I’ve just had a small victory of sorts.  I hope you’ll indulge me in a moment of hubris while I feel smug about my little achievement.  I’m the first to admit that it really is no big deal, but it gave me a nice little boost in confidence.  All that happened is that I had a dead battery in my ute (as in ‘utility’ / pick-up/ truck).  Anyway, I went out and bought a new battery and installed it in the ute myself.  That’s the most mechanical thing I’ve ever done!  (I have changed tires before, but that isn’t really mechanical.)  I know it is a perfectly simple thing to do, but until now, I’ve needed a hand with such jobs.

I couldn’t help thinking of my niece, Mary’s expression for when a difficult task or situation presents itself: she says,  “Put on your big girl panties and just do it.”  Faced with the need to get the battery into the ute, I was thinking maybe what I needed was some Y-fronts, but I managed it very well on my own.  They’re heavy suckers, those batteries.  And in the most awkward position.  The hardest part of all was getting the wrench down to where the bolts were, and being able to actually turn them.  I reckon if a woman had designed it, she would have made it a lot easier to get to.  And just so you know, I’m not planning to take up auto mechanics any time soon.

Adelaide, South Australia

I’m writing this from Adelaide, where I’ve come to catch up with family members.  Let me rephrase that–I’ll never be able to catch up with most of them.  Young families seem to live in a blur of frenetic activity these days.  But I have  managed to slow them all down for a few hours to visit, and it has been a pleasure.  But what a reminder of how quickly kids grow up when you aren’t looking!

I’m taking home a couple of lovely pieces of pottery.  My step-son-in-law, Philip Hart, is a superb ceramicist.

Ceramic Bowl by Philip Hart

Large Platter by Philip Hart

I’m staying with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, where I am being waited on hand and foot and being totally spoiled.  She made some excellent pancakes for breakfast, which earned her Honorary American status.  The pancakes were in honor of my birthday.  Generally speaking, my attitude toward my own birthdays is merely relief–that I’m still having one–but it is kinda nice to fussed over once in a while.

The other reason for coming to Adelaide (besides catching up with seeing family members) is to have a chance to work with my son on my book.  He has a ‘good eye’ for editing and is casting it over the latest draft.  I’ve worked hard on it since returning from o’seas and I think it is getting ‘close’ . . .  At the moment, my challenge is to pare another 15,000 words from it.  I’ve already cut out a lot of flab–20,000 words, in fact.  It’s a bit like chopping the legs off your children, or at least your pets.  Mind you, I’ve never actually amputated any sort of limbs (though I am a bit of a devil at pruning).  But you get my meaning.  When you give literary birth to characters or ideas it is hard to strip them bare.  It’s much harder to un-write than it is to write.  But I’m still enjoying the ride, even at this re-write stage.

Ah, well.  It’s time to get back to un-writing.  Now, if only I could work out a healthy way to un-eat…                MM