Tag Archives: Friends

If the All Blacks do not win the 2011 Rugby World Cup…

If the All Blacks do not win the 2011 Rugby World Cup, it will be this man’s fault.

The Road to Redemption

I particularly urge you to check out his manifesto, where he explains exactly why he is to blame.

The Road Manifesto

I’m busy

I’m busy.

The school holidays were busy.

We baked buns and entertained friends. We made about three batches of buns over Easter. I made the first batch, Ms Eleven made the second batch with a fair amount of assistance from me, and she made the third batch more-or-less on her own.

We planted sage, lettuce, broccoli, bok choi, peas, beans, rocket, brussels sprouts, chives, coriander, spinach, lemon thyme and apple geranium in our gardens.

I made pickles.

I met friends for the first time, which was a delight. I had a very pleasant afternoon gossiping, in the richest sense of the word, with two fabulous women.

The strangelings starred in their drama school’s production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I’m sure they were the best Oompa-loompas ever.

We stacked firewood. Winter is allowed to arrive now.

The younger Miss Eight exploded into independent reading. This has been a great concern for us, because she was not reading with ease, nor choosing to read for leisure, yet this is a reading and language rich household, and has been ever since it was formed. But suddenly, seemingly overnight, she is reading. Tonight I pointed out that she was losing valuable reading time by hanging around gossiping with Ms Eleven, and she scarpered off to bed, book in hand.

I finally finished the elder Miss Eight’s heart cardigan. Many thanks to those who gave me helpful advice on how to make the hearts stand out. I took Daleaway’s and LeslieEileen’s advice, and picked out the edges of the hearts with a simple chain stitch. Now I’m starting on a jersey (jumper / sweater) for the younger Miss Eight. Expect a completion report in about a year.

And now that the girls are back at school, I am busier than ever, with my own work, and with helping the girls to manage their homework and music practice and social lives. I’ve never quite managed to theorise a philosophy of parenting, but through the practice of parenting, I seem to have developed one, which I characterise as present parenting. I’m here with the girls, at home with them after school, at home with them during the holidays. A lot of the time I’m not necessarily doing things with them; I’m just present in the house while they are doing their own things. Most of the time they don’t seem to need me – we just do a standard after-school debrief – but sometimes, they have something that they desperately need to talk to me about. And I am able to be present for that. Mr Strange Land is very, very good at being here for our daughters too, ‘though he does not spend as much time at home as I do. However he nearly always gets home for family dinner, and I find that often the girls will tell him something they haven’t told me. He’s very much present in their lives too. I know that not all parents are able to, or want to organise their lives this way. But for the time being, this suits us, and we are able to do it. I hope we are able to continue to be present with our daughters as they grow.

Linky love

Awesome rant: Poneke on the state of New Zealand

Fantastic fisking: Elsewoman takes apart the Business Roundtable’s numbers on teen pregnancy and the domestic purposes benefit

Fleeting wagon-riding: Vibenna on setting short term goals

And a must read: Emma Hart on domestic violence from the inside

My mother’s quince jelly

In response to Homepaddock, and for my mother.

Since writing this post, my mother and I have made quince jelly together. If you are going to use this post to have a go at making quince jelly yourself, then it would be worth reading my post about the experience of making jelly with Mum, and Mum’s list of instructions and tips and hints.

A few weeks ago, the children in my Misses Seven’s class were learning ‘qu’ words. Queen, quoll, quiet, quince. “Quince,” said the children. “What’s a quince?”

So I found some quinces in the Adelaide Central Markets, and took them into school so the children could see what a quince looks like.


But afterwards, what to do with three beautiful quinces?
Continue reading

Linky love

Links to bloggers who may or may not be known to me:

A beautifully sensitive poem about the bushfires in Victoria, from Dragonwright;

A lament on autumn, from Merc;

Wreath birds, from Art and My Life;

The fart theory of world stock markets, from Vibenna.

One of these things is not like the others. I leave it to you to guess which.

That’s interesting

New blogger Vibenna, who is not unknown to me, has had a conversion experience with respect to climate change. Not one of those road-to-Damascus/touched-by-the-FSM’s-noodlely-appendage experiences. This is an old-fashioned epiphany, one brought about through long hard work, slogging his way through arguments and analysis and above all, data, bringing him to a moment of realisation. He’s blogged it in two parts: the story of his experience, and the empirical evidence and reasoning behind his (new) conclusion that climate change is real.

As for me, I’ve put up a post at Larvatus Prodeo – Not so smart meters. It’s my first venture into blogging on Australian affairs, and I have found it a little daunting. But fun.

The cake that taste forgot and other joys of Christmas

I vaguely recall rashly promising that I would blog the process of icing our Christmas cake, provided I hadn’t been pouring too much brandy into the cake (and me).

The cake is now iced, and photos taken, but it’s Christmas Eve, and I’m busy running around doing this, that and the other thing. So the blog of the process will have to wait until next year, and all you get to see is the finished product.


The strangelings stood at the end of the bench in a fascinated row, and offered helpful suggestions as I iced the cake. I think that accounts for its appearance.

When I was child and a teenager, my parents would take us to Midnight Mass, and then we would come home, cut the cake, and drink a glass of sherry. We won’t be doing the church thing with our girls, but we will cut the cake this evening, and I will read “The Night Before Christmas” and then we will send them off to bed. Some of them are still believers, in Santa, that is, so later on, we will put stockings (pillowcases, actually) at the ends of the beds, and fill them with goodies. Not full to the top, you understand. Santa is always fairly modest in his gift giving around here – books, clothes, sweets and a small toy each. The girls are very excited, but we have issued them with strict instructions about not opening presents until 6am.

Because I am busy, and have far too much to do, I spent some time yesterday making my first ever batch of pickles.


This is Red Onion and Capsicum Jam – beautiful on crackers (biscuits for American readers), lovely with lamb and ham, and alongside vegetarian bakes. I am very proud of them, and having found out how surprisingly easy it is to make them, I think I will be making more. That’s my first resolution for 2009 – make pickles and chutneys and jams.

I made the pickles to give to friends as a Christmas offering. This year I have also been making chocolate fudge and caramel fudge to give to the girls’ teachers and our neighbours and friends. I promise to give you the recipes in the New Year.


And there you have it – my second resolution for 2009 – some more recipe blogging.

Thank you for coming by and reading my blog this year. My best wishes for a happy and blessed Christmas (if you do Christmas, that is) and a peaceful New Year.

Update: I’ll be adding The Secret Talent of Albert Otter to the Christmas Eve reading list, on what the girls are rapidly finding to be the longest day of the year.