Monday, 24 December 2007

The "I Like Cats" clip show!

As I sit at my desk on Monday the 24th of December, watching people in Santa hats go past, and the clouds scudding along in a bright blue sky, I am put in somewhat of a nostalgic mood for 2007, and the usual wonder of how 2008 will be for me.
My parents arrived yesterday for the Christmas break, but I am at work because I stupidly said I would come in...and now that I am here I have realised it is going to be the longest day in the history of my life....with staff at about 30% capacity, and deadly silent phones.
But! It gives me time to catch up on things that have been gathering dust on my desk, and also to do some final present shopping (I'm going with a board game for my sister and Ben, probably Monopoly - my sister and I would play this for hours when we were kids, and had a special "money-getting time" halfway through the game, where we would gift ourselves a few grand to keep the game going. We were somewhat fraudulent property brokers. My sister would also hide some of her money under the board, and triumphantly bring it out just as I was down to my last pound).
So this will be my last post for 2007, my first ever blogging year, and I'm going to shamelessly copy Jen - yet again - and do the year by numbers.

Number of countries visited - 3

Number of houses bought - 1

Number of houses lived in - 5

Number of haircuts - 2 (I know, I'm very low-maintenance)

Number of hours spent in the garden - a billion

Number of days spent in hospital - 4

Number of cats bought - 2

Number of cats I still have - 1

Number of scorched almonds I have eaten in the last 2 days - a thousand

Number of Christmas ribbons I have tried to tie on Basil - 5

Number of successful tries - nil

Number of gorgeous neices born - 1

Number of days spent not drinking consecutively - 28

Number of Facebook friends - 170

That pretty much sums up my year. It really has been a roller coaster and I thank you all for joining me on the ride.

Best wishes and sending love for the Holiday season,

Aims xx

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Not known for his technological skills

My Dad is a big fan of quizzes and trivia, and nothing pleases him more than working out a tricky situation.
It was his birthday recently, so I had him around for dinner. My present to him was aftershave, by Kenneth Cole which comes in a wooden box. I let Dad go ahead with his usual "what's in the box" that used to drive us bat-shit every Christmas. After settling on "a miniature bottle of whiskey" (he doesn't even drink whiskey) he was delighted with the smellies.
But what he adored, was when I handed him my Christmas card from Jen, which was a photo of her 2 lovely smiling girls.
"Right Dad. Figure out how I know these kids."
Dad leans back with the air of One Who Knows All, studying intently.
"They're not New Zealanders."
I am surprised.
"Why not?"
"I don't know. They're just not. They look American."
"Alright're right."
"Um. Have I met them? Have you met them?"
"No and no."
"They're Britt's kids."
"Dad, since Britt only got married 3 months ago, I'd find it hard to believe that she'd squeeze out a 7 and 9 year old since then."
"So someone you've never met is sending you a Christmas card of her kids."
"That's right."
He's stumped. I'm loving it, because he is impossible to stump. For someone who left school at 15, he really does know a lot of stuff. I give him a hint.
"I have my own website."
"On the INTERNET. Where I write stuff and other people read it..."
I am stumped.
"I don't know why. Because I'm hilarious, that's why. Now, how do you think I know her?"
"Does she read your website?"
When Dad can't work something out, he immediately loses all interest.
"The traffic was shocking coming over the bridge today."

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

If I was a rich nanana nana ananana

I am at the final hurdle when it comes to buying the family Christmas presents - having left it very very late this year I am most displeased with my picks. Having done a bit of panic buying last week, I've ended up with some pressies that I"m guaranteed to get that oh wow! THANKS Aims! Wow! Yeah! Um. Pass the next one.
Now if money/time was no issue, this is what I would have got.

Mum: Tickets to Celine Dion's final concert in Vegas. She would have loved that. Mum plays Celine a Lot, except when I'm not around, because the CDs mysteriously disappear.

Colin: A session at an insomniac clinic. He has been very stressed lately and Needs To Relax.

Sister and Husband: A chef - my sister is not a culinary gem, and her husband is the cook of the house. I'm sure they'd love it if Jamie Oliver popped in every day and left 3 meals. I would also come round a lot more.

Amelie: A bumblebee suit. Doesn't every kid in the world look best dressed up as a bumblebee? Just the word itself is cute. Bumblebee. Bumbling around. Cute.

What they did get: A subscription to Vogue Living mag; a foghorn for the new yacht; nothing yet (I know, EEEK); toys.

Oh yeah, Basil is getting a catfood bowl by Trelise Cooper - she's done some for charity. He's going to be the most fashionable cat on the block.

Monday, 17 December 2007

The year that was

Depresssion is a funny thing. It's like this black prickly cloud that hangs over you, stopping anything fun and nice getting through, instead enveloping you in a big ball of Blah.
Hence yesterday, when I thought about doing a year-end wrap up, all I could think of was, wow, this is the first Christmas that I can remember that I have been single. WHAT A SHIT YEAR.

Then the drugs must have kicked in, and suddenly I noticed a photo of Amelie on my fridge. Oh yeah that's right. A little person that I love unconditionally is now in my life, and smiles at me all the time. The relationship I have with my sister and her husband is so lovely and I have them moving 3 minutes drive away from me to look forward to.

I also cast my eye around where I was, which was In My Own Home, a home that if you had asked me what my dream home was, would have matched pretty well. Except it's not in France. But hey.

Basil came running up and brushed against my legs and I thought oh yes, I also have this precious black ball of fur who follows me everywhere and loved prancing all over the garden doing the butt wiggle every time he sees a bird. I can't imagine my home without him.

I looked at the spare room and thought in a week I'll have my Mum and Step-dad staying, who have given me so much this year, and I can finally give something back.

So while 2007 has had plenty of downs, there are also plenty of ups, and the sick thing about depression is that they tend to get lost among the downs. Sometimes I need a good kick in the pants to remember just what I do have.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Green thumbs

Here is a list of things I have in my garden:
  • A plum tree

  • A tamarillo tree

  • A feijoa bush

  • A walnut tree

  • A tree that is about to fruit, but with what, I don't know. Could be a pear, but I'm thinking apple

  • A lemon tree

  • A mandarin tree

  • A raspberry bush

Here is a list of things I have in my veggie garden

  • Sage, thyme, tarragon, dill, rosemary, basil

  • Spinach

  • Cherry tomatoes

  • Proper tomatoes

  • Strawberries

  • Cucumbers

I have discovered that I love gardening. I spend most of my waking hours in there, weeding, pruning, planting. Basil follows me around and pounces on flies and spiders, climbing trees and rolling in the grass. I picked the first ripe plums off the tree this morning and brought them into work to share. The cherry tomatoes should be next, I am going to be inundated with those.

If anyone has any tomato chutney or plum sauce recipes, feel free to share!

My favourite place to be.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Ghosts of Christmases past

A switch finally went on in my brain today that it was nearly Christmas time, probably from reading Jen's gorgeous tree-buying post, and I am feeling that old happiness that comes from planning some delicious meal for my family, and buying lots of fun presents.
Our Christmas has changed somewhat over the years, being a very extended family and now with grandkids into the bargain, we have got a lot less formal.
When we were kids, my sister and I were like any other kids and equated Santa's arrival with the Second Coming, if we had been religious. We fought over the advent calendar, decorated the tree with popcorn strands (and ate it slowly over the weeks, even when it was the texture of polystyrene balls) worked out what Every Single Present under the tree was before the big day, even the ones that weren't for us, and I learnt to play Christmas Carols on the piano, so we could all stand around and sing them. We actually did that one Christmas, how chocolate-boxey is that? Kinda cute though.
One memorable Christmas Day when I was about 5 and Megan 7, we somehow woke up at about 4am, and went downstairs. The tree was a snowdrift of presents, and we briskly set about opening them all. You see, we were of the age that still believed in Santa, and we were dying to see what he left us. Turned out a Swingball set was under there, and I remember barrelling upstairs after a while screaming "MUM! DAD! Santa brought us SWINGBALL!" Our parents were thrilled, and every Christmas after that, our presents were hidden under lock and key and guard dog, until we had gone to bed on Christmas Eve. They would block our doors so we couldn't get out. I kid you not.
Our parents were great sleeper-inners, and forbade us to go downstairs before 7:30. One Christmas Day, we had the great idea of timetabling our morning ablutions to begin at 7:00, meaning that the last half hour would be nicely spaced out so we didn't have to wait. The timetable looked something like this:
  • 7:00 am Wake up.
  • 7:02 am Get out of bed
  • 7:04 am Go to bathroom etc.

Of course we got through brushing our teeth and hair and putting our fancy smocked dresses on by 7:05, and spent 25 fidgety minutes on the bed before getting the okay and burning down the stairs for our Stockings.

After stockings the parents would drag themselves up, and we'd have croissants and OJ on the deck, then it would be the good stuff. My sister and I got so many presents it's almost embarrassing, and we would lie them out in the order we were going to open them. I remember some opening marathons that lasted about 3 days, but maybe I am exaggerating. Dad would always fall asleep on the couch, and I would have finished my box of Roses chocolates and be complaining of tummy ache.

Phone calls would then be made and dutiful thankyous said to the grandparents, then it was PLAYTIME while Mum got the pork roast on and the table set. We had all the trimmings and the flash set of china out, and we'd even be allowed a little bit of champagne. Afterwards Dad would fall asleep again and we'd play more, then be hungry again by 6.

I remember these days as some of the happiest in my childhood, which is probably why I still love to really make an effort at Christmas. This year we are having it at my step-sisters, because her house is the only one big enough to hold us all, and we're going to have a couple of boned legs of lamb on the BBQ and lots of crayfish and champagne. I won't be getting a stocking in the morning and I'll be doing most of the cooking myself, but the family love and laughter will be there and I Can't Wait.