Monday, 22 December 2008
Despite some dodgy weather we had a great holiday at Bruny Island with Jackie Bruce and Ben. We visited the beach, went for walks, picked strawberries and relaxed a lot at the well equipped shack. (I beat Jackie at tabletennis 20 games to none). It was really relaxing and just lovely. Jett demonstrated again how far he has come from his waterphobic early years!
We would have stayed for a week had the cleaner not turfed us out 30 minutes before the next guests were due to arrive. Next time we go we will have to try to get the kayaks out onto the water..
Thursday, 11 December 2008
It's funny how much the kids love to pack their suitcases when we go away. If only they had such enthusiasm when we got home! Tomorrow we're heading off for a long-awaited weekend at Bruny Island with our friends Jackie, Bruce and Ben. Whilst I haven't been to Bruny since Zali was about a year old, it has many childhood memories for me. I remember once going there on a camping trip with mum when Paul and I forgot to pack our sleeping bags, so we borrowed mum's and she slept under towels in the back of the car. I also remember a school camping trip there in grade 6 where I sustained the sunburn which will no doubt be my undoing. And even earlier than that I remember dad telling me off for excitedly throwing my teddy bear repeatedly towards the ceiling inside a cabin on a trip there when I can't have been more than 6 or so.
Anyhoo. In other news it's been a blur of a week as usual - I've been trying to juggle a few cake bits and pieces with work stuff, the kids, and exercise not necessarily in that order. Jon's been settling into working from home and the kids are just having their last few weeks of school and creche before holidays.
Sunday, 7 December 2008
Jon loves Christmas. He loves it. He loves Christmas parties, he loves wearing santa hats and most of all he loves Christmas traditions. Unfortunately for him the Liggins' Christmas traditions generally revolve around arguing what we will do about presents this year, then having a reasonably quiet yet pleasant Christmas dinner after an unremarkable day.
This is not the McComb way of doing things. The McComb Christmases involve scheduled festivities and gatherings from 8 in the morning until 8 in the evening. At a McComb Christmas you don't get to retreat somewhere quiet and read your Christmas books.
So as you can imagine, Jon gets frustrated with a Liggins Christmas (whilst I feel faint at the thought of a McComb one). This year however, things are looking up for Jon - a significant portion of McCombs are coming to celebrate with the Ligginses which means we're going to have to strap on the Christmas cheer and have a full blown Christmas Day - as such we've been calling it the 'Big One' since we heard the news.
Jon is overjoyed and he's on the phone talking turkey to the soon-to-arrive Adelaide McComb chapter right now. Turkey as in turkey sizes, preparations and cooking times. Now I'm almost 100% certain that no turkey has ever given its life for a Liggins' Christmas celebration before. Jon's delirious with joy, whilst I'm thinking about retreating to my room with a book until January.
Anyway - to add to Jon's Christmas cheer he recently found out that you could pay $5 and go and get your own Christmas tree from Pittwater Dunes which is a mere 30 minutes drive away, so guess where we all went this afternoon...
With the kind permission of my family I was able to do a trail run/walk race today which I only realised was happening on Thursday last week. This meant I did next to no preparation unlike the Mt Roland run which I spent months getting ready for - mentally if not physically. Anyway it was great. The last time I did this walk (also as a run) was 12 years ago with Jo my Mount Roland partner. It turned out it was the day before the Port Arthur massacre so I am always sort of aware of the passing of time from that day.
Anyway- the scenery was every bit as amazing as I remembered it and although the company wasn't as good ( I was by myself most of the time) - it was still a really nice treat to get out and do something like that. Roll on some more - I'll be checking here for dates..
Saturday, 29 November 2008
Yesterday I was sorting through some papers which have been sitting around the 'to be filed' tray for quite a while when I came across an old and battered looking notebook of Jonno's. Careful not to invade his privacy I immediately rifled through it to see if it contained anything interesting. Lo and behold, amongst the random shopping lists, packing lists and database structures written in sporadically over the last 8 years I found this list of which i've provided an extract of below:
There's two things of interest here - firstly - I'm paying for all the big stuff and secondly see how footloose and fancy free we were in days gone by! Ah what fun we had on that trip to Big White and Whistler.
Now what made this list particulary amusing is that a mere 10 or so pages away were some diary entries Jon made a few years later (New Years Eve 2003 to be precise). These entries are the reason we don't get to make lists like the one above anymore. As I mentioned we are conscious of not invading each others privacy so I've printed the good bits here. :
Ahhh - oh how we laughed.. Particulary the bit where I had to sit in the visitors waiting room and suffer through contractions because all the delivery rooms were busy. And I still remember the feeling of absolute relaxation when the epidural kicked in followed by panic moments later when I was packed off to the operating theatre.. oh how we laughed..
Now - my last tidbit from Jonno's old notebook is a few pages later where we happened to have a list of people we wanted to contact once the baby had safely arrived. There's all the usual names but then underneath in writing that is distinctly my brother's is "Not Paul". ha ha.
Saturday, 22 November 2008
The mountain run Jo and I did a few weeks ago was very close to the little town of Sheffield in North West Tasmania. Sheffield is famous for its murals and a little bit of web research has revealed that this was actually a conscious decision made by the townsfolk in the late 80s in order to attract attention and tourists. I'm not sure how many murals they had before that decision was made but now they have one on every available wall. They mostly depict the natural and industrial history of the area. It actually reminded me a lot of Northern Exposure's Cicily Alaska (aka Roslyn, Washington) which Jon and I visited with our good American buddies in 2002. Jo and I bought pizza for dinner from the local pizza/bulk out-of-date-wholefoods/dvd hire/evening wear shop. While we were waiting a couple of locals came in and spent ten minutes talking about how they'd taken their ferret for a 1.5km walk that day and now it was fast asleep at home. Ah - country life.
Anyway - the kind people from the Tasmanian Police Force sent me a little reminder of our visit in the form of a speeding ticket on Friday so the picture in the middle is the mural I would paint if I was given a bare wall in Sheffield. I did know the speed limit was 60 but the excitement of having finished our race must have been too much for me and consequently I got my forth ticket for low level speeding in 2 years. YES people - four in TWO years - and prior to returning to Tasmania I had never received a speeding ticket in my life. I blame the traffic or more accurately - the lack of it. hmmph.
This is what happens when the dishwasher breaks but you invite 8 people over for dinner anyway. After our guests left Jon gave me the choice of washing up or putting the very tired children to bed. Obviously I chose the washing up as although it was a big job, it wasn't going to argue with me every step of the way, or get out of the drying rack and come and ask me for a drink.
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Monday, 17 November 2008
Just in case anyone has been wondering what happens to broad beans when they go through the washing machine - here is your answer:
In other news, jon has started laying in home brewing supplies in preparation for his 'retirement'. If I wasn't already concerned, I would be now.
Saturday, 15 November 2008
It's been a long time since I've posted any cake photos let alone three in one week! I'm not sure how it happened but I ended up with these three orders all for this weekend - and they really ended up getting away from me. As the black cake wasn't ready in time for the bride to take it down with her, I had to drive it down to Port Arthur on Friday morning - I left home at 6am and was at work in the city by 9:15. I book-ended that day with the IT dinner I mentioned below so it was a very long day! The white cake wasn't hard (the photo isn't that great but they are cupids on it) but the bride also wanted to pick it up early which meant some late nights, and Barbie in the middle was supposed to be delivered last night on our way to the IT dinner thing but again it wasn't finished in time so I've got myself an early trip to Moonah tomorrow morning. Amazingly it's the first doll/dress cake that I've been asked to do as CakeWoman - I guess people make these ones themselves and I generally don't do too many birthday cakes anyway. Am I expected to give Barbie's legs back to the mum who supplied the brand new Barbie? I guess I'd better take them with me tomorrow but perhaps I won't wave them in front of the five year old birthday girl in case it causes distress.
I'm not sure what to make of the fact that my camera auto detected Barbie's face.
In other news, Jon recently had his 12 month contract cut 7 months short when the company he is contracted to, which in turn contracts him out to Hydro Consulting, had their project scaled down significantly. Whilst this was a little bit of a shock, after thinking about it for a little while we've decided that it's actually a really good thing for our family. When I first got my animation job we didn't expect or intend for us both to be working full time for an extended length of time and apart from a small break this year, it has turned out to be the case. So our new plan is for me to keep working until my contract finishes (June I think) and Jon will work from home 3 days a week on his own projects and have the kids at home for the other two. Although I'm certainly not the big income earner, we can make big savings in childcare alone (we'll reduce our expenditure from $880 a fortnight to around $350) and of course the change of pace will be greatly appreciated by everyone in our family! I've got a really good feeling about this decision and I'm really really glad that we don't have big financial commitments in any other areas (such as private schools or property investments) apart from our mortgage of course - which is happily more Tasmanian sized than NSW sized. Anyway - Jon has 1 more week of work at Hydro then he begins what he is has worryingly begun calling his 'retirement'. As it turned out, his contracting company asked him back the very day after we informed the creche of our changes but by that time we knew that it wasn't about working and money, it was about lifestyle so it was easy to stick with our plan.
And in other semi-work related news, we both went to the Tasmanian IT Industry awards last night - I was part of Blue Rocket's representation and Jon was my date since he was effectively turfed off the Prologic table when they dumped him. While we were there I was chatting to another Blue Rocket employee and saying how I'd just started playing royal tennis which I could now add to my list of off-beat sports I had played. He asked what other ones I had done so I mentioned orienteering and ultimate frisbee. He said - 'well at least it's not rogaining - that's even more obscure' and I said that 'sometimes people had actually heard of rogaining but not orienteering'. He said 'yes I guess' - and that he used to have a good friend who rogainned called Paul Liggins. ha ha ha . I can't believe he hadn't recognised my Liggins nose earlier! Sitting on the other side of the table was someone who also knew the Liggins family in fact mum had attended their wedding 10 years earlier. Tassie huh - we love it!
Today we attended our favourite family event for the third year running. Each year's visit always seems completely different due to the changes in weather, time we arrive, and most significantly the changes in our own children. The first time we went, Jett was just a baby and this year was the first time we didn't take a stroller at all. As usual it was great - we arrived later and finally got to take in the dog high-jump which totally lived up to my high expectations. After it finished we strolled past the always hair-raising woodchopping-at-great-heights event. The oldish guy in white had such a high handicap that the other competitors were practically still parking their Kingswoods when he started. Unfortunately he was just pipped at the post and finished third but he got a big cheer from the highly impressed crowd.
As I mentioned the dog high jump was great - these photos are of the 2 first and second placed dogs - Sprockett the eventual winner is on the left and Turbo is the black and white one. I have to say the event had a lot of similarities to Zali's sports day - in that the attention spans of the dogs and the approaches they used were hillarious. Some dogs took a good run up and leapt early, other dogs (or even the same dogs on different attempts) blithely arrived at the bottom of the jump and then had to attempt a huge vertical leap (see the photo on the far left). They had a classification for small dogs which was also fantastic - a dog no bigger than a small handbag called Abbey (and I know that for a fact as her owner carried a handbag at all times) managed to clear 2 planks after quite a few extremely amusing refusals. For the record I think Sprockett's final height was 2.3 metres. Impressive
Wednesday, 12 November 2008