HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY

When you’re hanging hubby’s stubbies on the hills hoist and you hear,

A distant kookaburra and the call of “Wanna beer?”

When the neighbour starts the mower up and Dad says he needs the lav,

 And the smell of barbied lamb chops blends with nanna’s berry pav.

~

When your heels crack after having thongs on all the summer long,

And down the local pub  you’ll find there’s Ferret, Shaz and Dong,

When your sister’s husband’s cousin weds your auntie’s brother’s son,

When a game in which you skull straight bundy’s meant to be real fun.

~

That’s when you know you’re in Austraya, you’re down under, you’re in Oz,

Where the footy beats a shag and you will get a sunburned snoz.

Where we have VB for breakky with our toast and vegemite,

Where you live in lucky country – well you do if you are ‘white’.

~

It’s all bewdy and fair go and bloody ripper and true blue,

(It really is I love it and I’m proud to be an Aussie, true)

But we always seem to overlook how this land found its wings,

Forget amidst the lamingtons who made this country sing.

~

foot

Waranta takara milaythina nara takara.

(we walk where they walked)

SEA SIDE (a poem)

I sit by the ocean I sit by the sea.

I’m watching the waves and the waves they watch me.

They give and then give; they take and then take.

They whisper and ripple, they roar and they quake.

What’s in the whisper? What’s in the roar?

What makes me stay with my feet on the shore?

I don’t mind the sand, I like the gulls’ cry.

I love a blue sky and a sea-breezy sigh.

I sing to the sun and I watch the drifts

Of the clouds as they melt from great puffs into wisps.

But I won’t touch the ocean, the thought makes me shake;

While she gives and then gives she will take and then take.

MISERABLE

I am BLOODY ITCHY. I have hives all over my back, tummy, arms, neck, cheeks and bum which make me want to tear my wretched skin off, toss it in the trash and just get on with my life without it. Sure I’d be slightly scary looking and fall prey to the nearest infection but right now ANYTHING WOULD BE BETTER THAN THIS FUCKING ITCH.

I know there are probably worse things but I am so god damn over being allergic to my world. I am histamine intolerant which megoracle translates to IRRITATING, sometimes DEBILITATING and very very BORING. You can look up the real meaning here if you’re interested but I don’t expect you to, as I said, it’s very boring and I’m not here today for the facts, I’m here for a big old fashioned whinge.

Every day of the year I have to take antihistamines and every day I have to restrict the food I eat to low histamine (read bland) foods. If I eat anything really tasty – cheese, wine, yeast, champagne, fish, tomato, chicken, vegemite, raspberries, citrus just to name a few – I itch like buggery, often break out in hives and sometimes swell up in the face, particularly lips and eyes. The first time I ever experienced the swollen face thing was 5 years ago on the morning of my friend’s wedding at which I was a bridesmaid. I walked up the aisle looking like someone had socked me in both eyes. I haven’t had a glass of wine since.

Then comes January which is the month I have extra issues because I get hayfever from dry grasses, which naturally increases my histamine levels further and renders me itchy regardless of how little histamine I get from food. So despite being extra extra careful and attending a heap of Christmas/New Year/Summer get togethers and sitting there with my lettuce in flat bread while everyone sips champers and raves about the prawns, I AM STILL FUCKING ITCHY. And itchy makes me angry. I am short tempered with the children, I have trouble concentrating, I am constantly tired due to itchy lack of sleep and I am frequently embarrassed by having to turn down food or ask for menu changes.

I have to eat differently to the rest of the family and when I’m busy I just can’t be arsed making anything. The food I can eat I am sick of anyway. I long for a vegemite sandwich and an aged steak like no one’s business. Don’t talk to me about champagne or I might cry.

I have cried a lot in the last week or so. This doesn’t help one bit, but it sometimes prompts someone in my family to stroke my skin, which I crave, or to help me get ice onto it, which kills the itch at least temporarily.

Tomorrow I am seeing another dermatologist. I have seen so many. I have tried UV treatments, a million oils, creams, lotions and soaks. I have tried herbal remedies and salt baths (fucking ouch) and total elimination diets. Nothing works but hardcore steroids, which I am loathe to take and only work fleetingly anyway.

I will be surprised if tomorrow’s appointment affords me anything new but every time I hope against hope that it will.

Perhaps I’ll try acupuncture next. Even if it doesn’t work I might get some relief from all those needles sticking it to the itch. Pain would be preferable at this juncture.

Anyway, that’s all. No funnies, no new learning, just misery-guts me being miserable. And what’s more, I have a bladder infection still, which proves that love doesn’t solve everything.

sadface

Hope you’re better than me.

Shack School

Ah January, you’re a funny old bugger. I find your laconic, childful ways rather frustrating at times. I do love my activity and my routine, that’s just how I am, so when I’m one day sitting down to a long lunch and the next day lugging gas bottles in my nightie, I’m very often having to take a deep breath and remind myself to practice ‘radical acceptance’ (look it up, it’s a thing) and take opportunities as they arise.

And learn from them.

My latest challenge is The Shack. It’s in capital letters because it actually is THE Shack, as in the best, most authentic shack in the whole world. It really is. Here’s why:

  • It has a distinct intrepid-ness about it on account of being best accessed by boat and having power only when a noisy old sheila called Jenny is fuelled up and in a good mood. It has jackjumpers, a boatshed with lots of dubious rusty stuff in it and a squeaky-slammy screen door that must never be chocked open on account of possums sniffing out our BBQ shapes (or worse, our celery or cucumber – we need celery for the midday bloody marys and cucumber for the Pimms).
  • We can see our house and farm from The Shack, which is handy if there is a fire in the region or the cows have been put in the wrong paddock. Also handy if you need to pop home to grab some more milk or something. This morning I awoke with a bladder infection (I’m being frank about it because it is a common cross that women have to bear and I don’t think it should be a secret) and I was able to canoe across to the beach and walk some of the way home (my sister in law rescued me in her car when I’d got up the track a bit on account of needing to wee a lot) and drive another 20 minutes to the doctor. HANDY.
  • It was built by my father in law and extended and maintained by his wife and children. It has more memories in it than you can poke a memory stick at and has seen more action than the MCG.
  • The kids ADORE it. Cousins regroup and find new things in common, they learn general outdoorsiness and imagination and how to start an outboard motor, how you can use a crayfish tentacle to mark the crease in beach cricket and how it’s funny to call a buoy a boo-ey like Americans do. Awesome stuff like that.

Here’s the stuff I have learnt because of The Shack:

  • Pimm was a farmer’s son from Kent, England, who created Pimms from gin, fruits and spices and sold it as a digestive aid to bankers working nearby. There were other Pimms “cups” too – number 1 is the traditional gin one we all know, number 2 was based on scotch, 3 brandy, 4 rum, 5 rye whisky and 6 (still in production) is vodka.
  • Those mongrel bladder infections (according to my sister-in-laws and I) appear to be exacerbated by sandy environs. Sandy clackers mixed with sandy penises don’t mix people.
  • At the shack, after you’ve yelled “Brush your teeth” at the children, you have to follow it up with, “Brush your feet”, which involves a bit of fancy foot-on-bunk-ladder work but is worth it to save all the bloody kids getting up again in another half hour.
  • I will no longer look down my snooty nose at personal water crafts (PWC) i.e. jet skis. They are much quieter these days – no louder than a speed boat – and they don’t use nearly as much fuel. And I had a ride on one and it was SUCH FUN and I had to hold tight to my man like every woman likes to once in a while.
  • How to change an enormous gas bottle. Which meant I had to learn the difference between a wrench and a spanner and a shifter. Which is apparently (according to google) none. Anyway, it was the adjustable wrench or shifter that we needed. No one says spanner anymore, a lot like knob. It also meant that my sister-in-law Sarah and I had to laugh like teenagers about how the male part of the gas pipe looks a lot like a tiny doodle and how the male and female talk that tradies go on with is pretty bloody funny.
  • Here’s where I pretend to be a food blogger when all credit actually goes to kitchen-genius Sarah. Use panko breadcrumbs on your fish – they are crunchier, but only if you have the oil hot enough and you don’t overload the pan.  Find panko crumbs in the Japanese section of your local shop, if it has one. If it doesn’t, you might have to go to Coles but don’t but their brands by any means, they will FAIL in the kitchen no matter how hot your oil is. Panko crumbs, just because I want to show my foodie mettle, are made without crusts. Well that should keep the kids happy, they always leave their crusts.
  • 500 piece puzzles are brilliant. Any more than that and you have to pack it away unfinished because you’ll need the table for dinner.
  • Nothing about boats. I seem to shut down when I’m on a boat. Too many things can go wrong caused by me. I know to put the bung in and screech at children to HOLD ON but that’s about it. Herein is a bit of learning I need to attend to. One day.

Did I mention that my bladder and I are recuperating at home ALONE. HOME ALONE. OMG you know what this means people – I am having my own personal PARTY sans kids and anyone who things my alone stuff is weird. Which is most people no doubt. But I’m too excited for propriety. I can see my family’s little Jenny-lit light over the water and I yearn a weeny bit but mostly I am playing the perfect host to myself. Me and I are having a wow of a time. A WOW. Oh wait, the light just went out. What poopers, “Groove Tonight” just came on. Lucky I didn’t get up at dawn’s crack to empty the cray pots.

Here’s a taste of my alone time:

And here’s what I learnt from my alone time:

  • I’m a dick.
  • There is a truly genius CD that I recently acquired called “Sounds of the 80’s” which features “Unique covers of classic hits”. Get it. It has that brilliant version of “Islands in the Stream” by The Shires and also a version of Bon Jovi’s “Lay Your Hands on Me”  by Dolly Parton and Richie Sambora.
Get on it.

Get on it.

Don’t worry, there’s only so much alone time me and I can take. They get jack of one another. I’ll go back in the morning. There is way more Shack Stuff to learn before I’m assigned the much coveted, good ol’ Aussie title of Shackie.

And I’m looking forward to it.

And please, don’t get all cutesy and quasi-humble with your million dollar beach house and call it a shack. That’s just a sleight on the real deal.

That’s quite enough from me. Night night January, see you in the morning. x

 

THINGS I LEARNT THIS YEAR (and a resounding happy new one)

Yesterday I learnt (from the discovery ranger at Mt Field National Park) that wombat poos is square so it doesn’t roll away when a wombat leaves their little pile (usually on top of a rock or stump) to mark their territory. Ain’t evolution amazing. Anti-roll poos. Maybe one day evolution will lead to anti-skid poos in humans. Then mothers wouldn’t have to clean the shitters all the bloody time. Or soak the undies. Undie soaking is one of my least favourite things.

Anyway, that’s just one of the things I have learnt in this extraordinary year called 2014. I can hardly believe I am writing 2014. It still looks like a futuristic year number. When I dreaded the cold war in the 80’s I was convinced we’d be in an eternal winter by 2014. Maybe that was a cryptic prediction of the massive smash hit film, “Frozen”, which has (through no choice of my own) played a large part in my life this year. And most developed world parents I suspect. I won’t miss it next year, but still I learnt ALL the lyrics. Perfectly.

I also learnt these small things:

  1. A thing called Mastocytosis can lead to itchy, swollen skin and can be controlled by eating very bland boring food and no wine or champagne. This may at times cause food related depression, a need to carry a hip flask of plain vodka (no lime) to various events that render you akin to a dirty drunk and then the bill is split and you pay for every one else to enjoy the classy beverages you wish you could  #can’tcomplainasIhavenohivesanymore*
  2. Teenagers these days prefer the music of the 80’s and 90’s #it’soursgetyourown
  3. A hashtag, when used best, is like a wink with extra info. When used badly they will make you look like a wankery tryhard. #Iamclearlynotawankeroratryhardevnthoughmyhashtagisverylongandboringandwankerytryhard
  4. A 70g egg is perfectly soft boiled after 5 minutes of simmering. The 4 minute rule is for smaller eggs.
  5. If a mulberry tree falls over, don’t rip it out of the ground in an effort to clean up the place. It will often keep growing and bearing fruit.
  6. Don’t paint a brand new weatherboard house yourself unless you want to go bonkers and lose hard earned brain cells. Ask for a painter for your birthday.
  7. And while I’m on building, if you want fancy cornice and skirting boards, get ‘em. You will lament their absence if you don’t. Ditto anything you want, within reason. Tradies will always whip out their tape measures with impressive flair and tut-tut in convincing ways likely to dissuade you. But don’t let them fool you. Your gut knows best.
  8. Sponge cakes are impossible to make if you are a short-cutting-cook. Those spongy suckers demand time, attention and utmost care.
  9. If you pull those little toggles on an airplane life-jacket, it will inflate so quickly you will possibly wee your knickers in fright. Never mind the exit policy. I did that this year. Pulled the toggles, not wee’d my knickers. That was last year.
  10. Cabbage Patch Kids are 30 years old. Top Gun is 29 (that one I learnt just tonight thanks Muz). #Iamold
  11. Basic requirements of a half decent chairperson is to remember to go to meetings and not to overload the agenda.
  12. Never wear socks with thongs, even if you’re just nipping out to the clothesline. Someone will turn up and see you, probably a beautiful person.
  13. Good singing is all about breathing, diaphragm, placement, posture and vowel sounds. Training to sing is like training to do high jump. It’s a life’s work.
  14. Madeleine St John is a wonderful writer. She just nails it without bells, whistles, suspense, structural games, twists or fancy language. Read “The Women in Black” to see what I mean.
  15. To say “I am nauseous” means that you are making others feel sick. The correct term, if you are feeling like having a chunder, is “I feel nauseated”. I learnt this from my favourite fictional character this year – Don Tillman. He is the protagonist of the brilliant books, The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. If you haven’t read them, put it on your list for 2015.
  16. Number 16 is from my daughter Lucie, who received a reduced amount of presents from Father Christmas on account of being grumpy with everyone for two weeks. She learnt this year that it’s not a good idea to ‘do the rude finger to Father Christmas’, which explains to me why they were all laughing their heads off in Centrepoint as we passed the Santa photo thingy. It’s true, give the bird to Santa and you’ll get knickers, socks and an onion.
  17. This one from my son Ted: Don’t wear your knickers in the pool. This was met by a rough “undies, not knickers” from my husband, who is worried that all the female influence in the house will render Ted a bit on the pouffant side. So there are a few lessons here – indeed do not wear your knickers in the pool, don’t call your knickers knickers in front of your mates if you’re a bloke. And probably I shouldn’t use words akin to poof in my blog. Sorry poofs, I love you all very much and wouldn’t mind a jot if Ted was one of you.
  18. From Bess – I learnt how to tell the time. Ah darling, you’re lovely.

I think I may have learnt more than that (although probably not) but my hooligan children are galavanting around the house like they do on windy days and I have to go and shout at them and stop them victimising the dog. This morning when I asked one of them to make her bed she shrieked, “Why do I have to do YOUR WORK, you have to do it”. The other two had a biscuit and cheese fight in the kitchen. Altogether it has precipitated a general strike in which I do NOTHING AT ALL for them until they see the error of their ways. No food prep, no entertaining, no playing games, no driving them to the beach, NO THING. It’s brilliant. I get to do whatever I want like shut myself in the study and eat lunch before anyone else.

A lovely end to a very busy year.

Anyway, what I most wanted to say is thank you again for your support of me and Megoracle this year, it’s been crazy and overwhelming and fun. You’re all brilliant.

Lots of love, keep safe, be your best, laugh a lot, stay kind and have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR. See you in it.

Meg xxxx

*ON account of just running after a helicopter (long story) in long grass wearing thongs, I now have hives all over my legs. #grassisnotmyfriend. Dammit I should have worn socks with my thongs.

#comeon2015I’mreadyforya

Noice

Noice

MERRY EFFING CHRISTMAS

I’m trying so hard not to overthink Christmas and just enjoy the tradition and cheer. But it’s like when I’m listening to rain on an iron roof and trying my best to enjoy it because everyone bangs on about how lovely rain on the roof is when really I’m worrying for all the people who don’t have a roof, and the cows and horses and sheep all out in the rain. I know I sound like a bleeding heart but I can’t help but think – as I sit here with a growing pile of presents and a dresser full of cards – that there are so many lonely people out there whose loneliness is amplified by the gaudy rush of Christmas.

Like a red rash it spreads throughout our lives until there’s no escape and even scrooges like me are taken in and resigned to decorating and shopping for the sake of tradition and the children and not being a complete boring party pooper.

But my heart’s not in it. I’m too appalled by the excess.

There are things about it I like. The pudding. The baking. The lillies. The general holiday feel. The children’s excitement. And I love a good carol (Santa Baby is NOT a good carol). But every year it gets a little gaudier, more intrusive, earlier and more expensive.

Remember when there was one Father Christmas in town and we’d see him maybe once for a photo? Now there are Father Christmases bloody everywhere – today in Hobart town we saw three. I have to tell my suspicious children that they are just helpers, not the real Father Christmas. The Father Christmas photo is apparently an annual event, much to the distress of most small children if the photos are anything to go by.

Remember when we used to get excited by the prospect of a little christmassy picture every morning in the advent calendar? Now anything less than chocolate behind those little doors is unacceptable. You can’t seem you get the picture ones anymore. No one wants them so I guess they’re out of production.

Remember when it was just turkey and ham and spuds and peas or a bit of pudding? When brandy butter was an extra treat? Now it’s all about seafood feasts and three choices of desert and outdoing everyone by roasting a duck inside a chicken inside a turkey. TURDucken. If you want quail too then shove it up the duck’s butt and add -ail to make turduckenail. Bugger it, why not squeeze a sparrow into the quail and make it turduckenailarrow.

Remember when you got a paper hat and a joke in the cracker? These days the kids will revolt if there’s no pencil sharpener or key ring.

Remember when a bit of tinsel and a few fairy lights did the trick. Now it’s either light up the street or ditch all tackiness to be the most tasteful Christmas decorator instagram has ever seen (no mean feat – where there is Christmas there is rarely taste, particularly when Children and hand made gifts are involved).

christmas

Anyway, I’m going to stop the bah humbugging because I do it every year and I know you get the picture.

But hold your family tight because they –  not food or presents or baubles – are Christmas.

And if you don’t have family, I am thinking of you and I wish you well. (And I remind you that it’s just another day and it’ll be over soon. And know that many would be jealous of you not having to socialise with anyone you have nothing but genes in common with. On boxing day we’ll be feeling fat and broke and knackered while you can go for a walk and watch the cricket with your cat.)

It’s very nearly Christmas Eve. In the morning I am going to put carols on and bake gingerbread with my children, in an effort to summon as much Christmas spirit as I can muster (perhaps with the help of some other spirits). And I’ll try to get my youngest off the naughty list – it’s not looking good, today she bit her brother and declared she “DOESN’T CARE ABOUT CATHER FISTMAS ANYWAAAAAAAAAY” – I fear my bad attitude is rubbing off. Has anyone actually followed through with the Father Christmas won’t come threat?

But mostly, I want to say, from all of us here at Megoracle (well ok, there’s only me) I wish you a wonderful, happy, safe Christmas. May all your wishes come true (unless you’ve wished for a jet ski or a rifle). Here are my children to sing it in for you, as harmonious as ever.

 

 

MOVING ON

Hello! It’s me, bursting through the surface of a slightly murky pond and taking some deep, vital, life affirming breaths: Holy sweet moly it’s good to see you here on the lovely other side of a slightly traumatic, near drowning-in-chaos event. That sounds dramatic but when the contents of one’s house is being carted up the road by a booze of year twelve leavers in a cloud of dust, there is a bit of drama involved*.

We have moved into our new, beautiful house. And it’s marvelous. We have managed to move every last tiny bit of our lives from a house by the sea, 6 km up the road to a house on the hill. And then I unpacked those bits and put them in their place. Actually that’s not quite truth. There are still boxes and sundry shite in the garage, which I will leave there for a bit in case any passing burglars decide to pop in and clear it out. Failing that, I’ll get to it one day.

For the moment, with the washing machine chugging away after a week of being unhooked, the telly finally tuned and my clothes hanging in the WALK IN WARDROBE (I’m a bit in love, with the wardrobe, not the clothes, they are frankly awful next to their lovely new home), I feel a tiny bit in control. I even discovered my smart phone wifi hotspot (imagine saying that 10 years ago, people’d think you’re some sort of kinky weirdo) so I can RECONNECT. Go the hotspot.

I’m not good at disconnection. I’m not good at change either.

It’s not that I don’t like change. I appreciate a bit of refreshment and get-out-of-ruttage. I like a good declutter, much like a really good poo. But I find it hard to move on. I get attached to places and people and then can’t imagine things being as good. I was heading to the house we dreamed up and built from scratch, but still I was on the verge of tears for a good month whenever I thought of leaving our old, grumpy, creaky old home behind in favour of a sparkly new one. Still am.

In the midst of moving, I watched as my dear Mum was sworn in as Tasmania’s first female Governor. With trumpets blazing above her, she was heralded into the grand ballroom or Government House and welcomed with thunderous applause. It was a moment I will never forget, and treasure forever. My children’s eyes danced and smiled and mine filled again with tears. Proud tears.

Mum and Dad leave my family home, the place where Dad was born and where I was married. Another change. Another ending.

At the children’s school, we said farewell to the beloved principle, the man who first introduced my twins to the alphabet when they were two and the one who saw the school through the fires that burnt it to the ground. We also said goodbye to their kinder teacher, to their wonderful drama teacher and to their cooking teacher. More tears. Funding cut angry tears, and sad goodbye ones.

In our new house where I can see the sky change above Marion Bay and Maria Island catch the light; where I can watch the sea rise and fall and the cows come in for milking, I cry again for all the beauty and the luck of it all.

And when the hills hoist goes up I wonder at how I love being an Aussie and again feel moved. At this point I have to slap myself and get on with things. Imagine getting dewy eyed over a clothesline. Moist over the hoist. (Not that kind of moist, that would be weird. Must stop saying moist).

There are so many things to get on with, like unpacking bloody everything. And a new home is not all that conducive to getting anything done. There is no rhythm yet, no working patterns. So I do a lot of unnecessary walking and pacing and back tracking as I try to find my way around the space, find things, get things away. Everything takes longer. And there’s that sky to watch, that’s an endless task.

So things end and things change and people move on. Then other things begin and new things happen and stay until they’re not new anymore. Before too long I’ll be attached to them and things will settle for a bit. I can feel the settling. It’s a way off, but it’s on the way.

Oh wait, there’s Christmas first. When is it? Next Thursday. Holy shit, that’s a week. I have a week to get organised and I haven’t started yet. To think I used to make shortbread and puddings. Right, must make a list. On top of it will be to stop getting bogged down in sentimentality and nostalgia and wist. It’s so time wasting. Nothing like Christmas to focus the mind, get things in order, and to make a house a home.

But first I need to watch the twilight in the sky.

20141213_203349*Huge thank you to our moving team, you were all brilliant. If a bit stinky.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 240 other followers