Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September: over

Two nights in a row of falling asleep before 9pm have meant that I've missed two days in this Month of Blogging... but I don't mind. It's been fantastic writing every day and reminded me of my childhood ambition to be an author (which earned a "Good choice, Mama" from Dante this morning when we were discussing what we want to be when we grow up... which somehow led to a discussion about reincarnation. But I digress. )

Thanks for hanging around and listening to me blathering on this month. It's been fun. I'm going to try and continue the more frequent posting. I think it's good to keep at it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Good and busy

A tiring day today.

A working bee at child care (lots of people came - the work was done so quickly. Yay!) A visit to the shops afterwards to meet Dan and the kids. Bought a bunch of clothes for Elora. Home for naps (me included!). A quick dinner and then off to a party for our friends Tancred and Evelyn who are back home from Edinburgh for a few weeks.

Tiring, but fun.

And the best news - American TV has come back online. Grey's Anatomy for all!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stuck in my head

A friend from work introduced me to this song and it has been stuck in my head ever since. The film clip is equally groovy, cute and quirky. I recommend following the link and watching it (unfortunately I couldn't embed the video).

"The Show" by Lenka.

Lenka is from Sydney originally, the singer from Decoder Ring. I couldn't pick where I'd seen her before, but I looked her up on IMDB - she played the daughter of the Mayor in the film The Dish.

Anyway, had a busy day at work followed by dinner at my brother's place catching up with my sister-in-law's cousin whom I've not seen in many years (they are from the US). 'Twas a lovely evening, if not late and tiring. I would write more but instead I will sleep!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Me and my bro

Time for a flashback.

My eldest brother, Arthur, and me. I think I was about a year or so old. He was 12 years older than me.

This was taken out the front of our house. The funny thing is that it still looks basically the same. Even that succulent on the left of my brother is still there and alive.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The ever-expanding organ

I'm talking about the heart here, folks.

Isn't it just the most amazing thing?

There you are, completely in love with your partner. Your heart is full of him. Your life is complete.

Then, out of the blue, a kid happens. He pops out and as soon as your belly deflates and you see your little bundle of squealing joy you are completely smitten. Your heart, which you previously thought was full, suddenly expands and is full yet again. Amazing.

A few years pass, and another kid appears. You look at his little red squashed up face, tiny hands and feet and once again that heart of yours swells. You don't love your partner or other kids any less. There's suddenly just more love to go around. Perhaps you love your partner and kid even more with the appearance of this new face. Incredible!

And then the girl arrives. A squeaky little thing who grows into a squealing little toddler. And that heart of yours gets bigger again. How does it fit in your chest, it's so big?

And now, every time you see those three children play nicely together, watch the girl admire and copy her brothers, watch the boys laugh and co-operate, that little old heart expands again and again. Every time one of them says "I love you, Mama" it happens. Every spontaneous hug. Every proud moment.

It just amazes me so much, that ol' heart. Will it never stop expanding?

Pilgrim's plague

That's what they're calling this bunch of nasty viruses that are going around at the moment, and what has knocked us around for the last few weeks. Apparently when Sydney was descended upon for World Youth Day, the visitors not only brought their rosary beads with them. Lots of new germs came, too.

I write this because Elora is sick yet again. She only just went back to child care and she's home again ill. Ack! Perhaps she never fully recovered in the first place and I took her back to child care too soon. But the poor little thing has gunky eyes (but not conjunctivitis according to my parents' doctor) and a raging fever. Last night after her bath she got a serious case of the shivers (with almost 40°C temp) and I had to just hug her tight until she stopped. Oh, so sad.

Well, they say that it's good for her - building up her immune system! Got to look at the bright side of all this :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Getting ready for Daylight Savings

Something has happened to my sleep patterns lately. I've been getting up early every morning, sans alarm, and falling asleep earlier than usual at night.

I'm not complaining, though. It's nice getting up at 6am (or earlier some days)! I lie in bed listening to the birds calling each other. The rest of the house is oh so peaceful. And I'll be all set for when Daylight Savings begins in a couple of weeks!

The main downside to going to bed almost straight after the children is that I don't have "me time" in the evening. I don't sit down with Dan and knit/sew while we watch our favourite television shows. Not much crafting has been going on around here. And I think Dan's getting a bit lonely.

Of course, he could always come to bed earlier (instead of 1am!) and wake up earlier, too... heh. Anyone that knows him would ROFL at the idea of Dan getting up early without a serious reason. This is the man who will sleep in till midday if he could!

Oh well, can't win them all.

Monday, September 22, 2008

iPod love

I've had my iPod Touch for just over two months now, and I have to say, I love the damn thing.

I haven't installed a tonne of apps like my dear husband, but the essentials are all I need to make me happy. Mail, Safari and Weather are my most frequently used programs. Music gets used a bit as well, but I'm yet to put my own stuff on it - it's still full of Dan's music from when he went to the US in June.

At home I carry my iPod with me everywhere! I love being able to read my RSS feeds (using Google Reader: Mobile) while I'm watching the kids in the bath, or anywhere in the house (using our wireless network). Dan and I use an app called "Zenbe Lists" for our shopping list now - the list is stored online and our iPod/iPhones sync with the server so we can both access it. So useful and handy!

A couple of months ago I won a blog giveaway and I used the wonderful sock wool that I won to knit myself an iSock, copying the design of Rose Red Shoes, a Sydney craft blogger. I love my iSock. Proud of it, I am! My brother was so impressed that he asked me to knit one for his mp3 player, too :)

Fleece Artist sea wool sock yarn in Blackberry, 2.5mm circular needle
Cast on 44 stitches using Magic Cast-on.

Knit in 2x2 rib in the round (like a sock - I used the Magic Loop method) until desired length is reached.
Knit 37 more stitches in rib (not quite one round).
Back side: cast off 7st;
Front side: cast off 22st.
Back side again: cast off 7 st; (8 st remaining)

Knit in Moss stitch (k1, p1 first row; p1, k1 next row; repeat) or Garter stitch (knit all stitches) on the remaining 8 stitches until 2cm before desired length of flap.
Make button hole: K2 (in pattern), cast off 4st, K2 (in pattern). Next row: K2 (in pattern), cast on 4st, k2 (in pattern). (Cast off less stitches if your button is smaller, cast off more if it's bigger, but I wouldn't recommend anything too big).
Continue for another centimetre.
Cast off.

Sew on your button in the appropriate position, making sure that you test your iSock with your iPod in it. It's skinny and longer without the iPod in it.

Enjoy your newly protected (and warm and cosy) iPod!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Talk about domesticity!

I've just finished hanging out my sixth load of washing for the weekend. Three today, three yesterday. Phew! There's still dirty laundry to be washed, but that's enough for me for one weekend. They're just bed sheets anyway - nothing urgent.

I'm not the world's best housekeeper... I wouldn't even call myself a good housekeeper, but there's one thing that I do do. And that's laundry. There's something about it that I just like. Sorting and loading the clothes and detergent first thing in the morning, waiting for the machine to finish - it's a front-loader so takes ages. I often have two machines going at once, utilising the facilities of my friendly next door neighbours*, and have two clothes lines to hang out the washing on.

I enjoy hanging out the washing. I think it's because I get half an hour of peace (or more depending on how many loads I've got!) in the sunshine, listening to the morning sounds... birds, lawnmowers, shouts from the park during soccer season. It's a few moments I have to myself, but being productive at the same time!

But just so you don't think I'm the most perfect housewife, I should let you know that I'm terrible when it comes to folding and putting away all those clean clothes. They sit in their baskets for days before I get around to it. Oh well. Can't have everything, right?

* my parents, if you didn't know!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Lorien!

My niece turned 3 last week but since we had the big Memorial Mass, her birthday party was put off until today. Not a big affair, just the family and a few extra friends (so only about 40 people!).

My sister-in-law sent an email around asking everyone to pray for sunshine. Well, that's some praying power there, as it turned out to be 33°C today, sunny and windy.

But the party went on anyway. We set up the kiddie paddling pool. There was doughnuts-on-strings eating, a jumping castle, a pink pig pinata, pass the parcel, and food aplenty.

The kids had a brilliant time. Atti and Lori started partying from when he woke up at 7:30 this morning (we went next door for breakfast where the birthday girl and her family had slept over). He ate non-stop from when the party food was first brought out at 10:30am. Rice crackers, cheese, frankfurts, and especially the watermelon. He sat himself down at the table and got stuck into it.

Elora was terrified of the pool for some reason. Kept her legs held up in a very comical fashion when we tried to put her in it. But otherwise she happily spent half the party sitting on a chair with a cup of juice and a bowl of (at various times) doughnut, bread, sausage and cucumbers.

A very satisfactory party, conveniently held next door!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Blargh day

I don't know what it was about today but nothing seemed to go right. I didn't get to move office (as I mentioned earlier today). Everything was pretty blargh at work.

And Atti had another convulsion - second in six weeks - at child care. So we picked up all the kids and came home. Quite a nice afternoon playing at home. A couple of nieces were here so Atti and Elora had playmates. The usual dinner/bed routine.

And then, just now, Atti had another convulsion. All of them without fever, all with a normal EEG. We need to start medicating him right away. I'm thinking of spending the night on the floor of his room.

Feeling oh so horrible right now. What a day.

Sorry about these non-posts lately, folks. :(

Wipe out!

Damn, missed another post yesterday. I don't know why, but I was a complete wreck last night. Took Elora to the doctor in the morning. We stopped in at a friend's cafe on the way home for some morning tea. Then after lunch I went in to work to pack up my office (supposedly moving today, Friday... huh. Rescheduled for Monday now!) Came home, fed and bathed the kids, and then I crashed out as soon as they were in bed!

Fast asleep. Out for the night. At 9pm! Poor Dan is leading a lonely life these days with me going to sleep so early. I don't know why I was so wrecked. And my crafting is going out the window, too! I've hardly done anything lately!

Grr. That virus sure has a lot to answer for.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Great singing, Dante! Apparently.

Tonight our school Junior Choir (of which Dante is a member) performed at a "Primary Proms" concert hosted by the Department of Education.

After a busy day at work (we are moving offices on Friday!) I had to pick up the other two kids, take them to Dan who was in a meeting from 5-6pm, get back to my parents' car which I drove in earlier with Dante, then drive out to woop woop for this concert in peak hour traffic. Ack. I didn't leave work until 6:30pm and it took a good hour or more to get to the venue (and the concert began at 7pm!).

I managed to get there without any dramas (due to intense map study and lots of advice from work colleagues) but when I went inside I found out that I had missed Dante's performance! (Sorry, kiddo - I'm guessing you'll read this one day and find out that I fibbed about it!) I was so annoyed. All that money and trouble so I could sit there and watch other people's kids.

Afterwards I got a quick run down from another parent and then gushed to Dante about how well he did. All was good until he started quizzing me in the car. "Where were you sitting? I couldn't see you. Did you think <insert part of performance> was funny? What about <insert another part of performance>? I was looking for you in the audience, Mama." I really thought I was going to get caught out but managed to divert the interrogation, pleading driving concentration.

The rest of the concert that I saw was all right. A few really talented kids doing solo acts. A teenage flautist, a 10 year old cellist and a 17 year old singer singing her own composition - very rock. She'll be one to keep an eye out for. Her name is Meriana Gyory. Very quirky and Australian. I loved the lyrics to her song.

I can't get you out of my head.
You're a telepathic stalker.

Anyway, that's me done for the day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Miso soup for lunch

When I spent six weeks in Japan back in 1989/90, I had miso soup for breakfast every morning, along with dried seaweed and rice. I hated it. I couldn't wait to get home and have plain old toast!

And now how my tastes have changed! My favourite lunch of late is a cup of instant miso soup from the sushi place. $2. Warms me up and fills my tummy. Beauty.

P.S. That's my messy office in the background. We are in the process of getting a shiny new office but first comes the horrid packing up and moving part. But the good news is that we might be moved in a week! Sure beats the scheduled date of the 24th.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Overheard whisper between two boys (aged 7 & 8)

Boy 1: Do you know what the "D" word is?
Boy 2: Yeah.
1: Oh, really? What is it?
2: Dick.
1 (laughing): No, silly! That's the "D I" word.
2: So what's the "D" word then?
1 (in hushed, awed tones): "Dang".
2 (suitably impressed): Ohhhh.

More of a taste of summer

Ah, this is a sign of things to come. Another glorious summery day showed its face today. Too bad we had to work! I even did another early start - I'm getting used to these mornings. I woke up well before my alarm (which was set to 5:45am by the way). Lovely way to start the week.

Last night the most incredible light permeated the sky at sunset. I rushed outside with the camera but my poor little point-and-shoot couldn't quite capture the essence of it, unfortunately. Here's a picture anyway.

One day I'll get my DSLR... along with the countless other things on our wish list!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Flowers for Sunday

The bouquet of flowers which Elora carried up the aisle during yesterday's church service. She was so cute - we were incredibly proud of her and all the other kids.

If you look closely you might see a little monkey in the background!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Family gathering success!

Had the Memorial Mass and lunch afterwards for my eldest brother today. What a huge success! My mother did such a fabulous job of organising it all. My sister-in-laws outdid themselves helping with the food. The children were gorgeous, amazingly well behaved during the long church service, and very cute during the offertory procession walking down the aisle with my mother. Wish I'd taken a picture of Elora with her bouquet of flowers. So cute!

The turnout was terrific. So many of my brother's work colleagues and a couple of school friends. Just lovely.

And the weather today could be described as "summer-like". 28°C apparently!

We got home and I was wrecked. Elora napped in my arms so she wouldn't go to bed but Atticus and I did. Ah, even after falling asleep at 9pm last night I was still tired this afternoon.

And the worst part? Or perhaps the best part... it's only Saturday! I am so exhausted and there's still one more day of the weekend to go! Will definitely take myself to the doctor on Monday.

Friday, September 12, 2008

That's more Spring-like

Sydney put on a glorious day today, much more worthy of Spring. Made better by not going to work, due to a sick little girl. I ended up taking her to the doctor (antibiotics for an ear infection) and then we had a sit in the park for a little while before coming home. It was just lovely.

Today would have been my eldest brother's 45th birthday. My mother said it was him that brought the nice weather to us. Tomorrow we are having a Memorial Mass (full Catholic ceremony) for him as it will be the 10th anniversary of his passing on the 18th. We're expecting several dozen people - catering for 70+ for a light lunch afterwards. It's been busy here lately. Hopefully I will be recovered enough to give the first reading.

I hope you've all had as delightful a day as I have!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Heh. I was doing so well, wasn't I? Posting every day this month, sometimes more than once. And then I decided I was doing well enough to tell you of my ambition... which somehow caused my blogging mojo to disappear and I immediately missed two days in a row!

I could have back-dated a couple of posts but that would be cheating, and not in the spirit of the thing.

Anyway, I don't really have a lot to report right now. Still recovering. Elora's sick now - with added conjunctivitis! I went in to work early again yesterday (7am!) and came home for the afternoon. I was a complete wreck for the rest of the day. But at least Atti managed to get in a day of child care yesterday and had a wonderful time apparently.

So that's all from here. I finished my second lot of poison Chinese Herbal Medicine last night. My father offered to get me more today but I think that is it for me.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Long day

As I noted yesterday, I got up and out of the house bright and early this morn and was in at work by 7:30am! Even better news (for me) was that the scheduled demolition in my office was postponed until after I have moved out of there. Phew! What a relief.

My heels were dragging a bit (understandably) by the time 3pm came around and I had to get Dante from school. Just him this week - no gymnastics (he's still not well enough and neither was I to take the usual three kids). Oh the whinging, complaining and carrying on that occurred from that point onwards! Not a "Hello, Mama" when he saw me at school. Instead I was greeted with "Oh, but I want to go to gymnastics! In the car! Where's the car? I'm allowed to go to gymnastics! Wha! Wha! Wha!" I was beside myself with fury.

You can imagine what the rest of my evening has been like. The other two both are coming down with this thing, I think. Dan stayed back at work a bit and was going to head off to his Monday Night Thing That He Does but after seeing my face when we did a quick video chat, he graciously decided to come home instead.

It wasn't until he arrived that I realised how ridiculously tired I am, and had been! And he pointed out that between us we were at work for 11½ hrs today. They don't pay us enough! No wonder Dante's behaviour got on my nerves so quickly. I get very cranky when I'm tired :(

Anyway, this has been a really blah sort of post. I apologise. I don't have the mental capacity for anything more. Let alone crafting. I haven't touched any crafty stuff at all for at least a week. Not even any knitting, which is what I'll do whilst sitting on the couch. I think this is the first night in several days that I haven't gone to bed straight after the kids have!

And, by the way, some of you may have noticed this thing that I'm doing with this blog this month... which would also explain the blandness of this post. And it's only the 8th day of September. Oh yeah, the thing: a post a day in September :)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Father's Day

As expected it was a very low key Father's Day over this way. Dan slept in until 10am before I got Dante to wake him so I could hang out three loads of washing!

I wished my own father a good day and he proceeded to tell me that "Chinese don't celebrate Father's Day" and so on. But I think he was happy anyway, especially since we gave him my old iPod with the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack on it. Now he'll be able to do his tai-chi in the morning to music.

Back to work tomorrow - I'm a bit worried about the state of my office. There was some demolition work going on in there yesterday. I hope they didn't trash the place! I'm planning on going in early again to get things cleaned up before the phone calls begin.

In other news, I think I have finally worked out how to ease this nasty cough that I have, now that the raging fever has subsided. Who woulda thunk it... cough lozenges. My all-knowing, wise-as-the-ages mother gave me some Vicks Vapodrops and suddenly I can breathe again. Dan's onto the Butter Menthols and they're doing the same job. A huge relief!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Top secret

I also found out some wonderful exciting news this morning! Can't say any more than that, I'm afraid. It's so hard to keep mum!

Yay for YouTube!

This morning Atticus and I spent ages looking up and watching clips from Sesame Street on YouTube!

It started with Feist:

then Norah Jones:

then REM:

I really wish they'd release a DVD or music CD of all these versions. I love them so much!

Happy listening!

Friday, September 05, 2008

A tasty treat!

My sister-in-law's father was a surgeon back in China but now practises Chinese Herbal Medicine here in Australia. He's very good and has a good following of patients.

Last night on the phone my most wonderful sister-in-law suggested that he come and prescribe me some herbs to help me fight this illness. (By the way, everyone else's fever seems to have broken today. Thank goodness!) So this morning he did a house call - felt my pulse, my neck, looked in my mouth.

Then prescribed a bunch of stuff - all in Chinese so I couldn't read it. Probably better not to know what's in it.

Soak the herbs in water for half an hour and then boil down to one cup. Drink merrily...


It is the most awful thing I have ever tasted in my life. I can't get past the first sip! Dan killed himself laughing when he saw my face. I don't know how I'm going to do it without throwing up.

Wish me luck.

Edited to add (6/9/08): I did it! Thought I couldn't at first. Got just over half down before I'd had enough but this morning my dad made me swig the rest of it (cold) down so he could take the cup away and make me the second lot! Ack! Now that is sitting there waiting to be imbibed.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Erk. Sick

All five of us have fevers now. Raging 40°C fevers. I'm lying in bed desperately waiting for the Nurofen to kick in. All five of us will be moping around the house today instead of work and school. I'm certainly not going to attempt yesterday's early start!

When, oh when will my immune system start battling this virus?? Plus my worst fear is passing this on to my not-so-young parents. It will really knock them about.

Sigh. Not happy.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Catching the early train

Woke up this morning at an incredibly ridiculous hour - half past five! I couldn't get back to sleep so I got up, took Panadol to ease my 39+°C temperature, had a long hot shower and decided to come in to work.

It was delightful getting out of the house so early. Birds still around (saw a Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike on the power line as I walked to the bus stop!). Annoyingly I missed the bus by three minutes and had to wait half an hour, but either it was a pleasantly mild morning or the fever kept me warm.

The train ride was uneventful, except for the weird man pacing up and down the carriage carrying a suitcase and wearing thongs. I noted the latter because of his toe nails. Ack. They must have been at least an inch long.

And now here I am at work. I'm getting so much more done this morning! I really quite like this early start. The downside is that Dan just called from home and everyone there is sick. He has a temperature, so does Elora. Atti's been up since half past six, and Dante is still sick (he's been sick since Saturday). I'm amazed that I'm well enough to work. I'm sure it will hit me later in the day.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Atti's second hair cut

Almost two weeks ago now we finally did what I've been putting off for months. The discovery of nits in Atti's hair (but not Dante's, surprisingly) meant that we had to go snip, snip, snip and trim it back, especially since he hates having his hair washed.

Unfortunately I didn't make the discovery until well after dinner so we had to get my father to do a quick job with the clippers. Atti was a wonderful sport. I guess he enjoyed the attention.

And afterwards he was delighted with his new look! We couldn't believe how different he looked - so grown up and so much more like Dante!

It's the end of an era, I know. It will probably be much easier to keep his hair this length now. The curliness of his hair means that it sits just nicely upon his head even with that pesky double crown.

I just hope now that we don't have to do the same with Elora!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Goodbye Winter!

Ah, lovely Spring is here. What a great season. As always, our front yard comes to the party with wonderful fragrant freesias dotting the lawn. I took this photo this morning, the first day of September.

The yard is a little overrun at the moment, but we'll sort it out eventually!

Happy Spring, everyone.