Sunday, June 28, 2015

the fairy tree

virtù - the fairy tree

The fairy tree, aka the orange tree, is one of the few things I will miss about this particular house. All but our youngest child (who refused to take one) has hung their dummy in the branches when the time was right, ready to be collected by the dummy fairy who in exchange left a small gift the following morning. Rumour has it that the tooth fairy is also known to hang about the tree.

virtù - mae collecting fruit virtù - picking oranges

Strange that I’ll miss it really. I’m not that fond of eating oranges. I’m more of a crunchy apple gal.  In contrast our little O. is a huge fan. Letting him pick an orange is akin to giving the kid a lolly pop, such is the excitement.

virtù - view as I breastfeed

So many special memories are entwined with this tree…

Watching E & M playing with the hose and making mud, all of the children making loads and loads of juice, sitting in the boys bedroom feeding my youngest child and staring absent mindedly it green foliage and orange fruit.

virtù - orange cake

Dave’s ambitions to be a master marmalade maker. And all the wonderful orange cake variations he has baked over the years. His latest being the best of all.

virtù - soccer fruit

Cutting up fruit ready for Sunday sport, just like we did this morning for E.’s last soccer game here in these parts. Bringing loads of fruit to every match such a lovely way to build connections with other people.

   

And yes, those precious memories of my babies deciding to be big kids and relinquishing their dummies.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

the best kind of good-bye

virtù - good-bye brown owls

It’s a wet and rainy day in these parts. My task to open up Brown Owls this morning. I went to sleep in the wee hours of the morning very conscious of the fact that I must not sleep it. I am oft late to this crafty Sunday morning session, but since I had the keys and the coffee I dragged myself out of bed and into the shower. Even so I was running late and left the house a little frantic.

Not to worry. In my trusty ol’ blue car I made it there right on time. I opened up and settled into one of the lounge chairs only to discover that I had dropped stitches on my knitting. Dang it. What I thought was going to be a nightmare to repair I had fixed in a matter of five minutes. Winning!!!! …until I noticed that I had only packed one knitting needle! D’oh.

Out to the car I went, searching it like a mad person. Back inside to empty the contents of my hand bag, my craft bag. Checked under cushions. Checked under chairs. Nope. I had definitely only bought the one knitting needle with me. Bugger.

I knew that it was unlikely  many people would be at Brown Owls today. It wouldn’t have minded at all if I could have sat there in the beautiful silence, the lovely still space with my crafty goodness. But no. Time ticked on very slowly sitting there on my own.

The time wasn’t wasted though. Sitting and thinking I reflected on all the wonderful people I had met, all the amazing and funny stories I had heard. The odd heartbreaking one or two too. I thought about how much this monthly opportunity to meet up with like minded crafty souls meant to me. How I’ll miss it, but how it had also come to is natural end for me.

Saying good-bye to all those  very special people was so much better in my imagination than it ever would have been in real life. In my imagination I said all the words that I wanted to, I phrased my good-bye just right, telling people just how much they meant to me. In so many ways it was the best kind of good-bye.

Good-bye Perth Brown Owls.

Friday, June 19, 2015

night owl

virtù - night owl Anyone who has known me for a long time will know that I am afraid of birds. Cowering, trembling sort of afraid. Let out an involuntary squeal afraid. As I’ve aged my fear is within my control. I can sit at the beach and be surrounded by sea-gulls, I can even walk through an aviary – though it would never be my choice.  SO, last night I was a little amused that my evening took on a birdy theme – saying good bye to another dear friend having dinner at The Aviary and then drinks at The Bird.

I put my friend in a taxi at around 10pm, she was very conscious of it being a school night. For my part, at home with four small children I don’t get out that often so I decided to hang-out at the bar drinking bubbly and listening to divine music for as long as I could.

Walking, in the rain with my yellow umbrella, I was conscious of just how many solitary men are out and about at night. They’re fearless as they move about the dark city. Myself, I am careful. Looking for bright lights, listening for footsteps behind me, conscious of alleyways and dark nooks ahead. Frankly it pisses me off. Why can’t I just move about at  night fearless? It is a huge injustice. It struck me that I could if there was a curfew on men. Wouldn’t it just be lovely if say two nights a week all men had to be indoors after 9pm? Women could just get out and about having a lovely time without fear of attack.

Sometimes I get miffed that my partner doesn’t worry about me more. I often walk about at night time on my own en route to public transport. My friend caught  a taxi because her husband doesn’t like her to catch the train alone at night. There are moments when I think, “why doesn’t Dave care about me like that”. They’re fleeting. He believes in my right to walk about in my own city. He believes in my ability to look after myself, not needing a patriarchal carer. He believes in me.

Sitting on the train, hooking away with my crochet, I notice that I am one of only three women on the carriage. The others are all men. Do any of them look like they might attack me? What would I do? What I do do is remind myself that I am more likely to be attacked by someone I know. I think statistics. More likely to die in a car crash. More likely to be hit by a bus. I want to be safe, but I don’t want the fear of what might happen dominate my life.

Walking in the front door I was greeted with the comforting sight of little Ace asleep on Dave’s chest, both passed out soundly on the couch, the t.v. flickering. Finally this baby boy of ours can eventually fall asleep without me. YAY! There are more nights drinking bubbly and listening to live music in my future.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

it’s not all sunshine and clear blue skies

virtù - its not all sunshine and clear blue skies

‘Twas cold and rainy here in the west today. Rather glum in fact. A stark contrast to the lovely morning we spent yesterday on the beach. Then it had been all sunshine and clear blue skies.

The littlest child and I ventured into the city. There were errands to do. A strange mix of tasks to cross off the rather chaotic ‘to-do list’.

Today was a good reminder of why, for the time being, I am abandoning city life. I’m a city girl. I love all it has to offer. Bright lights, narrow streets, colour… lots and lots of colour.  But with smalls in toe it can be tricky to take advantage of all its’ offerings.  Just navigating around with a cumbersome pram or stroller is a nightmare.  Languishing in cafes and wine bars are a thing of the past, so too is quietly strolling around an art gallery or reading for long periods in the library. Don’t get me wrong, there is still some time for these things, but not a part of my day to day life. These things will be come again, probably in ten or so years.

I have had some of the best times of my life in this city. When we first arrived here we rented in West Perth and then eventually moved to our very own townhouse in Leederville. I’d walk to and from the city regularly. I took advantage of all its offerings. They were party days. It wasn’t until a couple of months before the birth of our second child that we moved to suburbia. My four gorgeous children have been born in this city. Best days ever.

But some of my darkest days have also been had here. There was a very deep depressive episode in 2003 and then ante and post natal depression over 2008 and 2009. Dark and gloomy days indeed. In retrospect I can see how lucky I was to have “survived”, all thanks to the timely intervention of my partner and our excellent GP.

I am glad that I didn’t run away, that I didn’t abandon ship. Those dark overcast days taught me so much. I’m not a fan of overcast days, their gloomy nature is burdensome. But I can see they have a place, a purpose. I tolerate them.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

knitting on the beach in winter

virtù - knitting on the beach in winter

This morning I took my youngest boys to the beach. The sky was clear blue, the washing had been hung out, and I was in need of a coffee. The boys were both grumpy and grizzly, I find that a good dose of sunshine and fresh air is always an excellent circuit-breaker, if not a cure.

Driving to the beach I could not help wondering if this would be the last time we’d play there. There is just over three weeks until we leave Perth. Maybe we’d get there again, or more likely not. I don’t know. It is certainly one of the last times. I got to thinking about how it is so easy to take for granted that you’ll visit somewhere, or do something, again. My mind also grappled with the idea that if I know something is for certain the “last time” my behaviour changes, and often, I think, I’m less likely to enjoy it because I am so caught up with notion of finality. I think I have come to the conclusion, maybe, that I am more likely to enjoy something if I take it for granted. I’m not sure. I think this is a topic I will be giving more consideration to over the next few weeks.

Sitting on the beach I actually found some time to knit. I have started knitting a cardigan for M. even though I still haven’t finished the jumper I started a fortnight ago for E.. The boys were busy making sandcastles using paper coffee cups from Dome. Looking across Sorrento Quay I noticed all the shop signage. It occurred to me that I would be seeing it all again at our new home town. So much of retail is franchised these days. We will be living on the other side of the continent and yet so many of the shops will be the same. Same signage. Same products. Same store layout and interior design. Global and national monsters sure have chewed up and spat out local retailers. It can all be so generic. This disappoints me. 

I managed to knit a few rows before the boys wanted me to join them playing. I feel super chuffed that they love playing with me. Today O. wanted to dig a big hole. Using our arms we dug the biggest hole we could and then I was assigned the task of walking back and forth filling the hole with water using the takeaway coffee cups. It was a lot of fun. I had helped myself to a handful of wooden stirrers too so we used some of them to build bridges and the remainder we used as boats. Good times indeed people. Good times indeed.

All three of us were a little soggy around the edges and a lot sandy all over. Surely you wouldn’t go to the beach expecting anything else? Well I wouldn’t. There was, however, one mother on the beach that was quite aggressively chastising her child, who was certainly no older than two years, for getting his toes wet and his face sandy. I’m sincere when I say that I don’t like to judge. Really I don’t…. but WTF? 

       

So what about you? Sat on the beach knitting lately? Seen or heard anything that makes you go WTF?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

brunch

I hosted a very special event today. A farewell brunch for my darling M and five of her closest friends.

M. has had such a tumultuous time of it for the past twelve months and I really want her to leave Perth on a positive note. Over the past couple of months she has come so far. She is so much stronger, so much more resilient and has so much more confidence. She has worked very hard.

virtù - nail polish and tatoosvirtù - jeweleryvirtù - sewing

The brunch was a great success. We had such a fabulous time. We painted each other’s finger nails and toe nails. We applied glitter tattoos to our hands, feet, bellies, legs, arms and faces. We danced and we dance and we danced. We did a bit of sewing too.

virtù - brunch

We were very busy having a marvellous time, but we managed to find time to eat some yummy food too.

There was lots of chatter. It is so very interesting to listen to what they pick up about the world around them. They sure are sponges. Lots of giggling. Lots of silliness. One friend exclaimed “best party ever” which sure did make M. and I feel uber ace.

virtù - glitter hands and a huge smile - good times

Naturally enough M. is worried about making new friends. I’m not so worried about that anymore. Don’t get me wrong I am still a little bit worried – what mother wouldn’t be? But not as much as I would have been at the beginning of the year. I know that she has what it takes to make new friendships.

Her journey really is quite incredible. Seeing her shrink into herself at the hands of a bully. Seeing the impact that relational aggression had on her. The pressures that the situation has put our family under. Mind blowing really. To think at the end of last year and the beginning of this one, doctors and pastoral care staff were using words like “autism” and “adhd” when trying to find a solution for her. In hindsight I can see that last year there was victim blaming too on the part of her classroom teacher. There was a problem in her classroom that she couldn’t solve (because that is the very nature of relational aggression) and so she very subtly started to stigmatise M.  This year she has a much more experienced teacher, an older wiser soul, who has nurtured and encouraged her. The clouds have lifted and she has really started to shine. My bright and bubbly girl is back.

After this morning’s brunch M. confided that she is worried that her friends will forget her. So this week I am off to buy stationery sets for M. to gift to her best buddies so that they can write to each other. Its a tricky one, because as an adult I know that people lose touch. I know that in the greater scheme of things it won’t matter. There will be new friends. People come and go. She will learn it too over time, but for now she can have some pen-pals and who knows? Maybe they will stay in touch.

Of course, there is doubt on my part. I do second guess whether or not the move is the right thing. Well, not so much the move, but the timing. Nah – I’m seconding guessing everything right now… but I have optimism too. Whilst I don’t have belief in a divine entity as such, I do have faith in the universe. Whatever that means? I do believe that everything is going to be ok.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

wedge

virtù - wedge island

The saying good-byes have begun.

The kids and I drove up to Wedge Island today to catch up with one of my dearest friends. A good mate. One of the most caring people I know.

virtù - puddle funvirtù - no training wheels

Wedge is a super cruisy place to hang out. The biggest boy was off in a flash exploring and playing with L.’s grandsons. The little boys were running a muck playing in puddles, lots and lots and lots of giggles. Isn’t that just one of the most precious sounds of parenthood? And the girl, well she was off and racing on a bike – her very first time riding without training wheels. The pure joy of a milestone achievement.

virtù - pinnaclesvirtù - ebe always on the runvirtù - posersvirtù - sweety

After a gourmet barbeque breakfast, we made a quick trip up to the Pinnacles. Since my dear friend and her grandsons are traditional owners in these parts we were granted free entry into the park. Her grandsons were super chuffed to have got us white fellas in for free. It was so lovely to be their guests. We explored and explored and walked and walked and had a grand time. Six children out and about and not one whinge or complaint – everyone was having that good a time.

virtù - sand dunes and wedgevirtù - odevirtù - sand dune funvirtù - sand angelvirtù - strike a pose

After lunch I did some 4wd-driving. My first time ever. I must say it was a lot of fun driving up the beach and into the sand dunes. The children all had a blast frolicking in the sand. Brilliant.

My darling M. sure does like to strike a pose these days! Meanwhile it is almost impossible to get a shot of her older brother because he is always up to something. Lots of captures of my little Ace because he never strays very far away, and my sweet Ode – well he tolerates me most of the time.

Lots of sleeping children in the car on the trip back home.

Lots of thinking time for me. Time to dwell on how I am going to miss my dear friends, but also time to acknowledge that the truest of friendships will last time and distance.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

the first week of winter

The first week of winter has been and gone. The pace around here was certainly slower.

virtù - litte kid

There were long lay-ins and snuggling up in the toasty bed (taking selfies – as you do).

virtù - snuggling in bed

There was bike riding around Lake Monger and an accidental swim (aka near drowning).

virtù - accidental swimmer

There was an adventure to Bunbury.

 

virtù - my mob in Bunbury

There was “surfing”.

virtù - ebe 'surfs'

There was dancing.

virtù - beach dancer

There was a trip to the Landsdale Farm School with my two cherubs, where we discovered that we have a lot to learn about country life and that for now we’re city slickers through and through.

virtù - two of my boys

There was the discovery that  little Ace isn’t too keen on getting up close and personal with the animals – not seen him so keen to sit in his stroller for a good while.

virtù - not keen on goats - photo by ode

There was close examination of a guinea pig. Or was it a rabbit? Ode and I weren’t really sure.

virtù - admiring the guinea pig

There were home made dinners, all the best winter comfort foods. Lots and lots of cups of tea.

… and there was generally just a fair bit of hanging out.

The first week of winter was actually pretty nice.

oddity

virtù - oddity blanket

Craft has a funny habit of reflecting life. The state of play can be seen in the tension of stitches, the colours chosen and the progress made.

Just now my crafting is chaotic. Haphazard. Sporadic. It’s an oddity. Just like this blanket. This blanket that originally started as a series of squares hooked together as part of a CAL on Ravelry in 2012 and didn’t actually start joining together until last year.

Great progress was made. Then stop. I wasn’t quiet happy. It was tossed aside for many months and retrieved again as the autumn turned colder and the stress in my life increased. Some unpicking was done. Some rearrangements. Re-sorting. Re-imagining… and now the love has been rekindled and progress once again is being made.

So much of life is in this blanket. I love it. Then not so much. Then I love it again. It truly is an oddity. My oddity blanket. I love it all the more for being so. Odd things make me smile.

virtù - oddity blanket  - a tangled mess

Who knows when it will finally be finished? Just now it is once again threatened with being tossed aside. The imminent relocation to a colder climate has seen the knitting sticks being frantically clicked together in a desperate, very much a manic, attempt to create some winter jumpers for my crew. 

Taking notice of the weather in our soon-to-be new home I observed that the maximum temperature this past Tuesday was actually two degrees less than our minimum. Freak out. We are not prepared. I have never been a fan of the cold. Not at all. I whinge and whine about the cold in these parts, complaints about being “freezing” as my teeth chatter together. In this sense it is odd to choose a cold place for a new home. It is all good though. I am determined to knit and crochet myself in love with cold weather. I can change. I have the power.

… worst case scenario – I’m left huddled under my oddity blanket, and that will surely muster a smile?

     

What about you? Do you like odd things?