I am about to share a deep, dark secret. It’s something I have hidden from the world for years, too ashamed to admit for fear of the reaction of others. But I can hide it no longer. I HATE COOKING.
I’m serious. I hate cooking. With a passion; in fact with the type of passion I normally reserve for chocolate and champagne – or rather the consumption thereof. Let me clarify… (more…)
It’s that time of year again folks. January 1 – the day of Great Determination and Good Intentions. Go on, hands up – who has made at least one resolution today? Uh-huh. Thought so. Oh, don’t worry, I’m not judging; I’m no different. I started the morning off making them too. After a few moments, I looked at my list, thought a moment then scrapped all but one: make more money. (more…)
I’ve just finished reading a fantastic article by Boonsri Dickinson over at BYTE, called As Mobile Work Rises, 9-to-5 Jobs Decline. In it, Dickinson discusses the way the work place is evolving as people choose to work differently thanks to the changes in technology. More and more people it seems are choosing to do things differently – from the way they find work through to the way they do work. And in my humble opinion (it’s my blog, so I get to put it forward), it’s about time.
I have to admit I have never considered having eyelash extensions. It’s not that I have a problem with the concept; I’ve had acrylic nails for longer than I care to remember because I like how strong they make my own nails. I’ve just always thought of lash extensions as being something the likes of Angelina Jolie would get for a red carpet event. Not something for a mere mortal such as myself.
Barack Obama has just been elected for a second term as president of the United States of America. I cried when I got the text from my eldest son saying simply ‘ Obama won’. I then bought a bottle of (good) bubbly and went home to celebrate with my family. Over the past couple of hours people have asked me why the Obama win was so important to me. After all, I’m not American. I’m no longer a journalist – so can’t really claim a professional interest anymore. So, why the passion for the American presidency? (more…)
Yes, sigh. I know I’m not supposed to open a blog post with ‘sigh’, let alone entitle the post that way – but then I’m not supposed to tweet about what I ate for lunch and I do – so you know….at this stage of the proceedings I’m not exactly going to worry about it. Which brings us full circle to … sigh. (more…)
- Can I be Elizabeth Gilbert when I grow up?
- Will I ever grow up? I’m 45 – if it hasn’t happened by now, maybe it’s not going to happen…
- Why are there no donuts in my pantry?
- I own Eat, Pray, Love on DVD (thank you Rachel), in paperback, and on my Kobo – if I get it on my iPhone does that officially make me obsessed?
- I should start a journal – I’m not sure why but I think I should.
- What is that really annoying sound outside the dining room window and how can I get it to stop?
- I wonder if Dennis will make me a cup of tea, if I ask really nicely
- Should I write my journal long hand or online?
- Does this count as a journal entry?
- The chances of me thinking of at least this many random things again the minute I shut my laptop down are pretty high
- Does this mean I should do my journal long hand?
- Exactly how many reviews have I agreed to do in the next seven days?
- Was my brain actively engaged when I made those agreements?
- Is my brain ever actively engaged?
- I have dreadful handwriting – perhaps that means it should be online
- Does Elizabeth Gilbert have ridiculous, random thoughts like this at 9.49 before bed
- More importantly – does she admit to them and put them out for the world to see…..
I guessed when Master 13 called me Mother Dear that something was up. There always is when he calls me that. It usually means he knows something I’ve forgotten and that he’s going to get to crow about. For a long time. In this case, it went something like this.
Him: “When are we getting my uniform Mother Dear?”
Me – not really listening because I was distracted by my aching head after a long day at work: “Hmm?”
Him: “Uniform. You know – clothes for college. Starts next week.”
He then paused for reaction which of course he duly got as it filtered through my headache (did I mention it had been a long day at work?) that school goes back next week, he starts his first year of highschool…and that I hadn’t got his uniform yet. Or his stationery. And Monday is a public holiday. I’m not going to print here what I said next – all you need to know was that the cats left the room when they heard it (probably because they know that when Mum is using those words, it’s best to stay out of her way).
It is beyond me how anyone who can forget their offspring need return to school in a year – or that one of them needs a new school uniform. Honestly, it is testament to how great my three kids are that they have survived their mother and got as far as they have despite her. Good grief.
Anyway, I have now ordered the stationery packs – because of course, I had forgotten Miss 11′s as well (thankfully Mr Nearly 20 who has left home takes care of himself these days) – my reaction to which again caused the cats to go in to hiding. What on earth can they need for a first year of highschool when they are doing languages that brings the cost up to nearly a hundred dollars?
That just leaves the uniform – which I now have precisely two days to track down….and of course he’s grown out of his shoes hasn’t he? These are things people do not tell you when you say the words “wouldn’t it be nice to have a baby?” Nobody says “um thirteen years from now, he will grow out of things within 24 hours of buying them and you’ll need to take out a personal loan to pay the high school fees.” No they just say ” what a lovely idea.” Probably because they already have teenagers and figure we should all suffer a little bit.
But as we all know, the Universe loves balance and for every frustrating, annoying, please-preserve-me moment, there is a corresponding feel good moment. And today was no different. As I trudged up the hill from the ferry to the house, juggling my handbag, my briefcase and my high heels – because yes, I forgot my flip flops this morning – and cursing the ridiculously narrow cut skirt I chose (in my ‘wisdom’) to wear this morning, I spotted a movement on the edge of the sidewalk. There on the grass was a young hedgehog - maybe the size of a tennis ball when he curled up at the sound of my voice. Thinking Miss 11, who dreams of being a vet, would think him cute, I stopped to take his photo with my phone. As I snapped photos I realised he was sort of wobbly and turning in circles but he didn’t appear sick. Now, I know that sounds like a contradiction but he seemed perfectly healthy except he was kind of disoriented.
Now my mother used to work with the SPCA and was always saving, rescuing and just generally caring for critters of all kinds – including ones that repaid her with bites, scratches and general misery. And mum never turned her back on an animal that needed help – even if it meant lots of tears later if it didn’t make it. With a sigh, I took my merino cardigan out of my bag – hey it’s a sweater, I can always replace it right? – and used it to pick my new friend up. He promptly rolled in a ball and snuffled around in my arms for the walk home.
Mr 13 and Miss 11 were duly dispatched on our arrival to find some shredded chicken and water which we put down in front of the little guy – and he sprang to life. Water was clearly a priority and we could actually hear him lapping – poor little thing must have been really thirsty. After a few seconds he lifted his head and we could see him sniffing – he could smell the chicken. He turned in a circle, passing the chicken by and when he spotted me curling in a ball before uncurling and continuing his circle. Eventually he found the chicken and with much smacking and chomping devoured it.
I shredded a little more and put it down. Same scenario. I leaned in closer – and he rolled back up. I stayed very still and waited – and he unrolled. This time I saw the problem when he unrolled and took another drink of water: our prickly wee guest only has one eye. There’s no wound or anything, so perhaps he was born that way. Poor wee guy. Yes, yes I should let nature take its course and all that jazz. Blah, blah, blah is what I have to say to that. My mother didn’t raise me to turn my back on a creature in need.
Which is why, as I type, a tiny little hedgehog, barely the size of a tennis ball and with a tummy full of fresh water and shredded chicken, is asleep in a teatowel in a carton on top of our freezer in the laundry. He has been dubbed Captain Jack because his one eye made the kids think of pirates.
And he made us all forget the cost of stationery and the urgent need for school uniforms.
There is another reason his arrival was welcomed and made us all smile…but you’ll need to check back tomorrow to find out what that is.
And we are up to our ears in boxes. The house is freakishly tidy – in a somewhat chaotic manner (yes, yes – bear with me here) – and I have started washing walls, sills, skirting boards, and ceilings. Everything except furniture is in cartons and much of the day is now spent saying “I need that thing, the one in the box at the bottom of the pile at the back of the downstairs lounge” and the rest of the family diving for cover or yelling “your turn” to the nearest sibling.
Come Friday we will load the trucks and the trailers and head two streets over to the new house in Hawke Crescent and as positive and upbeat as we all have managed to stay during the whole process, today was the day I found the hardest. For today I had to say goodbye to my ducks.
Three years ago I interviewed a breeder of Indian Runner ducks – Lesley – for Rural Living, a lifestyle farming paper I was editing at the time. I fell in love with these cheeky little birds that were really more dog than duck and that used to be referred to as Penguin Ducks because of the way they walk. Indian Runners stand up straight and walk rather than waddle – well actually they run – and they have bright, inquisitive natures. They are not meat ducks but egg layers – laying more eggs than the best hen on the block. They are also extraordinarily loyal to their mates and Lesley had stories that just captured my often flakey imagination.
We had just moved to the Great Urban Ark and had some space and …well….it wasn’t long before I had contacted Lesley and asked if we could get a pair of ducklings. Lesley agreed and a few months later, Miss 11 and I drove over to Lesley’s house and took custody of two tiny bundles of fluff.
We hand reared the ducklings inside for six months, then moved them out of doors, where they began to supply us with eggs for – if you’ll pardon the non-PC cliche – Africa. Since then they’ve brought us a lot of eggs and even more laughter – Indian Runner ducks are real clowns. Having been reared indoors for so long they seemed convinced if they just snuck in the door quietly they would be allowed back in that warm tub of water they knew was there somewhere. The problem was, first up, Scooter and Quackers had no concept of quiet. They announced every movement with much quacking – and did not give a fig if it was sun-up, sun-set or siesta time. So their quacks of “bath, let us at the bath” were usually met with cries of “no poultry in the house, no poultry in the house.”
Today however it all came to an end, when Scooter and Quackers were packed up and sent to live with Paul and his family. You see, we can’t take them to the new house. Ducks aren’t really the kind of pets you can take to a rental property. Besides, the section is too small. So off they went.
And for the first time since the entire ordeal began I cried. I know, they’re ducks. They don’t care who feeds them as long as someone feeds them. But they were MY ducks – I cuddled them in my sweatshirt after their baths, showing them how to preen their downy feathers so the oil they badly needed to spread would do its job. When I came in the gate, or stepped out of the door, they would appear, falling over their webbed feet and jostling to see who might get a treat first. I loved those little guys. Still love those little guys.
Guess I’ll get back to packing now taking comfort in knowing they are, at least, somewhere they will be well cared for.
I shall miss them though.
Well, this is it: the Christmas tree has been put away for another year, the calenders have been changed, the toasts have been…er…toasted. I am ready to take on 2012 the way other people are ready to take on bungee jumping or diving with great white sharks. And while, just for the record, neither of those things figure on my to do list this year (we have that clear right? Right.)
I should probably say that I am taking as many precautions as if I were about to jump into the open sea with large, hungry sea monsters too. I am doing gongyo and chanting every day. We have found a house and signed the lease. I am doing yoga and going for putting as much effort and determination into making this year a truly successful one as if I were.
I am going for a lot of walks. Spending time with my kids and my man. Reading a lot of books and watching a lot of movies – my kobo and the dvd player are taking a real beating. And writing, I’m writing. All things with a Big I.
The writing, the reading and the movies have had me thinking a lot about creativity and I came across this quote from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda which seemed fitting for my mood given everything that has gone down:This thing called life—with the exertion and concentrated thought of a novelist writing a novel, with the sweat and perseverance of a painter plying his brush, seated before the blank paper of the instant and the future, one creates a new portrait of oneself. Life is a vigorous task to be engaged in. Daisaku Ikeda
Happy new year gang – see you further on up the road.