??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


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If Murphy had written 5 Laws of Plane Travel…

I’m sure these would be them !

1. The trip to the train station always takes a shorter time than usual.
As an unorganised person who often always runs late , when traveling to the airport I make sure I’m on time. This means carefully planning of road travel times, and train timetables. Invariably I overcompensate and end up on the earlier train than I expected to. The train I expected to catch is always the one before I need to be on ‘just in case’. Consequently I spend a lot of extra time in the airport. This time I excelled even my better best, we arrived half an hour before the 2 hour check in time ( which in domestic travel is a very long time ).

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2. The plane is always held up by those who don’t understand the concept that carry on luggage is ‘carry on’ not ‘need a forklift’.
I’ve luckily had a good track record for flights departing on time despite the efforts of these people. A rarely enforced rule always takes these people by surprise. One today had a knapsack, large Christmas style gift bag, and a guitar! I’m guessing they thought they might be doing a Flying High type sing song , or a plane choir rendition of Kumbaya 🙂 And, so the motionless boarding line begins as these passengers attempt to squeeze all this into the little unforgiving metal guide . My suggestion is carry on luggage should be in regulated disposable carry on bags provided at check in by the airline. Besides you can always get creative by wearing the extra bits as accessories an extra coat or two. Ok, I’ve not yet got my creative brain working out the guitar smuggle but maybe a reader has an idea on that for me.

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3. The one seat kicker child will be behind you and the one that needs to recline their chair on the 2 hr 30 min flight will be in front of you.
The recline usually happens just as you put your tray down and place the water cup on the tray. The kicking starts from the boarding moment . Some would add the screaming child to this list but let’s face it, kids scream cause they don’t understand and can’t express themselves. I’m a parent , I get that it’s not always easy to stop that but if a child is old enough to have feet that reach the next chair they are old enough to be taught the rules of sociable plane travel.

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4. If you get a window seat you invariable need to go to the bathroom and if you are on the aisle seat you don’t but the window seated one definitely will.
As a window sitter I got a great chance to use my well known phrase ” Sorty, excuse me” . Oh and this leads do to law number 5.

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5. When you get up from your seat and settle back into the middle seat after having told your spouse to take the window seat, the number 3 law people also change to the middle seat.

Karma for me interrupting the aisle sitter perhaps ?? Ha Ha

I’m sure you all have some other laws I have overlooked, to add to my list…or a creative way to get that guitar on as carry on luggage with an extra 2 bags. Leave me some of your best here 🙂


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Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Christmas Day for me was very joyful.

I was the only one up from 6:45 am until about 8:45am. I used this time to get things ready for breakfast and lunch. When everyone was up we sat in the forbidden room to exchange gifts. We all write lists of gifts we would like before Christmas then we all choose from them. I always like to add a few ‘surprises’ not on the lists to the gifts. The animals got gifts too. Sheldon got a Santa sack full of doggy goodies while Blacky got a new Christmas outfit.

imageBlacky in her outfit

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Sheldon thrashing a duck toy

Then we moved to the dining room for our traditional breakfast , pancakes within strawberries and blueberries with lashings of butter and soaked in maple syrup and an assortment of juices. This year we added bacon to the menu and I took time to make an effort on setting the table.

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The kitchen bench was laid out with a variety of cheeses, pastes, cracker biscuits, nuts ( from the Christmas Eve mad dash) and lollies. Our guests were just three – my kid’s girlfriend and boyfriend and my brother in law. My BIL brought us a lot of interesting cheeses. Already full we squashed more food in for lunch.

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The kids went with their gf and bf to visit their families and my husband and brother went to visit their dad in hospital at around 3:30 pm leaving me in a quiet room that had been filled with laughter and talking. The place seemed empty but I enjoyed the solitude , a chance to read then have a little nap until my husband returned home 4 hours later.

We watched four holidays and then our home filled with laughter and talk again as my son and his gf and her parents and siblings popped by. This us the spirit of Christmas to me, lots of talking, laughter and love.

We awoke to Boxing Day. Again I was up hours before everyone and created my traditional ham cheese and tomato toasted sandwich washed down with coffee with cream. I love leftovers! I was reading about why we have Boxing Day and found there was no real reason given consistently . However it’s St Stephen’s Day in Ireland and apparently their tradition is that people dress up in old clothes, wear straw hats and travel from door to door with fake wrens (previously real wrens were killed) and they dance, sing and play music. This tradition is less common than it was a couple of generations ago apparently ( one can only ponder why hahaha).

I’m exhausted from all the preparation and the constant full tummy from eating. It’s time girl me to go to bed and read for a whole ( if my eyes will stay open).

How were your celebrations?


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Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve
And what have I done?
I’ve shopped for the groceries
I had lots of fun.

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I started real early
I queued for seafood
I filled up two trolleys
Was in a good mood.

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Then  I had breakfast
With my helping son
We ate eggs and bacon
Our work was all done!

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And then time for cleaning,
I vaccuumed and scrubbed,
I sparkled the windows,
I gumptioned the tub!

Out came the presents,
The paper and cards,
The scissors and tinsel,
Finding the tape end was hard.

 

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Gift wrapped they looked special

Adorning the tree

They add to the magic

Of all we can see!

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I thought I had finished

But as the shops almost shut

Again I was shopping
Buying more dips and nuts!!!

Lucky this year I broke with tradition and started gift shopping yesterday!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas !


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Thankful for the small things

My thankful is a simple one today. I am thankful that from tomorrow afternoon I am on holidays. I’m looking forward to having ‘me’ time.

My first week will be busy as I plan for Christmas. I have food and drink shopping to do and Christmas presents. I have scheduled a hair dressing appointment in the middle of the day prior the Christmas Eve so I will look all glam for Christmas and the New Year. I have the house work to do . A fully cleaned house at the start of a holiday always is a fresh start to the break.
Then, it’s all relaxation and hopefully lots of writing time. I also have a lot of ebooks to read and blogs to explore. I am thankful to have so much lazy time .

Oh and with tomorrow’s forecast for 40C I am especially thankful that I finally put air conditioning through my house at the beginning of the year .


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Ghost of Christmas past

Looking back to Christmas seen through the eyes of younger me…

Putting up the tree. The tree was old and made of foil and the most beautiful thing to me was a set of glass birds that were secured to the branches by clips that were attached to their feet. Their tails were fine filament ( some type of plastic I suppose) and although we weren’t to play with them I can remember ‘patting’ them on the tree. It stood in the corner of the lounge room and was the first thing you would see as you entered the room.bird

 

Christmas cards draped on strings covering the curtains. We never put them through the venetian blind slats as my mum didn’t like the way the blank sides looked from outside. There were so many they draped windows in the lounge room and were pinned to the windows of the dining room.

Christmas bush in vases. My grandfather brought this to us and it really was a ‘brown paper package tied up with string’ although it wasn’t entirely wrapped of course. I think we may have had a bush too but it. Was the bunches laying on the dining table ( we called it the kitchen table) that I loved. Small red petals of the delicate flowers left behind when the vases were arranged would be sprinkled on the table and floor along with the greenish leaves, before being swept away and the place once more tidy.

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Fake poinsettia flowers. Mum had a bunch that she would ceremoniously place on the stereo. Dad would ‘unceremoniously dump’ them on the floor so he could use the stereo.

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Cherries. They were large and plump and stained our fingers with their rich purple juice. They sat in an aluminium colander in the fridge and if there were no guests we could set them straight from the colander.

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Watermelon. On the hot summer nights leading up to christmas we would sit on our front porch eating it and spitting the seeds. My grandfather frequently brought them for us. They were long unlike the round ones we have now. They were deep red with large black seeds speckled through. I loved the colour contrasts in this fruit. We weren’t allowed to eat near the white as my mum was convinced a poison was contained in it and to eat the white would make us ill. Not sure where that information came to her from.

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Listening to Christmas carols and stories on LP records and reel to reel tapes. Funny the things you remember. I remember a story Small One particularly the  part of story where the donkey was being taken by his master to the tanners before Joseph took him. The storyteller spoke of the hooves tapping out the rhythm of the donkey’s hooves ‘Going to the tanners, going to the tanners’. I can remember tapping it out in my head. Then we had the story of The Happy Prince (Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince,’will you not stay with me for one night, and be my messenger?” ) and  the Match Girl ( I can still remember the line “it was so dark , she couldn’t even see her fingers” in the voice as it was spoken). I tried lots of places in our home in an attempt to replicate this so I could feel how she felt. It was near impossible living in a house in the suburbs with big street lights set night. I still think about this when we have had street lights broken and it is in the dark of night. And, of course, we had records of  Bing Crosby singing.

We also left out gifts of cash ‘for a drink’ for those that delivered things such as the baker, milkman, soft drinks ( yes these were delivered!!) and of course for the garbage collectors. I don’t know how my mum managed that one though. I know she left the others in the places where the deliveries were made but to this day I don’t know if she got up and ran outside when the truck rumbled past around 3 am or if she tied an envelope to the garbage bin lid… mystery that maybe my sisters can answer perhaps.

Fairy light night. We weren’t ones to go out much at night but each year we would go to a local shopping centre where Santa arrived and gave lollies to the children. This Santa fellow is up there with clowns for me. This was the one time I was pleased my sisters would push mad into the middle seat of the car!

On Christmas Eve we left out homemade fruit cake for Santa. This was a traumatic night for me as the thought of a stranger walking in my home while I was asleep was frightening. I don’t think I ever got much sleep on this night as every noise or creak would have me in fear this man wax going to pop into my room. I liked the presents but not the courier haha.

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Christmas Day with relatives. Our day was split in half . In the morning we would go for lunch at my maternal grandparents. We were the only grandchildren and Santa left more gifts here for us. My mum cooked all the food as my nanna was where I inherited my cooking genes from . Then in the afternoon we would head to our paternal nanna’s house for another feast. The best plum pudding was served here. We had lots of cousins here so it was fun catching up. We never took our new toys incase they got broken and all I thought of all day was getting home to play with them.

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Then it was home to catch up on the sleep I missed due to dreams haunted by that Jolly Red Fellow.

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What are your early Christmas memories?

PS  Read here for The Ghost of Christmas Present

NB photos aren’t mine so  contain links to their site embedded in the photo.


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Thanks to Suz :)

Seems in the blogging world there are many chances to support other bloggers by showing appreciation of their content. Suz of It Goes On blog has nominated me for the Dragons Loyalty award.

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It was an unknown one to me , but I particularly liked her approach in awarding it to those she says visit regularly and add to her day. I’m honoured to have been chosen. I enjoy reading her down to earth blog. It was one if the earliest I read when I started blogging. I absolutely love the interaction when comments I make are acknowledged on a blog and she does just that. To me that’s the difference between just reading a book and getting to know the author and understand more of their perspective give on life.

So, I have to tell 7 facts about myself and then nominate 7 blogs for the award.

Here’s some lesser known facts about me.

1 Despite my intense fear of clowns I love going to the circus. I believe I have mastered the required amount of eye contact with them to discourage them from interacting with me. Having said that I always have sweaty palms when they are in the circus ring of wandering around ( the scariest time!!)

2 I love to sing-a-long loudly with the radio or CDs when in the car. If I’m a passenger I even get the opportunity to be animated in my actions .

3 I can never imagine myself having short hair. The thought scares me. I think this is because as a child I often had it fairly short.

4 I can’t remember the last time I had no nail polish on my finger and toe nails. Oh yes I can! It was the day I had my daughter (she’s 22 ) as it was compulsory in surgery. I was lucky when I had my son, there was no time for nurses to remove it .

5 I love watching TV shows like Dance Moms, Four Weddings, Wife Swap and Honey Boo Boo Child.

6 I believe ‘ghosts’ exist ( though I’m not really sure what they are exactly) and I’m convinced I have experienced them up close and personal….I have stories to stand your hair on end.

7 Despite having completed what was known as Home a Science ( or cooking ) to Year 12, completing it with an excellent grade, I LOATHE cooking and I burn a lot of things because I get sidetracked while I’m waiting for things to cook. I think I loathe it because it requires single tasking and I don’t do that well.

I’m nominating seven of my readers for this award that I have got to know through interacting with them both on my blog  and their’s.

http://speculationsimpressed.wordpress.com

http://5minutesmoreplease.wordpress.com

http://www.aparentinglife.com

http://pattisjarrett.wordpress.com

http://www.pinkbutterflies-blog.com

http://30daysofsmiles.blogspot.com.au

http://parttimemonster.wordpress.com

Now I’m off to let these people know of my having given them this award.


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Oh Christmas Tree , Oh Christmas Tree

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my home …finally . However, this is is a HUGE variation from our norm.

Last year as per usual we had our traditional tree in the forbidden room. It is festooned with multiple coloured lights , gold and red baubles, matching bows, tinsel and the tinsel thread they call icicles. Least it did have icicles until the cat decided she liked the taste of them.

Enjoying tasty tinsel icicles.

Enjoying tasty tinsel icicles.

This year Sheldon the dog is into everything new . I have visions of returning home after work, to a broken tree, shattered baubles, chewed branches and a sick puppy so we have changed our decorating style somewhat this year. Last year he still had a healthy respect for the world.

Watching the Christmas tree 2012

Watching the Christmas tree 2012

So anticipating the worst, I’ve made some adaptions.

We purchased a new tree for our forbidden room this Christmas. It’s small enough to stand on the dining table and is decorated with gold and silver baubles. Usually we have a battery operated train that runs around on a track beneath the big Christmas tree. This year I bought a small train with carriages being the words HO HO HO. This one keeps a count of the days left until Christmas. It goes nowhere.

We also usually light up our house Griswold style. Our claim to fame is one year we actually won a prize of a large gift voucher to a Christmas light warehouse, coming 2nd in a local radio ‘Best Lights ‘ competition. Apparently a neighbour nominated us. But this year, with my FIL having an accident, my husband hasn’t the time now, to climb the roof to smother adorn it with lights.

Determined not to be totally light- free and not wanting to have inviting ‘Gnaw on me please’ cords at animal level, I found some battery operated lights. I have I draped them on the little tree and a few on our windows…a poor display but better than nothing in my opinion.

 

 

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Least packing it all up in January is going to be an easy job .

How do you decorate your home at Christmas?


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Modus Operandi

I love Christmas. It’s a time of family for me, a time to be together, laugh and eat excessively. I love the Christmas lights at night, the house being dressed up, singing Christmas Carols and the excitement and magic this all creates.

I was reading a blog I follow Part Time Monster and the post was about shopping efficiently at Christmas with some great ideas. It got me thinking about the way Christmas preparation has changed over the years for me.

                     So, just how do I prepare to create Christmas?

I’m a Christmas Eve girl. I love nothing more than battling the stores, smiling and greeting those other shoppers (many wearing a grimace) as they pass by me.

When my kids were younger I had to help Santa out in the toy department. As we never start Christmas organisation until December (due to my son’s November birthday) the first few days of December were a mad rush to fill the Santa List. I would scour the stores after work and on the first weekends of December and always found what was needed, even if it meant driving from shopping centre to shopping centres.

 One year stands in my mind as I hunted down Bratz doll heads. My daughter wanted Yasmin ( the princess of Bratzs)  but as a popular gift, I was having trouble finding it. I found Chloe first (blonde head) and decided a Bratz head in the wardrobe was worth two in a store and so purchased it and popped it up in the wardrobe (I’d return it for a refund if I found Yasmin). Hit the stores again still searching for Yasmin but found Sascha ( dark brown hair). Bought her and popped her up on the top wardrobe shelf. Again I trudged the eternal Yasmin search and found Jade ( black hair) – yes by now my wardrobe was an eerie place to walk into! This was when I began phoning frantically, finding Yasmin in a store far away. Hit the road purchased her with great delight (stashed her on arrival home in the wardrobe) and began the ‘returning of the Bratz Head’ pilgrimage.

Yasmin Bratz Head          yasmin                                            

                   ( You can imagine the creepy wardrobe loaded with these )

 Fortunately for me, Santa never visited again, so precision in gift choice was replaced with gifts purchased from a very long list. When Santa gave the gifts the children were very specific with their wants. Let’s face it, this man was magical so how could he not find a Yasmin or a Star Wars toy or a Thunderbird Island or a Barbie car.

And so my Christmas Eve food AND gift extravaganza was born. I only do a cold Christmas fare and so doing it on Christmas Eve seemed logical (it’s a true shopaholic’s delight in my opinion). Christmas Eve tradition started at literal crack of dawn. Our local Woolworths opened then and so I would push one trolley around and my kids would push another, loading them with all delights from seafood to ham to salads and treats. After that, with the cold food in eskies, we would have a quick breakfast at Maccas and then head home to organise the food into cupboards and fridges. I’d trek back to the stores then (this is still before 9 am so parking wasn’t an issue ) alone to purchase gifts. I lie a little about doing it all on Christmas Eve because sometimes I would purchase my children’s main gifts the day before. But, it was Christmas Eve for everyone else.

Picture 799Lunch Feast

I still do it all Christmas Eve and I must admit I love the excitement – I always work best with a close deadline. My daughter gave up the food pilgrimage two years after Santa stopped visiting, in preference for extra sleep. My son and I still do the run, but the Maccas breakfast is replaced with a nice café one and then he drives off to work and I head home to unpack it.

Then in the evening I sit wrapping gifts before the whole family gather to watch Griswold’s Christmas Vacation. We are ‘Griswold’ in our own rights. 

P1010091 (2) These are my pets dressed up for Christmas 2012

What’s your modus operandi for Christmas preparation?


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He’s not that bad

I’m a bit late for Thankful Thursday but its been a hectic week. When things are tough it makes you appreciate people more.

 

This week I am thankful for a holiday I took to Surfers Paradise in 1985. It was on this holiday I met a man that became a very good friend. Just as the wind blew in Mary Poppins, so too did it gust him into my life.  In 1987 he became my husband.58445ID01r0_bklt.indd

I am thankful I found such a caring, wonderful man. He has so many beautiful traits.

He is a wonderful son. The genuine care he shows to his dad is warming. His dad lives alone now since losing his wife (my MIL). He visits his dad every Wednesday for dinner and Sundays for the afternoon. This week his dad had a very debilitating fall and is in hospital. It has been very tough coping for my husband. I hate watching his stress and feel helpless but I think listening to him and being there is a comfort.

He is a fantastic dad. When the kids were newborns he was a hands-on dad. He was a stay-at-home dad for a few years too. As the kids grew older he would run them around to sports and functions. He took interest in sports they played, volunteering as scorekeeper, umpire etc. Consequently he has a close relationship with his adult children. Nothing has ever been too much trouble.

I’m the first one to joke about him but I really do appreciate the fantastic husband I have. He never forgets a birthday and always buys his own gifts for me  at Christmas  even if the gifts are odd at times .I have a little girl Pandora charm he gave me one Christmas. On asking the significance of his choice his reply was something along the lines of ‘I knew you liked charms but I didn’t have my glasses on to see what I chose’ (but least he went shopping).790860

He always sends flowers for Valentine’s Day and anniversaries – even if the card for an anniversary once said “Just another year xxx”. I was angry reading the card and asked why he had the card written that way. He looked perplexed wondering what was wrong with his words. Phone ordering the flowers the florist asked what name and comment to write on the card he had said he wanted just ‘Another Year xxx’.

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He does the washing and ironing (well he does get to watch DVDs or Foxtel while he irons). He checks my car has enough petrol in it (I hate pumping petrol). He works hard in our garden.

He isn’t without fault though. I’m infuriated often, by the rigid plans he make and routines he likes (I’m not a routine person). I’m irritated by his monopolisation of our big screen TV and the remote control. I detest his enjoyment of war documentaries and love of old British TV shows. I get angry that on weekends (he leaves for work at 6:30 am and doesn’t arrive home until 7pm) holidays away he likes to sleep in so we miss the early morning hours and our days are shorter. But these are really just surface scratches.

Thought I better post this quick before he does something to annoy me and I scrap the post …hahaha