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  1. And a Pinch to Grow an Inch

    I was okay with “30”, but “31” sounds so old.

    Yesterday was lovely. Perfect weather. Wonderful husband to wait on me. Spoke to the fam having their Christmas Eve celebration. Got to catch up with Tash. Texts and emails from all over the globe — our friend is somewhere between Paris & London on holiday and bothered to send a message. Had our champers with wild hibiscus flowers. Played Call of Duty 4 with Dan & Lis all evening. Good day! I am very spoiled.

    Succumbing to Commercialism
    I know Christmas is absolutely not all about the presents… but… my favourites were a gift certificate to get a couple of our wedding photos (particularly this one and this one) printed on canvas. Yeah, that brought me to tears. And then for my birthday I got a mirror for my hallway, some flower pots and the Time Team Dvds.

    What did you get?

    ** Celebrate with Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup from Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  2. On the Third Day of Christmas [Holidays]…

    Well today things are better… mostly. Yesterday I woke up with a 24-hour flu bug or something, but it wasn’t pretty. I was finally able to sit upright and had some mashed potatoes around 5:00.

    So today the house isn’t immaculate and the motivation to cook a feast is barely there, but I don’t even care anymore. Hubby was starting to feel a little blergy this morning, so I think the goal is just to stay well and not worry about the rest.

    Decorative Ideas
    For next year from Sunset Magazine:
    Decorate with Winter Greens
    Fragrant Fir Snowflakes
    Festive Berries
    Tabletop Floral Trees

    ** You can subscribe to Sunset Magazine at Amazon.

    Posted in Creative, Inspired, Nothing in Particular.

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  3. Lots of tears today.
    I wish we were in America.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  4. Christmas Tags

    I got tagged by Tommy. He tags me now and then, and while I always have the best of intentions, I seem to be pretty slack about following through on the actually posting. Be sure to read his answers — but wait until after you’ve read mine, because he’s funnier than I am.

    1) Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
    2) Share Christmas facts about yourself.
    3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
    4) Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

    1. Wrapping or gift bags? Wrapping. I love making pretty packages. (I just remembered one year the college group from church was having a Christmas party, and everyone was meant to bring a white elephant gift that was less than $5 or something like that. I took great care in wrapping mine — a mixture of a couple of different natural papers, raffia and hemp ribbons, the works. It looked good and was the first one picked and was fought over. The final present stealer opened it only to find a can of spam. Loved it!)

    2. Real or artificial tree? I don’t even think that real trees are an option here. I have never seen them advertised. I think some people might have an evergreen in a pot (but really, aren’t all trees here “ever green”?) that they might bring inside. I have my baby bunya that I haven’t killed yet, but it’s not strong enough to hold decorations, so I put a few baubles around the base.

    But yeah, we also have the artificial tree, as seen here as I can’t be bothered to repost.

    3. When do you put up the tree? Tradition dictates the day after Thanksgiving, but neither of those days were holidays here. I didn’t really have myself organized or in the mood to do it that weekend. Might have been a smidge depressed about being half a world away from my family. I think we finally got the tree up on the 1st.

    4. When do you take the tree down? Whenever we can get up the energy to do so, but definitely before the end of January.

    5. Do you like eggnog? I can’t remember the last time I had eggnog. I feel like I remember my dad making it when I was a child, but I have no real recollection of the taste nor consistency.

    6. Favorite gift received as a child? My doll Amy

    7. Do you have a nativity scene? We don’t have any spare surface area at the moment. My mom still puts out the one that my sister made in Bible school ages ago. I think that’s cute.

    8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? It must have been the Christmas that I turned four. My grandparents gave me a set of firetrucks. Firetrucks! Granted my grandfather and dad are both firemen, but the reasoning was because they thought we needed some boyish toys in the house. A month and a bit later my brother came along. I blame him.

    9. Mail or email Christmas cards? Ugh. I think I’m going to do a New-Year’s letter instead. And it will most likely be emailed unless I pare my list down quite a bit with postage being $1.30/per for a card that people are going to throw away in a week anyway.

    Though I must say, we have gotten probably six or seven Christmas letters/pictures from friends and family this year — all from America. It’s just not something they do here.

    10. Favorite Christmas movie? Probably A Christmas Story. I’m going to miss TBS’s marathon. Oh, and I’ve never seen It’s a Wonderful Life nor Miracle on 34th Street, so maybe I just don’t know what the cinematic world has to offer in terms of Christmas movies.

    11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I did really well this year. We got my parents’ presents in Sydney last month. Everything was in the mail to America by the 5th, I think. I was finished with Hubby by the 8th.

    12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My mom’s peanut brittle.

    13. Clear lights or colored? Clear. (Except I got a string of snowflake-shaped lights that turned out to have blue lights in them… what the?)

    14. Favorite Christmas song? “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

    15. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? Stay here… *sniff*

    16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Were there nine? If so, yes.

    17. Angel or star on the top of your tree? I had a leftover silver bow that ended up getting chucked up there. I think my homemade fascinator from Melbourne Cup Day has also made it to the tree.

    18. Open your presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Christmas Eve. Christmas morning we’re opening my birthday presents.

    19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? That there is no

    20. What do you leave for Santa? Nothing. My parents never tried to perpetuate that myth.

    21. Least favorite holiday song? “Santa Baby”… eww, eww, eww.

    22. Do you decorate your tree with any specific theme or color? At the moment it’s purple, lime green, & silver.

    23. Favorite ornament? All of them. Hubby bought the tree and the baubles as part of my getting-engaged scavenger hunt. I had just returned from New Zealand and found the tree upstairs waiting for me… and later I found him in the park waiting for me with a ring.

    As for tagging others… nobody ever does it… so if you want to do it, please leave me a comment so I can go read your answers!

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  5. More Christmas Whinging

    It’s the heat. Christmas is not supposed to be hot. “Christmas in July” is a cute little way to rouse up sales in American summer, but seriously think about moving all your Christmas traditions to the hottest time of the year.

    What I have always loved about the holidays is the coziness of it all. Curling up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket watching movies with Dad. Spending all day in the kitchen cooking with Mom and sipping apple cider when there is a break. Watching the snow fall around the street lights, and maybe tossing a handful at a sibling.

    Now I’m trying to figure out how to keep my chocolate from melting. The last thing I want to do is turn on the oven for any reason to contribute to the heat. Even candles add to the sizzle. (But I’m going to be burning my pine-smelling candle anyway.)

    All this to say that I decided if I can’t be IN the cold, at least I can make it LOOK like I am. It started when I found the little stuffed snowman that Chris & Marj gave me during my first Christmas season here when I lived with them.

    Then I saw these:
    ♥ Yarn snowballs… cutest photo foundhere. (She also made the cutest bag out of an old suit jacket, and I’m totally stealing that idea.)
    ♥ Here is a different take on that idea here with yarn ornaments. Not nearly as cute, but I like the idea of hanging them too. (Will have to check out the rest of that Simply Green site for lots of reuse/recycle ideas.)
    ♥ We’ve all made paper snowflakes before, but I’ve never seen any like these. I might have a play with some of my scrapbooking paper this afternoon and try those.

    Without a Michael’s or Hobby Lobby within a gazillion miles (*sigh*), I had to run to the cheapie shop up the street where I did find styrofoam balls and then raided MIL’s yarn stash. The fuzziest white I could find was of the “feather” variety, which is apparently the bane of knitters everywhere. But it worked out sufficiently for this year.

    (Hastily snapped photo this morning.)

    The final display isn’t done. Made a couple non-trad coloured snowballs to match the baubles on the tree, but they may go. Had a long string of giant faux-pearls, but they look more like hailstones. 🙂

    Posted in Crafting, Creative, Inspired.

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  6. December 18

    ♥ Four years ago my nephew was born.
    ♥ Three years ago my brother and two friends survived a car accident; their friend Kayla did not.
    ♥ Last year we were flying to America.
    ♥ This year we are suffering from WiiWrist after having played Super Mario Galaxy every spare minute of the past three days.

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  7. News Disservice

    The local paper has a tendency to print first, ask questions later, and here’s another example of their reporting. Take this headline: Hitler’s love child alive and well. Then read the story they are referencing here. The story suggests there MAY have been a lovechild who was adopted, but the child hasn’t been identified and thus can’t be proven to live in England or even be alive at all. They do this all the time, and it drives me crazy.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  8. ‘Tis the Season

    We’re in the throes of trying to finish up work so we can focus completely on our two-week holiday. Most of what I want to write about will have to wait, as it involves me getting the Wife of the Year award for Birthday/Christmas presents yet to be opened.

    If you’re done Elfing Yourself, you can Santa Me too.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  9. Peri-Peri Po Peri

    Oh my goodness, I just received the best news. They are building a Nando’s just mere paces from our office. I have only been there three times, I think, but I love it so. It serves as a bit of a Mexican flavour stand-in for me.

    Then last week, we discovered that Coles carries the sauces, so we have been sampling them. The first one we tried was medium heat, and let me tell you, we are not sure we’ll ever be able to try the hot one we bought. The medium one left us sweating and reaching for the milk.

    I saw that they listed USA on the countries for finding the local Nando’s website, but in looking at the American site, it doesn’t look like there are any restaurants anywhere.

    ** Check out the Nando’s sauces available at Amazon.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  10. Hot Hot Heat

    It has become quite dreadful here. Last night all the covers got pushed between us like a third person in the bed. There was much tossing and turning before I broke down and turned on the air conditioner. I really, really hate this weather.

    ** Maybe someone wants to get me one of those awesome Dyson bladeless fans from Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  11. Warhol is Here

    We’re trying to come up with a few ideas to get us out of the house over our two-week holiday. One possibility is going to the GOMA for the Warhol exhibition. It just happens that Hans and I went to a Warhol exhibit at the Parthenon five years ago when we both lived in Nashville. However, the one here seems to be more expansive.

    I also really want to go to the Museum of Brisbane to see this exhibit. A good friend of ours produced and directed the piece, and Hans did the graphics. From what I’ve heard, it is an extraordinary albeit uncomfortable story.

    ** Check out the Andy Warhol store at Amazon.

    Posted in Creative, Inspired.

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  12. Now with 0% Hotness!

    Your Score: Saffron
    You scored 75% intoxication, 0% hotness, 100% complexity, and 25% craziness!

    You are Saffron!

    Those other spices have nothing on you! You’re warm, smart, and you make people feel really good (and with no side-effects!). You can be difficult to get to know and require a lot of those who try, but you’re so totally worth it. *Sigh*

    Link: The Which Spice Are You Test

    Project of the Day
    We are trying to finish a little video for a little certain something that only one of you will know about. But dang, we should have just done it straight. Instead we had a shot list, a soundtrack, color grading, and Hans is just now putting the finishing touches on the audio effects. And that was just for one impersonation. I think the other four aspects of the project are going to be dull and boring in comparison.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  13. New Obsession

    Last night we got together with some friends for dinner and had such a lovely time. So lovely, in fact, that we looked at the clock with disbelief at about 12:45 and thought we ought to head for home. Good food, great conversation, three baby kitties. And shoes.

    Fiona was telling us about the shoes that she bought recently, and I am now in love with a shoe designer named John. John Fluevog. Do any of you girls know him? Do you not love him too? Oh my gosh.

    I tried on her Lily Darlings (red & pink, size 7.5, from the only distributer in Australia), and melted into a gooey heap on the ground. Oh. My. Goodness. LOVE THEM!

    Lily Darling shoes by John Fluevog

    In some ways, they are almost cartoonish, but I think that’s why I’m so attracted to them. I know Manda will hate them — even though she has a serious need for new shoes. But maybe Brandy or Allison or Erin or Tash can back me up on this new revelation.

    Posted in Inspired.

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  14. Wicked!

    We saw on some news show the other night that Wicked is casting in Australia as we speak. Eeeeeeeee! Guess we’re just going to have to take a trip to Melbourne. 🙂

    ** Check out the Wicked store at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  15. Christmas is Coming; the Goose is Getting Fat

    We had the day off today and spent the majority of it at the mall doing the last bits of our Christmas shopping for each other. It was coordinated through a series of phonecalls to get each other’s current location, which we then pinpointed on the schematics we uploaded to our PDAs. (Not really.) It went without a hitch, and since we upped the budget we were allowed to spend on each other, I was able to get what I really wanted to get him. You’ll just have to dwell on that until after Christmas.

    I just really hate shopping, so I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Thankfully it didn’t feel quite like American malls between Thanksgiving and Christmas where you can hardly breathe due to the claustrophobia-inducing conditions. Maybe we’re early enough to not have to worry about that.

    I also sent off my parcels to America, so hopefully that all makes it there in time.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  16. Pearly Whites

    Apparently Queenslanders will be drinking fluoridated water soon. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a bit more about that. *rolls eyes* Maybe they’ll introduce daylight savings at the same time and really make people go into self-destruct.

    ** Look into Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Systems at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  17. Decking the Halls

    We decked the halls literally with boughs of holly this year.

    I used pipe cleaners and red jingle bells to make the berries.

    We got the holly branches and some pine branches at the markets. Why are all the “Christmas-y” plants the ones that can poke and jab you to death? I should have dug out my gardening gloves!

    The inspiration to actually put up the tree and get into the holiday spirit was two boxes that arrived in the mail from America chockablock with pressies. (Australian for “full of presents”.)

    Family picture…

    And since I’m posting photos, this is the one that was in the paper the other day. Page 2.

    Culture Shocked & Homesick
    I had a really weepy Saturday. We were at the markets, and a mentally handicapped young man, maybe 22 or 23 years old, sat down at our table with us. He gingerly held his basketball and bottle of orange soda. Just the way that he acted made the tears well up as it reminded me so much of when my brother was coming out of his coma almost three years ago.

    And then there was getting ready for Christmas knowing that I’ll be here and my family will be there and that is that. I don’t see how it will ever feel normal, at this point… but maybe it takes a few years. This is only my second since we went back last year.

    Saturday night Hans ordered pizza so we wouldn’t have to cook, and we curled up on the couch to watch Glory. It was a perfectly good excuse to have a little cry.

    Posted in Creative, Nothing in Particular, Photographing.

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