Sunday, 31 August 2008

Waiting for the storm

We're here in Florida, a couple of states away from home, waiting to see what Hurricane Gustav will do.

We're so worried for our New Orleans, and pretty uneasy about our house in Mississippi (high winds, flying debris, falling trees – all have crossed our minds). We've become Weather Channel junkies, like everyone in Gustav's potential path.

But we've interspersed the storm-obsessing with some great adventures on the beach for Berry and Kickbaby. After all, there's no reason for them to feel the strain. It takes our minds to better places too.

This is Kickbaby's first hurricane – and I suppose Berry's too, if you don't count living through Hurricane Katrina when I was eight months pregnant with her.

I will count it, if you don't mind. I'll never forget a minute of that.

Monday, 25 August 2008


Being a big sister is one of Berry's proudest achievements (oh yes – she is under the impression it's a position she's earned through merit). Yesterday she sidled up to Kickbaby, who was lying on my lap. "I love you, little man," she said. "I love you very much. Your big sister give you a kiss, and a hug, and a softhead."

Uhh... a what?

A "softhead", it turns out, is Berry's invented term for rubbing the palm of your hand gently across the top of a baby's head.

Everyone does it. Now you have a name for it. You're welcome.


Saturday, 23 August 2008

Leaps and bounds

Well, I just missed Kickbaby's first rollover. I put him on his tummy on a quilt on the floor and went to put together the high chair on the other side of the room. When I turned around, he was lying on his back watching me, casual as you please.

I laughed, he laughed, I put him on his tummy again and he pushed up with his beefy arms and rolled right over again. He doesn't fancy being on his tummy, and sees a way to solve it.


Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Font conference

Fellow font geeks, wanna see a funny video? Click here.

I promise it's completely work-safe – unless your office has rules against being a huge nerd.


Friday, 15 August 2008


When I got home from the gym today I did a little counting on my fingers and realised it's almost 16 months since I got my letterpress. Sixteen months, three moves, 4000 miles, endless research, oh-so-many new parts and enough father-hours to make me fairly guilty, and I still hadn't been able to print with the Chandler & Price.

So I had a bit of a rant in my head about I'll never get enough time to give it a first run. Ever ever ever.

And suddenly I realised: hey, Kickbaby is still asleep in his carseat and hey, I'm already not-particularly-clean in my gym gear. So – why not now?

I ran upstairs for the tin of black ink.

I already had the press oiled (thanks to Nathan's dad, who did a lot of work on it while he was here) and I'd locked the chase up more than a week ago – but I'd stalled, then, after packing the press. The replacement bail wasn't fitting right so I couldn't get the tympan to lie flat over the packing, and that seemed an insurmountable problem. I'd also decided it would take forever to ink the rollers evenly and figure out the whole positioning guides/setting gauge pins deal.

But in this morning's burst of optimism I thought: I'll just start. I'll start, and I'll iron out the problems as I go along. It has to be better than doing nothing.

First I went back and forth between Cleeton's General Printing and a very old copy of Graphic Arts to figure out how to ink up the press. I got ink evenly distributed on the ink disk, and the rollers, and my fingers too but not on my shirt – so I counted that as a success. Then I ruled some lines, placed the gauge pins (very haphazardly, I hardly need to point out), positioned the card and started the press.

This is what my very first impression looked like:

Right. Not enough packing. Messing around with extra sheets of the professional packing would've been a waste of precious baby-free-time, but I remembered a couple of the old hands on Briar Press mentioning that they'd used brochures, butcher's paper and even flattened cereal boxes to pack their presses, so.... Out of the newspaper stack I grabbed a Belk catalogue and pushed it under the rest of the packing to print this:

Better... but still patchy. Back to the newspaper stack. After adding a JC Penney catalogue to the mix, I got a slightly better impression. But it was the addition of the Sun-Herald sports pages that really did the trick. See:

Mr Underwear here is a vintage cut that my brother Aaron picked up for me at a swap meet back home in Australia, and I love it. This is clearly a man on a deeply noble mission – for underwear. You have to respect that.

I printed quite a few more of him, messing around with the gauge pins and realising (repeatedly) that positioning the paper for letterpress printing is a bit like backing up a boat trailer: figure out where you need to be, then do the opposite. When you haven't done the groundwork, it messes with your head.

I didn't spend any time positioning the guides properly so I never did get the image in quite the right place, and I absolutely butchered the tympan by chunking the gauge pins around so much.

It was quick-and-dirty and went against every meticulous fibre of my being. But who cares. I printed.

Now.... let's do it again.

Thursday, 14 August 2008


"Wook Daddy – nenakidis!"

That's Berry-ese for: "Look Daddy – gymnastics!" ...and we've been hearing it a lot this week. We've mostly been catching the swimming, the diving and the gymnastics (my favourites, all on at once! after this my interest will wane...) and Berry has been mightily inspired by some of the gymnasts' floor routines.

She's been doing her own flourishy performances – a lot of capering around and some hand-standish things with a lot of, er... potential – all ending in a seated pose with dramatic arms.

So medal-worthy.

Berry will have to work on her form, though. After all, she's only a couple of years younger than those little girls on the Chinese women's (ahem) team... she's got some catching up to do.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Stealth attack

Poor little Kickbaby was dozing off for a lovely sleep when some hound punched him in the eye.

He has no idea that he punched himself in the eye, so we are all under suspicion and he hopes we're ashamed of ourselves. He's nothing if not kind-hearted though, so he'll probably forgive us in a minute.


Saturday, 9 August 2008

Love and little fingers

I stretched out on the couch for a nap (it had to be the living room, because that's where Kickbaby was sleeping) and as soon as I started to drift off, Berry climbed up next to me.

Yes honey...
"I lie down next to you?"
Okay. Lie on this side.
"Mum-mum, I share you pillow?"
Yes, you can share my pillow...
"Mum-mum, that you eye?" [poke]
Ow! Yes that's my eye. But we don't poke eyes.
"Mum-mum, [poke] that you other eye?"
No poking eyes! That hurts!
"I love you mum-mum."
I love you too, sweetheart.
"I love you too, mum-mum. I love you very much."


I suppose it's worth the eye-pokes.


Friday, 8 August 2008

Oh so terrible

Berry's birthday is in September and although we haven't really been talking about it, she's lately taken to announcing, "I not three yet. I not three. I not big."

I wonder if she's trying to dampen any hope that the end of the Terrible Twos might be sight, or if she's just heard people saying things like: "Three is the new two" and "They should call it the Terrible Threes".

I get an urge to kick people who say that. First of all, "Terrible Threes" has no alliteration, so it doesn't count.

Second of all, I've had enough terrible. Don't tell me it needs to last another year – I'm done.


Thursday, 7 August 2008


I'm sitting here with one child (the new, fat one) dozing on my lap, and one child (the headstrong blonde one) asleep on the couch. It's such a feat, I'm reluctant to move in case one of them wakes up.

Maybe this is why I don't seem to get much done.


Tuesday, 5 August 2008

So sorry...

Lamest excuses I have ever used to turn down a date:

– "I don't like Jimmy Barnes concerts."
– "I don't like cocktail parties."
– "My dad won't let me."
(Sadly, I was 17 when I used this. Even more sadly, it might have been true.)

Lamest excuses my sister has ever used to turn down a date:

– "I'm not really a night-time person."

If you've done worse, share. You know how we love a laugh at someone else's expense....