28 November 2006

Knitted item of the week

pouch

Son #2's latest creation.

A wee knitted pouch to hold his 'thinking stone' (a gem stone he purchased at the market last week). He has worn this non-stop all week. Under his clothes, under his pyjamas, naked, you name it.

Vital Statistics: 8ply Cleckheaton 'Tapestry'.
Twelve stitches, knitted on two pointy sticks, size unknown. Unswatched.
Cast on one evening, completed the next morning by one ten year-old boy.
Worn with pride.
Contains: a piece of hematite.

27 November 2006

An exchange of goodness

I’ve been a bit slack in showing these earrings which arrived last week. The delightful LK from Gryphon’s Feather Studio sent them to me. Are they not exquisite? (Like all her work). I love and adore these things.

LK earrings

LK spied some red wrist warmers on my blog and professed a liking for them, and so a swap was born. Unfortunately, the first parcel LK sent was broken into by some horrid postal worker and the jewellery stolen. Leaving these little Halloween treats all alone.

halloween treats

Can you believe this generous woman posted a replacement parcel (containing the earrings cunningly taped to a page of a knitting magazine) two days prior to giving birth to her third babe? I am forever grateful. Not to mention impressed.

I hope your littles enjoy their knitted goodies, LK, and I hope you are revelling in post partum Baby Bliss. Thanks again for a lovely swap.

LK's swap

Ah, the goodness of the blogosphere. It’s too good to be true some days.

halloween circles

26 November 2006

Unconscious mutterings

1. Rhyme :: nor reason
2. Substantial :: meal
3. Instant :: gratification
4. Greed :: y pig
5. Brad :: Pitt
6. Season :: ’s greetings
7. Accomplished :: finishing school
8. Invite :: party
9. Sparkle :: twin
10. Rainbow :: cake

You can play too.

23 November 2006

around here lately ...

the secret naughty-guilty feeling of working from home when you place a call to the Chancellor and he doesn’t know that you’re wearing trackie daks and slippers rather than stockings and a skirt;

beautiful earrings arriving in the post, photos to come;

the dog head-butting the window twice in an attempt to get a fly stuck between the glass and flyscreen;

Son #2 leaning down to examine the fly and accidentally head-butting the window too before collapsing on the floor giggling helplessly;

the children asking how many days until 1st December (the day we put the Christmas tree up) (sorry: the day we put up the Christmas tree. Aah that’s better. Pedant);

a solid hour of knitting in the sunshine during my lunch break;

split pea soup and home made bread for dinner last night, leftovers for lunch today;

calculating what time I need to get up to arrive at a meeting in the city at 7.00 am and who the heck wants a meeting at that time there had better be plenty of caffeine available I am not a morning person and am getting anxious about alarm clocks already and who am I kidding I need caffeine NOW just thinking about it;

the tinkling feeling that one day I might just say I'm baking a cake and I'll meet all you Melbourne bloggers (LC and Sooz and Janet and h&b and Helen and Stomper and Poppalina and Laura and Shannon and Di and Nichola and Jorth and GirlPrinter and Penni and Jo and everybody else) on the Oak Lawn in the Bot Gardens go on come I'll bring cake you bring a thermos just come along and let's all meet and lie in the sun;

burning the batch of lunchbox bran and molasses muffins;

the first Sunday of Advent is looming. Dig out the verses and clear the nature table. We need a new stable and the donkey requires a repair job. I never did make camels;

bananas down to $10 per kilo - we’re getting there oh so slowly;

why do I write all this nonsense here?;

Son #1 has his first formal concert this weekend. He has to wear black and white and (I think) a tie. He does not own the latter two items. Off to Savers – don’t find either but do manage to spend $26 on seven bags of assorted wools and yarns (several old ladies must have died last week, something in the water? Must check). I know I will sob throughout the concert – I weep into my knitting every Wednesday evening as I sit in the corner at rehearsal listening to him play (note to self, buy tape for camcorder and try not to cry on it);

The booklist arriving for Son #1’s first year at high school. Things to be purchased over the Christmas holidays – staples including a dictionary, atlas, maths book with cd (shock horror – this is a Steiner school) compass, protractor, pencils, paints, fountain pen and ink cartridges. He’s never had a booklist before. "It’s just like Hogwarts!" he says;

Reading Jane Austen’s Emma for book group. Have seen the film before (Gwyneth, acting with her neck again, why?) and now must see Clueless;

Listening to Girl with a Pearl Earring in the car. Wanting to drive on and on out into the country, lost in Tracy Chevalier’s glorious, elegant description of seventeenth century Holland. Must watch the film again to see what was amended and omitted in the screenplay and to revel in the beautifully lit images;

Don’t forget to vote on Saturday.

22 November 2006

My bonnet is in the wash.*

When it's clean, I bequeath it to Sooz, the only Pollyanna pure soul amongst us.

I read the diary.

And now we shall never speak of it again.

Here. Have a look at some more books.

russian literature & babushka

The collection of Russian literature (and the occasional other Penguin black spine I now notice) from my first unfinished degree twenty years ago. This collection contains some of the world’s most tedious reading (Oblomov) and some of the world’s most fabulous (Crime and Punishment). See how the babushka stands guard? I am so witty, yes?

orange shelf

The orange shelf. Calm, orderly. Orange. Good, interesting literature; a few classics thrown in.

overflow

Starting to look a little overcrowded. Books piled horizontally, hoping a space will miraculously appear.

out of control

Totally out of control. There is just no more room for the books I manage to bring home from the op shops every couple of weeks.

I keep telling myself that once we have a shed, all the stuff in the storage room can go in that, then all my craft supplies can come off the bookshelves in my study and go into the storage room, and the overflow from these bookshelves in the dining room can go in my study.

Like that’s going to happen soon.



*Actually the washing machine broke the day before yesterday and the repair man can’t come until some time next week. At great expense, of course.

Which I guess is my karma.

21 November 2006

Thanks for the sock compliments, but really ...

Oh you are a bad, bad bunch of internets.

Forty seven comments (!), beginning by assuming I have read the diary, then suggesting I edit it with a red pen before returning it, and finally escalating to the suggestion I set up a PayPal account so you can all provide incentives for me to publish it. (Very entrepreneurial, that one).

You deserve to be sent to bed without any supper. Yes, you know who you are.

And instead of diary extracts you get another sunrise picture. Not even of the sunrise, but an interior shot, glowing with wholesome, sunny goodness.

sunrise with bookshelf

That’ll teach you.

Now if you’ll excuse me I going to don my bonnet and take a cloth-covered basket of muffins to the poor.

19 November 2006

purls before whine

behold the sock

And now the whine.

Feel free to click away now. I probably shouldn’t use this forum to bitch about family but hey it’s my blog and I need to vent.

They’re gone.

Who knew two weeks could feel like five? Poor Mr Soup is mortified, as they are his relatives. As he said once or twice out of the corner of his mouth, Now do you see why I left the country as soon as I came of age?

These truly were the Houseguests from Hell. In two long weeks, they didn’t cook a single meal, offer to buy takeaway to give us a break from cooking for them, wash the dishes, empty the dishwasher, contribute a cent towards the groceries, offer to do any housework apart from a bit of ironing on Day Two, or get off their backsides when at the end of a long day at work we would come wearily home, wash last night’s dishes and prepare another meal for us all.

One morning as we were all in the car taking the children to school, me to work and dropping them off at the station so they could go into town (never a please or thank you either), they leaned back in the car window and said "Are you doing any laundry today?" I pointedly looked at my work clothing and said through clenched teeth "No. I will be at work all day. You are welcome to use the machine though." Him: "Oh we’re going to be out all day too."

Right then.

On their penultimate evening with us (which was spent as usual with us sitting in our own lounge room listening to them bicker and whine) (I got a lot of knitting done. See picture), I said "Are we doing anything tomorrow night for your last evening?" thinking this might prompt them to take us out for a (preferably slap up expensive) Thank You Meal. And so we arranged a night out at the local Asian restaurant. No mention of whose treat it would be.

Can you guess what their "gift" to us was (apart from the calendar from the Two Dollar Shoppe, that is)?

They offered to "go halves" on the bill, even though there were four of us (Son #1 was away at camp) and only two of them. Never mind the fact that we all drank water and they drank beer after beer after beer, all of which went on the final bill.

Clench clench clench.

This morning, instead of waking to bickering and overwrought children who, surprise surprise, have picked up on the stress levels around here, I found Son #1 making french toast and the other two sitting quietly knitting.

We all looked at one another. No one said a word. We smiled. I unclenched.

Peace reigns again.

And we are very thankful.

sunrise with large dog


Postscript: She left her personal diary here. Several frantic phone calls have been received by our answering machine.

We are not picking up.

Karma, baby.

17 November 2006

friday procrastination meme

Explain what ended your last relationship?
He went home to New Zealand. Last I heard he was a merchant banker in London. Hmmm.

When was the last time you shaved?
Don't remember.


What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.?
Taking the minutes at a meeting with the Vice Chancellor and Council members.

What were you doing 15 minutes ago?
Reading blogs. Procrastinating about taxes.


Are you any good at math?
Nope.

Your prom night, what do you remember about it?
I was living in America that year so I did go to a prom! My date was Sueeeus' best friend's twin brother.

Do you have any famous ancestors?
Nope.

Have you had to take a loan out for school?
No. The HECS debt just continues to grooowwww ...

Last thing received in the mail?
A postcard from Son #2, which arrived after he returned from camp.

How many different beverages have you had today?
(Beverage! Sooo American! Ha! Trans: drink)
Two.

Do you ever leave messages on people’s answering machine?
Well der.

Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to?
Billy Joel.

Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?
No.

What’s the most painful dental procedure you’ve had?
Cleaning.

What is out your back door?
A smallish lawn, then a big drop and a glorious view. Also, about an acre of feral blackberries that we are finally managing to tame.

Any plans for Friday night?
Bed. I was at work at 7.30 this morning and I'm tired.

Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?
Nope.

Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns?
I have no idea what you are talking about.

Have you ever been to a planetarium?
Yes, three times.

Do you re-use towels after you shower?
Yep.

Some things you are excited about?
A cool invitation I received the other day. Playing with the big kids.

What is your favorite flavor of JELL-O?
Jelly? Port wine.

Describe your keychain(s)
Lots of keys and a long piece of fingerknitting done by Son #3.

Where do you keep your change?
In my purse in my bag.

When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people?
At the end of last year. I made a speech on behalf of Son #3's class community to say farewell to their beloved teacher who was leaving to have a baby.

What kind of winter coat do you own?
Snot Green Dead Yak.

What was the weather like on your graduation day?
Warm.

Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed?
Closed.

Pardon my silence ...

... but my mother always told me

If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything.*

So, I give you this photo.
In which the inside seems to meld with the outside.

And it looks as though I'm pressing the iron to my head.

wip study in the sun

Which just kind of sums it all up, really.


* also:

Peg the socks by the toe
Not with the good scissors
Don't play with matches


and

Houseguests wear out their welcome after three days.

13 November 2006

In which I keep my promise

You've probably all seen this before. It did the email rounds a while back and gave me a giggle.


Systems of Government: a bovine demonstration

Feudalism
You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

Pure Socialism
You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

Bureaucratic Socialism
You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as the regulations say you should need.

Fascism
You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

Pure Communism
You have two cows. Your neighbours help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

Russian Communism
You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

Dictatorship
You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

Singaporean Democracy
You have two cows. The government fines you for keeping two unlicensed farm animals in an apartment.

Pure Democracy
You have two cows. Your neighbours decide who gets the milk.

Representative Democracy
You have two cows. Your neighbours pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

American Democracy
The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the president is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair "Cowgate".

British Democracy
You have two cows. You feed them sheep brains and they go mad. The government doesn't do anything.

Bureaucracy
You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. After that it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

Anarchy
You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbours try to kill you and take the cows.

Capitalism
You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

Hong Kong Capitalism
You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the right to all seven cows' milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Meanwhile, you kill the two cows because the feng shui is bad.

Environmentalism
You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.

Feminism
You have two cows. They legalise their partnership with a handfasting ceremony and adopt a veal calf.

Totalitarianism
You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.

Political Correctness
You are associated with (the concept of "ownership" is a symbol of the phallo-centric, war-mongering, intolerant past) two differently-aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of non-specified gender.

Counter Culture
Wow, dude, there's like... these two cows, man. You gotta have some of this milk.

Surrealism
You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

12 November 2006

Sunday Best

Best surprise: Coming home and finding the sister-in-law (who is 63, not 53, but I never got back to fix that typo) has done nearly all of my ironing. Thinking, hmmm, maybe having international guests for two.whole.weeks isn’t so trying after all.

Best sound: Toss up between Son #2 burping the alphabet for his brothers’ edification, and Son #3 singing ‘Morning Has Broken’ at top speed. (Morninghasbrokenlikethefirstmoooorningblackbirdhasspokenlikethefirstbirdpraiseforthesingingpraisefortheetcetcetc …)

Best communication: A note, left on the kitchen bench for me. Dear Suse, would it be possible for you to do our washing today, as we are running out of clothes?

Best op shop find: A set of twelve no. 27 glass Fowlers Vacola preserving jars. I stopped in at FV headquarters at lunchtime the next day and purchased twelve rings and lids, and I am so going to be doing heaps of domestic housewifey bottling this summer.

Best dummy spit: Exhausted and feeling like a freaking domestic slave (see dot point three), overwhelmed with all there is to do while others sit around on holiday, reading books and watching me cook and do laundry, I opened the dishwasher to put the dirty mugs and cups in, (as in, inside, not next to), the door sprang shut on me, grazing my wrist, drawing blood and generally being the proverbial straw, camel, etc. I swore viciously, opened the dishwasher door, slammed it shut as hard as I could for good measure (cracking a glass and plate within), burst into tears and went and sulked childishly in my room. The only people to witness my meltdown were my poor traumatised children.

Best blogging effort: I am not participating in this NaBloPoMo thingie, but you may have noticed that I have actually posted every single day in November thus far. This is because blogging is what is keeping me sane right now. Thank you, internets.

[/rant]

Tomorrow, another recipe.

Or cows.

Watch this space.

11 November 2006

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

170g dates, pitted and chopped
1 tsp bicarb of soda
60g butter
170g castor sugar
2 eggs
170 g SR flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix dates and bicarb. Pour 300ml boiling water over dates and leave to stand.
Cream butter and sugar until pale, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gently fold in flour, stir in date mixture and the vanilla, and pour into a cake tin. Bake at 180 degrees for 30-40 mins until a skewer comes out clean.

Make the sauce:
150g brown sugar
150ml cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
50g butter

Combine everything in a pot and bring to boil, then simmer for 5 mins. Set aside to cool slightly until it's nicely warm, not hot. Discard bean and pour over squares of cake to serve.



No photos. It's all gone.

10 November 2006

Friday meme: works in progress

A slightly different tack for my Friday meme this week.

Jumping on that craft bandwagon, playing with the big kids. Lots of craft bloggers post their WIPs on a Friday – I think Fiona started it …

A pair of slippers. Still to be blocked, otherwise wipped done.
wip slippers

Fingerless gloves for an order; pattern from Knitty. Love that picot cast-off, and the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino is a dream to work with. Still to be popped in the mail, along with a chocolate pair.
wip fetchings

One paper still to be finished started. (Another one is wipped and in, baby).
wip frogs

Socks. I couldn’t help myself.
wip lolly sock

9 November 2006

My son the pre-teen

The scene: In the car, on way to orchestra rehearsal

The cast: Suse, Son #1


(Disclaimer: Please note I hate the word cute. We do this tongue in cheek).

Suse: Oh look, a flock of baby goats! Brown! Cuuute!

Son #1: Hummmph. Yeah.

Suse: Oh look, a rabbit! Black! Cuuuute!

Son #1: Hummmph. Yeah.


Pause. The car rounds a bend and we come upon a lithe, tanned blonde nineteenyear old, complete with pink iPod, jogging. (Effortlessly).


Son #1: Oh look, a jogger! Blonde! Cuuuute!

8 November 2006

Washday

I have admitted elsewhere (no. 46) that I don’t mind doing laundry. I’ve also claimed somewhere in the past that I would never blog about it. (Although I did).

But really, I spend an awful lot of my time at the clothesline. Pegging, unpegging, folding, sorting.
It’s meditation of a sort. A chance to snatch some fresh air and respite from others.

I used to get a warm fuzzy glow from the sight of a clothesline full of fluffy white nappies a-flapping in the sunshine. These days it’s school uniform, and lots of it. Also cricket whites (don’t forget the Sard), muddy socks and Mr Soup’s work clothes.

I still get a sense of satisfaction from a full clothesline. When you leave full time work to be at home with babies and children, your world shrinks. Feelings of achievement come from unexpected angles; small domestic goals met. Pride at feeding and clothing your little family for another day.

My mum has strict rules about the washing.

Socks must be pegged by the toe, so as not to spoil the cuffs.
mum's way of pegging

I hear Mum’s voice as I rebelliously peg my socks from the tops.
rebellious sock pegging

I find I have my own rules about laundry.

Pegs must be wooden.
washday

Either style. Just not plastic.
dolly pegs

And baskets must be wicker.
clean towels

Today’s a Good Drying Day, my mother would say and I hear her voice as I strip the sheets.



(Dame Washalot was one of my favourite characters in The Magic Faraway Tree).

7 November 2006

Community service: Chocolate Anzac Biscuits

Anzac biscuit recipe found here. Replace 1/4 cup of the flour with cocoa powder et voila, you have a chocolate version. Use the second recipe on the website as the first includes coconut which is heresy.

Mind you, I suppose Chocolate Anzac Biscuits would be considered heretical in some quarters.

Horses? What horses?

The house is blissfully quiet.

I am alone.

I sleep late; recovering, rejuvenating. Refreshing.

I could never live by myself. Three days of it is enough to show me that by the end of a week I'd be in my jarmies until three o'clock, eating peas straight from the saucepan and pulling clothes from the unfolded laundry pile on the rare occasions that I needed to leave the house to buy milk.

Maybe I'd just buy a housecow and become a total recluse. Stay home, raise chooks and keep bees.




Today is the day when on the other side of the city, they do this.

I don't miss it a bit.

6 November 2006

multi tasking, seven year old style

have accordian will dance jig

The small boy paused in the midst of the baking of biscuits to play the accordian harmonica* and dance a little jig.


* I was very very tired, alright?

5 November 2006

Hostess duties 101

Of all the housework duties, I generally don’t mind doing the washing.

But hanging out the lacy thong of your 53 year old sister-in-law, whom you met less than 36 hours ago, falls into another realm altogether.

4 November 2006

useful procrastination tools

You can make a batch of lemon cordial, bake a sticky toffee cake, a loaf of bread AND a batch of chocolate Anzac biscuits.

You can scrub the bath and clean the toilet. Empty all the bins and rearrange the pantry jars. Consider the ironing basket.

You can take a wander around the garden, admiring the new spring growth …
spring growth

pull out masses of weed grasses (not forgetting to place them in a black plastic bag in the sun to kill the seeds) …
quaking grass

and stop to admire the good (native) grasses growing in the path …
native grass

and the Valencia orange tree your husband bought you as a late anniversary present.
anniversary guilt

You can make a pocket tissue holder.
tissue holder innards

You can make three. Spring can be a bugger for runny noses.
tissue holders

You can photograph some of these stalling techniques for future reference and then blog about them to prolong the dilly-dallying a tad further.

But eventually you will have to turn around and face the demon. And hereby promise not to go near the party side of the computer until the 3000 words are spewed.

3 November 2006

Friday meme

48 Things You Could NOT Care Less About

1. FIRST NAME?
Susan

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
My great grandmother was Susan, but mostly my parents just liked the name. You know, like the parents of every second girlchild born in the 60s. (In the late 70s we all rebelled, en masse, and shortened our names to Sue. To stand out, you know).

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY?
I started to snivel last night, thinking about what might happen when my boys become teenagers. Then I snapped out of it and went to sleep instead (I had an early start this morning, okay?)

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
It does the job.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT?
Roast beef with Branston pickle, or a homemade chutney.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Yes. But I’d bitch about me behind my back.

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL?
You’re reading it.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yep, all my bits.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Fark, no.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CEREAL?
Porridge.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Yes.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Not particularly, but when I was 18 and living and working at a ski resort, my 40 year old room-mate whom I adored and respected told me I had inner strength. I’ve never forgotten it.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ICE CREAM FLAVOUR?
Anything along the lines of toffee, butterscotch, caramel, honeycomb.

14. SHOE SIZE?
6 and a half

5. RED OR PINK?
Pink clothes occasionally, red shoes often.

16. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
My skin. (That was very hard to type).

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
Lots of people. My aunt. My PopPop. T of the sugarbowl, who moved back to Perth. F, who moved to Canberra. My cousin T who moved to Brisbane. M, my best friend from primary school.

Heavens, was it something I said?

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU?
If they want to.

19. WHAT COLOUR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Striped pants in a range of beiges and plums (fine stripes, we’re not talking Andy Pandy I promise), a white linen 3/4 sleeve shirt. Both purchased at Savers yesterday for a couple of dollars each, washed and ironed, then donned today. I don’t think I have purchased NEW clothes for years - I am the Op Shop Queen. Buttery-caramel slingbacks (not from the op shop I hasten to add. Shoes are different. As are undergarments. Oh and bathers. Um, leotards too. Socks).

20. LAST THING YOU ATE?
Gingerbread.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
The computer humming softly, the heater at my feet clicking off. A distant aeroplane.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOUR WOULD YOU BE?
Duck egg blue.

23. FAVOURITE SMELL?
Bread in the oven.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
A bloke at work about the agenda for a strategy meeting.

25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO?
What they’re wearing.

26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON YOU STOLE THIS FROM?
She sends me yarn. What do you think? And I didn’t steal it, shut up.

27. FAVOURITE DRINK?
Gin and tonic. Hot chocolate. English Breakfast tea. It all depends on the context.

28. FAVOURITE SPORT?
I am totally disinterested in sport. Can tolerate cricket if my child is playing.

29. EYE COLOUR?
Blue.

30. HAT SIZE?
Pinhead.

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Not frequently. They make my eyes red and itchy. Not a good look.

32. FAVOURITE FOOD?
Mangoes, raspberries, Maltesers, corn on the cob, gingerbread, honeycomb.

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Happy endings.

35. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Summer.

36. HUGS OR KISSES?
Depends who’s offering.

37. FAVOURITE DESSERT?
My homemade sticky toffee pudding.

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
Heck, I don’t know. The ones who enjoy memes I spose. There are lots of people I’d like to tag but I’m shy.

39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
The lurkers. And Jane (she doesn’t do memes).

40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING?
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
Homer on Life and Death by Jasper Griffin
Adventures of the Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
A mouse. Der.
(You should ask me what my mousepad is? - A miniature Persian rug. Tres posh).

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV?
Nothing. Haven’t watched the box in weeks.

43. FAVOURITE SOUNDS?
Children laughing. A baby snuffling in his sleep. Bach violin sonatas. Rain on a tin roof. (Catch me, I’m coming over all poetic).

44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES?
Beatles. I regularly get O Blah Di in my head for weeks at a time.

I once won a Rolling Stones record with pictures of pop art women in pointy bras all over the cover. I was 15 and sooo embarrassed.

45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME?
Idaho was a looong way away from Melbourne in so many ways. So was Portugal. Ditto Edinburgh.

46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT?
I can wiggle my ears. I am so special.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
St Thomas’ Hospital, London (across the river from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament).

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
Christina.

2 November 2006

Snippets

• Bananas have.not.come.down.in.price. I buy five rock hard expensive peaches to celebrate the start of the warmer weather. Every day we wait in vain for them to ripen.

• International guests arrive on a dawn flight on Saturday. For two weeks. (This is a three-bedroom one-bathroom house).

• Two papers, as yet unwritten. Stress, like the ironing basket, builds.

• Three kookaburras, lined up on the branch outside the windows. Two play tug o’ war with a skink, one laughs.

• The next morning in the kitchen, I glance up mid-nag (Put your cereal bowl in the dishwasher ...) and see a KANGAROO on the lawn, not six feet away. I freeze and hiss to the child who thinks he’s in even more trouble but finally gets it and turns to see the roo just as it notices us and bounds off down the cliff out of sight. Son #2 uses this for Show and Tell a few hours later. Half the kids are thrilled – the ones who live in suburban streets; half who like us live further out listen nonchalantly. Yeah yeah, old hat.

• Today it rained. All day. Everybody walked about saying Isn’t it wonderful?!

• Today I knitted a chocolate brown fingerless glove.

• Last night, driving Son #1 to orchestra rehearsal we see an echidna by the side of the road. We are on a lonely dirt track so we simply stop the car in the middle of the road, get out and say hello. The echidna snuffles around for a minute, then waddles off, swaying and pitching like a drunken sailor.

• And here we have a blurry baby hat, made for my 47 year old friend who pushed out her fourth baby a couple of weeks ago.
blurry babyhat

1 November 2006

Mothering Heights

I had a wee chat with Son #2 yesterday about his behaviour at school, which has gone into severe decline over the past two weeks according to his teacher.

I shut the bedroom door and put on my Good Mother face.

Explained that he ought to behave respectfully and considerately because he knows within himself that it is the right thing to do, and not because he is in fear of punishment. I further explained that if his conduct does not improve, there will indeed be loss of privileges.

There were tears and apologies and promises.

That went well. I said to Mr Soup later, a little smugly, in my Reasonable and Understanding Parent tone.

Some hours later I returned to the house from a brief expedition to find Son #2 in his bedroom, door shut.

I looked questioningly at Mr Soup.

I found him on your computer, typing a list of every swear word he could think of.