What Mary Read

I belong to a local book group. With this comes the reading of books that I mightn’t usually choose. These also need to be read for the second Tuesday of the month.

As mentioned before I keep a big pile of books on the hop sometimes. Having a set date to have a book read by can be a good thing.

Our “holiday read” for the February meet was from a selection of Kathy Lette books. I randomly selected “After The Blues”. “Puberty Blues” was her first book, a co-write that was written in the 70’s, about growing up on the southern beaches of Sydney at a time when girls were seen as the buyer of chiko rolls and the cheer squad on the beach for their surfer boyfriends.

This book was written two years ago, as a follow on from the first book. Set in the few years after high school, taking up where apparently the first book left off. It is an easy, amusing read, delving into the friendships and love stories of the central character and her mates. New friends, old friends, new locations and trips back to the burbs are all part of the story.

I enjoyed this romp through the early 80’s. If you are looking for a quick read then this fits the bill!

One of the best things about our Book Group is that the books are sourced by a lovely librarian at Rockdale Library. We give her a list of what we might like to read and she works it out from there.

Stay tuned for the March read in a few weeks time.

What Mary Read

My name is Mary, and my reading specialty is starting as many books as possible and having a tower not only on my bedside table, but also on the floor beside my side of the bed.

I got this book for myself for Christmas. I had seen Sofija at the Sydney Writers Festival in May, on a panel about borders and displacement. This book had been on my list since then.

It was a fabulous read. I learnt so much about the area that was Yugoslavia. Having lived through this era, on the other side of the world, and as a privileged 4th generation Australian, I really had no idea what was going on there.

Sofija moved to Australia with her family in the 80’s, abruptly moved back again before the wars of the early 90’s, and then, as they had citizenship here back they came during the unrest before the war.

I laughed, learnt and sobbed reading this book. I think being a parent sometimes puts me right into the story, more than being a daughter. Sofija has to deal with some things that you would never wish on a child. She also has a great way with words.

Our suburb is full of people who came out from the Balkans, both as immigrants and as refugees. We have a little cafe that turns into a Small Bar and nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights. Club Rakia brings a bit of the Balkans night life straight to our high street, and it is fabulous. When I go there with A we people watch and drink beer. I think that Sofiya might feel a little bit at home, with the mad Balkan disco going off down the back, and the different people coming through the front door like they own the place. In a way they do.

If, like me, you lived through this tumultuous era without much idea of what was going on “Miss Ex Yugoslavia” might give you an idea of how this effected the then-Yugoslavians at home, and in their diaspora. The name itself comes from a beauty pageants that Sofija entered. Read it to find out more!

Things you need!

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of what you might just need.

Last week a wonderful parcel arrived, of beautiful things I’d ordered from Champagne Cartel way back in January when we were up the coast. You know when you see a little online sale and it plays on your mind? This was one of those. I’d seen it, looked thoroughly, noted some lovely things, and went back a few days later and added to cart!

I knew it would take a while for the parcel arrive (the women who run the site were enjoying a January break too). When the parcel arrived it was a wonderful surprise! So beautifully wrapped, I loved it before I even opened up my gifts to self!

This card was with my purchases, and I love it. I think it’s my motto for this term – and the glasses that arrived add just that to my great big drinks of water. When cocktails are required they’ll come in handy then too!

Here’s to Sass and Glamour! A wonderful combination!

A Photo a Day – Week 5

Catching up here, though miraculously I have posted every day on instagram.

January

Day 29 Empty

Looking into a wine bottle.

Day 30 Monochrome

Walking up the travelator in the local shopping centre.

Day 31 Morning

Second day of school, and the obligatory photo at the sign!

February

Day 1 Something Blue

In our dining room.

Day 2 Street Art

A favourite piece, no longer there, near A’s work.

Day 3 Carrot

That swimming cap at the Sanitarium Try-athlon at Sydney Olympic Park.

Day 4 Peek-a-boo

A Boomerang Beach sunrise from Winter 2017. I think we’re due another return visit.

新年快乐 Xīnnián kuàilè

Kung Hei Fat Choy too while we’re at it!

Chinese New Year always sends me straight back down memory lane, to my Year Beside Monkey. Fifteen years ago now, almost to the date, I arrived in Beijing and headed straight out to what I discovered was Nandaihe, in the southern end of the city area of Qinhuangdao. About all I knew of Qinhuangdao was that it was an ice free port. Little did I know what would be in store for me over the next twelve months.

What a year it was. So much growth and change and so many challenges faced front on.

That particular Year of the Monkey (also my zodiac year) was a fabulous one.

Here’s to a great Year of the Pig! There will be a dumpling meal soon to celebrate, I just know it!

The Growing Tree

At least once per term I take a photo of my APS child (or children!) at The Growing Tree. It’s A Particular Tree, where I often park the car when I go up to the school to drop off/ pick up said child/ren.

So it was G by herself for two years, then two with both of them. Now it’s back to one child at that school, again, being photographed at the tree.

He’s growing like topsy. He’s settling in again to the routine of being a school child after a fabulous summer. He’s funny and clever and kind. He is loving his job this year of being a Buddy to a new Kindy kid.

I think he is going to rock Year 5.

Their First Try

This morning T and G participated in the Weetbix Try-Athlon out at Olympic Park. We stayed overnight right next door, as it was a very early start.

The place was buzzing when we went across the road at 7am. So many participants checking in with their families there to cheer them along.

Firstly it was a stop at Numbering – where the kids got their bib numbers on their arms and legs. These were also on stickers for their bikes and bike hats.

Then it was into the athletics stadium, where the bikes went into the transition area, along with the change of clothes for the bike and run legs.

There was a bit of waiting around in the Village aka the retail and eating and grandstand area. It was a hot old day in Homebush.

Going into the pool viewing area was a blessed relief. Nothing like air con when looking out for your child in a sea of children in the same coloured swimming caps!

After the swim it was on the the Transition Area for the kids, a quick towel off and into their clothes for the bike leg. Bikes readied and off for that leg.

Transition again and off on the run! I was exhausted just following the kids around from pool to stadium, let alone participating. G was in the second group to head off, and T was in the last – we went back and forth!!

Both the kids did so well. They were proud of themselves, and justifiably so! It was a busy, long morning for all of us.

February 1st

A and I are toasting absence tonight, it’s the end of another trip around the sun without our Sue, his beautiful big sister. It’s five years today since she died.

We still miss her so very much, and often ponder what she’d might’ve thought about this or that. I like to think that she would still be so very proud of her little brother, and amazed by her nieces and nephew. I often wish that I could talk to her about her tween and teen-ness, and get a bit of insight to the Weakley Girl phenomena, that might help me with my own little one. I also wonder if G would’ve pegged her yet, like she has Aunty C, my other sister-in-law.

She’d have definitely loved the enormous bottle of Shiraz we cracked open tonight. Red wine was her signature cocktail!

This fabulous photo sums up the eternal optimism of the Weakley Family!!

Why yes, we will picnic as planned, whatever the weather, whilst touring by car in Greece. Taken by A – way back in the last century.

It’s All About That Boy

Today I got to walk my lad into the playground and get his pic with The Usual Sign. He managed to smile!

Today was also the school swimming carnival. After a quick playground catch up I dashed home to get organised to head out to spectate poolside.

The lad was happy to see me when I did head into the stands. I couldn’t help but think of the first swimming carnival G attended at that school. I walked in a little earlier (as you need to when your child is 8 and competing in freestyle, it’s guaranteed to be the first event). G was sitting by herself in the boiling sunny part of her House’s area in the stands. She had started at the school a couple of weeks earlier and truly knew no-one in her House. An acquaintance Mum came up to me and said “oh, yes, G was with her cousin, in the wrong House area, so I told her to move”. I could’ve strangled that woman. To see your child alone at an event like this breaks your heart just a little. I bundled my kid up and moved into the stand, where we bustled up to a Grandma and another girl who we’d met years before once or twice. They, of course, were happy for us to join them, and G seemed happy that I’d come along and got her into the shade, at least!

So T swam his heart out in the events he chose to participate in, and placed in both.

I had a good chattering catch up day with friends I hadn’t seen for six weeks.

T and I took ourselves off to the indoor pool for a cooling swim after I signed him out. 42C was what it said in the car. I believed it.

After picking G up (as we were kind-of in the vicinity) and flopping about the house cooling down, the executive decision was made to have fish and chips for tea. A new fish and chips place has opened at Rockdale. It’s good. We will venture there again!!

Joe Cool found his sunnies in the car. Handsome dude!

The New School

G started high school today. We got her there in time. She managed to give us the slip in the foyer after a hug and a kiss goodbye, and find her friends from primary school. We eventually located her across the hall (without making eye contact or waving or anything) and sat elsewhere for the bit of the Welcome Assembly where parents were indeed welcome, at least by the school itself if not our offspring!

Once dismissed we were invited to the Parents Morning Tea, run by the P&C, in the Old Hall. It was lovely. I had to make sure that we called in for a cup of tea, as I truly appreciate the effort that goes in to running one of these. It’s the first time in forever that I was a guest not an organiser!

The baked goods were delicious. I knew we weren’t in Arncliiffe any more, there was a tray of ham sandwiches on the table too!

I chatted to some people I hope I meet again, parents whose daughters had attended other primary schools. One woman has a daughter in my best friend’s son’s class, I discovered, and another is married to one of my ex-flatmates. I did know this connection before I introduced myself to her. The world can seem quite small sometimes, even so!

You have to love a school that loves on it’s parents. I think we’ve made a very good decision with G’s high school.

Here’s to a great six years!!