Friday, 30 September 2011

Does the SAHM show?

Apart from being made to, by the typhoon, we are staying a lot inside the house.

I do not like it. Rock carvings are whispering to me. There are green woolly hills to climb, and remote places of Hong Kong to trek, far flung away, further away than our wobbly island.

Dangling the delights of exploration in front of the children is not working. Strange. They usually take up the bait willingly, so it's disconcerting to have them ask to stay home instead. Here they want to stitch dolly clothes or sigh, while they say, 'I must complete my science assignment' in a tone that expresses only delight at the cares of a grown up responsibility.

Of course I'm trying to reconcile myself to these housebound affairs. I have to consider that part of me moved to get to this point. The place where the kids stop rolling around hunting zebras and start taking up some studious focus for themselves. Now we're here, I'm missing what went before. We humans, we want things different, and when they are, we want them back the same.

I'm to blame. I'm inculcating habits of serious swotty study by monkishly reading paragraphs of geography text books for the IGCSE syllabus.

But I'm lacing the day too with extracts of Jung Chang's Wild Swans. Dig is suspicious. What does he take me for? Sure I'm not reading it all aloud! Not the ejaculations, severed limbs, prostitution and random misogynist brutality. Yes, most of the stuff that made the book a best seller in the first place, and had the world wondering what China was made of. But there's woman story and heritage telling in it too. I'm reading those bits.

Then I'm amusing myself with the craft. Not the pagan worship type, the making notebooks type. I made three.

The photos are crap, which allows me to say the notebooks themselves are, of course, beautiful to handle; soft leather, silver thread stitching, natural found objects, plastic jewels, you get the idea, mix of permanent and ephemera, the enduring and the transitory etc etc. Sadly the paper inside is not hand-made, nor woven, because it should be. It's just ordinary plain copier paper.

I do not know whether to make 200 of them and embark on a business studies project with the gritlets (i.e. sit by the roadside and try and sell them to tourists who visit the island, while giving lessons on profit, loss, more loss, bankruptcy) or just give the books away. You can tell me which I should do, if you like. I am easily led.

In other news, I met the neighbours. We have new neighbours. (Is this the third set?) I don't expect they'll stay very long.

And I met more expats in a bar! Good grief, they were miserable, even more down-in-the-dumpers than me. I threw back a glass of wine and started showing off. I thought I would cheer them up with my witty routine of how to squeeze children through car windows. After five minutes they looked like they wanted to kill themselves. Dig brought me home in disgrace.

But because I am today a bit bored - thus fit perfectly into the stereotype of a tedious Stay-At-Home-Mother - I am refining my image of middle-aged woman with no friends, and trying my misery twitting again. Twitter is useful, really; it puts me into news items that otherwise I would miss. But I'm not very good at it. I am still challenged by everything. Like its time requirements. Someone tweets to you and you are supposed to reply? What, instantly? Not three weeks later?

The most exciting news is that I remain happily distracted by things like graphs of gloom. You should all go visit gweipo and her six-week slump. I am obsessed by this, and am carrying a printing of this graph around with me, so I can calculate average wavelengths of depression and elevation. I have to get my fun somewhere.

Now look at all that pointless prose. I write too much into the computer. It's sad. I should shut up and post a daily picture instead. Like this one.

The children made a sculpture out of my washing line. It sort of explores what it is to be a washing line; then it works to defeat the point. I like it. Out of the ordinary comes something intriguing.

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