Tuesday, 31 January 2012

to Kombu and back

Yesterday's trip to Kombu, doing a big shop and back.

 The sun graced us for maybe a good day and a half, it was glorious, we managed a pool party, this trip up the road and then it started raining again. 

Poe starts school tomorrow, my heart keeps doing little grabs as I think of this. I am very excited for him but also sad that I won't have him around as much, I do love his company. At Chrysalis they are very much into being aware of the children's needs and encourage parents to not do the full five days a week for the first year if it is too much for the child.  When I first heard this I remembered talking to my dear friend Ruth about her sister-in-law who looked at how her daughter was responding to school, whether she felt tired, not stimulated, over stimulated etc and tailored her schooling (a blend of public school, steiner and homeschool) and her attendance accordingly. It worked really well for them and just knowing that this was possibly was quite liberating for me, it also helped to know that her sister-in-law is a teacher and knew what she was able to do. 
So we will be watching Poe and seeing how he deals with five days, or giving him a rest after four, or having two days on one day off and two days on again, who knows, but I love that we are encouraged to do this.

Monday, 30 January 2012

right here right now

monday 30th January 11:55am

feast and fire

Fortunately we discovered a few weeks ago that our neighbours also have a love for curries, we quickly planned one curry night and as we were devouring that meal we decided to plot the next one. On Saturday night it came to fruition, but this time we were joined by two other families, which basically meant even more food. Weighing down the table was palak paneer, vegetarian koftas with a spicy tomato sauce, butter chicken, honey soy eggplant, rassam, a chickpea potato dish, cauliflower and tomato curry, coriander chutney, raita and a tomato and cucumber salad, phew. It was, as you can imagine, so amazingly delicious, we plan on making this a pretty regular event. 

No, this is not a photo that slipped in from winter, this is from Sunday or Saunaday as it came to be known. What happens when you mix a ridiculous amount of rain, humid weather, lots of children running in rain and wet clothes? Mildew/mould/mustiness, hmmmmm. Our solution, crank the fire, have fans going and set up a laundry in our lounge room. Scott took it upon himself to carefully nurture every piece of clothing to it's natural state; not stinky and wonderfully dry. It was quite delightful to look at our humungous pile of dry clean smelling clothes, so great that I could not help but smooch my face into it and inhale deeply.

Our weekend was also full of moving, Scott and I volunteered a day each to help Kombu move to a bigger premise, it was so lovely and exhausting, chatting, cleaning, heavy lifting and feeling like we were part of something great. Kombu is our local organic grocery store, it is owned by a local family and they run the store as a social enterprise looking at social and environmental impacts of the business and they run it along not-for-profit lines with any profits going back to the business and the wider community. The move was really lovely, it felt like yet another community building event, everyone was pretty proud when they stepped back and looked at Kombu's new home. Oh here is a picture of the final moving day team.

Friday, 27 January 2012

take me back

Last week I was in despair, there had been more and more interest in my embroidered wrap skirts and tops but I was fast running out of tablecloths to make them. I was getting the sweats and just knew I has to do some serious op shopping (yes, drastic times, poor me). Luckily Scott and my mum understood this urgency and eagerly hopped on for the ride. Well after a few bits and pieces at op shop number one, op shop number two showered me with the grace of the op shop fairies and landed me with about ten tablecloths, oh my goodness, it was amazing. I felt very grateful and pleased that I wouldn't have to disappoint anyone.

As you should know by now, when we have visitors we have a 'Move to Bellingen' campaign, usually this is quite subtle but we knew that the odds were slightly better with Gary and Sarah, so a few things were planned to suck  entice them; an amazing night of performing and public acclaim at the Lodge, the meeting of dear friends, an impressive flood and some op shopped delights . 
So it was fortuitous that Poe, Ilo and Sydney created a welcome like no other and like none that we could have planned. As Gary, Sarah, Stella and Mira were walking down the road towards our house they saw three naked children getting all muddy in some rich red clay, there were smiles and squeals of delight and they were being accompanied by some tunes that were coming from Scott as he sat on the verandah and made sure all was well. Great work welcoming team.  

Dancing on the floor, part acrobatics, part ballet, part comedy routine.

I had the immense honour of giving both Stella and Mira their first haircuts. Sarah and Gary wanted easier mornings, not having to deal with the tears over hair brushing and hair design, they wanted heads that were easier to maintain and with regards to style, well, these two little people could do anything to their scalps and still look so gorgeous. Mira was up for anything and Stella enjoyed flicking through a Frankie magazine with me as I discussed styles, she was swayed by Poe's hair and a rather fetching shoulder length cut in Frankie.  Luckily they both love love loved their new hair styles, I was very relieved and absolutely delighted with the results.

Sarah looking amazing in one of my skirts. 

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

what a day

Today we experienced our first flood, the mass of water was pretty impressive and very hard to take in. The town was very quiet with a lot of shops closed and very few people about, considering a large proportion of the population were flooded in. People that we did meet on the street all had their stories about whether the flood was bigger than last time, tales of trees being split in half by a mini cyclone and what delicious meals they were cooking. Gary has been, not too silently, hoping for much more rain so that they are well and truly stranded and have to stay here even longer.


We had a house full of children for the first half of the day, seven little ones, as we had volunteered to look after Edie, Sky and Juniper as their parents Lowanna and Kevin are moving their shop, Kombu, to a bigger and better premises,yes sadly we will have to struggle with no longer having Kombu at the  end of our street, we will have to travel another extra 50 or so metres, can you believe that, sheesh. 
Sky, the littlest of the little ones, has only just turned one and I was lucky to have some super special snuggly time with her as she hung out in my sling and even slept in there for nearly an hour, oh so lovely. 


Stella and Poe have been having such a magical time together, so many beautiful adventures. Lots of whispering, creating, laughing and crazy outfits. They will definitely miss each other a lot. One of my most favourite images of them is when they linked their elbows in Vintage Espresso and danced around the whole place telling all that they were stuck together and weren't able to ever be pulled apart.

It was totally chaotic at times but also heaps of fun, we finger knitted, ran about in the rain, cleaned the kitchen and had a close hand look at a python that had been foolishly (it was too small) trying to eat our neighbours chickens. Both Woo and Eno (our neighbours) have done a lot of work for W.I.R.E.S and are known about town as people who know about snakes (as well as other awesome things), so we feel very lucky to have such experience living so close. Scott bravely confronted a fear of his and held the snake, though is still quite freaked out, but very proud of him for trying.

Sarah looked and acted like an absolute natural with the snake.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Kung Hee Fatt Choy

By incredible fortune we were lucky enough to have Sarah, Gary, Stella and Mira with us over Chinese New Year. Sarah was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, her father is Chinese and her mother Australian (her parents met in Sydney, when he was sent to Australia as the first Malaysian to do a diving clearance course), so Chinese New Year is very much part of her culture. She spent the first years of her life travelling around Singapore and Malaysia before moving to Australia when she was 16. 

Sarah and I met at the inner west Attachment Parenting group when Poe and Stella were just babes in slings, besides connecting on a parenting level we also bonded over our shared Malaysian background (my mother is Malay Indian and my father Australian, for those viewers out there who don't know), this meant we have a deep understanding and passion for, well namely the food, oh my goodness Malaysian food, the topic that can have Malaysians (or anyone with any Malaysian ties, or anyone who has even been to Malaysia) deeply engrossed for hours.

playing gliders
Anyhoo....last night we had a Chinese Feast, there were noodles, rice paper popiah, a special broth (by Kelly) and (my input) Pulut Inti (my favourite Malaysian dessert). There were lanterns, lights, sparklers, little people dressed up and a very special Chinese dance (choreographed by Poe). It felt very special and quite intimate.

And then today we had a very special tea ceremony, called where the children serve the adults tea wishing them Kung Hee Fatt Choy, a long life and prosperity and then the adults wish the children a good year at school and give the children a red packet (with a little money in it). All the kids loved the ceremony and all approached it with a wonderful sense of awe and delight.

It really made me realise (again) how wonderful rituals like this are, I guess especially (for me) on a cultural level, it made me want to know more about rituals that my mother experienced as she was growing up and to introduce more of these into our home.

nb. The slip-and-slide is neither a tradition (well, maybe at Christmas time for us) nor a ritual but was a very impromptu event, we were heading to the river, the kids were in swimmers, the bags packed and then it rained (it has been doing that a lot lately, so much so that it looks like tomorrow could possibly hold a ...... FLOOD post, but let's not count those chickens just yet). It was such a delight to watch and from what I hear even more fun to do.