27 November 2009

Goodbye, Scooby

Yesterday we said goodbye to our cat.

The kids understood that we couldn't take him travelling around Australia with us, and that it would be easiest on him for us to find him a new, loving home before we go. Luckily our dear friend A decided to take him in! We are so, so grateful that we get to still keep in touch with him, and that he is in a house so full of love and peace. Hopefully it won't take too long for him and A's other cat to become great mates.

Other than a sad moment saying goodbye as we were leaving A's house, the kids have been remarkably ok about the whole thing. I was expecting... something, I'm not sure what, but something. Them being ok certainly makes it easier for me to be ok. This is one of those things where if anyone broke down, we all would.

Scooby was definitely the most sensitive of our "things" to find a new home for. Everything else is just stuff! We're that much closer to setting off, just 29 sleeps until we leave Sydney...

25 November 2009


I have been thinking a lot about “culture” lately. Culture, that important thing for our kids to learn about and know and appreciate, at least for the more worldly or progressive of us up here on the high horse.

With our upcoming trip around Australia, I have been reading a lot of books about this land, its history, its people. I have been suffering through the injustices of terra nullius and the stolen generations. I have been looking a lot at the past and wondering about the best way to move forward when the future for so many aboriginal cultures seems so hopeless. It has been heavy on my mind.

I spent the day today with my friend Y, and our conversation found its way to this very topic when I mentioned American Thanksgiving Day. I told her that I struggle to find a balance between making my kids aware of the ugly history between the European settlers and what they did to the Native Americans, and letting them enjoy the holiday simply as a celebration of gratitude. Isn’t it important to acknowledge the people who suffered in order for us to be where we are now? Isn’t it irresponsible not to honour those lives brutally lost? Isn’t it my duty as a homeschooling parent and world citizen to cover in depth that part of American history?

Y has worked with indigenous peoples around the world and has seen a lot of different cultures. She believes that culture is simply conditioning to act a certain way, to believe certain things, to interact with people in a set fashion. Her beliefs say that it is only when we let go of our culture that we can truly move ahead. I had really never thought of that. I thought culture was supposed to be something we held onto and cherished and remembered. She said that culture is really just looking at the past instead of looking toward the future. We’re all leaves on the same tree, drops of water in the same sea.

I got home from that amazing discussion to read this shocking article. It is a truly frightening thing for so many people to blindly follow such a brutal custom in the name of religion. Yesterday Me would have had a little voice in the back of the head reminding me that I’m looking at the issue through western eyes and I really don’t have the right to judge their culture – it isn’t mine and I can’t understand it. But Today Me has realised that it isn’t ok to use religion or culture as an excuse for killing or hate or war or antiquated rituals.

I’m not a religious person, but I can stand behind a religion that celebrates acceptance, tolerance and love. If it’s all about dogmatism, it can only lead us backwards. I want to go forward.

24 November 2009

Apple Pie

Every Friday, the kids and I go to the library for storytime and to check out some new books. They love it. Well, some of them love it. Eli isn't quite there yet. But Nate and Maya sing along to the songs, listen intently to the stories, and eagerly answer the story teller's questions. Nate is clearly the oldest kid there, always, since storytime breaks for any school holidays and most other kids his age are at school. He doesn't mind at all. He has no concept of being "too old" for something you still really enjoy - how could that be possible? He'll be 7 on Friday and his favourite colour is still pink. It still can be because nobody is going to bully it out of him in our homeschooling community.

Last week we picked up a kids cookbook. Usually these are loaded with baked stuff that is really cutely decorated and made entirely of refined foods. This one has sections for breakfasts, light meals, mains, and desserts - lots of simple recipes. Flipping through, Nate was drawn to the tuna fish cakes and the apple pie, so we brought it home.

Today we made both! As per usual, we changed stuff in both recipes as both called for plain flour - we used wholemeal spelt flour instead of the white stuff, and rapadura in the pie.

Here are Nate and Maya mixing up the filling:

And cutting out some leaves to put on top:

Brushing the pie with egg:

This is Maya's favourite way of helping:

And, of course, doing the dishes!

We're looking forward to enjoying the pie tomorrow with our friends Y and K.

The fish cakes were spectacular by the way :o)

20 November 2009


It's hot. HOT. Hot. Like oven-hot.

Preparations are in full swing. Tomorrow is garage sale day. Our neighbours have already been through - the proverbial early birds - and we'll be up bright and early to find new homes for all of our stuff. We have a LOT of stuff.

I'm so looking forward to getting rid of all of these possessions. Yeah a lot of it is handy, and sure there are a lot of memories here. But I'm seeing that the memories won't disappear just because I don't have these things to remind me. I won't forget giving birth to Eli in this house just because we won't live here anymore. In fact, maybe my poor memory will realise it needs to work a little harder without all of these crutches. It will feel so free, having so few things.

I am already so happy and privileged. We live in a relatively cheap place in exchange for being able to work less and spend more time with eachother, watching our kids grow up from up close rather than waving them goodbye through schoolbus windows. We have our own small business, make our own hours, boss ourselves around rather than letting someone else do it. Our kids get to see it all, our priorities laid out on the table. Life. Love. The path, the journey, not just the far off destination.

But now our house is sold, our stuff is going, our car is next. And in just over a month we will be moving into our next adventure - travelling around Australia. I am so bloody excited. We all are really, and it's so exciting to all be excited about the same thing. We're heading north from Sydney, stopping first at a friend's uncle's farm just south of Coffs Harbour, then north, and that's all the plan we have. We will go to the beach and swim in the ocean and walk through rainforests and drive. We'll stay a little longer at places we love, and just pass through places that we don't. We'll talk and draw and laugh and read and sleep and learn and live.

I have never been a hot weather person until, well, now. It's not even summer yet and we're having a heat wave, and I love it. I'm looking forward to really diving into the experience, spending a summer in the north of Australia.