“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Thursday 15 December 2011

A Simple Woman's Journal

FOR TODAY Wednesday Thursday 15th December 2011

Outside my window... There's no easy way of saying this and I apologise if you're in your winter months, but the sun is shining so brightly. Blue skies with whispy white cotton ball clouds are floating overhead. The grapevine looks like we may get some grapes {not sure what they may taste like though}, the Wisteria has decided to flower again with beautiful purple lanterns. The pool is clean and ready for any takers...who may be brave enough ~ temp only in mid twenties today. The BBQ has been cleaned and is ready for lots of action too!

I am thinking...How could I have got the days mixed up this week and completely missed posting my journal yesterday....what a numpty! I hope I haven't confused anyone.
Come to think of it I did have a mince pie that was laced in brandy....hic!
I am thankful...that my Christmas decorations are done {well almost} and I can concentrate on other things that need my attention.
In the kitchen...fresh pasta for tonights dinner. Muffin in the doorway gruffing that its time for dinner ^..^

I am wearing...Linen capri pants with a vest. Metallic ballet flats with little bows on top. Hair tied up {couldn't face fighting with it this morning}

I am creating...my Christmas menu. I need to write everything down these days. I find that way once its on the paper my head doesn't hurt so much anymore ; )

I am going...to create a culinary delight for our evening meal.... Fresh pasta.

I am wondering...how many more places can the magic Elf find whilst he's here visiting?

I am reading...'Bound Feet and Western Dress' by Pang-Me and Natasha Chang. It's been a busy week so I haven't managed to finish it yet. I picked it up from the charity shop a few weeks ago.

"In China, a woman is nothing."
Thus begins the saga of a woman born at the turn of the century to a well-to-do, highly respected Chinese family, a woman who continually defied the expectations of her family and the traditions of her culture. Growing up in the perilous years between the fall of the last emperor and the Communist Revolution, Chang Yu-i's life is marked by a series of rebellions: her refusal as a child to let her mother bind her feet, her scandalous divorce, and her rise to Vice President of China's first women's bank in her later years.

In the alternating voices of two generations, this dual memoir brings together a deeply textured portrait of a woman's life in China with the very American story of Yu-i's brilliant and assimilated grandniece, struggling with her own search for identity and belonging. Written in pitch-perfect prose and alive with detail, Bound Feet and Western Dress is the story of independent women struggling to emerge from centuries of customs and duty.

From the Back Cover
After long afternoons spent with her great-aunt Yu-i drawing forth her story, Pang-Mei Natasha Chang, a first-generation Chinese-American, paints an unforgettable saga of a woman, born in Shanghai at the turn of the century to a highly respected, well-to-do family, who continually defied the expectations of her class and culture.

'In China, a woman is nothing,' began Yu-i over tea and dumplings. 'This is the first lesson I want to give so that you will understand.' Growing up in the perilous years between the fall of the last Emperor and the Communist Revolution, Yu-i led a life marked by a series of rebellions that changed the course of her life, including the first and most lasting: her refusal to have her feet bound. And as Yu-i confides her innermost dreams and demons, Pang-Mei comes to understand something of her own ambivalence regarding her Chinese heritage - and the ever-present tug between familial duty and desire.

Bound Fee and Western Dress is an exquisitely written dual memoir that tells the story of independent women struggling to emerge from centuries of custom and tradition, a deeply textured portrait which braids a woman's life in China with the very Western story of a young woman's search for identity and belonging.

About the Author:-

Pang-Mei Natasha Chang was raised in Connecticut. She received her B.A. in Chinese Studies from Harvard and a J.D. degree from Columbia University School of Law. She practiced Law in New York City before moving to Moscow, where she currently resides with her husband. Bond Feet and Western Dress is her first book.

Although its quite a thin book due to the timing, basically if I'm sitting comfortably then I tend to fall asleep ~ I haven't made much headway yet. But I can say what little I've read has been really interesting. The binding of feet for instance is truly unbelievable and if you want to read more follow this link. foot binding There's some photos too for the not so faint at heart.

I am hoping....for a white Christmas ~ HA! But I can almost guarantee that I'll not get one...but never say never. Remind me sometime to post the photos from the hailstorm we had here in Melbourne in March 2010.

I am looking forward to...yeah...5 sleeps to go! I'm saying nothing more but if you've been reading my posts you'll know ;D

I am hearing...the welcome decoration hanging on the outside of the door handle, gently tapping the frame as the breeze passes. The ticking of the clock...so unusual to have a quiet house at this time of the day. Don't worry they'll be music playing soon. The laptop whirring as it tries to cool down. Muffin's gruffs trying to get my attention.

Around the house...there's the anticipation that something's about to occur. Just a few more tweaks and we'll be ready. Whoohoo bring it on.....

I am pondering...why there are so many snails and slugs in this garden trying to eat all my plants! I counted 26 on the lawn the other evening. Where are they all coming from and why don't they go!

One of my favourite things...is remembering all my childhood Christmas memories plus all the new ones shared with my own children.
Unfortunately there are a few people no longer here now but I hold on to their memory and smile as I
reminisce about all the special times we shared together.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Completing my menu and planning for the festive frenzy. I've checked in with the Butcher and Veggie man so they're waiting for my order. Bless.
I just need to sit still {without falling asleep} and write out my plan of action. Easy peasey...lemon....Gulp!  

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

This photo was taken near Avimore in Scotland last winter....

If you want snow and haven't got any yet hopefully this will help. Or if you're roasty toasty and need to cool down then the icy water and beautiful snow laden trees may help too. But on the other hand, if you're in the middle of blizzard's {Sorry Canada} then I'm sorry I'll post some sunny photo's next week to help keep you cosy.
And that's it for this week . . . my day book, although a day later than usual. Don't forget to pop over to the Simple Woman to check out the other day book entries : D


  1. I can just picture you sitting there in your Capris and Sandles Neesie! Cotton boll clouds, blue sky . . . lovely! Isn't the internet a wonderful thing . . . because I am able to see and feel your Aussie Day all the way up here in the UK where it is dismal, dull and grey! Magic! xxoo

  2. Sounds like you are very busy. I am behind this year and very overwhelmed at the moment. Working full time around the holidays is always difficult. The book sounds very interesting. I will have to remember to look for it at the library.

  3. Although the internet is a wonderful thing Marie, I'm quite glad that I can't actually feel you're dismal, dull, grey day...sorry.
    I have to admit I don't miss those kind of days.
    But I'm happy to pass on some sunshine to you.
    Keep cosy xxoo ;D

  4. Hi Susan,
    Unfortunately I'm not as advanced as I'd like to be, but I've now decided that if I don't get everything done in time, it's not the end of the world.
    It's far better to wake up on Christmas morning refreshed instead of being exhausted.
    I really want to enjoy this year's festivities and savour every moment.
    Good Luck with your preparations and thanks for stopping by....I really appreciate it at this busy time ;D

  5. I was envious when I read your description of the weather! (I'm Canadian, but no blizzards yet. Lots of rain today though!)

  6. Good Morning Beth,
    It's a good job I didn't write my journal today because its even hotter.
    Hopefully your snow will hold off until Christmas Eve. Then I think its allowed to stay until after Boxing Day....That's it then though. Fingers crossed.

    I'm now having to water the plants! Doing gardening jobs shouldn't be on my list right now with all the Christmas things to complete but it is.
    There's enough to prepare without cutting the lawns etc....phewph!
    I hope Santa's watching me because I'm being such a good girl ;D

  7. What a busy little bee you have been! Where do you find the time to do all that stuff?
    We are experiencing our first snow of the year here today, but it's nothing like the snow in your photo - it's wet and not settling at all - just downright inconvenient.

  8. Hello!
    Oh goodness...it would be nice to be in my Capri's but it wouldn't help me with the Christmas Spirit I'm afraid. No snow here in our part of Kansas yet other than a skiff in November that lasted a few hours. The other day it was warm enough for t-shirt and capri's but I was in the house so didn't get to enjoy it much. I can't imagine seeing blossom's this time of year! have fun getting your last minute things done before next weekend...I'm getting so excited! Have a wonderful weekend!
    Maura :)

  9. Buzz buzz buzz Mark. I don't know how I find the time either...maybe that's why I'm still not finished.
    It doesn't help having to garden at the same time though. 31 degree's baking mince pies, dead heading the roses and cutting the lawn ~ just doesn't seem to go together somehow, but here they have to.
    I'd prefer a beautiful white blanket of snow and not the wet, grey, yukky wet stuff but maybe it’s just practicing for Christmas

  10. Hi Maura, thanks for popping by.
    It is very different preparing for the festivities here whilst the sun blazes ~ Phewph!
    I'm not sure I like it...years of cold, winter Christmases still seem the right way. But we'll adapt :)

    I'm not surprised you're getting so excited...your living in a Christmas Grotto!
    Your place looks so beautiful that I just nip in to have another peek if I need inspiration.
    Enjoy your weekend too ;D


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