a bit of a cow really

cowsA bride price was agreed between the fathers. Daughter2 is to be accompanied by 12 cows when she marries her beau!

No one is quite sure how the arrangement came to be made, it may have been the wine at lunch, but Mr FD and beau’s father bonded over livestock and on the drive home Daughter was informed she was worth 12 cows.

I guess, I could always needle felt twelve cows…

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family and a portmanteau, hopefully without ado!

table 2

A little bit excited this morning, for today, we are doing Christmas, Take 2. Daughter2 and Her Beau have arrived and later we will be joined by my sister, her daughter and husband, and their four children (the youngest being that little 825gram baby girl born in June who has since been pronounced “perfect in every way” by her doctors), as well as Daughter1 and family (yes Petite Fille is returning!), Son and Mr FD’s sister. Whew!

Simple meal this time, though I am tackling a turducken. My first. It is not a huge turducken, but considering the challenge a simple roast proved on Christmas Day, I am psyching myself up for the cooking! My daughters and son in laws are far better cooks than I, so I have plenty of assistance should I need it! Apart from the turducken, we shall barbecue bratwurst sausages which will suit the wee ones.

I have asked everyone to bring a salad, but to keep it simple. No stress intended for anyone. I think my sister is contributing a cucumber and tomato salad that our Mum always made, which I have found out is German in origin, naturally, but so simple I am sure it has spread across cultures. Sliced cucumber and tomato in a bowl, salt and pepper to taste and then fresh cream dressing. Just cream, nothing else. Nom nom. Mum grew up on a dairy farm and she knew many ways to use cream. One of the best was thick cream on a slice of bread sprinkled with sugar! Triple nom nom!

Bad, but good at the same time, if you know what I mean.  A little like me!

Tomorrow, we will be driving into the city to meet D2’s future inlaws. We have been conversing on Facebook but are yet to meet face to face, so Tuesday is the big day. We are meeting on neutral ground for lunch! They will be in awe of course.

Enjoy your day, I am going to make the most of mine!

Flamingo Dancer.

open 

Portmanteau : link to definition

Carrying my place with me

 

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I don’t know why taking the rubbish out to the bin led to my comment, but as I walked back through the front door, I couldn’t help remarking to Mr FD that “we really do live in the best place in the world.”

For those new to the flock, Mr FD and I decided on a tree change just over two years ago. We moved from a large, two storey house in a Brisbane suburb to live in a small “village” about an hour’s drive from the city. Our home is smaller, more manageable to suit our downsized lifestyle, and has the textures of brick and natural wood we love. Every room has a view of trees.

We have a tall cathedral window in our living room that gives us a floor to ceiling view of tall towering gum trees and our garden, as if there is nothing between us and the world outside. In fact, it does its job a little too well, as once or twice a week we hear the bam! of a bird making contact with the glass. We joke that one day the window will break and then we will replace it with a huge stained glass STOP! sign window, to warn the birds.

Living here means that I have a 40 minute drive each way to teach every work day, but that is a small part to play for the joy of living where we do. (And we traded my car in for a hybrid to alleviate the fuel issues). I can walk onto our patio any morning and watch a variety of birds catching their early worms, or maybe follow a wallaby making its way across our lawn. Our trees are old and very tall, and as I write this blog, sitting near the open window, I can hear the wind blowing through the branches of the gums. Just hear the serenity!

Our property is just over an acre on the side of a hill, and so we have the added gift of sweeping views across the valley. There is even a lake to be seen in the distance. Surrounded by trees, the front road is hidden and we can pretend the rest of the world has ceased to exist. I do, for days on end, when not interrupted by the need to go “out there”.

Add to that, our first family dog, a cream, golden retriever named Augie, who arrived as we did, and the cup really does runneth over.

“We really do live in a beautiful place,” I said.

Mr Fd replied, “Someone from overseas wrote to me that they were sorry for what happened in Sydney (a terrorist siege that resulted in the deaths of two innocent hostages) and I said, that though there are horrors vested upon us, on the whole we do live in the best country in the world.”

The best place in the best country in the world, that is where I live.

 

When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go.

                                                            Alexandra Stoddard

 

Just putting this into words, has made me realise, that living here has made me a better person. I am no longer concerned about image, or ambition. I have slowed down. Now moments mean more than things. It would be nice to think that I am also a kinder, more forgiving person; mellowed a little, but at the very least, I am happier and so very content.

I wish to you all, that in 2015 you may find your little piece of paradise. If you have already, that you may hang on to it tightly and let it fill you, heal you and make you the person you wish to be.

Flamingo Dancer.

via Flamingo Dancer blog

the morning after

crown

I have a bad case of crown hair.

This year, we were going to go Christmas crackerless, but Daughter1’s mother in law brought along a box and so we sat at the table wearing paper crowns. By some strange coincidence, of the eight people assembled at table, seven wore yellow or orange hats, and one a pink crown. Me. The power of my glorious aura even reaches out to Christmas crackers!

Daughter2, feasting with her future inlaws, sent a glorious floral table arrangement that was and is, just sheer joy to gaze upon, and finished our table beautifully. Just by chance, I had selected apple green linen napkins for the table and the same green was echoed in the flowers. More of my magnificence!

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Petite Fille, sat on her chair, wishing all a “Merry Christmas” and hit repeat once she realised the attention it gained her. Recently, she has been making duplo dogs, and every “dog” was not considered to complete without the addition of one last block, which was deemed a “party hat”. So adults with party hats, surrounding her was the cause for much declaring of “party” and “hip hip hooray” with the appropriate arm throwing head high. The gin and tonic pre lunch, and the selection of wines during lunch meant more adult gusto as the meal went on.

The roast was a failure, as despite hours of “correct” cooking was still deemed “raw” at slicing, so back into the oven, but there was plenty of ham to go around. Once the shame of it all would have spoiled the event for me, but now I just laughed and shared the story. I did feel superior though, due to not over catering. There was one little container of left over sweet potato and pumpkin at meal’s end; not the dozens of little bits and pieces of previous years which meant a search through cupboards for odd containers and much use of glad wrap. The fridge is not groaning under the weight of leftovers, hooray!

The sticky fig pudding (egg free) with caramel sauce was to die for, and a couple of people went back for seconds. Mr FD and Son finished it off as their main course, Christmas night. The dishwasher washed into today, but it is all cleared and packed away now, ready for stage two. Daughter2 and Her Beau arrive on Monday when we shall party again with more family.

The addition of Petite Fille has made Christmas, Christmas again. She finds such happiness in small things – her glee at stroking Augie Dog, eating her first cookie (be it a chickpea cookie!) and having her two grandmothers in the same place at the same time (that took some mind altering processing!) was a gift I hope I never forget.

Boxing Day afternoon and I am still in my pyjamas. There were long phone calls this morning, with Daughter1 and my Sister to recap the day. Sister was with us for lunch, but we still found things to talk about for two hours this morning!

I hope that you found peace and happiness in your days. Blessings to you all.

Thank you for being my friend.

hug

But don’t think this will get you out of a “sticking” should you require it…