December, the final month of the year, the crazy month with lots of running around. Yep, it's been nuts for me too. It's been an up and down year and December was certainly representative of the year. I have to say at this late stage of the month and year I am exhausted and eager for the new year to commence. I personally have been ok, but loads of people around me have had their fair share of trauma and drama and I have done my best to be there and support those in need. That can undo you a little, but I wouldn't have it any other way. The key is having a little down time for yourself otherwise you will be no help.
1. Finish sorting my holiday photos
Yes, finally finished labeling ALL my 2012 holiday photos, and delivered copies to family. I'm starting to pop some up online and will even print some out for an album - I can add that to my list for 2014!
4. Walk more and explore my own surroundings...there is so much I haven't seen in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and other areas nearbyNot done as much as I would like this month, but a few walks at work and green point. Also a lovely walk along the water/creek at Wickham and Maryville a few days ago. Must explore that area more, it was lovely.
14. Whip my little backyard back into shapeI've spent a fair bit of time outside this month chopping back and tidying up outside and it is looking good.
16. Go to Hunter Valley Gardens...never been...really!!!
This is a big tick, I made it up there for their Christmas Lights Display, so I didn't get to see all the gardens, but enough. It was magnificent and I was thrilled to see it with my good friend C, and M and E.
19. Eat and drink out more/20. Get through my list of local restaurants and cafes
Yes, not a month goes by without a great feed, be it regular spots or somewhere new. This month Casa de Loco, which I can highly recommend. A very hip bar style Mexican Tapas right up the top of town. Excellent food and alcoholic beverages. We also dined at what is becoming our local family spot, The Royal Inn for both my father's and my birthdays. A work Christmas dinner at the Thai at Charlestown Square, Lake Mac Coffee at Peg's Cafe, and brunch at Hippos with S.
33. Go to lots of fun social events
This was mostly Christmas and lead up to Christmas events, but it was a busy month socially. I saw everyone I needed to see, even entertained a few times at Club Cathy. I also managed to see Bill Henson talk at Newcastle Art Gallery, check our Art Bazaar, and hosted David Astle at my work, for a morning of fun and intelligence.
34. Make sure those that mean the most to me know that they do
I spent a lot of time being there for family and friends this month. One friend in particular who is going through a truly traumatic time. It's the least I can do.
36. Take time to do nothing and daydream more often
Whilst being busy, I have had time to do nothing, daydream and contemplate life. This time of the year can do that to you, I have spent the time since Christmas thinking a lot. It is relaxing but can also be a bit unnerving.
I really loved the new Neko Case, The worse things get the harder I fight, the harder I fight the more I love you.
Matt Berry released a jazzy, bluesy, almost instrumental album, and it was very good as you would imagine, called Kill the wolf.
I listened to the Sugar Man soundtrack and some Bob Segar, both being my go to albums to listen to at work.
I continued to love the new Paul McCartney, New and loved the new Elvis Costello.
I finally finished The Help for my work bookclub and it was a grand ole read. Enjoyable, great characters, dramatic and funny with a sense of history underlying the storyline.
I listened to a Christian Dior biography on talking book, which I enjoyed.
I was very disappointed in a biography on Hedy Lamarr, it sold itself as more about her scientific background, she basically was an inventor and invented what became radio frequency and wifi as we know it today. Her invention was to scramble the radio frequencies of torpedos so the Germans wouldn't be able to detect the English weaponry. I figured that along with quite the respectable film career, it would be a rollicking feminist read. No! The writer regurgitated a lot of hearsay from others and not much about Hedy at all. We got the stock standard background bio, a little science and a little Hollywood. Very disappointing indeed.
I also read a great book of essays on Alfred Hitchcock, some interesting ideas and thoughts, but nothing I hadn't read over the years in other compilations. Though this was nicely presented and a nice refresher on the great man.
I went back to my childhood with S1 of Laverne and Shirley, and it was fabulous. Hadn't dated all that much, great comedy never really does.
I finally caught up on Homeland, S1 & 2, wow, just wow! Loved this, everyone talks about Carrie, but the actor that plays Brody is stunning, a more understated character and I guess harder to pull off a maniacal nice guy! I have not heard good things about S3, but will still check it out.
I also finished Breaking Bad, what a great show, one I followed from the beginning, on the advice of my friend V. Way before it was critically acclaimed, what a journey Vince Gilligan took us on. It ended perfectly, as only it could of. The Entire cast is a tour de force, and will be truly missed.
I have been working my way through The Office, with the final half of the final season to go it has been a great ride. I do prefer the UK version, but also feel the US one stands alone, a great ensemble cast, but they definitely missed Steve Carell in the final season.
I finished S2 of Once Upon A Time, I have mentioned this before and it is a show that gets better and better, but you need to pay attention and there are a LOT of characters.
Girls S2, was excellent, but just not quite as good as S1. I loved finding out more about the boys, but like SATC before it, or any other ensemble show, it works better when the girls are acting with each other. This season they were out do their own thing and maybe that's why it was not as good as S1. Having said that I still laughed out loud, and cried along with these vulnerable characters.
I loved the Lennon doco I saw on tele, lovely insight to his time in New York, great interviews too.
The other Doco that had me totally entranced was Keating. Oh my, our former PM, still has it, sex appeal, wit, intelligence and an arrogance only the very best leaders should have. It made me weep for what we don't have today (or possibly ever will again) and had me totally in his allure and charm! Well done ABC for continually giving us stylish and intellectual programs to view.
The Doctor Who Christmas Special was also a regeneration from Matt Smith to my beloved Peter Capaldi. The story was clunky and at times unnecessary, unsure the aging of Smith really worked, but the final scenes were fabulous and the quick jumpy regeneration made me jump. I can't wait to see what Capaldi will do with the role.
I watched The Help, as part of my Movie Book Club for work, it was a great film with great performances, but a watered down version of the book
I loved Tiny Furniture, the very indie film made by Lena Dunham prior to Girls, you can see the essence of the show in it, a excellent film.
The company you keep was an all star cast headed by Redford and Sarandan about a small group of 'terrorists' from the 70s, in hiding but slowly one by one being found out. It was a great premise and I enjoyed it, but found myself distracted by the cast.
I only saw one movie this month, my birthday movie The Hobbit: the desolation of Smaug. It was really good, I enjoyed it a lot, but like the first one it just didn't need the padding. The added extras and characters work, don't get me wrong, if you hadn't read the book you would know no better and having read the book I still think they pulled it off, but why? I still think this could have been 2 X 2ish hour long films. The best bits were Smaug of course, stunning and shiny, ferocious and gorgeous...just as I imagined from reading the book.