Much Ado About Nothing

The roses are out and they are bloomin’ marvelous (I had to, I’m sorry) – I’m not sure what we did right, but it’s a good year for them. I’m calling our house Rose Cottage, I’m even going to have a little plaque made up and everything. Every house deserves a name.

I’m writing a novel about a house and a garden right now. I’ve only just started – I’m at that point where you stand at the foot of the mountain and look up, trying to figure out how many steps you’ll have to take, how many hours you’ll have to endure above the death zone, how many fingers and toes you’ll lose to frostbite. But you start, you climb, you keep going, and little by little, it happens. I want this manuscript done and polished by the end of July next year. Wish me luck! Or better, wish me persistence!

I’m also counting down the days until our new living room rug arrives, after the shipment was delayed by months, twice. These darling dogs of mine are going to be the death of me. Every car in the street, every pedestrian, every jangling cat bell, sometimes even the snapping of a twig or the shock of me getting up from the sofa too quickly… all these things send P+R into hysterics roughly 3-4 times per hour, sometimes much more. They leap all over the pappasan chair and bark their little brains out. With floorboards and no rug, the sound bounces around the room and transforms into something piercing and horrific. We are extremely lucky to have neighbours who are either very tolerant or very deaf, as both sides have told me that they barely hear a peep from us.

Aside from that:

I went to see MTC’s The Father with the father (mine) last week, and it was devastatingly good. Emphasis on the devastating bit. John Bell gave the best stage acting I have ever seen, and I cried. Some of the audience reactions were a bit off though – the play was about dementia, and Dad’s theory is that a lot of the audience are in an age category where all this stuff is frighteningly relevant for them, and their laughter might have been a function of their discomfort. Maybe.

I wore new shoes that night and ended up with horrendous blisters on my little toes. Still sore, still glowing red like little old fashioned Christmas lights. I did get to eat xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung before the theatre though – soup-filled dumplings that pop when pierced with your chopstick, which is a very icky thought when juxtaposed with my tales of toe blisters.

I’ve spent the best part of this week convinced that we had a mouse in the house, but now I’m having doubts. I saw a shadow move quickly across the hearth of the fireplace, but apart from that, there has been absolutely no evidence of anything. Now I’m wondering whether it was a mouse at all, or maybe a moth, or maybe it really was just a shadow cast along the floor from the sun shining in the window. We set traps and they haven’t been touched. I still won’t walk barefoot at nighttime or leave my slippers on the floor though.

My tomato plants are going splendidly, my cucumbers have shriveled and returned to the soil from whence they came. I’m not sure whether to try again, but the idea of making jars of my own dill pickles is calling to me. What else should I grow in my summer garden, once I rip all the broad beans out? I could just do an entire garden bed of basil, but how much pesto can one girl humanly eat*?

Nathan and I were meant to have a romantic weekend away in Sydney, which didn’t end up happening (he went by himself on a duty mission to visit a family member who needed some heavy duty cheering up). He is bringing me back a cheesecake from Uncle Tetsu though! I knew there was a reason I married him. Other than his winning smile, devastatingly handsome looks, and worthiness as a Scrabble opponent.

* If we’re talking about this girl, the answer is: probably more than you could imagine. When I was in third grade, we did a science project where we had to list the main foods in our diet and where they fit on the food pyramid. I had an argument with the teacher who told me that pesto was a fat, when I assured him that it was made mostly out of basil, so it counted as a vegetable therefore you should be eating heaps of it. But really, we all know that homemade pesto transcends the food pyramid altogether and should better be considered something like mana of the gods.

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