Monday, December 28, 2009

A week and a day into the Paris Experiment

and we are surviving rather well - mostly.

I have written a post - 3 or 4 versions of a post - but there seems there is much to do between gazing upon the beautiful young thing and admiring how well her big sister is handling the additional responsibility and love - the computer gets occasionally dusted and bills did get paid yesterday, lots and lots of loads of washing are done - but otherwise there is this vacuum where time disappears and the harsh light of reality doesn't directly affect, rather is refracted. (huge thanks to Bush Babe for this - and other - amazing photos)

It has been wet here in Paradise since Christmas day, therefore most of our time seems to be confined to the house.

During the brief spell of sunshine on Saturday, we did have a half-hour in the back yard with 'Salina and Paris. My ex-MIL, Baka, once gave me some very sage advice, and that was to get the baby out into nature late afternoon, as it helped save you from Sundowners/Gin Hour and the baby slept better.

On Saturday night, we were lulled into a false sense of security as she only woke twice during the night and thought we had struck baby gold!!!

You can see where that leads, can't you... We forgot the Baka lesson (due to intermittent showers throughout Sunday) so Sunday night was pretty fraught, up and down many times - however, last night took the cake with constant attachment to the boob as she was working something through her system and needed the "dummy"...

I need Seattle mail to get here quickly, as I won a contest over at Bossy's where I am going to get some of Seattle's best, apparently. I will need that coffee when it gets here (although if the rain eases and we are up, we may walk across to my new best friend at the beach).

Thank you all for your input on the blogname for our little girl - I love Debby's logic, and so the nod goes to "Paris" for all of the great reasons mentioned...

Debby said...

...Blog name suggestion: Paris. You've been referring to the little beauty as a parasitic life form for so long. 'Parasite' is not a good blog name. 'Paris' is better. Copenhagen kind of long. As for myself, I will call her perfect.
11:29 PM, December 23, 2009

We saw the pediatrician today (those 5 words are actually hugely loaded, with a saga about weather, walking about ill-planned hospitals, administration and lack thereof, our luck in a healthy baby and communication abilities) about "clicky hips" so are double nappying for the next few weeks until another appointment where they will check if she is improved (and there is an addendum to the saga here about more of the same - sigh, it makes you wonder about hospital culture sometimes - something that grows on petri dishes, no doubt).

There are some rules I vaguely remember from last time around (besides Baka's, there is only plan 1 thing a day, a successful day means getting to the other end sane, set the bar low) but I want to know what the best TIP you received or created when dealing with a newborn...

About to go an act on another oft-given tip - nap while the baby naps!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Welcome to the world

Now - what is your blog name going to be?

Sunday, December 20, 2009


According to, the definition of induce:
  /ɪnˈdus, -ˈdyus/
–verb (used with object), -duced, -duc⋅ing.
  1. to lead or move by persuasion or influence, as to some action or state of mind: to induce a person to buy a raffle ticket.
  2. to bring about, produce, or cause: That medicine will induce sleep.
  3. Physics. to produce (an electric current) by induction.
  4. Logic. to assert or establish (a proposition about a class of phenomena) on the basis of observations on a number of particular facts.
  5. Genetics. to increase expression of (a gene) by inactivating a negative control system or activating a positive control system; derepress.
  6. Biochemistry. to stimulate the synthesis of (a protein, esp. an enzyme) by increasing gene transcription.

1325–75; ME < L indūcere to lead or bring in, introduce, equiv. to in- in- 2 + dūcere to lead; cf. adduce, deduce, reduce

Related forms:
in⋅duc⋅i⋅ble, adjective

1. actuate, prompt, incite, urge, spur. See persuade.

1. dissuade.

Anyhow, we're going to to one of those to bring the unborn into the world sometime between now and Christmas - we are hoping for closer to the now part of that statement and as far from the Christmas part as possible, but it appears that what I want and what I get aren't always in synch these days.

So anyway - see you all on the other side of that "bump".

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tick tick tick...

  • Sleep in? Tick (5.15 folks - yay)
  • Breakfast? Tick
  • Swim in the ocean? Tick
  • Coffee while V surfed? Tick
  • Spoke to all female members of immediate family? Tick
  • Vacuumed? Tick
  • Lunch? Tick
  • Made nectarine upside-down cake? Tick
  • Ate some? Tick (mmmmmmm)
  • Tried to nap? Tick
  • Fail? Tick
  • Cut out bassinette sheets? Tick
  • Blogged? Tick

To do:
  • Sew bassinette sheets
  • Have afternoon tea with brother and his family
  • Write Christmas cards
  • Wash windows
  • Have a baby

Wonder if the list will be completed today?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

From Paradise's most pregnant woman...

This is starting to mess with my mind.

We were discussing the philosphy of it on the way in to town today. I was a little blue this morning, having a lovely mental beat up about what I have done, should have done, could have done, should be doing, etc, etc - about this baby transitioning from unborn status.

On top of that is the tick-tick-tick of worries that maybe this baby wants to stay put for a reason - and please, never go into an overly pregnant woman's worry sector because it is a dark and horrible place.

V is scoring an A+ on sensitive guy at the moment, and after an hour or so forbearance took me out of the house for a drive to collect the booty from the raffle.

I came back in a better frame of mind (and a few bargains from a few op shops - cheap therapy) - still haven't silenced those insideous little voices, but at least they are back in some context.

Anyhow - you didn't get full-term photos because - well, because you didn't - so here is one

and here are 41week 2day photos...

Can hardly tell I am pregnant, can you?

Oh - that...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Gorgeous Day in Paradise

There are a few partygoers in my previous post comments section - who would have thought Copenhagen discussions would end in a carouse?

Anyhow, no baby here still - in fact, the latest is if we don't have a baby by the 21st, we will have a baby by the 21st!

Had a lovely swim in the ocean this morning, got my cup of coffee (and it was GOOD) while V surfed, met with my dad in town while he and we were doing our various chores, ticked off EVERYTHING on our list (do you know what that means? All the Christmas shopping is now DONE) and got home in time to contemplate a nap (yeah, right) and get the phone call to say we have won a charity raffle - a laundry basket full of Christmas goodies.

Life is good.

I do hope everyone else is having a blessed Wednesday.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Amongst things that don't bring on labour

Debby - you may go straight to the comments section and talk about Copenhagen. I really don't think it is in your best interests to read this one. It involves a word starting with the letter S and is something you really don't want to read about.

Today, Nana (my mother), who has been with us for a week to look after 'Salina should I have the unborn whilst school was still in, packed up and took 'Salina out to Granite Glen. She will return when the baby is born.

This means tonight is the first - and possibly the last - child-free evening for some weeks.

You know what this means?


V and I were in the kitchen, preparing for our feast.

I had cubed and salted eggplant and chopped many vegetables. V was doing the same with pork.

From the corner of my eye, I saw Eddie go past. I automatically checked his bowl and added some dried.

Some 5 minutes later, our early chores in the kitchen completed, we moved into the living room.

Suddenly V turned around and told me to get out of the house!!

What he had seen and I had not was Eddie was playing in the living room with his latest toy - obviously all the craze at the moment - a baby brown snake...#

While there may have been a nanosecond of two of indecision about me leaving my mate in the path of danger and endorsing a policy contrary to my feminist leanings*, common sense prevailed and continuation of species was ensured. I fled downstairs and out to the front of the house, so I could remotely monitor the battle between freaked out husband, snake and cat.

I could hear V. There was the occasional utterance of a colour phrase or two regarding the stupidity of ginger cats, placement and awkwardness of furniture and piles of "stuff" in the living room and advice to the reptile.

Then there was a long silence.

"Honey" I piteously wabled, mentally working out what I should do in regards to all number of catostrophic possibilites.

A pregnant pause.

"Honey" a little bit louder.

Finally I hear a drawer and the reassuring snap-snap of the tongs - long-handled tongs, I would have surmised based on the tonal quality fear-factor inherent in the situation.

V came to the window and explained the situation and momentarily bemoaned the lack of following through an earlier idea of actually acquiring the local snake-catchers' numbers, all the while checking over his left shoulder for the baby brown to stir from behind a large desk.

Mid-sentence, he swivelled and was gone from view.

Eddie appeared around the side of the house, cool as a cucumber. He came and rubbed against my legs like it was perfectly normal for the two of us to be sharing the front yard of an early evening.

A strange hissing sound came from the house. I contemplated whether snakes really did hiss as per the cartoons - all snakes in my history have not, but that is not conclusive proof.

Then again came the hissing, and it was definitely not of the herpetic variety. A strange smell accompanied the sound.

Then there was banging, then there was banging and hissing, then there was banging and hissing and snap-snapping.

Eddie completely ignores this and attempts to lay a whole heap of love on me.

A finale then silence.

Emerging on the balcony was a victorious V, tongs aloft with the snake. As he came downstairs and across to where the snake was disposed of, Eddie attempted to walk off as if there was nothing at all concerning in this scenario.

I grabbed the felonious feline and carried him upstairs, ready to rouse as soon as I had him safely locked within.

I quickly cooked up the base ingredients of the curry and then added the magic Hot Singapore Curry Sauce and covered the curry to cook through.

Dinner was delicious, the cat is completely freaked out, for some reason imagining the snake is still in the house.

# It was not the same type or types previously seen.

* I saw a tea-towel in a dollar shop today. It would have been worth a blog and may be in the future, but the short version is it was branded "Feminist Tea-Towel" and wasn't. V got the full version of the vent...

Oh - and the hissing - Fast Knockdown apparently is an inspirational choice for snake-bamboozling.

Breaking News!

No, not baby related.

We went to the beach this morning - and they have opened a cafe there!! For all the time I have been here, the buzz has been "if only there was coffee available" because honestly, the little beach nearest here is gorgeous and requires very little to take it to the level of perfection - but good coffee might just be that straw.

This means that AFTER the unborn arrives, I will be able to walk over there with 'Salina and the thenborn and 'Salina can swim and I can sip on the foreshore and supervise.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

3am Sunday in Paradise

Is still pretty beautiful in a completely still and not a hint of breeze sort of way.

Take it from me.

Friday, December 11, 2009


You know, up until a week ago, I was completely unphased by this whole "you are going to have a baby" thing. It was going to happen, I was zen.

Then (a) people suddenly felt they had to ask ALL THE TIME when I was due, whether I was over it etc, etc (b) I had an appointment on due date and they said the ominous "you see the doctors next week if you haven't gone to see the next plan" and (c) I really thought something was happening - and then it wasn't...

That made me all antsy and want it to happen, and want it to happen RIGHT NOW - and lord, if b1tchy and grouchy was a precursor to labour, then we would be talking babies and not lack thereof.

It all came to a head this morning, and I had a little meltdown with V. Its amazing what a good cry will do. We are back to zen - I think it is the best approach.

I hate it when people get to me... Especially when they really don't mean to be getting to me at all, just being polite.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Still in one piece

Yes, here, still "intact".

My new deadline is 4.15 this afternoon - that gives me a chance to see 'Salina after school, V to finish work YET STILL gives me an out to not go to the school concert.

Yes, I want to see my daughter perform.

However, performing a routine where they all wear black, have one glove on and to a song and performer that I really never could "get" - I start to quibble.

Watch 9 performances of varying age groups to the same performer who, frankly, doesn't have a great deal of differential in the material on offer? Teetering on the "do I have to whine".

All of the above and present a speech in my official role as head honcho of P and C?

Well, if they are of the calibre of speeches I have been pondering for the last hour or so, I am sure the 150 odd families who can be bothered to attend a school concert but cannot be bothered to be interested in anything to do with the P and C except whinge about what they don't do would wish for me to be anywhere but also.

It appears I may be getting grumpy.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Not into overtime - yet

Got a shock yesterday, finding out TODAY is actually the due date for the unborn. I had been working on the premise that I still had a day - or two - up my sleeve.

Not that it makes a huge difference - it is not here, but it is a day closer.

Having got my head around the fact that there WILL BE a baby here, I am okay with that set of facts.

In fact, I think it would be cool if it decided to start around 11.45 this morning - that would kybosh any further P&C official activities for the year yet allow me to rush through all those Christmas gifts that I have not yet bought (which is approximately the total amount of Christmas gifts I have to get this year less 2).

However, if baby comes through on that order, I am scared for my future. I would not know what to do with such a compliant child!!

If not, I have until next Tuesday to talk sternly - otherwise the doctors are threatening to do the talking for me, and I really don't want that.

So anyway, you will be kept updated.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Bathing - the adventure of a 39 week 2 day pregnant woman on a Friday night.

There was nothing on the tv, and after a harsh morning cleaning (the tuckshop) and the overwhelming (olfactory) urge to bathe, a decision that the black hole in entertainment between 'Salina's bedtime and Outrageous Fortune coming back onto Free-to-Air television in Australia (to see what that may mean to me, I have a thing for Outrageous) (oh, and if I were in Auckland I would definitely do this) would be best filled by running the tub and submerging.

So the bath was filled (yoga positioning required. Lean forward and gently toward the taps, hoping desparately that the centre of gravity would remain in the legs section of the torso and not suddenly tip into the leaning bit - gravity truly sucks sometimes), using the occasional dabble of the right foot for temperature control. There is a conscious thought process on the advisability of adjusting the temperature too finely, as the above step of balance is to be taken seriously with every nudge of the taps.

Getting in to the bath is itself convoluted and requiring several steps.

First, ensure that you are far enough from the plug end to allow room for the eventual placement of legs after lowering - this also means not so close to the slopey (sp?) end of the bath that the tailbone may impact above the bend.

Once correct positioning has been reached, attempt a squat - as you pass the point where your knees may get close to collapse, take the weight off one leg and try to extend it forward WHILE balancing on the other and extending your arms to catch the side of the bath. Continue the downward trajectory until such time as gravity takes over and you plummet.

The "getting into the bath" stage should take place when the water level is not going to be too adversely affected by the Archimedes principle under pressure.

Once in the bath, you are able to use your right foot to adjust the water temperature and turn off the water once the plumb line has been reached. This is a good thing, as there is a very non-pregnant chance in Hades that you would be able to reach down to your ankles and adjust manually.

Now the bath has been run and horizontalish as been achieved, soaking, reading and wallowing may be contemplated. Ignore the water temperature, as once the water is off there is no factor that can be influenced in that matter until removal of body from the bath. Therefore it is adviseable to stay in the water until 7 minutes before unbearable to take full advantage of all the effort that has led to this point.

Once upon a non-pregnant time, the deadline used to be 2 minutes to allow for 2 minutes ablutions before arising, effortlessly and Venus-like, from the waters.

At 39 weeks 2 days pregnant, washing is not the mindless activity that thence it was. You will need all of the 4.5 minutes you allocate for this task just to attempt to reach all frontiers with soap - rinsing is somewhat easier, as you can throw water in the general direction.

With the last 2.5 minutes, exit strategies must be used.

First, sit up.

(ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha)

Please use whatever handholds the bath offers to achieve this - there is no pride available in this step.

Next, cross legs - again with the yoga, I know, but it is a step that is required when your ankles have no flex left and you have to get to vertical somehow.

Now, grasping the end of the bath, try to twist your legs around to one side of your body, hopefully ending up with both of them facing the same way and in correct order. You may need to rock a bit to achieve this, as momentum can be your friend but can also get you stuck if your timing is off.

With both legs to the side (left is my preference) you then need to attempt to raise your torso enough to get said legs to a position approximating beneath you.

Now, lean forward to place your palms on the bottom of the bath and raise yourself onto all-fours. Move through whatever tortures are required to get to Downward Dog and, using the sides of the bath, bathroom fittings and whatever furnishings within reach until vertical is achieved.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Still here...

So here is the 39 week picture...

The bump probably didn't appreciate the steam burn I gave it last night (note to self - time and motion strategies must be employed in the kitchen with proper workplace health and safety regulations... or don't try to hold a vege steamer under one arm against the bump when bending down to get some tongs out of drawer).

I was at the school most of the day yesterday (and the day before) - my hips have started to mention that it might not be the best idea to stand up for most of it.

After today and tomorrow, that is IT for the volunteering at the school. I am meant to be at the official graduation of the Year 7 class on Tuesday and the Concert is on Wednesday where I am meant to do a speech, but that is surely incentive enough to contemplate having the baby earlier than the end of term! Lesson for young players - find a post to hide behind when you go to P&C AGM meetings...

Late last week, 'Salina got to go to the disco at school. It was meant to be crazy hair day, but she has been blessed with a mother who completely forgot the "can I have some pipecleaners for my hair" request within seconds and so had to go the putting curlers in her hair.

I don't think it turned out too bad in the end - although she has been blessed with genetically straight hair that will fall into dead straight within minutes of being curled, so I don't know how "crazy" it was!!

V had a shocker yesterday - he didn't go to work as concrete was being poured on site, so he decided to be Mr Handyman. Its not a natural role for him, but he is stoic about undertaking such when he sets his mind to it (and has done all of the research and has the right tools).

First he decided to do the yard - snakes are turning up a bit too regularly in the cat's playtime regime. He and the whippersnipper had 10 minutes of joy together - and then the whippersnipper decided that a main part would just fall off.

So he then decided to concentrate on the plumbing. He had to dig down to the water mains, as the council apparently feel that 20cm of mud is ideal for covering such things. The second tap he went to fix the washers on decided that rather than unscrew where the screw bit was, it would far rather snap at the connection to the post - and do so right through the tap, indicating the tap was actually weaker than the screws holding it on (and indeed weaker than the thread)...

After a trip into town for another whippersnipper, new fittings and advice from the plumbing shop, he returned, fixed that and moved onto the upstairs taps. The kitchen washers are apparently very safe - behind the tiles and a good few inches behind the wall. There were 10 minutes there where I had to cover my ears.

He turned the water back on and all worked wonderfully well - except for the new fitting on the busted tap, which blew off immediately - and every time he tried for the next hour.

Luckily it eventually worked AND the new whippersnipper did enough jungle clearing out the back for him to be able to feel that some of his efforts weren't for nought.

'Salina and he did the Christmas tree last night (I have a "not until December" rule imposed in this house and I AM the Christmas dictator) and balance was restored in the universe.

And finally, Eddie has done nothing untoward since the last snake - probably because someone left him this comfy laundry basket to sleep in.

Of course, it is now alternately bucketing down and threatening to bucket down here which may kybosh swimming at school and therefore impact on the smooth running of our Pizza Day for the kids (we were going to have it so well organised, with only 1/2 the school there at a time... Wet day rules = ratty kids...) Rain also means that V won't be working today, so I might gently nudge the vacuum cleaner into his line of sight.

Baby is far better off in utero for another day or so (if it listens to its mother). We have organised for 'Salina (well, 'Salina and her friend have organised) a sleepover on Saturday night and then Mum is here from Sunday, so as long as I get my Christmas shopping squared away we are almost organised to have another child!!!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Do you DO mornings?

Most mornings, I wake up and I am AWAKE!! There are exceptions, but on the whole it is the approach I take to the day.

Be assured, it was not always so and I can do a fair imitation of the morning grumps.

(In fact, there are living witnesses - mostly related to me - who can attest just how real that imitation can be)

My father is a great believer in mornings. "Best part of the day" he bellows. He is no defender of the freedom of sleep-ins, and probably wouldn't know what to do if one were enforced upon him.

He always had a few strategies to get company for breakfast.

My bedroom was first off the hall on the route from his (and mum's) room to the kitchen. He had learned over the years to do his level best not to disturb Mum's rest (too much) and so would thoughtfully wait until he was outside my door before exploding into the HARRUMPHS, sneezes and coughs that cleared his airways.

I was not a big voter for his "best part of the day" bill when woken by such methods.

On occasion, it would be a requirement that we surface and face that day on Dad's timetable, and he would take delight in rousing his children from sleep.

There was no gentle pass into the world of wakefulness on offer. Instead he would come in singing "Oh what a beautiful morning" at top pitch - or "Good morning, good morning".

I KNOW there is nothing worse than a hearty morning person greeting a non-morning person with gusto and cheer.

If that did not work, he would get a damp (as in the pretty blooming wet end of the damp spectrum) cloth from the bathroom and bring it in to "assist" you in "washing your face" - because apparently a cold wash to get the sleepy dust out of your eyes wakes you up.

And yet he lives.

Over the last 20 years I have discovered my own morning rituals. Ones that DON'T involve singing or wet washers, luckily. Ones that HOPEFULLY are slightly respectful of those who like to slumber.

For some years, I was a workaholic. This entailed spending more time at my workplace than where I paid rent. To do this AND maintain my social life, hours were lopped off the morning rituals and I managed to develop first name relationships with several cab-drivers.

Then I moved on to temping (so as not to fully embrace my addiction) and often would have many miles to drive to start work at various places. Temping is a much more rewarding experience if you smile and are in a decent mood - it can be a bit of a minefield which workplace you enter, but then again, apparently hiring a temp can be a minefield in itself!!

When I had 'Salina, one of my sanity-savers was bundling her up in a sling and taking her for walks - long walks that often covered her wake-up at sunrise until about 8, when she would breakfast and have her first nap of the day. If P was at work, it eradicated the loneliness - and if P wasn't, it eradicated his bear-headedness at being woken by such chirpers.

As she grew into a toddler and I into a single mother, those moments in the morning that I could grab for myself again worked for my mental health. Even 10 minutes and a cup of tea can make the difference between dealing with a toddler and HAVING TO DEAL with a toddler.

V leaves for work between 5.30 and 7 most mornings. He is fairly good in the mornings - so long as he can follow his own rituals, which I can respect. 'Salina tends to rise early as well (of her own volition - I don't think I have ever employed the wet washer method) and so often - such as this morning - she has done all of her morning chores by 6.30am.

I have found that I tend to waken early without any prompting (I do occasionally dream of sleep-ins, but they are like lotto wins for me). It is a rare morning when 'Salina or V beat me to the punch.

Those few moments when I organise my day, drink my tea and have the world to myself - precious.

I used to fight it - now...

I have found that when I wake early, I can be quite moanful of the fact that it is so darned early - OR I can choose to get up and seize the day.

And do you know what?

The latter strategy does actually set me up for a much better day than the former.

What works for you?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hold Your Hats

I know - posting twice in a week!!!

But that is because Eddie has done something twice this week.

The first was on Sunday.

'Salina and I had gone down to the beach for a swim. V finished painting her room and then came down to join us. As my burn threshhold is set to something well prior to theirs, I returned first.

(BTW - V's threshhold was about 1/2 an hour before he thought it was. 'Salina has inherited the sort of genes from either her auntie or her father that sort of only hits red in direst of circumstances OR under her eyes.)

(That was an aside. I have an "aside" habit.)

Anyhow, I returned to wash off some salt and sand, and about to head towards the stairs that lead to the back door, spied Eddie playing with something.

Something long and thin - and still moving...

I got close enough to identify "snake" (albeit obviously a baby, but I can be a bit of a baby about snakes) and then scarpered back to the front steps and locked all doors - Eddie has a habit of bringing his playthings in to the house, and frankly this is the sort of sport I would like to discourage - especially in this particular instance.

I was thoughtful enough to text my husband and child, warning them of the danger...

When they returned, we found Eddie had sported a fair bit of the play out of it (although not to death, so he isn't a felon - yet. Apparently snakes are all protected species)

I handed V the long-handled tongs and armed myself with the camera and the poor blighter was captured (in the laundry - enough incentive to neglect my new toy for a few hours) and released back into the wilds of across the road.

As you saw from my photo, I wasn't very brave in getting close-up shots!

So fast-forward to today. I was working from home, and V came home from work early. He went downstairs to grab some coke - and found Eddie in the garage with a new toy. Another snake.

This one definitely still at a far livelier stage of play, and at the appearance of V made a move to escape. The best hiding spot he could see was a pile of bags (containing 'Salina's worldly possessions, as her room is being painted and recarpeted) and so he scampered.

Eddie contemplated a chase, but V with a broom dissuaded him. Eddie eventually came to where I was (by now by the back stairs after a yell to "come hold Eddie" from V).

V - with trusty rake - started sorting through the bags. Finally, in one (filled with painting supplies and canvasses) he struck gold, and manouvred it to the front lawn. He upended the contents and the snake did an excellent job of hiding under everything until there was nothing left to hide under - so he turned to go back into the bag - rake stopped him.

Then her looked at what was holding the rake and decided he would chase that instead. (insert girly scream from wife here)

V did a dance with the snake and the rake until the snake saw a garden bed to hide in.

So - guess which garden bed will NOT be weeded this afternoon? And guess who WON'T be doing it?

See - that is better than belly stories.

oh, and for those who want asides - the first snake was - we believe - a yellow-bellied black snake - or for those who like their snakes less fancy, a common tree snake. Perfectly harmless unless you are a frog.

Today's snake was either one of them OR it could have been a whip snake. Potentially poisonous. V thinks the former - not for the venom aspect, but because the whip snake reaches only 80cm, and he thinks this one was HUGE!!

If it is the former - the fact that we have a nest somewhere for Eddie to forage freaks me out.

Oh - and if YOU want to freak out to local snakes, here is a link...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Guess What?

On the weekend we:

  • got our new washing machine!!!
  • 'Salina's team won 12-1 in softball
  • went swimming at the beach
  • came home to a present from Eddie
  • ate well
  • and didn't have a baby

I have nearly finished all work projects (and associated bookwork) so I am about to inform my boss I am going on maternity leave - I believe there is some nesting to do.

Friday, November 20, 2009

27ish weeks

Very, very, very, very, very slack, I know.

Didn't even get here on the right day for a weekly photo update.

Am meant to be slowing down and "nesting" aren't I?

Just that every day seems to fill up with those "few little things to do" and once I do those few little things, I hardly have time to contemplate my nest.

Today we are doing another push on painting 'Salina's room, buying (and hopefully receiving delivery of) a new washing machine, getting the baby's carseat installed, trying to fix a few little "improvements" on my last big worky thing (and being on call for their meeting if they need any questions answered), trying to fix a nasty gordonian knot in one of my last little worky things and trying to finish my other last little worky thing... Its a good thing that I have 28 up to 27 days (perhaps) to fit all that other nest stuff in, eh?

Anyhow - photo and sign out...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

36 weeks - that is still a month to go!!!

Firstly - a big HOO-BLODDY-RAY I have finished the project that has been my life for the last few weeks!!

Only got a few tiny tasks to tie up before I am officially on maternity leave (ha ha ha ha ha - self-employed = doing sweet fa and getting paid accordingly) - and then I plan to:
  • Rip up the carpet in 'Salina's room (which has been cleared of clutter in anticipation of this move for a few weeks now...)
  • Paint and recarpet 'Salina's room (well - supervise V and 'Salina doing so)
  • Rearrange furniture throughout the house so the office becomes the bedroom, the bedroom becomes the nursery and the spare room becomes the office (see above)
  • Get carseats installed in the vehicles
  • Clean the house, room by room (so that I can leave it another year - I am a blitz cleaner, not a housekeeper)
  • Organise Christmas for the family
  • Work out what I need for baby that may be missing from what I got
  • Get fit (ha ha ha ha ha)
  • Get my head around the fact that I am going to have a baby
  • Pack a hospital bag
  • Nest
  • Rest

So you see, I am going to need all of that month.

You can hardly tell this is a pregnant woman, can you?

Still, very hard to get past me in a narrow corridor if I haven't lined up quite right.

The most agonising part of the whole body change thing I am going through.. (oh, and I did book a wax for next week so the fat legs above the cankles can shimmer instead of stun)

The one I prepared earlier...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This whinge is brought to you by the letter I

You would think, after a near all-nighter the other night and brain-drain yesterday, when I flaked in bed at 9.40pm last night, I would stay there, wouldn't you?

I mean, it is what NORMAL people do, isn't it?

But no, insomnia came along and whispered to me at 10.00pm. Yes, so tired I dropped off and got a whole 20 MINUTES before I woke!!

By 10.30, I gave up. The good news is that I got a heap of housework done and caught up on a taped show that otherwise would have been buried before watching.

I didn't turn on the 'puter, because I knew that my brain wasn't quite up to logicking and therefore worktime would be wasted.

I got back to bed at 12 - but not before accidentally leaving a window open to allow Eddie to sneak out.

That would mean that my Eddie alarm-clock had been deactivated for the morning, but unfortunately couldn't turn off the old sun one, which is now set for 1/4 to 5...

So today - I am still on this last job... It should be rolled so quickly, but then one little problem emerges and it can take hours to pinpoint.

I do have high hopes of finishing today - although of course I have to go out twice for school things and V is home, which is NOT conducive to coding (love him dearly, don't need someone to offer me a rub or cuppa while trying to figure loops and breakpoints).

Then all I have to do is rearrange the house, clean, get Christmas gifts, install car seats, finalise stuff for end of year at school, pack a bag and get my head around having another child - after that, the baby is allowed out but NOT BEFORE.

Might even try and squeeze in that whole get fit, get beautiful and organise world peace while I am at it!!!

(Speaking of which - BB sent me a pic of the well-turned ankle - see end of post...)

I think it has turned - kicks are in different part, but still fairly transverse. I caved and bought a few mangoes yesterday (still cannot justify to my inner miser the $2.50 price tag) and am going to dole judiciously. V doesn't like them - unfortunately I taught 'Salina good taste and so will have to share a little.

(Oh - and the greatest pain of pregnancy is the complete lack of footwear available in my cupboard that offer anything in the way of style - actually, that is a general problem but can blame it on pregnancy - gotta get the mileage.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The spirit is willing

but the mind is currently coding.

I have discovered when I am doing a programming job, the power of speech and human reasoning gets moved aside while I logic out problems.

It is something that means it is far easier for me to work on projects in a vacuum - or failing that, at a place where no-one else expects anything from me or wants to communicate with me.

I can work with interruptions - except it will take an extra 2-20 minutes at the resumption after each interruption to get back into the headspace where I am tinkering with my little programming problems.

Sometimes iIt also takes my mind shifting down through the gears to understand the nature of the interruption and dealing with the outside world - which equals time and a lot of blank looks and misunderstandings.

Not exactly conducive to family life, working from home when anyone else is in the vicinity or holding roles in school committees. Also not a great fit with volunteering (because there is no-one else to step up... Save the lecture, I give it to myself)

The good news is, there is one time of day that works well with such strains - it also means that your spouse has hogged the whole of the bed when you finally get there!

However, after pulling up stumps at 2 this morning, I can say this project is so close to finished, and after that all I have to do is clean a house, rearrange all furniture, organise Christmas and nest - then I will be ready to have a baby, I think...

Friday, November 06, 2009

35 weeks

Well, it was during the week, but I have been flat out here - hopefully finishing up the last big work project today, and tidying up the littlies early next week.

I will despair of the lack of income (like it was rolling in) but perhaps those "nesting" things you are meant to do - like pack a bag for hospital and setting up space for the new baby - will float to the surface. Otherwise we'll just have to roll with it, I suppose.

It seems all I have done is apologise for not going round and visiting all my Bloggies throughout this pregnancy, but I really hope to do a bit of that with the nesting.

Sweet dreams, hey?

Anyhow - latest bump shot and will (hopefully) be a more wordy (and nesty) blogger next week...

(oh - and I do have a top to my head, just that 'Salina was more concerned about not getting a red hand on the photo - something that happens with movement and a slow shutter speed - than framing)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Happy Birthday 'Salina

10 years ago about right now I was being given some heavy drugs after a horrible night of labour going nowhere (don't you wish there was more information on posterior position?) and finally gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

She yelled for the first few hours!!

After that, the ill-advised sleeping pills I had been handed upon going to the hospital 20 hours earlier took effect and I crashed - to be woken by the wonders of learning to breastfeed (she had to learn also) and newborn nappy changes (NOTHING prepares you for that).

The good news is that MOST of the intervening 10 years have been wonderful.

Happy birthday to my wonderful little girl.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

On a Platter

Happy Halloween (or whatever the greeting is - we are not learned in the art of Halloween here, to the bemusement of V)!

I do have a child, however, who has a birthday and an imagination suited to take advantage of this festivity - as always, 'Salina-style.

Five of her besties from school came over for a sausage sizzle and then FILLED the bathroom with make-up and hairstyle needs - an eerie premonition for adolescence.

Anyhow - the final product:

(She is a head on a platter - geddit?)

We took them around 2 local blocks for a total haul of 3 houses (the first 3 - 2 had been worded up), quite a few either "oh, is it Halloween? You girls look great, lets see what is in the pantry" or "oh, is it Halloween? You girls look great, sorry we have nothing" and one gruff "We are religious and don't do Halloween."

Still, there was more than enough sugar products to keep them all amused - and hatching even greater plans for Halloween '10.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Last Post in the Electrolux Ecovalve Saga

Long-time (okay, long-suffering) readers will recall that me and my washing machine haven't always had the most harmonious relationship.

Waay back in July 2005, I was doing my washing while working on the computer when the power went out. The power went out because the old battle-axe that was my top-loader in my previous life had decided that not only would it cease to work, it would do so in an explosive manner and the safety switch had determined it - and everything else in the house (including my computer) should receive no more juice for it to work up into combustive manner.

Luckily, I had done my tax early that year, and the relationship with the Electrolux Ecovalve began.

Pretty soon after I moved to Paradise, it started to play up, and during an ongoing liaison with the LERF it has sort of behaved - right up until the day after the warranty expired.

Since then, it has been a steadily more unreliable partner in the washing stakes, complaining when the water wasn't draining quickly enough (that happens when the laundry tubs have tiny outlets), when the load was too heavy (a call that happened with lighter and lighter loads as time went by) or when the Moon wasn't in the right house.

Add to that the fact that the computer board within no longer took any notice of what programme you have dialled, it would only do one wash program (even if you asked for drain or turned it off).

By last week, it had gotten to the point where I was having to restart it 3 times per load - which when extrapolated against the time it takes anyhow to do a load meant that my 3 loads every two days meant I was washing all day, every day (it seemed) and getting my 10,000 Steps in on the back steps alone.

And then - and then on Friday, with a more than usually full laundry (great decision, that strip beds one, hey?) it got one and a half loads into the quota for the day - and decided it would thumb its nose at me, curl up its toes, emit a few piteous alarmed beeps and die.

As it hasn't worked properly for so long, it is more the financial and laundromatical aspects of our relationship being over that is causing any trauma.

We have decided we are going to save and invest in some quality engineering (possibly German) this time around, and in the interim the 28 year old Simpson has been hauled back into action.

I mean, it might be a brute, but it is fast (aka on laundry on SPEED), it tries hard and it is far better than handwashing - oh, and its lid-sensor has been deactivated, so only have to go down and encourage it once per load.

So please - sell me the vices and virtues of your laundry equipment - we have an idea of what we might want, but willing to be swayed with your reviews.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

On pink clouds, orange cats and stupid birds

This morning was another beautiful start to a beautiful day.

Eddie gently (ahem - poetic license involved) nudged me from my slumber. The 5am sky was bright, tinged at the edges with fluffy pink clouds.

I like to be the first to wake. I like to drink my cup of tea (I know, second child, I allow myself a little latitude) slowly and alone.

My mind takes this time to arrange my day. It is the only time that I truly feel I have any control of it, and it is a fantasty that I can spin for hours.

Of course, I am generally joined after not too long by V and/or 'Salina. V is a "give me a double caffeine hit before small talk" sort of morning person, 'Salina has two morning modes - wide awake and bouncing or "why the heck am I out of bed?" lethargy.

But this morning - this morning I had just made my tea and sat at the computer to contemplate the emails and twitters and blogs that were available for respite through the day - I would say my "set for the day" meter was at about 35% when...

Well, one of the morning rituals is, of course, letting Eddie out after an evening of being locked in the house. I wait until it is daylight for this, as I figure it gives the local wildlife - especially the birds - a fighting chance. The fact that he is orange and therefore doesn't blend too much with foliage and lawn combined with the tinkly bell that accompanies his every move ups the odds even more, and his tally is rather paltry.

Paltry, but not zero. There are birds who are designed with self-preservation strategies and then there are birds who just ain't. Occasionally he chooses the latter...

This morning, he chose the latter. Of course, rather than capturing prey and dealing with it in the wilds of the back yard, Eddie is a social animal and would far rather share the delights of his expedition with the humans he most loves. Cue the sneaking it upstairs, bringing it into the living room and let it loose for a little sport.

Woke me up immediately, as you can imagine. Then he chased it into 'Salina's room. 'Salina has pretensions of being afraid of birds, so this was a lovely way for her to go from "sleeping" to "screaming". The domino effect of this was to rip V from horizontal to vertical. So the scenario - pregnant lady chasing cat chasing bird around the house with accompanying music of child eeking and husband adding a baseline of "what the..."

The time was 5.30am.

We rescued the bird, chastised the cat and - and that is how our Saturday started.

How is yours going?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Turtles, tourism exhibits and tummy

On Sunday, we went for a walk down to Paradise* centre as there was a gathering called "Joggers for Loggers" - not about timber, as one might imagine, but Loggerhead Turtles, one of the turtle breeds that chose a beach just up the coast for laying eggs (and therefore hatching).

There could even be a few under the water in this picture!

Of course, the term "Fun Run" is a bit of an oxymoron as far as I am concerned, and so we were more going for "fun swim" and "fun catch up with girlfriends" reasons than the free grub if you got all sweaty over the 8km on offer!!

Paradise* is a fairly elderly beach village (well, elderly in local terms which is fairly recent in other parts of the world), and still has some of the origial beach dwellings along the esplanade. While this wall is not a true "Kanaka Wall", it emulates the style found throughout the area.
"The Kanaka Wall is a well-preserved piece of history. Kanakas were Melanesians from the South Pacific Islands who were indentured to work in Queensland cane fields during the period from 1879 to 1904. Part of their work was to clear volcanic rocks to allow cultivation of fields. The rocks were packed together to form fences and these could be seen all over the district."

What the above fails to mention is "indentured" actually means a form of slavery - one of the nastiest pieces of local history is that of blackbirding, where many were stolen from Pacific Islands and brought to the region for cane cutting and land clearing purposes.

Of course, Paradise*, like many other beachside sleepy-towns, is growing more and more of these things as it uproots the old fibro shacks and grow with fertilising words such as "luxury" and "resort". If you want a few hundred apartments for your investment portfolio, I could even do a whole post on the "For Sale" signs.

This is the hustling centre of tourist activity of Paradise*. The Ice Cream options are fantastic at the Scoopery, not our favourite Fish and Chips outlet (but apparently does a roaring trade in excellent Pizzas) and a rather swish cafe - there is more activity around the corner, but I don't have a camera that takes shots around corners!!

This part of the beach has been developed beautifully for tourists, with shady picnic spots, a fantastic Turtle Park and a pedestrian/cycle path that goes for about 10km (part of the day was the opening of the new section that goes right around to Mon Repos). This is the boardwalk section.

Notice in the background the volcanic rock walls used to create beautiful safe swimming spots.

While there were organised Turtle Sculpting activities further along the beach, 'Salina (nor her friend, Mad') is not really a follower of organised activities (especially when there is some serious splashing or sandcastle building on offer).

I sat in the shade and dozed built my own air-castles while these two frolicked.

On our walk home, I contemplated showing you just how suburban Paradise* can be, but I could find no outstanding examples of mundane - those that fit were not really something I felt the requirement to photograph, and those I felt worthwhile of photographing would not have been an average enough representation. So instead I give you a street I walked.

I was knackered by the end of that morning.

Of course, this is what I was lugging around.

* Please note, Paradise is the term I use for this blog. My town isn't really called Paradise. No, really, it isn't!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Letter

Humble Abode of Jeanie
Paradise QLD
Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Dear Mr C

On Saturday afternoon, I was grocery shopping in your supermarket as I regularly do.

Accompanying me was my 9 year old daughter, who enjoys greatly selecting things from your stationery display to spend her pocket money on. On this occasion she chose a notebook, valued at $1.72. Not a huge purchase but an important one in her mind.

To encourage her independence, I suggested she make her own purchase in the Express Lane while I put my groceries through one adjacent. She gladly queued behind the 2 customers prior to her.

As it became her turn to be served, two teenage boys appeared from an aisle and reached over her to place their purchases on the counter. What shocked me most was the checkout operator in the Express Lane at the time served these boys immediately, completely ignoring my daughter and her purchase.

As she was upset at this behaviour, she immediately came over to where I was putting my groceries through.

I realise her purchase was minimal, and she is only a young child and therefore possibly not as important a customer in the mind of your checkout operator as his peers.

However, I also understand that one of the tenets of retail is good customer service, and I feel that this incident on Saturday failed to fall into the category of “good”.

Had there been a more senior member of staff available, or had it not been as busy in the store I may well have been tempted to complain of his shortcomings in offering such service at the time, but I refrained.

I do believe, though, that such advice may be better coming from you and perhaps as a reminder to all staff. I do realise it is a slight infringement, and definitely not a sackable offence – but I also realise that this could be a learning moment for your operators.

I leave this in your hands.

Yours sincerely


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday afternoon shopping - fraught with dangers

I know I SHOULD be more organised and do the groceries basically any other day of the week. I work from home, I SHOULD be able to work around a grocery trip - but every week it gets to Saturday and every week I get to the realisation that I will have to stock up or feed my family soup until Monday and therefore every Saturday I do a little list and get shopping - with varying degrees of success.

On the good weeks, I meal plan, organise my pantry, consult the specials brochures (online and paper form) and have a cracker list. We get to Softball, go to the library and then do the health food shop (always fun), the big smoke supermarket, the fruit & veg shop and the 2 local supermarkets and somehow manage to keep within budget and get nearly everything.

On the not so good weeks - we go to softball and get home, when I panic. I figure what we will eat based on what I see in the shops, I double up on things I think I might need and completely forget what was absolutely necessary, I am limited to the 2 local supermarkets and the budget gets blown with only enough good stuff for 2 days.

Guess which one yesterday's was?

It wasn't that dire - however little shops like that will strangle whatever financial sanity you have, and add a nearly 10 year old into the mix...

My gripes with the shopping yesterday, however, weren't about menu planning or meat specials or other customers lack of consideration of aisle usage or old beans.

They definitely weren't about the cutest little kids abounding on a Saturday afternoon at Local Supermarket Number 2 (the blow in). I don't think it is cluckiness, I think there just happened to be a mother-lode of cute little kids at that particular time at that particular place. One little boy was so chatty, he struck up a conversation with me whenever I was anywhere near - even though I declined his offer of a drink (he has worked out all the smooth moves before the age of 3!).

It wasn't about the gorgeous, slinky young things in backless togs and towels in the toiletries aisle - they looked to be having fun together far too much for me to work up a full grump about frumpy matrons, it just made me smile.

It wasn't the fact that my "oh my goodness how much is she growing up" girl disappeared on me for most of the shop for "her favourite aisle" (she is a stationery junkie), reappearing at opportune moments to ask "can I have some money?" (the answer to that is generally no, but she still has to try it), "what is my allowance this week?" (a sliding scale where we hope she aspired to get 100% of, and often receives less - unfortunately she remains happy at getting whatever, and so the bribery is not as effective as it should be - I blame relatives (who do not read this blog) (I hope) who blow our economy with gifts of 3 figure amounts making the 100% of our weekly aspiration look paltry)... I am loving the fact that, in Paradise the supermarkets are not so big and faceless that she can't track me nor I her and she does get a little bit of liberty... Sob, my girl is getting so grown up.

It wasn't that last week's lotto didn't give us the $400,000 I was sort of banking on to solve all financial dilemmas and build a few of our dreams, but I did invest in another chance for fate to step in and do so for us this week. The only guarantee with lotto is that if you don't enter, you will NEVER win.

It wasn't even the fact that a lady in Local Supermarket Number 1 (the original) said "excuse me" in the stock and gravies aisle and then laid her hands on the bump and rubbed - I am far more perplexed by this strange behaviour than outraged, although the whole "personal space" issue can be a bit of a hurdle for me, especially when coupled with the transgression by complete strangers (it freaks me a little when closer acquaintances do it) but she obviously felt it was important enough and did apologise beforehand.

However, there was ONE EVENT that tipped me over the edge yesterday afternoon during the shop - and I am ashamed to say I did not do what I should have done at the time about it.

'Salina had found an object of desire fitting into her budget and was quite excited by the prospect of being the owner of this object (a new notebook - just her kind of candy). I suggested she go into the express aisle for her own purchase with her own money and she was more than happy to comply.

The store was staffed - sparsely - with all very young things - nothing wrong with young things if they do their jobs, and in general there is a certain amount who do and a certain amount who don't - but it is important to note there was not one person working there who I would have called a senior staff member. It comes into play later in my melodrama.

Paradise is made up of mainly by retirees and holiday-makers - families are definitely the smaller third group. 'Salina waited patiently while a few elderly and a few out-of-towners were served. Just as her turn arrived, two teenage boys reached over her to put their purchases on the counter, and Gra#me* served them.

'Salina turned to me to say "did you see that" and I did say out loud (which can be quite) that I had seen that and it wasn't on - and for all the effect that passive aggressive action had on the young thing staff I may as well have been talking from within a plastic bubble - or at least, outside of theirs. Thwarted.

I took her under my wing and put the previous notebook amongst my purchases, scanning the store for someone senior to place a complaint with - but my search was in vain.

My own personal young thing serving me was diligently avoiding any eye contact should I wish to complain to her, and by the time I was at liberty to tackle Gra#me, he had a queue to serve and I stayed silent, defeated into seemingly mute acceptance of this display.

However... However, Mr C, the local owner of Local Supermarket Number 1 (the original) will be receiving a letter, and because Mr C is neither Young nor seeking the admiration of teenage boys above loyal customers I am truly hoping that my Saturday afternoons shall not be ruined by any Gra#me's in the future.

BTW - to those who saw my desperate Twitter last night, inspiration answered my plea and the risotto was fantastic!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My formative musical years in Toto-lity

One of our Wednesday nights rituals here is watching Spicks and Specks.

V is a whizz at most of the trivia served up, having been immersed in musical culture from a very early age. I am okay at bits of it - mainly the trivial - but there are large gaps in my knowledge even though I may have lived through the eras that are represented.

But do I ever feel dumb about this? Not really (well, not unless it is THAT WEDNESDAY that hasn't come along for a few months now) because I have an inescapeable excuse.

I can blame my upbringing.

See, while others may have grooved out to their parents extensive album collections (like V did) there was a theme running through Mum and Dad's records that didn't exactly trill "seventies style". On the upside, any Charley Pride or Val Doonican songs ever featured on SnS are a shoo in for me.

Don't take too much pity on me - after all, there were occasional glimpses of life in the outside world - "The Best of Abba" did come into the family home (this shot is 1 side of the album - the side Mum chose to display - the other side was Dad's favourite - anyone remember why?)

We did get exposure to some exceptional tomes, don't get me wrong. When our next door neighbour married, he married well - a girl with a Hot Chocolate album in her collection. My uncle's marriage brought a fantastic aunt - and some compliations that mean bubble gum music is not a completely foreign concept.

Unfortunately there were not enough eligible local bachelors nor enough funky city chicks marrying them to mean that my grassroots understanding of hip culture was all encompassing (man, I have dyslexia this morning - that came out as emcomappsing first go round).

If I had to rely on the local media I was up the creek.

Countdown was accessible via the television station we could receive (in a very grainy grey, it must be admitted. I thought Big Bird was grey for years!) but only available if we could fool our parents into letting us turn on the TV slightly earlier than the news - that was not always as easy a task as it sounds.

The local radio station had a rather limited budget, and tended to buy 1 album a year - I remember the year that they invested in Toto (and see, I always thought that the album must have been called "Africa" - its not, its Toto IV).

I just checked the Wikipedia entry on the song and had to laugh to read this:

Without a doubt Toto’s most recognizable song, "Africa" was almost omitted from the Toto IV record prior to its release. Having spent a great amount of time producing the tune, the band became so tired of the song that they didn’t want it on the album.

Without further ado, here is the earworm that defined that year for me:

Another year George Michael got the guernsey. Anyone up for a rendition of "Last Christmas"? No, me either.

The good news is that the decades after I have managed to track down and bone up on my lack of education in these areas and don't appear to be too strange when matters wander onto pop culture during that era. I can fudge it pretty well, and even manage to answer some questions and appear somewhat knowledgeable. (A secret I have just exposed - I am fairly competitive when it comes to fluff)

However, if I occasionally look at you a little strangely when you ask me to hum the opening lines to "Can't Get it out of My Head" by ELO, its because there are bits of my youth I cannot recreate (but I can tell you what ELO stands for).

When was your musical awakening? And have you ever been hip?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Using the sunlight of others to guide me...

Yet another 3.30am start here - getting boring. The worst bit really about insomnia is not the lack of sleep, its the lack of energy come 9am - you know, when I should be DOING STUFF!!!

Still, I have put it to good use this morning. Yessirree - I have me a list already (shhhh for those who may say its really yesterday's list that didn't get done) and I have found my silver lining.

We don't have daylight savings - so really, that is 4.30 in those deluded Southern states - which I have moved into my "acceptable times to be awake" category of late.

In New Zealand, it is 6.30 - that is a really reasonable time, I could just pretend to be Kiwi (except I would feel all funny about losing my vowels like that).

Its 10.30 yesterday morning where V's mum is, so I can imagine a whole 'nother day at my disposal.

Its 7.30 last night where 'Salina's grandpa lives with a good night's sleep in front of him...

Thank goodness for the internet where I found those silver linings - because the howler from the North done blown away all the clouds and its far too dark a sky to find anything!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Insomnia came flying in on a broomstick this morning...

It is an absolute howler here - I don't know how that bird outside is twittering above the whir of the shutters as the wind, fresh from the Pacific, slices through the house and any crack it can investigate is sought.

I can also hear the washing machine. No, I haven't already been up and done a load (it is still dark outside no matter WHAT Eddie says) but the ghost beeping I heard before bed last night that I was willing to blame on imprinted memory from the beeping the three times previous on the same load was apparently the real thing.

V is lucky, industrial deafness has cured him of the ability to get completely annoyed by this new trend of the washing machine. Me, on the other hand - it rattles my psyche and although I put on a veneer of bravado and assure him (and myself) that it is a drainage issue with the tubs, there is a part of me thinking of the sagas this machine and I have shared and shuddering at the possibilities.

This is why my washing never gets completely done, you know. A front-loader is wonderful for some really good reasons - less water, clean clothes - but the downside is the time factor. Add to that a few times requiring me to press the button to stop the beeping (assuming I am here and therefore able to respond in a timely manner) and the "coupla hours" for a load can well cover half a day (or more) - times the number of loads I am having to do anyway due to the backlog, it seems EVERY DAY is washing day around here.

After a rather interesting end to the weekend involving making my daughter cry and me using a curse word for effect during my lecture (up there with my fine mothering moments - sorry Mum) both 'Salina and I have agreed that we are going to try switching our brains on as much as possible during the day and see if we can develop a new habit.

Of course, my brain switching itself on at an early hour is an old habit that does not always have beneficial side effects... I have confidence that today will be different, and I intend to go for an all or nothing approach to each hour and each task.

Obviously I am also quite delusional (probably the lack of sleep) but what are your tricks to having your brain switched ON and making the most of your day?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mad cats and pregnant women get up in the pre-dawn light

Doesn't have quite the same ring to it as the original that I have modified to suit current conditions.

Poor Eddie is crossing his legs and climbing the walls because I am the sort of horrible cat owner that follows the "while the sky is dark the cat is in" rule. He does have kitty litter and the birds need to waken before I let the domestic tiger out. I think he might be getting a little slow for the birds, but its not something I am going to test.

Unfortunately, its not the cat who woke me. I don't know what time it was I actually awakened, but my mind started immediately to gnaw away on worries a week away and worked its way back until I threw my (metaphorical) hands in the air and cried "enough".

I would like to blame baby, but although I feel it a fair thing to throw aches, twinges, farts and forgetfulness into baby's lap, it probably isn't justified to give it the full responsibility of this morning - given that I have struggled with insomnia for years.

Anyhow - the baby update is STILL lying sideways, more a scrabbler than a kicker and getting darned heavy whichever way I lie in bed.

Not much to add - one upside to insomnia is all the extra hours to dedicate to making a to-do list, so I am off to concoct one SO MUCH BETTER than yesterday's.

Cue photos from last week for the curious.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

List of 50 lessons learned over the weekend...

  1. If your organisational skills are in any way reliant on your washing machine being timely, be prepared for rude reminders that your washing machine has a mind of its own, and it is going to be as obstreperous as possible.

  2. Even if you chose to circumvent the time consuming nature of the washing machine by employing the dryer, you will not be guaranteed that it will either be timely OR completely dry its contents.

  3. To get through the list and retain as much whinging time as possible in the day you may be tempted to gloss over some more "houseworky" items. Do so at your own peril - for although the "there will always be housework" advice rings true, there will always be MORE housework for those who slacken.

  4. A plant is a great present. A citrus tree is a marvellous present. An overloaded sedan with a child in the back seat (who has a track record with defoliation) and a (prickly) citrus tree loses something in the fantastic present giving feeling process.

  5. Getting away at any point earlier than when you are ready is impossible. Getting away at any point earlier than an hour later than you thought was possible is also impossible. Getting to the other end of the journey earlier is also a feat worthy of Hercules no matter what the leaving time is, so do not dispair.

  6. You meet interesting people waiting for the toilets in petrol stations.

  7. If you decide to go off the highway to find some local fare for dinner and see a Fish'n'Chip Shop doing a roaring trade, do not thing "oh we can come back to that if we can't find anything else", because
    1. you may not pass by that way again,
    2. even though you may not get lost, you may get disconcerted by this strange town,
    3. some towns are downright creepy at night, and
    4. you may be disappointed in the final dinner options available and contemplate many what if's.

  8. Noodles are impossible to eat while driving - even if you got a fork.

  9. Apparently not all Mongolian Beefs taste like Mongolian Beef. Some Mongolian Beefs are a little bit sweet and satay-ey.

  10. Apparently when chilli is mentioned as a flavour on the noodle menu for your totally foreign sounding second dish, this is a serious promise.

  11. Some children have crap taste in pizza toppings.

  12. Some pizza franchises have crappier pizza topping options than others - and if you are not a connoisseur of pizza franchises you will invariably end up with flavours out of your experience range.

  13. 9 year old girls happy to be having crap pizza for dinner will not notice.

  14. Drivers frustrated with noodles and requiring food will - but will eat anyway (thinking about the what-ifs of Point 7).

  15. Giving a 9 year old child the task of calling relatives to advise of dinner plans and estimated destination times will be successful in the transmission, but by talking to another 9 year old to give details will not guarantee the adults at the destination will know of said dinner plans.

  16. The alphabet game has 3 very difficult letters - J, Q and Z - on a highway. I truly feel for anyone not living in Queensland on the second of those 3 letters.

  17. The decision to go through the guts of a city rather than facing the task of using a tollway that now has no options for payment ON said tollway is a good one generally late of an evening.

  18. Well, it is a good one if you do not decide to go through an area where many people converge on a Friday night to drink copiously and act like buffoons.

  19. Drivers who do tend to travel into said areas are rude, arrogant schmucks who do not understand the concept of "keeping intersections clear".

  20. This applies equally to professional drivers (buses, taxis) as to the unprofessional variety.

  21. There is at least 1 lovely policeman in Brisbane who deserved the round of applause received in our car when he cleared the intersection after we had waited for 5 light changes to get through and on our way.

  22. Harking back to point 16, said relatives will wait dinner for you until ungodly hours if it is in their culture to offer food on arrival.

  23. Noone is really that hungry at 11pm.

  24. Pregnant feet swell horribly after being in a car for most of 6 hours.

  25. 'Salina has excellent reflexes for kicking cousins when being kicked - even when asleep and top and tailing in bed.

  26. 72 year old ladies who have had 2 knee replacements will look much younger and happier with the success of said operation.

  27. Cultural offering of food is fantastic when one is hungry enough to appreciate the gesture.

  28. No matter how much you eat, some cultures like to insist on you eating more!

  29. Instincts on finding parking spots based on experience over 3 years out of date are occasionally pleasantly surprising in their abilities.

  30. Meeting up with women who, in some cases, you have not seen for 23 years at a venue you have never been to can be daunting.

  31. Never arrive on time for such a meeting - you will require a pot plant to hide behind while people watching and a task to perform while waiting.

  32. Mobile phones are handy to find said task.

  33. Some people change beyond recognition in 23 years.

  34. Luckily, some people don't.

  35. Ankles can resemble balloons after a day of Brisbane heat (especially after driving the night before).

  36. Never buy household staples at petrol stations!

  37. 'Salina can eat fish that have bones, heads and tails in tact.

  38. She prefers them to be filleted, though.

  39. Uncles can be very indulgent.

  40. Houses can be built on the sides of hills. This is especially freaky to us now, as there is only 1 HILL in the realm of paradise.

  41. Hills are beautiful.

  42. Even if you didn't love a house you once lived in, it is still sad to find a block of apartments where it stood.

  43. Children, no matter how much they love one another, need time out (more so if both children are onlys)

  44. A champion team can beat a team of champions (especially if a large section of the former are Queenslanders!).

  45. 23 year old people are an excellent addition to the dinner table - even if they do make you very cognisant of your age. This especially applies when you mention a year that you suddenly realise was prior to their birth!!

  46. The road home can seem quite long. Never more so than when you are behind the sort of driver that speeds for overtaking lanes and dawdles on the in-betweens.

  47. You never know who you will run into at a park 200km from where you live and 200km from where they live.

  48. This is far more likely to happen if the park has a great playground, of course.

  49. Sometimes trying a new road will save you time and let you see some wonderful sights.

  50. Cats do not appreciate being left for an extended period in a safe and healthy environment, and are not afraid to shirk from yelling their displeasure at you.
I feel like a far more enlightened person.

Did your weekend teach you anything?

Friday, October 02, 2009

October 2 to do list

Because it may not get written otherwise.
  • Write list
  • Stuff around
  • Sort washing, put first load of washing on
  • Breakfast
  • Make 'Salina's lunchbox
  • Do household budget
  • Find cat, violin and sadly overdue library books
  • Stuff cat into catbox and put it, 'Salina, her lunchbox and other items into car
  • Deposit cat at Garfield's Purrfect Cat Motel, get violin tuned, drop books into library, find mechanic to give me a screw (in the mounting around the front passenger side tyre), drop 'Salina at vacation care
  • Do other seventy-six million (okay, 3) loads of washing, peg them out in a timely manner
  • Colour hair
  • Water gardens
  • Do work budget and any outstanding worky tasks
  • Shower
  • Work out details for the weekend
  • Pack
  • Vacuum
  • Sweep
  • Clean kitchen
  • Contemplate cleaning bathroom
  • Collapse
  • Pack car
  • Collect 'Salina from Vacation Care
  • Hit the road
  • Drive for 4-7 hours

oh, and

  • Blog

What does yours look like?

Thursday, October 01, 2009


How the heck did that happen? Hang on, 2009, you are getting waaay ahead of yourself.

I vote for it still being August - anyone with me?

Thank you all for your comments about the moments made special. On Monday, there ended up being many of them.

'Salina decided she wanted to make a picnic for visiting cousins and so there were chicken and egg (separate) sandwiches, banana muffins, fruit and cordial packed up for feasting and adventures.

We met up with my brother and SIL and stole their three children for our entertainment (and gave them leave to have a few child-free hours - they looked quite lost at the concept)

We went to a new playground. New playgrounds are fantastic - no graffiti, the bits of tree are still soft fill and not hardened torture, all the pieces of equipment still work (and aren't vandalised) - and so exciting to explore.

(note to playground designers - you know those useless ladies and/or gents following your target audience around - a request for a bit more shade for them to loiter in please)

After dropping off one cousin to an appointment with her dad, we went to the Botanic Gardens ('Salina and I are still arguing the toss on it being "Botanic" or "Botanical" - signs were contradictory supporting both arguments) for the main drawcard we offer visitors - the little train that circles the gardens on random days during the holidays.

(As an aside to shake a stick at bureaucracy gone mad, apparently the State Government were making noises that the small voluntary group of train enthusiasts who lovingly restore old diesels and steam trains for this circuit of no more than 3km at a top speed of around 5 km/h and who have NEVER had an accident should adhere to the same standards as their soon-to-be-sold-off public network which would cost them about $1 million in upgrades - that is a heck of a lot of $1 train rides to flog to little children, isn't it?)

Unfortunately, we had not gambled on the day we chose being one of the random days they weren't running the trains during the holidays so we elected instead to use our legs and explore.

Note to the wise - if you are going to ramble through lush trees and look at ducks and lizards and splash in puddles and marvel at disappearing turtles, do it with a 3 year old in tow. Increases joy all around.

Of course, one of the problems with dragging children around in the tamed wilderness is the sudden of toilet needs (not to mention pregnant lady requirements) - but one of the attributes of tamed wilderness is that it is never too far to another building that might have toilets.

The best, best, BEST thing about the gardens, however, was the bit of lawn in front of the cafe when three children could run wild round and round and round for about 1.5 hours while I sat and watched!

Today, however, our special moments have consisted of "do I have to go to Vacation Care" and grumbles, as someone has seen fit to request me to type all day in their meeting.

Still, tomorrow is another day - and it is one where we aim to venture down to the Big Smoke for a very speedy catchup with an unofficial school reunion, 'Salina's dad's family, old friends and fit in the footy grand final before returning to the real world on Monday.