22 February 2009

over-Due meme

I'm afraid that the blogging inspiration has deserted me this month. It's due primarily to my online focus being more on the bushfires and their aftermath, as well as being very busy writing at work, which has meant that I've not felt like doing much more than writing an odd FaceBook comment.

But thanks to the ever-eloquent Kath over at Blurb from the Blurbs, I've got a reason to start blogging again: a meme in which I have to list ten things about me starting with D. So here we go, in no particular order.

Dinner parties. Back in the carefree 1990s, when I was a young married person, we used to regularly host dinner parties. Saturdays used to be spent whipping up three course meals for four to six friends, all carefully balanced and presented. Good china, freshly pressed linen, flowers, a touch of kd lang playing in the background. I shudder at the thought of putting on such a turn these days. Because these days we have three children in our lives, and almost of all of our friends have one or two small people in tow too. So when we entertain, like we did last night for 13 (six adults, seven kids), it's strictly snags and marinated chicken on the barbecue, salads and icecreams for all those under the age of 14. Less planning and food preparation, with different challenges (the meal gets served in two sittings so the little kids get fed as early as possible), but just as much fun. And possibly more wine consumed.

Delicious. Continuing with the theme of my love of food, I turn to the every day adventure of feeding the people I share my life with. Most of the time, I find cooking enjoyable and relaxing. However, from time to time, I go through a slump in which I entirely lack motivation and inspiration for the whole exercise. It usually happens at the end of summer. Over the past few years, I've relied on the food magazine Delicious to prod my creative cooking juices. It's just not working for me this year though, as I haven't found a thing to inspire in the last two issues. I hope this isn't the end of this particular magazine love affair ... maybe I'm just not that into Delicious anymore.

Darcy. Ah yes, another great enduring love in my life. Actually my love affair is not with Fitzwilliam Darcy, hero of Pride & Prejudice, or indeed with any of the other heroes who populate Jane Austen's novels (even you Captain Wentworth). My true love is for Austen's words. Her deceptively simple stories of social interaction are essentially about being true to yourself, and learning to laugh at yourself as well as others. Austen manages to be timeless, emotionally satisfying, insightful and just damn funny. These are the novels I can read over and over, and still laugh out loud. Which is a good thing, as I spent the last year of my English degree writing my dissertation on Austen, and laughter was one thing that got me through it (laughter and Arnotts Jaffa Cake biscuits, which are sadly no longer made). These days, I also enjoy my Austen on DVD, of which I have a large collection. Her work has suffered some appalling adaptations, as well as some wonderful ones; I enjoy them all, although in some cases, only to marvel on how some directors can get it so wrong.

Daughters. I come from a long line of devoted daughters. I feel very blessed that I have had a clear memory of five generations of daughters in my family - my maternal great grandmother, her daughter my grandmother, my mum, me, and my own daughter. A long line of women existing in living memory, stretching back to 1876 (or thereabouts) when Great-Granny was born, to now, with my daughter about to turn 11. I am so pleased that I have distinct memories of Great-Granny - I was six when she died - as well as many many memories of my grandmother, who died just after my daughter was born. Perhaps if I'm lucky, I'll get to see at least one more generation of daughters emerge too.

Names starting with D. While thinking about what to include in this list, I realised that every member of my family, except for me, has a name starting with D. Only one of them - my eldest son - has a first name starting with D; my other son, my daughter and my husband all have D middle names. My Mum's name begins with a D too; we used her name as our daughter's middle name.
I don't have a D in my initials though (they are A and J instead). I do make up for it with my online name of Delamare. I chose that name about ten years ago when I was looking for an online identity, and found that every name I thought of had already been taken. Looking at my bookshelf I saw a book of poetry by Walter de la Mare, so pounced on that. Good thing I still like it - I might not have felt the same if one of my earlier choices like 'Frazzled' or 'Exhausted mum of two' had been available.

Doubt. It seems that the older I get, the more doubt I experience. In the last ten years, I've had some of the deepest truths I held about myself challenged - my friendships, my career and my marriage. These experiences have been horrible to go through, and have led me to sink into a depressed funk once or twice, but what I've got out of working through these challenges has enriched my life immeasurably. Work is more in perspective, and I've come to value relationships for what they are, good and bad. Maybe I am finally growing up.

Dancing. One thing I don't doubt about myself though, is that I am a completely hopeless dancer! I was able to bop away with the best of them at a school social back in the 1970s and at a nightclub in the 1980s with no shame, but now I am a ridiculous dancer. The lucky thing is that the same can be said of virtually every one of my contemporaries. I read somewhere that women lose the ability to dance once they have a child. Based on my highly scientific examination of the validity of this statement, I'd say it was true. Just put on 'Blame it on the Boogie' next time you're at a school fundraiser which includes alcohol, and see for yourself.

Drawing. I spent hours and hours drawing as a child. I drove my mum mad - I sought out every writing pad and pen in the house and scribble away, so she could never find a piece of clean paper when she needed one. I drew flowers, houses, cats, horses and girls (characters from stories I read mostly). For a long time I thought that I would teach art when I grew up, and I did do art up to the end of year 12. But as I got into my last two years of school, I discovered how much I loved words and writing, so ended up studying English and later editing, and have made this my career. Most of my scribbles lately have been to keep myself entertained in boring meetings, or to entertain my children. But I've recently found the urge to paint again, brought on by the beautiful bush around Pambula Beach when we were there in January.

Due-date. For someone run by deadlines at work (which I am very good at hitting 98 per cent of the time), I have become pretty useless at keeping to a due date in the rest of my life. Bills almost never get paid on time, laybys invariably have to be extended, and we seem to run on an agenda of 'just making it in time' on almost everything. I know why this happens: this is a hectic household of three school-age children, and two adults with busy jobs. Something's got to give around the edges. And keeping my three children to a deadline was always going to be a challenge - all three of them had to be induced to get a move on out of the womb.

Dating. I've never really 'dated'. Does anyone? In my experience it's a case of "I like you, you like me, let's spend some time together as friends and let's see what happens", rather than formal dates. My romantic life has gone more like this; numerous crushes, an unrequited love affair that never got off the ground, a formative relationship with a man that was never destined to last, and then a head over heels love affair that's morphed into a marriage of nearly 20 years. So what could be more delightful than to receive a big bunch of lillies last week from my husband, all the more romantic because it was totally unexpected? Maybe we should arrange to go on a date. Just not one involving dancing.

So there's my list of Ds. It was surprisingly hard to get started, but lots of fun once I got going. Let me know if you want to do one and I'll tag you a letter too.


moggy said...

If you go to Aldi, you will find Jaffa Cakes: made in Germany, and damn fine.

As for dancing, I figure it is never for how you look, but how you feel. Lucky, because I suspect I look very silly

delamare said...

Meliss, I've tried other Jaffa Cakes and they're just not as good. Same as with those little chocolate chip biscuits that Arnotts used to make. I think they just like to discontinue the things I like the best!

River said...

Nice list. We were a five generations of women family for a while. My Grandma, my Mum, me, my daughter, my granddaughter.Sadly the oldest member died when the youngest was two and they'd never met, living on opposite sides of the world. My mum has also since died, so now I'm the oldest of this particular line. My granddaughter is now 15, hopefully I can stick around long enough to be a great grandma.
I miss Jaffa Cakes.

Kath Lockett said...

Lovely list, Delamere.

As for dancing, I never, ever could, not even before childbirth. That is, unless people instead interpreted it as an imitation of a 'crippled chicken' set to Martha and the Muffin's 'Echo Beach' ?

delamare said...

Ah Kath ... I listened to Echo Beach on my iPod as I walked to work this morning. I was tempted to dance as I listened, but opted for some swift walking instead (I had a meeting to get to). "My job is very boring, I'm an office clerk" indeed!