Tuesday, December 23, 2008
After a day of moving everything out of the two messiest rooms in our house I got pizza for dinner, but to keep with the theme of chaos they gave me the wrong pizzas.
Now, we have gone back and collected the right pizzas and eaten, H & K's room is back together enough for them to sleep in, our room is still empty and covered in dust, the table is on the deck, the bees are hanging out in swarm like a giant strawberry in the neighbours' tree and I've mislaid my glasses.
Fa la la la la la la la la
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
10 good things about the election
- I live in a democracy where I have the right to vote, I can vote without intimidation, voting is easy, accessible and popular*, and I am confident that all votes are fairly counted.
- Winston Peters is finally out of parliament \o/
- I voted in H & K's classroom surrounded by their, and their classmates, art.
- There'll be at least two more Green MPs in parliament.
- A fairy queen and a fairy princess came with me to vote.
- I am now represented by an openly gay MP.
- The way the National party got in was by backing most changes Labour have introduced.
- I'm told there is a better quality of political comedy under right wing governments.
- MMP continues to encourage diversity in parliment. For the first time there will be a Sikh MP.
- I got to use a big fat orange pen.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I have been to the neurological ophthalmologist (because I couldn't get an appointment with a neurologist [backstory here then here]) and he says that my jerky eye tracking is "asymptomatic" and I should only worry if it starts to cause me problems, e.g. nausea. Given that my concern is that it is a symptom of something else this is only partly reassuring. I am trying hard to be reassured as there is no advantage in worrying. He is also going to chat to a neurologist about it and let me know what they say.
My plan for world domination is progressing, this year we lured 99 trick or treaters to our door. Last year we had 70. I think next year I should cater for 130.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
In a couple of weeks there will be an election. I wrote this three years ago during the build up to the last election and I still haven't changed my mind.
My favourite thing about New Zealand elections is that you vote with a fat orange felt pen, a clear sign of a serious democracy at work.Posted here 30 August 2005.
The more I think about it the more I am unable to consider voting anything but Green.
I think they were unbelievably stupid creating contraversy around the Meningococcal B vaccination campaign.
But consider global warming.
I mean just for starters think about the Wahine Storm hitting Wellington every year. What about the effects of the sea level rising on the CBD? What about a changing climate on our agriculturally based economy?
Even social welfare spending is a trivial issue by comparison with global warming.
Now you can argue that global warming is a far bigger issue than the NZ government can sort out and that you should use your vote on something more personal. The problem with this is that global warming will get personal. If you believe it is worth voting at all - that your one vote might make a difference, then it is worth believing that your one country might make a difference too.
So - how do the parties stack up? Well, Forest & Bird did a nice summarised evaluation of the parties policies on this and other environmental issues and I'm afraid I don't have it in front of me and I can't remember it all but what I do remember is that the Greens were the only party with two ticks for global warming, Labour got one and National got none.
I am struck at this point by a profusion of silly slogans - Vote for the weather. Vote for the future. Vote for the continuation of the species.
There are many things I love about the New Zealand health system. The fact I, or any other New Zealand resident, should be able to see a Neurologist if their GP thinks it is appropriate without paying a cent is one of them. The underfunded administration is not one.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I went to the doctor the next day and she wrote a referral letter. 5 weeks later I hadn't heard anything back from the hospital so I followed up. The doctor wrote another referral and got the practice nurse to fax it through.
On Friday I followed up again, 12 weeks after first being referred, a different practice nurse figured out that the fax was sent upside down, i.e. the hospital received a blank piece of paper. I don't know what happened to the first referral perhaps it was not the first time the nurse made this mistake.
Fortunately it is not something difficult to live with and a delay in investigating the cause is unlikely to make any difference to the outcome as the scenarios I know of are:
- the ataxia will never be explained, it is just a mysterious quirk,
- when I was born I received brain damage which was so minor that it has not been picked up until now (I was a difficult forceps delivery),
- Parkinson's disease,
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Yesterday as a 4 year-old chatted to me about playing Halo 2 (which is R16) on the xbox in his bedroom I was struck by the wide variety of options we have as parents. I expect he is better prepared than H & K for surviving a zombie apocalypse.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
As we drove back from the library today H listed all the things she thought of in order from most to least liked:
- Mummy [:-)]
- Pony [Kay's new toy]
- star [??]
- doing sudoku with Daddy
- Big Pig
- Fimble [her buddy]
- chocolate [to eat]
- ice cream
- sun [because it makes her too hot]
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
H is wanly watching a DVD clutching a container. She threw up last night, I'm not sure if it was the start of the tummy bug or just too much mucous from her cold but she is very pale.
D is looking after our nieces, H' & I, at their house. H' is not at school because she is convalescing after her own tummy bug.
S, H' & I's mum, is at school doing my parent helper duty.
Parenting is all about logistics.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
We don't have a height chart, marks on a doorway or whatever. Largely this is because I was too caught up in the present for the first year or more to look to the future and partly it is because having not started one it never seemed like the right time to start. Now I realise that for our family, for H & K, it is the right thing to do. Currently, despite information to the contrary K believes she is taller than H and H believes that she is the same height as K and everyone is happy. Who needs objectivity?
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Now I know that one of my failings as a human being is an overdeveloped attachment to being right, so I hereby give you, my gentle reader, a chance to tell me what I've got wrong and I'll 'fess up or at least try very hard to understand your point of view and agree to differ.
P.S. Does anyone know where the quote "Wrongo, zombie lips!" is from? Trusty Google is letting me down.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Writing this I've done some more research. There is an article on New Scientist Environment which references Environmental Science and Technology (DOI: 10.1021/es702969f). The research is American and the detail would be slightly different here because we don't keep our cows in barns and transport grain to them but that doesn't stop them farting a staggering amount of methane.
How to eat green
If you are serious about reducing your carbon footprint, going vegetarian for one day a week will make a big difference, says Christopher Weber of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who has audited the greenhouse gas emissions of our meals. "The differences between eating habits are very, very striking," he says.
If that is all too sane for you try this leaflet which was delivered to our "No Junk Mail" snail-mailbox just the other day. My favourite part is the second question on the second page:
QUESTION: Yes. Thank you, Master.I am very happy to take questions like that.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I find it offensive that she appears to think that apologies and a payment might be "enough" and that she is undermining all her patients' credibility. (Although I do realise that these quotes may have been deliberately selected to make her look bad.)
Vasu Iyengar was my gynaecologist until she:
a) diagnosed an incurable condition missing that I actually had eczema (optional gynaecological detail),Thanks to Vasu I endured months of unnecessary discomfort. I would not recommend her to anyone.
b) referred me to the person who specialises in that condition in Wellington without telling me that the person's role was as a counsellor,
c) wanted to treat my PCOS following a recipe that ignored my particular symptoms.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Every morning this week I have taken dried apricots out of the container and put them in H & K's lunch boxes. Some mornings I've eaten some too. This morning I put in three apricots, picked up the fourth "ready to eat" "moist & juicy" apricot and noticed it had a brown think on it. "Stalk," I thought. Then I looked closer... and closer... and said to D, remarkably calmly as I took the first three apricots, out of the school lunches "Can you come and look at this and see if you think it is what I think it is?"
There, nestled in the fourth apricot, was a moist and juicy rat poo. I used to have rats so I know a rat poo when I see one.
Fortunately I had a holiday job once as telephonist/receptionist for the Wellington Health Development Unit which at that time dealt with such complaints so I knew what to do. I put the apricot with poo in a clear plastic bag, found the packet the apricots came in and rang the Public Health Service. They came and collected the evidence this afternoon.
The apricots were imported ones packed in New Zealand. Is it strange to be hoping that it was a New Zealand rat poo? Somehow it seems slightly less disgusting than an overseas one importing who knows what foreign diseases.
I am thankful to my morbid sense of humour which is helping me enjoy the sheer awfulness of finding a ready to eat poo.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The bits which particularly grabbed me were:
This left me thinking about how torture is portrayed and propagated by the movies and TV shows that I watch. 24, for example, actively propagates the myth that torture works. What can I do about that? Not much. I don't write movies, books or TV shows that propagate the myth that torture works but I do roleplay and I've been thinking what the implications of the article are for that. Maybe I should campaign for an effective torture free Kapcon. What do you think?
Where do [methods for clean torture] come from?
The techniques migrate. Every time Americans have been involved in a war where there has been torture, those techniques have come back to local or private policing, since that is where military policemen get jobs. There is migration the other way too: techniques used by US military policemen in Iraq had been recorded in immigration and naturalisation prisons in Miami in the 1990s. Most often, torture techniques originate not in some deep vault in the CIA but in dark parts of our society where they are tolerated. They live in barracks and fraternities and university pranks and movies. Hence most torture is not sophisticated: electricity is about as sophisticated as it gets....
How often do interrogators obtain useful information or truthful confessions using torture?
The few statistical studies on this suggest the return is incredibly poor. There are several reasons. How do you know you have the right person? And even if you do, how do you know they're telling the truth? Third, torture can damage the brain, and anything that affects the brain's capacity to withhold information also affects its capacity to retrieve it.
If it doesn't work, why does it persist?
Myths and rumours. There is a perception that democracy makes us weak and only "real men" know how to do this stuff. People think torture worked for the Gestapo, for example. It didn't. What made the Gestapo so scarily efficient was its dependence on public cooperation. Informers betrayed the resistance repeatedly in Europe, and everyone knew this, but it was more convenient to say the Gestapo got the truth by beating it out of us. Public cooperation is the best way to gather information. After the failed bomb attacks in London in 2005, the British police found every one of the gang within a week. One was caught after his parents turned him in. They would not have done that if they'd thought he'd be tortured.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
H___.And again with a translation
The reb reD dog.
WAz A phtim Tem was A dog iT WoT And WoT one dAY The dog goT BLid iT one dAY goT reD.
Went THe dog evre BDee LAft And LAft The dog waz ree zAd BcZ TAy Woz LAFT.
H___.My budding Beverley Randell.
The reb reD dog.
The red, red dog.
WAz A phtim Tem Te was A dog
Once upon a time there was a dog.
iT WoT And WoT
It walked and walked.
one dAY The dog goT BLid
One day the dog got blind.
iT one dAY goT reD.
It, one day, got red.
Went THe dog
went the dog.
evre BDee LAft And LAft
Everybody laughed and laughed.
The dog waz ree zAd BcZ TAy Woz LAFT.
The dog was very sad because they [were] laughing.
Who knows, while we are away I might even put finger to keyboard and release the blog entries milling about in my head. One is "Depilated/dilapidated" and the other is about dressing like a colour-blind old feminist.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
K loves rabbits. Whenever we have seen the local magician who does rabbit tricks she spends ages captivated by the rabbit in its cage afterwards. When we visit my parents she organises us to go and feed the rabbits that live next door. At school H & K are studying pets and so they've been finding out that some of the kids in their class have rabbits. K has started to dream of having a rabbit of her own.
If we do get a rabbit I think we'll get two. Preferably of a large breed to face down Andy. I'm thinking they'll mostly live in a hutch that we move around the front lawn but also hop around inside the house for exercise. Not sure if we'll go for baby bunnies or adults from the SPCA.
Friday, April 11, 2008
D was worried R's older siblings would give him grief about receiving a love letter. Actually someone, I think his sister and mother, helped him write a lovely reply.
When they were at crèche together R was the person H & K complained about most often. Now they are in school they don't hang out or play together, in fact they seem to have very little in common. It isn't a one off thing though, K wrote a letter a week or two ago which said "I love [cousin] xoxoxoxox I love [another cousin] xoxoxoxox I love mum xoxoxoxox I love dad xoxoxoxox I love R__ xoxoxoxox".
Thursday, April 10, 2008
My father had recently returned to New Zealand bringing my mother with him. They were staying at my grandma's house in Eastbourne, just across the harbour from the centre of Wellington. My mother had been warned about Wellington southerlies. My grandma had even said that the front fence was getting pretty rickety and it would probably blow down in the next decent southerly and so, when it did, she was not particularly alarmed. It was only when she went for a walk on the beach and saw the lifeboats that she realised that there was something unusual going on.
My stepfather-in-law, DB, was working as a builder on a house in Seatoun, a part of Wellington which is very exposed. When it became clear that the wind was making working dangerous the foreman sent the crew home. The noise of the wind as he went home is something DB will never forget. So many sheets of roofing iron were flying past high in the air that there was no let up in their ghostly howling.
I know a lovely, vivacious woman and she has a friendly, capable daughter who is a bit older than me. They were on the Wahine when it hit the rocks. The woman I know, the everyday woman, stood on the heaving, rolling, sloped deck of a sinking ship and threw her baby to a stranger in a lifeboat.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Matariki is the Maori name of the star cluster also known as the Pleiades in Greek, Subaru in Japanese, or the Seven Sisters. "Matariki literally means the 'eyes of god' (mata ariki) or 'little eyes' (mata riki). Some say that when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother were separated by their offspring, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became angry, tearing out his eyes and hurling them into the heavens. Others say Matariki is the mother surrounded by her six daughters, Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi, Waitī, Waitā, Waipuna-ā-rangi and Ururangi. One account explains that Matariki and her daughters appear to assist the sun, Te Rā, whose winter journey from the north has left him weakened." (Quote from Te Ara). I liked the parallel between a star cluster with seven visible stars and a team of twelve which would field seven players at any one time. Also, as Ultimate is a sport where wind plays a very important role naming the team after the wind god's eyes appealed.
On Saturday there was drizzle, frequent showers interspersed with drizzle, and then pouring rain which was gruelling. In the morning I sent my txt supporters "Wet. Wet. Wet. And lots of alien sporty women. Who have been fairly nice to me. Ok but I feel a bit lost." In the afternoon, which was wetter I sent "People friendly and much less intimidating now they are wet."
Today the weather was much nicer, just intermittent light drizzle and it was fun. We also started to gel as a team and we played the other two bottom ranked teams which was cheering.
I think our scores for the tournament were Saturday: 0-13, 1-13, 1-13, 2-13, Sunday: 4-13, 9-12 (the games stopped at 13 points or with scoring after a time limit). We came bottom of the women's pool. I didn't mind, we celebrated each point we scored with such enthusiasm that scoring at all felt like a win.
Thanks to everyone who organised it, talked me into going or provided childcare, practical assistance or moral support by txt or in person. Most of all thanks to all the other stars on the Matariki team.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
At the interview their teacher said she'd asked a few of the children in the class who they like to play with and many had included H and K in their answers. I am very pleased that not only are my children doing very well academically but they are also socially successful. The first is something I found easy and the second is not.
I feel this reflects what entirely splendid people I have the privilege of nurturing and how well we have muddled through.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
NZU = New Zealand Ultimate (frisbee)
WaM = Women's and Men's
merkin = pubic wig
The tournament is scarey. I am in a team thrown together from people who want to play but aren't on any other team. So far I am the oldest in the team by 10 years. I fear I will be the slowest by 10 zippinesses too.
Merkins are less scarey if more bizarre and this site is kinda interesting.
Friday, March 21, 2008
How can someone five be so mature?
So I gave K a tiny bit more chocolate than H including two wee lumps and wondered off. Next thing I hear is H very politely thanking K who has spontaneously given her one of the lumps.
Repeat after me: Awwwww.
Aren't they amazing?
While I'm blogged about them I'll also fill you in on the rest of the answers H & K gave to the question "What do you want to learn at school this year?"
H: How to do all kinds of flips.Then prompted for social responses:
K: How to swim.
H: How to make games that everybody agrees with.Then prompted for academic responses:
K: How to make friends that will be kind.
H: How to read books.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
H says she banged her head falling off a ladder in the play area. K says H fell of a handrail onto a concrete path (outside the play area). I'm slightly worried that the discrepancy might be caused by H blacking out but I think it much more likely that she was on the handrail and she knows that that is slightly naughty. My children tend to be over cautious so I try not to make a big fuss when they are brave enough to have accidents.
K was upset when I took H home. Being at school alone is hard when you're a twin. Then to further unsettle her her first baby tooth came out. It is a sign of maternal insanity that I am proud that my children are dentally precocious. First baby teeth at 5 months, first adult teeth at 5 years. D and I tooth fairied together.
Friday, March 14, 2008
I went for a run.
I chose to go somewhere for the sole purpose of running.
I wasn't trying to get from A to B.
I wasn't in a hurry.
It was just for fun.
I'm expecting further signs of the apocalypse shortly.
I went to the Crofton Downs entrance to Otari/Wilton's Bush and jogged and walked along the river. It was pleasantly cool and shady and the bush was beautiful. I saw a kingfisher, several tuis and was pooed on by a wood pigeon.
Before I do it again I want to make some modifications to my clothing. I wore my green sports fabric t-shirt which says "RUN" on the front (when I bought it it was the only choice that fitted and was a pretty colour). I'm planning to add a "T" before and "DLE" after so I do not feel intimidated by my shirt and cannot be accused of false advertising. My shorts kept falling down so it'll be some new elastic for them. Also my bra kept falling off my shoulders, at frisbee I wear a bra that gives less support and a skins compression top which gives lots but part of my plan with running is to wear clothes that aren't my frisbee clothes.
Here are some who like to run. They run for fun in the hot, hot sun. Oh me! Oh my! Oh me! Oh my! What a lot of funny things go by.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Mother and housewife does not sit comfortably with me. I feel the need to justify myself, get D's approval and stress that it is only temporary. But it is fun!
Monday, February 25, 2008
Saturday, February 09, 2008
It quotes from Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book, a blog-like diary written by a court lady in 10th century Japan. A fascinating glimpse of the past. In trying to find a good piece to quote I found this nice blog entry about it.
Which brings me to an unfinished list in the style of Sei Shonagon:
Things one should not put in the washing machine
A treasured watch inherited from ones grandmother.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Last year they had an excellent party at the pool and I really like having party entertainment that comes with the venue and not having to cleaning up before or after. So this year I asked them where they wanted their party and we agreed on the zoo. We had it in the old elephant house where the flying foxes and assorted reptiles now live. We also had a 'contact visit' from Billy, the blue tongued skink, and Toby, the leopard tortoise. They were much admired and gently stroked.
A lot of the party food was different kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables: e.g. pineapple, watermelon, cherries, grapes, blueberries, cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks. So after the party we donated the leftovers to the zoo to feed their other animals.
Overall it was a great success although I was too busy anxiously fluffing around to enjoy it as much as I might have.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
I do want them to learn the joy of academic success, make friends, develop independence and participate in our culture. Here's hoping.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
A friend just posted about being thinner and it has finally driven me to blog after a long hiatus caused by sunshine, too much TV and not enough cafenet.
I am fat. I have a BMI of about 40 which puts me on the borderline between "clinically obese" and "morbidly obese". I am fat because:
- I have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). PCOS has metabolic effects. These effects mean that I gain weight very easily and retain it when someone with a normal metabolism would lose it.
- For a many years I was taking drugs for PCOS which had weight gain as a side effect. Although I have been off the drugs for over a year it is hard to lose the weight I gained (see above).
- I like food. In particular I eat takeaways a couple of times a week, too much chocolate and slightly too large portions particularly of carbohydrate rich foods.
I try and tell myself that fitness is more important than fatness. Certainly from a health point of view being overweight and fit is better for you than being unfit with a 'normal' BMI. I also remind myself that my blood pressure is excellent, I have no signs of insulin resistance and no other weight related health issues. But fatness is what you can see and our society is not kind to fat people.
Fat is the stigma I wear.