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Easter traditions

I don’t believe in supernatural beings. I don’t believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins.

But I’m thankful for the Christian traditions that have given me Easter. I love Easter.

I love decorating with Easter-inspired decorations. Bunnies, eggs, flowers. Strange, I know on so many levels. Symbols of spring and rebirth – in our season of autumn!!! Rabbits are such noxious pests in Australia.

I loved all the decorations my mother did growing up. I hope when I go to Germany, I will be able to find some authentic German Easter decorations. Doubtful, I know, as it will be the wrong seasons. I also loved colouring and decorating hard boiled eggs when we were growing up. My Oma was the master egg blower. Not for her hard boiled. You could hardly find the hole through which she blew out the contents.

Growing up, we would get Easter gifts. Normally things we needed coming into winter – new PJs, new slippers – and a book. Always books. I still give little needed gifts to my sons. This time undies!

Laid out on the decorated table, it just adds a bit of specialness to the year. And so much better than getting a packet of undies tossed at you.

I love hot cross buns. The traditional ones with fruit. Not chocolate ones. They’re just chocolate muffins with a cross. Not apple and cinnamon. Come on. They’re a travesty. At a pinch, I can have the traditional-looking ones without fruit bits. I confess, while I do eat them on Good Friday, I don’t only eat them on Good Friday. I eat my fill a few weeks before and a week or two after Easter, and then that’s it until next year. But on Good Friday, we eat lunch them together as a family. Well, Mr S and I do, kid-ults not generally being up.

I love chocolate eggs. Red tulip bunnies are my fav. I loved the chocolate chicken on a basket I used to get as a child. I love little eggs. Ever since I can remember, you have to smooth out the foil covering of the little eggs and make a ring or a wine glass. It’s mandatory, don’t you know. New is my love of MnM crunchie eggs. New because we didn’t have them decades ago.

I love the family roast lunch on Easter Sunday. Numbers are dwindling, as cousins grow up, but with family visiting this year from the US, we still have a full table to enjoy Mr S’s roast lamb.

Mr S and The Dreamer have their own annual tradition of going to The Royal Easter Show. Dirty Boy and I don’t usually go to The Show. Tacky. Crowded. This year, I went to The Show. We took our US visitors. Spent hours there. And loved it. The district displays. A bit of wood chopping competition (which I never see anywhere else, but can’t miss if I go to The Show.) Animals. Dog show. Horse riding and tricks/competitions. Spent heaps on things I never knew I wanted, let alone existed, but once seen, simply had to have. Like this electric massager and necklace with the moons from my birthdate and both of my sons’.

Like everyone, we finished at the showbag pavilion and compulsory annual purchase of the must-have-every-year-even-if-we-haven’t-eaten last-year’s-lot Bertie Beetle bag.

“Where’s my Ninja bag?” asked Dirty Boy when we got home. Since getting one from Nanna as a kid, it remains the most loved one, full of plastic crap and a few lollies and something to inflate to hit your brother with. “Sorry, they didn’t have them anymore.”

Normally Easter falls towards the end of the school term, a week or two before term breaks up. The public holidays are much appreciated. Ahhhh, rest. We sit and relax while other maniacs rush up the highway for the traditional camping trip. “Ha! We’ll have holidays soon. We don’t need to be stuck in the highway parking lot. We’ll eat and read and rest over Easter and go exploring in the break.”

Except this year, Easter fell in the school holiday break. We feel a bit ripped off. No extra long weekend. And horrendous traffic during our holidays!!! With visitors from the US, we broke our usual rule of NOT venturing out in our car over Easter, and did a day trip to the Southern Highlands. This time of year is perfect for exploring and picnicking.

Thank you, Christians. I love Easter.

Jygglygirl

I have abandoned Snapchat. Pah! It’s so last month. 

I’m into Pokemon Go. 

For now!

I went into the city for dinner this week and caught Pokemon and spun Pokestops for balls and potions and eggs. The city is positively alive with stops and lures. Like sparkling hearts. And with all the gyms flashing over the streetscape (on my phone) so much more alive than out in the sticks where I live. Hardly any Pokestops here. 

There’s another thing wrong with living in the burbs. We have plenty of bat-things and pigeon-things but wouldn’t you know it, when an interesting things turns up (platypus-like) I have run out of balls. Luckily I’ve forgotten my apple password or I’d probably spend too much on in-app purchases. 

Look who’s visiting my lounge room!


My eldest hasn’t spoken with me with so much animation and without wanting something for so long. He’s advised me on powering up, evolving, which team to join, when to train and battle, how to transfer, and on other things that made no sense, yet, to me. Who knew it was so complicated!

There’s also been some funny conversations as the group chat with my two boys shows. I’ve renamed them Tweet (that’s Dreamer) and Like (Brother) on the image. 

Picking a team was difficult with my sons in different teams. My choice of Blue team left  Dreamer abandoned as his FB status shows. (He’s on Red team.)


I do feel the blue, red and yellow team lacking any sense of belonging. But then I find most team identity nonsensical. 


You know how the news has been full of invented outrage at people walking without looking as they are playing Pokemon? Well, as I was walking down the street, yes with Pokemon go on, I nearly walked into a man. I was on the wrong side of the path. Totally my fault. “Sorry.” “No worries.” Oow, it’s handy being middle-aged. No one suspects you of being engrossed in Pokemon Go and he may have been less friendly if he knew I was playing that silly game. 

I’ve since found out that there’s an app using the same principles, Google maps, where you can devise treasure hunts. Someone at work is exploring this. 

So who is the Jygglygirl of the title? I don’t know. If it’s not taken you’re welcome to it. I’ve used a variation of Jyggly with my real name as my trainer’s name. Jigglypuff was the only other Pokemon I knew besides Pikachu. But Jiggly+my name was gone so, on Mr S’s suggestion I changed the i to a y. Too modern and hip. 

Hunting the hunters 

I loved looking out the window from our unit onto the scene of families having fun in the snow. How big’s the queue for the chairlift? Any dogs gambling in the snow? Anything to catch the eye?

Whats this? Directly below me is a young man who kept getting his phone out. Is he? Is he? No, he’s just flicking through messages. 

No, he can’t be just reading texts; he’s moving suspiciously around the large snow man. 


Yep, sure enough. He is. He’s hunting Pokemon. 

I am tempted to call out, “Did you catch it?” 

But I don’t want to embarrass him, nor draw attention to my snooping from on high. 

And I will be down there soon too. 

But it was too much to resist asking the next pair who I caught as I returned to my  unit. 


The girls were quite coy. I joked with them and we hunted together. (I did want to tell one off. She had no socks and her shoes were covered in snow. It’s -6°, girl, and snowing. Get some socks on. But I held back. How strong am I? I’m not her mum and their English wasn’t that good.)

Turns out I’m not good at hunting, leading them the wrong way. 

Turns out also it isn’t that easy. 
I gave up. Went home for bubbles. 

Gotta catch them all! 

Next time. 

But I caught one in my lounge room last night. My second. The other one I caught was in my unit at the snow. At this rate, I may never have to look as surreptitious as these hunters. 

Go, go Pokemon

Oops, mixed up my “Go, go Power Rangers” with my Pokemon Go. 

My sons were into both. I could never stand Pokemon. Though I purchased enough Gameboy games (Gold, Diamond, Pearl etc etc), the special edition yellow Polemon Gameboy,  Pokedex, cards, cards and yet more cards that one would think I understood them. The attraction, the rules, the stories. 

Nup. Got nothing. I can identify the yellow one – Pikachu. That’s it. The sum total of over 17 years of hearing the cartoons and my boys playing cards and games and discussing strategy. 

So why have I joined the current craze? Well it is amazing how the technology brings these things into your space. And it is a great procrastination technique and time waster. 

My boys were very chatty with me as I sent texts questioning, seeking advice on how to catch them and whether I should battle others. 

Like playing with SnapChat (and SongPop before that), this phase will pass. It’s quite fun. Yes, I could be doing more worthy things with my time. But while it was snowing it gave something to do. 

I must admit, I only caught two down the snow. (And both of them were in my room!) I felt a bit silly prowling around the snow obviously looking for Pokemons. And if I continue when at home is doubtful. 

Are you giving this a go?

Whatever your thoughts on the game, you have to admit though the technology is amazing.

Middle-aged adolescents

A friend introduced me to Snapchat over the holidays. Apparently we ruined it. 

Once old people join in, it’s just ruined. Well so said friend’s teenage daughter. 

But you know if a middle-aged suburban mother joins it, it’s probably passed its prime anyway. 

So go somewhere else, you young things. Go join some other new social media platform. (But know we’ll ruin that too in a few years.)

Still, daily, for two weeks we had hysterically silly fun. 

And then we got creative and produced collages of our shots. 

I know the whole point of Snapchat is the ephemeral, temporary nature of the photos, but who can resist saving the funny shots? (Just goes to show, we just don’t get it, do we!)


I wish I could share the videos of my friend and her sister. You’d spit your drink all over your keyboard or smartphone. 

It’s great being old enough to have childish fun and not worry about being cool or what others, who just don’t get it, think. 

I think we need to start a sub-branch movement of mindfulness. Being present in the moment but in a fun, less noble, less consciously worthy way.

Pure, silly fun. Definitely needs to be part of every gorgeous and healthy life! 

PS: I had to write about some safe fun I have engaged in as I got in trouble from my mother for the dangerous acts described in my last post. 

PPS. My friend couldn’t post her collage in the comment section, so here’s her anonymous addition. 

A very lively August

  
It’s the last month of winter but no need to hibernate. I’ve been out and about the traps and mixing it up with family and friends.

  • Hosted family from the States. 

Mr S’s  cousin and his wife and daughter stayed with us for a week. That meant mad cleaning, tidying and sorting of bedrooms before their visit. 

While I had to work, we still did some tour guide activities. The weekend they were here was all go go go. We drove up the Central Coast to have morning tea with my sister-in-law. Then we headed to Patonga for lunch. I’ve always wanted to go here but Mr S has an ingrained bent against the Central Coast, perhaps it was all those years of visiting his grandparents. But he was impressed with the natural beauty of Patonga. 

The food was meh. Not great, not bad. But the view, the soft sand which we walked on after lunch, the water, the sky. It was a beautiful day. Not warm enough to swim but warm enough to think about it. 

The next day I took the wife and daughter shopping. First to a major shopping centre. The daughter needed clothes for the new school year. I am so glad we have uniforms in Australian schools. Saves many a mother-daughter relationship. Problem with entering a shopping centre is a dress that I really liked by a brand I bought in London, popped out at me and it was heavily reduced. OK, I searched through the racks to find one I liked in a style that suited at a discounted price. 

After that I took them to the supermarket. There’s a joy in trying foods, especially snack foods from other countries. And there’s a joy in sharing childhood favourites with others. Like Wagon Wheels, Golden Gaytimes, Honey Jumbles. 

  • Local theatre play. 

I’ve been to this local, non-professional theatre before. This time I saw Steel Magnolias with some book club ladies. Attended the matinee which we felt started rather late at 4pm. We clubbers are wild, you know! Great acting, especially considering the actors all hold down day jobs. Even though I’ve seen the movie several times, I still teared up. 

  • A night of variety entertainment 

My workplace’s annual showcase night. It was long and some performances raw in the way angsty teenagers can be. But some was cute, some amazing, and one song produced goose bumps. 

  • The ballet

First time ever. Not quite “The Ballet” with capital letters. It was the recently graduated students of the Australian ballet, performing a mixture of pieces; pieces we expected to know. Ballet for the plebs. But we must be more plebeian than we realised as the music for most of the evening was unknown to us. Still, I was impressed and may work up one day to The Ballet. 

  • High tea

Just a lovely thing to do. Sit and eat nibbly little things. Over sparkling wine and tea. 

Opps! Took the photo after I had eaten a few!

  • Stand-up comedy

I love Dylan Moran. Saw him live a few years ago. Stand-up comedy is one of the things my eldest son and I do together.  It’s our thing. 

  

  • Book club

Reviewed the book already. Go Set A Watchman.  

  • The Theatre

  
Saw one of my favourite Australian actors, Richard Roxbourgh in a Chekov play. Hate Chekov but really wanted to see Rake, I mean Mr Roxbourgh. And The Present was brilliant, entertaining, funny. But long. It wasn’t a tragedy, but turned into a farce. 

  
Roxbough was fantastic.  Cate Blanchett was wickedly sexy. Both of them sustained their energy. They ran on about six or seven times for applause. I laughed! What a cruel trick to play on the actors. Cate did look exhausted with all that running on. 

  

  • Took youngest son to airport

OK, not an outing but his plane to the States left so early, it wiped me out for the day. 

  • School reunion

Caught up with some people from back in the day, the school day. Was a chat fest and too much bubbly. 

  • Lunch at the Rocks

For non-Sydneysiders, The Rocks is the “old town” of Sydney. Was cut out of rock and now has pubs, restaurants, tourist shops. As happens with a booked out diary, I was on The Rocks on the Saturday for the play and had lunch at an Italian place and backed up my visit with a return on Sunday. Mr S and I caught up with a friend for a loooong lunch. Actually mainly a liquid lunch, though I had a steak sandwich. 

The Rocks deserves a post of its own. And damn it, it will get one. 

As a taster: Just below the Rocks is the old wharf area. Also turned into restaurants and theatres – it’s where I saw The Present. There’s a steep cliff down to the wharf road and at the base is this sculpture. Taking the rocks literally. 

   

 

    Five live events in one month!!! Five! I’m exhausted remembering it all. And all those other social events. 

    I need a good lie down. 

    More stuff?

    I hit the Christmas sales. Yes, brought more stuff into my house. Not all necessary but lovely nonetheless.

    I was only going in to buy a set of sheets for one of my sons, a backpack for our travels and a book for book club. But the first store I walked into was a handbag shop.

    Look! How could I resist this?

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    Such a lovely shade of aqua. And so shiny. With a beautiful sparkly clasp. And the lining is so cute with handbags and shoes and hats and hat boxes. Makes me smile just looking at it.

    Then I went looking for sandals. I always look for shoes because I have very particular needs and tastes so can rarely find what I want. No high heels, no ballet flats, no thong style, nothing beige, nothing that looks like it is “comfortable” and made for old ladies with cankles. What I want is something for everyday in summer. Not too blingy, not too boring.

    No luck in a few shops.

    Given it is sale time I went it my favourite department store, DJs, to find the sheets. No luck. Not much range for king single beds. And I am not paying hundreds of dollars.

    While I’m in DJs, I might as well try on some heavily discounted clobber. So I tried on a heap of clothes. Ignoring the “only 4 items in the change room”, I must have been in there a while as someone knocked on my door a couple of times to check it was in use. Anyway, I decided to be strong and NOT buy clothes (as I had already ordered 6 items online from an English clothing company – mmmm, I know, I’ll share those later – and I am meant to be saving for our trips overseas).

    But I didn’t resist this top, I mean just look at the sparkles! I had admired it previously but couldn’t justify the price. On sale it was OK.

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    Got two bags for travelling at an outdoors shop, Kathmandu, that always has sales. If you buy anything full price there, you’re mad. Just wait a week. They’ll be on sale. Anyway I needed a new backpack. And then I thought I’d like one that goes over the shoulder rather than a full backpack for London. Still want to carry my water bottle, snacks and purchases but not walk around with a backpack. Low and behold, Kathmandu had just such a bag. Perfect I thought. Lots of little sections for being organised. What do you think?

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    Anyway, I got home and found out the over the shoulder bag is a nappy bag! Oh well, it fits my purpose which definitely has nothing to do with nappies.

    Found my book.

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    Struck silver (not gold, not quite what I had in mind, but still very happy) with these sandals. And look at the cute polka dot sunnies.

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    Visited the ABC Shop, as I had a $10 voucher and I always look out for full cast radio plays from the BBC. Not easy to get. Located one! Just one among the audio book readings. And another DVD for my back.

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    Being a bit weighed down from all my purchases, I visited one last shop for the sheets. Bingo. Got a nice set. And look! A beautiful cushion! So I bought two for my bed.

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    And then I toddled off home, to share my good luck and good taste with Mr S.

    (And my beautiful online stuff? Four skirts, a top and a jacket from Boden. Gorgeous colours, so well made, so me! I showed a friend and she asked if my wardrobe was like the Tardis, ever-expanding. No! But I had a year off, remember? And some clothes, particularly skirts that are over 10 years old, are due to be retired. I just can’t face that yet and will wear them a few more times.) The new skirts are properly lined, with the lining being reversed hemmed.

    Here’s the four skirts – two for summer, two winter.

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    NYE & NYD – with added sparkles

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    Mr S and I celebrated NYE with our own little party.

    Before the party, we had a lovely dinner of Thai Beef salad with sweet soy Hokkien noodles with our boys and one boy’s girlfriend. (I will share the recipe in a future post if anyone would like.) Then the youngsters sodded off, to various parties, as youngsters do.

    Thus the party of two commenced. And, as you will see, ensuring no entrance of whipper snappers was key to we oldies having fun.

    I controlled the music, so we had a night of mainly Weddings, Parties, Anything; playing it very loud!

    My back has been very bad again but it is amazing how alcohol frees it up and stops the pain. (That bottle of sparkling wine is for medicinal purposes, Doctor.) So we danced. And danced.

    Perhaps not gracefully, but definitely with joyous abandonment. And without any worries that a group of young people would enter the house. (Our boys have frequent visitors and, while they are used to a certain eccentricity, the veneer of respectability must be maintained.)

    And then we (avert your eyes if nudity offends) jumped in the pool, rudey-nudey style.

    Such fun!

    Turned on the TV to catch the fireworks. We both agreed you have to be there. But as we both hate crowds, agreed we were happy not to be there. And then Mr S made us a cup of tea. No way could we have had that if we were in the city!

    Then The Duggars came on. Mr S had never heard of them before. And he never watches reality TV. He was shocked at the psycho innocence in the mother’s eyes. And the ridiculousness of the side hug. Ten minutes was enough for him, so he escaped to front porch to drink his cup of tea and watch our Christmas lights. And I stuffed myself full of marshmallows. I felt sick immediately but they feel so soft and sweet, I couldn’t stop.

    It is the marshmallows I blame for feeling ill the next morning!

    The celebrations continued with family on New Year’s Day. All up 11 people for lunch.

    “No alcohol for me today. Thanks.”

    “Think of your back! And hair of the dog is the best thing for a hangover.”

    “Oh, OK, just one.” (Opps. One bottle later!)

    With a conveyor belt of food, as is our way. Nibbles, cheese platter, potato salad, mixed salad, chicken kebabs, beef sausages, beef cutlets, pav, trifle, chocolates.

    Our own Hogmanay!

    Happy New Year everyone!

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