Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day which we meet an awesome woman named Fe

I took a walk alone in the morning. I ended up going to Redfern.

I usually limit my walks. I say I'll walk ten, twenty, thirty minutes, etc. and then turn around and walk back. I think this is a mom thing, maybe....guilt about taking time for myself. I know I shouldn't feel this way. I don't know why I feel it. I don't go out by myself much, and when I do I almost always feel very rushed.

I think there are multiple reasons behind it. One of them is simple. I miss Jack. He's my favorite person in the world. We have a very strong bond. I'm sure one day he'll be embarrassed of me and prefer the company of others. But for now, I get to be number one in his life. I like to take advantage of this lucky time.

Maybe another reason comes from when Jack was an infant. For several months, he would eat only if I fed him and would be miserable if I wasn't there with him. There was a point where he seemed to hate almost everyone but me. I wouldn't leave him much and when I did, I felt incredibly rushed. Even though he loves other people now, and it's fine for me to be away, I still can't get rid of that feeling. I do get away, and I think it's important to do so. But I just can't get rid of that internal alarm clock....the one that says HURRY BACK!

It's like when I was walking through the market with Gina, Tim had said I could take my time. I knew he and Jack would be fine on the playground. Yet, I still felt I needed to rush and find them.  Reunite again.

When we were at Moore Park, when Gina and I were talking alone, at one point she asked if we should join Tim and Jack on the playground. She wanted to know if we should keep Tim company. I said no. Tim has his full share of time alone and time with friends. I get a tiny fraction of what he gets. I knew I completely deserved time alone with my friends. I knew it was very fair for Tim to have his time watching Jack at the playground. Yet despite knowing all this, I still felt uneasy.

I did have a big huge chunk of time alone once. I went to NYC alone for a few days while Tim took Jack to Florida. I had a great time. Jack had a great time. But I still feel guilty about it sometimes. I still feel I had done something selfish and wrong, even though I know I didn't. Well, actually my REASONS for going to NYC were very wrong. At least I think so. But that's a whole other story. Maybe that's why I feel the guilt. And no. I'm not trying to say I had a mad love affair in New York!!!

Anyway, back to my walk. I walked south on Elizabeth Street. I wanted to end up in Redfern. I had decided we wouldn't go there as a family. I want to say it was because I feared Jack would be bored. But we brought him to other stuff that bored him. I think in all honesty I wanted to do it alone. I don't know why. It was one of those things I felt I needed to do. Maybe it was kind of like a pilgrimage?

I think my self-imposed time limit had been thirty minutes that day. I reached the time, and I hadn't gotten to where I had wanted to be. I found strength to say screw the time limit. I'm walking until I'm satisfied.

I didn't get far into Redfern, but I did get there. I walked through Redfern Park and I walked a couple of blocks down Redfern Street.

I felt perfectly safe.

The people seemed friendly.

Maybe if I kept walking, I would have seen the more troubled areas.

After my solo walk, we all went on a picnic in the northern section of Hyde Park.

Tim said this is where we had our picnics in 2007. Jack and I had no clue. Jack remembers food. Tim remembers locations. I guess I remember the other stuff.

We had promised Jack he could get a special drink (this is defined as anything that's not water). We forgot to buy it, though, on the way to the picnic. Then when we sat down, Tim realized we had no chips for his delicious homemade guacamole. He walked over to David Jones to find chips and a drink for Jack. He couldn't find tortilla chips. We had quite a challenge finding those in Australia. In fact, I don't think we ever did. Gina, and my cousin, say they're there. Oh and I did see them towards the end of our holiday, but they had cheese or something on them. We had never been able to find plain tortilla chips.

Anyway, he bought some other type of cracker-chip things. He also bought a juice or Smoothie. David Jones has very good fruit drinks!

We ate.

Then we walked over to the Hyde Park Barracks. It's a museum about convict life. Convicts actually lived there at one point. The building has also been used as a female asylum, immigration depot, and government offices.

The staff members at the museum were extremely friendly. I can't say that's rare in Australia, though.

They invited us to do this interactive puzzle thing where you get your own convict. At the zoo, you can adopt an animal. Here you get to adopt a criminal.

We ended up with Robert Bantin. He was shipped over for coining. I think that's equivalent to counterfeiting. I wonder if he had that counterfeiting machine from Sims 2.

He arrived on February 25 1836. 173 years and one day we were at the museum exploring his life.

Robert got his ticket of leave in 1845. I wonder what happened to him. Are his descendants in Australia somewhere?

After we had enough time with Robert, I took Jack to the gift shop. He picked out a little wooden flute.

We left.

We walked past The Mint, Parliament, and the hospital. I love the hospital. It looks so Gothic---deliciously creepy. It amazes me that it's still a functioning place, and not just a museum.

Jack wanted to go to the library. I didn't understand why really. But we did it. They had a Magic Pudding Exhibit. We looked around not really appreciating it much since we haven't actually read the book yet.

Then he wanted to go to the actual library part....see the books. I'm not sure what he expected. I think I was kind of scared to go. I think I was afraid I'd see too many books I'd want to read. It would be too overwhelming for me. I'd think to myself, if I lived here, I could read all these books. I'd get sad about not living there. Then I'd realize even if I lived in Sydney, I wouldn't have enough time to read all the books. See? This is why I have to believe in reincarnation. It's too depressing thinking I have only one lifetime to read all I want to read.

Jack wanted to go, though, and what kind of mother would forbid her child a visit to a library? I said we could go, but he would have to be very quiet. The quiet thing didn't please my loud little boy. He said never mind.

We went to David Jones and had a snack at Max Brenner. I know. I know. It's not ethical chocolate. Okay, but to make up for that.... A few days ago, I bought expensive free-trade hot chocolate mix at Central Market.

At Max Brenner, I had the hot chocolate with crunchy things. I love it. Jack had some kind of souffle thing. Tim didn't get anything for himself. He just shared a little of ours.

When we left, we saw some crazy stuff happening near St. James Station. A street was barricaded and there were a lot of police. Tim and I tried to guess what was happening. I guessed a suicide or hostage situation. Tim thought the latter was quite ridiculous. His idea? A heart attack. A heart attack? Why the hell would they need to block off a street, and have multiple police vehicles, for one heart attack?

Later, I read the news on the Internet. The street was blocked because there was a chance the scaffolding on one of the buildings might fall on someone. No big deal...just a typical day in Sydney.

I watched some television. I saw a little bit of the Parliament channel. There were two women behind Julia Gillard and Wayne Swann who looked so familiar to me. I couldn't figure out who they were.

I flipped through the channels and came across Murder She Wrote and Judge Judy. That greatly disturbed me. Australia has WAY too much American TV.

After we rested, we headed out to Neutral Bay to visit one of my favorite bloggers. Fe!

Fe is awesome. She gave us very good directions on how to find her. And when I say goodLink directions, I mean they were ones I could understand and follow. I'm horrible at giving directions and I'm also horrible at following them. If someone can give me directions I actually understand, they're automatically my hero.

We took a train and then a bus. Then we had a very short walk to her building. She waited outside for us so we could see her. Michelle had done this too for us the day before. It's a very nice helpful thing. Then you're not sitting there thinking Is this the right house?

We met Fe's two sons. Boo and Toto....Handsome, smart, sweet, and funny kids.
Fe has a lovely home with a beautiful high view. We enjoyed looking out all over Sydney. My fear of heights has increased lately, though; so while enjoying it I was also a bit terrified.

We met Fe's parents.  They're very lovely people.

Jack and the other boys were a bit shy with each other. I think that was mainly due to the age difference between them. Jack is seven and Fe's youngest is ten. While Fe and I chatted, Tim spent time with the boys. I had hoped he'd be able to use his superb people skills to get the kids playing with each other. He wasn't able to achieve that, but with his charm he was able to at least get the boys to adore him. Him meaning Tim. Hey, that rhymes!

With Tim having a jolly good time with Boo and Toto and me bonding with Fe (another rhyme!), I worried Jack was a bit left out. I tried giving him attention while also bonding with my new friend. The guys started a game of Trivial Pursuit. I went back and forth between talking to Fe and playing the game. When it was my turn, I was given a question about the Australian flag. I got it wrong! Pure humiliation.

Fe made a delicious pasta dinner. I loved it personally. She had warned us it was simple. I like simple. Tracey had made us a "simple" meal as well; the first night we got there. It was one of the best things I ate while in Australia.

While we ate, Tim and Fe shared NYC stories. They both have some very thrilling ones.

Tim and the boys also exchanged riddles and jokes.

We had dessert; ice-cream and berries. Delicious.

When it was close to good-bye time, we took lots of great photos.

Do you notice how none of them are here?

Well, we have no pictures to prove we had a fabulous time. But that's okay. In my heart, I know we did.


  1. hello, thanks for visiting my little blog. what a nice blog you have, i too am a teacher and have often thought of home schooling my children so that i could be with them cause i miss them so much when we are apart :) anyhow enjoy your time in sydney, we have relations dotted around NSW. and have a happy easter.
    %*_*% rosey

  2. I Can't Sew,

    Thank you!

    I love homeschooling : )

    Happy Easter to you too. Say hi to the fairies for me!

  3. Just wanted to send a little accusatory note this morning: DINA! YOU GOT ME BACK ONTO NUTELLA-IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!! bad but I need the super energy levels anyway LOL

  4. mscherrylane:

    I'm terribly sorry about that. Or maybe not. This might be awesome. In what other ways can I brainwash people with my blog?

    Thinking carefully here.....

  5. Awwww... Thank you for saying such nice things about me!!

    We DID have a wonderful time that night. I remember feeling slightly concerned about Jack feeling left out as well, but everybody seemed to join in when the games began.

    Also.... when we were sitting around the dinner table, one of the funniest things was when everyone began telling jokes. Boo is our in-house joke-teller. He remembers punch-lines better than I can! And Jack was hilarious! He was telling us little stories and making us guess the punchlines!

    We had a great time with you all.

    But, honestly, I overcooked the pasta, got the sauce straight out of a jar, the salad out of a bag and threw bread rolls into a bowl. Not one of my more creative meals! It was more of a case of wanting something that everyone (vegetarians and my own fussy youngest child) would eat. I'm very glad that you did enjoy it.

    I took some photos of that evening and feel dreadful that I haven't sent them to you. I will do so immediately!


  6. Fe,

    The jokes were so funny. Remember my "blond" moment???!!

    I thought the meal was great.

    I'd love to see the photos!