Tuesday, December 7, 2010

celebrations, campari, weather, mustard making

Mustard making

The flooded bike path

A sunset on the way down to the beach

This is the season of celebration, so we are told. The season of what sometimes feels like endless invites to drinks and work 'end of year' festivities. Every meeting that happens in December seems to have the obligatory mince pies and everyone wishing each other a happy Christmas and asking what you are doing over January. Somehow in December there seems to be this imperative to cram into your life time to see people you haven't seen all year.

It's good that people want to make connections, it's good that there is a common sense of wanting to celebrate, but sometimes it all seems a bit contrived and artificial, so this year I have decided to focus on what I think is good about this time of year. In the words of the wonderful Tim Minchin, I do love Christmas because of that coming together of friends and family,and because even if you don't see each other you do take the time to think about the people you are not with. I think about what I can give that might create a moment of joy or surprise and therefore a connection over the distance with Em and her other family. I imagine it like some sort of rainbow with coloured ribbons that go from my head or heart to wherever they are and connect to them.

Tonight I particularly thought of my daughter Em jorpin. We went out for dinner and my predinner drink was Campari with pink grapefruit, Em always seems to have Campari on hand and it is a perfect drink I decided for a sultry Melbourne day, where the black clouds hang ominously overhead, the bureau is warning of more storms and rain rain rain, and the weather is hot and sticky.

In the spirit of the season I decided to revisit times past and make mustard as gifts. Love soaking the mustard seeds and grinding them up and finding just the right size and right shape jar for them. The bloke of the house reminded me of a find I had one year of beautiful little jars with a little handle and a perfect mustard size wooden spoon to hang on the handle. I am not a great cook so love finding things I can do simply that are guaranteed to work each time.

I have also been inspired by one of Em's posts where she talked about traditions, and I love that we can make our own traditions, that we don't have to carry on with the same ones year after year. For many years I shared my children's Christmases with their father,so it was quite common for me not to see them on Christmas Day. Instead, we would make our own celebrations and give presents before or after Christmas, luckily our extended family christmas get togethers were always before Christmas Day. As they got older, we had breakfast at our place and the girls came with their partners then went to their dads and later Bec and Raph came with Tykie, my grandson..

However, over the last few years we have taken advantage of having a house near the beach and the doona stealing weasel and I have a lovely relaxing morning. We ring Em to talk to her and feel a bit sad because she is not here, but also okay because we know she is with people she loves. . We usually spend some time with friends and then head down to the beach house where we are joined for dinner by Bec, Raph and my grandsons and usually a few of their friends as well. The best thing is they love to cook, Raph is now indulging that passion with his new food venture Beatbox Kitchen. So they take charge of the food and I spend time with the kids and have the occasional glass of wine. We set the table up in the backyard and Bec with all her designer cool, for proof see here, Beci Orpin puts lots of thought into the layout of the table, last year we had strawberry plants in pots with candles in small glass bottles from the opshop. If it's cool enough we light the outdoor fireplace as it gets dark and it is a lovely family time.

We also usually have my mum there for dinner. The sadness this year is I don't know whether we will, as she has alzheimers and is fast losing the ability to connect with her surroundings. She can be quite confused when there are lots of people around and will tell my 30 year old children that they have grown since she saw them last. So I might create another tradition and have a quiet picnic with her on the way to the beachhouse.
Just to finish off and show you what an amazingly talented family I am surrounded by, my niece Susan D'Arcy also is a great phtographer as you can see if you click here Susan Darcy


  1. Ok, first up the mustard looks so tasty and lovely all stacked up. Secondly - wow! So much rain! Thirdly - nice job with all the links and photos! And lastly, what a lovely lovely post x

  2. Hey, thank you for your visit! I enjoyed reading your post, seems like you have a nice Christmas! I love that idea with the mustard!!!