Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hold me tight

We have cable broadband. Right now I'm on hold on the phone logging a fault with the provider. The problem is that over the last few months the cable from the pole to our house has been mysteriously getting longer and longer. At first it just swayed in the wind, then it slapped against the telephone line and now it is getting tangled in the tree. It can't be good for it.

Possible explanations (to fill the time on hold):
  • there is a very heavy possum in the neighbourhood
  • a invisible spider spins some more each night
  • they made the cable out of knicker elastic by accident
  • the cable wants to be a swing
  • the call centre staff have been swinging on it hoping for my call

[and then a human being spoke to me again.]

test by


Updated by the real RUTH to add:
Look, look. Down below. Now you can see the labels for each post. I'm so excited.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Movie Review - The Filth and the Fury

Channel surfing for something to watch while I ate my dinner alone I found The Filth and the Fury on C4 (a free to air mostly music channel), a feature length documentary about the Sex Pistols. To my surprise I found it gripping and to my even greater surprise touching.

It had a particularly strange relationship with the ads. The movie itself cuts to live performances, videos and bizarre excerpts of old British TV so when the movie cut to Bic Runga sweetly singing or an ad for some album it took me a moment to realise it wasn't part of it.

The most poignant image for me was a grown up Johnny Rotten crying as he talked about the death of his friend Sid and saying "If only I was smarter."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christmas starts earlier every year

I used to like leaving all my Xmas shopping 'til Christmas Eve. In the couple of weeks before Xmas town is full of people and half of them are dithering. On Christmas Eve town everyone is focussed.

This year I have done the unthinkable. I have done more than half our Xmas shopping already. I did it on Friday. This is easier than it sounds because I think the world is divided into two kinds of people: people who love books and will appreciate getting more, and people who do not have enough books and need more.

Xmas shopping this early is OK too because most normal people are not Xmas shopping yet.

My excuses for indulging in this abnormal behaviour are a) D is away for most of December and I didn't want to worry about it while he was away, b) while I was away sick for a month my annual leave accumulated to the point where HR began hassling me to spend it so I took a day off for Xmas shopping (and a million other things some of which also got done) and c) the dog ate it.

Looking for love

We have had three wonderful nannies. When the first wonderful nanny left us to train as a midwife I dreaded her going and thought we'd never find someone good enough again. Since then I've learnt that each great nanny brings different strengths and helps H & K grow in different ways.

Finding a good nanny is still hard. It is such an important job. I want someone who loves our children and is loved by them, is proactive, positive, patient and playful and is interested in, and knowledgeable about, child development. I want someone who shares our values and will help our children to be intelligent, confident and caring.

I have interviewed people for lots of jobs at work. It is not the same. Choosing a nanny is a leap of faith. It is entrusting the most important people in my life to a stranger. It gives me great sympathy for parents arranging marriages.

When I employed our current nanny I knew she was going to university next year. Uni starts in March. I assumed she'd be with us until mid-February. She handed in her resignation last week. She is leaving us at the end of December. So now I am looking for a new nanny.

This is my fourth nanny search and so I have a lot of it sorted: I can copy most of the email I sent the nanny agencies last time, I just have to print out the interview and phone pre-interview questions, I know more or less what I am looking for. What I don't know is whether the right person is out there this time, whether I will recognise the wrong ones.

Wish me luck.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Great things are afoot

Last Friday H fell and hurt her foot. She walked on it a little straight afterwards but then wouldn't. We gave her an ice pack and much sympathy. K decided her foot hurt too. Fortunately H still thinks crawling is an acceptable form of locamotion. Unfortunately K thought having a "hurt foot" meant she had to be carried.

Then H woke in the night yelling in staccato bursts, a sound she has never made before. I sleepily put a crepe bandage on her ankle, which seemed to help. On Saturday morning when she still wouldn't walk I took her to the after-hours doctor. He checked it out, told us it wasn't a sprain and that she should walk on it to help it get better.

H, who is stoic, obedient and has a high opinion of doctors, limped valiantly. Meanwhile K showed a remarkable memory, consistency and persistance by remembering to limp too. I didn't have the heart to tell K that walking with your legs as far apart as possible, although difficult, is not limping.

I took H to the doctor so quickly partly out of guilt. H last hurt her foot when she was one. She had been walking unsupported for only a week when she fell and landed badly. She went back to only walking clutching a hand or piece of furniture. The first week I wasn't worried. K had started walking a month earlier and she had started, stopped for a week for no apparent reason, and then got started again. By the second week I was worried but I was also totally distracted by organising us all to accompany D who was going to be in hospital in Auckland for the third week. We got home, H started walking again, D recovered much faster than expected and next time H had problems walking I got her to the doctor in less than 24 hours.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Baby, baby

Everyone is pregnant. Actually I know three people at the just telling people stage, three at the stopping work stage and two in the middle. I haven't known so many people pregnant at once since I was too. Happily my gut reaction to all these pregnant people when I can never be pregnant again is pleased. I was prepared for semi-irrational jealously, avoidance and/or sadness. I'm never sure whether preparing for the worst case scenario is a good habit resulting in my expectations often being exceeded or excessively negative and paranoid.

Update: the next day - one baby out, one more pregnancy learnt of.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Parenting advice

On the cable car (which is actually a funicular railway) I overheard two young guys talking. One told the other how he'd bumped into a girl he used to go to school with and now she had a kid, and not only that, she is now a pole dancer and his friend said "Well, when you've had a kid what can you do?"

I must say pole dancing never crossed my mind.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

In the little bumpy car

My ideal car for our current requirements is:
  1. automatic
  2. second hand
  3. a people-mover (comfortably seats 6 with room for baggage)
  4. environmentally friendly (e.g. a hybrid)
  5. painted metallic purple, colour-shifting purple/green or with a mural

Unfortunately environmentally friendly doesn't currently go with either second hand or a people-mover.

At the moment we have a Honda Odyssey people-mover and even though we mostly don't need the extra capacity sometimes it is wonderful. Someone on our street has got a Toyota Prius and I'd like to be as green as the Jones's.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Commit me

One of the concerns I had before my operation was that I'd get lazy afterwards and not get back into my exercise regime. This week I have been getting back into it fine but just to make sure I thought I'd put it in writing, post it in public and tattoo it on my forehead.

I will:
  • walk to work every weekday it isn't raining
  • aquajog most Tuesday mornings
  • go to Pilates at the gym on Thursdays (and do circuits if I miss the class)
  • go to Tai Chi on Mondays

Good thing I have a fringe.

Do you like my style?

In particular are the links visible enough?

Any other comments on the look and feel of this blog also welcome. I am just starting to add labels.

Living in oblivion

I found out today from a news website ( that Al Gore was in Auckland today. The article included this snippet:

Mr Gore chuckled when a journalist, trailing behind him, asked which Rugby World Cup stadium he would prefer.
He said he had no comment on the matter.

Sometimes I am embarassed to be a kiwi.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I have hiccups. This is the *hic* third lot of hiccups I've had this evening. *hic* I wish they'd go away. They are *hic* distracting me and interfering with the *hic* clarity of my writing. But never-the-less here *hic* are my three hiccup stories:

  1. I used to work in an office where one person thought I nearly always had the hiccups. This was because of the floor plan. Let me explain. There was main corridor loop and all the offices and open plan areas were fed off the corridor, except in one corner where an office had been created in the corridor. To get to my desk from the lifts, I'd turn left so as not to walk through the office in the corridor and then walk half way round the loop. To get to the kitchen from my desk I normally went back, past the lifts and around a the corridor so as not to walk through the office in the corridor. The one time I'd walk straight from my desk, through the office to the kitchen was when I had the hiccups. As a result the person whose office it was saw me a) when I had the hiccups and b) at social club drinks.
  2. My grandfather had hiccups for a whole day on his honeymoon. He tried lots of different hiccup remedies but none of them worked. Eventually they just went away.
  3. He probably didn't try this but it did get the authors the Ignobel prize for medicine this year.

I'll go *hic* and drink a glass of water backwards now.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Picking the scabs out of my hair

I'm back at work today. I've worked one and a half days in the last month. I've lost the rhythm of working. It all seems strange to me. Just think of the millions of years of evolution that have gone into developing a lifeform that sits behind a desk reading email. Perhaps proof of the undirected nature of the process? We are all just accidents on the way to making the best bacteria.

One of the many emails I've been trolling through said:

The innocent victims of Internet child abuse cannot speak for themselves.
We need you to light a candle of support <>.
We're aiming to light at least One Million Candles by December 31, 2006.
This petition will be used to encourage governments, politicians, financial institutions, payment organisations, Internet service providers, technology companies and law enforcement agencies to eradicate the commercial viability of online child abuse.
They have the power to work together. You have the power to get them to take action.
Please light your candle at <> or send an email of support to
Together, we can destroy the commercial viability of Internet child abuse sites that are destroying the lives of innocent children.
Kindly forward this email to your friends, relatives and work colleagues so that they can light a candle too.

The page the links take you to has two links, the one labelled ENTER didn't work for me, the one that says "If you cannot see a flame on this candle, click here" did.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

10 lies about my chicken pox

  1. It is better to get chicken pox as an adult.
  2. I've been sicker with the 'flu.
  3. Having a hundred spots on my face made me feel beautiful.
  4. I'm disappointed none of my spots got infected and I didn't get pneumonia or encephalitis.
  5. Taking oral antihistamines was a waste of time.
  6. I'm not itchy.
  7. Next time I'm sick I hope my favourite doctor is away again.
  8. I hope to have permanent scarring.
  9. I'm glad the doctor told me that Pinetarsol is just a placebo and I agree with his judgement.
  10. I'm looking forward to picking the scabs out of my hair at work.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Eat brains

To celebrate this little known and just invented Zombie Day I bring you:
and a reminder that the only real way to kill a zombie is to fill its mouth with salt, sew the lips shut and then bring it in sight of the sea.

That furry feeling

Are cat lovers sick?

Toxoplasmosis is disease caused by a parasitic protozoan. The life cycle the protozoan is aiming for goes from cats to soil to rodents to cats. When rodents are infected with toxoplasmosis their behaviour changes: their reaction times are slowed and they are attracted to (rather than being repelled by) the smell of cats. This is clearly a good thing for the protozoan as it makes the rodents it infects more likely to be eaten by cats.

In the life cycle of the protozoan it is easy for things to go wrong. Many other animals, not just rodents, can become infected from the soil. Humans can become infected either from eating imperfectly washed vegetables grown in soil with toxoplasmosis oocysts in it or from eating inadequately cooked meat from animals who became infected from such soil. Recently studies have been done that show that people infected by toxoplasmosis also have slower reaction times and much higher car accident rates.

When I was pregnant I realised that if toxoplasmosis is common in NZ then I have it - I grew up with cats who hunted and a vege garden. What I wonder is, there are clearly people who are drawn to cats, is this also an effect of toxoplasmosis? If you tested people who grew up with cats but are not 'cat people' would you find that they are not infected?

Am I infected because I'm a cat person or am I a cat person because I'm infected?