Merry Christmas everyone!

Just dropping by quickly to wish everyone a very merry and bright Christmas and a wonderful New Year – I hope all your hopes and dreams come true in 2011!

Thanks for sticking around this year when I haven’t been my brightest little self – your comments have all helped to brighten my days, even though I haven’t been commenting on your own blogs much this year in return.

Have a wonderful time over Christmas – I’ll be offline for a couple of days while spending Christmas Day with friends on the other side of the city.  I look forward to seeing all your news and updates on my return 😀

‘Tis the season to be jolly

I am trying really hard to remind myself this week of the positive things in life this week … in particular I’m trying hard not to focus on:

  • the fact that other team members are allowed to go on holiday while I am working through Christmas and the New Year and having to cover their work instead of catching up on my own backlog over Christmas – bah humbug to the lot of you, if I’d known I wouldn’t be working on my own work I’d be taking the time off too and making you stay do your own damned work, just like I’ve had to do for 2 out of 3 years!;
  • the pile of laundry still sitting on the lounge floor from my flatmate’s Mum visiting two weeks ago – and the fact that my flatmate has now gone on two week’s leave and left it sitting there for the laundry fairies to do in her absence;
  • ditto the cup cake container sitting on the bench, complete with leftover cupcakes, ready for me to have to wash up and dispose of the leftover foodstuffs because otherwise the Sydney cockroaches would be having a field day;
  • the recycling bags overflowing with recyclable bottles and cans that are always without fail left for me to carry down to the rubbish bins (I have actually been told she does this), not to mention to empty glass bottles and jars that are just left laying around the kitchen bench … perhaps I should leave a map on the bench, because obviously the overflowing pile in the corner isn’t standing out enough to be obvious!

Ah, venting over … I don’t often get grumpy with these things, as I’m often really messy with my stitching stuff laying around etc, but I really do get peeved when food etc is left around.  I’ve just got used to the fact that I will always be the one emptying trash cans and washing the shower curtain and bathmats, along with the kitchen towels and tea-towels … that’s just my lot in life … pfffft.  Anyway, seriously moving on now I’ve had my rant for the evening!!!

The GREAT news that really does offset all that grumpiness is that the parcel that had gone AWOL has actually turned up in my PO Box!  I just assumed that it was the latest parcel that had turned up, but then I saw the date stamp of 15 November on the parcel and I almost hyperventilated!!  I am seriously excited and thrilled, as now I have my missing threads and can complete my Bittersweet Seasons WIP – perhaps I’ll take that along to finish on Christmas Day instead of the Christmas chart … hmmm …

Anyway, I’ve only just walked in the door from work and feeling totally wrecked, so I think I’ll sign off now and go and fondle my stash, as I haven’t had chance to look at it properly yet!

PS:  Did I tell you, I’m excited??? 😛

Christmas has arrived … finally

Ever since my flatmate made a comment about my Christmas tree being up when her Mum was here visiting I just haven’t felt like putting decorations up, and definitely had the “bah humbug” feeling. On Friday night, though, I decided to put a few things out and decorated the lounge – a lot more understated than normal, and I have to say I think I really like it!

Because my flatmate is away for Christmas (she flew out today), we had Christmas morning early on Friday night and I refused to swap gifts until we at least had some sort of Christmas decorations up. I’m usually cracking the decoration boxes open on 1 December (or the closest weekend afterwards), so it’s really really unusual for me this year! Even when I lived on my own, I still had my own little tree and made myself a Christmas stocking each year – it seems a little silly, but I still bought myself a little chocolate bar and some nuts in their shells and popped a little baby bottle of champers in there (and for the first time ever something I’ve neglected to do for myself this year yet). I’m tossing up whether to approach a LNS next year and see if they will bundle up some surprise goodies from my wish list and then get someone to wrap them up for me so I can have something of a surprise in there – I was originally going to do my own 12 days of Christmas and parcel up 12 little items early in the year so I may have forgotten about them by Christmastime, but it’s not really the same, is it? haha.

Last year Katie said she was going to buying a white Christmas tree with black balls to put up this year, with a skull instead of an angel/star … sigh 😉 Let’s just say it hasn’t happened yet, and if it does happen next year then I will sit my own tree up in a different corner to be a bit more traditional!! Anyhoo, earlier in the year I found the most PERFECT gift for her … I was going to stitch her this chart and frame it up for her – I had my heart set on it, because it is just so “her” haha.  As you can see, it was the Christmas tree that made it think it was so perfect!

Unfortunately I’ve had various items back-ordered for over 3 months, and the Belle Soie threads that were sent along with my other parcel goodies an exact month ago still haven’t arrived – not to mention I was really unhappy with the fabric I ordered from NZ for it, so I ended up placing an extra order for the recommended fabric listed on the chart, and that was also on back order for a while. The fabric finally left about 1 1/2 weeks ago, but the first parcel is still AWOL, and there was no insurance on the parcel {{sigh}}. I’ll wait for another few weeks, then I’ll have to save up and re-order everything again, I guess 😦 I was then in a quandary as to what to buy my flatmate, but my heart was still set on this chart, so I ended up wrapping just the chart up and saying the real version would be coming whenever I can get it together.

To say Katie was over the moon with it is an understatement! She loved it so much she’s been taking photos of the chart and showing all her friends and family and can’t stop talking about haha. The great thing now, I guess, is that I can actually stitch it in the lounge without having to hide away, so she can watch it grow each week once I finally manage to get it started 🙂  I also gave her two Jared Padalecki movies on DVD to fill her horror quota for the year (Friday the 13th and Cry Wolf).

As for what I got, I was truly spoilt – I knew in advance what I was getting, but it made it not less thrilling – I got a ticket to see Tap Dogs next month with Katie, and we’re only a few rows from the front so we can drool over Adam Garcia without squinting haha.  I’ve always loved him in the movie Bootmen, which is so similar to Tap Dogs – if you haven’t seen it yet, I can definitely recommend it as a great Aussie drama/romance (but make sure the tissue box is handy) … love, love, love it! 😀

Today I actually started one of my 101 Things in 1001 Days – I’ve been playing with this list for the last month or so, and have finally published it live.  Seeing as I’ve started feeling a bit more positive over the last 48 hours, I’ve started making a move to see some of the goals happen. Today’s effort was in relation to #23 in the list, which is to make something out of every recipe book I own in Sydney – considering there are 130+ books, that’ll keep me busy for longer than the 1001 days, but it’ll be fun anyway!  Today’s recipe was from “Simple Delights: Coffee & Tea” book – and the chosen recipe was “Bonoffee  Coffee”.  Perhaps not the ‘best’ thing I’ve ever tasted, I have certainly enjoyed slurping it down this afternoon while I’ve been pottering around – here’s the full recipe if you’re interested:

BONOFFEE COFFEE

3 teaspoons instant coffee granules
150ml (5fl oz or 2/3 cup) boiling water
450ml (16fl oz or 2 cups) vanilla ice cream
1 large banana
300ml (10fl oz or 1 1/4 cups) milk
Few drops vanilla essence
85ml (3fl oz or 1/3 cup) Tia Maria
2 teaspoons drinking chocolate
Chocolate flakes, to serve (optional)

Mix together coffee and water and set aside to cool.  Place all the ingredients, except the chocolate powder, in a blender or food processor and process them until completely smooth.  Pour into tall glasses and sprinkle the chocolate powder over the top.  Serve with chocolate flakes, if desired.
Serves 4-6.

Alas I couldn’t find any drinking chocolate in the cupboard, but I did find some Lindt chocolate shavings … score!!! haha.  I even broke out the super-duper expensive hand-blown glassware to drink it out of.  I was given a pair of these by my very best friend Vicki, and I’d hate to think what they’re worth today – they’re hand-blown by Hoglund Glass, and apparently are quite the collector’s item … I personally don’t care, because I adore them to death, and will never sell them, I love them too much! 😀

I really should show the results of my decorations, but I think this post is getting waaaay to long by now, so I’ll create a new post shortly 🙂

In the wars

I haven’t touched a needle since the last time I posted a WIP update, so I guess that’s well over a week now … thanks to a sinus infection and some really really long stressful hours at work, I took a day in lieu off work on Friday, and an RDO (rostered day off) yesterday, and as soon as I finished work I fell in a heap and succumbed to the dreaded lurgy.  I was supposed to fly down to Melbourne for a Christmas party on Saturday night (decided last minute during the week), but ended up cancelling my flight and stayed in best most of the weekend with my laptop and the electric fan going.

Back to the GP today for a top-up of antibiotics, as it seems after starting to come right on Sunday night, and feeling relatively OK yesterday, the infection has taken hold once again overnight, so I’ve got another dose of drugs to take.  Add to that a couple of other health issues and I can’t say I feel too perky overall … my left index finger has been flaring up with stiffness and pain over the last few months, and this morning was so painful I couldn’t use it to push the aerosol button on my deodorant.  I mentioned that while I was in the GP and it appears I have got some sort of tendonitis in that finger, so I now have my index and middle fingers taped together for the next 7-14 days, which I have to admit relieves the pressure in the index finger … but it’s going to be a right royal pain typing at work!

Then tomorrow I’m off to have an arterial ultrasound done on my lower left leg compliments of some additional pain and swelling that has been occurring over the last month or so, which has been so bad I’ve been unable to sit ‘awkwardly’ (eg cross-legged) or put any weight on it when kneeling … just something else to join the throng of ills for the week haha.

I haven’t even gotten into the Christmas spirit this year and don’t have a single decoration up yet – I was going to put my tree up on the first weekend in December until Katie made a comment that I’d better leave room for her Mum coming to visit … it kinda sucked all the joy out of something I love to do, so “bah humbug” here I sit.  I may decide to put my old ‘little baby tree’ up with just my stitched ornies on it …

There have been a few things this year that have also lead to me having a ‘clinically blue’ period, which I am still working my way through – and this sort of thing is impacting on me … I just need to breathe my way through it and not let it get to me … unfortunately Erin’s death earlier this year opened the floodgates, and issues at work have opened up some old wounds and self esteem issues, it’s been an emotionally challenging year, that’s for sure!  At least I’m getting an outlet every week/fortnight to vent, if nothing else, and that’s helping me to gain my confidence back and stop acting like a doormat!

Anyway, on that note I’d better go take my 2nd antibiotic for the night, re-tape my fingers up, and get a few more Christmas cards written.  Unfortunately I don’t have Christmas ornies to send this year, but the least I can do is to get my cards done!  Not sure when there’ll be another stitching update – I can say, however, that I have pulled a new project to start stitching while I’m away with friends on Christmas Day – I’m really looking forward to starting that one (Christmas by Jardin Privé) 🙂

Photo Hunt – Funny

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This week’s theme is ”Funny” and this seemed hilarious at the time of taking the photo. Mum and I hijacked my ex-flatmate’s (and at the time best friend in Melbourne) childhood toy when I moved out of our flat to live on my own. We took him (Bukta the soccer hero) down to St Kilda beach and made up a little beach hammock out of a hankie and two chopsticks – then took photos on my mobile phone and sent them to Frazier with a message saying “Dear Daddy, I am having a wonderful time on holiday with Auntie Anne in Elwood” … Mum and I howled for hours, and Frazier thought it was pretty damned funny too 🙂

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A small gesture can change a life

Warning:  This post is about homosexuality – if this offends you, I suggest you stop reading now 🙂

I would also appreciate it that if you find anything offensive, or wish to share any negative thoughts, that you don’t p0st your feelings on the matter in the comments, but that you keep those thoughts to yourself.  While you’re also entitled to your opinions, inflammatory comments will be immediately deleted.

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Tonight on Facebook I followed a link published by a gay colleague to a YouTube video by Pixar (“It Gets Better”).  In this video clip numerous gay people, both male and female, told how they struggled in their youth with bullying etc, and reinforcing that things will get better, for young people struggling with this issue today to look forward to a brighter future as “it will get better” over time.

I have been struggling with my own personal demons this year, which came to a head a couple of months ago, and perhaps it’s just the frame of mind I’m in tonight, but something resonated with me tonight with this YouTube video.  No, I’m not saying that I’m gay (not that that would be a bad thing) … but I have numerous gay friends, and in fact most of my friends from high school have turned out to be gay (both male and female) – in fact, I think my best friend and I have ended up being the only straight ones in the entire group!  But I did have one story growing up that has always stuck with me …

I met Roseanne at work when I was in my early-mid 20’s, and we used to go out nightclubbing etc on a semi-regular basis, and checked out guys like most other girls.  ‘Rox’ was my closest friend at work, and when we’d had a particularly tough day at work we’d head off to the ‘local family restaurant/pub’ up the road and share a bit plate of chips/french fries and have a game of pool.  One particular day she said to me very earnestly that she had something to say to me, and that she hoped I’d take it OK … my immediate reaction was to say the most outrageous thing that came to my mind … “oh don’t tell me, you’re a raving lesbian!”.  When her jaw hit the ground, I took one look at her face then my jaw joined hers … when she said “well, that was easy”, we both cracked up and howled!  To be honest my initial reaction was “wow, how do I feel about this?” – in a split second my mind had already worked out that she was the same person she was 10 seconds ago, so why should her sexuality make any difference?

She only ever confided in myself and her best friend – they had been best friends since the beginning of time.  After that announcement that particular friend (I use that term loosely) to this day has never spoken to her again – her religious beliefs were paramount to their friendship, all 15-20 years of it.  Apologies to anyone who fosters these same beliefs, I don’t mean to offend, but that’s an alien thought for me, as it’s not the way I’ve been brought up.  I’ve always been brought up to accept people for who they are – that’s not to say I’m perfect in that regard in any shape or form, but I’ve certainly tried to foster those feelings as I’ve grown up into the mature old biddy that I am today.

I’ve had a few discussions with people when they have made statements that homosexuality is something an individual chooses.  I have a very simplistic view of this – why on earth would someone choose to invite ridicule, bullying and non-acceptance in society if they had a choice?  I know gay people who have struggled with acceptance, and put up with listening to bigoted comments from some people when I was living in Melbourne in particular – these feelings are just so alien to how I’ve been brought up, I struggle to understand this stance.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I accept that not everyone can have the same viewpoint, but it still saddens me to see people ridiculed and pigeonholed for one aspect of their lives and a very small part of who they are as people.

Anyway, that video clip brought me to tears tonight – when I think of all the people out there growing up without a support system as they struggle to come to grips with their sexuality, or being ‘outside the norm’ and not in society’s perfect mould … I remember those days at work when Rox and I kept her secret for a number of years before she felt comfortable with making it more public (including telling her parents).  Many conversations were had about her boyfriend Don (who was in fact her girlfriend Donna) – and my Mum, bless her soul, accepted Rox with open arms (as well as Donna at our dinner table occasionally).  It makes me reflect tonight how different Rox’s struggle may have been without having at least one person as a support during that difficult time, especially as she had already been spurned by the closest friend she had growing up.

I sit here reflecting tonight, as I feel fed up in some aspects of my life (mainly during the working week) … that a simple gesture of acceptance and caring has the potential to have a huge impact on another life.  This simple act that costs nothing at the time can make a huge difference to someone … and quite frankly, knowing that feels good.  While we’ve never discussed it outright, I’d like to hope that my acceptance and support 20 years ago made a positive impact for Rox.  I do know that she is an incredibly caring person who is very much at peace with herself (as is her family), and it’s a pleasure to still call her friend, even if we haven’t seen each other for about about 5 years.

And on that note of melancholy and reflection, I also want to give a massive vote of thanks to my Mum by raising me to have an open mind and not judging people for their race, colour, religion or anything else.  I am reminded of the many kindnesses that my mother has shown to everyone who has touched her path during her lifetime – she is the most caring soul who never has a bad word to say about anyone (well, OK, barring her husband occasionally) … and now in her 70’s she’s started volunteering at the local rest home to give the elderly residents some company and assistance.  Your caring and nurturing nature never ceases to amaze me, Mum!  If I end my life as being only one-tenth as compassionate and caring as my Mum has been all my life, I will deem that as a successful and ethical life well lived.  Mum, you are truly my role model, and I am blessed and proud to call you my Mum xx 😀

See, I told you it was a very reflective mood tonight!  But in a good way, as I’m trying to retain a positive demeanour during the working week, and reminding me of life’s goodness helps to retain that balance! 😀

And I promise the next post I’ll be back to my stitching posts again! 😛

Dreaded lurgy

I was feeling off-colour most of the day yesterday, and even ended up having a 3-hour nanna nap in the afternoon because I felt so exhausted – when I woke up I had a raging sore throat, and sure enough today it has hung around and I managed to add super-sensitive hearing to the mix.  After croaking my way through a one-hour meeting at work, my boss has sent me home with my tail between my legs to rest up for the afternoon … and truth be told it didn’t take much convincing, ‘cos I’m feeling ‘not too flash’ on the whole.  Everyone at work was driving me crazy noise-wise, so I think it’s very clever that I not stay around any longer or my patience threshold may not survive … yikes!

Last night, though, even though I was feeling crappy I did manage to get a few stitches into a new start – I have about 6-8 Halloween/Autumn projects that I kitted up with the fabrics all cut up, and the threads pulled, so I’ve decided I should continue working my way through those until they’re finished before I move on to something more challenging (and then I can put the threads away again!).  Last night I started The Trilogy’s “October Boo” from their Mini Gingham series – I don’t think it’ll take too long to finish this one off, and it was a really nice change from Just Nan and her squillions of colour changes in one small space!  This one is designed to be stitched over-one, but I cut my fabric larger and I’m stitching it over-two instead.

I’ve been tossing up whether to join a new challenge in 2011, where you pull 15 new-start projects and stitch on a new one every day for the first 15 days of January, then aim to have them all completed by the year’s end.  I love this idea (hey, who wouldn’t love all those new starts? haha), but because I use Q-snaps etc I don’t think this would work for me, because it’d be a right royal pain pulling them apart every night after just doing a few stitches.  Instead, I’m thinking of just pulling 15 new-start projects and kitting them up, then sitting them in a separate bag/basket and making them my challenge to be completed during the year … it’s food for thought anyway!

I have to admit I find it so much better when I have projects fully kitted and ready to be picked up – I’m a real procrastinator when it comes to new starts, and I can go for days on end without starting anything just because I hate cutting up the fabrics and pulling all the threads out … having a basket of ‘ready-to-stitch’ projects means I don’t have to think about it, I can just put my hand into the basket, pull out a new project, and just pretty much start stitching straightaway!  Of course, I do have to get motivated on at least one day to get the projects kitted up in the first place, but I truly do think it’s doable … in fact, I think I may even start working through my list of projects and find at least 15 projects that I really really want to stitch, and find out if I have all the threads (I’m always getting caught out by starting projects and finding out a thread is missing pffft).  In fact, I think that’s a perfect job for this afternoon when I’m vegetating out at home feeling sorry for myself … although just thinking about it has worn me out … so perhaps I should leave the decisions for another day LOL.

Photo Hunt – Half (15 May)

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The theme for 15 May was ”Half” and here are a couple of crayfish cut in half and baking in the oven.  The dreadful thing is that there were only three of us for dinner, so we got an extra half to share (and mostly for the chef, me – yummo! 😀  I think this is my favourite way to cook crayfish (lobsters to you, up north), however at $50 each crayfish it’s definitely a real “treat” once in a decade! 😛

Farewell Dinner 2

Farewell Dinner 3

Then of course there is the Half a pumpkin that I’m still working on in the lounge … it’s almost growing at the same rate as a real pumpkin, very very slowly. Fingers crossed my threads arrive this year so I can get it finished sooner rather than later!

Bittersweet Season 12Nov10

Photo Hunt – Mother/Mum (8 May)

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The theme on 8 May was ”Mother/Mum” and for a change here’s a photo of my Mum’s Mum – Nannan herself.  The photo was taken in June 1956.

Nannan-Hilda Scott nee Crispin, 30Jun1956

And if that’s not enough, here’s a photo of my own dear Mum in her younger days 🙂  Unfortunately I don’t know how old Mum was in this photo – can you help me out with this one Mum??

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It’s Annette’s Fault!

Thanks to Annette posting her piccies of Halloween prize draws, I spied a little rubber Vampire duck in one of the photos … OF COURSE I had to run straight to Ebay to track one down myself … so the following is all on Annette’s head!

It’s not identical to Annette’s one, but it comes along with other Halloween friends, and I just aodre them!!! 😀  (If you’re in Australia and you want to buy your own, check out this Ebay seller.)

And these others just decided to come along for the ride … haha. I intend having a regular little seasonal display on my side table next to my stitching chair throughout the year, and what could be better than adding a duckie or two in each display??  Do I need them?  No, I don’t … Do I love them???  Oh Yes, I do!!!! Where ducks are concerned, I refuse to ever grow up 😀