Life lessons while we clean

As I scrub the bath furiously, haul the 15 kg vacuum that looks like the robot from Lost in Space around the house and lug 3 loads of water logged sheets on a Saturday whilst barking at encouraging the kids to do their own room, and helping them negotiate about who's turn it is to use the mop and vacuum I do wonder if it is worth it. Yes it is.

There are other options of course, there are always other options, but I like have always liked to do things differently, swim against the tide if you like. I could do this during the week - squeeze it in. I could also get a cleaner. I have a few issues with both of these.  The first one is that even though I am at home during the week, that doesn't actually mean that I am doing nothing, doing it cements the idea in everyone's head that 'it-is-mum's-job-so-I-don't-need-to-do-anything'.  The second issue is that I am not going pay hard earned dollars for someone else to come in and do half-hearted job cleaning my house - I have tried it a couple of times and been dissatisfied each time with the effort and love.  The main issue however is about ensuring that that my boys (yes, I do have a house full of boys) grow in men (I am growing men, not boys) who know how to be great house-men and eventually (hopefully) house-husbands.  I want them to be able to do all of the jobs around the house, not just the 'manly' jobs.  They are in training whilst I have them.  This parenting thing is serious business I think - even right down the cleaning!  Don't get me started on the job roster...that is a whole extra post.

Doing it together as a team to get it done. At the end of it we all feel that we have accomplished something together and the boys have learnt some really important life skills. Then we sit down and can relax and have lunch together (and they look forward to playing on the computer!).

Meanwhile by lunch time Saturday my muscles have had a good workout and I reckon I can probably skip the gym.

Maus by Art Spiegelman

As a kid I read loads of books about survivors of the second world war.  It was just something that fascinated about how on earth anyone actually got out of there alive.  My son came home from a friends place after having a few nights sleepover during the holidays and dropped this book on bed, saying, "Mum, I think you'll like this."

It is a full graphic novel of Art's parent story (and his) of survival.  It incredibly intense and personal (Art bares his soul).  I wept.  This story has stayed with me for the two weeks since I have read it and I am sure that it will continue to stay with me.  I am now going to get our own copy for the rest of the family to read and to read again.  In is a very powerfully written story, and I think even more so as it is done through the graphic novel novel style.  I now have a new sense of respect for the graphic novel.  (I also wish I could draw a whole bunch better...).

Wow... Thank you Art for sharing this with me and the world.  It is such a deep, rich, personal and horribly moving story that I could not put down. Another reminder of why war is a tragedy. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Bleak Melbourne

I live in a city who plays with my emotions.  Today she is wicked and grey, not a glimpse of sunshine, she threatens wind and rain. Tomorrow she may gleam and sparkle, asking me to play and laugh again.  Today I wrap my scarf and turn against her, my fingers turn yellow. Melbourne you tease me with the windows of sunshine, last night you gave me the most spectacular sunset after you blew us away with ghastly winds.  There were shades of cerulean, lemon, red,golden yellow, violet, and deep red that stopped me in my tracks.  You can put on a sunset as good as Broome,yet these bleak days make wonder I should cough and sniff here or leave.  Let me climb the ladder up to the clouds and rip a hole through the dirty cotton wool to let that sunshine through again.

All That I Am By Ann Funder

For a book that did not grab me in the beginning, had me re-reading what I had read the night before to try to understand what I had missed, thinking that I was was suffering from memory loss, only to find that this was actually part of Anna's clever story telling from an old lady's memory which comes in little pieces at the beginning.  I was surprised that I loved this book so much by the end.

Anna Funder has written the story of a revolutionists, Ruth Becker (based on the story told to Anna from Ruth Blatt nee Koplowitz) and Dora Fabian and the writer, Ernst Toller, during their time when Hitler was coming into power. I was fascinated to learn about this period of time. As child I read a great deal of stories of survivors from the second world war so it was great to open my eyes to the time before.
Ann respectfully writes this story of Ruth's so that her and Dora's honour is upheld.

It is a story of strong women doing everything they can for the good of their people and their country. Theirs is loss, pain and triumph.  It is a story of women doing all that they can do against all odds whilst their world is tumbling down around them.  I was overawed by the strength of these women during this terrible time.

Anna opens our eyes through Ruth's story into a moment of history that would otherwise be lost, unknown.  A woman who now lives in Sydney, who escaped the horrors of war and fought hard for the good of many, living a quiet life in Sydney.

Thank you Anna for a wonderful story.