Lazuli Green Island Mama

Lazuli Green Island Mama

Friday, July 27, 2012

Are we there yet?

What was to be a 15 hour flight from LA to Sydney has turned into a 30 hour debacle with a capital D.

I found myself in Brisbane. I hadn't planned to be in Brisbane. Eight hours after I should have arrived home, I received a call from a mother, who lives nowhere near me, to say she had my son (my sun!). He'd missed his bus stop. But I was 1000km away in Brisbane. This tipped me over the edge and tears flowed down my cheeks (may I point out that I'd missed two nights sleep by now). 

I'm in awe at the protection that corporate attire offers its wearer. I observe over and over again the wearer of a corporate suit walking amidst chaos, collected and uneffected by the surrounding environment except for a slight huff and puff if their way is obstructed. They (those in suits) remind me of science-fiction non-humans in metallic bodies. They could so easily add a flurry of humanness - a coloured silk scarf, a peeking hankerchief perhaps. But that might create a weak spot in their armour. Then it wouldn't be so easy to ignore the man in the wheelchair, or the mother with the baby vomit on her shoulder, or the woman who's crying because her sun missed his bus stop while she was 1000km away in the wrong city. 

I snorted up my tears (having run out of tissues) and spent the second half of my flight (where the airline had made the mistake of plonking me in the 'business' section. Sorry for your inconvenience, fellow passengers who are so important you can't see sideways) looking for signs of humanity in the two suits on either side of me. There was a woman to my left and a man to my right. The woman was reading "Soul Hackers". She had a strong Australian accent when she spoke to her driver on her mobile phone. She said "it's all good" and smiled a couple of times as she read her text messages. I dare say she would be more comfortable in her suit if she hadn't polished off a can of lemonade and a block of lindt chocolate. But we all need our vices. Mine are Band of Horses in my ear phones, writing notes and silently chanting Om tryambakam yahamahe 28 times.

The man to my right... well, he was good. Obviously had years of practice at (corporate armour) suit wearing. He couldn't have been more focused if he'd been in a vacuum. He read the John Holland management report from cover to cover, ate his meal efficiently and neatly, and drank black tea. The only chink in his armour was the photo on his mobile phone of him smiling with a smiley woman. A ha! Human found.

Surrender to the Sydney fog. Inhale and surrender. 

Eventually, 14 hours later than scheduled, I arrived back at the point, my island calmly sitting just there across the water. A friend was spotted in the car park. He smiled warmly and gave me a lift home in his blue boat, under the stars, surrounded by dark lulling water and crisp winter sky, back home... where my boys and little dog and fire were all glowing with open hearts.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Could LAX be the most boring airport in the known world? Yes, I think it is, in my known world at least (and I recognise that this is such a first world problem). Luckily, I have a crochet hook, which should come in handy to crochet the hours away until my little ones are in my arms again.

Hmmm, what facilities should an international airport offer? A music store would be good. A yoga class, a meditation prayer room. How about a hairdresser? Massage, beauty treatment rooms, a library even! Come on LAX... this isn't ground breaking stuff. In the words of one of my neighbours: "I don't think I've had an original thought in my life!"

Ever wondered what's in someone else's cabin bag? Here's what's in mine:
  • Afore mentioned crochet hook and 2 balls of wool;
  • ipod shuffle (bringing Mumford &  Sons dramatically to the moment);
  • iPhone with unheard podcasts: Richard Fidler's conversations with Costa Georgiadis and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (God bless ABC local radio);
  • note book for old-school handwriting;
  • 2 blank birthday cards;
  • Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism, vol 24, issue 2;
  • a toothbrush;
  • a pair of batman and a pair of superman converse boots, neither of which fit me;
  • some reading matter from the "Worldwide Prayer circle".

With only 18 hours of airport and flying time I'd better get a wriggle on! How will I get through all of that?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

One mother's guide to: Venice Beach, CA

I had fairly high hopes for Venice Beach. I do like a bit of street colour and I don't mind it being left of centre.

What I found was a grey promenade with aggressive street art, crocheted beach dresses, a real live freak show (the smallest woman in America, the hairiest boy, the turtle with 2 heads etc), some very leathery residents artists, an outdoor gym complete with muscle-man posing for photos - he made me laugh out loud. After the 17th sign threatening bruising and broken bones if I took pictures, there are no photos to back up my vague descriptions. 

My favourite stall sold old teapots, lovely decorative mobiles dangling silver cutlery from the teapots. I do wish I'd bought one of those for my island abode.

We lunched at Local 1205 on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. My turkey sandwich was delicious and my tea had a smokey edge to it, which I reveled in as we walked north, up to Santa Monica. I would definitely recommend eating there.

What do you think we saw on our walk north? If you answered "a yellow transformer, calmly walking the back streets of Santa Monica alone?" you'd be right.

I will not be taking my children to Venice Beach.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Verbal schmerbal

So, here I am, sitting in an unlikely place (the productivity room of a gen Y digital company) in the land of a declining superpower. My body is not reacting favourably to being flung from the glory of that Sydney winter's weekend a few days ago, to the slap in the face of a Californian summer. Summer in Santa Monica is actually looking very pleasant. It's just not where my body thinks it should be, only 2 weeks after a winter festival. 

I miss my boys. I miss my island. I miss my dog. I miss my boys. Away from them is not where their mama should be. They are oblivious (I hope) to the turmoil going on in the heads of their mother and father. Yes, yes, I know kids pick up on these things... but I'm not with them, am I! I should be cautious of allowing too much turmoil though, just in case the Madonna's cloak reaches them from this far away.

There are many many cars here. I am in a state of despair as to the future of our environment when there are so many thousands of cars around me. And rubbish.... the rubbish! It's not blowing down the street like I've seen it in Africa.You can't see it necessarily but everything is prepackaged. Where does all that packaging go? The thought of it makes me feel ill.

Yesterday I found the "Self-Realisation Meditation Lake and Shrine". It was peaceful and quiet, until a limo pulled up at the gate and two rather in-appropriately dressed young skinny things climbed out. They distracted me and filled my nostrils with cigarette smoke. I truly don't know how the Zimbo does it. He's here for 3 weeks, on a work project. I know he aches for his children but he still manages to dive in to work and crack on. I've only been here away from them for 3 days but I feel like crying at every discomfort or unpleasant distraction. With each oddity in my day I think "I shouldn't be here. I should be at home, mothering my children".

I see no child-friendly neighbourhoods. I've seen no children playing in the street, or a dog off a lead looking happy. Certainly haven't heard any cluck clucks of chooks. Perhaps I've just got it too good at home. I already knew that. There's water, but it's not shimmering and glistening and whispering my name. This adventure is looking less enticing.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Saturday is Rugby Day

The Zimbabwean is up a tree or on a mountain or walking over hot coals or something. That leaves me, Boat Girl, to be Rugby Mama for the weekend. Two kids, a dog, a boat, and 2 rugby games to get to. It would have been a better start if I had not slept in but - heave ho - we all made it in one piece to game one...

Choochie's game. The mighty Under 6 Whites
The game was a bit messy. They didn't look like a cohesive pack. Their usual 2 coaches, one being the missing Zimbabwean, were absent. There were little legs running this way and that, backwards when they should have been forwards, sideways when they should have been "behind the line!". Who can tell where they should be? I don't know the rules. All I know is that my little Chooch doesn't look so little when his hands are on a rugby ball. He looks impressive. When he has the ball he runs with commitment. He looks the business. He scored 2 tries and Man Of The Match. Yippeeeee!

game two...

Noah's game. The Under 9 Stripes
Noah's game was rough. Big tough tall boys on the opposing team, lots of illegal high tackles from both teams, me on the sideline screaming out "that was a high tackle!" (I want them reprimanded man! The whole point of allowing my feisty little No-No on a rugby field is that there are rules and a referee with a whistle who has the power to SEND PEOPLE OFF (I think I'll be a professional ref in my next life). Anyway, back to my impressive sport reporting... there were elbows and clenched teeth and grunting and quite a bit of attitude coming from one of the smallest kids on the field (ie. mine) but believe me, he possibly has the BIGGEST attitude on the field, which was still simmering when the game came to an end. That boy of mine was right amongst it. At least he's got fire in the belly. O yes. One of his team mates pulled off a movie-like tackle... one minute a red jersey from the opposition was running, running for his try line, the next he was flying sideways through the air. I was glad that wasn't my skinny-legged love.

Well, after all that excitement I needed a little time to breathe. My lovely mother-in-law took over the role of referee back home on the island for a couple of hours while I went to gather food supplies for the coming week. I snuck off to the nearest beach to soak up the last of this Sydney winter's afternoon. Peppermint tea in hand, I watched surfers and listened to crashing waves as the sun warmed my back and I breathed in the essence of the Pacific, remembering all the times that I've done that in this lifetime. I closed my eyes and remembered my favourite rock under a lighthouse and all the times I sat there and watched the ocean as I grew. When I opened my eyes there were two whales breaching in front of me. Right there! Just like that! Two powerful, calm, gentle whales. Tails flicking, leaving a trail as they travelled north, up the coast.

Later the same day, we were headed up the hill of our island for dinner with friends. The sun had set in the most breathtaking winter's dusk, slight breeze coming across the water. Now, as I walked alone up the hill, stars shone above me and up ahead I occasionally caught a glimpse of the flash of my boykies torches. There are no street lights here. To the east and south of the island you can see flickering night lights of neighbouring suburbs, across the water, but on the island, houses hide amongst trees and a blanket of darkness. The dirt road led me up to a house with fire burning, lights glowing, friends speaking light-hearted rubbish and laughing into the night. My boys had found their own way there, reveling in the freedom of running through the dark, away from my gaze. I like finding my own way there through the dark night too.

Yesterday my cup was full. The glory of Sydney winter.

Monday, July 9, 2012

a winter birth celebration

 What are you still doing up, little Possum? Go to sleep, little one.

It's been a week of saying mostly "Yes". Six years ago the warm heart of Chooch joined our family and he's been making our family heart bigger ever since. It was very fitting that his birthday week should bring such sunny days and holiday moments... up trees, on beaches, climbing over rocks. We ate ice cream, rode bikes and scooters, played with friends, ran around a city museum, flew paper airplanes, had sword fights.

I thank whatever good fortune brought these two boys and their father to me.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Keep on searching for a heart of gold

It's a grey, gemuetlich Sunday morning on our small island of looooove (you have to imagine a smooth radio voice saying "loooove"). It would be very peaceful... if not for the brotherly wrestling storm which rolls my way every few minutes, and the leaf blower at work on the roof. Still, I'm having a vegemite-on-toast-green-tea kind of moment, listening to Neil singing about a Heart of Gold. 

Feel like another German memory moment? Oh OK then. I was having breakfast in a dark old German farmhouse (it was probably also a Sunday), with my friend Libby-dibby (you know - our favourite climate-change psychologist) when Heart of Gold came on the radio. Lib's face lit up like very gentle, soft, gold and she smiled, eyes closed, swaying, as tears trickled down her homesick cheeks. She's taught me a thing or two about golden hearts.

Not much blog action often means much busyness in my real life and head. I've been pondering many things: friendship, western privileges, heavy melodrama, parenting, backyard fencing,  the narcissism of "lifestyle" blogging, overseas air travel, home renovations, craft during uni semester breaks, herbal formulae, homeopathic remedies. No major decisions have been made. Just many many circle games (and quite a few bottles of herbs). I will be packing my bags soon though, for a quick little trip to a new place to check out the lay of the land. There was that quick taste of winter in February and now there will be a flash in the pan of summer in July. My body seasonal gauge really will be confused this year.

Speaking of winter... amongst the circles of the season has been a beautiful winter festival. A spiral of ivy, camellias, apples and candles. Shining lights of growing hearts and mindful parenting and educating. I've said it before and I'll say it again: our winter festival is my favourite festival of the year. It is the festival which brings me in, reminds me of love, and light, and stillness, and great deep beauty within. While the festivals of the other seasons are always celebrations of living and community, the winter festival is much more introspective. This year, after the children had walked the spiral, lit their candles from the central burning flame, and added their glowing light to that of those who had walked before them, and returned to their classrooms, their parents enjoyed their own silent, beautiful communal walk of consciousness. I can't tell you how enriching our school is for all of us.

And with that, I shall leave you while I return to my tossing and turning, looking for my centre.