Friday, August 31, 2007

My friend died 12 years ago. My cervix cells may well be rotting again, won't find out until mid-October. Morbid.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Iris, who bakes, had a cleaning frenzy today. I'm carefully as enthusiastic as if she were a son.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

'Wake up Super-parents, time to get up!'

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Iris's daughter car explains why they have to do it her way, irritated but resigned, the mother car replies 'All right!'

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sleeping Ducks (for next Kapcon).

Dear Sir,

Forgive me presuming on so very slight an acquaintance; after Mr. Fink-Nottle and I left the club last night he happened to mention your experience with the super-natural. I understand that you're terribly busy, but I was hoping you might be able to drop me a line of advice. You see, I'm afraid I may have an un-dead aunt.

I was at a house party last week at my Uncle Herbert and Aunt Margravine's place in Nottinghamshire and, unable to sleep after a very fine steak tartare and an unfortunate conversation, about two a.m. I went for a walk around the grounds. My ambulations took me past a little romanesque folly and in it I thought there might be two figures under but the one cloak. Due to the nature of the afore-mentioned unfortunate conversation, I did not pause to investigate or engage them in any "in such a night as this"-ing, but hurried to the bridge, where I proceeded to contemplate the sleeping ducks for some time.

Upon my return to the house, I found, my aunt's shoes and opera cloak outside her room ready for cleaning, and I must say they rather needed it. They gave the appearance of having been worn when wading in to stop over-zealous hounds from further damaging a rather fine fox skin. My aunt herself only appeared at the cocktail hour, looking pale and interesting as is her wont. Neither of these occurrences would have raised my suspicions alone if I had not also noticed that the giant convex mirrors that used to face each other at either end of the blue sitting room have been replaced by Egyptian statuary. I'm writing to you because I'm simply not sure how to continue.


Urquart P. Knightly

Monday, August 20, 2007

Learning ultimate from Sokis and his Monkey Surfers: Play hard, have fun, smile and every so often do a silly dance.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Short spherical woman in padded silver jacket and boots bobbed into cafe. Suddenly on a space station, latte v. convincing.

The Best Baklava in the World.

Today I am thinking of absent friends. Gillian's at the lake with Dave, dogs and a whole lot of work. She developed this recipe. You can make it for me instead of answering the questions I asked if you like.

The Best Baklava in the World

1. Use actual butter: salted is good, unsalted traditional.
2. Use actual honey made by bees.
Don't mess with anything else.

1. Good Sturdy Base: in greased (with butter) Big Flat Oven Tin lay down 10 layers of buttered filo (melt butter and paint on with a pastry brush).
You're probably going to need most of a pound of butter by the end I suppose, but I've forgotten.
2. (Meanwhile) MIX
750g Walnuts, finely ground, if you can be bothered toasting them it's extra nice. Or pistachio or hazel nuts (not blanched).
250g Sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon.
3. Take 1/2 mixture and spread thickly over the 10 layers.
4. Put down another bunch of layers of filo and butter, maybe 6.
5. Put other 1/2 mixture.
6. Put down another 6 layers finishing with butter.
7. Cut into longish diamonds, cut into but not through the bottom layers.
8. Bake at 200* C for 15 minutes. Or until a beautiful light golden brown.
9. While still scorching hot pour over a good amount (1.5 cups) of melted honey.
10. Let cool to allow honey seepage.
11. Finish cutting.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"... and I put my bandanna in your bed so you could wear it at night. And you said 'Thank you' and pretended to be Michael the Pirate Prince all the nights."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Food miles: too simple.

I haven't yet digested Food Miles – Comparative Energy/Emissions
Performance of New Zealand’s Agriculture
(2006 by Caroline Saunders, Andrew Barber and Greg Taylor), but it's very interesting. What I really want is a nice little thingy on the shelf next to the food item: $4.29 and 17 utils (prior to adjustment for personal taste) per kilo.

It's a 119 page pdf here's the Executive Summary from p vii.

Executive Summary
• Food miles is a very simplistic concept relating to the distance food travels as a measure of its impact on the environment. As a concept food miles has gained some traction with the popular press and certain groups overseas. However, this debate – which only includes the distance food travels – is misleading as it does not consider total energy use, especially in the production of the product.
• The food mile concept has potential to threaten New Zealand exports given New Zealand’s geographical location. The solution proposed by food miles campaigners is to source food from as close to where it will be finally consumed as possible. Thus as 50 per cent of NZ exports are in food and beverages, of which approximately a third go to EU markets, the potential risk is significant.
• This study looks at the environmental impact of some key New Zealand export products. The environmental impact calculations are based upon a life cycle ssessment (LCA) type approach and include the energy use and CO2 emissions associated with production and transport to the UK. This is a much more valid comparison than just distance travelled as it reflects the differences in countries’ production systems. These were then compared to the next best alternative source for the UK market. The products examined were dairy, apples, onions, and lamb.
• The analysis therefore first identified the farm production system in New Zealand and the relevant EU country which could be used as an alternative source of supply to the UK market. In general, data on production systems and energy use was much more comprehensive for New Zealand than for the alternative EU country. This has led to the New Zealand estimates of energy use and emission associated with production being more inclusive than those for the alternative EU country.
• Comparison of energy used and CO2 emissions between NZ and UK Dairy. The UK uses twice as much energy per tonne of milk solids produced than NZ, even including the energy associated with transport from NZ to the UK This reflects the less intensive production system in NZ than the UK, with lower inputs including energy.
• Comparison of energy used and CO2 emissions between NZ and UK Lamb. The energy used in producing lamb in the UK is four times higher than the energy used by NZ lamb producers, even after including the energy used in transporting NZ lamb to the UK. Thus, NZ CO2 emissions are also considerably lower than those in the UK.
• Comparison of energy used and CO2 emissions between NZ and UK Apples. NZ is also more energy efficient in producing and delivering apples to the UK market than the UK is. NZ energy costs for production are a third of those in the UK. Even when transport is added NZ energy costs are approximately 60 per cent of those in the UK. Consequentially the CO2 emissions per tonne of apples produced are also higher in the UK than in NZ, reflecting the higher energy use but also the lower emissions from NZ electricity generation.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pop Quiz. 1. What should I be saying about you and to whom?


2. What am I learning from you?


3. What are friends for?


4. Limerick or haiku? Please provide example.


5. Whither goest thou?


6. What is it that you like about your favourite antihero?


7. What should you ride in my mind? E.g. Steed, Dragon, Dragonfly, Bike.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Toilet paper.

"Look Mummy, I am wrapped in the toilet paper!" Iris laughs, invisible except for her muscular little legs.
"Oh. Iris." I say, tiredly, humourlessly, but fondly.
Slightly disappointed she returns to the loo to unwind.

I'm sorry. I wish I hadn't suppressed the laughter. I wish I'd let it rip. She'd laugh if I wrapped myself up and capered half naked for her.

Perhaps it's the connection with the only place in my life with a lock on the door. The children use the toilet paper for things other than its intended purpose. It's not wasting, it's using; they are exploring ideas with it. It's a cheap resource, usually it is not even rendered useless, merely less pristine. We have more, they use it clean so it's not a health risk. But sometimes I get disproportionately distressed by it anyway. I try to guess when it might matter and just put the toilet paper up high so that we won't come into conflict un-necessarily. And that's why I didn't laugh; I was amused this time, but I didn't want to reinforce playing with toilet paper only to become a shrieking ogre about it some other time.

I told her aunt.
"Is she Mummy's mummy then?" she asks.
I'm still groaning on the inside.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Transitions and objects.

Mary, carrying her own baby and shepherding her own almost-not-a-preschooler anymore took a rotten branch taller than she is a.k.a. The Most Inconvenient Transitional Object Yet out through the crowded zoo foyer for Iris. It's still in the car (although I shortened it a little so it fits in the boot). I start to get it out and each time Iris becomes anxious and pleas "not quite yet".

One of the features of life with Iris since Hazel has been going to school is that she usually likes to take something from the place she is leaving with her to the place she is going. She needs to borrow something from Playcentre at the end of the session in order to leave happily. She often asks people if she can have something to eat as she's leaving and carries it with her as she goes. She surreptitiously picks up litter, leaves, gravel, and carpet fluff to hold in her hand until she's settled into the journey. She took a toy meerkat she'd borrowed from her cousins when she was visiting them to the zoo.

Typically a Transitional Object is something like White Bear, with whom Hazel has slept almost every night that she hasn't slept with us. Iris doesn't have one beloved object that she sleeps with, she likes variety; at the moment the thing she wants to have in her bed as she drops off to sleep is me,
"Lie down and stop typing or I will never get to sleep!"
I don't suppose I count as a transitional object in the original sense as they're some kind of substitute for the mother, but she's certainly using me to make a transition less of a change, and I think that's what the other things are about too.

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Found a piece of paper, it says 'I like Mum'.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Just enrolled in my last Playcentre course 3 thing. It clashes with the Ultimate Indoor Nationals.
Iris has made me an imaginary birthday cake with slices so huge we have to plunge into them with our mouths open.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Civil servants, I presume.

Today in Thorndon I saw two men in suits, one towing a wheeled cabin baggage, smile, wave at each other and hurry toward each other. They shared a blokey hug with back slapping, laughed, and snogged. They walked off hand in hand in the spring sunshine.


Test: Maple syrup, tissues, onions, sausages, buns. Rolled oats, dried fruit. Cheese. Ginger beer. Cottage cheese. Eggs.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


We're a little further from the darkest day.
The kids have not been 100% well much of the last few months. We went on holiday and all got sick.
The silvereyes love the dripping in the bird feeder in our back garden.
I'm knitting a zip cardie and I dyed my sports-bras very purple (I'm finding these Berlei High Performance Underwire Sports Bras simply excellent but, as with all bras, I think it depends greatly on the competence of the person who fits it).
I run through Otari most Fridays. It's lovely there.
I've become an ENFJ. I don't think I've been that before, not that I can remember what I was I'm afraid.
I found a pseudo-scorpion, it is very dextrous with its long front claws.

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