Monday, May 26, 2008

Menu plan 26 May 08

Last week in review: Monday and Tuesday happened as planned, Wednesday's fish morphed into Chinese takeaway (thanks Dad for going to pick it up, nothing like being invited over for dinner and then having to bring it with you), Thursday ended up being reheated beef bourguignon instead of the chicken casserole, David refused to eat the shepherds pie on Friday, we had homemade pizza on Saturday and last night we went out for teppanyaki at Fujiya in Gordon and it was good. I'm getting heartily sick of being bombarded with interrogations about "what's for dessert?" before I'm anywhere near finishing my meal, particularly when the answer "fruit and yoghurt" is met with groans and protestations. I'm thiiiiis close to declaring our house a dessert free zone.

Baked dinner - leg of lamb
Apple crumble & custard
Steak, jacket potato, corn on the cob & salad
Fruit & yoghurt
Grilled fish, oven wedges & salad - we'll try this again.
Rice pudding
Chicken Korma curry & rice
Fruit & yoghurt
Homemade pizza - there's ingredients left over from last week, better not let them go to waste!
Ice cream & fruit
Spag bol
Fruit & yoghurt
Left-overs - we'll have been at Family Fun Day at the school most of the day and I sincerely doubt anyone will be coming home hungry.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

RIP Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, author of the Myth Adventures series, has died. He'd been scheduled to appear at Marcon this weekend too so clearly this wasn't expected. I loved the Myth books, and also the Theives World anthology series and the Phule's Company novels. I was re-reading one of the Myth books recently thinking it might be something Dave would enjoy. Much sadness.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Adam and I had been trying to think of things to do with the kids...

...and then I followed a link on Blue milk's blog to Gever Tulley giving a brief talk on the topic of 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do. Now we're positively full of ideas!

I emailed the link to the video to Adam and he replied thusly:
Perhaps we could do all at the same time, I have an old laptop. We could
give them a pocket knife they could use it to disassemble the laptop while
it is on fire and ripping music, in the passenger seat of the MPV.....
See? Fun for all the family :)

Seriously though, when I was watching the video it was brought home to me with some force that there is a whole bunch of experiences that I had growing up which our kids haven't had nearly as much exposure to and I reckon it's time we did something about that.

Let's see how my childhood measured up against the list of things Gever talked about.
  1. Play with fire - we went camping multiple times a year when I was growing up and we very often had an open camp fire. Building the fire, feeding it as it burned down, cooking our own twist bread (we used a damper recipe for the dough) on sticks over the coals, no doubt giving my parents heart failure at every turn...good times.

  2. Own a pocket knife - I must admit the actual owning of a pocket knife came a little later in my teen years but I seem to remember that before the one that belonged to me there was one I'd pinched from my dad.

  3. Throw a spear - hmmm. We certainly played with sticks quite a bit. And there was plenty of throwing of rocks either off bush ledges or skimming on water. It's different to throwing a ball I think, finding something on the ground, feeling its heft in your hand, estimating how it will travel through the air. Javelin throwing, I've done that too, but I'm pretty sure that didn't happen till high school. Fun though.

  4. Deconstruct appliances - Yep, definitely used to do this. When something stopped working I would pull it apart, fiddle with it and then put it back together again. Sometimes it would even begin working again. We used to have an ancient and unreliable tape player that would, every so often, eat my tapes. When that happened I would calmly stop the player and grab a screwdriver. Seeing as I remember the tape this happened to most often being the sound track to the Robin Hood movie I'm pretty sure I was fairly young when I began doing this.

  5. Break the DMCA - well, I was a dab hand at making tape copies of vinyl records, and recording songs from the radio, that was an exercise in intense concentration and required devoting vast amounts of time to sitting with finger poised over the record button listening for the first note of the song you were waiting for to begin playing, kids these days don't know how good they've got it!

  6. Drive a car - did this on a Scripture Union camp when I was, I think, about 12 years old. Also sprained my ankle on that camp, rode a horse bareback (not connected) and chased a lot of mice (it was during a mouse plague and we were camping out in sheep country).
That was fun, I don't often think about my childhood and I don't have a huge number of clear memories from when I was young but it's interesting to me that thinking about these things brought up some of my favourite memories. Things that involved being independent, exploring the world, figuring stuff out for myself. Things like pretending to be Ned Kelly in the bush with my cousins when we were camping at Megalong Valley (that's the rock throwing one - the mind boggles!), blunting the blade of a pocket knife in the quest for a perfect twist bread stick, lying on a grassy slope in the camping ground at Bundanoon at night looking at the stars with my Grandad's binoculars (ok, they didn't really make any difference in what we could see but that wasn't the point), falling in the creek fully clothed in the middle of winter at Megalong Valley, rummaging through my Grandad's tools (he'd been a builder by trade) - which Dad had inherited and were sitting largely unused in our garage - to find what I needed to fix or make something. There's more of course but I shan't drag you any further down memory lane just now.

Time to get ourselves sorted and with our Huscarls kit and get along to one of their camps, there ought to be plenty of these sorts of experiences to be had there, apparently it is standard practice for the kids to all bugger off after breakfast and not be seen again till dinner time. Adam is sewing authentic type clothing for the kids as I type and there is leather working stuff strewn all over the coffee table, he's been making belt pouches for everyone. We're making progress...ok he's making progress, I'm just making supportive noises from the lounge.

Blue milk's post was actually about parenting styles and whether or not we are the parent we want to be. I guess I'd have to say yes, I am. I'm not perfect, no where near in point of fact, but I reckon I'm doing an ok job most of the time And I'm me, not someone else. I don't want to be anyone else. I lean more towards the slow parenting model rather than that of hyper-parenting (wouldn't have the energy for that :P), I'm fairly relaxed, I prefer to let my kids amuse themselves, I want to foster independence in my kids -
"Muuum, can I have breakfast?"
"Certainly, feel free to help yourself, and while you're at it put the kettle on and make me a cup of tea"
- or maybe I mean servitude, it's hard to tell. LOL There are things I'd like to do a bit better or a bit different but on the whole it seems to be working so I guess if it ain't broke....

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Menu plan 19 May 08

I keep writing these things and then half the time deciding that I don't really want what I have planned for that night. Still, I'm cooking more than I was and there's often something in the freezer I can reheat on the days when wrestling with the kitchen seems too much like hard work.

Lamb cutlets, noodles & steamed veg
Fruit & yogurt
Corned beef, onion sauce & steamed veg
Fruit & yogurt
Grilled fish, oven wedges & salad
Rice pudding
Chicken and leek casserole with rice
Fruit & yoghurt
Shepherds pie
Ice cream & fruit
BBQ seafood and stir fry veg
Apple crumble & custard
Mango chicken curry & rice
Fruit & yoghurt

To sprawl or to snuggle that is the question

Clara had been an outside dog before she came to live with us (what with her family renting the house they were in and all) but lounges seemed to hold no mystery at all. She knew exactly what they were for as soon as she saw them.

When no-one else is sitting in the lounge room this is her favourite spot.


(Ye gods my lounge looks filthy in the light of the flash!)


Did something just go click?

However, as enjoyable as a good sprawl is, should mummy sit down for even a moment, well, then there's snuggling to be done.


So here I sit with my laptop balanced on one knee and the sound of gentle snores coming from the other.

It's slightly awkward really.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Movie meme

I was tagged by Megan for this one.

1. One movie that made you laugh
I watched Death at a Funeral last night and laughed so hard there were tears.

2. One movie that made you cry
I have a vivid memory of going to see Gandhi at Roseville Theatre when I was 12 years old and sobbing in horror during interval (back in the days when they still had an interval during a film - mind you, Roseville was old-fashioned, I doubt any other theatres were doing intervals) at what the British did to the Indian people.

3. One movie you loved when you were a child
Robin Hood - I was Robin Hood for many years :) Beats being a princess don't you think?

4. One movie you’ve seen more than once
Serenity, I've actually lost count of how many times I've seen this on the big screen.

5. One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it
Hmm, I'm not much for caring what anyone else thinks about my preferences so I really can't think of anything to put here.

6. One movie you hated
Fucking Barbie movies. All of them. I loathe them with a fiery passion and Caitlin and Tom loved them when they were younger (still do a bit). All rather distressing really.

7. One movie that scared you
I don't recall ever being scared as such by a movie, I tend to find things distasteful rather than scary and therefore am not interested in watching. Alien and Aliens had a touch of the edge of the seat to them though.

8. One movie that bored you
We're watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom right now and OMG I'm bored.

9. One movie that made you happy
Shakespeare in Love - I do believe I've mentioned this before :)

10. One movie that made you miserable
I don't know about miserable as such, but Schindler's List was kind of depressing.

11. One movie you weren’t brave enough to see
Again with it's not a question of bravery, it's a question of taste and I won't watch something I'm not going to enjoy.

12. One movie character you’ve fallen in love with
Ummmm...nope, I got nothing. I'm not sure what that says about me, possibly just that I have a really bad memory.

13. The last movie you saw
Tonight was supposed to be an Indiana Jones marathon in preparation for watching the new one next week, we gave up after the first 2, might do the 3rd...might not. I'm trying to remember the last one I saw at the theatre (see, there's that bad memory again)...oh gawd, I think it was Alvin and the Chipmunks. Now that is depressing.

14. The next movie you hope to see
I want to see Iron Man but it looks like Indy will come first.

I don't do the tagging thing, if you're bored and you want to, consider yourself tagged.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I did it! I finally did it!

I got to level 50 on Free Rice!

Every time I play I get to level 49 in no time flat and then waver between that and 45ish interminably. So frustrating.

But tonight I hit 50.

Now to aim for level 60....

Dollhouse trailer

Our first glimpse of Dollhouse!

Oh yes, there's new Joss Whedon goodness on the way. Can't wait.

ETA: The youtube posting isn't working just now, here's another link to the trailer.

Link-fest No. 3

John Scalzi has a shareware short story available for download: “How I Proposed to My Wife: An Alien Sex Story” You can download it for free then, if you like it, send money!

Jay's Conversations with Patients make me laugh.

Blue milk on the fact that maternity leave is not a holiday.

California Supreme court overturns gay marriage ban.
"The California Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples should be permitted to marry, rejecting state marriage laws as discriminatory."
Now, if only we could follow suit here in Australia.

I discovered the Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans and have been following links all over the place.

Grab Your Fork makes me hungry and also makes me realise I should try out some of the restaurants close to home.

And on that note, time for lunch - home made pea and ham soup, here I come!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

All worn out

All I did was give her a bath! She slept like this, sprawled out in the sun, for a good hour and a half, not even looking up when I came to the door to see why she was being so quiet. It seems getting wet is seriously exhausting.

All worn out

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

LibraryThing unread books meme

Pinched from Lauredhel at Hoyden About Town

What we have here is the top 100 or so books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you’ve read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish.

Not going to do the underlining because often I'd already read for pleasure books that were later assigned as school reading. So, bold means I’ve read it, whether for school or for fun. Italic means I started and didn’t finish. Plain text means I haven’t even tried.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22 (and re-read but not recently)
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion (just once, couldn't finish it on subsequent re-reads)
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote (I meant to finish it but I think I got distracted by something else)
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey (I've dipped in but not had a serious go at it)
Pride and Prejudice (Many times)
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities (I remember picking this up and starting it one night when my family was visiting friends of my parents and we kids had been put to bed while the adults had grown-up time)
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
Cryptonomicon (this one is beside my bed)
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down (many, many times)
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit (many, many times)
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Serenity Con stuff

I went to the Hub Productions Serenity convention this weekend. Had a great time. Came home exhausted. This account will probably be a little disjointed as a result.

Friday night at the cocktail party was fun, it pays to go hang out with the smokers despite a serious loathing of ciggy smoke. Here's what happened, as told by ZB:
As a long time smoker, I am very aware that cigarettes are very very bad. You know when they're not bad? When Ron "Shepherd Book very ridiculously awesome and also amazingly sexy" Glass wanders up to me and Jenwah (and Mim, the token non-smoker) and asks for a cigarette, and then hangs out and chats with us for 20 minutes or so, smoking and generally shooting the proverbial shit. That's when cigarettes and being a smoker = made of BDH win!!

Had a great time talking to Ron. Managed a very brief chat with Nathan on the subject of traffic and pubic transport policy in various cities around the world, a topic we arrived at because he asked how our day had been and we mentioned the 2 hours it took for us to drive in to town, major traffic jam due to some sport event thingy or other. Jen and I stayed the night in town so we wouldn't have to worry about driving home and also so we would be able to relax and not be in a huge rush to make it back into town the next morning for...

Breakfast! I wound up sitting next to Ron for the buffet breakfast, we discussed the differences in bacon cooking styles between the US (crispy) and Australia (I don't know, what would you call it, warmed through? Can you tell I prefer the crispy version too?), whether or not we let our pets sleep in our beds - I used to share with the cat but now won't, Dana never thought she would but now shares with her dog, Ron finds the whole idea horrifying - and when Nathan came down our end of the table to say hello there was an intense debate on the subject of calculating time in different time zones which made it clear that none of us had had enough sleep. After a while I began to notice that whenever I said something Ron would giggle quietly, I'm not sure this was a good thing, clearly I'm either mildly amusing or slightly weird. Or possibly both?

The highlight of the photo shoot session was Jen's photo with Ron which has to be seen to be properly appreciated but sadly she has no scanner at home so I can't link to it just yet, he literally swept her off her feet! When it was my turn Ron laughed at me again. Ron laughs a lot, this is a good thing because Ron's laugh is gorgeous. I do have a scanner but I am too lazy to fiddle around with it just now so you'll have to wait to see my signed pics with the boys.

Jason Palmer's talk was interesting, I enjoyed it very much. His work is made of awesome and my bank balance is therefore somewhat worse for wear. David scored a Boba Fett print (can't find this on his sites), Caitlin has a Jack Sparrow one and Tom has an Empire Strikes Back one. I fell in love with a portrait of Book which, we found out during Jason's talk, is the one picture of himself in a professional capacity that Ron wanted to hang in his house. Ron then told us during his Q&A that the only problem with it is he can't decide where to put it!

Ron had some hints about Shepherd Book to share:
  • Book found god in a soup bowl - which prompted someone in the front row to say "Excuse me waiter there's a god in my soup", Ron asked if she wanted to swap spots with him.
  • He took the name of someone he killed.
  • Book's greatest victory was his greatest defeat.
Ummm, what else?....

Nope, too tired, I'll have to come back to this later.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Introduction time

Meet Clara.

She brought one of her toys with her when she came to live with us.


She's pretty keen to have people play with her (note slightly blurred tip of the tail, there's some high speed wagging happening here).

Let's play

This afternoon I bought her a new toy, she's not so keen to share that one.

New toy

Nope, really not letting go.

Not letting go

But it's still kind of fun to have playmates.

I was up at 6:30 this morning for walkies and the kids were out in the yard after breakfast running around with her, then back there again this afternoon. I'm thinking this is going to be pretty good for all of us!

Welcome to the family Clara.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Menu plan 5 May 08

Sleep? Who needs sleep when there's a new Dr Who episode to watch. Yeah, I should have been in bed 3 hours ago but I had stuff to do for the mothers day craft stall and then Adam came out with his laptop with the new ep and well, here we still are. At least I've manged to do something else useful at the same time!

Tacos & salad
Fruit salad
Oven fish & chips
Fruit and yoghurt
Veal casserole
Stewed fruit and custard
Butter chicken and rice
Fruit & yoghurt
BBQ steak etc - not that I'll be here for this one. Instead I'll be at the Hub Serenity con cocktail party meeting Nathan Fillion and Ron Glass :D :D :D
Ice cream & fruit
Hamburgers & oven wedges
Soup & bread - I'm assuming someone not me will be doing Mothers Day lunch....
Fruit & yoghurt

Friday, May 02, 2008

I've always said I like other people's dogs....

Her name is Clara and she's a staffy (I think, god, I know bugger all about dogs :P). I'm not sure how old she is, 3-ish perhaps. When she wags her tail it's not just the tail that wags, her entire body curls around into a semi-circle. I kind of fell for Clara the first time I met her about a year ago, something about the grinning face and her insistence on receiving her fair share of attention coupled with her beautifully good behaviour. Hey, I'm a sucker for other people's dogs.

Clara belongs to a family who came here from Germany at the beginning of last year with the intention of staying for at least 4 years (if memory serves) but those plans were thwarted when dad's contract was canceled and no other work could be found before the terms of their visa forced them to head back to Germany. They leave next Friday.

Caitlin was invited for a play after school this afternoon with their daughter (they were in the same class last year) and when I arrived to pick Caitie up Clara did her usual dance of joy to greet me. Eventually the conversation came round to the dog and the fact that it was prohibitively expensive for them to take her with them and that they were going to take her to the pound in the morning. I'm not even sure who it was that first suggested it, it might have been one of the kids, I don't think it was me...but of course, once the idea was out there we were doomed.

We're getting a dog.

She's moving in here on Monday.

We'd better fix the fences.