Tag Archives: the holidays

Weekend Coffee Share – 29th November, 2021.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

I am in denial. Surely, there has to be more than 26 days left before Christmas? Unfortunately, these aren’t even full days and only the crumbs left usually after someone else has chewed up all your time denying that time honoured tradition of making your own Christmas cake, making decorations and squeezing as many parties in as you can back-to-back and even double-triple booked if you can pull it off somehow. Of course, having kids and having to double as Santa has modified things more than a little, but they add so much to the Christmas spirit you could hardly leave them out. Indeed, in so many ways children are Christmas, and as a Christian, the baby Jesus is ideally at the centre of everything, although I have to admit I struggle. How could the day that’s meant to focus on him be so incredibly distracting? Anyway, last year there wasn’t much of all of that Christmas hoopla to complain about anyway, and I don’t want to whinge to much or we may end up locked down or seriously restricted for Christmas 2021. No. Please delete all my whingeing. Yes, indeed! I’m really looking forward to Christmas and catching up with my large extended family. With covid restrictions, we couldn’t see them last year, this Christmas is going to be really special!

An Australian Christmas, Pearl Beach, New South Wales.

Do you have any plans for Christmas? Any special traditions? Perhaps, it’s a bit too early to talk about plans, but December seems to go so quickly that plan needs to shift gears into action very soon.

The tragic Christmas tree at Geoff’s work a few years ago.

However, all of that hasn’t stopped me from remaining neck deep in my research. Actually, I’ve managed to submit a 1000 word story to go into the Friends of Ethel Turner (Australian author) newsletter. I was really pleased to get that done, because I could feel myself chickening out. I’m sure many of you know that feeling all too well. You come up with an idea, which seems like a piece of cake, but as you delve into it becomes harder or more challenging than you thought. You want to run. Hide. Give up. Not such a good idea after all, but in the end you persevere, and you get it done. Indeed, you might even get a red tick and VG (very good) in the margin like I did writing my stories back in primary school.

Now, I’m chasing Ethel Turner through Europe. She went on a six month holiday through England and Europe in 1910 with her husband, Herbert Curlewis and children Jean and Adrian. She had a series of photographic essays published when she returned, and I’m currently reading through them and saving them onto my computer. I am particularly interested in her impressions of Paris. I spent a month there in 1992, which was special at the time, but has come to be an indulgence as time’s gone by and I haven’t returned. I also enjoyed reading about her struggles converting currency as they swept from country to country, and I remember what that was like and I loved the wide variety of coins, especially as a young child. I haven’t been back since the Euro simplified things, but lost something special in the process I feel. The coins family brought back and coins I brought back myself, are still very special to me- my treasure!

Unfortunately, reading about Ethel Turner’s travels are the closest I’ve got to travel for awhile. Indeed, with Zac the dog parked on my lap so much, it’s hard for me to even get out of the chair.

It is his fault, I’m sure!

The other rather demotivating influence on my exercise levels has been the weather. As you may be aware, I live in Greater Sydney and it’s been raining solidly for what seems like an eternity. As it turns out, we’re experiencing a  La Niña event, which increase the chance of above average rainfall across much of northern and eastern Australia during summer. Just when I was thinking of heading out in my bikini…NOT!!! Anyway, it’s looking like I’ll be needing to invest in a yellow raincoat this Summer.

This coming Friday is the beginning of dance concert season. I love watching my daughter dance. However, this is not a privilege which comes without a cost and that’s not just in terms of dollars and cents. Last night, I was sewing the ribbons and elastics onto her pointe shoes. I don’t know why these blessed things don’t come with all of this paraphernalia already attached. It’s not as though the ribbons have to be tailored to my daughter’s foot and petite ankle and it would be much easier for a heavy-duty machine to penetrate the leather at the back than my delicate fingers. Of course, the ballerina could sew on her her accoutrements. However, in between juggling school, dance and working at McDonalds, she doesn’t have much spare time. I, on the other hand, have eternity. Didn’t you know?

By the way, I was reading about Jesus washing the disciples feet just before I was asked to sew up the pointe shoes. However, I’m not so sure that being my daughter’s servant is what Jesus had in mind. These thoughts were echoed on the bedroom front.

However, it’s been a tough year for her with her health and lockdown. Sometimes, it’s nice to have someone take the edge off the pressure, and we could all use a fairy now and then. An extra set of hands. At the same time, I could use a bit of help from her too…and her brother.

Meanwhile, the Productivity Manager is ensuring it’s difficult to get out of my chair. By that, I’m referring to our dog Zac, who seems to pour himself into my lap and stay put until his sister, Rosie appears with a ball, and then he’s off standing a metre or two behind her ready to pounce.

The other productivity issue around here involves dog hair. It’s Spring and with three dogs, the fur is floating in black clouds all over the house. Lady’s fur (cavalier x Border collie) comes out in tufts, while the pups fur mainly snows although Rosie loses a bit of felt. I’ve read comments about corgies shedding so much you can make another dog out of the discarded fur, and I’ve thought the same with dear Lady and co.

Well, on that note, I’m going to head off. I’d love to hear from you!

Meanwhile, you might like to join us over at the Weekend Coffee Share, which is hosted by Natalie the Explorer https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

Best wishes,

Rowena

Christmas Tug of War

Christmas is a tug of war for me.

I really do love it and I really used to get right into Christmas. However, it now seems like all these festivities have now become an extensive to do list and I’m running out of time, energy and cash.

I’m even wondering whether we could postpone Christmas to give me a chance to catch up!!

Or perhaps, I could be just like the dog and just sleep through the festive season.

I used make a traditional plum pudding in calico cloth and hang it up in excited anticipation. I love pudding dished up with brandy butter and hot, thick custard even though the temperatures can soar to over 40 degrees and it’s not uncommon to see a bit of bushfire smoke around here over Christmas either.

I also make my own Christmas Cake using my mother’s recipe, which she has been making all my known life. That recipe came from one of her longest standing friends Deidre who she went through the conservatorium  with many lifetimes ago.

Christmas just isn’t Christmas without all those smells connected with making your own Christmas cake not to mention licking the beaters.

Every year, we have a real Christmas tree. A tree with real pine needles which actually smells like Christmas tree. It is an authentic Christmas tree and thank goodness we now have James our new robotic vacuum cleaner to vacuum up all the pine needles this year.

Every year, I am getting closer and closer to buying a fake tree but buying the tree is all part of our Christmas tradition. Sure, we don’t head out into the woods and cut down our own tree but we do head down to our local fruit shop and there is that anticipation of driving passed, waiting for the trees to arrive. Now the kids have transformed all that anticipation into nagging: “when are we going to get out tree?” That has removed a bit of the lustre but they are only excited. They wanted Christmas yesterday!

A life time ago, I used to make my own Christmas decorations. Our Christmas tree has a hand-stitched patchwork Christmas stocking I made when I was 12. There are a few foam baubles studded with sequins and pins, which I made around the same era. I bought more Christmas fabric again this year in what could only be described as an act of extreme lunacy. I have been intending to make the kids their own patchwork Christmas stockings for a few years now and every year, I seem to buy more fabric because somehow the fabric I’d bought the year before had somehow been “filed”.

I’d still like to do my old Christmas craft but these days we have the end of year dance concert which eats into our pre-Christmas time and then there’s all the end of year stuff at school and buying presents for teachers, kids, family and wrapping them up. I mean,  have we been on a wrapping marathon or what????!!!!

So you can understand why I’m feeling a bit ambivalent about Christmas.

Anyway, I am starting to feel a bit more at peace with Christmas. The tree is up and after standing naked for a few days, now has flashing lights, tinsel and an eclectic range of mismatched Santas, doves, angels and stars dating back to my childhood. I won the Christmas raffle at the school and now have the ham,turkey and pudding sorted out. I have made my Christmas cake and the shortbread and the Raspberry Coconut Slice to take to my aunt’s place tomorrow. All the presents are wrapped and piled. I managed to get my haircut and even managed to get my eyebrows waxed. We’ve been to Church. Seen a few friends and been sociable. The house is scruffy but it will do. We’re only expecting the fellow in the big red suit and he’ll be too tired to notice after traveling from the North Pole. I have also been practicing Silent Night and O Come All Ye Faithful on my violin. They haven’t quite reached a state of perfection either but I just want to play Christmas carols with my Mum on Christmas Day and it doesn’t matter how it sounds. It will be special and besides, the kids can sing along and perhaps you won’t hear the violin after all!

Well, it’s time for the big red fellow to leap into action so I’d better get to bed.

Wishing you all a very Merry & Blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Love,

Rowena & familyDSC_4660