thief of time

Friday, December 31, 2004

Keeping in Touch

This is definitely the time of year to get caught up on things. I write to people I haven’t heard from since the year before and there are occasionally a few moments to myself to straighten up my mess around the edges.

This year my corresponding was a bit worse than normal. It’s been getting quite bad for the past while, but this year I surpassed myself in the fine art of procrastination.

I arrived at the last week before Christmas and just sent off all my Australian cards en masse, while my overseas mail was written almost assembly line fashion. It wasn’t quite the dreaded form letter, but it certainly started to approach it in certain aspects, which happens when you write letters so closely together—you tend to repeat yourself with the details that you think might be generally interesting, adapting bits and pieces to suit the recipient.

About five people I didn’t even try to write to—I always reckon that if Christmas mail arrives between Christmas and New Year, you’ve at least made a stab in the right direction, but there wasn’t any hope of that at all, as these were all people to whom I try to write a decent length of a letter. Luckily, these are all people that can get email, and luckily I don’t get massive writer’s cramp doing a bit of typing. Some nights, after a heavy longhand writing session, I can hardly undo my fingers.

So, I did it again for another year—except for that pesky letter writer I forgot to send to, whose letter arrived a couple of days ago. Darn people. Can’t they get themselves organised and get their letters away in time to show that they at least made the effort? Now it looks as though I’ve forgotten her.

I really have to try and do better next year.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Shopping Misery

One of the rules in a family should be that you never take your teenage son out shopping for clothes. I’m sure a lot of teenage sons would also subscribe to that rule.

It’s not that my son is totally uninterested in clothes, but it isn’t top of his list of priorities and he’s not into brands at all, thank goodness. He’d be just as happy to receive clothing as presents, chosen at random from within his limited parameters of acceptable clothing. There are, however, certain things that you actually have to have him there to try on to make sure that they fit--thus, the times of extreme unpleasantness for both him and me.

To say that my son is uninterested in shopping would be to vastly understate his dislike. As far as he’s concerned, if you have to do the dread deed, you go in, grab the first thing that looks suitable, try it on and if it fits that’s that—no need to try anything further and no need to browse around a bit to see if you can get something similar, but at a better price or not even to see if you might see something else that he might like better. For him, near enough is good enough.

Now, my daughter is at the opposite extreme. She’ll go into a changing room with twenty items of clothing in similar, but slightly different colours, styles and sizes and perhaps find one item, perhaps not, and then on to the next section of the store, or on to a different store. To shop with her is an exercise in endurance and you have to be prepared to keep going for most of the day.

With my son, if you can drag the exercise past thirty minutes, he’s not impressed and soon makes his displeasure felt. Then, if you happen to see something else that you’d like him to try on that wasn’t part of the original plan for getting him out on this wild goose chase, you have to do some mighty fine begging. My son is a pretty good exponent of erosion—he can keep going over something, until you give up in despair and he exercises this to a fine art so as to leave shopping as quickly as possible.

Motherhood is a very wearing role. Add this little job to the annual Christmas shopping frenzy and you have a real recipe for fun.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


We had an “end of an era” happening on the weekend. My son had his final concert at his high school and it felt very strange to know that was it after six years.

It was the first time, in I don’t know how many years, that we were able to sit out the entire concert without having to worry about starting to clean and clear up after the first half. In fact, it was the first time in a few years that I wasn’t involved in the phoning around to get parents to bring things for the fund-raising dinner they always hold for the music program. For some reason, people were usually fine about bringing drinks or a dessert, but many were not so interested in bringing things you had to make, so we ”phoners” often ended up with the “too hard” items.

Now that we’re waiting to discover my son’s results to see what the next stage will bring, I feel rather unsettled. It’s sort of like the time I took him to Kindergarten the first day and then burst into tears after leaving him there. It was the start of a new time in my life then too, but not as drastic as the one I’m probably about to face. I hope it doesn’t involve “empty nest syndrome” too soon. I don’t think I’m strong enough for that yet.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Joys of Motherhood

What good are children anyways? You raise them to follow certain standards, like responsibility and hard work, and they take off on music tours at every opportunity, leaving their poor, old grey-haired mothers to do their paper rounds.

This lack of seriousness about his work has happened before too. My son has even used the excuse that he was doing an HSC exam on a Wednesday and thought that getting up for a 4:30 am round of delivery might interfere with his alertness during the exam. What a slacker.

It probably wouldn’t have been quite so bad if it hadn’t been for the fact that Tuesday was a day from the nether regions and the evening not much better. It was impossible to sleep well that night so, as a consequence, I slept till 6. I sure paid for that sleep-in. By the time I finished just after 8 o’clock, I felt like I’d been through a sauna, not one where you go to enjoy yourself (though I’ve never cared for the experience myself), but one where you have to do an unreasonable amount of work at the same time as experience melt-down.

Gee, I love Sydney summers. It makes me fancy a quick trip “Up Over” for a few months—say till March. I wouldn’t mind a bit of snow and ice for awhile, if this is what the rest of our summer is going to be like.