Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Monday, 29 August 2011

Foundations built on Sand

Quick sand at that.

I knew that when my mother took the plunge into alcoholism she became  'a stranger to the truth'.  There was always an element of truth to her stories, but it was often small and well hidden.

A little while ago I discovered that this trait was not, as I had thought, a side effect to being an alcoholic.

We were always told that her only sibling, a brother, had died of an untreated melanoma.  We were also told that he was a doctor, and that he should have known better.  It was certainly implied, if not actually stated, that he died relatively young, unmarried and childless.

One of my brothers has started exploring the family tree.  He discovered that Uncle Peter had in fact died (of a heart attack) a few years after my mother.  He had four children.  In a recent visit to the UK my brother met with them for the first time.  And as an aside he was appalled at how like one of them was to mama.  Not only in looks, but in gestures.  I find that fascinating as I would have thought that gestures were learned rather than inherited behaviour.  The small truth to Mama's tale is that her brother was indeed a doctor.

Our cousins did not know what had caused the estrangement - and all those who could have known are dead.

I dismissed it initially, as inconsequential and yet another of mama's antics.  And it was only today in commenting on someone else's blog that I realised how bereft I am feeling.

My father was an intensely private man.  To the point where secretive is probably a more accurate description.  However, as a German Jew he probably had reasons not to want to dwell in the past.  I know nothing whatsoever about his side of the family.  And am a little afraid to look.

I had assumed that I did know some things about my mother, her family and her upbringing.  And now discover that she was lying about her background - early and late.  And now I don't know what to believe, and which of the family stories are mythical.

An unsettling feeling.  Though I am not sure why.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Mostly Daffodils (again)

Another truly beautiful day.  I headed off to the pool about 6.30, leaving the smaller portion blissfully slumbering.  Mean soul that I am I knew he would be woken sooner rather than later.  I had left the cats inside and Jazz had already made it clear that he wanted to go out.  NOW.   I refuse to let them out until it is fully light, and he follows me to the bus stop (on a busy road) so there was a reason for my unkindness.  Or do I mean another reason?  And the smaller portion (whose preference is for getting up at the crack of noon) was indeed woken before eight.

When I got home again we both wandered outside with the camera.  Every day more and more things burst into bloom.

As we wandered past the dining room, we heard Jazz shrieking at us.  He had brought himself inside, but was objecting to us being outside while he was in (and on the table to boot).  What a little charmer he is.

Most of the daffodils come from mixed collections so I rarely know what they are called.  I love them though, in all their infinite variety.  Which I had never known or guessed at before I had a garden of my own.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Daffodils bloom in the Spring Tra-Lah

This morning dawned to a truly beautiful, very almost Spring day.  I improved the shining hour and went for a swim.  I only managed a kilometre, but this is more than I have been able to do for weeks.  Still hurting, but not unbearable.

When I got home I went for a wander in the garden.  Exciting times.  Many of the bulbs are not in flower yet, but there are more out each day.  And will be for weeks.  So I did a wobbly little dance and came in for my camera.  Be warned, there will be many, many more photos to come.

And two of our five camellia trees (they are taller than the house) are also starting to flower despite the depreciations caused by the cockatoos and the king parrots.

All in all a good day.  And I have finished my depressing reads and so far the next one looks much less emotionally taxing.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Books and Reading.

Books are another of my obsessions.  And I am sure the house is groaning with the weight of them.  I have been biting the bullet and doing a waaaay overdue cull.  I currently have seven and a half small boxes ready to go.  And six more bookcases to cull.  One of the remaining bookcases is stacked three deep, and most of the others are stacked two deep.  And there are perhaps a hundred unread books waiting on a table in the dining room.  Can you tell we don't do formal dinners?

I have made a promise to myself that I will not buy any more books until both the cull is complete, and the unread books have changed their status.  Time will tell whether I can keep the promise.  I have my doubts.

While gardening, and pretty much everything else has been super painful I have been reading more than ever.  And last night I noticed that my choice of reading material is decidedly dark at the moment.

This last week I have read 'in my skin' by Kate Holden.  This memoir tells the story of her descent into heroin addiction and her work first as a street prostitute and later in two brothels in Melbourne.  Interesting, but I suspect highly sanitised.  In normalising both of her lifestyle choices she skims over the downsides, which I am sure exist.  Similarly she makes light work of her eventual withdrawal from heroin after using it for five years in steadily escalating doses.

Then I dived into a book lent to me by a friend:  'when it rains' a memoir by Maggie Mackellar.  Another cheery read.  In a two year period Maggie's husband completed suicide, three months before their second child was born.  Then her much loved mother developed and died from an aggressive cancer.  Maggie's grief, anger and confusion are almost palpable.  After a year she gave up the battle of juggling single parenthood and her academic career and moved back to the family farm in central west NSW, seeking and at least partly finding some healing.  I lived for a time in the area, so in addition to pushing many of my emotive buttons the book triggered memories for me.

I finished that one yesterday afternoon, and started going through the piles of unread books to see what I wanted to read next.  This was my choice, and I retired to bed with it last night.

I have not got very far, but it is beautifully written and I will continue.  It is the story of how the author (and her father) coped as he developed Alzheimer's disease.  She took over his care doing her best to retain his dignity while simultaneously protecting him.

So....this week I have delved into books about heroin and prostitution, suicide, cancer and grief and am moving into one on families and mental illness.  I did find myself wondering as I drifted off to sleep what my choice of reading matter says about me.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Sunday Selections

Sunday Selections, brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, is an ongoing theme where participants post previously unused photos languishing in their files.

Anyone can join in, just post your photos under the Sunday Selections title, link back to Kim, then add your name to her Linky list at Frogpondsrock.

And for something completely different I am going back to Antarctica, because I was going through the photos again yesterday and remembered how much I loved it there.  If I was to win the lottery (unlikely because I don't buy tickets) I would be back in a heartbeat.  As it is I hug the memories to myself.

Adelie Penguin

Baby King Penguin in its first moult

King Penguin rookery

Female Elephant Seals

Gentoo Penguin

King penguin

Gentoo Penguin grooming

Magellan Penguins

Chinstrap Penguins

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sunday Selections

Sunday Selections, brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, is an ongoing theme where participants post previously unused photos languishing in their files.

Anyone can join in, just post your photos under the Sunday Selections title, link back to Kim, then add your name to her Linky list at Frogpondsrock.

This week my theme is the garden - some shots of our summer garden in January 2008 when we were in the midst of an appalling drought.  Grass got sacrificed and plants were watered with water reclaimed from the washing machine, the shower, and anywhere else we could find it. 

If you click on the photos they will get bigger.

Scabby lawn, sacrificed to feed the garden.  Not a sacrifice I regret.