Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is It Hot Enough For Ya?

It's Australia Day, and Mother Nature is slapping us in the face, with the best reminder possible that we live in this vast land down under, by hitting us with a whopping 40c+ day today. 10 minutes ago (at 7pm) I went outside and checked our thermometer, and it was still 38 degrees Celsius. Mother Nature likes to remind us who is the boss occasionally. And especially this January.

CP and I have just taken the kids out for a swim in our 'pool'. This is our pool.

If it looks like a gravel pit, that's because it is a gravel pit. It's not too bad actually. It's semi-clear (not so much now that we have been swimming in it). It's a fantastic temperature. And since it was originally used solely as a pit where gravel was extracted, the bottom of it (gravel) is significantly more 'safe' to me than a dam. Generally speaking, I like my 'pool gravel' to be cemented together, and the water to be filtered. But beggars can't be choosers. Especially when Mother Nature throws a curve ball at you like she did today.

Pools are an aspect of our lives that CP and I differ greatly on. I am a firm believer in putting one in now, so that we can gain maximum usage out of it now, while the kids are little. I think this comes from having grown up with a pool. CP on the other hand is not a pool fan. He calls them mosquito breeders. He sees dollar signs, time being eaten up, and more jobs for him (and he is probably right), but I still see far more positives. CP could happily spend the rest of his life not ever stepping foot in water other than to bathe. I just can't fathom that...

This is CP doing his best David Hasselhof impersonation. There's no reason for putting it on here, except that it makes me smile.

The real irony of today's heat wave, is that we are in the midst of the worst flood in recorded history (for this district anyway). We are literally cut off from any of the three surrounding towns, by water so deep that it is not safe to drive a 4 wheel drive through. It is slow moving water, and because the rivers around us have been taking it in turns with their peaks and drops, this has left us isolated for almost four weeks, with another three to go. At least. There has been the odd day where we've made a break when the water is low enough to restock our supplies, but for the most part we have been stuck.

This is actually taken in last year's flood. But there is water (exactly the same) there again. This also isn't us driving. We aren't crazy enough to do that, but this pic shows the kind of water cutting us off. The water is deep like this for kilometres.

The crazy thing about this flood is that it's almost drought weather. One of my friends laughed about how she was watering her garden using the flood water that was metres from her back fence, because it was so dry wherever the water hadn't reached. If that isn't irony, I don't know what is. This is what happens when you don't get the rain that causes a flood, but rather, you get the floodwaters that start up north and meander down a river system that will ultimately affect you. Slow moving water. And it's just that.
Sss... llllll..................ooooooowwwwwww.......

So here I am, in the air conditioned comfort of my bedroom. I'm lamenting the death of my lounge room air conditioner.And how it will be weeks before anyone will be able to make it to our house to fix it. Thank goodness we had the common sense to put air conditioning in every room. I'm sure that many hardened country locals would think I am 'soft'. I like to think I am a true believer in putting modern technology to use. It's there. I use it. Easy. I'm not going to sit around talking about 'the old days' when it's currently 'the new days'... I am thinking about how grateful I am not to have my butt sticking to the leather of a chair and giving me third degree burns. Or how lovely it is in my room not breathing in that THICK hot air that clogs your throat. You can only imagine how horrid it feels if you have experienced it first hand. Or if you've ever stepped off a plane from Europe in the winter, into an Australian summer. It's like a big hot smack to the head.

It's hot, dry, and if I didn't know better, only a few months away from even more droughty weather. You'd never know it flying overhead though. A massive sea of inland water.

I guess if you choose to live out here, it's part of the package. I don't mind it so much anymore. As long as my survival technology keeps working. (Ie: fridges, air con and internet). And actually, with the exception of yesterday and today, Mother Nature has been considerably kind with the summer temperatures. We have had a glorious summer. If you don't count all the flood water. But nothing like Mother Nature to bring everything home and remind you of how tiny you are in the grand scheme of things.

Here's to fantastic weather for the rest of 2011. Whatever that may be...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

If You Don't Laugh, You'll Only Cry.

I've written about Darcy before. I probably didn't mention that she has a very bad habit. And it's not that she sticks things up her nose sometimes. She's only done it twice. But it's genetic. When I was little I did it too. She also draws on things...

*These photos were taken about two years ago. If anyone is wondering about Darcy's turned eye or the patch, it has all been rectified.  Please click here for details.

It was just after breakfast, and I went back into my room to make my bed. I saw this immediately. I think I started having heart palpitations at the exact moment I saw this, and it was my gut reaction to seek out the guilty party and punish them solidly for defacing my property. And then I wanted to cry. These were my favourite sheets. And then I thought about it logically. I had probably left the pen that was used within the reach of a small child. I created the temptation. And then I started to laugh. I found my camera, and started taking photos, just on the off chance that one day I might laugh about this.

And then I disappeared into our ensuite to fetch some cleaning  products or something that might be able to help with this situation. And I saw this. On the wall above the toilet. I think I probably started crying again. But then I pulled out the camera and took more photos.

On the wall to the right of the toilet was this. Some random scrawls, which, in the eye of a small child, could possibly be your family.

And this a little further across the same wall. Becoming familiar with circular patterns.

And on the opposite wall near the toilet paper holder, some better circular patterns. Clearly this wall was done last. Much better technique.

By now I had composed myself enough to call in the two little cherubs who were my suspects. Butter wouldn't melt right?
"Do you two know why I have called you in here?" Olivia: "Because Darcy drew on your bed?" Darcy: (Crying). "I didn't draw on your bed!"

"Are you sure Darcy?"
"OKAY - I did... please don't be angry Mummy."

"I'm not cranky. But this was VERY naughty. Tell me what you did Darcy."
"Well... this is my name..."

Olivia: "No Darcy. That's not real writing. Tell Mum the truth."

"This is when we went to the park." 

"This is when we went to town." (Actually, it looks like a very good heart...)

"And this... I forget what this is."

Olivia:"Tell me about this one again Darcy."

"Mummy - stop taking photos! This isn't funny!"

"No Mummy! STOP IT!"
No means no with this girl.

I did eventually get the pen out of the sheets though. And the pen off the bathroom walls (even if I did lose a layer of paint in the process.) And I got cranky. But I put it into perspective first. They're only material possessions. And they're only children.
 It's not just Darcy though. Olivia has been known to deface property as well. When she was very small she drew in pen on my uncle's new leather lounge. I was devastated. But this is my favourite. It was on the wall of our front verandah. You have to walk past it to get into our house. I knew who was the guilty party as soon as I saw it. "Ol Persse Art" is the giveaway. Darcy couldn't write, and Olivia was learning at the time it was done.

I asked, "Did you do this Olivia?"
To which she replied, "No Mummy. It was Darcy." And then I was more cranky about the lying than the graffiti! I made Olivia help me remove it, and she cried the whole time. She hasn't done it since.

The thing with small children is that they're opportunists. You leave a pen out, they'll draw on your stuff. They don't mean to hurt your feelings. They don't want to cause you extra work. They just want to be children. And I for one am glad of the memories. Here I am two years on, laughing, not crying about it.

How to Survive on A Farm (Tips from someone who knows nothing about it). Part 6: Learn How To Make Cakes

When I was a kid, my Mum used to make us (without fail, every birthday) one of those cakes you find in a kid's birthday cake book.  See? That's me in the middle, looking stunned, or deeply, deeply impressed. And that's my sister on the left. She always looks like that! HA! That's my brother at the front. Hasn't changed. The other girl is a ring in. And THAT in the middle, is possibly the best cake Mum ever made. Gorgeous. 

Half the fun of having a birthday came with sitting down and trawling through the cake book until you found the cake you wanted. The other half of the fun came from eating it. It must have devastated Mum watching us massacre the little piece of art she put her heart and soul into... year, after year, after year. And we thought they were the best. They weren't as perfect as the ones in the picture, but in my eyes, they were the crowning moment of my birthday. 

And now, here I am, history repeating. This is my most recent effort... an easy one, comparatively speaking. Sam is not a cake kid, so he is just happy to have anything he can take from the cake. In this case, toys.

Sam's cake last year was something else. We were staying with my mother at the time. As she works in a Boarding House, we decided to make a cake for 50 girls who stay there. The result is below.

And then there was this simple one for Olivia this year...

And the more elaborate one from last year. I channeled Wizard of Oz BIG TIME for this one.

I honestly think I get as much out of it as the kids do! And NONE of us are big cake eaters. It's just all fun and games. It's something we all get involved in. 

This next one was for Darcy's last birthday. She likes her cakes to DO something (I did mention before that we aren't big cake fans in our house, so they kind of are obliged to serve some purpose!).

This is inside the cake... TREASURE!
And then the treasure map

I have several good friends who make wonderful cakes! (You know who you are Kym and Justine!). These cakes are really nothing in comparison to the works of art others are capable of producing. But my attempts leave me feeling warm and fuzzy inside. They're all like mini works of art.

Birthday cakes were a highlight of my childhood. I hope my children get half as much out of them as I did!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Animal Farm

This blog is not a reference to the George Orwell novel I was made to deconstruct and reconstruct in my youth. Nor is it a reference to some less-than-savoury websites that came up on the internet during a search for the above mentioned George Orwell novel a few years later...

CP has a habit of making animal references in human situations. It's not just him. I am led to believe that farmers everywhere do this too. It's a coping mechanism I suppose. But sometimes it really makes me wonder. Most of the time CP manages to offend through his use of these references. He honestly doesn't mean to, but as you will soon see, it's very hard to liken ANYONE to a farm animal without some offence being taken.

The other day he used the phrase 'same bull, different cows' to explain the familial structure of some friends of ours. Whilst there is nothing remotely unusual about 'same bull, different cows' (I come from a family not completely unlike that), the animal reference makes the people we were discussing, sound something more like a bunch of wild and uncouth animals who simply wander from paddock to paddock, sampling the goods so to speak... and then, god forbid, ending up with children from goodness knows where.

When I was pregnant with all three children, CP constantly referred to me as 'an old breeder cow.'

It's bad enough that's that's pretty much exactly how you feel sometimes when you are pregnant, but to be told that on occasion is like a big red stamp being plastered on your forehead. Even worse, whilst I was 'the old breeder cow', CP managed to liken himself to the 'stud ram' or 'proven sire.'

What this means in the animal world is, I am one step away from being sold to the meat works, whilst CP will be sold off to the highest bidder for his amazing potential. Funny that...

When I was in labour with Darcy (CP missed Olivia's birth) CP was in the room with me. I am, of course, a complete freak of nature in this particular situation, and do possibly resemble some kind of animal. It's not something I'm proud of. When Darcy was delivered, CP got straight on the phone to call his parents.
"We've got one on the ground!" The midwife overheard and giggled a little.
"Yep, Jess is no longer in calf." Hmmm. Nice. My insides have been turned outside, and as I lay there recovering, I was still nothing more than an old cow... Not the 'stateliest mare.'

Then when I was breast feeding, I was constantly likened to 'an old milker cow'.

In fact, as I write this, I am checking with CP to find out if there are, in fact, any 'kind names' for female animals. Things that would be the equivalent to 'stud ram' or 'proven sire'?...  It's looking grim on the female front. Nothing I would be happy to be called yet.

CP often refers to our children as if they are animals too. When they are sad, he likens them to a 'poddy calf, looking for it's Mummy.'

Sometimes he even has the audacity to whistle at them. Thankfully, as they have gotten older, his whistles are met with "I AM being good Dad! Stop whistling!" (by Olivia), and "Stop whistling at me Dad! I am NOT A DOG!" (by Darcy). Children after my own heart. I think I grew up on too much Sound Of Music to put up with any whistles in my own house.

But while we're on the subject of using animal references to describe people, I suppose it's only fair to CP if I confess to my own interest in doing this. At Christmas time (which we spent with my family on the coast) there was a little friendly competition between CP, my sisters boyfriend and my brother. I referred to the three of them as having an 'alpha male dog complex.'

They seemed to like this analogy though, and after much chest beating and fist pumping, it was decided that CP could no longer be the alpha male, as he was more like the neutered old dog... poor CP.

I'm still not actually sure who the alpha male is, but apparently it's not CP. At least none of them resorted to marking out their territory where we were staying.

Maybe it's not the animal references that bother me so much... Maybe it's the fact that I am referred to as being 'old' all the time?

Oh to be young and at the top of my game again...

Signing off,
'The Old Breeder Cow' (aka, the devoted wife of 'Old Neutered Dog').

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Let Me Show You Around The Farm...

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to do this... And then my brother in law came home today in a helicopter. He has to fly back to the coast in a few days, and it must have been my lucky day, as he offered to take me for a flight. I've NEVER been in a helicopter before, and I thought that petting a dolphin was as good as this last month could get. I was wrong. This was just so much fun!

So if you have never been here before, then sit back, pretend you are up there with me, and take a look at the southern end of our property. And if you are already well versed in the lay out of our property, then enjoy these pictures from the air.

This first one is just me being so excited that I felt the need to photograph my perspective. That's everyone out front waving at me. In the background is the in-laws shed and the Hut (where our nanny stayed).

Okay, this time we are officially off the ground. I have no idea where exactly this is, but I imagine it would be heading just west of our house (as the crow flies ironically enough). Centre is a small dam. It all looks so flat, but at least it's green!

This time we have done a full sweep and are heading in an easterly direction again. It's quite hard to take a straight photo when your left arm is flapping about in the wind of a 2-seater helicopter. (Just in case you thought we were so high up that I actually captured the rounding edge of the planet). We are mostly sheep, and also some cattle out here. I didn't see too many of either on this flight - though in all fairness, the property is quite large compared to a city block. I did see a few kangaroos however. This is pretty much a standard photo of how the whole property would look from the air though.

I love this photo. Top right is the driveway out to the mailbox. From the part where it goes straight (just above the cluster of trees - top right of centre) to the mailbox (which you can't see in this photo) is about 1.5km. The building on the left is one of our shearers quarters. On the right (other side of the road from the shearers quarters) behind the trees is the shearing shed. These are the ones at the southern end of the property for anyone who has been here. The road bottom centre takes you to our house, another 1.5km away.

Top centre of this photo is the shearing shed. The majority of the photo is of the yards. They could use a good shower of rain (also ironically enough, given that 75% of Queensland is currently in flood). Technically we are in the 25%, even though we are completely surrounded by water. These yards are quite large. And there is a reason they are circular like this. It has to do with the way you move livestock through them. One day I will explain this better.

 This is my favourite photo of the day. On the left is our little house, with the shed behind it. Just in front of our house here, it looks like two patches of sand either side of grass. This is where we have extended our backyard, and the grass has only grown in the middle section as of yet. I have promised to have my kids christened when the lawn covers those two sandy areas. Stay tuned. On the right is my parents in law. Quite close. Some might say 'scarily close'... but luckily they are both lovely people, and it is also (conveniently) a safe walking distance for my children to get to on their daily visit. Wonderful. When CP and I first married, our house was there (smaller than it is today), but there were no trees on the right side of our house at all. (OK, maybe just the one). CP planted almost every tree between our place and his parents, and it has revolutionised my life.

I jokingly told my mother in law today that this will be a great photo for . In the event of selling... anyone???? No... probably not too funny... especially coming from the daughter in law.

Anyway. That's us from the air.

What a day!

PS: To everyone affected by the floods of QLD, I am thinking of you and sending my very best thoughts and best wishes. Please make donations to support our Queenslanders in need!

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's Not Morning Sickness

I have spent at least 60 weeks of my adult life staring into the bowl of a toilet. And that's not even including the four years I drunk my way through, whilst attempting to complete my teaching degree.

That's 60 weeks of riding the porcelain bus, doing the liquid laugh, calling Ralph on the porcelain phone and bowing before the porcelain God. Whatever you want to call it, I had the most severe morning sickness in all three of my pregnancies. The phrase 'morning sickness' causes me to roll my eyes in the most over exaggerated manner. Clearly it was a phrase invented by a man. Because any woman who has experienced this debilitating illness would testify to the fact that it is not only something you will experience in the morning. Below I have recounted the first 20 weeks of each of my pregnancies. 


I learned I was pregnant (officially) at 5 weeks. I was up in St George with my friend Kym a day or so later and we stopped for lunch. I couldn't eat it. I should have realised something was 'out of whack' then. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my food. But I have really only been in tune with my body since having been pregnant 3 times. That afternoon I arrived home and felt nauseous. This lasted into the early hours of the morning. The actual vomiting started the following day. And then it continued for 20 weeks.  But let me get you into the head space of a woman who vomits every day for 20 weeks. 

Take the worst hangover you have EVER had. Remember that feeling of not being able to move or think straight. The feel of every movement you make causing the room to spin and your stomach to lurch. And then the actual experience of emptying the contents of your tummy into your little toilet friend. Then multiply that feeling by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 20 weeks. And I was lucky. Some women have it even worse.  

I lost 6 kg in two weeks. And on my frame, that is really something. My face was gaunt and I looked like death warmed up. Sleep is your only respite. Your waking hours are spent counting minutes between your visits to the bathroom. If you can even make it that far. I became very well acquainted with a bucket. 

One morning I woke up and just cried and cried. I wondered how much my body (and more specifically my baby) could take? You get dehydrated (I couldn't hold down water, let alone food of any description), and that starts to do funny things to your mind. I was starting to wonder if any baby could possibly be worth all the 'pain'.  Of course, having had 3 babies, I know it is completely worth it. But in that time and head space, you really do wonder. I have an aunt who sent me a book on 'morning sickness' and potential remedies. Nothing was working for me. But the book did help, in that it made me feel like I wasn't alone. It even spoke of some women who cannot complete the pregnancy for the reasons I described above. I truly sympathise with those women. You can't imagine how horrible things can be for them. ANYWAY... On the morning I woke up crying, I decided enough was enough. I checked myself into the local hospital. I needed to be hydrated, or something! Several hours later I sat alone in my own room, hooked up to a drip, dosed up on Maxalon (an anti nausea tablet), and crying. CP had gone home and I was to stay here for at least one or two nights to be monitored. It was a low point.

I took time off work and spent the next few days learning to eat food again. Potatoes seemed a safe place to start. Twice a day, I would heat up a small potato in the microwave, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. And that became my staple diet. 

I remember being curled upon the lounge in the foetal position during that period, staring at the television. Too weak to move, too sick to do anything. Penny Wong starred in an ad on calcium at that time, and to this day, even seeing that ad (or Penny Wong for that matter) takes me back into a dark space. I don't like it. Even writing it now is kind of giving me a headache!

This behaviour dragged on. Eventually I returned to work. I borrowed a bean bag from the library at school and used to have little naps in my lunch breaks. I was too weak to make it through a full day on 2 upright legs.  I took my 'Sheila Kitzinger Pregnancy and Childbirth' textbook into my classroom and was fully prepared to answer any and all questions my high school students would throw at me. To my pleasant surprise, even the worst students were sympathetic to my condition. It was lovely. I took a 'spew bucket' into my classroom and kept it behind my desk 'just in case.' I used to threated my students with threats like 'If you so much as put a foot out of line, you will have to come and sit up here behind me with the spew bucket.' It seemed to work. 

Gradually I was sucking on ice blocks and then biscuits and eventually things were back to 'normal'. The remainder of my pregnancy was incident free, and I would even go so far as to say I glowed. Nice.

Darcy and Sam

We had weddings we were attending in the early stages of both pregnancies. We had hoped to keep the pregnancies a secret until the magic 12 weeks, however morning sickness set in for these pregnancies as well, and since we didn't want to disrupt either wedding by having people speculate about my frequent visits to the bathroom, failure to consume litres of free alcohol and inability to eat, we told people very early on. 

I didn't require hospitalisation with Darcy, however I checked myself in for 'rehydration' with Sam. Maxalon became my best friend. And there is something really strange about having a toddler hold your hair back from your face and rub your back when you are lurched over a toilet. Goodness knows what Olivia or Darcy ever thought I was doing!

We renovated our house during my pregnancy with Darcy. My morning sickness factored into our designs. I insisted on an ensuite close to my side of the bed, so that my midnight and early morning dashes wouldn't be too far from my bed. 

Being in public is also traumatic if you are suffering from this infliction. You can never trust a public toilet. (Having to place your head anywhere near where people defacate is enough to make you vomit even if you aren't already feeling nauseous.) I could only do my grocery shop immediately after I had vomited, so that I knew I would have the time to finish it in one go. And given that we live an hour from the supermarket, my drives to town were fraught with frequent stops on the side of the road. I can still point out all the places I have ralphed. Charming. 

On the upside, the last half of all of my pregnancies were perfect. Perhaps that was my good karma for the first 20 weeks. I also have some of the best, fastest and easiest labours and births of everyone I know. I walk out of hospital weighing exactly the same as what I weigh when I learn I am pregnant. (Except that it maybe hangs off my frame a little differently). So everything equals out. The good with the bad. 

And all you have to do is look at that tiny baby once to realise that it was all completely worth it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's Only A Game...

Many moons ago, CP and I were attending a party at a friend's house, when the game PICTIONARY was pulled out. We were dating at the time. Invincible as a couple. We thought we had this game in the bag.

We were wrong.

The night had been going so well up until that point. Since we were only dating at the time, let us assume that we were probably holding hands... Possibly indulging in public displays of affection or whatever else it is you tend to do more frequently when you are dating, than when you are married. I digress. But things were good.

If you are familiar with the game, please read on. If you are unfamiliar with it, I suggest you click on the link above before reading on. This game is competitive. The aim of the game is to WIN. That's pretty much it. You need to be able to draw your way (or 'guess' your way, depending on which half of the duo you are) to that result. I consider myself quite good at both roles. I am very good at the drawing section, but even better at guessing. And since people had possibly been consuming excessive amounts of alcohol beforehand, I figured this would be a case of WHAM BAM THANK YOU MAM - in our favour.

Round One:

The timer has turned. Everyone is drawing frantically. Their partners are guessing just as quickly. CP puts his index finger thoughtfully on his chin, whilst glancing up pensively at the ceiling, as if some fantastic drawing hand might drop from above, bestowing him with the ability to draw an amazing image that I will be able then guess the answer before all other teams can get in before me!

Other teams are still drawing frantically.

Someone answers correctly. All other teams have pages strewn with a myriad of images; some crossed out, others mini works of art. CP's page - empty.

Maybe we'll have better luck next round?

Round Two:

As above. This round however, CP actually did manage to draw something (and let's - for arguments sake - say it was a circle). I got all excited. My palms started sweating; I was breathing faster. CP paused. Looked deep into the circle he had just drawn, and then scribbled it out and started again. Time over. Another team won. 

I furrowed my brows. How could this be? I am SO GOOD at this game. This kind of result is simply unheard of with me.

Round Three:

As above. This time I glanced furtively at the drawings of everyone else at the table. I didn't even bother to try to look at whatever CP was or wasn't doing. Surely it would be a waste of time anyway?! So as I stared at all the other teams around me, spurting answers left, right and centre. I STILL didn't get it right. I start to wonder how long a relationship can last when one person is so clever at board games such as this, when the other is so phenomenally BAD?!

Round Four:

This time I am the artist. CP is required to guess. The phrase is 'camel toe.' I draw THE best camel you have ever seen drawn in 5 seconds. I draw THE best toe you have ever seen drawn in 5 seconds. I draw an arrow connecting the two best drawings in relation to this phrase. I wait triumphantly for CP to guess the answer. I smile smugly, pointing at the drawings as if the answer is staring him in the face.

Nothing. Not a guess... not a murmer. Not a BURP!

My blood was officially boiling by now. My anger erupted into a blaze of name calling and ability challenging verbal slurs. It was completely out of line, and I fully deserved the backlash that ensued from CP.

Of course, I'm exaggerating.... I mean, since when have I let the truth stand in the way of a good story? But rest assured, it was a pretty heated discussion. It was bad enough that I probably ended up crying and storming home to bed. Alone. I was angry at CP for not being a better drawer. Or a better guesser. Or whatever I wanted him to be. But more to the point, I was angry at myself for being angry at CP.

This was supposed to be a game. I wasn't making it a game. CP had never played before, and I expected him to be either a Picasso or Einstein or something he clearly couldn't be at that time. I felt like I had disappointed him.

If he dragged me out to the sheep yards and demanded that I dench and worm 100 sheep in a matter of hours, and expected I not only complete that task, but that I do it successfully, then I guess the shoe would well and truly be on the other foot.

In any event, we decided not to play Pictionary ever again. It was better for the ongoing serenity of our relationship. Actually... I don't help with the sheep work (yet) either. Maybe it really is better that way? Maybe CP figured that out when he saw what a terrible sport I am when it comes to us working as a team (and screwing up), he decided not to encourage that kind of behaviour.

Now flash to this Christmas just passed. Pictionary reared it's ugly head again. It was a Secret Santa gift.

I wanted to play. I think CP and I can handle it. Apparently the rest of the family feels differently. And in the name of law and order and Christmas cheer, the game was banished. So we played 'Cranium' and 'Jenga' instead. And sometimes CP and I lost. But sometimes we won. And it actually felt nice to just be a team. To have a go and do our best. It felt awesome to win too... but it taught us a lot about who we are as a couple, and how we work better as a team. And basically (with us at least) this comes down to several things. We should avoid anything that involves any sort of creative or dramatic element, and stick to the language and factual aspects of any tasks.

And maybe never, ever, EVER, play Pictionary ever again. Just for arguments sake.