Christmas newsletter 2012

I’m not quite sure how we got to December 2012 so quickly! The Christmas decorations are up, shopping is almost finished and I am playing my Christmas music in the car. And singing along to Eartha Kitt’s Santa Baby – be grateful you don’t have to hear that. It’s been a very busy rollercoaster of a year and I am looking forward to a short break from work over Christmas. I can see where a lot of my year went if I look at the pin-board in the kitchen – I have quite a few ticket stubs for a wide range of events – and that doesn’t even start to include all the films.

The year started with Mum and I having our annual trip to the Australian Open. After a day in the city, we enjoyed sitting in the member’s lounge at Rod Laver Arena before dinner and the match. We watched Djokovic defeat Ferrer – a great match but not my preferred outcome. We’re looking forward to trying the whole day at the tennis in 2013 – the member’s lounge is air-conditioned with comfy chairs, and all forecasts seem to be for a very hot summer in Australia. I must remember to book the day off work after the Sunday night final – when they go to very early morning, it’s a bit hard to get out of bed and function the next day. Luckily my boss has the same tennis-watching affliction and understands the “I’ll be late in on Monday” text message after a Grand Slam final!

In March Mum, Deb and I went to see Miriam Margolyes in Dickens’ Women which was an amazing one-woman show. Deb and I lined up of course, to get our copies of the book signed. Then it was Easter – I went up to Porepunkah in north-eastern Victoria for a couple of nights to spend some time with Mum & Dad. I hadn’t been there for about…um…twenty years. Some things hadn’t changed very much, but there were a lot more people around camping than I remember. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t good enough to go for a glider flight with Dad over Mt Buffalo, but I discovered some great new shops in Bright. April was busy – after Easter was the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and an evening event with Michael Leunig, one of Australia’s best loved cartoonists (and a chance to get some books signed).

The middle of the year brought with it both joy and sorrow. My sister and her partner Paul married on the 2nd of June in a lovely intimate ceremony at home. It was a wonderful day with family and close friends, and a chance to remind ourselves of what really matters in life – love, family and friends. I wish them every happiness together.

It is difficult to find words to describe the rest of June. My Uncle Norman who was sadly suffering from both frontal lobe dementia and motor neurone disease contracted pneumonia and was hospitalised. A difficult circumstance normally, made even more so when the patient doesn’t really understand why they have to stay in the hospital. Sadly although the pneumonia was starting to respond to treatment, he passed away in the early hours of 12 June. At the same time as we were coping as best we could with this sudden loss, Paul’s father was battling the last stages of liver cancer. And a very dear friend, CT, who I had visited in upstate New York in 2011, was also at home in the last few weeks of his life. In the short space of two weeks, three families and their close friends were dealing with grief and loss. Words are not enough to explain how shattering those weeks were. I am lucky enough to be surrounded with family and friends who supported me through this, as I tried to be there for others as well. Another reminder of what really matters in life – love, family and friends. Together we get through these things and remembering the happy times helps.

In July my baby sister turned 40 (yes – that makes me feel old, even if she is less than two years younger than me). We had a great night celebrating. August brought a plethora of evenings out – some cultural, some a bit less so. I had the great pleasure of seeing Sir David Attenborough live on stage talking about his life (thanks to Deb & Nik for a wonderful early birthday present). At the start of September Matty and I had yet another fun-filled night at the wrestling, accompanied by Deb & Nik. I lost count of how many times Mathew checked that Nik was still coming with us – apparently he’s “cool”! Today I got Mathew’s Christmas present – you guessed it, wrestling tickets. Looking forward to another night with the boys (hard to believe he will be 16 by then).

Early September brought a wonderful two weeks away from work – starting with a fashion show/girls night out on the Friday night and then seeing The Mousetrap with Mum on the Sunday. That’s the third time I’ve seen it, and I doubt it will be the last. The highlight of this fortnight was taking myself to Sydney for my birthday to spend time with my friend Michelle. Four days of sightseeing, champagne, talking, eating and laughing together. While I really hope that Michelle will get her US visa through soon and be able to join her husband in Florida, I will miss being only an hour’s flight away from her gorgeous self. Besides it’s much easier for me to help someone else declutter and get organised than it is to do it for myself. One of my favourite things to do with good friends is just hang out working on a project together and talking…a lot. Or maybe hanging out, talking and drinking champagne.

With friends scattered all over the world, I am so grateful for the ability to communicate in an instant through email, IM, Facebook and great iPhone apps that let me talk for free. It has certainly made this year easier to deal with when you can celebrate the good times and also be in touch during the difficult times. I am still committed to snail mail though, and most of you will be getting this in your Christmas card (yes, as I said to the lady in the card shop last Sunday, I do send that many Christmas cards!).

As always, this newsletter includes only the main highlights and events of the year. I hope to keep you updated (or fill you in on the news in person) in the very near future. I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous, healthy and happy New Year in 2013. You will be in my thoughts over the Christmas season and throughout the New Year and I look forward to hearing from you soon. And as a dear friend of mine says in closing her radio show each week: “Find someone you love, hug them close and often.”

All our Love, Lesley, Ember & Agatha XXX

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