Lazuli Green Island Mama

Lazuli Green Island Mama

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Anthropology of family life

This week's anthropology lecture topic - Anth, sex and gender - has come at a fortuitous time, the same week that my 9 and 6 year olds have asked me for the first time: "Mama, what is 'sexing' anyway?". That was an interesting discussion while we bathed our family dog!
What I found particularly interesting in this lecture, was the story of Bonobos as compared to Chimpanzees. What a fascinating example of how sex and gender are influenced by societal conditions. The Bonobos, living in areas where gorillas are scarce and food is plentiful, have ample time on their hands for socializing. This results in strong bonds and alliances being formed, especially amongst female Bonobos, allowing the females a sense of solidarity. They are able to keep the males in check and are, therefore, not dominated by the males. These conditions allow for a peaceful, loving, affectionate society. It's like they are all on holiday in some African resort.
Chimpanzees, on the other hand, are working their butts off just trying to survive... especially the females. They have to look after their energetic offspring, scrounge for food, which the males and the gorillas have usually already polished off, and then still fend for their sexual rights, being abused by aggressive, dominant males on a daily basis. I can tell you which species I'd rather belong to!
So, back to bathing the family dog... by the time I've answered the kids' questions, bathed them too, fed all living beings in the household, tucked them into bed, returned to the piles of washing and then remembered that I haven't yet completed the reading or the blog post for this week... there isn't much time left in the day for pondering sex and sexuality. Which takes me back to reminiscing about week 4 and polygamy. Perhaps if I had at least 3 sister wives to share the workload, I would be more inclined to think like a Bonobo.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Would you employ me?

Unless you haven't been listening, you are probably well aware that this year has been a big one for getting back out there. With my Choochie starting school, it was time for me to awaken my adult brain and re-establish life for myself, outside of mothering.

Continuing education: check
Attending herby derb seminars: check
Finding gainful employment: erm, no cigar.

Whilst I am loving my current volunteer role at the Cancer Council (oh, haven't told you about that one? I will... later), it is not 'gainful employment'. It doesn't help pay the mortgage. In fact it doesn't even cover the student bus fare in to the city (see the word 'volunteer'). For the first time ever, when someone asks me for spare change at Kings Cross station I don't feel guilty if I say No. I'm unemployed too, dude! I'm forking out cash to get here and borrowing fancy clothes so I can try to get work by working for nothin'!

Perhaps I'm approaching job hunting from the wrong angle. I don't know. I'm feeling too old to bullshit about what I can and can't or am willing to do. 

One of my recent job applications was to a local, rather flashy looking Tea Shoppe. Now, you know that I know tea. Oh yeah, baby. Me and tea, we go waaaay back. So here's how my letter went...

Dear Tea Shoppe,
Recently I was soaking in the smells of your shop in [an unnamed mall], NSW and thought to myself: Really, this is the place for me.
More than a Tea Shoppe, I love tea. Life is to be lived, in all of its raw and honest glory, and living is truly enhanced by tea.
Tea is medicine – medicine of both body and soul. The following aspects of tea consumption are especially important to me:
·     the active constituents of the herbal tea
·     the act of drinking tea, especially warm/hot (rather than iced)
·     the honouring of thyself in the ceremony that is tea preparation
·     the communal gift of tea, shared.
My two favourite, well-known proponents of tea are Michael Leunig and Richard Glover. Michael Leunig, cartoonist, created the 1998 stamp series for Australia Post, entitled “The Teapot of Truth” series. You may be familiar with Leunig’s character, who gets about with a teapot on his head. Richard Glover, 702 ABC Sydney radio host, writer and author, often publicly discusses the bane of the teabag and gives due respect to the pot of loose-leaf tea.
I am very experienced in dealing with the public. Previously this experience has come through working in the field of alternative and natural medicine, amongst many other pursuits. You will notice on my curriculum vitae that I have a varied employment history, in several areas. What these roles have all had in common is the imperative contact with people. I love to be part of a team and don’t particularly enjoy working alone.
Enthusiastic communication is one of my strong points, as is my solid work-ethic and reliability. My glowing references are available on request.
Please consider my application for any suitable positions that may arise in one of your stores. I am seeking part-time employment and I would cherish the opportunity to work for you. 

Thank you for your time.

Kind regards,
Lea  (rhymes with tea)
Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, tea-drinker


What do you think? Did you like it? 

They didn't respond. They are not really called the Tea Shoppe. I'm just loathe to give them any positive  mumbles on my free-to-air rambling space when they didn't respond. Not that Apple have ever been grateful for the attention I've given them. I'm not that fond of them at the moment either, but that's another story. I'm not going to be able to keep including "enthusiastic, cheerful disposition" on my job applications if I do nothing but grumble on free-to-air (I suppose).

Claimer: this blogger receives no payment or compensation of any kind for any favorable, or otherwise, content on this here blog. Apart from the odd cup o' tea and slice of cake at a friend's house if I write something that brightens their day.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Don't think I forgot the second one

I wish I had a photo of the moment I'll attempt to describe.

A background picture: the boykaloiks had been very naughty. They were in BIG trouble and had been sent to bed. All was bleak and glum in the house. We were mortified at what they had done. One week later, it really wasn't that bad and I'm over it but still... we're painting a picture so to be true to that day... we were mortified. We thought we may have to disown them or, at the very least, send them to boarding school - expel them from the Island.

And then the little one lost his first tooth. He'd knocked it on his favourite 18 year old's shoulder whilst wrestling, the evening before. He'd then proceeded to wiggle it and wriggle it instead of dwelling solemnly on what he'd done (!!) and... before he knew it, there it was in his little fingers! 

The tooth fairy had to put the overdue essay and her mortified bleakness aside, find her wings and sprinkle fairy dust around his sleepy head. She found a note at the back of her wardrobe, which had been written 3 years ago, when the oldest had lost his first tooth. This note detailed just what the tooth fairy would do with this precious first tooth, how special it (and he) was and that for this tooth he would receive one angel coin. From now on, she said, he would receive one angel coin for every 4 teeth (those angel coins are pretty special). She placed the note and the angel coin where he would find them in the morning, amidst sprinkles of sparkly fairy dust.

It's no small thing that his tooth came out on that particular day. She could have cried with exhaustion and frustration and disappointment. Instead she cried at the reminder that life with them is a privilege, that they are both still small boys, and these times are precious... even when school holidays don't quite go to plan.

PS. I have heard that you can find angel coins here: at A Toy Garden. Just sayin'.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lost... in space

Well that essay took much longer to write than expected. Not longer than it should have, just longer than I had allowed.

It is safe to say that the Spring school holidays have been semi-disastrous... for me. I say "semi" to acknowledge that I am faced with the insanity of first world problems. The term "disaster" is relative. My mental state has been messy. I've had uni work looming over me, with the uni semester recess only slightly overlapping with school holidays. So most of the time, as I've been trying to read academic journals on human geography and natural (real) disasters, I've had kids fighting/playing at my feet, making mess, requiring food, requiring taxi services etc etc etc. There's one buzzing right behind me right now. We've had friends come to stay, rugby presentations to attend, sailing days, and on and on and on and ridiculously on and on. All very full lovely living. All of which keeps me from focusing on academic work, which is becoming increasingly important to ME! For ME! 

Oh I know. Don't worry, I've been told. A family member, who shall remain nameless, pointed out to me that my sole purpose in life is to mother. Let's just call him "He of the older generation".

"Bad luck girl, you had 'em, you look after 'em." 

But I still do, I said. 

"It's not enough", he said. 

But I focused solely on them - in the home - for nearly 9 years, I said. 

"Well it wasn't long enough!" he exclaimed. And on, and on, and on.

Well, sisters and brothers. Fuck it. If this is selfish, then selfish I am. I want it! I need it! I'm going to have it! And my children will learn from it. Who knows what they will learn? That's for them to figure out as they process the world for the rest of their eternity. What do you think they will learn from me staying solely focused on them for the next ten years? Well... we're not going to find out.

Finally, after many days of headache and vomity sensations and incredible tetchiness and tension, my essay was submitted, 3 days late. It felt quite liberating really.... letting go like that and accepting my circumstances. During this school holiday period my mind has run like a mouse on a wheel. I'm not willing to let go of any of it... of my studies or of my family. In one week I'll be adding a day of work, with a 3-4 hour commute, into the mix as well. And that too shall be ok. Because it's only one day. And it will be a day of something different, something with new people, new purpose with old knowledge and re-fired up passion. A day of something different.

So, with the illumination of all that rambling... here are two stories of happy family moments. Perhaps the only happy family moments to have occurred in the last two weeks but still... they happened.

The first was my Noah-Noo's 9th birthday party. Nine! I'll save my nostalgic Oh my God, nine? Where did all those years go moment for another day. This year we opted for a party with all the boys and 3 girls from Noah's class, and all of their families, at our favourite family picnic place... a clearing surrounded by water and bush, about 10 minutes upstream from us. It feels wild and free and special. The perfect place for a celebration of 9 years of life.

I love Whole Family birthday parties. They highlight the rich community that we have around us as all of our children grow together - indeed, as we all grow (if we're lucky). Rather than being a chore, just another event to ferry our children to, the Whole Family birthday party can be a beautiful day for everyone.

Soon to come... a visit from a fairy.