Lazuli Green Island Mama

Lazuli Green Island Mama

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spring randoms

Chooch: "I really want to marry Tess. If Tess marries someone else and I don't get to marry Tess somewhere really really really special I'm going to be so sad I'm not going to marry anybody."

Noah: "I'm just going to marry some random."

Other random moments this season...
meeting Banjo's family:

Spring days:
These boots are made for walkin':
City walk:
Jetty walk:

You better believe it (about Herbs, I mean).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

to live slowly

God help us
to live slowly;
to move simply;
to look softly;
to allow emptiness;
to let the heart create for us.

Let us live in such a way that when we die
our love will survive and continue to grow.

(Michael Leunig)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

a brief interlude of quiet

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love a road trip.

I especially love a road trip alone, with no-one (little people) to interrupt my indulgent day dreaming.

The two road trips I most often find myself on are:
  1. down south, through the rolling dairy-farming hills of the NSW south coast; and
  2. through the lush sub-tropical climes of the NSW north coast, if I'm really lucky, up to the Northern Rivers.
These roads make me feel Australian. I don't just experience them, I feel at home on these roads. They remind me of my childhood but also give me such adult freedom, especially on clear sunny days with coastal waters sparkling in the east. I sing loudly and very well (! with no-one to hear me), and I'm also very skilled at drivers' seat dancing. Memories come and go, thoughts and tears flow.

My latest road trip was celebrated with a morning tea stop at the Berry Tea Shop, with a pot of masala chai and a slice of blueberry-four-nut tart served on a pink cake plate. I was surrounded by pretty cups and saucers and teapots.

On the next table sat 2 young men with 2 young ladies. All early-twenty somethings, eating flourless chocolate cake and drinking vanilla-bean tea. Really. Where on earth did they pop up from? I'm sure no young man I hung out with at their age (!) would have been found in here, on a Thursday morning, wearing closed shoes in November.

In other news, we recently experienced another island blackout. They happen every so often. I don't know why. This one lasted for 18 hours (and came while the Zimbabwean is still away on 10-day business trip) and I coped exceptionally well with it... resorting to cooking a large pot of bolognese sauce on the barbeque (God love the wok hot plate. I use it for boiling the kettle and cooking during blackouts), in the gorgeous summer sunshine, big hat and sunglasses to boot. Much nicer than being in the kitchen on a sunny day actually.

During the blackout, one of the kids turned on the hot tap in the upstairs bathroom. No power = no water pump = no water upstairs. Child left tap on (with no obvious reason to turn it off!). The power came back on around 1pm, just after we left home for the afternoon. We returned at 6 pm to discover the pump working overtime and a hot tap which had been running for 5 hours.

O the despair! (Just in case my despair requires an explanation: wasted water, wasted power, over-working an already pretty crappy water pump that just cost us $400) This tipped me over the edge. The kids know it's serious when Mama doesn't give a dramatic shouting performance, complete with arms flapping and objects flying through the air, but instead holds her head in her hands and cries.

O well. As my helpful neighbour pointed out: at least he didn't leave the plug in the sink. And it looks like it may rain this week.

The Self

"More radiant than the sun
purer than the snow
more subtle than the ethers
Is the self
The self that lives within the heart
I am the self
The self is who I am."
- Rudolf Steiner

Thursday, November 17, 2011

early Summer's eve

It's crazy to have posted about a day in snow just a few days ago (though it was not referring to this month in Sydney). There is only one word for tonight: HOT.

This evening's sunset was just beautiful... streaks of pink glowing behind our neighbours' jacaranda tree. As I enjoyed a 10 minute evening swing in my stripey hammock (a gift for my 37th birthday), my bare arms and legs were warm, warm, warm. Thousands of flying ants zig-zagged up, up, up in the warm night air, mozzies bit my arms, crows crowed and cockatoos sqwauked. What is is with cockatoos? My goodness they SCREEEECH across the sky.

The water shimmers peacefully in the twilight and I can hear boats arriving home at the jetty, voices carrying up to me on my deck amongst the trees. My boys are in their bedroom behind me, ceiling fan on, door open. We sleep with open doors at our house, though it's going to be difficult to sleep tonight.

I wonder how our Zimbabwean is sleeping. He's in the US of A for the first time, discovering southern fried chicken and Santa Monica boulevard. I bet his eyes are wide open and his soul is soaring. It should be. He works hard and deserves a little adventure, even when it will be mostly work. We like traveling to new places, that Zimbo and I. I can't be sure what he likes about it, but I love seeing how people live in different places, how they talk amongst their friends and families, what's important to them, how they build their homes and spend their days.

A girl in Stellenbosch, South Africa, asked me once, what had all this traveling taught me? I can't remember her name but I remember the kitchen we were in, and I still ponder her question, 13 years later. I guess it's taught me about freedom, choices, that the world really isn't very big and we are all connected through human spirit.

"It has rightly often been said that the independence of an individual is only as strong as his ability to at least feel that he is not identical with his body - and thus not with his gender, sex, race nor folk either."
- Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker

PS. for those of you who enjoy a bit of vicarious travel, you might like this blog about five lucky ducks.

Monday, November 14, 2011

a day in snow

It's not often that this family is in snow. In fact, it's only ever happened once, just a few weeks ago. It's much more common for us to be someplace warm - at home on our island, fishing, swimming, camping, on roadtrips to northern NSW, or - when we are really lucky - in southern Africa, learning the sounds of the hippo and the gentle ways of the giraffe. I spend entire winters listening to the Zimbabwean complaining about how cold it is in Sydney and how he needs to live somewhere HOT. I should have been prepared for this, considering I met him in winter in Germany, with an inadequate jacket and too-thin socks. But still, he has now fallen in love with New Zealand's south island, with chilly climes and snow-capped mountains! I have a feeling this won't be our (first and) last day in snow.

Friday, November 11, 2011

a few more holiday snaps

with Shell
"Pat 'im my hworthie?" "Pat 'im my haworth!" (the delicious insistence of a toddler, each day about the hworthies, pussy, rabbits... he is soooo delicious)
a time for tea (always time for tea for me)
Arrowtown, South Island NZ
Time for a few more holiday piccies.

On our recent family trip to NZ, there was quite a bit of lounging around, eating and drinking going on. In fact, that was the daily list of activities. On the day pictured, the skies were clear and blue so we really were reveling in the gorgeous scenery around Wanaka, on the South Island. The kids were all happy, the adults were all loved-up and relaxed. The wine tasting at Amisfield vineyard, long lunch that followed and subsequent 3 dozen bottles of wine that were ordered, may have had something to do with the good cheer.

The vineyard was in a gorgeous setting, complete with games area for boules and a grassy field with old tractor to sit on. Noah, Chooch and Toby occupied themselves as ball-boys for a large group of English rugby fans, on a boys' trip to the World Cup. Who knows what propaganda they were being fed about the NZ and Springbok rugby teams but it allowed us to have a very luxurious afternoon.

I do wish I had a photo from 1993 as a comparison to the first one, of Shell (aka Sunshine) and me, together. Such rolley-polley fat things in 1993, laughing and eating our way to happiness in northern Germany, to classy, happy, high-calibre chicks in 2011, holidaying with our families in her home. And who would have thought that that spunky 18 year old Zimbabwean with the rugby thighs would be along for the ride?!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

signs of summer... usual Wednesdays

Ten years ago, I didn't know life in Sydney could look like this.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Warm Your Heart Crumble

Here is the recipe for tonight's fruit crumble. I've called it Warm Your Heart Crumble, and it's here with special blessings for my old friend Lib (my favourite Climate Change Psychologist), who really does warm my heart. (Libby Dibby, I love you. xx)

You will need:
4 apples
2 pears
zest of half a lemon
vanilla essence
agave nectar or honey
cooked polenta
sunflower seeds
shredded coconut
brown sugar
rye/spelt flour
almonds or walnuts
natural or greek yoghurt

Peel and chop 4 apples, 2 pears. Any variety of apple or pear. Let's not get too caught up in all that.
Place the chopped fruit in a medium saucepan with 2 Tbl water, zest of half a lemon, small splash of vanilla essence and 1 Tbl of agave nectar or honey. Bring almost to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

While the fruit is simmering, prepare the crumble: into a food processor, place 2 big dollops of cooked polenta (mine was left over from this morning's polenta porridge) (I supppose it must have been about 1-2 cups of cooked polenta), generous handful of sunflower seeds, not as generous handful of pepitas, 1 tsp cinnamon, quite a bit of brown sugar (1/2 - 1 cup?), handful of shredded coconut, 2 Tbl wheatgerm, 1/2 cup of rye or spelt flour (feel free to improvise) and several big dollops of butter (2-3 Tbl). Pulse until this mixture is well combined. Due to the polenta, it won't become "bread-crumbish" like other crumble mixtures. It will be more dough-like.

Drain the fruit and place in your favourite oven-proof dish. You could add some raspberries (fresh or frozen) for some extra flavour. Spoon the crumble mixture on top, spread around with a fork in a rustic fashion, sprinkle with crushed almonds and bake for 30 mins at 180 degrees C.

Serve with natural or greek yoghurt. Lib, if you're reading this, I sincerely hope that it isn't already too hot in Darwin to enjoy this dish (with love) but if it is, you could save it for brekkie the next day, and I'll try to remember to bake it next time we share a kitchen. May that be sooner than you can say "unterwegs".

Blessings on your meal.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

reminiscing on a train

I can't remember the last time I caught a train in Sydney - they don't exactly make it through my neck of the woods. I drove for thirty minutes before parking at the nearest train station. That's a great privilege in my world view: a) to have a car; and b) to live only 30 minutes away from a train station with reliable trains.

The train I'm on is a "Tangara". They've never been a favourite of mine. But, it's uncrowded, pleasantly air-conditioned (I'm wearing boots - it's really too hot for boots today), and the ride is smooth. It does stink a bit, but nothing too offensive.

My most memorable train journey was in Africa... home of my Zimbabwean's heart - Africa. Clive was traveling with us, we'd not long before met for the first time (me and Clive). The three of us were 21 and carefree, up for a little adventure.

We'd already stayed with my sister- and brother-in-law at Victoria Falls for 2 weeks, sneaking in to hotels we couldn't afford and lolling about in their swimming pools whilst sipping Mazoe orange and Zambezi beer under the African sun. The night before our train journey we gathered our supplies: one two-man tent, one sleeping bag, 3 plates, 3 mugs, 3 forks/spoons/knives, 2 cooking pots, a swiss army knife and a very small camp stove. I'm pretty sure that was it. O... and a couple of sandwiches and 1/2 litre of water each. Early the next day, another hot December morning just after Christmas, we loaded up and walked through the town of Victoria Falls to the Zimbabwean-Zambian border. I dodged baboons on the bridge. I was quite scared of baboons.

We hitched a ride 15km to Livingstone train station where maybe a hundred people waited for the train. Hmmpf. How did they know it was coming today? The train had been scheduled for 9am the day before but on that occasion the three of us (with smiley white faces) were the only people on the platform and the station master had said, (put on your best African accent)
"ahhhh but the train is not coming to day.
May be to morrow?" (with a shrug of the shoulders and a shake of the head)
But, on day 2, the train did arrive and up we climbed. We were by no means rich - we had about $120 AUD between us and we wanted it to last for another 2-3 weeks - but we could still afford a "1st class ticket": a vinyl bench each in a small cabin which we shared with the son of a Zambian chief, on his way home from university.

We traveled all day and nearly all night. It took us 16 hours to travel about 600km on that rickety train. The Zambian country side was beautiful - green and lush. Each time we stopped - seemingly nowhere, every 10-20 minutes - hundreds of people would crowd around the train (they were definitely somewhere), many reaching in to peer at us and touch my nose. The chief's son explained that, with my blond hair, white skin and fresh ring through my nose, rumour was that I was a princess... for that one day in my life.

Those Africans looked happy, and I think they looked well. It's a lovely memory: that sunny day on a very slow, very crowded train in Africa. I was on the way to one of the most dangerous nights of my life but... that lush green land, those smiling faces in the daylight, the two white boys I was traveling with (still two of my favourites), that chief's son... they were on my most memorable train ride with me.