Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I was a cot case. I very nearly wiped it out going through an intersection but I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've driven in peak hour traffic in the last year ~ & I'd still have fingers left over. It has done nothing for my confidence while Liddy cheerfully assumed I'd drive her & 1/2 her soccer team down to their game on the Gold Coast this weekend. Ha!
At least I can see to drive this one. Theo has a dirty great ute & it is a stretch for me to actually reach anything ~ brake, pedals, gear stick; everything's just out of reach. I hate driving his car.
The first time I drove it I was terribly nervous & as all the indicators & things are on the opposite side to where I find them on my little island car I got terribly confused. Just out of the marina there is a great big hill with a right hand turn at the top of it & naturally that is where I stalled with the traffic banking up behind me. In my haste to get going & stop embarrassing myself I dropped the clutch. The 6 cylynder monster Theo calls a car let out this almighty VROOM! VROOM! All around other hoons dropped their cluthes & as I toddled off down the road I had a succesion of teenage driven cars edge up to see if I was racing. Liddy nearly wet herself as face after astonished face had a jaw dropping moment when they realised it was a sedate little old lady with a head covering at the wheel!!! I just pretended not to see any of them.
Anyway Liddy still doesn't even have her Learners. However, I now know what the problem is & frankly I could spit chips because the Transport Department, in its wisdom, has devised a test for visual learners. Liddy is not visual. When I saw her twisting that test card round & round to try & give herself the 3~D picture so she could imagine doing it I knew she was in trouble. You can't tell Liddy. You can't show her; it just doesn't compute. She is a kinesthetic learner so she needs to do. Once we can get her behind the wheel of a car I expect she will very quickly become a much better & more competant driver than I am although being a visual learner I could do that test standing on my head. Given that driving is something people have to do the test strikes me as being one of the less sane things beauracy has dreamed up.
Monday, October 29, 2007
It was a hard message & I fretted so much about it so I was sort of looking forward to the 6 or so weeks I get inbetween messages when it is someone else's bunny to be persecuted, oppressed & depressed. No such luck this time. I know what my next message is to be on ~ The Song of Songs. My initial response is absolute delight! I love the song of Songs & a chance to study it in depth & then talk about it ~ well, what more could I ask for?
And for my birthday I got to play on the computer all day. Theo & Ditz are sick & just curled up in bed for the day & Dearest cooked dinner. I think my mother has forgotten me. It's nearly bedtime & no card & no phone call.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
At the end of our verandah there is a big ironbark, which is a gum tree with very hard timber & in our case wirly~girly branches & at the very end of the lowest branch that dips alarmingly over the verandah there is a friar bird nest. Now in the friar bird's defense the verandah wasn't there when they built their nest & they do know about Issi.
The nest is a large ungainly construction of leaves & twigs cobbled together with cobweb & in it there is at least one chick. We have been watching with delight as mama & papa friar bird work busily to keep their offspring well fed. So does Issi. He sits at the furtherest extremity of the verandah planks with his great topaz eyes fastened on the nest of squwarking chick. Perhaps he remembers how last year's chick was blown out of the tree, nest & all. Perhaps he has visions of launching himself supercat like into space if a bird flies too close.
Despite their name these birds are relatively quiet, for which we are enormously grateful The nest hangs on a level with our bedroom windows. Last year two frantic brown honey eaters (which are tiny, like sparrows) attempted to raise a cuckoo chick. Like other cuckoos these are opportunistic birds & the chick was much larger than his foster parents. It cried all day from first light to full dusk & believe me a hungry cuckoo chick can make a phenomenal amount of noise. If I could have reached the nest that bird would have been Issi's dinner!
Friday, October 26, 2007
I went to buy 2 bags of cement for Dearest ~ something about posts for the verandah; I only listened to the pertinent bit relevant to my errand. What I got was 2 bags of cement & a horror story.
O.K I'm not a big fan of the public school system anyway but I figure we have choices & I made mine to not go with the schools. Yet every time someone's child is failing a class or getting seriously bullied the parent feels they have to tell me all about it. What's with that? I have learnt most aren't the least interested in actually pulling their child out so don't even suggest homeschooling. What do they think I can do?
I feel so bad for these kids. Bullies have so much time to make their lives a living hell, 10 hours a day, sometimes more. Kids start skipping classes & missing days. The schools are toothless tigers. If a bullied child defends themselves they're the one who ends up with the suspension & a mark against their name but why do so many parents feel they are powerless in these situations? So I listened patiently & sympathised & I silently thanked God that it wasn't my child. I thank God we are out of the system, that homeschooling is legal in this country & most days are good days. I thank God we are able to do this & I don't have to send my 12 year old daughter to a high school where a 13 yr old was gang raped in school hours by fellow students.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
So this is why we play soccer. Being the laid back types we are we are invariably running late for the boat that takes us inter~island to flute & band practise & have to sprint madly down 2 sets of steps, across the parking lot & down the jetty (we have a very long jetty) while the deckie holds the boat for us shaking his head. We do it every week & after a year of this you would think we'd get our times sorted out, but no. We're invariably dashing like mad things & grateful soccer has got our fitness levels up to where we can actually do this without collapsing in a mortified heap. Gosh, these days we barely even breath a bit more heavily!
Soo! We arrive at the school to find the whole place in turmoil. It is school photos day & the band master is fuming because we have a concert in 2 weeks that the band is very ill~prepared for & most of the day will be wasted. The flutes are getting the particularly rough edge of his tongue. Too many haven't practised enough & their showcase part is sounding pretty terrible. Plus one of the girls always plays loud & sharp. Ditz says she overblows but she is a very confident young player while most of them could do with a good dose of confidence. The class instruments lessons are scrapped. This always amuses me because the band master is lovely & doesn't see why we should have come all that way to waste our time so he always gives Ditz an individual lesson. Ditz is less enthusiastic. She has got used to hiding her flaws under cover of the rest of the band & being just good enough to be on a par with the best flute player. One on one she can't do that. The teacher is also aware that he can work Ditz in ways that would have the other girls in tears before he was half done so she doesn't get a break once they start. I'm the same with her so it's not something she isn't used to. He's ex~army & it's go, go, go. By the time he was done Ditz's jaw was killing her & her little pinky was aching ~ but there was one flautist who could play the flute piece all the way through.
Like I said he is a loverly man & automatically included Ditz in the band photo. The call was for 2pm & I had to be on the 1pm boat so he said he'd just hang on to her & put her on the bus that takes the inter~island kids to the school boat. Ditz was delighted. We went & ordered her a lunch from the canteen, I gave her her fare & abandoned her ~ Ditz's word. She did the whole drama thing about abandoning her to a fate worse than death but when I met her boat she came running down the jetty all aglow with delight from having managed completely on her own. sigh. That's another one of mine growing up too fast.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
In all the kerfuffle Ditz chose now to 'become a woman', as the saying goes. I thought she might like a little celebration but when I hinted along those lines I was very promptly squashed. The poor child's in denial.
My entire household is carefully avoiding me just now as if I have some dread disease. I mentioned to Liddy, who had been rabbiting on at me for hours about problems at work, that she hadn't asked about my day. She eyed me as though I was contagious then said, 'You're giving the message this week. I don't want to know', & promptly returned to her obssession with work. Anything, so long as spititual bombs weren't landing in her sandpit! Ditz edged up to me & hissed, 'You're not asking me to do anything, are you?' The lads just stated categorically they didn't want to know. I get so much support from my family!
Dearest, being a Scots Spanaird or a Spanish Scotsman, but hot~blooded however you cut it, is only asked to out claidheamh mor & dagger at direst need. If he enters the fray there is inevitably Blood for Breakfast. Ido so like that phrase!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I hate when people want to impose their view of what is right & necessary onto me, as though I'm an idiot who can't determine what the Lord wants from me for myself. I wish they would just do their job without all the fuss & let me get on with doing mine ~ it would so relieve the stress that they have caused & now want to 'relieve' in ways that only stress me more! I want to throw a tantrum of my own. I'm tired of being polite & considerate & understanding & patient & this acquiring the Fruits of the Spirit is distinctly loosing its bloom.
I am going to hide amongst the mangroves on the waterfront & thank God I have places to hide whereI can just get away quietly from people before I say or do something we would all regret. I will recover my equilibrium in quietness & solitude & hopefully present a more Christ~like attitude shortly.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Now Gyver had all the usual Siamese quirks plus a few of his own, including a very apt sense of humour.
Liddy was about 4 or so & she had one friend who happened to be a little boy who owned a pure bred Siamese so he was very used to cats, & particularly to Siamese. He spent a lot of time at our house playing with Liddy but he had one very bad trait. Gyver, like lots of Siamese, had cross~eyes so his vision was never the best & he spooked easily. Liddy's friend knew this & his favourite game was to jump out suddenly at the unsuspecting cat & send it into hysterics. After a whole morning of this I decided the cat really deserved a break. He had endured the teasing patiently & never a hiss nor a spit nor a claw showed.
I bundled the children out the door, walked them slowly down our road & then into the mangroves so we could walk back home along the waterfront looking for honeyeater nests & turtle bones. Half way home there was a sudden blurr of white. Gyver leapt out of nowhere at his tormentor with a huge cat grin on his face then turned tail & fled home while the little boy had hysterics.
I still miss Gyver. He was always so grateful for the home he had with us & he loved us so much we had him for many more years than we really should have. He had been sick for a long time & had taken himself off to die as cats so often do but he had chosen a day of thunderstorms & knowing how terrified of storms Gyver was the whole house was out looking for him, calling & calling. Eventually Ditz heard him & we brought him in & dried him off but he was never the same cat & now I think he lived on in a lot of pain never letting on just because we wanted him so much.
If I had my way I would have a house full of cats. Pity my Dearest who really is a dog man & lives with a housefull of cats lovers because I corrupted the kids young. Happiness is a purring pussy.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Now I actually know what I'm doing (sort of) I am enjoying myself much more & stressing far less but alack & alas, that is not the only reason I am posting more at present. Prayers please. We have been suffering serious spiritual attack since the Lord gave me my next message (Matthew7:21~23) & although I did my rough draft some weeks back I have been using any & every excuse not to get stuck into typing it up & finishing it. The music ministry has had a meltdown so I have had to choose songs so Ditz's piano teacher has done prayer & overview with me for that. Plus I felt the Lord leading me to make some alterations to the order of service. Our committee is wonderful & very supportive but organization I am so not good at & previously all I had to do was stand & deliver, you know! Now I don't want to particularly stand & deliver this message. It is confronting ~& I so hate confrontation. I am very much a behind the scenes sort of girl ~ unlike my Ditz who likes nothing better than shining brightly in the limelight. In short, I have been curling round the Lord's feet very much as Issi does round mine fussing that other people get to deliver nice encouraging messages & I get one that will probably upset everone. I am having a case of the Ughs.
Some of the world Iss doesn't like ~ like the neighbour's minature poodle. I'm not overfond of this dog either. It is a yappy animal that barks incessantly when its owner isn't home ~ which is a lot ~ & then it wanders. Where it wanders is up our way & we don't really like dogs, certainly not the snappy, yappy ones.
Now Iss has a wicked sense of humour & he decided to teach this intrusive animal a lesson. I saw this so I will vouch for my animal. Iss happened to be sunbaking on the car roof when the snappy, yappy poodle came bouncing up our street. He opened one baleful eye pretty put out at being disturbed. The poodle was busy bouncing at Ditz who wasn't real keen on the interaction & was edging back into her own yard. Iss was in stalking mode, crouched & ready to pounce, just waiting till Ditz had brought that dog within range. The next moment Iss had taken a flying leap off the car roof & landed square on the back of a very astonished poodle. It took off with Iss clinging to his back like a rodeo rider while we howled with laughter.
That is one dumb dog because he keeps coming back & Iss has gone him several times in the same way & the dog is absolutely terrified of the grey furball that drops from the skies. You think it would have learned.
Iss has also managed to terrify one or two of our human visitors as well. Now we are talking a cat who cries if it looses its human & has serious meltdown moments when I go away for any length of time. Sook doesn't begin to describe what a major woos this animal is. Just the same he has taken a major dislike to several people & growls like a bull mastiff at them. Grown men have been known to freeze in their tracks when Issi growls. The funniest one was a very loud charismatic Christian who found Iss twinning round his ankles with a rumbling purr & a ferocious growl. The poor man didn't know whether he was going to be loved to death or issi's next meal.
Like I said this cat's a woos. When he first arrived he hardly ever went outside & that was good as we were having a lot of trouble with feral cats just then & there were constant cat fights at night. Then one evening we heard a lot of hissing & spitting. The next thing Issi comes hurtling through the open front door, down the hall, round the corner & out the back door. Hot on his heels came a huge black cat who suddenly found himself confronting 6 astonished humans & one very irate Siamese. Iss, being no fool, had brought his tormentor to be dealt with ~ which Gyver promptly did!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
We have talked about the best way of overcoming the issue for years & it has always meant Liddy needed to get her own car. Now she is working that became something of a reality to save for. I told her if she bought the car then I was prepared to drive her until she got her license. (We won't go into how daft I am for offering!)
Now it has been on our prayer 'hit list' in a general sort of a way for years. You know the sort of thing: Liddy will need a car; help! Lately Liddy has got a tad more specific. Her car wasn't to cost more than $2500. And that is as far as we had got. Liddy opened a savings account as soon as she turned 18 & committed 1/3 of her pay to savings with a view to looking for a car in the new year. God had other plans. A friend rang last night. Their manual car had been sitting at the dealership for weeks. No~one wants it because it is a manual. We prefer manuals. They wanted 2500 for it!!! Liddy has got a small, interest free loan. As of next week she is the proud owner of a car she can't drive.
The truely scarey part is it opens up all sorts of doors for Ditz & her music as well & as Liddy says, getting up to my mother's just became sooo much easier. I just know God has blessed my girls so they can be a blessing to others in ways we can't even imagine just yet. This is the nuts & bolts reality of God seriously preparing every good work beforehand. It is a fascinating journey.
Too often it seems that is still the case. For me God is so deeply a part of my life, the source of my deepest joy, the safest place I know, that to be without Him is unthinkable. I try to live my life in such a way that Christ shines through & people are drawn to Christ in me. Now the funny part about this is I don't have to say a word. We have bibles & then some & usually several of them are littering the dashboard of the car because their owners are far to lazy to cart them inside. The car radio is tuned to the Christian radio station & one of the small ministries I like to perform is picking up our street kids & dropping them at their destination. They all know our little red God car & they also know if they stick out a thumb & I have room I will stop & give them a lift. It is never easy for most of them to get in. The bibles & the music make them curl up but even sharing a car with a religious nut is better than walking so in they hop. It is a quiet, gentle ministry with the inexorable pressure of a dripping tap, like Chinese water torture really. Eventually I expect results.
I am not about to go into the daft things my Dino does behind a trawler. No one in their right mind scurfs behind a fishing trawler ~ which doesn't say much for the crews on a fishing trawler! Nor am I about to discuss Theo getting his surfboard bumped by something dark & finned. Believe me, he got out of that water fast!
Dearest tells fond stories of the schools of tiger sharks (like our friend here) that would cruise round his knees as he worked his oyster lease. It gives me the heebie~jeebies just thinking about it. Dearest assures me man is not on a shark's natural diet & tells of the idiots who, wanting close up pics, stuffed wet suits with meat & taught sharks that food lived in a wet suit. Sharks, being rather smart, have passed this information along to their offspring.
When we were rather young & still childless & could afford little luxuries like the occassional holiday, we set off north & camped for some weeks at Blacks Beach. I think it was Black's. It had a lovely little spit running out into deep water where the waves broke rather nicely if you were a fisherman & liked whiting ~ which Dearest was & did.
You do remember I dislike both fish & fishing so the most I would do was wander along occassionally to ask how it was going. Besides (did I mention the heebie~jeebies?) I get totally paranoid if I am asked to stand in murky water up to my waist & try & catch something I can't see. Totally does my head space in.
So I wasn't there. I had been. Dearest could well have ended with me perched gibbering atop his head as well as everything else but I had yawned as fishing being too incredibly boring for words & was wading back across the spit when fishing suddenly became anything but boring. Dearest had just cast his line into a particularly promising wave when he noticed a grey shadow zig~zagging towards him. Pause for thought. Sharks on the hunt zig~zag.
At this point I would have turned into something not to be proud of & panicked. Not Dearest. He keeps a cool head on his shoulders does Dearest, which is no doubt why he is still with us. Not taking his eyes of that shark he placed his wire dilly in front of his legs ( though what good that would have done I have nooo idea), tucked his rod under his left arm & gripping his yabbie pump firmly waited for his shark to arrive ~ which it did, turning on its side for the attack!
I can just see Dearest trying to fend this thing off with me perched atop his head having hysterics & an entire batch of kittens. Dearest stays cool, calm & collected. He waited until that shark was eyeballing him then went for it with the yabbie pump ...& missed! Pause for major meltdown. The shark is still coming so Dearest has another go at him & snots him a beauty on his very sensitive nose with the yabbie pump. There is an almighty splash & the shark dissappears.
I love Dearest. He was too terrified to move as he had no idea where that shark had got to so stood like a statue on an outgoing tide until there was no possibility the shark could sneak up on him. Then he collected his gear & paddled home very proud that in all the kerfuffle he had not dropped his precious new rod in the salt water & ruined it. What can I say? Men!
Friday, October 19, 2007
This is the cat who was a good 12 months old before he caught anything other than a piece of string. It was a tiny little honey eater & he was immensley proud of himself. As we were out he sat patiently with one paw on this poor bird until we got home when he proudly dropped it at our feet. It was still alive & Iss found himself in so much trouble he was quite bewildered. Our regular birds all know he's around & are not above teasing him outrageously. Luckily for them he's notoriously lazy & disinclined to robust exertion.
Now all our windows are screened in an effort to thwart the mosquitoes & sandflies (they don't but that's beside the point) so opening a window was of no avail. Worse, Issi was almost beside himself around my feet. He knew jolly well he wasn't allowed to pounce but restraining himself was making him nuttier than usual.
Now I have a thing about birds. I love them ~ out there in the wild where they belong. Handling them gives me the creeps. I hate how fragile they are, how fast their little hearts beat against my hands, the sense of terror they emit when handled. Normally I would bellow for one of the kids but if anything Ditz is worse than I am & a major drama activist to boot, so I gathered my courage, girded my loins & gathered up a bath towel. As my brother says, 'There is a reason for the term 'bird brain'.' This one had abandoned what few it had begun with & I was able to pin it against the window without too much trouble, gather it into the towel & truddle it downstairs & out the door where it belonged despite my blood curdling & my skin crawling.
Meanwhile Iss, who is normally a fairly silent cat, sat in a dissappointed puddle & cried.
It could have been worse. I had a whole gaggle of kids arrive one day to drag me into the swamp to rescue a black swan. Now these are not nice little birds & the long whippy neck has a nasty sharp beak on the end of it perfectly capable of giving a vicious peck but the fact 6 kids had managed to get close enough to pet it didn't bode well for its condition. There are times when I could really do without being my kids' hero ~ & that was one of them! Luckily the poor thing was so covered in sea lice it didn't have the heart to attack me but I nearly sat on my bum in the mud for I had braced myself for the expected extra weight & it was so much less than I had anticipated I nearly toppled over.
Iss, being male & a particularly brainless cat, is not much of a hunter. He went through a stage of bringing in the pigeons that had broken their necks flying into our windows, a particularly disgusting habit that mortified his origonal owner as it seemed the only thing Iss could catch was already long dead. We were worried for all the scores of little birds attracted to our garden by the bird bath & flowering natives until the day we spotted Iss hunting the pheasant. Five minutes later Iss was looking bewildered & the pheasant was stalking Iss! Which is why Iss spends most of his life semi~comatose.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Dearest was an oyster farmer for a while. During harvest oysters would arrive by the bucket load around here. Occassionaly these little gems would arrive with the oysters. For my non~Aussie friends that's a blue~ringed octopus & it is one of the deadliest things in the ocean. Believe me, you don't want to be bitten by one of these. One time we had scores of the horrors escaping in the kitchen with the girls hanging on to squirming cats & the boys all trying to round the little suckers up & keep them in the bucket they'd come out of. I believe they got tired of squishing them up with rocks & just dumped them all back into the bay. Lovely.
I count myself lucky. My brothers kept a salt water aquarium & amongst other choice species that enjoyed eating each other while we ate tea they kept blue~ringed octopi. Now these things can escape through a gap less than a quarter of an inch square ~ & they did! They were always going missing & would be found months later dehydrated & gruesome in some obscure little corner. When they had collected enough octopi they were passed on to the CSIRO for research purposes. Our only consolation was the boys' room was closest to the tank. Later on they took up diving & we had the pleasure of watching a Port Jackson shark hatch from its egg but the best of that tank was the morning my mother ran screeching through the house waking everyone because the sea horse was giving birth & there were hundreds of tiny sea horses erupting like coral spore all through the tank...