Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out with the Old

(wait, that could be me)

This is my official Happy New Year post.

Not long after we found out about the stupid job we were invited to a party at Wallington Adventure Park, an aquatic fun park on the way to Queenscliff. Remember when I went to the Royal Melbourne Show and was all jealous because I stupidly didn't have a go on the giant slide?

Well I was determined not to be that dumb again, so despite the fact that the morning was coldish..

Wallington Water Park 35

too cold for me to do this...

Wallington Water Park 52

...although the boys loved it...


...I made sure that I grabbed a mat, climbed up the enormous staircase with Climber for moral support, knelt at the starting line with my heart thumping and wait how do you hold this mat thing? how do I .. oh gawd, the lights are green, go go goooooooo!
(I'm in the lane second from the right, and Climber is far right)


So that's my resolution for the New Year. Don't hold back from trying something you like the look of because you might be too old or too poor or too shy or whatever. Embrace the healing goodness of being fully immersed in H2O. Don't hold onto your negative stuff. Be brave. Have fun.

Happy New Year Everyone! Thanks for coming to my blog! And seeing it's the end of the year, won't you please leave me a message if you read this! Go on. Be Brave.

love Carolinex

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Reading and Jammy Dodgers

Even though I am currently one-third into reading The Other Boleyn Girl, I couldn't keep myself away from my shiny new Christmas present aka Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby. In fact I galloped through it in a night and enjoyed it very much, despite being reminded - as I always am when I read his books - of my English ex-boyfriend, who shared many traits of typical Hornby male characters: pugnacious, insecure yet arrogant, a tendency towards misery and moodiness. Whenever I read a Nick Hornby novel I congratulate myself on finishing with the ex and finding a nice man like Fixit to settle down with.

Next on my reading list, and I'm still debating the order, are two more Christmas presents: Escape by Anna Fienberg and the new Nick Earls, The True Story of Butterfish. I'm a massive fan of Nick Earls, I met him when I was working with the Youth Literature Program and have a very precious signed copy of his first, and possibly my favourite, book Zigzag Street. If you haven't read this book you should, it makes me squawk with laughter every time I read it. I'm not quite sure if Philippa Gregory and her Boleyn Girls aren't going to have to stand at the back of the line, even if they are on loan from a friend. The good thing about being on holidays is extra time and energy for reading, so I daresay I'll get through!

A while ago Cherub declared that he wanted a rest from chapter books for our night-time storyreading sessions and so we've had a good time reading some of his excellent picture books, favourites like QPootle5 by Nick Butterworth and Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. But tonight we started Paddington Bear; chapters and not very many pictures. I don't remember ever having read this before despite knowing all my life all about the bear from Darkest Peru, but we enjoyed the lively opening chapter very much, so fingers crossed Cherub will get over his aversion to chapter books.

cherub boxfun

Last night I finished reading the very last book from the Rowan of Rin series (by Emily Rodda) to the boys. We have read all 5 of these books straight through, on the recommendation of Pea Soup, and boy was she on the money. Every night Climber would look dismayed when I finished the chapter and ask for just one more. They are fantasy adventures books, aimed at 8-12 yo's, set in the land of Rin where dwell fantastic creatures like Dragons, Ice Creepers and Grach; and the hero, in a land where the brave and the strong are valued, is a gentle, shy and nervous boy called Rowan. During the series he must battle with very frightening creatures and solve impossible riddles but he makes friends and triumphs in the end, despite what I consider VERY vague "instructions" from the grumpy wise woman. My sensitive Climber, the one who feels he can't stand up to the bolshy boys in his grade, has enjoyed them enormously, and told me one day as we were driving home and discussing how he was coping at school that he really felt that the Rowan books had helped him.


I picked up Don't Look Now, a Clarice Bean novel, (by Charlie and Lola author Lauren Child) when we were at the library last week, more to amuse myself while we waited for the call from the mechanic to come pick up the car. But the wait was long and the boys were bored, so I started reading it aloud, and since they seemed to be enjoying it we borrowed it. Anyway, during the book, Clarice has to go to the shop to buy some Jammy Dodgers. I was pretty sure they were a kind of English biscuit and I googled them the next day and later Climber and I made a batch. Fixit came home and said Have you made Jam Fancies? But I said no. Because Jammy Dodger is a great name for a biscuit and that's what we're going to call them from now on.

Jammy Dodgers

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Day 09

A water pistol..

christmas day 005

a Crystal Sweeper lego set...

christmas day 024

and a bonus Star Wars lego set meant that the Cherub had a great day.

christmas day 122

That is if you don't mention the part where the water-pistol from Santa was inadvertently crushed by his older brother a mere 8 hours after he'd received it. Luckily Fixit is on hand for repairs.


Some Club Penguin Card Jitsu cards..

christmas day 006

a pogo stick, (not a present, just to play with at my Uncle's house)

christmas day 057

a soccer ball,

christmas day 126

some Cousinball,

christmas day 106

and much later, (after the camera was away), an outside fire to tend and poke meant that Climber had a great day too.


Christmas for Cherub was primarily about receiving new toys. Let's face it, he's 6. He could quite happily have collected his loot and gone home to play with it. But Climber, Fixit and I had a great time talking, eating, drinking, playing, laughing and even singing with people we like and love (some of them only via telephone but it was good to talk).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

So jump in bed and cover your head...

...cos Santa Claus comes tonight.

Oh my goodness, the Cherub is excited! I don't know how he got through today. Well actually I do, by telling me approximately 50,000 times in high-pitched glee Santa's coming tonight!!!!

christmas eve 065

Meanwhile, Fixit's work sent them all home at lunchtime, freeing me up to do a few last-minute errands which had been neglected owing to a day of extreme heat yesterday, as well as the urgent water pump repairs for the Corolla, which deprived me of my car for 2 days and $900 for all time.

christmas eve 074

I have been attempting some sewing this Christmas, and right when I was trying to knock together a little bag my machine seized. So it was just as well Fixit came home early because despite claiming to know nothing about sewing machines, he fixed mine and I was able to finish up.

bag for mavis 49

Our Christmas tree is looking gorgeous with a full complement of presents underneath, many swathed in Aunty Cookie's gorgeous wrapping paper.

christmas eve 031

I was quite proud of the Christmas cards I made this year, simple but pretty.

christmas eve 035

The boys made elaborate constructions out of components of Georellis and the game Mousetrap in order to give Santa a little present. Cherub's features a candy cane...

christmas eve 055

... but Climber got a bit fancy and I gather Santa needs to knock the bucket over to send the ball rolling down the staircase to drop on the see-saw which will catapult Santa's present into a receptacle.

christmas eve 057

Outside, a plate of goodies waits for the big guy with the beard and the reindeer.

christmas eve 115

In the boys' room we hung stockings.

christmas eve 103

Next to the stockings are 2 very excited people who I hope are sleeping now.

cherub's empty stocking97

Happy Christmas for tomorrow! Or just love and goodwill if Christmas is not your bag.
Stomper x

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Post mortem

Brickboy 9

Not getting The Job is a disappointment, but it is not a disaster. For a start, we have health, a roof over our heads, lovely children and each other. Fixit will still do his apprenticeship, so we have a wage and a future. And post-Fixit's breakdown, there have been people at his work who have jumped in to help out on points where management let him down. For example, one guy took it upon himself to supervise the Journal (an important part of accreditation and something that had not been started one and a half years into his apprenticeship) and now handles liaison on all journal matters between the TAFE and the Civil Aviation Authority. Some senior workers have made it a point to call Fixit over and say we're doing such-and-such job, you'd need that for your accreditation so come and work here. Other workers request Fixit to work with them because they value him as a co-worker and can see that he is eager to learn. So he will go on at the current place and it isn't the end of the world, or indeed as bad as it was.

Preparing the bucket 10

The disappointment is that The Job was really an opportunity to put a bit of glitter in our lives instead of drudge. There would have been perks (cheap flights! real holidays!!). There would have been 8-hour days and fixed shifts. Extra hours would have been paid for. Overtime rates at that! Gasp. There might have been more money, although he never quite got to have that discussion. But his current workplace has declared that there will be no pay rises until qualification. Fixit would have had time and energy to plot an exercise regime, which, with the current 9 1/2 hour days, motorbike rides out to the airport and having to mind the kids three nights a week because of my job, is currently not happening. Plus he would have been in a work environment where there was an overall plan for his training and people could tell him what he'd be doing next, instead of him having to find out what he needs to do then set it up for himself. So you can see why we got so excited about it and why we were so dashed when it didn't happen.

Cherub helps 12

The line I'm taking is that their recruitment people are idiots. This assessment is not just based on missing out on The Job; Fixit does schooling with people from there and several of them are failing every subject and all they do is bitch and moan and disrupt the class. Someone HIRED THOSE PEOPLE, and then decided Fixit was not what they were looking for. QED, idiots. They're mad to knock back Fixit, he would have been an asset: a loyal, hard-working, talented employee. That's my unbiased opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Ready to decorate 17

We've requested feedback, which they offered in the rejection email along with the cavalier statement that it would not be provided until at least mid-January because they were having a holiday. That's nice for them I suppose, Merry Christmas!

Decorating the tree18

Meantime, we have moved through complete shock on Day 1, to abject disappointment on Day 2, anger on Day 3 and now we are just getting on with it, although occasionally we mutter rude words in their general direction.

Star on Tree 25

We are looking forward to Christmas now. We'll still have a happy one. And as you can see, we put our own glitter into our life.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rain in my Heart

He didn't get the job. We're in shock. I didn't really know until now how much we were counting on this to make everything all right again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Card Making

I wanted to make a special card for Cherub's Prep Teacher, because she is so wonderful and the kids have had the most beautiful year with her. So in my capacity as Grade Parent, I sent home a little kit to all the families. I made little colourful envelopes and asked each child to write a note or do a drawing to put in the envelope, and to stick a small photo of themselves on the front. Those families that wanted to could also put in for a gift voucher. Most of the parents got their act together pretty well; I had only a few dramas, worst of which was thinking I'd lost 2 envelopes when in fact they'd never been handed to me in the first place.

I waited until Saturday to put the card together, secure in the knowledge that Nell would be at our house and could help me. Well, when I say help, what I really mean is, I said I've got all these envelopes and I want to make a card and I thought they could hang or something, and Nell had a think about it and suggested a Christmas Tree and we went to Officeworks for equipment, and then she took charge of making templates and cutting and folding and assembling.

And when we'd finished it looked like this:

card for K2

and I said If that doesn't make the teacher cry then I don't know what will...

kristens card21

...and today after Cherub's class' adorable Puppet Show we handed it to her and I can report with great satisfaction that it did make her cry.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

End of Year Tap Christmas Party

Last year I put on the Tap School Christmas Party and Performance with parvovirus and a bad disc in my neck. Surprisingly it went well and I think I even had fun, but this year I was in perfect health and enjoyed the proceedings much more.

tap xmas party 115rudolph

I think I am the luckiest tap teacher around, because I have such gorgeous students. And they come from the loveliest families.

tap xmas party 019mids

tap xmas party 054bigs

I am also very lucky and thankful to have Mister Fixit supporting me. Although occasionally he mutters that he would like my school to earn more money than it does, he is always there helping me set up and pack up, and the Christmas Party was no exception. The whole family went to the Tap Hall on Friday night where we ate pizza and set up furniture. Then, at home, while I got together all my bits and bobs (tinsel, tablecloths, tickets etc) Fixit funneled cordial in through the tap of the 12-litre dispenser that had been designed for just one use and no refills - take that water-sellers!! Next morning he repaired Tap Hall doors and my tap shoes, fetched the coffees, and drove home-and-back 20 minutes before the performance began because the Climber only had one tap shoe. He also stood on a chair at the back and took photographs for me. He is ace.

tap xmas party 012littles

I am also eternally grateful to the gorgeous Nell, who week after week collects the fees, hands out stamps & stickers, sells merchandise and disseminates information for me; all for the beggarly wage of 2 sausage rolls per week. She is also my Production Manager at all gigs - we used to call her The Tech-ie but some (tech-ie) guy at the last fete we did gave her ideas and she quickly adopted the fancier moniker. I am lucky to have a friend like her! Thank you Nell.

miss c and nell

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Is it Wednesday again already?

What's Hot, What's Not, playing along with Loobylu.

What's Hot.
pick a card47
  • Cherub and Climber doing magic shows for us. Totally cute.
  • Our rent not going up by as much as they initially threatened (a rise of $15 per week instead of $20), thanks to me being a cranky-pants. I am Wheel, hear me Squeak.
  • Fixit's never-ending job application being nearly over. He had the final interview today and he thinks it went well. We hope to hear next week. Thanks to everyone who wished him luck, you are all ace and kind and lovely. He says if he gets the job he will take me out to dinner and wear his suit, oohlala.
  • The Millennium Trilogy books. Finished the Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest this afternoon and loved it like mad. Have been putting all my friends on to it.
  • Getting extra funds because of the search for the Melbourne Mary Poppins. They can't find a girl who can sing, dance and act the part and have opened up the casting call. Suddenly I was inundated (well there were 4 of them anyway!, felt like inundation) by classical singers needing private tap classes in order to master a triple timestep.
floating card83

What's Not.

Me being too old to audition for Mary Poppins. I've totally got the triple timesteps covered, I've probably got the High C in my vocal range (if I did a few scales) and I am also bossy and old-fashioned, not to mention practically perfect in every way. Sadly they are looking for someone 22-30 and I am thirty-twelve. *sulks*

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Letters to Santa Claus

climber's letter to santa 09 88

Climber always writes a lovely letter to his benefactors,

santa letter09 cherub651

...whereas this chap just wanted to state the basics, and had to be nagged into the niceties. Meanwhile, in his quest for the crystal sweeper, Cherub has written an average of 2 notes per day for the last week or so which are all variations on the same theme:

crystal sweeper letter
Not sure if he plans to keep up the bombardment all the way to Christmas.

letters to santa
They both carried their letters for the whole tram ride into the city...

posting 37
...and sent them safely on their way to the North Pole.

Then they had a bit of a look at the giant Christmas tree in City Square..

looking at the big tree

city square

point 47

city square41

... and when they'd had enough of that they had a bit of a play. Then we headed off for coffees, soft drinks and sushi, and the tram ride home.


See how his feet don't touch the ground?

Friday, December 04, 2009


The Cherub is one of the last 2 children in his prep class yet to lose a baby tooth. No little gaps in his perfect smile yet. So when he announced yesterday that he thought he had a wobbly tooth, Fixit and I said Ooh really, let us look, wow! thinking that he would be equally excited.

We were therefore surprised when he burst into tears and quavered I don't want to have a wobbly tooth. When we asked why he said I don't want there to be bloo-o-o-d, so of course we hastened to reassure him that there was hardly any blood. To no avail. He was sad and scared and rapidly dropping his bundle.

i don't want a wobbly tooth-135

Because although we had forgotten the great trampoline head-and-wobbly-tooth-collision of 2008, the Cherub had not...

... and there was a lot of blood involved in the loss of that particular wobbly tooth, and a very distraught Climber, and looking back I don't think we properly took on how traumatised the Cherub felt, being the accidental cause of the carnage. He cried, I remember, and I comforted and reassured him that it wasn't his fault (although from memory Climber might have been casting aspersions) but mostly I was dealing with a bloodied, and slightly hysterical big brother.

So meanwhile the 4 year old Cherub had imprinted this wobbly tooth episode - and only this one; there have been at least 7 other incidences in his big brother's life - on to his little psyche. No wonder he fears the wobbly tooth. And the more he thought about it, the more his fear grew. He started to insist that he wouldn't be able to jump on the trampoline any more or eat apples and it was all getting very pathetic.

However, an imaginary conversation between Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy bumping into each other on Christmas Eve Hohoho Tooth Fairy I haven't seen you for a while, how's business? Good thanks Santa, that's some nice looking presents you've got there, fancy young Cherub losing his first tooth just before Christmas etc raised a small smile, and a story session that evening featuring Charlie and Lola's My Wobbly Tooth Must Never, Ever Fall Out and Climber and the Tooth Fairy made him feel a bit better.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ce qui est chaud, ce qui n'est pas

Playing along with Loobylu

N'est pas:
  • Internet being shaped to dial-up speed for nearly 2 weeks. I was of course blaming the children for overdoing it on Club Penguin but turns out when I looked at my usage stats my blowout day is Monday when the blameless children are safely at school. And the activity eating most of my bytes? Catch-up blog reading after the weekends. So it's your fault, bloggers. You and your fancy pictures.
  • Rent going up, due to "market forces". I think "market forces" is a mean reason to up the rent. Especially when the real estate market in Melbourne is so massively inflated anyway. There's this unstated power-play thing going on which is that people NEED somewhere to live so we keep letting it be inflated. And, renters in Australia are treated like second-class citizens and can't get long leases like you do in Europe so landlords are allowed to put the rent up every 6 months if they want, by as much as they feel like. We aren't even supposed to put blue-tack on the walls. I know I'm acting like a baby about this in many regards because I chose not to be a wage slave and our rent is actually very cheap comparatively but I don't care. Market Forces my arse. Our rent is not cheap to us.
  • The Corolla's alternator dying, causing 2 flat batteries in 2 days and then making us carless over the weekend. What was even more NOT-HOT was that when we had the flat battery at the pool after swimming lessons, the 2 young boofheads in the shmancy yellow convertible initially refused to give me a jump-start because they were in a massive hurry to get to A HAIRCUT APPOINTMENT. I tell this to people and they say youth of today I'm not surprised but I WAS surprised. I seriously thought they'd be glad to help. In the end, they thought better of it and came over and gave me the jump and I quietly put up with the high levels of patronising that accompanied it and said thanks, have a nice haircut as I left.
  • Getting myself an internet filter thingo to make sure the kids don't stumble onto anything nasty and then finding I couldn't upload anything to Flickr or weigh in on Facebook. I've fixed the facebook side of things, but the only solution to the photo problem is turning it off while I upload. Apparently it's a known Mac /K9 problem.

Well, that was quite a lot of whinging wasn't it? Now for...


  • Being unfazeable in the face of mini-crisis. The first flat battery was at 8am in the morning just as were leaving for Climber's dental check-up (no cavities!) and it takes 2 months to get a new appointment. So I ran next door and asked my neighbours if I could use their car for a jumpstart, and as he was baby-wrangling at that moment, I took his keys, drove the car down our skinny driveway, squeezed out the 2 inch gap between cardoor and house, rang Fixit and he talked me through doing the whole palaver on my own. Backed the neighbour's car back out the driveway without incident (have I mentioned I hate reversing?) thanked them profusely (we have lovely neighbours, both sides) and got to the dentist on time. Left the car unlocked and running the whole time (Fixit couldn't believe I did that but it had to recharge for 30 minutes, it was on a quiet street off a noisy main street and I could see it from the waiting room) and then got the kids to school at 5 minutes after the bell which meant we didn't even have to sign the late book. And my battery was fully charged again. Let me tell you that I swaggered into coffee with Elda feeling pretty impressed with myself.
  • Having a Mister Fixit for a boyfriend. He took the day off Monday, took the busted alternator out of the car, dropped it into an auto-electrician's, picked up a working alternator at 3.30 and had the car ready for me to drive to tap that night. Which was a good thing, because I wasn't really keen on coming home in the dark on the tram with my stereo equipment and my takings, call me crazy.
  • Fixit getting through to the last round of the Epic Never-Ending Job Application. They rang him today. His final step is the face to face interview (out comes that suit again) which will be next Wednesday. Last week I was completely confident that he'd make it through, but when the phone stayed silent so long we both (separately and tacitly) gave up hope. When he texted me this morning I was Christmas shopping at ToysRUs and I was so relieved I all but burst into tears. Fortunately I was able to pull myself together, because otherwise it would have been me and the thwarted 2 year olds carrying on like pork chops, and that just would have been embarrassing.