Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Very Crikey Christmas

Last Saturday night was Paul's Christmas work party. Usually that provides an excuse for me to buy a new dress and get all glammed up. This year was a little different.

The party was in the Legend's Room at the Gabba (a cricket and Australian Rules Football stadium). To go along with the theme of the room, people were invited to dress up as a "legend".
Unfortunately, what exactly constituted a "legend" was left somewhat vague. That scared me. Was it supposed to be an Australian legend, a sporting legend, a Hollywood legend? What definition were they basing this on? My husband was no help.
I decided to put that question into cyberspace - hoping to find an idea that was original, do-able, and not lame.

My initial search came up with an Australian nursing legend - Elizabeth Kenny. She gained worldwide recognition for her treatment of polio patients. "Great!" I thought, "I can dress up as a nurse". My creative mind starting whirring - thinking about how Paul could dress up as one of the Flying Outback doctors. I even contemplated building him his own cardboard plane to wear.
But reality and a few problems set in. First, just try to find a "nurse's" costume that's appropriate for a work function. Not easy! I was not willing to go as Elizabeth Kenny the "naughty nurse!" Also, Paul didn't like the idea of everyone calling him a "bush" doctor all night. (I won't go there). And finally, I was worried that my idea might be a little too "cerebral" for a party. Based on the fact that the best costumes of the night ended up being Amy Winehouse, Shrek, and The Duffman (from the Simpson's), I was probably right. I'm sure we would've had to explain what Australian legends we were to all the Australians!
After that, there were other brainstorming ideas - Sonny and Cher, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, Anthony and Cleopatra. None seemed that appealing. I was beginning to wonder if whoever came up with the costume idea was part of a conspiracy to stop me from buying a new party dress!
I asked Paul what he wanted to wear. His only requirement was that he wanted to a costume that wouldn't be too hot to wear in 30C heat. And, he preferred a costume that involved shorts. Instantly the khaki short/shorts wearing Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, came to mind! So instead of heading out to buy my fancy dress, I stopped at the Australian Zoo gift shop and bought us some khaki shirts and name tags. Paul assumed that I'd come as Steve's wife, Terri. While I'm sure Terri is a nice person, she's not that well liked in Australia and frankly, she kind of wears "mom jeans". You know - the ones that button up under your boobs. So, in the end, it was my vanity, my inner need to be loved, and the opportunity to crimp my hair that led me to iron on Steve's daughter Bindi's name tag to my shirt! I became "Bindi the Jungle Girl".
Once we got to the party I found out that there was in fact an option NOT to dress up. So, probably 75% of the women there were NOT wearing costumes. They were wearing party dresses, not snakes, and carrying beaded purses, not a blow-up crocodile! My husband failed to forward THAT email to me!
So while I missed the chance to glam up, we did have lots of fun, were only slightly creeped out by the "who's your daddy comments," and didn't once have to explain who were were dressed up as. I was even excited to come home with one of the decorations.
So - when you come visit us in Australia - for a small fee - you too can have your picture taken with Steve Irwin! And Bindi too - if you're lucky!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sign of a Good Day

I just had to post this picture on my blog! I think we came across possibly one of the cutest road signs ever this weekend on our day trip to North Stradbroke Island. After passing many kangaroo and koala crossing signs (despite my protests), Paul finally agreed to stop at this one. We'd never seen one like it before. Obviously someone in the road department there has a great sense of humour!

Our trip to "Straddie" on Saturday involved a 45 minute ferry ride from Cleveland. While they do charge you for the ferry (unlike the free ferry ride to Nelson, B.C. that my daughter - a true Scot - still raves about), it is well worth the money. The Gorge Walk was so beautiful that Jack didn't even complain once during the 1.5 km hike. For a kid who gets tired riding his bike 3 houses down, that's saying a lot!

Throw in the white sand beaches, seeing a sea turtle, and the best passion fruit gelato that I've ever tasted, and I'd say that the kangaroo crossing was just the first sign of a great day!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Unique Angel

My son Jack constantly amazes me with his quirky sense of humour and outlook on life. Though he's certainly happy to join in a group generally, he definitely has his own sense of self. That's something I'm sure I will appreciate even more as he grows older.

A few Christmases ago, when all the girls went to see the Nutcracker, my brother and Dad took the boys to a kid's Christmas play. The story was about an evil Toymaker who was trying to steal all of Santa's presents because he had never received one himself. The kids in the audience were asked to vote for Santa or the Toymaker at some point during the performance, and all hands went up in favour of Santa. All hands but one. Jack. He voted for the Toymaker. Not because he liked a bad guy, but because he felt sorry for the Toymaker. He thought Santa had enough toys and could share at least one with him. Even at three, Jack wasn't afraid to go against the crowd.

This year, walking around his classroom, admiring the children's handmade Christmas ornaments, I had to laugh. Everyone had made a pretty angel for their trees. All had gold straw hair, silver painted bodies, and sparkly wings. And all wore a happy contented smile - all but one. Jack's angel had the wild gold hair, the silver body, and the sparkling wings of the others, but my joyful and good natured son had painted his angel a bright red frown. I asked him about it, wondering why she was sad. His answer was, "Mom, I wanted my angel to look different than everyone else's! She's not unhappy, she's unique!"

So I put my one unique angel on our tree - and gave my other one a hug!