Friday, July 29, 2016

Birthday and catch up

One week short of five years apart, Bethany and Joss always have their birthdays in the holidays. Joss' chosen lunch destination was the new cafe that serves milkshakes requiring as much eating as drinking.

For dinner she went for Nigella's rigatoni al forno (which is just like lasagne only with rigatoni and not in layers) and cream cheese brownies.

Rabbit update: Mimi is an enormous white bunny, who loves to bounce crazily around the rug and couches, lick fingers and noses and occasionally give eyebrows and necks a little nip. She and Milo have never come face to face because we are still pretty certain that wouldn't end well.

My hairdresser has the sweetest little dachshund, called Pierre. I like it when his ears go inside-out.

Last night Andrew's band had a Chicago and Blood Sweat and Tears night. By the time I got there, it was standing room only; totally packed on a Thursday night! This is a poor photo of the horn section that Andrew put together. It was so good!

Here's my favourite song from last night; sadly I didn't record Andrew's version so you'll have to settle for the original band.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Solitude is not something I get a lot of. Though I have my own office at work, my door is open and the building is small, so we work as a team. At home, while everyone has plenty of extra-curricular activities (I certainly know this as I am one of two people driving five people to said activities), they don't occur at the same time, or they involve all of us at once. I am an extrovert, I love my family, so I don't need a lot of time alone, but when Andrew suggested that he take all three children to Canberra for a couple of days during the holidays, I was both excited for them, and excited for me!

Before they went, though, we had Saturday at home. Bethany and I took the letter she wrote, plus one I wrote using her fabulous fountain pen, and walked down to the post box. At least, I walked, she rolled and gripped my hand. Roller shoes take some getting used to.

Ten ladies gathered around my table and bench to make cards and eat cake on Saturday evening. One day I may remember to take a photo during the chaos. Nigella's malteser cake is always a winner.

After church, while I was at a meeting, Andrew and the kids left for Canberra. So, I returned to a quiet house. As it is school holidays, I had no lunches to make and no white shirts to iron. I spent some time in the kitchen, making a huge pan of bolognese (to be involved in Joss' birthday dinner) and my favourite beef casserole while the stage from Saturday night replayed on SBS. At dinnertime I went up to Jane's. Steve is at uni church on Sunday nights, so Jane made us both big bowls full of pork dumplings and we watched Escape to the Country. Bliss.

Regular updates on Monday assured me that the kids were having a wonderful time - the zoo, shopping, walking, Mexican food, pizza, the Mint, the Art Gallery. Having decided that a whole day at home, all by myself, was not to be passed up, I took Monday off. I woke naturally, drank tea, read books, drank coffee, played with the bunny and watched cycling and The Gilmore Girls. I wore my tracksuit pants and left the house only once, to walk Milo. It was weird, in a very good way. I even went to bed early(ish). This was made possible by the fact that the cyclists were also having a rest day, so no Tour starting at 10pm.

I went to work today, and everyone returned around 6pm. They are unpacked, we had soup and sourdough garlic rolls for dinner and now we are waiting for Joss' friend to arrive, and the Tour to start. Happy days.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Birthday girl

Twelve years old! Though little is not a word that applied to her as a baby, she is our little girl now. Small in stature, significant in personality and much loved.

We woke everyone up to do presents before I went to work. Joss and Tobes went straight back to bed afterwards as school holidays are in full force and the Tour is on so late mights are de rigueur.  Bethany joined me in town at lunch time and we went to sushi train (her favourite) and branched out by eating from the menu rather than the train. We had soft-shelled crab and a chicken karaage bento. The Junee Licorice Factory was there for the school holidays, so Bethany made her own chocolate freckle.

My favourite birthday dinner while growing up, was wiener schnitzel, something I don't think I have ever cooked for myself. I don't remember if I had a dessert. I love how Bethany, who has a mother who can cook, and even enjoys it, asks for tortellini carbonara and chocolate ripple cake. The whole meal is virtually just assembly.

The day lasted especially long as we set up a bed in front of the television and let her stay up for the whole stage of the Tour. What a fabulous way to end a great day!

You can always count on Bethany to appreciate presents; wearing your heart on your sleeve has some advantages, and the joy is lasting as the first thing she did after breakfast this morning (she got up at 10.45 after her late night!) was get out her new fountain pen with blackcurrant coloured and scented ink and start writing a letter. I can't promise it will be followed through all the way to being posted, but it is a good beginning. Long live letter writing!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

New family member

Sometimes we make decisions that aren't clear cut. There are plenty of reasons why we do not need a bunny. There is a woolly, brown, lip-licking reason why a bunny is not a great idea for our family. There is also an animal loving girl, with a friend who owns a male and a female rabbit (on purpose!), who was offered a baby and her heart was set on it in the blink of an eye.

So, we have a little white bunny with red eyes and a sweet face. The owner of the bunnies, whose name is Sunny (Jane and I did suggest the name "Funny Bunny from Sunny"), says that she's a girl. I am not convinced that we know that for sure, but Bethany is calling her Mimi.

We are all quite taken with her, Milo especially, which is something of a concern!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


We are definitely at a fast stage of life; music teaching, tennis, cycling, gymnastics, the gym, Bible study, stamping; the weeks go so fast. The weekends go frightfully quickly, too, but we have had some great ones.

A few weeks ago our minister and his wife, Sandy and Karen, had their last weekend in Wagga. There were speeches, tears, much cake, sushi, curry, more cake and even more tears. They have been at our church all of the sixteen years we have been in Wagga. They have been such an encouragement and support to us; we'll miss their teaching and their friendship.

The following weekend Mum and Dad came to stay on their way home from Tasmania. Their dog, Sunny, had been staying with us for the two and a half weeks they were away. Sunny is about one quarter the size of Milo, but quite the boss when he comes to stay. We took some cute photos of Sunny in Milo's big bed and Milo in Sunny's tiny one, but they are on my old phone. I have a new iPhone now, so, hopefully, another obstacle to blogging will have disappeared....

Finally, this past weekend we had a long overdue get-together with all of Andrew's family. Andrew's sister worked out a place on the coast that is the same distance from the two families in Gloucester and us in Wagga. The winner was Corrimal, a suburb of Wollongong.

It was forecast to rain a lot, the whole weekend, but it held off enough for all of the third generation to get very sandy and wet.

If you look hard, you can even see Jordy and Toby in the ocean with boards! Madness.

Twenty-one of us went out to dinner together on the Saturday night - chaotic but fun. We stayed in cabins next to the beach. They were new and spacious. Each family had a cabin, but the kids were shared out. Having been the only girl, with five, much younger boy cousins, I really appreciate that each of my children has a special, similar age BFF cousin. Toby also gets a few adoring younger boy cousins.

On Sunday morning we gathered at a cafe to have a final meal together and celebrate Ron's birthday. Ninety-two years old, surrounded by eleven grandchildren! After much hugging, we ran to our cars and drove home through the rain.

I couldn't go away every weekend and manage to keep us fed and in clean clothes during the week, but we're definitely going to do it again next year. New tradition!

Friday, June 3, 2016

One Book One Wagga

The One Book One Wagga Gala Dinner was held last week; a whole week ago already! After stepping in last minute two years ago, and then being asked to do it last year with a book I didn't love (I didn't even blog about it!), I was thrilled to be asked to host a conversation with Sofie Laguna, Miles Franklin award winning author of The Eye of the Sheep.

There's a fair bit of work involved; I read the book twice, read her other novel for adults, and came up with questions to ask, hopefully in a logical, flowing order (follow the links to see my reviews of the books). Once that is all sorted and I feel prepared, I am pretty happy to just sit on stage and chat. Sofie made that so easy, she really is delightful. We had a great discussion about the situation for female writers, the push for everyone to be normal, the tough themes in her book, like domestic violence and the really important stuff like which is best, Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights (she hedged her bets on that one but promised to read Jane Eyre again).

As you can see below, we had much to say even when we weren't on stage!

It was a great night and there was a lot of positive feedback. Well done to Wagga City Library. I wonder what book we'll do next year!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


 How he loves being an indoor dog when we are home. Doesn't he look refined with his paws crossed?

He is at that point of woolliness where he can still see, but we can't see his eyeballs. He has bottomless black holes for eyes.