Monday, 26 December 2016

Christmas Recap / Boxing Day evening

Hi everyone,

Boxing Day evening and calm has settled over the farm.  The family has been coming and the going all day.  That is, Oldest Sister Economist and Nik came down from Canberra last night, and Little Sister up from Melbourne.  Today Second Oldest Sister and JP arrived about 1030.

As I think I've explained long ago on this blog, my family gets together on Boxing Day rather than Christmas Day, what with us being spread out and having family all over the place.  Christmas day, then, was a quiet one for me: some farm work in the morning and a certain amount of killing time - It was a hot day.  I skyped with Grace and Rachel on their Christmas Eve after they got back from Mass which was a delight/  Some of the presents I'd sent them via Amazon hadn't arrived yet, but they did open this year's Swarovski Christmas ornaments I ordered them to add to their collection.  I'm proud that I've ordered them each year's ornament ever since they went back, even when I had to beg, borrow or steal the money.  I want them to have beautiful things to look at and think of me.

Swarovski Crystal Christmas Large Ornament Annual Edition 2016
Image from here
The real hit, though, were the mechanical money boxes my parents gave them, where a little cat grabs the coin.  They were entranced beyond words, and I don't think the ex has any spare change left in the house!  Incidentally, I was given an incredible insight by my friend Melissa the other night.  She pointed out that the girls are clearly well, happy and thriving.  And isn't that what everyone wants for the children, and would give to them at any price?  Therefore, there's nothing to be sad about with them so far away.  If distance from me was the price for them to have an awesome start in life, it's not too expensive at all.

When the day had cooled down as much as it was going to, I did some weights and core fitness and went for a short (well, 20km) bike ride.  Heat is nothing.  I was dead pleased when I got back and found I was almost at 80kgs.  Only about 5 kgs to go to get to my target of 75kgs.  The work is paying off!

A photo posted by Stephen Tuck (@sdtuc2) on

Boxing Day itself brought cooking to me.  I cut up the watermelon and canteloupe so people would have an alternative to cakes and so on for desserts and then gave the dog a walk so he could swim and cool down.  Then, back up to the house to prepare for my contribution to Christmas dinner, which is heavily geared around frying.  The turkey I was doing this year was a monster - 7kgs (about 15lbs) of solid protein.  He took nearly all of a bottle of butter marinade and I made sure he was well seasoned when he went in.

A photo posted by Stephen Tuck (@sdtuc2) on

Also today, I decided to make hush puppies and to bread and fry some okra.  I love okra, but it's difficult to get here.  Sometimes the stores carry it in tins, but it's not cheap.  Occasionally it's inthe greengrocers, but not reliably.  Anyway, I'd bought a tin months ago and decided to cook it up in the hot oil after the turkey was done.

I can tell you that the frying process went smoothly and the food was as good as I'd hoped.  The turkey came out divine and was well eaten by everyone, and the okra was just how I remembered it tasting.  The hush puppies were a little dense but made a good change.  All in all I think it was a success.

A photo posted by Stephen Tuck (@sdtuc2) on

While I was frying everything Uncle G and his wife and kids happened along.  His younger two are twins and about the same age as Grace and Rachel; for obvious reasons I'm particularly fond of them.  They were extra sweet today and it was a pleasure to see them playing and happy.  I was impressed by his older one trying the okra and hushpuppies, even if he did find them a bit too spicy.  Heat is a bit of an acquired taste I find.

The next few days are ones I always find valuable: the days between Boxing Day and New Years Day are when I find it's valuable to take stock of things, think about what to do with the year ahead and maybe even make some plans.  I don't know what 2017 will be like.  I know I don't like the idea of drifting for another year.  And I don't think it'd be healthy to spend another year as angry with myself as I usually am.  I think I should spend some time evaluating things and making concrete plans that might lead to concrete outcomes.

I hope it's been a blessed Christmas and Boxing Day for all of you.

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