Saturday, November 24, 2007

We need to talk about Kevin

This opinion piece by Mike Carlton in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald (24/11/07) proved prophetic

Revenge of the betrayed battlers

THE bizarre antics of the Liberal pamphleteers in Lindsay might not have been sanctioned by the machine. But they speak volumes for the culture of the Liberal Party, particularly in its NSW division.

It is the politics of fear and loathing. By turning one group of Australians against another, the theory goes, it is possible to divide and rule. Minority groups - Muslims, homosexuals, unmarried mothers, trade union members, academics, etc - can be dispatched to the margins while the party leadership wraps itself in khaki and the flag with high-blown sophistry about Aussie family values.

Where necessary, the threat from without can also be invoked - queue-jumping refugees, for example - and then met by iron-fisted measures like the Pacific solution. This is not something new to the Liberals. It has worked for them often. Ben Chifley's light on the Labor hill was trumped by Robert Menzies' reds under the bed.

Until now, John Howard has been a masterly exponent of fear and division. But when he gained control of the Senate at the last election, his visceral hatred of unions overreached itself. Work Choices was an attack on the Howard Battlers who had given him four election victories. It is an exquisite irony that those battlers will now bring him undone today.

11 and1/2 long years of Howard - we can't believe it is over and Australia has chosen a new direction, into the 21st century.

We watched the tally room analysis until Howard conceded defeat and Rudd assumed victory - switching between the ABC and WIN's coverage: the dignified debate of Julia Gillard and Antony Green on the ABC counterbalanced with the squirmy depths of Ray Martin's, Michael Kroger's and Robert Ray's coverage on WIN. We wouldn't have missed it for the world.

We toasted victory with Mum and Maxie & Rod at Jerrabomberra (over 7% swing to Labor, unseating sitting Liberal member Gary Nairn).

This morning baby Ella was quite unconcerned about the momentous events happening at government level. She was looking forward to a day's shopping with J&J and "doing lunch". She is learning to clap her hands and is forever intrigued by Nellie the beagle.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Counting down

Five weeks of school to go for me, five weeks until Christmas, 3 days since Jody's operation (which went well), 3 days until Ella is 6 months old, one week until election day. After the last 12 long years we can't believe what the polls are telling us. We are making some noises about a possible "Don's Party" next Saturday -to celebrate (?)

The Lebangs are at Coogee this weekend, blitzing them at the Opera House, kayaking in the harbour, eating ice cream, drinking Gravitas and finding 8/85 "fantastic".

I had a work day at Birrigai Outdoor School in the Namadgi National Park last Thursday, my first visit since the 2003 fire storm. The school has been completely rebuilt and vegetation is re-established, but the land looks ancient and "cracked open": so little soil, charred stands of tree & scrub skeletons, ancient rock exposed everywhere.

Rob and I babysat big O & little A last night while C & J had a big night out at "Aubergine". C had prepared detailed "lesson plans" covering every eventuality. In the end, after an hour or so of fun reading books and dismantling the playroom for our entertainment the boys went to sleep without a peep. Both of them had an uninterrupted night's sleep (well at least until 5.30am).

Ella was showing no ill effects this morning from having an indisposed mummy. She coped well with all the interruptions to her routine caused by Jody's operation.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Of horses and utes

We celebrated our first ever public holiday for the Melbourne Cup last week. We drank champagne, ate chicken, ran an in house sweep and tried to rekindle a bit of the old spirit around Melbourne Cup day in this year of the equine flu virus (EFV).

Ollie learnt about the difference between "the" favourite as opposed to the familiar "my" favourite when he drew Master O'Reilly in the sweep. Little A strutted around the house exercising his two week old walking skills in between being very interested in Rob's vintage Matchbox car collection. Little E smiled a lot and observed everything intently.

Josh lent us the ute for the weekend so we could transport another table up to Coogee. It went like a rocket up the highway. The table fitted the space in the kitchen perfectly and will join with our other one to make a larger square table when needed.

The ute looked right at home parked outside the mansions of Dudley St. We took it for another ride on Sunday morning to Rhodes Ikea to pick up a wall unit for J&J. Rob survived our two hours there without getting PTSD like he did last time.
Everyone stopped in their tracks at 11.00am of the 11th for a short Remembrance ceremony conducted over the Ikea loudspeakers. It was kinda bizarre. It didn't have the respectful ambience I needed - but full marks to Ikea for attempting it. We picked up a rug for the apartment at the same time.

The Victorian mansion over the road from our apartment goes up for auction this Tuesday evening.

This is Ella at about 7.00pm on Sunday evening - usually a time when babies get a bit crabby - but not our Miss Peach (Piarchay).

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Lions, tigers, bears and monkeys

I treated myself last Friday to a day with the year fives at Old Mogo Town and the Mogo Zoo. Although the mobile phone was running hot throughout the day with assorted crises happening back at school I was able to get in some quality time with our gorgeous kids, their teachers and the lions, tigers, bears and monkeys at the Mogo Zoo.

A little treasure of a up close and personal to the brown Syrian bears, the Sumatran tigers, the pride of exotic white lions and only 3 metres away from the most expressive and active family of black chimps. I know some little boys who would love the intimate scale of that zoo - feeding time was a thrill a minute when you can be that close to the animals.

We have had good rain intermittently over the past week or so. It really lifts everyone spirits to see rain at last...but not enough yet.

We were lucky to catch up with J&J & little E this morning. Little E was highly sociable and gave us a great show of her ability to touch her toes and roll around on her rug. She loves being pulled up into the sitting position - her little neck is looking very strong.