Saturday, January 26, 2008

Happy Australia Day!!!

I've been trying to think of a great post to write about today, but really it's just been a day of sleeping in, shopping for new school shoes and catching up with chores for us. No bbqs here, no visiting friends and no making damper. I did have Vegemite toast for breakfast though....does that count???? We do have a long weekend this weekend to celebrate so maybe there is still some time to do the whole bbq thing before it's back to work on Tuesday!

Instead however, I thought I'd add a picture of the surprise I found in the middle of my cycad the other day. I guess that even the plants are excited that they've had more rain in the last month than they've probably had all year!

Happy Australia Day to everyone. I've added a great version of one of my fave Australian songs to the Imeem player, too so enjoy!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Love At First Sight

"Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night." - Romeo & Juliet

Have you ever experienced that moment, that oneness in time when you looked across a crowded room, only to lock eyes with a complete stranger who you knew, in a split second, that you were meant to be with???

For me, never, but I was shocked and surprised recently to discover that some of my very sensible friends are true believers of this phenomenon!

Certainly, I have seen it on television, in movies and read about it in books. Stories everywhere uphold this notion with reverence. The movie, Junebug gives a classic example of the whole crowded room scene. Stephenie Meyer, in her New Moon novel calls it 'imprinting' (Ok, she was talking in terms of werewolves but hey, it's the same notion!). Kylie Minogue has sung about it. Even ancient mythology involving cupids and love arrows in the heart have depicted the possibility.

So with all of this knowledge, I began to wonder. Was this notion of love at first sight just a misinterpretation for lust? Was I missing out in never having experienced it? And if so, what does that mean for all of us who have founded relationships on good old fashioned dating possibilities? And why on earth am I so obsessed with the idea? Is it because I am just an old fashioned romantic who can't believe that I didn't fall in love this way? Or is it just cause it's holidays and I have way too much time on my hands and am bored?! (Rofl...there are many who would agree with the latter!)

I met my husband in a pub. A crowded, smoky, noisy, smelly pub room in the bottom of the building. It was St Patricks night and it was the place to be squashed into if you wanted to celebrate. Our first meeting was not auspicious. He was drunk! I had the potential to be. I took one look at him and said 'no thanks'. I was more interested in the cute guy near the bar (who obviously had no interest in me!) but I was shy. Throughout the night he was persistent. He kept approaching. He started conversation to which I politely responded (and wished under my breath that he would just go away!). He made silly comments and I rolled my eyes. (Couldn't he see that I was not interested?!). But as the evening continued, I started to yield. I have often wondered if it was that by end of the evening I had consumed more alcohol and was more relaxed or if it was due to divine intervention, but he started to wear me down. By the end of the evening, he asked for my telephone number and I gave it. He wrote it on his hand before jumping into a taxi! What the hey! He probably won't ring anyway, I thought. It will probably wash off his hand! And if he does ring, I'll deal with it then.

Well, obviously, he did ring and he did ask me out. I took a chance. I was excited that this was someone new in my life and that my dating potential had gone up by about a zillion percent! It was not love at first sight, for sure, but over the next few months I somehow began to fall head-over-heels in love. I got palpitations when he rang. I counted down hours, minutes until I would see him again. I felt something more than what I did as a single person. I can still recall the feelings, the lust and head-spinning excitement of the first few years.

Fast forward 16 years and here we are....married, parents, picket-fence type houses, worries, age lines etc etc.

So in my journey to understand this love at first sight concept, I went to the one person who I should be able to discuss all things intimate with. I asked him as I knew he'd had an experience similar long before he met me.

Me: You know this whole 'love at first sight' thing?
DH: Yes
Me: Did you have it when you first saw me?
DH: Yes!
Me: C'mon, you were drunk!
DH: Oh yeah....well no, I didn't have it then.
Me: But you have had it?
DH: Yes.
Me: And??? (Waiting with baited anticipation!)
DH: It's overrated. Just cause you have it doesn't mean it lasts. It was great at the time but it was so long ago and I'm much happier being married to you.

Ok, heart restarted! Me melting on couch!

And it was in that moment that I realised that it just doesn't matter. What matters is not how we found each other but what we've made with each other and how far we've come since that first unpromising encounter. Would I have preferred to have the lustful look across the room to begin with? Hell, yeah! But as my dear friend (yes, you know who you are!) said, "Perhaps you're just a simmerer! One who prefers the slow boil!" Perhaps, but at the end of the day, if we are still going strong and can look forward to growing old and gray together then what does it matter!

**And yes, photo is of my wedding! Note the smaller hips in those days! ;)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Who Do You Think You Are?

As an amateur family historian for the past 19 years, I have watched with interest the tv show, 'Who Do You Think You Are?' After reading your recent article however, one thing does beg to be said - that you don't need to be famous to have remarkable ancestors. Certainly not all of us can lay claim to a famous ancestor (one of the first Port Phillip settlers is about all I could find in my tree!) but many of us are descended from people who faced hardships and uncertain futures through immigration to this country (be it convict or otherwise) or through watching strangers inhabit tribal lands. The environment that these people found themselves in and the struggles that they faced on a day-to-day basis make the investigation into each of their personal histories a privilege that never ceases to surprise and amaze me.

I very rarely write letters to newspapers etc, but after reading this article, I decided to write the above to the editor of the paper.

I love the show, "Who Do You Think You Are?" (Sunday nights at 7.30 on SBS). It is so interesting. I watched the first Australian episode with Jack Thompson last night and was riveted, not only by his hugely emotional journey, but by the sheer content of Australian history in his search.

But it is true. Incredible ancestral feats are in no way limited to famous people. I know from my own research that we all have some amazing, resilient people in our lineage - it's just a matter of learning about them.

Like Matthew Carter, William Rollan, William Jenkins and Eliza Tully who all came here in shackles as convicts from an unfair British system. They stole wheat, linen, a harness and a gown respectively. They were petty criminals who survived a sickeningly long journey only to come here and have to work for their freedom. 'Australian royalty' is what Jack Thompson referred to them as in his feature show last night - the essence of what the European descendants in this country came from.

Like Susan/Maria Ellis/Cook, the aboriginal partner of William Rollan who bore him five children and created a long line of descendants. Her aboriginal name may never be known and her story will remain greatly untold thanks to the limited paperwork surrounding such a union. But one has to wonder what type of racism she(and he for that matter) met with on a day-to-day basis.

Like Thomas Atkinson, who came to this country in search of gold. It must have shocked him on arrival that gold was a commodity not so easily come by. His quest for riches through hard and dirty work no doubt left his body in a such a state that he died at such a young age, leaving his children with no parents and an uncertain future life of orphanage dwelling.

Like Thomas Tennyson and Agnes McNally who, so the story goes, fell in love despite their difference in class and fortune, leaving Agnes' family so furious that they were banished from their home town and ended up in Queensland with their young family. So much turmoil and despair was faced that Thomas suffered severe depression and his wife ended up raising their children alone after he was hospitalised and subsequently died in an asylum.

Like Michael James Hinde who came to Australia in search of a better life. He became one of the very first pioneers of the Gilston area, as I described here and established himself and his family as important and respectable people of the area due to his hard work at toiling his newly acquired lands.

And finally, like James and Mary Gilbert who were two of the first people on the ship Enterprize that first landed in Port Phillip Bay to establish a new colony for the ever-expanding east coast. Mary, in particular, is remarkable in that she was pregnant on the journey and subsequently gave birth to the first white child born in Melbourne (my great great great grandfather's brother) and whose story has been immortalised in Fawkner's journals of the event. Sadly, the history books lost touch with them after that and it is only persistent research and help from other researchers and historians that has led me back to them and their story in my still unfolding research.

Family history research is not cheap nor is it quick, but learning about who you are where you did come from can be one of the most fascinating journeys to undertake.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

These Holidays.......

.....I have:

*Done absolutely nothing
*Slept in every day!
*Watched dvds
*Read the Twilight series (and loved it!)
*Been completely self-indulgent
*Bought lots of take-away and put on weight :(
*Broken up lots of arguing between fighting children
*Watched the rain for weeks and weeks
*Sulked cause I didn't go away anywhere
*Had new screens installed on the front windows (do you like them?)
*Rang my gfs for a good gossip
*Stayed up until as late as I've wanted
*Spent money without even leaving the house (darn that ebay!)
*Bought a new family history software package and done lots of research
*Tried to focus on just me
*Run kids around so that they won't be bored!

Only 1 1/2 weeks of holidays left!

Let the countdown begin! :*(

Monday, January 7, 2008

Cricket Controversy...It Just Ain't Cricket!

So, India has lost the second test match in Australia and consequently the series. And Harbhajan Singh has been sent packing for being found guilty of calling Andrew Symonds names. The second test match has been fraught with controversial umpiring decisions and to top it all off, Kumble, the Indian captain, in the post test match press conference said that 'Only one team was playing within the spirit of the game' and Ricky Ponting was quite angrily defended his own integrity after being aggressively questioned by a journalist.

Now, I am no sporting expert, although I have been a cricket follower for over 25 years(yup, I'm that old!) after a certain family member dominated television viewing every summer when growing up! I also am the mother of a cricket fanatic now so perhaps it is for these reasons that I can't help commenting about all this on here.

Firstly, I don't care which country you play for, sledging in any sport is just not on. Ok, there is an appeal being lodged but if Harbhajan is found guilty I will be so disappointed. I have watched him bowl and think that he's such a talented player. I watched a Cricket Show interview with him at his own home in India that aired just a few days ago - yep, am occasionally one of those sad people who even watch the lunchtime shows - and was at the time very impressed with him as a person. I am hoping that he will come out and say that his actions were borne from some frustration, misunderstanding or ignorance at the difference in cultural language or the like. Whatever! It angers me though that as a mother, I had to have a discussion with my twelve year old on the fact that this behaviour from elite sportspeople is just not on. And in case anyone doesn't get loving twelve year olds like mine go out and try to emulate their cricketing heroes. It may not be ideal that these sportspeople are upheld with such revere but it is a fact of life. And I think that every high class athlete should be given mandatory lessons on how to handle themselves in the public eye and be aware that kids idolise them!

Secondly, there is the whole controversial, 'Should he have walked?' discussion around Andrew Symonds (for non cricket lovers reading this, what happened was that Symonds knew he had nicked the ball to the keeper and was out but stood his ground and waited for the umpire's decision which was 'not out'). I have mulled over this for a few days now. Certainly, there are many, many times when players are given out although they know for a fact that they weren't but in the spirit of respectful play, they abide by the umpire's decision and walk off the field. Should the same thing then be allowed in reverse? Certainly, there are others on the same team who would have walked. So does standing your ground and once again abiding by the umpire's decision, no matter how wrong they are, make it ok??? I still am unsure about the answer, but let's face it, the decision was made in the blink of an eye by both the player and the umpire; they are all only human and I guess that they had to do what they could morally live with. Does this make Symonds' decision incorrect? Many would think so but the facts are that he stayed, went on to make over 150 runs and Australia won the game. Facts don't change! Get over it! There are many greater and more informed people out there arguing the need for more better umpires and 3rd umpire power during a game etc, but I do know that we teach our children that the umpire's decision is final. No argument! End of story! Personally, I probably would have walked but I can't decide if that means that we should condemn a fantastic player because he didn't.

I watched the post match press conference with mixed feelings. Well, see for yourself. One thing is for certain, it has all put a sad feel onto the game itself. Hopefully, it is something that we will all get over but it in my humble opinion the controversy has overshadowed other fantastic aspects of the game like a number of centuries, the tenseness of the last over and the fact that the Indian team really did put up one of the best competitions that we've seen here in a long time.

And finally, I think that Kumble sums it all up when he says, 'It's a game after all. At the end of the day, it's a game....! You can't really take things so much that it affects your life!' Well said, and I can't wait for both teams to come here in February to play in the ODI....I wouldn't miss it for the world!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Twilight....Not Just For Teens!

In the wake of my sudden revelation that I am developing a taste (lol!) for all things vampire (scary!), I have discovered the Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.

Initially, I had read about this series on the internet and it was only while half way through reading the actual Twilight novel that I realised that it was recommended for teen readers in the US. Hmmmm....not at my local bookstore though where it was squished amongst all of the other vampire and creepy, ghostly type adult books and when the 20+ sales guy raved to me about how great the story was!

It was also of some comfort to me to hear Stephenie Meyer herself describing here how in her mind she was initially writing the book for herself so therefore 30+ readers! Phew! Didn't feel like such a book reading baby after all!

So yesterday I began the first novel and was still awake, much to Dear Husband's chagrin at 3 o'clock this morning cause I just couldn't put it down. The idea of a good-guy vampire (Edward Cullen) who really does have a dangerous side and whose day-to-day existence involves fighting inner turmoil really intrigues me. And the fact that he's mysterious, hot, drives a nice car and is totally in love with the lead character Bella, kinda drew me into the pages. Too bad that he is perpetually 17 though, although many books, tv shows and movies have proven that age is no barrier to the satisfaction of a viewer.

And the fact that Twilight is a love story first and a vampire story second, also satisfies the Austen-Bronte lover within me! It must satisfy others, too cause I have since found out that it's a huge success as a novel and they are now making it into a movie. Can't wait to see that!

So today I am now the proud owner of all 3 books (so far) in the series. Tonight, if I can stay awake, I will be starting book 2. Hmmmm....reading vampire books at midnight! Very scary!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Ok, I'm a day late but I did spend yesterday resting after my late, late night so I think that I can be excused!

So what does one blog about when talking about a new year? Not resolutions because they never ever work for me! I thought instead, I'd borrow this meme which is a reflection on 2007!

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
I started a blog!!! ;)

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t make new year’s resolutions cause I never keep them….and they always involve the impossible task of losing weight anyway so I am just setting myself up for failure….right!?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not close to me but someone I knew. :'(

5. What countries did you visit?
Sadly, none.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
Ummmm….children that do not fight with each other…impossible, I know!

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The Powderfinger video shoot cause it was a real turning point for my son and his self confidence.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Surviving it! I also achieved my family history information so that was a bonus!

9. What was your biggest failure?
An argument with a close friend that was over something completely trivial and I’m still not sure what I did wrong.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes. Influenza A knocked me for a week!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Well, I can’t say washing machine even though I would like to. I bought a new camera so perhaps that!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My daughter got the very best report ever… was so beautiful that I cried when I read it.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The 12 year old hit puberty and his behaviour was very depressing at times.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food, bills, kids.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Seeing Powderfinger/Silverchair and Josh Groban in concert.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
I Don’t Remember by Powderfinger.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Both.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter :(
c) richer or poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worrying; working.

20. Did you fall in love in 2007?
I’ve been married for too long to even contemplate that question.

21.What was your favorite TV program?
Moonlight!!! Love My Way Season 3!

22. What was the best book you read?
Jane Eyre

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Brendan Welch. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s well worth looking for at your music store!

24. What did you want and get?
A new washing machine! Lol!

25. What did you want and not get?
An overseas holiday on my own!
Oh and I didn’t want a new dog but got one! How did that happen???

26. What was your favourite film of this year?
I loved Romulus My Father. Also enjoyed the Bourne Ultimatum.

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned a ‘0’ number! Waaahhhhh! And I worked and went out for tea with friends. It was a real anti-climax of a birthday!

28. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
To have less stress and less work in it.

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Same ol’, same ol’. Although I am going in for more comfy shoes these days!

30. What kept you sane?

31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Alex O'Loughlin and the new Mr Rochester, Toby Stephens!

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
Having to vote in the federal elections. We were inundated with political ads for weeks before voting day!

33. Who did you miss?
My nanna

34. Who was the best new person you met?
You know, I have thought about this and still have no idea!

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007?
That some people are not what you think they are; That I really am a controller in life and have to learn that I can't control pre-teen son!

36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
This life well its slipping right through my hands
These days turned out nothing like I had planned

Control well its slipping right through my hands
These days turned out nothing like I had planned