19 January 2013


17 candles for Son#2

Double celebration tonight. Son#2's birthday, and Son#1's offer of a university place!

17 January 2013

summer hols

News flash. Teenage boy reads actual book.

Summer holidays this year featured a decent smattering of the above, but also a huge clear out and reorganisation of the house. The three boys have been sharing two bedrooms for the past seven years. A tiresome feature of this arrangement was the regular occurrence known as the Annual Changing of the Bedrooms, designed to ensure that every three years one got the Virginia Woolf room. This year we bit the bullet and turned the study into a bedroom.  Now I don't know what the study in your home looks like, but ours was a bit of a dumping ground. Actually, a lot of a dumping ground. It also had floor to ceiling bookshelves built into the mud brick walls, which had to be removed if a bed was to fit in there. Additionally, every single book, item of junk, piece of stationery, desk, computer, bag/basket/tub of wool/fabric/thread and so on had to come out, be sorted into Keep, Rubbish or Op Shop piles, and the Keep pile redistributed somewhere else around the house. Every single item had to be examined and its fate determined. For some reason I was called upon to make most of the decisions regarding all the items. So.many.decisions.

A few minutes later

A large number of trips were made to the op shop, an enormous amount of previously essential junk went out in the rubbish, and several trips were made to Ikea to kit out the new room as a bedroom (rug, curtains, tiny wardrobe) and to buy yet more bookshelves for the dining room which is now a dining/library/computer room.

Fed square

In addition to all this sorting and cleaning (us) and painting (him) and hanging of curtains (me) we made sure to include a little fun. A trip to the beach, a day playing tourist in our own town, and a couple of films (Life of Pi and The Hobbit).

McClelland Sculpture Gallery

There were three separate excursions to galleries in an attempt to ram some culture into our children's heads.  We saw the Jeff Wall [photographic] exhibition in the city, the neo-Impressionists exhibition at the national gallery, and most successful in terms of teenage interest - a trip to the McClelland Sculpture Gallery where we saw some great (and some not so great) works. Some of our favourites included the one above for its sheer novelty value, and our friend Chaco's amazing string and yarn creation below (which has little wooden stools inside, to entice you to enter and experience the piece from within. I loved how it swayed in the breeze, and had caught leaves and twigs in it over time).

Chaco Kato - McClelland Sculpture Gallery

We paid a visit to the floral clock (it was ten minutes slow I think, yet I thought it was apparently never slow, being from the Swiss watchmakers guild or whatever?) and the statue of Edward VII, also passing the statue of Weary Dunlop as well which prompted a few questions and a history lesson upon our return home.  I don't remember seeing that statue before (Weary's, not Edward's) but apparently it was unveiled in 1995 which just goes to show how unobservant I am. (In my defence, the late 90s and early 2000s were the Baby Daze and my focus was not on statuary).

Floral clock, 10 minutes slow

There's been quite a lot of lazing about the house listening to music and reading books too. And minding next doors' wee black rabbit for two weeks. Kept it alive, phew.

It is very very hot today so I will lie on a fluffy blanket

We've had a few scorching hot days too (the cat likes to snuggle into the warmest fluffiest blanket on 40 degree days) (weirdo), and a fire scare when a bushfire broke out two kilometres north of us one evening. All children, cat, rabbit and Important Documents into the car and we were out. All clear a couple of hours later but it was a little close for comfort. Today is another scorcher so I am home today (I returned to work this week ... culture shock!) as I can't leave the children at home on an Extreme Fire Danger Day as they have no way of evacuating safely without me (and my car). We may head off to another movie soon to escape the worst of the heat.

And just like that, poof, the summer holidays were over. The children have only a week and a bit left and then the juggernaut of 2013 will roll on in.

11 January 2013

knits of 2012

2012 knitting

Not a huge year, but on the upside, there were no duds.   Pleased.

All details ravelled here.

8 January 2013

books of 2012

Early light

I just updated my reading list for 2012.  It's here if you're interested. (Or over there on the left sidebar,  under Not Just Cookbooks).

I like reading other peoples' lists of books and brief reviews. One of my favourites is Eric Idle's.  (I hadn't read this for a few months so when I popped over to grab the link for you I took a moment to read the last couple of months' book entries and chuckled to see his [far more erudite and witty] review of The Daylight Gate speaks of it as mercifully brief, just as I did. Not sure why it gives me a little thrill of validation when someone famous agrees with me but there you go. Me and Mr Idle, soul mates.  Do yourself a favour and read his blog while you're over there. It's worth it).

Aah, holidays. This is what January looks like. For another week anyway.

I suppose i ought to get up

4 January 2013

into a new year

Christmas was quiet this time around. We spent it here instead of at my parents' place in Queensland as usual, and i have to say that while I missed the family thing, it was lovely to be just us, and to be quiet. I was still Christmas shopping on the 24th, and didn't get around to making the Christmas Pudding until the 23rd. I was finding it hard to muster up much enthusiasm for decorations or preparations, and more interested in having long naps. I think I had a nap every afternoon from the day I finished work until New Years Day. Plus some serious sleep ins. I must have had quite the sleep deficit to address.

Anyway the boys put up the tree and all the little traditions like the angel chain on the mantelpiece and the little santa hat on the black statuette and I put some carols on the stereo and started steaming the pudding and it all fell into place somehow.

Reflecting on 2012, i can see why i needed a few catch up naps. The year began with much upheaval and a few big Life Events which i don't think i shared fully here, but for a while there we were seriously househunting and there was stuff going on with my parents and it all kept coming and coming until i fell apart and we put a halt to it all. No moving. No selling. Nada. We stay for now.

It all coincided with things at work which resulted in me going fulltime and taking on a rather senior role that i didn't want but you know, career, looks good on the cv, good experience yada yada. I lasted six miserable months and then quit, leaving not just the job but the institution where i had worked for the past eleven years. And took on a similar role (but one notch down) at a university much closer to home. Less stress, far less commuting, nice people, ducks in the grounds, a job i can do and do well with confidence and pride. Still fulltime but i am hoping that in a year i might talk about moving to a four day week. Four days would be good.

Then there was the trip to the USA to attend my 30 year high school reunion and spend time with dear friends and my old host family from my exchange student days. With a week of fun and friends thrown in in New York City first. Wow, what an experience the whole thing was. I realise i still haven't shared lots of the photos from those travels.

Home in July to start the new job, and within a week the darling dog passed away from bone cancer. September brought surgery for Son#2, which thankfully was 100% successful and recovery was smooth, if protracted.

Since then it's been work work work for me (and the mister), the eldest completing his final school year and applying for university, and the middle child deciding that he will move schools for his final two years of schooling. That caused some private grieving as he has always been in the Steiner school system and his new school is very very different. We ae excited for him though, what with all the challenges and opportunities his new journey will bring.

And this new year of 2013? I wonder what it will bring. New beginnings for Sons #1 and 2. The final university subject for me and (hopefully) the completion of my degree (i should have been done by now but i took semester one off to get used to fulltime work). Luckily i get a few hours per week of study leave at the new job which will help. I'm moving away from the ancient Greeks for a change and taking another Shakespeare subject - good fun i hope and i'm looking forward to getting my teeth into that). More cello, more tap dancing. Some knitting and sewing. Plenty of good books. Friendship. Good health, i trust. Photography. A little blogging when i get the chance and find the inspiration.

Resolutions? Hmmm. Exercise more, be kinder, practise patience. Try harder to be a good person. Learn to let go with more grace. Some grace. Any grace. Be curious, brave and adventurous.


Happy new year to you and yours, wherever you are.