Sunday, August 30, 2009
Ditz & I were immersed in her history ~ well I was immersed; Ditz...who knows? We were occupied when I noticed this rather large pigeon happily ensconced on the verandah railing. Ditz immediately declared it a dove but it is in fact a white headed pigeon & rather shy, shy enough that sightings are rare.
It is also a dope. For whatever reason this mad bird decided that Camphor Laurels were good tucker. Camphor Laurels are an introduced species & councils all over the country are busily trying to eradicate them after the birds had merrily spread their seed all through the native bush creating a massive weed infestation of ~ you guessed it: Camphor Laurels! Unfortunately bird numbers decreased with the removal of the Camphor Lauurels & as these birs only lay one egg replacement numbers are on the slow side.
I know the one we saw was a male because the white was very white & the dark back had a green sheen to it. Females are greyer & lack the sheen.
These guys like tropical & subtropical rainforest so I'm not sure what they were doing round here. We're not really either. They are really secretive & wary too, usually hiding in the dense canopy rather than perching out in the open as this one was. Issi was very interested but eventually turned his back & went back to sleep in the sunshine. The pigeon is a fruit eater so that might be why he was round & I'm pretty sure he's whatever is making all the racket at night that's keeping me awake. I'm used to Mopokes, bitterns, screeching curlews ~ & several other species ~ all carousing under my window all night, every night. What disturbs me is the unfamiliar & something is making an odd & unholy racket in the wee sma's. Now that I think I've figured out what is making the noise I'll sleep better. I think. Hope. Hopefully.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
We are home. As in on the island. Two whole blissful weeks where the furtherest we've travelled is to another island. The weather has been lovely & warm during the day, coolish at night. It just feels so good to be doing the boring regular chores around the place: hanging out the washing, wiping down the kitchen, reading Ditz her history, grooming my poor moulting cat, eating breakfast on the verandah ~ well I was until I started painting. I have done the top deck only because everything else just got moved to the lower deck. When I have done the top deck we will move everything back around.
I enjoy a bit of hustle & bustle but the last month has just been insane & enough is enough. I now have lots of chores that have back piled & it has taken me some time to recover from a month of insanity.
Saturday the girls & I played island soccer. This is always interesting because how many are on the pitch at any given time depends on who turns up & lots of the other rules get waived as well. The size of the blokes is one reason I stand waaay, waaay out on the wing & only move if the ball actually comes to me ~ which it very rarely does. Those who've played with me a while know I can boot the ball to some purpose & if I'm close enough I am nippy enough to steal a ball from the unwary but I have no stamina & no speed any more & I refuse point blank to run round a patch of grass after a little round ball in the sort of heat we had on Saturday.
I, at least, pay attention. Ditz was so busy spinning like a helicopter stray balls zipped right past her & she never noticed. [& she wonders why she got that nick~name!] When she pays attention she is a semi~useful back with enough weight & size to simply let strikers run into her ~& bounce off!
Why, I'm sure you're wondering, do we do this at all? P.E. I write it off as P.E ~ which Ditz is still suppossed to be doing but is rarely around for. I do it because thanks to Ditz I already do more sitting around waiting than is good for me. I, however, have learnt to take things gently, especially when I haven't played for a while.
This is all that survived the unexpected winter rains in the garden: celery, which is beautiful & flavoursome, & cabbage ~ oh, & the basil. I have more basil than we know what to do with. We planted huge amounts of things but it pretty well drowned & rotted in the ground thanks to the tropical deluges that just shouldn't have happened at that time of the year ~ & the rain never let up until it was too late to replant. Oh, well, about time to plant for summer & that will probably burn to a crisp this year. However the grape, passionfruit, strawberries & nectarines should do really, really well before summer is finished.The nectarine is flowering profusely but just look at all the gum blossom along the sides of the road!!! The whole road was creamy with it at one point ~ & my driveway... & my clothesline area...& my verandah. I've never seen such a profusion of gum blossom spread like a thick berber carpet over everything! Can't say I'm real thrilled but is is pretty.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Liddy's weekend arrived & she took herself off for another driving lesson wherein she had a little trouble with her reverse parallel parking. No surprise. The parking spots over here are huge so you get a fair bit of leeway not possible on the mainland.
Which she promptly used to bug the rest of the household. I don't think my kitchen is terribly photogenic in the after dinner aftermath & I really, really hate being on the wrong side of the camera, which means not being the one pushing the shutter.
That's the Creative Gen T~shirt.
And see, I told you she did a great Death Stare! ☺
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I love wattle. It flowers generously, splashed in reams of gold through the drab~coloured scrub, glowing with golden light from the sun. Mind you I grew up with Sydney wattle, with delicate, pale lemon flowers like cotton ball tufts on twiggy string. The Black Wattle up here is considered something of a weed with its deep, rich golden hues but wattle is wattle. It promises summer.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I don't know where this term has gone but it is nearly over ~ & what have we to show for it? Not a great deal on the surface. Term 3 is always our most difficult term. End of winter with woggy things plaguing our days; 2/3 of the way through the year with enough rehearsals to create more performance opportunities; general had enough feelings after being stuck inside too much thanks to the erratic weather. Next term will be better. Ditz is like a horse who's scented the home stretch & bolts, head up, tail high.
I am not popular. We have sent in so much history & English we really don't need to send in any more. Maths is the thing. The math Ditz has been dragging her feet over all term. Now it is down to the wire & she is getting it every day. Not a happy Ditz! I'm not convinced she has learnt the moral of this little exercise though. Ah well, there's always next term.
If you would like a peek at her research paper [which was on Gypsies, remember?] click here. A little tidying up would help though I am pleased she has the general idea that she must list her resources. Still working on helping her set that all out & structure her work. Not her strong points but we are getting there.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I own something I believe is considered a classic, something so old & battered & loved I can't believe anyone but me would want it: a tattered [very] copy of Peg Maltby's Peg's Fairy Book.
I do not know where my copy came from. My mother more than likely & given it's age it may even be a survivor of her own childhood. It certainly looks like it has done the rounds of several generations. The pages are loose & torn. One of the loveliest illustrations is 1/2 missing & all the pages show signs of being chewed on by horrible little silverfish. Just the same I hang on to this book & hang on to this book, not for the stories which are twee & rather too sickly sweet for my taste but for the illustrations. The illustrations are wonderful!
While I've been running round the real world like a headless chook bloggy awards have been accumulating; & the thing with awards is that they are meant to be shared so today I am sharing. Somewhat late I admit, having finally crashed & slept 14 hours straight. The girls cooked last night & my kitchen is a disaster. I'm sorry I missed dinner. The remains look interesting & exotic but staying awake any longer was beyond my powers.
Jillian over here is responsible. Go check out some of her links to other Aussie homeschoolers ~ where I wasted far too much time this morning. ☺This award is to be passed on to those who faithfully follow my blog, giving encouragement and forming friendships that help us to build one another up in the Lord.
Now I could just give a list ~ which would be very dull for all of us. However, although there are lots of people I could pass this award on to because I love every single one of you who reads here I've decided to restrict myself to just one fellow blogger. Yes, you read correctly: one. That one is Connie @ Slim Pickin's From My Brain. Connie doesn't always have it easy but when I began blogging, some years & several crashed blogs ago, Connie was the very first person to read & comment on my blog. That was sooo encouraging for me. Without her interest & input my blogging exploits would probably have died an early death & while that might have been a good thing I would have missed out on all the wonderful friendships I have since formed in the bloggy realm. Connie has stayed with me through all the crashed blogs & despite the fact I read & fail to comment over at her place. That is almost unforgivable, isn't it ladies?! None of us like feeling like we are talking to ourselves. So here's to you, Connie! Thank you!And then there is this award. I just glow all over thinking I'm any one's favourite anything & anyone who wants to know where I read regularly has only to check out the blog roll on the front page of this thing because I read blogs for all sorts of different reasons. I know some people don't do awards & I can understand that. It takes time & you don't want to hurt any one's feelings by leaving them out. That said the 3 blogs I've chosen I have chosen for writing style. I know, weird of me, but I find them extremely readable. Let's face it I can barely sew, hate to cook & never wear dresses so what on earth am I doing over at Tomato Soup Cake? Good question but Soupy has an easy & very readable writing style that I find irresistible. Then there is Sandra over here@ Worlds End Farm. Horses. The last time I was on a horse, which is more years ago now than I care to own to, it ran away with me & scared the living daylights out of me. I don't do food either but Sandra has a very readable writing style as well & a wickedly satirical way of viewing her world that tickles my funny bone. And last but not least, because she makes me laugh & we share some really weird coincidences Britwife at Losing my Sanity a Little Brit at a Time. I think it is hard to write in such a way that you can make people laugh out loud so I appreciate those who can manage it.
That's all folks! Bunny Ears.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
We were carpooling yesterday & then I went to help pack up an apartment while Ditz & her ensemble rehearsed. We trotted back into town about 6ish for hamburgers before wandering over to QPAC to pick up our various children.
They were not on time. We attracted a lot of attention wandering round the empty foyer ~ every one else being inside in the theatre ~ but eventually were able to ask someone if the choir had sung yet. Oh no, we were assured, there was no choir singing tonight.
People poured into the foyer for interval while we hunted up staff to ask if we could watch the monitors for the kids performance. Shock! Horror! Gasp! There was no choir tonight! Are we sure we didn't want Joseph & his techni~coloured coat? Quite sure. They weren't real happy but we were allowed to watch the monitors & lo & behold the kids filed out on stage promptly after interval, a long nervous row of them looking like black & white blobs on the screen but they sang beautifully. One little section sounded a bit shonky to me & Ditz just said disgustedly that they were all singing at a different tempo because people weren't watching the monitors but as they got it together pretty quickly its probably only people like me, who register nothing except it doesn't sound quite like it usually does, who even noticed.
The kids were practically sitting in the audience's laps & Ditz, who does quite a good Death Stare as a regular thing, was busily out staring her audience one by one. Anyone who looked at her for longer than 2 seconds was eyeballed until they shifted their gaze. I don't think that's quite what is meant by connecting with your audience! However everyone was as surprised as they were meant to be by the ensemble performing; special birthday performance for the composer Ian McKinley , whose version of the 23rd Psalm the kids were singing. I think only the backstage crew knew about it. lol.
The kids wandered out closer to 9 than 8.30 which meant no way were we getting the 10pm boat ~ which meant we didn't wander in our own door until almost mid~night. Ditz, who was very wired when she came off stage, was silent by then, so very, very, tired & I'd cat~napped on the boat home. No rehearsal this week but after the month we've had I think we can all do with the break. We might actually get some of the other school work done!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Spring is here ~ a little early but definitely on its way! The air has changed & the days are definitely warmer! And where am I spending the day? In Brisbane of course. *sigh*.
Ditz is performing with the QLD Youth Orchestra at QPAC tonight but today they are rehearsing with the orchestra. They are only doing the one piece so it's not worth purchasing a ticket & sadly rehearsals are closed. This would be worth being a fly on the wall for. The theatre is very intimate & because they are sharing the stage with the orchestra the kids get to line up single file along the very edge of the stage where you can see the whites of the audiences' eyes!!! That's nerve wracking enough but the acoustics are such that you can't hear the performer beside you so it's as if you are soloing. If they keep the same format they had Wednesday Ditz will be plonk in the middle of the stage. *snigger, snigger.*
The movies aren't inviting so I guess its walking through Southbank for me. I have a book & coffee is available so I will lack for very little.
I really need a weekend at home though. I have never seen a spring like this before. We have so much gum blossom in great creamy drifts my yard & verandah have turned white with the stuff & the lorrikeets, rosellas & cockatoos have been stripping the sails till there are great twiggy branches lying all over everything as well. The bats, which feed on the blossom, have arrived in droves too, screeching & crashing through the treetops all night long. With the hotter weather the birdbaths are more popular & I am having to check them more often to make sure they are topped up with fresh water. We always get the little birds ~ honeyeaters, flycatchers & fantails ~ but as the temperatures skyrocket the bigger birds get desperate & there's nothing quite like the sight of a friar bird, magpie or kookaburra trying to squeeze into a contraption meant for something much, much smaller. They are not in the least self conscious about looking like prize idiots!
Ditz & I are getting very, very tired. All the travelling takes its toll & more often than I like I have been scheduling easy school days but then yesterday Ditz took a whole 20 minutes to do her science instead of the all morning drama I was expecting & our history reading is finally aligning with her extension project on Gypsies though, naturally, we are behind on her math. If we must do math I wish we had the math brain to cope with it but we do not & it continues to be the fly in our ointment, which is a shame as everything else rolls along quite nicely. Thank goodness Ditz has brains & to spare or it would all be a much bigger drama than it is.
Meanwhile Liddy is down to her last few needed hours for her driver's licence. I can't believe she's been driving for over 12 months ~ or how scary she was those first few weeks. Now she is very, very competent; if anything a little overconfident but she lined up the first of about 3 lessons with a driving school ~ one of the better ones with a good first time pass rate & sound preparation for the test~ & came home over the moon. Her instructor was very pleased with her driving habits. I rather let the air out of her balloon by remarking I must have done a pretty good job! She looked confused for a moment then got it. Yes, dear heart, mummy did a good job teaching you! *swipes at brow in relief!* Another licenced driver round her would be very handy!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
My mother was the sort of parent who gave books as birthday presents. I was the sort of child who anticipated the luxury of much new reading material come birthdays or Christmas. I was perfectly happy to forgo new clothes, fancy toys or make~up kits for a wealth of good books. Consequentially I have a very large children's library to this day.
When I was about 10 I recieved the first Billabong book I ever read, Bill of Billabong, & began my love affair with the inhabitants of Billabong Station.. Unless you are Australian you will never have heard of these ~ & even then maybe not. They are older books dating back to the early 1900s but what I love about them, & what made them so popular, is the humour. Billabong Adventurers has the funniest pre~nuptial scene I have ever read & when I am in need of a good laugh I will drag the book out just to read that one scene & laugh till I howl.
For the time they were written in they are remarkably modern in outlook. The central character is Norah Linton, the beloved daughter of David Linton & sister to Jim. Her home is the cattle station in Victoria, Billabong, which gives the series its name. Finding himself widowed & knowing nothing of raising girls David Linton raises Norah as he would a son. Don't let this put you off. Norah is definitely a feminine character with many womanly accomplishments. In the early books she is tutored at home & learns her household skills from the family housekeeper while still participating in the daily running of a large cattle station.
Mary Grant Bruce writes well but her most enviable skill is her ability to infuse the ordinary with the extraordinary. She writes about the daily round of everyday chores & activities in such a way that they seem fresh & exciting. As a parent I admire the attitude with with everything is approached. Work is seen as good & to be enjoyed as much as possible. Friendship is valued. Duty is to be done lovingly. Everyone is to be helped as best you can.
As an Australian much that is unique about these books is taken for granted. I've travelled through the countryside so lovingly described. I understand the heat & the flies & the attraction of cool water & gum shade on a scorching hot day. There is a subtlety to these books that was often missing in children's books of the era & there is surprisingly little moralising. However nothing does justic to an author like quoting their own words so here's a little snippett from my favourite passage:
He paddled hard for a few moments, standing up in the boat. Then he uttered an exclamation.
"Seems to me my feet are getting damp. Golly, the boat is making water hand over fist. That bump must have started a plank. Bale, Norah, as hard as you can, or we'll be drowned on our wedding day!"
Norah sought hurridly for a bailing tin, & finding none, did the best she could with her hat, which being of a porous nature, made little headway against the inrush of water. The boat filled rapidly, & presently sank gracefully beneath them. The water closed over their astonished heads. Billabong Adventurers ~ Mary Grant Bruce.
Some titles are now a little hard to get but many are still available though I would not recommend the very first as it is episodic & a little stilted & originally written for magazine installments but they are funny & wholesome & extremely readable.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Music Makers. Soprano & alto voices only. It does my head in. I hate to say it but Ditz is quite, quite mad. Fancy going all that way just to sing like a canary! They will work hard too. I don't need any crystal ball to foresee that!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I have found the last week so difficult I haven't been able to pull order out of chaos enough to write about it. It has been emotionally draining. Let's face it, every job I've ever held they sent me along for assertivness training because I find confrontation so difficult I avoid it at all costs. This is neither wise nor beneficial so a week starting with major confrontation has done absolutely nothing for my headspace ~ especially as that was just the beginning.
Finally we had found an electrician who had time to do our water heater. Yes, we have been without hot water all that time. The downside was I had to do the running round to pick up the new element & some light fittings as we were doing lights at the same time. Ditz & I left early & managed everything nicely ~ which is almost unheard of. I had just pulled out of our parking space & was completely stopped ~ as you do to: change gears; put on your seat belt; respond to the child going, "Waaaait!" beside you. I don't know but we were stopped for one or all of these reasons when a young woman slammed into us as she backed out of her parking space.
Now I wasn't happy; it's not my car, after all, but I am a civilized human being & accidents happen so I pulled back into a parking space [can't clutter up the road, now, can we?] & got out of my car to check our damage & that the other driver was ok. Damage negligable. Liddy wasn't going to be happy but it could have been so much worse.
Then the other driver accuses me of backing in to her. Pardon? We were stationary! I point this out & ask her to check with Ditz. She then says Ditz will lie & just say whatever I tell her to. What planet does this girl live on?! I began narking up. It takes a bit but when it happens it's not pretty. This girl is in full tirade & abusive. Fine, only don't accuse my kid, ok. I gave her my details but as I pointed out, not my car & I have no idea who it is insured with.
I ring Dearest & check with the police that I have done as I should & was not in the wrong & head on to choir ~ which was an extended rehearsal for Saturday's concert. We missed lunch, afternoon tea & dinner. Ditz & I were upset & starving by the time we got home but whatever.
We think the other driver rang Monday & got Ditz but asked for someone who doesn't even live here; total confusion on Ditz's part. There is a reason for that nickname. Meanwhile the Sparky arrived & unpluged all our electricals: no phone, no inter~net, no nothing & ever since we've had no phone at all. Dearest says it's the phone. Liddy & I say it's the line. The phone company people have been up & down the street for weeks trying to fix a problem. Whatever it is this rude individual has not been able to reach us & as I don't deal with rude individuals I have made no attempt to contact her. If her insurance company contacts me, fine, but I'm betting she doesn't want to pay her excess, which will be a good bit higher than mine, & I see no reason for us to pay for her mistake ~ or rudeness. Steam still coming out my ears on this one.
Ditz spent several days playing electrician's apprentice. She was a good little goffer but there is a reason that child does music. Our electricity is old & a simple job became a major hassel that involved us finding & checking every power point in the house. On being checked half had dead ants clogging the wiring. Those had to be replaced. We're lucky we never had an electrical fire. Yikes!
And just to round my week off the costing came through for the Singapore tour. Aaaargh! A good bit more than anticipated. Dearest is adamant Ditz needs to go but we can't afford me as well. None of us real happy about that given Ditz's personality & that the child is barely 14 & that she has been relatively sheltered & rarely away from home. Even then it's been with family or friends who are like family.
I am feeling worn & frazzled & frankly, God, what do you think you are doing~ish?! I don't think we are improving my personality here. Should be, maybe, but somehow it doesn't feel like it. I have anger management issues. I have control issues. I want the script re~written, the one with the happily ever after ending. Oh, you've done that already? Oops. My mistake.
Monday, August 17, 2009
I used to own a skirt. I even wore it once ~ to a cousin's wedding. It was some wedding but what I chiefly remember it for is Liddy.
Liddy was about 18 months or so, give or take. My memory of numbers is never particularly reliable. Liddy's Ma [my mother] is something of a seamstress & she had made the most adorable dress for her first grand~daughter. It was unbleached cotton with a little ruffle at the hem & sweet peach coloured ribbon threads. Liddy looked absolutely adorable in it; just like a little porclein doll.
My family is baby obsessive. Everyone adores babies. Hugs & kisses are par for the course & people are liable to say things like, "Oooh, I could just gobble you right up," but even as a very small child Liddy had a mind of her own & being gobbled up by these unknown relatives was not on Liddy's agenda. Liddy was very much her own person & very definitely her mummy's girl.All day stray relatives would swoop Liddy up exclaiming, "Aren't you adorable!" Followed by an ear~piercing shriek as Liddy demanded to be put down & bolted for mummy. She was prepared to be adored from afar but worshippers were required to keep their distance because being petted & patted was undignified. Liddy wouldn't let anyone near her but her beloved mummy.
This is the same child who would have nothing to do with her own father until after she turned 3 & distressed him no end by weeping copiously when he attempted to nibble her toes. Poor man exclaimed in bewilderment, " Boy, girls really are different to boys, aren't they!" So pleased he noticed!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Australian Vocal Arts Ensemble [Ditz is part of this]
Sound the Trumpet Purcell
Ave Maria Faure
Serve the Lord With Gladness Handel
Solo: Sea Wrack Harty
solo: Sweet Chance Head
Vox Totz: I’m Late Fain
Come to My Farm Folk Song
solo: Castle on a Cloud Schonberg
solo: My Dearest Dear Novello
Vocal Manoeuvres Ensemble
Just the Way You Are Joel
Can’t Buy Me Love McCartney
Vocal Manoeuvres Chorus [& Ditz is part of this]
The Lord is My Shepherd McKinley
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough Ashford/Simpson
solo: Being Alive Sondheim
solo: Over the Rainbow Arlen
solo:Don’t Cry Out Loud Allen
solo: At Last Gordon/Warren
solo: Anthem Andreson/Ulvaeus
Australian Vocal Arts Ensemble [Ditz again]
Little Fishy Holland
Esti Dal Kodaly
Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel Spiritual
Entire Company Now We Are Free Zimmer/Gerard [& again]
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Like most of our animals Gyver had personality & to spare. He was half grown when we got him, already at the gangly, adolescent stage. Our neighbours found him on their waterfront, half starved, with a fish~hook through his tongue. Obviously he'd been hungry enough to scavenge anything ~ including bait! They removed the hook & fed him & that was about it. The wife didn't like cats & though he did he was looking for another home for the cat to keep the domestic peace. I'm a sucker for cats, particularly blue~eyed cats, especially anything with Siamese in them. Yes, I know they are loud & raucous but they are incredibly smart animals & Gyver was a very smart cat.
Being Siamese he was not adverse to taking the long walk to the point with the boys. He knew jolly well there was bait in their buckets & that before too long there would be fresh fish as well. He would prowl from child to child keeping them company, chatting in the way only a Siamese can & reminding them that he was available for the feeding of tid~bits. When he was sated he would curl up in the warmest available spot & go to sleep for the day. When evening came I often had to hike down to the point & carry Gyver home myself.
He had the sweetest nature. He was not a cat to bite & scratch, no matter what the children did but he had a wicked sense of humour & never was it more evident than with a friend of Liddy's.
Liddy has always had friends who were boys. Something to do with having lots of brothers I guess. Anyway when she was about 5 her very best friend was a boy & I used to have the two of them regularly for the whole day.
Liddy's friend was a very nice little boy but he had a Siamese cat himself so he promptly & incautiously began teasing Gyver. Gyver, being a sweet natured cat, spent the morning with his fur on end from being lept out at from hidden corners & surprised. In the end I decided Gyver needed a break & the children needed to expend some energy in more constructive pursuits so I took the children for a walk.
We walked all the way to the end of the road then we began wandering home through the mangroves along the waterfront. A mangrove walk is always something of an obstacle course, especially if you have a mix of mangroves, as we do: buttress roots, spiky roots, cathedral roots, hoop roots. The children were well occupied just negotiating a path home.
All of a sudden a white shape lept out of the scrub. All 4 feet spread wide Gyver bounced up at his tormentor smiling manically then streaked for home! Seriously. The child nearly died on the spot. He let out an unearthly shriek then tore after the cat but the cat was smarter than he was & was nowhere to be found.
I stumbled after the kids nearly paralysed with laughter.
I acquired Gyver for me ~ & Joss promptly snavelled him ~ though Gyver was pretty impartial in his affection. Everyone was loved equally [unlike Issi who adores me alone!] but in his older age he was very much Liddy's cat because she wanted it that way.
I dream about him sometimes: the silkiness of his fur; his raucous greeting; the volcanic rumbling of his purr & I miss him in the mornings. He was always the first one up & he greeted me with delight, mewling about my ankles while I prepared his breakfast. Issi thought Gyver was a god & adored him lavishly, mimicking some of Gyver's quirkier habits. Losing him was really hard & though Issi eased the pain somewhat he is a very different cat. Gyver understood deprivation & he understood gratitude. He loved impartially without reservation. I learnt a lot about unconditional love from a cat.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Liddy was the sort of baby other mothers would kill for. We brought her home from the hospital & she promptly slept through the night; twelve hours straight; from 7pm to 7 am. I'd never had it so good with a new born.
Liddy never cried. When she was hungry she let out one whimper then waited patiently till I could get to her. She was happy to sleep in her own space, fed efficiently, disliked the sling but was happy to be lugged around on a hip. Every which way she was a very easy child.
We were expecting things to change somewhat round about the time she turned two. After all we'd done the *terrible twos* three times but Liddy turned two & continued to be her sweet, serene self. I was starting to worry that the child wasn't quite right.
I had three rough & tumble boys ~ & then I had Liddy. Naturally the boys adored her, spoilt her, treated her like the Queen Bee she so obviously thought she was. She used to march round the place laying down the law to everyone till her father was moved to suggest someone should swat her behind ~ only it wasn't going to be him!
Then one day it happened. Someone actually thwarted her. Liddy was flabbergasted. No was a word she rarely heard. She thought about it for a moment while we waited curiously then she got down on all fours & began feeling the floor. A little crowd of us gathered perplexed as to what Lid thought she was doing. Our floors are uncarpeted hardwood. After patting it tentatively Liddy very gently & carefully lay her head down, got comfortable & began to bellow. Having watched this performance in stunned silence it took us a moment to realise that this was Liddy's version of a tantrum. We began to snigger & within moments Dearest & I were gasping for breath while the tears streamed from our eyes! Oh my! Liddy glanced up from under perfectly dry lashes, saw us howling with laughter & marched off in disgust. As parents we were perfectly useless. There was obviously no point in wasting a perfectly good tantrum on us!
Now Lid doesn't give up easily & she learnt early the maxim you catch more flies with honey than vinegar so she stewed on her failure for some days but she finally found a solution & I caught her telling someone with perfect seriousness, "But I might cry!" Obviously there was no greater threat this child could offer the world. Exasperated I told her that in that case she would just have to cry!
Liddy found pre~school difficult. It was very competitive & she was bored . After all she'd been doing pre~school with her brothers for years. I pulled her out, a quieter, more anxious child whose confidence had been badly shaken by the whole school scene, & we continued as a twosome at home: coffee & cake with the girls, baking & gardening & lots of cuddling up together reading. I know we did all these things ~ a long string of days that have blurred together in memory ~but one day stands out from all the others.
All my life I have kept cats but since moving to the island we hadn't had one. Dearest just kept saying no. I hankered after a cat so when neighbours found a stray kitten on their waterfront that they didn't want my name got bandied around. I went to look but made no promises, Dearest had to agree, but I had Lid with me & that poor cat! Part Siamese, cream with ginger points & the bluest of blue eyes he was ragged, filthy & black with fleas. Liddy promptly fell in love. Liddy who never begged begged to keep him. At that point I was simply delighted to see the sparkle in her eyes, hear the assurance in her voice.
I let Liddy carry the poor thing home, cradling him oh so very carefully. She helped me bath him so he wasn't so flea ridden, & dry him with a soft towel & when her brothers came round the bend in the road she rushed to greet them with this most exciting of news. It was bedlam but that cat coped admirably. He always did. He was just forever grateful that he had found a home where he was loved.
Liddy loved that cat. As she had been with me the day we brought him home she was with me the day he died. We hadn't realised how sick he was. It was Liddy who wrapped him warmly & carried him to the vet but when we got the news of how sick he was she refused to come in with me. " I might cry..." Yes indeed. She wasn't the only one.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Second day down without a fuss. Liddy drove us in without trauma or incident & we hoyed Ditz out to be bored to tears while we took ourselves off to the cinema. Not real good choices but seeing Liddy had been at a 21st the night before & crashed at her brother's she wasn't feeling real bright & sparkly this morning when we picked her up & even the Ugly Truth was preferable to large amounts of exercise & bright sunshine.
Eventually the PR pics should go up on the VM site & I hope to be able to link anyone interested. Individual shots were done as well as group ones ~ CV stuff I guess. Who knows. Anyway I thought now might be a good time to tell the story of how we fell into Vocal Manoeuvres because in my wildest dreams I never expected to be doing this stuff.
I have mentioned, once or twice, that my Ditz has a little trouble counting, that my Ditz is social to the point of lunacy, that my Ditz likes to sing like a canary....It's hard remembering back to a time when music didn't consume a large part of our week but such a time did indeed exist.
Once upon a time we began piano as an adjunct to Ditz's math & we toddled along with Ditz learning her music basics. To piano we added violin because Ditz insisted she wanted to learn & violin was almost her undoing. So when the local primary school decided it wanted a school band & declared the auditions open Ditz was champing at her bit. Because it was local I agreed Ditz could audition, not really expecting her to gain a place. She did. And she was also offered a place in the school choir. I began juggling our school schedule around Ditz's music commitments. The school band folded within 12 months & I was left with a distressed child so we commuted 2 islands over so she could join the other school band.
All this was just falling in Ditz's lap but it was, you know, fairly laid back. Not a big deal. It was nice Ditz liked music. It was nice she could sing in tune. It was nice she could play an instrument. It was nice she was improving & had the chance to play in a band with other musicians.
Then we went over for flute the last day of 3rd term & a flyer, literally, fell in our lap. Musicians were workshopping over the school holidays for what used to be known locally as the Strawberry Festival. Local opportunities are rare. Unfortunately Ditz knew that as well as I did. She begged. I made a phone call. Mistake numero uno. The council were keen to boast the islanders were being included in their cultural reach & offered us free transport. We took it. Second mistake.
For 2 weeks straight Ditz got the sort of training she now takes for granted. She worked her butt off to find her feet in a semi~professional ensemble. She really grew musically & she loved performing. When it was all over I could literally see the distress of being back paddling in a pool of mediocrity. Ditz went into mourning. She didn't nag. She didn't beg. She simply wilted ~ visibly.
Dearest, who is an absolute sucker when it comes to his daughters, begged me to do something. I made enquiries. I thought the audition would be the end of it. Ditz had never in her life sung a capella in cold blood for anyone & I couldn't see her starting now but she chose a song & learnt it off by heart & she sang a capella in cold blood. It was nerve wracking ~ & I was only watching!
There wasn't even any quibbling; Ditz was in! OKaaaay....We toddled off to orientation & the lights started going on for me. This was not some hokey~pokey choir got together by amateurs for a bit of fun. Nor siree. This was serious business. This had musical clout. This had Reputation. So much so that if Ditz wasn't keen I'd have her out like a shot because it is too cruel, too full~on, too rigorous for a child who isn't serious about what they are doing. I would never in a thousand years put a young child into something so full on but Ditz has thrived. Nope, I wouldn't have done it but God knew Ditz needed this & He had put everything in place so Ditz had enough music background that when the opportunity arrived she was able to grab it with both hands ~ & I was totally clueless. I couldn't worry & fret about what I didn't know about. Now I worry & fret but I can also see that Ditz has fallen into something really special, something Dearest & I would never have thought we could provide for her...but her father in heaven owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Guess he sold a few off just for Ditz.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Michael: Get new friends. ~ All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane
One day down...& better than anticipated. I wasn't driving; always good. Congenial company; excellent. Ditz finished earlier than expected; super~duper.
Photo shoot tomorrow at Southbank. Looking good.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Life gets too much at times, out of control & spinning wildly. Maybe it's just me. I don't cope so well when things start piling up. I'm a one thing at a time person. When I try juggling I drop things. Now I am grabbing at this month just trying to stay sane.
This month is so out of control poor old Ditz has to wait on her birthday present because we have so much on & it all takes money. Ditz isn't fazed about waiting on her present. Ditz, like me, is far more worried about us having to find our way right across town on Saturday. I asked Liddy to drive. Between Lid & I we do better but Liddy now has to work so it is down to Ditz & I. We are such right brainers we need a left brained Liddy when it comes to maps. Ditz will say right & mean left & I will turn right when I need to go left because it all looks the same to me on a map! Useless!
I thought this weekend was free but it's not. I am already a cot case though Dearest has promised to work out a route for me using the refedex & I will write everything out for Ditz ~ how many street lights before we turn, how many round~a~bouts, the names of the streets etc Yes, I know. It's too sad but at least that way we have some chance of negotiating Brisbane. It is such a maze & all the music places seem to be in impossible to get to places. We won't even go into what I am going to be able to find to do for close on 8 hours!
The following weekend is the MBC concert ~ but we at least know we can find our way there! OK, I still have to be there all day but I've put my hand up to help out so that works ~ only Liddy has opted to come & she hasn't offered, though she probably will now. Oh well.
If it was either or I would be fine but not only do we have both followed by something else but none of our regular stuff stops either. Plus this is the term Ditz does The Dream; she is Demetrius. Normally when I start getting frazzled I cut the drama back but as I actually want Ditz to do the Shakespeare I'm stuck with it. I don't think doing his plays is making Ditz like him any better but she at least is getting an understanding of Elizabethan English, & Shakespeare's world & I don't have to fight with her about it. She chooses to do this & I just let her rip. At one point I entertained the idea of auditioning for a small part but I thought better of it. I seriously don't need the stress. I have enough to do without memorising antiquated English verse. Yes, I do, & frankly Ditz finds memorising him easier than I do. She just memorises ~ which is probably smart. I like him to make sense so I analyze & start sidetracking & sometimes I derail completely. Derailing is not a good option at present. Focus is what I need.
It is true that only one thing at a time will happen but somehow I have to keep the whole in mind & be well planned ahead because I have to allow for all the extra expenses ~ boats & theatre tickets, exam costs [due this week when the exam isn't till November & I'm betting that's not the entire cost because there a little thing known as an accompanist who has to be paid as well], parking spaces in town, petrol & food. Singing makes Ditz ravenous & no matter how much I pack it is never enough. In this process not only do I have to get all Ditz's uniforms through the wash & dry, they must be ironed, & not only ironed but starched!!! I am a woman who irons nothing under ordinary circumstances. Yes, Ditz will do her own ironing & starching & she is very good about keeping her music things all organized ~ make~up kit, deodorant, spare hair ribbons & elastics, the right music easily accessible, hair brush, dress shoes clean & polished, cat hairs removed from her black dress pants ~ Just the same I keep a mental tab because once we are on that boat it's just too bad if she has forgotten anything! Ditto for me. You have no idea of the frustration of being half~way across the bay & discovering the car keys are still sitting on their hook on the wall!
All this is manageable ~ when I am well. When I am well I fuss but I cope. I am not well. Whatever we have in this house involves a raging headache that comes & goes. One or other of us always has it. Me on Monday, Liddy Tuesday, Dearest Sunday, Ditz on Saturday. Now I have it back with our usual very full Wednesday & when that happens I often end up with a full blown migraine. I cannot afford to have migraines this month. I don't have time for them. Did I mention I need to stay focused?
What was it God said about each day having enough troubles of it's own & his grace being sufficient unto the day? I am immensely grateful that somehow, some way, He will work everything out. The money will stretch just enough & no further. The car has been fixed & is running like a dream. Liddy did stock~take this week when I was available to sort out her weird hours & not next week when I'm not here. That when it comes to early starts & late finishes for music Ditz is accommodating & sweet tempered through all difficulties. I am grateful for vitamin B pills. Oh yes! I am very grateful.