Lately

Today I saw a magpie attack a cyclist.

I'd known that magpies tend to attack cyclists before, and I'd seen cyclists wear lots of cable ties on their helmets - to deter magpies from attacking - before, but I'd never actually seen it happen. You know, like, in real life.

But today I saw it. 

I was on my way to town, carefully driving up behind a group of cyclists, when this thing "fell out of the sky" and just started going for this lady's helmet, bang!, bang!, bang!, flapping its wings and picking with its beak and I was, like, whoa, dude.

The thing's fierce, man.

***

If you knew how difficult it is to get photos of this dog when she's not in motion, you'd be way more impressed with these images than you currently are. Seriously.




Talking of The Dog: we've got an old bath under the rain/downpipe. She effin' loves the thing.


***

To keep her amused during nappy changes I've tied a toy onto a shelf above the changing table.


She loooooooves that mouse!



It's made me wonder: will it become one of her, you know, attachment toys? The sort that she'll hug when she wants comfort? Because she sees it every day, several times a day, and her brain's probably really, really, really getting used to it by now.

***

Good morning!



***

One thing is sorting toys into groups based on their "nature" - fruits together, cars together, soft toys together...


...but entirely another is the fact that The Man reckons that The Kid has got the hang of counting.

Okay, so he hasn't got the hang of the actual numbers yet - you know, like, "one" and "two" and "three" and whatever - but he's certainly doing his counting in his own little language where he goes, "Uuuuuuuks. Koooooooooks. Uuuuuuuuuuks. Kooooooooooooks," and when he gets to the last number, he shouts it out excitedly.

So, like, if there's three chickens on the lawn, he'll "count" to three - not less, but not further either - and when there's bigger numbers involved, say, seven or eight or something, then he'll probably get messed up somewhere in his counting but... by golly, he's putting a real good effort into it.

***

Otherwise, I'm doing good again - up on my feet, eating, having energy again.

However, now The Man is down. Fun times.

Talking of which: I was talking to a friend today who moves in entirely different circles of people than I do, and there's almost nowhere we go both of us, but when I mentioned to her today that I've been ill for most of the week this week, she went, "Ah, with that stomach bug that everyone seems to be getting at the moment?"

Wow.

How to lose a lot of weight, quickly

A word of warning though: the post below is (a little) gross.

So...

I know of a quick and effective way of losing weight. Guaranteed to work!

It's (hopefully) only available for the next few days or so, so if you want to be part of it, be quick. You'll probably end up having to take a week off work or whatever other engagements you may have but... heck, by the end of the week, there'll be a lot less of you left!

The secret is to come and let me lick you, that'll probably transfer over just enough of the virus that you'll be able to shave off weight like it's no-one's business.

Sure, you won't be able to eat much even if you tried, and you'll end up missing sleep, and you'll feel like crying come evening, but... heck there'll be less of you left!

Call it a Maria Method, renowned for its effectiveness and feared for its intensity. Hah!

PS. Told you it's gross.

PPS. Please be over, please be over, please be over.

On performance enhancing drugs

Just thinking about Robin Williams in my previous post made me want to look up that old stand-up comedy of Live on Broadway again, because I only faintly remembered descriptions of ice lugers dressing like condoms, figure skaters doing handholds where even a gynecologist would go, "Put some gloves on, man!" and women injected full of Botox to a point where they don't have any wrinkles - but they don't have any expressions, either.

However, my favorite bit is from 23:40 to 24:20 where there is talk about an Olympic snowboarder testing positive for marijuana.

;)

http://youtu.be/TQCbbMDHHqE?t=23m40s



Rest in peace, Robin.

Bucket, my friend

Oh for crying out loud...

Viral gastroenteritis. Emphasis on the word viral, meaning: now it's me, too. I'm down, The Kid isn't out of it yet, and The Man is having to stay home with all of us. Ever tried taking care of a (sick) toddler and a breastfeeding baby whilst walking around with a bucket?

God bless The Man. If he weren't such a great guy, I'd be having a meltdown by now, but he is, so we're good.

Talking of good: it was snowing up here yesterday, but today they're forecasting 19 degrees Celsius. It's like one of those old Robin Williams stand-up comedies where the spring hasn't made up its mind yet and the flowers are going, I'm in, I'm out!, I'm in, I'm out!

*she writes at 3 am whilst waiting on stomach cramps to subside again. Paracetamol, my love.

Receptionist knows me by the name

For the number of times I've been to the doctor this last year - myself, or with kids - they might as well give me a Patient Of The Year award - that, or some sort of a membership card.

Off to the doctors' again. The Kid is still ill.

Dear Empire State Building

Dear Empire State Building,

I have never personally met or known anyone that's had childhood cancer. For that, I am grateful.

I am, however, aware of the controversy surrounding #empiregogold at the moment.

I understand how you might feel like you've been put in an impossible situation. You have received thousands of requests, pleas, demands and calls to light up gold this September - to bring awareness of the world of paediatric cancer. I understand how you may be reluctant to actually light up this year, for you may fear that it will send out a signal that if someone batters you long and hard enough, they will get what they want.

But I also understand the people who are doing it, for they (probably) also feel like they've been put in an impossible situation.

For several years they have asked that you light up gold in September, and for several years you have denied their request. This year, they have brought on an onslaught of pressure to get you to light up gold.

Please try to understand that they are not doing it out of meanness, but out of desperation.

They see children getting admitted to paediatric oncology wards where said children receive adult-dose chemotherapy and radiation treatments. These "treatments" sometimes destroy the cancer, but most of the time these "treatments" also harm (or destroy!) children's bodies. Many of them have seen children die, something I hope I will never get to experience.

Every time they see the suffering happen, they are hurt and angry because they get told over and over again that paediatric cancer is under-researched and under-funded; they get told that doctors don't have comprehensive treatment plans for children because comprehensive plans just don't exist yet. There hasn't been enough research, because there hasn't been enough funding.

Yet.

I bet they even feel hurt and angry when they see money donated to major cancer foundations because they know that very little of that money will go towards helping children. To them, it probably feels like an insult, almost, to see money donated to cancer research - because they know that if they want to see research done for paediatric cancer specifically, they need to keep on fundraising for paediatric cancer specifically. Otherwise the money just won't go towards it.

Which is why they are battering you, and which is why they are insulted when you delete their posts from your internet page. (And which is why they are battering you ever harder).

I know that stubbornness is ingrained in American culture - I have a fair deal of it myself. I don't understand all the reasons for which you have denied their continuing applications, but please don't punish these people out of stubbornness.

If it feels like too much of an ask for you this year, please approach their request for next year - I am sure they will send one in! - as if none of this conflict which is boiling this year ever happened. Please find the strength to forgive the people who you feel have acted unrespectfully towards you and I hope they will find the strength to forgive you for not lighting up gold in the past.

They are parents, siblings and friends of children who have either battled cancer, are battling it now or are due to battle it in the future.

And if you find the heart, I hope you will light up gold this September.

Lately

Okay, yeah, so I know this place has been like a photo album lately - but that's what I'm up for at the moment, and for some reason I'm not really up for writing much.

Cue in ill children, a.k.a vomit-o-rama, followed by cleaning-o-rama.



But also cue in cute children, a.k.a photo-o-rama.





And that's me for today. Good night!

The next day

Bring on getting rid of smell of vomit!

Gotta love being a parent, ie it's dirty bits, too

How do you know if someone's children have a tummy bug?

Here's how: you step in their living room and see their furniture covered with bedsheets. Easier to clean.

Also, there are several loads of washing in the form of sheets and blankets and clothes in the laundry.

Stay-home-Tuesday photoshoot



Her mother has an awesome sense of fashion, don't you think? ;)



Monday musings

We were out walking in Christchurch yesterday: The Man was pushing the pram with The Kid in it, I had The Girlie wrapped onto my tummy, all of us were eating ice creams.

Well, all of us except The Girlie, that is.

But anyway - we passed some women sitting at a table in an outdoor cafe and one of them remarked, looking at The Kid with his big, sloppy ice cream cone, "Wow, you're lucky!"

She then looked at the rest of us and added, "You're all lucky!"

We kept walking, I looked at The Man and said, "Yes. Yes we are."

***

We also passed another cafe were a woman was sitting at a table and she had a little fluffy dog sitting at her feet, with its leash secured onto a table leg.

I looked at that dog and said to The Man, "I'm pretty sure we will never, ever get to do what that woman is doing - sit at a cafe with The Dog laying at our feet."

The Man started laughing, "No way! If we did, we'd be like that guy in Marley & Me book, with a table flying behind a running dog!"


***

This will probably come across a tad rude, but it wasn't actually - it was good-humored banter.

The Man, after passing a couple on a street, "Wow this woman looks like she needs fertilizing!"

Me, looking back over my shoulder, "I take it you're referring to the length of her skirt?"

The Man, "Yeah - and her cleavage!"

In short, it's become warm again =). (Thank God!)

***

A good friend of ours comes from a family of early organic farmers. It's all hearsay, but apparently in 50's and 60's organic farmers on the South Island could be counted up on two hands' fingers, and when attending local A&P shows they all got laughed at.

Laughed at, as in - literally laughed at. Other farmers would approach their stalls and laugh, openly.

Organic farming wasn't that in back then as it is today, apparently, and this good friend's family was regarded as a bit of an oddball. His father was convinced that there was evil in toxic materials spread onto fields and he was determined to stay out of it. Being a deeply religious man with some very, khm!, strong views on religion - even at the time - I guess he was used to doing his own thing and caring little for what the others thought of him.

But even at that time, this good friend of ours says, people would come to buy his father's cows' milk, raw and unpasteurised, from as far as Ashburton sometimes.

Some had deep religious views themselves.
Some were wary of toxins.
Some had ill children who seemed to tolerate the milk better than the stuff off of shop's shelves.

Either way, he has witnessed this organic "revolution" going from being laughed at to being the hip, upper market way of producing the food and it's been a wonder to witness it all.

I hope that as I get older, I will get to witness a similar "revolution" in New Zealand's building standards. Fingers crossed!

***

Another good friend of ours used to work on building houses back in the 50's and 60's, and the stuff he tells us about those houses...

Uhm, well, yeah.

Building materials were scarce back then - as they were probably in most of the world given that it was just after the Second World War had ended - and so a lot of the time "use what you've got" approach was taken to.

Which is nice, and understandable, except that in some of those cases literally a "use whatever you've got" approach was used, and by that I mean: building foundations were stuffed with whatever was available and what looked weird was covered up with plaster to disguise the damage, and being somewhat knowledgeable about buildings and architecture The Man - upon hearing these stories - lifted his eyebrows in a sort of a... tired surprise, for we are coming across more and more issues faced by "good old" New Zealand houses, and it has made me wonder about what sort of a house we will one day end up living in.

***

Another "interesting" thing I have learned whilst doing my research on copper plumbing - and that old building friend has confirmed that it is, indeed, true - that in old houses with copper plumbing there is often lead used in fixing points where pipes meet.

Lead.

Yum. Go ahead, Maria, drink up your water from your tap. Yum.

Being built before the Second World War, this house will also - in all likelihood - have lead in its plumbing.

Yum.


***

Otherwise, doing well. Weather has turned sunny, weekly meetings with a counsellor seem to be making a difference - and so is the fact that I have given up trying to find another home in Christchurch - The Girlie is a joy to be with, The Kid is picking up new words almost daily, The Dog is behaving, sort of, we are scaling back and enjoying and saying, "F*ck it!" to quite a few things that have troubled us lately, and, basically, life is up, mood is up, sun is up.

Wow I am using a lot of commas! =S

Saturday



Daddy's slippers, daddy's hat

Chillin' out in front of the fire


Life lately

Almost daily ritual of drying The Kid's footwear after mud, puddles, sandpits and the likes





Hiding behind The Girlie's cot


He's finally mastered it!




Oh how The Kid loves planes...

Her story

Have you seen a website called herstory.org.nz? It's worth a look.

It's a collection of interviews with women of various professions: Joanne, a sea pilot; Victoria, a bishop;  Rebecca, an electrician; etc. They talk about their backgrounds, how they got to their jobs and what their daily lives are like, but they also muse - about life and the world in general.

I like these stories. I wonder if you would, too.


Back to school again

It's official: starting from October 6, 2014, I am yet again a student.

This is the face of a person who has just finished her study and student loan applications:


Bring on semester 1!:
* construction methods for small buildings
* measuring schedules of quantities for selected trade sections
* negotiating and applying specified types of contract to tendering situations

Oh this is going to be fun. And boring. And fun. And hard. And fun. And frustrating. And fun. And challenging. And fun. And confusing. And fun.

Did I mention fun?

I did, didn't I. Well, I'll mention it again, just in case: fun.

Edited to add: it'll probably come across a smidge, khm!, corny ;), but the soundtrack to this post would be Taylor Swift's "Shake it off". Yup.

Maybe The Kid did it on purpose

This morning I wrote up a list of things to do, so I wouldn't forget.

Talk to school.
Call up student loan company.
Call medical centre.
Reply to TradeMe guy.

There was something else, I'm sure, but I can't look it up any more because the list isn't there.

I left it on the kitchen counter, I'm sure. The only person who could have access to it this morning - besides myself - is The Kid, and heaven knows what he's done to it.

But then again, I tell myself, maybe he did it on purpose? Maybe even The Kid can see that I've got too much on my plate?

Maybe he did it, I tell myself, so I would just sit back instead?

I shrug and go get bacon and eggs from the fridge, because... Might as well have leisurely morning tea then if I cannot remember what the "important" stuff was.

Right?

PS. Every Tuesday night, after I've been to craft night, The Girlie sleeps throughout the night, which means - every Tuesday night I get to sleep throughout the night, also.

God bless craft night!

I'm done

I'm done.

I'm done talking and complaining about rentals. No more - all it does is get me angsty, and I've had enough of angsty.

I'm done looking for rentals. I'm done spending hours on internet, done with e-mailing, calling, attaching reference letters to my e-mails, asking if I can bring my dog with me, and discussing it all with The Man. I've had enough.

No more.

For now, I am giving up. Summer is ahead - maybe by the time autumn comes I'll have more energy to tackle this damn thing, but for now I will just... stop. No more looking for a way out, no more scheming, no more energy spent on this thing that doesn't give anything back to me; all it does it take.

I've had enough. I'm done.

Images of late

Two ill boys in bed on a Sunday morning


Sunday dinner when most of the household is ill and just wants to sit and "faze out"

It's impressive, actually: each animal in this wooden Noah's Ark puzzle is a separate piece. It can be darn confusing to put this thing together! The Man sometimes gives up halfway in - and yet The Kid can do it, all on his own. High five, mate!

On labradors' food preferences

The Man is standing in the kitchen, chopping up vegetables. The Dog is sitting trustily at his heels.

The Man to me: "Did you know that labradors eat broccoli and cauliflower?"

Me, after a bit of a pause: "Did you know that labradors eat pretty much anything you give them?"