Christmas letter 2004
Welcome to our (rather late) Christmas letter of 2005, direct to you from the house of green carpet! We continue to happily coexist in domestic bliss, although it’s certainly been a busy year.
The first major piece of household news since 2004 involves the arrival of two new family members – Soon and Neung, two Siamese kittens. In our continuing attempts to mimic Hubby's parents, we have adopted a two cat strategy. Soon (commonly known as “grey kitten” or “girl kitten”) is a lithe, vocal blue point, while Neung (“white kitten” or “boy kitten”) is a slightly more substantial, indolent lilac point. To the suspicious among you, yes, there is significance in their names, which mean zero and one in Thai. Lily is relieved to have escaped so lightly – Hubby has always wanted a cat called Dog or Cow… Our feline confederates have made this year much livelier (not to mention noisier) and we are confident that they will eventually settle down and stop waking us up at 5AM every morning.
Work has continued to consume much of our time this year, and continues to get us up in the morning – although Lily is yet to master the art of waking up cheerfully at any time. The joy of work only seems to start affecting her after her second Coke of the morning. Hubby for his part seems determined to work 24/7. In fact, the only thing able to reliably lure him away from his keyboard is the twice-daily ritual of watching Hogan’s Heroes, apart from the call of his beautiful wife, of course (cough, cough).
Adding to the excitement of work this year were a couple of trips overseas. Hubby was the first off Australian soil, away to South Africa with his father to attend the Rugby Union U19 World Cup at the request of the International Rugby Board. While the business side of the visit went very well, the highlight of the trip was a short stay in a game park. A wide variety of wildlife was spotted on the twice-daily game drives, including a giraffe named Steve, an amorous elephant, and more varieties of wildebeest than Hubby could remember. Lily is still rather distressed that, out of his numerous sightings of beautiful scenery and impressively Attenborough-style beasties, Hubby managed to come home from his trip with less than ten photographs. What’s more, the only three in focus were of his hotel room! (This is a slight exaggeration. There are several nice sunset pictures, and one of a giraffe hiding behind a tree.)
For her part, Lily decided it would be too mainstream to be home for her first wedding anniversary, so (in a shockingly heartless gesture) she skipped the country to tour around the west coast of the USA with one of her bridesmaids. It may be more traditional for the groom to run off with a bridesmaid, but E was most emphatic that Lily was as much as she could cope with (which turned out to be lucky, since E has since become very happily engaged). Lily and E had a very enjoyable couple of weeks visiting scenic locales from Death Valley (soon after torrential rains (!!) had knocked out almost every lookout in the area – fortunately the carpet of wildflowers made it well worth the trip) to Las Vegas (where they stayed in a pyramid), to the coast road in California.
Another new resident in our green-carpeted abode is a piano, a glorious instrument with a sensational tone, especially in the lower range. We seem to find ourselves staring lovingly into its mirror-like black lacquer, lost in… Hubby would like to apologise for the previous sentence; Lily tends to get… excitable about her piano. We both play (or at least did in earlier years), but Lily is the only one absurdly obsessive enough to actually enjoy doing finger exercises. Yes, yes she does. In fact, Lily has so much enjoyed renewing her musical talents that she has started indoctrinating a willing ensemble of musical followers in her Brisbane-based nieces. The family is much looking forward to their first performance on Christmas Day with a rag-time version of “Jingle Bells”.
Continuing her musical exploits, and having long been a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan in general and The Pirates of Penzance in particular, Lily jumped at the opportunity to perform highlights from Pinafore, The Mikado, and Pirates earlier this year. In the way of such things, a minor diversion turned into a major undertaking of sewing, memorisation, and choreography when she became involved in the costuming side of the performance and was also fortunate enough to land the solo role of Pitti-Sing. Matters were complicated further by her decision to sing with her school choir on the previous night at their reunion for their 60th anniversary. All was well in the end, however, as both performances of the very musical weekend went off without a hitch and were enjoyed by performers and audience alike.
Further to her efforts to take on more commitments than is humanly possible, Lily also became involved in the preparations for G and D’s wedding when she agreed to make the two bridesmaid dresses. Although the dresses were completed frighteningly close to the deadline and the escaped purple sequins and silver thread from the dresses are still livening up the otherwise tastefully green carpet, everyone seemed to agree that the bridesmaids looked gorgeous – although no one could have possibly outshone the radiant bride.
Sadly, due to the water restrictions and Lily’s complete lack of desire to stand around holding a hose and feeding the mozzies, our once lush vegetable garden is currently looking rather drought-stricken. While some traces of green remain, they are mostly weeds – except of for the eight apparently unkillable basil shrubs that continue to thrive. But since we see quite a lot of green every day on the inside of our house and have recently discovered the vegetable section of the supermarket, we have so far managing to survive this summer without a veggie patch.
While we could keep writing for pages about the wonder of green, that pretty much wraps up the letterable aspects of 2005 for us. Rest assured that we are both very happy, and continue to enjoy living in das Haus. We wish you the very best for Christmas, and a safe and happy 2006.(posted 2006)