Sunday, December 30, 2012


 It is a year that I am angry with and wasn't  going to justify with a farewell post. Then when I thought about it, there were some truly spectacular diamonds in the mud of 2012.

I went back to work and enjoyed it.
There were some cooking experiments that were fun.

 Our family had some very special milestones, anniversaries and birthdays to share.

Some of us started on new journeys- kindy, high school, the Big C.
We all survived. Some flourished. Others not so much.

 There were new beginnings and completed tasks, some more enjoyable than others.

 Then there were friends. There were friendships and love like I have never known and never dreamed of experiencing. Thank goodness for all of you dear, kind ones who gave me so much support and gentle words and foot massage and tissues when it all got too much. You know who you are. Some lived over the road and others over the ocean. You all live a little closer now. 

It's time to take a deep breath and start again. There will be new adventures, beginnings and undertakings. Very little  could shock me as much again but I don't think I will ever take anything for granted again either. The details are so precious. It is in the mundane that we find the constant truths of what makes us human and keeps us amused and together and real. The big stuff rolls over us in a tidal wave of mayhem and moves on.

Let's hope 2013 is a lucky number for us all. 
New beginnings, smooth sailing, all clear....

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing day

9.30 am Boxing Day

It rained heavily last night. This morning is cool and fresh and calm. The lights are off, the paper is in the bin and they are all sleeping off the heat and excitement of Christmas Day.
Visions of sugar plums still dancing in her head.

It was different this year.

Too many sugar plums.

Three amigos in their usual position on the couch.

The fan club.

Happy, happy, joy, joy.

I forgot the Santa photo in front of the tree Christmas Eve. We didn't visit the manger after church. The Santa photo of all five at the shops never happened. We didn't eat at home but instead went to Nanna's for the blessed relief of air con and her sumptuous cold feast, no strings, no effort on our part, true kindness. I lost the stockings that I made for them each year they were born so we used some old furry Santa hats instead. We didn't stalk the mobile Santa in the 'burb. The rum balls didn't taste right. The table wasn't set up for a Christmassy meal. The Baptism candles were not dug out, displayed and lit. We didn't play the Odetta CD. Baby Jesus is officially AWOL with his manger.

Dancing in debris.
It was different....

but the same. Like me.

All good.

Onto the next chapter.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stalking Santa

Every year we go out looking for him. This year Shorty has run into him at the shops and at kindy but I fear there will not be a photo of the whole fivesome with the bearded one this year. Not unless I bribe them all with i-tunes cards. 
We saw his signature in the sky a few days ago like the Bat-signal. The local  Rotary Club has for many years, driven him around in a sleigh for a week before Christmas, a different set of streets every night. We never look up the Santa map. When we hear the Christmas musak on the sleigh speakers we'd go out stalking him, stopping every few streets and listening intently before hunting him down by ear. We missed stalking Santa this year. They were all busy and not as enthusiastic as when they were smaller.

Shorty believed me but there are more sceptics this year than ever before. I felt a pang when I found this.

So we set off in search off Santa to rekindle the Christmas spirit with some city sights as bait.

The City parade had camels and donkeys and tiny acrobats twirling above the crowd and sublimely singing nannas. Shorty liked the little pink princess up on her high throne best.

When the skies opened up we got soaked at the panto in the square under the enormous breathtaking tree. 

There was squealing and dancing and jumping in fluorescent puddles. The children did too.

 Crowds of Dads with crazy hats and mums with flashing earrings ran through the rain away from the dancing elves and helped each other with prams and toddlers and laughed together in the chaos of warm summer rain. It was joyous!
We caught a glimpse of Santa zooming away up the side of the parade on some turbo charged Santa-mobile. So this is the closest we got to the Santa photo for 2012. Que sera.

We conceded to Ho-ho-happy meals and got Starbucks for the first time ever. I know. 
They sell Christmas fare. Who knew?

It was even fun walking home in bare feet through the wet, shiny streets all blingy and fresh and cool. 

Is this a glimpse into the future when they go out together in the city without their mother taking photos from behind?

When you are soaked and excited and it's nearly Christmas even the zombie tunnels to the carpark are fun.

This zombie took a while to get to sleep last night. 
So, Santa, we didn't try hard enough to find you this year as some of us were distracted and some of us were cynical but we still had a ball. Wish you could have been there. We'll see you tonight though. Milk and bikkies on the patio around midnight? It's a date!

May all  your Christmases be merry and bright 
and your families close and tight 
because that's what it is all about.
 Loving each other hard while you can and cherishing being together!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! x

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Counting

Today was the great annual migration of the clan to Nanna's and Grandad's house, known also, to some of us as "the Counting". Like wilderbeast, they roam across the east coast of Australia, converging in a merry mob at the oasis of the Granna's.
 Now the Counting is an annual phenomenon, planned for many weeks, that begins with much table moving and ham scoring in the morning. Nanna gets progressively more agitated about the details as she anticipates her flock returning to the fold en masse.

There are several essential elements to the Counting.

1. The emersion of many small humans in a body of water until it is verging on dangerous and unhygienic but always enormous fun!

2. The early arrival of Santa with gifts for distribution by the elected Santa rep of the day. Today was Nanna's turn. She decided to un-nurf us all with her highly inappropriate choice of weapon for the EIGHT eleven to thirteen year old boys! Nanna gets cred points and sucker marks on her flat screen.

Here Lala is timing Nanna's present distribution efficiency. Nanna is a just and speedy Santa.

3. The much adored nuncles and naunts from far away give cuddles and catchups with the offspring.

4. There is kooky dancing usually to the likes of Dean Martin et al.

5. All functioning parents accompany the throng of younguns to the light show around the corner which is thankfully always there and bigger than the year before.

6. The variety is in the reactions of the wee-uns as they thrill to the multiple Santas and his accoutrement. Shorty is convinced she was at Santa's house tonight.

 Don't pash the plastic, Shorty!

7. As various younger casualties self bed around the house, the surviving youth chortle away to yet another repeat of Mr Bean with a turkey on his head while the oldies eat left overs and natter on. Wasn't this a character on Dr Who last week?

                 It never gets old... Mr Bean, Christmas or the Counting. Warts and all, we love it!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree: Part 1

Usually this bit of green tat is dragged out like a phoenix in the beginning of December but not this year. The two offspring who are normally responsible were not available until last Tuesday when they and a trio of cousins resurrected it on the patio and hosed it off for me. I swear it gives me hayfever all Christmas otherwise.
It also makes me all nostalgic. This tree was purchased for the princely sum of twenty dollars for the first Christmas of B1 and B2. It was a hasty purchase from the supermarket and has always been a bit bedraggled with a definite tendency to 'dress' to the left. That is, it leans dangerously. Extreme tree!

Then, every year, I spend time perusing the old decorations and reminding the children of the historical significance of each piece of schmaltz until I find myself alone with the untangling.

Even when it is up there is always tweaking to be done and the folded laundry lends a festive edge to our home regardless of the season. That's what I love about laundry. It makes no distinction and will clutter up any special occasion without bias. There are, of course, less domestica decorations to be admired and discussed.

This one is from a set of crystals from the Scottish nanna given when the first two were christened.

This delicious big glass blob was a post Christmas buy that reminded me of the old childhood baubles. The Ikea stripey garland is making its first appearance this year.

When B1 and B2 were in preschool we made clay hands of all the children and fired them for posterity. Since I was the one making them, I got all my (then) four to produce these mementos. This tiny hand belonged to Lala when she was four. They all like to hold them up every year to marvel at how their hands have grown.

This little clay angel came from the main square in Prague in 1996 and was one of our first joint bits of Christmas bling....

but this one was the real first for our family. It was given for our wedding and it has adorned the tree every year since.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


                                                                     "My essence is at Ease."

I read those words over at I Saw You Dancing a few days ago and it resonated after an unusual morning. After the year just past I'm not sure how my essence is. I will never feel sure about it again as I felt so well and busy and alive when I got the diagnosis in March yet, it seems, my essence was very out of whack.

This morning I spent time at a place where I will be working next year. I had hoped to return to work slowly but this opportunity just fell softly into my lap. It is a little more than I had hoped for in hours but simply perfect in what I will be doing there. 

These things do just appear sometimes and are just so right that logic cannot be allowed to interfere. Each of the four people at the job, including two I had never met before, have a connection to me in some way through a friend, a family member or a work colleague in the past. This unfolded today as we spoke. It made me feel very comfortable there and more at peace with my decision to take the job on.

It did feel like the universe was reassuring me. My essence is still fragile but is a little more at ease after the last hours knowing that on returning to work I will be amongst like minded individuals and in a creative environment that I savour. Now I just have to get a bit stronger over the summer break. This is difficult when it is so ridiculously hot but I hope to just rest up and recover and feel more like myself, whoever that is now.

On the way home, I found watermelons being sold at 9 cents a kilogram again. That's 39 cents for a whole watermelon. I bought four more. Then we had cold Tim Tams. We don't normally buy Tim Tams but the rules of engagement have changed. Life is looking up. I just have to keep looking straight ahead and keep moving forward and not wobble on the tight rope. When you think about it all too much is sometimes when you fall. Just keep going, breathing, going easy on my essence and letting this new fresh current take me to the next place.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Purge of the Pink Lady

Today was the last visit to my radiologist. It was just a checkup to make sure all the burns were healed and that my skin was coping. We talked about teenage sons, husbands, menopause, tamoxofin, oestrogen and buying breasts. She is delightful. I hope I never see her again.

Meanwhile, the purge at home continues. Today clothing was thrown out from pre B1 and B2. The boys are now thirteen. Nostalgia is another casualty of the big C. It started with just a few hangers then I got the bug again.

Clothes from way back: I love them but they will NEVER fit me again unless I get rid of them. You       know how that works.
Pink bag of pre-loved headwear including a boxed Hermes scarf .

Maternity bra: (?) The last of a long line! Farewell ye, ill fitting lacto-garment.

 Post surgical bra stuffing: Of course I could repurpose it in a stuffed toy but I wanted it gone from my vicinity! Vamoose, el Fluff.

 There were two shelves of clumped up cancer stuff. Beanies and turbans and wigs...oh my! This is all going back to the Choices programme for other women who might like to use them. The spotty beanie which saw me through the sleepless winter nights is in the bin. It all made me feel sick to look at.

The need to streamline and simplify is not finished there but seems to have spread its tendrils into the blog too. Some lovely pink barkcloth turned up that was given to me by Ms MMMC soon after my diagnosis. It was trapped under the wiggery pokery pile up and happy to be released onto the new header and simpler format. It is SO special that I cannot decide what to do with it! Suggestions?

It would seem that not everyone shares my preference for the purge. Shorty is dismantling her room shelf by shelf and rolling around  in it.

Usually all the kids get a photo with the furry fella but this year I thought I'd get one too. Shorty looks ecstatic because Santa (a.k.a. Barry) had just given her this lurex, pink, frufru dress. She had been yearning for it for a while and I suspected she would ask him for it too. So it was arranged that he would pull it from his sack when she did ask. She was utterly astonished and thrilled and even did a quick change on stage for the photo. We were all glowing and it wasn't from a red drug! (Barry may have been overheating.)

P.S. There is still no sign of our malingering tree. 

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