kate5kiwis: January 2009


“If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.” — Mitsugi Saotome

Saturday, January 31, 2009

hippie happy place

it's a funny thing, but when ya write about yer meltdown, it kind of minimises it. perhaps the very act of writing it sort of takes its power away?
late afternoon today, woozie asked me to braid her hair up. i used to do it all the time when she were a' wee girlie. but wee girlies grow up and mostly do their own hair. 'cept for tonight.

so we went to our happy place, in front of a movie or twosie, and braided and braided and watched and chatted and braided and snuggled and watched and braided. and we nipped outside for a photo or twenty three.
making people happy always makes me happy. and making stuff is such wonderful therapy, dontcha think? (i'm still not taking up knitting, though.)
it's impossible to capture her vibrancy in two dimensions, especially in the fading light. but i think, especially tonight, at sunset, with her hair newly braided, that she is the most beautiful woozie in the world.

and i think that everything is gonna be alright. and maybe even very, very happy. especially if i make stuff. so i have plans hatching for *FREEFALL FEBRUARY* - The One Hot Month (bwahaha, guess the movie half-line) When Katie Makes Eleventy Billion Stuffs So She Doesn't Go Crazy At Home All On Her Onesies...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

i clutch in my outstretched palm
these three remaining droplets of me
each about to be caught up
on his own gust of breeze
and sprinkled into the river

i remind myself that each is of me
yet is mine to release
on his own white water
journey towards the sea

i open my fingers
and begin to stretch forward
over the flowing ribbon
through raining tears
and simultaneous optimism
and joy for this wonderful drift
into ever increasing circles
outwards from the whirlpool
which has held each close until now

and i press down my apprehension
which threatens to drown
and tilt my face upwards towards the light
and i breathe.

and i nearly slap myself
because this agony is ridiculous
yet so real
and my words won't flow.
these children whom i adore
need space and light and love
and they will be getting it from someone else.
will they feel unloved?
and why do i have this idiot notion
that home ed mommies luff
their children more than schooly mommies?
how pathetic.
i am so mad at myself.
and spent.
spent pouring myself out
for all these years.
and frightened.
because i'm only half way.
and my skin looks like it's
at least three quarters way.
way way.
anchors aweigh,
away aweigh.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Masked Crusader To The Rescue

a helpless vegetable
calls out,
(guess the movie line)
yep - we were rescued by The Bulldawg
(who actually prefers Dressing Up to Tidying Up).
Kids rooms = all done.
Kids = happy.
Grown Ups = happier.
Headless Dragon = happiest.

(thanks so much everyone for all your sweet encouragement yesterday, we loved and laughed - and it really made the job easier.)
mwah X

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oooh NO-O-O-O!!! Not My Headless Dragon!

(warning, absolute rubbishy twaddle ahead - and a faintly pathetic/pathetically faint cry for help lol)

(oh, and sorry about the Bloglines/Google Reader/RSS feed stuff up, hopefully it's fixed now cos I have retweaked my template settings. I originally tweaked them cos anonymous peeps keep googling their anonymous way here looking for anonymous help in "how to make a grass skirt", but unfortunately that effed up the RSS feed settings so I've set Katie The Techno Geek loose on the fix-up.)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This is the part I like least about Being A Mummy - The "Bad Cop" part. Over the years, I've tried various sorts of incentives and, quite frankly, bribes; and turned many blind eyes. ("...one eye lookin' atcha, one eye lookin' FOR ya...") I've cajoled and sometimes threatened and even sneaked up on The Kids' Bedrooms a.k.a. I'm Not Jinxing It, But You're Gonna Break Your Leg In There.

It's just that I wanna be able to rescue my babies if there's a fire in the night, without breaking my own leg. But I also respect their space. And there's the small matter of The Disappearing Socks, and the fast-appearing Need To Find The School Uniforms daze.

For the last few weeks I've had my head buried in the sand and surf while the kiddos (for probably the only time in their lives) have been blithely Counting Down The Sleeps Until School Starts. At the excuse of purging The Bad Cop from my persona, I've been ignoring all sorts of pile-ups. Starting with my wardrobe, which is still seven inches deep with last year's homeschooling paraphernalia unstacked all over the floor. Talk about a potential hospital trip. Also talk about subconsciously not wanting to adios my previous life just yet.

But the time has come for a massive clean out. Yessir, it's out with procrastination, and in with School Uniforms neatly folded in the drawers.

This afternoon, armed with a Big Fat Chocolate Bar (as incentive) and Katie's biceps (which have expanded by 0.5cm in the last six weeks, oh yes. But oh dear, so has her waistline - that's another story) and a big bottle of water for rehydration cos it's soooo hot here we began The Excavation of The Boys' Room.

EGADS - instantly the level of emotion has risen - and I am pendulum-swinging between non-conflict and desperation as The Two Dollar Headless Dragon is in the throes of being rescued from the rubbish bag and reinstated on the bookshelf. But his head is nowhere to be seen. The chocolate bar is already half eaten and for miles around all we can see are boxes of stuff. And there is shrieking. So here I am - escaping.

*little conflicting voices in my head*
Harden Up Katie. Oh Vizzini, you really are a meanie. Bring It On. Find The Cop Hat. Many Hands Make Light Work. Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth. Just Leave It. Just Do It. Gently Now. Let's All Have A Square Of Chocolate. Let's Ask Daddy To Help. Absolutely Positively Tidyton. Rinse And Repeat.

Oh, Charlie has just told me this joke:
Q: What do you call a man who hides in the letterbox?
A: Bill.

Oh, and Sam is serenading me with his beautiful rendition of Donavon Frankenreiter's Whatcha Know About - which is now in the sidebar.

Oh, and Mick and Raych have now turned on James and the Giant Peach audio book from the library.

Oh, and Danny is on a Long Weekend Road Trip with Bob who is in search of some 3,000,000 volt speakers or something.

Oh, and Bulldog has zipped in to skool to do a little jobbie and nip to the gym, cos his hammy (which he pulled during speed training a week ago) is still on the light duties.

Maybe I'll put on my fairy wings and throw the kids in the pool and then I can sneak in and suck everything up the vacuum cleaner? Oh, except The Headless Dragon.

I need advice. Yes I do. Hello out there.....?

Monday, January 19, 2009

a middle-of-the-night
surprise skype call
is worth waking up for -
this fabulous webcam convo
with my sister in law was
from her brother's place
in freezing Blighty
while playing babies with
beautiful Jemima Charlotte.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bon appétit!

I was mistaken. I thought that Gold Mela is an Italian ristorante. Bien sûr, it is a Français restaurant. I was expecting pizzas and pastas, instead we drank our first pastis, and ate escargots, as a tribute to our Parisian holiday. Funny thing about escargots, though: it seems they're correctly pronounced es-car-GOH (oui, the em-PHA-sis is on the second third syl-LAH-ble - not at all ES-car-goh, which has been my historical pronunciation) and we were rather glad that we gave them a second chance. Our declaration of escargots in Paris was "...they taste like a rubber chicken!" but here, in this adorably kitschly decorated place, they were tender and tasty, albeit drowned in garlic butter, but we assume that's par for the course.

The ambience at Gold Mela is rather like a scene from Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are: the ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around. That's right, there is a veritable jungle in the ceiling and le garçon kept us amused by continually dodging a certain tendril until finally it got the better of him, whence he precariously threaded it up again. All over the walls is an electic collection of paintings, wine corks, garden implements, baubles and bric-a-brac from a bygone era, and more plants: which could have been off-putting, except that with our first sip of pastis, we truly felt like we were sitting in a little village in Provence. Le garçon was unobtrusively attentive. As the fiery aniseed liquid coarsed down my throat, he rushed back to our table and explained, rather endearingly (what is it about an English sentence tinged with French that turns my heart to candy floss with every word?) that many people prefer the glass topped up with water, which he kindly did for us. Ah! We toasted the coming year and deeply inhaled the balmy provincial air.

Sir had ordered the salmon, oven baked in lemon butter and adorned with a selection of perfectly roasted vegetables. He chose a French pinot gris, which we uninitiated hedonists pronounced a perfect wine match for the fish
. I requested the Filet de Boeuf aux Champignons, a delicious eye fillet steak with a delicately creamy mushroom sauce, which came with the most amazing ratatouille I have ever tasted. It seems that Le Chef had chargrilled strips of courgettes and bound them in the tender thickness of tomatoes and sweet onions. (We made instant plans for its velvety replication at home!) The French Syrah was my wine of choice: which proved to be irresistibly curranty with a predictably oaky finish.

At the end of our main course, dessert was offered, at which point we looked at each other, simultaneously grinning and groaning; so the waitress left us contentedly sighing. But quelle surprise! a few minutes later La Propriétaire arrived with two complimentary glasses of limoncello! Yes, it turns out that Sir taught her son at school last year. The limoncello was light and intensely lemony, a perfect end to our dinner, we thought. Mais, non! It must've contained something magical, because suddenly we could fit in dessert! An espresso was poured over vanilla ice cream for me, and Sir had caramelised bananas flambé with rum: again pronounced très délicieux by us both. (Of course we have a habit of passing food to each other by fork and spoon across the table - don't you?)

There is a lovely line in one of my favourite movies, A Good Year. Uncle Henry is asked, "What is the secret to good comedy?" and his cheeky reply, interjected just before the question ends is, "Timing!", of which this restaurant is the master. The service is unfaultable, and the food excellent. Not that we're food critics, but if we were, this evening would receive five gold stars, make no mistake.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

if this man asked me on a weekend rendezvous in Barcelona, i'd say yes!

cos i'm frivolous and impulsive like that, and i've had a few mojitos. it's still summer holidays here, and we're having beachy days and nights, but egads! the kiddos have started counting sleeps until school starts. i'm not counting those, but i'm aware that the day approacheth. so we are buying up skool uniforms and roman sandals (puke) left right and centre - we still have a trailer load of skool stationery to purchase (but i refuse to get the prescribed THREE pencil sharpeners for mick). raych and joel are hatching a plan for Big Weekend Bake Offs where they stack the freezer with Delectable Lunchbox Fillers. then they all (including BD) have four weeks at school (i'll be a lady of leisure - hopefully hopping in and out of friends' sunny classrooms to get my head back in the game)... and at the beginning of march...uni starts... and Bulldog and i'll have that year's oasis. i can't wait. the whole package is pretty tempting, really. once i get over my little people being absent.

(photo taken by Margot, at Beck's mojito Garden Party last night)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

ooo, look, something shiny...

today i hit upon a great plan, Batman. i'll have the kiddos tomorrow (uh, we'll go to the beach) while Bulldog reads/writes his summer school uni paper, and he has the kiddos today (they went to the beach) while i have a Big Day Out (no, not The Big Day Out - that's tomorrow anyway). MY DAY. MY RULES. which today equalled one bikini and one christmas dress, and a whole lot of sparkle. yep, i found The Perfect Beads - five petals, five flowers! and a bit of organza ribbon, and VOILA!
a perfect memory of today.

oh - and have a brimming Full Love Tank - cos everywhere i went, peeps told me how gorgeous this dress is. so i feel very pretty today. oh, and we're going to the cinema tonight - how i love love love paydays. we'll be on the lentils again next week, but this week is *fun*!!!
now there's an admission X

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hello My Dad.
for as long as i remember,
you've always been cagey
about having your photo taken -
see? i wasn't quick enough.

there is still something
between you and the camera.

and that's the stern daddy look.

today is your birthday - it's time for family speeches, time for special remembering. i love it that a lot of the culture you and mum created for me during my childhood still lives on in my own little family - our closeness, funny sayings, wisdom from the uncles, walking and talking, do-it-yourself-fix-its, inhaling a glass of wine before drinking it. i love it that you insist on us making our own way in the world, but whenever i send up the smoke signals, you and mum are quick to respond, to listen, sometimes to advise.
i love your bravery, your adventuring, your taking the road less travelled. i love it that you are so involved in our life, i love the easy chats each of our children have with you and mum, your lively interest in their worlds. i love it that you made a beautiful childhood for me, and that's inspired me in creating beauty for my own children. you taught me that words are powerful and family is paramount, that a day in the surf makes a memory, that food is more than nourishment for the body - it delights the soul. i love your realism - yet you are emotional like me - and for all of our similarity, our cat-and-dogged-ness, i feel how you think.

I love you, My Dad.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

it’s very late and you’ve been tucked into bed by daddy and i pop my head into your room and feel your unsettledness and so i lie down next to you, and you tell me that sometimes you feel scared at night and you ask for sam who is still watching a movie with daddy and so i ask shall i stay with you while you fall asleep? and i reassure you that sam will come to bed soon and for now claudie-audie-the-super-undie-man is with you, and you explain that he isn’t really real and i say that i think that he’s rather special with his super undies and i giggle about his tail at the back of him and you get the joke and say the p-word as i laugh and try to pop my hand over your mouth so that the word comes out all squishy, and we lie side by side in our happiness and i rub your back in gentle circles and tell you that i love you so much and you say that you love me more and i say that i know. so we lie there, and i breathe you in and stroke your back and all of a sudden your whole body relaxes as you tuck claudie into the crook of your elbow and wrap up in the cotton sheet that came from granny’s place and your breathing lengthens and your face sweetens and i brush the wisps from your forehead, the same blonde wisps that you wanted to cut off tonight, and i nip out and grab the camera and sneak back in to flash a quick snap

and you have already slipped into slumbering depths and don’t even stir, and i think about tomorrow morning which will be welcomed by your vigour and bounce cos you’re always the first one to arise and you'll come and lie side by side with me and daddy in our bed and you'll talk us awake just as i talked you to sleep tonight.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Katie's OOEY GOOEY Double Chockie Absolutely Delish Pancakes

(or, How To Make A Houseful Of Teenagers' Tummies Happy)

this is another easy peasy counting to five recipe, 'cept today i counted to six, mostly.

so ya need:
half a tin o' cocoa, two tin o' jam, oamaru, timaru, waipukurau. (childhood family joke)

ya really need:
6 c flour

6 tsp baking powder

6 happy eggies
5 c milk

1 c cocoa

big pile of dark chocolate buttons
(i found a 375g bag lurking in my cupboard)
butter for cooking the pancakes in
a happy teenager for doin' the whizzin'

now then: fling the first five ingreeeedients into a big bowl and whizz. leave for half an hour to soften the flour. stir in the chocolate buttons. melt butter on two ancient griddles and make six at a time, pausing to flip.

there is a teeny secret to great pancakes - low heat - take your time - so as not to burn the OOEY GOOEY chocolate mouthfuls. pile on plates, drizzle with yoghurt and/or maple/golden syrup.

instantly start chatting a mile a minute and generally larking about, due to huge sugar infusion.

have a little sugar crash.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

luffly friends from The Tron
(ack!! here's narcissus katie in the photo again.
and would ya believe it?
i forgot to take a *self portrait* of lauz'n'me. blondie.)

brought their three
delish little lads

to The Sunny Bay
to go surfin' today.

so it was cuddles city.
it never ceases to amaze me
how the little people
delight the big people
and vice versa.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Leeriness Runty Woo


i completely forgot about new year's resolutions.

probably cos we've already planned our entire year and my brain is full even contemplating the change that’s about to zap us in the butt. and the potential fallout. or not. of course i’m positiving (yep, another adjective-turned-verb) it out loud to the kiddos, but am secretly still head tripping.

and actually? i feel a bit goldfish-bowl-y at the mo. blogs are weird. as much as i absolutely adore the friendships made here – and the sharing of the love, i feel like this is an incredibly public place to keep spilling my guts. nah, i’m not shutting up shop, but really? this blogging mojo started out nearly three years ago as a photo album and a way to journal our beautiful family’s unschooling life and now the mojo is feeling a bit wobbly cos peeps are about to go our separate ways and really? how many cookie-making-mornings can a mummy blog? especially when her bubbas are at school. maybe i’ll become a secret agent with a periscope camera and sneak up at the classroom window? maybe we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief that katie isn’t poking a camera in our face 24/7?

anyway, as i’ve zoomed once or twice around the blogosphere this year, those reso’s have been popping up. and i really feel as though i’ve done the food overhaul and the body overhaul and the house overhaul (uh, that one needs doing again) and i’m about to do the brain overhaul - so what’s left? any ideas?

(oh, and in case you're still wondering, "a leeriness runty woo" is one of 55557 possible anagrams of “new year’s resolution”. strange but true.)

Monday, January 05, 2009

summer daze

when sands through the hourglass slow their drifted pace

and every sunshine adventure mooted is met with a resounding yes!

self-picked frozen berries make the most delicious daiquiris

and nectarines filled with hot sunshine are cooled to liquid pleasure.

when hazy days splash into surfy dinners,

through days and weeks and almost over a year,

laced with the comings and goings of delightful visitors

and time takes on a fijian hue – life happens whenever we get there.

when everything regains its darker chocolate coating

and happy little espressos magically appear,

borne by my repierced poet who regains his vigour and vision

as his hair and heart both lighten in the heat.

ah, endless summer, how i love thee.