Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thanks

For Family,
Fate,
Friends,
And Fortunes.

For all the love that I daily receive,
I am truly thankful.




Sunday, December 11, 2011

Present and Proud


Great things have happened over the last two weeks. We adventured to Killiecrankie Farm at Glengarry and selected a beautiful tree from the beautiful Lee. Christmas alternately shines and looms on the near horizon.

The luthier and his Camerata Obscura performed a breathtaking concert of Mendelssohn and Dvorak on Wednesday night. Piano and violin solos of the complex and ambitious Mendelssohn piece stole the show. The second concert of this sweet small orchestra was a smash. I think the luthier was a little chuffed, as well he should be. The giveaway was the next day he began referring to himself, in jest as an 'impresario'. I like it.

The luthier spent years watching his father play and teach violin and musical direct show after show, and a quartet in the kitchen was not a rare occurrence. Taken far too early by dreaded cancer, his father would be amazed at the luthier now. He didn't see his son become a man, a father, a luthier, a bow maker or an impresario. But at the concert on Wednesday night, I am certain he was present and proud.







Tuesday, November 22, 2011

J.O.B.

I got a job.
For all the right reasons.

I start Thursday.
35 hours a week. But most weeks of the school holidays off.

I am pleased and horrified together.
I have never been more grateful for the time I have had at home.
And I am tearfully heartbroken that it has come to an end.

I am focused.
And determined to make every cent earnt count.
The commitment is high. The return must be significant.

Here's to change. May it be fruitful for all of us.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Luthier's Cello No. 10





This is the luthier's 1oth cello being played so beautifully by a mystery cellist. This wee film shows just a little bit of the magic that the luthier creates with his own hands.

And he brought me breakfast in bed yesterday after I have spent the last few days being a surly cow. He is the best.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spring-y





















For winter's rains and ruins are over, 
And all the season of snows and sins; 
The days dividing lover and lover, 
The light that loses, the night that wins; 
And time remembered is grief forgotten, 
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten, 
And in green underwood and cover 
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

- Algernon Swinburne.



























Thursday, October 20, 2011

Les Contes des Fées


The smallest girl turned four and is not small anymore. She is rapidly shooting up and gaining on her brother and is also taking birthday princess-dom to new heights. Don't be fooled by the pink fairy gear, she is a ruthless dictator who bears no fools and leaves no room 
for the slightest interpretation of her will. 


 J and I were stupidly proud of ourselves for constructing the petit chateau pour la petite princess. Donna Hay might not think much of our rustic, slightly leaning manifestation of her design, but screw her and her insane obsession with pale blue and utter pristine-ness. We stuck sparklers in the top and were rapt with the effect on the little pink party-goers and that it didn't topple over. 


Meet Smiley, as she has been ironically named.  This beautiful Waldorf doll from Poppy Bean and Bloss, is the prized birthday gift. She fits into the family perfectly as she already has a dirty face and has become Sophie's constant companion. The theory for these Waldorf dolls, I think. is that they don't show emotion so that the child can project their own emotions on to it, or something like that?  Experts please correct me if I am wrong. Sophie did ask "Why isn't she smiling, Mum?"  and so to compensate for her lack of expression, first entitled her "Saddie", thought better of it and now she is 'Smiley'. 


As for me, I have again wandered away from my own space and spent some time dwelling in the world of what I wish I had rather than investing that energy in loving what I've got. It's cyclical, I guess. Happy to say that a conversation and coffee with the luthier has returned me to the planet and to the plan. Its so good to feel that, even though you occasionally become unearthed and carried away, the plan made ages ago is the one that you always come back to, and that progress has been made, even if sometimes it feels like the steps have been infinitesimal.


The sun is out on the island today. 
Temperatures are in the mid-20's! Holey moley, its a heatwave!


 Handsome children are bursting from the bushes.  



Pretty maids and bees are buzzing around the ruffled lavender.  

Pretty sweet this spring life, huh?




Thursday, October 13, 2011

Take My Breath Away




TAKE MY BREATH AWAY
(Lyrics by Claire Hamill)
Tuck & Patti


Sometimes it amazes me,
how strong the power of love can be,
and sometimes you just take my breath away.
You've watched my love grow like a child,
sometimes gentle and sometimes wild,
and sometimes you just take my breath away.

* It's too good to slip by,
it's too good to lose,
too good to be there just to use.
Gonna stand on a mountain top and tell the news,
that you take my breath away.

Your beauty is there in all I see,
and when I feel your eyes on me,
ooh don't you know you just take my breath away.
My life is yours,
my heart will be,
singing for you eternally,
oh don't you know you just take my breath away.

Sometimes it amazes me,
how strong the power of love can be,
and sometimes you just take my breath away.
My life is yours,
my heart will be,
singing for you eternally,
oh don't you know you just take my breath away.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oliver's Legacy or Why I Often Feel Like Fagin.



The Smith breakfast table.
The princess unstoppable chattering away.
The luthier politely, "Stop talking and eat your breakfast."
Sacha, looking up from his corn flakes, adds
"Yeah, shut up and drink your gin."


Monday, October 03, 2011

Sweetness






The sun is out on the island and days are officially longer.
Energy is higher and anticipation of sunny times abound.

Yoga in the mornings, salad on the menus.
Life after school.

Work in the garden.
Black-eyed Susans, lavender ruffles and fairy magnolias.

Clean sheets, bags to the Salvos.
Flowers in the vase.

Chaos under some control.

Totem tennis, footy at the park.
Picnics, and bike rides.

Garden parties. Pimms.
Dresses and laughs.





Difficult Dirt

Once there was a friendship.
Exotic and dark, it sprouted in difficult dirt. Tended with anticipation,
its potential was thrilling. It flourished, intertwining us two.

Ensnaring us in its tendrils, it encircled us through life and death,
the occasional blooms spectacular.

But time rot perished it,
Apathy pruned abusively and those rare blossoms failed.

Obligatory revivals were attempted, forced and bitter,
Like CPR on a dead man.
Leaving us at a distance to stare at its remains.

Left to a dusty corner pot it hangs, dry and brittle,
Like a macrame-clad maiden hair. Present, but a memory.

Once I had a friendship.
It sprouted in difficult dirt
But it flourished and intertwined us two.






Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My son was an orphan



Last week my eldest made his stage debut in the Launceston Musical Society production of "Oliver". It was an amazing show, with a huge cast, and over the last 3 months it has been rehearsed and organised with military like precision. The experience, for J and for all of us, has been inspirational.

It has been quite a journey. I booked J into the initial audition without asking him. Knowing the production was coming up, I made a mother-style executive decision. And I informed him that he was attending only 2 hours before the audition started. You might think this a little unfair but it was a precautionary measure, as I sensed that the anxiety of aniticipation might overwhelm him otherwise. Like many of us, young and old, he fears change. and the unkown. We arrived at the audition with me still telling him "Oh no its not an audition, its just a workshop. It'll be fun." He complained and protested,
"I don't wanna be in a show. I'm not getting up on stage. I don't want a special part, Muu-uu-um! I can't believe you are making me do this " et cetera et cetera. But, under protest, in he went, signed up and then disappeared into the audition room full of fear and excitement.

Three hours later, I returned to pick him up and I was a little bit nervous. I was having doubts that I had pushed it too far this time. "Maybe he does know his own mind best. Maybe I'm just living out my own missed opportunities" and so on my worries worried. However, I was confident that we had not plucked this idea out of thin air. The lad has been singing for as long as he could speak. His rendition of "Arabian Nights" from Aladdin when he was less than two was breathtaking. And when I hear him sing the Glee versions of 'One Love' or 'The Only Exception' in the car, I tear up, every time.

When he finally emerged from the fate that I had condemned him too, he was beaming.
"How was it J?" I tentatively ventured.
He looked into my eyes, I held my breath and he whispered, "Heaven!"
"Mum, I really hope I get a part."

The process, for him, has been like training for a 10 km run (I was going to say marathon, but I have no idea what that would be like). It has been three or more months of dedicated all day Sunday rehearsals and a few long evenings and for the last few weeks its been 7 hour days and late nights. Not to mention the repetition, the doubts, nerves, boredom, frustration and thrill. It's been quite a wild ride.

We had to workshop him through the bit in the middle, when he stared to protest and wanted to drop out. I again questioned my judgement at this point. Along the lines of "Is it too much for him? Is he too young? Are they not taking care of him? Has he not made any friends?" Against my desire to contain my helicopter mother tendencies, and in order to find out what the problem was, I asked the director if I could sit through a rehearsal with him. Parents were usually strictly forbidden. The Director was extremely supportive and so along I went. I am so glad I did. Happily, I discovered that he did not, in fact, hate every minute of it and was not dying of boredom. He was sitting with his eyes glued to the performance for hours and burning with frustration that he hadn't got the part of the Artful Dodger or one of his gang, as they had so much more time on stage. A true thespian. Appropriately, for 'Oliver' it was not less he wanted, but more.

Despite the ups and downs, protests and frustrations he did it. He committed to a long and challenging project. He performed as an orphan in an outstanding show and discovered the love, the applause, the camaraderie and adrenaline of the theatre.

Now, I would never say to him " I told you so."
And I am overflowing with pride.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happiness is a new zine





"Happiness. This is an uncomfortable word, too full of associations of cheerfulness and mindlessness. I prefer fulfilment. The goal is to have a fulfilled life, which means enduring periods of great difficulty, but in the name of something worthwhile. Also, it feels vital to conceive of happiness as something one might, at best sample in 10-minute bursts. To imagine a decade of happiness seems insane- happiness is a rich food that we can'[t stomach for very long. We're creatures built on anxiety and apprehension. That's how we survived." - Alain de Botton

I found this kernel of wisdom in a new mag I stumbled across. It's called "The Smith Journal" and markets itself as


With a name like that how could the luthier not love it?   He did like it, but  he is suspicious that it contains mostly writing by women about men rather than real men talking real men's business. However, it has great pictures of cars and shoes and sheds made from upturned boats. The photos are beautiful in that Frankie-style sepia way, and there are some great short stories. The piece by Monsieur de Botton, my favourite modern philosopher, is entitled "Ten things I Believe" and worth a read if your are feeling a little philosophical.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

High Tea


On my Saturday afternoon off last weekend, I was picked up by my buddy who appeared, looking hot, in couture of her own making. Speeding down the street in the Volvo, we flipped the luthier not only the single, but the double bird, as we bolted past him. He was wearing a surly look on his face or as my mother would have it "he was wearing a turd for a brooch"  as he loaded the kids into the family wagon. Giggles and swearing and chatter burst out of us escapees like the corks had popped on our bottles. We cruised off eagerly to our idea of a hot Saturday outing. - The Launceston Horticultural Society Flower Show.

I know, we are WILD!

The show was held in the same hall that hosted my Grade 12 ball. That night, 20 years ago, when I cut a fine figure in my black, raw silk strapless frock with electric blue tulle underneath and sporting a black velvet bolero jacket. My hair, thankfully, had calmed down from its unfeasible heights of the late 80's by then. The immense spiral perm had mostly dropped out. So that night I was crowned with  a shoulder length bob,  tame compared to previous hairdo eccentricities.  I was El Presidente of the Ball Committee that year (the only school office I ever held) and while the hall has changed it remains full of memories. I remember the preparations for that night of nights, including filling and tying ribbon on 100s of helium balloons in black, silver and grey, that floated across that ceiling then painted with stars. And I recall the shyness, the touch and the laughter that accompanied the  compulsory progressive ballroom dancing under those stars. I cringingly remember being pulled up on stage with the band to sing along tunelessly to one of the hot hits of the time - I don't recall the song now, it wasn't Black Velvet by Alannah Myles but that's the only song from that era I can remember.

On this Saturday, the hall was in bloom, hosting a Nanna event extraordinaire, Full of the fresh, oxygen-sweet air of a room bursting with flowers and plants. The atmosphere was sublime. All around blossomed varieties and blooms I had never seen before with exotic Latin names that I will never remember. We wandered around and chatted to bloggy friends, garnering knowledge and advice from our friend from Killiecrankie and imagining midnight guerilla gardening escapades with Suburban Jubilee.  We cruised the blooms and chatted to the sweet aged people around us. We took high tea which was quite a spread for the princely sum of $4 - tea and a plate.  Over tea were shared stories of misspent youth. Hugging ours sides, we laughed uproariously over the distasteful escapades of university days and share house shenanigans. (I hope no offence was caused to the dear Nanna's around us, that they did not catch foul snippets with their tea and biscuits. Although I am sure they would all have tales of their own.)

Times have changed considerably. The wine carrier is now recyclable and full of seedlings. The cup is full of tea. Not a dirty dart or a Zippo in sight. The plants we purchased were to be planted freely in our gardens not surreptitiously in our cupboards under foil and harsh lights. This picture would have horrified 18 year old me.  It was all booze and fags and bands and the boys in the bands and dreaming of life's potential, back in those days of my youth. Those days now glow golden with hindsight but I paid little mind to their glory then.

These new, slow days have simplicity and its greatness in them. I love that they are here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Art







I love painting and drawing with the kids. Even though sometimes the effort and mess daunts me a little. Once we get cracking its such good fun.  (Its annoying the number of times I have let that inertia stop me from doing things that I know, once I start I will love. Here's to efforts to get over that ol' chestnut.)

So this morning, while the luthier took his wise ass off to Symmons Plains to ride his saucy Italian mistress around the track, me and the kids manifested our inner artiste, and here is our exhibition or  exervishun (as Sophie calls it).




Below is my study of a thick-lashed plonker and the subject.





And now, like Mary Poppins, I get Saturday afternoons off, so I am heading out the door, yes out the door sans enfants, off like Mum's undies on Father's Day, to seek out adult company and look at plants and probably eat cake.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Wisdom of The Luthier

Last night the luthier reminded me that sometimes I don't have to search very far to tap into the wisdom of the ages. He asked me about the book I was reading - "The Happiness Project" and I explained it was a a book describing a woman's research and actions undertaken over a year to change her behaviour in small ways in order to become more happy and generate more happiness in those around her.
"It's a self-help book, isn't it?" was the reply.
" Well, yes and no, ... well yes, I guess it is."
" It's easy to be happy" he went on in his matter-of-fact way
"Really? How's that?" I said intrigued.

He replied "Just pull your head out of your arse."

I think he might be onto something.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sure Enough




As expected, the smalls hit the town in entirely inappropriate garb yesterday.


Today the largest was inexplicably unwell, had a sleep and recovered.
I spent 2 hours cleaning up my bedroom. Then made my bed with my favourite linen sheet bought en France and got into it and read 'The Happiness Project' by Gretchen Rubin. I am really digging it. What makes her happy is not what makes me happy but I really agree that happiness is heightened when a little effort is made towards it. I like her ideas and the quotes and research she is basing her ideas upon.

“We must, therefore, pursue the things that make for happiness, seeing that when happiness is present, we have everything; but when it is absent, we do everything to possess it.” -- Epicurus

This idea of investing in happiness when things are going well in order to make you more robust when times are tough really interests me. I wonder if it works?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Colour and Happiness







I had a black and brightly coloured crocheted 'ruggy' when I was a small. It was my security blanket and I loved it. It inspired the colour scheme for this craft project and I am truly loving it. Completing one of the three-coloured circles in red, orange and yellow, or purple, red and pink. It makes me very happy. The pattern is great because you weave in the ends and attach the hexagons as you go. None of that awful sewing in of the ends which can sometimes be a job too big and too tedious to tackle.

The intention is for this hexagonal patchwork bliss to grow to single bed size when it can become a throw for the bed of my number one son. He is an amazing kid but plagued by anxiety (I have no idea where he might get that from, ahem...). I hope it works for him as a security blanket. A confidence blanket. He just scooted off to town on his own for the first time - to visit the luthier's shop. Maybe it is working already?


Number two son has declared it a pyjama day and was last seen eating Nutri-Grain out of the box. He turned 6 last week and celebrated with a lego party. He had fun AND he even invited girls! We made a Lego cake ( inspired by the Donna Hay version without any of her stylist, perfectionist finesse) and he received so many of the precious little blocks on the day, we thought he might like to build an extension to the back of our house with it. If James May can do it, I am sure Sacha could give it a crack.



Speaking of crack, turning 6 was a big day in the Smith household for Number two son as he has been promising for a long time that on the day he turned six he would take over the enviable job of wiping his own ass. I know, you can imagine how sorry I was to see that job deleted from my task list. How I loved to hear the inevitable call each day "Muuuuu-uuum, its Bum Wiping time!" Everyone's favourite time of the day! The lad has been true to his word and so far, so good on the solo bum-wiping performance.

How my boys are growing up!

Child number 3 is taking the art of arguing and negotiation to new heights. Bleurgh! She is too young for the Argument sketch, but she never wants the 5 minute argument, its always definitely the 10 minute argument for her. Important subjects to debate include, putting your jacket on, shutting the car door, eating your dinner, and of course, everybody's favourite, getting into bed. Granny kindly took her out and bought a delightful pair of pink, plastic high heels with matching accessories at the two dollar shop. I am guessing that the next topic for argument will be "Why you can't wear tractionless plastic high heels (and no cardigan)into town" and will end with me irrationally yelling, "Alright well, break your bloody neck then!" or similar effective parenting statements.

A few more days left of the holidays and then a whole new world opens up before me. Next week is my first official week as a stage mother! J makes his debut as ' an orphan' in the Launceston Musical Society production of 'Oliver'! " Teeth and eyes, kid, teeth and eyes!"

Chookas!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hols

Gardening and bubbling with garden dreams.
A few games of cards.
Visiting friends, a market, two new skirts.
Hexagonal crochet.
A tantrum that lasted three city blocks and the whole drive home.
Oliver rehearsals for J.
The smalls playing kings and queens going to France.
The luthier carving up a cello back.

And the ever-present question - what's for dinner?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Le petit orchestre




On Wednesdays, a little orchestra comes to our house to rehearse in our living room. This is one of the many benefits of being married to the luthier. It is a chamber group formed by the luthier, from a group of the finest strings players in our town who also happen to be the most charming people. They call themselves ' Camerata Obscura".


Last week, they gave two serenades to me and the children and we happily drifted off to sleep all cosied up together.

It is a luxury and privilege to have our own private orchestra each Wednesday but this week the children and I have been generous enough to share. The Camerata will be playing their first gig at Fresh on Charles at 7pm this evening. The program of music is dreamy and superb. They will play Tchaikovsky's Serenade Opus 48 and Elgar's Serenade in E minor. it would be lovely to see you there.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Getting on

I am getting on.
There are signs.

Wrinkles. That errant and recurring single black hair on my chin which can reach surprising lengths before being discovered. Singing incorrect lyrics to young people's popular tunes. Becoming less self-conscious about dancing in supermarkets or sitting in the front row. Inappropriately dressing for comfort over style. Calling people 'darls' as I have potentially forgotten their actual name.

But I suspect that one of the best things happening to me as I get older is that I am just beginning to get the teeniest hint of insight into the difference between giving up and letting go.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Still here

So, we made it to the princess party. It had a jumping castle and was extremely excellent.

As for every single other item on my simple weekend plan, well I'd rather not talk about it. Let's just say we are still here and its raining.

Hope your weekend has been as excellent as a dress-up party with a jumping castle.



Saturday, August 27, 2011

Simple Weekend Plan


Right, then. So, I've made a plan.

What I am going to do today is get up, go out, attend compulsory Disney princess-themed kid's party (shudder), buy lotto ticket, come home, clean up while kids wallow in screen world for far longer than is good for them. This evening we will head to the Junc room to listen to 'da hip hop' and shake our communal Smith groove thang and after that I will return chez nous to discover we have indeed won an obnoxious amount of filthy lucre in the lotto.

Tomorrow we will pack up and by the afternoon we will be in a warm tropical place, in a resort replete with kid's club, morning yoga and every nutritious and delicious meal and whim catered for, planning our move to France.

Ok? Great.

P.S I told you I wasn't very good at this contentment business.


Brace

This week I entered into a Sanctum. Annie offers pampering and relaxation, but I received from her something altogether more significant. ( No happy endings jokes thanks, cheeky rascals!)

As I lay in that peace-filled room, prone, vulnerable and exposed, Annie massaged away my knots and troubles while I closed my eyes and soaked up the oils, the attention and that sweet, soothing music. As she moved around that room, changed from side to side, reached for more oil or a warm towel, Annie always maintained connection with a lightly resting hand. This slight, sure touch braced me against sudden moves, I knew exactly where she was and this touch gave me certainty. In that room I lay pummelled and exposed but so sure, so certain. Those deft hands intuited my strengths and sensitivities and yet instilled me with confidence. Those hands knew when to go softly, softly or just how much pressure I could take. And so I was massaged, worked, coaxed and relaxed into body and being, always certain of the hands.

Annie gave me a massage but more than that she illustrated a way of being and gave me insight into a way of parenting I aspire to and which I rarely achieve.

Thank you Annie. For the massage and for the model for my aspiration - to massage and brace three children into adulthood, giving them the gift of surety, of certainty, of their mother's presence.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Yes


I saw a preview for a movie with a radical plot last week. It was a fictional movie, about a Dad who says' Yes' to his children and the movie demonstrates all the joys and adventures that saying 'yes 'to kiddies and their whims and fancies can bring. So, even though this idea goes against every fibre of being that is my parenting instinct, I was inspired. I thought, "Hey, I'll give it a go".

So I said 'yes' to another biscuit, 'yes' to climbing into the car through the boot, 'yes' to everyone's song selections in the car and so on. The result was, for a little while everyone felt like they were getting what they wanted. It was a good idea, right up until the questions got to 'Can I stay home from school?' and 'Can we buy a guinea pig?".

On Mondays, I take Sophie to her ballet class. It would be better described as her bliss class. The little princess get's herself ' all pinked' and frocked and skips happily with pig tails flying into the hall to adore her ballet teacher and frolic in her bliss. This Monday, Sophie asked a very simple question, "Mummy, I want you to watch me. For the WHOLE class." So I said "Yes". And for one whole half hour I gave my daughter my full attention through a little window into the ballet hall. I didn't play Words with Friends, or check the nothing that people have to say on Facebook, or text the luthier or anything. One whole half hour of undivided watching.

About 5 minutes into the class I caught myself with the widest, most unselfconscious grin I have had in years. There they were, a group of little girls all dressed up in tutus and fairy costumes, and full ballet rig (though they are only three) soaking up the presence of their teacher, the dream ballerina, chins held aloft skipping, pointing and flexing and being a mermaid. The happiness and spirit was palpable and it had infected my face. I couldn't stop smiling.

After about 10 minutes I became aware of 3 mothers behind me. They were watching too, as their daughters took their turns at sideways skipping with scarves held before them in front of a mirror. And their commentary began,
' Oh, look at Lila, she doesn't concentrate.'
'Well look at Ruby, she is totally uncoordinated."
'What about Lucy, she isn't even going in the right direction."

The criticism was delivered with giggles and in the spirit of humurous self- deprecation, I guess.

And then they moved on to a systematic dissection of themselves. In the few minutes they stood there, while there daughters danced joyfully, they compared each other's faults. They weren't losing weight fast enough, they drank too much, they were overwhelmed with busy-ness and, of course, they were shit parents. All in a casual, couple-of-minute conversation.

And before us, in that room through the window frolicked the girls, blissfully dancing, blissfully in love, blissfully unaware of the social conventions ahead of them.

I turned the grown up voices off after that, tuned into the girls and said "Yes".
The grin returned in an instant.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Sitting Still, where you are


Man! I struggle with this. The sitting still, just where I am.

I just filled out the census and realised we have 'usually lived' at the same address for well over five years, almost 9 years, in fact. And almost every Thursday, for at least the last five or six years, I have scoured the real estate guide for a bigger and better option.

Before family life and home mortgage ownership I had moved every 12 months, at least, since I was 18. When I was a kid my mum liked to change houses about every 5 years - a new interior design project, or drops in the numbers of children living at home from 7 to 3 to 1, etc.

The luthier and me, we watch 'Escape to the Country' and 'Grand Designs' religiously. We even go to open houses and view properties in town and in the country regularly.

Something in me craves change constantly. It manifests itself in craving change in real estate. And also in the endless cycling through the questions " Should I get a job?", "Should I go back to uni?", " Volunteer?", " Take more on?" and on and on it goes.

Now, there are two things I suspect about this restlessness:
1. The longer I sit in this house, life and mother/wife space that I have and concentrate on it and on the people inside it, the better off we all are. And so the less energy I focus on this elusive, fantastical and probably non-existent 'better offer' of a life, house, job, plan the better our real lives get.

2. This craving of change is just a manifestation of my own sense of inadequacy. The niggling background noise of 'I am not enough'. My life is not enough. Or in the words that the luthier and I often (probably) misquote, as said via the magic that is beat poetry in Dead Poets Society "you gotta do more, you gotta be more!"

The truth is that I am now old and ugly enough to consider that number two is a lie. Me and my life could be enough. I am a mother and wife. It is my passion.

The truth is that I know what I want. I basically want what I have. To allow a sense of inadequacy to undermine my appreciation of it, is to degrade all of us connected with it. Why do I criticise it and so sell short myself and my family? I should be boasting about how bloody great it is and how great they are. I fear I have succumbed to the fashion for self-deprecation, for "I am not good enough", which seems quite the mode de jour for mothers this season.

So perhaps I could aspire to relinquish the restlessness.

To aspire to control my distractable nature and direct my attention to the mostly smiling and sometimes whining faces and hearts of the loves of my life, unmarred by the discomfort of feeling inadequate.

To aspire to sing out loud the love for the life that I have right now.
To sit still in it. Where I am.
It is enough.
In fact, its a beauty.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Husband



My husband made this bow
I am very proud of him and I love him more than pie.

That is all.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chasing Dragons


Just when you think your life is a bit out of control, things are a bit messy or unsatisfactory, not quite how you would like them to be, then read this blog post.


Holy Shit! This blows me away.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fuffenscheit


At Brown Owls last night, someone asked me what my blog name was and I felt that I should explain to them why I call it fuffenscheit. Then I realised I don't think I have ever explained on the blog what the fuffenscheit is all about. So what the hell:

When my J was about one and a half, he was an avid ABC Kids watcher. One day he started asking over and over again for a particular show, saying "Wanna watch fuffenscheit, wanna watch fuffenscheit" Except he pronounced it fuffen- shoyt with a strong Aussie drawl. Me and the luthier could not figure it out, what was this show he was so damn keen on?

This went on for some weeks before it all became clear. One Sunday arvo, the Luthier sat on the couch, frustratedly flicking through the channels, muttering "I'm not watching this, what is this fuckin' shite..."

Dunno what it was but it obviously sounded pretty good to J.

So fuffenscheit went into common Smith household usage and came to mean just 'stuff and whatever". That's my blog, just Smith stuff and whatever.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Grace and Me

Grace and Me

We head out into the world, Grace and me.
Treading surely on the Earth, our fingers tightly entwined,
we hit the road together.

We tear down the path,
shedding our layers as we run sunward,
beaming and grinning, light and free.

Raucous cubs, we race through fields,
wrestling and roaring, in the grasses
till our innards ache and that rascal laughter thieves our breath.

Wandering in our forest hides, we share our secrets, Grace and me.
With O’s for eyes, we cautiously unwrap and reveal our dreams.
Eye-to-eye the solemn oath is made to cherish and keep them always.

We tackle the rocks and toil the hard roads together, always together.
And when the bear clouds menace, growling and rumbling,
we stand strong.

On gloomy paths, a cheerless mist snakes itself around us.
Grace opens wide her arms and enfolds me like a blanket,
Her down-soft cheek barely rests on mine,
Grace is with me, with me, until that chill creeps on.

Now we are lost.
We stop. Silent. Still. We breathe together.
Leaning in close with a murmur for my ear,
Grace tells the way.

Up we go, hand in hand, to reach the sunny summit,
Our legs swinging as we overlook the Earth,
‘Ooh-ing’ and ‘aah-ing’ at the fireworks and fireflies,
revelling in the show.

And when day sets and night ascends,
when we are weary and warm-wanting
we hit the road together. Grace and Me,
our fingers tightly entwined, we lead each other home.



Georgia Sutton Copyright 2011

Monday, July 04, 2011

Il pleut




Raining, raining, raining.


Three kids at home sick.
Cough, sniffle, splutter.


The dryer is broken.

But the tea is hot, and Cold Comfort Farm is quite comforting, doonas are on the couch and Harry Potter is on high dvd rotation.

This time of year always makes me restless, craving change, a new house, a big-assed plan, a new degree, any new idea that provides a distraction from the cold and the everyday, other than a block of chocolate a night.



Sensible people on the Island go north for the winter.




p.s. Our bullying issues were stopped by the school the day after I spoke to the teacher about my son's concerns, and she looked me in the eye and said "No child should ever feel like that at school." There has been no problem since. My son said "I don't know what they did to him Mum, but they took him away in the morning and ever since he came back he's been really nice." My wild imagination is picturing a white room and a bright light, like some CIA-style debrief or maybe a tazer or something, but whatever it was, it worked.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bullying

I just read Pottymouthmama's last post and the comments and I am riled and would like to add my voice.

Deep breath, commence diatribe - I was sitting around crafting with three other women on the weekend and we all described the bullying we experienced in high school, the heartbreak, the withdrawal, and tragically the acceptance. Worse still, I know that after experiencing bullying, and operating in a culture of bullying, as a young person, I was guilty of bullying behaviours myself. How shameful that is for me now.

My son is being bullied at school.
There are bullies in the workplace.
Bullies in families.
Bullies in cars.
Bullies in government.

What happened to Oz that easy going, laid back country? We are a nation that not only tolerates bullies but has the expectation of bullying. How many times have you heard people respond to bullying stories with - "Well, there is nothing you can do, there are always those kids/bosses/workmates out there like that. You just have to learn to get over it - Suck it up!"

Bullshit!

Bullying is intolerable. Bullying will break your spirit and your heart whether you are the perpetrator or the victim. Bullying decimates your sense of self worth. Its time we all stood up and said "Enough!"

For all those with kid's being bullied, please complain until you feel that your child is safe at school. Stand fiercely by your child's side and say "This is not good enough!' Take your kid out of school until they can guaruntee that they are safe and supported. Small children do not have to suck it up. No one does.

That crap about it being character building is nonsense.
That line is how the bullies get away with it.
That line is the expression of our cultural tolerance of bullying.

ENOUGH!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Astonishing Good Fortune


On The day you were born

by

Georgia Sutton, 2001

On the day you were born I was ready.

You took an age to emerge but when you were ready

You entered our world with a bump.

Astonished, I lifted you and held you. We cried.

Your father cradled you as the midwife gave you oxygen.

We drank you in, your mullet of long, black hair

and eyes, bottomless saucers of dark, navy blue.

You were so much bigger than that tiny yellow suit

We dressed you, fed you, bathed you, rocked you and didn’t want to put you down.

You and your daddy fell asleep, but I was too excited.

I sat and watched and I couldn’t believe my luck.



I was just trawling through some old stuff and found this that I wrote after my eldest son was born.* He is now 10 and a quarter, funny, empathetic, brave and kind. Astonishing still.

I still can't believe my luck.


* Tania's comment has just highlighted to me that this is a wee bit misleading. This poem was, in fact, written several months after J's birth through the rosy glow of hormones and hindsight, when I had a bouncing baby boy on my knee, and the trauma of birth and sick newborns was well behind me. I would hate to give anyone the impression that I sat serenely in my hospital room after his birth, in a silk negligée perfectly coiffured, upstairs and downstairs, with my moleskine at the ready for the muse to pour forth, as this poor bit or writing above would suggest. In my hospital room I was gobsmacked, pale and rooted from 2 days of labour, stitched from a- hole to breakfast, happy and hormonal and wondering why the hell all these people kept putting their hands on my boobs ** - like a normal person.


**Okay, okay, apologies again. I was shooting for 'I didn't have a perfect birth" and accidentally hit the "graphic visuals" mark. My tone-o-meter is way off today.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Holidays and Secrets drenched in Awesomeness

Holidays at home when its freezing cold and raining cats and dogs have their up sides. Like the fact that it's very cosy indoors.

And it's excellent crocheting weather.



Perfect conditions for playing pirates and princesses.


And when the sun comes out we can walk into town for the best babycino in town.


The weather is excellent for reading. Our bookgroup book this month is 'The Bookseller of Kabul' by a beautiful Scandinavian woman who can speak five languages whose name momentarily escapes me. And I'm reading 'The Book Thief' by Marcus Zusak to the luthier at bedtime. Both are proving to be bloody good reads.

Oh and as for secrets. shhhhh, but I have a secret which is so awesome I can hardly believe it.

The irrespressibly excellent Pottymouthmama had a giveaway and we won! Its for a Nintendo DS and Ninjago game. Sacha is going to pop his cowl when he sees that arrive. I am not going to tell him until it gets here because I want to relish the moment of pure thrill when he opens it. That boy is not going to believe his luck.

He has a bit of a tragic DS story. Santa bought him a DS the year before last and he was in love with it, right up until the moment he lost it about 3 weeks after Christmas. Since then, he only gets DS access when his brother is feeling particularly magnanimous and he is willing to beg shamelessly, or by stealth. To win this uber cool DS and game is going to totally pop his cork!

And I won it with a fart gag.
Thanks PMM.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Holidays: Day 1

It's School Holidays, Day 1: 11.14 am and there have already been two tantrums.
One of them was mine.

The other one is still going on in the privacy of the bedroom.
It's been far more loud, lengthy and spectacular than mine.

I really need to lift my game.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Women

Conversation with No. 2 Son

No.2 - Mum, some boys at school are rude to girls ... I'm not

Mum - No, you know how to treat a lady, don't you, kiddo.

No.2 - Yes Mum,... you get one woman and you treat her a little bit good.



Wise words to live by.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Morning Song 
by Sylvia Plath

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

 Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival.  New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety.  We stand round blankly as walls.
 
I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath 
Flickers among the flat pink roses.  I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's.  The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars.  And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.



I love this poem. Especially the onomatopaeic first line. 
The description of that first night with your first babe. 
And the third stanza describes something about motherhood that I 
sometimes sense ,but have never been able to put into my own words. 


Aah, Sylvia, love set us all going like a fat gold watch, even you. 
How sad that you stopped your own watch. 

This poem, Sylvia and the ticking love remind me to get out of my own
 head and back into life, into my kids and others I love. It reminds me 
that worries don't lead me to the good stuff. Not like my daughter's 
ability to burp on request, Sacha's inflammatory declarations that our 
Prime Minister is sexy ( eyew!) and DJ J's endless crooning of 
popular tunes will. 

Love set them going like fat gold watches. May they tick on and on.