I've had Christmas.
Truly I have, but not in the 'I'm so over this capitalist pig-fest' sense; I've actually had my Christmas Day, done and dusted, and now I can just sit back and watch the rest of the western world go crazy for a week. It's a great feeling.
We went down to Colonel & Lady Duck's prickle farm and had our day on Saturday, since on Wednesday this week Bumblebee heads off for three weeks with his father (we take turns having Christmas access; the one who misses out gets the next Easter).
When we do this, the day is so authentic that the 'real' Christmas Day feels wrong. This year we waited until 3pm to start festivities, since my godmother auntie was driving down from Wollongong to join us. At the dot of 3, the bubbly was popped, the presents were doled out, and the yummies began, starting with a hug pile of prawns and oysters and lemon-cooked tuna (as in not cooked, but marinated in lemon juice all day). Scrabble was played, stomachs were rubbed gently in front of a late night screening of Tim Minchin (better than the Queen's speech) and a good time was had by all. Especially Bumblebee, who not only scored an iPod Touch out of us all collectively, but extra stuff as well because everyone secretly (and stoopidly) felt like their portion of a tiny appliance wasn't enough and bought him various other things. DOH.
My present pile included a ukulele (a Tanglewood tenor, for those who care), chocolates, a pair of shoes and some clothes, a Scrabble mug (heh), lots of books (including Best Poems of 2011) and a book voucher (Colonel Duck and I exchange vouchers for most occasions). I also got a beautiful carved wooden illuminated cap C that I should be able to use on my press. Lovely!
I overindulged so much that on the way home yesterday I had to stop at Nimitabel (the small hamlet at the top of Brown Mountain) to hurl my guts at the nearest clump of grass near the car door (I wanted to make it to the portaloo, but I just couldn't get there), much to the interest of a couple of dogs picnicking nearby. I haven't done that for YEARS, must have been the lunchtime bourbon & cola UDL (left over from the office xmas party: see below). :)
Ah yes, we also had Best Beloved's office Christmas party at our house (he told me three days before). I skulked in my studio for most of the time, until the real fun started: Mean Santa. It's a Kris Kringle type of affair, with everyone buying a random present for around $10, but then all the wrapped presents are put in the centre and all the participants pick a number out of a bowl. Number 1 gets to pick and unwrap a present. First choice! But no... number 2 gets to pick & unwrap, and then decide if they prefer their choice or the other opened present, and they can take it if they want. And so forth, with each person getting the choice of all the presents that have already been opened. So the best number to get is the last one, because you then have the full gamut of presents to choose from.
I enjoyed the deviousness of some of the presents, bought by people who have played before. One was an ARRRRRR bra (that's the noise we all made when we saw it) which made all the ladies laugh but the men were reluctant to even touch it. Another was a bunch of lottery scratchy tickets -- very smart, because it was indeed such a gamble. Did you take that over a $10 Koko Black chocolate voucher? Would you be left with a bunch of useless bits of paper and a longing for lost chocolate or would you be a millionaire who could buy all the chocolate you wanted? MWAH HA HA HA HA HAAAAAA...
They had a big BBQ (once we ran down to the shops to get a new gas bottle. So hard to tell how much gas is left in them!) and one of Best Beloved's authentic puddings. We had one on Saturday too, and there's one left for next Sunday, that we'll eat with the cats and a few human strays, which will be our only Xmas effort. Oh dear, that sentence makes me sound like a cannibal who has cats for entree. But you all know what I mean.
So hopefully the next week is going to be lovely and relaxed with some quality studio time and a lot of lolling, in the traditional, prone sense.
There's been a little bit of rushing around getting things together for another reason. Two years ago we flirted with the idea of sending Bumblebee to the local private high school and when he didn't get in (they had a bumper waiting list that year) he went happily to the local public school and we just got on with life. The private school is closer than the public school, which is really why we thought we'd apply, plus the fact that we'd been REALLY cranky with his half-arsed primary school (which HAD been one of the best primary schools in the area until the last 2 years of his time there).
Anyhoo, a week ago we were called by the school to say that there were vacancies in the year 9 intake, were we still interested, and if we were we had three days to accept. GAH! Emergency family meeting. As much as B enjoyed the social life at his current school, we've been less than happy with the school and its organisational skillz. Plus the fact that it's headlined the local news twice this year, once for a girl-bully knife fight in the middle of the school yard and once for a Hep-A outbreak in the school canteen that resulted in lots of people needing immediate vaccination.
Also, B had fallen in love with the private school's facilities when he did the tour a few years ago. They cater really well for both kinds of students, the academic sort and the vocational sort, with a full commercial kitchen, mechanics workshop, great library, and a school intranet that actually works (the one for his current school SUCKS, despite it being the 'new, improved' version). When we pointed out that he's not moving cities, that his friends will still live a short bike ride away and that he'll still see them on the bike path every day, Bumblebee became quite interested in giving this new school a chance. Plus we gave him a promise that if he gets to the end of the year and he's miserable and hates the school, he can go back to his old school. We mean it. The other option is he just does year 9 and 10 there, and goes to the public college which is even closer again to our house.
So we said yes, and that means big changes next year for all of us, including budgets and belt-tightening. We went in today to have another look at the school, and I was really pleased to see B bouncing out of the place enthusiastically, so I hope he does enjoy it. The uniform is in his favorite Sith colours: black and red, which sweetens the deal. The official list says 'in winter, you can wear a scarf, but it must be black': BUMMER!
So happy Christmas preparations to you, may it all be sweet and simple.
Don't forget to wrap your cat (thanks Elephant's Child!)