Finally the Lost Dogs Home said we could take the cats there. Then, last night as I was getting changed I saw the mother cat dash across our bedroom with something grey, squeaking and rat sized in her mouth and dive into G's dirty washing basket. I shrieked pathetically (while thinking that enhanced rodent control might be an upside of all the extra cats) and G came to investigate (he's very good with rodents). And there amongst his smelly socks and underpants was a mother cat and two little, little kittens. At first we thought she was actually giving birth but then on closer investigation, I realised that the kittens were a couple of days old. Still so very tiny. She must have come out of the rain from somewhere to give birth under our house. G moved them out to the shed for the night and as the older cats kept pushing the littlies away for a go at their mothers milk and as they were going the next day, he fed them. In the middle of the night there was more squeaking and mother cat had appeared to claim yet another three day old kitten. G got up and put them both out in the shed. In the morning he said, there were three generations of cats all curled up in the basket together. He told me later, that he'd had a little chat to them about what to expect at the cat home, given them an information sheet about their rights and obligations and told them that none of this was their fault, because they were really good, sweet little cats.
Grace was pretty excited about going to the cat home, we've been saying that's where they were going since Tuesday and I hadn't had the heart to tell her what a tragic place it was. She still thinks that the word home means something good. This morning we borrowed another cat cage and went to the Lost Dogs home. I filled out the paperwork and while we were waiting, read posters saying that feeding strays was wrong; that you either have to take on an animal properly or phone the council (hah!). A worker came to check the cats out and transfer them into different cages. She handled the cats gently and with a sort of respectful affection but said the kittens had no chance, they were too young and that it looked like the little cats had cat flu. At one point I had a few tears in my eyes, but really we can't take on more cats. Although it was tempting. The last stray we had here, we found a home for him, but there was only one. Not six.
Hitting a wall at three or four each day, wanting to sleep endlessly. Wondering if I could go a whole day without small talk. Looking around my office, the tram and thinking, hey I'm in sleepytown, it's all a bizarre somnolent dream. And yet not sleeping well at night. Feeling queasy, all clogged up. It's my liver maybe, possibly my old friend the gallstone. Hard to tell if it's a physical or mental thing. Maybe both. All being checked out, eventhough the very thought of being poked and prodded, of discussing my body, even with my favourite hippy(ish), but well qualified and diligent doctor, makes me curl inside.
Trying to eat right, craving smoked salmon on rye, bitter lettuce, lemon juice in water, orange food; pumpkin, sweet potato, canteloupe. Trying to walk every day to counter the sluggishness. Yoga would be good, if only I could be bothered (yes, I realise herein lies half the problem, lying around makes you feel like shit especially when that's all you want to do). Doing things; playing with Grace, cleaning the house, shopping, going to work, writing, being in my life but dragging myself through each day. Thinking, I should be able to stop feeling like this. Thinking, why can't I just decide that everything will be different. And then, having made that committment, find that they are.
I want my brain back. All of it. I feel like the straw man, or scarecrow, from the Wizard of Oz, if only I had a brain.... His is revealed, but I'm not sure mine will return. I don't mind going to work, it's no harder or easier than home (except I can't nap, which is probably counterbalanced by being able to read at lunch and go to the toilet by myself) but like everything else I'm slow at it. Muddled, but my voice is so soft, even the toughest customers are nice to me, leading to some good chats. But I'm not busting my arse to work superfast when it's busy, I'm pushing through mud as it is. Feeling my brain pop, the clouds drift over. A weird sensation, almost like I'm going to fall but I don't. Of course I think about it, along with crawling into a cave, with a telly, some books and a nice handknitted rug or two. Waking up in spring. All fresh and new.
I don't dare stop though, what if I never got re-started again? Perhaps I need my purple pills checked.
Yesterday the ground was so dry that Grace was making sandcastles in the vegie patch and I was bucketing washing machine water over the lemon tree and some of my herbaceous plants that looked on the verge of death. Even the weeds had given up. We'd swept the paths and tidied up but dust just blew around. Now lovely rain has washed the paths clean. Hopefully there really will be more rain again soon and seeds lying dormant will shoot and then we'll have a garden again.
So anyway, the beach holiday feels a long time ago. Life has slotted back into the Melbourne groove. I was going to show you some cows and clouds, and talk about this and that, but I've forgotten exactly what so I might just move right onto the craft weekend. It was excellent. And this time, I remembered to take my sewing machine pedal. The great plans I had of sewing many outfits didn't exactly come to fruitition, but some things take longer than you expect. And really like always, the best part of all was the company of fabulous women; Sooz, Suse, Di, Lauren, and the blogless but just as fabulous Cath, Jody, Maria and Stephanie. Working and talking, looking at fabric and yarn, eating fantastic food (extra special mention and gratitude here to Maria, who spent most of Saturday cooking - as her craft!).
As for the crafting, I finished the doll's quilt that was going to be my holiday handsewing project until I worked out that I don't enjoy hand quilting. Dolly also had some new stuffing inserted and received a new outfit. A dress and some underpants (something I'd like Grace to aspire to). Anyway both the outfit and the quilt have been very well recived. I'm also halfway through a top for me, from some quite nice Nana silk I bought at the opshop last year. Hopefully I'll finish it before Christmas. While we're on matters craft related, I was kissed by the Craft Fairy just before we went away and received a package of some lovely fine cotton yarn. Thank you Craft Fairy! I'm yet to work out a project for this, but maybe I should have a go at some knitting? My knitting is very basic, but I have to learn sometime. I think this would be nice to knit with? As opposed to crochet, which would also be nice.
Coming home from the craft weekend was the end of my big holiday. It was hot. So hot that going back to work was almost a relief. And evenings were spent in the heat battling (or giving up) the hundred and one things that take up your time when your computer has had all the programs reloaded. Like learning a newer version of my photo software, just when all I really wanted to to do was get my photos done. In the heat. Oh, I could have cried. As it turns out, once I started with the new program, I realised it's way better than the old one, no more using photoshop just to straighten a horizon line. Have also had to get Dad to help make my outlook work again, what no address book? Anyway it's all done. I'm back online. Properly. Now I just have to figure out why the Flickr uploadr isn't working well like it used to. I tried the new version, it kept crashing and when it worked, was very slow. Which is a pity, because it looks quite the business. So I went back to the old one, which is having issues I've never had before. And why the Feedburner email subscription form isn't working properly on the pool site. There, that'd be a list almost... I do belive the block is gone now.
And it's raining. Real rain !!! With thunder! There's a whole lot of washing on the line, but who cares?! Rain....
At the beginning of our trip away I felt a little like when working full time ... the omigod it's Friday night which means in two more days it'll be Monday again feeling. But as it was, time stretched out in front of me, there were beach trips and outings in the car, various photo sessions with three different cameras. Nights spent chatting, handstitching a little felt horse and a new pincushion. Afternoons devouring books found at the beach house; Irish novels by Marian Keyes, one after the other. I read the one about the lass who goes to rehab (rachel's holiday), the one whose husband leaves her with a newborn (watermelon), one about a girl with an alcoholic dad (lucy sullivan is getting married) and another about a woman finding love at the same time her gay friend is sick (last chance saloon). All page turners, with messages. While the pile of worthy fiction I'd bought with me sat ignored. Although I did start The Sound of One Hand Clapping by Richard Flanagan on the second last day. And kept reading in spare moments once we got home. Even though it's a heartwrenching read. So my reading mojo is back. Which is good because it's been long gone.
There were lots of moments with family, with Mum and Betty and Ruby. During which Grace almost smothered her little cousin with kindness a couple of times and learnt about sharing. Or not. Watching them play in the shallow water at the inlet and then racing to pack up and drive our cars out before high tide. Lots and lots of aunty cuddles, not really ever enough. Lance and Gerard arriving at the weekend. More visitors, a house full of people, easy dinner and lots of wine and talk (mind you half a glass of red knocks me nearly senseless these days). A visit from Dad and Nina and an unexpectedly good boogie board day at the beach. Followed by a visit to my aunty and (step)uncle who live nearby where Grace stayed up until eleven o'clock and was well behaved!
What else? Playing with Grace in the water. That girl must have veins of ice. There weren't that many days really hot enough for extended swimming. But every time we went to the beach she insisted. I tried to convince her to paddle in her shorts but learnt quickly the best thing was to put her bathers on, let her run around and splish and splosh, pulling her out and wrapping her in a towel once she started to shiver. Sometimes a biscuit in the back of the car was in order. She also loved going out in the surf with me, jumping up to meet the waves with me holding her hands and being tossed about a bit in the shallows (very well supervised of course). Sand castles were a big hit, as was visiting nearby Magic Beach which was easily recognisable from the book by Alison Lester. I bought this book while Christmas shopping and put it away, sneakily packing it in unseen with the other books and toys at the last moment and gosh, what a thrill. It'd be fair to say, I think, that Grace will inherit my love of the water. She also seems to have grown half a foot and tripled her vocabulary.
I feel like I could have stayed away another week, cocooned in a precious little web of holiday. Not that it was perfect, because we're not, but it's nice to be cooking dinner and looking at ti-tree and going for walks along big open beaches with a changing vista every day. It's good for your head, good for your soul. We're starting to slide back into everyday life again. Although I'm going away for a craft retreat this weekend which I feel absolutely and absurdly excited about. You mean I get to sit around with other women, sew without feeling rude, chat, drink and talk about blogging and craft and heaps of other things?!? And eat yummy food. Oh yes, very excited.
Meanwhile my computer is still having surgery. And G deleted the photo editor I like to use from his which means I feel all at sea photowise. Still, I'm very lucky to be able to go online at all (yes, but you know this time I din't really miss it after the first couple of days, not like last time, but I wanted it as soon as I got home, hmm). And I have just discovered that the flickr editor is pretty easy to use. Still I haven't downloaded or organised most of my photos. Which means that when I get back from the aforesaid weekend of excitement, not only will I have to rouse myself and get back to work but there'll be three weeks of photos to do. Blogging may therefore be a little thin on the ground for a while. Or not. We'll see.