Saturday, November 15, 2008


Count your blessings, name them one by one, & you'll be surprised at what the Lord has done.
I woke up headachy ~ the headache that comes with nausea, flashing lights, & as though the whole world is screaming at you. I survived the morning but by lunchtime I was pill hunting & looking for my bed. The trouble with migraines is that they leave you feeling as wrung out as an old dishcloth & wishing the world would end even after the worst is over. It is a good time to count my blessings
Apples. I like apples & my favourites are in season now: Granny Smiths, tart, crisp & juicy; Pink Ladies crunchy & sweet. My Liddy slices up apple & rolls it in puff pastry & a touch of brown sugar & bakes it in the oven. Yum.
Cats. No~one loves me like Issi; there's nothing so comforting when the world comes crashing down as cuddling someone who loves you completely unconditionally. Ok, that's not true. Iss loves me because I put the food in his bowl but no~one else gets up a purr like Iss.

Dearest ~ who is working very hard to make our deck something really special. We have had some Blue Gum slabs sitting in our yard for years. Sanded back & estapoled they are a deep blood red. Gorgeous. We are making some deck furniture out of it. The leftovers will make kitchen benches.

The regatta coming down the passage. Such a serene & pretty sight after all the rain we've had.
After the humidity there is a cool breeze wafting off the water in the cool of the evening. I know I am blessed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gremlins in the works

If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
The weatherman said it was going to rain. In a general sort of way I don't give much credence to the weatherman. He is wrong more often than he is right but in this particular instance it seemed that he was on track so Dearest & Ditz & I passed all our deck railings through the window & stacked them on the living room floor because the timber hasn't been treated yet & we didn't want it getting wet. Wet timber has to dry out again before it can be used.

The rain came as predicted. We patted ourselves on the back for being so long sighted. Alack, alas. Dearest went back to work as soon as the rain had passed.
It is very simple. We went to bed with blue skies & no hint of more rain to come. In the middle of the night the heavens thundered & roared, the roof shivered & shook & now all the timber leaning against the outside wall ready to be screwed to their appropriate uprights is soaked & unusable ~ just in time for the days I have free before the end of the month madness, when we have the boys around to give a hand before they head interstate for a cousin's wedding. It always happens; there are gremlins at work.
It has rained & rained & rained, good, heavy, soaking rain which we really need, which the garden really needs & which I would have appreciated so much more if it hadn't rained on my parade so to speak. Just when I was thinking how hard done by I was I wandered onto the deck to have a bit of a mope about all the work that wasn't going to get done this weekend & found that the rain had produced its own mirical. Many years ago I had planted a cluster of small plants in the solid clay under my kitchen window. They were not happy little plants. They did not often get watered & the soil set like cement. They struggled. Many times they came close to giving up the ghost & had to be revived. Eventually they grew rather scraggy & unkept looking but I was grateful they were making the effort.

The bronze tip is a native malaluka & the bottlebrush is a native too & I did rather expect to keep them. The shell ginger is pretty hardy but the Moria & the lemon & white yesterday, today & tomorrow I fully expected to lose. I am notorious for putting the wrong plants in the wrong positions & then telling them to stop whinging & get on with it. Well, they have. The shell ginger is heavy with sprays of blossom, the Yesterday is a mass of gorgeous lemon & limey white & the Moria is about to burst into bloom yet again. When the railings finally go up that end of the deck will have a lovely finish to it. As you can see everything has grown to deck height already.
When we first moved to the island it was quite difficult to make friends. The island was very insular & full of old timers who resented the intrusion of the incomers. [As an old timer now I fully understand this position! :)] Just down the road from us lived a young couple who were woken each morning by me roaring down the road to get Dearest on the first boat of the day for work. [No, he's not a morning person]. I would toddle home at a far more sedate pace & was surprised to find myself flagged down by people I barely knew. Apparrently they had fielded my twins who had woken as the car pulled out & performing one of their twin escape routines had hurtled down the road after their disappearing parents. I was immensly grateful & we became friends. [They fielded our boys regularly.]

A few years back my friend got a rare form of cancer with the inevitable result. Each year since her mother has had an art exhibition in her memory. This year Ditz was asked to contribute. No she's not, not because she didn't do several very nice paintings but because they had to be framed so they could be hung. I had intentions of getting some cheap frames from somewhere like Crazy Clarkes & canvases to fit but naturally my daughter could not wait on such a sensible approach. She found herself the longest piece of carboard available & painted this very vivid sunset. Do you think I could find a frame that would fit it? Of course not! I am going to be prepared for next year. We are bringing her paintings with us next time we visit you mum...if you don't mind framing them for us.
My mother is an extraordinary woman. She can turn her hand to just about anything & is quite a good artist in her own right. I like oils, which are forgiving, Ditz likes acrylics which are quick. My mother likes watercolours. Yes, she's somehing of a perfectionist. Dino has the painting everyone likes of mum's. It hangs in his room here at home. This is the way I like my trawlers ~ very pretty, very safe & my son not on one!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dear bloggy friends,

I understand about paragraphing; truely, I do. I understand that if I break my writing up into smaller segments it is easier to read. When I write my draft I dutifully insert paragraph breaks but when I post the internet eats all my hard work.

I go in to edit & redo everything I did right the first time & nothing happens. Does anyone have some words of wisdom for me? What am I doing wrong?

To those of you who have perservered, you are brave men & women, Gunga din, braver than I. I'm about to do a Ditz & have a serious meltdown. My sense of the appropriatness of things is offended. I want my paragraphs.

sincerly, the Tangled Knot, Ganeida.

That time of the year.

Black holes are where
God divided by zero.
My life is a black hole; everything is being sucked into original chaos. I think I've said it before but I truly hate this time of the year. Bah, humbug!
Yes well, Ditz's ensemble, guest artists for the Christmas in Concert special [ to be televised on the ABC] is going down to the wire & I am going with it. I do not have enough time, or enough hands, to do all that needs doing over the next little while.
Yesterday I took Dearest to his doctor's appointment on the mainland leaving Ditz, who had a very ditzy moment, to get herself to the boat & then to her flute lesson. She misread her phone clock & left 2 hours too early!!!! Only my child. *sigh* She has come home with important information about accompanists & rehearsals that I still don't have. Hello, Ditz. Time is running out. Neither of us are happy. Ditz doesn't want to do her exam; I don't want to drive to the other side of town at 5am on a Friday morning so she can sit her exam! We do not do well at this level but if Ditz can get this first exam under her belt & do ok then the next one will be so much easier.
Ditz so doesn't want to do this she was talking about giving up all her extras ~ flute, violin, piano, singing. I said, 'Goodie, we'll sell everything & I'll be rich', but no. She wants to keep all her instruments & potter. Nothing was ever achieved through pottering but no, she isn't nervous AT ALL. She just doesn't want to do exams. I'll believe you Ditz; thousands wouldn't but...yeah right.
So I get home & am 1/2 way through a much needed cup of coffee when Ditz rings to say she is at the jetty again, will I come & get her? Detour with Ditz to check the animals Liddy is sitting at the moment but Liddy had a 6 am start so Ditz & I have been doing her job & as Liddy can't drive unsupervised yet...that's right. Mummy gets to help out. *sigh* Actually I don't really mind. The dog has a licking problem & I'm not mad keen on doggy slobber dribbling between my toes but the cat is gorgeous; totally psychotic but gorgeous. Iss is barely speaking to any of us because we keep coming home smelling of foreign animals.
Home. I sent Ditz into the kitchen to eat & learnt she had not organised her choir stuff prior to leaving this morning as I had asked because she misread her clock... Aaaargh! With 20 minutes before our boat she couldn't find anything & I am telling you, with a big important concert happening you do NOT arrive unprepared at ensemble rehearsals. Even Ditz is not prepared to court death quite so openly.
Just as well everything was found. The ensemble was read the riot act. OK, they're kids & they behave like kids but Alison is very clear. You say you want to work in this industry? No~one is going to hand you celebrity on a silver platter. You are going to have to work & work jolly hard & you are going to have to work like professionals & no~one cares that you're only 10, or 12 or 16... people are paying their hard earned cash for this so you need to deliver & ho~hum is just not good enough ~which is exactly why her ensemble is being offered guest status at concerts like Christmas in Concert. At one point, catching my eye, Alison mouthed, 'Please, don't make me laugh.' She convinced the kids though. The kids walked out of rehearsal two hours latter looking like shell~shocked trauma victims.
Do I think this overly harsh? No. Those kids will be walking singing Adeste onto the QPAC stage to form a single line at the front of the stage with the massed choir behind them & every child will be individually miked!!! They need to know what they are doing. Rather Ditz than me.
It was midnight before I crawled into bed. I can not do midnight any more & function well the next day. Ditz has never been able to do it. Her attention span [never very good] is depleting at a rapid rate of knots. Any school work requiring applied effort & concentration is causing meltdowns. She wants to ditch science. She can not ditch science, not yet anyway. With music causing so much pressure for the next few weeks I am trying to keep the pressure off in other areas. Ditz under pressure is not a pretty sight! However I mentioned it is that time of the year again. Everyone wants something. Our umbrella school wants proof we do actually [occasionally] do some actual schoolwork. Now history & English is no problem. Ditz can always read on the boats & during the long dragging waits of rehearsals & performances. Keeping up with her dictation & grammar is perfectly possible. We are strong in these areas. Science is slightly more problematic requiring more academic application than Ditz normally wants to exert. No~one wants to do math. I have got it on hold & if Ditz can't get a grip on it before term finishes we will be doing it over the summer; just her math. I think we need to anyway. I swear that child puts all her math in her short term memory bank & it too disappears into the black hole.
Did I mention I hate this time of the year?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Words of affirmation

It was his nature to blossom into song, as it is a tree's to leaf itself in April. ~Alexander Smith
I was reminded last night of how much words of affirmation matter to our children, especially from those people whom they look up to or whose opinion matters to them ~ no, not good old mum & dad. Ditz assures me I have to love her because I'm her mum. Other people don't & she is aware other people often find her... wearing.
So in the midst of tea preparations with the cat trying to crawl up my legs because it can smell the chicken, both girls trying to check their e~mails at the same time from the same computer & Dearest enquiring anxiously if there was any hope of a meal sometime this evening the phone rang for the 2nd time. Believe me I cursed it.
Our production manager for Vocal Manouevres wanting to know if Ditz was available today for another Abba Mania performance. I hadn't e~mailed a response as we aren't available. Ditz has a flute lesson today. Ditz not happy. She would much rather perform than study for her exam. Considering how much money I am forking out & how much I do not want this child tired just now it was never going to happen so I had said nothing to Ditz. So much for trying to spare her feelings.
Anyway, seeing as I had our PM on the phone [believe me this is such a rare occurance it's like striking gold!] I checked she had our e~mail about the QPAC performances. Performances are fine; dress rehearsals are not. Rehearsals finish at 9.30pm. The last boat goes at 10pm. Logistically this does not work with an hours travelling time to be accounted for as well. Rehearsals are compulsory so I had a dilema but exam & boats are my top priority just now.
Will get back to me as they want Ditz there.
I do have a point & I am getting there. Bear with me. Ditz, naturally enough became all ears as soon as she heard our PM's name mentioned & became glued to my side wanting to know what was going on. Then our PM proceeds to inform me how happy they are with Ditz & how well her voice is coming on & it is so nice she's got over looking like squeezed toothpaste on stage. Ditz can only hear me going how happy we are the child's got a legitimate outlet for her theatrics that doesn't drive the rest of us crazy & how much she is enjoying herself & how pleased we are they have accomodated us despite the pecularities of living on an island. Ditz was nearly beside herself by the time I hung up. After all, the PM's opinion matters. I believe in passing on acolades. Ditz positively glowed, not the bright glitzy over the top drive everyone nutty noisey glow she is so very good at but the quiet, 'Ah, I'm doing good then' glow. Thank you PM [you know who you are!] Ditz is doing good.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Death by Firing Squad

There are more dead people than living. And their numbers are increasing. EUGENE IONESCO, Rhinoceros

Australia has no death penalty, has not had a death penalty since 1985, when death for treason was abolished in N.S.W.. The last man to face Australia's death penalty was Ronald Ryan, who was sentenced to death for killing a prison guard. He was hung in Pentridge jail in 1967.

Perhaps it's our convict past; perhaps it's the dying vestiges of lower class rebellion but it is unlikely to be the result of the high moral ground that got the death penalty abolished here.

So why this obssesion with the death penalty. Well, America had the *fly~by* & we got Bali. On October 12th 2002 Islamic extremists blew up a Bali night club killing 88 Australians amongst others. Aussies took it pretty hard. I can understand that. We tend to be an easy going lot. We don't make enemies. Hatred is foreign to us, discrimination unheard of. That any one could hate us enough to blow us up shocked a lot of people. Being a little more cynical & having listened to enough ranting from the more extremist Islamic groups I was not surprised. Sad, just not surprised.

What has surprised & saddened me is the outpouring of hatred, vengence, & happiness at the exectution, by firing squad, of the Bali bombers. I do not see how that helps anyone. Worse, these men now have no opporunity to hear the gospel & repent. The youngest appears to have died badly. OK, I know I have an overactive imagination, & I can imagine all too well being in that man's shoes, but to call for vengence, to rejoice at the death of someone who hated us enough to kill us, to acquienence to the death penalty, well, that makes us as bad as them. We are called upon to forgive our enemies, to bless those who curse us, to do good to those who do us evil ...Oh I forgot. We are only a nominally Christian nation so I guess that doesn't apply.

I do not now recall where I originally heard the quote but asked what he would do with Hitler a litle boy replied, 'I would make him a very,very good man.' Now that is definitely sweet vengence but it makes far more sense to me. Can you imagine being very wicked, then being made very good & knowing exactly how bad you have been? As Christians isn't that exactly our fate? Although we all deserve the death penalty for our sin we have a suspended sentence that many will hear the Good News, repent & enter into the joy of the Lord. I guess I'm in the minority though. Oh well. I'm used to that.

A belief in hell and the knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration at the hands of a skeleton have never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumour. - Aldous Huxley

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Wildlife Round Here.

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the Spider to the Fly; "'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spyMary Howitt
Wild shrieks from the kitchen began the day. Ditz had found Arachnid Harry & was not impressed by his size. Even for us this Huntsman was an impressive size. They eat the big black bush roaches that fly in at night so I'm actually rather fond of them. That's an impressive pair of pincers! I am not popular for pointing out that it was not a snake. Ditz really, really does not like snakes.
We live in the bush. We get wildlife. I can cope with most things. There are exceptions. I do not like parasites: ticks, fleas, leeches are high on my personal list of the screaming heebie~jeebies. Snakes? It's a brave snake that hangs around this house. Spiders? I grew up in funnel web country. My brothers caught blue~ringed octopus for the CSIRO anti~venom program. The monitor lizards around here get to over 8' & move faster than a speeding bullet.
Mind you I did a bit of a flip the year we came home from an extended holiday & found multiple snake skins draped up our inside walls! No it did not help knowing that they were carpet snakes & perfectly harmless. There were lots of them! The kids did the whole musical beds thing when the snakes moved in to their rooms & I know there's still one living in our roof. Every so often he bumps the t.v antenna in passing & we lose reception. Anyone going up to rectify the problem takes care that he's not around before climbing into the ceiling.
I count myself lucky. Our neighbours had a cat with a penchant for catching tiger snakes & bringing them inside. A live tiger snake in the house you do not want. They are both aggressive & poisonous! No, my neighbours don't like snakes.
So how come I have spiders the size of a bread & butter plate? Well, I learnt that if I didn't remove the spiderwebs at my outside windows I would get scores & scores of small birds coming to feed at the windows where I could sit & watch them without frightening them away. That's my story & I'm sticking to it lol. Undisturbed webs, big spiders, & yes, lots & lots of birds.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Music makes the Ditz go round.

"The flute is the show-off of the wind section.
--Garrison Keillor, in The Young Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra

Three weeks & counting! That's how much time Ditz has before her flute exam. She is not a happy bunny. She does not want to do exams. Her pieces are sounding pretty good but oh my! Sequential learning does that child in every time & she still hasn't got all her scales down pat. I may just have that nervouse breakdown I've earned. It would be a shame if she flunked out on something so silly as she has worked very hard & her playing is sounding very good but that's Ditz for you. Total performer. She always lifts a level for a performance but ask her to slog away in the trenches & you may as well ask for the moon & the stars."All flute players have a latent predilection for danger, otherwise they wouldn't play that wayward instrument." -Merrily Harpur Anyway, prayers that the child will nail those scales before her big day if you have a moment or two spare.

"[Meter is] how many beats may be heard before one is stressed."

I am very stressed. The Qpac details have been confirmed & I know already we can't make most of the rehearsals because they will still be rehearsing when the last boat leaves for home! My priority just now [despite Ditz] is her flute exams, which means I want her in routine & calm, not over~tired, over~excited & spinning like a whirly~gig. I believe one of the performances will be taped & broadcast on ABC at some point. Being a glory hunter Ditz is much more charmed by this than by a dull exam wherein she will play 3 pieces she never particularly liked of music that began to bore her months ago. And my mother thought she wanted a musical child!!!

Just when I began seriously considering infanticide Ditz turns round & says, 'I need a better schedule for my school work', & proceeds to lay out a tighter schedule than I've ever worked to & yesterday she put it into place without me nagging or ranting or having a mental breakdown. She worked too! Now if we can just get a grip on this math....Liddy!" I neeeeed you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Catch up.

You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses. Ziggy

I have abundance. They are doing particularly well this year; despite the drought, despite the water restrictions, despite neglect & failure to fertilize, they are doing well, which is astonishing because I'm not overly fond of roses. For scent I prefer Gardenias, or Mock Orange, Yesterday Today Tomorrow, or Lilac & I have them all [except Lilac which won't grow up here] scattered throughout the garden. The Moria [probably misspelled] out the front blooms throughout the year & its heady perfume pervades the whole garden & a good deal of the house. Liddy is very fond of it.

Our weather has turned inclement on us. It isn't exactly raining but then its not exactly not raining either. The result is just miserable & has halted work on the deck. I have been having big fires in the fire pit. It is cold enough I am grateful for the warmth outside & it is necessary to clean up the yard. Having so many big gum trees round means not only loads of leaf litter, which I can toss on the garden as mulch, but hordes of sticks & twigs & fallen branches, all of which can be tossed on the fire. Pity we didn't have marshmallows last night. By the time I was done we had perfect coals for marshmallows.

Ditz & I are struggling to get school back on course this week. We are both overly tired & when the weather is good the temptation is to be outside doing things. All too soon it is going to be far too hot to do much of anything.

I am starting to pull the last of our winter crop now. Dino's cabbages are ready & are very nice indeed. The silverbeet keeps steadily producing new leaves, there are beans almost ready & I haven't lost anything of what we planted last week which bodes well for the future. Every few days I tip the pumpkin to discourage leaf growth & bring on the flower. Besides I don't want it running everywhere. I have rockmelons & watermelons for that ~ if I can keep them through the heat.

It is NaNo time this month too ~ not that I'm terribly motivated. I am too busy to give it the attention it needs & we have had several upsets. I can not focus if my life is in a wrangle. It is energy sapping & a waste of time & effort. I don't like conflict, hate confrontation & generally head for the nearest sand dune so I can bury my head & wait for the storm to pass by. As it seems to be spiritual in nature we have upped the anti on prayer protection & having cautiously removed my head from the sand think it is now safe to go about my normal business. I was not made to stand in the breaches & wield a broadsword. Not from a lack of courage but from pure selfishness. I just want to go peacefully about my business & if the rest of the world goes to hell while I'm about it, well, that's just too bad. Yes, I know. Terrible sentiments but I have enough trouble dealing with my own life to get overly het about anyone else's. Talking of which, I have a fire going that I need to check on. Ooops.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Watched by angels.

For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:Luke4:10

Life here is all too often lived at a frantic pace. There are only so many hours in a day & they are all accounted for so many decisions are made instinctively....& then something happens to remind me that in the midst of the turmoil & chaos God has indeed set his angels to watch over us.

Ditz has been doing her music thing all week which has meant me going over on an 8.30 pm boat to pick her up. Parking is at a premium. We usually have a nearly 10 minute walk across a park , past another car park, & along a narrow secluded track to the jetty. I get jittery at the best of times. There are often kids hanging out in the park during school hours, people drinking before the sun goes down & other things that just make me go, 'ick!' That being the case I asked Liddy to travel with me. Safety in numbers, don't you know, & she wanted the hours for her driving. It is exhausting doing this last thing at night & once or twice Liddy said she wasn't coming then at the last moment changed her mind.

OK, having company is better than being on my own & Liddy is usually very good company but I found out on Sunday why God had so arranged it that none of us were travelling on our own. A friend told me a member of her social group, a woman in her 70's, coming home with her husband after dark one night, was attacked in the car park we walk past. Yikes! She had sent her hubby on ahead because an accident meant she was a little slow & if the boat knows you're coming they will usually wait. Luckily for her a car pulled in just as the man grabbed her & he ran off but I have been extra careful to keep us all together & not let the girls run ahead to the loos on their own.

Liddy says the jetties on both sides have been getting bad for some time again; she hears all the gos working in the shop & knows all the ambo drivers [boat ambulance] so we get the occasional lift home in the ambo boat instead of waiting on deserted jetties. About time for the cops to do one of their regular clean up acts, I think. I don't know why jetties collect all the riff~raff. They are generally cold & windy & downright unpleasant even in summer & my boys were practically men before I would allow them to go fishing off ours after dark as it was notorious for drunken idiots hooning round the car park & generally causing trouble.

And talking of my boys: all the screws are now in my deck, the long ends sawn off & the hand rails ready to go thanks to their hard work! Saturday we all ate dinner on the deck sitting round on upturned tins & balancing our plates on our knees while a fire roared in the fire pit & the cat shot up & down trees like a mad thing unable to believe his luck. Everyone really enjoyed it & it is going to make such a difference to our lifestyle.