seven random things about me and pineapples

On Wednesday morning as I rushed out to work, there was a wonderful gift in my letterbox from Suse (thank you). Three beautiful old linen tea-towels. Featuring pineapples. On Thursday, late in the afternoon, I hung them on the line and pointed the camera, hoping to preserve their complete glory before they start doing the hard work of tea towels in this house (although the one with the surfer may be a wall hanging for a while).

Then I had the idea of a pineapple meme. How hard could it be? While on summer holidays, now so long ago that my memories are more faded than my tan, I was tagged by Schmutzie to do the seven random things meme. I didn't do it at the time because the internet connection at the sandy point internet cafe was at best flaky. And the computer was on a shelf in a passage between the kitchen and the door to the toilet. Where I  perched on a high stool, watched chips being cooked and thought about the beach or other holiday joy I was missing, sometimes trying to keep the small child out of mischief. Although I was only ever charged for 15 minutes, even when I'd been there for a good 45. Anyway, this meme continually circles blogland, somewhat like the playgroup cold/lurgy. It nonetheless has a certain charm. I like this meme, but it's hard separating out what is and isn't weird and /or random. Hence the pineapple thought. And I get to show you my new tea towels!

  1. When I was a child, a dinner we sometimes had was ham steaks, or rather slabs of ham like meat, possibly out of a tin, grilled (as in broiled) and with tinned pinapple on top.  I loved it. Now it doesn't even seem like proper food.

  2. Sometimes when I feel a bit liverish, tinned pineapple juice and soda or (diet) dry ginger does it for me.

  3. I still make the boiled pineappled fruit cake that was my grandmother's recipe. It's probably from the fifties, uses a tin of crushed pinapple and a standard packet of mixed fruit. It's really very nice.

  4. Back when I bought my own point and shoout camera, an olympus mju, I spent days racing around taking heaps of photos. Here's one of three pineapples against the window in the sunroom on a rainy day. Why would I have had three pineapples? Where they really cheap back then? Now they tend to be a bit of a treat. These tea towels made me immediately think of that photo. Gee I loved that camera. Pity it got stolen, not once but twice. The replacement also got stolen so I just gave up.

  5. When I was in Paris and twenty-one, I remember being in a shop that sold dried fruit and asking for ananas in French. When I checked the spelling by googling, I got "Je suis un ananas ivre" which means I am a drunk pinapple.

  6. I rather like fresh pinapple, but only if it's sweet enough not to hurt my mouth and has been cut up so that all the core and all the skin and all those little sharp bits are gone. Sometimes it improves sitting around for an hour or so cut up, but more often than not pineapple is just a waste of money. I think the only way to got a good one for sure is to have a greengrocer that tastes their own fruit and will tell you for sure. Like Cramer on Seinfeld said, fruit's a gamble.

  7. Here's another picture of a pineapple, from about this time last year. I remember the fruity smell of this one on the kitchen bench. Rich and ripe. Attracting for those little flies that hang around fruit shops. I don't remember being dissapointed. Maybe I'll get another one tommorrow when I do the shopping.

So, whew, meme all about pineapples. Didn't think I could do it. Although I do have the sadly neglected blog about washing, which is soon to feature a delightful laundry related gift from another lovely blogger (scanner has started working again). I feel very lucky and smooshed by blogworld sometimes.....Thank you. Now I'm going to tag, because it's in the spirit of it all.

Girl on the Avenue
Alby Mangroves from new blog on the block, Life in General
Stomper Girl
Susan from Five and Two

Rules, you know, seven weird or random things about yourself. You can even re-cycle a previous seven or pick a theme. Tag another five people. But any or all of it, only if you want to.

so, no more Dr X

Contrary to what I wrote in my last post, I'm extremely sensible about taking my medication and continuing therapy. I might dream of acting otherwise, with better consequences than are likely and I do often question whether being treated by a psychiatrist automatically places me into a certain category of unwellness. It's a slippery fish, this crazy/sane business, but that's one of the reasons why up until recently I was visiting the doctor every fortnight, every month at the very least. So she could keep me in line with the treatment. Tell me that I'm making progress, even when I can't see it because I'm stuck in a gloomy place (like poor old Eyeore), that I'm getting better and when I forget, remind me that I really was quite unwell. Because sometimes my judgement strays, especially when I start to feel well after being unwell. It's classic, and it's in the very nature of a mental illness. And as she reminded me on my last visit, she's doctor, that's her job and that's what I paid her for.

However, it's pretty obvious that for one reason or another, I am no longer her patient. As the intake nurse at the place where this doctor's business used to be, said, she's taken her book with her. Her big scruffy book of appointments and patient contacts. Although you would think that, in this day and age of the internet and email, her new practice, or someone else on her behalf, would be able to rustle up a mailing list and at the very least send a form letter, Dr X has  <insert plausible platitude here> and will no longer be able to treat you. Your options for further treatment are <insert names of expensive possibilities>. Please call <insert number of clinic here> if you have any further queries. We wish you well on your journey to sanity, blah, de blah blah.

I've been surprised at just how upset I've been about all this. I was referred to Dr X on release from the mother baby unit after the psychosis in 2005. She's seen me get well, loose the zyprexa weight, come off lithium, go back to work, get depressed again, get well again, start putting the weight back on, go nuts again, get well again. She's seen me at my lowest and blackest more than once and approaching an awful state of mania. I've told her when I've had those silent and disturbing car crash thoughts and although they're part of my inner landscape when the black dog comes to stay, they're not something I share easily because I know I would never act on them. So I don't talk about them unless asked, and she knew when to ask. I've burst into tears telling her that I want to go to hospital. Let her see when the actor is getting tired. And right at the beginning I told her my whole history, as far back as I can remember. Including my dodgiest behaviour as an adult, like how many drugs I really took back in the day and other less than savoury aspects of my past.  She's given me a sense of somewhere to go, of security, of backup. And although I paid for that service, it goes deep. I should have been told that I was no longer her patient. Or whatever the deal is.

So anyway as I explained my situation to the intake nurse, I found it hard not to cry. As I ran through the whole sorry saga, the intake nurse really did seem to have heard it all before and I got the impression that I am not the only one of Dr X's patients being assessed by a new doctor. While I was sewing the other day, with the autumn sun on my cheek I found myself thinking that maybe Dr X is unwell herself. It would be hard to listen to all these crazy neurotic people and not take it on yourself. I really hope she's OK but I wish she'd made arrangements as per the RANZCP (of which she is a fellow) code of ethics. Still, it's time to stop being a sook and find a new doctor. Because even if I knew where she was, I couldn't really go back. Not now. Hopefully I'll be able to get my file transferred. Deep breath. Good to have made a decision.

why does a fish need a bicycle anyway?

SpcOne way or another I can't seem to get beyond putting things on my head for this theme. This brilliant (hah) idea came to me as I lay on the bed having a short nanna nap this afternoon. Mostly I was thinking about whether or not I've been jilted by my psychiatrist, who seems to have vanished into the ether. Maybe she's having a break for some reason, but various temporary receptionists have let slip little snippets of conflicting information. So maybe, I'll have to go through the process of finding a new doctor, of telling my story all over again, of settling into another treatment regime. Tedious. Or maybe she's moved offices, I've fallen through the cracks because of two cancelled appointments (her not me) and I'll catch up with her soon enough. If this is the case, how do I act? Like I'm not pissed off that no-one has told me what's going on? Pleased that she's OK and that I don't have to start with someone new?

The other thread of thought running through my head, as I looked out into the cold afternoon, and felt all jilted and teary was that maybe I could just wean myself of the drugs and abandon the whole concept of therapy. That I was normal before, and I can be normal again. Dangerous thoughts, because I'm feeling just well enough to start getting complacent. And if that's not absurd, tell me what is.

More of the absurd here.


On Saturday afternoon, after a morning spent baking a luridly coloured cake with Grace and a sticky at an auction in a nearby suburb, I stopped off at the big fruit shop (as opposed to being slack and just getting everything at safeway) where I bumped into a friend from a past life. Her children are a few years older than Grace and I mentioned I was shopping for a lunch to celebrate Grace's third birthday. I bet it's feels like it's gone really quickly, she said.  Yeah, I guess it has, I replied and then went back to running around making last minute changes to the next day's menu and obsessing over whether the grapes were fresh and if the strawberries would taste of anything (yes and double yes). Later that night, as we wrapped presents, G and I talked about when Grace was a baby and how quickly she's growing up. How she comes and says, Mumma (or Daddy), I've got a big idea.... and her increasingly complicated play world. We both became quite sentimental and nostalgic. Although I want her to to grow up and take great joy in the unfolding of her world, there's also part of me that wants to hold onto all that she's been before. To still be able to hold her at my breast as an infant, on my hips as a one year old, to watch her bumshuffle and take her first steps.

Anyway, this is the first year that Grace has had any real sense of birthday consciousness. With anticpation. That it's all about her. She wanted balloons and a cake with ice.

Would you believe safeway ran out of balloons? Never mind, I eventually tracked some down and even if half of them had holes in them, they were a great hit. As was the cake. Especially the decorating of said cake, which we did together in the morning before she had a little nap. It was basically a plain cake with chocolate ripple in the middle for height. Grace hasn't quite got the hang of blowing out the candles, but she had a good go.

It was a lovely lunch, even if I do say myself. Grace really enjoyed the presents, possibbly the biggest hit were some small figurines from Nina and the card with three on it, and raced around afternoon. The happiness and light in her face during the happy birthday song was a joy to behold.  Happy Birthday Grace!

new life in neglected garden

With the recent rain and cooler weather our garden has sprung back to life. Seeds are sprouting everywhere. Self sown seeds, seeds from when I emptied all the remaining seeds from the big seed tin. Lots of mystery. But I've seen cos lettuce, radish, bok choy and silver beet. Calendulas (which are close to a weed here) and much parsley. I'm hoping for some beetroot too because homegrown winter beetroot is a revelation. Talking about revelation, we ate the one apple that made it to maturity on the golden delicious apple tree. There were three, one disappeared early and Grace picked the second before it was ripe after I asked her not to (she'd been eyeing it off) and discovered the kind of trouble where there is no yelling, just quiet disapointment. Anyway, one apple made it and we ate it in turns and it was so truly unbelievably delicious, so perfect, I found myself asking, is that the same type of apple we buy in the shop?

The sage are starting to flower and there are geraniums everywhere, among the euphorbia and up into the tree tops. Some of the decidous trees in the park have new growth, dead leaves and leaves about to change colour and fall. It occurs to me that really we have two major growing seasons here, spring and autumn and in my next garden I should try and plan most of my activity around them. Occasionally you do have a summer with enough rain for summer vegies. Although with a tank or grey water system we could probably manage a small summer garden even in dry conditions. Not in this garden though, I'm quite enjoying letting go and just watching, doing the occasional tidy up. Or not. I'm having lots of thoughts about our next garden. There will definitely be apple and other fruit trees. I'm imagining the sort of garden that does well with sporadic burst of work.

The view from our toilet is looking pretty special at the moment. That's G to the left, burning perspex in the barbeque, for safety research purposes of course. The perspex is for the windows of the dolls house he's renovating. More to come on that subject later. I'm off to an auction in a bit, just for research purposes also, the house isn't in the area we're looking at but it's the same kind of house with a very flash reno and they're asking big bucks for it. So I'm going for a sticky.

slow days of autumn

Have obviously packed away my summer clothes too soon. It's been glorious, balmy weather, with just the faintest chill at night. Definitely too hot to wear my boots and skirt look to work. It's also apparent that I'm a bit lacking in the transeasonal type apparel that works really well at this time of the year. Some new pants are being made, but oh what a slow process it is, because I've decided that I really can't do any sort of complicated sewing at night. Too much unpicking. Too much black unpicking. Not enough light, leading to a vicious cycle of swearing and frustration. So I'm trying to go slowly and make fewer items, but well.

Last night in the soft night I walked to the council meeting. Brunswick council chamber is 1920s or 30s with wood panelling and a few modern touches from the 60s or 70s. Proceedings started with a buzz of excitment, much shuffling of paper and settling. There were a lot of questions about public toilets, especially the self cleaning ones, which don't seem to be self cleaning well enough. How hard would it be to provide more public toilets and a better regime of cleaning? Anyway, there were lots of pool people there, and many questions were asked. All in preparation for budget time. There was also a big clock right behind me that startled me with the clicking, clunking sound of the hand moving. After questions, there's a little break before the council moves on to all their big agenda items (must stay for that sometime) and we repaired to the beer garden of a nearby pub for conversation and I realised that two beers is one too many. Pfff, cheap drunk. Still it was a rather good night out.  I walked home and it was still warm. I watched Oceans Twelve on telly long after G had gone to bed saying it was rubbish, thinking this is not an action movie, it's a chick flick. Then I stopped feeling pissed and went to bed.

Today was still slow and silky. But I had this moment at work today, after I had worked through a particular situation with a complicated interplay of policy, procedures and how the computer system works, and fixed something when I thought, I think my brain might be returning. Goodness. It's a happy feeling.

ps The photo is of my favourite blue wall on the way to the supermarket (taken last weekend). I wish I knew how to prevent the green shadow with this camera. I'm thinking it might be fun to sit there for half an hour one day and take pictures as people go past. With the big, reliable camera of course. Although nobody takes you seriously with a small orange point and shoot. Which kind of has advantages too.

I feel a bit clever

Just learnt how to make pdf files and insert them into Save Coburg Olympic Pool page. I thought it would be good to be able to down load flyers and other printed material. Kind of like an internet help yourself pile. The flyers themselves are still a bit rough around the edges, but it works! (unlike the feedburner email subsciption form on the same page,which has never worked. Grrrr. Depsite all my best efforts so far) You know, learning yet another aspect of this technology challenges my 44 year old brain somewhat. Even a relatively simple new thing. I remember banks before ATMS, local swimming pools before management was outsourced to private business and thinking, hey wouldn't it be great if people could make their own movies and had a way to write something like a newspaper column, or homeshow (long ago I dreamt for a while of having a scruffy lifestyle show on telly). And now we can. It's just kind of snuck up on me. And I like it.

There's a council meeting on at Brunswick Town Hall tommorrow night, 8th of April 2008, at 7.00pm, . We're going to be asking lots of questions about re-opening the pool. Come along if you can.

I am a cockroach

SpcThe other day I was cleaning out my basket of scarves and hats in preparation for the cold weather and a giant cockroach scuttled forth. It was the biggest cockroach I have ever seen, bigger than in the tropics even. Perhaps it was even another type of insect. I wasn't sure, so I let it crawl onto a piece of paper and relocated it into the garden which is where I'd like the insects to live. Another evening we had friends around to a barbeque with damp wood (the blokes organised that one), the food was slow to cook and there was much debate and beer drinking. One of the older children started walking around with Grace's dolls stroller on her head, waving her arms around like a big alien insect, it was an absolute crack up.

And yesterday I spent some time in the back yard, on a glorious sunny autumn day, one of the best Melbourne could offer, perfection so perfect that you wish you could it bottle for winter, also with a dolls stroller on my head. Pretending to be a cockroach. Despite the aforesaid perfection, I did think about Kafka and about the man who when he awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. To be honest, I can't remember whether I've read the book, or somehow absorbed it through some cultural osmotic process. But even the dreary thought of waking up as a cockroach could do nothing to diminsh the glory of yesterday. It was definitely the sort of day you could get away with wearing a dolls stroller on your head, with sunglasses of course.

The night before I had no idea, no idea whatsoever to post for the April SPC theme of the absurd. I was googling, searching for absurd art, anything really, but nothing. Unlike with the political theme, which I missed due to holidays and computers and the general ordinariness and busyness of my life. Then I asked G what I should do for the absurd theme and he reminded me of Stella's antics. And told me that I was over thinking. Well, der. I am a cockroach, after all.

See more absurdity here.