Saturday, December 29, 2007
One of the small joys in my life is my girls. They are nothing alike but still manage to get along together pretty well but God so often grants us the desire of our hearts when we aren't looking & least expect them. Now my girls are growing up our relationship has shifted. Perhaps it is partially due to the homeschooling which does indeed help foster closer bonds but I seem to have acquired the sisters I desired rather late in life. There's no one I'd rather be with, no converstation more fascinating than that with my girls. That they return the pleasure is an added bonus.
Friday, December 28, 2007
However this morning was exercises for the left hand & the basics of transposing & you would have thought Ditz had been asked to perform the absolutely impossible. A lot of fuss & bother for something she was managing quite nicely by the end. And it can't have been too bad. When she's really put out she thumps out Wig~Wam at full throttle knowing perfectly well at least one person in the house can't stand it & everyone else will be howling about the tempo, the timing & the mistakes. She does know how to make her point, does Ditz!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
This year the year's biggest tide fell on Christmas Day ~ 8'8'', an absolute whopper. Dino had supplied a big doughnut & a new tow rope so the kids headed off scurfing. How else would you spend Christmas Day? Besides cricket, that is. The Christmas day cricket game was tradition for years, played on the farm lawn but the farm has been sold & no one else can host a halfway decent pitch. Scurfing is a pretty good second best. I could hear Ditz squealing from all the way inside the house. Better than snow...
Sunday, December 23, 2007
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence & no doubt. I had seen birth & death
But had thought they were different....T.S Eliot Journey of the Magi
Mary kept all these things , pondering them in her heart ~ the gospel according to Luke.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
So I'm standing next to Ditz. My mistake. Every time the sopranos went high Ditz followed them! My poor eardrums! Gloria in Excelsia (which I can't seem to spell today, sorry Kimba :) but I fixed Juliette up, poor misguided girl )was nearly the end of me. I like the bass notes. Now the child wants to add the Singers to her list of things to be involved in. I don't think so.
Every year for 17 years J has asked if anyone can name all Santa's reindeer & every year some of us can name one or two but no~one can name all of them. As J says, we haven't learnt much in 17 years! I'm thinking of doing a study in time for next year. I'm of an age now where it will take me a good 12 months to memorise a dozen names. Poor Ditz even needed prompting to remember Bethlehem was the town Jesus was born in. I think she'd been wool gathering & suddenly found she was expected to be knowledgeable & intelligent. Ha! I know the feeling. Ditz is starting to whirr & spin. Christmas is only 3 sleeps away & the pantry is stocked with goodies!
It's Christmas on the islands
The air is warm & still
The sounds of night are loud & clear
The tree frogs voice is shrill.
The stars are bright as diamonds
They herald Christmas morn
We wait & we remember
When Jesus Christ was born.
Glory to God on high
Salvation from almighty God
Began with a baby's cry.
We celebrate this happy time
The time God sent His son
To be a living sacrifice
To die for everyone
Please don't forget the reason
The sacrifice was made
And take some time to thank our God
This Island Christmas Day.
Glory to God on high
Remember God's salvation
Began with a baby's cry.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Ditz loves nothing better than an audience & once she got over her initial shock of finding me in the middle of the front row (not my choice but I was late & that was all that was left) & inclined to a fit of the giggles she settled down to enjoying herself.
These sessions are free so it was nice to find them at a time we could go as so many of Ditz's activities cost me an arm & a leg. They are doing an introductory Shakespheare next year I want Ditz to attend as she is not going to find that gentleman easy no matter how we approach him but at least this way she might see it as 'fun.' It is meant for the older teens but Ditz has been invited. Apparently she has 'potential'. *sigh* I just hope they don't do Romeo & Juliet, which has always struck me as soap opera incorporated & has me rolling in the aisles with laughter. The first time I saw it, in about grade 9, I had to stick my jumper in my mouth I was giggling so hard while absolutely everyone else was weeping into their tissues ~ & that, of course, just made the whole thing funnier. I know; I'm terrible.
There will also be an Aboriginal art & theatre workshop, which is probably meant for the indigenous kiddies, but the artist likes Ditz & has had her eye on her since the art comp when her 'dotty' picture used an Aboriginal technique. Whether we will have time for all this remains to be seen.
None of this is very Christmassy. A Cristmas Carol, when audience & actors alike are wringing wet from the humidity is just too, too funny. However tonight is carols night, which is always in the Anglican church, stinking hot, beset with hordes of mosquitos & sandflies & terrific fun. Whoever is home always comes with me, if only because they put on a jolly good feed afterwards.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Now I am fending Ditz out of my room where her brother secretly deposited his Christmas gifts with instructions to wrap & tag them for him as he headed back to sea along with some extra cash & a list of what he'd like on the Christmas table! I don't care what the test results say; there are no flies on Ditz!
Monday, December 17, 2007
'In English,' said the linguistics professor, 'A double negative forms a positive. In some languages such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positve forms a negative.'
From the back of the room:' Yeah, right!'
Our church is unique & unusual. It grew out of a stubborn desire by a little core of elderly Anglican women to be able to worship every week, not just once a month when the minister came over. It has been down to a handful of people gathered in a member's house. It has grown large enough to move to larger premises. For 20 years it has clung like a limpet to the island. Other churches have come & gone. Ministers have come & gone. The church has stayed. At present it is also in serious difficulties. Basic problem, a conflict in how worship should be between our traditionalists & our charasmatics. Lots of unhappy people ~ & I means lots!
Our AGM is coming & a change of committee is on everyone's mind. Who should we elect to give God's people a vision & a hope? Three times I had people approach me & ask if I would stand for chair. Three times I said no way, hosea. I do not have gifts of organization or helps. I am reasonably good with people but I am more in the teacher/prophet mold & inclined to be fairly chaotic in any area other than writing/speaking. Unfortunately for me I am married to an intercessory. Like Jacob, Dearest knows about wrestling with God in prayer. Over a fortnight God gave Dearest His vision for our church. Dearest has been chair once. He is too sick to do it again but as a team we could do it. Dearest does all the detail that drives me wild & makes me very bad tempered & I become the face & deal with the church, which I have no problem with. I remain under Dearest's covering as well as God's. As Dearest says, his job becomes that of the avenging angel protecting the ministries. We have had so much confirmation I know I will have to stand but I have been dragging my feet hoping against hope God will raise up someone else to do a job I'm not in the least interested in doing & for which I feel most inadequet. (Please, no homilies about how God uses the weakest vessel etc. Knowing does not make it any easier.lol.)
So while I am alternately breaking down in floods thanks to serious bouts of attack at an extremely busy time of the year & ranting silently because I am as selfish as the next person & am perfectly happy to keep my pew warm & zoned out, Dearest doesn't remind me that the vision has been given to us. (Hopefully others too, but to us.) In point of fact we were discussing another issue entirely when Dearest reminded me we shouldn't even be here.
Nearly 20 years ago, before either of our girls were born or even thought of, God sent his angels to make sure we lived long enough to come here to live & be a part of this church. He truely has prepared every good work beforehand. Funny what a difference having that picture has made to my mind set. I mean, God does know what He's getting when He gets me & He might just have someone else in mind, mightn't He? And if He went to such extraordinary lengths to ensure we were here for His purposes I rather think I'd better get on with it, don't you? Yeah, me too. *sigh* I'm not good soldier material.
Meanwhile Theo is in clover & working next door. He rolls out of bed just before 7am & strolls over sipping his cuppa & finishing off his toast. Home for a hot lunch. (Can I afford this?) And he has the work truck over so has his own set of wheels.
Ditz & I are filling in our Mondays with the bible study we can't normally get to & drop off Liddy's lunch on our way through. This confuses her & the first week she wanted to know why we hadn't brought up her lunch. Howl of protest from Ditz (who had hand made & hand delivered it )that yes indeed she had got her lunch! Liddy, being busy at the time, had put it in the fridge & promptly forgotten it & consequentially starved all day. Silly kid. She didn't let it out of her sight today!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Today Dearest's parents celebrate 50 years of marriage. The whole family & 1/2 the island is arrivng next door some time this afternoon. I will be good & socialize; 50 years of marriage is nothing to be sneezed at but I'm starting to envy Dino, sitting in his little blue puddle contemplating his navel & well out of it. If it wasn't for the smell of fish & that I get sea~sick over the slosh in a tea cup I would join him.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Anyone who can move intercontinent with a newborn & 6 little ones has my deepest, most profound respect...And she's still smiling.
A little rain & everything becomes instantly, lushly green. Hard to believe a month ago we were brown & dried up for want of good rain. With so many new houses going up all around us I'm pleased we put the garden in early on. It means we get to keep our privacy & really no~one can complain that we designed it back to front with our clothesline facing the road because we were here first & I refused to have it cluttering up my view of Quandamooka. Why would I want to look at our washing when I can look at the water? Or their houses when I can have trees?
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I stopped typing long enough to eye her disapprovingly & suggest she go back to bed whereupon she sagged against me unhappily & confessed she'd spent 20 minutes trying to turn off her alarm only to discover the drongo has learnt yet another trick! Argh! Now the bird has learnt to mimic her alarm & park himself under her window to boot the child hasn't a hope! I wonder how long before she learns to sleep through the sound of her alarm going off?
Friday, December 7, 2007
Drongos, although inclined to be a little shy, are terrific clowns & while my inlaws were away & their pool was gradually turning green with algae a drongo family took to dive bombing into the murky water every afternoon. They had great fun chasing each other into the water, skimming it like skipping stones & generally creating havoc. It's rather a pity my inlaws prefer to swim & dumped heaps of chlorine in it as soon as they got home.
Finally I have cleared the last of the bills & Ditz & I were able to start our Christmas shopping. We got to the jetty & there was a queue all the way down the jetty & onto the pontoon. The boat was jam packed & the humidity climbing steadily. The car was unbelievably hot, the traffic already jamming & people's tempers fraying...& people wonder why I dislike December. Usually, if I time it right, there is one day in a week when crowds & traffic are at a minimum & I can shop in peace. Not in December.
Dearest & I had agreed that this year I'd buy a proper DVD player instead of whatever it is my kids use to play DVDs on ~ which meant I could indulge in DVDs & shopping for everyone should be a breeze this year, right? How I wish! For starters there are 3 DVD outlets so it was price comparision to start with & of course I couldn't get all the movies I had in mind cheapest at the same place, could I? We went back & forth, back & forth trying to find something I deemed suitable for my boys that I knew they would watch & then our church Chairman's wife spotted me & for an hour & a half we held what amounted to a church meeting in the middle of the shopping centre. That will teach me to be sick for more than a month & unavailable to people! Poor Ditz waited patiently. I sent her for donoughts & milkshakes but by then we'd both had enough. The queues were just getting longer & longer & the residue of my wog means I still tire very quickly so we turned tail & fled.
Ditz adores all the glitter & sparkle & hub~bub that constitutes the Christmas season & we were barely through our own door before she had the wrapping paper out & was asking could she start wrapping presents. Why not? I went & wrestled with the ink cartridges on the printer so I could finish typing our family newsletter & actually start sending out Christmas cards. This year requires a bit of tweaking. I was much better organized last year & all our cards had gone before Mark died so this year there are still people who will be shocked to learn that Christmas is somewhat of a delicate juggling act for us. My nephew is having a particularly hard time coming to terms with his father's death; he shares occassionally with my girls, my girls share with me.
Ditz has one more concert & we are done for the year! Then I can start focusing on the bits of Christmas I actually like ~ our carol night, cooking cookies with Ditz, catching up with eveyone's news as the cards start arriving, meditating on what was going on in the heavenly realms the night Christ was born as man. Now if I can just clear that desk Ditz can put up the tree!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
& prayed Issi didn't come investigating the commotion. Up north they grow to a huge size & like to live in the toilet bowls. There is nothing more disconerting when you are in no position to run shrieking through the house than to have something damp & clammy attach itself to your bare butt!!! True. Ask Dearest.
In many ways this has been Ditz's year. Everything she's touched has turned to gold. Liddy had a year like that in year 7 too. The boys had years that were great years for them but I'm mum so I'm trying to keep everything at least somewhat balanced so in amongst all the hoo~ha of varying degrees surrounding Ditz (her brothers are more impressed she gets into the footy free than that she gets to sing the National anthem to open!) I turn to Liddy because this works for her too & the penny's just hit bottom for me. The ensemble rehearses Wednesday night. Liddy trains Wednesday nights. I can drive both girls in & out & though it means a bit of hanging about for both, less travelling & no having to rely on other people. I feel tired already.
The boys, busy cutting the apron strings, have plans & dreams too. Dino is about to quit his job, round up his savings & head south to acquire his Masters. He should have enough sea hours now & he wants to skip. Crewing is for the birds. Whatever. So long as he stays away from the Bering Sea or he will hear all about it from me. Theo is months away from finalising his trainee ship & though he is a bit behind his income should soon skyrocket & wont he like that! Which leaves Jossie. I wish that child would occasionally ring home just to say he's still breathing in & out. Never thinks of it & no good trying to ring him. Either no~one's ever home at his place or they have a rule that says no~one's ever allowed to answer the phone, ever.
Which reminds me...Tomorrow I'll post pics of what Ditz found in her bed last night. And it was me had to run the rescue mission! No, I'm not telling. It would spoil the surprise.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
So I dutifully took her to the mainland on the appointed day, at the appointed time & as we were driving into town this little voice quavered, 'I think I know what they mean by nerves now!' Terrific timing! Yep, serious butterflies had hit & not in the least helped by the soaring humidity which dropped a bucket of rain on our heads & held the proceedings up for nearly 20 minutes while we waited on the choir director's arrival & the other contestants began arriving & lavishing hair spray & dying swan acts around in equal proportions.
Now I don't think Ditz chose a particularly easy song & she was a capella to boot when she has never ever soloed anything before in her life so not so surprising she drew a complete blank when she went to sing. The very first word had fled completely, which is so unlike my Ditz she was more surprised than unnerved. However she was unnerved enough to start a little flat, also unlike her. I thought she'd blown it completely but as she gradually gained confidence the dizzy Ditz began shinning through in all her glory & she managed all her changes nicely so I was able to stop cringing in a corner. The next bits were a breeze by comparision. Ditz has played music games with Sian for nearly 4 years & can hit the high G on a good day so she was really back in her comfort zone. She has a reasonable musical memory & I could have told you Ditz would 'hear' the descant in the triads.
I'm expecting to wait months for a result but no, Ditz is told then & there she's in & which ensemble she's joining. She has scored herself 99% (& all I heard all the way to the boat is how losing one percent just wasn't good enough yada, yada, yada. Loopy. Completely. ) Alison was really happy with Ditz. 'You've never sung like that for me before,' she enthused & reckons she's come a long way in just 6 months. God's timing. Ditz is ready now for the next big music stretch ~ & she's about to get it. The ensemble she's joining has the singers who really impressed me during the Strawberry Festival.
All the way home on the boat I got, 'Guess what? I'm in.' Yep, I'm pretty proud of my Ditzy Ditz(& she's pretty proud of herself too) but as Dearest said with a smirk, Ditz is never going to look at Idol the same way ever again.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
As we drove past Brisbane airport for the very first time a hysterical commotion broke out in the back seats of our van & a little voice shrieked,''Mummy! Mummy! That plane's going to crash!'' I was a little bewildered. The plane engine sounded just fine & I could see the landing gear coming down as the plane lined up the runway but Dino was getting frantic. And then it hit! None of my kids had ever seen a plane with wheels! Planes came with skids so far as they knew! It took some convincing & they had to watch one or two planes land safely before they actually believed us but I realised then living on an island had given my kids a distinctly lopsided view of life.
Some years later my father began taking my kids gliding with him. Just as well we cleared up the skid problem. Gliders come with neither wheels nor skids & are shot into the air slingshot fashion using a truck & a tow wire but the kids were well over it by then. They were more interested in getting their grubby paws on the glider controls & flying the thing.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
For starters it is hot. That's right hot ~ & humid~ & possibly stormy as well. Secondly there is never any parking anywhere! Not on the island, not on the mainland. And the crowds. I live where I do because I do not like crowds. Thirdly I can't stand the greed & the commercialism that begins in late November & peaks about Dec., 24. I hate how everyone wants the holiday but rejects the reason we even have the holiday. And then there's Ditz. I'm not even starting to count all the things that child gets herself involved in round about now ~ concert after concert plus the yearly play.
Christmas is always low key with us. We keep it simple because it's invariably stinking hot & my kids were never allowed to rip, tear & bust on Christmas morning. Nothing under the tree is touched till after church & then we do it in turns so everyone can enjoy each other's presents. I do a big breakfast of American pancakes with walnuts & maple syrup, cream & icecream. Absolutely disgusting I know but I did them one year & it immediately became a tradition. Every year I try getting out of making them & there's a universal howl of outrage.
Naturally Ditz adores December. So much happening, so much to see & do. She spins like a whirly~giddy in her element. I get like a slow leaking balloon until I'm this poor, limp, saggy thing that should've been binned a decade ago. I guess I object to the fact that this is our long school break & no~one really gets to relax. December is all about preparing for Christmas but come Janurary we're preparing to go away for our annual visit to my mum & when we get back it's all about getting ready for school again. I really should organise my life better. Maybe I should just get a new life. Pern looks better & better.
Friday, November 30, 2007
For years we had just the one car & if we needed it on the mainland we loaded it onto the vehicular barge & paid a small fortune for the privilege. Naturally we didn't take the car to the mainland very often.
These days I have a little red Hyundai on the island. Theo parks his work vehicle at the marina on the mainland & collects fines because parking is at a premium, there isn't enough of it & no~one wants to deal with the problem despite the fact nearly all these people work on the mainland & need independent transport as the public system they promised us would connect beautifully with the boats doesn't! Now Liddy also has a mainland car (which I use because she still can't drive) & we have to park it a longish walk away to escape the fines. I could bus us to her usual park. lol.
We aren't stupid. We knew there was no bridge arriving any time soon when we moved here & accepted that there were certain limitations that went with our lifestyle choices. The barge & boat can be a pleasant trip, winding as they do around the islands but it does not pay to be in a hurry ~ ever!
Things are more regulated these days (aren't they everywhere?) but we have lived here long enough to have seen the barge so loaded there were vehicles half hanging over the ramps, (glad it wasn't me), the day one sank (yep, & she was empty; makes you wonder) & who could forget the joyful day the cement truck came screaming down the hill, horn blaring madly, shot straight down the barge ramp, onto the barge & almost off the other end, his brakes having failed on the downhill run! No wonder so many islanders end up a little quirky!
I'm not one for gadgets but the kettle has been leaking for a month so it was time to buy a new one. My, oh my! Wasn't that a rude shock. Serious dent in the budget. Now if I don't shop for a month (& it's been 6 weeks this time) life becomes seriously unhinged. Half my household can't use soap & relies on body wash. The other half can't stand body wash & insists on soap. No problemo if I rotate what I buy every fortnight. Not even a problem if I were talking one or two products, but no. This one wants baked beans for the carbs but that one wants spagetti because it won't give him gas & the other one prefers red salmon, red not pink. The girls won't touch any of it. You start to get the picture. I tottered round the shop mentally calculating what I could cut off my list. Not the toilet cleaner; I have 3 blokes in the house & I have a thing about the loo. Not the shampoo; Liddy's been screaming we've been out of shampoo for a month. What does she use it as? Mouthwash? Ditz takes the trolley off me. She now considers me an unsafe driver. All I want to do is curl up on the floor & go to sleep. Can you imagine the looks I'd get? Ditz would never let it happen.
Finally, finally I crawl back to the car, my wallet considerably lighter but the precious note that will buy the next lot of multi~tickets for the boat still safely tucked in my purse. Like a horse scenting the home stretch my head is up & my tail high. I put Ditz out at the marina with all the groceries & decide along the way I really don't want to walk all the way from Liddy's usual parking spot. I duck into the 7 day park. After all I'm back over on Wednesday. Ditz has her audition time. Don't talk to me about it. I am suffering serious nerves on her behalf. Ditz never suffers but firstly we got just 5 days notification & secondly they asked for a backing track. A what? Appalled I sent a frantic e~mail asking would they object if the child sang a Capella? Apparently not but now I have constant ninging as well as singing. Argh! For those who don't know ninging ( a type of humming) puts the voice on pitch. Don't ask I have no idea how this works but apparently it does.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
We got home from camping just in time for our supervisor's visit.
With me being sick & not having shopped in over a month her choices were fairly limited. Luckily Avacados are in season so she made guacomole dip (her first time though she's watched Liddy do it heaps) & a fruit platter. Her flair & eye for colour show up even in the most mundane ways. Um, yes, that's pretty much the stunned look our science got.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Sian in the rainforest & yes, the light really is that green.
About this point we'd run out of expletives & were saying we'd been saturated with so much loveliness we were practically overdosed.
One of the bigger waterfalls.
Weaver bird nest. There was another one on the same branch a bit higher & further out. They build colonies though 2 together is the most we saw.
Blue Crane ~ which is actually a heron, not a crane. lol. This is along the stretch of water we saw our platypus. The banks have to be soft for burrowing & the water pretty still.
Going walkies. Ditz was our photographer so there's some pretty shocking pics of Sian & I! Parts of the area are being rejuvenated & are heavily mulched ~ the barren looking areas.
We stopped for morning tea at the place below & were directed to the bottom of the garden to feed these enormouse catfish & tiny tortoises ~ that's what's causing the ripples.