Saturday, 27 September 2008

Pirates and pools

We're still on the pirates.

"Any pirates going get me, mum-mum?" she asks in the darkened hallway of our New Orleans hotel – and – "No pirates get Uncle J on him bed," she tells me as I change the guest linens.

Turns out, while I've been busy assuring Berry that they don't exist anymore, pirates are very much alive. If we lived in South America or West Africa or Asia, she'd be right to worry.

Her fear of the water, though? Kirk was right – it took care of itself. I mean it really....



really took care of itself.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

At last....

A vintage cut of a 1960 Cadillac, some blue and orange stock, a tiny bit of flame-red ink – and we're away! I was so happy to finally print my first "proper" notes on the Chandler and Price, I wanted to jump around.

Unlike last time, I made sure I actually had a good amount of baby-free time up my sleeve to do everything the right way. I even locked up the chase and oiled the press in advance. A note: you can't oil the press too far in advance or the oil will drip out before you get printing – and then you will have climb around the press to painstakingly drip oil into every one of the 30-something obscurely placed oil holes, all over again. You will call yourself bad names.

Here's what the press looks like in action, inking up the plate before the chase is inserted. Why is it a blur? Well, at this stage it was running 18 impressions per minute – too fast! Too fast! I've since fixed the speed issue ... but more on that later.

A first impression on the tympan (above), to help with alignment and placing the gauge pins. You rub that image back with solvent after this impression, otherwise it'll give you a (not-so-) nice reverse image on the back of your lovely cards. And you will cry.

I was completely precise and methodical in my placement of the gauge pins – again, unlike last time – and it made the world of difference. Imagine!

These first cards have gone to Nathan's Dad in Dallas and my Dad in Australia, in gratitude for the untold hours they've both spent working on the Chandler & Price (I owe them so much more, but this is symbolic!) and to Pauline, who's been cheering me on all the way from South Carolina.

Now we're rolling...

Sunday, 21 September 2008


A new parenting discovery: it is miserably hard to stay firm about a time-out when your toddler sits in the corner calling out tearfully, "I still love you guys! I still love you!"


Saturday, 20 September 2008

Non sequiturs 'R' Us

Berry: That not funny!

Me: It was kind of funny. It was cute. Honey, sometimes people laugh because something's funny, sometimes people laugh because something's cute, sometimes people laugh because they're happy. There are lots of reasons why people laugh.

Berry: We not chew on our toes, either.


Friday, 19 September 2008

Talking to myself

Me: We like Miss Carmen, don't we! She's sweet to you.

Berry: Mm-hmm.

Me: Hey... you know how mummy's from Australia... and you know how Grandma and Granddad live in Australia... and you know how you're a bit Australian – well, Miss Carmen is from Australia too!

Berry: I did climb on a bouncy castle, one time.

Me: Okay.... was that in Australia?

Berry: No. I just telling you.


Monday, 15 September 2008


You don't have to look too closely to see the down-side to Berry's new insistence on putting on her own shoes.

Invariably, offers of help have been met with a fierce "I do it-a-myself!" – so she spent a few days walking around like a duckling with a problem.

You know who else has a problem? Me.

This whole self-sufficiency kick (okay, "important developmental stage", whatever) is seriously slowing things down. I'm a girl with a List Of Things To Do and, even on the best days, I barely manage to stick to it. Throw in this three-foot-tall Miss Independent, and it all falls in a heap.

The extra time it takes for her to pour her milk by herself, put on her shoes by herself, clean her teeth by herself, mop up the spilled juice by herself, climb up into the Pilot by herself, get into her car seat by herself .... it nearly drives me round the twist. Naturally I put on my happy face and my encouraging voice and support all but the most outrageous endeavours (no, you may not pick up Kickbaby by yourself), but occasionally I indulge in a bit of a whinge when she's out of earshot.

I was having a quiet complain about it in the classroom the other day, watching Berry turn endlessly in tiny tippy-toed circles trying to pull up her shorts by herself. When I'd finished, Ms Yvonne tipped her head to one side and said benignly, "Well, I guess you just need to leave some extra time."

On the one hand, she's right. On the other hand – lady, they're what we call fighting words. If I have to factor in "extra time", we need to leave for preschool yesterday.


Monday, 8 September 2008

Yo-ho-ho (uh-oh)

There's a new twist in Berry's bedtime routine – one I never saw coming.

"Goodnight mum-mum. I love you mum-mum."

"Goodnight honey, I love you too. Have a good sleep."

"I love you. Them pirates no can get me?"

Pirates. Right.

"I no like-them pirates. They no get me."

Berry has just moved up to the three-to-five-year-old class at preschool and when I picked her up last Tuesday, her group was being 'covered' by another teacher who had them listening to an ocean adventure book-on-tape. What I heard of it sounded downright boring, actually – a bit too dreary for kids that age.

On the way home, though, Berry unravelled a story about "them scary mans" who "sing a growly song" and ever since then we've been on a fear-of-pirates kick.

This morning at breakfast: "You have a good sleep, mum-mum?"

"I had a good sleep sweetheart. Did you have a good sleep?"

"I did. None them pirates did get me."

"Honey, we have no pirates here. No pirates will ever get you."

She nodded sagely. "My daddy look after me. Get them pirates. He a big man."

So now you know. If you have a pirate problem, call my husband. He's a big man.


Sunday, 7 September 2008


"...and then I realised I was under investigation too," Nathan was saying, "and I thought, I am so hosed."

"Oh, that's an awful dream!" I said, taking a t-shirt out of the laundry basket.

Berry stopped beside me. "That not a awful dream!" she exclaimed, "That a shirt!"


Saturday, 6 September 2008

Still standing, mostly

We worried a lot about what Hurricane Gustav might do to our house during the "evacuation vacation" in Florida – especially since we had put up only a couple of the hurricane shutters before we left (long story short: we'd left on what was meant to be a short vacation before the storm turned nasty and the evacuation was ordered).

So when we came home to find that our side fence had decided to have a bit of a lie-down, we felt very lucky indeed.

The Gulfport and Biloxi beachfronts didn't fare so well, but that's not our mess to clean up.

We dodged distressing losses this time, through sheer luck. Next time something's brewing in the Gulf, no matter how many miles or how many days away it's projected to be, we're putting up every last hurricane shutter before we leave.

It probably won't stop us fretting from afar, but at least we'll know we've done all we can.


Doo-wop girl

Who knew the child would have a taste for '50s hits?

We took Berry to Johnny Rocket's while we were in Florida because Nathan (oh, foolhardy Nathan) promised her a hot dog without knowing for sure if we could find one. Johnny Rocket's was the only option, so she wore the soda fountain hat and ate her hot dog cut into tiny pieces (uncut hot dogs are the #2 choking hazard for toddlers, you know) and then rocked out to the oldies.

Good life.


Thursday, 4 September 2008

Hello baby!

Our brand-new nephew arrived on September 1, in Cape Town, weighing 9lbs 9oz. Yay!

His brother, Little C, wanted to name him Lula Fire Helmet... but his parents did not. Yay again!

Berry's very excited about her new cousin. Among her preschool friends, baby cousins, baby brothers and baby sisters are a bit of a status symbol – the more you can collect, the better. So her stock has really shot up this year.

We're looking forward to many chaotic family reunions on the Lewis side now...