Tuesday, September 23

Adulthood (just a misplaced childhood)

Reading one blog (please forgive me in my ignorance in remembering), someone defined their home as their first 'non-child' home, not wanting to define themselves as an adult. It started me thinking about how I define myself? I think of myself as an adult, most of the time. But when did this start?

I think it started with my decision to stay with one person rather than living a selfish, self orientated life. This made me take responsibilities of things. There is no more moving or leaving when things are not fun or are not working out how I would like. I had to stay and work things through. Like an adult.

Deciding to have one partner was also a big step for me as I used to like having fun with lots of different people. Different men for different parts of my personality. One for my creative side. One for my intellectual side. One for my 'sluttish' side. One for teenybopper side. One for my need to conform side.......

Although I have had monogomous partners before, that was more me playing grownup and thinking through unrealistic expectations. I can remember that very early on we would plan on getting married, having children, talking about when we were old (yet only a few months later look at moving for a new job as I was unsatisfied with the old one).

I didn´t fully feel like an adult with my first child. It was too unreal. Being pregnant was more real, but having a baby was like having a complicated doll (or maybe I was too tired to think).

When I had to start telling off my children (or child at that stage) I can remember thinking that I did not like this. I would like to have a happy well organised house where children act appropriately. I want lots of laughs and fun. I don´t like telling my children what to do. Or 'disciplining them'. It makes me feel like an adult when I have to do it. It makes me cross and grumpy and ends up in a vicious cycle.

Budgeting and saving for serious things like a house, instead of travelling and having fun makes me feel like an adult. Making long term plans. Never been much fun.

Feeling older physically. Being tired at the end of the day. Not interested in going out so much but happier to sit and read a book, watch a DVD (with my glass of red). And on that note, actually buying wine for taste, not just cheap price. Being more interested in clothes for comfort than clothes for style (OK on reflection, the few occasions that I do get dressed up I find an inconsisent pleasure in getting my husband to rub his hands over the mix of satin and rubber in my skirt, although not actually fitting into the groovy clothes after two children has an enourmous effect on the relationship between me and clothes). These things make me feel like an adult.

But the biggest effect of feeling like an adult is the reactions from the people around me. People don´t like it when I am silly. Or maybe they just don´t understand it. I don´t have any silly friends here or know people who are silly. The people I know are even sophisticated when drunk (well actually, in my peer group, I am yet to see one drunk). I don´t know people anymore who put traffic cones on their heads, make skirts from aluminium foil and dance to Devo. I don´t know anyone who will sit and sing 80's tunes, badly, loudly and obnoxiously. People I know don´t even get up and dance to groovy music unless it is with their husbands/partners and only when the right music comes one and never first. I don´t see anyone in pyjamas at 10am because they are too lazy to get dressed. I hear people talking about me, though and who tell my mother in law how shocking it is. I don´t know anyone who wears clothes other than mainstream. When I wear my carpet skirt over pants (as my thighs have grown) people just look away and make no comment. Or my baby doll dress which I love as it is furry (although they do ask if I am pregnant). In my effort to acclimatise, I have GROWN UP!!!!!!!!!!!! Don´t know if I like it, though.

Sunday, September 21

My six year old has a boyfriend

Well, she doesn´t have one on her own, she shares him with two others. She likes him as he lets her jump on top of him. They chase him around the classroom at kindergarten. Then they lie him down, sit on top of him and try to take his pants off as he doesn´t like it, but he has a friend who they don´t want to have as a boyfriend who pulls him away.

She tells me that they will get married. When I told her that in Austria that only one wife is allowed to be married to one husband, she tells me that they will take turns. She said that they will just get divorced and share him around. She thinks that they will all live together in our house as it is the biggest. She thinks that maybe her husband won´t want to live in her room as it is pink and he doesn´t like pink so maybe he will have to sleep in our old house and come over so she can jump on him each day. The other wives can share with her. Daddy has to put another layer on her double decker bed so they can all share.

She thinks that she will have about 10 children with her husband, and share the children with the other wives. She thinks that maybe she will want to go to work so I will stay at home and look after the children. She doesn´t think that her husband will work as he can´t write like she can. She thinks that if he does work he might be a builder or something so he can build them a bigger house to live in. At the back of our house.

My little daughter thinks that having a boyfriend is lovely. She doesn´t want to kiss him or anything, just jump on top of him. She said that she doesn´t think that I jumped on top of daddy, but thinks jumping is better than kissing.

And to think that I thought that I had a few more years. It´s all the pink, I´m sure!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 20


These are examples of some of the felting peices I have done.

Mixed media nano based felt.
Approximately 1 m by 70cm

This was an old bag I had which was a basket on the bottom
and this material on top. I always loved it even though it was
very 70's. With time the basket broke. But at least I have preserved
the material. I have learnt, though, that polyester doesn´t felt so well.

The next two are experiments with the 5kg of white wool I brought over e-bay very cheaply. It smells a bit like a ram, which is most probably why it is cheap, but thanks to the internet I learnt that if you do a final rinse in hair conditioner, the smell goes away. These will be gifts for my lovely friends in Australia when I visit. I hope they like them. They are about 70cm in diameter made with fleece and other mixed fibres (old curtains of my mother-in-law and a shirt which I melted once with the iron. Non-natural fibres can be felted into a fleece fibre)

This is my attempt to move away from the reds I love working with (guess my favorite colour?????) I have a crappy camera (only brought as it was red) and am not very good at taking photos (can´t work out which settings work best) so I don´t know if you see the different textures so well. I was trying to get a sea type feel. I don´t think I achived it so well so I think I will do another peice with more waves which I will attach to the side.

Creating things is the thing which makes me the happiest (after my family and a good film and galss of red). Felting is such a magical process and it is perfect for a busy person as it doesn´t take long to create something. I know that my photos are crap and I´m still to work out how I am going to frame them, but hope you enjoy them. Would love feedback and ideas of what I could do with them.


Felting is my new obsession. I don´t always get the time. But my biggest source of procrastination. I get so happy when it rains as it means that we are inside and I can do felting while the girls play. As you know, it was only a few months ago I first tried felting. I attempted a nano felt. I have been experimenting with different fibres and textiles to make a form of art. This is for all the people who have asked me to show what I have been doing.

This is an example of the different fibres I have used. Most natural fibres will felt.

This is a close up. The material was my favorite dress. Of course I don´t fit into it any more as I brought it when I was 21. It is a shot silk dress. Although I can say that I can still put it on, unfortunately my belly doesn´t have the same muscle tone as before. I now look pregnant when I wear it. I think it is put to better use here. I use ordinary wool, fleece, material, string.

And this is the final piece. It is two felted peices joined together by little felted strips. It is about 1m by 1.5m approximately. This will go over the staircase in my new house. I want to make another peice to attach as the wall is so big.

Thursday, September 18

The Simple life.

Living in the country, I am surrounded by gardens. I have apple, most pears (for making an alcoholic cider) plum and walnut trees in our back garden. I always grow zuccinis and pumkins each year (as they are so easy to grow). The problem is, come harvest time, I always seem to be so busy and swear that next year I will do something about all the produce.

But not this year. I am so proud that I collected all the apples around. I have dried about 10 kilos worth (now that it is so cold I have the wood stove on where I can just put them on top to dry). I have stewed 15 big pots of apples to freeze. I have made apple pies and apple cakes. I have dried all the excess zuccinnis (I´m still not sure what to do with them. My attempts at freezing made them only OK for soup which we aren´t too keen on). The nuts are currently drying to be ready to be stored.

I feel like an old fashioned maiden working on my wood stove. I just need my pinny and hat to fit in. But at the same time I feel liberated. I feel that I am putting my feet on the towards living as self sufficient as possible (remember that TV show, The Good Life?). It feels like we can start reducing our dependency on the capitalistic forces which determine how things will be. Sometimes my Honey and I sit and dream of how we will enjoy our life - work to live, not live to work. We have plans on the wind generator in the back yard. How we will link the television to a bicycle so the children will get exercise and generate their own electricity if they want to watch. How we will have our alpaca (that is my dream too Julie,) where I will shear the wool and dye it with natural dyes, like from berries (I have a jumper I dyed with elderberries), spin it and then knit it up (Honey comments that our girls will be dressed in those wool outfits from the 70`s you used to see in magazines). All our food will be from the garden. Honey insists on a pig as he can´t be a vegetarian. Candles (with wax from our own hives), wood fires, making our own pottery and burning in our own constructed wood kilns....

This is just how people used to live here only 40 years ago. My grandmother kept rabbits that she would spin and knit into socks and shoes which she would trade with someone else who had something she needed. It´s amazing how far peopel have come in such a short life - overconsuming, debts, materialism, a Now society rather than a save society. Are people happier because of this? I know that I appreciate the chance to travel and see the world which wasn´t something that happened much before, but I also know that living here in my little world and the simpler my life gets, the happier I become.

Wednesday, September 17

Who am I?

My sense of self has changed as my language skills have grown. The more German I speak, the more settled I feel. The more belonging I feel. Less of a stranger.

When I first came here, I was treated as a foreigner. I can remember a situation where I asked for directions and the man told me he didn´t know. My husband coming from the other direction didn´t see me and asked the same man for the same directions which he then gave.

Foreigner. I couldn´t get a job as I couldn´t speak the language. I had no friends as I couldn´t talk to anyone. I was scared to talk on the telephone, go shopping, meet people, read a newspaper, leave the house. Me!!!! Someone who travelled throughout the whole of Europe alone. Who went to Africa. Who moved all around Australia. Who sought out opportunities without fear (yes, I am Superwoman is disguise). Yet all this changed when I came to live in my little village. I became a mouse. All because I was isolated. I was lonely. I was fearful and desperate.

But with time, I took risks and started to communicate with my bad German (with children you are often placed in situations where you have to talk). I took my little dictionary with me at all times and said what I wanted even if it took so long and was incorrect. I realised that I had to stop worrying about what people thought about me. I was often treated with contempt, and often this made me feel sad, but I realised I had to purservere as I made a choice to live in this bloody country (this did not mean that I didn´t spend copious hours bitching to friends in e-mails or crying or writing blogs or hiding away when things became too hard or drinking wine .......... add in any number of other coping mechanisms).

But eight years on I can now speak in most situations and understand what is being said. I will still come across new words or ideas that I haven´t learnt yet but it gets less and less as time goes on. I was so proud today when I read a whole letter and understood every word. I feel just as comfortable talking in German as I do in English. I have German speaking friends. I have moved onto a new stage of my life where I am more relaxed. I enjoy life so much more. I am able to focus on other aspects of my life, like my felting and pottery and my garden. I don´t feel the pull of having to run away to somewhere more comfortable (which doesn´t exist anyway). I don´t need to hide. I´m back. (Just don´t ask me to write in German. Sweetheart and I will learn together).

(and for all those interested, todays posting is a result of me procrastinating instead of reading about sociolinguistics and the formation of identity. It just got me thinking about my own situation).

It´s bloody Freezing

In Australia, I don´t think I thought about the seasons too much. Oh, except for when I lived in Melbourne where you needed to take a t-shirt, jumper and umbrella every day. Or when I lived in Canberra as winter meant that you smoked less as it was too cold to go outside. Or in The Mountains where you would notice ice puddles right in the middle of winter. OK maybe I did. But I can remember that I didn´t even have a winter jacket most of the time. Autumn was just the time when you watch the leaves change colour. When the nights were finally cooler. When it starts to get darker a bit earlier. But nothing spectacular. I don´t think I noticed too much when I had to start wearing winter clothes. Life didn't change much between the seasons.

Not here. Last week it was 27 degrees and we were wearing t-shirts but the last few days I have been lighting a fire all day. It seems that overnight the weather has changed. Summer is over. On my bike ride I can feel the penetrating forbodingness of ice particles creeping into my bottom and ears. The leaves on the pumpkin plants are dying. I need to prepare my garden for the freeze. Harvest time has arrived. The trees are already started looking bare and the air is filled with the woody smoke of leaves being burnt (yes, we aren´t all environmentalists here). Thoughts of hot chocolate and christmas markets fill my mind and tickle my toungue. All warm and cosy.

Saturday, September 13

Who would have thought?

I have been suffering this week from the most excruciating headaches. They have been all encompassing in that my life outside of the headache barely functions. I have a tiredness that I can´t shake from the moment I wake up until I go to bed at night. It is just like when I was pregnant. I needed to have naps each day. My head would fall onto the table while trying to read my lecture notes. I had a knawing pain in my stomach that just sat there like a stone. I was grumpy and cross and very difficult to be around.

I didn´t understand it. I had thoughts of cancer and other life threatening illnesses. For someone who is rarely sick (when do I get the time!!!!!!) I find it very difficult when I am. I think the worst and suffer intollerably. But I don´t have time to go to the doctor until Wednesday next week, so battle on and swallow pain killers.

It was when I was filling the coffee grinder that I noticed the possible cause of my misery. We have been drinking caffein free coffee. I have been sufferring from withdrawal symptons. My most awful suffering has been self inflicted. I have been pouring caffein down my throat since. The headaches have gone away, but 2 days later my belly is still not the same and now I suffer from lack of sleep. I can honestly and assuredly say that I am an addict, and it is not something I am going to give up.

Tuesday, September 9

There is no bloody bicycle

I have just finished my first essay in 15 years and let me tell you, there is no perverbial biycyle. What seemed like a piece of cake 15 years ago now seems like a trial of agony. I was thinking about it on my ride this morning and decided that certain factors have change resulting in a study deficit:

- I don´t smoke any more. I´m sure it is a fact that nicotine assists the learning processes. More ciggarettes, the better the essays were.

- I haven´t borrowed notes from Peta (usually as I wasn´t at the lecture to get them myself) who used to have small insightful comments on the side which usually were the basis of my essays.

- I haven´t totally disregarded references like I did previously due to always being too late and hence finding that all the books had been borrowed (on this note, I would like to say that no Lecturer ever noted that I had misrepresnted a text or that my information was incorrect).

-I was unable to work through the night the day before the extension finished as I started it 2 weeks before and went to bed by midnight as I knew I would be woken at 6am by my darlings. Ít is a known fact that the hours between midnight and 5 am are the ones where the ideas flow.

- I wasn´t surrounded by lovely friends who would bring me thought induced fat from some take-away or idea inducers (usually jelly snakes) on a regular basis as they saw me suffering. I actually shipped off my children for the day to a friend. Peace and quiet is also another inhibitor I have found.

So let me tell you, on my limited expectations, my dreams of having a HD average no longer look promising. But at least the essay is finished and I have the knowledge that I can do it and studying at least is more interesting than worrying why people aren´t talking to me, or why I am not invited to a party, or working out the exponentials of how often I have to invite a child over based on my child being invited out, devided by the amount of chocolate they were fed, mulitplied by the lunches cooked for them, inverted extra if they were driven somewhere, etc............

Thursday, September 4


I know that my period is due when I start to get maudlin. When I start to look at all my friends on Facebook and wonder why they all have more than me. When I write e-mails to people with whom I have been out of touch with for so long. When I start to have those high school angst feelings that I am not as good as everyone else; not as nice, no wonder no-one likes me. My belly swells in it´s ugly response. My body responds with sensitivity. Stabbing toes are agony. Little bumps ache. I cry for no reason or have tears in my eyes constantly. My children look at me in wonder when I start crying while reading about Max´s mummy leaving his supper even after he is sent to his room. I get cross and cranky. My thoughts are all jumbled. I can´t remember things so well. All for the joy of womanhood!

Bring back my normalcy. How many years of this must we endure. It must make us stronger or at least a better person?????????? I wish.

Those days are over

So unused to being on my own, I walk inside and turn on the baby phone as I can´t hear my children. I forgot that both are at kindergarten and I am on my own.

A sad time, but a chance to do all the things I have put on hold for the past 6 years.......... A chance to do housework while similtaneously entertaining at least one child at home. A chance to have a cup of coffee without feeling guilty. A chance to do the shopping without having to have my pockets full of gummy bears or take things back out of other people´s trolleys.

(Oh!, I forgot that I have a building site and lecture notes to read as well as getting ready to go to Australia in a couple of months. Oh dear, my time is gone again).