Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ring Ring

Our phone line sounded fairly fuzzy yesterday when I called 'Salina's playdate's mother. When I spoke to her, there was a very distinct "engaged" signal also blaring. I put it down to one of those glitches.

This morning, I tried to ring a friend, and got both the ring tone and her answering machine. As it was odd, I rang Telstra to check it out.

At first it was sort of cute - double ring tones.

Then it was weird - Telstra lady asking for the phone number to be entered - but in a dual, slightly-delayed manner.

Then it was downright bizarre - as I got the same voice (but twice over) giving conflicting advice and both offering keypad menu alternatives.

The first voice finally placed me on hold for customer service, so I chose the same option offered by the second voice.

The hold musics were different - or at least different parts of the muzak loop.
I got John from customer service on line one, who agreed to call me on my mobile should we get cut off. As the hold music on line two spooked him he decided to do so anyway and I should hang up when he got through.

As I answered my mobile, Barbara from customer service answered line two - I am sure she thought I was a nutcase as I tried to precis the problem and solution in 7 seconds without being abrupt. I don't think I succeeded. (I have just discovered while blogging that I somehow cared about what Barbara from customer service thought of me. How truly sad.)

Telstra should have fixed it - by Friday. Its probably down to all the high-rise apartments being built nearby. Or it could be all that rain we have had. Maybe it is to do with my ADSL. Heck, I am willing to blame the stock market. Nothing will change it until a technician looks into the problem. By Friday.

In the interim, it is not worth the hassle of trying to call anyone.

If they have call waiting, they can switch between their calls from me.

If they have nothing, the "engaged" signal drowns out all speech.

I have discovered, however, if their phone goes automatically to messagebank I can both have a conversation and have it recorded.

I just wonder - I am on a special plan with Telstra that means all calls, local and national, are free. Does that mean that they are charging - themselves - for both calls?

Haven't we come a long way technologically in (ahem) over 30 years?

My phone number when I grew up was something I could spell.

There were five households all connected to the party line, and we could work out whose call it was by the morse code of the rings. Our call was three shorts.

If there was a storm, Dad (or another of the menfolk from the line) would put a few kids in a vehicle and we would "check the line" to see where it was broken. He would then use a chainsaw, pliers, strainers - whatever was required - to fix the phone line.

You always started a call by picking up the phone and enquiring "working?" If someone was already on the line, you would hang up and wait for them to ring off.

When you finished a call, you had to make one short ring. Usually, the person on the other end did the same.

If the call went through the exchange, this would signal that the postmaster could disconnect the calls.

Old ladies with nothing better to do would often listen in on conversations. One had a chiming clock.

When there was an emergency requiring an ambulance from town, you would call the local operator - who would then call the operator in the larger exchange to the South - who would then call the operator in the nearest town with an ambulance - who would put you through to the ambulance.

When my Dad had one such emergency, the folk from the larger exchange to the South were having a tea break. It took nearly 30 minutes to get through to the ambulance. The ambulance took another half-hour to get to our home and administer laughing gas. My Dad is a convert.

Recently another accident happened in the neighbourhood. They got through to the ambulance call centre immediately. The person in some part of Australia (definitely not a local) needed the government issued number and name of the nearest crossroads. Luckily the local ambulance driver had enough nouse to call first and find out the correct location. There are a lot of crossroads in the bush that don't sit in government maps - or fit well with a numbering system.

Ah technology - its a wonderful thing - when it works.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

If you love your dog but want to visit (another) paradise

Hey there - left you all with the news that I was going to stay with a friend at the Sunshine Coast.

Well, for all of you who want to have a week at the Sunshine Coast, but don't want to leave your dog behind, can I HIGHLY recommend the house she rented for the week?

Beachdog is a really great spot - my friend and her two dogs would agree!

Lovely and cool, a very leafy yard - a pool (which 'Salina spent most of her waking minutes in), a short walk to a dog friendly beach, enough bathrooms for the amount of guests it can hold and a new kitchen.

My sending plaudits its way is not a paid endorsement - just hopefully a community service to those who have a desire to have a relaxing holiday AND take their dogs too!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

How I rejoined (and am still rejoining) humanity

Sometimes when you wake up with things you have/want to post about and have several other things on the to do list, it is easier to add "hope and pray the six of you understand" rather than go through all that publishing several different things palaver.

Anyhow - waaaaa-aaaay back a long time ago, I had heard rumours about people who had social lives - online. Can you imagine? There are some weird people in the world, eh?

Then things conspired to ensure that I was not so comfortable in the real world society. Those who know me in real life know what I allude to - those who have read long enough should be able to read between the lines.

Anyhow, it wasn't that I didn't have my real life friends rally around me - they did, and I am very grateful for that support. But I was in a place where I couldn't really reach out, and they were in a place where they met the stone wall of me not being able to.

One thing that helped save my sanity during that time was a small ad that appeared on a local council website - how it got there, I do not know, as it was for a forum based in the US for single mothers. Through this forum I found many women who, while not in my boat, were sailing similar waters - and there is nothing like finding people who can understand where you are at to help piece yourself together.

Over the years, that forum has had a few morphs - and not all of them pretty - but I learned the reality of online friendship. During one of the morphs, I discovered a similar board based here in Australia - and found that online friendships can convert into real life friendships as well.

(It was through a discussion from this board that led to me updating my RSVP profile, and finding V. Double bonus points!)

Since my foray into the blog world, I have found many people that I admire, that I aspire to be like, that amuse me - and that I believe I could become friends with in real life. I thank you for that (check out my blogroll for these folk!).

I have also discovered, of late, two forums devoted to Australian bloggers.

The first, All For Women Online arose from a blog I discovered through one of those bloggers who I think would be my friend in real life, Mad Goat Lady.

The second, Aussie Bloggers Forum also has a blog to support it, and I was pointed that way by Jen at Semantically Driven.

Both of these are wonderful ways of learning more about the art of blogging and as a way of meeting some great bloggers (novices and experts) in a more casual atmosphere - and you don't HAVE to be an Aussie to join.

I have not had a chance to spend much time in these rooms yet - what with school holidays, sporadic work and paradise beckoning - but by next Tuesday I may saunter in again.

I would also like to introduce a real life friend of mine who has joined the world of blogging Bush Babe - a fabulous photographer, a wonderful woman, a great friend (and the best big sister a little sister could have).

Anyway - off to pack the bags as, in answer to those questions of "where does one go for a holiday when you live at the beach?", we are going to another beach for the Australia Day weekend - with another of those real life friends who was there for me all the way.

Happy Australia Day!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


It was a big shock on the breakfast shows yesterday morning (which I never watch but caught by accident) about the early death of actor Heath Ledger.

As Australians, we have a special place in our hearts (and lots of special places in our gossip magazines) for the Kangaroo contingent in Hollywood, and thus feel we really "know" our expats.

I did see him in "The Patriot" and was suitably impressed. All of his other movies (yes, even "Brokenback Mountain") unfortunately form part of the extensive list of movies that I have not seen. I am impressed he played in "Candy". This is one of my all-time favourite books - a very eye-opening and beautiful (if that is possible) portrayal of the very dark subject of heroin addiction.

Why is it that I seem to know way more about his personal life than his body of work? Truly it is a shame, especially as I never buy those rags and only see them at the houses of friends and family, and in waiting rooms. I find that really sad, because how much do we know of people through such journals?

I am not here to do the indepth "was he depressed, was it accidental, did he have (insert condition here)" analysis. No doubt some autopsy will eventually fill us in on his death, but only speculation and innuendo will fill in the moments before. What is known is he is dead and that is a pretty final statement.

I do know that he had a daughter, Matilda. Every Australian will give a wry smile at her name - it also holds a place in our lore.

I know nothing of Michelle Williams - but somehow I feel I know the place she is now. I assume their daughter was conceived and born of love and future plans. I know that feeling.

Somehow, for whatever reason, the relationship had not gone as planned and they had separated. I can tick that box also.

Now, he has died and she is the sole parent of a two year old girl - Michelle, unfortunately I so know where you are at.

You are the only memory holder of the relationship that formed her. You are the only one who can feel that fear, love, joy, pain as your daughter goes forth through the milestones of life. You are going to be going through grief but having to hold it together because you have a child that needs you. You may be second-guessing every step along the way and wondering if things could somehow have been different there - or there - or there - whether your daughter would still have her father - and what sort of father he may have been.

I don't have any advice - well, not in the "this is the perfect way to handle this" because I didn't always find my way the best way. That is the life of being the only parent, unfortunately. You make some mistakes, you live with it and move on. Sometimes you make the right decisions, but time moves too quickly to bask in the brief successes.

You can only do what you can to make your child understand the love that created her, the love that will still sustain her, and the fact that if you hold someone and their memories in your heart they still live in a way. You can only answer so many questions about the realities of death and try and make them fit the context of a 2 year old child - then a 3 year old child, then 4 and so forth.

In a way (and this is extremely callous but based on my experience and seeing the experience of other broken families) it is easier. You don't have the courtroom dramas, the dealing with ex and extended new families. You can create the perfect father out of the good memories that you have - and you can bury the not so nice things with him. You don't have the nitpicking over the way to parent, the way to educate, the way to act. You don't have the anxiety over whether he is pining for you or plotting ways of using your child to get back at you. You don't have the shadow of possibility that you may have worked things out.

I know that it is hard to be the person in your role - and I hope that along the way you find some of the things that I have found. I hope that you have a wonderful family who will support you through those tumultuous moments when the grief is overwhelming. I hope that you have fantastic friends who will include you and give you reprieve from being alone and fragile. I hope that the delights that your daughter shows you along the way will lift you up and give you the joy of what you have created. I hope that you can find peace in being a strong solo parent and great mother to your child. I hope that you may find the bonus of someone you can love and trust and that loves you and your child.

But most of all - I hope that you can get through all of this.

By the way - after starting this post, I noticed a post on a new blog I have found - asking "What’s your advice for Heath Ledger’s ex?".

I actually think the hardest thing that she will have to deal with is something that very few of us have to face (thank goodness) and that is the relentless scrutiny by the media. It is hard enough to go through this without having the neighbours looking in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Well, really its just some fluff from my bellybutton...

Along the way somehow my blog became more a journal of our everyday minutae, and less about me exploring and expressing who I am as a person.

I am not sure what that means.

Sometimes I think that the little bits of life so overwhelm me that I can no longer take that step back to contemplate my life.
Sometimes I think that their are not enough big enough bits of my life so I hide behind the furniture rather than fling open the front door.
Sometimes I think I think about crap too much, and the muck I scrape out of my navel is not worthy of blog consumption.

Yeah, sometimes I depress the carp out of myself and am determined not to do that to the five of you.

Of course, there are also the days where I wish I had a camera with me to capture a moment of beauty or quirkiness and present it; days when I have a really frighteningly wonderful moment of inspiration and wish I had a laptop to capture it; days when I read a half dozen blogs that all ring a similar enough theme that it sets me running with thoughts - unfortunately I keep cycling, keep weeding, keep pegging, keep dreaming, keep reading and those moments that would put me in the realm of "fantastic must read blogger" escape.

And then I realised - I have been here before. I once wrote a poem about it - see posted below.

Nice segue, hey? Back in the olden days, I was a performance poet. According to friends (and some complete strangers) I actually did quite well at the art of getting up on stage and presenting my words to a roomful of punters in various stages of caffination or inebriation - and man did it give me a buzz.

I found more venues to spout my words - venues that held less of my friends and more of the great unwashed - and they gave me enough feedback to make me think that my friends weren't just being nice to placate me.

I was even invited to festivals to espouse - rarely as a paid gig, but when you want to go to a festival and get in for free and you are just an average judy, who cares. *

And then you meet "the professionals".

It is really great to be on a stage with some craftspeople of your trade, as you see why they are so revered. You get to pick up mike tricks, how to work the crowd, bunt the hecklers and deal with praise. Not only that, but you learn that there are people behind the words, behind the masks, fake names and personas that are willing to reach out and be your friend.

However, there are also a$$holes - those who believe their own hype and are mesmerised by it. I recall recoiling at one festival at one well regarded poet going off about the "amateurs" that he was forced to share the stage with.

For me, one of the most wonderful things about performance poetry is that it is built on open sessions, where many of the audience consider themselves worthy of their own five minutes and can get up and do their thing. Sure, there are some excrutiating experiences, but there are some true gems in the majority. I loved going to readings that are mainly open with only a few features, as you get to hear and experience such a diverse gathering of styles, themes and voices.**

So to have a "professional" going off about these petty irritants made me realise one thing - and that is that I was darned happy to be one of the plebs - and I realise that this gig is sailing just fine, because I get out of it what I want - and that is the occasional joy of writing, the sporadic delight of feedback, friendships from both we of the masses and the chosen ones - and sometimes I am allowed to even fancy myself as a mightabeen...

* If you search hard, you could even find a CD that my performances are on - although I wouldn't buy it, not because it was a fantastic CD (which it is - nearly a dozen poets during a very enjoyable night) but because the charity it is supposed to support may have been a front for one guy and not one artist was asked permission or to sign a release - but that is another topic. (BTW - I still have 10 copies of the accompanying book! Apparently that was our fee for appearance).

** By the way - there is a poetry group up here that have monthly meetings. Of course, the only month in the whole time I have been here where I have actually been in town at the same time and was organised and child free, I got one of my lovely migraines. Another resolution - I AM going to make it for at least one in 2008.



“New poems, new poems”
      the plaintive cry
But, despite my hazes of fancy
      fuelled by elixirs of magic in life
The words, harnessed by pen
      Mock me.

Images so pale and lifeless
      compared to their siblings of freedom
Fluttering in the rafters of my mind.

I sit and, sketching lazily
      the city skyline
      so muted by
            the screen of nature
            the mirage of distance
            the lens of perspective.

They flock down from their perches
And fan the flames of the muse
Turn my dry words of wrapping
      into an inferno, that
            mortal that I am
      I cannot grasp.
Tiny flames taking hold
      mesmerise me.

Hypnotised I cannot tear my pen
From that foolish attempt to get it all
      in minutiae.

“Step back” my logical mind screeches
      but it has made so few speeches
            in my recent past
      that this warning is but a whisper
            to my rapture.

“New poems” is the cry
      and they crowd around my mind
            beating time
      yet ever unfocussed on a distant plain

This page has not yet pinned them down.

© Sophie Jean 1998

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rain, Computer Games and Migraines - oh, and cake!!

I don't know how closely you watch the Queensland weather reports. We were trained to all be absolutely silent and reverential when the weather was on the news, and know the difference - in terms of anticipated wetness - between highs, lows, cyclones and troughs.

I have a cousin on the outer Barcoo (seriously - for those of you who don't get the "literary" reference, see The Bush Christening). She and her fiance live right next to the Barcoo River on a property and have been pegging out where to build their new house for several years now (fiance has perfectionistic tendencies).

Well, currently the Barcoo is flowing THROUGH the old house and they have been camping in the shed for three days. What happens in floods is that every living thing is looking for a dry spot, so I don't imagine very much sleep going on!

As it took 6 years to get around to popping the question, and 2 years to prepare for the wedding (in April) I am only hoping that natural disasters will spur cousin's fiance into gear for contemplating a house (of wood or brick, rather than pegs and string) on higher ground!

Here is something on the floods in her area.

Something precluding me from quality computer hypnosis of late is a little indulgence I bought for 'Salina. My Pony Stables is holding her interest, although the primary purpose of becoming a "tycoon" has missed her (and I am quite glad for that!).

She has, however, discovered the secrets of getting the horse to jump and do cross-country, which she is ever eager to share with her visitors and cousins.

Unfortunately, this trumps Mummy's need to check out blogland, it seems.

Thanks to the tennis, I did not actually have a very enjoyable Saturday. On Friday night, we had made the "lets go to bed decision" at about 10.30 and had even gone so far as switch off extraneous lights.

Then we made our mistake. We decided to just see how a set ended (it was at tie-breaker stage) between Roddick and Kohlschreiber (known affectionately as Coleslaw in this house).

Luckily there was chocolate in the house to help us through that final set, because it was after 2 in the morning.

Well, after a lovely sleep in courtesy of the most beautiful child in the world, my head was only slightly cotton-wooly. We even went to a social function in the morning - but by our return, I can add "late night tennis matches" to my growing list of migraine triggers. Bah - I hadn't even indulged in anything stronger than the 1am chocolates!!

Hence - all really good blogs prepared in my mind were kyboshed by the fact that I could not move to save my head and stomach exploding. My neighbour (the lovely mother of Boy-Next-Door) had 'Salina join them all afternoon, and even provided me with some drugs to help the stomach bit - which did work, it calmed and only offered constant air expulsions. Noice.

I have just discovered that my crap Saturday has done me one good turn - and that is put me to bed early Saturday night, rather than stay up until 4.30 this morning watching Hewitt and Baghdatis.

An absolutely beautiful day in paradise today, so will be mowing and enjoying - here is the recipe for the awesome cake I made for V for last week:

3 cups plain flour, sifted after measuring
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 tablespoon ground Ceylon cinnamon
2 tablespoon cocoa
1.5 cups brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut oil
5 eggs
1.5 tablespoon vanilla extract
3.5 cups finely grated carrots
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly butter and flour 4 20cm cake pans.

  • Put flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and cocoa in a mixing bowl, and whisk together to blend.
  • Put the sugars in a large mixing bowl, and whisk in the peanut oil. Then whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the vanilla.
  • When fully blended, add the flour mixture all at once, and mix just until smooth.
  • Stir in the grated carrots and the nuts.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Drop each pan sharply onto the counter from a height of about 6 inches to remove any air pockets.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until the centre springs back gently when touched. Remove from the oven and place on cooling racks until completely cooled; then unmold.

375g butter, chilled and cut into pieces
250g cream cheese
250g creamed cottage cheese
2 cups sifted icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

  • Place the butter in the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium speed just until the butter begins to become malleable, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the cheeses gradually and mix until thoroughly blended. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla, and mix until blended.
  • Increase mixer speed slightly, and continue mixing for 2 to 3 minutes, until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.

Ice between layers, top and sides. We sprinkled grated chocolate and chopped macadamia nuts - it weighed about 3 kg, was too rich for 'Salina and drew the "that will put a gut on you" comment from my father, so a raging success! The creamed cottage cheese inclusion was due to misdirection in the dairy section while shopping, but turned out to be a very good substitute.

I received inspiration for it from here

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Back from the country

Hey there - just got back from 4 days at the family property - where it spent most of the time raining - which is wonderful when you love watching grass grow, not so fantastic when you are an 8 year old wanting to ride the horse as much as humanly possible!

Speaking of 'Salina, she is now cantering with confidence on the horse (not pony) and would sleep in the saddle if it were allowed!

Supergal (3) and Spideyboy (5) were also wonderful. I took them for a drive and played "I spy" - although Spideyboy needed to do colours rather than sounds. Not a lot of obvious things that aren't in the realm of grey (clouds), red (roads) or green (grass, leaves) - thank goodness, really! Supergal loved playing along - her clues were "I spy a road!" - pretty easy, really!

Only nearly got bogged once (chose to get rescued before that, though - on a truck with bulls, you don't want to do the slide).

Only had the instant family gathering once - 12 people and my SIL's mother!

Also had to learn a little more about death, as one pony died in a freak accident yesterday - kids all reacting differently.

Left 'Salina out there until tonight - so will hopefully have 4 hours work time now.

Then approximately 2 hours child-free V time. I wonder what that is like.

Tonight, my sister will bring 'Salina, Spideyboy and Supagal for an overnight stay - an opportunity for her to do the "big smoke" shopping, and for me to have the kids for some quality beach holiday fun!

By the way - did not get "the perfect present" for the birthday last week, but quite a few goodies - and I will post the recipe and photo of the awesome cake that I baked!

Now, off to work (oh, and try and visit some of you!)

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Precis Post

I am home - have been for 1 1/2 days but not really online. So here is the last few days in precis:

  • Finally left Sunday after a domestic dispute (not ours - we were witness to it - nice, and advice to the girl - leave him!! Don't wait for next time)
  • Arrived in Brisbane safely after an uneventful trip
  • Spent time with the Croatian outlaws
  • Had nephew's birthday on the Monday, a day completely hijacked by ex-SIL's antics - including a display of PMT that makes me look like a kitten
  • Spent time with an old friend
  • Negotiated ex-MIL's landmine remarks about - oh, about everything especially to do with her family
  • Spent time with a few more old friends
  • Tiptoed through Croatian outlaws intricate family web of self-deception and ability to transmit guilt on to loved ones
  • Went to the museum (with a million other children and adults)
  • Blogged in my mind
  • Escaped, (timed to avoid fatal road accidents on highway) and got home to a very welcoming cat and man.

Since then, we have been wet (due to the sky, not the sea), shopping and preparing for one wonderful man's birthday today.

Last year I stuffed it up completely with a little help from the ex-SIL and 'Salina's best friend forever. This year he is having a celebration with us - but I still don't have any gifts for him. I have, however, baked a cake.

I will be back in the land of the blog before long, I am sure, but until then I have a cake to ice, a perfect gift to find, four loads of laundry to clean, dry, fold and put away, a father to have coffee with, a house to prepare for five visitors tomorrow night, another trip to prepare for next week - oh, and cope with the ramifications of the internet thumbing its nose at my attempts to send attachments like reports to government bodies.

I did have some good mental blogs while away, however. And I hope to catch up on all of your news as soon as possible.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Organisational Strategy you have when you are not having an organisational strategy

You can hardly tell that I anticipate hitting the bitumen in only a few hours for a four day stay with 'Salina's extended family.

I mean, there is washing in the machine awaiting pegging - washing that I hope to have folded and even some packed for the adventure.

There is nary a suitcase in sight, let alone the resurfacing of my old faithful packing list.

I even have the "you have a report to write" bell tolling in my brain before I hit the road.

I have not yet contacted most of my Brisbane friends, and 'Salina's Auntie S was told we would be there "sort of mid-afternoon" - subtract 5 hours for driving and it seems that skate time is starting to approach.

One of the best things I ever introduced to motherhood was my Packing List. It is a piece of cardboard (somewhere) that has been used from babyhood until most recently very effectively. These days, there is not as much emphasis on taking the tonne of toys and a bit more on pens, paper and books. It helps me focus my mind and get my proverbial into gear, and my gear into the port.

I can't find it, but my whole morning is not falling apart as a result.

No, this distinct lack of organisation is a strategy. Sort of a meditative approach designed to reduce my stress levels. It will still take me until mid-morning to leave, so whether I approach it in a flurry with the 1001 things to do right now scramble, or ninja-like will make little difference at 10.30 when I suddenly realise that the mid-afternoon window at the other end of the journey is closing.

Part of my procrastination is the fact that this four days in Brisbane is four days away from V, and I really like having him near me. I am not going to blow away in a puff of wind if he is not by my side - more that its great to know I can reach out and touch him, rather than revert to long distance longing that was the beginning of our relationship. I have him where I want him (and despite recent posts, that can be a comfortable position for him most of the time) and now I am the one having to do the leaving on Sunday ritual.


So - to the trusty to-do list, and I hope to see you all when I return to the 'sphere on Wednesday.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

It could get worse

Thank you all for your feedback to my last post. It is nice to know (especially at this time of the month) that I should be appreciated for sending danger signals!

And as I wandered across the internet yesterday, I found I was in good company - Queen of Shake Shake was showing how to put the condition to good use.

V despairs of the future, as he feels that he will be entering the gates of hell when 'Salina is old enough to allow hormones to dictate how shirty she gets.

I soothed him as best I could. "It won't go on forever."

"Yeah, I suppose so. One day you will stop."

"Yep." I smiled - "one day I won't have a hormone cycle to do this and I can be grouchy at any time - sort of like a man."

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Nuances of Sorry

Over here, we are having a bumper brew of PMT - some months we have barely an hour of it upsetting our equilibrium, others we can have 8 days of eggshell walking.

I woke up very cranky for no good reason and I knew it - I had barely opened my eyes when my nasty side started in on me, berating me for so much I had to leave the bed to escape - and walked in to the living room where my happy family were. Ha! I gave them fair warning and sought a spot where I could affect no-one.

I even turned to grapefruit - my miracle fruit - which went very well - first mouthful perked me up - but the rest of it tasted musty. Then I had muesli - it tasted musty also. Darn - first my senses of humour and optimism, then my sense of taste. Things were not going well.

I tried so hard not to allow this drift down over us and affect us all, but there are moments when the nasty mood just catches up and trips you over.

I applied myself to household duties - always a good thing to attempt, as at least something gets done! V - darling sweet V - tiptoed in to the kitchen very carefully.

"I am sorry for being in such a shirty mood" I said. His look was very wary.

"You shouldn't apologise unless you are doing something wrong". Wow - wrong f***ing response, John Howard!

In my nicest words I explained that it was more a "sorry that he is going through" rather than a "sorry I am doing this" and there are many shades of the term. I am not sure he heard me, what with his armour raised like that.

However, we have survived to the other end of the day. Only 6 more days to go until the P is removed from the mood - something we are ALL looking forward to.

And yes, there are days when I think that I should do something about those Evening Primrose Oil pills my mother keeps pushing...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The "Going to the Beach and Getting Wet" adventure

Ah yes, I have indeed done well for the start of the new year - we have been to the beach EVERY DAY so far!

I will tell you how it went down.

There I was, diverting myself quietly with the offerings of the New Year when my daughter demanded my attention.

Oh, sorry, there I was, mainlining my main drug Blog when my daughter asked if we could please go to the beach.

As the howling gales and lashing downpours had done their latest intermit, and therefore sunshine was beckoning - and as my daughter had been stuck indoors for nearly all of this year thus far - and as I did put something in the ether about being a better person this year, I folded.

I did not do a whole jack-knife, however - there was NO WAY I was venturing in to the water. I had felt the gales on my dry skin and I know how the feeling of your skin turning to ice can intensify that much more when you add the wet factor. I also have a little bit of a problem with showing my earthly vessel in a semi-naked state at a public location.

We cycled over and set up shop. 'Salina has no such body image issues (no matter how hard various friends and relatives attempt to give one to her) and she is a water nymph. Immediately she began her frolic, and I assumed sentry duty on the edge of the waves.

It was glorious, meditating on the ocean, the hordes of revellers, the boogie board phalanx bobbing over the waves, the smaller children in the foreground investigating treasures thrown up by the sea, the life-savers alternating deadpan serious for those venturing outside the flags and in-club jokes as they gathered in small groups and cracked each other up.

And the sentries - silently we stood as Easter Island statues, holding goggles and boards and towels, keeping our eyes keenly on our individual broods, scanning for that hidden danger that may force us to don our supermother garb.

I wrote poetry inside my head for half an hour, remembering the glee of allowing words to flow and create music, remembering the girl who used to fill her journals with these sketches of life, remembering the searching for little joys and unexpected delights just to build these layers of words and infuse the meanings into a dance.

Of course, nothing remains but the memory now. I had not thought to bring implements for poetry, and I am glad. Much like the first pikelets, the first few days of poetry flow can be rather doughy - but I am delighted that there was a bubble of two of inspiration come forth.

And throughout the daydreams was the tidal pull of my child, wanting me to watch, to hold her goggles, to see her catch a wave, to give her goggles. We sentries smiled the secret smiles and gave the nods of understanding to one another as another child came up from the ocean with their little finds and shrieks of triumph as they rode a wave in or were dumped.

A rainbow was truly a moment of kitsch overkill, but sometimes nature can be a bit too showy, hey? It was soon followed by an overture of brooding clouds and gusts anew from the freshening low, so our time was coming to a close.

Just as we left the beach the skies opened again. We got 90% soaked as we raced to the showers, but it was sunshine again as we emerged to cycle home.

Maybe I will take my togs today - or maybe a notebook and pencil - but if my daughter asks, I think I may again concede and spend another adventure with her - it was fun.