Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christmas Cardiology

This year I'm going to do much better with Christmas cards: last year it was too little too late (and we got more cards from Real estate agents than friends) :0(

In previous years we've had some very cute home-made cards pieced together from my first two attempts at Do-It-Yourself child's passport photos, which you can laugh at here.

This one above I still adore and it will forever be a part of our little family's history.

My second D.I.Y Passport photo shoot was less successful because I didn't manage to produce a useable passport photo at all. I just snapped away while she giggled, wriggled, cracked up, and generally made fun of my seriousness. But these shots were super-cute and we have some of them framed as well as having sent them out on cards at Christmas - so not a bad result after all.

I added some hats to the original photo's and reused them for again the following year as cards and also my  Rugrat Rodeos Facebook page banner:

This year, our little Picasso is illustrating our 2013 Chrissy Cards.
Since she discovered saying "cheese" whenever a camera is pointed at her, and all her photos look like she's in the middle of doing a pooh, we've given up on taking natural laughing, smiling photos of her.

When she began decorating her letter to Santa this year, I fell in love with her illustrations - honestly, sometimes when she steals my ball point pens she really does her best work.

It's taken me some time to remove some of the background (in PowerPoint) and fill it with Christmas wrap (how I miss Photoshop). I also added some more colour in the 'Paint' program.
FWI: I am told the one on the left is a Lion wearing a tutu and lipstick. Do NOT ask me why there is a Lion in drag in a Christmas elf line-up, I am not the artist I have no clue!

After printing them in all in both English and a French version (for the other side of the family) I sat down in front of the TV one night with some of Little Pinkster's glitter-glue and coated the red and gold parts with glitter. I wish I could take a decent photo that shows up their wonderful glitteriness, but you'll have to take my word for it that they look even better all sparkly. :0)

This is the Christmas Angel she drew for inside the card: 

Earlier Miss Pink had raced into the office with a teeny tiny Rudolf Reindeer wearing a necklace of Christmas baubles.  She drawn and carefully cut it out it to glue on the back of her card for Nanna, (because her Nanna always gets a little extra something) but it was so cute I scanned it and added it to the design. 
everyone should get a Rudolf of their own!

Now, where store bought greeting cards normally have a bar-code, we have a teeny-tiny reindeer instead. :0)

These cards, although set up portrait on A4 sized card, when cut, end up as landscape cards.  It takes a bit of time and experimentation getting the size right, and working out how to feed the printer (ours is quite basic) so that they print correctly in double sided mode. I've made a template now that fits DL sized envelopes. 
I'm off to buy those now - some nice red shiny ones and a pile of stamps.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Pyjama Party

I'd be happy most days doing the school run in my pyjamas.  Trouble is most days we walk. I would be seen. By other mothers who obviously put in more effort or simply have more style than I do. 

Like that lovely Asian mum who trumps everyone on the asphalt; she looks like she's jumped right out of the pages of Vogue. Simple styles but even on rainy days she can make rubber wellies look deliciously designer. (Hers probably are)

There are two French mums as well. Yep. Typical French women: effortlessly chic even wearing ordinary raincoats. Looking like catalogue model-mums in simple loose-fit summer dresses. And they really know how to toss on a scarf around their necks, those Frenchies.

I know I'm being overly self conscious, but for my little Pink Worshiper's sake, I don't want to arrive looking like the wreck I feel in the mornings. I used to have so much more confidence in myself B.C. (Before Child) I was also thinner so more of my stuff fitted. On the other hand I would hate to look like one of those try-hard mums who's got something to prove; Look at me I'm Posh Spice mummy, where are my paparazzi?

Yesterday I got caught out. Miss Lovely Smile called at 3:30 to tell me She-Who-Worships-Pink had not been collected by her dance teacher for her 3:45 dance class. 

I was writing all day so, with my 6am makeup application running down my face, I was a little less than fresh with my panda eyes, grey yoga pants decorated with bleach spots, and a tatty hoodie. And that's how I walked into her classroom minutes later and presented myself at the dance studio in front of all the glamour-mums.

Well wouldn't you know, following on from my recent 'it's not just me theme' I met a lovely woman this morning who was actually admiring my drop-off ensemble. She said, "I bet you're one of those mums, who just throws something on and looks great aren't you?' After I bent down and scooped my jaw up off the floor I explained it was all straight off a Katies in-store display last summer.

I confessed my daily-drop-off-dressing trauma and she confessed to her Pyjama-drop-offs. Wow Pyjama Drop-Off-Mum: another urban myth uncovered. 

Oh the envy!  But not having to get out of your car is small recompense for a horrible peak hour commute across the harbor bridge into the eastern suburbs. Not having to be seen in  a presentable state before 8:30 am after ninety minutes in heavy traffic (just getting there) is a small luxury afforded to brave souls.

There was just that one time, she told me, when she got pulled over by the police for a broken tail light; wearing her worst, oldest, tattiest pajamas. She said she almost begged him not to ask her to step out of the vehicle. 

The officer let her go; he was probably married with school aged children.

I cant help but wonder now if she rethinks what PJ's she's going to wear for drop-off now..

I also wonder, do French Mums wear really stylish pyjamas? Do they have such things as bed scarves to accessorise with?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas Rush final - Drowning AND Waving

I'm doing a 200 meter sprint over a soaked pavement with a school uniform on a hanger. 
I also have a bag (containing a raincoat, school shoes and tights) bouncing off my thigh out from under the protection of my umbrella.  The rain is hitting like Niagara Falls but surely the bag cant fill up with water before I get there?

I'm not firing on all cylinders today as it is. You see our household appliances follow a break-down roster, and this week it's the Nespresso Machine's turn to stop working.  Low on caffeine and I'm still ill; my Step Throat has morphed into Laryngitis so, like our Delonghi coffee maker, the lights are on but there's nothing much coming out.

One of the other mums, waves and calls ‘Hi, how are you?” In response, I launch into a squeaky voiced, verbal vomit detailing my panicked morning.  Looking at her startled expression, I realise this is NOT one of the mums I know well enough to offer a Too-Much-Information-High-Speed-Download and I feel like an idiot.

The big-deal-first-dance-recital-dress-rehearsal is over and it's pick-up time for our little dancers and time to drop them back at school before afternoon classes start.

I really have no time to feel like an idiot, because heading off in the car from our expired meter, (no ticket thankfully) I make a bad choice from the ‘ONE WAY’ street buffet and we end up on a detour of biblical proportions (two suburbs) on the way back to school. There are certain roads in Sydney where it's like you're on a Hot Wheels Track and you can't turn left (or right depending on which direction you're heading) or even change lanes for several kilometers.

The mid-day traffic is oozing and  there is much honking and shouting from everyone involved (except me because I can only huff and squeak). Finally I park outside school and take Pinkster in the gate where I’m told by the teacher monitoring lunch recess that I need to go to the office and get a late slip signed.
Pinkster is stressing (where does she get that from?) I think part of the problem is that she’s got the 'Hangrys' (Hunger induced crankiness) so I hand over her lunch and tell her I'll be right back.  Apparently she cant be officially handed over without a yellow slip from the office.

“What about my school bag mummy?”
 “We’re not ALLOWED in the classroom at reeecesssss.”

Minutes later I’m crawling around Pinkster’s dark classroom putting her afternoon snack in the afternoon snack tub, her home reader into the home reader tub, I can’t find a tub for the news items so I leave it in her school bag and hang that on its peg.
Mission accomplished, I can go home now.

Getting in the car I turn the wipers on full speed for my 780 meter drive down the road. I’m looking at the sky thinking that we will definitely be missing swimming lessons tonight.

I just don't have it in me and besides after inhaling those chemical fumes it probably constitutes ‘driving under the influence.’


I’ve had a chance to talk with some of my friends since; two lovely mums from school and my BFF.

After what I did to that other mum (verbal explosion of how my life sucks kind of thing) I gave a jokey, abridged account of my disastrous two days...and I got giggles; 
“I thought it was only me that kind of stuff happened to!”
And; “Oh my God, I’m just like a crazy person – week to week’’

And my Bestie, bless her, treated me to a witty account of her own Daughter’s recital-day-disasters, of which there were many.
“See sweetie,” she said, “ it’s not just you.”
 “You think the universe is stacked up against you and it’s not. It’s all of us – it’s life.”

I am so relieved. I often think, when I hit these bouts of bad-luck, strung together like an ugly bead necklace, that I’m working off some horrible Karma from a past life.

But it’s nothing personal. How ‘bout that.

So here’s a tip; if you think that finger by finger you’re losing your grip on your day, from what I hear, the wheels fall off every mum’s cart at least some of the time.

And isn’t it nice to know you’re not alone?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Christmas Rush Part 4 - Mission Impossible

Just when you think things have calmed down…so often they haven’t.

So after Much Ado About Nothing Everything, getting her there, She-Who-Worships-Pink is performing in her big-deal-first-dance-recital-dress-rehearsal and I have been evicted for an hour and fifteen minutes! I suddenly find myself with an unexpected piece of day to do with what I will and it feels like I’ve won the lottery.

So I decide to go home and write (this) among other things. I make a cup of tea, I sit at my desk, my terminally ill laptop still hasn’t croaked yet and I’m feeling grateful for my unexpected reprieve.

I sip my tea for a change instead of sculling it.

The bathroom-tile-re-glazer-guy is here setting up a lovely big stinking vat of chemicals. Despite his boss forgetting I left a key out and where, and the ensuing frantic phone calls to that effect, he’d talked our dog walker into giving him access anyway.

In minutes the whole house smells like a factory making nail varnish remover crossed and synthetic cow pooh. I pop a Telfast or two, but I think I might already be getting a bit high. How do these guys do it? One of our younger bathroom tradies, confessed to thoroughly enjoying chemical stinks –a glue sniffer if ever I saw one: no one is that excited about porcelain basins.

Coating the floor doesn’t take long and I’m finally left on my own to work albeit in a cloud of chemical stench. I whip off my reading glasses and move around the house executing strategic door closes and window opens.
Then there’s this sort of funny click sound downstairs and everything goes dark. The smoke detectors all start up, not their frantic emergency shriek, thank God, but loud and annoying regular BEEP.BEEP, BEEPs multiplied by three. (Two downstairs, one up)

Probably a bad weather, lightening, power-surge thing and since our smoke detectors are hard wired, they want to be helpful and let me know they’re not able to do their job. They insist I do something about it; BEEP BEEP BEEP. I go to take a look at the meter box but when I pick up my glasses, one of the lenses has fallen out and is nowhere to be found.

Closing one eye just doesn’t cut the mustard and since  it’s almost time to fight my way back into the mini CBD of North Sydney, I just leave. Throwing some blurry switches on our electrical box on my way out, I slam the door on the problem, thinking ‘what is it with this house and malfunctioning alarms?’

In North Sydney, the fire trucks and evacuees are gone now, but the rain hasn’t and I balance my umbrella on my head as I feed my last sixty cents into a meter, half a block away. I promise myself, one day to find the way into this ONE WAY street that the performance venue lives on because I can see a whole world of parking 200 meters down that street right outside.

Meter fed; I now have eight whole minutes to sprint through the tempest with Pinkster’s school uniform on a hanger and her shoes and tights in a bag. Then fly in through the loading dock, which now has an enormous truck backing into it, keep on through to the stage door and collect my little dancer from Clip-Board girl.

I need to strip her, (Pinkster, not Clip Board Girl) and change her into her uniform and raincoat and sprint back to the car, hopefully dry and hopefully before the parking Nazis arrive.

Can I see a show of hands; who thinks this is a Mission Impossible?

To be continued...