Friday, August 26, 2011

Big promises to little people

I have learnt a valuable lesson. Do not make promises to your kids in the spur of the moment.

For example: About a month ago, one of the kids at Lyla's daycare celebrated their birthday party by bringing a Kung Fu Panda cake to share. Lyla raved about the cake and then she said "Mummy, when it's my birthday, will you come to my school and have some of my Percy cake?"

Your wada what?

With a big fake smile on, I asked "Who is Percy?". It turns out that Percy the small engine is one of Thomas the Tank Engine's mates. Oh ok then, I thought. How hard can it be to make a Percy cake? That was my first mistake.

So against all my natural inclinations, I tried to be organised about it. First step, Googling this Percy person to see what he looks like. Second step, find a good cake recipe. Thankfully, I "knew" (stalked) a Domestic Goddess over at Sleepless in Samoa, and she gave me her secret ingredient chocolate cake recipe, and it was very good.

Before I could tackle step three, which was practising the decoration side of things, I lost my mojo. And next thing you know, it was the Thursday night before "Percy cake day". I hit the Panic/Turbo button and somehow from somewhere amongst the failed batches of buttercream, self taught piping "skills" and "all those baking spillages" (as my wise husband put it - wise by completely avoiding having anything to do with this Mission Impossible), I managed to produce this result:

Ta dah!
Chocolate cake, with base Betty Crocker choc frosting,
and topped with piped buttercream "graphics"

And even though the cake was finished and I was exhausted, I couldn't even sleep properly because I was so worried of how Lyla the Perfectionist Monkey Queen would critique my cake.

No more promises from this big person to a certain little person.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fix you

Thank you for all those who reached out with a line, a comment, an email, a text, a call.

Flowers. A thought. A prayer.

Fix You - Coldplay

Monday, August 22, 2011

I heard a Who

Dr Seuss: "A person's a person, no matter how small"
You swept into our lives on a Monday morning, and graced a usually mundane day with your good news. We had been expecting you, and yet you were still a surprise.

I wanted to trumpet it from the Tweetops and splatter it over News Feeds. Such was my joy at the mere thought of your existence. Who to tell first? When to tell first? You were the sweetest secret.

But now you are no longer with us, and tiny as you were, you leave a big hole in my heart. You will never get to read this but I write it nonetheless, to celebrate you, and the shortest few days that we had with you.

For my unnamed Mini Me the Second, who left this world yesterday.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


How do you know that the honeymoon period is well and truly over, and there is no return from the land of old married couples?

Here are three hints, fresh from personal experience tonight:

1. When on a Saturday night you, the hubby and kid get ready to go out. To do your grocery shopping at Pak'nSave.

2. As you are getting dressed (old married people tend to forget to get dressed while wandering out their old married home), your hubby looks at your much-loved trackpants and says "You know who you kind of look like? Sporty Spice."

Excuuuuuse me? First of all, honey, Mel Chisholm stopped calling herself "Sporty Spice" only...what, ten years ago? And secondly, Sporty Spice? Really? Not even Ginger? Or (gulp) Scary? No, I was Sporty Spice, the most unsexy of them all. To make it worse, I'm not even sporty, I just like trackpants because they're comfortable. Tragic!

3. While navigating the maze of aisles that is Pak'nSave, your husband looks at your trackpants in horror and asks what those white handprints are all over your butt, like mine did.

It's ok, I assured him. As I was testing the icing sugar pack for holes, it kind of exploded and I got sugar all over my hands. Then I had to crawl under the lowest shelf to get another one and the sugar marks were from me dusting myself off after.

He still looked could I be ok with walking around in public knowing there were white marks all over my pants, and specifically in the shape of handprints smack on my behind?

He summed it up quite well, the old hubby of mine: How times have changed.

Imagine this chick with a rugby jersey, brown skin and an extra 40kgs.
Apparently that's me.

Me version 1.1

Those who know me and my wee family know that our nearly-three-year-old daughter looks nothing like me. Well, to be more precise, she looks just like her father but she has her mother's eyes (yes, like Harry).

What I didn't give her in terms of physical attributes, I made up for in the personality area. She is a serious, introverted and slightly OCD-like little girl. At the age of 2, she pays a great deal of attention to detail, is a bit of a perfectionist and (as much as I hate to say this) legalistic.

As excited as I am to see myself in this kid, I also hope she doesn't "inherit" my flaws. So of course, like the paranoid creature I am, I have put a few steps in place to help her not have these "issues"

Reptile phobia
I'm sure there must be some kind of scientific name for this, but I hate reptiles, in particular the type that slither and are represented by Voldemort's second-to-last horcrux. Yes, those things-that-shall-not-be-named on this blog. *Shiver*
I let Lyla watch Diego, the Latino animal rescuer, Dora the Explorer's cousin. His show features a lot of these little buggers *ew ew ew*. So when Lyla is happily following Diego's instructions to slither like one-of-them, I try not to spew or faint or run away or turn off the TV. And when she's in the bath and decides to make one-of-those out of her wash cloths ... I don't panic and run from the bathroom screaming. I just die inside.

Fear of bodies of water
Yes, I did grow up on an island. In fact, I lived about 100 metres from the beach. And the drive to school and back every day was along the coast. But I don't like bodies of water, from about the size of a filled laundry basin (getting goosebumps).
So we give Lyla baths at night, and let her spend time alone in there. So far she loves it. She tells herself stories and plays with her bath toys and if I let her have a wash cloth she would sometimes even start scrubbing the bath (oops...not that it's grimey or anything).

I suck so much at sports I can't even play the video game versions. So every time Lyla brings a ball to me and says she wants to play basketball or soccer or whatever the Bubble Guppies are playing, I happily join in. Never mind that I lack basic knowledge and basic skills, she could be the next best [insert sport with heaps of money to be made] player. I will not be the one who stood in her way.

Fear of heights
Ok, I know what you're thinking, I have a lot of issues and may need professional help. That's not the point, but thanks for your concern (email me any recommendations..ahem).
Lyla loves climbing. At her previous daycare, they identified this very early on, from when she just started learning to walk, and they really encouraged her to climb unaided (koikiki pe lo'u faku the first time I saw her on the jungle gym!). I myself prefer to stand on solid ground (i.e. am scared of heights). Taking her to the playground is such a struggle because it takes everything in me to not hold her completely while she's climbing these ridiculously high and tricky bars / ropes. When she's old enough I'll take her to one of those indoor rock climbing things. She'll love it. Me...not so much.

The list could go on forever, but pretty much the gist of it is that I would like to break the cycle with me. I want her to be like me, but be an even better version of me. With known bugs resolved and some flashy enhancements added - Me v1.1

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Not a review

I am a little out of practice. Work is to blame for stealing all my blogging time. Excuses, excuses, I know. But I hope to make it up to you, my faithful reader(s) with this post.

I have been planning since about 3 months ago to blog about this topic, but I never got around to putting my thoughts together. Well, I'm sorry to say that those random thoughts are still rambling around in my head, but upon seeing one of the stars of this blog-post-to-be on a post by Sleepless, I decided to just do it.

A Song of Ice and Fire
This is the name of a series of epic fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. The hubby has been quite a fan of the series for a while, but it wasn't until HBO developed a television series based on the first book, A Game of Thrones, that I myself became interested...or more like hooked.

This is not a review of the greatest fantasy TV series in the, this is just a tribute.

A Game of Thrones
Firstly, two words. Sean Bean. He plays Lord Stark of Winterfell. No surprises that his character is the noble and honourable one, you know, the kind that if given a chance in a sword fight to stab you in the back he would wait for you to turn around first before continuing. Ugh.

Lord Stark on Winterfell, sitting on the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms
 Then follows a whole cast of beautiful people.
Cersei Lannister
 Queen Cersei from the House Lannister is a beautiful, strong and cold lady, willing to do anything to keep her family's line on the throne (yea, one of those tuff chicks).

Ser Jaime Lannister
Twin brother of Queen Cersei, pretty rich boy Jaime is the one of the main guards for the King, whom he despises.

Jon Snow
The bastard son of Lord Stark. Yes, the honourable man has a bastard son. Smack bang in between his "legitimate" kids. Scandal, scandal. Jon leaves his family to join the Men of the Night's Watch, a life long commitment to guard the people of the Seven Kingdoms from the wildlings and The Others that roam the northern winterlands. Ooooh...

Robb Stark
 Eldest son of Lord Stark, destined to follow in his father's rather large footsteps. Gulp.

Daenerys (Dany) Targaryen
 Now why can't I have a cool name like that? And flowing golden locks? I guess because neither the name nor the mane would go with my thighs. Daenerys is the young daughter of the previous King, and she and her brother seek to have their family, the Blood of the Dragon, restored to the throne. But how to do that when you are the last of your line, and exiled to a foreign land? *Drumroll*

Khal Drogo
 Drogo is a chief of the Dothraki people (they're into fighting and riding horses). Drogo is a very rich and powerful man, and he wed Daenerys by her brother's arrangement. Some people have it tough.

But it's not actually the good looking people that make the series. It's the DRAMA!
From marital mishaps to family feuds to friend face-offs to unknown spooks...lies, betrayal, honour, and twists in all the most unexpected places.
Oh, and they do quite a bit of the nasty. No abstaining for the game here! But what do you expect, with all these hot-looking, hot-blooded people in one book? The fast forward button on the remote comes in handy if you're not into that stuff, like me.

So imagine this, all the drama of all the blogs you read, rolled into one, multiply that by a million, then slap some Brangelina genes on top of that. My kind of TV series.

I give it a rating of: Why on earth are you still reading this instead of downloading it?!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wintry magic

How to start this post. A week or two ago, I was taking photos of the hail on our deck and wishing for snow during what was to be the "last Antarctic blast" for this winter. The blast came and went and it started becoming warm in Wellington.

So pre-snow-wishing life continued. Lyla received her first ever invitation to a birthday party, and I mean a non-family party. Today was the big day, and off Lyla and I went to conquer the windy, narrow, badly labelled streets of Wellington to find this party. It was the chaotic affair that you would expect a 4th birthday party to be (with the added bonus of some really BADLY BEHAVED children...grrr...but that is for another post).

As we were getting ready to leave, I received a text from the man - "Its snown hea." I had to read it twice, and then check the date received. I looked outside, and it looked like it was raining, so I stuck out my hand and felt the soft snowflakes land and then melt in my palm. I was ecstatic (to put it mildly). As I much as I tried to contain myself and react in a suitably mature manner, I just couldn't. So I ran back inside to where the palagi parents were having a cuppa tea and civilized conversation and (wide-eyed and maybe slightly crazed in appearance) I shouted, "It's snowing!!"

Everyone else was excited of course (maybe not on the same insane level as me) and ran out to see the snow. The cars on the street were just starting to get a dusting of snow. Like the responsible parent I am, I put Lyla in her carseat, forgot to strap her in, and instead grabbed the camera and started taking photos. The drive home conservation was something like this... "Lyla, look outside. It's snowing!!" "Mummy, my shoes are wet."  "Everything is so white! OMG this is SO cool!" "Can I change my tights when I get home?"
Could I get more fresh? And could my kid get more OCD?

We arrived home to a completely white street, and we immediately bundled up and trooped outside to make a lazy, not-quite-so-snowmanny-shaped snowman and take more photos. However, being tropical natives, the man and I didn't last long in the snow, and before you know it we were back inside having hot chocolate (for Lyla) and koko Samoa (for Lyla's parents).

The snow seems to be melting now, but that's ok. While the snow was here, it was everything I had imagined it would be. I could not ask for more.

Staring upwards in awe

The same deck that was hailed on only a week ago

The view of the street from the deck. So pretty

Lyla and our snow guest, a dedication to David Tua :)

The perfect way to end a snowballin' session - hot koko Samoa

Friday, August 12, 2011

The horrible truth

I received a blog nomination from the reluctant Coco Girl. In the end, she didn't have a choice...I mean, how could you not award this fantastic blog an award? (Throw up in mouth)

I was extremely flattered, then I was excited (woohoo...yay me!) and then it dawned on me. I would have to pick 5 bloggers for the award. That part wasn't hard. I follow/stalk a few great blogs that I would have awarded in a second. The problem is that most of them have just received the award, and I don't want to be a copycat, and if I did have to copy, I would prefer not to copy Sleepless or Coconut Girl, who would whoop my sizable behind in writing and my presentations would just be blah.

The truth is, I like the 5 or so blogs that I follow. I like them very much and I'm happy with liking just them. The horrible truth is, I'm not one to venture out into the unknown, and discover the wonders of the different blogging tastes out there. If only blogs were like food, I'd be throwing out the awards left, right and centre.

But (before you think I'm a complete hermit loser, which I am but that's not the point) in the spirit of the whole blogging-award-and-spreading-the-love theme, I have endeavoured to try reading a few new blogs. Some I have found to be a bit awkward to read (e.g. sex poems are definitely not my thing...I take my poetry and sex separately and not necessarily in that order). But (good but, like Pippa Middleton's) there are some that I have found to be refreshing and funny and bullcrap-less (thanks for the recommendations, Sleepless).

So, this is not the award blog. This is to let you know that I have not given up on the award blog, but that it is a work in progress. Just in case you're sitting there eager to receive your award. Good things come to those who wait (and deserve it...ha!).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Random thoughts and the f-word

I don't have a cohesive train of thought for blogging today.

Because I'm still so sick *cough cough cough* See?

So today it's random thoughts day.

Random thought 1
I want to get hot for summer. Ok let's make that a realistic goal: I want to get to a weight that is not so obscene to the sight and unkind to the clothes by summer. As I stuff my mouth with the last of my 3rd cheese bun this morning, I wonder how I will do.

Random thought 2
I wonder if I'll ever get to travel to Europe. As much as I would love to, I can't see it being affordable anywhere in the forseeable future, and that's a future where NO family members die, which is honestly very unrealistic. I estimate at least 20 aunts and uncles still alive (on both my side and the hubby's)...that's a lot of sii, pigs, pisupo, povi and cash to be bought/spent/exchanged/loaned/begged. Should I just be one of those fakaga-blonde ones and just spend all my money on myself and then play dumb when family calls for financial assistance? I was not blessed/cursed with such a switch in my brain though.
I'm not down about it though. Honestly. It would be a great thing to do. But I am so immensely blessed that anything on top of what I have now, debts and all, is in the bonus zone. (Besides, I hate flying, and very fussy about accommodation, i.e. no backpackers or the Laughing Samoans said, I've been camping all my life!)

Random thought 3
I wonder who Lyla will marry, and if he's not Samoan, how he will feel about faalavelave. (Hmm, seems to be a running theme, and perhaps not so random, these thoughts). Actually, I wonder how Lyla will feel about them. I know quite a few NZ born Samoans who are against anything to do with giving family in Samoa money.
e.g. Why do they need a car anyway?
e.g. Dad's in Samoa, but we booked his return flight early so they don't take all his money.

I keep forgetting that Lyla is a Kiwi (vomit...e, that was a JOKE, people. Joke alert!). I guess it's up to us, her parents, to teach her why we do what we do, and what that means for her. I guess I should find out first for myself.
Mum asked me in high school if I was going to marry a South African. HA! I wonder why *ahem*
Thank goodness I married a Samoan.
There's nothing as comforting at the moment you find out your uncle has passed away, as telling your husband "Uncle died" and he nods, not only to acknowledge your grief, but to also approve the funds for your contribution to the maliu.

Ok, that's enough random thinking for the day, because it's quite obvious it's all heading down the same line .. the f-word.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lovin' not hatin'

As a change of tune from the usual complaining and whining on my posts, here are a few of my Likes for the past week or so (just to switch things up, and before that monthly time when I will like nothing and no one, and my goodness if I miss that monthly time, well...let's not think about that just now)

Nothing deep. It's Sunday, for goodness sake. And I'm sick and drugless (self-diagnosis of tonsillitis has been lifted after consulting a medical professional...pfft). So here goes:

Raspberry lemonade

This is some seriously scrumptious shiz. Since it is lemonade (i.e. juice squeezed from lemons, if only 6% of it) plus raspberries, I have concluded that this is what I will indulge on to soothe my burning throat (burning is from my cough, just clarifying...)
"Legit" lemonade

Once (the movie)

Irish busker meets Czech flower-seller on the streets of Dublin. Together they make sweet music (literally) and rekindle hope. I don't want to ruin the plot for anyone who hasn't seen it, but I highly recommend this movie.
My two favourite things about it:
1. The soundtrack: All original music (both the male and female leads are professional musicians), really heartfelt. I would buy it. Ok, no, I don't buy music. But I did record the movie on MySky, so I kinda bought a way.
2. "Feel good"-ness: Of course it's a happy ending (otherwise I wouldn't like it), but not in the predictable Hollywood way. (I think it gives me secret hope that something so simple yet life changing could happen to boring old me...sshhhh)

Blog dramas

There have been plenty of dramatic breaking news stories on the blogs I follow. Funny times. Maybe not for the subjects of these posts, but definitely for me. And don't pretend you didn't have a good laugh while reading them either! And it's not particularly the news that made the post, it was the point of view and the injected humour and personality. Keep it know who you are!

Final wintry blast

NZ is experiencing what will apparently be their last wintry blast (don't quote me on that, I got the news second hand from the hubby, hardly Jim Hickey).
How is this good news? Well, it usually isn't, but I figured since I'm already sick and it's already freezing cold anyway, this is my last hope of seeing snow this year. So I'm back to my super fob styles of excitedly watching the hail with my nose pressed against the window, hoping it would soon turn into snow.

All hail the hail

National party

Yea, I bet you didn't see this coming! A brown person giving props to the National party. Well this week I received my tax rebate, which is 33% of all my donations from the last financial year. This was usually capped at $630, but this cap was lifted when National went into power. Makes sense, the more money you have, the more you donate, so naturally this would keep their supporters happy. On a personal level though, I do give a lot to non-profit organisations, so receiving the tax rebate this week meant I could give some joy to my long-suffering credit card, if only until the next relative dies.

On that note, I hope you all have a great week ahead. God bless you heaps, peeps! (including all the annoying ones...hehe!)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

No comment

Since I started blog-following (stalking) a little while back, I have found that on top of the generally entertaining blog content there is the added treat of blog comments. From what I have seen, the commenters are usually seasoned bloggers themselves, so they add their own flavour of humour to complement the original post. I myself have been guilty of spending more time commenting on the other blogs than writing on my own (blame the lack of creativity and imagination, with a pinch of laziness).

Then comes the big butt BUT.

But...I have also seen some strange (for lack of a better word) blog comments. You know the ones of which I write. Here are some fundamental principles of blog commenting that I try to abide by, not just for blogs but for Facebook, Twitter, and pretty much any place that a person is able to publicly post personal information/statements/ideas and receive feedback. I'm not saying you need them. In fact, you probably don't. But this is my blog *shrugs*

No (bad) comment
 BLOGCOM101: Commenting for idiots beginners

Probably the biggest thing that gets lost in translation between blog content and comment is humour. It's annoying when a post is HILARIOUS, and it is pretty obvious that about 0% of it is serious, and then you see some hardcore sneeeerious feedback at the end. Lecturing, finger pointing, berating.
Tip: Log out, look on TradeMe for a sense of humour to buy, install, then log back in and comment. Then continue to regularly update your humour software for optimum results.

The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.
Don't see a word and go ape-mad and start commenting. I've seen comments that have had absolutely nothing to do with anything, and have made me question whether the commenter had actually read the whole post, or whether they are having their "monthly sick time" and need an avenue to vent.
Tip: If you are not prepared to read the whole post, please don't comment. That is all.

Faafetai lava mo le fesili (Thank you for the question)
Some blog posts end with a question that invites feedback, and most importantly YOUR opinion on things. In this case, please feel free to unload the burden you bear on the topic.
But some posts can be a personal recount, or the blogger's own opinion, or just a statement rather than a question. Consider this if/when commenting.
When someone posts a blog saying "I don't like sausage rolls", and they're quite serious about it, then don't comment multiple times trying to convince them of the health and economic benefits of buying/eating sausage rolls. They don't care. I don't care.
Tip: If it's not a question, don't answer it.

To comment, or not to comment
If in doubt about any of the above, just don't comment. Don't feel pressured to comment, just because everyone else is coming up with something witty or enlightening on the matter. If you don't think you have anything of value to add, you probably don't maybe another blog post will be more down your alley.

Some blogs allow "anonymous" comments. Some people use this to protect their identity when stalking hot rugby boys *cough*
But some people use this to straight out hate and curse on comments, and pretty much just do everything they don't have the gall to do under their own login. To the latter group, I have no tips. Your issues lie much deeper than a 5-minute read of my waffley post could even start to address.

This is my view on commenting, and not a reflection on all bloggers. Please, comment freely on this post :P

Monday, August 1, 2011

One of dem days

When the day knocks the wind out of you, and words fail you, and you feel like screaming "What's going on?"

All the while wishing you were in such a peaceful place that you could stand balanced on one leg, and just let your fingers dance and your guitar wail, while your frizz mop hung over your face to shade you from the blinding lights

One night only special guest appearance by Emo Fob