Started writing this earlier today …

Back in the office after a long and luxurious weekend … Spent the morning catching up on e-mails, checking voicemail messages (4 of the 8 were hang-ups) and paying a visit to the blogs that I regularly read. The other admin person appears to have wonderfully and graciously held the fort while I was gone (hence the small amount of voicemail messages – she diverted my phone to her extension). The building is very unpleasant after a few continuous days of heat, and the ceiling fan is currently doing little to ease the unpleasantness … Am sure that I will spend the day sweating and be rather unproductive in this heat! [Yep, I did!]

Spent last Friday night catching up with my dear friend L – eating delicious food and enjoying long overdue deep & meaningful, catch-up conversation. A re-fueling of sorts! Time well spent!

I drove back to the ‘bool on Saturday (in convoy with B, J & the little X-man) for the celebration of my Mum’s 50th birthday. Saturday night was spent preparing the food for Sunday’s festivities. Sunday morning saw the preparations continue, and my stress levels rise as the kick-off time for the party drew nearer. I was muttering things like, “If anyone comes early, I’ll tell them to go away and come back again later!” and “If we don’t have enough food too bad … they’re only family anyway!” Fortunately, we did have enough food (well, that realization came after the party was over, once we had found the tray of pastries that were hiding in the griller still cold), loads of cakes and deserts, and everyone got along famously!

It was a bit of a stress point you see … everyone getting along famously, that is. My Mum was muttering all of Saturday and Sunday morning about whether the day would be filled with tensions between her siblings. You see [deep breath] my Mum’s side of the family has a rather interesting and complicated and confusing history …

My Mum is the eldest of four children: Elizabeth, Steven, Mary & Daphne. Their Mum (Patricia, who I am named after and who died on St. Patrick’s day) died young with heart disease of some sort when my Mum was about nine years old. The four of them were fostered to live with their aunt because their Dad couldn’t cope with the care of four children under the age of ten. He went on to have another wife and child, and then another wife and more children after wife number two died young too. He then tragically died in February of 1978 (three months before I was born), drowning in the Murray River near Mildura. My Mum and her brother and sisters suddenly became part of a family of [counting on fingers] eleven (unless I’ve forgotten anyone). Her cousins became her brothers and sisters. This is how they grew up, and how they still refer to each other. Somewhere along the way, some things happened (which I am sure I have been told the details of, but which I seem to not be bothered really remembering the details of) which meant that my Mum’s foster Mum no longer speaks to my Mum or my uncle. Some of the siblings followed suit. I think it was basically all over stupid things. Nothing too interesting or fantastic … Anyway, in the past couple of years, my Mum and her siblings have been reconciling quite nicely. Mum and her sister Daphne have become very close after approximately fifteen years of no contact. Same for Mum and her sister Margaret. Mum and my Godmother, Joy, have always been close throughout these tensions …

Anyway, on Sunday we were expecting three of my Mum’s sisters, two of her brothers, and her half sister too. It turns out that my Mum’s younger sister and their half sister were talking to each other without really knowing who the other was, and then when they were told, they exchanged phone numbers! It was a case of happy (well, happier) families, and made for a really pleasant and enjoyable day for my Mum to celebrate her 50th birthday.

Mum’s actual birthday was on Monday, and I took off both Monday and Tuesday so that I could stay in town and celebrate the day fully with her. We went out to the Wangoom Store Tea Rooms for lunch with two of my aunts, and then my immediate family went out to dinner that night. I decided that I have a real dislike of restaurants that have televisions in them; they just distract people and serve as a reason to not speak to your fellow diners. Still, it was the end of a close tennis match, so we all watched it with great interest! Loads of people have put in for a big present for both my Mum and my Step-Dad (who also turns 50 in April this year) and we will go shopping for an 8-seater wooden outdoor setting soon. However, I think I made my brother’s fiancé feel bad because my little sister and I had gone shopping that day to get Mum a present to give her on her actual birthday, and I hadn’t communicated this to Luke & Carly. They know that Mum doesn’t care about those things, and she knows that they are saving for their wedding in December and that they put in for the big present, and basically I like to spoil my Mum and have the more disposable income (higher and no mortgage) … still … it wasn’t anything said, but more the looks in her eyes that made me think she felt disappointed to not have something to give Mum on the day too. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter, but I came away from the weekend thinking that Carly might have felt a little left out of things, as Mum also inadvertently and completely unknowingly forgot to mention her in the little speech she gave at the party on Sunday afternoon.

Yesterday, Australia day was spent enjoying a lovely lunch of salads and roast chickens with a dozen or so friends. The afternoon was spent lazing in the swimming pool! I successfully didn’t get sunburned, and at the end of the day felt that I had used my public holiday well. We weren’t especially patriotic, but I think our actions (being especially lazy in swimwear) were kind of typically ‘Australian’. I think only one beer was consumed, and it was light and it was Hahn, which may actually cancel out the ‘Australian-ness’ of lazing about in swimwear and make the whole day completely un-patriotic. Ah, well … I at least know the first few lines of the second verse of ‘Advance Australia Fair’ …

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~ by pincushiondiary on January 27, 2005.

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