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Knit is a Four-Letter Word

Holidailies 2014 Day 2; Black

Holidailies 2014

This isn’t the entry I planned to write and was writing, but then the lights in the house surged and dipped into black, one, two, three times, you’re out. Completely dark except for the light of my now-not-internet-connected laptop.

I called SA Power Networks, and they wanted me to walk outside to check the fuse box, even though I can see from my window that the street lights are out, and it’s moonlit but inky darkness as far as my madly adjusting pupils can make out. Then they had a report of an adjacent outage. Adjacent? Does that mean I am darkness adjacent? Because it feels like darkness immersion to me, and I really do not want to venture out into the pitch-black outside to confirm a theory.

So we settle on adding my report to their list, which means I will get SMS updates and I grab the anemic but better than candle torch/flashlight from the drawer of random. Cleaning my teeth by torchlight is not so much like camping but rather trying to remember where bits of my mouth are by touch and randomly issued pallid beams of not helpful illumination.

I am typing this out on my mobile phone which is plugged hopefully into a currently dormant power strip. According to the ETA of the text that just popped up from SA Power Networks, there is an outage in my suburb (no longer adjacent but rather actual SMS-confirmed darkness, possibly) and they’re anticipating power back on by 3:15. I’m anticipating the darkness brought on by closing my eyes, but am hoping the power comes on and charges my phone so the alarm clock app wakes me up for work in the morning.

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Holidailies 2014 Day 1 – Verbal Snapshots

Holidailies 2014

2010 was the Year before Everything Changed. 2011 was the Year of Suck. 2012 was the Year of Transition, and 2013 was the Year of Awesome.

(Previous Introductions 2010, no 2011 because oh man, what a year that was, 2012 and 2013)

2014 has been the Year of Settling in, but also the Year of Really, Really Busy.

My name is still Amanda Page, despite being within cooee of being a divorcee, I’m keeping my last name. It’s who I’ve been since 1998, and it fits me well.

Chris, the chap I beamed and glowed about in December 2013, he’s still well and truly part of my picture. Come January 10th, we will have been together for 2 years. He’s a continuing part of my Australian story.

I still have my wee black 1998 Honda Civic. I take her to a sole owner mechanic about 15 minutes down the hill. Dino is his name, and he treats us both with respect.

I now have two jobs – Accounts Receivable for a detective, and mid-December 2013 I started work as a Finance Officer for a Community Organisation. My current career deviation is to finish the financial counselling diploma I started in August, and to start and complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment in Semester 1 in 2015. Along with trying to maintain some continuing Accounting studies. Busy brain, but loving the learning. Lifetime learner, that’s me.

A little heavier than I was last year – the study/work/social combo has left me not organising time to move, and that’s on my list of things to change. I have a gym membership, they have exercise bikes and treadmills and all classes are included. Not just about my size, although I really do like it when I can wear the smaller sizes. But my health, I am better when I’m carrying less, when there’s less stress on my joints and my back.

December the 1st is the first day of Summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Today was a little chilly – 25C aka 77F. Ah yes, I am completely assimilated back into the weather of my choice. When I lived in New Jersey (Jan 1998 – June 2012), 77F would have been a short-sleeves and shorts-with-sandals kinda weather. Back in Adelaide for just shy of 2.5 years, and today’s ensemble included a long-sleeved top, jeans, and my favourite scarf. It did warm up a little later in the day, but this was temperature appropriate wear for all but a bit of it.

I still have moments where I think of December as July weather. Because for fourteen Julys, that’s what Summer and hot weather meant, July and August, humidity and ceiling fans, corn and barbecues. December meant scarves and woollens, hot apple cider and snow. I have side-by-side snapshots in my head for every month of the year, because while I am (as a US friend put it) the Aussie Australian from Australia, 14 years in the US has left/gifted me with a strong sense of a second place that meant home.


Mixed-up Muddle of a Monday

Last night, I stayed up quite late, and ended up only getting about 5 hours sleep.

My spatial intelligence and sense of direction are both negligible.

Combine these two facts, and you get a Monday that is a comedy of errors.

Today I:

a) got lost on the way to TAFE (school). I go to TAFE every Monday, and have driven in each Monday other than last week, when I took the train. Today I found myself travelling down several streets that aren’t the most direct way to school. And if I had an option to choose, I inevitably chose the road least travelled. Also known as Not the Right Direction.

b)completely forgot that there was a question 5 on my spreadsheet assessment until my lecturer asked to see that section. Made sillier by the fact that I had been given prime place in the queue so I could head into work a little earlier. Yep, nope, I was the third to last to leave the assessment room today.

c) Walked to my car in the TAFE carpark. Remembered I had to pay for my parking before I left, walked back to the parking machine I had walked past to get to my car. Paid for my ticket. Picked up my receipt and walked back to my car. Couldn’t find my ticket. Walked back to the parking machine to find the ticket sitting in the slot where i had left it. Walked back to my car, and concentrated very hard on driving to work.

d) Got into my car to drive home. Couldn’t find my keys, which was odd because I had just unlocked my car. Opened the car door to find my keys where I had left them, locked in the car.

e) had many many little trips, stumbles, bangs and pokes. If I am not covered in tiny bruises over the next week or so, I will be quite surprised. Actually, I will be surprised anyway, because I will forget all of the trips and stumbles and bangs etc, and wonder where the heck that bruise came from.

I am now heading to bed, where at least if I fall, it will be into something soft.

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I Found the Pony


I spent the vast majority of my life being some form of unhappy with my smile; tricky to find a good photo of me, let alone one smiling – the discomfort shone through and the lens captured that.

Me with Washcloth 2007

In 2011 my life changed dramatically. After nearly 15 years in the US, the marriage I was in fell apart shockingly and suddenly. I dropped 60 lbs and 6 dress sizes in 6 months. My teeth, which had been teetering on the edge of disaster due to a chronic fear of the dentist also fell apart. (Ironically, thanks to the marriage breakup, there were funds available to do the first part of fixing my teeth.) Photos of me from around 2011 show a person who was thinner than she’d ever been, but starting to get comfortable with showing her teeth, although the sadness showed up around her eyes.


In 2012, I moved back to Australia – the marriage was done in all but name, and I needed the safety net that I could have due to my lucky accident of an Australian birth. I’d been back about 3 months and due to this safety net, I’d been to see doctors, starting to have the standard checkups that are part of an ongoing commitment to a healthy populace. They found something, they thought it was a fast moving cancer, and you haven’t experienced speed until you’ve been in the hands of the cancer specialist professionals. From the first test to the day I had surgery was not much more than a couple of weeks.

It turned out not to be cancer, and it turned out to be one of the reasons I was so tired and so cold all of the time. It turned out to be something else that I needed – a goal and something to focus on, rather than being unemployed, living with my parents and without a car. (Or frankly the ability to safely drive one ; 15 years of driving on the opposite side of the road, your brain starts to rewire those neurons. 3 months of being back hadn’t changed that ongoing sense of being constantly startled by turns and all of the now-weird angles.)

I started to date again, via an online dating website because after 15 years of being in a relationship, I needed to practice this. Online was my choice, because I could talk to someone in email before meeting them, I could get a sense of who they were, before diving into the in-the-flesh, in-the-real meet and greet deal. My friend Di is an excellent photographer, who took one look at my selfie on the dating site, and took me in hand for an afternoon. These photos from 2012 are still some of the best ever taken of me. Ever.

In 2013, all the things I didn’t have in 2012 came to me. It felt like every time I thought of something, it arrived. Job – here’s a part-time gig. Career and study – here’s a MYOB course that revealed to me that I really, really, Really like learning about accounting, and that I’m actually quite good at it, and for the first time in my life, I was doing homework without resenting it, enjoying it, and living up to the potential that every high-school report card told me I had and wasn’t. House – here’s a little house up in the hills where the realtor accepted my cats and my crazy patchwork income structure. Car – here’s a 1998 Honda Civic on Gumtree that fits into my budget perfectly and has been treated so well in the past that it’s in a fabulous condition.

Relationship? Ah yes, that happened too. The online dating thing worked so well, I’ve been seeing someone for the past 11 months, and it just keeps getting better. I went to his works Christmas party this past Saturday, held on a horse farm, and he introduced me to these people that he works with as “the love of his life”. And I beamed and I smiled the way I’ve been beaming and smiling since we met in January. The horse farm adjists horses, and as part of the party fun, any of us who wanted to got to take a Christmas card shot.


This is Benji, and I’m smiling like a fool.

There’s a joke you see, about the eternal optimist. She was put to the test, and presented with, instead of a room filled with toys, a room filled with manure. She beamed and immediately started to laugh and dig. When asked what she was doing, she said “with all of this manure, there must be a pony here somewhere!”

I found the pony.


Holidailies the Third – Sing Out Your Holiday Songs

Holidailies 2012

Holidailies prompt: Which holiday song do you think should be banned from the airwaves, and why?

You know what? I just can’t think of a single Holiday song I’d ban. Not even ones that make me cry, like Tim Minchin and his ode to expat Antipodeans, Southern Hemisphere Hot Christmases and his baby daughter.

Not even ones that feature singers I am not enthralled with, like the Marian Carey one that I’m not linking to because I mostly find her singing style shrill and over-done.

I can’t bring myself to be grinchy about songs that commemorate the season. And how, if I were Queen of the Airwaves and magicked away an annoying song, that I might be whisking away someone’s joyous holiday tradition.

Then I checked my old Facebook posts for this day,last year, and coincidentally I was posting about a holiday song. It was Choir Practice, and we were practicing Gaudete.

On December 3rd, 2011, I said

“We sang this in choir practice tonight. Bliss. Love the Gregorian Chant. I will be singing this in the church choir next Wednesday evening. (Not the solo bit, the bit where everyone sings. On a slightly embarrassing note, I mistook Steeleye Span for Steely Dan and had an interesting mental moment imagining Steely Dan’s foray into Gregorian Chant.)”

It’s twelve months later to the day. I’m thinking on friends in far away places this evening. Twelve months ago tonight, I was singing this song in practice with Nancy, Sarah, Darrin, Bob, Brenda, Kathy & Ania. And later in that week, when we stood up and sang it in from the choir loft, as the last notes rang out, the congregation paused, in awed hush, and then stood up and applauded. Glorious.

Hope you’re getting to sing your holiday songs this season.

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Holidailies 2012 – Looking Forward

Holidailies 2012

Holidailies prompt: What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?

It’s not that I’m not looking forward to this holiday season. I’m an atheist, so I’m a (usually) firm believer in not wishing my life away, since it’s the only one I get to have. And I (usually) love this time of year. All of the sparkly lights, the good food, the socializing with friends and family, the giving and getting of gifts, the break from work, all of the traditions that come along with this time of year.

I’ve spent the past fourteen holiday seasons in the Northern Hemisphere, in my own house, building a life and traditions. A new ornament every year, buying treats for my cats’ stockings, going to a succession of parties and gatherings with my friends, and groups, and family.

This year, though, I’m still drifting, unsettled. Even though I’ve been reconnecting with the Southern Hemisphere. Tonight was my first Christmas party of the season; the end-of-year gathering for the wildlife rescue I’ve been volunteering for. It was fun; Igot to dress up, eat good food (barramundi for mains, chocolate sachertorte for dessert) with a glass of wine, and chat to kind and interesting people. I even got a giftie from the head of the organisation – she made a game of it for all of us, with a numbered ornament that resulted in a gift for every attendee. I got Balfour’s Mince Pies, a tasty treat from a South Australian Baking Institution. We got to keep our wee ornaments; mine is a hot pink spiral.

And I’m part of the family Kris Kingle; we’ll be gathering on Christmas Day for the luncheon feast and the Kris Kringle swap. My plan is to make a scarf, as I’ve seen the accessories of the person I’ve been gifted, so I know just what to make.

And this will be the first Christmas I’ve been physically in the same space as my niece, V. She’s 7 now, and it’ll be fun to see her reaction to my giftie, in person, rather than as the far-away Auntie on the Skype.

So it really isn’t that I’m not looking forward to this holiday season, as some of the traditions are starting to come into place.

I’m really looking more forward to Christmas 2013.

Where I’ll have a job, and can happily luxuriate in the Christmas break.
When I’ll have a car, so I can drive myself to and from the family and friend gatherings.
When I’ll be in the same place as all of my stuff; so I can wake up on Christmas morning in my own bed.
Where I’ll be in the same place as my cats; so I can give them their treats that I’ve collected in their stocking.
Where I’ll be in my own place; so I can put up my tree (real or fake), and I can add the new ornament from that year, and ones from years past.

Where I’ll be past this first new anniversary of a now different Christmas, and where the sparkly lights and the good food and all of the rest of the traditions will be building on my future, and where I can put the sadness away, and look back on all I used to most look forward to with fondness, and all I have to look forward to with joy.

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Holidailies 2012, the First – Who Am I?

Holidailies 2012

The last time I attempted Holidailies was 2010, I got one post done, The Introduction, and I’m going to neatly cannibalize that post to reintroduce myself this year.

>>I’m Amanda Page, aka Emender Poige (to the American ear, that’s how my Australian accent sounds.)

I am still Amanda Page, and I regularly use Emender Poige as my online nom de plume. People also assume that Amanda Page is a made up name; it sounds writerly and a mighty handy name for an online writer. But no, that is my name in the real space too; first name from birth, and last name from the first marriage.

>>I’ve been blogging since it was online journalling, way back in the deep dark ages of late early 1996/early 1997. If you count all of the entries and laid them end to end, they might stretch halfway into 2011. It’s been a long time, but not prolific. And on a bunch of platforms that went away, as did a chunk of the entries. Litweb, Newsguy, Cyber-e-net, Diary-X, Geocities.

I would like to have kept all of my previous entries, but usually the platform was swept out from under me before I remembered what I tell everyone else – backup often, using multiple formats. I still have my paper journals from high school and it’s interesting reading what that girl thought about things. Things she thought were so important that I barely (or not at all) remember now. Heartening, that thought – in another decade or so, all that caused me such grief and angst over the past 3 years will have softened into fuzzy memories of events no longer sharp and impinging.

>>But I’ve been in every Holidailies since at least 2003 (blast from the past – check out the 2003 page. Considering 7 years in internet time is like counting in dog years, there’s still a surprising number of people there that I still know and “see.”

Barely in 2010, and in 2011, I didn’t sign up at all. Although great turmoil and upheaval can make for compelling narrative in other blogs, turns out it can be too much to write about at the time

>>After being online for such a long time, sometimes it can be hard to write – have I said it before, did I say it better the first time, should I be saying it now.
>>That is why I love Holidailies – once a year, I and a bunch of other writers push past that, and we write. I get to read a bunch of excellent entries, and I get to flex the writing muscle that doesn’t get a lot of use.

Can’t say this any better than 2010.

>>You’ve seen the word clouds on the blogs, it’s a plugin that I haven’t quite gotten around to working out.
>>Here’s my manual cloud – these are words you’ll expect to see a lot of over the course of Holidailies
>>Jeff. Australia. Australian. Knit. Knitting. Crochet. Crocheting. Yarn. cats. Adelaide. Hoover. Lucky. Cooking. Books. Christmas. Cards. Late. Tired. Bed.

The word cloud for this year would be similar;

Australia. Australian. Knit. Knitting. Crochet. Crocheting. Yarn. cats. Adelaide. Hoover. Lucky. Cooking. Books. Christmas.

but with a few significant changes;

Separation. Divorce. Unemployed. Weight Loss . Running. Family. Friends Starting Over.

A brief introduction –

My name is Amanda Page. I used to live in the USA, had a job, a house, a car and was married, and was a US size 20/Oz size 22.

My name is still Amanda Page. After my marriage broke down in January 2010, I dropped 60 lbs/27 kilos and six sizes in 6 months. By June of 2011, I was a US #8-10/Oz #10-12, and had started running 5KM races. I moved back to Australia in June 2012, with all of my stuff and cats, which are in storage and a cattery, respectively. I’m looking for work, working on getting a car, and my own place to live. I’m starting over.

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Ten on Tuesday – my Favourite Easter Sides

From Carole’s Ten on Tuesday – 10 Favorite Side Dishes to Serve at a Family Dinner. As she said in her email to the Ten on Tuesday bunch, “what do you serve with your main course that everyone loves?”

I’ve been living in the US for about 14 years now, so most of the side dishes I’m listing below are from the US holiday dinners I’ve been to over that time.

1.) Cranberry relish. Jeff’s Mum makes the best, tangiest cranberry relish. It has fresh cranberries, whole oranges, lemon Jelly/Jello, walnuts and Granny Smith apples. It’s one of my favourite things about Easter and Thanksgiving. I also like to use it with the leftover turkey and mashed potatoes, heated up on a croissant, just the best leftovers sandwich ever.

2.) Mashed potatoes. My Mum adds cream cheese to hers, with a bit of garlic in it. I like them fluffy with butter, cream cheese and some extra cream, beaten until they’re light and fluffy. Perfect leftover used – as a topping for Shepherds Pie.

3.) freshly baked bread rolls. These are bought in their par-baked state, and then served hot with dinner. They are essential, as I eat some of my mashed potatoes in a potato/hot roll sandwich side.

4.) Broccoli salad – this has raw florets of broccoli, with grated cheese and bits of bacon, with a dressing over the top. Crunchy and just delicious.

5.) Potato salad – a friend, Nancy, makes my new favourite. It has an apple cider and vinegar dressing, and is made with skin-on red potatoes, and hardboiled eggs.

6.) Peas and onions – those little pearl onions, these are a favourite.

7.) Celery sticks – raw and green, they add a nice crunch to the side

8.) black olives – the medium to large sized, pitted.

9.) a green salad – this is regularly my contribution, as I like to make sure I’m having enough fibre with the meal.

10.) Pineapple rings. This is cooked as a part of the glaze with the ham, and I love the oven roasted flavour that is imbued into the pineapple. Not entirely certain I’m supposed to eat the garnish, but it’s edible and tasty, so I always do.

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Holidailies 2010 Day 1 – An Introduction

It’s the first day of Holidailies … introduce yourself and your website.

I’m Amanda Page, aka Emender Poige (to the American ear, that’s how my Australian accent sounds.)

I’ve been blogging since it was online journalling, way back in the deep dark ages of late early 1996/early 1997. If you count all of the entries and laid them end to end, they might stretch halfway into 2011. It’s been a long time, but not prolific. And on a bunch of platforms that went away, as did a chunk of the entries. Litweb, Newsguy, Cyber-e-net, Diary-X, Geocities.

But I’ve been in every Holidailies since at least 2003 (blast from the past – check out the 2003 page. Considering 7 years in internet time is like counting in dog years, there’s still a surprising number of people there that I still know and “see.”

After being online for such a long time, sometimes it can be hard to write – have I said it before, did I say it better the first time, should I be saying it now.

That is why I love Holidailies – once a year, I and a bunch of other writers push past that, and we write. I get to read a bunch of excellent entries, and I get to flex the writing muscle that doesn’t get a lot of use.

You’ve seen the word clouds on the blogs, it’s a plugin that I haven’t quite gotten around to working out.

Here’s my manual cloud – these are words you’ll expect to see a lot of over the course of Holidailies

Jeff. Australia. Australian. Knit. Knitting. Crochet. Crocheting. Yarn. cats. Adelaide. Hoover. Lucky. Cooking. Books. Christmas. Cards. Late. Tired. Bed.


Ten on Tuesday

This week’s question for Ten on a Tuesday is – Ten Things I like about Fall/Autumn.

1. ) Apple cider from Sunny Slope Farms, a local orchard. They don’t start making their cider until half way through October; not until they have a mixed selection of apple varieties to make it from. This attention to detail makes this the Best Apple Cider.

2. ) Apples – Sunny Slope has the best apples, its totally the reason why I don’t eat apples outside of Autumn here. Their Empire apples are small and red and crisp and tart with a little sweet and completely addictive.

3. ) Knitting – Woolly hand knits make complete sense. When finishing off a 3 skein shawl, having all of that knitting draped over your legs becomes pleasant, as opposed to slightly sticky in Summer.

4.) Sparkly lights – I know it’s not an old Halloween tradition here, but I do like all of the sparkly light displays that start up in the Autumn now. Sparkly lights make the earlier sunsets tolerable. (I also like it when people keep their Christmas lights lit in January. January is a dark, dark month in the Northern Hemisphere, it can always use an extra bit of twinkly sparkle.)

5. ) Tea – hot tea, with milk and sugar, and a small plate with a couple of biscuits (that’s cookies) is lovely when there’s a chill in the air.

6. ) Soup. Cold soups are OK, but hot soup really comes into its own in the cooler months. I make a mean Roasted Pumpkin Soup – here it’d probably be called Roasted Squash soup, since I make it with Butternut. I’m originally from Australia, and there a butternut is a pumpkin, so Pumpkin Soup it is. Then there’s Beef and vegetable Soup, Matzo Ball Soup, Curried Cauliflower Chicken Soup. I could live happily in the colder months with a big pot of soup in the fridge, and a constant supply of buttered toast with which to dunk in it.

7. ) Humidity levels. The Summer in Southern New Jersey kicks all kinds of arse with its bountiful supply of tomatoes and corn, but the humidity, man, that’s a different kind of arse kicking. Autumn is the kindest month to my hair – the humidity is gone, but the breaking cold hasn’t arrived.

8. ) Self inserting cats. We have a cat door, so they could, in theory, be self inserting cats all year round, but they like to stay out and cat about when the weather is warmer. This then requires multiple and varied cat wrangling techniques to bring them inside. In the Autumn, suddenly the heated house with the blankets and the human laps becomes infinitely more appealing, and they’re in like Flynn every night, no persuasion required.

9. ) Thanksgiving – turkey, home made cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, these are good, good food.

10. ) My birthday. In Australia, I had a Spring birthday, but it morphed into an Autumn birthday when I changed hemispheres. My birthday is November the 24th, so every 4-6 years or so, my birthday and Thanksgiving Day collide – turkey and cake!


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