Today I mourn the passing of Kathreen Ricketson and her partner.
Kathreen was a true inspiration - someone who created joy and inspiration for others around the world through her incredible e-publication Action Pack. She was out there in the world, living her dream and gave out so much energy and passion it was impossible not to feel similarly amazed by life as she saw it.
Please take the time to look over the amazing back catalogue of joy she created.
Kathreen and Robert have left behind two children. Even if you have never read anything from her, please consider donating some money towards her children here.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
...remember to be ever vigilant.
...feel inspired (and cry at not being able to attend what was obviously the best garage sale in the universe).
...begin to think about how big the number 'five hundred and seventy one million, two hundred and thirty thousand' is. And also to remind you how you can walk out of places that do without just as well (anyone heard of pants?).
...think about our society.
...encourage your child to be a social deviant (please do not watch this with children around, it is disturbing but definitely worth watching to the end).
...and to make you laugh (you'll need it after that previous talk). I have no idea who these two guys are but someone posted this link in my photography group and it made me laugh.
In other news I am currently reading Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey - I'm nearly halfway through and enjoying the writing style.
James and I worked through six cryptic answers in about fifteen minutes after dinner tonight.
I am sitting here in my new Mothers' Day pyjamas that I adore.
I just ate some carob licorice. Yum.
As you were.
Posted by casso at 7:13 pm
The other night James and I were sitting and being; letting the air wild with the hyperactivity of overtired children fill our ears. I leaned over to grab the crossword and realised that James had already donned ink to paper before me. Damn it!
And then I turned the paper over. To the other side. The unknown. The cryptic crossword. *insert scary mansion music here*
And blow me down if, with the mental lubrication and breadth afforded me by the glass of wine I had enjoyed, I looked down and saw the clue 'Hard batch (3)'. Hmmph. Well that's hardly cryptic. The answer is set, which means both hardened and a batch of something.
And so it began. Innocently enough, within the maelstrom of mayhem that having two children who love to perform show after show entails, I was bitten by the cryptic bug.
And remember I told you I cant get enough of brussel sprouts in autumn? Here is a full pan of the golden foodstuff, with incredible aroma and little more than sprouts and butter (Ted doesn't like them so we can cook in butter to our hearts content - perfect!).
I also found this deliciously gorgeous ceramic piece in the op shop. I think it may be a planter or something, I'm not too sure, but it has a hole and 'tab' at the back, as if it is to be hung from somewhere. I might have even thought it a salt cellar, but there doesn't seem to be any provision for a lid. Anyway, I am completely besotted with the design and found out that the designer has a full range of amazing designs. I am now on hyper alert to find any other pieces in my trevails, there is so much sweet beauty in there.
The regular Ted update this week offers little more than a repeat discussion of how manic and intense four year olds can be. One minute he's delightfully engaged and discursive, as we approach household issues with interest and activity.
The next he sits transfixed by a screen in...of all places, a bookshop. And refuses to budge. At all. Did I mention we were in a bookstore? What other enticement do you need to walk away from the screen?
I found the enticement required in the form of an omnibus containing the first three volumes of Oz. We went next door to a cafe to sit down and read it, only to have Teddy run out of the cafe...down King Street...ACROSS MARY STREET...and stand there smiling at me from the other side of the lights. I honestly don't think I've ever been quite so angry or terrified (well I have, because I was able to see he had already crossed the road safely, but you know what I mean - it was still damn scary).
This week's mission, if I choose to accept it - to tire Ted out completely. Wish me luck.
Posted by casso at 11:45 am
Monday, May 06, 2013
A few weeks ago, Ted and I were in Better Read Than Dead, looking through their gorgeous stock, when Ted came across this version of The Wizard of Oz. That was it. End of the road. He was hooked.
As you will no doubt remember, Ted has loved the story of Oz for a while. His commissioning of a Dorothy dress was an obvious sign, granted, but the slow-burning focus exploded into a full fireworks display of passion and enthusiasm since buying this particular book. We have another few versions of the novel, but this was the first full, unabridged version we owned and Ted insisted on all 200+pp to be read to him over just two days.
He loves to role play it, talk about it, think about it, read about it and dress up as if he was in it. Which brings us to today. Today was Ted's turn to do his storytelling in his Transition class. And of course he chose his new Oz book. But the night before his storytelling he started crying and crying - sobbing, really. Struggling to explain his emotional state, we realised that he was just, truly, completely and utterly overwhelmed by his desire to do his storytelling right there and then. He was crying and asking to go to school "every single day" so that he could do his storytelling "all the time". And then, just to reinforce the point, he woke up at about 1am and stayed awake until around 3.30am or so, whispering to me that he wanted to "get up now and get my Dorothy dress and shoes ready and then I can just play until it is day time and I will be ready for Transition nice and early".
He was not interested in having me take a photo of him this morning so here's a photo of him from Josie's party recently. He wore his Dorothy dress and red sandals, but yesterday we upped the immersion factor by (as it turns out) an intolerably high degree by purchasing a pair of shiny, glittery, silver slip-on slippers.
He loves these slippers SO much. In fact after we came home from purchasing them yesterday, we were all immediately involved in a larger-than-life Wizard of Oz fantasy game. The front room was Kansas, Harriet was Toto and Ted was, of course, Dorothy. James and I basically filled out all other roles as required.
This is Dorothy, sleeping off the effects of the poppy field (aka the red cushions in the playroom) on the grass as s/he awaited to recover from the intoxicating effects of said poppies.
And this is Oz, (transformed from her role as Toto) who sat out in the Emerald City (aka the outdoor setting), dispensing terrible news such as the need for killing witches and other sundry events.
And this? This is an adorable little Dorothy and Toto that Harriet made for Ted. I have no idea on the history or reasoning for this gorgeous little symbol of sibling love. It just existed in the play room after I came inside from painting the exterior of our house on the weekend. Sweet? You bet.
And this? Hey - this is Ted. Man, this is SO Ted.
Posted by casso at 7:06 pm
Sunday, May 05, 2013
Last Saturday the weather was stunning. Beyond perfect. In fact, there have been so many beyond perfect days that it's a struggle to believe we're not living in some honey-dewed afterlife that occurred after an unknown death.
I may have mentioned before that I love Sydney (although I am jealous of that insanely sweet crisp light that seems to exist in Scandinavian countries - is it just me or do blogs written by people 'up there' seem to glow with some of the best light on Earth?).
So on this Saturday we were sans fruit and vegetables since our organic box wasn't able to be ordered. We decided to pop down to the Eveleigh Markets to pick up some fresh food and maybe do something afterwards, just because when the weather is this amazing you don't want to 'waste' it (whatever that means; how can you waste weather?).
Well we found a carpark close to the markets, which always works well to put everyone in a wonderful mood. We walked past a group of share house occupants having a picnic on the nature strip outside their terrace - sitting around in pyjamas and wet hair, drinking hot beverages and nibbling on toast. I remember that life! It's fair to say that the type of morning they were having was not going to be the type of morning I was going to have.
Indeed, upon walking down to the markets we strolled through the stalls, buying up the vegetables we needed (and some that just looked amazing - seriously, brussel sprouts are one of my FAVOURITE foods and I love this time of year just so I can indulge in a plate full of butter-fried srouts with little more than a crack of salt and pepper). There were smiles everywhere we looked. Or then again, maybe it's just the way it feels when the light is amazing, the sun is shining and your family is in one of those great places.
As we got towards the end I lost James and the children to the innards of the Carriageworks building. I do love that building, the light is stunning and when it's completely empty it demands that everyone run around. Everyone. Sure, the infirmed just feel the urge but the rest of us *must* run.
At one point I had to run because I was being accosted by zombies. It's ok, our children haven't actually seen anything with a zombie in it, it is just something that has come up in conversation, as it does, and they were quite taken with the idea. I must have had my brains extracted at least three or four times that morning.
The four of us ran around like lunatics in that big open space - zombies attacked, circus acts were performed, magic tricks surprised us and in between it all I did manage to try and take a photo or two. But mostly we just had fun.
All that running did require a bit of liquid sustenance at the end of it all.
And of course sitting around waiting for James did mean I had to take a three-of-us selfie.
Ted and Harriet were laughing and lolling all over each other. The heart is warmed when they play together so sweetly. Ted was wearing his new deliciously sweet t-shirt from The Raisin Did It, which makes me smile every time he pops it on.
Whilst we sat there I forced myself to eat the organic camembert spread thickly on the fig and date rye sourdough that we'd bought at the markets. It was a trial, I can tell you. Ted did a wee about 45cms away from the picnic site and managed to appall our northern cousins within the first ten minutes of our dirty, non-exercise-clothes-wearing inner-west selves. We laughed ourselves silly.
After eating we went for a potter over to Rocky Point Island and watched the water, thick with yachts, move between our headland and the two in front of us. Beyond, the great blue!
As is our wont of late, James cracked open the geocaching app so we could scope out any caches. We found one! And we soon realised that we need to carry with us a little pile of toys to be able to place in the caches (we bought a little packet of things the following morning). And Ted found a 'mouse' under a rock which, upon inspection, was actually an *enormous* blue tongue lizard! He looked like a confident, long-term resident of the island, in much the same way the blue groper was at Clovelly I'm sure.
Ted found the rotunda. Shows were performed. Songs were sung. None of us were surprised.
And the warm sun of the afternoon leant itself to some paddling and sandcastle building. I was too much of a wimp to go much deeper than my waist but James braved the water and went off swimming with Harriet. Ted and I were snipped on the toes by some miscellaneous sand creature that I had to literally prise off his fingers, we saw a huge sea slug and admired the way it camouflaged itself so beautifully against the mossy rocks and, of course, marveled at the way the tide moved in and out of the deep hole Harriet and James had created.
Long shadows, shivering salt-crusted bodies and weary bodies signalled the end of the day.
We managed to keep Ted awake for the whole way home.
What a day. I may have mentioned this before, but I love autumn.
Posted by casso at 7:02 pm
Sunday, April 28, 2013
This is Harriet. She makes stuff.
This is a painting Harriet created the other day. Actually to be honest I don't quite know exactly when she painted it, but it was sometime this year. Specifics aren't my strong point here. Not much of a painting you're thinking. Pretty basic. But then, let me invite you to turn it over. Read its title.
If you're like me, you've read this title and found yourself instantly transfixed. What is safe? What is the box? Where is the unknown? Why is the shade? Am I really a dream? And other existential crises.
According to Harriet, the box is the brown rectangle. The unknown? Well, that's the swirly, multicoloured mess of lines outside the box.
And it was somewhere around then that I got the cold shiver of someone who realises they are looking at something amazing. How great is that?
As for me, I created...well, err...I created muffins. Oh yes, kale and beetroot and blueberry muffins for sure, but still - just muffins.
More Harriet creating. This is her latest embroidery to be displayed on the playroom wall. There are brighter, darker colours on the outside, with smaller stitches and each smaller circle has larger stitches. The last two shades are softer "because we're softer inside". Emotional allegory, anyone?
Just on Wonder - Harriet read it after me (it's an older children's book) and loved it. In fact she declared it her favourite book EVER. So now James is on to it as well; at this rate it should be Ted's first solo novel. It's a really lovely book and I thoroughly recommend it to all (and if you have a child that loves Star Wars it has a lot of those references in there too, but don't let that put you off because neither Harriet nor I rate it as a personal interest and we still loved it!).
edited to add - I just realised I let The Book Thief stay on the shelf for this shot, but that's one I've also finished in the last couple of weeks. I was in tears at the end, what a wonderful read.
And see - this blog post still doesn't chip away at the mountain of experiences we've had of late. That Playful Parenting does create a household rather full of fun ideas and adventures.
Reminder to self - Harriet is only seven. Harriet is only seven. Repeat.
Posted by casso at 8:12 pm
Saturday, April 27, 2013
It was some time in the afternoon one day when the subject of roasted marshmallows came up. As it does around autumn time. And if it doesn't, I suggest you start re-prioritising things in your life to offer this important topic its due importance.
Anyway, it was when Ted expressed his ignorance about this particular delicacy that I felt the cold, reviled shudder of negligent parenting pass over me. How could my son have reached the ripe old age of four, without yet experiencing that delicious sensation of sucking charcoal straight off a melted sugar morass?
So it was a task to bring to bear. But how? I was ready to build a firepit in the backyard but then I remembered how much it had cost to lay the grass. And I had a feeling that my initial commitment and enthusiasm for the firepit might not be quite as great when we dealt with ongoing issues of rolled ankles and broken legs when the children played chasing games in our small grassy patch plus pit.
On to more temporary structures then. I investigated terracotta pot options, which seemed cute but with a boisterous and pyro-fearless child combined with a child who shrieks with concern when a glass of water may be spilled (you have to guess which personality type belongs to which child) the idea of having something with fire that sat high above the ground didn't seem so appealing.
And then, whilst innocently strolling the aisles to buy frozen blueberries, I passed a stand selling aluminium roasting trays. For the princely sum of two dollars. And my marshmallow roasting was ON like Donkey Kong!
Ted was...well, he was pretty excited. The allure of parent-sanctioned sugar was giving him a psychological sugar rush before the physiological hyperglycaemia even had a chance to occur.
Without firelighters it was a slow start, but I did manage to procure some bbq bricks and we had plenty of boxes lying around ready to rip up and set fire to (rubs hands with maniacal glee).
It was interesting to watch the children sit directly in the stream of smoke. We had to overtly tell them that they needed to move out of the way of the smoke. Hmmm...
But they loved it. And so did I - it was so fun to have an impromptu backyard smoking marshmallow fire. And Ted was thrilled to finally be able to purchase a brightly coloured plastic bag of prepackaged food. But burnt sugar over a smoky fire at the last minute on a school night? Well that's just great all 'round.
I love it when we have these little adventures. In fact our life has been pretty full of little adventures these past few weeks, which is why I haven't been blogging. This happened about two weeks ago and I have blog posts waiting to be written about things from before then too.
Note to self: must create time travel machine in next family adventure.
Posted by casso at 7:09 pm
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Ted and I have been hanging out together. A lot. For the last couple of weeks it has been truly fabulous spending time with him.
The awesomeness that is Ted's fashion sense continues unabated. Here he is wearing an outfit in itself, teamed with his Dorothy dress over the top, butterfly sunglasses, socks and clogs. A fashion classic.
Harriet had her first violin concert. She was super excited and was eager to arrive there early. So early were we that we arrived before Tori, the teacher. Harriet told us she felt "one third excited, one third nervous and one third scared" just beforehand. She has only been having lessons with Tori for two terms and we thought she was wonderful.
Our latest favourite dinner - kale pizza. Oh. My. Goodness. It is scoffed within minutes of hitting the table. I think this was the first lot where James didn't pre-cook the base dough, but as you can see Ted was into it ASAP.
Posted by casso at 5:47 pm