My favourite story of the last week is of a friend who was out for an evening at the theatre with her daughter and a long term family friend. The family friend was a middle aged lady who was always very properly dressed and made up and was the kind of person who always encouraged proper manners. As my friend navigated the car park she managed to snag a parking space right next to the elevators. To the astonishment of my friend and her daughter the very proper lady they had known for many years turned to my friend and said,
“Fucking awesome park Mandy!”
She then proceeded to get out of the car as if nothing unusual had happened. My friend and her daughter took a while to digest this and followed suit. To this day whenever they are together and they get a great parking space Mandy’s daughter will say “fucking awesome park Mandy!”
It seems that the lady had a realisation in her mid life that she just really loved saying fuck. She told my friend that it had become one of her favourite words. She loved the way it seemed to roll off her tongue. No doubt she also loved the look on people’s faces when she said it.
Fuck is a word I have been familiar with most of my life. I grew up on a farm. My brothers and I learned very early on that some words were OK for outside but not inside. Consequently I have learned to regulate my use of this word to suitable audiences. Interestingly the school where I currently work is less precious about the use of this word. Tradesmen use it a lot so we accept that Young People studying to be tradesmen are going to use it as well. I probably say it more often than most of the other teachers but honestly if I am going to listen to other people saying it all day then it is going to be coming out of my mouth. And like Mandy’s friend it just rolls of my tongue.
Clearly #1 Son thinks I like it because he saw this cushion at a market and decided he needed to buy it as a Christmas present for me. My mother did not really approve but she can go fuck herself.
1. Would you rather have a cold December holiday season or a warm holiday season?
Like a lot of people in the world I have never experienced the opposite of what my local climate has to offer. I know that many Australians choose to holiday in a colder northern hemisphere country just to have the experience of a Christmas that looks like a Christmas card but I am not one of them, yet. In all honesty I don’t think I would specifically travel overseas just to have a white Christmas. While it is frustrating to see snow and Northern Hemisphere based images everywhere when it is 30 degrees outside I would rather have seafood and salad for lunch on Christmas Day than a roast.
2. Would you rather help Santa deliver presents or help Santa in his workshop?
I am a creator. Nothing makes me happier than making things with my hands. Food, clothes, stories. Definitely an elf in Santa’s workshop.
3. Would you rather wear nice clothes all Christmas day or wear pajamas?
In line with the weather the standard dress for Christmas Day is a cheesy Christmas t-shirt and shorts. No shoes. Or swimmers if you are spending the day in the pool or at the beach. Nice clothes are uncomfortable, basically because they are hot. As a child, I loved the feeling of getting home after church and taking those damned “nice clothes” off.
4. Would you rather eat fruit cake for two days straight or eat candy canes for two days straight?
I don’t think Australians get candy canes right. I am sure they don’t. If they do I REALLY don’t understand the fuss. Fruit cake is a much better option.
5. Right now would you rather eat gingerbread cookies or drink hot chocolate?
Again. Hot, sweaty, humidity. We had several storms last night so now that the sun is out it is going to get steamy. So gingerbread with cold milk or even iced tea sounds delightful.
This post is part of this week’s TMI Tuesday. If you would like to read more TMI goodness click on the button below
As I was preparing to write this I read through some of my old posts about Christmas. I was interested to read this one and to compare my thoughts about Christmas in 2021 with my thoughts about Christmas in 2022. I was actually really surprised about how different they were. Somewhere, somehow I have had a complete change of thinking.
For many years I allowed my mother to dictate the location and the way that Christmas would play out. She called the shots by guilting her children into attending a family gathering that most people didn’t really enjoy. Since my children were very small travelling ridiculous distances and spending Christmas sleeping in a strange bed, in a strange house feeling awkward and not at home has been a big part of the landscape. They tolerated it but since leaving school and becoming more adult they have become more vocal about out it.
My niece and nephews were a little ahead of the field informing their parents that they were not up for travelling anywhere this Christmas and they just wanted to stay home. And so for the first time in a long time we are Christmassing like a lot of people. Visiting for lunch and then leaving to go home to our own house where we will host a small evening meal. For the first time we will see most of both sides of our family on Christmas Day and there will be no sleeping in weird beds or having unwelcome and demanding house guests!
I am excited! Yes it isn’t what my parents want but honestly they can go jump off a cliff. Last year I posted about them being elderly and isolated and I had a feeling of responsibility to them. Last year I did the journey and survived the three or so days of Christmas Hell. And after Christmas Day there was an altercation with my mother that drove home to me that I had given her far too much power in our relationship. It doesn’t matter that she is older and living in a place where she has limited support from able bodied people and very limited health care. She chose that life. She is an adult and she still has all of her mental capacity. She can make changes if she chooses. Throughout the year I have quietly pointed this out to her.
From now on Christmas is about me, Mr Jones, #1Son and The Unicorn; along with their partners. Where and how we celebrate Christmas is dictated by their work commitments. In line with most things in our family it is fairly low key. We have a tree in the corner and have been busily making things as gifts for family members. There are not a lot of other decorations around the house but that is OK. There is ham in the fridge and prawns in the freezer. Things that are essential for Christmas in our house. We are all happy.
I am surprised by the number of parcels under our tree but it is a good thing. I am looking forward to opening them and watching others open theirs. For the first time in a long time I am excited by Christmas. I am hoping that this is a sign of things to come. Low key, relaxed Christmas with people I actually want to see.
I feel like I say this wayyy too many times and I am sure but reconnecting with sailing and the ocean. Just in case you are not tired of images here is a selection from our holiday outings.
2. Did you have the opportunity to get down and dirty over the holidays? Please share?
The yacht has been ‘christened’ but in a very restrained way. All of our outings have included our daughter, The Unicorn, and so nude sunbaking and sex on the deck in the moonlight have not happened yet. We spent New Year’s at a vanilla party where there was some talk of sex but the participants openly admitted actually HAVING sex is not their thing. So yeh I am thinking I need to rectify this situation.
3.You receive a gift from a family member that is exactly what you DID NOT want. Do you:
a) Smile politely and bin it at the first opportunity?
b) Say thank you and re-gift it next year?
c) Do some detective work and return it at the first opportunity?
d) Try and tactfully suggest something more appropriate for next time?
Over time I have had some gifts given to me that were clangers to say the least. The usual go to for my in-laws is some kind of toiletry product of the cheap shop variety. I hate wasting things and so my bathroom cupboard has filled with tubes of cheap hand cream that smells disgusting. Recently I have been using some of the better products on my body and giving it to Mr Jones to use on his hands etc. I have even steeled myself and thrown the worst stuff in the bin!!
Famously my SIL gave The Unicorn a pantsuit that was awful. I tried to return it to the store she bought it from only to be told by the retail worker there that she had bought it from the bargain bin for $2. I was not happy but I didn’t go as far as saying anything to her about it.
4.Sex toys as gifts yay or nay? Was there a time when you unexpectedly opened something R-Rated in front of your family? Tell us about it.
Sex toys as gifts are good. If the giver has a good understanding of what you like. Mr Jones has bought a few things over the years that have been awesome. In particular a glass dildo that I quite like and use often. The most amusing sex toy anecdote is the time that he gave me a vibrator for Christmas. I opened it, along with all my other presents on Christmas morning in the company of my whole family, including my parents. I only opened the box a little way before he stopped me.
He wasn’t quick enough though. My mother then nagged me to find out what it was for pretty much the rest of the day. Even my own children knew better than to pursue it. I didn’t tell her even though it would have been a good lesson for her about putting your nose in other people’s business.
5. What is the best present your significant other has given you?
Mr Jones has exceeded himself over the years. By far the best present I got was for the second Christmas after we were married. I was heavily pregnant and expecting our son on 24 December (he didn’t arrive until 7 Jan) and he purchased the most comfortable recliner I have ever sat in for me to have in the nursery. It was the gift that kept giving for many many years and much better than any wooden rocking chair.
Bonus: Share your New Year’s resolution(s) or reasons why you do not make them.
I tend to avoid making resolutions. It seems every time I vocalise a resolution I sabotage myself by not following through. The best way for me to make improvements is quietly and privately without too much obvious effort. Over time I have learned that you have more success by making small changes every day and being kind to yourself along the way.
Dramatic changes made with much trumpeting tend to fall by the wayside. Besides. January 1 is not the only time of the year that changes need to be made in your life.
This post is part of this week’s TMI Tuesday. To see who else is sharing click here, or on the image below:
Christmas in Australia is confusing. As a child I could never understand the incessant references to snow, being cold and all of the things that most people living in the Northern Hemisphere associate with Christmas. In Australia Christmas falls just after the longest day of the year. It is hot. Melt the bitumen, spend the day under the air conditioner hot. Unless you live in Tasmania where it has been known to snow at Christmas, but what Australians count as snow would be what Canadians call dew.
Christmas decorations make no sense in Australia. Poinsettias flower in June, holly is not grown anywhere. We have any number of other prickly plants, why would we want to introduce another? Pine trees do grow here but in Queensland at least they are tall and spindly; not the type that you see in the American movies. Besides, the significance of the tree that stays green through the winter is lost. Most Australian native plants are evergreen. Christmas lights have become a thing in recent years but as a child it was another thing that didn’t make sense. It doesn’t get fully dark until around seven-thirty, much later in the southern states.
As an adult I was able to understand the significance of these traditions and I was able to understand that our colonial ancestors kept Christmas traditions in an attempt to make themselves feel at home. I understand that these days it is about keeping up with everyone else in the world. Australians seem to struggle with being different and proud of it, many of us just want to be like the Americans we see on our televisions.
And so we celebrate Christmas. For me as a child Christmas has strong connections with the Christian feast commemorating the birth of Christ. For me as an adult that significance remains. We have a nativity scene on display in our house we attend mass. The Unicorn attends under duress because she is a self proclaimed Satanist. I don’t want to have that discussion with her grandmother so we have agreed she will go and not discuss it.
For the most part large family gatherings are not a part of our Christmas landscape. Distance has been the predominant reason for this. My parents live a six hour drive away. For many years one of my brothers has lived even further. My other brother wants as little to do with his siblings and mother as possible and so spends as short an amount of time at Christmas gatherings as he can. My children were the only grandchildren on my side of the family until The Unicorn was about five and her brother was eight. On Mr. Jones’ side of the family they were younger than their cousins by a similar gap so hanging out in the pool or bashing around the paddock with their cousins was not something they got to do.
Today we will be packing Christmas into the back of the ute and driving six hours to Grandma’s house to spend several days practicing being patient and dealing with heat and guilt trips while Christmas goes past for another year. It isn’t something I am looking forward to. I would rather be on the yacht if I am honest but Christmas is not about being selfish. It is about being kind and making sure your family is OK.
We have entered a time in our lives where our children are able to care for themselves but now our parents are ageing. Mr. Jones’s parents live with us and they will be spending Christmas with his sister and her family. In all honesty they would probably rather be at home with us than in a strange house with six rowdy great-grandchildren. His mother has a health condition that is not serious but does require constant monitoring. It also means that her life can be threatened by the common cold. It is hard watching a parent deteriorate.
My own parents live in a very small rural community with limited health facilities. Any health emergency results in a trip in either a helicopter or small aerial ambulance to the nearest large hospital. Located in a town not anywhere near where myself or any of my brothers live. They are in their seventies and my father insists on working his farm as he has done his whole life. Their living situation is not sustainable but at the moment no-one wants to make a plan.
So in short my family is not really OK. There isn’t a lot I can do to make it OK. I would dearly love to pack my parents up and move them somewhere closer to me, as painful as that process would be. It would certainly make my life much simpler, and possibly theirs. But it isn’t happening any time soon, if ever.
I read Marie’s Christmas post and found myself nodding as she described a preference for spending time with those closest to her in small, intimate gatherings. I feel that is the direction my Christmas will take as time goes by. I will always have a tree in my house. I will always have a nativity. I will always have ham but it will never be baked, who has time for that and it is freaking summer here! I will always buy some gifts for my immediate family and I hope I will be able to participate in crazy Christmas antics in the school staffroom for several more years.
Thank you for joining me on my early morning Christmas eve ramble. I hope that you all enjoy your Christmases, whatever they look like. If surviving is your goal for this time then I empathize and wish you luck.