23 April 2012

Sunday Sesh

Sugar clouds

We spent this Sunday afternoon at the park.  My work threw a barbecue by the river, at Kangaroo Point, under the Story Bridge.  Callum loved the jumping castle and spent almost all his time in it, with only a few breaks for drinks and food.  Anya's favorite part was the pile of hula hoops, balls and frisbees.  We had a great time throwing the balls to each other -- she was especially good at throwing the nerf vortex (a whistling football with tailfins).

At one point, Callum said, "Can I do that? Can I do that?" and pointed in what seemed a really random direction until I realised that he was pointing out one of my coworkers spraying colour on a girl's hair.  So we went over and sprayed gold on Callum's head.  Then we sprayed silver glitter on Anya's hair, and red streaks in my hair.  (It felt weird, but I thought it actually looked really good.)  Our car's interior is still glittery, and I suspect it will be so for quite some time.

Sunday Sesh

Swiping for bubbles

14 April 2012

Not to Be Forgotten

Some stories I jotted down over the last few months... wish I'd written down more.

"You'll always be my little boy, even when you're a big tall man."  He nods.

Reading a book out loud in the car --  (Homework! For a 6 year old!)  We all get the giggles over the name "Mr. Bumbleticker."  Anya tries valiantly to restart several times but it's just not possible.  David imagines penning a note: "Dear Mrs. Ritchie, we're very sorry but Anya was not able to complete her work due to a case of the giggles."

After dinner, they stretch out on the bed and I poke their tummies, pretending to trace all the food they've eaten.  "Here's the pasta -- here's the chicken -- here's the broccoli -- oh, there's some space here for a treat!"

"Why does everyone keep saying my hair is beautiful?" Anya asks, perplexed and probably a little over it.  (In case you have not met her, and can't see it in the photos, her hair is a lustrous blend of auburn, with blond and red strands mixed in.  It's the kind of hair one would pay hundreds of dollars to achieve in a salon.)  I don't know what to say but, "Because it is, sweetie."

11 April 2012

Twenty-five screams

After writing the Easter, the long weekend post I realised I hadn't mentioned one thing: namely, my experience on a clown bicycle. At least, that's what I'm calling it -- a spare bicycle that has lived at the coast units "for anyone to use." On the face of it, a noble and good idea. In practice, quite dangerous: after adjusting the seat to maximum height, my legs were still bent like a stork's; and the handlebars had a frightening tendency to swivel downwards at the slightest pressure (for example, while steering, or trying to power up a hill).

The benefit of riding the clown bicycle was that I could accompany Anya while she used every trick in her book to beat me in numerous mini-races. This meant that David could concentrate fully on teaching Callum to ride without training wheels. He really did it tough, jogging alongside while Callum peddled along.  Sometimes Callum forgot to keep his legs moving, thus swerving and wobbling (often right across David's path) and shrieking loudly whenever a wobble started.  Apparently Callum also sang a repetitive song to motivate himself the whole time (when not shrieking).

On the first day of training, Callum achieved a maximum count of 10 seconds on his own. By the end of the weekend, he was up to 25 seconds. And, as he said himself, "25 screams!"

10 April 2012

Easter, the long weekend

deck railings in progress

Easter: the end of David's long service leave, which started at Christmas.

carport slab  Finishing the spiral stairs  House Progress 2012-02-10

We headed up the coast for the long weekend and enjoyed some very fine weather -- hardly any rain, as would normally come at this time of year.  We've hardly been to the beach this year because of working on the house, so I was really happy to be able to take Anya and Callum swimming this weekend.

Noosa Main Beach

On Saturday, my nieces finally redeemed their Christmas gift from over a year ago -- a day of shopping.  We did a circuit of Hastings Street (Noosa) where they cannily shopped to budget (courtesy of me).  Their mum came along too and supplemented the budget a little.  :)  I also treated them to lunch at Berardo's, which impressed them as being the fanciest restaurant they'd ever been to -- because of the small dishes of salt on the table.

Three fulfilled shoppers

Sunday morning, Anya was delighted to notice an Easter egg in her room as she was getting dressed.  Callum was quick to wake up and join in the egg hunt.  Anya was far ahead of Callum in the egg count at one stage, but she showed him where quite a few eggs were, and even gave him one so that they would be even.  We then went downstairs and spectated while our nephew hunted for eggs in the garden.  (His sisters opted out this year, but also followed him around pointing out eggs he was missing.  There were many jokes about having a "man look.")

Sparkle happy

We had one last glorious morning at the beach on Monday, then headed home to Brisbane after dinner.  And that's a wrap.

26 March 2012

The good ship pirate

Anya and Callum played pirates this weekend. There was costuming, complete with commandeered bandanas tied in a piratical fashion. There was a map. There were even treasures, which were made, hidden, forgotten about and discovered. (Anya had to do special tricks to forget where she hid them.)

My favorite part was a pirate flag. The design is a skull over one bone crossing a sword dripping blood, and the motto "WE KILL!!!" The flag is mounted on a flag pole made of many paper towel and toilet paper cores taped together to a 4 foot pole.

Anya and Callum marched around brandishing their flag and chanting their motto mightily before getting down to business and sailing their pirate ship (a large rock in the front yard) to find their treasure.

21 November 2011

Family Moments

Lacking time or energy for the last month (being quite sick while juggling work, house construction, and more), today I finally feel as if I'm returning to the land of the living... and blogging!  A quick post this time - just to capture some moments and stories.

Anya and Callum have been playing together more and more and are becoming really good friends.  I am so glad because when I was growing up, my sister was my best friend, and she was a major force of good in my life.  Thanks, sis!

Little things they do for each other: when I offer Callum something nice (toy or treat) he always immediately asks that Anya should get one too.  And when racing through the park, Anya stopped short several times and made sure that Callum got to the finish first.  Right now they're having breakfast on the patio and pretending to be Shark Boy and Lava Girl.  I can hear them collaborating: "And I was the queen -- " "Mmm-hmm, and I was over here -- "  "Pretend I was at the -- "

In other developments - we are gradually moving toward eating the same meals at the same time.  I know many families who do this already but it never really suited our adult lifestyle to eat dinner at 5:30.  Also, the kids tend to prefer really plain food.  Recently we introduced "family meal time" on weekends when we had more time to prepare and enjoy the meal.  Also we've been preparing things more to our adult tastes but just not quite as spicy: corned beef, moussaka, tuna pasta bake, Asian stir fry...

I was pleased last night to whip up a cake in about 10 minutes from a recipe that had just six ingredients.  As I was already baking moussaka it was simple to swap the cake into the oven while taking the main meal out.  The cake turned out very nicely so I thought I'd share the recipe (from "The Flavours of Buderim" with some added notes from me):

Pineapple Cake

150 g butter
150 g sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
150 g self-raising flour
450 g pineapple, drained well (recipe calls for crushed, but I find it better to chop whole pieces)

Preheat oven to 175 C (or 155-165 C in fan forced oven).  Beat butter with sugar until creamy; beat in eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy.  Fold in flour and vanilla, then the pineapple.  Line an 8" round cake tin with non stick paper (bottom & sides).  Pour into tin, and bake 45 minutes or more until done, testing with a skewer.  Note: make sure the pineapple is really well drained otherwise the cake will be sloppy and never seem  "done" when you're testing it!

03 September 2011

Short, Tasty Chicken Recipe

What to cook with a minimum of ingredients.  Of course you will probably be tempted to dress this up with ginger, curry paste, etc.  Feel free!  (Though it definitely tastes good the "basic" way.)  I improvised this recipe tonight -- I wanted to make Hainan chicken, but with a browned finish.

6 chicken marylands
2 cups chicken broth
400 ml coconut milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce and/or fish sauce
1 cup uncooked rice

1. Bring broth to a boil in large pot.  Simmer chicken in broth, approx. 15 min.  Drain chicken & reserve broth.
2. Pour coconut milk into a large roasting pan.  Mix in the soy sauce/fish sauce.
3. Place the chicken in the roasting dish, turning over to coat.  Leave with skin side up*.  Bake 1 hour.
* optional: use approx 1 teaspoon of warm broth to thin 2 - 3 tablespoons peanut butter (to milkshake consistency) and drizzle over the chicken to make a tasty coating.
4. Meanwhile, use 2 cups of the reserved broth to cook the rice.
5. Serve with steamed vegetables.  Spoon juices from the roasting dish over the whole plate.

08 August 2011

Callum's Report Card

Callum Ree

  • sleeping     exlent
  • playing     exlent
  • criing     ned enpruevement
  • herting   ned enpruevment
Anya Ree

About Time

I’ve been untrue.  To myself, that is.

All my life I’ve been a writer, reader and artist, and lately I have been none of those things.  Why?  I’ve been knitting.  It’s not like I think that knitting is so much more fabulous than writing, reading or drawing.  It’s just that the knitting grows slowly, too slowly to finish in an afternoon, but just fast enough that I can see how it’s going to be so much bigger in just a few more days.  I think, “If I just do two more rows right now...” and the next thing I know, it’s way past when I should have gone to bed.

Anyway, that's my attempt to explain the lack of blogging.  The other reason, of course, is my new (-ish) job with longer days and more intense involvement.  When I’m not knitting, I seem to spend a lot of my spare time thinking about work or doing stuff around the edges to try to keep the work on track.  I guess that’s one benefit of knitting.  It’s something completely different to be thinking about and concentrating on.

A friend taught me to knit and crochet last October.  I started simply, with a couple of scarves (I didn’t mean to make two, but each child claimed one), then progressed to a small pair of pants for a six month old (my first experience of shaping a garment),and most recently I completed a baby blanket with a lace pattern (my first experience with cabling, too) which took over three months of my spare time.  Now I’m finally making something for myself, the “Sideways Top” (Jo Sharp, Saturday).

Other than that, this weekend I went rollerblading -- with the rest of the family on bikes – David gave me some new blades for my birthday, as my old ones shattered when I put them on a month ago.  I’ve only had them since about 1990, so I guess it’s fair enough.  Rollerblading is just about the right speed to keep up with the kids and a huge improvement over running.  I am just not a runner.  All that foot impact and wobbling bits just feel wrong to me.

We also attended a massage course.  I’m still sore!  Not from receiving, from giving.  It is hard work giving a massage.  I went first, and was practicing on David for about two and a half hours.  By the end of it, I was starting to feel overheated.  After lunch it was my turn to lie on the table, and I passed out in the middle of it.  We have a massage table at home, so I’m looking forward to many practice sessions.  (No doubt, so are all our friends and family...)

18 June 2011

Bapping Woman

Picture this: Anya and Callum are settled in for another viewing of Justice League.  This is probably their fourth or fifth episode so they've become familiar with the roster of heroes.  (Also, David reads comic books, so they know some characters because of that.)

As the show opens, they call out each hero's name as they appear: "Superman!"  "Green Lantern!"  "Wonderwoman!"  "Green guy!"  (some other guy in green... I don't know who he is either... David says he's John Jones?)  "The Flash!"  "Bapping Woman!  I don't know her name, but I call her Bapping Woman, because she's always bapping people with her stick!"

When I relayed this story to David, he told me that Anya meant Hawkgirl (after he stopped laughing uncontrollably).  We both watched with interest last night as we screened another Justice League episode.  When the opening scenes got up to Hawkgirl, Anya remained silent, but Callum yelled out, "Porkgirl!"

13 June 2011

David's Birthday Duck

David's favorite meal being duck, I bought two duck breasts on impulse last week and stashed them in the freezer without an actual meal plan.

Some research found me the following recipe: http://allrecipes.com.au/recipe/12162/spiced-duck-breasts.aspx which I liked for being spicy and NOT sweet.  It is tedious how many duck recipes involve fruit sauce.  Not that I dislike duck with fruit sauce, but other options are very welcome.

I didn't quite follow the recipe, so here is my version:
(1) For baharat spice rub, I substituted a mixture of Cajun spice mix and ras-el-hanout (because I already had some of each made, and didn't want to make another spice mix), plus I added some Chinese five spice.
(2) Rather than cut slits in the duck skin, I loosened it over each duck breast while keeping it attached on the side.  I rubbed the spice into this cavity and all over the outside as well.
(3) As per the recipe, I cooked it over medium heat, skin side down first, until the fat had rendered, then on the other side.  I didn't really time it and was worried that it would be overcooked, but the spice rub protected it and it actually came out perfectly.
(4) Rather than the sweet potato mash in the recipe I made Tunisian carrot salad and served it warm, as well as garlic mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.  I kind of modified the carrot salad recipe as well, by using coriander paste (rather than fresh chopped) and lemon juice (rather than vinegar).  The carrots went really well with the duck.  So did the Riesling!

11 June 2011

Photo Roundup

Just catching up on uploading some photos from the last few months.  This is from April when we lucked into a local fair while we were staying up the coast.
Green Heart Fair Green Heart Fair

This is from a day when my old rollerblades disintegrated, so I walked up Kedron Brook (in the water, wearing thongs) while David took the kids for a bike ride:
Kedron Brook

Kedron Brook

This is from a few weeks ago when we were out for a walk in the neighborhood, and found a tree in full autumn glory.  My heart filled with pure gladness to see it.  Most plants around here stay green year round or simply become brown or bare branched instantly, so it was a rare and wonderful sight.

Last of all, here is a photo of my current knitting project in progress. I'm making a baby blanket and this is one side of it, half finished. I also intend to knit a strip of a different pattern (maybe cables) to go in the center.

06 June 2011

Pose in Boots

Anya's birthday boots got their first outing today.  I decided to take a photo to show Helen, who has nominated herself "the Shoe Auntie" and gives Anya shoes every year.  (This year she even gave Anya two pairs, as she couldn't decide which ones to get.  Anya loves them both.)

This is the first photo:
Best Buddies, Today

Then I asked Callum to let me take one of Anya by herself.  She thought this a worthy pose:
Hey There!

Callum wanted to pose too.  This is his idea of a scary pose (imagine him growling):
Wolverine Takes No Prisoners, Grr!

Last, I asked Anya to twirl for me, and I think this is the best shot:
Anya 20110605 002_crop

01 June 2011

Dinnertime Challenges

Anya and Callum sometimes get very restless sitting and eating dinner.  Rather than enforce a "bottoms on seats" rule, we help them finish dinner by setting physical challenges.  In between the challenges they have to come back and eat some more.

Originally the challenges were fairly easy, such as "run over to Grandma and give her a kiss."  Next was "run as fast as you can down the hall."  More recently it's evolved to much more advanced challenges.  This week Anya and Callum ran down the stairs and up again, repeating it several times trying to beat their previous times (I used an egg timer). Tonight there were bunny hops, walking backwards, hopping on one leg backwards, and running around Grandma's chair.  Raema loved the challenges as she usually got lots of kisses as they rounded her chair.

Last, I asked Anya what the next challenge should be.  She cocked her head, put her hand on her hip, and said, "Hmmm... I think it should be to eat all the vegetables on my plate!" and proceeded to eat as fast as she could while I timed her.

29 May 2011

the Storry of Biaes

the Storry of Biaes
By Anya

Won day som biaes went for a work and a big hyooj storm came! Bam!
Thai had to go home. And they did. Thai had a nise waum showa and tee.
Ten thai were warm then.
the EnD.

[One day some bears went for a walk and a big huge storm came! Bam!
They had to go home. And they did. They had a nice warm shower and tea.
They were warm then.
The End.]

Anya made this book herself (stapling index cards together) and we just found it lying around.  She also illustrated it with pictures of the bears walking, lightning scaring them, their home, a bear in a shower, and a bear at a table with a tea set.

07 May 2011

Anya Turns Six

Anya had a small party in the park to celebrate her birthday.  The theme was "hula girl" and we had face painting, ten pin bowling, and pizza.  The peak moment for me was when she and her best friend put on their hula skirts and hula danced in unison, swaying their skirts and waving their arms.  It was also pretty cute to see them all bowling in hula skirts.

Anya's Sixth Birthday Party

David also got in on the bowling action:

Anya's Sixth Birthday Party

09 March 2011

Miss Gump

Our family nickname for Anya is "gump" or sometimes "Miss Gump."  Imagine our delight when we actually came across a storybook featuring a little girl (Nellie Lou) doing various imaginative hair styles on a customer (Miss Gump) who keeps asking for something different.  There are lots of extraordinary 'dos, such as shaping into an umbrella, a large piece of swiss cheese, an island with a palm tree surrounded by waves...

This week our Miss Gump was pretending to style her grandmother's hair.  She combed it this way and that, and finished by saying, "Now we need to comb your hair down over your ears.  You have big ears, Grandma -- " in a matter-of-fact tone -- "nearly as big as Julia Gillard's."  (Does this count as political awareness?)

Meanwhile, Callum has started to take notice of letters and numbers more.  He was lying next to me in bed, on his side, then arched backward and said, "I'm C!"  This amazed me, as this means that not only does he know the letter, he is actually picturing the shape his body is making, and connecting the two.

Anya and Callum have been playing together more and more, and laughing together which is delightful to eavesdrop on.  When our neighbour's daughter comes over to play their favorite group game is for Callum to roar and chase them while they run around screaming.  But on their own, they usually play elaborate games like being at school, or travelling into outer space.

Best of all, I heard Callum bustling around in their room, then call to Anya, "You can come back now!"  She was drawing something at the table next to me.  I asked Anya what Callum had been working on, and she said, "Cleaning the room."  It seems she directed him to tidy up (he must have strewn toys around as usual), and left the room until he had done it!

02 March 2011

Toothy Tales

I'm sure the world needs more help persuading children to behave when their teeth are getting brushed. Lately we've been constructing more and more elaborate tales to help Callum open his mouth properly for teeth time. It all started innocently enough with "open your mouth wider, wide enough for a truck to drive in." This progressed to "here comes the train, choo choo, chugga chugga, it's driving around the track" (i.e. the teeth). Now we have a bear going into a cave, looking for his jar of honey in all the corners, and finding all sorts of surprises like a spider, or a bat. Eventually he finds the honey, says YUM, and finishes by cleaning his rug (the tongue, of course).

Another recent development is the "talking spot" where the kids are sent to discuss their conflict until they agree or are at least no longer shouting about it. This took on a new twist today when Anya slammed a door again, despite repeated scoldings about door slamming. I asked for her input, saying I needed to come up with some way to make sure she would remember not to do it any more.

I talked ruefully about the way I was disciplined as a child (toys confiscated AND bottom smacked). After several minutes, she still didn't seem to have any comment or suggestion so I said sadly that I guessed I would have to give her a spanking (the last resort in our household); she asked for one more minute to think, then suggested that she should sit on the talking spot which is right next to the door she slammed, and she should gaze at the door to remember not to slam it any more.

I thanked her for the good suggestion and we put it into effect immediately. She missed out on most of story time, but came in toward the end.

Fingers crossed that this self-administered discipline sticks in her head. I will be feeling like the most brilliant parent in the world if this works!
Ferocious grin

24 February 2011

I found some old photos on a memory card we think was from David's previous phone. Awww...

Ekka 20080813
At the Ekka, 2008

Strawberry Hrmmgh 20080928
Eating strawberries, 2008

And now for my next trick... 20081230
Trying on a suit, 2008

Darwin 20100702
Darwin, 2010

Art Therapy

I recently spent the day at the Gallery of Modern Art and the Queensland Art Gallery.  It was wonderful to be immersed in so many amazing images and ideas.  (Click on the photos to go through to the entire set on flickr.)

20110223 18

20110223 14

20110223 19

23 February 2011

The Baby Elves Help Santa

This story was composed by Annike, Anya, Bhavya & Niko just before Christmas.  (They were the four prep kids in Mrs G's composite prep/year 1 class in 2010.)

Once upon a time it was Christmas Eve in Australia.  All the kids were asleep and Santa was at the North Pole packing the presents into the sleigh.  They were for all the kids in the world.

When it was time to go, Santa waved to Mrs Claus and was about to fly away with his reindeer, when suddenly, all of the elves got sick.  Oh no!  Who was going to help Santa now?

Suddenly Mrs Claus had an idea.  Her idea was this: the baby elves would have to help Santa.  So Annika, Anya, Bhavya and Niko got into Santa's sleigh.  Anya was very scared.  Niko was bouncy as usual.  Annika was brave.  And Bhavya was excited.

"Let's go!" said Santa and off they went.

First they went to Mrs G's house and Santa ate all the cookies and drank the milk, and the reindeer ate the carrots.  And Mrs G had left chocolates for the baby elves.  They ate them all up.  They were delicious and nutritious.

Then they delivered all the presents around the world and went back to the North Pole.  They went to bed.  They were very tired.  But when it was morning they helped around the house.

They were the best baby elves in the whole world.  And - by the way - the big elves got better.

31 January 2011

This year as usual Anya and Callum met Santa at the Myer department store in our local shopping centre.  I love that it's relatively low key and the kids didn't have to wait ages.  In any case they were almost more interested in looking at all the toys on the shelves than the Santa moment!  Callum's most repeated phrase these days is "Sometime will you buy me... ?"

We had Christmas Eve with the extended family, then Christmas at home by ourselves.  Luckily this included some of our extended family as they dropped by on their way to see their other in-laws for Christmas.  So it felt like we had two Christmases!

Shortly after Boxing Day, we packed up and headed to the family units for a two week holiday -- another family tradition.  My nieces and nephews are getting more mature now, but still make time for Anya and Callum.  The girls love doing Anya's Rapunzel-like tresses into various hairdos, and everyone indulges Callum as the last little boy of his generation.

Below are a few recent fun pics -- you can see more on flickr.

Batman swims

Ferocious grin

20 December 2010

Home, with No House

20101220 Demolished!

I've had a few requests for a photo of our demolished house.  How does one photograph something that's not there?  Here is a shot of the cleared land -- we've visited it a few times to marvel at the emptiness.  David took some photos while it was disappearing in the week of demolition, but I was out of town and missed the whole thing.

On a different note, I created something recently -- a crocheted slipcover for my Sony Reader, combining my two latest interests.  It's fantastic that it's exactly what I want, in colors that I chose, and was so fast to make. (I can attest that crochet is way faster than knitting!)

Reader case

Half on Holiday

This weekend we had holiday fever mixed with Christmas colds (three of us have sore throats and coughs to varying degrees, with more to succumb, I'm sure).  I also made an absurd attempt to finish off some project work before Monday, futile since not much time is left in the working year.  Anya and Callum were hanging around me while I worked, so I now have a piece of scratch paper with a mixture of work annotations and kiddie drawings.  It was surprisingly not too hard to work and play at the same time, probably because my project involves tweaking a computer model that goes very slowly.

In the afternoon, I tried to teach Anya to crochet, but realised she's still too young.  Left with a half-started project, I amused myself in the late evening by making it into a finger puppet.  No pattern, I just experimented with shaping it using different stitches, making loops for the ears, and finishing with a tuft on top.  It looks vaguely like a Fraggle to me.  I sewed buttons on for the nose & eyes this morning, and Callum has named it "Fa-fa."  Anya naturally has requested one for herself, so a blue cat puppet is in the works.

We've started some new games lately -- Spin the Bottle (at dinnertime), great for getting lots of kisses -- and Treasure Hunt, where we take turns being the treasure hider.  Callum absolutely loves finding the items, and Anya loves giving us extremely specific hints on where to look for her hides.  As with Hide and Seek, they both have yet to learn how to really hide and find things, but I prefer it that way -- less likely to lose them when we're out and about!

Some sweet moments from this weekend:

Callum sidled up to me, hooked his arm around my neck to help himself onto my lap, and said, "We're best friends, aren't we, Mum?"  (My heart melts and sizzles like butter on a griddle...)

Anya wrote "I love you Mum and Dad and Grama and Callum" on our fridge's whiteboard, right behind me, then delightedly pointed out the surprise message to me.  (Later, she got cross with me about something, and erased "Mum" from the message.  But this morning I noticed I was reinstated.)

I invited Anya to sit with me on the bed for movie time because Callum was pestering her too much on the couch.  The next thing I knew, both kids were nestled on either side of me, and I got a great 45 minute snuggle.  David also joined us for part of the movie viewing, but unfortunately, he mostly got Callum rolling restlessly around over him -- lots of bottom and feet action.  I had to threaten Callum with banishment so he would settle down.  Meanwhile, by movie's end, Anya had fallen asleep in her cosy position.

16 December 2010

School's Out, Summer's In

This week is the first week of holidays -- Anya has finished her first year of school.  Anya and Callum have still been going off each day, Anya to vacation care (a whole day at the pool! another day at the movies!) and Callum to his daycare (same old same old, but with tinsel on top).  This being Thursday, it's "Grandma Day," when my mother-in-law looks after Callum.  It's been a long time since Anya has stayed home for a Grandma Day, so both kids have been looking forward to it a lot.

This morning I heard Callum running down the hall, yelling joyfully, "Yay!  It's Grandma Day!"

Yes, Grandma Day is celebrated with as much enthusiasm as birthdays and Easter and Christmas, round these parts.  Meanwhile, here are some exciting bits that happened from an adult viewpoint:

  • Our old house was knocked down in early November.  It was sad to see it go, but we'll have a bigger house in a great location as a result (and custom designed by yours truly!)  We had hoped to see construction start before Christmas, but apparently the plans have still not been approved by council.
  • We had our first summery beach weekend a while ago, and our friends Wayne & Jacqui came up to join in.  Finally, sun and sand!  The weather has stayed unusually cool for this time of year until recently.
  • Bronwyn & I won Runner-up in the Overall Winner category, at the Annual Artforce Awards for the traffic signal box we painted this year.  I made sure to acknowledge Anya's contribution to the TSB design (the little creatures by the dreaming woman's head).  She was quite pleased that I got her to stand up for the audience, I think.
  • I attended a conference dinner by the dolphin enclosure at Sea World -- not only did we have dolphins swimming next to us all through dinner, they performed before and after the meal!  It was magical...  I was rapt for days afterward.
  • My company's tenth anniversary luncheon was held at the Sydney Opera House -- our global HQ is in Denmark, the Opera House was designed by a Dane, and the Danish ambassador came to the luncheon to celebrate with us.  I believe even Oprah (who apparently is now in Australia) didn't stage her event at the Opera House, but at a nearby location.  However, she did have Russell Crowe swing in... as well as Hugh Jackman... (I would have liked that!)

02 October 2010

Edible (Almost) T-shirt

20101002_IceCreamDesign (2)

Anya and I made this the T-shirt yesterday, combining my ideas and Anya's concept drawing. Below is Anya's original drawing. I asked her for it, when I was thinking about making an ice cream cone T-shirt. I'm glad she did this because it changed my concept of how the scoops should look, and also intrigued me with the heart-shaped cone. I really loved her heart-shaped cone but wanted a waffle cone effect, so we decided to make a heart-shaped cherry on top instead.  It's interesting, too, that although she drew this a month ago, she picked out the same colors for the ice cream scoops (without reference to the drawing) when I showed her my set of screen printing paints.

20101002_IceCreamDesign (1)

25 September 2010

Gallery of Modern Art

Douglas Kirkland @GoMA
I went to the Gallery of Modern Art to see the Douglas Kirkland exhibit with my good friend Mel.  It was also a chance to catch up and see how much her daughter Jessie has grown.  Raema and the kids came along as well, and Mel's husband Craig joined us at lunchtime.

Craig, Mel & Jessie @GoMA

Kids @GoMA GoMA Takashi Murakami @GoMA
I tried in vain to capture a good candid shot of the kids wandering around the Takashi Murakami exhibit.  I have no idea why Callum looks to be getting ready to open a can of whup-ass... I do like this shot of Anya looking out the window next to the Valentino window poster, although it doesn't look anything like the image I had in mind.


19 September 2010

Tripping Through VA, WA & LA

20100906 Mom & Elaine
So I went to the US to visit my mom in Staunton, Virginia.
20100910 Dad & Elaine
Then to Seattle, to visit my dad.
20100911 Jill & kids
I also caught up with some old high school friends, including my best friend from literally forever, Jill, and hung out with her kids (who are not shy at all).  It was really great to see everyone -- it felt like we just picked right up where we left off.
Elaine @LACMA
On the last day of my trip, I had a long layover in LA.  Luckily, my good friend Kevin had time to hang out with me.  We went to Santa Monica, The Ivy, the LA County Museum of Art, Manhattan Beach and last, Encounters restaurant at LAX.

20100912 Kevin@LACMA

20100912 Encounters restaurant, LAX