Nonetheless. It was all pretty good on the day. Some people, who shall not be mentioned, drunk a little too much on Christmas Eve and I worried the day would be a complete write off but we all got up at eight with nary a hangover in sight and had breakfast before opening presents in the lounge room. I'm mean and make Grace wait because there's no way she's eating Christmas chocolate on an empty stomach and besides, being an only child, we're the only company she has for this little ritual. So far she's OK with waiting. And it is one of my favourite parts of the day. This year, Grace took her time and examined each gift, sometimes having a little play before moving on to the next.
We suggested she open the pillow case from Father Christmas first and it was filled with a mixture of useful things and stuff she'd like - fuzzy felt and Dora the Explorer hair clips and bracelet (I know Santa sold out, but that bracelet, she adores it). Then we did the family gift exchange. And yes, she loved the doll and her clothes. She even loved that I'd made then all her. Which was very pleasing indeed. She wasn't so thrilled with the bongo drum from G but I think once she sees it in action and realises that it is a pirate drum, she'll change her mind. And the DVDs hit the spot. She sure loves a DVD, that girl. Grace and I bought G a CD he really wanted and I bought him a record which is a beautiful object, but I'm not sure how much he likes it yet. I received an interesting looking book and the new Angie Hart CD which I really rather like (yes, I was a closet Frente! fan back in the day). Grace also received heaps of Lego from the extended family - fun, fun, fun. I'm even getting good at it. Oh, and G got a rather special and unexpected gift from my Dad, too.
After presents in the morning, I finished off my cooking for lunch, including a very ordinary bean salad, an onion tart that didn't live up to expectations and some hand made after dinner mints that were freakishly good despite containing raw egg white and dodgy chocolate. I also took some White Christmas, so that we could all have our seasonal fill of bad fats. Christmas lunch was very pleasant. Oysters slipped down (yum, I love oysters and should definitely eat them more often). Grace tried a prawn. The chicken was delicious, the potatoes crispy, the pudding came out of the bowl in one easy motion and Nina had bought this non-alcoholic ginger apple drink that was utterly gorgeous. People seemed to like this years family calendar and the afternoon seemed very adult and smooth (except for the frenzy of Grace unwrapping her presents) and towards the end, I realised just how much I missed Betty and her family. A bit more chaos and child energy would have been a good thing. Somehow the lack of all that made things feel not quite right to me. And that feeling grew as a nameless, shapeless thing all day. Once I knew what it was, I could do something and so we all skyped (which had kind of been the plan anyway) and suddenly things felt a lot, lot better.
And on boxing day I slept until 12. And kept on relaxing after that. Because I quite like the bit when the Christmas is all done and dusted for the year and I can put my feet up, eat left overs and dip into the shortbread and Christmas cake from mum. Oh yes, indeed.
Last weekend, I had a conversation with a friend about Christmas and they're not doing Christmas this year, not even in an alternative way.Although I can see her point of view and it's such a personal thing that I wouldn't even dream of trying to convince her to change her mind, I'm surprised at how confronting I found the whole idea of opting out of Christmas altogether. It's been running through my mind all week at work, superimposed with the photos here. (Christmas 1972, I would have been eight. We lived in Ringwood in a street that I'm not sure exists anymore. I love that photo of Betty and me under the tree in our new nighties. And how cool was my mum?). Of course like many people, I skipped a couple of years as a young adult but now that I'm a parent, I find myself wanting to recreate the Christmases that I had as a child. Christmases that I loved and found terribly exciting and now I'm getting to relive that. We were very lucky to have parents that made Christmas fun without being too overwhelming and there was always a big (in my child's mind) pile of presents that we would rip into. Some were practical things like towels and nighties or new dresses made by my mum. I loved those new dresses and there are many photos of Christmases past where Betty and I are wearing our new dresses.
Then there were the big Christmas lunches. With the sense of ritual and dare I say, obligation. Perhaps also a side serve of tension at times. Especially as we got older and definitely around the time my parents separated. There was one truly awful Christmas that year and I think I refused to see them together for a few years, but it's all good now. I loved those lunches as a child and I still do now. Especially towards the end when the presents have all been handed out and I relax into it all. And this year I've enjoyed the preparation more than I have for the last couple of years. I'm less tense, more settled into this house. And yeah, I'm starting to accept/understand my role in this family as far as Christmas goes. Sometimes I think we get too worried that we'll overdo it, but I think that hasn't happened so far. In fact I'm quite looking forward to being there when Grace opens her presents and having lunch at Mum's. Tomorrow I just have some food shopping and prep to do and then it's relaxo all the way. Yay.
So last Saturday, Mum and I took Grace with us to the city on a previously planned trip to look at the Christmas windows and have lunch in a cafe (Grace rather likes having lunch in a cafe). The windows were not as exciting as I remember from my childhood. OK but too tasteful for my taste. I prefer Christmas with a good serve of sparkle. When Grace started to crack, Nana took her home on the train. Leaving me with a good couple of hours to race around and order our family calendar. It's become somewhat of a tradition in our family and while they're not super cheap, they are lovely and this years came out rather well. Even if I do say so myself. Making the absolute agony of photo selection worth it. Then I raced around looking for kids books and Schleich toy animals which Betty and I have agreed make a good one or two at a time present. Far better to have a smaller collection of nice toy animals than lots of crappy ones. Grace adores playing with these and makes little scenes, so I have made her and Ruby a play mat each which is just some green quilting cotton with a blob of blue felt for a dam sewn on. Grace (hers is not a Christmas present) is already collecting tin cans for water tanks and thinking about how to make houses - I predict cereal box construction soon. Anyway, David Jones used to have a good range of these toys but not anymore and Myer late on Saturday afternoon was Christmas shopping hell. Chaos and disorder and far too many children that had spent far too long in the city. I grabbed some of the last few farm animals on the shelves and made a mental note for next year - online or make a mid year trip to a proper toyshop.
On Sunday morning, Grace and I put up the Christmas tree. But only after G and I had a big fight about stuff that doesn't even bear mentioning. Yes, it really is beginning to look like Christmas, isn't it? Far better to get that one out of the way. Grace was very adept at decorating the tree this year and I'm letting go my preference for evenly spaced decorations. The tree leans anyway and we enjoyed doing it together which is what really counts. It looks like G has already hidden a little wooden ornament in the tree and I'm wondering what I might make this year. I have an idea for another tree for the mantel piece to go with this one. Quite different, and more sparkly but doable I think. Then after we finished the tree, I went down to Brunswick and spent some time in a bookshop, spotlight and savers and I was done. Making it home in time to spend an hour or so at the community get together in the park. Yesterday we wrapped and made cards with these crazy stickers from savers and all the parcels to Queensland and Tasmania are in the post. So barring industrial action, they should get there by Christmas day. What a good feeling that is. Breathe out.
And today, I cleaned up after my jam making activities last night (not a great batch, cloudy, sour and scummy - it's been a while since I jammed but my jam mojo will surely return - I can feel it), did some washing and mending, booked a camping holiday for January and got ready for the next stage which is about making and relaxing. Dinner was spent relaxing with some friends. Nothing much has to be done now. Just a few more presents to be wrapped. And a bit of cleaning (maybe) and baking. Yep, it's beginning to feel like Christmas this year will be OK.
Then having missed most of the market because we left a bit late and relaxed a bit long over lunch, we drove up to the rainforest galleryat the base of Mount Donna Buang. And it was sensational. There was a walk amongst the tree tops where you could look down onto the forest floor. Then we went down a zillion steps and walked around the forest. It was so beautiful. It's all on metal boardwalks so there is a lot less damage or litter than what you would normally see. And you can't lose your children. So you can walk around staring at the trees and playing with your camera. Lovely. Highly recommended and a balm for the spirits.
This time, the issue was driving related. I keep thinking that I'm done telling the story of how I nearly lost my life to an idiot driver, but clearly I'm not. It's better than it was and I'm still driving because obviously you still have to live your life and all. Anyhow on Friday morning, I left home a bit later than planned but was well on time to pick Kim up from the airport. It was fabulous to meet her and it was like we'd know each other for ages, which I guess we have. The drive to Lancefield was lovely and as we were so early, we hung around opshopping and having lunch. As you do. Then as I went to turn right into Sewjourn (which is a short, short distance from the centre of town), an old school ute with a mattress standing in the back swerved around me on the right. He missed hitting me on the drivers side door, but only just. He skidded back onto the road and fishtailed for another 300 metres, nearly colliding head on with a car coming the other way. A car that was a long way in the distance when I went to make the turn. The whole thing was so fast, so unexpected, there was no time to react. He must have been going well over 100K in a 60K zone. It is luck that we are all OK. Or he was playing some sort of dumbarsed joke. In which case it is still luck that no-one was hurt.
The woman in the other car, who had her gorgeous nineteen month old daughter with her, stopped and had a cup of tea with us. She was pretty shaky too. Everyone said it wasn't my fault but I kept wondering whether I had checked my rear view mirror before stopping to turn. Had I been aware enough of what was going on around me? Because I was the driver, and as far as I'm concerned, that means I was responsible for the safety of everyone in the car. And then of course, I kept hearing Grace's words before I left, Mummy, please don't go, I will miss you.* Later after a debrief, after calling Gerard and some tears, I became "normal" again and slipped into craft weekend mode. And pretty much it was great, expecially when I was occupied and engaging in talking and crafting. But in those dreamlike times between waking and sleeping, thoughts about what could have happened, including all the possible scenarios and consequences played through my mind, reminding me of some of the disturbing thoughts I have had when I majorly depressed. Ick. So this week, although I have thought about it less and less, my general level of anxiety has been pretty high. And I haven't been sleeping as well as I would like. Still as Gerard said, the worst didn't happen and for that I am extremely grateful. And in writing this, ready to move on. Sorry if you just came here for the craft.
Anyway. Let's talk about some of the good part of craft weekend shall we? It was great to see Suzie, Di, Ellen, Sandra and Suse again. And to meet Kim and Angela. I love those moments when people arrive. It's so exciting and the weekend is all ahead of us and full of possibility. On the first afternoon, in between telling everyone about our close shave, I worked on refashioning this hideous shirt I bought at an opshop a while back. It's taken me ages to unpick, but as it's Liberty Lawn, it's worth it I think. It is now a hot day top with tied straps and I'm pleased with how it turned out. Pictures to come.
On Saturday, I launched into my main project - The Poppy Doll from Hop Skip Jump. First up, I just have to say what a great pattern this is. Well worth buying if you want to make a doll for dressing. I did toy with the idea of making a doll without a pattern, but I'm glad I didn't as it's a Christmas present for Grace. I used linen instead of doctor's flannel. Partly because I liked the idea of linen and partly because there's nowhere around here to buy doctor's flannel and I ran out of time to get some online. As it turned out, I couldn't find a good linen either and ended up buying a dress from Saver's to cut up and that worked perfectly. The linen is a close weave and has been washed enough to give it a nice soft feel. Pictures are on Flickr - but no more until Christmas because I don't want Grace to see. I'm pretty sure she'll like this doll, she's seen her on Fiona's blog and asked me if we could make one, so I'm taking that as a good sign. I also made some doll clothes; a ballet skirt, a dress, a skirt and a t-shirt. Oh, and some rather racy underwear (black lace, black fold over elastic and red t-shirt material was all that I had, so that's what I used and I don't think it's too inappropriate). Sandra made some ballet slippers and gave me the shoe pattern and I made a little pair of mary-janes. And I have more clothes in mind. I think this doll will need a little suitcase!
The last project of the weekend was a dress for Grace. So I would have something to bring home for her. I had some more Liberty Lawn and perhaps I should have made the dress I had in mind out of that because the dress I did make hasn't gone down all that well. Perhaps I shouldn't have listened to Grace tell me she'd like a dress out of the black material with animals on it and gone with my intuition. Oh well.
There's lots more I could say about all the good things. We ate really well. It rained, which is always good. We listened to beautiful music and shared stories. Laughed. Swore. Drunk some wine and got a bit silly. Stayed up too late. Watched the creation of many gorgeous things. Admired Kim's beautiful quilt and were present when she made her first dress, with a placket! Yep, despite the shaky start, it was all really good. I love craft camp. I love that I get to go. That I am that lucky. And I'm already looking forward to the next one.
*Grace does say that quite a bit at the moment. Like when I go to work. Or to the supermarket. As it turned out she had a rather good weekend while I was away and organised a playdate with a friend from childcare, went to dinner in the park and a clothes swap where she got a barbie and a helicopter. And had a visit from Nana. Nonetheless she was delighted to see me when I got home, which is always nice. Ooh, how I enjoyed coming home and hugging my people.
I'm sitting here listening to the rain, which is very pleasant after such a sudden start to what looks to be another long hot summer. Grace has been unusually tired and had monster tantrums today and yesterday and the day before. I'm tired too because every third or so night the cat decides to sleep on my beside table and lick his bottom for the half the night, which is disgusting in itself but also cause the table on which my big mirror sits to move from side to side. And last night was one of those nights. But the rain is making everything feel alright again. I love summer rain.
Coolum beach, high iso by mistake, giving it a washed out look which feels very summery to me.
I've nearly finished editing my Queensland photos but ever since I've got the computer back, I've been preoccupied with answering emails and sorting out my inbox and setting things up right. My computer crashed again last week but was OK the next day after my Dad jiggled something or other. Apparently I will know in about three weeks whether or not it can be considered stable. As my Dad says, intermittent faults are very difficult to analyse. Fingers crossed. So I'm going to be doubly cautious about backing up before I delete photos from my camera. Hopefully I'll get around to writing a bit about Queensland. But maybe the moment has passed and it will just live in pictures and memory. Sometimes that's OK too.
Well, my computer is back (big thanks to my Dad!). All repaired with a new motherboard and new hard drives. It's blisteringly fast compared to before. There is still have some work to do. We need to re-install my beloved photo processing software (ACDSee). And there are questions I keep asking myself now I see myself at a sort of crossroads of the new. Do I go with internet explorer or make the leap to google chrome? Or run both? How am I going to set up my favourites? How different is Windows 7 to Vista? It all feels a little strange, so I think there will be an adjustment period before blogging and working on my photos begin in earnest. But I have my Outlook back! Yay! I felt so cut off from internet land and even my offline life without it. Although I was beginning to adjust.
Anyway, it will all have to wait a bit. I'm still feeling a bit fragile. Like a rose wilting in the heat. We had a double birthday bash here last night for G and me. There was no escaping the inevitabilty of this party as it was a significant birthday for G and really, it just had to be done. Of course, we decided that everything had to be ship shape - why I don't know, because once those kids go through the house it's not like anyone notices whether you've tidied the laundry or not. I had nightmares about not having enough food and as a consequence we have a fridge full of leftovers. All up, it was a pretty good party though. Lots of neighbours and children, who for the most part were charming and had fun without hurting each other. Some cool presents including a hilarious book on fruit carving. I also made the executive decision to clear all the savoury food before setting out a dessert table, as I'd made cheesecake, cupcakes and a big cake and others had bought slice and meringues and there was fruit and sesame biscuits and Mim's lovely banana cake. I rather liked that bit and people seemed to enjoy it. Then when it was just us and the stayers, I relaxed into a serious bit of trashification. For which I am paying today. But it was so totally worth it. I know I keep saying it, but I really like living around here. It's the best.
p.s the picture above is clearly not our house. I got the photo from here. Real life photos will be a while coming I think.
Last night when I turned on my computer, the dreaded blue screen of death appeared. After a restart, all seemed well. Until I logged on this morning and going through my emails, clicked on something from a real estate site and everything crashed again. Managed to get it going in safe mode and hoping to be able to at least access my emails (having submitted an expression of interest in a job at a much more convenient office), went to open outlook and everything crashed again. Now nothing works at all and I am camped out at G's computer with no access to my photos, my spreadsheets with vegie co-op roster etc or my emails...... woe. Sad isn't it? Shows just how dependent I am.
We think it's something to do with the hard drive being too full because of the back up system we use. And perhaps dumping 500 photos onto the computer tipped it over the edge. Or maybe something happened when G vacuumed the dust out of the sound card. Or maybe the computer has caught something nasty. Whatever it is, I'm really hoping that my dad, the computer magician, can fix it up. Soon.
Otherwise I'm just going to have to cope for a while. Sigh.
Update: The computer is going for a re-build on Monday. I'm worried that I might have lost all the photos from our Queensland trip (well, except for the one tenth of them already on Flickr) but Dad says that's his job to worry about the data. I'm kicking myself because, normally I delete the photos as I download them from the camera but this time I held onto them until they were safely on the computer. Sigh. I'm so used to my computer going right that I would never have dreamed of this happening. Wish that a) I could remember whether there was an automatic backup after I downloaded the photos and b) that I hadn't tried to resurrect the computer to the last known good configuration, thereby possibly corrupting some of the more recent data. I really, really hope that my photos are still there. Oh well, what will be will be. But fingers crossed.
I had hoped I might keep to the spirit of blogtober while we were in Queensland but as it turned out, blogging wasn't really practical or desirable. Especially given that we had so little time there. Which is a pity in way, because often I found myself thinking, oh this would be interesting to write about... here's something new I haven't thought about before and, oh look what those charming children are doing! Oh well, sometimes you just have to live your life.
However I did take my cameras and spent a part of each day taking pictures. Now I have over 500 photos to sort through, which is somewhat daunting. So, I've sorted them into folders and I'm going to try and tackle a folder each night, and then write a little blog post to go with the photos that stand out most to me. Hopefully that way I'll remember all the really important things. Maybe it won't be as hard as I imagine, although there are lots of pictures of blurry children and quite a few that look like they've been taken by a four year old. Which is what will happen when you leave your camera on the kitchen table.
I took these photos as Betty and I were lying back on the grass (in a patch with no bindis) on the second day, looking at the sky and talking. There weren't as many of those moments as I would have liked, but actually there were more than I expected, given the number of children around. It was beautiful, I can understand why people leave a city with a cold winter, hellish summer and hideous traffic to live there. I loved the bright colours and tropical gardens. And the water! Although the dry season was only just ending, we saw sprinklers and you could water the garden with a hose! Betty told me that she is planning a much more subtle garden, which I totally understood once I saw their block, but that's a story we'll get to later.....
It was so good to arrive. There's something about the noise and squishiness of planes that makes it less exciting than it should be, given that you are flying in the air, and it was a relief to walk onto the tarmac. Grace held my hand and squealed at the noise of the jet (she freaks out about hand dryers in public toilets so no surprise) but I convinced her to turn around and have a look. Inside the terminal she helped Daddy retrieve our bags, heaving her dora the explorer suitcase off the carousel like she'd been doing it all her life. Moments later Cam pulled up and we were on our way. I have no real sense of our location and have just figured out which way is up, or north today. All the roads are very windy and where we are seems unconnected to a major town, which feels strange when you are so city focused.
The moment of arrival at the house was joyous. I was so happy to see Betty, Ruby and Maeve and to my great relief they are still little. Grown a bit, but it's not as if they've turned into teenagers since they've been away. And it felt right to be with them straight away, like we'd hardly been apart at all. Grace and Ruby were so happy and even gave each other a little cuddle. Some of the things I've thought would be difficult are not. Grace is sleeping in a little beach shelter next to our mattress under a pergola in a very luxurious garage attached to the house. Her mattress is red and her doona cover has pretty flowers on it and Grace loves it. Betty went to quite some effort to make it comfortable for her and it is.
Other things are not so easy, after the initial delight in seeing everyone, there is a different house and household to get used to. And there are three children under five and by lunch time today they were all cranky. Grace is napping right now and she was only prepared to lie down and rest if I was there too. In fact I have been spending a lot of time helping her do things that she is fine with a home and I've found it wearing. G has been sick, possibly with a variation of what Grace had although I think he's better now. And it's hot. Very hot, when you've come from a Melbourne in which spring has barely sprung. The light seems very bright too, and I find it difficult to be out of the shade in the middle of the day. I have accepted that I will barely acclimatise while I am here. So I'm just going to try and take things slowly. And relax, despite the moments of chaos, because it's a holiday.
Yesterday Betty and I went out with Grace and Ruby. First we stopped at the big pineapple, which for some reason was very high on my to do list and I wasn't disappointed. It's kind of crappy but in a good way. It must be pretty old because I know someone my age that worked there as a teenager. Grace loved it and climbed up and down several times. I couldn't get her to go and meet Betty and Ruby at the growers market (we'd stopped to sit and recompose in the shade after a foot scraping on new shoes without socks incident). Apparently the market was pretty good and we've been eating some sensational mangoes and pineapple. And I learnt that pineapples don't have a season as such and that they take two years to grow. There are some around here and I will have to photograph them because they are strange and beautiful. After the big pineapple we went to the pool, and after some initial difficulties, it was so much fun that we could hardly get the children to leave. Today we've just been hanging out and tomorrow, I think we'll go somewhere. Oh, and I really need to get my act together and take some serious pictures of the children, perhaps when they stop being so cranky. Because they are just all so beautiful.
Our bags are all packed and everything is ready. The house is as clean as it's going to be. Our house sitter is here and everything has been explained. Yay for holidays!
Will post if convenient and feel so inclined, otherwise it's adieu from me until we get back. See youse!
- We're off to Queensland on Friday to see my sister Betty and Cam and my little nieces. At the moment I just want to cuddle them for a whole week (like they'll let me - I'm feeling so very auntieish), but I'm sure we'll fit in some other activities like ummmm, going to the beach. Or something. I am super, super, super excited about his.
- Did I mention I'm on holiday for a week?
- And that it involves sun and an airplane trip?
- And swimming at the beach with a little girl who loves the water?
- We've had a friend arrive from overseas and not only is it lovely to catch up but she can look after our little house while we're away and feed Tony (the cat).
- Reading novels on the tram up Sydney road.
- Dora the Explorer suitcases with matching handbags (well kind of hot if you're four and a half).
not so hot
- Colds that linger and linger and linger with an insane half life, complete with funny ears - am going to be taking full on decongestants before flying.
- With the warmer weather my old friend the puffy foot has returned, along with a hot red puffy rash. Is it an insect bite or some sort of infection? Not sure, but it ain't pretty. There are no appointments at the good doctor tomorrow so I may have to see a quack. Sigh.
- Big to-do lists with a side serve of anxiety.
Sounds like a little holiday might be in order, doesn't it. Not sure if I'm going to post while I'm away yet. Think I'll just see how things go. A most of blogtober effort might have to suffice. But I'm more than OK with that.
See more of what's hot and what's not here.
We've been counting the sleeps and it's time I went and knocked another one over. nite, nite.
Anyway, I was thinking black and white. I was thinking about the olderator. Then I remembered the Rollippolaroid treatment I had seen somewhere and book marked. I resized the image so that it wouldn't take ages to convert and had a play. The colour one was OK, but I like the image better in black and white. We still have our smiles but it's softer. More like it really felt. Must remember to keep taking the odd self portrait. Just so I am not visually absent from this record of my life.
And yes, Grace is particularly gorgeous at the moment. Full of four and a halfness and drawings, getting in trouble for not using the drawing mat on the kitchen table, odd little games and creations made with lots of sticky tape, interspersed with it's not fairs and declarations as to who her best friend is. Looks like it might have been me at that particular moment. Yes, I am that lucky sometimes.
What you ate for dinner, says G. He cooked dinner and it was nice, broad bean pasta, but I'm not sure I could write a whole blog post about it.
Six thirty,says Grace. A bit enigmatic. It's certainly not the time we're eating. Especially given that I came home on the seven o'clock bus. The last bus for the night (note to self - Darebin bus review).
I open the real estate section of the local paper and realise that the house next door to where we used to live is on the front cover. Or maybe it is the one two doors up, come to think of it. Now my mind is playing tricks and I'm not sure which one it is. I look at the pictures of inside the house. Very strange to see the inside of a house that you've passed many times but never visited.
Tonight was warm. And I'm still not wearing socks. Perhaps we are finally at the change of the season. Finally.
Now, coming home along Royal Parade. It means catching three trams and a bus instead of a tram, train and bus, and it's slower. But there is something soothing about the long trip up Sydney road. I always get a seat and I can read my book or just stare out the window at the sun filled elm trees coming into leaf. People seem happier and much less dour than on the train. I don't know why that would be the case, but it makes for a pleasant journey.
What is it about love and washing machines? Have I ever told you how much I love youtube?
Yes, I have run out of things to say.
Today has been unremarkable except that I have been to Norflands to score a booster seat and Dora the Explorer suitcase on wheels, because I promised she could have one for our fast approaching Queensland trip. We managed to get out of there without buying more than a couple of extra things, although for some reason I relented and let Grace select a Dora the Explorer handbag as well. We never watch Dora on TV but she loooves Dora the Explorer. Indeed apart from the odd viewing on youtube and the occasional video from the library, Graces's knowlege of all things Dora is from merchandising and the cultural soup kids swim in. As long as we don't have to read tedious Dora books too often (from the library - where she gets free reign), I'm kind of OK with it on a limited level. I guess. Maybe I'll regret it later. Eh, who knows?
The ringing in my ears stopped the moment we left the shopping centre and I had a very brief Nana nap on our return.
Later I popped out with Grace to return a stroller and get some milk for the macaroni cauliflower cheese I was planning to make for dinner and somehow ended up taking four children down the shops to buy a treat. Of course, my child was the one that had the tantrum on the way home and I had to call G for back up.
Oh, and somehow I still managed to make cauliflower macaroni cheese for dinner and not burn the white sauce. It was pretty delicious and I had to stop G from eating the whole lot, because it's tomorrow's lunch as well. Sheesh. I'm going to take that as a compliment.
I'm somewhat ambivalent about Pentridge Prison being redeveloped as a housing estate. According to the wikipedia entry, the developers of the top, northern half which contains most of the bluestone are trying to sideline the history of the site so that they can make it more marketable as housing. And I get why they would want to do that. Not saying that it's necessarily right, because the less pleasant aspects of our history are just as important as fun things like pools and lovely buildings, but you know, who wants to live in a place that looks like a prison? The old Pentridge doesn't look anything how I imagine a modern prison would look and I suspect would be quite unsuitable as a prison these days. And yet, it doesn't quite work as a housing development site either. I think if I were going to live there, I would prefer to live in either a modern apartment or in one of the suburban houses in the more cosy/daggy southern end. Not in one of the old buildings that have been refurbished. There's not that many of those, but there is a row that although they look quite funky, have a distinct prison like feel. I found myself wondering if the history would seep through the walls. Would you lie in bed at night and feel the ghosts of convicts and felons drifting across your slumber? Or would domesticity and new energy dominate?
On another topic, have you seen 52 suburbs? No? Then pop on over. I love this site. It's a beautiful photo tour through a different Sydney suburb each week. I get very excited when this pops up on my feedreader.
At the shrink's I talked a lot about feeling like I have too much on my plate, feeling that I am way too busy. Wanting more space in my life, more time to do just one thing instead of flipping between competing priorites and projects slotted in amongst everything else. I asked her how high achievers do it and she just shrugged and said that she said she thinks our culture values busyness over many other things and that she doesn't think it's always particularly good for us. We talked about how I have tried to arrange my life so I am not too busy (and really working three days a week is pretty OK) and yet I always seem to be filling my days and nights, ending up feeling pressured and frustrated with myself for not getting everything done. And this is why I fall into colds. Although I guess to be fair, I do work in a very customer contacty job and look after a child that spends two days a week at the germ exchange, otherwise known as a childcare centre.
We also talked quite a bit about blogging and writing, about taking photos and how this process has been quite important to me. The old doctor was always lot easier about saying that this was a good thing for me to be doing. This doctor makes me work a bit harder. I still don't really know why it is so important to me, this writing business. Is it about holding onto something that I once nearly had and that I'm scared to lose before I have the proper amount of time to fully immerse myself in. Will I ever be able to write a book? Could I ever get over the hurdle of thinking that it is too big a project? Would I ever be able to commit? Is blogging enough in itself or am I just biding my time? Mmm. Well, I guess questions like this come out when you've been out drinking and then sit down at the keyboard. Who knew that vodka and apple juice was so nice? And that might also be the reason why not one of the photos I took tonight turned out. But I rather like this one from ealier in the month. In the future this land will be covered in housing. Hopefully some of it public and low cost housing. Should be happening now, but isn't.
Noticed that a geranium I took a cutting of when out walking last year (top) has started flowering. As has the apple, which I was a bit worried about, thinking it might never flower. But it has and despite there not seeming to be many bees in this garden compared to the last one, the golden peach and blood plum are covered in tiny little fruit. Still, am thinking that I definitely need to plant some bee and bird attracting plants.
Anyway my foray into the garden was very brief, it was icy cold today. Even by Melbourne spring standards. I'm glad I stayed home, starting to feel a bit better. Maybe I can kick this bug totally over the next couple of days. That would be nice. Ok, I think the telly calls.
As it happened, I had made quite a big and stupid mistake at work this morning. Probably because my brain was not working and there was a bit of a queue. I booked someone a new claim appointment they didn't need instead of just restoring their payment. The annoying thing was that a) I'd rung another area to to check what to do and had been given incomplete advice and b) not used an interpreter when I should have. I'm slapping myself about that because I'm always saying that we need to be more mindful of using interpreters. So, I spent a good part of the afternoon, in between other tasks (including making sure I have no outstanding work for tomorrow), fixing the mistake. And surprisingly when I rang the customer, with an interpreter this time, to let her know that said mistake had been fixed and to apologise, she was amazingly gracious about it. Which kind of made my day. Later at home when we debriefed over dinner, G pointed out that falling off a hobby horse can be a long, hard fall. Indeed. I shall try better next time.
Anyway, iIf I still feel craptastic tomorrow, I'll stay home and read novels. And sleep. Which is what I should be doing now, but I'm finding this blogging everyday thing strangely addictive. I know I'm running out of things to say and that feels really, really good. Kind of like being purged. I do have a few things up my sleeve, some more unfinished posts and then I think I'll sit down and come up with a list of things to write about. Any suggestions? Maybe I could copy some of Suse's.
Here are some pictures from the weekend. My grotty gardening tools taken at a very high iso setting after forgetting to reset the camera after night shots. And a grumpy Grace eating her lunch as a picnic because somehow we all got out of synch on Saturday and she was hungry and I really wanted to get my berry plants in.
Look how green the grass is! I wish I'd taken some pictures of the actual garden too because I think we're starting to get somewhere. It's not the total blank slate it was a year ago. Planted a blueberry bush which apparently will produce 10 kilos of blueberries when mature. Assuming of course that I can get it to grow. Also planted a marionberry bush and a boysenberry bush. Fingers crossed.
I also have to admit that I slacked on my walking program a bit. Saturdays effort was really lame, I went with Grace and we didn't go far. Neither of us really had it in us. And yesterday,I just couldn't drag my arse out of the house. But today, well today I walked the half hour from the tram in about 20 minutes and it was good. I feel back in the swing of it. More or less. Now off to bed.
I was also going to put some more elastic in some pants I made at craft camp. I'd more or less written these pants off as too icky for words but since there have been a few days of too warm to wear boots and skirt to work, I've revisited them as a wardrobe item and I guess they're OK. But they're made in a cotton stretch fabric that loses elasticity through the day and the elastic back should perhaps be extended all the way around. But eh, didn't get around to it. It's not like they actually fall off. Anyway, at some point Grace and G disappeared off visiting and I was left with my piles of crap and the hum of the machine as I listened to the radio. Sunday afternoon is really my favourite time of all to sew. Perhaps because there's a radio show on RRR that I really like, playing mostly electronic and soundscape sort of music.Today there was a fabulous work about The Dismissal and some beautiful sounds. I used to sew on Sunday afternoons alot and I kind of miss it. Today I felt quite content and happy as I watched the big clouds and the few big drops of rain. Contemplated my liberty lawn shirt to try and re-fashion. Mended a pair of little pony underpants, not that she doesn't have sixty gazillion pairs of other underpants she could wear... Also tried a refashion of a t-shirt but I'm not sure the neck worked and Grace wouldn't try it on so I could see. Definitely need more Sunday sewing sessions.
A meme I started writing back in August, from Kim. At the time there were a hundred and fifty other things I should be have been doing on the computer before my head hit the desk. I'm finishing it off tonight because it's time I started cleaning up some of my posts in draft and because honestly, I need a break from writing about the minutia of my life. No matter how fascinating it is to others (sarcastic, moi, oh never). Oh, and because G went to see Megadeth last night. He assures me it was good but thank God, I missed that one. Anyway this is in rough time sequence and I've decided to take a rather soft line on what actually constitutes a concert. It's also possible that some of this is my imagined history, rather than what actually happened. Some of it was a very long time ago.
- Carols by Candlelight at the Sidney Myer Music bowl. As a child.
- The Reels at a school dance at a neighbouring boys school in form five, when they were very, very new to Melbourne and my date pogo danced the whole time. Not at all wonderful.
- INXS before they became famous at the San Remo ballroom. They were playing for my college (ie where I slept at uni first year) and it was revolting on all levels. I hated them from then on. Passionately.
- The Dead Kennedys at The Seaview Ballroom. Do-re-mi with Deborah Conway were support (the clip below is that song and features a great view of a two door Valiant and some old - as in 80s- Melbourne Sydney scenery) and it was awesome in a sweaty-punk-I'm young-and-I'm cool sort of way. And I got down in the mosh pit and stood on the beer shelf on the wall. And I had a very cool short, short red haircut and an old fifties golf jacket that used to be my grandfathers.
- Many up and coming bands at the Seaview ballroom and the Prince of Wales on Thursday night when it was free. Pseudo Echo are one that I remember becoming famous later. Mostly it was about walking between the two pubs, posing, getting pissed and meeting boys and finding a lift home. We were nineteen.
- New Order at The Venue. Up down turn around ... please don't let me hit the ground, so you've got blue eyes... need I say more. I'm listening to this on youtube as I write, it goes on and on, but the sound is pretty authentic without being totally crap.... how I loved New Order.
- The Violent Femmes at Inflation (already mentioned on this blog somewhere else). I went back the second night and danced on stage at the end with a girlfriend. We were noticed by some singer from a cool melbourne band who talked to me later. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
- Jonathon Richman at a venue I remember nothing about except that it was seated, but like a pub and you couldn't smoke because he wouldn't perform in a smoky environment. I found this kind of shocking in the eighties when you could smoke on trams and at work, everywhere really. But anyway, it was a fantastic concert. It was around the time of the LP that had that summer feeling on it. I wish I still had that record but it got nicked by my sisters housemate. Long story.
- Hunters and Collectors at Melbourne Uni. During the Human Frailty phase. Fantastic.
- The Reels again at Melbourne Uni. When they did that k-tel album and the other one with Quasimodo's dream. Totally wonderful.
- Eurythmics and Simple Minds at some big arena. Simple Minds I didn't like but the Eurthymics were totally worth it. My first big stadium event.
- Culture Club at the same big stadium. I really, really wanted to go to this (even though it was very, very, very uncool in my set) but I couldn't afford it so me and this gay guy who was a friend of a friend at uni, and who was the only other person I knew that liked culture club, hung out outside listening and trying to figure out how to sneak in. So it sort of counts, I guess.
- Joan Baez at the concert hall with an old boyfriend. Sometime in the eighties. I was really looking forward to it but it was a bit of a bummer, she only performed for about 20 minutes, because she had a cold.
- Michelle Shocked at Dallas Brooks Hall. Along with the entire lesbian population of Melbourne and a few stunned blokes. Beautiful.
- Chris Wilson at the Club playing Dylan covers. Blew my mind.
- The Models at The Club in Collingwood.
- Shriekback at The Club at Collingwood. The eighties were turning into the nineties.
- The Cruel Sea at the first height of their aceness upstairs at some place in Prahran. We weren't able to get tickets but my friend Joey Bird told the most outrageous porky about having bought tickets with her credit card and they let us in for free. Guilty pleasure.
- Lucinda Williams at the Central Club with a shy and dorky guy I did kind of fancy at the time and I wasn't sure whether it was a date or not because we were friends. Lucinda was excellent.
- Weddings Parties Anything at the Central Club Hotel (G was living there at the time and also went to the Lucinda Williams concert but I didn't know him then). I wasn't part of the Weddos scene, but I went with friends that were and it was a hoot.
- REM at Sidney Myer Music Bowl before we started the cafe. So, early nineties. How I wish I'd been to see them again when they came out just before Grace was born, but it was about on my due date. As it was, would have been fine. I still love REM. Always have, always will. I hope they are still releasing music when we are old.
- The Mavis's at The Punter's in Brunswick street. It was summer and might well have been the very first time I met G. Not sure, but possibly. Probably about 96. This clip is from after that, in their moment of fame. We sort of knew some of them from the cafe and they were very nice. As well as being pretty hot.
- Ron Sexmith at The Corner. Beautiful.
- Lou Reed at the athenuem. Awful. With G and he wasn't feeling well, so he didn't enjoy it either. Very disappointing because I expected to love it but he didn't give out a good vibe.
- Burning Spear and Toots and the Maytals at the Palais. G talked me into this one and it was great. I loved Burning Spear and it opened up a whole new genre of music to me. How I'd never got into reggae before is kind of amazing, given the stoner dudes I hung with at various times.
- Ron Mark Eitzel and some smoky place in Brunswick street. Just after I gave up smoking. G took pity on me and we left early.
- Bob Dylan at the big stadium. Twice. The first time Paul Kelly was supporting and I thought he sounded really awesome until Bob came on and was a whole new level of awesome. It was amazing seeing all the generations of concert goers there. I suspect Bob Dylan may not be the nicest person in real life but to hear him in concert is genius.
- The Saints at The Cornish Arms in Brunswick. A trip down memory lane and I thought I saw someone I used to know in the audience, you know the girlfriend of an old boyfriend who is probably still with him. She most certainly did not see me.
- Richard Thompson at the Concert Hall. Very good. And he did a Britteny Spears song - oops I did it again, which kind of impressed me from one so erudite.
- Morrissey and The Anyones at Livid in Melbourne. 2003. I felt far too old for this and despite knowing one of the Anyones and having loved The Smiths way back when, this was one of those events that I just kind of dragged myself around.
- Beck at the Palais. I felt way too old amongst all the pretty young things but it was very clever and entertaining and I was having a big Beck moment back then.This is one of my favourite Beck songs (and there is a fridge humping a stove in the clip), although I love his folkier stuff too.
- Brian Wilson at the Concert Hall doing Pet Sounds. G made me go and it was superb.
- Neil Young at the Sydney Myer Music Bowl. The Greendale concert. (this is a beautiful link with a map and music) Another G made me go too. It drizzled and we sat under a tarp until it stopped. Kind of romantic. I listened to Greendale and other Neil Young in the car non stop for about a year after that. The start of a total Neil phase.
- The Mooks, Enola Fall and the Nonchalants in Tasmania while Grace was in utero, G was worried about the effect on her development hearing the Nonchalance, they were so bad and loud. But the rest of the night was pretty good.
- The Handsome Family at Ceres (with Grace in utero again) and again at The East Brunswick when it was so hot that I sweated from my eyeballs. Wouldn't have missed them for quids.
- And how could I forget? Wilco at the Palais with Julie. That was a truly rocking night and a memory to be treasured.
- I'm sure we've been to see more music since Grace was born, but you know I just can't remember.
After the park went back to Mel and Andy's and lounged around there. I love their back area, sort of like an outside lounge at a groovy cafe, with added northern suburban charm. It was so very good to see Mim again who is back from overseas and I met Sherrin, another fellow blogger - also doing blogtoberfest- waves hello! She's lovely like heaps of bloggers I meet and she knows my sister too. Small world eh? Keep meeting bloggers everywhere these days, or maybe I'm just less self conscious about it. Grace disappeared inside to the world of dress ups and reappeared an hour or so as a very cold mermaid wanting me to get her dressed. And then wanted to go home. Just I could have stayed for another hour. Anyway, I don't think I've got much more to say tonight. I'm tired and have had beer which slid down quite nicely thank you and is combining with the purple pill to make me feel very relaxed.
I love it that I can go any time. That I don't need any special equipment or funny clothes. And there is always something to see. Walking at night by myself probably rules out walking by the creek. Although I do wonder how much more dangerous it really is... parts of the bushland down there are pretty isolated during the daytime too. Anyway, I like to swing my arms and I don't really think, I just let things float and notice things. Like the telly is on in the front room of the house I just passed, ooh and there's a pile of clean bricks with a sign saying free, please take or how some people seem to go to bed really early. I see teenagers hanging round in cars swearing and playing boom boom music. Other people out waking their dogs. Lights shining through the trees. And then I get home and it's all warm and nice and I feel good that I went for my walk again.
- Realising, as I caught the tram past Royal Park this evening, that we might have green grass and new leaves on the elm trees this spring. Like at the same time. This makes me very, very happy. Totally mega hot.
- G saying I'll clean up Grace's vomit**, and just put her clothes in the bath for me and I'll deal with them later and seeing him with the mop. Need I say more?
- Something changed for me at work yesterday when I decided I could say something about an issue I've been conflicted about for a while now. It felt right, and a whole lot of heaviness fell away.
- Wednesday is the end of my not at home working week and I'll be sleeping an extra hour tomorrow!! Then hanging out with Grace.
- Walking home through Pentridge village tonight. Thought I was lost, but followed someone walking a dog. Can't wait to go back with my good camera.
- Friday night is the beginning of barbeque in the park season. That is very hot.
- G finding a clean and pressed pair of work trousers in the hard rubbish and after washing them (just to be sure) declaring them the best and most comfortable work pants he's had for ages. Love that frugality.
- Gettting my tax return. Phew. Hoping to get my family tax reconciliation and childcare rebate amount soon. Before we go to Queensland would be good. Crosses fingers.
- Going to Queensland to visit sister Betty and uncie Mo and Ruby and Maeve. Will go swimming in the sea and eat prawns for dinner too. May even get to catch up with Sooz. Looking forward to it all immensely
- Blogging every day. Wonder what I'll have to say, but it creates this sense of space in my blogging. As in I'm not all clogged up with terribly pressing issues I feel I need to write about.
- Looking forward to visiting some other blogtobersts.
- **The vomit. Obviously. I thought Grace had recovered. She is much better but clearly there's a way to go.
- I seem have caught Grace's lurgy. Along with half of Melbourne, judging by my customers today.
- My keyboard is cactus. Often instead of generating letters, it generates keyboard actions in undesired and unplanned ways. Annoying. Hopefully it is just a battery, not a new keyboard, but I suspect some muggins has spilled something on it. Typing is painfully slow and tedious (but committed).
- The last lot of self raising flour from the co-op is either plain flour/bread flour or I have totally last my ability as a baker. The cakes have been flat and soggy. Strangely G really likes them, better than the proper cakes, which I think would be hot if it wasn't so weird.
- Money feels tighter than usual due to bottom surgery and paying for trip to Queensland later this month.
- I think need to go to the dentist again.
- Forgot to pay my visa and got a late fee. Hate that.
I've just added to this list, maybe I'll add some more as I think of them.