July 30, 2004

A wee bit chaotic

We've got a friend staying, and ran out of food, and the elder son has a vomitting bug.

No time to blog...

Posted by Toni at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2004

The Weather

It ain't raining today, its the holy floods of Noah going on out there!

When we ring R's parents we are always given weather reports. They can recite what has happened in their lives weather wise back for at least a week. Any time. Without us even asking. It drives R completely up the wall. After all, he's just rung them, he's paying money to the phone company so he can talk to them, and they are telling him about rain wind and sunshine. We've tried to work out why they do this. One reason is that they are on rainwater, so if it doesn't rain they may have to buy water or not do as much washing etc. But they have enough tanks there for about three houses, so it doesn't actually matter to them if it doesn't rain for about a month, as they have a couple of months of water stored. And it Always Rains Every Month in Clevedon. So we've Ccluded it must be they don't like talking about much else. They seem to lead very quiet and unCtemplated lives. So, as they do the same thing every week (pretty much) and as they haven't thought about it, there is not a lot to say. Everything except the weather is the same as last week.

I have been typing in my references - I am a lean mean typing machine, who is powering through the accumlated references of 7 years at speed. I love this kind of mindless labour. I feel like stuff is getting done, but it is such easy work - no thinking! The only pain is in my shoulders. Excessive typing brings the shortcomings of this workstation into clear focus. So yesterday when I had finished what I had planned to do sooner than planned (!), I Csidered typing some more and decided not too. After unlocking my shoulders, and straightening my back. And loosening my arms and neck... Mmmmm yoga stretches.

Should really get a proper desk.

Posted by Toni at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2004


When people break their promises to me I can be very unforgiving. When they break too many, which can be as few as two if I am stressed or if they are big important promises, that often is the end of the relationship.

Family is harder. Even if they let you down again and again, they remain your family. Even when my brother didn't speak to me for years at a time, he was still my brother. I had no idea where he was living and only the sketchiest idea of what he was doing, but we were siblings still.

At said brother's wedding, I found out that even when he was not talking to me, he was talking about me. And it sounds as though he was proud of what I was doing! Knock me over with a feather, cos I always was under the impression he thought I was a complete prat. I'm still adjusting to the idea he does not hate me, and it will take a while! I thought he hated me for about 15 years... so the adjustment will not be quick. I'm not planning to spend 15 years getting over it though. Time is too precious for that. It is a pleasant and pleasing adjustment to make. I have another person in this world that thinks I'm okay.

If it wasn't for the fact we are related, we wouldn't be approaching this new place of relating to each other. We would have walked away, and never seen each other again, and would have forgotten each other except as something that didn't work out. It is not going to be all smooth sailing in the future. We still don't have many hobbies or interests in common, so Cversation is not so simple. We have a lot of history, now we need to get involved in each other's present. And future.

Funnily enough, I am under the impression that his wife does not like me. Perhaps given enough time, I will find out that isn't true either! Doesn't matter to me, as I'm not going to let that kind of gap develop betwen me and my brother again.

Posted by Toni at 02:24 PM | Comments (1)

July 27, 2004

Baby love

As a first time mum, with no nearby friends who had babies, I read every baby book I saw, and sought them out. I knew all about cradle cap, sleep training, let down, post-natal depression. I could inform you or anyone else about how much time the average child spent sleeping, when they should begin solids and what those solids should be. When it came to the debate about disposable vs cloth nappies I could list the pros and Cs, though I couldn't actually say what was best.

When c was admitted to hospital (as an acute admission) I didn't feel anything. I was a bit overstressed at the time, as R had left for East Timor a week beforehand, I'd had an emergency ceaserian and Cn was only 7 weeks old. He was attached to the wall getting oxygen for a week, and needed nasal gastric feeding as he was no longer strong enough to breastfeed. Over the week I found out that I loved him, and by the time we went home I was 'bonded'.

This time I know a hell of a lot less, but trust myself and the baby a hell of a lot more.

I can't say I fell in love with h the first time I saw him. The surgeon pulled him out and held him over my face, and all I could see were these eNORmous testicles. But when he came back from the paediatrician's table and was laid on my chest, I started crying. He looked so much like my grandad, and I loved him. Both him's.

And I've loved h a lot in the two months he has been with us. He gets so many hugs, that boy. And kisses. And smiles. I know he is a pretty standard sort of baby, but I don't feel that way. I feel he is perfect. Perfectly wonderful. I look at him and smile without trying, he makes me feel too happy not to smile.

Posted by Toni at 03:06 PM | Comments (1)

July 26, 2004


As I work all week on the thesis, with reasonable chunks getting done, I don't want or need to work on the damn thing in the weekend. And I have now discovered how wonderful it is to have weekends that are not working. So now I want the thesis done even quicker so the non-working weekend is a standard issue.

But the supervisor is being painfully slow in getting anything back to me. I worry that he is going to hold the whole thing up in the end, and that I won't meet my deadlines for reasons I can't Ctrol or nag into good behaviour.

Soon he will have chapters 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 in his hands, and I won't be able to work on any of them, so what do I do then??? I can't do 7 till 6 is complete, and I can't do 8 until all the others are complete. I guess I can start typing the reference list!, which will be mindless labour, but require nit-picking carefulness I am not good at. Better get it started then before I talk myself out of it!

Posted by Toni at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2004

Glumming down

Too much time on my own can lead to the glums - it is not a depression, as it is quickly fixed with an outbreak of social events. Glum means a lack of get up and get things done, which leads to a lack of self esteem, which tends to mean I get even less done. But the solution must be balanced with the need to sit here on my own and write this thesis.

Am supposed to be writing about the use of herbicide resistance as a marker gene for the study of gene flow in my literature review. There is no literature on this subject, because the use of herbicide resistance genes is such an obvious thing to do that no-one has felt the need to justify it! I remember finding a reference last year to the blindingly obvious like this last year, and how happy I was. Now I need another miracle.

Sprog passed his Plunket assessment today, has put on 700g since the last visit which is a sterling effort. Yay sprog. Yay me.

Posted by Toni at 01:44 PM | Comments (2)

July 20, 2004

Jaundiced eye

I should have known this a long time ago, but books written by men or by women who don't have children, but who are telling people how to look after babies should not be taken too seriously. The latest I have read in the genre is Babywatching, by D. Morris. He is great believer in natural parenting, where the tribal method is to be taken as the most natural and therefore the best. This involves the mother in demand breastfeeding, sleeping with baby and carrying baby round in frontpacks or slings. Damn shame if you want to do anything else like have a shower, or eat food from a plate! Just a wee tad beyond realistic demands on mothers.

Have broken the routine for the last two days - yesterday went to inspect bro's new business venture, a cafe in upper cuba street, and today went to visit friend I met at the hospital while having junior removed. Tomorrow we are definitely doing the routine thing - both of us are out of whack with the clock, and need rest. Thesis virtually untouched for two days, not so good.

Posted by Toni at 08:00 PM | Comments (2)

July 16, 2004


We've just come back from updating our wills - with R heading overseas to yet another 'hot spot' and the recent addition to the family, it was about time to check they still said what we wanted them to. Its a great place in my life to let the Ctrol freak play. The question of who is getting what is pretty simple, as there is not much to distribute, but once I get to what happens to the children I want to Ctrol stuff from the grave.
We have an arrangement with some friends that the boys will go and live with them. They already have 3 children, and we like the way they are being brought up. It ain't perfect, but then again neither are we. The only problem with all this is that we don't want the boys not knowing their blood relations.
We have 3 brothers between us, but one is on his own and is more interested in work, cars and beer than anything else, and we don't feel he could cope with the responsibility of children on his own. Another brother is about to become a father, but we are Ccerned about their financial situation and don't know if they could cope with two more children. The other brother is doing the yuppie thing. He loves kids though and would be a great dad. We don't know about his wife - would she be very positive about having children? She seems very career focussed.
Talking to the will writer this morning it seems that the financial issue would not be huge, as they would be supported by the children's inheritence. And perhaps our kids should be staying in the family. The grandparents are not willing to have new children (and I don't blame them). The only way to figure out whether they boys should be living even part-time with their uncles is to talk to the uncles, and that is where we feel rather uncertain. After all, if we don't feel comfortable having a casual Saturday coffee with them, discussing the serious and difficult issue of where our kids would live if we died seems like mission impossible.

Posted by Toni at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2004

Creeping addictions

I've been blogging for 207 entries - I don't know how long in normal time. Used to be it was exciting, then it was a chore, and now it is something I have a habit of doing. When I go away to places without computer access, its the lack of blogs I notice, both mine and other peoples. And yesterday, while at home with a computer but without access to the net, I felt that same feeling of Ccern and distress I get without caffeine. Fortunately, however, I didn't get the withdrawal headache.

R is off to Dubai for 3-5 weeks in September, and I am planning a strategic retreat to my parents house. I don't feel like being superwoman and doing 2 kids, a thesis and no adult Ctact of substance for 3-5 weeks (except for electronic Ctact, which can be substantial some days). Ma and Pa have a computer, but without Word. So I will install that as I have legal copy. No problem. But while I am here with c in full time care, and h is sleeping I have three or four hours per day to spend on thesis, blogs and housework. Ma has stated quite clearly that they are not going to stop their lives and be full time carers for c while I am staying. I have this worry that while I am there I am only going to get a couple days each week where I have time to write. I have never felt that to be a problem before - perhaps I am finally getting serious about finishing this thesis. And I dont want to lose this momentum and urgency. The blogging is no problem as they have the internet. The final part of the puzzle is going to be working out how much baby gear I can get from friends and relations in Nelson, rather than carting it on the plane from here. I need a car seat, and Plunket should provide a short term loan for that. And a baby buggy/pushchair. Hopefully one of the parents friends can provide that. Which only leaves a cot, and if they can get the other stuff then I can take the portacot! Logistics: this is what R does all day! Then I just need a mountain of clothing. Advice for new mums: don't cart nappies round the country, they sell them in all the towns I've been too, at the same prices!

Posted by Toni at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2004

Small caffeinated things

I realised this morning that being at home for the year is being made significantly easier due to the purchase of a coffee machine. Mmmm coffee....

The rest of the week won't be too suave, due to running out of coffee!

Posted by Toni at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2004


I've found the hardest thing to adjust to with h is my loss of personal space. Babies like to be right beside you. This one likes to sleep with people. He is breastfed so he gets right up close and personal every couple of hours. I don't have any more than perhaps two or three hours to myself without him getting in my space. It is claustrophobic. He is demanding, and babies don't really know we are out here. They have no Ccept of anyone else's wants and needs, only their own. At first they don't understand when we are out of their sight that we still exist, they have no Ccept of the permanence of objects or people. So if they feel hungry, cold, dirty or scared and can't see anyone, as far as they are Ccerned they are alone in the universe. And so they howl their despair, and as Mummy, it is not something that can be walked away from easily.

When Ctemplating another baby this is what you are giving up: Your space and time. For several years, anything that is solely for yourself has to be fitted in round other people who are best described as selfish and needy. (but you love them!). Cn is out of nappies, and is getting to the stage of going to other people's houses to play. Next year he goes to school. He is still a child, but is well on the way towards independence. Having h means I am back at the beginning. And once you have been a mother, you KNOW what you are getting into.

There wouldn't be any seCd children if it wasn't for the hormones that make the love you have for your baby the most wonderful thing in all your life. They are so wonderful to cuddle. And when they smile at you they put their whole being into it - you feel loved right back.

Kids are great, but they cost a hell of a lot more than money.

Posted by Toni at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2004


Read the whole of the lit review that I have so far, which comes to 16 pages. Bits of it are pretty good, and a lot of it needs to be re-arranged. I had done it in chronological order, but are going to change to a more thematic approach, which might make it read more like a storey and less like a list. But I felt pretty positive about the experience. It was not too hard to read, and I could see a way to make it better. Which is the best part.

I'm finding Aristotle pretty useful. If nothing else there are some fantastic ideas for blogs...

Had a friend round for tea. Good to talk to someone whose age is measured in years not weeks!

Posted by Toni at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2004

Final statement of the cats

I live with two cats. One is Siamese, chocolate point and called Taji. The other is a fat tortoiseshell with a lot of white called Sophie.

Sophie stomps around the house with precision. When she sits, she sits right there, and nothing interferes with her sitting. When she jumps, she lands with absolute precision. Every thing is done! and! finished! She has a short strong tail which ends her physically with an exclamation mark. !

Taj approaches each day with a spirit of discovery. She approaches the whole house as if she has never been here before. What if I do this? Could I sit here? Can I make the dog nervous? Is there any food left? What is this? What does it do? Her tail is long, and curves and twitches. Her physicallity is finished with a question mark.

Its so damn appropriate, I wonder if there is a god...

Posted by Toni at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2004

In it for the long term

The 17 questions meme from Suraya

1. How old are you?


2. Male or female?


3. How long have you been together with your current?

Twelve years

4. How long ago did you meet?

Twelve years probably, maybe 13?

5. How did you meet?

In the staff room at school. A mutual friend said R this is Toni... We looked at each other, said hello, and went back to our mutually more interesting Cversations with other people.
Then the same mutual friend took us on a 5-6 day tramping trip where we managed not to speak to each other for nearly the whole trip. He labelled me in his head a 'hippy bitch'. I had him pinned as sub-human, as he didn't speak to anyone much for the whole time. Didn't look at them (13 kids and 2 other adults), didn't respond to people at all.

6. Were either of you in relationships with other people when you met?


7. What other significant stuff was going on/had been going on in your life at the time you two got together, eg, had you recently started a new job, had some kind of life-changing experience, moved house, etc?

I was single, but I think I had been for a while for me, like 3-4 months at least. He had just been fucked with by a nasty piece of work who took advantage of his generosity with his money and time.

Apart from that we were pretty stable, in long term jobs and stable housing etc.

8. Have you broken up and got back together during the course of your relationship? If so, how many times and for how long?

We have never broken up, but we have talked about it...

9. Do you live together? If so, since when?

Yes, for 12 years

10. How long had you been "together" before the relationship became "intimate"?

Probably 3-6 months? Its a wee while back now!

11. How many previous relationships have you had, of say, three months or longer?

Lets just say many, and leave it at that.

12. Have you had any particularly negative or traumatic past relationship experiences?


13. Are your parents still in a relationship with each other? Your partner's?

Yes, both sets of parents are still together. My parents have been married 40 years now, and his 38 (I think)

14. Have you been single for a year or more since you were say, 18?

Maybe, but possibly not.

15. Have you already, or do you plan to, reproduce in the next five years?

Have 2 children

16. Do you think you and your partner are quite alike or quite different? Do you think this is important to your, shall we say, compatibility, and if so how and why?

We share some similar things, and other stuff is really different. I think having some things in common helps. It means you don't have to negotiate compromise on every damn thing. And we are two seperate people, so we have a lot of things we disagree on. That makes the relationship more interesting...

17. Share some learning/knowledge/information that you think is necessary in making a relationship work.

For a relationship to last you have to be committed to it - that means you have to stay in it when the going gets tough.

Long term intense relationships have parts where you have to work at it - it ain't all beer and skittles. Especially when you put kids in the mix, and the exhaustion levels therefore increase.

Don't get into stinking thinking - meaning don't focus in your mind on the things a partner does that annoy you. If you Cstantly run them down in your head, that is going to be what you think about them. No-one is completely negative, and if they are why are you their partner??? Remind yourself of why you like them, not why you should leave them.

When thinking about leaving think about why. Is it really that important to you that the toilet seat is left in whatever position? Or the toothpaste? Its a big decision to leave a long term relationship so leave for big reasons, not the small stuff.

Posted by Toni at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

First things

It was a weekend of firsts:

h's first smiles, he's got it sussed now. I'm now teaching him to poke out his tongue - we are off to the grandparents soon, this could be fun.

Our first geocache which was in a reserve in Upper Hutt. We climbed an easy hill through mature forest, walked through a long straight abandoned railway tunnel and found the hidden treasure. It was a great way to spend some time, and we had a picnic at the end to celebratre our success.

Saw a movie with both boys. Saw Shrek 2, which was a good movie for the family as there were jokes for everyone. h did stare at the screen for a little bit, but it is hard to say what he could see at that distance. Spent a fair bit of the movie feeding him. The transformation of Shrek was particularly well done I thought - still looked like him with the heavy jaw and chest, but still got the effect they wanted(trying not to spoil it!).

h got his first injury, facial scratches from the cat Taji. If she does that again she will be looking for another home.

Bought first pair of seCdhand jeans. They are Good, and I will buy seCd hand jeans again. I will have more than one pair of jeans at a time from now on in my life.

Posted by Toni at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2004


I am a goal orientated person. I like to have a clear list of what I need/want to do each day, and to tick it off (mentally or otherwise) as I go through it. If I don't have a list, then I don't tend to get a lot done, as I am also particularly good at mucking round, fluffing round, and generally letting time go past me as I sit on the sofa. Too much sitting around reduces my self-esteem, so it is important that I have lists, or have acheivements that I can elucidate.

Serenity to me is a day where I got the balance right between having too much or too little on my list, and got enough done so I feel like I am making progress towards my goals without exhausting myself.

One of my goals is to learn to like myself for other reasons, like who I am, rather than what I have done. I have yet to develop a useful list to achieve this!

Posted by Toni at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)