family and a portmanteau, hopefully without ado!

table 2

A little bit excited this morning, for today, we are doing Christmas, Take 2. Daughter2 and Her Beau have arrived and later we will be joined by my sister, her daughter and husband, and their four children (the youngest being that little 825gram baby girl born in June who has since been pronounced “perfect in every way” by her doctors), as well as Daughter1 and family (yes Petite Fille is returning!), Son and Mr FD’s sister. Whew!

Simple meal this time, though I am tackling a turducken. My first. It is not a huge turducken, but considering the challenge a simple roast proved on Christmas Day, I am psyching myself up for the cooking! My daughters and son in laws are far better cooks than I, so I have plenty of assistance should I need it! Apart from the turducken, we shall barbecue bratwurst sausages which will suit the wee ones.

I have asked everyone to bring a salad, but to keep it simple. No stress intended for anyone. I think my sister is contributing a cucumber and tomato salad that our Mum always made, which I have found out is German in origin, naturally, but so simple I am sure it has spread across cultures. Sliced cucumber and tomato in a bowl, salt and pepper to taste and then fresh cream dressing. Just cream, nothing else. Nom nom. Mum grew up on a dairy farm and she knew many ways to use cream. One of the best was thick cream on a slice of bread sprinkled with sugar! Triple nom nom!

Bad, but good at the same time, if you know what I mean.  A little like me!

Tomorrow, we will be driving into the city to meet D2’s future inlaws. We have been conversing on Facebook but are yet to meet face to face, so Tuesday is the big day. We are meeting on neutral ground for lunch! They will be in awe of course.

Enjoy your day, I am going to make the most of mine!

Flamingo Dancer.

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Portmanteau : link to definition

Carrying my place with me

 

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I don’t know why taking the rubbish out to the bin led to my comment, but as I walked back through the front door, I couldn’t help remarking to Mr FD that “we really do live in the best place in the world.”

For those new to the flock, Mr FD and I decided on a tree change just over two years ago. We moved from a large, two storey house in a Brisbane suburb to live in a small “village” about an hour’s drive from the city. Our home is smaller, more manageable to suit our downsized lifestyle, and has the textures of brick and natural wood we love. Every room has a view of trees.

We have a tall cathedral window in our living room that gives us a floor to ceiling view of tall towering gum trees and our garden, as if there is nothing between us and the world outside. In fact, it does its job a little too well, as once or twice a week we hear the bam! of a bird making contact with the glass. We joke that one day the window will break and then we will replace it with a huge stained glass STOP! sign window, to warn the birds.

Living here means that I have a 40 minute drive each way to teach every work day, but that is a small part to play for the joy of living where we do. (And we traded my car in for a hybrid to alleviate the fuel issues). I can walk onto our patio any morning and watch a variety of birds catching their early worms, or maybe follow a wallaby making its way across our lawn. Our trees are old and very tall, and as I write this blog, sitting near the open window, I can hear the wind blowing through the branches of the gums. Just hear the serenity!

Our property is just over an acre on the side of a hill, and so we have the added gift of sweeping views across the valley. There is even a lake to be seen in the distance. Surrounded by trees, the front road is hidden and we can pretend the rest of the world has ceased to exist. I do, for days on end, when not interrupted by the need to go “out there”.

Add to that, our first family dog, a cream, golden retriever named Augie, who arrived as we did, and the cup really does runneth over.

“We really do live in a beautiful place,” I said.

Mr Fd replied, “Someone from overseas wrote to me that they were sorry for what happened in Sydney (a terrorist siege that resulted in the deaths of two innocent hostages) and I said, that though there are horrors vested upon us, on the whole we do live in the best country in the world.”

The best place in the best country in the world, that is where I live.

 

When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go.

                                                            Alexandra Stoddard

 

Just putting this into words, has made me realise, that living here has made me a better person. I am no longer concerned about image, or ambition. I have slowed down. Now moments mean more than things. It would be nice to think that I am also a kinder, more forgiving person; mellowed a little, but at the very least, I am happier and so very content.

I wish to you all, that in 2015 you may find your little piece of paradise. If you have already, that you may hang on to it tightly and let it fill you, heal you and make you the person you wish to be.

Flamingo Dancer.

via Flamingo Dancer blog

seek no answers here

phone

Me: “The notice says that the surgery is open every second Saturday.”

Receptionist nods in agreement.

Me: “Would that be the first and third Saturday, or the second and fourth Saturday of the month?”

Receptionist looks at me as if  I have just asked her to donate her kidney to me.

Me :”I was just wondering which Saturdays the surgery is open.”

Receptionist: “We were open last Saturday and we are open this Saturday.”

Me: “I don’t need an appointment. I was just wondering what the schedule is; first and third Saturdays, or second and fourth for example.”

Receptionist shrugs her shoulders and looks at me as if I am a sandwich short of a picnic. “We were open last Saturday and we are open this Saturday, because a lot of people want to get things sorted before going on holidays”.

She’s lucky the pen she handed me to sign my medicare form is not already poking out of her left nostril.

“And after that? In the new year, how will I know on a Saturday, whether the surgery is open?” Am I speaking in tongues?

Receptionist mutely stares back at me.

“So, basically, what I have to do is phone to find out if you are open on any particular Saturday?”

Receptionist nods silently.

I was imagining her going into the back room and sharing with the other nurses, “There was this woman who just asked me which Saturdays we were open!” and her colleagues would all hoot in merriment at the stupidity of their patients.

 

“Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.”
― Euripides, Bacchae

A moment in time between a Flamingo Dancer and a bird of a different colour

Mr FD spied with his little eyes, one of these sitting on top of a basket of old blankets outside the patio door.

Tawny Frogmouth 1

Tawny Frogmouth

 

Except our photos are more like this :

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It was evening, hence why he was out and about

 

I just grabbed my iPhone to snap, but I wasn’t going to miss the moment just to perfect the photo.

The Tawny Frogmouth may have been a baby, as it was still rather fluffy. We wondered if it was the product of the fortification we witnessed between a pair of Tawny Frogmouths in the branches of a tree near the front of our block a little while ago… It seems to be a bit of a spectator sport for Mr FD and I, watching creatures fornicate. When we were a courting couple we arrived  home to see two cats fornicating under Mr FD’s share house, and one of the resulting kittens became a family pet, for the next 18 years! We also spied a pair of canoodling green frogs on our drive way not long after we moved into our Brisbane house a decade ago. We did not see another green frog until we moved to the country.

The little guy had settled on top of a basket of old blankets I was going to store in the garage to make forts with Petite Fille should ever the need arise. He flew away eventually, ending Augie’s dream of a tidbit for dinner (don’t worry, Augie Dog does not eat birds and was well enclosed in the house anyway!)

Another round of applause for country living.

Flamingo Dancer almost goes a step too far

critics

To be less boring, step outside of your comfort zone and do something that scares you, advised Professor Google.

I decided to clean and tidy the laundry room.

It was never a good idea.

Let’s be frank, it looked like a scene from a World War II movie after  both armies had fought a long and bloody battle back and forth for a number of years. No prisoners were taken. It should have been declared a no man’s land. Well, it kind of is, for rarely does man set foot in there. Son stores his cans of Pepsi in the fridge in there and that is the only time he ventures over the threshold. Mr FD entered on the day we moved in, two years ago, to set down a couple of boxes. He hasn’t returned since.

Oh, and the boxes are still there.

I figured that if that “stuff” had not been required in two years, its best storage place was the garbage bin. The bin was full however, and pick up day is another two days away.

There was a box of coat hangers that I tried to wrestle into submission, but they won. How do coat hangers, so called inanimate objects, tangle themselves around each other, as they sit in a box? I guess if we knew that we would possibly have the answer to the meaning of life as well.

Balancing on the edge of one of the boxes, I found a laundry basket filled with unmatched socks. I took them out to Mr FD and informed him that he had nothing to, and so he could match the socks. He made no argument, merely  requested that I take the basket to our bedroom and place it on our bed, where he would endeavour to sort them shortly.

That night I moved the undisturbed basket from the bed to the only vacant corner in our bedroom. Our bedroom is something that scares the entire family.

Back in the laundry room, I found a pile of dirty linen that I had been thinking was clean laundry, just not folded laundry. That managed to cover a couple of dirty spots on the floor tiles, thus alleviating the need to wash the floor.   Of course it was raining, so the laundry couldn’t actually be put in the washer. It had to wait for a sunny day…tomorrow, tomorrow, there will always be tomorrow…

The thought that I might actually accomplish something was perhaps a step too far out of my comfort zone. I am fresh on the “non boring” person program, after all. Best to take things slowly. I changed the hand towel over the sink.

A woman named Flamingo Dancer buys a Christmas ham

SONY DSC

The antidote for being boring is spontaneity, or so claim the Google Experts. Add a “twist” to normal activities, they suggest.

Having decided that The Flamingo Dancer was on the grey side of boring, I decided to shake those tail feathers and try a spot of spontaneity, add a twist to my day.

The first spontaneous thing I decided to try, was getting out of bed on the opposite side to where I normally rise. A change is as good as a holiday, after all. Giddy with excitement, I rolled onto my right side to exit from the right side of the bed and my head hit an immovable object. I had neglected to take in the fact that Mr FD was still residing on his side of the bed. He was unaware he was now slumbering in the exit lane.

My forehead had taken quite a whack from his solid form, so my next moment of spontaneity was to brew coffee instead of tea as my first beverage of the day. Well, I would have, but we were out of coffee. I settled for tea, as usual. However, I did inject some whimsy into the day, by drinking from a “guest” mug and not one of my regular, favourite mugs. It had a crack in it, and dripped tea down my shirt front.

In the mood for baking, I eschewed my usual muffin recipes, and threw all caution to the wind to bake banana and sultana cinnamon muffins. Nom Nom. Spontaneity might just be worth the effort. 

Feeling that I was on the way to a fulfilled, spontaneous, non-boring life, I ventured out with Mr FD in tow to purchase a Christmas Ham. We went to a supermarket in the next town just on the whim for adventure and I practically danced through the front doors, sure that our ham would have little angels circling it as a sign of support for my new life style.

We found the meat department and stood in front of the ham cabinet, ready to scrutinise, knock and knead thereby selecting the finest ham ever shared by the Flamingo Dancer Family.

No angels circling, but I suspect a few flying pigs may have been nearby, for residing in a large fridge cabinet was…one ham. I guess it was Saturday, and I guess it is peak ham season, and no doubt they would be restocking that night, but we were standing there and then.

“That makes choosing easy”, said Mr FD. He could hear the distant call of his armchair.

When Mr FD sets out on a mission, he will not be deflected. That is, unless there is a coffee, or a good lie down, on offer. He would not return home empty handed! The ham, though, was huge. I was not even sure it would fit in our fridge. Who thinks to measure their fridge before buying a leg of ham? Mr FD was not in the mood to debate, so the ham made its way home with us. Man saw meat, man took meat.

Indeed, it fills an entire fridge shelf. I don’t have a roasting dish that it will fit in, and I doubt if it would fit into the oven anyway, so no glazed ham on the menu.  Augie Dog is going to love that ham bone when it comes his way!

I am not sure where that all measures on the spontaniety gauge. Somewhere between an emergency appendectomy and  receiving a letter from the council telling you they misread your water meter and here is your seven dollars and fifty-eight cents refund cheque, which means you will have to actually make a trip to the bank to deposit seven dollars and fifty-eight cents.

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I woke knowing I had to make pancakes this morning. I haven’t made pancakes in, forever. Augie Dog had his own pancake when Son and I breakfasted, and when Mr FD rose from his sleep in, Augie Dog lined up for another pancake.

He was so excited that he twirled around the kitchen while I cooked the pancake. Augie, not Mr FD. Alas, Mr FD’s twirling days are long ago. He can do a soft shoe shuffle though.

Afterwards, Son and I toured the vegetable garden and I picked some of the salad greens and included them on our lunch sandwiches. First harvest of salad greens from our new patch.

After lunch I settled down, a wine glass in hand, and watched one of those teary, warm and fuzzy Christmas movies that we all fall willing victim to at this time of year.

Just waiting for the Christmas tree to be brought in from the garage. What more can I say…

sometimes