Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy things ...

Life for the past few months has been a bit blah, one way or another, so I have been grasping with both hands anything that makes me happy. Here are some of the things that have taken me to a happy place recently.

A beautiful figgjo teapot I found on the street on morning on my way to work. I immediatley scooped it up and hurried home with it. It was a bit dusty but otherwise in good condition. It makes me smile every time I see it.

A blue own from Vinnies, on a hand-knitted (by me) placement made with wool also sourced from Vinnies, on knitting needles from eBay. Sustainable creativity at its best! Be warned friends, you may be the recipients of hand-knitted place-mats or coasters in the near future.

It is spring and my lavender is flowering for the first time. I have also planted some cherry tomatoes and am hoping for a bumper crop.

And finally my boys on Fathers Day. They make me smile every day.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Compliments ...

Chet is becoming quite the complimenter. Yesterday, he saw our neighbour's sister and thought it was our neighbour, Liz, and said "I like Liz's hair", because the sister's hair was quite different to Liz's and he had noticed the difference. This morning he saw me getting into the shower and said "Mummy, I like your belly button". That is where he should have stopped. I (foolishly) asked him why and his response: "because it is funny!" I wonder if he will be a charmer when he grows up?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

African reading ...

I've been reading a lot lately, mainly about Africa, Zimbabwe to be precise, in an effort to understand a bit more about where I come from and where my father came from. I guess it is partly to understand my father a little better, seeing as he is no longer around for me to ask questions. Also because some of the people described in these books remind of some of the people who came to my Dad's funeral - they all seem to have a certain look about them. In a review I read of one of these books, the reviewer intimated that the last thing the reading public needed was another white man's view of the situation in Zimbabwe but they did go on to say that the book in question did add something to the oeuvre. From my perspective these books did add something to my knowledge and understanding of my past and of the recent past of Zimbabwe. All three books resonate with a love of country and a bewilderment regarding the current state of affairs in Zimbabwe. The absurdity of day to day life in a corrupt third world country is highlighted as well.

The three main books I have read are:

The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe
by Douglas Rogers
It was funny and sad and absurd all at once and the tenacity of the author's parents is to be admired. Rogers now lives in New York, but was born and grew up in what is now Zimbabwe. From goodreads: "The Last Resort is an inspiring, coming-of-age tale about home, love, hope, responsibility, and redemption. An edgy, roller-coaster adventure, it is also a deeply moving story about how to survive a corrupt Third World dictatorship with a little innovation, humor, bribery, and brothel management."

Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness
by Alexandra Fuller
The author's brother was born in the same hospital I was born in, the Lady Chancellor Maternity Home in what was then Salisbury. Fuller now lives in Wyoming with her family. She tells a moving tale of her family's long engagement with Africa, from Kenya, to Zimbabwe to Zambia. She clearly loves her mother, despite her mother's complaints that she is going to put her in 'another awful book'. "A story of survival and madness, love and war, loyalty and forgiveness, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is an intimate exploration of the author's family. In the end we find Nicola and Tim at a coffee table under their Tree of Forgetfulness on the banana and fish farm where they plan to spend their final days." - goodreads.

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa
by Peter Godwin
Written by another Zimbabwean who lives in the US, Godwin is a bit older than the other two writers and actually served time in the Rhodesian army. The book starts with his father's heart attack which really resonated with me given my father's heart condition and his recent death from heart failure. Like the other two books this concentrates on the recent collapse of Zimbabwe following the start of the farm invasions and land grabs that ultimately resulted in the destruction of the economy and looks at how the author's friends and family cope in the aftermath of this. His sister ends up having to leave the country and his parents remain in Harare sinking slowly into a poverty stricken old age.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Leaps and bounds ...

"We are born naked and stay naked for only a few moments until we are wrapped in our first clothes. In our small shoes, our little trousers and tops and shorts, until we grow out of them in leaps and bounds, and begin to develop our own ideas about what to wear - we have always got something or other on."

The Thoughtful Dresser
Linda Grant

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Where ...

It has been a while between updates and I am slowly coming to terms with a whole lot of stuff that is happening at the moment. But, Chet continues to delight. He has lately become the boy who cried 'where?' - at every opportunity. I ask him if he wants some toast, and his response is 'where?' I ask him if he wants to put on his boots and he shouts 'where?', pretty much any question I might ask him could be guaranteed a response of 'where?' He still loves The Beatles and has a Beatles towel that we have to fix round his neck with a peg so he can run around and be 'super Chet'. Here is a photo of him enjoying dry wheatbix that he helped himself to while I was in the shower.

I have been reading a lot - my usual way to make sense of life. The other day I came across the following, which neatly sums up the way I am feeling.

"Whatever a family's tragedy, children demand to be cared for, fed, and played with. This is, I think, one of the great blessings they bring to our lives. Mourning must be filtered through the lens of their all-consuming needs, and their infinite capacity for joy." Death gets a time-out by Ayelet Waldman.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

And so everything changes ...

I have been meaning to update for a while. A few things have happened since I last wrote - I turned 40, Chet said and did some funny stuff and was very cute, the K-man was sick, there was an earthquake in Japan and the Minx was the Minx. But, my world tipped off it's axis yesterday. My father died. He collapsed while trying to start the lawnmower and the ambos were not able to revive him. He had had a heart condition for a long time but even so it was relatively unexpected.

In the wake of that everything else seems insignificant. Chet and I are going up to Queensland tomorrow to be with my mother and help organise the things that need organising. My brother is flying in from Japan. We are all in a state of shock. I keep expecting to see something about it on the news and then I remember that it is only newsworthy to me and my family and my friends. He was my Dad and I loved him. It could be a while before I write again ...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nothing peoples

Life and conversations with a two year old continue to delight and frustrate in equal measures - I am sure most parents would agree with this. But the strange and funny conversations continue. Chet is currently talking a lot about various people who haven't bitten his toe. As in "Grandpa not bite my toe" - he told me this last night, just before bed, apropos nothing. I asked him who did bite his toe and his response was that the "nothing peoples" bit his toe which I took to mean that no one actually did bite his toe at all. But, on reflection, perhaps it was the nothing peoples, whoever they may be. They may be related to the Beatles song, Nowhere Man which he knows well and refers to simply as "Man".

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Big boys

We are currently visiting my parents in Toowoomba. Their cat, Snouty is a rather large and beautiful chocolate brown (part) Burmese. He is also terrified of most things, including a chicken that used to visit a while back.

Overheard a conversation (well more of a monologue really) between Chet and Snouty.

Chet: Hello Snouty, you're a big boy.

Snouty: Quizzical, slightly scared interest.

Chet: I'm a big boy too.

Snouty: Hmm, goes to run away.

Chet (in a hopeful voice): I'm two.

At this point Snouty takes off with Chet in hot pursuit.

Also overheard between Chet and slightly older boy in K-mart.

Chet: I'm a big boy.

Boy: No you're not!

Chet: I'm a big boy.

Boy: Shrug

And then they both started playing with bangles.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fabric ...

I don't think I need to buy any more fabric or vintage sheets until I start actually using it for something. I now have two vintage suitcases full of fabric (some of which was my mother's incidentally), not to mention half of a cabinet in the dining room full of fabric, mending, knitting and other crafty things.

I also have piles of books I have read and want to write something about sitting on my desk and sewing basket. Not to mention the pile of books I haven't yet read.

January has been about trying to get organised and getting rid of a few things and to that end I have gotten rid of quite a few books and most of the remaining baby clothes. But, I still have a way to go. But, I haven't been to a charity shop this year and have managed to get rid of more than I have acquired. The beginning of an experiment in downsizing ... wish me luck.
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