Thursday, 20 December 2007

Light the Christmas Tree

Tonight I put up the Christmas Tree. I realised while I was doing it that I haven't put up a tree for the past two years. I felt I should make an effort this year. My parents are coming to my place for lunch on Christmas Day and son will be dropping by in the afternoon. The longest part of putting the tree up was untangling the lights.

This reminded me of putting up our tree when I was a child. Every year we would spend what seemed like hours trying to work out which bulb in the set of lights had blown and therefore preventing all the lights to work. We had a beautiful set of hand painted lights on our tree. One year however, it all got too frustrating and we bought a new modern set that meant we wouldn't have to go through that rigmarole again. I miss those lights (we threw them out!). Simple as the new ones were, they were very boring. And frustrating as it was each year, that was part of the family ritual at Christmas.

Perhaps I'm missing some Christmas ritual.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

The Greed of Christmas

We had our Christmas lunch at work today. It's a variation on the traditional Kris Kringle. Some of you may know it as I have heard of other places that do it. Everybody brings a wrapped gift within the agreed price range. Everyone is given a number between one and the highest number of people that are present (pardon the pun). Number one chooses any wrapped gift from the pile. They unwrap it in front of everyone for all to see. Number two has a choice of choosing another wrapped gift from the pile, or if they really like what number one has unwrapped they can 'steal' that gift from them. Number one then has to choose another wrapped gift from the pile. Number three then has the choice of a wrapped gift or one of the gifts already unwrapped.....and so it goes on. You can see from this that the higher the number you have, the more choice you have. If someone has their gift 'stolen' from them, they can only choose from a wrapped gift, they are not allowed to 'steal' another gift.

Now this can either be great fun, or it can fall flat. It being great fun relies on people putting niceness aside and taking what they really want. It's a time of putting aside hierarchy in the organisation. People have to know they can take from their supervisor, or even the manager, without any ramifications (and hey....we're talking $10 - $15 gifts, so it's not as though an Ipod is at stake!). Some people find this a difficult concept. There are those who always take from the pile. There are those who will do a perusal of the opened gifts to put on a show, but you know they will always return to the pile to take an unwrapped gift. There tends to be a few favourite gifts that constantly change hands. They are usually funny or useful gifts. There are also some staff who seem to have their gifts 'stolen' 3 or 4 times!

It was fun today. We ended up with 44 people there. This included many volunteers who come. I always reckon it's a good sign when relatively new staff feel confident enough to 'steal'. Also when volunteers, who spend most of their time in client's homes and rarely come into the office, so potentially may not feel as connected to the wider team, feel confident enough to 'steal'. Our manager had her gift stolen three times! There was the odd surprise. As one particular staff member got up to choose a present, I thought, 'M will take from the pile, she's far too nice to 'steal''. But no, she went over to someone else and 'stole' a book entitled Wild Sex! It was a book about the sex lives of animals! I love it when people surprise me.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Questions vs Answers

I was reading Slow Lane Dan's latest entry and it reminded me of a piece of writing taken from Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet:

Be patient to all that is unsolved in your heart

Try to love the questions themselves

Do not seek for answers that cannot be given

Because you would not be able to live them

And the point is to live everything

Live the questions now

Perhaps you will then


Without knowing it

Live along some distant day

Into the answers

Wednesday, 12 December 2007


Being inspired by a friend, I've got my old bike out recently and started riding again. I'm covering a different role at work at the moment which means I don't need my car for work, so I've even been riding to work on occasion. The last two weeks I've ridden three out of the five days. It feels good to have the car unused on certain days. I feel like I'm doing something for the environment. I work about 15 minutes from work by car, and I'm finding that it takes me no longer to ride to work. There is either a bike lane on the road, or a bike path between my home and work, so I feel quite safe, despite it being inner city. I'm surprised by the amount of bicycle traffic on the road. Coming home the other night I had to wait to turn right to give way to no less than 10 cyclists on the road I was turning into. What I really like about riding to work is that I am getting exercise by doing something I have to do, rather than exercising for exercise's sake Ideally I feel that what we do in our day to day lives should provide us with enough exercise. I've always thought this has parallels with spirituality - but that's another blog (perhaps).

Thursday, 6 December 2007

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.......

Despite the previous post, I’ve been thinking of my response to Christmas. I’ve always had some ambivalence about Christmas. It used to hold more of a religious/spiritual meaning, but that is no longer present for me. This year I seemed to have been able to avoid all the hype leading up to it. Every now and then I am surprised by seeing Christmas decorations around in shops and houses. I’m surprised by my response to it which is quite a strong feeling response. My initial reaction is a positive one, but it’s linked in with memory rather than being based on something current. There’s a realisation now that it is a hollow meaning, it’s only about what it used to be, not what it is now. That tends to flatten the initial positive memory. It’s a feeling of something good that cannot deliver. As you can see my response is still very much in the feeling mode and not at all thought out, hence these ramblings. The time of night I’m typing this might also have something to do with it! So enough ramblings.

The two things I still like about Christmas are carols and the food. Nothing beats Christmas Pudding with Brandy Butter (known to some as Hard Brandy Sauce) whilst watching some Carols By Candlelight.

So what does Christmas mean for you?


I’m interested in where my blogging is going at the moment. I have been far from prolific (to state the obvious!). I’m not entirely sure why that is. Life is going along really well at present in terms of family, matters of the heart, work directions etc. I feel that my blog has become a bit of a ‘what I’ve been doing diary’, which I tend to think must be quite a boring read. I haven’t been doing as much of the ‘thought/feeling exploration’ as I have in the past. I’m interested in why this is. Maybe it’s to do with the feelings and thoughts I’ve been exploring lately and not wanting to put them ‘out there’. Maybe I’ve become too insular to explore wider things or to engage with day to day experiences in a way that links them with the bigger picture of life. Maybe I’m trying too hard. Maybe my blogging is just coming to a natural conclusion.
So many maybes! Perhaps I ought to not worry about it and let whatever happen happen (take a chill pill, to quote son!).

To carry on with the diary aspect of this site for anyone who may be interested, so tennis grand final is tomorrow night. Yes we are playing the same team that we had the altercation with a couple of weeks ago, so it should be an interesting experience. Choosing the final team turned out to be not too bad an experience, with only one girl quite upset – and her father. Whatever decision I was going to make someone wasn’t going to be pleased for various reasons. I am proud of son, who was one of those not playing, in the way he took that news. Anyway I have to say I’m pleased it will be the end of the season after Friday night and I can have a break from it for a while. That will leave only cricket to focus on during the weekend!