31 January 2011

Don't Become a Victim

"Don't become a victim," I told Buzz as he came home from school complaining that yet again, "the kids" had been "blaming him" for doing "nothing wrong at all."  I can't seem to fight my way through the fog of who said what to whom in response to whatever, so my immediate response to the problem is to teach him some strategies for not allowing the kids to get the upper hand in this ridiculous battle for social supremacy.

"Don't talk to them - find someone else instead," I advised him.  "Understand that the teachers know if you're doing the right thing, and be happy that they know you're a good kid," I continued.  "Whatever you do, don't let this silliness make you sad or upset - that's a waste of your precious time!" I exclaimed cheerily.

That was my advice which was designed to break the power of bullying - insecure kids trying to put themselves up by tearing my son down.

Then I walked into it myself.

"I've strapped him into his stroller so that he can't run away and make me chase after him," I explained to the circle of school Mums as I stood with Woody in his stroller at school pickup time.  Then, feeling safe enough to be honest: "We were at the shops with my sister today and he had many tantrums.  Now that he is walking he is having trouble learning that I won't let him run off anywhere."

What happened next took me by surprise because quite honestly, the Mums in my circle are consistently mature and empathetic, and they are parenting children with spunk, personality and intelligence like mine.

"I didn't have those problems with my two," a school mum said, bless her heart.  "But I have always been very strict from the start - the older child had to hold the handle of the stroller while I was walking through the shops.  I never relaxed that.  I was always firm and consistent, and never allowed them to let go and walk away.  I have taken on many of the parenting strategies of my Mother, who raised more than ten children.  When you're raising that many children, you have to be firm and consistent!"

It went on a bit longer with variations on the same theme.  I knew that in her mind, she was giving me wonderful advice that would transfigure my life - telling a child to hold the handle of the stroller was all I needed to do.  I think she had no idea that she was basically saying:

"I managed it better than you obviously do, and that's why I didn't have problems like you."

The implication was "You obviously allow them to run riot, and that's why Woody had some tantrums.  You obviously have not been consistent like me.  You obviously have not been firm like me.  Because if you had, your 18 month old would behave like my firstborn girl did when she was four."

I wanted to get a word in to assert that I am consistent, I am firm, and I am a good mother!  I wanted to point out that her children are very different to mine!

I managed to ask her what she did when the child lay on his/her back on the floor of the shops and had a tantrum, like Woody did about 10 times today.  She said that it never happened to her.  I felt slightly smug at this, because not only do I believe this to be untrue, I also believe I handled Woody's 10 tantrums superbly, whereas she apparently has no experience in dealing with this.

Despite this minor intellectual victory, I came home feeling well and truly bullied.  An insecure Mum had tried to put her parenting up by tearing my parenting down.  I think that was quite unfair of her to lay out her memory of brilliant parenting successes for her own edification when it was so obviously providing a direct contrast to my current situation.

Now what was it I was telling Buzz earlier?  And how does it apply to my situation?

"Don't become a victim."  Okay, yeah, sounds good.  Only I get the distinct feeling that I have been publicly shamed by the well-meaning advances of someone who hardly let me get a word in to defend myself.

"Don't talk to them - find someone else instead."  Yes, good advice, I will try to talk to other mums for a few days and come back to talk to her later in the week.

"Understand that others know you're doing the right thing, and be happy that they know you're a good Mum." I get it, I get it!  I think.

"Whatever you do, don't let this silliness make you sad or upset - that's a waste of your precious time!" Okay, sure, I understand!  I will spend no more time being upset about this ... after I have blogged it, that is.

I picked Buzz up from his classroom and walked to the car.  As we walked towards the car, I noticed that Buzz had taken hold of the stroller, and was holding it as he walked ...

30 January 2011

A different way to ask

Jessie walked through the lounge room and said in a funny voice, "Oh, I feel like I need some Despicable Me on me now."

She then came into the kitchen and announced to me, "The TV said it's ready to have some Despicable Me on it now."

24 January 2011

24 January 2011

Oh how we have looked forward to this day!  Little Woody and I are hanging out together today and the big kids "do their thing" at kindy (pre-prep) and Year 1.

23 January 2011

A post with the word "purloined!"

In the first groggy moments upon waking up, I realised that Woody had purloined my Bible from my bedside table.  He then proceeded to rip a page out of Genesis.  I was not happy.

Thanks for your comments!  I love you all!  I'm not good at getting back to people, but I really do love each one of my readers.  You make me feel special.  This post was for Tracy P.  She taught me the new word "revelax" which I may use, with the omission of the final 'e'.  I plan to use it three times tomorrow.

21 January 2011

Twould be good to have my library back

My town library might be open, but I doubt it.  And in twenty times the time it would take to pick up the phone and find out if it is open or closed, I will tell you that it's probably closed and why that's keeping me from sleeping properly.

So: first thing's first - it's probably closed.  Its lower floor was flooded last week, and there's a sign hanging outside it saying that "This Building Has Been Evacuated."  So I figure the chances of it being open are slim.

This is keeping me awake because I rely on intellectually consuming crime fiction in order to sleep.  Perhaps using the word "intellectually" is going too far - I just need a run-down of the hows and whos of the detection of a theft or a murder or some other dastardly act.  It's part of my Sleep Routine, just like Woody has his sleeping song and Buzz has his stories and Jessie has her "I can't sleeep because I'm not tiiired" tantrum.  All completely essential parts in the process that culminates in falling asleep.

The current books we have on loan were renewed a month ago, back when we had no idea that on 10 January 2011 our town including the library would be flooded to levels we've never seen before.  This means that our current library books have been here for two months.  One-sixth of a year.  Yawn.  The children's books are very well read and mine are all read once, which is pretty much all I can handle before I go scurrying back to the library for another large pile of trivial crime fiction for bedtime consumption.

Over the last few weeks, I have been looking forward to getting a new pile of books.  This is because recently, in my haste to get out of the library before one of my children disgraces me, I have taken to grabbing piles of books that look like My Type Of Book from the returns trolley before they are re-shelved.  I figure that if someone borrowed, for example, this pile, and if the top book looks like My Type Of Book, then I'd like them all.

In the most recent pile of books that I borrowed, I noticed a disturbing trend.  As I read through the pile, the genre subtly morphed from crime fiction, to crime fiction with a little romance, to "high-stakes romance" which was basically a romance with an outrageously unbelievable mystery to solve when they can take their hands off each other, to -er- romance.

And so now, I find I'm reading "heaving this" and "throbbing that."

All I wanted was "purloined this" and "dismembered that."

And having broken my Sleep Routine, I am having trouble sleeping.  'Twould be good to have my library back.

20 January 2011

It shouldn't happen

A week of weird things that shouldn't happen.

First: The Devastating

Entire towns shouldn't be washed away.  People shouldn't be left homeless, and families shouldn't be torn apart.

Mothers shouldn't have to wake up and remember with a shock that they are childless, widowed and homeless.  Teenagers shouldn't have to live indefinitely with relatives, having been recently orphaned.

People shouldn't have to live in evacuation centres with nothing but the clothes they wear.  They especially shouldn't have to do it as a single parent with five children, the youngest one week old.

People shouldn't have to start again from scratch, with no help from insurance companies who quibble about whether it was"flooding," "flash flooding" or "storm water damage."  Farmers shouldn't have to endure million-dollar losses after the recent years of crippling drought.

And a lot more things that shouldn't happen.

Next: The Ordinary

My dear garden probably shouldn't have had this much water tear through it.

Air conditioning units probably shouldn't have this much water inside them.

Woody probably shouldn't keep going to my pantry and getting jars and tins out one by one to put on the kitchen table saying, "Dere! (clap clap clap!)"

Jessie probably shouldn't sleep in this position:

Jessie probably shouldn't put her shirt half-off before falling asleep either.

Journalists probably shouldn't make errors like spelling "choir" as "quire":

But that's all nothing compared to my first list.

13 January 2011


 If you are planning to be in the right place at the right time during an unprecedented wide-scale natural disaster, to film on your iPhone what you expect to be arguably the most horrifying and riveting footage taken of the disaster in your area, to upload it to youtube and then arrange for it to go viral in an extremely short space of time, here are a few handy points to keep in mind as you prepare. 

I shall compile them in the form of a script for appropriate dialogue that you and your work colleague should rehearse meticulously before the natural disaster hits.  This dialogue should be performed during the filming of the disaster, and should deflect most of the potential criticism that could be leveled at you by trolls in the comments section.

- - - - - - - -

A: Oh, look, it's really coming now!  There is no way anyone would have predicted the water would have come up this high, or this quickly!  This is a one-in-100-years flood!  Unfortunately these cars are going to be engulfed in the water.

B: Why yes.  I should point out that many of the car owners have been warned and taken their cars and gone home now.  The rest of the people standing around watching aren't moving to rescue any cars, so I wonder who belongs to the rest of them?

A: I have no idea.  They could be working in any of the buildings in the city, and we have no way of tracking them down.

B: What a shame.  It is also the commuter carpark for the bus station adjacent to this building, meaning that it is probable that a few of the car owners have parked here and taken a bus to other rural towns for any number of days.

A: That's true.  We've done all we can, now we just have to stay put.  We can't go down and move the other cars ourselves.

B: This carpark has been used for many years without any sort of flooding like this.  The car owners could never have foreseen this happening when they parked this morning.  Nobody in their right mind could say they were foolish to park there.

A: You are so right.  We've never seen this sort of flooding here, ever! 

B: You can say that again.  Oh, look!  The water is so brown!  That's because these are flood waters, and they have come from heavy rains picking up dirt as they travel.

A: I heard that when Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, the water was clearer.  Is that because it was sea water?

B: Why yes it was, and therefore it was bound to appear clearer than these flash flood waters inland.

A: Oh, look at that guy.  He is brave to try to save his 4x4, but he's judged that he will get it away safely.  He's a big boy and can make his own decisions.

B: Look what he is doing now.  He is locking his hubs to engage 4WD.

A: Yes he is.  How clever of you to know that, despite the fact you are not familiar with 4 wheel drive vehicles.

B:  Thankyou.

A: This is flooding on a massive scale.  There is no way that you could fake this.  I mean, imagine how impossible it would be to arrange a deluge of megalitres of brown water to cascade down here and to find some cars to float down in it, film it, 'photoshop' it, and upload it to youtube while simultaneously arranging for the world's media to report on it immediately.

B: You could always use chocolate milk instead of brown water.

A: True.  That would make it easier.

B: You would have to be sure when you distributed it that people knew it happened in Australia.  You know how confused people get between Australia and Austria.

A: There is a chance that mentioning that we are in Australia might spark a heated and highly irrational argument regarding the relative disadvantages of the USA and Australia, and offer an opportunity for a minority of Canadians to say that both countries pale behind the brilliance of Canada.  But I will take that risk.  Oh, look, a floating industrial waste bin.  It would be so natural for me to chuckle a bit at this point, but I will be very careful not to do so, for fear of watchers assuming I was taking this lightly.

B: Oh no.  At this point, we already know of the devastation in other parts of the city and surrounding areas, and are fully aware of the loss of homes, material possessions and human life.  Chuckling in amazement at this immense flood would obviously be indicating a callous disdain for the suffering of others.

A: And while we're speaking about not showing disdain, I should ask you - while we've been filming this, have any of the cars floating by had people inside them who subsequently went on to perish in the waters?

B: Obviously not.  Clearly all these cars but one were from this carpark, unable to be saved because they were empty - vacant of people, people who could have driven them away had they been in them.  I also can confirm that the future will show that none of these cars will be found to have bodies in them.  I should point that out for any concerned youtube watchers, after this video is uploaded and goes viral.

A: Alright, now the flood waters have subsided I will clean up what has happened here.  It's only fair, after I have filmed this.  It will demonstrate that I am a decent human being.

B: Wonderful.  I shall film you.  Stand over there and throw his piece of wet paper into the bin that has been washed up here.

('A' goes on to clean up 75% of the state.)

- - - - - - - -

Following these points may deflect the worst of the irrational and hateful criticism directed at you from internet trolls.  Then again, it may not.

12 January 2011

Autocorrect Fails

What a disaster.  As 75% of our state reels from this horrible flooding and our old stomping ground goes under today, I feel the need to lighten the mood, even for just today.  I'm amazed that two years in a row, my birthday has been the date-to-remember for natural disasters.  Haiti earthquake, Queensland flood, and last and most definitely least on the world scale,unbearable media exposure for the wife of Mr de Elba.  Here is a post I put together last night with a view to saving it for a ... sunnier day.  Well, I saw the sun this morning, so I guess this is it.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This is the site that has kept me laughing til I cry recently.  The LOLcats used to do it for me, I've read everything Allie Brosh has written, and now, I'm reading ...

DYAC shows screen captures mostly of iPhones showing horrible errors due to the "autocorrect" function changing words just prior to the hapless senders hitting "send."

I want to show you some that have made me laugh loud and long and clear, but because I want to keep my site pretty above-board, I will weed out ones that may have made me LOL, but have words that I don't really want on Killing A Fly.  You know, ones like this and this.  Hilarious, but containing words that my young nieces may not have heard.  Move on, young nieces, move on.

11 January 2011

Flood Video

Here is Mr de Elba's flood video, filmed from his window at work.

It's terrifying to see people's cars washed away, but people lost their lives in this, which is infinitely worse.  There was not much for Mr de Elba and his colleague to do here except stay put and keep their spirits up.  People were watching their cars but unable to save them.

UPDATED:  And all this happened on a day which was light green - low (25% to 50%) chance of rainfall!  This is the long-range forecast that plunged me into the depths of gloom when I posted it on Boxing Day.

10 January 2011


For weeks, many communities on our state have been suffering from the effects of flooding.  We have had more rain than I can ever remember, a true answer to prayer for our drought-stricken land, but as often happens, when it rains, it pours.  Literally.

Today it was our town's turn to see the floods.  Rain came heavily, quickly, onto ground that was too soaked from the last two months of rain and couldn't take any more.  But the worst was not the Venice-like canal at the side of our house ...

... which had come from the forest behind, tore through my gardens washing away soil and mulch and I-don't-know-which-plants ...

 ... causing a huge back-up of water to well up at our side gate (where is the rest of our retaining wall?) ...

... and come a scary few inches from flooding our house (that's the top step there) ...

... and continue through our side gate, racing through my front gardens dragging soil and mulch onto the front lawn ...

... creating white water rapids down my little garden path ...

...oh no, that wasn't the worst of it.

The worst was what happened downtown.  Mr de Elba took some breathtaking footage from his window at work of one of a few local creeks, growing from a river 100 times its usual trickle, to a torrent swollen beyond all recognition.  Here is his photo of the back of the bus station where I picked up Emily Sue when she came to visit.  We're supposed to be looking at two roads divided by parkland.

This is a carpark where I parked that day.  Of the line of cars parked there, half were swept away one by one (Mr de Elba videoed all this!) and the other half were smashed up against each other at one end of the carpark.

And after the waters began to recede, this is what confronted the people who were able to locate their cars (many couldn't).

If that blows you away, you should see the footage of half-sunken cars with white water splashing around inside the closed windows, only to slightly loosen their grip on the road, shift a little, and then break free to sail apparently peacefully downstream.  One car was seen on the footage to smash into a footbridge and then disappear as it became sucked underneath the bridge, only to reappear bobbing up and down on the other side before being washed away.

However in lower-lying communities around us, whole houses are under water.  In many towns, the floods haven't peaked yet, and there is a general feeling of more hardship to come.

08 January 2011

Musically Naked

On our final day at the beach, I was unable to continue with my usual out-loud surfing commentary.  I had had a profoundly weird dream the night before and it needed to be mulled over.

A dream expert would, if they were worth their fee, have no difficulty interpreting this dream.  It involved me greatly disappointing our worship pastor.  Even more than usual.

A usual disappointment would involve me confidently asserting that I could play a quiet piano solo during communion, only to suffer from stage-fright at the last minute and accidentally hit some particularly bad notes while I am "musically naked," disgracing myself in front of a fairly large auditorium of people.  It only happens when I feel, as I say, "musically naked."  When covered by the band, most of these mistakes go unnoticed.

And I am not talking about a few little wrong notes that could be misconstrued as a sixth-chord, a sus2 or sus4, or even a major 7th.  I'm talking full-on F#-in-the-key-of-C type errors.  Mistakes that would cause the most un-musically-gifted to look up from their contemplation, turn to their loved ones beside them and say, "Is she okay?"

(I often joke that I need to make one of those sorts of mistakes in every service.  Most times when I make a glaringly obvious mistake like that, I relax, confident in the knowledge that I've made my one howler and will then be fine for the rest of the service.)

Anyway, in my dream there was one song in this particular service that I had no hope of playing.  I didn't know it, I didn't get it, and I can't read music particularly well.  By strange dream-typical coincidence, I had not put one minute of thought or practice in prior to the service, and was feeling terribly panicky.  I knew that I had to hold up my end of the musical bargain and play well, even if it meant fudging it.  I felt the weight of expectation as my band were relying on me, but I knew I'd need a lot of divine intervention if I was going to play this song even remotely well.

As is typical in dreams, I then found myself in a hopeless situation that had neither antecedants nor reason.  With a few minutes to go before the service, I found myself plunged into the worst type of "wardrobe malfunction" known to dreamers.

Upon reflection, I realise that frequently using the phrase "musically naked" was setting me up for just such a Freudian disaster during my sleep hours.

Alone in a room of what had transformed into a surprisingly traditional church, I panicked as I realised I was not even decent enough to go and tell my band that I would not be able to go on stage that night.  I didn't want to let them down and disgrace myself, but believe me, if I went on that stage I was going to disgrace the whole lot of us.

I didn't want to bail out without explanation or apology, but I had little choice.  I found myself desperately grabbing various pieces of ecclesiastical fabrics (the word "cassock" springs to mind, though my picture of a cassock would lend greater coverage than the embroidered tea-towel-like scraps available in my dream) with which to clothe myself as I dashed home.

My dream ended in my band being furious with me, and with me being unable to furnish an explanation worthy of repetition.


And now I need a new phrase to use instead of "musically naked."  Another dream like that and I will have to change churches.

To my guys,

Sometimes, you will have little fights with your friends.  There will be toys and games that you both want, but these will be things that two cannot have at the same time.  You will have to learn how to share and take turns.

I know you're sad, but you will have to let the other guys have their turn.

Picture from here.

07 January 2011

"Go for it!"

To be honest, our beach holiday only finished yesterday.  My last post was written as if our holiday was in the past tense, because I didn't want mythical thieves knowing we were not home and popping over (as if they knew our address!  I even photoshopped our house number out of the final photo in this post to be on the safe side - the number is supposed to be in between the two garage doors on the bricks there) ...

Where was I?  Oh yes.  I didn't want thieves who presumably know where we live popping over to ransack the place, finding nothing to steal, tripping over the Christmas stuff and deciding to stick around to do a spot of cleaning and tidying.  I would have felt guilty.

Anyway, I wanted to make a confession.  It's embarrassing.  I have only just realised that I talk things through when I'm out in the surf, waiting for a big wave.  As in, I talk out loud.  Go ahead.  Judge me.

Many times during our holiday I caught myself saying to nobody in particular, "Ooh, this wave looks good," and "Oh no it doesn't," and "What a wuss," this last referring either to the wave if it was small or to myself if the wave ended up being big and I failed to catch it.

I noticed that when huge waves were coming up, after pondering out loud about whether I should try to catch it or not, I'd shout out, "I want it!" before jumping off and swimming like crazy to catch it. Or, "Argh! I'm going to die!!" if it was bigger than expected, just before diving or ducking down to try to avoid being tossed around too much.

Predictably, after a while I noticed that people were looking at me.

Apparently, it's not good form to talk things through when you're swimming alone.

I should have thought about this before letting myself get overly verbal about the surf.  I found myself in an absurd situation one day involving a father and his kid on a bodyboard who were 10 metres further out than I was.  A big wave came and I knew I was, sadly, about 10 metres too far in to catch it, but I saw the dad getting ready to launch his kid off to catch it.  It looked like a good wave, and I couldn't help saying, "Go for it!" in their general direction.  Forgive me.  I was sort of imaging it was my kid, and I was encouraging him.

I probably would have got away with it if the dad and his kid hadn't bailed out of the wave at the last minute and instead of riding it to the shore, they were pushed 10 metres in by the swell.  They ended up floating right next to me.  I mean, literally two feet away.

There they were floating two feet away, looking at me, trying to determine:
(a) if I knew them,
(b) if I was saying, "Go for it!" to myself, or
(c) if I was just plain barking mad.

I did the only sensible thing.  I didn't make eye contact, and hoped they'd forget I'd just loudly encouraged them to "Go for it!"

It appeared that they were in no hurry to forget that a Strange Lady At The Beach had just shouted, "Go for it!" to them, and seemed in no doubt that I didn't in fact know them.  This only left the possibility that I'd shouted to myself or I was plain barking mad.  Both of these options of course equate to my being plain barking mad.

But my surfing self-talk continued unabated.  On a few of the days we found ourselves at Dicky Beach which many of you may know.  The beach is named after a shipwreck and the remains of the SS Dicky are still standing there today, greatly eroded since it was wrecked on the beach in 1893.

The surfing to the right of the wreck was pretty good, but the presence of the wreck seemed to have influenced me.  I noticed that as I floated in the water waiting for good waves, my commentary had taken on a distinctly Pirate-like accent.

"Arr, this be no good forr surrfin'," I'd say.  Then, "This be a good'un!" and I'd ride the wave in.  Once I was back out there, I told myself sternly that there was to be no more commentary but I couldn't stop myself.

"Arr, the seas be gettin' a bit rough," popped out of my mouth.  "Scurrvey!"  Then things got rougher.  "Arr, shiverr me timb ---" I shouted as I got dumped.  I spluttered to the surface only to be met with another wave, "Arr, pieces of eigh---"

I think I should always keep a friend, husband or child with me when I surf. At least then maybe people will think I'm talking to them.

03 January 2011

I had forgotten how much I love this

It's been a while since I posted, and not because of my usual slackness.  First I was busy and then I was without a computer for a little while, and if you don't mind large blocks of text without little pictures for interest, just-let-me-tell-you-what-I've-been-doing!

On the 29th December, I was privileged to attend the funeral of an elderly lady who made the world brighter by being in it.  She was the grandmother of some of my nieces and nephews (hello to you all!) and therefore was related to me by marriage.  She had a long and full life, she was accomplished at many things that made a home (and a farm) a wonderful place to be, and she made us the best jolly wedding cake that we've ever had.  Even if Mr de Elba and I had had more than one wedding cake, hers would still have been the best.  She was so genuine and loving, and the love of God shone from her.  We took Buzz with us to the service celebrating her life, and we had many good chats involving searching questions from Buzz and honest answers from us.

On the 30th, I was privileged to attend a very different funeral.  It was a service for a young guy at our church who died at the age of 19 from bone cancer.  Although Mr de E and I had only met him a few times between us, he had been in our church's prayer list all year, and so we had prayed for him many times.  He was vibrant, exciting, outrageous, brave, honest, and he too lived life to the full.  People said at the service that whenever he was asked about his cancer, he would say, "It is what it is."  Such strength and faith.  He too loved God and had a strong conviction that when his time on earth was over, he would run with the angels.  We sniffled through the entire service and this time, because of the circumstances, we were glad that we didn't take the children with us.

The youth pastor spoke about Job's declaration that it was more blessed to mourn that to celebrate, and explained that there were lessons to be learned at funerals that you cannot learn anywhere else.  When I realised that watching people struggle with illnesses like this has made me long for a time where there is no more illness, pain or death, I saw that he was right.

Immediately after that we left on a beach holiday which we'd postponed so we could attend the second funeral.  Initially it was a bit strange, straight after attending that service.  But the emotional clouds parted as we took off.

We stayed in a wonderful house of a friend who was away on a camping holiday.  We had 4 bedrooms, a media room, kitchen, laundry, outside area with pool table and bbq, and it's close to the beach and shops.  We have fallen out of the habit of taking holidays over recent years because of the

  • sand
  • wet swimmers
  • heat and humidity
  • bother finding shops and organising meals
  • hassle regarding children sleeping/not sleeping
  • cost
  • and did I mention the sand?  Oh, I don't like sand on the floor, sand in the bed, sand in the swimmers, sand in the towels, sand in the car.  I really don't.
so we haven't had family holidays in ever-so-long.  And this brings me to the title of the blog post ...

I had forgotten how much I love this.

Taking time out, going away, saving a little money to spend on eating out, meeting up with friends at the beach by surprise, swimming, drying off and swimming again, and doing the Australian-family-at-the-beach-in-January Thing.

This includes one of my all-time favourite pastimes: bodysurfing.  Bodysurfing, not only because it's fun, but also because with 3 children, a beach tent and mountains of heavy bags full of wet sandy towels, it's too much bother to bring a board.  Today I had the opportunity to ride in some great waves.  I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed that, too.  Waiting in crystal-clear water until the perfect breaker comes along, pushing off and swimming fast, crashing down from the cusp of the wave onto the the calmer, flatter water below as the wave breaks, feeling the strength of the water behind me as I blow as much air out of my nose as I can without passing out in order to keep the frothy water out, finally to feel the sand underneath me as I wash up onto the beach.  This is one of my pure-bliss moments.

I could handle this for one week every year.  I could even handle the trudging through hot sand, carrying complaining children and heavy bags of wet towels, the uncomfortable wet sandy swimmers and the pants full of sand and crushed shells after a particularly good wave.  Oh yes, I could handle this!