Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas - going, going, gone

Well that was fun. Pity it's all gone for another twelve months. The only shadows were my foster sister's absence (she was in India with her mother visiting relatives but the rest of her family was here) and the shadow left by my mother in law's passing. I'm lucky that both sides of the family get on well. We hear so many terrible tales of Christmas friction we sometimes forget that most of the time most of us get along.
Today at Virgo's urging I set up the laptop, tried to master the digital camera (I thought they were supposed to be simple but so far I have succeeded in taking three photos of my feet and two of my knees) and I'm actually making some steps towards preparing to pack. Because I travelled so much with my work for so many years I find packing less worrying than most people. This doesn't stop me living in fear that I have forgotten something vital so I have a check list that covers all eventualities which I modify according to time and place. This is printed out and ticked off as I go and the same applies when I'm returning home. Besides I'm going to Brisbane not darkest Africa. If I miss something it'll be easily obtained. Might put a strain on the credit card but...
So now I'm off to install a few of the vital programs I can't live without on the laptop.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Getting closer...

Clarion I mean although Christmas is alarmingly near as well.

I went through my stash of prezzies today and discovered to my surprise that I actually had almost every one I need. Pisces has decided he wants clothes. I'm not sure why given he has more than I do but to accommodate his wishes Virgo and I intend to take him shopping in the week following Christmas when we actually have time when we all are not working. Now all I have to do is wrap the remaining gifts.

In the meantime all I have yet to get are prezzies for the pets. You have to make up for dressing them in Santa hats and scarfs somehow. Jaz, born to pose as soon as she sees a camera, is quite cooperative to start with although her patience wears thin eventually but you have never seen anything as cute as a Cavalier King Charles spaniel in Christmas splendour. Cadillac, on the other hand, is humiliated and glares at us, the dog and the world as only a cat can.

We're into Christmas cooking mode now the countdown is under way. 'Tis not only the season of goodwill and prezzies you know. Virgo has made up the truffle mixture for me to shape and freeze tonight and tomorrow we launch into shortbread, macaroons, Mrs Raffald's Chocolate puffs, (adapted from a recipe from the 1700s), and two treasures from the American Woman's Day. Unlike its Aussie counterpart this is not a collection of made up gossip and rumour but caters for a wide variety of women's interests. Every Christmas it has a Christmas edition with suggestions for gifts, recipes, crafts and decorations. We've been making Addictive Snack Mix and Sweet and Crunchy walnuts since 1992. It just wouldn't be Christmas without them.

So now you know how I am going to spend the next few days.

Happy Christmas to all.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Penny pinching

It's hot and humid today. I suspect this is pretty much what Brisbane will be like so I hope the arthritic flare up I'm experiencing today isn't a forerunner of what life there will be like. I don't like humidity at any time but for a West Aussie girl heat is not a problem. I imagine the folk coming in from overseas or for that matter southern Australia in general won't enjoy it though.

Due to a complete lack of dresses in the shops to fit the likes of me I have been sewing. It was quite therapeutic once I drafted a couple of patterns. I have sewn a lot using commercial patterns but never drafted before and it was a long-winded and complicated task but once past that stage so far things have gone smoothly (she says touching wood). Given my current state of penury it has also helped the bank balance i.e. it actually is balancing. Of course that's ignoring the credit card bills yet to come in but I'm doing a Mr Micawber on that. After all someone has to win Lotto, don't they.

My to do list is getting shorter at last but having been out of the loop for a week due to computer and other problems I have to catch up on the flurry of email activity on the Clarion website where much has been happening. The start is getting alarmingly close and requests for information, accommodation arrangements and much more have filled the email list. I feel more than a little guilty that I haven't participated as much as some of the others but life has been too frentetic. I've been like the character in one of Lewis Carroll's books runnning furiously but getting nowhere.

I still have to read some more of the tutors' work but our library is located at a major shopping centre and the pre-Christmas rush is making parking appallingly hard to find. As the library's opening hours are later than the shops every place has been taken before it opens. Virgo works at the shopping centre and staff parking is forbidden during the holiday season. Since our local bus service is less than satisfactory on weekends I dropped her off this morning an hour before the shops opened because she had an early start. There were already dozens of cars in the carparks and it's even worse during the week.

Ah well it will all work out no doubt but not if I don't start on today's tasks which I am going to do right now.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Clarion Christmas

Somehow Christmas is getting a bit short changed this year. Usually the decorations go up the first weekend of December. The house drips with baubles, garlands and tinsel anywhere there is a spot - door handles, behind doors, around doorways, in bowls. You name it and there's probably a decoration. Even the teddy bears on my bed get their own Santa hats and scarfs. With Clarion though I've had to cut back - a bit. As I'm flying out of Perth on January 6, I'll have no time to take anything down and in hope of making things a little easier for Virgo I've cut back so only the living, dining rooms and hall are decorated. We still have two trees, of course. Only the seepage through the rest of the house has been stopped. My teddies still have their hats and scarfs though .
It's starting to look a lot like Christmas. This would be good if I wasn't so far behind in my preparations. No cooking done, still half the presents to buy and wrap, a piece of Christmas inspired writing for the Karrinyup Writers' club Christmas party in two days time and, by the way, tinsel doesn't cover a multitude of sins. Damn.
This doesn't help me in my sorting out what I need for Clarion either but as the medieval scholar, Dame Julian, said, "All will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well. " and no doubt she was right.