Monday, 27 December 2010

Bumper 2010

What did you do in 2010 that you've never done before??
Wore platform-type wedge-ish shoes. Became aware of my thyroid. Saw a 3D movie. Had my hair coloured.
Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year??
2010 was all about recovering from the car crash that was 2009, with a couple of super-stressful exams thrown in. 2011 will be about building further on that - further development of my work brain, less takeaway food, better organisation / tidiness, and losing enough weight to make some proper headway with yoga.
Did anyone close to you die?
Sweeney's grandma Joan died after a long, unfair illness.
What countries did you visit?
Good lord, I don't even think I have a passport anymore ...
What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Well, I'm going to have full health after a wee bit of surgery and a blast of radioactivity in the next six weeks. That'll be awesome. And I don't know that I lacked this, but I will have a schoolboy in the house, come June.
What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
This is a bit sad, but it's October 1st, because it's the date the Budget personal tax cuts were implemented, and that's what most of my work life this year was about.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Workwise, I passed two exams that I convinced myself I had no chance of passing. Personalwise,
I resumed my yoga practice and I swear to all the gods that it's given me another centimetre of height.
What was your biggest failure?
I haven't decluttered nearly so much as I need to. And I totally didn't cure Sweeney of arguing with me every time I ask him to do anything / offer him anything / issue a direct order relating to his safety.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
Actually, I spent a lot of this year feeling sub-optimal. There's a muscle in my shoulder that goes out if I think a sideways thought, and the months leading up the the Great Thyroid Diagnosis were just vile. Yoga has mostly sorted the shoulder, or at least given me a way to alleviate it, and I'm embracing western medicine for the thyroid. Feel much better these days ...
What was the best thing you bought?
My Huffer raincoat. Weather is so not the boss of me anymore.
Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Everyone representing the company, the miners, their families and their community over the Pike River disaster. They were respectful, refreshingly open and honest, and held it together under devastating circumstances.
And the team I've been working with for the last six months. Man alive, they are beyond words. You got your tax cuts and increased Working for Families tax credits this year?? That's because of these people and their knowledge and their dedication to doing a quality job for the public. Management, take note.
Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Our current government, especially our so-called Social Welfare minister, Paula Bennett. Do not get me started. This latest debacle with the wee girl whose mother sought help directly from the PM and Bennett's office just makes me wish we could get a coup going ...
Where did most of your money go?
The same old chestnuts - the mortgage and preschool. With some chunks here and there for house maintenance. And a lovely holiday in November.
What did you get really, really excited about?
Seeing the Pixies in Auckland. Seeing the team through to October 1st. Sweeney's birthday.
What song will always remind you of 2010?
Celebration, by Madonna. And I Bleed, by the Pixies.
What do you wish you'd done more of?
Lego. No contest.
Did you fall in love in 2010?
Only with the apricot slice at the Cozy Cake Shop. You will, too.
What did you want and get?
I saw the Pixies, passed my exams, landed in an entirely suitable work situation, got the willow pruned.
What did you want and not get?
I keep putting off buying a new duvet. And I really have to get the hang of iTunes.
To close, I'll leave you with the most horrifying image I've seen in ages. Take care, people ...

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Block Party

Ahhh, Boxing Day. According to something I read today, it's the one day on which it's acceptable to eat trifle for breakfast. I love trifle for breakfast any day of the year. Unfortunately the trifle I fancy is something that only my Mum makes. It's nothing like anything I've ever encountered anywhere else, except when my Nana was alive and she would make it. The unfortunate thing is that my Mum doesn't do deliveries ...
Today I slept in, brought coffee back to bed once I did lope downstairs, listened to the music that is someone else doing the dishes - thanks Dad!! Then Sweeney came up with part of his lego haul from yesterday and we spent what felt like twelve years putting the bottom of a speedboat together.

Then we went to a barbecue at Sweeney's Uncle Dom and Auntie Emma's house, where I found that I can beat a nine-year-old at table tennis.

Home again, and in honour of it being Boxing Day and a holiday and all, we had chips and dip for dinner and Sweeney stayed up well beyond bedtime.

And I finished off the speedboat, then felt all lego-hungry and knocked up a few other vehicles and a petrol station. In other news, preschool broke up for Christmas on Friday. To celebrate, Lana, the incredibly clever face-painter-who-also-does-the-food-for-the-kids painted all the kids up. She's the woman behind all the tigers, cheetahs, leopards, goblins, pirates and whatnot that Sweeney arrives home as. She totally researched Spiderman, just for Sweeney and his Spiderman-crazy friends. He campaigned hard to avoid the bath that night ...

Hope your Christmas is turning out just as Spidey as you'd like!! Ours is. I'm going to make an aeroplane now ...

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Smitten for the Mitten

I joined in with a Christmas ornament swap. I've never done one before, and I was a bit intimidated by other people's efforts to start off with. Then I had a couple of false starts, a few u-turns.
And then I tried making some teensy-tiny mittens. Not very New Zealand, I know, but what the hey. Then, when I was faced with a pile of ten of them, they just looked kind of utilitarian and I was a little disappointed with that.
So I tried out a bit of gold thread embellishing. I thought they turned out dinky, but of course forgot to take photos of them before I packed them up. So here's a photo from Miriam's blog ...

One thing that came out of the whole experience was reminding myself that I'm rather handy at french knots, and I've never before used gold thread. Really should knock some up for ourselves, I reckon. Next post will feature the ornaments I was sent. They're all splendid.

Just one thing that completely slipped my mind until today. Have to get us a tree, don't I ...

Monday, 13 December 2010

Tell Me Why

Does my child choose to leave the house and enter society looking like this??Whyyyyyyy??? He promised he that he was putting on sandals, but when he came out of his room, he was wearing long socks and walkshorts. Good grief ...
I'd like to blame it on his recent lurgy, but no, he's actually a box of birds now. Fit as a flea. Enjoying the rudest of health.
As we walked along this morning, I realised his legs are all of a sudden about 10 feet long. Okay, maybe not 10 feet, but pretty long and even a little knobbly, as it happens.
And eating like he's starving to death. I got in this evening and he sidled up to me almost immediately with a three-pack of baked beans. Looking forward to when he can fix me a cocktail and sidle up to me with my slippers ...
In other news, yesterday was Kimberley's birthday, Dad made a lamb roast for her, Sweeney went to the cricket with his uncle Regan, and I vacuumed the floors and hosed down the steps. We set a cracking pace around here.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Burnin' Up

Sweeney's rattly cough never quite went away, and now I find his chest infection is back, and he's got a little ear and throat infection, too. Poor little guy. He mentioned a sore throat two days ago, and I put it down to a spot of hayfever, because I've got a sore throat and I reckoned to myself that it's hayfever.
Of course, it's not hayfever. We've both got our chest infections again, but not nearly so brain-wrenchingly bad as previously. I had a glass of wine after the funeral on Thursday, and woke up the next day with throbbing in the hangover portion of my head. It went on all day, then through the weekend, and on to today.
Of course, it wasn't a hangover.
So, we're all loaded up with medicine and it's going to be okay. Sweeney's got a bit of a temp, and I may have to hook him up and run the lights off his flaming core.
In other news, it looks like the run of perfect weather may be over. Which isn't so bad, because it makes the rattly coughs feel a bit more appropriate, seeing as it's windy and rainy and kind of wintery and all.
In other, other news, I'm knitting up a storm, getting my shizz together for the Christmas ornament swap. More on that later ...

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Dear John

Today Sweeney and I went to a funeral for our friend John. He was 83 and had been ill for some time. John was a lovely man, always up for a chat, always smiling.
It was a great funeral, with a lovely get-together afterwards. One of John's sons was my partner for several years a long, long time ago, so most people there, I hadn't seen for aaaages.
It was sad but nice, and I look forward to seeing a bunch of them again over Christmas.
Sweeney handled the looong service rather well, although we did nip outside for fresh air a few times to break things up a bit. He went a bit mental at Makara cemetery, had to go for a long, long run, then a long, long sit under a shady tree. We popped in to Karori cemetery on the way back into town, then back to Peter and Ginny's for the get-together, where he found an attic with Lego AND Playmobil. And this was AFTER he had lemonade to drink.
In other news, I'm watching Zombieland right now. I'll never, ever let Sweeney watch it, what with the swearing and the carnage, but it's terrifically funny. That cute little girl from Little Miss Sunshine's sure grown up ...

Monday, 29 November 2010

Whale Song

Have you read Moby Dick?? It's on my list. Partly because I'm trying to pack in as much boys' own literature so as to be a good example to Sweeney, partly because I love the John Huston version with Gregory Peck as Ahab, but most recently because I stumbled across this blog tonight. What a fantabulous idea.
First day back at work was a bit of a schemozzle, but we're all still alive and I even got to my favourite yoga class for the first time in a month.
Home in time to put Sweeney to bed and have a chat about his first day back at preschool. Apparently he did nothing, played with no-one, went nowhere. Seems his ears are mysteriously full of sand from sitting still and being quiet all day ...

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Back to (Real) Life

We're home, Sweeney and me. The last few days of holiday ramped up on the Hectic scale, but I think I'm the only one of us who actually threw anything approaching a tanty. It's nice to wake up to the sound of tui and Frank and Arthur next door.
Here are some highlights of our time away ...
We arrived in Christchurch, after a ferry crossing and a 6-hour car trip, incorporating many toilet breaks and runs in long grass beside SH1. Harper tried to teach himself to wink ...
We hung out a little bit with Bruno and his fine parents. These two were like peas in a pod. Which brings me to ...
Actual peas in an actual pod, from Nana's garden ...
Nana and the boys found a hedgehog trapped in the waterrace and I was despatched with a fishing net to rescue it. It's been a long time since I willingly put myself into a body of filthy water, but when it's for your family ...
The (ungrateful) hedgehog sat outside the back door for an hour or so, then we think it went under the house.
We sampled delicious local fare ... I lost my mind periodically ...

Nana made fern crowns for the boys and they showed their appreciation by doing whatever is they thought they were doing here ...Sweeney introduced Harper to the Monster Truck ride at the mall ... But mostly, we all just had a Big Relax together.

Love you, Nana!! Love you, Mum!!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Hey, the holiday is going great. Nearly over, but still lots to do and see and we're all having a good time. This morning I went back to bed with my book and when I got up, it was lunchtime, and the boys and Nana were just arriving back from a trip to feed ducks. With ice creams for our pudding.
Now that's Good Holiday, people ...
The weather's been amazing, we've been hanging out with super people, and seeing the boys together for an extended period of time has been great. There've been a few fights, some anguish, half a million band aids and one bout of terrifying nappy rash, but I think that as long as we're all realistic about exactly when we need a nap - and I'm including myself here, peace is where it's at.
Photos when we get back home.
In other news, Miss Smith, who I can't mention without telling you how fab she is, has given me a Versatile Blogger award. Coming from one such as herself, this is high praise. Oooh, get me. I'm revelling.

Unfortunately, I'm unable to provide photo evidence of rampant versatility right now. I've been having a Big Relax, as Sweeney would say. I tend to just write about whatever takes me at the minute of writing, and I'm chuffed that there are people out there who enjoy it.

The prize comes with two jobs attached. I need to hand this prize on, which is hard because there are a grillion tasty blogs out there, beautifully written on interesting topics. So here are three ...

Clare at Green Valley Crafts

Gillybean at Gillybean's Garden

Kimberley at Special K.

Now, I need to tell you seven things you may not know about me:

  1. When I was 10, I planned to grow up to be the Ambassador to Japan. Or a Speech Therapist. I'm not either of those things;
  2. I don't see my friends as much as I'd like;
  3. I love rollmop herrings, sardines in oil - no spring water, thank you - and most other fish-type things;
  4. as scathing as I generally am about science fiction, I think Iain M. Banks is a genius. Most people I know who actually know something about science fiction think he's a dick;
  5. I have at least two slightly humiliating skin conditions. Each is dealt with efficiently with steroid cream and/or hydrocortisone, but I continue to look for less evil methods;
  6. when I go to work, I'm all about work. I don't call my friends or family, I hardly write any personal emails and I have an alarm to remind me to leave in time to pick Sweeney up. I never used to be like that. I rather like that I'm like that now;
  7. I was recently diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, and now I have meds and blood tests and my body feels better than it has in a long, long time. I'm totally able to blast that pesky 10-15kg now ...

In other, other news, thinking good thoughts for the Pike River miners these days. We've got a long family history of West Coast mining, but no whanau are directly involved in this episode. It's looking pretty bleak right now, but you never know ...
And I passed my exam. Only just, but I passed it. And I found an awesome antiperspirant that actually works. And we're going to Costas for dinner ...
Feel that serenity ...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

How Sweet It Is

I've been busy. Bizz-ay. Sorry for not being in touch.

Here's something delicious that came out of the garden. Well, I think it's delicious, and so did Sweeney once he engaged with it. Broccoli, you are the shizz ...

I also harvested what turned out to be 50grams of broad beans, gave them a wee boil, then fried them off with some bacon for a minute or so. River Cottage book called for chorizo, but there's none in the fridge right now. Turned out delish, as it happens. Turns out I like broad beans.

Here are Sweeney and Harper experiencing the shizz that is sparklers. Guy Fawkes night was a minor triumph. We got all our cracker action done before the southerly proper rounded on Wellington, and we got to take in the show in the harbour on our way back into town. I thought the chap in the car in front of me was sent from Hades to drive me insane with his slow driving, but no, he was part of a long, 30kph convoy on the motorway, doing us the lovely favour of letting us take in the show without crashing the car.

In other news, I'm going on holiday on Monday. I'm packing the car with Sweeney and Harper, and we're heading down to spend oodles of time - two weeks - with their Nana. A road trip with two fine-looking young men with all their own teeth. Every crone's dream ...

But in the meantime, I've got about three years of work to do before we head off, and there's a million things to do around the house this weekend. So tonight Kimberley and I went to see The Social Network. Turns out we were wearing matching outfits, sort of. The film was very fine. Go see it now. Even the music is great. And no-one does cold, blue cinematography like David Fincher.
And it was our dad, Sweeney and Harper's Grandad's birthday yesterday. In honour of the great event, Sweeney gave him a card with Lightning McQueen on the front and the sound of racing cars when you open it. That card is so much the shizz ...

Thursday, 21 October 2010

All Right Now

Yes, it's been a little while. Sorry about that. I've had a viral respiratory infection, followed by a bacterial chest infection, and frankly, it's knocked me right off my perch. Off my perch.
But now I'm nearly back to normal, apart from three or four tubercular-sounding coughing fits a day.
In no order of importance, here are a few snippets from the last two weeks:
  • Sweeney fell over and banged his cheek on the step one night. It swelled up and looked nasty, but after half an hour with a cold cloth and a cuddle, it all came right. In the morning I asked him how his face felt, and he said "dirty";
  • I haven't been to yoga for two weeks. Every time I do a downward dog, I nearly pass out with oxygen deprivation;
  • we moved offices. Now I work in the swankiest, most expensive office space in Wellington. We have all brand new cups and glasses and cutlery. The lights dim when the natural light increases, and vice versa. The lift has no buttons. Yes, really;
  • I have an exam on Tuesday. I really don't feel like studying, and being sick took two weeks off my schedule;
  • tickets are booked for me, Sweeney and Harper to head to Christchurch and beyond in November; and
  • Dad made macaroni cheese last night for dinner. Awesome;
  • the first blooms have come out on the Dublin Bay at the front of the house. Just beautiful;
  • Mum continues to live through ongoing aftershocks in Christchurch;
  • Sweeney, Harper and I went to Bela's fifth - FIFTH - birthday party, just as The Illness was coming on. I was a sub-optimal guest - no wrapping on the present, no revving the kids up, no glugging back litres of fizzy wine - but the boys had a really good time. Harper was excited the night before about cake, and Sweeney just loves Bela's dolls' house.

Writing that was exhausting. Zzzzzzzz.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Yo Ho Ho

This just in* from Sweeney:
- can we read the book about pirates, Mum??
- sure, where is it??
- got it, now I want to see the pirates in timeout.
- ???
- [feverishly turning pages] here they are!! Pirates in timeout, Mum!!
- ohhhhh. They're in prison. I guess that's like a timeout. Only it goes on for aaaages.

In other news, the broad beans have developed actual bean pods and the broccoli has started forming heads. In the garden. My splendid, splendid vege garden.

* at bedtime tonight

Monday, 4 October 2010

The (Food) Chain of Love

This just in* from Sweeney:
- What do elephants eat, Mum?? Do they eat peanuts??
- Sure they do. They eat other stuff, too ...
[Not actually interested in that]
- What do leopards eat, Mum??
- Umm, they eat meat.
- Do they eat giraffes??
- Yeah, I guess, if a leopard caught a small giraffe, it'd eat it.
- No, Mum, the giraffe GIVES the leopard the meat.
- Youwhatnow??
- The giraffe gets the meat from the tree. Out of the nuts. The beaver gets the meat out of the nuts and gives it to the giraffe and the giraffe gives it to the leopard.
- Uhhh, wha??
- Yes, the giraffe gets the beavernutmeat for the leopard.
- Okay. Snuggle down now ...

Note to self - will leave explaining omnivorism or carnivorism, to the professionals. In this case, any professional other than myself.** Because ...

I think I was about his age when the connection between the lambs in the truck, my toy Lamb Chop, and my dinner was made apparent to me. I was aghast for a bit. I still feel a little pang when I see Lamb Chop in Sweeney's room.
*3.5 hours ago, at bedtime.
** Never fear, I'll explain to him that beavers don't live in trees OR Africa. I expect he'll be aghast.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Hey, Paul

Start the day off early enough for some alone time with Paul Newman in Hudsucker Proxy, and you can't go wrong. Not if you're an Ange, anyway. I watched Road to Perdition the other day and realised that I just love watching, and listening to Paul Newman. Because the other big piece of viewing in our place of late has been Cars. Trying to interest Sweeney in the person behind Doc Hudson is a futile exercise.
And I have to admit that I wasn't any sort of George Clooney fan until I watched Fantastic Mr Fox. Okay, until we had Fantastic Mr Fox on near-constant play for about a month. But now I've watched a bunch of his stuff and I'm in his thrall. Mostly for the ugly roles - O Brother, Where Art Thou and Syriana - but also the gorgeous, smooth stuff - Ocean's Eleven and Michael Clayton. And Solaris. I thought he was lovely in Solaris.
In other new, Sweeney's horrible chest seems to be clearing up, but he has an almighty coughing fit every time he runs anywhere. We spent a few hours today clearing some land around where the O'Neills are building a monument for Sweeney's grandma. Beautiful, looking out over Ngaio Gorge. Hateful asparagus weed. Gorgeous seeing Sweeney climb and climb and climb up a steep, steep bank, calling to us that he was higher!! Higher!!
And he squeezed in two trips to the zoo over the weekend, with various uncles, his cousin Harper and his pal Jackson. He told me he loved the chipmunks lying on the rocks, which I thought was a strange habitat for chipmunks, until we put it together that he really meant chimpanzees.
As Sidney J. Mussburger would say, sure sure ...

Friday, 1 October 2010

Just Be Good To Me

I love this ... Politeness as a radical act. There's so much more to it than please and thank you. At our house, we're well into excuse me, now, and working our way into some deep table manners. There's so much more to it than that, even, isn't there?? There's letting other people go through the door first, there's holding the door open for people, there's all sorts of funny little things that make the wheels go round as we get through the day.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Not Feeling Very Well

I was reading Miss Smith's blog the other day - and you should, too, because she's rather special and good - and her post was about her smaller poppet, who'd been in hospital with chicken pox complications. When I read it, I thought to myself "if only Sweeney would get chicken pox, and just get it over with".
Oh, and a whole bunch of get well wishes for the littl'un, Miss Smith. That goes without saying ...
But it is not to be. He's been in close quarters with kids who've caught it on two occasions this winter, but it's not taken hold of him.
What he has got, though, is a rattly, horrid cough for the last few weeks, and his eating's tailed right off and his ears feel like they're on fire, so he's been home with his Grandad this week. A visit to Dr Carla yesterday was remarkably helpful - it's a chest infection. He's all rumbly breathing.
Before we went to the doctor, whenever I asked him if/where he felt sore or uncomfortable, he said "my heart, Mum" and pointed to his appendix in a resolute fashion. Dr Carla confirmed that his heart and appendix are in fine form.
Long story short, he's still not eating at a four-year-old level, and there are big dips in his vim from time to time.
But he's stayed chirpy and consistently galooty as usual. And he loves his medicine and always hustles for an extra dose. The cough sounds less tubercular today.
In other news, lovely things have been happening. Arthur next door turned 3 - hurrah!! Sweeney's friend Jackson came for a play on Saturday. Sweeney went to Blessing's for a sleepover, then we had Blessing over for still more playing on Sunday. The weather here over the weekend was wicked. Our auntie Lesley came for dinner before heading back to Nimbin. Sweeney's cousin Victoria had a birthday, but Sweeney's mother forgot to even send a text. I hear she's a terrible person for remembering birthdays. So I'll finish with ...
Happy birthday, Victoria!!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A Little (K)night Music

Sweeney dressed up as a knight for his teacher Mo's last day party at preschool the other day. She took a photo of him in his outfit. He loved thrashing about with that inflatable sword so much, it had several slow leaks by the end of the day.

In other news, last week I went to a work event, drank about 10,000 drinks and felt bad for four days. Yoga and good eating went out the window. This week, I resumed my regime, but I still feel like this ...

Maybe not so much in the nose department, but you know, unwieldy and enormous.

And that's us pretty much up to date.

Monday, 13 September 2010

That Day is Done

My horoscope today said a whole bunch of stuff about rubbing against the world instead of flowing along with it. It so turned out that way.
I felt a vague sense of annoyance at just about everyone I dealt with at work. Some people at work made me feel less vague about my annoyance, but there you go.
I found out the hard way that my bean sprouts last six days, but not seven. Yuk.
I went to the yoga class that I look forward to more than any other yoga class, and I was so out of sorts with it that I left and stood in the foyer for a few minutes just to make myself less out of sorts. Then I went back in and felt better.
It is the best yoga class ever. Really.
As I walked home I contemplated buying a KFC burger and scarfing it in the street. So glad I didn't.
Because dinner was delicious and Sweeney was chuffed to see me and I had a lovely shower and read him The Snail and the Whale and Dad brought out delicious pudding and now I'm watching a Poirot on telly.
In other news, Harper was at our place for a few days last week, while Kimberley spent some time in Christchurch with Mum. Okay, I know - they're little boys - and little boys like to pick their nose. But somehow two of them going at it got to me and I introduced a horror regime - timeout for anyone caught picking their nose.
It's turned out effective as all get-out, but the crowning moment was when they caught me - ME - idly wiggling a finger up my own nose, and they thought it was great gas to put me - ME - into timeout.
This is the view from timeout. Not so bad, is it?? I'm coming to think that timeout's rather lovely, after all.
The prospect of 44 minutes being left completely alone was quite appealing, but Sweeney told me I could come out after five minutes, because he and Harper needed juice.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Time in a Bottle

Of course everyone knows about the earthquake. It's all over the news here. My mum - Sweeney's Nana - is fine and the house is okay. Her neighbours are okay. Everyone I know there is okay.
Elsewhere, beautiful buildings and gorgeous roads are broken. I got all choked up watching a video of some demolition today. Part of Christchurch's appeal for me has been all the things that have stayed the same since ... forever.
So I've made a list of the bits that if I had my way, would stay in a little capsule for all time. Some are in bits now, I know, but whatever ...
  1. Avonside Drive. Fantastic stretch of road for riding your black, one-speed bike with a basket on the front;
  2. the Staff Club. Now a private, shattered home. I walked past it at least twice a day every day of my first year at varsity;
  3. 151 Fitzgerald Ave. Mum and Dad brought me here when I was brand spanking new. I don't remember living there, but I like that it's been there for me to drive past. It's one of the few places I lived in in Christchurch that hasn't been turned into a carpark or infill housing;
  4. Kosta's Souvlaki Bar. I've never liked any other souvlaki ever.
  5. the Museum. Still love that same street scene they've had since ... forever. And the mummy;
  6. the Botanic Gardens. The fountain. The cactus house. The beds of yarrow. The ancient trees. The duck pond;
  7. Dux De Lux. Last time I went there, the Sports channel was playing in one bar and there was a queue of teenagers to get in. But I remember long summer evenings in the courtyard, the crush on Saturday nights, the delicious cafe. And the first time I met Martin was at the Dux, after he and my boyfriend had got themselves into a horrible state and needed rescuing;
  8. the Gladstone. A great band on every Friday night, or a rubbish one that one of your friends played in. Rheineck-squelchy carpet. It got pulled down years ago;
  9. the beaches - Taylor's Mistake, Sumner and Brighton. Christchurch beaches are the awesomest beaches in the world;
  10. 377 Marine Parade. Best house I've ever lived in. Across the road from the beach. Crazy terraced garden. Fold-out table and chairs in the kitchen. I got my first bike the Christmas we lived there, and I spent most of the summer riding up and down the coastline.

Anyhoo, there is no time capsule, and a good part of my list is changed forever. But the main thing is that Mum's okay. Love you, Mum!! Love you, Nana!!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Tonight I made lasagne from the Edmonds Cookbook. I think the last time I made it was in 1985, and my friend Lee and I made it together from an Australian Women's Weekly cookbook that she had. It seemed complicated, which is why we made it together.
Tomato-mincey goodness, cheesey cheese sauce, pasta. What could be better?? I thought if I added in some broccoli and mushrooms, that'd make it better. Sweeney disagrees. He's taken a dislike to the mushrooms he sees in his food. The ones he doesn't see slip down just fine.
In other news, it's been a busy weekend. Today Sweeney went for a jaunt with Regan and Susan today. Sounds like they did a bunch of things, including some time at Te Papa, and encounters with Regan and Susan's cat.
Then he and I headed up to Helen's to wish her some Happy Birthday tidings. Sitting around with a bunch of fab gals and a table of cakes. Sweeney played trains and drove the older kids a bit mad with being only four years old. They're such great kids and put up with a lot from him.
And I found this blog. I'm thinking some comfort reading is right up my alley right now. I finished Everything is Illuminated a few nights ago, and am ploughing through Butterfield 8 right now. It's tremendously uncomfortable reading, to be honest, and I'm tired and just want nice things to read now. So next up is Julie & Julia. Food and fluff. Ace.
Oooh!! And I got to check out our second-newest neighbour today. Wee Lily's three weeks old and looking gorgeous. Her mum and dad are knackered. Lily sleeps most of the day, then parties all night. She looks good on it, though.
And the newest neighbour?? Strangely enough, another addition to the street popped into the world a week after Lily. I haven't caught up with her yet. Knitting up a storm's worth of little boots in the meantime ...

Friday, 27 August 2010


It's been a big couple of weeks. Biggest news is that Sweeney's grandma died last week and was buried on Tuesday. She was really nice. She took nice to a whole new level. She made nice people look rubbish. She was actually supernice. There was a big turnout for the funeral.
One thing I really like about funerals is the stories you hear. I found out that Joan was actually a bit of a slob in her youth. Left her clothes on the floor, kept her room like a tip, that sort of thing. This wouldn't be news, except that I always knew her as the tidiest, cleanest, most fastidious person ever. Can't wait for that transformation to come down on me.
Sweeney's been on the go. Here are some highlights:
  • turns out Sweeney can ride a bike without training wheels. I had no idea. I think he had no idea, either. He just wanted to be like his friend Frank;
  • he's been pottering in the garden with me, now that the afternoons are stretching out a bit. Noticing buds forming on trees, flowers on the bean seedlings, the bowl of hyacinths blooming on the deck;
  • he's been catching up with his cousins, especially Victoria and William, who were up for the funeral;
  • actually, the funeral was an absolute blast for him - he wore his Spiderman shirt, enjoyed hot and cold running uncles, aunties and cousins, the lovely Jackson, chocolate slice, football out the back of Grandad O'Neill's house, throwing clumps of clay into Grandma's grave with William while the uncles filled it in. When we got home, he curled up on the living room floor to go to sleep - so knackered;
  • Blessing came for a sleepover last weekend. Everyone was completely exhausted by the time it was over. Just how it should be;
  • Sweeney's been just the loveliest company the last couple of days. Actually, much longer than that, but there was a Terrible Incident on Wednesday and it blew the good run. I hate to say it, but I think sticker charts really work at cutting back the obstreperousness ...
Here's a picture Sweeney took on the night of Joan's funeral. We went home the long way and stopped at Breaker Bay to take in the hysterically full moon and the water.
Oh, and so much more happened, but I can't remember what I had for lunch today, let alone anything from last week. We did stuff. It was nice.

Monday, 16 August 2010


Go on, love. Have a day off from the chores.
And for goodness' sake, put a cardi on. You're 52, and it's freezing outside. You'll catch your death.
Happy birthday, Madonna!!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Om(mmmm)a Rapeti

I've been getting a lot out of yoga classes over the last month. I'm especially trying to make the most of the relaxation stuff at the beginning and end of each class, but I meet with varying success. The meandering thoughts are one thing, but today I couldn't even keep physically still. Here's how it went:
Teacher: "Focus on the breath. See where the breath takes you."
My mind: "Man, I'm loving marmalade right now. Funny how you go off things for a bit, then rediscover them and ... oh, breathing. Brea.thing. Oooh, breathing feels nice. I can sooo take longer to exhale than that person next to me. No, no, no, that's not why you're here, is it? It's all about ... no, it's just not about competition. But still, heh, what an amateur she is. I am soooo excellent at exhalation."
Teacher, who has clearly been issuing instructions to the class for some time: " .... and that's the pivotal part of the body, so concentrate, focus everything on this part of the body ..."
My mind: "What the?? What part of the body?? Good grief. Oh well, no-one can see that I have no clue as to what the most important part of my body is. I'll just keep breathing. Breeeeeeathingggggg. Did I put the washing on before I came out?? Did I check Sweeney's bag for dirty clothes?? Oh, back to breathing. Breathing."
Okay, it's not as bad as the day I dropped off during the relaxation and awoke to find people doing actual moves. I love yoga so.
The picture above comes from this blog. I've been reading it this week - genius.
In other news, I made delicious spuds to go with our dinner tonight. Lemons and anchovies, vege stock. Awesome. One day I'm going to go the whole hog and do a vast fish to go with them, as the recipe says. Tonight, we found them enormously satisfactory with steak and salad.
And then I happened to be in the car when Peter Fry's show came on National Radio. He played an absolutely charming 1939 recording of Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen singing Run Rabbit. I went home the long way, so I could hear it all the way through. Gorgeous.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

There's a Mouse in the Kitchen

Our new flatmate, Maose, died a hopefully-not-too-heinous death in the cupboard under the sink. I've been sinking under the weight of that mouse for too long now.
I took a naive approach to start with, thought I'd be reasonable and just remove any chance of him having a nibble, and cleaning everywhere I'd seen that he'd been, with strong-smelling cleaning products. But it just forced him out onto the bench when he thought I'd gone to bed, and I'd hear him trying to penetrate the packet of rice crackers. So Dad got a trap, and smeared it with peanut butter and popped an almond on top. Yes, I researched bait a little bit.
It totally worked.
And the following night, it worked again.
I'm a little frightened that there's a whole community in there, and there'll be new little mice to trap every night, and they'll get progressively smaller and more adorable.
In other news, Sweeney's busting through the left knees of all his trousers, and his uncle Dom turned 40 on the weekend. There was much revelry. At Dom's birthday, not Sweeney's breezy knees. Happy birthday, Dom!!

Monday, 19 July 2010

What's Going On

In no particular order, here are some highlights of the past week around here ...
  • Blessing and Michael's last day at preschool. Here's Sweeney and Blessing doing what they do best - playing at being wild cats and being a little bit unruly ...
  • KimberleyJoeHarper moved into their new house. It's got a basement and offstreet parking. For two cars. Also there appears to be a kitchen and bathroom, and some bedrooms, I didn't really notice. But really - two cars!! Anyway, here are Kimberley and Joe, sitting on their very own patio. Check out the bright sunlight, and the window that actually opens ...
  • As a result, Harper stayed the weekend with us while his parents got things organised. He was somewhat delightful. Here he is, posing calmly for a photo with his cousin at his new house ...
  • I planted out some beetroot and leek seedlings, as well as a sage plant. I love sage. It tastes good with chicken and pumpkin and all sorts of things. I'm rather enjoying the vege garden these days. Arranging my working life so that I actually get to see the garden most evenings has made a big impact.
  • Craft has fallen by the way this week. Been reading my book. Yes, reading an actual book. Reading an actually terrible book, actually. Rebecca, the Daphne du Maurier classic. Classic pants, it turns out.
I saw the Laurence Olivier film years ago, and I figured it was just an overwrought film version. But no, the source material is also overwrought and frankly, terrible. I kept reading it because it's a lovely old Penguin edition and I just couldn't quite bring myself to believe that it was as bad as it was seeming to be. Yes, I know that makes no sense. Whatever, I read it and I feel dirty inside about it. So, to make myself feel better, here's a picture of Laurence Olivier, looking good and foxy.
  • Sweeney's loving Pinocchio this week, and the dvd Fantastic Mr Fox. I'm looking forward to him being able to read the story for himself when he's older. He's been able to identify letters for a while now, just getting his head around sounding letters out and putting them together.
  • In other news, I bought some truly vile chorizo sausage last week. These were something else. Indeed, they were something entirely else from any other chorizo I've ever eaten. They taste ok, chopped up little in macaroni cheese, though.
  • Signing off to watch my new favourite thing on the telly - Generation Kill. Surprises me as much as anyone else who's surprised, that I'd fall in love with a show about a bunch of idiots in a stupid and illegal war. But I have ...

Get some ...

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Rainbow Connection

There was a rainbow as we walked home tonight, but Sweeney wasn't impressed. Rainbows in real life aren't nearly so awesome as in books, or even in drawings young chaps make at preschool nowadays. Sadly, Nature doesn't use felt tips.
I don't care. I love rainbows.
I also love orange and brown together. Jaffas are orange and brown. They really are the chocolate-orange mouthful. Jaffa flavouring is orange and chocolate combined. They are excellent flavours individually, and sublime when integrated. When I was 16 and in hospital having my appendix out, there was a chap in the ward next door who had a brown dressing gown with big orange spots. I loved that dressing gown.
So here's my latest work in progress. It's the same kimono pattern as I've made previously - it just doesn't fail, ever - and I'm kind of pleased at getting the hang of stripes - I'm very much a one-colour kind of gal, but trying TRYING to be more interesting in the stuff what I make.
In other news, Sweeney completely blew me away tonight. He's crazy for The Snail and the Whale at the moment, so I read it at least once every night these days. I get him to finish off some of the lines because they're such lovely rhymes, and I love how he says "whayal" and "snayal".
Well, it turns out that he can recite the whole story - well, he needed a bit of prompting towards the end - but he can totally do most of it without any nudging. And he's been dancing. Dancing. DANCING. He never dances. Or sings. Banging out Incy Wincy Spider is actual singing, right?? This week he's been doing it all.
It's Thursday, so check out hot creatives at Kootoyoo. People whose cameras don't everything fuzzy, by the way ...

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

(Kind of) Wish You Were Here

I'll tell you a story about one of the better birthday parties I ever went to. It was Martin's 40th birthday, and he was in Auckland Hospital, undergoing assessment to see if he could go forward for a liver transplant.
The previous week had been enormously stressful, and he'd had a stint in ICU, but he'd rallied and we were all feeling rather chipper. All the extra fluid he'd been dragging around for months had been dialysed off and he looked and felt comparatively great.
His team of doctors sang Happy Birthday to him at morning rounds.
Kimberley had come up to stay with me for a bit, and we spent the morning racing around Auckland looking for a Happy Birthday banner. Martin's dad brought the cake, I think, and everyone who visited came with lollies or biscuits.
There's a photo, which I can't find now, of Kimberley guffawing at something stupid Martin was doing, while, behind her, a chap in the bed opposite Martin's is gurning in anguish as his transplanted kidney gives him enormous gyp. We were so used to hospitals by this point that we could switch off other people six feet away.
Anyway, that was six years ago today.
He's been on my mind lately, not just because of his birthday, but because his mum's not doing so well herself now. Sweeney and I spent some time with her on Sunday, and Sweeney told her about his cars and his train set.
Then there was a knees-up at Grandad O'Neill's house, with almost full contingent of O'Neill uncles and aunties. Good food, good fun.
In other news, Sweeney's friend Blessing came for a sleepover. There was pizza, chocolate biscuits, a looooooong bath, a kickaround at the end of the street with Frank and Arthur, inaugurating the train set etc ...
What nice boys.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The Block is Hot

Lego's wicked. I never knew until now. Sweeney got Lego for his birthday and it's really captured me. I've been checking out sites for ideas of things to build.
Knitting has hardly had a look in this week. Nor has the study I was supposed to launch myself into as soon as Sweeney's birthday was over.
So here's what Sweeney and I built together. I don't think Sweeney realises you can take them apart and build other things, which is really quite nice because I love seeing him play with his (and my) first Lego figures.
Check out how the horse is sitting on top of the float. On top. Crazy. You can do that with Lego.
Also check out how most of the things he got for his birthday are still on the table in the living room. And how long has that orange been there, I wonder ...
In other news, I've just remembered I bought him a bucket of general Lego pieces for his birthday but I forgot to give them to him. Trying to avoid preschoolers spurting a spray of Lego pieces around the house, I decided to keep them for after the party. This is pretty much wayyyyy after the party.
Maybe I should practice putting together some trucks or something tonight while he's in bed ...
Check out creativity gone wild at Kootoyoo ...

Monday, 28 June 2010

The Party's Over

Wow, I didn't realise just how much actual work went into Sweeney's party until it was over. Just getting the house and garden sorted, planning the food, thinking up who should come, that sort of thing. And all the while, the full-time job started ramping up to being more full-time than is really good for us, but it's an opportunity for some good work that I don't want to pass up.
We've had a bit of time to ooh and ahhh at some of the fab things people brought for Sweeney. Turns out we know some very cool, discerning people. Current fave is Marble Race. Sweeney and his Grandad set it up yesterday, and this morning Sweeney didn't even ask for cartoons over breakfast. He just tootled with Marble Race while he ate.
I call that a Result.
In other news, my veges are doing okay. Did you know I'd planted vege this winter?? No?? Well, I got the message that homegrown veges are the new black, and I had to something to celebrate the glorious fence, so I got to planting, and can report that the brussel sprouts are looking especially mighty. The broccoli appears to be struggling a bit, and the broad beans aren't putting on very much height, but they're bulking up in the stem and leaf departments.
And here's Sweeney enjoying another of his presents - some weirdness called gelli baff. Honestly turned the bath to jelly, even smelled like raspberry. Sweeney was soooo excited until he got into it, then he wouldn't sit down for anything. After a little persuasion, he found that having it poured down his back was quite acceptable. Strangely, his buttocks were bright red after he got out of the bath, even though he didn't, not once, not even close, sit down in it.

Sunday, 27 June 2010


Sweeney O'Neill, you are now four years old. You're tall and strong and brainy and kind of a nice young chap. I think you're ace.
On my fourth birthday, I got wrapped up in the paper that came with flowers from my Nana, and I ran around the garden with my friends for what felt like hours. It was hot and still and glorious.
Yesterday, you chose your Crash Landing t-shirt and your Speed Racer sweatshirt to wear, because "they go fast". You and your friends had to stay inside during your party because it rained so hard and the wind was blowing like it was carrying ice throughout the city.
You had a really good time, but you told people it was a bad party because you think that's funny. I know you had a good time because you were smiling for hours.
The day was a bit of a blur, as it turned out. You woke up, asked me "Am I four, Mum??" for the fiftieth day straight, jumped on your bed and played with balloons for ages. Then off to the fire station to check out a fire engine and firemen with Kimberley and Harper. And an actual fire alarm, as it turned out.
The party was fun, there were lots of people crammed into our little house. Lucky we put lots of stuff in boxes and Grandad carted them to the shed, or we'd've had to stack people two-on-two on the chairs. People were generous and thoughtful, and just so fun.
But I lost sight of you as soon as the living room filled up with people, and I only have a vague idea of who's responsible for which present, and I couldn't get near the bench once the kitchen filled up with people, so I didn't get the fruit platter or Nana's scones onto the table, and I forgot about the cheerios completely. I snaffled Nana's camera and took some very bad photos of you cutting your Robot cake - thanks, Kimberley!! - and then I lost sight of you again while the party continued. And here's what you looked like when you were four DAYS old. This is us moments before we walked in the door to our house together for the first time. It's the same door that everyone came through to say Happy Birthday to you yesterday.
You are ace.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Fine Time

Okay, what have I been doing?? Oh, you know, the usual. Going to work, raising the young'un, doing some chores, watching Cranford some more, reading my book - also called Cranford, knitting my beret, taking my beret apart and knitting it up again ... stuff.
Sweeney's suddenly too tall for his jeeps pyjamas, which is going to kill him because they're his faves. His nana bought them for him last year and they're on high rotate all the time. Even over summer - lucky it was such a naff summer. I found a bag of size 4 clothes that were handed on to me for him last year. They're all colours I just don't think of when I'm thinking of him - sky blue, green - but I shall simply go for it and send him to preschool looking slightly differently gorgeous in sky blue and green. Turns out he really loves wearing green.
Other recent highlights include going to see this exhibition at the City Gallery on Monday. Sweeney's keen for his birthday party to be based around cardboard boxes (!?) so I thought he'd get a kick out of seeing an entire room-sized installation constructed from cardboard boxes. He loved it. He also enjoyed some actual paintings - John Pule - mostly because there were loads of little motorbikes and sharks within them, and big blotches of lovely colour.
And then we chased pigeons in Civic Square, working off two days of rainy day cabin fever. Ace chasing.
For more creative, interesting craft-type things to look at, check this out. Because I really meant for this to be a post all about what craft I've been up to, but it turns out I haven't been up to much. And I really mean more creative, not just more of them ...

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

I Made This ...

Here's a little kimono I finished sewing up the other night. There are a couple of candidates for this, but I haven't decided who it's going to just yet.
There's a swag of other nifty stuff people have made over here, if you like.
When Sweeney was teensy, I made him a lovely little garter stitch jacket in this wool. I loved that jacket, and the matching hat. Strangely, the hat was enormous and still fits him, but the jacket was handed off to Harper ages ago. It looks glorious on Harper, too.
I'm knitting up a storm, still. Had lunch with a friend today who asked me if I was still into making food, and I realise I've kind of ... neglected the food side of things around here. Really want to put that right ... I bought a copy of the new revision of Aunt Daisy more than a month ago, and I've not made a single thing from it yet.
In other news, it's stopped raining so heavily, I guess to make room for the big kickass southerly that's due in about ten minutes. Sweeney's gumboots are getting a little snug on him, but they're getting a tremendous workout these days.
And Mum, don't be shy about cranking that electric blanket up ...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


I've not posted about Sweeney's burgeoning football career, because it's hardly burgeoned at all. He had two weeks of Little Dribblers and was quite anti the whole thing. Happy to have a kick around, but absolutely no way was he going to stand on a line with the others, or kick the ball into the goal, or run down the pitch ... or even stay on the pitch, actually.
Then we rocked along on Sunday, and the team uniforms had arrived. Bliss!! Sweeney was transformed into a dervish in a teeny Portugal strip. He wanted to be with his team. He wanted to run and kick the ball into the goal and through Grandad's legs.
Okay, he kind of lost the plot when it came to playing an actual game, but it's Progress. Big fat significant progress.
In other news, it's raining. It's going to be raining for some time. There may not be football this weekend. Stink.
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