Appreciation & 6 Months

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Last week I was fortunate to travel to the Northern Territory for work and stayed on to catch up with Cousin Wendy who is running a business in the middle of no where.  I had no idea what type of pressure she was working under in her small business.  Times are tough in the NT, staff are hard to get and tourist numbers are down.  Cousin Wendy is living her life in 30 minute increments, constantly juggling staff and stock issues all while trying to have  whirlwind 3 day roadtrip* with me  – we covered 1600 km in 3 days! It really made me appreciate the slower pace that my life runs at, allowing me to experience things, rather than just ticking a box and moving on to the next thing to be done without stopping to breathe.

I’m not sure if it’s because I was born there, or because I was with one of my oldest friends, or if it was the amazing landscape and complete lack of phone coverage, but I felt a peace while I was on this trip.   I’ve come to appreciate my life more than ever before.  I have an AWESOME life and there is even more to be lived.

Along with this amazing roadtrip experience I also learnt more about a subject that most white Australian’s never hear about… how many Aboriginal Australian’s experience life in remote communities.  Cousin Wendy has daily interactions with her local community.  While alcohol, drugs and boredom create huge social and health issues within these townships, one thing I did take away is how important family is to the Aboriginal people, and the loyalty that these communities feel for family and those that support them. I don’t know what can be done to solve the issues that exist in these communities, certainly smarter, more culturally aware people that me have tried over the years, but I do hope that a solution is found.

Yesterday I celebrated** 6 months with no wine, and I have to say I’m feeling pretty damn happy and healthy.

*I would like to acknowledge the Bininj and Mungguy peoples of Kakadu and the Jawoyn people, traditional owners of Katherine Gorge.

** I had a chocolate quik to celebrate  🙂

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The Christmas Insanity Has Begun!

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Well, it’s on again for another year, Christmas!  And with that looming large comes the usual round of well meaning family insanity.

Let’s start with the first bit…

Every year Crazy Cat Boys family do a Kris Kingle.  You know, the angst inducing activity where you have to buy a gift for a family member you barely remember and have NO idea what their interests, hobbies or allergies are?  Yeah, that one.  So early in December someone takes it on themselves to send out the list.  Great, I’m buying for a 30 year old woman, I can manage that (Gift cards solve everything).  But wait, two weeks later a “revised” list comes from another family member (clearly she wasn’t happy with who “got” her so she’s shuffling the pack for a better outcome.  I’m now buying for a 60 something woman who I’ve actually met more than once – Score, but to bad if I’d already bought the other gift!

Now the part where my well meaning but with a tenuous grip on logic SIL who’s hosting Christmas lunch special planning skills kick in….

The list of who needs to bring what on the big day arrives.  Now I don’t know about you good internet peeps, but I’d ask the people who are driving from interstate over a couple of days and staying in a hotel to bring something non perishable…. crackers, nuts, dried fruit, chips, lollies, booze, 400 water balloons, whatever.  Nope, in the world where temperature does not exist and logic can be defied, I’m bringing , wait for it….

THE ICE CREAM!

Yep, 900 km in a car is apparently doable*.  Sigh…

Hold on to your hats people, it’s going to be a long few weeks until Boxing Day – Wish me well!

 

* Yes, I know i can buy it there, but really, is it just me or is that poor planning?  I know what will happen as well, they have a very small house with one freezer and I’m tipping no room for ice cream for 29 people.

 

 

Bah Hum Bug

20151208_125434_resizedI’m totally not a Christmas person

We’ve just gone through his family’s seasonal “Crazy Cat Lady, you got random cousin Jay in the family draw” saga.  This means I now have to work out which one Jay is again, then spend $50 on a person that I don’t really know, only see every third Christmas, who won’t acknowledge this gift so I’ll never know if the specialised gift that they requested and I paid extra shipping for even arrived!

This process is starting to wear thin. Plus,immediate family are an exception; you are still expected to spend a fortune on them and get random crap* back in return.

I’ve never really been a Christmas person, even when small.  It usually meant being up early and having to be on my best behaviour if Grandma was coming.   The only upside as a kid was that I usually got to see Cousin Wendy and check out her new earrings (she wore make up and made her own funky earrings, she was and is way cool). Cousin Wendy and I would also whip everyone’s arses at pool at Nan and Pa’s which was always fun – It stood us in good stead drinks wise when we started hitting the bars.

Crazy Cat Boy however LOVES Christmas.  He’s an extravagant shopper by nature and loves to be a part of his extended family.  But (why is there always a “but”?)  Christmas is a stark reminder that his family don’t really know him.  It makes me sad to watch the puzzled look creep over his face as he opens yet another well meaning but rarely thought out gift.  Just email me people; I’ll give you some tips, it’s really not that hard!!  I mean, at least I know they don’t care what I get, but he takes it personally.

This year we are on the verge of a Christmas miracle, we are just one missing dog sitter away from it being the two of us in our own home, far away from the inevitable stress that will occur over slightly dry pork and copious amounts of champagne as my BIL & SIL host lunch at their place.

The magic of Christmas might just be restored!

*It’s not their fault; they don’t know me any better than I know them.

I always get a giggle at gifts from SIL.  One year out of every ten she knocks it out of the ball park with an amazing, thoughtful gift that must have taken months to pull together.  The other nine years however, it looks like she ran blindfolded through a service station and just wrapped whatever random stuff she picked up!  LOL