Monthly Archives: December 2008

Reflections on 2008

This is a very cleansing time of year. I  love the feeling of letting go and moving onward that this time of year promises. I love the expectation of a new year and the reflection on the old.  There is always something to learn in the year that has passed – information that should be heeded before moving on into the new year.

In January, as we faced surgery for Philip, I learned the value of blogging. So many of you followed his progress and offered support across the internet. Lots and lots of  you sent emails to the hospital to wish him a speedy recovery. He received fart jokes from all around the world. (we must admit that the fart is the international language of humour) Bloggers came to see me in real life with gifts of company, food and outings as we waited in a city so far from home for Philip to recover. We all learned the value of patience Philip took  six weeks to recover from his surgery.

As the year progress I learned the value of letting go, as Ashleigh  left us to live in France and cope with life all on her own. She solved her own problems, met her own day to day needs, learnt a new language and navigated the complexities of a new culture. She visited seven different countries, she ate food she couldn’t identify and she grew into a capable, self-suffiecient adult. That is the real value in letting your children go – giving them permission to be adults.

In July I learned that families face challenges together.  When one of Ashleigh’s closest friends was killed in a car accident we struggled with the decision to bring her home from France for the funeral. We struggled with the decision to send her back to France two weeks later. We struggled with every minute and every thought and every decision made. We struggled with every day, day after day, week after week.

This one event coloured my thoughts and actions for many, many weeks. I am really not sure of what I did for the seven weeks after Ashleigh returned to France. We coped, that is all we did, just coped.

In September I learned the value of travel as we went to Ashleigh in France. We found a measure of peace in being together. We found strength in new experience.

In October I found the value of hard work. A request from a quilting magazine to write a profile about me prompted me to get moving on an idea I had been discussing and s.l.o.w.l.y developing since late last year. I have continued working on this and in a very short time I will have a website ready to reveal.

I am not sorry to let this year go. There were lots of reasons to be worried and sad in 2008. I am resilient, I do know how to solve my problems and move on rationally, but this year has tested every one of those skills and abilities. There were lots of reasons to be happy this year. Thank you to the bloggers I met in person. Fancy them finding me worthy of a visit! Thank you to the bloggers who chat with me over the internet. Your company and wit is always a highlight in my day.

We wish you, one and all, a happy new year. Come on 2009. We are ready for you now.



A song for you – it relates to nothing, but I dare you not to sing and dance along!


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A Very Adult Christmas

That’s what it was at our house.

Santa did not come, for the first time in eighteen years. Presents were simply wrapped and placed under the tree for each of us. This meant that I did not have to do a midnight present placement. All presents were ready and under the tree well before lunch time on Christmas eve. The table was set for Christmas breakfast by 3 o’clock that afternoon. The food was prepared and ready to set out by 6 o’clock that evening. It was a Christmas miracle!

I actually went to bed at a reasonable time with nothing else to do. Once I got there I found that I could not sleep any way. Too many things to think about. So I watched ‘Hairspray’. I love a good musical!

On Christmas day my children were just beautiful. They were gracious and generous. They helped out, they spent time together. They had a wonderful day. We moved from family to family, but managed to find a little time for an afternoon rest.

It was a blissful Christmas. Everything just flowed.

Bring on the new year – I am ready to be finished with this one now.


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Rocky Road

Ashy went out with her friends.

My Pete fell asleep on the couch.

SO…Pippy and I made Rocky Road clusters.


Hazelnuts, marshmallow, white chocolate dots – all coated in melted dark chocolate.


They were supposed to be bite sized, but we got a bit enthusiastic in our spooning of portions.

Maybe we should eat this batch and make some more for the neighbours.

Edited to relfect: I am quite astounded to see this photo of Philip. This is what he looked like just fourteen months ago. He was a boy, he doesn’t seem to be any more. He now stands just two centimetres shorter than his father and is showing no signs of slowing down just yet.


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High School Musical

The three girls have had plans to see the third movie in this series together since they knew it was being made.


At first we thought that Ashy would still be in France and wouldn’t be able to see it with Chelsea and Imogen. Thankfully she came home.

Next Chelsea went on a holiday with her family and left the day before the movie was released. They were happy to wait a little longer.

Then Chelsea’s dance conert took  up her whole weekend and they had to postpone again.

Finally there were no more reasons to delay. They dressed up…


Ashleigh bought Chelsea and Imogen matching shirts in Paris before she left. Unfortunately there were none in her size (or so she tells us). So my sisters had one made for her that reads “Just call me Mrs Bolton”. She wore it… and a cardigan.

They put on their nail polish and their lip gloss and their belly tattoos.


They went off with high expectations.


before the movie ended…

we had an ENORMOUS electrical storm…

and the power went out.

They got free tickets for another day.

Maybe next week…


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Taken from my Local Paper Today

“TOWNSVILLE businesses are facing exuberant new licensing fees which will affect 514 businesses and see some slugged more than $10,000 a year. ”


Synonyms: enthusiastic, excited, energetic, high-spirited, cheerful, lively, boisterous, animated, vigorous, buoyant, vivacious

Interesting use of the word…

Spellcheck is not always your friend.


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One Hundred Metres of Bubblewrap…

Not joking there.

This is one hundred metres of bubble wrap.


Last week, just out of the blue, someone rang and asked if I would be interested in selling my small quilting machine. She said she knew someone who was keen to buy that sort of machine. I really don’t use it much, now that I have the big one. It has been on my mind to sell it, but I had been procrastinating, not really knowing how to go about it or what to charge. I had a price in mind, but she offered my more than double my price. So… I took it. I’d have been crazy not to sell it!  Just in time for Christmas. Nice bonus!

So today my Pete used one hundred metres of bubble wrap, one hundred metres of clear tape and fifty metres of super strong yellow tape to package it all up into a box.

In the morning it will be collected and sent off to its new home.

In the morning I might go shopping…


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End of Year Concert

For MANY years this time of year has meant the end of year dance concert. Ashy studied ballet for about eight years and tap for eleven years. More hours than I can count were dedicated to costume preparation and rehearsals. I cannot honestly say that I am sad those hours of waiting for rehearsal to finish have ended. That many years of dance don’t happen without enormous commitment from the parents.

The tradition of the end of year concert did not end for my family once Ashleigh moved on from her dance studies.

Now I go to watch Chelsea dance at the end of the year. For me now, though, it is all concert, no commitment. Being an Aunty is a sweet arrangement!

This year we watched Chelsea dance in her Irish performance then rushed backstage for her quick change for her Modern number.


It was all hands on deck to change costumes, shoes and hairdo.


Time for a quick hug from Ashy,


then back out to perform.

I think I noticed Ashy’s feet tapping silently under her chair. Could be more dance in our future…


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Having a Brother

Since Ashy’s return from France she has been working at a coffee shop. This means that some days she starts work at 6am, for the morning rush. Other days she starts at 11am for the lunch time rush.

One day this week, unbeknown to her brother, she did the lunch time shift. She was laying on her bed reading when the door opened and Pip walked straight in.

Ashy: Ahem! What are you doing?

Pip: You here?

Ashy: Yes. Why are you in my room?

Pip: I need a sock.

Ashy: What?

Pip: I don’t have a sock.

Ashy: Well you can’t just help yourself to a pair of mine.

Pip: It’s OK, I have one of my own, so I only need one of yours.


Later that day;

Ashy: Dude you are wearing my socks!

Pip: Correction. I am wearing one of your socks.


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Our Weekend Away

Last weekend my Pete and I hopped on a plane and flew away from home.

The company my Pete workds for is based in Brisbane. They invited the members of the small Townsville office to join the large Brisbane office Christmas party. The party was on Friday night, but we decided to make a weekend of it.

I must tell you that the party was a huge disappointment. The invitation said 6:30-10:30pm, so we thought it was a sit down dinner. No. It was a stand up, finger food and open bar affair. We had neglected to eat and are not big drinkers. We managed to make small talk and met some interesting people. At 10:30pm on the dot they turned on the lights and asked everyone to leave. They ushered us out the security doors which would not open to allow re-entry. By this time a torrential rainstorm had started. It was bucketing with rain. All the Brisbane people hopped into their cars with their designated drivers and left. Those of us without cars stood crowded on a small balcony area and waited for a taxi.

It took well over an hour for the taxi to arrive. That is a looong time to stand on a small balcony in heavy rain with a group of well-oiled people. I can think of better ways to spend my time!

Thankfully that was our only commitment and after that our weekend was our own. We spent time shopping, visiting the  markets and we went to the movies. We wandered around the new State Library and the Museum of Modern Art, both are beautiful buildings, and enjoyed the exhibitions. We had morning teas, lunches and afternoon teas in all variety of cafes and eateries. We travelled around the city by bus, by train and by foot.

We found a patchwork shop and I bought some lovely fabrics that I really needed.


Thankfully we managed to make a very nice weekend out of an ordinary Christmas function.


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Shiny Red Handbag

M, from Easternmax has tagged me to reveal the contents of my handbag, apparently she has been wondering what I carry around with me each day.

If this has also been on your mind, then feast your eyes below.


Inside my brand new shiny red handbag you can see the following essential items:

  • my mobile phone – it came in its own case and has its own pocket within the handbag. This is good, I like it to be in the same place each time it rings.
  • a bright pink case containing my quilting business cards
  • a ‘sniffy’ – one of those things that smells like vicks and clears your sinuses, very useful before and after take off when travelling by plane. It helps to stop my ears from hurting.
  • a glasses case containing my glasses – the sunglasses are missing from this photo because I still had them on top of my head.
  • a tin of peppermints – these give me a boost when I get a bit sleepy.
  • my work ID badge on a green lanyard with my work keys, a whistle and a 2GB memory stick.
  • my blue ipod*
  • a receipt from a quilt shop
  • an asthma puffer – strangely I am the only member of my family who does not need to use it AND the only member of my family who actually carries on around with me at all times.
  • my purse – small and compact
  • a blue biro – in a medium point with a lid. If it loses the lid I throw it out. It makes the pen too short and I don’t like it.
  • my lipgloss is there too buried under other stuff – just to prove that I am a girl

I am certain that all of this reveals a bit more of my personality than you needed to know!

*This is a song I recently added to my ipod. Perfect for dancing when you are wearing a taffeta dress and shoulder pads with a tight spiral perm…


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