Friday, September 28, 2012

Littlest KAT turns five

Flower banner created when Oldest KAT turned 6
Prepare yourself people! This is one of those posts. You know, the ones that may make you want to smack me!!!

It's the birthday party post. Littlest KATs 5th to be precise.

Held some weeks after her actual birthday because it's a bit hard to look like the effortless party mum when you're swanning around with a broken arm, torn ligaments in your wrist and matching travertine step indentations on your shin and thigh.

Due to our backyard resembling a building site (Saint Mike may have many inimitable qualities but a tidy site isn't one of them) we chose to place our trust in Mother Nature and held this soirée at a great local park.

Invitations were duly prepared.  These shall not be shared as they mark an all-time low in my history to date of party invites.  Traps for young players include
  1. Badly handwritten due to dodgy wrist/arm (remember I'm a leftie and this is the hand that has been out of action somewhat)
  2. When you have a dodgy hand it's best not to have party at a park with a looooong Aboriginal name located on a street of the same name....can someone explain to me why Aboriginal place names have so many 'o's in them???
  3. When writing invitiations for a delayed party check when Fathers' Day is....will help avoid writing twenty invites with 2nd September and then having to go back, cross out that date and find a new one!!!
  4. Allowing Littlest KAT to write the envelopes which though educational and something I can clutch at when pondering my "good mother" status was slightly frustrating and took A.VERY.LONG.TIME!!!!
So you may ask yourself why in light of dodgy hand/wrist did I not simply do a McDonalds party or something that wouldn't involve all the usual party shenanigans?  Well, because I have this slightly anal-retentive nature (isn't that a pre-requisite of being a mum) that means I actually really enjoy doing parties for the girls...and doing them in a way that is special and unique for each particular KAT.

Each party I try to do something unique for that particular child.  In the case of youngest KAT she had really wanted a Diego party which I simply couldn't countenance.  The combination of commercial crap and really bad color combo (horrid shade of yellow and blue) had me clutching for something else that she could hang her hat on so to speak....which is where the pinata came in.

Thanks goodness for a glue gun
Yes folks, this is where the "what were you thinking" moment occurs.  A pinata, handmade out of a cardboard box, copious amounts of masking tape and tissue paper. 

I refuse to admit how much time it took because the end result was worth it.  Time consuming, yes.  Worth it?  Every minute!

I am a sucker for a bit of crafty stuff and this was actually a fun project - done with very little in the way of instruction just a picture from a blog as inspiration....mind you, that picture was from a 1st birthday party.  Let me tell you folks, a number one pinata has a heck of a lot less sides and curves than a number five!!!!!

I chose to fill it with lollies and trinkets...minimal cheap ones was the plan.

The kids all got an empty party bag and after the pinata was broken (hilarious), they got to put a certain amount in their bag...although some (won't mention any names Tessa) had 'issues' with counting, they mostly got it right and didn't least on purpose:))

I wish I had more photos but I was too busy being a good hostess and didn't snap enough!

Speaking of snapping, that was the other "feature" of this party.  I ran out and picked up one of the new instant cameras (ours is a Polaroid 300 Instant Camera) and we took photos of all the little ones with their heads poking through the flower banner.  So cute and a great take home idea.

The camera itself was just under $100, the film is pricey but given that we had no costs for 'entertainment' at this party (that was managed by Middle and Oldest KAT) I justified the cost as money well spent!

One of the "entertainment" highlights was a Yarn Trail conducted by Middle KAT with the help of a friend she had along for the ride.  Armed with a few rolls of colorful twine they proceeded to create a "trail" through the trees and undergrowth for the littlies to "follow" in search of treasure (some gold chocky coins).

As an exercise in frustration for Middle KAT it was a huge success.  As a ten minute diversion and "ice-breaker" for a bunch of five year olds it was hysterical!!!!  I got the idea from my favourite time-waster destination Pinterest

Find it on Pinterest here
The other park visitors that day must have been scratching their heads but it was a fun distraction and the kids seemed to enjoy it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

View from the top

The KATs and I have been away for a few days on an outdoor adventure.
Our KATcapers adventure involved a girls-only road trip and then after beseeching the parking fairy (Hail Mary full of grace, please help us find a parking space) our prayers were answered.

It wouldn't be a KATcapers girlie trip without a toilet stop first would it?

And we couldn't possibly go away without Littlest KATs favorite stuffed toys!

Our adventure involved catching a ferry and then hiking 15 minutes uphill to our accommodation - the Pittwater YHA.

If you live anywhere near Sydney and want to enjoy one of the most delightful escapes right on your door step then this place is a must!

This is not your average YHA - the only backpacker we encountered arrived solo on our last day planning on staying for a few weeks and enjoying the solitude!!

The only alcohol we experienced was the bottle of wine that I shared with my sister who had joined us on our adventure!

The rowdiest behavior came courtesy of the kids marveling at the local goanna who skulked around even joining us on the verandah during breakfast.

The YHA has a quiet time from 10pm til 8pm so it was not party central:) Peace and solitude were the order of the day after an energetic day bush walking, swimming and kayaking.

My older sister has spent her adult life developing a knowledge of Australian flora and fauna that would make Steve Irwin envious (or his ghost). She is a veritable encyclopedia.
It was great to be able to share this special place with her and her gorgeous daughter, my niece and the KATs cousin.

In order to enjoy this view we hiked an hour mostly was worth it!

I'm using Blogsy for the first time to do this post...there's more photos but it keeps crashing!!!! Hmmmmnnn not a great first experience!! Have to work out how to do links etc's a work in progress!

My plan is to do an update post tomorrow....cross your fingers:))

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Truth is stranger than fiction - part II (the 'law' comes a calling)

Thanks for coming over for Episode 2 of KATcapers riveting true-crime docu-drama 'Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction'!  Geez that was a tongue twister!!!
I'd be lying if I haven't got a slight chuckle out of shocking you all with my tale of drama and excitement on the suburban streets of Ascot Vale circa 1982.
The 'friend' mentioned in the post is a reader of my blog.  She is a life long friend and a 'victim' at least in the sense that she's my friend...murderers get less time than we've been friends!  She will no doubt have a conniption (or a quiet chuckle) when she finally logs onto KATcapers and sees that our commando crawl is being relived in all its glory for the entertainment of the blog sphere.
Ascot Vale is actually infamous to any Melbournite educated in crime family lore as the childhood home (and parental locale) of a certain family made famous by the original Underbelly show.  Yes folks the Moran family compound was down the street from us...I shall make a note to do another post about my childhood recollections of one J. Moran.  As a bit of a teaser consider how incongruous it is that the house connected with criminals of such repute was painted SALMON.PINK!!!!
Scary huh!  Imagine him as a 10year old...even scarier!!
Anyway, back to the events post-shooting.....
You were left with the image of two hapless youngsters, one of whom had a blinder of a headache.  Come to think of it, my girlfriend probably had a headache too as in all the excitement she probably didn't eat for most of the day!
I recall that my dad turned up at the hospital and he was even more confused than everyone else as he had come straight from work.  He had been told I'd been shot but wasn't filled in on the specifics so one of the first questions he asked me was "why were you at school" to which I think I stared at him in total bewilderment.  You see, the sniper incident that I'd been the victim of wasn't the only experience we'd had involving idiots with air rifles!  We attended a Catholic Secondary School in a suburb of Melbourne that is adjacent to a bunch of Housing Commission towers....and in an equally unfortunate incident the year before a pupil had been shot through the window!!!!!!
So, my poor confused father put two and two together (Libby + Sniper = Those bloody degenerates in the Housing Commission) and unfortunately came up with the wrong number.  No dad, didn't happen at school, happened in our OWN.SUBURB!!! 
Now don't get me wrong I didn't grow up in South Central Los Angeles:)  Ascot Vale was (and is) a very nice suburb.  Please don't come hunting for me lovely law-abiding residents of Ascot Vale!
Clutching my urine sample jar containing my very own bullet we were driven home. 
Fast forward to our family home that evening (although could have been a few nights later can't remember) and there am I (and my trusty co-victim of crime) being interviewed by two Detectives from the local command (ooh I love whipping out the lingo).
Isn't is strange how some things stay with you?  In this case I have a VERY strong recollection that I was wearing a dressing gown that my mother had made me that involved quilted fabric of an unnatural variety and a zipper!!!  For goodness sake, why can't my memory of my five seconds of fame being interviewed by the fuzz involve some cute outfit?????
Did I say that the two detectives had identical looks of scepticism on their faces?  No, well they did.  Not only that, they grilled the two 11year olds about the "older brother" that lived in the house (that would be my girlfriends big brother...the one with the Cold Chisel album).  They had decided that we were covering up an accident of our own making and that we'd actually been playing with the air rifle that presumably belonged to Mr Cold Chisel and it had gone off.
Fortunately I had early signs of being a stubborn "take no prisoners" kind of gal and I recall explaining to B1 and B2 (that's a reference to a children's TV show if you're scratching your head) that our retelling of the event made COMPLETE sense considering that I was taller than my friend and the bullet hit ME and not her...therefore it must have come from someone up on the hill in the houses behind her street (you know if I had the ability to use Google Maps in blogger I'd be getting all CSI on you and pointing out the EXACT location!).
B1 and B2 fobbed us off and went off on their way to investigate crimes that they actually believed happened and we were left with my parents who were slightly peeved at the unhelpful attitude of our local constabulary.  Since it was 1982, the recourse for those who felt they weren't getting a fair suck of the sap (or suck of the sauce bottle according to K. Rudd's version of the saying) didn't involve saying something about in on the my mother just rang the local community paper.
Possibly because it was the holidays and local news stories were thin on the ground we featured!  Yes, snipers shooting at youngsters minding their own business in a suburban street was a HOT story for the Essendon Gazette that week.
My mum recalls that the publication of this article prompted renewed interest from the local doubt they were unimpressed to be on the receiving end of some criticism that the culprit was not being pursued!  Go mum!!
Regardless of their motives (and I doubt their change of heart would have occurred without the publicity) they reviewed the transcript of our interview and decided that it would be good PR to at least go and engage in the time-honoured art of door knocking.  That Google Map would come in handy because sure enough, they chose to door knock in the street up on the ridge behind my friends house...right above where we were walking along her road that fateful day.
As they chatted with residents the clues began to emerge, apparently there had been instances of birds being shot by a guy in a house down the street...he liked to take pot shots from his back yard at the seagulls on the reserve!!!!
The 'Force' converged on the suspects house (I'm sure it wasn't really wasn't that dramatic but it sounds good) in time to spot the aforementioned suspect putting a bag in the boot of a car.............................yes folks, he must have read about that pissed off mother of five that was coming gunning for him and was in the process of making good his getaway.
I'd like to think there was some reading of rights/arm twisted behind his back/see above Miami Vice image of police force but all I know is that he was taken in for questioning and later charged with a few counts from the crime statute that all boiled down to 'you shot me you stupid idiot'!!!!
We had another, much friendlier visit from the Detectives who I recall praised us for our powers of deduction (okay maybe not) and some months later I had to face the prospect of testifying in the court case.  Thankfully a few minutes before the case was to go to trial the police prosecutor informed me (and my parents) that he'd pleaded guilty so I was off the hook.  I think we went out for a milkshake:)
He got six months and I can't even tell you what his name was.  Some time later I got $500 for pain and suffering through a Victorian Government victims of crime initiative.  It was a token gesture as there was thankfully no lasting effects from the incident. 
We will never know why he went from shooting at birds to shooting at us.  After all, I hadn't developed my well honed skills of pissing people off yet!!!!  Basically he was just a DICKHEAD!
So there you go, riveting stuff heh?

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