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Thursday, December 29, 2016

The last of the 25 days of Christmas...

The last of the Christmas gatherings has been held and we are fast approaching New Year.
On Christmas Eve when we had family here, I was congratulating myself in remembering to put all the food out; nothing left in the fridge, no bread left in the oven or cupboard... all remembered and put out.
Next morning DH was chuckling and pointing at something in the dining room. This point of interest was the box of bonbons that he had made a special trip to buy early on Christmas Eve, and the box was unopened! All good though as DsD1 commented via Facebook that we could use some of them on Wednesday night when we were celebrating Christmas with her and Dan and 2 other family guests...and we did! So 6 bonbons were used.

So those Days of Christmas photos that took us up to Christmas Day...
Day 22

A collage of some of my Christmas angels; all gifts over the years.
The angel top left is my most recent; from Susan at this year's Sunday Stitchers Christmas Lunch.
The angel top right was a gift from a student teacher whose teaching prac I supervised in late November in his final year . That young man did an excellent prac and I knew he would do well in his chosen career. He is married now with 2 a little while ago now!
The two bead angels on the right in the lower photo, were made as gifts for me by two brothers whom I taught a few years apart.
All treasured items for my tree each year. ( next year I might feature some of the other angels in my collection :-) )

Day 23

The tree and the hutch. Once upon a time, these two would be 'dressed' in their Christmas finery by December 1. This year I got this all done on the evening of December 21. My previous 'lateness record' was the afternoon of December 24 and it was only done then because the family were coming that night for Christmas dinner.

Day 24
On this day I posted a photo of a decorated tree that I took at Coffee Works in Mareeba FNQ on November that was early! The decorations were packets of the company's coffee, and a few packets of the tea they blend and sell.

Day 25
As usual I found I had lots more than 25 photos that I could have used for this project in 2016. I always expect to run out but it doesn't happen. This year were all 'first time used' photos, so none from the previous 3 years, although I did put an old favourite in the comments of one day's photo.
For Day 25 I made a collage of photos of Christmas 2016 catch ups that I attended in November and December. 

So now, ever onward until the New Year. Happy New Year Everyone!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

ChookyblueSSCS 2016

In an earlier post I wrote about the lovely crocheted Christmas tree ornament that my Secret Santa, Martine, had made for me. Well on Christmas Day, the other parcels from Martine could be opened.  And I was just so thrilled with my gifts. Firstly a beautifully made Christmas table centre/table topper made with such lovely fabrics. This will be proudly out on show next Christmas! 

And there was a little parcel to open as well...look at all those lovely braid and lace edgings...what fun I will have with them too! 

Thank you once again Martine for my lovely gifts all the way from Belgium. And a big thank you to Chookyblue for once again organising this swap. It's the only swap I join in with these days. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas came...and went!

Yep! Christmas 2016 has now been celebrated, and except for a Christmas meal with DsD1 and Dan on Wednesday night, it's over for another year. ( they spent the actual day with Dan's extended family who all gathered in the town of Brigalow for Christmas)

So DH and I had our usual Christmas Eve family gathering for all family who could make it.
Anthea wore her Christmas dress that DH and I had bought her in November (hoping it would still fit by the end of December) and now she is crawling, I realised that Eduardo's water bowl would have to be relocated as soon as I took the photo!

As well as Anthea being on the move these days, DH and I are also  babysitting DD2's dog Jimmy while they are away at Rainbow Beach. So that's two potential escape artists, so DH and I had bought a gate for the back steps of the veranda. DH took one look at the instructions and was a bit flummoxed. But two of our sons in law are a builder and mechanical engineer respectively and I had asked for their help. 'Fifteen minutes tops, to get that installed!' they both said...and they were right!
Because DsD2 wanted to get little Anthea fed and off to bed by about 7ish, we gave Anthea her gifts before this. There was a bundle of things for her but I think the favourite was the mother quokka, complete with a baby in her pouch that we had bought on Rottnest Island.
And the 'touch and feel' animal books from Albany were pretty popular too.
This year I was thrilled to have my nephew from Sydney fly up to Brisbane on Christmas Eve, so he and my niece joined us. My niece Jenny, is the Coronary Care nurse and she had to dash off after dessert to start her shift at Prince Charles Hospital. Max and Lucy my great niece and nephew were spending Christmas with their dad Eric...a few changes there since last Christmas.

On Christmas Day DH and I went to the second church service in the morning, as I was a little sleep in! The Nativity had been set up at the Family service on Christmas Eve... no dinosaurs or exotic animals like lions, tigers and giraffes were in the stable this year...unlike some years in our other parish church, when 'littlies' want to put 'special' animal toys there. :-)

Christmas lunch was at DH's younger brother's place with all that extended family in attendance...always a lovely meal. This year my sister in law's nephew brought some afternoon tea items that he had goodness, the spread was overwhelming. I asked DH to take a photo of this spread as I had forgotten to take my phone...he only took a photo of the multi layer pavlova, not the 2 fancy trifles, some fig pastries, profiteroles and honey puffs. There was a lot, plus my SiL's signature cannoli.
We came home to our place around 4pm and were visited by DD1 and Cam. They were hoping that I still had some of the rumballs (well brandy balls really as I used that spirit not rum) I had made, left. Apparently the box of them that I'd given Cam and DD1, had all been 'accidentally' eaten by my daughter and Cam had had none. :-(. Luckily there were some left here, so hopefully Cam can finally try some.
Despite having visitors, DH and Jimmy were caught snoozing on the cane lounge...
 So that was Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Graduation

This December two of DH's daughters graduated with Masters degrees; DsD1 in Education Studies and DsD3 in Social Work; Advanced Practice. Unfortunately DH was in hospital for his elder daughter's ceremony and it looked like he would miss DsD3's a week later.  The second ceremony was in Port Macquarie, NSW, and weeks earlier we had booked a 2 bedroom unit and the plan was that we would take DsD3 to her ceremony, a 6 hour drive.
Well, when it looked like DH and I wouldn't be going, DsD3 asked her mother to take time off work and go with her and use the unit. And then DH got clearance to travel that distance as a passenger, so the trip was on again. But we couldn't very well tell DH's ex wife she couldn't come, so the four of us headed off.
So we sat in the back seat and were chauffeured.

The lovely town of Woodburn was our lunch stop.

Another stop was at the Big Banana at Coffs Harbour...there's a stand downhill from the iconic banana where you can slot a mobile phone. Set the timer and then dash up to stand in front of the banana for a photo.

It was a long drive and it was good to reach our destination. And we all had an early night! 
The next day was ceremony wasn't until mid afternoon so we spent the morning exploring. First stop was Tacking Point with its old lighthouse, the remains of the lighthouse keeper's cottage and some magnificent views.

The cottage

Then a stop at Town Beach Park...
Now the uni only allows 2 guests and I had given DsD3's mum my ticket so I didn't expect to see the ceremony. But we were able to buy a ticket.
So I got to be part of it after all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

And even more 25 Days of Christmas...

My goodness another week has gone by already! 
Day 15 photo was 'about collars'. Same dress, different wearers and different collars.
On the left is DD1 wearing the dress I made for her first communion, and a few years later DD2 is wearing the same dress for the school's Christmas Carols Night. Yep, the good old detachable collars. 

Day 16 photo is Jimmy, DD2's dog, all dressed up in his cute Christmas outfit. He'd probably still fit into it as he hasn't grown much. 😃

Day 17 
A children's book that has become a favourite of mine ever since a teaching partner introduced me to it. Some of my classes have acted out the story for end of year concerts. It is the Christmas story told from the viewpoint of the innkeeper at Bethlehem. He gets increasingly grumpy as he is being woken up throughout the night by shepherds and kings knocking at his door as well as bright lights and choirs of angels preventing him from sleeping.
If you have the time, this is a link to a lovely video of some New Zealand children acting out the story.

Day 18 photo is from Christmas Eve 2014 when the family was speaking to DsD3 via Skype. She was living in Canada and had to get up during the early hours of the morning for the call, due to the time difference. ( it was the day before Christmas Eve in that part of the world) This year she will be sitting at the same table as the rest of us.
Day 19
This is a collage of photos of Christmas break up activities that our family were involved with at our parish church...late 1980s, early 1990s vintage. It was always lots of fun for the children and adults alike. 

Day 20
From vintage to present day...some of the Christmas decorations we saw in Port Macquarie just a few days ago...
 The baubles on the tree were as big as basketballs! 

Day 21
Recently a brand new IKEA store opened just north of Brisbane at Northlakes. DH and I waited a week or so before heading up there for a look. 
We bought a few gifts for some of the little people in our lives and then headed down to the checkouts. And just before the checkouts was the Christmas department and I was entranced by the range of decorations. Entranced but not tempted to buy, I just took some photos. 
So December is now in its third week; not long now till Christmas 😃🌲🌲

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Wool on Sundays...a 'hotchpotch' 😉

My little drawstring bag of yarn scraps and crochet hook has been getting a 'workout' recently...

Filling in time at the hospital

Or something to do with the hands on a recent long car trip where DH and I were fortunate enough to be 'chauffeured' by family members. ( more about that in a later post) 

So I have a nice little bundle of completed granny squares to add to the growing pile of squares  for joining to make blankets for the needy. ( and especially for the women's refuges that K4BN support.) 

When I got tired of making 10 inch squares, I just used up some little bits of yarn to make 'starter' granny squares, to be enlarged and completed at future Knit and Natters. 

And in other yarn related happenings here at my place, is this. Languishing in a storage cube is a UFO which was put aside when other projects took priority. It is a throw in purples and mauves that my daughter asked me to make for her friend. These two have been friends since they worked for the same firm in DD1's late teens. The last 5 years they have been housemates, but now Janelle has moved to a new place of her own. I'm hoping to get back to this project when 'Christmas is over and life is less busy'?? Well that's the plan anyway. I have put all the mauves/purples from my stash together with the partly knitted throw and all that loveliness is certainly inspiring. 

But I have a LONG way to go before it's finished though, haven't I 😉🙄

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Chookyblue Secret Santa Swap...

Once again I signed up for this swap run by Chookyblue. It's the only Christmas swap that I do these days. Aussie participants always receive a partner from overseas, which is lots of fun. In this swap we make an ornament and the main gift is something handmade that has taken some effort to make. As soon as the parcel arrives we can open the ornament but the main gift is opened on either Christmas Eve if that is the tradition, or on Christmas Day. 
The parcel from my Secret Santa arrived yesterday, all the way from Belgium! My Secret Santa this year is Martine. 
Inside were these parcels wrapped in pretty Christmas paper...and that one on the left has the word 'ornament' written on it! The parcel I can open straight away! 😊

And here is my new ornament...
A lovely crocheted Christmas tree; the photo doesn't do justice to the lovely yarn that Martine had used. It has the most delightful coloured flecks through it. 
Thank you Martine; I love my new tree decoration. 😄

Medically speaking...

I was going to write about my recently having a Bone Density Test 6 years after my last one ( so 4 years overdue! 🙁) and despite losing height over that time, I don't have osteoporosis !! Yay!!
I was also going to write about having my hands X-rayed recently which confirmed I have rather bad osteoarthritis in my finger and thumb joints but that taking a huge glucosamine tablet each day has already made a difference. But all this pales into insignificance when I tell you about DH's latest medical adventures! 
Last Sunday he collapsed at the 18th hole of the golf course. He was whisked off to hospital in an ambulance and my lovely neighbour drove me to the hospital to meet up with him in Emergency with me phoning all the girls as we travelled along. 
Despite having a head start, he wasn't there when I arrived.  When DsD3 and I were finally called into the Resus room, we found out that his heart had stopped twice on the journey and the ambulance had to pull over while he was resuscitated. 😳😫😥
He still managed a smile for the camera!

After a while he was wheeled around to an 'Acute' treatment room and the family had to take turns with him as only 3 people allowed. That's a pretty generous allocation I thought in such a small area. 
My niece is a nurse in the Coronary Care Unit of this hospital and despite being on days off she came in. She was great; liaising with the doctors and explaining everything to DH. The doctors were of the opinion that there was a problem with 'the electrics' of DH's heart as an angiogram last year had shown no blockages or serious narrowing in the arteries. 

Finally a bed was found and DH was wheeled to the Coronary Care unit for close monitoring overnight.
Those blue paper-like curtains were there too but unlike those in Emergency these had mesh panels at the top...I do tend to notice these insignificant details 😉

Late on Monday DH was transferred to the private hospital right next door and then things started to happen! MRI in the morning and an operation in the late afternoon to fit a pacemaker. 
DsD3 and I stayed in his room while he went off to theatre...
I had my bag of 'waiting supplies'...

And some hospital cafe food for my rather late lunch at 4.30

Before DH came back from theatre the doctor assisting the cardiologist came down to explain the home monitor for the pacemaker...and this is where it gets high tech!
That gadget that looks like a mobile phone uploads the data of the past 24 hours from the pacemaker and sends it to the Server in Germany, from there this data can be accessed by the doctor. The Server can flag quickly if the pacemaker has detected a problem. The monitor just has to be within 2 metres of DH each night. The upload is programmed for between 1.30 and 2 am, and it 'works' in over 100 countries. 
So now I'll show some more 'magic', or the transformation after surgery...the pictures tell all! 
Within half an hour of returning from theatre ( because only local anesthetic and a sedative were used, DH didn't go to Recovery)...
An hour after returning from theatre...
He was typing away on Facebook despite the oxygen levels' monitor on his forefinger. 😉
And 11 hours later...dressed and ready to go home but waiting to have an echocardiogram first.

So that was Wednesday and he continues to recover and he's doing really well. 
Now frightening though this has all been, it is fortuitous that it has happened. DH collapsed while doing a brisk daily walk on Boxing Day 2014 and an angiogram showed no blockages in the heart so the doctors concluded the episode was diabetes related. But this time when his heart actually stopped beating the paramedics had it all recorded and showed that there has been a problem with arrhythmia. Suddenly the fainting spells on the toilet or when getting up during the night that have occurred over many years 'make sense'. 
Now back to was the 18th hole and apparently it had been a 'good day at golf' for DH. When he regained consciousness he insisted on signing his card so his friends could hand it in and I believe ' he won a ball'. Chuckles...😆

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Some more '25 Days of Christmas Project'...

Thank you for all the lovely comments on the post I wrote about the first week of this project. So, to continue...
Day 8

This collage is made up of photos of Christmas trees that I saw all on one day earlier in December. The larger photo shows a big pile of real trees that had obviously been delivered to this suburban shop earlier. The staff were gradually moving the trees into the side yard of the shop. The smell of the pine trees was wonderful!  The smaller tree at the top right was a tree made of wooden fence palings in the foyer of a big hardware store. The decorations were store gift cards 😊. The other tree was a little artificial tree on the table at the Holland Park hotel where a group of us lunched to celebrate the coming of Christmas. 😉
Day 9
Found in a box of old photos was this treasure! It's a handmade pop-up card made by DD2 for her dad and I. Vintage would be mid 1990s.

Day 10

I was surprised by how much the Day 10 photo stirred up memories of childhood for others. I'd actually been a bit reticent about posting it, but I'm glad I did. When I was about 9 I really wanted a Christmas tree at home, but my parents weren't too keen on the idea. Probably it didn't fit the family budget. I'm guessing that those families who did have a tree had 'real' ones as I don't remember artificial ones around in the 1950s. 
So...not to be thwarted in my attempts to have a Christmas tree, I hacked a branch off the acalypha hedge that served as our front fence and put it in one of the old metal buckets that were kept in the laundry. Memory fades but I reckon the tree decorations would have been paper chains. 
The other photos in the collage are the artificial trees I bought over the years in my adulthood. 

Day 11
Driving through a number of suburbs one morning recently I realised it was the last day of the school year before the long Christmas holidays. That made me think of the staff breakfasts that we used to have on those days...arriving early at school about 7am, all staff ( teaching, ancillary,  admin, grounds, cleaners,) would sit down for breakfast ( and Christmas food treats) until 9. So the day 11 photo is of my last staff breakfast before I retired.

Day 12

DD1 and DD2 are holding the Christmas cakes that my friend helped them ice and decorate. They did a great job and had lots of fun. I'd say this photo dates back to the late 1980s.

Day 13

These were photos taken last Saturday night when DH and I went out with my brother and sister in law  to the Carols Night of the Underground Opera Company.
The venue is the old reservoir in Spring Hill. It was built in the 1800s and was the original water storage supply for Brisbane of that time. It was decommissioned in the 1960s and sat derelict until it was eventually restored and opened to the public for various 'cultural occasions'. The building is 6 metres underground and the beautiful brick arches allow for wonderful acoustics. It's really fascinating to be sitting on what would have been the bottom of a giant 'water tank'. 
Day 14
And it was time to post another photo from the family archives...this time, from DH's family. Christmas 1981 at his parents' house...
All those children in the photos are in their 40s now. My sister in law Sonja is the lady with the pink top and DH's mum is in the lower left photo. Such memories; the little house is gone now, replaced by two large homes of two storeys. 
So only 11 more days of photos to go for 2016!