Monthly Archives: August 2009

housework

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The only way to attempt housework on a Sunday morning – gumboots, ballet costume and Josh Rouse playing very loudly.

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lollipop

As a rule we don not give our girls lollies.  For lots of reasons.  We all know what those reasons are (sugar high, hyper-activity, allergies, dental care etc etc.).  One of the big issues for me is not rewarding behaviour we don’t want to encourage.  For example, the whole tantrum throw in the shops when they don’t get what they want and then handing out lollies to quiet them down…fun stuff like that!  However we were out today with a friend who gave the girls a lollipop each.  I smiled outwardly, cringed inwardly.  It was a lovely gesture but I was concerned about what kind of behaviour I was about to encounter.  Our youngest seems to react (allergically and behaviourally) to highly sugared, highly coloured food.     

I was pleasantly surprised.  The girls were delighted by their special treat and repeatedly thanked our friend for their lollipops.  They were grinning from ear to ear with joy and devoured them in record time, and then found ridiculous amounts of joy in having their fingers stick together.  So far they don’t seem to ‘sugar’ affected, so we will see what eventuates for the rest of the afternoon. 

I have to say, to see the girls so immeasurably happy is worth a lollipop or two.


weather warning

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The area that we live in has currently been given a severe weather warning. Gale force winds of over 100k an hour are not only expected, but are here causing trouble.

And I for one are freaking out.

Once upon a time (approximately 18 months ago) I wasn‘t very bothered by storms and windy weather. However 18 months ago I was sitting in our lounge with our then 6 month old baby girl when a monster tree fell from the property behind us in to (yes, that’s right – in to) our lounge room (see photo). Since then we have had two subsequent branches fall (one just last week) and damage property.

So I’m off to go hide down the other end of the house (the end without big trees surrounding it) and wait these damn winds out.


Llull

I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that I may have actually evolved a little in regards to study.  This semester we have to post one of our essays on-line for the rest of the class and open it up for discussion/thoughts/questions/ideas.  Previously I would have dreaded this, felt nauseated by the concept and avoided it to the last possible moment.  However I posted an essay on Friday (The Life and Ministry of Ramon Llull) and am actually quite disappointed that only 1 classmate has responded (as yet).  I am quite keen to hear people’s thoughts and am looking forward to their input. 

Why the change in attitude? I am still self-conscious about how and what I write and get quite anxious when people read my work.  So why the change?

I am not sure exactly why but I think part of it lies in the essay topic, and part of it lies in realising the wealth of experience and knowledge the people I study with have.   

I had not heard of Ramon Llull up until I had to write this essay, he is quite the enigma in Christian history.  Researching his life and ministry was fascinating.  Llull was a prolific writer whose abilities stretched to many genres.  There is no complete catalogue of Llull’s writing however there is over 280 titles recorded ranging from poetry, songs, autobiographies, doctrinal thesis, books and letters.  Llull’s most renowned work was a method he developed called Ars generalis ultima, The Ultimate General Art, which was essentially a debating tool to be used for converting Muslims to Christianity.  The document was a theological reference by which a reader could introduce an argument or question about the Christian faith and then be directed to the appropriate page to find the answer.  Llull’s methodology and style was revolutionary as it developed the notion of applying logic to science or philosophy, or any number of other disciplines, to demonstrate the truth of the Christian God.  I think I am excited to share a little bit of Ramon Llull’s life with people and am keen to hear how, or if, they found him as interesting as I did (I hope so!).

Once again I also find myself in a class full of interesting and intelligent people who I am growing in respect for.  It is lovely to journey with a group of people who are committed to the process and to learning.  Slightly intimidating, but mostly lovely!


dualism

I was in class for the majority of last weekend (History of the World Christian Movement) and my lecturer made the following comment,

‘modernity created dualism on steroids’. 

I like it a lot .  Sadly it is the only thing I remember from the class at this stage.  Hopefully I will recall more.

Hopefully.


shadow of the sun

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I am currently reading ‘The Shadow of the Sun’ by Ryszard Kapuscinski.  I am not far into it but I am finding it hard going in parts.  Kapuscinski is a Polish journalist that lived in Africa for several years.  When he is telling a story he captures the moment beautifully.   When he is discussing the politics of African independence he becomes verbose and I struggle. 

That being said, here is a snippet that I loved. 

‘Individualism is highly prized in Europe, and perhaps nowhere more so than in America; in Africa, it is synonymous with unhappiness, with being accursed.  African tradition is collectivist, for only in a harmonious group could one face the obstacles continually thrown up by nature’.

There is something innate in me that wants to be ‘collectivist’.  I want to feel like I belong, that I am necessary, that being a part of a collective whole is more important than I alone. The beauty of feeling like you belong is that when an ‘obstacle’ does come hurtling towards you, there is safety in numbers.  I think most people feel that deep sense of wanting to belong but as a culture we have lost many valid expressions of it.  We have cultivated individualism to the point of  severity. 

The African tradition of collectivism is born out of necessity and inevitability.  Perhaps we are reaching a place in our society where we too will finally discover that we need each other to survive.


paris

I just watched the Julie Delpy movie, ‘2 Days in Paris’.  I am an impossible cliche when in comes to Paris.  I love Paris.  I love the buildings, the food, the people (ok, not so cliche!), the history, the beauty, the art.  Walking through the streets of Paris is like no other experience.  Some days I would get up with no other objective than to walk and get lost wandering the streets.

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On the whole ‘2 Days in Paris’ is quite clever.  It has moments of real wit and insight.  What I liked was that it did not rely on the city for impact or atmosphere.  Most movies set in Paris use it like it embodies a solution to a complex question.  The movie presents ‘Paris’ as an interruption rather than an entity that has an ability to influence.  Perhaps it takes a true Parisian (like Julie Delpy) to convey it as it really is.

I also liked that at its core the movie was not about cultural differences but about the struggle for honesty within a relationship.  About how relationships can go wrong, about what is necessary, about accepting people for who they are.  I like that the ending wasn’t ‘happy ever after’.   

Below is the opening monologue from the movie – I like it.  It is primarily about Italy, but Italy is also one of my favourite places so it works. (Need to put a little note in here that in the movie there is a lot of sexual references and the language is awfully colourful – you’ve been warned!)

 

Marion (Julie Delpy):

This is us.  Meaning him and me. 

Right now we are just exhausted.  We are back from a journey.  We saw palazzos, vaporettos and espressos.  We were on a journey to Italy. Like the title of a movie with a happy ending.  Really we were mostly in Venice. Because it is the city where lovers go.  It is also the city over water that will end up under water. 

Green, ochres, pinks, blues and even greys that shine – that’s Italy. 

And the pasta – of course.

Now it is 2 years that we have been together.  Two years of happiness with ups and downs and in-betweens mostly.  

Night train to Venice – that was my idea. 

And now on the way back to New York we have decided to stay 2 days in Paris.