mstakenidentity: (Default)
I don't know if I've ever blogged about my mother's family Christmas traditions before, and as work seems to have FINALLY calmed down I thought I'd take the opportunity.

My maternal grandfather is Lithuanian and we follow many of the Lithuatian Christmas traditions. I am actually not sure how much is Lithuanian and how much is just our family now.

We celebrate on Christmas eve, not on Christmas Day.

We used to go to my grandparents house, but this year we have started going to my aunt's instead and Grandma and Grandad are getting a bit too frail to host.

We arrive around 4:30pm and have drinks and snacks while my cousins and I all catch up with each other since that last time we met (usually Father's Day in September.) We put the Christmas presents under the tree, when we were younger Grandad used to cover all the presents with a bedsheet and tell us if we even peeked a fairy would make them all dissappear.

At about 6pm my grandfather brings out a piece of whole, flat-bread, like a communion wafer. We say a prayer and he breaks it in half and gives half to Grandma, who breaks it in half and gives it to someone else, and so on until everyone has broken bread with everyone else there. This is meant to symbolise family togetherness, and also meant to symbolise forgiveness for any fights or disagreements during the year, so that the Christmas table will be one of peace (in theory...)

We have dinner. Dinner is 13 dishes (to symbolise the people at the Last Supper.) All dishes are cold and biblically meatless (so seafood is okay.) This is a Lithuanian tradition that translates very well to Australia!These dishes change from year to year, but some are always there, including a traditional Lithuanian fish casserole that is AWESOME, tiger prawns, hard boiled eggs, rollmops and rice salad. This year for the first time I was allowed to contribute. I made what I make for Dad's side when we get together: a cold roast vegetable salad with spiced cous-cous and pomegranate. Everyone seemed to like it and my fussiest cousin went back for seconds- the only thing she had twice! So I was happy.

After dinner we congregate in the loungeroom and all the grandchildren (and Seamus as a grandchild-in-law) stand in front of the Christmas tree and sing carols (no carols- no presents!) I think we've improved over the years, we know most of the words now, don't get so distracted, and some of us can even harmonise.

After carols Grandad used to sit under the tree and pass presents to the grandkids, who would deliver them to the adults before falling on their own pile with glee. Grandad can't get under the tree anymore, he now walks with a stick, so my cousin Emily took his place and my younger cousins handed out the presents. Seamus and I did very well, we got wine, dvds, bunning vouchers, pot plant pots, a beautiful windchime and lots of other things besides.

Now looking back on it I like that as a kid we had to wait til the very end for presents, it prolonged the enjoyment.

The rest of the evening is spent in conversation, with platters of fruit and Pfeffenusse (sp? ginger biscuits) and coffee.

And now I am off upstairs to have my Christmas lunch with everyone else at Air Ambulance today, Merry Christmas everyone!!
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Hooray! Only one phone call all night!

My plan for today is to go home at 8am when my shift finishes and get some sleep. In the afternoon I'll load up the car with presents and drive to my parent's place, pick up my brother and we'll convoy it down to my aunt's place. This is the first time Christmas Eve will be at my aunt's place in Frankston instead of my grandparent's place (they are getting too old to host)so it's a change, hopefully a good one. Seamus will be taking the train from the city after he finishes work and I'll pick him up from the station. Hope the traffic is not too bad!

Then tonight we'll leave a little earleir than usual and get back to Kensington hopefully by about 11pm at the latest. Then straight to sleep and up early in the morning for work, which I'm really hoping will not be too depressing. We're having a Christmas Lunch, that should be fun.

After work I'm driving to Brunswick to see Seamus' Mum quickly and pick him up, then we're heading to his uncle's place in Balwyn for an hour or so before heading home for MUCAAS Christmas Dinner and Wind-Down, and I'll definitely need it by then!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Click the link below for your Christmas card!

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mstakenidentity: (Default)
I love the fact that in Australia the Christmas season and cherry season coincide. We may not have sleighbells in the snow, we may need our eggnog iced, or drunk VERY late at night, we may view the traditional hot Christmas lunch with horror, I may be getting more and more jealous of some of the cooking blogs I read, but damnit, cherries are here and yummy and a deep red and like the scent of sunscreen and pine needles will always say "Christmas" to me.

On Friday [profile] mc_shamo and I drove to Castlemaine and it's surrounds in search of cherries. Unfortunately the inclement weather of late has meant that although it's cherry season the glut usually experienced around Christmas won't happen. Quite a few of the places I'd planned that we'd visit were closed. However, the silver lining for me of all this is that at Peelers Family Orchard in Harcourt they were willing to sell me a box of water-damaged cherries for $18. This box would have held about 8 kilos of cherries (for overseas readers and those who don't buy cherries, at the moment in shops cherries are ranging from $10 to $17 a kilo) I was stoked. We bought the box plus a kilo of eating cherries (only half a kilo made it back to Kensington, and we may have been a little sticky and had red stained lips by the time we got home) and then headed to the Maldon Cherry Farm where they were also experienceing difficulty with the rain but had a few varieties for sale. We bought a bag of the firmer, less sweet cherries and a bag of sweeter cherries (which I actually think had less flavour, kinda wish we'd just bought two bags of the firm ones) and after a detour into Maldon itself for scones, cake and coffee and to pick up a cherry stoner we called it a day.

At home we moved the coffee table out of the lounge, then [profile] mc_shamo turned on the television and dvd player while I got an old towel from upstairs. We put the box of cherries on the towel and got out two large mixing bowls. I started de-stalking the cherries, keeping my eye out for ones too bruised to use or mouldy (I was actually surprised how few there were I had to chuck) and Seamus de-stoned them, putting the stones and stalks in one bowl and the cherries in another. We continued like this while having a West Wing marathon until about 3am, with me getting up periodically whenever there were enough cherries and making jam, in the end we had 17 jars of the stuff. I've earmarked a jar for each of our relatives to whom we usually give presents, which takes us down to 7 jars, which should see us through to the next cherry season.) I also had a brainwave when I realised just how MANY cherries we had and spread about 3 kilos of them out in our food dehydrator. It took over 24 hours but we've ended up with about 500gms of dried cherries, which are like cherry-flavoured sultanas.

Yesterday, with West Wing still rolling (as I said on Facebook, I think I had dreams about the defecit last night) I de-stoned the firm cherries we'd not eaten and put them on a foil covered baking tray (and there was a little bit of "one for me, one for the tray, two for me, one for the tray" going on I admit) which I put in the frzer. After two hours they were frozen solid, I picked them off and put in a freezer-safe container. Apparently they keep quite well like this and can be used to make cherry sorbet or cherry sauce in winter. I then de-stoned the sweeter but less firm cherries and put them in a large jar with some sugar, over which I poured brandy. This will make both cherry brandy and liquere cherries, ready in about 3 months, perfect in about 6.

There is now about half a kilo of cherries in the fridge for eating and that's it! The rest have been disposed of in what I hope are yummy, yummy ways.

And after all that, I forgot to bring any fresh cherries to work with me. You'd think I'd be cherried out, but no. So I guess I'll have my orange and just think about cherries until I get home.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
-Woke up with no voice after yesterday's 16 hours of sleep deprived hell at work
-Revived over husband-cooked breakfast, strepsil and asproclear
-Walked to the primary school and, after a long queue, voted
-Decided it was too muggy for coffee and too early for sausage
-Crossed road to Scout Hall
-Bought raffle ticket from nice scout mother who was my teacher in year 7 (Religion I think, neither of us could remember)
-Picked up the Christmas tree we'd pre-ordered from the scouts (actually, [profile] mc_shamo picked iot up, and carried it home too)
-Got home, placed tree in stand with water, put it in the most attractive position and plan to try to ignore it until Wednesday when we both have the day off work and will put up the decorations
-Drove to Icehouse
-Skated on my BRAND NEW ICE SKATES! Seamus gave them to me for my birthday. I was lots of fun, but breaking them in will take a while. I'm going to try to go back once a week until after Christmas to break them in before I take any lessons. Anyone who would like to come with me it would be great to have company!
-Went to CostCo across the road for a cheap lunch, then bought a beautiful hand made gourmet Christmas pudding, a proper one that has "Best Before 2013" on it. We'll probably have my Dad's family around to our place before Christmas as I'm working Christmas day, and that is afternoon tea sorted :-)
-Came home and got dinner together than headed off for work!

Day off tomorrow, I plan to sleep, do some housework, sleep, bake, sleep, sleep, sleeeeeep...
mstakenidentity: (Default)
I've been having a break from work for the past few days, and that means I've also avoided the internet. A good thing too, since having four days worth of posts to catch up on gave me a way to fill in an hour this morning after completeing my work.

Christmas was great. We had dinner with Dad's relatives the weekend before Christmas, then the traditional Guzys family Christmas Eve (at my grandparent's house for the last time- next year it'll move east) which felt more relaxed than it has for a while. My grandmother has been slowly off-loading her old knitting patterns on me as her arthritis has stopped her knitting as much. This time instead of the usual jumpers and glove patterns it was toys, and baby booties. Subtle Grandma, real subtle.

On Christmas day we opened our presents under the Christmas tree. Seamus got me an entire outfit from Ecowear- one of my favourite shops- includinga scarf and bag. I got him some antique rose gold cufflinks with his initials engraved on them (and I didn't get the initials engraved- they came like that- fate!) then we had a breakfast of buckwheat pancakes, bacon and maple syrup while watching the cats run around happily with their new toy mice.

Christmas lunch was at Seamus' Mum's place with his sister Morg and her partner Doug. A very laid back meal. Seamus went on to his Dad's relatives afterwards, but I stayed home to sleep in preparation for my night shift. In the evening we had those that once were MUCAAS over for the annual Christmas wind-down party which was a lot of fun. I left at about 1130pm to go to work.

It wasn't too bad working overnight on Christmas night. I managed to get to sleep about 4am and didn't wake up until about 7:30, with only half an hour to go on my shift. Seamus and I hit Highpoint early to spend the money we'd received for Christmas (we now have a food processor!) before I fell into bed and Seamus went off to visit his Dad with his sister.

Apart from that the last couple of days have involved watching DVDs while knitting on the couch, reading, eating blood plums, having family and friends over for meals and going out to family and friend's places for other meals. It's been fantastic, and a wonderful break.

Bring on 2010!
mstakenidentity: (Default)
I worked a lot last week, and as a consequence have the two days before Christmas off!

I've done all my Christmas shopping already, but it will be good to have time to wrap and label properly and get a few other things done.

Plan for tomorrow:

Load car with stuff for charity bin
Drive to gym and dump stuff in their charity bin
Do some sort of gym thing, maybe swimming
Drive to Coles
Pick up the last of the shopping (forgot the kitty litter again!)
Do a tidy up upstairs and clean out the cat's tray
Do a rather more vigourous clean up downstairs
Possibly do some cooking for the next few days if it's not too hot.
Put feet up and read a book
Make a tasty and healthy dinner
Curl up with boy (and optional cats) on couch and have egg nog and mince pies

I am looking forward to this a LOT.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
On the twelfth day of Christmas, mstakenidentity sent to me...
Twelve savers sculling
Eleven smocials writing
Ten eccentrics a-bellydancing
Nine aristophanes acting
Eight tacitus a-musing
Seven classics a-singing
Six musicals a-knitting
Five ba-a-a-arenaked ladies
Four supermarket adventures
Three black books
Two lindsey davis
...and a jinantonnix in an agatha christie.
Get your own Twelve Days:

Bracelet!

Dec. 27th, 2008 12:26 pm
mstakenidentity: (Default)
This is what [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo got me for Christmas. I think he has excellent taste.

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Yay!
mstakenidentity: (Default)
My Christmas was lovely.

I worked Christmas Eve. I work in emergency services, so you can imagine that working Christmas Eve could be a little disheartening (I was hoping I would not end up like Turk from the first Christmas episode of Scrubs) Luckily it was quiet, so apart from feeling very sad for two young motorcycle riders it was okay.

[livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo came and picked me up at 11pm when my shift ended. He drove me home where he had laid out a candlelight supper on the table. There was organic stilton cheese and a spanish dessert wine and two little french puddings being steamed on the stove. By the time we'd finished it was midnight, and we exchanged gifts. I gave Seamus a pair of Etiko high-top shoes (think Converse but fair-trade with renewable rubber and organic cotton) and he gave me a truly beautiful amber and silver bracelet. It's really gorgeous, and it shows that he has excellent taste and also pays attention to what I like, as he got it to match my favourite amber necklace.

We got up on Christmas morning and had a breakfast of fruit and yogurt and cereal. I finished making the food for lunch and we drove to my parents place.

We had a really lovely afternoon. My parents live in Beaumauris, about three houses up from the beach. It was us, my parents, my brother, my paternal aunt Moira and uncle Michael and their daughter- my cousin Tess- and her husband Andrew. Small and manageable. Mum looked a bit disconcerted by my food; she'd forgotten that I was bringing the roast, but relaxed after she took the gladwrap off the salad and said , "Oh, it's cous-cous!" She'd thought I'd made a rice salad and was a bit hurt because she always makes the rice salad at Christmas and everyone always says how nice it is. I assured her that I would never have made a rice salad and was really looking forward to her one. And that there? That was the stickiest moment the entire day, for a family Christmas I believe that's incredibly good going!

For lunch there were four different salads, including mine, then roast ham for the meat eaters, a huge seafood platter and my vegetarian roast, which I'm sure at least my parents and [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo really liked, I certainly did :-) We did well on the present haul too. The night before was my mum's side of the family's Christmas thing, which I couldn't go to as I was working, I'd just sent cards for everyone except my cousin Emily, for whom I'd found a framed Degas print in an op-shop (which Mum said she watched Emily open and she obviously loved, yay!). Mum informed me everyone had disobeyed my "no presents please" request and Seamus and I were inundated with towels, crockery and booze. All of which are welcome. From Dad's side we were given beer glasses (Tess is teh awesome) and some gorgeous serving plates and I got some accessories to jazz up work outfits (Tess again- she is teaching me how to make one expensive outfit actually look like five for work wear). My brother gave us the entire Monty Python's Flying Circus and upped his cool points something chronic. Because we're hippies we gave everyone organic wine, except my brother, who we gave a JB voucher and a keyring of an ugly man who has snot coming out of his nose when you squeeze it. Being my brother David thought this the height of hilarity.

We sat round and vaguely helped with the clearing up and drank coffee until [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo was positive he was right to drive (not that he would have got much over .05 at any point in the day anyway) then drove home along Beach rd. I was really happy. My parents both seemed relaxed and well, and everyone has accepted Seamus as a member of the family. They all like him and include him, and I'm proud of them, because it's the first time someone in this little part of our family has had a "partner" they live with as opposed to a husband or wife. We weren't treated any differently to Tess and Andrew and there are now vague plans for my aunt and uncle to visit us soon for afternoon tea (I wasn't actually sure they'd been told Seamus and I live together). So all was well, and happy. :-)

Christmas night our traditional MUCAAS party was small but cosy and chilled. We had round [livejournal.com profile] cows_might_fly, [livejournal.com profile] clappamungus, [livejournal.com profile] jpom40 (who quickly succumbed to the cat hair he was allergic too, poor thing!) and pseudo-Cambridge-Sam. We talked, watched Monty Python and drank. Lovely. It's a really good way to round off Christmas.

Boxing Day [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo and I hit the sales. Oh boy did we hit the sales. We did Highpoint and the CBD. Our haul:

-Ipod dock
-"All that Alternative" 3 cd set
-men's short sleeved shirts from Jeep
-women's short sleveed 3/4 length summer jacket thing from Jeep
-red zirconia and silver earrings to go with my new bracelet from a jewelers
-a white bra to replace my current one which is now not so much white but grey and has little elasticity left
-two pairs Thai fishermans pants from Ishka
-womens work/casual black pants from Ishka's $10 basket (the clasp had come away from the belt, it took less that ten minutes sewing to fix and hey presto! $60 pair of pants for $10!)
-womens formal/work black pants from Myer
-work top from Myer
-summer dress from Myer (one of those awesome dresses that can be work/formal/casual that Myers is so good at producing)
-mens socks 'n' jocks from Myer
-bananaman t-shirt (whee!I have both now!)
-De Blob Wii game

I also found a perfect suit for [livejournal.com profile] jpom40's wedding. Unfortunately it was only available in size 10 or lower. I am a size 12-14. The nice lady at the Cue store in Myers rang around but nowhere in the CBD has it in a larger size. I was bummed, because it was so perfect I was willing to buy it even if James decided he didn't like it and I had to wear something else to the wedding, it would have been worth the suit alone, paticularley at 50% off in the sale. Ah well, cannot win them all. I then found another beautiful one at Antons, but it was $600. I am actually considering it but I'd want James' approval first! It's very nice indeed, the one at Antons, and the jacket could be worn over a dress at later formal occasions.

Today [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo and I are going to his mum's place for Christmas lunch. It should be fun!

All in all, the last few days have been relativley stress free (even the sales are mostly stress-free when done with [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo!) and filled with family and friends and laughter and fun. I have had a wonderful Christmas so far. I know for some people reading this this is not the case, and I truly hope you are as physically and emotionally well as possible and that things improve soon, and that next's year Christmas is better. I'm thinking of you.

Merry Christmas all.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Merry 25th of December everyone. I hope your day is happy and fun, whatever you are doing.

Because I can't resist showing off, here is my red summer fruit salad with orange/vanilla/cinnamon dressing:

Photobucket

I got cherry all over my hands, but they're clean now!

Off to my parents soon. And I'm looking forward to it. Good food, good wine, good people and I can show off the beautiful amber bracelet I was given by the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo.

Peace to all.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
I am helping out tomorrow by bringing food to Christmas lunch. I am very glad my mum is cool with this, as many people aren't. And while I doubt most of my family will eat the main I'm bringing hopefully some will try it and like it. No matter what, this vegetarian will we damned well-fed tomorrow!

I have prattled on and included pictures, feel free to take the recipes, in fact I'd be thrilled if you did! :-D

Food, glorious food, in different stages of preparation )

I am glad I'm not a chef. I take such pleasure and find such happiness in cooking for people I love when I have the time, I think doing it every day for strangers would ruin it for me.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Photobucket



More under cut, may contain traces of cats )

Decorating the tree while being "supervised" by two young cats who seem to think we brought in a massive scratching post then covered it in toys for them (which are all placed out of paws reach darn it!) was..interesting :-)

Merry Christmas.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
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More pics when it's clothed!
mstakenidentity: (Default)
I got accepted! I start training next year in February. I am very excited. By the end of my training I'll have a certificate in Telephone Counseling, which should be enough when coupled with other volunteer work and some of my actual employed positions to get me into a MSW. I'm on my way, freaking yeah!!!!!

And [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo just rang after going to the post office; my djembe does exist after all, it was just held up in quarentine since it's mahogony! Yay drum! Yay to restoration of faith in humanity!

My work situation is vastly improved and I'm- if not screamingly happy- quietly content at present.

And after work [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo and I will go into Melbourne and pick up this year's Christmas decoration. We're having a real tree this year, it should be delivered this Saturday.

And I had lunch with [livejournal.com profile] jpom40!

Today is most definitely Made of Win
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Season's Greetings!

Photobucket


Ok, I know it's now Boxing St Stephen's day, but I didn't get a chance to do this yesterday. Merry Christmas everyone!

I had a very good Christmas. On the 23rd I took [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo to meet the Curtain side of the family and we had lunch. On Christmas Eve he came with me to the Guzys side celebrations and my parents dropped us back at his place after. On Christmas morning we woke up before 7am, exchanged gifts (I got spoilt! I have a red thing and tea things and some of my favourite perfume!) then went back to sleep. We got up properly around ten and [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo made pancakes, then we went to his mum's place to get her and went out for a long Christmas lunch. nice and relaxing. After lunch we went back to my place to look at the kittens (who are cute and adorable and scared as hell) then to [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo's where we exchanged presents with my brother who was home by then. We had a nap, then dinner, then headed over to Helen's for the Annual MUCAAS Christmas Night Party. She has a new cat too, Terence, who is 9 years old and came from a shelter and is very very nice and affectionate. All in all, Christmas has been nicely stretched out (and is still going!)and pretty stress-free.

Oh, and the picture above is of the bauble [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo and I bought together. We've decided that each year in the weeks leading up to Christmas we'd make time to go shopping together and choose a christmas ornament for our tree. This is our first effort. It came from Oxfam and is clear glass with coloured splotches.

And for good measure, here is the whole tree:
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Once again, Merry Christmas everyone!

Le Weekend

Dec. 17th, 2007 07:32 am
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Friday I did the bulk of my Christmas shopping. I need to wait til next Friday to do the rest as that is when I'll have more money, sigh. I trudged around the city and carlton for ages. [livejournal.com profile] laurenmitchell met me when she finished work and we had a drink together and got to catch up outside the thirty second conversations which are all we can manage at work. After she left I looked at the nice shops in the Royal Arcade and waited for [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo to get to the city. He did and we bought some Christmas decorations, wandered around trying to find nice things to look at. It took us ages to find the Myer Christmas shop, [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo thought maybe the new German owners didn't believe in Christmas. We found it eventually, but it was more of a "Christmas Department" than a Christmas Shop- still it was cool. I was upset that they've gotten rid of the Myer Bears, they've replaced them with a travesty caled "Baxter the Christmas Bear" Humph! Anyway, we got our decoration from the Oxfam shop and it's cool. We had dumplings for dinner after getting a beer at the Lounge and went to look at the Christmas lights in Hardware Lane before leaving the city. I like Christmas.

Sarturday turned out to not be as busy as I thought it would be. Things were cancelled. Therfore I spent a truly enjoyable, wonderful day in bed. We got up once to get food from a cafe, but spent the rest of our time lying around while [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo played Lord of the Rings and I read a book about Cicero (fiction, but actual intellectual fiction- which I haven't felt up to grappling with for ages) We did other stuff as well, but you don't want to hear about that ;-) In the evening we headed over to [livejournal.com profile] penelope_jane and [livejournal.com profile] vox_diablica's flat for dinner. It was a very nice meal and it was really good to relax in their company. I know I've said it many times, but I treasure the easiness and friendliness Mark and Penny are so good at providing- I am going to miss him when he moves. [livejournal.com profile] fin called later in the evening, it was good to hear his voice.

Yesterday we slept in and then lay in bed talking instead of getting up when we were meant to, which meant we had to rush to get to a Body Balance class at the gym ([livejournal.com profile] vivienne_aster calls this class "I-Can't-Beleive-It's-Not-Yoga"). It was a good class, I found it much easier than the last one I'd taken, I'm actually not sure if that is because it was, or because I've gotten stronger and better at it- I hope it's the latter! After class [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo's dad picked us up and took us to lunch with [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo's cousins, Patrick and Patrick (Yes, they also have the same surname, no I'm not kidding. It helps that one lives in Canada) it was fun, there was a lot of talk about the Law. It was a rather long meal (which I didnt mind) so by the time we got back to Ascot Vale it was past four o'clock. I went home and gathered some things, then we loaded them into [livejournal.com profile] greenpea33's car and she very kindly drove us back to [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo's (Her little brother and his girlfriend need a place to stay in January, so I'm temporarily moving in to Seamus' place while they take over my room). We dumped my stuff and I had a quick conversation via phone with [livejournal.com profile] _bounce_ about the stray cats who seem to have adopted our house- or at least underneath it- as home. My parents showed up and we all went out for dinner to Fraus (yum!) then I was droped at [livejournal.com profile] cows_might_fly and [livejournal.com profile] clappamungus's place to visit [livejournal.com profile] doesthemgkdrgn who is house-sitting. I sat and chatted with him for a few hours before coming home to [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo's, watching some tv with my brother and then going to bed.

Even if they drain me now, I know in ten years it will be weekends like this I look back on and treasure. Ok, Saturday wasn't that draining, but still! :-) It was a very, very, VERY good weekend.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Things are moving around a lot and making me dizzy.

At least I've started on Christmas presents.

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