Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Alien impregnation and omnious motherships? Just another day really.

Monday kicked off with a stomach bug that has been systematically picking off our household, one after the other, for the past three or so weeks. I've been nervously waiting for my turn but so far I'm okay. Of course, this now leaves me slightly uneasy with the suspicion that everyone else in the family has an alien baby inside them, except for me, and now rather than celebrating the fact that I'm not a green faced chunder wonder, I'm feeling a little rejected. Why am I not good enough for alien impregnation? Why can't I experience a week or two with no appetite? Gods only know I could stand to shed a few kilos, and involuntary vomiting is so much easier than sticking my own fingers down my throat!

I started today walking into the supermarket with money to spend on groceries, and an hour later I walked out with no money, and not enough groceries to adequately justify where my money disappeared to, Tuesday has proved to be a better success.

Contrary to what medical professionals may tell you, the best cure for alien impregnation (or 'stomach bug' if that's what you chose to call it) is not plenty of fluids and bed rest, but plenty of fluids, loads of sand, a good smather of sunblock, and a spot of sunshine if you can happen to find some.

The weatherman predicts more sodden grey rain from Friday, so we decided to hot foot it to the beach today and make the most of the brilliant blue sky. Not a cloud in sight, and no wind whatsoever.
Of course, as soon as we set up our little afternoon camp upon the beach, the clouds began to roll across, with a large ominous black one hovering in the background (like a cleverly-disguised Mothership, keeping an eye on its human cocoons.)

Ignoring Mothership's watchful eye, we had a great slice of afternoon. The kids enjoyed driving monster trucks through the sand and teaching their dinosaurs how to swim, being dragged through the super-low tide on a bodyboard and mowing their hands through the soft mud-like sand.

Tomorrow is Halloween. 

We're going to start the day by wagging Kindy, loading the car up with bodyboards and making the mission with some friends to the super-massive dunes near Lake Wainamu to try out dune surfing.  

In the evening, we're trick or treating. The Lily Bug wanted to dress up as Hulk (she's really not very girly at all) but I showed her a never-worn ladybug fairy dress hanging in her wardrobe, and she decided she'd wear that instead. I'm trying to subtly remind her she is in fact a girl. I think I'm slowly winning...

This week I'm linking up with Communal Global to share what our crazy cat family got up to this Tuesday!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead #2 (The Coffee Review)

I probably have issues with caffeine addiction. Serious issues. But being that caffeine is not a serious drug, I figure it's not really a problem I need solving any time soon. And so I sit here at 1am with a cup of Joe in hand (oh okay I lie, it's beside my hand. I can't type and nurse a mug at the same time.) Writing a review on... Gregg's Instant Coffee.

If truth be told, I never really liked Gregg's coffee much, so for this reason I was particularly keen to see if the brand had upped its game. There were four instant coffee varieties to choose from. Which one to start with? Would it be Rich Roast? Espresso Roast? Red Ribbon or Decaf Roast?  Pfft. Toss Decaf aside until never.

Wait, first. Stare at the packets. The packaging has changed. I hate to be a person to say looks actually mean anything to me but... I found myself rather attracted to the new look of Gregg's instant coffee. It's friendly and welcoming, though perhaps a little too kiwiana... The Ken & Ken's 'Blimmin Goorgeous' guarentee makes me cringe a little. Let's not bring too much attention to the most annoying of kiwi twangs next to Lin of Tawa?

Each packet features a steaming cup of coffee with a different kiwiana type image on each mug. "Make me one while you're up" says Espresso Roast. And so I do. Smiling cheesily, because it's a phrase echoed in every coffee drinking household, is it not? Except in ours, the phrase is more like "it's your turn, wench." To which the Lad usually replies "but I made the last one."

Espresso Roast it was going to be. Quick. Rip open packet. But carefully. No wait. First, line up the coffee (and travel mug - the Lad will love no longer having to only half-drink his morning coffee before running out the door!) Take a pretty picture. Now. NOW rip open that packet! Those pesky caffeine deprivation headaches are doing my head in!

The coffee was... Damn. It was good. Really quite surprisingly good. I have to admit, I've had some not-so-nice experiences with Gregg's in the past. It's one of those brands I've found myself occasionally buying, and then regretting after the first mouthful.

This time, the first mouthful of my new improved Espresso Roast went down incredibly fast, and without any facial wincing whatsoever. In fact I drank it so easily, I needed another just to ensure it wasn't a fluke. Then another. Then... Wow. This new Gregg's was surprisingly easy to drink!

The Lad came home from work, and for the first time in a long time, he had a nice hot cuppa waiting for him as he walked in the door. Usually he has to bribe me for that kind of attentiveness. 

By 2am, I had moved on to Decaf. Once my brain stopped protesting against the thought of caffeine-free coffee, it wasn't too bad. Seems there's a time and place for that stuff after all. Post midnight.

Through the following couple of days, I moved through all the flavours. I enjoyed each one of them, but I couldn't tell much difference between them, to be honest.  Espresso Roast was a bit stronger, Rich Roast the nicest, and Red Ribbon the weakest link - though certainly an improvement on what it had once been.

Labour Weekend arrived, and so did family from the 'Naki. Avid coffee drinkers, I was curious to see what they'd make of my new brew. 

They too enjoyed it.  See? This is the face of Nanny Barb enjoying what I believe was her 16th coffee for the morning:

I'm not sure if I've fully become a Gregg's convert. I've always been a Nescafe-aholic. But our household have nailed three packets of coffee in a week (yeah, that Decaf is the sole survivor of our gluttony...) and I have really enjoyed being an over-caffeinated freak this week. Tomorrow I'm going to need to restock our supplies, and I'm genuinely torn as to whether I'll be buying Gregg's or Nescafe.

Conclusion to this long drawn out rambling review? The new Gregg's Instant Coffee range is a win.

I'm gonna go scrape out the last of the Rich Roast now for another cuppa. Save Decaf til 2am. I'll sleep when I'm dead, right?

Gratuitous "here I am sitting on a swing drinking coffee and wearing binoculars - though I'm not sure why" shot, and "completely unrelated to coffee except that I'm sitting on the comfy couch and am yet still awake" shot.

End Note: One day I might learn to write a review in one or two concise paragraphs. Though I doubt it.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Onwards the Sun

As I first sat down to write, I became aware that the Lily Bug had ducked into the bathroom to paint her face with watercolours. I knew this, both from the clanking I could hear from down the hallway, and the fact that it's impossible to convince her to paint strictly on paper in a nice quiet contrived kind of way. It always turns into something more upon the of full body art with a generous helping of interior design.

The Lily Bug told me she wanted to be a vampire wolf, which is why she painted her entire face black. Then began working on her limbs.

I stopped typing to grab the camera - every creative endeavor (or disaster) is potential fodder for that future 21st birthday cork board?  And the coffee went cold as I snapped shots that will be of no interest to anyone except me.

But still, I captured irrefutable proof that we had done something constructive with our morning apart from zoning out in front of Dinosaur Train, dinosaur documentries, Monster Jam clips and anything in between, as per the suggestions of the YouTube sidebar.

I'm going to forget later in the week, the little things that we do. When I'm lying in bed feeling guilty that I've spent too much time working on websites, leaving the kids to entertain themselves and more often than not by splitting the computer with them. A child on each knee, one half of the screen taken up with Dinosaur Planet, the other half a space for me to work on tweaking HTML and CSS code until a website is cross-browser compliant enough to be satisfactory.

I think, once I've wrapped up my current website queue, I'm going to put Infinite Monkey {Design} on the back-burner. Of course, I say this to myself, quite regularly. Then I think of the additional income these sites provide. Income that supplements groceries, or provides the petrol to take the kids out, or allows me to buy a new camera so I can capture all the stuff I'm afraid of forgetting. Maybe I'll just put Infinite Monkey {Design} on a short hiatus over the summer holiday period and rethink my work hours.

When I began writing this blog post, it was yesterday.

Yesterday was the umpteenth day in a row of glum grey sodden wet sky.

Yesterday our Taranaki family returned home and the atmosphere in our house was kind of sad.

The silence they left behind was too loud to be drowned out by dinosaurs and we were too drained and tired to run around the house playing indoor hide & seek. We tried, but only got as far as hiding under a blanket on the couch, then hiding beneath the same blanket on the same couch again.  By the third repetition, we were running out of places within the blanket to hide.

Nan stayed over last night after I convinced her there was too much food left over from the weekend for us all to eat, and we needed her company to help fill in the silence. And it did.

Today, it is a clear blue sky day. Moods have improved. Sites are still waiting to be finished, but today we're going out into the sun.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

I'll sleep when I'm dead.

Look what the courier-fairy dropped off to me? I'm going to be reviewing Greggs for my blog - now I have enough caffeine to never need sleep again! So much productivity is lost between 2am and 7.30am when I'm flitting through a couple of REM cycles!  Why, that's 38.5 hours per week spent lying on my back with my eyes closed, when I can be churning out websites like Thneeds!

Thneeds Thneeds are what everyone needs!

Okay, I may have had too much caffeine this evening. 

Aww, the PR people even sent out my caffeine fix in a white gift bag with big red ribbon.  It's the kind of personal touch I don't mind strangers giving me. ;)

I going to try not to drink it all before the weekend - we have family coming up from the 'Naki who I'm sure would be more than happy to put their two cents in regarding the Greggs revamp. (By the way, I'm not normally a Greggs drinker at all, but... I'm liking this stuff! This is not the review though, so I shall shut up.)

Then again, I have a website to try and complete this week, so there's no promises there.  "Keep your family close, but your Espresso Roast closer."

With that in mind, I better get back into it. Though first, I need another cuppa...

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Let the Custard Burn

I never knew I was a ninja, until I realised I had mastered the art of the Stealthy Silent Bed Slide. This is the ability to slip out of bed from beside a sleeping child, without waking them. It's a technique that can take months if not years of practice, and often is only mastered by default, when the child has finally outgrown the need to have mumsey lying beside him/her in a state of feigned sleep, night after night.

For me, I have the Stealthy Silent Bed Slide down pat, now that my third-born is two and a half. Now I just have to master the art of Staying Awake While Feigning Sleep. Then I'll be a fully fledged Ninja Master of the 9th Order; able to levitate and start fires with my mind. Of course, pigs will fly before this ever comes to pass.

It's this tendency to Fall Asleep While Feigning Sleep that causes me to still be on the computer at 1am. (2am... 3am...) Which in some ways is a good thing. I'm still getting an okay amount of sleep... Well, except for those days when I'm so caught up in a design project that I exceed my stay awake limit and spend the next day doing the zombie shuffle, while the kids take advantage of my limited brain activity by getting up to as much mischief as they possibly can, in as short a time frame.

Take the Lily Bug's recent hair cut for example.

The pic of Bree's self-inflicted mullet was the last 6 photos my Samsung took before dying a gristly soda stream syrup-induced death. The other 5 were the same shot but blurry - the focus having died after dropping it in mud previously...
I'd like to say the reason she cut her own hair with paper scissors is because I was so diligently stirring the custard that I couldn't tear myself myself away from the stove for fear of lumps

That is true, in part. I was stirring custard in constant clockwise motion without pause. I was, in part, trying to avoid lumps. It's such a common occurrence in this house, the kids eat it regardless and think it's perfectly normal. That's right folks, those poor saps are growing up with the belief that custard is supposed to have the consistency and texture of stew.

But for the most part, I was stirring the custard so diligently because I had hit a mid-afternoon energy funk, and at that point stirring custard was the only function my brain was allowing me to do. That repetitive clockwise stirring motion had flipped the autopilot switch in my brain and I was caught in a continuous loop. Meanwhile, my darling daughter was going all Jack the Ripper on her blonde locks.

And boy, did she make a good (aka really quite bad) job of hair butchery! It wasn't a lock of hair or two that she lopped off - it was everything bar a couple of locks at the back she couldn't quite reach (or hadn't yet got to). And much of it was chopped well above her ears.  Joe Dirt would be jealous.

How do you salvage that? 

That was what the hairdresser asked, though she phrased the question a little more diplomatically.

A pixie-bob. Though still somewhat uneven looking, as the hairdresser had tried to push to one side the hair which refuses to grow any direction except straight across her forehead.  Still, it's an improvement.

Two weeks on, and I'm getting used to her new 'do' now. Her hair had taken four and a half years just to get to the length it was in the pic on the left, so she's probably going to be 7 before it touches her shoulders again. And there's far bigger things in the world to be upset about...

Note to self: Let the custard burn.