Happy fifth day of 2018

We had a lovely  Christmas and New Year  blessed with family and friends. One day we hosted a morning tea in the care home for MotherFD to share time with some of her siblings. It is such a joy interacting with my aunts and uncles now that I am mature too. Sadly, Mum is not too conscious of who they are, but they ignore and treat her as they always have. My niece’s little ones were present, and Mum did not take her eyes off them the entire time. She has never seized her love or concern for children. It was lovely to witness the connection.

The Saturday before Christmas, or Christmas Eve Eve, we Flamingo Dancers met to give out presents to our three precious grandchildren, one having his first Christmas. I bundles all sorts of gifts into one large box for each of them and so we had the delight of watching them dip into their box as they wished. Peppercorn (aged 2) insisted on wearing her pink tutu swimsuit the entire weekend, and I must admit that if you can’t wear your tutu swimsuit for Christmas at two, when can you?

Christmas table 2017

Christmas Day was hosted by my niece and her family. She looked to every detail and I half expected to open a cupboard to find Martha Stewart and her clipboard check list inside.  It was incredibly hot weather, which was out of everyone’s control but it was a truly lovely day. It was lovely to see my grandchildren really interact with my sister’s grandchildren for the first time, as mine little ones are now aged 4 and 2 years, and the baby is 5 months  – he is a real heart breaker.

New Year’s Eve was a quite affair for Mr FD and I. We shared a Pimm’s at midnight and watched the Sydney and Brisbane fireworks on television. It was fairly quiet in our Village, but I did hear a few fireworks earlier in the night, which I think may have been illegal.

The end of the school holidays are only a fortnight away, but I am not returning to teaching. Life change, adventures await. We will see, what we will be…

 

getting my big seasonal jollies

Christmas 2017

Finally got my jolly on. We’ve gone with a real tree this year – can you tell Christmas isn’t at our house this year? Norfolk Pines grow to 15 metres and now I have burdened the children with eternal care of “Grandma’s tree”. A new family tradition! Perhaps they can bury me under it one day.

And as an extra for your viewing bonus, this was the view from my front door today.

front door 1a

 

front door 2

It all comes down to this

FD Christmas 1

The baby is asleep in her crib, her Mama and Papa have gone out to have lunch while they still have baby sitters, Mr FD is napping and I am watching an old version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with Burl Ives as the narrator. Life is pretty good.

My children always called the 23rd of December, Christmas Eve Eve, and I think it was probably the day they enjoyed most – so much preparation and anticipation. On Christmas Eve Eve, they would decorate boxes with Christmas drawings and pictures in which to store their gifts after opening. They would also help with making Christmas treats. The best thing was the marathon of Christmas shows on the television that they would dip in and out of all day. Ethel Merman, Burl Ives, the classics. Good times.

This morning I spoke with Petite Fille. We have made a time to face talk on Christmas morning. This is the first Christmas Petite Fille really “gets” Christmas and so her excitement is such a wonder to share. She will spend it with her cousins, my sister’s grandchildren.  Our Son, home minding Augie Dog, will join them as well.

A new Christmas baby, healthy and happy, and a growing, loving family means we are truly blessed.

We wish you a happy Christmas too – filled with the love, peace, serenity and wonder that you deserve. Take care, dear friends, and  remember to have that second helping of pudding. A third helping if you choose. Just enjoy and be grateful.

 

P.S. My Christmas Fruitcake having survived the interstate plane trip has been voted “the best ever.” Half eaten already!

Sunday entertainment

Sunday Perth 1

Breakfast was served by the new parents; banana and oat pancakes with coconut yoghurt and fruit. If only every morning started so well. All I had to do was cuddle a baby as payment!

Sunday Perth 4

I rolled the rum balls with the help of The Kracken. They have somehow managed to survive hidden in the fridge so far, but not for much longer. They need a day or two to “mature”.

Then we did a tour of Perth bookshops, of which there are many. The independents are hanging on strong in the west, and long may they do so.

perth music

 

The Millpoint Caffe Bookshop was a favourite with its coffee shop and two musicians playing music. They favourited Stephane Grappelli tunes which gave the long, warm Sunday afternoon the feel of a tea dance from the nineteen thirties. I wouldn’t have been surprised to catch a glimpse of Miss Marple taking tea in a corner.

Oh, and we met this couple on the road. We gave them right of way.

Sunday Perth 2

Travelling with a fruitcake

fruit cake MRFD

Monday was flight to Perth day, and despite a major accident on the highway we were early enough to the Brisbane Airport to have the privilege of paying $38AUS for two ham and cheese croissants (barely toasted), two flat white coffees and two bottles of water.

The day before Mr FD and I have a slight tête-à-tête about seating arrangements. Mr FD of recent years has been in more frequent need of the bathroom and was ecstatic to discover two seats right next to the toilet. However, opinion was expressed that someone did not fancy sitting next to the toilet and toilet line for 5 and a half hours, so a discussion ensured.

Mr FD saw the error of his ways and booked seats so far away from the toilet line as to be almost in the next aeroplane. And not without complaint may I add. His complaint.

I got the window seat, as Mr FD garnered the aisle seat for a free loo run. I enjoyed miles of nothing except red dirt and salt pans that is the Nullabor Plains – so very, very dry.

In economy, we stifled a moan when it was announced business class would be receiving their free alcohol. We did however get a mini weis ice-cream bar for dessert which was most enjoyable. If you can ever get your taste buds around a mango and ice cream bar, do, even if it costs top money. (One of my nieces once worked as their food technologist and never gave me one free sample and for that I have never forgiven her.)

I read Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy on the plane over. In one chapter she discusses dermatillomania (scalp picking) which the son of a colleague suffers with. I developed an even greater interest in the subject when Mr FD knocked his cup of hot coffee down his jean leg. Yep, one in every plane.

Not long after, I needed the bathroom myself, and so Mr FD had to display his wet brown leg to the masses as he stood to allow me to exit our seats. The toilet was in fact ahead of us, so maybe a third of the plane were entertained by me scratching to open the loo door until I noticed the “occupied” sign was red.  I explained to the man sitting right next to the toilet that “I am your inflight entertainment, today.” He smiled back as though I was a toilet roll short of a full pack, and I pencilled him onto the stick list for being a witness.

Back in my seat, I found Mr FD playing chess on his seat screen. I have been married to that man for 38 years and I never knew he could play chess. What else is he hiding? A second family?

Not long before arrival I turned to Mr FD and commented, “You know, you haven’t been to the bathroom once this flight?” Naturally, he immediately had to go. My revenge was complete.

Despite two suitcases checked in, we also had a small carry on bag for Mr FD’s electronics and CPAC machine, and a backpack that conveyed the Christmas Fruit cake for Daughter2. As we disembarked, Mr FD carried the backpack – the cake must weigh close to two kilos! It was a heavy backpack.

As we disembarked,  Mr FD who always makes comments with the assumption that everyone knows exactly what he is referring too, muttered all the way up the plane aisle, as those passengers unlucky enough to still be seated, ducked their heads, “It’s a fruitcake.”

Certainly was, Olly.

 

Traditions old and new

Our family has a recent “tradition” of hanging baubles along the bed head of elected beds at Christmas. I used to hang them on our children’s beds in their favourite colours in their adult years at home.

Walking into the guest bedroom in Daughter2’s Perth home, Mr FD and I were greeted by the revenge, surprise on our bed.

Amazing how traditions begin and grow…

Traditions old and new

a storm, a blackboard and a little healthy competition.

december

Hello, hello. December! Can you believe it? Three days until the end of the school term. We finish with a shared lunch on  student free Friday.

Plans have changed a little, with Baby Peppercorn to be delivered next Thursday 10th. So Mr FD and I will fly over together and stay until just after Christmas unless Daughter2 or MrD2 threaten us with bodily harm and asks us to leave for-with because we are annoying them to the point of insanity. It’s quite possible, for Mr FD can have that effect on people. Not me, of course.

We’ve thrown down the challenge with our Christmas Library display. Upped the ante by adding a blackboard creation. Also plagiarised from Pinterest – a Librarian’s best friend at the moment! The trophy is an ugly wooden plaque that may well have been chopped together as an eighth grade manual arts project eons ago and was recently found in a cupboard, but we are out to win. Well, my erstwhile assistant, Minerva is out to win and I am aiding her in our co-dependency. What Minerva wants, Minerva gets. She also gets to dismantle everything in the new year, because that is her job. I have to pull rank some times!

Christmas Blackboard

 

A very damaging storm hit the suburb where our school is situated on the weekend and many trees were uprooted. The school had a little water damage, but mainly thousands of dollars worth of trees down. In the Library a number of laptops that had been handed in by the students for exchange next year, and were stored on a table were water damaged. It appears that the wind drove rain between the louvres and it pooled on the table.

Minerva and I have our suspicions though, for we asked an IT technician who was to be the last one to leave the area to close the windows as it was a very hot day, and as he is the laziest person in the world we suspect he didn’t do it properly. We’ve never had water come in between closed louvres before, not if they are shut correctly, and he just made such a show of saying over and over again that he had shut the windows that it made us suspicious. No sign of a roof leak either. Anything is possible, I suppose, but if it was anyone but him…it means writing off about 60 laptops. Luckily they were at the end of their life, but they were going to be used a backup laptops or hot swaps with students had their regular laptops in for repairs. Still a waste. Luckily no books were damaged, as the book shelving starts further towards the centre of the Library .

One way or another, it has been an interesting week. How’s yours?

Christmas by the book

Giving the gift of knowledge at Christmas

Giving the gift of knowledge at Christmas

 

In between returning end of year textbooks and preparing for the 2016 school year borrowing period, we managed to squeeze in a Christmas display.

Not quite an Australian Christmas scene,  but Pinterest has never given us an image of a kangaroo to copy. We did use bibles to make the fireplace, which led to jokes about from our Deputy about burning bibles. My reply was that we were lighting the way for the ignorant. Point made.

My real point of contention is that Minerva “suggested” the book tree and fireplace but then retreated into the air conditioned comfort of the workroom to process new textbooks. Moi, assisted by a kind aide from another department toiled in the non air-conditioned  library to build the tree and fireplace. Somehow she always manages to best me, even though she knows about the stick list. I must work on that.

On a really positive note, the Principal came in to share that they are trialling solar powered air-conditioning on one school building next year, and we are next on the list. Much happy dancing at just the possibility of being on the To Do list.

ONE MORE WEEK until vacation!

Drunken fruit season approaching

drunken

I had tucked up the drunken dried fruits for the night, with the intention of mixing the Christmas cake on the morrow when I received that phone call alerting us to the knowledge that my Mother was in an ambulance. So life being life, those fruits got to imbibe the Napoleon brandy for an entire week until I could return to the kitchen.

The recipe evolves every year. This year in a salute to the sugar less family members I used rice syrup instead of brown sugar. The proof will indeed be in the mixing.

I am still trying to reconcile my brain with the knowledge that the organic rice syrup  was a product of Belgium. In all my fantasies I have never imagined the Belgians: Flemish, Walloons or German, as rice growers; but who am I to argue with a food label? Should I ever travel to Belgium I shall waste time looking for them toiling in the rice paddies.

This year, as the family will be split between east and west Australian coasts I will endeavour, family dramas allowing, to bake a second dried fruit cake to transport to Perth. We shall partake as we hopefully also toast the safe arrival of Peppercorn Flamingo Dancer, due Boxing Day.

Terrible season for a birthday, but fear not, as long as Granny Flamingo Dancer is able, she will ensure a birthday worth celebrating. No one present for both occasions – no fair.

Christmas is going to be a drunken affair this year, as I gifting dessert fruits in various alcoholic syrups as my office gifts. Nothing that cannot be used short term, or requires long term storage is my mantra these days. It must also be something I would be happy to receive myself – the ultimate good taste test!

Maybe the world would be a jollier place if we steeped all our foods in alcohol. Grumpy Cat might not be required to communicate for us. I wonder if a red or a white would go best with porridge?