Sunday, 24 May 2009

What I have been doing lately...

I have been sick. My tummy hurts. All my innards hurt, in fact. So this is where I have been spending lots of time. Also the bathroom but it is Too Much Information to show a photo of that...

I am 95% better and 5% lighter.

Today is my birthday! Hooray!!!
I love birthdays. I want to have hundreds of them, but will settle for a hundred. It is a good round number.
I was woken at 0600 by a phone call. From my Sweetheart who had snuck downstairs and rung me from his mobile to sing Happy Birthday and to tell me to look under the pillow. And there was a lovely bottle of Chanel 5. Lovely. Lovely. Lovely. Thank you Coco fr inventing this so long ago for me. And thank you to Rex The Ex who first gave me Chanel when I was but yet a wee slip of a lass.

And now to a concert with Kavisha Mazzella - a fundraiser for people damaged in the Italian earthquake. Followed by dinner with some of the dearest men in my life - my Sweetheart, Smellies and Step Smellies.

I promise to start talking again now that I am feeling better.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

If you don't know what it means then don't prove your ignorance!!!!!

I came in today to the tail end of an interview on ABC Radio with (presumably)* a Member of the Opposition saying the Labor Party's Budget last night was 'full of HYPER-BOWL'.

HYPER-BOWL???????????? (Is that like a really really super enormous Super Bowl????)

This is what Wikipedia has to say about hyperbole:
"Hyperbole (pronounced /haɪˈpɝːbəli/ hye-PER-buh-lee; "HYE-per-bowl" is a common mispronunciation) comes from ancient Greek "ὑπερβολή" (meaning excess or exaggeration) and is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is rarely meant to be taken literally.

Hyperbole is used to create emphasis. It is a literary device often used in poetry, and is frequently encountered in casual speech. It is also a visual technique in which a deliberate exaggeration of a particular part of an image is employed. An example is the exaggeration of a person's facial feature in a political cartoon."

I don't actually see that much wrong with hyperbole. Except when dickheads mispronounce it.

*("Presumably" because I hope no Labor Party pollie would speak so ill of his own Budget).

(I wonder if the Wiki links will work in this cut and paste???)

And I decided to use a different font Just For Fun (doesn't take much to amuse moi). And tiny font for that little wondering above, too. Creative.

P.S. Thank you, Poss, for the Uncyclopedia link... Did you write that definition? It sounds like one of the amazingly wonderful extraordinarily clever things creative you would come up with. It would take me a million years to compose something like that...

Sunday, 10 May 2009

A Tribute to my Mum

My Mum was widowed at 38 with six children and eight and a half thousand acres of farm to run. She had been doing it all anyway for a number of years after Dad got sick. He was diagnosed in 1966 with Multiple Myeloma and given 3 - 6 months to sort things out. And he lived 5 years. They weren't very good years towards the end. At one stage the Myeloma got into his skull and he went quite crazy. And it was always in his ribs and he broke them just turning over in bed, he had a big back brace to wear, and was on crutches and shrunken.

Mum kept us all together and protected us, acting as a wonderful buffer between Dad's rages at his illness. She is tall, much taller than other Mums - nearly 6' and very beautiful. Always skinny - there is a photo of Noela wearing Mum's ball gown here with the story of the gown. She plays piano every day, and when we were little used to sit down and hammer out her frustrations with Chopin's Military Polonaise and the hymn Jerusalem - both good thumping tunes! I would sit under the piano with my head against the sound board to FEEL the music! And she can sing!! There was always music at home. In 1960 Bev came to live with us as a governess when Elspeth and I started school and Mum found a soul mate in her. She was also tall - a former model - and a singer - a Sun Aria finalist. So there was even more music. Mum and Bev used to perform at concerts and sang at funerals and weddings.
Mum took me to Melbourne to live shows too. It was a big deal for country people to go down live theatre. Mum would write to J.C. Williamson's and they would give us the best seats in the hosue because we were from the country and to be looked after. Fiddler on the Roof was the first show Mum took me to.

Four or five years after Dad died Mum sold the home farm and moved to Melbourne. She bought an old house in the Eastern suburbs at the foot of Mt Dandenong. She rode a motor bike with the God Squad and did a lot of helping people. Thirty five years on there are still people who are her friends because of the help she gave them. She is a 'good' Christian - would rather give someone a decent feed or a cuppa tea and scones than shove a Bible down their throats.

In the mid 1980s she decided to move to a bush block out of Castlemaine. We thought she had hit menopause and got totally crazy. Here she was with 15 acres of scrubby two metre tall coffee bush mostly surrounded by State Forest and Crown Land, no electricity, no house (only a tin shed). We were so worried!
And she built the most wonderful stone house from sandstone she pulled from her own land. She lived in one end of the shed while she was creating her work of art. Had a generator as back up for her solar panels, and rain water tanks for water. A fabulous garden - thoughts of her raspberries are making my mouth water.
And she did this when she was older than I am now (just!!!). When we came back from the disaster of living in San Francisco in 1988 we lived just over the hill from her. She was a great support for me when I had years of Family Court hassles with Malcolm the Unwelcome, and had no money for lawyers so represented myself. She came to Court in Melbourne with me, or babysat when I went alone. She was so loved by the Court officials that whenshe ended up in the Cardiac Unit at the Alfred Hospital they sent flowers!

Ten years ago she sold up here and moved to Buderim on the Sunshine Coast. Two of my sisters are lucky enough to be just down the road from her, and seven of her 21 grandchildren had her around when they were growing up. But distance doesn't matter to her. She rings each of us every week, and we ring her every week too. One night I had a dream that Mum had died and I couldnt talk to her any more, and woke up crying. So now I ring her lots more than I used to.

Got to go, shall write more later perhaps! The Sweetheart is taking me driving...

Happy Mother's Day my Mummy, I love you immensely.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Mother's Day Eve

I always get despondent about Mother's Day.

Just The Four Boys don't really care about it and I rarely get a card, flowers, perfume, breakfast in bed, taken out for lunch/dinner .. whatever the advertisers say you are supposed to do for a Mummy. One year they did give me something - a bread maker. They staggered in at the crack of dawn with it all wrapped up and a HUGE bag of bread flour and announced "Hooray - we can have bread for breakfast"!! So I had to get up and learn how to make bread. I do love making bread - I let the machine do all the hard work and then transfer the dough to a heavy tin and cook it in the oven (of the trusty Rayburn). The Rayburn makes the BEST bread, too! It is much nicer than the funny shaped loaf that comes from the machine.

But that isn't why I get despondent about Mother's Day. Not totally. My boys are lovely, caring and kind and think of me all the time so I don't miss getting something for Mother's Day. Except when other people talk about all the wonderful things they did/received and then I get a tad envious...

On May 13 1989 I had a stillborn baby. It was Mother's Day Eve. So every Mother's Day Eve as well as May 13 I get sad for little Hannah who didn't get to grow up and give me pressies on Mother's Day cos that is what daughters do. And she would be 20 next week and I often wonder which of my boys she would be like.
Would she be really creative in the kitchen and be a chef, or a total computer geek, or kind to people and caring, or would she be brave and wild and be able to fix all sorts of stuff? Or, having four big brothers, would she have been a mixture of all of them and be wild and funny and caring and clever and musical and adventurous and have a million friends and have already been around the world a couple of times and even made a quilt. She would be over all those horrible angsty teenage years and would be gorgeous.

I did make her a quilt.
A few years ago I had a very strong urge to sew. And I started this quilt late in the afternoon and sewed until 2 a.m. Then woke at 6 a.m. and realised it was Mother's Day and Hannah would have been 16 when I started sewing. I don't usually make girly pink quilts, but this is the quilt I made for Hannah.
I will sleep under it tonight and dream of being the Mum of a daughter.

Friday, 8 May 2009

I AM A WINNER!!!!!!!!!!


This wonderful one that Miss Krissie had on her blog as a give-away. I am so happy, what a wonderful thing to wake up to on a grey Friday!
Thank you Kris, you are a gem!
And whilst you are looking at her blog - DO check out her Flickr photos on the side bar. Gorgeous jewellery.

I am so excited, I want to run around in circles and sing!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

A Clever Mallee Girl!

I love it when I find more Mallee Girls.

We are a great bunch!!

Here is another one - and she (Krissy) makes the most wonderful jewellery.
She has a shop, and she has a give-away of a beautiful ring. With "Stay calm & carry on" stamped on it. We all need one of them methinks! Have a look also at the beautiful earrings she has made for her MIL for Mother's Day.

Wonder if there are any more Mallee Girls blogging away out there? We could have our own mini blog ring...

Who asked about the governesses and the nannies in my last post? We lived in the Bush - it was what you did in Those Far Off Halcyon Days...
A bit like Seven Little Australians except there were only six of us. And no trees fell on anyone. Though we did have a spectacular crash out of one treehouse, I now remember. Mum was standing at the sink watching all her babies playing in the paddock over the road, dragging branches up a gum tree to make a platform. The supporting branches broke and the lot of us cascaded to the ground just like in the nursery rhyme.
Makes me wonder why I still like tree houses.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

More things to love...

I am in love with a tree house. Any tree house yet, I haven't decided on which one I want to live in.
I used to have a wonderful one when I was little. It was HIGH up in The Killer Tree*, and my 5 younger siblings were too scaredy cat to climb up into it. I don't know now if that was because it was so far in the sky or because they knew I would KILL them if they invaded my space.
When I went back a few years ago The Killer Tree wasn't all that big actually...
Stuff shrinks when you grow up.

To give credit where credit is due:
The extraordinary tree houses on the left came from here .
(Majorly Cool looks like a GREAT web site to waste an afternoon on...)

The right hand photo is somewhere in America and was built by Pete Nelson whose blog address is below.

The centre two photos (below) are the same house in summer and winter and they are in Japan. Fabulous, too!
Pete Nelson's blog is here.
And Pete Nelson's website
and another website for more tree houses.

* Aaah - The Killer Tree wasn't a tree that killed people!!!!

It was the tree where Dad, and later Mum when Dad got too sick and then died, killed the sheep and hung them to do those things that carcasses do for a couple of days in cool weather before you start eating them.
There were a lot of mouths to feed on our farm - adults, kids, governesses, nannies, visitors, farm workers, relatives... It was a big old Mallee tree. Once our pet galah flew into it and wouldn't come down. Mum got the rifle and shot the branch out from under his clawy little feet. Bit of a legend my Mum...

Monday, 4 May 2009

I am in love...

Look at this!!!!

It is from "Wild Tea Cosies" by Loani Prior
Fabulous, wild and imaginative tea cosies. I want to make them all. Even more - I want the book!!!!

It is like the Killer Slippers book I have. That I haven't made any slippers from.
I never found anyone who was brave enough to wear them. Maybe I should just MAKE them and ask questions after....

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Busy weekends...

And I found I DID know how to add a video to my last post.
I don't know how I did it as I went for the scatter gun approach and tried every possibility and one stuck! I will try it again soon.

Sometimes I think I would like to add some music to here. Just so you can listen to some fine Aussie performers that you wont hear if you are not in Australia. Then I find some blog that is playing what some people think is wonderful music and it drives me MAD. I open half a dozen blogs at once and some dreary music starts, and I cant find where it is and furiously scroll down pages looking for the off button. And people have their music selections in all sorts of different places. Left, right, at the bottom...

So here is a link to High and Lonesome. They are friends of mine, Chris is the lonesome part and Chips is high... And I think I may have just added their music to my blog... How annoying is THAT? (For you, I mean. Not for me...).

Happy birthday Pete Seeger. 90 years - I would love to be at the concert in Madison Sq Garden for him.
Tao, his grandson, played at the National Folkie a couple of years ago. Here is the link to their band site:
That isn't Tao in the photo I took but the banjo player from the band when they were playing at Canberra. I get a bit fixated on banjo players...
There is also a link to a review in The Canberra Times on their site.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Op Shop luckiness!!!

And one for today...
My Best Sister has been ringing me for days asking if I had received the parcel she sent me.

Today I got it!

She has been hitting the Op Shops...with a vengeance!!!!!!

Here is the first of her finds.
A salwar kameez with beautiful embroidery on what looks like a hand painted floral on white background and THEN beaded, with a green silk
scarf bordered in silver hand dyed to match the green trousers.

The beading and embroidery around the neckline is gorgeous.

I have LOVED salwar kameez ever since I worked in Banda Aceh after the awful tsumani on Boxing Day 2004. Fabulous to wear in that 45* temperature and 95% humidity, where we had to cover up a bit more than we would have at home.

At the end of my work there I bought a lovely salwar kameez to wear to S2's wedding.

Mother Of The Groom and all that...

It has a silk hand dyed scarf that fades from mauve to lemon with splashes of embroidered flowers, and the top is hand embroidered with silk thread.

The top and pants are lined fine cotton. Just gorgeous to wear!

It cost 3 months pay for an Acehnese. There were very few shops surviving after the tsunami hit (check the link above for photos and stories) and it was a pretty good feeling to be able to contribute to the economy in this small way before I left (and it WAS small - this outfit for all of being 1/4 of a year's salary was about AUD60...).

And the other two outfits Noela sent me are also stunning! I don't know why ever someone would put these in the Op Shop.

This one has a top in tumeric gold self patterned silk with hand embroidered black shadow zigzags and sprays of flowers. All hand embroidered...
The pants are a wonderful sort of batik black background with white stems and ochre, rust, turqoise, etc flowers that look like they are hand drawn by a child.

And the third and last salwar kameez is also most very wearable!
Rather plain - and ugly - black fine (very fine) cotton trousers with a most gorgeous lined self patterned turquoise silk - maybe, difficult to tell as it is so fine - the lining is cotton - embroidered long length top.
The top has been taken in under the arms which has made the sleeves looking far shorter than they should be. That needs to be unpicked for me anyways...
The embroidery is gold tambar work with splashes of orange/red in the flowers.
You can maybe see the self weave in the detail of the flower embroider if you click on the picture and check it out in close-up.

PS Saturday morning.
Now that I have loaded and published this the photos are VERY dark - they look better if you click on each one and open them separately. You can at least see the detail then.
Dunno why the photos are so dark. I'll iPhoto the next lot to white death before I put them up...

Off to try them on now - it was far too cold last night.

And to celebrate May Day I shall endeavour to make a video magically appear here!!!
Botheration - I don't know how to make a video magically appear. I tried embedding and all that. Hmm, someone will have to help me.
In the meantime, just look at the link...