Thursday, June 28, 2007

a post at long last

Well. It's been awhile. What have I been doing?

I've been having a birthday. For some reason, my newly allocated age grated on me at first. I kept peering in the mirror at the creases beside my mouth, at the softening of my eyelids. But then I had to acknowledge how thoroughly spoilt I was by my nearest and dearest, and that made me feel loved. Wrinkled, but loved. A friend who lives overseas sent me a package, and as much as I was thrilled by the book, and the chocolate, and the t-shirt she sent, I was most happy to think that she went to the trouble of sending me a gift; that her thoughtful hands had touched these items even though I can't reach out and touch her hands in person. My husband made me Eggs Benedict although he hates to cook. I received phone calls from 5 relatives and 5 friends, and that seemed like an awful lot of attention for one fully-grown person on their birthday. I don't like physically ageing but I adore the people who are keeping me company as I do so!

I've been splitting my nose open on the lid of the washing machine (I flung the lid back then leant in to retrieve the clothes, and it leapt back at me. Vicious piece of machinery!) and sporting a butterfly bandage and a purplish bruise across the bridge of my nose. You've no idea how silly this looks on a thirty-something woman. On a seven-year-old ..... utterly cute. On me...... just ridiculous. My sister snort-laughed. My husband smiled his fathomless smile. My half-brother Soccerboy grinned widely. I told them all I got in a street fight but no-one was buying it. Now I have to go to work looking stoopid.

I've been spending a day with my kids, my sister and my two half brothers. Yesterday it was one of those clear, crisp winter days with an eggshell-blue sky. Except instead of soaking up the view, we were eating a pancake breakfast, then bounding about from one school holiday kids' activity to another, with my sister or I occasionally yelling to a wayward child to return to the flock. Each child tried the bungee trampolining, and their faces lit up with an exhilirating mix of trepidation and delight as they rocketed up into mid-air and down again. It was a sight for sore eyes.

I've also been reading your blogs, post by post, but commenting only now & then. You all keep me amused, engrossed, and very much entertained.

Thank you, thisisme and Sandy, for checking in on me. All is well in the house of Jelly.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

winter sun

It's been hectic in the House of Jelly lately, and blogging fell by the wayside. Then Fatty and the kids and I went away for a few days, to take a break from headaches (both literal and figurative, both ours and others'!). We chose to go to the same beach spot we go to every summer, to try a winter escape.

The first couple of days were cold (not cold-if-you're-from-Alaska cold, but definitely cold-if-you're-in-a-bikini cold). I wondered if perhaps the weekend would be disastrous, with children bored and mutinous and Fatty sighing over the cryptic crossword, having done all the suduko and regular crosswords to be found. After all, what do you do at the beach when you can't swim in the surf or loll about on the sand?

Apparently you:
-walk along the sand dunes, slowly (because the kids keep stopping to make imaginary castles from bits of shell and weed and scraps of plastic)
-put together a large jigsaw puzzle, with everyone helping, elbowing each other good-naturedly
-eat ice-cream (OK so this one seems a bit odd, but trust me we all found it to be a pivotal part of the holiday, cold weather and all)
-watch movies
-read fat novels (Fatty was reading a Bill Bryson book about Bryson's travels in Australia, and couldn't stop giggling. It was most disconcerting - Fatty chortling is a rare sound! -but it lifted my spirits to hear Fatty hysterical with laughter. I think he really needed to go to a unit at the beach and read silly books)
-take the path along the headlands, spotting fifty or more dolphins in the sea down below
-gaze out to sea until, heart thumping with happiness, you see a humpback whale wave hello with a huge dark flipper
-go out to dinner on the coldest night of the stay, shiver your way through the meal (alfresco dining in winter - what a crock!), then run home along the footpath, all somehow ending up holding hands, with Ben shouting 'Don't go too fast! Wait for me! I'm the runt of the family!', and the rest of us laughing at Ben and shuddering in the wind and me thinking I'll always remember this moment.

Our last day, the sun came out and the wind died away and it was balmy. We swam and jumped waves and the kids boogie-boarded in the shallows. And while that was a delight, I knew that we would have had fun even if the weather had remained steadfastly frigid.

Although my childhood was by no means awful, it was, for a number of reasons, nothing like the childhood that my own children are experiencing. Family holidays were rare. Family outings were not relaxing, for one reason or another. Many factors were beyond my parents' control. My point is simply this - I am glad to be able to create joyful memories with my children that I believe they will treasure. I want to remember it all, too, but failing that, I will write down here what I most want to recall forever.

'Sweet dreams are made of this'
(Eurythmics, 'Sweet Dreams')

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

in honour of Boomer

You could be forgiven for thinking I was a veterinarian, or a wildlife officer, or some other occupation of that ilk. Lately I seem to write about birds and bouncing critters and koalas and snakes, with the occasional post about the kids or my birdbrained - I mean birdobsessed - husband. In fact, I sound like a Gerald Durrell wannabe (Gerald Durrell being the author of "My Family and other Animals", one of my very favourite books ever)

I'm sorry if you're all growing weary of animal tails and tales, but when Mum sent this story to my kids, I loved it so much that I asked her if I could post it on this blog. It is a true story, which makes it so much better.

Remember Boomer? This is more of his story (in the simple, child-friendly words of my beloved Mum, 'Jellyma'):
BOOMER IS A BETTONG (not a person)
Boomer thought he was a person. Every night I took him outside. He just hopped behind me everywhere I went. I put him with the wild bettongs that feed under my jacaranda tree. He would eat the seed with them, but every morning he would be back in his basket. Would he ever learn that he was a bettong?
On Friday night, he went out to feed. I went to bed. On Saturday morning he was not in his basket. I was sad. I wondered, 'Is he safe?', 'Will he come back to visit?'. On Saturday night I watched the wild bettongs feeding, but I did not see Boomer.
On Sunday night, I saw three big bettongs and one little one feeding. I talked to them and walked towards them. The three big ones hopped away. The little one looked at me and sat still.
I went inside to get a grape. Boomer likes grapes. I crept slowly towards the little bettong and held out the grape. The little bettong took the grape and ate it. I patted him. Then he hopped away. It was Boomer.
I am happy now. Boomer knows he is a bettong.
Thanks Mum for letting me share the words you wrote to your grandchildren. You were the perfect foster mother for Boomer, and you are the best mother a daughter could ask for. XXOO