30 May 2015

Black and white

emoji rocks for mother's day

grace at the optometrist

nina playing the trumpet

ruby's 12th birthdya party

grace and lily at the underpass

Lil at my work

The kids have played a round robin of colds and flu.  This week was Lil's turn.  The first day she had a temperature and was miserable so I stayed home but the next day she was pretty chirpy so I took her into work with me.  How much did she love my whiteboard!  She's just hit that stage where she wants to write everything all the time.  This says Gols (girls) and, behind her head Bois (boys).  Sweet sweet sweet.

Nina gave up the piano and took up the trumpet.  I maintain that I don't care if they learn music or not, but that if they do they have to practice.  Piano practice with Nina was unbearable, for both of us.  As a child I was also an incredibly grumpy instrument practicer, but was blessed with a much more patient mother.   Nina is not so blessed and in the end it was not worth the insanely ridiculous levels of rage I would experience trying to get her to practice an instrument that she professed not to particularly care for.  The wonderful wonderful thing about the trumpet is that I know NOTHING about it.  I learned piano for about 15 years, but the trumpet I can't even blow.  I don't know how to make the notes and I can't help her, even should she want me to and I think this is a great thing for us both.  Because, however much I try, I am just not the sort of person who can listen to the piano being played without butting in with my ever-so-helpful suggestions and my little carping criticisms.  It's something I especially don't like about myself.  So when she plays the trumpet and calls out 'how did that sound?' I say 'great!' or 'much better', and when she says 'it sounds kind of wheezy' or 'the valves are sticking' I say 'oh dear' and 'remember to ask your teacher about that'.  Oh sweet relief of an absolution of responsibility.

Ruby turned 12. Twelve!  She got her ears pierced.  I took her to a crazy hipster tattoo parlour where her ears were expertly perforated by the most tattooeed and pierced person I have ever seen.  Even his eyelids were tattooed.  He had holes through his nose so you could see daylight from one side to the other.  He was an incredble looking man, with a gentle and professional manner and I would highly recommend getting ears pierced with a needle over a gun.  She has had not the slightest hint of redness, blood, infection or weeping from either ear in 4 weeks.  

Gracie (she wants to be Gracie now) got new glasses.  She wears a kilt with suspenders, a crocheted poncho and runners, like an escapee from the 70's.  Sweet sweet sweet.  Today in the car she asked me what a convertible was.  I remembered coming across that word in Nancy Drew book and never knowing what it was (but surmising it was some sort of car).  I explained and said, why do you ask?  'Well in my book, there's this girl called Nancy and her father gives her a convertible'.  Turns out she is reading Nancy Drew.  Ah the passing of time and all that. 


by Ruby

by Grace

by Nina

by Lily
Over the Easter break Kim got the girls to do a painting on canvas.  Thank god for Kim.  Once I was that mother who got the paints out more or less daily, made playdough weekly, did endless craft projects with the kids, sat them on my knee letting them guide the fabric through the sewing machine, displayed their work in an endless rotation on walls and on this blog.  And I didn't do it out of matyrdom or because I thought I should. I really liked that stuff.  I loved nothing more than hauling all the craft stuff onto the kitchen table and getting all the kids involved in some messy project.  It was my number one way to pass an afternoon.  When other kids came for plays it wasn't unheard of to sew bags or make potato prints, or stick bits of pasta onto cardboard and paint them.

Now it seems all my kid-crafting mojo has left me.  After more than a decade of parenting I just cant be bothered.  Painting seems like a lot of mess and hassle, and then what do we do with the finished products?  The art work on the walls has remained unchanged all year.  The idea of sorting through it fills me with ennui.

Maybe that is just the way it is - we are moving onto a new stage and lingering in the last one isn't so interesting (for me).  Unfair on Lil, who is forced to listen to chapter books when I'm sure the others still got picture books every night at her age, and who doesn't even get to watch half the favourite movies of the others because they've all grown out of them.  Movie nights on the whole are more difficult now - the tastes of a 12 year old and a 5 year old rarely intersect.  Do we just abandon the idea of a family movie and run it over two nights instead - little kids and big kids? I dunno.

I think I peaked too early, went too hard, too fast and left nothing in reserve.  

Easter Break 2015

My camera  - my proper digital SLR camera broke some time ago. I can't even remember when - was it before Christmas?  Actually it didn't break, I dropped it and after that I kept getting an error message.  Google tells me that this is a common problem with this camera and its a relatively easy fix.  I just need to drop it into a camera repair shop but months have passed - maybe even a year - and I haven't done that.  As a result, the only photos I take are on my phone, and I rarely get around to downloading them onto the computer.  So when I do occasionally decide to blog, I use the phone blogger app to put in the photos and then, at some point when I remember, I'll write the content on the actual computer, because I've got to the age where I now have to put my glasses on top of my head to use the keyboard on my phone.

The point of this rather lengthy introduction is to explain why, at the beginning nearly of June, I am writing about Easter.  I actually did put these photos into a post but they didn't upload and next time I visited the blog on the computer, there were no draft posts waiting and it wasn't until I bothered to go back to check the phone that I realised.

Because this blog has become an intermittent sort of journal for me, I feel an obligation to jot down, occasionally, what goes on.  Truthfully, at least part of this is pure guilt that my older girls will have a significant amount of their art work and odds and ends about their interests and lives recorded and, unless I make at least the occasional effort, Lil will have next to none....

So we went to Little Sheoak for Easter - Gracie and Lil wanted to take their old fashioned dresses, and though it was entirely impractical and they were bound to get muddy and dusty I let them, as I knew exactly that they wanted to prance around in the bushes and play orphans and other romantic games wearing them.  I didn't regret it.

We usually see koalas there and I'm always especially keen to show off 'our' koalas to visitng friends It still gives me a thrill to suddenly spy one in the crook of a treee.  Well friends did come and we saw 4 koalas!  It was nearly becoming old - oh there's another one. And another one.  I'm always so happy, though.

The insane kookaburra that dive bombs the windows came back after the first couple of days and this time we had our old dog Winnie with us, who, in her aged confusion, could not figure out how to get back in through the very door she had just exited, and instead would walk round and round the house, whining at the windows.

On Easter sunday we did the Otway Fly zipline.  It was a  considerably longer drive than we had expected, through the very windy Otway roads, with children who tend towards caresickness and some of whom had eaten way too many easter eggs.  Not naming names but let's just say I was very glad to have an old plastic bag handy.

Gracie and Lil spent hours drawing a zoo and then creating animal enclosures out of cushions and blankets and things.

Nina read the Diary of Anne Frank.  I can't even remember what I was reading then, but I just finished A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (oh how I love Anne Tyler) and My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrente which I also loved.

Autumn started slowly, then, just as the leaves turned, we had a hugely windy wet couple of days and they were gone, at least from our vine. It was a bit of a pity, they normally hang round prettily for a few weeks at least.

In other news I moved offices - just to the other side of the floor, but it means I look out west, over the big ferris wheel that is finally up and running in docklands.  Each day the city turns on something new for me  - lots of gorgeous sunsets, sometimes impressive storm fronts, and now that it is getting dark before I leave, the light show on the ferris wheel.  I find myself taking an insane number of photos of the view from my office, most of which look a bit crap.  Also my office window badly needs cleaning. There are these big pylon things in the distance behind the wheel which move about all the time.  I have no idea what they are  - I guess something to do with the docks?  But it's quite a lovely view. I've always been a bit partial to the industrial aesthetic.  For many years Craig and I lived across from the flour mill in North Melbourne that operated 24/7 (except for good Friday - we had so tuned out the constant humming that its absence seemed suddenly eerie).  I liked looking across at the big silos, with the sunset as a backdrop.