Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Last week it was the girls. O how nicely they have settled in. They are getting bigger by the day and now have three extra friends to play with! Crayon, Chalkey and Fumee arrived at the Chook Coop Co-op last weekend. Today the girls pecked away through the woodpile termites and nasturtiums and managed to avoid the lawn mower. They were all snuggled together when I checked on them this evening.
This week's arrival is... another barbeque! How many barbeques does one family need? Let's hope it's not the same number as fishing rods. To be fair to the Zimbabwean, this barbeque was delivered free with something else. It will be sworn in to Island life tomorrow. I'm hopeful that even I could use this one! And one of the old bbq's has retired to the back-yard to become my potting table. That brings us back down to 3.
So.. the other (very exciting) arrival this week was the new boat. Ah... little, white boat... How we have waited for you! Some have been pondering you for as many as four long months. Others have heard nothing but ponderings about you. But we are all so happy you are here. Such new freedom and hope for discovery! Such personal humiliation as we learn to navigate you without crashing - rather unceremoniously - into the public wharf, only to then take half an hour to tie you securely to the jetty.
You will get used to the jostling (ok, more like clunking), little white boat. Soon you won't mind that you're becoming scratched and beaten. You'll be just like Noddy's little red car and "parp parp" when we approach, eager to take us safely wherever we'd like to go. You'll become accustomed to the clambering up your ladder. We'll learn to tie you with the twist of a wrist and a wriggle of a finger. Johnno must already be your favourite, as he's doing very well at the parking and driving bit already.
The little white boat has made this weekend feel as fresh and exciting as our first weekend on the island. Last night at dusk, the four of us were sitting in her, just drifting, on the edge of the national park, smiling hearts opening up to the evening sounds coming from the bush. The boys love her and have both already taken great pride in driving her, tying up their body boards to her railings, jumping off her stern into the water and tying her ropes to the jetty. The learning curve is steep for Johnno and I. With the added stresses pertaining to child safety, we sometimes forget to take a breath, sit back and watch the boys' faces.
But there will be time. We did all sit on the jetty today, dripping wet, sharing snacks with new friends, sun shining on our faces. The new friends followed us home, stayed for dinner, and beers, and tea. We'll see more of them tomorrow whilst at the community café. We have so much to learn and explore together.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
our first three chickens!
What a grumpy grumpy mama I've been. Can't think why. Perhaps it's because each time I turn around those two naughty little boyks are up to something: waggling naked body parts off the top deck of our house to passing traffic; breaking my key ring and scattering my keys around the house without telling me; stealing chocolate chip cookies before I've even gotten out of bed in the morning.
Or perhaps it was the disrobing of raincoats and gumboots whilst still actually out in the rain so that everything became wet inside and out and muddy all over. It could have been the way they scattered various precious family christmas decorations over the floor; waking me in the middle of the night to tell me their bed is wet; demanding food all day. Or perhaps it was their refusal to cease jumping in and out of other people's boats, untying ropes, hauling in anchors and letting boats drift around in the water!
I feel like I'm a crazy woman. The rain looks beautiful, it really does. The water and bush surrounding us is glistening. But our water tanks are actually overflowing (what does one do when one's water tank overflows??) and when the boys play outside I despair at the croup that may descend on us at midnight. Ha! That's it! Tomorrow I'll fill the bath (and it's a BIG bath!) and let them play in that. It may not be as satisfying as the boats down at the jetty but it might just buy me half an hour of peace. Ahhhh.
Where was I? O, yes. The chookies. So, you see, I think to be a truly crazy woman - but also deeply satisfied - a woman needs chooks. Just as my house was made complete with a big timber table for craft, my backyard is almost complete with the addition of chooks.
We bought our chooks from a delightful local nursery [New Leaf in Elanora Heights] which even had a notice board for chook natural remedies. Then off we set for the ferry - a crazy woman armed with a cat cage holding our 3 new precious girls, 3 bags of feed, a feeder, 2 children who won't listen to a word I say when it comes to boating and ferry safety, 2 school bags and a life jacket. And it was raining. O and I was also carrying a pot of flowers. Did I mention "craaaaazy woman"?
I'm not an expert on the psychology of chooks (yet) so I'm peering into the chook pen every now and then, clucking away, trying to bond with my girls - make them feel at home. I've added garlic to their drinking water (to boost their immune systems), generously thrown in some rice porridge and peaches and homemade multigrain bread. I've lovingly tied a tarp' over their pen, just to ensure that they don't get too soggy. And I've discovered that Noah and Chooch already know how to handle chooks, much better than I. My 4 year old gave me a lesson (he's been talking to chooks for a year already, Noah for 4!). As annoying as I'm finding them today, those boys still warm my heart when they have a chook tucked under their arm (or when they do breast-stroke at swimming).
Noah has named his girl Mercedes, after his favourite girl in 6th class.
Choochie named his Charlotte (possibly a reference to Charlotte's web?).
And the third? Well, the Zimbabwean and I have named her Ruby Tuesday Nandos. There's something comforting in that name for me. Perhaps it's just putting a name to the kind of crazy I'm feeling this week. When I call her ["here Bokbokbok... Ruby Tuesday Nandos chook chook chookieeeee!"] I really do feel like I'm letting my freak flag fly.
(I promise there will be photos soon)
Friday, November 12, 2010
warm sing-song wishes from afar
time to read
time to paddle on bodyboards with Charlie
time for massage and night-time Ommmms with Noah
a ticket to Blues fest
heavenly pumpkin crumble
gentle night sounds
home and free
a crescent moon.
36 feels fabulous.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
It's been over a year (!) since my Cordage and Basketry workshop. A sunny November Sunday is a good day for a workshop. This time dancing hands... African drumming.
The eyes were as blue as the sky, hands strong - though a bit unsure of themselves. The body seemed to be coming home, the heart happy to have a strong, beating friend. Nothing like finding like-beating friends.
How joyous that sound was. And during the drumming hands, something became clear to me: Seven year life phases - indeed! I'm at the beginning of another seven year phase - hopefully one that includes much drumming (and fabric. And a continuing tea-theme, maybe some snippets of travel - if I'm very fortunate... I do like a little trip).
You know the great thing about relying on a ferry? Sometimes you miss it. And when you do, you just have to wait, for a whole hour, in Sunday afternoon sunshine, sipping hot chocolate, reading a good book while your first-born plays under a jetty.
O I love that only-once-an-hour old ferry.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
In the meantime, more ramblings.
Just some of the signs that this house was waiting, especially for us:
- there was an eagle high in the sky on our first visit;
- there was also an eagle high in the sky above me as I waited to hear if it would really be ours;
- a soaring heart each time I visited;
- there is a "Barb" living next door;
- the discussion of communal chooks within our first 5-minutes-over-the-fence chit chat;
- a lovely "Welcome home" at our first neighbourhood dinner party;
- we have to step outside to reach our bedrooms (always wanted that);
- a mulberry tree in the back yard (another place of my heart, Pratale, in Umbria - Italy, had a mulberry tree in the central courtyard);
- a bouganvillea over the front deck (always wanted one of those);
- green tiles in the bathroom;
- the house is blue;
- and rainbow lorikeets and king parrots come to talk to me, as if they knew I'd be here.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
the new life starts.... here."
We've lived on an island for several weeks and let me tell you, the waters surrounding me are well and truly glistening, and whispering my name. Everything around me looks fresh and clear and smells of freedom. There's a rather large blue tongue lizard who's been hanging out with us quietly in our backyard. There's also a mama possum, with little one on her back, who frolics around the mulberry tree and along the back verandah each night. From our beds at night, we hear the boats down at the jetties clunking together.
And those little boys... well they haven't stopped expanding into their new space. They skip around: jumping in and out of other people's boats (despite my protests); they ride their bikes along the dirt roads; they wander off and into new friends houses; they climb over the fence to jump on the neighbours' trampoline and play with the two little boys who live there; they hang from the branches on the tree out the front of our house and talk in chirpy voices to anyone walking past; they jump on and off the ferries with light feet and happy hearts.
We all have such happy hearts. I'm feeling most grateful for the freedom. It's taking my breath away, and often even my words. To attempt to explain it, seems to tarnish the beauty. So my words seem cumbersome to me, incomplete somehow, as if I can't quite reach the depths. Perhaps I'm still landing. Transitions take time and I'm anxious not to jinx this one. So for now, I'll end. Return to centre. Breathe deeply in and stretch out. So grateful, such an overwhelmingly open, happy heart.
Monday, September 13, 2010
So, anyway, we spent two happy hours there, in the company of the "old owners". They were warm and lovely and I'm so glad to have met them - especially to let them know that they can move on in peace, their home will be received with excitement and gratitude and will be full of loud family moments. Hopefully for years to come.
They showed us how to read the level on the water tanks, how to clean the balcony without dirtying our rain water run-off, what to do with the septic tanks, etc etc. They were open and inviting and generous with their time and space.
Another delicious moment was meeting the next door neighbour. Within 5 minutes, he and I were standing in the back of our two back-yards discussing a communal chook pen and discovering that we'd like the same breed of family dog. There you go. Sign number 101 that we are meant to be there.
The day continued with (kind of) unexpected surprises and those of you who know me well will be thinking that I must have been wetting my pants with excitement... but no. Here's where the equanimity comes in. I have long looked at that word and thought what a good idea but o how tricky! But, I really am feeling it! So much chaos, so much happening, so many failed birthday cakes in a row, but I can still feel my feet (they are a leettle bit light today) and am remaining (relatively, for me) calm. And in the coming week this will be what I aim for. I've got a long way to go, but there's progress.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Our Choochie has been snuzzling next to or very close to us, every night, for 4 years and 1 month. There have been the odd nights when he wouldn't come into our room, but they were very odd. And in our house, whatever will result in all of the family having the most satisfactory sleep possible, is what we allow to happen. All of the family. That means if one small family member will only sleep if he's close to us, then close to us he's allowed to be. It is much more comfortable if he uses the cot mattress that we keep next to our bed, but we will go as far as one of the adults sleeping in Chooch or Noah's beds if that bed is empty and ours is a tad too full.
Of course, we dream of the day (night) when we are undisturbed, unsquished, un-tapped on the head or elbowed in the cheek or kicked in the nose. O yes, we hanker after it. And then one day, we notice that the blankets on the little bed beside ours are still straight when the sun rises. And again, and again, until it's been a week or two since Chooch has come through, woken us, or secretly slept as close as he could.
And that's when I suddenly realise that he's not quite as close as before. I have enough breathing space to notice, and then to think that four years really wasn't all that long afterall, was it? I have to chase him, remember to ask for more cuddles, remember to hold him close and smell him and remind him that his mama loves him.
Rest asssured, he's not that far away really. He does still ask for many "cuddles on the couch", or nudges during dinner, or forcefully sitting on our laps each day. This kid is warm and loving and demands it of his loved ones. But still... there's been a shift. It's not quite the same as him being close all the time.
Bless his days and nights. May he always sleep well and peacefully, warmly and safely, knowing that he is loved, near and far.
Monday, August 23, 2010
They've been to swimming lessons (O how they both LOVE swimming),
and created Captain Underpants costumes,
and began exploring an island. Soon it's going to be "their" island. Well, a piece of it will be. So there's also been much dreaming this winter. Dreaming of where to place a slippery dip (inside on the stairs or outside from back verandah to yard?), of boys in boats, of Mama learning to drive a boat, of Dad relaxing with an outdoor bbq with his own view of the water, dreams of friends and playing and jumping off jetties to swim and, and, and... so much more dreaming than that.
Friday, August 13, 2010
- the petrol light coming on to remind me that I need petrol. Now.
- music from acoustic guitars
- the tears of another loved one
- a bit of Radiohead
- ambulance sirens
- Mumford and sons gigs at the Enmore theatre
- REM singing You are the everything; or Nightswimming (which stops me in my tracks as much now as it did in 1993)
Monday, August 9, 2010
Straight faces, black cladding. Blessings on their blackness. May they be wearing brightly coloured undies. So many of them, I'd like to cup their faces in my hands and blow warm air on to them. But do they really need warming? Probably not. They are probably simply reflecting the hard pavement so they can blend in rather than stand out: a comfort thing.
I do enjoy a long day in the city. I like seeing the mix of funky-dressed-down 20 year olds and grey-haired men in business suits with shiny shoes who have been doing this for 40 years. You know, they're "out there"... talking, walking the streets, having a laugh, making a living. I wonder if they laugh this much with their daughters. Or sons.
Tobacco smoke and city fumes collecting in my nostrils. I've never liked tobacco smoke in my nostrils.
Large glass panels.
Tall flower arrangements.
So much electricity.
Drum & bass café beats.
Hot earl grey tea to sip.
My much-loved old friend Lib wrote on the invitation to her 18th birthday party:
Thursday, August 5, 2010
We borrowed a 7-seater 4WD for the journey, packed some snacks and cd-stories and hit the road, Jack. Only to come back, a few days later with a sicky-sick dribbly bum bug which Pat-from-Sussex Inlet kindly shared with us at the communal house of the Bellingen YHA. Thanks Pat, good sharing. Perhaps next time though, it would be considered socially appropriate to keep your bugs safely to yourself and your own child and let it end there. Just a suggestion.
Anyway, despite that undesired ending, we still enjoyed full Mama-belly laughs, many cups o' tea in winter sunshine, swinging in the untouchable hammocks, learning how to sink a snooker ball - well I need some pointers on that actually. I'm not really qualified to teach Freya and my No-No such tricks when I don't even know whether it's a pool table or a snooker table. I remember enjoying the antics of playing the same sinking game at my grandparents' house (the much-loved Ina and Chick) when I was small. Still haven't learned the rules.
I've now recovered enough to be looking forward to the next Mama road trip which will be in a couple of short months. I strongly recommend finding yourself a strong, beautiful, good-value companion Mama, a few extra kiddles and packing your favourite hat to head in which-ever direction you please. We don't really know what it does for the children (let's hope it gives them happy memories to laugh about with their friends and cousins in years to come), but it does wonders for the rejuvenation of the Mama's soul.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
The Winter Festival is, I think, my favourite annual community event. We celebrate in two quite different ways, appropriate to the different ages of Chooch and Noah. One celebration is very much about sharing the light and warmth during the darkest time, the other is about finding it within, and honouring it.
I don't expect the images above to convey much of the beauty of it, but I will try to.
Can you keep the dark away?
Lovely winter flowers.
Wattles with your tiny suns, underneath the spotted gums
Warm our hearts 'til spring time comes,
Lovely winter flowers.
"All is still.
We gather 'round this tiny light,
On the shortest days and longest night.
And as we watch,
Our spiral grows,
Our hearts and eyes begin to glow."
It's been a while... Ahhhhh... I've been needing a little space "away". Much has been happening though, in the land of Lazuli green. I'll share thoughts of those happenings in this space soon.
For now, a little look at hats. It is the season of the hat. I've enjoyed revelling in this season and have created quite a few hats to revel in.
Go forth, and warm your head...
the "scoodie" (part scarf, part hoodie)
the mama beanie: it's safe to say that this hat was a flop, in more ways than one. I thought I'd like it's slouchiness, but it felt like - well, something rude. So I've unpicked it and made it a bit more fitted and I do like it a bit more. But it's still a bit of a flop.
...and we've ended the month with the nit-cap, which the whole family has used. I didn't manage to capture an image of the Zimbabwean wearing it though - you would have like that. Not one of my favourite hats, but necessary just the same.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
season to cherish the heart
to make warmth and quiet for the heart
to make soups and broths for the heart
to cook for the heart and read for the heart
to curl up softly and nestle with the heart
to sleep deeply and gently at one with the heart
to dream with the heart
to spend time with the heart
a long, long time of peace with the heart
We give thanks for the blessing of winter:
season to cherish the heart.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
This really isn't surprising. Of course the potential to rise up all the greater, wiser, exists every time we enter a dark patch.
John Keats: Ode to melancholy...
tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be Your mournful Psyche,
nor the downy owl A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.
But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips Bidding adieu;
and aching Pleasure nigh,
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.
Imagine your favourite teapot. Covered in mud. You remember how beautiful it used to be, how much you loved it. Now, though, it is caked with sticky, stinky mud. You cry, you despair, your heart aches with the apparent loss of that lovely thing. You start to wipe off the grime. Get serious. Focus on nothing else but removing that caked-on stench. And eventually, it comes clean. It's really clean! It gleams and shines and you can love it even more because of it's tricky journey. That is, if it hasn't been broken. That's a whole different rambling direction, that is. (I'm quietly confident it still has the potential to come out even more lovable, if it's broken and repaired.)
I thank this lovely teacher for being in the lives of my children. And I thank the mud that eventually is removed from my teapot (despite still, sometimes, swearing at the mud that doesn't budge). Today, I celebrate the journey with much love and thanks.
Celebrate yourself and shine on. Go on... you can listen to this to warm you up:
Monday, May 24, 2010
The thing with a blog, you know, is that it's very ONE sided. Which means there's a risk that I'll ramble on about nothing, with no-one to redirect the conversation (apart from the voices in my head), and no feedback to check my thoughts, encourage my perspective to broaden, gently point out that what I've just voiced is really a load of rubbish and needs further consideration. They are 5 points which could all be a bit dangerous really. My friend Lenka wouldn't have this problem. She doesn't ramble on in her blog. She reports factual events. Whilst I see that that is a safer road to walk, it's just not my road.
Of course another problem with the one-sided conversation is that it's all very well for any readers (is there anybody out there?) to sit back and be entertained, conversed with, amused, annoyed... whatever they may be. But... what's in it for me? I don't hear any responses! For all I know, I could be muttering to myself like a crazy person! And no response could well lead to any of the above, like one big not-so-merry-go-'round.
These are just some of my issues with blogging. Clearly, it doesn't stop me. As you'd know by now, I love a good ol' raaaaambammble.
Lucky for you, it's time for me to head to yoga. No more talking. Calm and grounded. Salute to the sun.
Hari Om tat sat.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
may there work here spirit-light in goodness;
born from certainty of heart,
and from steadfastness of soul,
so that we may bring to young human beings
bodily strength for work,
inward-ness of soul, and clarity of spirit.
"May this place be consecrated to such a task;
may young minds and hearts here find servers of the light,
endowed with strength,
who will GUARD and CHERISH them."
Sunday, May 9, 2010
This weekend was Charlie's first "boys weekend away" with Dada. There is only one first boys weekend. The Zimbabwean and I deem this a very significant life event indeed: one which deserves full one-on-one time with Dada. From now on, all boys in this tribe will go on many special weekends all together, but you know, the first one is a big deal.
Meanwhile, back in the land of Mama, Noah was getting to do one of my favourite things with me, for the first time: we were off to the theatre! We saw The Magic Pudding, beautifully adapted for the stage and I cherished my Nooi's delight. His face was lit, his eyes shined, his willowy little body wriggled with laughter, and he hummed and hummed.
Noah then headed to his favourite friend's house (it was a favourite-kind of weekend) while I spread all of my self around our home, alone, relishing every moment. There was time for friends, time for yoga at sunrise, time for writing, time for studying, even a brief sewing interlude, and time for a swim in the harbour. Mother's Day was another stunning Sydney Autumn day, with even more time for picnics, friends and harbour splashing!
The day is nearly over. We're all sun-kissed and happy to be back home together, with Mama's sun-catcher from her Sun, ready and waiting for the first rays to shine through it and warm our hearts in the morning.
Bernard Fanning: Wish you well
Billy again (love a bit of Billy): She's got a new spell
Bjørk: Violently happy
Bjørk: More to life than this
The Clash: London calling
The Clash: Rock the Casbah
The Clash: Should I stay or should I go
The Cure: Why can't I be you
The Cure: Close to me
The Cure: Friday I'm in love
The Cure: The Lovecats; and
The Cure: Inbetween days.
Happy Mothering energy day. May we all be celebrated, rejuvenated, gentle, strong, warmed, chilled, loved and loving.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Jo-Jo is our cousin. That means he's our blood, bru. He melts your heart every time you see him... especially when he reads "It's time for bed" to himself. Jo-Jo is very wise: he knew to say Om's quietly to himself when he was in much pain.
Tom is our friend. Chooch has always spent much time with Tom but they only really began appreciating each other (and each others' mischief) around the start of last summer. Tom is from Planet Tom: often not to be disturbed. He has gorgeous, clear blue eyes and - as my hairdresser described him on Friday (!) - always looks like he's just gotten out of bed! Tom has a thing for animals. Luckily for him, he has amazing similarities to a wombat.
We love hanging out with them, laughing with them, dancing with them, body boarding and swimming with them, consoling them.
I don't think they pay much attention to me, but I love watching them grow.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
On our island the best time to snorkel is when the tide is high and the sun is shining. Then we can see daisy parrot fish, angel fish, tropical garfish and leopard fish. We see iridescent small blue fish, indigo-blue starfish, clown fish, and - if you're lucky - even catch a glimpse of a blue-spotted stingray, a turtle or a reef shark.
On our island the small flat shells already have a hole in the centre so it's very easy to turn them into necklaces and bracelets.
On our island Fijian women give very good massages in an outdoor room with big open windows and only 3 walls. The outside-room is surrounded by palms and coconut trees and orchids, and has a warm breeze making the curtains dance.
On our island children are allowed to drink Fanta orange at the bar on special occasions. A pizza-chef cooks pizza in the clay pizza oven and the adults enjoy playing Farkel. Juice comes in a tall glass with fresh coconut on top.
On our island we can hang out with our friends all day. We can snorkel, learn to scuba dive, throw seaweed at each other in the water, swim in the pool (morning, noon and night). We can canoe or learn to sail a catamaran or go hand-line fishing... even in the dark! Lenka can read book after book after book for hours and hours. At meal times we can choose anything we'd like to eat including salad, chips, fish, burgers, curries, sandwiches, omlettes, croissants, and tropical fruits.
On our island there is always a hermit crab waiting to be found, a hammock waiting to be swung in, a coconut waiting to ripen, a cane toad waiting in our foot-bath.
And that is just the beginning. We hope our island will always be waiting for us to return.