Monday, December 31

New Year's Eve 5.30pm

It's pretty quiet around here, apart from the call of the Tamagotchi. The girls are away for a couple of days and Tom is having a nap. Because the girls are away I am answering the calls of not one, but two, Tamagotchis. It's nerve wracking because I don't want to be responsible for their deaths.

As well as that I am having my annual New Year meltdown. I don't really know why it happens, something to do the pending fresh start, a new beginning full of promise and a lot of angst about how badly I am likely to fuck it up. As well as a healthy dose of overwhelm about what I still want to do in my life. I have no valid reason to think I will fuck it up, although I can say I've managed it a few times in the past. However, 2007 has been a fairly good year in many ways, not least that I managed to complete two qualifications that have been hanging over my head for some time. I also finally left my job to go it alone in my business. The girls are happy, healthy and a constant source of entertainment and Tom and I are doing fine with no plans to become a divorce statistic anytime soon. Of course there have been low points but I won't dwell on those.

Whatever the past has been, at this time of year I still always manage to feel a bit lost, a bit apprehensive and a bit directionless. So this year I've decided to do something different. I'm going to sit down and make some lists. Not resolutions, because we all know those are made to be broken. Just some 'I'd quite like to...' or 'At some stage I may...' type of suggestions to myself. A short list of possibilities for 2008. Because the best thing about the future is possibility and really.....the possibilities are endless. Stay tuned.

Wishing you a happy and abundant 2008!!

Friday, December 28

Three days later....

....the trifle is finished, most of the leftovers are eaten, the nativity is packed up and the bin men just came and emptied our rubbish bin of all the paper and packaging that was filling it. Thank you bin men.

Christmas was a huge success, after the present opening (at 6am) the day was spent eating, drinking, playing several thousand games of Cluedo, Snakes & Ladders, Go Fish and Old Maid and generally relaxing. I can honestly say it is the most relaxed Christmas I have ever had. No long drives, no visitors, no cooking for a crowd. It was lovely. I missed my sisters as I always do at this time of the year but it was bearable (unlike the Christmas I spent crying in the bedroom at Tom's parents' place - but that's another story).

My presents were all great (he pretty much kept to the list I had provided) so I got, among other things, a new Bodum (yes, I know, a bit practical despite what I said about practical gifts, but something I really wanted) a copy of Nigella Feast (as I've previously mentioned I hate to cook but I like reading recipe books and watching cooking shows on TV - I know, I don't understand it either and T is totally bewildered by it). I also got a computer game. Don't be shocked - I'm not killing aliens or assassinating politicians. It seems strange to even me that I wanted a game. However I have heard many positive things about this game called Civilisation so I wanted to play it. Apparently it is a game of skill and strategy and that's something I enjoy so I am venturing into the world of computer games. I'll let you know how that goes....if you don't hear from me again you'll know I'm hooked.

Currently Tom and the girls are playing cricket in the back garden while I blog and take care of the Tamagotchis. Both of the girls got one for Christmas and Hannah is very good with hers. Aislin, being only 4, has limited patience with its demands, so I find myself regularly answering its call to feed it, play with it or clean up its poop, so that the little bastard creature doesn't die. Fortunately all of this is electronic so no actual feeding and cleaning is necessary - just some button pressing. Yet another aspect of motherhood I didn't see coming.

Tuesday, December 25

Repeat the sounding joy....

Merry Christmas to you and yours.


Monday, December 24


Every Christmas eve should have a couple.....

Saturday, December 22

Just some bits and pieces

The party yesterday was fine, the rain held off and a good time was had by all. The rain started again after the party and hasn't really let up since - but this is good. There ends today's weather report. If my (often silent) readers wonder if I'm obsessed by weather they'd be right. I can't help it. In winter it's because my Scottish blood craves cold and rain (and snow really but I'm not completely stupid, I know that isn't going to happen). In summer it's because I am dreading the hot days, I don't like the heat, it makes me miserable. It's worse right now in our in-the-process-of-being-renovated-so-as-yet-not-airconditioned-house. I even have a 'weather' label on this blog. God I'm sad.


This morning I looked around my (unrenovated) lounge room and wondered what the hell visitors from another planet would think if they stopped by this morning. The tree in the corner covered in lights and strange ornaments (trust me they are strange), the elf sleeping in a shoe box under that tree (long story). The group of middle easterners and livestock crowded round a baby in a water trough that is sitting on the side table. And me, still in my PJs alternately drinking coffee, separating squabbling children and typing madly on this little square thing. Humans are bizarre. Just an observation.

Also....things I never thought I'd hear my husband say....

.....'Perhaps I'll just meet him this afternoon and go for a game of golf...' Excuse me? Golf? In all the years I've known Tom I've never heard him say anything good about golf. He mocks golf. He is scathing in his attitude to golf. However today, apparently, he is meeting an old friend (who is back in town for Christmas) and they will play GOLF. When I stopped laughing I asked him if he actually knows how to play golf. It seems he knows how, he just doesn't like it and can't do it very well. How I wish I could be there to witness that. Tom playing golf is to me like the cat cooking dinner. Unnatural and unlikely.

A little about Tom's gift buying capabilities...

First, because I know he reads this blog. Tom, I love you. Now....on with the mocking. In all the years we've been together Tom has given me many gifts. The first, was a thank you and goodbye gift when he was leaving to live in Darwin, we had agreed not to do the long distance relationship thing so we broke up. After vacating his flat, he'd been staying with me in the lead up to his departure, so he presented me with a beautifully wrapped gift. I opened it in eager anticipation, this was something I could keep forever, a momento of the time we had together, so sad, so tragic would be our lost love... and in my old age I would open a box of dusty treasures and settle my rheumy gaze on.....this coffee mug. Certainly a nice coffee mug, a beautiful mug in fact, fine procelain with a naive art image on it. But really, a coffee mug as a symbol of our short romance? Perhaps not. However I did love that mug until it broke. I'm not good with fragile stuff. To cut a long story short he didn't stay in Darwin, he came back 3 months later and, we are.

The years in between have been filled with gifts, some beautiful, some ghastly, some strange and puzzling and some downright disappointing. Among the beautiful are the Yves St Laurent pyjamas, the journal bound in fine Chinese paper, good quality photo albums, books and a few years ago now, my first digital camera. All of these puntucated by such presents as the 4 litre casserole dish, the cheese grater (a microplane grater mind you), the dustbuster and the winner.....the chess set (don't ask, I have no idea). It's not that he doesn't know me, it's more that we have a different view of gift giving, all of those things are items that I have said I wanted at some time or another. To him if it's practical and you have at some point mentioned you'd like one, then it is fair game in the present giving stakes. For me, unless I have specifically requested a practical item, gifts should be something I wouldn't buy myself, perhaps a little impractical even, a luxury item ...indulgent. When I say I want a big casserole dish, I mean at some stage I will buy a big casserole dish. Anyway, it is always an adventure and while I am now careful to create a wish list and leave it in an obvious place there is still always the possibility of a 'surprise'. Ahem. Roll on Tuesday - I'll keep you posted.

So there you are, just a big pile of nothing in today's post. I can now spend the rest of the day getting on with my Christmas preparations, happy in the knowledge that I have once again provided the internet with my pointless musings.

Friday, December 21


We knew last night a storm was coming....

And this morning, down came the rain....

The wattle tree is dripping.....

And the spider has moved out....

And we're going to an outdoor party this afternoon. Uh oh.

Wednesday, December 19

Elfing my children...

...just to ensure plenty of material for their therapist in years to come....

Check it out here

Garden visitors

One of the best things about living in this country is the wildlife. And these two are regular visitors, right outside the window, each evening.

Tuesday, December 18

Concert number 4

What I thought was our final concert for the year took place yesterday. This one was from Hannah's dance/singing/drama class. It was held in a real theatre....

I don't think Hannah realised the scale of the production and when she arrived on stage she spent quite some time absent-mindedly doing her routine, totally out of time with the rest, and staring in amazement out into the audience. It was hilarious. Then she spotted me and waved which they'd been told not to do, so of course she immediately looked guilty. Unfortunately I cannot provide pictures of this concert ('thank goodness' I hear you cry) because we were forbidden from taking them because they were filming it for a DVD that they will be selling us. Of course.

I can show you the very naff professional photo that was taken prior to the performance and guessed it....sold to us. I'm sure I'm breaching some kind of copyright by displaying it but that's too bad. Bite me photographer.

In other news our old hot water system was replaced today. This required the presence of several tradesmen. This always makes me uncomfortable because as much as I don't want to say 'dealing with tradesmen is Tom's job' in actual fact I want dealing with tradesmen to be his job. I don't mean that in a sexist way, I know I'm quite capable of understanding the idiosyncracies of plumbing and electrics if necessary, the trouble is I don't want to. Not interested. Tom, on the other hand, really likes that kind of thing and would gladly give up his job to become a plumber. I'd have no problem with that given the current earning capacity of plumbers.

Anyway, the new tank went in, the pipes were all joined up and the electrician messed around in the ceiling for a while and pronounced it all in order. The hot water from our old tank had to be emptied. It was slightly distressing to watch several hundred litres of hot water pouring off the roof and being wasted while we are in drought. I wasn't quick enough to gather it in buckets to at least use it to water the tomatoes (once it had cooled down of course). Ah well.

So you may have noticed that I said at the beginning 'what I thought was our last concert'....this is because it has now come to pass that the girls will be playing angels in the Christmas Eve Mass nativity. Not exactly a concert, granted, but still requiring some costume making and performing in front of an audience. Yay. Would you be surprised to know that I have had quite enough with the concerts, costumes and performances? No? No. Dear God in heaven make it stop.

Monday, December 17

One of those meme things

1.Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Paper always, with ribbon and made to look pretty.

2. Real tree or artificial?
Artificial at the moment.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Depends on my mood, but I'm trying to set a tradition of the first Sunday in Advent.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Twelfth night. Again, I'm trying to set a tradition, I'm always tempted to rip it down on Boxing day (and have been known to but not since I had children).

5. Do you like eggnog?
OMG yes! But I’ve only had the supermarket kind, I would love to make some but have been frightened off by that whole ‘raw eggs can kill you’ thing.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
A walking talking doll. She was brunette with brown eyes. Quite unusual in dolls in those days, they all had blue eyes.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
I have my Mum’s. It’s not really to my taste but I put it out because it was Mums.

8. Hardest person to buy for?
This year it’s Hannah, surprising since she’s a 7 year old child, you’d think it would be easy, but it’s not. She has quite specific tastes, I mean this is a kid that asked for a USB drive for her birthday. She wanted a lap top or a Nintendo DS (whatever that is) for Christmas this year. She’s getting neither of those. ALso men, I always find men hard to buy for.

9. Easiest person to buy for?
Aislin. All she ever wants is baby dolls (known to her as ‘bubbies’). Easy.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
One year Tom gave me a casserole dish. Please don't get me started on gifts I've received from Tom.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?
I don’t do Christmas cards really, but I do send to a couple of relatives in Scotland. They are posted

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Polar Express…no…..The Santa Claus………It's a Wonderful Life…, hang on…Scrooge (the 1970’s one with Albert Finney)…no……..Miracle on 34th Street….no…..oh hell I don’t know, I like them all!!! But Scrooge is pretty great.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
It varies, but for the first year ever I’m pretty much finished the week before Christmas. I have been known (pre-kids) to START my shopping on Christmas Eve. Now that is stressful.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Maybe. There could possibly have been a time many, many years ago when, as the new recipient was opening her gift, the person who gave it to me arrived. Or perhaps I made that up? I'll let you decide.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Mince pies and trifle (my Mum’s recipe).

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Only clear….EVER!! Coloured lights – pah!

17. Favorite Christmas song?
I love most carols, but probably Silent Night if it’s done well. I only like carols by choirs, none of this Bing Crosby shit. Or worse, cats singing Carols. In the name of all that is holy preserve us from such an abomination.

18. Travel for Christmas or stay home?
Usually travel to family. Not this year though.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen and of course Rudolph. Thank you Clement C Moore, my favourite Christmas story (except for the ACTUAL Christmas story of course).

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Usually a Santa actually, but this year Hannah made a thing. It’s a silver cone covered in stars. It now sits proudly (and lopsidedly) atop the tree.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Obscene commercialism that seriously offends me. We have downsized Christmas.

23. What I love most about Christmas?
Christmas Eve, home from Mass, kids in bed, a glass of wine and a mince pie, Carols from Kings in the background, wrapping presents with the tree lights softly twinkling. For me it is the calm before the storm of excited children, mad unwrapping, eating, drinking and trying to be merry for two solid days. Christmas Eve is my favourite night of the year.

3D Rudolph

Concert number 3

Aislin's Fairy Ballet concert. I'll bet you're wondering how I managed to blur the other children in the picture to protect their anonymity? Sorry, can't say. Ahem.

Also do you notice Aislin's very professional headwear? Ahh tinsel, how I love thee. Hey....those other parents bought those costumes. It took me days hours seconds to put her in a red tutu, wrap some tinsel round her head and tie a poinsettia on her shoulder strap. Shut up.

And the tinsel bracelets just make your friends SOOOO envious.

So today is Hannah's concert. Stay tuned for more mind numbing photos of kids in costumes.

Saturday, December 15

It'd break your heart

...the things you find when you're sorting out all the 'end of year' school art work

In case you can't make it out it says....

Dear God I hope my dog in heaven is ok up there. Amen.

I'd like to add....Dear God, it would be fine to send us another one........any time soon would be good. Amen from Caitlin (P.S. Sorry about the cursing).

Friday, December 14

Schools out...

...for summer. Hannah finished at 12.30 this afternoon. I picked her up and at 12.45 this happened...

Me: I will not put up with this arguing all holidays, you two will stop squabbling RIGHT NOW!! Understood? Silence from the back seat.

Me again: Hannah........understood?

Hannah: Yes, mummy.

Me: Aislin...understood?

Aislin: Yes, mummy.

Later this evening Aislin came into the kitchen as I prepared their dinner, chicken satays (shaslicks, kebabs...whatever you call them where you live...chicken on sticks..). She peered under the grill then jumped down, very excited, and ran through to Hannah and said 'Hannah! It's meat, it's chicken, on sticks, with sauce.....understood?'

Is she mocking me?

I have 7 weeks of this to look forward to. Someone pass the gin.

Friday, December 7

'Tis the season.... have a nervous breakdown. It's been a very busy time with this whole 'lead up Christmas nonsense'. Bah humbug.

So a quick catch up.....we've had ANOTHER PAGEANT - number THREE for goodness sake (photo blurred to protect the innocent - no really - ahem). Dear Baby Jesus, no more pageants please.

A picnic in a sunny park and Hannah brought a friend along.

Yesterday was 'Two Concerts Thursday' Here's one......note her animated enthusiasm..

Ok, sorry..... Youtube is letting me down on this one...hang in there until I can sort it out.....

Here's two......

After which I needed.......

She ran out of bubble mixture

Wednesday, December 5

Amen, Sister...AMEN!

This post prompted me to send an email to all the friends with whom we usually exchange gifts at Christmas. In the email I linked to the post and then said.......

After reading this I got to thinking about the 3 bags of toys I recently donated to Vinnies and how so much of it was hardly played with. While it’s nice to know that it will now contribute to a charity it would be so much nicer to know that a child who really needed something could have had them as brand new toys.

I know that some of you may be considering giving gifts to Tom and I and/or the girls this Christmas and I really appreciate your kindness and generosity in doing so, however I respectfully request that you don’t. I would like to suggest an amnesty on gift exchange. This is not because I hate your gifts Yellow or because I am miserly and mean or because I don’t love and care for each and every one of you. It’s because it is not necessary. In my family, and I know for most of you, we all receive gifts at Christmas. Many, many gifts. The girls will get nice presents from Tom and I and then more from extended family. I’d really like to stop it there. They have so much already, more than they can ever play with, or wear or put in their hair or make or paint or cut up or join together. I know we’re not unique in this, every parent I know can testify to the ‘stuff mountain’ that their children have.

The things I remember about my own childhood Christmases have nothing to do with presents. I remember family gatherings, going to church in the snow (admittedly that’s probably not going to happen this year) carol singing, Christmas concerts, a big family lunch and watching ‘Wonderful Life’ on TV. Of course there were presents but they didn’t overshadow everything else. I want the same for Hannah and Aislin. If you are worried that they (or I) will think you don’t care I can assure you that won’t be the case. Next time you see them give them a hug or play a game with them or read them a story, I can absolutely guarantee they will love and remember you more for those things than for any present you could give them.

If you really feel the need to give gifts to us can I suggest that, instead, you please give a gift to a child through the Kmart Wishing Tree or St Vincent de Paul (who have a similar program of giving gifts to the needy - adults included) or donate to your favourite charity and think of us as you do it. Both Hannah and Aislin are donating gifts this year and Tom and I are also gifting through the Vinnies program. I’m really proud of the girls for doing that, in the link I sent you, point 2 says ‘it’s not about things’ and they are really understanding that now. I know we all would like to contribute less to the madness of Christmas consumerism and more to places it’s needed.

I really hope I haven’t offended anyone and that you don’t think me presumptuous in anticipating presents from you. If you are receiving this email it’s because you are considered a much-loved friend and someone with whom we’ve exchanged gifts in the past. I also know that any gifts you have given in the past have been given with love and generosity, as were the gifts we gave to you, and I do not dismiss that sentiment for a moment. I want you all to know that your love and generosity exist for me just as much, perhaps even more, without gifts. I’m looking forward to catching up with most of you before Christmas and I hope you won’t throw rocks at me.

Our love to you all and best wishes for the festive season
Merry Christmas

All but one person agreed wholeheartedly. I tried to explain to her that it didn't mean I was planning a Dickensian Christmas with the four of us huddled around a chicken leg and a mouldy potato and the girls each getting a broken coathanger in their stockings. To no avail, she was hurt and defensive. However, she has reluctantly agreed to respect my wishes.

When did it get so nuts? When did Christmas become about things and stuff? That really crept up on me and I guess only we can change it. And that's what I intend to do.

UPDATE: The one person who didn't agree suddenly rang me, out of the blue, saying 'I get it, I finally get it!!' there had been an incident that had prompted her to see what I was getting at and the penny dropped.