Sunday, September 28, 2008

there's a first time for everything i suppose

So much for feeling boxed in; squirreling around in a tiny corner of routine; mindlessly moving from one task to the next... the last two weeks have seen me tearing up the boundaries of that oh-so-restrictive comfort zone!

I mean, for goodness sake, I ate chicken feet - and survived it! How more daring can it get?! That being said, never again will I look at those little chickies in our back yard in quite the same way. As I watch them scratching and pecking in the dirt I can't help recalling gnawing on the knuckles of their nameless chicken friends. Heartless. Cruel. Callous. Not that they tasted that great - no matter that the chef told us they were washed 500 times. (Just not enough meat on the bones for my liking)

Eating chicken feet pales into insignificance however in the light of a whole afternoon spent sitting at the feet of the television, gazing adoringly at football stars as they kicked a ball from one end of the field to another. AFL grand final day and Frank and I were invited to my first ever grand final party, complete with a fancy schmancy home entertainment system big screen, beer, chips and saveloys (apparently the saveloys are an AFL final tradition... beats me why!).

To get into the spirit of things I cooked a cake and decorated it in the colours of the team I hoped (but doubted) would win, replete with yellow and brown icing and squares of yellow and brown cake inside. (In truth it looked a bit sad and saggy but hey, I tried to get into the spirit of things)

And it must have worked because the team won! And I survived. I even had fun.

Hmmm, what other boundaries can I push?

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farm fantastic

This city-farm-in-the-backyard thing is getting a little out of hand.

Today I planted seeds for fourteen different vegetables while four chickens, one rooster and three sheep looked on. By the swelling of the stomachs it appears two sheep might be pregnant.

It's out of control. Please. Take them all back. I can't cope any longer! (I'll keep the seeds though thanks)

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Friday, September 19, 2008

ah... huh?

I have been away and I feel a little disorientated now that I am home again.

In view of my week of being super cook (OK, OK I wasn't really super cook - do you know how hard it is to estimate quantities correctly? But the food tasted OK and the kids were kind so it all worked out OK. Sigh), Frank wants to take me out for dinner tonight. Whoopee! The one proviso is that I not book at the most expensive restaurant in town. That place is too pretentious for me anyway, so I am not bothered by his caveat. Instead I phoned this restaurant to make a booking.

As far as I can tell from their ad, they are open Friday evenings and they do do dinner. But at my request to make a booking I was incredulously told 'we're not open this evening!' as if I was stupid to even consider asking.

It is Friday isn't it? And 7:30pm counts as dinner time doesn't it? What is going on?

Now I am back to scouring the phone book for inspiration on another restaurant serving the particular food I feel like eating tonight. Even better, I might check out this website!


And we're done... Cataract Bistro it is!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

i am not disorganised

I was just describing my crazy weekend to a friend. The weekend is a follow on to the crazy week which is a follow on to the crazy month.

She thought I sounded disorganised because I was crazily trying to catch up on several loads of washing after a week with no (environmentally friendly, privately bought) washing powder.

I would like to suggest I am not disorganised, rather oversubscribed. Too much to do in too few hours. This actually requires me to be super organised just to fit everything in, but sometimes little (or big) jobs fall through the cracks, giving a semblance of mayhem.

Anyway, I had better stop wasting time blogging and rather get back to packing and organising myself to be cook at a camp for 20 primary school children this week. Oh yay.

Now where did I pack my menu planner again?

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Friday, September 12, 2008

voices in my head

I have a very sweet husband, and I should just sit back and be thankful for how kind and nice and thoughtful and patient he is. Because he really is all that and more.

But sometimes I get irritated when I am around him. Mostly it's me. I know that and I need to deal with it... sometimes it's just hard living with a saint.

Take the other day. There was a big pile of receipts on top of the printer. I put them there a few weeks ago. This is because I am a chronic receipt keeper who always plans to check them against the bank statements... I must have four years worth of checking to do, and the pile on the printer was my first foray into the task.

So every time I sat at the computer the receipts looked balefully from their sorted pile, waiting to be checked and turfed or saved. Worse, they were obstructing the printer completely until the other day Frank needed to refill the printer with paper. The only way to reach the paper cassette was through the pile of receipts. Now you don't know Frank unless you know that he likes things to look tidy, so after clearing a path to the printer he found himself compelled to clean out a couple of drawers filled with (his) junk in order to hide my junk away. The desk and printer and whole work space were soon looking spotless.

What a nice husband hey?!

And how do I feel about this? Thankful? Grateful? Appreciative? Besotted? Endeared?

No. Just cranky and guilty.

All I could think was what a dud I am at cleaning up our workspace, so much so that Frank had to end up doing it. Forget that it is our workspace in our home where we mutually support one another because we both lead busy lives. Nope, instead I take on the responsibility for keeping everything ship shape and clean and tidy... and then I feel guilty because I 'failed'. So I was cross with Frank, because I felt like his efforts in cleaning up were little more than a finger pointing accusingly at me and my laziness, busyness, and tardiness.

Maybe he was pointing the finger, maybe he wasn't (a couple has to have some secrets)... the point is, I could have just sat back and basked in Frank's kindness because it was his choice to help. Instead I frothed and fumed and tormented myself, heaping blame upon my head, berating myself for my failure. What a waste of emotion!

I tell you, there are voices in my head I need to kill off. Fast. The voices of the past, unrealistic expectations, delusions of grandeur, protestant work ethics... I'm beating them back every day. One day... one day I will be free of them. For now, I am going to practice silencing the guilt and blame for a moment and appreciate Frank's handiwork.

Oh bother... I've already put some other paper on the printer. Sigh.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

sight seein'

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Friday, September 05, 2008

how does it all fit together?

One area of recent meltdown relates to my faith in God. I am not despairing or losing my faith, but everything I have previously understood about God is coming in for some close examination and review. Mostly I consider this to be good thing, (I am not one for believing for the sake of it) but at times I feel rattled, as if someone has picked me up, turned me upside down and shaken the bejeebers out of me. When they put me back on the ground I stagger around trying to find my bearings, but I can't even tell which way is up.

Take this for example: I find myself rejecting the notion of me playing a central role in God's thinking and plan.

A distant, Pentecostal past deposited within me the expectation that God should perfect my world at the click of my fingers:

Runny nose? Repent of your sin and ask for healing!
Need a car park? Plead quietly for one as you drive slowly along rows of full spaces!
Pain in the hip? Rebuke it!
Someone annoying you? Pray God will convict them of their need to change!
Can't decide what to do? Listen very carefully and God will tell you what path to take and everything will be OK!

OK, so I am hamming it up a little here, lacing my words with cynicism... but this form of (what I consider) extreme Pentecostalism is alive and well. However I cannot subscribe to it in any way, shape or form any more.

As far as I can tell, I am not the centre of the world and (all shloppy worship songs aside) I am certainly not the only one God is thinking about right this very moment. I don't deny God loves me and is interested in my goings on, but somehow I think God takes a far more global view of things. Six billion people out there in pain, entrenched evil and corruption, broadside destruction of God's beautiful creation, exploitation and greed - I cannot bring myself to pray for a parking space (or any other little thing) as if that matters greatly in the grand scale of things. Chances are, whether I pray for a space or not, someone will reverse out and head home just as I drive past and there is the space for me. And God might weep because the things that matter to him don't matter to me because I am too caught up in my own little world.

This is a deep shift going on inside me. Ever so slowly I am dethroning myself from the centre of my life, moving to the side, giving God's heart more credence in what I value, viewing the world through his eyes. (Don't worry, I ain't no angel yet! It's a work in slow motion!)

The trouble is that I am not sure where God's love and concern for me dovetails with his concern for all of creation. Does God's big-picture view mean that my personal pain and distress are insignificant and unimportant in his eyes? Are my present dilemmas a necessary result of a world in upheaval? Should I stand here and accept my own pain and heartache as an unavoidable side issue while God works globally to reverse evil?

I am not demanding God touch me with spine tingling warm fuzzies, blessing me and transforming my life into a garden of roses and lavendar and dahlias. I've already said I can't do that anymore. But does that mean I don't matter?

I have been puzzling over this for some time. Today God answered.

My brother and sister-in-law are visiting from Newcastle. Ever the hospitable tour guide (I missed my calling there!) I took them around my favourite local haunts - the restaurants, parks, shops and galleries. We ended up at the art museum, at which there happened to be an exhibition on fungi, moss and lichen. It was a fascinating blend of art, history and information and I found myself drawn into the displays, trying to absorb as much as I could.

I stopped before an old collection of Australasian Mosses, gathered before 1898 by a botanist called Bastow. At this point I was still enduring the exhibition while Luke and Michelle explored permanent exhibitions I have already seen several times. I noticed a magnifying glass hanging below the cabinet of crusty, dry moss and lichen and thought I might as well take a closer look to pass the time. I was amazed by the detail in each tiny specimen, leaf, flower, stem and spore. They were unique and intricate and altogether incredible.

Enter God. It was as if he was behind me, peering over my shoulder through the magnifying glass too, admiring the beauty with me. Then he said, quite matter-of-fact, 'Cecily, don't think I don't care about the detail'. Just like that, speaking into my ear before he was gone.

I am not really any clearer on how it all fits together, the big picture and little Cecily, the grand scheme and one lone individual. But somehow it does. And if I can be concerned for the things God is concerned for, I think he might be concerned for me and the things I am concerned for. And maybe it is all one and the same. Because isn't God in all and through all anyway?

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ugly meltdown

Quite possibly I have had an ugly meltdown in a few areas of my life recently, and I might write about them later if I can figure out what on earth is going on. For now let's just focus on some trite silliness that provides a little light relief from the real, serious ugly mess: Ugly Betty.

Yes, I still like Ugly Betty, but the local television station has been mucking me around. First they waited until almost half way through the year to start showing it, then they halted transmission for the all important Olympic games (I mean... priorities?!) before screening it at the ridiculously late hour of 9:30pm. And now???? They failed to show it at all at the advertised time last night?!

I still find Ugly Betty absolutely hilarious with an almost convincing touch of pathos. It is my weekly TV viewing highlight. (One hopes I don't watch much TV in that case!) I do not like it when my anticipated pleasure is foiled, so I phoned the television station and left a message of complaint... and I hadn't even drunk any wine.

When my phone rang at 8am I wondered who it might be?
The trusty television station cheerfully returning my call!

It seems only teenagers want to watch Ugly Betty, as it was rating very poorly in the later time slot. So the station pulled it nationally in order to ensure it did not waste any precious episodes and it will be rescheduled at an earlier time when it is more likely to pull the tweeny crowds.

And myself.


The girl from the TV station laughed with me when I couldn't contain a chuckle at my own ridiculous concern.

Remember, light relief in the midst of some difficult situations? Losing touch with reality and what really matters because things are not easy?! I had better process this other stuff quickly or I am going to make a fool of myself again and again.

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