Archive for August 2006


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Picture Header Gallery

31 August 2006

Since January 2004, I’ve been designing little headers for some of my daily posts. This is a collection of my favourite ones from over the years.

3 May 2004
I caught my son spending most of his morning under the dinner table. I wasn’t sure what he was doing… (read)

22 January 2004
Our Australian version of the Chinese New Year’s Eve Banquet resembled something not far from a barbecue…. (read)

1 March 2004
I’m taking a few days offline to rest and relax…. (read)

16 January 2004
I’ve been feeling a little empty lately… (read)

23 March 2004
Callum stands up by himself now! He’s 11 months and he’s turning into such an easy-going, happy, funny little kid… (read)

11 February 2004
I really enjoy my morning jogs. So far I’m doing it 3 days a week…. (read)

4 January 2005
I thought since it was the beginning of a new year, I’d start by sharing something …a little closer to my heart. (read)

Photos stolen from all over the web

26 January 2005
I have to admit, I didn’t have a very typical Australia Day… (read)

14 August 2004
Sigh. My little sister is off to Japan for a couple of years… (read)

23 August 2005
It’s strange to think that the city was once my playground.
Smells of strangers. Coffee. Darkness. Music. Money.
Walking past moments reeking with intimacy now grown cold.

9 February 2005
Happy Lunar New Year everyone!! I swear I’m going to burst with all this food + baby in my tummy… (read)

22 April 2005
My sister tells a very funny story where she’s driving in her car, by herself, to a friend’s picnic. Sitting next to her on the passenger seat is her contribution to the picnic fare. A huge watermelon and a knife… (read)

Images stolen from all over the web

8 June 2005
I would see him every Tuesday night. 7pm. At the petrol station.
As I filled up my car on the way home from work.
He would recognise my car as I drove in. He’d always walk over.

22 July 2005
We’re going on a little holiday next week! Yay!
Ok it’s not camping proper. But we are having a campfire.

26 January 2004
There’s something really cool about celebrating Australia Day just a few days after the Chinese New Year… (read)

15 April 2004
Kicked off my bunny slippers and went gallivanting around town today. Ok not really… (read)

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Next he’ll want the car keys

30 August 2006

Yesterday, my husband took Callum’s trainer wheels off his bike. They practiced for about an hour.

Today. He can ride his bike!! He can ride for about 20m, then he gets bored because he’s all by himself, he stops, steps down gracefully and shouts out “Hurry up dad!!”.

We managed to catch it on video. And you can hear the stunned silence of both my husband and I… shocked, astonished, euphoric and exploding with a pride, happiness and terror that is parenthood.

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Lounging Around on a Monday Afternoon

28 August 2006

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Chilling in Good Company

27 August 2006

I’m thoroughly enjoying the company of our house guest. It’s been excellent. She has slotted [most superbly] into our lives – in our daily domestic grind, our social outings and our quirky marital antics.

I guess the truth is, I’ve never had a housemate before. I lived at home until the day I got married. Driving my parents crazy. And vice versa.

I’ve never lived with friends; I’ve never lived with strangers. I’ve never had to put up with someone who finds stray animals on the street and nurses them back to health in a shoebox; and I’ve definitely never had to section off corners in the fridge to then make sworn enemies over half eaten ice cream.

The picture is us at Gino’s late one evening. Having a swell time chatting about everything under the sun and nothing in particular.

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Catwalks and Shipwrecks

26 August 2006

Last night my husband and I went to a fashion + textile show. There were lots of weird arty lingerie. Vintage victorian corsets. Ruffly pin cushion things. Curvy, smiling models and a pumping nightclub atmosphere. It was fun!

We met a friend. Chatted to a few people we knew. Had a few drinks. We even went out for coffee and cake after. But by the end I was feeling a bit ill. Because.

Earlier. We went to Cicerello’s for dinner. I scoffed a huge platter of deep fried, battered seafood. All by myself. It was greasy and disgusting. But I was soooo hungry. It was 9pm and I hadn’t eaten since 3pm. Because.

Earlier. We went to a talk by Hugh Edwards. Who wrote about the mutiny and shipwreck of the Batavia. It was a really interesting talk! He had lots of amazing shipwreck photos. Crazy scuba diving stories. Stories of sunken treasure, pieces of eight, pirates, and great white sharks.

My husband is a bit of a historical maritime buff. He read the book when he was a kid, so Hugh is a bit of a childhood hero to him. However, the average age of the audience was something like 50-60 years! It was lovely to see all these grandpas and grandmas out and about on a Friday night. There were about 200 of them. All wearing fleecy tracksuits jumpers or respectable navy blue wool blazers with big gold pins.

And I? Ah. Never have I felt so out of place. I was the youngest, only Asian, female with too much make up, wearing a fake fur coat and stilettos. (Hey I was going to a fashion gig later!). I thought they were going to refuse my entry pass, or point me to the brothel next door. I felt like such a skank. Particularly because.

Earlier. In the afternoon. I went for a swim. I did 20 laps. Quick shower. Rushed to pick up the kids. And didn’t have time to wash my hair properly. Mmm. Warm crusty chlorine residue. OK I’m exaggerating.

How was your weekend?

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The Other Team

23 August 2006

Our state has two football teams in the national league – the Eagles and the Dockers.

My husband has been an Eagles fan for years. And me? I’ve never really followed the footy with any fervour or passion. So I just roll my eyes and make inappropriate remarks.

However, since the birth of two BOYS -in Australia- I’m acutely aware of the cultural necessity for them to follow the footy.

So. I decided to promote a bit of healthy internal-family competition and adopt the OTHER team as my very own. Albeit reluctantly. Because damn, those Eagles have a “Must Be A Hottie” requirement to be in the team. They are all. So. Hot. But I digress.

We were a bit unsure as to how to split the boys up. So one day we asked Callum which colour he liked. He said blue. And I said, Ok done. You’re on dad’s team.

So this weekend, both teams are playing against each other in the biggest media-hyped derby in the history of the universe. I let myself be swept up in the craziness, and it’s so much fun!

I’ll be wearing my colours and shouting for my Freo boys this Sunday, but honestly… I’ll be perving on the other team.

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Girls Made This

22 August 2006

I just love asking complete strangers where they bought things from!

I’m a serial people/fashion watcher… and when I’m walking down the street and I see a chick wearing something utterly gorgeous, I’ll chase her down and ask her where she bought it from.

Thus yielding a perpetual, never-ending window-shopping experience.

Anyway. On the weekend I met a woman. She wore a funky pendant and it came from Girls Made This.

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Sean – 17 months

21 August 2006

Sean isn’t the most charming of kids. But thank goodness he’s cute!

We call him our little Viking. Quick tempered, impatient, aggressive, destructive, explosive. He’s a little monster and I blame his red-haired, kilt-wearing, and possibly Nordic, ancestry.

When he throws a tantrum, he has absolutely no control over his rage. I literally have to step away from him for a few moments, because he’ll bite, punch, head butt, body slam, and bore his fingers into my eyes.

He’s an intense little fellow. Yet I love him to bits. Because at the same time, he’s intensely loving and affectionate. More so than his big brother, who’s more cool and indifferent about showering love upon his mother.

Sean just loves to lay on the cuddles and kisses. He’ll cling and nuzzle like a baby koala. He’ll lie on my chest, singing songs to me, until I have no circulation in my arms. And my favourite – he likes to run up to me, surprise me with a huge goofy grin, then run away chuckling to himself.

Deep down Sean’s really a big ol teddy bear.

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Out of the Loop

19 August 2006

We went to a web industry black tie function last night.

It’s been a while since I’ve shown my face around the industry social scene. I know heaps of people from all over the place, and I love catching up with them. I love hearing all the latest news and gossip, who’s working where, who’s started their own business, who’s out of business, who has left in search of greener pastures. Despite the familiarity of it all, I still felt quite “out of it”.

So much so, the highlight of the evening was centred around catching up with friends, meeting new people and the wearing of my new dress. Or rather, my newly borrowed dress. Can you tell I don’t get out much?

I sat next to one of the organisers, who had great hair and – my god – she was just so NICE!

I caught up with the Monk man himself.

I met two people who independently swore that putting their sons into Scouts was the best thing they ever did.

I met a lovely Singaporean lass and we swapped favourite online shopping sites and Chinese + Australian wedding stories.

Our little circle grew and grew and I found myself sandwiched between two extremely hot (and drunk) blonde guy twins, who I went to uni with, and to whom I was trying to convince that keeping a blog was not THAT dorky.

We filled up the back corner of the function room and there was a nice buzz in the air at the end of the night. I persuaded everyone to move on to the hotel’s nightclub, but alas it was closed. I was so disappointed. But, like I said, I don’t get out much.

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Everybody Loves Cupcakes!

17 August 2006

I was looking around for some cupcake decorating inspiration and stumbled across these beauties by Trish. Grassy flower-pot cupcakes with worms! How cute is that? And she’s got a whole album full of cupcake cuteness!

Ok. I admit, I once had a secret aspiration to be a cake decorator. And an ice sculptor.

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Another Random Thing About Me

16 August 2006

My legal name is not actually Karen Cheng. I’ve changed my surname to take my husband’s name.

It’s is a beautiful classic Scottish name, and after 4 years I’m surprised that I’m still not *completely* used to it being MY name. Every time I hear my name being called in the doctor’s surgery, it takes me a few seconds to register, “Oh shit, that’s me!”

In some ways, it’s a little weird. A part of me feels adrift in the sea of ancestral roots. Like I’ve walked away from a Cheng history and adopted a new identity and legacy of some ancestors I don’t know anything about.

Yet the other part of me feels unwavered, because I -equally- don’t know anything about my Cheng ancestors, except for a couple of cool dinner party stories. Plus I don’t feel any need to prove to others who I still am – Chinese.

The reasons for my name change are the obvious ones. I wanted to be connected to my husband and children. I wanted my family to be a tight little unit. Avoid confusions. And I think it’s a nice tradition.

After I got married and changed my name, my husband and I took a few hours off work one day, to visit the bank.

After the epic of filling out forms to combine bank accounts, the clerk went over the documents one last time. She spotted that I had signed as “Karen Cheng” and refused to process the documents unless I signed with my new name. I refused back. Arguing that it didn’t matter what I signed, as long as it was the same EVERY time. Grr.

We had a little argument, which resulted in us walking outside to take “a little break”. We went to a nearby cafe and I practised my new signature – the one I’d use for the rest of my LIFE – on bits of soggy paper napkins.

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Starting Early

14 August 2006

My three year old was bored this afternoon.

While I was getting ready to go out, he rummaged through my bag and fished out my digital camera. He managed to turn it on and took two photos.

One fuzzy photo of the floor. And this one of me! I couldn’t believe it! It was so well taken! Good lighting, not blurry, my head wasn’t cut off. I was completely spun out.

Usually. Every time I whip out my digital camera, Callum and I have a “deal”. He sits STILL and smiles for a couple of pics, then HE gets a turn at taking a photo. I guess it’s paid off. But let’s just hope I don’t catch him taking pictures of himself in front of the mirror. Haha!

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A Saturday with all the boring bits

12 August 2006

 This morning I cleaned the shower stall. Believe me, it was terribly exciting. I decided NOT to use any cleaning chemicals. Mainly because of the links between household chemicals and breathing problems in young children. And the fact that I get faint after 5 minutes of breathing the evil fumes.

I used bicarb soda + vinegar and a wet sponge. It did a great job! And damn, I felt good about it. Ok the shower glass isn’t exactly shimmering with a brand new crystal sparkle. But I can live with that.

 My husband took Callum on a bike ride. They go every weekend. Just the two of them. For 2 hours! When they arrived home, they were falling over themselves with laughter, giggles and a zesty glimmer in their eyes.

According to their bike ride report, today my husband was a ROBOT BIKE – who was controlled by Callum’s directions. They were swaying and swerving, weaving through old streets and new streets, going everywhere and no where.

Part of me was insanely jealous, because… well, it just sounded like so much fun. But the other part of me was thrilled that our 3 year old gets such a range of different experiences between the both of us.

 I’m crazy about roasted beetroot at the moment. Especially when it’s all sweet and caramelised with warm, roasted chewiness. Yum. We had some people over for dinner and I made a roasted beetroot + walnut + chive salad. I paired it with a huge nicoise salad platter and lamb chops. It was all soOoO tasty. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good pics, this one is borrowed.

 I did 3 loads of washing, folding and ironing, because the weather forecast is : rain all next week.

 My sister returned for good (for now), after living 2 years in Japan. She’s back living with my parent’s for the time being. It was nice to hang out with her, and fall into old familiar routines again.

 I have to enroll Callum into Pre-school next week. I filled out forms while my mind was struck with images of weeping mothers, standing and waving goodbye at a school gate. Eeek. I don’t know if I’m ready yet.

 Our house guest and I were in a DVD rental shop, and we couldn’t figure out what to borrow. We were umming and ahhing. Taking AGES to decide. We asked the chick who worked there to recommend a “chick flick, but a bit brainier”. She gave us a British arty lesbian film, My Summer of Love. It was… OK. Lush, really well made, but OK.

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I’m Officially an AUNTY!

10 August 2006

Yesterday my brother and his wife became new parents to a beautiful baby boy!

Weighing 2.7kgs (6.2lb). And goodness, he’s soooOOoOOOoooo cute! And little! And squishy! And such a teensy tiny bundle of adorable babyness!

I was completely smitten. I wanted to pinch his cheeks. Smell his hair. Twiddle his fingers. And pick him up to nuzzle my nose into his neck and make funny meep meep noises. Haha, it was as if I’ve never seen a baby before.

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We Dream in Colour

9 August 2006

OMG. I’m SO in love with stuff from We Dream in Colour. Soooo cool!

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When Buying Microwaves…

8 August 2006

Whenever I deal with unfamiliar persons in the public realm – receptionists, sales people, doctors, real estate agents, supermarket cashiers, waiters… I always strive to maintain a certain level of courtesy, dignity and class.

The only time I relinquish all notions of self-respect, poise and dignity – until I’m completely mortified beyond belief at my own behaviour…. is when I’m trying to buy electrical goods. Like today. Buying a microwave.

I don’t think it’s the Asian in me – the instinctive need to buy things CHEAPER. Because as events unfold, it usually comes out more as “flirting” than “bargaining”.

This poor guy. I already knew exactly which brand and model I wanted. Yet I could feel my eyes intentionally light up as he made stupid jokes about the stainless steel range. And as he rambled through facts, figures and heat wattage, I had an abundance of warm smiles to share, cute nose wrinkles, hair swishing and interesting leading questions. At that moment, he was without a doubt the smartest, funniest and coolest guy on the planet. And hey I got a discount!

Actually, I give full credit to the guy. He was truly lovely. And I must’ve seemed like a psycho bimbo from another world.

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‘Dinosaur’ by Callum

7 August 2006

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Girls Night In

6 August 2006

Last night I had a few girls over for dinner and a movie.

They arrived late in the afternoon. One brought chocolate. Lots of it! One took over my kitchen and made a delicious lasagne, while the rest of us stood around, gossiping and giggling about… uh, frozen spinach.

We hit the video shop, swearing to hire the most chickiest chick flick we could find. And good lord, it was awful. But it served it’s purpose. For Mr. Vartan is one damn fine piece of man.

It was an excellent evening. Must do more of this!

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Lady of Leisure

3 August 2006

As much as I love being a parent, sometimes people forget I am a NORMAL PERSON! I do have a life. I do have a personality outside my family. And I DO like talking about things that are not children related.

It’s always been a huge conversation stopper at parties and functions, when someone asks me “What do you do?”. I used to say proudly, “I’m a stay at home mother…” And find myself repeating the whole “No, I don’t work. Yes, I love hanging out with my kids. No, I’m not going back to work soon. Blah blah blah.”

Now I like to joke and say I’m a “Lady of leisure – and I work all day at spending my husband’s money. It’s actually harder than it sounds, but I completely recommend it.”

I once tried to joke about being a mail-order bride, but the person got a bit confused when they discovered I DID like to cook and clean and I accidentally used the Thai name for mint basil.

Anyway, we’re going to the WA Web Awards function on the 18th August. Are you going? Have you bought tickets? Are you going to say hi? And most importantly… what are you going to wear?!?

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Itchy fingers

1 August 2006

I’m sure it’s the wrong time of year to plant herbs, but I was itching to do something in the garden with the kids. They had a great time. However, I was a bit ruthless about them not touching the organic fertiliser. We also planted cherry tomatoes and snow peas.

That evening, my 3 year old kept excusing himself from whatever he was doing, walked outside into the backyard, stood over the vege patch for a minute, then returned to continue playing. Saying, “Awww man! Those tomatoes haven’t growed yet!!”