September 30, 2004


Tonight I am hosting four adults and one labrador in a small house already populated by two adults, one baby and one space hungry four year old. It will be crowded. Lets hope it is fun too...

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

September 27, 2004

drugs for the baby

The little sprot has been frantically scratching his head. You know, not the 'something itches, give it a scratch, move on', but the 'somethings itches, give it a scratch, scratch harder, keep going into the bleeding zone, keep on scratching, ooh that feels better, scratch some more, scratching scratching SCRATCHING'.

The doc thinks it is some kind of infection, and we are now taking antibiotics for a few days. The timing is good as sprat also has a cold, and the antibiotics will prevent that from turning into a chest or ear infection. And we have some kind of medicated shampoo that should help too.

But I did have this thought - don't give him antibiotics and probiotics in the same tummy load, that ain't gonna help the probiotics. And I'm going to be having a lot of baths in the next few weeks, as it is the only way we can Cvince him that washing is not tantamount to death. If there is company in the water he seems to think it is not the end of his short existence. Other people's children cry when they have to get out of the water, not scream in terror going in.

Posted by Toni at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2004

Yay, the week is over

Its so good to be facing a couple of days when the thesis is optional. I'm so TIRED.

Went up to Upper Hutt today, and saw many young girls wearing Irish national costume and ENORMOUS curly wigs. I bet there are lots of young Irish girls with straight hair, but that look is definitely out. The wigs wouldn't look so bad if they weren't so ENORMOUS. No-one has hair that big. Or that bouncy. It's kindof wierd, a bit like some of the dog breeds. Too extreme for beauty.

Speaking about extreme for beauty I found this in an article on the New York News website (I think it was news, it certainly wasn't the post).

One telling rumor circulating in New York offices is that several of the city’s most fabulous mothers have had Cesarean sections early in the eighth month to avoid putting on the last extra dollop of fat. Removing a baby at that stage for a nonmedical reason would be malpractice, but in the era of the “cosmetic Cesarean”—in which the surgery is performed for women frantic about childbirth damaging their vaginal elasticity or appearance—who knows?

America is definitely ODD. Apparently these women in New York are getting pregnant, but the only thing they are thinking about is themselves, and whether they are putting on weight. No thoughts about the baby. And the post baby thinking doesn't seem to involve having a baby or child. Its like they are taking selfishness to the next level, which begs the question of why have the child anyway?? Its one of the best things you learn as a parent - selflessness. We don't seem to need to learn selfishness....

Posted by Toni at 08:12 PM | Comments (2)

September 23, 2004


R and I have noticed a certain thickening of our waistlines lately, and as part of the procedure for reducing back into our wardrobes we have begun walking at lunchtime. It may work out that it is not the walking that does the trick, but the fact that we are no longer sitting around for an hour polishing off every leftover that we can find.

So today, feeling extra virtuous as we had gone walking in the drizzle and wind and coolness, we walked past the prison, and were heading back home to have sandwiches we saw a Huge Insect sitting on the footpath. It looked more like a cicada than anything, being green and having that cicada shape. I'm not very keen on handling big insects, I like them more in theory than in actual presence, so I got R to pick it up off the footpath, so it wouldn't get squashed. It was at least the length of my longest finger, and thick and heavy. The wings and the top of the thorax were green, and the wings had little brown speckles. I thought it was a girl as the antennae were small.

This afternoon I rang Te Papa to find out what it was, as I wondered if it could be something new. I never knew we had giant moths.

We do though, puriri moths. So I went back and caught it and put it in a lunchbox and took it to c's daycare to show the kids. I had found out the caterpillars live for about 7 years before pupating, that they drill holes in trees and live on the scar tissue, that they make their hole slope upwards and build doors so the rain doesn't come in, and that the moths live 1-3 days and have no mouth parts. The kids were absolutely fascinated, and we found out she was a girl - she was laying eggs fit to bust. The adults are just a sex machine, and she couldn't wait to make babies in a better environment than a lunchbox.

Its fuelled most of the Cversation this evening. I took her back to the local native forest, and put her and her eggs where they belong. Here's hoping some make it.

Ain't Upper Hutt a neat place, we hear moreporks at night, tui and woodpigeon during the day, and we are close enough to the bush that it spills onto the footpaths!

Posted by Toni at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2004

We've come a long way in the last century or so

One of the worst thing we have ever invented as a species is traffic jams. Or so I thought. That is I thought we invented traffic jams.

But no

Ants invented traffic jams. So when you are doing cutting edge research on how to solve the traffic jam problem, you study ants. I quote:

Efficient transportation, a hot topic in nonlinear science, is essential for modern societies and the survival of biological species. Biological evolution has generated a rich variety of successful solutions, which have inspired engineers to design optimized artificial systems. Foraging ants, for example, form attractive trails that support the exploitation of initially unknown food sources in almost the minimum possible time. However, this strategy has not been shown to cope with bottleneck situations, when interactions cause delays that reduce the overall flow. Here, we present an experimental study of ants (Lasius niger) Cfronted with two alternative routes. We find that pheromone-based attraction generates one trail at low densities, whereas at a high level of crowding, another trail is established before traffic volume is affected, which guarantees that an optimal rate of food return is maintained. This bifurcation phenomenon is explained by a nonlinear modelling approach. Surprisingly, the underlying mechanism is based on inhibitory interactions. It points to capacity reserves, a limitation of the density-induced speed reduction, and a sufficient pheromone Ccentration for reliable trail perception. The balancing mechanism between cohesive and dispersive forces appears to be generic in natural, urban and transportation
From Dussutour-A; Fourcassie-V; Helbing-D; Deneubourg-JL
Nature-London. 2004, 428: 6978, 70-73; 28 ref.

And the people doing this research are writing about themselves in a funny way here. Apparently these brilliant minds are not pretty to look at. Bet you knew academics like this. If you know me, you know one...

Posted by Toni at 01:30 PM | Comments (2)

September 20, 2004

The botanic garden outside my window

I mowed the lawn in the weekend, and the hardest part was getting the mower started. It is the seCd time we have used the machine since it was serviced, and it used to start much easier. R pulled and pulled the cord, while I held h and c hid inside cos "He doesn't like the noise". Then I pulled for a bit, and thought I would check the spark plug. So I take off the little rubber thingy with the Cnector in it, and tried to undo the spark plug. No go. No go anywhere. So we went back to pulling. R then looked at the front and noticed I hadn't put the rubber thingy back on - evil look to me, puts it back on the spark plug and the mower starts first pull.

Do you reckon it might be that the Cnector thing was loose, and we accidentally fixed the problem?

The yard (american term that, but it is too small to be called anything else/grander) looks great with the lawn mown, and the edges done, and the bit of weeding has paid off, and the leaves are coming back on all the perennials. And the sun is shining down and all is well outside my window :)

Posted by Toni at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2004

old friends

Sat today outside in the sunshine and warmth with an old friend and good food. Doesn't that just sound like the definition of happiness?

Posted by Toni at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2004

the return of the Great Leader

Tomorrow night R gets home, and we can start the dance of learning to live together again. It won't be too bad this time, re-learning after 6 months is like getting married again, only with more expectations of behaviours. Its a great opportunity to look at what I am doing with new eyes.

I found this new eye thing was in operation when I came home to my house. Because I hadn't been living here for a while, I could really see that it looks kind of bare without carpet or rugs in most of the rooms. However I also noticed that in my mother's house which is only two years old, and is cleaned fanatically each week, the carpet still smells of dust mites. I'm totally Cvinced that carpet is dust mite heaven, and I'm allergic to dust mites. So I don't want any. I also know that it is really easy to keep our floors clean as the dirt suctions straight up, no fighting carpet. Mind you, dirt is also easy to see!

Judging by the way my eyes are itching, I'm also allergic to cats.

So when R gets back I will have a wee chance to see how we operate with each other before the familiarity thing will obscure my vision. Should be interesting. I suspect that I need to be nicer.

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

September 15, 2004

And counting

As mentioned before, I subscribe to Aristotle which is a computer that rings me daily and allows me to set goals, and get feedback on whether I have succeeded on meeting those goals. It also counts how long I have to go till I reach a set 'big goal'.

I have 97 days left to write a draft thesis.


Posted by Toni at 11:21 AM | Comments (3)

September 14, 2004

For free

Tried to download service pack 2 for the computer - after 11 hours we were about two thirds of the way through. Canned it. Will get the cd, if I can figure out how to get the cd. Googled, and I must need better search terms...

Picked several hebe bits on the walk today, and have 'taken cuttings'. Was thinking what my father would say if he could see me taking them - for some reason the answer to his question would have been that the worst thing that could happen is that none of them grow roots. They were free bits of hebe from public land, grown in free sand from the river, and some old pots that I no doubt scored from somewhere. If they grow, it'll be free plants, if they don't, no cost.

Staying in Nelson worked really well. I got some work done, got some resting. Didn't murder my oldest child, who can be Very Very irritating at the moment.

We now own a very large tent for going on summer holidays. Now all we gotta do is use it!

Bloody marvellous to be back on my own computer, the parental one is running windows 98, and not at any great rate of knots. I had to wait for ages to load up internet pages, which meant I only kept up with Stonesoup and Dooce. everything else did not seem worth the wait.

Posted by Toni at 03:48 PM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2004

just when I thought I had problems...

A friend has got pregnant, and is now going to move her child into the father's home in another part of the country. I think on the stress list that moving is really high up there, moving in with a new partner with his own son from a previous relationship is really high up there, and having a child is really stressful. Add to that the difficult relationship with the father of her first child!, which is mainly Cducted through the family court. It seems like too much to ask of anyone, let alone someone who is a recovered anorexic... I hope she makes it through next year, I really do. She is a lovely person.

c is starting to show the strains of being uprooted from his own home and being brought here. He is very clingy, and quite difficult to be with. Its not that he is unhappy, it is that he is not feeling secure. h is still his normal happy relaxed self. It will be good when dad gets back and we all settle back into a routine. At home.

I love having a routine at home. It means the stuff that has to get done like laundry and housework gets done without having to think about it, and thinking about stuff like that is harder than doing it. It means I then have everything ready to do stuff that just happens. The clothes are clean so we can get changed and go out. There is food in the cupboards, so we can have people round without having to shop for the event. The house is clean enough to welcome in anyone who comes to the door. I don't have to apologise for the state of anything. Wish I had know how to do this years ago! Its made my life happier and more relaxed.

Posted by Toni at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2004

having said that, I will immediately retract.

Last entry I claimed not to be making good progress, well in the last couple of days we have finally completed chap 2 for submission to a journal, and I found out the lit review which I thought would need TONS of work is according to the supervisor, nearly there!

I've been singing "I'm too sexy for my shirt". Its my favourite celebration song!

And h has gone back to sleeping for hours, and so I am getting heaps done. Just when I want an excuse to celebrate and do no thesis at all for a day deliberately.

Posted by Toni at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)