Sometimes I forget just how fragile she is.
I left the house late, 6pm, to go & get some groceries in the hope the shops would be quiet. Just a handful of things – but important things. Like bread, cheese, milk, ham.
While I was gone Cory experienced the full force of an overwhelmed, tired toddler’s complete meltdown. To his credit he didn’t try & rationalise or reason with Violet. He just held her until she fell asleep, sobbing in his arms. It didn’t start over anything in particular. Her brain just stopped processing anything rationally.
When I got home she was passed out, snoring heavily on the couch. I could tell she’d been crying. Cory looked relaxed but perplexed. It is hard, there’s nothing you can do when she works herself up to the point that she’s crying that she’s crying.
I woke her so I could give her some dinner. She said her head was hurting & she started crying again. She asked for medicine. Her eyes were glassy & red & she was cradling her head. Rubbing her eyebrows. So panadol to the rescue.
Now she is sitting on the couch eating her dinner, smiling, laughing, happy. Watching ‘Rainbow Ruby’ which appears to be this generations version of ‘Care Bears’.
There’s so much going on & yet nothing at all. We’re mostly stuck at home. Jack & Violet have been inside the house for a month except for exercise & the occasional run to the post office where they have to wait in the car & I hope they don’t get kidnapped or suffocate…
We watch them. We explain what’s going on in simplified terms. We try not to scare them but they know that something is very wrong. I argue that they should be scared. Fear stops you doing silly things.
Jack keeps taking everyone’s temperature with his grocery scanner & saying that we are ’37’ or ‘100% ouch’. Then he gives us a bandaid. Violet keeps packing her backpack with all of her precious things & knows where her shoes are at all times in case she has to run from the virus. That’s how they make sense of it & protect themselves.
When I see her sleeping I remember just how small & delicate these kids are. Violet is almost 3, Jack is 5. That’s not long to be expected to take on so much. We’re healthy & lucky.
For now, I am content to know she slumbers under a safe roof & she is loved in epic proportions. We protect her & Jack the best we can. The responsibility of guiding them through something I barely cope with, myself, is hard but paramount. And I will do it even if I have to watch a zillion episodes of ‘Rainbow Ruby’ just to make her feel better.
#RainbowRuby #daily #VSLR #JSAR #Covid19 #Corsmor #parenting #kids #family
26th January is Australia Day.
My Husband & our kids are Indigenous Australians but most of MY family immigrated just prior to WWI from Germany, Ireland & Scotland. Yep, I’m white. In high school we were called ‘skips’. In honour of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, I guess.
The 26th of January marks the raising of the Union Jack in Sydney Cove. This is when the British officially declared sovereignty over Australia & took control of the land – by any means necessary.
To me Australia Day has been about celebrating freedom & enjoying family & friends. It has been about looking towards a future where everyone is given equal opportunities. Where feelings about ‘Invasion’ are healed by positive relationships between all Australians. I believe this can be accomplished by raising our kids to be respectful, educated & caring people not hampered by the guilt, hurt & damage of past wrong doings for which they cannot & should not be held accountable.
What happened to the Australian Indigenous population during the 1700’s & onward is a disgrace. Considered inhuman they experienced atrocities that continued for over 200 years. We all, Australians, know this. We learnt about it at school, we were told about it by the community, by our Indigenous friends & by the media. Indigenous Australians are no longer considered inhuman. They have the same rights as anyone else. The government has issued an official & formal apology to the Indigenous Australians of this great land.
The government & it’s citizens have all said ‘Sorry’. Even those of us that weren’t living here. Those of us who joined Australia, after those times, have said (& whole heartedly felt) Sorry. Perhaps the anniversary of that day would be a better choice for Australia Day?
I do not mind what date Australia Day falls on. The date has no meaning to me. The date does not form part of my ethos surrounding the wonder & excitement that is & has always been Australia Day. It has simply meant a day to spend together. Together as a family, as a country; united. But for some it has great meaning. It’s the day their whole future was changed & their worlds turned upside down.
Almost every town in Australia has some sort of Australia Day tradition. Where I grew up you got up at 6am & threw the deck chairs, blanket & Esky in the car & made your way to the park by the river under the Morton Bay Fig Trees (yep, they’re native & they’re beautiful) for a gold-coin-donation breakfast provided by the local Rotary & Apex clubs. There were games like ‘dunny races’ & performances by children’s choirs & Indigenous Australian dancers. They gave out citizen awards & the Mayor talked about the future of the town. We stood up for the National Anthem under two flags: the Australian & the Indigenous Australian. I never could understand why there were two flags instead of one, but I just accepted it.
Just accepting it as the ‘way it is’ does not work for me anymore. I often state (tongue in cheek) “as the mother of Indigenous children…” However, in this instance I am not joking. I believe it is well overdue time to unite. To let go. Not to forget but to heal the past by moving toward a future united. To teach our children about a world where we can live without the guilt of our ancestors but of the love & compassion they had for this land, all land. For the desire for freedom that we all have. Even those of us who are white love this land & feel a deep connection to it. It’s where I was born, raised & gave birth to my own children. It is home.
So, if you must, change the date. It does not affect the feeling, the ‘vibe’ of the day for me. But it will for some. And if moving the date helps ALL Australians, Indigenous or otherwise, enjoy their day of unity, harmony & freedom then do it, I say. Do it.
This year I have a motivational word by which I want to define my year: ‘Growth’. Emotional growth – sure. Knowledge growth; definitely. However, the biggest part of my life in which I want to experience growth is my garden. Growing things, being outside & teaching my kids how to grow food & work together to build something is one of the reasons we moved a bit further out in the country two years ago.
There is freedom here, not complete freedom, but space & quiet that we didn’t have before. It has helped clear my mind & my heart of a lot of things that were holding me back in my growth. I think I have had a peek into the life I have always wanted — but it will take growth.
I have not published a blog since September 2016. A lot has happened in that space. Most importantly, we met our final family member, the beautiful Violet. I plan to add a few blogs that will fill in that time so life makes sense, but I might not get a chance. In any event, the last year has certainly been challenging. I not only met my daughter but my Son turned 2. He is a running, yelling, conversing, building machine & keeping me on my toes. Unfortunately, I also lost two of my best friends this year quite unexpectedly. The loss of those two souls in my life has left a silent hole in my heart. I have many unanswered questions. I miss them daily, hourly, minutely. I wish they were here to play with my kids & chat about our lives. There is so much I could say that trying to find the words leaves me exhausted.
In any case, to mark the beginning of 2018 growth we planted a healthy green Fig tree in our back yard. He was a gift to me from a friend (RG) & has been lovingly tended to since he was a seedling. He has been ready to find a permanent place in our yard for a little while but today seemed like the right time. It will be interesting to see how his growth matches my own. The soil here is mostly clay so it will be a challenge to keep him healthy but what’s growth without challenge?
These are two of my favourite photos of The Doors. I first saw these photos when I was about 10 years old & I have never stopped wondering what they were thinking about… or what happened to that amazing carpet; to me it looked like the veins on an arm & they were all coming out of Jim Morrison. It’s possible these photos are the reason I became obsessed with the veins in my own arms & spent years carving them up, who knows, perhaps I was looking for a Door.
The Doors, 1968
Photography by Art Kane
The wind is strong today. I close my eyes slowly & imagine I’m by the ocean. I drift off. Then the baby cries & here I am, I’m back.
“All 7 & we’ll watch them fall
They stand in the way of love
& we will smoke them all
With an intellect & a savoir-faire
No one in the whole universe
Will ever compare
I am yours now & u are mine
& together we’ll love through
All space & time, so don’t cry
One day all 7 will die”
Such a beautiful day to go in search of bees.
A short evening stroll A short evening stroll tonight led me to a glorious sunset. 🌅❤💜
It’s 5:32am & my little boy is stirring from a night of quiet dreams. My stomach flutters each time his sweet voice comes through the monitor. I lie here listening & hoping he returns to his peaceful mind; for a few more hours, at least.
Nothing makes me happier than holding him in my arms & knowing he is safe. Each time we part I feel insecure & protective. Sometimes I sneak a look at him dreaming in his cot & I vehemently hope he will always be safe & know that he is loved & wanted.
My boy, growing so fast, before my eyes. His hand, once so small that he could only grasp my individual fingers, now grows so quickly that I find us palm to palm. His long fingers interlocking mine, for a moment, & then loose again & always sticky.
He reaches out for his Dad & says his first words “Dad, Dad, Dad…” & every time I hear that little voice it makes me giggle with its insistent, soft tone.
No one will ever be more loved than our children, of that, I am certain.
A little while ago I became a Patron of one of my heroes, Amanda Palmer. Being a Patron means I help to pay for her art. It means she can make the art & music she likes without needing a record company. Right now, she is 8 months pregnant & yesterday she stood naked in full body paint in front of the New York Public Library to raise awareness for literacy & gather books from supporters for needy children. She stood as a living replica of the Verity statue by Damien Hirst & as people dropped off books she moved to a new position. Anyone who has been 8 months pregnant will know standing still for any amount of time is difficult & painful so I was in awe of her efforts. Literacy is something Amanda obviously feels passionate about, as I do, so when she stated in a recent interview that her favourite children’s book is ‘The Velveteen Rabbit‘ I could not ignore what is for me, a meaningful coincidence. Continue reading
His hair sultana blonde
& skin cotton soft.
My son with eyes a twinkle
Stares with an innocent wonder
Into my eyes as I say his name.
His nose wrinkles with his giggle;
A new voice harsh with overuse.
His whole hand grips my finger
Such strength from my small boy.
Countless raw emotions fill me
& he smiles kindly as my tears well.
I laugh at his made up words
That infuse me with hope & joy.
Within this bond; a new discovery –
A person inside I had never met.
One who sings, dances & laughs.
A woman focused & calm,
My mothering a mix of trial & error.
One day when he is older
I will ask him how I did
& hope he grades me favourably
My boy with sultana hair & blueberry eyes
With the cherub cheeks & Angel’s Kiss.
I love you with my every heart beat,
©Violet Ashes 2015
Today is the first of a precious few winter days without rain & the first time I have had to get out into my garden & explore. It is a different place in the winter – the plants either go dormant or thrive. There are hues of brown & purple that are not visible in other months.
I find the garden to be one of the only places I can go to just be where I do not have to think. My mind clears & I lose hours in a sunny afternoon pottering about. Without the garden I would be lost. Sometimes it is not enough to look out from my kitchen window; I was pleased to get out in the sunlight today & took my camera with me.
I have been experimenting with coloured & macro lens filters – it is much more difficult than I imagined. There is no ‘point & shoot’ scenario – it takes time & patience; both of which I find sparse at the moment. The first of our winter blooms came out of hiding with the unseasonable sun – I hope there will be more in the days to come.
“I had a very happy childhood, happy teenage years & I was famous by the time I was 22. A charmed life.” — Rik Mayall Continue reading
A crackled orange ribbon floats through a bruised & clouded sky.
As I peer through my camera lens I start to wonder why
With all this beauty at the end of the day
It took me so long to work my way
Out to the balcony to view the sunset every day.
©Violet Ashes 2014
Every night the sky is a constant surprise to me. Even the sunsets under a dark grey sky with barely any colour still hold interest & the emotion it elicits in me is extraordinary.
My Sunset 365 Project (You can visit HERE) is a third of the way through & although almost every day I forget I have got to go out & take the photo I have managed to do it & also enjoy it. I have seen incredible colour in the sky – sometimes I cannot believe it is real & often comment to Corsmor that no one is going to believe I haven’t photoshopped the colour.
In fact, sometimes the hardest part is finding a quote to match the beauty of the sky. I could not find one today, so I wrote one…
“Stop comparing where you’re at with where everyone else is. It doesn’t move you farther ahead, improve your situation, or help you find peace. It just feeds your shame, fuels your feelings of inadequacy, & ultimately, it keeps you stuck. The reality is that there is no one correct path in life. Everyone has their own unique journey.”
— Daniell Koepke
According to ‘the Internet’ Daniell Koepke is the founder of a Tumblr called the ‘Internal Acceptance Movement’ (IAM) which discusses recovery, self care, mental health, body image, self acceptance & issues of social justice.
At first I thought, “sounds like a bunch of hippy crap…”
“Platitudes & promises…”
I visited the site & started to look around. There are a lot of saccharine things; catch-phrases & clichés. However, I found that a lot of her Tumblr was relevant. They may sound fanciful but, when you think them through, a lot of the quotes & points Daniell makes resonate & remind me to stay on task. To not get caught up in petty arguments or feel rejected or neglected. I am in control of how I feel, no one else. How I react to a situation is entirely up to me even if I am baited.
On bad days I fall for the bait every single time. When I am feeling insecure or suspicious everything that is said & done around me makes me feel bad about who I am & I question my worth. There are a few people who remain in my life that seem to have the ability to take control of my self-confidence & flush it away. On good days, which is most of the time, I don’t even notice those people or I pity them.
My aim is to become indifferent to them. To see the barbs they throw at me & care not if they hit me. That would be a glorious experience.
Every year I take out my Great Grandfather Slattery’s badge, colours & dog tags to take with me to the ANZAC day dawn service.
John Arthur Slattery
Service Number: 2256
Roll Title: 43 A.I.F.
Date of Embarkation: 12 Aug 1916
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
John’s Battalion, the 43rd, consisted of 30 officers & 991 other ranks. He stayed with his Battalion through every battle & was one of only a handful to return at the end of WWI.
John, along with his battalion, landed briefly in Egypt in 1916 then went on to Britain for further training. They arrived on the Western Front in late Dec 1916.
The 43rd Battalion spent 1917 bogged in bloody trench warfare in Flanders, Belgium. In June the battalion took part in the battle of Messines & in October the Third Battle of Ypres (also named the Battle of Passchendaele) where they were in the front wave of 16 waves of men.
The battalion spent much of 1918 fighting in the Somme valley, France. In April they helped stop the German Spring offensive at Villers-Bretonneux. In July the battalion was part of General Monash’s attack at Hamel. In August & September the battalion helped drive the Germans back to the Hindenburg Line.
The 43rd joined the advance that followed the 2nd Division’s victory at Mont St Quentin & it was during this operation that Temporary Corporal Lawrence Weathers earned the battalion’s only Victoria Cross. Weathers was mortally wounded in the battalion’s next battle. The battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel John Farrell wrote “..he died at the Regimental Aid Post, & lies buried on the battlefield.”
John was discharged on 25 Sept 1919 & returned home safely to Australia to his wife & children.
LEST WE FORGET
I was born on Good Friday. So I kind of consider today my lunar birthday. My planet, Mars, is high in the sky near the moon which is full & bright, much like life should be. We had a Blood Moon Eclipse on Wednesday. I should have seen the warning.
A phone call in the early hours of this morning has left me in mourning & it has poured with rain ever since.
I have thought a lot of my uncle who died last night. He was quite young & though not always healthy this was unexpected. My father, near inconsolable, told me through tears & husky throated words. Slipping between shock & understanding as I lamented the loss & offered support. I moved swiftly into protective mode as I always do when either of my parents are upset.
There is nothing I can do. I cannot fight death & tell him to stay away. I cannot promise things will be alright. Of course they will be alright but where Geoffrey should be there will always be a blank space. He is the first of a family of 5 brothers & sisters to die, & suddenly, it is a shock to us all.
I remember Geoffrey most in his early twenties. Sitting me down as a little girl, pointing to himself in his High School pictures & saying;
“This is me, this is when I got sick” & me asking in my 8-year-old way
“what kind of sick? What happened?”
He replied; “I took things & my head got sick”
“Oh,” I said, in almost a whisper
“But I’m okay, I’m happy” he said.
Geoffrey developed early onset, severe & chronic Schizophrenia. There were a lot of tough times after that conversation. Geoffrey lived with us for quite a while; my parents took care of him until his illness became unmanageable. I remember him being there & the care they showed him even when things were tough. I do not remember the stress my parents must have been under with 2 young children of their own & a sick (yet medicated) young adult all living together in a small cottage. I only remember the impression that family takes care of each other & love is important, it makes people happy even when things seem bad. It makes life bearable.
In the decades that followed, medication for Schizophrenia improved. At times Geoffrey made more sense in conversation than the rest of my ‘sane’ family put together. He certainly made more noise. I always knew when he was visiting my other uncle because they lived one street over from us & the noise from his drum-kit would fill the street. That used to make me laugh. Now the thought that I won’t hear it makes me melancholy.
So we are one less but I did learn something. The love of family that takes care of you when you need it most; the ones that feel it when you’re gone, are the ones to keep the closest, if only in your heart.
For my 30th birthday my family bought me a new camera. A Canon EOS 450D. I had always wanted to try my hand at ‘real’ photography – yes I was the annoying person at parties with the camera out – but I had never had a decent camera to really stretch myself.
I have been practicing with this camera for on/off 4 years now. So this year I decided I would do something that would stretch me & ensure that I learn – fast.
I started a Tumblr photo blog – http://violetashes-sunset.tumblr.com
The aim? Take & present a photo of the sunset every day of the year 2014.
Each day I go out & take a photo of the sunset. Then I come inside, choose the best one & post it to the blog along with some words about sunsets.
I try hard to lay off Photoshop & only soften or sharpen the images with the occasional crop & colour saturation enhancement. This can be hard sometimes – especially when presented with a gloriously colourful sunset. It is easy to get digitally carried away – so I have learned to just take my shot & when it is a nice shot with lots of colours, I cross-post to Instagram (http://instagram.com/violet_ashes) with some fancy filters just for fun. That way I get it out of my system & keep my photos for the Tumblr as natural as possible.
I have tried to take the shot from approximately the same position every day – but sometimes I am out & about so I take it from a different location. On the odd occasion I simply cannot do it I ask a friend to ‘guest’ for me that day – which has produced a couple of really nice shots.
It is only April & already I have learned so much from this project – not only about photography but about commitment & patience. Getting that ‘perfect shot’ is harder than I thought it would be. I have learned all about my camera & I am still learning.
As I approach taking photo number 100, I look back on what I was taking at the start of the year &, already I can see how far I have come.
I feel positive about this project – it gives me a sense of accomplishment & satisfaction that I can produce something beautiful. I am gaining confidence, not just with photography but in my writing & presentation of myself to the world as an artistic person. It is a learning curve & I am happy to be on the journey.
I hope that I am wrong about God
I hope that there is magic in this world
That when I die I awaken to a splendour
That takes my breath again
I hope that being an atheist
Does not upset God or the Fairies
I hope that they forgive me
When I finally meet my end
I hope that the Circle of Oaks
The chanting & the sacrifice
The stone temples & the statues
Were not bred & built in vain
I hope that underneath the ground
There is a heaven to be found
Where I can see those ones again
Whose hearts refused to beat
I hope the feathers I have collected
Reveal messages & dreams
Of untold stories & romance
From a friend I have never known
I hope through all these faithless years
I have missed out on something special
& when I die I will kick myself
For not knowing life is precious
Written by Violet Ashes 8th April 2014
Image taken in ‘The Forest’, 14th September 2013
© Violet Ashes 2014
We fell in love in an afternoon & the sun set as we kissed.
The beauty of the dimming sky; a reflection in your blue eyes.
We kissed & felt a new forever beat in our chests.
An eternal sunset burning in our hearts each day born anew & ending with a kiss.
A kiss as sweet & warm as that first afternoon.
I await the setting of the sun each day for the chance to kiss again.
Each sunset on another year together;
a beauty, a reflection, and a promise to each other.
This love is as certain as the sun setting on the day.
10th of February; 6 years to the day
a happy anniversary of that first afternoon
I can measure the years of our love in sunsets.
Affection in your eyes that never dims
And a bond which not storm nor rain could break.
Corsmor & I have had some wonderful adventures in our time together. Every where we would go we would find something interesting to do & something neither of us had seen before. Almost a year ago we discovered something that facilitated these adventures & has taken us to places we would never have otherwise visited.
My Dad (Sparky) mentioned it in conversation over coffee one morning & I was a bit miffed that I had not heard of it before. So we looked into it & we have been hooked ever since.
So I headed to the internet. I found www.geocaching.com & read the FAQ’s. I signed up & made up a team name for Corsmor & I. I bought a handheld GPS. I looked up, tracked & found my first Geocache. I was hooked.
So for those of you who have not heard of Geocaching – here is my run-down. It is an orienteering treasure hunt. It runs world-wide & is constantly changing. There are multiple treasures & maps to that treasure. It is fun, exhilarating & at times exhausting.
Participants use a hand-held GPS (or if you don’t have one, there is ‘an app for that’ available from Geocaching.com) to search for, hide & locate containers called ‘Caches’ that contain all manner of things from information, toys, swaps, & trackable items.
The search for these containers can take you to a quick roadside stop, tourist attractions or places of interest you may not have known existed. For us, this was the best part. Heading off into the bush or down dirt roads we had never travelled before has landed us in some quirky, beautiful & wonderful places – often with breathtaking views, something to have a bit of a giggle at; we have even watched whales in the ocean.
Usually a Cache will be a small water-proof container. In this you will find a log where you must sign your team name & date. Usually the container will have trinkets as mentioned before & you can make swaps for a bit of fun. Our emblem is a sparrow so we always put in a silver sparrow charm for someone to swap & we try to pick up something interesting we can trade somewhere else.
There are many nuances to Geocaching. Much too many to count or relay here. What I can say is that it is highly enjoyable & highly addictive. Corsmor & I have been known to spend entire weekends geocaching. The great thing about is that it gets you out in the world. You see new things, meet new people & you learn to communicate in an even better way.
At times, I will admit, I can grow quite frustrated. Corsmor is our driver & I am the navigator. This can cause friction – but it usually ends in laughter. Especially when I have turned the map around so many times I might as well be looking at a blank sheet of paper. What it has helped me with is my sense of direction. My instincts have improved as far as direction & what looks like a certain ‘cache location’. It’s also great exercise.
We have also met some great people in our travels. Fellow Geocachers who are doing the same thing we are doing while pretending not to do it at all. It is a lot of fun.
So if you like adventure or find yourself with a boring day ahead check out Geocaching.com (I promise, they’re not paying me to write this!) & get started. You won’t regret it.
Here are some of the amazing & weird things we’ve seen along our travels we never would have known were there otherwise:
Cache Owner – TeamAstro.
Hidden: 24th November 2004 / Found: 16th September 2013
Pump Station in the Gilbert Valley, South Australia
This was a ‘multicache’ where you head to a certain set of GPS coordinates provided on Geocaching.com & from there you find & receive new coordinates. You keep doing this until you get to the final location where you will locate the final cache. In this case it was a disused heritage pump station & Corsmor had to attach a guide line to his belt & disappear down a long tunnel counting the steps until he found the cache.
‘Ghostly Gum’ GC27GD9
Cache Owner – OrangeAngels
Hidden 26th April 2010 / Found: 30th September 2013
Back roads of Coffin Bay, South Australia
It was a quick ‘drive-by’ cache with a funny looking tree. It gave us a bit of a laugh.
‘Top of the World’ GC16TQA
Cache Owner – TheMundsters
Hidden 20th October 2007 / Found: 31st March 2013
Beautiful view from a hill at Mount Crawford, South Australia
This morning I had a positive pregnancy test. I would only be very early – 4 weeks at the most. I am positive about this despite what happened to our first pregnancy. I feel healthier & ready – for whatever happens.
There are a multitude of feelings I have about this. This morning when I saw the positive test I wondered whether I should wait to tell Corsmor – but I know that I can’t live that way. First of all, he is my husband, I can’t lie to him. Secondly, this baby is half his, I can’t deny him experiencing whatever there is to experience. I won’t say that I am not hesitant.
We are heading to the beach today & I will tell Corsmor on the shore – where there is nobody but him & I, the ocean & the waves. Whatever his reaction I am sure he will be happy. I am sure he will feel similar to me, hesitant, but happy.
This ornament hangs on our tree every year in memory of my Poppa, Maurice John McInnis. I miss him every day, but at Xmas most of all.
When I think of Poppa I think of golf, whiskers & trousers. I think about the way he always kept his glasses in his top pocket in a soft leather holder I used to stroke when he’d cuddle me. I think about the way he would tease me as a little girl, carrying a handbag – how he joked that he wished he had a handbag too.
I remember his laugh, how it would crack, half pitched & high in the middle. How his eyes would water when the laughter really took him – the same way my Mum’s eyes do when she laughs.
I think about Poppa’s finely manicured lawn that he tended daily & trimmed with scissors if ever there was a blade out-of-place. The feel of that lawn under my bare feet when we would visit in the summer – no matter where he & Gran lived a beautiful lush, green lawn adorned each home.
I think about the way Gran called him ‘Johnny’ & he called her ‘Love’. How they had matching recliners with lace doilies Gran hand-made for each one. I remember him in that recliner watching Port Adelaide Football club play on TV – a-top the TV was a model ship – filled with his gold coin change that he put there to save for something he might put in his shed.
In Poppa’s shed was homemade Draught beer with a light box he built himself to keep the temperature steady as it brewed. That shed, always neat & tidy & filled with gardening tools. Poppa’s tomatoes were the pride of the family – sweet, juicy, ripe & red. Every year we were treated to fresh ham & tomato sandwiches, homemade sauce & Gran’s tomato relish. I think about how much I miss those tomatoes & watching him in his hat tending to the plants.
Poppa loved to fish. He loved to laugh. He loved to garden & he loved his family. He was a proud man – he was gentle & he was the kind of man you met & his soft voice lingered. I think people liked Poppa – he was a gentleman & a hero to my brother. He had a temper – but it was rare & purposeful. I never saw it.
I don’t think Poppa ever knew how much we all loved him & how much his impression would linger. But it has & it does.
That ornament was given to me by Gran the year Poppa died. Every year I put that ornament on my tree & I think of him. I miss him & I smile – I hear his laughter in the house & I think, I hope, that maybe he knows how much he is missed, how much he is loved, so many years later. My Poppa.
Sachin Tendulkar retires; an amazing player, childhood hero & a good bloke. I will miss watching him play.
“Batsman walk out into the middle alone.
Every time Tendulkar walks to the crease the whole nation,
tatters & all,
marches with him to the battle arena.
A pauper people pleading for relief,
remission from the life long anxiety
of being Indian,
by joining in spirit their visored saviour.
Wednesday or Friday,
Tendulkar lifts his gleaming bat,
points it like a sword towards the TV
cameras after his customary hundred,
and a million hands go up in blessing;
and in begging, pleading silently
for redemption from the oppressive reality
of their existence; seeking a moment’
liberation from their Indiabondage
through the exhilarating grace of one
One billion hard-pressed Indians. Just one hero….
The poor Indian lifts his hands to Sachin Tendulkar in supplication:
give us respite, a sense of liberation;
lift us up from the dark pit of our lives
to well-lit places of the imagination
with your skill-wrought perfections.
Give us an idea of what a light thing life ought to be.
Take our blessings; but give us a break. Please win. Win for us…”
By C.P. Surendran
I saw this image on Tumblr today from the movie ‘Léon (The Professional)’ (1994). It reminded me of an old friend from Canada – it was his favourite film & quickly became one of my all-time favourites – partly because he liked it & the gap in our ages felt like that in the movie – but because it was about a lost little girl who clings to a man who is also lost an during those years (1997-2001) I could relate to that. He teaches her a bit about guns & a bit about patience & it was good for me because I was irascible & trigger happy.
Perhaps it was one of those strange – feels – like – it’s – fate – coincidences that I saw this picture. I feel a little like that lost girl again & after seeing this picture I got back in touch with Ray just to tell him I saw the picture & say “I hope you’re doing well”.
I hope I hear from him soon but it’s been a while & he has a lot going on.
I am going to sit down & watch ‘Léon’ again this afternoon. I wonder if it will be as cool & educational as I remember.
It will be our second wedding anniversary in a week & a half. There are days where I feel as if the time has flown but honestly, right now, it feels like just the right amount of time.
Despite the last two years throwing some of the most difficult challenges at us, at me, that I have ever had to face I am amazed & proud to say that I can still get up each morning & look myself in the mirror. Okay, sometimes it is through the slit of one eye, but it is still me that looks back & at the end of (most) days I smile. The principal reason for this is the man who chose me to be his wife. After almost a decade of knowing him I can honestly say that I would not be here, if not for him.
With our cotton anniversary looming I have been, naturally, thinking about our wedding day – running all the memories through my mind, it is still fresh & beautiful in there – so many tender & spectacular moments that are too divine to describe. As always, I recall my favourite moments & there it is. Shining out in the light on its pedestal. That one shining moment, that is still my favourite from that entire day.
Corsmor & I left our wedding reception much later than we had planned – we were having so much fun & we had to force ourselves to leave. Under the arch of love we bid farewell to our guests & made our way to our bridal suite. We stood in the middle of our room & looked at each other. In the background the murmur from the reception continued on (& on for the next hour or so…)
Corsmor stood behind me & unbuttoned the back of my gown – there were over 30 buttons which were covered in velvet & encased a zip. His fingers worked them all & he slid the zip down with ease. My dress fell to the floor. I turned & kissed him, passionately.
“Mr Rolfe, may I present your wife?” I whispered
He grinned & his blue eyes glistened. Lump in his throat, he laughed & kissed me again.
My feet were aching & I felt weak. Corsmor ran me a bath & I slipped into the bubbles with no complaint. It was then I noticed that my hands were a light shade of bordeaux – the dye from my velvet wedding gown had worn off onto my skin. I grinned.
I lied there with the handmade diamond pins still in my hair, my glossed red lips, my wedding ring & my engagement ring sparkling. I am sure that I was grinning, my cheeks were aching from smiling all day. I closed my eyes. I drifted.
When I got out of the bath & put on my warm linen robe & found Corsmor outside on our balcony – his suit still on, his tie removed & his top few buttons open. He was fine-looking. Handsome, strong & neat in his suit. He had, had his waistcoat made from the same velvet as my dress – his idea & it was soft to touch & the colour set off his dark, olive skin.
…”You look pretty” I told him. He laughed again & shook his head.
The moon shone behind us, a light fog hung over Mount Lofty & the music was still beating at the reception. We could see the room glowing from our balcony but we could not see in. It sounded like there was a great party, still, going on.
We sat out on the balcony for hours – we smoked, drank champagne & we talked. We traded war stories about the day, about our families & friends, about how happy we were & how much we loved each other.
This precious time on the balcony in the small hours of the morning are what I remember most from the day because it was just us. It was the first time we had been truly alone all day – our first time alone as man & wife & what did we do? We talked. Like we always had – talk had always come first. From the first moment we met online;
“Are you going to say something? I am going to delete you if you do not talk to me” he wrote
It was a challenge & I accepted.
That is nearly a decade ago now.
Only hours previous we had our photo taken in front of that same balcony & in our window sill. I knew that years later we would want to remember our room & the moments alone. Pictures & notebooks full of stories; that is how I remember. Without them, I am lost.
When the air began to chill & the wild birds started to rustle; the music from the reception had stopped long ago (I had not noticed) we decided to go back to our room.
I texted my brother, Leo.
“Happiest day of my life…”
& it was.
I met her when I was 7. We were friends. We were in love. She went away.
I thought about her every day for the longest time. Until we met again. 7 years later.
She showed me what love is. She came out of nowhere, even now, I am certain she did not walk, but floated. We were inseparable, we spent days, end upon end, with each other. She showed me how to kiss, how to love, how to want & how to need.
We floated on clouds & whispered with cotton ball mouths. We slipped open our veins & fed velvet lust to each other. I hear her voice in my head even now & I want to walk off a cliff for her.
There is a place I go – it used to be just us. I would see her there, lying in the grass staring up at the stormy sky – I would walk through a freezing stream, through fog, afraid & there she would be waiting. I would lie next to her, shivering, & with my eyes closed I would slip my hand in hers & wish the dark away. She would whisper my name through the haze – she would find the calm in me & pull it out. In all my darkest moments I have been in that forest with her, my calm brought back to me by her whisper.
For two decades it has just been us but now there is another – he stands tall like a terrible soldier – I freeze in my tracks & the girl that I was holding disappears. It is just me & I run. I run towards him, not away. I look behind me & there is no one there. I run alone, I run fast, I run right through him.
The faster I run through the forest the closer he gets to me until I cannot run anymore. This happens over & over until I cannot run anymore. The faster I run the harder he holds me when I finally find his heart against my heart, the beats blaring in my ears – he whispers so close to my ear that I feel his breath flow through me, warming me – he whispers my name & I whisper his.
Dreaming of the forest is something that haunts me, now daily. Everyday adds another beat, another breath, but it is the same fog, the same stream, the same grass, my girl & my soldier. Standing tall. Whispering my name.
Sometimes I wonder if they will ever meet. If he could bring her home.
She went away. We were in love. We were friends. I met her when I was 7.
Sometimes I wake up not knowing where I am, or who I am. This morning was just like that. Not an out of body experience but the kind of shady-eyed, heart-racing, full-bladder wakeup where you only have one thing on your mind. & once you’ve visited the toilet you look in the mirror as the cold water runs over your hands & you wonder who the hell you are looking at.
“Is that me? Are those my mascara stains?”
Waking up this week could take forever.
Feels like my body is rejecting me. My brain & heart are in different places & I swear I can feel the spring run through my blood redesigning my DNA. It is never satisfied. Bring back the winter. I approve of the rain & the cold. The long sleeves & the late mornings. The blue dawn & the days I forget my umbrella & refuse to run.
By the end of this week spring will have taken full hold of September & there will be beauty everywhere. Greens, pinks, blues – flowers & faces. I can’t help but let it absorb me but I don’t really approve.
I am not as cruel as you think I am, or as angry.
He works hard & the harder he works, the more often I am alone. The harder he works the more I appreciate him, but the harder he works the less I see of him to appreciate.
It is almost 3pm & the day has been swallowed – I cannot remember what I have done other than write & think & drink cranberry juice. My bladder is screaming at me, I have to go & each time I lose my train of thought & every time I see that girl in the mirror again. I do not know who she is but I would like to peel her face off & build a new one. She is not who I wanted her to be & I cannot figure out how to map my way to who she should have been.
I awoke screaming this morning with a man standing over the top of me. In those few seconds I was submerged in decades of memories & my heart pounded out of control. As my eyes focussed & my ears warmed up I heard Corsmor whisper,
“Hey it’s only me… are you okay?”
I closed my eyes again, slowly. My eyelids visible to me as they shut out the light. Confusion & then relief. As I rubbed my sore neck & shoulders it was then I realised my skin was clammy with sweat & I was shaking uncontrollably.
I got myself up & shook the horror somewhere deep down while I showered & washed off the nightmares that I could not remember. The water was hot enough to burn my skin right to the bone; boil me alive. I stayed that way for an hour or more.
When finally I did get out of the shower, I saw myself in the foggy mirror, my naked body looking small & overwhelmed with red & stinging scars. As I dried my hair I remembered moonlight from my dreams. I wrapped a towel around myself & walked barefoot to my piano where I sat down. The notes from ‘Clair de Lune’ filled my mind. My fingers shook on the keys & I stroked them like a long-lost pet,
“can I remember how to play… this?” I whispered
Then, like the rusty magic of a teenage boy my fingers floated & pressed on the keys, I knew the tune & it knew me. Then came calm, unimaginable.
This tune is part of the soundtrack of my life – first heard as a girl. I dreamed of one day seeing Paris, of walking streets unknown, unseen. Lying somewhere on the grass staring up at a new night sky – stars I have never seen – in a place of beauty rivalled only by the music it makes in my mind.
(visit YouTube to hear – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LXl4y6D-QI)
‘Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. If you don’t start with that, what are you going to end up with? Fall head over heels. I say find someone you can love like crazy & who’ll love you the same way back. & how do you find him? Forget your head & listen to your heart… Run the risk, if you get hurt, you’ll come back. Because, the truth is there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey & not fall deeply in love – well, you haven’t lived a life at all. You have to try. Because if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.” ~~ Anthony Hopkins, Meet Joe Black
Spring has sprung & we have had some good news at last – just one more operation to get out of the way in October & all should be well.
Running risks, getting hurt, trying, clawing, healing, screaming – all these things are living – but loving – that is still new to me every day & every day I wake up confused… he is still here… he must be mad, purely & utterly mad. ❤
Riot Grrrl sent me this pin today & instantly my mind flew back to my childhood. Of many hours spent in my Grandma’s garden chasing faeries. Rioty, of course, knows this as we have spent time chasing faeries together – you know a girl will be a friend forever if she will chase faeries with you. It makes perfect sense to me even as an adult.
The photo was taken in a garden on Woodside road in a town called Chester in the UK. Upon reading this I knew the photo was special, for reasons of my own.Coincidences are everywhere at the moment.
It is a beautiful sunny day today & the air is just moving enough to knock the white & pink petals from the almond trees onto the ground. It looks like a blanket of snow – but the warmth that makes my skin tingle tells me it is not winter. As I spent time cutting back the nearly flowering Jasmine on our front hedge I remembered all the gardens I have spent time in, first as a child & as an adult. I have never been far away from one & they are still my favourite places.
I found this photo of me as a kid in our garden; the sun on my hair is just like today & my smile has not changed. It was taken by my Aunty JB & it looks like I was looking to host a very big tea party – I remember that tea kettle – it spent many years on my arm while I chased faeries & drank tea with Grandma.
I spotted this blackboard wisdom at Jeanneret Wines in the Clare Valley today on a tour around the valley with the purpose of restocking our dwindling wine rack. After what feels like an eternal winter the pickings are looking slim & we agreed it was time to go & grab some of our favourites.
The cellar door at Jeanneret is probably our favourite of all cellar doors. A few kilometres up from the famous Skillogalee it is a little haven hidden away where the romance fills the glass because they have learned how to bottle beauty. The roads are rough but the view is beautiful & serene. I am in love with this little gem & if fate ever smiles my way with a lotto win this will be my first point of call.
Now the guy who runs the cellar door is known to some as Richard, but to those of us repeat offenders we know him as Dickie. He is a splendid fella & chatting to him is just as special as the wines he (liberally) pours for tasting. The feeling here is that you are welcome – take a seat. Sit by the fire & enjoy your tasting – once you get to the Rank & File Shiraz this is exactly what you will want to do & you will want to savour every drop.
Another resident of this little establishment is a sly cat who we refer to as ‘Sink Kitty’. He is the second incarnation & is a healthy vintage of 19 years. He lays about in the old sink by the window where he can keep an eye on newcomers & likes a pat & a piece of cheese. His predecessor lived a long 27 years & you would be correct in thinking maybe they have the key to a long life out here. Good wine, good cheese, a small forest of gum trees, glorious vines & an attitude that kicks the ass of any other winery in the region.
We bought as much as the plastic would allow – but not so much we won’t have to come back just as soon as the season changes. I am already looking forward to our next adventure at Jeanneret…
There are those days that all we want to hear is “I Know” & “it’s Okay”. Those days always come at the worst times. When there is no one around that wants to placate to our feelings. Those days burgeon into times where we cannot get anything right. We chase that sense of happiness that we had days previous but they have absconded. They have betrayed us for the lost boy we see in the mirror.
But I know; it is okay. I know because there is an identical identity hiding just behind the mirror. She will step out if only you would stop looking at your own reflection & see the truth of the both of us looking back at you.
I Know ~~ Fiona Apple
So be it, I’m your crowbar
If that’s what I am so far
Until you get out of this mess
And I will pretend
That I don’t know of your sins
Until you are ready to confess
But all the time, all the time
I’ll know, I’ll know
And you can use my skin
To bury your secrets in
And I will settle you down
And at my own suggestion,
I will ask no questions
While I do my thing in the background
But all the time, all the time
I’ll know, I’ll know
I can’t help you out, while she’s still around
So for the time being, I’m being patient
And amidst this bitterness
If you’ll consider this-even if it don’t make sense
All the time-give it time
And when the crowd becomes your burden
And you’ve early closed your curtains,
I’ll wait by the backstage door
While you try to find the lines to speak your mind
And pry it open, hoping for an encore
And if it gets too late, for me to wait
For you to find you love me, and tell me so
It’s ok, don’t need to say it
I have not stopped bleeding since we got back from holiday but today we had an ultrasound & saw Pip for the first time. Floating there, 4mm long, approximately 6 weeks old. We held our breath & there, in the middle of the picture as we watched – it moved. A heartbeat.
There are no words to describe this moment. Especially since I had been so positive that the technician would find nothing at all, that my fears were real & I was losing our baby. But there it was, plain to see, a tiny little beat – new & slow, but there nonetheless. The technician said she thought that it may have even just started. Corsmor, holding my hand, could not take his eyes off the screen, & then that shine in his eyes – the relief. I will see those eyes every night when I go to sleep for a long time.
Although this is a relief – I am aware that this does not necessarily indicate all is well. But today, it is enough to stand in the middle of our kitchen, hold each other & look at our photo of Pip on the fridge & hope that pretty soon, the door of the fridge will be filled with pictures of love that has its own beat.
We spent the long weekend for Australia day camping in Victoria. We decided that since we had just had a positive pregnancy test it would be good to get away, just the three of us, & relax. I felt fine. Healthy, full of energy.
I am certain I cannot be more than 6 weeks pregnant but the started bleeding started the minute we got home from our weekend away. I am terrified. I have read so many websites & books that all say bleeding may be normal this early but many that say it is not okay. I have taken another test, it indicates still pregnant. I do not know what to do & I am not sure there is anything I can do. My immediate reaction seems to be sit here & stress. I cannot get my mind off the possibility that maybe I have done something wrong, that I should not have told Corsmor & I should have just left it alone – waited a little longer. Maybe we should have not gone away? Stayed home? Maybe I pushed myself too hard? Perhaps this is just a warning & tomorrow all will be forgiven.
On our trip away ‘Pip’ was been mentioned so many times & become part of our lives. Preparations already being made in our minds.
I do not know what to do.
I am fearful it is all too late.
Us on holiday – our favourite beach – Bells Beach, Victoria.
It is the days between Xmas & New Year’s Day where I like to take stock & think about the inventory in my life as the year draws to a close. This cocktail that is my life has shaken & stirred me into something unrecognizable from who I was when I was born. It is sweet & it is sour; I have swallowed a lot of stuff I really wanted to spit out but I think I have moulded it into something that tastes divine.
I have been really lucky to find people who like the same variety of life that I like & it makes all those terrifying burning moments more bearable. Sometimes it is just one person I need, sometimes it is a whole bunch & occasionally none of them are my cup of tea, but I know that when life becomes a trifle troubling they will be there for me as I will be for them.
So as I head into 2013 I know that as I negotiate the days I carry with me a little collection of spirits that I enjoy – sweet or sour, they are all welcome in my life & I am happy to share all the days ahead with them.
Have a wonderful Christmas – 2013 looks to be an exciting year full of ‘firsts’…
Congratulations to our friends B&G on a beautiful wedding – love you guys x♥x
Had an awesome night at Schuey’s 40th – great company, live music & lamb on the spit!
Have a great Australia Day everyone!! Stay cool 🙂
Mike Coleridge, Vietnam War photographer sadly died this week. Senior curator of photographs at AWM pays tribute to his beautiful talent.
Ever seen an Alpaca travel at 100km an hour without moving its legs? I have….
I would love to see this…. I need to buy a big telescope… How intense that would be to watch with my own eyes.
NewsDaily: “Huge asteroid headed for close encounter with Earth”
Happy All Hallows Eve xx
It feels like nothing matters in our private universe
There are so few words to describe the feeling of joining your favourite person in front of all of your other favourite people, holding his hands, looking him in the eye & promising to love, honour & obey him for the rest of your life.
Never, in all my life, have I felt so overwhelmed with emotion & love; so silenced in awe of it all.
Promises. Love. Roses. Velvet. Teapots. Beauty. Tears. Joy. Nerves. Relief. Champagne. Diamonds. Blue eyes. Soft lips. Wanton. Breathless.
MAN & WIFE.
2007 Top Ten (in no particular order)
1. Manson Concert – 11 October
2. The Great Divide – 27 Sept
3. Tori Amos Concert – 21 Sept
4. Finding an old friend on his birthday – 12 October
5. Adelaide Fringe Festival – 24 March
6. New Year’s Day @ Glenelg – 1 January
7. Going with Maximus to the Zoo
8. Nights on the Balcony at home
9. Making the Sensory Panel @ Orlando Wines
Tyson Boyce: I’m so pissed I missed the Manson concert here in London
She is here at last…!
PJ’s finally had her little girl, her first baby. She is so tiny, fragile little hands, deep blue eyes & a full head of spikey black hair. We were all concerned about PJ’s labour & what it would mean for her but all is well & we are all so relieved. PJ & Jezz named her Charlotte, & she will live up to her name, I can guarantee it.
Well despite what Charlotte thinks, I agree with Wilbur on this one.