Archive for October 2006
Summer is almost here, and tis the season for outdoor weddings! Yay! I have something like 3 weddings to go to and I’m scouring the internet for some nice looking dresses to wear. No luck so far. Anyone have any favourite sites to share??
(These dresses are from Anthropologie.)
Earlier this year I won a free Whale Watching Eco-Adventure at Mills Charters. We bought another ticket for my husband and booked for this weekend. It was INCREDIBLE!
The day could not have been more perfect. The weather was stunning. No wind. No waves. The ocean was as flat as a pond. And most importantly, the ride in the boat was smooth and cruisey.
About 30 minutes after setting off, we found a pod of 4 whales. I ran up to the bow of the boat and took heaps of great photos! We followed them for quite a bit. Just watching them heave up and dive down. Their huge dark shadows slowly breaking the surface of the still waters. Occasionally showing a bit of tail. It was very cool.
The whole experience was exactly what you’d expect from watching whales – being filled with amazement, sense of serenity, majesty, mystery, awe and calmness. Anger towards whaling, helplessness towards global warming and environment pollution.
My only amusing story to report – my husband and I used be regular scuba divers, and we’ve both had some pretty rough boat rides off the WA coast – (imagine 14 people crammed onto a small boat, riding through rain and storm, all throwing up and urinating onto the deck, and you, holding on with your dear life while huge waves crash into your side of the boat, drenching you with water, threatening to drag you overboard).
So we both instinctively prepared ourselves for the worst. We packed towels, spare wet weather jackets, drink bottles, dry biscuits, sea sick tablets, sun cream, wore our crappiest jeans, shoes, hats and sunnies (in case we lost them), and fastened every valuable item against our body. We looked like a ridiculous pair of seasoned sea dogs.
And lo and behold, the boat was complete luxury! The deck was carpeted! They were giving away free drinks, fruitcake and Tim Tams! There were little grannies dressed in their Sunday best. And a bunch of young woman wearing red stilettos and expensive grey skinnies. It was all very amusing. I like to think if we ended up stranded on a deserted island, my dry bisucits would most certainly make me the Alpha Woman.
I finally bought myself a new digital camera! My old one broke in March, and I’ve been borrowing my sister’s camera since then. It took me a few months to research, save up, ask around… and I settled on a Canon Powershot A700. Basically a well priced compact camera, with full manual controls. I’m very happy.
I must admit, I was momentarily dazzled – but not overly impressed – by all the new colouring features. Are they really neccessary? Maybe I’m just a bit old school. Or too much of a Photoshop geek.
Here (above photo) you can take a black + white photograph and choose a colour to remain as it is.
The pic is a wall in our dining room. Lilies are from our garden. Picture hanging on the wall was taken by my husband during his wildlife doco days. Feel free to peek at more snap happy shots here.
Today I’ve realised that I can’t keep up with my boys.
They just have too much energy. They can literally race around doing new, exciting and different activities ALL MORNING AND AFTERNOON, then beg for MORE PLAYTIME in the evening. Their capacity for stimulation and activity is unbelievable. And I am just a woman. A 28 year old woman, who after 3 hours of relentless, immature PLAYPLAYPLAYPLAYPLAAAAAAAY, has a brain the size of a pea, and can’t talk to another human being without making robotic sound effects for objects.
Sunday I woke up at 5am. I scoffed down breakfast. Didn’t have time for a cup of tea. And I raced out the door, with my houseguest. We picked up a friend. Loaded stuff into my car boot, until I wasn’t sure if it would shut.
We drove over to a local swap meet. We met some other friends there. All 6 of us laid out about 3 boot-loads of old clothes onto a blanket. We had dresses, skirts, pants, jeans, jumpers, jackets, tops, camis, track suits, shorts, shoes, earrings, handbags, even skin care products. There was so much stuff. Some items still had price tags on them! Our mountain made me cringe with shame at the sheer waste of money women spend on crap. *Guilty laugh*
A couple of weeks earlier, the girls had a clothes swap night. The leftovers were brought to the swap meet. And the remainders would be donated to charity. We made something like $100 (I think). It was heaps of fun. At first we were selling stuff for $5 or $3. Then it fell to $1 per item. And by the end of it we were trying to give it away for free.
I walked around looking at all the other stuff for sale. It was all very quaint. I bought a gorgeous looking cactus (which sells for $20 in nurseries). I was actually keeping my eye out for some large retro serving bowls. None. I was tempted to buy some toys for the kids. But we already have 3 sets of lego. I saw some beautifully large conch shells. But do I really need a shell?? All in all, I wasn’t in the mood for buying other people’s crap.
We hoofed over to the other side of town to a friend’s housewarming bbq. Heaps of people, nice conversations, yummy food, lovely house – but it had a small courtyard. Small children and small spaces? I thought a disaster would befall us, but my two boys surprised me.
They kept themselves amused. Climbing up and down the benches. Playing with ice. Helping themselves to food. Playing with a ball. Stomping on leaves. Finding pegs on a line and making a game out of it.
At one point Sean disappeared. Everyone in the courtyard had a semi heart attack. But I knew where he was.
In the deepest, darkest, and most dirtiest corner of our backyard… we have an ugly, scraggly, old rose bush that – on many occassions – I have been tempted to burn it to the ground and replace with a more pleasant looking green thing.
However, it’s saving grace is its flowers – soft, floppy white petals with a beautiful glow of pink; And perhaps the intensity of its bloom – it is COVERED with roses. It looks like a giant white brain… with white tentacles.
Callum has started a couple of new classes this week.
Dance Classes : It’s not a formal dance class, like jazz or ballet. It’s a music and movement class for 2-4 years olds, mainly about – following a dance/action routine, moving your body in imaginative ways, dancing and moving with props, co-ordination etc. He simply LOVES it. He was a star student from day one – from start to finish, he did everything his teacher said, following her every move with intense concentration. He doesn’t look over his shoulder at me once.
It’s all for a bit of fun really. It’s just me, a couple of girlfriends, and all our kids jumping around having a good time. I’m not actually intending to follow through into competitions and concerts. Unless Callum REALLY REALLY wants to, I guess.
Swimming Classes : Callum has always enjoyed splashing and paddling in pools. He also loves leaping into the waves at the beach. But it’s been 2 years since Callum has been in an actual swimming class. And I was the one who was anxious about it. 3 years olds learn to swim with a teacher. No parents allowed in the pool.
I can’t say he enjoyed it. He participated and followed instructions. He even dipped his head in the water, when told to, without kicking up a fuss. But he was very cautious and hesitant the whole time. And he didn’t smile once. I’m sure he’ll learn to like it. In fact, he has no choice – Learning How To Swim is rated as an “essential life skill” for my boys.
As well as : How To Cook A Three Course Dinner. How To Look After Your Clothes. And How To Love Your Mother.
Today I was in the kitchen when I heard a crash and a scream. Sean came running and crying. I stooped down, gave him a cuddle and contrived some, “Aaww poor baby! What happened?!”
He sobbed, “My toot-toot fall down!”
*Crickets chirped in an empty forest* …..Did my baby just talk to me?
“MY TOOT-TOOT FALL DOWN!!!” He growled and waved Thomas the Tank Engine in my face. “FALL! DOWN!”
Did my iddy biddy baby boy just made a sentence? Did he really string four words together?
I squeaked, “Ok….. do you want me to….. kiss it better?”
“NO!” And he stomped off in a huff.
Note to self : We need more babies in this house or I’m going to cry.
Last weekend was the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. We didn’t have a chance to celebrate it because we were on holiday. In fact, we seem to miss it every year due to something or rather.
I have very happy childhood memories of the Lantern Festival. I remember all the beautiful cellophane lanterns shaped as roosters and goldfish. The yummy mooncakes. I remember everyone walking around the neighbourhood at sunset with their lanterns glowing. I remember some catching on fire and others melting. It was so much fun!
Anyway this weekend, I organised a small kid-friendly, dinner party with a few of our friends. The kids and I decorated the house with cheap + colourful paper lanterns. After dinner we all lit lanterns and walked around the backyard till dark. It was all a bit more chaotic than I expected. But the kids had fun.
I’ve been running around like a headless chook these days. It’s as if I’m in a blind panic – hurrying to get a whole stack of odd projects started and out of the way… before Christmas. I know it sounds absurd. But I can’t shake it off.
Picture of me in a dull change room, trying on jeans. Waiting for photos to develop before meeting a friend in a more “trendier” part of town for coffee.
I made some bologna styled pasta for dinner. I knew it was a hit by the way Sean was rubbing it in his hair.
He devoured his second serve and screamed for more. But by the time I put it in front of him, he had lost interest and started to play (however, I felt it was more of a mockery directed towards my failure to put LOTS of food in his bowl in the first place.).
Ok. The peek a boo was insanely cute. But I was so not impressed with the mess.
My 3½ year old boy made me some “pretty necklaces”. What a sweetie.
Actually they look like the super cool jewellery from Dinosaur Designs!
We took a last minute trip up to Lancelin for the weekend. It was fantastic! No big agenda. No stress. We spent all of the time hanging out on the beach, paddling in the water, making sand castles, making rivers and dams, taking walks, playing in playgrounds, sitting in cafes, drinking tea and eating ice cream. Ahhhh, it was so relaxing. Photos here.
We had 10 friends who were on a 2 day Surf Camp in Lancelin – my husband and I were so jealous! We’re both dying to learn how to surf. And the Surf School sounded really cool. One day. Soon. Maybe this summer. But not this weekend.
Lancelin is a 1½ hour drive north of Perth. It’s basically a little crayfishing town, known for it’s excellent windsurfing and gorgeous beaches. Right now, it’s the middle of the school holidays – and because we were late in booking accommodation, we were happy to stay anywhere! I was even preparing for another traumatic night in a caravan. But we ended up in a house. No, a shack. An old fisherman’s shack. And I couldn’t stop laughing at how ODD (and crappy) it was.
Anyway. The weather was stunning. The beaches were absolutely gorgeous. The water lapping onto the shore was still, calm and shallow. Perfect for little kids to paddle. The sand was fine like crystal flour. Add water and it turned into this gooey clay, great for sand castle building.
I was surprised that there were so few people there. The beaches were practically deserted. The town was peaceful. The roads were quiet. We fell in love with the place and vowed to come back next year.
We met some really nice strangers on the beach. We chatted while our kids played with their kids. Then the four of us sat on the beach, ate pizza for dinner, while we watched the sun set over the glassy ocean, with the world turning golden red. Life was grand. And as I keep saying, we felt like millionaires.
I couldn’t resist putting up a picture of my boys in their kilts.
Interesting story about how I made the children’s kilts. I did a bit of research on “How to make kilts” on the internet. As you do. And I was inundated with really complicated patterns and instructions involving inside and outside aprons, linings and waist suppression(?). Way too complicated and involved for my liking. See Figure A, by R. E. Glover.
I wanted to find something a bit simpler. I mean, after all, a kilt is just a pleated wrap skirt right? Hyuk. Anyway, I managed to find a guy who made mini kilts for his GI Joe dolls. His pattern was much more my style. Cut here, fold here, fold here, sew there and you’re done! (Ok I made a few modifications.)
So I went to the fabric shop, looking to buy some standard cotton with tartan print. I found some cute ones. Stuff that looked like primary school pencil cases! I was just about to buy 3m, when I called my mother. Just to double check my length estimate.
She said, “You’re buying tartan? Oh don’t do that! I have some right here!”
Apparently in 1986 my mother’s sister travelled to Edinburgh to live and work as a nurse. She bought several metres of pure wool tartan fabric and two child sized kilt pins. She gave them to my mother, and they have been sitting in a cupboard for 20 years! What’s even weirder, is that the tartan pattern is a vague resemblance to my husband’s family Scottish “clan”. Weeeeeird.
It was all pretty simple to make. The pleats were a bitch though. And I couldn’t get the kilt to sit nicely on the boy’s waist. I tried buttons and buckles. And finally settled with a strip of velcro.
I was surprised that the boys didn’t fiddle or wriggle uncomfortably with the whole “skirt” aspect of it. Because in one fatal swoop, they could’ve ripped that velcro right off and shown the world what Scottish men really wore under their kilts. (Answer : Their Spiderman jocks)
So this is me. A bridesmaid at my sister-in-law’s medieval wedding.
All the dresses were specially made. The men’s outfits were made by family members. Men had swords! Guests were asked to come dressed in theme.
There were medieval props. Someone playing a harp. Red carpet. Rose petals. And a fitting garden setting + dining chamber for a feast. It was absolutely lovely. And heaps of fun!
Photos here at Flickr.