Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Snip, snip

Something rather momentous happened this morning: my son had his first haircut.

Well ... not really a haircut as such, since it's that fine, wispy, ultra-blonde baby hair and there's still not enough for a full haircut. It certainly hadn't grown down into his eyes or over his ears or anything like that. I had my own hair done and the hairdresser simply snipped the longish bits of E's hair in 3-4 places.

It looks far better (neater) ... but it's yet another of those markers, isn't it? That he's not a baby any more.

Indeed he's not. He's three years and two months.

Just hope his dad doesn't notice, because he expressly forbade me to cut E's hair. He wanted it to get longer all over before we snipped it. I personally thought it was starting to look weird, with all these random comb-over bits.

The beauty of this is that he'll never realise I actually had E's hair trimmed ... because blokes never notice haircuits - do they?!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

There are consolations...

When we moved from our little tiny house in the inner city out to a suburb on the edge of Sydney's inner west we missed many things. Like being able to walk to groovy cafes, to convenience stores, to bottle shops, doctor's surgeries and delis. In fact, when we first moved there three and a half years ago, I hated it.

But only for a few weeks (and possibly because my veins coursed with pregnancy hormones).

We are now a 20-minute walk from the supermarket and a 40-minute walk from Marrickville (which has, by the way, the BEST shopping street in Sydney) and Earlwood. This morning E and I walked to Marrickville for a coffee and back.

Anyhow, we are further away from everything. But once a year we celebrate our new location with a stein (or two) of beautiful, icy German beer. Because one of the few watering holes we're in walking (stumbling?) distance of is the Concordia German Club (a gloriously un-gentrified former bowling club that's now a croquet club).

Yes, it's Oktoberfest time again.

E was excited to go to the "party" because there was a Nemo bouncy castle. But within two seconds he was in floods of tears and wanting to get off because there were "too many kids". Which was probably true.

So instead we convinced him to play a really cool game: it's called "run to the flagpole and back so Mum and Dad can have a few seconds to drink in peace". He was totally into it.

He also loves the German oompapa music - who doesn't?

And the great news: it's on again next weekend.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My favourite U2 lines ... well, some of them

Let's do this chronologically, shall we?

An Cat Dubh - Boy
Yes, and I know the truth about you.
For me, this lyric was proof that Bono was in some way otherworldly and that, yes, he did indeed know the truth about me.

October - October
October and kingdoms rise
And kingdoms fall
But you go on

Beautiful. Pure and beautiful. There is so much to love on this album though - it was my fave for a long time.

Rejoice - October
And what am I to do?
Just tell me what am I supposed to say?
I can't change the world
But I can change the world in me

I still find these words powerful.

The Refugee - War
In the evening
She is waiting
Waiting for her man to come
And take her by her hand
And take her to this promised land.

I loved The Refugee for its heavy drums, but I dig these lyrics too.

Drowning Man - War
Take my hand
You know I'll be there
If you can
I'll cross the sky for your love.
For I have promised
For to be with you tonight
And for the time that will come.

Gulp. Teary just reading this. It's the intensity of Bono's delivery that gets me every time...

Promenade - The Unforgettable Fire
And I, like a firework, explode.
Roman candle, lightning, lights up the sky.
In cracked streets, trample underfoot.
Side-step, sidewalk.
I see you stare into space.
Have I got closer now, behind the face?
Oh, tell me, Cherry you dance with me
Turn me around tonight
Up through the spiral staircase to the higher ground.


A Sort of Homecoming - The Unforgettable Fire
And you know it's time to go
Through the sleet and driving snow
Across the fields of mourning to a light that's in the distance.

The Unforgettable Fire remains my favourite U2 album. I adore its quiet beauty. And with this as its opening lines it probably will always remain at the top of my pops...

Running to Stand Still - The Joshua Tree
And so she woke up
Woke up from where she was lyin' still.

The Joshua Tree is a technically masterful album and I LOVE it, but it's not in my top three. This song, however, gives me shivers every time.

Trip Through Your Wires - The Joshua Tree
You, I'm waiting for you
You, you set my desire
I trip through your wires.

Passion perfectly expressed.

Hawkmoon 269 - Rattle & Hum
Like a rhythm unbroken
Like drums in the night
Like sweet soul music
Like sunlight
I need your love.

An underrated song - but another that I will love forever.

Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around The World - Achtung Baby
Sunrise like a nose-bleed, your head hurts and you can't breathe
You been tryin' to throw your arms around the world.
How far are you gonna go before you lose your way back home
You been tryin' to throw your arms around the world.

The entire album is sensational, but this ... this is genius. And live? Blows me away.

Stay - Zooropa
And, if you listen, I can't call.
And, if you jump, you just might fall.
And, if you shout, I'll only hear you.
If I could stay, then the night would give you up.
Stay, and the day would keep its trust.
Stay with the demons you drowned.
Stay with the spirit I found.
Stay, and the night would be enough.

A pretty song.

Do You Feel Loved - Pop
Take the colours of my imagination
Take the scent hanging in the air
Take this tangle of a conversation
Turn it into your own prayer.
With my fingers as you want them
With my nails under your hide
With my teeth at your back
And my tongue to tell you the sweetest lies.

Having said The Unforgettable Fire is my favourite album, I'm realising Pop runs a very, very close second. Equal first, even.
God, I LOVE this song.
I could listen to it over and over and over...

If You Wear That Velvet Dress - Pop
Tonight, the moon is playing tricks again
I'm feeling seasick again.
The whole world could just dissolve
Into a glass of water.

Sheer loveliness. Unbelievable live.

Stuck In a Moment - All That You Can't Leave Behind
I will not forsake, the colours that you bring
But the nights you filled with fireworks
They left you with nothing
I am still enchanted by the light you brought to me
I still listen through your ears, and through your eyes I can see

Oh Bono... swoon.

Vertigo - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Your love is teaching me how
How to kneel

Succinctly spiritual. What else is there to say? This cannot be bettered.

Miracle Drug - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
The songs are in your eyes
I see them when you smile
I’ve had enough I’m not giving up
On a miracle drug
Of science and the human heart
There is no limit
There is no failure here sweetheart
Just when you quit…
I am you and you are mine
Love makes nonsense of space
And time… will disappear
Love and logic keep us clear

Brings tears to the eyes every single time I hear it. Incredible.

Right. I'm off to put a couple of songs on before the little tacker wakes and demands The Wiggles...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Choc face

It's been one of those days where nothing has been going right. What possessed me to give the child a chocolate cupcake to eat in the car seat, I'm not sure, but when I turned around to see this...

...I swear I nearly snapped.
(It's OK, I can see the funny side now)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Diary days...

Since I posted about my early days as a U2 fan last week I've been thinking about those years quite a bit. So I ventured to my bookcase this afternoon. This bookcase has one entire shelf dedicated to my diaries, which go back to 1982. (In fact, one of the things that annoys me about blogging is that I don't keep a diary for myself any more ... anyway.)

I pulled out the diaries from 1988 and 1989 and once I'd finishing cringing (BIG cringe factor involved for me in any glance back THAT far!) I decided to share a little from them.

Last post I mentioned that I sent Bono and the boys birthday cards - yeah, well I also cut out the paper bag from Coonabarabran Newsagency, the bag in which the card was carried and stuck that into my diary. Okaaaaaay.

I also had a bet some years ago (in fact, I have been meaning to go back to this one because it gets mentioned at family get togethers). My sister bet me I wouldn't like U2 in a year. Ha, no worries there. And my brother bet me $50 (a handsome sum indeed - he wouldn't have even owned such an amount back then) that I wouldn't like U2 in 1995 ... read it and weep, bro!! Oh, and you owe me 50 smackers.

I also found this:

It's the nearest I got to seeing U2 on their Lovetown tour in 1989.

All these years later it still kills me to think of how close I got. As you'd expect, I had a countdown in my diary for MONTHS prior (the excitement builds on every page). My parents made the 900km round trip to Sydney in our old Econovan to take me and my sister to this concert.
We were across from the Entertainment Centre at Darling Harbour just a couple of hours before the show when we heard on the radio that Bono had lost his voice.

Oh, the horror.

Talk about upset! Months and months of anticipation had brought me to this point and out of the 10 or however many shows they had I had to have a ticket to the one that cancelled.

Naturally I cried. So much that a kindly security guard at the Entertainment Centre gave me a piece of paper and to write my name and address on it and he would try to pass it to the band for me. So for months I clung the vague hope of an autograph or something materialising in our mailbox. Of course it never did; he was just being nice.

The band did reschedule that concert, after they'd been to Japan they came back and played for the ticketholders who missed out.

Sadly - oh, SO sadly - I couldn't get to the rescheduled concert ... it fell right in the middle of my exams.

Anyhow, it still pains me to think of that missed concert. I have, however, made up for things somewhat. The next time U2 came out to Australia I was finished uni and working.

I bought tickets to every night they played.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Twenty years!?!

The other day I was out for a walk, with my MP3 player on. I was listening to Stay by U2 when it occurred to me that - gasp! shock horror! - it is 2008 (yes, I know, it's well and truly 2008, being September and all).

The reason I stopped in my tracks is because I was hit by the revelation that I have been a U2 fan for 20 years now. TWENTY YEARS. It's amazing how things like that creep up and tap you on the shoulder every now and then.

My worship of this band started in the long, hot summer holidays of 1988. I'd finished Year 10 and had the hormones to prove it. Which meant I spent a lot of that six weeks in my bedroom with the curtains drawn and the door firmly shut.

This was about the time that U2 released Desire and - whoa - I'd never heard anything so fantastic, so addictively good. At first I taped the song from the radio, as you do - or as you did back then. I'd get up at the crack of dawn to watch the Top 50 (or was it 20? Can't remember) chart songs on Rage.

Anything for a glimpse of that rock god who will forever surpass all rock gods: Bono. The black and white film clip for Desire is thus permanently etched in my mind. Bono caresses the microphone stand; the lovely Larry Mullen Jr, in all his sleeveless-top handsomeness, belts those drums; Adam Clayton looks like ... well, the man I want to marry most in the whole world at that time; The Edge works that guitar like there's no tomorrow.

One three-minute glimpse of U2 would make my week.

I moved on to purchasing the cassette of Rattle & Hum from the local Retravision store. I then proceeded to play it over and over and over and OVER. (I still have the cassette - which is quite astonishing; it ought to be worn out, believe me.) That summer I played Rattle & Hum morning, noon and night (especially at night, with the light out and volume on low so my parents wouldn't hear it).

I would close my eyes and visualise Bono singing Angel of Harlem with a choir; I'd dream (and daydream) that the lyrics were for me and me alone. That one day we would meet and our lives would be forever changed when Bono realised it was me he still hadn't found (until then!).

Oh yes, then the scrapbooks began. Any morsel of news, any tidbit about Bono and the boys, even articles about Ireland in general were meticulously cut out and pasted in. I had some experience in doing this - having collated a similar scrapbook about Boy George (my very first crush!) some years before.

It escalated from there to getting a subscription to the fanzine, the copies of which I still have (unless my mum has thrown them out - I hope not!) and to sending the band members birthday cards and taking a birthday cake to school in their honour. I'm serious.

One of the biggest thrills of my teenage years was when I actually got a reply to one of my birthday cards - from Adam (well, let's face it, from a staff member at the U2 management office). It said he had actually been in Australia on that particular birthday. How bittersweet that was - if only I'd known...

Mind you, a farm outside Coonabarabran is a looooooong way from Sydney and, well, anywhere you're remotely likely to find a rock star hanging out. Still, I could dream.

All this happened and then I experienced an epiphany: the band had other albums. So I set about purchasing them one at a time (limited pocket money, limited range at the local store) and buying all the cassingles (remember them?). I do mean ALL.

These days I am still a fan (of course!!!!). I will be for all my life. But today the band's music carries much more meaning for me than it did when I was a 16 year old. During a particularly low point earlier this year, Bono's lyrics from Walk On (How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb) were imbued with such meaning and resonance that, gosh, I could almost say they redeemed me:

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no, be strong

Walk on, walk on
What you got they can’t steal it
No they can’t even feel it
Walk on, walk on...
Stay safe tonight

I played that song over and over. Crying every time.

Today, I hear and understand (hopefully) the spiritual in the songs. I still fancy Bono, sure. But I now know that he is the godliest (is that a real word - doubt it) man I have ever encountered.

So, Bono, thanks for 20 sensational years.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Food for thought

I remember reading somewhere - I think it was in The Bible (otherwise known as Baby Love by Robin Barker) - that after a certain age (18 months, perhaps?) a toddler should "take part in the family meal, eating what the family does."

I think I need to get Robin round to our place at meal times because, can I tell you, at three years of age, my son is NOWHERE near eating what we eat.

So that means making two separate dinners every night. Most frustrating, not to mention time consuming.

In short: I'm over it.

But how do I get him to eat what we do? He won't touch anything remotely like a casserole or soup. Will grudgingly eat a lamb chop - but only on occasion (and frankly it makes my blood boil to pay about two bucks for a teeny bit of meat only to have to throw it in the bin). He will humour us by eating noodles - but not with the kind of veg we like to eat in our noodle dishes. (Only tinned corn and frozen peas, please.)

What to do? I guess one option is for us to give in and eat what he eats (fish fingers and vegies, lebanese bread pizzas, pasta with pesto, corn and broccoli). Not very likely.

Is there a way to expand what he eats? Do I need to get tough?

Ideas, anyone?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Have we moved on? Nope.

I don't profess to agree with Sarah Palin's political standings. But I do care that the Washington Post ran a piece on the colour of her lipstick. Likewise, other papers have been reporting the upsurge in requests for glasses of the style she wears.

When will this stop?

I shook my head in dismay at these reports. Why must we always grade a woman on how she looks? This is a politician in the running for the one of the highest positions in arguably the most powerful nation in the world and commentators want to discuss the shade of her favoured lippie.



Never would we see a 1000-word piece on Barack Obama's chosen brand of shaving cream. Can you imagine an opinion piece on Kevin Rudd's choice of ties? No, me neither.

I grew up in the age of Backlash and The Beauty Myth. Have we moved on from there? I'm not so sure.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Father's (and Mother's) Day

In case you hadn't noticed, yesterday was Father's Day. We had my parents visiting and so they got up early with E and took him off to the zoo. Which meant Shaun spent his Father's Day not doing any, well, father duties. And I was off the hook on the mothering front too.


We had a leisurely breakfast at Coogee, did the coast walk, pottered about a bit, went for a beer and then met up with Mum, Dad and E for dinner.

So lovely.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The passing of time

Time really does move in mysterious ways.

Just the other day my colleagues at work were making chitchat, saying 'how can it be September already?' and 'hasn't the year flown?'.

Then on Friday night I turned up at Rose's house to pick E up after his day at daycare to find L's mum there, visiting Rose. I hadn't seen her since the week of L's funeral, when she and her husband (amazingly, stoically, heroically) came around to Rose's place to take part in a small fundraiser we other parents put on for Red Nose Day - the money going to SIDS research ... SIDS being the official cause of her son's death at 16 months of age.

She remarked that time was dragging. And I have to agree with her. It does seem like forever since L died ... when in fact it was June 8. Not even three months yet.

I hadn't seen her or spoken to her since that last time at Rose's place. She appears to be holding up as well as can be expected (what is expected, I wonder?).

In the way that only a teenager can, Rose's 16-year-old daughter bluntly asked her, "So do you think you'll have another baby?" (I guess we were all wondering, but I personally wouldn't ask such a question).

It was then that she said she'd had three miscarriages before finally having L. And that she had actually been pregnant with a second baby this March, but had lost it too.

This is not my sorrow (thank God for that), but I cried in front of her when I heard that.

Just ... how? How can it be possible that life could dole out this set of circumstances to one lovely, kind couple?

So now she and her husband are having some fertility tests carried out and back they will go to the beginning: looking to a start a family over again.

They have so much to endure yet ... but I really, really, REALLY wish for another baby for her. With all my heart.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Spring time

I was planning to write a longer post today, but I am feeling a little bit gross. In fact, I nearly threw up while changing E's nap-time nappy. He had a tummy bug last week (right when I was on deadline at work - natch) and I suspect I have a touch of it.
Anyhow, on a far nicer note, here's a pic I took this morning while we were in the park and before the queasiness set in. It's nice that spring is here.