Saturday, December 30, 2006

The mysterious disappearance of

I didn't notice until a couple of days ago, that The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies has disappeared into the cyber-void, it's domain name having been taken over by some cheap-looking portal to a bunch of Buffy-free commercial sites. This was where I used to go to find academic articles relating to the Buffyverse, where I went to feel intellectual (though sometimes requiring a little help from a very thick dictionary).

A couple of blogs I found, commented on Slayage's disappearance and reckoned it would be back soon, but I don't know - it's been a couple of weeks now and there's still no sign of it.

Happily, I discovered Junior Watcher, and All Things Philosophical on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: the series is still being updated.

I just hope that I still have enough working brain cells to understand it all.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Pretty pictures

Spending half hour or so examining photos of The Little Madam and me, is an effective way of convincing me that Trinny and Susannah's tips on posing for photos ought to be taken seriously.
That's one reason you won't see my face here - I have way too many chins and jowls, way too little muscle tone.
But TLM doesn't have that problem though.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I think it's just the god-awful weather we're having at the moment - the wind, the blanket of grey overhead, the cool temperatures - but I've found myself feeling inordinately slothlike these last few days. Before you blame it on post-gluttony digestive slow-down though, let me assure you that I haven't been pigging out that much.

When it's sunny and warm, I itch to get out and about even if I have nothing particular in mind to do.

When it's yucky, especially if the wind is provoking a sneezy-wheezy response from me, all I seem able to do is potter about indoors feeling dozy.

Last night we finished the last of the three DVDs I rented in the weekend - DVDs which I almost didn't get to rent at all because it was at that moment that I discovered my bank balance was -$1.26.

We both really enjoyed A History of Violence (Cronenberg-directed, yet so lacking in wierdness), thought the film-student movie Hidden was too dull to continue after the first, arty-farty, 20 minutes, and had mixed feelings about Before Sunrise. I think that a 24-hour romance while training around Europe is all wonderful and memorable if you're in the middle of it. But it's kind of boring when you're watching someone else experience it, and you can only barely remember what it was like to be a single traveller with the whole world in front of you.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Lights, camera, action...

For the first time since I first moved into this house we all live in, it was decorated for Christmas. The boy wanted to be sure that The Little Madam got a taste of what Christmas was like when he was growing up. So on Christmas Eve, after TLM was tucked up in her cot for the night, the two of us set about hanging up the tackiest of flashing lights, shiny orbs and coloured ribbons (standing in for streamers).

Photos were taken (hopefully to be posted well before next Christmas) of TLM admiring the pretty lights, ripping open her presents and wearing the red velvet dress sent by her grandad from the UK (velvet being not nearly as inappropriate as you would think, for a summer Christmas, because we've had a terrible summer so far).

Having just started to say "yum yum" in relation to food, TLM's utterance was the biggest light in my mum's day when she said this after a mouthful of home-made dim sim. I hope it's made up for my regretful grumpiness on the Friday when I had to cart my mum around the supermarkets during the pre-holiday rush (my blood pressure has gone back to normal, but it took a while).

There were laughs aplenty at dinner - mainly coming from TLM herself, whose cousins were engaging in a massive peekaboo game with her. All the chortling didn't stop her from eating more dimsim and more deep-fried wontons though. The other adults were really impressed at this display of "good" eating ('cos the cousins wouldn't eat anything), but it makes me wonder what's going to happen in a few years time when it's going to be a bad thing that TLM so loves her fried and fatty food.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Another "bad" mother

I've just finished reading Confessions of a Bad Mother, by a Brit called Stephanie Calman. I do enjoy reading about other mothers who rely on the telly to keep their kids calm, openly admit to not enjoying the job on occasion and resort to bribery with food.

And the pop culture references were amusing without getting irritating, too.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It just stinks

Geez, you know we're coming up to Christmas when every other ad on the telly is for perfume.

Things that make you go "Eeek!"

The boy and I watched an amazingly creepy movie last night on DVD, Silent Hill. Apparently it's based on a game, one which the boy has never played because he thought it sounded too scary for him.

Boy, it was creepy alright. If you fill two hours with the most skin-crawling scenes from Ring and mix it with some of the wierdest dream sequences from The Cell, that would give you an idea of just how much "Eeeek!" was going on.

There were little, scurrying creatures in the basement that slow-burned to nothing. There were brain-coloured, pigeon-toed, creatures whose arms writhed under their skins and whose torsos exploded with blood that could melt helmet plastic. There were corpses, wrapped in barbed wire or gutted and hung from chain-link fencing.

And I haven't even told you about the over-sized man-eating beetles, the pyramid-headed butcher and the distorted sexy-mannequin nurses in the abandoned hospital.

It's probably not a good idea to watch this if you're nightmare-prone.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bug update

What The Little Madam has sounds like ursinia, but it's not ursinia because accoring to the Internet it's a flower. TLM loves flowers, but they don't make her poo.

Apparently this particular bacterium is a notifiable one. I received a call from the public health people and had to answer lots of questions about whether TLM had been in recent contact with sick kids or sick kids' poo (not if I can help it), that kind of thing.

So on the one hand it's a good thing that it's almost Christmas, because playgroups are finished for the next couple of months and she's not allowed to attend those until she's experienced at least two full days of healthy poo. On the other hand it's bad because now she's on antibiotics so she's not allowed to drink alcohol (just kidding - I'm sure her tolerance is even lower than mine).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Footloose and dairy-free

What a thing to be told so close to Christmas! I got a call at work (on my cellphone initially, but I never hear it ringing and after a while people stop trying to contact me on it...) and it was the people at the After Hours clinic.

The labs results on The Little Madam's poo sample had come back and apparently she's been a victim of some bacteria which I couldn't spell - You-sue-ree-ah or something. Then I was transferred to a doctor and I told him that TLM's been more-or-less fine except for the mild temperatures and the worsening diarrhea, and that I thought she might have become temporarily lactose-intolerant.

And that's when the doctor told me to keep TLM off all dairy products for at least the next two weeks. Not just cows' milk and cheese and yoghurt, but anything that has even the smallest smidgeon of dairy in its manufacture. Then, just for good measure, he told me to put her back on the sick-baby diet (i.e. crackers, bread, rice and water), a diet that even prison inmates don't have to put up with.

That means TLM's first food-accessible Christmas is going to be one in which she can't have more than the merest taste of roast turkey, ham or cake. And certainly no ice cream.

It also means that while the rest of the extended family is lying about stuffed with food, a certain somebody will be demanding extra aided-walks around the house.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Being short didn't save me from looking like Quasimodo

A friend of mine, also a mum, had been having terrible problems with her back recently. It was so bad for about a week that she couldn't even look after her own 19-month old son. She's able to stagger about now, but apparently it's going to be 4-5 months before she's "better".

All my life I never had back pain. I could do high-impact aerobics without shoes on and not get shinsplints, and I could use my back like a crane and never experience a single twinge of discomfort. I'd always put this down to being short, because most people I knew with dodgy backs were tall.

Lately though, it seems that every time I put my back under any sort of strain whatsoever (getting the buggy around the narrow porch, over the step and through the front door is a prime asking-for-it example), my back responds with acute pain and sometimes the inability to move easily for several minutes at a time. In the evenings, the boy gets his massage thumbs out and finds knots the size of golfballs on either side of my spine.

Perhaps, in my old age, my body is finally paying me back for all those times I pogoed in my extraordinarily heavy Doc Martin shoes.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

New television crush

Now that I'm completely and utterly up-to-date with Gilmore Girls, finished with The 4400 and waiting for season 3 of Deadwood to come out on DVD ('cos we've already missed too many episodes screening on the Prime channel), my new TV series of desire is Heroes.

It's quite comic book-y, sort of like X-Men but with more time to develop a half-way believable background history and characters. My two favourites are a pretty cheerleader (shades of Buffy here) who comes to the realisation that she is virtually unkillable, and a nerdily lovable Japanese guy who can bend space and time i.e. can stop poker games at the most convenient moment or travel to another country in another time.

There is a bit of gore though - some bad guys get literally torn apart by a brutal other-personality of an otherwise lovely mum and let's not forget the part where the cheerleader wakes up in the middle of her own autopsy.

The Little Madam won't be watching this of course. For the time being at least, she is perfectly happy with The Wiggles, Thomas and Friends, Fifi and The Flowertots and Boobah.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Spot the baby

The Little Madam is well on the road to recovery, thank you very much. The poos are are now infrequent and olfactorily unobstrusive, the appetite is back and so is the urge to walk everywhere (which is killing my back).

But now there's a new worry. Since last night TLM's arms and legs have been covered in little pink spots. They don't seem to bother her at all, and they are definitely not meningoccal septicaemia spots. It's been suggested that they're heat rash, from her earlier fever, or else a viral skin infection piggybacking on her tummy bug.

One thing I'm not going to do though - if I can help it - is look it up on the Internet. The last thing I need is to fill my limited head space with the gory details of obscure and scary skin afflictions. I'm just gonna keep an eye on it over the weekend and get her back to the doctor's if her skin hasn't cleared up by then.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The day-off from Hell

I stayed at home today to look after The Little Madam, collect and deliver her poo sample and take her to see the GP. The boy was all in favour of this, even though technically it's something our nanny could do while I went to work. It was no holiday.

Despite TLM's temperature dropping to something resembling normal, she's spent the day veering from one extreme to the other. On moment she's laughing at the little Wiggles singing Hot Potato, the next she's screaming unconsolably - and then maybe she has a big poo explosion.

One poo broke through the nappy banks and onto her trousers. When I tried to pull them off I also succeeded in flicking bits of it over my face, shirt and jeans. Oh, and also the rug.

Then there was the poo which squirted out while TLM was in her cooling bath. As soon as I replaced the bathwater and the baby, there was an even more frightening explosion.

By the end of today I thought she was screaming herself hoarse because I was unwittingly passing on stress-y vibes, but the boy has had no better luck since he got home.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bug-ridden. Again.

And there I was feeling sorry for myself this morning because of my violent hayfever...

Mere months after The Little Madam's last bout of gastroenteritis, my little bean has been struck again by a tummy bug.

It didn't start out that way. It began with a temperature of 38.1 degrees Celsius, which I promptly treated with Pamol. Apparently TLM stopped screaming the moment I left for work this morning and played happily with the nanny right up until the meds wore off.

Then came more high temperatures, more grizzling and, finally, a really foul and runny poo. A couple of quick calls to the Healthline nurse (because I accidentally hung up on her the first time) told me it'd be okay to keep the sick bubs at home, but by the end of the day her hot little bod went into egg-frying temperatures (40.1 degrees, to be precise) so I took her to the After Hours clinic.

Do you know how to get a urine sample from a non-toilet-trained girl? You tape a specially designed little plastic bag to her girlie bits, force her to drink water and hope that she wees before she poos. In our case, the poo won. I thought I was being clever by grabbing an old pudding pottle and retrieving a poo sample for the lab, but it turns out that you need a special pot for poo samples and anyway the lab was closed and will only take fresh specimens.

By the time all this finished happening it was about 2 1/2 hours past TLM's bedtime, and she still had to undergo a cooling sponge bath before she could go to bed. It was pretty damned close to my bedtime, actually. She's sleeping now, poor thing.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Glad to be a temp

With The Little Madam waking up lots of times during the night, looking for cuddles to distract her from teething pains/dreams/the mental urge to walk in her sleep, I'm really not well focussed in the mornings. So while it's nice that we have such a great nanny to keep TLM entertained and on her toes (metaphorically, anyway), I've not been able to give my job 100%.

Meetings are the worst. Not only do I have to sit through 90 minutes of discussion about topics I'm not particularly interested in, but I have to fight the urge to give in to my body's need to make up for lost sleep as well. It doesn't make for a career-wise combination.

I'm probably luckier than most, in that we can live quite comfortably on the boy's income ('cos geekiness pays) and I'm actually making money with my job (I've worked out that, after childcare and transport costs, I'm making about $40 per week). But once this contract is finished I think I'm going to stick with being a SAHM, at least for a while.

Of course, TLM will be enrolled into some kind of daycare pretty smartly - just a couple of mornings a week or something - because she's going to miss all that stimulation and I'm going to miss all that baby-free time.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Wii in Mii

It's been a while since my last blog post, hasn't it? In fact, I think the last time I took such a long blog hiatus, I came back with a brand new baby.

This time I haven't so exciting an excuse. I've just been busy - busy catching up on sleep, watching DVDs (Touching the Void was great - harrowing, but great. I was expecting more of a dramatisation and less of a documentary, but actually it was probably a good way to do it) and aquainting myself with the new Nintendo Wii (rhymes with "pee") which the boy bought us for Christmas.

Everyone in the family has an avatar, or mii - the boy's looks like a saucy Frenchman, mine looks like a disappointed Asian TV news reporter and The Little Madam's (which hopefully will remain unplayed for the time being) looks like a very wise six-year-old.

Being mostly a non-gamer, I expect that I'll only be playing with the Wii when challenging the boy to a game of ten-pin bowling (I thrashed him last night) or golf (he thrashed me). Although the pool game could be very useful in improving my game (I'm famously hopeless).

So there you go.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My big night out

My work is putting on a big do for the staff tomorrow evening. We're all going to a pantomime (Aladdin), followed by dinner and probably drinks after that. Not only that, but it's staff only i.e. no partners, so babysitting isn't going to be a problem for me (hee hee!).

The only thing that worries me about my going out on the town for the first time in about 18 months - apart from the possibility that the boy doesn't get home in time to take over care of The Little Madam - is that my staying-out stamina is somewhat diminished these days.

I reckon that by the time the panto has finished it'll be pretty close to the time or night I'm normally horizontal on the couch, fully-fed and almost too drowsy to watch the rest of the Angel DVD (or else I'll be tensely waiting for TLM to get over her teething gums and go the hell to sleep). By the time dinner arrives I'll be wishing I was home already instead of making small talk over my warm lamb salad (which I hope will be on the menu). When everyone else is getting nicely sloshed on wines I'll be trudging to my car, tiredly walking into rubbish bins like a drunk person.

On the other hand, it'll be a night out and I'm going to do my best to stay awake through it all.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Log off

I've decided to stop obsessively logging The Little Madam's day-to-day details - her sleeps, her eats and sometimes even the state of her bottom. While it's often been handy to go back weeks or months to see how much her napping has improved (or not) and that sort of thing, I really don't want to be recording the times of her bowel movements when she's off doing her Ph.D on motherhood neuroses (is it still stalking when it's your mum whose watching everything you do?).

It's only been a couple of log-free days, so I still catch myself trying to recall how many grapes disappeared down TLM's little throat, and whether she sang in her cot until 6.35 or 6.37, but I'm confident that I will adjust.

So to mark this special occasion I'm posting a photo of TLM attempting to eat yoghurt with a spoon.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Armchair adventuring

Hot on the heels of the last adventure book, I'm now reading Touching the Void. You might remember the movie a few years ago, based on a true story about two guys who run into trouble on a mountaineering trip in the Andes.

No, it's not the one about the football team that ends up eating each other.

It's the one about what happens when you go climbing, fall and end up risking the life of the person who's stopping you from tumbling into the abyss.

I'm not going to deny this book is well-written, but if ever a book could be improved by a little celluloid magic it's this one. There was a load of climbing jargon and no glossary. Too lazy to look for my dictionary, I had to guess what a col is, and whether a serac is an ice formation or local slang for mountain goat droppings.

It's still a gripping story, but I'm going to look out for the DVD.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I'm just Wiggling

I was a little sad when I heard the news that the yellow Wiggle is leaving, because I've become so accustomed to having Wiggle-ness in the house. Our DVD of The Wiggles Movie gets played a lot, and I must have borrowed every single CD of theirs the library owns.

The Little Madam has learned (from me!) to move her head from side to side in time (sort of) to the music, and lately I've been taking it a step further by demonstrating some Wiggly dancing. I thought I was doing really well, waving my arms around, pointing my fingers, twisting and turning around as per sung instructions (thank the gods there's no dosee-doe-ing). After a couple of songs though, I noticed that TLM had stopped trying to imitate me and instead was sitting quietly with a quizzical look on her face, as though wondering what the heck I thought I was doing.

And thus, spazzy dancing is learned.