I am not feeling much like celebrating tonight. Even before we heard the news from our neighbours it was always going to be a subdued evening. We plan to go up to the Sunshine Coast early tomorrow and have a dinner with my family.

P is already in bed while I wait for a lemon and passionfruit tart to finish baking. I made a big mistake with the dough for the tart which I have decided to wear. I used self-raising flour instead of plain flour for the sweet shortcrust pastry. I hope it will taste good anyway. I just don't have the time nor the energy to make the pastry all over again. It will have to be a lemon and passionfruit shortcake/tart.

While I don't feel like whooping it up tonight. I will count my blessings for I am grateful for my beautiful family who have shared the past year with me and I hope to share with them many more.

My very best wishes for 2005 to my readers and their loved ones too.

Big waves and little waves

Today I got some very bad news that was very close to home, next door in fact.

I knew that my neighbours, Noel and Anya had a visit this Christmas from their only daughter and her partner. My mother spoke to Anya just before Christmas, and Anya was in a bit of a dither getting ready for her daughter's supposedly surprise visit from Singapore where her daughter works and lives.

On Christmas day, P came to tell me that Noel and Anya's daughter had arranged a special Christmas lunch for them all. She had organised a limousine to pick them all up and take them to and from one of the finest five star restaurants in Brisbane. Although I had not yet met their daughter it sounded just like her to organise such an event, as I knew from the conversations I had with Noel that it was usual for her to bestow on her parents extravagant and special gifts.

Noel and Anya are very lovely people, both retired and in their mid 60's I would guess . I was told by the previous owners of our house that although Anya has been fighting breast cancer for some years she never complains and is one "tough old girl."

Noel and Anya are always pleased to see my children and it is not hard to guess that they would love to have a couple of grandchildren running around their yard themselves. They always spoke of their daughter with pride particularly about her career achievements, though they had voiced some concern that she may not have any children. Their daughter had been divorced and now they said her career appeared to take precedence over children.

While there were big waves that have decimated the lives of many in South East Asia this year, here, right next door there was complete devastation although there was no water. For while Noel and Anya still have a roof over their heads all their hopes and dreams have vanished, dreams for their daughter's future happiness and hopes one day maybe for grandchildren.

Noel and Anya's daughter died on Monday on the day of her return to Singapore. After leaving the duty free area she quickly finished a glass of champagne. It was this drink, that is believed to have triggered a severe asthma attack which left her in a coma. Later that evening Noel and Anya took their daughter off life support.


Classic Christmas Quote 2004

On Christmas day my sister and I are busy preparing sushi for our family Christmas dinner when a text message arrives from my cousin informing us that he and my Aunt and Uncle are about 20 minutes away (after having already driven one hour from the Sunshine Coast)

My sister as is her usual style replies by return text:

"What ?? Are you coming here today?"

My cousin:

"What are YOU talking about of course we are coming!!!!!"

My sister replies:

" I am just messing with you"

My cousin's reply:

"Cousin, Christmas is NO time for fun"


Elliot's Goals for 2005

Today when I picked my son up from my sister's place I found this list he had written after a discussion with his cousin. I have reproduced it verbatim:

Goals for
1. Get gatar lasins and cokeing Lasins
2. Trry to make tast for my dad and my mum
3. Trry to ran fast
4. Trry to be halfe
Trry to dow ten laps aroung my hase
5. Dout eat to mecdonols
1. Get Guitar lessons and cooking lessons
2.Try to make toast for my Dad and my Mum
3.Try to run fast
4.Try to be healthy
Try to do ten laps around my house
5.Don't eat too much McDonalds.
I think one of my goals for 2005 will definately be to assist Elliot with his spelling!


Christmas Outfit No.4 from Great Aunty.  Posted by Hello

Christmas Outfit No.3 Chongsam from Aunty. Posted by Hello

Christmas Outfit No.2 - fairy skirt courtesy of Mummy.  Posted by Hello

Christmas Outfit No. 1. Grass skirt from Nenny (my mother) Posted by Hello


check, check, check,

50 0000000000.... pieces of gingerbread made (tick)
Christmas carols sung (tick)
Berry and white chocolate tiramisu made (tick)
Presents all wrapped and accounted for (tick)
Christmas story read to Elliot (tick)
Christmas offerings to Santa and reindeers left out (tick)
Christmas offerings consumed - apparently(tick)
Time to go to bed (tick, tick, tick...)

Merry Christmas to all of you who partake and if you don't I still offer you my very best wishes for a safe and happy time with your loved ones whenever the opportunity comes your way.


Must. Resist. Urge.To. Post. How. Visiting. Mother. Has. Driven. Me. Up. The. Wall. In. Less. Then. 8. Hours.

I really tried but can't resist. I do love my mother and all - but we are very different people particular when it comes to exceptionally high standards of domesticity and all things washed, starched, ironed and baby/toddler cleaning. Compared with many people I know I have some high standards which have derived from my mother, but they have been tempered by my having to work full-time with children and have a busy social life. Common sense tells me that sometimes "something's gotta give."

Example one - my one and only whinge during my mother's visit (hopefully!).

Gabriella was bathed(for the second time yesterday) at 4.30pm and put in her pyjamas. About 3 hours later I went to put her to bed. She did not go downstairs once during that 3 hour period and stayed indoors wandering around as she does and it is in fact a very clean environment given that I had spent the day vacuuming and washing floors in preparation for my mother's arrival.

As I put Gabriella to bed my mother asks

1. Am going to put Gabriella in clean pyjamas?
2. Am I going to wash her feet - because she always washed our feet before putting us to bed.

I resisted her admonitions and said no, as far as I was concerned Gabriella was plenty clean. My mother in a joking manner in Malaysian called my beautiful baby - "joruck" (phonetic) which is "dirty."

Way to go Mum lets give my daughter some of your obsessiveness about germs like you did to Elliot - lets go 2 for 2.

Finally in exasperation I said to my mother late last night when queried again about something I do differently to her,

"No Mum this is my life and its way too busy to live it with your standards otherwise I would be completely insane by now."

I bet when I get home every surface you could imagine will have a doily on it.


Gingerbread Recipe

350 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda (or baking powder)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
100 grams unsalted butter
175 grams brown sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons golden syrup

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

Line baking trays with baking paper.

Sift flour, bicarb and ginger into a large bowl.
Rub in butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs then rub in the sugar.

Beat egg and syrup together and stir into flour mixture, mixing lightly to form a smooth dough. Rest in the refridgerator for 30 minutes. On a floured surface rollout dough to 4-5mm thickness.

Cut into shapes and transfer to baking tins.

Bake for 12-15 mins or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly on trays.

Transfer to wire racks to cool completely then ice.

200 grams of icing sugar
1 egg white
1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Beat the egg white until soft peaks form and gradually beat in the icing sugar followed by the lemon juice. Ice the biscuits and decorate with silver/coloured cashous for buttons.

Hints: It is easier to roll out the dough on the silicone baking paper that you line the tins with. So remove the paper from the baking tins, roll out the dough, cut out the desired shapes, take away excess dough and then put the baking paper back into the baking trays. That way you don't accidentally break any of the arms etc.

As you can see I decided to use the snowman shape and the stars. The snowman makes a large biscuit enough really for two people to share. I think I averaged about 30 stars and 8-10 snowman per batch.

With the stars, I found because they are so small they baked really quickly maybe five minutes, though I really just kept a close eye on them. The larger biscuits took about 10 minutes really.

I have been keeping the finished product in an airtight container and plan to make another batch tonight and then I should have sufficient for my plans ... to conquer the world with my gingerbread snowmen who come to life at the stroke of midnight.....(evil laugh - ha.ha.ha.ha.ha.)

Acutally, I am on to my third batch tonight and I think it will be enough for my gift purposes :D

I thought I would provide some links to converters for anyone who needs them:
grams to ounces
Celsius to Fahrenheit

All wrapped up. Recipe to follow as soon as baby allows.  Posted by Hello

Iced.  Posted by Hello

Bake Bake as fast as you can... Posted by Hello

Word of the Day

Ta Daaaaaaaa...

stage, v. SECOND EDITION 1989
(sted) [f. STAGE n.]
1. trans. To erect, build. Obs. rare1.

Its really not worth printing the myriad of alternative definitions we should all know how to use the word "stage" in the correct context.


OED Online Word of the Day

Today while at work I had to look up the ordinary and legal meaning of the word "vexatious" and I also decided to sign up to receive the Oxford English Dictionary word of the day.

As an aside, I have been asked to consider the creation of an offence for "vexatious letter writing". My instincts as a lawyer and as a legislator (a person who has been involved in the promulgation of legislation for many years now) tells me that the appropriate response to this request is a resounding NO. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

I admit that the person who made the request (whom I will call the Responder) has had an annoying job of responding to many letters from a person whom I will call the Writer. The Writer had became fixated on particular issues concerning himself and I could see that it must have been extremely difficult and increasingly frustrating for the Responder when trying to reason with the Writer due to the Writer having particular psychological issues. Despite the Responder having provided many common sense responses it seemed impossible for the Writer to comprehend any logic emanating from the Responder. Indeed, as I recall the Writer's correspondence dealt with the various descriptions of the Writer in a psychiatric report and the Writer's attempts to have the report perceived in a different manner by the Responder.

One day at the end of her tether the Responder came to me for advice, specifically whether she could she simply stop responding to the Writer. I advised the Responder that as a public servant it was best practice if she did not simply stop responding and then I advised her bearing in mind that were the manner ever to be elevated to court or scrutinised by the public the ideal way to deal with the situation was for the Responder to be the model litigant (taken from the rule that the Crown should always be the model litigant). My reason being that if the Responder acted with equanimity then the Responder's role in this would always be open to scrutiny and there would be nothing in her responses which she would fear such as any hint of rudeness or sarcasm or unhelpfulness.

I suggested that initially her responses should be comprehensive and methodical and deal with each issue raised by the Writer so that eventually when the Writer began going over old ground the Responder could provide copies of earlier correspondence or simply refer to earlier correspondence until hopefully one day the Writer would tire and stop or more likely take his issue somewhere else.

Anway this is the situation where I guess that the request for an offence concerning a "vexatious letter writer" had emanated from.

As I was doing my research ostensibly so I could justify my recommendation with more than a No. No. Noooooooooooo. I decided to also sign up for the OED "Word of the Day". Not long after doing so I was very happy to discover that I had been provided with the said daily email. In anticipation of broadening my vocabulary (and my Scrabble abilities) and discovering a world of obscure words that I have scant appreciation of, I eagerly opened my email only to discover that the word today is..........................................

annual, a. and n. SECOND EDITION 1989
(ænjul) Also 4-7 annuel(l. [a. OFr. annuel, ad. later L. annul-em (= cl. annl-em); refashioned after the L. c 1500.]
A. adj.
1. a. Of or belonging to the year; reckoned, payable, or engaged by the year; yearly.

Whoopee Do (sarcasm - is there an emotive for that?)

Is whoopee in the dictionary?

Yes it is:

a loud, excited shout of happiness:

Whoopee, it's the holidays!

(from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

I would have been happier with the word "Whoppee" than "Annual"

I guess the moral of the story is "Beggars can't be choosers"


Hairy or not.

Over the past 6 years my husband has always kept his hair short, and especially short once it became more noticeable that he would experience the same pattern of baldness as his maternal grandfather.

His losing hair has never worried me in the least and on many occasions, (because P losing hair seems to be quite common topic at family gatherings) I have assured him that I did not choose him nor marry him on the basis of his locks alone (or looks alone for that matter).

Unfortunately I noticed that he had quite a good head full of hair just prior to our having Elliot. When Gabriella was born last year I noted that his hairline appeared to have suffered in the preceding five years. I suggested that it is very likely that Gabriella should finish off this pattern of hair loss entirely within the next five years.

This year P has taken to shaving his hair with clippers and not using a blade, so no number one or two, it's a nothing. Nothing blade leaves a stubble of sorts on his head. When P mentioned to me on Saturday that he would like to shave it completely - I jumped at the chance to be one to remove the remainder of his hair. There is actually also a good medical reason for P to shave his remaining hair as well because he appears to have developed some sort of scalp condition that should be treated with a topical lotion (with some cortisone in it probably) and keeping it very short i.e. none, will mean that no moisture from sweating under a hat will be trapped against his scalp.

So yesterday afternoon, I got out 2 new disposable razors and lots of warm water, a towel and lots of sorbelene cream and had a go myself at making him completely bald. It was fun, I love his freshly shaven face so a freshly shaven head well .......it's a beautiful thing ..to me. We really needed a much better razor blade and if he keeps it up, we may as well invest in a new electric shaver to make it a quick job every day, because there is still enough hair regrowth to make it a monotonous maintenance job day after day after.. you get the picture. I am now the proud partner of a completely bald man.

This morning when he work up I asked him how he felt about his head?

"Do you feel cool or vulnerable or liberated?"

As a person who has mostly had medium to long length hair (there was only a couple of years of short hair) and is likely to always have medium length hair I just can't imagine what it would be like to have masses of bare skin on your head and to choose to remove your hair. I think I would feel all those things particularly liberated and vulnerable because as a woman, hair can become a defining feature. Many people, male and female have had an opinion about my hair over the years, one of them my husband. P does not dictate how I should or should not have my hair cut but he says he prefers my hair to be longer rather than shorter, luckily (for him) he agrees with me.

Some things about Gabriella and me.

10 Things I am looking forward to, when Gabriella is a few years older.

1. P and I taking Elliot and Gabriella to our local curry place on a Friday night
2. Going to the movies with P more often.
3. Having a nap and not having to worry every second where she is and what she is up to.
4. When she learns to kiss with her lips pursed.
5. Letting her play in the bath without fear.
6. All of us sleeping through the night and sleeping in past 6.00am on the weekend.
7. Being able to leave the windows open above the sofa without fear of her falling out of them.
8. Her talking to me about what she likes and does not like.
9. Her not wanting to be picked up when I have to do something like cook or feed the pets
10. No nappies!

10 Things I will miss when she is older
1. That she won’t give me a complementary comforting pat on the back when I have rescued her from the cot after her nap.
2. Her wet and yucky open mouth kisses lavished on us with abandon.
3. How she can lie on me and fit completely my body.
4. Her baby girlish giggling when she is really chuffed about something.
5. Tickling her rolls of chubby thigh.
6. Watching and listening to her speak baby Chinese sounds to the dog.
7. Not being able to pick her up and point out new things like the birds, trees, sky and the plane.
8. Singing twinkle, twinkle little star to her as she holds her hands about her head and twinkles her fingers.
9. Cuddling and playing on my bed before she goes to sleep and when she wakes up.
10. Being the most comforting person in her life.


Waiting to blog

I keep waiting for that time when I will feel refreshed and energised so that I will be able to sit down at the keyboard with a clear mind and focus on what it is I want to write. Instead each night I am more tired than ever and I am beginning to think that I may start feeling energised some time in 2005. Once again I have the energy only this week for some reading and commenting but not quite enough to commit any of my thoughts in greater detail. So despite my feelings of exhaustion, I decided that I had to post sooner rather than later.

Elliot's life occupied alot of my life this week. The rain was the other big feature in my week. By yesterday the clothes I was wearing were even starting to feel damp. Luckily the sun came out today and has removed that constantly damp feeling from my environment.

For the first time in absolutely ages I didn't go to the Farmer's Markets this morning. With all the rain I thought it may not be worthwhile getting up at 5am and taking Gabriella in a pram . As it turned out, by this morning the rain had gone and instead some major humidity came instead. One more Farmer's Markets to go - it will be a twilight one on the Wednesday before Christmas, I am definitely going to go.

I never realised how the last week of school for parent's is really quite intense. I spent time organising his costume for his end of year Christmas song/play. He and I spent one evening making cup cakes and decorating them. I found this site for cup cake decoration inspiration. Elliot and I produced lots of cakes with faces, spiders and flowers. I also spent time renewing his time at outside school hours care putting him in for one day of vacation care and speaking to his teacher about his report and year at school and finding out what year 2 class he goes into next year.

I was very happy with his report and I thought it was very accurate. Where I thought Elliot had strengths and weaknesses the report was in accordance with my perception. I was very pleased that his teacher said that his reading is at a level that most children halfway through Grade 2 would be at. His writing i.e. fine motor skills appear to be going backwards. As I thought too, he doesn't write neatly and in the correct form unless you sit on him for every single letter. If I don't he writes in a laize faire manner - which I think is quite typical for boys. And boy did I end up with a typical boy.

I guess when you are a reader yourself it is gratifying to hear that your child is reading well too. I consider that reading will be his passport to the world and future as it was for me so I hope he will also enjoy and excel at reading.

I also spent some time discussing with my mother whether I am going to send Elliot with her when she returns up North after Christmas. I have reservations about his returning with her and Mason due to the fact that my mother was diagnosed with Meniere's disease several months ago. My mother says it is now under control but I have to wonder whether caring for Elliot and his cousin Mason for a week wouldn't provide her with more stress in her life than she needs.

Because it is so far away (a 2 hour plane ride away)I thought if anything goes wrong and she has any severe attacks I didn't like the thought of my not being able to help.

I informed my mother that I wasn't going to send him and told her to cancel his train ticket up. (Because of the Meniere's my mother can no longer fly). The next day my mother called me on the telephone and says she is not going to cancel his ticket because she feels "half hearted" about it. I was quickly incited by her comment. My mother refusing to cancel the ticket made me feel that I had no say or control over where my son went and that I had little say in his welfare.

I said to my mother that I was the one who is not feeling confident about sending him with her and I was thinking of her health as well. I think it isn't easy if you don't have a debilitating condition to look after two boys 24/7 and keep them from bashing each other and continually squabbling. If she was to have any attacks and she needed to rest, Elliot would have to be cared for by Mason and would most likely be bored and not understand exactly what was going on. My mother insisted she was well enough and would be and that I was wishing this on her. I thought I was being realistic. In the end I said if I thought she was not feeling well enough while visiting with us over Christmas then I would not be sending him with her.

I am lucky that my mother arrives on a the last Saturday before Christmas when we have been invited to 3 lots of Christmas drinks. One is a dress up cocktail party which should be fun plus no kids! I really hope my mother can cope because on the day she arrives we plan to avail ourselves of her services that night.

However, I think it is one thing to be in the next suburb a phone call away and another to be over 2 hours by plane away.

P and I are hoping to even see a movie while she is here we really need a break to do our own thing together.


This is who is keeping me busy this week. Posted by Hello


Saturday evening dinner.

No I am not going to gripe. I really don't like to complain I really enjoyed my last 24 hours out, the company was great but service was decidedly odd . We discussed our experiences after the afternoon tea and decided that maybe people are behaving oddly because it is Christmas and everyone is stressed.

I have one more dining experience to go, Timmy's in Southbank for brunch at 10am with the kids - fingers crossed. I wonder how long we will get to actually sit at the table with Gabriella, naturally we were all invited by friends who don't have children - they will learn one day. I have already been to Timmy's, she makes fabulous coconut crumpets with lemon curd.

Just a quick post about a smoked trout pasta dish I made this evening. I am trying as hard as I can to increase my intake of Omega 3's. So far I have managed 3 fish lunches (2 tuna and 1 salmon) and 2 fish dinners (1 mackeral and 1 smoked trout)!

Tonight I prepared smoked trout and fresh fettucine. A very simple dish with a dressing and smoked trout and fresh baby English spinach.

The whole smoked trout is flaked. A dressing is whisked - half a cup of extra virgin olive oil, one quarter cup of orange juice and one and a half tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon of sugar and sea salt and cracked pepper.

The flaked trout is tossed in half the dressing with some Italian parsley. The pasta is cooked al dente and then drained and tossed in the rest of the dressing. The pasta is then put on a plate topped with baby English spinach and then the trout mixture. That's it. A lovely fish pasta.

I decided not to hyperlink Mecca Bah because I don't recommend them. High Societea does not have a website.

I am thinking seriously of doing a food blog next year maybe as a New Year resolution. I love what Coffee and Kisses and the Red Kitchen do and enjoy commenting on theirs - so I just have to wonder if another one is really adding anything and in fact whether I actually have the time. I guess though I do not have to post as regularly on a food blog as I do on journal type blog.

Report on Timmy's
We had an excellent brunch, even though Southbank was very busy with a cycling event. Gabriella even allowed us to eat our entire breakfast leisurely. P and my friend C had a chicken omelette and rice, my friend J and I had a sweet corn and potato roesti with goats curd, wild rocket and lemon oil. P and I decided to order a brunch we wouldn't make at home so no scrambled eggs, bacon and tomato.

I tried my hardest to convince Elliot to have the coconut crumpets and lemon curd but he insisted on fresh fruit, yoghurt and honey. I decided while eating my roesti to order the crumpets - alas it was too late and they had run out. J and C had ordered their crumpets with their savoury, if only I had insisted Elliot have them! Ahhhh next time.


What happened to the rules?

I have had a few of interesting experiences with dining and going out in the last 24 hours which makes me wonder about the rules as I thought they existed.

Friday night dining and drinking rules

My first experience involved my going to meet the rest of the team I work with on Friday afternoon. A long lunch had been ruled out by our ED so we decided early drinks and dinner were in order and a trip away from the CBD to the newish Mecca Bah near Teneriffe was in order.

I arrived at 4.30pm and 3 other people from my team were already there and were finishing a (their first) beer. When F (the team manager and my friend) arrived we decided to order a bottle of wine between the five of us. On the table already were some dips and turkish bread and with the arrival of F and myself more bread was ordered.

A couple of times the waiter came to take our order and I thought that I had politely indicated that we would order in a while but not straight away. My friends told me that when I told the waiter that - I had been given a look. I said that I was surprised about the look because my intention had only been to save her from coming back every five minutes only to be told that we were not ready yet.

We polished off the dips with the bottle of wine and seeing as it was still only just after 5pm our friend D ordered another bottle of wine. Several minutes after we ordered the wine another waiter came to our table and told us that we were unable to have the wine. My first thought was that they were out of stock. Instead the waiter went on to say that we were not allowed to have the wine because we had not ordered any food and that we were not eating commensurate to the amount we were drinking. At first we all thought he was joking.

We all mentioned that we had only had one glass wine. The waiter also pointed out that a beer had been drunk by 3 others! Shock horror, I glass of wine each and 3 beers and now we wanted a second bottle of wine. Despite our telling the waiter that we were eating but not just right now at 5pm in the afternoon and questioning him as to why he was demanding that we eat right now - he refused to budge claiming that their liquour licence did not allow them to serve us any more wine without food. We asked if were okay to order more picky type of food as none of us wanted to have a main course right then. Even then this wasn't an ideal solution for us as we didn't want to fill up on the picky food and be unable to eat the main course later. He agreed that we could do that and then just as one of us were about to order - he left .

In the past I had known of liquour licences which operate at restaurants that required the patrons to have an intention to dine before they could be served a drink. Strangely enough we had indicated quite clearly that we had an intention to dine just not at 5pm it was going to be 6pm.

His leaving had given us time to decide that we did not feel like being dictated to and decided to leave. Unfortunately this ended up being the flaw in our evening because after that we never did get the opportunity to eat and continued to drink instead so I reached my alcohol saturation point too early at 10.30pm and had to come home.

Reviewing this incident today with several people I had to wonder why the waiter couldn't have reached a compromise with us which for me would have been that we order our main courses to be served to us at 6pm, in the meantime they give us the bottle of wine we ordered.

What happened to the rules when did it become so rigid that food must be purchased and consumed commensurate to a certain amount of alcohol and what is that amount of alcohol and what is the amount of food - is it one course for each person for every bottle of wine? How many pre-dinner drinks are too many? Please tell me are there new rules and if so what are they?

Cab rank rules

As I waited for my cab on the rank sitting on my little perch outside the Queens Arms in Tenerifffe with my friends I just knew there was going to be a hassle over the cabs.

A woman came down from a restaurant on the opposite side of the road and stood several feet down from us on the rank and approximately in the middle of the road. As a cab pulled into the rank to drop off some clients she waved her arms and moved from the road and waited at the side of the cab. I got up to see if she really was going to take the cab and as I approached the cab I said to my friends, "Watch this I know how it will end I will say something about her queue jumping but in the end I will back down."

I leaned over to the cab as I stood beside the woman and asked the driver if he was free. As I did the woman said, "This is my cab I waved him down." I said, " But this is a cab rank and I was first in line." She replied "But I booked a cab." "But not this one,"I replied.

She then jumped into the back of a cab. A male bystander observing then said, "Hey she is being a bitch." At which point I decided to support him and say to the woman as the door was closing, "Yes your being a bitch!" By this stage my friends and I were in fits of laughter the fun for us was in actually saying something anything it didn't have to involve swearing I loathe confrontation and would always have inevitably backed down.

I always knew the rules for vying for a cab on a Friday night were tenuous I was hoping the cab rank queue rules would provide some order but alas not.

Saturday - High Societea

My third experience involved having high tea in Clayfield a very much touted "layyydies who lunch" type experience where some of the layyyyydies even wore hats and being girly is de rigour.

I was meeting some friends because one of them is due to have a baby in January and we wanted to catch up with her before then. High Societea have several seatings in two hour sessions. Our appointment was 11.30am to 1.30pm. We were provided with a tea menu and the food comes on 3 tiered plate stands. We were given a glass of refreshing pims first. The tea is leaf (of course) served in beautiful china cups. Coffee is also permitted.

Several of us decided to order coffee after we had our tea. Our coffees arrived and we asked for clean cups again we were given a look. Is it really a lookable offence that we desired new cups because our old tea cups had cold tea and leaves in them. Is this another rule that has changed?

As 1.30pm approached the place started to empty out. Around 1.20pm a waiter approached our table and loudly suggested we vacate the table and she promptly moved on. We waited for our bill and waited and waited, till finally we asked the waiter how they wanted us to pay do we go up to the cashier. "Oh" she says "I will get you the bill" Now if your tea house has 2 hour sessions why wouldn't you instead of loudly announcing that you should leave, just discreetly leave the bill on the table. I thought the rules were bring the bill to the table if you want the people to leave - has that one changed too?


Woo Hoo

Finally updated my blog roll and its almost alphamabeticised! I actually read a few more than this list indicates - I just tire easily of the technological effort.
When I have a spare hour I will fix up the anomaly and add a few more.


My baby is growing up way too fast. Posted by Hello

This is a multi-cultural family picture - Elliot and Gabriella are part Malaysian, their cousin Louis is half Japanese and their cousin Theo's father is Canadian. (Sorry Elliot for the non-flattering picture but hey 99% of them are great!)

On Sunday afternoon we went to P's sister's place and had dinner with them for one final time this year before they go to Toronto for Christmas. I couldn't believe how independant Gabriella has become - she was hardly with me or P all afternoon she spent the whole time walking around doing her own thing and even sat with the big boys when it came time for dinner. She is so grown up? independant?

All I know is that she is clearly not dependant on me to make her feel secure or to entertain her when we are out, she makes her own way in the world. Its quite bizzare I am sure Elliot never walked more than 3 steps away from my skirts at 13 months of age.

Christmas countdown Posted by Hello

Elliot and I finally managed to put the christmas tree up yesterday. It was always my plan to have it done on December the 1st, it might have happened earlier if Elliot's harping had made any inroads. Though his cajoling did manage to make P move the unassembled tree and decorations upstairs last Sunday.

I tried to get to it Monday and Tuesday but by the time I got home and fed the pets, fed Gabriella and started dinner and watered the plants and then went back out to pick up P (who is doing late evenings this week) I was much too tired. Plus we spent Monday and Tuesday evenings assisting Elliot with completing his 30+ christmas cards for his class mates.

I decided several years ago not to get a fresh tree. After tree shopping in Toronto I can't bring myself to find a tree of equivalent quality in Australia plus I really don't want a tree to die for the sake of decoration. Instead I bought a lovely bushy tree that passes for a Canadian Christmas tree and every year since I have taken great care in packing the tree and the decorations away.

As Elliot has become older each year I have noticed that he has become more interested in the decorations I have collected and it was fun last night for him to look at them one year later and remember which ones are old and to give him the new ones to put on the tree first.

I feel like I am doing the right thing now - my attempts over the years at trying to create some family traditions of our own, not my mother's or P's parents - ones that are P's and mine for our children - I think it has started with something as small as the christmas tree decorations but we will have time to build on it.

If only I could get P to stick with smoked salmon scrambled eggs and imported champagne for Christmas breakfast every year!

Oh Christmas tree  Posted by Hello

Oh Christmas tree Posted by Hello

Christmas Cheer?

Why is it I get to this time of the year and I feel anything but festive. Maybe because as much as I love Christmas I also think it is too much damn hard work. Buying presents, food and alcohol, the parties, the people and the work. There are office christmas parties, team drinks, team lunches, drinks with ex-teams, lunch catchups with previous work colleagues, drinks with neighbours, family and friends. And I don't feel like doing most of it - not one bit.

My mother wouldn't let us Secret Santa our way out of things this year again - I have to find time to buy dozens of presents instead of one. Why Why Why!When your retired its easy to make you way to the shop for a spot of christmas shopping not me I will be battling the crowds during the frenzied last hours before the big day.

I don't even like the thought of committing to the office work party which is one month off. Is it because of the baby? Going out means organising her and Elliot of course. Finding minders is just one more thing to do - if not that then P stays home. While I tend to believe that partners do not have to attend the other partner's office party, sometimes I would like him to come so I don't actually have to put myself out and socialise. I prefer not to go to P's work party - I feel like I am keeping him from enjoying himself. For his Christmas work parties in the past I have turned up for a drink and left him to his own devices, though with the children this year even that is unlikely to happen.

In my defence I think I am better at spontaneous social occassions. I tend to find with the work ones there is too much anticipation that everyone is really going to enjoy themselves. In the end it is just another night on the town when you get to the point when you want to go home you have to stand in taxi queue with 100's of drunken revellers and wait another two hours before you do get home. Maybe I should drive instead - though I know I would enjoy some of the people at work better if I drink. Nothing worse than if everyone else is drinking and I am observing from a sober perspective.

So I have to make a decision about the work Christmas party by the end of the week. At this stage Gabriella is my best excuse for opting out and everyone doesn't have to know the truth - I don't want to ruin everyone else's fun just because I don't feel like it. I know if people were to think that I don't want to socialise with them I am sure to be treated like some kind of social pariah.

Hmmmm lucky there are only 3 weekends before Christmas.

P.S I decided to go to the office Christmas party - if nothing else I would like to find out who it is who will do the most inappropriate thing on the night.