Wednesday, April 30, 2014

just a minute … in April

Winter is upon us. Not awfully cold just yet, there was a defiant last stand mid-month with temperatures reaching 35°C but now there is certainly a chill in the air, and it is well and truly dark by six o’clock. By seven at night I am ready to crawl into bed thinking that it must be past half eight. The coughs and colds that started at the end of March are still with us, I myself sound like a barking dog, coughing so hard that my ribs ache and my eyes feel like they could, at any second, pop right out of my head. Gastro has visited the household too, M. vomited as she got off the train en route to her first ever AFL footy match at Subiaco oval. The mad North Melbourne supporter that she is battled through to the final siren to see her team victorious over her older brother’s Dockers. O also fell to the bug and now at the close of the month it is my turn. I feel like absolute shit.

Despite being plagued with illness there have been some good times too. April is the month for Easter and school holidays after all.

virtù - ace 7 mnths old

Listening…  to Belinda Carlise’s greatest hits in the car. Ms. M just loves it. Heaven is a place on Earth her current favourite song of all time. She’d listen to just that song over and over and over if the rest of us would let her.

Watching… up to the third season of Girls now. Plodding along when I get the chance, knitting as I watch. Progress has slowed as I struggle to stay awake or nurse a sick child. Still enjoying it though. Dave continues to watch Breaking Bad but I’ve had to give it away. It is just to violent for me at the moment. Too dark. At the end of every episode Dave recounts to me what happened and I am enjoying that rather a lot.  During the week I’ve been watching my fair share of footy shows, and on the weekend the AFL is regularly on, well whatever is airing on free-to-air anyway. I like to curl up on the couch and knit during the footy, I don’t watch it that closely, but I like the background noise and then the replays of exciting things that have happened. At the beginning of the month I took the kids to The Lego Movie with the money that my grandmother sent me for my birthday. We went all out and each had a choc-top, a drink and a big fancy tin of pop corn. Learnt my lesson re: the drinks – two toilet breaks at the end of the movie leaves me a little in doubt as to how it all ended.

Sewing… I finished a skirt that I started a long time ago, but not a lot of sewing going on really. Determined to change this for the month of May.

Knitting… a jumper for O. (to be blogged soon)

Crocheting…  finally picked up the squares from a CAL long long ago and started joining them. Slowly slowly. Pleased that I finally picked up a hook again. I do LOVE crochet.

virtù - easter eggsvirtù - ode loving the chocolate virtù - Holly from Ben and Hollyvirtù - scootering

Playing… lots during the school holidays. We went to the Dinosaur exhibition at the Museum, took an adventure to Legde Point with my parents, and had an Easter egg hunt of course. We got out the paints to create fine artworks and the building of the tree house continued. Rode the scooter a lot too, and had a few impromptu picnics. M attended a North Melbourne footy skills clinic which was awesome. So awesome to see so many girls. She had a great time.

virtù - the wound.

Mending… from having a skin cancer removed from my forehead. Quite the wound and a damn awful headache too. Healing slowly though, the good news is that my dermatologist removed all of the cancer before it had spread. YAY! Couple of yucky days there when my mind got the better of me and I was thinking of my four beautiful cherubs growing up without me. A few tears shed just thinking about it. I am so grateful to have been given the all clear.

virtù - mega grasshopper high in the branches of the orange tree

Gardening… planted a bougainvillea next to the pool fence for a pop of vibrant colour. M choose it at the garden shop – a very deep pink. Should be good. The oranges on are ripening… so a vitamin C hit is coming our family’s way. Just what the doctor ordered. Saw the most freakishly humungous grasshopper in the tree. Ahhhh!!!

Reading… Jonathon Tropper’s This is where I leave you. Enjoying it. Been absent reading blogs. Too much juggling going on and that ball got dropped. Praying for a quiet and healthy weekend coming where I can park myself somewhere, hopefully in the sun, and catch up.

So how about you? April been good?

If you want to JaM along with me be sure to leave a link in the comments section.

dirt music

virtù - reading Dirt Music

"Anything you could play on a verandah. You know, without electricity. Dirt music."

I finished reading Tim Winton’s Dirt Music last month, now it has taken a month to blog about it. It took me a while to really get into the novel, I’m not certain if it was the text itself (at the outset Winton’s disregard for punctuation can be confusing) or the constant interruptions that are my life. Once I made it to around the fifty page mark though I just couldn’t put it down. Winton’s language and plot builds, almost like the build-up to the wet season, so subtly you don’t really notice it until on that last page, and after that final word, you can exhale, as if the breaking of the rains. I’ve been contemplating and stewing on the book ever since. Reflecting on the characters, the evocative descriptions of an animate landscape, the symbolism and metaphors. Slowly its’ goodness is sinking in, still being absorbed long after the cover was closed. A text that I will without doubt revisit in time.

virtù - ledge point  could be white pointvirtù - dirt music at the ledge point country club

Recently the children and I spent a couple of days at Ledge Point and I felt like I was walking around in Winton’s novel. White Point is the fictional township where the novel is set and whilst the coast line Winton describes certainly differs, the township itself feel like they’re one and the same. There were even flyers for some ‘dirt music’ at the local country club.

virtù - a jetty just like in the novelvirtù - an old ambulance

“Look, we need an ambulance on the jetty in half an hour.” (20)

The jetty at Lancelin could have been the model for that described by Winton at White Point, and freakishly there was an old ambulance parked not far from it on the day we were there.

virtù -  could be Jim Buckeridge's house

“Logging on – what a laugh. They should have called it stepping off… Still, you had to admit that it was nice to be without a body for a while; there was an addictive thrill in being of no age, no gender, with no past.” (4)

This could have been me when I started this blog ‘virtually sally’ and yet as time passed on I’ve found in some ways I am a ‘truer’ self here on the interwebs than I am if you ran into me at the local shops. This idea interests me a lot, the selves that we are in physical life and online life. The question of what is “real” life,  the bloody mess of fact, fiction, physicality and virtualness. It makes me feel delirious just contemplating it. I’ll save those pontifications for another time though, and just observe early on in the novel I found myself closely relating to Georgie and her habit of “stepping off”, sans the booze.

The novel’s central character Georgie Jutland is described in the blurb on the novel’s back cover as a “mess”, and whilst I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself just now in the same terms I certainly related to her. She is a woman, just turned forty* who finds herself living in the shadow of her former self. She is at a crossroads, a place where she can continue to live passively or can act to change her situation. “Her days have fallen into domestic tedium and social isolation”, a situation that is not alien to my own. Ideas about being rescued, finding redemption and destiny are all explored in the novel, themes that I find particularly interesting as I find myself hurtling towards a junction where I want to act. I’ve had my babies, I am starting to consider what the next phase of my life will hold for me. I don’t necessarily just want to passively plod along, like Georgie I’m attracted to the idea of making dramatic changes and yet I wonder if I have the courage within to take action. 

“Is it because I’m self-obsessed and totally incurious that I don’t know a bloody thing about anybody, Beaver, or is it just that nobody tells me anything?” (286)

Again I identify with Georgie. So often I feel like I know nothing about the people around me. There is so much that I would like to know about them but then I feel uncomfortable asking questions of them. I feel like if I ask them questions I am invading their privacy. It does also occur to me that perhaps I’m too self-obsessed and this is why I don’t know all that I’d like, too introverted to connect with other people’s lives.

“Paddocks segued into pine plantations then market gardens and finally hobby farms whose flybitten, shaggy ponies marked the farthest outposts of suburbia.” (75) “They entered the miserable throughway of Joondalup. It was like a landscaped carpark with all the franchises that passed for civilisation.” (76)

A good description of Wanneroo Road and Joondalup too. Driving back from Ledge Point I could almost have been in the truck with Georgie and Lu, had I not been driving a mini-bus containing my parents merrily singing along to Dolly Parton and my four children chattering along. Winton’s words were certainly resonating with me as I drove, conscious of the familiar sights and Winton’s description.  Joondalup, a town centre not far from where we live, has been described by my folks as a Lego town. So neat and tidy, so well planned, so manicured. It is odd really.

virtù - an album page - mangroves in Ako - PNGvirtù - the mangroves, Ako, PNG 1998

“But he persists in the mangroves despite the fear of crocs because the tree canopy offers shade and camouflage and his hunger grows more nagging.” (404)

The tree canopy of the mangroves took me back through time and space to a trip to Papua New Guinea over 15 years ago. A canoe ride through the mangroves near Ako Village was an eerie highlight. At the time I was naive to the fact that the waters were infested with saltwater Crocodiles. Good thing too I suppose or I would not have bathed at all in the week we were there.

virtù - Kununurra 2001

“The plantation town of Kununurra was a weird, virescent swathe in the ochre landscape, a few moments of rigid geometry that fell away in seconds and afterwards seed imaginary.” (406)

An apt description of Kununurra, something of an oasis in the red dirt and termites nests of the far north. My own memories of Kununurra are of the local and thriving Chinese restaurant, the free beer coolers we received when paying our hotel bill and most memorable of all unpacking and re-packing all our worldly possessions at the NT/WA border. We’d packed our old house up using vegetable boxes which we weren’t allowed to take across the border. Funny to think that at that time we could move all our worldly possessions in fruit boxes and a Datsun Bluebird.


So I adored Dirt Music, and the more time passes the more I love it. The more it is sinking in. I remember reading Winton’s Cloudstreet when we first arrived in Perth and it quickly became one of my true favourites. There is something special about reading a novel set in a time and place you can so easily identify with.


* Not forty yet folks but at the beginning of the month I started my fortieth year.

Monday, April 28, 2014


ebe - shows leadership and care for his siblings during the egg huntmae - loves to wear a dressode - drinking the last of the milk from his cereal bowlace - a holiday bath in the kitchen

a portrait of my children, once a week in 2014


ebe – showed leadership during the family chocolate egg hunt, ensuring a team effort and equal distribution of the chocolate. It was so heart warming to witness. Pure delight. I’m so proud of him.

mae – loves to wear a frock. Not nearly as shy as she used to be, still not as outgoing as her older brother, but certainly can hold her own now in a situation with unfamiliar children. So lovely to see her becoming more confident day by day.

ode – draining the milk from his cereal bowl. His grandfather notes many similarities with his Great Uncle R. who shares the same birth order.

ace – takes a holiday bath in a storage container. Such an easy little soul to go travelling with. 


Joining in with Jodi.


ace - enjoying the birds at a picnic lunchmae - scootering along the Swan Riverebe - another idea on the wayode - the world's slowest icecream eater

a portrait of my children, once a week in 2014


ace – enjoys watching the birds at a picnic lunch

mae – takes a break from scootering along the Swan River to gawk at the jelly fish

ebe – another idea taking form

ode – the world’s slowest ice cream eater! His family marvels at how long he can make an ice cream last.


*** very late with these portraits – school holidays have been hectic in so many ways ***

Sunday, April 13, 2014


ebe - helps his dad build a tree housemae  - pass the parcelace - babysits his nieceode - watches telly after his first blood nose   

a portrait of my children, once a week in 2014


ebe – helps his dad build a tree house

mae – passes the parcel

ace – babysits his “niece” Susie

ode – watches telly after his first blood nose


Joining in with Jodi.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

ten on ten

ten on ten

A collection of images from my day.


Seen this idea around the traps … can’t find it just now though – will link back when I find it.


ETA – Joining in with Rebekah (thanks Bron!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

yo gabba gabba

virtù - yo gabba gabba pillowcases

I surprised my darling O. with Yo Gabba Gabba pillowcases that I made following Susie’s awesome tutorial. There are not enough words to describe just how much he loves Yo Gabba Gabba. Best show ever, according to him. The rest of the family love it too (I have caught his father singing  “Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle STOP hold still” whilst he fervently  dances in the shower) but we are all partial to watching other shows too. With O its just Gabba.

virtù - yo gabba gabba pillowcases & O (1)virtù - yo gabba gabba pillowcases & O (2)virtù - yo gabba gabba pillowcases & O (3) 
I have another surprise for O in the coming months too… Yo Gabba Gabba live in concert. O’s first live show ever. Some one on one time with a parent (yet to be determined). I’m excited too – he is going to be blown away and beside himself I just know it!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014


ace - no time for sitting back and relaxingebe - meandering in contemplationmae - wrinkly fingers after swimming lessons she dressed and ready to go to the 'crazy hat' school discoode - running towards me fully of glee  

a portrait of my children, once a week in 2014


ace – no time for sitting back and relaxing in his rocker now, this baby boy wants to get up a take a good look around

ebe – meanders, deep in contemplation, as he waits for his father to vote in the re-run of the senate election

mae – fresh from swimming lessons, and with wrinkly fingers, she is dressed and ready to go to the “crazy hat” school disco (the hat is rather tighter than it originally was)

ode – running up hill to take me by the hand (I’m walking too slow)



Joining in with Jodi.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

and then I bunny-hopped through the intersection

kurt cobain died twenty years ago

April 8, 1994: Sitting in my brown sigma (very similar to this one) at the lights on David Street waiting to turn right into Macarthur Ave, Triple J played on the radio as usual. I can’t recall exactly, but no doubt the ashtray was over flowing and I had another cigarette in my hand, the window wound down. I smoked Styvies in a soft pack back then. Waiting for the lights to change I was already aware of two police officers on bicycles in my rear-vision window. I had nothing to fear or feel guilty about but I managed to feel paranoid nonetheless.

The song finished and Kurt Cobain’s death was announced over the air-waves. The lights turned green. Overcome with shock I bunny hopped the car through the intersection.

Kurt Cobain - died twenty years ago

Kurt Cobain b. 20 Feb 1967   d. 5 Apr 1994



In tribute here is my favourite cover by the awesome Tori Amos

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

on my dresser

virtù - on my dresser

Walking down the hall and into my bedroom I noticed the eclectic nature of items crowding my dresser. Medicine for children full of cold, baby lotion, school banking wallets, perfume, knitting, a dummy and some other assorted knick-knacks. The collection says so much about my life just now.