Christmas Traditions

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Tree Hunting and Decorating

Every year, since I was born, I have enjoyed the smell of a real tree. This year, Rob, Mum, Dad, my Brother, Sister-in-Law and Nephew, Felix and I headed down to Sunnybrook Christmas Tree Farm to pick out the perfect tree. Had it been cooler I think we would have spent longer hunting for the perfect one. As it was 33℃ we decided on the first tree Dad recommended! This year we have limited our tree to 4 ft; we are on a tighter budget and lack the 9ft ceilings our old Californian bungalow provided us back in Geelong. My parent’s tree is usually at least 6 ft…this year it looks more like 7!

Being a smaller tree meant we could fit it inside the car with us to transport it home. The smell in the apartment is incredible. There is nothing like the smell of real pine to inspire the Christmas spirit and get me into the mood for some carols. It’s probably the fastest tree decorating session Rob and I have ever done! Such a small tree. I decided to just go maximalist with the decorations. “Put them all on!” we yelled enthusiastically as we decorated to the sounds of Frank Sinatra, serenading us with his version of “White Christmas.”

Do you have a real Christmas tree? What does your tree look like this year?

xo Cat

DISCOVERING THE JOY OF SWING DANCING

 

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Sometimes saying “yes” is a good thing.

There are so many posts on learning to say “No” and trust me I am the first to admit I need to read every single one of those! The best answer this weekend was “yes.”

I said “yes” to an old friend’s suggestion that we go check out the live swing band at the Austrian Club on Saturday night. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. When we arrived the place was pumping. People were seated at tables surrounding a central dance floor, dining on typical Bavarian cuisine. The smell of oversized sausages, chicken schnitzel, apple strudel and beer from Salzburg curled up our noses. Taxidermy deer heads, wall sconces, pictures of Austrian countryside and palaces adorned the walls whilst chandeliers hung from the ceiling. Reminiscent of an old ski lodge, the decor tacky, but fun!

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Our group of late 20’s early 30-year-olds brought the average age down to maybe 50. I felt young and in awe of the moves these baby boomers were making on the dance floor! Fortunately, my old friend Jam just happens to be champion swing dancer. A  couple of car park lessons on the Charleston later, Rob and I were having the time of our lives (pun intended, who can resist a dirty dancing reference).

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The old world romance of dancing this way with a partner is so joyful.  I don’t think I stopped smiling, laughing or squealing with delight as I twirled around the dance floor. I’ve already researched swing dancing lessons in our area so Rob and I can work on our moves next year. Saying “yes” to this was the best decision this weekend, not only did I catch up with a dear, old friend, I discovered a new joy.

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When was the last time you said “yes” and discovered something new about yourself or others? I’d love to know.

 

xo Cat

 

Food Choices

 

Wow…The emotional response I had to this documentary film was unexpected. I literally burst into tears at the end of it. I’d never thought that I would go off eating meat completely.

It’s not like there is a huge amount of meat in my diet at the moment anyway. To tell you the truth I cut down on our meat consumption, not because of any moral or ethical dilemma. It is simply too expensive for us on our limited budget. We eat free range chicken once a week, that’s it. On the advice of my acupuncturist, I already eat a dairy and gluten free diet.

In the past I’ve seen other documentaries on the meat industry, for some reason, this one really hit home for me. I think it was the combination of wanting a better future for our planet, realising the health benefits of a plant-based diet and understanding the role “big business” plays in manipulating the general public to consume. Not to mention the obscene cruelty to animals that is so unnecessary in our 21st century.

This is the journey I’m choosing to embark on. It won’t be for everyone. I think my family are going to find it really hard to understand. I have an Uncle who has been a vegetarian my whole life. I think a phone call to him is in order.

What does your diet look like? Have you seen the film? Will you? Has something like this ever motivated you to make a dramatic change in lifestyle? I’d love to know.

xo Cat

 

First Things First

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Milky Joe, who fortunately didn’t have to spend this year living inside a paper bag.

It seems only fitting that Pip Lincolne’s “Taking Stock” should be my first blog post. I’ve had a crazy 18 months (another post for another time). Needless to say moving 3 times in one year is not great.

At the moment I feel quite displaced; my husband, Milky Joe and I are living in my brother’s old room come DVD library and most of my possessions are in a storage facility back in Geelong. “Taking Stock” is like a little snapshot of what’s happening right now. Though I still feel displaced, I think this exercise has allowed me to accept and appreciate where I am and what I’m doing.

Making: a crochet beanie with detachable popcorn stitch beard for my Nephew’s 2nd birthday.

Cooking: sweet potatoes, I’m obsessed with baking them, splitting them open and filling them with all sorts of toppings. It’s the easiest lunch/ dinner to make when I can’t be bothered cooking.

Drinking: Dang Gui SI Ni Tang. I have cold extremities and this Chinese herbal concoction is meant to warm me up. The taste is… well let’s just say Mary Poppins knew what she was saying when she sang “A spoonful of sugar…”

Reading: Dewey- The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

Wanting: a Massage…I’ve slept on 10 different mattresses in the past 3 months.

Looking: forward to dancing up a storm with an old friend on Saturday night to a big brass band at the Austrian Club.

Playing: a Spice Girls “best of” list on Spotify, so, so good.

Deciding: when to book my car in for a service

Wishing: the dishwasher was fixed.

Enjoying: the Blog with Pip Course.

Waiting: to move into my apartment (only two and a half weeks to go, yay).

Liking: the fact that since turning my iPhone on silent I have less anxiety, fewer interruptions and more time during the day.

Wondering: where to go and what to do for Rob’s birthday next year. He wants to go overseas for his 4oth in May. I know it’s a little while away, but there’s nothing like dreaming about a tropical paradise when it’s cold outside.

Loving: my kitty Milky Joe, he’s keeping me company today.

Pondering: Minimalism and intentional living. Downsizing from a three bedroom house to a one bedroom apartment has really made me rethink my lifestyle and my stuff.

Considering: going back to brunette. Whilst I’ve enjoyed being a blonde, bleaching my hair platinum has required a little too much maintenance.

Watching: ‘GIRLS’- I know I’m a little late to the party, but I love it! An advantage of living at my parents is the binge watching capabilities that their Foxtel subscription affords me.

Hoping: the world is going to be ok now that Donald Trump is the President of the USA

Marvelling: at how long Milky Joe can sleep for!

Needing: a cup of tea…

Smelling: Rooibos tea, mmm

Wearing: Dobby socks. Inspired by one of my obsessions, Harry Potter. 50% of the profit goes towards stopping child trafficking.

Following: The Minimalists

Noticing: my desk is untidy.

Knowing: I am enough.

Thinking: I should go and do the dishes before they pile up…they’ve already piled up…I’ll go do them now before the pile becomes overwhelming…

Feeling: good about having done the dishes!

Admiring: the 2017 Flow diary. I keep looking it up on the internet and wondering whether to purchase it for myself or pop it on my Christmas wish list.

Sorting: out my finances (boring but necessary).

Buying: ‘Gratitude Conversation Starters’ from Kiki.K

Getting: excited about Christmas! It’s so close now I can almost smell the pine needles.

Bookmarking: Free things to do in Melbourne. I’ve decided to be a tourist in my own town when we move back to Richmond. After discovering Brisbane through free walking and riding tours, enjoying free exhibitions, art and gigs, I think it’s time I rediscovered all Melbourne has to offer.

Disliking: advertisements on Instagram.

Opening: my copy of “Just quit it” an indie magazine I purchased back in 2010 when I lived in Newcastle. It’s helped me quit many jobs and I’m sharing the wisdom it contains with a friend.

Giggling: about my Dad talking to himself in the next room. I used to answer him or ask “What’s that Dad?” he’d reply with “I wasn’t talking to you Cat, I was talking to myself.” Now I just leave him to happily chatter away.

Snacking: on Medjool dates, I’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately and these have saved me from reaching for chocolate.

Coveting: Rocket Book! What is this thing?! I’m either a total sucker or I must count this notebook amongst my future possessions. Can I please have one for Christmas?

Helping: myself by meditating every night before bed.

Hearing: Milky Joe chomping down on his dinner.

xo Cat