wings and things


If I had to choose a single word to describe my first niece, I would use the word “twinkling”. She and her husband arrived last night from Scotland just in time for Christmas. They are going to live here now – yippee!

Late last night she got to see her own first niece for the first time. Do you see what I mean by “twinkling”. Actually in this picture both of them are twinkling!

Ashtyn and Neve

My first niece is also my god-daughter as well as being Ming’s cousin and god-mother. I have always been in awe of her ability to twinkle no matter what, and her homecoming is the best gift any of us could receive this Christmas. She is a vital cog in the machine of this family and her presence enables us all to twinkle with delight; when she smiles, her whole body smiles; when she enters a room, she exudes beauty, grace and hilarity. She is fun and laughter and I love her so much and can’t wait to see her tonight at my mother’s Christmas Eve party.

I feel very lucky to have this fantastic, twinkling niece – very lucky!


Small joys

Tiny moccasins for my soon-to-be-born niece
Anthony kissing my hand today as if I were royalty
The new kitchen sink plug that makes it possible to wash the dishes in less of a rush
My new red boots
Getting the stupid lawn mower fixed finally
Choosing Lino and blinds for Ming’s shed
Watching Judge Judy with Ants (he loves her!)
The baby kookaburra I saw yesterday
Accepting what is

DSCN1832 (2)



It seems indecent to feel, or worse embrace, joy, when your loved one is disappearing.

But joy is clever; it sneaks into the mud of your sorrow and explodes it away in rainbowish sparkles.

It is nearly 35 years since I, rather transparently, fell in love with Anthony and he kept his reciprocal feelings secret (I was, after all, still a teenager and he was over 40).

I think of what we had, what we endured, what we celebrated, and what we have now, as a big kind of love – huge, inviolable, but feather-light, a joy.

I have never felt so sad.
I have never felt so happy.



Moments of pure joy

  • When you ring the electricity people to pay the phenomenal bill and the guy says you are in credit by over $700
  • When you take one of the pillows that your blogging friend from Turkey has given you, and you put it behind your husband’s back in the nursing lodge, and he sighs with pleasure
  • When your oldest niece, who is getting married soon at a castle in Scotland, emails you asking if you would write something for the wedding because she knows you can’t come over
  • When you finish all the blasted paperworky, redtapey, billy, taxy crap
  • When your friend comes over with a fold-up massage table and says she is going to give you a massage and you say you would rather be dead, and she doesn’t mind and gives your son the massage instead
  • When the damaged wing mirror on your car that was going to cost over $1,000 is fixed in 15 minutes by your friend
  • When one of the nurses looking after your husband says she read the thank you note you wrote to the staff, and loved it
  • When someone  you haven’t seen for decades finds you on facebook
  • When you finally finish the folding but still can’t find the iron
  • When, in a cupboard, you discover the gorgeous Italian boots your husband bought you years ago in a fit of extravagance, and you put them on your feet for the first time
  • When your son is angry that you have run out of cereal again and you calmly show him the 10 packets of weetbix in the pantry
  • When you realize that you don’t ever want to find the iron anyway
  • When one of your dogs snuggles happily into your armpit
  • When your son takes over all of the outside jobs but doesn’t tell you off for being behind with the inside jobs
  • When you find a new makeup to obliterate the circles under your eyes
  • When you laugh more times than you cry
  • When you remember something beautiful
  • When you think about planting sunflowers
  • When you see comments from bloggers who you may never meet but with whom you are now connected
  • When you find the gifts you got weeks ago but forgot to give your little, newly christened nephew and niece
  • When you look at the sunset
  • When you find out that the house isn’t riddled with white ants after all
  • When you rediscover prayer in a feather – or two

And all of that joy happened in just 24 hours!


Chasing Joy

You can’t chase joy and, if you try, it tends to get away.

and you can’t just sit there and wait for it to return either because joy doesn’t like lassitude.

You have to create joy in order to entice its proliferation

and you have to embrace it when it does accidentally bump into you on its way somewhere else.

There is a bird here called Joy and it flutters around in my hair, smoodges into the inside of my elbows, perches on the toes of my boots, sits comfortably in my pockets, and comes and goes as it pleases.

It isn’t real, this Joy – it’s more than real.

Yeah, I know, abstract poetry doesn’t work but what the hell!

Okay, so today is Husband’s third day home and two out of three of his nights here were good. During the second night he got that leg pain thing and the painkillers didn’t work so that was a bit horrible, but last night was peaceful for all of us. Today I can sense a strange restlessness in him, almost as if he wants to go back to the nursing lodge where the care is definitely far superior to mine (and the meals he said – hrmpph!)

It’s been a mixed long weekend – the three of us together but separate. A mixed weekend too because of unexpected traumas, expected tensions, mutual avoidance, remembered adoration.

Chasing joy is a futile exercise and you know why?

Because it’s often just around the corner waiting to say ‘BOO!’

Oh yeah, and Joy doesn’t like having its photo taken – sorry!