As I write this, it’s 10am on Saturday and I have 10 people coming over in two hours to bake cookies. Yes, the Jewish aunt hosts an annual cookie-baking party for her nieces and nephs. There is about 10 pounds of cookie dough ready to go in the fridge—gingerbread, sugar cookies, and almond dough for belated Hannukah hedgehogs. I’ll also be making latkes, so the house will smell like oil for a week. There is flour and sugar spilled everywhere.
I went through my cupboards and closets and made a “giveaway” pile of books and gadgets and odds and ends I bought overseas and didn’t know what to do with once I got home. There will probably be a kangaroo tea towel in this pile next year.
I bought a new mattress, a bed in a box from Walmart, and naturally it was delivered last night. When my son arrives he will get to hoist the old one out and set the new one up. Shh…don’t tell him.
I have a new foster cat who is very friendly and constantly underfoot so that should make everything more interesting. My son’s two step girls, aged three and seven, will be sleeping over. It will be dark by 4:15 and they’ll probably get bored but bedtime is 7pm so how hard could it be?
It’s chaos, and I anticipate utter exhaustion on Monday. Here’s a “before” photo of my dining room, complete with cookie cutters, every kind of thing you can sprinkle or spread on cookies, and tins ready to fill with cookies. I will share some during- and after-photos in the next post.
I hope you are enjoying the year-end, whatever latitude you are in and whatever holidays you celebrate, or don’t.
There was more to learn about Australian military history as Heidi and I walked into town. “There’s an RSL Club,” Heidi pointed out.
I believe RSL stands for “Returned Service League,” and it’s similar to a VFW Club in the US, where Veterans of Foreign Wars hang out. I wonder where the Veterans of Domestic Wars go?
And it had a museum—this looked very exciting—but it was closed, forever. “They must have moved to a new location,” Heidi said, disappointed.
Across the street there was an intriguing building behind a barbed wire fence and an American flag flew alongside the Aussie one.
“Why would the US air force be involved in monitoring seismic disturbances?” I asked. “I mean, seismic disturbances don’t happen in the air. I bet it’s a cover for a secret UFO project.”
“Oh yes, most certainly,” Heidi replied.
We stopped at a Woolworths, or Woolies as Aussies call them. Similarly to Target, Woolworths is something different in Australia than it was in the US before it went out of business. In Aus there are Woolworths gas stations and another version that was more like a Walgreens but with groceries and alcohol. We swung by the motel and grabbed some coffee mugs, then made the pleasant hike up Anzac Hill, where we watched the sunset and had a discreet mug of wine.
It was a beautiful view and the weather was perfect. We talked about our family members who had been in the military, and Heidi told me more about her mother’s experience during World War II and subsequent move to Australia.
“We have at least as many refugees in the world now than there were at the end of World War II,” I commented. “And yet it doesn’t feel like we’re at war. Now we kill people with drones.”
“I know,” said Heidi, “You know we’ve got service members fighting, but it all feels so out of sight.”
It became dark and we were the last people on the hill. Suddenly the sky lighted up in the distance with purple and orange Aboriginal patterns and I wondered if I was hallucinating.
“Do you see that …” I asked Heidi.
“Yes! I think it’s a laser light show at the Desert Park; I saw it in a brochure.”
We agreed to go see it the next evening, then we carefully made our way down the hill in complete darkness until we saw a sign from another familiar-sounding business.