Mama Chameleon

Friday, March 31, 2006

Topsy and the Green Climby Thing
I am Topsy and this is my story.
Last week I had a real certified adventure. It's the truth!
It was a sunny afternoon. All the church men had stopped the building work.
And that was when I saw it.
And not just any ladder.
THE ladder!
I have ears, you know. (They are flabby things stuck right on my head and they are fun to pull!)
But anyhow, I hear with my ears the stories my Mommy reads to us. I know all about Jack and that green climby thing. Where he founded stuff that did their tricks over and over. You remember that chooky with its eggs and all? Well Jack had to cut the climby bits of the green thing off, so the giant couldn't hold on no more, and get down to get back all his stuffs. But I know that you can still climb up it using a ladder.
And there was something precious I wanted from the giant. Something that could do its trick over and over!
So once everyone had gone, I scooted my little buns over to that ladder and took a deep breath. Iheld on tight then closed my eyes and tried to remember how the men had done that steppy thing with their legs so that they could move up that ladder.
Boy, it was harder than it looked! I kept forgetting to put my foot up at the right time and slipped back onto the ground. Actually most of the time I accidently jumped up and down instead of stepped. My little tootsies have to jump! I like rhythm.
That's what I did need! So that is what I did.
I just bopped my way up that ladder, pretending I had my Colin Buchanan singing beside me.
Up... and up I goed. And soon I found there was a bit of traffic on that thing. And they were slowing me down.
But I had to battle on to get my special thing. And finally after lots of steppin'I had reached my restination.....
The giant's castle.
There was all sorts of stuff there. I crawled around real quiet like, looking for the thing I needed.
But faster than I could say Fee Fum Fo, the giant's giant booming voice scared me so much, I was happy I had brought along a change of nappy!!!!!
He lookedreal growly, so I just cut to the chase. I told him of my quest.
"You want something that keeps doing it's trick over and over!" he bellowed.
I just nodded.
"Alright then, what about this?"
I shook my head. I already have a whole ton of toys.
"Then what about this?" he growled
Now that was more like it! but I shook my head. I already have those Colin DVDs.
What do you want?, he moaned. Just tell me and I'll give it to you. I've got a headache already.!"
I schooched over and shouted my bestest hope quietly in his ear.
He looked at me and shook his head.
I was debwastated . I had wanted it so bad.
"Is that all you want?" he cackled. Why that is the silliest thing ever. In fact I'll grant it. It makes me laugh!"
In a flash, he held it out in his hand, but then he stopped.
"Look, you climb down and I will drop it down to you on a rope."
I hoped he would keep his word! With one last longing look at my thing, down I stepped, very carefully, back down the ladder.
My house and my Mommy was a looong way down. I got a bit wobbly just thinking about it. But I made it . And guess what?
This giant keeps his promises. He rolled my wish down.
A couple minutes later I was sitting at the table ready to try my new bowl of basgetti bogonyase what never ends.
It works!!
I had a big bowl of basgetti....
then some more.....
one more bit....... Ohh it is so yummy. I have eaten three bowls . Actually my tumtum hurts so I have to go lie down.

I am Topsy (!!! burp!!!) and that was my story (!!hic!!).

Posted by michelle :: 10:29 pm :: 10 comments links to this post

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Sympathy Please!!
As far as I know Topsy is telling a story sometime today or tomorrow, but in the meantime, listen to my woe. See my hand? Where that red spot is?

That is where I got stung by a wasp ( !!! OWWY !!!) as I walked up to get the kids from school. It was like a bolt of electricity, I tell you. I threw everything I was holding in the air, bar Topsy, and shrieked!

It was a real burning senstion.

A teacher close by offered me some Stingos.

Now I have always given my kids Stingos and they swear by it, but I must admit I thought it was a psychological thing.

Uhhhh, no!!! If you don't own a bottle of Stingos, go get some today! About a minute after application, the burning stopped, and I could breathe again without gasping in pain! How thankful was I!

Now two days later though, it is quite irritable and has swelled some. A pity it is my right hand. If it gets worse I will go to the doc.
So, I am Big Mama and that is my whinge! (there is actually a story (not a riveting one) to the name Big Mama. I will have to tell it next week.)

Posted by michelle :: 9:40 am :: 9 comments links to this post

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Kenya safari #4: The Matatu

Want to do some cross country safari, Kenya style? In lieu of a bus, what about the matatu option?

Depending on who tells you, the kiswahili word matatu means either 'taxi' or 'to squeeze' . Both definitely apply to the popular mode of transport in Kenya: The Matatu.

This picture certainly represents my lasting image of the matatu. A man (called a 'tout') fingering a wad of notes as he hangs precariously out the rear door of a battered old van, that is already chock full of customers.

Why is he doing this? He is trying to entice more people to get in!

Matatus screech around the city and the rougher parts of town quite recklessly, competing with each other for speed and for business.

They toot blaring musical
horns ( now this link will not work. but when it doesn't go up to the Address bar, left click on the link so that the link is now highlighted. Then right click your mouse, and press copy. Next go up to File. Left click it and select Open. Right click the mouse to be able to press Paste and paste the link into the blank space. Once the link is pasted, press OK and voila you can hear the horn of our childhood!)

OK, back to safari! A trip on a matatu can appear festive and quaint, with livestock attached, but they are frequently dangerous.

I only remember going on a couple of matatu rides myself. We caught one with our parents in Mombasa as teenagers.
It wasn't our first transport choice. If memory serves me, we were simply desperate to get from a crocodile farm to our holiday house. ( is that right Mom and Dad?)

To hail a matatu, hold out your hand with your palm placed down, or wait at the assigned pick up points.
Each matatu has a driver and a 'tout' (the guy who drums up the matatu's business).
With competition stiff, several 'touts" may squabble over you, or even forcibly chuck your luggage on top of their vehicle.
When in a matatu you are never really sure of the time you will arrive at your destination, because the matatu can drive around for hours trying to fill up.
You are crammed in like a quality brand of tinned sardines, sometimes more than double the van's legal capacity.

Just recently, matatus are starting to be quite harshly regulated because of the many lives that have been lost in matatu crashes, and because its industry is corrupt and spiralling out of control.

Look, ummmm..... I've been thinking. I wouldn't dream of robbing you of the matatu experience, but I may just catch the train and meet you there, if it's all the same. See ya!

Posted by michelle :: 8:50 am :: 4 comments links to this post

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Crumbs From Our Table.....

*Today Diva went off to school in her sports uniform. she reminded me about it being a special gymnastics day at school, and please could I come help.
I vaguely remember recieving a note about gym, so I committed to going even though I'd only be able to watch her because of Topsy. Then I rushed around changing the venue of this morning's Bible study (and that is a whole nother story in itself, demonstrating my early dementia) in order to be freed up.
But when I called the school to check the time Diva's class would actually be doing the gymnastics, they knew nothing of it. 'No, Gym starts the first week of next term.' they assured me. Eeeek!
All the other mothers I called in the ensuing panic, confirmed this. My poor little Diva is the only one in her class in her sports uniform. Poor bubba!

*Easy-going Spindles is going through a real sensitive stage, in that he is very sensitive to things that normally don't bother him. Very easily offended and stays offended for a long time (as in for a couple of hours). I remember that this happened with him when he turned four and lasted several months. Is it a hormone surge?

*Roly has had a hard week or so. Name calling, ruler swatting, pinching; all of which happen when the teacher steps out of the class. Of course he feels like it is only him who is getting picked on, like everyone in his stage hates him. He had a terrible beginning to Year 3 (Year five now) because he was in a composite class , and the Year 4s were really rough on him as a new boy. Now he is in a composite class with them again (now they the year 6s and have had a couple of years to beef up!!!!). Last year was great and so far this year has been his best yet.
Roly really has come through some really rough bullying with a great attitude. He and his little posse looks out for other kids who are picked on, which I am so proud of. We can probably all identify with being bullied!

*Topsy has now got 8 teeth! He has added 'The Grimace" and "The Great Neck Strain" to his collection of faces. He has been standing and bouncing without anything to hold on to for a while, but is now daily taking a step on his own. Yesterday he took 2 1/2 steps. Getting closer! At 10 1/2 months he would defintiely be our earliest walker ( when he actually starts walking)!

*Hubby has been flat out. A difficult funeral (600 in attendance) yesterday. He has started running at 6:00 am every morning which will get easier whendaylight saving ends on Sunday! He is currently relaxing by watching the whole set of Sharpe ( Yeah, I have never heard of them before either! Sean Bean is the star).

*Big Mama? Well I am currently planning a flying (yes I am flying! So exciting!) visit to my sister-in-law in Sydney who is very 'with child'. Topsy and I are going, and my Aunty will come and help out for the one night I am away.

Posted by michelle :: 1:33 pm :: 5 comments links to this post

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Monday, March 27, 2006

A 'Novel' Excuse!
The boys were cleaning their room on Saturday morning, and I was getting perplexed by how long it was taking. Every time I walked by, nothing seemed to have moved from the floor.
As a dramatically exhausted Roly heaved and dragged himself into the kitchen for a swig of water, I asked what the hold up might be.
"My side of the room is fine!" he said predictibly. But then surprisingly added. "It's just that Spindle's bookshelf has unleashed books and games and stuff all over the floor!"
Do not fret. I am now on 'unleash' alert and stalk the corridors with camera poised. When said bookshelf next plays up, photographic evidence will be posted henceforth!

Posted by michelle :: 10:37 am :: 4 comments links to this post

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Showless Showbags!
Yes it is that time again!
Show time in our little town.
Where a fortune can be spent on those exciting showbags, show food (about three times the price of what the same stuff costs at the local take away) and show rides.
(In a brief aside, two shows ago, Spindle's best friend's brother (still with me? ) fell from the top of the ferris wheel and nearly died.
Needless to say, I am not huge on the old show rides! Thankfully my kids prefer mirror mazes, target shooting and rides that stay closer to terra firma!
I announced that we would give them the money for a show bag each, though this week's pocket money would go into it, but any rides could come from their own stash. (Normally I would pay for one ride, but we are a bit tight at present!)
Then I presented them with an alternative. They could go to the local mall and choose something (unquestionably of better quality) to the same price value of the show bags.
Well, they chose option two.
Roly's purchases were partly predictable. He left us at Target, and went next door to the $2 shop, and returned with two bags of plastic soldiers (loves them!), two swords, a chocolate Easter bunny, and (this was a surprise) a cap with our flag on it. You can see a photo of it, on one of the monsters in Spindle's latest blog. Just go to the links. (Roly has a recent blog too!)

Diva chose this gorgeous Chicken Socks book of Clothes Peg Cutie's to make. She is sure growing up. Here's how I can tell. I thought she would need me to help her, so I went to the loo to get ready.....

.........and when I got back. Voila!!!
She had made one already all by herself!!!

This is its new home, until it rains.

Spindles, our mini comedien searched and agonized over the perfect purchase for ages. He couldn't choose between a couple of items (being the ultimate saver at heart). But later when we walked into the $2 shop, and just as he was despairing, I noticed these! Spindles loves masks!

What about Topsy's show bag? Well he has had a terrible week. He has teeth erupting and sticking out at all different and painful looking angles. He moans and cries and whimpers. He was being very patient with all the ho-ing and humming of choosing so I got him this:

It is cold and vibrates on sore gums when chewed.

Listen, my baby gnaws everything in sight, but would he chew on the darned thing? No. Duh! That would be too easy.

As Topsy's siblings are demonstrating in the picture we all took it in turns to show him what to do, which he enjoyed immensly, but he still has not tried it.

So that was our experience of the Showless Showbags. Have a great weekend and see you again, come Monday.

Posted by michelle :: 9:57 am :: 8 comments links to this post

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Friday, March 24, 2006

I Am Topsy and This is My Story

Boy did I have a distobbing weekend! When my Mommy took me over to church on Saturday night, I thought things were going to be gweat, like always.

At first I thought Mommy had accidently taken us to a 'fweek of the week ' show'. It was cwaziness in there.

And get this: half the loonies thought they knew me!

I held onto Mommy real tight!

This short smiley dude seemed to want to plant a kiss on me.

But, no sirwee! Those lips weren't coming any closer!!!!

The girl here with all the necklacess wouldn't stop fluttering her eyelashes and asking me to play with her.

Sheesh! Hadn't any of these people heard of Schtwanger Danger!?!

Mommy eventually found a regular guy to hold me while she went for a drink, but then these two really old ladies kept crowding in on us and asking if we could have a photo together.

I think I would have brushed my hair and blended my makeup in some more, before steppping out the door, if I was them!

This walking mop head chased me around the room half the night. It was tewwifying!

My very own Daddy and his friend had to give each other piggy back rides. I was so embarrased for my Daddy, but at the end, everyone clapped like they had done good. And then my Daddy and his friend won a prize. I wish someone had told me I could get a prize for that. My Mommy does that to me every day.

Just when I thought the evening could not get scawier, it did! See the lady sitting with my sis, and that other lady with the bonnet on. Well my Mommy told me that they are my Granny and Grandad, her Mommy and Daddy. !!!!! Boy I hadn't seen that one coming!

After I picked my jaw off the ground, I had a little chat to myself.

At least now everything about my Mommy suddenly makes a lot more sense.

And there is a good chance that I haven't inherited any of my Mommy's genes (except for that thing that we don't talk about). I am probably my father in every way ...................

.....or maybe not! (deep sigh!)

Why did I do it you ask!

Well I can't beat em: so I thought: 'I'll give it a whirl'. And guess what: I like letting my hair down!

I am Topsy and this was my story. (Mommy has tried to tell me that it had all just been a church family fun night, and I am playing along, but we all know the truth don't we?!? *wink wink *

Posted by michelle :: 11:39 am :: 13 comments links to this post

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Kenya Safari #3: The Food Lover's Guide (on a shoe-string)

Fasten your doggy bags! Let's go!! OK remember that today you are to start this safari hungry. And don't forget to double click on the highlighted words for the recipes. I know that by the end of this safari you will be champing at the bit for them! (Ok so maybe that is said slightly tongue in cheek, but maybe this is your day to be adventurous!)

Since we haven't yet had breakfast, let's go to the closest duka (Swahili for shop. I have always called any small street-side 'takeaway' in Kenya a duka, but real Kenyans might call me out if I don't call it a 'duka la chakula' or 'food store')
Here's one: .

Let's go in . I want you to experience a typical breakfast: a mandazi and a mug of chai.

A mandazi is a sweet deep fried pastry, similar to doughnut but not glazed. You buy it hot and crunchy on the outside, and pull-apart soft on the inside. Yummy!

Here is the man frying them up. Now you have been on Safari in Kenya before, so of course you are haven't got any hygene qualms, have you? It's deepfried for goodness sake!! =)

And see this big pot on the hot coals? You are right, it's chai! The lady is skimming tea leaves out of it. When drinking chai, please leave any preconceptions about the way you normally drink tea at the door. Chai comes only one way: hot sweet and milky, all boiled up together.

Here it comes. Asante sana!

Ahh yes we are drinking it the only real way; in a tin (or battered enamel) cup. Cheers All!

.........Ok now we have filled a couple of hours with some sight seeing. Time for a light snack so we can manage to fit in tonight's feast.

Just come over here to where these women are on the side of the road.

Which do you prefer:

These hot and salted cassava chips (freshly sliced and deepfried) ....

.....or the roasted maize?

Both are made while you wait so they are fresh enough to burn our fingers, but not a hole in our pockets!

MMmmmm Mmmmm! ............

.....Oh my goodness, look at the time! We are going to be late for dinner! Come on!
No we can't stop for some more chai, Robyn.
I tell ya, there is always one in every group! =)

Hey here we are! Check out this feast!

Chapatis (which I am sure you all know about: fried flat bread).
It's a shame that they have been cut up into quarters. I wanted you to be able to tear bits of yourself to scoop up the stew. Oh well.

Here is the ugali, a maize meal porridge that is stirred over a stove till it becomes a firm cake. An acquired taste, it is a staple here in Kenya, and we put stew over it.

In the buffet line to your left is first some rice, then sukuma wiki which is also known as 'leftovers stew'. It is always yum. The yellow dish is the mixed vegie mash: scrumbly-umptious irio.

Many Kenyans can't afford it, but for us they have pulled out all the stops: Nyama choma (meat)!! Lamb in fact. Deeelicious!

Oh man am I full! Can't eat another bite, so I'll put my leftovers into my doggy bag. Hopefully it will make it safely into reality so I can have it for breakfast. (fingers crossed)

Ciao for now!

Posted by michelle :: 10:26 am :: 17 comments links to this post

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A New Family Thing to Do!

Remember last week I pointed you all in the direction of Mama Mentor? Mama and her family enjoy going to medieval fayres.
My little brain has been whirring, and I find myself thinking: If there are medieval fayres in the US, there must be here in Oz as well!
My boys love that period of history and would absolutely be in a world of bliss if they were able go to a fayre, and Diva loves to dress up. (Can you imagine Topsy in the garb?)
I am so excited at the thought of going myself. Via the good old google I tracked down an authentic fair that takes place in a woods only an hour away. It is on at Easter and requires authentic garb and bans prams and such like, so that will not be possible (this year) , but one week later they welcome the general public. There is a feast and combat displays.
Then the following month, there is a really big festival about one and a half hours away.
I am now looking around for cheap but authentic looking costumes (as in: not nylon) because I do not sew like Mama Mentor.

Next time you see me, I might look like this!!!

Posted by michelle :: 1:56 pm :: 2 comments links to this post

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Thick Skinned and Happy!

On a Sunday I always wander down and have a cuppa with the parishoners who have attended the 8:00am service next door (we go to the 10:00 service). Yesterday I was chatting to an older lady who has only been a couple of times, and trying to make her feel welcome.

Being thirsty myself, I enquired as to whether she would like a cup of something and a biscuit.

"No thankyou, I am too big already!" she said, shaking her head vigourously.

I looked at her in mild disbelief. In my mind she is a skinny little bean!
"You are Tiny!", I exclaimed.
"No I am a size 12, and only sometimes a size 10." she insisted. ( to give the overseas readers an idea, I have only managed a size 8 once in my adult life, and that was my wedding dress, and I was about 50 kg. One sees very few size 8s, and a 10 is pretty miniscule as well.)

"See", I confirmed. "You are tiny."

She looked me up and down. "And what size are you dear?"

After admitting that I am a size 14, I earnestly told her about recently looking at pictures of when I was much smaller (size-wise). And I recollected that I never appreciated my slenderness when I had it. In fact I was very unhappy and insecure about myself. To conclude, I breezily expressed how happy I am with my shape and size now. I am very comfortable and confident in my skin.

"Ah yes," she nodded sagely. "As they say, "Fat and Happy!"

! ! ! ! ! ! !




( though as I say the word aloud, it almost sounds like an STD!)

Posted by michelle :: 12:18 pm :: 9 comments links to this post

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