Sunday, September 30, 2012

Slow Days in Green

Another slow and gentle day. The weather has cooled, the sky has been grey and the air has held blossom and eucalypt. We drove up around Landsborough looking for the perfect playground and finally found a tucked away little place we had all to ourselves. Surrounded by tall trees hung with multitudes of vines and nesting boxes the kids swung and slid and climbed. Lazy holidays are blissful. 

                                                        Poppet with Grandpa



Friday, September 28, 2012

Beach Daze

We've got the sticky, tight, lazy feeling that comes from a morning in the sun by the sea.*
As we sit on the verandah my Poppet is drawing with her aunty ('Headphones go there! My dolly!') and the sky is rapidly darkening into storm. The chimes ring out and the pigeons coo while the banana leaves are beginning to wave in the wind.
You've picked up we may no longer be in temperate Victoria? Too true. Refusing to be parted from Aunty Becky, the kids and I hopped on the plane up to Queensland with her** and are presently enjoying balmy days and lush green.
Not that I mean to make anyone jealous, but it is very pleasant here.

*I have just discovered my Sprocket has brought his 'sea-babies' (washed up jellyfish chunks - sorry, egg sacks from the conical sand snail, thanks Bec!) home from the beach. I am hoping he doesn't put them into my bed, as he did his other  'baby', the slater.

*It was an 11 hour trip from our home in Gippsland up to our home-from-home in Queensland. The children were angels on the flight and many car trips. But all up it was a long day of travel and the kids and I fell into bed in a weary heap of unwashed, un-teeth brushed peoples at its close. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Making a Splash

It was a glorious blue sky day today and Aunty Bec, the kids and I went exploring. We stumbled upon the Old Gippstown heritage village, which was perfect for two toddlers who like to explore.
On entry the kids were given a bag of bread each to feed the ducks and their mission for the visit was to find the animals and feed them - by force if neccessary. Luckily they were very tame ducks and eager for food. 
The kids got to sit in old cars (and fire engines), visit an old doctor's surgery (I took photos for my Beloved) watch a blacksmith at work and explore at will. There was a wonderful big slide, which had Bec and I biting our lip at the height but the kids climbed like pros, and ... best of all, a duck pond to fall into... which my Sprocket did with aplomb. Poppet tried to help him out, but I am unconvinced of her helpfulness. 
I've been wondering recently what my little ones will remember of their childhood - and I hope that they have some (happy!) memory of today. It really was one of those happy-times! 

                      Pulling Sprocket out of the Duckpond...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


With vague irony,we travelled to the Big Smoke on Saturday and, after picking up wonderful Aunty Bec at the airport, hied our way via many a detour to the Collingwood Children's Farm. Here my country kids stroked goats, observed ducks and chickens, held guinea pigs and ignored sheep, horses and cows for the delights of playing pirates. It was Little Cousin Sophia's birthday and all us big people oohed and aahed to see the kids playing together so beautifully.

                                               Cousin Sophia is Two!
                               Who would believe this is within a couple of K of Melbourne CBD?
                                                                    Cousins holding guinea pigs

Sunday was another big day as we showed Aunty Bec the delights of Gippsland and went on a trip to Phillip Island. Although we failed dismally at seeing seals at the Knobbies (the visitor centre is brilliant though... there is an indoor play centre attached to the cafe - winner) we did manage to find a winery and a chocolate factory...

                           Looking for seals at the Knobbies

                                                                            Sprocket the Seal...
                                                       Walking into Silver with my Poppet
                                                                   Not seeing any seals...

                                                                    In the chocolate Factory...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The 'H' Word.

I've been pondering this for awhile now - why are so many swear words about an activity most of us really quite enjoy or body parts we're pleased to have attached and in working order.
When really, the truly nasty things all centre around the 'h' word. Whisper it h-h-h-housework.
You know, the really nasty one. Scrubbing poo off a toddlers undies during the Great Toilet Training, the zillions of loads of sheets during a particularly virulent lot of gastro, scrubbing the toilet - anytime, although particularly when an enthusiastic toddler has demanded to empty the potty themselves and then shook it... And that's not even getting onto the stuff that should (ahem) be done everyday, the never ending sweeping, mopping, removal of half eaten apples, disposal of compost and rubbish.
Scrub it. I feel queasy just thinking about it all.
Before we started going out not one, not two, but three separate people (that I know of) warned my beloved that I am Messy. Note the capital. Not just a leetle messy. Really, really messy.
I count this circumstance as fortunate as it left my Beloved no excuse for thinking housework and myself were ever going to be anything but the bitterest of enemies and any cleaning done would (and does) fall largely on his shoulders.*
Myself, I suspect it was not my ability to mop a floor my Beloved was thinking of at the time, and find the warnings entertaining, but then, they've worked out very well for me.
But now I'm at home all the time with a messy house, googling how to mop a floor and wondering if I just stock up on enough bleach will the house magically clean itself. Sigh.
And all I can say is scrub it.

What's your relationship with housework? Friends? Enemies? Frenemies? 

And what would your ultimate swear-word be? 'Scrub it' works for me, but I can see there could be interesting variations. 

*This is as it should be, according to longstanding Anderson Family tradition, as my Dad also does all the cooking and housework. I believe it's very important to respect and continue our cultural ways. My Beloved had time to observe this before we married, so he went in knowing the importance of ensuring that dinner is on the table at 6.00 precisely, with salad and vegetable sides. Of course, he's still learning, so I grant him some lee-way.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Um. Fail.

The sun is shining and the kids are cavorting in the garden.
My Beloved has come home from the hospital for lunch and we're enjoying the great outdoors, keeping an eye on the kids so they don't fall out of any particularly high trees and sipping tea.
"Four years is quite a long time," My Beloved says.
I rush to console him. "But we're halfway through! We'll be out in two years!"
He just looks at me. And looks at me. "Will we? I didn't know you had plans in that direction."
Oh. Fail. Massive fail.
So yes. My Beloved's Medicine Course is four years long and we're pretty much halfway through now, touch wood.
But um. It's also our four year wedding anniversary.
Which I knew, and completely reminded my Beloved of when he first came home (after careful checking of the calendar as the days have been getting away from me recently) and we'd made plans to do something incredibly exciting and romantic like get pizza for dinner.* But that had been whole minutes ago and it had momentarily slipped my brain.
But anyway. Four years today.
It's been fun.

*We made a big deal of the anniversary of-when-we-started-going-out a few weeks ago, so this one's more in the way of a little happy sigh and nostalgia journey. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I've just finished reading my first full-length steampunk novel and it was a hoot. I might actually have read steampunk books previously, but I can't remember them if I did, and I didn't know what they were, so I'm going to count this one as my first. (Barr some on Scribophile which have been wonderful, but not yet finished)
It was a hoot, a blast, a fantastical adventure. I loved it.
Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld is set in an alternate world circa the first world war. In the alternate Earth, Darwin, as well as working out evolution,  also worked out DNA and how to create amazing creatures, some of which are large enough to carry hundreds of people within them. In the first world war the war-creatures of the Brits battle the German death machines. The main characters are a girl-disguised-as-a-boy-who-runs-away-to-join-the-army, and the son of the archduke Ferdinand. The characters, dialogue, humour and thoughtfully and intricately created world combined to create such a densely rich story that I reached the end of the book and then just sat blinking for several minutes, feeling it most cruel to be thrown out so soon. Luckily, it's the first in the series. The second is at my library so I'll be able to read it tomorrow. (Or. Um. I would have ebooked it.)
So, a most pleasant day sitting in the Spring Sun reading while my Sprocket, spurning all clothes, ran naked around the garden cradling his 'babies'* in his hands and tenderly promising them chocolate, and the Poppet drove around in her little red car (with my iphone stashed in the back) and I read. Bliss.

How was your day?
And what are your thoughts on steampunk?  

*a slater and a worm. The worm, alas, despite my Sprocket's gentleness, is no more. The slater I am optomistic survived. Maybe.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Moment in the Sun

When you awake uneasy into an uncertain world, it's always good to have someone just to hold you. 
My daughter woke from her nap in tears yesterday. When my Beloved carried her out to me in the garden, her little face was red and waterlogged and her arms were already outstretched toward me. 
I took her, and she clung to me, my chatterbox wordless. I brought her over to a seat in the sun, and we sat. The spring sun was gentle, the mower roared around us, the cut grass was bright winter green, and the new leaves of spring vivid. And we held. My Beloved called for me to help with garden chores and I shook my head. Yard chores can always wait. My little one wanted safe arms around her. I won't always be there. I'll have to go to work, my little one to school. She'll have to deal with bullies and navigating the school grounds without me. One day she will take off in flight to see the world, or, when my chicks have all left the nest, my Beloved and I will. But now I can just hold her. Her face to my chest, her arms around me, my cheek on her curls. My arms around her, mimicking the time when she was held deep within me. My little fairy-princess in her pink tulle dress and sparkly pink gumboots (which she wouldn't take off to go to bed last night), dainty and assertive, with her deep chortle and bird-light steps. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tales from a Windy City

A wild and wicked wind has been wuthering* around our house today so we have withdrawn within.
And that's probably enough alliteration for now. It has however, been a perfect day for curling up and reading fairy tales, which is precisely what I have been doing.
I'd been meaning to read Cameron Dokey's fairytale retellings for the longest time and having settled down to 'just read one' I ended up gulping down... far more than I should have.
I started with Before Midnight which is presently my very favourite retelling of the Cinderella story and vastly superior to the original fairytale (Gasp, but true in my own honest opinion). Pure magic. With tears involved. It was all too short and I wept to dream again. Which is why kindle is so ridiculously temptatious. A click of the button and voila. Another dream to step within. I moved on to Dokey's retelling of the Sleeping Beauty, and while I will always love Robin McKinleys Rose Daughter with single hearted passion... Dokey's Beauty Sleep was also brilliantly done. Again my only complaint was it was too short. I wanted to stay with the characters longer. It was vivid and real and magical, humourous and oddly sly. Again at it's close I wept to dream again. And again kindle just lured. One click... just one click. Needless to say I continued through the retelling of Mulan (Wild Orchid, ) Rapunzel (Golden) and... um The Storyteller's Daughter. (Of which I will ramble at greater length anon, but let me just say Dokey very cleverly solved some very big problems with her chosen story) There may be more but I'm getting embarrassed at admitting I have NO willpower at stopping reading when I find a new love. None. Well, that's sort of obvious.
May I recommend Dokey's work - short (I could have happily lived within each story for two or three times the pages) but fresh and magical, with strong and likeable heroines and interesting twists.
Excuse me. I fear I have some re-reading to do. Also a rather messy household to set to rights.

*I love the word 'wuthering' it's so beautifully evocative. However (the shame) I hated Wuthering Heights and couldn't even bring myself to finish it. I loved all the other Bronte Sister works, Villette, The Professor, Jane Eyre, although the heros are decidedly dour. But I early came to the conclusion I had no desire whatsoever to spend time with Heathcliff and co. The Secret Garden also uses 'wuthering' and I admit to a strong preference for Hodgson Burnett's work (the shame...) Please tell me I'm not the only one! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Checked Out

Last year I was checked out heaps.
It made me feel like a Very Important Person and not so much like a mum-with-her-hair-in-a-bun-cos-it-hasn't-been-combed-in-a-week.
This year I've hardly been checked out at all. It makes me feel like a Not So Important Person.
Last year I was checked out, with satisfying interest, from the ends of my tippy-toes to the tips of my hair on an almost daily basis.
This year, not so much.
My Beloved has real-live-sick people to check out this year, as he's been based at the hospital for his studies. I have no longer been needed in my role of pseudo-sick person. I have been all discarded as he moved on to the new and really-sick.
It used to be so romantic. My beloved would take my hands in his and lovingly stare at them. "So I'm looking for signs of abnormalities or deformities. I'm looking for any signs of clubbing which would indicate heart disease-"
Generally at that point I would tell him to work on his bedside manner. No one really wants to be told they're being examined for signs of 'deformities.'
But My Beloved has his end of year exams coming up soon.* And it turns out that the exams you do on really sick people and the exams you're tested on, are different. For one thing real patients don't like a running commentary about how their baby-doc ** is checking them out for signs of deformities.
So .... wait for it - I'm going to be checked out again!
All of which means that if you don't hear from me in awhile it is because My Beloved is staring deep into my eyes - "So I'm looking for Kaiser-Flescher rings which would indicate..."

*And has been informed that if he fails and we have to re-do the year I might start talking to him again in June or July. So I figure I need to help out however I can. Failure would also mean a complete ban on computer games which, oddly, seems to be of more concern to him.
**This is what the International Medical Students used to be called in the Solomon Islands. I always liked it. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Spring has Sprung!

Spring has sprung and has even brought with it blue skies (for the moment!) We've been delighting in the sunny blue sky days and I've been oohing over my garden. Blossom and jonquils, buds on what I fondly imagine will be freesias, wattle, roses, tender green leaves and daisies are all coming out to play.
I even have one small, bedraggled magnolia on my small, bedraggled magnolia bush . (Any tips on the care of magnolias would be greatly appreciated. I adore magnolias but mine is... frail, to say the least. Do they need extra water? Acid? No acid? Food? Mulch?)  There are also four magnolia buds sitting beneath my sickly bush. I am not entirely sure which child to look at with accusing eyes, because although it is more a Sprocket trademark, Poppet does like her 'pretty flowers'.
Last night I snuck out of the house for a romantic tryst with our dog, who has been sadly neglected walk-wise during all our leurgies. While My Beloved watched the kids in the bath,  Issy and I went for a beautiful starlit-stroll. The air was full of the scent of blossom and fresh cut grass and I kept taking great snortling nose-fulls of it. It was addictive. Horses whinnied from the fields and frogs croaked from the muddy ditches.  I didn't know whether to start singing or dancing, it was that sort of night.
O Spring, I love you!