Mudwrestling? What damn mudwrestling?

Do you ever have days that just fall apart? When every time the phone rings it's another plan that has gone pffffffffft in the wind? And then you decide that the only remaining option for that day is to sit in an almighty huff and contemplate the various ways you can maim and kill those responsible for the absolute ruination of your day (let's not forget that it's school holidays here, and all my usual activities have suspended AND I AM GOING FLECKING LOCO OVER HERE)?

Never fear - your cupcake solution is here. C'mon - is there anything in the world that can't be fixed by a cupcake? I DON'T THINK SO! (nuclear war, terrorism and certain leaders of countries excluded).

I'll introduce to you all my handy assistant, Grumbles, who can show you in five easy steps how to make your day better, with loads of chocolate and raspberries.

Step one: Choose a recipe. Preferably whilst sitting on the ground. After all, wasn't Newton sitting on the ground when the apple fell on his head and he developed...um, one of those laws? Hmmm?



Step two: Take ingredients as listed in book, then add raspberries. Everything goes better with raspberries, except maybe mudwrestling. Although I hasten to add that I don't actually know that from first hand experience.
As Grumbles demonstrates, raspberries must first be taste tested before they can pass muster.



Step three: Deny your own damn mother a taste of the raspberries. Laugh whilst doing so and say "All gone! No more!" (this step has been posted by Grumbles, cue evil laugh please)

* Please excuse my wonky nose. No, it hasn't ever been broken, it just naturally looks like that. Anyone who thinks otherwise can bugger off.


Step four: Carefully sift flour into egg mixture whilst squatting on the ground. If you tone the thighs as you bake then you can eat as many cakes as you want to afterwards! (This step has not been endorsed by any sort of scientific study)

Step five: A choice step - just like a choose-your-own-adventure book! Either finish making the mixture, pour it into patty cases with raspberries embedded and then dutifully hang around taking each batch out of the oven after 20 minutes. If, however, you are not a sucker, then sit on the floor and lick out the saucepan. Dingdongdelicious!

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Happy Birthday!

As far as birthdays go, this one was pretty darn fabulous! There were fairy lights, and lunch at a cafe, and delectable dense chocolate patty cakes with raspberries hidden inside, and presents galore (the opening of each one accompanied by an excited 'Whooooo!' sound from the birthday girl), and proud grandparents (not to mention stupidly proud and besotted parents!) and lots of smiles and laughter. After all that excitement, it seems a bit dull and flat around here now. Just as well it's my birthday in three shorts weeks - whooooooo!

Speaking of whoooos, thank you all so much for your lovely comments concerning the birth day. I'm so sorry I made some of you cry - if it's any consolation, there were tears being shed as I wrote it, but happy tears - the 'gosh-I'm-a-lucky-girl' sort of tears, maybe followed by big teary, snotty slurps of red wine. Bwahahah, definitely maybe, as the lads from Oasis would say!

Right, I've started quoting the Gallagher brothers. Definitely time to log off!

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A Birth Story

I’m going to post this now, even though it’s Grumble’s second (second!) birthday on Sunday, as we have a super busy weekend, what with parties for her etc. I’ve always loved reading the birth stories of others, and have wanted to share my own, but for reasons you shall soon discover have been a little trepidatious about it. So consider this your warning: if you are in any way squeamish, and cannot handle gory, grisly details, go have a hunt through the archives and read crafty goodness. For the rest of you: A Birth Story.

The Galumph and I were lounging around at home one Tuesday evening. Actually, Galumph was lounging, and I was doing my best beached whale impersonation. The main topic of conversation that week has been: when is our little one arriving? At some point in the evening I visited the toilet, and had finished my business and was pulling up my pants when I felt a tiny trickle. “Oh my sainted aunt”, I thought. “It’s finally happened, just like the books said it might – I’ve lost control of my bladder!”. After cleaning up, I went back into the lounge room where I felt yet another trickle. My face must have said what I was thinking, because Galumph immediately said: “What’s up?” My answer (embarrassing in hindsight, I can now admit) was “Well, I thought I’d wet myself, but maybe it’s… happening!” "Happening?" said Galumph. Gush. "Happening", I said.

So, we rang the hospital and they told us to come on in so they could check me out. All the way there I was “Gee, I thought when your waters broke it would be this big gush everywhere, but this is nothing!”. Ahem. A walk around the block to the entrance of hospital soon helped the gushing on it’s way – so much so that when we finally got into the building the second thing the nurse said to me was “Would you like a nappy?” Oh yeah, I guess so.

After being checked out, and the nurses ascertaining that although I was having contractions they were so minute that even I couldn’t feel them, we were sent home, and told to come back either when the contractions were five minutes apart, or Thursday morning.

Ahh, the innocence of first time parents. Neither that night nor the next was there much sleep to be had, as every twinge was timed and noted. However, nothing major did happen (besides me getting tired – oh, why didn’t I sleep whilst I had the chance!) so Thursday morn saw us, bright and early, at the hospital. We were shown into our birthing suite, and by 11 that morning I was hooked up to the inducement hormones. For our entertainment we had brought along the latest Harry Potter book to read, plus Trivial Pursuit cards, but thanks to the trigger happy finger of the nurse who kept amping up how much hormone I was receiving, it wasn’t long before they went out the window.

As those of you who have been induced know, it’s a fairly painful way of giving birth as your body doesn’t have time to adjust to the hormone levels properly. It wasn’t long before I was gasping “Gas, gas, gimme the gas!” and breathing in as hard as I could when it arrived. This continued until 6pm that night, by which stage I was feeling both majorly vomitty from all that gas and in so much pain from the contractions that I couldn’t even stand up – my legs were giving out from under me. I asked a nurse how much I had dilated – after all, how much longer could this possibly go on for, and cried, actually cried when she said “3cm”. Three? Seven more to go? NOOOOOOOOOO! This pain must cease, now!

Due to an allergy, Pethidine was out of the question, so the cry had changed to “Epidural! Epidural! NOW!”
And then it came. Like a hand from above, flicking a switch, the pain went. I have no recollection of this, but am told by a reliable source that I actually had a snooze! Soon, however, it was all action stations go. I had dilated, by 3 am, to the full 10cm, and now it was time to push!

So I pushed. And pushed. And then, just to make things fun, pushed some more. Every two minutes, in thirty second bursts, for over two hours, I pushed. The nurses weren’t happy – this child need to come out, they were saying. Finally a doctor came in, assessed the situation, and said to a nurse “Right – hold these forceps. I’m going to get the vacuum pump”. As soon as she left the room the nurse looked conspiratorially around, muttered “I don’t think we’ll need to be doing THAT”, whipped out her scissors and did the fastest episiotomy this side of Texas. And then, in the blink of an eye, my beautiful daughter was out in the world.

I’ll never forget those few moments. She was so quiet, and oddly still. She seemed to just want to lie quietly, and take in the world before uttering a sound. She lay on my chest, and rolled her huge big eyes over to me. “Hello, Bump!” I said. The Galumph stood over us, doing one of his monster huge grins, then I handed Grumbles to him, so the nurses could inject me with the hormone to speed up the delivery of the placenta.

So there I lay, waiting for the placenta to come out. The nurses began to look a bit worried when it didn't emerge, and started physically contorting my torso, trying to get it to come out. Finally, somebody saw it, and gave a huge pull, and out it came. Actually, most of it came out. I’ll never forget the horrified look on the nurse's, and doctor's, faces when they saw the huge chunk missing from it. I’ll also never forget the sound of my blood, suddenly flowing in a huge big hemorrhage, hitting the ground. Suddenly the room, which only moments before had been full of peace and new life, was action stations. A nurse frantically wrapped gauze around the unused forceps, and inserted it into me in a bid to stop the bleeding. For a few moments all was quiet, then that huge gushing splattering noise when she removed them and more blood hit the ground. In the midst of all this a code orange was announced somewhere in the hospital. Most of those in the room left frantically, fearing the worst, but in a few moments were back by my bedside. I asked one of them what a code orange was, and the answer was “It’s bad. But you’re worse”.

This is where things started to get blurry. I was losing so much blood, and so quickly that I was beginning to shut down. Around me things were happening in a crazy hurry – nurses were unhooking me from the hormone drip, a bed was being brought in, somebody was telling my husband that I would need surgery, now, the beautiful anesthetist who had earlier given me the epidural was by my side, telling me that he was going to do some stuff, but not to worry, it wouldn’t hurt. I latched on to him, and told him what was worrying me the most: I was so cold. So, so cold. I know everybody has stuff to do, but could he please fix the cold?

Thank goodness he kept his cool. He knew what the cold meant. If I hadn’t had been going into shutdown, I would have known what the cold meant. It was the strangest thing, the losing blood, and the beginning of the end. I’d always imagined that you remained fairly clear mentally when death strikes, but I now know this isn’t the case. It was like all parts of me were resigning themselves to the fact that they were going. My sense of humour, my curiosity – in fact, all of my thoughts, all the bits that made me me were disappearing. I had no questions about what was happening to me – I just wanted somebody to make the cold go away. The anesthetist took me by the hand and told me that he’d just sent somebody out to the warming machine, and that they were going to get me some warm toasty blankets. Could I wait? Of course I could. And I held onto that thought has hard as I could.

The next second I was being moved over onto the bed to take me down to surgery. In my second last moment of clarity I looked down at the nurse who was trying to take my singlet top off, even though I was hooked up to drips and the like, and calmly told her to just cut it off me. She gave me a funny glance and then did so. In my last moment of clarity, I quickly took off my wedding rings and gave them to the Galumph, who had been standing in a corner, horrified, the whole time. I told him I loved him as they wheeled me out of the room, but, alas, didn’t even hear his answer. This bugged me the whole time I was going down the corridors, but I was distracted as they wheeled me into theatre. As they were setting up around me, another team came in with an emergency caesarian. “We need this theatre now!” they said. “Tough luck”, said one of my surgeons. “It’s OURS!”. My very last thought, before they put me under, was ‘Yay! My team won!”

To work they went. They cut me open to find out where the bleeding was coming from. It turns out that the placenta had been embedded in the uterus, so when it was ripped out it created a huge wound. For three hours they operated, trying every trick in the book to stop the bleeding. Finally, they began to sew me up, thinking the op had been a success. One of the surgeons had a last peek in before they finished the sewing, and was mucho alarmed to discover that the hemorrhaging had recommenced. Quickly undoing me, they tried again. By this stage I had been given over 18 units of blood – not bad considering that the human body only has 14 units in it. I’d drained myself one and a bit times over! Unfortunately, with all this blood loss, I’d also lost all my platelets, and the other goodies that enable the blood to clot. As one of the surgeons told us afterwards, every time they tried to stitch me up, it just created another hole for the blood to spurt from. I was, literally, a human version of a sieve.

The call was made: the only way to save my life was to remove the entire uterus, and fingers crossed at that risky move. Whilst the surgery was under way, one of the team was downstairs, telling my husband, who at this stage had been left in a room by himself with Grumbles for over three hours, that ‘your wife only has a 50/50 chance of making it out alive’. The Galumph, understandably, sat down and cried. Alive, however, is how I came out. I remember waking up, and seeing all these faces hovering over me. One doctor was actually stroking my hair, prompting me to think: Good God, it must be bad if they’re touching my hair. I’m sure they never do that in the movies! The head surgeon came over, and gently told me that she was sorry, but they’d had to do a hysterectomy. I said “Ok. Thank you!” She looked puzzled, and explained exactly what one was, to which I replied “Yep. Thank you!” I instinctively knew how close it had been, and was just so pleased to be there that they could have cut off an arm and I’d have been cool with it.

That night, however, was the most horrifying night of my life. I was put into the high dependency unit, and, even though there were two nurses there the whole time, for some reason I couldn’t see them, and thought I was all alone. The room was very very dark, and I was attached to a machine monitoring my breathing, as my lungs had become quite depressed due to all the anesthetic. Each time I was about to nod off, my breathing would become quite shallow, and the machine would beep at me until I breathed normally again. And each time I thought I was going to die, all alone. The Galumph came and visited at about 3 in the morning, and after that I perked up. Soon it was morning, and that afternoon I was moved to a room of my own and soon began to make huge progress. I must admit, however, that it was a huge shock to discover that I couldn’t physically walk for a few days. I’ll also never forget my dad’s face when he came to visit me – he looked ten years older, and all I could think was how sorry I was to have put him through it.

I’m going to end this by saying how lucky I am. I’m lucky I was in a big metropolitan hospital – if I had have been in a smaller one I would be dead for sure, as they wouldn’t have had enough blood to give me. I’m lucky I had such an amazingly talented team of 16 to operate on me. I’m lucky to have my husband, who was just so indescribably wonderful during the entire ordeal. I’m lucky to have my super sister-in-law, who did Subway runs when I couldn’t stand the hospital food any more, and helped my dad through it all (no wonder he has such a huge crush on her!). I’m lucky to have my sister, a nurse, who explained the situation beautifully to everybody, banned all visitors until she thought it was prudent for me to have them, and did lots of organising on our behalf. And I’m especially lucky to have my Grumbles. Sweetie, I’d go through it all again in a heartbeat, just to have you in my life. Happy birthday, my love.

Myself and Grumbles, 1 day old.


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Blushing beauties

It's winter here finally, after teasing us for so long. It's cold outside, it's cold inside and these pears have been rock hard for a week. The chilli? Ah, it's just hanging out.

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Buttons galore!

Yesterday I took a lovely stroll into the city with a friend. The sun was shining, the birds were twittering and buttons awaited us! That's right, we hit the button sale at Buttonmania (read all about it here) and boy oh boy, were there plenty of buttons to choose from! Big buttons, small buttons, expensive buttons, darn ugly buttons, cute-as-a-button buttons, all piled into shoeboxes which themselves were piled in mountains around the room. It's quite funny which colours I zoomed in on - the same ones I love to wear, particularly the reds. I could have spent hours gazing at all that buttony goodness, and I didn't even dare go into the 'snazzy' button sale in case I blew our hard-earned savings on Czech glass numbers. Wheeee!

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Ice cream quilt finished!

And now, by popular demand, is the completed ice cream quilt in all it's finished glory! I totally botched up the binding, but am waaaaay beyond caring now. Next time I think I'll do the 'bag out' technique to finish up.

All in all, I'm rather pleased with how it turned out. I wanted quite a random look, which I think I achieved (Editor: please keep understatements to a minimum, hmmm?) and I'm very happy with the crinkled, aged look the dryer treatment gave it. Verdict: A big thumbs up, although next time I tackle a quilt I'll make sure I don't have about fifty bazillion other projects on the boil.

Anyway, project specs:
Design: own.
Fabrics: Scraps of Amy Butler 'Charm' left over from a top I made Grumbles last summer, plus pink and brown homespun cotton; wool batting.

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Red

Red socks, and red gumboots, but she wouldn't stay still enough for me to take a picture of them. Also, a new fringe. For some goodness knows what reason, as we ate our lunch today, I was struck by the sudden urge to cut her a fringe. So I bounced up, grabbed the nail scissors from the bathroom and did it. Grumbles, unperturbed by her mother hacking at her hair with what must be the world's bluntest nail scissors, kept on searching for lentils amongst the pasta shapes whilst I sat there aghast, thinking: she looks so grown up now! What have I done to my baby?

Oh well, at least she has a nice warm quilt to sleep under. Thaaaaat's right, I finally finished it! Pics when the light improves, I promise.

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Better late than never

Gah! I've been laid up in bed with a nasty virus, which thankfully appears to have abated now, but has prevented me from getting any crafting done. So I'm jumping on the bandwagon, as the blog must be fed!

Thursday - Blue.

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Long weekend




Things that I did this long weekend past:

- Rode all 32km of the Capital City Trail. Did you know that at one stage the bike path actually 'floats' on the Yarra River, supported only by these odd pylon things that enable the path, in it's entirety, to rise with the river? Me neither!

- Went home and ran a very hot bath to ease my acute case of 'biker's arse'. Ow!

- Pigged out on Vietnamese for lunch, and introduced Grumbles to the wonder that is rice paper rolls.

- Baked an apple and lemon snow pie that everybody raved about, but which I thought was a bit ho hum.


Things that I didn't do this weekend that I really should have done:

- Finished Grumble's quilt. C'mon - it's only binding. How hard can it be? I swear, as soon as I finish typing this out, I'm going to hit the sewing machine and get it happening.

- Tidied out all the junk from the cupboards in Grumble's room. I am truly beginning to believe that stuff just breeds in there.

- Got cracking on the lining for my top. Gah - what a boring job.

- Thanked the Queen for having a birthday, therefore enabling her subjects to blob around in her name. Actually, I should probably thank her parents for having her. Or maybe I should thank the Victorian Government for not abolishing the holiday? Err, it's all too complicated now.

Rightio, off to the sewing machine I go. Really!

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Thinking


Things I have been pondering upon this morning:

- That's one pretty nifty sleeve dart I've done there (oh, and the seams do match up, it just doens't look like it in the photo because I was too lazy to wield the iron).

- Where are all the Timothy Dalton fans? Yoo hoo, anybody around?

- That I haven't used the word gongoozler in a sentence for a while. Time to stop staring at it, eh?

- That Pea Soup's list of Australianisms is really rather quite good.

- That I'm getting just a little bit bored of using the lettuces in my garden to make salad. Time for some curried pea and lettuce soup, methinks.

- That I wish my friends in Russia would hurry up and come home.

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Move over, Darcy

For the past few nights the Galumph and I, once Grumbles is soundly asleep, have been snuggling under the still-unfinished quilt, me with my knitting in hand, watching the 1983 BBC production of Jane Eyre.

For the first few nights, it was more about the knitting for me, as the show was plod-plod-plodding along. But then, Jane grew up and became the governess at Thornfield Hall, and in waltzed Mr Rochester. All I can say is I'm sorry, Mr Darcy, but Rochie's the fella for me! That drawling brogue! Those devilish looks! That keen, playful intellect! Those sparkling eyes! Phwoar!

All I had previously known of Timothy Dalton was that he was 007 for a while (a series of movies that I truly doubt I shall ever show any interest in) so this thunderingly handsome appeal of his was quite a surprise. A Milo, once again, was needed to steady my nerves, as I sat, probably gaping, at the screen, willing him to be on again when he disappeared.

Side note: I doubt the Galumph was experiencing the same sort of feelings for Zelah Clarke, who played Jane, who, even though she was a very fine actress, didn't exude the same sort of appeal as MR, which is as should be considering she was playing plain Jane, after all. And a good job she did of it, too. I think I may have turned the whole thing off in disgust if they had of cast a glamorous Jane.

However, here is where trouble really strikes - we've finished the series, and have none more to watch. Now, we all know that the BBC makes a killer series. Jane Eyre? Fab (albeit slow). Wives and Daughters? Terrific. Pride and Prejudice? Need I even say anything? But these are the only ones that I know of. Does anybody have any suggestions for our viewing pleasure?

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World Environment Day

Today is World Environment Day (the pictures are from the rally we went on yesterday. Grumble's first rally - what a proud activist mum I am!). Make a difference - it's easier than you think! Here's some ideas to get you going:

- Ride a bike or walk instead of taking the car. Think of how toned you'll soon be, too!

- Fix those dripping taps. A tap that drips once a minute wastes a bathtub of water a month. Cripes!

- Grow some vegies in your garden, or even just some lettuce in a pot. The less food miles, the better, eh?

- Turn off lights you don't really need on, and put on a jumper instead of whacking on the heating.

All of those ideas will help you save money, too. And if you're feeling inspired and want to read more, check out Treehugger.com. And happy WED to you all!






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Why you should never craft in a hurry

Today was always going to be a busy day. I had a supermarket run to do, plus a stop at the bread shop, and then a dash home to cook an early lunch for my friend and her bub who were coming over. Poor old Grumbles didn't pop down for her nap until after they had gone, at which point I decided that I was sure - nay, determined, that I was going to make a cute Moopy bunny.

Draw-draw-draw I hurried, tracing out the pattern.

Cut-cut-cut I went, slicing through the fabric.

Sew-sew-sew I zoomed, pushing my machine past Mach 5.

Stuff-stuff-stuff I pushed, giving body and shape where before there was none.

Finally, after tying the last knot, and snipping the last thread, I stood back and surveyed my handiwork. "Jorth", I said to myself, "another success! And all in the time it took for Grumbles to snooze - well done!"

Then I noticed that his ears were on backward. Gah!

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List-o-rama

Do you ever have days where you kind of slump in a chair and just feel utterly overwhelmed by all the things you need to do, but stupified by the fact that none of them are truly urgent, but just hanging over your head like nasty thunderclouds? {Or is it just me?} Anyhoo, when that feeling strikes (which is certifiably has now, kabang!) I make a list. Even if I only tick one thing off, at least I feel I've accomplished something, and can justify telling those troublesome thunderclouds to bugger off.

So, introducing "Things I really need to get on top of, pronto, before the weekend comes bringing with it a visit from my Dad and everything thus going out the window":

- Buy more milk. I've just made myself a cup of tea using the very last dribbles of both the soy and cow juice, and let's just say it doesn't taste quite right.

- Put the border on the quilt so then I can wash it and let Grumbles use it, rather than sleeping poorly myself, wondering if she's warm enough at night (I know she is, as she has so many snuggly warm blankets that she could build her own cocoon if she wanted but try and tell me that at three in the morning when I've nothing better to do than wonder about such things, but am, sadly, too lazy to go in and check that she hasn't kicked off every blanket).

- Cook up the pears slowly mouldering away on my benchtop using this recipe, but crush the cardamon seeds this time. Last time I made it, it just tasted like a kind of peary marmalade.

- Put the zip in the top I'm making, so I'll stop faffing around and get it finished all ready. Geez.

- Make birthday cards for sister- and father-in-law. Watch out, Grumbles - I smell a craft activity!

- Clean the toilet and bath. Bleugh. Oh yeah baaaybee, can't wait to get stuck into that one.

- Find a cute and/or interesting photo to post with this entry. Oh look, all done!

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