmm.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Birthday Blog

In lieu of the birthday card/present which I have not bought, made or sent, I am posting a Birthday Blog for my little sister. Da dada daah! She's thrilled, I know. I will probably have to text her to convince her to even read the blog as to my knowledge she's only visited the site twice. And its possible she would have preferred some actual loot. But you know its been nearly 3 months since my birthday and I'm still waiting ... and now I am being reminded most days by the Climber that she still hasn't coughed up because I made the mistake of telling him that she's promised me Harry Potter DVDs and he's desperate to watch them. We are part way through the 3rd HP book and he's only allowed to watch the DVDs after reading the book.

That's not why I haven't got her a present though. I just haven't got my act together (again). But I will. And in the meantime...

Due to my new-found addiction to blogging and from spending my time reading blog after blog (instead of doing housework... or shopping for birthday presents), I know what you do when you celebrate in cyberspace. You make a list.

Here then are 10 things about the Birthday Girl:

1. She is horse mad. Since she was quite young, like less than 10. Every year since she caught the horse-loving disease, the top item on every birthday and Christmas list was "A Horse". Took several years of nagging and badgering and staying true to her cause but she finally got one. She also loves horse-racing and once got a very good trifecta, but she is emotional rather than clinical in her race tipping so she can't retire on her winnings yet. Bummer. Her past obsessions include Phar Lap, Kingston Town and Sunline to name but three. She is now a part-time racehorse photographer and some of her photos have been on the covers of racing magazines. (PS. I now know far more about horse-racing than I ever wanted to because of her obsession. She likes to share the love.)

2. She has a diabetic child.

He was diagnosed when he was still 20 months old, and lucky for him she stayed tenacious in the face of imcompetent GPs maintaining the poor kid had a virus, and insisted on more tests. She now knows the G.I. on everything. She has been amazing about the whole thing, and most amazingly of all, it didn't stop her from having another baby.

She has a smile shaped scar on her knee from somersaulting off the end of her bed through the window and into the garden bed. Both of us were too surprised to cry for a minute.
4. She can reverse an enormous F100 Ford Ute with a trailer and a boat on it to the water's edge like a pro.
5. She owns more make-up than she can ever hope to wear.
6. She read Watership Down, Gone With the Wind and Lord of the Rings about a million times each in her teens. She also really liked Trixie Belden.
7. Unlike a lot of chicks, she is not afraid to ask. Her motto is "if ya don't ask, ya don't git". Hey, it worked with the horse...
8. She is incredibly loyal. She is still friends with people from primary school. She hates anyone who has ever done her family wrong even if she's never met them. She refused to get involved with a guy she really quite liked & fancied because he was my ex-boyfriend, even though we'd broken up ages ago and there was never going to be a reconciliation.
9. She is kinda short and a little bit sensitive about that but in a good-humoured way.
10. She mangles the toast when she spreads the butter. Every time.

So happy birthday, little sister. I think you are brave and funny and fabulous. And improving with age. Love you lots. xxxxx

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tonight I Really Excelled Myself.

Well, its lucky I sat down to write this blog about what a scatter-brained cook I am, because it made me suddenly remember that the large batch of bolognese sauce was still cooking away on the gas stove and I was able to turn it off before either the whole batch was ruined or I burned down the house overnight...

Here are some pictures of tonight's effort.
Fig. 1 the burnt potholder which despite icky food bits and charred edges was once a rather lovely Asian silk one, bought lovingly for me by my mother.

Fig. 2 the burnt water used for steaming tonight's veg complete with stained water spatterings on the cooktop caused when I topped the blackened saucepan up with more water to continue the steaming process - turns out I used a bit too much water this time so all that blackened pumpkin water went all over the stove and also up through the steamer on to the veg which you see as Fig.3.

Mr Fixit said the veg were delicious but is mystified about how I keep managing to burn water.

Other domestic bits and pieces. Here is the first (and I hope not the only) flower from the Climber's school bulb fundraiser.

And here is a mug from Mr Fixit's boyhood, because we had exactly the same one at our house when I was growing up.

Lastly, the Climber and the Cherub clutching their loot from Grandma's visit. The Cherub has Thomas the Tank Engine, the Jet Engine (which lights up and makes noise) and a Fuel Truck. He has been carrying all 3 items around everywhere and refers to them with a slightly french accent: "I dot a zhet enzhen". The Climber has Batman Lego.
They're both so happy.

Off to watch tv now, Spicks & Specks and Extras while we tape House, then the divine Hugh Laurie, sans commercials. Where's my cuppa?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Special Visitor

A special visitor came to stay this weekend and has been keeping us busy and being very busy herself. Grandma arrived Saturday afternoon and since then has :
  • bonded with the grandsons via balls, lego, stories and lots of hair-brushing...
  • cooked up a couple of yummy meals for us.
  • whisked me off on a Sunday morning to the NGV for a much needed culture shot
  • taken me shopping (my kitchen has just been improved by some nice new crockery and a specky Zyliss potato peeler which looks almost too nice to use)
  • taken charge of the Cherub in the pool while I watched the Climber do his lesson (ps. after 2 lessons with Simon-the-wonder-teacher my 5 year-old can do a 25-metre length of the pool backstroke!)
  • weeded the front garden
  • spoiled the boys with presents including this lovely Pinocchio wear brought back from Grandma's latest jaunt to Italy and some Batman lego and a Thomas train
  • caught up with her numerous siblings, nieces & nephews
She's going home to Sydney tomorrow for a good rest, I think. Bye Mum, thanks for coming! We'll miss you.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I Like Motorbike Men

I have to start today by saying a quick "phwoarrr" because Hugh Laurie was wearing motor-bike leathers in last night's episode of House. I have such a serious crush on that man and I love that show and I think with my having shacked up with Mr Fixit, my predilection for motorbike-riding men is a given (although we can leave bearded Harley Riders out of the equation, obviously. Also mid-life crisis Harley-riders. And tiny Italian stallions). I keep meaning to check with Mr Fixit, could House actually ride a motorbike with his crippled leg? I can get back to you with that one, if you're interested....

Finally had my haircut. Here's my before-and-after.

Better, yes? I'm so swishy-flicky now, and unusually, attracting lots of comments about the hair. With hair this long, mostly people don't notice a cut.

It's taken longer than usual to get it done because I decided to change hairdressers. When you find someone who cuts your hair well, I reckon you want to stick with them, but the chick who was cutting my hair really well was one of the Slyfoots. And so as soon as I started thinking that I really ought to get my haircut, I would start feeling tense about seeing her and this would bring up all those lovely issues again and lead to this sort of behaviour. But its taken me a while to work all this out (I'm a bit slow sometimes) and then to say to myself, a haircut should be enjoyable. So now Roberta is my new snipper and I can have nice hair and peace of mind. Bonus.

A P-plate driver knocked Mr Fixit off his pushbike on Tuesday night and then drove off. Can you believe that? Unfortunately for said P-plater, Mr Fixit does not put up with that sort of crap. Pausing only to check that he was uninjured, Fixit then leapt back onto the pushie and pursued the little toe-rag. He caught up with him at some traffic lights and proceeded to tell him what he thought of him (I can't repeat it here, there was a fair bit of colourful language). That's my fella. I still remember the day that another stupid P-plater clipped the motorbike of Fixit's friend The Bike Nazi and then kept going. Somehow the Bike Nazi stayed upright, and then of course both the boys steamed after him (complete with girlfriend pillions clutching breathlessly on behind). They caught up with him at the next red light where they jumped off their bikes, stripped off their helmets and jackets and insisted that he "pull over, get out". He was about 17, this kid, driving his Mum's car without permission and I don't think I'll ever forget his face turning to the colour of cream-cheese as these two big, angry bikers came storming up to his car door.

If you've been paying attention, you may recall that I was wondering if I could pull off a certain look in front of a new class of beginner tappers. Apparently I can. One of them turned up for class this week with her new shoes and her new leg-warmers. Look at me, all swishy-flicky hair and trendy outfits. How hot do I think I am this week?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In The Doghouse

No, this is not what we do with our kids when they misbehave! It's obviously just irresistible when you're still this size. First he sat on on top, but it wasn't long before he was checking out the interior decoration. If they are out of line our kids get sent to the Naughty Room, which is essentially some time out in the boring coat-and-shoe room near the back door. Because he is nearly 3, the Cherub is seeing a fair bit of the Naughty Room. What's funny is how happy he gets on the very rare occasions that his big brother ends up in there. He insists on being the one to close the door on the Climber with a funny mixture of bossiness and excitement. Talk about rubbing the poor Climber's nose in it...

Here's some pics from the Family Lunch at the weekend, we wished Mr Fixit's brother (Mr Can't-Fix-It, according to his missus) a happy birthday in the usual way, lots of kiddie spit on the cake icing. We got him an autograph from Collingwood FC's Rocca, who rides a motorbike and came in for repairs to Mr Fixit's work recently. Mr Fixit reckons the workshop went as quiet as it does when a chick walks in. Also a Magpie's stamp booklet, courtesy of Mr Quiet, our contact at Australia Post. The Fixit family quite like their stamps and coins, I've noticed! So I think we did well on the present front.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sk8er Bois

He was a sk8er boi. Available in small or large.

Here's one for all you in the "give that poor child a haircut" camp. I just want you to know there are supporters in the "his hair is lovely, don't cut it yet" camp too. At his request I have tied up his hair in a fountain so he can swing in comfort. Climber asked me why I made the Cherub look like a girl. People think he's a girl even if I don't put in the ponytail and dress him in navy blue Bob-the-Builder kit. I'm not bothered, he's still only 2.

From the local bakery, a "Twa-wah" biscuit. Our very good friend Chiara wears glasses so they've made special biscuits in her honour. Cherub was very pleased with it, he told everyone he walked past what he had. No-one understood what he meant.
And finally, I'm freaked out after hearing about horrific airline plots, especially as my Dad is flying to the US this weekend. But I've been quite interested in the different levels of security alert in various countries. The Brits have upgraded from "severe" to "critical", because they understand the subtleties of the wonderfully complex English language. The Americans are more visual, they've gone from orange to red, that way nobody gets confused (is critical worse than severe? get the dictionary...) Here in Australia we're on "medium" which makes me think we're too lazy to come up with subtle differentiations. Bugger it, we'll just have low, medium and high, that way no-one needs to think too hard. It's like the different reactions to terrorist attacks - the Brits got very stoic and sort of "we lived through the blitz, you can't crack us", the Spaniards walked out in the streets in a mass show of dignified grief and solidarity, but the Americans had a tele-thon with Hollywood stars answering the phone. I'm worried that our response would be a cricket game...

Climber Blog
Here is Mr Fixit washing the car.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Enough is enough

So I've been feeling tired and grumpy for the last couple of days because the poor old Climber has had this nasty stomach ache. There's no other symptom to explain it, the doctor couldn't find bad swellings in the abdomen or hear any nasty noises but the poor little thing has been off school and in pain, enough to wake him up in the night and make him cry. He's nearly better, poor love. But its been a rough couple of days and especially nights. And just before I leave to teach tap tonight the Cherub distinguishes himself by being a bad eater for the also-tired-and-grumpy-Mr Fixit and the disagreement between the two of them leads to choking sobs on the Cherub's side which culminate in him vomiting all his fish-fingers back up all over the floor. Nice.

But earlier that day I had mentioned this tiredness and grumpiness to my friend Miss Lou Lou via email. And somehow because we are on the same wavelength at the moment she did the best thing anyone could have done for me. An email with an attachment arrived from her just as I was escaping from the fish-fingers and grumpiness : it's an mp3-song which I just have time to load onto my iPod before I leave. Oh my goodness. It's "Enough is Enough" with Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand. I can't tell you how perfect it was. I wish I knew how to do a link here so you could listen to it and feel the power (girlfriend, mm-hmm). I was singing all the way to class. I was cleansed and happy when I arrived and we had a couple of great classes and I am still feeling great. You gotta love the digital age where such things are possible. Miss Lou Lou, you are a genius. I love that woman. If anyone reading this decides they want to learn tap-dance, please don't go the greedy pretender who owns the school called Miss Lou Lou's. Seek out the real woman because she is truly fabulous. (Or try me! We're okay with that, we endorse each other) Thankyou Miss Lou Lou and thank you Donna & Babs. You rock.

I leave you with the Fish Finger Regurgitator, clutching the Toy Story version of the board game "Trouble" and pretending to be Evil Emperor Zurg. This is him intoning in his deepest voice "Astwoy Buzz Yightyear". (That's destroy Buzz Lightyear for those of you not au fait with Toy Story.)

Enough is enough is enough.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Detention please, ladies & gentlemen

teen-age mu-tant nin-ja tur-tles
teen-age mu-tant nin-ja tur-tles
Here's my little boys digging my ipod with the Climber's song of the week.

Here's the Climber putting on a presentation for us ("Detention please, ladies and gentlemen") - a demo of a penalty shoot-out using lego soccer players.
Here's Mr Fixit enjoying the show.

And here is the Cherub trying to sabotage it.
This is me and my friend Mel enjoying some girl time away from our boys on a lunch-date.
Here is the Climber with the chicks that hatched in their classroom.

And here is some Climber school stuff : a journal presentation he made yesterday, constructing his own sentence and spelling. In case you are wondering what that last word is, look at the picture of the penguin and then say it out loud : "sgeing"*.

Too cute.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Super-Weeder

I went out for my aerobics class yesterday ("Body Jam", it's so much fun!) so I was out of the house for 90 minutes, tops. While I was out, I think Mr Fixit must have popped a proton pill because I came home and he'd hung out a load of washing, done some father-son bonding via bike-riding practise and rescued the herb garden from the weed invasion that was choking it. He is an astonishingly good weeder, my Mr Fixit. I wish I'd known he was going to do it so I could have done a before-&-after photo. Have to make do with the after.

And here's the Climber on his bike: he has graduated up from the small two-wheeler to this one. The action shot looks a bit wobbly because his take-offs need a bit more work.

Climber has also graduated from Octopus to Salmon class in his swimming lessons. Well done him. So we are changing days to a Monday class. Yay! We can have Sunday mornings free. He's going to learn from Simon, this fantastic teacher that we had for his school holiday swim classes.

Two nieces, one is my very new step-niece Ella and the other is my niece Jessica who has NOT been sleeping and has therefore caused her poor mother to have a stupid car accident. Luckily no-one was hurt.

Friday, August 04, 2006

No, that's smelly

Cherub crazy-boy behaviour tendency for this week : when asked a question such as "are you my gorgeous boy?" he puts on a silly voice (kind of raspy and raucous) and answers said question with the phrase "no, that's smelly." Hilarious. Well it is pretty funny actually, just not very logical. But he loves to crack a joke does the Cherub. Here's him doing his first ever dress-up, following the lead of the bigger boys. He was very pleased with himself in the Buzz Lightyear suit, he kept posing on one leg and then running round the house hitching up the pants.

The Climber has had three playdates this week, all very good. We've had Robbie (playing in the park), Gabriel (forgot to take photos) and Superman, I mean James.
From a discussion last night that began with Susan's blonde highlights and riffed on to general beauty maintenance and upkeep came a good line from one of my tap students to her husband -that she was expensive to run. I've been reviewing my own pattern (haircut maybe twice a year, most hair removal, tanning and tinting performed by self, make-up and hair product purchases limited to shampoo & conditioner plus a new mascara every year and an SPF moisturiser) and now I suspect I might be a Black-and-Gold / Generic / Home-brand girlfriend. Or at best a Toyota Corolla when I might aspire to being a Mercedes. Could be worse, I suppose. Could be a clapped-out Kombi. Or public transport...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I hate to housekeep

Here's one for all you domestic goddesses out there: What happens when you hit a wall with your housework? When something in your brain snaps and you think I am so bored with doing this that I just can't face it, and what's the point anyway because the place will get trashed again within 24 hours? Here's what I reckon. If you can afford it, you pay someone else to come and take care of it and if you can't (like me) you let it go for as long as you can bear whilst dealing with all the "I can't invite anyone over because the house is a tip" and "so this is why women go back to work" thoughts and the cumulative grumpiness that comes with not being able to find anything. Just once, I'd like to walk into my house, pin-neat and sparkling clean, and know it wasn't me that did it. It's not like Mr. Fixit doesn't put in, I hasten to add. Its a rare day that he doesn't do the dishes. And I bet he feels the same about mowing the lawn. I think we need servants. Oh wait, you have to pay them, don't you? Maybe slaves, then.

Listen to me, whining on. Why don't I just get it over with and then its done for another week?

Naah, its nearly school pick-up time. I'm calling dinner-making and chinese-laundry-management my domestic achievements for the day.

Here's Bob the Builder, I mean the Cherub in another silly hat.