Showing posts from January, 2010

Summer of beauty

The holidays are nearly over and I'm starting to change gears and get ready for making school lunches and going to paid work again. Today I took advantage of my last day to fossick without children and researched the title of our home. When my father-in-law was here last week, he was looking at the evidence that the (flush) toilet was originally built outside, in what is now my potting shed. An older local friend had told us a bit about our house and we understood it was built in the late 1940s. F-i-l wondered if it was actually late 1930s and pointed us in the direction of Frank Lloyd Wright for the possible inspiration for the distinctive interior details. We've been looking at the Lloyd Wright book I found at the library and I'm interested in him not for our house (I don't really see a connection - more likely should look at an art deco book I'm now thinking) but as evidence of the great American dream. He is heralded as something wonderful, with his dist…


I've been thinking about identity and class politics ever since I began reading the Liberation Series (this link takes you to the latest instalment). I'm not sure I've made massive progress in my thoughts as just when I think I really do think something, then I start thinking something else. Possibly much like Winnie the Pooh, who always seems rather circular when I'm doing bedtime stories. But I am going to have a crack at putting my thoughts into words and order. It's really worth reading the series of articles yourself, but for a very short summary, it explores the changes in New Zealand politics since the beginning of the 1980s which meant that the Labour Party left the working class behind and focused more obviously on issues relating to gender and racial inequalities while at the same time pursuing a neo-liberal economic agenda (market is God, private sector good while public sector bad).

Some thoughts:
1. I can't shake off the feeling that there is an …

The shamrock skirt

Now she is three and has a shamrock skirt from Mummy-whose-sewing-is-definitely-improving. I made one for her doll from the leftovers as well. Okay peak oil recession, I'm a bit more ready than I was...

Gerard Hindmarsh: Swamp Fever

Great book, which will forever link in my mind to the days of love and sunshine we spent together as a family in Golden Bay earlier this month.

I found it fascinating on several levels. Firstly, it is mostly set in the countryside I read it in. I even read at the dinner table (er that would be on the ground outside the tent in this case), a practice which usually evokes my strong disapproval should anyone else attempt it. I had a sense of linkage with the area both as I read Hindmarsh's book and as I travelled through Golden Bay. Sure enough, when I checked some family history back at home, my great great great grandparents bought land up the Aorere Valley in the 1850s. He was an agricultural labourer for Courage(s?) brewery in Alton, Hampshire, before they emigrated. Later his children made cider commercially in Stoke, (Nelson, near the freezing works and the old apple packing shed down Saxtons Road, now subsumed into that awfully bland motorway).

I was also intrigued to get …

sewing, the Great New Year's Cull, Lughnasadh

New Look 6674 looks like this on the pattern:

I am aiming to do the style on the model. But with plain fabric with patterned contrast as that is what I have in my lovely stash from the lovely Susan. So far I have spent masses of hours on this project and to date I have cut out all the paper pattern pieces for style C, cut out the main fabric and tonight cut out the contrast fabric. I have yet to cut out the interfacing and then, then I can have a crack at the sewing part. Hmmmmmm. Not sure if I'm big enough for this project.In other totally riveting news, I have extended the Great New Year's Cull to the outside of our home. Broken buckets, the stolen orange road cone from several inhabitants ago, the plastic packaging for the bed we bought four years ago, furniture which is in rotten pieces and utterly unfixable, rose clippings (too ruthless for my compost) - they and more flotsam went to the dump today. Most satisfying and later this week there will be more.I finally se…

beer, garlic, buttons

Back from holiday, which involved camping up the Wakamarina in Marlborough, in Motueka and in Puponga in the beautiful Golden Bay. The sun shone and I fell in love with Puponga, especially the wandering over empty beaches part and I want to go back there every year and also I took quite a liking to the Captain Cooker beer at the Mussel Inn. I think it is the best beer I have ever tasted. I thought of my blogging friend Sharon when I went to Langford's Store in Bainham. You would fall in love girl. I bought a poster of the store and an apron (you read that correctly) and Gerard Hindmarsh's book Swamp Fever. This is a very interesting, indeed riveting, book and unless I turn out promising false promises which never eventuate like usual, then I will blog entirely about Hindmarsh's book in a post coming soon.

Back here, Favourite Handyman is sanding down the window frames outside the study. Given the paint flakes involved and the garlic, irises and roses growing outside …

Told you not to run...

I could have told you, my children and everyone else, from a theoretical basis, that you should not run through the gate so fast and without looking properly because you will come to a grizzly end.

Indeed I could, but I declined to listen to myself and did exactly that and clocked my forehead against the latest supposedly child-proof latch. Thank goodness for arnica which I swallowed in tablet form and smeared over the bump in cream form. Even with its near magical properties, I am puffy the entire way round my left eye and dopey and headachy. Once again, our camping trip is delayed.

Despite my dopey state, I still filled 1.5 rubbish sacks today from my part of the study. Do I really need all those photos of ex flatmates, ex boyfriends, someone's cat, wedding shots from a friend who is now divorced, 800 of my siblings? No. I also had forgotten about how people used to write letters. Perhaps I kept them all, as I sure seem to have plenty. Past tense now, though I have kept s…

Bad gardener takes control of her life

The garden is sorely neglected at the moment. So much so that the tomatoes (under the lean-to) have flopped over with dehydration. I just don't have my head in the garden at the moment and I won't until I've finished The Great New Year's Cull.

Mostly I escape into the garden and ignore the house. Which isn't the end of the world, quite the contrary. But when you combine two chronic hoarder adults with two children who are hugely materially spoilt by their extended family, then eventually you cannot move for junk and mess.

You buy three packets of sushi rice because you can't find any of the previous ones.

You have countless reels of sellotape, all missing when needed.

Er the pen thing.

Other children leave their clothes here and you don't notice for a very long time.

Laundry gets done and then falls on the floor before it is folded and gets grubby again.

The house is littered with magazines, none of which are consulted after the first week. Finding that inter…

opening doors

I happened upon a wonderful thing yesterday. A link to an MA thesis by Heidi Whiteside on women and respectability in Lyttelton 1851-93. As in the thesis in its entirety. What a completely brilliant thing, to find it outside the walls of a university library. It turns out that there is lots more at the online UC research repository. I have yet to google elsewhere, but I'd like to know and favourite this function at other universities (especially NZ ones) if anyone has the links to fast track me on this.

Why does this matter? Oh baby it matters alright. I get to read an entire dissertation (I stayed up and read the whole thing with fascination last night) from my position as a non-academic living in a small town. A world in which I once enjoyed to live but moved away from more than ten years ago no longer has the doors on reading the unpublished research of others closed to non-practising academics.

Why this thesis? It's not so far removed in topic and scope from my own…

Bill & Annie

Have a look at Bill and Annie, choose a box for them, some labels.
While I read a very interesting thesis on respectability this afternoon and tonight, my daughter cut a big chunk of her hair off and later drew all over herself and the walls. I guess Virginia Woolf didn't have kids.
Some questions in my head at the moment:

1. Why has Annie left her hair down for a formal studio portrait?

2. How far am I with unravelling the thorny issue of representing voiceless women in academic studies? It's kind of cool, this post-modern theorising, with its multiple attendants with their different voices and subjectivity and so on until I wonder if I am on drugs and then realise I mustn't be because that would surely be less cluttered. But it's still fancy academics colonising silent women for their intellectual sport.
And I have played that sport. And I know that I sort of fell in love with all those women of the past and spent hours just finding the most basic of facts about eve…

Things I won't be doing in 2010

Having behaved not so much sedately but just not done anything at all on the evening of December 31st, we went out last night instead. Favourite Handyman is currently in bed and I am in front of the computer thinking negative thoughts with the part of my brain which is very close to the part of my head which hurts a lot. Yes I do know that alcohol is a poison. The children are playing with soft toys and dolls and claiming to be their parents. Which is good because it means they have the skills to look after themselves. I think it did help that I got out the sampler box of biscuits and left them on the table in lieu of breakfast.

So. I am making a list of things I will not do in 2010.

1. I will not make a knitted dishcloth. For reasons I can't be bothered analysing, I spent much of 2009 reading blogs where people knitted dishcloths. Apparently knitted cotton dishcloths are amazing, with superior cleaning qualities. Am I the only person in the world who, when the need arises…