After shopping, Grace and I shared one of those syrupy easter eggy type things in the car. I like hanging out with her, chatting. She's learning new words every week. Favourites at the moment are More (for anything good or desired), Bubee (for babies and children) Popo (for compost, she's going to be a little earth gardener, I can tell ). So not everything is crap. But there's a lot at stake. For all three of us.
I have very mixed feelings about taking anti-depressants. I never used to have any problems taking "recreational" drugs. The first time I had zoloft, I buzzed around the cafe where I worked saying that it felt like having quarter of an e every morning. Which it did, for a while. Then it just felt normal, but like all my feelings were in a jar over the other side of the room. I could take them out and examine them, but not feel them. Even the really great ones. My sex drive disappeared and given that I was unpartnered at the time that should have been OK. At least in a temporary sense. But I missed that edge. Nothing felt sharp any more. So I took myself off the pills and everything was fine for a while. The next depressive bout, I just got through with yoga and time. I didn't need to be medicated again until the post natal psychosis hit. I quite liked the lithium and would have kept taking it for longer if it wasn't for the gastro style side effects. I've been reading up on it all again at my favourite site for mental health obsessives, crazy meds. Thing is, if I go to the doctor and talk to myself sternly enough, maybe I can do it without the drugs. It will just cost more. And be harder. It's not that I think taking drugs is the wrong way to go, I just don't like them. But I will if I have to.
The Magic Roundabout Children, Rolf Harris and Coojeebear and much more besides. Just looking at that picture cheers me a little, where "there are so many gay things to to. When Sonny and Sally finished their ride, they played Giant Draughts, and then had a trip on the camp paddle steamer. Then went on anything again." Sign me up, is all I can say. Twenty cents, along with some other beauties, from the local oppy with the grumpy lady who ignored Grace going Hello, ello, ello and bye, bye, byeee to everyone who walked in or out.
Mum, Grace and I visited the oppy on the beginning of our walk to the outer fringes of Moreland. Checking out potential areas in which to live, should we decide to buy a house later in the year. Deciding that I don't want to live next to the freeway and thinking it would be better to move further north. Or to decide that we would still enjoy life with a (much) smaller backyard. We're not in any hurry, we could probably stay in this house for another 20 years. Just looking and considering which areas we like. And at least if I couldn't get my morning going early enough to get to the gym, I did walk up and down hills. For hours.
Best of all, I had the day off work! After getting only a public service day of leave at Christmas because neither of my work days fell on the public holidays. Which indicates a major planning failure on my part in negotiating my return to work (if only I'd selected my working days as Monday and Tuesday, which they're going to end up being anyway... so public servantish to think like that, I know). Anyway it was a gentle day with lunch at Barkly Square with Grace, Mum, sister Betty and Cam, followed by napping on the couch with a very trashy sci-fi book, followed by some beautifully boring cricket on the telly.
Anyway, onto the meming. I got this one from Em and I've been wanting to write a little about blogging for a while, so here goes.
1. Do you like the look and the contents of your blogs?
Yes, more or less. Although I'm starting to ponder another style change on this one. I've recently tweaked the other one, changing the format to two columns. Which I really like. I'm considering doing that here but that means faffing with the banner etc and I just can't be bothered. Yet. In certain moods I enjoy fiddling with the template in typepad. It's all very formularised but it's amazing how much fiddling you can do. Especially once I discovered that you can use custom colours for text and backgrounds. The trickiest thing I find, is applying the same style to one's about page. It's hidden in the user profile section and not a logical process.
As far as content goes, I'm up and down with it. Sometimes I'm really pleased. Sometimes I'm not. I'd like to learn how to do short pithy posts but I don't think it's in me. It does tickle me though that I have a blog all about laundry with nary a stain removal hint. Man, I love playing over there sometimes. Then of course there is that other, other blog. The one that's like the secret evil twin chained in the attic. I think a makeover might be in order there too. One day.
2. Does your family know about your blog?
Oh yes, indeed they do. Luckily they don't all read it. Otherwise we'd never have any conversations that don't contain the words, "yeah, I read that in your blog..." Seriously, I consider the fact that my family could read my blog a good form of self moderation. They're very open minded so I don't have to be too careful of anything other than being unfair or hurting someone's feelings.
Come to think of it, I think my family even like my blog. I'm hoping that some more of them may come over to the dark side (light side?) and start their own. I've convinced G to return to the fold.
3. Can you tell your friends about your blog?
Close friends, yes. People I don't know so well, I tend not to. They might think it's weird, or something. I have had the experience of someone saying that they know more about me from reading my blog than from real life, which when they don't have a blog you can read in return feels a bit lopsided.
4. Do you just read the blogs of those who comment on your blog?
No, I read far and wide. There are now 97 blogs on my bloglines. I don't read all of them all the time or I'd never have a life or time to write anything. The number of blogs I comment on regularly is much smaller, maybe tennish? I tend to have to read a blog for a while before I feel I can comment. I'm a lot more comfortable commenting now than I was at the beginning, when it always felt super awkward.
If someone new comments on one of my blogs, I always go and visit theirs. It seems like the polite thing to do, and I've found great new blogs to read that way. I imagine that if one was getting huge numbers of comments, it would be hard to do that. I tend not to comment on the blogs I read with lots and lots of comments. Sort of feel I would be lost in the crowd.
5. Does your blog positively affect your mind?
I guess so. It gives me a way to write, a way to feel like I've said all I need to say, a place to vent sometimes. And it has led me back to taking photos, which I'd stopped because I just ended up with rolls and rolls of undeveloped film, and then stacks of photos that needed to be albumised. Sometimes I think of my blogs as like a photo album with words.
The other thing is that blogging makes me feel more myself. Which I think has a lot to do with the process of writing, and of writing in a diary format in particular. I used to feel like this when I was studying at RMIT and keeping a paper journal, writing short stories and reading to an audience. I also made a decision quite early on to be as real as I could be, even if it meant sharing some of the less pretty things in my life. That's the sort of writing I like writing and reading, even if it doesn't always feel great at the time. Often it feels great once the words are out and not in my head anymore. That said, I also like boring, which is kind of why I have the laundry blog. My special haven of banality.
6. What does the number of visitors to your blog mean?
That someones reading? I have to be quite stern with myself and not be too stats conscious. It's gone from just me and my family reading to maybe 50 to 100 hits a day. And according to Feedburner there's an average of 30 subscribers, which is small potatoes compared to some blogs. Nonetheless I get pretty excited that anyone is reading!
7. Do you imagine what other bloggers look like?
Not really, I find that I connect most through words and getting to know someones narrative voice. But then again, I do quite like to see the odd photo of the blogger up on their site, if they feel so inclined. However it's nearly always the words that keep me going back.
8. Do you think blogging has any real benefit?
Yes, for the individual it's a chance to have a voice. In a wider sense it means that those who read blogs are less reliant on mass media for entertainment and that smaller more diverse viewpoints enter the public discourse. Or something.
On the other hand, one could argue that it's a form of expression only available to those with broadband internet and enough spare time to gaze at their navels. That it's the white middle class latte sipping elite at their chattering best. I prefer to think that it's a form open to almost anyone and that eventually human consciousness will expand to the point where we become super enlightened beings and stop killing each other and destroying the planet. Think of the connection between the widespread use of the printing press and dissent and revolution. It could happen. Probably not in my life time.
9. Do you think that the blogosphere is a stand alone community separated from the real world?
No. Even if it feels like that when we're online, we still take our online experiences back to our offline lives.
10. Do some political blogs scare you? Do you avoid them?
I don't like the conflict and name calling that seems to go on in the comments sections of some political blogs. I also feel that it's been such a long time since my brain was used in any sort of academic way that if I entered that arena, I'd be dogmeat. Not that I ever felt that convincing when I was at uni anyway. Although I once got 97% back in the 80s during my honours year, for a metahistory talk I gave on Foucault and The Order of Things (there's a list in that book that I just love, I no longer have the book but have the list transcibed somewhere). In this case the mark was totally undeserved, considering I gave the talk pretty much on the fly, with pretend notes, having spent the night before smoking drugs and talking about Foucault as opposed to actually reading Foucault... The lecturer did suggest at the end of the semester that perhaps an academic career wasn't for me and that maybe I should go to New York and become a writer. However, I digress.
11. Do you think that criticizing your blog is useful?
Sometimes my Dad says that I've put up too many photos. I disagree, although I did stop using ampersands & start using the proper ands when he mentioned it. He was right on that one.
12. Have you ever thought what would happen to your blog in case you died?
Not until I read this by Problogger. I guess if something happened G would do something with it, he knows all my passwords. I guess my blogs would just stop and disappear into the ether.
13. Which blogger has had the greatest impression on you?
Everyone on my blogroll has made an impression on me. That's why they're there.
14. Which blogger do you think is the most similar to you?
Although I think I think I fit fairly neatly into the Australian/personal/mummy blogger genre, I don't think anyone is that similar to me. Even if we have lots in common. Blogging is about uniqueness.
I would love to discover more Australian blogs with lots of gardening content. So if you find me, please comment so I can find you.
15. Name a song you want to listen to.
It's been floating around my head for a while, Culture Club, Miss me Blind; I know you'll miss me, I know you'll miss me blind...
So after this, my camera died. Just died. It was only the battery. So I went into town today. Which didn't really make me feel any better about anything. It didn't help that we'd been having a fight discussion, in which I was basically saying that he needed to pull his finger out. We have these discussions every now and then, even though I know that they don't really help anything. It's like all the words build up inside me until they come spewing out and everyone gets unhappy. So I walked around town feeling anxious, and having to call on the mobile to see whether everyone was all right. Which of course they were. So I started to have that little conversation in my head where I ask myself whether I am depressed or nutty, or whether all this is a normal reaction to the sorts of things that are happening in my life. Which I think they are, and I ask myself what the doctor would say, and then think maybe I need to go and see her again soon. And I'll pay her a whole lot of money for her to say what I thought in the first place, that this is a perfectly normal reaction to life stresses. Well, der. It's just that sometimes I don't trust my judgement on what's normal or not anymore. Which I think will be a long term consequence of that particular episode in my life.
I was looking for a new pair of bathers, and that was a whole lot of fun. Especially feeling fatter than usual. Sigh. I didn't buy any because the only pair I halfway liked were a size too big (how ironic) and not on sale at Target (possibly the only item of clothing in the whole shop that wasn't) and I couldn't face buying something I would have to alter at full price. As it was I couldn't face buying anything except the batteries and my lunch. Just. was. not. in. the. mood.
Well, I think that's more than enough whinging for tonight. How was your day?
By the way. They are not my cigarettes. I used to smoke rollies. Which I used to keep in a decorative wallet like folder. I'm missing smoking at the moment. Mum keeps leaving her other packet at our house. I look at them and go, nuh... But there's a part of me that can still feel the bliss. And man oh man, sometimes my fingers just itch to roll a cigarette. More than smoking even.
I haven't really been watering the garden properly since we went on stage three restrictions. I'm not the best waterer as it is and my preferred method is to give the garden a really long soak about once a week with the sprinkler. I find that works quite well with heavily mulched beds . But I am not allowed to any more. I could water with the hose between 8 and 10 twice a week but I keep missing the appointed times. Like everyone else, we've been bucketing some of the nicer grey water onto the garden. They even have buckets under the showers at the pool and our house guests just treated the bucketing regime as a normal and expected part of life. This bucketing of lite grey water seems to be keeping things going, just. My next garden is going to have a well thought out dripper system. And rainwater tanks.
The positives of mulching are widely known. It reduces the soil drying out from evaporation, protects worms, improves soil structure and drainage, adds nutrients and water holding capacity, reduces the impactof weeds and provides a soft, absorbent surface for rain to fall on. The down sides are not often talked about. Heavily mulched beds can prevent rain from penetrating into the soil, especially if light. This tends not to happen when watering or rain is regular, but during extended dry spells. And seems to affect beds where not much is growing. Perhaps plants themselves provide ways for the moisture to get into the soil. It's really noticable in the bed of beans (to the back of the photo). The soil under the mulch is quite dry and the mulch seems to have formed a crust with a powder inside it. Many of the dwarf bean seeds I planted have not germinated. Those that did are not doing well. The climbing beans are doing better but they're getting lots of grey water. So I'm going to scuff the mulch up and try to get some beans going. And perhaps think of some other ways to get water under the surface.
Tommorrow I'm going to try and plant the rest of the basil, some cherry tomatoes which I've heard can be grown in a pot over winter (?), coriander and a whole heap of lettuce seedlings. You can never have enough lettuce, I don't think. Then I'll top up the seed boxes and sow the next lot of seeds. I think I should be starting to plant seeds of winter vegetables. I always leave things like broccoli far to late but if I plant it now, then it seems way too early and they'll be attacked by cabbage moths. Maybe I should look it up. If it's rainy, I'll sit under the porch with my book and wait out the heaviest showers. And watch the rain fall. And I certainly won't be complaining about the weather.
At first I found it really difficult to think of six weird things about me. It's not that I don't think I'm weird. I feel weird much of the time but it's very difficult to separate out actual weird things. I don't even think these things are in themselves weird, idiosyncratic maybe, but not weird. So does that make me a freak?
- I only wear flannellette shirts is summer and autumn. Perfect over a singlet or t-shirt when it's a bit nippy at night. But I don't like them with a jumper over the top, so I stop wearing them once jumper weather settles in. I bought several flannies when I was pregnant. They were great for breast feeding and slopping around the house covered in baby spew. I always feel a bit self conscious when I wear them out, like to the supermarket, because I don't quite carry the wearing of said flanny as an alternative subset of cool. And you never know who you'll meet at the supermarket.
- No matter what we eat at night, I tend to serve it bowls. Because we eat in front of the telly more often than not. I keep resolving to change this but probably never will. I blame my parents. Grace will be able to blame me, when she's a grown up and doesn't want to eat her tofu watching telly while the world falls apart.
- I have sometimes dubious tastes in childrens books. This is one of my favourite domestic scenes from a book floating around the study floor this week.(Me and My Big Surprise, story by Denise Burt, Photography by Haworth Bartram, Childerset, Autralia 1982) We have a K-mart sourced copy of that toaster.
- This shits G no end, but I must lie awake in bed for a full half hour before getting up. Stretching, snoozing, thinking and delaying the inevitable. So If I have to leave at 8.30am, that means setting the alarm for 6.30am. Any later and I wouldn't have time to eat my breakfast, make my lunch, chat with Grace, read some of my novel, check my internets, have a poo and shower before scurrying off to serve the public at work.
- I am quite obsessed with being regular. Because awful things happen if you aren't. I won't go into details, there are others I can have that conversation with. I'm quite proud that I said poo on the internet (and not in relation to a baby). Heehe, smirk. Freak.
- I can wiggle the toes on my right foot from side to side. I'm doing it now. Gross.
There, that was pretty easy. I could think of many more I'm sure. I'm not going to do h&bs other meme, the one about five things I 've never revealed on my blog. Honestly I can't think of anything I haven't already said or will say one day if the context presents. That I would say in my blog. If you know what I mean.
So who am I going to tag? Rachel, Kerryn, Kel, if you're interested. If it doesn't appeal, don't. I won't be fussed.
In my lefty utopia, it's all family friendly workplaces, a 36 hour week, part time hours for those who need them, shared parenting, excellent affordable childcare for those that choose it, good conditions and balancing work and home. All very well on paper. What I really need is more hours in the day. La la land. My part time contract is up for discussion again. I'm torn between wanting to work more hours and being paid more in a job I consider useful but infuriating at best, and wanting to be a home with Grace more. I'll probably feel better once the discussion has been had.
It was a long day today. The heat is not making it better. Sleep might.
Anyway, after lunch we went to the pool. Not the local, which has quite a small old fashioned toddler pool which Grace isn't too thrilled about. She fell under last time and although I picked her up instantly, the fear on her face is something I'll never forget. It's still with her in some way too, I'll bet. The pool we went to had a very shallow baby pool, a toddler pool with walk in entry and best of all, a big shelf with water coming out from small pipes on the wall, which seemed to be a great hit with the under threes. And their watchers could stand in waist deep water and watch. Most amusing. Especially when Grace was upset by this little boy (I can't remember what for) and he then proceeded to see if she was OK and then kissed her on the cheek. She followed him everywhere for at least ten minutes after that. We didn't leave the pool until nearly tea time and when I rang G to tell him we were running late he told us about the power being off. Yikes, I thought, no telly, no internet! On the way back to the car, we played in the park for a bit. All the grass is dying and the elms are shedding leaves which were lying around in big dry drifts.
We decided to have a late snack dinner. You know, mini toasts and cheese with carrot sticks, tomato and cucumber. After Grace went to bed, G went to the shed to apply some more varnish to the little table he's making and I sat in the quiet and the last of the light reading Marge Piercy's The Longings of Women. The sort of book guaranteed to haul me out of my reading slump. It's a bit like the last one of hers that I read, but that's OK. Formula is good for breaking reading block. Then, just before dinner, I went to see whether the power was back. And it was. So everything went back to normal. Except that it was still hot. I couldn't sleep, but that's quite normal at the moment too. Hopefully lots of sleep tonight.
I know I probably shouldn't buy any more books for Grace because she probably has too many as it is. Which I pick up from the floor several times a day. Or not. Another of her favourites is Mr Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, Puffin 1962. I didn't realise that this book had won awards until I looked it up, but I can see why it's been so popular. I wish Grace would let me read it aloud to her. You see she won't let either of us read to her (her nana sometimes gets to). Any attempt to do so, either sitting on your lap or sitting next to her meets with wriggles, superfast page turning and Noo, Nooo. This is the closest I've been in a long time. Grace let me sit next to her and look over her shoulder for ooh, maybe five minutes. And it's not as if taking the photo ruined the moment, I had the camera in my hand for something else and just snuck one in.
My own reading has ground to a halt. I started reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard after Christmas but I've found it hard to get past the first few pages. It looks like the sort of book I should like, nature and living in the country being favourite themes of mine. It could be the sort of book I can't read with the radio going and people talking all around. Some books allow me to shut all that out, but other books seem to demand quiet. Something that is in very short supply around here. Unless I read at night after everyone else has gone to bed. But that would cut into my blogging time. Sigh. I need another hour or two in the day, but not at the expense of sleep. Because I just don't have enough time to do everything and to do nothing. I did quite a bit of nothing today, falling asleep on the couch under the plum tree, a gentle breeze above and a spot of warm sunlight on my cheek. It was lovely. Even though I should have been taking advantage of the civilised weather to knock off some sewing or gardening tasks. Still, I have to get back into reading books too. I think I'll have to find something easy and page turning to get me back to the habit or I could end up not reading for months. Which would be terrible. I hate it when that happens.
This morning I spent a couple of hours learning about bloglines. I've been a click on my favourites sort of blog reader but I think it's time I got a bit more organised. I still don't feel really comfortable (as in familiar) with it but I think it'll be better. Once I started playing with it, I realised that I could manage how my own blogs look in bloglines if I claimed my blogs in bloglines. However I couldn't get past the verifiction process because I haven't managed to insert the code into my typepad template. I'm on the middle typepad plan, and although you can fiddle with the html for individual posts, you can't insert code into your template. Has anyone done this, or knows whether it can be done? Is it worth bothering with? The other thing I'm not sure about is what causes a blog to update in bloglines. Do they update when someone comments on a post? Or just when a new post is published? So much to learn. Next week, Flickr.
This morning, it didn't feel that hot at first, not for the first hour, but it had that Melbourne feeling of a very hot day to come. I'd gone to bed reluctantly, all hot and tired and woke without having used the blanket at all. Grace and I each had a big glass of water first thing this morning. She didn't want hers at first but I handed it to her and stood in front of her drinking mine. If I'd told her to drink it she'd have pushed it away, of course. Once she started drinking, the sips turned to gulps, her big brown eyes saying, yes mummy, this is what I need.
I enjoyed the air conditioning at work today, even if work itself was all a bit busy and difficult. Once I had time to check my email etc I found that my holidays have been approved. I thought they would be, but I never feel comfortable about confirming arrangements until I get the formal big tick. Yay. Early March, two weeks at the beach (thank you). Hopefully it will still be warm enough to swim in the sea and not all smoky from the fires (please don't let the fires still be going in March). Maybe the drought will break with big storms across the ocean beaches, interspersed with warm, calm days for swimming. Barbeques at night. Some nights with extended family. Big messy dinners and scrappy lunches. Boardgames. A trip to a country town for opshopping and an hour in an internet cafe where G can make his chess moves, I can look at blogs. We've always done quick internet cafe visits on our travels. This will be the first time I'm not shifting from foot to foot or waiting in the car. It'll be a family thing, Grace can get her five minutes of Boobah too. Any time I get on the computer these days, she's pulling at my side, trying to push me off my chair saying Baa Baa. It's clear what she wants. I worry about what I've started. Although I pleased that G didn't let her play Boobah today. They did other, more interesting things.
When I got home from work, I played outside with Grace after she'd finished her dinner and marvelled how the cool change had made the light all soft. Compared to this morning, that is.
Did I say I'm looking forward to our holiday? I think I did.
I did the rounds of share house interviews. I wanted a garden and I wanted control. So I was desperate to move into this house when I found it. This house was cheap and roomy, with a certain rustic charm. It was filthy and stuffed with junk but it also had a big yard full of knee high grass with a tree in the middle. And the guy with the lease was OK and thinking of going back to Adelaide soonish. Every morning on the tram to work, I passed the house and just knew I could make it work. I charmed, hustled, and made compromises. I agreed to keep my cat outside. The room and soon enough, the house, became mine (now it's ours but that's another story).
I spent long hours pulling it from the fences, the house, the collapsing chook shed along the back. The vines and the dried detritus they contained made me itch. As soon as I had cleared one side, then another would have grown up. The vines would run under the house from one side to another. My housemate at the time thought I was mad. It wasn't my house, why should I care? Besides it was pretty. And the garden looked all bare and desolate after I pulled it down. The next door neighbour also had a healthy infestation, for which they blamed us. Of course.
About this time, I had a housemate John, who was a real hoot. He was older than me, a raffish academic sort who disappeared overseas frequently. We talked frequently of the plants hallucinogenic properties. His best story was about how he ate a packet of seeds and was so out of it that he couldn't remember what happened, so a week or so later he did it again. And still couldn't remember what happened, except for a scratching feeling behind the eyelids. After hearing that, I was never tempted. Not even a little.
A is for AGE: I'm 43. People often say I look younger and I have several theories on why this might be. Fat makes your face look younger. I don't act like I'm in my forties, indeed I don't really know how forty somethings are supposed to act these days. When I was young, middle aged women wore sensible Fletcher Jones type clothes and carried themselves with dignity. Except my mother, of course, which mortified me.
Did I just say that I'm middle aged? Yikes.
B is for BEER of choice: If I drink beer it is usually Tooheys Red which is what G buys. His mates call it Bridgewater Red. Bridgewater is an outer suburb of Hobart. If I'm buying I quite like Boags. He reckons it's a girls beer.
C is for CAREER: Oh, for effs sake. I'm a servant of the public. I try and do a good job and be nice to those I serve. Even when it's difficult. There is so much I could write about my job, if I was less concerned about being found out and not having the job. It's not a career. I'd rather have a life. Some people manage both but I'm not one of them.
D is for favourite DRINK: Bickfords diet lemon with soda. Living on the edge, adding some ice and bitters. Coffee. Iced coffee.
E is for ESSENTIAL: Sunglasses. Hat. Camera. Computer.
F is for FAVOURITE: song at the moment: It's Not the Spotlight, sung by Beth Orton. It comes from the bonus disc with pass in Time, a CD I listened to again and again while I was in labour. And again when I went nuts. I heard Rod Stewart singing it on the middle aged radio station the other day. I think I may have to dig out Atlantic Crossing again some time soon. Actually I think, not only do I need a new Beth Orton car tape, but I need a Rod Stewart one too.
G is for favourite GAME: Scrabble. I was unbeatable until I taught G my moves. Now he wins at scrabble and chess so I don't play any more. It's just unbearable. There's a beach holiday coming up so maybe I'll have to get back into it.
H is for most memorable HOLIDAY: Central Australia in 2004. Sleeping in the car. Camping. More scenery than we could handle. Uluru, more than we imagined. Camping in the freezing cold with the incessant noise of the generator making the power to heat the tourists hotels of the rich. Alice Springs. Hermansburg, where Albert Namitjera was born. Real bush camping in the MacDonnells.
I is for INSTRUMENTS played: Sadly ,none. I briefly tried to learn the guitar but I have no musical talent whatsoever. None.
J is for favourite JUICE: Orange. Or that weird four fruits with guava, but only in certain moods.
K is for KIDS: One. She is nearly two. I have to remind myself sometimes that Grace was not put on earth just to fill me with beauty and love. We travelled a long, sad road to have Grace. I'm glad we kept going.
L is for LAST KISS: This morning as I kissed Grace and Gerard goodbye. Grace pushed me away and said bye. She loves saying bye, bye, bye and hello.
M is for MARRIAGE: Probably never going to happen in the formal sense. Friends said that when we started telling the bureacracy that we were a couple that that is like a gen X marriage. I wouldn't mind but apparently I've missed my chance.
N is for full NAME: Janet. I don't use my full name because I don't want people (like exes, disgruntled former housemates etc) to be able to google me and find my blog. If people I know find my blog because they read blogs, or because I tell them, that's OK.
O is for OVERNIGHT hospital stays: Well, there was that time I don't remember as a toddler when I had some sort of spider bite. More recently, giving birth to Frank in 2002 and Grace in 2005. And of course, about a month or so when I went nuts.
P is for PHOBIAS: Snakes. The very thought. Reminds me of the Tasmanian trip of 2001 when I saw four in a week on the west coast. It got so I could barely get out of the car.
Q is for QUOTE: Baudelaire, a line from L'invitation au Voyage (which I learnt in high school)translated from the French, "'All is order there and elegance pleasure peace and opulence." I used to have it spelt in glitter letters on gold paint and under varnish, on the ledge above the sink. When we redid the scullery, G was concerned about removing it and despite my protest that it was OK, that I'd moved on, put it on my internet desk top instead.
R is for biggest REGRET: Wasting my late twenties and early thirties. Not having a family earlier. Not the same but kind of related in devious ways.
S is for SPORT: Football, if there's a chance of Carlton winning. Otherwise no.
T is for TIME you wake up: 7, 7.30am. But I'll go back to sleep till ten if I can.
U is for colour of UNDERWEAR: Black.
V is for VEGETABLE you love: Asparagus. Beans. Broad Beans. Brussels Sprouts. Cucumber.
W is for WORST habit: Biting my nails. Comfort eating. Slacktitude when it comes to excercise.
X is for X-RAYS you’ve had: Teeth. Lots of my teeth. I suppose that's what happens when you approach middle age, your teeth go to crap. Also my arm, after a learning to ride a motorcycle accident when I was twenty. I never even got my Ls.
Y is for YUMMY food you make: See here. Not complete but it's a start. I'm feeling the need to make lemon curd tart again. Soon.
Z is for ZODIAC sign: Scorpio. We're very mysterious(really?) and bossy. And deep. And there's two of us.
When I got home, there was an old four wheel drive from up north outside. I remember that we have been expecting a visitor and that the Kombi caught on fire last year. This must be the replacement I thought. Nice, apparently they have yet to find a mountain this car can't climb. We are being visited by mooks returning to the homeland. And possibly again on the way back, when there may be a subgathering.
At least I don't have a long fur coat. Tony (cat) is clearly suffering and is slinking from not so cool, to not so cool spot. This is one of his favourite early evening perches. Grace keeps emptying his water bowl onto the garden and it is irritating for everyone, especially Tony. Although being a cat he is not above drinking from the toilet. Yech. I have to find somewhere for his bowl where she can't reach. Which is getting harder and harder. She'll be on the kitchen table or trying to climb out the loungeroom window from the back of the couch in half a blink. Not being allowed to do any of this is just making it so much more attractive.
It was quite difficult to find enough fruit that hadn't been savaged by the birds. Our backyard is a bird paradise at the moment. We're getting wattle birds, little yellow finches, rainbow coloured parrots (are they lorikeets?), the usual black crows and the doves that like to scrape all the mulch of the vegie patch. Not to mention the sparrows and mynahs. So it's noisy and the fruit that was still more or less whole was often well, a bit dirty. Not to worry.
This is a view from standing on my milk crate, head in the tree. I'm quite taken with how lush the vegie garden is looking from this angle. Due to the drought most of the parks are yellow. People with lush gardens have signs saying they are using grey water. We don't really have any lawn left, just dust, hard dirt with cracks in it and some scraggly bits of dried grass. I checked the vegie patch again today (as I do everyday) and the tomatoes and eggplants seem to be doubling in size daily. They are well mulched and don't seem to mind the dry. The last sowing of corn didn't germinate, but the early sowing is about to set ears I think. It must have got rain at a crucial point perhaps?
Anyway, we managed to pck about three kilos of fruit, which is the limit of my jam pot. And more than enough for one afternoons work. I washed all the fruit very thouroughly and it cleaned up much better than I expected. In past years I would have left fruit this dirty on the tree.
I had forgotten how tricky apricot jam an be. I used the same method as with the plum jam, but unlike with the plums, it was easy to prepare the fruit. But it's a longer boiling time, more likely to catch and burn and much, much harder to judge when it's ready. These apricots are quite low in pectin so the moment of perfection can be easily missed. If you underboil, it will be runny and too sweet. If you overboil, it will be toffeeish. I think this one might be a little overboiled and has a slightly gorpy texture, but we're all agreed that it has a good flavour.
I was very careful with the pouring into jars and only had to clean the sides of one jar. I love the sound of the cellophane cracking as it dries and tightens.
We had a friend over for a beer on New Years day and I asked him if he ate jam and then whether he preferred plum or apricot. He nominated the apricot and went home with a big jar. I think we have a few more to give away, which is nice. I'm feeling quite proud of my jamming efforts this summer. We don't have any more of our own fruit until next summer, unless I can catch the yellow plums, which I've never bothered jamming before. I may yet score some gifts of fruit or see some in the shops that just says jam me. Or I might not. Even so no need for any shop jam at all this year, I think.
* The day was actually New Years Eve, not today which was hotter and would have been truly hellish.
New Year's eve passed this year with barely a ripple. We didn't go out or celebrate in any special way. I made nori rolls for dinner and we watched Day of the Triffids on DVD. As G was working today and had to get up early, we were in bed before midnight. Lying there listening to the neighbours in the street across the road set off illegal fireworks, I made my first resolution. To celebrate more. I think I've said it before but we're not overly good at celebration in my family. I'm not thinking fancy, but just of finding a way to make more of birthdays and holidays. To step out of the ordinary routine and make things a little special every now and then. I suppose I could come up with a list of actions to support that resolution, as suggested on the radio, but that's a little close to corporate planning for me. So I'm just going to keep the thought there in the back of my mind and make a little effort when required.
And if anyone's thinking of taking up the Self Portrait Challenge this year, I'd say yes, give it a go. I've found it strangely addictive and quite rewarding in some unexpected ways. It's also really easy. You just go to the middle column of the site, read the particpant info link and then go to the meta section at the bottom and login. Once you have a login it's super easy to load a link each week.
So happy New Year everyone, may your year ahead be filled with peace, happiness and other good things...
PS I'm posting early because well, it's new years day and I'm in the mood for new yearsy sort of things. My own little celebration if you will. I'll upload to the SPC site once the last weeks have been archived and then we'll be able to go and check out everyone elses resolutions.
PPS Finally uploaded. Seems SPC site is working again. So head on over. There's lots of interesting new year's resolutions.