Sunday, September 2, 2007

my day my week

Fathers Day. All the fathers down at the beach for a wave, on whatever they can get hold of. All the born-again surfers, the bankers and doctors on their longboards, the shaven head brigade with shortboards. And all their kids, paddling by their sides..

The fathers are surfing. All the fathers seem to be having fun on their waves, but not the ones on the sand holding the newborns. They are still getting used to things, like pushing the pram, no sleep, no surfing.

trying to write

Working, talking six hours a day, staying up late to try and work and think.
This week, one of my students came to me and told me that, after the MRI scan, it was determined that the damage to her daughters eyesight after the removal of two brain tumours was more extensive than thought. In fact, she explained, she had been in denial that her daughter would live anything other than a normal life. She was wrong, and would I mind if she presented her research another time?
There is no father in that family. He left, when the little one got sick.


Yesterday when I was in the camera shop, complaining about my camera (and wanting a new one,) the manager, who always serves me, came over close and said
“I think you have something in your hair” and he actually took hold of my hair and pulled a strand of dried seaweed out of it.
I don’t know which was the most unsettling, the fact that the seaweed was there, or that this man pulled it out.
“I’d hate it to be a tick”, he said.
Later, the woolly was teasing. “The man in the camera shop loves you .He was stroking your arm”
And I hadn’t even noticed, until the woolly told me, that he had indeed been stroking my arm as he spoke to me. And had extracted one of the two pieces of seaweed embedded in my nasty tangled hair.

self portrait with child

The daughter is surly to the nth dgree. She is a piece of cactus she is prickly she is sharp. She shouts and flounces. She argues and screams. She tries on eyeliner and scowls.
I think to myself that dealing with her sleeplessness and changing her nappies was far easier than dealing with that with which she encumbers me right now.

I have in-laws here from Europe:they cannot understand the flux in which my family exists. They are on holidays, I am not. I have mortally offended all of them. They think I am a failure as a wife to their beloved, because I work and do all the other things I do. I don’t speak German, so they give me a headache. I wish I could go swanning around the continent like they do, but right now I can’t. I shall look at the pics with the Damatijan families, on the beautiful coast of Croatia, and duly give my comments: pretty, lovely. The girls in that side of the family all look like supermodels, and make me look like a rotten old anglo-australian overbaked potato.

I hope they go soon.
I can’t bear to see myself through their eyes.


riseoutofme said...

Bad day, huh?

"Surly" daughter about 17??

Character-forming phase for mother.

Just abandon ship and go for a dip.

Theres only one "um" after all.

meggie said...

You look damn fine through my eyes! I would LOVE to have you as a daughter in law!
You wouldnt need to speak German.
Great pics there Fifi.
I was a rotten teenager. My daughter wasnt. But her daughter was. I think it goes in waves.

jellyhead said...

I love this post fifi! - all the fascinating bits and pieces of your life, expressed with such clarity, as always.

fifi, you look pretty damn good to me (and the camera store manager, apparently!!), but much much more than that your creativity, intelligence and vitality make you gorgeous (supermodel relatives hang your heads in uninteresting shame!)

Shauna said...

fifi i've always thought you oozed gorgeousness from your words and now the photo just adds to that effect :)

i hope the rest of the family visit goes swiftly! arrgh! xx

ThirdCat said...

fifi. That's an astonishing post. Wow. Really.

jane said...

hello luvee
at last! the reveal! It doesn't really look like you though. Give us another one, when you're all salty and seaweedy. you know, the real you.

fifi said...

well, this is something...I was gonna pull this silly post when I got up this morn and here are all your comments.
Rise,The Daughter is 13.

Meggie, I was a challenge but she is a different kind of challenge...

And thanks all of you for the compliments, I look far worse in real life, the dim light hides a million flaws. heh.

Jane!! the real me? do you mean WET? with my hair stuck to my head, and goggle marks and my fishy unmade-up face, you mean THAT me? Perhaps with my cap on?
Squinting in the sun?
There's them that knows me wet, and thems that knows me dry. I constantly run into people who say: Oh, you look so different with your clothes on. Which is charming.
But yeah, weird photo, the going-out me.
Not that I go out much, as you know.

Shauna !!! you've read the truth, I don't look like that!

Leann said...

one thing is nice about in laws,you didnt marry them.let their crap roll off you like water off a ducks back.
you do the best you can and be your self.and tell them to speak English while they are at your home.its rude they speak and you cant understand.
or learn some key words and blow them out of the water.they wont know if you can understand them or not and they will keep their thoughts to them selves.
I had some in laws who spoke norwegin.they use to talk about me behind my back to.but I called them on it and they stopped.
I later divorced their son cause he was the biggest drunk around.they blamed me that he drank.but I met him at 21 he had been drinking since he was 14.go figure!!!

Molly said...

Comiserations on the Teutonic critics---may the door not hit them in the ---when they leave.Feel for you on the witchy offspring....been down that road too. but Rise is right. If it doesn't kill you it'll make you stronger. Love your photos...

Molly said...'s another "m"....

it's the little things... said...

Fifi, I loved this post! So real, so honest, so everyday.
You are my twin sister in another country. I even have a 13 year old daughter that I swear hatched from another woman's egg at times. How could such a surl-meister be related to me?
Then I remember how I was at that age, and I smile, or frown, as it is.
Chin up!
You are you, and have no one to answer to but yourself!

meli said...

what a wonderful post, fifi. don't worry about the nasty germans, my lovie says they're all boring, and he should know. ;) langweilig, auf deutsch.

when i was 13 i was a little mouse. i would hardly squeak. my parents' greatest concern was trying to coax me out of my little hole. sounds like you're dealing with different issues here. but i think all thirteen year olds are horrible in their own ways.

it sounds like you're living a wonderful rich life, and are many things to many people. even if it does feel difficult to balance at times. keep it up!

Isabelle said...

Oh, poor Fifi - but how wonderful to look so glamorous. In fact, I'm in doubt whether you're the one in focus or the blurry one, but if it's a self-portrait, you must be the slender blonde. Goodness. How lucky.

What a lovely view from your table, too.

A very wow post.

Arcturus said...

Is that the view from your house? It's quite a nice view!

So is that a picture of you? You've never posted a direct picture of yourself before.

I didn't know you had a daughter as well as a son. And you have annoying in-laws at your house prattling away in rapid-fire German? I can see how that would be vexing after a while. As it is, you don't have to see yourself through their eyes. Don't put that unnecessary burden on yourself.

So Father's Day is in September in Australia? We have it in June.

fifi said...

You are such nice people, but I am feeling a bit fraudulent here.
The inlaws are only siblings, and thankfully are not staying with us. Only one speaks no english
I was going to pull this post down as it was getting a bit to personal, but I didn't . However, the photo was taken in the dim bathroom...very flattering!
Thanks Isabelle. I don't think I am what you would call "slender", my view of bodies is that if you can move around and sit comfortably, and climb up stairs, then your body is the right dimension.

Arc, yes, I do have a girly. There she is.
Yes, nice view, but I was trying to capture the messy table. I don't have my own desk at home. The table is chaos. I will clear it of when you, Bryan and Little come over for lunch.

Anonymous said...

Oh, snap.
Mines's nearly 16.