Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Like taking candy from a stranger

Today, TLM lost some of her childhood innocence.

Some strange guy apparently stood outside the school gate and tried to befriend TLM and her friend by giving them each a chocolate bar.

Having seen the statistics showing that "stranger danger" is a bit of a myth because most assaults on children are by someone known to them, I had not thought to impress on TLM that she should not accept anything from a stranger. How to be wary of strange dogs, yes. How to be wary of strange

So in that time squeezed in between getting home from work and after-school care, and her bedtime, the boy and I hurriedly tried to catch up on that aspect of parenting.

And TLM would ask things like, 'what if it's a bad man pretending to be a nice man?" and "what if it's a man who's a zookeeper?". In retrospect I think she was trying to find a situation in which it would have been okay to do what she did, which was to accept the chocolate (but it had peanuts in it, so she'd taken a bite and thrown it away). I think she got tired of me repeating the mantra, "if you don't him and we don't know him, run away from him".

She's sad and scared because her world has changed. And so am I.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Humpty Dumpty was a cannon

I've been reading a fascinating book about the meanings of nursery rhythms, Pop goes the Weasel by Albert Jack.
Although I haven't yet gotten to the history behind the eponymous rhyme (hope I used that big word correctly), I can tell you that yes, Humpty was indeed a cannon.

He was deployed in a famous battle between King Whathisname and The Other Guy and located at the top of the tower. As long as it was firing off great balls of lead from there, the home team was unbeatable. But the attacking army managed to do enough damage to the tower to make it fall from its perch and into the swamp below. As you'll have guessed, the King's men weren't able to repair it, and they lost the battle.

Humpty didn't become an egg until he was featured in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, by the way.

This book has been great for introducing (or re-introducing) me to many interesting snippets of English history, and there have been many a-ha moments where nonsensical-seeming rhymes suddenly made an awful lot of sense (and were likely to be about really awful events).

It's actually a lot like a good Bill Bryson book. And that might be the most effective description of this work I can come up with.

Friday, March 25, 2011

In the black

Woo hoo!
Sad as it is to have to squeeze family time into the weekends because we're wage slaves during the week, it's damn good to see there's actually money in my bank account. And that's after I've paid the bills.
Gosh, we can get our porch fixed...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

a fairly bad day

Although this is the second consecutive blog post from me that is not upbeat, let me defend myself by telling you that we had a very nice weekend (there was a kids' party on Saturday and a trip to Otari Plant Museum on Sunday - and the weather was fabulous).

But I can't deny that, yes, I had a bad day today.
Firstly, I was feeling a bit down about having a nasty coldsore attack, and the promising tablets that I paid over $30 for did nothing to speed up their recovery (as far as I can tell).
Then, I pulled a muscle in my neck/shoulder region when I got out of the shower.
And I was still recovering from yesterday afternoon's marathon wait at the hospital, where my mother had an appointment at the eye clinic (1.5 hours wait! For a 5 minute consultation!).

But the thing that really made my day stink was when the boss called me into her office to put the kibosh on those "flexible" days (where I leave early one or 2 days per week to pick up TLM, and make up the time at home in the evening) she had agreed to on a temporary basis back in November.

It was as I'd feared 18 months ago when I first offered to increase my work hours due to the boy being out of work - it was easy to go from part time to full time, but possibly impossible to go back the other way again later.

My ideal would be to do short days twice a week and take the pay cut.
The boy's ideal would be for us to keep doing what we are doing for at least another few months.
The bosses ideal would (in my view) be for me to be commit as fully as the full time staff who don't have school age kids.

But then, I never did think we had similar brains.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Long lonely walks by the beach (LLWBTB)

There are beach walks which you do with kids - the public toilet is not improbably far away, the water is shallow, the surfaces are sandy, and the shore is littered with interesting bits of seaweed and shells.

There are beach walks which you do with friends - a bit like the above, but with plenty of potential bonfire locations and enough towel space for everyone.

There are beach walks which you do with a lover - a bit more remote and less family-friendly, no surf to speak of and preferably free of distracting nudists (which, come to think of it, applies to the kids' beach walk but not so much the friends' beach walk).

And then there are the beach walks you do when loneliness weighs heavily on you and you desperately need to be soothed by the sound of waves lapping against the shore. It doesn't have to be remote (my own LLWBTB is next to 4 lanes of traffic speeding to or from the airport), but it can't be very popular. Because all those people and their chatter get in the way between you and the water sounds. If it's lined by magnificent pieces of public art, then all the better to give you an alternative subject of contemplation.

Even though we might wish we didn't need a good LLWBTB, we should be glad to have one.

Monday, March 07, 2011

cardigan number 3

It was winter yesterday and today. Although I'm fully expecting it to warm up again towards the end of the week, I've been given a sharp reminder of just how much I dislike being cold.

So, while I started making a linen tunic a week ago, I've also started to make this cardigan - and hopefully this time I'll complete it and want to wear it outside the house (the first attempt has a ripply button band and desperately needs shaping, the second didn't even get that far because I used a non-shrinking yarn and a pattern designed for yarn that shrinks 10% in the wash).

I probably won't be quite as staunch about ripping out and re-doing - like, I'll do that if I drop a stitch but not if the stitches differ in size by a few nano metres.  I'm using a cotton/acrylic blend by Panda, in bright red. Quite possibly I've chose a colour that will look far better on TLM...