Now that my position as nanny for Baby H (*in my many random blunderings around cyberspace’s entangled root system, I stumbled across the fact that 'Baby H' happens to be the name of a rap singer!) has come to an end, I find myself free. No job. No commitments, no obligations. I have time now to pause for breath, to write, research, ponder and generally potter about. Hopefully at the same time, I’ll be able to clear up both my list of To Dos and some of those pesky loose ends hanging about, like laggardly relatives that have overstayed their welcome.
It was certainly sad to say good-bye to the wee baby boy - with the unerring heat-seeking instincts of every cute lil critter, his aim for my heart was a direct hit.
His parents are keen for me to come visit, to see him again and regard his progress. I realise I haven’t even got a photo of His Cuteness, which is probably one more reason to get myself a digital camera.
Digital cameras somehow facilitate visual recording more so than the (now) old, more cumbersome style of photo-taking. I guess it’s the digital cameras' immediacy. So much so, that a whole lot more visual recording is now being done. ABM reckons it’s to the detriment of any full immersion into the event being recorded - the photographers are often so busy focusing on the job of recording, it disables their capacity for full attention. Maybe so.
Just yesterday, for example, we were at a 60th birthday party and when it came time for D to cut the cake, suddenly there appeared in front of her about five people armed with digital cameras - like a small swarm of paparazzi. Something about it seemed surreal. The fact that those using the digital cameras were all over 60 years of age may have had something to do with it. Grey-haired, wrinkly paparazzi seems wrong. Like a list of ‘Things That Are Just Wrong’ that I saw somewhere on another of my inter-galactic (oops sorry, cyberspace-ic should I say?) rambles. I remember one of the things on that list was: ‘An elderly woman text-ing on a mobile’. Somehow it just looks wrong.
Back to Baby H ... he is now going to go to a Nursery. His special carer there is about my age, with a name from the same era as my name and who happens to be a bit of a clone of myself - short, fair-haired and with a ... shall we say, matronly figure?
“He’ll hardly notice the difference," Baby H’s father said. (Humph!)
C&N - Baby H’s parents - gave me two books as a ‘good-bye and thank you’ present. Two NZ books - one by Jackie Ballantyne called ’How to Stop A Heart from Beating'. It looks good- very good. It's about a child's perspective of life on a South Otago dairy farm in 1961. I am interested in reading this book because it's set in an era I'm fascinated with myself. An era I've found myself writing about more and more these days.
The other book, called ‘From The Writer's Notebook; Around New Zealand With 80 Authors' is written by Lydia Monin. It's about famous writers who have visited New Zealand in the past hundred years, and what their impressions of us were. Which smacks of NZ’s tiny-country paranoia about not being liked or appreciated by ‘those who matter’ ‘Those who matter’ being anyone from beyond the outer rim - from the Real World - from the Big Brother pool of countries, such as Europe and America . When will we, as a country, stop worrying about what others think of us?
Another book which arrived in the mail this weekend and which has been added to my 'To Read Pile', is Patry’s book, ‘The Liar’s Diary’. I opened it today for a sneak preview. I even, like the bibliophile I am, smelt the pages. Suffice to say my appetite has been whetted: the book actually smells rather yummy!
I listened to a Hank Williams Jnr cd this afternoon (and because I was the only one home, played it extra loud) as well as a Jim Croche cd and a Patsy Cline. I was in the mood for some music that reminded me of the kitchens of my childhood. It certainly did the trick. Suddenly, just like that, there was the shiny linoleum floor, the yellow-gingham curtains, the coal range, the hearth-rug, the hearth-board speckled with burn-marks from spitting sparks ...
Remaining with the theme of recorded nostalgia, today I put up on the wall in my writing room, some scans I did of b&w photos from 1966 ... I look up from the screen as I write now - and in just that spot my gaze lands on when my meandering mind hits a pothole - there it is, the holiday photo of my parents, brothers and sisters* the littlest one is my sister McD who some of you may have noticed, is in the habit of leaving cheeky comments on my blog! standing on the Capburn bridge, all looking at me the photographer - aged thirteen - as if to say, ‘just get on with it why don't you?’. No doubt I was ordering them about, trying to get the perfect shot, asking them to stand closer, or more to the left ... There are eight of them in frame - half of them are smiling ‘at’ me and the other half have an uncertain search to their gaze - as if they suspect I don't know what the heck I’m doing. I often get that dubious look from people. Does she even know what she’s doing? (Of course more often than not, I don’t. It’s that air of uncertainty that goes with blonde hair.) It was a photo that turned out a bit blurry - thus proving my family right. However, with Photoshop I've managed to bring it a little more into focus. It’s still an unclear photo, but for all its imperfection, it has the ultimate power to snap me back into that day faster than any fancy time-travel invention ever could.
In late January, the 500th albatross chick was hatched at the Taiaroa Head's albatross breeding colony. Here is the website - I hope the web cam is working ... it wasn’t last time I checked. It is an amazing experience to see one of an albatross soaring, and out at Taiaroa Head (only twenty minutes from the centre of the city) it’s possible to see these gigantic birds with their comical grins, arriving back from journeys out to sea for food; or, even more exciting, returning from months away (or in the case of adolescent birds, years away) circumnavigating the southern hemisphere.
It is all very wondrous. They are truly awesome birds.
Check out these links. I promise you're in for a treat. Two amazing flowers. The Campbell Island daisy - or blue sunflower - pluerophyllum speciosum . And the Mount Cook lily. Both rare plants, both daisies (despite the Mount Cook being called lily - it's really a daisy.) I happen to like daisies. If I had to choose one flower as my favourite, I’d have to choose the humble lawn daisy.
I laud these two species of daisy because they not only survive but thrive in adverse conditions. Mountains and subantarctic islands; two harsh environments. Two plants, rare and hardy. An admirable combination of traits.