Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day... er... Whatever

Dignity is for wimps...Never let it be said that I don't suffer for my art.

Actually, this is the latest step in my mother's campaign of revenge. Yes, I have this theory that now that I am experiencing the joys of motherhood she is taking the opportunity to exact revenge for Every Single Time I was a little shit up until I left home. Needless to say that's a lot of revenge. She's sent a frog umbrella hat as well. Hubby looks quite fetching in it.

Day Whatever of the holidays has been a lot of fun. Met up with Mum and my sisters in the city and flung ourselves wholeheartedly into the sales. DJs is heaven at the best of times, but when its 50% off everything its even better. DJs (David Jones - huge deparment store in Sydney for those of you in Poland and beyond) also has a food hall that is on a level with... dare I say it... the food hall in Harrods. Okay, well maybe not that good, they had, after all, run out of marron glace. But its pretty damn good. I actually spent more time and money in there than on clothes and the like. Yes, I have my priorities.

We ended up in Treats From Home which is packed full of British lollies and other bits and pieces (like Alpen, oh how I miss Alpen - its breakfast cereal BTW). Our purpose for being there was for me to prove to my sister Clare (who currently lives in London) that Frazzles give you a really weird headspin after you have eaten three packets. But, THEY HAD NO FRAZZLES. So my point must go unproved. They did have bags of other goodies that I have not seen for years - I moved back here from the UK in around 1995 - and if I'd known earlier that all it took was a Yorkie bar to make my husband a very happy man well... actually I'm not really sure where I was going with that. Hmm.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day 8 & 9

Unsurprisingly the cruisy pace has continued at our house. Yesterday was pleasantly interrupted by kidless coffee with a friend down from Queensland and a potter around a garden centre. And today has been spent in the garden.

Dinner tonight included red cabbage, potatoes and celery all from the vege garden.

Okay, I'm really tired, and there just ain't that much going on... I promise to do something exciting tomorrow. Promise.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day 7

Right now I'm blogging in my pjs. In fact I've been in my pjs All Day Long.

It has been One of Those Days. Entire family in pjs, spent the day unwinding, playing with new Christmas toys and eating leftovers. Not that I was entirely unproductive. I made Madeleines this morning...

In my new Madeleine making tray. And I made NINE litres of pea and ham soup out of the fucking unwanted ham. I can officially say I'm over the ham. I will not appall you with a picture of the soup, whilst pea and ham soup is utterly delicious it is the exact same shade of green as serious flu snot.

This afternoon - whilst the screamies entertained themselves bickering in the paddling pool and trying to damage themselves falling off their new bicycles - I lay upon my bed, reading a Marion Keyes and eating all my favourites (mini picnics, white chocolate, crunchies...) out of a box of... er... Favourites. When I wasn't lying on my bed I was on the couch with my feet in my new foot-spa breaking up the chocolate with perfectly ripe peaches and mangos.

Are foot-spas hedonistic? I think I might be developing cracked heels so the whole foot-spa thing was probably more along the lines of necessary podiatric maintenance, than being completely decadent. I do love a good foot-spa though.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Holiday: The Big Day

Nothing says Merry Christmas quite like festive bogroll. I live in eternal admiration at my mother's attention to detail.

Its been a good day. Actually its been a great day. Santa arrived as expected (and the stockings are hung out again tonight, just in case!) and the day has been a frenzy of good food, wonderful relatives and lots of lovely presents. We still have one over-excited child with a serious case of sugar withdrawal bouncing around the house but I'm hoping she'll crash out soon.

I hope you all had a good day as well. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day 5

Another trip to the beach today, but this time for sitting in a cafe, sipping babycinos and catching up with old friends over from Sweden.

This was the weather and the crowds at Collaroy Beach this morning...Even Miss Nearly Three didn't want to get wet. There was a wedding going on just to the left of this photo and the bride was wearing a white low cut see-through number. I just hope the glow of her own happiness was keeping her warm - there was bugger all else to do it.

Its been a long day, but I think Christmas Eve is probably a long day for most people - all that worrying and checking and mental-listing and making sure you've planned all the meals and got enough presents and not forgotten anyone who could spend the next year giving you the guilts. I was up at the crack of dawn (literally and its around 5am at the moment) and at the supermarket at 7am when it opened. Missed the worst of the rush, but by the time I left at 8am the place was going bananas. Still, got all the last minute things; milk, bread, batteries... Well I hope I did. Too late now. I am not spending Any More Moneys.

I've kind of been back-pedalling a bit on Christmas with the kids. At nearly three and Four and a half they're still just a little on the young side and have found the whole thing exciting, but bewildering. But today we went into full-on Santa is coming mode. I have milked it for all its worth, even picking up the phone to call Santa to tell him not to come when they were being especially evil.

So the stockings are up and waiting by the fireplace. There is a mince pie and an apple juice for Santa and a carrot and an apple juice for the Reindeer. Now we just have to wait and see if the big guy is going to appear!

So, Merry Christmas to everyone out there. I hope you all have a great day tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day 4

Today was a beach day. Dragged the screamies up to Umina where we had a picnic amongst the flies. Storm clouds were gathering as a south-westerly change made its way up the coast. It was close and still and so humid. Heavy purple clouds hung low in the sky and a lazy swell rolled in from the ocean. Perfect Sydney summer weather. The rain started just as we left.

After we got home and had naps, we watched the Ice Queen. I always find that tale a bit unsettling, but the kids took it in their stride - mostly because they thought it was about the Ice Cream.

Then we had some lovely visits from the neighbours. Across the road brought us some biscuits, still warm from the oven. There were a lot, lot more but hubby got to them before I found the camera.

Alas we were all in our underwear when they arrived and they had to wait outside whilst we sprinted around the house getting respectably dressed. Sigh. But really hubby in his underpants is not a sight for primary-schoolers (or any other human for that matter).

Then Louise-Next-Door popped in with some chocolates...
Hubby has put them out of reach. Bless him.

I had a dig around in the vege garden, planted my tomato seedlings and dug up some potatoes.

They may look a little grubby, but they are mine and I grew them! Bit like the kids. Only I wouldn't eat the kids.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day 3

Today has been a totally cruisy day. Sent the screamies to daycare and then hubby and I went to scour the shops in search of a bedside table. This basically meant we ambled from one cafe to the next. Although we did discover the Lazy-Boy recliner shop in Hornsby and amused ourselves for a good twenty minutes reclining .

Sitting in a chair like this makes your legs look short, your boobs rest on your bulging stomach and your chins double. Amazing but true. I have the appalling photo on my mobile to prove it. Alas I can't get photos off my phone for some reason (yes, a tragedy) so you'll all just have to imagine.

Was rather a fan of the cup holders in the seat arms though.

Then in the afternoon we went baby snuggling. Oh yes. Congrats to wonderful clever Louisa and a big welcome-to-planet-earth for her adorable new bubs. At only a few days old he was very obliging and slept for our entire visit, only waking up as we left. We were utterly charmed. So charmed in fact that we had the lets-have-another-one discussion on the way home in the car. You may as well know, we've decided to try for triplets...

OH KIDDING - breathe Diana, BREATHE.

As I said to my mother yesterday... 'that shop is so closed.'
And as she said to me... 'its not the shop you need to keep closed.'

Speaking of my mother I'd also like to report that the chickens made it unscathed through the night. The anti-fox precautions are effective - so far... Egg count: 2

We arrived home to find a quote to fix up our pool in the letterbox. $40,000. Yup - WTF doesn't really cover it. They were even going to charge us extra for keeping our own filter. It was an entertaining read, and is now nestling in the recycling bin.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday: Day 2

Oh the eating, oh the desserts, oh the cups of tea, oh the liquid fish oil...

Today we had a wonderful pre-chrissy get-together with my immediate family; to see my sister who'll be with her in-laws on The Big Day, and see my other sister who arrived from the UK last night. Mumndad went the full catastrophe; turkey, chestnut stuffing, roast potatoes, pumpkin, parsnip, force-balls, ham (don't get me started), gravy, bread sauce, peas... And then followed it with clafouti, three types of ice cream, poached pears, Christmas cake... An amazing, incredible feast.

After lunch we wobbled down the hill to visit Mum's new chickens. My mother is a collector of creatures, at last count she had my father, two alpacas, a horse, two sheep and 25 heifers (who are about to find themselves pregnant as they keep breaking in to next doors bok choy patch and so are clearly in need of distracting).

On Friday, with some ceremony, four chickens were added to this menagerie - and my girls couldn't wait to meet them. You can imagine my mother's utter stunned mortification when she arrived at the chicken coop this morning only to find a large hole, a few feathers and all the signs that somewhere out there is a very well fed fox. Desperate phone calls were made and four more chickens were swiftly procured. By after-lunch they were settled and in place doing chickeny things (like laying eggs) for my daughters to be charmed by.

We've come home with six eggs - though this is causing Miss Four and a half some worry - she's concerned about the baby chicks that will be coming out of the eggs. Yes. I am trying to find a way to explain to a pre-schooler that only fertilised eggs turn into chicks. Hmm. When a mummy chicken and a daddy chicken are not fighting about the unfair division of chores in the household then... no... well, maybe she'll just forget about it... maybe?

This evening we're still too full to be interested in food. (HAH - you know, that even sounded plausible to me as I wrote it!). Let's put it this way... Somewhere deep inside my brain a small voice is claiming that I'm full - but despite this small annoyance I have made in-roads into the Unwanted Ham - on principal really plus we've got 5.5kg of the wretched stuff to go - AND eaten a lot of the ice-cream leftovers (waste not, want not, I always say). But now I must pay the price, now it is time for the fish oil.

I have a real hate-hate relationship with fish oil.

See there... on the left, fish oil. SHUDDER. Jessica, my awesome naturopath, has me on this selection of herbal supplements (iron, vitamin b and stuff to boost my thyroid levels). She talked me into fish oil once before - to boost my omega threes and help with my ultra-sensitive skin. But I was pregnant and after vomiting it up twice I left the stuff in the fridge until one of the kids got hold of it and poured it into my handbag (words cannot describe how that handbag reeked after that - it used to attract flies - so it went in the dressing up box and now I have my new handbag into which I can easily fit two bottles of wine and a 90K manuscript - who said good things don't come from bad situations?).

But now I have NO EXCUSE. Jessica says I MUST HAVE Fish oil or my skin shall all peel off. It MUST NOT BE in capsules (because she feels the stuff the capsules are made of should not be polluting my pristine body). Thus I must consume it in all its disgusting fishy sliminess. Really its a bit like treading on a slug with bare feet only it tastes fishy and you burp it for about three days afterwards...


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Holiday: Day 1

Well, given that I have not set anything on fire this week, I think we can declare it a success! siiigh.

I have been completely, totally and utterly caught up in pre-christmas rush. I thought I had it under control, I really did. Really. I mean I've been shopping since late November, made lists, spent an unseemly amount of money and last week even declared Christmas Under Control.


In the space of two phone calls everything unravelled and I was hurled into an almighty pre-christmas panic.

I should've sensed trouble on Wednesday when my mother said, "oh and you are making the christmas pudding like you do every year aren't you?"
"Of course," I said breezily, whilst wondering how the hell I'm going to get suet at this late date, let alone find eight hours to steam the wretched thing. I had no idea that Christmas pudding had become my Christmas thing. Happy to do it, naturally, but c'mon people, if I'm to become part of a tradition I'd like to be, you know, TOLD.

So, by the end of the two phone calls I had a sizable list of cooking to do and people who I'd forgotten to get Christmas presents for. Yes, well, it wasn't so much I forgot, as failed to remember. Ahem.

Today has been the first day of hubby and my Christmas break. No work for a fortnight. No childcare either (Help Meeee), fourteen days in the company of the screamies. It'll be fine. No really... Selfish bloody childcare people closing on Christmas Day - what is the world coming to I ask you.

Anyway. Unable to face the Christmas crowds at the mall I have spent the day in the kitchen. I have made the Christmas pudding (got my suet from the butcher - I love independently owned butchers, they always have what you want and don't value-add bloody everything AND they know what suet is, rather than the twits who run franchises and can't even provide you with a rack of lamb because they just sliced them up and crumbed them all. I mean why crumb them ALL, surely I'm not the only person in this suburb who prefers their lamb naked.)

Now where was I... Christmas pudding... steamed it for eight hours, made three different types of ice cream, slow cooked and glazed 6kgs of ham, oh and did toasted sandwiches for lunch and spag bol for tea (they were cooking so they count). I sensibly kept my energy levels up with cups of tea and mince pies - we had twelve this morning and now there are four - I blame hubby.

Chrissy pud about to be steamed...

And the ham being soaked...

The camera went tits-up after this so I'm afraid I have no after shots.

The ham has turned out to be a bit of a fiasco. Yes. The Great Ham fiasco. You see I have spent about six hours today baking and glazing my ham only to have my MOTHER ring tonight and inform me that actually, they have a ham.


Not only do they have a ham but they surely totally and positively DO NOT WANT MY HAM.


Who does that?? I mean who does that?? Says they want ham, wait until their poor daughter goes out and spends $74 on 6kgs of ham and then rings to say WE HAVE HAM AND DO NOT WANT YOUR HAM.

I am still sulking (as anyone would). Am planning to take some Cumberland sauce for Ham (its basically melted red-currant jelly with port) tomorrow so I can sigh a lot and say things like 'this sauce was for MY ham that NOBODY wants'. Just so they know.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bloody Marvellous... No Really

So we've had another day of rain. For over twelve hours its been pissing down. Yes, I am obsessed with weather. Plus it nearly burnt our house down (oh ALRIGHT, nearly set the pool filter on fire, allow me some dramatic flair (flare?? snort).


Only ME.

Water and electrictiy do not mix. They create fire. A fact which we are aware of and had taken precautions against. Only in this case it was the actual safety switch that keeps the pool filter safe that got wet and caught alight. In addition to this our main protection - the clipsal safety switch in the main fuse box - took some time to go off. To start a fire like the one below in torrential rain there would've had to have been one hell of a lot of sparking.

What you're actually seeing is one hell of a lot of expensive damage - that blue scorched box is the automatic cholorinator which wasn't cheap, and I suspect the pump motor isn't going to have fared well either. The pool electrics are going to have to be totally replaced (for the second time in as many years). Plus its the second time the clipsal hasn't gone off when it should've which means it can't be trusted (which is a massive worry) and will have to be replaced asap. Plus the resulting power surges have fried one of our computers - the one we keep all our movies and DVDs on. Yes. All the kids fave movies gone.

Bye bye bedroom makeover. But at least I got the carpet.

New Carpet

Of late I've become a frequenter of Persian Carpet shops - looking for the right rug for the appalling bedroom. On Wednesday I finally made the big purchase. Its currently spread out in the play room. I like to lie on it and stroke it, sometimes humming to myself. It totally weirds-out the kids. Heh!
Got out the haggling skills and negotiated $600 of the final price. I love to haggle. If I had the chance I'd haggle my way out of Coles once a week with the grocery shop. I learnt how to never-take-the-first-price shamelessly when I was in China - back in 1998 - and funnily enough its been a really useful skill to have.

I enjoyed buying the rug as well. I got a full lesson on Iranian carpets including the history and how they're made from the shop owner. Plus a run down on the different types and qualities of carpet, illustrated with different carpets in the shop. I even got to fondle a $15,000 one, it was like velvet. Beyootiful.

But I think I'm most pleased because I've got a start on the bedroom renovation. I'm going to use mostly white and then pick up the blue from the carpet to accent it. Its a nice neutral colour combination, not to feminine but still pretty.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I am redecorating. Actually, not so much of the re - more like decorating from scratch. As a Christmas present to ourselves Hubby and I have decided to do something about our bedroom.

This is the colour of the walls...

I did not choose the colour, it was here when we arrived. Its actually not the worst colour in the house. Trust me.

And there is the colour of the curtains, yes dark blue - they are hand-me-downs from our previous house. The colour of the floor, and the dire state of the furniture.

The ceiling has a big hole in it where we got rid of the ceiling fan and is speckled with the bodies of squashed mosquitoes. On the wall you can see the holes where we took the air-conditioner out, and the people before us had a tv in the bedroom (I hate tvs in bedrooms) and the wall stand it sat on is still sticking out of the wall - despite repeated efforts by us to remove it. Won't budge. The only artwork is a collage I made of cards we were sent for our wedding. One entire wall is MIRRORS. And only one of the three ceiling lights words. I know. Appalling.

And this is supposed to be my sanctuary from the world. It probably explains a few things.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Summer in Sydney

Excuse me whilst I complain about the weather...

And a top of 19 tomorrow. 19.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Decorating the Tree

Despite all the drama and heartache of the last week we did manage to decorate the tree last Sunday. We've even hung up lights outside the house. Although we're feeling slightly outdone by next door who has light-up reindeers on his lawn and across the road who've gone multi-coloured.
Here is the totally lame photo I managed to take of our chrissy lights. Actually it is better than the three I took before which were just black. No, not because it was night as I first thought, but because I was photographing the inside of the lens cap.

But on the up-side I did get a snap of one of our awful possums.

At that point a mosquito bit my foot and I came inside.

Friday, December 05, 2008

For Fuck's Sake

My children have invented a new game. I like to call it For Fuck's Sake.

What you do, is you pick up a shoe, or dolly, or lego, throw it across the room. Storm over, glare and it and shout For Fuck's Sake. Repeat ad infinitum.

Yes. I blame their father as well.

This morning in the car on the way to work a small voice pipes up from the back. "For Fuck's sake make the traffic go faster."

Actually, I rather agreed with her.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I love her. No really.

Yesterday I took the screamies to MacDonalds. For a treat. They'd been pretty fractious all day, oh OKAY, even more fractious than usual and I Just Had To Get Out. Preferably to somewhere where they couldn't break anything. I thought McDonalds was an inspired idea.

So, despite the distraction of the playground I got them to sit and eat nicely without too much drama. Then sent them off to play. The playground was quite busy, and I was happy to sit and watch. They're all so cute. Playing away. MacDonalds was busy, there was a meeting of all the local Managers in the party room that overlooks the playground. One by one the other kids headed home and soon it was just us. It was all good.

Until Miss Nearly Three peered down from the very top of the equipment.
"I'm going to take all my clothes off," she said. I tried my extreme very best to talk her out of it. But one by one each item of clothing was stripped off, shoved through the gaps in the lattice to land on the floor. The final item being her somewhat soggy nappy. Splat.

She peered at me again. "I'm not coming down."

And not come down she did. FOR AN HOUR.

So I'm standing there, with the most stubborn naked three year old on the planet, holed up in the top of the play equipment, trying to talk her down. Threats, bribery, leaving, waving bye bye, sending her sister to get her. NOTHING. The little bugger was not moving. The managers and other Maccers customers were vastly amused.

Did I mention it was very hot yesterday? Yes. And up the top of that equipment it was even hotter. I could tell by the colour of her face she was feeling it, naked or not.
"I'm going to sleep now," she announced, and curled up to do just that. Frankly, if it hadn't been so hot I'd have left her there, had a coffee and waited until she got really, really bored. (And this is the child that nagged for three hours non stop to make me let her wear her sisters shoes - I did not). But it was hot, and I'd started to get worried. So off came my shoes and I climbed up the slide and managed to get myself up there with her, tackled her and hauled her down.

Do you have ANY idea what it is like to appear at the bottom of a slide grasping a screaming naked child in front of a resturant of grinning people and twenty or so managers? ANY IDEA.

I pretended like this was what happened on a daily basis at my house. Oh wait a sec. IT DOES. Got her dressed and made a dash for the exit. Of course the door directly onto the carpark was locked so I had to run the gauntlet through the resturant and Not Make Eye Contact with anyone.

Hubby came home from work early because I just didn't think I'd make it through the afternoon.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Getting on with Things

Firstly thanks to everyone for their kind emails. I appreciate the support.

We are getting on with things. We picked up Ella from the vet yesterday and have buried her in the garden under a beautiful climbing rose. We miss her horribly, she was part of almost everything we did and its going to take a while to adjust to life without her.

The kids are pretty bewildered about the whole thing. I've explained that Ella got a nasty tick and died at the vets and won't be coming home. Miss Four and a half accepts this, but Miss Nearly Three thinks she's been stolen by Santa. Hmm. They ask me about Ella every morning and I explain again and I think in time they'll understand she's not coming back.

We do plan to get another dog, but not for a long time. Yes another Cavalier, perhaps one that has been given up rather than a puppy.

We had treated Ella with a preventative for ticks just six days before she got the tick. However we were having troubles with the stuff not getting rid of fleas and it looks like it wasn't working for ticks either. We were not using Advantix because it is toxic for cats and Pepper is still with us. I'd chosen not to put a tick collar on Ella because she comes into contact with the children so much, but with the clarity of hindsight I'd rethink both these decisions if I had the chance.

So life goes on.