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 ...
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