Friday, 31 July 2009

The Interviews


Since I put the call out for stepmothers eleven days ago, I have been in touch with 15 women. Thank you to those who contacted me and to those who passed on my details. And an especially big thank you goes to those women I have already interviewed or who I have arranged to interview over the coming weeks.

Until today all my interviews had been over the phone, but this afternoon I talked to my first stepmother face-to-face. I was a little nervous – asking personal questions over the phone had been one thing, but would I be able to ask them in the flesh? But over tea and toast, there was just no stopping us.

I have been so overwhelmed by the women I have spoken to and so moved by their stories, by their courage and their willingness to admit and share their vulnerabilities. I have only just embarked on my interviews, and already I feel like they are helping me become a better person.

(I am still on the lookout for more stepmothers, so if you know of any you think might like to talk to me, please feel free to send them my details.)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Ugly

I caught myself concentrating intently today – my eyes squinted up and my lips pursed really hard. When I lived in Melbourne and worked in an office I used to get embarrassed when I'd catch myself with that expression, until I realised that most people look funny when they're absorbed.

I tried to take a photo of myself thinking really hard, but I couldn't work out how to do it so I didn't look posed. So instead, here's another photo of me looking unprepossessing: wearing a hat, eating a carrot and sneezing.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Next Blog

I just clicked Next Blog on my Blogger toolbar and this is the first post that came up:
Sleepy Pooh Bear


This is a sweet little clock. The pooh bear on top lights up as a night light and it has an alarm and radio as well. I bought this one at the Goodwill store in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. It was stuck in the furthest corner of the store, upside down with a big hunk of clock on top of it. I couldn't just leave it there, so I took it home, cleaned it up, and added it to my collection. :)

From here.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

91 Years

We celebrated my grandfather's 91st birthday today with a lunch in Melbourne in his honour. It was a small party – just his grandchildren, partners and great-grandchildren. It was such a nice afternoon.

Check out the ice-cream cake! It had a photo of our whole family printed on it in icing. I dread to think of what the ink was made from, but I'm still alive to tell the tale.

One of the highlights of the day was hearing Z say, 'Meg, you're delicious!' as he gobbled up my icing head.

Another highlight was watching my niece Pepper tracing her great-grandfather's hand. The outline of a life well lived. The baton of providence passed on.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Sound Check

PJ and I are going to our friend Jacinta's 40th birthday party tonight. I'm very excited. I love a good house party. We have just come back from her place now where we had sound check. PJ and I are singing a song he wrote and today between our usual quiet Saturdayings, we choreographed a dance routine to accompany. Goodness, did I just write I'm excited? Is that what these butterflies are?

Friday, 24 July 2009

Jazzy's Button

On a recent Saturday, my sister Kate had a crafternoon with her two eldest daughters. They knitted and crocheted and sewed and drew.

This is Jazzy's first ever attempt at sewing on a button. She's five! She's three whole decades younger than me (and three whole decades better than me at sewing on buttons).

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Kitchen Stories

Yesterday we had the inaugural Kitchen Stories at my friend Clare's house. An afternoon where women get together and cook, talk, share, laugh and cry if they need to.

(Sometimes I read through blogs and see photo after photo of what people are eating all around the globe and it makes me feel ill with privilege and entitlement. It's one of my policies that I only have photos on my blog of food that has been homemade or grown. It might just be in my mind, but it helps me feel a little better about the prosperous culture I was lucky to be born into.)

Clare is a trained chef. We made lime pie with fruit from her mum's tree, then we ate it for dessert with our partners and friends who came to join us for a feast later on. We had several people come by for cups of tea today. And boy oh boy, did I ever feel like a domestic goddess taking the leftover professional pie from the fridge to offer them a slice.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Anti-Social Climbing

It's been nearly 18 months since Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made his sorry speech to the stolen generation and still, tourists are allowed to climb Uluru, which is a sacred site for local Aboriginal people.

This week a draft management plan has been released for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta national park, calling for, among other things, a ban on people climbing Uluru. The plan also points out the environmental impact of climbers, such as erosion along paths and the effect on wildlife of rubbish left behind.

Earlier this week, Julian Morrow from The Chaser dressed up in mountaineering gear and attempted to scale the spire of St John's Anglican Church in Canberra, where Prime Minister Rudd was giving an address and where he and his wife were married in 1981.

When it was reported in the news, The Chaser's stunt was called inappropriate and of poor taste.

But why? Because spiritual sites should not be climbed?

Monday, 20 July 2009

Stepmothers, Ahoy!

Are you a stepmother? Can I please interview you?

Or do you know any stepmothers who would be interested in talking to me about their experience of co-parenting their partner's children?

I am currently researching this rich subject and am keen to talk to as many different stepmothers as I can.

Whether you are older or younger, live in Australia or internationally, have birth kids of your own or not, are married or de facto, are a hands on stepparent or more like a friend, I would love to hear from you.

All conversations will be kept strictly confidential.

Please email me at megland [at] gmail [dot] com.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Wagons

It was cold and raining at 9pm last night. PJ and I were in the bath, contemplating whether to go out or not. Wagons were playing in town and we wanted to go see them. It was a great show! We drank champagne and danced and sang and were so glad we made the effort to go.

There's nothing quite like seeing people doing what they're meant to be doing. The band members were all great, but frontman Henry Wagons' performance was inspired.

I turned 35 and a half yesterday and as I sat there in the dark watching the band, I was conscious of this demi-milestone. I listened and thought about listening, and how hard it can sometimes feel, despite the privilege of a loving family and a good education, to listen to yourself and to believe that your tiny little seed will one day flower.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

I Dream of G Knees

OK I admit it, I am partly posting this picture because I like the colours and layers and partly because I came up with the title and thought it was pretty damn funny.

The excellent G is a kid who goes to school with Z. His mum told us that when he first started going to school he used to ask to stay home because he wanted to hang out with his chickens all day. If I wasn't able to and I had a genie, I would be asking for exactly the same thing.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Co-cane

Happy third anniversary, PJ!

I love growing older with you.

From here.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Rednesday: Th Gods

When some people come into our home for the first time, they ask PJ how he can live with all my red. It's true I have brought a lot of red things to this relationship, but it's funny that the most prominent red you see when you step through our front door is this quadriptych, which PJ made before he and I got together.

It's also funny that this work is the first thing you see when you walk into the house of two staunch atheists. I like to call myself a Jewish atheist. I was brought up Jewish and love the culture and traditions, but don't really see how any self-respecting female can believe in a monotheistic religion.

Ex-US president Jimmy Carter is batting for my team on this one. In Today's paper, in an article about why he is leaving the church after six decades he writes:
This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.
Respect, Jimmy!

Here is what the original work – Fire Tower – looked like in situ:

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Therefore I Am

I've often wished that I could have been in the room when Descartes came up with his famous quip, "I think, therefore I am." I would have put my arm around his shoulder and gently tapped, or I would have punched him in the nose, or I might have taken his hands in mine, kissed him full on the lips, and said, "René, my friend, don't you feel anything?"
– Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Local Campfire

This is the fireplace next to which we spent a great deal of our time last week. The house was très homey, albeit rather drafty. (I'm sure there's a Dad joke in there somewhere about written drafts and windy drafts, but I'll leave it up to mine to make it.)

Although our home here becomes super snug at the press of a button, we are missing the presence of the fire in our lives. Reading, writing, talking, knitting and making love by the heater just isn't the same.

When television was first invented then commercialised, apart from the programs it offered, I can definitely see why people were so inviting of it into their homes – there is much to be said about the comfort and company of flickering lights in the centre of a room. I agree with the sociologists who said that first television then the internet, are the new global campfires.

Although I found it difficult to be offline last week, I'm finding it just as hard to live without a fireplace now we're home.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Hand Knitted Homecoming

Thank you to our lovely neighbour Maria who came over today with a pair of hand knitted socks for each of us.

PJ and I had an incredibly productive and relaxing week away, and are both very excited by what we found hiding in the recesses of our blank pages, but it's always nice to return to our darling boy, cosy home, chooks and water tanks a-brimming.

Hope you had a great week too.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Writers' Retreat

PJ and I are going away today on a week long writers' retreat. We are renting a house that's close to the bush – beautiful, secluded and it has no Internet.

PJ is going to work on a paper he's giving at an upcoming conference called Regenerating Community and I am working on a project about... Hmmm... See if you can guess from my reading list:

Hope you have a great week!

Thanks so much for looking after our house and chooks, LG.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Hand of Meg

Apart from a bush walk with Z early on and a visit to the library after lunch, we spent the whole day indoors today. While it poured with rain and hail outside, we made a chocolate cake, had some friends over to help us eat it, read books and played cards.

The only heater we have is a small gas one that keeps the house at an ambient 20˚C. Our windows are all double glazed and the floor, roof and walls are well insulated so our happy house was super warm today, despite the near snowy conditions outside.

After hanging a load of washing on the clothes horse in front of the heater, all the windows fogged up. We had some fun writing messages to each other on the glass. I had the idea of writing my blog name and using it as the header, but as you can see it didn't turn out that well.

Here is a photo of my monster hand the day we had the heater installed just over a year ago.


Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Rednesday: Number Six

I went for a three hour bush walk with Z and a friend of his yesterday. The halfway point was a visit to the house we lived in before this one.

This is our old letter box. I came home from Melbourne one afternoon and PJ had painted and stuck the number on it.

And this is the greeting I once wrote inside for our postman.