Wednesday, 21 December 2011

hanging around

Day three of the Christmas holidays and our usual domestic inertia has set in.  I have seen J & E for precisely 20 minutes so far today.  They are both, resolutely, staying in their rooms in their pyjamas being very quiet and low maintenance.

I dreamt of these times on many occasions when my medium sized children were small.  Those years were spent out and about, strapping them in the car seat, unstrapping them, loading various bags and baggages with snacks.  Now they help themselves to the cupboards and make their own lunch.  There's something very liberating for all of us about it but it's also a little bit sad.  We seem to spend less time in each other's company.

Our household and our Christmases are definitely changing.  The clothes are getting bigger, the cupboards are barer more often and the demands are different but just as, well, demanding.  It's interesting to see and feel how we're all changing and reacting to the next phase of our family life.

It's all good but it's not the same.  We'll still be making reindeer cake on Friday though!

I went to a Zumba Christmas party on Monday.  Not that I've been to Zumba very regularly since September.  Monday classes clash with college, Friday I'm invariably catching up with the stuff I've neglected all week and I just can't face getting off the sofa in the evening to make an 8pm class.  It was beautifully organised and everyone had a good night from what I could tell.   Over a hundred Wiltshire ladies, dolled up and determined to have a good time.  We looked lovely and very fit, of course!

It was very entertaining despite the fact that it's the first time I've encountered incessant facebook photo taking.  I don't have a facebook account.  I don't want one but it now appears my photograph has found its way to facebookland thanks to my fellow party goers.  Does a little partying  warrant a download of a couple of hundred megabytes without actually asking if anyone might have an objection?  If I wanted to put myself on facebook, I would.  I don't want other people to do it for me.    I haven't seen the photographs but I imagine they're not ones I would choose to keep for myself, least of all circulate.

Is it me being ever-so 20th century or am I right to feel a little peeved? 

Saturday, 17 December 2011

how things change....

One of the few things I remember about my childhood Christmases was the advent calendar.  I shared one with my sister and it was the same one every year.  We were instructed not to rip the doors off and had to close them up at the end of the festive season so that the calendar could be stored carefully away in the sideboard.  It had a very traditional nativity scene with glowing halos, wise men and a starry starry night. 

This year we have three advent calendars in the house.  One (as pictured) with each little pocket stuffed with two identical chocolates from the Celebrations box bought by Grandma at the beginning of December.  They have to have identical chocolates because although my children are well in the age range of communication and discernible speech, there would be dreadful morning rows if one had a Snickers and one a Milky Way to munch on before breakfast.

We then have two others, kindly provided by Granny, magnetised to the fridge and much enjoyed (still).  This year these are of a more traditional ilk - one year we had a daily joke, no less.  The little windows are opened with as much enthusiasm, usually just after the chocolate wrapper has been put in the bin.  Once these calendars are finished with, I'll store them with the Christmas decorations, still not quite able to consign them to the recycling bin.

I heard on the radio a couple of days ago that Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year particularly between couples as they try to impose their own family traditions on the other.  When chatting about this to The Worker, neither of us could remember a great deal of our early Christmases but both agreed that many of our traditions come from the above mentioned Granny.  We have stockings every year for all of us (not just the kids) and there are table presents.  We drink to absent friends at eleven (not one of Granny's), we have to have ham, egg and chips on Christmas Eve (J's tradition) and we still leave a 'cake' for Rudolph and a little sherry for Santa.  Hardly ground-breaking stuff but I wonder whether our kids will insist that their partners adopt these rituals when they have homes of their own?

There are other traditions in our house, of course:

- I always forget to send several Christmas cards, usually the ones to people far, far away

- The Worker asks for wrapping paper at 10pm on Christmas Eve

- I lose several stocking presents throughout December, only to find them in January

- I forget to make a Christmas cake until 15th

- the bins are always full because I miss the last collection which is usually when The Worker is away

What are your traditions?

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

wild? it's livid!

This is one of our favourite family sayings and very apt it is for today's inclement weather.  So far we've had wind, rain, hail, snow, thunder and a smattering of sunshine in between the dark, scary clouds.

I have a rotten cold - forgive me if you already know this.  I had to get my haircut this morning so drove across the county boundary in my little Punto dreaming of a big 4 x 4 with heated seats and windows that don't fug up quite so much as mine do.  My 4 x 4 dreams were quashed when I had problems parking - never my strong point.  I was trying to save 60p.  Pointless.  I blame my cold.  I've been blaming it for the last fortnight and this is why I'm in my usual Christmas pickle.  I've written and posted almost all the Christmas cards.  I've bought and wrapped and posted almost all the Christmas presents.  I've cleaned almost a whole bathroom. I've thought about making some mince pies and almost bought some mincemeat.  It's almost Christmas!

Never mind.  I've had a lovely haircut.  I have finally grown out my layers and am back to my bobbed curlyish, greyish at the roots mop - something will have to be done about that.  What possessed me to give my hair such a severe chop a couple of years ago I still have to fathom.  I won't be doing that again in a hurry.  I don't have the right sort of cheekbones for short hair - I don't really have cheekbones.

I'm waiting for The Worker to return home.  I'm always a little twitchy in the winter as he does thousands of miles in the car each year.  I love the dark nights until I start thinking about the roads and traffic.  With today's howling gales, I'll be even more pleased to see him than I usually am.  Also, there was a clunk in the chimney yesterday.  He needs to get a torch out and get that sorted before he lights the fire!

Monday, 12 December 2011

school's out....

I'm done.  The first assessment has been submitted.  I managed to get everything finished on time despite the efforts of various online file converters and have left my work suitable labelled and organised in my 'space' at college.

I've never had a 'space' before.  It seems to me that a lot of art speak refers to 'space'.  Go into any gallery and someone with trendy looking glasses will be talking about the 'great space' - a usually big room, usually painted white.  My space is basically a corner created by two tall boards about a metre and a half wide each with a desk and a chair and a drawer unit that I appropriated at the beginning of term.  I like it.  It's like sitting in a big book and filling the pages.

I'm lucky to have a room of my own at home.  I use the term 'of my own' lightly.  This is not the same thing as a 'space'.  My room is where everything that doesn't quite belong to someone else ends up.  It's the room which always needs a tidy up, a sort out.  It's the room where everything gets slung.  It's the room where I hoard my stash of materials - craft and otherwise.  It's the room where I try to work and think and make in between making the dinner and contemplating the necessity of yet another load of laundry.  I love my room at home and I appreciate the space I have.  If I was being very greedy, I'd have a sofa in it but I've got too much stuff in it so the sofa will have to wait.  I'd only fall asleep on it anyway so I suppose not having a sofa in there is a very good thing.  I only have to go next door to the living room if I need one.

On to other matters....

I posted a picture of my red satchel because I got it two Christmases ago.  It gets overlooked on a daily basis as I reach for smaller, less red bags.  I often use it when I go to galleries and exhibitions because it's big enough to take a sketchbook but not too bulky.

I think it needs to be brought off its hook and used for the festive season.  What do you think?  I posted it also because I'm quite interested in bags:  how we use them, what we put in them, what gets left at the bottom.  I think of them as our own little portable rooms, a space which we carry around with us.  We all know that you can tell a lot about the person about their bag - what's in it, whether they even carry one, whether they let friends/children/husbands through the fastenings for a rummage. 

Do you have a special bag?  Have you used the same one forever?  Do you eschew the lure and convenience of the day bag?  Are you a bag floozie?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

I really should be....

...finishing off my project for this term's assessment

...wrapping some presents

...ordering a few I've forgotten(whoops!)

...writing the next chapter

...popping a little colour on my greying roots

...taking some more benylin for my two week old cough

...exfoliating and moisturising my winter-parched skim

...crocheting a few more snowflakes

...making next week's list

I'm going to, I just need someone or something to separate my backside from the sofa...

Have a lovely week.


Friday, 9 December 2011

too late for this...

....but it does look great...a kind of postal secret santa.

It's called The Curiosity Project. Has anyone ever participated in online swaps?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

a good yarn

This is what I'm looking forward to after Friday.  A little gentle knitting with colourful yarn.  I've written the Christmas cards.  The presents are in the house (unwrapped) and my lovely sister is cooking Christmas lunch.  There is very little for me to do after Friday apart from wrap the presents and arrange the house and its contents in a suitably festive manner - i.e. tidy it up and clean the bits that haven't been touched for, well, a while.

I don't have plans to knit anything specific.  I'm simply going to finish a couple of projects I finished a while ago and probably start another couple of things.  I plan to spend at least a couple of afternoons by the fire with my needles and yarn on my lap, probably asleep. 

My assignment will be finished, my workshops will be finished for 2011.  It will be time to sit, reflect and look forward to 2012.

Friday, 2 December 2011

smile, we're British

Radio 2 has spent a good portion of its broadcasting time this week telling me that 70% of us are quite happy despite the global economic and political dramas that are unfurling about us.  This, apparently, means that we British have lost none of our stiff upper lip or stoicism since the Second World War engulfed us.


I think (you may think I'm wrong), that in fact we're just burying our dainty little anglo-saxon noggins deep in the soil (we don't have much sand in Wiltshire) and choosing to ignore the state of the planet because, frankly, we just can't cope.

This is why our TV schedules are filled with vacuous reality shows (which I watch) and patronising craft/cookery/DIY shows (which I watch and shout at) and Downton Abbey (which I watch and laugh at) - all of which turn our brains to soppy mush before the news comes on and terrifies us.  Sitting down to watch BBC of an evening is becoming a traumatic experience.

We start off quite calmly as long as we avoid the soaps, meandering our way through gentle baking competitions and perhaps a trip around Britain's B&Bs with a bit of bitching along the way and then we're off perhaps to a hospital drama where we know that, eventually, everyone will get seen and won't fall off a waiting list.  Then it's 9pm and we're taking a trip to the jungle and watching celebrities eating possum bottoms.  If we last till 10pm we have a choice - serious analysis of the day's events with a bit of Robert Peston shouting at us or half an hour of armageddon on ITV with that starey-eyed woman.

I go to bed.  It doesn't make me smile.

I don't think I'm happier or unhappier than anyone else.  I'm just keeping my niggling doubts and fears to myself.  I really don't need George Alagiyah to shake them up just before my head hits the pillow.

Have a good weekend.  Turn off the TV.