Monday, January 26, 2009

We'll be fine.

So how are you?  I mean really?

We, I mean Hayden and I, we're fine.  We really are.  But I won't lie to you: we're not completely fine.

Until recently, the world's financial troubles were merely theory to us.  Due to, well, due mainly to apathy and procrastination, we didn't have much invested and we didn't lose much when the stock market went down.  We always said we'd invest ... later.  I actually felt pretty smug and safe cos we'd just chucked all our money in the bank.  And it was fine.

But we watched the news.  We had a feeling that things were going to change, and there were rumours going around at Hayden's work.  We thought they might announce some big changes on January 21 - the day of Obama's inauguration.   The company could prepare itself, knowing there would be a lot of attention on the goings on in Washington.  They could be pretty sure they would be the second story on the news that night.

So, last Wednesday, January 21, Hayden was called to a meeting.   The company announced their changes, and Hayden lost his job along with 102 of his colleagues.  In the same cut, our friends in Perth lost their jobs too when a whole mine was closed.  

But we'll be fine.  We'll be fine.  I keep saying it like a mantra, to myself mostly.  We'll have four or five months (longer if we're thrifty) in which to re-settle ourselves ... But we can't imagine where that might be.  In the meantime, Hayden's settling into a new routine and he's taken over my sewing table for his temporary home office.  And it is nice having him home with me during the day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rainy Days

Once again, the rain has come to Townsville.  This is a good and a bad thing.
The downside is that we've had so much rain that it's started coming inside.  It wells up through little cracks between the walls and the floor, just at the most inconvenient spots.  One spot, under my desk, was just where I kept the old cardboard box filled with little scraps of paper on which were written ideas for blogs and stories, lists of goals and dreams and half-formed characters.  I was going to use all of those one day.  The other spot was just where I stored the backup machine for my computer.   Thank you, rainwater.  Spot on as always.

But I love the cosiness of rainy days at home.  Sitting, staring at the water coming down.  Daydreaming of times past in distant rainy cities.  Hanging out with my Christmas presents.  I got an amazing haul of presents this year - didn't you?  My sister gave us the jigsaw puzzle in the photo, which Lily and I have been working on for a couple of days.  I got a beautiful grey handmade shoulder bag from Kirsten.  A special writing pen from Hayden, and a new coffee cup with a lid for keeping the coffee warmer for longer as it sits at my bedside.  And so many other beautiful things.  

My parents gave me a voucher for their favourite independent bookshop in Brisbane.  A book voucher is highly prized in my family; we're agreed that choosing the book is at least half the fun.  Last Friday Hayden and I stopped in and found that it's a factual, learned sort of bookshop with beautiful books on design, gardening, foreign languages and all sorts of academical stuff.  And it's also got the best little section on writing.   I chose this book, Bird by Bird, and I highly recommend it to anyone who's looking for some gentle, funny and helpful advice on writing.  Whether or not you take it is, of course, up to you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The wedding of Paul and Millicent

Paul and Millicent were married atop a hill in northern New South Wales.  

(Hayden took all these photos.)

In a nice twist on the usual ceremony, the whole crowd got to pronounce them husband and wife, and we all yelled together "You may now kiss the bride!"

Later there was feasting and dancing, and quite a lot of drinking.  
(I mention the drinking only because my biggest contribution to the day was to assist my parents bottling twelve dozen long-neck beers, which many of the guys carried around and drank from as if they were stubbies).   

It was grand.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Hanging Patchwork

I showed you this 'dappled shade' patchwork before, when I first made it as a picnic blanket.   I originally thought of it as a present for my brother Paul and his fiancee Millicent, who are getting married this Saturday down in the cool ranges of northern New South Wales.  Like ours was, their wedding will be a full-weekend affair - the best for family weddings I reckon - but unlike ours it sounds like theirs will double as a mini music festival.  I can't wait!

My inspiration for the patchwork was a backyard picnic we had at their place when we visited last July.  We got the family together with a bottle of champagne to toast Paul's brand new self-designed-self-built chook house.  Paul was pretty chuffed with his new structure and he hoped to enter it into an architectural competition as a small free-standing building.  He is not shy of big ideas, my brother.

After that, I wanted to contribute something to their future backyard entertaining and I thought a new picnic blanket would do the trick.  I wanted to recreate the setting -  their cosy, wooden, plant-filled house in Dutton Park.  Sort of old and dark and pleasantly connected with the leafy close surrounding trees, with back stairs down to a classic inner-city Brisbane backyard - long and grassy and stretching away downhill.   I wanted to include a little of the muck of the chook house and the view we had from the backyard up into the earthy, undeveloped space under their house (Brisbane folk know what I'm talking about).  There are brighter greens there too, mainly for Millicent who I think is going to add a dash of dramatic style to our family.

But do you know where you DON'T need a patch of dappled shade?  Sitting in your shady back yard under a beautiful tree.  That first bunch of photos I took told me that.  Where you most want to be reminded of dappled shade is in your bright white lounge room in the middle of a Townsville summer.   Our window faces east, and on the hottest mornings through the hottest months it lets in the most disgustingly harsh bright light, and heat that sets our place to bake for the rest of the day.  A while ago I covered it with the 'dappled shade' blanket, and it does the trick completely.  (Yes, perhaps wooden shutters outside would also work well, but so far our landlord is saying No to that.)  Now the blanket's a fixture and I can't imagine taking it down before the weather turns nice again in April.  Sorry guys.  

But don't worry, we did get you another wedding present.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year!

I am starting off this fresh new year in a cleaning and organising frenzy.   I have already worked out my new year's resolution - I just make one and keep it each year, I don't piss around with lists of impossible tasks - and I might share it here later.

In the meantime, I hope you had a fun new year's eve, and I wish you all the best for 2009.  Thanks for clicking on my blog this year!