Friday, February 29, 2008

Going dotty

Thursday's beadmaking class focused on dots. I brought home the two beads on the pendant below, leaving three others still cooling, making these things is slow work! I'm sure these beads are reminiscent of clothing my mum had when I was little. There's probably a photo somewhere.

Dots pendant close-up


Necklace with dots pendant

Red coral and glass beads on memory wire.

Turquoise necklace

Turquoise necklace with silver plated discs and some brown coloured stone that I got in a random pack on special and consequently have no idea what it is.

Ok, so the only dots here are on those two little beads I made, and I'm actually relatively sane at present so the title is a tad misleading.

The new dishwasher arrived today, it's sitting in the front hall waiting for Adam to do the handyman thing and install it. It'd better be easier than the wrestling match he had to engage in last night to remove the old dishwasher - a hacksaw was involved in the end.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bloody Telstra

Today we were booked in, without any consultation with us as to day or time, to have someone from Telstra show up some time between 8am and 1pm to do an install for an iinet connection. We'd received an email saying that if we didn't currently have a working Telstra line in the house the technician may need to have access to the house to complete the install and that if there was no-one here to let them in it would cost us $109 to reschedule. Now we've been here for 7 years and we've been on Optus cable all that time so we don't actually know whether the Telstra line that runs to the house is connected to anything useful or not so it seemed like a good idea for one of us to be here. But I had craft group at 9am and canteen duty at 11am so Adam rang iinet to say we'd need to change the time. And was told it would cost us $109 to reschedule and that we would still not get to choose the day or time for the new appointment.


Let me get this straight. Telstra wholesale sets the time for the technician to come out without consulting us. We can't change that time without forking out $109. If we can't be here and the tech needs access to the house it will cost us $109. Either way if there's a reschedule we still don't get to work out a mutually suitable time. Repeat until...what? Either we get lucky and the tech doesn't need access (apparently the most likely scenario) or...not. What the hell happens for customers for whom the tech does need access and who work inflexible jobs that don't allow them to shift things around and be home at the arbitrary time set by Telstra wholesale? I wonder if any poor sods have had to go through multiple iterations of missing the tech and having to fork out $109 for reschedules. I get the feeling Telstra wants to make it as difficult as possible for people to hook up with iinet, anti-competitive behaviour anyone?

I stayed home from craft group but I had to go to canteen, the tech hadn't been when I left and there was no evidence to indicate whether they'd been when I got home, I guess that's a good sign.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Still doing the Weight Watchers thing

It just went a little haywire there for a while. For most of February I'd been feeling really down, overwhelmed by the smallest things, unable to get going on anything much, grouchy, stressed, wanting to spend my days curled up in a corner in denial of reality and generally pretty unpleasant to be with. Then suddenly, for no apparent reason, in the last few days the grey clouds have lifted and life is good again. It's weird but it's good, I wish I knew why 'cause then I might be able to do something if things go bad again.

I was trying on clothes this morning and found myself grinning at my own reflection and thinking "you're ok girl, we can do this" (apparently I became plural for the purposes of self pep-talking), which may have something to do with recording a 1.1kg loss this morning after several weeks of gains due to out of control binging, or maybe it's just because I suddenly feel like me again. So here I am almost back where I started and very oddly feeling pretty damn good about myself, my body as it is here and now, and life in general.

I also had one of the people I weighed tell me she loves coming to the meeting because I and the other staff are so wonderful - that helps with the ego boosting too ;-)

(If you're wondering what happened to my weight loss ticker, I got sick of looking at it every time I blogged so I stuck it right down the bottom, it's still there and I'm still updating it but you have to scroll all the way down to see it.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Menu plan 25 Feb 08

Um, let's not talk about how last week went. At least the fact that I didn't at any point manage to do a proper grocery shop means that there wasn't any food to waste. Never mind, after all, the best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men gang aft agley do they not?

Baked dinner - lamb shanks and lots of baked veg mmmmmm
Apple pie & custard
Lasagne & salad - Tom will be mightily unimpressed if there's no meat involved so I may do two smaller ones (one veggie and one meat).
Ice cream & fruit
Chicken rice bake & salad
Fresh fruit

Veal casserole & noodles - yep, this is the leftovers that didn't get used last week.
Jelly & fruit
Hamburgers & oven wedges
Fresh fruit
Steak and kidney & mashed potato - living dangerously, even Adam's not too sure about this one but it's a favourite of mine from childhood so I'm going to inflict it on them all anyway. Also this counts as my new meal for March.
Fruit & yogurt
Oven baked cajun fish, chips & salad
Fruit & yogurt

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hopefully the kids will buy them

I've been making a whole bunch of earrings for the craft group at the kids' school as my contribution to the Mothers Day stall that's run each year as a fundraiser for the P&C. We haven't had jewellery on the stall before so I think it'll make a nice change from endless bookmarks, mugs filled with chocolates, crocheted soap covers and the like. I figure the trick is to make them appealing to the kids while still being wearable for the mums, we'll see how they go. (If they sell well I reckon I can count it as another 2008 goal ticked off)

Mothers day stall earrings

Click on the thumbnail pics below for close-ups of this lot

Hearts and stars earrings Millefiori earrings Shell and blue glass earrings Cultured pearl and swarovski crystal earrings

I forgot to photograph the next lot till late in the afternoon and the light wasn't as good, but you get the idea, pinks, whites, pale green and hearts and stars - the kindy kids should love 'em.

Catseye hearts and stars earrings

Oh, and I seem to have finally figured out how to get decent close-up pics from my camera so I'm all set to pick out a few pieces of jewellery and get them up for sale in my currently empty Etsy shop, just have to check up on postage rates before I start listing stuff.

We went bowling this afternoon, only managed one game as we could only get one lane and Tom won't last more than one game when we all play together - or at all for that matter. Adam and I can get through two in the time it takes for the kids to play one if we have a lane each. I bowled a pathetic 81, but so did Adam so that's ok, he did say his ego wasn't up to being beaten by his wife so I really had no choice but to hold back a little, yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Requiem for a dishwasher

My dishwasher died this morning. Mid-cycle there was a weird gurgle, a loud *POP* and a very terminal seeming burning smell. Seeing as the thing is positively ancient and literally falling apart on the outside we decided there was not much point in pursuing repairs so off we went to buy a new one. And managed to talk ourselves into a Miele, something to do with it being worth spending the extra money on something we'll be using every day rather than skimp and be pissed off with it every time we use it.

See, the recently defunct dishwasher, ancient though it was, had one very big thing going for it. It cleaned stuff better than any other dishwasher I have ever encountered. We could put dishes in there that had barely been scraped, let alone rinsed, and the load would come out sparkling clean. I have no doubt that its water and energy consumption were sky high, it was unbelievably noisy, it was ratty looking and difficult to open on account of half the handle having broken off and it didn't really fit in the space under the bench which made it impossible to open the adjacent cabinet door to more than half-way, but all that I could forgive in the light of its awesome gunk eradicating powers. The new machine has a lot to live up to.

It's being delivered on Friday.

Which means a whole week without a dishwasher.

Assuming it actually fits in the almost certainly not quite standard hole in which the current dishwasher resides.

If it doesn't fit I guess I'll just have to get a new kitchen.

Hold me.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Today began with tears

And I have a sore throat from yelling at the kids. Great.

I was woken to the sound of David and Tom fighting followed by Tom bursting into tears and then coming downstairs to complain to me about the fact that I've banned all computer game playing between dinner time Sunday and Friday afternoon. I threatened to extend it to an all week ban for two weeks if I had to listen to any more whinging about it. So he went back upstairs and had another fight with David. More tears.

By the time I'd had my shower Caitlin was up and dressed and eating breakfast, I asked the boys to get dressed and have breakfast too. While I was getting dressed I was serenaded with yet another fight, all three this time and tears from Tom and Caitlin. That's when the throat hurting yelling happened along with a large dose of sarcasm on the subject of having a wonderful start to the day and how proud we must all be of the way we're behaving. Then I told them they were all banned from computer games for 2 weeks. Errrr....bugger, 2 weeks is a lot of keeping the kids amused.

While we waited for Tom to put his shoes and socks on I sat down to check my email and soothe my soul with a little blog reading. A visit to Whatever found me introducing David and Caitlin to bacon cat and xkcd. There was much laughter. All is well with the world and I've promised them all a wander through the xkcd archives this afternoon.

But my throat still hurts.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Menu plan 18 Feb 08

Last week went pretty much according to plan the only changes being that Friday's grilled fish turned into takeaway fish and chips and Sunday's baked dinner was cooked by my mum instead of me, and damn good it was too - thanks mum!

This week it's all about me staying sane while Adam is away in the US for the week, I have a P&C meeting to go to on Tuesday night and meet the teacher night is on Wednesday so I'm making it as easy as possible.

Oven chicken and chips
Fruit & yogurt
Chinese takeaway - I can order this and then pick it up on the way back from getting Caitlin from dance classes.
Ice cream & fruit
Spaghetti Bolognese + salad - sauce is in the freezer ready to go.
Fresh fruit

Lamb rogan josh & rice - from a jar, very quick and easy.
Jelly & fruit
Veal casserole & noodles - left-overs from last week, the boys liked it, Caitlin not so much.
Fresh fruit
Stir fry pork & veg + rice
Fruit & yogurt
Homemade pizza
Fruit & yogurt

Thursday, February 14, 2008

First of my 2008 goals done!

I went to my first lampwork glass bead making lesson today and made 5 beads. Only 3 had cooled down enough to bring home at the end of the session though.

Here they are.

My first 3 lampwork beads

I've signed up for an 8 week course (the one ZB pointed out to me - thankyou!) so this is just the beginning, next thing you know I'll be buying a gas torch and setting up at home :)

If I hadn't posted this as a goal for this year I doubt I'd have got round to it for many months yet, if ever, and it was so much fun, now, what's next on the list? Looks like I'd better go bowling and swimming in the next few days, tonight's dinner of veal casserole is a new recipe so that covers me for February with the cooking thing and I just finished re-reading The Warrior's Aprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold and started Cordelia's Honor today so I might do a piece on the virtues of the Vorkosigan saga in the next day or so.

How are everyone else's plans progressing?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Menu plan 11 Feb 08

There was mixed success with sticking to last week's plan. The tuna and rice bake was a hit with Tom, the others seemed to think I was poisoning them, the spiced snapper was a little better received with Caitlin being the only one not to try it. Friday night I went out for dinner so Adam ordered pizza and Sunday we were totally disorganised so we went with spag bol instead.

BBQ steak, jacket potato, corn on the cob and salad. Dessert: Fruit & jelly.
Beef goulash, noodles and steamed veg. Dessert: Fruit & yogurt.
Proscuitto wrapped pork fillet, mashed potato and salad. Dessert: Fresh fruit.

Veal casserole & rice. Dessert: Fruit & yogurt. - Crockpot time! I'm out of the house nearly all day so I'd rather not have to worry about food in the afternoon.
Grilled fish and homemade potato wedges. Dessert: Ice cream & fruit.
Fajitas. Dessert: Fresh fruit.
Baked leg of lamb with all the trimmings. Dessert: Apple pie & custard. - The classic Sunday roast, which I almost never do on a Sunday, might even have it at lunchtime.

Beads. Many, many beads!

My bead order from Fire Mountain arrived. When I opened the box I just had to take a photo before unpacking further.

Awww :)


Many, many beads! (Samantha wanted to sit on them)

I made a necklace.

And some earrings.

These ones took quite a while.

I had fun. The end.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Today was a school day for me too

I had some no small difficulty dragging my self out of bed this morning due to a completely self-inflicted lack of sleep, went to bed at 2:30am. Ooops. Kids were 5 minutes late for school. I'm a bad mum :P

After dropping the kids off I came back home and did some laundry then grabbed my beading supplies and headed back to the school to add another volunteer role to my repetoir. Because I am an idiot. So, I'm now a member of the craft group and I'll be making a whole bunch of earrings for them to sell at the Mothers Day craft stall. I made a few different pairs this morning with the supplies I already had but I'm really waiting for my order from Fire Mountain to arrive so I can finalise designs and pricing (turns out I missed the FedEx delivery while I was out today, so they'll be here tomorrow - yay!).

After craft group it was straight to canteen for the 11am shift, fun but tiring, the canteen supervisior thinks I'm funny, she laughs at the way I deal with the kids and tells me she loves how I manage them - which I confess to being rather gratified by :) I finished up canteen at 2:20pm at which point going home seemed kind of silly so I plonked myself down on a seat in the playground and chatted with some of the kindy mums who had to be there for the early pick up and were then stuck waiting for older siblings to be set free by the 2:50pm bell.

I wanted to catch one of David's teachers for a quick chat because he's got stuck sitting next to a child - we'll call him Will - who has some issues which, among other things, mean he's completely hopeless at social interactions. Will annoys everyone. Constantly. He desperately wants to be friends with people and has absolutely no idea of how to achieve that. Sharing a desk with him means having him shove all his paraphernalia into your workspace, having him constantly trying to borrow stuff that he a) should have his own of and often b) doesn't really need at that point in time anyway, he jiggles the desk, he monologues incessantly about topics which are of no interest to his listener and generally drives people nuts.

Now, someone has to sit next to this kid and what he desperately needs is for people to be kind to him so when Dave told me he was the one in the hot seat we had a chat about ways to manage the annoyance, staying calm and polite and making allowances for Will's idiosyncrasies. Yesterday Dave ended up with his name on the "sad face" list on the board because he was talking when he should have been listening to the teacher, he was talking because he was asking Will to stop driving him nuts by shaking the desk. The fact that he told me it at all tells me Dave was upset so time for a teacher chat it was. And when I spoke to his teacher she said straight away that they were aware of the problem and I'm sure it'll turn out ok (not least because I plan on making sure it does) so that's all good.

The really cool thing though was that in the course of our conversation Dave's teacher told him how impressed she'd been by the way Dave was managing Will, how mature and calm he'd been and that most kids would probably have "lost it" several times over already. Picture me with my proud mum smile on.

The rest of the day was taken up with swimming lessons, a bit of grocery shopping and the cooking, in the rain - thanks Adam! - of a BBQ seafood dinner which we shared with Di and Brendan who today moved house and now live a mere stone's throw away in the next suburb.

And now I think I'd better go to bed.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Questions. 46 of them in fact.

I got tagged by Megan.

1. Were you named after anyone? My mum went to school with a Miriam but I'm not named after her per se, my middle name is mum's big sister's name - Faye.
2. When was the last time you cried? Ummm, can't remember when exactly, weeks ago I think, but it was something to do with feeling very inadequate as a mother and human being in general.
3. Do you like your handwriting? Neither like nor dislike, it's functional.
4. What is your favourite lunch meat? Double smoked leg ham, or smoked salmon.
5. Do you have kids? Yep, 3 of the buggers.
6. If you were another person would you be friends with you? Possibly, I'm a little odd though so I might not be close friends with me.
7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Yes.
8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes.
9. Would you bungee jump? I can imagine circumstances under which I would, I'm not in any hurry to do so however.
10. What is your favourite cereal? Weetbix.
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Hardly ever.
12. Do you think you are strong? Yes, in some ways, but I'd like to be stronger.
13. What is your favourite icecream? Coffee.
14. What is the first thing you notice about people? Whether they smile.
15. Red or pink? Red, pink is vile.
16. What is the thing that you like least about yourself? My tendency to procrastinate.
17. Who do you miss the most? Hmmm, no one really.
19. What colour pants and shoes are you wearing? 3/4 blue denim pants and brown Colorado leather clogs.
20. Have you ever re-gifted? Yes, duplicate lego sets given to David.
21. What are you listening to right now? David taping his feet on the kitchen floor while he does his homework. It's kind of annoying.
22. If you were a crayon what colour would you be? Pine green.
23. Favourite smells? Cinnamon, sandalwood, vanilla, the sea.
24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My mum.
25. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Ooo, a hard one....ummm...yes! :P
26. Favourite sports to watch? Watching sport makes my brain melt. Unless it's dressage. Or gymnastics. Or diving.
27. Hair colour? Mousey brown when it's left alone, but right now it's a nice deep red/brown with blonde foils.
28. Eye colour? Hazel.
29. Do you wear contacts? Nope, my eyes they work just fine on their own.
30. Favourite food? Arrgh! Don't make me choose! Erm....the edible stuff!
31. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings.
32. Last movie you watched? Stardust.
33. What colour shirt are you wearing? Blue.
34. Summer or winter? Winter.
35. Hugs or kisses? Hugs.
36. Favourite dessert? Tiramasu.
39. What book are you reading now? I'm between books for myself, but I'm reading The Horse and His Boy to the kids.
40. What is on your mousepad? Serenity on one, SG-1 on another, but mostly I use the laptop so they're going to waste, it's very sad.
41. What did you watch on tv last night? Wonderfalls on DVD
42. Favourite sound? Silence
43. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Rolling Stones
44. What is the furthest you have been from home? UK
45. Do you have a special talent? Being me, no-one else beats me at that.
46. Where born? Bankstown Hospital, Sydney, Australia.

I tag anyone who's bored enough to do it.

Link-fest No.2

Fillyjonk at Shapely Prose has something to say about making the most of the body you're living in now instead of waiting till you're thin.

John Scalzi has finished the manuscript for Zoe's Tale shares some thoughts about the writing process.

I found my way to yogabeans! via Fussy - surreal....

I recently discovered Pioneer Woman, she writes a pretty good love story, takes gorgeous photos and cooks with a truly terrifying amount of butter!

Monday, February 04, 2008

12 things to do this year

Adam and I have been talking recently about making plans and setting goals so I thought I'd post some of the things I'd like to achieve this year. I'll update as I go with how it all works out.

1. Go bushwalking in the Blue Mountains 3 times. (But perhaps not the Grand Staircase!)
2. Swim laps at a public pool 2 times each month. (The kids love going to the indoor pool at Homebush so winter is no excuse)
3. Go bike riding around the Western Plains Zoo.
4. Cook something new for dinner once a month. Feb - veal casserole, Mar - Steak and kidney, and lots more too, this worked really well I've cooked heaps of new dishes and even invented some of my own recipes over the year (but mostly forgot to blog about them).
5. Get plans for an extension to the house drawn up and council approved.
6. Go bowling once a fortnight. (Either with the kids or on my own) Feb - 24th, Mar - 9th
7. Sell some of my handmade jewellery. First sale of 2 necklaces made on 4/3/08
8. Join the local archery club. Signed up for the beginner's course.
9. Go and see a play that's not Shakespeare. (Which isn't to say we won't go and see some Shakespeare too)
10. Go camping with the Huscarls. (I really don't want to do this but we'll see...) Well, I tried. I wanted to enjoy it but, um, not so much. Second attempt on the other hand was awesome!
11. Learn to make my own glass beads. - Started lampwork course 14/2/08
12. Post a review of every book I read on my blog. (Don't expect too much here, they'll probably be very short reviews because I'm terrible at articulating what I do or don't like about books) - Yeah, ok, this is so not happening. I'm going to just list them all instead with short comments.
The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold
Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold
Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold
Brothers in Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold
Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold
Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold
Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold
A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold
If Only They Could Talk by James Herriot
The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton
Aaaaand apparently I got bored with the listing them idea too, suffice to say I read lots :P

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Menu plan 4 Feb 08

Tuna rice bake & salad. Dessert: Fruit & yogurt. - This'll be interesting, the kids and tuna is a bad combination, I may swap the tuna for chicken if I'm not up to the confrontation.
Oven chicken, noodles & salad. Dessert: Fruit & yogurt. - Adam has signed up for drawing classes and won't be home for dinner, taking the easy route here.
Spiced snapper with nutty rice. Dessert: Jelly & fruit. - This one is for me, bugger what the kids think.

Mango chicken curry & rice. Dessert: Fruit & yogurt. - I can have this ready and waiting for when we get back from Caitlin's ballet class at 7pm.
Sausages, mashed potato + veg. Dessert: Ice cream & fruit. - Bangers and mash :)
Japanese takeaway. Dessert: Fresh fruit. - I've been craving Japanese all week.
Steak, jacket potato & salad. Dessert: Fresh fruit. - And finally a BBQ for the boy.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

For once the avocado was perfect

The meal planning thing has been working quite well this week as far as the dinners go, I may as well not have bothered planning my lunches though, I don't think I followed it once all week for lunch. I swapped the tacos for spag bol on Thursday and had the presence of mind to pop the avocado in the fridge rather than leaving it on the fruit bowl. When I cut into it tonight in great trepidation I was mightily surprised to be greeted with a perfectly ripened, unblemished and completely delicious fruit - I must have been channeling Lisa when I chose it!

Adam and I went to Sapore di Mare, a local Italian place, for dinner last night, the food at this place is gorgeous marred only by an odd habit of overusing pickled garden vegetables in their salads and adorning their scrumptious desserts with what appears to be Cottee's chocolate topping. We took a bottle of Surveyors Hill reisling which we'd bought when we stayed at their B&B a couple of years ago and it was pretty darn good, I hope we've got some more of it down in the cellar. We then came home and proceeded to stay up way too late enjoying the total absence of children in the house (thanks mum!), slept in this morning, dragged ourselves out of bed and up to Hornsby for breakfast at Coffee Club and then popped into the craft supplies shop for a bead buying fix for me (Adam bought a big lump of clay). Then it was back to reality and lunch at my mum's place. Not a bad way to celebrate 16 years of marriage :)