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I just listened to a voicemail from my Aunty Em, and that was her wish for us.

We had a low-key New Years Eve; Mum and Dad have visitors from out of town, and we were all going to have a barbecue together up there, but Dad came down with some kind of gastro bug that knocked him for six. He is actually in hospital at the moment, in an isolation room with a view of the Sky Tower. The isolation room door is open now, but we are staying away until we know what’s what. We also decided not to go to the planned BBQ (the visitors stayed on, despite the absence of their host) and instead invited my brother Joe and his wife Kay around for an even smaller BBQ at our place.

We ate an imperfect but kind of glorious banana cake, drank cranberry juice, played Cranium (Pakehas know how to party!) and turned off the TV when the One News review of the decade featured heavily an over-long 9/11 montage. We have not forgotten, TV One. A still shot would have been sufficient. I still feel like I’ve been kicked in the guts when I see that plane fly in.

*Sigh* What a year. What a decade.

This year: I want to get outside more. Grow some stuff. Write some stuff. Make some stuff. Cook glorious things and eat them. And I want to do all this with the three Littles, because they won’t be Little for long.

This is twenty-ten – this is now – and the Internet is not my shield…. I’m going to get out there and live it.

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New Years’ Weather forecast, NZ Herald, 30 Dec 2009:
Hot, sunny welcome in store for 2010
A bright, sunny and hot day is set to welcome in the new year in most parts of the country, come Friday.

Temperatures averaging in the mid-20s across the country will mean a perfect start to 2010 for most people.

WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan says…the chance of rain anywhere in the country is “very low” however there is a slight possibility that there could be a few showers in Southland on New Year’s Day

New Years’ Weather forecast, Stuff.co.nz, 30 Dec 2009:
Good weather for ducks and small kids
High winds and rain are set to lash parts of the country on New Year’s Day as the lower North Island recovers from heavy rainfall and swollen rivers which threatened a bridge north of Wellington

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Back in 2005, Michelle sent me a link to the JCB song and its lovely video, and the single has been popping up on my itunes since then, often with me singing along enthusiastically.

One of my very favourite bits (not having had the most fun at school myself) is the part of the video where the narrator counts on his fingers as he sings

“I wanna transform into a tyrannosaurus rex
and eat up all the bullies, and the teachers and their pets”

So it was a surprise to me on Christmas Day when my brother Joe was strumming his guitar (“Does that sound like JCB?”) and mentioned the ribbing he’d got from his wife for not realising that when the song says “eat up all the bullies and the teachers and their pets” that it meant teachers’ pets.

The look on my face gave me away: Joe and I had both spent the last 4 years labouring under the misapprehension that narrator-as-T-rex was so pissed off at the education system as a whole, that he was willing to eat not only his tormentors – the actual bullies and teachers – but, if the teacher so happened to have a hamster or a golden retriever or something, he would EAT THEM TOO.

So. That sucks.  I liked our version better.

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In late December, our Christmas tree is surrounded by a glorious jumble of wrapped gifts, for ourselves and our extended families, since both sides live nearby.   Our first celebration is on Christmas Eve and half-an-hour away, so our dash out the door  often includes a flustered gathering of the in-laws’ presents into a washing basket, hoping none get left behind in the rush while juggling babies, dinner contributions,  and the dreadful combination of excitement and apprehension that always precedes family celebrations.

That particular brand of turmoil I can’t escape, but at least I keep gift-related confusion to a minimum by doing something so simple – I buy three different rolls of wrapping paper, and use a different roll for each branch of the family.

That way I can confidentally grab all the stripey presents to take up to the in-laws on Christmas Eve, instead of having to pick up each gift and read the tag in the midst of the fray.  The polka-dot ones are easy to keep track on Christmas morning at home, and the last set can be piled into the car to take to my folks’ place in time for Christmas Dinner, along with kids, the sherry trifle, and angst.

Furthermore, there is none of the confusion in working out whether a gift addressed to “Mum” is for my mum, or Bear’s mum, eliminating my previous giftwrapping hack of indicating that by the order I wrote our names (Love from Rosie & Bear, for my folks; Love from Bear & Rosie for his)

You know why I mention this? Because I didn’t buy different wrapping paper this year – I thought I was being Economical and bought two massive, marked-down rolls of stripey gift wrap in October.  And now the gifts I have managed to wrap so far are all piled up*, managing to look both intimidating and too, too boring all at the same time.

Grr.

*They’re not even piled up around the tree, they’re piled up wherever I got to wrapping.  Billie is too… two… to have a Christmas tree surrounded by gifts, unless I wanted to invoke another Christmas gift protection technique: the old fireguard surrounding the tree.

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It’s not a giant squid, but we’ll cope just fine.

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Beetle and I made some cards together for the 2009 Kids’ Craft Weekly Holiday card swap. We posted ours in late November, and we were very happy this afternoon to find our first two cards in the letterbox.

These ones were from Oscar and Anouk, and Rex, from Australia. They got a bit damp but fortunately they were mostly unscathed – we have had massive rain the past couple of days. Aren’t they lovely!

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