From: Elana Findlow
To Lucy, Henry & Dex
Hi Lucy, Henry and Dex,
You’re probably just getting ready for bed as we have just opened our presents because its Christmas Day here already …as we are here on the other side of the world, we just finished one of our traditions for Christmas .. the skype call it was nice to see you guys online and will be great to hear you all participating in the future..
It’s lovely having traditions at Christmas and I was made aware of this when your mom was a little girl she made me see how important the things that we did as a family at different times of the year are because one year around the beginning of December I sent your mom and your aunt Kerry and uncle Todd out with frankie for the afternoon and I spent the time putting up the Christmas tree and decorating it ,but when the kids came home instead of being excited about the lovely tree they were all upset because I had decorated the tree without them ..and as your mom said to me ..it’s our tradition we always decorate the tree together…so I took off the decorations and lights and we started all over again ..I made the hot chocolate and we ate the cookies and decorated the tree. And it was something we always did every year along with lots of other stuff.. some of my favorite things we have done was getting oranges and chocolate money in my stocking, reading the night before Xmas on Xmas eve …eating turkey and Christmas cake with marzipan,, finding the sixpence in the xmas pudding and then some of the new things we do like our diary and Xmas eve Skype call …ask your mom and dad about their favourite traditions.
This year is a first for us as Frankie and I have our first Xmas together with no other family but we will still be having turkey for dinner we are also going for a bike ride to get breakfast at Biku then we will go for a massage and have dinner later in the day..
I hope you all have a lovely xmas and that some time in the future you may be able to share our Christmas with us, until then love and big hugs
To: Elana Findlow
Hope everything is going well in paradise. I saw pictures from the 60th birthdays, looked like a blast. Your home and all the renovations are absolutely stunning! I still remember when you and Frank took us to see your place 3 years ago when you were still living in Jakarta.
To be honest, I can’t even imagine what Christmas feels like in other areas where everyone lives. I’m used to blizzards and -30 weather this time of the year. Two years ago, I remember Edmonton was the second coldest place in the world, after Siberia. This winter has been horrible. I try and run outside 5x per week and have even bought winter running gear. The other day I decided to run with my snowboarding goggles, what a fool I must have looked like!
We had quite the night last night with two of our best friends. Drinking lead to a dance party in our onesies. Tonight we are heading to my friend’s place, who I know from back in Winnipeg. Looking forward to good eats and a hot tub party. The Christmas season has us looking forward to a couple get togethers which are always memorable.
Christmas dinner will be the traditional turkey dinner and all the sides. Then it’s turkey leftovers for a week – turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey pot pie!
It really is my favorite time of the year – Christmas, Boxing Day shopping, my birthday, and New Years…plus, did I mention I am off for three weeks? I’ve already arranged and color coordinated our closets in my spare time lol.
Currently, I am reading the Twilight Saga. I am loving it! I am really looking forward to the return of my favorite tv show, Shameless, which starts in January! It’s a “remake” of the UK version – I am not sure if you are familiar with it. I highly recommend the watch!
With the new year approaching, I am always motivated to be healthy, stay active, and be socially aware of issues. I’m not sure my resolution will be for 2013, so I better get to figuring that out! Also have to get to planning a trip to look forward to in 2013!
Wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
From: “Liz Silcock
It is almost Christmas Eve and I am having the hardest time getting into the Christmas spirit! The house is full of piles of stuff and packing boxes everywhere, I ventured out to the supermarket earlier and the shopping mall car parks are full but the shops are only slightly chaotic and there doesn’t appear to be that usual air of panic and last minute shopping madness about the place. After all being in Sydney at this time of year was never really on the agenda, but with so much to do after selling the house we decided to stay, get packed up and move out early, so that we can get on with the next phase of our life and most of all enjoy our time in Bali……This is easier said than done, so many decisions and questions unanswered about the move, what date should we get the movers in? where will we stay in the meantime? Will we sell the furniture? and on top of all this the garden is blooming and looking its very best, as if to say “life here could not be any better!” which makes me think how sad it will be to leave this house, and more importantly who is going to take care of it just the way that I did!!
But hang on a minute this message is starting to sound like the prelude to a counseling session with Marjorie Proops (for those of you who are old enough to know who she is)!…. Anyway to get back to the brief we have been given this year in writing our diary entries and after putting all my worries aside and realizing that it will turn out ok, I take out my camera and add some happy snaps of my favorite part of the house, so that I can reflect on the many happy times we have spent here and add them to my never ending memory bank. Regardless of what the future holds I will still have plenty of happy memories and when I forget some great photos of life in Collins Street!
Recommendation Movie: best movie I saw this year has got to be The Intouchables http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Intouchables
Recommendation Book: Eleven Demons – Secrets of Deincarnation in Bali http://www.amazon.com/Eleven-Demons-Secrets-Deincarnation-ebook/dp/B006V3FNS4
Recommendation recipe: anything cooked by someone else has got to be my best recipe!
So whatever the New Year might bring us I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for a wonderful New Year.
PS: Rambo has been sighted in Bali – I believe he has been reincarnated if you don’t believe me you will just have to visit and find out for yourself!
Hey hey all!!
Let’s see here.. My day involved getting up at 635am, which didn’t happen cause I feel back to sleep till 7am and then had 20 minutes to get ready for half day of work YAH!! Spent the morning snacking on goodies brought in by people and then was sent home at 11am and instead of wrapping presents an getting organized for Christmas I have taken to the couch trying to relax while mum calls ever 10 mins to find out if I have received the diary yet and as well dad doing a follow up!! So yes Mum and Dad not only have i received the diary.. I have completed it and now i am going to enjoy a nap!!
Sorry to disappoint this year as my diary is not a based a night or weekend full of drinking.. Todd I realize this will not be remotely fun to read in “my voice” so I do apologize as I know you have been practicing!! Guess I should of done this Friday night when I was double fisting white wine 😉
Book recommendation would be a trilogy: Fifty Shades of Grey.. Nice little holiday read 🙂
Movie recommendation (since I doubt you boys will enjoy my book suggestion) Skyfall.
As for Christmas Dinner.. Well I believe we are driving up to Hamilton to enjoy the day/dinner with the Cole family so not sure what will be served however I do know Em has been extremely excited about her gravy or so she said on Facebook 🙂 however I won’t be able to keep you posted on that because I don’t eat gravy but I’ll be sure to Instagram it so Kez you better like it!!!
Merry Christmas all!!!
From: Josh Ramsden
Hi Nicola, Hello Family
just had a traditional Christmas eve meal of dad’s home made pizzas, we don’t ask what he puts on them since we know he just takes whatever he can find in the cupboards and just throws it on the pizza dough. dad had a glass of wine before mum could stop him and started a silly game, in which each participant had to ask for various things in the voice of famous actors/celebrities. Joe had to ask for more pizza as Nelson Mandela and scored 9/10 for accuracy and comedy value. Myself, I had to ask for a mince pie as Morgan Freeman. 8/10 for accuracy and comedy value. Dad had to do Bane from the latest Batman movie, his line was as mum stepped into the pantry ”ah so you think the pantry is your friend, I was born in the pantry.” 9/10 for accuracy and comedy value. Mum’s debut had her doing an impression of Margaret Thatcher the milk snatcher… we were all slightly scared by this as her impression was remarkably good scoring 7.5/10.
Now I have to go to the annual ritual of humiliation of new pyjamas and the reading of the night before Christmas…….. oh joy!
From: Silcock, Donald
Hey Josh, G’Day and Merry Xmas!
Well as its six in the morning on the 25th there is not a great deal to tell you about Christmas Day so far…. But I can share that the highlight has been the pot of English Breakfast tea I have just made and am consuming as I ponder what to write.
This is our last Christmas in Annandale as we have sold the place and have to move out by the middle of January – kind of strange that we have not actually been here over Christmas for several years and now that we are, we are surrounded by boxes, but packing boxes rather than present boxes! So Christmas 2012 will go down as the “big move”….
I have just started reading Paul Theroux’s travel book Dark Star Safari, about his journey through Africa from Cairo to Cape Town and I am really enjoying it. I am a bit of a Theroux tragic as I have just finished his novel Blinding Light!
Went to the movies the other night to see Quartet, mainly because Billy Connolly is in it – if you get the chance to see it, don’t! Usual Brit feel-good formula that did not work and the only good bits were Billy’s and I felt sorry for him stuck in a bad film…
Not much else to tell you apart from I am pouring my second cup!
Good Morning, Don!
So far Christmas has given me some time to get some things done around the house. Emma and I have been able to update the handles on the cupboards in the kitchen and get the door on at the top of the basement stairs. Christmas, for the second year in a row, has meant many trips to Home Depot.
Today, I have to take Dexter to the doctor’s office. Hopefully he can have the staples taken out from when he split his head two weeks ago. He did amazing when they were put in, so hopefully it goes as well taking them out.
I am reading “Bond On Bond” right now by Roger Moore. It’s okay. His autobiography was much better and this book feels like a James Bond companion piece. It has lots of info for a Bond nut such as myself. I think the Designing Bond show is still on in Toronto and I would like to go and check it out.
Well, Merry Christmas and I wish you all the best.
How are you? Hope all is well and you guys are all ready for Xmas . The kids must be so excited for tomorrow!
Up early this morning and I drove (by myself!) straight to Bondi florist to pick up flowers for Xmas. Had to park a long way away from the florist because it was so busy and I couldn’t face trying to do a parallel park! All worth it in the end, they had a great selection and not too expensive. Here are the arrangements I ended up doing for the Xmas table and house tomorrow.
The rest of today was tidying the house, grocery shopping and finishing off painting our sideboard that I bought on eBay months ago.
We also went and looked at a bathroom and kitchen places. Ollie and I bought a flat on Wednesday and it needs a total renovation so we are starting to get ideas ready for settlement in January. I am really excited to have our own place again and to do a renovation!
My recommendation is for my favourite book this year, actually I have to do top three because I couldn’t chose just one:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness and the Twelve by Justin Cronin
Hi Jodie, no pressure, recieved 1 hour ago, dispatched to you, for what no doubt will be an inspirational message, all the best for the holidays, Frankie
Well, here is my diary update, it describes my day on Dec 23rd, Laney and I did the tourist thing and booked a bike ride, up at Kintamani, lake Batur, the volcano and mountain area 10kms outside of Ubub, bit of a drive to get there but well worth it.
The good news was the ride was 80% downhill (how good is that), through rice paddies small villages happy kids shouting hello along the way, great day.
Laney met a new friend, a teacher fron Darwin, what a strange dude, no doubt all will hear the tales at some stage. We have planned a couple more day out’s so looking forward to them, happy holidays to all.
Favourite recipe, is one I am sure our Canadian friends will relate to, it is one from my days in Leamington at duck hunting season, the boys shared with me their favourite recipe for cooking a freshly shot duck. First put the duck on a 1foot square piece of 7 ply marine plywood, put in the oven at 230degrees, and crack a two four of Molson Canadian, after the last beer is opened take the duck from the oven, throw it away and eat the plywood, soooooooo good.
Thats all folks, Frankie
To: Frank Findlow
Wah gwaan big man?
Someone sent this chain email and apparently I have to forward it on to you or some orphan in Africa is going to have his hand cut off. #KONY
Anyway, since it’s been so long since we last saw each other I thought I’d start by telling you all about my recent holiday to Bali. Nothing out of the ordinary to report there except for the fact that I LEARNT TO WALK ON WATER. Yeah… I know what you’re saying, No Big Deal. I mean’s there plenty of people that have done it before. Well I’ve actually been doing a little research and it turns out that there’s only one other dude who claimed to have done it before but it was ages ago so it doesn’t really count.
Now that we’ve caught up on the important stuff, I will now pass on my one and only recipe suggestion.
Baked beans on pizza
1 x Baked beans (Heinz)
1 x Frozen pizza (McCains)
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and stick the pizza in there until it’s evolved from a frozen pizza to a cooked-pizza.
Heat up the baked beans in the microwave for 2 minutes.
Neatly poor the baked beans on top of the pizza
Step 4 (Optional):
For the the cook who likes to add a little bit of flare to their meals I would suggest throwing a fried egg on that bitch.
Blaze a hot one and eat up!
That’s the end of my diary entry / chain email. Have a wonderful Christmas and an even better NYE.
Lots of love,
How are you? Hope you are doing well, and looking forward to Christmas. Things are busy around here; we are having Paula, Loz, Nicola and Cory here for Christmas Day and Steve’s family is coming on the 27th. Lots to do and the kids are getting pretty excited about everything. I am doing turkey, stuffing, and veggies, all the typical Christmas dinner things, so tomorrow is going to be spent preparing things and baking. Fun! Dex is hopefully getting his staples out tomorrow as well. I think he’s healed up nicely, and has mostly forgotten about hurting himself since I have to keep reminding him to watch his head.
I’ve got two book recommendations; one is a book I just finished and one is the book I’m currently reading. The first is The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. It’s about a woman who wakes up not knowing who she is, and she finds a letter in her pocket telling her she is a Rook, part of Britain’s supernatural secret service. She needs to find out who is trying to kill her, all while trying to keep doing the job of her predecessor. I really liked it; it’s funny and smart and will hopefully have a sequel. The second book is one I’m reading right now: The Sisters Brothers. It’s a western that takes place during the gold rush on the west coast of the US. The Sisters brothers are two brothers who are assassins, tasked with killing a man who has supposedly betrayed their employer. One of the brothers is having second thoughts about the assignment. It’s great so far, and reminds me a bit of True Grit or Cormac McCarthy’s books.
That’s it from me; I’ve been told to send this asap so there you go…
From: Robyn Findlow
Hope everything is great with you. I can only imagine how excited the kids are getting about Santa tomorrow!
As I’m sure you already know, Todd and I are moving up to Sydney in about two weeks. We are leaving on the 2nd of January and we have decided to take 3 days to make our way up along the coast. Today we are trying to plan the road trip – figuring out where we are going to stop and things we want to see/do along the way.
So far we are thinking of the following:
Day 1: Mount Martha (my parents house) to Eden, New South Wales.
This will take around 6 hours and will take us through the Gippsland area and into the south east of NSW. Here is a photo of the beach in Eden:
Day 2: Eden to Jervis Bay.
This should take around 4 hours. Jervis Bay is an amazing ocean bay, with very white sand and crystal clear water. The sandbars in Jervis Bay mean that the water is really warm and lagoon-like. Here is a photo of the beach in Jervis Bay:
Day 3: Jervis Bay to Sydney.
This should only be a 2-3 hour drive. We will be arriving on the 4th of January, and unfortunately we will have the task of moving into our new place on the same day. This means, we will have this waiting for us:
Then it will be off to my new job first thing Monday morning on the 7th. It is all very exciting!!
Hope you have an amazing Christmas and New Year.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Matt Jones
Sorry this is delayed, Todd’s email was recognized as junk by my email (insert joke here).
Hope everything is great with you! I see from Todd’s update that you guys are looking to move into a new place, good luck!!
As for me, things are always interesting in Edmonton but rarely on the warm side. It’s been a solid -30C here the past week and will probably be colder next week. Gotta love Canadian winter. It gives me the perfect excuse to warm up with a tasty beverage though. Last night Kendra and I had a couple friends over and enjoyed some Jamaican Rum, a thrilling game of crokinole, and singing about a Big Banana. The things you do when it’s too cold to go outside i guess…hehe.
Better keep this short and sweet as I am off on another social outing this evening….this time will definitely be a lot warmer as our friend’s place has a hot tub…Brilliant.
Have a great holiday!!!
p.s. we are bringing a Shrimp ring (which requires no work or recipe..lol).
Hope your well? We missed you at the Bali 60th would have been good to see you, Don’t worry tho the rest of the jones were holding it down on the dance floor.
Brief update on the last few weeks. Not sure if you are aware Robyn and I are moving to Sydney on the 2nd of jan. it’s been an interesting few weeks we moved out of our apartment in northcote a couple weeks ago, and have been bouncing round staying with robs fam. Her sisters for a week while we both finished up work and now at her parents in mt Martha down the coast.
So today has started off pretty well. The weather is way nicer than expected its was suppose to rain but its a sunny 22degrees.
Tuff life! Chilled by the pool this morning. Got an email today confirming that we got a house lined up for Sydney (Yiewww)! Thanks Liz you are a legend!! For those of you that know Sydney its in Camperdown directly opposite the deus on parramatta rd. it’s such a relief, and feels like we can finally relax a lil bit (hence my pool splodder earlier). Not sure what else is on the cards today, maybe scoot down to the beach for a stroll and maybe a cold beverage. But first up I’m going to have a sanga for lunch.
Sopressa salami hot
Split green olives
Spinach and rocket
Balsamic and olive oil dressing.
Hope you have a good Xmas n new year break! Much luv
Good to see you again and to finally meet your lovely wife.
Back at work today after a couple of days off sick. Most uneventful last few days and work didn’t help, usual problems with lack of communication, management struggling to make decisions and so on. Finally got them to make a decision on whether we send people home at 11:30 am or noon on Christmas Eve. That’s what they get paid the big bucks for. Had to endure another Christmas buffet lunch, third so far since we came back, and we’re having our department lunch tomorrow. Enough already! They’ve been doing their Christmas thing at work since the beginning of November and it’s wearing a bit thin.
Also, this has to be the worst part of the year, it’s still quite dark when we leave for work and almost dark when we get home. Luckily we haven’t had any bad weather yet but this weekend could be the start. We haven’t made a decision yet on where we will be at Christmas because of the weather but we hope to get down to see Emma, Steve and the kids at some point. That should be a lot of fun. We all only have two days off so there’s not a lot we can do.
I’m hoping to get to see The Hobbit soon too but Paula won’t go with me, she gets motion sickness so I’ll have to round someone else up to go with me. The new Tarantino movie Django looks good too. Have you seen the trailers?
Well that’s all, maybe watch some TV now although the choice is pretty much Christmas movie reruns or Toronto Raptors who surprisingly are winning another game!
From: Diane Garrison
I am getting ready to fly home this evening, having had a very early start taking Josh and his friend Chloe to the airport at 3am this morning.
After I dropped them off I came home and had an hours sleep, before leaving for work.
I mentioned to the children in my class as they arrived, that I had, had an early start and would appreciate it if they were quiet and settled today, hahaha, being 4 years old my request had little impact.
This was compounded by the fact that being the last day of term it was also unfortunately mufti day (non school uniform) and so batman, a disney princess, spiderman and the pletora of disney characters in attendance were too excited to pay any attention to my requests for peace and quiet. however, 7 of them did stay at home or at least not come into school.
After completing our early morning routine, we were invited to go over t the main hall and join the rest of the school to watch Stars In Their Eyes a staff and upper school talent show. I use the term talent very loosely as there was a dearth of it in the room at times.
The first act was very good, but it was down hill for a while after that. But, after the rendition of a One direction track which had virtually the whole of the audience on their feet,singing and dancing along (I didn’t know who they were one of the children next to me told me) Things, further improved just before the interval with a performance of 6th form girls and a group of staff performing Gangnam style to rapturous applause and further mass participation and hysteria at which point we left for our snack time.
The rest of the morning was pretty uneventful, until parents began arriving early from 11am to take their children home and drop off christmas gifts, which were mainly chocolates, varying from luxury Godiva, through Patchi and good old cadbury’s selection box.
Wit any luck I should have enough chocolate to see me through to easter.
Having despatched the last children at 12 I cleared up the classroom and left around 3pmdesparate to get home to my bed. Bed sadly had to wait whilst I responded to my texts and a couple of missed calls, but finally I fell into my pit for a couple of hours waking bright eyed and bushy tailed a couple of hours later.
I have subsequently packed the remaining contents of my bag, stripped the kids and my beds, put in a couple of loads of laundry and am now preparing to leave for the airport.
My flight departs at 12,20am which means I shall be on the ground in Manchester shortly after8am and home by 10 having had a quick stop over in Geneva.
A long day but well worth it to see my boys and home.
ps just had a text from John the eaglets have landed.
I am going to go to work in about an hour. I have a crap day ahead of me, so rather than tell you about that i think i will tell you of all the yummy things i will be eating today.
I have blueberries for the car journey, muesli and banana for breaks fast when I arrive, plus a peppermint tea. I make the muesli myself, it is heaven. This is the recipe:
1. 2kg of oats
2. 1/2 kg of barley
3. 1/2 kg of rye
4. 250 grams of dried mixed berries
5. 250 grams of sultanas
6. 1/2 kg of pepita seeds
7. 1/2 kg of chia seeds
8. 250 grams walnuts
9. 250 grams Brazil nuts
10. 250 grams Pistachios
11. 250 grams activated almonds
12. 250 grams of shaved coconut
13. 250 grams of banana chips
14. 250 grams sunflower seeds.
Put it all in a big soup pot and mix it up good. Afterwards gather all your Tupperware and store it away. It will last you for months. It is worth the effort, there is enough nutrients in one bowl to last you all day!
For lunch I am going to eat some left overs from last night – three baked beans. Sounds boring but tastes soo good. Check out the recipe below:
Sorry it is side on. I am doing this on my iPad.
For snacks throughout the day I have a pear and a mango.
When I get home around 5pm, I am going to go to an auction. Jodie and I are hoping to buy an apartment in Bondi tonight – little 2 beds, 2 baths, 1 car. Address is 4/27 Penkivil Street if you would like to google it. If we get it we will probably crack open some champagne.
For dinner, I will either make a red curry chicken or a pumpkin curry. Haven’t decided yet.
Don’t forget to:
From: Paula Jones
To: Oliver Judd
Have to say it was really nice spending time with you at the 60th birthday bash lots of memories made. You also came up a lot when we were in Bangkok while wondering around most of the market stalls we saw t-shirts galore with the Korean musician, who sang the Gangnam Style song. We would have a little laugh and then think of you… almost sent you a shirt. Laughing with you not at you…
It’s been busy at work since I got back so not much else going on. Weather has been really good meaning no snow yet and temperatures only just below freezing some days, so for us in Canada that is good. We are hoping to spend Christmas day with Emma and family. Not sure what the Christmas menu will as we will be at Emma’s. Spending time with little ones should be lots of fun, I’m also interested in tasting Emma’s gravy that she makes, as I’ve heard so much about it, so can’t wait to taste it….
From talking with you Ollie I got the impression you like to cook so I have attached a soup recipe that I really enjoy.. let me know what you think after you’ve tried it …..
We will be at home for the Christmas Eve skype chat… hope to see you then….
Until next time love Paula,
Start: Paula, to Ollie, to Diane, to Loz, to Todd, to Matt, to Robyn, to Emma, to Callum, to Frank, to Jodie, to Steve, to Don, to Josh, to Nicola, to Liz, to Kendra, to Elana, to Dex and Henry and Lucy, to Kerry, to Joe, to Elliott, to John, to Cory, back to publisher (Elana)…..