29 August 2006

Finding the Art in Everyday Life

#2 in an occasional series ...

quirky tomato tins 1

I am usually a conscientious shopper.

I buy unpackaged goods, I buy organic where possible, I buy local. But this week at the supermarket I couldn't go past these tinned tomatoes from Italy with their funky retro package design. And despite being shipped across the world (all those fossil fuels, I know I know), they were cheaper than the ones from Shepparton, four hours up the highway. They also look far more interesting in my pantry. And I'm shallow like that sometimes.

(Previous Finding the Art in Everyday Life post here. If anybody else wants to do an art in everday life post, feel free, and leave a link in the comments.)


27 August 2006

Do you have any idea how hard it is to photograph your own legs?

uneven socks

(For L, who asked to see the socks ON).

I didn't notice until I downloaded the pic that one sock was pulled up higher than the other. My cardigan was probably misbuttoned too, but you'll never know.t

25 August 2006

Scattered thoughts from the week

• On Thursday morning as we reached the top of our street (on the way to school) we spotted a small group of kangaroos. We often see them, and if they're close to the road we stop for a minute or so to watch them. This time we were thrilled to see one of the females had a joey in her pouch. Around the next bend we saw another group, making the day's total a record thirteen roo sightings. (NB. We see more during walks in the park at the end of the road, but this was a 'school run' record).

• Listening to Annie Proulx's Wyoming Stories on talking book (me, not the children). I am enjoying her spare prose but why does she have this odd penchant for weird names? Does anybody actually call their offspring Ice, Diamond, Bliss or Tick? There's also a lot of sex (brief, perfunctory and often brutal) in her stories too. Doesn't make Wyoming men sound terribly attractive.

• The roadsides here are still vibrant with splashes of bright yellow wattle. This is now accompanied by the delicate white of hawthorn blossom. The magnolias in peoples' front gardens are magnificent!

• I have a visual image of the blogosphere as a series of overlapping circles.

• Son #1, who you may remember dropped out of the Junior Strings orchestra because it was "too easy", was invited by the conductor to join the Senior Strings. (There's only one other child in this group). He and I fronted up on Wednesday night for his first rehearsal and much to his surprise and terror the conductor put him straight into the coveted First Violins. (The other child, in Third Violins, looked none too pleased). I cast on Son #2's second sock and sneaked looks at #1's little face, red and unblinking with fierce concentration as he tackled Tchaikovsky for the first time ever; a wee fish in a sea of bow-wielding serious looking adults. My usually serious silent son talked aaaallll the way home, high on the adrenalin of it all.

• Look what you get in the mail when you give someone a handknitted facewasher?
Jo and I did a wee swap and this little beauty went straight into my handbag and has been used several times already (we still have snotty winter noses here. Um, TMI?). I love it Jo, thanks! When organising the exchange of said handcrafted items, Jo and I realised we live quite close to each other. Close enough for me to drive to her house, drop the parcel in her letterbox, check out her front garden in a totally horticultural and non-stalkerish manner, and run off before the curtains twitched and she spotted my filthy car, unwashed hair, brown uninspired clothing and haggard early morning expression.

(I tried to photograph the interior of this little tissueholder as it is beautifully lined with red gingham, but the resulting photo was crap. Jo has far superior pics on her site).

• The second rhododendron (there are about four) has flowered (it's a double). It too is white. It too will be staying.


24 August 2006

you wouldn't think

... that you could hear a cat snoring two rooms away, would you?

Meg with laundry/

21 August 2006

For Christabel

Suse was the kind of word snob who considered the greengrocer's careless use of the humble apostrophe to be such a catastrophe that she almost required a bucket.

20 August 2006

random Sunday

• knitting one's second pair of socks is remarkably quicker than one's first time

• perusing my site meter stats recently revealed I have readers in Slovenia, Dubai, an insomniac from Elsternwick who reads at 2.00 am, Haifa, Slippery Rock and Arhus.

• people landing here via internet searches include, predictably, those looking for split pea soup recipes, and less predictably, someone googling 'recipes to put you into labour' and 'are smores unhealthy?'

• (yes, they are)

• words I am enjoying saying: catastrophe; apostrophe; bucket.

Lazy Cow and I went to see The Tempest during the week. What do you suppose it says about our respective personalities that she arrived a full hour prior to c urtain up, while I hurtled in ten minutes after curtain up, missing the shipwreck scene and then being bundled by an usher into a seat in the back row until interval?

• I have been photographing trees a lot lately.

• last week on the school run we saw two kangaroos boxing. We stopped the car to watch but they paused their barney to look at us, and would not resume. We sat there for about two minutes; four humans and two beasts all stock still, eyeing each other off. As soon as I moved the car they immediately turned to each other and recommenced punching each other in the face. A female stood a little way off, nibbling grass nonchalantly.

• the next day on the school run we saw a duck sitting in a tree. Son #2 called it a proud brown duck. This has now entered our family lexicon.

18 August 2006

tagged (a bookish meme)

1. A book that changed your life.
You are Your Child's First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy.

2. A book you've read more than once.
Everything by Alison Lester and Pamela Allen (to the children at bedtimes), and the Swallows and Amazons series, both to myself a couple of times, and now to the children. Also Watership Down and everything by Enid Blyton and Beatrix Potter. Okay so that's more than one. I can't help myself. There are actually many many books I've read mo re than once but I shall stop here.

3. A book you'd want on a desert island.
The Complete Works of Shakespeare (is that cheating, to get a complete works in one volume? Who cares, that's my choice. It's got everything for a long stint on a n island: comedies for a laugh, tragedies for a good weep, sonnets to sigh over and Henry IV, Part I to put me to sleep).

4. A book that made you giddy.
I Don't Know How She Does It, chick lit by Allison Pearson. Exhausting and ult imately unsatisfying but a quick light read for the braindead. (The giddiness came from the hectic life led by the heroine).

5. A book that you wish had been written.
Well, mine of course.

6. A book that wracked you with sobs.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Also Between Two Eternities by Rosemary Kay. Oh god, the tears are welling as I think of this last one.

7. A book you wish had never been written.
My Secret History by Paul Theroux. What a wank.

8. A book you are currently reading.
Eucalyptus by Murray Bail. Finally.

9. A book you've been meaning to read.
More of Marion Halligan and Elizabeth Jolley. I've had tantalising tastes of both but thus far haven't explored further.

10. Tag 10.
I'm not tagging. Anyone who wants to do this meme may do so!

Admin: yes my template is uh, disturbed again. Sorry. It's beyond me.

16 August 2006

focus on feet


Son #3 is at home for the next few days with torn ligaments in his left foot.

(Running down a flight of stairs. I tut-tutted and said How SHOULD we go down the stairs? and Son #2 piped up Jump! Much safer!)

Meanwhile, I finished my very first pair of socks.

Vital statistics: Opal Sock Yarn, 2.25 mm dpns. Two mistakes (one fixed, one not noticeable). Next pair already cast on.o

14 August 2006

13 August 2006

five bucks well spent

See this innocent looking jug found at the op shop the other day?
clarice cliff right

Have a look underneath.
clarice cliff's bottom

If anyone rings, I'll be in Rio.
Sunning myself and drinking daiquiris.

11 August 2006

Friday Dog Blogging


Lordy, I'm exHAUSTed.

Every day it's get up, stretch, sniff crotch, find the blonde kid and demand breakfast, pester him in a boisterous but playfully endearing manner until he takes me for a run, nap, stretch, scratch crotch, sleep, torment the cat, eat, sleep.

It's all go around here.

4 August 2006

Things making me happy today

It's one of those days. I feel unspeakably happy and sunny. I'm not naturally a glass-half-full sort of person, tending to be more the misery guts type really. But I work hard at not being morose all the time. So when it happens naturally, it's quite lovely and uplifting and all that. (Cue tiny harps etc]

Reasons why.

• The sun is shining.

• We're at the tail-end of winter and spring is hinting everywhere, in the buds on the mysterious things popping up in my garden, in the presence of late winter flowers such as magnolias and wattle (Paula, the yellow flowers two posts down are wattle, Genus Acacia. The wattle is Australia's floral emblem, popular world wide but often known overseas [incorrectly as Stirling Macoboy says in What Flower is That?] as mimosa. As for the pink flowers in that post, I'm unsure. Anyone?)

• Thrilling to the discovery that the nondescript little bush round the side of the house has flowered and is a daphne. I pick a little sprig for the dining table every few days and its exquisite scent fills the house. I am enjoying the little discoveries that come with moving into a house with a garden planted by someone else.

• Listening to Eine Kleine Nacht Musik full blast on Son #1's iPod while he's a t school. Music right in your ears is quite different to music in the room generally. I love the intimacy and detail of it. I hope the phone isn't ringing because I can't hear a thing other than Mozart. And I am la-la-laaaing along at the top of my voice.

• Stopping in at Savers after school drop off this morning in the hope of getting a pair of dark blue cords/pants/jeans. Coming out with a pair of chocolate Country Road cords, a pair of brown linen Sussan pants, and a butter dish. Yes another one. For when the pink and black art deco one is dropped. Also I got a cute (how I hate that word) cotton pillowcase with pirates all over it which will become a bookbag for So n #3. (Yes, I will wash it first. Shut up).

• The cough is finally disappearing.

• Getting taken into the storage room at the Potter and being allowed to don the white cotton gloves and handle pottery and artefacts from the fourteenth century BCE! This thrills me. Hence the bold and italics.

• Son #3 has consented to a haircut this weekend.

• Getting stuck into Homer again. Love it love it love it. (Virgil, not so much).

• Paul Kelly is now on the iPod! Woohoo.

• Mr Soup and I went to the opera and I quietly nodded off and we left at interval. I know, I know, doesn't sound like a reason to be happy. But it was good in so many ways.
(a) We needed a night out alone for a little informal Relationship Repair.
(b) We went to a bar (after leaving the opera) and talked and talked over a bottle of overpriced red wine and voila the relationship is uh, repaired. (Not that it was broken. It just needs maintenance occasionally and it doesn't get it. Life gets in the way).
(c) I got dressed 90 seconds before the babysitter arrived. No time to think so threw on black top, long black velvet op shop skirt, long black beads, black tights which turned out to be navy blue that's how bad the lighting is in our bedroom, black wit chy-poo lace up boots, ran a comb through the hair and slashed a streak of dark lipstick and leapt in the car, but was pleasantly surprised to see I looked good (!) in the mirrors at the theatre. Old, but in a good way. Sort of old and sophisticated. Oh god, maybe just old. Now I'm getting paranoid so will move on.
(d) Mr Soup wore head to toe black too [such a cliche Melbourne couple we are] and as we walked to the theatre a woman [also dressed in black - this IS Melbourne, we are all pale and intere sting] careened around a tall-buildinged-corner on roller blades, into us. The three of us swung around in a kind of gothic wheeled ballet as we grabbed her to keep her upright. We all laughed and someone said Shall we dance? and we wheeled around twice more before sending her on her way.
(e) The opera (Don Giovanni) was at the Athenaeum, that old shabby character-filled theatre that I hadn't been to in years. [Have you ever been backstage there? It's like a rabbit warren.] We were sitti ng in the upper circle, three rows from the [very ornate but peeling] ceiling. The seats are tiny, the rows narrow, the people behind you have their shoes in your hair and as you make your way teeteringly to your seat (clutching a glass of wine because this theatre is so civilised you can take drinks in as long as you promise to return them to the bar at interval) you tread on the hair of the folks in the row below. It smelt musty, it was hot at the very top of the theatre and what with the wine and the music and the singing, I fell asleep. No more red wine at the theatre for me. Remember the blogging while under the infuence after the symphony? (Do people click on these links and read Old Soup, I wonder?)

• World Party's song Is it like today? has just finished and now we have Spanish guitar music. My son has eclectic musical tastes.

• That's enough random brain outpourings for one day.

I'm taking a blogging break for a few days. You may peruse my archives if you so desire; October and November of 2005 weren't too bad.>

3 August 2006

reasons #136, #137 and #138 why I love the internet

Because where else could you fall off your chair laughing at a site devoted to cats that look like Hitler?

Because this wonderful woman sent me lots of sock yarn. Just like that. Just because she had lots that "needed a good home". Unfortunately it's pouring with rain here and the light is lousy and I refuse to use flash, so no photographs.

I've been having fun putting together a parcel for Heather in return.

Because how else would I get to meet this gorgeous person in the flesh?

Ms Cow and I met up for a low-key coffee, which segued into lunch which somehow became three and a half hours of non-stop talking. We talked about blogs and books and Nigella and children and she tried to talk me into actually cutting my quilt fabrics and uh, making a quilt. She listened politely to me complain about my technical computer difficulties and refrained from going glassy-eyed as I went on and on about all sorts of things.

lazy cow

Then she showed me the contents of her handbag [I forget why but I'm sure it was important], confessed the unsavoury habits of her dog where soft furnishings are concerned, lost her car keys briefly, gave me a bag of beautiful organic chocolates and a hug and rushed off to collect her children.

As did I.

With a huge smile on my face all the way there."