You won’t believe how fast it goes

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You won’t believe how fast it goes, he said. Mine is 6 foot 4 now.

His beard, entirely white with nicotine stains that betrayed a lifetime of smoking, surrounded his smiling mouth. He followed me out of the shiny new parcel hall of the lego red post office. It goes so quickly, he said. Suddenly, they sleep all night and then before you know it, they are gone. When I see little ones like that, he said pointing to my son, I am reminded how fast it goes. I’m not a pervert, he quickly added.

How I wish this stranger hadn’t had to add that last phrase. It never crossed my mind that he was. I just was pondering the smoking and the tinge of sadness in his voice as he recalled his own son and the fleeting reminder of him. He felt it necessary to reassure me in some way. He signaled that his act of just observing my boy playing with his animals on the floor while I retrieved a parcel, was just an innocent glance of a stranger. As we all walked out of the parcel hall he said, you are doing a great job. I thanked him and marveled myself how fast the last four and a half years have already gone.

There is a strange sadness to all our lives now that a grandfatherly man cannot talk to a woman about her son without an element of suspicion. It made me feel so melancholy that he needed to say that. That our society has eroded to the point where men of a certain age, or even, men of any age, cannot comment about children that are not their own.

Had this man, with his stained beard and soft Canadian accent, simply said, they grow up so fast, I would have just nodded and smiled. You won’t believe how fast it goes.

 

It’s like 1773 … only worse

Make no mistake, beverages are extremely important to me. More important than most other comestibles. Since I was nine years old and I discovered on a life changing trip to Canada, that people drank things other than water. Hot chocolate. Every afternoon. Just because it is nice! I was hooked from that moment. Read More

Ain’t no cure

One hundred and eighty five days is a long time to not do something you profess to love. It has been one hundred and eighty five days since I wrote a blog post. This blog which sustained me during dark times, good times, mothering times, and busy times, has been shelved. It was intentional, in a way. Read More

The cat’s out of the bag

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The problem with being a control freak, is that the conceit only works if everyone else plays along too.

Read More

Blogvember post the last #blogvember

Homemade Advent Calendar

Homemade Advent Calendar

The final blogvember piece herald the beginning of the end of the year. Bring on the parties, the glasses of fizz, the gin and tonics. New traditions I am forging like a tree from 1 December, and homemade advent calendar give me joy and I hope can bring back the pleasures of the season that are sometimes jettisoned for style over substance.

Merry Christmas Cake

Merry Christmas Cake

 

 

 

 

 

Today we bought all the dried fruit and mixed peel and cinnamon sticks we need from the markets. We bought vermouth and brandy, bitters and more. All the base ingredients for mince tarts, fruit cake, puddings and delicious drinks. Here’s cheers to that! The next few weeks are a whirlwind. I am going to try to focus on the enjoyment of the little simple pleasures. The joy of champagne popping, the tinkling lights, the smiles of people I love. I will try to not get too hot and bothered. We will have cold lunch and pudding at 10 o’clock at night when it’s cool enough. I am looking forward particularly to trifle. I love trifle more than almost all the other christmasy treat combined. You’ll find me on Boxing Day morning with a spoon and my head inside the fridge.

Let’s deck the halls and make the yuletide gay. Now all I want to do is count down. Christmas in T – minus 25 days.

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Penultimate post #blogvember 2013

IMG_3505It’s almost the end of blogvember. It is the day before the last. Friday night. Glass of rosé. BBQ chook.

This blogvember I have so far written 11 536 words. By the last word on the post tomorrow it will be over 12 000. There are insights in those words, secrets and typos. There were a wide variety of topics covered and having completed a quick review, some of the writing could be better, and a lot of it would have been better with more editing. Such is the challenge of blogvember, write everyday, write fast and post.

The discipline of writing everyday is one of the techniques most commonly cited in advice for writers.

I’ve cited this before and I will again to remind myself that I am not there yet.

WRITE EVERY DAY

Writing is a muscle. Smaller than a hamstring and slightly bigger than a bicep, and it needs to be exercised to get stronger. Think of your words as reps, your paragraphs as sets, your pages as daily workouts. Think of your laptop as a machine like the one at the gym where you open and close your inner thighs in front of everyone, exposing both your insecurities and your genitals. Because that is what writing is all about. (Colin Nissan)

Much self editing has been at play, and not enough exposure. The exposing of insecurities I still need to work on. The generation of new ideas has been easier and harder than last year, sometimes I think because some of my ideas have already had a good run. It also lead me to conclude that there is a bit of sameness in the routine between this year and last year. I think now would be a good time for a complete overhaul and a new writing venture. I’ll be mulling that over while I keep doing my daily workout over the summer.

Bookclub #blogvember

Tonight is the last bookclub  of  2013. IMG_1070

12 months, 11 women, much wine and many opinions.

The Christmas celebration was filled with cheesy Christmas music – Michael Bublé anyone? – and great food. It was for many the first official end of year celebration and there was some relish with which several members of the party took to that first gin and tonic.

Blogvember took a back seat while we feasted and chatted. During the end of dinner there was a suggestion of  writing a line each for a post, however when it came to it, the motivation waned. I did however ask the eleven women some questions. And here is a glimpse into what we get up to once a month.

I like book club because I read things I would never otherwise read - KM

And sometimes I appreciate the books more after we discuss them. However, in most cases I still forget them – AM

What about the new Christos Tsiolkas one? Is that full of the c word like the last one? KM

They are quite good to listen to in the car … Matthew Riley .. talking books – AM

Coming down in favour of Roadl Dahl for the kids as talking books … they are good family distraction – CP

I like book club because it is my only adult pursuit – TP

David Tennant doing all the Vikings accents – is awesome – I love David – the how to train your dragon stories are awesome, the characters are awesome, even if I can never remember all their names – CP

I love bookclub because you can be smart at bookclub and it is ok, no wait, it’s because you can be opinionated and that’s ok – TL

I love bookclub because I get to hang out with fabulous women – LR

I love bookclub because I have met wonderful women  I might never have met – KSM

The only reason I am here is because I had a crush on Paula’s boyfriend – TP

It is not about the book, it’s about downloading our lives - KSM

The books are sometimes hotly debated. Contentious books particularly. The chats and stories and support are worth as much as all the books in the world.

This year we read – Flaubert’s Parrot (Jullian Barnes), Past the Shallows (Favel Parret), When Colts Ran (Roger McDonald – our Canberra Centenary book), 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window (Jonas Janasson), Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Katherine Boo), Illegal Action (Stella Rimington), The Rose Grower (Michelle De Krester), The Constant Gardener (John LeCarre), The Perks of Being a Wall Flower (Stephen Chbosky), Burial Rites (Hannah Kent), and Dog Boy (Eva Hornung ).

 

 

 

Why blogging is like philosophy #blogvember

Hipparchia

Hipparchia – reputed to have consummated her marriage to Crates in public

Sometimes blogging is like philosophy.

Here’s one I wrote earlier.

In the hegemonic, one can claim to have the answer, or to have no use for images but we might as well do away with “false windows that lend symmetry and with illusory self-justifications.” In line with this project of the possibilities of non-hegemonic philosophy Le Dœuff notes that her own project will indeed be incomplete and provisional and never more so than in the Larynx.

One of Le Dœuff’s other imperatives is the idea that it is better to start to speak before knowing where the speaking will end than to not speak at all from fear of the not knowing. There are two aspects of methodology which will be important to capturing the resonances of the “Philosophy in the Larynx” paper. I will focus firstly on her operative lever of Rousseau to present the material of “Philosophy in the Larynx” and secondly, on the fragment which does not try to reconstruct everything and which might allow whispered, impressionistic stories which “can lead the way to an understanding of the most vital lesson”.

 

The soft parts #blogvember

There are parts of me that are damaged and sore. Literally and metaphorically the tender velvet purple bruise of pain resides in my right hip. It is at times more present and then, it recedes and fades. The soft part which is evident if you press it, if I lie on it, is protected, shielded and cosseted. The words to describe the pain do not come easily. I wonder if it will ever heal. Ever stop hurting.IMG_3486 - Version 2

The pain leads to compensation. It leads to holding back. I don’t use the full range of motion. I lengthen, only to a point. I hold back and keep myself in check, in reserve. Literally and metaphorically the pain is protected. I hold it in, as I hold myself back. I downplay. It doesn’t hurt that much. It doesn’t hurt today. It’ll feel better after I had a hot pack, a panadol, a stretch. Deep in my hip the pain curls itself deep in the tissue and keeps quiet and invisible.

The causes of the velvet purple bruise of pain are deeper than the  tissue. They are deeper than me. They might stretch back to the beginning of me. The soft parts need careful handling. The bruise needs to be strengthened from the inside. The support structures of the hip, the tissues, the tendons need to be gently worked over. The rest of me need to be able to sustain. The rest of me needs to bear the bruise and the pain of working on the damage.  I can’t run. It follows. I fell and now I am paying for hitting the ground.

Fantasy island #blogvember

In the late seventies there was an island where, for a fee, you could live out your fantasies. My fantasy island doesn’t involve fees, or dwarves or sea planes, or humidity. The island of my imagination is for mothers. Exclusively. Almost no one else is allowed. There is only wine you like, books you like, music you like, lots of relaxation and uninterrupted sleep. It is for mothers. You don’t have to wash clothes, or iron, or wash up, or cook. Or you can do all those things if they make you feel good. There are massages, and clean sheets every single night. Ironed. Clean. Linen. Sheets – every single night. There is any book you want, or any magazine, or any anything with words in the world, immediately. There is music. Lots of music. And tea. There is always a packet of chips, or an orange, or a lamington, or cheese and bix.

Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island

The island is only for mothers because even when, or if, they go on holidays, they are never off duty. There is never the chance to just let go. That can only happen when everyone else is totally happy, comfortable and asleep. This is not possible in normal circumstances.

On my fantasy island, there are no fees, it’s not means tested, it takes anyone of any colour, race or creed. You can talk to anyone or no one. It is totally up to you. Simply, it is the best place on earth. I think it should be entirely tax payer funded. It is a community service to have invested time, energy and mental respite to mothers. My childless friends should not miss out, so they can apply through a ballot, for a few limited spots. The weather is never more than 25 degrees. It is never more than about 50% humidity. You don’t have to pack. Everything you need is provided, and it is all much nicer than the stuff you would have packed anyway.

Fantasy island is the place I always want to go in my imagination. When I need the respite from the hurly burly of the world. Wouldn’t it be great?

 

Sunday Confessional Four #blogvember

The making for beautiful wrapping and gifting

The making for beautiful wrapping and gifting

While I like to think that good cheer, the milk of human kindness and joy will be enough to see us through to the end of the ‘silly season’, I know it won’t be enough. No amount of extra yoga and breathing through your nose will be sufficient, by itself, to carry me across the finish line that is Christmas eve in one piece. I am going to need some help. If I am going to survive the kindy Christmas party, work Christmas party, other parties, end of year celebrations for bookclub, mum’s group, family gatherings, not to mention the birthdays and festivities, not to mention the shopping, gathering, cooking,  I will need gin. And wine. Lots and lots of wine. This is before I even think about how to tackle the day itself.

This Sunday I confess to my tricks to assist with the extra frivolity and carnival atmosphere that will invade our lives very soon.

Gin and tonic. Wine. Campari spritzers. Christmas cake and cups of tea. Sometimes all of the above.

Soon we all need to start preparing in earnest. I like to begin this madness by preparing my emergency stash. Bottle of gin. Chips. Several bottles of wine. Wine bottle gift bags. The gin is for me, as are the chips, the wine is to slide into a bag and give away. It is ready for all the people who will invite you round, turn up with a gift or present you with a cheery card when you haven’t factored them into your shopping list. In fact, I no long even make the list, I just get the wine in, get the bags and a sparkly texta and away I go. Walking out the door, pass by the laundry, wine, ready to go.

Every time I go to the supermarket now, I come home with at least one of the novelty Christmas-y chocolate packs. Gold ones. I wrap them or just stick bows on them. That stash occasionally gets too large and we have left over Ferraro all over the house for months into the new year.

There is another trick, although it is wearing a little thin in this house, is this CD. Or should I say three CD set!

I defy anyone not to be cheered by this festival of lounge music cheese – yes mum, I am looking at you. I do like the Bublé in the car so I can sing along and no one can hear me. No one will let me listen to it at home! With that preparation in place, then all I need to do is crank up the stereo, open the front door and try to remember which red frock I wore to which party last year.

Time to confess! How do you survive December with all its delights? Do you need a Bex and a good lie down just thinking about it? Tell me how you cope.

The garden spam edition #blogvember

Graham Thomas, named after English horticulturalist  and garden designer

Graham Thomas, named after English horticulturalist and garden designer

Small and simple pleasures are one of the best things in life. This garden, like all of then has been hard work and is always under construction. It a joy that it finally, after a long four years starting to blossom and produce. We worked today to shore up the walled vegie garden. The rescued roses, dug up in the cold depths of winter from a garden that didn’t need them anymore, now flourish in a place where roses are treasured like precious jewels. The salad is so abundant that we can’t eat it all. Tomatoes are coming along, the brave early painting now bearing fruit. More than this, the garden is a place we can all help to create together. It is a shared space, with each of us taking special interest in a corner, or a special plant. It brings the best in each of us. The hewing and hefting, the delicate planting out, the serious pruning, the mud pies, we all have different skills, different strengths.

Salad green garden

Salad green garden

Fig with peas

Fig with peas

All the strengths need to come together to make the garden work. It is an expression of our world and our family.

Rescued rose - Pierre du Ronsard (probably)

Rescued rose – Pierre du Ronsard (probably)

Cécile Brunner

Cécile Brunner

Borage

Borage