Monato Zoo and Other Places I’ve Seen

First off, I just want to begin by apologising for not posting this yesterday. I’ve been feeling unwell the past couple of days and I just didn’t feel up to doing much of anything yesterday except sleep and read. Still, better late than never, right?

Aside from that, my holiday has been going quite well so far. On Tuesday, we took Wolfie (my sister’s dog) to the beach for a walk, along with a neighbour whose dog he is friends with. Afterwords we went for a drive to check out a few little towns. We drove through Victor Harbour, Port Elliot and Goolwa. Continue reading

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my siblings had it easy

Full Siblings

Full Siblings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am the eldest of three siblings. And I don’t like it at all. As the eldest, I was the experiment. Everything got tested out on me first – rules, parenting tips, new foods – everything.

Being the eldest, I had to fight for each new concession. Whether it was getting my ears pierced, walking to the store or going out with friends, it was a constant struggle to prove that I was old enough, responsible enough, trustworthy enough to spread my wings. My siblings had it easy – I’d already paved the way, made my parents more relaxed.

Another thing about being the eldest – I was responsible for everything. Feel like a night out? Instant (and free) baby-sitter. Siblings being picked on? I had to protect them. Younger siblings bored? Entertain them! When something naughty was done and no-one owned up, guess who was the scapegoat? Being the oldest sucks!

Despite all this, I love my siblings. Though we are very different people. I am the conservative in the bunch. I left school and started a family young. I’ve never been to a nightclub, smoked a cigarette or taken drugs. I’ve never even been drunk (though I have definitely been tipsy a few times). I’ve only just now gotten around to getting driving lessons. The worst thing I ever did was to shoplift a loaf of bread so I could spend the bread money on lollies.

My brother and sister were typical teens. Party all night, sleep all day. They wagged school, smoked cigarettes, drank, experimented with drugs, did the whole backpacker thing. In fact we lost contact for several years because I didn’t want my kids around the whole drug scene. We are back in contact now, though.

My brother travelled a little and married a beautiful Swedish girl. He is trying to give up cigarettes after a health scare. He has moved back to Australia in order to work and save money while his wife finishes studying in Sweden. He is so tall, I used to be paranoid the ceiling fan would chop off his head. He looks great in just about anything.

My sister is the liberal of the bunch. She is still young and idealistic – out to save the world. She has backpacked through Australia and England, visited India and lived in Canada for a while. She now works in Adelaide regenerating wetlands. She is a brilliant artist but lacks confidence in her ability. She thinks we are just being biased when we tell her how good her art is. In other aspects of her life, she is very confident. She has always stood up for herself – in fact she is the only one of us who ever dared stand up to Dad. They used to have the biggest rows!

I love my brother and sister. I miss them. Growing up as the eldest may have sucked, but it doesn’t matter so much now we are older. And I do have something to be thankful for – I was not an only child.

Christmas #1

Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As some of my readers will know, we are a pagan family and don’t usually celebrate Christmas. Well, that has just changed. We (like many Christian families, I’d imagine) have found that the kids have been concentrating on the gift giving aspect of our holidays to the exclusion of the spirituality. Therefore, we decided to celebrate our holidays solely as spiritual affairs and exchange our gifts on the Christian holidays.

We are kicking this off this year with a bang by having two Christmases. My mother is coming to visit early in January, so we decided to have one Christmas on Christmas Day & another when Mum is here.

We got rid of all our decorations when we moved and, rather than buying more this year, we decided to make our own. The kids did most of this and they had a ton of fun. They did a great job to – I’m willing to bet that this is the best our tree has ever looked!

After much busy-ness and anticipation, Christmas Eve finally rolled around. With great excitement, the children placed their stockings around the tree and prepared a plate with homemade cookies for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer along with a glass of milk. Then it was off to bed.

Next morning, they had us up at the crack of dawn to show us all the wonderful treats Santa left in their stockings. Then, after brekky, we opened the gifts Santa left under the tree as well as those from friends and my mother-in-law. The pressies we are giving each other are staying under the tree until our second Christmas and Mum’s pressies are yet to arrive.

After the presents were all opened, we had some phone calls to make. First we called my MIL and we each spoke to her individually. Then we skyped with my Mum, brother and sister down in Adelaide. It was nice to see their faces. After that, I called my cousin in Sydney, which was good.

Then it was lunch time. Nothing special, just an ordinary lunch. We are saving the feast to have with Mum. The afternoon was spent relaxing and enjoying our gifts before settling down to a delicious meal of ribs and baked veg.

After a big day (and a very early morning lol), we were all exhausted, so none of us was up very late. It was worth it, though. We had a great day!

Now we get to do it all over again when Mum is here.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Disrespecting Diggers

An Australian military veteran on ANZAC Day 2007.

An Australian military veteran on ANZAC Day 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am disgusted by the amount of stories coming out about commerce on ANZAC day. Locally the Orchid Society will be having a fete from 9AM onwards. There is also a psychic expo which periodically graces our town – they are also open tomorrow. In NSW, horse-racing clubs will be holding races before 1PM and major retailers have applied to trade in the morning. Now I read that a pub in Adelaide will be holding a ‘boys night out’ on ANZAC day.

I am saddened – nay, angered – by this lack of respect. ANZAC morning is a time to mourn and remember those who have died in service to our country and to give thanks to those who have fought and, in many cases, are still fighting for the freedoms we all enjoy. It is not a time for any but essential commerce to take place.

Even in today’s climate, if the loss of half a days trade is going to send your business broke, then it wasn’t going to survive anyway. And if people can’t go one morning without races or boobies, then they are obviously addicts and need help.

My grandparents fought, and suffered in the second world war. Both were lucky enough to survive, but Pa spent time in a Japanese POW camp. Seeing this kind of subtle disrespect is almost worse than the blatant protests. It hurts me deeply because it is not even motivated by hatred, but greed and apathy.

Please, if you see a non-essential business open before 1pm tomorrow, refrain from handing them your money. Don’t encourage them. And don’t forget to give a thought to our servicemen, both living and dead.

Lest We Forget.