Friday, January 27, 2012

true love

All of my kids enjoy a special bond with my mum and Mr 5 is no exception. Isn't love such a wonderful gift?!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I didn't imagine I would be taking my children to see a Martin Scorsese film - at least not for some time - and yet last night Mr Neat and I took Miss 10 and Mr 8 to see Hugo, a movie that I'd describe as one of the best films I've seen in a decade. 

Hugo is set in post-WWI France. Young Hugo Cabret is an orphan who lives and works in secret and the Paris railway. He is alone and every day is a struggle to eat, work and live without being captured by the station officer who zealously sends orphans to the Paris orphanage.

But Hugo has a purpose. He is trying to fix a mechanical figure, an automaton, that his father had found abandoned and in disrepair. Hugo's future seems inextricably connected to the workings of this beautifully made piece of machinery.

Through his attempts to procure machine parts he encounters the fiercely melancholy Georges Méliès and his warm-hearted god-daughter Isabelle.   

Scorsese's film is about many things. It's a love letter to film makers and film lovers. It's a testimony to the power of kindness. It muses on the value of dreams and art and creativity. And there is a strong spiritual element that resonates throughout the narrative.

Hugo explains to Isabelle that machines have every part that they need. There is nothing superfluous. Everything has a purpose. Every piece is important. It's like that with the world. If you imagine the world as machine then every person is important. Everyone has a purpose. If someone loses or forgets their purpose then they are broken, they need mending. This is especially true of Georges Méliès but it's also true of the station officer whose brokenness goes far beyond the obvious physical damage wrought by WWI.

Hugo is deeply moving. And as a Christian believer I was particularly struck by the idea of purpose. It caused me to reflect on our purpose as created beings - to love and worship our creator in what we think and do. When we forget or refuse to do this we become broken and alienated from our purpose in life.

Beautifully made with a gloriously French score, Hugo is one of Scorsese's best films. Its PG-rating and the centrality of children means it will be classed as a children's film but it is a story that adults will love as well.

Monday, January 23, 2012

what are you reading?

I've just finished reading one of Miss 10's Christmas presents. It's called The Mysterious Benedict Society and is the first in a trilogy. It's about four particularly gifted children and how they must work together to save the world. I know it sounds like a zillion other kid's books and movies but it manages to use a common enough concept to great effect.

Now she just needs to hurry up and finish the second one so I can read it!

What are you reading?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

camera shy

We've just had a lovely week at Forster with my lovely brother and his gorgeous family. Of course I forgot to take my big camera with the fancy lenses. But I did remember my handy waterproof number - it fits in my handbag. And today - on our last day - I actually remembered to take it with me when we went swimming.

Here is Mr 8 looking moody. Of course he didn't know I was taking his photo.

This is what happens when he does know.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

too late for resolutions?

I'm not sure why but the new year seems to afford more possibilities for self-examination and change. Of course we can strive to change at any time of the year, but now seems like a good time to think about it before the school year kicks off and I become enmeshed in washing, cooking and supervising homework. But it's mid-January already! Is it too late for resolve and resolutions?

2012 is a big year for me, not just because I'm turning 40 but because my youngest, Mr 5, begins school. So I will be overloaded with free time. Well actually no. I will be working two days a week, doing my crafting business and trying to keep my house tidy. But I will have more time. And I want to use that time wisely and well.
One thing I really want to do is to finish a book that Miss 10 and I started together about four years ago. It began as a story I told her and became longer and longer. But it only exists in my head. And I think I'd like to write it down so I can have some more room up there.
So here's the start:

"You may not know it but every family has a skeleton in the closet. Not an actual skeleton of dangly bones hanging up next to your school shirt – that would be revolting. But a nasty secret or something weird or embarrassing. Something you wish wasn’t so and perhaps you hope no one finds out about.  It might be a strange uncle who lives in a cave or a great aunt who dribbles and has a house full of smelly cats. It could be a cousin who irons his underwear or a brother who refuses to wear any. Whatever it is, you’re not alone because in every family there is a peculiar person or a dark secret. Something creepy or even criminal that you would prefer no one ever found out about.

It was a matter of concern and consternation that Harriet and William Summer had not one, but two skeletons in their family closet."

Monday, January 16, 2012

let's boogie

Mr Neat has a knack for finding bargains. We have a collection of boogie boards picked up at Vinnies or council clean ups. When I was growing up, boogie boards were prohibitively expensive. Now, people throw them away when they're almost new. Which is good for us...

Mr Neat captured this shot of Miss 10 and Mr 8 in the surf. Love the look of concentration on Miss 10's face. Love that Mr 8 is chilled and taking it easy. Love that ominous sky. And that Mr Neat is right there with them.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

no more ms cranky pants

It's a new year and for me it's the year of the dreaded significant birthday.

I don't really mind turning forty but I have come to the sudden realisation that I am now actually a grown up and I have suddenly become less tolerant of things I may not previously have noticed. Loud music in shops annoys me. People texting and tweeting while having lunch with me annoys me. Ubiquitous tattoos annoy me. The superabundance of three-lettered blasphemy really annoys me.

But there's got to be more to being mature than a tendency to be cantankerous. So my quest for 2012 is to explore maturity, to grow up AND be nice about it.