Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011. Hello 2012.


Today is the last day of 2011
and I am probably meant to be doing a post
that sums up the year that was for me.
Life, the family, the crafting, the ups and downs...

But, to top off a year when I have felt like I have been disorganised and forever crossing things off lists,
I am disorganised and have a New Year's Eve party "to do" list to deal with.
I have "a minute to win it" games to prep,
a pavlova in the oven;
I have a curry to make.
(Yep, 39 degrees and I am making meringue and curry.
Bless air conditioning)

On the up side, I am making water balloon pinatas
and need to decide on a cocktail
(lots of taste testing involved I am sure)

So I wish everyone a safe and happy end to their 2011.
I hope that 2012 is a good one.

Friday, December 30, 2011

"Little Boozle's cats"

OND 2011

I couldn't work out why Wally seemed to be struggling with his ascent to the window ledge
leading to his cat run.
It might have been something to do with the 800 gram chunk of meat that he had in his mouth.

(To his credit, he got it down from the kitchen bench,
along the corridor
and up there with minimal fuss  
but juuuuuust didn't quite make it through the window
before he got nabbed)

I am thinking of re-naming my blog...
something like "Bad Cat-titude"
or "Free to Good Home"
or "My Cats Need Prozac"
They seem to get a fair whack of my blog time.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Early morning Christmas visitors

There are two events that we can rely on 
between going to bed on Christmas Eve
and getting up on Christmas Day.

The first, of course, is a quiet visit from the big man in the red suit.

The second is any or all of our children waking up
and bouncing out of their beds
only to bounce into our bed, usually before it gets light,
all in the name of Christmas excitement.

You can't quite call this visit quiet
but, to be fair,
it is usually a tempered excitement
as they bring their Christmas stockings in
to share what they have scored from Santa.
So to be woken up by a cacophony of screeches
was a bit of an (unpleasant) surprise.
(-and believe me,
I now understand the true meaning of the word cacophony)

OND 2011

By the time I ventured outside to see what was causing the racket,
hubby had broken up the fight and
there was a little kookaburra,
who appeared a bit spaced out,
sitting quietly not far from our front door
while a much bigger kookaburra
was sitting in the gum tree outside our front fence.

We scared away the big boy
(yes, we made the judgement call that he was the bully and instigator)
and checked out the little guy
who was abnormally still and quiet for a wild bird.

OND 2011

We think that he or she was shocked
and, even when a little scared by our approach, 
he couldn't manage to fly onto our low verandah wall.
We gave him some water
and some shelter in case the bully returned
and we gave him some time and space to recover
(while we went inside to find the phone number of Fauna Rescue..just in case)

OND 2011

A little later he was close by on a lower limb of our gum tree,
showing interest in us and obviously capable of flying.
He was certainly in no hurry to fly away
and we were glad that he seemed to be OK.

For once, we appreciated that the wake-up that we get most Christmas day mornings,
while unpleasantly early,
is by human youngsters.
However dreadful a noise my kids can make,
(and it is pretty dreadful when they put their minds to it)
I think that kookaburras would beat them hands down.

Merry Christmas!

OND 2011

I hope that it was a day filled with love, fun and lots of strawberry Santas.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

This (Christmas) week...24th December, 2011

blog 2011

OND 2011

...I actually made a few presents.

OND 2011

...I decided that whomever it was that started the tradition
of constructing and decorating gingerbread houses
did not celebrate Christmas during a humid summer.

OND 2011

...I discovered that there is egg nog
and then there is egg nog.

OND 2011

...I martyred myself as official "egg nog taste testerer"
(I was initally a taste tester but now I have consumed 3 of them,
taste testerer seems much more fun)
OND 2011

...we left feed for the reindeer
and thought that they would be able to fit in
both the carrot and the magical mix
because they had so much flying to do.
OND 2011

...we relocated Santa's midnight snack outdoors
where he had a better chance of getting some before the cats inhaled the lot.

...I thank you all for dropping in to read my scribblings this past year
and wish you and your families a safe and happy Christmas.
Let's toast with some egg nog...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas nibbles #4

OND 2011

First they used the tree as the hill in their downhill skiing attempts.

OND 2011

Then they started to eating it.

OND 2011

Now they are starting to eat the presents.

blog 2011

I worry each time I send the children to pop a present under the tree
that they might not return.

OND 2011

Apparently not everyone wearing a Santa hat
and hanging out under a Christmas tree
is trustworthy.

blog 2011

My Christmas "To Do" List

blog 2011

I grew up with parents who ran a small business.
As the small country town butchers,
mum and dad worked long hours,
which became unbelievably long hours as Christmas approached.

Dad made old fashioned hams in the smoke-house out the back of the shop
as well as catering for all other carnivorous requirements for the Christmas dinner table.
It made for a huge work load in the lead up till the time
that the last order got picked up late on Christmas Eve.

OND 2011

I don't remember spending a lot of time doing things as a family in the Christmas holidays.
I remember spending a lot of summer holidays with my grandparents.

As far as the lead up to Christmas,
I remember the local CFA decorating their fire trucks and driving down every road in our town
on Christmas Eve, sirens blaring,
Santa throwing lollies to the kids in their pyjamas who were gathering at the edges of the roads.
I remember Christmas Eves spent at the butcher shop
as the locals wandered in till quite late to pick up their orders
and staff, friends and associates would drop in for a drink and nibbles and a chat.

I have fond memories of those times.
I haven't grown up with a need for counselling
because I didn't make gingerbread cookies with my folks
or because we didn't drive around looking at Christmas light displays.

blog 2011

But, as a mum and as a somewhat compulsive person,
I have become quite dogged
about creating some Christmas traditions and rituals for my children.
They aren't anything extraordinary.
We go to a local pageant each year.
We decorate a gingerbread house and do some Christmas craft.
We donate presents to a charity tree.
We crank up the carols, put on our Santa hats
and decorate the tree and tinsel anything that isn't moving in the front yard.
We open an advent calendar each evening
and the children have a photo with Santa.
We cook some Christmas bickies.
We go out for gelati then drive to look at Christmas light displays.
Those sort of things.
I guess that I have a Christmas "To do" list.

I want my kids to look back at their childhood
and have some memories to hang on to.

2011 to be sorted

I have to say that I am gritting my teeth through some of them.
Some of them can be a chore or very, very trying.
But I am determined that they will be done
and they will be enjoyed- by the littlies, at least.
Because that is what it is all about.

All too soon, they won't want to be cutting out Christmas tree biscuits
and the magic of leaving out a plate for Santa will be long gone.

But, as a mum,
I hope that I will have left them with some memories
that, in time, will be something precious for them to hang onto.

OND 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas nibbles #3

There are some very cute ideas out there for Christmas cooking.








(Just checking you are still with me)
(Not that I'd mind finding Colin Firth in my kitchen on Christmas morning)
(Even in a silly jumper)







I am almost fired up to gather up my children
and spend a day in the kitchen cooking for Christmas.


Monday, December 12, 2011

This week...12th December, 2011

blog 2011

...I wondered if I was the only anal mum who sifts through the vacumn cleaner bag
in case some tiny piece of Lego is about to be binned
(and yes, I did feel vindicated when I found not only Lego
but a few other little "treasures" saved from near eternity in landfill)

(I would like to point out that when you have had your hand up an animal's bum for a living,
nothing that you find in a vacumn cleaner bag is going to gross you out)

...I watched the cats run up and base jump off the newly arrived Christmas tree
and wondered how things will go now that we adding the enticement of 
oooooh, look, bright, sparkly things.

blog 2011

...the glittery poo in this household is not from magical reindeer visits
but from the same cats eating kindy flour dough decorated Christmas decorations.

Little Boozle 2011

...I finished knitting a very happy cardigan
(Olearia cardigan- Georgie Hallam
Cotton dyed by Liss) 8 year old honoured his dad's rule
of not using Blu-Tak on the walls
by breaking his mum's rule
of no plasticine in the house.

Apparently you can stick things to the wall using plasticine...
if you use lots of it...
and if it is really, really red.

...our 8 year old learnt what sugar soap is.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Life and Limb

Who hasn't had the debate with family or friends
over when you would pull the plug?
At what point is quality of life so bad
that quantity just doesn't matter any more?

Most of us might consider it when we couldn't think or move;
most of us would probably consider a time
when we couldn't communicate or tend to ourselves
a deal breaker in the game of life.
Some of us would want to dig our heels in
till we naturally take our last breath.
After all, the instinct to survive is a strong one.

Imagine starting life 100 years ago.
You grew up in the sunshine and the fresh air;
surrounded by the green earth and the blue sky.

Now imagine that, at the age of 100,
in an effort to keep you alive as the world progresses around you,
you have been poked and prodded
and put into a facility that allows you to stay alive
while those of us around you can admire you and your beauty
and pat ourselves on our backs at a job well done
at preserving our history.

Now imagine that you are an 18 metre tall River Red Gum tree.

OND 2011

Over $1 million Australian dollars have been spent
as part of a local shopping centre redevlopment at Burnside Village,
solely to save this tree which had previously been in an outdoor location.
While I appreciate the sentiment and the effort made to keep it alive,
I wonder if it would chose to live this way.

The roof over it has a gap to allow for air circulation,
there is an eleven metre protection gap around its tree roots
and it is basically a pot plant
with its own water supply and underground deck for fertilisation and watering.

I guess as it grows, it will be pruned back to fit into its designated living space.

Our city of Adelaide revelled in the tag of being
the only home to Giant Pandas in the Southern Hemisphere.

Now we can add the dubious tag of housing
what I guess would be the only potted, indoor 18 metre tree
in the southern half of the world;
perhaps even the whole world.

"I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day, 
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain"

Joyce Kilmer,  1886–1918

I think that Kilmer might have been visualising something a little different. 
OND 2011
Not a tree which we get to sit underneath with our shopping bags, sipping our coffees,
looking up (through the netting placed underneath to protect us from any falling branches)
at its sadly out of place magnificance.

When I showed my children last week,
I explained that, while it was a noble sentiment that people wanted to save this beautiful tree,
 I was saddened when I saw what had become of it.
But I wonder how many children will now grow up thinking that a tree in a shopping centre
is nothing strange or sad.

I also wonder if the tree would have chosen a dignified passing
rather than have us chose this future for it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A hall pass

OND 2011

Our men are bike riders.
It doesn't matter if it be road or mountain bike riding.
It is their "thing"
Their exercise, their sanity time, their "me" time, their pack time.
My hubby has his tribe.
A few blokes who ride together a couple of times a week
and head off for secret men's business a couple of times a year.

OND 2011

We are the bike riders' wives who don't think of ourselves as needing a tribe.
But we certainly wont knock back a chance to grab a hall pass
and get away and just be girls
for a weekend.

OND 2011

We adore our kids (mostly)
and adore our partners (mostly)
but the chance to get away for a little while
is, it has to be said, liberating and relaxing.

OND 2011

No forced meal times, no defined get up times, no set bed times;
no sanitised conversations;
no mobile phone reception
(now that is liberating);
no telly, no internet.
No stress about excessive calories.

OND 2011

We tossed our "mummy" and "wife" badges
onto the table as we headed out the door.
OND 2011

Our weekend was spent at the spectacular Deep Creek Conservation Park.

OND 2011

We walked over 20 kilometres
and, while we notched up one twisted ankle and one humungous blister,
(owning up to the blister here)
at least we old girls didn't break any hips.
OND 2011

Trekking up and down hills
made the indulgence of good fine and wine
at the end of the day so much more enjoyable.

OND 2011

We came home with a renewed appreciation for the stunning natural beauty
so close to our back doors.
OND 2011

I have a tendency to embrace solitude unless I am given a kick up the backside
so I am grateful to these girls
who expect my participation.
OND 2011

(I did take my knitting, of course)
OND 2011

At the end of it all,
we came home rested and ready to face the chaos
that is the end of school term and the start of the Christmas holidays.

OND 2011

We came home with those good aches in our bodies from a good amount of exercise
and those red patches where we forgot to sunscreen properly.
OND 2011

We came home,
sated from conversations about
pink bits, celebrities,
religion, tummy tucks and boob jobs,
perineal piercings (I kid you not),
boyfriends from our youth,
book recommendations,
the pros and cons of blogging and other social networking,
the basics of knitting
and lots of other interesting topics in between.
OND 2011

We also came home with an appreciation that, as mums, we didn't have pouches
and that we didn't have stretch marks associated with a gangly adolescent
refusing to leave "home".
OND 2011