Christmas lights

A town near Adelaide called Lobethal is really busy this time of year because many houses within the town decorate their houses and yards with Christmas themed lights. I’ve been meaning to go for a while but only got around to it a this week.

We went with a couple of friends and visited Melba’s Chocolate factory first off. I can’t believe I live this close to a chocolate factory and have never been there. But I live closer to Haigh’s and I’ve never been there either.

The boys had a great time. When I first saw this photo I thought JJ had his arm around his mate, but look a bit closer.

Melba's Chocolate factory

We continued to Lobethal and because it was a few hours until dark and light-up time we had dinner at the pub. I pity the couple nearby who were probably looking forward to a peaceful dinner as it wasn’t to be with foghorn leghorn (my son) and his noisy mate both trying to outdo each other.

There’s other things to do before the lights go on in Lobethal at this time of year like a market in the hall which we had a look at but there’s only so much to look at before the kids run amok.

So we took them to the playground at the oval to get rid of some energy. A heap of kids used this skate ramp as a slippery dip before the bigger kids came along with skateboards and scooters.

Ummm, skatepark

And then finally it got dark enough to enjoy the lights. We walked around for a bit before we got in the car and joined the other hoards to look at lights around the town.

We spoke to a man who’d been decorating his house for about 30 years and asked him how long the town had been doing it. He said that after World War II that it was a way for people to try and brighten things up around the place and to try and forget the war.

Lobethal lights

Lobethal lights

We walked in our door at home about 10.45pm absolutely worn out.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas. We’re off to my family’s for Christmas day and will be watching the christmas parade tonight in the town where my parents live. It will probably be yet another late night for us.

Here’s for a divine 2009

After my last post I’m happy to report that my down in the dumps feeling didn’t last too long. Christmas day came and went and it was quite pleasant. The whole family came to my place (except for niece and nephews who spent the day with their father) and we ate, talked and played Eye Toy on the Playstation.

Christmas table

Apart from ants invading my cut up roast chicken (fortunately it could be saved) the day could be classified as a success.

Since then I’ve been away for three days visiting friends and family. I caught up with an old school friend I haven’t seen for 25 years. It seems like such a long time when I consider that some people I know are this age.

I became an expert at making strawberry daiquiris and substituted strawberries for mango for one round which was also very delicious. I can also say that I’m having some alcohol free days because I’ve consistently been drinking and it makes for a much clearer head.

By the time New Year’s Eve came around I was really tired and compounded this by going to a friends place in the afternoon for a catchup, dinner, and then driving down the hill to the other party I was invited to. It was really good timing because fireworks were happening at Brighton and I wish I’d pulled over and whipped out my camera. I didn’t pull over and I didn’t have my camera so I don’t have any beautiful fireworks photos.

I walked into a room full of teenagers at the next party and I now know what I’m up for in eight or so years time if I drag my son along to a party in town. He’ll just want to go to Glenelg to run amok with his friends and he’ll nag and nag me until we fight about it. This is what I witnessed happening with the teenagers at this party. Some were allowed to go to Glenelg for various reasons and the others weren’t for various reasons. JJ was really well behaved with his young friends and was safely tucked upstairs watching The Incredibles when midnight struck. I wish he’d crashed out like his two mates but he was sitting with his eyes glued to the screen. It was a good excuse for me to leave after the inevitable anti-climax at midnight.

I couldn’t drag myself out of bed until 10.30 the next morning and I can’t even blame a hangover as I’d driven the night before and drunk very little.

I’ve had another little trip out of town which I’ll blog about later and now JJ is doing Vacswim. I used to do vacswim when I was a kid and it lasted for two whole weeks. Now it’s on for seven days, not ten which is short-changing our kids. At least I got in early this year and pre-enroled which meant that I got in at an early time. Last year we couldn’t get in until an 11am session which really ate into the day, but this morning we were home by around 11. We will be using the extra days where he doesn’t have to go to vacswim to go away to the coast for a few days before I have to go back to work.

I’ve also been tidying out cupboards. This is something I really ought to do more often. I cleaned out a pantry shelf that hasn’t been touched since I moved in ten years ago and there was so much stuff that was out of date it’s embarrassing to write about it. I’ve never lived in one place for such a long time since I was a kid so moving fairly constantly meant I would clean up every time I moved. Now that I’m staying put for a while means I have to just clean up, throw things away and put things back in their spot.

One thing I did find was my son’s other grandmother’s address. She lives in London and I’ve never met her but JJ’s father gave it to me a while back and when I tried to find it last year I couldn’t and thought I’d lost it forever. When I did one of my cupboard cleanouts I found it.

I want to send a couple of photos and a short letter to him via her address just to say that he’s growing up very nicely thank you and I’d like his contact details just so we have them on hand if JJ wants to contact him. What do you think? I don’t feel a pressing need to talk to him, I just want JJ to be able to contact him and perhaps meet him one day when he’s ready.

I’ve been reading about others’ grand plans for 2009 and I can’t say I’ve really got any. I’ve got some vague ideas, one of which I’ll be chatting to some friends about tonight, but nothing definite.

Other than that I want to do short trips away with JJ, and perhaps the dog. I’ve never been on the Great Ocean Road and this could be a good thing to do in the next lot of school holidays. Now that I’m nearly eligible to accrue 15 days a year long service leave, this gives me two extra weeks a year’s leave I can use toward doing things like this. Mmmmm.

Christmas cheer and a facelift

If you’re looking at my actual blog rather than via a feed reader you’ll notice that my site has had a facelift. My weblog banner has been the same for a while now and it was time for a change.

Here’s the old one.

I decided to go with red/orange and green in keeping with Christmas type colours but I didn’t do traditional Christmas holly, decorations etc for two reasons. One is that I probably won’t get around to changing it after Christmas in a timely manner and, two, I’m not a huge fan of the ‘traditional’ Christmas decorations. In fact it makes me feel a bit alien (tying in nicely with my new banner). I used the brushes from Smashing Magazine’s website.

I also decided to change my ‘look’ in response to SueBlimeley’s spreading the Christmas cheer. I’m trying my hardest to get into the spirit! It seems every year I am dragged somewhat reluctantly into the whole thing. It’s kind of hard to escape so I can understand why it makes some people feel really awful.

Have you entered my giveaway to win a DVD? This is the first of three I’ll be giving away. Even if you don’t want it, it might make a good Christmas present for someone you know.