Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wheels and worries

Yesterday we did something we'd been planning on for some time now, we went to the local bicycle shop and bought bikes for the whole family. Both Dave and Caitlin had small bikes when they were younger but neither of them ever rode much and they never really got the hang of doing without the training wheels and Tom has only ever had trikes and his scooter. Adam and I had been thinking that going for bike rides as a family would be a great way to get all of us active and this seemed like a good time to start. We were able to bring the kids' bikes home yesterday but mine had to be ordered in so we'll pick up it and Adam's sometime after New Year.

While we were in the shop David was getting very angry with us because he REALLY didn't want to have to learn to ride a bike - he was quite happy with his scooter thankyouverymuch - and when we got home, and Adam persuaded him to have a go, he spiraled straight into a full blown anxiety attack, tears and all. He didn't feel safe and there was no way he was ever going to ride. So we went through the exercises we'd learned at the anxiety clinic and wrote down a plan for getting him on the bike - a baby steps or "stepladder" approach with rewards for each achievement starting with practicing on Tom's slightly smaller, training wheel equipped bike and with the ultimate goal of having him ride his own bike unassisted to be rewarded with a new Nintendo DS game.

Meanwhile Caitlin took herself outside and in mere minutes was peddling around the cul-de-sac looking very pleased with herself indeed. David was feeling much calmer having had his fears taken seriously, and with the prospect of rewards for making progress with his riding coupled with the affront of having his younger sister upstaging him, out he went for another go. He managed a couple of brief wobbly pedals on his own bike and then decided that the cul-de-sac was too small to ride in.

This morning we loaded up the car and headed off to Bicentennial Park with my mum. Caitlin was off round the bike path like a shot, David was more hesitant but with Grandma accompanying him on her own bike he was able to make it around the circuit. And then he went again...and again...and again!

It's so nice to see the work we did at the clinic pay off in such a satisfying way, in the past David's fears would have resulted in a LOT more conflict and distress before arriving at the same result, this way was orders of magnitude better. It seems simply going through the process of planning the stepladder was enough, in the end we didn't do any of the early steps, he chose himself to go straight for the main goal. If only all his issues were so easy to resolve.

He was so pleased with himself and announced that he likes bike riding even better than his scooter. And now I owe him a DS game.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Roast pumpkin and couscous salad - party sized

I served this at our Christmas party and then made it again today to take to a friend's Boxing Day party, it seemed to be well received so I thought I'd share it here.

I took this photo using what was left over after the party, there was lots more to begin with!

1kg butternut pumpkin
garlic powder
mild paprika
nutmeg
olive oil
3 cups couscous
3 cups chicken stock (I make mine from Massel cubes and make it less than full strength - 1 cube for the 3 cups instead of 1 cube for 2 cups)
2 red onions diced
1 red capsicum diced
150g snow peas sliced

1. Cut the pumpkin into bite sized pieces and spread on a tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with garlic, paprika and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake at 220°C until tender. Allow to cool.

2. Add boiling stock to couscous in a large bowl and stand for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile briefly stir fry onions, capsicum and snow peas in a little olive oil, they should still be slightly crunchy.

4. Fluff couscous with a fork then toss with the vegetables. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Fruit mince pies and a glass of milk sit on the coffee table. Carrots, apples and a big bowl of water await the reindeer on the front deck. The yard is alight with strands of mostly working fairy lights. The lounge room is filled with the smells of Christmas, cranberry and vanilla candles, gingerbread and mangoes. Presents nestle under the tree. The kids have been threatened with dire consequences if they wake each other or us before sunrise.

Santa will be along shortly.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night :D

Sunday, December 23, 2007

We've been busy

Saturday's project was the gingerbread house, I baked the gingerbread on Friday night, then assembled it and let the kids loose on it in the morning. They were very thorough...


My mum had come over to spend some time with us and she got quite caught up in the creative process too, I think those rows of smarties along the edge of the roof are down to her :)

After doing some cooking for the next day's picnic we headed into the city to meet up with Jenni (ChingTing) and Kat (Ninox), SOz members who were up from Canberra. We went to the IMAX theater and saw Sea Monsters 3D, we'd never done IMAX before and the kids loved it, Tom in particular, he's been trying to persuade us to go back and see the dinosaur one since the moment we came out of the theatre. We then had dinner in Chinatown at the Golden Century Seafood Restaurant, food was very nice if a little overpriced, and by the end of the meal the kids were well and truly past it but on the whole it was a good night.

Today was a picnic brunch at Balmoral - Christmas get together for my side of the family - which went really well, the weather was lovely, the kids had a great time, we ate yummy food and we came home with a Wollemi Pine (present from my brother's family).

Our favourite spot, the tree-cave.

Caitlin collecting water for construction purposes and Tom in seventh heaven - he was in the water for most of the day, he had to be coerced into coming out long enough to eat at about 1pm and he hadn't even had any breakfast.


When we haven't been doing family or Christmassy stuff we've been hitting the beading and leather working - who needs sleep? Crafting is a much more worthwhile use of time :P

Earrings for the therapists at the anxiety clinic

Necklace and earring set

Adam made two of these bags for our youngest nieces for Christmas, they were a big hit.


This one is a drinking horn holder which goes on your belt, there's another one still in production.



Tomorrow I'm making yet more fruit mince pies, which will bring my total for this year to 144. Buggered if I know where they're going, I'm certainly not eating them! (Well, not many of them any way) David very gratifyingly tells everyone that mum's pies are the best...hmmmm, maybe I should be keeping an eye on him....

Now for that sleep!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Weigh-in week 18

Much to my astonishment I stayed the same this week, I was sure the indulgences of Saturday night would show up on the scales but all the frantic cleaning, cooking and general running around getting ready for the party must have compensated nicely for the beer, mango daiquiris and margaritas ;-)

Tonight was our last session at the anxiety clinic with Dave, I've been very pleased with what we've learned and achieved in the last 10 weeks, there's still a long way to go but I do feel better equipped to deal with things now and more importantly Dave seems to have a good understanding of the tools he can use to work through stuff himself and to accept that there's some point in continuing to do the exercises we've been doing. We've agreed to work on his writing over the holidays beginning with a daily blog post so I'll probably be blogging daily too - won't that be fun for everyone!

Tomorrow is party day at the kids' school and I'm immensely grateful that the teachers seem to have decided that the kindy kids will be just fine joining in on the sausage sizzle with the rest of the school and I therefore don't have to spend my day producing food or setting up and decorating for their party the way I did for Dave and Cait when they were in kindy. I think I'll spend some time wrapping presents instead. Or possibly sleeping, I'm still in deficit from the weekend :P

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Left-overs? What left-overs?!

I'd been telling people all week that I was expecting around 50 people to come to our Christmas party last night and that half of them would be kids. I'm pretty sure that those figures were right back at the beginning of the week. But then I kept telling other people "Hey, we're having a party! You should come along!" And they all did. I'd catered based on my original numbers so it's a bloody good thing that I and all my fellow Browncoats are chronic over- caterers because according to my calculations this morning we in fact had 75 people come to the party (46 adults and 29 kids). I'm pretty sure no-one went hungry or thirsty but it may have been a bit of a close call.

Anyway, the food was good, the drink flowed freely (it'll do that when you tip your almost full 500mL stein over on the table - and it was my first drink of the night! - at least there was nothing else on the table at that stage), and the company was brilliant :) The kids were remarkably well behaved, they all seemed to enjoy Santa coming to visit - Adam is getting quite good in the role I must say - and they pretty much looked after themselves for most of the evening. Even the weather behaved for us, one lovely sunny day sandwiched in between grey and rainy days - god knows what I'd have done with 75 people if we hadn't been able to use the outdoor space!

And yes, I'm totally planning on doing it all again next year :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fruit mince pies mmmmm....


Fruit Mince Pies
(makes up to 36 depending on how thin you roll the pastry)
3 cups plain flour
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
225g butter, diced
3 - 4 tablespoons iced water
icing sugar for dusting

2 x 410g jar of Robertson's traditional fruit mince (you need about 1 3/4 jars)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Brush 3 12-cup shallow patty tins lightly with melted butter.

2. Place flour, sugar and butter in a food processor. Process until the mixture is fine and crumbly. Add almost all the water and process until the mixture comes together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, press together until smooth. Roll out 1/2 the pastry (about 1/4 at a time is managable, I place baking paper over the top so it doesn't stick to the rolling pin) and cut with a round biscuit cutter. Fit the circles into prepared tins.

3. Fill pastry cases with fruit mince - don't overfill.

4. Roll out remaining pastry, cut with the same cutter and place circles on tops of pies, press edges to seal, prick with a fork to let steam escape. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Leave in tins for 5 minutes and then carefully lift out with a knife and allow to cool on wire racks. Dust tops lightly with icing sugar.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tinsel take-over & weigh-in week 17

I'm down 0.2kg this week for a total of 8.1kg. If I maintain over Christmas I'll be satisfied but I'm still going to try and lose at least 1kg over the next 2 weeks.

I found the tinsel and lights for the tree but the Advent calendar is still AWOL. The kids are quite pleased with their decorating endeavours and I am refraining from re-doing the job - not least because I simply can't be bothered :P OMG the TINSEL!!!!


Alright, I confess, I may tweak a couple of things....

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Singing at the dinner table

Adam and I were serenaded tonight by the kids with a spontaneous chorus of the Futurama version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".

He knows when you are sleeping.
He knows when you're on the can.
He'll hunt you down and blast your ass from here to Pakistan.
Ohh.
You better not breathe, you better not move.
You're better off dead, I'm telling you dude,
Santa Claus is gunning you down.

I'm so proud :D

(Adam suggested they sing it at next year's school talent quest.)

Sydney WW catch-up

I spent the afternoon in the good company of fellow members of the Weight Watchers message boards. We braved hot and humid weather to gather at Bungalow 8 on Kings St Wharf for food and fun. Many thanks to Kerry for organising the event.

Here we all are, except for me - someone has to be behind the camera ;-)

Jan, Janice, Lou, Anne, Kerry, Nicole, Carmen and Michelle.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Christmas earrings


Not bad for my first ever play around with Fimo. Caitlin has already appropriated the third pair of candy cane ones.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The stuff of Christmas

The Advent calendar - my made-by-me, chocolate-free, re-usable felt wall hanging advent calendar, is no-where to be found. Seriously, I have no idea what I did with it.

The tree - first haul it up from down in the garage, next find the box of decorations...realise the tinsel and lights are not in the box which you were SURE had everything in it...tell the kids they can't decorate the tree till you find the lights...2 days later give up and let them decorate the tree anyway...if the lights and tinsel turn up we'll worry about it then.

Christmas cards - gave up on these a few years back because we were seeing everyone we'd be sending cards to for some form of Christmas celebration anyway and the perceived redundancy was a great excuse to avoid writing them. This year I'm noticing that we're getting cards from people we won't be meeting up with. Time to put this one back on the list. Bother.

The Christmas party - every year I promise myself that I'll get the invites done early and every year I find myself inviting people in a completely random fashion that invariably leaves several people copping a very short notice "OMG! So sorry! Of course we're having a party this year and of course you're invited!" (Tom and Barb, I put the invite in your letter box this afternoon!). The next week will be dominated by me stressing out over getting everything ready, I sat down with my diary this afternoon and tried to work out what I need to do and when I can do it, I suspect I'm at least one day short :P

The outdoor lights - these go up ready to be turned on on the 1st of December. Unless that clashes with daughter's dance concert, hubby's travels and torrential rain whenever it seems like you have a few spare hours. As long as they're up by the 15th I'll be happy, we'll find the time somehow (see Christmas party preparations above).

The scent of Christmas - mangoes, I bought my first case of mangoes today, that smell along with the vanilla and cranberry candles makes the house smell like Christmas to me. Mmmm mangoes..... :)

Christmas stories - The Night Before Christmas takes pride of place on the bedtime story list, I'm working on putting together a collection of other books too (need to scour the bookshelves, I KNOW we have plenty I just can't instantly lay hands on them) and may well steal Chris's idea. For myself, I re-read Connie Willis's Miracle and Other Christmas Stories and intend, yet again, to track down all the movies and books on her Twelve terrific things to read and Twelve to watch lists, maybe if I stared to do this in January I'd have a better chance of having them on hand come December. Hmm, that may well be a plan there....

The gingerbread house - why, oh why did I allow this to become a tradition? The kids don't even like gingerbread very much, but I DO! So very dangerous to have around, it smells so good but if you eat too much you feel so sick. But the decorating? An unadulterated pleasure :D It's like the cake decorating, very satisfying to create something that looks so good and the kids can pretty much do it themselves now. I've scheduled this for the 22nd, I'll cook the gingerbread the day before.

Fruit mince pies - I make LOTS of these in two shifts, the first lot is for the Christmas party, the next batch goes as gifts for the kids teachers and for Christmas day supplies. I'm a fruit mince pie snob, shop bought just doesn't do the trick (not that I make my own fruit mince or anything, I just like my pastry best).

The Christmas Day negotiations - who we're seeing, where, when, are we exchanging presents? This part I don't enjoy, why does it have to be so damned COMPLICATED?!!! Anyhoo, it all seems to have sorted itself out ok for this year, we're seeing most of my side of the family at a picnic on the 23rd and then hosting Christmas lunch at our place for any of Adam's family who care to show up. Then we'll go to my mum's place in the evening to see my Grandma and aunt and uncle. And I'm giving presents to people whether they like it or not!

So, there you have it, the stuff of Christmas. Well, some of it anyway.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Weigh-in week 16

I lost 0.1kg over the last two weeks, which I am insanely happy about. Last week I sort of stepped on the scales and then bounced off again before I could really read what they said, but not before glimpsing the wrong digit in the tens spot - YIKES! - which would have been a gain of nearly 3 kg. So, I must have lost that again in the last week and um, yeah, pleased I am :D Total is now 7.9kg gone, I want that 10kg loss back before Christmas.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Definitely easier this year.

Caitlin received her five year trophy for dance tonight (which she's been hanging out for for three years) and it's sitting in pride of place on top of the entertainment unit, the equivalent in this house of sending it straight to the pool room. She danced well, I can see such a change from last year, much more precise and focused, and she coped very professionally when she slipped and fell in the evening performance doing ballet - just hopped up and kept going barely missing a beat. I seem to be having a "be proud of Caitlin" week, can't be helped, she deserves it :D Tap and Jazz both went off without a hitch at both the matinee and evening performances and ballet was without incident at the matinee too. I was in the audience for the evening one and helping backstage as usual for the matinee.

Five years of dance and five years of helping out backstage and this year, for the first time, I am NOT a quivering wreck at the end of the day. There are new mums coming in to help out with the younger kids and seeing as they are the ones that need the most help and supervision I found I was able to sit back a bit and enjoy the increasing independence of the older kids. It also helped immensely that this year we had a hairdresser backstage to help with all the changes of hairstyle, we mums did the easy ones and palmed the harder ones off on her ;-)

Here's my girl in her three different costumes - NB three completely different hairstyles as well, it's always good to have a challenge!
Tap


Jazz


Ballet

Friday, November 30, 2007

Dear god the STRESS!!

The continuing saga of the talent quest - Caitlin, not content to rest on her laurels after her singing, has decided to enter with a friend in the dancing section as well. Now, this would be all fine and dandy had they made this decision a couple of weeks ago instead 4 days before they have to officially enter. We need the song chosen and the choreography done by Monday. The girls have just spent an hour agonising over song choice and are at present toying with the possibility of using Greased Lightning. Looks like Caitlin's friend will be coming over on Sunday too 'cause there's no way it'll all come together before her mum arrives to pick her up in about 10 minutes. I'm not so secretly hoping they decide it's in the too hard basket and give it a miss this year.

I'm off to see The Music of John Williams at the Opera House tonight. I should probably find something other than denim shorts and a tank top to wear.

Also, this marks the end of NaBloPoMo - I did it! Was it fun for you too?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good day

It's been a bit of a lazy day today, Adam "worked" from home so I was still in my pj's when he took the kids to school. We did some planning together for getting things organised for the weeks ahead and bummed around the house doing nothing much.

After lunch we headed off to the school to watch Caitlin do her bit in the talent quest and you know, just quietly, she was fucking awesome. I was so very proud of her, she sang unaccompanied, her voice was strong and clear and I reckon she hit pretty much every note. On top of which, she, and all the other kids, were having to deal with a dodgy mic that kept dropping out every so often - they all managed incredibly well with that, just kept going without missing a beat.

The kids all had their hair cut this afternoon under varying degrees of duress. Caitlin wants hers to be long enough to sit on so she's adamant that only the bare minimum be trimmed off, David simply hates getting it done and winces every time the scissor come near. Tom had a new challenge for me this time, he decided he was immovably attached to a particular curl in the middle of his forehead. So I let him keep it.


Kudos to my wonderful hairdresser (who comes to my house to cut the kids' hair) on managing to make it look only slightly ridiculous!

There is lasagne cooking in the oven, the rainbow lorrikeets are on the back deck begging for food and all is well with the world. Good day :)

File pending

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Still having fun with the beads

Here's what I'm going to give Caitlin as a congratulatory gift after her dance concerts on Saturday.



These next two don't have homes to go to yet. Caitlin wants to keep the blue one even though it's way too long for her.



Click the pics to embiggen, still need to figure out the camera (RTFM perhaps? :P), the colours don't come through quite right in the scans.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sleepy

Hello. It's Tuesday. I usually weigh in on Tuesdays. But not today. I decided I didn't need to know :P

I cooked beef stroganoff for dinner. I cheated and used a packet recipe base. It was good.

I am tired.

Which would account for the short sentences.

*snores*

Monday, November 26, 2007

Random stuff

Tonight I hand fed the possum a slice of watermelon. A possum eating watermelon with great enthusiasm is a) noisy and b) so very cute.

I spent $400 on groceries today, I'd been buying only what we needed to get through the next day or so for the last 3 weeks and we were running out of just about everything. Now I shouldn't need to shop for non-perishables for another 3 weeks!

BBQ dinner on the front deck is a very nice way to spend the evening. Must do more often.

Caitlin is entering the school talent quest in the singing division, she plans on doing a rendition of Under Your Spell from the Buffy musical. This afternoon I found out the deputy principal is a Buffy fan, so at least one audience member will be appreciative :)

The kids have become very enamoured of Trogdor. I confess to a certain fondness for this particular Strong Bad email myself :)


Thatch-roofed cottage being burninated. By Caitlin.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Designed by David

Back in October I ended my birthday post with the promise of photos. So it's next month rather than tomorrow...close enough :P Here's what I wanted to share, my present from David, designed and made by him with some input from Tom (Tom chose the big bead in the centre) to go with a new top I'd just bought.


I did need to make it a little longer as the first version ended up with an extension chain and the wire ends were scratching the back of my neck so tonight, with David's approval, I re-strung it on a longer wire adding a few extra of the rectangular blue beads and now it's just right.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pottery and politics

Today we voted then drove for 40 minutes to the leather supplies place where we spent more money than planned because there's no point going that far if you're not going to make it worth your while.

Then it was back home grabbing lunch on the way, we picked up some stuff and headed up to Gosford to the Huscarls meet. Today was a craft day rather than training, we had 12kg of clay to play with. People were making oil burning lamps, bowls, jugs and cups. Adam and I managed a very nice ewer (him) and 5 cups (2 him, 3 me), so if they all survive the firing process we have a full set for the family. Caitlin went crazy and made 4 pieces herself, the boys didn't get involved but I reckon they'd have fun with it if I get some clay for us to play with at home.

We got so caught up in watching the election coverage that we forgot to put the kids to bed! It was nearly 10:00pm before they were tucked in - oops! I'm sitting here watching on the ABC as Howard arrives to give his concession speech...here goes...and it's done. Hallelujah.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Samantha on the defensive

Stand-off on the front deck. Jack and Sam are NOT friends, in fact, they fight like, well, cats. Complete with yowling and fur flying. It's great at 3am under our bed....

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day 22 and I'm getting desperate.

Therefore, in the spirit of NoBloShoeMo, only all at once instead of one pair each day, I give you my shoe collection.


The notable thing about this picture is that it contains every pair of shoes I own, in pairs, tidy and accessible. That would be because of the brand new shoe rack on which they are arrayed.

Useless facts about my shoes: there is one pair which has never been worn; there is one pair that has been worn only once; there is one pair which I have had since 1992; 9 out of the 19 pairs are Colorado brand; and finally, I HATE pink but wear those thongs when going swimming anyway because I can't be bothered getting round to buying another pair.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blergh

I've been dragging myself around today saying "I don't feel so good" and feeling like a bit of a fraud as I was pretty sure it was just lack of sleep. I got through reading groups and I was there to man the uniform shop for kindy orientation. I ended up having a lie down this afternoon before heroically heading out to McDonalds in search of dinner. Dinner was duly eaten and about 20 minutes later it became clear that it's not just sleep deprivation I'm suffering from, but I feel a bit better now if rather shaky and empty :P

Early bedtime for me tonight.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Weigh-in week 14

I copped a gain of 0.7kg this week, total loss back to 7.8kg. Things should be better in the next couple of weeks with Adam not traveling so I should be back to the 10kg mark pretty quickly. There's no way I'm reaching my 15kg mini-goal by Christmas though, ah well, it's not a race and I'll get there eventually.

Another necklace

I'm having fun with these and I'm running out of people to make them for. Anyone want a necklace?

This one suffered a slight hitch in the making process, I had all the beads laid out on the beading tray ready to thread onto the wire when Jack hopped up onto the bench and decided he needed to see what I was doing. He walked straight across the tray, which slipped, so he jumped. Beads everywhere. Mostly on the tray still fortunately. Idiot cat.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I is ded of cute

The time is 10:00pm. We've already done 3 rounds of goodnight hugs and kisses. Tom had a nap this afternoon so he's really not that tired tonight.

A small voice calls from down the hall "Muuuum..."

"What?"

"I'm very huggable..."

He's right, he IS very huggable.

We have Wii

When Adam was away at the conference in Amsterdam recently his name was drawn from a hat to win a Wii. The criteria for getting your name in the hat in the first place was to be one of those still in attendance right at the bitter end of proceedings, so I guess it was by way of compensation, or something. Anyway, today he brought it home with him (he had it posted to the office). There is, of course, much excitement. The kids have all played bowling on Wii Sports, David scored 224 pins and is mightily pleased with himself, and now Tom and Caitlin are playing tennis - or trying to anyway. The first thing Tom did when playing tennis was to throw the remote across the room - eek!

David is currently posting a boast about his bowling score on his brand new blog. Which you aren't allowed to read without an invite because he's only 10 and I'm not letting the net loose on him :P I think I may have found a way to get him writing regularly! I've suggested a blog a couple of times in the past but he always turned his nose up at the idea, however, this afternoon Caitlin was wanting me to post more of her Doctor Moo drawings and I suggested that she should have her own blog to post them on instead. So we signed her up (nope, you can't read hers either!) and Dave suddenly developed an interest in having one for himself. Should've thought of that before.

Now to drag the kids away from the Wii and get them headed for bed - wish me luck, I'm gonna need it!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Party hard, pay the next day

Oh my poor aching feet and knees! HA! You thought this was going to be about a hangover didn't you? Well, sorry to disappoint :P Although there was cider and sparkling shiraz involved last night the vast majority of liquid passing my lips was water. I think I drank something close to 3L in 4.5 hours. I needed it I tell you! Let me explain....

The P&C social: take one school hall, 9 big folding tables, 64 blue plastic chairs, approximately 18m of paper table cloth (the finding of which was an epic in itself requiring multiple phone calls and the dispatching of a child on a bike to fetch the P&C storeroom keys - see, it wasn't to be found in the canteen at all, not even on the third thorough search), 12 bunches of helium balloons, someone's brother who happens to own DJ kit and is kind enough to come and play music for us for free, parents from the school who are ballroom dancers of the trophy winning and teaching others kind and, most importantly, a whole bunch of parents kid-free for the night. Add BYO foodage and alcohol. Mix judiciously and PARTY!!!!!!!

Heheh.

We had fun. Well, I know I had fun, I presume all the other people dancing and drinking and eating and talking and singing had fun too, at any rate they looked like they were having fun :)

Out of the 4.5 hours we spent at the social I think I spent approximately 3.5 hours dancing and I'm not talking standing on the spot tapping the feet, oh no, I'm talking really getting into it and not caring what anyone else thought dancing. I presume I spent the larger part of the night with a bright red face and I know I was sweating so much I looked like I'd been in the rain, which - icky much, but hey, I was having FUN and that doesn't happen nearly often enough.

One teeny little regret, why, oh why did I decide wearing high heels would be a good idea? And why, oh why did I not remove said heels EARLY in the night instead of waiting till the last half-hour? When I got up this morning I could barely walk, getting up the stairs was a challenge and I have sore muscles from neck to toe. Painful, but worth it all the same.

Today we went to my grandmother's place for her birthday lunch, she turns 97 on Tuesday. The kids were behaved beautifully and I think she really enjoyed seeing everyone. I've been hesitant in the past to try and see her in her little unit with all the kids in tow, but with 2 Nintendo DS units, some books to read and the beading supplies as distractions all was well.

This evening we had the pleasure of the company of Carol and Liz and their 3 girls who used to be our neighbours when we lived in Marsfield. We hadn't seen them for 2 years so there was lots of catching up to do. Good food, good friends, good time :) Wish we could have chatted for longer but being a school night and having kids to get to bed they left soon after 8:30pm. Won't be leaving it for 2 years next time!

Sometimes life is good.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

In which my car gets a good workout

Trips today up the super steep hill at the bottom of which we live:
1. Caitlin to dance dress rehearsal at 8:30am
2. Me to dress rehearsal to change her hair do at 9:30am
3. Back to pick up from dress rehearsal at 11:00am
4. Caitlin to dress rehearsal again at 2:30pm
5. Me to shops at 3:00pm
6. Final pick up from dress rehearsal at 3:30pm
7. Take David's friend home at 4:00pm
8. Up to the school to help set up for the P&C social tonight at 5:00pm
And last but not least
9. Back to the school for said social at 7:15pm

I'm off to eat dinner, shower and dress and I have 50 minutes to do so!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Blood, B12 and beading

Today at school Tom got bitten on the thigh by one of his classmates, she drew blood and all. His teacher assured me that it was entirely unprovoked and I do know this child has been quite difficult all year, but biting!? Haven't had that before. It happened just before the end of day bell and phone calls to the parents were being made as we left the sickbay - an ice pack and sympathy was all that was needed. I was asked whether Tom was up to date on his tetanus shots (which he is) and I had to restrain myself from saying I thought I ought to be more worried about rabies.

I finally went and got my 6 weeks overdue B12 shot today and this time I wrote in my diary when the next one is due so I don't do yet another cycle of "Gee I'm feeling run down and grumpy, wonder when my B12 is due....oh. Last month. That would explain it." Hopefully this will give me the energy I need to get through the manic November/December roller coaster ahead. Yay for functioning red blood cells!

I've made some more necklaces, I'm quite pleased with them too. I could not for the life of me make the camera take decent pics so you get scans instead. I think I need to learn how to use the camera.



David and Tom have been creating too, Dave's made a necklace for his cousin and Tom's made earrings for his teacher, I do love craft with a purpose :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Beware, content free post ahead

Ok, I'm not claiming that makes this one different in any way. I just couldn't think of a title :P

Hey, it's the 15th today! That means I'm half-way through NaBloPoMo. Have I bored you all to death yet? (Fishing for compliments? Never! Don't know what you mean....)

I took the kids shopping for shoes tonight. After Caitlin's ballet lesson. Which finishes at 6:45pm. And then we had dinner out. And got home at 9:30. I'm typing while they get changed for bed. Tomorrow is going to be interesting.

Kisses, cuddles and tucking in time, here I come!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's too EARLY!!!!

My kids have taken to wandering around the house singing Christmas carols and when I got home last night Tom and Caitlin had dug out the animated music playing stuffed reindeer and Santa. I made them put them back in the cupboard till December because I'm mean like that. Besides, I have an unreasonable desire to hang on to my sanity for just a little bit longer and a dozen repetitions of "We wish you a merry Christmas" while I'm trying to make lunches and get the kids to eat breakfast is guaranteed to drive me barmy!

Other signs that Christmas is approaching:
Caitlin has started her letter to Santa. In fact I think the first draft is done and she's ready to do the good copy.
David read us Twas The Night Before Christmas tonight.
And my front hall has bags of fairy lights strewn about the place waiting to be put out in the garden.

Of course in three weeks time I'll be writing the post titled "Help, I'm not ready!", so perhaps it's not too early and I should seize the opportunity to get myself really organised. Wonder if I can get all my pressie shopping done by the end of the month....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Weigh-in week 13

I managed a loss of 0.9kg this week which brings me back to 8.5kg lost. I'm going to stick with Core for a couple more weeks at least, I'm feeling much more relaxed about my eating so it seems to be working quite well for now.

I was at the school for half the day today. I'm getting a bit sick of that place :P I'm there most of tomorrow too but Thursday I get all to myself and I'm planning on doing some Christmas shopping so I've been working on my gift list, it's hard! I need inspiration. Anyone got a brilliant idea or two for an autistic 9 year old boy? My nephew has his birthday in December as well so I need double pressie ideas. The only things I know for certain he likes are Bananas in Pyjamas and Adam's little red convertible, when he comes to our place he collects the Bananas dvd from the bookshelf and, when thwarted by his mum in his attempts to watch TV, heads downstairs to the garage and sits in the car. Maybe he'd like a car racing type game. Hot Wheels track or something.

Monday, November 12, 2007

DIY Munchkin cards

This afternoon the kids decided to make their own Munchkin cards. This is one of Tom's creations - a Level 20 Tooth Fairy, if you defeat it you get 4 treasures and go up 3 levels, but should you lose the fight the bad stuff that happens is "pulls out your teeth, lose a level".



If you're trying to remember why this seems vaguely familiar it'll be because you've read Hogfather.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest.

Adam got back from Amsterdam this morning so the day started early with the distribution of loot among the kids. The boys got mini remote control helicopters, no I don't know what that has to do with Holland either, and Caitlin scored a very pretty Swarovski crystal pendant. I got tea from the British Museum and there was also a haul of books on various things medieval - anglo saxon crafts, celtic and norse designs, and saxon and viking artefacts - and a set of dvds titled Masterpieces of the British Museum.

Breakfast followed, eventually. Tom had been promised maccas brekky so I did the drive through thing and brought back hotcakes and muffins. I do like the sausage and egg muffins but the hotcakes leave a lot to be desired, Adam makes much better ones, so I must remember not to make rash promises to Tom in future.

Dave and Dad headed off to join in the tail end of a Huscarls weekend camp while I took the other two shopping. Caitlin needed sleepers as I was not keen on trying to re-fit the piercing studs that I'd had some no small difficulty removing yesterday morning (she'd been tracking the 6 week count-down on the calendar and couldn't wait to change her earrings) and Tom had $50 birthday money to spend. We came home with sleepers and frangipani studs, a bionicle and a remote control dragon. Oh, and grocery shopping too, though that is not important of course ;-)

Lunch was downed in a bit of a hurry and then it was off to the school where I was co-ordinating a grounds working bee. As our very wonderful General Assistant (who is also a parent with kids at the school) was there to do the actual organising of people, all I had to do was unlock a few padlocks and delegate people to do jobs on the list provided. I swept and shoveled sodden leaves and mulch for about an hour and a half after which my shoulders and my still sore fingers (didn't tell you about hurting my hand did I? I fell and wrenched back the fingers on my left hand on Thursday, week before last, and well...it hurt...lots) were protesting loudly so I switched to wandering around chatting and looking busy instead. We were there from 2:00 to 5:40pm so there was quite a lot of looking busy going on. Anyhoo, the school has tidy playgrounds, lots of new plants planted and drains that will actually drain now, so it's all good.

I really didn't want to cook dinner tonight. I was thiiiisss close to begging Adam to conjure food from somewhere but from somewhere I found the reserves to grill the hamburger patties I'd bought this morning, cut up some tomatoes and lettuce and open a tin each of pineapple rings and beetroot. Um, yeah, it was such a production...epic I tell you! And we had hamburgers for dinner - YUM!

After dinner I made the executive decision that as Adam had missed so many bedtimes in the last 2 weeks it was clearly his turn to get the kids ready for bed while I watched The 4400 on dvd (yes, Brendan, you were right, I'm hooked). The last child was tucked in at about 9:35pm...only one hour past his bedtime...ah well, delegation doesn't always work quite as it ought!

And now I'm going to bed...

No, wait...bugger. I don't have the kids' uniforms ready for tomorrow yet.

Right, uniforms first, then bed.

G'night!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kangaroo paw


I love sitting on my front deck looking at the garden and for the last few weeks I've been meaning to grab my camera the minute the sun came out and get a shot of the kangaroo paws. And here they are. My gardener is very proud of these, apparently they don't do well in Sydney. But then my garden is anathema to most things that are supposed to do well here, so I guess it all balances out in the end ;-)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Fans4writers

Fellow Browncoat JenskiJen is on holidays in the US...sort of. While she was in LA, the Writers Guild of America went on strike. And Jen, being Jen, volunteered to help out the fandom support campaign. The full story is on her LJ but to save you the trouble of an extra click you can read it all here ;-)

Writers on Strike - Fans4Writers Campaign
You would think that when I travel all the way from Australia to the US to go on a holiday, I'd just relax and have fun, right? Um... well, see... while I was in LA, the Writers Guild of America went on strike. And I kinda volunteered to help out the fandom support campaign. And boy, has it steamrolled!

If you don't know about the strike, watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ55Ir2jCxk

In response to the strike, we have formed Fans4Writers.

Fans4Writers is a movement born from fans of Joss Whedon, at WHEDONesque.com. As supporters of the people behind the scenes, who develop and write the stories that have meant so much to so many, we wanted to do something tangible to show them that we support the Writers Guild of America strike.

Our first foray out to the picket lines was to deliver pizza to the writers at Universal Studios, to feed the bodies that have fed our minds. You can read about it at http://whedonesque.com/ws/

It quickly became clear and necessary for the effort to encompass more than a single fandom. As such, Fans4Writers is not just for Whedon fans. It is not just for "genre" fans or television fans. This effort belongs to fans of ALL striking writers.

So, what are we doing?

The fans4writers.com site is currently being fine tuned, and will have all the details of our campaign, as well as resources to educate and spread the word.

What kind of things will the campaign include?

DIRECT SUPPORT

Through our "Food for Thought" program, we will organize and facilitate the delivery of provisions to writers on the picket lines. In addition, fans will gather to join their favorite writers on the picket lines.

MORAL SUPPORT

Through a planned ad in Variety or other major outlet, we will tell the industry -- and the public -- in no uncertain terms that we support the writers' right to a fair deal.

LONG-TERM SUPPORT

Should the strike be of any significant duration, we will contribute to the Guild's strike funds to assist affected writers.

FOUNDATION SUPPORT

At the conclusion of the strike, any remaining funds will be donated to the Writers Guild Foundation to support its charitable and educational activities.

While the studios might not be prepared to value the writers highly enough to offer them a fair deal, the fans will commit themselves, their time, their energy, and their money to show just how highly WE value them. For as long as the strike lasts.

Our message is simple - "Don't write until it's right."

WHAT CAN I DO TO BE INVOLVED?

Check out fans4writers.com (currently under construction). In addition to the details of the "Food for Thought" and other campaigns, we will inclulde many ways that you can help, from boycotts to postcard campaigns, and much more. We have a Paypal link set up should you wish to donate.

Spread the word about the campaign!

We want to be able to support all writers, but we understand that some fandoms would prefer to take the lead themselves. With this in mind, we are structuring our fan support campaign in such a way that individual fandoms can use the formula and conduct their own campaigns. We would ask that each fandom who chooses to do this select a campaign head, and liaise with us. This way, all writers will be supported, and no picket line is neglected.

If you would like to volunteer to help us deliver "Food for Thought" to the picket lines in Los Angeles or New York City, please email us at fans4writers@gmail.com, and leave your contact details (including phone number and availability).

If you would like to become involved and organise an affiliate campaign, please have the campaign head contact us, so that we can support each other.

Remember, without the writers, there would be no fandoms. And without us, there would be no studios.

Yours in solidarity,

Fans4Writers.com

Email: fans4writers@gmail.com
LiveJournal: http://community.livejournal.com/wga_supporters/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=19177889752
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/fans4writers

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Three things

  1. My daughter came out of her ballet class with tears in her eyes tonight because she "got a bit worried" when her teacher told the class she believed they would all be ready to move up from Grade 2 to Grade 3 next year.

    I pointed out that this was a good thing but Caitlin was not convinced. She's been doing ballet for 5 years now but doesn't believe she's any good at it. This is the third year in a row that I've had this conversation. After much persuasion we've agreed to trust the teacher's judgement, after all she's been right about Caitlin being ready to go up a grade the last two years!

    Caitlin rarely tells me much about what goes on inside her head so when this kind of thing happens I realise that there are probably a whole lot of things she worries about that I never find out about. I'm not good at making time for one-on-one talks and I really should do so.


  2. We had dinner at my mum's place tonight and when we'd finished the meal David read to us. Getting David to read aloud used to be like getting blood out of a stone so it was a very great pleasure indeed to hear his rendition of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

    Reading aloud to the family is the first step in a series of activities which are designed to help Dave confront one of his greatest fears. Anything that hints of performing for other people is anathema for David and to stand up and read or perform in front of the school assembly comes under the heading of worst nightmare. Given that each class runs 2 assemblies a year involving performances by the whole class this is something that he does have to do on occasion. David decided that reading to the family, although not completely stress free, was a manageable first step and I am really proud of him for being willing to tackle this and also for his lovely expressive reading.


  3. Tom gives the best hugs ever!

I love my children more than words can tell. They are precious and wonderful. They drive me to distraction and they fill my heart with joy. Yeah, I think I'll keep 'em.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I is tired.

I is tired wurk too hard

Today was one of my busy Wednesdays. Every so often my volunteering duties at the school align to give me a day like today.

It began with reading groups in Caitlin's class at 9:00am which I left early to go to reading groups in Tom's class at 9:30am. Then at 10:15am I went and collected Uniform Pool stuff from the office and and spent a short time pottering about in the uniform shop before beginning my Canteen shift at 11:00am.

We were down one volunteer at canteen because no-one has stepped up to fill the vacancy that came up when the mum I'm usually on with couldn't do it any more. Fortunately the morning shift had managed to get pretty much all the food preparation done and the canteen manager and I were able to get through everything ok, we were putting the last 2 lunches in the class baskets just as the bell went. However, at the end of the shift I was stuck with doing on my own the work that is usually shared by two and instead of finishing at 1:30pm or soon after I was there till 2:20pm.

With only half an hour to go before the end of the school day there was no point in going home. So I stayed. I was at the school the whole bloomin' day. Didn't even manage to nick off to maccas and grab a decent coffee at any point.

mmmmm coffffeeeee.....

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Thinking differently & Weigh-in week 12

There's this thing that happens when every thought you have about food is about restrictions, when there's a moral overtone to decision making, when all the time the idea of failure is lurking in the back of your mind. It drives you slightly nuts.

I was starting to feel like I was fighting with myself all the time, it was all about what I shouldn't do, what I couldn't have, what I ought to avoid. Switching to Core has helped a little, much less of the counting and calculating and having to assess whether I could "afford" to eat even something that I knew to be perfectly healthy. It wasn't enough though, I could still feel the rebellious me waiting for a moment of inattention, poised to spring into the driver's seat and take me careering down the path of binge eating, takeaway dinners and a total lack of vegetables. This past week I was VERY distracted apparently and it has been less than wonderful on the food front. The scales at weigh-in this morning showed just how bad, 2.5kg gained. Bugger. That brings my total back to 7.6kg lost. Plus, I felt really crummy.

So I've been mulling it over and I think I'm beginning to find my way towards a solution, these aren't new ideas, but this is the first time I've felt the truth of them rather than just giving a token nod and not actually taking them on board.

I need to turn it round so that I'm concentrating on positives instead of negatives. I need to convince myself that there is no forbidden food, that I can in fact have whatever I want, whenever I want on one proviso - the food I eat must be feeding hunger and not just emotion.

I want to get to the point where I only eat food that will make me feel good for longer than the time it rests in my mouth. It must be the food my body really needs. Otherwise there's nothing to be gained by eating it. I need to be engaged in a process of finding the right answer to my body's and my mind's demands for comfort.

There are questions to ask myself before eating: Am I actually hungry? Will this food satisfy this hunger? Will I feel good 20 minutes after eating this food? If I can answer yes to all of those questions then well and good. If the answer to any of those question is no then the next step is to work out what's really driving the urge to eat and find other ways to satisfy that drive, because if hunger isn't the problem, food won't fix it and I just end up with something else to feel miserable and stressed about (or possibly even physically sick, which NEVER helps).

In the spirit of baby steps, this week I plan on concentrating on the first question, "Am I actually hungry?", and see if I can't get my head around the whole listen to your hunger signals thing. It's something I haven't been willing to tackle up to now, so I'm feeling quite excited to discover that I'm ready to go there.

I want to gain health, fitness, energy and enjoyment of physical activity for its own sake. I want contentment, peace and to have enough emotional reserves to be the mother, wife, daughter and friend I aspire to be. I want to spend more time feeling capable and less time floundering around barely scraping through the day.

And I'm going to have those things.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I almost wish I still lived in Marsfield

I spent the day with my almost 97 year old grandmother today. She's kind of amazing, still in very good health for her age, mentally sharp as a tack (regularly beats the socks off my mum playing scrabble) and always has something new and unexpected to tell me when I visit.

I was telling her that my good friend Ariane popped out a baby girl this morning (welcome to the world Elissa!) and so we got to talking about names and how so many of the names from her generation are no longer being used. Among other names, she mentioned Isabelle, which is one of the few that are still in use and I said we knew a number of Isabelles. And my very proper grandmother confessed to me that she and her friends used to tease Isabelles by saying "Is a bell necessary on a bike?". Hidden depths! LOL

We went down to the dining room for lunch and sat at Grandma's usual table with Betty and Jack. Betty was full of the news that Maxine McKew was going to be coming to the retirement village to talk to the residents. They'll be a tough audience I imagine! Next was the possibility being discussed in the media that John Howard may lose his seat to Maxine. I took great glee in clasping my hands in supplication and intoning "Oh dear god - please!" to the ceiling. All three looked at me in horror. "Oh, no! It would be terrible!" said Betty. I grinned, unrepentant, and assured them that it would be wonderful. Grandma shook her head in resignation and Betty said "Never mind, we'll still talk to you." Then we switched to talking about the Melbourne Cup :)

We used to live in Bennelong, it would almost be worth still being squished into a teeny townhouse just to have the pleasure of voting for Maxine. Almost, but not quite. I shall resign myself to placing my ineffectual vote against Ruddock instead.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Jipped

David just won the game of Super Munchkin we were playing by killing some Level 1 Thugs. There is no justice.

Also while we were playing guess who squeezed in between the fly screen and the closed kitchen window and succeeded in dislodging the screen from its frame altogether?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

My daughter wishes me to share with you.

Oh yes, 9 year old humour, it is funny :D

Caitlin drew this while I was watching the episode Blink, I suspect it was by way of therapy of sorts after she'd inadvertently seen a few minutes of the show.

Now I just have to persuade her to do an entire comic strip's worth of drawings and we can get some really groan-worthy stuff happening....

Friday, November 02, 2007

I really should fix that fly-screen

There's a possum in the house!

It wasn't the least bothered by being caught in the act. All the lights were on and the kids were watching TV in the next room, so when I heard clattering in the kitchen I assumed they were raiding for after dinner snacks. When no-one answered my call of "What are you up to?" I dragged myself away from my blog reading and headed down the hall to the kitchen. No kids. Ah, the cat's in the sink. Wait a minute, that's not Samantha!

I was sure it would bolt back out the hole the moment it saw me but no! It wasn't giving up that easily, there was bread...just over there.... So I grabbed the camera.

Then came the persuading the possum to head back out through the window. I'm standing there knowing that if I'm silly enough to actually touch it bad things will happen, they have teeth you know, also, I've read the book, I want my house intact. The possum looks at me, I point at the hole in the fly screen, "Out you go", it looks at the window...and then back at me, "OUT!"....there's a brief stand-off and staring contest...and out it went. Good possum! Heheh :)

Back outside. Actually I really should clean that fly screen too!

Aaaaaargh!

Today I am wearing my "You Are Here" tshirt from thinkgeek. Caitlin's friend asked me if it was the milky way. Yes, and that's where the Earth is I say pointing to the spot indicated on the shirt. Then she asked me if I knew what was in the middle, so I said yes I did, did she know? And she told me, in all sincerity, that in the middle of the milky way there is a big special cross. Um, no, there's a big black hole says I. And in the middle of that there's a cross says she. She's seen a "documentary" says her mum. No that's not documentary, that's fantasy says I before my politeness circuit can kick in.

I am seized with an urge to offer to teach cosmology for kids to their class.

*cries*

Thursday, November 01, 2007

New Joss TV show on the way!

Best News Ever! Joss Whedon Spills Exclusive Deets on His New Series
Kristin at E! Online reports:

Whedon's new Fox series, called Dollhouse, stars Miss Eliza Dushku, best known as Faith to you Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans. And this show isn't just a pilot. It's already been given a seven-episode commitment by Fox. Woo!

Here's how Fox describes the series:

Echo (Eliza Dushku) [is] a young woman who is literally everybody's fantasy. She is one of a group of men and women who can be imprinted with personality packages, including memories, skills, language—even muscle memory—for different assignments. The assignments can be romantic, adventurous, outlandish, uplifting, sexual and/or very illegal. When not imprinted with a personality package, Echo and the others are basically mind-wiped, living like children in a futuristic dorm/lab dubbed the Dollhouse, with no memory of their assignments—or of much else. The show revolves around the childlike Echo's burgeoning self-awareness, and her desire to know who she was before, a desire that begins to seep into her various imprinted personalities and puts her in danger both in the field and in the closely monitored confines of the Dollhouse.

Go read the whole thing, there's a Joss interview there too.

More from Michael Ausiello at the Ausiello Report

Well, well, well :D and Tim Minear is going to be involved too.

Link-fest No.1

Not sure how often I'll post one of these, probably whenever I've collected a decent number of links and before they get too out of date.

On Alas! A blog Myca links to a series of essays titled "Christians in the Hand of an Angry God" posted by bradhicks on his LJ. (The LJ posts are 3 years old but still well worth a read.)

blue milk is asking "What does a feminist mother look like?", subsequent posts on her blog have some of the answers she's received. I may get around to posting my own response eventually.

Kate Harding has a post on Shapely Prose titled "Reality vs. relativism" about dieting and weight loss surgery.

Some of my friends had a great time at the Hub convention on the weekend, Leish has a recount on her LJ: Muhneys and Mcnabs and kangaroos, oh my!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Weigh-in week 11

For the last few days of this week I'd been trying to not get too excited as each morning my wildly inaccurate scales hinted to me that good things were happening. Well, I needn't have worried, I've lost 3.5kg for a total of 10.1kg :D Switching to Core seems to have been a good plan!

My focus for this week is to get some regular exercise happening, I'm aiming for three 30 minute walks in the week and sit-ups every day.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My first ever letter of complaint.

I'll be giving one copy of this to Dave's teacher and one to the Deputy Principal in the morning. Names have been vagued up to assuage my conscience, there are no innocents to protect. Also, I am never going along as helper parent on an excursion with this year group again....

Thursday Oct 15th 2007

To whom it may concern,

This account documents my experiences on, and subsequent to, the Year 4 excursion on Wednesday Oct 24th to the Sydney Wildlife World. I found the behaviour of M**** and M*** extremely distressing to myself and embarrassing for the school. I feel it is important that it be very clear exactly what did and didn’t happen and that the best way to do so is in writing.

When we arrived at Wildlife World it was immediately clear that M**** and M*** both resented being separated from their other friends. It was my understanding that there was good reason for that separation and I felt obliged to honour that intent by keeping them separate from the other groups. I endured a series of difficult behaviours from them including: dragging behind/running ahead of the group, hiding from me, arguing with me, squealing and making other loud noises – particularly in the nocturnal section, throwing themselves around, banging on the glass of the animal enclosures, lying down and refusing to move and trying to grab butterflies out of the air in the butterfly aviary. I was patient but firm with them. I was occasionally able to engage with them in discussion about the wildlife displays but the good moments were very brief. I found their attitude towards me, the members of the public and the animals reprehensible; they seemed to have a total lack of empathy.

At one point I attempted to break the ice with them and said I didn't want to have to tell *David's teacher* that they had been a “pain in the arse”. Unfortunately they were not amenable to friendly overtures and seized upon this comment as ammunition in their campaign to provoke me claiming that I'd be sued when they “dobbed me in for swearing at them”. I told them I'd be telling *David's teacher* the truth about how things had been, which I duly did, including the risqué and perhaps ill-advised expression I had used.

*David's teacher* requested that the boys write an apology to me, which they did once we had returned to the bus. It was delivered to me in the form of a paper aeroplane, admittedly by hand. I presume they thought better of throwing it at me in front of the teachers. I did not find the apology to be even remotely sincere and it included a blatant falsehood.


Here's the text of that note (original attached):

“To Mrs *M*

Sorry for our behaviour but we still don't think you should of called us A-holes
big sorry
from M**** and M***”

When David came home from school on Thursday he recounted to me what had taken place in class with *the librarian*. She told the boys that she had heard what had happened the day before and was not pleased with them. They then repeated, in front of the class, the false accusation that I had “called them A_holes”.

David was then asked by *the librarian* by his classmates* whether or not this was true. David had not been within hearing distance when the exchange characterised by the boys as me swearing at them, and which I presume inspired the lie, took place. I had not discussed with David anything about my distressing day as I believed it would have been unethical to criticise his peers to him. I now regret that decision because David’s response to *the librarian's* question was based purely on rumours he had heard from other children, presumably originating from M**** and M**. He therefore answered in the affirmative. I found this to be extremely upsetting, as did David once he understood the truth of the matter.

I doubt it is possible to correct the false version of events now circulating among the student population. However I am very concerned that the staff and parents involved be correctly informed. I would also appreciate a genuine written apology from M**** and M**, both for their behaviour on the excursion and for the offensive nature of the note I received on the bus.

Sincerely,
Me

*Whatdayaknow, a 10 year old boy does not always give accurate testimony. After talking to her on Thursday morning *the librarian* is absolved of putting Dave on the spot. Still the damage was the same and I was glad to be able to make sure she knew the true story.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Weigh-in week 10

I gained 1.9kg this week, but at least half of that was the yummy birthday breakfast cooked for me by Adam. I've switched to core and I'm happy to say I had no trouble what-so-ever staying on track today. I ate well, drank about 2.5L of water and walked from one end to the other of Hornsby Westfield several times over. Feels like a good start to the week.

More birthday reports tomorrow, I need to take a photo or two!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Territorial disputes

David has a problem. Most evenings as he settles into bed another member of our family stages a sneak invasion of his bedroom. Samantha has decided that the top bunk is the perfect cat bed, neither Jack nor Tom can reach her there and hey! a whole bed all to herself, what more could a cat wish for? She reaches this nirvana via the bedside table, settles in to the middle of the bed and proceeds to groom herself. Thoroughly. Vigorously even. And the whole bunk shakes.

Understandably, David objects to this and calls for a parent to come and evict the invader. Which we duly do and Sam goes and finds somewhere else to hide from the persecutions of her bigger brother.

Not tonight though. Tonight she was not giving up. It's important to realise that, after a day on which my car assured me it was 35 degrees, closing of bedroom doors with the consequent loss of cross-breezes is not a particularly attractive prospect. So the fact that we went through 4 separate evictions and a couple of barely thwarted stealth advances around ankles which were actually standing in the doorway before resorting to the shut door as a last resort is less silly than it may seem.

Samantha is currently lurking in the hall by the door in question in the vain hope that a cat-door might miraculously appear in it.

Tom's 6th birthday party

On Sunday I braced myself and opened my house to 4 extra 6 year olds! The horror! I'm such a wuss when it comes to kids' parties, I stress and I don't enjoy them, but the kids seem to have fun so I must be doing something right. As usual my very wonderful mother was there to help out.

There were presents - and a silly big brother.

We decorated lolly boxes - a very serious business.

And ate party food - mmmm suuugaaar.

The end.

Actually there was pass-the-parcel, beat up the daddy-viking (who was wearing a woolen tunic in 30-odd degree heat!) with rubber swords, bash-the-pinata AND destroy The One Ring as well, but the pics of that stuff were either not so good or non-existent. But you get the idea.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Forging The One Ring was hard work

And it's already being destroyed!
Allow me to present: The One Ring meeting its demise in a pool of lava.
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Tom wanted a Balrog cake, I talked him down to something more achievable.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The lamb shanks were calling my name

We took David out for dinner at The Ranch after the session at the Anxiety Clinic because I'd promised to as a bribe/compensation for his co-operation in going there in the first place. The session went well, the other families involved seem lovely people, the staff were great and David was reasonably relaxed about being there. Hopefully over the 10 weeks we'll all learn some good techniques for dealing with the things that make Dave's life more difficult than it should be. It's on at a bugger of a time though, 6:00 - 8:00pm, not that any other time would work better given the both parents being there thing.

Breakfast
Banana & large skim cappuccino - 3pts
Lunch
Beef pho (I could only eat about 2/3 of it) - 6pts
Dinner
Slow braised lamb shanks with roasted root vegetables and parsnip mash and a glass of red wine - 16.5pts (mostly guesswork)
Snacks
milk for tea - 0.5pts
1 rice cracker and cheese - 1pt
Chai tea with honey - 3.5pts
Water
1.5L
Exercise
Nil
Total points for the day: 30.5

I really should have ordered a salad but my resolve was weak. I think I was a little stressed over how the afternoon and evening were going to work out, perfectly fine as it turned out but I was definitely craving comfort food. So I'm in debt 5.5 points at the beginning of the week and we have Tom's birthday party on Sunday - better get off my bum at some point and do some exercise!

Weigh-in week 9

What happened to week 8? Well that would be the one where everything had gone pear-shaped and I gained 1.6kg taking me back to 7.5kg lost. I was convinced I was heading for another gain this week but when I hopped on the scales at my meeting this morning I was astonished to see a LOSS of 1kg with a total loss of 8.5kg.

Weird. Nice! but weird.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Follow that wagon!

The WW wagon that is. It got away from me for a while there, I'm blaming a combination of school holidays, TTOM, Caitlin's birthday party and a particularly hideous urinary tract infection. All better now though, kids went back to school today, I'm past the "Oh, that's why I've been like a bear with a sore head for the last week!" stage of my cycle (why oh why does it ALWAYS surprise me, you'd think I'd be able to recognise the symptoms by now...) and normality has been restored - more or less - anything I still can’t cope with is therefore my own problem. Feel free to play identify the mangled quote in the comments ;-)

Yodaobi is still running the weekly challenges so I've taken myself back to square one and will be focusing on tracking again this week.

Good things about today:
1) As I dropped the kids off at school this morning I spotted a particular year 2 girl arriving with her mum. This was noteworthy and AWESOME because right towards the end of last term that child was being operated on for a brain tumor and I hadn't heard how things went - I'm not close to her mum but we chat occasionally. I was so very happy to see them, apparently everything seems fine now.
2) My gardeners came and made my yard beautiful. Every month it's like magic, I make them pot of tea and mowing, weeding, pruning all happens - just like that! They're lovely people too and worth every cent and then some.
3) My mother is awesome...as always. She came to help out with homework this afternoon and will be back tomorrow afternoon when I have to take David for his first session with the Macquarie Uni Anxiety Clinic. The program we're doing involves both parents as well as the child and runs once a week for the whole term, it wouldn't be possible for us to do it without my mum's help.

Breakfast
weetbix, peaches and milk - 3pts
Lunch
Warm potato salad with tuna, onion, asparagus, roast pumpkin and a lemon, mustard, balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing - 5pts
Dinner
Proscuitto wrapped chicken breast with cranberry sauce, spiral noodles with parmesan, garlic sauteed mushrooms, onion, snow peas and cherry tomatoes and one of the kids crumbed chicken fingers - 10.5pts
Natural yoghurt with maple syrup - 1.5pts
Snacks
milk for tea - 1pt
Banana and cinnamon mountain bread wrap - 2pts
Carrot - 0pts
Water
1.5L
Exercise
Nil
Total points for the day: 23

Incidently? Food today was not only on track but seriously yummy too.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

First design effort

I bought myself a whole bunch of jewelry making stuff and had a play around with it yesterday. The kids made necklaces too, crafty fun all round!

Not sure what I think of this. How about you lot give me your verdict?

David took this pic for me.

And this one was done with my webcam.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Skip this one

I'm too tired to come up with anything other than the food diary...I wonder why that would be....

Breakfast
egg & bacon muffin - 4pts
Lunch
vegetable & barley soup and tuna & cheese on toast - 6pts
Dinner
2 lamb cutlets, corn on the cob, jacket potato with sour cream and peas - 7.5pts
pineapple and strawberries - 0.5pts
Snacks
milk for tea - 1pt
banana mountain bread wrap - 2pts
Water
2.5L
Exercise
Nil
Total points for the day: 21

Confession is good for the soul

Last night at about 1:00am I ate: 1 piece of vegemite toast, 1 piece of peanut butter and honey toast, 2 slices of grilled Bega Vintage cheese on toast, some dried cranberries and 1 square of Lindt chocolate.

After which I felt somewhat ill.

Hmmm...ponders...why did I do this? Let's see, no complex carbs for dinner, stayed up way too late, getting cold, pissed off with myself over wasting so much of the day yesterday, feeling guilty about all the housework that is un-done. Of course! The obvious answer was to comfort/punish myself in a way guaranteed to make me feel a) physically bleh and b) extremely silly. Why on earth didn't I just heat up one of the 0.5 or 1 point serves of yummy soup in my freezer? Would've warmed me up nicely, been within points for the day and made me feel good all round. I did think of doing that but went ahead with the other instead.

We humans are weird creatures.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Weigh-in week 7

Woot! Lost another 0.9kg :) Brings me to 9.1kg gone, dare I hope to reach the 10kg mark next week?

Adam's car is probably in the shop till Friday. Poor boy, having to do without his little red toy. He wanted to go visit the leather supplies shop and sailing bookshop place sometime this week, I might take pity on him and drag the kids around to do some daddy shopping one day. It's not like we have anything else planned and I'd quite like to see the leather place.

I went way over my 4 hours on the computer today, and I'm up well past 10pm too. Hmph, it's holidays :P I'll behave the rest of the week, need to make sure I'm out of the house for the larger part of the day - better plan some stuff to do with the kids.

Breakfast
lg skinny cappuccino - 2pts
Lunch
Tom yum soup with mushrooms, shallots and tuna - 4pts
Dinner
grilled barramundi, greek salad and 2 chips (stolen from Adam's plate) - 7pts
mango gelato - 1.5pts
Snacks
muesli, yoghurt and maple syrup - 5pts
milk for tea - 0.5pts
banana and apple - 2pts
2 Allens snakes - 1.5pts
Water
~2L
Exercise
Nil
Total points for the day: 23.5