Saturday, October 28, 2006

sunny funny holiday

If you measure a successful holiday by seeing jellyfish bobbing, a snake dozing, a sea anemone wafting, sea turtles drifting, dolphins surfing, and a whale spouting.... then this holiday was a cracker.

If you measure a happy holiday by the running on the beach, the leaping over waves, the poking in rock pools, the swinging on the playground monkey bars, the camerastalking of water birds, the leaning together watching wet sandy children and the strolling aimlessly, just thinking.... then we are all happy as clams.

If you measure a satisfying vacation by the number of gelato ice-creams eaten, the glasses of cold white wine sipped on the balcony, the cheese and crackers nibbled upon whilst chatting lazily, and the barbecued prawns and fresh salads devoured......we've definitely had our fill.

I don't think I've ever had such a relaxing holiday. My kids had so much fun that they fell into slumber within minutes each night, and didn't wake until morning. Fatty laughed more than he normally would in a month. I sat on the balcony mesmerised by the the endless procession of white-crested waves. At night I lay listening to the surf.

The second-last morning, I jogged alone along an empty stretch of beach, before turning to walk back home. The clouds were studded in a threadbare blanket across the sky - except for one round window of cobalt blue. As I strode along the tide line, my eyes were drawn to that portal in the sky; I felt so buoyant that I imagined myself simply stepping into the air and rising up through that space. I felt all things were possible.

It was a good holiday.


I want to add a special thank-you to my secret post-writing friend, who wrote a pack of sweet lies about me and made me sound much nicer than I really am.

Friend, you are irreplaceable. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My friend, my friend

Well hello.

It's not Jellyhead. She's still enjoying fun, family and friends at the beach, the lucky . . . *ahem*

Jellyhead is a very good friend of mine and I am here to tell you about her.

First, Jellyhead is a very pretty woman who exudes health and happiness. She wears her hair up almost all the time. When she wears it down, I always tell her how pretty she looks and she always protests and says things like, "No, no. I am messy and unkempt." I beg her to wear her hair down and she refuses, saying it gets in the way. I've seen her dressed in her work clothes and I've seen her in her pajamas just after waking and she is pretty, either way.

Jellyhead is almost always smiling and even her frowns somehow seem good-natured, like her mouth is just waiting for the next opportunity to smile. When she is worried she furrows her brow and leans forward on her elbow. When she is really troubled, she rakes her fingers through her hair and sighs heavily. When she laughs, she leans back in her chair and sometimes shakes her head at me as if to say, "I don't know what I am going to do with you." When she is embarrassed and amused at the same time, she giggles so hard that she shakes and covers her face with her hands.

Jellyhead is freakishly perceptive. I've yet to successfully hide my feelings from her. She always guesses what is on my mind even when I could swear I have done nothing to give it away. I always tell her I am going to have to work harder on my poker face because, at least to her, I am completely transparent --an open book.

I'd be hard pressed to find anyone that I'd rather share my thoughts with, though. Jellyhead is open-minded and kind. She is rational and tolerant. She takes things in stride in a way that I only wish I could.

I often stand in awe of Jellyhead, to tell you the truth. She is adored by her children and is such a loving and careful mother. She goes to work and takes care of patients and then calls to check on them on her days off. She and Fatty enjoy romance and friendship in a seemingly perfect balance. She is a black belt in karate and just laughs at the suggestion that she is capable of kicking some serious butt! Not long ago, her finger was broken during sparring and she just laughed it off. (It was broken when she kept beating a young girl in the sparring matches. After losing a few times, the girl jokingly declared, "Oh, you are going DOWN!" and, the next thing she knew, Jelly's finger was broken)

I could go on telling you how wonderful Jelly is for hours. (But I won't. I heard that collective sigh of relief!)

But really and truly, what I want you to know after reading this post is that Jellyhead is my friend and I just feel so lucky to know her!

Here's hoping that Jelly is having a fantastic holiday at the beach.

Friday, October 20, 2006

beach bums

Tomorrow we're heading off to the beach for a week. It will be our fourth year at the same spot, with the same friends staying next door, in the same block of units. Just call me the Routine Queen.

Last year, although we still had some fun, we had both children sick at various times over the week. So this year, I will consider us eternally blessed if everyone remains hale and hearty for the week!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I hope you enjoy your week. See you soon!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

what happened next

Was it the post I wrote? He doesn't usually read my blog (see previous post regarding Fatty's general lack of interest in my fascinating thoughts). Yet it seems too coincidental to be simply luck.

Whatever may have prompted Fatty (he said, "I saw them and they looked pretty"), I am adoring these blooms and feeling guilty for implying that my husband is not romantic. I take it back. I eat my words. He is simply a romantic with erratic timing.

And he can still surprise me.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

the note

Do you have one of those marriages or relationships in which your significant other leaves you sweet notes tucked under your pillow? Does your spouse write you soppy cards for no reason except to tell you how incredible you are? Pah! Humph! Be gone with you! Or stay, but just don't tell me the sordid romantic details.

My husband is a gorgeous bloke, who does the dishes every night, plays games with our children for hours, and encourages me in all I do. He is just not terribly spontaneous. Flowers are a rarity. Love notes are almost unheard of. Cards are given, but only on birthdays. He shows his love in more practical ways.

So I should really know better than this, but when Fatty was late coming home from playing sport yesterday afternoon, I began to toy idly with the pleasant idea that perhaps he had stopped off to buy me flowers. It was a lovely daydream.

Six o'clock came, and I realised there would be no flowers. The shops were long closed. I began to imagine sports-related injuries, because that's the kind of freaky worrier I am. To be fair to me, I do often think in worst case scenarios, but I also began to fret because Fatty once rang me, en route from squash court to hospital, to say he had busted his Achilles tendon. So that got fixed but, you know, he hasn't done the other side yet.

So while I grated zucchini into the bolognaise sauce (hiding vegetables from children is my special talent), I wondered where my husband had gotten to. I started to clear the kitchen table for dinner, and there it was.... a note! A note for me! I hadn't noticed it because it was written on an envelope the kids had decorated in felt pen swirls.

The note read:

Have gone to find a Baillon's crake


I was swept away by the utter devotion and desperate romanticism of his words. If you read between the lines, it is quite clear that Fatty meant, "Jelly, my love for you is so expansive and vast that I feel I could soar on its breezes like a Baillon's crake". Don't you think?

Friday, October 13, 2006


I'm not signed up for twanging instument lessons. Yet.

I received an e-mail from Writer the same day I last posted. He wrote:


It's a terrific piece.

The marked copy will arrive at your place tomorrow. There are a few (minor) suggestions.

Love Writer.

The copy didn't arrive yesterday, so I am still waiting with some trepidation. I'm encouraged, though, because Writer is not a gushy person. I've never heard him say one thing and mean another. So those few words of praise mean a lot to me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

the waiting game

Some of my longer-term readers may recall that Fatty's brother is a writer. He has written four books, all of which were sold in mainstream bookstores. He regularly writes for several newspapers and magazines, is also on radio and occasionally does interviews on TV. He is our family's only claim to fame! So it seemed to make sense for me to seek his advice about an entry I have been working on for a medical writing competition.

I say it seemed to make sense, because now I am obsessively checking my e-mail every 3 minutes, looking to see if Writer has sent back his critique of my prose. I'm nervous, I'm antsy, oh my goodness, what was I THINKING??!

I asked Writer to help me with some awkward phrasing, and to tell me what might be better cut out; what might be best more padded-out. I told him I wouldn't take offence, and that part is certainly true. I won't be snooty or miffed by any suggestions for improvement. I can't promise I won't be hurt, though, if he tells me that what I have written is beyond salvaging, for instance. Or if he kindly suggests I might be better learning the ukelele. I can't believe I have shown a published writer my half-baked, half-assed short story. What was I thinking?!

I dreamt last night that Writer told me my piece was offensive to Canadians. There is not a single mention of Canadians in the story. Perhaps the dream ended before Writer was able to list all the other nationalities in the world as well.

I hope you are all enjoying your day. I'm going now, to check my e-mail......

Monday, October 09, 2006

It seems to be Monday morning already. The weekend has vanished into thin air.

I am feeling off-kilter today. Fatty has lost his wedding ring somewhere at our friends' place, I don't want to face work today, and I have discovered that I have wrinkles at the very corners of my mouth! All silly little things that are not important. I've got to snap out of this.

So, instead of writing any more whilst in this self-indulgent mood, I will show you some spring flowers from our garden. I'll think back to the weekend, when Fatty mowed the lawn under a vivid blue sky, I went swimming with my slippery giggling children, and we ate a seafood lunch on our friends' back deck while the kids ran crazily around the yard.

Inhale. Hold. Exhale.

Fake it until you make it.

"Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go!"

Friday, October 06, 2006

365 days of blogging ...give or take

It's hard to believe it's been an entire year (plus 2 days) since I tentatively entered the blog world.

It all began with an article I read in a medical magazine. The author mentioned how he enjoyed reading The Underwear Drawer, a blog written by a young New York doctor called Michelle. I started reading her blog, and was fascinated. I blogsurfed a bit. After awhile, my Google page began to display an ad line- 'get your own blog for free'. I found this a little spooky. I was also tempted. I began to write lame posts, and absolutely no-one knew me or commented for awhile.

One of my first ever comments was from Mackeydoodle. I was writing about the stress of trying to run to time at work, and she wrote a supportive and kind comment. I was astonished that a complete stranger would be so friendly. And then and there I was hooked on blogging.

Since I began blogging, I have come to 'know' so many fascinating people. I have opened my mind to many differing points of view. I have realised the untold power of compassion and humility. I have laughed out loud as I sit reading the words of my fellow bloggers. I have shed tears over poignant posts. I have made friends I hope to keep for life.

I also have rediscovered my love of writing. As a child and adolescent, it was a habit of mine to express my thoughts on paper, but somewhere in the pursuit of my very science-based career, I had stopped writing. Medicine seemed to have wrung all the creativity out of me. I sporadically tried to put pen to paper, but the sheer awfulness (don't tell me that's not a word) of what I wrote stopped me continuing.

So now, I may not be a brilliant writer, and I may use dubious words and awkward phrases, but damn I'm having fun! Words flow more readily, and I am able to convey all those thoughts that used to clog up my head. I'm happier, my mind is clearer. And best of all, I have all you lovely blog readers to 'talk' to!

It's been a year already. How about that.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

my baby's no baby no more

It is four years now since I was handed a round fat ball of wrapped-up baby Benjamin. His face was chubby, and his brow was creased as if he was deeply concerned. Fatty and I looked at each other and grinned. "He looks like a front-rower!", Fatty murmured proudly.

Our infant son has grown to be a nuggety little fellow, who today celebrates his birthday with the aid of his new Superman outfit and a set of walkie-talkies. Ben is a fiercely loving, chatty, vigorous kid who never ceases to amaze us with his humour and his inquiring mind.

He greets us in the morning by shouting "Cock-a-doodle-doooooooo!" from his bedroom (not so cute at 6am, but tolerably cute as I recall this now). He farewells me before work with, "Bye Mum. Love you. Drive carefully. Don't crash!". At night, he delays sleep by getting up to ask us intriguing questions:
"Were ankylosauruses plant-eaters?", or "When Holly (his kindy teacher) is old, how will we know which nursing home she's in?". When he falls asleep at last, he looks much younger - clutching an old cot sheet, thumb in mouth.

Before Ben came along, I worried that I could never love a child the way I love his sister, our beloved Laura-girl. And yet, here is proof that the heart has an infinite capacity for love - I love my son deeply, powerfully, utterly.

Happy Birthday, Ben. May you have a life full of the happiness you bring to us each day.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

my riveting weekend....

As I posted these pictures, I was thinking what an uneventful weekend it has been, and how good that was. Funny - when Fatty and I first were married, I was always keen to go somewhere, do something on Saturdays and Sundays. It was a 'wasted' weekend if we simply poked about the house and yard.

Having children alters your perspective enormously. Suddenly it is an unexpected delight if the little ratbags play happily long enough for me to read the papers. I enjoy the peaceful rhythm of making my favourite carrot cake, and giving the kids a spoon each to lick when I'm finished. I even get some warped satisfaction from bringing in sunshiney sheets from the washing line, and making up the beds with fresh-smelling linen. And of course, after last weekend, I consider our family truly blessed simply because no-one is losing digestive by-products from any orifice. The flowers are showing their faces all around the garden, and it's perfect spring weather.

All in all, it's been a grand old weekend!