Friday, December 19, 2008

Holler-days were made for boys to holler.

It's been quiet here over the last little while as the summer holiday season draws us into its happy (and at times exhausting) whirl. And today -- wondrous today! -- heralds my Absolutely Officially Last Day of Work for 2008. (See, when you work from home, you can give your holidays cool names like that.) Over the Christmas gap, I'm looking forward to hanging out with my family, laying under the fan gasping for cool air, reading books in the middle of the day, staying up extremely late and sleeping in extremely late, preparing for a certain small person's eleventh birthday, entertaining (and being entertained by) my favourite twin five-year-olds, writing lots of letters to extremely patient friends -- in all, simply having a wonderful Christmas time.

To help with all of that, I'm turning off many of the usual Things that fill my days, among them: this blog. I'll be away until early 2009 (unless I get hit over the head by some awe-inspiring revelation too impressive not to share). I can be reached by email or at facebook (or even just leave a comment here). I wish you all a very precious holiday season spent with loved ones, and a fresh understanding of the Love that came down at Christmas -- Love lovely, Love divine.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flashback Friday :: little boy lost

It was just this time of year, and the shopping mall in the country town where I grew up, though small, was buzzing with pre-Christmas hype. With a lot to do and never enough time to do it all in, my mother and sisters and I split up to do our shopping with a plan to meet back in the middle of the mall at a certain time. This was before the days of mobile phones all round and free Virgin to Virgin text messaging.

At the agreed time, we met up once more -- rather too near Santa's throne for my liking. (Shopping mall santas were forever thinking I was younger than I actually was, and offering me candy that I didn't want -- mostly because it made me feel about six years old to accept it.) So we met up -- with me keeping a wary eye on Mr. Ho Ho himself -- and it was then that we discovered a problem: my little brother, then about three years old, was missing.

"I thought he went with you," Mum said.
"No, he stayed with you in the dress shop. He was right next to you."
"But I didn't even see him!"

After this and more similarly incoherent dialogue, we went our separate ways and retraced our steps, going through all the stores we'd visited to look for the little guy. You should know that he has down syndrome, and back then he spoke some strange hybrid of Swahili (or something) much better than he could manage English. There was no real way for him to communicate with strangers.

When we met up again, no one had found him. My mother's eyes were wild, and I could see a horror movie playing across her imagination, one in which some devious perverted soul had done a little Christmas shopping of his own and was perhaps even now taking home his little package.

We broke apart and began our search again. Others began to take notice.

"Oh, the little darling!" said the bag-checker at Big W, "I know him! I'll keep an eye out."
"Him? We're old pals!" said the lady at our favourite dress shop, "He was in here with your Mum but he followed her out again. I'll tell the girls at the chemist to watch out for him."
The newsagent lady broke away from her stall and came to join the search. And Santa, coming off his shift, came to talk to us, tucking his red hat into his bag.

"I saw the little fella," he said, presenting a concerned and perspiring red face. "I'll head out and look for him, too."

By this time, he had been missing for twenty minutes. To mum, it was an eternity. There was not time to process what was going on, really, but everyone's thoughts were jumping ahead to unspeakable horrors and tragic remembered news items.

Then, quite suddenly, he was found. An acquaintance had been browsing in Big W and found my little brother, quite on his own, standing and waiting in a corner of the massive store. She had not even known he was missing; she simply stumbled across him and realised he should've been somewhere else.

There was a delirious reunion in the middle of the shopping mall, right near Santa's throne, and in my memory I can still see everyone gathered about, smiling congratulations on a job well done

That's what it's like in a small town.



Staish -- I don't think it's greedy at all! If things offer delight in this earth, how can they be less special in the next? Ah, I haven't been to the gallery for aaaages. That's a photo I took a while back.

Chantel -- you're a treasure :). I hope your wishes come true, too!

Bethany -- it would be lovely if they all came true in this life. There's still time...

Elizabeth -- :D

Damian -- I did really wish all those things in the one day! Not that I realised at first -- you know how thoughts can flit over your mind and you have to pin them down before you really pay any attention to them? -- but those were definitely all longings I felt that day. Oh, and the silver ball pool: yes, totally just as exciting as the exhibits!

Anonymous -- hmm. Reminds me of a song...

Monday, December 8, 2008

I wish --

Some days -- like today -- the wishes come thick and fast, large white clouds across the blue of my skyline.

I wish I could create something, anything, that would make people smile and go on their way with their heart a little lighter.
I wish I saved my best smiles and frowned less for the people I care about most, instead of offering the smiles, out of politeness, to people who don't know me as well or care as much.
I wish I had the courage to wear quirky things in spite of what fashion says.
I wish I could string words together so the sentences would make someone's heart skip a beat or their breath catch in their throat.
I wish I'd remember more often to go outside and kick a ball around with my brother.
I wish I could see the storybook elements in my own life instead of assuming that other people's worlds are more fairytale than my own.
I wish I had never wasted a minute of what God has been doing in my life so far.

I wonder: will Heaven be the ultimate fulfillment of our unsated longings, or will they perhaps be swallowed up in a greater, overwhelming, glorious fulfillment unlike anything we've ever imagined?



Tegan -- your comment was such a delight! I love you, too, precious friend!

Beth -- thank you!! Sometimes I embrace my inner curl :).

Staish -- AAAhaha!! I'll be sure to tell Lauren to bite me sometime in the future. ;)

Aunty Nell -- hee! Thanks :).

Celeste -- so glad it was a blessing! *hugs* [ps. where did your blog disappear to?]

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's a lovely day for a game of tag.

And apparently I'm "it". There've been tags and thingummies flying at me from all over the place, so let's bundle them all together in this post -- since it's too hot to play the real thing outside anyway.

Karli and Rachael both tagged me for the six by three meme. So here we go...

Six things I value:
+ the comfortableness of family
+ the steadfast love of friends
+ the strange loveliness of the worldwide church
+ the death of a perfect man for a bunch of otherwise losers
+ the existence of eternity
+ babies and their adorable fatness

Six things I don't support:
+ the global domination of cockroaches
+ spiders and their evil influence
+ the necessity of driving
+ no dessert before the main meal
+ the destruction of old books
+ humidity in high doses

Six people I tag:
+ you
+ you
+ you
+ you
+ you
+ you (I throw this tag open to the world!)

Meaghan tagged me with this one: The 15 factoids meme.

The rules:
Once you've been tagged, you have to write a blog post with 15 weird random things -- facts, habits, goals, or anything about yourself. At the end, post a picture, and choose 10 people to be tagged, listing their names and why you chose them to be tagged.

The facts:
+ I am really, really, really sunburnt. I've been slathering my neck with Aloe Vera Gel. The result is both soothing and greenish.
+ I love checking the mail but I haven't received anything handwritten for ages.
+ The above is decidedly my fault, seeing as I owe the entire universe letters, and not the other way around.
+ I frequently paint or draw right onto my brother's face. It's more fun than canvas.
+ For about one day, I had less than six books on my bedside table. This is like a world record for me.
+ Spiders haunt me, but for some reason I'd like to see Arachnophobia.
+ Lately my tastebuds seem to be changing, and stuff I previously liked I no longer like -- and, of course, the opposite.
+ But I don't think I will ever truly love tomato.
+ I have an epic scar on both my left and right legs because I was born with severe bilateral talipes. Thirty-two stitches at a few months old. Yowch.
+ My feet are still a teeny bit jellybean-shaped.
+ I like boys' movies better than girls' movies.
+ And books written before 1970 better than books after (generally, not exclusively).
+ Stickers are still as exciting to me as if I were six years old.
+ So is Christmas.
+ Making lists gives me an inexplicable sense of contentment.

The picture:
is at the top of the page and my sister tells me my eyes look weird. But there you have it.

The tagged:
include whoever wants to give this little game a try.

Finally, Bethany gave me an Uber Amazing Blog Award, which was super nice of her! Here's how it works:

+ Put the logo on your blog or post
+ Nominate blogs that you think are super.
+ Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing reward by commenting on their blog.
+ Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.
I nominate:
absolute strangers who will likely never know, but whose blogs I love reading all the same.
+ Abraham Piper at 22 Words has, in my opinion, The Ideal Blog. I guess it helps if you're witty, intelligent, and well-grounded in theology -- and his blog is certainly all of that. In complete randomness, thoughts about daddies and diapers are interspersed with comments on culture and faith -- and all in twenty two words.
+ On Like Popcorn is one of those blogs I just stumbled across in some crazy surfing, and now I keep popping back for little visits, even though I feel tuggings of the embarrassed stalker emotion welling up, when I consider that a) this is someone's personal blog, and b) I've probably never even left a comment to say that I'm reading. But I recommend it to you all the same: this guy writes good.
+ Notes by Naive is pure lusciousness in blog form. Tommy's posts are picture-filled journeys of delight which make me both want to travel and eat nice foods.
+ Sarah Clarkson's observations about words and travel and faith at Itinerant Idealist are ethereal, lovely, and inspiring.
Still reading, all the way down here? You deserve an Uber Amazing Reader award! Pat yourself on the back!
Staish -- you're awesome. The end.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Weekend XIV :: oh, the sun is shining!

One of the reasons this weekend was delightful is that five of us were all together for the whole weekend. These days, everyone seems to be travelling or working or heading somewhere, so it was lovely to simply hang out together and enjoy the last days of Spring.

And what days they were! Saturday was humid with a vengeance that was terrifying to behold. There was no such thing as a sleep-in, for my father and brother work with the sun's rays and they are not quiet when they get up. But it meant we could all head out early (-ish, for a Saturday) for some shopping. For my sister and I (and small brother who made full and zealous use of the playground), it was all about the books at Koorong. Yay! Meanwhile, Dad -- with assistance from Mum -- was buying a very groovy motorbike jacket. Don't ask me to describe it for I know nothing about these things. But it will go very nicely with his shiny red Ducati.

Afterwards we headed en masse to Ikea, ostensibly to purchase curtains, but perhaps more accurately simply to observe the pre-Christmas madness. We've often joked that you could live in that place. It's crazy. We had lunch there, which fulfilled our craving for the highschool cafeteria experience but which was totally gross in a gastronomic kind of way. Then we were off home again, sans curtains but with an adorable little single-seater lounge in miniature for a certain small brother.

Saturday evening, Lauren and I headed out for dinner with girlfriends [the picture above is taken from my friend's balcony; city at twilight] followed by Idea of North at the Powerhouse. It was my first time inside the Powerhouse and -- I think I'm in love. It's an amazing venue with lots of character and atmosphere. So very good.

It was also the first time I'd seen Idea of North live (oops. I lie. I saw them at the city carols last year), and they did not disappoint. I already knew about their amazing rich harmonies, their smooth jazz tones, and the incredible blending of four very unique voices -- but to hear it all in the flesh, and with lights and smoke and a lovely setting, was so inspiring. What's more, the group are good entertainers, with snappy dialogue that somehow made everyone feel included. Fun times.

There was lots of Gershwin and friends, Christmas carols in swinging arrangements, and a few surprises, too. There was even a haunting Gregorian chant in harmonies to make chills run down my spine -- and it was about spam. Very, very awesome and certainly recommended.

Sunday -- last day of Spring! -- was glorious, and perfect for enjoying the action at the Mt Cotton Hill Climb, where vehicles from mini Coopers to MGs to whopping great four-wheel-drives zoomed around a tight and tiny track at ridiculous speeds. The bad news is that my neck got incredibly sunburnt (and is sore even now). The good news is that the Ford Escorts (Best Cars In The World) were ripping it up and were among the fastest there. So take that, ye who mock my car tastes.

Our Sunday afternoon may have included icecreams. Also beaches and parks and sand. Also pizza for dinner. Then there was a scurry back home and some quick pretty-and-tidy making before church. The sermon focussed a lot on Paul's reminder to Timothy that God has not given us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self discipline. It's one of those verses that I know by heart but which never fails to give me fresh courage. Yay!

Back home, A Beautiful Mind was on television so we sat down to watch and discuss. I wouldn't say I enjoyed it -- it's not that kind of a movie -- but it was compelling and fascinating and even quite beautiful in that it was the story of a real person with real challenges, and not some Hollywood-ised romantic tale. I was deeply impressed by the fact that all of us, as Christians, must ignore certain voices in our lives that distract us from the best God has for us. Those challenges might stay with us forever, but we must choose not to enter into dialogue with them. Really thought-provoking.



Rachael -- thanks for the tag! I'll be doing it soon ;).

Caitlin -- won't be long before that niece of yours is chattering away and asking to hang out with her aunties!

Sarah -- I *love* looking at others' photos of their everyday lives; it's like getting to watch one of their home movies or something. So much fun :). Oh, and IMDB is a lifesaver when those familiar faces pop up agonisingly!

Abigail -- yay for working laptops! Now *that's* something to give thanks for!
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