Saturday, August 29, 2009

Beautiful Kate

Geoff and I went to the movies together on the weekend, something we don't get to do enough of. We saw Beautiful Kate.

The theme that runs throughout the movie, or at least one of them, is intimacy. There were scenes in the movie that really moved me. The first was of the brother and sister, twins, at a time when they were in their mid teens, bodies flourishing and growing, boy and girl becoming man and woman. For all those years they shared an intimate bond, particularly as twins, but it was naive, physically innocent. There comes a time though, and there did in this movie, when such an intimacy is withdrawn from us (as parents) or when it's no longer appropriate with each other as siblings.

There's a scene where the father, who's never really had a relationship with his now 40 year old son, reaches and comforts his now adult child by rubbing his shoulder and hair. It was so intimate. I'm sure that are many people we all know who share with their parents no more than a shake of their father's hand and a peck on their mother's cheek on the infrequent occasions when they meet. No matter how old your child, I can't imagine the desire to embrace them, to really hold them, ever leaves you. Time, distance, circumstance, cross words and inhibitions can steal away from us embracing those that we love the most.

I then thought about when our parents, or loved ones, pass. Passing them on to whatever you believe is or isn't next. I know that bodies are washed and prepared when people die, I can imagine that's something I would want to do for those I love when that time ultimately comes. The idea of leaving that final intimacy to someone else, to a cold room, to an employee, really moved me. I will want to wash my loved ones myself, with those things they loved the most, leaving their skin sweet and loved with every touch.

I get a lot of emotional response/value from the movies I see, Benjamin Button was the last I posted about, and that affected me for a long time. This hasn't stayed with me as much, but I really enjoyed it. Some may be disturbed by the main theme, but for some reason I could understand at least their motivations somewhat, even with truly 'understanding'.

Friday, August 28, 2009

All in the packaging

Friday nights is easy dinner night for the girls. I guess it's a little bit of guilt on my part, I start work so early on Friday's that I don't see them before I leave, Geoff either for that matter. Friday's I'm home early though, so they get to choose what they fancy for dinner. Normally it's homemade fish and chips, or homemade nuggets and chips. For them though, the treat is in the presentation and the fact they get to eat it in the lounge room, piccyniccy style, watching a movie. We sit together and indulge.

I must buy some new packages, little Chinese takeaway containers, boxes, different things, mix it up. Normally a paper cone with greaseproof paper in is very popular, today, lunchboxes. Got to get back to Barbie Island Princess.....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Granny Bet's Walnut Bread

Best sliced, slathered in butter and eaten whilst drinking a cup of tea.

A new notebook

Our house is very typical for our area, a 1950's weatherboard on a lovely corner block. Our house is north west facing so we get lots of gorgeous sunshine in the mornings, but it shifts to our back in the afternoon.

We have an entrance hall, 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 toilet, 1 combined living/dining area, a kitchen with meals area and a separate laundry. Our block is subdivided and I think we're only on around 340m2.

We need more space. We need two toilets. We'd like two living areas. We've considered moving in our area, but prices for blocks are absurd. We've considered moving further out but don't want to do that. Once your children are in kinders and schools, it's hard to tear yourself away.

Today we had a builder come to discuss the viability of putting on a second storey. It's viable. We will never have more land, but we can get more space. We're considering ending up with a house that has downstairs - an entrance hall, a master with ensuite, a study, powder room, laundry, living/dining room, kitchen and second dining/living area and then upstairs - 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a small living area. Sounds much better doesn't it - hence the new notebook!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dear Molly,

thank you so much for suggesting that we finally catch up, I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to suggest it myself, but I'm so glad you did.

You're even lovelier in the flesh than you are 'on film' so to speak. Very easy, warm company and so thoughtful of you to bring a gift. I think perhaps the blogging mindframe isn't completely my own, otherwise I too would have come armed with treats and a camera. I did consider the camera, but know photos of myself don't thrill me, so saved you the pain.
I came home thinking about your skills, which made me realise all I have to learn about sewing. It's not a downer, but I think I felt it more when I decided to make Leila another nighty and as it's a very light cotton, used one of my new machine needles, choosing a size appropriate for that fabric. Well, by god, did my machine drive me crazy or what???? I don't KNOW it well, that's true, but the stitches kept missing, not grabbing the fabric, the cotton kept jamming up in the needle eye - an absolute nightmare! Yet, I continued, did I change the needle - no! I just decided to continue tormenting myself and forcing it through.

Your knowledge and skills made me realise that I should at least learn to master my very straight forward Brother, for there's no way I could wrangle an overlocker until I master him!

Thank you again Lynda, next time, please come to mine!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

She swims

Leila is now in classes on her own, although we have a play swim afterwards so I don't completely avoid chlorine hair and skin. So cute, watching them finally become a bit independent in the water, reassuring too.
On the same topic, Ella's chosen a pool party at the local pool for her 6th birthday which is in about 6 weeks. Today we went shopping and bought her first bikini, which she wants to wear on the day. She looks gorgeous of course, very skimpy mind you, but if you can't wear at it at 6, when can you?

PS Is it just my outdated pc or is anyone else finding Blogger a little less friendly these days? Moving photos is a nightmare and I simply can't even get them to go where they've been asked to go!!!!!


My head is still spinning at something that happened to us this morning, at the park of all places. I have heard of such things happening, but never before to us.

We went to a park we've been to many times, we were there at 9:30 because it's very popular and can get out of control busy. The girls favourite ride is a flying fox, you pull them back and they whizz down and then you drag them back for another go. One side has a chair with harness for the smaller children, the other a pommer type seat for the bigger kids. We arrived, no-one else having a turn so straight on. I strapped in Leila first and Geoff helped Ella on. Before Ella was even on a boy a similar age to Ella appeared from nowhere, before she was seated, trying to grab hold of it from Geoff saying "I'll push her". No thank you we said the first and second times, but this kid would not let go. Now Ella wasn't properly on and Geoff was trying to hold her and the seat, while basically fending off this kid. No parents anywhere to be seen. In the end I had to firmly say - "Mate, let go, it's not your turn and you're NOT pushing". Then he just stands there saying "I want a turn".
In this situation, where there is a ride others want to use, a ride that lasts perhaps a minute, my thinking is that it's reasonable for a child who has waited can have around 3-4 turns - that's really a maximum turn of 5 minutes, it goes that fast. So, I say to this kid - "she's going to have 4 turns and then it's your turn" he's the only kid waiting. Geoff pushes Ella and I'm pushing Leila. During the 3rd push a guy we discover is his father turns up. As Geoff pulls Ella up to the end and as we're saying to her and this horrid kid, "last turn Ella, next it's his turn", the dad starts mouthing off. He starts saying, "you can't monopolise the ride, 5 or 6 turns is enough for anyone, it's time for someone else to have a go". Geoff replied, "mate, she's had 3 turns, this is her last go and then it's his turn"; "Mate, I think that's enough, time for someone else to have a go". My dear husband starts getting annoyed and replies "MATE, this is her last turn, your kid's okay so just hop out the way and let her finish her turn", well from there it degenerated "I'm trying to teach my kid about sharing, you f******t".
By this stage it's getting decidedly uncomfortable so I step in "excuse me, mind your language there are little kids around here" and I get told to shut the f*** up too! I then said "your kid was trying to pull our daughter off the ride to begin with, where were you then". But honestly, it got really unpleasant, really unpleasant.
Geoff and I were talking about it after and he said perhaps the guy saw us talking at his kid quite sternly when Ella first got on the ride, perhaps that's why. My response to that was that he should have come up then and asked if there was a problem, discussing it like an adult, rather than assuming we were picking on his kid. I don't know about you, but I have found that the worst behaved kids, have the most moronic people for parents. There was no reasoning with this man - it went on, he called me names after I physically made Geoff leave, he was thoroughly charming, all in front of his kid. It has left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I'm here, we're here and all very well, but there's been a bit of a lull in postable activities and perhaps just a little in enthusiasm. Lots of painting, drawing, writing, play doh, muffins and bread.

It's 3rd term here, the longest term, the wettest and coldest term, the one that seems to roll on. We're off on holiday just before term ends though, for a couple of weeks, so that's a focus. Heading possibly to colders climes rather than warmer - what were we thinking?
I won't post her details, in case she's shy - although I would guess she's not, but I'm having my first real life pressing the flesh with a blogger "friend". Coffee, little girls as well as big and possibly a pink carnation .... I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, August 10, 2009

It started in the 80's

I first subscribed to Gourmet magazine when I was still in my teens. It was when Gail was still the editor, before the reign of Ruth. It was before the proportion of ads went through the roof and also before they switched them to the right hand side of the mag - your natural reading side - that truly peeved me.

I loved the articles by Michael and Jane - they transported me to little known parts of the US and all sorts of crazy diner treats. Most of all I fell in love with the writings of a lovely lady called Laurie Colwin. I say lovely because you could just tell from her words that she was just that. They were short essays on life, love and food. I haven't kept all my Gourmets through the years, but I have certainly clipped out all of Laurie's essays and they're in with my recipes. Turning at random to one titled "Down-Home Standbys " There are times in life - usually after a spate of self indulgence - when one's soul cries out for minimalist food: clean, plain and non-taxing. A piece of grilled fish, some blanched asparagus, and perhaps the merest morsel of goat cheese with a very undressed salad are just what the doctor ordered. But there are other times, usually in horrible weather, when one longs for straightforward, savory down-home food, and lots of it. This is the sort of cooking people call "heart warming" and there is no doubt about it - it does cheer people up." She goes on to write about some of her favourites and where they came from, the recipes that is, all from friends, people she met along the way. Her book "Home Cooking", is one to seek out.

Laurie sadly died in her 40's from a heart condition, I didn't know she was unwell until looking for her essay the next month and finding a bi line of her passing.

Recently I've been reading Molly Wizenburg's (of Orangette) book and she is very similar to Laurie. I'm not the first to draw a parallel I'm sure, but there's an honesty and loveliness to both her blog and her book. So nice, I would imagine, for someone to think that you sound nice from your words, not even your spoken but penned words. Her book is a lovely light read, heart warming as mentioned in Laurie's piece above. How can you not feel drawn to someone who seems to have created her own destiny, I'll be going to Delanceys if we get that way any time soon.

Today I've made my first recipe from her book, a berry enriched pound cake which is one of her mother's. I haven't tasted it yet but but the girls pronounced it delish. That will follow a simple soup my sister in law recently made which I've replicated. Use young sweet carrots, sweat off an onion or two in some oil, add about a kilo of carrots peeled, and chopped roughly, grate in a generous thumb sized piece of fresh root ginger, cover with chicken stock and cook until carrots are very soft. Blitz in the pan and then serve with a small dollop of sour cream, a quick microplane of fresh ginger and a sprinkling of fresh dill - fresh, light and so so yummy. We'll be having it with homemade bread and a huge piece of cake for dessert.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Seaside dreaming

Our once a year weekend away with Geoff's family, this time to the Mornington Peninsula. I think I like this area more out of season, there's not of the craziness of summertime and I do love the light of winter at the seaside.

The cousins all stayed up far too late - the 2 year old having the same stamina as the 15 year old. Lots of lovely wine consumed by the biggest kids and food aplenty. It went far too fast and tears were shed, again by the youngest ones, when it was time to leave.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The kindness of strangers

After my last post I received a lot of lovely, encouraging comments - thank you so much. One comment I received was from Leonie. Not only did she encourage me, she was also so sweet as to send me 3m of a grey homespun she has an oversupply of to use for my mock up dress (what's the proper term for this pre good material dress?)
I know a lot of us have had experience of the generosity of strangers via this blog experience of ours. PIF's, giveaways, sharing of supplies and items you think others would like, it's so nice, don't you think. It's not the items so much, as lovely as they are, it's just the thinking of others, the consideration of it all - not to mention the expense if only in the postage. So thank you Leonie, for your generosity and to everyone for being so nice!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Reader Advice

I love this dress. I saw it on etsy over a month ago and fell in love with it. The only reason I didn't buy it is because it was a little short for me. My knees are not my best feature and wearing something above the knee makes me feel self conscious. So, I emailed to see if the seller would do a custom order for me, only slightly longer. It took a while for her to come back with the answer, sorry no, too busy. AAAAaaaargh. This is the dress that I really wanted for one of the parties we're planning for my significant birthday this year.
Your advice is needed. So many of you are much better sewers than me, but I don't think making this is much of a stretch. The body to me looks just like a tube, gathered slightly with a folded band around the top, probably a hidden zip down the side. The strap I can figure out too and the flowers, well I guess they'll just take practice. Questions I'm looking to be answered more than others, I think I'll try with a dummy go - do I make it out of the same weight of fabric? Also, this looks quite light and sheer to me, but the listing only said cotton - any ideas on what I should use? Any ideas, tips or comments gratefully received.

Disco Inferno

I can still remember my first disco, at the local footy club when I was about 13 or 14. My friends had been before because one of their dad's was involved with the club. I can remember Little Red Corvette and 99 Red Balloons playing and being paralysed with embarassment. I couldn't make myself dance, I felt everyone was looking at me, which of course they were because I was the only one not dancing!

I eventually overcame my inhibitions, but my girls suffer none of the same. Ella's school had a disco on Friday and Leila and I went. They danced to Abba, HSM, Hannah Montana and Lady Gaga. This shot is about the only time Leila wasn't dancing - she was right in amongst it the whole time. So fun, so lovely to see them and an indication of things to come.


This week was my third pottery class. Each class is only two hours long and it's not long enough, the time flies and there are only 7 classes.
The first week, the first time our teacher, Lesley Ens, demonstrated we all thought, wow that looks easy enough. She centred the clay first time, she seemed to tease the clay up and down and into shape with only her fingertips. She produced gorgeous deep noodle soup style bowls in a matter of minutes. Then it was our turn - let me tell you - she's a professional and she makes it look easy. Don't get me wrong, it's great fun but there's a lot of energy that goes into making that clay move and it takes quite some time to start reading the clay and what it will do. These three are my first week's effort.

Then there's trimming, something else I didn't know about pottery - although how I imagined you got the foot rings on by turning I have no idea. So that's what the shot of the upside down pot is. You leave the clay covered in plastic so it dries off but doesn't harden and then you put it back on the wheel and trim off the excess clay and basically tidy and finish. I found this part quite relaxing, like binding a quilt, the finishing process. Having said that, the two hours went way too fast. Next week's the half way mark - and we haven't started cups or plates or glazing yet!