Archive for May 2006


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30 May 2006

Cute stuff from cut+paste. Oh and before you ask, the first item is a CUFF not a stubby holder!

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My Weekend of Pink and Blue

28 May 2006

Eating chips at the beach.
Saucy fingers.
Spinning round.

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Moving and shaking

26 May 2006

We went to a McDonald’s Kids Party the other day. In principle, I’m pretty opposed to McDonalds Inc. But a kid’s party is a kid’s party – there’s always going to be junk food, ice cream cake, lollies and fizzy drinks. So I didn’t let my notions of a better planet get in the way of a good party. In fact, it was really good fun.

The games-lady made the kids play a dancing game, and Sean won a prize for the best dancing! And it was no charity prize. No, not at all. Sean can get down and boogie like a disco king.

When he is 21, in a raging nightclub, he’ll be the guy on the crowded dance floor with 2 metres of space around him – dancing to his own rhythm, lost in his own world, making up his own moves and making it look so cool, yet so wrong.

Callum, on the other hand – during the game of “Muscial Bobs” – worked out that if he just stayed crouched, and waited for the music to stop, maybe the games-lady will think he bobbed first and give him a prize.

I went to stand up the front, squeezing between some chairs, to take photos of all the kids. Callum, still crouching, shuffled towards me. I asked him, “Callum, what are you doing?”
“I wanted to see what you were doing.”
“Are you bobbing down so you can win a prize?”
“No. Yes.”
“I think you should just follow the rules. Dance!”
“Aww man!” He walked off. And a few seconds later I spot him doing a knees bent, crouching kind of dance – ready to bob at any moment.

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Organic Vegetables

25 May 2006

OooOooOo I feel like a kid at Christmas! I just received my order of organic fruit and veges. A box of assorted seasonal stuff from a local organic farm, Freshline, home delivered. It’s so exciting!

The delivery guy turned up at our doorstep and handed us this huge white styrofoam box. As I shut the door, I turn and prance through the house like an ecstatic singing lunatic. The kids love it. They chase after me, as excited as I am.

Then we stand over the box going ooOOoh aaahh, biiiig present. Their fingers and toes wiggle with anticipation. We tear the tape off and yes yes, I know. It’s pretty silly. Getting so animated about fruit and veges. But it’s so much FUN!

We name all the fruits and vegetables. We smell them. We feel them. We treat them like treasure.

I love that the mix changes every time. I love that my kids eat lots of veges. I love the taste and texture of fresh organic foods. Yep, it’s pretty expensive. Sometimes more than 4 times the price. But, hey, each to their own.

If you don’t live in Perth, Ecoshop has a great little directory of Australian online stores with home deliveries, and other cool stuff.

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Sean loves books. Any books.

22 May 2006

The other day the house went unusually quiet.

I peeked into the lounge room. Our bookshelf was trashed. Books everywhere.

And Sean. Ah, chubby, little Sean. Comfortably settled in the sunniest spot on the rug, reading quietly.

Until mum comes along with a digital camera to take that million dollar picture…

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19 May 2006

Callum is 3 years old.

If I were to try to describe Callum in a few words, I’d say – funny, eloquent, and easy going.

 He’s an astonishingly reasonable kid. Someone could mistakenly put a bowl of ice cream in front of him, and I could talk to him, in a very adult-like way, and convince him that he shouldn’t eat it. Without being negative, threatening or deceiving. There’ll be no tantrums. No screaming. No drama.

 He’s 11kg (24lb) and 87cm (34in). He’s so much shorter than any other 3 year old we know! Oh well, at least he’s got a sense of humour.

 He can recite numbers 1-10. But he can’t recite the alphabet. Nor can he remember the names of numbers or letters. Despite my efforts, he’s had absolutely no interest in learning his 123s or ABCs.

Our “Learning Numbers Sessions” would go like :
I would draw a number one. And say, “This is a ONE! A line that goes from up here to down here.”
“Hey it’s like when I pull down my pants when I go to the toilet! ZHOOOOP! Bwahaha.”
“Yeah yeah very funny. What was this number again?”
“Six? Eleven? Eight? Pants?”

Of course I conducted my own scientific experiments after this. I would draw animals in varying stages of detail over a few weeks, until I was drawing a mere abstract symbol of an animal [See my “giraffe” pictured left]. And each time, even before I got to the legs, he knew exactly what animal it was.

Then I would draw completely weird random shapes and tell him that it’s a “BLAAP” or a “PRONK”. And he’ll even remember them! And still totally forget numbers!

Obviously there’s some complicated brain association thing going on in there – thank goodness I’m not a child psychologist. And I’ve decided not to be bothered by it and let him figure it out in his own time.

 He’s definitely a visual learner. Either that, or he’s got a freaky photographic memory. The other day we were stopped at a red light. In fact, this red light.

Just a very standard and very unspectacular traffic light junction, five minutes from our house. We probably pass it 2-4 times a week. We were waiting for the lights to change when Callum points to the left and says, “Mum, this way is to the video shop and the small shops. That way is to church and the city. And that way goes to swimming and the big shops.”
It spun me out. He was completely right of course. I can’t believe he’s been paying attention to the direction we turn, remembering it, and then associating it with our final destination. Freaky!

 He can also ride a bike (with trainer wheels) and use his pedal brake. He rides in the park almost every evening. He’s very confident, laughs when he falls, and very fast! I have to do a slow jog to keep up with him. We’ve taught him bike rules and how to cross roads. We’ve never tried it, but I think if he was left alone, he could cross a busy road on a bike all by himself.

 As a result of all this, he sometimes corrects MY DRIVING!! I assure you, there’s nothing wrong with my driving. However to a child, it must look like madness. Like trying to make a right turn into really busy traffic. I make a safe fast turn, and Callum blasts me for crossing when there was CLEARLY A CAR COMING THIS WAY. I kid you not, my three year old gives me a lecture from the backseat, “Mummy. I’m serious ok! I’m very angry that you crossed the road like that. You could have crashed the car and hurt us! Next time you wait until there are no cars coming! Ok???”
I tried to explain the situation to him, and I had to stop myself from blurting the old “Do as I say not as I do!!”

In the end I had to tell him that the rules were slightly different when you’re driving a car. That he should NOT do what I just did on his bike. And that ONLY when he grows up and learns how to drive a car, THEN he can do a fast cross, like mummy. Damn, parenting is complicated.

Ok that’s all for now.

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Quiz Night

17 May 2006

On the weekend my husband and I went to a Quiz Night fundraiser for a local scuba diving club.

I was really excited about it! My husband and I used to be quite active in the club, my brother-in-law was the organiser, we knew heaps of other people going, and it was for a good cause.

I had SO much fun! It was held at the UWA tavern and about 150 people turned up. The crowd was a colourful mix of drunken students, rowdy engineers, brainy marine biologists, hardcore quiz night freaks, miscellaneous not-so-smart people, and a Quiz Mistress dressed in leather bondage gear.

It was all pretty laid back and casual, but very well organised. There were the usual kind of quiz questions from different categories, brain-hurting word-logic puzzles, drinking games, team games etc. There were heaps of cool prizes too.

I did really well with all the brain-hurting puzzles *beams*. But spelling the name of the Iranian President? Er not so well. In the end I think our table came 6th (out of 16).

I also won the Mr Squiggle drawing competition and scored myself a Whale Watching Eco-Adventure – how cool is that!?!. I also walked away with a belly full of beer, pizza, laughs, and a couple of free stubby holders. And one is always happy with free stubby holders.

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Surrounded By Crazy People

16 May 2006

We were in a busy seafood shop, waiting in a long queue. Callum peers into a tray of ice and shouts, “Hey mum! What’s that?”

I say, “It’s calamari.”

“CALER-MAARI? [Long pause] Whoa hey that’s like CALLUM! We’re the same!”

“Haha very good! Callum and Calamari sound the same. But you’re not actually THE SAME. You’re a person and that’s a squid!”

Then. He bugged both eyes out, made one eye bigger, wrapped his arms around his head in a tangle of wriggly fingers and said with pursed lips “Look now we’re the same!”

Everyone in the shop burst out laughing. They laughed and laughed. I stood there a little embarrassed.

That is, until everyone started to do their OWN seafood impersonations.

Some puffed out their cheeks pretending to be blowfish, others sucked in their cheeks to make fish-like lips. Others just crossed their eyes and waggled their fingers around their faces, like anemones?

Callum stood there, approving all the faces with a stupid grin on his face. A grin that said, This is kinda weird, but I LIKE IT.

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My Orchids

14 May 2006

I’m so proud of my orchids. Not that I’m a pro gardener or anything. In fact, I don’t know anything about orchids! I’ve had them for years, and I just keep tipping fertiliser on them whenever they look a bit weedy, and hey presto! I get 9 stalks of flowers all at once. They look so weird – like strange alien creatures going “BLEEEAAAAH”.

And this one! Surely it’s proof that God has a sense of humour. Red and green tiger stripes? It gets even weirder too – apparently if the flowers get morning sun, they’ll give off the sweetest, most amazing frangipani scent all day. And it’s so strong it wafts through my whole garden and I can smell it from the kitchen. If no sun, then no fragrant. At all. So strange. It makes me want to put it in a dark room and stand over it with a torch.

Anyway. We had a quiet Mother’s day. Nothing eventful to report. Just a regular quiet Sunday, where us adults got to recover from a crazy Saturday night out. But that’s another story.

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12 May 2006

The other day, my husband arranged a “surprised date” for us. He said, “Tuesday evening. The kids have babysitters. We’re going out. It’s a surprise. Just dress WARM.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love surprises. But I hate the not-being-prepared bit.

WARM for subartic temperatures? I mean, are we going skiing?
WARM for a helicopter ride down the river? Will I have to tie my hair up?
WARM for a windy stroll by the beach? Jeans is fine right?
WARM for two hours sitting in an air-conditioned theatre?
WARM for a brisk walk from a car to a nightclub where I’ll leave my jacket at the door anyway?

In the end, he cracked and gave me more info. “We’re watching a PLAY!”

We watched a Harold Pinter play, The Caretaker. It was one of those serious, character focused stories by a literary genius, deeply poignant and thought provoking – perhaps a bit too heavy for me to digest on a Tuesday evening.

The performances were great though. There’s something very seductive about live performances in small arty theatres. Especially when you’re sitting 3 rows from the front, you can smell the dust and wood from the sets, smell the smoke from the actor’s cigarettes, see the wrinkles on their faces, see spit fly from their mouths as they talk, and feel your body resonate when their shouts echo through the hall. And it also helps when 2 of the 3 actors are complete hotties.

It was a lovely evening!

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Seven Years of Web Wrangling II

10 May 2006

“Seven Years” seem like a long time to be doing something.

But looking back at the journey, I don’t really see it as a momentous triumph. All I can see is how I’ve changed as a person, and how my online presence was just a small part of my life. Obviously that was my decision – to only publish moments I chose to share. To leave out the boring bits. The difficult bits. The painful bits.

For me, keeping my web log is about… sharing. Inspiring. Entertaining. Connecting. Touching. Creating. Designing. Therapy. Expression. Remembering. Laughing.

I’m very happy that, after seven years, I’m still doing this.

That it’s normal for me to go through the everyday-ness and blah-ness of life, looking out for beautiful moments. Going through the motions of carving out the essence of the moment, crafting it into words and pictures. Then sharing it with others. I love it. It’s a part of me now. And there’s a lot more to come.

Thanks for sharing with me.

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Seven Years of Web Wrangling

9 May 2006

This month, my website is 7 years old.

In May 1999, I launched my personal website, Karyn Design (Karyn being my accidental, adopted “business name”, a mishmash of my English and Chinese name). The function of the site was to get a job as a web designer. It had a portfolio of all my advertising, graphic and web work, an online journal (called Soapbox), design articles, writings, photo gallery, information about me, digital art and graphics I created.

The most popular section of my site was my Soapbox. It was updated every day (I think they call them blogs these days) and I ran it a bit like an e-zine, or portal, or whatever the buzz word was in 1999. Back then, I was a lot more… uninhibited and unrestrained about sharing the small and intricate details of my life. After all, I was single, fully into the dating scene, enjoying the crazy life, and had lots of amusing stories to share.

In Version 2.0 (2000), my journal became the central focus of the website, and my writing became a bit more more poetic and ambiguous. The e-zine thing was too time consuming. I was dating an incredible guy (now husband). I started focusing on my career, travelling, life. Settling down and considering the future. I guess my life hit the jackpot – I fell in lurve. And my website took a back seat.

In Version 3.0 (2001), I wanted a fresh start and went back to the white background. I felt a little happier about sharing my day to day life with the world. My stories were a lot more whimsical and entertaining, but very article like and I didn’t update very often. I stuck with the colour-coded sections, with bright blue being the homepage colour again.

Version 4.0 (2001-2), I took my whole journal offline. I was now working as a freelance web designer and used my website as a basic contact point for clients. I didn’t do any advertising, most of my work came from word of mouth or from my existing contacts. I only had a small “about me” section, my resume and my portfolio.

My site wasn’t “designy” at all. It was kinda embarrassing. I was so busy working, that I didn’t have time to design a “proper” business website. (Ok bad excuse, I know). And what’s with the colour?? I think desaturated pastels were all the rage back then.

Version 5.0 (2002), I started to wind down my “business” and became very selective with the work I did. I was married, travelling, planning to have kids. I was bored and was itching to write again. I knocked together another mishmash site, something simple, non-designy, text focused. Nothing special. Notice how old that picture is?

And finally, Version 6.0 (May 2003), I added my sketchy design elements to the site. I became a stay at home mum and a fulltime blogger! I just love my sketchy borders! Haha I can’t seem to make myself part with them.

So it’s been seven years! I’ve got heaps more thoughts about the whole thing, but this post is massive enough already. I’ll write it up another day.

However, I’m curious to know how many people have been following my site since 1999/2000? Email me! I’d love to hear from you.

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My Weekend of Red and Green

7 May 2006

Callum eating breakfast at 6:30am.
My flowering bromelia.
Polka dots and red snake skin.
Building lego robots.

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Braces : Trying not to feel like a teenager

5 May 2006

When I was 13, I had my braces put on by this groovy orthodontist with an impossibly long ethnic name. He had a dinky little 80’s clinic with brown decor and daggy furniture. He was a good doctor and I had a good experience. So fourteen years later, I decided to go back to him.

To my surprise, the clinic was still in the same place, but it had QUADRUPLED in size. It was all modern, open and funky. The staff wore hawaiian shirts and sneakers. Everyone called him “Dr G”. They blasted pop music through the speakers. The walls were full of new colourful posters. It was a slick outfit, completely and utterly geared towards TEENAGERS. I was impressed.

What also impressed me was the waiting room. It was full! Of teenagers! Everywhere! Teenagers in their school uniforms, sitting next to mum. Teenagers with broken voices and zits, fidgeting in their chairs, shuffling their feet. It was cute.

After a long wait, it was my turn. They took a couple of digital photos, cleaned my teeth, slapped the braces on and… I was done!

A young assistant came over to talk to me about “How To Care For My Braces”. She proceeded to give her [well rehearsed] spiel.

She told me that I should stay away from hard foods like carrots, nuts, ice. And sticky foods like mars bars [dramatic pause]. And snickers bars [another dramatic pause]. She went on to list things like Coke, and toffee, and caramel, and Minties, all with a little dramatic pause after each one and a little look into my eyes to gauge my response or to see if I was paying attention. I got the impression that it was my cue to gasp in horror, or frown in protest.

She also told me, I now have to brush three times a day [pause] and floss everyday [pause]. I was about to roll my eyes and go Hello! I’m 27! I already brush and floss everyday!

Then it clicked in my head. Of course! She’s talking to me like a teenager! She must be so used to talking to teenagers. Now I understand her weird pauses and strange looks!

So I decided to politely menion, like a respectable-aged woman, that I don’t eat those kinds of things and I’m actually quite good with my dental hygiene, when she said:

“Oh and you can’t eat curry, red wine, or coffee. It will stain the little rubber bands. In fact, if you eat curry, it will turn them fluoro yellow and you’ll have to come into the clinic to get them replaced.”

I almost fell off the chair in shock “WHAAAAT???!??!?!”


And I suddenly felt like a teenager.

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Mirror Shot

3 May 2006

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a mirror shot. The truth is, I broke my camera a few weeks ago. Nothing glamorous, it just stopped working one day and then refused to turn on again.

Usually I’d clap with glee, because now I have an excuse to buy a new camera. But I’m so in love with my Canon S45 that I almost cried. Even looking at prices for the newer S80 made me wince back tears. So I decided to get my old camera fixed rather than buy a new one. In the meantime I’ve been borrowing cameras here and there, and it just doesn’t feel the same. In a “cheating on my camera” kinda way.

 Other things to note. If you look carefully, I do believe this is the first time I’m showing off the colour of several walls in our house – KANGAROO. A dark neutral grey brown. I like.

I toyed with the idea of having a luscious deep dark red wall. But after living with pink walls for 2 years, the last thing I wanted to see was PINK reflected off every light surface in the house on a sunny afternoon.

 I get my braces put on tomorrow. Top and bottom. For three months. Feeling a bit self conscious about it suddenly. Stocking up my fridge for a weekend of soup making.

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Conversation of the week (and it’s only Monday)

1 May 2006

After pre-kindy today, I asked my 3 year old, “So Callum, what did you have for lunch today?”
He said, “We ate CRUFFLES. They were yum.”
“Wow! What are cruffles? Do you mean crumpets?”
“Do you mean waffles?”
“Are they round?”
“Are they long”
“Are they brown?”
“Sigh. Noooo.”
“Hey Callum! What did you have for lunch today?”
“We ate spaghetti. It was yum.”
“You said you ate CRUFFLES!!” I blasted.
“Oooh, what’s a cruffle? And can we eat some? They sound yum.”