Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Horror

It has been a horror of a week.  I can't process the details so I have consciously turned away from the news.  I don't want to bear witness.  I am also experiencing horror at some of the reactions and responses to it all.  In spite of my efforts, I walked into the kitchen this morning to hear a man in tears denying to an Australian journalist that an examination of gun laws in the United States would make a difference to something like this happening again since "no sane person would ever do this".  It's just too damn depressing.

My heart is heavy and my stomach is in turmoil.  I take comfort where I can find it.  Today, it was walking my beautiful aging dog in the sunshine through the gardens near our house, watching small children feed the ducks and coots, admiring the Lorikeets swooping through the Palms, and listening to the Cockatoos screech at each other like pairs of fishwives.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

A Little Thanksgiving and a Little Christmas Down Under

It's the first weekend in December down under.  For us that means American Thanksgiving (a week late) and a nod to the Canadian equivalent, with our international friends, decorating our house for Christmas, and as an afterthought, C2s birthday.

It has cooled to a reasonable 25c from the brutal 38c a few days earlier, and our little core contingent of the American Watts family, the French Roman family, and the Canadian Hendricks family gathered on the banks of Albert Lake in Melbourne to eat turkey, cranberry sauce, potato salad, sausages on the barbie, cranberry cake, tarte amandine, nimbu pani (the Watts lived in India, nimbu pani is an Indian summer drink similar to Lemonade), and champagne.  In between all of the eating, we took turns crewing with Paul (Watts) on a sailboat made for 4 around the lake.

Paul did his best to explain to his 3 crew, half of whom were under 10, how to trim sails, steer rudders, and duck booms whilst tacking into the wind.  He might have had a little more experience, since he and Kelly spent four years sailing from South Carolina to the Caribbean through the Panama Canal to many a Pacific Island to New Zealand and on to the Pacific coast of the United States.  See Kelly's website www.sailingtojessica.com/.  He was quite patient as I almost capsized the boat by locking the jib?

We returned home in the late afternoon, a little sunburnt, and a lot starstruck at the reality of their having done this for FOUR YEARS.

This morning, we were awoken by our 9-year old bouncing out of his bed and into ours raring to start decorating for Christmas.  Truth be told, as much as C2 and I both love the festive season, it's not easy mustering the Christmas spirit when it's sunny, hot, and beach weather.  Still, J's enthusiasm is always infectious and we pulled boxes and bags from storage and listened to carols on Pandora for a couple of hours while we brightened our house with all things Christmasy.  Then we set up our tent in preparation for C2 and J's fathers-and-kids camping expedition to the Surf Coast next weekend.

This is one of the paradoxes of living in Australia, decorating for a traditional Winter holiday while planning for a beach Surf Coast camping trip while planning for a trip shortly after to Canada's Winter.