Friday, 10 December 2010


It's been raining. A lot. Lots of small towns around have been flooded. This dam is usually completely closed with the river side being a deep gully with a few puddles in it. Not any more. There are, as you can see five (5) flap gates that can be opened, and yesterday when I took this the fourth one was just being closed. I think that all five were open at some stage. We took the boys for a look a couple of times, and the little carpark at the dam was massively overcrowded each time. The beloved has the view that people want to see it through some kind of small-town mentality, but I think there's something more than that going on. For one, it's a bit like why you might go to look at a waterfall, there's something fascinating about that much water pouring over a cliff. For another, it was kind of like a giant game of Pooh Sticks. There is a lot of debris on the dam side, whole trees that have washed down the streams and creeks that feed in, and they're now washing over the dam downriver. Not just the children, but adults who were watching were also shouting with excitement when the biggest trunks and clumps of wreckage slipped over the top.

If you go here, you can see a pic I took in March of the same dam. Today's post's pic was taken from the railing where E and the beloved are standing.

It's stopped raining for now, and is supposed to stay clear for a few days, so I have washing on the line at last.

In other news, yes, it is whooping cough. We don't know if any of the rest of us have it. We've all had the nasal swabs and we're waiting for the results. E has a cough, and the beloved is going to France for a week on Sunday for work (he's currently on antibiotics). D'Arcy is now almost finished his course, and is no longer contagious, so I sent him hacking off to school today as Friday is usually a pretty slack day, and it's his last chess class for the year (or in fact for ever, with that teacher, due to the change of schools next year) so we thought it might be good to go. Next week is the last week, so it'll be pretty relaxed, and with luck he'll get to do more hanging out than usual. He's also supposed to get his school report back today. His cough isn't too bad, he hasn't spewed from it so far, though he'll probably set me up as a bad parent by doing it at school today.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Gah. (a moan)

waiting room

I'm so totally in a funk. So many things right now it's all a bit much. D'Arcy has been coughing for a few days (a week?) and his teacher has been nagging me (via him) to go to the doctor. We did today, and of course they suspect whooping cough. He was an absolute champ when the pathology collector did the nasal swab, which meant that she got a good sample and maybe the result will be reliable. Of course this has sent me into a tailspin. Regular readers (are there any of you?) will know that D'Arcy's dad didn't want (amusing sidenote, I just repeatedly typed "wank" then, except that he does) to vaccinate him, and essentially bullied me into agreeing with that. So I am giving myself a hard time about that. E, on the other hand is fully vaccinated so he will have some protection I guess. Culture should be ready in a few days they reckon, so we'll know for sure then. If it's positive, then we all need preventative doses of anti-biotics. Bleh.

The other thing that is bothering me is that D's dad put his name down at a private (co-ed) school a couple of years ago. No consultation with me, of course, and I didn't really stand up to that either. I made it clear that I wasn't happy with it, but that's as far as it went. His name stayed on the list. It seemed for a while that it wasn't something I needed to worry about, but while we were in Hobart, I got a phone call from the ex, saying that he'd been offered a place for next year 2011. When we got home, we finally arranged to do the tour of the school, and actually it was pretty impressive. I've been trying to think about where D might go for high school. This looked like a good option, but the offer was for next year...I decided in the end that it would be okay for him to go there, but of course he's really unhappy about the move. He doesn't want to leave his mates for the last two years of primary school, which I can understand, I guess. Still, I feel like the bad one again. And now he'll miss at least a few days of school next week until we know the whooping cough status, and he's had a course of anti-biotics....

Thursday, 21 October 2010


Beloved had a conference in Hobart last week, so E and I tagged along. (D'Arcy had school and four airfares is a scary thing these days).

Sydney airport

We met up with a friend at Salamanca Square, where the children played in the fountain, despite it being pretty bloody cold.

Salamanca square fountain

One of the fun things about going on holiday seems to be playing in the new environment, you don't need much to have fun, so E and I spent a lot of time wandering in Salamanca. We found an excellent park and playground just behind the square which was over-run with not one, but two school groups when we arrived. Fortunately they buggered off after about half an hour and so we had it to ourselves with a couple of other families. Erik had some good plays with a much older girl and her younger sister.
More fun was to be had in the hotel room. Friday was very rainy, and so we spent quite most of the day inside.

It was my uncle's birthday while we were there (he lives up the Derwent), and we met up with him. I'd bought a kilo of smoked salmon at the Tassal shop for $11 (!) so we sat down to enjoy it with him. It turns out salmon is a favourite of Erik's too!

smoked salmon monster (like cookie monster, only with salmon)

really cheesy photo smile

When we'd finished with Hobart we headed down to the Tasman Peninsula for a couple of days. It was lovely, but the weather was foul, really cold and wet. We stayed in a good, but very kitch cottage that was filled with ladybird stuff. Erik loved it. "Go Ladybug house?" he'd say every time we were on our way home. Our intention was to go to Port Arthur, via the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park.

baby devils

We had a fab time at the devil park. I'd never seen live devils before, and they are an excellent animal. Unfortunately they're under great threat from a very aggressive, contagious cancer (Devil Facial Tumour Disease) that is spread by biting each other (which they do a lot). I'll let you google it for yourselves, but the photos are really depressing. The disease has killed about 80-90% of the population since it emerged 15 years ago, and of the remining 20%, 50% are infected, and the death rate is 100%. So not much hope for the devil at this point unless the small number of uninfected devils are resistant and can be a new breeding population.

As well as devils the park has quolls (which are super cute, and related to devils), kangaroos, wallabies and pademelons . Also a number of birds that have been either rescued or surrendered as pets, so the park runs a show with them, and some of them you can get quite close to. Kermit the frogmouth, for example. He was hit by a car (as they often are) and his wing was broken and couldn't be repaired enough for him to fly. So he spends his days on this stick, which the staff lodge high up in a tree and get him down for the show. He's pretty happy, and it's better than being dead.

Kermit the frogmouth


After the devil park we headed off for Port Arthur, but of course Erik fell asleep in the car, so we drove around for a while. When he woke up again, we went back to PA, but by that time it was quite late, and given the size of the site, the lateness of the hour, and the extremity of the entry charge, we elected not to go in. A bit disappointing, but a sensible decision all up. Beloved and E wouldn't've enjoyed all the walking enough to justify it. So we got back in the car and headed up the peninsula, stopping at the lookout for the tessellated pavement , which was pretty interesting, but not all that visible because the tide was coming in. We had a nice short walk along the path to it though, which was just what Erik needed.

track to the tesselated pavement lookout

Next day we headed back to the devil park (it was really good fun, and Erik loved watching the devils and quolls being fed. If I get my act together I'll put some video of them up). and from then on to Richmond where we stayed in an old farmhouse. We didn't have a lot of time there, but they have all kinds of things you can do on the farm. I did introduce Erik to a sheep though. And a lion.

I touching a lion's teesh.

He was in the entry hall of the old manor house, which has the reception area and rooms upstairs, though we were staying in more of an apartment in the renovated barn.

All up a great time away. Holidays with toddlers are an interesting thing. If we'd been two adults on our own, we'd've spent far more time driving and covered a lot more of the island, but as it was, we got to see my uncle four times, which was a lot of the reason we all went, so that worked out well.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Meeting Andy Griffiths

Meeting Andy Griffiths
Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
We found out, the day before it was happening, that Andy Griffiths would be at a signing. On the other side of town. By the time we got there (about 10 minutes before it was due to start) the queue reached all the way around the escalator stairwell. I'm not sure how all these other people knew it was happening. I didn't think that many people read the local paper, but they must. The bookshop staff were very nice, an advance guard came around with post-it notes to write the child's name on to make the whole thing go faster, and then another woman came around with a basket of lollipops, but still an hour is a long time in a queue with a 2 year old on your back. D'Arcy is nervous enough that he didn't want me to leave him in the queue and go off and do anything interesting, so I had to hang around while he read his new books. I've been trying to interest him in the ideas of Lenore Skenazy who is in Aus right now, but he won't have a bar of it. *Sigh*

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Another conversation

Scene: Mummy at the table, Erik somewhere else, rattling toys.

Mummy: Hey Wes, where are you? Are you on the cat tree again?
Erik: No. I not on the cat tree. (pause) I hiding. On the cat tree.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Early Morning Conversation

Scene: Bedroom. Mummy on one side of a double bed, Erik rolled all the way to the other side and kind of hanging off the edge. Dog on the floor between the bed and the door.

Car pulls up outside and doors slam.

Dog: Ro-ro-ro-ro
Mummy: Shut up Larry, it's the neighbours.
Erik (rolls over): Hi Mum!
Mummy: Hi Wes.
Erik (sits up): I am checking something out right over there.
Mummy: I know, you were falling off.
Erik: I not find any bagel chips.
Mummy: No. You wouldn't. We're in bed.
Dog: woof
Erik: Larry woofing, tiny bit.
Mummy: Yes, he's a dog.


I'm not a morning person.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Actually, no.

Not chinchin fox after all. Which means we don't know what it is. I'm now thinking some kind of insect bites (but what?) and have washed/vacuumed all his bedding and snuggly toys (sorry Ow) to see if that fixes it. The doctor suggested scabies, but it's not really typical of that either. Sigh...

Daddy came home a week ago, and E is loving having him back, but it's sometimes a case of "No! No Daddy. Mummy up!" which is a bit hard on them both.

I took D to see Toy Story 3 on Wednesday, which we both loved. D keeps wannting to tell the beloved all his favourite bits, but I've talked him out of it, on the grounds that we will probably buy it on DVD and I don't want all the best jokes spoiled.

D has been (and got us) hooked on Masterchef over the last couple of months, even E likes it "Massachef on?", and we were sad to see some of our favourite chefs eliminated recently. I always think there could be a lot more cooking and a lot fewer ads though. I've taken to turning the volume down during them, as D has a tendency to want to sing along or recite them, and it drives me beserk, being prone to earworms as I am! I'm also trying to make him see that the ads are not vital, and are in fact an interruption, though they do provide an opportunity to get up and go to the toilet, or make a cup of tea, or change the toddler's nappy, or have a chat with your companions and bring them up to speed on the bits of the show they've missed.

School holidays are now finished, so back to school next week. D is simultaneously excited and annoyed. He doesn't like school, but the school term means that basketball training, and games, resume.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

A Pox on't

Yes, we have the "chinchin fox", or at least that's what we assume is going on. Spots that come out sequentially over a number of days, following a couple of days of being slightly snotty. The doctor couldn't think of anything else it could be either so there you go. He's perfectly happy though - wasn't actually sick, and is a bit grumpy about being itchy, but other than that quite normal. We've been avoiding going out unnecessarily, but we do that anyway in the middle of winter. The doc thought it was such a mild dose because he's been immunised for it (it's on the govt schedule here at 18 months) as have I since our last scare when there was an epidemic at D'Arcy's school. He didn't get it then, so I'm wondering if it'll happen this time. Of course it's now jsut school holidays and the incubation period is up to 21 days, so he might get it when it's time to go back to school. He'd like that! As long as he doesn't miss camp, which he's been looking forward to this year. He had such a great time last year, and his sleeping-on-his-own is pretty much cemented here now.

Erik had a birthday (#2, I know, I can't believe it either) and we had a small party for his friends here. I made a cake (from a packet) and it was actually quite yummy. I needed to go out a few days later and buy a mixer though as it was just too hard without one!


Erik is sitting on my knee and saying "bwow candin den" when he sees the pic of the cake.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


We had a family holiday. First ever really. My sister lives up near Tweed Heads (right on the NSW/Qld border) so we went to visit her. It was Erik's first plane trip, which he quite enjoyed, especially when the space waitress offered him an apple.
appy appy on the planegoing there

We went to the shop at Tropical Fruit World, where you can buy all kinds of exciting things without having to pay the exorbitant entry fee to the orchard, and played on their playground for a while.
Playing on the playground at TFW

We ate dragonfruit frozen yoghurt,
dragonfruit frozen yoghurt at Tropical Fruit World

bought Rollinia, which is related to custard apple and really yummy with some lime juice,

and dragonfruit.
Dragonfruit (the yellow ones are the yummiest ones)

But rollinia was Erik's fave.
eating rollinia

We went to Dreamworld
D'Arcy and Laura on a ride
teacup ride in Wiggles world
as you do, when you have kids. It was exhausting for me, as I carried E most of the time, and there was lots of standing around. One of the standout rides was the log-ride, which was very splashy, but a lot of fun. Erik's other favourite was the Wiggles World section of the park.

The beach was a popular place with all the boys.
Cabarita beach

All up, a success. Would do it again.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


Not a fabulous title for a blog post, but as we've been at the National Folk Festival for the weekend, kind of appropriate. Actually, mainly appropriate because "stabby" is the closest Erik can get to saying "festival" which is quite cute. We had a good time, though I got really tired, wrangling E by myself for 4 days. We arrived on Thursday, with D'Arcy who announce on arrival that he was feeling sick. He lasted about half an hour before he needed to be taken home, whereupon he went to bed, only to reawaken 2 hours later with a raging fever. I managed to get his dad to take him for a few days, which left me and Erik free to go and play.

Erik's highlight was the Icarus Performance Troupe who were three roving street performers dressed as giant kangaroos on stilts with springs in them. "roo? jump. roo? talk. roo? big." are some of his conversational gems. He talked about them all day on Friday, including when he woke up in the night! By Sunday, D was better enough to join us. His highlight was playing with Ampersand Duck's son Bumblebee, and getting weed on by another street performers dog accomplice. Erik also loved playing with B and has a name for him now. "B, chase!" and "boys" (meaning D and B)...

I had a lot of fun, despite it being exhausting, and caught up with lots of friends.

In other news, Erik has been feeding his cat, Ow, at mealtimes...

This meal was pasta and I think Ow enjoyed it quite a lot!

Monday, 8 March 2010


It has been raining a lot here lately, which is weird, as we're officially still in drought, but the last couple of weeks have seen some excellent precipitation. Erik now says "rainy" which means both "rainy" and "raining" which is quite a lot of fun.

A couple of times lately they've opened up the spillway on the dam, and today we went to check it out.


I've also been thinking about black&white photography a bit lately, having signed up for a photo challenge with some friends. I've received a roll of film and a shot list. I take the pics and send the film back to the woman organising it. She'll develop it and post the resulting photos online. This isn't one of them (obviously) but I'm starting to think in terms of what makes a good b&w shot, so that's a good thing I think...


Lots more pics from the dam on Flickr if you want to see them.

Friday, 26 February 2010


Erik made a dog out of some toast he was eating at lunch time...sorry it's a bit long, and ends with a tantrum (it was bed time) but he's chatting away about all kinds of things here, for those that are interested. I'm hoping Anne shows this to the Joyces...

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Because I am a bad mother,

I called D'Arcy on his posturing and bravado. We were having laksa for dinner, which he usually declines to eat in favour of spring rolls. Last night he said he'd like some laksa, which I provided, and he was tucking into it happily (it's not really very hot) and somehow the dinner table conversation turned to some Mexican Hot Sauce that the beloved had brought back from the US last trip.


I mentioned that the one on the left is so hot as to be almost inedible (and even the beloved sweats mightily when he eats it, which makes me laugh) and its primary ingredient (as you'd hope) is habaneros. D'Arcy's response to this was "let me try some, I can handle it. Bring it on!" I tried to dissuade him from this, but he was all keen by then. I put a tiny smear on a tiny coffee spoon and said "don't put it all in your mouth at once" but of course he didn't listen, and shoved the spoon in his gob. Now, those of you who are familiar with the habanero pepper will remember that the first moment you put it in your mouth, you think "hey this isn't so bad. Huh, hottest chillis known, bite me!" and then it does. Quite hard in fact. D'Arcy didn't eat anywhere near as much as the kid in this link, so his response wasn't quite so graphic, but still he was unhappy. Half a glass of milk (which he never drinks) fixed it pretty well, but he didn't finish his laksa. The beloved points out that it was very hard not to laugh at him, but we managed with only a bit of "I told you so".

Mr Cool

This is towards the end of the holidays, playing in the tent inside seemed to be the fun thing to do one week. D's hair was really long here. He's been desperate to grow it long, so one of the things he got for Christmas was some bandannas to keep it out of his eyes. His dad and stepmum have been keen for him to get it cut "neatly" (despite the ironic fact that his dad had long hair when I first met him) and dragged him to the hairdresser. Fortunately the hairdresser is on his side, and gave him the barest trim. It was great.


More tent action. Sometimes Kovu was in there too.

dopey grin

One of the T-shirts we dyed, this was an ABA one that was a fundraiser for one of the local groups, but of course the shirt was white. Silly colour for a baby, but we fixed that.

School has begun. D's new teacher is lovely, which makes a change from last year, where he and his teacher didn't see eye to eye on a lot of things really. He still doesn't like school though, and says frequently that "it's boring". I've tried pointing out to him that "boring" is a mindset, but he's not receptive to that idea at all.

His knee has finally healed up, with a nice scar to show for it, that he won't let me take a pic of, sadly. He's also very much opposed to wearing shorts, as he thinks people (especially kindies) stare at his knee. I'm not sure if he actually thinks that, or he's just saying it...

Friday, 15 January 2010

Holiday activities.

D'Arcy got a tie-dye kit for his birthday some years ago which he's been keen to use. I finally managed to get some plain shirts for him to dye...

Here are the results. It's not the immersion type, rather that you fill bottles with dye and squirt it on after you've tied. We weren't quite careful enough to get all the folded bits coloured, so might have another go at the very sparse white one. Just need to get more soda ash from the craft shop. There's dye left over and they claim it'll last two weeks. The kit was made by Jacquard and came with everything you need, except shirts. It's pretty good really and I'd recommend it as a birthday gift for someone in that 7-13 age range. Boys or girls.
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Thursday, 14 January 2010

Liveblogging the pesto X


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Liveblogging the pesto IX

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Liveblogging the pesto VIII

Mission accomplished. A lot of pesto.

I'll probably freeze most of this in little portions. It goes OK on pasta when thawed, better for pizzas or in other sauce-based things that can use a basil/garlic/tomato hit. I like my pesto reasonably chunky.

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Liveblogging the pesto VII

Parmesan in. I cheat and use shredded in a bag from the stupid market.

Water boiling.

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Liveblogging the pesto VI

Pine nuts in.

Better get the water on for the pasta, hey?

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Liveblogging the pesto V

In goes the basil, with more EVOO. Suddenly not convinced it's all going to fit.... Hmmm.

That's about half the basil so far.

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Liveblogging the pesto IV

Right. So after a short break to change a nappy and dome rigorous handwashing, we're back. Garlic in the whizzer with SDTs and some EVOO, as the toes were dry packed. Sadly, I just noticed they have preservative 220 in them, which I generally try to avoid.

Ooh, they match!

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Liveblogging the pesto III

Bugger. Forgot to get the pine nuts toasting before washing the basil.

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Liveblogging the pesto II

Washed and ready to go.

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Liveblogging the pesto I

One bunch washing. One waiting its turn.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


It's been really hot on and off. Christmas eve was bad, and we went out and put Erik in a bucket to play. He had a great time, and I had to refill it several times. I think we'll do it again, as it's a really easy way for him to have some water play.

old ride d.i.y

Erik was demonstrating his readiness for a ride-on toy by trying to ride his fire engine.

new ride

Fortunately we'd anticipated this and he got a Bob truck for Christmas. It has a little mobile phone handset (just under te steering wheel) and that's a big hit. Today while I was on the phone with a friend, Erik was wandering around with his phone at his ear, dragging on my hand. Very cute, for sure. We had a lovely Christmas with my family, who are all here.


It's been a hard holiday period. D'Arcy came to us on Christmas day with the news that his step-sister was sick, and sure enough, by the 28th he had a lovely high fever, followed by vomiting and all the rest. Fortunately for him it only lasted 24 hours and he was able to go with his dad to the coast for a while, but he kindly passed it on to Erik. Erik's manifestation was slightly different though - high fever, but no vomiting, then a very impressive rash that started on his hands and feet and around his mouth, then spread up his arms and legs and on to his face. It took about 5 days until his fever was gone, during which I got totally stir-crazy. Now I have a sore throat and the beloved has a runny nose.

Today I when I rang to talk to D'Arcy his dad said he was sick again, this time with something flu-ey so I'm not looking forward to that. Poor boy. I think they'll hang on to him for a bit longer though. He'll be extra annoyed as he's been asking me every day "is my bike ready?". His Christmas present from us was a new bike, which we went to the shops to choose just before he got sick, and the shop said they'd ring us when it was ready. Today it was, and I went to pick it up, but when I rang to tell him was when I got the news of his latest sickness, and he was asleep.

His knee has healed up nicely, but with a good scar. So that's something I guess.