Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Today started early, sitting on the couch with Sacha when it was still dark. He read to me, books about goslings, while everyone else slept. Then he told me about the game he and his buddy play at school:'Bibby in Babbyland'. In this game, they build the 'bibbies' (acorns) houses out if 'babbies'(rocks). I liked the sound of that game. After the joy of our rare one on one sharing session, my boy took advantage of a mollified mother to ask if he could play the Xbox. Of course I folded like a deck of cards and decided to go back to bed.

I crawled back under the covers, the novelty of the morning chill made me grateful for their cosy comforts. I drifted back to heavy sleep and slept wrapped in those weird morning dreams.

At 9.15, a distant mobile ring dragged me reluctantly from that deep, dreamy slumber, and I half heard half the words wafting out of it:
'It's Mum... Dad... bleed ... emergency...'
I shot out of bed like a startled cat, was dressed and heading for the hospital before the message had time to play out.

Hurried in by the Triage nurse, (you always know things are serious when hospital staff hurry) I fastwalked, dazzled by the glare of fluorescent hospital lights, to find Mum and my sister by a bed, holding my prostrate father's hands, all of us white as his sheets.

The morning passed with nervous whispers, cafeteria coffee, more hand holding and Dane's humour keeping us buoyant. Always a man of few words and even fewer now, Dad's motivations to clarity never fail to amaze me. My sister said to him. 'You're tough, Dad' to which he quipped. 'Yeah, of course... I've got a beard!' And later when talk was getting a little grim and the medical staff were looking nervous, Dad piped up 'I'm not dead yet.' We laughed loudly and nervously and watched the machines that go beep.

Things were not looking good. He needed a procedure but finding the source of the bleed was a long shot.

We called the siblings, warned them of the potential end, waved him off to his procedure, looking down the barrel of a cure or to 'palliate' (who knew that was a verb?). We went home and worried.

'I'm not dead yet' he had said, and indeed he was right. They found the source of his bleed, fixed the glitch and now he is being doted on by ward nurses with veins pumped full of only slightly used blood. That beard is really working for him! And we are all booking in to the Red Cross to replenish some of the precious blood resources that saved Dane's bacon today.

So he lives to fight another day. Halleluia! Praise be!
The rest of us are a little pale and nauseous after the wild ride of today's emotional roller coaster, but nothing some Haighs white chocolate eggs and a gut full of hot cross buns didn't fix.

Trust Dane to make us reenact the Easter story for real, he always was a devoted Catholic. And what with that miracle beard of his and a lifetime of saving lives 'n all, he really is an excellent candidate for the part of the Messiah in today's Passion play.

It was a very good Friday.
Happy Easter to you!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Daring Greatly

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” - Teddy Roosevelt, 1910

My Auntie Sue died this morning. 
The dreaded cancer took her too soon, robbing her of the 80th birthday she would have celebrated this year. 

Sue was a woman of spirit, a woman who dared greatly. She always lived in the arena of life, always, and pulled others in there too, with her organisation and boldness, all the while telling stories and handing out faith and encouragement. 

She was a dedicated mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend, as her abundant loved ones will readily testify.

Her humour was wicked and  irreverent and she sometimes manifested a Dame Edna twang, adored and copied by my  sisters and me. She handed out whisky. dirty jokes and love in bucketfuls and her business acumen was undeniable. 
A woman who dared to divorce in the days when people didn't, to raise her sons proudly, to start a new life in a new town and build successful businesses, a woman who gave her later years to her island home, to worthy causes and as a mentor to fledglings at their beginnings. 

Her capacity for 'being there' was incredible. Throughout my father's continuing decline over the last decade, she was a rock for my mother and a regular and dependable hand to hold for my father. 

Her life story is extraordinary and ordinary . She was an Australian woman  of her time who dared to live life with gusto.

She  was full of joy and inspired joy in all of us.
Her life is to be honoured and celebrated. 

Goodbye, Auntie Sue. we will miss you. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Luthier - Go Behind the Scenery

Keep your eye out for the Luthier's Violin No. 3 on this excellent ad selling our wee state.  How exciting to be included with icons like MONA, Cradle Mountain. David Foster and that dude with the alpaca. It fills my heart when the luthier gets a bit of love for the work he does. It took more than 300 hours of hand making passion and an incredible amount of skill to make that beautiful instrument.  A little love for the work goes a very long way.

If you can't see the YouTube screen, click in the link

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


He's a crackerjack this boy, and he turned 12 on Tuesday.

My tween age boy ...
He can be a bit of a worrier, but his capacity to push himself through it and do what needs to be done is formidable.

He is independent and organised.
He has empathy and kindness in spades. Swears like a trooper and has been convinced by his father that playing in a band is the best part time job to put you through uni.
He sings like an angel.
He was the 12 year old boy gifted cookbooks, kitchen scales, measuring spoons and an Adriano Zumbo packet mix and was well chuffed.

We bought him an XBOX Kinect and tickets to the 360 degrees Allstars.
Colour and movement. He was super chuffed.

I had a turn on the XBox tonight... It's awesome! The highlight was my three children comprehensively losing their shit at the action snap shots that the box took of me and my enthusiastic attack on Reflex Ridge. Ha! Happy days

12 years ago on Tuesday, J entered the world and he has made it a happier place.
I can't wait to see what life has in store for this excellent kid.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Its been a while between posts. The will to blog has been elusive over the last few weeks. It turns out that happiness and contentment are not great blog fodder. I know myself, I get a little weary of reading over everyone's fabulous A game on the interwebs, to the point where I had to cut myself off from reading Che and Fidel completely. She is gorgeous, but there is only so much gorgeousness a girl can take.

So, I'll just say that the last few weeks have been fun. We've been to art exhibitions and a party, we boarded the PFunk mothership with George Clinton at the concert at MONA last weekend and stayed overnight in Hobart and had a hotel buffet breakfast (kid's highlight). We've worked really hard and spent some really nice time together, us Smiths.

Tassie is going off at the moment, Ten Days on the Island (our bi-annual arts festival) is on and there is art, theatre and music in every Tasmanian nook and cranny. Even Dame Kiri is on tonight in ol' Launny town!

There is a dynamic vibe going on the island and in Smith-life in general and it's just so good.

And, 12 years ago today, for the first time, I commenced the long journey of labour. Two days later after many hours of mono tonal wailing (the luthier, or 'the man who has seen too much' as he referred to himself post-babies, said he knew that something was finally happening when I changed pitch, hitting a higher note of course) our wonderful J- boy arrived. That's right, my eldest son is turning 12. We are so close to having a bona fide teen in the house, I don't know what to say, except ...

Holy shitballs, Batman!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

'You've made your bed ...'

Happiness is a made bed.
I've made mine just the way I like it
and lying in it feels fantastic.

Made, of course, with a help from my little friends.

This changed life feels like active rest, if that's possible. Like floating on your back with the current and staring up at the stars, moving with the flow with the confidence that its heading just where you need to go.

It flew like this:
I received thanks and sweet-smelling gifts from previous workmates and counted my blessings.
Work rolled in and the challenge was to say 'No' to too much rather than to chase not enough, for which I am truly grateful.
I got into 'Digital Ready' and met other people in our town making their own beds in business.
Hunted for venues for camerata concerts.

Embraced my Stepford side and cleaned house.
Baked cupcakes ready for school pick up to ward off the 'after- school hangries'.
Poached peaches with a dash of Pimms.

Walked out of a yoga class that felt more like beating yourself up with your own limbs than strength, spirit and movement and received a well-intentioned lecture from the very young, unmarried, childless teacher about the importance of embracing challenge.

Talked to first-time expectant mothers, shared their impending joy and shivered at everything they are about to learn that is impossible to explain in advance.

Was gifted 'The Red Tent' by a new sister and remembered how significant is domestic work and are the stories, culture and spirit passed from mother to daughter and the immense power of sisterhood and motherhood.

Welcomed my big boy home from camp and caught a bittersweet glimpse of the man he is becoming.

And I sat with Dane, honouring his life and going with the flow of his slow decline.

Even when it's messy, a bed of my own making is my favourite place to be.