Friday, 9 December 2016

Writing those cards and letters

Love getting Christmas cards and letters. Every Christmas I wait anxiously for the first one to arrive. I know emails are easier but I value knowing that my friends have gone to a bit more trouble, just for me.

Today I posted a few cards and letters myself. More to do tomorrow.

I have a routine.
First, comes the gigantic task of writing the Christmas letter. Aaaargh! It seems like the fiftieth epistle to the Romans or something. What to include? What to gloss over? Photos are essential. Two pages, printed back to back, with a festive border.
Next is the card writing, envelope addressing, decorating, and so forth. I do try to be quite ethical in my choice of cards. Handmade is best. Charity cards are next. Purchases from op shops are considered ethical because the profits are not lining the pockets of tycoons. Cards for overseas friends are always tricky. They should have been posted weeks ago anyway.
Of course, I ran out of stamps. Had to buy a roll of 100. I seal my letters so I am not interested in the discounted Christmas rate.

Already we have a string of cards pegged across the window. Letters came with every one.

I freely admit that when the children were little I hoarded favourite cards from relatives and friends and displayed them year after year. Handmade and special. But the children grew older and discovered my deceit. Some of those cards are stashed in a drawer now. My memories. My heart strings.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

A tree at home

At last, I have assembled and decorated our Christmas tree.

Usually, I become cranky because it seems a big job and I dislike doing it on my own.
This year, we chose to use only part of out tree and the job was smooth and easy.
In the past, we had dogs who chewed decorations. That made life tricky if there were tree lights too.

I know lots of the child-made decorations have been discarded, but there are still many meaningful bits and pieces. There's only one left made by one of our children and I do not even recall which child did it.
Some of the decorations were made by my older sister.
Some are souvenirs of holidays.
The aluminium garlands like tinsel were sent to us when our son was born in 1979. Mum had used that tinsel on our trees when we were children. How glad I am that she saved it. Memories flood my mind every year when we use it. Thank you, Mum.

A few parcels have been wrapped already. More to come.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

O Christmas tree! O Christmas tree!

This lovely tree is now decorating the Mall in my city.

What kind of Christmas has no sunshine? Or palms? Or mangoes?
Christmas in the tropics is magic.
If you are good, Santa might bring you sunny days and warm nights too.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Peking Opera

This week we went to a performance of Peking opera.
In the past, we had a local group who used to do Cantonese opera. This time it was a professional company, the Jungju Theatre Company of Beijing.

Wow! The bookings were so heavy that two extra performances were scheduled. The audience loved it. I loved it. Wonderful.

The show we saw was One Good Turn Deserves Another. Subtitles were shown on the side walls of the theatre, using a powerpoint presentation. The translations were short, but the ideas were conveyed well.
The costumes were just beautiful. There was a simple display of some costumes in the foyer and I managed to capture a little of the finery. Lovely embroidered silk.

Amazing headdresses. Bling.

Terrific makeup.

Although the compere described the props as simple and bare, they were still excellent.

And the voices! Spectacular.

I'm guessing that a lot of this cultural history was lost during the Cultural Revolution, but I am so glad it is being revived.



Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Are we all maternity cases?

Recently I have visited the Darwin Private Hospital on more than a few occasions. And I had a little stay there too.

There's a huge variety of facilities within the hospital such as consulting suites for specialists, the NT Cardiac centre, the reproductive medicine unit, a paediatric unit, a palliative care unit, etc. etc. The wards have lovely names - Corella, Jabiru, and Jacana. All birds.

When I needed to have some routine surgery recently I was accommodated in Jabiru Ward. When my husband visited he told me that he saw there were quite a lot of men in that ward.

I found it absolutely humiliating that I was in a hospital ward clearly labelled as a maternity ward when I definitely was not a maternity patient.

I wondered how those male patients felt. Did they tell their workmates where they were? What sort of jokes were told later? Would you like your brother, husband, father, uncle or grandfather to be placed in a maternity ward?

I've spoken to other women who had a similar experience and they also said that they were so extremely embarrassed to be placed in a maternity ward that they could not bear for their friends to know where they were.

I was so annoyed that I spoke to the general manager of the hospital, emphasising that there are non-maternity patients in Jabiru ward and that all patients should be treated with respect. I asked her how her father or mother might feel if they were in a maternity ward. She did not care. She said that nothing would change and she wanted patients to be treated this way. How on earth do people with such attitudes get jobs?

Why can't all hospital patients be treated with dignity and respect?

Monday, 28 November 2016

Upson Downs

I have definitely been living at Upson Downs for the past few months.
Doctors, hospitals, business changes, and more - you name it, we did it. So many highs and lows.

My husband had some sun cancers removed. One on his forehead turned out to be a nodular basal cell carcinoma. Nobody dies from these but they continue to grow bigger, deeper, wider and are extremely difficult to cut out. Other methods do not work - I know from personal experience. Things are tricky on the forehead, so the surgeon had three attempts. Good surgeon. Good pathologist.
You know the drill. Doctor phones. Visit. "Good morning. I did not get it all; so here is the time for the next attempt. Any questions?" Continue until the conversation changes. Hoping the next pathology report will be excellent.

I thought you might find this photo as amusing as we did. This is not a beanie, it's a bandage. After each surgery, the bandage was bigger. My younger sister suggested a red cap might be the finishing touch. Ha!

Two days later My Hero flew to Melbourne to attend a conference about his favourite topic and also have a holiday with our son Rhys. A well-earned break for everyone. Art galleries. Museums. Bookshops. Restaurants. Markets. Talking, talking, talking.

Must go to the airport to collect my hero. Might make a special dinner too. The sky might be cloudy but the sun is shining in my heart today.

Friday, 21 October 2016

The first sitting of the new Parlaiment

I have mentioned before that a friend was standing for Parliament in the Northern Territory election. I also mentioned that she won her seat.


Parliament had its official first sitting this week.

Selina's family and community turned out to welcome her into the chamber in her new role. I thought you might find these photos interesting.

Selina's mother is from Numbulwar and Selina had gone there to teach. This community is the home of the Red Flag Dancers, an internationally acclaimed company who perform traditional works that belong to their people.

The first photo is of Selina with her parents. You can see the love and pride in the faces of Mick and Didimain. Selina's dress fabric was hand printed by Indigenous Australian artists. This was taken in the Great Hall before the ceremony started.

The second photo is of the dancers bringing Selina into the chamber. You can see that Selina is wearing a special traditional headdress. Originally this would have been woven from pandanus fibre, but these days it is made from acrylic yarn.


The third photo is of the dance company in the Great Hall after the formal ceremony was completed.

To have these dancers present was a massive undertaking and a huge mark of respect. Numbulwar is remote - you can fly there in a light plane, but ... The road, which is not sealed all the way, is cut every the Wet Season. And one year Selina took a group of her students to Cambodia to volunteer at an orphanage. The logistics were incredible. Now this good woman is working for all Territorians.


I wonder if your friends and relatives would do this for you. I know mine would not.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

For those who imagine they are old at 50

I've been busy. That's how Life is.
Saw this and had a laugh.
50 is so young!! I plan on living past 100.


A friend sent this photo to me so I have no idea where it comes from. 

Monday, 29 August 2016

Election happiness

This past weekend was the Northern Territory election. We voted for people to represent us in our Legislative Assembly - we have just one House.

I have mentioned in the past that a friend was running. Well, she won her seat! A landslide victory. Selena worked very hard for seven months visiting as many people as possible, talking, listening, and showing she cares. Her family was very supportive, but Selena was always an excellent candidate. She is an experienced high school teacher, has represented Australia internationally in soccer, and has backpacked around the globe. No teenage pregnancies and waiting for handouts for Selena. Now I'm rather hoping she will be the Minister for Sport and Recreation.

As sometimes happens, another friend also won her seat. I know both women will do the very best they can. Eva is much older but very experienced in the ways of the Public Service. I worked with her a few years ago.

My friend Jenny is excited because three of her past students won seats - and she works in a very underprivileged area. Over a long career, a teacher gets to know thousands of students, but three elected to the same Parliament is pretty good. Jenny must have inspired them with a sense of justice and responsibility.

Our NT election was an easy ticket for the Labor Party. The Country Liberal Party had been bickering and behaving foolishly for quite a while. Now we do not even have enough representatives to form an Opposition. Fortunately, the NT has some excellent Independents, but I doubt they want to join with anyone else. The whole point of being an Independent is to be a one-man band.