Thursday, December 28, 2006

Fruit of my loins

Recent H & K snippets:

On Xmas Day I said that they could each take one new thing to bed with them for their nap. After careful consideration and deliberation K took her new toothbrush.

The worst curse they use is "I'm going to throw you in the rubbish." Sometimes I need to reassure them that I will never, ever throw them in the rubbish.

H is great at coming up with plans that meet everyone's different requirements. In the midst of a discussion about what we're going to do she'll pipe up and say "I've got a plan why don't we ..." and perfectly solve the problem.

K has a new book about fairies kidnapping a mortal. She asked me what a mortal was, and I explained that it is a normal person who isn't a fairy and that all the people she knows are mortals. She told adamantly that me she is not a mortal, everyone else may be mortal but she is a fairy.

Yesterday K wore her bikini bottoms over her trousers, so I think she may be a superhero rather than a fairy.

[P.S. I've added a picture to yesterday's post.]

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gold, cat food and myrrh

On Christmas Eve H, K and I visited my parents and went for a walk. As we passed a garage a few doors down the road we heard a loud, persistent, unhappy miaowing. We talked to the cat through the door and checked to see if we could let it out. Like half of Wellington the owners appeared to be away for Christmas and had most likely shut this cat in accidentally when they left.

My mother got some water and cat food and slid it through the small gap under the door and tried the neighbours to see if they had any way of contacting the couple who own the garage. No joy. We also noticed the cat was not moving around the garage and did not come to where we were. We worried it was trapped not only in the garage but also within the garage.

On Christmas Day I visited the garage again. I was pleased to see nearly all the food we'd provided had gone. I topped up the food and saw, for the first time, a fluffy white and ginger nose and was able to read the name BAZ on his collar. The collar also had a phone number but I couldn't read it as Baz wasn't keeping his head still enough. I reached through the gap to hold the collar and Baz pulled away and left me holding a loop of wire that had been around his neck. The wire looked like it came from a paper lampshade and was possibly why he couldn't come to us the previous day.

Talking to Baz

Next I managed to get hold of Baz's collar and it came off in my hand. Good new - now we had a phone number, bad news - the phone number had been disconnected. The other side of the collar had the name and number of a vet in Palmerston North. I rang their emergency number and they called back with a little more information about Baz's people but no current number. I also registered Baz on

On Boxing Day my mother rang to say that the garage is no longer miaowing. We hope Baz has escaped and gone home. Today the vet rang with the name of Baz's people and I managed to track down their new number and have left a message to call if Baz isn't home.

Baz's plight has been the theme of Christmas 2006 for me. It has most of the elements a good Christmas story needs. I'm just hoping it has a happy ending.

[K is closer to the camera with the pink gumboots, H is in orange.]

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Six geese a-laying updates

The nanny hunt is not going well. My nanny leaves us at the end of this week and I don't have a replacement yet. I have another interview planned for Wednesday night. Hopefully that will go well because all the agencies close down for a couple of weeks over Xmas. In fact the whole country closes down for a couple of weeks.

My operation didn't go quite as well as I hoped but the results are OK and heaps, heaps better than before. Coming off high doses of hormones has also been great, I've lost weight, stopped having headaches, stopped being randomly excessively hot (I'll save that for menopause) and been feeling generally happier and more resilient.

I'm still quite conscious of scarring from the chicken pox but no one else really notices and the worst ones are under my clothes.

I've been sticking to my excercise plan and enjoying it.

D is back and has no more trips planned although his work would like him to go again soon and he isn't very good at saying "No".

H and K are in rude health and enjoying the build up to Christmas.

Monday, December 18, 2006

To sleep, perchance to dream

My best beloved, D, thinks that sleeping is a social acitivity. Given a group of people chatting he'll probably be snoozing in the corner. I mention this because I was going to write about the wonderful production of Hamlet I saw recently but I just realised that he is snoring into his book so I'll wake him up and drag him off to bed.

Actually first I'll cut and paste these snippets about Hamlet from a chat:

Hamlet was angsty, self-involved and unpleasant. The King, who was also the dead King, was excellent in a very intense way. Ophelia was mostly believable, Polonius was funny, Gertrude wasn't very good but they didn't try making it all oedipal so that didn't matter and I've never really got it like that anyway.

Must to bed. Last night I had Shakespearian dreams including a play within a play/dream.

Oh and Hamlet said the 'To be or not to be' speech at Ophelia which one felt probably contributed to her later demise.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

One good mum

I am a good parent because I:

Answer H & K's questions
Bear with the frustrations of parenthood
Choose their other carers carefully
Don't use corporal punishment
Express my love
Feed them healthy food
Give cuddles and kisses
Have boundaries
Instil good eating habits
Juggle all our needs with some success
Keep my temper
Laugh with them
Mean what I say
Never smoke
Only watch TV when they're in bed
Praise their efforts
Quickly respond to unsafe situations
Read bedtime stories
Stop and listen to what they have to say
Try to be fair
Understand the value of play
Value their interests
Want to be a good parent
X-rayed my own hands holding H's
Yearn for them to grow into happy adults
Zip up their pyjamas with love

Footnote: This post originally began with a question "Am I a good mum?" and listed points for and against. But I decided that I really don't acknowledge the positives enough and that's why the post ended up like this.

Another reason for the penguins

"Or, at least, about a tenth of the [memory] cabin trunks were full of vivid and often painful or uncomfortable memories of her past life; the other nine tenths were filled with penguins, which surprised her..."
From The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams via Which Surprised Her.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

With silver bells

For my work Christmas party the poster says:

Remember you are encouraged to wear your most innovative, comical or beloved Christmas decoration.
Most innovative: Many moons ago I thought of decorating a tree with unwrapped tampons, like this but au naturel.

Most beloved: the Father Christmas I was given when I was about eight which still has the footprint on his face from being stood on on his first Christmas morning.

Most comical: whichever of these appeals to your sense of humour.

I don't think my workmates would cope well with the first and my Father Christmas is currently AWOL so I might be unadorned.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Heortophobia - fear of holidays

Last summer we went to Nelson and Blenheim with my parents, Granny and Grandpa. I refound the notes I made:

FRI - Ferry (2hrs late), H & K peered in campavan, K sat on [a] Harley, H sick in night

SAT - R & D to Market, H & K to playground & river

SUN - Tahunanui Beach - H & K jumped in waves

MON - R & D & H & K to wee zoo - H [liked the] mice & rabbits ([in] large containers), K [liked the] monkeys

TUE - R & D to Havelock, H & K fed ducks in Queens Garden

WED - Long drive to Blenheim, lots of stops, Japanese Garden, Potty in Rest Area, Pelorus Bridge, Diggers, H & K swim

THU - R sick, H & K to playground with G & G

FRI - to Choc Factory & Museum, K sick lots

SAT - R & D to Wedding (D feeling unwell)

SUN - Ferry home, K sick pm

I remember it as the holiday of being vomitted on.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The best thing with sliced bread

I have recently discovered supermarket shopping online and I'm hooked. I love the way that it doesn't take much longer than making the list. I love that I can see all the products that meet my search criteria in one place. I love the way that substitutions for products that are out of stock add an element of surprise to unpacking. I love that you can leave instructions for your 'personal shopper' and that they follow them. I love that they give you something extra - a present of celery last week and lip gloss this week.

'Tis the season to be irrational

I just don't get it. Why do people try and make their kids believe in Santa? Would they think that using the same logic to get them to believe in God was appropriate?

I do kind of get the people who tell their kids that Nana is now a star. I wouldn't do it but I understand the temptation.

But Santa? Really? Why??

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree

When I was growing up we always had a real christmas tree. Normally a large branch off the neighbour's enormous pines. On Christmas Eve my father would take the ladder down to the bottom of the garden, pull it through the undergrowth to the fence, prop the ladder against the tree and climb up. The next phase of the procedings involved extensive negotiatons with the accompanying daughter or daughters, with my father eventually settling for the largest, reachable branch potruding across the fence.

When I moved out of home I bought a four foot tall, fake christmas tree and a large bag of cheap ornaments. The ornaments include a very strange set of slightly furry polystyrene amoebas wearing masks. They slightly resemble Father Christmases, angels, elves and snowmen in a spooky kind of way. They are not only slightly deformed but also made by aliens who thought that it would be appropriate to give the snowmen legs.

Figure 1. Masked "elf".

Figure 2. "Snowman" showing caudal pseudopods.

(Note low quality of photography due to alien interference with Earth technology and in no way reflecting on lazy blogger using phone rather than decent digital camera).

Last night H said to me "Do we have a christmas tree?" so I told her that we'd get it down when K and she were both in pyjamas. In think they broke the pyjama donning record.

Here is the end result:

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Is it me or is it you?

This is an update on my nanny search.

I interviewed three nannies: a not sufficiently child focussed one, a lovely sporty one and a possibly paranoid one. I thought the lovely sporty one would be a great influence on our children. So I got D to do a phone interview with her. After which he emailed me. His only comment was:

... she didn't sound like an axe-murderer. Did you know her boyfriend is from

Is it just me or does this seem a little lacking in information? (D is from Wainuiomata).

I found out we were both keen. So I tried to ring her. A number of times. I couldn't get hold of her. I started to think she was avoiding me. Yesterday she rang and spoke to K. She explained she'd mislaid her phone and was keen to talk to me. She seemed enthusiastic. I was very, very hopeful.

Last night I rang her. She told me she has accepted another job. I was too disappointed to even hear the reason she gave.

This morning I felt it was all my fault and I couldn't even get hold of D to talk to him about it. Now, thanks to I, s and finally talking to D, things are looking up a little.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Deck the halls

It turns out my staggeringly early Xmas shopping was none too soon. On Saturday the girls and I went to the C family Xmas celebration, D being a C by birth and me an honary C by marriage. D was missing as he is in the US, again, humph.

It made me think about how different our two families' Xmases are.

The C family can have their Xmas on 2 December where you can only tell it is Xmas because there is a beautiful tree and presents. My family, the Hs, are flexible too, we can move our Xmas celebration from lunchtime to the evening of 25 December.

The C family was missing people who live in the Wellington region but were out with friends. The H family would take it hard if anyone within 300kms was missing.

The C family had casual BBQ with people milling about, sometimes they have a afternoon affair with nibbles. The H family sit down to a three course meal, always. First course is turkey, second Xmas pudding and third glace fruit and nuts.

The C family normally gives presents only to lower generations so D & I get two presents each and H & K get six each. The H family each family gives each person a present so H & I will get about the same number.

I love both. I'm glad not to have to rush between two Xmas celebrations on one day and still go to both. I'd be disappointed to only have the low key C Xmas and two traditional Xmases would be one too many. I am glad I don't have to think of presents for each of D's siblings and their partners but enjoy choosing presents for all my family.

Two happy christmases are better than one.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Shoot me now

I saw a car this morning and immediately the music from the current TV ad for that make went through my head.

Musing about beauty

Sitting on the bus it occured to me that human eyes probably look very ugly to other mammals. Normal mammalian eyes do not show the white except if the animal is distressed. Maybe to other mammals we look permanently distressed. Or maybe ideas of beauty are not based on our own species. Think of fur, fur is deeply attractive to humans even though we don't have it ourselves. People are often repelled by pink animals that aren't furry, think of sphinx cats and rats' tails. I am left without a conclusion.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Space is big

I use Google a lot and I have personalised google home with the Nasa Image of the Day and Astonomy Picture of the Day pictures on it. Sometimes they have images that just blow me away, like these to from today (click on them for more info):

Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.