Monday, December 31, 2007
Some time last year Melissa (eldest) spotted two big pink flamingos when we drove past a garden statue place. She nearly fell out of the car window looking at them and talked about them for ages. "Ahhh ... something pink and large... I need that pink thing." From the distance they looked as if they may have been made of metal and painted pink.... and therefore reasonably light.
They are made of very solid concrete. Very solid concrete.
You have got to understand Melissa. This kid was born in 1974 but should have been born in the 1930's...( glad she wasn't or she might have been my mother instead) she has always loved the old black and white film stars and the clothes and music...have no idea where she came from but at age two and three the 'drama' was in her...so what more natural for such as she to want two large pink flamingos outside her front door. So often its the other way about... but she loves all the old glamorous stuff...and although I can see what it is she likes about it, I grew up in different times and found nothing more dreary than on Saturday afternoons to hear that sort of music on the radio... so dreary I remember feeling despair... and then along she comes like a bright Christmas globe of light and sparkle... straight out of the 1930's... and even with that , she isn't a prima donna...she's really nice and commonsensical as a contrast...
So I got them for her. They were way, way too heavy to get home by myself although they came in a couple of bits...delivery costs were pretty steep, but this Christmas I wanted it to be a silly Christmas and did my best to get things I thought would be liked and make the girls smile.
Once the delivery guys (two big men) dumped them unceremoniously on the floor on their sides and left before I realised what they'd done - I had trouble shifting even one bit by itself...they really are solid cement. (Thanks Melissa...hope she wants something a bit more delicate next time...maybe a stack of nappies might be in order if we are lucky)
So we wrapped them up for her, Ali and I....
And she unwrapped them.... happily and with big smiles...
then on Thursday she blithely flew back to Sydney leaving her two pink flamingos smack bang in the middle of the lounge room floor...
I've got them on a towel but still can't manage to move them... I tried many different pushing and pulling positions. Their beady little eyes challenged me to move them, and I lost of course as they knew darn well I would ...
she'll be back in early February with her car...but...
I am growing rather used to having them there right where I continually run into them as I am going out the door...
One day she'll come for her pressie... with her husband and an electronic hoist and they'll be in their rightful place... mmm one day...
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I was looking through old family photos and came across these two.
Unsure if I have posted these some long while back but as its almost Christmas they are getting an airing.
Here we all are Mum (in the first one) and Dad (in the second) with the little tree behind us and our
water tank next to that. Hard by, but out of sight is the outdoors toilet which always seem to have a crazy lean. Dad was a weekend house painter (an extra job) and he would paint the house and toilet with all the left over paint. One year the house and toilet were green, later on
pink and other colours...
My sister Veronica is the tallest and she was only14... she never grew an inch after this and now at 57 she is a tiny person these days (she shrunk a lot), then there was June...the delicate femme one... who no longer desires contact (sad really) she of the Social Worker mindset and the baby is Joanie...she is 47 now. Veronica, June and I were only 18 months apart respectively... They had another one in 1964 and she lives in New Zealand at Dunedin.
I am the one who always had a bad haircut...and no I did not do it myself.
Dad and Mum were a dream... they mucked in as many parents did not do in those days, but there were rules and manners and the odd smack.
I am so lucky. I had a wonderful childhood...free able to become whoever or whatever I wanted. Sadly Dad was killed in the late 60's by a drunk driver...but Mum still held it together...and laughed and smiled again, but she was never quite the same person after...thats understandable.
Charlie says "they are us, we are them" thanks Charlie...and this is truth. In my case what they gave to me grew because I was able to be myself all my life, living in the present, enjoying the kids when they were kids, not bemoaning not being able to travel or whatever...and yes...for me its true...I did marry a man just like my dad...
sometimes if your dad is a good bloke that can work... it was really hard work in the early days... rough diamonds are the best ones...as no doubt it was for mum, but I have a lot of pleasure in considering the love my parents had was equal to my own...we are the lucky ones.
These photos from so long ago in my life... well over a generation age. I am lucky to have them because without them so much gets forgotten. Looking at these photos I can remember the day as if it was yesterday and even the feeling of the sun behind the clouds...
We Australians would never have a tree in the yard if the sun was out in December... in all my childhood we only ever had two Christmases using outside trees...
Friday, December 14, 2007
My niece Alanah just sent me through some photos she took at the wedding. We don't have the photographer's ones yet... bear with me ... our family is a bit short on weddings so this was, apart from my own backyard wedding only the fourth wedding I have been to in my whole 53 years...
The first photo was taken as everyone in the church went past the couple and gave them hugs, handshakes or in some cases (gasp) kisses - usually really old men like to do that most... This was taken when Melissa realised that the next one she had to greet was her sister Alison. She went from being a sophisticated 30yr old to looking just like that 4 year old kid I remember did when she was really happy... just check out the looks on both their faces. I don't need to see Ali's to know what she looks like ... just seeing the way she is standing tells me all. Its a beautiful photo for a mum to have.
(Click to enlarge )
The next one was taken while Ali was unaware and she just looks so lovely. She is as lovely as she looks also, but very grounded. I always told the girls to have your head in the clouds but your feet in the dirt...sort of like Oscar Wilde's "All of us are in the gutter ,but some of us are looking up at the stars"
So there are no bloody princesses in our lot.... they'd get "laughed at, chaffed at and flung shit at" to coin one of Don's more sensitive sayings.
And this one...
I am definitely going to do my best to be around for these two... I have pulled myself together again, since last post and I appreciate all the comments. I think I was about the lowest I have ever been round that time, but strangely thats as bad as it got and then the next day was okay... I signed myself up at a fitness centre which caters for old knees and sore backs but works on Cardiovascular system....so have started and was surprised...they all looked like me but with different heads...bizarre... could be pod people from you know where... but just deciding to do this and beginning has helped a lot. We are on 4 acres here and the way things grow right now its not as if I was sitting about moping... there are always lots of things to do so that the bush doesn't take over the house... but till I work out what to do with myself... I needed to do more physically and seemed to lack motivation.
We had been in a Carer/ Cared for situation for 25 years and much of the time I needed to be responsible all the time just in case. I have always hated the term "Carer" because so many paid ones are bastards...we were wife and husband...but just to explain, when the person you care for and love in the way we did is gone, it is worse than getting the sack or retiring because it was not just your Monday to Friday 9 to 5... it was your life so along with the loss there is a different loss. We really enjoyed our time together and too many people assume too easily that they know what it is like to be in our situation. I have been told "Oh! You must be relieved." Too stunned to react...we always think about what we'd say if we were quick enough. A bloody good smack in the mouth might suffice forthat person who was looking at me myopically just like social workers do...they all seem to be short sghted also. They look at you right in the face and stand too close as if that means they care... One eejit down in Sydney Hospital did that but she had a lazy eye and I am sure no one ever told her that the closer she got the more that other eye danced around inside its socket while the other one looked straight at you. Still makes me laugh.
All our kids are special but these two are extra. Aged four Alison the size of a peanut stood in front of her dad's manual (then) wheelchair after it got away from me on a slope and she stopped it with her own little body (unhurt both of them) ...Melissa still a child had to push him and his elextric chair (they had 2 car batteries underneath in those days and very heavy) up a long incline after he got the control box wet right down the back of the yard. My mum was there but she was too frail at that time...His chair had started to short out and went round and round till he lodged up against a barbed wire fence and the wheels still spinning. She sorted out all of that ( no mean feat) got it into manual which meant you push it...and got him safely in the house.
I am amused when people treat their children as babies at 7 and 6 and all of that. We hugged ours a lot and had a lot of fun, and we spoilt them occasionally but there was no choice sometimes but for them to be brave or inventive or whatever. They are better people for this, not that this was necessary...
Don and I managed to survive their teenage years when they both had sparks in their eyes and sparks in their hearts (and thats a dangerous mix) ... and now its just beautiful with them and has been for some years now... I am actually a very lucky person...we were very lucky people and we felt this at the time which is more important.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
So I have got to ease back and not let everything mainly other's problems, worry me so much and realise I am not responsible for the world and how it is. I had been crying a lot of late, seem to be more and more and have to wake up to the fact that Don wouldn't want me to bugger up my health this way... would be nice for the girls to have at least one parent around when they have kids... I had been feeling really unwell and spacey and no energy... all of which the grief counsellor (yes I actually went to one... totally unlike what I thought I would ever do) told me was to be expected because of the nature of Don's death...but I think that the grief masked what was happening physically also...
Saturday, December 08, 2007
"Jack rabbit" and "Jackrabbit" redirect here. For other uses, see Jack rabbit (disambiguation).
"Lepus" redirects here. For other uses, see Lepus (disambiguation).
European Hare (Lepus europaeus)
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. (Four other species of leporid in the genera Caprolagus and Pronolagus are also called "hares".) Very young hares are called leverets.
They are very fast moving. The European Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus) can run at speeds of up to 70 km/h (45 mph). Hares live solitarily or in pairs, whilst "a drove of hares" is the collective noun for a group of hares.
A common type of hare in arctic North America is the Snowshoe Hare, replaced further south by the Black-tailed Jackrabbit, White-tailed Jackrabbit and other species.
Normally a shy animal, the European Brown Hare changes its behaviour in spring, when hares can be seen in broad daylight chasing one another around meadows; this appears to be competition between males to attain dominance (and hence more access to breeding females). During this spring frenzy, hares can be seen "boxing"; one hare striking another with its paws (This is probably the origin of the term "mad as a March hare"). For a long time it had been thought that this was more inter-male competition, but closer observation has revealed that it is usually a female hitting a male; either to show that she is not yet quite ready to mate, or as a test of his determination. - (makes sense to me)
"How to allure the Hare". Facsimile of a Miniature in the Manuscript of Phoebus (Fifteenth Century).
The hare in African folk tales is a trickster: some of the stories about the hare were retold among African slaves in America, and are the basis of the Brer Rabbit stories. The hare appears in English folklore in the saying "as mad as a March hare".
Many cultures, including the Indian and Japanese, see a hare in the pattern of dark patches in the moon (see Man in the Moon). The constellation Lepus represents a hare. There is evidence to suggest that there was some sort of taboo regarding hares in the Proto-Indo-European culture; this is especially notable due to the likelihood that the common word for hare, *kasos, which literally means "the grey one", was a euphemism for a previous and now lost word for hare.
According to Jewish tradition, hares are among four mammals deemed not Kosher.
The Project has revealed the motif to be an extraordinary and ancient archetype, stretching across diverse religions and cultures, many centuries and many thousands of miles. It is part of the shared medieval heritage of Europe and Asia (Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism) yet still inspires creative work among contemporary artists.
The images shown here reveal the beauty of the design in varied contexts. The accompanying text highlights the remarkable story of the three hares.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Some time back Sling ( http://sling-sling.blogspot.com/ )I think it was posted about going through old cemeteries... and reading headstones. While our cemeteries are not all that old here in Australia, they can be really worth a look. I have done this on occasion and usually come away with mixed feelings...but somehow good mixed feelings.
I've been driving out to Wauchope Cemetery on Sundays, because I like to do this - its part of my make up to feel the need to replace the fresh flowers on Don's grave regularly and while I am not silly enough to imagine for one moment he is there, in a way its my way of marking the time. One day I will come to the realisation that maybe a week will pass and I won't need to visit, but for now, for me it helps. Have no idea why I am explaining this...its a need and ritual as old as humanity... the placing of real flowers... I think they are the oldest gift mankind could offer... for weddings, for special occasions... before gold and other precious things were mined... it was flowers...
I may have made that up... they may have given each other coloured stones, or stink weed...depending on the occasion.
Today I was pleased to be able to photograph Don's headstone to send to the girls who haven't been home since the funeral - (the distances are the issue in Australia) and as I left the wording up to them I wanted them to see how it looked. (click on the photo for the words)
They had originally sent me reams of writing which after reminding ourselves it was a headstone and not a book was whittled down a bit... still impressive. I was really touched by what they wrote. Australian who watched "The Aunty Jack Show" will realise the bottom bit "Three little lovelies" comes out of that... it was our favourite when we were young and silly...and remained a favourite.
I was highly amused by one headstone where a man buried next to his long suffering wife had a little terse verse written about him and his wife's influence for the better on him.
Then I went for a bit of a wander. It had been raining and the air was really sweet and cool after the days of heat and humidity. Its hard to explain just what effect cemeteries have on me but I'll try. Its like, here you are, an individual in the middle of your own grief and totally focused on that and it is awful absolutely. Then I find I am taken past my grief for the moment in contemplation of all the other headstones.
There is a feeling at once of both the importance of the individual and the commonality of mankind...both being as important as the other for humanity. Each headstone represents a life lived, hopefully with love, or some love. Christmases, births, marriages, anger, silliness, fun, all of that and every quality both good and bad that you can imagine...
and its not sad that all that seems to be left is a bit of stone on the ground. Its just how it is, thats all and when you walk amongst them and see the little gifts people tuck behind flower vases, and the older women who come weekly and clean headstones and replace flowers and then go on and do the ones on either side because they seem to have no body... it is sort of a bitter sweet thing to see, and although it can be very sad, it is also enlightening as well.
Its a great leveller this death thing. The richest bastards and most important on the planet, and the shortest and poorest life lived on this planet are both dead, and what they achieved or did not achieve matters not a jot. Its what we learn and take from what they achieved or did not achieve.
And just when I was feeling a bit miserable and sorry for myself I discovered on my walk these graves of two sixteen year olds - unrelated and in different spots.
The young girl often has people there putting things there for her...for them,
and it seems that it was the first anniversary of the young fellow...people have given him little gifts... A bottle of beer... no doubt someone will help themselves to that one day...although you'd need a strong stomach to do that I think... These were in the four rows I was looking in and this is just a little cemetery.
We're no different from the first human beings who walked the earth... dropping our flowers, giving little talismans, marking our spot... "They lived and because I am here to say they lived, their life somehow has more meaning."
And sometimes in this little country cemetery, surrounded by gum trees well not just sometimes, but I noticed it was that often times an elderly husband or wife would die within weeks or months of the other.
I came away, emotionally exhausted, but somehow feeling better... I think if we take the time and listen to our instinct, we, each of us find a way to deal with things like this. For me, I know life will never be the same, but I have always laughed easily, cried easily, been impulsive yet liking order... and what helps is that I am not on an island in this respect... and that visually was evident today.
The danger for people like me, a Celt...is to close off from instinct. Celts, and the cemetery was full of them are prone to extremes of emotion, temper, melancholia and great, great love of the natural world and beauty. But we too easily in our little urban worlds close ourselves off from all that... I think that the words of Baudelaire fit how I feel right now...
One should always be drunk. That's all that matters;
that's our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time's
horrible burden one which breaks your shoulders and bows
you down, you must get drunk without cease.
But with what?
With wine, poetry, or virtue
as you choose.
But get drunk.
And if, at some time, on steps of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the bleak solitude of your room,
you are waking and the drunkenness has already abated,
ask the wind, the wave, the stars, the clock,
all that which flees,
all that which groans,
all that which rolls,
all that which sings,
all that which speaks,
ask them, what time it is;
and the wind, the wave, the stars, the birds, and the clock,
they will all reply:
"It is time to get drunk!
So that you may not be the martyred slaves of Time,
get drunk, get drunk,
and never pause for rest!
With wine, poetry, or virtue,
as you choose!"-