Archive for April 2006


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30 April 2006

We went to an exhibition opening this evening. It was a retrospective of works by Anne Farren, a textile artist/designer (and friend of ours) doing amazing things in the textile industry here in Perth.

Her fabrics and lace pieces were breathtaking. There were beautiful and ghostly lace kimonos hanging from the ceiling. And a strange fabric sculpture garden thing.

There was also this dress made out of tape measures draped on this stunning naked model – obviously some witty commentary about fashion, clothes and notions of beauty… but it was too difficult to work out because she was just TOO stunning and TOO naked, and it was all just a little TOO distracting…

Southern Project Studio, 391 Canning Hwy, Melville. 2-4 May 2006.

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28 April 2006

Found some yummy sparkly things over at Etsy.

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A Calvin and Hobbes Moment

28 April 2006

My 3 year old will do anything to stay awake at night. This includes : completely freaking out the babysitters.

My poor aunty. It was her first time she put Callum to bed. And the first time she’s been in our house, at night, all alone.

Apparently during the evening, Callum crept out of his room and said to her, “Help help! I hear men talking outside my window! They’re going to catch me. I’m so scared. Please go outside and tell them to go away.”

Ordinarily she would have dismissed it. But it was delivered with such gusto and passion [he even had a bottom-lip quiver]. It was truly an Oscar performance. And she was truly. freaked. out.

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Fashion Week 2006

26 April 2006

The Mercedes Australian Fashion Week has started in Sydney. And I just love the way these fashion festivals have become visual spectacles of crazy artistic non wearable garments, skimpy circus acts, extravagant stage shows and inflated hero worshipping. It’s so wild and outrageous and extreme. But don’t get me wrong, I love it!

I’m no hardcore fashionista, but I really enjoy ogling at beautiful clothes, and looking at how colours, styles, textures, and moods arrive from the “fashion” world and then permeates into the rest of the “design” world to define what’s visually cool and fashionable in popular culture. Ha, who am I kidding. I like clothes.

Photographs from Six6 Photography and SMH.

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Healthy Bread

24 April 2006

Ever since my husband survived cancer, we’ve been experimenting with “healthier” kinds of breads.

We looked into spelt (dinkelbrot) – an alternative to wheat, organically grown, super nutritional, easily digestible and tastes amazing. We fell in love with wholemeal spelt loaves, especially the mixes with sunflower, linseed, poppy and sesame seeds. Sean loves it too and will eat it like cake – however he doesn’t digest the poppy seeds (eww).

We also tried gluten free breads. Bread with no wheat. Bread made out of maize flour, rice flour, soy flour and potato flour. It was bizarre! We tried heaps of different products and mixes. Some resembled cake. Some scones. While others just looked like industrial cleaning sponges.

The bread in the picture was a maize and rice loaf. And I must admit, it was the best looking gluten free loaf we made. It smelt sooooo good. When I lifted it out of the bread maker, my kids hovered around like hungry sharks. It had great shape, colour, texture. It felt awesome under the knife. But, too bad it tasted like a styrofoam hash brown.

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Sean : 13 Months

23 April 2006

These last few days, Sean’s personality has blossomed. I swear it happened over night. As if he just woke up one morning and thought, Hmm, I’m going to stop being a baby now and I think I’ll be this kind of person from now on.

His baby grumpy-ness has changed into a persistence and determination. He wants to do things his way, he wants it now, he wants to be equal to his big brother, and he will throw massive tantrums if he doesn’t get it.

He’s baby clingy-ness has subsided to show a timid and introverted nature. He doesn’t like new places, new people or exploring. He prefers to sit in the lounge room with a book, knowing there’s somebody nearby, and wants a cuddle from mum every so often.

His baby giggles has transformed into beautiful boyish chuckles. Always laughing at his favourite games and favourite people.

I’m sure this personality development is all part of him learning how to communicate. I’m loving it!

And as sappy as it sounds, for me, watching him suddenly become a little person in front of my eyes is definitely one of the best rewards of being a stay at home mum.

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Happy Photos

20 April 2006

July 2005. My birthday last year. Dancing on the stage in a gay nightclub in Perth. That red light makes it all look so seedy.

January 2002. Our engagement party. 100 people at a black tie cocktail party in our backyard. I was teaching everyone how to “Yum Seng” (toast).

July 2001. Scuba diving and snorkeling with whale sharks at Ningaloo. Those tanks were so heavy.

September 2000. On top of the world, with Andrew and my snowman, in New Zealand.

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19 April 2006

Sometimes I take a step back from life and I realise that I’ve been running in Survival Mode.

Doing as little as possible to get through each day.
Holding back. Hesitating. Preserving.
Waiting for something. Don’t know what.

The days pass. The seasons change. The years slip away.
And you are no closer to your dreams. No closer to the kind of person you wanted to be.

And that tragic word. Regret. That word you’re not supposed to use these days.

Yet it’s there.
It eats and consumes your heart.
Body panics. Mind is paralysed.
Don’t know what to do.

So you continue to wait.

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Recovering. And stuck indoors.

17 April 2006

It was Callum’s 3rd birthday last week, but the poor little guy was sick.

We decided not to tell him it was his birthday. Instead we spent the time indoors. Doing lots of slow, gentle passive stuff. He loved it.

And I like to think it was a special moment to develop his painting skills.

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Warning : Parents Only Post

16 April 2006

My kids have been sick this week. Birthdays and Easter and LIFE IN GENERAL had to be postponed.

My 3 year old literally vomited non-stop for 2 days, then had explosive diarrhoea for 3 days. He puked and pooed on EVERYTHING. His bed, my bed. His clothes, my clothes. The floor, the rugs, the couch, the car, the patio, the garden, the cupboards, the wall! One after the other. It was like a comedy act :

We’d wake up 6am in the morning and Oh look, there’s poo all over Callum and his bed! We clean him up. Soak his clothes. Give him clean clothes. Move him to the lounge room. Clean up his bed, blankets and pillows. Air the room. Put on a load of washing…

Then, Oh look, he’s puked on the couch! We clean him up. Give him clean clothes. Sit him at the dinner table with some dry cracker biscuits and water. Take the covers off the couch. Wash the covers. Hang up the bed sheets. Roll up the rugs. Mop the lounge room floor. Make myself a cup of tea…

Then, Oh look, he’s puked up all over himself, the table AND the floor. He also says he’s really hungry, tired and sore. And damn, his bed isn’t ready and his room still smells like shit.

And did I mention I had a 1 year old who just woke up, pooed his pants and needed his breakfast as well?

So. People ask me, how was my Easter? I say with a weak smile, Oh. Fine. How was yours?

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Kylie Kwong : Cocktail Evening

11 April 2006

Kylie Kwong is in Perth this week, promoting her new book “Simple Chinese Cooking“. Tonight I went to her first event, an evening of cocktails, a talk, and signing at the Hilton.

Ok I haven’t seen all her shows, nor have I got all her books. So I probably can’t admit to be Kylie’s biggest fan. But I do love what she is doing. I love what she’s about. I love that she’s sharing her passion for Chinese food, supporting organic produce, healthy eating, holistic living, fair trade and a sustainable future for the planet. I think she rocks, and I had to hear her speak.

I went alone. 200+ people. I got the impression that it was a stand up event. But we were ushered into a function room for a sit-down tasting. Which was a great idea, because how were we supposed to juggle a handbag, jacket, wine glass, a hardcover book and a slice of duck meat??

It was free seating, and I wiggled my way to the front. Right next to the VIP table. Right next to the stage and podium. I was so close to the front that I even had an empty seat next to me. I met several lovely women at my table, and after a few glasses of wine, it soon turned into – as Kylie put it – the “troublemaker’s table”.

We made jokes about our table being the real VIP table. And somehow we [ie. Michelle] concocted a plan revolving around buying a glass of champagne for Kylie, getting one of the waiters to send it over to her, and asking her to join us for the next course, after all, we have an empty seat that we reserved just for her. She said yes! But alas, she was whisked away by the organisers, because she had other things to do [ie. give her speech]. Pffft.

She spoke. She was very bold, strong, funny, witty. A real character. She was basically an Aussie larrikin with an Asian face. And she made it work! She handled the question time with ease and precision, called everyone “love” (as you do), deflected lots of silly questions while still being positive, and had lots of jokes about Chinese food.

During the signing, I stayed back. Queued. She signed my book. And in that 5 second time slot where you’re supposed to thank the celeb, I blurt, “Hi Kylie. Listen I run a website about finding the beautiful moments in everyday life and I’d love to feature you…” She pointed to her publicist (as I expected) but she also said something along the lines of, “That sounds good. I’d love to do something for you.”

So there you go Kylie. Right here in black and white. From one ABC (Australian Born Chinese) to another , I want to know whether your mother ever made you drink Cantonese lamb brain soup with goat testicles (and other goodies).

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9 April 2006

Gah, what a waste of a weekend. We had a lovely weekend schedule of dinners and outings, but I fell sick. Really sick.

I think it must’ve been a lethal cocktail of Italian meatball spaghetti, red wine and a king-sized Cherry Ripe on Friday night. Because on Saturday morning I woke up vomiting, dizzy, nauseous, feverish, and spent the next 24 hours clutching to the sides of the bed praying for the room to stop spinning.

On Sunday morning I woke up feeling a little better. And hungry. REALLY hungry. But my stomach was still pickled and tender. And the smallest whiff of hot toast made me feel ill.

I put myself on a bland diet. Plain boiled oats. Plain boiled barley. Plain boiled rice. Bleh. I was CRAVING something delicious and tasty and yummy and filling and healing and normal…

And at that moment, my parents exploded through the door, unexpected, with a plate of steaming hot, freshly made, hot and spicy, fried prawn noodles for lunch. It was a bittersweet moment.

I guess the truth is, I have to get sick like this once in a while to make me appreciate the days when I’m NOT sick.

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Thoughts on Parenting : Raising Boys

7 April 2006

These last few weeks, I’ve been going to a parenting workshop entitled, “Raising Boys”. It didn’t click when I put my name down, but parts of the course was based on the very popular book, Raising Boys, by Steve Biddulph. Which I have heard about, but haven’t read yet.

Usually, I’m someone who would much rather buy the book, read it at my own pace, spend ages thinking and circling points and chatting about it to someone else…. than to go to a WORKSHOP. Pay money for a 3 hour lecture? Do WORKSHOPY things like group discussions and role playing? Sheesh, who’s got time for THAT?

However, the story goes… my aunt does some volunteer work for a small community group, that (basically) provides a one-to-one home service for parents who need help or advice about anything to do with parenting. They’ll pop in, share a cup of tea, get to know you and the kids, listen to your difficulties or questions, give you suggestions and advice, come back next week to see how things are going… for free! Like super nannies! It sounded amazing! Anyway, she told me about the course, and I signed up.

So far it’s been excellent! I’ve learnt so much and there’s no way I can write it all down. But here are some stuff that stuck in my head :

Apparently, when a baby boy is born, he has the same amount of testosterone as a 12 year old boy! The testosterone levels will settle down, but will peak again around 3-4 years. It keeps going up and down, and by the age of 11-14 it will rise by 800%.

The surge in testosterone slows down connections to the language part of the brain, makes them more muscular, active, restless, argumentative, act first, disorganised, prone to separation anxiety, need to have clear set of rules. (Nice to keep these things in mind whenever my son whacks another kid.)

When boys are play-wrestling with each other (or with dad) they are actually learning about their bodies, strength, and limits. You should encourage it!

From the age 6-13 boys are learning how to be male. They start to “lock onto Dad” to study how to act, talk, and be a man. That window of time is the biggest opportunity for fathers to have an influence on their sons.

If boys don’t have a strong male role model at that time, they will usually find one for themselves – sporting heros, super heros, musicians, celebrities, teachers, uncles.

And a really nice tip I overheard in a side discussion – When asked about what they did at school, many boys tend to answer “Hrmph, nothing”. If you want your boys to talk to you, you have to teach them by doing it yourself. Start them young! Try a one-on-one game at bedtime called “Talk about your day” List a good thing. A bad thing. And a funny thing. (Callum loves it so far.)

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5 April 2006

These last few evenings, my husband and I have been indulging in some quality jigsaw time. We’ve got an old wooden jigsaw puzzle of Europe printed in 1966, given to us by my mother in law. It looks and smells beautiful! And it’s in amazing condition.

It’s huge too. Too big for both our dinner and coffee tables. We had to do the puzzle on the floor, on a large bit of wood, so we could move it away when the kids woke up in the morning.

Now, this is the first time we’ve pieced a jigsaw puzzle together (Bob the Builder puzzles don’t count). And to let you in on a little secret… when I was single, I used to *dream* about being married and doing inane coupley things together – like jigsaw puzzles. You know. After you’ve seen all the latest movie releases, already tried every new restaurant in the city, gone for walks at the same ol places, talked about every book and tv program there is. How else do couples spend time together at the end of a weeknight to unwind?!?

We lay on the floor, propped up on our elbows, matching pieces, listening to music, chatting, laughing, drinking red wine. It was so much fun.

My husband is a bit of a history buff, so he knew all these really random places and all the stories and wars and important dates connected to the cities. He’d pick up a piece, hold it up, read the tiny faded text out loud, “Constantinople” and then go, “Oh that goes here.” And put the piece exactly in its place.

And I’m like, “Ok. I’m looking for a green piece with a small section of blue at the top, with an unusually large bottom left leg and a small right leg that looks like a shark’s tale. Oh there is it.” And put it exactly in its place.

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The wonder of scissors and glue

3 April 2006

My [almost] 3 year old made this the other day. During one of our arts and craft “sessions”. Actually. The scenario went more like : I was trying to cook dinner and Callum wanted to be entertained, so I pulled out a box of paper, scissors and glue, and I said, “Here. Make me something cool.”

Half an hour later he appeared with this rocketship and a silly grin.

Now, I think I’ve said this before. That I hate sounding like a gushingly proud mother. But it COMPLETELY blew my mind. Where on earth did he learn to make rocketships??? How did he cut that paper roll?? And OH MY GOD he even made crinkled orange fire, a door that opened and little green men sitting inside the ship!! It makes me wonder what my mother has been letting him watch on tv.

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1 April 2006

Photo opportunity in the Ladies “Powder Room” at Government House.