Marriage is between a man and a woman… and the church and the government and your mum


I can’t help but notice that a lot of people are getting married lately. Every couple of weeks, I’m seeing white dresses and rings all over my Facebook feed. I’m also hearing a lot of wedding-related conversation.

I don’t hate the idea of marriage at all, and although the thought of planning a wedding fills me with cold dread, I can how it might be nice to do the deed at some point down the track.

I do have a problem with the traditional (and legislative) caveats that come with the ceremonial joining of two lives. Marriage and weddings have become a balancing act: please the church, please the state, please the family. It’s your special day, right?


Boy Meets Girl


Or boy meets boy. Or girl meets girl. No, wait, scratch that. Marriage does not apply to those last two pairings. Silly me. To me, and people like me, the “gay marriage debate” is just us shooting confused looks at one another and meeting every opposing argument with, “Why is this even a fucking question?” A marriage involves two people who want to permanently join their lives together (legally, spiritually, perhaps physically through some kind of surgery…) and obviously have the intestinal fortitude to deal with all the bullshit that is part and parcel of taking that plunge. It’s pretty simple, really. In theory. In a vacuum. Ah, sweet love.


Going to the Chapel


I haven’t been to very many weddings, but all of them have been religious (Catholic) ceremonies. To me, the ritual was dry and unromantic; it even disturbed me in places. (There’s something about verbally agreeing that your union will result in the production of offspring that seems pushy and overly involved. Can we leave my uterus out of this?)  Having said that, I completely respect a couple’s desire to include their faith in their union. After all, religion is a deeply personal experience. For the same reason, I am completely offended by the hijacking of marriage by any one religion. To suggest that a marriage is any less legitimate because it didn’t happen exactly according to some ancient custom is stupid. It’s also kind of offensive. It’s also technically wrong. After all, what’s a joining of two souls without a bit of legally binding paperwork?


All You Need is Love and $40.50 for a Certificate


Nothing screams romance like registering your every move with your friendly government. I was pretty disappointed to find out that my birth certificate wasn’t a “Congrats for being the winning sperm” thing, but more like a livestock tracking system. You can get ‘married’ by a bilingual Eclectus Parrot in a hot air balloon over a volcano, but it doesn’t mean anything (in the eyes of the law) without that scrap of paper. Despite the fact that a separation of church and state is written into the Australian constitution (I know, we have one – crazy shit), the only real basis for not changing the Marriage Act to encompass the union of all couples is that, like, you know, it’s just not right. I mean, we’re not saying “according to the Bible”, but…

The Commonwealth shall not make any law… for imposing any religious observance.

Right. Of course. Shit. OK, so, it’s not about religion. It’s about… tradition! Upholding the cornerstones of our society or something. Changing things makes us feel weird.

Then again, if federal finances continue the way they are, marriage equality may be a quick cash flow solution for the government. I mean, that’s a lot more $40.50 payments…


Why Are You Crying?


Every little girl dreams of her wedding day. That’s a thing, right? There’s some kind of borderline-creepy scrapbook that details everything from the dress to the typeface on the place cards, with some vague notion of a groom who’s, like, handsome or has ten Ferraris or something? Even the non-scrapbookers have been told since birth that the day of their marriage will be their special day.

“Why don’t you want your father to walk you down the aisle? Do you hate him? You’re his only daughter. He’s dreamed of this day,” sobs your mother when you tell her you’re thinking of keeping things low-key.

“You’re not inviting your second cousin and her six children? You’re practically Satan,” scolds your wife-to-be’s great-aunt.

“I’ll go, but I want things arranged so that I don’t have to see, hear, or smell my stupid bitch sister. Some kind of tagging in and out system would probably work, but it’s pretty inconvenient for me,” sniffs your Nan.

“We’re making the trip up just for your wedding. We’ll just stay in a hotel though, so don’t tell your mum we’re coming,” writes your uncle. (This one actually happens in my family. It would be kind of cool and secretive if it were something more juicy than “don’t tell your brother we met up for coffee today” – because he’s totally going to care.)

I’m genuinely surprised that more brides and grooms don’t start their vows with “Firstly, fuck all y’all”. Tradition is lovely if it means something to you. It’s fucking irritating if it only means something to two very pushy people in your extended family. The apparent rules around who to invite, where to seat them, what to feed them, and how to fork out thousands to do it are enough to give any marriage-participant a cold sore the size of a grape. And that’s what you want when you look back over your wedding photos: tired eyes, a forced smile, and a perpetually empty wine glass.


My mum gets this, thank god (or the God-Abbott coalition). She tells me that as long as I’m happy, she doesn’t care if, when, or how I get married. I assume there are practical limits on this; human sacrifice hasn’t been a family ritual for at least a decade.

Your marriage should be like your sex life: how you do it is between you and your partner. If other people want to come and applaud, they can do so from a safe distance, on the condition that they offer no suggestions.

“But, you know, missionary is traditional…”



Day Eighty-Three: The five most foolish things I’ve heard from parents in custody cases

Source: Dr John Bullas (Flickr)

Source: Dr John Bullas (Flickr)

I’ve worked as secretary for a psychologist for a few years now. One of his areas of specialty is Family Law cases–specifically when children are alienated from one parent. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t. I know that these people are going through tough times and everyone is their enemy, but hell, I just get paid to make the appointments, take your money, and smile politely when you walk in the door.

(Note: I am not a psychologist. These views are entirely based on my own observations and experience. Although they are based on things that actual people have told me, I am not referring to any specific individuals; rather, I’m noting the things I hear all too often from many cases.)


The magistrate said there was no evidence of the abuse that was alleged, so there should be no reason my kids can’t see me.

No reason except that they don’t want to. It’s not fair, and it sucks, but one proclamation isn’t going to suddenly reverse years of negative thinking. You might be a great guy who’s been shafted by a vengeful ex; your kids probably know less than half the story (and heard most of it from your ex). It’s going to take time to change their attitudes towards you. So, hey, welcome to therapy!


My child was petrified of coming; he/she cried all the way here.

Since the only reason they know about it is because you told them, it can be safely assumed that their fear stems directly from yours. If you told them that they’re being forced by a judge to go to an unfamiliar (but perfectly pleasant, I might add) place where they’ll be forced (again) to see their estranged father/mother, then I can totally understand why they bawled their eyes out or refused to get in the car. If you told them that they were going along to have a chat to a nice man about how they’re feeling, things might have gone a little better. No sensible psychologist would dump an alienated parent and child into the same room together at the first session; the psychologist probably told you that when you came along for your individual session. It’s telling that most of the Orders I read have to specifically prohibit the parents from talking about Court Orders or matters with their children.


They said we’d only need three sessions/ Why is this taking so long?

I can’t claim to know what happened in your family unit to make your children not want to spend time with you, but I can make a pretty solid bet that it didn’t happen over the course of three isolated one-hour sessions. So why would you expect that it can be reversed in that period? Therapy is an individual experience, and depending on the client, progress can be achieved in two sessions, twenty sessions, or (sadly, sometimes) never. In these types of cases, it’s usually between twenty and never. (Also, while we’re on the topic, don’t listen to what your lawyer suggests about the frequency and length of therapy. They have no idea.)


I’m just going to email/call my ex and tell them straight up to cut the crap/stop lying/give me my kids.

Remember how you’re in a Court case? Do you remember why you had to go to Court? It’s probably because you couldn’t work things out just between the two of you, so needed to involve lawyers and judges and Court Orders. Contacting your ex informally and giving them a piece of your mind is akin to pogo-ing onto the thin ice that everyone else is very delicately skating over. If you don’t want to give your ex another piece of evidence of your “abusive nature” to wave in Court, then keep things cool and cordial. Speak to them only when you have to, or not at all. Everything else can be handled by your lawyers. You’re paying them enough.


Can I talk to the psychologist about fees? I just can’t afford this after the legal stuff. I can’t even afford a cup of coffee!

One of my favourites, this one was said to me by a man who was carrying a thermos of coffee that he’d brought from home. “You poor man!” I should have said, rushing to wrap him in a warm blanket. “It’s OK; we’ll just give you some free counselling, shall we?” No, what I really wanted to say was, “Gee, I’ll bet those starving kids in Africa would weep to hear it, sir.” (What I actually did was smile apologetically and advise that I can’t do anything about the fees.) I get it. You’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars to lawyers and been dragged through the Court system for six years with no real outcome or progress. Unlike a lawyer though, the psychologist isn’t billing hours for every single moment that he’s even thinking about your case. He’s trying to work stuff out, so you don’t have to go back to Court.



There’s nothing like watching broken families to put you right off marriage and children. In the end, though, it comes down to whatever is going to be the least damaging for the kids. And if that means suffering through instant coffee brought from home, then so be it.



Day Seventy-One: My opinion on Bernardi’s opinion


Lots of people say stupid things. Sometimes they say them to just one person, who can swiftly reach over and slap them, and end things right there. Other times, they will spout their idiocy in a large group, prompting eye rolls, anger, and mutterings of “what a dickface”. Then there are those people who take their moronic comments, launch them to a great height, and let them rain down upon greater society. I’m talking, of course, about the esteemed Senator Cory Bernardi.

The only thing I love more than someone with very strong opinions is someone with very strong opinions who wants you to respect their opinions (while your opinions can just fuck right off, thank you). It is my opinion that when you suggest very publicly to a country how said country ought to function, you cease to have the protection of “everyone’s entitled to an opinion” and enter the realm of “are you kidding me with this shit?”

Remember, if you would, back to the time when Australian families were all sickeningly happy and heterosexual, when there was no crime, no juvenile delinquency, no abortion, and everyone just did whatever their boss wanted them to. Struggling? So, it seems, is history. I would be more inclined to agree with ‘going back to the glory days’ if in fact such days ever existed (or the dude talking about them was even born when they supposedly happened). There have been lots of changes in our society, some for better and some for worse, but if evolution has taught us anything, it’s that survival is all about adapting, not fighting change. (I’m sick of this filthy air-breathing that humans have come to embrace. I say we go back to the sea! In fact, I regularly and publicly attempt to breathe water. Water is the best…)

I wouldn’t be so annoyed by Bernardi’s comments (OK, I probably would be) if he just expressed them in a way that didn’t condemn thousands of people and ignore other pertinent contributing issues. I feel the best way to illustrate what I mean is by quoting the man himself. Oh, I do love a good quote!

(Note: these are quotes from the book, The Conservative Revolution, as printed by the ABC on Monday January 6. Sadly, I have not read the book, and can accept the possibility that these quotes may be abberations in an otherwise well-balanced and intelligent piece of literature…)


On abortion:

“The political pressure from the left has ushered us into a morbid new world. It is not enough to stop the trend. What is needed is a reversal back to sanity and reason.”


Oh, yes, we baby-killing fag enablers are only that way because the political left ‘ushered’ us that way. Nobody was getting abortions before the political left came in and started handing them out. I’m not sure where Sen Bernardi suggests we reverse back to, but it’s probably so far that he’d be pulled over and fined for reckless driving.


On the number of abortions per year (after his figures were disputed):

“It’s a lot and I don’t know anyone in this country that wants to see more abortions; in fact, I think most people would like to see less abortions.”


Are you kidding? People love abortions! Just like they love choosing to euthanise their pets. Of course nobody wants to see abortion become the next botox (which is what I think when I hear ‘trend’), but plenty would agree that as long as women are requesting and using this service, it should be available and safe. The notion that making something legal and available makes people want to do it more has been disproven with drug decriminalisation in smarter countries—although, to be fair, nobody just tries abortion at a party and gets addicted to it, so perhaps the legalisation of the two shouldn’t be compared.


On what he proposes we do about it:

“I haven’t said we should outlaw or prohibit abortion; I have said there is a right-to-life issue we should be exploring.”


Since ‘unlawful’ abortion is still illegal in Queensland, New South Wales, and Tasmania, and it’s an issue governed by states rather than at a federal level, I’d say this comment is redundant. For interest’s sake: Abortion is legal under some circumstances—like serious danger to the physical and mental wellbeing of a woman (Queensland, New South Wales), “maternal health” or “foetal disability (South Australia and Northern Territory), or provided that the services are performed under strict medical supervision at the advice of doctors (other states). I wonder what kind of “exploring” Sen Bernardi is proposing. Based on his other comment—”I think we need to start to investigate measures and ways in which we can assist in that regard”—I’d say he has about zero idea.


On modern families:

“Given the increasing number of ‘non-traditional’ families, there is a temptation to equate all family structures as being equal or relative.”


Bah! Equality! Wouldn’t that just be ridiculous? On what grounds would anyone even think to suggest that these ‘non-traditional’ families were as good as the fast-falling mum-dad-and-two-point-four-kids model? I actually agree with Sen Bernardi here. I am tempted to equate all family structures as being equal (though perhaps I would use less redundant language to express the sentiment). I’m sorely tempted to believe that it doesn’t matter in what family structure you grow up as long as you are loved, educated, and cared for.


On juvenile deliquency in single-parent families:

“Why then the levels of criminality among boys and promiscuity among girls who are brought up in single-parent families, more often than not headed by a single mother?”


While it’s true that juvenile crime has been linked to single parent families (at least according to the studies I scanned), the reason is not the single parenting itself, but the correlation between single parent families and neglect—though the percentage of total abuse victims who came from these families was not significant. Other contributing factors included poverty, low social status, and crowded dwellings (i.e. big families). A child with two parents may get more attention and support, but he may not. Two dads earning good money to support their one child should theoretically have fewer problems than a straight couple struggling to raise a brood of eight on unemployment payments. Then again, when were children ever predictable? Some of those I see in trouble with the law come from the most stable, two-parented, financially-blessed families around.


On alternative (and fanciful) methods of starting a family:

“What is missing in the push for human cloning, in vitro fertilisation and surrogacy, for example, is the understanding that children come into families as gifts, not commodities.”


Yeah, guys. Quit all that cloning, all right? But seriously, try telling someone undergoing IVF that they’re failing to see children as gifts rather than commodities, and you’ll probably cop a hormone-and-disappointment-fuelled kick to the nards. Generally speaking, the same goes for surrogacy. There aren’t many women out there whose first choice is to have someone else carry their child (and I’m sure if a gay male couple could somehow produce a child without a woman involved, they would). Surrogacy, like IVF, is a long and involved process with no guarantee of success. Altruistic surrogacy is now legal in all Australian states and territories, and allows for the practice to occur if there is no payment exchanged (beyond medical expenses). Doesn’t that sound like the definition of a gift?


On his “enduring views” that are totally not far right:

“These are traditional views that have stood the test of time and been developed over successive generations. You can’t tamper with tradition and not expect there to be adverse consequences.”


So I’ve learned every Christmas when I try to tell people how horrible fruit mince pies are, and how we should ditch the roast and eat Thai food. In this case, though, the adverse consequences are people whining, “but it’s tradiiishuuuuun” and the resolution that I will do things my own way when I have kids. The thing is, traditions are just things that people have done for a long time. Beating your wife might be traditional in your family, but that doesn’t make it the best path. There are plenty of ridiculous traditions being upheld all around the world. The problem with tradition is that it’s rigid, and it ignores the obvious changes that are contributing to its becoming obsolete.


And one more, on the (apparently needless) separation of Church and State:

“I believe that by stripping God and religious principles from our culture (and our politics) we have become a nation which does not know which port it is sailing to.”


You know what keeps ships on course? Compasses. You know what doesn’t? Bibles. Bad analogies aside (which port does he think we should be sailing to? I’m genuinely curious about his elaboration on this one), the separation of religion and politics is kind of a cornerstone of our government system. Many (some would argue, enough) of our legal principles come from basic Christian teachings anyway—don’t kill other people, don’t steal, don’t embezzle $40 billion from your company and drain the retirement funds of every person who works for you. Well, maybe just, ah, don’t steal. It’s probably not a lack of religious guidance that is cutting our country adrift (geddit?) but a government and corporate system that values money over people and maintaining the status quo over risking a beneficial change. But then, maybe there is something to be said for running a country based on Buddhist principl— What’s that? Only Christian? Never mind.


Obviously, it would be pretty hypocritical of me to ask you to accept my opinion as the true word of God/Allah/Ganesha/FlyingSpaghettiMonster, but I hope you’ve found them stimulating nonetheless. Besides, I’m only a small ripple in the vast ocean of the internet. (I do promise to be more responsible when I enter parliament, publish a book, and get interviewed by the ABC.)



Day Sixty-Eight: Five things I won’t miss about the beach holiday

I’m very well aware that this post is here to serve as a way to cheer myself up following the conclusion of two weeks of beachy goodness. I still stand by every word though.

Being at the beach (or on holiday in general) is pretty awesome. In a perfect world, we’d only work a couple of weeks a year and holiday for the rest, instead of the the other way around. But then, we’d probably be chafed, sunburnt, and verging on diabetes all the time. Christmas holidays at the beach do have their downsides.


1. Hot chips every freaking day

ImageThere’s something about sitting in sand, with tangled hair and salt flaking off your sizzling skin that just makes you want to stuff your face with fried potato. Or is that just me? Either way, it happens. It’s probably because running up to the shop to grab a salad to munch on just doesn’t have the same appeal. Ask the seagulls; they’ll tell you. Chips are easy to eat with your hands, easy to share amongst a family, easy to spread out on a towel, and let’s not forget the deliciousness. The thing is, after two weeks of constant chipping, I have had a literal and figurative gutful. If I could avoid even looking at a potato for the next two weeks, I would be a happy (and probably healthier) woman.


2. Sand

ImageI know, I know: it’s the beach and you get sandy at the beach. But I reserve the right to demand a sand-free crotch for the majority of the day. I love sitting on the beach (on my towel, snarling at anyone who threatens to kick even a grain in my direction), but I have a time limit. A couple of hours of sandy arse each day is fine, if I can then wash it off and be back in dry clothes for the remainder. Having a swim in the ocean, completely air-drying in the scorching sun, then attempting to reapply sunscreen over the crusty salt-and-sand skin you’ve developed is not a comfortable experience. And what sticks to fresh sunscreen, you ask? Why, it’s our good friend sand. Sand follows you inside your apartment and scatters itself on the floor; sand wriggles between your starched white resort sheets and awaits you when you climb in (usually red-raw); sand makes its way into every meal you eat and gives you a shudder when you feel it catch between your teeth. Yep, sand is great. I sure hope there’s a stockpile waiting at the bottom of my suitcase…


3. The cricket (specifically, the commentary–but actually just all of it)

ImageI don’t mind cricket. I like it about as much as I like listening to white noise while dying of thirst. But really, the game can be interesting… for about two per cent of the Test. Hell, if I happen to be walking past when somebody gets a wicket, I’ll be applauding with the rest of them. Was that a classic catch? Well, that was utterly thrilling. Turning it on every day (while we’re at the coast surrounded by heaps of fun, non-cricket-related things to do) and sitting for hours watching one dude try to hit the ball while the other dude tries to hit the stumps, while the poor suckers who aren’t bowling or batting just stand around hoping the ball will fall from the sky into their hands, is not exciting. Even the commentators are struggling to find enough new things to talk about, since they’re essentially watching the same thing over and over. This leads to such inspired segments as “stand on the pitch and re-enact what the last batsman did then superimpose said batsman onto the pitch to see how close we were to nailing it” and “we’re actually mind readers and can tell you the exact motivation for Johnson’s last move”. The second one is the worst. It’s like a really boring episode of The Mentalist. “He’s thinking that he’ll just take this nice and slow, because he knows that England aren’t going to be risking huge runs.” Is he? Really? I’d wager he’s more likely to be thinking “DON’T FUCK THIS UP, DON’T FUCK THIS UP”.

“With that bowl, Johnson is basically saying that England can all go bugger themselves with the thick ends of their bats. He’s also struggling to decide how best to uninvite Sarah from the new years eve party, because it’s going to be a total rager and she is a fun-vacuum.”

I suppose it’s better than, “and he’s hit the ball, it’s travelled a short distance, and that guy is throwing it back so that the bowler can have another throw. Truly nail-biting stuff, folks.”


4. The sun

ImageI am a very pale person living in Queensland. It’s like Superman living in a house made of Kryptonite.


5. Living in close quarters with my brothers

ImageThere’s nothing like being woken every morning by someone standing at the foot of your bed, pulling your toes. I suppose it’s still infinitely better than the brown-eyes my younger brother was waking up to, but it still makes you want to kick the perpetrator in the face. Since moving out, I had become accustomed to walking around naked, having a urine-free toilet seat, and being able to get through a day without being punched, kicked, or farted on. For two weeks, I was back in a realm where a closed door means an invitation to enter, a thin heterosexual woman is a ‘fat lesbian’, spending longer than 5 minutes in the bathroom is ‘taking forever’, and a glance at a phone or a book is ‘antisocial’. I love my brothers; they are hilarious and strange. But I have no guilt about the joy I felt knowing I didn’t have to go back to the same house with them when we left.



Day Forty-Nine: Six things that suck about Christmas

I can’t imagine that I’m the only person who looked at the calendar today and thought, “Oh shit, it’s a week ’til Christmas!” The holiday season isn’t exactly the most relaxing time of year (unless you’re smart like my family, and you escape it all to go on an actual holiday). I can certainly see the good side of Christmas–giving, eating, spending time with loved ones–but there are just as many parts that make me want to… well, you can read for yourself:


ImageWhat it is: Christmas shopping.

What it feels like: Supervising a candy convention for toddlers.

What it makes me want to do: Assume the foetal position in the centre of Target and hope that everything just sorts itself out.

What I would rather do: Give my friends and family each a $50 budget (and they can do the same for me) to spend on whatever they actually want. They can even wrap it and write that it’s from me if they can’t let go of the whole ‘opening presents on Christmas day’ thing. Essentially we’d just be buying ourselves an awesome present with our own money, instead of wasting it on buying a crap present for a friend. Genius.


ImageWhat it is: Listening to celebrity Christmas carols/albums.

What it feels like:  Every pop star in the world participating in a giant circle-jerk.

What it makes me want to do: Release an album of Easter-specific songs and see how they like it.

What I would rather do: Hear a few carols sung live by a decent choir. Also, get the word out that warbling on each note for five seconds and increasing the length of Silent Night to 14 minutes is a total dick move.


ImageWhat it is: Putting up a Christmas tree and lights.

What it feels like: Somebody found a way to knot 65 Rubik’s cubes together and threw them in some boxes in the garage.

What it makes me want to do: Bury the items in the yard, and feign confusion when I can’t find them later.

What I would rather do: Print a picture of a tree (any tree) off the internet and put it on the fridge. Actually, that may create a tripping hazard in the kitchen, what with all the useless gifts that will no doubt appear under it. Perhaps I’ll stick it to the TV, to remind myself that Summer programming is not worth my time.


ImageWhat it is: Reading thinly-veiled Facebook Christmas booty calls (All I want for Christmassss is youuuuuu! *wink*)

What it feels like: I’m reading an especially whingey entry in your diary.

What it makes me want to do: Steal someone’s loved one and mail them back piece by piece, beautifully wrapped. (That’s a joke, by the way. I’m terrible at wrapping presents.)

What I would rather do: See a whole bunch of posts between song-lyric-posters and their objects of desire that simply read, ‘DTF for xmas?’ So much less cryptic. If they’re embarrassed about airing their lust in a public forum–they shouldn’t be, given that they’re happy to post passive come-hithers to the greater internet–maybe they can try this thing called the phone. Or sexting. The kids are really into that.



Not sure if racist…

What it is: Being served a buffet of fruit mince pies and Christmas puddings.

What it feels like: “Here, eat this ancient dried fruit that I’ve stuffed into a brick.”

What it makes me want to do: Stick a fork down my throat ’til I spew, then excuse myself. Alternatively, take a single bite of a fruit mince pie, spew, then excuse myself.

What I would rather do: Gee, I don’t know. How about enjoy all of the fresh fruit that Queensland has to offer at this time of year? While we’re at it, let’s reconsider roasting up a turkey and vegetables in the 40 degree heat, and just stick to some cold meat and salad. It’s so untraditional to celebrate Christmas in a way that actually caters to your climate though, right?


ImageWhat it is: Getting a photo with Santa (or watching some kid get a photo with Santa, given that I’m probably beyond my knee-sitting years).

What it feels like: Taking/forcing your small child to nestle into the lap of some dude you’ve never met. (Actually, that should be under ‘What it is’.)

What it makes me want to do: Call the cops and report a strange man in unusual garb inviting children to sit on his knee at the local shopping centre.

What I’d rather do: Not line up for an hour with parents and their shrieking angels only to have the kid in front baulk at the clearly terrifying huge bearded dude up on the throne and burst into tears–so his mother has to pluck him up and deliver him directly to the object of his terror for a gorgeous happy snap that they can send to all of their family and friends. Or, you know, just get one of the males in my family to dress up and take a pic on my phone. (I don’t have kids, by the way, but you just know I’m just going to nail the whole parenthood thing, don’t you?)


The best part about Christmas in my family is that our holiday is the present. There’s always the shopping to be done for the ‘in-laws’ and any friends who haven’t already received notice of my ‘let’s just not do this’ policy, but getting away for Christmas and focussing on the three Fs–family, food, and forcing my parents to wash and cook for me again–makes the whole thing a lot easier to deal with.

I’ll leave you with a lovely carol:

Haaaaaaaaaave yourseeeeeeeeelf a merrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyy liiiiiiitle Christmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas…. (Track length: 24:15)