Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philipians 4:8

I am mad @*%! Just so you know before you start reading.

Ok, I wasn't in the best frame of mind to start with. Migraines tend to do that to me & when it got bad enough that I resorted to rootling through the medicine tray there was no medication because I haven't had one of these in some time. I went to bed in my nice dark quiet bed & finally managed to sleep until Ditz came & woke me to take her to her singing lesson.

So far so good. A little woolly around the edges but functional. An hour looking for the top Ditz had seen & decided was just right for her exam [but told me about after the shops had closed!] was wearisome ~ & nothing else was what she had in mind. Argh! But you know, that's life with Ditz & it didn't make me particularly ratty.

Liddy gave us her car & went on to dinner with friends. Ditz & I went on to singing. Alison very happy with Ditz! Only her 3rd lesson & she has most of her singing nailed. We will do another lesson next week before rehearsals to run through some sight reading & sound tests but the reality is Ditz should blitz this. It is well within her capabilities.

I was asked again to sing in Singapore. Alison is not convinced that I cannot sing but as I said to Ditz in the car coming home, I can hear where the notes should be; I just can't make my voice put them there! Luckily for me I enjoy listening & am intrigued by the process of making music sound...well, musical.

Ditz, who fell into an elevator yesterday & now has a bunged up knee swollen to the size of a small melon & thinks that is a prime excuse for extra tea & sympathy & is limping round like the Hunchback of Notre Dame clutching at my frail frame like a drowning man on the way down for the 3rd time, meant I was desperate for coffee by the time we got back on the island. Coffee. Peace. Quiet.

Rant about to begin. You have been warned.

We were toddling home in our little red rocket when we spotted the first cluster of black witch's hats & gruesome masks. I have strong feelings about Halloween ~ all of them negative. You cannot dress evil up as righteousness no matter how you try & do it. This is a pagan festival ~ both literally & figuratively. I am aware pagan meant *country dweller* but it now has religious overtones. It originally celebrated Samhain, the dying of summer & literally means summer's end.

I'm a Celtist & know there was nothing harmless or benevolent about the original festival. It was a night of terror when the veil between the living & the dead thinned. The Celts did not parade around the place once the sun went down. They locked & barred their doors against whatever prowled the night outside. Read the old Celtic stories. Strong men, warriors of the king's war band, men who had faced death at the end of sword or spear, paled & trembled & were defeated in shame by the spirits of Samhein.

This is a festival when Moingfhinne, a snow goddess of sorcery, was worshipped. Like many Celtic deities she wasn't nice to know & had a thing for poisoning those who got in her way. The Celtic goddesses were also perceived as being... raunchy, for want of a better word, & their worship, as we know more particularly from Beltaine, included *fertility rites*. So not going there.

Samhein was when the last of the harvest was brought in. By this time of the year the first frosts had usually arrived so the excess livestock was driven between 2 bonfires & slaughtered for the winter. Anything not harvested belonged to the fairies ~ & don't think twee & cute. Celtic fairies were rather a nasty lot, especially if thwarted! The Celts had some pretty grotty habits that included lugging around, even talking to, the pickled heads of dead warriors. They nailed scalps to their roof beams & tied them to their horse's bridles so I have no trouble believing they drank blood. I mean we are talking about a people who turned one adversaries head into a drinking goblet!

This was a festival overseen by the druids. Do some reading & see the sort of practises the druids engaged in. Everything from human sacrifice to divination. They rounded up people & suspended them in wicker cages & set the whole thing on fire. Read about the bog man of Lindow Moss. Whether he was actually an Irish prince or an unlucky criminal he died a particularly nasty death.

Now here's the thing. Scripture doesn't say that these things aren't real & have no power. Scripture says don't do it! Don't play with fire. Don't toy with sin. Don't cede ground to the adversary. It says not to fill our minds with the ugly & the grotesque & frightening but to think on those things that will ennoble us rather than debase us.

It saddens me & makes me angry to see this festival growing stronger each year in Australia. I was angry to be accosted by a mob of younger teens as I drove home & forced off the road because they were deliberately making for our car. I find it an invasion of privacy to have a horde of children I have never laid eyes on before banging on my door half the night after candy I don't have. I think parents are remiss in their responsibilities to allow their children to wander even our island streets unsupervised after dark. It is not safe. We too have our share of pedophiles. I was disgusted to find the revellers had trashed an older neighbour's lawn. Ditz & I picked up the litter before we came inside.

And please, don't tell me it's really a celebration of All Hallows! All Hallows was the Church's attempt to Christianise a pagan festival. So many of the party games associated with this festival are actually old ways of divination ~ a scriptural no~no. As is chatting with the dead ~ or raising the dead. For the life of me I cannot see what attracts people to this festival of nightmarish activities. Certainly it is in no way Christian.

Ignorance is not bliss. This is sin candy~coated & packaged in lies. Satan must rub his hands in glee when even Christians dress up in the symbols of the lord of the dead & prance around indulging in activities expressly forbidden in scripture. Yeah I'm an crotchety old fuddy~duddy & no fun at all. I'm also right. :P

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ravishing Raspberries.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet." Shakespeare.

My family suffers under the misapprehension that I do not like fruit; it is not true. I'm just not overly fond of what grows in such luxurious abundance in these northern climes. What I like, & will eat till the cows come home, are those delectable delights native to cooler climes than mine: peaches, kiwi fruit, nectarines & that queen of all berries, the Raspberry.

Others sing praises of the strawberry but I am enthralled by raspberries & raspberries, my friend, belong to the same family as the Queen of Flowers, the rose!

Raspberries have a long & noble history.They are native to Asia Minor, originating in what is modern Turkey, where the ancient Trojans gathered them wild from the foothills of Mt Ida. Here, so mythology says, the nymph Ida gathered the white berries for a weeping infant Jupiter, & in gathering them pricked her thumb, turning the berries a much rosier hue. Their botanical name remembers the story: Rubus [red] idaeus [belonging to Ida].

The Roman agriculturalist, Palladuis, fist recorded their domestication & indeed the Romans are largely responsible for their spread throughout the Empire. Seeds have been discovered on archaeological digs in the Roman forts of Britain.

Raspberries don't keep well so for many centuries were one of the elite foods of the very rich. Not much has changed really unless you cultivate your own. A small punnet still costs a small fortune. From Medieval times on they were considered medicinal as well as utilitarian. The juice was used in paintings & illuminated manuscripts; their leaves were brewed as a tea for the relief of *women's ailments*. Indeed raspberries were so useful King Edward I [1272 ~ 1307] called for their cultivation.

And the thing with raspberries is that they really are a wonder fruit. They posses 50% more antioxidant activity than strawberries, 3 times more than kiwi fruit & 10 times more than tomatoes! They also contain ellagitannins, a family of compounds pretty much exclusive to raspberries & responsible for helping prevent cancer.

And lastly, because it amuses me, the name raspberry is a Middle English derivative combined from raspis [a kind of wine cured in a wooden vessel] & berry & we all know what happened to Anne with Marilla's perfectly harmless raspberry *cordial*!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rambling along

Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made.- Robert Browning

Birthdays are funny old things. When you're a kid it's the highlight of the year but at some point you grow out of them. They're nice enough in their way but they get in the road of other stuff. I have too much other stuff to fuss over much about my birthday.

Dearest cooked tea [crumbed chook & salad, which is what I asked for] & Ditz made cheesecake for desert. Birthdays are always a good excuse for that girl to indulge her sweet tooth & she did a lovely job. It was very yummy.

The boys didn't make it home. They rang ~ but they are trying to sort themselves out to head interstate for the wheat harvest. This is a big money venture & they will be gone for several months. Home for Christmas I expect. I am tossing up whether the girls & I will go over for their farewell bash seeing Ditz & I caught up with them on Wednesday when we dropped of their mail. They haven't bothered to tell most people of their change of address & all their mail still comes here ~ including their bills! I guess it will depend on the weather. It is mizzling here but the rain guage stays empty so it is a very light if persistent mizzle!

I have 2 pages of math to mark & then Ditz's work goes in the mail! Thank heavens. I hate that subject more & more each year ~ as I'm sure Ditz does too! However I may have found the solution to our math woes ~ & it is Aussie too! It is practical. Ditz is used to me going balistic over things like timetables as I work out how much leeway we've got for emergencies to make connections. Or how much time it will take from point A to point B in peak hour traffic. Or which boat I must catch to make an appointment. This is the math that far too many people can't do but we are actually very good at! Did I really just say that?!

The girls have headed overseas to, amongst other things, visit the Science fair which is full of hands on stuff. Liddy must be feeling gulity because she said Ditz needed to write an essay on it. I said if she just wrote up 2 of the experiments using the scientific method I would be more than happy! Not only is this a short term but with Ditz's learning being so lopsided we have finished up some things already but are only 1/2 way through others & I just don't want to start any new work now. Mostly I am aiming at getting all her reading done.

I should be looking at what I need to order for next year but as my immediate needs are in the math/science area it is just too depressing to contemplate just now. Maybe after Singapore... And at some point I will need to order SL 7 just because the books are so very, very good.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Handful of Blessings.

When I read Shakespeare I am struck with wonder
That such trivial people should muse and thunder
In such lovely language. D. H. Lawrence
There is just so much to be grateful for this morning! We have rain ~ soft mizzling rain that soaks gently into the earth. The beans are beaning; the tomatoes are tomatoeing.

I have 2 passports in my hot little hand ~ & didn't I breath a big sigh of relief when the second one of those arrived! I bet Ditz did too but she'll never say!

Ditz has a little black dress. I could have wept over this saga. No way can I afford something like A$3oo~ for a *little black dress* but everything under A$50~ Ditz swore made her look fat. This circus could have gone on forever. I had no intention of letting it go on forever. I told the child we had been to every shop in 2 suburbs & she had seen everything that was available. She might not like it over much, it might not be the perfect dress, but that was it; she had to choose something from what was available. Ditz wormed a promise out of me that on the offchance we found something she actually liked between now & departure day I would cough up but at least I know she has something! At this point something is good; we still have the shoe saga to do. Black, enclosed toe, small heel. Ditz has visions of wobbling round on an itty~bitty heel. It's not happening. I have too much respect for her feet. Oh, & nylons. Sheer. I'm lucky the child didn't go into full meltdown. Singapore has temporarily lost its glitter!

The dress? Round neck, gathered; wide waistband with tie; butterfly sleeves; calf length skirt. It actually looks quite lovely on her but she thinks it makes her bum look big. *sigh* The neck is a little lower than we would normally buy but the alternative was plunging Vs! Ditz paled every time at the thought of stuffing herself into one of those & even assurances that a stitch in the right place would render them completely modest could not convince her.

We have a bag with locks. We have the necessary clear plastic toiletry bag. Our accommodation is paid for. The tour T~shirts have arrived & need to be paid for. I actually can't quite believe we've pulled this off. God is good.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A week at home & the improbable happened; I felt domestic enough to cook ~ well bake really. Despite all the sweet tooths in this house I rarely do deserts any more but with Liddy being away & Ditz moping I went to town last night. I probably don't need to eat again for a week!
The girls love when I go to the trouble to make quiche & salad. It's probably our all~time favourite meal. Dearest tolerates it as being one of the quirks of being the lone male in an all female household [I'm not sure Issi counts!] so I do a side serve of chips for him. With our tomatoes in the salad mix it was taste sensation heaven!

Last night seeing that Ditz was feeling off~colour enough to pull out of her violin lesson I found I had plenty of time on my hands to organise tea & with Liddy still suffering from her weekend away decided an early tea was on the agenda. I short~cutted & did pre~packaged pastry, which is never as nice as the real thing, because I wanted the extra time to do a desert.

I had a great Pecan muffin recipe that I used to use regularly & it is an all~time favourite but when I went looking for it naturally it was no~where to be found. That tells you how long it's been since I last baked! I sent Ditz on~line but she couldn't turn up exactly what I wanted so I went with the best sounding one & *tweaked*.

My recipe requires a caramel sauce made with brown sugar & cream...Ooooh, la~la! Vanilla ice~cream. Oh, my! Even Ditz couldn't eat another crumb. It's at moments like this I miss the boys. We have left overs. Anyone like a muffin?

Tuesday's Trivia.

It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it. ~Oscar Wilde

Books. One can never have too many of them! I used to dream of owning one of those illuminated Celtic manuscripts but sadly they're beyond my budget.

So here's my number one reason for reading really good literature ~ you know, the snobby stuff, the stuff everyone thinks should be read & very few people actually enjoy: In his poem, Paradise Lost, John Milton used 8 ooo different words but Dr Suess wrote Green Eggs & Ham because his editor challenged him to write a book containing less than 50 different words. On the other hand Frank Baum seemed singularly stuck for inspiration; his famous fictional country, Oz, was named for his second filing cabinet, the O ~ Z one!

I like detective fiction, which seems to have begun with Poe in 1841 with Auguste C. Dupin, & "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." Poe creeps me out so I've never actually read this one. I lost my taste for Poe when he bricked someone up alive & my overactive imagination had a field day. I do have a soft spot for Holmes, water pipe & all, but he never said, 'Elementary, my dear Watson.'

Actually misquotes are fun & tend to take on a life of their own. " Lead on MacDuff," makes more sense to modern ears than, " Lay on MacDuff and damned be him who first cries ‘Hold! enough!" MacBeth is good for misquotes. Remember those witches brewing trouble? They didn't notoriously say, " Bubble, bubble, toil & trouble, " but "Double, double toil and trouble".

The only novels I don't read are Romances. Can't stand 'em ~ which is a pity because Barbara Cartland is the top selling author with 500 million copies sold! Guess her estate is not really in need of any contributions from me.

OK, so everyone knows the Bible is the best selling book of all time & some of us know that Agatha Christie outsells every other crime writer but do you know the best selling children's book? This one cracks me up; The Poky Little Puppy! That's sort of sad. The Poky Little Puppy outsells Winnie the Pooh & the Wind in the Willows & other children's books that have far more literary value.

Now for the really scary trivia. The highest price ever paid for a book was $8 802 500.00 in March 2000, for J.J Audubon's 1840 edition of Birds of America. I'm assuming this is an identification book so why the big bucks for something you can't use given the number of extinct species?

And the most curios piece of trivia is for The Tale of the Genji, which has the curious honour of being the first recorded novel of all time, written by Murasaki Shikibu in 1008.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Monday Memories.

“I was born with a reading list I will never finish.” ~ Maud Casey

For someone who loves history as much as I do the study of Australian history was an indigestible meal full of particularly nasty flavours. I'm a picky eater ~ & a picky reader. What I like, when allowed to indulge myself, are those things that are least healthy be it chocolate or coffee, fairy tales & strange fantasy. Plain bread & butter has never been to my taste, certainly not in my reading matter!

My mother, like Liddy, is a realist & it was my mother who often chose my reading matter: Christmas & birthdays & trips to the library when a sick child demanded something to read & yet I often wept tears of frustration over her choices, finding them too dreary for words. Ironically, as an adult, I have found her choices particularly good & have re~read many of the children's books I received with greater pleasure & more understanding as an adult because my mother had a knack for choosing *living books* before that term was bandied about so freely by CM & Sonlight advocates.

Being a compulsive reader I read just about anything that came my way though I was an adult before I learnt to enjoy non~fiction thanks to my search for the *real* King Arthur so I understand my youngest daughter very well; much, much better than she thinks I do. ☺
I inherited my Scots grandfather's rather jaundiced view of the English ~ a view not shared by my paternal & royalist cousins who had more rich Anglo~Saxon blood running through their veins than wild Scots fire. A cursory grasp of early Australian history was enough to ensure my hot Scot's blood boiled fairly quickly at the injustices & sheer stupidity of the early English settlers. I'm not sure I've ever quite got over it but be that as it may I did manage to grasp something of the fear, frustration & courage of the early settlers thanks to my mother's book choices.

Verity of Sydney Town, Ruth C. Williams, was the winner of the Australian Children's Book of the Year Award in 1951. I never did like this book but I was intrigued to find it listed here & here & here as an Australian living book choice. The last one has a short review & in all fairness other people have loved this book but we all know my tastes are a little strange.

I much preferred Elizabeth Wilton's A Ridiculous Idea. This is a book I have always enjoyed though sadly it is out of print now & rarely available even 2nd hand. For starters it is set in the free settlement of South Australia. With so much emphasis put on the convict settlements it is good to be reminded that many Australians are descended from free settlers who chose to migrate for any number of reasons. The other reason I have always particularly liked this book is that it discusses the little known but relatively large Quaker community that settled in South Australia. While Verity of Sydney Town is more *exciting history for the easily bored* A Ridiculous Idea is far more thought provoking & looks at the idea of how God speaks to us, that He speaks even to children, the treating of all people with dignity & respect, & of doing what is right even if the outcome is not what you would want or hope. It is a far deeper book.

Of course for the truly brave there is always For the Term of His Natural Life [Marcus Clarke] but I read this at far too young an age & it really is harrowing. Not recommended for those with a weak constitution!


Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan. Albert Schweitzer.
For the next little while, thanks to Ditz's hectic schedule, we have moved our house church to our friend's house. This is a huge blessing for me. I don't have to stress about the housework I haven't got to or preparing the meal. I don't even have to rush to get ready. Much as I enjoy fellowshipping hospitality is not part of my gift mix ~ or anyone else's here either!

Our friends have the gift of hospitality. They also have a unique gift of being able to invite others ~ & have them come. I think I must ask wrong. Too much diffidence or something in an effort not to put my expectations on them. No idea really but I can ask till the cows come home & nothing happens. They ask & the people come!

So our little fellowship is growing slowly but steadily. As none of us have been in a hurry for it to grow & have been perfectly content to keep our fellowship small & intimate, this is rather encouraging ~ especially as our gathering has been referred to as *that evil home church*. Hm. To a cluster of *oldies* we now have a young newly married couple. They have landed in the middle of our investigation of Revelation, which might have been off~putting, but as none of us claims to have all the answers & share the Leadership & reading around no~one need feel left out & all contributions to the opening up of the scriptures are welcome.

We have got a couple of different commentaries to help us negotiate the more treacherous & obscure passages & the Holy Spirit is really blessing our efforts to stay on track. It's amazing how often the Spirit will direct my attention to another part of Scripture for clarification & now we are looking at the fall of Babylon I am so grateful for the earlier study I did on Daniel as I have so many applicable reference points!

I know people who get terribly upset about what will happen in the end times & others who get obsessed about having a correct time~line but being a *big picture* thinker myself I tend to focus on the overall message, which is one of hope & a blessing because so many promises for believers are contained in these passages. Yes, terrible things will happen. The world will spin wildly into complete decadence. Persecution will be rife. What they herald is the return of Christ & that is something to celebrate! We must learn to keep our eyes where they belong, on Christ, & let the rest go. Fear is being replaced by trust & peace.

The girls worship with us in the morning then go over to the mainland for a youth service. Within weeks Liddy rounded up someone else beside Ditz & it is only a matter of time before she has her little car full. Yes, even this week. She rang & told Ditz she would pick her up at the jetty & they have gone on to church together. This is lovely for Ditz on so many levels. She has a measure of independence. She gets to spend time alone with Liddy. She gets to mix with Christian young people. And Liddy has her buffer! lol.

Dearest & I get a few hours alone. After years when we have had a house overflowing with children, ours & other people's, it a rather novel situation. So long as we're around Issi is perfectly happy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Today's Think.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24

One of the things that seems to be coming to my attention more & more at present is the pagan symbolism of so many Christian symbols. Take the poor old Ichthys, which has become popular again as a bumper sticker, as a lapel pin or tie pin & as a broach, declaring proudly, so the wearer thinks, their loyalty to Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is a symbol affiliated with the very roots of paganism & what it is a symbol of actually makes me cringe. This is a pagan symbol for the womb & vagina so old it dates as far back as the Phoenicians. It has associations with the Hindu god Vishnu & Dagon, the fish~god of the Philistines. The Greeks used it, based on its similarities to the alpha symbol, for the womb.

Think that's bad? It is also associated with Isis [& the *great fish* of the Abyss], Indian Kali [the fish~eyed one], & the Chinese great mother, Kwan~yin, who is portrayed as a fish. If you ever read up on these choice idols your flesh will crawl. In ancient Rome the fish symbol was so revered Christian leaders appropriated it while denying the genitalia meaning of it.

Be that as it may, & there is a perfectly valid argument going around that the Christian use of Ichthys developed independently, I think there is pause for thought for any Christian who desires to please their Lord & Saviour. The second commandment reads: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6)

Are you howling for my blood yet? I think we need to be very, very careful of the symbols & traditions we incorporate into our worship. Most of them are tainted; everything from the cross itself to the Christmas tree, none of which have been blessed by God. Christmas is a man made tradition, not a God ordained one. The symbols Christ left were bread & wine, which were already part of the Passover celebration, & put to a new use by Christ himself.

More & more I am convinced we need to divest ourselves of an accumulation of useless man~made trappings & hear the still small voice of God for God is spirit & wishes us to worship Him in Spirit & in Truth. Not in symbols. Not in empty ritual & old tradition. Spirit & Truth. It is time we discarded the symbols which are stumbling blocks & crutches & grasp hold of of the Living God Himself.

No, I don't expect much of Christianity will either hear me or heed me but I know that my saviour lives ~ not in icons & symbols, not in church spires or mangers under Christmas trees; He is not on the gold cross hanging between two candles. He is seated at the right hand of God the Father & He is coming to judge the quick & the dead. That should give us pause for thought because judgement does not begin with the infidel & the unbeliever. Judgement begins with the household of God.

"If you want to know the character of a man, find out what his cat thinks of him." ~ Anonymous

Liddy has gone camping. We miss her although she rang thrice yesterday: once to let us know she had found the place & arrived safely; once to ask us to google as her map had run out & she wanted the closest township for a pit stop; once to say she'd explored & was heading back to the camp grounds to meet up with everyone else. Silence ever since so we figure she is having a nice time here.

Liddy likes to share. If she hasn't got one of us with her she rings home. Iss watched the bags come out with a worried air but having sniffed them he became puzzled as well as worried. He could not smell anything of mine hidden in their depths but I was the one jangling car keys & heading for the door. He was very happy that I came home again. It's a very heavy responsibility being a cat's person; Iss takes my responsibilities seriously. Yes, he likes to sleep with his nose burrowed into my palm & his paws clasping whatever stray bits of me he can grasp.

Ditz was not happy to be left behind & I think Liddy would have taken her if she could but this is an 18+ camp & despite appearances Ditz has some way to go before she is 18. I am so grateful my girls have each other ~ & that they get on so well together...well, most of the time! They are so different the sparks fly occasionally but Ditz is bubbly easy~going company & Liddy is pretty tolerant of her sister's stranger quirks.

It is so quiet when we're down to just one child, even if that child is Ditz, I can't imagine none of them being home & the house always being like a tomb. I need more cats. No house feels empty that has a cat or two.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A picture or two...

Happiness is a bowl of cherries and a book of poetry under a shade tree. ~Astrid Alauda

Dearest is a plain meat & three veg man. Ditz & I indulged. Sweet omelets have to be one of our all~time favourite meals but as each has to be made individually & each requires 3 eggs that have to be separated & the whites beaten before folding in the yolk mix, I can rarely be bothered to go to all the effort required; certainly not if I am making them for an entire household!

Mmmm. Heaven on earth. Kiwi fruit, raspberries & the new season nectarines.
I only keep a small garden going these days. It's all I can reasonably manage ~ & only then if the weather is kind. Liddy did a big plant but as no~one was home then we lost most of it. The cabbages survived. Liddy has been telling me for weeks that my cabbage is her broccoli because broccoli is what she planted but that is indisputably cabbage! Behind that is my celery, still going strong & absolutely beautiful!

I have picked our first tomatoes & more are ripening faster than we can eat them. Time to get some parsley & make tabouli. I have just put in a few beans but they are very happy where they are & already twice the size they were & flowering. Love, love, love fresh beans! Not being able to garden as much as I like is one of the downsides of Ditz's schedule but even this paltry attempt is a blessing & helps stretch the budget.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A poem.

Any healthy man can go without food for two days - but not without poetry.Charles Baudlaire

Sandra, at World's End Farm, delights my heart each week by posting a poem she likes. Many of the poets she chooses are American; naturally. Many are women. I prefer the women poets on the whole though my all time favourite remains T.S. Eliot who happens to be both American & male.

Poetry speaks deeply of the soul of a people. We have many amazing poets in Australia who are generally not known outside their homeland so when I was tossing round the idea of posting something I hoped Sandra would enjoy I debated with myself whether I should post something that aesthetically pleased me, such as Woman to Child, something that spoke of a universal connection such as Woman to Man or something that was uniquely Australian. As you can see I went with the Oz theme. Judith Wright was not only an amazing poet but a social advocate, a supporter of Aboriginal rights, & someone who loved the land deeply. She owned property on Tamborine mountain which she left to posterity as National Park.

A few quick notes: A Bora Ring is a sacred Aboriginal ceromonial site where initiations took place. Corroborree means a ceremonial meeting; a place where tribal dances & music were, & still are, are enacted. Many corroborees are sacred & restricted to certain members of a tribe. Initiation rites would be restrictive. And briefly Wright's use of the word *dreaming* in the 3rd stanza is more than likely a subtle reference to Aboriginal religious belief. The Dream Time/Dreaming is expressive of the period of creation when multiple possibilities existed. Enjoy!

Bora Ring ~ Judith Wright.

The song is gone; the dance

is secret with the dancers in the earth,

the ritual useless, and the tribal story

lost in an alien tale.

Only the grass stands up

to mark the dancing-ring; the apple-gums

posture and mime past corroboree,

murmur a broken chant.

The hunter is gone; the spear

is splintered underground, the painted bodies

a dream the world breathed sleeping and forgot.

The nomad feet are still.

Only the rider's heart

halts at a sightless shadow, an unsaid word

that fastens in the blood of the ancient curse,

the fear as old as Cain.

A little breathing Space.

Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf. ~Jonatan MÃ¥rtensson

I feel most peculiar. The performances scheduled for the end of this week have been cancelled & I have pulled out of Sunday's rehearsal because Liddy has her car ~ & public transport is a pain on the weekends. This means we will be having a much quieter week than anticipated. It is quite disorientating. We are almost on an even keel again.

I say almost because Wednesdays are always full on & this year Ditz isn't doing flute exams. This is good but it has made this term a little difficult. She really has no goal but has her grade pieces under control~ as she did last year. This term was all about fine tuning. Jan is starting to push ~ which he never has before. Ditz is digging in her heels. Ditz is performance oriented but her weakness is her sight reading & now Jan is on her case. When Ditz reads ahead most of her playing troubles become insignificant but she still tends to plod note by note. Ditz is a terribly lopsided learner. For every area of excellence she has an equally difficult trouble spot that pulls her down but because she is bright she compensates & then, also because she is bright, she coasts what comes easily. So know that feeling! Grade 5 is when the pressure really starts to get applied. Grade 5 is no longer a beginner's exam. I know I'd like Ditz to sit this one; every 2nd year works fine for me. Actually I may talk to Jan & work towards mid~year exams & give Ditz 18 months to practise for this one. Jan is talking Conservatorium & though I don't think Ditz will choose this route she still needs the theory & practical stuff behind her. We are starting to get to the business end of Ditz's choices so it would be nice if she showed some maturity & was sensible. All right you lot; stop sniggering. A woman can dream, can't she?

Actually, I need to remind myself how far Ditz has come. It is very easy to focus on what still needs to be achieved & forget that once getting her to sit still & quiet, even for 10 minutes, was something of an achievement & lessons, even music lessons, were punctuated by her teacher following her round the room when she wandered off. Teaching Ditz has never been for wooses.

Instead we have singing exams looming on the horizon. The ensemble as a choir is doing their silver exam; Ditz is just doing her grade 3 singing. I know they are getting to Ditz because she is suffering a particular form of paralysis. Unfortunately this does not stop the inevitable. Nor do I understand it. Any child that can get up in front of a rock concert sized crowd & perform solo, however briefly, should have no qualms about a paltry little exam but unfortunately Ditz's mind does not seem to work this way & exams are one of the few things that really spin her out. As I've never suffered from exam phobia, even when I've been poorly prepared, & am not adverse to public speaking I don't really get why she gets such a bee in her bonnet. Being Ditz she doesn't articulate her problem very well either. *sigh* I think she needs to get over this. Fast. Exams are going to be a part of her life for a while yet.

However this little breathing space means I can schedule in a painting afternoon again. Music has become so all~consuming many other things Ditz enjoys have had to be put on hold. I know she misses her art but there is literally no time. It says a good deal about how passionate she is about music that she is willing to forgo other things she also loves. This is important for balance. Having invested so much in getting Ditz where she said she wanted to be I don't want her to burn out & I know working from here makes it all that much harder. The travelling is just exhausting & I know it affects Ditz. When she starts saying she doesn't want to do a concert I know we have issues happening so I'm really grateful to have this little breather, just be home, play with the cat [who's desperate to be played with], pick my tomatoes & celery, paint a little, go play some soccer & catch up on the schoolwork & household chores. It's just as well I'm not the house proud sort!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A small island tale...

The island states in the world represent - I remember this number - one-half of 1 percent of the carbon emissions in the world. And they will - some of them will disappear. Steven Chu.

In Moreton Bay, just south of Brisbane, lies the shining jewel of Brisbane, Coochimudlo. Her glory is a little tawdry & tarnished these days; too many people discovered her & thought they could improve upon what God had wrought but I remember the glory days! Living where I do you'd think I'd be over islands but they hold an eternal fascination for me. I just don't want to be on one when Armageddon begins.

Coochie is tiny. You can walk around the whole island in about 1/2 an hour. Even dawdling it couldn't possibly take you longer than an hour. Some farsighted person ensured that no~one was allowed to build on the foreshores so all the foreshore is public space & the island is girded by it's sand & trees & the rich red volcanic soil that will grow any seed that has the good fortune to fall into it.
Coochie is beloved of artists & has a thriving art community. It is pretty & cossetted & still a pleasant day trip but I miss the old Coochie. I'm pretty sure no~one who actually lives on Coochie misses the old days & I'm pretty sure my mother would think the new, modern Coochie an improvement.

See we holidayed there once when I was a child. Before there was electricity ~ or sewerage ~ or bitumen roads when you had to remember to prime the generator if you wanted electricity to cook dinner & no~one drove anywhere because all the roads were sandy tracks between big old trees.

Coochie still has a church. Last time I visited, when Ditz was small, I had trouble finding the church. The church I remembered was at the end of one of those long sandy tracks surrounded by acres of bushland & the big plate window behind the alter framed the most wonderful view of God's creation. The church I found is a museum piece. Whoever now owns it refuses to allow it to be used as a church but visitors can creep into the silence & sit awhile in the dim & dusty peace though very few bother. The window behind the alter still frames a wonderful view but it is somewhat spoiled by the knowledge that houses press up close on either side & cars whirr past on the bitumen road outside.

I notoriously sailed backwards around Coochie. *shrugs* As a Sydney girl where a breeze actually mean wind for your sails I had very little experience of places where tides were stronger than your breeze.

And then there was the swimming. Sub~tropical summer beaches; tepid blue waters; sun & sand , salt water & kids. We swam every day off one of the more secluded beaches to be away from the throngs, within sight of a very large, very red buoy. Only as we were leaving did local residents inform us that the buoy was a notorious shark breeding ground!

Matthew Flinders notoriously landed on Coochie, the first white man to do so anywhere in Queensland. He was looking for rivers that would give access to the inland, a vain hope given the Great Dividing Range but no~one knew that back then. However his sloop, the Norfolk, navigated & charted the waters of Moreton Bay & his historic landing is re~enacted each year on the Sunday closest to July 19th, which is the day he landed in 1799.

For my insatiably curious Canadian friend [& anyone else interested] in all things Australian I hope the link works for you. It will also tell you what the name means ☺ Enjoy.

A bookie moment.

Curiosity endows the people who have it with a generosity in argument and a serenity in their own mode of life which springs from their cheerful willingness to let life take the form it will. Alistair Cooke.

Breathing is an art. In. Out. Deep. I think we have just about sorted ourselves out again ~ just in time for the next onslaught.

Thanks to friends I have plenty of reading material. I finished Sugarflower & have begun Francine Rivers triology, Mark of the Lion. Sadly I tend to avoid *Christian* authors. I have been spoilt all my life by good literature & far too much of what passes for Christian literature is just shockingly bad so I have been pleasantly surprised by this series.

Firstly it seems to be very well researched. Christian Rome is outside my period so any errors aren't glaringly obvious, thank goodness. Nothing irks me faster than historical inaccuracy. Yes, I'm a snob. Sorrow but I do like accuracy, especially in my fiction.

Secondly this is very readable. Again I was surprised. I don't like being preached at in my reading either so to find a good Christian story line paramount is absolutely delightful. I am thoroughly enjoying this series ~ especially as I have months of twice weekly rehearsals to read through!

I also have Virginia Woolfe's A Room of One's Own to reread at some point. Beautiful prose but she requires concentrated effort. One must pay attention when reading Woolfe! Not sure I'm up to tackling Woolfe just at the moment.

Then of course there's what Ditz has on offer. Ditz is reading the second Inkworld book ~ Inkspell. Well, she's sort of reading it in between me reading it aloud to her ~ or her reading it aloud to me. It has been some years since Ditz would actually read out loud. She went through a long period of reading aloud reluctance, which is a pity as she reads aloud quite well & has a pleasant voice. We have shared some great books this last little while though Ditz was quite cross that I'd borrow the books she'd borrowed & whip through them before she was half done.

As a lifetime Bookworm my little heart goes pit~a~pat over good books! There should be more of them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tuesday's Trivia.

In a way Australia is like Catholicism. The company is sometimes questionable and the landscape is grotesque. But you always come back. Thomas Keneally
We are all terribly tired; so tired Ditz went back to bed yesterday morning & asked me to read to her. I read for about 1/2 an hour before falling asleep in her bed. We didn't get much done except the washing because Liddy works & keeping ahead with her work clothes is a must. I couldn't even get up the energy to blog.

The reason for being so tired is all the travelling we have been doing recently. Obviously I have been going the wrong way. It is shorter to travel anti~clockwise around Australia. Travelling anti~clockwise shaves off a whole 900metres.

Yes, all right, we have only had to travel around Brisbane & I don't think there's any sane way to shave metres of our travelling. Brisbane might be poetically known as *the River City* but there is nothing remotely poetical about Brisbane! The city has so many bridges at least one of them has no official name. True!

Australia has incorporated quite a few Aboriginal words into its vocabulary. The first of them was kangaroo. On the other hand ignorant white men cheerfully named a mining town Coober Pedy, which translates as something like "white fella down a hole". Pretty much sums it up.

Captain James Cook did not discover Australia. Yes, I know what all the history books say. The history books are wrong. Wouldn't be the first time. They credited Columbus with discovering America when it was blatantly obvious it had already been discovered by the Vikings. The Vikings even had colonies before Columbus got anywhere near the place; but I digress. In 1610 William Janz & his ship the Duyfken landed in Western Australia but having been speared by aborigines they departed pronto & the Aborigines were left in peace until 1616 when Dirk Hartog made an appearance & nailed a pewter plate to a tree. Seems an odd sort of a thing to do but the Dutch have reclaimed their plate & it is now in a Dutch museum. The English didn't show up until 1768 but being English they promptly claimed the new land for King & country. That the English then proceeded to use this new land as a prison is one of the stranger quirks of English thinking.

A couple of years ago a replica of the Duyfkin was doing the rounds & Ditz & I went with Sian to see it while it was moored in Brisbane river. It was a tiny little ship that I definitely would not have wanted to sail across any large body of water in. Come rain, hail or high water the crew slept out in the open on the deck. Ditz, naturally, wanted to climb the rigging. The rigging was out of bounds but we saw the hold & the kitchen with its firebox & sniffed the tarry ropes, sawdust & salt; smells that would not quite ever have obliterated the smell of the spices the Duyfkin traded in. What she was doing in the waters of Western Australia is anybody's guess. My guess is she got lost.

I love Australia. I think Australians have a great sense of humour & are capable of laughing at themselves. This is a good thing when among the many names Australia has been known by over the centuries are these choice picks: Eendrachtsland, New Holland, Terra Psittacorum, Terra Australis & Van Dieman's Land. My personal favourites are Terra Australis Incognito & Great South Land of the Holy Spirit. The last was given by the very first explorer to Australia:Pedro Fernandez De Quiros a Spaniard who didn't quite make it to mainland Australia but never~the ~less was convinced of the great southern continent & petitioned endlessly for ships to return & prove that he was right. He was but he didn't get his ships & the great southern continent was left for the Spaniard's lifelong foes. the English, to inhabit. England should have thought twice about what they were doing.

Let's face it; Australia's greatest national hero is a a bushranger named Ned Kelly. Any school child in the country can tell you how Kelly stood at Glenrowan in his tin armour & gunned down the local constabulary. Not a one can name you our very first Prime Minister. Pity. Barton was an man of intellect & humour & mastered in the classics at Sydney Uni. He deserves to be remembered better than as an obscure House name at the local Primary school.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another great award!

Awards are always fun though I am worried about the Hojos who seem to think I still have a brain. So here's de rulz:

1. Thank the person who gave this to you ~ Thank you Hojos!

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog. Done.

3. Link the person who nominated you. Done. See above.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.

5. Nominate 7 other bloggers & let them know they are nominated. Nominating is good. Letting them know could take me some time just at the moment.

Oooh, my poor brain. I was having trouble last time but here goes...

1. I am an oldest child. Supposedly this makes me an organized high achiever ~ which is why it is always wise not to give too much credence to pop psychology.

2. I am also a middle child if looked at another way, which would make me easy~going, social & secretive. You definitely shouldn't pay attention to pop psychology.

3. I cried on my first day of school. This was not an auspicious start. Later events justified my initial trauma; school sux. Even as a quite small child I would have lived happily on copious amounts of coffee, chocolate & good books ~ completely negating the need for math, school & real food.

4. School had one good thing: even the infants section had a large & very good library. I can still remember my joy at being allowed to borrow books! To read. For myself! I borrowed A Big Ball of String. Actually I'm not sure that wasn't responsible for my angst ridden dreams about infinity but I did enjoy the book.

5. I do not read books in chronological or sequential order. I read them as they interest me then go back & fill in the gaps. My children think this is most peculiar of me but I am chronically incapable of reading a book straight through from beginning to end ~ & why would you? That means reading all the boring bits you won't need till later.

6. I have zero tolerance for being bored so I always travel with a book. My children hate it if I finish my book before we get home. I am not fun to play with.

7. I like escargot swimming in a rich garlic butter sauce but I will not eat fish, prawns, lobster, crayfish, mussels, oysters or anything else that comes out of the sea. I know what that stuff eats. EEEEWWWW!!!!

OK. Here's my pick of 7 others to play along;

Jeanne at A Peaceful Day.

Diane at Tomato Soup Cake.

Sandra at World's End Farm.

Serenades & Solace.

As Adventuras Dumas.


And lastly but not least my dear friend, Seeking, at My Lord, Please Sanctuary Me. There, all done! Well, apart from the little matter of letting you all know but sorrow & all, I have to walk out the door now.

Of tents & Sopranos.

Kilometers are shorter than miles. Save gas, take your next trip in kilometers.” George Carlin.

Some days! And it started so well because we are a slow to gear up sort of household pottering around forever before we get up enough head of steam to actually get anything done. The chaos was reduced by one because Liddy went to the mainland early with a friend. That left just Ditz & I to contend with Iss [who is feeling neglected & under appreciated] to meander around not doing much at all. Frazzled & rushed for time is not good when Ditz is performing because once we leave the island anything forgotten stays forgotten & though it is unusual for Ditz to actually forget anything [being a particularly well organised child when it comes to her music] we have had the odd meltdown over a forgotten hair ribbon [1/4" black hair ribbon].

The original plan called for Liddy to met us at the jetty & we would change over, me getting her car & Liddy getting the island car keys before going home to Issi & Dearest. Don't you just love original plans? Liddy, who had been looking at more camping gear, now needed another opinion while the last thing I needed was the sort of time deprived arrangements Liddy tends to make.

So we dropped Ditz at the cultural Centre to rehearse ~ which included the song no~one had set eyes on before. I can't believe how much faith Alison has in her kids being able to nail a song on short notice but she has & they did. Then Liddy & I went to the library so I could download forms & she could research tents. When rehearsal finished Liddy threw us all in the car & drove for an hour so I could give my opinion on her choice of tent. I was not happy. [cheap & nasty & I would not want to be in something like that in wet weather]. Liddy not happy. She is camping next weekend & was starting to feel the pressure. I wanted to know why she was considering paying 3X the money for the sort of tent she could get cheaper, larger & better made from K~Mart? If she just wanted a cheapie while she made up her mind on a more expensive tent she was better off going to K~Mart.

I think Liddy had passed the point of being able to think the issue through logically but when I stop offering an opinion Liddy knows I'm not happy with her choices & gets snarly. So much fun to play with! So she took me next door to the gung~ho camping store where the sales people actually want to sell you something, use their gear themselves & know what they're talking about ~ with prices to match but we were just looking. Looking doesn't cost anything. Nor does asking questions. Not a tent in sight but they had a big display board with piccies & info on each tent & were happy to erect anything we were interested in ~ which they did!

From the moment they tipped the tent out of its bag the difference was apparent. The groundsheet wouldn't rip to shreds on the first stray twig it encountered; the pegs were sturdy triangular ones that are far less likely to bend in hard Australian clay; the fly would actually keep the water out! And because these people use this stuff themselves of course we asked what they used & what they recommended. Naturally they promptly asked how we intended using the tent ~ something I had been asking Liddy to clarify for days! lol. Their recommendation was neither of the 2 tents we were interested in.

While we were there I asked what was available these days as a mattress & got shown these really nifty, super comfortable, self inflating airbeds that roll up pretty small & light. Liddy will need one if she does much camping but has yet to learn how hard the ground is if you spend much time sleeping on it!

Time was ticking away so we left but didn't even make it down the stairs before Liddy's math kicked in & she had worked out her 10% discount so back we went! We bought the recommended tent ~ a heavier duty tent than what we were originally considering but more suitable to Liddy's needs though naturally considerably more expensive as well. As we were paying for it one of the staff piped up; 'Oooh. Great tent. I ripped one in half!' Liddy about died on the spot, being the scrooge that she is. As it turns out the girl got caught in a wind storm & hadn't pegged the tent down properly. Lesson learnt.

Naturally, because Liddy had cut it fine to get back to the Cultural Centre, she headed up the coast towards the closest bridge with Ditz & I agitating that it couldn't possibly be the right direction & having arrived proceeded to erect her brand new tent in the Cultural Centre gardens in full view of the Police Station!!!

Meanwhile The organizers of Ditz's event hadn't sold enough tickets so gave out vouchers to the owners of performers so they could purchase tickets at half price ~ which meant Liddy & I opted for the performance over the movies. Just as well I didn't pay full price for this as it just wasn't worth the sort of money they were asking. Bits of it were excellent. Samantha Graham's rendition of My Party Dress was fantastic & our lot were as professional as always but a lot was excruciating making. Marching bands & Celtic dancers need bigger spaces & I found the acoustics really quite odd. As my ear is notoriously unreliable it may be just that it sounded different to what I am used to hearing ~ & let's face it; I'm not used to being able to hear Ditz over the top of our 2 *perfect pitch* boys, who are not only male but have really good, strong voices but hear Ditz we could & did. I am starting to suspect that in another year or two Ditz will have a really strong voice too & though she can get plenty of raunch when she wants to it is not a naturally raunchy voice.

Being on the islands, as we are, nothing irritates me more than events that do not start & finish on time. We started late & ran well over time, so didn't get home till mid~night & are less than bright~eyed & bushy~tailed this morning when Liddy has to work & Ditz & I have to head back to the mainland yet again. I am so tired & next weekend Ditz & I are off to Ipswich for the eisteddfod while Liddy camps. I would rather go camping but as she will have the car I have had to organise a lift & that at least means I do not have to drive. This is a good thing. Actually it is a very good thing. Maybe Liddy should go camping more often?

Friday, October 16, 2009

A little nothing about me...

MrsC seems to think I'm superwoman & capable of coming up with 6 unknown things about myself as well as 6 other gorgeous bloggers. The bloggers bit is easy; so many wonderful choices ~ but I am suffering brain fatigue. Six things I haven't already said about me looks fairly impossible this morning.

1. I used to drive myself crazy as a child by wondering who I would be if my grandfather hadn't left Scotland & emmigrated to Australia, met my grandmother who had my mother who had several charming boyfriends before she met my father. The possibilities were mindboggling. I could have been someone quite different. If Poppy hadn't left Scotland I would have been Scottish , would never have met Dearest, never had Ditz. Now there's a thought!

2.My parents believed in regular bedtimes for children. Just the same it was rare for me to be asleep before my night owl of a mother turned off the last light & went to bed herself. I told myself stories in the dark for hours on end. This was preferable to the difficult act of actually falling asleep which necessiated negotiating a recurrent nightmare wherein I was happily floating past Saturn & Jupiter, Neptune & Pluto, drifting past stars & galaxies, moons & meteorites & into infinity. Infinity was grey & eternal, a vast emptiness of nothingness that freaked me out so much I simply couldn't fall asleep because, you knever knew, it might actually end up happening! Yeah, well, logic was never my strong suite!

3. I like speculative science. Is there even such a thing?

4. I can recite We're Going on a Bear Hunt & Where the Wild Things Are from memory; still. With actions. And sound effects. Years & years after my little ones became big people.

5. I can tell the most boring campfire stories that still scare the pants off snotty little boys who think they are tougher than I am. The element of surprise is a wonderful thing.

6. I learnt the art of story~telling when I worked as a Children's Librarian. If it didn't involve actually getting a very boring degree & working with silly adults I'd probably still be doing it. Kids books are the best books.

Ok, I will keep the awards to people who actually seem to get into them so I'm not playing favourites here.


Linda at Simply Living

Homeschooling 4Christ

the Hojos

Diane at Tomato Soup Cake

& MamaO in her Olive Grove

Ok, ladies, pass the bloggy ♥♥♥♥ around.

The Eagle has landed.

“There is nothing more miserable in the world than to arrive in paradise and look like your passport photo.” Erma Bombeck.
Houston, the eagle has landed. Yes folks, 5 attempts later my passport papers were finally accepted, Ditz & I both looking like members of the local Mafia. Ditz had a charming photo where she is tucking in her giggle but the computer digiting stuff doesn't like photos like that so the poor man at the P.O waited 10 minutes to snap her without even the vestige of a smile. It's not an improvement but it makes the passport people happy.

We learnt lots about passports we didn't need to know. We learnt you can't cross things out on the form. If you do cross out the crosser outer must sign said crossing out ~ unless, of course, it is the date; then nothing will help you & you must start all over again! We learnt the computer boxes are completely unreadable if you are an *older person*. We learnt that even if your old passport is more than 30 years old [& it has been at least that long since you last used it] if you turn up with said passport in your possession the man in charge will still cancel your passport while ogling the picture in disbelief & checking it against the aged & rapidly decaying specimen before him with something approaching complete disbelief. We learnt that if you have just given birth & are traveling with a newborn, even if that new born is less than 24 hours old, new born must have their own passport! Really?! How bizarre is that? Seriously, the first time I travelled overseas I travelled on my mother's passport but no longer. Nowadays each child must have their own passport. At A$100+ it's a great little money spinner. I'd hate to be doing this with all ours in tow as midgets!

The day deteriorated rapidly. Liddy wanted me to look at camping gear. She has signed up for the church camp next weekend & wants her own tent. I was hugely taken with the raised one man tents: warm, comfortable & quite spacious if all you want is a sleeping space but no good at all if you aim on living in one in wet weather. Seriously, it is basically a camp bed with a cover & incredibly comfortable. Beats sleeping on the ground. Beautiful. We also suggested she get the warmest sleeping bag around ~ -5F. She's a skinny thing & the mountains get cold round here, even in summer.

Seeing we were at the shops we looked round for *a little black dress* for Ditz. I swear, that child will be the death of me! There was not a lot to choose from & Ditz liked none of them. The ones that looked best on her *fuller figure* all had plunging necklines that neither Ditz nor I were happy with & you know what dressing room mirrors are like. In no time at all Ditz had decided that everything made her look fat ~ & that was the end of that!

Oh, & Liddy decided I needed a wardrobe overhaul & sent me into the cubicles with an armful of clothing that I promptly passed back. Whatever they've done to the sizing my more mature figure was never going to fit into those sizes. I don't do short anything, not pants, not skirts, not dresses. No~one should be subjected to certain sights in the name of good taste & good manners! Frankly I think most of today's fashion is just plain ugly & I am a plain woman who prefers comfort above all else. The only things I saw I even remotely liked are the huge variety of pretty & lacy boleros around just now ~ & that is hardly practical. I can hardly wander round in just a bolero! Sadly I know just where my daughters get their fussiness about the clothing they wear! Interestingly we seem to have educated Ditz particularly well & my rampant extrovert likes extremely modest clothing. Just now this is something of a problem & even assurances that a couple of stitches in the appropriate place would render the garment far more modest did nothing to reassure her. We came home completely empty handed & in my case just plain depressed. Nothing means doing this again with Ditz ~ & probably yet again. The thought does not make me a happy mummy.

I am sooo tired & my poor little legs ache from walking & walking on the cement. The smog has made my nose sniffle & my eyes water. The heat made me dehydrated despite lots of water & I have to go back to the mainland tomorrow because Ditz is singing ~ & a Singapore rehearsal on Sundat as well when we are both sick to death of the mainland! I am really starting to hate the place. Ditz is starting to get that wild & desperate look in her eye that means we are headed for trouble & it would be much better to head her off at the pass. Anyone want a Ditz? She's going cheap this week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Losing more of the plot...

"You can't help that. We're all mad here." - Cheshire Cat
Ditz's passport has gone. Mine has to be redone yet again. *sigh* It is costing me a fortune in boat fares. Oh, & Ditz needs a dress [black, Jeanne ~ even Melbourne black, black & shiny] ~ & shoes, strappy with a heel; a small Cuban heel. I'll be blowed if I'll have Ditz with her size 9s & still growing clodhoppers tottering around on stilettos! I feel just like that cat. About sums it up well.

And the cat, who was beside himself yesterday morning when he found that on a Wednesday morning, when he knows purrfectly well Ditz & I pack up the noisemaker & leave the house for hours on end to return only briefly before leaving again, I came back while only Ditz was gone threw himself at my feet in an ecstasy of squirming delight & excited squeaks. He was less impressed to find me leaving with Ditz as usual later on & by all accounts gave Liddy a hard time when she came home. However he was a very subdued pussy when I saw him for he had become so rambunctious & difficult when Liddy left to pick us up from the boat & she was so worried about running over him she threw him in the car. As his car trips to the boat involve unhappy memories [he was put in a carrier & hoyed to the vet's for the unkindest cut & left there! On his own. Without his people! For hours on end!] he was completely spooked & grew eyes as large as saucers.

When I scooped him up for bed he promptly settled on my shoulder with his bum tucked under my chin purring like a sleeping volcano & no amount of pushing & shoving & cajoling would move him. I fell asleep before I was able to shift him so I guess that's where he spent his night. How on earth that cat is going to manage for 5 days while Ditz & I are in Singapore is anybody's guess!

Concert on Saturday. Am waiting on the event details coming through for Saturday. As I'm not real keen on the music for this I need to determine how I will spend my day & evening as Ditz will be in rehearsal early Saturday & unlike the rest of AVAE we don't have the luxury of going home for a shower & rest before the concert. The following week we travel to Ipswich for an eisteddfod ~ could be sleeping on the boys' couch after that one. *sigh* It's not like I have anything else to do. Seriously; music is taking over my life.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gilding the Lily.

I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn't itch. ~Gilda Radner

It's mad around here ~ still. I very carefully filled out our passport forms; any mistakes were not mine but just the same we had to redo pages of the things & Ditz needed her passport photo redone thanks to her *chipmunk cheeks*! We won't discuss the hours [yes, hours, plural] it took to buy just one brassiere for the child who insists she is built like Liddy when it is patently obvious to all observers that she is not! I was getting quite beside myself while sympathising with the child. What teenager wants to be wired up like their great~great~grandmother?! With a choice of colours, styles & sizes more suited to Medieval Spain under the Inquisition as instruments of torture than the post sexual revolution culture of the 21st century? Walking through the lingerie department was reminiscent of exploring the chamber of horrors in London Tower ~ strange & bizarre contraptions for unimaginable uses! Neither of us enjoyed ourselves.

So today we try again to sort out the passports. I suspect there is still one error. Whether it is passed or whether we have to try yet again remains to be seen. To this end I sent Ditz over to flute on her lonesome ownsome so I could do paperwork. She was not a happy Ditz. Hours & hours she has to spend on her own. Poor Ditz.

While we are in Cleveland I am going to try on some *concert clothes*. I never, ever buy clothing. I get all the exposure to clothing departments I can stand taking Ditz & Liddy round the shops & anyone who has done that with either of them knows this is not an excursion to be undertaken lightly. Besides I am a homeschooling mum. Where on earth would I wear fancy daks? To the biggest concert halls in the world, that's where. It has occurred to all of us that if Ditz insists on performing in these rather snobbish venues then I need clobber other than my tatty & well worn jeans & Ts. So yesterday I looked ~ & was so horrified by the price of badly made clothing I refused point blank to fork over any money at all. However there is one rather nice little shop that always has really lovely things ~ for a price. I found something that I thought perfect~ for a price. It is a little unusual ~ which suites me ~ at a price.

I came home & thought about it. I talked it over with Dearest. We are looking at it as an investment; one set of good clothing to cover all the concert venues. So today I am going to try it on & think about whether I still like it when it is draped over my rather odd body shape ~ a mid calf~length skirt cut on the bias with some broderie anglaise inserts [I know! A skirt! *shudders delicately*] & a loose~knit pale baby blue shrug with 3/4 flared sleeves & a royal blue sleeveless top. I don't do heels so will need to find some strappy sandals & if anything I hate shopping for shoes even more than I hate shopping for clothing! Ditz is charmed. She loves shopping for someone besides herself. *sigh* This is not what I had in mind when I started having babies.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Monday Memories.

A mother's treasure is her daughter. ~Catherine Pulsifer

My beautiful Liddy Rose is twenty today. It sounds like such a long time & feels like nothing at all. This is the child everyone swore was going to be another boy ~ & whom I always knew was going to be our girl. This is the child we had always known would be named for a grandmother & a great~grandmother but who is indisputably herself, the child I'm sure my mother was starting to think would never arrive. She certainly took her time about it!

Liddy is working today but tonight we will celebrate 20 years of knowing the only perfect child on the planet. Yes, it's a joke. Liddy is my quiet & thoughtful child whose love language is *quality time*. Quality time is not always easy to come by when you live in a household as large as ours but Liddy has always fought for her fair share of attention. Ask Ditz. When Liddy came home to school with Ditz it was war! Chalk & cheese, my girls. They couldn't be more different if they tried & yet despite the odd spat when they can't stand each other they get on remarkably well together. Liddy balances Ditz's...well, ditziness...& Ditz brings Liddy out of her shell.

They have been going together to a mainland youth church. Mother is not allowed. Apparently my presence terrifies people. As I have been told that by several different people recently I am more than a tad puzzled but I know the preaching is solid & Liddy is very responsible. Everyone should have a big sister like Liddy.

Now Liddy isn't shy at all but she is slow to warm up & reserved ~ two words that just can't be applied to Ditz at all! So last night when the preacher asked for someone to list the 10 commandments Liddy started rattling them off under her breath & Ditz promptly waved her hand about madly. When asked to repeat them Ditz said blithely, 'Oh, not me, her,' & promptly dropped Liddy in the proverbial soup! I doubt Ditz would know a commandment if she fell over one but not only would Liddy have known them all, she would be able to give an entire sermon on the whole thing. Liddy's just like that.

Nothing dampened by Liddy's ire Ditz proceeded to drag her reluctant sister along to the supper being held at someone's house. The process of making friends proceeds at agonizing slowness with Liddy but Ditz has hastened the whole thing along with the sort of rampant extroversion that is engaging & catching. I'm not sure that isn't exactly why Liddy has dragged her little sister along. Our Ditz is a wonderful ice~breaker!

There are stories that go into the family mythology to be told over & over again: at birthdays, at graduations, at weddings & funerals. Liddy was the first of our children born on the island. We tell of how she was overdue, my poor anxious mother who had come down to help getting more & more agitated as the days passed & no Liddy. Each evening as the day cooled we would set of with all the children for a walk around the block. I wouldn't get as far as the corner before the contractions began & I turned back. All evening the contractions would continue until we got to the 10 minute apart stage & they would just stop. Given once I was off the island there was no getting back on again until the first boat of the following morning I was in no hurry to go anywhere unless I was absolutely sure this baby was on the way!

We'd been in our house barely a fortnight & didn't even have all our floors down yet so that final evening when I gave up in disgust I went to bed. And I went to sleep. Dearest swears black & blue that I was still in labour. He is probably right because somewhere around 11ish my waters broke & pandemonium broke out in our house. I was insistent I wanted a shower. Dearest couldn't wait to get me off the island & had promptly shot off to call out the boat. The skippers, who have seen more than their fair share of babies born at sea, make no bones about getting a labouring woman to the mainland as fast as possible; the half hour trip took just 10 minutes! And Liddy, having decided she was on her way, got a move on. I think the whole circus took a bare 2 hours.

By the time we got to the hospital I was well established in labour & promptly crawled into the nearest shower where I stayed until I was ready to push. Having delivered Liddy I handed her over to her father & crawled back into the shower. This is the only time in her first 3 years of life that Liddy willingly allowed her father to cuddle her. Mostly she screamed blue murder at him. Funny that because she wasn't a crying baby. In fact she rarely cried for anything.

She slept through the night from the day we brought her home, starfished in the big cot beside my bed. As the only girl she learnt to ply her charms early & enjoyed her status as Queen Bee. My mother, for whom she is named, was delighted with her first grand~daughter & they are frighteningly alike! I was charmed. This was not the sort of baby I had grown used to. Liddy has always had some rather strange quirks.

After so many boys I really wanted a girl. Now don't get me wrong. I adore my boys but I always wanted a mixed brood. Families of just one gender always strike me as a little unbalanced so I chatted to the Lord about it while I was soaping up in the shower & I rather vaguely mentioned I wanted this unborn, unconcieved future little girl to be His. In my vague violet way who knows what I actually meant by that but God has a way of taking our vagueities & doing something very practical with them.

I've talked before about our bedtime ritual & how it could go on for hours ~ literally ~ because we all loved story time & young as she was Liddy was cuddled snugly in my lap as I read my way through the boys' books & when we were done I'd hug them goodnight with a little prayer ~ a very little prayer. At the end of a long day that wasn't finished yet I just didn't have the mental resources to pray anything long & fancy. Liddy, being the baby, was last into her cot & I would snuggle her blankets around her & hand her her cuddly toy before turning out the light. That's what I had done every day of her young life but this night Liddy cried. Now Liddy almost never cried so crying meant serious business. I was horrified & promptly went looking for unpinned nappy pins but they were all securely done up. I checked for wetness but she was clean & dry in a fresh nappy. She wasn't hungry or thirsty or too hot or too cold. She didn't have wind. She didn't seem to need to be held & rocked. I was puzzled but nothing seemed to soothe her & her crying seemed more that of pure frustration than anything else. She was very little, too little by far to verbalise what she wanted. In desperation I prayed the same little prayer for her that I prayed over her brothers. Liddy's tears dried like magic. She gave a contented sigh, rolled over & promptly went to sleep.

Liddy taught me that even little, little children are spiritually aware & that God often honours His promises earlier than we expect. It has been a joy & a delight to watch Liddy mature into the godly young woman she is today & see the calling on her life confirmed. We are so blessed to have had her in our lives.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Be careful how you interpret the world: It is like that. ~Erich Heller

Sometime during the night it began to rain. Not heavily, persistently. This is a good thing. It has been dry & dusty & already this early in the fire season everything has looked crisply brown & overcooked ~ a disaster waiting to happen.

Finally things look like they are coming together. My Birth certificate has arrived so we can get our passports under way. We had a better week schooling though Liddy grabbed Ditz on Friday for a trip to Wet'N'Wild [theme park] ~ half of S.E Qld schools seemed to be there which really makes you wonder, doesn't it? I had that rare thing ~ a day to myself. Well, sort of. Dearest was floating round & Iss is a personality to be contended with but I was able to invite a friend over for coffee & chinwag on the verandah without worrying that Ditz wasn't doing as she ought or there were a million & one tasks awaiting my attention. I actually got some housework done & an hour or so of painting. Normally I paint merely to keep Ditz company as she is a better technician than I am but I find painting soothes the soul.

Saturday Ditz & I left early for her singing lesson. Ditz was not a happy Ditz. It was early & she expected to be in trouble with Alison & she was having trouble with one of her songs anyway ~all things that tend to make her scratchy. She had a great lesson! Some days I'm shocked to realise that we've got something right despite the way things seem. Alison was really happy with the work Ditz had done [complimented her on being self~motivated lol] & just did a bit of tweaking & sorted out Ditz's problems with her timing on her hardest song. We have another lesson at the end of the month & perhaps one more after that.

We then went down for soccer ~ a great stress buster & one reason for persisting when we are able. Lots of little kids this week so I did a bit of coaching because the guy in charge seems to think every kid on the pitch knows what they are doing when it is blatantly obvious that's not the case. We had kids who didn't know to bring the ball to the midpoint for a fresh kick~off after a goal or how to throw a ball in ~ & one guy simply picked the ball up & clutched it to his chest to keep his opponent at bay! Yeah, well. Nothing wrong with the idea! The kick~offs were a mess too. The boys won't listen [it's a male thing] so I grabbed the only girl on the pitch, told her to run like blazes down the line once the ball had been tapped. She shot of like a startled rabbit & was ever so surprised when I dropped the ball neatly at her feet & she found she had a clear run down the line towards goal. Now we just need to work on her not letting the boys intimidate her on the pitch!

I'm not as fast as I used to be & I don't like expending more energy than I need to, plus I've spent years watching soccer, so I've learnt to read a game pretty well & get a wicked delight out of watching boys who don't know me dismissing me as a rather silly old lady who has no business on the pitch at all ~ until they find the ball they thought they had possession of neatly stolen from under their feet or the little old lady zipping between them & the ball & sending it to the opposition. The dawning respect in their eyes is terribly funny!

No, I'm not fast & I huff & puff my way round the pitch but I can often find space when other players can't simply because no~one counts me & I set up the majority of our goals yesterday thanks to all the hours & hours I've spent over the years crossing balls into the 10 yard box for Liddy. Yes, I can place a ball fairly accurately, especially if I get just a little time to organise my feet.

It is early & cold & having had both coffeee & chocolate I'm going to head back to bed for a wee while before running Liddy up to work & organising our Sunday. May the Lord bless your going out & your coming in this week.