Archives: January 2005
Mon, 31 Jan 2005
Wish I May, Wish I Might
I give you my current music wishlist, in case you should suddenly become rich and on a whim want to purchase for me any number of fantastic CDs, you'll know exactly what to buy! Not in any order of priority, but Sam Phillips has a voice to die for, and if you've never heard Devendra Banhart, then you have missed an incredibly talented artist.
The Hold Steady
Almost Killed Me
Set Yourself on Fire
A Boot and A Shoe
The Mendoza Line
La Argentinidad al Palo
Rejoicing in the Hands
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Sat, 29 Jan 2005
Because I have absolutely nothing better to do with my time, being a fulltime worker, mother, cleaner, and all-purpose dogsbody, I'd like to post a few long-standing scientific mysteries which I believe could usefully benefit from further investigation and research. I put these out there as a challenge to the scientific community.
1. What is the nature of the vast space-time warp around Matthew's clothes in which no matter how often I wash them, they are always in the dirty laundry hamper?
2. What is the weird magnetic force field around the window sill above my kitchen sink which attracts all manner of small, useless paraphernalia, such as at this very moment: a bottle of bubble-blowing liquid, a cork stopper with a pink plastic moon-shaped handle, two marbles, fifty cents in change, a Winnie-the-Pooh alarm clock with the back removed, the cleaning scraper for my flat ceramic stovetop, a bottle of broadspectrum 30+ sunscreen, a package of Panadol, a little figurine of Spud the scarecrow character from Bob The Builder, a Christmas card from our local pizza shop Hell's Pizza, and a little red box which once held a silver necklace. I never see these things placed on there. They just... appear.
3. What is the physiological explanation for the phenomenon known as the Nightly Toileting Ritual of the Three Year Old. The phenomenon goes something like this: child gets into pajamas, child needs to go to toilet, child has storytime, child needs to go to toilet, child is tucked into bed, child needs to go to the toilet. Does the bladder of the the three year old mysteriously diminish in size or greatly increase its activity at bedtime? What is going on here?
4. Why is white cat fur attracted only to dark clothing, and dark cat fur attracted only to white clothing?
5. What is the strange quantum entanglement between the batteries of my iPod, my cellphone and my digital camera that they all require recharging at exactly the same time?
6. How does the crappy weather know that this is the only free day I have?
I leave you to ponder these, and welcome your hypotheses.
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Fri, 28 Jan 2005
by Dana Gioia
The world does not need words. It articulates itself
in sunlight, leaves, and shadows. The stones on the path
are no less real for lying uncatalogued and uncounted.
The fluent leaves speak only the dialect of pure being.
The kiss is still fully itself though no words were spoken.
And one word transforms it into something less or other--
illicit, chaste, perfunctory, conjugal, covert.
Even calling it a kiss betrays the fluster of hands
glancing the skin or gripping a shoulder, the slow
arching of neck or knee, the silent touching of tongues.
Yet the stones remain less real to those who cannot
name them, or read the mute syllables graven in silica.
To see a red stone is less than seeing it as jasper--
metamorphic quartz, cousin to the flint the Kiowa
carved as arrowheads. To name is to know and remember.
The sunlight needs no praise piercing the rainclouds,
painting the rocks and leaves with light, then dissolving
each lucent droplet back into the clouds that engendered it.
The daylight needs no praise, and so we praise it always--
greater than ourselves and all the airy words we summon.
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Wed, 26 Jan 2005
I've never really been into Hip Hop or Rap music. Sure, I've listened to some, and have even liked some of it. But I've never been drawn to it. It's not been a genre that I have spent much time listening to or getting to know. I think that's partly been an age thing, and also just a matter of circumstance. I've never had friends who were into hip hop.
So when I first put on The Streets, I fully expected to say "Oh yeah, that's okay, thanks" and then never listen to it again.
But. I loved it. And for the past two days I've listened to little else. I've been sitting on the bus with the biggest grin on my face, just because this music makes me giggle. It makes me laugh. I tap my feet, wiggle around. It makes me want to move and sing out loud.
Mike Skinner, white garage hip-hop artist from Birmingham (UK, that is, not Alabama) clearly has a style that you either love or hate. No middle-of-the road, take-it-or-leave it. Nah. None of that. You either really like it. Or you really hate it. Case in point: a twenty-something colleague of mine who is into electronica rolled his eyes and said "That's a really naff interpretation of music, if you ask me."
Okay. I can take that. Each to his own.
It's a simple enough scenario: Boy Loses Alot of Money, Boy Meets Girl, Boy Finds Money Again, Boy Loses Girl. This storyline runs through the songs, tying them together.
What I love about this album, A Grand Don't Come For Free - and I speak from a complete ignorance of Hip Hop/Rap - is the way Skinner cuts in big swooping orchestral sounds and really sweet beautiful melodies with the rough almost staccato 1-2 beat of his spoken words.
The Brummie accent is brilliant. The humour is superb. The level of detail and realism is remarkable... I loved the account of getting the television fixed. And the failed pick-up of a girl at the burger bar counter. That's probably my favourite of the lot - Fit and You Know It. I was in the supermarket listening on my iPod when I first heard that particular song, and I burst out laughing right in the middle of the dairy foods. People just turned and stared at me. Looked at the butter. Looked at me. Back at the butter. Shook their heads. I just shrugged and turned up the volume.
But what I love most about the music is... I started off thinking this guy was probably a real asshole and by the end of the album I ended up really caring about him. Sure, he's a typical young geezer down at the pub wiv his mates watching the match, gawking at all the girls, but he also shows his insecurities. He's not full of himself. He cares about his friends. He learns lessons. He knows when he's done wrong. He feels lonely. He has awkward moments. He loves his girlfriend yeah even despite the fact that he cheats on her.
For me, the real clincher song on the album is Dry Your Eyes. This is as raw and painful a break-up song as you will ever hear. The detail that he puts into the description of their parting moment left me tearful. It was so real. I just wanted to reach out and put my arms around him. Not many songs make you want to do that.
He's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But he's definitely human with an amazing gift for story-telling.
I've raved on long enough. Listen for yerself, then go buy the CD:
Fit and You Know It [mp3,6mb] | Dry Your Eyes [mp3,6mb]
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Tue, 25 Jan 2005
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Losing It Update
Boy I obviously had hit the wall when I wrote that previous entry. Sleep deprivation makes you completely crazy, I've decided.
Well, I think we may have got to the bottom of Matthew's sleeping problem. After I posted that entry early yesterday morning, we let Matthew cuddle up to us in bed, and he told us what was bothering him. Finally!
It seems that shortly before Christmas he saw a particular story on the evening news which really scared him.
In fact, I remember the story because it was so horrific. A 14-year old girl was raped in her own bedroom by an intruder in her home. The intruder then stabbed her 10 times in the back, dragged her out of her house and threw her over a fence, leaving her for dead.
Miraculously, she survived.
I remember that news item being on, and commenting on it, but obviously did not register that Matthew was also watching.
He's been scared ever since that the same person will come into our house and do that to him.
We did our best to reassure him. We talked to him about how all our doors and windows are locked, and that nobody can break in to our house. Of course, I know that if someone really really wanted to break in, they could. But I'm not telling him that. We want him to feel safe in his own home. So we talked about how secure our house is (which it is) and some ways we can reassure him that he's safe before he goes to bed.
And we talked to him about how uncommon it is for those sorts of bad thing to happen. That when it does happen, it appears on the news, so it seems like it happens more often, but it doesn't.
You forget that kids have no sense of proportion. They see something and think that's the truth, or that's the way it is, or that's what always happens. You also forget that they take everything around them in, even when they appear not to be.
Anyway. Hopefully it will have helped him just getting it out and telling us about it. Last night he didn't wake up at all in the night.
We'll see how it goes. And from now on we're going to have to be very careful about what is blaring on the television while the kids are awake. I usually am, however it's fairly common for us to watch the evening news which is on at 6pm, right on dinner time. I guess we won't be doing that anymore.
Any advice on how we can help Matthew get over this news story that he saw, greatly appreciated.
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Mon, 24 Jan 2005
It's 5.45am. I've been awake for most of the night.
Actually, what I really am is near my breaking point. I can't go on like this.
For a month now Matthew has become really scared of sleeping, and of being in his bed. He's six and a half now, and Michael refuses to let him come into our bed. Initially we did this, but he ended up in our bed every night, which wasn't good for him, and wasn't good for us.
So every night, two or three times a night, Matthew wakes up and calls out. And won't go back to sleep. And starts crying. Or whines. And he works himself up into a state.
For me, it's like having a baby all over again. Literally. Working full time and getting no quality sleep whatsover is taking its toll, and I find myself less than sympathetic now at 5 in the morning. This morning I found myself yelling at him.
I don't know what to do. He's six and a half. Somehow he has to learn to sleep through the night again. I just don't know how to help him do that, though. I'm losing all sense of sympathy with him.
We've tried sitting down with him and asking him what is wrong, what's scaring him, if anything has happened. And he just says No. He won't talk about it.
I just don't know what to do. I'm losing it.
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Sun, 23 Jan 2005
Kebab shop and pub on Cuba Street, taken early summer during a cold snap. Not many people sitting outside!
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Sat, 22 Jan 2005
Detox and Bergerac
Saturday night again, folks. It comes around again so quickly, doesn't it. Well, at least tonight I'm not cleaning my windows. Oh no, tonight we have something much more exciting here in the suburbs of Wellywood.
Tonight I washed my hair. No shit. I really did. I'm actually living the cliche.
I'm also watching old episodes of Bergerac. Live on the edge, I say.
Well, at least I'm not drunk. But only because I'm on day 6 of a Seven Day Vegetable Soup Detox Diet. Whatever possessed us to do this I don't know. Oh yeah, I remember. Some crazy weight loss notion. Last time I did this diet I lost 3kg. You see, I have about ten pounds to lose to get to my ideal weight, and I'm going to lose it if it kills me. Dammit. And I might just die of vegetable soup aversion in the process. Dead, granted, but at least I'll be a thin corpse. Yeah, yeah, I'm joking. Who would be so shallow as to worry about a measly ten pounds? Not me. Nope. I'm way too secure in myself to worry about that.
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Thu, 20 Jan 2005
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Sat, 15 Jan 2005
Greetings from L.A.
Well, I'm sitting here drinking Sol, a Mexican beer, made in Veracruz. Cerveza importada. Who knew Mexico produced such fine beer. And if I lived in Quebec I could get 10 cents refund back on this very expensive bottle.
So, anyway, here I am, feeling fine, with very clean windows, and ready to talk.
It always amazes me when I discover new music. Music that I think "God, where have I been all my life. I've never heard this before. What a waste of time to have lived and not heard this."
I've been listening to Tim Buckley, a singer from Los Angeles, who died in 1975 at the age of 28 of a heroin overdose. Almost thirty years ago. Amazing that his music has been around for that long and I've never come across it until now.
His music is described as "wild sex-drenched, white boy, funk/soul fandango", and well, I couldn't say it better myself. Certainly not with a fuzzy head after a bottle of Sol. Spin Alternative Guide (aging, creased pages, broken spine, but still the bible), says of him: "Buckley was such a distinictive artist and singer that no one, save his biological son Jeff, could ever really sound like him..."
The CD, Greetings from L.A., had been sitting in our shelves all along. It had been there for ages. I'd seen it but hadn't thought anything about it, just skimmed right over it to other singers and bands that I was familiar with.
That's a bad thing about me, I think. My tendency is to always listen to what is familiar, what I know. I miss a lot of good music by not being more adventurous.
So how did I come to play it? Well, Joshua wanted to choose the next CD to play, and he pulled it out. As simple as that. Child-like serendipidity.
He handed it to me.
I played it.
And the first thing I thought was, Wow. This is sex music!
You think Marvin Gaye sings the leading bumpy-bump music, but he ain't got nothin' over Tim Buckley singing Get On Top.
Get on top
Let me see what you learned tonight
Then I talk in tongues mama
Oh when I love you
Yes I talk in tongues
Anyway, if you're really interested, here it is either as an mp3 [11mb] or streaming Real Audio [3.5mb]. Sorry for the large file sizes, but it's a long song.
Do listen. I think you'll like it.
The Spin Guide only gives Greetings from L.A. a three-star rating, whereas some of his other albums get 8 and 9 stars. Well, if this is a three star album, I can't wait to hear the others.
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Just Me and Mr Muscle
Well, it's Saturday night and I'm alone. Kids are asleep. It's 9:00pm, still light outside, and I'm cleaning windows. Yep, cleaning windows on a Saturday night.
What the fuck. It doesn't matter. At least my windows are clean.
I could be out getting a hangover, or getting hit on or felt up, or being stood up, or getting a sexually transmitted disease, like a lot of people in town tonight at the meat market nightclubs.
But I'm not.
I'm just cleaning my fucking windows.
How about you?
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so you want to be a writer?
by Charles Bukowski
if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.
if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.
don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.
when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.
there is no other way.
and there never was.
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Michael, his father and Matthew.
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Tue, 11 Jan 2005
Poem Holding its Heart in One Fist
by Jane Hirshfield
Each pebble in this world keeps
its own counsel.
Certain words--these, for instance--
may be keeping a pronoun hidden.
Perhaps the lover's you
or the solipsist's I.
Perhaps the philosopher's willowy it.
The concealment plainly delights.
Even a desk will gather
its clutch of secret, half-crumpled papers,
eased slowly, over years,
behind the backs of drawers.
Olives adrift in the altering brine-bath
etch onto their innermost pits
a few furrowed salts that will never be found by the tongue.
Yet even with so much withheld,
so much unspoken,
potatoes are cooked with butter and parsley,
and buttons affixed to their sweater.
Invited guests arrive, then dutifully leave.
And this poem, afterward, washes its breasts
with soap and trembling hands, disguising nothing.
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The Da Vinci Code
I finally read The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown over the Christmas holidays. It is one of those love-it or hate-it sort of books - at the top of the bestseller list, and yet despised by many critics.
Some people have described it as Catholic-bashing (which I didn't think it was at all). Others simply say it is merely a potboiler, formulaic, or as one reviewer at Amazon said: "Serviceable thriller, atrocious history."
Well, I can forgive Dan Brown the "atrocious history" if, indeed, it is atrocious. It is, after all, a work of fiction, and there is nothing that says that fiction has to be true to history. Or true to fact, for that matter. That's what makes it fiction! And, of course, it often depends on whose version of history we refer to as to whether something is true or not.
A thriller, yes. Formulaic, perhaps. Potboiler, arguable. True, it will never be a Robertson Davies but then, I don't think it's trying to be.
I loved it. And I say this unashamedly.
I read it in two sittings, and could hardly bear to put it down.
I genuinely liked the characters. All the references to art history and religious symbolism tweaked my intellectual interest. I liked the fast-paced action - the entire story takes place in less than 24 hours - and all the unexpected twists and turns in the plot kept me guessing.
My silly girly romantic side was really pleased with the ending.
And I especially liked the idea of Sophie's grandfather having sex rituals with plump pagan goddesses :)
What more could you ask for in an easy, bedtime read - murder, mystery, romance, religion, art history, sex rituals and plump pagan goddesses. Meets all my needs!
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Cabbage Trees and Pond, Late Afternoon
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Mon, 10 Jan 2005
The Migraine From Hell
Well, my blissful long weekend alone turned into the migraine experience from hell. I awoke with a bad headache on Saturday morning. My period had just started, and it is fairly common for me to get a bad headache on the first day of my cycle, so I was almost expecting it. I took some Nurofen Plus with codeine which is all I had. That worked for most of the day, but the headache didn't go away. Everytime the codeine wore off, it would return with a vengeance.
The next morning, after not sleeping for most of the night, I woke up with an even worse pain in my head. I downed some more Nurofen Plus, but they just didn't seem to do anything anymore. I couldn't even feel them anymore, and I was scared to take more than the recommended dosage.
The headache kept getting worse and worse. It was Sunday, the local pharmacy was closed, and I had no car anyway to get to the after-hours pharmacy. We're a one-car family, and Michael had the car at the beach house.
It was when I started vomiting around 8pm that I knew I wasn't going to last the night. In desperation I rang my friend Chel.
"I'm so sorry" I said, "I'm so sorry to bother you on a Sunday night before you go back to work, but I'm alone and really sick." I was crying.
"Girl, don't you worry about it" she said to me, "I'm coming straight over."
So my angel of mercy came and went to the after-hours pharmacy for me and got some heavy duty pills which knocked me out. For about 14 hours.
I so needed that. Thank god for good friends.
When I awoke, my head still hurt but not as much as it had the day before. It was just a dull throb. So I got up, ate some food, drank some water, slowly got dressed, and did some things around the house. As the day went on, my headache slowly receded.
At the moment, it's almost gone. I'm hoping that another good night's sleep will do the trick. And I'm hoping like hell that I never experience a migraine quite that bad again.
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Sun, 09 Jan 2005
Reading Moby-Dick at 30,000 Feet
by Tony Hoagland
At this height, Kansas
is just a concept,
a checkerboard design of wheat and corn
no larger than the foldout section
of my neighbor's travel magazine.
At this stage of the journey
I would estimate the distance
between myself and my own feelings
is roughly the same as the mileage
from Seattle to New York,
so I can lean back into the upholstered interval
between Muzak and lunch,
a little bored, a little old and strange.
I remember, as a dreamy
backyard kind of kid,
tilting up my head to watch
those planes engrave the sky
in lines so steady and so straight
they implied the enormous concentration
of good men,
but now my eyes flicker
from the in-flight movie
to the stewardess's pantyline,
then back into my book,
where men throw harpoons at something
much bigger and probably
better than themselves,
wanting to kill it,
wanting to see great clouds of blood erupt
to prove that they exist.
Imagine being born and growing up,
rushing through the world for sixty years
at unimaginable speeds.
Imagine a century like a room so large,
a corridor so long
you could travel for a lifetime
and never find the door,
until you had forgotten
that such a thing as doors exist.
Better to be on board the Pequod,
with a mad one-legged captain
living for revenge.
Better to feel the salt wind
spitting in your face,
to hold your sharpened weapon high,
to see the glisten
of the beast beneath the waves.
What a relief it would be
to hear someone in the crew
cry out like a gull,
Oh Captain, Captain!
Where are we going now?
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Sat, 08 Jan 2005
I'm alone. Michael has taken the boys up to the beach house for the weekend, so it's just me and the cats. And the glorious silence.
Well, except for the sound of the rain. Yes, that makes it even better. It's pouring outside, and we are in the middle of a thunderstorm. I love thunderstorms. Big cracking ones like the time in France when there were huge spears of lightning streaking across the sky just above us and hitting all around and I thought sure we were going to die. But this is just a tiny one, just some deep rumbles and heat lightning. Still, a thunderstorm nonetheless, so I'll take what I can get.
And the best part of this storm is I don't even have to make up an excuse not to go outside. It's warm and cosy and tidy in here and I'm going to crawl back into my bed now with my book - Quicksilver, the first in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle Trilogy. A mammoth work, and I'm engrossed already after only a few pages. And several thousand more to go!
Have a good day. I am :)
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Fri, 07 Jan 2005
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My Shelves Runneth Over
We have hundreds and hundreds and, well, just hundreds of books. Everywhere. And fast running out of shelving to hold them all. And that's not even counting the children's books, which also number in the hundreds.
So today I went through all the shelves, weeding out books that I thought could safely be taken to the secondhand book shop with little or no remorse. I managed to find seven. A lousy seven books, folks!
They were, in no particular order:
1. The Natural Way to Better Babies : preconception health care for prospective parents. I bought this in a "I'm going to detox and get physically and spiritually healthy" stage before getting pregnant. Only problem is, I fell pregnant so quickly that I barely had time to even think about given up the alcohol and other bad stuff, much less give it up long enough for my body to detoxify. Well, my birthin' days are done now, so I certainly don't need this anymore.
2. What to Expect When You're Expecting. The pregnancy bible, of course. But ditto above. No more pregnancies for me (please god, please, no more).
3. Toddler Taming : the guide to your child from one to four by Dr Christopher Green. Hah! Wishful thinking on the part of parents desperately searching for a quick-fix panacea to those tricky toddler years. More like a quick buck for Dr Green, I would say. The truth is this: you just have to limp through those years the best you can, feeling completely inept and alone when it's your child lying on the floor of the supermarket screaming and banging his head against the floor. Repeat after me. There.are.no.operating.manuals.for.toddlers. Save yourself the $25 and spend it instead on a bottle of good red wine. That will make you feel much better than this book.
4. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon. Don't know where I got this from and don't think I've ever read it. Has anyone ever read this? Is it any good?
5. Decade of Decline : Civil Liberties in the Thatcher Years by Peter Thornton. Okay, I bought this when I was living in London and feeling very liberal and politically correct. Of course, I'm still very liberal and politically correct, but I just keep my politics to myself these days. God, it's so nice to reach an age where you don't have to impress anyone anymore. I like it. As for this book, it's hardly worth throwing out as it's only about 1.5 cm thick.
6. Belinda by Anne Rice. I think Michael bought this. I'm reading the blurb on the back... "The ultimate fantasy. A golden-haired object of desire, fresh and uninhibited. But to Jeremy Walker, a handsome and famous 44 year old illustrator of children's books, Belinda is forbidden passion. She's sweet sixteen, and the most seductive woman he's ever known..." Hey, maybe I'll keep this one. I'm always game for a Lolita story.
7. The Tropical Traveller : the essential guide to travel in hot countries. Published in 1985. A little out of date now. By about two decades.
Okay, all up, I've saved about nine inches of shelf space. That's just not enough. I suspect I will need to have a second go and be a little more ruthless.
What I need is for an objective third party to go through and demand justification for each and every book. Why, for instance, am I still keeping Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex in the original French? I know I'm never going to read it again. But the fact that I once did read it seems somehow important to me. Maybe I should just stop being so nostalgic and get rid of all my French books.
After all, Le deuxième sexe alone would save at least three inches!
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Wed, 05 Jan 2005
Down by the River
There's a lovely river that runs near the beach house. It snakes through pastures, a small pine forest and the dunes until it reaches the ocean. Our house is situated in a little settlement nestled between the mouth of the river and the ocean.
When things got too chaotic for me, I would take my camera down to the river. Always peaceful and it never looks the same way twice. The river mouth changes constantly, and the water level fluctuates dramatically depending on rain and high or low tide. Sometimes a mere creek, other times a deep, dangerous and fast-moving current.
This lovely path runs north from the bridge until it reaches pasture:
Looking south towards the mouth of the river and the ocean:
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Tue, 04 Jan 2005
Christmas morning at the beach house is always an early start. Well, for the kids anyway. They're awake at 5am. They're allowed to get up then, and open their stockings and one present. But they have to be quiet. And they don't get to open all the other presents until much later, after we're all up and showered and have had breakfast.
Sounds mean, I know, but it means we adults get to sleep in a little longer :) After all, we've just been awake half the night wrapping presents, and stuffing stockings, and ensuring that Father Christmas has drunk half of that bottle of beer and that the reindeer have eaten some of the carrot. So the least we can have is a little sleep-in on Christmas morning.
Christmas dinner in the sun consists of eating on the verandah with a very simple meal - barbecue, ham off the bone, salad, homemade bread, and good wine. What more do you need? My only complaint was no seafood. Next time I shall bring some.
I miss Christmas in the winter, but there are some definite advantages to having Christmas in the summer... like having so few dinner dishes afterwards that they all fit into the dish washer. Going for a stroll on the beach to help digest the meal. Buying the kids cool toys for Christmas like supersoaker water guns, body boards and scooters. Using the kids' cool toys yourself!
Yeah, I guess I could get used to Christmas in the sun.
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Well, I made it through the long haul that is affectionately known as the Christmas holidays! Surviving ten days in a beachhouse (albeit a very large one) with eight adults (in-laws at that!), seven children and two dogs requires extremes of tolerance and patience. To get through, you sometimes have to walk away, bite your tongue, bury your nose further into your book, feign ignorance, forget about it, go down to the beach, go to your room, not listen, or my favourite - just curl up and pretend you're sleeping.
Needless to say, I generally find Christmas at the beachhouse very stressful. I am not a social person at all. Not exactly a loner, but not far off. Introverted, quiet, relatively shy (hard to believe, I know, but true). I like company in small doses and small numbers. Plunged into the midst of family chaos for ten days is not my idea of a holiday, but both Michael and I were determined to relax, damn it! And for the most part, we did. It's easier for Michael, as they are all his family, so of course he is more comfortable around them. And he just seems to be able to switch off and not worry about things as much as I do. I tried to do the same and it mostly worked.
Joshua was certainly easier this time around. He was able to run around the house and garden with minimal supervision as it is all fenced in and gated. And he loved it! Matthew, too, had a great time with his cousins who are all around his age, and some of the other neighbourhood children there. I barely saw him the entire time. And of course, they both loved the beach and the river.
I have a lot of pictures to post over the next few days, so I'd better get started.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. It's good to be back.
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