Showing posts from June, 2011

Going away

I went to Nelson for the weekend, all by myself, and had the best reunion with some long long standing friends ever, thanks to the uber-hedonist W, who threw a great 40th birthday.

I loved being away without my family. I'm going to do that more often. When I got back, they had also had a good weekend, and were chilled out and happy.

I'm not in a big blogging mood at the moment. No doubt something will get me fired up enough to launch back into political blogging, and maybe I'll finish some crafty stuff and put up photos sometime. 'Til then, go enjoy the rest of the blogosphere, or fold your washing, or read Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders which is my favourite book of the year so far. I got back from the pub at midnight on Friday, slept for four hours, read the entirety wonderful contents of Year of Wonders, got up and had a curry for breakfast in a direly awful shopping mall (all malls are dire in my experience) , then went birthday partying for 13 hours. W…

rockin' and rollin' all week long

I don't know where the analysis part of my brain has gone. Not quite true. I do know I've been thinking about some things that don't belong on my blog. I speculate that the relentlessness of winter has something to do with it as well. I haven't blogged about anything more thoughtful than sewing for weeks.

Tonight is not the night for breaking through the puffy stuff either. So I present to you, with nary an intelligent caption, a favourite of my childhood:

I found him here. My Dad had this old battery radio, butter yellow with red casing, which I used to prop up beside the trampoline and jump and flip endlessly to the sounds of Radio Nelson. If it occasionally was temperamental, I would bang it just like the Fonz, to make it go again.

This afternoon I took the kids and my elderly cousin M to the art gallery (we only have one in Wetville) to see the local photography competition entries. They were fantastic, and now Fionn has seen the under 12s section, he wants t…


It is very very beautiful where we live. Today, the sun shone brightly for the second time in four days.

I went to the beach all by myself, where the shape of the creek running out to sea has changed again.

Where I could look for miles and see only open space.
They have begun work on our leg of the national cycle way. I guess they will build a bridge over the creek here, giving the kids another spot to throw things from.
In a town where it rains much of the time, where winter routes to the rest of the world are difficult to traverse, where everything human-made seems tiny and closed on Sundays, the beach reminds me how lucky we are.

Today on Spectrum on National Radio, David Steemson interviewed women from the Knitter Natter group which knits for babies and children at the Kidz First Childrens Hospital in South Auckland. I hope this is the link to listen. It was good piece, partly centred around the meetup of the knitters in Wiri womens prison with the knitters 'outside'. I th…

What to take to bed

Finished project. One scarf, all ends sewn in and the button with the star on it (like a star bellied sneetch?) holding the ends together. Brighid's jersey is a lovely hand me down from a friend. I think her mum knitted it. The all time 300% best thing about this photograph? Brighid has colour in her cheeks and energy in her expression. Today she was hungry. Tonight after tea she was very hungry. Brilliant developments.

I've cut out my flowery curtain samples to make a skirt (Simplicity 2451 - more detail here and here). I've wound the bobbin and threaded the machine. Now I'm up to the concentrating part and I think I'll go to bed and read instead.

How to choose what to read first from this morning's library haul: The first full sentence of page 24 for each book:
1. He obviously hadn't paid proper attention.

2. "Where are you from originally"?

3. She knows she should have done the job of clearing the room out before, but there's been the …

When I write, my life does not quite disappear.

The sun! The sun! Today the sun shone brightly and no one was wheezing or sneezing green stuff. I realised how long it has been since I was outside in the bright sunshine when it was so shadowy even at midday. I took these outside photos at midday.

The chooks get no sun in their run at the moment. YTou can see the roof of the poultry palace in the very centre of the photograph. I guess there won't be much vitamin D when we kill them and turn them into stock.

Beautiful sky huh? The low angle of the sun stretches out the washing line shadows - they look to me like giant blackbirds.

A whole day without rain.

Woohoo. I hope Christchurch people get a whole day without an earthquake soon. And then days and then weeks.

The wood piles, pitifully low, are soon to be supplemented by coal.
This is rata which we've had in storage for over 12 months. It burns hot and is wonderful stuff.

This is beech, which we had delivered in April. It is mostly dry rather than completely so. Usually…

Deleted samples

Not content with the 4-5 projects on the go craft-wise, nor mindful of the need to sew up as much fabric as possible in readiness for losing the study so the children can have separate rooms at the end of the year, nor of the other demands on my time, I looked through the deleted samplers at the curtain shop today. Three dollars for a set of three gorgeous gold fabrics. Now I just have to work out how to use them to make a skirt without buying more fabric or another new pattern. Once again, I just miss out on having enough fabric for this pattern which I bought last month:

I do have this piece of fabric, another remnant which I fell in love with last year. If I put black velvet flowers with shimmery gold fabric, then I'll have to organise somewhere to wear it. Hmmm. I've got about ten weeks until our wedding anniversary.

Off to look at patterns (no no no, inspiration - that's cheaper) for making something which does not have an elastic waist but does have some multi-…

I surrender

On payday (and I can tell you how many hours until this is), I am ordering some coal. I had various fancy and far fetched ideas for not using coal this year, but when you only buy one truck of wood and that in April, and you have a house of sickies for a fortnight (requiring an all day fire), then wood is not enough.

I've been trialling briquettes made from coal finings, lime, sawdust and molasses for our favourite wood and coal merchants, who are doing trials this year and a commercial rollout next year. The sawdust is from the local mill and would otherwise go to landfill. The coal finings also would go to landfill. They burn hot and clean and I think they are a great product so far. I also like that they are very light, not like hauling buckets of coal or armfuls of wood inside.

Another recent local food find is goats milk ice cream from Gaalburn Cheese. It was nice. The wild meat sauce from Glass Eye Creek also has West Coast connections and is a welcome change from Heinz…

My turn

Just as we approached the epic achievement of everybody going to work or kindy or school tomorrow, my body said "My Turn". I've been alternating lypospheric vitamin C with sodium ascorbate powder throughout the day and Malcolm Harker's eutherol formula for sore throats. I lay with the hot water bottle against my chest to heat out the chilly suggestions of infection. Favourite Handyman took the children out for several hours and I read Jenny Pattrick's Change of Current. I'm determined to go to work tomorrow - it's less than two hours and then I can go back to bed.

Yesterday, before my body protested it needed a day (week) in bed, I watched the boy play league in the most stinking conditions. Literally, the muddy field smells rank and apparently cuts on field there have a tendency to infect. I took Brighid to her a fourth birthday party where I admired truly, totally fantastic cake decorating skills. The night before, I had mixed red wine with finis…

Dust mite murderer

Cor crikey I don't think you could fault my commitment this week. Not to blogging, to nursing/parenting/wifeing. In aid of drastically reducing the dust mites in our home, I have been cleaning for days. On last count (and I count hourly), Fionn is mostly well, but still blowing rather low on the peak flow metre. He is at school but off sports. Favourite Handyman is still home convalescing, but improving. At risk of jinxing it by mentioning it out loud, he is giving up smoking. Seven days so far. Never mind the 'again' bit, I've heard the stories of people who give up nineteen times before they quit for good. I took Brighid to the doctor today, as her recovery is very slow and she seemed to have gone backwards this morning. But nothing scary to report, and my efforts to give her a gram of lypo-spheric vitamin C every hour today (I nearly got there, probably averaged every two hours) seemed to have paid off in terms of her improvement by the end of the day. By…

Cleaning. Yes really.

It's plagued me, bothered me, ruined my mornings and frightened my nights.

There is only one thing wrong in all the fabulous care I give my family, the care which by my reckoning should lead to fewer days of sickness than the current neverending malady.

The messy house.

Messy houses are difficult to clean. 'Cos mess isn't in itself problematic healthwise, but dirt and dust is.

I've been trying to clean as well as nurse/feed/launder etc over the last few days but today I abandoned the cooking and steam bathing and cleaned almost non-stop all day. I now have tidied, swept and washed floors in much of the house and tidied and vacuumed floors in some other parts. I have filled three large black rubbish sacks and if tomorrow goes the way I want it to, there will be two more filled before rubbish day.

In the interim before I next don my cleaning fairy outfit (it's not an ephemeral floaty number and I do shout rather than flutter in it), I am going to work. From 9.30 until…

Twenty One Locks

In the blurry landscape of looking after sick people, a landscape of which I can no longer remember when it started and I've no idea when it will end, I loved Laura Barton's Twenty-One Locks. It's a beautiful book, a book written out of intense love for a particular small town, and I would wager that it has poignancy for many like me, who have never spent time in the north of England, but who have lived in small towns. Many scenes in Twenty-One Locks take part in public toilets, and at times I thought I could write on those walls "Laura loves similes". 4 eva, even. But it works. I hope she writes more novels.

kale marvellous kale

More kale. A few days ago I made a kale meal which started out as a pasta sacue and morphed into a soup with pasta in it. I can report that kale goes well with cannelini beans and pasta, but I didn't keep the recipe in my head. Yesterday I made chicken red Thai curry with kale in it and that was nice. I bought one of those packet mixes and just added carrots and kale with the chicken. Next time I will make it more from scratch myself, though probably still with bought red curry paste. Tasted good. Lunch time today was for all four of us, as asthma boy and lung infection Dad are still off school/work. I'd made chicken stock overnight and I used lots of chopped garlic, onion and ginger sauteed in olive oil and butter, then added chopped pumpkin and some red lentils and the chicken stock. Ten or so minutes before the end of cooking, I added chopped kale. Tonight, more kale. I made pumpkin/feta/rosemary/pumpkin seeds bake in the oven and then on the stove top I sauteed …