Friday, 30 January 2009

Jack's exhibition

Due to the volume of works that Jack has produced he's already had a retrospective exhibition. It's fascinating to compare his earlier works with more recent efforts like these self portraits.

Fried scones for breakfast

I think I mentioned before that one of Garn's culinary specialties was fried scones. Some people may recoil at the idea (especially if they find out that they were fried in dripping!) but there was always something special about waking up and smelling them cooking, knowing that Garn would soon appear with a tray with some hot scones, butter and a big glass of milk for breakfast in bed (she loved to spoil us). Foolishly I never got the recipe but decided last weekend to give them a go. I decided not to use the dripping. Dripping has really fallen out of favour but I remember a time when everyone had a dripping dish in the fridge that was regularly topped up after each baked dinners so that it was made up of many layers. I used some butter and some olive oil and they turned out okay. A little crispy, but that was always a part of their charm. But remember, fried scones are a sometimes food.

Monday, 26 January 2009

the artiste

As I may have mentioned Jack received an easel for Christmas. He also received a splat mat, paints, crayons (which I want for myself) and chalk. He already has the artistic temperament. After we got back I made a quick visit to Wombats (a true Aladdin's cave of kid's stuff in Wagga) and came home with a thick roll of paper and we were ready. When I first set up the easel Jack thought it was a climbing frame and quickly climbed up and onto the tray. After we got his head unwedged and he had a few goes he got the idea and now I leave it up in the hallway and on the verandah so he can have a quick daub anytime the fancy takes him. He's understandably quite prolific and has been producing some interesting works not dissimilar to some of his ceramic works. Initially he was only painting in red and green (obviously a statement about the festive season). This was followed by his blue period which has been the longest and most diverse. This one is Untitled III (blue ape) Acrylic on Paper 2008) And this one is one of my personal favourites, Grafton - Acrylic on paper 2008. Only recently his palette has become more varied and his works more political:
Sydney NYE ($5mill) Acrylic on paper 2009Some would say having an easel and all that entails (ie paint pots and brushes) around all the time is asking for trouble or at least a spot of interior design experimentation but so far we've been lucky. Actually when I say we I mean, S, myself and the walls. Unfortunately the dog and Rexie the Dinosaur haven't been so lucky.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Happy Birthday Scarlett!

My niece Scarlett is now two. I hope she gets lots of cupcakes on her special day (actually I think the birthday celebrations may stretch over several days - just like her dad!) Happy Birthday!

Friday, 16 January 2009

there's no place like home...

It's funny there's a bit of a Dorothy thing going on at the moment. Not Dorothy the Dinosaur, though I am now very familiar with her work, but the Kansas variety. Diane is off to see Wicked in Melbourne next week and I think I'll be seeing it in Feb. Whenever it is that I go, I'll be making sure I pack my copy of Wicked and my new slippers that I got from Craig and Lou for Christmas. That's if I can get them off Jack who likes to wear them when he's dancing and who can blame him?

It's back!

The toy library reopened today after the Christmas hols and without meaning to we were the first ones to arrive (even taking into the account the delay caused by Jack pressing the emergency phone button in the lift and talking to a lady who sounded rather jaded). We returned the tractor and the blocks and Jack made a beeline for the black ute. S insisted that we'd had it before but Jack was in the ute by that stage and not budging. After we also got a tunnel and a thingy with wires and beads we had to push him out through the library (backwards), up in the lift and out into the street in the ute. So happy to be reunited with his wheels of choice and this one also comes with a hard hat and a tool box (which contains amongst other things a spirit level that works - though probably not in our house).

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

An early birthday present...

On Sunday when Jeannie and I were still wandering around in our pj's, Andrew and Noel came over to deliver my new mailbox (the old one was eaten by termites - it's a tough life out in the bush). And I have to say it's a keeper, even if it only has three wheels (due to a miscommunication between the engineer and the foreman). I forget about it and then as I drive up to the gate I see it and start to laugh. And it works beautifully. No word from the mailman and his dog Flash but I'm sure they're impressed.

The rockpool

At one end of the beach at Terrigal there's a lovely rockpool that is just perfect at low tide. It quickly became Jack's favourite spot and was like an aquatic playgroup with Mum's chatting, Dad's sunning themselves (except for S who was busy playing with Jack) and kids sharing buckets and balls and balloons.

Balloon Soccer

Before we went to the rockpool, Jack and Scarlett and Chelsea went to visit Ganma (not a typo) to update her on the lunch as she hadn't been able to go. Chelsea opened her presents and Jack and Scarlett played balloon soccer on the balcony, which was fun till the balloon blew away. Luckily they didn't try to leap the railing and catch it and I had plenty more in my pocket. I come prepared.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Christmas part 2 (the buffet)

A buffet seems to bring out the best in people. Not sure why but as soon as they glimpse the prawn cocktails they are seized by a single terrifying thought, " WILL THERE BE ENOUGH???
We made our way past the bain- maries to the queue that was twitching nervously and darting glances at the platters and located our table. Close to the stage and Santa's throne with dramatic uplighting but a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way from the food. A waitress told us that all the tables would be going to the buffet in an orderly manner and that she would let us know when it was our turn. At least that's what I think she said but it was hard to hear over the noise of the people stampeding towards the food. She sighed and said, " Go." So a couple of us made the trip over whilst the others stayed behind on child minding duty. The nice waitress brought Jack and Scarlett a cupcake so they wouldn't miss out and Jack started on his immediately. I loaded a plate for Jack and myself because at these things you don't just take a couple of asparagus spears and a devilled egg and think you'll just pop back for more in a while. The laws of the buffet state that you must load your plate to full capacity and if that means the prawns are nudging the hot turkey and the pavlova, then so be it. I returned to the table where things were progressing as normal on any Christmas day. We pulled our crackers and mostly donned those paper hats and read those awful jokes and Scarlett got a whistle in hers which she proceeded to blow with great enthusiasm. Craig inhaled his meal and raced off to pick up Chelsea and S ended up with two little people taking turns eating baked pumpkin and morsels of turkey. For awhile things were almost peaceful (except for some table placement brouhaha next to us) with wandering carollers and plenty of cupcakes. Craig returned with Chelsea who looked gorgeous in a new frock. Jack and Scarlett started playing on Santa's stage and still the food was being replaced by the buffet fairies. Jack got very close to the lights that were creating the dramatic effect behind the stage and I whisked him away but unfortunately Scarlett managed to touch them (you would question the wisdom of placing hot lights on the floor near Santa's stage) and Craig had to quickly put her hand in a jug of iced water but she still ended up with some little blisters. A manager was summoned who acquired some blisters of his own and the lights were duly removed.
Children started gathering and sitting nicely in front of the stage and then Santa appeared and the neat little group turned into a mosh pit. We couldn't see Santa anymore just the mob of tweens standing over him demanding loot. Jack was more interested in yet another cupcake but Chelsea boldly headed into the crowd to get Scarlett's present from Santa. Dad reappeared after a lengthy absence (the queue for the desserts was worse than the mains) with some sweets for everybody. Jack sucked the chocolate off a profiterole and put it back on the plate for someone else to finish. So thoughtful. After the mob had cleared I strolled over to get Jack's present (he was too busy feeding chocolate cake to Thomas the Tank engine) and Scarlett had her photo taken with Santa. Then we left for the traditional post Christmas lunch nap, though I think we ended up going to the rockpool with all the other mums and dads of toddlers.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Christmas Day (part 1) the presents

Jack woke bright and early on Christmas day but really that's no different from any other day. He entertained us by doing flips off the end of our bed into his portacot. Just a pair of legs shooting up into the air over the edge and then giggles. After breakfast in the dining room (fruit, juice and pancakes) we all gathered in Mum and Dad's room for the presents. Mum was under the weather so she was doing the Hugh Hefner thing lounging in her jim jams.
It did seem like there was a lot of presents and Jack and Scarlett soon got stuck in. Dad distributed presents and waited for the appreciative oohs and ahhs before moving on to the next gift. My brother got some very cool vintage Nixon cufflinks (with a Nixon bio) and I got the superdooper ice cream machine with sprinkles dispenser. Jack got a ride on battery powered quad bike (with music) which is extraordinary. Just the thing for chasing sheep and Lucky dog.Scarlett seemed pleased with her percussion table, so pleased that Jack had to have a go too and there were some sharing issues. Then all thoughts of percussion were forgotten as Scarlett (with help from Jack) unwrapped Dorothy and freaky, demonic Elmo (he's possessed and holds conversations with you). Jack wasn't sure whether he was to be trusted or not but Scarlett liked him.After all those presents and half a rainforest's worth of paper Scarlett decided she needed a lie down. We did too because we had to brace ourselves for the Christmas Buffet...

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Christmas Australian Style (at the beach)

And so finally to our Christmas at the seaside. I finished sewing, washing, wrapping and packing just in time for S to try and cram it all (and a swing) in the car. Luckily we no longer travel in the Echo but in the 'beast' so there was room...just. Taking into account the giving of presents (and of course any subsequent receivals of gifts) we would be fine. Nobody breathe out.
We did the drive to Terrigal in one hit, pretty much bypassing Sydney. We toughed it out till Sutton's Forest where we stopped at Maccas. Once I discovered I did not have a rare foot disease just had my thongs on the wrong feet we were right. Jack had his first happy meal (I suppose it's silly for me to claim it was a healthier version because he drank water with his meal) and barked at a dog through a nice thick glass window. He thought this was a hoot. Needless to say the dog did not.

We got to Terrigal (thank god we weren't staying in Gosford though doesn't Iguanas look tempting for a quiet night out?) in time for Jack and S to settle in and for me to buy some new board shorts (because lordy me I don't need to put these pollywaffle thighs on display) and swimmers. I went to a shop that came highly recommended but there was an awful lot of padding and beads and well..bling which is okay on the beach in Rimini (teamed with high heels) but I was thinking ahead to upcoming swimming lessons at Junee Pool. The woman kept trying to put me in very small swimmers even though I assured her I was a larger size (she was doing it to another woman too) but really the things were so small they looked like a g-string and not a brief. So I headed to another shop where once I sorted out which was the right section I was fine (Repeat after me I am not a teenage boy...). Again a bit of bling and beads but once I told the woman I didn't want to look like mutton and that a strapless cossie (with a wriggling toddler) was a bad idea we did okay. I headed back to the hotel for fish and chips with my parents and a glass of Jansz.
The next day the entire family met up at breakfast and then we went across to the beach. It was overcast but not cold so Jack and Scarlett had a run around on the sand. Jack was keen to chase seagulls (makes a change from galahs here) and run into the waves. I thought he might think that was scary or cold but he thought it was great fun. My pants dried eventually.After our trip to the beach, Mum and Lou and I got together for our beauty treatments. Lou and I had a superhydrating wrap with pomegranates or something. The blurb made it sound like a cocktail but what it was was sticky and I kept getting stuck to the towels, which is tricky when you're trying to roll over. The less I say about the paper g-string the better I think, but it was very relaxing and I did feel very hydrated afterwards. And then we all had a pedi as a tribute to Garn who looked lovely when her toenails were painted (pink, of course). My grandfather accused her of having her toenails done to attract the menfolk.
That night Mum and Dad were on grandparent duty as Lou, Craig, S and I went for a very civilised meal at Bells at Kilcare. It's Steve Manfredi's latest restaurant and it was very good. Full of good food and wine we dashed home before we turned into pumpkins, whisked our sleeping babes into their portacots and collapsed into bed.