Sunday, 25 December 2011

Roughing it. Eccentricess style.

Camping and I are not good friends, but Trickey adores it. He has taken great strides to improve our camping adventures.

Our first camp event (when I write camp event, I expect something with Drag Queens and going to a gay bar with the girls, but apparently Trickey envisions something quite different.) Trickey drove us there in his crinkle cut Torana (so called due to the Smiths Chips pattern on the side door from the "driving into a tree" activity) with a small tent, a sleeping bag and a slab of beer.

Being more familiar with my Dad's version of camping, I foolishly assumed there would be food, mattresses, chairs, toilet paper and that the weather conditions would have been considered. I did find a half eaten packet of BBQ shapes in the car, which made the difference between my throwing a full on tantrum with loud demanding to be returned home immediately and my staying to see how it would go.

Beer makes me ill. It requires mammoth amounts of water for improvement. Forunately there was a running creek near the campsite. No cups. I got in trouble several times for dislodging the motorbiking male's cooling stashes of beer during my ventures into the creek for hydration.

Sobriety did not enhance the night. Sitting on the rotting wood log that my beloved provided for my seating was a continuing form of anticipatory torment, as it was still full of wriggling and occasionally biting life forms.

I had been assured the company of other females, not being very comfortable around males in general. It was so lovely to see my ex-flatmate and her best friend, to revel in the charming conversation with someone whom I enjoyed a state of mutual detestation.

The fumes of the various motorbikes, some in a state of mid repair at the campsite, mingled beautifully with the smoke from the massive bonfire that this restrained group considered sufficient. The clear mountain air I had been promised was available, if I walked far enough away from our group. The aroma did wonders for my joy in this adventure.

The crowning moment for me, however, came slinking in the early hours of the night. Trickey had stolen the entire undone sleeping bag (I should've taken note of this for future bedding expectations, once a Doona thief always a Doona thief) and smooshed me over to one side to be squished up against the tent fabric. I could not move him, so I merely snuggled as close as I could for his body warmth and lay in abject misery, awaiting the warmth of sunrise.

Then the rain began.

Then the rain soaked through the thin tent material.

And soaked me.

After several hours, enough sunlight allowed me to leave the tent with some hope of avoiding the nocturnal webs and the obstacle course of motorbikes, eskies and random logs. I made my way to the fire and proceeded to create a respectable blaze and dry out a little.

Trickey finally awoke and a great trip was planned to a nearby town for hamburgers and other forms of sustenance.

This ordeal has scarred me for decades, with Trickey devising improvement after improvement to his camping style in hopes that I may once again find joy in camping.

So today, we have a large canvas tent, totally water proof. With a patio. Aussie to the core! The interior is filled with a very comfortable mattress, my own sleeping bag and favourite pillow... and he sleeps against the tent wall these days.

A lovely little table set up, with a camping stove and billy for my early morning tea. And lunch time tea. And aftenoon tea. Three Eskies of varying size. Several quite delicious recipes to delight the palate. A large crate full of cooking neccesities, sunscreen and the most important aerogard. I must also mention we are at a caravan park with toilets and showers. ESSENTIAL!

Sitting here, in the shade of my patio, listening to the sounds of delight Trickey, his brother and our Princess are making down by the river, sipping a cuppa peppermint tea, my feet up, surrounded by gorgeous ferns, eucalypts and oaks, ducks waddling by, a tiny creek mere feet from me, I realised that he had finally done it. I wasn't miserable, uncomfortable or unhappy. While I wanted to go home, that is an ever present feeling within me and I could ignore it.

With this level of comfort, I can be a camper. This is my lowest level for contentment.

It is good.

He did it!

(Above written on Trickey's iPhone while enjoying myself at our campsite)

(Below written on my own adored MacBook, in my nice, warm home, with a tabby Diva and new Kate Bush album providing excellent distractions)

NB. I told him all I wrote that evening. As we sat and ate our cold dinner on the patio and watched the rain begin. Then the wild thunder and lightning, I quite enjoyed being part of something so elemental.

Then the hail. Which made me cry for our Beautiful EK out in the rain, having nasty things thrown at her from the clouds.

But I was still happy. I was using some emotional energy to stay calm, as I knew while this moment was exciting, I would be paying for it once the dark came. Once the rain made me feel trapped inside that tent. Once getting out to go to the toilet, or just wander in the night, as I always do, was going to be cold, wet and miserable.

And after waking before first light, staring at the tent ceiling as I have done on so many other camping events, just waiting for enough light to go and start the fire and begin warming my soul and my toes, I was deprived even that, as no fire was going to start in that downpour.

The other thing that makes Camping okay by me, these days? That we stay close enough to home so I can go home when it all becomes too overwhelming. The sun is out, my cat is happy, soon, soon, I will convince myself to drive back to my family and our campsite for one last day by the river.

Friday, 23 December 2011

An ode to yet another household item

Oh sticky tape, Oh sticky tape,
now where could you be?
I have dug my way though
the box of stationary.

I found a small remnant,
from previous years,
I wrapped up five presents
with ever grateful tears.

With many gifts remaining,
vulnerably unwrapped,
I need you before the
child finishes her nap.

I have a compass from Santa,
to give her this year,
please help me to cover it
with paper of cheer.

Your not under the couch,
or behind the T.V.,
I can't find you in the
3rd draw down either, see?

Your stickiness so glorious,
the way it connects,
two edges of paper
so to conceal our gifts.

Please reveal your hiding place,
with a magical boom,
I bet you are somewhere in
the sleeping child's room.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Bah, humbug.

Brain dead. So drained.

Bring on the 26th!

(deleted everything else cos it was all just whinging)

Oh! My girl looked supercute at her Grad. I totally loved that of all the glamourous Grade 6's, my girl and her Besties were totally funky in their own styles. Their is a certain confidence, a belief in themselves, in this shy group.

And her School Report - for the first time ever, my Princess was at her age level. Except in art, where she was marked to be a year above her age level. *eyes pop open for a second before returning to half shut zombie mode*

Tonight I will scan in these results and send them to her tutors with a great big "YES!!!'.

Brain Dead. In Pain. But overall, my daughter is doing well so I am all good.

Friday, 16 December 2011

The fascination of watching my Daughter's personality unfold. (Now with reduced Screaming)

My daughter is really interesting.

She's been home for a while now, with a cough, and we have spent a lot of time talking and sharing and cuddling (Okay, and playing computer games) and I am really liking this grown up version of my tiny Screamy that I am getting to know all over again. She's similar, but different to Baby Screamy, I am seeing the same joys, loves and interests as little Kinder Screamy as well as the same shyness and anxieties, but still, she's different again.

More mature. More capable of expressing through words, where she was a very physical communicator as a toddler (Mediterranean heritage stereotype much?). I like words. This is a big step for us. We have been working on enunciation lately, as Trickey mumbles and can be quite incoherent and I wanted to ensure my Darlin' Screamy was able to express her self clearly.

More controlled. Wow, so much more controlled. The obsessive streak is there, is expressed, acknowledged but with the understanding that it is obsessive and maybe not of interest to anyone else. She spoke to me about Bakugan for an hour straight last night and made it fascinating. It may have helped that we decorated all her Bakugan with glitter two years ago, cos glitter makes me smile.

She will not get the nickname of Tweeny Screamy. Waiting to see about Teener Screamer though.

A different, but still amazingly the same, Princess Screamy.
Without the Screamy. Somedays it's amazing how quiet it feels without the Screaming. We were up the street yesterday, getting lil Miss Cough-a-lot some chiropractic love and I got all nostalgic and sentimental over a child throwing a complete hissy fit in the supermarket.
"She sounds just like you used to, Princess." and gave my Non-Screaming child a squishy hug.

As desperate as I was for a second child, I think the fact that we didn't start trying until Lil Miss Scream-the-second-we-enter-those-supermarket-doors had started Kinder, says something about how well I coped with the Screaming .

This was supposed to be a post about how wonderful my Daughter is! How much I am enjoying her personality. How much fun it is to follow her conversation, just let it flow and see her thought patterns expressed. Not the Screaming. ;-)

I want to make this the "Summer of 2012" that she always looks back on as relaxing, fun, social and a happy space. The in between of Primary and Secondary school where she just creates joyful memories. A shining moment.

With extra tutoring. Suck it up, Sunshine!

'Course, considering how much she loves her tutors, she's already declared that one of the best parts of our holiday plans.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Incredibly special. (really long, partly autobiographical with fictional addictions)

They were quite a large group. Sylfaen stood up before them, feeling nervous and a little shaky.
"A story? Okay, but give me a few moments to get my thoughts into order." she replied to a query from the crowd.

Sylfaen looked around the room and smiled hesitantly. "As most of my favourite stories begin like this, I shall start here also. "

She took a slow breath and began. "Once upon a time, there was a young girl who had something amazingly special in her life. It was so special and yet an everyday sort of thing. She was both amazed this incredibly special thing was in her world but also accepted it's being hers, very easily. She had always had this wonderfully special thing, it had always been there for her.

"First, I should describe the young girl to you. The little girl was a small child, with long, white blonde hair that became paler every day from the rays of the sun shining on it so often. Her hair was perfectly straight, but it was usually such a mess that no one knew that."

Her hand came up to touch her nose, completely unconciously as she continued, "Our little blonde heroine was covered in freckles, again from her love of being outside. She had freckles in big, odd shaped blotches all over her face. Clothes were not a great interest for her, as long as they didn't hamper her having fun playing, so she usually wore shorts and a t-shirt. This meant that she also had light brown freckles on her toes, as well as her legs and arms."

Sylfaen touched the centre of her waist with both forefingers and then drew them around to the centre of her back, highlighting a circle that would have been just above the shorts waistline.

"There were even freckles around her waist, since she didn't like keeping her shirts tucked in."

From the crowd a little voice spoke up. "Didn't her Mama make her wear a hat and sunscreen? To stop cancer and sunburn?"

Sylfaen was a little stunned by the casual way this was said, as such a universally accepted truth that no one would consider taking such a silly risk these days.

"Indeed her Mother did try to do those things, sewing elastic onto hats because our little blonde girl hated the way they would fly off her head when she was sitting on the prow of a boat, facing into the glorious wind. Trying different colours and styles when the little girl complained that the tight hats gave her a headache. Since our heroine spent a lot of time riding around her home town, far away from her Mama, her Mama didn't know that she would take off the hat as soon as it annoyed her."

The little voice from the audience piped up again, this time sounding confused, "So, why didn't she get cancer, then?"

Very gently, Sylfaen smiled in the direction of the voice and replied, "She did. Our Heroine, between the ages of ten and sixteen, had a doctor cut five moles out of her arm and back," pointing near her left shoulder as she explained, "and one of them was a cancer. After that, she wore long sleeved shirts, hats and even the horrible, itchy, painful sunscreen."

Sylfaen smiled again, this time more delightedly. "She found that her freckles faded, too, which made her VERY happy."

The audience murmured and shifted, with a few giggles.

"Now you know our Heroine a bit better, I'll tell you what she had, this amazing thing, something so special and wonderful and always a part of her life. Something that made the sun shinier, the rainfall sound more musical and the fairies seem more real."

Leaning forwards towards the audience, she spoke very clearly and intently.

"Our Heroine had an Older Sister."

Sylfaen stood up very straight and put on a "quite pleased with herself" expression, one that her little blonde heroine may have used all those years ago.

Several of the children in the audience looked disappointed with this revelation, some clapped in agreement and several, who may have been older sisters themselves, sat up a little straighter in unconscious mimicry of Sylfaen.

"Her older sister was the best fun in her whole world. She would play amazing games with her, involve her in every activity she was doing and tell her the most amazing stories. One day, they were playing out in the backyard, on the frame from the ute tray that they used for monkey bars, when her sister acted all twitchy. Our little blonde heroine asked her what was happening. The Older Sister explained that she felt all magical and was just going to run inside for a moment.

"When she came out, the Older Sister said that she wasn't her sister anymore, because her sister had gone to visit Fairyland in the fairy's body and she was a fairy come to visit the human realms.

"This fairy told her amazing stories about what it was like to fly, live in a treehouse and dance around the mushroom rings that the two sisters had sometimes seen in the parks. Our little blonde heroine listened in rapt fascination, both delighted and a little terrified. Would her Older Sister be okay? Would she come back?"

"She mentioned these worries to the Fairy, who swooshed back inside the house and came out again, but with the Older Sister back in her own body. There were ecstatic hugs from our heroine, who then climbed the frame again to hear how Her Very Own Sister had met the Fairy Queen and been dressed in a beautiful gown made of flower petals. What a marvellous day that was."

"This Incredibly Special part of our little blonde's life also spent hours riding their tricycle up and down the driveway, with the teeny little blonde sitting in the passenger seat. Her Older Sister would make up stories about their ride, how they were passing the store and they had to wave to everyone inside. Next would be a stop and wait while the cows crossed the road..."

Another voice from the crowd called out, "Why were there cows on the road? Shouldn't they be in their farms?" Several more audience members expressed their curiosity as well, having grown up in a city where children were taken to special hobby farms to meet farm animals and understand where milk and eggs really come from.

Sylfaen turned and used the chalkboard this time, drawing a dirt road with large paddocks fenced off on either side of the road. She drew some barely recognisable cows in the paddocks, almost, but not quite, stick figures. Pointing at these, she spoke. "These are supposed to be cows. Let's just believe that and move on. Where are they now?"

"In the big squares!" Called out one helpful child.

With a grin, Sylfaen responded, "Yes! And the squares are supposed to be paddocks. The cows eat the grass. After a few days, what do you think happens to the grass?" She waited.

The 40 or so small children looked at her blankly. A small boy whispered in the ear of the girl next to him and she giggled. Sylfaen asked them, "Please share your funny with the class." The girl went bright red and shook her head and the boy giggled some more. Sylfaen waited. Silently. The boy nudged the blushing girl and she glared at him.

Ever so quietly, the boy said, almost trying not to be heard, "It turns into poo!" and then couldn't hold in his giggles.

Sylfaen smiled. Her eyes met the cheeky boy's and she said, "Yes, it does. Not the answer I was hoping for, but still correct." Her eyes looked around the bright faces of giggling children. "Any other ideas?" she asked, and visibly crossed her fingers with a hopeful expression. "About the grass?"

From the corner, a confident voice called out, "The grass gets really short, like it's been mown".

"Spot on!" With a warm smile, she turned to the board and drew tiny lines to show short grass. Then she erased the cows and re drew them with the necks reaching towards the other paddock with the long grass.

"So, the Farmer wants his cows to be happy and well fed and opens the gate to let them go across to his other paddock. When this happens, all the people in cars have to wait, because cows don't understand road rules. They wait, the cows get across and fed and little girls on tricycles get to make Mooing sounds and pretend they are the farmer driving his cattle across the road or the people in the cars waiting."

Sylfaen straightened up again, and made an odd gesture, something like a cat who was using a paw to clean it's face. "Now, our little blonde heroine was very fond of her incredible Older Sister and didn't like it when she went to her friends houses to play, without her. So, her very kind Older Sister would take her along to play with her friends as well.

"Sometimes, they would get her to pretend to be a cat. Her Older Sister would bring her a bowl of milk to lap up like a cat and all the girls called her "Kitty". When they played pretend games, her Older Sister would make sure that there was some role for Kitty, whether it was crawling around and pretend climbing curtains, the bigger girls lifting her up high while she made the climbing moves or being a Princess Kitty that had these four totally Far-Out girls to serenade her with their latest chart sucesses."

In a quieter voice, Sylfaen continued, "And every night, in the bedroom they shared, the Older Sister would watch over the little blonde as she fell asleep, to make sure she was safe."

"So, that was the Amazingly Special part of our little blonde girl's life. Fun, magic, love and safety, all rolled into one Older Sister." Sylfaen looked around the students in her daughter's class, all sitting cross legged on the carpet and looking at her. The teacher had come back in and the pressure was off to keep these children entertained in her absence. All those bright eyes watching her with smiles was pretty wonderful and she sighed in relief that she'd managed to tell them a story they liked.

Her daughter, with her straight dark blonde hair, that hats covered during any sunlight, looked up at her and said, "It was you, Mama, the little girl?"

She nodded at her own little heroine, who bounced with glee at guessing correctly and said, "Can we visit Aunty Joy soon, Mama? Can I tell her your story?"

"I think she'd like that, Princess."

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Choosing your Santa

So. Santa. Specifically, Santa photo's. Do you get them? Does your child confidently climb onto Santa and outline his/her hopes for Christmas and perhaps pull on Santa's beard to find out if it is real?

Mine declines. Every year. Santa is scary. Big dude, with lots of white hair, being loud in her general vicinity. So not gunna happen.

I asked this year. She's twelve. She believes in Santa by choice. Much the way I believe in Fairies. She gave me a look of disdain that I hope she cultivates for when unsuitable boys start asking her to make out with them behind the shelter sheds. My Princess said, "I've never liked the shopping centre Santa's and I still don't. I've only ever liked the one at the Train Museum who left his boots by the "Flame" car. You know that, Mum."

Funny about the "Nice Santa" choosing Bill's car to leave his boots by.

Funny how well my Princess got along with Bill and all his silly teasing that made her laugh.

Funny how she liked that Santa who was funny and teasing.

Funny, innit!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

You know what's super fun

Watching tv shows where there is romance and kissing with a 12 year old whom is just noticing that boys and girls are different.


Tweenie is squirming and Mama and Papa are making kissy faces at each other.


Lil' girly thing whose nearly as tall as me, wriggling and making gagging sounds as Frasier and Lilith kiss and we discuss how emotions make kissing a boy a nice thing.


The Frasier picks up Lilith and throws her on the bed and we revert back to teasing.

So love my little family.

So appreciate our relationships and silliness and that they are here.

I read many blogs of people who have lost loved ones. We lost another family member this month. Live your Life! Love your people! Do those things you've dreamed of! NOW!

And make your lil people squirm cos it's so totally fun. ;-)