I love New Year’s Eve. We are wrapping the Pfefferkuchen for Peter and my nieces and nephew. Mum and Dad look forward to a huge sleep in the middle of the day. I am researching and writing and sorting out my studies and the calendar for 2015.
This weather is made for drying the washing, so I put through a few loads of my gentle-cycle clothes and they were pretty well dry in half an hour after hanging them out under the car port. Meanwhile, I continued my research into the research culture surrounding some of the methods and approaches I brought to my thesis. This helps to work out how things sit and to build up the final discussion chapter or knock it into shape with some relevant contextual observations.
I went on the vibration plate for 10 minutes in between the washing and researching. My strategy for keeping cool as the temperature climbs to 36 Celsius is to have three wet flannels near both my fans and my desk, spray myself with plain water with a couple of drops of peppermint oil in it and wash my face every now and then. It seems to work well.
As it is holiday time, I watched the Entertainment channel while having my pea and ham soup for lunch. It helps Mum and Dad to sleep at lunch time if I am at the other end of the house when they are in their bedroom resting. The it was back to work in the holiday spirit and looking forward to 2015. I just know it is going to be a great year!
It was a perfect day for going shopping in the middle of the day to buy frozen vegetables, cold milk and lots of other things. When I saw the list on the fridge door, I knew without a doubt that we would be at the shops with crowds of holidaying children, their mothers and retired people.
In the morning I continued research and writing, making good progress with the systems I had set up on Monday. Although my pace is slow, I am making every effort to check as I go. The best part is having a clear desk to do what is required.
Max and Dad were out walking early, giving me time to focus on my writing. With a second cup of coffee to keep me going at mid-morning, I was thinking a fair bit but not using time in between very productively. By that I mean that my filing and tidying up is at a standstill today. I will have to take that up again tomorrow.
By midday, just before lunch time, Mum was champing at the bit to go out. We spent an hour or two driving to the butcher at Rothwell, Coles at Kippa ring and then Aldi’s up the road from there. Mum had to go to the bank as well, which was really well air conditioned.
At home she had me making a trifle and then taking the frozen pizza out for tea. I find that frozen pizzas are pretty plain and not very flavoursome if they are just cooked the way they come in the packet. We usually have chips at least every second night and pizza once a week, with a lovely big salad. I love vegetables.
Surprise! Surprise! Today was a day of major writing effort. I transferred 1,500 or so files to my updated bibliographic software, found the gap in my thesis that is parallel to my topic, discovered parallel distributive processing and language learning, paddled in connectionism and generally made lots of progress. The updated thesis template seems to work well, although I have not yet tried linking it to my data in the Excel files.
To break the thrall of sitting at my desk in the gentle breeze created by two fans and serenaded by the most tuneful of Magpies in all of Queensland, I used the vibration platform. That is our gem from a garage sale that even Mum and Dad use whenever they think of it. It works quite well for me as a way to get the circulation going. I use the 35 setting for 10 minutes and then P1 program for 10 minutes. This I managed twice – morning and at midday. In the late afternoon Max and I went for a stroll down to the park while a thunderstorm was skirting around the perimeter of our city, bringing some beautiful rain later in the evening.
This is the last week of my holidays. Eli agreed to giving me some time off but expects me to turn up in the New Year, ready for resistance training…. It is nice to have a break from training to try the life-style changes that will keep some of my fitness on track during the holidays.
So it’s back to my change log and table of responses to the feedback from the reviewers….
Today we had Pfefferkuchen all baked and ready for Peter, Matthew, Tanya, Tegan and Mikayla. Mum packed them into containers while I was at Mass with the Music Ministry. She also cut the bone out of the Christmas ham and set the pot on the stove for pea and ham soup, perfect for the cool change we are having for the second day in a row.
Although my room is only half-way to tidied up it is miraculously clear and way tidier than before, so I have no excuse for holding back on my studies. There is the Language, Literacy and Numeracy subject and my research to write up and send off. I have such a busy week ahead that I asked my PT for a week off. I will have to do my own gym and cardio with Max for a week and then work out what is happening in 2015.
This week is going to be crazy for study and getting over some major hurdles from the change to working in the vocational education sector, doing a lot of online learning in my own time and regaining some biomechanical functions that had been in abeyance due to sitting a lot with work, travel and study.
I have loved the way that work has sent the trainers, including me, to Gympie, Kingaroy, Redcliffe and Loganholme just before the holidays to give us a nice change from our routines before going home for the holidays. It has been like having a longer holiday with time away from home and we still managed to do our usual Christmas things at home with the family. Going back to work will be like a fresh start. I really look forward to it.
In the meantime, I enrolled for the final three units of my Masters in Education for 2015. They include research methods, teaching children with autism and leadership in organisations. I think those will be relevant to the vocational sector as well as schools and university, so that will suit me well. It is hard to believe that I have come so far with my studies, and there is just a little way to go before it is completed.
It was 25 Celsius today but the cool weather only started in the early morning before dawn. Then the light rain started and it was the perfect excuse for the longest sleep-in of my holidays, until 8:30 am. It must have been a big day yesterday. It was also perfect weather for Pfefferkuchen so Mum started rolling out her biscuit dough very early and soon had lots and lots of Pfefferkuchen cooling on the table where she does the icing and dipping the tops in sprinkles.
Baking them took pretty well all day and made the house smell of Pfefferkuchen for hours. That is our Christmas smell when the Pfefferkuchen are baking. Mum had a pain in her neck from leaning forward over the table after a few hours, so I had to massage her neck to keep her going. Before 5 pm all the biscuits were iced and decorated. I also did some quality control and tested three of them. They are brilliant, as usual.
Peter rang today as they are back from Taree. I am not sure when he will come to collect the Christmas presents for the children, so they are all still under our tree. As we put them there only a few days ago, it is quite festive to have them still waiting for Peter to arrive.
So the drama of lost Gewurze, making a custom mix of spice using the ones sent from Melbourne as a base, and waiting for days for the shipment from Melbourne all worked out in the end. I think next year we will order the spices a couple of months in advance and plan the baking based on the weather report.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to my family and friends! I wish you all a happy holiday season with lots of family time and lots of fun, rest and relaxation. My family is spending the day at home, telephoning family and friends far and near, Skyping with a few and resting, enjoying the peacefulness of the day and preparing for a Christmas visit from Peter’s family in a few days.
Last night’s Carols Festival went well and Alex, our conductor, received lots of praise. The choir was applauded by the congregation a couple of times and lots of people came up after mass to chat and say how much they enjoyed the carols and the singing during mass. We were all pleased but somewhat distracted as most of the choristers are planning Christmas lunch and dinner for huge families today and were looking a tiny bit pressured.
I slept in until about 6 am and had a cup of coffee while Mum and Dad telephoned people around Australia, England and Germany to wish them a Merry Christmas. Mum tried a new breakfast recipe which was scrambled eggs with dill, and chives rolled up into slices of smoked salmon. We loved it and had twice as much salmon because it is Christmas. It was really delicious.
Three of my presents were forgotten and still sitting under the tree. They were the Secret Santa present from work, a gourmet gift box from Mel and Venetia and a box of Cadbury Roses from a student. The Secret Santa present had a fantastic Christmas cake and some maple-flavoured syrup and some beautiful Lindt chocolate. The gift box had sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, butterscotch sauce, a gingerbread man, four peppermint cream chocolates, an individual pudding, a box of shortbread biscuits and some almond nougat. As we did not have a Christmas cake nor a pudding, the gifts will definitely come in handy for us today and over the next few days.
There were a few more presents to wrap for Lynda, Tania, Tegan and Mikayla this morning. Then Santa rested….
Dad loved his Juniper Berry oil and tried a couple of drops in a glass of water. He is very health conscious and likes that sort of natural product. Santa brought him a copy of “Earth Garden”, his favourite magazine. He found courses in landscaping and organic gardening and the like which interested him.
Today was all about wrapping presents and preparing for the Carols and Mass tonight. Mum cooked a ham and made a potato salad for tonight. Our Christmas tree is looking beautiful and it has lots of presents underneath now for Peter’s family and the children.
Dad took it easy a bit today, too, instead of working in the garden and on the house.
The main job today was to find the black folder for my music, as the Music Ministry will be decked out in black and white with black music folders. Last year we had multi-coloured folders. The other main job was wrapping the presents. We had to check the spelling of the names and the ages. Matthew provided the details as they were going to Taree in New South Wales. There are nine children aged 10 months to 11 years as well as Matthew, Mikayla, Tegan, Tanya, Lynda and Peter. Then there are Steve, DJ and Mikayla’s partner.
We expect that Peter will come to collect the presents and take them back to his place. That makes it easier for Mum as she doesn’t have to worry about lunch when they arrive. Lynda and the girls usually bring a picnic lunch with eskies full of salads and chicken pieces.