Lazuli Green Island Mama

Lazuli Green Island Mama

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Festive Season recap: the Island Dog Race

The Island Dog Race is an annual event which takes place on Christmas Eve. For our first time at this event, the afternoon was gloriously sunny and warm and the water was glistening. The Point was crowded with hundreds of spectators - all in very frivolous festive form.

Sixty or more dogs and their owners were taken over to the island in 2 barges. When the starting horn went off they swam eagerly - owners beside them in the water or on it, in kayaks or on surfboards - towards the Point, and the cheering crowd. The race lasted about 10 minutes and was won by Cooper (a black labrador) for the 5th consecutive year.

Noah (a big dog fan) was right amongst the action, down on the beach amongst dogs, boards and dog-owners, close to the finishing line. The highlight of the evening for me was the "barging" of the dogs, right through the crowd, at the conclusion of the race. Of course the dogs were soaked and sandy by then, bursting through the crowd from the beach with no regard for fine shoes or party skirts, babies in capsules or toddlers who were in the way of the classic dog shake.

What an evening of treats... commuter boats moored together off the point for a little party at dusk with new friends and neighbours; Bubble-o-Bill ice-creams for the kids (definitely not allowed any other day!) along with the joy of being allowed to jump from boat to boat.

From now on our family tradition of decorating our Christmas tree together on Christmas Eve has been brought forward a day, to make way for the new tradition of the Island Dog Race. We can't wait to do it again next year.

an overdue view of the girls

Noah (with Mercedes) and Chooch (with Charlotte)...
Chooch with Will (above) and Eddy (below)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

O what a night

What a weekend, really. This is the summer of FUN. Last weekend was the ultimate in fun. It included:
  • jumping off jetties
  • all children and many adults being towed by Jules on a "doughnut"
  • air-guitar on the top deck to the Gunners (O my, Guns & Roses. Who would have known that I do indeed know the lyrics to Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.... ?? Something to do with my youth.)
  • Jamie's garlic chilli prawns
  • tea drinking and newspaper reading
  • Cranium (and a very uncharacteristic loss for the girls)
  • new friends
  • brunch at the Buddha Belly
  • happy children
  • overwhelmed, tired children
  • children who were kept awake way too late by their very loud parents.

Thank you for coming, Diggins and McPhersons. (And thank you to special guest, Stephen.) You rejuvenate our souls and share the fire in our bellies. You tolerate our tantrums and laugh your heads off with us too. For all this and more, we love you. Come again soon.

We have so much to be grateful for.

Noah: current king of the jetty-jump

Thursday, January 6, 2011

return of the crazy mama

It's a rainy, Summer, Wednesday evening and I find myself in a skanky hotel.

No, I'm not 16, or 19, or 21, or 23... though I found myself in more than one skanky hotel back then. Nor am I in Sydney, Florence or Tel Aviv.

I'm in the Blue Mountains with my two kiddles sleeping fitfully, in hard beds with hard pillows. We're very close to a railway line, but the rumbling railway isn't the only thing reminding me of Grandma's house. This hotel smells like a Grandma's house, only I think Grandma hasn't lived here for a looooong time. Perhaps the sheets have been changed, but nothing feels very fresh.

I thought such an old hotel would be a cool experience for my children... an adventure! But the white light beside my bed is way too bright, and just wait til you hear the story of dinner:

It began hopefully enough. Dinner, we were told, would be served from 6.30pm. By then the 5 young children in our company were very hungry. The dining room (with it's olde worlde charme) looked challenging for the parental management team (another Mama and me) but we tried our best to keeep all 5 little bums on seats, sitting nicely, quietly waiting, with no toilet words coming from their little mouths. We ordered 4 kids fish & chips, one kids' bolognaise, 2 Scotch fillets and vegetables.

"Sorry, possibly no spag bol, and um, maybe vegetables, but um we might not have any of those either."

When we entered the dining room, we were the only guests. After 5 minutes, a couple had arrived. One hour later: kids were fidgety and whining, the 2 other guests had their meals but there were no meals in sight for our table. After 1 hour and 10 minutes we were given a salad to share amongst the children. What a lovely thought... leaves, a scrap of tomato, 2 scraps of cucumber, raw onion and balsamic vinegar for the kiddies. Thanks.

Another 20 minutes passed and finally some scrappy fish and chips were served and devoured. Need I point out that we had entered the dining room at 6.30, it was now 8pm and the children are aged 9, 7 and 4 years. By the time the Scotch fillets arrived, I could have cried. My steak was large, slumped, tough, blackened and cold. It was most unpleasant to chew. The chef (if indeed there was one) had found some vegetables and had proceeded to load our plates with limp snow peas, raw cauliflower chunks and huge, half-peeled chunks of carrot. Really, what could have transpired in that kitchen? Was the chef only on work experience? Did he hate his job? Perhaps the chef was on leave (the house-keeper certainly was) and the hotel manager had done a poor impersonation?

So I drifted off to sleep asking myself: Why? Why? Why do you do it? Why do you think a mama road trip will be fun and adventurous? Sister, you live on an ISLAND! Learn to fish, enjoy the noise of the kids jumping around the island, zoom around in your boat! Sleep peacefully in your own comfy bed under your most delicious mozzie net!

Ahhh, but then we wouldn't have seen our friends who now live in the mountains. We wouldn't have enjoyed a bush walk down to the bottom of Minnehaha falls, where we imagined the strong women who have journeyed to birth there. We wouldn't have felt the cool water at the bottom and heard the rumbling thunder that beckoned us back up over the rocks and through the bush while the storm brewed around us.

Quote of the day from Choochie, wet and crying the whole way up from the Minnehaha Falls:
"I did NOT want to come to this place!"

PS. I know there's a lot to catch up on... Christmas festivals, the Island dog race, our first Island Christmas and New Year. It's all coming... As soon as I catch my breath. This place is socially exhausting!!