Children's books and me.

Just a quick shot of Gabriella in her first ever piggy tails. They lasted all of oh, 2 minutes. She refused to let them be so I had to concede. At least I have a lasting image of them for now.


Yesterday I was shopping for some children other than my own. I find it extraordinarily difficult to buy clothing for new babies that are not mine, I just don’t trust my judgment to choose clothing I think another child’s parent would deem worthy of putting on their child. So after an hour of fruitless searching, I then had to choose quickly because my lunch-time was up. I ended up buying underclothing i.e. vests and socks how could I go wrong. My rationale being they are items of clothing worn under clothing the parents have chosen.

However, my find of the day was this book:

Eric Carle new book

I do say that I like to buy Eric Carle books for my children, but ostensibly I know I am really collecting them for myself. I absolutely adore his books as much as children do. I have 5 now, of which 3 are hardback.

Along with almost everyone else have the ubiquitous "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" but I have and adore the beautiful and mesmerising quality of "Dream Snow" a Christmas theme with a sound button at the end that leaves a haunting tinkling sound.

Then yesterday I found the new one. I haven’t read it to the children yet, as I will have to exchange it for another book. It is also a sound book and I think the battery is dead so for now, no ducks quacking at the end.

The book was a complete bargain $16 – hard cover in Target and there were 3 of them so I can go back and exchange so long as no one cottons on to this bargain over the long weekend. I know that normally this book would be $30 in my favourite small book store. I was very tempted to buy one for each of the other children I had to buy for yesterday, but I refrained because finding this book is MY joy, not necessarily theirs or their parents.

They are truly beautiful books and apart from the stories, I love them for Eric Carle’s art work. One day I would love to have some prints of his art work to frame and hang in the children’s rooms.

From the new book:

When I went to check my book case to see how many other Eric Carle book’s I found this book.


"Goldilocks and the Three Bears - A Tale Moderne" by Steven Guarnaccia.

From the inside jacket: "Though our heroine is the same, our bears certainly are not. These bears are hip; they have a sense of style and a love of design. Their split-level home is filled with furnishings created by an international crowd of celebrated designers, from Alvar Aalto to Charles and Ray Eames to Isamu Noguchi.

Children will delight in this long-beloved story given new life by Steven Guarnaccia's stylized art work - and may even pick up a design tip or two."



I bought it for Elliot probably 4 years ago I thought it was the grooviest book I had ever seen when I first stumbled across it at Folio (my favourite book store it’s a very rare visit that I don’t buy a book in that store).

In many respects I have come to the realisation I am a smallish collector of children’s books. They are not rare books, but I think they are exquisite and although I don’t search for them, when I stumble across them I have to have them.

I actually don’t allow the children free access to them, although I will read the books to them whenever they want or we have the time.
I imagine one day giving the books to them when they are old enough to keep and look after books of their own i.e. when they leave and have a home of their own.

For Gabriella’s naming day in one my first posts I mentioned that I bought for Elliot as a gift from Gabriella a beautifully illustrated book by C.S. Lewis " The Chronicles of Narnia" . And Gabriella has a equally beautifully illustrated Louisa May Alcott’s " Little Women" from Elliot. These books are two of my most favourite books from my childhood. P is currently reading to Elliot from the C.S. Lewis book most evenings.

I hope to read "Little Women" to Gabriella when she is Elliot’s age.



This morning when making my first coffee of the day, I performed a ritual I have now every weekend for the last two years when I use particular coffee cups that I was given for my birthday.

I have recognised for some time now, that I have a minor obsessive compulsive disorder.

My assessment of my condition:
  • enough for me to recognise it;
  • though not be worthy of comment by others;
  • be able to have a laugh at myself about it; and
  • to consider myself on the anal-side rather than completely dysfunctional.
On some occassions I like to indulge my OCDs to the hilt and other times completely ignore them.

When making coffee though, I rarely ignore it so here it is.

I have four beautiful pastel coloured Robert Gordon latte cups and four espresso cups. There are two latte cups and two espresson cups in pastel pink (strawberry so the site says) and two latte and two espresso cups in pastel green.

My coffee machine is a small domestic branded Gaggia Classic. I found that I am unable to filter two shots of coffee directly into the latte cups when making flat whites and instead must first filter a shot of espresso into the espresso cups.

When making coffee for P and me, I choose a green latte cup for him and a pink latte cup for me. There is good reason (so I think!)to use different coloured cups as he uses full cream milk and up till recently I used reduced fat and of late soy milk. He also has sugar in his coffee I don't. So the different colours for the latte cups assists in my differentiating the style of coffee easily.

I believe though, that the choice of colour (as a very amatuer socialogist/psychologist I have absolutely no idea what I am theorising on I haven't reasearched any of this)is probably because of my ingrained social conditioning, the use traditional colour coding to define the feminine from the masculine.

When I filter the first shots of espresso I don't have to but I choose to use one pink espresso cup and one green espresso cup. I am sure you can see where this is heading......after I have filtered the shots of coffee, I then have to transfer the shots of espresso like so,


On the rare occassion that I fail to follow this routine and pour from the green espresso cup into the pink latte cup. I am extremely annoyed with myself and have been know to remark out loud about how STOOPID I am! I have various other rituals when making coffee regarding wiping the bench, not leaving coffee grains ANYWHERE and wiping the milk frother as well it's all too tedious to detail in the minituae any further.

I wonder though, exactly how strange I am when it comes to my OCDs, am I underestimating my problem or I am merely eccentric and endearing ? ;) If I am not in trouble now, am I headed for trouble?

DO I NEED HELP? (I think I may do, if I continue shouting in my posts like Dooce)

P.S. my husband started me on a new one OCD recently. When putting cutlery into the dishwasher, he thought it was a good idea to put the knives with the knives in one compartment, forks with forks, spoons with the spoons etc. All pointing down. The cutlery pointing down thing is due to my hearing of an accident where a woman was impaled on her cutlery after slipping over in the kitchen (I wonder if that was a myth?)

P has fallen by the wayside, me I have fully embraced my new cutlerly putting in the dishwasher lifestyle and have even performed it at someone else's place. Yep I need help.


If only....

Today would have had to have been one of our most embarassing moments at work. Late this afternoon, this quiz started circulating around our office. We had been working pretty hard until then. After the quiz had been circulated to a few of the girls they started discussing their results and some chat turned into lots of laughter. In fact lots of racous laughter.

I went into see my manager who had been given the quiz too, and along with another member of our team we discussed our results. I said that I had some trouble actually remembering whether some of the things did or did not happen i.e. the question involving the car......... it was so long ago. My manager said that she was doing a Bill Clinton and wanted to know some of the technical definitions involved in some questions.

As we were in the midst of one bought of laughter, we turned around to find the MAJOR BOSS standing at the door of the office. He came in and asked us what we were laughing about. There was no way we could tell him, which unfortunately made us laugh even more, probably out of sheer embarassment.

By this time he had manouvered himself into the office so he could look out the window supposedly at the view but most likely at my manager's computer screen. She told me later that she couldn't close down the window (which contained an excell spreadsheet and not the internet one), as she thought that would have made things even more suspicious than it was already.

Luckily once he realised we were not going to tell him, he left, as soon as he did we scurried back to our desks. On my way out I turned back to my manager and gave her a horrified look, she looked beet red.

When I got back to the desk it came to me what would have been the perfect reply to his earlier query:

"We're just happy in the Service!"

I have heard some old-timers use the same reply in a very laconic and cynical way when asked by someone how they were going. A perfect reply considering the timing of his question.

P.S Anyone interested in the result? I will post mine if you tell me yours?


I'll see your interest rate raise and raise mine by 2!

So Australians missed out on the predicted interest rate rise. I was saying to P that all the speculation on interest rate rises bugs the hell out of me.

For instance I heard one financial commentator say:

"Well there is likely to be an interest rate rise because the Reserve Bank likes to do these things in pairs"

Yes, in pairs, where is the economic rationale in that?

Another gem after the predicted raise failed to happen:

"It is likely the Reserve Bank will raise the rate in May, because that is what they usually do"

I have visions as a fly on the wall at a meeting of the Reserve Bank executive's:

"Okay I move a motion that we raise the interest rate rise because......... it's May. Anyone to second that?"

"Yes I do, and let's not forget that we do like to do these things in pairs!"

I feel so safe and secure being led to believe by the financial commentators that our economic future is based on such sound economic analysis.

Legal issues concerning the detention of Cornelia Rau.

Recently I was referred to this paper by a colleague. I have spent the last two days reading it and feeling simultaneously engrossed and repulsed by the subject matter.

I was engrossed from a professional perspective, does the legislation clearly elaborate and enable the will of the government without any unintended consequences? Because clearly the detention of Cornelia Rau and anyone else like her a citizen of Australia is not an intended consequence. And what is it I would advise concerning amendments to the legislation to ensure that the will of the government could be achieved?

At the same time I was repulsed because I find the whole matter of mandatory detention morally repugnant. I am so glad I do not work for DIMIA I would hate to have to use my skills in such a manner.

I commend this paper to anyone interested in an examination of immigration detention legal issues as they relate in particular to Cornelia Rau.

This paper is well written as I found it made the subject matter, of which I have a limited knowledge, quite accessible.


Continuing the religious education of Elliot.

Okay, now there is some kind of freaky stuff going on here. This is my second attempt at resurrecting my first post about the latest in Elliot’s religious education. In my second post, I had just written about that sickening gut wrenching feeling that I know all bloggers must be familiar with.

It happens after you have extracted yourself from the comfy couch and plied yourself away from the comfort television show, and sat yourself in front of the computer and mustered up the effort to put your fingers on the keyboard and actually begin to write. You start a post with scant enthusiasm about a subject that neither grips nor exhilarates you but somehow you plough on and slowly the post takes form. You start linking here and there for added value, tweaking words, sentences, moving paragraphs and previewing the final draft several times during the editing process. It finally all comes together and you allow yourself a small smile of satisfaction (my first mistake!). Then, with one tiny accidental and split second clickity click, click of the mouse, BOOM, it’s all gone, GONE, NEVER to be recovered and there are only the first 5 words of the post remaining.

You pick yourself up from the devastation that is the loss of the finalised first post and begin again. Writing the second time about how this time I am going to write my posts in Word first, like I promised I would four posts ago and then when it’s finished copy the text into Blogger. Ironically, stupidly and unfortunately I have already written most of the second post in Blogger, so by the time I go to copy the text and transfer it in its freshly written glory to my newly opened Word document, BOOM, second post gone, LIKE THAT, never to return - only the heading remains.Very soon the heading "Continuing the religious education of Elliot" looks nothing like the post your about to begin again for the third time tonight.

Lordy, lordy, oh lordy I am going to write this post if it’s the last thing I do tonight (and given the lateness of the hour it is the last thing I do, do before brushing my teeth that is), I say, mentally shaking my fist at the screen.

Continuing Elliot’s religious education.
When school resumed this year so did Elliot’s religious education classes. Once again I said to him that he would be going unless and until he could explain to my satisfaction why it is he does not want to attend. I had to attend the same classes for many years and it wasn’t until I was 16 my mother finally wrote me the note that released me from those classes – Yippee! I don’t anticipate that Elliot will have to wait till he is 16, as my approach is entirely different to my mother’s. I do think that he should be able to articulate what it is he does not want to do and why though, and that I will not be making that decision for him.

A few things have happened since the classes began, for one he has been bringing home material with "Jesus love you" on it. Anytime we have discussed God, I have said to him that there are some people who believe in God, some people who don’t believe and then people like me, who are not sure. He has told me that he believes in God and I said that is fine and sometimes people change their mind, sometimes the believe than they don’t or they don’t believe and then they do.

He asked me about going to Church and I have always said that I would be more than happy to take him one Sunday and "How about next Sunday?" He declined. I recall OLS commenting to me on an earlier post that she had been taken by a regular church goer, I wish there was someone I knew who was a regular church goer who I could send him with too.

One day while he was having lunch he told me that he was praying and when I asked him what he was praying about he said "That I would be good at school" He then asked me to pray too, and I did. When he asked me what I prayed about I replied "That I would be a better mother." He also asked both P and I why it was we didn’t pray at dinner. I said that some people do but we chose not to give thanks, although if he wanted to do that himself it was entirely up to him and that we didn’t mind.

I guess I may have been giving him mixed messages about God and prayer. But in terms of prayer I do have mixed feelings, given
recent information about the power of prayer and it’s usefulness, not so much in terms of thanking God at dinner, but about something which is essentially the power of positive thought being focused on a particular outcome. So if my thoughts on God are "Well I am not sure" then my view on prayer is "Well it couldn’t hurt"

The other morning, Elliot asked me "how big God was?" I decided that the people coming for those religious classes could start earning their keep and I said that he should direct that question and any further God-related queries made directly to the experts as I was not. I wasn’t doing that to be facetious, because I also try and instil in him the importance of respect and tolerance of the beliefs of others. And to that end, in particular, I ask Elliot to refrain from taking God’s name in vain in front of his Great-grandmother on the basis that "She loves God and may think you are being angry at God" In front of me, it is a different story.

I know we have quite a way to go with his religious education, I hope that he will come to a position he is happy with on it one day, because what I would be happy with is to see him make up his own mind and not blindly follow mine.


One week snap shot.

Monday - public holiday

Tuesday, Wednesday - Work, Work.

Thursday - I stayed home due to school holidays and decided it would be Elliot's day. So no Gabriella and Elliot and I went to play ten pin bowls. Then I took him to see Robots.

Friday. Shopping with both Elliot and Gabriella. 5 long hours of it at a huge shopping centre in by 11am out by 4pm.

Best line of the day "Just keep shopping, just keep shopping", over and over when my son showed signs of slowing down. My son was a saint my daughter a child possessed whenever released from the pram. I don't believe in child restraints just vigilance however she comes this close to my almost changing my mind. But we did it, new school socks, winter pyjamas, 3 birthday presents, 2 pairs of winter shoes for Gabriella and socks for her and it was finally over, "just keep shopping, just keep shopping........" Oh P and I treated ourselves to a Bill Granger cook book.

We were all well and truly shattered by the time we got home.

Saturday: a very heinous but much needed opportunity to sort out some of my clothes from the last century and get rid of a lot of them. Clothes and general goods sitting under my bed in stripey bags for the last year have now finally been sorted out. Though we still have more to unpack in various boxes in cupboards around the house. It was Elliot's new king single bed which precipitated my having to finally sort this stuff out. P decided to put the old single mattress under our bed.

I have found that whenever I have 4 days home in a row I actually get to organise a cupboard now and then.

Sunday: 5 hours of baking with some friends who wanted to practice baking a croquembouche for her sister-in-law to be's wedding in May. Great profiteroles and melted chocolate but our toffee was a disaster. We lost two pots to crystallisation. After I destroyed the first pot I decided to bow out I would have preferred to track down more recipes. Still what was accomplished tasted very good. No pictures may update tomorrow if they email me some through tomorrow.

Monday - The start of No wheat, No dairy, No red meat - just for a little while - 6 weeks maybe??