Evie is running a poll over at her blog, Evie Puppy Cadpig. She would appreciate your help in choosing a new background picture for her blog, and as she doesn't get a huge amount of traffic (well, just me really), she has asked me to ask you to pop over and help her out.
***Big thanks to everyone who's voted, you have made a little girl very happy.***
It's ten years today since Michael and I tied the official knot. Apparently this means today should be celebrated with a gift of tin and/or aluminium. What does that mean? Saucepans? Tin/aluminium is the traditional marker, but in the US it seems 'tin' has been upgraded to 'diamond.' Whoah! That's quite a leap. I guess ten years these days is like a hundred years in olden times... or something...
This is what I looked like on my wedding day:
NOT!!! Ha ha ha. In fact I find the whole wedding industry and all its addentant stressors quite bemusing and slightly obscene. Mikey and I got married in the registry office at the Queen Vic building, with just our parents and our 8 month old baby as witnesses. Then we had a lovely afternoon tea at a swank hotel, organised by Michael's sister. It could hardly have been more low-key. I wore a favourite dress from Jigsaw, Mum gave me some roses to hold, we didn't take many photos because Alice started to cry.
The next night was our wedding celebration. We booked out a local cafe and had a party with about fifty friends and family. It was a great night, as far as I can remember. And then we went home and life went on as before - with the baby we'd already had, in the house we'd already bought, living together as we had done for the previous four (?) years. Nothing really changed.
But I'm glad we did it. I like being able to say 'my huzzband,' in an ironic voice, even though it's not ironic at all but a simple statement of fact. Some of my friends are married, some are not. Some, I don't even know whether they are or not, and it doesn't make a scrap of difference.
But I think if people want to do it, they should be able to -- in a garden, in a church, on a boat, sky-diving, in a fancy dress or in the nude, straight or gay. It's about love, people. A ritual about love. How can there be any harm in that?
I'm not quite sure what it demonstrates exactly, but it's fun: take a bowl of milk, add a drop or two of food colouring. Then dip a toothpick in detergent and poke it into the mixture, and watch what happens!*
2012 (aged 45)
The hunt for high schools starts next week: information nights and open days. Which school will be right for her? Which school is she right for? And how are you supposed to tell? 2001 (aged 34)
Everybody gobsmacked by the news that K (Michael's sister) is having TWINS! So pleased that Alice will have a gang of her own and won't be totally swamped by the big boy cousins... More than halfway. 21 weeks today. The obstetrician says if I haven't stopped being sick by now then I never will. THANKS. 1998 (aged 31)
I've taken to swanning around the house in silk trousers and an embroidered jacket and have a yearning for beading and brocade - a kind of 1920s exotica. 1997 (aged 30)
D is keen for New York. He rang at 11.30 last night -- "Why are you in bed? What's wrong with you?" He was excruciatingly chirpy. 1996 (aged 29)
At moments like this - quarter to 11 after a solid couple of hours work, sun shining in and feeling motivated - I don't give a RAT'S ARSE about Sony imports - sack me, ease me out, bully me around I DON'T CARE it's not real, it doesn't matter. Only this matters, the words on the page. 1994 (aged 27)
A milestone in my brilliant career - a little one! Someone wrote to me, asking for a short story to put in their magazine - never heard of it mind you - still, they pay money! 1992 (aged 25)
Breakfast with AR. Hm... Did get a croissant which is better than not getting a croissant I guess... 1987 (aged 20)
Trammed and trained and bussed out to Monash, had lunch in the Union with F and all her crowd, A & E & S & K & Bill Shorten. Got home at 6. D in playful mood, tried to set fire to me. Told everyone's tarots. 1986 (aged 19)
Put up posters for Conservation Club in sneaky and illegal places round uni...Student Club meeting. Roped in as Play Rep. O throwing his weight around. Small fuss over whether a female could be Male Sports Rep... Dressed up as Soviet Socialist for S party... Drank Kahlua and white wine & OJ with F. C & P arrived about 10.30, went up to my room and drank Kahlua & milk with frozen milk. Suddenly F, J, E & CS arrived! Chatted to CS, think I was mistaken. Fairly sloshed by now. About to go down when A brought PH up (in Army uniform) to stop him flattening O!! Monash people left, had D&Ms with PH who then left never to be seen again... Massive D&Ms with C & P by candlelight (tres atmospherique, says P), C & P smoking like chimneys, drank two bottles of cider. G arrived with Joy Division tape then went to bed. Opened Baileys & drank 1/2 the bottle. P finally went to bed, C & I strolled around the crescent talking drunkenly. Went to bed at 3.30am. 1985 (aged 18)
Went to my first ever tutorial - Philosophy. Dead loss tute, all sat mute, in fact it was fute-ile. Formal dinner (chicken and shaving foam cheeseCake). New Pres. of USSR is Mikhail Gorbichov (Gorbachev) 1980 (aged 13)
The debate was marvellous!! We lost, but I only got one point less than Athol's third speaker (she got Best Debator). I'm so happy! It is nice to do something well!! 1978 (aged 11)
Daddy went to Hagen, but came back. I meant to wash the dolls clothes, but it was too wet. I rode and read my bike and books. I didn't do anything really today, did I? 1977 (aged 10)
I stayed in bed till half past 9. Mummy cut down branches. I made a ship. I typed a letter to Rowena. Hilly & I had a big fight. I'm sorry. 1976 (aged 9)
It was sport. Yuk! I made lanterns. Made a book list. Tomorrow night I am staying at Mireille's.
Last week, Pip's mum alerted me to an offering on Gumtree - a collection of books and magazines about PNG, free to a good home. The family had spent a few years in PNG at around the same time as we did, in Madang and Rabaul*, and this was what was left of their father's collection, after the rest of the family had taken what they wanted.
There was one box of books, travel guides and coffee table books full of gorgeous pictures, and copies of the PNG national airline's in-flight magazine from the 1980s, all of which I was very happy to have. And there was also a box of odds and ends: 'I'm not sure if you'll want this,' said the mother doubtfully, but it was raining and the kids were waiting out in the car, so I said, no, no, I'll take the lot.
I'm really glad I did. There was a nice big map, an album of newspaper cuttings, and some files of odd letters and memos from the father's time working for one of the big trading companies: a job application from a local student, written on butterfly notepaper; a list of pay rates for local workers; a letter explaining why a policeman was late paying his bill (because all his 'gears' had been lost when he was transferred to a different post); complaints about late shipments and incorrect bills.
There could be nothing so evocative of the low-tech world of the 1970s -- letters that are scrawled in biro or typed on a clunky typewriter, carbon copied and filed in a manila folder. I wonder where the writers of those letters are now.
* a town that no longer exists - wiped out by a volcano, just like Pompeii
A friend walked into our house the other day and said, 'Whenever I come here, there's always stuff being made.' I must confess I have become so used to being surrounded by works-in-progress, scraps of fabric, glue and craft sticks that I hadn't really thought about it, apart from tearing my hair out at the perpetual mess.
But it's true. At the moment we have crystals growing on saucers on the floor in front of the TV, seedlings sprouting in jars in Rex's tank, and a half-finished zoo enclosure on the coffee table. Recently Alice made and furnished a 'burrow' for some of her smaller toys, including tiny handmade books, sheets and curtains dyed with food dye, clothes for the toys and an elaborate water-tank and dipper system.
Last night Evie made a bird feeder from a toilet roll covered in silver foil, and a birdhouse from a box that had contained grapes, which she then rushed out to hang from the trees. Meanwhile, Alice was making bread, joyfully thumping the dough - but plain bread is boring, so this became nutmeg, lime and orange bread. (Which, I must say, is actually bloody delicious - sort of hot-cross-bunnish, but without the sultanas.) The 'sauce' which was to accompany the bread was less successful (flour, sugar, nutmeg, lime juice), but hey, for every hit, there'll be a few misses.
I just have to keep reminding myself that the flour on the floor, the newspapers all over the table, rag box spilling in the corner -- in short, the general chaos of our living space -- really is worthwhile. Who knows, maybe that's the thing I'll miss the most when they're all grown up.
Winner, Children's Book Council Australia, Book of the Year (Younger Readers) 2012; Winner, Patricia Wrightson Prize, NSW Premier's Literary Awards; Shortlisted, WA Premier's Literary Awards, Young Adult; Shortlisted, Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature (Children's Literature)
Shortlisted, 2010 Prime Minister's Literary Awards - Children's Fiction; Shortlisted in the Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards 2010 (Upper Primary); Shortlisted, 2009 Aurealis Award for Best Children's Long Fiction
Kate Constable & Penni Russon
Winter of Grace
Joint Winner, Children's Peace Literature Award 2009