Welcome to the blogspot of Melbourne writer, Elizabeth Jane

Welcome to the blogspot of Melbourne writer, Elizabeth Jane

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Introducing Cherry Ribbon

Thursday before last I bought a new cardigan. It's cherry red with a little black fleck through the wool. If it were a plant, you might call it variegated. But I'm calling it Cherry Ribbon. It has tiny diamond cut black buttons and a wide gathered ribbon around the V neckline. I bought it from that shop with a lady's name that has an E at the end.

I simply had to buy it.

Last night I wore the cardigan for the first time. That's one week and two days after the initial purchase. In between I have operated according to my standard, how-to-roll-a-new-cardigan procedure of which I thought the world might benefit from hearing.

Firstly, I must point out that to a librarian a cardigan is a most important accesory. I mean with contact lenses and permanent rinses, the profession has been in danger of blending with the general population. A tendency towards cardigans may be our sole distinguishing feature in the twenty first century.

Secondly, I would like to say that I work part time and write the rest of the time and, quite frankly, I should be shopping at Dimmeys. But when it comes to cardigans, the queen of all garments, I sometimes lash out no matter how badly the price tag reads.

That's the way it was with Cherry Ribbon and me.

Anyway, back to the roll out. It's a four step process and you must follow it exactly, or it won't work. It's like one of those post-cards-from-all-over-the-world, chain letter things.

Step one: throw out an old cardigan. Now I know that sounds harsh. But even a librarian can have too many cardigans. Fuschia Pink simply had to go. I bought her nine years ago. She no longer did up at the front. Well, she did at a pinch,but the effect wasn't flattering.

She is now at the Op-shop, readjusting.

Step two: talk nicely to last year's best cardigan. In this case, Tealy Ruff. Tell her how much you've appreciated her contribution to your sleek professional appearance. But now you've found a new cardigan, things have changed, she will no longer be your best cardigan anymore.

I advise, a strict, no nonsense tone. Cardigan's on the way down have a tendency to whine. Tell her the news is not all bad. That a second-best cardigan gets worn more than a best cardigan. Tell her you'll still be friends, that there will be a new freedom to your relationship.

Step three: wait

Now, I expect this step is a surpises. You imagined, having made such a signifcant purchase, I would leap out of bed Friday morning and don Cherry Ribbon immediately.

But that isn't how the program works.

You must wear your newly demoted second-best cardigan the morning after purchase. It sets the tone, demonstrates the benefits of her new role, and proves what you said about freedom and friendship.

Don't for a minute think I didn't consider Cherry Ribbon that first Friday morning. Taking her out, standing, head to one side, smiling at my good fortune. I did. But you can't wear a new cardigan the morning after purchase.

You have to wait.

It's one of those law-of-the-universe things.

Then you have to wait, and wait some more - until you've almost forgotten you have a new cardigan.

So that one day you step from the shower all fresh and steamy, wipe your feet on the bath-mat, towel your hair, walk still dripping from the bathroom, and fling wide the wardrobe door, and think: What shall I wear today?

You scan scan the hangers, going from black, to green, to blue, then purple, pink and red (yes, it's important to colour code your wardrobe), then your eyes alight upon it and realisation floods you anew, and you think, yes, this is it. I will wear my new cardigan.

Step four: You pull it gently from its hanger and lay it on the bed. You pick out the skirt that'll match it best, the stockings and the shoes. Apply make-up and blow dry you hair, never rushing, though your heart pounds and anticipation flooda your senses.

Then, when all is in place, you don your new cardigan - and the moment is deeply satisfying.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Engagement Party and some Pics

We've had the party - and eaten the cake. I have posted some photos and a copy of the speech I made on behalf of all the parents.

Andrew McCann – the name first hit my radar about a year ago.
My husband, Andrew and I had noticed Phoebe was happy, very happy. She had good friends and good fellowship. She was a Hype leader, a regular attendee of fam. dinner and was enjoying uni. She had finally settled down after her overseas exchange. There was no evidence of a boy friend but, I have to admit, I had begun to suspect there was more to her mood than simply good Christian fellowship.

Last June, Phoebe spent a week house sitting with Courtney. We missed her, terribly but had begun to brace ourselves for the inevitable – one day Phoebe would leave home.

But I must say things have happened quicker than even we could have imagined.
Phoebe and I were enjoying our morning coffee, chatting over our plans for the day, when I first heard the name Andrew McCann. Phoebe had some small errands to perform, she said. Then she was going to have lunch with Andrew.

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘Andrew who?’

Phoebe had this little smile playing about her mouth, seeing straight into my trying-not-to- appear-too-curious mind, knowing she was about to deliver a bombshell.
‘Andrew McCann, she said. ‘You know his parents. They go to Crossway.’

Well, I knew exactly who she was talking about. Peter and Cathy always sat on the left hand side, just in front of us when we went to Crossway. Cathy always helped at the Vermont Secondary College text book sales. Peter was on school council. Bec was Amy Comben’s friend. Dave used to be Seth’s Kids Church leader. Oh yes, I knew exactly who she was talking about. But unfortunately, I didn’t knew anything about Andrew McCann.'

‘Is this just a friendship,’ I asked. ‘Or something more?’

‘A bit more,’ Phoebe said, a little smile skipping across her face.

Well this was news! I was having trouble balancing my coffee. For some reason my hand was shaking.

‘What’s he studying?’ I asked, aiming for nonchalance.

‘He’s not studying, he’s working.’

‘Oh,’ I put the cup down. How old is he, then?

‘Twenty seven,’ Phoebe said, he smile breaking into a grin.

I kept my composure (until Phoebe left for lunch) then I raced out to the studio where my husband Andrew was working. ‘Phoebe’s got a boy friend,’ I said. ‘His name’s Andrew McCann, you know Peter and Cathy McCann’s son, he’s twenty seven, working, place in St Kilda – he’s got his own dog and everything.

Now I must say up front, neither Andrew nor I were worried about Andrews’s age. But its implication was not lost on us either. This was a young man from a loving family whose faith and values would match Phoebe’s, someone who would believe in marriage, someone whose younger brother and sister were, in fact, already married.
This could get serious pretty quickly.
We weren't at all worried about a small age difference. But I did wonder how I would relate to Andrew. I mean, I work with people who are twenty seven, they are my peers, my colleagues – this wasn’t a boyfriend, Phoebe had got herself – it was a man.

She might be old enough – but I wasn’t sure if I was.

Of course, I needn’t have worried. My first thought, on meeting Andrew, was: Oh, it's fine, he's just like one of my sons.

From the first, Andrew felt like a good fit in our family.

This is a sentiment Peter and Cathy have both echoed. When Cathy and I were talking on the phone last week, in preparation for tonight’s party Cathy said, she felt like Phoebe had completed their family. When I chatted to Peter about the speeches, I asked if there was anything in particular he wanted me to say on their behalf, he said, only that we’re delighted – absolutely thrilled.

I think that is the main thing we want to say tonight.

We are thrilled.

In Andrew, Phoebe has found a man who is honest, sensitive and kind, someone who will walk beside her on life’s journey. In Phoebe, Andrew has a young woman who is caring, compassionate and true. They will seek God together. Take their place as a couple in the life of the church and in the wider community.

Andrew, Peter and Cathy and I, are immensely proud of them. Of the choice they have made in each other, their belief that marriage is the framework in which they want to make that commitment, and that their relationship is part of their wider faith journey.

It is everything we would have wished for them.

I would therefore like to conclude this speech, by inviting Peter McCann, Andrew’s father to lead us in prayer. On our behalf, Peter will thank God for bringing Andrew and Phoebe together, and seek God’s continued blessing for their engagement and their marriage.