Tuesday, 29 January 2008

H is for ...

Harper Rothwell Graham

Anyone who's read Kimberley's blog will know that she had an actual human baby on February 5th, which just magically is my birthday also. He's adorable, of course, chirpy and even a bit feisty.
Pictures to follow when I work some stuff out about the camera and the laptop ...

When I was a kid, one of the hallowed objects in our house was Dad's copy of the Hair soundtrack. He and our Uncle Ron went to see the show on stage in Auckland when it played in 1971 or 1972. They raved about it for the rest of the weekend. I loved the songs, knew all the lyrics, still know all the lyrics, and love remembering what visions were in my 5-or-6-year-old head when each song played. I saw the movie version a year or so ago, and it bore no resemblance to what I'd imagined to myself back in the primers. I had no understanding of the social context, it never bothered me that for me, there was no story linking all the songs together.
Anyway, I found a cd of the soundtrack and listened to it again for the first time in years, and good grief, I still love it.


Summer, a time for days at the beach, camping holidays, sunhats and increased pollen in the air. Which means hayfever for me. Still remember the summer of 1987-88, which was significant because it was the first time I tracked down non-drowsy antihistamines - hurrah!!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

G is for ...

I've just been reading Kimberley's blog, and she says that she doesn't make resolutions, she sets goals, and it got me thinking ...
At the moment of writing, my goals for 2008 are:
  • pick up a new contract and force myself up and out of the house every day to fulfil it
  • assume and maintain Treasured Auntie status for Tiny, and not blow it by getting knocked up and breaking off my one day a week that I have my nephew over ... you reading this, Kimberley??
  • finish the Rabbit jersey for Bela, and at least two of the almost-finished things in my workbox
  • spend more time in Christchurch, making sure Sweeney and his grandparents spend lots of time enjoying each other and letting me lie in late
  • work out how Martin's set up the video and DVD player and stereo so that I can actually play something one day
  • write a story and send it to be published
  • get the Saab fixed and beautiful again
  • knit some socks for Martin
  • persevere with the therapy - it's sometimes boring, frustrating and there are times when I really really hate it, but I know it's made a huge difference. Oh, and the pills, the pills ...

I feel like I should have a goal about Sweeney, but I can't think of anything specific, except to keep him happy and keep him from killing himself with his antics.


I like gardening. Someone once told me that they always knew that things were all right for them if they were doing some gardening. I find that the garden is a good place to work out some of the kinks, get the frustrations of the day out of myself. And Sweeney likes to rake leaves and push things around in his wheelbarrow and dig with me while I'm out there.

I'm coercing a little part of the garden into a secret space for him. He's into it - he knows where the entrance is, and he creeps under the beech trees and the wineberry, then he pops back out again. The plan is to set up his Spongebob inflateable bed in the clearing under the beeches and he can camp out when it's not too freaky for him. Currently we can see down into the space from the deck, but eventually it'll be grown over and private for him. Hopefully this won't turn into material for the sequel to The Wasp Factory or anything.

People up the road from Nana years ago gave me the idea. From the path, it looked like a grotto of nikau and beeches, but from within the trees itself, there was a passageway tall enough for us to walk through upright until we were about 10 or 11. Behind the house was a compound of aviaries

Oooh, the Young Squire has entered a new phase - the tantrum. Nothing too horrific yet. He lost his composure when I insisted he'd played in Toyworld for long enough yesterday. Note to self - never, never take him there again, even when he's perky and full of food. The wailing and squirming continued for the 100m back to the car, then there was a full-body-bracing incident when I tried to strap him into his seat.

He's so easy-going most of the time that we're working on heading off tantrums before they appear. His routine is pretty by-the-clock now, so we plan our days around creche and his nap times, and for the most part, things are pretty smooth. Recognising his routine for melting down when we're out has helped - when he starts making 'the noise' and falling over a bit more than normal, it's time for home.

That said, this morning required three attempts to get his sandals onto him and he hurled a Crown Lynn bowl from his highchair and squealed with rapture when it landed on the deck in three pieces. It wasn't a special bowl or anything, but there was a nutritionally balanced and, I thought, interesting, breakfast inside it, which the cat greatly enjoyed. Grrr. Back to the plastic Spongebob plates and bowls for the meantime.


Sweeney in a cowboy hat, with his dad, possibly line dancing. Sweeney in his grandad's hat, complete with grandad's hands.

2008 ...

Okay, it's been a while. A long while. I look back over the last nearly three months and I can't remember what's been happening. So I'll kick off with the encyclopaedia again.

F is for ...

Fish fingers

When I was a wee girl, I remember Mum breaking out the fish fingers on Good Fridays. They seemed so exotic, so 'other'. I know, I know - they're the fish equivalent of a preboiled supermarket sausage - bits, flaps, odd tufts of floor shavings. But it was the '70s, for goodness sake, and we lived in the heart of cow country - you couldn't move for piles of steak in those days.

When I was pregnant, I worked my way through schools of the things. In the back of my mind sat an image of giving birth to something crumbed and gold. Yay for the 20-week anatomy scan, to put your mind at rest that you're carrying around some arms and legs and lungs in there.

Sweeney's shown that he can scarf a pile of them when he gets the chance. For eight months everything he ate was created from scratch from interesting, fresh meat, fish, vege etc. Then one night I baked two fish fingers and chopped them up in a bowl of store-bought toddler food, and he delivered the whole mess into his mouth in about three loads. I always think of that night when I eat fish fingers now - so many emotions:

  • the thrill of getting away with fish fingers and glop out of a jar

  • the horror at giving my poppet fish fingers and glop out of a jar

  • the deep, deep offence at having fish fingers and glop out of a jar received with more enthusiasm than the mixed steamed vege melanges I'd been turning out
Food in general is a brilliant, brilliant thing. Martin didn't feel like dinner tonight, so I made myself a plate of spaghetti with anchovies and garlic. It's what I like to eat when he's out, usually. He doesn't like anchovies, which is just mental, but who am I to force ambrosia on the unwilling ??

Sweeney's becoming increasingly picky about what gets into his body. Always welcome are:

  • anything with sugar

  • anything out of a jar

  • anything that I'm trying to eat

Most of my fave foods are not classy - Mum's bread & butter pudding, Nana's chops, Martin's green chicken curry, Dad's cooked breakfasts, Kimberley's gratin dauphinoise, Denis' pavlova ... When I was in Cambodia, I just loved the coffee there. When I got back to New Zealand, I found the closest thing I could find was a tube of Nestle Coffee 'n' Milk. It set me on a frenzy for nostalgic food - in particular, things I could remember eating with my Nana when I was little. Like shrimp paste sandwiches, krispies and fingernail cake - Ernest Adams madeira cake with slivered almonds on top.


Aren't they crash hot?? Yes, they are. The feeling that comes from the shared memories of childhood tickle fights, bizarre relatives, glimpses of parental drunkenness and the like. The time Mum took us to see Superdad while Dad and went to see The Towering Inferno, or Rollerball, or some deeply cool movie in 1975.
And Mum and Dad always seem to enjoy hearing me rant about how they let Kimberley get away with all sorts of things I got pinged for before she was born. Hold onto your hats when we get to T for Table Manners ...
And then the family you make for yourself. Martin and Sweeney make the pure hell of getting up in the morning worth it

Also crash hot. You know who you are, and you're fine, fine people.
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