Monday, September 26, 2011

Too Long

I'm sitting here wondering what to write and how to write it given that it's been such a long time since I visited here - you can blame facebook for that. There seems so much to write about but where to start. Like when you catch up with a friend after a year or two and you both know a lot has happened but to encapsulate that in a phone call or over a cup of tea seems impossible. How on earth do you tell them what has happened whilst also conveying all the emotion and meaning held in those events. Or do you just list the things that happened and hope your friend knows you well enough to understand what you went through? Then there are all the little day to day things that make up the year that still add to the journey - like...... the plant you put in last year that has finally decided to bloom or...... learning that it just isn't smart to feed the cat from a china bowl after she woke you at 2am when somehow she managed to smash it even though it was already on the floor....and remembering what sleep deprivation is like when you have to drag yourself from a warm bed to sit with your child at midnight because of a thunderstorm for the second night in a row....or the not so small and quite stressful event of having the landlord "prune" with chainsaw many of the trees that had, so far, provided you privacy (even if it is lovely to have sunshine in the living room). Given that everyone I know seems to have had at least one upheaval this year it shouldn't come as any surprise that we too have had our share.

Okay, so....... Ian has lost his job. Now this sounds a very straight forward thing to say and yes it is but the convoluted path to that outcome started a couple of years ago and much as I would have liked Ian to have walked away from that path, his commitment to the people he worked with would not allow him to do so. Without boring you all to tears with the nitty-gritty, suffice to say that I will never work for a management committee nor recommend doing so to my worst enemy. Having done all he thought possible, he accepted legal advice and allowed things to proceed as they did. Needless to say there are ongoing legal matters associated with his dismissal which I find draining when really I'd like a clean break and to be away from such a toxic environment. We are okay at the moment with the termination payout but that is going to run out soon. Luckily we have a social security safety net that should stop us becoming homeless but I'm hoping Ian will be able to find work soon before we have to resort to "rice and lentil dinners" and candlelight. We've discussed him going back to geology. He gave this up to stay home and help with Huon when it became clear that being autistic, Huon was going to need more and quite different support to a non-autistic child especially when, at the time, we had no label for Huon's behaviour and it was all very stressful and scary. Now Huon is older, talking, going to school and manageable-ish, Ian feels he could go back to fly-in fly-out (fifo) jobs where he might work 10 days on and 5 off or something.All this also means that I must relinquish my role of lady of leisure and look for the perfect job (hahaha) - you know, in school hours with school holidays off and time off to be with Huon when he's home with flu - the same as every other mum.....I wonder what's around the corner.

In the meantime I have put my singing coach on hold but I'm still singing (I'd go if I didn't) and am continuing with bellydancing..... for the the moment. 

But let's stay with singing......picture a small informal soiree at a friend's house to welcome the installation of her new grand piano. The sun has set and the lights are gently illuminating the room. My small selection of songs has been sung (phew) and enthusiastically received (I love my friends), the piano quartet are setting up for their part of the programme when, for no apparent reason, the power goes out. This is exactly what happened back in July. What would have been just a pleasant evening of music turned into a fun memorable event. Having checked the circuit breakers the search was on for candles and torches - we were not about to pack up and go home. Now instead of being one of the audience, there I was with torch held high so the violinist could read her music. Ditto other "audience" members for the remainder of the ensemble. 

a little too dark to see
 I was so busy reading the music so the torchlight was shining on the correct page, I don't even remember whether they played well or not. The power came back on just as we had all packed up and were about to tuck in to homemade pizza, salad and red wine. What a night!

I have promised my cousin in the UK I would record Panis Angelicus for her wedding anniversary so am trying to organise that. I had been imagining a string ensemble in one of the local old (for Australia) stone churches - video as well as sound - but all that is going to be far too expensive now. I'll have to make do with piano accompaniment in a recording studio and no video - sorry Sarah.

This term I have been learning Tribal bellydance which is improvised troupe dancing. I've been having so much fun but now our teacher wants us to dance at Relay for Life - in public!!!!  PANIC. I've been avoiding thinking about it even when we had a tribal bra making workshop. I was able to just concentrate on choosing bits of fabric and coins and decorative chains and fringes and......mmm being sort of creative and I succeeded in pushing the other thing to the back of my mind. However, the closer this performance gets the more frequently the lurker is jumping, no, more like pouncing to the front of my mind and sending my heart thumping and drying up my mouth. I really hate performing when things are under-rehearsed. Now, I know I said this was improvised dance but there are sequences and signals for those sequences but bloody hell we've only just started learning them - it's going to be disastrous!!!! And I still haven't finished making the bra yet.

work in progress

A chance to get back in touch with my creative skills occurred a couple of weeks earlier during Book Week. School had a favourite book character parade and as we had just had the Harry Potter movies on tv Huon had HP on the brain (and no quips about brains and sauce please). Obviously, with red hair, Huon would make a far better Ron Weasley than a Harry. This was a good decision in the end as about ten Harry Potters participated in the parade but there was only one Ron Weasley. I can't take the credit entirely - Ian did a marvelous job gaffer taping a piece of bamboo for the wand and stuffing an old stocking to make Scabbers the rat. Grandmama printed off a picture of the Gryffindor badge which I laminated and Ian sewed (don't you just love a man who can sew) onto a black hoody. Even with the minimal notice I was still able to dig up some left over wool to hurriedly and therefore badly knit a Gryffindor scarf (I certainly won't be entering the scarf in the craft section of the local ag show). Lucky it was still wintery weather.

Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow, turn this stupid fat rat yellow.
We had lots of happy feedback from the teachers saying what a great Ron Weasley he was and how much fun all the children had with the wand and the rat  (oops) playing with the rat and making up spells with the wand.

So now it's Spring and we're dressing for three seasons in one day it's either that or dashing home to completely change one's outfit. It's school holidays between third and fourth term and since Ian is home and the weather is getting warmer we may just take the tent down to a friend's property near Crescent Head and see how Huon likes camping. Proper camping - no power or loos or shower facilities (thank goodness there's a dam nearby), lots of wildlife, no neighbours and clear (hopefully) starry skies. Of course if it looks like rain (like it does today) we could just stay at home and make do with hiring a dvd, playing Wii Sports Resort or go 9 pin bowling......

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Aftermath

Note the volume of debris high on the beach following king tide

We have been so lucky, so far/touch wood etc, not to have copped the flooding that has occurred in Queensland, Victoria and northern NSW.

Huon in driftwood cubby - built by persons unknown

Nevertherless, the power of water is amazing.  We visited one of our favourite beaches today - Hungry Head - and strewn high up the beach was masses of debris. A result of flood waters and a king tide.

Sitting on an example of the large pieces thrown up by the big seas

There were huge pieces of timber and logs - anybody wanting a bonfire for a beach party would have no shortage of fuel. We all had fun exploring the beach - me looking for interestingly shaped driftwood, Huon for shells and stones making sure he was "accidentally" knocked over by the surf (I knew I should have put in a change of clothes) and Ian watching out for photo opportunities.

Today is Ian's birthday and it has been a lovely unplanned, relaxed day. Huon helped make the birthday cake, which means all he really did was lick clean the beaters and bowl and remind me how many minutes were left on the timer!!! A simple salad and fish meal became bean salad, coleslaw and garden salad plus roast taties washed down with raspberry cordial and soda water followed a little later by coffee and birthday cake.

Huon with Grandad

The boys have now gone out to visit Grandma and Grandad for more birthday wishes and a swim.

Dinner will, no doubt, consist of leftovers (and possible another piece of chocolate cake!!!).

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Just thought I'd share some of our favourite ABC Kids songs.

Huon's favourite fruit is watermelon.

Huon does not like ants.......Especially in the house but he dances to this.

We have lots of snails in the garden, about which I have a similar opinion

This could apply to both of us (we pay Ian not to sing!!!!)

Hope this made you smile.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Flood Update

Floods are some ways. The feeling of community (always pretty strong here) is increased when we have a flood. There is a feeling of coziness, all being in the same boat together!!

Provided one's house is safe, the power stays on and there are no medical emergencies there is only the inconvenience of not being able to get to work or do one's shopping... ho hum. 

Even though the river floods every year, usually only once or twice, most people feel the need to go and have a look (some still in their pyjamas), take photos and be amazed at the change in the river overnight. The sheer volume of water required to change it from lovely serene river to fast flowing torrent is a bit mind boggling.

Anyway, a good excuse to watch one's fave DVDs and eat chocolate cake (um, what happened to that resolution?!!!)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Where did the sun go?

I love rain, especially summer rain, even if it goes on for days. Without it the days would be swelteringly hot and cloyingly humid, in other words - disgusting. So I'm feeling very grateful.

Thanks to La Nina we are having rain. Lots of rain. So much that Queensland is experiencing major flooding. Down here on the mid north coast of NSW we now have a flood warning on the Bellinger River with levels expecting to peak at around 2pm today.  At the level predicted the water will be lapping the deck of the bridge but all that depends on how much rainfall is flowing from the escarpment and how much rain falls this morning. Ian, who works on the other side of the bridge will be watching closely in case he needs to dash home early.

Looking at the south side of Lavenders Bridge

Before we moved, we did not really have to worry too much about flooding, being able to access the town's shops. Now that we are living over the bridge, flooding means we must pay more attention to river heights and predictions so that we can stock up on essential items like loo paper and Earl Grey tea in case we become isolated - we do still have the corner shop which includes a bottle shop (phew).

The upside of being cut off from the world is that there isn't much to do North Bello has quite a reputation for it's flood parties. Bring it on.