Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's 2007!

I've visited all your blogs, and it sounds like you've all had at least some fun over Christmas! Now it's time to welcome in the New Year. I reckon it has great potential! Happy New Year to all!!


As you may know, I've been away the past week. I don't think I mentioned that the week was a week of travel - to Fatty's parents, to the family of his brother Newsreader (who has the head of a newsreader) where we were joined by Writer and his gorgeous wife Ten (she was nicknamed 10 at school - as in, 10 out of 10 - because she is so outlandishly pretty), then off to the land owned by another brother Goof (um, he's a goof) where we camped overnight. Then we retraced our steps, and arrived home two days ago. It was certainly busy, and there were no naps or reading of novels involved, but damn if I don't feel happy! And my eyelid has stopped twitching. How do you like that?!

I'd love to moan about having to visit Fatty's awful relatives, but in fact they are great people, and I must confess it was a lot of fun. Sure, I'd like to whack Writer over the head with the tea-towel at times (whilst explaining to him that meals don't make themselves, serve themselves and clear themselves away....geez!), but apart from that minor irritation it was a fabulous week.

Here are some photos....

All are photos from Goof's block of land, apart from the go-carting shot (Laura and me, at Newsreader's countryside home)

Happy 2007!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 22, 2006

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

While I'm away this coming week, please take care everyone, and have a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

somebody's a homebody

It seems I'm turning into my husband. Or, to clarify, I'm becoming more like him with each passing day.

I'm not growing chest hairs, and I'm not becoming unnaturally interested in the local weather website. I'm not forgetting upcoming social commitments, yet recalling the exact score of my football team's last winning game. I'm certainly not wearing shiny Wallace and Grommit boxer shorts to bed. And yet.... I think I've become a homebody.

Fatty likes to be at home. He likes to potter, to do jobs, to watch sport on TV, to read the paper. I, on the other hand, am somewhat more social (or at least I used to be). I look forward to seeing family and friends. If a weekend goes past without some kind of social event, I feel mildly disappointed.

But perhaps as I'm getting older, I'm changing. Because these endless rounds of Christmas gatherings are messing with my head. All these celebratory occasions should delight me. Instead I'm stressed about where I have to be when, and what salad/cake/gift I have to take to whom. My left upper eyelid keeps twitching. I'm afraid strange men will notice and think I'm winking at them.

I'd like nothing more than just to stay at home each day and night, right through until New Year's Day. If anyone wanted to visit, that would be fine. I have another fruit cake and some good coffee. But if I could just stay in the one place long enough, my mind might stop whirling and small body parts would stop flicking.

I can see now why they call it the Silly Season. I can also see the wisdom of my husband's ways.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Yuletide Yabbering

Writing Christmas cards is a tricky business. I had forgotten this, until just now when I sat down to write a few.

The thing is, there are some friends I only see every few years. The Christmas card from last year may be the last time we communicated. So although we may share a history, and have maintained a bond, I'm not completely relaxed about what I write in my message to them.

It's an odd thing, but somehow I find myself wildly rambling in greeting cards. It's as if, let loose on the blank page, my imagination knows no bounds, and I begin to write random thoughts. I end up sounding kind of frenetic, slightly manic. I'd be disturbed if I received one of my own cards (of course, that would also mean I had resorted to sending myself Christmas cards, which even I must admit doesn't seem healthy)

And then there are my clumsy attempts at humour. I can't understand, really, because as a child I was nothing if not earnest, and as an adult I don't get any requests to do stand-up routines. In fact, I have this amazing ability to take a joke that was stomach-clasping-funny when told to me, and render it inert, lifeless, completely un-funny. It's my special skill. Yet, whenever I write in cards I begin to crack jokes. Generally bad ones. Occasionally they are in poor taste. I joke about locking our respective children in a cupboard so we can drink champagne on the back deck, and then I wonder if the card recipient will think I am half-serious. Will they read my words and frown, their index finger poised to dial Childrens Services? I dribble on and on with the dumb wisecracks, and then after perusing the card, I wince and sigh. Why? Why can't I write a nice, sweet, heartfelt Christmas greeting? Is that so hard?

I can just see my old pals reading with furrowed brow, and passing the card to their spouses with concern. "She wasn't like that at school. I don't know what's wrong with her. Maybe she's not well?"

I'm well, really I am. I'm bouncing with wellness, and I just get a little silly. It's all that Christmas cheer.

Tomorrow night I'll try again with fresh cards. No jokes, no dumb remarks. Just 'hello, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all!'. Safe, sensible. Sedately sending Seasons Greetings.

I hope you have more success writing all your cards. Best of luck!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas, already?

My daughter had her birthday. I made her a cake, or rather - Dorothy from the bakery made the actual cake - I just cut it and decorated it.

We put up the Christmas tree.

I cleverly merely switched the Christmas lights on once again. Yes folks, I never managed to take them down after last Christmas. (It got to July this year, and I figured we were now closer to Christmas than not Christmas - if that makes any sense. Anyhow, it made perfect sense to me at the time) Oh, the joys of being slack are manyfold!

I have been braving the shops to search for those elusive magical gifts.

I have been finishing a scrapbook (my first ever) of our Canada trip for Benjamin, and starting one for Laura. I realise this project is progressing at a staggeringly sloooooow pace. My attitude can be summed up by this conversation I had in the arts & craft shop yesterday:

Cute blond teen salesgirl - "Oh, you're getting some cute colours. I just love scrapbooking!!"

Frazzled, headachey mother-of-two - "I hate it."

(short silence)

cute blond - "Oh! ha ha! Um, well, I haven't had much time for it lately..." (edges steadily away from frazzled mother)

I have been enjoying reading all your blogs, and hearing what everyone has been up to. I hope you're all beginning to feel that festive spirit stir within you ....

'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!'

Monday, December 04, 2006

respect gained

*Those who didn't read my post about 'Steven', my karate instructor, would be best to stop reading now.... this will bore you silly*

If you're still reading now, I'll try to reward you by being succinct!

Remember how 'Steven' was being rude and aggressive in classes? What I didn't mention in my story was the fact that 'Lisa', Steven's sister, also trains at the same dojo. And after Steven's particularly foul-mouthed outburst early last week, Lisa cornered me in the changing room and asked me what I thought about how he was acting.

Keeping in mind that Lisa was Steven's sister, I merely remarked that I thought Steven was trying to ensure we all respected him as our teacher. I added that I understood it would be hard to instruct a class of such a diverse age range, but agreed Steven was being too aggressive in his manner. I told Lisa that I was considering speaking to Steven on another occasion, when he had calmed down a bit.

For two days, I thought and thought about what I might say, how exactly I might word what I wanted to convey, without causing offence. Then I turned up for training again, and Steven was standing right beside the sign-in book.

"Hi, Steven", I greeted him.

Without any preliminaries, Steven replied, "What you said to Lisa - I completely agree."

My mind spinning (wondering what on earth Lisa actually said!), I managed a "Huh?"

Steven reiterated, "What you said to Lisa - you're right. I agree".

Not one to think on my feet, I mumbled, "Oh....OK!". I smiled, bowed in to class and lined up with everyone.

The class went well. Steven was warmer, friendlier, but still ran a tight ship and made sure we all listened and trained hard.

I went home, still amazed at Steven's response. Because I don't know about you, but when faced with criticism, I don't think I have ever simply stated, "You're right, I agree completely." If I manage to swallow my pride enough to accept what's been said, I will agree and apologise - but always with at least one small justification. Like, " Yeah, I was grumpy, I'm sorry. It's just that.. (blah blah- insert excuse of any kind eg fatigue, worry, illness, headache)".

Steven made no excuses, didn't rationalise, didn't give explanations - he openly acknowledged an error, agreed with a criticism, and changed his approach.

My respect for Steven has grown immeasurably. I've also realised that it's all too easy to criticise (like I did), but much more difficult to accept criticism gracefully.

Ironic, isn't it - I started off all indignant, thinking Steven needed to 'learn a thing or two'. Yet really, I'm the one who has learnt something new.

Life is full of fascinating twists and turns.