Tuesday, November 30, 2010

when a boy meets a girl

Well, it's finally happened.

Mr 9 likes a girl at school.

And being the innocent sweetheart that he is, he hasn't realised that you might not need to broadcast these things.

Not long ago, he carefully lined a box with tissues, and placed a ring in the box (an Avon one, relax, it wasn't an heirloom) and planned to take it to school to give to the girl. I persuaded him that wasn't a very good idea, because the other kids might tease him. Or her.

Now I've found notes in his room, written to her, declaring his undying like for her.
"I really like you. I know you don't like me, but I liked you the first time I saw you."

Isn't that sweet?

But I knew we needed to talk about this.

Me: I know you like a girl at school. It's OK to like someone. But I think Dad needs to have a little chat with you about what to do if you like someone.

Him: OK.

Me: I think it should be Dad because I'm not a boy.

Him: OK.

Me: In the meantime, I think it should be a secret liking.

Him: How come?

Me: Just so no-one teases you, or her.

Him: OK. I wrote her a note. What should I do with it?

Me: What do you think?

Him: I'll chuck it in the bin.

So now, it's up to Dad. (sorry, babe)

Parenting is a tough gig, sometimes. You never really know if you're doing things right.
So tell me -- what would YOU do?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm so grateful....

Maxabella hosts a Grateful Hop each week, and though I'm late with this post, I have a good reason.

Now brace yourselves, this is going to seem very scary....

My internet connection carked it.

I know! Terrifying!

For days I've had sporadic connection -- maybe a minute at a time, not enough to read my blog list, or make a post, or even change my status on Facebook.
To those who are not on-line junkies, that sounds like " big deal! " -- but lemmee tell ya, to me it WAS a big deal.

I live a lot on-line. I Skype my man, I read the news, I play games, I learn stuff, I find recipes, I keep in touch with my friends, and I find inspiration. To suddenly be cut off from all that was like a form of torture.

However, for the time being it's staying steady -- and so today I'm grateful for the internet.
heart heart heart.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

happy birthday, Mr 9

Nine years ago, we were celebrating this:

He is the first 'subsequent sibling' -- the first born after losing Levi to SIDS aged just 48 days.

He restored my confidence in being able to look after a baby and survived all my worries and poking and prodding whenever he slept.

He lodged himself firmly in his dads' heart, growing him into an awesome father. (in fact, he loves his dad so much that he's refused to open his presents till Dad can watch on Skype)

He grew into this fine young man.

He is bright and funny and loud and thoughtful and grubby and altogether wonderful.

Happy birthday, my boy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

there are pirates in my kitchen...


Three dozen of them, in fact. All ready for our sons' birthday tomorrow.

* I apologise in advance to all the other parents at school tomorrow -- your kids are getting a massive sugar hit at recess. Sorry. *

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the worst four letter word

So today I decided it was time to change my sheets from flanny to cotton. And then because changing the sheets is not enough of a nail-breaker, I thought I would also change the valance. On our KING SIZE LATEX-MATTRESS bed.

I dragged the new linen from the cupboard where it's been hibernating through the winter, and then struggled a few minutes with the very worst four letter word I know.


{Sorry, I probably should have prepared you for that.... I'll give you a minute to recover.
... ... ... ...
you OK now? Good. OK. Let's get this over with. }

YES, the valance was crumpled and really, if I was going to go through all the nail-breaking and back-twinging, I should at least make sure the thing was going to look good when it was finished, yes?

So -- out came the ironing board, then I hunted a few minutes for the iron {don't be rolling your eyes like that, we've only been here 5 months and I haven't used it since I unpacked it.}
I plugged it in, and took a deep breath, and began ironing.

The Princess skipped in.

"What are you doing, Mummy? Can I watch?"
Then a gasp.
"I know what that is!" she cried. "That's a IRON! Isn't it, Mum? A IRON! That's what that is!"
Then she sighed happily. "Wow."

You think I need to iron more?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

the Ghost of Mining Past

When we lived in Dreary Town, we used to quite often go 'bush-bashing' on weekends. (for my overseas readers {how posh does THAT sound?} that means driving around in the bush, usually in a four wheel drive)

There are probably millions of abandoned mines on the Goldfields, if you count all the shafts etc, and my man loves nothing more than stickybeaking around an old mine.
We took the 'tourist trail' a few times, which is mostly dirt road with some interesting sights along the way.

{This is the Break o Day cricket pitch. Hard to imagine there were cricket games being played every summer weekend once. Now the trees and saltbush are crowding in like excited spectators, and only a small band of volunteers stops the pitch from being swallowed up.}

An old headframe.

An abandoned decline.

This is apparently an air-hoist. Or was.

Look at this timbering.

Life out here was harsh.

This grave is in the middle of no-where, all by itself. There's another grave, a few kilometres away, of a 7 month old baby, which is very sad.

You have to be careful walking around out here, because shafts are everywhere.

You REALLY don't want to become a part of Goldfields history by falling down one!

Friday, November 19, 2010

the sound of silence

I am all by myself.
Oldest Child got an unexpected shift at Maccas today, and the Little Kids are at school, so here I am, all ALONE.
It's awesome.
And if I would stop chortling and muttering to myself about HOW awesome it is, it would also be utterly quiet.

I love being all by myself. {Except in airports and strange cities. That would be bad.}

But days when I don't have to talk to anyone, or listen to the tv, or sort out who breathed on who and who ate whose toast?
Freakin AWESOME.

And I'm lovin' it. "Buh dup buh buh baaaaaah....."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

a WEDDING! how excitement!

So they're engaged at last!

I feel ancient. I remember when Wills was born, and his first visit to Australia as a baby. Now he's getting married, and soon to have his own children.

I read an on-line comment this morning about The Ring.

Someone said that he should have bought her a new one. I disagree. I think William and Harry both adored their mum, and for William to give Kate that ring is so symbolic of how much he loves her. It's beautiful.

The papers are saying a spring or summer wedding, so maybe June? Whatever. I will be glued to the telly on the day, and I'm sure I won't be the only person remembering our Fairytale Princess.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


In keeping with my new mission to pimp my kids on Junior Masterchef teach my kids to cook, I had Mr Nearly9 make lamb kebabs the other night.
He soaked some kebab sticks in lemon juice and water, then ran off to watch Dex Hamilton.
When he got back, he threaded juicy lamb onto the sticks, then sprinkled them with a mix of cumin, ginger and garam masala.
I wasn't watching him for the whole of this, but he knew to turn the kebabs and sprinkle the other side as well.
Then he sloshed on some olive oil, and put them under the griller.
He and The Princess chopped cucumber, grape tomatoes, red capsicum, and celery into a salad, with some fresh basil and parsley from the garden.
And he chopped mint and mixed it with some plain yoghurt. Then he made some Mediterranean couscous (from a packet).
It was a delicious dinner, each step was easy and well within his capabilities.

I still have to talk the whole time, explaining everything. He listens well, though.

And we get to spend some quality time together, while teaching him a valuable skill! Win-win, I reckon.

Monday, November 15, 2010

i can't leave the house

Every month, I have a few days where I can't leave the house.
I can't be more than a few feet from a bathroom.
It's ridiculous.

I want to stab those carefree girls in their white pants. And then eat chocolate.
Bring on menopause, I say.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I've said before that scrapbooking is a bloodsport, definitely not for the faint-hearted.

NO WAIT -- come back -- this post isn't about scrapbooking, honest! Read on and you'll see.

A couple of years I noticed an enormous dent in my thigh, about the size of a matchbox and 1/2 cm deep. I kept an eye on it for a couple of weeks and it didn't go away so I started to get really nervous. What if it was bone cancer or some kind of muscle wasting disease? I Googled 'dent in my leg' and found thousands of other people having the same problem, caused by -- wait for it -- leaning your thigh against your desk or table!
Not. Even. Kidding.
In my case, it was from leaning against my table while scrapbooking. I stopped leaning, the dent went away.

Now yesterday, while making a nativity scene for a local kindy, I knocked my very pointy and very sharp Fiskars scissors off the table to my lap, and in trying to grab them, I drove them point first into my thigh.
They went in like a knife into butter and stuck there.
I had a visitor so I couldn't even investigate the damage right away. I had to hobble away to my bathroom and take off my (new) pants to see the wound, and of course now there was blood running everywhere and my (new) pants have a big hole in them.

The bleeding stopped quickly so I disinfected and slapped a band-aid on and went back to cutting out mangers and Wise Guys, but I told Fabio I should be getting more money for scrapbooking because it is dangerous. (he said but then I would just buy more dangerous stuff with it, and he can't let me do that. Clever, Fabio, clever.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I saw a zombie today

Today, I totally saw Zombie Bill Murray in the fruit and veg section at the supermarket.

He's lost a little hair on top and grown a mullet, which is weird because I didn't know zombies could grow their hair (or go bald on top) but there you go, that's your Interesting Fact for the day.
Also, his face wasn't green-tinged like I thought it would be so I think he was wearing makeup. You know, as a disguise.
So, I didn't take a photo because I figured he was just trying to get a little shopping done. Also, he was in the fruit and veg section, so you know, gotta respect the vegan approach rather than the whole 'brains brains' thing.

I didn't even have to use my Zombie Escape Plan, which is basically trip someone else over and then run like hell.
So cool.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

my very own masterchef

So, in keeping with my new resolution to teach the kids to cook, last night, with absolutely no warning, I said to Mr Nearly9, "You're cooking dinner tonight, bud. Spaghetti and meatballs. Away you go."
His eyes lit up. "Right!" he said, and actually dusted off his hands with squared shoulders as he headed for the pantry.
No hesitation. (just like his dad)
Through my laughter, I told him he would have to listen while I explained what to do. (no freestylin' here till you have a few years cooking under your belt!)

I had bought meatballs from the butcher (not great, mine are much better. My thinking was to start simple but in retrospect, I should have made the meatballs at home.)
Anyway, I showed him how to make a simple pasta sauce with canned tomatoes, tomato paste, lemon rind, and herbs from the garden. He did all the work himself, though he needed a little help opening the can.
He dropped the meatballs in and kept turning them without splashing too much sauce around, then he cooked pasta with butter and chopped parsley.

This morning he said, "Mum. Next I wanna tackle a stir-fry."

Cool. I have JUST the recipe.

Monday, November 8, 2010


OR : Household Principles for Children
from Beatrice Santorini

Laws of Forbidden Places

Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room.
Of the hoofed animals, grilled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room.

Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room.

Of quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room.

Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein.

Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink.

But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat in the living room.

Laws When At Table

And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were.
Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke.

Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away from my presence.

When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck: for you will be sent away from my presence.

When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you.

Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is.

And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why.

And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that, that is why.

Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.

Laws Pertaining To Dessert

For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert.
But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert.

But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten, you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion thereof.

And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will fall into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no dessert.

On Screaming

Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling, while you point to the offense with the finger of your right hand; but I say to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the fault.

Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain from screaming. Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death, make not that sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your nose. For even I have made the fish as it should be; behold, I eat it myself, yet do not die.

Concerning Face and Hands

Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to the hills, that I may more easily wash you off. For the stains are upon you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice thereon.
And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner beyond comprehension.

Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say. Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.

Various other laws, statutes, and ordinances

Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of the bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub your feet against cars, not against any building; nor eat sand.
Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not the humming in your nose as I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I'm not really a fan.

I watched it once or twice and enjoyed the show, but I can't bear that nasty critic (Matt?) -- although I do love looking at the food.
And we caught a few eps of the kids cooking. I was staggered! Seriously -- the age of some of those kids, and their mad skillz.... how much self-confidence must kids have when they can cook like that? and how much time have people (parents, grand-parents) spent with them in order to teach them?

My son and DIL are teaching their two boys to cook. The oldest is 4 and he sits on the bench while whisking eggs etc. and he can probably cook more than my nearly-nine year old.

The reason for this is simple -- I am so impatient! I get grumpy easily and to make things worse, I find it hard to eat food prepared by others. I even prefer to make my own coffee! (I can easily see how Howard Hughes became so de-railed by his germ phobia)

But this cooking thing.... I really want to give this a try.
I'd like for my kids to be confident cooks. I'd like them to appreciate good food, good ingredients, and the skills that go into preparing a meal. I'd like them to become more adventurous and not be afraid to try exotic dishes.

Plus it might give me an excuse to buy that gorgeous vintage floral apron I've had my eye on....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

headlice and mozzies and worms, oh my!

Don't come any closer. We're infested.

We have mozzie bites that are driving us mad with itching and I've been trying all kinds of bizarre recommendations, but nothing seems to help. I have 3 on my arms that weep from the constant scratching. It's a good look.

Last night while scratching my itchy head I pulled a nit off one of those fine little hairs at the nape of my neck. FREAK OUT! So now I have a shower cap on top of my matted lice-treatment-reeking wet hair, to go with the weeping sores on my arms. The kiddies don't have any so it's a complete mystery to me how I managed to get them.

And the kids tell me this morning their bottoms are itchy..... you know what this means.

I feel like trailer trash.

Friday, November 5, 2010

my little jelly fish

Today, the Princess' pre-primary class hosted their first school assembly. They were hugely excited (and also a bit nervous) and their theme was Under The Sea. They all dressed as sea critters (scuba divers and surf lifesavers featured large) and sang Three Little Fishies.
The Princess wanted to be a dolphin. My brain went into a tailspin. After some discussion, we settled on a jellyfish. Too easy.
(One mum said her daughter was desperate to be coral, but she couldn't for the life of her think how to make a coral outfit in 24 hours.)

The kids all had a turn at speaking into the microphone, and there wasn't one hesitation. They were magnificent!

I usually hate assemblies, I have to admit. But this school... I LOVE this school! they rock assemblies.
And so do my kids.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm so excited....

Yeah, I know. I'm a geek.

But LOOK what's on it's way to me!

Happy happy joy joy! Murder and mayhem will reign supreme again. Oh, plus I might learn a thing or two along the way.
No, seriously.
In the last game, which was set in Renaissance Florence/Venice I learned about Lorenzo d'Medici, Caterina Sforza, and Leonardo.
(Plus how to do a kick-ass assassination....)

If you have a few minutes, look up Caterina, though. She was one amazing woman.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

my new bedtime partners

Well, I have no man to take to bed now -- not for the nextsixweeks (I say that fast so it doesn't seem so scary).
So instead I'll be curling up with these

MMMMMM. Books.

I love to read, always have. In primary school I loved Enid Blyton, Trixie Belden and Mary Grant Bruce, Agatha Christie, Wuthering Heights, and Lorna Doone.
In early high school I started reading Desmond Bagley (Running Blind is still one of my favourite reads, and has instilled in me a strong desire to visit Iceland), Wilbur Smith (before they turned into porn books) and Robert Ludlum (odd choice for a 15 year old girl).

Now, my shelves are filled with childhood favourites (I still love you, Norah and Wally); old friends -- Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Sarah Rayne, Jeffrey Deaver, Preston/Child, Matthew Reilly, Tad Williams; and new loves -- Lauren Weisberger, Jeff Lindsay (Dexter), Jan Guillou and Stieg Larsson.

And of course, with Christmas coming up, the bookstores are filling up with treasures.
I have a long list of WANTS -- John Howards' Lazarus Rising, a new Stephen King collection called Full Dark No Stars , a new Kathy Reichs book called Virals , Paul Kellys' How To Make Gravy , Kevin McClouds' Grand Designs Handbook (he's been described as the Thinking Womans' Crumpet), Oliver Sacks' The Minds' Eye, and Parkys' People by the inestimable Michael Parkinson.

I might just ask for a great big voucher in my stocking this year!

Monday, November 1, 2010

so when is a prank not funny?

We don't celebrate Halloween. Not in a "get thee hence, O Prince of Darkness!" kind of way, we're just not into it. Plus we've been living in the Back of Beyond for yonks.
So I've been kind of surprised at the way this (American) holiday has taken off. And, you know, whatever blows your hair back. If you're into it, go for it.
But what's with the pranks?

I was reading this morning about a man who had a heart attack while chasing some kids who egged his car as a prank.
Hello? Parents? what are you teaching your kids if they think it's acceptable to egg someones' car?

Now, I know Halloween isn't directly responsible for this. It's parents abdicating their responsibilities, and failing to teach their kids some basic respect for other peoples' property, failing to teach them that actions have consequences (and some of those consequences may involve a spanking, or grounding, or forfeiture of pocket money)
It's those kids using this as an excuse to behave like bloody hooligans.

And sadly, in this 'modern' age, I doubt any of those kids will face any kind of consequences for this pretty reprehensible behaviour.

Tough love, people. We need to bring it back.