christmas debrief

So. Today I packed away the Christmas tree and baubles, my mischievous little elf deciding that playing with her foam picture kit featuring a princess, prince, rainbow and a horse was much more exciting than helping. Despite having insisted that she would like to help. Anyway. It's all done for another year. I even vacuumed up the tinsel detritus and freshened the flowers. We need to go shopping for food, although the fridge is still full of Christmas cake, shortbread and stollen. There was also, for some reason, a Darrell Lea christmas pud (like the easter eggs, which are also delicious, although the pud has a little touch of white chocolate and a crispy green leaf on top, mmm). Maybe that's a new tradition in our christmas hampers from mum? Who knows, except that as G isn't eating sugar at the moment due to some dental issues, there's still an awful lot of sweet food just sitting there. Oh well.

Grace got so many presents it's lucky we did a clean out before and after moving. We made her open the presents from us first so that they got a look in. Even so the avalanche of gifts tends to make us both a little tense. Really though, it was all OK and the things she loved have been pretty well spread across the givers. Biggest hits so far were the doll from her Tasmanian grandparents and a book I bought her at the last minute from the social club book ordering service at work, Puff the Magic Dragon with accompanying CD. (Actually, if it comes up again I might buy another couple and put them away in my secret present cupboard for unexpected birthdays - very charming and would be a safe bet with the 2 - 5 set I think). There were some other gifts of note, the Gumby DVD Gerard bought over the internet from the US fan club which we watched together enfamille. Grace found the ones with bad dreams populated by the dough monster and robots a bit scary and decided that Daddy should have the DVD back. We've had a talk about bad dreams and that if scary monsters come, she just has to call out and mummy or daddy or nana will come and and protect her, with a stick (her words) if necessary. The portable white board from dad, the kooky fridge magnets from aunt betty and uncie mo have also been on high rotation. Although there has been some banning of textas for drawing on the furniture (I know, I am so mean). There are also some beginner embroidery supplies from mum and a whole lot of art supplies that I've put away for later. Gerard liked his videos, especially the Bruce Springsteen concert one and I love my book (The Slap, by Christos Tsiolkas) and the plants from mum and lance. And everyone likes getting a box of champagne (from dad and nina).

Christmas Day itself was quite chilled, despite the fact that we didn't get to sleep 'til quite late due to the neighbours very enthusiastic fireworks.The weather was beautiful and although I found my mum's partially in the process of being renovated kitchen somewhat chaotic and difficult, we all got fed, the children played nicely with each other and both had naps. I found that I still had a level of Christmas anxiety running under the medication, but maybe that's just Christmas for me as a mother. Last year I had made a mental note to do more in the month before Christmas and prepare in a pleasant way (eg making and sending cards, baking, making some gifts, selecting photos for the calender that may well becoming a tradition). However given that we've just moved and that we were hanging curtains the week before, I suspect a gentle preparation for Christmas this year would have been an unrealistic expectation. Just a little.

Anyway, as usual, we did nothing much on Boxing day. I love how the period between Christmas and Boxing day lends itself to utter idleness. Indeed I think it's one of the best bits of a good Christmas. Grace and I ate leftover sago plum pudding with cream for my breakfast and her morning tea. We watched dvds and went to the park. On Saturday, I slept in late again and then went to the pool by myself, swum laps and lay under a big tree reading my book. It was excellent to see all these people having fun at the pool. Indeed it was so excellent that I went back home and got Grace who had by that stage awoken from her nap.  She loved it and had a great time playing with some other kids. I thought of the walk we did around the pool last year and of her looking inside from outside and just got goosebumps. So we went to the pool again today. And I'd go again tomorrow if I didn't have to work. And sleep in late again if I could. And read books on warm days under the slow swirl of a ceiling fan. It truly is the life. Sigh.

But yes, Christmas this year was pretty good. Hope yours was too.

all the joy of the season

Just wanted to pop in and wish everyone who reads, comments and or lurks here all the best of the season, however you celebrate it (or not). At work over the last few days I realised anew how many people in Australia, well in Melbourne's inner west, don't actually celebrate Christmas. But still enjoy the spirit of the season and the opportunity to have a holiday. And maybe devise a Christmas of their own, taking bits here and bits there. Which is I guess what we do too. We're not religious but I've found myself reading Grace a nativity story or two which she loves because a) it's a great story full of meaning and depth and b) it features a baby. Very kid attractive. Especially as she hasa new cousin on the way in the next few weeks.  We've also been looking through a book of old paintings called The First Christmas from the National Gallery, London. This one is called The Nativity at Night by Geergen tot Sint Jans and was probably painted in  the mid 1400s.
I like how the light emanates from the baby Jesus and I'm reminded of how astoundingly special and magical it is when a new little person comes into this world. How spiritual the energy from a newborn can be. Even alongside the soreness and the tiredness and the weepiness. I find myself wondering if there's a connection to that time of our children as newborns that resonates with us in a particular way at Christmas and partly explains why mothers (and fathers too I guess) try so hard to make the best possible Christmas for our children. Why it's hard to stop with the presents etc. I noticed at work that when people talked about how they were going to spend the extra family tax payment, most of it was on something sensible like school costs or getting ahead/catching up with the bills, but there was also that delight in having a bit extra to spend on the kids at Christmas. Which seems to have made a lot of people very happy. And a lot less stressed.  So work was kind of cruisey in the lead up to the holidays, despite the busyness.

I could go on, but there's white christmas still to make, an excited child to bathe, feed and put to bed and raspberry vodka cruiser or two with my name on it in the fridge.

So may your Christmas be safe and peaceful, merry and delicious! See on the other side.

a bit about christmas and 100 things not about christmas

Homemaking is motoring along at a fine old pace, interspersed with some small moments of pre-christmas anxiety, noticeable, but dulled right down by the mood stabilisers. Sometimes I wonder if anything can really and truly move me these days. And I kind of miss my manic at the moment, but being able to sleep at night is a bonus, I suppose. Found myself saying to dad yesterday that I'm going through my list and trying to work out what I can get out of doing in the next few days, he laughed and said he understood that. Because I've decided to go on a solstice picnic today instead of baking and sewing and doing all the christmassy things I was going to do yesterday. Never mind, in the last couple of days we have put the curtains up, re-organised the shed and I've run a shitload of messages, cleaned the toilet to such an extent that I now know that the enamel is perished, done shopping and paid all the bills I could find. So there will be much less to do after Christmas, which is really the point of all this running around, if you think about it. Three days of as much idlness as possible before returning to work. Yep, I can see it's going to be one of those slack arsed Christmases, complete with lame presents. I don't mind lame presents either. Indeed in a way I quite like them. Tony, he doesn't care.

Anyway, I thought I'd do a bit of a meme. I saw this one at Leah's and it seems to be an australianised version of the one I saw the other night at Suse's. I've bolded the things I've done, italicised the things I'd like to do. Things in bold and italics are things I'd like more of.

1. Started your own blog (well der, who would do a meme except for someone who has a blog? Maybe this is so everyone can answer at least one question. Anyway blog number 6 is in the pipleine and seven is waiting in the wings - hopefully they'll be group endeavours).
2. Slept under the stars (we so need to go camping again).3. Played in a band. (heh heheh. I am the least musical person I know.)
4. Visited The Great Barrier Reef. (Several times. I plan to take Grace there for a holiday once she's old enough to snorkel and enjoy it. G says he'll sit in the car).
5. Stood under the stars in the outback, the real outback – think Uluru.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to the Gold Coast’s theme parks – anyone, you take your pick.
8. Climbed a mountain (Mount Warning, to watch the sunrise on new years morning. It was steep and dark).
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sung a solo (see number 3).
11. Bungee jumped, jumped out of plane, been paragliding or hang-gliding, hot air ballooning. (No way, uh uh, not on my wishlist at all).
12. Visited Melbourne. (Nope, lived here all my life).
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. Does blogging count? Photograpy?
15. Had a child. Raised a child. Worked with children.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Been to the Snowy Mountains (and as a youngster been chased out of a high country cabin by feral pigshooters).

18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Visited the Brett Whitely studio in Surry Hills, Sydney.
20. Slept on an overnight train or bus.
21. Had a pillow fight (yep, along with other boarding school cliches such as the midnight feast)
22. Been backpacking.
23. Taken a mental health day (more like a mental health month, last christmas).
24. Been buried in sand with just your head and toes sticking out (yuck, yuck, yuck).
25. Held a possum, kangaroo or koala – or any other native Australian animal.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Been in a fun run (I don't think that's ever, ever going to happen).
28. Been on the Blue Mountain cableway. 
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Played, or watched, summer cricket (it's a constant background of life in summer here, I almost enjoy it now).
32. Sailed, kayaked or canoed our beautiful waterways (I had quite a thing for kayaking in my twenties until I tipped myself in a freezing river three times in a row).
33. Seen the Daintree.34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Visited an Aboriginal settlement or mission.
36. Learned a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Toured the Sydney Opera House.
39. Tried rock climbing (indoor or outdoor), abseiling or just simple bushwalking (again in my twenties that was the sort of thing I liked, it was kind of between two different stoner phases of my life - I do think about going bushwalking again. Rockclimbing or rock scarbbling for any length of time is not something I enjoy)).
40. Visit Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art.
41. Been to the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
42. Sunbaked at Bondi.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (although a stranger once bought me a steak dinner in amsterdam, I was young and innocent and didn't have much money. It never occured to me that he might have had any motives beyond kindness and maybe he didn't, because he was a perfect gentleman).
44. Visited Broome.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (not that I can remember, but I have been to the beach at night, so maybe I have, my big memories are of netting in the surf at night as a kid and being terrified of the big waves I couldn't see coming).
46. Been transported in an ambulance (twice, the first when I fell of a motorbike I was learning to ride and broke my arm and the other when I had the post-natal psychosis and was being transported from the big hospital to the mother/baby unit. Let me tell you, that was a freaky trip).
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone fishing.
49. Seen Tasmania’s old growth forests (some of what's left of them, and it was quite stunning to see how a little bit back from the road could be quite a different story to what you saw as you drove along. Such devastation).
50. Been to the top of Q1, on the Gold Coast.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Driven the Great Ocean Road.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Norfolk Island.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Guide biscuits.62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone jet boating.
66. Visited Port Arthur.
67. Bounced a cheque
(I hate to say this, but I done it on purpose once or twice).
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favourite childhood toy (no I'm quite unsentimental like that).
70. Visited the Australian War Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt (just a dolls quilt so far, but I have plans).
73. Stood in Federation Square (umm, yes I live in Melbourne)
74. Been on the Murray River (camped on the Murray more than once, swam in it a few times).
75. Been fired from a job (twice, once because of a recession and once because I kept stuffing up the photcopier).
76. Travelled, or climbed, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited St Mary’s Cathedral, in Sydney.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Been to Hermannsburg (yes, we were investigated by kids in the camp grounds and we visited the Albert Namitjera museum and met some people who know my relos in an obscure town in north west Victoria and who took us fourwheel driving to Palm Valley. It was during this drive that I realised I might be pregnant).
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited Parliament House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I used to keep chickens for that purpose, the male ones given to me by a vegetarian friend who raised chickens for eggs. He grew up on a farm and said that if I ate meat then I should learn how to kill and dress it myself. It's not something I would do again in a hurry unless I had a good reason).
88. Had chickenpox.89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club (although I used to be in a writing group, the sort wher you read and critique each other's short stories).
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Saved a pet.
95. Been to the s
ite of the Eureka Stockade.
96. Swum in The Whitsundays.97. Been involved in a lawsuit.
98. Owned a mobile phone (who doesn't these days? Mine is very basic and I'm finally considering getting a plan and upgrading to a new handset).
99. Been stung by a bee (ouch, ouch ouch).
100. Read an entire book in one day.

Right. Off to get my day underway and make cards and bake some biscuits before going on said solstice picnic.

from here to there, from there to here

.... funny things are everywhere.*
So yes, we are here. And it's taken me a while to get back online, well to this space online anyway. My days just seem so crowded, with the house, learning where things go, finding new routines, work and family. And a post moving energy that swings between being fired up to get things done and an extreme lassitude. We're more or less unpacked. Except for a big basket of useless bathroom stuff, some toys and pictures in Graces room (which hasn't been done because she seems happy with what she has. I need to do a big re-organise to fit it all in, which I keep putting off) and a few decorative touches. Then there's the shed. Which will be fine once we get the curtains and cushions out and re-pack it. But we're waiting on curtain rods. Special brass ones, which G was pretty keen on and I like the sound off. Especially once they stop being so shiny and develop a patina. So we don't really have curtains yet. Just blankets hung in the tops of the windows. Which I find very disconcerting. Especially as I have to constantly explain to Grace that we need to keep the bathroom door shut so that the next door neighbour doesn't see mummy's bottom. I miss my curtains.

The old house has gone to someone who will love her and there were some intense moments returning to gather the things left behind in the rush of moving day. Grace hated it. Can't say I blame her. It looked dirty and empty. The second time we went back was after G had done a big clean up and although it was still traumatic for her, we did have some nice time sitting on the front step waiting for Jodie while G and Camo dismantled house at po-po corner for transport to the new house. The move itself was grueling. As was the day after. Thank goodness we had the truck and the two men. Who were pretty damn good. And quite reasonably priced. That night though, we had the worst home delivery pizza and chicken salad I have ever had, delivered late to three very tired and grumpy people. One of whom was a three year old. Not pretty. Luckily we have since discovered another home delivery pizza place that is OK and as a bonus will also deliver grocery items and alcohol.

Of course, Telstra totally mucked up the move order and we were without the internet for five days after we moved. Apparently the move order was made in good time and then cancelled five minutes later. By someone at Telstra (in my moments of extreme Telstra loathing, I suspect it was vindictive after my episode of being the snarky customer reading from the website). Anyway, I huffed and puffed and tried to complain properly but there's nobody you can complain to verbally or get a response from.  G did a little better and managed to get it connected a day earlier than it was going to be. Let me just say this (cue chairman kevin voice) once our exchange gets iinet, I think we will ditch Telstra and explore the world of naked DSL. Don't ask me what it stands for but basically it means you don't have a home phone line as such, but your phone is attached to your internet connection. Apparently it's much cheaper and faster. And I won't have to interact with Telstra. Massive advantages.

What else? The commute to work is like interval training. I run for trains and buses. Especially the funny bus that drops me at the end of the court. It only goes every half hour and I run to catch it in the morning and again from the train. There's lots of public transport, but none of it is that direct, or that convenient. I guess I was spoiled before, having a tram right outside my door.  And spoiled by being so inner city. Although I do quite like going on the train. It covers such a distance surprisingly quickly. And it's very nice to sleep without the sounds of trucks whooshing past, trams clanking and hoons arguing on the street. I also wake to sounds of birds in the trees. Perhaps I'll get fit too.

Gerard has been in power shelf building mode! In the last  week he has installed a big one in the study, one in the so called sunroom with hooks underneath for shopping bags etc and another in the toilet for toilet paper etc. He also helped me arrange a whole heap of existing shelves on my desk so they won't fall down. And affixed cuphooks, unblocked the kitchen sink, fixed the lawnmower and oiled the front door lock so my key doesn't jam. I've been in cleaning mode, washing nearly everything as I unpacked it. Even washed the white couch which was filthy. Our new house is much lighter than the old one, so you can tell. Hopefully this weekend I'll get to do the windows, unpack the bathroom and the last two boxes Grace's room and have a big rest. Which I need, work has been rather busy and intense too. More customers, kevin's christmas present and no extra staff, and I can feel this tight little knot in my shoulder from it. It's all really rather exhausting, But this new house is starting to feel like home. Especially when I walk up the street after a long day and return home. Now off to bed, to dream about my front garden plans which are becoming more and more rose filled. Perhaps we will have had enough rain to start soon. I wonder.

* from Wet Pet, Dry Pet a Dr Seuss book that was on high rotation at the time of moving, perhaps because it was one of the few books not in a box.

books, unread novels, cookbooks etc

A title on a box not to be be put in the shed. One of two boxes of books I'm allowing myself to put in the house. Not that I'm sure where there will be space. In the kitchen maybe. A whole day of packing and waiting on the phone to speak to telstra, gas, water, electricity providers and telstra again. Received the worst service ever from a customer service officer who couldn't a) tell me when the internet would go off at this end and b) when it would be connected at the new house. Despite me explaining at the outset, that manging this process with the least amount of downtime was really important to me. Obviously, he does not organise  half his life via email. Or blog. You would think that someone working for bigpond would understand that such things are important to their customers. Then he had the gall to tell me that a plan I requested didn't exist and then when I turned into the politely snarky customer from hell and starting reading the details from the bigpond website, he told me it was unavailable, and that his computer was crashing and then put me back in the queue. I was impressed. NOT. Anyway I ended up speaking with a lovely man, who explained what would happen, that I was likely to have only one day offline and that I could upgrade the plan once the move was completed as the move order prevented any further action. And that it was a really popular plan. Far more pleasant.  He took note of my comments about the previous service but just to be sure that it gets through where it should, I have complained officially. Fancy telling a customer that a popular plan didn't exist!

Anyway, moving is hell. I'd be more sentimental about leaving this place if I had time. Talking to the woman who is moving in, kind of brings it on a bit and makes me want to go through my old photos of this house and the people I've lived with here. It'd make a great moving post, for sure, but the scanner has gone and like I can be bothered. Packing is shite. I have far too much stuff. More fabric and books than I ever imagined. There is nearly a complete car load on the front verandah to go to the oppy. And boxes are piling up everywhere. I have only one more full day and two more nights of packing (and a day of work) before the truck with the burly men arrives (oh thank goodness I don't have to physically shift any of it). Eeek. But I'm strangely calm about it all. Yay for mood stabilisers. We spent the weekend finishing up the work on the house we're doing before we move in. There's still lots to do but it's so much better. The floors look lovely and I've warmed to the paint colour. I've cleaned the old paint work in the kitchen and washed all the windows.  I'm looking forward to being in our new house. And unpacking. Resting. Maybe lying on the couch reading a novel.

halfway there, but time is speeding up

Today I'm 45. Yikes. How did that happen? I still feel pretty much like the me that moved into this house nearly twenty years ago. But a few months ago, I ran into an acquaintance from university and he remarked that I had changed, and was no longer the the vibrant, colourful young woman he remembered from those days. My memory of the same me is different, I remember a certain loneliness, relationships that were doomed before they even began, the bright clothes and wayward behavior masking a terrifying social awkwardness (and possibly a nascent mood disorder). He didn't mean to be tactless or unkind so I held back the comment that formed in my head, that he hadn't changed a bit. The old me might have taken it up, been abrasive or confrontational and then proceeded to get trashed. In twenty odd years, off course things change. Sure I'm fatter, stiffer and have a few more grey hairs. But I'm also calmer, more confident, more assertive and generally happier than I was back then. And can summon a degree of authority when required. And I've been in the same job for more than a couple of years. And I have a lovely little family. None of that comes without change. Although every now and then I do get this sneaky urge to go out really late, smoke cigarettes and get really, realy trashed. But only without the early start the next day (hah!) and without the hangover (double hah!). Having my cake and eating it. All in all though, I think I quite like middle age.


We spent the day working on the house. Moving day is two weeks away and approaching like a truck on speed. I think we'll be ready. Well, we have to be ready because I've booked a truck and there are people moving in here the weekend after. Gerard kept saying it was a bummer to have to work on your birthday but actually, I quite liked it. And as I said to him, I didn't think we'd ever be in this position, you know, doing up our own house. So I feel fortunate and well loved. Like I'm doing what I'm meant to be doing and as far I'm concerned, that's a pretty good way to spend a birthday. And I got to go to the big Bunnings with the helpful staff (as opposed to the useless local Bunnings with the"I dunno" staff, who apparently are in for a big shock when they move to their new warehouse) and the Reece shop where I talked taps with a very nice young man and then on my return to the house we had take away for lunch before launching into a good afternoon's work.

The renovation itself is going through the dramas that such things do and I think I've made a few mistakes. The wall and trim colours are different to what I expected (but they're growing on me) and the wooden window sills would look better stained a darker colour and with an oil based finish. But that can be fixed later. I think our slack arsed method on the floors is going to work and that the bathroom will be finished in time. As for the packing, well can I just say that the first two weeks of this month just zoomed past in a haze of nasal congestion and other stuff and that I am now at the must pack stage. There will be some throwing of unbreakable belongings in garbage bags and boxes. And probably a good purge of things to the opshop. It will be quick and decisive. Someone at work told me that when you get really old, that time starts to pass really quickly. So much so that it might seem logical to start buying presents for next Christmas now. Which kind of makes sense in a way, because when you're three, next year seems like an eternity away. I'm in the middle, so I'm just going to have to try and hold onto the next couple of weeks and make the best possible use out of them. Which obviously means that I should try and keep away from the computer... we'll see how that goes.

not just another day at work

Work today was intense. Owing to the Melbourne Cup Day holiday on Tuesday (which I didn't get because I don't work on Tuesday), there were three days work spread over two. Endless queues of anxious, stressed,grumpy and some downright belligerent customers. I can still feel the knot in my shoulders. But it wasn't just any old double lodgement day. It was one of those important days in history and there were some big moments that transcended everything else. Like when I was on the phone to our translating service and the woman making the booking stopped mid sentence as her office broke into a big cheer, Obama's just won she said. I looked across to the waiting area in my office and all eyes were glued to the telly. A big moment indeed. I mentioned this to the customer who I was booking the interpreter for and she smiled a big smile.

   Pictures from UK Telegraph.

Later I snuck away for my break and sat in the tea room to watch Barack Obama give his acceptance speech. Looking at the faces in the crowd, I found myself tearing up. Funny how a good election result will do that to me! And on the way home tonight, a tram driver was punching the air with happiness. Not just another busy day at work.

Congratulations America!

excited mummy moment

Last week at playgroup, I sat down at the table where Grace was drawing a circle with the textas and asked her what it was going to be. I expected scary monsters, but she said, it's me, this is my head and this is my hair and it's black. I watched quietly, holding myself in (feeling this weird almost teary sort of proud, privileged moment that I might have missed seeing, this is really new and fabulous, sort of emotion) and being very excited. The playgroup teacher came over and asked Grace about her picture and Grace took us through all the components, body, eyes, ears, mouth nose, fingers, toes, legs and hair. Then she wrote her name on the side. It looks like a scribble, but there's a good attempt at a G and definitely a concept of what writing is. Now I'm not at all interested in teaching Grace to draw or write at this stage but it's thrilling seeing her come out with these things. Very sudden and most exciting.

 I'm glad I took a photo of the picture later, because Grace kept taking it off the fridge and back into her room. It was being carted around the house for a while but then when I wanted to show Nana after lunch today, it was nowhere to be seen. Lucky I have my camera and the internet!

Once again I am behind in my blogging and photos, but I expect it to become even more sporadic as moving day draws closer. Gulp. So much to do. And a website I'm building for another project to complete. Have just realised how much I love typepad after wrestling with blogger for over a week. I knew I'd have a bit of a learning curve with a new platform and some ambitious ideas but I never realised how good the typepad help is and how much I appreciate the last resort of the help ticket system (the one where a live person corresponds with you until your issue is resolved) as a opposed to a google group. Oh well, I guess that's what one pays for. And blogger does have other advantages. Like being able to use downloaded skins and customise the css without paying a premium. But why doesn't it have pages? This malarkey of having to set up a different blog or use a post as a de-facto page has evil whiskers on it. Never mind, at least if the Australian dollar sinks to such a level that typepad becomes unfeasible then I'll know a fair bit about blogger. And it is better for team blogs. There, whinge ended. Now must do some more tweaking before the energetic whirlwind that is Grace at 3 and a half arises from her nap.


I'm seeing roses everywhere I turn at the moment. In the gardens I walk past on my way to work, to the shops, to playgroup. Petals struck to the art Grace brings home from childcare. A vase of blooms from mum's garden placed where I can see them eating my breakfast. Another jar of beautiful blooms from somebodies garden up the back of the office at work today. Roses threaten to attack me as I enter the gate to my mum's house and make my hands itch for the secateurs. And up at the new house, there are roses in the next door neighbour's front yard that spill over into ours. I thought at first there was just a pinky lavender rose, but on the weekend I discovered that there are two more bushes hidden amongst the weedy pittosoprum and self sewn ash. A deep red rose and a blousy yellow. Tousled by the wind and scorched by the early warm weather and needing some care but still all gorgeous and deeply scented. I read in Jackie Frenches gardening book tonight that roses are an anti-depressant. Perhaps that's why.

Up until now, my garden plan for the front yard has been something woodland like. And for the last two months I've being trying to resist the roses that my mum wants to give me.  Her garden has way too many roses. Many were there when she moved in and although she loves them, some need to go for a carport and to allow other plants room to grow. I think I was resisting these roses because I wanted the new front garden to be mostly green with only subtle plashes of colour. A restrained garden, that wasn't bitty or garish. However, these roses and the others I keep seeing are just so beautiful. And tough. And would provide endless cut flowers for the house, for giving away. And then there would be rose hips in the winter. Endless photographic possibilities. And pruning. Which is a garden task I do enjoy.

Gerard's a fan of roses  too, even though they seem a very unblokey flower. So maybe we will have roses after all. Although probably not until next year. Right now the front yard is almost completely dead grass and weeds and I can't see that we're likely to have enough rain to make establishing a garden feasible until next winter. But I can see a rose obsession coming on.

I stripped screws today*

Indeed. That's what I did today. Stripped screws. And window hardware. It was quite satisfying really. I had been going over one of the windows, doing some sanding here and linseed oil putty filling there. Hoping that by the end of the day it would pass muster and could be ticked off as something ready for painting by Mr Fussy Finish. Who I might add is quite right, now when I see old windows where the bumps and layers have been painted over in haste, I can tell and I think it would irritate me in this house. It's a small, fairly plain house and I think what will make the difference is finish.  Even so the tension between perfection and getting it done is becoming tighter and tighter. I booked a truck yesterday, in a tentative, can we change the date if we're not ready, kind of way. So we have a month to finish and move in. Or not. I'd quite like to be living there before the pool opens on December 1st, so you know, this is the pointy end of the job.

Anyway when I thought it was the end of this set of windows, I asked G what we were going to do with the window fittings. He took them off the windows and I soaked them in stripper and stood there at the kitchen sink with the scourer, some steel wool and a brush. Listening to the next door 's music clash with the my generation show on the golden oldies station. They were featuring 1983 and among the dross were some beauties. Like Culture Club's Church of the Poison Mind . I thought it was great then and reckon it still stands up. Anyway, although the two sounds effect was irritating (probably for her as much as for me) it was nice standing there at the sink. Some of the fittings came out beautifully, some are pocked with rust. We've decided that they're all going back on the windows and we'll call it patina. Then I asked whether I needed to do the screws, because really that did seem a little fussy and G came in with some pliers to hold them in, and a screwdriver for getting the paint out of the heads. This is the man whose mates mock him for re-using nails, but seriously it was quicker and more pleasant than going down to Bunnings and then searching frantically for just the right thing before closing. Although I'm sure there would be more than the odd screw in his shed.

* actually that would be yesterday, but as I was getting ready to add pictures and press publish, the D drive on my computer disappeared into the ether. Gulp. Luckily Dad was able to come over and weave his magic, oops I mean calmly and rationally work through the issues and everything is fixed. Including some minor issues on outlook. Thanks Dad!

craft nirvana

The other night dreamt I was back at Sewjourn, working at one of the big tables with Suzie, Di, Suse, Sue, Maria, SallyRose, Cath and Jill. Grace refers to these women as the ladies from the computer, (as distinct from the pool ladiesI guess.)  In my dream I could hear the whirr and rattle of the sewing machines interspersed with music, singing, laughter and the odd swear word. Projects were discussed, life matters dissected, garments tried on, tea drunk, blogging talk indulged in by the bloggers, biscuits eaten and wine bottles emptied (I wish the medication would have allowed me to help more with that one, but I'm sure I made up for it in the biscuit department). It was good. So Very Good. And the best thing about this dream? Knowing that I can go back. Will go back. After many different venues, we seem to have found our crafting home. Suzie's written 15 reasons whySewjourn was so good and all I can say is, if you have a group of crafters and you want to go away together somewhere close to Melbourne then I doubt it gets better than this. 

craft nirvana

Despite not finding enough time to cut out the fifty million things I was intending to make, I put completed a new pair of trousers and a new skirt, both of which I'm really pleased with. The other skirt I made for myself, out of fabric I love, I rushed at. As a result I sewed the front pocket onto the back of the skirt and now it's sewn too tightly to be unpicked and looks really strange. The sundress I made for Grace without a pattern also needs a bit of fixing. So from now on, I'm resolving to slow down and make one or two things as well as I can. No more manic rushing. Although the energy before dinner on Saturday night and again on Sunday afternoon was pretty high. It's exciting, but perhaps that's the time to whip up a coaster or to embellish a few t-shirts for Grace. She quite likes her new yellow t-shirt with the bambi on it, along with a pretty pink cotton dress that I nearly didn't buy at the Lancefield opshop because I thought it might be too tasteful for her. But she loves it, worked backwith her purple t-shirt and red shoes. The opshop also yielded a heap of old kids books which I may or may not get around to photographing.  

There's so much more to say really. Especially about the privilege of being able to go away and revel in sewing and craftiness with these amazing women. To be in a space outside my everyday life where I can do something that I get deep pleasure from. It always feels good to get back into the groove with my sewing machine. That I can plan on this sort of weekend as being something that will happen again in the future. Perhaps this will be the earthcore equivalent of my forties?

since we last spoke

I've been on a fantabulous craft weekend, about which there's lots to say. It's probably mostly been said, but  told myself that once I'd cleared my backlog of pictures and done an in betweeny post, then I'd have a clear run at it. Life does seem to be getting in the way of blogging at the moment. We've had visitors from tassie and up north who helped Gerard work on the house. Things got done at a cracking pace, the whole project moved forward significantly and it was fun and totally exhausting. Here's a picture of Adrian glazing our kitchen window, which the previous owners had covered with plastic and sticky tape (which had become yellow with age). He also glazed the other broken and cracked windows. In less than a day.

I can't tell you what a difference it makes to the kitchen, which we're not painting because the paints OK until we do the big kitchen refit in a year or two. However we're starting to talk about buying paint for the rest of the house very soon. There's just a few minor issues to resolve before painting. For instance the textured suface on the walls, which we like but which looks strange when the cracks are filled with plaster. It's a 1940's or 50's finish, so there's another lot of research for moi. Hopefully I'll do better than the linoleum that turned out to be vinyl but is still quite nice in a hospital sort of way. I had a glimpse of how special the bath and the basin will look together when we measured up exactly where it would go and where the shelf will be. Once the painting's done, we'll be all set to move, so we're talking dates. Exciting times. I'm very keen to move in before the end of November. Even if it is a bit daunting.

What else? Grace has had an on again off again gastro/giarda bug that finally responded to a treatment.  But not before she had a crappy couple of weeks and I did a whole lot of washing and worrying about the poor little mite. She had a casual day at childcare today and seemed to really enjoy it, but passed out on her chair before dinner. Obviously naptime is shorter than at home. My feet are puffy again and I think I should probably go to the doctor. Sigh. Oh, and that's right, the stockmarket crashed. Which means recession will be upon us once more and I'll be super busy at work. Probably a better place to be than where I was last time round. Although in the eighties we did get to have boozy lunches and smoke at our desks as the sky fell in. Och, not making sense. More about craft tommorrow.

I'm your best friend

Not the Sunday just gone, but the Sunday before that, Grace and I had a special trip to the zoo. Just Grace and mummy. Sunday has become one of the days we spend at home together while Gerard works on the house. So he can take the car early, I've taken to doing the shopping on Saturday night which is so not my idea of fun. The combination of staff with lacksadaiscal attitudes (obviously the staff with aspirations do not work on a Saturday night), badly stocked shelves, louts in the carpark and interesting young things buying liquor on their way to fabulous parties reminds me that the best I can hope for most Saturday nights these days is to be at home watching teev with my significant other. /end whinge. Anyway, the big, big plus of this new routine is that Grace and I have full morning to do something fun. Usually we just go to the park, but the evening before we were talking about which park, and she said she'd like to go to the zoo again, to see the animals, on the tram.

You'd have to walk all the way, I said. Mummy can't carry you. And she did. Even learnt how to get on and off the tram which she finds scary, because of the big steps. Note to self, always use the steps next to the driver, because they can't see little people and tried to close the door while I was helping her down. Once we got to the zoo, we took a map, which she consulted throughout the day, and decided which animals to visit. It's always the elephants and the primates. Although we did see rather a spectacular lion on the way. And stroke a tiger pelt.

Afterwards we went to play in the park again and the roundabout was going. I'd promised her a ride earlier in the day and Grace was so excited and entranced by the whole thing. Quite a moment really. Although I did think it was odd that the roundabout rotated to "love is in the air" rather than hurdy gurdy music. She cracked it a bit when I wouldn't let her have a second ride but then we had sandwiches for lunch followed by a cupcake for me and green jelly for Grace. Which we shared very nicely. And then she looked at me and said, I'm your best friend. Aww. I had to write it down, because it just thrilled me. In the best possible way. I'm used to getting lots of cuddles and I love you, mummys but this was different. It was all about doing things together and it being really good. Later that week Grace told Gerard that Daddy does all the work, Grace does all the playing and that Mummy and Nana do all the talking. Indeed. The world according to Grace.

moving the bath

The new bath is in and so is most of the plumbing.The wall between the hall and the bathroom has been framed and the sliding door has been hung. The bath was a bastard to move. So mostly I just stood around and documented the occasion. Except for last friday when I had to help push it into the car and help get it from the boot to the driveway. Where it stayed until Lance could come and help. He reckons his big talent is brute strength and I have to admit, they made it look easy. Much less swearing than I expected. Cast iron baths are heavy, heavy, heavy. But now it's in, we reckon it's the business. I love the way the blue of the basin and aqua of the bath are different but related. It's not a look for everyone, but we love it. 

I'd still like to find some crystal taps, I thought I saw some attached to a bath for sale on e-bay but unfortunately they were only the acrylic ones which are still easy to buy. Does anyone know if crystal taps are still available? Perhaps in some dusty old hardware shop full of unexpected treasures - the man at the plumbing shop said that they were made by Dorf in the seventies. I'm also on the look out for linoleum, but that can be bought new. Just not in groovy patterns. I didn't know this, but linoleum and marmoleum are sustainable (made from resins on a woven base), don't release gases and are really long lasting.  Who knew? I wish I could shop here. Awesome.

my hands are clapping, clapping, clapping

We're singing that song alot around here at the moment. Along with a version of this old man that covers bum, poo and wee in the first three verses.... You know trying to not be uptight about the accidents. Still it's all crazy good. I've taken to referring to Grace as mighty sprite, because she's everywhere. Full of energy and excitement. And new concepts. She's been telling a story about Dracula (we have a copy with a picture of Dracula on the front that she's been examing) and anyway it goes like this; Dracula was a bat and he was a bit scary. He didn't like being a bat here it becomes unclear, in some versions it goes and then he turned into a dimosoaur and in others dracula was chased by a dimosaour. Gerard tells me there is also a version featuring Dracula's mother.

Yeah, I've been messing around with yearbookyourself too.  Until I started turning my head upside down and creating absurd permed headed freaks. Quite neat really. If only I had endless hours. I like this one alot though. Wouldn't I love to have a neck like that, and only one chin. But then again, now I have age related wisdom. Of course I should really be in bed right now, this moment. I will need all my strength to help lift our new bath into the back of the car... ooh the excitement.

And yes, I am feeling just so much better. Quite unbelievable really. But there you go. Roll on spring, bring it on summer.

into the big deep hole and out again

I've been in the big deep hole again. Should of have seen it coming but didn't. I keep thinking that it will be better each year, and kind of it is and then again it isn't. I'm out of the hole again, I think, but you know, just need to process. Maybe the coming of Spring isn't the unadulterated joy it once was.

Not last Saturday afternoon, but the one before, I sat for a few moments in the car. Having just backed it in to the driveway of the new house rather badly after a big sunny morning: a garage sale, meeting a neighbour rennovating a house I loved (he's ripped out all the beautifully maintained period features, sigh) but didn't bid on because it's on a main road, scoring (and helping load and unload) another casement laundry window for an idea I have, followed by rushed time at the house, then off in the car to a crowded local bakery where Grace, as is often the case at present, acted very badly just as I needed to complete the transaction (next time I will leave with no cake), then off to a mother's group reunion (very pleasant except that I kept loosing sight of Grace in the playground which makes me nervous) and finally to Nana's for lunch where Grace remained for her afternoon sleep while I returned to the house to do some paint stripping. Anyway, there I was sitting in the car feeling hot, hayfevery and discombulated. I opened the car door and the wind blew in with a certain edge of coolness. Instantly I was transported back to another September Saturday five years ago. The second day after returning from hospital. My family came over for lunch. To be there, with us. I remember it was sunny and almost warm, and I had the lounge room windows wide open and the wind blew through. Up and down the walls. I wanted everything to be bare and stripped back. We had no meat at lunch and I let Gerard be. Saturday before last, sitting in the car, I glanced at my watch for the date and all my emotions fell into place. Like G said, this year sad day crept up on us. Rest in peace Frankie.

I tried to give myself some space for feeling sad, but my emotions felt muffled. Like when I used to smoke alot of dope. So the next few days were tough. I'd prefer to be properly sad, have a cry, then dry my eyes and go on. But it's been hard to feel anything lately, other than excessive tiredness and stupidity. And footsore from constantly swelling feet. Which I've only ever had before in the late stage of pregnancy. I finally came to the conclusion that the extra medication was a big part of the problem. So I did something I've never done before and decided to go back to my original dose without consulting my doctor first. I felt like I was entering a dangerous depressive hole, a floundering place of unformed emotions and strong feelings about things I couldn't name, where monsters gain their power from being unknown and amorphous. It seemed to me that it was getting so bad that there was no way, if I told the doctor how I was truly feeling and thinking, that she would agree to reduce my medication. Indeed, all I could think was that she would try and increase it or change it. And I would sit opposite her with drool pooled in the side of my mouth and my head falling into my lap and have no convincing argument as to why she shouldn't. For the last few weeks I've felt like even the smallest action needed an excessive degree of concentration. As if really, really stoned.  If only I had a brain, I could think myself out of the hole. If I could just do the things required of the day without stumbling.

Last Tuesday, I had a hilarious session at the community health centre having bloods taken for my epilum (ooh just look at the other medication possibilities, what fun I could have, not) levels and liver function. The nurse was asking me if the needle hurt and I kept laughing and saying, I don't care if it hurts. Nothing touches me. We had quite a chat and she agreed that I did seem quite well um, medicated. So that night, as I had planned before, I stopped taking the extra 200mcg.  The impact was almost immediate. My feet are nearly back to normal, my brain is returning and maybe 8 hours sleep a night will be sufficient in the forseeable future. It hasn't exactly been plain sailing, the odd vice like headache, more patches of extreme tiredness, some yelling and some generally feeling rotten. But it feels like coming down not like going mad. And I'm starting to feel alot better, like myself again. Which has to be a good thing.  

Although I keep having this dialogue with myself about whether I'm doing the right thing and about whether I just lack something, strength or courage maybe? The same old, same old. That I don't believe enough and that I could think myself right, even on these brain deadening drugs. Because they're supposed to help.  But too much of this medication and any thought at all wears me out. The rational process of reframing of my thoughts that I've relied on since the 90s just stops working. Under the slightest pressure, I become anxious and frustrated, even the simplest thing is absurdly difficult. Then throw in a 3 year old in a cake shop and I'm mincemeat. Not pretty. How can I find the inner resources to work on the house, do my job, be a good parent if I can't remember what happened yesterday or an hour a ago? And I'd like to enjoy the process too. Today was not too bad, once the headache passed. Actually it was pretty good. So maybe I was right. I'm just going to have to figure out what to say to the doctor. Oh well, we'll see, the worst that can happen is that I'll have to increase the dose again. Right. Bed. Rennovation updates soon.

paint stripping and a strange dream

Blog posts flit into my head as I work on the house or do the dishes or hang the washing out. Then something else happens, the moment is lost. At the end of the day I'm tired, ready to sink into a soft chair and watch an hour of mindless telly before a good solid nights sleep. Except for last night. Today as I strip paint from a bedroom window with a heat gun, I think about the dream I had last night. My mind wanders and before I know it, my hand does too. I crack a piece of window glass. Luckily it's on a pane that's already broken. Although later, after I break another, I decide that chemical stripper close to the windows might be a better idea.

So anyway, I decide to sit down for a few minutes and write the dream down, it's hanging around in my head. Being annoying. I dreamt I was travelling through Europe, on my own and staying in a spacious apartment for two nights with two women (a couple, I think) who are also travellers. They are planning on leaving the next day and I'm welcome to go with them but although I like them, my plans are unformed and I'm a little anxious about that. The apartment has wooden floors like our house, and although the rooms are bigger, the apartment has an austere feel. The strangest thing though, is that one of the showers is in the dining room which is carpeted and I stand on the carpet itself to have my shower. It's like a persian rug, only cotton and the wet rug feels so very wrong under my feet. The water pools around me and I worry about it dripping into the flat below. Everyone tells me that is how this house is and that I shouldn't worry, but of course I do. And I still have no idea of where I'm going to be the next day.

The dream was so strong I thought I was already awake, and I had to get up for a glass of water, but I was really still moreorless asleep and stumbled round the house bumping and hurting my toe. It's clear on reflection, that I'm feeling the need for some direction. It's about time. I've started to finally feel like I'm completely better from the virus and the winter blahs and have been trying to do solid patches of work when I can and not worry so much when there are other parts of our life that I need to attend to. Dad came over to help G with some wiring issues (looks some rewiring might be needed afterall) and it was really good to get his perspective on what we'd done so far. He agreed that it's worth stripping back the the old paint from the wooden areas of the house and that preparation is everything. And he helped clarify in my mind a few things that have to happen next. Like a bath. And heating and cooling decisions. It was also nice to hear that he thinks we've done heaps. Because sometimes when you're in it, it feels very slow indeed!

Myself, I've been enjoying watching the house reveal itself. I've seen green paint in the sitting room and blue paint in the child's bedroom.The wood underneath is beautiful and a part of me is sad that we'll be painting over it again. But then my feet walk on the crackle of varnish bits and I know it had to be done.

blue and white

Work progresses on the new house, slower than I would have thought until I step back and itemise everything done so far. Most of it by Gerard and eventhough I'm on holidays for two weeks*, my role is far more domestic than I anticpated. Yesterday, I was full of bile and resentment about this. The day started badly, and just became worse and worse until naptime. After which it was OK. Possibly, I needed to be reminded of how hard parenting can be and that enabling G to work on the house is a valuable cotnribution. Today has been more pleasant. We've all had a virus over the last week, the one where you aren't quite sick enough to take a day off work, but not quite well enough to be there in full force. So we've all been soldiering on. Until last Thursday. Grace seemed fine in the morning but threw up later at childcare, meaning she couldn't go for two days. Which we still have to pay for. Along with all the extra petrol, running two houses and the way the grocery bill just seems to go up and up each week. Ah money. I knew that we'd be in for an expensive couple of months, we've planned for it, but even so, I don't like it. Goes right against my current nature. Anyway, I'm trying not to freak out and insisted we all took it easy over the weekend. Even G spent some time on the couch.

Which brings me to my bathroom dilemma. Originally I planned just to re-retro the bathroom with an old bath and vanity. Several shopping days and nights (online), a good few salvage yards later and still nothing suitable. And even some of that was very expensive. So I start thinking about all new. Which means all white on our budget. (Perhaps on any budget, when did baths and basins become almost uniformly white?) Which led to thoughts of fancy tiles to joosh it all up and suddenly I am so far from my original vision it was frightening. And anyway, neither of us really like tiles. Then G finds a possible paint solution, which is also white, and I know I just can't do the all white on white bathroom thing. It is so not us. He talks with his builder/designer mates down in tas and the consensus seems to be that the bathroom paint is worth trying, even though we'll have to get it sent down from Sydney. It's cheap enough to risk and if it works, well, we've escaped tiles or vinyl on the walls. So now I'm under pressure to make some decisons about bathroom fittings. So on Saturday, Mum and I do the round of the local yards again, with Grace in tow. At the last one, I spot a vanity, that I don't hum and haw about. I like it. I remember a pep talk G gave me about designing on the fly and decide I really, really like it. Eventhough it doesn't have a matching bath, which even if it did, probably wouldn't be the right shape anyway. Previous baths having been ruled out as too narrow to stand in. I ring G for a quick consult and before you know it, we're loading it in the car. Thirty bucks. Bargain. I remark to mum in the car that I'll proabably see exactly what I was originally looking for on ebay tonight.

And guess what? I do. A yellow pedestal basin and matching bath that looks like the right shape to stand in. G says I can change my mind, but I decide I still like the blue one. That I like it better than the yellow one which has a kind of dated shape for the fifties. I like the blue one's curves and simpler lines and that it's porcelain. I consider looking out for for sixties/seventies glass taps to sparkle in the sun (it is a sunny bathroom) then think they're probably not very ergonomic for small hands. We're meeting with a potential plumber tommorrow so I'm going to have to decide about a bath sooner rather than later. Probably white. I can't decide whether to go for an OK second hand one that I can replace if I find a better one or to get a new one that is the business. There's a model that's designed as a deep long bath with a squareish bit at the end to shower in that I like the look of. I'm picking it's not at the lower end of the price range, but I do like having a bath and I have ideas about handrails for easy of in and out (even when I'm old). I wonder whether it would make the basin look crap, if I can make it all work. Then decide maybe it doesn't matter so much this mixing old and new, because what I save on a basin is what I can spend on a bath. A bit like the new shoes with the opshop jumper philosophy. Yes, that's kind of us. Need to go to the bathroom shop and get prices and check them out etc and of course, the tip shop or the salvage yard may yet yield something unexpected and delightful next visit. Perhaps a green bath in just the right shade and size... mmm blue and green.

In the meantime there are lots of other jobs to do. The carpet is all gone and we filled a skip on Monday. I stripped the grease from the bricks surrounding the stove. G is well into wall preparation and there is a myriad of small tasks awaiting me tommorrow, like starting on the window preparation or removing the paint splotches from the hardwood floor. Gees, I love that floor. I expect to be listening to a lot of radio national. Oh, and I need to go and get some paint samples so I can consider the various shades of offwhite in as many different lights as possible.  Let's hope childcare is a goer this week.

*each year everyone in the office has to nominate the leave they'd like for the upcoming year and then a commitee of mangement and a worker rep decides who gets what and when. It's fair but not very flexible, especially when you're not sure whether you will have bought a house or not at the time.

TMI meme

From Suse, the TMI meme. Just because.

Eye Color: greeny grey hazel. I think.
Hair Color: dark reddy brown with a lovely (not) stripe down the middle which shows how much grey I really have. Hairdressers appointment booked for tommorrow.
--Dyed or Natural: ahem, see above. I keep thinking I'd like to go natural, but the grey shits me. So does the regrowth. Am thinking of going really short and grey during summer to see what I think. But will need to find a groovier hairdresser than the one next to the BiLo.
--Curly or Straight: very thick and pretty straight, although if it's neck length and a bit layered, it has some wave. Which I quite like.
Right- or Left-handed: right handed.
Tan or Pale: pale in winter, tanned in summer, even with sunscreen and hat. Which doesn't mean I don't need to slip slop slap. We all do. So I end up quite multi shaded in summer.
Jeans or Khakis: jeans I guess. although it's been a long time since I bought any. I tend to have homemade (or sistermade) denim jean like pants. My favourite pairs don't fit at the moment. Bummer. I'm blaming the purple pills.
Country, Rap, or Rock: country, it's hard to beat George Jones singing, I've had choices, Since the day that I was born,There were voices,That told me right from wrong... Sends shivers up my spine. However we have all sorts of music here. I even listened to some swing the other night and didn't mind it.
Heritage: bitza this and bitza that. Mostly anglo welsh german with a bit of chinese and spanish thrown in for good measure. According to mum and dad.
Shoes you're wearing today: dark greeny brown suede Birk slip ons, with stripey merino possum socks. My favourite footwear combination at home this winter. When I'm not wearing the disgusting old uggs.
Your weakness(es): staying up too late, spending too much time on the computer, newborn babies (the sight of which makes me want to cry even at a distance), paper emphemera, pictures featuring washing lines, buying books at the opshop for Grace, plastic toys, buying material, liquorice allsorts.
Your perfect pizza:
homemade and including anchovies.
Favorite colour: green.
Favorite place: home.
Goal you'd like to achieve: move into our new house. And write a book with accompanying highly succesful commercial website so I could give up my dayjob. But I'd settle for writing a website and book. But not until after move/rennovation.
Your most overused phrase(s): is that right? or alrighty then (said in a chipper tone at work when moving things along).
Your thoughts first waking up: I try not to think too much in the morning, otherwise I can't get up at all.
Your best physical features: I think I have quite nice lips. And pretty good hair, apart from the grey.
Your bedtime: 10.30. hahahahahahaha.
Your most missed memory: I've forgotten.
Pepsi or Coke: Coke, with ice. In a glass. And the diet one really isn't as good, although in some circumstances it hits the spot.
McDonald's or Burger King: Maccas. No more than once or twice a year and only when that strange urge hits. Took Grace to the Clayton Mac Donalds on Saturday and she was unimpressed with the food but liked the playground.
Single or group dates: Not a dating kind of gal.
Adidas or Nike: Keens, love me keens.
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Liptons, but only lemon, all the other flavours are gag inducing. Ice tea is even better made from scratch with tea, lemon and mint from the garden.
Chocolate or vanilla: Both.
Cappuccino or coffee: That's a silly question. If I'm out I have a latte, at home a stovetop espresso with milk.

Smoke: Not since 2001. Except for three occasions when I've had one or two. They were: when I was in hospital and forgot that I didn't smoke anymore (my family were very annoyed that I was allowed to), a drunken new years in the country and at a wake last year.
Cuss: Try not to. There's something disturbing about a three year old saying oh for fuck's sake in your exact tone of voice. Not a good look at childcare.
Have a boyfriend/girlfriend: Yes. Although I tend to be grown up and call him my partner.
Take a shower: On occasion.
Have a crush(es):  No.
Think you've been in love: Well, one would hope so. Ten years without love would be a long time.
Want to get married: Think we've let that moment slip here.
Believe in yourself: Most of the time.
Believe in God: well that's a tricky one. Probably not. However, I do believe there's a calling within us all to do good, be happy and seek enlightenment as to the meaning of life. Organised religion or spiritual practice is one way to express that. Which is fine as long as we're all respectful of each other's beliefs. And not at all fine (I'm thinking the crusades and other abominations here) when we're not.
Believe in your government: I do believe in having a government. Actually, I believe in having quite a lot of government, as in the provison of health, education, housing, employment and care for the young, old and sick. Not sure whether this one will deliver anything much at all yet.
Get motion sickness: Not really.
Think you're attractive: I'm OK.
Think you're a health freak: I wish. But no.
Get along with your parents: Yes.
Like thunderstorms: Yes. Except while camping.

Drunk alcohol:
Yes, and I shouldn't. I tend not to when I'm out. The pills make me a very cheap and unpredictable drunk. However I do like a glass of wine some nights.
Gone on a date: No. As if.
Gone to the mall: No. Yuck.
Been on stage: No.
Eaten an entire box of Oreos: No.
Eaten sushi: No.
Been dumped: No.
Gone skating: No, but I wouldn't mind trying ice skating again one day. Maybe.
Gone skinny dipping:  No.
Stolen anything: No, not unless you count ferreting through the recycling bins at work for empty boxes.

Played a game that required removal of clothing:
No. I'm prudish like that.
Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: Ooooh yes. More than once. But not for a long time.
Been caught "doing something": No.
Been called a tease:  Yes.
Gotten beaten up: No.
Age you hope to be married: Don't care anymore.
Number of children you'd like: Two, but one is enough.
Describe your dream wedding: I'm dreaming of bathrooms and paint colours, not weddings.
What do you want to be when you grow up: Not sure.

Best eye color?:
Best hair color?:
Bown with a scattering of grey.
Short or long hair: Short but a bit shaggy is OK too.
Taller than me (just) and lanky.
Best first date location:
A road trip to Adelaide to see Carlton play Port with some camping thrown in.
Best first kiss location: Trashy niteclub (nb this preceded the first date).

Number of people I could trust with my life:
Number of CD's: I don't know, they tend to merge with Gerards. Lots. And we have vinyl and cassettes and digital too.
Number of piercings:
Three, and they've all grown over.
Number of tattoos: None
Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper: Once, in a review of our cafe
Number of scars on my body:  No big ones.

So there. I'm more boring than I ever thought. Tomorrow is shrink day. I have bathroom dilemmas. Bet she'll be fascinated.

gardening in the rain and looking for a bath

So. I feel like I have an extra job now. Or two. One doing the project manager/bureaucrat stuff and the other doing some less skilled labouring. And it did cross my mind when I went to my paid employment on Monday morning that it would be really, really nice to be working on the new house instead. Even in the was cold and wet. Not just because there's so much to do, it's scary, but because it's fun. Even hacking out weeds and digging in the rain. After a while I got sick of sheltering under the eaves or going inside each time it rained so I put my raincoat on. And remembered back to when I first had the gardening bug. Back then, it took serious weather to stop me. As I cut and pulled kikiyu, dug weed trees and bucketed yet more rubbish, I thought alot about an old friend I haven't seen for quite a while. I'd really like to show him this garden, walk over the space, talk through my plans. A new garden is so full of possibility and I swing between wanting plant everything all at once and nothing much yet. But despite other urgent things on the list, Mum and I transplanted two, two year old, fruit trees. A job that needed to be done sooner rather than later, before they blossom. Each got a good dose of compost and a very hard pruning. And now they will have been well watered by the rain. This shot was taken after the hard work had been done, and the weather cleared.

Next weekend, I'm going to start preparing the front garden. When G pulled out the carpet in the back room there was old coconut fibre underlay which makes fantastic weedmat. So I'll score the front yard with a pick and throw on some dynamic lifter, then place the underlay over the top. This will get it out of the shed and as we move plants and cuttings from the old garden I can just cut holes in it and plant as I go. Then as I hack up banches of the weed tree we remove, that can go on top and I'll cover the lot with pea straw when I get the chance. Much less labour intensive than doing fully dug beds.

Gerard has also removed everything from the bathroom. Including the concrete (!) base that the crappy vanity was sitting on. My jobs in this area are to list the spa bath on ebay, compile information about tiles and other surfaces and to source a new bath and handbasin. Hopefully a nice 1940s or 50s set in a colour other than pink. We saw a gorgeous yellow pedestal basin, in good nick in a salvage yard but there wasn't a matching bath, so I said no. Salvage yards are a new adventure, yikes. Some we went to last week were just a bit scary. So I've been doing a whole heap of research and I've found some new ones to check out. As well as ebay and trading post. Must also investigate re-enamelling, just in case.

Some people we've talked to seem surprised that we're actually shrinking our bathroom back to it's original size to gain hallway space and potentially a linen press (although there is some discussion about this). And it's true, it will be quite small. Just enough room for a full length bath with a small ledge at the end, a shower over the bath (we both like that set up), a handbasin and towell rack along the wall. We'll rework the existing cabinetry so it has a mirrored door. When I was househunting, I saw a bathroom in the same type of house that was probably original. It had been really well maintained and was light and airy despite it's small size. Really charming. Actually, the whole house was dead cute and in fantastic condition, but it was on a semi main road so I kept my hands tightly clenched in my pockets during the auction. What we're planning in our bathroom is different in finish, but a similar approach to the space. I'd show you a picture from the net, but there's new people there now, so that would be a bit weird.

Oick. Must go to bed. Have had extremely tiring day with small child who refuses to wear underpants (instead of nappies) but is otherwise quite charming and delightful, especially considering the changes going in her life. I would not even be asking her about the underpants, except that the staff at the new childcare place keep asking me about this and I'll feel like a slack mother unless I can say that I tried.

Will try and not be total rennovation bore forever. But am going to write out weekly schedule sheets, a week by week plan and have started watching Grand Designs on the ABC and reading house blogs. So I fear the worst is yet to come.

Oh, and if anyone happens to know of a great source of old bathroom stuff in Melbourne, I'm all ears.

it's lucky eight is a good number

On Friday we took ownership of our new house. Settlement occured the afternoon before, but I guess you could say that the eighth of the eighth o'eight was the first full day we owned it. Along with the bank, of course. Setting off in the morning was very exciting, so exciting we forgot to play music in the car (that's quite big for G, he plays music everywhere). Eventhough it was childcare day, we took Grace for a look first. The house was dirty. And full of detrius: safety pins, lolly wrappers, pills, tampon wrappers, coins, coathangers, dog hair. Lots of dog hair. And yet once we opened the curtains and the windows, it was immediately better. After walking Grace to childcare, via the park, I started with the garbage bags. Then mum, Lance and Ruby came to visit. There was a lot of standing around and looking. And it was a glorious day, with little white puffy clouds in a blue sunshiney sky. And as the house is near the top of a hill, there are some big sky views. I like that.

Gerard did a magificent job mowing grass that was so high, the children were frightened. I swept and knocked away dirt inside. It wasn't that hard. It's still pretty dirty but it's getting that empty look. So full of promise. I tell you, it was a very happy day. This house feels very right for us. After lunch, I had a twighlight zone moment with the eights in the date and realised that the street number is also an eight. I had planned to write something here about those moments of joy, but by the time we got home and through bath, dinner and Grace's bed, I was nearly falling out of my chair with exhaustion. Happy, but dogtired. All I could do was google eight, and think, phew it is lucky.... Not that I really believe in such things, but you can't have too much luck and it's nice to re-inforce all that feelgood stuff.

On Saturday, the rest of the family came for a squiz and there was lots of standing around and looking at rooflines and pondering the future extension (stca), the dirt and the bathroom. Grace cracked the shits and stated that the house was smelly and 'scusting. It was all a bit much for her. Suddenly her parents are talking brickwork and floorboards, paint finishes and schedules. The ideas and information are being thrown around hurly burly as we ready ourselves for making the big list and schedule that is this weeks goal. And all she sees is a house that isn't her home yet and doesn't really accomodate her in any way. Yet. I think we might paint her room first up. It'll be interesting to see how she views the transformation. Over the weekend, we've met a few of the neighbours and pretty much figured out what we want to do in the next few weeks. Last night I fell asleep dreaming about the bathroom refit, ooh gosh it's exciting.

ps. I'm posting over at Mrs Washalot again. Suits my frame of mind at the moment.