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Showing posts from March, 2011

Grown up kids

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In which we went for a drive to Hoki and the kids chose books from the second hand book shop (I got some for Brighid that I had loved as well - Noel Streatfield's Thursday's Child, Black Beauty the abridged version and some more Enid Blyton) and then we went to a cafe and the kids read their books and/or played with the toy box and they were fantastically behaved. Oh wow. Parenting kids who are getting bigger definitely has perks. Yeah I know I've jinxed it now, but it was still a great afternoon yesterday.

She is happy again, and soon we'll have those hollows round her eyes gone. The jersey, for knitters out there, was knitted by my Mum.

Spiderman comic.

Today was also fabulous. In addition to going to work, taking Fionn to the nurse, visiting my elderly cousin, making lunches and dinner and watching agog as Fionn pulled out his homework for the first time in nine weeks (his laxness and mine, not the teacher's), I also baked rhubarb and ginger cake, mended Fion…

Time perhaps, for Mary Poppins

Today, absolutely, was a lot better than the entire preceding week. This is because everyone ate, I prepared none of that food beyond a few sandwiches, and I had a day sleep. Nana nap, I believe some people call them. If I really was a nana though, unless the grandchildren were always with me, no young man would wake me up to show me his list of the Famous Five books he has read so far. That was leading somewhere, all the way to trademe, but I declined to follow his lead. Even with about thirty five interruptions, it was still a great day sleep. In the morning, the girl and I chose Mary Poppins at the library. Well, I did actually. I may need some self control not to read it all myself now she is in bed. It's been a while.

I read some nutritious books on food. I ogled some pattern reviews and classy blogs on sewing. But I maintained a considerable distance from such intensive activities as actually cooking or sewing. Favourite Handyman finished stacking the wood despite…

rehydration fluid

It has been a terrifying week. On Sunday night Brighid came down sick. By Wednesday night, we'd been to the doctor's twice, she'd thrown up countless times on multiple days, she'd eaten only part of a piece of toast in 72 hours and she had signs of very significant dehydration. I rang the medical centre and got through to what appears to be a national helpline as it was after hours. The advisor there (presumably a nurse) gave me an action plan to rehydrate her at home and said it was preferable to putting a needle in her at hospital.

Empty out your cooled boiled water from the jug into a clean container. Boil the jug with fresh water. In a small amount of that freshly boiled water, add 8 teaspoons of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Dissolve and then use the cooled water to make up to a litre. Give two soup spoonsful to Brighid straight away and then again in five minutes. Wait ten minutes and give 2 more soup spoonsful and then give again after five minutes. Repe…

Sunday: gumboots and art competitions

Ten barrow loads of wood stacked. Four square metres weeded, limed and fertilised and planted with six cavolo nero seedlings, four celery seedlings, six lettuce seedlings and three spinach seedlings. Three art competitions judged (bounty: a sliding scale of tiny teddies for round one and sliding scales of animal biscuits for rounds two and three). One girl with streaming nose but still racing around trying to do everything her brother did. One bike ride in which my not-been-biking-for-a-loooong-time muscles squealed. Then one little girl increasingly unwell, now in bed hopefully sleeping off that feverish look. No work for me tomorrow - I'm not interfering with her need for uninterrupted morning sleep and maternal care.

Best go get some sleep while I can; parental night shift is likely to be busy.

Dyeing with fire engine red

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The wood arrived earlier this week and had to go under the tarpaulin because of the large quantities of rain this week. But today Favourite Handyman made a start on stacking it, as you can admire in the photo below. I'd better do some tomorrow given it isn't even half stacked yet. We would normally need to buy at least another truck on top of this, but I'm hopeful that the brickettes made of lime and coal finings will work well in our fire and I can stock up on those instead. They are much smaller and lighter than wood for the comparable amount of heat produced, so I could fill up the boot with them instead of paying for delivery.


Lovely flowers and foliage huh? Shame so much of it is on the ground. Even though this area supposedly has wind protection on four sides, it still gets battered.
Here in Wetville in a damp corner - the cactus and succulents garden is thriving.


Armed with Procion MX fire engine red, I decided to deal to my beige linen skirt. I bought this skir…

kiwisaver bad; choc-zucchini cake good

The Christchurch kindy dressups project is moving along nicely. I haven't had a deluge of offers of help from other mums, but I have found some more cool things at the Sallies plus when I told my friend who works there about our project, she took me out the back and handed me a huge bag of dressups. When we get some good weather (not obviously on the horizon), I can get it all out and wash and mend and alter and then have heaps to send off. The fabric dye I ordered earlier in the week has arrived and I will use that to dye two capes for the dressups project and my buttery tan linen skirt which never gets worn in its current impractical form. What colour? Fire engine red, which I'm assuming will be slightly darker on my skirt. In addition to my kindy dressups finds, I'm also on a roll at the Sallies in terms of my own wardrobe. On Monday, a Thornton Hall tailored jacket which fits me well and is in great condition, for $5 and today a pair of hardly worn jeans which f…

On kindy

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I admit defeat. The forces of nature and the hideousness of the current government's early childhood education policies have overcome. I had for some time intended to write to the head honchos at kidsfirst kindergartens to complain about the ways in which our kindy has become a top-down institution instead of a community resource. But just as I was writing the one in my head about why I no longer take the laundry basket home when it is out with a request note and why I wouldn't be fundraising for a kindy which changed its hours without community consultation and harrasses families who don't fit their specs of dropping off by 8.45am each morning... just as I was writing that in my head for the seventh time, tragedy struck in Christchurch and it seems worse than churlish to complain given that head office is in Christchurch and some kindies are so devastated that apparently no one has yet been inside to assess them.

Soooo. Putting my best community foot forward seems a be…

appreciating normal

As a child, and particularly as a teenager, my Mum frequently scolded me with the phrase "but it's not normal Sandra". I think collecting the mail in my jammies was perfectly normal, just not respectable. The world carried on.

This weekend, I have an intense appreciation of normal. Since we got back over the hill on Friday, the ground has been solid under our feet, under our home, under our lives. Our precious daughter is running around without a bandage and now that the aneurism has clotted off, her month old wound is healing quickly. Nothing is more normal than trying to get children to clean their rooms, and the lumps and bumps and obstacles and road blocks along the day in terms of achieving any progress in this task was ordinarily, frustratingly, solid-groundly normal.

A few hours after we got home from Christchurch, I read online of the Japanese disaster, I noticed on facebook a significant number of friends feeling it is a sign of God's second coming or of…

Brighid - all safe and well

We had an extraordinary experience yesterday. They put her under anaesthetic and then the surgeon checked the lump of the aneurism and couldn't feel the pulse. So they got the ultrasound machien and there was no blood flow. The aneurism had clotted off by its own accord. That must have happened on Monday night when she was in pain almost all night. So we found this out in the recovery room - that they had not operated after all. It was quite a shock but good news. At least she wasn't cut open before they found this out.

The trip to Chch involved lots of earthquake aftershocks, many of them quite substantial. We are very glad to be back in Wetville and to have Fionn with us and be on stable ground again.

Thank you for all of your support.

jelly on a plate

Just when I'm almost congratulating myself on having the shittiest day in months, and about to think 'well things can only get better', I remember about the earthquake and how I have a relatively perfect life.

and that if it can get that shitty in Christchurch, the city my family are most connected to on both sides, the city which always seemed to personify stability, then that's the edge of the wedge. Maybe it's not God's Own Country, the land of milk and honey. Maybe it goes deeper than the wounds of neoliberalism. Right down to the tectonic plates.

My little talk to myself continues. Plenty of people live in shitty times and shitty places and shitty circumstances. Wallowing is not the ideal response. By this time I'm actually turning into the supermarket and at least I know I can buy some wine.

Tomorrow we drive to Christchurch. It can't come soon enough. Brighid was awake for much of last night with pain in her foot and I was awake with her, wo…

Why dig when you can have lesser mortals do it for you?

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Today I was about to dig the garden over, pulling out the remainder of oregano (an expert spreader) and getting it ready for autumn planting. Then I thought of the chooks and how I could avoid all that work. Depending on ones space in the economic pecking order, this is either efficient capitalism or dole bludging. So I moved the temporary chook run over to the old chook run garden. The temporary chook run is a circle of wire mesh about 2.5 metres in diameter and 1 metre in height with bamboo poles around it and a criss cross of more bamboo poles across the top to give it some kind of stable structure. Spread across the top of the structure is green bird netting. Three birds worked hard from the beginning while two others skived off. Eventually the fourth bird hung out rather close and got put to work and the fifth one was so lazy that when I saw it head back into the permanent poultry palace. I shut the door and left it to scratch around on its own with no slug feast. It'…

the war on slugs continues

Today we stayed at home all morning, altogether. It was the best treat I could imagine. The kids played round on their bikes and FH and I gardened. I transplanted the second bay tree, uplifted some herbs for a friend and began the process of weeding the 2 x 2 metre section left by removing the herbs. They surely prospered in the old chook run garden bed. I pruned some of the bay leaves which were folded over or stuck together and found leaf roller caterpillars inside. I guess that is the same demon as has been enjoying the leaves of my tomato plants.

This afternoon was birthday party time and then we went to the gypsy fair. Brighid had her first pony ride and loved it. Fionn was too scared to go on the mini motorbikes two years ago and has been panting for a chance to ride them this year. He had great fun.

The war on slugs continues. I've added a fifth beer trap after seeing that in the chook grave garden, two new celery plants have been almost annihilated. The trap under…

Dressups for Chch kindies?

The war on slugs continues. Last night I harvested some kale to go in the bolognaise sauce and found many many big fat slugs were living on it. So tonight I added a fourth container of beer to collect drowned drunk slugs in, this one underneath the largest kale plant. Results from the containers in the punga raised bed have been excellent so far.

Brighid's kindy are asking past, present and future families of our kindy to donate a gold coin towards new play equipment for Christchurch kindies. They kicked their campaign off with a lovely photo of all the kids and teachers with their "We love Christchurch" banner on the front page of our local newspaper. This got me thinking about dress ups. I know money is the main thing needed, but I do want to gift something more personally meaningful. So I'm intent upon making some dressups - wrap around ballet skirts and capes - to send over and I'm hopeful I can get others to make some as well (or donate fabric or cut o…

Serene Hagley Park

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Beautiful park huh? It's at the back of Christchurch hospital, where we spent much of yesterday with our daughter. It was serene and not quite impossible to credit the damage merely metres away. If we turned our heads in the opposite direction, we could see the cones, orange tape and army presence marking the cordoned off area of central Christchurch, where even now unsafe rubble prevents the retrieval of dead bodies.

The hospital staff were amazing. Despite the loss of homes and lives and their non-medical responsibilities, all these wonderful people were working hard to provide care for sick and injured people. Next week they will operate on Brighid and remove the balloon which is like a pseudo aneurism on her artery.

Back here, we did some gardening today. The beer operation has yielded lots and lots of slug casualties. The compost was in bad shape, all compacted and not behaving is I want it to. So I hauled it all out, broke it up and made a new pile on top of one of the…