Our Prime Minister was kind enough to give us a present. Wasn't that nice of him?
Of course it was actually a bribe to make me say nice things about a bloke who wants me to work for an extra two years before I can retire, but it still nicer than having to work the extra years without a new toy. And, given my Mum's experience with one she got when they were married, I should be still enjoying using it when I finally get to retire (unlike most other economic stimulous package purchases I've heard of).
For many years I have wanted one of these, but it was always in the not-really-an-essential column, so I never did buy one. But Mr Rudd wanted me to spend the money he gave us, so we spent a significant amount of it at a local shop.
It came Tuesday, but I had much more disgusting things to blog that day.
And who wastes two bloggable events on posts for the one day?
Meet Kevin the Kenwood Kitchen Machine and his little band of devout followers:
Wouldn't it have been nice if I'd straightened the tablecloth before taking the photo?
As attachments I decided to buy the liquidiser (great for smoothies and blending of any description) the food processor (great for slicing, dicing and making biscuit crumbs), the mincer with sausage making bits (because then I can make my own sausages which won't give me itchy spots), and the ice-cream maker (which is an extravagance that I would never have bought if the Australian Government hadn't been footing the bill, but I will enjoy). There are many, many other attachments, but I don't think I would use them often enough to bother with them just yet. I really considered the juicer and the tiny grinder, but decided to be bad and put some money into the house loan (sorry Mr Rudd).
Named in honour of our illustrious leader who gave the economic stimulous money with which this was bought, here is Kevin on the bench with all his friends washed up and in the cupboard above him. (Except the freezing part of the icecream maker which was in the freezer doing its 24 hours before use freeze-down - pear or mango sorbet? Hmmm.)
Chance that I'm going to lose any weight now?
... Approximately None. But it will be useful making healthy, non-itchy-spot food. Really.
Went to the dentist this afternoon. I'm at the point where I want them to take out all my wisdom teeth so that I don't have problems with them anymore, so I really had nothing to fear.
Except that I did have a lurking fear of being told off for not having visited a dentist for so long. To the point where it would have taken me about half an hour to work out when I last went if they had asked. (I know it was before I turned 25. I think it was during Uni holidays. I rode my bike into town for the appointment)
But I didn't want to admit to more than 10 years (certainly not to maybe closer to 15), so I was very relieved that they found nothing that made them ask, "How long is it since you last visited a dentist?"
I got through the tiny meat hook scraping over everything ordeal.
And the taking x-ray ordeal.
Then being asked by the young technician how old I was, because he doesn't see many 35 year olds with only one filling and all their teeth (what the? I thought I was one of the lucky generation post flouride and pre allowing kids to drink Coke who all had great teeth.) Maybe my teeth make me seem younger? Cool!
I have to have other x-rays taken and have another consultation to discuss options, but when I asked the dentist, "so once you've seen the x-rays you'll be able to tell if they're okay and if there's enough room for them." He laughed and replied, "I know now that there's not enough room".
It sounds like they've got to go. But then how many wisdom teeth do I want in my head considering last week's achy grind? And the achy grind a couple of months ago? And the terrible achy grind the year before last when we were on holidays up north and I got worried that there was something desperately wrong and we were miles from home and wasting perfectly good holidays?
I didn't actually post the photos because by the end of yesterday I was so grossed out that I couldn't look at them and I didn't think anyone else would want to either. So please stop reading now if you don't want to look at photos.
I should tell you that there were some tails that the abattoir blokes had cleaned up for me (which is lovely of them to have done when I wasn't being charged for them), but the truck driver didn't know that he was supposed to pick up tails and they went feral (or should that be more feral?). So I got these 'fresh' ones.
I meant it - I'm going to post the photos.
I didn't take many because once my hands were dirty there was no way I was going to touch my camera, but these are what I have.
After the first rinse and swish. I'm sort of sorry I can't embed the overpowering smell to go with these. Believe me the experience is missing something (thankfully).
A close up, trying to show the cloddy matter I was dealing with:-
My very brave mother helped with the first rinse:-
Numerous rinses and an hour of combing and cutting later, this is what they are like this morning. All the icky bits are double bagged and binned:
I still need to wash them again. Probably will put lots of conditioner in and comb them through to get the last bits of chaff out. Then I'm going to get some hair dye (one that covers grey) and try to make them all black. Then I have to attach them to the tape. This should be interesting.
So when you discover that it costs one hundred dollars to get real horse hair it is worth it. There is a reason that it is expensive. Either pay up the bucks or go with the knitting cotton option.
The chance that anything in life is free?
... Approximately None. This mane and tail were very dearly bought.
And on a related matter it seems tentatively possible that the scent of soap and hand cream has masked the smell of manure.
Today I did the most disgusting job I have ever had to do.
Greater love has no aunt than that she would try to source real-looking hair for her niece's rockinghorse.
My tail hair was ready to be picked up today. The butcher told Mum yesterday that my ox tails would be ready today. Mum was a bit perplexed as the butchers always have ox tail bones for soup on hand in winter. She only got back from the Kimberleys the day before and hadn't caught up on my blog.
I went to pick them up (and happened to have Mum in the car) we brought them home and dumped them into the laundry tubs.
The tail hair of the bovine creature starts above the end of the skin and bone that makes up the tail. The butchers had kindly given me a generous portion of tail so that I could harvest as much hair as possible.
There were also clods of manure stuck to much of the hair. Mum and I gave a quick rinse, then left them to soak. Unfortunately I didn't close the laundry door while we were in there, and the smell was starting to permeate the rest of the house. Pure, unadulterated feed lot smell. I closed the door and opened every window in the house that I could think of at that point, then Mum and I went onto the other thing we were working on.
After a while I couldn't smell it anymore and was hoping that the house was clear of it, rather than that my nose had lost all ability to smell. Mum informed me that it was the latter. Great.
Later I came back into the house and went downstairs to deal with them. You've heard of smells that could knock you over? I opened the laundry door and was almost knocked to the floor. I spent the better part of an hour combing (never using that comb again) out quantities of cloddy matter and cutting (never using those scissors again) the usable hair off the tails and securing the good hair with rubber bands.
By the time that was done I felt putrid. I had a meeting to go to and decided that a shower and total change of clothes was more important than lunch (I didn't have time for both). I bathed, changed clothes, showered (including washing my hair) and went to the meeting.
I had decided to wash my hair and totally change every stitch of clothing because I didn't want to be in a meeting, still smelling that rich feedlot smell, and thinking that it was in anyway possible that it wasn't psycological.
So I felt clean. Until I was offered a cuppa and biscuit when I realised that my hands STILL SMELLED OF MANURE. Every time I raised the cup or the bickie, I could smell it. In fact I can still smell it now. It's never coming off.
This had better be worth it.
The chances that this doesn't beat any possible parenting gross-me-out story?
... Approximately None.
Such a story would have to involve faecal matter and blood in hair and cutting through strips of flesh with blunt scissors. Oh, and SMELL! You can't win.
I played with another flautist for a fundraising event a couple of weeks ago. It was a High Tea and the food was great.
But isn't it nice when the organizers give you a "little something" for helping out?
Flowers, for instance, are lovely.
Beautiful sentiment expressed very poetically on the card about how with a little TLC these bulbs will spring forth to life.
Have I previously mentioned my black thumbs?
The chance that these poor bulbs are going to make it to flowers?
... Approximately None!
(I'm certain that I heard them screaming "Nooooo, not her!" as they were presented to me (Along with a sigh of relief from all the other pots). Also heard them scream when the pot tipped over in the back of the car on the way home, spreading potting mix liberally across the floor of the car. There are two bulbs - at least it isn't solitary confinement as well as torture.)
I've been trying to get some work done and eliminate stuff of the whiteboard that sits at my right hand. Getting there. Very slowly.
Yesterday was a crazy-busy day.
On Sunday we went to Brisbane to celebrate the dedication of friends' fourth child. Lovely occasion, and good to catch up with them, their friends and relations.
But the biggest reason that I haven't been blogging has been Troy. I spent Saturday sanding. To the point that by the end of Saturday I could no longer focus my eyes (I have a convergence problem that is worse when I'm tired) and tripped up the stairs, nearly sending Troy's almost finished head crashing to the floor ears first. Which would have been a disaster because I'm fairly certain the ears would have snapped off.
My Beloved bought me a present:-
Yes, I am working at a desk made up of a shelf on top on a drum, but this is about the little ozito sander that is wonderful. It has made the sanding go a heap faster, because it can get into most of the little nooks and crannies that the belt sander couldn't. It doesn't leave flat patches, either.
My Beloved spent most of his day making this happen:-
At least he had something to show for his day's work. It now "only" needs sanding - my job, if I have time (but won't it be so much easier now?).
Then we have an oh-so-close-to-finished head. A little more work to do by hand between his ears and under his chin before he can be attached to an as-yet-unconstructed body (although the boards have been cut):-
He really doesn't look much better in this photo than the last one I posted. But there's hours and hours of sanding work happened between now and then. You'll just have to take my word for it that he looks better. He's much smoother. Believe me.
You remember these legs?
Is there much difference between what they looked like before and now that they have been shaped and sanded?
Again, you are going to have to take my word for it. They now have a little shape around the knees and fetlocks. They just need checking out and attaching to the body:-
I've asked the butcher about getting cow tail hair (probably more likely steer tails, come to think of it), he'll get back to me, but doesn't see a problem as they usually only incinerate the bits that they can't use. He'll even see if they can get the longer ones, if possible. I love having a real butcher that actually have their own abattoir and know me, so they'll actually listen to my odd requests.
So for now, after yet another Troy-related post, let's hope that I am boring you all...
There is dust over everything in the garage, including the car.
This is because I've been using machinery. Sanding-type machinery.
And when I haven't been using machinery, I've been sanding by hand the bits that are too fiddly to get at with anything mechanical.
I've realised that I hugely understated the case in my last Troy-related post when I mentioned that his head was finished, apart from "only the sanding to go".
I've now basically shaped the legs (with a belt sander so there won't be as much sanding required. I hope.) and have about half the head sanding done. The difference that is shown in photos between what these look like now and the last lot of photos posted is approximately none, so I haven't included any just yet.
Meanwhile my Beloved has been working on the stand that Troy will swing from. So far we have:-
The bit that sits on the floor and the bit that Troy will swing from.
Miscellaneous rails and bits that will join and reinforce the two bits in the photo above, as well as the rails that will be joined to Troy's legs and will be connected to the swinging rods.
And yesterday my one indulgence with respect to the fit-out arrived. I managed to track down a source for rockinghorse stirrups. Aren't they the cutest little darling things? My Beloved's size 11 boots make them look ridiculously tiny!
And I was given a hint by the lady at the Post Office when I went to collect the stirrups that if I go to a local butcher (that kill their own meat) I should be able to get cows tail hair for free, instead of paying a hundred dollars for real horse hair (or the knitting cotton option that I was actually planning due to the hideous price of the aforementioned real horse hair). I figure that people hair dye should work on it to get it black, although I'm not certain about how to stitch it to tape so that the strands don't pull out. Anyone done any wig making?
So things are happening slowly, and I'm just wondering what the calorific intake is on sawdust. I mainly use a mask, but I can still taste the stuff when I've finished.
How much do I wish to dwell on how far we have to go in the next month?
In a previous church I used to regularly play the flute for the hymns during the service.
There was only one small problem.
You see, for our communion service we use cut up pieces of bread and some of the elders were very... hmmm... generous... with the portions.
This is no problem for the general congregation, or the organists, but for someone who is hurriedly masticating in order to play background music on a wind instrument as the elders then take the trays of little glasses around there are a few issues.
A brass player who has accidentally ends up with a tiny unswallowed portion floating around their mouth simply ends up with half-chewed bits of bread clogging up the the valves and other mysterious intestinal parts of their instrument.
For the flautist it is worse.
Because the flute is played by passing air across a hole in the mouth-piece (much like sounding a note across the top of a bottle) a good flute player can end up accidentally jet-propel that tiny crumb of sloppy bread halfway across the breadth of the church. In front of everybody.
Or even worse - (depending on which way one happened to be facing) into the congregation. I'm certain that the most devout and reflective individual would be roused from prayer by the sudden application of fast moving soggy bread to their face.
And the generosity of the elders was such that when they served the flautist they inevitably selected the largest piece of bread available. Fully an inch cube of dry bread (some exaggeration is inevitable on this blog) to be dealt with in a very short time-span. So kind of them. As a result I still refer to Communion Bread Larger Than Required as a "Flautist's Portion", and was seriously reminded of this yesterday in the service here, despite the fact that I was not playing.
I was at one point going to write a tongue-in-cheek letter to the church council regarding this issue, but the chance that they would have found it amusing?
I am 30-mumble, married, and I work from home.
We have approximately no children which is the biggest conversation killer for meeting new people. A dog just doesn't seem to cut it for the purpose of mutual child-related bragging.
I was always mad-keen on horses, although I haven't ridden for years. I also have a masochistic desire to learn ancient Greek. One of the few words I can remember is that for a passion for horses, hence the name.