Monday, December 31, 2007

And the winner is ...

...LOL. Well, he's my little winner.

This is my chosen photographic entry in Stacie's (of The Twinkies fame) childen's photography contest. Do you know how hard it was to choose just one picture? (Some of you do...hehehe).

If you want to get an entry in, you'd better skedaddle over there now - the deadline is today (December 31st). Or just to enjoy a whole lot of gorgeous photos...or vote for the wee man! (Voting runs from tomorrow - Jan. 1st to Jan. 15"ish".)

Wish us luck!

(Photo of the wee man - taken December 24th, 2007, Coolum Beach, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Copyright TR 2007)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Weekly Winners, Sunday Meme

Christmas at Nana Mama's (wee man's name for my mum), on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia.

(Not much sunshine!!)

New Year's blessings for our meme's "sponsor", Sarcastic Mom aka Lotus!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Not even a ribbon...

My best gifts this Christmas were not gift-wrapped.

The wee man is sleeping in his own bed...ALL night...for the first time in his life. From Christmas Eve at Nanna's house and now, home again in his own bed in his own room for the first time in 3 and 3/4 years! Wow!

Mama and Didi have their own bed back.

Mama can sleep though the night. (Can I hear a Hallelujah?!)

Mama and the Big Feller reached a flashpoint on Boxing Day morning, all the simmering tensions expressed and released. Mama is not taking any shit any more. The Big Feller is stepping up and taking a whole lot more responsibility for his actions, and is having to take a very large shovel to dig us out of the hole his actions have dropped us in. It is very much put-up-or-shut-up time - he wants to put up. (Looks good so far. I believe deeply that actions speak louder - and mean much more - than words.)

I feel the energy for change very strongly at the moment - I knew it was coming, and was very much needed in my life, but am pleasantly surprised by the form it is taking at the moment. 2008 promises to be very, very interesting.

(PS. Overall, I had a good Christmas. Could have done without the simmering tensions etc etc, but wonderful to share the time with my mama and her partner - the wee man had a ball, and was greatly enjoyed in turn. A bit of a beach holiday, even though the weather was iffy, was a nice break from daily life in the village, too. Check out my photos this Sunday.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

A couple of weeks ago, I was tagged for the "7 things people don't know about you" meme. Again. Sheesh, you guys are going to know me better than my best friend if you keep this up! Anyway, thanks, Suzy - sorry to keep you waiting for this.

Since 'tis the season to be jolly, I thought I'd make it my theme for the meme:

1. I've experienced Christmas in 3 vastly different countries in my life. Australia, obviously, where the summer heat often seems to kick right around the end of December, and the smell of suntan lotion and insect repellent go right along with the aromas of ham and roasting turkey, and lazy post-Christmas lunch afternoons often end with splashing around in a pool or the beach.
India, where I lived (aged 8)with my mum and little brother for a while, is a predominantly Hindu country, and Christmas was only an a adopted tradition for a few. Somehow, my mum created the magic of Christmas for us in the little cabin we lived in - parcels by our bed on Christmas morning revealed treasures (a little hand-painted wooden tea set lingers in memory), and a little piece of home (a card from Dad). Dust, incredible heat, flies, the multiplicity of odours and colours are a strange backdrop to that memory.
England was my home for the early 90's, and I thrilled to my first white Christmas. Invited to my then-boyfriend's family Christmas, I got it all - the Christmas dinner, complete with English touches like Yorkshire puddings, the family togetherness as they drew me in and made me feel at home, and the magical wonderland outside the window. I felt like I'd stepped into a storybook. With the arrival of the first snow earlier in the week, I was out catching snowflakes with all the toddlers who, like me, had never seen it fall before.

2. My earliest Christmas memory - I think I was about 5. We lived in Melbourne, which can get very hot, but this was a cold one. Dad chopped a real baby fir tree down from the lot which adjoined our backyard - it seemed enormous to me, and I adored the fact that one of my favourite smells was brought indoors. Everything seems large in this memory - the pile of presents seemed tremendous, and I think I was awake and trying to get my little brother up at some inhuman time of the morning (5am-ish) to begin the present-ripping frenzy.

3. Best ever Christmas present? All my life, I will treasure the memory of the boxes that came from my grandmother (my father's mother) in Tasmania. I was everyone's first grandchild, and I was the catalyst for a frenzy of inspired creativity by both my grandmothers, but Gran's boxes were really something special. I think they actually came at birthdays and Christmas. She made everything by hand. There would be clothes, modelled on the fashion of the day but pint-sized for me; hand-made cloth dolls with beautifully embroidered faces and layers of elaborate hand-stitched clothing; cloth books; hand-painted dolls furniture - she was immensely talented, and I adored opening her boxes for the treasure trove of love they represented. No-one seems to do anything like that anymore - an incredible shame.

4. Strangest present? The Big Feller left me speechless one year. Some years we do buy presents for each other, and sometimes we don't - it really depends on the state of our finances. That year was a good one, and I knew by the way he walked about with a secret grin that he had something special in the offing. I had been long coveting a digital camera - I had certainly dropped enough hints. He gave me....a rainstick. It's a beautiful, hand-crafted, very unique and rather expensive piece of artwork, with a mysteriously hollow interior that makes a lovely crystalline tinkling sound when tipped up (and the damn thing does seem to have a strange correlation to rain - we rely on good weather for the Big Feller's work, so are always cautious about when we handle or demonstrate it!?!)...but it's still a stick.

5. Favourite Christmas food? Here in Oz, many people are ecstatic about the opportunity to eat the glorious and abundant seafood available at this time of year. Not me. Pass. Give me the full Christmas roast turkey, and yorkshire puds and all the trimmings. But most of all, give me the Christmas pudding and custard....mmmm Oh, and fruit mince pies, and shortbread biscuits, and .... someone else to make it all!

6. Dream Chrismas destination? Somewhere cold. It's about 32 degrees Celsius and humid as I write this - and I'm dreaming of a white Christmas again. Switzerland sounds nice - good chocolate, too!

7. Favourite Christmas movie? "Love, Actually" - forget Hugh Grant, though I think it's one of his better films. No, it's the scene of unrequited love where Keira Knightley stands in the doorway while her husband's best friend plays Christmas carols on a tape as he silently displays placards telling her how much he loves her but will never do anything about it that does my head in, every time! People are just NOT noble like that these days...but we can dream.

So, there you are. Hardly likely to change your life, but a little more insight into the wonder that is me...hahah.

We're off to my mother's on the Sunshine Coast tomorrow. Probably not back till Boxing Day. Have a wonderful Christmas, wherever you are! Don't forget to vote in my Apallingly Cute poll, too...thanks.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ramping up the cute factor

It is that time of year. Yes, first Christmas concert at preschool, and I really ramped up the cute factor when I took the wee man along wearing his Santa hat.

Laughing our heads off at ourselves, paparazzi snappers and handy cams abounded as our little ones romped their way through a small program of Christmas carols. It included an Aussie version of Jingle Bells which I just love - "Dashing through the bush, in a rusty Holden ute, kelpie by my side, esky in the boot..." (translation for my OS friends: ute=utility vehicle, kelpie=Australian cattle dog, esky=cooler box...hehehe). I'm not usually so patriotic, but I think it makes a lot more sense to our kids.

It's been a tumultuous year for us at preschool. Not for the wee man, who soaked up the stimulation and social scene, and grew like a flower towards the sun. It was his mama, and her fellow committee members, who have dealt with all manner of challenges and feel stretched and expanded and greatly strengthened by the experience. The day before this concert, we were here having a mediation meeting with a staff member who has had a long history of bullying people (other staff members, parents, children, even former Directors) and getting away with it. Of course, we couldn't put it like that, but I think we did show her how committed we are to creating a place where that kind of behaviour is anathema. I'm wondering if she'll choose to return to continue the journey with us next year. She was singing along with the rest of us yesterday.

Next year, the wee men will be going 3 days a week. I'm not sure what the New Year is going to bring, but one thing I've learned from this year - I'm going to be trying to do the things that give extra meaning to my life. There has been some recent press about the need for more women councillors in local government, rather pointedly aimed at women "...skilled at juggling family, work and volunteering". Guess they mean me (*snort* don't know that there is much skill involved...just sheer bloody-mindedness - "!") Anyway, I've asked for some information, and there's a meeting early in the year - the logistics of travel and time could be tricky, but I love the idea of a deeper commitment to my community.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pouring my heart into your hands

I'm struggling to know where to begin. I need to open my heart, speak freely as I have always set out to do here. Yet what I have realised, in the last week or so, is that I have never spoken freely, because I was always conscious of what I was holding back...

While mulling over these thoughts, I came across some excellent posts in the last week, touching on the same themes. The first, and truly the catalyst for me, was lovely, wise, sad Smiler of From Smiler, With Love. Her post, "After the fifth break-up it gets easier" touched on the impact her blogging had on her relationship break-down, and how the honesty she brought to her blog became a double-edged sword in someone else's hands.

Her post opened a window in my soul, and shone a very bright light in, a searing light. I commented:

"I am pondering my own situation at the moment and you have given me food for thought.

I keep a blog, love it and the extended community I am becoming a part of with a passion, and treasure the opportunity to explore my thoughts and re-kindle my love affair with the page.

I don't talk about it with my husband at all. We have a troubled marriage, and a beautiful small is a very difficult time, and I have NOT been talking about it, even when I have been incredibly miserable. And wondering if I should. Or could. I want to talk about how I'm feeling, but know how he would react should he find out. Yet I feel that I'm not being fully honest and myself, which is one of the things I seek most to do on my blog..."

And suddenly - there it was. My truth, out on the page for others to read. And my conundrum - because while I haven't been talking about my unhappiness here for you to share (and there will be some who will read this and think that is the right thing to do - that there are lines that should be drawn, especially between a husband and wife), I also haven't been telling him about you, this blog, and this strange place we inhabit where I can consider some of you friends even though we've never met, and I perhaps don't even know what you look like.

I feel like I've been dishonest and disloyal to everyone. Okay, that may seem a bit extreme, and maybe it is. There are very real issues here of discretion and loyalty and privacy, and I understand all that. Two more posts I read explored these ideas even further.

First, Motherscribe (one of my treasured new friends from NaBloPoMo) wrote "Blog posts are little snapshots into our lives". She examined the feelings triggered by another (wise and wonderful) blogger Mrs G. in her post "Boundaries, Anyone?", who concluded with the question: "What are your feelings, reader, about the boundaries of blogging? Is your blog open to the public or your immediate family? Do you occasionally tip-toe or do you feel it's your life, your blog, your story to tell in whatever manner you choose...warts and all?"

And there I've hung myself. I've done neither. My blog is basically known only to those who have discovered it for themselves. One or two friends are aware that I have a blog, but are not (yet?!) caught up in the phenomenon themselves and therefore don't appear to have looked for it or read it. My best friend and my mother both know I blog, but I haven't volunteered the link and they haven't probed. My husband would both love to know about it, so he could search it for reference to my innermost thoughts and how I portray him (and us) to the world, and hate it as an incredible invasion of privacy plus flagrant exhibitionism - almost as if I stripped naked and draped myself on the front fence. And in some ways he would be right...(and yet, funnily enough, I haven't been guilty of either - until now.)

I don't know what will happen in my marriage. I feel as if we're coming close to a turning point, but I'm really unsure which way that will take us. What I do know is that there are certain things I need to do for myself right now, for my sanity and my well-being.

This blog is high on the list. It's by me - it's mine alone. It's about me - I choose what I reveal and who I am when I am here...or at least I thought I did. It's for me - it's writing practice, and social network, and emotional and mental outlet. A safe place to lay my thoughts out on the page. Hearts and hands to catch me when I fall (isn't that right, Smiler?).

I had to tell you this. I don't intend to turn this blog into a griping misery, but I do feel I will be letting more of my personal feelings in, and perhaps that snapshot into my life might be a little frank. I also think I'll be letting a few more of my loved ones in on the action. I think, to be wholly and truly myself, I have to stop keeping parts of my world separate, and let them meld and mix as they will.

But I still have to draw a very big line. I do not choose to talk about this with my husband. I have had enough of self-censorship. He is not entirely comfortable with who I am in the real world - he is not ready for the me he would find here.

You are.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Apallingly Cute - A poll

Well, it's not really a poll, as I'm not fiddling around trying to create one. I would very much like your opinion, though.

Over at The Twinkies, Stacie is holding a Children's Photography contest. She wants us to elevate ourselves out of snapshot mode and into art, which is fine with me (it's a fine line but I'm not afraid to tread it) - but I have a problem with her other stipulation...only one photo to be entered.

As you know, I love taking photos of the wee man, and I therefore have a rather large collection of appallingly cute photographs to choose from. What is a mama to do?

So I'm asking for your help. I've reduced my favourites down to a dozen taken in the last 12 months (had to limit myself somehow!). Would you help me by telling me which is your favourite?

(I've got till December 31st to post my chosen photo.)

Thanks so much...I'll love you forever... :)













Sunday, December 16, 2007

Weekly Winners, Sunday Meme

On Friday morning, I was reflecting to myself how I hadn't picked up the camera all week...and what was I going to post on Sunday?! Well, the the camera has seen so much action since then that it's probably still red-hot.

Our Playgroup Christmas party was on Friday, complete with bouncy castle and an appearance from Santa (I'm the co-ordinator). It looked like it was going pear-shaped when we first got to the hall. The castle hire guy hadn't arrived (he'd confirmed he was on route 1 and 1/2 hours earlier - for a 40 minute drive!). The water had been cut off to the hall by nearby roadworks (and hence, electic urn could not be filled...Gasp! No coffee or tea for the mamas!?), and another school group was attempting to muscle in to the same space of the (very large) park despite the fact that we pay rent for the use of the hall 41 weeks of the year. I was beginning to see red, and it wasn't Santa! (Yeah, he was about to send an elf to say the sleigh had broken down...any minute now!)

Well, the show must go on, and it did. The castle guy turned up shortly after, one of the mums had a 12 litre water container in her car, and as the castle rose and more of our Playgroup arrived, the other group decided to move over to another section of the park. And before you think what a humbug I was not wanting to share the space or the entertainment - we were concerned about the impact of the bigger kid's behaviour so close to our little ones, some of whom were already a bit intimidated by the other group; and insurance and public liability being what it is these days, there was no way we could afford to be gracious and share the castle (which we budget and save for all year anyway.) We copped a few dark glances and muttered dissatisfactions to the castle operator (a few of their group approached him directly...huh?), but we were comfortable with our decision.

And we ended up having a great party. As you can see, Santa did arrive... And then last night we went into town and looked at the Christmas lights in the most-lit up street in town, these days a charity fund-raiser with another Santa in attendance. (The wee man is beginning to worry that Santa is too busy with all these appearances to get down to the serious business of making all the

Hmm, isn't this usually a wordless meme? I'll shut up now and let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy!

(Thanks again to our patron saint *snigger* of the Sunday meme, Sarcastic Mom aka Lotus.)

A very Merry Australian Christmas to you all! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  © Free Blogger Templates Spain by 2008 Blog Background is Texture With Filigree by Cindy - Queen Bee Baking Company

Back to TOP