Friday, December 29, 2006

remember the car wash?

Oh yeah... the car wash... I nearly forgot!

Well, this morning it looked like rain and I didn't want the car looking spic and span to then be rained on did I?!

Then Frank went out this afternoon, taking the car with him, so there was just no way I could wash it...

Um... maybe tomorrow? Would that be OK?

plastic food takes on new meaning

The FDA of the USA has approved cloned beef and milk for human consumption and it's only a matter of time before Australia heads the same way. (We have after all agreed to clone embryos for the sake of scientific research. Eating cloned beef is far less odious)

What might be an appropriate response to this situation, this fiddling with nature?

Perhaps Frank and I should start exploring the options of housing dairy cows in our back yard. There's enough space for... um... one. We could rear chickens, and sheep do help keep the grass short. We could have our own funny farm right in the middle of town!

Thank goodness we grow our own vegetables! At least they come without interference.

Oh yeah... that genetic engineering of seeds? I'm sure our seeds were clean, good, dinky di originals. No modifications there OK.

What chance is there of living a natural life?

None really.

crazy for carcassonne

When I gave Frank the boardgame Carcassonne for Christmas I felt kind of bad.

I had wanted that game for quite a while, and I figured it was unlikely I'd be given it any time soon - hardly anyone has even hard of the game. So I bought it for myself under the guise of giving it to Frank. In order to salve my selfish, guilty conscience I bought Frank lots of other little gifts that I knew he'd really appreciate.

I needn't have worried!

Every day since Christmas we've played Carcassonne at Frank's request. He loves it. The battle over the French countryside has teetered back and forth between Frank and myself. First game he won, then I won, then he won and so on - and each time the winner was always seated in the same seat, facing the kitchen.


We began vying for the "winner's seat" in the hope it might help us win. Until tonight. The winner was sitting in the other seat tonight. We don't have a winning seat after all!

Looks like whoever wins from now on will be relying on their skill and mastery of the game. And they'll be getting plenty of practice, that's for sure!

crafty moment

One of my great loves is making cards. I rarely find time to indulge this love, so it was with delight that I sat down and produced a card today.

This one was a bit of an experiment, using printed paper as a base and adding embellishments with quilling. I quite like the effect.

In the right hemisphere of my brain I harbour wistful dreams of quiting paid work and eking out a living from card making. To date, the practical left hemisphere has quashed the dreams - there's not much money in making cards by hand! So I keep tripping off to work, while my creativity lies dormant for months at a time.

I shouldn't really let life take over so. Creating cards and moulding materials of any kind breathes life into my weary, jaded bones. I might just cope better with the imperfections of life if I carved out space for creativity in the midst of the busyness.

I feel a new year's resolution coming on...

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

ducking out

In my pre-Christmas stock up, I spied a duck at the butcher and couldn't resist. Succulent, flavoursome duck. It set my mouth to watering so I tucked it in my basket amongst the other goodies, anticipating the delicious treat it would make.

When I got home I selected a tempting recipe of duck with honey roasted potatoes. I coated the duck in orange juice mixed with soy sauce and roasted it for the requisite period of time.

There was just one problem.

It stank! All afternoon the aromas wafted out of the oven and into my twitching nostrils, making me feel very nearly nauseous.

Was this just the normal odour of cooking duck? Was it the soy sauce, the honey, or maybe the cloves of garlic? Worst thought of all, was the duck bad? Had I left it in the fridge too long?

I phoned my mum and asked her to have a sniff if duck usually smells odd during cooking. She wasn't sure, though she confirmed that they are vastly different from chicken and advised me that if it tasted OK, it probably was OK.

No conclusive answers there so shortly thereafter Frank and I tentatively tucked into roast duck with honeyed potatoes. I personally didn't enjoy it much - that smell has put me off duck forever - but Frank munched happily away. He even ate the leftovers the next day.

And here we are, 48 hours post consumption, and no ill effects. Not even a bellyache! Ducks must just smell really bad during cooking.

I think I can safely say that I will never cook duck ever again!

fruit of the earth

I'm really getting into this gardening thing.

Call it misplaced maternal instinct if you will, but I'm pouring hours of love and care into the growing plants; pulling weeds; whispering encouragement; pulling weeds; watering; pulling weeds; fertilising; pulling weeds.

What is with those weeds?! Turn your back and they've sprouted legs and overrun the plot. The most prolific weed is 'malice' - an appropriate name in view of it's heinous garden behaviour, where it is intent on taking over the whole patch.

Despite the weeds, we seem to be having gardening success. The zucchinis are nearly 2cm long, there are tomatoes on the tomatoes and the lettuce plants are spreading their leaves and growing now that they're protected by a net. It's all very exciting. Add to that the ripening blackberries and we are heading for a home grown feast!

We got a small taster last week when we harvested our annual crop of wild potatoes. Without fail they poke their heads up next to the garage and they make for great potato salad.

Somehow watching all these vegies grow is feeding my soul as much as they will soon feed my body. I love it!

drifting along

Despite my previous stressful post, holidays really are wonderful!

It's a relief to flick off the 'rush' switch and just dawdle along. I'm sure it's taking me twice as long as normal to complete anything - and I'm relishing it!

So maybe my to-do list hasn't decreased as quickly as it might but does it really matter?

I can report that I have cleaned all the kitchen cupboards and rearranged the pantry, and sorted my summer and winter clothes. Unfortunately I've had to add a couple of extra tasks to the list.

Like washing the car.

I would rather buy a new car every time the dirt and spiderwebs start taking over, but that isn't really an option. It has now reached the point that I can hardly see the car for webs, and I'm just too embarrassed to let it continue. Tomorrow is the day.

Car wash.

In the mean time I'm working hard on twisting Frank's arm: "You know that delicious meal I cooked last night? The 'rosemary lamb on grilled polenta with anchovy sauce'? Well...."

Here's hoping!

It might work, but just in case, I'm psyching myself up.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

hmmmm, what will I do today?

So it was sunny outside and quite lovely weather and I sat at the computer all day.


I wasn't blogging, just in case you were wondering. (Though I could be secretly operating multiple anonymous blogs as an outlet for all the stories that necessarily get filtered from this site for the sake of the privacy and protection of family, friends and myself)

No, I was sorting emails. There were over 1100 emails doing nothing in my inbox - and now they are gone. Mostly gone. What a relief. How light do I feel?!

I'm still not sure why I would choose to sit at the computer when the sun was shining but the reasoning goes something like this:

I wrote a list of things I need to do over the holidays. Several days in, and I've done none of them. Not one thing crossed off. Panic was starting to snap and snarl at the edge of my consciousness as I worried that I might have two weeks off work and achieve nothing. Inconceivable! So I set about crossing one thing off the list today, and based on a whim I chose sorting emails. Sigh. Such a shame about the sunny day.

There are two redeeming outcomes to sitting in the dank gloom of the study!

First, I did not go to the post-Christmas sales and shop myself silly. It was a close call, as the unremitting catalogues arrived two days ago holding promises of wonderful savings and tempting wares. The will power required to stay put was almost beyond me!

we don't need anything.
we don't need anything.
we don't need anything. we don't need anything!

Eventually the message got through and I reluctantly relinquished my dreams of yet more possessions.

Second, my holiday to-do list is reduced by one.
  1. Sort emails
  2. Back up photos and computer files
  3. Tidy computer files
  4. Swap summer and winter wardrobe - wash and iron
  5. Sort photos, select some for enlargements
  6. Scrapbook travels
One down, five to go. Aren't holidays wonderful?

Monday, December 25, 2006

christmas in australia (just the two of us)

Merry Christmas to you and your family and friends. May the food taste delicious, the presents be satisfying and time together with others be meaningful and enriching.

So, after all the hustle and bustle, hurrying and scurrying, frantic buying and frazzled cooking - Christmas is here!

My contribution to the busyness of the season was to prepare a selection of Christmas goodies and, with Frank, to deliver them along with Christmas well wishes to our neighbours.

Personally we opted for a low key event. With a forecast of cool temperatures, rain and hail we reluctantly revised our beachside picnic plans and settled for lunch in the controlled environment of our own home. When the wind picked up and the hail began pelting down just before lunch we were rather glad for the mundane protection of four walls and a tin roof. I'm wondering if hail qualifies as a white Christmas? Maybe that's stretching it a bit, but other parts of Australia experienced a delightful sprinkling of snow!

All in all it's been a pleasant day. We crawled out of bed to feast on French Toast with berries, paused to reflect on the birth of Jesus and the incongruity of an incredible history maker stooping to enter the world in a stable with shepherds the first to hear the news, and skipped into the present opening. Wow, we are so rich - all day I've been conscious of it. Some people are struggling to survive without food, money, friends or love. Their day will be the same as the day before and the day before and the day before and the day before. Inside my heart I carry a bucket of thankfulness, and it is so full at the moment that gratefulness and happiness keeps spilling over the sides.

One of the presents I bought for myself Frank was a game called Carcassonne and we managed to use it to wile away the rest of the morning (and a good bit of the afternoon) building roads, cities and cloisters in the French countryside. (Frank won, but it was a close call)

I think we might still be lost somewhere in the French countryside (which would be rather pleasant really) - because I don't quite know where the rest of the day went!

We nibbled on Christmas treats, munched our way through a prawn salad (my first attempt, and I was a little disappointed with the flavour really) and savoured raspberries and icecream before falling asleep in the middle of riveting reading.

And so the day has passed. Our first Christmas as husband and wife. Special.

It was nice to spend it just the two of us - but next year I'd like to spend it with our families. There's a richness in being with loved ones - the more loved ones, the richer it is! (In theory)

May my heart always be attuned to the riches I possess and ever grateful for all I have been given, at Christmas and every day.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

winning streak

As I rule I don't buy raffle tickets. To win something in a raffle would be to not come by it fairly and squarely - to gain something by chance and not by hard work. I've dutifully complied with this ruling and never bought a ticket - this necessarily means I'm never in the running to win anything.

All that changed this week.

I decided it was time to support my workplace raffle by buying a ticket. Not just one ticket, but three - they were three for the price of two after all!

First prize was a massive hamper full of goodies that we'd all donated to the cause. Every one of us was longing, hoping, planning on winning! The nearer it came to the draw, the more tickets were sold, the higher the stakes became.

On Thursday afternoon we gathered together for our traditional ward Christmas Party with the usual food and exchange of Secret Santa presents.

And then the moment came. The drawing of the biggest and best raffle in the world - or that's how it seemed with the frisson of tension and excitement in the room! The crowd-produced drum roll only served to increase the anticipation.

The ticket was pulled out of the bucket but... someone from another part of the hospital won first prize. A collective sigh of disappointment ran around the room.

Still there was one more chance, and we quickly moved our attention to the drawing of the second prize. The ticket was duly selected from the bucket and we each waited with baited breath. The colour matched my ticket, the number matched and...

... I won my first ever raffle prize! An ecclectic collection of books that included a couple of great looking recipe books plus some excellent children's books.

I'm quite chuffed. Maybe I'll start buying raffle tickets all the time - next time a car?! This on top of my NaBloPoMo prize surely counts as a winning streak!

My wine charms arrived in the mail this week and I'm tickled pink. Thankyou Acoustic Lel for a fabulous prize. I think they're beautiful and I can't wait to use them.

Oh OK, I'll be content with what I've won already and let someone else win next time!

Friday, December 22, 2006

running on 'go slow'

Yay! Holidays are here! I made it to 4:30pm and finished work yesterday afternoon. Woohoo.
I don't ever remember wanting holidays this much. Only problem is, now that they're here, I don't quite know what to do with myself! I don't need to pack and move, don't even need to pack and travel. Too late to bother with Christmas decorations. And I'm on holidays, so I'm not going to rush in and do all the washing today - I've got two weeks.

What will I do with myself?

Last night was similar, and my mind followed a circular trail... 'there must be something I should do' made way for 'no, I'm on holidays. I don't have to do anything' and then 'I can't do, like, nothing - can I?'

In the end Frank decided for me. After tea and the usual menial chores we settled down to watch Monk getting fired. I always enjoy Monk, and it was a nice, relaxed way to start the holidays.

Today I'm on go-slow. I can't seem to do anything at speed! I had planned to be at the supermarket by now, but decided to post quickly before I left. (To let you know I'm alright of course) But then blogger informed me that now was the perfect time to upgrade to New Blogger. I mindlessly complied because I couldn't quite find my way back to old blogger, and since I seem to fall into the category of having many, many blogs and oodles and oodles of comments it took a long time.

All done now, and suddenly everything has come clear to me. Of course I know what to do with myself these holidays.


So watch out for the ever exciting updates bound to be coming your way.

And that's only partly tongue-in-cheek. My four day silence has produced a plethora of posts in the seeding stage. Very soon they'll be birthed on blogger.

But I'm not a blogging addict and I'm not mad. OK!? I've had a few nasty allegations such as these thrown at me over the past week, and I want to put them to rest once and for all.

I am normal. I love blogging. The two are not mutually exclusive. Please try and accept this.

OK, the supermarket is calling. I'm still just sleepy and dazed enough to drift past all the crowds without being bothered by them in the slightest!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

hanging in by a whisker

I am just coping with life at the moment.

Not in an extreme, fall apart, do myself damage kind of way, just in a 'how long must I hold myself upright' way. I am exhausted and I have been for months.

Not that I really help myself - blogging until late, rising early (and checking the blogosphere again. Are you proud of me - no blogs for two days?!), hectic scheduling, entertaining guests. On and on and on, always something doing.

At work I'm barely managing to do anything productive. Somewhere along the way, checking for comments on my blog started taking priority over real work! It got to the point that last week I had to ask Frank to keep me accountable. When he arrived home he was under strict instructions to check how many times I went on the internet for un-work related matters in one day. I was so proud when I could say 'none. zilch. zip. zero!' I got quite a lot done that day! But it didn't reduce the pain of the alarm the next morning. It called me from my dreams as shrilly as ever and propelled my brain into immediate action: 'It can't be a work day today! The alarm is wrong! Go back to sle... oh it is a work day. Get up Cecily.' And off I trundled for another dollar. Hopefully a well earned dollar.

So 4:30pm on December 21 is highlighted with flashing neon lights in my mind - the moment holidays begin! The minute I go into shutdown. Serious shutdown! We're not going go church, we're not seeing people...

Oh. Um. I just remembered I wouldn't mind catching up with some girlfriends! And there is the small matter of a pre-Christmas BBQ with my workamates.

OK, so we'll mostly be in serious shutdown. Just Frank and I, taking things quietly. Trips to the beach. A bush walk or two. (as long as there is some bush left that hasn't been burned to a crisp in the hideous fires) Movies galore. (Did you see the movie show tonight? Every single movie looked great!) It all sounds rather heavenly. If we can hold ourselves back from all the housework that beckons, we just might start 2007 feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Speaking of a relaxed and refreshed beginning to the new year, this is the first year for six years that I haven't packed up and moved house over the summer! That's got to add to the relaxation quotient! (Secretly, that was one of the big attractions of getting married, apart from my lovely husband of course! The chance to settle down and stay put)

So off I go to keep hanging in by a whisker.

(Christmas cards might push me over the edge, so if you don't receive one before Christmas - it's not you. It's me!)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

why i want to be a weed

This evening I decided to dig some weeds out of our vegie patch. Apart from childhood gardens that someone else took responsibility for, Frank and I have never had a vegetable garden, so this is one big experiment.

We've put in some tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, beetroot, carrots, lettuce and leek. If this seems like a rather random selection - it is. We wandered around the nursery and I selected containers from here and there until Frank advised me that no more vegetables would fit in the patch and I had to stop.

We took a rather lazy approach to planting, and didn't separate out the seedlings enough because we were trying to plant everything before it got dark and the patch is rather small so space was at a premium. So the three or four root vegetables in each hole will shortly be fighting each other for survival.

I'm loving watching everything grow, and feel a bit like a child - it won't damage the carrots and beetroot too much if I pull them out to see how they're growing will it?! Happily the tomatoes have flowers, the leeks are fattening up and the zucchini are sprouting numerous leaves, all providing enough visible progress to just about keep me from pulling up a carrot or two!

After our rather lax planting process, we've been taking good care of the little plants - shooing away sparrows that insist on pecking at the beetroot leaves (they are no longer in my good books!), daily watering and today, even weeding!

As I pulled the pesky little greenery out of the ground I got to thinking. Jesus talked about plants growing and being choked out by weeds - they were definitely the baddies in that story. But as I pulled and chucked the weeds, I decided that they weren't so bad after all and being a weed mightn't be so bad!

Think about it a little - where haven't you seen a weed growing? Exactly! Weeds flourish in any environment and under any circumstance. Admirable quality, is it not? Too often I feel crushed by life and every small knock. Other times I falter because I don't get what I want when I want it - 'life's too hard' I moan as I sink into a state of malaise and despair.

How about this? Weeds slurp all the goodness and water out of the earth and grow strong and fast. I have so much goodness around me that I often ignore! I focus on what I don't have. Or even worse, I choose to feast on unhealthy matter. Would that I might be like a weed, recognising substance, drinking it in with gusto and growing all the way.

I have to admit that my admiration for weeds ends about here! They have shallow root systems, once they're ripped up they are quickly replaced by another (I'd like to think I'm irreplacable!), and did I say they're ripped up? I could do without that!

These things aside, weeds do have some worthy qualities that I might pursue in the days ahead. Meanwhile I'll be pulling up every weed I find - they may provide excellent life lessons, but they don't do my vegies much good!

Addit: I've been trying to comment on a few people's blogs, but beta blogger won't accept anything I write. They're either very bad comments or beta blogger is not better and is having problems. Sorry guys!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

royale evening

Frank and I took in another movie tonight. Almost a month since our last trip to the cinema, meaning it's almost our 11 month wedding anniversary. We didn't plan it OK! A month just seems to be our movie cycle. Potentially we will be celebrating our wedding anniversary with a monthly movie forever, which is fine by me - it was such an effort to get to the altar I think it is worthy of frequent remembrance!

There was no feeding our intellects with any stimulating documentaries this time - instead we nose dived into James Bond in 'Casino Royale'. We shared our descent into trash with half of the city it would seem. I have never seen the cinema so full, even on cheap Tuesday. There was hardly a seat spare. Good to see that we're all feeding our minds with useful information.

Having said that, it was quite an entertaining number - if you don't think it's a waste of money to shut your eyes for half the movie, that is. (I just don't do violence at all) And if you can put your mind on hold long enough to stop wondering how Bond just happenned to have everthing he needed exactly when he needed it. (I presume he wouldn't be Bond if it happenned any other way!) I loved the graphics at the beginning of the movie, but I only wish I played poker (or whatever card game they were playing) - the movie would have been so much more meaningful then! When I wasn't screwing my eyes tightly shut, I sat back and enjoyed the spectacle of Bond falling seriously in love while he outsmarted the baddies once again.

And then the movie was over, the credits rolled and the background music switched to a rather incongruous canned version of Jingle Bells. We walked outside and back into the reality of life as we tried to figure out what to eat for tea. Hmmm, I think it would be rather nice to have everything I needed exactly when I needed it - an instant gourmet meal please?!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

it's beginning to feel a lot like christmas

Christmas has kind of snuck up on me. Again!

I was reading someone's blog about a week ago and listening in on their concern that it didn't feel like Christmas. "Of course not!" I thought "Christmas is ages away." Only it wasn't, and it certainly isn't now! Christmas is just around the corner!

Their blog got me thinking. What does Christmas feel like? What magical things need to happen for it to feel like Christmas? What constitutes Christmas?

Neither Frank or I are from families that place a huge emphasis on the Christmas season - Frank's people aren't religious and my father strongly believed it was wrong to celebrate what was essentially a pagan feast conscripted by the church.

This is our first Christmas together as a married couple, and we have the chance to carve out our own tradition, so we're working out how we want to celebrate. We try and remember the significance of Jesus all year, not just in December - but it will be nice to do something special together on Christmas Day. At the moment we're planning a trip to one of the beaches in a local National Park, and I'm thinking up what delicious yummies I can pack in a picnic lunch.

So we don't personally get too caught up in the whirl of Christmas. Saying that - we have just been part of our church Carol Service this weekend. We've been helping to plan it for weeks, and yesterday saw the big event take place - a BBQ in a local park, followed by a candle lit carol service (as candle lit as you can get when the sun keeps shining until after 8 o'clock!). We sang the requisite songs, were mesmerised by flickering candle light, and ate christmas cake galore.

Does that mean it's Christmas? Carols and good times? We didn't sing 'Silent Night' last night, and I can't help wondering if a carol service is really a carol service without 'Silent Night'! It just didn't feel right.

Ah, we're back to that Christmas feeling again! Is Christmas cheer, then, something we create ourselves by performing certain rituals? A construct of our imaginations? Christmas lights, carols, tinsel, mulled wine, christmas cards, shopping, turkey (or prawns if you're Australian!), gifts, nativity scenes, candy cane, trees, secret santa - blend together with family and friends and you've got the right atmosphere? If we threw all those things together in August could we create the Christmas feeling then?

The mystery of Christmas hey! Whatever the feeling is, and however you get it - I love it. Even omitting loud decorations and wild celebrations, it's a delightful season of goodwill. An opportunity to wish one another well and enjoy the bond of fellowship together with all those who join in the party.

So wherever you are and however you celebrate, may you experience all the 'Christmas feeling' you need to restore your soul after a wearying year. May you create the perfect blend of ingredients for a special time of love and laughter. And may your Christmas be filled with joy and delight.

scorching summer's day

It's a scorcher here in Tassie today. 31 degrees celsius!

Depending on where you are, you may or may not consider that a heatwave, but this is Tasmania! Usually in December we might hit 25 degrees celsius on a warm day, otherwise we seem to hover around 20. Every few days snow will fall somewhere around the state, and we'll all be shivering again as the cold air flows around us.

But no - today is a Tassie heatwave and consequently we've flaked out inside! And why not? The city is blanketed in smoke from a bushfire somewhere (perhaps even Victoria), the air feels oppressive, there's a dry, hot breeze and the sun burns everything to a crisp in five minutes flat (that is only a slight exaggeration - the ozone over Tasmania is stuffed!). Thanks to living in an older home with high ceilings, we are enjoying lounging around in a very pleasant, cool house.

I like to think I prefer warmer weather. I even go so far as bragging to the locals about my heat tolerance, claiming to feel most comfortable at about 32 degrees C.

Well I take it all back! I'm sorry. I've been misleading you all. I much prefer 25.

And what about global warming? This is what troubles me most! I might moan that Tassie is too cold, but this unseasonably warm weather is disturbing.

Is our planet out of control? Could this be a one-off hot year, a blip in the average and next year it will all be OK? (OK a two year blip, seeing as last year was the hottest year on record!) Maybe Al Gore is justified in using the most extreme predictions - they might not be just a great rallying cry, they might be right! Maybe the media is scare mongering and I should just stamp out this gnawing fear that life as we know it could be about to change forever. I should remember that people in the northern hemisphere are experiencing snow and ice, just like normal. The whole world is not burning up just because right now we are!

Most likely I should just go outside and soak up the heat I've been longing for and stop thinking so much! Take each day as it comes and be thankful for what we've been given. Yay for 31 degrees C.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

like a sparrow

Up in the eaves of our house the sparrows have been hard at work, building nests and rearing young families. And generally making a mess, but we won't talk about that too much! Frank did patch up a few holes in the guttering over the front entrance - the birds initially went nearly crazy, twittering urgently and flitting back and forth in search of another entrance to their homes before eventually finding somewhere else to build a nest.

Over the back verandah another sparrow couple constructed a very clever nest, also in our guttering - it was positioned perfectly in the middle of a beam so we couldn't climb up and reach it without the risk of breaking our necks. We would look up at the scrappy collection of grass and leaves poking out from the metal and sigh about those pesky birds!

After a while our annoyance turned to fascination. Those little sparrows were sure busy, flying in and out with more materials for their nest, ("Honey, do you think this twig looks good here or should I place it over there?") constructing a safe haven for their babies-to-be. Back and forth they went, flapping and tweeting in a bustle of activity.

And then we heard them - the fragile chirps of newly hatched chicks. "Chirp, chirp, chirp. Chirp, chirp, chirp." The sparrows activity became fever pitch, as they ducked in and out with sustenance for their littlies. At times they kept guard over the entrance to their nest, hoping to ward off ravens intent on turning their young into a tasty morsel. As Frank and I watched we realised it couldn't be long before the babies learned to fly and headed off into the world on their own.

Then it happenned. The mummy and daddy flew back and forth, beckoning their young to join them in their arc over the garden. And one day they did. They launched themselves off the edge of the gutter, soared over the lawn and landed amongst the leaves of a nearby tree. Soon they never came back.

It's quiet over our verandah now. The grass still pokes out, telling it's story of the sparrow family that now fly freely around the sky. Never mind the mess - we look at the grass and kind of miss our little friends.

They reminded me of something Jesus said:
Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
Frank and I went for a walk together yesterday morning, and as we walked rain began to gently fall on us (not enough to fill our tanks even an inch mind you!). I held out my hands and threw my head back and just enjoyed the feel of the water splashing on my skin. I thought of the sparrows and I knew it was true. God is caring for me, watching over me, loving me. There's deep comfort there.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

holding my head high

Some people think I've gone mad with all this blogging. They tease me mercilessly, ridicule me and stoop so low as to call me a nerd. So far I'm holding my head high - I still like blogging and I still find it beneficial. The weight of daily blogging is slowly fading and my joy at posting is returning. (There is one slight piece of evidence that suggests these name-callers might be correct - I was having serious blogging withdrawals tonight and could not go to bed without a quick post)

To all my detracters, I have this to say:
  1. I won a prize. Yes, NaBloPoMo's random and scientific selection process selected me. Whatever you may think of blogs and my writing - I won a prize for sticking with it to the end. Six wine glass charms for my efforts. Beat that you blogging knockers
  2. Blogging is a worldwide phenomenon, sweeping the globe and catching millions up in its wake. People are even writing books about it. I found this in the latest Koorong catalogue:
The new FAITHGIRLZ! BLOG ON series encourages girls to use internet technology safely and responsibly. Meet four unique and talented teens - Gracie, Annie, Jazz, and Storm - as they channel their gifts and confront personal challenges through blogging.
OK, the book's for 8-12 year olds, but still, blogging is big and it is recognised as a valid medium for expression and interaction. It opens up the world, allows introductions to new people, and facilitates the sharing of information across boundaries and borders. I'm hooked, and if that makes me crazy - so be it.

(I do have far more meaningful things to write about - just no time to develop them into a meaningful blog. But I will. Excitingly, after buying some outdoor seating and a market umbrella, Frank and I ate al fresco tonight. It was a little chilly, but a pleasant change!)

Monday, December 04, 2006

not a newsreader

I decided tonight that I'm not cut out to be a newsreader after all. Previously I've had narcissistic visions of being the centre of everyone's attention as I unfold the day's events to their listening ears. My inflection emphasises exactly the right syllables, my tone is professional and detached when necessary and sympathetic when the story calls for it. My hair is perfectly coifed and I'm wearing an attractive and expensive jacket with a stylish necklace and a pair of hidden but comfy tracksuit pants. I smile just the right amount and use my eyebrows and the tilt of the head to good effect. The consumate newsreader. (Mary Kostakidis eat your heart out!)

The only problem is that I cry at the drop of a hat. I'm not just talking crying at the sight of a sick or starving child - I'm talking serious tears at the sight of anything remotely moving. I mean, I cry in reality TV when someone sings beautifully or gets voted through to the next round. Turn on the news and I become a leaky tap. War, famine, hate, murder, greed - it is oh so ugly, and I cry for the state of the world we live in. How does God bear to look at what is going on?

Tonight was a case in point. Kim Beasley was voted out of Labour party leadership. Don't get me wrong here - I was no great lover of Kim Beasley. Most of what he said annoyed me (actually the way he said it was most annoying) and I agree Labour needed a change. I might even vote for them now! But how ignominious to be voted out in such a way. After all the years of passionate service, and all the days of posturing - he's out. And then his brother dies. How awful. What a completely horrible day it must have been for him.

So I cried. I think even Mary Kostakidis evidenced some moisture in the corner of her eye, but she soldiered on with the next anchor story - while I wiped tears from my cheeks and sniffled loudly.

No- sigh - newsreading is not for me! There's another dream layed to rest. All of a sudden I'm figuring out who I am better than ever before. Or at least who I'm not!

(On the spider front - I've gotten over the lovey dovey stuff, and no more innocent torture. Death is on the cards for any eight legged creature that crosses my path. Frank killed a 2cm White Tail spider in our bedroom on Saturday morning. Yikes! Apparently it is bacteria or fungus on your arm that produces the terrible ulcer, not the White Tail's bight. I guess that is a comfort! If you happen to be bitten anyway)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

suddenly 'aunty'

We're back from Melbourne and I survived both the wedding and the day without blogging.

Actually it's a dubious judgement that I survived the blogging exile - I read blogs before we left . But are you proud of me? I didn't post! (It has suddenly become clear that I'll need more than 24 hours to kick this habit!)

Back to the wedding of my brother-in-law to my new sister-in-law, an event far more enjoyable than I had anticipated. It was a casual affair in my new sister-in-law's decorated backyard. (What you can do with a clothes line if you set your mind to it!)

Her daughter was the matron of honour and Frank was the best man. They stood under the cover of the porch and professed their love for one another as the sun smiled, the light breeze danced and the birds twittered with delight. After the ceremony we threw rice, drank toasts, nibbled on Italian delicacies and generally celebrated in style.

The party continued later in the evening at a restaurant called "Indulge" - and indulge we did. Beautiful Italian food just kept on coming, and coming, and coming. Antipasto, the best squid I've ever eaten, tender veal in mushrooms, light and fluffy cake that eased its way into the the tiny spaces left in my stomach. Delicious. (I shall be on rations for a week!)

It was all a lovely affair and I'm delighted for my in-laws and wish them much happiness.

The whole family relationship thing is slightly bizarre. My brother-in-law became an instant father and grandfather. That's OK, these things are common place today. But my mother-in-law became an instant grandmother and great grandmother. Frank became an instant uncle and great uncle... and hey presto, I became an instant aunt and great aunt.

Well kind of! They're all as old as me or older and the whole thing turns on rather a convoluted line of marriages. I doubt any of us will refer to any one else as 'aunty Cecily' or 'uncle Frank' or 'neice Rosa' (apart from last night when the wine and the moment made us giddy with silliness)!

Until my two brothers make me an aunt for real, I'll relish my new aunty status just as it is.

Friday, December 01, 2006

side-of-the-house secrets

I thought only Asia did delicious mangoes that leave you drooling (did I already blog about this? All those NaBloPoMo posts have become a blur)... but we've just finished eating two mangoes that taste like they were made in heaven.

Sigh of deep contentment.

I knew there was a reason, apart from stinking hot days that leave you panting and perspiring , why I love summer so much... even if it doesn't really get hot in Tasmania it gets hot enough elsewhere for tropical fruits to grow.

Another sigh of deep contentment.

Speaking of summer fruits, I'm delighted to report that we should be producing some in our very own yard in a few short weeks.

This might look just like a slightly tidier than normal side of the house scene (forgive the poor photo quality - wrong time of day to be shooting, but if you have a laptop, duck your head down and stick your neck out and the photo will appear darker), but let me tell you, right now I consider it the most beautiful part of our garden.

And this is why.


Hidden in all that rubbish is a blackberry bush covered in flowers. Berries on their way! Yummo. Nothing beats a red, juicy raspberry, but really any kind of berry will do me! So come January, I'll be kicking back, feasting on blackberries. Oh, I'm quivering with anticipation and excitement already.

On a slightly more sober note, I think I may need to attend Blogaholics Anonymous. Here we are in December, NaBloPoMo is over and I'm busy blogging without even a day's break. Frank is heartily disappointed and I am guilt ridden at leaving him a blogging widower yet again. Something must be done. Thankfully we are going to Melbourne for a wedding tomorrow and I won't have computer access! It will be painful, but it will force me to break this cycle of blogging.