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.
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