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...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Two is better than one.

It is impossible to keep a straight face in the presence of one of
more kittens ~ Cynthia E. Varnado
Marlow ~ getting used to the verandah ~ & Kirby, who thinks there should be more of a good thing.
OK, I love this guy's music. This is one of yesterday's songs but the other can also be found on u~tube.

Gathering round the Lord's Table.

For I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you..1Corinthians11:23 One of the issues that comes up when you are not affiliated with a regular church is: what are we going to do about the Lord's supper? Do people feel it needs to be officiated by a priest? Or do they hold that we are all priests under Christ? How should it be led & how will we incorporate it? What shall we use for the elements? Do we try & celebrate together or do we leave it up to people to make their own arrangements?

In our regular mix we have Catholic come Charismatics; Anglicans & ex~Anglicans; A Quaker [whose denomination does not practise the sacraments]; Baptists & a couple of non~denoms. Anglicans & Catholics are liturgical & usually feel strongly that a priest should administer the sacraments. The charismatics & non~denoms are fairly relaxed & the Baptists fall somewhere between the two. Never~the~ less we felt we should try.

How do you practise the Lord's supper; or communion; the Eucharist; holy communion? I know theoretically that communion is the high point of a liturgical service but all too often communion is something that seems tacked on to the end of a regular service, by which time the kids are bouncing off the walls & everyone's starving with an eye to getting out the door just as fast as possible. This is not conducive to an attitude of reverence & worship. I've seen communion squashed in between praise & the sermon. I've seen services open with communion before anyone's even 1/2 awake. The problem from my point of view, was simply that communion was not viewed as the *main event* ~ irregardless of what people actually said!

We've partaken of communion organised on the spur of the moment ~ & there is a time & a place for that sort of fellowship. We've done it high, we've done it low ~ & pretty much everything in between. but what did God want us to do? How did He wish us to remember Him at the celebration He instigated?

A number of things were made very clear to us. Firstly an attitude of reverence & worship was to be at the root of whatever we did because it is far more about the heart's attitude than anything else. Then it was to be *intentional*. I've *done church* for a lot of years & everyone follows a pretty similar pattern so undoing those expectations & going back to first things was awkward.

I know I'm a little odd but the first thing that always springs to mind for me is what Jesus was doing when he broke the bread & shared the cup & what he was doing, very decidedly, was sharing a Passover meal with his disciples. Being a devout Jew there would have been a number of pertinent symbols that would have been very much on our Lord's heart as he prepared to become our sacrificial lamb on the very eve of Passover. So as I meditated & pondered how we should share communion that was always in the back of my mind.

The next thing that was very much on my heart is how so many churches have glossed over the need for repentance & a right heart attitude in order to partake of communion. Grace is uppermost is everone's minds ~ & believe me, I'm not knocking grace! We'd be in dire straits without it. It does occur to me though that there is a reason that grace is extended; because we are sinners in need of salvation & God in His infinite grace & mercy has enabled that beyond any right to expectation of ours.

Now I'm a Quaker & right from their inception Quakers recognized the equality of women before God so I'm not going to argue the whole thing about women teachers. I do it; Dearest is happy about it & it is supported scriptually, end of story. What Dearest & I finally agreed on looked like this, Dearest leading:

Opening prayer; call to worship.
OT: 2 Chronicles 7:13
NT: 1Corinthians11:27~32

Meditation for confession & repentance

Exodus ~ the Passover.

meditation using two tracks from Ancient Words [tracks 5 & 6]

which led naturally into the partaking of communion as we read Luke's account
We closed with intercessory prayer.

No; no teaching, no preaching & it took about the same length of time as a more traditional service. The entire focus of our time together was to bring us into right relationship wherein communion was a natural extension of that relationship.

We want communion to remain extremely meaningful so won't be doing it all that often but feel this is a solid foundation on which to build for the future. Interestingly I was at the Baptist service that evening to pick up Liddy & they have a more unusual approach to communion also at their youth service. The bread & the wine is set on small tables in the side aisles & while the music ministry plays praise music the kids wander over to help themselves to communion as they feel like it. I must confess this practise does not make me feel very comfortable & I have yet to take communion at this service. However the sermon hit on many of the same points raised in our time together during the morning ~ which is always interesting & necessary validation. We don't want to become heretical!

So what are some of the more unusual ways you've shared the Lord's supper with diverse believers?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

While we're on Shakespeare...

There's rosemary, that's for rememberance; pray love remember; & there is pansies; that's for thoughts.

There's fennel for you, & columbines; there's rue for you; & some for me; we may call it herbgrace o' Sundays; Oh you must wear your rue with a difference. There's a daisy; I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died: they say he made a good end.

Ophelia from Hamlet Act 4 scene 5.
The things you don't get taught ~ though I quite see why a sedate Anglican girl's school wasn't going to teach on what was really going on between Hamlet & Ophelia~ though the omission turned Ophelia, who is quite the most interesting of the female characters, into something of a namby~pamby & made her suicide quite incomprehensible. Actually everyone still skips over Ophelia, which is unfortunate as it leaves everyone with quite incorrect impressions of both Ophelia & Hamlet.

Enough to say Ophelia was neither chaste nor virginal. If you want the relevant speeches try here. I must say, a pregnant Ophelia makes far more sense than one driven mad by thwarted love, which always seemed rather unlikely to me. Be that as it may, & given that most productions completely ignore all the snide references to any suggestion that something improper may have been going on between Ophelia & Hamlet [which actually makes better psychological sense of Hamlet's rants about his mother as well], poor old Ditz got lumbered with this speech, mostly because the floriography is fairly easy to interpret.

Actually once you interpret what Ophelia is actually saying in this passage her whole character is floodlit as being altogether stronger & more interesting, far more 3~dimensional & driven than she is usually given credit for. I found it fascinating, but I can do this stuff standing on my head under water. I forget Ditz has a little more trouble organizing her thoughts. She has a little more trouble dealing with metaphor. She grasps it on an intuitive level but has utmost difficulty conveying her sense in words.

Taking this passage apart actually proved quite challenging. The first bit was fairly easy. Go through the passage & put in the meaning of each flower. Rosemary & pansies are easy, being already done for us by the author. Fennel, which means strength is a little harder. Columbine, which means folly but specifically folly of a sexual nature, opens innuendo that is exacerbated by the mention of rue. Daisies are innocence & violets for virtue.

Remember these are being passed out in public to the King & Queen & what Ophelia is actually saying is both pointed & rather rude. She skyrocketed in my estimation. It took a brave woman to do what she is actually doing. Having chatted about what has been happening in the play & what Ophelia is actually saying I asked Ditz to rewrite the passage in plain prose without the floral camouflage. After 20 minutes with no result Dearest mildly suggested I may have given the child rather too much to cope with so we sat down together & worked through the passage.

What we came up with is this:

I know what you've done & I'm not going to forget it. I'm not going to let other people forget either. You think you're so tough but you've been running round as mutton dressed up as lamb with another man. One day you're going to regret it, just like I regret my folly & we'll pay for it. We've lost our innocence. We left it behind when my father died.

Not perfect, no, & it skirts round the implicit threat of the rue [which was considered an aborticant in Elizabethan times & prior] but it was a useful exercise. Ditz, more than most, has to be able to deal with metaphor & symbolism so we will do some more of these until she stops giving me the stunned rabbit look every time I ask her to turn poetry into prose! Good be a while.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A cat or two...

Animals are such agreeable friends ~ they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. George Eliot.
I don't have new pics; Liddy has the camera with her & Liddy is in Melbourne. The boys are, however, growing apace. We have finally convinced them there is no need to wolf their food. There is more where that came from & no~one is going to steal it ~ though we do have to stand guard over Marlow [we've added the *w* because I think it looks better & the meaning is *driftwood*, which is eminently suitable for a cat living on the foreshores.]

I think I won't do another lot of *gloop*. The boys seem to prefer their bikkies, or a chicken wing to gnaw. So funny. They each chew like mad [think they're teething] while emitting a low grumbling growl over their wing. Lid, who can be an awful tease, thought she'd get a reaction by removing a wing from a lad but the poor boy just looked bewildered & hurt until it was given back to him. We are giving them upmarket *dine* for mains but anyone still hungry gets the cheap stuff after they've had their one tin each. No, we don't spoil our cats. Noooooo....

Ditz & I let them out on the verandah for a short run. It's pretty wet here so any outside excursions have been kept short. Very short. Kirby's only idea was to shoot off the verandah as fast as possible & head straight down the hill through the ferns! I sent Ditz after him. Ditz was not impressed, scolded him roundly & shoved him inside pronto! When he's a bit bigger it won't be an issue but we know what lives round here & he doesn't so we're being careful till the boys are bigger.

Yes, we are being purred deaf, cuddled extravagantly, & followed round everywhere. I really don't need company in the loo but if I shut the door the boys cry; if I leave it open they perv. Worse than a toddler really. The nicest thing, because Dearest was so set against getting a 2nd cat, is that Dearest is thrilled with them. He said, as I walked out the door, that I was to get young, short haired cats. Luckily I did what he meant, not what he said. He wanted a cat with lots of Issi traits again: the gentleness, the people craziness, that odd mix of sookiness & smarts & the boys are all that & more.

I think he thought I'd completely lost my mind when I brought the lads home. They were older kittens & he thought they were long~haired ~ which is an issue in our heat. Me, I choose cats on personality, not looks & I was pretty sure about these two. Dearest can't get over how wonderful they are ~ & they nick his special chair, sit on his stamps, bounce on his head at mid~night ~ & he still thinks they're wonderful. They're pretty fond of him too. I think it's the beard. I think they mistake him for another feline.

We are all just so stoked with these two! They'll cuddle anyone & everyone which makes everyone feel really special & they've got lovely house manners. Now their appetite is settling down they are heaps more relaxed all round. I guess I have to start sharing sleeping arrangements with the girls now.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Soliquy on Shakespeare.

A plague 'o both your houses!

Shakespeare. Who hangs like the executor's axe over all of English literature ~ or shines like a beckoning beacon to be hastened toward amidst the flotsam in between ~ depending on your point of view of course.

Now I like Shakespeare. I appreciate him. What's not to like about a man who invented a character like Falstaff ~ whom I have not introduced Ditz too! I'm over the fart jokes. I am particularly fond of the Merchant of Venice [how does one extract an ounce of flesh ~ & nothing else?!], the Taming of the Shrew [my particular favourite], Macbeth & King Lear. Hamlet, I confess, drives me crazy. The lad had a nasty mind, but the play that has me howling in the wilderness & laughing till I weep hysterically is Romeo & Juliet.

Yeah, I hear you. I know, I know; I'm a very twisted individual. But seriously; how can you not laugh at this play? You do remember being a teenager, don't you? The angst. The unrequited loves. The passion. Being so misunderstood all round. See, that's what I see. It's what I saw first time round when I saw Franco Zeffirelli's version with that quite lovely theme song. We were doing this play for Senior English & honestly, I was about a cot case by the time this film was done.

I actually really like what Baz Luhrmann did with this play, despite Leonardo Dicaprio. It is grittier, edgier, & I think brings out the insane teen thing much, much better. No, I don't think the teens are certifiable, just as hormonally unbalanced as any other teen.

See that's the thing. Not many adults are going to go round behaving in the lunatic ways that Romeo & Juliet do. Forbidden love? How exciting is that? Makes you feel all grown up & daring. Sneaking out at night, getting all warm & tingly under the stars. The blood hums ~ or so I'm told. I wasn't one of the ones sneaking out to meet boyfriends in the dead of night but I heard all about it come Monday morning before class began ~ & I went to a good church school too! No wonder I'm so cynical. I confess, I'm still 'mazed at what some of my peers did without batting an eyelid ~ & thought themselves very mature & grown up with it too!

It just gallops from there. Ever watched teen boys facing off? Uh~huh. I think Shakespeare was wickedly clever but you can't possibly take this play seriously. Ironic? Satirical? Oh, yes, indeed! The whole thing from beginning to end is a teen madhouse ~ illogical, unreasonable, completely daft! All that over the top passion; the extravagant declarations of love ~ & absolutely no thought for how they are going to live day to day, on what or where! Life sure comes to earth with a bump when the tummy rumbles.

And that ending! Now I went to an all girls school & I saw this for the first time when I was 16 so I saw it with a bunch of 16/17 year old girls who all thought it highly romantic. By the time we got to "Never was a story of more woe/Than Juliet & her Romeo", most of them had worked their way through a whole box of tissues & had tears streaming unashamedly down their cheeks. The auditorium was full of muffled sobbing. My tissues were halfway down my throat to prevent me from whooping with unrestrained glee. I thought then, & think now, it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen & I do not understand why people take this particular play so seriously. Treat it as a tragedy. I think you could make a good case for its being a morality play but tragedy? Phuleese! This is teen angst at it's most extreme & it's only teens who don't find that funny. Most of us grow up & get over ourselves. Most of us grow up & wince a little about that over serious wide~eyed teen we used to be who took life so seriously. It certainly took a teen brain to come up with the brilliant idea of faking their death & only another teen brain could come to the conclusion that the only correct response to that was to kill oneself! Yep. Complete lunacy all round.

I'm pretty certain Shakespeare wrote this tongue in cheek. He had a wicked sense of humour & he certainly never took himself over seriously. What is sad is that there are people out there, mostly teens, who seem to think this sort of behaviour makes them both romantic & tragic & actually behave like this! Some even die. That is a tragedy. The play is not.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mrs C, over at Homeschool & etc has awarded me two blog awards ~ which is lovely BUT I am supposed to pass them on to 10/15 other bloggers & the truth of the matter is I don't actually know 10/15 other bloggers, well, not well enough to pass awards on to soooo, if you like awards help yourself & leave me a note to let me know you've accepted the award.

Now Mrs C tells me I am to tell you 7 things about me. What's left to tell you wonder ~ & why would you want to know?

1. I blog because I wanted to make new friends ~ or learn more about on~line friends I had made & this seemed a good way to do it. Consequentially I have never consciously tried to expand my readership because I want to make friends of the people who read here & get to know them better & realistically most people can only manage groups of 8~10 people. That's what the text~books tell me & who am I to disagree? Perhaps there are just degrees? It's also why this blog is so eclectic & why I never consciously set out to have a very worthwhile blog full of good advice & Godly encouragement. Actually I don't think I have any good advice on hand. The older I get the less I have so you know where not to come.

2. I know my 2 times tables. And my 5s. And my 10s. And my 11s...& that's it. I don't know any of the others. That's what fingers & calculators are for. Like my daughter I am not a sequential learner. This is why the running joke in my house has always been: I had 5 kids because I knew my 5 times tables!

3. I took acting classes all through high school & university, not because I wanted to act ~ far from it~ but because I was interested in the dramatic construction of plays & the use of dialogue to carry action. Yes, well. A little grasp of drama helps any writer! As it helps any mother. Nothing like a little dramatic interpolation on mother's part to bring a screaming toddler to a sudden, embarrassed halt. Works a treat in the grocery store where I keep my hand in by silencing the screaming kids of complete strangers. Double whammy! I embarrass Ditz no end. Such joy!

4. I once named a cat after Lord Peter Wimsey for *the originality of her countenance*! She was a lovely cat. Should probably have named it Lord Byron.

5. I do not like roses. My flower of choice is a gardenia. I love the rich creaminess of the petals & the strong, heady aroma. I even love that the flowers are so short~lived & the sepia tinge they get as they fade. This is because I love a scented garden. No garden is truly a garden for me unless there are zillions of different & interesting scents wafting on the breeze; everything from the rich moist humus under the trees to the delicate hint of sweet peas.

6. I once tried to learn flute & I play a crummy guitar. Go Ditz!

7. In a perfect world I would own a pair of cheetahs who would sleep on my bed with me. [sorry Dearest; you'd have to go] I love that eye~liner & the tear~drop markings. I'm told they make excellent pets. Big cat, big purr. Yeah!
OK, your turn now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Yay for the rest of us.

If you ever want to feel like an abject failure try being the mum of a homeschool dropout. The homeschool mum whose kid doesn't love homeschool. The homeschool mum whose child spectacularly fails standardised tests ~ on purpose; because they're boring. *sigh* We're the mum's tearing our hair out while our children roll their eyes & go, "But I thought you wanted me to think for myself & what I think is..." [No, dear. What I wanted was for you to think like me.]

We're out there; the mums who believe in homeschooling & are clinging on by the skin of our teeth while our children lob social landmines to skittle our ship. We don't say boo to a goose. Our kids won't be starting college at 15. Doubtful if our kids will ever see the inside of a college classroom.

Worse, many of us have kids on the upper end of bright. They are super intelligent ~ & very creative about making sure no~one ever knows just how bright they are. Every day we're down in the trenches dragging our reluctant children to the academic well they don't want to drink from, extolling the virtues of an interesting education, telling them over & over how lucky they are. They are skeptical. Everywhere they go they are the outsider; the kid who can't join in the conversations about how awful their math teacher is & how little Jonny stank out the science lab with sulphur & Brendan hacked into the school mains & crashed the whole system. They suffer from *the grass is always greener syndrome*, outsiders who bring whole conversations to screaming halts with 3 little words; "Oh, I'm homeschooled."

Now I know people who would growl with exasperation, "For heavens sake! Put the poor child in school & let her get a decent education!" Um, right. You know something? Even I know that would compound the problem. And you know how I know? I was one of those children. I should never have been in a regular classroom. Nothing against the education my parents chose for me, which was very good in parts, but I am mostly self taught ~ as any truly well educated person is. Nope. So long as I was quiet & well behaved I could pretty much do as I pleased & what pleased me was to to make math class bearable by reading novels under my desk. I read through math. I read through Science. I read through French & history. I was smart enough to still pass science & French & history. Math took a long, long spiral into oblivion. And if you think Ditz wouldn't do the same, think again! Fast. Worse, knowing Ditz as I do, she loses the things that don't interest her: maths books & lecture notes, entire classrooms, perhaps even the entire school. Who knows. She likes to talk. She'd stand gabbing at the school gate all day & never notice she'd missed a thing.

Because I am passionate about education I read homeschool blogs. Perhaps I shouldn't. Most people still have younger children & younger children are different. I do remember it was sooo much easier when Ditz was little. Before she started thinking for herself & we no longer saw eye to eye about her school work. It is frustrating & demoralising. It is one area where I am definitely not happy being radically different & providing the homeschool freak show. Nope. I could live with my kid starting college classes at 15. Believe me. More than happy. I'm counting down the years now till Ditz graduates & this is no longer my problem, my responsibility, my anything.

Does this make me a bad mummy? A truly awful homeschooler? Ah! See there's the rub. Here's the other side of the coin ~ the one that can't be measured with standardised tests, or assessed using the usual methods, or judged by what others have achieved. Ditz has a singing CV that would rival some professionals & that would never have happened if I wasn't the sort of mummy to drive all over the place & wait, bored out of my brain, in dark cold places, for Ditz to do her ditzy thing. Ditz truly appreciates it. More, slowly, slowly Ditz is grappling with the street directory. This is no mean feat for a right brained mathematically challenged child. She is also the calm one while her mother is losing the plot behind the steering wheel. "Just drive, mum. Straight ahead." Which isn't always good advice but soothing just the same.

Ditz has shopped with me since she was a toddler, choosing fruit, putting things in the trolley, later keeping a running Tally to make sure we had enough money at the checkout. Now it is more likely to be Ditz than I saying, "Not that mum. This is better value for your money. See 2 of these equals one of those & it's $3.00 less". Honestly. And her supervisor worries about her math! I know a lot of learning is taking place by default, from random conversations because Ditz lives in a house where everyone talks everything to death.

So last night Ditz calls me over to the computer. There in all it's glory is Ditz's book. A children's story based on the stories she wrote in grade 2 about Tottle the dragon. She even remembered a dedication page [to mummy & daddy for allowing her to dream big ~ or something like that. Awww.] She is now looking for a publisher. I have promised to help edit. Realistically, she has as much chance of getting published as I have of flying to the moon but that is not important. She will learn sooo much from this process that she would never learn by *doing school*. This is real. When it's real Ditz listens. She listens when I tell her she has to sort out her grammar; and her punctuation; & her spelling. She listens when I tell her her fancy script needs to go. Editors want something clear & legible, not something *pretty*.

You know something else, something I lost constantly fighting to survive my peers? Ditz has a wonderful confidence. I envy her that so much. She might get turned down, knocked back, rejected but she would never in a thousand years let that deter her. She will pick herself up, dust herself off & have another shot at her dreams. How can one measure the invaluable attribute of that sort of confidence? And you know what else this tells me? That Ditz knows how to do all sorts of stuff, stuff we've been studying as part of her school work for years & years, complete with eye~rolls & cries of, "But this is so boring!"

So if you have an academically inclined child who aces all those tests & is wonderful in every possible way, thank God. Some of us have wonderful children who walk to a very different beat. No~one, but no~one, has the right to judge us. Especially no~one in a public school system that has effectively squashed every ounce of creativity out of children for generations. We have special challenges you will never have to face, special obstacles to overcome you will never even know exist. Like the parents of special needs kiddies we walk a lonely road, poorly signposted, doing the best we know to do for children dancing before us completely unaware of how much heartache, how much prayer, how much love, has gone into creating an education wherein they can be the very best they can be.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A little school.

My education was dismal. I went to a series of schools for mentally distubed teachers. Woody Allen.

We are back schooling. Yes indeed. After a rather shonkey start due to all the Issi drama & a ghastly *first day* wherein Ditz made it clear she felt she was well & truly educated enough. I have yet to add in all her music but I never do until I know exactly how unpredictable AVAE is going to be for the term. Very, I think.

Anyway nothing much changes round here. I'm not a curriculum hopper though my Sonlight supplier is no longer supplying. *sigh* Do hope I don't have to order from the States.

Anyway it will eventually be Sonlight 7 which covers WWII. Yes, I know. Ditz did Hitler last year & let's face it; I have a ditzy girl. She is not the least interested in either the political or the military aspects of said war. Ok, nor is her mother, but that's ok. There are other ways of skinning our cat. We have begun with Back to Billabong by Mary Grant Bruce. Now apart from the fact I adore these books for the books sake alone[they are funny & charming & completely politically incorrect!] a lot of social commentary is implicit. The books reflect the thinking of the times accurately. This is wonderful if you are trying to show how British arrogance contributed to the second war & why we, as Australians, felt so obligated to stick our noses into that European soup!

Back to Billabong takes place at the end 0f WWI & is quite simply a running commentary of the times: the lack of training of returning soldiers; the lack of available work; the inability to settle to a more normal lifestyle; the toll rationing took on people [there is a totally hysterical scene in a Melbourne dining hall where the Billabong crew remeets a 10 egg cake!]; the idea that the *colonies* were this great empty wilderness that needed to be filled with good British stock; the influenza epidemic...all of which form the backdrop for the Depression & the second war & is not normally Ditz's sort of book. I fully expected to hear her usual moan of, "It's boring!" In fact Ditz has listened in silence. I have been extra sneaky this time round. My copy of Back to Billabong does not in fact belong to me. It is one of my mother's many school prizes. The award plate for club work is still pasted inside the front cover. Ditz has listened while ma & I have discussed this book many times & how much ma loved & treasured her copies of these books. And if you're not Australian & don't own your own copy it is available as an E~book, free on~line!

My second choice has been Lewis' The Screwtape Letters ~ & you'd better believe Ditz is whining about this one! She has to think, poor chicken. I got the studies free on~line though I noticed you can buy whole books devoted to discussing this book that are far longer than the original!

I still have masses of worksheets from last year & our music & Home ec. Science I've just discovered I have to order. Apologia biology I think. I'd prefer botany but no~one seems to be offering botany ~ not even on~line. Anyone? Math, dear God! Please, please give me strength! I'm going to try Liddy's prac math, which we still have. At least it's free second time round.

Ditz has opted out of Island drama. Too amateurish but her quitting suites me. I wasn't ever keen but it was at least on island. Plus a study on Singapore though thanks to the doey Travel Agent our insurance won't be through in time for the next trip either! Grinding like the Mills of God.

And just because Ditz asked, a study of flowers & their meanings. She's going to hate me for this one. Really she will. Having thunk my thunks what I thunk was *lightbulb moment!* ~ Shakespeare!!! He's always waffling poetical about flowers. Surely, surely I could do something with that? Boy can I do something with that. Ophelia drowning herself in the Mersey finally makes sense! Not that I like Hamlet. He always struck me as a snivelling brat who couldn't deal with his mama being a sexual being & whined on & on about stuff that was none of his business. He really had a dirty little mind. My opinion & not shared by academia. I'll give you my take on why Romeo & Juliette is one of the funniest things I've ever seen one day. Whooped with laughter all through the final scenes while my entire Honours English class wept into their hankies. Honestly! But I digress. Ophelia...& Hamlet if I must. It's all in the flowers ~ the whole sad & sorry little tale of love betrayed. Hamlet was a cad! And if you want some really funny reading & are over the age of consent you can read on~line Margaret Attwood's retelling of the tale from Gertrude's point of view. An absolute howler! The things people find to say about Shakespeare's plays are often as good as the plays themselves.

So there you have it in a nutshell. We are off & running.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday, Sunday.

What I wanted most for my daughter was that she be able to soar confidently in her own sky, whatever that may be. Helen Claes.

Sunday was not a day of rest. Far from it. I can't even blame the kittens who, while not asleep when I rose from my bed, were not bouncing off our walls either. Nope it's all Liddy's fault.

Liddy needed to be on a 7am boat because this is the week she spends in Melbourne for her pre~field training. This is the last of the first things. If this goes well & according to plan then Chile is definitely on! It is a scary thought.

Anyway I made Liddy drive because the airport is across one of those 13 bridges that decorate the Brisbane River, which means driving through town on the highway & that is just not something I enjoy at any time & particularly not early in the morning. Besides, as I pointed out, I had to drive back. I know there is parking at the airport but we were destined not to find it & having driven round the circuit 3 times Liddy pulled over, I threw her out & abandoned her on the side of the road to sort herself out & headed home. Liddy is very competent & is now safely in Melbourne [another city I do not like! sorry Jeanne.] doing goodness knows what in order to go to the ends of the earth.

I was home in time for church. Now we have been seeing a shift in dynamics with our little church & as always when things have to be dealt with it is uncomfortable & because I am a woos Dearest is at the forefront of the firing line [which is how it should be scripturally anyway] but I hate upset. It upsets me, don'tcha know.

Now one reason amongst many for pulling out of our island church was leadership tolerance of blatant sin by a member been given leadership positions. Scripture speaks very strongly about such sin & how it will destroy the church, especially if that sin is a sexual sin & there is no repentance. Dearest & I felt very strongly that if we must go the home church way we wanted to be with Christians who wanted more of God & were willing to die to their flesh in order for that to happen. We are tired of nominalism. We also discerned very clearly from God that we were to judge people by their fruits. How else are we to discern their walk with God? By what they say? I hardly think so!

Now I want to make it very clear: I am not a wowser. I am all for people having a quiet drink or two in their own homes. Invite friends if you like. Party on! Not my thing. One small glass of wine & I'll be snoring under your table. I know that about me & rarely indulge. Liddy, who began having the occasional drink when she was legally of age, now rarely indulges either. Like me a drink or two brings out the aggro & we don't like who we become. We don't like that our Christian witness goes down the gurgler faster than a bomb. I appreciate that for some people a glass of good wine with a nice dinner is one of the delights of life. I also think this is an area where Christians have to tread very, very carefully. We are God's witnessness. If our witness is poor we jeopardise our ability to draw people to the One who saves.

Although not drinkers ourselves we did not object when those who are had a glass or two at our meals. They brought their own wine. They even brought their own glasses. BUT. Oh dear, oh dearie me! Over time the one drink became two, then three or four & what had begun as a pleasant evening became fueled by alcohol. This made us uncomfortable. It made others uncomfortable. A spirit other than Christ's was at work.

There are other issues, even more serious issues because again they are leadership issues. If you lead people into sin you are accountable for that! Dearest & I distressed & stressed about it & while we would not refuse fellowship we have made it very clear certain issues need to be addressed, that we will not tolerate the blatant mocking of God's law in our fellowship. If that means they will no longer fellowship with us, I can live with that. If they want to start up their own fellowship, I can live with that too. I won't be held accountable for what they choose to do under their own roof. It is very clear from God's word that those who presume to teach will be held to a higher accountability. It should be enough of a warning to make any right~minded person tremble in fear.

The fallout is bitter. Other people have been shocked & distressed by the behaviour. God is good. We still have people to fellowship with who feel as we do ~ & who were totally delighted that the kittens chose to join us for worship. We band~aided as best we could but only God can deal with unrepentant hearts. *sigh* The ravening lion is still doing his work & Christians are still cheerfully feeding themselves to him.

Then it was back to the mainland to pick up Ditz ~who was late, her driver having put his steering lock on while failing to bring his key with him! One destroyed steering lock later they arrived! Ditz is very sunburned & very tired & very... well very much her Ditzy self. She had a lovely time but we had agreed to pick up Dino for mainland church & both Ditz & I barely made it! I was well & truly fading half~way through the sermon, a sermon that did not make any of us happy. Yes, we are hard to please. Yes, we have exacting standards. Yes, the Lit major gets out her red pencil & starts editing. lol. We like the regular guy but this was the new senior pastor & I just felt he was trying a little too hard & he repeated himself way to much. I got it the first time, thanks, & my bed needs me. No, I'm not at my most tolerant once I get over tired. Dino, who cut his baby teeth on the theological arguments going on over his head, got grumpier & grumpier, having got his sermon in a nutshell while waiting for church to begin. [Mama's take on the new testament implications of Leviticus! Well, what do you talk about while you wait for church to begin?]

We missed the 8.15 home & waited nearly an hour for the next boat where Ditz got flirted with by TWO! yes, two, different boys!!! Ditz got creeped out & her mother was ready to hand her a burkah on the spot! Her father will once again consider bricking her in her room until she turns 45! Oh my!

I walked in my own door with relief, thinking I'd slump in my chair & tease my kittens before heading to bed but Dearest had been waiting 7 hours for me to reappear, desperate for computer help. All that church must have had some effect. I didn't grump. I barely sighed. Eventually I opened my Facebook page to find Liddy, thoughtful child that she is, had left me a message assuring me that yes, she's arrived safely; yes, she got picked up; no, no strange man has run away with her yet; yes, her host family is totally wonderful & hasn't God got a great sense of humour because her host's sense of humour is just like ours & no, she's not picking up pointers for dad; he has enough bad jokes of his own! Thanks, Lid.

Friday, February 19, 2010

See how they've grown.

Everything a cat is & does physically is to me beautiful, lovely, stimulating, soothing, attractive & an enchantment. ~ Paul Gallico.
It's been a week. The boys are waxing sleek & glossy. We have all been surprised at how well & easily Kirby & Marlo have settled into their new home, racing down the hallways, up & down the stairs, bouncing off the walls like baby elephants. You wouldn't believe it from that pic, would you?
True, Kirby likes a slightly more high risk lifestyle. It's not like it's been cold....I believe he also escaped last night while I was dropping Ditz at the church for a weekend camp. [They've gone down to Burleigh Heads] He spent some time on the verandah before Liddy noticed & while he wasn't spooked & didn't run away he wasn't real happy about being recaptured & relegated to the rank of prisoner again. We do have hawks & they do take small pets so he can't be given the unsupervised run of our yard just yet. He's been staring longingly through our big windows for days & it must look & smell amazing to any cat worth their salt.

Marlo is content to stay close to his food source. For a little guy he sure can eat! He's been a little more reluctant to come out & join the party but this morning I am typing left~handed because Marlo is sleeping along my computer desk with his head on my hand. He is so cute & happy I couldn't bear to move him just for my convenience.
Not that he got his prime position without some competition! Luckily hearts are elasticised & expand to accommodate all the love we can share.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing & devote our attention to eating ~ Pavarotti.

Photography by Ben Dearnley
Yesterday the afternoon got later & later & as the hour for the food fracas arrived the likelihood of any dinner for anyone actually arriving receded further & further into the distance. Dearest was helicopter~computing while I wrestled with what he wanted done with his picture up~loads & the kittens gravitated between me & their food bowl looking anxious.

I can manage to ignore people quite well. The kittens are another matter entirely. They do better if they are fed regularly & often. I fed them while cursing Google. What is the matter with Google at the moment? It is sending me all round the world instead of where I want to be. No matter. I fed the cats & went back to fending of Dearest with one elbow because his suggestions were not helpful & while it was taking far more time than it should I did actually know what I was doing ~ though far too frustrated to give on~line lessons about it just then.

The hands of the clock went round & round & Ditz gravitated towards the kitchen. Being Ditz & my daughter she wanted to make dessert. Apple Crumble from here. Great recipe & it made absolute heaps. In fact it made so much there was enough for breakfast too ~ & it is healthy enough for a substantial breakfast! Just so you know we are not completely decadent. Chocolate, as we all know, is a whole food & good at any time at all!

Having taken care of the essentials Ditz offered to cook dinner ~ which was macaroni cheese with hot buttered toast because neither Ditz nor I are eating meat & Dearest just had to eat whatever got served up by then ~ & grateful for it too!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ditz Saves the Day.

A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom. ~ Bob Dylan

Ditz was performing yesterday. At 8AM. That's right 8AM!!! This meant Ditz had to rise at 5.30 am ~ which is almost unheard of~ to be on a 6.35 am boat so she could meet her lift on the other side by 7am. All of which we managed. Not without difficulty. Ditz was barely awake & what I am normally doing at that hour of the morning, before I have to wake up properly, is blogging.

There was only one small hiccup as I dropped Ditz off [apart from the fact the child has a cold & is whining incessantly about a piddling little stuffed nose]; for a whole 20 minutes said child had to be on her own with no~one to drive crazy except herself.

However Ditz did eventually, albeit reluctantly, get out of the car & wander down the jetty. I hoped she was a little more functional in an hour, before she had to sing, & went home to my cats, who on finding all their alpha females gone & Dearest still in bed, had had a meltdown & gone into hiding. *sigh*

Several hours later Ditz returned to the island glowing with virtue & the sort of giddiness performing gives her. I inquired after the performance anxiously. The target audience was a bunch of psychiatrists & psychologists ~ notoriously hard nuts. Ditz looked Smug. She'd missed rehearsal. Peak hour traffic & an erratic GPS got them to the uni late. I waited, knowing how fraught Alison can get in these circumstances but

"We're all good," my child informed me. "Alison loves me forever & ever."

For being LATE?

"No; for having a spare shirt."

Whoa there, Nellie! Come again?

For reasons that will probably forever escape me because there's no way on God's little green planet that Ditz will ever again fit into her spare orange VM shirt, Ditz had shoved her spare shirt into her bag along with her make~up kit, her spare ribbons & bobby pins, her snack & water bottle. Thank goodness she did. One of the girls arrived in the wrong uniform & without her other shirt. At that time of the day on a school morning numbers were minimal so she was going on, wrong shirt or not. Ditz arrived just before they were due to perform, had a spare shirt that fitted the other girl & Alison was able to relax & pretend there had never been any drama to start with.

I ever tell you how much I love you, Ditz? Way to go girl!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A little kitty obsessed.

Most beds sleep up to six cats. Ten without the owner. Stephen Baker.

We are a little kitten obsessed just now. This is partly because the kittens are obsessed with us. Where are we? What are we doing? Why are we doing it? And why aren't we smooching with them? Nor are they backward in asking for smooches.
The acid test came yesterday. Being males the boys understand the dominant male in the household [Dearest] must be pacified at all costs. Being males they also understand if they smooch a female all will be forgiven ~ no matter what wickedness they have indulged in. But yesterday; yesterday Liddy headed off for the first bit of her pre~field training. As she got on a boat to return home Ditz & I got off a boat. There on the mainland jetty we exchanged car keys. I handed over the island keys; Liddy passed over the mainland keys. Liddy headed home; Ditz & I headed to rehearsal.

Meanwhile Dearest was left home alone with two kittens. All the females, rightfully, had concluded that so long as one person was home the kittens would not be stressed. So long as one person was at home the kittens would be happy. So long as one person was at home all would be well.

We were right...but boy was Dearest glad to see Liddy. When I walked in the door he all but dumped kittens in my arms & fled howling into the wilderness.

"How do you do it?" He wailed.

I had visions of kitten wickedness destroying rare & valuable stamps. Not so. Rather when Ditz & I walked out the door the kittens lost the plot & promptly went from being dominant alpha males strutting round like little Napoleons to The World's Biggest Sooks. Dearest spent a stressful hour with both kittens frantically climbing all over him & desperately cuddling up under his chin where they could constantly rub along his scratchy old beard ~ which was all very flattering but left Dearest unable to swallow even a mouthful of coffee, let alone get any work done.

I have made up some *kitty gloop* [interesting stuff, kitty gloop] & we have been giving the boys several small meals a day as well as their bickies & gloop as the long car trip & the heat upset their little tummies. It is also an easy & fail proof way of training them to come when called. Indeed when I tapped the spoon against their dishes last night to let them know we were heading for bed they raced me up the stairs & beat me through the door.

Dearest, who has learnt something about cats over the years he's known me, has made a supreme effort with these kittens & has been more than amply rewarded. They adore him & he is suitably flattered. Just the same I find myself followed round constantly by one or both kittens & if I disappear for any reason there is an anxious cry until I notify my whereabouts.

Kirby spins me out a little. He not only looks a little like Iss, he has a number of Issi traits: he spreads his pads so I can tickle his toes [& he has the hugest feet!!]; he pushes his face into my hand so my hand rubs right along all his scent glands in his cheeks; he flops a big hairy paw over me in a possessive manner when lying alongside me; he lies on his back with all his underbelly exposed expecting a tummy rub. It is incredibly unusual in my experience for a cat to tolerate a hand coming down from above in that manner. Marlo shrinks if I go to do it to him but Kirby pushes up into my hand just like Issi used to do.

We now have the boys waiting patiently in the mornings till I get up. Luckily I'm an early riser. They do the *perimeter walk* when we come downstairs & have favourite spots around the house. Naturally the first pic for both cats is along the back of the lounge that is between Dearest's desk & the t.v set. He just sighed & said at least they leave him a gap to gaze through between their 2 sets of whiskers!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Murphey's Law.

After all,the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working. Kenneth Grahame.

Murphy's Law [whatever can go wrong will] operates extremely effectively in our house. It is particularly effective when plans & budget are extra tight.

For some strange & unknown reason [probably to do with Creative Generation & the next Singapore tour] AVAE had not resumed when school went back, not even when the private schools went back. I breathed a sigh of relief thinking I had a good few days to settle kittens into their new home & we would have a term, like we always have, before performances began. Perish the thought!

Alison's e~mail came through late Friday, I think, because the girls had already left for the movies & I had to ring them & inform them not to be too late; there was a change of plans & we were now juggling times & commitments like nobody's business because Ditz was in rehearsal Saturday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon [yes, today] & is performing at the Uni by 8am Wednesday. KERBOOM!!!! Our term has started with a boom. At least the non~academic side of it has. Between Issi, kittens & the cold Ditz has picked up not much academic work has been done.
Meanwhile this is what happened when the storm started coming in last night. Both cats headed straight for Dearest. Kirby is parked between the computer & the printer, too dark to see, but Marlo promptly wedged himself between Dearest & his keyboard. ☺

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Some things besides cats.

To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

Unfortunately our council has limits on how many cats you can keep or I think we would have put dibs on Susie for Ditz. The boys were much more settled this morning though Kirby decided I need to be awake early because he needed a cuddle. Hm. I woke to a mouthful of cat hair & a resounding purr! Marlo at least waited till I was on the computer to crawl into my lap & become completely ecstatic! Though I keep water & a litter tray downstairs the boys remembered I have their bickies upstairs & when they were ready for breakfast they went & found it. I was so pleased as they had to be shut into our bedroom yesterday for church. Just too many people plus the 3 little girls! It was kinder to leave them somewhere safe where they wouldn't be disturbed. They, however, were highly insulted & not at all happy about the process.

They are far less frantic today though we are settling back into our usual routine & they got upset every time I went out in the car ~ once for Dino, once for Liddy.

Meanwhile other wildlife has been arriving in droves though why so much of it chooses to arrive in Ditz's room [who is less than thrilled] I do not know. With all the rain we have been hearing at least 3 different varieties of green tree frogs. This monster plonked himself against Ditz's window & scared the life out of her.

And then there is the goanna. He also has taken up residence near Ditz's room [perhaps because of the availability of green tree frog?]. He is very skittish though & bolts up the nearest tree any time anyone sets foot outside.
Seven adults & 4 children for church yesterday! I think we used every plate in the rack & they only left just before 4 because of the way the boats run.

Liddy picked up a form for Ditz to go on church camp next weekend. Should be interesting. She might be 14 but I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times she's been away from home on her own. And Lid heads off for her pre~field training next weekend too. Oh my. This year has begun with a bang!

I will get round tovisiting everyone's blogs in the next day or two now I am feeling more myself again. God Bless, my friends.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yes, we have been slept on!

Our pets are a gift from Heaven, but we don't get to keep them nearly long enough ~ anon [quote from my friend Birbitt.] This morning we woke to a tag team bouncing over the top of us. Hard to believe Marlo hid nearly all afternoon yesterday, obviously deeply traumatized by the trip & the removal from his people. This morning he was initiating the wrestling with his brother & planning his escape from our bedroom.

One of the hazards of renovating & still building is a total lack of doors in this house. We thought our barrier was adequate until I left this morning closely followed by 2 thudding wackes as the boys launched themselves at the ply & scrabbled over it to join me, eager to explore their new home.
No, I don't usually like a cat so close to my face but the boys needed the extra reassurance. I went to a lot of trouble to make up a lovely cat bed. Just as well I never really expected them to use it. They slept with Dearest & I, crawling impartially from one to the other of us, purring like coffee percolators, getting a little carried away with the face rubs & cuddling in close. Dearest, who used to be a dog man, has come a long way since knowing me & all night I heard him stroking one or other of the kittens & chatting away to them. I don't think either of us got a terrible lot of sleep but we have two very happy cats this morning so I brought them downstairs with me where they have been keeping Ditz very occupied indeed!

The change in Marlo this morning is extraordinary. Yesterday he was very subdued & freaked. I was a little worried about him because he did seem so deeply traumatised but this morning he is full of beans & madly chasing his brother around the house. Both boys have their tails really high & we are getting lots & lots of little chirruping greetings.

Kirby is much braver & was already playing ping~pong with the girls while I was still cuddling Marlo for reassurance. They are both extraordinarily affectionate. Their carers had them from 8 days old & hand reared them. They have done a wonderful job as the boys are very well socialised. Liddy is delighted with our choices & even Ditz, who fell in love with little Suzie, has been won over by their charm. I think they have now looked out of every available window in the house & explored every single nook & cranny. They are great time wasters ~ & we are wasting a lot of time pandering to their quirks.

Grieving Issi.

The very best accolade for what sort of a companion an animal has been is the desire to experience that companionship again ~ despite the inevitable loss. Issi was definitely a cat who sparked that. He was something altogether else.
His blood clot was sudden, unexpected, devestating ~ & lethal. He looks bright eyed & bushy~tailed but his hindquarters were like ice & he was already dying. Sweet & gentle to the very last he died craddled in my arms ~ the place he best liked to be. I was given an image, not the sort of sentimental thing I normally think, of when I go home of Jesus coming to greet me, Iss padding at his feet on one side, Gyver at the other. Dearest says by then there will be a whole swarm of the cat family trailing in Jesus' wake to greet me. I do so hope!

So today we went to choose another cat ~ or two. We went to one of the shelters & it didn't take Ditz long to have a lapful of kittens. The black one was spoken for, the little tabby girl both too young & too sick.
Kirby was not my first pick. I fell in love with his brother who sounded just right for our family but the foster carers didn't really want to separate them & we wanted two cats. Yeah, I know. He looks a little bit like Issi & he loves Liddy's toes to nibble on.

This is Marlo greeting Dearest.
He spent his first hour wedged behind a painting but he has beeen out for cuddles, tail carried high in greeting.
Kirby has already checked out the view.
It will take a few days but the boys are settling in well & are very affectionate to everyone in the house. They can't ever replace Iss but they are their own special selves & are helping to ease the pain.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The valley of the shadow of death.

He was the servant of the living God... Issi:10.2.10

Sunday, February 7, 2010

An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one. ~ Charles Horton Cooley. And we think our moggie has problems! Ma's cat is gorgeous but I don't think she's ever quite worked out why some of her favourite people don't hang round longer. To add insult to injury we arrive smelling strongly of *that Tom*. Then we disappear with her person for hours on end. It's more than a well regulated moggie can stand.
Walking along the boardwalk we check out what's happening in everyone's garden: who's planted what; who's hung a bird feeder; who's added an ornament; what's flowering, what's died, what needs cutting back.

The girls like to swim in the outdoor pool but there's been a little trouble with vandalism & the first thing the girls had to do was fish a lounge chair out of the pool. I do not know what pleasure people get out of doing this stuff but do it they do.

The art group hang their work in the main foyer. Mum is a regular contributer but many of the artists have only been painting since they joined this group. There is a wide variety of styles & mediums. I'm not a fan of the big chunky pottery [which took a crash during book club & now needs a nose or something glued back on ~ oops! No, not me] & I don't like the bright geometical work but some of the simple stylistic work like the woman in red & the poppies appeals to me.
I always enjoy seeing what people have been working on & how much talent is being discovered even in old age.

Now we are back home & Ditz starts schooling again tomorrow. Oh, how she is looking forward to that!!! We got 6" of rain overnight & all the holiday washing got an extra rinse. Liddy, who has been stock~taking for 7 days straight & working big hours, was very glad to see us; she hadn't managed a wash & needed uniforms & socks. Well, I got her uniforms dry. Issi has hardly let me out of his sight & is in constant danger of being stepped on. Life is about to get back to what passes for normal around here. Oh my!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Of books & fowl & green, green pastures.

For I will consider my cat Jeoffry, For he is the servant of the living God... ~ Christopher Smart. So what does one do on the Sunshine Coast when the sun don't shine? Well we went into Eumundi & browsed through all their second hand books. Ditz bought The Youngest Templar. I think she thought it was fantasy ~ but she did read it!
We went into Noosa & browsed along Hastings Street. I was very taken with these guinea fowl. French ~ & too expensive for me to even consider asking their going price.

We ate icreams while we watched the passing parade that included bush turkey chicks. And we went into Nambour to their 2nd hand book shop. This has to be one of my favourite places in the world. You descend down, down, down a narrow set of stairs & the shelves begin at the very doorway & stretch back the whole length of the block. Absolute heaven.

So why is this my favourite bookstore of all time? Because I have never left there without buying at least one book ~ usually several ~ & almost never what I went in there to look for! This time I came out with Elizabeth Marshall Thomas' The Tribe of Tiger. Now Elizabeth Marshall Thomas' Reindeer Moon has sat on my bookshelf for over 2 decades, possibly 3. It is one of my all time favourite re~reads. Thomas trained as an anthropologist & lived on & off for years with the Ju/wai bushmen of the Kalahari so her novels have an authenticity that is sadly lacking in other similar novels like Clan of the Cave Bear ~ which I absolutely loathed & which doesn't hold a candle to Reindeer Moon.

When Thomas was 19 her father, who was involved in the making & selling of the first microwaves, decided he needed to get to know his family instead of working so much, uprooted them all & descended on Africa looking for the Kalahari Bushmen. Thomas' mother was a lecturer in Literature at Holyoke & then retrained after this experience as an anthropologist. Her brother trained as an anthropologist & advocated so well for the Kalahari he got himself banned for several decades. Interesting family. Look them up some time.

Anyway Thomas is incredibly observant about animals as well. Her Hidden Life of Dogs was a best seller. The Tribe of Tiger, which I have actually borrowed from the library [several times] is just as fascinating. I think I was originally attracted by the title. Animal books aren't usually my thing but I knew the poem this title was taken from & intrigued enough to persist. Thomas is extremely readable & her insights absolutely fascinating, especially in context of our own observations of *The Neurotic One*.

Thomas observes there is very little difference apart from size between the lion in all his glory pacing the African grasslands & the resident moggy hunting mice in your kitchen. I don't think she would be surprised by Issi hunting goannas. She says her own cats hunt deer ~ which are considerably larger! I know there are lots & lots of books around that purport to tell you all about your moggy but not a one of them is so insightful & fascinating as The Tribe of Tiger. For starters Thomas argues from a position I would agree with from my own observations of cat behaviour, that they are very social animals ~ we simply fail to recognize their sociability because most humans are more pack oriented, like dogs, acknowledging a pack hierarchy. Cats are different ~ as anyone who has owned both can tell you. Cats are extremely vocal. It's their way of keeping in contact when another cat is not right beside them ~ & they usually aren't because all cats hunt meat & divide territory accordingly. Fascinating stuff. I am delighted to own my very own copy of this book!
Then up behind Eumundi my parents, at one time before my father died, owned 50 acres of rolling hillside. When dad died mum sold & the land has been sub~divided into acreages. Everything has changed almost beyond recognition ~ to all the grandchildren's displeasure. More than one of them had put in dibs to inherit those 50 acres! Hard to believe the spot we stood on was once the pasture dad put his cows when we were due to visit so the kids could see his *girls* from the verandah. Ditz still regrets the loss of those 50 acres.

Doing the Wompoo Walk.

I shall meditate on your wonderous works... Pslam 119: 27Wednesday was fine. One day in a week when there are cyclones up north is pretty good so we made the most of it & headed up into the hinterland. We were headed for Monteville ~ land of the cuckoo clock & window shopping but the weather actually improved so we took a risk & headed to Mapleton Falls. Ditz & I haven't done any of these walks so it was something new.
We did the short circuit, the 45 minute Wompoo walk ~ well 45 minutes is what it said on the trail guide but I'm pretty sure we took longer than that. Ma might be good for an Olympic sprint around the circuit but Ditz & I are dodderers.
Mapleton is a mix of rainforest & wet eucalypt. We saw elkhorns completely circumnavigating tree trunks...

a baby goanna...

a green tree snake.. [well Ditz & I saw this; ma kept on a~walking ~ & no, they're not poisonous!]...

an Azure Kingfisher. It was a bit dark but typically he was perched on a low branch overhanging a pool hunting his lunch.

From the lookout there were sweeping views over the Obi Obi valley with the piling clouds promising even more rain. In early spring peregrine falcons nest on the cliff edges & we could hear the wompoo pigeons calling. I did spot a pigeon as we were leaving the rainforest but he was too camouflaged in the canopy for a real good look. Coming down the mountainside from Monteville the gathering clouds caste huge shadows across the hills & we could see scuds of rain falling out along the coast.

I don't mind the rain & it is why this whole area is almost always beautifully emerald green.