Apple cake and a blanket


It feels like January. The good intentions rekindled on holidays still shape my days (headaches notwithstanding).

Today I ate spinach and blueberries and cut up a pineapple. I made bolognaise sauce from scratch – with vegies in it. And I’m writing, albeit in the dead of night when I should be asleep.

Boy shopping

Even with plans and agendas and renewed focus, it’s important to maintain some flexibility. (I wish that referred to yoga but unfortunately that’s one ambition I’m yet to realise.) So when The Husband asked if I wanted to join him on a shopping expedition to a hardware megastore, followed by an exciting outing to an electronics retailer to scope wide-screen TVs, I didn’t turn him down. A date is a date. The unread emails and unwritten stories could wait a little bit longer.

The megastore is a frightening place. I overheard someone say “Let’s get out of here before we spend any more money.” I understood his panic. Although only tagging along for the ride, I managed to find something I desperately needed to own – a worm blanket. Which I reckon must be the ultimate in first world consumption. The Husband bought six different tools to clean the barbeque and two lengths of tubing for the automatic pool cleaner.

It’s purchases like these, rather than a week in Hong Kong, which remind me how wealthy we are.

Tackling the pile

Unopened mail is a barometer of life’s craziness. The higher the pile, the greater the crazy quotient. This morning I lifted the phone from its receiver to find our phone line disconnected.

Which turned my attention to the pile of unopened mail which has been gathering since before my week away. I had actually stuffed a pile of the offensive stationery, with its barren typeface and windows into unknown hell, into my carry on luggage, planning to open it in the airline lounge over tea. Only I didn’t. And the mail returned, unopened but well-travelled, to join the great pile which had accumulated at home in my absence.

Today I tackled the pile and found, as I generally do, nothing that couldn’t be dealt with today. Or tomorrow.

I remain perplexed about the disconnected telephone.  My trusty compendium records the phone bill as being paid three weeks ago. Tomorrow I’ll investigate.

Baking a cake

Another small step in a positive direction. I baked a cake – a gluten free apple cake for Uncle Mark. The kitchen is a mess and I still haven’t opened my Committee emails, untouched for over a week, but it felt like a good choice. And I did not eat the cake – another good choice.

Renaming The Socialite

This evening I sat beside The Socialite as she cried herself to sleep, her face blotchy and red and shoulders heaving as she sobbed into her pillow. She said she wanted The Athlete to come home. She asked me to call her friend Ellen to come over. I held her hand and stroked her arm instead.

I’m not sure what’s wrong exactly. She feels lost and anxious, without purpose or talent. She feels fat. Which is quite a feat. My usually ferocious, fearless girl, who can fill any room with lightness and love, doesn’t want to be with people. She wants to curl up in her bed and sleep for the rest of the year.

Of course I won’t let that happen. I’ve asked her to take a break from social media for a while, to wear her most comfortable clothes and not look in the mirror for a couple of days. I appealed to her work ethic, which is strong, telling her she could cut back on the social life but not bunk out on group assignments or pull out of her swim coaching shifts.

It’s difficult to reconcile this deep despair in a family that owns a worm blanket. But it’s real and I don’t know how to dampen her anxiety, to remind her of her fundamental worth and the special place she holds with her family and friends.

One thing I can do is find a better name for her. Socialite suggests something flippant, when she is anything but. She’s courageous and loyal and the girl everyone wants on their team. She stands up for her friends and issues she believes in. The girl is tall and strong with a wicked sense of humour and a heart as big as Phar Lap’s.

I think I’ll call her The Champion.

Angela Bensted Bw 1x1
Angela Bensted is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who likes to listen first and struggle with syntax later. She pitches stories to magazines and helps businesses produce compelling copy for print and online.
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