Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's Wednesday so why do I think it's Thursday?

Do you have days where you don't know if you are coming or going?  I do and today is one of them.  I am blaming it on being sick with whatever it was that Little Man had.

I think it is like the sign in the picture.  You kind of understand (in a way) what it's saying, but you don't quite know for sure.  I think that's what my body is doing to me at the moment; it's telling me something and I'm not quite reading the signs.  Or paying attention to them.  I'm sick.  I thought it was a 24 hour thing but it's not.  Okay, I get it.  Now let's get me better and get on with things! (BTW, this photo was taken in Port Vila last year outside a little supermarket near the fruit and vegetable market.  I wonder if they have a problem with staff hanging out around the trolleys?)

I think it is stress from the whole house sale thing.  We still have not sold the house, the owner of the other house we want (and had a verbal agreement on to buy) has now put the house back on the market.  I think they're sick of waiting.  But, I think they're making a mistake because they had their house on the market for a year with not a single offer, and it is definitely a buyer's market right now.  Now, if we get a contract on our house and we  put a contract on theirs, they will be up for agent's commission.  Which means less money for them than if they had have waited for us.  But, that's their choice.  I just wish we were told first rather than discover it in the weekend paper! 

I have signed up for tuck shop duty at school where my children go.  They (the children) are so excited.  Tuck shop is a rare treat for them so their thinking is that if I'm on duty they'll get tuck shop.  I don't know yet!  They have an online ordering system and you can set up a credit with your credit card or savings card etc, and use that to pay for your orders.  I like that considering I rarely ever carry cash.  I visited the tuck shop this morning to say hello to the convener, so next week I shall be 'on duty'.   I have yet to work this year, so it will give me something to do as well as a bit of knowledge about the 'inner workings' of the school if I get booked to work there.  I'm eager to don my apron and get going!  

I had to get groceries this morning.  What would normally take one hour dragged out to two hours.  I don't know how that happened, but I did get half way through the aisles and realise I was only half way!  And I did consider phoning The Groom and asking him to come and take me home.  Maybe it's because it must be pension day and I was surrounded by old ladies in their pretty floral dresses, but I was suddenly overcome by the need for a nap.  At 11am!  Yep, I'm sick.  And when I'm sick and I know that I'm sick, I turn into a little baby and get sulky and grumpy.  It makes a nice change from being a strong, 'able to shake off small sniffles in a single sneeze' mummy.  

I'm off for my nana nap.  Or maybe just read my new book on plants of Tropical North Queensland.

Enjoy your day!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sniffles and Snuffles

My poor Little Man is home sick today.  He went to school yesterday with a bit of a sniffle and runny nose but not enough to warrant asking for a day off.  Last night he was getting snifflier and runnier, so a child's soluble paracetamol was in order before bed as he was complaining of a headache.  The poor soul was up and down all night getting drinks of water (and consequent trips to the toilet) and generally being miserable.  The Princess told me she heard him sitting outside her door at one stage, crying.  I must have slept through that part!  If it wasn't being kept awake by the croaking of frogs outside the bathroom window (I had forgotten to close it before I went to bed), it was hearing the sound of the toilet door closing and the toilet flushing all night that is the reason I am so tired!  

A quick trip to the chemist after dropping The Princess at school was in order.  We stocked up on tissues, some children's Phenergan for the runny eyes etc, and a box of paracetamol for the household (a box of 100 for $1.49).  Once home he was sent off to bed with his homework, tissues, tidy bin for used tissues and a bottle of water.  The poor little beetle is tired (thanks to the phenergan) but didn't want to be in bed.  So now he's quietly playing the Cars game on the playstation.  He's too quiet, actually, I have a feeling he's asleep.  I hope he's not, he hasn't eaten since having some Sultana Bran for breakfast (he refused a leftover piece of pizza for morning tea) and he needs to have some lunch soon.  Or maybe he needs some sleep.

There is a low forming around Cardwell, which is about 200klm north of here (I think); it's expected to move north, but these things have a habit of being unpredictable so I might do a trip to the supermarket for some bits and pieces - just in case.  Much of our supermarket supplies come in by truck from the south and we have been known to have bare shelves in the shops if the roads are cut off for too long.  We always have a cyclone kit ready anyway, but so many people don't and then when a cyclone is imminent everyone panic buys and there's nothing left in the supermarkets!  I like to keep some bread in the freezer in case we lose power and I can't use my bread maker (the joys of an electric oven and stove top).

I posted Lena's "Amber" bag yesterday so I'm looking forward to her receiving it.  I've had lots of lovely comments about it already from other bloggers I am rather chuffed.  I like this giving thing so much I can't wait to do it again.  I did try to post a picture of the owl bag I sent my aunt but there are gremlins in our internet connection (probably due to the rain) that the connection kept dropping out while uploading - I gave up after the third attempt.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's raining, it's pouring

The weather channel told me last night that we were expected to receive around 100ml of rain in a 24 hour period.  I got woken up just before 1am this morning to the sound of the rain hammering down on the roof.  That is not surprising for most people when it rains heavily, but we have a tiled roof and the airconditioner was on!  If we wake up to the sound of rain in our house it means that it is raining heavily.  Our house sits up higher than everyone else's in our street, and we have channel and grates around the house to divert any excess water out to the road gutters.  We are okay here.  But the roads this morning were nothing short of chaos!  This photo was just taken from the back patio (with a bit of zoom on to get 'over' the fence). Believe it or not, there is a mountain in the background of the photo.  You can just make the lower part out if you look carefully.  Actually, I love looking at the mountain when it is covered in cloud.  It's so restful and mystical almost.  

I have a bit of a busy day but because of the heavy rain I don't feel like going out.  I have to drive out to the airport to pick up a parcel of motorbike safety gear we ordered in from the U.S for Little Man (with postage, it worked out to be about $200 cheaper than to buy the same stuff here!).  Then I need to get to the post office to post a letter to my nan and a handmade bag (this one has an owl applique on it) to my aunty in Melbourne as well as Lena's "Amber" bag, then I need to buy a 20kg bag of dog food for my furry babies.  I dislike driving in the rain, we have only a couple of months when we really get a rainy season, so for most of the year we drive in perfect conditions.  I was sitting on the highway this morning doing 90klm with my lights on and wipers at full speed, barely able to see two cars ahead, yet I was still being overtaken by idiots who were going way too fast for the conditions.  I'm just hoping our highways don't get cut off by flood waters as they alway do when we get a lot of rain.  The Groom is away this week and comes home on Saturday, if they highway is cut to the north of us, then he'll be stuck up there.

I love the rain because it means that while it's raining there are no mosquitos and stifling humidity!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mindless ramblings of a tired mum

I am so tired.  I don't know why, I think it is just the weather we have been having.  It has been overcast and raining for so long, I think I'm just missing the sun.  I don't know how people living in Britain cope without seeing the sun for longer periods than I have.

Last night The Princess, Little Man and I went to dinner at Sizzler.  I don't know why we even go there anymore, unless it's for the convenience of being able to eat pretty much as soon as we walk in.  The salad bar and the meals are so expensive now, and there is little variation and real choice on the salad bar.  Our favourite place to eat out at is Cactus Jacks, so we should have just gone there instead.  But, we had people coming at 5.30pm to view our house (a ridiculous time for a viewing when you have children, but the house is for sale so you have to accommodate potential purchasers), so I didn't want to be out for too long as they go to bed at 7.30pm.  

We haven't heard back from the agent about the viewing other than the people weren't overly interested unless it was "the right price".  I don't know how much more right the price can get, considering we've now dropped our asking price by $40,000 because we are committed to another house!   Unfortunately for us, it is a buyer's market right now.  There were 12 less pages in the real estate guide last weekend than there was in the entire Saturday paper (not including the cars lift out and racing guide).  I'm just so over people wasting our time.  You either like a house or not, so why bother disrupting people's lives if it's not suitable?  It's not like it's a 'mystery' house and you don't know what it looks like before you go there.    Okay, rant is over.  Smile serenely and listen to trickling water from the pond outside and the birds tweeting.

The house is spic and span again, so there is really nothing to clean today.  I should clean the fans but I can't find the ladder to get to them.  I think I'm actually bored!  I can't get out all of my sewing stuff today because we have another open house on Saturday, and I have friends coming over tomorrow to pick over old school uniforms of the children's.  I've got no gardening to do and all the washing is done.  I do need to wash the doonas but can't do ours until the threat of rain has gone - it's a king sized doona and has to go on the outside line to dry.  I think I shall make myself some sardines on toast, a cup of decaf coffee and vege out in front of the tv to watch the morning news and then Dr Phil and Oprah before picking up the children from school.

Oh, and I'm so glad to have heard from Lena, who won my "Amber" bag.  She's even considering making something to gift to another, which is brilliant.  And, I'm so excited to have THREE whole followers of my blog.  I cannot believe that people are interested in my ramblings to come back to my blog time and again!  Thank you to all of you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And the "Amber" bag goes to...

And naturally, it is LENA.  

Can you please send me a message (through my profile page) with your address on it and I shall post the bag out to you shortly.  

I'm so glad to be able to share something I have made and I hope you will enjoy it.

I have a busy day today.  We have some more people coming to view the house this evening, so I have to pack up the children and the dogs at around dinner time and disappear for half hour or so.  So today I have to do a quick tidy up of the house, my kitchen is the messiest part of the house so I'll spend most of my time there.  I've still got the dishes from last night on the drainer to put away, do the breakfast dishes, fold washing, wash another load of washing and hang it out, clean the bathrooms and vacuum and mop the floors.  It is so humid again today, and it's only 7.15am, I think I shall have to put on the airconditioning to get it done without melting.

Yesterday I picked the last of my ripened eggplants (we have 3 types), some chives and shallots and a bunch of mint and some banana capsicums.  I don't know what I'll make with it but I'll think of something.  Having the house up for sale has put an end to my gardening.  I can't plant anything new so have run down my supplies in preparation for a sale.  I cannot wait until we sell here and get into our new house and start all over again, this time bigger and better!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My "MamaMoontime" posy

I was so excited to receive this gorgeous posy, from MamaMoontime, in the post on Friday afternoon when I got home.  I had to dash off an email and tell her that it had arrived.  So, THANK YOU!!!!!  I am so humbled and grateful.

The Princess was given this for Valentine's Day, and she was so excited she almost burst into tears.  I think it will go beautifully in a white ceramic vase when we eventually move.  We're painting her next room in a lovely light aqua and the pink flowers will stand out against the aqua.  

I made this tablecloth last Thursday out of some fabric I had laying around.  I paid about $4 for 1.5m of fabric from Spotlight ages ago as it was an end-of-bolt deal.  It's not quite long enough to hang over the ends of the table, but I made it for the outdoor table really.  I'm going to find some wide, white Broderie trim and attach it to the edges.  I am not a big fan of green, but this apple green gingham is so cute and fresh looking.  And it goes well with the pink flowers!

On the table, next to the fruit bowl (the metal basket was a wedding present years ago and I made the inner basket myself out of the things palm seeds are attached to - thanks to Marion Gaemers who had a workshop and exhibition at the Strand Ephemera), are some napkins I was making last week.  I bought the linen at the half-price Lincraft sale and appliqued some lovely little birds on them.  It is all the same pattern but in different pink patterned fabric.  I'm quite pleased with them and have used them every night at dinner since.  I've got four others sewn up and waiting to be appliqued.  I am still deciding what to put on them.  Underneath the fruit bowl is a 'place mat' that I bought as a bundle of 6 for ONE WHOLE DOLLAR last month at Pillow Talk.  They all have white embroidered butterflies at each end and are so cute.  I don't think they are big enough for place mats so I'm using some as doilies and the rest I think I shall incorporate into other projects.  I think the gods have smiled on me lately!

We have had no luck on the home-selling front which is annoying.  There was 12 less pages in the real estate lift out than there was in the Saturday paper, so it is definitely a buyer's market.  Could everyone else please just not advertise their home this weekend and let us get a sale???  There are so many things I plan to do but just cannot while the house is for sale.  We do have two more lots of people coming through tomorrow evening, which means I have to load up the kids and dogs at dinner time and get something from a drive-through.  I'm hoping these people won't spend almost 1 and half  hours like another couple did one evening!

Don't forget to check out the bag I'm offering to give away in my last post.  I will contact the new owner tomorrow.  

I'm off to take out the mini-chocolate muffins I've been cooking.  Yum!

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's here! My little bag give-away!!!

Ta Da...

I have finished my sewing today in order to get some housework done before picking up The Princess and Little Man from school, so here is the bag I have chosen to gift to a lovely reader.  I call it the "Amber" bag, in honour of MamaMoontime.


You'll have to excuse my dreadful lighting, it's been storming here for the past couple of days so there's no sunlight, only my ceiling lights, to show off this pretty little bag.

The bird is the Wendy bird pattern from Lolly Chops.  I love her stuff, it's so cute.  

I will be upfront and confess that I am not a perfect sewer, my seams and cutting has never been straight and measuring rarely enters my mind before I start cutting.  But, this bag is made with care and grace.  And I think it looks cute to boot!  Perfect for those impromptu shopping trips or just because you want to take it out.

I've done some shocking sewing projects over the years that I've been sewing (since I was a child actually), including my pouffy-sleeved 80's formal dress that looked lovely at the time but heaven's above - what was I thinking with all that pouff???  So, I'd love to hear from you about your hand-made home-made disasters.  And be sure to add me to the blogs you follow as I'm sure I'll have lots more to give away over time.  I'll be reading your comments and I'll let you know who gets to 'adopt' Amber on Tuesday.  

Sssshhhh, just don't look too hard at the seams!

Sewin' and a plannin'

I was lucky enough to be chosen by Amber at MamaMoontime to be the lucky recipient of her gorgeous posy of felt flowers.  It was the first time I put my name in the 'hat' for anything like that on a blog so I was happy to win it, I didn't think I would win as I only made a comment about my hopes for The Princess when she one day navigates the emotions of love.  

I've been making some lovely calico bags over the past couple of days in preparation for up-coming birthdays and Christmas presents, as well as linen napkins and tea-towels.  I would like to give away one of my bags to a fellow blogger, so when I've finished making some more I shall decide on one I am happy to give away (the last one was made last night as I was watching Cougar Town so there's a few little errors in stitching and I'd be ashamed to pass it on to you).   We don't have an open house this weekend so I hope to get more done over the next couple of days and I will post a picture of the selected bag that will be up for grabs.  My little bags are plain and simple ones with some little applique bits on them, so if you are interested, add me to your 'follow' bit and keep an eye out for them.

I'm so excited to be sharing something of mine with someone outside of my own family!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My favourite books

Okay, it's been a while since I said I would write about my favourite books.  I really ought to get on with it, it would be a pleasant diversion from the stresses of selling a home!

As a child I was obsessed with Enid Blyton, especially the Faraway Folk series and The Naughiest Girl in School collection.  In fact, I wanted to go to Boarding School solely based on those stories.  Sadly, my parents never came around to my point of view and regular public school was my lot in life.  No late-night adventures ever happened there!  As I grew a little older, Enid Blyton gave way to Trixie Belden mysteries.  But I've never given up my love for darling Enid.  Oh, and Milly Molly Mandy.   I was so happy to have a daughter that I could smother her in those stories from my childhood.  I had kept most of those books throughout my teenage and young adult years very carefully, and when I left home they were stored away until I was able to collect them.  When that time came it turned out mice and silverfish and the like got to them first.  So I buy my favourite childhood books where I can for my daughter.

As a teen I read To Kill a Mockingbird.  I even tried to convince The Groom to name our daughter Harper or Scout.  He wouldn't be in it.  This is the novel that woke me up to the injustices in life and the world.  Until that novel I was relatively naive and insulated from the world.  I am thankful to my parents for my sheltered upbringing, but that novel was the beginning of who I am today I believe.  

I have always loved Shakespeare, for me, he is one big mystery.  I don't always understand him but I just, I don't know, get him.  I tend to favour the comedies, but Macbeth is my favourite.  I like the hilarity of Midsummer Night's Dream, but we studied it to death in one English Literature subject at Uni and now I'm a bit over it.  Too much dissection can ruin it for me I think.  I treasure my collection of his works in paper back form.

As a teenager I was given my uncle's old copies of Animal Farm and Brave New World.  They were his books from school, so those Penguin editions are quite old and brittle so I don't read them anymore.  Funnily enough, I never read them in the way that they are intended to convey a particular message.  I thought Animal Farm was funny and Brave New World a bit 'out there'.  I am glad that I read those at the age I did.  Now if students read them for the first time it's usually to dissect them within the 'critical literacy' framework, looking for particular discourses and honestly, to pick them to pieces.  As someone with a degree in Education majoring in English, I think the syllabus has taken away the sheer enjoyment of reading for pleasure.  Now to get off my soapbox.

I discovered Jane Austen late in my teen years but it's only been in my 30's that I've come to love her more than most other authors.  I wonder at times if I was simply born in the wrong century.  I love all (nice) things Georgian and I like the rules surrounding society.  Sometimes I think life would be simpler if we all knew what was expected of us.  I love the pomp and ceremony of the era and the clothing.  Knowing my luck I would have been born into the working classes so had I have lived then I probably would not have enjoyed it as much.  My favourite novel is Sense and Sensibility, although I love the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth.  

Along with Austen, I also like the Bronte sisters, with my favourite novel being Emily's Wuthering Heights.  But I also like Charlotte's Jane Eyre.  They are both very different but written very well.   

As you can see I tend to favour the 'classics'.  I don't know if this falls into that category, but I am fascinated by Seamus Heaney's bi-lingual version of Beowulf.  I did a semester of Old English at uni purely because of this poem.  It was a pre-requisite for Middle English, which looked at Beowulf, but I didn't end up taking that second subject after all.  I read the poem like a novel, breathlessly and quick.  I got up a speech rhythm not unlike a gallop in parts.  I felt exhausted at the end of the poem, like I had gone along with Beowulf on his journey.  I feel that J.K. Rowling borrowed some of the tale for some of her scenes in The Goblet of Fire, the whole gilli-weed bit was too similar to a scene in the poem.  But good on her if she did.  

You may have noticed that my childhood was shaped by child focussed novels.  This has yet to leave me.  I am a massive fan of the Harry Potter books.  Massive.  So much so that I can't bear to watch the movies (but I do) because I tear them to shreds over how much they have differed from the novels.  The Groom finds it embarrassing to go with me to the movies because I'm all "that's NOT what happened in the book".  I have also been known to elbow small children out of the way to get my hands on the first book on sale day.  Well, if I've been standing at the front of the line two hours before the store opens then I ruddy well ought to get the first book!  And I would find myself into the wee hours of the morning pouring over Mugglenet.  I'm such a sad, sad human being.

Above all, my favourite reading has to be biographical books on female English monarchs.  I love Katherine of Aragon especially.  I love anything written by Antonia Fraser, too.  I'm not overly interested in any monarch after Queen Victoria, but I so love strong women who have forged a role in life for themselves despite the times they lived in.  

There are so many more books I love to read that I'm afraid I shall be here all day listing them all.  Patrick White, Tolkien, Upton Sinclair, Thomas Hardy, Kate Chopin, Virginia Woolf are some of my favourite authors.  

There is one book that I cannot allow to escape unmentioned, and that is Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth.  It was read to us by my Grade Three teacher every day after lunch recess.  I LOVED IT!  I tracked it down after having my children so they could share in it when they were older.  They are yet to read it but I am sure they will love it as much as I do.  I think that my love of the book has more to do with that teacher being my favourite teacher than anything else, though.

At the moment I am reading The Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory.  It's the book I am reading whilst waiting at school to pick up the children.   I loved The Other Boleyn Girl but hated the movie.  I do tend to have more than one book on the go but the other books I'm reading at the moment are craft books because I'm getting a start on Christmas presents early this year.

I am thankful that my parents were generous with books.  They always bought us Little Golden Books everytime they did their groceries.  I've always been surrounded by books and I really doubt I could live a life without them.  And neither can my children.  The Groom thinks that with the pile of books surrounding my side of the bed he will one day wake up to find me smothered to death under a mountain of fallen books.  Other than drowning in a vat of chocolate, I think that would be a good way to go!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The home stretch

I have yet to get around to writing on my favourite books, I realise.   For that I feel bad.  To me, books are one of the most important things in life and I despair of ever neglecting them.  I shall get around to writing that blog, I promise.

In North Queensland we have had a lot of rain, and it seems there is more to come.  According to the Weather Channel's 10 day forecast there is rain and storms predicted for every day of those 10 days.  Yay.  I do love the rain but after about a week or so it does get tiresome.  But we've had a week of no rain to speak of since the week before then when we had a week of the stuff.  

Our house auction is this week and we're so glad it's almost over.  We've had a number of ridiculously low offers, insulting and offensive, actually.  But, we've had five offers so that shows there is interest in our house.  At yesterday's open house a couple came back for the third weekend in a row.  They were one of the people who put in an offer, but it was way short of what we need to get out of here and into the next house.  I'm hoping that because there were five people interested enough in our house to put in offers there will be five people bidding against each other for our house.  Although, I do think the agent isn't working hard enough to talk the interest up on our house.  She keeps telling everyone to put in an offer based on what they would like to pay for our house - of course everyone is going to want to pay the least amount!  But, as they say come auction night, the proof will be in the pudding.  

We've decided that it's better for us to lower our reserve and aim for a sale than hold out for five or ten thousand more and possibly wait for months to get that price.  Our fear is that the owner of the property we will be buying will decide he can't wait anymore and we'll lose it.  We don't want to sacrifice our lifestyle plans for the sake of money towards a pool at the next house.

I have just received the folder of stuff from the agent with information and feedback from people who have viewed our house.  I need to digest it and decide what to do from there now.  

On another note, The Princess and I enjoyed a couple of days together in Brisbane where we watched Taylor Swift's concert.  The concert and the trip was an early birthday present for her.  It was a late night for her and the crowd and lights and volume became all too much for her in the end so just after the encore began, a tired and teary little girl decided it was time to catch the train back into the city and to our hotel for bed.  We had a lovely time together, just her and I, and I hope we can do it again soon.  I promised her that one day, when she is old enough to appreciate it, we will go to Paris together.  Hopefully I can keep that promise - maybe when the Euro is better placed against the Australian Dollar!