wings and things


In just a few hours, December will be arriving and I have to admit I am a little nervous. Last time December visited, it outstayed its welcome and ruined Christmas and made us all wish it would go away. This time, I’ve decided to welcome December by asking it to be more supportive and I was quite blunt in this request this morning. Thankfully, December wasn’t at all offended and had no idea how badly it behaved last year and has even apologized! Nevertheless I am on my guard because December has a reputation for being unreliable, and rather arrogant about its ownership of Christmas. And, during a further discussion with December tonight, I’m almost certain I detected a little smirk. I hope not because I really want us to be friends or, at the very least, to establish a working relationship. I have been trying to contact December for a couple of hours now but there is no answer so I guess I will have to wait until it arrives to reiterate that if it becomes overbearing again I will have to take action and possibly kick it back to November using Ming’s old football shoes and Anthony’s walking stick.

But perhaps it is my own attitude to December that is the problem? Maybe I should just embrace December like a long lost friend? Yes!


Disclaimer about potplants

In my earlier post today I mentioned ‘potplants’. This is an Australianism for a potted plant, not marijuana.

Thanks to those commenters who alerted to me to this possible misunderstanding.

I can’t stop laughing!


Letting the plants die

At the risk of horrifying gardeners everywhere, Ming and I have made the decision to let anything that cannot survive this summer without water, die. Why, you ask? Well, firstly we don’t have any reticulation on this 5-acre back yard; secondly, every time we turn the hose on to water anything, the bore pump kicks in and the electricity bill skyrockets; and thirdly, I am NOT keen on gardening!

Most of the plants and trees here (camellias, flame trees, willows and palms) are so old that their roots are very deep so they will survive and of course all of the native trees will survive – the gums, wattles and whatever those other trees at the back are. Most of the fruit trees – oranges, avocado and pear trees haven’t properly fruited for years but they still look nice I guess.

Similarly, we are also getting rid of all the potplants because the pots are broken and cracked, most of the plants are dead anyway and it’s bad enough having so much inside clutter without all this outside clutter. Anthony was the one with the green thumb, not me, and not Ming.

This has not been an easy decision because the ancient rose trees that line the driveway are pretty special but for any of you who know what a typical Australian summer is like, the watering of these roses is going to be an enormous job and expense.

Tomorrow is the first day of summer. Bring it on!


Sick of love

I wrote this dreadful poem last night with the above title, but I didn’t post it because it was too bleak. This morning I looked at it again and agreed with myself that it was too bleak. I would like to be able to say it was absolutely brilliant but, in fact, it was so dismal that I trashed it. Good riddance.

The poem was about becoming sick and tired of love – of loving and of being loved – the heavy weight of it, an anagram of vole which is I think is a kind of rodent.

When I first met my husband I was sick with love, a buzzy, hopeful, exciting love. It worked, we worked, we were happy.

Today, when I visited him in the nursing lodge, he was sad and said, when I had to leave to pick Ming up, “You don’t want to be with me anymore.” I didn’t get angry or broken-hearted and I couldn’t even muster the empathy to reassure him adequately, so had to ring again and again this afternoon to reassure him.

I guess it’s just a phase but the weight of his love for me is too much at the moment and my love for him seems to need a holiday.

This afternoon, in the midst of a storm, we lost electricity for a few hours so I went through the archives of my computer to do a cull and found a letter that I had written to Anthony’s doctor and neurologist nearly ten years ago, outlining his symptoms, asking if his medication could be increased, wondering what the future held. I never sent this letter because I was too emotional at the time so I must have kept it for myself just for the record. It shocked me to realize how long since his Parkinson’s was diagnosed and I am still finding it difficult to believe it has been nearly a decade. Hell, Ming was only a little boy back then.

This is not at all a self-pitying post even if it seems that way; I guess it’s just a recognition that sometimes love can be way too heavy. I’m not sure.


Love story 123 – Keeping abreast

By the time I was around 10, all the girls in my class started developing breasts. One by one those breasts blossomed, and wearing a bra became a status symbol. And, one by one, those girls stopped trampolining with me.

I was a tomboy, tall and gangly. So, when the bra phase started, I suffered two contradictory kinds of dread. The first was the fear of it being discovered that I didn’t have any, and the second was of getting them – breasts, I mean. This latter fear took precedence.

It was two years after every other girl in the class had proudly made the singlet-to-bra transition that my mother insisted on purchasing my first bra. On the way to the shop, I was distraught: “Isn’t there some way of stopping this?” and “What if they get in the way when I’m climbing trees?” and “Are you sure there’s a God?”

Six months later, I caught up with the other girls and, to my dismay, rapidly overtook them. Those who had temporarily abandoned me now envied me. After all, I had the biggest breasts in the class. It was horrible!

But of course I got over it and, to my surprise, I grew up.


Years later Anthony proposed, we got married and I immediately became pregnant with Ming. It was, to say the least, a rather quick succession of events. But the thing that happened most quickly was the growth of my breasts.

So it was with an all-too-familiar anxiety that I found my breasts transmogrifying from a size 12C – to an (eventual) 18E.

By the time I was three months pregnant, Anthony and I still hadn’t told anyone except family so we were both disconcerted to be confronted with sudden, effusive congratulations from everyone – the postmistress, the local shop owner, even the lawn-mowing man. When we tried to be evasive, various subtle and not-so-subtle allusions to the size of my breasts were made. I would cringe, feeling exposed.

On every social occasion, family get-together and even at work, I was bombarded by comments about my breasts. These varied from the hilarious to the complimentary to the lewd. But it wasn’t until a friend of my mother’s visited and exclaimed, “My God! Your mum’s right – they’re gigantic!” that I decided I’d had enough.

I glared at her, then made one of those dramatic exits that pregnant people are often forced to do, due to the insensitivity of non-pregnant people. I rushed tearfully out of the house and over to the dairy, and watched the cows being milked. (The irony of this only hit me later!)

But the dramatic exit strategy worked. I had to repeat it a few times over the remaining months, but eventually my breasts were allowed to grow in peace. Strangely, my belly hardly grew at all.


I thought, and hoped, that after Ming was weaned (which only took about two seconds because he wasn’t interested) I would go back to my normal size but it never happened. One of my worst memories was of Ming walking in on me in the bathroom after my shower and running away screaming “Argh – the breasticles – the horror!”

Note: For obvious reasons there is no photo to accompany this post.


Love story 122 – Every evening

Tonight’s phonecall with Anthony:

Ants: I am just across the road, not far. Can you pick me up?

Me: It’s really late, Ants – I’ll see you tomorrow morning, okay?

Ants: But I’m not sure about this party.

Me: I can hear the nurse, Ants, and she is going to put you to bed right now. You’ll be fine and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Ants: Why can’t you come and help me?

Me: It’s 8.30pm, Ants.

Ants: Just for a cup of tea?

Me: I’ll be there at 11am tomorrow okay. Just try and go to sleep.

Ants: I miss you so much, Jules.

Me: I just saw you yesterday. Pull yourself together Ants!

Ants: I wanted to burst into tears.

Me: What? You better not do that – you are not a wimp. Stop it!

Ants: Okay, are you sure?

Me: Sure about what?

Ants: That you love me.

Me: Yes! How many times do I have to tell you this?

Ants: Okay, that’s fine. G’night Jules.

Me: G’night Ants – see you in the morning.

I think I am getting stronger and less affected by these sometimes bizarre evening phone conversations. Paradoxically, I have never felt so exhausted. This is probably because I am finally being more honest with Ants and have stopped tiptoeing around his constant home-coming wishes. He keeps reassuring me that he is getting better which is, of course, not true. Yesterday at the nursing lodge I couldn’t even manage to hoist him up from his chair to use the walker to walk me out and we both gave up.

My emotions seem to be having a rest and pragmatism has come to the rescue. I hardly ever cry now – it’s weird.



Prince, our only male white peacock, is now stalking the gang nonstop. At first he was just picking on poor little Daffy, but now he seems to have it in for Zaruma too. And yesterday he attacked Godfrey!

Prince: Where are they?
Me: Why are you doing this, Prince? Leave the gang alone!

Prince: But Zaruma is such fun!
Me: Leave him alone!

Zaruma: Julie, HELP!
Me: Prince, if you don’t stop this harrassment immediately I will send you off to the neighbours’ roof where you will be hosed, yelled at and get a taste of your own medicine.

Prince: Okay, sorry, Julie – just having a bit of fun while Princess 1 is sitting on those egg things.
Me: Those egg things are your children, silly.
Prince: Oh!

Zaruma: Thanks, Julie. Tapper was getting worried about my mental health.

Godfrey: Julie, I know you and I haven’t always agreed on things but this time I am absolutely on your side. That Prince has become far to arrogant and I am going to wingpunch him next time.
Me: Thanks for your support, Godrey!


Love story 121 – What is mine is yours (or is it the other way around?)

I have started saying this weird thing lately, that I have never said before. Instead of saying our, I’ve begun to say my and this disturbs me. Here are some examples:

  • This is my son
  • Come over to my place
  • My birds
  • My dogs
  • My house
  • My farm


The fact that I sometimes say this my thing instead of the usual our thing in front of Anthony makes me sick to my stomach and I always try to correct the my to our before he notices or gets hurt.

He doesn’t notice, but why am I doing this ‘my’ thing when I have never done so before? Everything has always been ours, not mine, not his – ours.


Baby brother sequel

Since my earlier post, about my baby brother turning 50 today, elicited some interest, I decided to follow up with a photo of when he was little.

This is him now (in case you missed the other post):


Baby brother

This is my baby brother, M, who turned 50 today – 50! I can’t believe it. This photo is from about a year ago.  As you can see he is a big man – 6’4″ – and being a great fisherman is just one of his many talents. He lives four hours away from us with his beautiful wife and their three children on a big block of forest where he built his own house with his own hands.

He isn’t just a big man in terms of height; he is a big man in terms of his heart – a gentle giant with two older sons (yes, he has 5 children altogether) who have inherited his looks and different bits of his fantastic personality.

I was four when he was born and my other brother was two. When M came along he was such a novelty with his huge head, blonde hair and angelic face; he was definitely the cutest of all of us!

He’s still pretty cute even though he is now so old – ha!

Happy birthday little brother!