Friday, December 30, 2011

Remembered into being

Ellanor was borne into being long after she became a thought. I had introduced her to my closest confidantes before I got pregnant. She included herself in our lives before she was born. She touched down here for the most fleeting of days - 31 to be very exact - and then tripped back off again. Leaving me to gather together all the memories she had left me with, so I could lean on them. Desperately at first. Despairingly, longingly. But always fondly. Even the hard memories. And then I got stuck into sharing them, mostly here on this blog (and my old one). The more I did, the more I discovered that she remained vital in not just my life but the lives of others.


Later in 2004, I had not a clue, not a whisper of a dare of a hope that I might ever feel like opening my eyes for one more day on this Earth, let alone wonder if any more children were to be our fate. It's just lucky for us that it was. That I never continued my thought process to my eventual untimely end (and how to do it).


It's a tricky thing.


She had to leave. I had to stay. But I know why now. 


Miss Lolly, a month after she burst my heart open even wider
The most endearing face in my world, 2008

Even when she makes more work for me, she is still my Heaven - 2011




For if she had not, the world would not have been able to welcome the shining light that is Ellanor's little sister. Like revolving doors, the two girls slipped past each other. Never destined to meet in the flesh.


But those memories I hold in my soft mother heart are Lolly's. They are there for her to wade in, explore, develop for herself. Memories that did not bring Ellanor into being but that ensure she has no beginning or end here on Earth, as it is wherever she goes now. She is the one who is free. She is the one who had the vision to come. And to go. How can I ultimately be anything but impressed by that sheer will? I am frankly in awe of her.


As long as we keep remembering. Their existence will continue to flourish.








In dedication to all the babies who are being cradled 
in the memories of their families this festive season. 
Peace be with you all. 
Together, we will never let them fade.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Life Path: Heading for my Balanced State

"I take care of my own needs in order to take care of others."

This is my balanced state of existence. Self-preservation. There have been rare times in my life where I have mastered achieving it and it is something I do still have to work hard on. I am rarely in that state.

This is a bit of a different post today. 2012 is my year to get more serious on my blog with what I do. More on that as the year gets into full swing. But for starters, here is an opportunity to give back to you a little something of what I do "professionally" these days. I'd love to hear from you if it sounds like something that might be useful or relevant for you, so feel free to contact me. Confidentiality is assured (otherwise I'd be really quite shit at my work, wouldn't I!).

Okay? Read on if you're interested!


We all have a balanced state, unique to us. We also have deficient, excessive and fear states as well. When things aren't quite ticking along or seem out of kilter in our communication with others, or in the general way we see things in our lives, it can be helpful to gain further understanding so that we then have the free-will and choice to make change. In whatever direction. (Sometimes, I can have all the understanding about my particular way of being in a situation and still walk head-long - the long way around! - into further hurt and harm and shattering lessons)

My general life lesson/purpose is the responsibility of change - transition is my lot. For many years, I gnashed my teeth and was frustrated by the begin again and again and bloody AGAIN nature of my existence! When I discovered, through my study, a deeper understanding and purpose for this repetition, I had a far greater expansive awareness of myself and why I was going through the mill. Little by little, the begin-again lessons stopped, for I was able to look at each previously frustrating or hurtful occurrence in my life and learn about my role in them and whether there was anything in my power to change (if not how then) why they occurred. It was a turning point in my heal-the-healer journey I've been on.

The other states of the psyche, as I mentioned - and we all have these, but they are different for each of us - are "excessive", "deficient" and "fear". When we are striving to understand these, we can begin to have a more complete picture of what makes us tick.

My deficient state (when I am not quite feeling balanced and there is instead a depletion somewhere in my pattern) is "ego-centric", ie. "Things are not quite how I want them to be." 
It's all about meee! There is a certain aspect of wanting to control with this one. I am very familiar with it! It, too, is a lesson that keeps knocking on my door and as my life progresses, I can now recognise that this is not a balanced way to live my life. It has been helpful to know.

My excessive state (when the pendulum is swinging too far in the other direction and I am over-grown with something) is "aggressive", ie. "I expect conflict in my life."
This is where I am currently. I have been in an extended period of the excessive state of the psyche. It is not comfortable, it has kinda lately become my new norm, even though I know I am not this aggressive person. Partially, yes - it is in there and I need to know it to be familiar with my whole Self - but to this degree and intensity and for this long? Nu-uh.

And get this:  My fear state is "fear of death, or of birth."
Well, well, well. Hasn't that been one shock to my system then, eh?! It's little wonder, when I look at it, that I have been delivered the repetitive lessons that I have about death. And of birth. Why, my whole adult life so far has been consumed by both those things - the prospect of birth of each of my conceived children (that'd be 14 so far) and the death of all but one of them.

So, okay. I've mastered the fear state. I am familiar with but currently not steeped in my deficient state. I am going to diligently stay with the Excessive State lessons and see what I can work through. Because enough is enough.

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Have you reached a point where you're looking for another way? A bit of a break-through? That gnawing kind of feeling like you know there's something that is holding you at bay from "the next step" (whatever that is for you) but you just don't know what??

If anyone would like a consultation (online, via email) on their Life Path, I am available from January 2012. For a small fee, you will receive a pdf containing information specific to your numerological Life Path number, which is determined by your birth date. It can be general, as above, or a decade-specific one (ie. if you are in your 30's, the information provided can be specifically about your 4th decade here on Earth if you prefer!), or both if you want as much information as you can get. Also included are a couple of tools to support you along the way - your Animal and Plant totems (text), essential oil/essence understanding (text) and your Life Path colour mandala.


To get started, simply email me via kirrily@geneticfactor.com, send me a DM on Twitter, find me via Facebook.... there is a plethora of ways! All I need is your birth date (including the year) and a contribution via Paypal and you will have your Life Path reading in just a few days.

Friday, December 23, 2011

O (artificial Hudson Pine from Target) Christmas Tree, O (you get the picture)


It's fake, yes. And yet..... its branches are so lovely.

When it came to putting up the tree a week ago, I stood looking at all 7 /12' of it and sighed a resigned, tired sigh. I knew I would be the one pulling most of the decorations off in just a few short weeks. It all just looked like more work to me.

So this year, we went minimal bling, maximum lights. And whaddaya know?

It. WORKS! Like, really, reeeeally well.


A few choice obligatory kinder-made decorations,
some Santa's, maybe a sparkly silver snowflake or ten...

This year we gave Lolly a sparkly glittery fairy with butterfly wings
(I give her a new ornament each year, she has 6 now!)

Less time to put up means far less time to take down. A few favourite decorations here, a few choice strings of beads there, add a shit-tonne of fairy lights and...

Voilé! Tree is done and delightful.


Now this time is really the last Christmas post! Have a lovely one, everyone xxoo

Thursday, December 22, 2011

All you need is love and understanding

If this ends up being my final post before Christmas, well... how very fitting.

For a special woman (you know who you are) who is feeling it this week. Come on guys, let's all get in a big group hug. Put your word-weapons down and cop a bit of Ronnie James Dio with me. Shout it or sing it, either is perfectly acceptable here. Whatever makes you feel happy.

Merry Christmas if I don't get back in here! Remember there are a lot of emotions pinging about the place, peoples. Stresses that aren't usually there any other time of year, more realisations of what you've got or haven't got (or who you have or have lost) - and if you don't think it affects you.... think again. Even if not directly, others' energies will be having an effect on you as well. As always... go gently with each other.

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The Butterfly Ball: who remembers this? In the 70's, I think, they used to play it as a filler between shows on the ABC - The Goodies, Monkey, maybe The Tomorrow People (god that show used to freak me out...) - and I always loved it as a young child. A friend re-introduced me to it earlier this year. So today, I'm posting it for her.


Love Is All
Ronnie James Dio/Roger Glover

Everybody's got to live together
All the people got to understand
So love your neighbour
Like you love your brother
Come on and join the band

Well all you need is love and understanding
Ring the bell and let the people know
We're so happy and we're celebratin'
Come on and let your feelings show

Coz love is all
Well love is all
Love is all can't you hear the call
Oh well love is all you need
Love is all you need at the Butterfly Ball

Ain't you happy that we're all together
At the ball in nature's countryside
And although we're wearing different faces
Nobody wants to hide

Love is all and all is love and
It's easy, yes it's so easy
At the Butterfly Ball where love is all
And it's so easy

All you need is love and understanding
Hey ring the bell and let the people know
We're so happy and we're celebratin'
Let your feelings show

Love is all, yes love is all at the Butterfly Ball
Love is big, love is small
Love is free, love is all
At the Butterfly Ball

When your back's to the wall
When you're starting to fall
You got something to lean on
Love is everything
It can make you sing
At the Butterfly Ball
Love is all, I say love is all, yes love is all
At the Butterfly Ball

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Genevieve

There's one thing that contributes to the beautiful recuperative feel of Christmas for me:  watching movies. Lots and lots of movies.

It comes from the days as children when we had seemingly endless (sometimes tear-inducing boring) weeks of freedom during summer holidays. The harsh reality of working life put a stop to that, as did a job that never closed (except on Christmas Day). Now THAT was a buzz-kill.

Steve and I settled in to our own tradition of Christmas-time movie watching because, well, there wasn't much else we had to do. With no children to attend to - not for lack of trying to surround ourselves with a brood - we filled our work-free days with Harry Potter and Star Wars and The Lord Of The Rings. Long series of movies.

But I have my own favourites. My own must-watch movies. The ones I rarely watch during the year but never fail to watch at Christmas time. There are three in particular and all of them make me cry. Not necessarily through sadness, but because I love them so much. A little bit of wistful mixed in remembering the years past where I would watch these movies with such free abandon, not realising the fate that would befall us when we lost our Ellanor in 2004. It took me quite some time to watch them again, knowing they made me feel so happy. Possibly difficult for anyone who hasn't gone through deep, deep grief to understand. But there you have it.

I still watch these movies. And I am most delighted to say that the LGBB adores them now too and watches them with me, giggling and tearing up at the appropriate bits. She's her mother's daughter, for she even recites lines from them.... Ahhh, 'ats my girl.

So, today. The first one:

Genevieve

Image source

Oh how I A.D.O.R.E. this movie. I think if I was asked what my favourite movie was, this would have to get the guernsey. I don't know why. Perhaps it's the sentimental factor. My grandparents and Dad were living in London when this was filmed in 1953. I have photos of my grandparents taken by the street photographers dressed like Wendy and Alan McKim on streets that are identical - obviously, because this movie was shot on location.

With Larry Adler's divine harmonica score, written for the movie I believe, what's not to love about this right from the get-go??  If you're not swaying from side to side, even just a little bit, during this happy song then please check yourself for a pulse....



Basically, what happens is this:

Wendy (the awesome and beautiful Dinah Sheridan) and Alan McKim (the lovely John Gregson, whom I formed a bit of a crush on in my teen years watching this movie!) are married. He is an old car enthusiast - the car's name is Genevieve - and she is long-suffering about his involvement with the Car Club, which hold an annual London to Brighton rally. The movie opens with Alan getting ready for the 1953 rally. 
There are all sorts of mishaps and car break-downs and matrimonial squabbles along the way and it gets worse when they eventually arrive at Brighton. Hi-lar-i-ty! (I just LOVE the proprietress at the hotel they end up in who has the unfortunate task of telling them hot water is only available "in the afternoons between half past tiew and seeks"). Now watch this clip and tell me you haven't ever laughed hysterically, because there's no point crying, at something as awful as what they encounter in their hotel room:



Alan and their friend, the wicked Ambrose Claverhouse (Doctor in the House's, Kenneth More), decide to race their vintage cars back to London - their competition runs deep, with Alan convinced that his wife and Ambrose had at one time been more than good friends before they were married, a suspicion not alleviated by cheeky Wendy who likes to tease him a little about his insecurity (because she knows it's completely unfounded).
Ambrose's new "lady friend", Rosalind (played by the classic Kay Kendall, who died only 6 years later aged 33.... can you believe she was 27 when she made Genevieve?!? Whaaat?), comes along for the rally and finds the whole thing a tad boring but she's pleasant enough about it. At the dinner dance, she gets completely sozzled for the fun of it and decides to play with the band. The scene below happens right after Ambrose finishes confessing to Wendy during their dance that he hopes to *ahem* have his end away? Is that how the British put it? with Rosalind that night. The end of the scene is cut off here, right when Wendy launches into her uncontrollable laughter at Ambrose's "misfortune" when his date passes out cold for the night. Ha!




The race home between the two men gets very heated and there appears to be no love lost. Alan ends up betting Ambrose his car, Genevieve, that his old girl can beat Ambrose's spyker back to London. The music in this movie gets me every time. It just fits so perfectly. Here are some beautiful stills from the production of Genevieve:



As an interesting aside, I discovered on a Google search one time that dear Dinah Sheridan lost a child at birth in the years prior to making this movie and it warms me to her so much more. Can you believe it, but she is still alive! She must be 91 by now. What a woman.

Would you all please go out and find yourselves a copy and watch it? It's gorgeous. Not technically anything to do with Christmas, but a simply delightful old comedy very deserving of its place in my extensive movie library.

As for my other two favourites, well.... they will have to wait for a post in the near future, dear reader. Now, tell me: What are your favourite Christmas time movies? (not necessarily Christmas-themed, but just ones you might traditionally watch at this time of year)


Excuse me while I just go and watch it again...... already.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wait without hope


For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; 
wait without love 
For love would be love of the wrong thing; 
there is yet faith
But the faith and the hope and the love are all in the waiting. 

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought. 

So the darkness shall be the light and the stillness the dancing.

An "Ella butterfly" posing graciously for the camera



This humbles me into quiet stillness today. Yet more stunning wisdom from T.S. Eliot's beautiful, beautiful, beautiful East Coker III, Four Quartets, 1940.

-----------------------


For those who were playing along at home and made a guess at the little face in the image in this recent post, here she is.... a delicate white moth. I encourage you to click on the photo above and have a look at a larger version, she's exquisite. In this house, they're known as "Ella Butterflies" because the LGBB has noticed they seem to hang around her big sister's beautiful rose bush. Thanks to her indoctrination from watching the Tinkerbell movies, she tells me that "white butterflies" haven't been painted by the fairies yet.

Has a certain symmetry to it, I think.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I don't want her to have everything. There. I said it.

I have been practising the art of not-blogging until I have something to say. Did you even notice? (I have so many things to say, I can rarely keep off here for longer than a week....)

Well. I have something to say now. About Christmas and consumerism.

Sigh.

Oh, Christmas. How I love, loathe, repel, adore thee.



Last night, our little Lolly graduated from four year-old kinder. We embark officially now on the the looooooongest six weeks of our lives, she and I. The month before her first year of school.

It's also the time where I put to question my position on Christmas presents for our child. While I don't think we go overboard, Steve and I, we certainly give the LGBB a good variety of little presents. We've noticed they usually get drowned in comparison to what is lavished on her from the family at large though. It sits uneasily with us. We tactfully ask that we "keep it small" on the gifts for the kids. But still we are greeted with this desire to give. Over-give. It feels so wasteful on the one hand. On the other, it is still quite a lot less than so many privileged children receive.

I know my thoughts on it on the surface, but I asked myself the other day whether I truly wanted my child to "have everything" - a term I hear so often used. After a good deal of consideration, I can say that .... no. I don't want my child to have everything. Experience everything. I know the experience thing is ultimately not up to me; much of that is going to be decided by her and the path she takes through life (which I know first-hand is rarely the one you think you're set to take). But the having everything is certainly within my control - for the most part - for now.

While all around her Lolly is encountering peers with iPods and every age-appropriate toy money can buy, we are setting a consistent and steady pace with our gifts to her. I cannot comment on what it is like in any other household, but I can safely attest to a child who does not expect a treat at every supermarket check-out. She is not influenced by the unstoppable consumerism of children's programming interspersed with advertisements for this and that because we simply do not allow commercials in our home. We avoid them by not allowing commercial TV to be viewed 'live' and record the shows on these stations to watch later, ad's skipped. Peace! Divine. And honestly, I really do think it does make a difference not having them in her face. When she sees these commercials, she invariably asks if she can "have one", whatever it is, because it looks fun. Of course it does! That's the advertising team's job. Well done, them.

Rarely, the LGBB and I will watch a show that is on at prime time and I am agog with the amount of bombardment that occurs via advertising. It isn't long before I click away from that channel because it just feels so forceful if you've been out of that loop, as we have now for several years. These commercials always show joyous children happy to push around this toy or that, comb something through a doll's hair, make ridiculously perfect-looking jewellery.... I know it NEVER is as easy as it appears on the commercials. I know that if we were to be suckered in to buying the product, it'd frustrate my kid to tears because she can't get it to look "the same" or get the doll to have such fluid movements.

I recall my own deep disappointment with Sand Magic, when I couldn't make anything remotely resembling the Taj Mahal with my coloured underwater sand. The best I got were two poo-shaped lumps and the majority of the sand was rinsed away down the sink at the end because, hey, nowhere on the box was it recommended you do it in a tub of water. I was only eight, after all. Bastards.

Magic Shmagic  - Image

So now we're in this funny place of asking Lolly if she has an idea of what she would like Santa to bring her. She has only one thing she'd love more than anything else....

"A rainbow unicorn and a shed for him to sleep in."

"...........Ummmmmmmm...... anything else?" I asked her hopefully. There wasn't anything else. I was given no other ideas.

I nipped that one in the bud (a stroke of genius that came to me like a bolt out of the blue, thankfully) and explained that unicorns cannot be owned, otherwise their magic goes away. They are beautiful, free creatures that can't be kept as pets, else their wonder and mystery dies.... She bought it.

I caught myself feeling disgruntled at my daughter's lack of.... want! Of making it easier for me to buy her things that made her heart fill to absolute bursting when she opened the wrapping paper. She and I have been out of kilter with each other for a few weeks - an "I love Dad more than you, sorry Mum" (yes, she actually said that!) phase - and I was getting to the point of needing to bridge the gap. Using a method that I know is so counter-productive. Buying her affection for me. What the hell?!?

She further bedded in my big lesson yesterday when out of the blue, I was landed with a whopping great kiss and a hug and told that she wanted to write "I love Mum" in all the kinder class Christmas cards we had been making together all afternoon. Now if that was not an obvious example for me that all I need to do in order to be in her good graces is spend quality, productive time together, I don't know what will point it out to me. Sure, I could get the same affection if I bought her everything her heart desires. But that seems a rather short-lived way of doing it, with no possible end to the amount of money I would need to spend to keep impressing her.

How often do we desire to have something that we cannot have? Something that doesn't eventuate? Just because we see others with one does it mean it is our right to have one too? If we give, give, give all these toys, when else does she learn about being selective? About not over-indulging? About considering those less fortunate?

It seems we have somewhat successfully created a child who has so far dodged the consumerism bullet. Whether she is completely innoculated, time will tell. But we are going to be resisting as passively as we can, her father and I, all the crazes and must-haves of her generation. She will never go without. But I feel it our duty to instill in her an awareness, that hers is a life of abundance, making do with what she has and what comes her way, regardless of all the things she does not possess.

These might be viewed as concepts too far over a young child's head. But I don't believe there is any age too young to teach compassion and awareness of others. Consistently showing and persistently leading an example of whatever values you uphold as a parent, these are naturally going to become part of that child's expectation and view of their world.

I know we all give a little (or a lot) and we also accept what we are given (for the most part). But do we stop often enough to indulge the little voice that might be asking us to look at the example we are setting to the young people in our lives? I know I don't stop often enough.... and I'm diligent about it!

What is your take on giving gifts at Christmas?



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Worlds within worlds: A pictorial of a bushwalk in East Gippsland

During our recent holiday up Australia's east coast (only as far as Sydney, this is a bloody big country!), we had the great pleasure of enjoying a bushwalk as a family. It was the LGBB who insisted on the 5km bush and beach trek. I'm so glad we did it. There were some really amazing treats on the well worn, overgrown track. Tiny birds, big rosellas, little lizards, crazy fungus formations, whole copses of fallen beach shrubs that were stunning in themselves despite being long dead and flattened.

It was a humbling experience, coming from the beachside holiday spot in Lakes Entrance and walking just a short distance to get to the point of the actual Entrance itself. So untouched yet so close to all the modern conveniences. I'm quite impressed, actually, that they have conserved this area. It's only a great pity there are not more of these pockets of nature. It really contrasts with the paved roads, the industry, the devastation of tracts of land to make way for more "progress".

Along the way, there were many stops by me and the trusty Canon DSLR. Too many photos to share here but some of my best captures of what we saw are below.

First though... Any guesses what this is?



I'll show you the whole photo in a post later in the week, give you a chance to have a good guess.

Apologies for the pesky copyright watermarks. I'm just a tad protective.

On the boardwalk

Perfect natural borders!

Mushy



Gnarly, dude










Perfect flowers


The reward at the end - 2.8km in.

The beach was an entirely different kind of photo shoot, altogether.


......And if you're not all saying "it was an entirely different kind of photo shoot" in unison right now, I will be most disappointed.

More later in the week. 
I hope your weekend has been kind and restful and given you the chance to stop and notice the significant little things around you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Forget Rorschach - My kid, the visionary

What do you see in this image?


Snowman? Round tummy? Two sticks for arms? Hat and all that?


Yes. Yes, that's what you would see. That's what we all see.

Now, you could go testing yourself online and whatnot to see where you're at psychologically and you'd be closer to understanding any underlying disorders of the mind.

Me? I prefer to take the Bliss Bomb test. It's far more satisfying.

Step 1. Take a small preschooler.
Step 2. Hand her the most obvious-looking shape around at Christmas time.
Step 3. Place it in front of her the right way up (and everything).
Step 4. Provide an assortment of crafting "things".
Step 5. Step back and watch the majesty unfold....


That's no snowman.




Is it a bird?







Is it a plane??









No.











No,


It's a.....



















Superhero alien likeness of herself.




Of course. Pssscht. If you didn't see that, then, well...... have you had your head read lately?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Questions! Always with the questions!

Over recent months, I have had all of these levelled at me:

"Does Jake the Peg really have an extra leg, Mum?" (why yes, if the song is to be believed, he does)

"I really, reeeeeeally want a baby brother." (but babies take a long time, darlin', they take ages to grow... and anyway, they have to be ready to join a family before they get in a mummy's tummy)

"Goldilocks and the Three Bears isn't real, is it?" (why do you say that, Lol?) "Because how can the three bowls of porridge be all different? How can one be cold and one be hot and one be just right all at the same time?" (.......... err..... ask your father)


"How does a baby get in your tummy?" (sigh... the Daddy puts it there... *I cringe at the over-basic and technical inaccuracy of my reply*) "Can I watch?" (you most certainly can not. Now keep eating your lunch!)


"How does Jake the Peg do wees if he has a leg in the middle where his giney goes?" (I haven't the foggiest.... anyway, Jake is a boy....*my voice trails off, she's in fits of giggles at the whole concept of a man with an extra leg and how his anatomy can possibly handle it. There's an obvious line, but I don't use it*)


What are some of the most favourite curly or deep-thinking questions you've been asked or heard? I just adore how kids think.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Post rewind: Beyond nothing

The below was originally posted in October, 2009. It received no comments, which tells me either everyone had the same (or even less) care factor than me about it, or they didn't get the whole Spinal Tap thing... which still makes me giggle immaturely. GOD, but I love that movie....

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In the grand scheme of things, this is so far down the scale. It's below "Why does Beyoncé dance like that?" and "Why does dust get under stuff I never move?" in my care factor.

But this one time, a few weeks ago, we were at The Reject Shop and I saw this ace little dustpan and brush set on the top shelf way above my head - so, like, Steve's eye height - and I asked him to get me one when we were on our way to the register. He grabbed it, a long-handled brush and matching long-handled dustpan with a nifty little clip on the handle so you can lock the brush handle to it and store them both together, upright, freestanding.

Great! I thought. It looked a little bit smaller now that it was down from the shelf and in Steve's grip, but I thought it was mostly because I was comparing it to his tallness. Yes, it's a word. Uh, I think.

So we get it home and I go to use it.... I have to bend over! But it's no particular height that I can say "It was made for kids" or even simply "It was supposed to be this length", because, quite simply, it's a useless size.

Now I just feel ridiculous using it (and I do, because I have to, because I have to be right and prove to Steve, who at the time muttered the question, "Do you really have to spend $10 on this?" and I had said loudly YES I DO, NOW GET ME ONE). I feel like that scene from This Is Spinal Tap where they're performing onstage around the 11" Stonehenge replica that they had made up, because of a misunderstanding about whether they wanted it to be 11 feet or 11 inches. A sizeable mistake.

Maybe that's it. Maybe it was meant to be 120cm long. And someone made it .... 120mm. Hey, it might as well be that short because it's already close enough to the floor.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cracking jokes: How the egg lost its head

The other night, I was asked by the LGBB if she could have a boiled egg for breakfast.

So I boiled some eggs in readiness for the next day. 

As is my penchant, I drew faces on them once they were done because I find this a quick, easy (and let's face it, enjoyable) way to differentiate between boiled and raw eggs when they're all together in the fridge. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you can tell by spinning them on the counter top or by their weight or ... yada-yada-yada. My way isn't scientific but it gives me an amused little kick when I open the fridge and see sights like this:

Completely cooked, as they say...

Now, I didn't realise until I took the egg out of the fridge and placed it in Lolly's egg cup the next morning that I had possibly used the wrong choice of facial expression....

"But... you told me it wouldn't hurt a bit!"

But it was too late. I had already used the other two eggs. This could go either way, I thought to myself as I heard her footsteps running up to the kitchen.

The LGBB was delighted to find an egg in her egg cup. She giggled at the silly face. I started to whack the top of the egg with a knife to open it up for her, wondering if I ought to tell her to avert her eyes, when she started to talk in ... well, an egg voice, and said:

"Oh no! I can't look! Quick.... turn me around," and then proceeded to swivel the egg cup so the egg was now facing away from us. I nearly peed my pants at that point but then she started commentating on my cutting ability, in the same egg voice:

"Ummm.... hairdresser?  You're not a very good hairdresser.... You're cutting my brain!"

I thought, Well, at least she's not mortified, and joined in with a "I just wanted a little off the top and sides..."

By the time her egg looked like this, Lolly was excited that the shocked mouth had turned into a smile.

She thought I was magic.

I hadn't the heart to tell her she was looking at the nose, not a little smile. I had inadvertently been clever with my artistic license.

All's well that ends well.




Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Here, enjoy a maple



We asked the LGBB to be our official maple-planting photographer this week. Here's what she saw:


Her parents, Coochy-Coo and Peek-a-Boo

Gorgeous young red branches - this is a Coral Bark Japanese Maple

I love this photo! I love when kids look up through the lens.

Then I asked if I could take the camera for a few shots and this is what happened...

"Take a photo of me! I love this tree! I love it!"
She wasn't kidding. She loves it. 



Really loves it.

Ok... it's a tree. Not a pole, toots.
Lolly asked about its eventual height and its food requirements. She skipped around the tree which, again, got me giggling about that scene from This Is Spinal Tap (look out for a soon-to-be-rewound post that shows the short clip from the movie). Then she hugged the tree.  Lolly's a tree hugger from way back.




"I'm a boat captain!"



Then I apparently had the audacity to take some non-LGBB-related shots:





"Ummm, no, you can't have the camera right now. I'm using it."



This looks so bland, but I tell you, the decibels were quite impressive

The dog was bemused

The cat cared even less


Annnnnyway....

Young leaves are red-tipped







It'll never grow as tall as the Big Kids... but it should reach at least 5m
Already, the view from my room is even more interesting and peaceful

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hidden talents

The other day, I was cleaning out our guest room to get to the LGBB's old cot. It's going to be used by our sweet little nephew - remember this little guy entering the world? Awwwww, he has his Daddy's perfectly round cue-ball head and the most adorable pixie face. I love him to BITS. But that's not why he's getting the cot. And this is not what I was posting about today.

I digress.

I found my old high school studio arts portfolio. In it were bits and pieces - some old favourite paint brushes (the one with the oh so fine tip, great for creating tiny hairflick lines) and pencils, an eraser (as I recall, this was the oldest, most reliable eraser I ever came across and I used it almost daily on my work... I found it discarded on a desk in a classroom and never parted with it again... SCORE!).

My old tattered once-loved art folder was in there as well. Very dog-eared and becoming quite the fragile, ancient relic (aren't we all?), I turned the first page and gasped. Staring back at me was a rather youthful version of my grandfather. I had clean forgotten that he had sat for his portrait when I was fifteen. I clearly  remember him pulling the wide-eyed, somewhat hopeful look you see in this likeness of him - a fairly good one, I think - and I am really shocked to discover that when I sketched him, I was locking him in to a time before another six years' worth of age would show on his face.

I was GUTTED one day to see that someone had been careless with ink on the top of his head. I am still suspicious about the teacher, for she took some of my work (and others) and displayed it without asking - as if it would be some sort of surprise.... which I suppose it was, but not in a terribly positive way - in a local shopping centre where they were showcasing some of the talent from various schools in the area. Okay. All good. No harm done there. But THIS I found almost inconceivably careless of her/them:

"Are you finished yet, Kirrileh? Oh, choogs."
Oh, Granddad. I still miss him, even after he's been gone 16 years


You know why I blame her, that teacher? This paper is quite fine. It has bled through both sides of this leaf. There are no other blots anywhere at all on my book; no, this page was folded out from the rest of the book somehow and rested somewhere it shouldn't. When I questioned her, she shrugged it off and didn't know how it could possibly have happened. I knew damn well she knew something different but what leg did I have to stand on? Unforgivable! Mrs.... Whatever her name was!

Flicking further through the book, I gasped again. A portrait of my mother this time. Decidedly younger than I see her in my mind. Now, I could go to town on myself and critique the proportions, the perspective, the fact that I didn't draw the chair and cushions she was sitting on so she looks kinda squashed..... quite a fair bit, actually. But no. I will give my fifteen year-old self a break and will simply say, what a wonderful keepsake of a time when I was still so close to my mother and wanted to capture her in that moment. Funny that I forgot this entirely in the intervening years.

my mother

There were various other sketches in there, I remember spending some enjoyable time on these two:

Why does that fish remind me of Paul Stanley from KISS???


And then there was my end of year project when I was sixteen. I guess I must have been steeped in the magic of J.R.R. Tolkien around this time because, ah, The Hobbit phoned.... he wants his identity back.




You know what, though, I look at these and think, My God! I made these up out of my own head. Was I really ever that good??  At the time, I certainly didn't think so. I had such little belief in myself and my ability as an artist, as a good... anything. Growing up with emotional and sexual abuse will do that to a youngster, I suppose.

But the final, most amazing thing I found in that folder was the fellow below. I spent hours on this. Blissful escapism, pushed through the grey lead onto the paper. He is an old Mongolian tribesman, from the cover of a National Geographic I picked up one day. When my father left, it took him some time to retrieve all of his possessions - being kicked out will cause that to occur to a person, so I've found - and he had left behind his sizeable collection (okay, it was more like every single NG ever printed from 1968 through to whatever the current year was... 1990 or something). Thumbing through it, as I would do from time to time sitting in the study at the front of our foreboding home, I found this man I couldn't look away from.

Funny thing is, I remember being disappointed with myself because the end result didn't look exactly like the actual man. There was a likeness but I thought the picture was flawed because I hadn't made it identical. Mine was softer, not as harsh-looking or weathered. I look at it now and there is a familiarity about him to me, probably because I spent so much time with him back then. Strange feeling, to think you know someone you've never met, just because you sketched their portrait!

I just loved his face. It looked warm, trusting, honest. So I began to sketch it, without much thought of where it would end up or when I would finish. I don't remember how long it took but I consider it one of my best artistic achievements so far....






Have you ever rediscovered something you were good at? Did you take it up again? Did you enjoy it then and do you enjoy it now? Do you want to start it up again but keep making excuses? (I'm good at those... Hey, something else I'm good at!)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"Watch those freeways"...

We're going away. Don't worry your pretty little heads... [Are you picturing Willy Wonka saying to Augustus, "Patience, dear boy!" No? Just me, is it?]

I've saved up some of the best drivel posts for the better part of two months and will drip feed your readers for the fortnight I won't be at the controls. You should get a new post every second day or so, mostly posting like clockwork around 6:30am. I hope you enjoy them, I had fun writing these ones.

So if I'm not replying to your comments, it's not because I'm rude or have dropped off the face of the Earth. It's because I can only read them via my phone [if and when I get reception.... Oh God..... I'd better get reception! Somewhere?] so please still feel free to leave your thoughts here.

The house sitter arrives soon - oh, these spoilt, lucky animals, they are going to be so well cared for they won't want her to leave when we come home - and then, after the weekend, we're off! I LOVE a good road trip. There are so many things I love about them so it should come as no surprise that one of my all-time favourite movies happens to be about one.

Those whacky Griswolds Image source
Now, don't forget to check the mail and... have I remembered to put the timer on the living rooms lights and... and... and....

BYYYYE!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Elderly and infirm: Take note!

Under NO circumstances should you attempt to sleep resting on a football, unless you have a loved one on hand to help fish you out of the predicament you'll find yourself in when you wake and feel all shaky in the bot-bot and then panic when you discover it's because you're resting on a football.

Also? Using an Aussie Rules footy is easier because it will only roll out from under you in one direction. Just a tip.

There are three simple steps to this exercise:


The blissfully unaware stage. Also known as "butt-teetering"....


The "why can't I... Get... Up?" wake-in-panic stage. Upside-down pirouette pose optional.

The "oh shite, I'm really stuck now" realisation sinks in.
If your loved one is kind, they will help you without fuss and keep guffaws to a minimum.
Until they're inside where you can't see them.

This post starred:  Pepper the 18-ish-year-old Wonder Dog with her pointy ears (all the better to hear absolutely NOTHING with, my dear). She's still here. We don't know why, but it appears she is determined to stay for the long haul and/or to prove a point to the upstart "pup" who is now middle-aged herself.

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