I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happiness again

Here beginneth the 2011 annual blog post about Christmas puddings. Each year, I make them later and later: we have just taken them out of the bain-maries this morning, but they are ready to go. I toyed with experimenting with a new recipe, but decided not to mess with perfection (thanks, Vogue Entertaining Guide of the mid 1980s whose cover has now been ripped away after so much use: maybe this year I'll make the sweet potato souffle once more), and the only little variation was to bring out the flavour of the grated orange peel by using Cointreau instead of the last dash of brandy, and we'll take the bottle to flame them with on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We have also just bought a two million year old Wollemi pine (complete with its own certificate) in a pot to decorate.

This time last year I asked people to spare a special thought or wish for my friend Hypatia. I visited her briefly in Cambridge in April. She looked fragile, but was taking small steps forward. She's now back teaching and writing, and while there's still a way to go, she is still facing in the right direction, as far as I can see. 

In previous years I blogged about the ritual of making the puddings, and the year my father came and helped me skin the almonds and mix up the puddings when I was too weak to do it on my own. This year, I got Joel to help me, and we happily squeezed the gleaming pearly white nuts out of their warm wet skins, shooting them around the inside of the bowl.

Later we all sat around drinking tea. We are still celebrating Joel's VCE Year 12 piano result (nothing wrong with an A+, in any language, especially when it was really not expected); we had Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" playing, and the cats were madly chasing each other around the house to that long, initial build-up in "Tusk"; and this time it was Joel who had one of those little rushes of happiness, so clearly associated with home, with security, with family tradition.

Hard to write this kind of thing without sounding complacent and self-congratulatory. What I'm aiming to do is to treasure those moments when they come, not take them for granted.


Jeffrey Cohen said...

Your post made my morning: what a beautiful moment. Thanks for sharing it around the world!

Nici said...

Well it made me smile. It's a great thing to be aware of happiness and contentment. Happy Christmas and New Year to you and all your family Stephanie,

love Nici

Anne said...

I am so pleased for you, and especially Joel, since I know neither of you was expecting such a tremendous result. Bravo! And the memories of traditional, familial Christmas routines cannot be overvalued, I don't think. Wishing every joy to you and yours. xxx

Michaela said...

Reading your delightful blog inspired me to book a beach house in January for a family holiday. We hadn't planned to go to the coast this summer, due to work and other commitments, but 2011 was a challenging year for our family too (year 12, AMEB piano exams, sickness, work pressures etc). We're now looking forward to relaxing together, celebrating the year just gone and contemplating the one ahead. Music has sustained us this year too (piano, saxophones, guitar), but I must confess I don't miss early morning piano scales... :)