Monday, December 31, 2007

It's a good job those things are solid

Today seems to be the day of the bouncing poo. Like, when TLM gets up off the potty too soon, or doesn't quite tell me in time, and I resort to plucking those little brownies off the rug before they leave an undying legacy.

All I can say is, if she was having squishy number twos, this post would've been written in an entirely different tone.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My new tv love

Outrageous Fortune (the New Zealand tv series, not that old movie starring Bette Midler and Shelley Long), is my new favourite tv show. It's been on for ages, but I'd never gotten around to viewing it. But the boy, who has a bit of bogan in him even though he's English, thoroughly recommended it and recently bought Season One on DVD (here's the promo).

Briefly, it's about a family who're leaving behind a life of crime, after the father gets incarcerated. I'm far too lazy to try and write competently about all the characters who are mostly lovable villains. But I will say that the show's got enough humour and drama to keep a telly addict from resorting to reality tv.

I'm not just spending my free time in front of the box though. I've been reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, too. It's well-written and readable, but I worry that it's going to be depressing as hell. It is, after all, about two women in Afghanistan.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Anonymousity

I've been thinking that I might have to stop posting super-cute photos of TLM on the blog. Of my family, she is the only one who hasn't been granted the right to remain visually anonymous. But now she's older, perhaps it's time for that to change. An alternative would be to continue, but add the Black Band of Anonymity over her eyes before posting. Then there'd be no reason not to do the same with photos of myself and or the boy.

Saving money

I love the fact that shops all over the place are having massive post-Christmas sales. The big newspaper adds herald discounts of 30 - 50 percent. The anticipation of saving loads of money on stuff we were going to buy anyway, is quite exciting. (Although I'm not organised enough to use this sale-time to do my 2008 Christmas shopping.) The boy has only this week off work, and since Christmas Day we've spent most of his free time pursuing sales at appliance shops and the like.

So how come we've ended up spending so much money on non-sale stuff?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The other turkey breast

On Christmas Day, the boy roasted a frighteningly large turkey breast, and the 5 adults and 3 children present, could not finish it. And we had another one just like in the fridge.

But we put off roasting the other half, until today. And by then it was too late. It had already become "whiffy".

I still can't get over how we've had to chuck out fifty bucks worth of off-turkey. And I just love the stuff (when it's not "off", that is).

I also can't get over how enormous the complete bird must've been when it was still alive and bullying all the smaller turkeys. It must have been a mighty Thor of birds.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Quick Christmas Roundup

The setting:
At my mum's house. It'd been rainy and chilly all morning, though by the time we turned up (around 3pm) the sun had come out - so we could stand around outside watching the kids run around, and pretend it was summer.

Presents:
Me - a purple furry wallet (picked by TLM), a vivaciously decorated canvas satchel, a Nintendo DS game (picked by the boy), a copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns and some money. A subscription to Writing magazine to come.

The boy - an instructional book for learners of bass guitar, including the sheet music for several popular rock songs, a tube of men's moisturiser, an XBOX game, the complete Blackadder series on DVD and some money.

The Little Madam - a TV Favourites colouring book, a Dora the Explorer scrapbook, a set of Dora pens, a Dora clock, a music box, a Ninky-Nonk (from In the Night Garden, on the telly), a purple tiara, some dress-up ballet slippers,a parachute toy and some money. TLM probably won the presents race.

Food:
An inconceivably large turkey breast, roasted
Wild rabbit, also roasted
Ham
Pork with Chinese mushrooms
Veges stir-fried with fish balls
Salad
The kids also got ice cream and jelly; the rest of us were full of turkey.

Drugs of choice:
The two non-Asians present consumed most of the wine; the rest of us went teetotal.
The kids were loud, sugar-loaded and sang like drunks.


Conclusion:

Christmas has gotten a lot more fun since the kids came into existance. Though I still miss the office parties I used to attend.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Jelly snakes

Every time TLM manages to deposit something appropriate into her potty, she gets a jelly snake.

The thing about introducing TLM to rewards like jelly snakes, is that she likes 'em so much she'll demand them any old time of day, potty deposit or not. But you gotta stand firm with the rewards scheme, or it won't work. So you have to put up with frequent calls for "Snaaaaake!".

Her record so far, is two jelly snakes in one day. But perhaps she ought to get two jelly snakes if she saves up an almighty poo, and puts it in the potty in a timely manner. Because that's a pretty major feat, really. I just hope her teeth don't suffer too much from all the extra sugar.

Oh, and if I don't blog before the big day, Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

An a-hah! moment

I figured out what I want to get the boy for Christmas. He did say that he was thinking he'd like either a MacBook or a bass guitar, but I won't get him either of those, because 1) he should really choose the colour and/or brand himself, and b) I'm far too stingy to spend that much on a present (even if it's his hard-earned money).

So, boy willing, I will go into town tomorrow to buy it. I'm not going to reveal what it is yet though, just in case one of his cronies reads this post and spills the beans.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pre-Christmas in the Antipodes

TLM has discovered the giddy excitement that is the bouncy castle. She'd never been interested before, but today was different; all that bouncing around in the company of seasoned bouncy castlers made her cackle like a chicken. I don't think she's had so much fun since Monday, when she turned the hose on her cousins (and with surprising accuracy too).

She is loving Christmas. The trees hung with flashing lights, glittering balls and miniature presents, are everywhere and she's drawn to them like a non-food alternative to ice cream. Apparently their origin lies in Scandinavian mythology, in which human sacrifices were at the base of some sacred tree. I think I prefer angels, stars and fairies. TLM knows who Santa is, though I suspect that she'd baulk at the idea of sitting on his lap - lolly or no lolly.

There's been progress in the beach front. Until last weekend, TLM refused to walk barefoot in the sand. But now she has felt the grainy stuff between her toes and learning to boogie board is surely not far off in the future.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Poos and naps

I haven't told the boy yet, but I'm kinda leaving TLM's potty training until Christmas. By then, her daycare will be closed for 2 weeks and we can hang around sitting her on the potty every hour. We already ask her to sit on the potty at least once a day, just before bathtime, and if she manages to do something in it then we do lots of yelling and hooraying. I'm still not convinced, though, that TLM actually realises when she's poo-ed or wee-ed, until we show her the stuff.

But another, less pleasant milestone is threatening to cross the finish line before potty-training does - then giving up of daytime naps. She's missed her naps a few times in the last few weeks, though each time she's been a total ratbag all afternoon. Normally, if she keeps screaming, I'll get her out of the cot. But today, I let her scream for 15 minutes and she actually went all quiet after that (I'm assuming she went to sleep).

So I suppose crying it out must apply even to near-preschool age.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Gettin' waisted (A nice bit of boning, part 2)

It's funny how the beautiful corsets I saw in town two days ago, have stayed in my mind. That would be why I'm posting about corsets again.

I spent the rest of Friday evening Googling corsets, and though I had to sift through many, many lingerie webpages, I did find a few other locals (as in, in NZ) in the business of making corsets for outerwear. For instance, this one from the goth/punk people, Forge Fashion, is very nice, and I guess I'm showing a bias for blood-red when I add that this one from Bastet is also rather tempting (the mini bustle is kinda cute too), not to mention this underbust one from Customised Corsetry.

But, as Make Tea Not War commented, where the hell would I get to wear such a thing? We don't get invited to cocktail parties, and wearing a real corset to a sit-down dinner would eventually result in extreme physical discomfort and an early hobble home. I could, of course, just wear it at home for the boy. But I might have to get that jar of horny goats weed first (for me).

Friday, December 14, 2007

A nice bit of boning

I spent this morning searching for the perfect t-shirt (a task which seems never-ending), and ended up ogling some very luscious corsets.

The corsets in questions were hung up on one wall like works of art, and they really were things of beauty. I'd mistaken them for bustiers, but what differentiates the former from the latter is the presence (or absence) of those suspender clips - you know, the things that keep your stockings up.

I loved, loved, loved the Edwardian Lily Langtry model, but it's the punky feel of the Highland Queen one that tempts me to sell a family heirloom to get one for myself.

The boy reacted positively to the picture I showed him. But then I haven't told him how much these handmade lovelies cost...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The violet effect

I have a feeling that my body might be sending out "act naughty" signals to young children. While on parent help duty at TLM's childcare today: 2 kids were squeezed between the bathroom door and the photo wall; three kids fell off chairs as they strained to see the new goldfish; one tried to walk down a slide; two kids decided it was a great idea to flip chairs over (and into other kids); and a pair of twins suck into the kitchen and tried to drink dish-washing liquid.

And every time it's my turn at parent help, the kids seem to act up more than usual.

Combined with my anti-computer ability, I could be some sort of super-villain.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

One big happy family

My brother's family moved in with my mum this week, for reasons I won't go into (unless I change my mind later), and I reckon the news will be all good for me.

Firstly, it means that every time we go to visit my mum, TLM will probably have her much-loved cousins to play with.

Secondly, my mum will have someone around a lot of the time, and so feel must more secure.

And thirdly, I expect to get called out for shopping trips a whole lot less.

Yup, it's all good on my side of things :-)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ready

It is Saturday afternoon, and we're home with quick'n'nasty food from the McDonald's drive-in:

Violet: Hey, TLM grabbed a whole Chicken McNugget! She didn't even wait for you to break it into bits!

The Boy: Well, you know what that means, don't you? It's means she's ready for -"

Violet and the boy in unison: "...Happy Meals."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Christmas in the park

TLM's daycare Christmas party was this morning. It was held at a park in the city, a lovely place with trees and walking trails, and a dangerous place after dark.

There was a massive flying fox set up at one end of the playground, but if I'm too chicken to go on it myself then there's no way I'd let a two-year-old ride on it. So she had to be content with frequent swings, co-driving the "fire engine" with her crush (a smiley, curly-haired little boy who seemed oblivious to TLM's attentions) and getting strawberry juice all over her Dora top.

It was during my conversations with some of the parents, that I discovered what Ms Mac already knows - that many parents ignore the $5 limit when buying a present for Santa's helper to give to their respective children.

It was after we got home, when TLM's "magic" Hello Kitty wall stickers refused to adhere, that I knew for sure you get what you pays for.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I must not...

...finish the box of chocolate almonds before anyone else has had a chance to try one (oops, too late!);

...talk about TLM in front of her, as though she can't understand just about every word we're saying;

...offer to take my mum to the supermarket, then complain when she takes as long as she usually takes;

...let TLM eat too many gingerbread Christmas tree cookies, because if she has one before breakfast I'll end up eating her toast;

...moan and groan and roll my eyes just because the boy wants us to watch the third Pirates of the Carribbean together;

...pretend to still have a bad back, just to get out of housework - at least, stop doing it after Christmas;

...forget that I'm very, very lucky to have the life I do.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Prescription - sun-worshipping

My dermatologist gave me this startling piece of advice - that despite the obese hole in the ozone layer right above us, a suntan would do my skin a wealth of good. It feels really strange, to be told to go against all the current wisdom about sun exposure. But he assured me that skin cancer is pretty much a white folks' disease and Asians generally are protected by our genes (whereas, normally I've been protecting myself with my jeans). On the other hand, he wasn't able to assure me that I wouldn't get sun-induced wrinkles.

Back in form

My back must be almost all better. I realised this as I strode home from the fish and chip shop with tonight's dinner; for the last week I've been mincing about like a pseudo-geisha on those little wooden sandals. I'll know I'm 100 percent when I can slouch again.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cheap 'n' cheerful / Cheap 'n' nasty

There's a Christmas party coming up for the kiddies of TLM's daycare, and each family has been asked to contribute a $5 gift, to be presented to their child by Santa.

So, if you have to spend $5 on a gift - no more, no less - then there are two obvious places to try. The first place is the supermarket, because the "good" parents will be giving their healthy offspring the gift of fruit (or something equally virtuous). The other place to shop is among the collection of cut-price shops which deal mainly with el cheapo plastic toys imported from Asia.

If TLM is anything like her mum and dad, then she isn't going to regard a bag of oranges as anything more than an appetiser, so I headed for the el cheapo shops.

The thing is, if you only want to spend $5 then you're kind of limited to stuff that's small, breakable and out of bounds for under-3s. Are toys that are both cheap and safe an oxymoron? Yup. The other difficulty is that the stuff TLM would have liked most - the Elmo and Hello Kitty soft toys and bags - was the most expensive stuff in the shop.

But fear not, I did manage to locate something at the right price and the right lead paint levels. I walked out of the Mr Thank You shop with a set of Hello Kitty magic stickers. TLM can paw them while they're still in their packaging, and once they're stuck to her bedroom walls (they come off too - that's what makes them magic) she won't be able to reach 'em.

I guess that means I can tick the problem-solver box on my CV, eh?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I was a Jolly Boy

I recently got in touch with an ex-workmate from my IT days, because I hoped he could get me some part time work as a software tester. Well, he wasn't able to help me right away, but he did send me a copy of an old TV news item, which had been posted up on YouTube.

The item was about the Jolly Boys, who celebrated each Christmas with a themed pub crawl. And back in the days when I could have a couple of drinks and not immediately feel like passing out, I was an honorary Jolly Boy. This particular year, the blokes (I was one of about 3 females; there were about 10 or more guys) decided to all dress up as Elvis impersonators.

But that wasn't my favourite JBO (Jolly Boys Outing) though. The one I remember best was the one with the Village People theme. That year, the downtown pub trail was overrun by about two dozen fake policemen, builders, Native Americans and leather-clad, walrus-moustached bikers. (I was one of the latter). Needless to say, the YMCA song was a frequent request. Being a mere girl, it was okay if I didn’t down the required number of drinks at each establishment. And being a girl, nobody asked me to prove that I was wearing ladies' knickers (which all the blokes were). And because I was surrounded by scary-looking males, I didn't exactly have handfuls of strange men’s phone numbers by the end of the night. But by this nice girl’s standards, it was a wild night.

That must have been about 8 years ago, but I might still have the leather trousers and cap in the back of the wardrobe...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

fake stories about real people

You may (or not) have noticed that I haven't been posting much about my fiction writing. Well, that'd be because I haven't been doing much. My second short story was more or less finished with a few weeks ago, and I've been tinkering with story ideas since then.

I have found a fun writing exercise to do though. Last week I borrowed a book from the library which contained photographers' portraits of their own families. Far from the smiley, posed photos that the rest of us prefer, these portraits are more arty and some are more than a little bit weird. So what I've been doing is picking a photo and then coming up with a background story to go with it. I avoid pictures of physically beautiful people - the best ones are of quirky faces, unusual poses and bizarre outfits.

Perhaps I'll post one some time, if I deem it blogworthy. In the meantime though, it's fun to do - maybe you should try it too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

drugs, drugs, drugs

Here's the main reason I'm ambivalent about anti-vivisectionist petitions - if the drug companies don't test their products on innocent animals, would we still have the medical treatments we have today?

The genes I've ended up with have ensured that I get a fair bit of experience in the use of medication (for my allergies, for instance). And in the last couple of days I've been grateful for the painkillers, anti-inflammatories and muscle-relaxants that have made my back strain that much less torturous. I'm now at the point where I can sit and stand with only moderate amounts of pain. So I'd be a hypocrite to voice opposition to testing on animals, wouldn't I?

If only scientists could test on violent criminals instead.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hurt

This morning I couldn't get out of bed. I tried for about two hours, while the boy was up and attending to TLM, but every time I moved a muscle I would get a shart pain in my left lower back.

There are women who say that, once you've experience the labour pains of childbirth, any other kind of pain is nothing.

Well, this doesn't apply to me. Standing, sitting, turning, reaching - all of these made me cry out in agony. There were tears. There was very nearly a toileting accident (but - phew, not). The boy is out now, buying some heavy-duty painkillers in the hope of an afternoon without loud "Arrrrggggh!"s. I hope so too.

Monday, November 26, 2007

In the line of duty

I should have known that it wasn’t a good idea to take your toddler swimming before she’s had her poo of the day. Because when those telltale brown flakes start to show up in the wading pool, there’s a pretty good chance you know who the culprit is.

While hurriedly removing your toddler from a poo-contaminated pool, trying to avoid the disapproving looks from the other parents whose kiddies have been forcibly evacuated – this is quite possibly the worst time to pull a muscle in your lower back.

Furtively hosing down a poo-covered child in the changing room showers is hard to do when you’re pulling faces and saying “Ow!” every time you move. Getting said toddler in and out of the buggy is torture. Wrestling with her when she insists on running into traffic is horrific torture. Geez, even trying to put her down into her cot for a nap takes determination and courage.

Where’s my medal?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Doing a Hollywood *

TLM might well become an actress when she grows up. Somehow she’s decided it’s a great idea to pretend to fall over and cry out, expecting someone to rush over to rescue her. It’s so obviously fake that she’s going to have to be a model-slash-actress** as opposed to an actress – or else get acting lessons. Still, where on earth did she learn this?

* I first came across this expression when I was a karate student. It was used to refer to faked injuries during competition bouts.

** I refer, of course, to the expression used in the movie Zoolander, used to refer to actors who were models first.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

This and that

The Troubles
It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks here on the Short and Sweet blog. When you have the combined forces of 1) blogger’s block, 2) mysterious Internet disconnections and go-slows, and 3) inability to leave a comment on Blogger blogs, you can pretty much guarantee that I ain’t getting no blogging satisfaction.

So I’m resorting to creating the entire blog post on Word first, then copying it to Blogger when I’m done. It’s the only way to avoid another temper tantrum like the one I threw last night.


TLM Update

The Little Madam has been decorating one of our kitchen cupboards with Mr Happy stickers. While it’s hardly going add market value to the house, I think of it as a way to display her artwork without using up space on the fridge door.

Her back molars are on their way. At least, I think they are. She’s salivating like crazy, often wakes up grumpy and wet-faced, and usually wants ice cream. Okay, strike that last one – she always wants ice cream.

With the aim of breaking her preference for Wiggles music, I’ve introduced her to world music. Specifically, the Playground series by Putamayo. She loves Caribbean Playground and French Playground, but is lukewarm on Latin Playground. So there goes my fantasy of teaching her to sing “One ton tomato, I got a one ton tomato…one ton tomaaaaato, I got a one ton tomato…”


In the face of genius

On Tuesday I went to an exhibition of Bill Hammond paintings. He is, of course, very highly regarded in the New Zealand fine arts community. But after seeing his works up close, all I felt was disillusionment in my own painting ability. I know that it’s stupid and unhelpful to compare oneself with someone at the top of their game, but I did.

For the same reason, reading really good short stories (which short-story writers are supposed to do, and which I’ve been doing a lot of) has put me off writing short stories. Get a grip on yerself, woman!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A new round of daycare centre inspections

I'm currently obssessed with finding a daycare for TLM for when she turns 3, because by then she'll be too old to attend the lovely daycare she goes to right now. Granted, this won't happen until August next year, but waiting lists for daycares are longer than the queues were for the last Harry Potter novel.

The obvious solution, I thought, was to canvas the parents of TLM's current fellow inmates, and put her on the same waiting lists as their kids. But, from the few I've talked to, everyone seems to have decided on different places, and most of them are across town. So there goes the idea of TLM going some place where she already knows people (y'know, like in Cheers). Of course, I could consider daycares that are inconveniently located, but I'll only do that as a last resort.

Last week I visited two potential daycares and one kindergarten, and yesterday TLM and I visited another daycare. So far, the place I like best is the kindie, which is a bit sad because they only offer three 2 1/2 hr sessions per week, and I was hoping to work part-time (20 hrs/week) next year.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Strange tastes

I was accidentally watching Survivor: China the other night (as you do), when the unfortunate contestants were doing a Fear Factor with the local food. Chicken hearts.

Many of those people looked as though they shouldn't be quite so unfamiliar with the idea of eating those li'l blood pumps, because they looked Asian and surely their own parents had tried to force such delicacies down their throats at some stage in their lives. And boy, do I know how that feels.

I've been forced to eat lambs brains in soup. I've been fed sheeps' tongues (voluntarily, I'll admit - at least until I saw the picture on the tin). I've even had to dine on pet pigeons (at least, my brother and I thought they were our pets). I've eaten fish eyes, chicken's necks and chicken's gizzards.

But I still can't bring myself to enjoy mouldy blue cheese.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Humph...

Ever since I downloaded the latest bunch of Mac-related downloads last weekend, web-browsing has become frustratingly slow. In any one evening, I'd be lucky to be able to read half a dozen of the blogs I subscribe to, and even luckier if I manage to successfully leave a comment. It's also partly why I haven't posted as frequently as usual this week. So, all you guys - I'm reading your blogs, and have been trying to post.

So - if anyone out there knows why this might be happening to me, help me pleeeeeease (and save the boy from my angry squints).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Quick work

For a while, the house alarm kept going off just about every time we left the house, and it was such a pain to have to go all the way home again just on the off-chance that there really was a break-in. Fortunately (I suppose), it was always a false alarm.

It stopped happening once the alarm people sent in a technician to replace the sensors, and once again I was able to get out of the house for longer than about half an hour.

But then it went off again yesterday, and by this time we were at least 30 mins drive from home - with at least two major peak-time bottle-necks between our friends' house (where we were), and ours.

It was probably the builder (let's call him Bob), who'd been doing a quick-fix repair in the bathroom over the last few days. Bob hadn't returned my back door key, but he hadn't left any indication whether he'd actually finished painting over the new bits of wood. It really was too bad that I'd left his (unlisted) phone number at home.

So I stood around at my friend's house, a tiny bit too tense to take notice of how TLM and her two playmates were using the house as a Grand Prix race track, gulping my coffee and wondering whether the boy was up for an early finish to his work day.

Then Bob rang. Yes, he'd set off the alarm, no he hadn't got the message I left with his flatmate - till now, yes he'd gone ahead and finished the paint job anyway while the dread siren tried to gouge a hole in Bob's poor head.

So I was happy, because I did't have to go home early after all.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

For the Rellies

There's been a dearth of bloggables lately, so here are a couple of photos of our Little Madam:

Here's TLM at the park on Sunday, bravely treading the wobbly bridge.

...and wearing the Dora pyjama top. If we put it on her before bedtime, there’s no chance of getting it off her until her next bathtime.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Summery

I got a bit grumpy this morning when dark clouds rolled in as soon as I'd finished hanging out the washing, but it turned out hot and sunny after all. The three of us went to a free outdoor concert at a local park and playground, and it was such an enjoyable afternoon.

There was a live band, a sausage sizzle (i.e. hot dog stand), free sporty toys to play with (supplied by SPARC) and a nice, comfy family atmosphere (even the punky people had their kids with them).

The boy usually takes TLM shopping or to the zoo, rather than to the park, and I think she really appreciated having a taller parent around to guide her through the trickier parts of the climbing frames. She even danced a little to the reggae music, attracting a couple of amateur photographers (though I'm not expecting to see her photo in the newspaper).

What made our outing even more fun was running into a couple of families we know, whose kids are the same age as TLM. They ran up to each other with grins and wild laughter and then abruptly went off in different directions to play, though checking up on each other occasionally. I do love seeing TLM in the company of her friends. It's the one thing that makes me sorta want a second child.

I think summer might have arrived.

Friday, November 09, 2007

a fun free morning

This morning, while TLM was at daycare, I could have: gone shopping for my brother's birthday present; had coffee at Ernesto and made another attempt at eavesdropping on people's conversations; updated my CV; burned some new children's world music onto backup CDs; watched The Power of Myth on DVD (a birthday present from the boy - and I only thought of it because Rory from Gilmore Girls mentioned it); or even worked on my languishing painting. But I didn't do any of those things.

I spent most of this morning fitting our new toilet seat (no Jon, I didn't get a Toto brand, I just got a cheapy plastic thing from the hardware shop). First I tried to screw the bolts in upside down, then I tried to screw in the connection panel upside down. If you're doing this screwing, unscrewing and re-screwing while maximising the distance between yourself and the toilet bowl, it's very physically tiring.

But it's done now. At least until those mysterious permanent burn-like marks start reappearing, we've got a nice clean seat.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

How old people can be a little bit like toddlers

This won't apply to all old people, nor to all toddlers. Actually, it's about just my mum vs my toddler:

  • Needing help crossing the street
  • Refusing to listen to advice
  • They say what they think
  • Often won't acknowledge when they need help
  • Thinking that their respective needs are more important than anyone else's
  • Stubbornness
  • They nag and nag until they get their own way
  • Wispy hair
  • Both probably love me to bits, but can't or won't say so

    There are of course, many differences, which is just as well.
  • Monday, November 05, 2007

    Bums on seats

    I'm in the market for a novelty toilet seat, to replace the...erm...nasty and un-novel one we're currently putting up with. I quite like this one. But I've bid on similar loo seats before, and always end up at a Mexican stand-off i.e. the bidding goes up to, say $35, the time runs out and next thing I know it's being offered to all interested parties for $55. And I'm too stingy to pay that much, regardless of the sealife decorations.

    What I should do, and haven't bothered to yet, is check out the retail prices of both novelty and straight toilet seats. It's the only way to know whether the trader is trying to rip us off or get us a bargain.

    And if I get one, maybe I'll look for a mini version for the potty. Because TLM sure isn't interested in sitting on the plain white one.

    Saturday, November 03, 2007

    Together again

    I was afraid that we wouldn't be able to get to the airport in good time, because The Little Madam (who has a cold after all, and not some kind of hayfever) was still asleep 5 minutes before the boy's plane was due to land. I was afraid that, halfway between here and there (about 15 mins drive off peak-time), the boy would get tired of waiting and get a taxi home, and I'd have missed the text that he sent to tell me.

    But he was waiting at Arrivals for us, and TLM was all grins and squeals when she saw her daddy. Once we were home again, she pulled out all her favourite toys and demanded that he play with her, jetlag and all.

    And then there were the presents - TLM liked her Dora the Explorer pjs so much she wore the top half right away, over her other clothes. There was also a Thomas the Tank Engine toy that that talked and whistled and a Maisy toy. The fluffy teddy bear handbag is in bed with her as I type. She's now got tons of summer dresses to wear - I just hope we actually get a summer this year - and enough over-sized Dora gear to last her until school.

    I got something too, including a rune stone necklace that's supposed to encourage creativity (or childbirth - the former I hope), and another beautiful journal to fill up with something interesting (I hope).

    I'll wait till tomorrow before bringing up the household repairs he needs to get on with...

    A goth! A goth!

    That's what TLM cried out, pointing to the trio of punks walking their labrador to the supermarket. She's been learning words at a scary rate, but I couldn't figure out where she'd heard the word "goth". And besides, they were punks - goths wear mostly black clothes and makeup, punks wear mostly tartans and safety pins - its important to get your subcultures right.

    But anyway, it turned out I'd misheard TLM. She was talking about the dog.

    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Independent living

    It's still 2 1/2 days before the boy gets back from his business trip, and though I've managed to single-parent without any major problems, there are some things that are just so much easier when he's around.

    For example, anything to do with our entertainment system. One evening I leaned funny on one of our 4 remotes, and next thing I knew we had big ugly subtitles that covered half of the tv screen. It took me nearly 2 days to figure out how to get rid of them.

    If the boy had been home at the time, I could have complained about it to him, and then left it up to him to fix it for me. Also, it's impossible to change the bedroom lightbulb unless he's around. Oh yes, I have a ladder. But I'm so short that, even when I climb up it, I can't quite reach the damn thing.

    But when I see him next, I won't bother going into all that. It'll sound much more romantic if I just tell him I missed him.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    A to-do list

    There are many things that I really ought to get onto, except they keep getting forgotten in the busy-ness of day-to-day life. So this list really ought to be written in thick marker pen, on an A2 sheet of paper. Some of the items listed have been waiting for months...

  • buy marker pens for the hardcopy of my to-do list
  • Source washable name tags and labels for TLM's stuff that she takes to daycare
  • Get a will
  • Get TLM's Dora the Explorer tent mended (it was only a month old when the air mattress collapsed on us, and we never did find our proof-of-purchase)
  • find someone to clean out the guttering and fix all the water damage to the front porch
  • chase up my ex-workmates at the Bank, and ask them to find me a part-time documentation job.
  • file the stack of old bill statements, which is currently crowding my desk
  • think of wacky things to do, so I have something interesting to blog about in future (this is a nod to nigel patel)
  • donate my unwanted CDs to TLM's daycare (they might like the Hasselhoff I got last Christmas)
  • refresh my undie stock
  • change the bed sheets
  • finish the abstract painting I started in July
  • do something to those high-waisted jeans that I ripped the waistband off of (to allow breathing), so that the top of them doesn't stick out like an extra proboscis.
  • remove the two boxes of unwanted paperbacks from the hallway and take 'em to the Salvation Army store.

    I need you guys to nag me every so often, to remind me to tick something off the list. Okay?
  • Monday, October 29, 2007

    Professionally good-looking?


    A fellow parent today suggested that The Little Madam is so cute she could do it for a living. I've thought of it myself, but this is the first time someone else has mentioned the idea. Of course, I'd never want her to be a teen model - I've heard scary things about what happens to 13-year-olds when they get sent to Milan for "finishing". But modelling little kids' clothes, that would certainly earn a few dollars towards her education fund, eh?

    Saturday, October 27, 2007

    Snot much fun

    I used up a whole box of tissues today, what with all the sneezing and the nose-blowing - and that doesn't include the snots coming out of TLM's nostrils.

    The whole bath-bed routine becomes much more difficult when I've got a head cold. Bathtime takes longer because I keep having to stop to blow my nose; storytime is a lot messier when my nose is dripping like it's an ingredient in a chemistry lab; and singing those two lullabies, at the very end of the routine, sounds much...gluggier...when my sinuses are full to the brim (despite the dripping and blowing).

    I've taken Sudafed, but they've been about as effective as a couple of sugar pills.
    Got any drugs that work?

    Friday, October 26, 2007

    The wrong time to go feminine

    Geez, it takes me more than 25 years to work out what clothing styles suit my body shape, and as soon as I have a baby it's back to the drawing board.

    I've been on my never-ending mission to find tops that I can wear with skirts, without ending up resembling a barrel of peanut oil. And I've come to realise that only fitted tops (i.e. neither Catwoman-clingy nor baby-doll poufy) will do. But this season's styles spit at me and smirk at me with scorn, because today's shopping expedition uncovered only two types of women's tops: 1) baby doll stuff that would've been damned useful when I was 6 months pregnant, and 2) clingy stuff that looks amazing on models and 14-year-old girls, and which might've looked good on me when I was 6 months pregnant.

    SO, this summer I will wearing out my jeans.

    Thursday, October 25, 2007

    Something I learned on Monday

    On Monday, when TLM and I were visiting my mother, I commented to my mother how good TLM was to wear her sunhat the whole time she was outside. And in exactly that precise moment that I uttered those words, TLM knocked off her sunhat and refused to put it back on. Mum's response was that I should never have praised TLM in the first place.

    For years, my mother never praised me for things that might have deserved it. When I won school prizes or got A's, she always sounded like it was the least I could do to thank her for raising me. At first, I thought it was because she was simply impossibly hard to please. But I talked to family friends and learned a little about customs of Old China. Chinese kids are told they're lazy, stupid or ugly because it protects them from being kidnapped by evil spirits, who'd much prefer a cute, clever and diligent child.

    After Monday though, I know the real reason my mum avoids saying nice things about me. She's just trying to cheat Murphy's Law.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    Dropping no eaves, here

    I try to spend an hour or two every week doing the cafe thing. By this I don't mean socialising with my buds over caffeine and cake, but sitting alone with a flat white (okay, and cake too) and my writing notebook. But I'm very bad at people-watching, and even worse at eavesdropping on their conversations (to develop my ear for dialogue, of course!).

    Sometimes there are plenty of people around me talking, but I can't make out what they're saying because of all the background noise. Sometimes those inconsiderate people just aren't talking loudly enough for me to hear (hmmm...maybe I need a hearing aid?).

    But most of the time, I live too much inside my own head when I'm sitting on my own.

    So I'm thinking, the writers who can create great, believable characters, and can write believable dialogue - they're the ones who'd make good spies and private detectives.

    I'm thinking, I should start having coffee with friends for a change.

    Monday, October 22, 2007

    Too cunning for her own good

    TLM is still having a hard time with the separation that comes with naptime. While she was eating lunch, I mentioned that once she finished we would do our books'n'naps routine. So she took a really long time to eat. Every time I started to take her food away, she'd go "no no no", and once I put it back she'd spoon a grain of rice into her mouth, trying to make lunch last as long as possible.

    When I was in my early teens, there was a time when I would force down many, many bowlfuls of rice gruel for breakfast, refusing to stop until my stomach threatened to give it all back, all at once. I did this to avoid beginning work i.e. working in my mother's hot, steamy kitchen where she made Chinese goodies for the evil, exploitative locals willing to pay for them. Small wonder that I ended up with an eating disorder.

    Anyway, not only is TLM about a decade younger than I was when I went down that particular track, but really it's not the sort of message I want her to learn. So I promised that today she would have her nap in the hammock, in the lounge - without the 20 minutes of howling in her room first - because I didn't want her making herself sick.

    She's a smart girl, that one.

    Sunday, October 21, 2007

    For pity's sake

    My last post didn't attract any condolences, and it's obvious that I'm hopeless at expressing emotional stuff. Is this any better at conveying how sorely we miss the boy?

    Readers, I miss him. The king-sized bed is far too empty with just me in it, and this tiny cottage is a big pit of despair when the boy's 6'2" form isn't stomping around in it. TLM misses him too, though of course she doesn't say so explicitly. There were some idle moments this weekend when she should have been cadging steak and cheese pie off him, and couldn't. She misses his boisterous play, his endless patience with her, and the spelling lessons he gives at bathtime. Naptimes are horrendous because that's when TLM becomes hysterical with the knowledge that I won't be with her - and the fear that I'll be off next. Bedtimes are easier only because she's too tired to keep up the sobbing.

    It was cruel to schedule this business trip to coincide with the first long weekend since June, because I don't feel I can impose myself on friends who've probably either left town for the holiday, or want to have extra family time to themselves. I can't even give TLM an extra daycare session, to give me a break, because it'll probably exacerbate her anxiety.

    I don't like this solo parenting gig.

    Saturday, October 20, 2007

    Security

    I guess I spoke too soon when I posted about the end of The Little Madam's separation anxiety.

    Recently she's started to get upset when I've left her at daycare, even though for a long time it hadn't been a problem. And it's even worse now that the boy is out of town for business. When I tried to put TLM down for her nap, she cried so hard it made her hiccup and I ended up putting her in her old baby hammock in the lounge (where she slept for a record 2 1/2 hours). She started to do the same thing tonight, but I was firm this time and walked out on her even as she bawled (thankfully she went quiet shortly after.)

    On the whole though, I'm not worried about her in the longer term. I have this theory that the clingier they are at age 2, the more likely they'll end up hitchhiking though Africa (or something equally adventurous) at age 22.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Writing what I know

    I've just finished the first draft of my second short story (it took me 8 tries, but it's still a first draft). Just like my first story, it's about people who aren't Chinese New Zealanders. I'm wondering whether this is a bad thing.

    The latest short story anthology I've been reading has stories by Asian Americans i.e. ethnic Chinese, Taiwanese, Indian, Filipino, Japanese or Korean (in this book, anyway). And just about every story in this collection is about Asian Americans.

    I suppose that isn't surprising, since we are supposed to write from our own experiences of the world. But if that's the case, how come it's no easier for me to write about Chinese New Zealanders, than to write about white folks? Is this some kind of manifestation of a subconscious rejection of my own culture? Am I simply expressing a view that storylines are universal? Have I been too thoroughly influenced by the white culture I've grown up in? Am I over-analysing?

    It's just something I find interesting, that's all.

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    Gimme V-necks

    Apparently it's Love Your Body Day on Wednesday. EDEN (Eating Difficulties Education Network) are selling a range of t-shirts that say "Love Your Body". The designs on the t-shirts are attractive enough, but I'll never buy one. Why? Because those high, round necks make me look fat. Serious!

    Saturday, October 13, 2007

    Superstition

    Tea-towels with little children's handprints on them (including my darling daughter's) - a nice Christmas present for the family, no?

    Except I'm worried that there's some Chinese superstition which regards children's handprints on tea-towels as bad luck.

    It's not as silly as it sounds, you know. I once had to ruin a perfectly good painting of my nephew gazing at a toy truck, because my mum was terribly offended by a picture which included both a child and a truck. Another time, when I was a kid, she was offended by my present of a set of pretty candles and candlesticks. And then there was the time we couldn't order duck for my mum's eightieth birthday - something to do with the duck's bill - I never did figure out the reasoning behind that one.

    I had a quick Google, and though I found some very interesting superstitions that I didn't find last time I looked, I wasn't able to find out whether the tea-towel gift would be a bad idea.

    Perhaps this is why she prefers cash.

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Yesterday's scary activity

    For years, I've always thought of those petrol station car wash services as a waste of money. Because, if you want your car cleaned, it only takes 20 minutes to soap, spray and wipe it yourself. But as I haven't managed to wash my car once, in the 18 months we have owned it, I decided to throw money at the situation and take it to the car wash.

    Remember, this was the first time I'd ever been in one of those automated thingummies.

    First of all, I couldn't work out how to get my side mirrors to fold in, as the sign instructed. So while I was in there I worried that they would snap off with the pressure of those enormous rubbery brushes.

    And the other thing was that it's really noisy, it makes the whole car vibrate, and from the inside it looks and feels as though I'm being attacked by an oversized, multi-coloured St Bernard dog. Or a creature from a comedy version of Supernatural.

    Even the hot-air-blowing gadget made me nervous. How did it know not to hit the roof of my car?

    I was glad I hadn't taken TLM with me - she was at daycare - because I could imagine her being at least as uncomfortable (okay...scared) as I was.

    Monday, October 08, 2007

    The psychology of reading preferences

    This isn't going to be a well-researched thesis, or even a well-thought-out idea; more an opening for a discussion.

    Being temporarily out of books to read, last night I grabbed Lionel Shriver's We Need To Talk About Kevin again. I've already read it through twice, and here I am starting it for the third time. I'm starting to wonder whether it's significant, that it's so easy for me to enjoy a novel about the mother of a high school mass murderer.

    I like to think that, apart from the story, it's Shriver's great writing style that draws me in, her use of language (lots of interesting words but none of them I have to look up in the dictionary).

    Or maybe its Eva's (the main character) love of intrepid travel that reminds me of myself. Her ambivalence about motherhood resonates with me, but I think I'm much, much happier than she was.

    It's definitely not that I think TLM will turn out like Kevin. Although TLM will probably grow up to be some sort of mad genius, I truly believe she won't be an evil one.

    Hmm...it could really do one's head in...

    So - how do you think that your favourite book reflects your self?

    Friday, October 05, 2007

    Cinema for he-men

    The other night, there was nothing on the telly and I told the boy he could put on any DVD he wanted. He knows that whenever I say this, what I really mean is "anything except one of those god-awful Star Wars movies".

    So he put on 300. He's actually had it for ages and already seen it many times; just never put it on for me because it is, as he puts it, a men's movie. He likes it so much it makes him all tingly with testosterone, which is what Gladiator also does for him.

    Actually, it's not a bad a movie. As long as you treat it as a propoganda tale intended to rev the ancient Greeks into a frenzy of united warfare against a common enemy, it's really quite watchable.

    Although I must say that the six-packs (of which there are many) are as obviously "enhanced" as Pamela Anderson's boobies. Something of a disappointment in this respect.

    Thursday, October 04, 2007

    No more frowning

    Last night I found some frown lines on my face. I was horrified enough to plaster on extra moisturizer before going to bed. But when I told the boy about them, he said it is okay to use Botox. I suppose that's nice of him...

    I've resolved to try and avoid frowning, as much as I can.

    I can now see a clear and practical link between the twin reputations Asians have for

    1. inscrutability and
    2. agelessness.

    Oh, how I curse my expressive youth...

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    Learning lingo

    It's kinda cute when TLM says "Vamanos" if she wants us to go somewhere right now. She learned it, and other Spanish words, from watching Dora the Explorer on TV (see, television doesn't necessarily rot your brain).

    I wish there was a Cantonese version of the Dora show, because I don't make much effort to teach her Cantonese, myself. So now I'm trying to imagine how Cantonese Dora would look and sound. She'd be darker-haired, and possibly shorter too, than original Dora. She'd have a name that's easily pronounced by native Cantonese speakers, like "Lucy" perhaps, which has no "r" sounds or "v" sounds (that's right, my mother can't even say my own name properly).

    And to be an authentic character, Cantonese Dora/Lucy would have to spend most of her screen time making money in her own business, or else playing mah jong. And hanging around with her parents a lot, because she respects authority. She wouldn't be hanging with Boots the monkey, because he'd have been sold as food long ago. There'll always be a packet of rice in her backpack, as well as school books (because it's her duty to get straight "A"s.

    Hmmm...

    Tuesday, October 02, 2007

    Playing favourites

    Now that TLM has grown out of her separation anxiety, her daddy is once again the favoured parent. I can accept that she'd rather play with him than with me, because I can totally understand why. He's so much better at putting on a smile even when he hasn't slept well the night before, or had a bad day at work. Me, I'm no good at putting on masks.

    What does annoy me is discovering that, whenever the boy puts TLM down for a nap or bedtime, she goes to sleep without fuss and (for her naps) stays asleep for two hours. When it's my turn, she's likely to get right up and practice walking in a sleeping bag. She's also a lot more likely to not nap at all. (Last Friday, she didn't fall asleep until after we'd been around the zoo - it was about 4.30pm by then, and when she woke up grumpy as hell I realised we'd have been better off letting her stay awake all day.)

    So yeah, the boy gets more smiles, elicits better behaviour in the supermarket, and produces longer naptimes. Maybe I should get a job.

    Sunday, September 30, 2007

    The reunion

    I think that the ideal school reunion would be one in which all the nerdy students, the ones outside the circle of popularity, show up ten or twenty years later as highly successful members of society, leading exciting and glamorous lives. And the once-popular students can't make it because they're in prison for some spectacularly pathetic crime.

    Last night I went to a reunion of a class of '77; the last time I saw any of these people, we were (mostly) innocent, fresh-faced 13-year-olds. In hindsight, I really should have done a bit of swatting beforehand because, of the 16 people there, I could only identify 4 or 5.

    Everybody knew who I was right away. It probably helped that I was the only Chinese in our class. On the other hand, I couldn't remember M. who was the only Samoan. I still don't remember him. And two people I strained to recognise turned out to be complete strangers after all (spouses of my former classmates).

    The boy I'd had a crush on went on to become an artist and movie scene-maker; the most popular girl in the class - because she had boobs - went on to become a truck-driver; the class bad-boy ended up in and out of prison; and our long-haired activist teacher became a politician. And, as usual, people said I look exactly the same as I did back then.

    As everyone around me the recalled amusing anecdotes about the good old days, I started to wish I hadn't been such a goody-two-shoes. I also wished I'd had a better memory. To be honest, these people had ceased to exist for me after our last day of term. So I was amazed that anyone could still remember the class bad-boy throwing a desk at our teacher (then a bit of a hippie, now a politician), who the class clowns were and who spent lunchtimes snogging on the class couch.

    I also wished that this reunion had taken place about ten years ago, when I was full of exciting travel stories and living a much more interesting life. Because 30 years ago I was living a damned quiet life. And here I am, back where I was then.

    Thursday, September 27, 2007

    Cookie monster

    The stuff I helped sell at last weekend's cake stall looked so good, so professional, that I felt like such a culinary failure in comparison. I'm the one who once made a sponge cake and forgot to put the sugar in, the one who didn't have enough beef for her casserole and made up for it in pork.

    But today I decided it was time to make gingerbread men. It seems such a waste to have bought those expensive cookie cutters, and only use them on playdough. I also thought TLM might enjoy helping me mix the dough, cut the cookies and taste the results.

    She was great at mixing time. But she kept trying to toss in extra ingredients while I was already onto the knead'n'cut phase. Then she wouldn't get away from the hot oven while they were baking. I was pleased that she seemed to like them, but while I was cooking her lunch she kept sneaking up to the kitchen table and taking the box of cookies away (though she hasn't yet worked out how to open it).

    In the end I had to sit her in front of Dora, just to give myself a break from preventing scalds and over-full tummies.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Running the lurgy gauntlet

    It's bad enough when TLM seems susceptible to every bug going around, but you also get advance warnings of whatever's doing the rounds in the schools, preschools and daycare centres - that's just extra stress I could do without.

    Last week it was the gastroenteritis scare. I crossed my fingers and so far TLM's tummy has been okay.

    This week it's chicken pox, with one of the daycare kids already quarantined at home.

    When TLM had the worst post-nap screamout of all time today, I was a bit concerned. Usually the offer of tiny teddy biscuits is enough to cheer her up, but today I had to resort to ice cream. And that only worked until she ran out. Then I noticed the little pink spots on her temples. I was on the phone by then, and my friend (an ex-nanny) reminded me of the symptoms of chicken pox as TLM screamed and cried and went red in the face.
    I worried that it might be the start of the pox.

    But she quietened down once I put a Dora DVD on, and soon afterwards the little red spots disappeared. I think she's the only person I know who gets spotty when she's angry.

    Monday, September 24, 2007

    cuddly toys extreme

    The boy has found a site selling very...interesting soft toys. If you're after a pair of conjoined twin teddies, or an alien couple with...ahem...anatomically correct girl- and boy- bits, then look no further.

    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    Is this how it starts?

    The word "no" has become one of TLM's favourite words (the other being "mine"). It can get really confusing sometimes - I'll ask her whether she wants to have noodles, she'll say "no", then get upset when I put the noodles back in the fridge.

    So tonight when she's alternately banging her fork against her bowl and trying to prong a piece of pear, I ask whether she's done eating.

    "No".

    But I take her food away anyhow, because I know better.

    "I know you said no", I tell her, "but you really mean yes".

    Sound familiar, hmmm?

    Saturday, September 22, 2007

    A Grim Fairytale

    We just finished watching Pan's Labyrinth - at last,a bloggable movie.

    It's about a young girl whose life has taken a bad turn. Her new stepfather is every woman's nightmare - an arrogant, violent, fascist military officer - and her mother's pregnancy has become life-threatening. Then Ofelia finds out that she is supposed to be a reincarnation of the princess of the underworld, and must complete 3 tasks to prove her worthiness.

    This is basically a fairy tale, but it's not a children's story. The magical creatures could have been extras in the horror, Silent Hill, and there's just enough blood and torture to keep things really dark.

    I can't say I enjoyed every minute; watching a man's face being smashed in like a KFC mashie wasn't fun, and neither was the nail-pulling. But it was a bloody good story.

    Actually, it's like a non-cute variation on Labyrinth.

    Friday, September 21, 2007

    A reason for being

    Glomgold tagged me for a meme, of which the big question is - why do I blog?

    The answer is really quite simple. I wanted to be like Carrie in Sex and the City, posting thought-provoking snippets about life as a single woman in her 30's. The only difference was that I don't much look like Sarah Jessica Park, or live in a big city, or have 3 fabulous girlfriends with whom I attend fashionable parties, and no-one would pay me to write anything. Oh yes, and I'm not single.

    So I settled for a free form of vanity publishing.

    The reason I keep blogging is also quite simple. As long as I feel like writing for other people, and as long as there seem to be half a dozen or so people willing to read my blog, then I'll keep doing it. Also, a big tick next to the word community. It really does feel like I'm in a wee cyber-village full of fellow bloggers trying to make sense of their lives through words and pictures.

    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    A couple of non-dull moments

    The first non-dull thing that happened this week was that I accidentally started a fire.

    It happened just before I was due to pick The Little Madam up from daycare, and I'd just put on some pasta in case she stayed awake long enough to have lunch at home. While it simmered away, I made myself comfortable with a book of Harlan Ellison short stories, a mass of cheap 'n' cheerful cushions and the reading light turned on full-bore. When I caught a whiff of something burning, I checked the pot on the stove - nope, this was one time I hadn't forgotten to put water in the saucepan.

    Only when I headed back to my comfy reading spot, did I notice that one of the rays on the smiley-face sun cushion was stuck to the reading light bulb and was rapidly turning black. Worse, it was emitting a foul chemical odour.

    I whipped the cushion away from the hot bulb, took it outside and snipped off the burning ray. It continued to burn and melt in the rain, sort of like how a chicken continues to run about even after it's been beheaded.

    It was time to go pick up TLM, but once we got home I had to have the door and window open the rest of the day just to make the place habitable again.

    The second non-dull thing
    that happened this week is something that probably would've happened sooner or later, and perhaps it's surprising that it wasn't sooner.

    I went out to get the washing in, you see; it was such a beautiful day and so calm that I didn't bother to leave a shoe at the edge of the doorway in case a gust of wind slammed the door on me. The thing about the back door is that it locks automatically. TLM was playing inside, and after I went outside she decided to play shut-the-door.

    If any of my neighbours had been home at the time, they would have heard a frantic voice cry "No TLM...no...nononononono!", followed by a door slam and then, the sweet sound of childish laughter.

    Fortunately I found someone who was home who let me use her phone to call the boy (who probably didn't mind much having to leave work an hour early to rescue me).

    The good thing was that I didn't really know this neighbour, but by the time the boy got home we'd had a really nice chat.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Bob on the brain

    The last few nights I haven't slept that well. I keep waking up in the night with the theme tune to Bob the Builder, going in my head. And when that isn't playing, I'm mentally going over the details on the cake stall I (and my fellow daycare fundraising parents) have been organising for this Saturday.

    Most mornings the boy has informed me of the freight-train noised that have been emitting from my mouth every night. This makes me feel terribly guilty until he starts doing it to me too.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    New obsessions

    FYI, these are The Little Madam's latest favourite things:

    1. animal biscuits - these beast-shaped biscuits with the neon-bright icing on one side, look just like the ones I used to love as a kid, but smaller. I bought 'em for TLM on a whim, and now she whines for them whenever I offer something relatively undesirable, like a fruit digestive or mini choc chip biscuit.

    2. the high-summer sleeping bag that she sleeps in whenever she's sick with high temperatures. It's bright blue and covered in cartoon animals. She can be found clutching it every night as she winds down for sleep, although she's already in another, warmer sleeping bab. This morning she took it to daycare with her; I only hope it hasn't ended up in the water-play basin.

    3. her Nana-quilt is still well-loved, though thankfully TLM has stopped trying to put it under her bum when she's in her high chair or on the ride-on Pooh-mobile.

    4. strawberries - stuff the "buy local" ethic. If we have to import 'em all the way from Australia, then we'll do it by gosh because sometimes it's the only thing that'll stop the whinging.

    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    Spring cleaning

    I've been Spring cleaning - not because it's Spring, but because I'm aware that if we want to sell this house (which we will, one day, when we get around to it) then it's got to have no broken or dirty bits.

    It's hard to do proper cleaning for two main reasons: one is that I don't enjoy cleaning, and anything I don't enjoy feels difficult; the other is that The Little Madam tends to get overly interested in the bucket of soapy water/filthy rag, so doing it while she's awake is really inefficient, but on the other hand there's no way I'll be doing anything un-fun while she's asleep.

    One day I tried removing the grime from the wall underneath the bay window in the master bedroom. I ended up using a toothbrush. If you want a bit of advice on wallpaper, here it is - don't buy textured wallpaper that looks like billions of pixel-sized tiles, because the dirt gets trapped in the grout-y bits. Do you want to end up cleaning your walls with a toothbrush?

    I don't understand why walls get so dirty in the first place. We don't draw on them or kick balls against them. Being vertical, you'd think that dirt would just skim down walls and end up on the floor. Does anyone know whether Teflon make wall coverings?

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Where to next?

    Well, last night was the last writing class. Most of us got to read our stories out loud in front of everyone else and ask for comments, including me.

    I was a bit worried, because I've got a cold and didn't want to be spluttering my germie germs all over the classroom. But as it turned out, my main problem was that I read too fast because I was so nervous.

    On the other hand, everyone seemed to like my story - at least, no-one said anything negative about it. The tutor was pleased with it too, though she seemed to be pleased with all of the finished stories.

    So what now?

    I was going to enter it into a short story competition run by a national paper, but the deadline's tomorrow and I don't have any money to get it couriered to their office. What a lame excuse eh?

    But wait, there's more. There's another competition being run by a non-profit publication, with a much gentler deadline (the end of this month). The prizes are a lot less generous, but since it's fairly low-profile (I've never heard of it) then maybe I'll have less competition. (I might even post it on this blog, who knows?)

    And then...there's a writers' group I may join, and the rest of my classmates seemed keen to set up an online writers' group for just us. And there's always the possibility of taking another evening class or correspondence course or something.

    Or I could just go back to painting for a bit.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Learning by writing

    I've learned a few things since I started my writing class (the last one is tomorrow, sob...).

    One is that a thesaurus is a very, very good thing.

    Another is that I can't easily write serious emotional stuff. This shouldn't have surprised me, since I can't talk it either.

    But I can do levity.

    And I've gained a new appreciation for any writer, no matter how crappy I think his or her books are, who can get published.

    FYI, I have almost finished my short story - the one I've been writing for class. The tutor really liked my penultimate draft, and hopefully the changes I made for the final draft actually improve it.

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    Monday, September 10, 2007

    Hello, Kitty

    It's assuring to know that, even though she still can't resist the frilly pink dress at her daycare, she'll also get excited about dressing up as a jaguar.

    Another thing she's excited about is the merry-go-round. She went on one today and looked like she was in toddler-heaven.

    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    Ever so slightly masochistic

    I used to suffer terribly from impossibly tight muscles around my neck and shoulders. It was probably due to poor posture, because as soon as I stopped spending 8 hours per day hunched over a computer monitor, my neck started to look noticeably longer.

    Anyway, for a few months during that time, I used to make weekly visits to a Chinese masseuse who did business nearby. Although she was an extremely petite woman (about my height, but half as wide), her fingers could've cracked walnuts. For $70 I would get an hour of pounding and poking, often so hard and deep it literally brought tears to my eyes.

    You would think perhaps, that a massage this painful might well be the last one. But I kept going back every week for more of the same. I did it because, somehow, I knew that it was a good pain. But even now, I hesitate to say this to people in case they think I'm a raving masochist.

    These days my muscles aren't quite as knotted, but I've been reminded of the Chinese masseuse because of last night. Last night was when I brought my story into class, to be ripped to shreds. (Other people's stories got torn here and there a bit too.)

    It kinda hurt to be given a long list of what's wrong with my literary baby. But it was a good hurt.

    Saturday, September 01, 2007

    Six of one, half a dozen of the other

    I spent my child-free time this afternoon looking for a Fathers Day present for the boy. It wasn't as hard as I'd expected - within about 20 minutes of arriving at the shopping precinct I'd found a nice piece of dark greenstone carved into the shape of a whale tail.

    So the rest of the time I was trying to decide whether to buy a bigger day-to-day handbag which my nice notebook* will fit into, or a smaller notebook which will fit into my existing bag. Either option could cost the same - $15 (if I stick to sale items in the cheaper shops, anyway). Or maybe next time in town I'll just get one of each.


    * I'm talking about stationery here, not my MacBook. And I'll be using the notebook for recording all those wonderful story/painting ideas I'll be having while I'm at the park with TLM or whatever.

    Friday, August 31, 2007

    the voice of authority

    elizaf's latest post reminds me of a similar experience I had (though it didn't take part in the toilets of a gay nightclub).

    Last Sunday, before TLM came down with the unidentified virus that has made her feverish all week, I took her to a park near the beach. (For some reason, the weather in August is often really lovely, then spring happens and it all turns to shit again.) For an extra-special treat, I'd bought us a gourmet ice cream in a cone.

    We were sitting on the edge of the gravel pit (which is actually a more fun play area than it sounds), digging into the boysenberry and strawberry scoops with our respective spoons, when a little boy a few feet away started to kick gravel towards us.

    TLM wasn't bothered, but I really hate getting dust in my ice cream. So I gave the naughty boy one of my glares. My glares work on TLM and they work on the boy, but unfortunately not on this boy. In fact, they seemed to encourage him to kick harder and with more determination.

    A spray of dust hit my face, and without thinking I suddenly barked "No kicking gravel into people's faces!!! Or I'll tell your mum and I don't care who she is!!!"

    Immediately I remembered that we were surrounded by respectable folks who wouldn't have appreciated the sound of a mum losing her temper. But then I caught the eye of a fellow mother seated a bit further down, and saw her smile with approval.

    You don't have to be meek if you're a mum.

    Wednesday, August 29, 2007

    Eclipsed

    If I can't even remember to show up to see a lunar eclipse (all I had to do was go out my front door), then I guess I have no excuse for complaining about the lack of exciting things to blog about eh?

    Monday, August 27, 2007

    Im a bad, bad mum

    When TLM gets a little snotty around the nostrils, or becomes unable to keep down even a tiny bit of water, or can't sleep at night because she's burning up, I worry. Of course I do, because I don't want her to suffer and don't always know what's actually wrong with her.

    If I were a better mum, that would be my only worry. But when TLM gets sick, often my first worry is that she's not going to be able to attend daycare, playgroup or other social event, because she's sick and possibly infectious. If she has to miss daycare, then I mourn for my child-free time - the only time I get to paint or write. If she has to miss playgroup or a playdate, that's the morning's toddler-entertainment gone.

    So if, when I'm an old lady in need of company, grown-up TLM resents having to sit around the house all day making me cups of tea, I won't really have an excuse to grumble.

    Saturday, August 25, 2007

    All writed out

    I've been sitting here staring at the monitor for the last ten minutes, and I can't think of anything to write.

    It might well be because I spent abut three solid hours today, working on the presentation first draft of my short story - the one I had to totally rewrite after the tutor told me my first first draft was really a plot summary for a novel.

    Either that, or my life is just too boring right now.

    p.s. the good news is that I now have a completed first draft to present to the next class :-)

    Wednesday, August 22, 2007

    Eyes as blue as a bottle of Bombay Sapphire...

    Three main things I learned in tonight's short story writing class -

    1. My first draft is not so much a short story, as a novel in 1700 words.

    Apparently the plot holes in my story are merely a sign that I'm trying to fit too much in. The tutor suggested that I take one small portion my story and turn that into a short story. The portion she mentioned, in it's current form, only takes up a single paragraph, barely two sentences. Boy, have I got a lot of work to do before next Wednesday...

    2. My metaphors and similes are about as fresh and effective as a sheet of single-ply toilet paper after a long night of beer and over-spiced curries.

    3. I may be better suited to b-grade humour writing, than Katherine Mansfield-type of thing.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    They called him the black Beatle

    I'd been searching for my Earth, Wind and Fire CD, which I'd bought on holiday in the States after hearing their songs at a party in Seattle (hi Mike!).

    I haven't been able to find it, but I did find my Stevie Wonder compilation. I remember spending hours doing housework to songs like "For once in my life" and "Ma Cherie Amour" (which isn't as pathetic as it sounds...I think).

    It made a nice change from Bach (relaxing music for helping TLM to nap when she's in the hammock) and the Wiggles Movie soundtrack. In fact, TLM really got into it, once she got over the shock of seeing me bob up and down and shake my head (that is, dance).

    If I'd known she'd enjoy it so much, I'd have played a lot less Wiggles.

    Saturday, August 18, 2007

    What the Fairy Godmother saw

    I thought I'd post this bit of writing I did during last Wednesday's class. I was trying to imagine Cinderella's story from the Fairy Godmother's point of view. We only had 10 minutes to write it though...

    She was a busy woman, a very busy woman. Long years passed without a single thought of her god-daughter Fidelma.

    And then, one night, after she had expelled several wicked magicians for plotting to kill the king, she felt a twinge.

    It was more of a light tingle really, at a spot between her eyes, which could only mean that Fidelma needed her help. She had almost forgotten the poor girl. Fidelma was just a wee babe the last time she'd seen her. She must be, what, at least 15 years old by now.

    A rush of guilt came upon her, and she made haste to go to Fidelma's side.

    "My darling god-daughter," she exclaimed, "I must apologise for neglecting you all these years." She had been about to ask how she was, but the answer was all around her. Fidelma was covered in smudges of ash and clothed in the most unattractive rags. The room they stood in was obviously in the servants' quarters, hardly where she'd expected to materialise.

    "Oh dear" she sighed.

    Friday, August 17, 2007

    2 terrible

    I reckon TLM's terrible twos has started. Yeah I know, she's been 2 for less than a week. But maybe she's advanced? So far, I've noticed:

    - The nap-resistance started a few weeks ago.
    - She tries to climb everything, whether it's the high chair or a dining chair or a climbing wall (though she doesn't get far with that). She's getting the hang of ladders too.
    - The baby hammock has finally been retired. When she started to sit right up in it, I resolved to never leave her alone in it unless I was sure she'd be fast asleep while I was gone. Now that she's able to climb into it (while it's hanging on a low storage hook), it's time to put the whole thing away.
    - She won't eat bananas, kiwifruit or oranges unless she can eat them the way I do i.e not already peeled and cut into little pieces. Even if she can't actually manage it.
    - And she's saying "no" a heck of a lot.

    All the above are probably just the start of a whole new era of hair-tearing, right?

    Thursday, August 16, 2007

    The eye of the beholder

    At last night's short story writing class, we discussed the different points of view that can be used in telling a story e.g in first-, second- and third-person, or whether the narrator is the main character, a minor character or an uninvolved onlooker.

    I'm still not 100% clear on the difference between telling a story from a minor character's point of view and using first-person, and telling it from a minor character's view but using second-person. So I'll just use "I" if I can identify with the character well, and "he" or "she" if I can't.

    The most fun exercise of the evening was to, in groups, attempt to retell the tale of Cinderella from the points of view of various minor characters e.g. the stepmum, Cinderella's dad, etc, and from the points of view of very minor characters e.g. one of the mice who was transformed by the fairy godmother into a footman. I can see why Gregory Maguire has made a career out of it (although I think his results could have been less boring).

    And our homework this week is to come up with a first draft for a short story. I've got an idea for one right now, but I won't tell you what it is in case you steal my idea and turn it into a best-selling novel and don't even give me credit for it.

    High definition

    The boy recently started buying HD (high definition) DVDs. Apparently HD DVDs look so much better than the normal kind, but then he's got better than 20/20 vision and I don't. So last night he showed me a smidgeon of 300, which he'd been itching to see ever since the news that the graphic novel was being made into a film.

    And really, I didn't notice any difference between what I saw and what I usually see. It might be a non-geek, girlie thing, but I'm far more interested in a film's plot, themes, characters and acting than in whether it looks as good from three feet away as it does from ten. Or it may be because my eyesight is slightly deficient, and I'm the perfect customer for a low-quality tv set.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Youth and beauty

    It's so unfair. TLM has another cold, this time with a temperature and perhaps an ear infection too). She's sleep-deprived because she woke early from her nap after maybe 20 minutes.

    But she still looks as fresh as a daisy (albeit a snotty one), while I'm the one with blood-shot eyes.

    Saturday, August 11, 2007

    2


    TLM is two today. Although she still had a slight nasal drip, we went ahead with the birthday party anyway. She seemed to enjoy being the only girl in the group of toddlers, and when her three year old girl cousin arrived there was even more excitement. All that bopping and dressing up in Dora skirts - I think the boys kinda dug this wilder, older woman.

    And there was a surprisingly small amount of mess too. What a pity we forgot to bring our camera...(though I did get some pics on the phone camera).

    Thursday, August 09, 2007

    making it up

    I do enjoy my writing classes; the tutor is both helpful and approachable, and my classmates are friendly and supportive.

    It's hard work though, and for some reason I always feels uncomfortably warm there. It's possible that they've got the central heating on too high. Or, something about effort of creating believable characters and putting them into believable (yet interesting) situations - in public - is bringing out hot flushes in me. I haven't had to deal with self-consciously red faces since I stopped drinking, and it's not something I miss.

    But I digress, as they say. Last night we were shown a general structure for a short story, and our exercise was to brainstorm a story around a single main character, along those guidelines and working in pairs. My character seemed destined to end up in a mother-daughter relationship type of story, but by the end of the session she'd nearly become involved in a fight with a P-addled almost-son-in-law.

    That's what collaboration's all about I suppose.

    Tuesday, August 07, 2007

    TV brings out the cutest in her

    At the risk of being judged a bad mum for allowing TLM to watch TV, I'm going to say that without television she would have fewer avenues of displaying cute behaviour.

    I went all gooey when I arrived unnoticed at her daycare last Friday, and watched as she put a teddy bear to bed in a little cot, bent down to kiss it night-night, and tucked it in under a crocheted blanket.

    But just as cute is when she's watching the Wiggly Safari DVD and pretending to be a ballerina butterfly when the Butterflies song comes on. And I just love it when we're watching In the Night Garden together, and during the opening scene where a young child watches his parent's index finger make little circles on his palm, TLM sticks her hand out so I can do the same.

    The downside to the speed with which TLM learns from what she watches though, is that I have to be extra vigilant about keeping her away from the advertising. There's no way I want her demanding a Barbie Princess for Christmas.

    Monday, August 06, 2007

    Murphy's Law strikes again

    As you might remember, I was quite undecided about whether to throw TLM a birthday party, as we'd spent most of the winter so far, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, or incapacitated by cellulitus.

    Then we struck an illness vacation - three glorious weeks in which no one was the slightest bit unwell - which ignited a small flame of hope, enough that we planned a small toddlers' party for this Saturday and a zoo visit for Sunday.

    But Murphy's Law has struck again. Just days away from what should be a memorably fun weekend, the boy is suddenly lurching about in an unhealthy manner and TLM is producing her own snot farm.

    Do you think they'll be fighting fit in just 5 days?

    Sunday, August 05, 2007

    One of Meez



    Make Tea Not War seems pretty good at finding fun time wasters on the Internet. She's got a Meez and now so have I.

    Saturday, August 04, 2007

    Where the cool kids hang

    During yesterday's child-free morning, I set off to find a suitable cafe in town in which to practice my people-watching. But at 9.30 in the morning there didn't seem an awful lot of coffee-drinking going on, and the streets were bereft of potential story characters.

    In the meantime I nearly bought 2 pairs of flat-heeled, knee high boots. There are winter sales on everywhere, you see, and I've been feeling boot-desire since about May. Never mind that, under the ubiquitous mummy-wear jeans I'm always in, you can't tell whether I'm wearing knee-high boots or socks and roman sandals. I just wanted some, and now I had time to look for them.

    What stopped me from actually purchasing a pair, was the well-known fact that one should always buy shoes late in the day, as this allows for a bit of swelling in one's feet. So I asked to put them on hold, and returned to my search for a well-peopled cafe.

    Finally I walked into a trendy place at the end of the street which is apparently a popular student hang-out. I've no idea why anyone would name an eaterie after Fidel Castro, but the odd name certainly hadn't put off the clientele. It was packed. The more recent arrivals were trying to order lattes and espressos while pressed into the tiny corridor in front of the counter, preventing the early birds from sauntering stylishly between the rear seating area and the front bit where all the exhibition photos were hanging.

    But what a place for discretely observing the in-crowds! The girl at the next table visually screamed "art student", from the squeaky clean dreads to the op-shop clothes, to the designer boots which made a lie of her image as a poor but creative free-spirit.

    Actually, she wasn't wearing designer boots. My mind had simply wandered back to those shoe store sales..

    Thursday, August 02, 2007

    Character-driving

    Last night's writing class was so much fun. We each had to pick a person we'd people-watched previously, and make up a whole life for him or her - educational background, relationship history, mental and physical health, even the first time they had sex! Then, in groups of three, we had to devise a story which involved our characters.

    The most enlightening thing for me was that, whenever we were stuck with our story development, it only took a few well-thought questions from the tutor to get it going again. Like, what's my beanie-wearing middle-aged Indian salesman doing talking to that blond hippie chick, and how the hell did the elderly ex-professor get involved in all this?

    You know, I think I really can write a whole short story.

    Tuesday, July 31, 2007

    People-watching

    My second short story writing class is tomorrow evening, and I fear that I won't be able to finish the homework assignment we were given last week. What we were asked to do, was to note down some observations of strangers - the way they looked, moved, spoke etc. I'm finding it hard to do, not just because I'm one of the most absent-minded people I know, but because opportunities to people-watch don't easily present themselves to me.

    Because, in order to observe people's physical characteristics, I have to be sitting around in a public space, with no toddler-related distractions and nothing much to do. Now I know why people have to quit their jobs in order to write their novels.

    Monday, July 30, 2007

    A piece of cake

    I've started organising a cake stall to raise funds for The Little Madam's childcare centre. It's going to be held in the local shopping mall, and the girl who booked the space for us sounded really keen to try our baking.

    "Is there going to be black forest gateau, by any chance?", she asked hopefully. I certainly didn't want to get her hopes up, as I have no idea what the parents' abilities are like in the cake- and biscuit-making arena.

    But I do know that it might not be a good idea to offer anything that comes out of my oven. Not if we want to make a profit and avoid disabling an entire neighbourhood with indigestion.

    So I'm thinking, unless I find a fool-proof recipe for a delicious and expensive-looking cake or biscuit (and which requires no electric mixer), then I'm best off employed purely on the retail side of things...

    Friday, July 27, 2007

    To party or not to party? That is the question...

    In about two weeks time TLM will turn 2. I kinda want to have a birthday party, because it'll be fun for her and I'd like to return the favour to the kids whose parties we've been to.

    But I kinda don't, because:
    1. there's probably an 80% chance that one of us will be sick on the day,
    2. it's going to be a lot of work and
    3. it's going to be hard deciding who to invite and who not to.

    In the old days, having a party was easy. Just ask everyone I know, assuming that about half of them will show up, and make sure there is plenty of chips'n'dips and very loud music. I didn't have to organise games because as long as there is alcohol and someone to talk to, you have as much entertainment as you need.

    What to do, what to do...

    Thursday, July 26, 2007

    Why it's better not to have carpet

    I just about had a heart attack this afternoon. We were at my mum's house and I'd just undone The Little Madam's poo-filled nappy, when TLM whippped it out from under her bum and rubbed it enthusiastically into my mother's just-vaccumed carpet.

    It could have been a bit of a disaster, but luckily the nappy had folded itself over, with the pooey stuff inside.

    And then TLM tried to scratch her as-yet-unwiped bum with her hand.

    This is where nail brushes come in handy.

    No write turn

    So last night I spent two hours talking and thinking about short stories, along with 8 other people and our tutor. After an hour of introductions, house-keeping rules and ice-breaking games, we got stuck into it.

    For one exercise we were asked to write the worst story we possibly could, in ten minutes. Umm...but I misunderstood that instruction and wrote a story with the worst possible scenario. Still, when the time was up you could be forgiven for thinking I'd done exactly what I'd been asked...

    I'm not sure what it means, but I left that class feeling less competent than before it'd started. The good news is, it can only get better.

    Sunday, July 22, 2007

    Wish I was there

    For several reasons, I probably won't be attending this year's film festival. But in past years I was what you could call a frequent film festival flyer, so out of habit I still pick up the festival schedule. It must be the masochist in me, to want to know what I'll be missing out on over the next couple of weeks.

    I've already dog-eared the pages listing the films that sound particularly interesting to me. Maybe you've seen them already, or you're booked to go see them soon:

    Perfect Creature - a New Zealand sci fi/fantasy movie, about "a race of intellectual bloodsuckers called The Brotherhood", who provide humans with vaccines in exchange for blood donations.

    Day Watch - another vampire movie...hmm. This one's Russian, a sequal to Night Watch.

    The Secret Life of Words - about a hearing-impaired woman who has her hearing aid turned off most of the time to avoid connecting with other people. With Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins, this sounds exactly like the kind of movie the boy avoids.

    King Corn: corn is everywhere, but especially in our junk food. I bet people with corn allergies must not be able to eat any junk food whatsoever. Poor things.

    Manufacturing Dissent: I loved Michael Moore's propaganda films. This documentary apparently started out as a celluloid love letter to Mr Moore, but showed him to be not such a straight-up guy.

    Eagle vs Shark: actually, I wouldn't have bothered to go see this at the festival. I'd've waited for it to come out on general release. But I'd see it one way or another, because I'm a Flight of the Conchords fan.

    Friday, July 20, 2007

    Call me the unfinisher

    What an irony. A few years ago my workplace made us all take personality tests, and according to my test score I was a task-completer extraordinaire. My creativity score, on the other hand, was disappointingly low.

    This is no longer true. For weeks now, I've been struggling to start and finish a third painting (I managed two during my abstract painting course). I keep coming up with ideas for paintings,but those blocks of free time in which I can paint, have been frustratingly rare. I'm finding that, by the time I've an opportunity to work on my idea, I've already mentally moved onto the next idea. End result - one canvas has been painted over about four times with a new background colour, but hasn't yet progressed beyond that point.

    Creative types are known for their inability to finish projects. Could this be a sign of a personality transformation?

    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    A good morning

    It's been a good morning, because:

    1. I'm not sick
    2. TLM's not sick
    3. The boy's not sick

    and, since non-one's sick:

    4. I was able to take TLM to the local playgroup, which meant that
    5. I had a chance to talk to other grown-ups and
    6. Didn't have to bounce TLM on my lap to the tune of "Dorothy (would you like to dance with me)" for the umpteenth time

    and to top it all off,

    7. It turned out to be a warmish and sunny day.

    On the other hand, TLM's been in her room for an hour now, and still isn't napping. Can't have everything, I suppose.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    too stinky for you

    This isn't meant as a complaint about TLM's bowel movements, nor have I any intention of bringing this up at her 21st. But today I had to go pick her up from daycare unexpectedly early. Because her poo was too smelly.

    Before you write back commenting on the oversensitivity of the daycare teacher's noses, I should mention they went on to add that they suspected diarrhoea (omigod I spelled that out without needing spellcheck! What does that say about me?) and it's policy to ask parents to take their kids home in this case.

    When they rang, I was in the middle of a meeting with the fundraising committee, on the other side of town; by the time I got there to pick up TLM she was looking as happy as ever. Though that may been due to the freshly-made popcorn being made freely available to all little hands.

    I just thought I'd share it with you. Thanks.

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    I know it's just a fantasy world, but...

    Yesterday I saw the final episode of Gilmore Girls, and by then I was definitely ready for the end of Stars Hollow World. While it's never tried to be a gritty, real-life portrayal of small-town existence, I have to say that all that Rory-love was really getting to me. She'd become as annoying as Angel's Fred. It's people's flaws that make them human and Rory has increasingly resembled Brainiac Barbie. Thank goodness for Kirk.

    Saturday, July 14, 2007

    A bit of a palaver

    TLM's had her Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium (click here for a picture of the latest version) cot toy since she was about 6 months old. It played a small selection of lullabies while a group of little fishies swum in an endless loop, lit by a gentle background glow. I can still remember that fascinated struck-by-headlights stare TLM had (or Baby, as her blog handle was then) as she lay in her cot watching the show.

    So recently, when the aquarium music began to sound like an over-stretched cassette tape and the light show stopped working, I was a bit concerned. Surely it couldn't be the batteries, because I'd only replaced then a week or two ago. I came to the unhappy conclusion that our beloved aquarium was on it's last legs and in need of urgent replacement.

    We went to three different shops, and finally found an updated version on the top shelf of the Fisher Price aisle at The Warehouse. TLM was so excited at the prospect of playing with it that she insisted it was bedtime, though it was only 4.30pm. The boy quickly got out his handyman gear and moved the batteries from the old toy to the new one.

    Half an hour later, I was driving back to the shop because we hadn't been able to get the damn thing to work. The customer service people were very nice about it, not even bothering to check it out for themselves. Of course, I said I'd have to test the replacement before I left with it - although it meant waiting for the assistant to dig around in a big glass jar for spare batteries because the boy hadn't left our ones in.

    And you know what? I got the new aquarium home and the boy couldn't get it to work. So he replaced the batteries, and then it was fine.