Friday, March 28, 2008

What I've been reading

I think I'll give up on the plan to review everything I read this year, turns out it's not something I actually want to do. I do like the idea of keeping a record of what I've read though so you're going to get lists with short comments instead.

So here's what I've read since posting my goals for the year back at the beginning of February.

I went on a bit of a Lois McMaster Bujold binge and plowed my way through a re-read of The Vorkosigan saga starting with The Warriors Apprentice

and following on with, in quick sucession: Cordelia's Honor (Comprising Shards of Honour and Barrayar),
The Vor Game, Cetaganda, Ethan of Athos, Brothers in Arms, Borders of Infinity, Memory, Komarr, A Civil Campaign and Diplomatic Immunity. (Can't be bothered chasing up cover images of all of them) I still find myself engrossed in the stories in these books, delighted by the writing and even laughing out loud at some passages despite having read them many times before.

Next up was If Only They Could Talk by James Herriot.

It's been a while since I last read these. Good fun, though I do have trouble not seeing Tristan as some kind of melange of the TV show character and Dr Who. I think I'll dig out some more Herriot, I'm sure I've got a few of them lying around.

I'm currently reading Peter F. Hamilton's The Dreaming Void.

It seems a little slow to start and hasn't drawn me in quite as quickly as some of his other books did, but I'm interested to see where it's going.

And there you have it. Hmm, that's 12 and a bit books in 8 weeks, I think that's a bit less than my usual rate of consumption.

Tom, on being asked to clean his room


Can't imagine where he got that line from....

It's a good thing it was Adam on the receiving end of this because I, in the next room, completely failed the do not laugh at your child's outrageous rudeness test and guffawed audibly. That, and the fact that, had I been in the hot seat, the laughter would have been swiftly followed by terrible retribution as the screaming protests continued. My reserves of patience had been exhausted much earlier in the day and this particular performance even had Adam raising his voice - and that doesn't happen very often.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

There's something fishy going on around here

Yellow and blue fish
"Swim, swim, swim, swim...this would work better if there was some water involved."

Fish face
"Oooo! Who's that I see?"

Two fish
"Hello my little green look distressed..."

Broken fin
"Half my dorsal fin broke off, it's tragic I tell you!"

Black cat
Black cat being inscrutable.

Freaky black cat
Black cat looking freaky. I wish I'd given him red eyes instead....

Beads with layering
Beads with layered dots from last week.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hub Productions is bringing Nathan Fillion downunder!

Oh, and Ron Glass too :) I've had a VIP ticket to this event reserved since way back in April last year when they announced a convention which promised 3 Big Damn Heroes, no names confirmed, and have been waiting all that time for confirmation of Captain Tightpants' attendance. It'll be nice if we get a 3rd cast member as well but even if we don't it'll be well worth the wait!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Too hot

I had to down tools 30 minutes early at my bead making class today. The warmer weather has been hard to take working over a blowtorch flame in an old building with no air-conditioning. We can't even use fans as it's just too frustrating to have the flame blowing all over the place as you work. So the last two Thursdays I've been battling fogged up safety glasses and sweat dripping off my nose as I made beads. Yuk. By the end of the class today I was feeling shaky and nauseous. Clearly this will have to be a winter hobby if I'm going to continue with it!

I've made quite a few beads now that have yet to see the light of blog and I just know you're all dying to see the results of all my hard labour :P So here they are.

Two silver foil-lined beads and one with silver wire wrapped round it. I need to play more with the wire, I couldn't find the right spot in the flame and kept burning through the wire as I applied it to the bead.

Playing with dots :)

And the rest. Flowers, raked stripes, raked dots, randomly squiggled stripes and, at the front there in the blue, white and black, today's technique of layering. That was the only one I could bring home today, all the rest were still too hot....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I went to the P&C AGM at the school tonight...and came home as the new P&C president. I did off-load one of my other roles in exchange, but I think I got the raw end of the deal....

Monday, March 17, 2008

Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

There's a new Joss Whedon musical on the way!

From Nathan Fillion .org

Joss Whedon Announced today that Nathan Fillion will play the hero in a special Internet Musical.

Whedon reports that during the WGA strike he started writing the musical which will be a limited internet series. Each of the three episodes will be approximately ten minute each.

Co-writers for the internet feature are Joss’ brothers Zack and Jed and Jed’s Fiance Maurissa . The writing has been completed and shooting commenced today.

“It’s the story of a low-rent super-villain, the hero who keeps beating him up, and the cute girl from the laundromat he’s too shy to talk to.” Says Whedon.

“Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” will star Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible, Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer, Felicia Day as Penny and a cast of dozens.

Joss posted in response to a thread on Whedonesque confirming the real and actually happening nature of the project. I can't wait :D :D :D

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pretty rocks

I've got a bit of a thing for rocks - pretty ones, colourful ones, ones with interesting patterns - always have had. I have fond memories of visiting the Opal Museum at Kurrajong Heights as a child. We'd stop off there before heading up the hill to visit my Nanna (she of the Shakespeare obsession) and we'd be allowed to have a go at the lucky dip from which one got a small piece of rock with tiny veins of opal through it. I coveted the larger specimens and I was fascinated with the story of how they were formed, the physical and chemical processes that produced these beautiful things.

Recently my mum dug out an old sticker activity books that belonged to me in my primary school days, it was titled Rocks, Minerals and Gemstones. I have field guides to rocks and minerals that I've had on my bookshelves for more than 20 years. I even went so far as to enroll in first year Geology when I was at Sydney Uni despite having no interest in geology as a career simply because I like rocks (it didn't work out - we had to study fossils and I couldn't make head or tail of the buggers). I remember reading articles about mineral formation and composition in the Encyclopedia Britannica the 30 volumes of which dominated the bookshelves in our lounge room, I don't remember the details now of course but I do remember being fascinated by the way that a mineral such as corundum can give rise to so many different colours depending on the impurities present in the crystal (red rubies, blue sapphires and a whole range of other colours which are referred to as yellow sapphire, green sapphire and so on).

A few weeks ago I gave in to the lure of the colour and lustre of some of the gorgeous gemstones on the Fire Mountain site - a collection of intensely green malachite, some lovely rich purple amethysts and the complex rich brown, red and gold of tiger iron made their way to my front door and here's what I've done with them so far.

Tiger iron, tiger jasper and glass bead necklace

Tiger iron (a quartz-lignite aggregate found in Australia), tiger jasper (a granular microcrystalline variety of quartz) and antique gold coloured czech glass beads. I'm keeping this one but I've been commissioned to make another for someone after I wore it to their Tupperware party.

The next three are destined for my etsy shop once I've got some photos in slightly better light.

Malachite, cultured pearl and Swarovski crystal necklace

Malachite (Copper Carbonate Hydroxide), cultured pearls, Swarovski crystal and sterling silver.

Malachite and cultured pearl necklace

Malachite, cultured pearls and sterling silver.

Amethyst, malachite and Swarovski crystal necklace

Amethyst (quartz crystal with ferric iron and aluminium impurities), malachite, Swarovski crystal and metal beads (I bought these pre any plans to sell stuff and as a consequence I don't know what they're made of).

Wow, this post took quite a while to write, I kept getting side-tracked reading about the mineralogy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

There was something I was going to tell you...., what was it?

Errr, let's see.
  • I gained 0.2kg this week.
  • Our iinet connection was installed today against all odds, which, YAY! But in the process the phone socket in the kitchen for our Optus cable land-line was sacrificed so now the answering machine/base station is plugged in to the socket in the study downstairs and we're using one of our secondary handsets instead.
  • I sold two necklaces last week, so there's another 2008 goal ticked off.
  • David and I went bowling on Sunday morning, my scores were 96 and 69, the symmetry is nice at any rate.
  • I washed the curtains that hang right next to the dining table. They were filthy. The washing made very little difference *sigh*
  • Caitlin has announced that she wants to go horse-riding. My subtle campaign of pushing horse books over fairy books has paid off. Now all I need to do is get myself down to riding weight so I can go with her.
  • Tomorrow is photo day at school. I should probably get Adam to clean their shoes. I wonder if I've got clean decent looking uniforms for them all....
Um, yep, that's about it.

Friday, March 07, 2008

My morning had been going so well

I can't begin to tell you how much I hate lice. Why oh why is it that I discover the little buggers just when we're at the get hair done and we'll be ready to leave for school point? This morning is the third time that has happened to me. Suddenly we go from being well and truly on time - early even! - to rocking up to school 20 minutes late with wet hair all round. All 3 kids had a head full of creepy things, there was no way I could responsibly send them to school without treating them. Bugger, bugger, bugger. Anyway, must have been the quickest 3 way delousing I've ever done.

Of course I then spent the next few hours with my scalp itching like crazy and convinced I could feel something actually crawling around up there. I gave in at 1pm and did my own hair. Didn't find even one single bug.

Psychosomatic lice.

I think I hate them even more than the real ones...., perhaps not.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Shakespeare for a bedtime story

Tonight at dinner Tom was telling us all about the things they are doing in drama class - Shakespeare no less! They're doing A Midsummer-Night's Dream and Tom has the part of Starveling the tailor, it boggles my mind just how this is going to work with a bunch of 7 year olds, how awesome is our drama teacher? (She is awesome, the kids love her and she gets great stuff out of them). We were discussing the story of the play over the meal and Dave and Cait were asking about what happens so I went and dug out my copy of Bernard Miles' Favourite Tales from Shakespeare and for good measure grabbed my Complete Works as well. We had a look at the pics in the Favourite Tales and then opened up to the original text because the kids wanted to know what all the characters names were.

I started reading. (Asides by me in green)

Act 1
Scene 1: The Palace of Duke Theseus

Theseus and Hippolyta enter and take their seats, followed by Philostrate and attendants.

THESEUS. Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour (their wedding day)
Draws on apace (comes soon): four happy days bring in
Another moon: but O, methinks how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,
Long withering out a young man's revenue. (It's only four days away but it seems too long to the duke)
HIPPOLYTA. Four days will quickly steep themselves in night:
Four nights will quickly dream away the time: (It'll go quick enough)
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.(They're getting married when the moon is crescent shaped)
THESEUS. Go Philostrate,
Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments,
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth, (tell all the young people in the city to start celebrating)
Turn melancholy forth to funerals:
The pale companion is not for our pomp. (No misery guts allowed!)
Philostrate departs
Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword,
And won thy love doing thee injuries (Oh dear, that doesn't sound good)
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph and with revelling. (but we'll have a huge party for our wedding)

Me: Want me to stop?

Them: No, keep going!

Dear god, they wouldn't let me stop! Pretty soon I was asking "Can I stop now?" complete with pathetic whimpering but they were merciless. I eventually got terminally tongue-tied half-way through Act 2 Scene 1 and sent them to bed. I really thought they'd tell me to shut up before I'd reached the end of the first long speech but no - I was even getting laughs in all the right places!

My Nanna (Dad's mum) would have been so proud, she was a complete Shakespeare nut. On the inside cover of that Bernard Miles book it says "To Miriam, Love Nana. 23-10-82" - my 12th birthday present. It would have given her the most enormous pleasure to know that her love of the bard which she shared with me is now being shared with her great grandchildren.

Mind you, all I can think of now is "Strangely enough, it all turns out well. How? I don't know. It's a mystery." and "I have a new play. What's it called? Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter." and most importantly "You see - comedy. Love, and a bit with a dog. That's what they want." I'll just have to go watch the movie again I guess. Such hardship!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Me and Dave day

I did something today that I used to think I never would. I let David stay home from the school swimming carnival even though he was in perfect health and hadn't actually asked to not go. In past years I've been well aware that Dave didn't really want to go. He was certainly never going to do anything so radical as enter an event, or, you know, get into the water or anything like that. But I was never much bothered by the idea of him sitting around all day doing nothing, not even able to talk to his friends (given that they're not in the same sporting house and the kids have to sit in their house groups), any suffering on his part was well worth not having him underfoot unnecessarily. Then last night I found myself saying to him, that if he'd rather not go he had the option of spending the day with me instead. Like he was ever going to choose to go to the carnival - HA!

I suppose it's something to do with him having turned into quite a pleasant human being whose company I rather enjoy. Who'd've thunk it? That and I'm a bit over the whole come along and cheer for your team/school spirit thing.

So he came with me to Weight Watchers (I lost 0.3kg, still heading in the right direction), we wandered in JB HiFi for a bit (he pointed out all the cool games he'd really like for his birthday and I bought a Whitlams CD), we had some lunch (KFC for him, beef pho for me) and went to Games Workshop and retrieved the paints he'd accidentally left there on the weekend.

Then we went clothes shopping. I made him try on a whole bunch of pants and tops and we found one shirt, one hoodie and one pair of pants in Myer that were ok but it was jeans we were really after for him and nothing in the Myer or Target kid's sections came even close to fitting. So we headed off to Just Jeans where he eventually ended up finding a pair of mens jeans that fit nicely...if you didn't pay too much attention to the 30cm of excess length in the legs. Then in a fit of being realistic I decided that taking them to a tailor to be altered was a really good idea, which we duly did and they were done within the hour which meant we could pick them up before we came home. Much better than having them sit in my sewing to do pile for 6 months. While waiting for the alterations I dragged Dave along to Target so I could try on some jeans myself, I've had one pair self-destruct and another looking like they're on their last legs this last week. Got 2 pairs and they were 20% off too which was nice. Next was a quick grocery shop, dump a bunch of stuff in the car and then dash back to pick up the altered jeans.

After all of which we had no time left to go home and had to head to the school to pick up Caitlin and Tom. I think maybe Dave was regretting foregoing the carnival by the end of the day. At least he got some exercise, we must have done the length of Hornsby Westfield multiple times - I can certainly feel the effects of all the walking tonight!

Caitlin was over the moon, she'd come 1st in the 25m kickboard race and 3rd in the 25m freestyle race, she reckons she'd have done better if she hadn't forgotten to take her goggles with her. The first ever sporting win of any kind for any of my kids :) Perhaps she'll consider entering some of the 50m races next year.

The afternoon consisted of prodding kids to do homework, taxiing Caitlin to dance classes and cooking steak and kidney. All of which went surprisingly well. The homework all got done without any yelling on my part, I fitted dinner preparation neatly in between car trips with Caitlin and my dad came to dinner and was suitably appreciative, none of the kids were rude about the meal (though Tom was the only one who ate everything) and there was just enough left over for me to stick a couple of lunch-sized serves in the freezer for later.

And now I am tired. Sleep sounds good....

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Menu plan 3 Mar 08

As usual, firstly a review of last week. What I thought was frozen veal casserole turned out to be beef goulash so that was a bit of a surprise on Thursday (no-one minded though). I still didn't get a decent grocery shop done early in the week and when I should have been out on Friday picking up the makings of homemade hamburgers and steak and kidney I was at home waiting for the new dishwasher to be delivered (it arrived safely, it fits and it works like a dream) so we ended up having a left-overs night and then spag bol on Saturday. We'll have the hamburgers tonight. As for the week ahead....

Baked dinner - leg of lamb and all the usual good stuff - special request from Tom
Plum pudding and custard - we still have some left in the freezer
Steak and kidney & mashed potato - attempt number two, my dad comes to dinner on Tuesdays, he'll appreciate this even if no-one else does
Fruit & yoghurt
Oven baked cajun fish, chips & salad
Jelly & fruit

Crockpot chicken curry & rice- I googled crockpot chicken curry and this one popped up so I thought I'd try it.
Fruit & yoghurt
Homemade pizza
Fresh fruit
BBQ steak, sausages and salad
Fruit & yoghurt
Stir fry pork & veg with rice
Fruit & yogurt