Sunday, November 30, 2008

Never do anything by halves

Or even just plain old wholes apparently.

Somehow NaBloPoMo's 30 posts in 30 days turned into 41 posts in 30 days. What can I say? Once you're floundering for something of interest to post pretty much anything starts to look post-worthy! It's been fun, I've found new blogs to read and I've spent way too much time sitting on the lounge with my laptop on my knee and the dog cuddled up against my leg and there's been a whole heap of new traffic here in my little corner of the net. It's been lovely to "meet" those of you who have left comments, thank you for dropping by :)

Now, I suppose I'd better get on with the stuff on my to do list for today, first up - wash the dog!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Adam has terrible taste in movies

I've been sitting here trying to read blogs while Adam watches 10,000 BC. My god it's awful. Actually I'm not sure why he's watching at all given that every so often I'm hearing him exclaim about the variously stupid things happening on screen. I suppose I should be grateful that at least it's a DVD so I'm not also being subjected to ad breaks.

He's just offered the criticism "they've got very good teeth..."

Dr Horrible DVD available for pre-order!

Do I really need to say anything else?

It's here.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Submissions for the next Down Under Feminist Carnival must be in this weekend

December's edition of the Down Under Feminist Carnival is being hosted at Ideologically Impure. You've got till the end of the weekend to submit posts for the carnival, so if there's something you've read or written this month that you think needs to be included, send it in. If you can’t access the form, you can use the Hoyden contact instead.

Getting ready

I've spent the last few weeks responding to every hint of Christmas - decorations in shops, carol singing kids at the breakfast table, request from Adam for fruit mince pies (he ended up cooking his own) - by growling "it's not December yet!" in true bah humbug fashion. But come Monday it will be December and that means there's a whole bunch of Stuff To Do this weekend.

As I mentioned, we've done barely any Christmas shopping, so tonight is list writing time and the plan is to be up and out bright and early tomorrow morning for a bit of a marathon effort at the shops. I'm going to do as much as I can on-line and there are some people I can shop for at work but not every member of my extended family fits into the sci-fi geek category (more's the pity). I'm also hoping to do some major tidying up around the house and shifting of furniture so we can move our old entertainment unit out of the lounge room and take it downstairs. This will reclaim the huge chunk of space it's uselessly taking up given that the new TV doesn't fit in it (instead the TV is sitting on the coffee table, we're waiting on new TV and storage units which are being custom made). Saturday night we have a Christmas party to go to which will be nice, we won't stay too late though, I don't want us or the kids too tired for Sunday.

Sunday is decorating day. We'll be putting up the tree, festooning the lounge room with figurines and musical stuffed toys, wondering where the heck that Advent calendar is (I'd forgotten it was missing till I went back and read that post. Damn.), wrestling with mysteriously tangled strings of outdoor lights (doesn't matter how carefully you put them away the year before, tangled they will be) and putting Santa hats on the Dalek and R2-D2 robots.

David suggested this afternoon that we find all the Christmas books and put them in a special box to read in the lead up to Christmas, I was already intending to do just that so it was nice to know it'll be worth doing. Not sure when I'll tackle that one though. Sometime before Monday night I guess.

Sunday afternoon we'll be going to see Carnival of the Animals and possibly going out for pizza and gelato afterwards.

Then I will die of exhaustion.

But it will be a happy death, I will be able to turn on all my pretty lights, light the vanilla, cranberry and spice scented candles, put some music on and bask in the indulgent, silly, over the top Christmassy wonderfulness of it all.

Because I'm not really a bah humbug person at all, I love every bit of it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Because clearly I have too much free time

Caitlin sang Abba's Thank You For the Music in the school talent quest this afternoon, she was first up on stage, the microphone wasn't working properly (again) and the audience started clapping just as she was about to start the 3rd verse. She took it all in her stride and sang beautifully.

I was thrilled to see several other very talented kids up there singing this year, a couple of year 6 girls with very good voices, one of whom accompanied herself on the electric guitar, and a boy in Caitlin's year who sang Little People from Les Misérables. I get all stupid grinning happy when I see kids doing this stuff whether they're my own kids or not, I'm the same with the dance concert each year too.

Afterwards when we were out in the playground having congratulatory hugs one of the teachers came up to us and instructed me to book Caitlin in for an audition with the Berowra Musical Society for their production of Les Miz.

So I did.

(I harbour a secret desire to be in a musical myself one day, perhaps I ought to audition too....)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Garlic prawn and spinach risotto

I went shopping this afternoon knowing that I wanted to make a prawn risotto but without having looked up a recipe. So I put on my recipe inventing hat and chucked in the trolley whatever seemed like a good idea at the time. I reckon it turned out ok.

Garlic prawn and spinach risotto

2 tbspn olive oil
500g garlic prawns (I got the De Costi ones)
2 onions, diced
50g butter
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine (nicked from the bottle my dad brought to have with the meal)
1 L chicken stock (made with salt reduced Massel cubes)
400g can diced tomatoes with oregano and basil
1 bunch English spinach, coarsely shredded
freshly ground black pepper
2 tspn lemon juice

  1. Heat the stock and wine in a saucepan and keep it at a low simmer.

  2. In a large non-stick pan, heat the oil and cook the prawns until just changed in colour, remove from pan and set aside.

  3. Add onions and butter to pan and cook until transparent. Stir in the rice until well coated.

  4. Add the stock 1/2 cup at a time stirring constantly over a medium heat, each time waiting until all the liquid is absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. About half-way through add the tin of diced tomatoes and season with pepper. Once all the stock has been added taste test the rice, if it's still a little on the firm side add hot water in small amounts and continue stirring until the rice is cooked through.

  5. Add the spinach and, once the spinach has wilted, add the cooked prawns and lemon juice and stir until heated through.
Of course, the kids thought I was poisoning them. Tom picked out the prawns and ate them and then tried to eat the rice without consuming any vegetables, David took 2 bites and announced he wasn't hungry and Caitlin ate, hmmm, let's see, maybe 3 grains of rice? Dad and I both had seconds and Clara thought all her Christmases had come at once when the kids gave her their left-overs.

Teaspoon update

Caitlin talked to her teacher and the group was asked to change their name.

They're now called the Gummi Bears :)

No-one was difficult about it. The girl who had originally chosen the name and given the explanation of its meaning protested that she didn't mean anything by it, which I take to mean she was a bit embarrassed to be called out on the matter. I'm also pretty sure she's never given any serious thought to the issue, she's just following along with the mob. I wonder how many teaspoon nudges it takes to get a mob to change direction?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wielding her teaspoon*

Caitlin's class has recently re-arranged their seating and each table group gave themselves a name. Caitlin is sitting with the "Gaybo" group. I asked what the hell that was supposed to mean. Apparently, according to the kid who suggest the name, it means "we're not gay."


I was glad to hear Caitlin had no part in choosing the name. David tells me that "gaybo" is used as an insult by kids at the school, so how it also means "not gay" isn't quite clear to me, but either way it's problematic.

Thing is, if my "that's dodgy" radar went off, why didn't the teacher's?

When I pointed out the problem with the name, Caitlin instantly said she should go to her teacher and tell her "that it's homophobic". It's pretty cool that she wants to do that but I can't help but feel apprehensive about the possible fall-out for her. Guess that's what letting your kids grow up is about, at some point you have to step back and let them take risks and I do think it's better coming from her than from me.

This'll follow on nicely from the class discussion that was had last week when the scripture teacher was away. They all took turns talking about their beliefs about religion so Caitlin found herself proclaiming her atheism to the whole class (I think there were a couple of others who also said they didn't believe in god, so about 10% of the class, which I found interesting).

*the teaspoon reference comes from here.

Status report

Lego pistol - retrieved, the friend admitted his mistake without any need to produce the evidence.

Laundry - Mostly folded but not ironed and at least 3 loads waiting to be done.

Kitchen - pantry and tupperware cupboard exploded several weeks ago, it's been a losing battle ever since.

Groceries - I am so not adjusting to not being able to do the shopping when the kids are at school, we are out of most of the basics and used up the last of the frozen left-overs last night. Looks like I'll be shopping this evening.

Kid's homework - I'm conflicted about this, they're all outside playing happily and being energetic, I so don't want to to drag them in and have them switch to irritating each other while I end up yelling at them to "sit down, pick up a pen and bloody well do your homework!"

Christmas shopping - I've done nigh on bugger all, this has me a little concerned as by this time I have usually pretty much finished.

Sleep - in deficit by at least 6 hours. Must go to bed before 11:00pm tonight.

Work - I'm enjoying it, so far so good.

Friends - fabulous.

Husband - awesome.

Life - despite the inevitable frustrations of being a parent and the whole adjusting to the new way things are around here, is pretty bloody good.

NaBloPoMo - taxing my creativity :P

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Great Lego Pistol dispute

Just when I was looking forward to a quiet afternoon. Ha! No, we must have drama instead! David came out of class this afternoon in a right state. The story emerged slowly, interspersed with sobs and sniffles.

A piece of Lego is being held hostage in the teacher's staff room this afternoon after a major dispute over ownership broke out in class today. Why the hell are the kids playing with Lego in class? Well may you ask! It's all to do with the project they're doing - a personal interest project - they have to produce a presentation of some sort about something they like. So, for David and a few of his friends, that means Lego. They've been taking models they've made to school and photographing them to use in animations or comics or whatever.

Actually, David takes Lego to school most days to play with at recess and lunchtime. I'm not happy about this for several reasons, it's expensive, easy to lose, he's prone to sneaking it out in class and fiddling with it when he should be working and it's vulnerable to being pinched. But short of bag searches and pat downs each morning I can't stop him, so instead we've established some rules. It's not to come out during class, he has to accept that in taking it to school he risks losing it and that if that happens he will get no sympathy from me and he's not allowed to make it my, or the teachers' problem in any way.

Unfortunately it all came unstuck today when he lent some of his Lego to a friend to use in their project. A tiny Lego pistol became separated from the rest of the model and was claimed by another friend (and here's the odd bit) and promptly gifted to the first friend. Shortly afterwards David realised he was missing the pistol (and let me assure you, he's obsessive enough to be damn sure about what he does or doesn't own or have with him at any particular time). David indicated that the pistol was in fact his and within moments the discussion had degenerated into 2 of them yelling "No, it's mine!" at each other. They ended up in front of the deputy principal (here's where I cringe in humiliation) who has confiscated the disputed property and requires proof of ownership before it will be returned. What I don't get is that the friend who is contesting ownership is the one who gave it away when he thought it was his, why does he even care?

So when Dave tells me he's supposed to come up with proof of ownership I'm all "What? How the hell are you supposed to do that?" I need not have worried, he had it all figured out. It seems the key is which set the pistol is supposed to have come from, Dave identified it as part of the Batman range, the friend said it came from an Indiana Jones set and that the 2 sets have the same piece in them. Dave assured the teachers that the 2 pistols are different but they would not take him at his word (this was the source of most of the distress, to not be believed about a question of Lego, of all things, was devastating).

I read the riot act on the subject of reasonable responses to situations and the inappropriateness of losing your shit over a tiny piece of plastic, said that of course I believe him, laid down the law about not taking your bad mood out on the rest of us after he snarled at Tom for asking what was wrong and then assured him it will all be ok.

All of which goes to explain why we had to come home and raid the site for pictures of pistols.

Evidence gatherer, trauma counsellor, behaviour critic and giver of hugs. That's me.

You'd think there'd be enough real problems to wrestle with without this sort of mountain out of molehill stuff as well.

David is right, of course.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I feel a little less safe from storms after today.

Living, as we do, at the bottom of a gully, sheltered from the worst of the winds in the storms that come through this part of Sydney, I've always felt pretty safe even though we are surrounded by tress that, if they fell, would do some serious damage to the house. Earlier today we had a very brief storm hit, it wasn't particularly windy but there was some fairly heavy rain. And now we have slightly less tree than we used to.

Fallen branches

Fallen branches

Two fairly decent sized branches have come down off the Liquid Amber that dominates our front yard. I'm so glad they didn't take out the power and phone cables on the way down, or leave us with a damaged roof or deck.

You can't even tell that the tree is missing anything what with it being so big and leafy.

Liquid Amber

The only problem is that now my occasional visions of what it would be like if the whole bloody thing came down seem just that little bit more likely.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blog quiz warning, content free post ahead

It's scientifically proven, my cats are out to get me!

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

Well, this was much better for the ego than that other periodic table quiz.

Name That Element

Can't do rat dog breeds at all, except for chihuahua, I'd know those evil buggers anywhere.

Name That Dog Breed

I cheated on this one and made Adam help me, I'm notoriously useless when it comes to movie trivia.

Name That Movie Villain

With 11 seconds to spare! (shhh, don't tell them about Pluto)

I named 9 planets in 30 seconds Can you name all the planets in our solar system? (in 30 seconds)

I used to be able to do all of them thanks to a bit over a years worth of schooling in the US, but it always took longer than 10 minutes.

I named 38 US states in 10 minutes How many US states can you name in 10 minutes?

And on that note, I think I'll go to bed.

Happy (belated) 98th birthday Grandma

On Friday I had lunch with my mum and my grandma.

I was one day late seeing Grandma for her birthday and missed out on being part of the larger family gathering the night before but there were advantages to being there just with my mum and the birthday girl. Grandma finds it very difficult to hear people when there's a lot of background noise (though her new hearing aides are helping) so it's much easier to carry on a conversation with her with no-one else around.

We talked about curries and Chinese food - Grandma is a fan of both and is disappointed by the curry served at the nursing home, it lacks flavour. She asked how I was getting my housework done now that I'm in paid work - I joked that it wasn't getting done (except it's not a joke but that's not a new situation, I'm not much of a clean freak and besides Adam does at least as much as me round the house). We discussed the trickier clues in today's Sydney Morning Herald crossword - Grandma does it every day. When asked what I was doing with the rest of my day I said nothing exciting, maybe some laundry, Grandma told me that when her kids were young she swore to herself that once they were out of nappies she was only ever going to wash once a week because she hated it and besides it was more efficient not to wash every day - well it would be if you had to fire up the copper to get it done! It's no wonder Grandma hated the laundry so much, hand washing and line drying nappies for twins born in mid-winter would traumatise anyone.

Happy 98th birthday Grandma!

After lunch we took our cups of tea out to the verandah and sat in the sun for a while, when we went back in Grandma's glasses (they're the ones that change tint depending on light levels) were so dark she couldn't see a thing, had to take them off, it's a good thing she moves slowly with that walker of hers, a half-blind wheely-frame driver moving at speed would be a right menace.

I didn't have a particularly close relationship with Grandma until I started to spend time with her on my own as an adult. I'm very glad she's been around for me to get to know properly, and for my kids to have the chance to know her.

Happy 98th birthday Grandma.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A plethora of Python

Monty Python have gone the "can't beat 'em? Join 'em!" route and are launching their very own official high definition YouTube channel.

via Hoyden About Town

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Damn, I found out about this one day too late

Following links from this post at Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony I discovered that last night I missed watching the Australian TV premiere of the documentary A Well Founded Fear.

From the film's web-site:
The Australian Government sends back asylum seekers it doesn't think are refugees. International law says people shouldn't be sent to unsafe locations. But the Australian Government never finds out what happens to the asylum seekers they don't want. So a determined Australian with a passion for justice has made it his mission.

A Well-Founded Fear is a moving documentary film about Phil Glendenning's search for the asylum seekers Australia rejected. The film follows him as he travels through Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Canada.
I really wish I'd known it was on, I must make sure I keep an eye out for other opportunities to watch it.

Back when my kids were little some of my mum's friends, and when she could my mum too, were involved with visiting refugees who were being detained. Hearing the stories of those people and knowing how completely and horrifically wrong the Howard government's treatment of asylum seekers was, would leave me consumed with anger and sorrow for our failings as a nation. When we finally got rid of Howard, a change in Australia's treatment of refugees was very high on my list of things to be hopeful for.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Car parks are not always concrete jungles

My new workplace is in a fairly recent development hacked out of the edge of a quite extensive area of bushland. The views from the office are rather nice and they've done a pretty good job with the landscaping, the car parks have plenty of garden beds strewn about the place.

Apparently the local wildlife have lost no time in making themselves at home, Jen tells me she often sees a couple of reptilian residents making use of the warm bitumen in the car parks.

As I was leaving this afternoon, this fellow popped out from under a car as I walked past and headed off into the garden. He seemed quite happy to hang around and have his photo taken.

Another dragon

I wanted to get a shot that showed just how big he was but of course there's nothing in shot to give a sense of scale, suffice to say he was big for a water dragon!

This was a lot of lizard

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Questions people ask

Every now and then, when I'm futzing around doing nothing much I pull up the keyword searches that bring visitors to my blog. I'm sometimes disappointed that it's really not that interesting but then perhaps it's better not to be regarded as an expert on the matter of ugly underarms.

BBQs. Quite a number of people end up here looking for the Beefmaster bmh4cs BBQ. What they get is one of my menu plans. For the record, it's a good BBQ, we're pretty happy with it.

There's a whole bunch of folks who want to know how to fix a flyscreen, don't look at me, that one's still broken a whole year later!

My roast pumpkin and couscous salad is getting quite a few hits, I wonder if anyone ever uses the recipe. Traffic to the fruit mince pies recipe is picking up again, 'tis the season and all. For those of you looking for vegan fruit mince pies, I'll get ZB on the case and we'll get back to you ok?

Speaking of the season, my Firefly Christmas poem is still finding new readers on occasion.

The Evil League of Evil and its high achieving leader Bad Horse send an awful lot of people my way, I hope they enjoy the screen caps.

This I have no clue about: "middle age indulgences tinsel". The mind boggles.

Oh, and folks, 3 hours sleep is definitely not enough. Do you really need to ask?

Monday, November 17, 2008


I got nothing, have some giant microbes:


Last November I got to day 22 before hitting the wall and fobbing you off with my shoe collection, I hate to think what depths I'll be driven to in another week from now.

I think what this collection has over the shoes is its undeniable cuteness, geek value and the therapeutic benefits of being able to throw small stuffed toys at one's children while yelling "Plague! Mad Cow Disease! Flesh Eating Bacteria!"

The kids have devised a complex game with specific rules for the use of each critter. Various diseases can only be launched at your opponent under certain conditions, possession of the white blood cell is hotly contested, and should you have the misfortune to find yourself with custody of both the egg and sperm cell you are required to imitate the gait of a heavily pregnant woman for a set period of time (yep, even if you're a boy). It's all very educational.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shakespeare for the modern age

This I had to share.

Hamlet, the Facebook news feed edition.

via Penni at eglantine's cake

Daiquiris at 1 am not recommended

I had fun last night, chatted to a whole bunch of people I hadn't seen in 15 or more years, drank too much champagne, danced way more than my feet liked and, in exchanging tales of what we're all doing with ourselves lately, realised that I probably have a few more projects and activities on the go than average.

I called Adam to come and get me at about 12:45 am, we got home and he asked me "Tea or coffee?" Apparently I replied "Mango daiquiri" (I confess I vaguely remember this) and the next thing I know he's out in the kitchen digging out the blender and making a whole jug of boozy mango deliciousness.

Oh man, it was difficult getting up this morning and I don't think I was much use helping out at the BBQ for the school Christmas Markets this afternoon.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mum's taxi

7:30 am - Get up, shower, dress and do Caitlin's hair and make-up.

8:25 am -Take Caitlin to dance dress rehearsal for Ballet.

8:40 am - Come home, have breakfast (egg and bacon roll cooked by Adam, because he is awesome), wrap birthday present for party Tom is going to, frantically search for invite which isn't on the cork board where it's supposed to be, make card on computer.

9:40 am - Go back to pick up Caitlin.

9:55 am - Drop Caitlin home so she can get changed and take Tom to party.

10:05 am - Decide to write blog post now because...

10:40 am - Take Caitlin to dance dress rehearsal for Hip Hop.

10:50 am - Go do grocery shopping hopefully managing to get it home and put away before...

11:55 am - Back to pick Caitlin up.

12:05 pm - Lunch is looking like a good idea about now.

1:40 pm - Go pick up Tom from party.

2:00 pm - Re-do Caitlin's hair and make-up.

2:30 pm - Take Caitlin to dance dress rehearsal for Song and Dance.

2:40 pm - Oh, I don't know, maybe do some laundry?

3:25 pm - Back to pick up Caitlin.

And then, at 5:00 pm I'm going out to my 20 year School Reunion which I feel kind of weird about.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Waiting for the southerly

Memories of childhood.

Hot summer days. Playing under the sprinkler. Lying on a towel in the sun (but not for too long!). Sprawling on the lounge, curtains drawn, fending off the heat outside. A wet face washer cooled in front of the fan and laid on face and arms for momentary ease.

Lying in bed in the evening with the window wide opening, stifling heat keeping sleep at bay. Waiting for that first breath of moving air. The sheer curtain finally lifting, billowing, and falling back against the glass, but just the once. A cool breeze creeping through the window, not quite strong enough to push aside the curtain. Looping the curtain up out of the way. The breeze picks up, there's a smell of rain in the air. The first fat drops begin to fall. The sound of wind in the trees heralds its arrival.

The southerly finally hits. I can breathe again and sleep in the welcome coolness.

The air-con problem yesterday was not just operator error. Something ain't right, there's someone coming to look at it tomorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Things I'd like to know.

Why do my forearms and fingers ache today? Did I manage to sleep on both arms all night or something?

Why are embedded YouTube videos in blogs, including my own, not showing up for me today? They worked just fine yesterday.*

Why did it take me at least 2 hot and grumpy hours this afternoon to figure out that the reason the brand new ducted air-conditioning wasn't cooling the house was that if you leave the door to downstairs wide open then it'll do a sterling job of cooling the rooms you aren't inhabiting but bugger all for the part of the house you're in?

Why does my son think that if he half-hears what someone is saying in the next room he can interrupt and demand to have the conversation repeated for his benefit?

Why do some people find it necessary to sneer at the interests of others as though only their own preferences and interests are valid?

And finally, what are we having for dinner? (Don't say toasted sandwiches - we're almost out of bread!)

My day has been a little on the frustrating side. Did you guess?

*Never mind, I did the turn everything off and start again thing and they came back.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm not sure I recognise myself here

See, apparently my blog has a post-grad reading level*,

blog readability test

is written by a man,

We think is written by a man (60%).

and I'm a performer.


The analysis indicates that the author of
is of the type:

ESFP - The Performers

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

Soft fabrics? Bright colours? Sweet smells? Bleh!

Today's pointless procrastination brought to you by Em aka Yodaobi.

*I'm sure the last time this one crossed my path I wasn't even making it to college level. Clearly I've got edumacated in the meantime.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Internet censorship in Senate Question Time today

Lauredhel of Hoyden About Town has posted a transcript of Greens Senator Scott Ludlum's question to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy about the government's proposed mandatory ISP level internet filtering. There are further links and discussion in the comments over there too.

Every time I think about this my head just goes all asplody with the stupid. It's so bloody OBVIOUS that it can't work the way they hope it will, that any filtering measures put in place will be bypassed by those who want to before you can say boo and that the attempt to restrict access to "unwanted" internet content is problematic at best (as Senator Ludlam asked in his supplementary "Will the Minister provide us a definition of what he means by “unwanted content” and where we might find a definition of “unwanted”?"). And then there's the issue of degraded internet performance.


Monday, November 10, 2008


Dina has given me my very first blog award, and given the nature of it I really ought to bounce it straight back at her - thank you Dina! - but that's not how these things work. Instead I get to pass it on to others and spread the blog love around.

So here's my thank you to all the lovely people who come regularly to visit me here and reassure me that I'm not just casting my messages in internet bottles adrift on a shore-less sea. Here, have a flower and know that I appreciate you :)

Lisa aka Indii
Mary P Jones

I had to draw the line somewhere so I somewhat arbitrarily settled on anyone who has commented 6 times or more in the last 6 months. Believe me when I say I appreciate everyone who visits whether they comment or not, I see you there in my stats and it's lovely to have you here :)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Wish me luck

Tomorrow I'm off to a new-ish job. I say "ish" because it's with the same company that I made my first foray back into the workforce with back in June. I'll be doing 2 half days a week in the office, and now that they've moved to bigger premises my bestest mate Jen and I are able to be there at the same time so I'm quite looking forward to that.

I'm still doing 2 half days at the bookshop as well so I'm only left with one day to myself. I'm actually a little worried that it'll all end in tears, or that we'll be eating toasted sandwiches for dinner several nights a week because I can't get my act together.

So, um, yeah. Wish me luck!

Mums are meant to be boring

Tom and Dave are playing Guitar Hero and rocking out to Message in a Bottle. I'm sitting on the lounge reading blogs and singing along.

Tom, very surprised: "Mum, since when are you into rock music?!"


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Link-fest No.8

Random stuff that I like and a few ways to waste time.

Stephen Fry blogs about language.

Otto the octopus wreaks havoc.

Cath at The Canberra Cook keeps posting recipes which I read and think "Must cook that" (but because I'm incredibly lazy when it comes to cooking I have yet to try any of them). Her Christmas Cake sounds fabulous, I should have started it several weeks ago....

I'm not sure just how much of the periodic table I'd have been able to fill in back in the days of university chemistry lectures but I do know that the number of elements I can recall off the top of my head now is depressingly small. Though I'm sure doing it while sitting in front of the Roman Mysteries on DVD isn't helping (the kids are pretending not to be interested while sitting with eyes glued to the screen).

My score on the geography quiz is slowly improving, I only occasionally end up on the wrong continent now.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

found posted in the comments thread here

Lauredhel linked to this a while back: Test your colour IQ. I scored 20, whatever that means.

What fun/interesting stuff have you come across lately?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Clara wants to be chased

I was playing with Clara in the backyard this afternoon, she was doing her usual thing of trying to get me to chase her by running around me in small circles taunting me with her squeaky toy. I decided I needed to get this on video.

No doubt it's funnier in real life, plus you wouldn't have to listen to me gasping for breath because I've just spent 15 minutes chasing a dog all over the backyard, but still, there's cuteness there. I kind of mis-framed the bit of her jumping up to my shoulder height to grab the toy, must try and capture that another time, she's got quite a spring on her.

Dinner at Grandma's place

At the end of the meal tonight Caitlin was standing next to my mum having a cuddle.

Caitlin: "Are you wearing perfume?"

Grandma: "I did put some on this morning, can you still smell it?"

Caitlin: "Yes!"

Grandma: "What does it smell like?"

Caitlin: "ROCKMELON!"

*cue much hilarity*

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Prop 8

Yesterday the Californian people voted for change when 61% of them gave their votes to Obama. But they also voted against change when they passed Proposition 8. It seems 52% of Californian voters could not find it in their hearts to say no to a constitutional amendment that would say to some of their fellow citizens "you are not good enough to share the same rights and privileges that I have".

I had hoped.

I had hoped that logic and compassion would prevail.

I had hoped that the bigotry and hatred of the Yes on 8 campaign would be seen for what it was and rejected by the voters in California.

I had hoped because where the US leads Australia often follows and the rejection of Proposition 8 would have been a strong step in the right direction.

I had hoped but when I saw the results coming in that hope was replaced by a feeling of deep sadness.

To everyone who is affected by the passing of Prop 8, I am so sorry.

California Proposition 8:
Ban on Gay Marriage
This measure would amend the state constitution to specify that only marriages between one man and one woman would be recognized as valid in the state. If passed, the measure would trump a May 2008 ruling by the California Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Down Under Feminists Carnival Nov 08

The 6th Down Under Feminists Carnival is up at Penguin Unearthed and she has heaps of fabulous feminist writing for you to explore. Get comfy and get reading!

I always miss historic moments

But not today.

This afternoon I came home with the kids after spending pretty much the entire day at the school doing canteen duty, helping out with refreshments for the Kindy orientation and giving my intro to the P&C speech for the second time. I opened up my laptop and was greeted with the news that McCain had conceded and the USA has as President-Elect one Barak Obama.

I was just in time to jump on board the Hoyden's live blogging of the event (in mostly lurker mode) and the kids, Adam and I sat in the lounge room with the live, net-delivered streaming video of the Grant Park rally up on the big TV.

I had tears I tell you, and he's not even going to be my president. I felt the same heart-swelling relief and happiness that I felt when we here in Oz got rid of John Howard (which I barely posted about at all, I think I was too overwhelmed to be coherent!). I like that my kids got to see the moment when the US got its first black president, they probably won't remember in later years, mostly they were a bit bemused by all the fuss being made, but I'll remember. Oh yes, I'll remember.

Congratulations America.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Shepherds Pie Surprise

I was up to the assembling stage of cooking shepherds pie tonight when Tom wandered into the kitchen pulling his pj top down over his head.

"Smashed potato! Ooo, I LOVE smashed potato! Mum, that's just the way I remember you making shepherds pie. I LOVE your shepherds pie, it's the BEST!"

"You do know it tastes different every time I make it 'cause I don't use a recipe, don't you?"

"Yes, that's what I like best about it, you never know what you're going to get!"

Here's tonight's Nanny Ogg-style non-recipe:

a bit of olive oil
4 onions
some minced garlic from a jar (I think I used 2 heaped teaspoons)
1kg lean beef mince
a few heaped dessert spoons of plain flour (can't remember, was it 3 or 4?)
1 Massel beef stockcube
2 cups hot water
a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce (about 1 tblspn?)
a few sploshes of soy sauce (sploshes are bigger than splashes, maybe 2-3 tblspns?)
more water (I think I ended up adding 2 more cups)
500g frozen peas, corn and carrots
a few shakes of dried thyme leaves
2 tblspn tomato paste
salt and pepper
1 medium potato per person (or more if you have smashed potato monsters in your house)
some butter, or not if you're avoiding the saturated fats
milk, you know, enough to make smashed potatoes

Brown the onions, garlic and mince in the oil.
Add the flour and stir until there's no white showing.
Mix stock cube and sauces in the hot water then add to pan.
Add more water a bit at a time until the gravy looks about right.
Add the frozen veg.
Taste. Hmm, needs something else. Add thyme.
Taste. Add another splash of soy sauce.
Taste. I know! Tomato paste!
Taste. Grab the pepper grinder and grind away.
Taste. Sprinkle some salt in.
Taste. Yup, that'll do.
Smash the potatoes that hubby cooked while you were doing all that tasting.
Put meat mix in a baking dish and top with smashed potatoes.
Have amusing conversation with small child.
Stick it in the oven at 180°C and go do some blogging.
When it goes nice and brown on top and bubbly around the edges - EAT

Shepherds Pie Surprise

There were second helpings all round ('cept for Caitlin) so I guess it turned out ok.

Seems maybe I did break the blog...

...but only a little bit.

Commenting wasn't working for some people for a bit there, it should be ok now though. If it's not working for you please do send me an email!

Monday, November 03, 2008

I haven't had dinner yet

I so need to be more organised.

If only I'd started working on my P&C stuff 2 days earlier.

Then I wouldn't have discovered, at 10pm last night, there was a document that needed revising which I had been previously unaware of and I would have started writing my speech then instead of at 12:30am.

And I wouldn't have been up till 2:30am failing to finish writing the speech I had to give at the Kindy orientation meeting for parents tonight.

Which would have meant I could get dinner cooked early in the afternoon instead of spending the time trying to make my sleep deprived brain come up with something informative and welcoming to inflict on the parents tonight and for someone else to read out on my behalf at the session tomorrow morning.

Which would have let me eat some real food before going out at 6:40pm instead of heading off with only a banana in my tummy (not that bananas aren't real...). I wonder if I sounded completely spacey with the tired and hungry? There were friendly smiles and shaking of hands after the meeting so I must have done something right.

Of course, when I got home at 9:00pm instead of the expected 8:30pm I had to make a phone call. Then Bren and Di arrived to go for a walk (we took Clara and Adam with us tonight - the toe is muuuch better). Post-walk I sat on the lounge and said to Adam "I haven't had dinner yet".

Apparently my dinner is in the microwave (Adam cooked, and he and the kids ate after I'd gone out), but in order to eat it I'd have to stand up, go to the kitchen and press a couple of buttons.

I'm not sure I have it in me to engage in such strenuous activity at this point.

Good thing it was a pretty big banana.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Kids and animals are a bugger to photograph

I started out this morning with the intent of having a decent photo of each of the kids and pets with which to illustrate the ever so fascinating story of my Sunday. I should know better than to make plans that depend on kids and animals behaving for a camera.

The short version of my day goes like this:
  • Get out of bed several hours later than intended (must have needed that sleep-in).
  • Flail ineffectually at the chaos in the house (Adam has done wonders with it today as I came and went).
  • Take Clara to dog park, forget to take camera (this time she decided to wrestle with a doberman twice her size).
  • Bring exhausted but happy dog home and make some lunch.
  • Take Caitlin shopping so she can spend her birthday money.
She started out looking at Barbie and Bratz dolls but ended up with a purse and some clothes - my indoctrination program is working.

New outfit

  • Go check on Bren and Di's cats (they're not convinced I'm a safe person, they watch suspiciously from behind furniture).
  • Take photos of Clara on front deck (we resort to trickery to get her to look at the camera).
"Dad, why are you putting my squeaky toy on Mum's head?"

Clara looking quizical

  • Go to Lowenbrau for dinner (take lots more photos nearly all of which are terrible).
Except these two, which I rather like.

Boys and beer

Tom at Lowenbrau

  • Come home, get kids ready for bed and read aloud a chapter of The Sword and The Circle by Rosemary Sutcliff (this is hard work, the sentence structure is NOT conducive to reading aloud).
  • Decide to blog in preference to writing the speech I have to give about the P&C at the school kindy orientation sessions on Monday and Wednesday.
The cats avoided the camera all day, but here's one of Jack that I took a couple of weeks ago.

"Bugger off, I was sleeping."

What did you wake me up for?

Now, to speech writing and ironing! Bleh.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I've always wanted to be Robin Hood

I may have mentioned that particular ambition before. The reason I bring it up today is that we finally made the phone call and arranged to meet the people from Norther Archers archery club. We hopped in the car and went to the range to say hello and fill out application forms for the beginner's course. It's probable that we'll have to wait till January to actually do the course but at least we're on the waiting list.

We may still investigate other clubs as there doesn't seem to be much accommodation for the kids at Pennant Hills and I know at least one other place says they'll accept kids as young as 6.

When we were asked "Why archery?" I just had to confess to my long standing desire to be an outlaw.

One of the guys said "Didn't you want to be Maid Marian?" (Because little girls always want to be the princess that needs rescuing but never the hero?)

"Hell no, unless I can be the Maid Marian from the kids' TV show that Tony Robinson did."

He looked thoroughly confused.

Everyone needs a cheer squad

I know a couple of my readers (multitude that you are :P) are joining the NaBloPoMo challenge and there's nothing like regular comments to keep those posts coming. If you've got a moment click on over to these fine folks and say hi sometime, or lots of times even.

Is there anyone else who has signed up to NaBloPoMo? Let us know in the comments, I wouldn't want anyone being left out. In fact, even if you're not NaBloing, pimp your blog anyway, the more the merrier!