Friday, June 29, 2007

Lemon tree, oh so pretty.

I love a lemon cake and I'm even happier when I can use home-grown lemons from my tree. Baking is quicker on my own, but more fun with the boys. They run to get the little stool so they can reach the bench and pester me constantly for a taste. Climber is getting quite competent now with the egg-cracking and all, and they both love doing it. Of course, this is mostly to do with licking the bowl and the beaters at the end of the process. We used to call it the scrape when I was little. As in May I have the scrape please?

I used this recipe from The Elegant Sufficiency and it is as she says dead-easy and tangy. I was visiting her blog after she wrote an article about blogging in the Sunday Age a few weeks ago, featuring Poppalina. I was pathetically excited when Shula's name came jumping out of the newsprint at me. I've met her!! I may never be famous but I know some famous people. Which is just as good.
We had our parent teacher interviews this week, for both creche and school. Both kids are doing fine.

The Cherub is happy and settled and my only complaint is he doesn't do enough artwork for me to have as a tangible reminder of his days at creche.

I'm finding myself slightly surprised to discover that Climber is achieving academically at a higher level than he is physically. Not that I thought he was stupid or anything. Or that he's underachieving in PE - he's right on the norm. It's just he's always been such an active kid, climbing up window sills before he could walk, getting out of the cot and up the slide at a ridiculously early age, good hand/eye co-ordination, kicks a ball well etc etc. So I've just always thought of him as Mister Physical and was envisaging a cushy retirement based on his earnings as star goalkeeper for Manchester United. As you do.

More on the great love story of this century, Angelina and the Climber. (Can you tell how much I'm enjoying this?) She is smart, that girl. How's this for a tactic? She's been working her charm on The Cherub so that he's besotted with her and has been pestering me to have her over for a playdate, something the Climber has never requested. And!! As I was waiting for my turn to speak with Climber's teacher, I perused the self-portraits on display. Climber is up top, centre. Beneath his *masterpiece* is Angelina's self-portrait and check it out. Because it's not just her in that picture. She's with a boy! They're virtually holding hands. Damn the school holidays. I won't find out for ages if it's Climber!!!

Finally, I have now had the hangover I felt I was owed. On Wednesday we had a girls' night out (with one honorary husband) for the Prep-T gang and we had a great time, only someone left the red wine bottle(s) right in front of me. You know that level of drunkenness when you giggle at yourself in the mirror in the bathroom? And where you have to focus really, really hard just to follow the conversation? That was me. So I took it nice and easy on Thursday and was doing alright, but it hit me like a brick halfway through the second tap class I was teaching that night. The worst thing was that I couldn't work out what was wrong with me for a minute or two. Once I knew I was able to deal with it. Made it through, just.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Boy Tales & Girl Tales

Boy Tales
We received the Climber's school report today. He's doing well, and I was happy to see that his teacher had rated his Effort and Class Behaviour as Excellent.

Although. There would appear to be a discrepancy between what I think is important in his school achievements and what he thinks. Vis.


Bloggus Interruptus, via the Cherub, demanding that I leave the computer and attend to the dinner: You have to come in here NOW! The kitchen is noise-ing.

(Please ignore the grime.)

Girl Tales.
I'm having an iron transfusion next week. I spoke to a very nice haematologist today. We were having the introductory chat and he said tell me why you're here? and I said my GP referred me because my stored iron levels were quite low, at which he snorted and told me they're worse than low, they're zero. Which you know, actually they are SIX but I guess in the scheme of stored iron levels a six doesn't count for anything...

So I'm off to the Medi-hotel for a 5-hour stint with a needle in my hand. Glad I've got plenty of Anne books to be going on with. (I'm enjoying the re-read enormously, by the way. That first book is much funnier now that I'm a grown-up. I think I was too busy empathising and agonising with Anne through her dilemmas to get the funny side when I read them as a gel.)

He also wants a follow-up on why my iron levels are so pathetic, and bandied around Coeliac disease (needs to be tested, family history) and bowel cancer (dismissed because of my young age!! ) (shut up!). I'm ignoring these possibilities though. I reckon the pregnancies, the breastfeeding and the amount of exercise I do are the culprits. I don't want to hear no more about no serious diseases, fingers in ears, lalala.


I think the worrisome student has gone loco. Sounds like no food has passed her lips for a couple of weeks, so all proper brain function has ceased. I had a chat with her after class. That was when she started saying loco stuff. I said Eat, or I'll be requiring a medical certificate for you to attend this class. Kind but firm. Not that I think it will work, but it needed to be said.

Monday, June 25, 2007

More Elocution Lessons

Fixit has joined my anti-bogan campaign. But oh man, he's given himself a tough assignment - he's correcting the mechanics at his work. Thankfully, Fixit is bigger, older and grumpier than his colleagues, otherwise he could well have ended up with his head flushed down the toilet.

The good news is that his co-worker Gordo now knows that "there's no R in off." Way to go, Fixit.

Apart from troying to eradicate bogan pronunciations from our general vicinity (and here I must add that although the Cherub took it upon himself to play Professor 'Enry 'Iggins to Craftymum, she actually speaks very nah-iiiicely indeed), we have also been busy this weekend with :

Pyjama Day at Climber's School

Playcentre fun at Next-door-girl's 4th birthday party,
and attending a Harry Potter themed birthday party. There were 25 little boys running around in Harry Potter costumes having a blast; playing wizard games like Quidditch World Cup Flying Relay Race, the Philosopher's Stone Treasure Hunt and Pin the Tail on the Dragon, before settling down to a Hogwarts Feast capped off by a Wizard's Castle cake! There was even a family friend being the Wizard Organiser, his monicker for the day was Professor Lobotomy Flicksnot. Fantastic fun.

Climber coming in to land.


Finally, thankyou for the excellent comments re my tap student. It was incredibly helpful to have all that feedback and I feel much calmer. I have printed out CPR instructions to have by me! At this stage I am persevering with her, mostly because she is open about it, she is still seeing her doctor and because tap keeps her happy. Which is a good thing.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm a Teapot.

For me, one of the good things about becoming a parent has been that these days when I am faced with childish behaviour in adults I don't feel the need to engage with it. If I want to deal with childish behaviour I can do it in the privacy of my own home, with subjects I understand and behaviour I can in many ways still influence. And who are in fact children and as such still expected to behave childishly. If I can help I will, within reason, but I no longer tie myself in knots about it.

In theory.

I have an adult tap student with a long-term eating disorder and she is currrently having an episode. Read; shrinking before my eyes. She's very nice and totally enthusiastic about, and committed to, tap-dancing. Tap is her 'happy-space'. It's lovely having someone who is that committed and passionate as a student and it's generally a pleasure to teach her. When she started she was in a good weight range and she tapped really well. Now that she's in the grip of an episode, her concentration is shot to bits, her energy is low, her execution is suffering and her memory is failing her. I can't believe she does this to herself. She said once something about being able to tap better when she was a lighter weight, which is just so WRONG. Being light on your feet is not about weight, it's about energy and posture, neither of which you have if you starve yourself.

I'm finding it really difficult to position myself on this. The little I know about her illness means that I could expect the following types of behaviour, particularly when she becomes malnourished.

lack of persepctive.

I don't want to get drawn into this. Firstly because she is essentially a client and it behoves me to keep a professional distance. And secondly, I've got 2 small people to mother and protect and I don't want to take on any more.

On the other hand, I can't stop worrying about it. Part of this is that I am completely baffled by her. Why would she do it to herself? Why is she making that choice? She appears to have supportive parents and she sees her doctor weekly and she is very upfront about it and recognises what is going on. But still she won't eat. And, look, I do know it's an illness and that there are control issues, and that there are a myriad of psychological reasons, so I don't want to sound unsympathetic. I understand these things on an intellectual level but I still don't really get it.

The other part of my worry is fear of her collapsing on my watch. If her potassium levels were to drop there is a likelihood that she could go into cardiac arrest during class and I find that prospect deeply unnerving.

I already know about myself that I am No Good In An Emergency. Some people, like for instance Fixit, stay calm and think clearly. Other people, like me, get panicky and hysterical and end up needing their faces slapped. You know Tim-I'm-A-Teapot-Brooke-Taylor from the Goodies? That's me.

When I babysit my 5-year-old diabetic nephew I am a stress-bundle. I have to restrain myself from pricking the poor kid's finger every 30 minutes. Every time he has a low sugar reading in my care I have to ring my sister. Every time she tells me calmly give him a juice. Which, you know, I actually do know to do - Bronnie always leaves me very clear instructions - but the thinking part of my brain is not functioning at full capacity. One day he had a low in the morning [gave him a juice] and by the afternoon had a high of 27 [should be under 15] and I was literally hyperventilating and skittering round in circles as I rang her. It's okay, she said, I'm almost there and I'll deal with it. Fixit meanwhile was telling me to settle down and advising that we ought to at least re-do the test, in case the reading had been caused by sticky fingers (it hadn't but it was the right suggestion).

So a full-on cardiac arrest in the tap studio? Would be a Very Bad Thing.

Thoughts would be good. I'm all scattered.

Monday, June 18, 2007

My weekend brought me ...

Anne with an "e"
Climber & I attended a brunch for my cousin's birthday, hosted by her sister at their amazing new share-house. It backs onto the river, has a resident sheep, beehive, chooks. Little jetty for canoeing, should you wish. Five bedrooms, a deck. I didn't think you could still get rentals like that. How's this for a backyard?

While I was there, my aunt gave me the full set of the Anne books (my birthday present). All new reading will be abandoned for the foreseeable future while I indulge in one of my favourite re-reads.

A blogmeet.

Braving the afternoon showers in Flagstaff Gardens in the CBD, nine intrepid bloggers eventually repaired to the Vic Market Food Court for shelter and coffee, but the chatting went on undaunted. I'd previously met Lazy Cow from Only Books All The Time, and have been a sometimes visitor to the blogs of Muppinstuff, Sooz and Clementine's Shoes. New to me were girlprinter, fripperee, really turning japanese and Miss Eagle, (who has also blogged about it). A great bunch of women to meet, not to mention a very sweet baby to cuddle, and a great way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.

An elocution lesson.
Climber is my posh child. He used to say "Dah-d" and he still says "Plahnt". Cherub is my bogan. I am waging a campaign on this. He says he's toy-erd, it's moyne, woy? He asks to taste my woyne. I say it's not woyne its wahiiiiiiiii-ne. He says he loykes it. I wasn't sure the campaign was progressing until Craftymum came over for knitting and woyne last night and told me Cherub had corrected her when she said the baby was tired. She's not toy-erd, she's tahiiiiiired, he said.

A prize

Arrived in the mail this morning, a very special quilt made by the talented Tracey, who celebrated 100 blog posts with a competition. As she says, a nice splash of pink to help me fight my corner in amongst the power tools and trainsets. And she also sent me a birthday card. How noyce is that?

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Cherub Can Wink

Remember Angelina? The romance continues. Climber's teacher has mentioned it a couple of times, and frankly, he sounds impressed. According to him, this is not a one-way street, this relationship. Even though she is the one with Angelina loves Climber loves Angelina written on the front of her Reading Book. (I saw it myself.) According to the teacher, it is a special relationship and Climber is a willing participant.

Today in the car Climber told me that Angelina doesn't know the F-word. When Gabriel told her to guess, she offered up "few-king". (Which, by the way, quite impressed the Climber. He says he plans to use it as an F-word substitute in polite company. Because you wouldn't double-take, would you, if you heard a 6-year-old saying that?)

She did, however, manage a better stab at it. In fact he told me she correctly came up with short version of the F-word. Which as we all know is just F-U-K. The real F-word is, of course, F-U-K-E-N.

I mean, fancy not knowing that!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I Bless this New Blender and All who Puree in Her...

First you cook the pumpkins... (with your home-made chicken stock from last night's roast chicken, oh you are such a Domestic Goddess this week.)

Make sure you wash the New Blender with warm soapy water etc. You could also pat dry with soft cloth. Or you could figure that the rinse was good enough. How holy does a Domestic Goddess have to be?

Pour the hot stuff into the New Blender. Experienced bloggers (like moi) will also remember to wipe up all the spillages before taking the photos.

If you attempt to read the instructions during your first use of the blender, you may will discover that switching the Power Button on means that when you press Button 4 (to puree) the New Blender will spring into action immediately. It will be just luck that at this stage you are right next to it, meaning you can slam your hand onto the lid before too much pumpkin puree flies into the atmosphere. At this point, make sure you wipe everything down again before proceeding with photography.

Serve with a dash of cream and fresh chives (from own herb garden if possible). Photograph lovingly, then eat! Multi-taskers may like to scoff it down whilst bragging about domestic achievements to cyber-space.


The following Meme is brought to you today courtesy of the lovely Liz. It's an exercise in succinctness.

One-Word Responses Meme

1. Where is your cell phone? Bench
2. Relationship? Fixed
3. Your hair? Red
4. Work? Dancing
5. Your sister? Juggling

6. Your favourite thing? Sons
7. Your dream last night? Tangled
8. Your favourite drink? Tea
9. Your dream car? Petrol-less
10. The room you're in? Messy

11. Your shoes? Dancing
12. Your fears? Many
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? Dancing
14. Who did you hang out with this weekend? Family
15. What are you not good at? Navigating

16. Muffin? Please
17. Wish list item? Studio
18. Where you grew up? Spacious
19. The last thing you did? Cooked
20. What are you wearing? Stripeysocks

21. What are you not wearing? Lipstick
22. Your pet? Missed
23. Your computer? Dinosaur
24. Your life? Wonderful
25. Your mood? Content

26. Missing? Pet
27. What are you thinking about? Choreography
28. Your car? Park-able
29. Your kitchen? Tiled
30. Your summer? Dry

31. Your favourite colour? Purple
32. Last time you laughed? Today
33. Last time you cried? Then
34. School? Parent
35. Love? Plenty

I've added one more question. Just 'cos.

36. Tag? Crafty

Monday, June 11, 2007

This is a story about power tools.

Like dropsaws.

And drills.

It is also a tale of measuring, hammering, screwing, thinking, painting, sanding, painting again, and sweating.

This is the story of Mister Fixit.

(And helpers.)

(And his other helper.)

(And some more 'helpers'.)

No. It's not an indoor play-gym. Although you could be forgiven for thinking that.

It's the New Bunk Bed.

Made from scratch by Mr Fixit, with advice and plans from my cousin Daniel, who knows what he's doing.

I love a man who is good with his hands.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Well so far this 40 thing has been okay...

... Probably because I'm still in Week Of Birthday mode, so nice things are still happening. Take for example this morning when a package arrived at our doorstep ...

I've got no idea who it's from. Samsara perfume (yum) was one of the items on my birthday Wists list so it must be from someone who was invited, but I thought (seeing as how I've pretty much done my thank-you cards) that most gifts were present (har har) and accounted for. A couple of people mentioned there was still something to arrive in the mail but they were people who could have just gone to a shop and bought the perfume - it's not rare or hard to find... Oh, and the other slightly weird thing was that it was addressed using Fixit's surname, not mine. So a little birthday mystery!

Anyway, we celebrated the actual day by having a family birthday dinner (with Nell of course) and I made the famous Buttermilk Spice Cake with easy Penuche Icing and the boys decorated it for me.

And tactfully, they only gave me 21 candles to blow out, but then Climber insisted on counting out 40 claps (plus a big one to grow).

As for that proposal that wasn't.

This is what I honestly feel about it.

I never actually wanted to GET married.

But. I do have this Inner Princess. She would quite like to dress up in a gorgeous frock and would probably enjoy flashing a beautiful sparkly rock on her hand. Her main problem however was that nobody had ever asked her to marry him. Which made her feel a bit insecure about her inability to inspire passion and romance in the hearts of men. She's a little bit pathetic, my Inner Princess.

Anyway, when Fixit made his non-proposal speech at my party, he said some beautiful and loving things to and about me. Which both allayed the IP's insecurites, and for all intents and purposes was as close to an actual wedding as I would ever require. I'd had my hair done, I was wearing a gorgeous frock, I was given a whole stack of great presents, and in the presence of my friends and family the man of my heart declared his love for me. I don't need more than that. And I'll always remember it.

On the downside, I still don't have a rock, I felt like vomiting when he was talking, I can't really quite remember what he actually said because like everyone else in the room I thought he WAS proposing which made me all fluttery and breathless and panicky, and worst of all I really didn't reciprocate his sentiments when it was my turn to speak. I think I just thanked him. Good on me.

Now that I've broken the 40-barrier I think I'll wear my never-been-proposed-to badge with perverse pride. Like an anti-IP rebel. In fact, maybe I should get Nell to physically make the badge!

And next year Fixit and I will celebrate our 15th anniversary. So I can probably start nagging for a rock any day now.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Almost Nearly Sorta Kinda 40th

I was telling Carmel-from-creche about my forthcoming party, and she said to me:
"It's bad luck to celebrate your birthday BEFORE the actual date!"
(Because she's Italian. Can you tell?)

I said "How much bad luck? Are we talking death or dud presents? What's the scale?"

(Because I'm a smart-arse).

Carmel thought we were probably in the realm of dud presents so I decided to risk it.

Saturday morning and quite a lot of Saturday afternoon was spent setting up. The Perfectionist Team otherwise known as Elda and Nell got to work, making sure it was Just Right. Fixit and I helped as directed although I got to skive off for almost 2 hours while I got my hair done At The Hairdressers. And I will just state for the record that getting your hair done professionally before an important event is definitely worth it! My hair looked fabulous in every single photo.

The hall looked wonderful. It's amazing what you can do with some painted cardboard stars, some fishing line, some cheap purple sparkly fabric and fairy lights. I also put up a big photo wall where I tried to have photos of me with most of my guests, as well as lots of milestone photos.

My sister travelled from interstate to celebrate with me, and brought with her the professional photographer's gear to capture the event. I think she was too busy dancing during the mass Charleston dance lesson so I'm pretty sure we have no photos of that but I can tell you it was a LOT of fun! And it got every one laughing and mingling which was fantastic. Fixit and I were turning and 3-stepping like we were born to it.

And then suddenly after that, I started to feel dreadful. I still don't know what it was. I know what it WASN'T. It was definitely NOT alcohol because sadly I had only had one glass of wine. And I was planning to have much more than that. Could have been gastro, because let's not forget my Stealth Vomiter from last week and add in that the Climber went on to chunder Sunday night. And we all know what germ-spreaders kids are. Or maybe it was too stuffy in the main hall and it made me faint and nauseous. Possibly stress from the lead-up was just too much for my delicate constitution. I dunno. I do know I spent the remainder of the party feeling ill. Which meant that I had none of the party food (apparently it was very nice), none of the alcohol (you should see how much is left over) and none of the drunken socialising I was hoping for, not to mention frenzied action on the dancefloor.

But anyway. I pulled myself together enough for the formalities and sat, like the Queen of Sheba, draped in my shawl to stop the shivering, while my speakers (my Mother, my Father, Nell and Fixit) spoke. The speeches were just lovely and did all that good speeches should - made people laugh and cry. Then I blathered something incoherent and forgot to thank Jenny for my cake ...

... and Dad for the alcohol ...

... but did remember to thank Mum and Bron for travelling down specially and for helping out with the photos, and Nell and Elda for all their work, and all my guests for being gorgeous friends and/or family.

Now. Slight drumroll for this part of the evening's proceedings ...

Fixit was the last of the speakers and after Elda announced him he suddenly knelt down beside me and took my hand. OH YES HE DID!! You should have heard the gasp that went round the room. You should have heard my heart somersault in my chest.

And I think that he nearly almost proposed to me and that at the last moment he backed out. He said later he wanted to but was worried that I'd say Yes.

(Umm.. Seriously. If you ask a girl in public, in front of all her friends and family, after 14 years and 2 children together, do you think she'd be able to say NO?)

Anyway. He did make a really beautiful and heartfelt speech about how much I meant to him which touched the hearts of everyone in the room.

And then they brought out the cake and I blew out forty candles. It took 3-4 goes. That's a lot of candles.

Did you notice the sexy back detail on my frock? And here's a front-on shot so you can see the bodice detail featuring pretty amber-like beads. It had an uneven hem, above the knee at the front and longer everywhere else and the skirt flipped out beautifully when I danced. Also pictured here with my frock is the maternal side of the family - my Mum is on the right of the photo. A couple of aunts in this picture were later observed putting some gentle pressure on Fixit to go through with the proposal. And I don't think they were the only ones to do that.

So the next day, I had no hangover, but still felt seedy. Which is just unfair. But I did get to unwrap my presents.

At least there were no duds.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Only One More Sleep To Go.

Climber gets the ball off the roof. Doesn't ask me.
Just shimmies up there and I would have been
none the wiser except I wandered out to bring in washing.
Kids. Hmph.

This party better be fun, that's all I can say.

Because I've been buzzing around like a blue-arsed fly this week, and this has not been helped by Cherub having a vomiting sickness on Tuesday night. To make matters worse, his vomiting went unheard by Fixit (I was out teaching) so the boys' bedroom absolutely reeked of sick when we eventually discovered it and then we had to haul the poor sleeping child out for clean-up and bed detoxing. And he thought it was morning and wanted to stay on the couch watching telly and was all confused and adorable. Then the next morning I had to take him to the doctor because he complained of a sore neck (meningitis symptom) but it was just glands. So he missed his normal day at childcare in a week when that really wasn't convenient. And he's been whinge-y and needy like your average below-par 3-year-old and it's been very hard to concentrate on getting stuff done.


I've managed to find sensible teenagers to work at the party, organised the photo display with help and possible misappropriation of her workplace's resources by the redoubtable Elda, painted MORE stars, threaded stars, organised a helium pump and balloons, bought a selection of shirts for Fixit to try because he is too fat for most of his fabulous clothes (the dress code for the party is 'fabulous') AND found out about and hired a PA. Because: the Swing Dance teachers needed a microphone and guess what you can't just plug a microphone into your stock-standard sound system so even though one of my gorgeous tap students helped out by lending me her microphone I still had to get this enormous PA system which I really hope I remember how to work. But the dudes at Mannys (hire place) were great and threw in extra leads so I can plug in my iPod to the kick-arse speakers and gave me their mobile number so I can call if I can't remember the instructions.


I am having unrestful sleep because I keep dreaming about getting everything organised. So it just better be an absolute blast, this party.

Here's the boys sitting on a the PA modelling the Tap Hats which had to be moved from the boot to make room for the speakers.

And here's the Big Red Mark that Cherub got by falling off the wall 5 minutes later, which was so helpful of him just when I'm trying to load the enormous PA into the house and put away the catering supplies which had also arrived whilst chivvying kids into swimmers for the afternoon swim lesson. And of course I was desperate for the loo, but oh no, instead I had to sit on the couch with an icepack on his head. He seems alright. No concussion that I could see.

More updates tomorrow... (unless the day goes pear-shaped.)

And I leave you with a Cherub-ism. Climber and I were riffing with rhyming phrases and I offered up "Pink Stinks". Both boys were very amused, and Cherub, desperate to join in and punching somewhat above his weight, was further inspired to add: "And poo smells."