when it's just too damned hot

:: your brain starts to melt and simple decisions become difficult. driving, even with the aircon on, seems very glarey and trickey. you somehow feel compelled to sit in this hot room and write about the heat.

:: you spend a hot morning hacking the haircut you went out in the heat to get on Tuesday. you say you want it very short. they cut it in a bob. towards the end you are fuming but hold your ground and say that it wasn't what you asked for. they offer another session for free (really no skin off their nose as it was a hairdressing school). you wouldn't offer that hairdresser a job (she was trying out for a job in the chain) no matter how good her cutting skills if she a) can't listen and b) can't read such obvious body language. on the second cut we are on a path to short short and then you say you kind of like the long on top of the short and the hairdresser convinces you to go with that. should never have changed your mind. have been hacking it ever since. it is now very short. and hacked. in the heat that seems like the only sensible option (photo to come).

:: the streets are eerily quiet. you dash to the shop in the morning for some supplies; ice, food, dry ginger.  you're reminded of an earthcore, 1999 perhaps when it was so hot that you dreamed we all lived in holes under ground and only came up at night. the man at the shop says the fridge is not cooling properly. it has a cover over it. you buy snack food, tinned dolmades, bread, labeneh, fruit. things to eat without cooking, because who'd want to light a stove in the house?

:: bloglines has been going nuts. you opened it last night to see thousands of posts. next time you open it they're all gone

:: you curse when you forgot to cover the steering wheel and gear stick in the car because, despite the aircon, it's really too hot to touch for the short drive to pick Grace up early from childcare because the airconditioners there have broken down. normally you wouldn't drive to do this, but it seems cruel making a three year old walk up the hill when the sun is glaring and it's 43C (actually it got up to 44.3C later in the day, that's 111.74F). you tell Grace not to touch anything metal on the car, because it will burn her.

:: you wonder why people are so anti airconditioning? you considered getting rid of yours (the ugly thing on the wall) but it's your new best friend. at least one room in the house is bearable. it's turned off for the night, but it's going on again tomorrow. reno plans now include evaporative aircon with the existing fans when we can afford it.

:: you watch a DVD (the one about Beatrice Potter) in the afternoon. in the aircon. you let Grace watch the end with you, despite the fact that she has a telly ban for treating her dvds badly. it is nice but you don't let her watch any kids telly because a) there is no tv reception anymore and b) there's a telly ban and c) you're mean like that.

:: you all go to the pool for dinner. along with everyone else in the neighborhood. nobody eats much. you wish you'd packed more beer. being submerged is the best, best feeling. you all play in the water alot. even G. Grace is most happy. it's fun. very social. you're outraged they close the pool at eight and everyone just packs up and goes home.

:: there's another day of this and then the foercast is for days in the mid thirties (35C = 95F). you're reading the BOM site a lot at the moment. funny how that looks like relief from here. you should have gone to bed an hour ago. at least.

hello Maeve!

I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our extended family. Little Maeve, who was born late last night. Isn't she cute? Those little fingers and rosebud mouth, the smallness and smell of a new life.  Quite the proud aunty, I am.

I managed a good aunty cuddle, and goodness you forget how small and light a newborn is. How utterly brand new and delicious. Betty and bub are all doing well (hopefully they'll get to stay in hospital until the heatwave is over). Cam and big sister Ruby are also pretty happy. And we're all so pleased that Maeve is finally here. Welcome to the big wide world little one.

tree of happiness

A while ago Frogdancer tagged me for this meme, and while memes generally makeme very happy, this one has languished along with all the other posts I have meant to write. Perhaps because recently I've been tense. Focused on what I'm not happy about. So tonight, deep breath, is the night. I will try not to be sarcastic, or to hint at the things that I would like to be different, because you know I think that's against the spirit of the whole thing.

Here are the rules…

Link to the person who gave you the award. If you want. (tick, already done)

Post the rules on your blog. (tick)

List six things that make you happy.

Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.

Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog (probably won't because they'll either read here and do it because they'd like to or not. Either way I'm happy --- see I'm getting into the spirit, yes?).

Let the person who awarded you know when your entry is up (she'll know).

Now I'm going to skip the whole family and big things that I'm grateful for like a house and job, and not living somewhere we could be bombed etc. Let's just take those things for granted eh? I'm going to list the little things, the small joys...

1. The moment of plunging into a body of water. Resurfacing and seeing trees and skies. Swimming, boogie boarding and playing in the water. Hanging out besides a pool, beach, lake, river dam. There is no amount of swimsuit angst that will make me forgo these pleasures. You're likely to see a big smile on my face when I'm in or near the water. And although I love going to the pool by myself to swim, I adore getting in the water with Grace. The other day she had on her floaties and a ring and was getting me to pick her up and toss her into the deep water. Again and again. It was hilarious. The water was soft and silky, the light was gorgeous too. 

2. Food. Eating good food. Trying new foods, exploring new places to shop. This is a particular little pleasure at the moment. Today I discovered a Pakistani shop in easy walking distance with an amazing range of neatly packed beans, paneer and snack food. Surpisingly Grace liked the cumin seed cunchies I bought with G in mind. When I did the veggie shop at my new favourite Lebanese shop, I also bought tangy Iraqi bread and green almonds. Neither of which I'd had before. And these biscuits called pitiful biscuits. Very sweet, very yummy.

 3. Light and shade. Having a camera has made me see differently. It's given me a way to see beauty in unlikely places and made the whole world just so much more interesting. 

4. Dinner in the park. We have a park at the end of our street where some of the people we know 'round here gather on a Friday night to have a b-b-q and a drink while the kids play. Grace gets very excited when I tell her that it's dinner in the park night, and not just because we have sausages. I love hanging with my cool neighbours, it feels like a very natural way to get to know each other. And last night I watched Grace scootering up and down the path in a line with the other kids. And stood around while G and one of the other dads played basket ball with the kids. That all made me very happy.

5. The sound of my dressmaking scissors cutting through fabric on a wooden table.

6. And last but not least, work. I know I wasn't going to mention it and it's not even glamorous, creative or extremely well paid work. Sometimes I even want to be doing something else. I might even whinge about it. But I love that I have a stable job, doing something I consider practical and useful (and that has a slack dress code). That it is the public service and I can work part time hours at much better than minimum pay and conditions. I meet all sorts of people and over time have realised that the roughest toughest exterior might hold the gentlest soul. That well presented middle class women (and men) can be real bitches. And vice versa and all things in between. You just can't tell, so it's better to just take people as they come. Everyone has a story to tell and if you meet people with a bit of realness and a smile on occasion, most people will be OK.  It might even be fun.

 So there you go. And I really love blogging. I ran out of numbers, but you know, even though I'm not posting much at the moment, I do love blogging. And Flickr. And have just discovered Facebook. That's a worry. Sort off. Maybe the novelty will wear off.... Although I'm thinking it might be good for rallying more support for our beloved pool.

And to make things sunnier still.... I'm on holidays all next week! Which is very well timed, because we'll be welcoming a new nephew or niece to the clan. All those new baby vibes and aunty cuddles to be soaked up. I'm looking forward to that. Indeed I am.


oops,  I forgot to tag.... Alby   Mim  Mary  Kim  Crafty and Laura Jane . But it's only a light tap on the shoulder type of tag. 

cup washers and door handles

I haven't felt much like writing recently. Stuff has been happening, good stuff, not so good stuff, hardly any bad stuff. Mostly I've been feeling lost. There are some pockets of ease, times when I feel I know where I am, spaces that feel mine. But they've been islands in a sea of discombobulation. Although the shakiness I felt last Tuesday (shrink day) has gone, as have the tears (Friday and Tuesday). I put it down to moving and my doctor says to expect it to take some time. We visited our old house last Saturday to finalise some paperwork and I think that visit was at the centre of it all for me. The old house looked the same from the front but on entering it smelt different, looked funny and I had to refrain from saying well, you know it just won't work arranging the furniture like that. Because it's not my house anymore. Which I'm OK with on all rational levels. So I picked some flowers from the garden and talked to the new person about what plant was what and how if she made a frame for the virginia creeper (G took it down because it was crumbling) she would be able to sit under red leaves in autumn. But she'll have to find out all these things out for herself. I don't think I'll go back again unless I need to get a cutting from the garden. Well, maybe not for a long time. Grace seemed to find it all a bit difficult too and clung to me as I was trying to sign paperwork.

Good things that have been happening: we've been to the pool a few more times. I still feel all gooey when I go there and see all these people enjoying it. And on the really hot day, I thought to myself, where would all these people go, if they weren't here? There's a free day at the pool on Sunday, which I'm guessing will be a cracker and packed. Please come if you live in the area and feel so inclined. Week days and when it's not so hot tend to be less crowded and very, very pleasant. A very good place to while away a warm day reading a book in the shade.  What else? Oh, we went to a regular Friday night in the park gathering and met lots of our lovely neighbours. Grace has been asking about dinner in the park ever since. And that's right, we are now even closer to our favourite trash and treasure market, which we visited on Sunday. And we bought door handles! A whole house lot for $30. With octagonal bakelite handles. They're much fancier (and maybe a little earlier in period) than what would have been in the house originally, but G has put two up already and we love them. I also got some other stuff. Trifles really, but I'm looking forward to using my new vase. And G was most enthusiastic about his pipe wrench and the big box of cup washers from the man who used to sell paper ephemera but has since moved into old hardware.

Work has been trying on a few levels. One of my colleagues acts in a way that makes me want to slap them fairly constantly, which would be mighty unprofessional, so there's some anger that I'm carrying. However after cracking the shits in a major way about not ever getting my lunch until well after lunchtime, because said colleague never went or returned on time (which I never said directly because that would be dobbing but everyone knows), I now have the earlier lunch spot (which was deemed an easier solution than anyone discussing matters with said colleague). Whatevever. I don't really care, this issue has been going on for months and months. Now I'm having lunch at a reasonable time, I'm also not having to work through the whole busy lunch period getting hungrier and crankier and busting to go to the loo while everyone else has their turn at having lunch. Of course sometimes I will (as will everyone else) have a late lunch because I get caught up in something that takes a long time, but it shouldn't be every day. Anyway. I've also negotiated new hours starting in a couple of weeks. An extra day a month at work (which I'm not totally happy with but you have to give to get sometimes and it is a trial), but shorter days all in a row, which means longer weekends. And a later start time so I can catch a bus which connects well with a train and have some time at home with my little family in the morning. Which might help me feel a bit more connected with my life again. And as a bonus, I had some leave approved for next week which means I have the whole week off. Woohoo!

Oh, and another good thing. We have discovered the most awesome Lebanese fruit and nut shop, just blocks from our house. Mostly fantastic fresh produce (including the best cherries I have ever tasted) and great breads, dips etc. The sort of shop where I couldn't find the cracked wheat for looking, because there were more than ten kinds for sale. A place that smells like food and where they offer you a coffee while you shop.

it'll be fine in 09

It's been a big year, hasn't it? Or has it? Maybe buying your first home, starting to fix it up and moving will make any year seem bigger than average. Aside from that, I think what has also marked this year for me has been the absence of major psychiatric crisis. Especially as 2007 was not a good year for my crazy. That's something to be pleased about. Outside my own little world, the two things that I think I'll remember about 2008 are The Sorry (good amazing) and the Global Economic Crisis (bad but maybe with some benefit to a world drowning in consumption). With not much in between. I think both will shape our lives over the next few years in ways we don't know yet.

I haven't really been big on the resolutions in the past, although I did have a crack in 2007. But I've been thinking about whether I could come up with ten realistic resolutions for the new year. Or maybe I'll call them intentions....

1 :: Go back to yoga. Before I turn into an old woman who can't sit on the floor or tie her shoes.

2 :: Take more pictures of landscapes. Requires leaving the city occasionally, which would have to be a good thing

3:: Swim, swim, swim. Enjoy my pool. It really is lovely. Cool water, green grass and surrounded by the bushy Merri Creek. Grace likes it too.

4 :: I'd like to say loose weight, because being fat and getting fatter is shitting me to tears*, but I know that diets suck and don't really work in the long term. And then there's that complex interplay of medication, genes, comfort eating and other fa(c)tors at work. However I reckon I could abstain from eating so many sweets and those sneaky salt and vinegar chips for afternoon tea at at work. (Oh, but salt and vinegar after six hours of customer service is just soooo good). And get more exercise. Let's call it doing the Healthy at Every Size thing. But without the Fantasy of Being Thin. Oh, and maybe the Intuitive Eating Thing.

5 :: Cut my hair much shorter and live with the grey. Even if only for a few days. To see whether it rocks or not. Besides, I really don't want to dirty up the new bathroom with hair dye do I?

6 :: Always have cut flowers.  I have some lovely vases and enjoy arranging flowers. There are two really good spots for flowers in this house and Grace is old enough now for them not to be a hazard. Now, as I can't really afford to be buying flowers every week, and as we barely have a garden yet, this is going to be a challenge. This week it's rose hips from the neighbours bush that hangs into our yard. She said I could cut them back, and although I'm not really game to go round to her side, hopefully this might encourage another flush and then there will be some more roses!

7 :: Get to know my new neighbourhood. The creeks, the bushy bits, the derelictia, the shops, the streets, the gardens. Lots of walking, lots of taking pictures.

8 :: Eat better food. Try and step out of the mushroom pasta rut more often.

9 :: Plant at least 25 trees or shrubs in our garden. I was going to aim for 50, but it would be silly to plant more than I could look after, wouldn't it? And once the first lot have established, then I can plant more, more, more. Mum doesn't think I'll fit that many trees, but having counted the spaces along the fence,  I think I might.

10 :: And last but certainly not least, work on the house. Making it better and homier for all of us. Today I made temporary curtains for the study and G was mighty pleased.

Do you have any new year's resolutions/intentions?


*quite literally the other morning in the doctors office. We were discussing my snoring issues and how my psychiatrist has fielded weight watchers, seeing a dietitian and lap band surgery. None of which I am at all keen on. There being more than enough doctors and the like in my life as it is. Anyway my GP was very gentle and sat through my tears, just acknowleging that I was upset. As it turns out, he is not a big fan of surgery or dieting either. Then when I said that I was trying to exercise more (well, I can't help it with the new commute), he said that he thought that exercise was more likely to improve my health issues (puffy foot and snoring) than losing weight per se. Then I went to Savers and on to the bathers shop as planned and bought new bathers for me and Grace, without crying, feeling tragic or falling on the floor with despair. My world is a strange place sometimes. Go figure.