The afternoon program on creativity was a real inspiration to me. I have always pigeon-holed others in my immediate circle as creative, but not so much myself. I guess over the last few weeks and months I had been in the process of changing that view. I now see creativity is not so much an action potential/all or nothing sort of thing, but more like a muscle that I need to exercise more, if I want it to get stronger. We had been watching Todd Sampson's excellent documentary series Redesign My Brain, on iview in the caravan (all on youtube now, if you can't get into your abc shop!). It was so timely, as we have been having lots of discussions this year about neuroplasticity and helping our kids, and ourselves, to have great brains! These concept have been less of a flight of fancy with the background of neurological deficits/learning disorders in our family and friends and all of us getting older! (Here is a link to a talk by the principal of my nephew's school in Canada, Barbara Arrowsmith Young, introducing the concepts we have been mulling over and working on). So back to the original point - I need to create more time for creative pursuits of all flavours in my life, both for myself and others!
That evening we had an impromptu dinner at Yolly and Mick's, with Ali and Mat and (most of) our kids. That sure felt like home also! Sascha ended up sleeping over as Isaac had already organised a sleepover with a friend from church, and Sascha was feeling socially put/left out by his proactive older brother! Isaac felt left out by missing out on Saturday evening so there was time for a little play when I picked up Sascha next morning.
The true reason for our being in Sydney rather than further afield in December, Paul's annual Christmas gig with the Australian Brandenburg Choir, was our next task and one of Paul's highlights of the year. With my parents up in Port Hedland for 6 weeks over the end of year period we have had a free house in Sydney to live in and no troublesome work clashes to sort out, so really it has been a breeze as compared to normal at this crazy time of year.
This year I took both Isaac and Alexander along with me to one of the concerts at Angel Place (recorded for a new Christmas album to be released next year) and it was hardly any trouble at all to keep them still and quiet for the whole affair. They really have grown up so much this year!! We all loved it. We also loved taking Dom out for dinner with us to Jamie's Italian while Pat and Ray (and Glenna, Pat's cousin) went to the early show. We also loved running around the city playing spys, and checking out the harbour sights, in the cool of the early evening. Dom enjoyed going out to second dinner with the oldies at Wagamama and heading home on the train and bus with them while the big boys and I went to the later show. Ok Ok! There was a little juggling here and there but nowhere near the usual required intervention of both grandmothers in our December childcare arrangements! My attendence of the Noel Noel concerts each year is both an oasis of calm and the eye in the storm of this time! This year the storm was been more of a summer shower but Noel Noel gets more and more precious to me every year. Thanks again, Paul, for who you are and what you do!!
Last cultural event for us, and purely for enjoyment, was going to see Mim doing her stuff in Handel's Messiah at the Opera House. It really was spectacular and Mim shone! Mum and Dad used to drag us along as kids to People's Messiahs a fair bit, so a lot was familiar and brought back warm Christmassy feelings! Prior to seeing Mim, Paul and I had one quick visit with her and Richard and the kids in Mosman where they were holed up for December. It was really lovely to see them and their girls, who are shooting up! We polished off a baked potato meal with great gusto, and I think it will become a standard at our house, just as it is in theirs!