Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sickly sweet, nudie runs and butterflies

Just the way any little girl would like it.

Firstly, thank you so very much to each and every person who has been holding us close in their thoughts today. You all know who you are, if I started replying to your very, very kind cards, emails, sms's and phone messages... well, I'd be here til next week. Please take this as one huge THANKS to you all. From myself and Steve. He really dearly needs this support too and though he's never said (instead saying more often over the years, "I'm glad you've found this support"), I know he really appreciates this network very much. It's extremely important for a Dad to not only know his girl's memory is safe, but that he too is being loved and held close during this time of year.

Second point of business: We did it. We baked a cake. Well... actually, we baked individual little pineapple cakes. The ingredients were, pretty much, crushed pineapple, a shitload of sugar (by way of actual sugar and condensed milk in the icing), some flour and shredded coconut.

But oh my God. Heaven in a muffin pan.

The LGBB helped me decorate. She also helped measure, did all the taste testing (as she wanted evidenced, hence the muggy chin shot showing her handiwork) and whinged and whined around until they were ready to be iced. Dang! don't things take for-ev-er to cool/heat up/stop moving/start moving when there is someone hopping from foot to foot impatiently?

I am buoyed by the fact that I have nurtured our souls with something sweet and home-baked today. It was worth it. I got up around 5am and just decided: this was the one we were going to make. The muffin pans were a very last-minute resort and I'm glad we did them this way. It meant that each little cake was its own complete "thing". More imprtantly, it meant that the treacly-ness of all that natural and unnatural sugar was caramelised in the baking process. Oh, yes! So the outer shell was chewy to bite through and the inner was soft, almost doughy. The coconut in the condensed milk, butter and vanilla icing (heat it to reduce, if you're wondering how it stiffened up enough to sit atop these delectable little bites) added just the right amount of substantial crunch.

Oh, heavens, I almost forgot. The nudie run part! When we got to the park, we discovered it had been closed. The ominous pre-warning came when we turned off the main road. "There's no sign to the park anymore," Steve mentioned. Oh deary me, when we got to the entrance and it was closed... Steve burst into tears. It was really quite awful. He was adamant we were going to walk in there. This was not the time to push my motherly concerns about the fact that the place had obviously been overrun for many months now, as weeds had overtaken literally everything we could see. Picnic tables almost obscured by the wild grass, fallen limbs strewn everywhere, the perfect spacious home for snakes and other things that go "bite" when disturbed. We had sandals on.

Nevertheless, I didn't want to just turn around and leave either. So we got the LGBB out and headed in.

It was strange, you know. It was like another world. The place we have been visiting each year since her memorial was never a completely pristine, manicured park. It was a well maintained native bush park though. This... well, I was never expecting this. It's not as if it wasn't beautiful. As Steve mused, it was perhaps even more special. Because now it felt completely wild and free. We walked down the road to the carpark in silence. Traipsed down the path that winds along the top of the steep hill down to the lake. And that's when something moved to our left and caught both our eyes, right when I saw a bundle of blue material balled up on one of the rusty, overgrown barbecues.

A man! A fucking naked man! He turned and sat, facing away and crossing his legs as fast as lightning. Stealthily (as you would if you've been caught without your clothes on in a park that looks like it hasn't seen a human being in well over six months). How could he possibly have planned to expect a young family turning up on a weekday morning for a stroll in a prohibited park? He had obviously jumped the gate too, to take a quick dip in the beautiful, secluded spot.

Poor bastard, was all I could think as Fight-or-Flight Steve next to me whirred into self-contained adrenaline-pumped readiness. It was quite amusing, watching Steve bristle. Perhaps it was the naked man aspect (he wouldn't see many of those). Er.. or perhaps it was the "is this dude a nutter who's going to lure us somewhere dangerous and scary and no one will ever know because we're in the middle of freaking nowhere" aspect. Yuh. It was probably the latter, you're right.

But anyway, he did us no harm. We pretended we hadn't even seen him. He reminded me of Spike, actually, so it was kinda difficult to be scared by him. We walked on and took some photos. The LGBB remained quiet. It's a pretty commanding place even when it's looked after. But now, it just looked so... untamed. Even more magical, and yet I felt very saddened that it is being left to fall into nothingness. If the remainders of what was a lovely nurtured picnic spot were gone, perhaps (like the barbecues, the benches and picnic tables, the toilet block and so forth), it wouldn't look so uncared for. The "weeds" wouldn't be weeds. Oh, I don't know what I'm trying to say now really. Mostly, I'm concerned we'll not be able to go in anymore. In another year, who knows? It might be completely boarded up. To stop skinny dippers and parents with toddlers from getting in if it's dangerous.

Here. I'll explain in pictures. What you cannot see in them are the hoards (or is it a flock?) of amber coloured butterflies. They were everywhere! Must explain more about that in a later post.

We've finished the day with another rudie nudie. The LGBB went starkers on the trampoline for the first time (quite pleased with the arrangement, she was, especially given the heat) and ran circles. Round and round and round, with Steve. Then, we did something I think was quite inspired. We handed her the digital SLR, let her point and shoot. I'm waiting for the pictures to download now. If there are any awesome ones, you know I'll be sharing.

Satisfied today. Not completely happy, for I don't think that's ever going to be possible on this day. Ever. But satisfied and full.

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