Sunday, 27 December 2009

Silent Nights

Hello, you may remember me. I used to write here a little bit. My hard drive bit the dust. Back up and running and now I'm racking my brains thinking what anyone would possibly want to read about here.
So I'll do a little Hot/Not Hot:
  • Christmas day was choice - choice people, choice kai, choice presents. Sweeney spent the day in full Spiderman regalia, including undies. Choice;
  • having three days off in a row after the frenzy that was the week before Christmas;
  • Patricia Grace's Tu. I'm so actually reading it;
  • Prairie Home Companion on the National Programme. Somehow all that dour Minnesota-ness about snow and Lutherans is a real signifier of summer for me;
  • seeing Sweeney hang out with his families on Christmas day - especially his Dunedin cousins and auntie and uncle - what a nice bunch of people;
  • Wonky Donkey. Haven't enjoyed reading a book about a terribly disabled, musically tasteless animal with giantism and a chirpy countenance so much ... ever;
  • having Mum to stay. She brought trifle. Hope she makes another one ...
Not Hot
  • the squealy noise coming from my front passenger wheel;
  • this latest batch of weather. Not hot at all;
  • the spuds I served up for dinner last night. Took ages to boil, then they went instantly grey. Epicurean, indee ...;
  • One Red Dog tonight. We went there for dinner just after 5pm and left at 5.35pm, without even getting a glass of water. Loads of staff about, and only a fine spray of punters, but no-one coming for our order or anything. We scarpered to The Craftsman, which was kind of fabulous, as it turns out. Bad, bad dog ...;
  • hayfever. And buying hayfever medication, only to have all symptoms disappear;
  • Little Dorrit's over. Oh, stink.
I'll leave it to Wonky Donkey to sign off. Hee Haw!!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Wherever I Lay My Hat

This week's My Place and Yours meme, from Meet Me at Mike's and Myrtle and Eunice is all about what it takes to make you feel that you're really at home. I've been thinking hard about this one. I tried to remember what it was that made me feel a bit more settled when we moved back down to Wellington before Sweeney was born. And it was ...
this frypan, this casserole, this chopping board and this knife. Really. I've had them all for more than 20 years, put out a lot of food from those implements. And you know what?? Sometimes, it's tasted entirely adequate. Hurrah!!
And the calendar-thingy that Kimberley brought back from the UK - that's been with me in all the places I've lived since. Even Transplant House. Actually, the knife and chopping board came with us to Transplant House also.
In other news, our excellent friend Bela came for a sleepover. It was fun, if not entirely to plan. I had a plan, involving a few drinks at a nice local bar, then a panto, then back home for some pyrotechnics and 12 hours of zzzzz.
What happened was 25 minutes at the panto, two children gripping my legs in social terror for the whole 30 seconds we were at Matt's party at the Hawthorn, then a fraught visit to the supermarket before we headed home to watch Watership Down and eat potato chips on the furniture. Look at them, deeply concerned at whether Bigwig would make it or not ...
It's okay, he's all right.
Then, less than eight hours after hitting the sack, they were up again. All hopped up on breakfast, here's what they did for aaaaaaages ...
Realised I'd never thought of a policy about jumping on the couch until today.
Met up with Bela's excellent parents for Yum Char, which was indeed yummy, then we headed home for the droopiest afternoon we've had in a while. Sweeney snoozed for two hours (!) on the couch, and I watched Fred Claus with my hands in my lap. Monumental acting talent involved, and Kevin Spacey looked kind of sexy, in a black specs, cruel kind of way. I put it down to my 5.30am start doing my head in.
When Sweeney woke up, he tried using the camera. Took some great portraits of his toys, the floor, the ceiling, his fingers, a cloud mass through a grimy window.
And this old bat ...

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The Heat

What's Hot:
  • We had spaghetti bolognese-type dinner tonight, quick to whip up, easy to insert veges into, and Sweeney actually ate all of his. It took him a while to get going, but once he was into it ...;
  • It's going to be sunny on Saturday;
  • The two P5 parking spaces the council has finally installed outside Sweeney's preschool;
  • Sweeney's current fave book is Dr Seuss' I Wish That I Had Duck Feet. Lovely;
  • My Jodhpur boots from Minnie Cooper were a bit worn down on the sole, and Sandy not only resoled them, but added on an extra layer of something that makes them tougher and, I think, more comfy. Thanks, Sandy!!;
  • I have just another hoop or two to jump through, then I really will have a Proper Job lined up and ready to go. Oooh-err.
What's Not:
  • It's really rather chilly here tonight;
  • I've been knackered all week and have hardly read anything or done any chores beyond the bare minimum to keep us dressed, fed and kind of clean;
  • the Chorus/Telecom vans that take up the P5 parking spaces outside Sweeney's preschool every morning;
  • my Capos from Minnie Cooper may have to be retired after nine years of faithful service. Resoled and reheeled multiple times, but now the actual leather has sprung a teensy split and may not be salvageable;
  • I'm so anxious about getting confirmation of the Proper Job, I can hardly stand it. Blerg.
More hotness and notness is available from Loobyloo. Always a splendid read.

Monday, 30 November 2009

It's Not (So) Unusual

This one's a series of information bites.
Yesterday was glorious, today it rained all day. Still sort of raining;
  • Sweeney ate spaghetti noodles and beetroot for his dinner. In this house, we say nutritional balance is for dorks;
  • We went to KimberleyJoeHarper's for dinner last night and took some fruit crumble. Sweeney assembled the crumble side of it, I'd already stewed up our on-the-way-out kiwifruit, apples, pears and oranges earlier. Kimberley turned out totally delish roast chicken, Nigella-style. Which I think means, she roasted two together;
  • Last time I parked on Clifton Terrace, about a million birds crapped on the car. Today, they just shook about a ton of leaves, twigs and berries onto it. Cheers!!;
  • We're going to a panto this weekend. I haven't been to one since I was a kid. Hoping it has a lot of eye popping and people not seeing things that are right behind them on stage. Hoping there'll be lots of men dressed as women, and rouge from here to breakfast. Hilarious. Hoping there'll be ice creams. With any luck, our sneaky plan to take Bela with us, then ensnare her for a sleepover, will come off;
  • Sweeney's in his room singing Twinkle Twinkle like he's auditioning to join AC/DC on the road. I must speak to his teachers; and
here's my entry in the My Place and Yours meme on Meet Me at Mike's and Little Suitcase ...
It's all about finding something "nyoice, that's different, that's unusual" around the house.
These are from last summer. There's a monarch butterfly and a Yellow Admiral in one box, and three million cicada husks in the other. I expect we'll chuck these soon, and replace with this year's offerings. It may not be clear in the photo, but the Admiral's pretty crumbly on it already.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

All In This Together

Today is notable for three things. More really, but I'm only going to write about two.
The first is that it's the thirtieth anniversary of the Erebus disaster. This is my blog, so here's what I think of when I think of Erebus. Mrs Marsden from our high school's photocopy room, was on the flight, a dream flight for herself and her husband. She painted in her spare time, and always signed her paintings with a rose - her middle name was Rose. She was nice.
Her daughter, Janine, was suddenly an orphan, and she went to live with the Headmaster's secretary and her husband. She got School C by aegrotat, and the last time I saw her was when I was in hospital in seventh form for appendicitus. She was there, too, recovering from a burst appendix. But I always remember seeing her just after they'd confirmed there were no survivors. She was a hilarious, easy-going person, and here she was, the stuffing knocked out of her, remote, lost in her own thoughts.
The next thing about today. I worked with Helen at the shop today, and a chap came in, with his mum, his wife and his ten-week-old son in train. So far, so gorgeous. He got down and took his mum's shoes off and helped her get our ones on. Three times. His wife sneakily paid for them while he did it. The ten-week-old snurgled on in his stroller. They were all funny and nice and didn't appear disfunctional at all. When I popped out to get coffee for us later, I saw them walking verrrry slowly down the street, him carrying all her bags from ladies' clothing shops. Chatting and giggling together. Gorgeous.
When we got home tonight, Sweeney took my shoes off for me. I know it's just because he likes to undo the buckles, and because he thought I wouldn't notice, so it'd end up being a hilarious prank when I stood up and my shoes came off, but I got a little teary at just how nice he is sometimes.
And I stood up and pretended to be amazed when my shoes came off. He damn near exploded on the spot with glee.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

I Just Can't Stand It

I realised, when I was writing my Hot / Not Hot list, that it's hard to recall the garillion things that enrage me every day. Missing my turnoff, Sweeney dithering about getting into the car, the cat running in front of me all the flipping time, birds crapping on the washing ... it's a long and stupid and embarassing list.
I mean, I marched against the All Blacks tour of South Africa in 1985, for god's sake. I used to get well fired up about issues, politics, international relations, blah blah blah. I was well-informed, and appropriately indignant about it all, all the time.
All this is nothing compared to the fury that flares up in me when there's too much treble coming through the car stereo, Sweeney's kicking the back of the passenger seat again, and the chap in front of us is coasting at 30kph.
I've tried hard to remember that little pocket of time in order to share it with the world. Really what I'm doing is congratulating myself that I forget these atrocities pretty quickly, and they rarely pop up in my brain henceforth.
So, here's a nice picture of kittens ...

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


What's hot ...

  • I made a list of chores that needed tending to, and spent all day Monday in a concerted effort to address them. Got lots done, but the list is still so long ... ;
  • my red sandals from Minnie Cooper. I don't think the photo on the link does them justice, though;
  • John Street Motors. I think maybe Mr John Street Motors has some sort of condition that means he really can't smile, or laugh, or respond to humour in any way, and he certainly never makes a joke himself. But he does do stuff on the car for a reasonable price, and it's ready by the time you agreed it would be, and nothing's fallen off that wasn't supposed to fall off. If you're in Wellington and you need stuff done on your car, lots of people recommend him as The Chap;
  • the bunch of sweet peas David cut for me and Sweeney, from his garden today. They made the car smell great until I got home, and now my bedroom smells great;
  • Little Dorrit - loving the BBC version at the moment. Feeling some Dickens creeping towards my reading list;
  • football - Sweeney and I went down to the carpark last night after dinner and kicked the ball around for what felt like hours. Long summer evenings - aren't they the best??;
  • the 6-pack of Spiderman undies I found in the Coin Save shop, just the right size for a small boy not too far from here; and
  • our neighbours, who picked Sweeney up from preschool today, gave him two of his favourite foods for dinner - sausages and cucumbers - and let him run riot with Frank and Arthur until I got home. You are so hot, chaps!!
What's not ...
  • Sweeney hollering and getting out of bed many, many times before he finally fell asleep tonight;
  • getting blisters from my old black slingbacks, the first time I wear them since January;
  • people complaining about how hot it is. Yes, it's hot, but it's going to get hotter, and crikey, this is Wellington, folks - not a New York heatwave or anything ... ; and
  • going to sleep before Sweeney the other night. Saddo, yes, and there's not a planet in the universe where that's hot.
That's what's going on at our place. Check out LoobyLu for other tabasco-flavoured links ...

Monday, 23 November 2009


I've tried to only collect things that have a purpose - like these Crown Lynn bowls and cast iron pots. I use them all the time. Some of them are Creuset and some of them aren't. I got the frypan at a garage sale in 1987. My flatmates thought I was mad - none of us had a clue how to use cast iron. I've built up the rest since then.
Today I cooked our dinner in the biggest pot and stewed fruit in the next smaller one. The teensiest pot has been brilliant for turning out an individual rice pudding when required, or for turning rice bubbles into a Surprise!! breakfast under the lid.
And yes, I really do manage to keep those shelves looking tidy like that all the time.
When I make muffins tomorrow with that stewed fruit, I'll mix them in the biggest bowl. It really is a whopper. I nearly died of happiness when I found that bowl in a dusty warehouse full of crap. It reminds me of Nana's enormous china bowl, and I think she had some smaller ones like mine.
Sweeney's building up some collections of his own. Generally, they're strewn throughout the house - Hot Wheels, pieces of train track, figurines of small farmyard animals that fit perfectly into your instep on cold mornings. A nice one that he's only just noticing is his collection of Maurice Sendak books. I started stockpiling the Pierre series and Alligators All Around when he was really teeny, and of course one of his first books was Where the Wild Things Are. His dad would read them to him when he visited - lovely rhymes and the opportunity to use a range of voices and growls. And the icing on the cake - one of us found the stories with French text, but Sweeney couldn't bear it when we'd read them - he thinks French is just silly.
Check out Meet Me At Mike's and Foxs Lane for links to more glorious collections ...

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Open Book

I haven't posted much recently about what we're reading here. Currently, the fave junior read is a book that arrived in the mail from Sweeney's Nana, called Willie wants to Wee Wee!. I've read it to him at least twenty times, and he still wants more. He can just about rattle off the story without me anywhere near.
Further proof that I really have no clue how his mind works, he took to this book instantly. Just about has to have a toilet break himself, he laughs so much as the story progresses. It's not a good story for winding down for sleep, that's for sure ...
I picked up The Lovely Bones this morning, and a hundred pages later, figured I should go downstairs and feed Sweeney some breakfast. Enjoying it, looking forward to going to bed for more reading.
Well, without further ado etc ...

Friday, 20 November 2009

The Weight

Two weeks ago, Dr Jan told me that I was her seventh cervical smear patient for the day, and I really struggled for something to say in reply. In my defence, I was struggling to prevent Sweeney from wandering into the curtained area and catching sight of something nasty at the same time.
I know the odds of having cancer are teensy really, but I still felt pretty chuffed to get my letter today, telling me my results were normal. Crazy, no??
Who'd be a GP? I remember when Martin was having gastric banding procedures at the hospital, and one of the nurses told us that they did "down-the-throat jobs in the mornings, and up-the-bum jobs in the afternoons." Who'd be a gastroenterologist? What's the most awful type of doctoring, do you think? To study your bum off for all those years and then every work day consists of tumours or cysts or pus or poohs, or telling people terrible news about their bodies and lives - surely you'd question your choices at some point.
A friend of mine, Sally, has just got the news, five years after getting through treatment for breast cancer, that some microscopic cancer cells have been found, and she's up for more surgery and more radiotherapy. She's relieved that the week of not knowing what was happening is over, and she's positive that she's going to come through okay. Her prognosis is good. Go, Sally, go, go, go!!
In other news, the prognosis for my vacuum cleaner is not good. It's only 18 months old, for god's sake, and this morning it made a small bang! sound and then ... nothing. And I still have the northeast corner my bedroom to remove three years of dust balls from ...
Oh, and Kimberley showed me last night that she can do the Crane now. Inspired me to up my yoga game. Also want to drop 10kg by my birthday. Watch this space ...

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Hot Hot Hot

What's hot today ...
  • the weather. Long may it not rain;
  • the delicious - allegedly chicken - dinner that Kimberley made for us tonight;
  • the Hataitai Hot Bread Shop. Truly a great bakery, although there was no nutmeg on my custard pie. Just not traditional;
  • the folks in Homewood Ave - an ... affluent street in Karori - are having a fair on December 1st to raise funds for the Save the Children Fund. Go, you rich people!!;
  • Harper and Sweeney sorting out their own garden furniture this evening after dinner;
  • my elderflower cordial. I'll post more about this one day soon, because it deserves it. It also deserves to come with its own dental plan, it's so freakishly sweet, but that's another posting in itself ... ;
  • Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Who saw geeky sci-fi coming anywhere near my Hot list?? Not me, but I'm somehow absorbed;
  • Nurse Jackie. I found it a little annoying when she was holding everything together, but now, she's coming undone and it's much more interesting. You just don't see enough adulterous high-functioning drug addicts on the telly ...
What's not so hot today ...
  • the house I was in today, situated two blocks back from the beach, where they were building a huuuuge swimming pool. Crazy;
  • that I still haven't got the hang of chain stitch crochet. Must. Get. The. Hang. Of. It.;
  • Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Not Hot because it's made me realise Iain M. Banks isn't the super-original brainiac genius gigagod I thought he was;
  • me teasing Sweeney's friend Noah for the terrible bottom smell as we were leaving preschool tonight. Once it was just me and Sweeney in the hot, hot car in clogged traffic trying to get to KimberleyJoeHarper's, I realised it was all Sweeney. All. Sweeney.
*snurrgh* Sorry, Noah.
More Hotness than Not Hotness, and that's what counts. Anyhoo, check out Loobyloo's lovely blog for more people's Hotness and Not Hotness.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Right Here, Right Now

What's hot in our house right now?
  • Swdinner being ready to go straight away;
  • walking on my bedroom floor in bare feet and not contracting tetanus;
  • reading Hello Pooh, Hello Piglet for the grillionth time and still enjoying it;
What's not hot?
  • Sweeney nutting off at me from time to time - hope this is just a 'grow thing' and will stop soon;
  • the wind, and that it's going to rain tomorrow;
  • the dishes from today that I haven't got to yet, and won't get to until at least tomorrow morning ...
In other news, New Zealand won the football, the Santa Parade was apparently ace, and Kate and JB from across the road are in Thailand for two weeks. Oooh, sun and sand and fresh mango sliced up with a machete by a four-year-old for 10 baht ...

Sunday, 15 November 2009

In My Room

Great day. I decided that I'd get my bedroom in order this weekend, and yesterday I didn't get near it, but today, I left the parenting to the Playhouse Disney channel for a few hours and put away three tons of clothes to break the back of it. Freshly laundered sheets and aired duvet are on the bed. Surfaces have been dusted and wiped down. Three or four feet of the floor have been vacuumed. I could go on.
Strangely, it still looks like a bombsite, but less so than this morning. I can feel the end is not too far away. I can feel that the front room will be hosting all the stuff from the bedroom that I don't want to have in the bedroom.
De-cluttering is hard. Sleeping in a room surrounded by all your clothes and everything you've read in the last six months is easy.
Then we had a party to go to, and I decided that wee Jessie would love a swan plant and a strawberry plant for her fourth birthday. Hope she does. Poor Sweeney fell asleep about 5km from their house, so I ran in and dropped the present off to Jessie's mum and dad, but then I saw Liisa and Rex and I was filled with a terrible longing to hang out with them, so - and I know I'm a terrible person sometimes - I went back to the car and whispered "parrrrrtyyyy" in Sweeney's ear for a long while, until he left off drooling and snoring and woke up enough to ask to be carried in there.
Long story short, he had a great time, although it's the first time I've seen him crawl under a table with a balloon to hug, while a clutch of four-year-old girls played Pass the Parcel in the adjoining room. And after we've been having bland, sensible food to help his tum stay calm, of course the gazillion chocolate crackles and strawberries, and the kilo of watermelon, and the half hour of solid trampolining, made for a bit of a relapse.
Got home, discovered the high winds today had snapped one of the poles holding our shade sail up. I made dinner, he rejected it in favour of a run down the street and back again - yay, daylight saving!! - which ended in a tumble and an extended exhausted howl that brought neighbours out to suss out the hubbub.
We're mad into playdoh right now, so had another session of it before piling Sweeney into bed. Mostly making food for Sweeney's dinosaur to eat - blue pizza, yellow and red bananas. Also made him an i-pod to keep him entertained between marauds.
I'm knackered. Really want to catch Mad Men, but it's looking doubtful, compared to an early night in the cleanest bed in Mt Vic.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Front Door

This is what I see as I unlock the door when I get home. It's important to me that this bit of the house is tidy all the time. Not that it is. In any case, I always like getting home, no matter how good a time I've been having out in the world, and I prefer it if the view when I get home doesn't ram home to me what a slob I really am.
I like looking through the glass door as I unlock it, over the hopefully tidy entrance area, through the hopefully tidy sunroom and out the french doors, to the hopefully tidy deck. On a bad day, the curtains are still drawn in the sunroom at 6pm, and the place is in chaos. On a good day, it looks pretty much like this. The area all bulks up with jackets and whatnot over winter, and empties out over summer.
This part of the house sees a lot of action. We need space to stop and put on or take off shoes and coats, to pack and unpack bags, find an alternate route when the cat runs in front of us, as she always does, when we're trying to get in or out the door. Since the weather's been a bit nicer, the concrete floor's a bit warmer, and Sweeney's been playing cars here.
My Grandpop's beaten copper taniwha hangs here, and out of shot, is a wall vase and some artificial flowers that used to hang in my Nana's house. And of course, there's some of my favourite artwork of Sweeney's here and there.
Check out Meet Me at Mike's for links to other people's stories about their front door ...
In other news, Sweeney's tummy seems more under control today. And I've stopped counting how many days of toilet training we've been going for, because he's made it through a week without weeing in his pants even once. And it'd be more than a week, if I hadn't left him asleep last Saturday afternoon without a nappy on ...

Friday, 13 November 2009

Sitting Round at Home

Got a call this morning from my mum, telling me that my Auntie Vonnie was on the telly. She's a lovely woman, eighty years old and just got her driver's licence. Awesome. She embroiders and knits and gardens, and probably a multitude of other great things, like a crafty demon. I know she makes a mean oaty biscuit.
Anyway, she came off sooo nice. Awesome.
Sweeney's had a runny tummy all week. The doctor and the internet assure me that there's no reason to need reassurance, and it really looked like it was sorted yesterday, and he went back to preschool and had a great time. When we got home and were negotiating about what to have for dinner, I realised it wasn't sorted. It's still not sorted. He's pretty chirpy, though, inbetween episodes of foulness.
Have you been watching Glee?? I've been looking forward to it for ages, then last week was the first episode and Sweeney talked all through it. This week, he's talking all through it, but with a really quiet, piercing voice. And someone from a research company called in the middle of it. At least I got to see their version of Gold Digger, and Sweeney's really enjoying the singing and dancing, if not the narrative.
Dad's been here this week and did some great jobs around the house. Replaced the light bulb that blew who-knows-how-many-months ago. Sorted out replacement doorkeys to replace the three that I lost in the space of 24 hours. Made bacon sandwiches for our dinner. Stayed home with Sweeney when he was really off his game.
Anyway, back to how Sweeney's sick. Weeks ago, Liisa got me a ticket to see The Buzzcocks at Bodega tonight. I've been getting pretty excited. I try to get in a night of drinks and adult company and non-family-friendly behaviour in once a month now, but with the plague in our house, I've decided to flag it. So I'm feeling a little sorry for myself right now, missing out on seeing them when I've been nuts about them since I was 16, so I can clean up Sweeney after his runny tummy hits, and then he drives me mental with his quiet-but-piercing chatter.
And it's the first Friday night in ages that I haven't been completely knackered. Celebrating by teaching myself to crochet.
Party on.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Optimist

It was supposed to rain in Wellington today, but it didn't. In fact, it was lovely and sunny and just perfectly warm.
Just before we left the house this morning, Sweeney said "Mum, I need to go to the toilet", and he bowled in and actually did a wee in the toilet.
This afternoon I went to the supermarket for bread and feminine hygiene products and I didn't forget to buy either of them, like I usually do. I didn't buy any biscuits, like I usually do.
I ran into a chap I know who runs a test consultancy and he told me to send him my cv, because he's simply oozing jobs right now.
I made my lunch this morning and remembered to take it with me and actually ate it. Even the yoghurt.
I parked for too long on Clifton Terrace, but I didn't get a ticket.
I woke up without the sharp, nasty THWANNGGG feeling in my head today, for the first time since last Thursday.
When Sweeney's bladder control went up against his commitment to Monster Trucks On The Deck, sadly it wasn't bladder control who won out. Happily, it was on the deck, so just a bit of hosing to clean up.
He ate all his dinner, drank his smoothie and snorkelled up a couple of pears for dessert.
Magic day, as it turns out.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Hallowe'en is not a big deal to me, except that it's the anniversary of Martin's transplant. Five years ago yesterday, he went into hospital exhausted and grey, and woke up the next morning pink and full of beans. A miracle.
But this year I tried getting more into it, what with having a wee chap who always likes a chance to dress up and approach strangers for sugar. We found a Spiderman outfit - pants, shirt and gimp hat - and he's not been out of it since. Even the hat.
I've been wanting to see The Proxies for ages. Since Sweeney was about six months old, in fact. Yesterday they put on a matinee performance at the Adelaide and we met up with Bela and Liisa to rock out until their tiny little ears bled. Sweeney pranced into the pub - sticky floors, ancient drunks holding up the bar, leather jackets everywhere - in his Spiderman outfit, and we headed into an anteroom to play pool and enjoy some lesser volume. Once Sweeney found Bela - dressed as a cat - the two of them fell off barstools, sprayed chips around, banged their fists on their seats and ripped through the place like teeny dervishes.
There's something quite nice about singing along to Pixies anthems with fifty other people, while two of the best kids in the world nut off in the nicest possible way.
Then back to the M-Ns for party fun with some other families. Children were despatched, and festivities continued until this reporter's diet of sudafed tablets, coffee, delicious beer and vodka-laced punch caught up, and I really needed to get horizontal. Walked home under the light of an almost full moon.
Day 3 million of toilet training. Sweeney's getting quite good at holding on until he gets into the bath, or until I've walked away after asking for the twenty thousandth time whether he wants to go to the toilet. Which reminds me, I really need to hose down the deck in the morning. No, it's not getting to me at all. Not. At. All.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Touch Me, I'm Sick

I've never heard of this combo before, but it was specifically requested and Sweeney even came
out to the kitchen to supervise me assembling it. Butter, red jam and marmite. What the??
He's been on this jag for the last few weeks. Every now and then I tell him we have no red jam, because I just can't face putting another one of these together. He still asks, though, and as you can see, he knocks them back just fine.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Distant Sun

Good grief. The weather has been pants for forever. I've had a headache for three days, and last night some extra-special Stabby Pains started happening in various bits of my body. I've staved off actual flu all winter, but maybe my luck's run out. I crashed out early, dreamt George A. Romero dreams, then lay awake from 11.30pm to 3am, hearing Sweeney sneeze in his sleep. This morning, he's still sneezing and refusing to blow his nose. I've put off all the things I had to do today, because lying around feeling listless and low-grade grumpy feels so much more acceptable right now.
Day Six of toilet training. It's been a bumpy ride at times. The teachers at preschool are being fantastic about, well, showing both me and Sweeney a good approach. There've been some accidents, and there've been times when I've had to harness every shred of self-control to keep the top of my head in place. To be honest, I'm not convinced that I've done the right thing. Feels like all I've done is put him under a microscope and caused toileting to be something we talk about all the time. In any event, preschool and I have agreed to persevere for a couple of weeks before changing course.
In other news, the elderflower cordial will be done steeping today. Apparently it's sensationally refreshing in hot, summer weather. I can't wait - for the cordial, the sensational refreshment and the weather.

Monday, 26 October 2009

All By My Shelf

I've been away. Not in the sense of leaving town - more that keeping us clothed and fed and where we're supposed to be at all times takes up all my brain and body at the minute. So, to celebrate being back in the world again, I've taken the plunge and today is Day Two of Sweeney's toilet training. Or more accurately, Day Two of having the Cleanest Floors in the World.
Turns out six pairs of undies and shorts won't see you through the first day-and-a-half of toilet training. He's pretty chuffed to be wearing undies, in any event. Kind of insulted at having to wear a nappy to bed last night.
We made elderflower cordial this morning. Geoff-next-door and I have entered into a challenge over our shared elder tree. He's going to do spectacular things with the berries, and I'm making magic with the flowers. Am really frustrated at how tall elder trees can grow, and how I'm comparatively stumpy.
Lastly, the Meet Me at Mikes thingy of the week is all about shelves. This is my favourite shelf of all the shelves I have. It's the shelf over the sinkbench, made from a dismantled rimu bed we had many years ago. It's a bit of a litmus test for our household - some days our toothbrushes are tossed there on our way out the door, I have a bowl of earrings and rings there, because I usually forget all that stuff if it's not there in front of me. As I do the dishes in the morning, I look idly at the books and think about whether I'll use one for dinner that night. People sit on the stairs by the bananas and chat to me while I do stuff. Fruit is kept here, so that Sweeney can get to it for himself. Coffee is kept here, so that I can get to it for myself. Joe's painting hangs where we see it many times every day. In the background, at the top of the stairs, is the lovely pic of Sweeney and Granny that we see many times every day.
It's my favourite part of the house. When we were working out how to renovate the dark, grotty slum that this used to be, we wante to be in the kitchen, and look out into the garden and see our kids play - that was the brief. I like it, I do.

Monday, 12 October 2009

The Way It Is

1. Where is your mobile phone? on the coffee table
2. Your hair? due for a wash tomorrow after work
3. Your mother? lovely
4. Your father? also lovely
5. Your favourite food? mum's bread and butter pudding, with cream
6. Your dream last night? involved me painting my face with lipstick
7. Your favourite drink? fizzy wine or Coke Zero
8. Your dream/goal? to navigate Sweeney to becoming King of the World
9. What room are you in? our living room
10. Your hobby? making stuff, reading about stuff, listening to stuff, watching stuff
11. Your fear? doing something stupid
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here, but with more $$
13. Where were you last night? home
14. Something that you aren’t? unhappy
15. Muffins? Wishbone white chocolate and raspberry
16. Wish list item? storage, a huge wad of cash
17. Where did you grow up? Tokoroa
18. Last thing you did? tidied the living room, organised getting the pilot light fixed
19. What are you wearing? Minnie Cooper cardi and jeans
20. Your TV? big
21. Your pet? indulging her love of fresh mice right now
22. Friends? ideal
23. Your life? a little sub-optimal in some areas, brilliant in others
24. Your mood? knackered
25. Missing someone? don't get me started ...
26. Vehicle? old but I love it
27. Something you’re not wearing? a dress
28. Your favorite store? Nancy's Embroidery
29. Your favorite color? red
30. When was the last time you laughed? tonight, tucking Sweeney into bed
31. Last time you cried? August 26th
32. Your best friend? lovely
33. One place that I go to over and over? the circumarket
34. One person who emails me regularly? my auntie Carol
35. Favorite place to eat? at other people's houses

From Hazelnuts ...

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Don't Tell Me ...

you love me!! I love you!! You don't love me!!"
As well as loving me, he also loves his dump truck, Handy Manny, sultanas and yoghurt, his book about fire engines and the puddles at the building site. I don't think they're allowed to love him back, either.

Friday, 9 October 2009


Brrr. I really mean it. The temperature's dropped, it's raining and grey. Inside preschool, it's gorgeous and warm and impossible to convince Sweeney that he should wear his rainjacket for outside. Sigh.
Yesterday was my Nana's birthday. If she was still alive, she'd be 106. Five things about Nana (not comprehensive at all):
  • she taught me to embroider when I was nine;
  • she was 4'10", and her husband, my Grandad, was over 6';
  • she used Oil of Ulan on her face, and smoked Cameo cigarettes;
  • I don't recall her ever calling Kimberley anything other than Kimp, or my mum, Vanya, Van; and
  • she only ever stroked her cat, Noddy, with her foot, with an Anton slipper on.
Today Sweeney's Granny's house was handed over to its new owners. Sad, really, but I'm sure the new people will love that house and garden, and that's what counts.
It used to drive me nuts that Mum wanted to drive past houses that had belonged to dead relatives, but I'm more understanding of it now. There's always a pang at going past Nana's house in Greymouth.
In other news, we're going to combat the cold blast by buying sunglasses tomorrow. Yes. We may even rug up and take the bus into town, because I bet there'll be a grillion people looking for a spot to park their car.
Oh, and the interview went okay. Impossible to tell until they offer me the contract or tell me I'm a loser. Can't wait ...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

This Charming Man

I've been watching Derek, about Derek Jarman. I've rather liked some of his films, and I adore his garden, and now I'm a fan of the man himself. The point is made that he's probably the biggest user of cardinal red in film, and that in itself has to be a good thing. Maybe that's why I like watching his work over and over - all that lovely red.
Don't get me wrong - I don't understand his work overly much. It's mostly a visual thing for me. I first encountered him when I went to see Caravaggio at the movies. It gave me a great love for Caravaggio's work, also. But his more ... esoteric work ... is beautiful, but intellectually and emotionally impenetrable to me.
But I'm not really his target, so no surprise there.
In other news, I have an actual interview for a Proper Job tomorrow. Hoping that this isn't just another vile exercise in employers testing the market, as most of my experience has been this year. Clothes are ready, boots are polished, reacquainted myself with my job history. I'm actually rather excited.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

I'm on Fire

The building work going on at the end of our street is great gas for a three-year-old boy. There are stones and rocks and gravel, and sometimes clay and sometimes mud and sometimes there are big, deep puddles to throw stones and rocks and gravel into. And there are diggers and graders and dump trucks and men in short shorts and big boots and helmets.
We're loving it. The morning walk to preschool these days is awesome, because the site is busy with machinery, and there's a rowdy, sweary argument or fiery cellphone call going on most days. In the afternoons it's deserted and that's when we play in the puddles and rockpiles outside the site fence.
Sometimes, like tonight, Sweeney wants to hang around throwing stones into the air longer than I do. Even though it's only a couple of hundred metres from our house, there's no leaving him there. This Aisling Symes thing is horrible and I can't see coverage of it without feeling all wrenched about for that poor family. I'm really hoping that she's parked up in a warm cave close by with loads of nutritious drinks and snacks on hand, and that nothing terrible's happened at all. She's just been absorbed in some great toys and books, maybe.
I know it's not very likely, but it's how I'd like it to turn out, please.
In other news, I found a book about firefighters yesterday, which Sweeney has pronounced "cool". We've read it a million times in 24 hours, and today he took it for the Treasure Basket. Every red vehicle he owns is now a fire engine, and the straps on his backpack are hoses for putting out fires we might encounter on the street.
So motivated.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Big Calm

From Sweeney, tonight:

- Is this the ads, Mum, or the news??

Sometimes it's hard to tell ...

In other news, today I did the dishes, and bought a bunch of whizzer books for Sweeney at the Sallies today. My horoscope said "Learn to embrace boring days like today so you can be fresh for the good times."

Monday, 5 October 2009

Return to Winter

I feel like I could write screeds and screeds about all the fabulous things Sweeney is coming up with these days. I'm not going to, though, because I recognise the madness that this implies, and in any case, there's other stuff in my world that wants reporting on.
Like the first blooms on the Dublin Bay by the front door. A few came out on Saturday, and what with the forecasted gales and the actual hail yesterday, I figured I'd grab one for inside before they got pelted to bits. This picture doesn't capture it terribly well, but you get the picture, right?? It's a great plant, puts out a swag of gorgeous flowers every year and responds terribly well to being hacked about at pruning time.
Or how flipping cold it suddenly is. Again. Although I actually forgot it was ever this cold, but it was only about a month ago, or maybe six weeks. Cripes. My chores today kept me in the CBD, so I'd devised a plan to get us moving in a carless kind of way, and that meant dressing Sweeney and myself like human Pass the Parcels and launching ourselves into the icy air outside.
It's nice making his bed toasty with a hottie, and rustling up hot milo to drink when we get home.
Or my old friend Hone, who I ran into the other day in Island Bay. I haven't seen him since November 1996, when we parted under a cloud. To be honest, I'd consigned him to History. He spent a chunk of the day with us yesterday, chatted with Sweeney about trucks and rockets and did his best not to swear in front of him, filled me in on bits and pieces of his past 13 years.
Or that I'm very excited at seeing that In the Loop is playing at the movies. I must see it. I loved The Thick of It, very clever, very sweary, hilarious etc, and this is from the same people, but with added extra Tony Soprano. It's like a dream come true, almost. Now, if Sam Rockwell was in there ...

Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Magic Number

In any relationship, often the way to smooth over difficulties is to introduce a third party. You know what I mean - couples have a baby, one or other partner goes extracurricular on it, legal parties bring in a mediator - that sort of thing.
When Sweeney gets up in the morning, he invariably arrives downstairs with a toy for himself and one for me. I think it's just the nicest thing. They're always chosen to match - he'll bring down two bears, or two cars, or Bert and Ernie. This morning I found that he'd brought down Dog and set him up where the cat's been sleeping. Nice.
We have to accommodate one or more of Sweeney's toys any time we venture out of the house. Some days, it's just a Hot Wheel; other days, it's his dinosaur; on days where I'm just letting everything fly by, it's his enormous tow truck and matching monster truck. It drives me nuts, keeping track of it all.
But I digress. A third party has taken up Residence Proper with us. He has no real name; sometimes he's referred to as "Monster". Today he resolved the prickly issue of whether Sweeney needed an afternoon sleep by occupying Sweeney's bed, thereby rendering it impenetrable and forcing Sweeney to stay up and doing stuff. I love how Sweeney not only tucked him in, but gave him his current favourite book to read and made sure Pooh was nearby. After I took this photo, he sat down on the bed and "read" the story to him. It's a whole other post in itself, what that kid thinks is going on in that story. Sometimes I think it'd be better to let him nut out what's in his books from the drawings alone, because his versions are glorious.
Monster had a monster nap, as it turned out, and we had to set him up with a special blanket and cushion at the end of the bed, so Sweeney could hit the hay himself tonight.
So far, I don't mind him being here, but we'll see what happens when I hit him up for rent and kitty ...

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Cereal Song

Spring's awesome. Daylight saving's awesome. Sleeping right through the night (me) would be awesome. The muffins I made today turned out awesome.
Here's how they went:
150gm squashed-up weetbix and dusty sultana bran from the cereal container in the pantry shelf that you never deal with
1 and 1/2C flour
1 and 1/2t baking powder
1/2C sugar
1C milk
1t ground ginger
500gm diced pear
1 egg, lightly beaten
3T melted butter
1. Sift flour, baking powder and ginger into a large bowl.
2. Stir through sugar, crushed weetbix and pears.
3. Combine egg, milk and butter.
4. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring gently until just combined.
5. Spoon mixture into lightly greased muffin tins.
6. Bake at 190˚C, for 30 minutes.
It's an amalgam of Nigella Express' Pear and Ginger Muffins, and this little beauty at the Weetbix site. I decided this morning to use up the miscellaneous cereals in the pantry, and ended up delving deep into the madness that is ... Weetbix cookery.
Like I say, they came out ... awesome. I'll definitely make these again, although I think the ginger doesn't suit Sweeney so well.
In other news, Sweeney had dinner with Geoff-next-door last night, while I worked late. They watched The Goodies and Geoff introduced Sweeney to apricot jam. He's been talking about it all day, and he even hung out his bedroom window this afternoon and yelled out to Geoff, as Geoff just tried to build his water feature. Thanks for showing Sweeney a good time, Geoff!!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

All About Myself

Watching :: Anything I can find with Sam Rockwell in it. Or whatever Sweeney's watching on Playhouse Disney. Or literally, right now I'm watching the cat eating a wee teeny mouse she brought in.
Reading :: Jane Eyre, even though I've read it before and I know how it ends, but I still want to see how it ends ...
Making :: Finished Harper's hat, now using the last ball of some wool that made the best cardi ever for Sweeney, and now Harper, to make a cardi for my old doll, Amanda. Really. I realised the other day that she hasn't had pants on for at least twenty years, and I feel I must address it, so some trousers are next.
Eating :: Pumpkin baked in olive oil, with oregano, corn, garlic and peas, and a glass of Coke Zero.
Feeling :: Chilly! But also grateful that no tsunamis flattened Sweeney's preschool today.
Thinking :: I really should check that my insurance is up to the job for when something flattens our house. Or me. Also that I should revisit our emergency preparedness preparations.
Hoping :: The sunshine from last week comes back.
Wondering :: If I'm getting Sweeney's cold. And Harper's cold.
Hearing :: Birds in the garden, and graders in the building site at the end of the street. And the cat eating the mouse ...
Liking :: Lots of things. I don't know, just finding smiling easy at the moment. Sweeney and Harper make me laugh out loud a whole lot these days.
Wanting :: A lottery win and someone to cook dinner tonight.
Playing :: cars games with Sweeney, reading blogs and spending more time on Facebook than is required.
Wishing :: That I had the $$ and the skills to reline my bedroom. Maybe I'll redirect my thoughts and crochet this instead, to chirp up the room.
Enjoying :: Not feeling knackered all the time, not having the budgies from Sweeney's preschool in the house anymore, hanging out a bit longer than usual when I pick Sweeney up, getting to know his friends and their parents.
Coveting :: Other people's beautifully lined bedrooms.

I got the list from Meet Me at Mike's, which also has an expose of Jacqui's lovely, useful blog, Hazelnuts. She's devised a pattern for a toilet training mattress protector that I'm hoping will be required for Sweeney's bed at some point in the next ten years.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Please Cheese Me ...

Today I faced off with the demonic bananas I threw into the back of the fridge a week back, and knocked some muffins up. As good as our standard banana muffins, and no need for eggs. Recommended by me and Harper, so far. Sweeney says he'd rather have toast.
Harper helped me with chores this afternoon, including picking up some provisions. He clearly approved of some of my retail choices, as evidenced in this picture. Proves beyond doubt that he's inherited Kimberley's predeliction for cheese straight from the block, although she usually removed the wrapping before diving in.
Insert joke about old chips and blocks here.
In other news, I went to see Moon yesterday. Another recommendation. Even the titles were cool, and I'm a sucker for anything with Sam Rockwell in it. At one point, there were three of him on the screen. Too much.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Under the Ice

We had roast pumpkin salad with our dinner tonight, but in honour of the weather, we're not calling it salad. We also ate it piiiping hot. I threw in some thyme from a pot outside the kitchen door, and some oregano from Geoff-next-door's garden. That crumbling fence is sooo handy.
In other news, I watched a great movie last night called Smart People. One of those North American stories about brainy people who have no clue about actual people, and arrive at points in their lives all disfunctional and prickly and inappropriate. Hilarious writing, mostly well-defined, interesting, intriguing, possibly unlikeable characters, and quite sensitive treatment of them. Like the best Douglas Coupland stories.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Back on the Block

I've hardly had an original thought over the last few days, so here's a list of things I've seen, read and done that might be of interest ...
  • watched the documentary Sicko. I'm no fan of Michael Moore - I agree with him, sure, but I think his arguments are kind of sloppy - but the reality of people actually dying because of constraints enforced by an insurance company, of all things, is beyond reason;
  • read through the info re health insurance that arrived today. Coincidence, no??;
  • took Sweeney, Harper and Bela for a runaround in the Hanson St playground - wicked;
  • took Sweeney to Dr Jan for a check on his sore ears. Confirmed that they are indeed sore, but not infected;
  • took Kimberley for a visit to Dr After Hours for a check on her sore ears. Sweeney came with us, and it seemed that Kimberley got bumped up the list as he got noisier and more ready for a snooze. Magic use of rapidly unravelling child for queue jumping;
  • started rereading Jane Eyre for book club. Never get tired of it;
  • piled my way through a bag of koulourakia, given to me - well, us, really - by a nice woman I took curtains down for. Yes, I ate them all, on my own, watching Mitchell and Webb;
  • proclaimed myself a fan of Mitchell and Webb. Hilarious. Watched an episode tonight and giggled a lot to myself; and
  • found a place to offload a swag of buttons I've been stashing for aaaages. Check out the Moriah School's holocaust project.
Note the complete absence of items relating to interesting food, completion of craft projects, attention to household chores or an inspiring story relating to planting summer vege.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

King of the Road

Writing this as I sit full of self-pride at making a delicious dinner for us utilising local produce. Very local, as it happens. Geoff-next-door has an Italian parsley plant that's threatening to take over the world, so I've graciously helped him out by making a big hole in it tonight. Made a bowl of salsa verde, roughly like the How to Eat version. If you're interested, assemble the following:
a bunch of parsley, roughly the same size as the ones you see in the supermarket
a tablespoon of capers
some anchovies - Nigella specifies three, but I think that's for cowards. Then again, I love anchovies ...
some olive oil to just (and I mean JUST) cover all the above.
Throw them all into a food processor, or a bowl that you can stick a whizz-stick-thing into, and give them some volts. You choose whether you want a green mush, or something a little chunkier. I like it a little chunky, and Sweeney doesn't like it at all, so it turns out chunky in our house. Also, I don't always put capers in, but if you're fond of that sour taste, go wild.
Works well with fish, potatoes, chicken, or sometimes, just spread on hot toast. Or just out of the bowl on your finger when no-one's looking ...
In other news, Sweeney totally went for it and scootered down the little hill at the south end of our street, then continued actually scootering back to our house. Smooth, confident, co-ordinated. Then repeat, repeat, repeat. And his road awareness is pretty good in the street, too.
However, take him out of our street and he's determined to cross every road by himself, and while Sally and I were having some coffee today, he kept running away and threatening to run out into intersections. Someone intervened today - the first time ever - to stop him running out into Majoribanks St.
How do I get him to take it seriously? I joke to myself that he just needs to be bowled by a car one time, and he'll understand, but then there are times, like today, when I think that it's actually the truth. And of course, some days, he holds my hand and stays close by me, as though we were tethered together by some magical force of road safety. Truly, I don't see anyone else's kid being as unruly as he can be about roads and traffic, so any ideas are welcome.
In other, other news, we checked out the new Wanda Harland shop on Friday night. Much good stuff in there. Sweeney's fave thing was a cushion made from a woollen blanket, with a leather applique deer. He's so edgy. Once I got over my anxiety at how many iced biscuits he was mowing down, I hung out for a bit with lovely people like Nikki and Megan, until the young boys all got a little bit Lord of the Flies on it, and I had to restrain myself from yelling at a five-year-old for punching my kid.
We recovered by eating ice blocks for dinner on the way home. It was a beautiful night, so we went the long way, galloped, skipped and hopped, and encountered a number of our neighbours on their way out to fun Friday nights. Come to think of it, he held my hand all the way home.

Monday, 14 September 2009


I love flying. I love the ritual of checking in, having a drink, heading to the gate, boarding. All that. I especially enjoy it now that I've got the hang of security regulations and don't get things confiscated anymore.
Sweeney and I spent a long weekend in Christchurch. Place of my birth, home of the best souvlakis in the world, land of dessicating nor-westers. And for the last few years, it's been where my parents live again. Which is choice, because I love them and it's great to see them so close to the best souvlakis in the world ...
It was hot and sunny and we had a great time. Lots of lovely things to do, with two of the loveliest people I know. Mum organised for Sweeney to get some special attention from Science Alive. They do this thing where you write a message and you can send it to the stars. You get a reference number and can check back from time to time to find out where in the universe your message has got to. Mum convinced them to send a message to the Moon - to his dad - and we got to climb up to the top of the building and look through the behemoth telescope they'd set up for him.
The gravitas was miles over his head, but he really liked the telescope, and running around on the roof. He climbed the stairs and ladder like a Himalayan goat. So proud.
I think anyone who knows me knows that I'm totally proud of him. Although that shrivelled a little tonight, as we stood up to get off the plane at Wellington, and Sweeney looked at me and announced, loudly, "I weed!!". Everyone standing in the aisle, and from the surrounding suburbs, swivelled their heads in our direction and lo, his soaked shorts and damp seat appeared like my grimiest public nightmare. What a place for nappy failure. The nice crew at Air New Zealand made out like it happens all the time, and nobody said Ewwww.
So I'm adding to my pre-flight ritual that I must change Sweeney's nappy or take him for a toilet break, no matter what.

Monday, 7 September 2009

The Sweetest Thing

Okay, maybe this is mental, but so what. Yesterday was Father's Day, and I called my dad and thought about him a whole lot during the day, and we went to lunch with the O'Neills and spent time with Martin's dad. Of course there was no Dad-type action for Sweeney, apart from us hauling out some photos of him and talking about him for a bit.
Last night as we drove home from the M-Z's house, the moon was full and waxy and seemed very close. Today when I woke up, I felt propelled out of bed, looking for something sweet for breakfast. The feeling didn't go away, but I resisted eating an entire loaf of toast and marmalade. Later I found myself in a bakery in Karori, grabbing an insanely sweet raspberry bun. They're amazing - they have the pink icing, as expected, but inside is a lake of raspberry syrup, too. It's an outrage against pancreases everywhere.
As I drove back towards town, after several changes of mind, I stopped in at Martin's new address and sat under a tree weighed down by birds to eat the bun. Well, half the bun. I left half for Martin. Or, if I wasn't being mental, I mean, for the birds. Partly because we used to split lots of things like that, and partly because it really was hysterically sweet. He loved sugary baked goods a whole lot.
When I picked up Sweeney tonight from preschool, his teacher told me they'd been drawing their families today. Sweeney drew his dad. Here he is ...
Should I be concerned about this? That everyone else drew their mum and dad and pets and so on?? And my kid drew the member of his family who's actually dead? I like that he remembered Martin's beard, though.
Ever since he got home, Sweeney's been making bridges out of everything. Laying his fork down on his dinner plate and calling it a bridge, then firing his peas across it. He's just announced that he's made a bridge out of a piece of elastic on his pyjama pants. What an imagination he's got on him right now ...

Saturday, 5 September 2009


Sweeney loves his bike. Joe found it at the tip shop, cleaned it up and it sat in our sunroom until my dad bought some training wheels and put them on it. Then he took the training wheels off it and he and Geoff next door worked out how to make them fit so that Sweeney didn't topple over every time his steering went skewiff. Which is frequently, because he's three and easily distracted.
Joe took Sweeney out and bought him a helmet, and that was it - up and running. He loves it, I love it. It's a brilliant way to get about in this gorgeous weather, although I have to be prepared to carry him and the bike and the helmet and whatever else we've got with us on the return journey from wherever we've been. Like today.
We went to Lucien's 4th birthday party, at McDonalds just around the corner from us. I'm no fan of the Evil Empire, but I remember going to Lucien's 1st birthday party, and criminy, his parents looked stressed and exhausted, what with the outrageous hospitality they were putting on for hordes of people. This looked like it was more fun for them. Today still required a certain amount of co-ordination, but the kids had a ball, the parents chatted amongst themselves, and Jo and Daniel didn't even look to break a sweat. Hurrah.
Then we picked up Harper and met up with Joe in Karori. Joe and Sweeney went for a ride on Joe's bike, while Harper and I pushed the envelope at Karori Park. How else is he going to get the hang of slides, other than me getting him to the top and letting him go?? His shoulder'll feel fine in a few days, honestly.
Big day for bikes in this house. Happy birthday, Lucien!!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Friday I'm in Love ...

with the oncoming weekend, that is. Oh man, it's been one of those weeks where you do stuff, and no matter how much you do of it, there's still more and more stuff that needs to be done, and none of it is very appealing. Like doing the dishes every day, keeping the floors clean. Actually, those are the jobs that do me in every time. I hate doing them more than anything, but seeing them undone winds me up more than anything. And vacuuming so badly needs doing, and dishes from this morning will still be on the bench in the morning
We've been eating some delicious steak that was on spesh this week, frying up a few bits each night and marinading them in olive oil, lemon, thyme and salt straight afterwards. Sounds weird, but it really works. Found it in Nigella Express, of course. That and some vege done a little differently each night, and we've been well fed for dinner this week.
In other news, I'm ploughing through The Time Traveler's Wife. Good grief. I've looked forward to reading this for three years, and now I'm reading it, I'm finding it a little meh. Same thing happened when I watched Burn After Reading the other night. Enormous anticipation, especially now that I've given myself over to adoring Brad Pitt in all his forms, but my mind wandered during the viewing.
Caught up with KimberleyJoeHarper and our friends Deb and Leo, over from Melbourne, for a bit on Wednesday. Good to see those boys running around in the sun in Civic Square, mostly too close to the sheer ten-foot drops that surround all patches of green. Good design, Wellington City Council ...
Oooh, I nearly forgot ... Sweeney's preschool held parent-teacher interviews (!) this week. Turns out Sweeney's quite adequate. He's got real attachments to a group of buddies, has good language skills and demonstrates leadership-type qualities. His teacher told me lovely stories about him helping some of the smaller kids with getting their shoes on, making sure that Norman always has a truck to play with, reading stories with Michael and sniffing out boxes from all over, to make rockets with Blessing. I feel comfy that Sweeney's in an environment where he's supported in his efforts to manage himself and make decisions and reason things out. Plus all those trikes and the sandpit, and the special room where the kids go to use real hammers and nails, under close supervision of course. The leadership thing interests me because, apart from Harper, most of the kids I see him with are older than him, and he seems comfy as more of a follower with them. We went to Sweet Mothers Kitchen for a milkshake afterwards, and a chap sitting at our table pulled an enormous screw out of his gumbo. Insert joke about increasing your iron levels here ...

Saturday, 29 August 2009

They're the Life of the Party

Today Sweeney, Harper and I went to Sweeney's friend Olivia's birthday party. She's three now. They go to the same preschool, and have been great pals for months. There was a lot of running about on the grass and the kids went nuts over the toys in Olivia's bedroom. There was a game of Pass the Parcel where Sweeney won a recorder, but I'm hoping that it suffered a terrible accident somewhere. There were goodie bags at the end, with those things that you blow in and they unfurl and make a honk-type noise - what are they called??
Anyway, Harper tried to put the wrong end in his mouth, so Sweeney took charge and showed him how to do it. This is the two of them having a music break on our walk back to the car. Just love seeing them crack each other up.
In other news, I have no other news. Hoping for a big zzzz tonight is about as exciting as it gets at Moir St right now ...
Happy Birthday, Olivia!!!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Funeral Blues

Sweeney and I had a big breakfast yesterday morning, and set forth for Granny's funeral. The service was lovely, the turnout was huge and the spread for the cup of tea afterwards was nothing short of stunning. From that point on, not a single item of nutritional value made it into either of our bodies for the rest of the day.
Horrified as Martin's brothers and cousins and uncle carried her coffin out of the church, but no Martin. Funny how you have no clue when things will hit you.
Back to Hume St for some drinks and catching up. Old ladies made a cheek-squeezing fuss of Sweeney, then his uncles and aunties ran around like puppies with him until we packed it in and headed home after some fabulous fish and chips on Granny's table. He was snoring just after 7pm, and stayed that way for twelve hours.
Here's Sweeney with his Aunty Catherine, up for the day from Dunedin. She's awesome. It was great to see her, even though the circumstances sucked. See you again soon!!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

It's A Bunnytown Life

Well, blow me down with a feather. I watched Bunnytown with Sweeney tonight, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm a fan.
A fan. There, I said it. Dead keen.
It's like the Muppets, but with even more mental, Goodies-type humour. One of the rabbits was a one-man-band with his ears playing the cymbals!! His ears!! Genius.
In tonight's episode, there was:

  • a Laurel and Hardy-type skit with a waterhose. Sweeney just laughed and laughed and laughed;
  • some sort of clown Olympics involving lots of big feet, red noses and pies in faces;
  • a medley of Dinah Won't You Blow Your Horn-era songs, sung by four rabbits in a whack-a-mole game, each taking one word at a time;
  • a hip hop song called "Healthy Food", with a swag of rabbits dressed in vegetable and fruit costumes; and
  • a running gag about a birthday party, where the cake was unco-operative about being eaten.
and all delivered in Yorkshire accents. Irresistible.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Say Hello To My Little Friend

This afternoon I picked up Harper from creche and we ran some errands before we headed for the beach. He's a nice chap, Harper, and I don't often see him on a just him-and-me basis. It's kind of special, getting to run off with him for the afternoon. He does things that remind me so much of Sweeney at his age, and things that are completely new to me and Totally Harper. I liked that time with Sweeney, when we roamed the streets, looking for buses and road works and dogs to point out and laugh about, and parked up at Lyall Bay to watch planes land and take off.
Sweeney and I ate Nigella cheesy risotto for dinner. Sorry, he ate two pears and twelve rice crackers, then some cheesy risotto. He took some persuading about the risotto, was certain he didn't like it. Then he tried a sliver and wolfed the lot, even the chives on top.
I think it's fueled him up for action, rather than making him all round-tummied and sleepy. It's 9.30pm and he's singing and banging on the wall from his bed.
In other news, I've started reading The Time Traveler's Wife for book club. I've undertaken to write a review, so I really think I should read the whole thing by the deadline and demonstrate a clue or two about it.
And happy, happy, happiest birthday to two of my favourite people in the world - Lee and Rex!!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Yes, We Have No Bananas

Did you know that a banana can be:
  • an elephant trunk;
  • a giraffe;
  • a yellow caped monster coming to get you?
I have it on good authority that it can be all of those things. Also, can operate quite well for eating.
But only as a last resort, once the room's been cleared of exotic animals and superbeasts ...
In other news, I saw a bunch of people dressed as Wizard of Oz characters going to a screening of Grease at the Embassy today. Those crazy kids.
In other, other news, I'm intrigued by what's humourous to a three-year-old. He was just about sobbing with laughter at the first two minutes of an episode of Penguins of Madagascar. Must be something about penguins and traffic cones that I just don't get. I do, however, enjoy a lot of the script, especially the monkeys who talk a lot about flinging pooh.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Sweeney's great-grandmother, the indomitable Alice Grace Godwin, aka Granny, has died. We love her a lot and we're pretty sad about this in our house. She was Sweeney's dad's grandmother, his mother's mother, and if she'd kept on for a few more weeks, she would've been 94. There's nothing shabby about 93, though.
Some points to note about Granny:
  • she got her house painted last year, and toddled off to the bakery every morning to provide morning and afternoon tea for the painters. They were rightly chuffed;
  • her grandchildren have always been in awe of her;
  • she lived in her own house, on her own, until just a few weeks ago;
  • she adored her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren;
  • her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren adored her;
  • she always asked if I was busy at work. I always said yes;
  • she loved puzzles, crossword and otherwise. Martin and I used to take out a Golden Kiwi Crossword when we visited her;
  • she demonstrated outrageous selective hearing. I'd be near-hoarse with projecting my voice to her from an inch away, and she'd not hear me. Martin would be across the room and say something hilarious under his breath and she'd snicker away to herself;
  • she wasn't a chatter, but she liked a good giggle;
  • she was always up for a cuddle with Sweeney.
I can't say that I knew her terribly well, but I thought the world of her, partly because I saw how Martin and his family, and her loyal clutch of friends, thought the world of her. I admired how she was an amalgam of sweet and steely. One of the worst things about Martin's death, apart from the death itself, was seeing Granny and realising she couldn't hide how hard this was on her.
These two deaths have made me hope that there is actually an afterlife where people are relieved of the Cares of the World. I think these two could do with a bit of relief, and they always liked each other's company.
Anyway, here's my favourite picture of her. It was taken while she was recuperating at the Home of Compassion, from her umpteenth hip replacement, when Sweeney was about 7 months old. Martin and I sat back and watched the two of them play and giggle together for ages.
It was awesome.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Justify My Love

It's Madonna's birthday, and just in case she's reading this, here're my top five fave Madge hits, not in order:

  • Like a Prayer
  • Don't Tell Me
  • Substitute for Love
  • Ray of Light
  • Material Girl
My five fave things about Madonna, in no order:

  • she looks fantastic;
  • she's well into yoga;
  • she's well into her kids;
  • she's combative, nasty, unpleasant and potty mouthed; and
  • sometimes her lyrics really make sense to me
The top five things that give me the willies about Madonna are - also in no order:
  • oftentimes, her lyrics are just nonsense and embarassing;
  • that video with Britney Spears;
  • she's naturally a brunette, but who would know it?;
  • most of the 90s; and
  • that shiny pink leotard.
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