Lazuli Green Island Mama

Lazuli Green Island Mama

Monday, June 27, 2011

The day trit-trotting brought no answers

I was recently...

Wandering :: the streets of Chatswood. So overflowing with consumerism, materialism. Chaotic yet mind-numbingly empty.

Pondering :: Why would a shop selling cheap clothing, made in China at the hands of underpaid factory workers, bother to call itself "THINK". ??

Questioning :: What is it I aim to be doing right now in relation to parenting?
Answering :: Raising my children compassionately so they may see themselves and the world around them.
Questioning :: But why?!? The world around them is crazy and full and dirty and chaotic and there are images of soldiers with automatic weapons in the shop window before them. !!!?! I live here, in this country, so that my children are not standing near a soldier holding a weapon as we go about our day. So WHO (!?) thinks that poster is appropriate for the windows of this public street, in full view of MY children!

More questioning :: To teach my children something, do I need to be doing something "Out There", doing something to make the world better, to improve the lot of someone, for myself? The time is getting closer. And how will I fit that in with caring for my family?

Feverish :: with a cold infecting my airways on the day of the pondering trot. Perhaps that is why I was questioning the meaning of my existence in winter, rather than the more usual end of summer.

Declaring :: there must be more to life than waltzing around looking fabulous. More to life than being a good person. More to life than textures and colours and tastes that please me. More to life than this!!

If I die tomorrow, where does my spirit go? And if indeed I have a spirit which can be released, currently tied up in this body... then why? Why does my spirit need a body to exist in... for what purpose? That surely brings us back to the meaning of life.

O how exhausting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

You can call me Boat Girl

Last week, Chooch had a play at a friend's house. This gave me the time to (more easily) fill the boat with petrol and go to collect our mail.

I toottled off to the Point (where the family car and our post office box live... hub for all island comings and goings) and tied the boat to the old ferry jetty. This meant that some fancy footwork was needed to get from boat to jetty. I'm always a bit nervous that:
  1. I'll fall in.
  2. My boat will escape me.
  3. I'll tie up illegally (and get caught) and face embarrassment in front of seasoned islanders.
But I did it. And it was all good.

Collected most recent ebay bargain and a new craft book from the post office, and I was off again... climbing over a railing, untying, jumping into boat and tootling off. I zoomed around the eastern side of the island and came to a public wharf I've only seen from the ferry. I found our friends' mooring, attached my boat to it, pulled on the rope with all my might and pulled off another jump and a climb up over the jetty railing, to go and collect my Chooch.

...Up the bushy stairs,
along the muddy road,
up the hill to friend's house,
collect child,
find a new bushy path to scramble down together,
scramble around the boat sheds and jetties of the foreshore,
come to our boat,
jump in,
untie and zoom off for home.

O yes. You can call me Boat Girl.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

adventure on a winter's eve

Quite a few people seem to think we're crazy, that lovely Zimbabwean and I, for encouraging the boykaloiks to participate in sports that involve leaving the island we live on.

The other night rugby training finished at 6pm, and the Sydney air was a rather fresh 9 degrees C. It took me 45 minutes to drive the little boys through the national park to the ferry wharf. I woke up a sleepy 4-year-old, rugged up both boys with jumpers, coats, beenies, and gloves; loaded myself up like a donkey, walked 400 metres, and on to the ferry we shuffled. Ahhhh... 5 minutes to take a breath.

Just after the ferry set sail, Noah-the-wise said: "Mama!! We're on the wrong ferry!"

Well yes my dahling... You seem to be right. Mama-the-tired didn't bother to check which ferry she was getting on, and we were on the last ferry, to the wrong wharf.

Chin up though, tribe! Mama always keeps a head-torch in her backpack (I was an excellently prepared Girl Guide. That's why I need to live on an island. My resourcefulness would be wasted on the mainland) so we disembarked, at the wrong wharf, loaded up again, had a chuckle (I was trying to keep all spirits high and dry) and I emphasised how exciting it was to be on a bushwalk at night. And we were off! Climbing stairs, trudging along dirt tracks, enjoying the moon through the treetops. We had lovely conversations and enjoyed finding all the bits on each backpack which glowed in the dark. Those little boys were adventurous and strong. Their eyes were wide as they looked out for possums, and anything else that might be the cause of that rustling. They didn't complain once. When I let out, after 40 minutes, how pleased I was to be nearly there - as my arms were about to fall off from carrying my heavy bags - Chooch turned around and asked which one he could carry. Lovely boys.

When we finally made it home, the fire was going and the Zimbo had hot chocolate simmering gently, waiting for his family to return (and vaguely wondering why we were so late).

Such an adventure is one of the benefits of not having your own driveway (or indeed, "boat only access" to your home!).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

winter days with Choochie

selling a piece of lego for $1 (as you can see, there's not much of a passing crowd)

half-heartedly sharing the last of the stewed fruits (but still sharing)

It's 9.45am.

Together we've re-organised the garden shed, fed the chooks, collected eggs and are now having morning tea on the deck, with a discussion about double-decker axes. Perhaps he was a lumberjack in a past life (he talks quite often about axes).

Stewed fruit, tea and choc-chip biscuits, and a trust-worthy MSR.

Snuggles and swings on the hammock.

A walk to the water, and much climbing: over fences, up trees, along railings.

I'll miss days like this with my little one when he starts school next year.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Calling all Angels

Some days are dreaded. But I don't think today is one of them.

The early morning sun is shining, golden, on the spotted gums and national park that surrounds me. The winter wind is rustling the trees and chilling my nose, but it's not that cold. There are tears running down my cheeks, for our little friend, Harry, died during the night.

I knew this day would come, sooner than others. I thought it would be dreadful. I thought it would feel like the worst day in the world - which perhaps it does for Harry's brave family. Or maybe, for them, it feels peaceful with a tinge of gold, as Harry's spirit releases itself from his 8-year-old bodily torment, and, once again, learns how to fly.

There is a hole in my throat, and one in my heart, and they feel as though they are bleeding tears down the hill and into the shining waters of Pittwater. But it still feels like a quietly peaceful day, as if I can feel him, hear him whooshing, learning to fly.

My tears are confused tears. They are tears of relief that Harry's pain is over. They are tears of disbelief and compassion for what his family have endured. They are tears of hope that my friends may heal now, and grow and blossom, and remember that they are allowed to have needs too. And they are tears of despair at their struggle and torment.

Jo and Lyell inspire me to be more compassionate; more yielding; to be better. They have sacrificed much that we seem to take for granted - luxurious ways of spending the family income, planning for the future, a road trip, a holiday destination with no thought of stairs or ramps or access to medical facilities - and have sacrificed these things stoically. With the holding of Harry, holding him in his pain, they have truly parented. They have held him. They have held him. They still hold him.

Darling friends, may you know that we hold you in our hearts and look on in awe at how you have done it. The winter sun shines just for you today. It is all for you.

Sweet Pumpkin Bread

(adapted from Nigella Lawson's Banana Bread recipe in How to be a Domestic Goddess. I LOVE that book.)

300g cooked pumpkin, mashed
175g rice flour
60g slivered almonds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp bicarb soda
100g pitted dates, chopped
2 large eggs
125g unsalted butter, melted
150g sugar
Loaf tin, buttered and lined with baking paper
½ tsp salt
Handful (or 2) of choc chips
handful of dessicated coconut

Preheat oven to 170°C. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well.

In a separate large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed pumpkin.
Then with your wooden spoon, stir in the nuts, dates, coconut, choc chips and vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. Scrape into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1,1/4 hours. When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish.
Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer.
Makes 8-10 slices.

Enjoy it warming your heart, with love from me (and Nigella).