Monday, 5 July 2010

Breakfast in bed

Breakfast in bed. Wow! Who are these lovely angels with the most exquisite smiles I have ever seen? How can they be mine? They made pancakes (with a bit of help), and then set out a tray with lemon curd, half an orange and a coffee which was the most perfect drinking temperature.
I have to really stop and think when they do things like this to really realise that they are the same babies I gave birth to, breastfed, followed around every second when they were toddlers.
These marvellous creatures have their own personality and their own destinies, and yet they have so much of me as well. Their attitudes, their kindness, their values, I must admit that having children has lead me to find self-love. When I look at these goddesses, when they reflect me, my brown eyes, my dark flowy hair; how can I not love myself to the same extent?
Being a mother is so hard sometimes. It is never-ending, demanding, thankless a lot of the time. But now that these kids are nearly teens, I am finally getting thanks, I am getting feedback about who I am, sometimes just a reflection, sometimes breakfast in bed, sometimes a comment as to how crazy I am, or two girls reverting to early childhood and asking me to sit in the middle of the couch to read the books so they can both cuddle me.
The efforts I made by planting those seeds are now bearing fruit: they read like maniacs and watch Buffy and love to go for walks and have lunch at a nice café. They are becoming companions, and I am going to miss them when they have to embark on their own lives. Maybe when they go through their rebellious years and decide I am boring, or stuffy, or just old. Or when they find their own lives, or decide to travel overseas. My, what a ride this life really is! The twists and turns make me dizzy and excite me I am sure til my final breath.
I love to sometimes expectantly watch the calm. When life becomes routine and nothing seems to be around the corner, the big rollercoaster takes a big dive and nearly takes your breath away. It has taken me well into my thirties to realise this: that becoming complacent about life is just fruitless; when you least expect it, a curve ball is thrown and you are surprised and enamoured with life yet again.
I want to drink from every cup that this life has to offer, play instruments, listen to every kind of music, visit as many countries as I can manage in a such a short life and limited income!!! And, yes, read as many books as I can devour.
Breakfast in bed must have had something very special in it to evoke such emotions.
Enjoy your weekend everyone, make it worthwhile.

HEAD LICE and OTHER hateful things

Having stopped feeling sorry for myself, I am now back on top I guess. You just need to sometimes. I guess I have been a bit stressed.
Well, now we move on.
So I thought I would talk about head lice today.
Along with the most disgusting of dictators, thieves, politicians, lawyers, rapists and murderers, a small bloodsucking fiend crawls around on scalps.
The worst part is that when you finally discover them, they have been lurking in your scalp for God’s knows how long. Not only copulating, but laying eggs and feeding on your blood.
And then there is no way to simply get rid of them in one fell swoop, you have to pick out their ova out of hair one by one, which takes hours. And then spend hours removing their infants from hair every day for a week or two. And then repeat for the next child. If you are particularly unlucky, you have scored the shits yourself and need to spend all of that time combing your own hair.
There really isn’t anything worse. They are a bit like those huge pooey nappies that babies do, those ones that cover their entire torso and that happen just as you are about to go out for the day, or when you have just popped out without a change of clothes for your baby.
Just try it out one of these days. Ask someone when their kids have had head lice. I can guarantee that they will not say that their kids get head lice when they are on holidays or when you conveniently have nothing better to do than comb hair for 4 hours straight. Oh no, they will get head lice when you are about to go out and visit your long lost great aunt, or when you are about to go out for Christmas Eve dinner or when your child needs a haircut.
I am convinced that head lice are in fact not real animals. They are a curse sent to test every parent’s patience. Just when you have just about enough on your plate and feel like you can’t possibly handle one more inconvenience, someone sits at the right hand side of God and says: “There, they need head lice. They have it a bit too easy”.
At the very least, I am glad that they are not large animals that cling to scalps. That would be a lot harder to handle from a practical point of view. It would make them easier to find, but I guess it could get a little dangerous.
Head lice. I just hope that head lice don’t decide to follow an evolutionary path where they in fact grow to accommodate the spaces in a wide toothed comb. I would certainly never keep a pet louse. There would be RSPCA shelters full of them, I am pretty sure.
There are few things I hate more, in fact.
No, I can’t think of anything I hate more.

NEPTUNE at my door

Well, it rained and our house nearly flooded. The water came right up to the doorstep and deposited an inch of disgusting mud by my front step.
It was scary, actually. I can’t stop thinking about what I am going to do if it happens again overnight and I don’t know it is happening.
It reminded me of the night my husband left me. He drove off into the night and about an hour later, when I was exhausted from crying, I noticed that the road that our house was on was full of water and the people across the road were flooded.
I went out there, leaving my children asleep in their beds and helped lay sand bags in the rain up to my mid calves in water well into the night.
It was raining hard and it was the first time in my life that I had made such a tremendous decision: a decision of my own. Now it seems rather unimportant, but at the time, I was a woman who was out there shovelling sand in the freezing cold rain against all odds; independent, strong, unbeatable. I knew that I would survive.
I did fall apart after that and I had such hard times ahead, but I knew I would survive because of that night. I sometimes wonder if my tears made that flood. Just in the madness of my mind, that is.
Nights like this remind me that we are not invincible. When faced with the might of the earth, we are infinitesimally small. We are but a microbe in a large expanse of matter. We are a speck that can blow away in a storm. It frightens me. I feel humbled and I find myself panicking, realising that my house is not permanent, it able to be shifted, dirtied, drowned, if the earth decides it is time. Those are the times when I feel alone. My kids rely on me to provide the comfort that a grown up is supposed to provide. And yet, I find myself wanting to be held. I find myself a little lost and wanting support.
I guess it will pass.
I wonder now why water makes me feel like that. Why water comes back to my life at times when I am feeling a little shaky and insecure. Is it to remind me that I am strong and can survive? Or is it just a bloody coincidence?
Well, I guess it is winter, and winter is when I feel worst anyway.
It is not yet winter, actually.

I have otherwise had a fairly unremarkable day. I managed to play my piece on the flute without a mistake, which is not a bad achievement, all things considered.
My daughters disappointed me, and the funny thing is that when that happens, I blame myself and wonder if they will one day be nice people and not hit each other; if they will retain the morals and ethics I have taught them.
I feel so alone in this mighty task. I wonder if my ex ever lies awake at night with these concerns in mind or if he goes through the world completely oblivious to the fact that he shares in the responsibility. I suspect the latter, and in fact, that does not make me feel any better.
I hope I can make it through this winter without a blueness overwhelming me. I wonder if that is what the mighty Neptune knocking at my front door wanted to say: you will be ok. Hang in there.
Here goes some more of this unpublished blog that ends where it begins and only exists within my computer.
I have read many books. And now that I am older and have experienced life I find that themes and methods are repeating. I am now finding plots predictable and expecting to be surprised; just like when I watch a new movie. That is why I no longer watch hollywood movies- because the themes are always the same and the methods are predictable.
And then there are the gems- the ones that blow you away and make you wonder at the skill of the writer, or the director. I mean, really, classics are classics because that was the first time that someone thought of a way of making a movie or writing a story. Take psycho-the first time that someone took a story and made horror by insinuating suspense and it has become a classic for that reason. I mean they are brilliant! To be able to create something where nothing existed before. To create Middle Earth where there was a blank page.
I wonder if there is such a novel or story within me. And I guess that is why I sometimes become discouraged because I don’t want to see a method or form of writing on the page that I have seen before- I want to stretch myself and be original. I want to blow myself away. And if I don’t, then I shouldn’t bother.
I have just finished a book by Tracy Chevalier. Her story was pretty basic-a coming of age story about two girls growing up in the early 1900’s. I loved the way she told the story, though. I loved the way every character in the book had a very distinct voice. And the characters just flowed off the page- you could understand what was going through their minds and why- even when you didn’t necessarily agree with them.
I love Joanne Harris’ writing as well for the same reason- I love the style that she has chosen to tell her stories- there is always a supernatural flavour that permeates the entire environment- meshing fantasy and reality together to create an alternative reality that only exists in her books.
I would like to create like that. I want my readers to look at my worlds and be astounded by the richness of description and I want them to be able to identify with my characters and believe that they exist. I want to make them laugh and cry as well. And I certainly don’t want Hollywood sentimentality and fiction that is predictable. That would just be shameful enough to keep my writing private for the rest of my life.
And I guess I don’t publish something like this on the web for everyone to see because I am still afraid of being judged. I guess it is the same reason that I don’t sing in public despite the fact that I have a passable voice and a good sense of tune. I am afraid that people will be underwhelmed. It is that fear of being ordinary. I want to be extraordinary in my writing- or not at all.
So in my writing of my novel I want to convey what it is like being a generation Xr. Except I am not quite an X, I am an XY! I want to let people know what it is like to be a woman in the 90’s and 2000’s. To need to be so many things for so many people and find that everyone divorces, every one dies and nothing is permanent. Our lives are blown out like candles in one minute and there are so many of us on this earth that sometimes you look up at the stars and feel like one of them- part of an infinite plan and yet far from it. So anonymous.
It is true that we are very anonymous these days- there are no real communities as there used to be, unless you belong to a church, and the few friends that we manage to make are just as busy as we are trying to belong to something; or making money to make ends meet or “working on their marriage”- whatever that means.
And one damn week merges with the next, and everyone needs antidepressants to live on in this century. If you are not killing yourself with cigarettes, you do it with alcohol or you simply eat your way to diabetes and heart disease. We are so trapped by the ideal that our parents set: you need to own a home and have wonderful children who will have great opportunities. And a wonderful fulfilling relationship that makes the journey worthwhile. But not only that, but a woman must also have a fulfilling career which is just as respectable as her husbands’, and somehow manage not to wreck her marriage nor neglect her kids in the process. It is a bit like making crème caramel without any fat. Guess what? It turns out bland, boring, and you just want to eat 3 serves instead of the one fattening one. In other words, it doesn’t work. The reality is that we haven’t yet learnt in this generation that doing all those things and doing them well is impossible. And if you think that so on so seems to make it look easy then there is something you definitely are missing about so and so’s life or there is something that so and so is definitely not telling you. Because honey, it is impossible without prozac. Or the neurotic side of her comes out when she is home and the doors are all closed, or she is a religious fanatic who hands over her life to some supernatural power that she cannot be certain even exists and manages to let someone else have the responsibility if her life doesn’t work out- because guess what? It must be God’s will.
Which brings me to why I am such a cynic. To wishing that I didn’t think about all this stuff and simply went through life oblivious. To be content. To simply lie back and consider that I have done everything I was meant to- simply be satisfied with my lot. There are women I know who are like that. And I watch them with an admiration which is tainted with pity. I wish I was like that, but man, life would be so boring if I was. To simply be done. No more to do, no more to achieve. Maybe just renovate the kitchen one day. And after that, to be wholly satisfied in the knowledge that your job on earth is done. My curse is to never be satisfied, never be done. Always thinking that maybe I could achieve more, move the bar higher because the bar has been reached and once you do, you might as well lie down and die. I should pity myself!!!!
To be like animals- to survive the day, to live day to day hoping not to get eaten.
Do you think that we are like this because we have too much time on our hands? Is philosophy for the rich who don’t have to catch their next meal? Perhaps. Maybe if I had to be up with the sun and preparing soil to grow my food I wouldn’t be wondering if I may ever be a published author. We think too much, that is for sure.
Nevertheless, I am giving it a try. I am trying to buy my own home, bring up 2 happy and well adapted kids, have a good job and a satisfying life in the background. Viva Marissa!

Mummy guilt

They say that guilt is a useless emotion. It is basically the feeling of having done something we should not have done, or omitted to do som...