Wednesday, January 28, 2009


So these last few weeks have been awesome in terms of my creativity. For so many years, since my early twenties really (so about ten years) I have felt my creative self sit inside me curled into a little ball, rocking itself gently as it hid from the world. Why I don't know. Before that, I was so into my art, and my creative side was a huge part of how I defined myself. It was an intrinsic part of my identity, and one that I cherished. In fact, now that I cast my mind back, it was one of the few parts of me I was really proud of.

Then something happened. Many things happened. My life kinda fell apart, slowly but oh so surely. The house of cards within which I had lived for so long finally collapsed under the pressure of a family divorce, a drug addiction, the death of friendships, and the spectacular demise of my academic career as I sunk deeper and deeper into nowhere. And along with it all, my creative side just crumbled. Many people use their creativity to help them deal with hard times in life, to express themselves and process traumatic events, but I think my low self esteem resulted in me being too afraid to produce anything, in case it wasn't perfect. And a crushing perfectionism is a sure way to kill any creative spark that occasionally would rear its head.

So there has been an ache in my heart for years as I listened to the echoes knocking around in the vast empty hall of my creative self, so big and yet so empty, so full of promise and potential and yet dormant, seemingly lifeless.

Until recently! I had an urge a few weeks ago to bring out my old watercolour paints (half of which had dried up and become hard little tubes of brittle colour) and do something. And unlike the times in the past when I would bring out the paints or the pastels or the chalks or the fabric or the beads, and play for a day, then leave them untouched for weeks until I finally packed them away again, this time I have been doing a little bit each day and somehow, SOMEHOW, the urge to paint and keep going has stayed with me! It has filled me with such a feeling of coming home to myself, such a feeling of wholeness and fullness of being ME. I've been having a ball.

So now that Indi is old enough to potter and play on her own, with the cat's water bowl and the wading pool and all her outdoor toys, under our lovely pergola out the back, I sneak five or ten minutes to paint here and there, and it's great! So here are some of the bits and pieces that have come of it.

And my favourite....

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Show us yer map o' Tassie!

Well what an awesome way to spend one's 33'rd birthday! How bloody lucky am I? Yay for cheap flights to Tassie, and yay for Mat who reluctantly agreed that even though we couldn't afford it, I really needed and deserved a holiday after what was, in many ways, a tough year.

I chose Launceston since I like to go to new places and hadn't been there before. What a gorgeous town it is! Set so beautifully in a gorgeous valley, with houses clinging up the steep slopes of the surrounding hills, I think it's the prettiest city I've ever seen. Well, apart from Venice and Florence, but that's some stiff competition! Certainly Australia's prettiest city.

On the first day there we went to Cataract Gorge, a beautiful place five minutes from the city centre, with a lake and a huge pool surrounded by gorgeous cliffs. It was hot, so Indi and I got to swim swim swim, and we had a ball splashing and giggling and buddying around. She's a lovely girl that one, we had lots of fun.

We hired a campervan, which is a great way to travel, since you can stop anywhere and you are home. But the down side was that we needed one that could accommodate a car seat for Indigo, which meant a van that was a bit weird layout-wise, and with not one but two very uncomfortable beds for us to sleep in. I must say, despite having a lovely time, it was heaven to sleep on our big, soft, luxurious bed last night when we got home. I kept waking up and being amazed at how much room we had! This was our home for four days (that's Indi asleep on my lap):

So on my birthday morning we woke up from our first night in the van, stretched out our kinks, and drove to an amazing rainforest gorge. It was GORGEous! No, really, it was. Stunning. It involved an hour's walk, down and then up a steep hill, whilst carrying a sleeping baby who weighs ten kilos. We were thoroughly put to shame by an old couple (I'm talking maybe 70's) who RAN the circuit walk three times while we trudged our one lap. Between them they had about a gram and a half of body fat, and they just exuded cardiovascular health. By the time they passed us the third time I felt like a walking chocolate eclair. Anyway, on the way down to the gorge we saw this amazing old tree.

Indigo woke up at some point, which I was really glad about, coz I really wanted her to experience the beauty we were surrounded by. It felt good to be sharing it with her, and I think she really appreciated it. It really was a magical place.

Then we had lunch at a beautiful winery overlooking the Tamar River. It was a true gourmet meal, and was my birthday present from my family. I finally got to sample some of Tasmania's much raved about food, and it certainly didn't disappoint. We were oohing and aahing our way through the whole thing. And this was the view from our table on the verandah.

We kept driving (we were able to time our drives with Indi's naps most of the time) and camped by a beach that night, and since Indi went to sleep early (she actually fell asleep during a beach walk at sunset, and then stayed asleep for the rest of the night) Mat and I got some real one on one time (both the talking and the not-so-talking kind), which was really great.

Indi did so well during the trip, in terms of driving and being happy in unfamiliar surroundings and just generally being a good sport about being carted off to way too many places per day. She's not a happy car traveller generally, but Mat and I were both so impressed with how she coped nonetheless. Here are some pics of my sweetie:

Over the next two days we drove back to Launceston and saw some sights, got caught in a storm and almost got blown off a bridge (well that's what it FELT like!), got a bit of cabin fever during a wet evening, and had a yummy chinese meal. We got to see a cuttlefish (Mat's highlight of the trip; he has a special connection with the cuttlefish. They are pretty amazing creatures.) Also went strawberry picking, and bought a yummy strawberry wine. And then on the last day we went on the most amazing bushwalk through Hollybank forest, which was really brilliant, another magically beautiful place of lush green wonder, and which had a long path called the Walk of Change that led us to the most amazing river and waterfall, totally secluded and brilliant and lovely. We all drank from the waters in a ceremonial gesture of thanks and connection, a libation to commemorate a great walk, and a great way to end a special holiday.

Thank you Mat for making it possible. I love you.

A Happy Birthday it was. Travelling with my beautiful family. I'm a lucky lass!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I like January

It's always been my favourite month. While December was a real cracker of a month, busy but very enjoyable, January has that slow post-festive feel to it, with strings of days with not much on, some extra luxuriating, and maybe even a trip away somewhere. Also it happens to have my birthday in it, late in the month, which automatically takes it up a notch special-wise. Mat's birthday is four days after mine, and each year we really like to indulge ourselves during the period between Christmas and our birthdays, which is a whole month of indulgence! Hmmm, hang on, if we add that on to the indulgence that happened throughout the whole of last December, and which seems set to repeat itself each year, that makes almost two months of indulgence. No wonder my pants are all tight! But hey, life is short, and two months of indulgence out of twelve seems alright to me. Just might mean I have to go pants shopping more often that's all.

So what am I doing for my birthday this year? Going to Tassie!! I am SO excited, seriously, like bopping in my seat excited. We are going for three nights, and hiring a campervan after flying into Launceston, which I chose simply coz last time we flew into Hobart and I'd like to see somewhere new. So three nights to take it easy and drive as we please and stop where we please, and see the north coast of Tassie, and eat yummy expensive food at fancy wineries and restaurants, woo hoo!! So the trip itself is my birthday present from Mat, and my mum and sisters are putting in to pay for some of the fancy eating I wanna do. People always rave about Tassie's food, and last time I didn't get to sample any of it coz we were doing it on the cheap and we just cooked for ourselves, but this time, I'm not going home without a couple of belly-fulls of awesome Tasmanian fare, washed down with some delicious local wines, thankyouverymuch!

And it will be our first time travelling in a plane with the wee little one. Who knows how it will go?? She has been slowly getting better at travelling in the car, which has been such an ordeal over the past year, to the point where she can now travel up to half an hour with few issues, and more if she falls asleep. Hence why the campervan is so good for us, coz we can travel in fits and spurts and not have to make our way back each night, and we can keep going the next day. Not to mention I love camping and caravans and caravan parks and all that stuff. But flying, well, it could be great, coz she will be on our laps and not strapped into a device which keeps her on her own (half the problem of the car), or it could be terrible, coz she might get restless and squirmy and start bleating her little bleat of complaint which she does when we are at a cafe or restaurant or something for too long and she wants to crawl and explore, as she is designed to do. We have bought her some new funky stuff to play with on the trip, so hopefully it will go well. And it's only an hour, at the end of the day, even if she howls the whole way, it won't be too long, for her, for us, and for the other passengers. But regardless of how the plane trip goes, me is excited....

Indigo has just been developing so much these last few weeks, it is such a joy to watch. Mat and I laugh and beam at her so often, it is such a wonderful shared bliss we have. She has learned more words (nose, frittata, banana, and of course her favourite food of all, cheeeeeeese! All said in her own unique babbly style of course, plus a bunch more but my mind is blank) and has also learned how to kiss, which just melts our hearts into little puddles of love. She kisses us on the lips unbidden, and she kisses her toys, and yesterday when she was listening to my mum speak to her on the phone, she kissed the phone! Those tiny little puckered red jubes of lips, oh my lord, does life get any sweeter than when your adorable daughter purses her lips and leans towards you and lifts her little head for a kiss??? If there is I am yet to find it.

So we pass the days in a lazy way, playing in the sandpit or the wading pool or in the outdoor spa, gardening and picking vegies for dinner, and dangling things in front of kittens and laughing as they jump around. We eat yummy organic fruit (I have just discovered the joys of organic stone fruits - WOW!!) as we lay on the trampoline, and go for walks, and hang out with family and friends. It's a damn good life I gotta say. I'm having a good year so far!