Showing posts from October, 2011

U is for ... Uluru

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, and in the centre of Australia, is one of the wonders of the modern world. It's also a place I've never visited although I'd love to one day. I think the sheer immensity of this monolith would be enough to render most people speechless.

DH worked in a tiny speck of a place several hours drive from Uluru when our eldest was just six months old. He loved it! Not just the landscape, and the wildlife (saw crocodiles out sunning themselves on his Sunday walk) but also the climate.

I doubt very much that I would enjoy the climate for more than a few days at a time but I would still love to go there.

I'd also love to visit Tasmania (in fact, if our kids weren't all grown up and settled in New Zealand with our adorable granddaughters, I'd love to live in Tasmania for a year or two or longer) and Ireland and Norfolk Island (see a pattern here? I'd attracted to those places that have historical links with convicts). And I wouldn't mi…

T is for ... Torment

n. Someone belonging to our family - generally male - who likes to tease other members of family - particularly spouse but not confined to.

It's when the family gets together that I'm so often aware of defective genes that are passed down from generation to generation. Just last week Son#2 told me that his wife had said such-and-such. His wife smiled indulgently and I hastened to assure her (I hope) that I know what Son#2 is like. After all, he's been tormenting family members since the day he was born!

It's quite possible that DIL#2 had said what he said she'd said - in a totally different context. Or - just as likely - she'd said those words in separate conversations over the course of a day - or week - and he had taken them and put them all together.

But he can't be blamed. He can't help it. He's just like his father ... who is just like his father ... who apparently was just like his mother. I used to come away from visits to DH's family wonder…

S is for ... Saturday

Which is almost over ... at least for me because I'm shattered. In the last fourteen-and-a-half hours I have given a nine-month-old baby a bottle and breakfast before going off to attend a First Aid Course where I had to consider various emergency scenarios.

Coming home I managed to sneak in time for a cup of tea and a short-lived sit-down before cleaning up the kitchen and helping to cook dinner for seven adults and three children as well as enjoy another one not yet at the solid stage. More clean-up duties in the kitchen and then I help bath and shampoo three little girls.

Finally, I held a child in my arms as she went off to sleep and then slipped her into her sleeping bag where I spent several seconds trying to remove slippery fabric that had become stuck in the zipper.

Now I'm tired and ready for bed. And it's only an hour or so past seven-thirty!

R is for ... Reflection

More specifically, reflection on our latest renovations. In three words:

Don't do it.


Don't do it.


Because even though it's totally worth it, it was probably one of the worst experiences we ever lived through. By the end I was ready to just walk away from the house and pretend it had never existed.

But, now that it's nearing completion (at least from the point of view of the various contractors), we're enjoying the new space and are glad we survived it.

However, if I ever so much as hint at wanting to do it again, please refer me back to this post. Apparently some crazy people go from one renovation to the next but I doubt I'll fall into that category.

From this:

to this:

Q is for ... Quiver

According to my dictionary, a quiver is a case for arrows. I read once that a quiverful was at least five and because of that verse in Psalm 127 I always wanted at least five children.

I got five and I can say that that passage is right when it says:

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.
(Psalm 127:4-5a, NKJV)

P is for … Parenting

And since I’ve only ever parented boys, I guess it’s about parenting boys.

And what do I know about parenting boys?

Absolutely nothing.

I knew nothing when I started and I still know next to nothing.

About a year ago someone complimented me on my sons and suggested that I teach other parents how to parent boys. This person had known my boys after they’d left home – when I was no longer around to remind them to brush their teeth and mind their manners. She and her husband ran the hostel that two of my sons had lived in (and another is planning to next year) and in which another son had been a frequent visitor (he married the favourite resident). So I guess she knew them as well as any outsider could. The only problem is … I don’t really know what I did right except to pray and hope and pray and try different things and pray and love them to bits.

I did have the disadvantage (or advantage if you like) of having grown up surrounded by females. I had one sister and no brothers and a father tha…

O is for ... Overgrown.

Our backyard that is.

Son#5 offered to mow it during his holidays but for reasons I have yet to comprehend, DH turned him down.

I'm not sure what he's waiting for. Wildlife to take up residence perhaps? Or maybe to see how long grass will grow in a year?

Actually, I tell a lie. I've just remembered why DH said No. It's because we had problems with our plumbing in the holidays. Water was bubbling up from behind our new gully trap and also from a place in the ground where old pipes had supposedly been removed. DH had to get out with a long stick and poke holes in the grass trying to find where the pipes were. He found them, dug holes, and the plumbers came and fixed our problem. But DH doesn't want the holes filled in until he's drawn up a little plan of where they are ... in case there's a next time and he needs to find those underground pipes again.

That was two weeks ago and the grass has grown in that time and will continue to grow. And Son#5 will not be in a…

N is for ... New Zealand

I had an entirely different theme for this post, but given last night's victory, decided that I had to show some allegiance to this country that I live in even if I rarely support them sporting wise.

So N is for New Zealand who won the game against France 8-7 and are the proud owners of the Rugby World Cup. Having watched the game as well as the game between Australia and Wales on Friday night I can now honestly say that I have watched two games of rugby without falling asleep.

I will admit [looks around to see who is listening] that I really didn't care either way who won and even cheered France on in some parts of the game. I will also admit that I felt no emotion when either team received their medals, unlike on Friday night when Australia received their bronze medals or when I heard my national anthem for the first time in a long time.

As one of my sons pointed out: they couldn't lose regardless of what team won. With Welsh ancestry on their father's side, French anc…

M is for ... Masterclass

Just over a week ago I had the privilege of doing a masterclass with an internationally acclaimed flute teacher. Okay, I didn't do the masterclass. I sat in and listened to others play and the comments and tips that he gave them. But I did do the workshop beforehand and that in itself was inspiring.

And then there was the concert the following night! I could've listened to him play all night if it hadn't been for the hard seats that we had to sit on. The concert was held in what had once been a school chapel for the local Catholic secondary girls' school. I've attended services in a Catholic Church on three separate occasions and all were funerals so I don't know if priests get to drone on and on like some ministers but if they do - well those poor pupils who had to sit on those hard seats to listen to mass.

M is also for music and I've loved music since I was little. Some of my earliest memories are going to sleep listening to my mother play the piano or or…

L is for ... Lack

Lack of internet connectivity which seems to be getting worse not better. I was beginning to think that I wouldn't be able to post today and just think what a shame that would have been. lol

L is also for light and I finally have a light switch for my kitchen/dining that works. Okay, I'm still waiting on those pendant lights, but when they're finally up and operating I now have a switch with which to turn them on and off. I'm not sure Son#1 will approve of how it's been done (DH was less than pleased with the final result) but at least we can now say we have a light switch.

L is also for lemon yoghurt cake which was super easy to make and super easy to eat. I suspect I'll be trying this recipe again. And for licorice which if you don't like it can be hard to gain admittance to the family circle (DIL#1 managed but so far she's the only one who doesn't like the stuff and there's no lack of willing volunteers to eat her share!)

L is for laundry (laund…

K is for ... Kids

Kids who Kut the Kurls off their Kid sister before Kutting their own hair.

If it sounds like Dr Seuss, believe me, it wasn't funny. Their mother cried and I wanted to.

The Most Adorable Granddaughter in the World#1 found a pair of scissors and put them to use. The result was not successful. Not in the least. While The Most Adorable Granddaughter#2's curls have sprung back and the damage is virtually undetectable, the same cannot be said for The Most Adorable Granddaughter#1 whose hair is stick straight. Not only has she a super short fringe with an even shorter layer on top, she also chopped off a lot of her length, including all the blonde bits that we all adored. And what's even worse is that family photos are in two week's time!

But ... hair will grow ... and The Most Adorable Granddaughter#1 now reminds me of myself at the same age ... and they're still super, super Kute Kids!

J is for ... Journal

I call it my Prayer Journal but a more correct name would be Spiritual Journey Journal. I have had three (I think) over my adult life. In them I write down prayer requests, Bible verses, and any lines from a devotion or sermon that I've found inspiring.

It's fascinating to look back over past entries and to see how God has led us over the years and how He has answered prayer (not always in the way we expect). These journals are concrete evidence that God never lets us down. Often I can see trends emerging that I was totally unaware of at the time. At times, I'm amazed at the journey I've been on and how God has stretched me and grown me.

If you don't have such a journal: get one! It doesn't have to be pretty (I covered one notebook from my grandmother with fabric and another one was a gift from my sister) but I'll guarantee you'll be surprised at what discoveries you make when you start to write on its pages.

I ... is for Irritation

All those little things and habits of other people (because of course I don't have any irritating habits) that are irksome. Here are my top ten not in any particular order. Naturally how irksome I find these little irritations depends on how much sleep I've had, what side of the bed I got out on, what I had for dinner last night (must remember to go easy on the red onion from now on), and what direction the wind is blowing.

Irritation#1: Our dog Kielsie bringing dirt up onto my nice new blue deck. It doesn't matter how many times a day I sweep and/or scrub the deck, it always looks dirty. Now I know why people paint their decks a dark colour.

Irritation#2: My sewing machine. The bobbin thread keeps breaking. It seems to depend on how the thread is wound onto the bobbin. The trick seems to be to wind it on to a bobbin from the reel of thread and then wind it from the bobbin onto another bobbin. I don't know why this works. It still breaks but not as often. I'd love a…

H is for … Horrendously Horrible Humiliation

You know what I'm talking about. It’s the feeling you get after rushing around the supermarket and loading your trolley/cart to the brim with enough groceries to feed a family for a fortnight and then when you get to the checkout you discover you haven’t got your purse.

It happened to me yesterday and it was horrid.

Thankfully I discovered my purse at home and the horrible nightmare of leaving it in a shop in town didn't eventuate.

It’s probably the same feeling you get when you leave your bike outside knowing that it's a high-risk suburb and when you come back out it’s disappeared and you have to explain to your parents that your only mode of transport has been stolen. (Am I correct Son-you-know-who-you-are?)

But H is also for holidays … and I’m already halfway through this term break and wondering why I can't seem to get through my to-do list ... and for hair which sometimes I think I should cut into a bob and be done with it ... and for health and the fun I had yesterda…

G is for ... Grandparents

When I became a parent, I better understood the sacrifices that my own parents had made. Suddenly I no longer saw them as unfair or irrational but as humans like myself trying to do the best for one that is loved more than life itself.

Now as a grandparent, I've gained a new perspective on the generational gap. I look back to my grandparents and the day that they lived in and forward to the future that my grandchildren will inhabit. The link between the generations seems to be growing stronger not weaker over time.

I was extremely close to my maternal grandmother and even now, almost seventeen years after her death, there are still times that I miss her and long to hear her voice. She was the one who always encouraged me, always understood me, always loved me, never spoke a cross word to me. My love of handiwork must surely come from her for all her daughters are talented with a needle in one form or another. I used to be bemused when people would mistake me for her daughter but no…

F is for ... First

Although perhaps it should be for farewell as I'm wondering if I should keep this blog up. But since I still have twenty more days to go on this self-appointed challenge, first it is.

I'm the firstborn ... but only by default. An elder brother died at birth which perhaps explains why I have some of the characteristics of the first-born and most of the insecurities of the middle-child. I never enjoyed being the eldest and wouldn't wish it on anyone, but someone has to do it. I'm told that being the middle child or the youngest isn't any fun either, so it seems that no birth order is perfect.

Right now I can't think of any advantages to being first (perhaps that's because I only had one sibling and she got to do most everything at the same time that I did which I always considered extremely unfair because that meant that I had had to wait two-and-a-half-years longer than she had before I got to do the same things) but I can think of a number of things that star…

E is for ... Eggs

I'm not a huge fan of eggs but it hasn't always been so. As a first-time expectant mother, I craved eggs. I would go home from work, cook myself an omelette, eat it with enjoyment, and then promptly bring it all up again. I did this night after night after night.

You would think that I would've learnt.

Since Son#1's birth, I've never really enjoyed eating eggs. I'll have them if they're served up to me, but often I'll just pass. Meals on Sunday nights are traditionally "help yourself to whatever you can find in the pantry/refrigerator and feel like eating" type meals. Often - especially as our sons have gotten older and more proficient in the kitchen - this has included eggs. Often too, the person cooking has offered to cook for other family members. If this has included eggs, I usually decline. Not always, but most times.

I buy 2-1/2 dozen eggs at a time and they can still be there a month later. Apart from baking, I never think to use them. Why…

D is for ... Dreams, Delight, And a Tiny Bit of Disappointment

You didn't really think I was going to do twenty-six posts straight and not slip in a few about our recent renovations, did you? After all, for better or worse, this has been a major portion of our life for the last four months or so.

Whenever things get too difficult or we feel unable to do something, we just have to slip in "we're renovating" into our conversation, and people immediately sympathise. It's been an excuse for not practicing the flute as often as I ought, for not losing weight, for being unable to concentrate, for preparing the same meal night after night, for a garden that is overgrown and a lawn that is all chewed up like a war zone, for not being able to find anything, and a host of other things.

But the worst of it is over and now we can sit back and look with delight at the changes that have taken place. And delighted we are. In fact it's hard to say what delights us most: is it to be rid of the dropped ceilings and warren of rooms that are …

C is for ... Chocolate Fruit Cake

I cannot remember the source of this recipe but I do remember that I've made it twice in my life. Once about fifteen or so years ago, and the second time just a few days ago.

I had - perhaps unwisely given my lack of culinary skills - asked DH what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday and he had instantly replied, "Chocolate fruit cake." Obviously if it had left that great an impression on him, I could only comply with his wishes. Right?

Be warned: the preparation time for this cake is lengthy but it's well worth it. I've used metric measurements but any online converter should give equivalents.

The cake is excellent as a Christmas cake but is obviously good for other special occasions too. I wouldn't make it as an everyday cake ... but that's just me. This cake will easily serve 24 or more. It's quite rich and heavy and a little goes a long way.

Chocolate Fruit Cake
220g dried figs, sliced
140g pitted prunes, halved
180g glace apricots, diced (if you…

B is for ... Beauty

I’ve struggled most of my adult life to feel attractive and the older I’ve become the more intense the struggle. I thought I was alone in my struggle. After all, I look around and see many beautiful women my age who seem to exude confidence along with their stunning beauty.

But recent conversations online and in real life have led me to believe that there’s more to this than I realised. Women whom I admire as having it all together (you know the ones I’m talking about: gorgeous on the outside as well as the inside) admit that they feel unattractive. When I express my surprise, they admit to feelings and thoughts similar to my own. Even more amazing is that some of them look at me and have the same thoughts I have about them.

There’s something wrong here (and I'm not referring to the fact that they obviously need glasses). Why is it that so many women fail to see their own beauty? Why do we want to look like someone else whom we think is far more beautiful than ourselves? Can we bla…

A is for ... Apple Tree

A is for apple tree which our dog seems intent on digging up. And not just the apple tree but also almost every other fruit tree in our garden. This has something to do with the animals that live behind us and the fact that between the fence and those ever-so-alluring animals lie our fruit trees. Not that our dog is able to get to the animals that live on the other side of the fence, but she certainly tries for all that she’s worth. Since the fence is too high to jump, she’s decided to dig under it. I can’t tell you the number of times that DH has had to fill in holes and put up barricades to try to stop her digging. All to no avail.

But back to the apple tree. Several weeks ago I was given for free a Black Boy Peach tree and a Country Taste Apple Tree. I know about Black Boy peaches and am looking forward to the time when we can pick our own fruit from that particular tree, but the apple tree I’ve never heard of before and neither it seems has anyone else. It’s as if such a tree doesn…

A Challenge

Are you up for a challenge? With all our renovations my blog posts have become rather ho-hum. Stress, time-pressure and a whole host of other reasons are to blame. I want to change that but at the moment I seem to be lacking in creativity. No post ideas immediately come to mind.

So … I’ve decided to blog for the next twenty-six days on … [drum roll please] … the alphabet. Well not the alphabet per se, but on subjects that correspond to the letter for the alphabet for that day. So today will be a subject beginning with A; tomorrow will be something beginning with B; and so on.

I have a feeling that after F or G I’m going to find this pretty hard going. But hopefully that will all be part of the fun of it. And whoever heard of a challenge that wasn’t well a challenge? There has to be some difficulty in there somewhere.

So who’s game? Leave a comment if you’re willing to play along and let’s have some fun together. (By the way, start whenever you’re ready. If the timing’s not convenient jus…

Not An Official Update (So That I Don't Have To Eat My Words From My Last Post)

A raging sore throat timed its arrival with the first day of our school holidays but even that couldn't stop me moving into my new kitchen yesterday.

Yes, you read that correctly. I. HAVE. MOVED. INTO. MY. NEW. KITCHEN. Now before you start blowing those silly streamer whistles let me hasten to add that it's not finished yet. Close enough that I can move in but not enough that we can say goodbye to the contractors forever. For we still need to stay on their good side if we want them to finish the job. But at least the list of things to do is slowly getting smaller and smaller.

Notice I said slowly. I still don't understand how it can take over a week to paint one door or twice that long to put in a light switch (which they still haven't done and I can only assume that they are going to come back to finish). But the cupboards, bench top and oven had been installed and most of the painting completed and it was time to move in before the kitchen became outdated.

Friday afte…

Week Sixteen: Dribs and Drabs

There will be no more progress reports. Not because I'm now able to happily report that the renovations are complete (I wish!) but because things are now happening in dribs and drabs and there seems to be little or no progress from one week to the next.

This is the frustrating part. So close ... and yet so far away. There are really only a handful of things to be completed: install the range hood over the stove; finish the wiring; tile the splashback; paint the doors (although it now appears that the painters have packed up and left for good and that we're going to have to paint the doors); put up the light shades (Son#1 is ready to do this as soon as everything else is complete); and move in.

I'm ready to move in. More than ready. I had high hopes that it would happen last weekend ... and then when that didn't happen I had planned on this weekend ... now I'm beginning to believe that I'm doomed to looking at an almost-complete kitchen for the rest of my life and…