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Holidays approaching

Surely there are people who look forward to kids going on holidays? People other than teachers, I should add, given that I used to be a teacher and enjoyed the hols waaaaaaay more than the kids.

OTOH, as a working mum with no hubby to help out with entertainment of The Small Person aka DD, I have to really put on my thinking cap as well as calling in the troops for assistance.

DD is going to have a holiday interstate for a week without her mummy. Can you believe it? She managed OK in the June holidays and this time she will travel on the plane with her uncle, whom she adores. She gets to spend a couple of days with him and his wife plus the much-loved dog (feelings sort of reciprocated) and the chooks (chook poop is reviled). Then she goes to my mum’s place. I will fly there the next week to have a few days with Mum and then bring DD back to Canberra.

OK, one week down. What about the next week? Well, there is a long weekend for the second weekend in the school holidays. I am looking at what’s on at the National Gallery of Australia , National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Australia, and more.

Next bit – Tues. 11 to Fri. 14 October. DD is a people-person. She is extroverted with a hint of shyness, rather like her mama LOL, and really, really needs to spend time with kids. I think I will take her to vacation care. She has been there before, she had lots of fun playing in the playground with the other kids, made new friends, made a heap of craft works, played with a Wii game for the first time ever, and apparently learnt about Angry Birds.

And the last weekend of the holidays. Hmmm. What shall we do? I think I’ll try to arrange a playdate one day, maybe a sleepover. On to the phones and e-mail!

ETA: This planning must be in the air! Go and visit the lovely Little Gumnut blog .

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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Life Matters

 

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Back online

It was rather odd to be offline for a week and a half. I had a tiny notepad to work on and it was having a few problems and broadband access was horribly expensive, so I cut down on my computing time massively.

DD and I spent quite a bit of time in the hotel pool. She still can’t get the hang of lying on her back, floating. Massive trust and belief problems, I think.

DD just watched an episode of 3rd and Bird, the one where the baby kitten is lost and the birds help the kitten. DD has seen that one before. I wasn’t expecting her reaction this time, though.

She came into my study, tears streaming down her face. “Mummy, I miss our two kitties. I want them back!” These are the two cats that died last year. She hasn’t really mentioned them for months but obviously something about that episode brought them to mind. Poor love, she took a while to calm down. We had a long talk, including me explaining that I couldn’t dig up the cats’ bodies from the garden because their spirits were gone.

I’m feeling a bit blue now. I was OK for a while.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2011 in cats, grief, Life Matters

 

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Christmas shopping

Love the article titled Real men don’t do early Christmas shopping. Not entirely true and I bet there are a few women who leave everything until Christmas Eve.

But I’m one of those strange creatures who can get the shopping done by November. Partly that’s because I see things in the mid-year sales and pick them up then, partly it’s because I see things in the Avon catalogue that are just perfect (and the roll-on soaps in Christmas packaging for children are perfect stocking stuffers and non-lolly presents for DD’s little mates at preschool), and I loathe shopping in the December rush.

Having said that, I can’t say that the shops in Civic appeared particularly stuffed full when I ventured in last week. I still had to buy a gift card and some books. No huge queues at checkouts (maybe that will be on Christmas Eve), items being discounted further, and accompanying tinny muzak that hurt my ears.

I was determined to avoid buying more plastic to bring into the house. I think I managed to do that! Yay! I might buy some tinsel after Christmas for next year, though given the beating that was handed out to the Christmas decorations while they were in the shed (think cat pee on the box for starters), I’m re-thinking that idea.

Here’s some of Lisa Wilkinson’s smart ideas to help blokes with last-minute shopping from the article I mentioned above. Way to go, Lisa!

Things you shouldn’t buy
1 Lingerie that is a size or more too big. No prizes for guessing why
2 A vacuum cleaner. No prizes on this one either
3 A slab of beer (because we’re wise to you….we know that’s not for us)
4 Any product that contains any combination of the words “anti” and “cellulite” in the title

If in doubt, buy good champagne or Chanel No. 5, I reckon.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2010 in Budget

 

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Valentine’s Day – why the secret?

Help me out – I totally don’t get the idea of showing my love via an anonymous, secret card confessing true love and passion … but no darn name! Maybe it’s a social thing? Maybe Australians don’t get it. Maybe I am not sufficiently romantic.

What if the recipient is monumentally embarrassed? (Or is that the point?) Or if the recipient thinks that someone else sent the card and then another person is the lucky, tho’ inadvertent recipient of return passion? Help me out!

FWIW, I am a bit of a loser when it comes to Valentine’s Day. I guess that it has never really featured on my calendar as an important date. It was always more important to me to remember my wedding anniversary, or my husband’s birthday, and MOST IMPORTANTLY to tell my husband that I loved him and appreciated the wonderful things he did. Not just on special occasions. I sort of feel that it’s a cop-out, that day. You can be a useless spouse or partner most of the year but if you get the roses and card and chocolates and romantic dinner right on one day of the year, then you get enough credit points to save your sorry butt during the hard times.

Oh dear. I have turned into a cynic again.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2010 in holidays

 

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How many shopping days until Christmas?

I would faint at the closeness of Christmas and how it seems to have come at an alarming speed this year, except, well, something seems to have happened.

I simply don’t give a stuff.

I have bought presents for my immediate family and my in-laws. One gift certificate to buy (either today or tomorrow). I have some presents for my darling daughter. I’m not sure how I’ll get round to buying anything else. Chronic conditions have returned thanks to stress and I am honestly not up to fighting crowds in the mall, and it’s a bit late for internet ordering. I figure, as long as I’ve covered the important bases, that’s it.

I’ve given up on Christmas cards. I’ve sent out the most important ones. I feel too exhausted to sit down and write more.

I realise that the reason why I feel that way is because I’ve had weeks of writing thank you notes after DH’s funeral. I lost count of the number of notes I wrote after I had written 50. I now see why people put an ad in the paper under the heading of “Return Thanks”. Not my sort of thing and I honestly can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s logic – not all those who assisted at that difficult time are all from this same city. Maybe it’s the manners that were drummed into me – always send a handwritten note, even if it is only a few words to express your appreciation for kindness.

Today DD gave her Christmas card and a box of chocolates to the staff at her childcare centre. She had great pleasure in signing the card with her name and adding a couple of kisses to it. (My mum taught her that – fantastic, Mum!) I am very proud of her desire to write to people, even if it means I have to write down what she dictates.

I have cut down on the amount of television DD is allowed to watch. None at all on some evenings, maybe half an hour (Dora the Explorer or Sid the Science Kid are great favourites). It depends upon DD’s mood, how much I need to do without her under my feet, and what things we two are doing together. I can tell when I am having a ratty day: those are the days when DD gets over an hour of television and is a total pill to get to bed. She reacts like it’s a drug, honestly. So hard to get her tushy out of the chair and get her to clean her teeth, etc. It’s easier to avoid the television in the first place if at all possible. I’m not saying it’s always possible. I’m only human, I have limited time to get dinner made and I would rather we sit down to eat dinner together. No television at meal times. Think of it as an end of year resolution. Much easier than those made on New Year’s Eve.

Speaking of resolutions, you’ll be pleased to hear that I have managed to keep one of them. I am not watching repeats of TV programs that I had previously seen. I suspect I still watch too much TV (and exactly what is too much for adults?), and I have deliberately tried to read more books, though that’s easier said than done when there is a certain somebody who loves to interrupt her mum. 🙂

 

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Christmas bragging

That’s the other term for Christmas letters.

Let’s be frank, I hate them. Here’s why:

  • I never heard from that family for 12 months, they didn’t initiate any phone calls, they never e-mailed. Suddenly I end up with a letter from them explaining all the things that were more important than my family and me (purrllleasse – clipping dogs’ nails???). The good thing is that now I know why you never returned my phone calls or answered your e-mails – you were ankle-deep in toenail clippings.
  • The bragging factor. I am glad that there’s something to talk about but I am not interested in the row of  “A”s that your son or daughter got or how they are the most fabulous 5 year old  violinist in the universe. Your two overseas holidays at expensive destinations. The expensive gifts your DH gave you. The promotions at work.
  • The ‘sad’ note to one of the paragraphs about how they rather wish other people would write Christmas letters.  How about they think about those of us who keep in touch with care and good wishes during the year, however briefly?
  • Those who try to sell us something. Yeah, lovely that you’ve started your pyramid business, but I am so not interested in that and even less sweet on the idea of you advertising it in your Christmas letter.
  • The Christmas letter that turns up in late January so that everybody knows exactly how busy you were. Give up. Just do happy new year cards on the computer. Or send out a mass e-mail.

Thinking about it, there are two main points that bug me about Christmas letters. I mean, I crap on about a heckuva lot but some of these things are trivial.

The first is that I feel kind of insulted that a family has dropped me from “keeping in touch in a neighbourly fashion” to “stranger who is communicated with once a year”. They’re not sufficiently interested in me or my family to telephone, even when there has been bad news, or to send an e-mail, or (this is a true Australian thing) a pre-printed greeting card that says the words you can’t find at the time.

The second is the bragging. I am a former classroom teacher and still work as a professional private music teacher.  In some cases, I’ve seen your kids recently. You’re probably not going to convince me that your kid is the next Albert Einstein, Sofia Kovalevskaya,  Yo-Yo Ma, or Sumi Jo. Good luck to him or her, all the same. Appreciate your DD and DS for who they are, not your aspirations heaped upon them.

I have another category which I’ll call 2a. This is the self-deprecation method, often seen in the January Christmas letters but also seen in those sent out late November/early December. It consists of a list of how busy they are, how they didn’t do X or Y because of busy-ness, how they feel like a bit of a failure in some cases, and then it just gets worse. I diligently read through those letters, hoping that there will be a note of redemption at the end, where I’ll be told that the coming year will bring organisation, relief and more to that family, but frankly, I’m not holding out much hope.

And that would be why I send out mass-produced, made in Australia, commercial message Christmas cards, with my own greeting and signature.

It’s not a case of sour grapes because I don’t have any great achievements to write about. Seriously, this year, what on earth could I say that wouldn’t put a dampener on the proceedings? This year, I feel fully justified to continue my Christmas card process and keep the peace.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2009 in children, family, Life Matters, Motherhood, the mummy race

 

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Is it time for the tree yet?

Kristina’s post about holiday decorations has reminded me I’d better get my act together.

For a number of years, I’ve been pretty slack putting up Christmas decorations. For a couple of years, I didn’t even manage to put up a Christmas tree. Cards were stuck around the edge of the buffet and I found a couple of 15 cm high gilt reindeer going for a song, so they accompanied the cards. I should point out that it’s hard to get all Christmassy if you’ve got depression for the third year in a row.

Last year I managed to put up the tree about 2 weeks before Christmas and it was down and back in the shed by Epiphany.

This year, DD is fascinated by Christmas trees. She oohed and aahed over the tree in the window of our local pharmacy and gasped at the boughs of greenery swooping over customers’ heads in the shop. She thrills to sparkly lights and points out angels and Santa (I have to say she’s more interested in angels than Santa because she has no idea who Santa is).

I think this weekend I’ll have to scrabble around in the shed, fight the spiders and beetles, and emerge triumphant with a plastic tree. Oh Indiana Jones, if only you knew the adventure lurking in a suburban Canberra backyard! I think the decorations are still in a box in the shed, probably under an enormous cobweb. In fact, I was so slack last year that some decorations just ended up in the buffet in drawers. I have a plastic tub with a tight-fitting lid ready for the decorations this year, providing that DD doesn’t appropriate it for her toys. I’ve also just remembered that I have moved furniture in the loungeroom since last Christmas and need to move out some chairs and … oh, more blasted work! No, I should be more cheerful about it. If I hadn’t been decluttering through the past couple of months, I’d have more mess to deal with.

I suspect that DD doesn’t remember the Christmas tree from last year. I can’t wait to see her face!

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2008 in decluttering project, Life Matters

 

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