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Ranty Tuesday: teaching racism in the 1950s

I’ve been reading an old primary school social studies book. The casual and explicit racism is beyond belief.

There’s been a lot of head shaking and OMG-ing. And calling out to Mr S, “Oh my god, listen to this.” And, “Are you ready for more?” And sharing bits with my oldest son, he’s the one who has been very active in Labor politics and is very left. He just stares, bug-eyed and open-mouthed. And then laughs, “Did they really write that for primary kids?”

So what caused such a stir in the House of Lucinda? What is it in the 1950s social studies textbook for the young in NSW schools that has left us outraged?

Let’s start with the worst bit. The unnamed author is giving an account of the first British settlement and the new animals and flora they encountered – the platypus, lyre-bird, wattles, dingoes. OK, you’ve already guessed part of it. The next bit is on the local Aboriginal people. Like, they are just part of the flora and fauna. But it gets worse. They are referred to as the natives and the blacks. Still gets worse.

The author says Phillip, the first British governor, did all he could to “win their friendship.” Even when attacked by spears, he didn’t allow his men to fire guns as “he wanted the good-will not the ill-will of the Australian people. To learn their words and ways, he sent a party of sailors to Manly to catch a couple of them.”

What the actual fuck!

Catch them like some animals to observe! And the author doesn’t even realise the absolute oxymoron – writes of good will and in the very next sentence writes of kidnapping which is downplayed as “catching”, maybe she wants it to sound like a game of chasing in the playground?

Anyway, it still gets worse. The poor blighter who was kidnapped, allegedly “settled down” and taught Phillip some words. Then comes the closing sentence: “Everyone was sorry when Manly fell sick and died.”

Holy shit! No acknowledgement of the role played in his lonely death.

Then “another blackfellow [was] caught… He was a vain, cheerful fellow who talked a lot about himself.” This is what stands out? His immature nature compared with the clever, brave early British explorers!

What of the frontier wars? You’ve got to be kidding. Of course, there is no such thing. Rather, a story of justified action.

About 80 years later, the blacks in … Queensland speared a brave explorer named Edmund Kennedy. They were angry with him because, to save his party, he had to shoot some of them.” (my emphasis on brave.)

Can we unpack this? The European is brave. The local Aboriginal people are emotional and act unreasonably but Kennedy had no choice? Why? What had happened? And “some of them” – how many is some? We’re they dead?

A cursory search turns up interesting facts. No mention of shootings. I think the local people were engaged in warfare – it’s the 1840s and they would know what destruction arrival of the Europeans herald. As to brave, I think the European explorers were brave. But also so stupid. Most of Kennedy’s party dies. From starvation, and one from accidentally shooting himself. They got hopelessly lost and stuck in mangroves. It’s worth a quick Google. Or read this. You know who’s brave, Jackey Jackey, the Koorie from Port Jackson who carries Kennedy in his back , holds him as he dies and makes it to the supply ship without food while still being tracked and attacked by the local Aboriginal people.

This ignorance seems a recurring theme in Australian explorer tales – they ignore that Aboriginal people live in these areas, ignore that there may be things to learn, ignore that they may wish to defend their land.

But back to the racism in the text book. All the info given about the Aboriginal people’s is negative. Dampier, the English explorer, is quoted at length, thinking them the “miserablest people in the world … with great bottle noses… are of unpleasing aspect, having not one graceful feature in their faces.”

As Older Son says, if the English were on the ships, how’d they know what the First Nations people said?

Cook is quoted as saying they had the worst canoes he has ever seen. And when he came near to two fellows on land, they were unable to understand that he came in peace, so had to shoot them when they threw spears at his landing party. I mean he tried to tell them in the King’s English, what’s wrong with them!!! (Luckily he was able to use beads to coax the childish natives!)

I found this next quote strange, implying as it did that the Aboriginal people were defending their land against invaders (given that this was not the norm for textbooks or common opinion in the 50s) and strange as it went against the Australian orthodoxy that Australian defence personnel are the bravest in the world. After hearing the guns…

Very much afraid, they ran and hid themselves, just as other Australians did in 1942 when they heard the roar of Japanese bombers over Darwin. p24

Have you had enough?

Well, it continues. Banks is quoted as describing their huts as wretchedly built with “nothing more than pieces of bark” and their beards rough snd their bodies very dirty. Cook is said to have spat on his finger to rub off some dirt to see the actual skin colour. I mean, how bloody rude! And it is written as if it is the most natural and understandable thing to do. Why wouldn’t an English explorer have the right to touch someone with spit to check out the skin colour?

Of course, the Aboriginal people are described as having “odd habits”. This written straight after describing the spitting as skin wiping scene. I suppose that’s not an odd habit, it’s just disgustingly rude.

The Aboriginal peoples are portrayed as stupid and lacking knowledge or adult commonsense – for example, being puzzled by the clothing – but the author doesn’t record how the Europeans are ignorant – obviously because the author herself doesn’t think there could be purpose or reason for the actions of the Aboriginal peoples and their ways of living based on knowledge and culture.

I do wonder if Miss changed her views.

You know portrayal of Aboriginal history and culture wasn’t much better in the text books in the 70s. I remember my high school history textbook refer to Aboriginal people’s living a Stone Age like existence. No recognition of the diversity of lives. Nothing on frontier wars. Nothing on racism. Nothing on fight for land rights. I think the latter may have been a little sentence on Whitlam and his revolutionary government.

There’s more on people from other countries but I think we’ve covered enough for one post. I will save Miss portrayal of Chinese and Malaysians and Muslims for another post.

Remember the young students taught this in the 1950s are only just retiring. I know the owner of this textbook went to an expensive private boys school, whose students went onto to being leaders in business, law and politics. The owner of the textbook is a lawyer with an Order of Australia for his work. How did the students shake off the racism they were taught? Did they shake off the racist beliefs?

A bookish Christmas

I have been a member of a book club for over a decade. The membership has waxed and waned.

The core group for a number of years includes two other ladies who were there before I joined. Several of the ladies I only see at book club meetings. And yet, I feel we’ve become very close.

Our December meeting has morphed into a Christmas dinner, with book talk being inconsequential.

There have been divergent views on gift giving. One lady was all for it. Small gifts. Another previously said we shouldn’t start – it may become a chore.

I have a view that I accept gifts graciously and I may or may not give them. Depends on time, and to a lesser extent, finding something that strikes me as appropriate. Something I can buy six or seven of. Time is the real issue. Although I know it comes every year, it seems to sneak up on me too quickly.

I think we are happy to give and receive gifts but don’t care if someone does not give one. We all know how busy life is. One year one person may give and the next year not. It’s not an obligation!

Really, there is nothing that any of us NEED. We are all financially able to go out and buy whatever we want. None of us want more clutter. What to buy that is small, a token, but isn’t going to be pointless, and end as landfill?

Are you a gifter in these situations?

So what did we gift and receive?

  • A candle
  • Homemade flavoured salt. (I chose rosemary for roast lamb.)
  • Hand cream
  • German hazelnut star shaped biscuits (Yes, they were from me. But no, not home baked.)
  • A lovely unique Christmas decoration. (You’ll see it soon.)
  • And the best idea, a second hand book from one member’s purchases this year. She picked one that she thought would appeal or suit each of us. How perfect for ladies who love books, don’t want clutter, have enough stuff, and want to avoid commercialism? And for those who are all a bit green and anti-waste! Each book came with a home made laminated book mark.

A daily bit of Christmas

Inspired by Vivien, I’m going to do a bit of Christmas every day.

Yesterday I posted about my advent calendar. It had been sitting in the living room all week, tempting me. I wanted to open one door early so I could see the size of the bottle. Of course, Mr S said I had to wait. He likes things to be done on the “correct” day in the correct order. I hate surprises and suspense and don’t see the point of waiting. Which, I admit, kind of is what advent calendars are about.

Well, at 3.30am I woke feeling very thirsty. We’d eaten at a Thai restaurant the night before. No, I didn’t have a little tipple. I had a glass of water. But I did open the first door and was quite thrilled to see a pale rosé.

Today’s little bit of Christmas: my tree! Work demands meant last year I put it up so late, it hardly seemed worth it. This year we will be disappearing on Boxing Day, so I need to get it up early to make the most of beauty of the Christmas tree.

Now, the annual dilemma.

Put everything on and have a multi-colour extravaganza. Or keep a pared back look of colour coordinated decorations.

I’ve put up red and silver.

What do you think? Should I add more decorations? Gold? Purple? Blue? Pink? I have rich, jewelled colours. And subtle pink and white ones. And big tin ones.

Tell me, tell me, tell me, do.

Köln (Cologne) stop over

On our way to our next stop, Äachen, we stopped off at Köln.

I wasn’t really going to bother stopping there. Nothing at Köln attracts me. Yes, the largest Gothic cathedral is there. But I’ve seen it.

But stop we did. Mr S hasn’t seen the cathedral. And we had to change trains at Köln anyway. And I wanted to catch up with a girl who stayed at our place while backpacking around Australia.

We left our luggage in the left luggage at the station. Very groovy. You pop your bag in a small compartment in an automatic booth (€3 for 2 hours; €6 for 24 hours) and it is whisked away. OK, whisk suggests speed and it is not speedy. Most machines were out of order, so there was a bit of a queue. The woman behind Brendan wasn’t happy and kept pushing her luggage into him. As if it was his fault. I wasn’t aware of that until we walked away. Otherwise I would have told her off.

It’s impressive that the cathedral is JUST THERE. Right next to the station.

But so are the crowds. The homeless. The very smelly. (I nearly threw up at the smell in the station waiting room.) The beggars. The dirt.

Yes, it is big. And covered in Gothic carvings. And a marvel of engineering. But it is not beautiful. And it’s crowded. And it’s dirty. And it has no sense of place – all that surrounds it makes it feel out of place.

OK, I’m hard to please.

We met up with Lena, the German girl who stayed st our place for a week after being an au pair in NZ. She took us to s pub for which was spot on as Ms S wanted to try Goffel, a type of beer. Quite nice as it turns out. Easily quaffable.

The pub is next to the station. And it is huge. We sat down. But no, can’t sit here if you are not ordering food. Even though the place had plenty of empty seats. Over to the corner for us. (Such warm welcoming friendly people. Twice in 30 minutes in Köln.)

The beer was good. But let’s look around.

Off to the original locks on bridge. It started here. It is impressive.

Then to the old town. Which looks a lot like any old town in Germany. Again, difficult to say whether buildings are originals or rebuilt, as Cologne was bombed heavily. (Still, you have to admire the reconstruction. In Australia, we’d replace it every 20 years with something of increasing ghastliness.)

And with some interesting fountains.

We tried a local dish. Deep fried potato and onion fritters. With apple sauce. And with sugarbeet syrup. I don’t think the person cooking eats many – way too slim for deep fried food.

OK.

Two hours was enough.

Let’s get out of this joint. Too dirty. Crowded. Grotty. Broken glass everywhere.

Sorry, Kölners. Your city is not for me. (And for future travellers, if you have to choose: pick Äachen.)

The Dressmaker 

If you haven’t seen this then go. Go now. 

  
I went with Mr S. Friends asked why I was taking him to a sewing film. It isn’t about sewing dresses. 

Another friend asked why I went with Mr as and didn’t organise a girls’ outing. Well it isn’t a chick flick. Though most, if not all, males were there with female partners. Still, Mr S loved the film. 

Yes, there are The Most Beautiful Gowns. 

  
But there’s patch works of comedy, tragedy, romance, revenge Western. All sown together with a running stitch of quirkiness. 

Kate Winslet an authentic Aussie accent. 

  
Judy Davis is brilliant. 

  
Hugo Weaving, as the cross dressing police officer, strikes a pose in homage/direct reference to the pose he struck in Priscilla

  
Points that niggled were minor. The love interest had very manicured hands for a labouring itinerant. And his accent was nothing like we sounded in the 50s. Told you they were minor. 

There is a fire. Which I won’t say more about so as not to need a spoiler alert. Except to say, given our propensity to bush fires and the destruction they cause, I hate them as a narrative element. 

Pfft to The Guardians review which says it is unbearable and “chokingly terrible”.  Crap. It’s good. Maybe it’s just too Aussie for the pompous Pom? 

The Independent says it loses the humour because of serious themes (loss of child, domestic violence, guilt). But why must a film be one thing?

Anyway, see it. And tell me what you think. 

   
 

In August I watched …

Remember when TV was ephemeral? You watched a show when it was on free to air (was there any other sort of television?) and if you missed a bit, well tough. If you were lucky a show was repeated, which may have been done later in the week if the show proved popular. Otherwise you waited. And waited. 

The next day at school, you’d talk about what was on, what you watched. I don’t think we had the concept of spoiler alert then. 

Then came video recorders. You might have recorded a show if you were going out but it was tough to you if people talked about a show. It was your responsibility to watch the show close to the time it was aired. 

Now there are so many ways of watching programs. We’ve lost the communal joy of watching something together, OK at our own home but at the same time and then talking about it – AT THE SAME TIME. 

Our public broadcaster develops series that I often enjoy and if you miss out you can catch up online. But not for them waiting until the series is over, or releasing one episode online after it has played free to air. That’s so old hat. Now they release some series online all at once. 

Such was the release of Glitch – a spooky thriller in a spookily Australian way. Not for our police to find naked bodies covered in soil in the cemetery, all dazed and incoherent, and think zombies. No, the local copper thinks there’s been a party and misuse of drugs. Anyway, I was hooked by the first episode so I binged. And then had no one to talk about it with. I sent a text to my sister-in-law to watch, cause sometimes we watch shows at the same time and talk by text while the show is on. But she wouldn’t because she was home alone and the show was scary. Very scary. (I screamed out loud twice during the first episode and Mr S asked if I’d be OK as he was going to bed.)

  
One friend, in a manner so unlike her normal viewing habits, indeed she has been urging me to binge on OITNB, watched Glitch one episode at a time on the night and the time it was aired. Other friends, at my encouragement, caught up, having missed it as it wasn’t well-advertised, but waited until the next weekend by which time I had moved on and didn’t feel the need to discuss it. 

And now I can’t wait until series 2. 

While we’re on the topic of zombies, I watched the movie The World’s End. OK, not zombies (spoiler alert) but aliens. The zombies came from the first film, Shaun of the Dead. I do like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Funny but scary. Watch all three of the Three Flavours Cornetto, if you haven’t and you like off-beat, scary humour. 

  
And how did I watch The World’s End? I watched it on a DVD because there were no films on Netflix that my son, his girlfriend and I could agree on one Sunday night. Too much low brow, poorly written American crap. About five films repeated with different titles and different actors. So there to digital media. Owning a hard copy is so to the way to go. 

Let’s make another link to zombies. Well it’s a comedy about bureaucracy but that’s close enough to zombies. Utopia. I watched old-school style. On the time it was first aired. One episode at a time. Too funny. The writers must have worked on government once it just rings all too true. And sadly so. Laugh-cringe-cry. 

I used the catchup online platform to introduce our American visitors to Australian comedy, Upper Middle Bogan, a program I watched last year and Netflix to share my love of the British comedy series, The I.T. Crowd.  

  
Even my free to air viewing is often not really “live”. Using my TV I can pause, rewind and record. 

But as that Sunday night when my son, his girlfriend and I looked for a movie to watch, we can have so many different sources – Netflix, online catchup, free to air – and still have nothing to watch. 

How do you watch a TV program? And what have you been watching?

We have arrived

I have a friend who is nearing the end of her trip to the UK. And Iceland. Yes, that’s right, Iceland. Seems a strange combination to many – going to the UK and Iceland. But it isn’t strange to me.

We read Burial Rites together. And I have a calling to visit Iceland ever since my father ran off with an Icelandic woman and we ended up living with her Icelandic husband. (Don’t ask. It was the 70s.)

Anyway, those who enjoyed tales of my trip, join my friend and read her tales at https://cooperslife.wordpress.com

PS. I’ve never reblogged a post from someone else’s blog so let’s see how it goes. Here’s my friends arrival in Heathrow. Agree, Sydney customs and immigration are so much more friendly. Which isn’t hard. The woman at Heathrow immigration for us was a stoney faced uncivil thing.

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We have finally arrived in London after much planning, packing and re-packing. The trip, 71/2 hours Sydney to Singapore then 13 1/2 hours from Singore to Heathrow was a very positive experience greatly assisted, by the seating which provide excellent leg room though no storage facilities for any bags. Singapore hostesses were the best and the meals were delicious.

Arrived feeling reasonably fresh with no jet lag to be met by an efficious blond male immigration officer who ultimately felt the need to speak to my husband! Do I need to tell you what I was thinking? Giving him the benefit of the doubt, maybe I was more jet lagged than I thought. In any case, I salute the immigration officers at Kingsford Smith who have only ever been positive and supportive of travellers with a warm smile and a ‘g’day’ that would make any senior jet lagged old girl feel…

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Eating out

I love food and I love eating out. As does Mr S.

Due to stereotypes, our expectations of mid and cheap priced eating out in London weren’t too high but we were looking forward to a curry and a Jamie Oliver roast. 

As well as the curry from a curry house about which I’ve already posted, we ate at Masala Zone, a chain that serve thalis. These are stainless steel platters with little bowls with dahl, raiti, chutney, rice, vegetable curry, salad and the meat curry of your choice, papadum and chapatti. For about £15 each. Wasn’t enough for Mr S but I thought it was good. 

And the rest?

Mmm… Well. Yeah. 

We didn’t go to The Ledbury, a Michelin one hat, which was close to our accommodation. Degustation menu cooked by an Australian! I can do that at home. 

Mr S liked the Jamie Oliver Sunday roast. The manner of service was impressive. The roast for two is served like a mini buffet to your table and you help yourself. Carrots cooked in a bread shell. Meat on slate platter. For me, the view of St Paul’s was the best bit. And the carrots. But it’s a lot to pay for carrots. 

View from table at Jamie Oliver Barbecoa to St Paul’s.

So what didn’t impress me? Well, the price for what it was. And the meat had heaps of sinew and was very rare. I like meat rare but not a roast. Slow cooked and fall apart. Mr S liked the smokey flavour and the crispness on the outside and tender inside. I also don’t fancy creamed spinach. Nor cauliflower in a white sauce. I didn’t think there was enough potatoes for the amount of meat. Definitely needed more gravy. The little jug didn’t cover the meat, let alone the potatoes. 

And, although we booked, they couldn’t find our booking so we couldn’t have the roast lamb. (You have to book the roast 24 hours ahead.) They did have roast beef for us so could “fit us in”. But I really wanted to try British lamb. 

We ate a quick lunch at Cafe Concerto before The Book of Mormon. I ate the caramelised onion tartine: onion and goats cheese on toasted bread with rocket (and potato wedges which really didn’t go and I didn’t eat.) It was simple and delish. Could have had this again; and will copy it’s simple deliciousness at home. (Making my own caramelised onion chutney as we speak.) Mr S had he antipasto plate and found it more than satisfactory. 

 

My dish, half way through.

 

Wish I’d skipped the cafe at the Imperial War Museum. (Had cake and a cup of tea. Both pretty ordinary.)

Also wish I’d skipped dinner at The Cow. OK, glad I tried it because if we hadn’t gone I would have regretted it. But the pint of prawns! My god I got value for money. I kept having them repeat all night. They were pretty awful. If I hadn’t had a couple of glasses of prosecco, I wouldn’t have been able to finish them. Mr S thought they tasted like they looked – awful. The rest was pretty ordinary. Mr S also thinks the pub was well named as the waiter was beyond brisk, more like abrupt and rude. 

The pub dinner of sausages and mash at the pub opposite Hampton Court hit the mark on the cold day. But it’s not something I can’t do at home. 

We had a late lunch at the Grand Cafe at the Royal Exchange. Mr S had the seafood chowder. It was really good. (We seem to have struck a theme: get the soup. Remember we loved his soup at Westminter Abbey’s eatery.) And he thought the sausage and mash was great too. On the other hand my fish cake was disappointing. Quite dry and nothing to eat it with except aoli with horseradish and I’ve already told you I don’t like horseradish. And it came with a glob of spinach. Cooked spinach on its own is sort of swamp-like, don’t you think? What is it with spinach? Jamie’s roast had it. 

We had fancy pies with veg at a pub in the City. I thought it was a good pub meal. Washed down with a couple of pints. 

We had fish and chips at yet another pub in Portobello Rd which was good. The batter was crisp, the chips a bit too crisp. But it was a nice lunch. 

Given our success with soup we had the soup at a pub along the Grand Canal near Paddington. Carrot and chickpea. We lucked out. I couldn’t finish it. Maybe vegetarian soup isn’t the way to go? Without the broth, perhaps it lacks the depth of flavour? Very disappointing. 

Mr S wanted to go back to the Royal Exchange and have the chowder again. And I could have had another bowl of the fennel and celeriac soup from the Abbey. I know I won’t cook either of these as well. But there was nothing else we ate that I’d want to recreate or would crave back home. Come winter we will have gourmet sausages and mash – but that’s a staple winter dish. 

Mr S says I can’t say the food was pretty disappointing and not that good. He says it is too abrupt and inflammatory. He says I should say the food lived up to our expectations. Though we bristled at the cost.

Either way, you get the message. But it’s OK. We didn’t go there for the food. 

Now did I tell you about the raspberries and the apples? They were divine. If you’re from Australia, eat them in England. They beat ours hands down. 

Want a pet?

I deliberated whether I should buy my oldest son a cat for Christmas.

He really wants a pet, and I always had a pet growing up.

We even have a cat flap in our back door from the previous owners. So we’re set!

But then I thought of the reasons why we shouldn’t. I hate fur every where. And anything that bites, like mozzies or fleas, finds and bites me. A cat would be sure to get fleas, no matter how well treated. And we have blue tongue lizards, a host of bird life, and other animals in our yard. They’d soon go with a cat around, even if said cat wore a bell. (The only animals I would be happy for the cat to scare away are brushtail possums, but given the size of the brushtails around here, a cat would have to be too big to fit through the cat flap to scare any brushies and then the cat would probably hunt us too!) And said son is a pig. He’d never clean up after his cat. It’d be left to me. And I struggle to keep the house at a liveable standard. And we all work long hours. Poor animal would be alone a lot.

So all the “ands” added up.

He got clothes instead.

For the past two weeks I have been looking after a neighbour’s guinea pigs. Yes, they are cute.

Right call to not get a cat.

Too much responsibility. (Worrying and caring for them in the heat!) More mess. (If only animals could poo in a toilet.) More work. (Twice daily, sometimes more, visits to feed, and water and give shelter from the heat.) And having to think about them when you go out. (“Quick, let’s get back. Have to feed the pigs.”)

Today I said goodbye to my “leased” pets”. Mr S thought I would not be able to give them up (back?) as they are so cute. The little black one eats out of my hand and let’s me scratch him and and he gurgles when I scratch him.

But no, Mr S is wrong. Happy to give them back. Happy to no longer be responsible. Yes, they are cute. Yes, it’s a nice feeling having an animal like you. But it is a case of diminishing returns. Definitely not part of my gorgeous life. (And really, they are rodents!)

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Where have you been?

Last month my mother said, “You’re too stressed at work.”

How did she make this conclusion?

“You haven’t been posting on Facebook or writing on your Lucinda thing.”

Yes, stuff and this and that have kept me more than busy, where stuff and this and that mean work.

Dropped my focus on health and well-being, dropped my blogging, even too exhausted to read. And then time passed and it just seemed too hard to start writing.

Rachel at Book Snob says it better than I could even think it. And my apologies for the poorly constructed asides.

“So, it’s December. Already. I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that life appears to speed up as you get older. [Yes it does, dear Rachel, but not only seems, it scientifically, actually does.] … Life just slips through my fingers like sand, and I am left at the end of a week, wondering how it can possibly be Sunday already all over again.

“One of the many joys of being a teacher is that no day is ever the same, but unfortunately each day is also a manic maelstrom of activity that sucks you in as soon as you step over the threshold at 8am and doesn’t spit you out again until late in the evening, when you emerge, slightly shaken, slightly confused, and wondering where the day went, and why you still have a pile of marking on your desk. … The speed of the day, and the pressure of having to perform, [having to make hundreds of decisions a day, piles of pointless paperwork and dealing with dickheads (parents, not kids.)].

“Reading has gone out of the window, because I’m finding it really hard to concentrate on anything. I’ve spent plenty of lovely weekends doing interesting things .., but I can’t find the energy or the creativity to write about them. .. So, this is just to say, I suppose, that I am here…just about, but you’ll probably have to wait until the Christmas holidays before you get anything like a decent post out of me. Hopefully I’ll have cheered up by then.”

And here it is. It’s Christmas. And I’ve cheered up. Took me a bit to get my tree done, and I didn’t put up all my decorations. But I have definitely cheered up.

A tree in lights! So cheering.

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And you know, being away always reminds me of the Will and Grace episode, where the two have drifted apart and Grace doesn’t know Will has been off dairy for two months. The message: you have to share the little things, the minutiae of life, and share it regularly, so connections and friendships are sustained. So stay tuned for more pointless blithering.