And I don't feel it's too arrogant to say that I reckon there are more than just I who feel this way. It is absolutely the most wonderful thing, that folks around the world have taken this exercise, this tool - this hop - and turned it into a functioning, integral part of their lives, and are seeking the Thankfuls even without a hop to post it on! I am blown away by this.
The exercise of actively combatting the crap in life (and believe me, at the moment I've got more shit to deal with than a care assistant in a hospital full of Norovirus...) by seeking out the Good Things and shifting the focus, even for half an hour, into the lovely, the wonderful, the noble, the right and the awesome, is a game-changer.
It's like taking NOS for pain. The pain is still there, but you get hopped up on the drug and you care less.
Today I care less. Good stuff happened.
1. I eventually was persuaded to ignore the fact that I looked like shit from crying all evening, and entered into a spirit of (hesitant at first) fun on the Wakefield Doctrine Midnight Snackette VidChat. Because in an unprecedented turn of events, Jak and Kate showed up! WAHEY!. They're so CUTE. And we had an awesome time.
2. Michelle was there, trying to put Cloudy on her head (I think, or was I asleep again?), taking us on a tour of Singapore and laughing with guys on the subway as I yelled "HELP! I'M STUCK IN THIS LADY'S PHONE", sending everyone close to her into fits of giggles.
3. Clark and Denise were by turns insightful, hilarious, wonderful and...no, that's all. I'll stop at wonderful. I was gonna say creepy, what with the references to the Secret Book of Rules and the GuardVirgins and the ritual dances and vaguely incestu...NO! You'd really have to join us on VidChat to see that honestly, only Clark is creepy*, and Denise is just gorgeouswonderful.
4. Zoe was there. She said "Schnookered" for me in that accent she has. She said it several times because I begged her to. Because I love when she says it. I dunno what it is - whether it's the inherent funniness of the word or the awesomeness of her accent, but as a bit of a lingophile (okay, a lot of a lingophile) it just *does* something to me and I can't hear it enough. Just exactly that combination.
5. State champion Kristi was there, too, and absolutely made my night with dirty jokes, tales of indiscretion (not *always* hers), sweary fights, giggling-out-loud-hilariousness and masses and masses of wonderfulness. She's awesome on paper (you've read her, right? Mindblowing) and in person just exceeds every expectation.I cannot speak highly enough of this awesome lady.
6. I had a lie-in this morning. Til midday. It was a beautiful thing. Silver linings, yo!
7. Husby and I have decided (with tongues very firmly in cheeks) that we're going to be DINKs (that's 'Double Income, No Kids'). We're going to both join gyms and start wearing designer clothes. I'm going to have a couple of plastic surgeries to correct those few little things that even losing a load of weight won't fix. And we're going to go on lots of fabulous holidays to wonderful places, and sneer and look bored when someone starts on about their kids, because our lives are going to be JUST TOO FULL AND IMPORTANT to fit any in.
8. Husby wrote all the Christmas cards I've been hiding from. And addressed all the envelopes. All I had to do was sign my name. The man is amazing. I sat in my t-shirt in my warm-enough-without-heating flat, rocking out to James Brown, signing my name at arm's length, and knowing that I COULD do this.
And this before my awesome friend Starr sent me the following picture, which is utterly perfect. She Knows. She also has Holiday-related no-baby trauma. She has it worse than I do, in many ways. And we're both counting down those final four days until it's over and we can breathe again. The concept, the season, and the pressure will be done with. And we can go on at our less-intense levels of dysfunction. Huzzah!
9. We picked up Niece and Neff for a pre-Christmas sleepover. They are SO adorable. We got a new headlight bulb for my car, fitted by the wonderful car-guy at Halfords (though I always hate Halfords and swear never to go back, paying for a guy in head-to-toe neon orange waterproofs and a bad-ass goatee to fix my headlight, rather than struggling with it myself, is an absolute no-brainer). We got some shopping in, and ingredients to make dessert. A local charity were there in the entrance to the store, with their (legendary in my city) Santa And Reindeer On A Trailer, which they tow through the streets, blaring Christmas carols, collecting money for a homeless charity.
As a kid, their visit used to be one of the high points of Christmas. Even if we'd gone to bed, we'd hear the Christmas carols as they slowly moved down the street, and we'd wait, breath bated and the air thick with excitement, until we were finally called downstairs, to stand on the doorstep, shivering with cold in our nighties, to put a coin in the collection bucket and look out at the street and see the tinsel-wrapped Santa, listen to the carols, and see the fairy lights around the trailer making the dark street full of wonder and magic. I think sometimes there were lollipops, too.
It was always a late-night moment of sheer fantasy, and this evening, I got to witness the joy as the magic was passed down to the next generation. Niece and Neff's faces were pictures of delight as they clamoured to donate their coin, and then stared in wonder at the plastic, tinsel-wrapped Santa. They swung around a nearby lamp-post in fits of excitement and happiness, and Neff was so overcome that he jumped down to do a quick boogie of the Oppa Gangnam Style dance for Santa.
And I stood, and felt Husby reach for my shoulder and just rest his hand there. I turned in time to bury my head in his shoulder as the rapid tears came and the bitter knife twisted in both our hearts simultaneously - that in the midst of such a sweet family moment, the children weren't ours. And that as wonderful as it was to see Niece and Neff so transported with delight...this might be the extent of our passing-on of such a gorgeous part of Christmas.
But I grabbed their hands and dried my tears and we went home. Neff and Husby played toy soldiers (I hate them less when Husby's got Neff hooked in and excited and learning and loving it) and Niece and I made a no-bake banana creme pie (milk free - try figuring THAT one out!). Niece ended up absolutely coated in the creme - I think she thought it was face cream...- and when we ate it later, it was rich and scrumptious.
|Sweet, sassy girl|
AND got to stay up late. We are the best Aunty and Uncle ever (and perhaps the worse Sister and Brother-In-Law....). And at the moment, as I write, I have the delicious luxury of knowing that there are two darling children asleep in my home, and they're both a little bit mine.
10. I danced my way past the 7 GuardVirgins and gave them the secret handshake. I got to the Secret Book of Rules. #15b says that there was enough thankful in my ninth. I'm done.
Oh alright! I'll give you the recipe.
Milk-Free Banana Creme Pie
DISCLAIMER: If you're not a good cook by nature, or are a strict follower of The Recipe, I apologise. This is not the thing for you.
For the pie crust
2/3ish of a packet of crushed sweet, dry biscuits. We used Rich Tea
1 mashed banana
2 tblsp vanilla Fluff
3-4 pours of soya cream
For the creme
The rest of the jar of vanilla Fluff
Enough soya cream to make it gloopy but not too runny. Judge for yourself. And learn how to be 'cheffy'.
1 banana, finely sliced.
Toffee ice-cream sauce. And strawberry, for when you discover too late that the toffee flavour has milk in it, rendering the whole 'no milk' exercise pointless. Or toffeeless.
Add the mashed banana, Fluff and soya cream to the crushed biscuits. Stir until absorbed, then stir harder until you get a lumpyish mixture, then get in there with your hands and force it to become one and turn into biscuit dough. Press it into a pie tin with a pop-uppable base, and chill, ensuring that you have sufficient crust up the edges of the tin to hold the filling.
Dump out the rest of the jar of Fluff into a bowl and add a dash or two of cream, whisking until you're happy with the consistency. Take the pie crust out of the fridge, discover it's not solid yet and go ahead anyway, layering the base with the sliced banana and oozing the creme over the top.
Place pie in freezer for at least until the kids have scarfed down their sausages and are clamouring for dessert.
Release from tin, slice, scoop and enjoy. And eat their portions when they get silly about it being too sweet. Replace the rest in the freezer to continue chilling.
And then have some more right after writing the recipe and remembering how awesome it was. And discover that frozen, the creme turns to marshmallow ice-cream, and the banana slices are frozen heaven, and the crust is incredible and I'm sorry, but this beats even the Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark for amazingness...!
*And doubtless only to see how far he can push the envelope before one of us takes the bait...