Story Blog

Codine's off for the moment, but if you haven't read 'Turning Stones' it's still up there - free read!

Monday, February 28, 2011

28th February 2011 (Monday)

Crawled out of bed this morning to find the rest of the family rolling about on the floor outside the bathroom, quite naked, busy spelling 'broccoli' on Brain Training. Seems they'd been waylaid by the allures of Dr Kawashima half-way 'twixt shower and breakfast.    (Addendum... Dr Kawashima is the author of the DS game Brain Training, which we're all into at the moment. As a spurious note of well-waddaya-know, Dr Kawashima is installed at Tohoku University. ... This is the one our dad taught at, for any non-siblings reading.)

Talking of which, that girl's pants have a remarkable tendency to disappear. She frequently comes out of the bathroom with nothing on below the waist, and it's only with the utmost insistence we can get her to wear anything at all. She seems to be under the perpetual impression that if she acts nonchalant enough we won't notice, and she'll get away with Bare Bottom the live-long day. Mind you I'm often quite distracted so perhaps she has a point.

Also talking of showers, I came downstairs another morning after scrubbing the bathroom and attending to some much-needed personal grooming, and announced brightly,
“Well the shower's clean if you want to wash, and I have no hairs on my knees anymore.”
“Blimey,” quoth the Mr, “what did you use to clean the shower? A flame-thrower?”
Who said marital understanding was dead.

The cold that's been plaguing me for over a week is finally grovelling in its last death-throes, so I'm a-fixin' to go swimmin' again tomorrow morning. The flab it has a way of accumulating. Do you know tomorrow's the first day of Autumn? I'd better make the best use of the Ocean Baths while I can.

Pound's dropped again. We were slightly hopeful as it climbed – albeit with the speed and tenacity of a salmon who knows he'll never get to pass on his genes and is thinking of just hibernating in a lowland pool – and now it's been washed out to sea again. It must mean there will be a rush of good houses on the market.

27th February 2010 (Sunday) Happy Birthday to Gianmarco!

“I said no camels. That's five camels!”
“Compensation for my brother's car.”
                               (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

Having missed the free camel rides at Hunter Street Mall over a year ago, Lara finally got to ride one on Saturday. Ah, the bliss. Her camel's name was Petra, it seems.

There were also some animals from Oakvale Farm in pens. It's a kind of promo they do of occasion. The camels usually give rides at Nelson Bay and they team up for an animal extravaganza. The camel owner was rather impressed with the Non for knowing they were dromedaries, and that the other type was Bactrian.

Mental health is overrated in the face of Drometainment.


'Just off to get the morning papers, dear..."


Wasn't there some saying about seeing yourself in the eye of a camel...


Lara found this entertaining emu fascinating but slightly terrifying - and there must be some famous story about a princess and a tiger. The tiger had (what must have been a very sweaty) person inside it, and was awfully jolly.

This Children's Python was absolutley beautiful, irridescent and positively glowing. They did say he'd been known to bite if not handled correctly... on the other hand apparently this is as big as they get, which is always nice. Once pythons get longer than you are I always start to get a little worried about who exactly is the top dog, in a house-pet situation.


Sunday was the last Nippers of the season. We were wondering why they stopped it so early, when the water is still very warm – and found out it's because it clashes with the Footie and Rugby. Ah, I see. Oh well, that's it until November, now. It's done her a lot of good, I think. She's much better at listening and participating, they make it all such good fun. Her swimming was still shocking yesterday, though I could at least see she was occasionally thinking about swimming properly but she still looked like a poodle puppy on the verge of drowning. The discrepancy between ability and performance is chasm-like for her in so many fields. Slightly frustrating but I guess it'll even out eventually.

... I just found a whole stack of camel jokes, few of which are amusing and almost none of them clean. This last piece more than slightly smutty but I thought it was at least a little unusual.

     The sex life of the camel
     Is not as dull as one thinks
     For in moments of animal passion,
     He makes crude attempts at the Sphinx.
     But the Sphinx's posterior passage
     Is clogged with the sands of the Nile,
     Which accounts for the hump on the camel,
     And the Sphinx's inscrutable smile.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

24th February 2011 (Thursday)

That really takes the biscuit for intrusive calls. You know the automatic pop-up versions of ‘virus checker alert’ scams that get you to buy/download software that either you simply don’t need of that actively screws up your computer? Well I think I just got a version of that on the phone.

Couldn’t quite believe it was happening. We’ve had an absolute deluge of telemarketing calls recently but this really creams them all. Someone (who merely introduced themselves as ‘from the computer support department'… of what, the World? Afterwards clarified on request as something like Excel, Express, whatever) calls to say that as a registered used of XP there ‘might be infected files in the system, and if I just go and turn it on she’ll tell me where to find them.” Registered? The XP we’re using (even the one we bought in Australia) was registered at our previous address so how the hell did they get our number anyway? Answer’s obvious, of course – everyone uses Windows so they can just call anyone. If they happen to hit on someone who doesn’t have XP oops, it’s a rare error in the database.

No matter how much I asked and pushed, she was absolutely unable to tell me what was in it for her company to be calling every single damn person using Windows. When I put it to her that no company calls millions of users out of the goodness of its heart, she simply moved on to something else.

I absolutely HATE telemarketing calls, and I completely FUCKING HATE scam virus alerts, so I’ll leave it to your imagination to figure out what I thought of that conversation.

… Now, where was I. Ah, Lara. Yes, Jekyll seems to have turned into Dr Hyde again as fast as he popped out. On Sunday she was yelling and screaming and jumping off the chair saying she didn’t know what 1+1 was. (This is not an exaggeration, it’s a literal description). On Monday she sat down and did 25 maths questions, plus and minus mixed, with carrying and borrowing, double figures the lot of them, in 3 minutes.  

No, I don’t know. All I can think it the hormone rush explanation. The spots are fading fast and are now just a slight unevenness in skin texture. She’s doing her work and being polite and happy. What set one off and then the other really have no idea. Just thankful that at the moment it’s at an end.

I really hate to think what a tantrum is going to be like at 16, though. I think I’ll just start digging the bomb shelter now.

Meanwhile we had two parcels, one from the Pie and one from Uncle Camel, both absolutely fantastic, thank you both! The huge contents of the Pie’s parcel are still sprawled all over the dining room table and she’s slowly going through all the goodies, hopefully she’ll get to wear some of the clothes at the weekend.

As for Uncle Camel’s watercolours… you can’t imagine what fortuitous timing that was. Yesterday she came home with a book from the library called ‘The Dot’, a wonderful little book about a girl who’s not confident about art until her art teacher frames and displays a felt-tip pen dot she’s presented as her drawing. After that she goes round drawing loads of different dots. Gets famous. Passes on the torch of inspiration to the next kid. Well, out came the brand-new set of paints, just like in the book (they even LOOKED the same) and there goes Lara, painting dots of all colours and sizes.

I could go on a whole ‘nuther rant about the vagaries and trickeries of trying to upload MP3s to sell, but I already feel I’m boring even myself. Whatever. It’s done, it’s all sent through, only I have no idea if it’s accepted, when they’re going to put it on sale, what’s happening, why I ended up having to pay $60 for the privilege when they said it would only cost me $20, or how people are ultimately going to be able to buy it, supposing it comes onto the market eventually. I’m talking Sonnets here, of course.

However, today I’ve put an intro page on the website, and now all that’s left is to do a couple of the paraphrases a day for the next few weeks. I’m not spending any more time on it. Hopefully at some point the MP3s will come on sale, and I can do a bit of marketing later. For the moment, mercifully, it’s more or less put to bed. I’m a bit jaundiced that I can’t publish the website yet as it’s monumental and I’m reasonably proud of it, but I guess it can wait.

In the meantime, here's the new cover I designed for it yesterday. It was all ochre beforehand but I reckoned it needed to stand out a bit more. Sure stands out now.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday 21st November 2011

Not all weekends are created equal, and last weekend was decidedly inferior.

Namely, it appears Lara went through a ‘patch’, as one terms it euphemistically. The said ‘patch’ nearly resulted in several reciprocal patches on the walls and various family members’ hides, but touch wood it seems to have subsided – at least at present. It involved tantrums of the wildest kind… I don’t think elaboration is necessary.

Today she seems much improved. In the struggle for better behaviour, all toys were once again removed and her room is miraculously easy to clean again. The lockup, on the other hand, is so full that one can only open the door with some trepidation, and close it with considerable effort.

I’ve also noticed (this morning) an outbreak of tiny zits all over her forehead, so it’s more than possible that the wildness was directly linked to a hormone surge. Oh well, she has turned six, I guess. Such is life.

Meanwhile, I spent pretty much all morning hanging out with Anna – first taking a walk and getting the gossip (seems they really ARE moving to Tasmania, imminently, as in, a few weeks). Then we retired to the computer and drafted up a ‘Beanie Kid story’ for Lillian’s upcoming party. I think she’s going to make a story-board thing and entertain the kids. Oh well, if Lara’s anything to go by the Beanie kid stories are always much appreciated.

I’ve also made a new YouTube channel specially for the Sonnets, ( and I’m currently uploading samples on there as I type. (not finished yet by a long shot… I’ll tie it up tomorrow). There’s no use trying out the link that’s mentioned at the end of all of them because a) the site isn’t live yet and b) the sonnets aren’t on sale yet (it’s getting close, fingers crossed) – but still, it’s one part of the three. Merchandise, merchandise, merchandise.

By the way, if anyone wants to hear all the sonnets (for the readers of this blog I can’t imagine why) I think I can zip the files and send them along… However, I fully realise wading through over three hours of sonnets isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea by a long shot. Once it’s all smoothed over I intend to market it to a (possibly mainly overseas) University English Department audience. This is all a long way in the future – it’s going to be a few months before the website is absolutely complete. ON THE OTHER HAND if any of my MULTITUDE of readers chance upon a suitable marketing venue, I’d be most interested in hearing about it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Realised today when we spoke to the W&W, I hadn't mentioned: WE GOT OUR VISA!!! Actually back on Valentines. Guess I was still zonked out to remember to type it at the time. Fantastic! So, sold house, got visa... now all we need to do is get a load and find the right house. Then we can no doubt begin on the 7-year project of rennovation but hey it's a start.

Brain death has set in a little at the moment. Today was unremarkable in many ways. In the morning we went for a very pleasant swim (even the Mr did some laps), and in the afternoon we went to see one (unremarkable) house. Not desirable, not despicable either. Slight remark to be made on the extreme unwillingness the Littles put up at doing her work in the afternoon, leading to some considerable argy-bargy.. but then that happens in cycles as well so again, unremarkable. The Mr cooked us a very nice dinner with loads of fish and noodles and steamed veg, and we rolled around for the rest of the time. I'm sleepy and I'm getting addicted to More Brain Training on the DS. If you can get addicted to that you're prey to anything, there's no hope for you.

Friday, February 18, 2011

18th February 2011 (Friday)

I don’t really feel I’m living life in the fast lane at the moment. Having clawed my way round the ’50 track’ rule CD Baby has (by a laborious process of amalgamating tracks), I am finally at the uploading stage for the Sonnets. Ah, joy, I thought, clicking the button after selecting all the tracks, now it’s almost over.

Oh no. Not yet. After a couple of minutes looking at the upload, I realised (on rough calculation) it would take approximately 26 hours of uploading to get all the tracks on. It’s going at about 1meg per minute.

Well, if it takes 26 hours, that’s what it’s going to take, I told myself. You can leave it running overnight, on the off-peak time for the internet too, it’ll only take a couple of nights.

So I left it running last night and this morning… find it’s uploaded about three tracks and stopped. Ah, of course. The site times out and logs you off after a while. Great. So I have to sit here with the damn thing running in the background for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime I reckoned I’d start making the samples for the new YouTube channel I’ll make for it. About 10% of the total should be fine but I might even go as far as 20% (that would be close to 30 sonnets). They don’t take too long to put together once I’ve got the template done. However, Microsoft Movie Maker being what it is, it has currently (of course) crashed. Each time it does this one has to open it up again, itself a process that takes a fair amount of time.

As you can see I’m still head-first into this nonsense: I SO want to be free of it and go and do something else… but the goal for this year is to finish projects before moving on, so I’m really battling this one out. It WILL be a seamless, integrated, showcasing-and-selling bonanza of internet activity. Oh yes. Maybe when I’m 50, at this rate.

Meanwhile, talking of projects, the Mr was telling me yesterday about the grant he wants to apply for. Sweet heavens above. I don’t understand most of it, but there were terms like ‘plating up a million plates’ ‘… something about building up a library of … inserts? (We’re talking DNA here, obviously). He went into some detail, most of which presented itself to my mind in visions of the poor Mr stuck in his office for months solid without food or water until he’d pippetted and plated stacks and stacks and stacks of plates, piled up all around him like the washing-up in the cartoon version of ‘The Sword in the Stone’. Beard getting longer and the Mr getting wafer-thin. Apparently it’s not going to be him doing the work as such – they’d get some other people for it. Sounds amazing but somewhat scary.

The Littles seems nicely back on track now what she’s got her beloved Mr Pollock back, all happy and bouncy. (That's her being happy and bouncy, can't vouch for what Mr Pollock's up to). Had Jaymie over for a play yesterday, she’s not in the same class any more but it was a nice sort of keep-in-touch ploy. I’ve got to get back into the habit of inviting kids round on a regular basis. We’ve been a bit slack since school started again. They had a good time.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 15th 2011 (Tuesday)

Guggh… slightly losing the will to live. I’ve just been through the SECOND audio selling site, set up an account, done the rigmarole and find that you can only upload 50 tracks on this one. As the Sonnets are 154 tracks long it’s too short. ‘Course I can send in a CD but it’s a bit of a pain. So CD Baby (the site) is sidelined for the moment. Well, at least it was better than Createspace, which only pays royalties in the form of US dollar cheques. What the hell use is that to me? I just wish they’d tell you these things before you fill in all the gumph and give them your details. So tedious.

Meanwhile. The website (the Sonnets one) now has pictures for ALL the pages. 154 of them. All the links should be in place – ‘course I can’t actually click and check these until the site goes live, so I’ll have to wait to find out. No point in going live until I have something to sell, obviously, hence the eagerness to get the damn tracks off my computer and onto the net. Ready to be moving on, here.

Boy. People seem to have the perception that the Sonnets are a bit stuffy, perhaps… but some of them… dear me. One sort of accepts it in verbal form but once you try and put illustrations to them, dear oh dear. Well I don’t want it to be an X-rated site, after all. One of them was so lewd I just couldn’t think what picture would be appropriate, so finally opted for one of a half-peeled (large) banana and a couple of apples. Best I could do.

Ahem. The Mr had his first employee walk in the door today. It’s officially her first day tomorrow but today I think they were doing miscellaneous paperwork. Not bad going considering he still doesn’t actually have a lab. Apparently it’s getting pretty crowded in Pete’s lab but there will be a couple of people leaving next week… However, it is officially coming into the Tight period. Now till the lab’s done: about mid May, I think they were saying. Always knew it was going to happen, and here we are. Let’s hope the Mr has hired reasonably slim people. Perhaps I should cut down on his lunchtime sandwiches.

Talking of which, we actually managed to finish off the sandwiches from the Littles’s party before they went off. Extraordinary how little those kids ate. Despite the Scooby Snacks game. Probably too busy larking around. Oh, well, all the crisps went, of course. They always do. And there wasn’t a sweet left standing.

Major meltdown today when I went to pick the Littles up. Seems (to cut a long story short – took me a long while to get at the facts) that, basically, things didn’t go to plan on the school schedule and this just didn’t agree with her. It was meant to be ‘Sprinkler Day’ where they come to school in mufti and swimsuits, and the authorities turn on sprinklers for a couple of hours in the afternoon and the kids run around. This is due to year 2 to 6 being off on the annual Swimming Carnival. So Kindy and Year 1 get sprinklers and general mayhem. Only, it was unusually grey today and actually raining – she went to school in a jumper (oh shit I just realised, she never brought it back. Still, it has her name sewn in, surely it’s got to come back).  So they didn’t do the sprinklers today. Not only that but she had a different teacher, who didn’t do EXACTLY as Mr Pollock would normally have done. Catastrophic. There were screams and tears, snot everywhere. Seems she’d been holding it in until I made an appearance and then all hell broke loose. Ah well. We went off to swimming (very late for it, due to all sorts of snotty running around) and she seemed to cheer up remarkably.

Talking of swimming, we decided to call it quits for a while. It’s just SO crowded in the pool at the moment, I thought perhaps for this term we could just go to the baths and do some practice. Once autumn sets in and swimming becomes less popular perhaps it’ll be more conducive to her learning. It’s not bad at the moment but I’ve definitely got the feeling that a quieter atmosphere would be a much better investment of time, effort and money. In the meantime, I’ve promised to try and look out drama classes for her instead. Would do her a world of good.

I think that’s about it.

…. I was going to start looking up the next potential MP3 distributor but confess I just don’t have the energy at the moment. It’ll have to wait until tomorrow. The end is so close and yet still so far away, it’s infuriating. I’m going to bed.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday 14th February 2011 (Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!)

You know it was a good party when the next morning you find plastic animals in a tupperware box in the fridge, and sequins on the shower wall. We didn’t even have it at home, either.

Lara’s 6th on birthday party on Saturday was probably the best party we’ve ever thrown. Seems daft to say it of a kids’ party but levels of enjoyment were pretty stratospheric. Even the adults seemed to hang around and have a good time – though I didn’t get to talk to anyone much at all, of course. Far too busy entertaining the kids.

We kicked off at high noon. Only  just managed to set up (more or less) even though we’d got there at just gone 11 AND Anna very kindly turned up to help us. She sat there blowing up balloons with the newly-discovered technique of the electric pump, sterling job of it. Also despite my having come in on Friday and set up the lights and tables and so on. Just laying out the food and putting the drinks in the coolers, setting up the stereo,  few last-minute glitches when I realised that (despite supposedly having checked things out) that we needed an Australian socket divider… AND there was a slight glitch which I only realised about 30 minutes into the party: I’d put a whole load of soft drinks into a fridge upstairs the day before, but now that room was locked and there was no-one to let us in! Suddenly remembered when I saw the kids drowning in orange squash and not much else. Luckily I had the number of the lady who rented the place out and she was there in ten minutes. Boy those kids were hot.

In her leopard dress before the party, and a rare snap of a quiet moment explaining the next game... someone opened the doors to let the smoke out and the light in at this point...


Presents still everywhere, ogling them all with Lillian while we did clean-up afterwards

That was the sum total of the mishaps. I did the kids’ entertainment, and Ian looked after everything else: food, drinks, talking to parents and dealing with miscellaneous kids’ requests. They played games, danced, and were absolutely mesmerised by the disco fog – wow that was a success. So much of a success that I finally had to unplug it because I couldn’t see where any of them were. Glad I only got a 400 watt one – nearly laid hands on a 1000 watt monster, god knows what they would have done with that, we would probably still be searching for them. The place looked stunning, what with the disco lights and the lasers and the fog and the balloons and the bubbles. Loads of the kids dressed up (theme: ‘jungle disco’), although many of the boys ended up in just shorts and not much else apart from a generous covering of sweat.

Some games were particularly successful – it’s always interesting to see what takes their fancy and what doesn’t. ‘Stuck in the Mud’ seemed very well-appreciated. Here I put a gorilla mask on Ian, and he chased them round the place to ‘tag them. Once you got ‘tagged’ you had to stand still with legs apart until you got ‘unstuck’ by someone crawling under your legs. I missed a lot of this one because it happened just when the woman came to let me into the studio upstairs but I saw some real honest-to-goodness serious running and screaming going on there: I think the gorilla mask was pretty effective. What with the dark and the smoke n’all.

Then there was the surprisingly popular ‘Sardines’. Actually they didn’t play this quite as you’re meant to. It’s meant to be hide-and-seek in sort of reverse: one person hides and everyone else looks for them. If you find them you’re meant to hide with them quietly. As it was they immediately dragged them back en masse and we hid again and again, but great success. I pumped up the fog for that one.

‘Limbo’ naturally made an appearance. Another one where I had to go off to do something and when I came back the kids had taken over from the adults I’d left in charge and had the bar almost touching the floor… it had turned into a sort of ‘who’s the thinnest’ contest and they were crawling along underneath it very happily. Didn’t quite realise until then just how many of those kids are extraordinarily skinny. You’d hardly imagine a ferret could get under the gap they left.

The piñata was possibly the shortest-lived piñata in the history of all bashings: they saw it being put up and immediately formed an orderly line, eager the whack the crap out of it. Only two little girls got to take the baseball bat to it (and that’s at two whacks each) before it gave up the ghost and splatted 3kg of sweets all over the floor. It was Lillian who bashed it open and she was so surprised at the unprecedented success she quite forgot to dive in as the mass of children swarmed around her. There was, however, a small hiatus after that as kids took their gains into corners and came out very sticky about ten minutes later.

Another good one was ‘Centipedes’. You get into lines and bend down, extend one hand to the person behind you from between your legs, and take the hand of the person in front of you with the other. Then you race. Once again, it didn’t quite go to plan – the whole competitive thing sort of escaped them and besides trying to separate them into groups was like getting your fingers unstuck from messing around with Superglue. They ended up doing ‘Centipedes’ over and over again, just one long line like a manic Conga running round and round the hall at increasing velocity.

Likewise, there was (what I thought was) a very simple game of ‘Scooby Snacks’. This was party designed to ensure that the kids noticed the food and got something into them: they do tend to get carried away. All you do is form two lines, and run to the table in a relay. You grab a ‘scooby snack’ of your choice, and run back to the line  next one. First team to get all Scooby snacks eaten wins. Well, first time off they didn’t get it at all: I yelled “Scooby Snacks!” and the whole lot surged forward and had a snack. Good job the tables were long. After about five minutes we gave it another go, and this time they sort of managed and got the jist of it. It was very amusing to see them get carried away, though. Quite a few of them entirely forgot what was happening the moment they got to the table, and just stood there cramming their faces while everyone was yelling: ‘come back, come back!’. It also didn’t seem to matter that the other kids had just watched their friends do it, once they got to the table they often seemed to fall into exactly the same trap. Still, they all seemed to enjoy it. Got their attention for a bit of food, and after a while I declared it a last Scooby Snack for everyone and left them to it as the tables disappeared.

Cake and Happy Birthday wound up the events, of course. Lara stood there smirking and utterly chuffed as 30-odd friends stood round and sang her Happy Birthday and blew out her candles very happily. The cake itself did sterling work, and despite the number of people seemed more than ample for them… we came back with over half of it. Well I suppose it really was quite large. There’s a single grainy picture somewhere, I’ll try and get it posted.

Talking of pictures… ahem. Sorry. Ian tried, but he was just too busy, and it wasn’t to be thought of as far as I was concerned. There are about five rather blurry shots, I’ll put them up but it was just impossible. There really wasn’t a second to spare. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it was spectacular.

Once they’d all left (with their bags of two giant cookies each), Anna once again kindly stayed back and helped up clean the place up, endlessly sweeping up the debris of popped balloons, cups and plates, party poppers, squashed sweets and the odd discarded item of clothing. Meanwhile Lara and Lillian went through the presents and opened every single one… without anyone looking, so unfortunately we now have no idea who gave her what. I shall have to send out an email and/or ask everyone because they were all absolutely wonderful, and she really wants to know who gave her what now. It’ll take a while to find out. I can safely say she has never, in her life, got that volume of presents. Damn, I don’t know ANYONE who’s got that many presents, ever! It’s still like a toyshop in the sitting room, I have no idea where they’re all going to go. Can’t believe how lavish everyone was, you should see some of that stuff.

It took a while for all the excitement to die down after we got home. I think we were al still pumped up for a long time, and didn’t go to bed all that early on Saturday but SUNDAY – woah. Really hit then. Lara retired before 7, and by I picked myself up from the sofa where I’d been falling asleep and went off to bed. The Mr wasn’t far behind at all.

And so, with a lurch, we’re trying to get back into the groove again. She turned six with a helluva bang, though.

Monday, February 7, 2011

7th Feb 2011 (Monday)

Finished up Lara's birthday party costume: theme, 'jungle disco'. Avid readers will recall there were no suitable hire-or-buy options, so we ended up with a meter of leopard-print fabric and some tulle.

Well, it's done. A completely insane article of clothing with a rabid personality disorder: can't decide whether it's a Tarzan outfit, a ballgown or a tutu. She loves it.

PLUS we managed to find a downloadable copy of the Toybox version of 'Barbie Girl' that's called : “Tarzan and Jane”...

7th February (Monday)

Hallelujah! Grey skies!

We had rain yesterday, RAIN. Currently an almost-chilly 18 degrees. OK it's 6:30 in the morning but it makes a change from the usual 32 degrees by the same time for the rest of this sweltering month. It's been a solid 43 degrees for several days now. We were thinking we'd have to start spreading towels on the sofas before we sat down on them. No doubt the heat will come back but a respite even for a few hours is bliss.

Talking of hot, we went to a little wedding-celebration thing at the Botanical Gardens on Saturday. It was in a shaded place but after all, outside... and 43 degrees. One of Pete's lab people, Xiao (that's the bride). In true bridal fashion she seemed to be absolutely fine and merely glowed: heat didn't seem to touch her; but the rest of us were shedding cupfuls of sweat by the minute and draping ourselves around the place in various ungainly postures.

The kids played a continual game of pelting each other with ice from the drinks-coolers. After three hours of this they were pretty wet. Lara stripped down to her birthday suit for the trip home in the car. Not that we told her to. Just got to the the car park and she promptly disrobed. Sat down naked on the car seat with something more gleeful an expression than would strictly be necessary, under the circumstances.

On the way back we listened to the rest of the 'Beyonce' CD we'd just borrowed from the library. Oh yes, Beyonce. She specifically wanted a track on it called 'all the single ladies' for her party. We tracked the one available library copy of this CD for Hamilton library online, and pounced on it. Well. I'll put that track on for her but frankly I think that's going to be the extent of my investigation work on Beyonce Knowles.

I had a marvellous time on Sunday morning. Ian chivalrously took Lara to Nippers (as usual) and I had the whole morning to myself. While they splashed and paddled surfboards, I tidied and worked on my website and all those things that Mrs generally likes to do.

In the afternoon Anna called and said would we like to come over and sit in the air conditioning for a while, so we did. The Mr took a well-deserved break and sat and watched some cricket at home. I sat there and chatted while the Littles played Lego and DS with Lillian (we took ours so that they could hook up and play together, one on each DS – no tears this time).

I also came home with a pair of scales. Every time I go over there I seem to walk off with some piece of household equipment: last time it was a picnic table. Invariably Anna has at least two of everything because she's got all her mum's stuff she inherited. She's now whittling away at her possessions because of the move to Tasmania (hopefully) coming up. Did I tell you about our scales? (oh the thrill). We've been without for a while ever since ours packed up with a groan of 'one at a time, please' and displayed weight no more. I finally got down to K-Mart the other day and bought a shiny new set, all nice and sleek and digital. Never clapped eyes on anything less accurate. Step on, step off, step on, and it'll give you any number of varied readings within about a 2.5km radius. So it's back in its box, ready for the return pile.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I spent some time installing stat counters on all my blogs and websites: just six websites (including one unpublished) but some of them have a inordinately high page count. It took a while. Having installed them, I checked up on the summary page, and found that within the last ten seconds the Pie had just clicked onto Upsidedown 2 and clocked right off again in disgust. Visit duration 0 seconds. Wow, speedy clicking fingers. I mean 1 second would be impressive enough but 0 is verging on Matrix skills. I bet she's got one of those black leather coats stashed away somewhere.

Busy busy busy past few days. Don't know where it went. I've been heads-down what with forging ahead with the Shakespeare site and preparations for the party – every day there's something else. We're now in possession of all the equipment for the 'disco' part of it: two lights (one laser, one revolving spots), one fog machine, 4.5 litres of fog juice, and an extra large bottle of bubble mix to put in the bubble machine. Unfortunately it seems I can't plug the mic into our stereo system, so I'll just have to yell really loudly. Should come naturally. I've hijacked a load of CDs from the libraries and downloaded into itunes.

Oh, and I've also got to make the Littles her costume. As the theme is 'jungle disco', we tried to find something and we went to the hire shop but nothing quite answered. So we went and got some leopard-like fabric and some tulle instead, and I'm going to put together a fluffy skirt and some skimpy top. It'd better be skimpy because the material is furry... she's not going to want too much of that wrapped round her in this heat.

Lara's been enjoying being back at school. Possibly not least because it's air-conditioned in her classroom – unheard of bliss, when I'm sitting in the study up there sweating like a spitted pig revolving rapidly over a barbecue. Started back up at gym again, too. Lillian's not going this term but she seems to be Ok with it.

The local balloon emporium 'ballonaway' is on the way to the gym, so we stopped by there. Oh yes. Five minutes later came out with a pack of 100 modelling balloons. These are the proper, long ones, no nonsense there. Boy, am I going to have fun with 100 modelling balloons! Thought I'd make up a load of animals and give them out as part of the 'goodybag' scenario. They always like those things, don't they. Looks fun, too.

Ian was looking over some word puzzle she'd brought home from school yesterday. One of those 'find the word' puzzles, you know, solid block of letters and you circle words you find in it. He's standing there looking and nodding approvingly, then suddenly jumps with a:

“WHAT?? Why did you circle 'feck'? I'm sure that wasn't on your wordlist!”

I tell you, there's some Irish blood in there somehow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

1st February 2011 (Tuesday)

Dear god that was hot. At the current time of 5 a.m. it's 27 degrees. A neighbouring cricket just woke me up and it wasn't a long walk to the computer, because I slept on the sitting room floor last night, spread-eagled flat on the living-room carpet with no more ceremony than two pillows. Too hot upstairs, though the Mr elected to stay up there. It was 43 degrees yesterday, I think I heard – frankly it felt like more. Was 32 by 8:30 in the morning. Had the whole pizza-oven effect going on when you stepped outside.

Went for my laps yesterday, first time back swimming in nearly two months, felt a bit puffed. Tried to get it done as quickly as possible to get out of the sun. One lenght of 50 meters takes about 30 seconds, and during the actual lap your head doesn't get completely submerged – it's only at the turn that the very top of your head goes under. Each time I noticed how pleasant it was to have the water cool one down: in the intervening 30 seconds it had become so hot.

Someone promised rain today – I sure hope they're right.

Two days of school down the hatch, and boy I've been steaming away (figuratively as well as literally). Actually it's mostly been hammering away at my Sonnets project – I want to get that one done and dusted during the next two months. The recording is nearly finished (was just having trouble with three last ones yesterday), now I'll check them all over and whack them over to Amazon. 'Nuther day or so on that. Then of course there's the website... it's now got the full complement of 154+ pages (one for each sonnet) and if I give it an hour each day for a couple of weeks I should be able to get the pics in each one. It's just that with so many pages even creating the links for the initial index page took an hour yesterday. Still, once it's done it should look pretty respectable. I imagine within a few months of release it'll start netting some traffic – how many of those will actually buy the recording's another matter but it might be better than nothing.

Littles seems to have settled into school pretty nicely. They were all rather quiet on the first day, I suspect maybe zonked out. She managed to hand out her invites to both classes, so the RSVPs for the party are starting to come in. Might take her to a costume shop this afternoon. She's sitting next to Ruby, and is (as we knew she would be) in Mr Pollock's class. Already brought home the first 'sign urgently' thing from the school... sports day with consent form needed for tomorrow and they send out the notifications today. I wonder how many children will turn up to school in normal school uniform tomorrow. Quite a few, I bet. Those newsletters don't make it home on quite a few occasions.

On Monday afternoon Sophie came round with her sisters (and mum) and they said Really sorry can't make it to the party but would you like to come to the beach with us this afternoon? So she did. Seemed to have a great time and got back at about 6. Nearly went face-first into her roast lamb dinner she was so tired by the end of it all.

Yesterday was swimming lesson. Gosh, what terrible swimming. It was one of those days where everything they've ever learned seems to be jettisoned into outer space. Still, I guess we all have days like that. Maybe next time she won't look like a fly drowning in a glass of wine.

The Mr is much better. He's still got a bit of a sore throat but by Monday he was almost-fine and went to work. Today no doubt he'll be slightly underslept due to the heat but what can one do. Move into a house with air conditioning, that's what.

… I've just had to move off the sofa. The sweat was trickling into crevasses from the contact with laptop and leather and being too ticklish. It's all of 5:30 a.m. now. I really hate to think what the day's going to bring.