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!!
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