Tuesday, March 29, 2011
"Just remember, if you ever want to chop the head off a chicken, first check you've sharpened the axe blade," my husband tells me, his face ashen and his hands shaking. He'd been forced to do "the deed" after our first chicken disposal was deemed too cruel. He'd never killed anything before and he was clearly in shock, but after our previous method was such as a failure, he really had no choice. He couldn't let this latest chicken suffer anymore.
We were learning the ways of the land at our own pace.
You see, our other chicken "Schnitzel" had been very unwell and we knew it would die a slow death at the beaks of its coopmates. We had to "get rid" of it. We had a discussion and decided if we let it out of the coop overnight, the foxes would come and get it. Its death would be quick and fast. The plan seemed foolproof, until our neighbours alerted us to the fact our chicken was out and we had to "with heads bowed" explain the chicken was spending its last few hours "free", before it was to meet its chicken maker. Oh, they said quietly and shuffled away to their home to probably do exactly what we were doing - agonise over the cruelty of it all.
But being keepers of the land can be cruel at times.
Needless to say, I did not sleep much that night. Every sound I heard I convinced myself was Schnitzel being stalked and hunted by a big, scary fox. I could feel the chicken's fear. I could hear its internal dialogue: "Boork, boork. Wow, I'm free from the coop. This. Is. So. Much. Fun. Sucked in Parmi and Roast, I'm free. Boork, boork. Oh, it's getting dark now. I'm cold. I want to sit on my perch. Brrrr. It's dark. Boork, it's freezing, boork. What's that sound? Oh, shit is that a fox? I'm scared. Boork, boork, booooorrkk!" Silence. Oh man, I still hear that in my head whenever I look at our now empty chicken coop. I still think about that poor chicken every time I see a chicken feather. You see, if you leave a chicken out for the foxes be prepared for the feathers. Thousands of feathers. Everywhere.
What happens on the land, stays on the land.
We don't discuss that night, nor do we discuss the "blunt axe blade incident". Let's just say that after the first ill-fated attempt, the chop was carried out quickly and humanely. And the blade was always sharp.
It's the lay of the land.
We've had lots of chickens. They have all been named after chicken dishes we like to eat. Cacciatore was my favourite. As I type now, our chicken coop is bare. Cleaned out and empty. There are no fresh eggs in the boxes and last week I found myself buying eggs from the supermarket for the first time in years.
It's now land divided.
For the past three years, we have been trapped in Bureaucracy World, at the mercy of the Council, planners, surveyors, CFS, lawyers and Government Agencies. After many agonising emails, paperwork shuffling, letters and phone calls we have finally broken free from the red tape. We have finally been given the green light and today a For Sale sign was erected on our land. The land we vowed we'd never subdivide. The land we vowed we'd never sell. The land our children have picked plums, apples and collected eggs from. The land my husband and I thought we'd try our hand at being second rate hobby farmers on. First rule of a real farmer - don't name your chickens. We learnt that one. Second rule, don't plant more than you can eat unless you plan to sell the fruits of your labour. It's taken us a few seasons of over enthusiastic zucchini planting to work out that rule. Third rule, blackberries will take over the entire universe if not destroyed.
Ah, but there's nothing like the fruits of the land.
Soon a For Sale sign will also sit out the front of our House on the Hill. Our idyllic life in the Adelaide Hills are about to come to an end. We are having an inner-city change. The opposite to a tree change. We are taking our kids down the hill in search of the suburban dream. Those who know us, think us a little crazy. Why would we shift to fenced-in yards and swap the sounds of koalas grunting in the night to the sounds of traffic? With three small children we don't have the time to clear and maintain the land. We don't have the desire to be hobby farmers anymore. We just want to open the back door, let the kids run around within the confines of the backyard and sit comfortably on our back step, drinking wine and spending time together as a family. Our focus has shifted.
You could call it a shift in the landscape.
Someone will love our House on the Hill, we sure did. Someone will love to walk the paths through the valley and pick blackberries. They'll lay in the hammock under the gum trees. Someone will put on their warmest coat and huddle in the mist, watching the flames dart in their piled high bombfire. They'll drink stout and toast marshmallows. They'll create their own memories.
It's been a land of plenty.
We've been standing on the land looking out at the view and we sit in every room of our house and absorb our past. We have started to wrap our memories in newspaper and store them away in compartments in our brain. One day soon we'll pack our car and buckle the kids into their car seats and we'll drive away together. My husband and I will probably cry a little as we cruise along the winding roads for the last time. And then, when we hit the freeway, we'll high five each other. And we will smile in anticipation of the next stage of our journey together. Wherever we are, that's home.
We'll land on our feet. We always do.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Last weekend a group of super-amazing, so hot right now Australian bloggers met in Sydney for the inaugural Australian Bloggers Conference. For many participants, it was the first time they'd met their online friends in real life and bonds, verging on stalking, were formed over blood poisoning amounts of champagne and apple mojitos. As many have already written, the conference was brilliantly organised by five women who between them have 18 children - that's 18 children. No-one actually explained that four of them had no children and only one of them had been pregnant for the past 20 years.
Aside from reaffirming that blogging was a serious, and ludicrously fun, pursuit - I think most of us in that room also realised that we have an unhealthy love of Twitter. I was convinced of that when the majority of women on my table started tweeting each other during dinner, leaving meat to go cold on the table and drinks untouched, which is simply inexcusable. Maybe we are so used to never eating an entire meal without distractions, we were shocked by the prospect of actually eating warm food. At least I didn't wee on my food like someone I will not name, ahem...Megan Blandford. Ok, it wasn't wee, it was a weed-like garnish, but someone tweeted a bit fast and got mixed up.
So, as the night got exceedingly blurry and my dance moves got proportionately more freaking genius-like, I feared I had been sucked into some strange "bubbles" induced social media world where the robot rules and Twitter is Queen. I knew this when I heard Michael Jackson's iconic song, Thriller, start playing over the second-rate DJ's dodgy speakers, and instead of bowing to the King of Pop, I yelled "OMG, Twitter's on, this is the coolest song ever." It wasn't until I had fully immersed myself in the music of the night that I had, as Oprah would say an "AHA moment". Not that I suddenly teased my hair and started looking wistfully into space while singing Take On Me, I actually realised that the song I was dancing to was Thriller, not in fact Twitter. Three things happened then. One, I realised that perhaps drinking two drinks simultaneously over a period of two days probably wasn't working for me. Two, I needed to get out more and three, there was a great blog post in that.
So here goes it, my reworked version of Thriller. Now to be known as... Twitter.
It's close to midnight and I'm still typing on my keyboard,
Under the moonlight, I watch the tweet stream moving really fast,
I've drunk too much, but still I can not make myself turn away,
My pupils sore, and hashtags flash right before my eyes,
'cause this is Twitter, Twitter night
And no one's gonna save me from the spam that's about to strike
You know it's twitter, twitter night
You're typing for your life inside a Twitter, thriller tonight
You hear the door slam and realise that your child's in the room
You feel the small hand and wonder if you'll get them fed by noon
You close your eyes and hope that this is just imagination
But all the while you hear the child creepin' up behind
You're out of wine
'cause this is Twitter, Twitter night
There ain't no extra hours to fed and clean your house
You know it's Twitter, Twitter night
You're typing for your life inside of Twitter, thriller tonight
Night Twitter calls
And the Tweeps start to build on their masquerade
There's no escapin' the witty banter of the night
(you're left open wide)
This is your online life
They're out to stop you, there's family closing in on every side
They will harass you unless you close your laptop for the night
Now is the time for you and I to cuddle close together
All thru the day I'll steer you from the tweet stream on the screen,
I'll make you see
That this is Twitter, Twitter night
'cause I can thrill you more than any Tweep would dare to try
Girl, this is Twitter, Twitter night
So let me hold you tight and save you from the drunk tweet of the night,
Twitter. Here. Tonight
(rap performed by Sawhole)
Darkness falls across the land
The midnite hour is close at hand
Twitterers trawl in search of fun
The gin's been drunk, they're onto rum
And whosever shall get a retweet
Will giggle at their humorous feat
Then stand and face the turtle
And sit inside the white pod shell
The smell of Nutella's in the air
The banter of twitterers in the room
And little kids from your womb
Are closing in to seal your doom (feed us, dress us, clean the room)
And though you type to stay alive
Your body starts to quiver
For no mere blogger can resist
The evil of the Twitter
* maniacal laugh, in deep echo, bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha*
Bring on Aussie Bloggers Conference 2012. I'll be there with my sparkly glove on!
PS: My apologies to you Mr Jackson. May you be happily moonwalking in the sky. Or with Elvis in a South Carolina diner, if the conspiracy theories are to be believed.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
We are days away from the first ever Aussie Bloggers Conference and I am crazy busy trying to meet my freelance deadlines, pack a week's worth of clothes into a carry-on bag, shave my legs and read everyone's blogs before I meet them face-to-face. So, this week I've written a small post, a dedication of sorts. My post this week is in recognition of all the spambots which love to leave comments, but unfortunately will not be able to attend the upcoming festivities. Lucky, because imagine how quickly they'd clean out the bar!
For some unknown reason the spambots have not graced bigwords, but they do like to visit archiefive, my husband's photography blog. Here are my favourite comments, from these automated selling machines, for your reading pleasure:
Let's start with this gem - "how goes it, regal blog on fatlike loss. parallel helped . May i use it to my website"
This one got a little confused - "Thank you very much for contributing a great comment!"
I don't know what this one is talking about, much like many politicians I know - "This can be the exact material I'm in need of. I'm so carved while using the qualify of strategy discovered here. I will suggest this to anyone including all my acquaintances. This can be well said and brilliant. Locating just for this exciting studied. I will be able to consult the place again shortly."
Oh, how sweet, this one has family - "My grandmother would really like your blog, is there any way to get it on a kindle?"
This one seems really lovely, until... "Hello, I just wanted to take the time to make a comment and say I have really enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for all your work! FROM Free Sexy Videos"
And here is my favourite - "Wow, fantabulous post my fat friend."
Have you got any funny spambot comments?
PS: If you are attending the conference, I look forward to meeting you very soon. I'll be the one dancing, with my bag at my feet and a gin bottle in my hand.
Friday, March 11, 2011
I am jumping on a plane later this week to go to the Aussie Bloggers Conference in Sydney. Just me and my carry-on bag. I am so darned excited about the trip - a little adventure on my own. I will be catching up with old friends I haven't seen in ages, spending time alone (which is a novelty) and meeting a whole bunch of people for the first time face-to-face. I feel like I know so many of them through late night Twitter marathons and from reading their amazing blog posts. But now I'm going to see them in the flesh (well, not in the flesh, they will be clothed). I can't wait to give them all a hug. No smiley face emoticons attached, no LOLs or PMSLs - just a great big, old fashioned wrap-your-arms-around-each-other hug. Watch out I'm coming your way Sydney.
This is part of Maxabella Loves weekly blog hop. Go visit her!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
There's been a lot of talk lately about boys who love to dress as princesses. Much discussion has centred on sexuality, whether boys should be allowed to wear "girls" clothes, the impact of gender stereotypes on individuality and being brave enough to support your children's choices in their quest to be themselves. Who cares if a boy wears a dress as long as they're happy? Why is so much attention paid to what boys and girls should, or should not, wear? Why can't little boys feel comfortable in their own skin - even if it means wearing a tutu and carrying a wand?
Here's the thing. In our house we have the opposite problem. We don't own a princess outfit. We have a couple of hand me down ballet skirts and a few pairs of plastic high heels, but no real princess outfits. This could be considered strange, not because our boys want to wear them, but because we don't have boys - we have three girls. Not one of them has expressed a desire to wear a princess outfit. In our house, Miss 4 would rather spend her days dressed as a cat.
Until we owned a proper cat costume she would just stuff a scarf down the back of her pants and call it a tail. The 2yo Who Never Sleeps has been inspired by her older sister and now she spends most of her days dressed as a dog. We've bought a bunny outfit for Baby 3 (just in case she too is into animals), but at the moment she wears whatever her big sisters' put on her. At the moment she's a kangaroo.
We are completely cool with Miss 4's obsession with animals - it's only when she gets on all fours in public places and licks the floor it gets a little embarrassing, not to mention unhygienic. But try explaining that to a cat. At least she hasn't the flexibility to lick her own bottom. The only problem is many of the girls around her, and some of the boys, are really into princesses. We go to many princess parties and while she'll dress up in a makeshift outfit I can tell she'd feel more comfortable in her cat costume. I should just let her wear it, and sometimes I do, but then I fear she'll feel out of place. I just want to protect her.
I've even been giving Miss 4 a bit of a crash course in princesses and fairies so she knows what her friends are talking about. To prep her for conversations like this one I overheard the other day -
Girl 1: "I'm Rhapsody"
Girl 2: "I'm Harmony"
Miss 4: "I'm Madge".
Madge is the name of her Grandma's cat. The other two are characters from that awful show the Fairies.
I can understand the pressure on the parent's of boys who like a good old fashioned princess outfit. That moment of guilt when you ask them to change before heading out or you suggest perhaps a Bob the Builder outfit might be more "suitable" for them. I am finding myself in the same predicament. But you know what, as those before me have said about their princess dressing boys, I just want my girls to be happy. I don't want them to feel like they need to fit the mould of what "girls" are. If they want to spend their time wagging their tails and eating their food off a bowl on the ground - then so be it. As long as they're confident and comfortable in their own skin - that's all that matters. As long as they are brave enough to be who they want to be, even if it's furry and has a tail. We are a world of difference, not everything's blue or pink, sometimes it's tabby.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
I feel like this week has dragged on and on. With it has been this overriding feeling of grumpiness. As I explained to Twiggy the other day: "I just feel like stabbing someone in the eyeball". His reply: "That's nice dear". I am even shitty at being shitty as there is no clear reason for any of it. Things are ticking along nicely, kids are happy, work is going well, even our subdivision plans, that have been sucked into the vortex of bureaucracy for the past four years, look like finally being approved. I've started pilates, gone shopping, had some much needed time out, yet still I feel like ripping someone's arms out of their sockets. Sounds harsh? I suppose a little, but I'm grateful it's only an urge, not something I'd actually follow through with! I think the angry vibe is a result of having just finished breastfeeding, waiting for the curse to rear it's ugly head and post-pregnancy hormones possessing my body. Hopefully I return to my normal sarcastic, only slightly grumpy, self soon.
This is part of the lovely Maxabella Loves blog hop.