Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Anniversare!

Henny and I have been in love for 24 years today about Midnight tonight! We have been living together for 23 years and 46 weeks of those 24 years and married for 17 of them.
I chose the best anniversary card for him with 2 chooks on the front. it is a Klimt painting. I wrote my own caption and said 'I am glad you are the rooster in my chookyard!' I really am your basic romantic! I did have two other captions...'I love you Henny Penny' and the other was...'You are a top cock' ( I only thought this one and didn't write it 'cause as we know after the 'f' word incident with Ginny that some people may have taken it the wrong way.
We have had some great news The Princess and the Gas Man have had their baby boy at 6.45pm last night he is 8.3 pounds or 3.8 kilograms and it 56cm long. They are very tall so I wouldn't have expected anything less. I am off to see him at 5pm today...can't wait. Scarpetta has already dropped off a pressie because that it how organised she is!
Well i always get soooooooooooo excited about New Year, not sure why but I guess because it is the beginning of perhaps the unknown.
Anyway as this new year rolls out, my hope for you and all of those you love is... that each day is filled with many rich blessings for you. That your eyes are always opened to the wonder that fills each new day. We really ARE blessed people! No matter how you look at it, we really have so much going for us all, especially as free people living in this most blessed country. We have so many choices ahead of us.
In 2009 let us live in love and joy and beauty and friendship and awe and wonder and delight in the extraordinary that is a part of our ordinary and keep celebrating the wondrous peace that fills our hope-filled lives.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hurrah it's Saturday and my family gets home in five days from Italy on the morning of the 5th day. HURRAH! It has been a long couple of weeks. Kirsty I am in awe of you lasting 12 weeks.
I am a bit of a fraidy cat and so for the first few weeks of being on my own I felt the need to cook for others or be out and about.
The result is I am exhausted! and I have had some pretty appalling dinner guests but also some nice ones...and of course there was the awful problem of the dhal...
Last Sunday I had some mates over and thought I will whip up a quick Vindaloo. I was out there on the edge and just kept adding the far could go? I did show a small amount of restraint and 5 dried chillies and 4 long green chillies later, I thought this it it!
And it but still able to be tasted and enjoyed.
What would I serve with the aforementioned Vindaloo...dhal I thought. Then, great idea No. 1.
I was in the city shopping and there was an Indian place...I would just buy a container of dhal to accompany the Vindaloo (minimal effort but maximum presentation value). When I inquired the chap said $10...ten bucks says I for a container of lentils that cost 50c to make...I was of course completely undervaluing the cost of his rent, staff and other overheads. No I said "I will make it myself".
I rang Scarfetta - the source of all information. 'Oh it only takes about an hour or so', says she. I chopped onions, rinsed lentils, added spices...All done in 30 minutes. "How good it this?" I say to myself. Dinner of course is a raging success (my words not theirs). I farewell my guests and clean up. (it sucks that you can't make guests clean and wash you have put in a whole lot of effort!)
I clean up, go to bed, get up, go to work thinking about the nice plate of left overs for dinner that evening.
...4am in the morning after two consecutive nights of hot curry and dhal for dinner I HAVE THE WORST PAIN IN THE WORLD! OMG Are my ovaries going to explode? Do I have some cyst that has burst? How am I going to get to the hospital when I am all by myself. How will I notify my husband Henny all the way away in Italy. Am I going to die? Will I have to take the day off?
Well, I calm myself down and hobble to the kitchen and administer panadol. I decide to remain calm...alert but not alarmed. I take myself back to bed and give myself til 7ish before I head to the hospital.
About 5am I realise am not having quite the close brush with imminent death that I originally was anticipating... more like a brush with the foul and nasty gas generated by lentils that have not been correctly soaked to remove noxious gases.
it was nasty! Very nasty! Do not try this at home...and always soak your lentils and discard that noxious water. That is all I am going to say.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

At Home in Life As It Is

When the idea of keeping a blog first came (thanks to Ginny) my plan was to keep a journal of my journey to being me. Maybe what I first forgot was that I am already me even with the bits I don't like.
After being someone's partner for 24 years on the 31 Dec, I felt I was losing a bit of myself. While my family are away (They are on a huge adventure 3 weeks in Italy - Just the boys...oh a one hanger one)I am going to do a bit of looking for me. I think sometimes I am very lazy and choose the path of least resistance. This is not good!
Today is the day! Discipline and a sunny outlook with a forward heading direction. I CAN make the difference in my own life! And walk up a hill (see already I am saying "Do I have to?", "Can't I just drive there?")
I actually do like being me, so that is a beginning. I was talking to the Princess yesterday, her and the Gas Man are having a baby very shortly (like in 2 weeks). Poor Princess was a bit distraught at leaving her job in the hands of someone else. The fact that they would do it their own way and maybe even do it a bit better than her. "But" I said "They may do your job more efficiently but they simply are not you!". When you think about it, when people love or like us they are looking for the good not the faults. isn't that nice...we are looking for the good!
It's Christmas!
I am so going Christmas shopping this afternoon.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday Faves

Now, I have been following my friends Friday Faves for weeks now and I did notice that their Friday Faves were late this week and I kept looking and had crept up on me. Their simple idea of finding 5 things that were adding joy and happiness and then blogging them is something I look forward to. I missed them when they weren't there.
Nb. They have since appeared.
How delightful to know what brings your friends joy and happiness and that a glass of iced water or a phone call from a Son who lives close by becomes a highlight.
Life is indeed grand!
I am reading this lovely Advent reflection guide. It is so good!
In one of the first reflections we read ' Feeling at home for Christmas is difficult if we don't feel home in life. Life turns out to be much more complex and challenging than we expect: illness and accidents, failures and broken hearts. Making it worse we may think something is wrong with us, as if life shouldn't be this way.'
Then it goes on to compare the differences between the Nativity stories in the two Gospels. Luke's version is the bright side of the story - singing angels, kneeling shepherds, the donkey and the ox. Matthew's Gospel is the adult version fraught with difficulty and danger, vulnerability and flight.
In this busy season, as we prepare singing 'Silent Night Holy Night All is Calm All is Bright' we can also be comforted in knowing that there is consolation for us in the two tellings of the gospel story. This original story relates to us where we are right now. A child is always a blessing! But we know sometimes the beginnings are not always so grand and so bright. Careful planning goes awry... it is our challenge to look and find the joy in the moment.
I am going to keep looking to find Friday Faves ( it is a nice surprise when they arrive early)

Christmas statistics
fruit mince pies 2
melting moment 1
choc coated almonds 6
exercise 0
I really must eat some vegetables

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Exactly why I have to go to the gym

Christmas statistics
fruit mince tarts 1
peanut m&m's 7 handfuls
fruit 1

Grumbly Christmas fairy

Actually, one of my pet hates is when people talk about themselves incessantly and another of my pet hates is when people grumble at this time of goodwill to all men. So I am in a major bother! I am going to be guilty of ranting and raving about people who are obsessed by them selves at the expense of others around them in this time of joy to the world.
Let me first say, if you are feeling unwell - I am concerned for you. If you have a constant headache - I am concerned about you. If you have unspecific or specific pain that has been lingering - I am very concerned for you. If you play sport and have sore knees, feet, back - I sympathise but if you continue to play inappropriate sports for your weight and age I think HARDEN UP! get some commonsense you jerk and retire gracefully while you are relatively in tact!
See in the season of glad tidings, I am being SCROOGE these people are bringin' me down man from my tinsel induced high. I need to rethink some of my relationships and cross some names of the Christmas card list. It is a job that has to be done.
Or am I being too harsh?
Off to work it's Thursday and we have morning tea every Thursday...will there be fruit mince tarts?
Christmas statistics
Lindt ball/s 2
fruit mince tart 1 & 1/2
Lime & black pepper chips-guilty
exercise 1 hour & personal training YAY!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas continues...

I just love Christmas! It is only day 2 of December and there is work to be done...Elf work! I have to make the cards - get the stamps off Crafty, buy a huge amount of extra stuff and then create. There are gingerbread houses to bake, a Christmas feast to be devised, special fruitcakes to my secret recipe to be made, lists to write, movies to be watched and of course cards to be written. The wreath isn't even on the front door yet!
I have been distracted so far, people keep having Christmas occasions. Last night was our Group reunion Christmas dinner at the local Chinese. We Christians know how to party! I knew the group was bonding when the farting stories came out, it is a privilege to meet with a group of women and just begin that journey of getting to know each other.
Tonight was the Book Club Christmas Galah...only four of us turned up out of a possible seven or eight but we partied as only women know how. Familiarity is such a delightful thing! Four of us in a local park feeling like we'd all been run over...This year has just whizzed past. But in true trooper style the party went on, champagne, chicken in wonton wrappers with a mango chilli salsa, chicken and pesto, salad, fruit salad, mince tarts, it was a feast! Scarpetta did the flash cooking, it does make you feel so special when somebody goes to considerable effort. Calculating books read is not a major achievement this year, but what is an achievement is that we have been together for 5 years now. Book Club is even going to have a baby...well not all of us just one of us 'The Princess' I am very excited for her.
I am very excited that at this very moment my family- Henny, Dom Antony & Moo Moo are meeting in Roma...Italy that is not Queensland. I am so happy that they can have three special weeks together. I will be keeping the home fires burning and organising Christmas ready for their return. There is a fleeting thought that they are not so good with directions and instructions, Henny did get on the wrong train going to the airport. I have put Moo Moo in charge - he may be 16 but he knows where he is going!

Christmas statistics

exercise 0
Fruit mince tarts 2
Champagne 3
wine 2
Lindt Ball 1 (PKT of 5. The others are soooooo not safe)

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

There are certainly a whole lot of people complaining about it. This is one of my pet hates! GRRRR it makes me very angry. Christmas is the time of year when we pine for family, tradition and look to the beginnings of the Holy Family - a birth is always exciting and full of hope and new beginnings.

I try to put meaning into Christmas with the hope that meaning is created for my family and for those around me. Sometimes it works and sometimes I have to roll my eyes (If only I could stop there but, I can't). I feel like I am some Santa appointed elf whose mission is to point out how much meaning Christmas does have and actually it is up to the person concerned to put their own meaning into Christmas.

but...I LOVE CHRISTMAS! This is the time of year where the lack of discipline in my everyday existence is pushed aside for a regime of timelines, schedules and jolly tasks. It all starts the previous year when I scour the post Christmas sales for the ultimate decorations that my tree must have! This task determines the colour scheme for the following year...I continue the theme to the wrapping and that it also purchased in the sales. My preference is quality paper (this year pink) usually 7 metres long - This gives me the confidence that I will not run short. Decorations are stored in clear boxes according to colour range and precious decorations are individually wrapped in tissue paper - this is a great feat of organisation for someone who never knows where her shoes are.

It begins on November 29 or 30 - I have two birthday in that week so as soon as birthdays are over, it begins - The season to be really jolly and good tidings to ALL mankind. The tree is hoisted out and while we put National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation on the tele, we begin. Lights first then decorations are layered, baubles are hung on the inside of the tree - creating a feeling of fullness and depth. Special decorations are saved for the outer fronds of the tree. Lastly the angel is placed on the top of the tree by the youngest member of our family. He has grown 'cause we used to have to lift him up to do it. While I gently unwrap each bauble and suggest the location the boys are repeating different parts of the movie that make them laugh 'shitter's full', 'lotta sap - lotta sap', 'Clarke, Audrey will see it later, her eyelids are frozen over'....and variopus others. Watch it! You will love it!

The nativity purchased in Amalfi in unwrapped and someone hides the Three wise men in a not so obvious location so they can begin their journey travelling around the room to the nativity. On a daily basis we sit in the loungeroom trying to spot where the three wise men are and then if spotted we move them to another location...this activity goes on til Christmas eve.

The house is decorated, I have garland with lights for over the entrance to the lounge, a wreath for the front door, a wreath for the kitchen ( I sneakily have left this up all year as I just love it!), the book- T'was the Night Before Christmas, assorted candles and angels, bowls and vases full of small baubles in the desired colour scheme...The house really looks lovely at Christmas.

This year I am recycling and so the tree is sull of most of my colours, pinl, lime green, silver, purple and a hint of blue - blue although definitely not a Christmas colour is just a hint of me. Now that the decorating is done...The season begins.

Cardmaking and posting. I do like to have these in the post Nov 30 to arrive in boxes by Dec 1. This has been delayed this year (as my Boys are traveling OS and I have had to neglect my Christmas tasks in order to assist their preparations). This week rest assured I will be writing messages of hope and joy to all that I love and hold fond thoughts of.

I love Christmas craft! So this year I have covered the letters P-E-A-C-E and gorgeous scrapbooking papers and I will blu tack to my wall near the tree. NOICE DIFFERENT UNUSUAL. I also have the letter for b-e-l-i-e-v-e...that may be my project to keep me busy while the boys are away. I also have made a countdown calendar, a bit boring for some of my talented friends as it is really just a painted tree, covered in papers and then the numbers hung...but I love it!

I cook cook cook! Gingerbread houses and assorted treats. Christmas is when there are lollies always in our house and kids know they are not allowed to eat them. This year I am going to make my friend Karen's lolly pizzas - chocolate melted into a patty case and then layered with chopped up snakes, marshmallow and other assorted goodies.

I will keep you posted on what I am up to...but I really should be getting ready to go for coffee with my lovely husband (who got into Art School! and will be studying next year!) and my baby Boy. They are heading to Italy for 3 weeks to catch up with No.1 Son. Bon Voyage Treasures have fun living La Dolce Vita! Ciao x

Sunday, November 16, 2008


On Friday while listening to my local ABC radio station, I heard that a Trappist Monk was in town teaching Contemplative Meditation. WOW!, this is exactly what I have been searching for! Well I tell a lie really, because if I think of myself I know that I am as deep as the froth on a flat white... (this is not a new concept to my pals) but... contemplative meditation this could be the thing to transport me to real depth...authentic meaning.
So...I ditched my gym appointment (too frothy) I was on a quest for meaning! I arrived at St Benedict's exactly on time, surrendered myself to the task ahead. A quick glance around showed that I was the third youngest participant looking for deeper meaning. In fact my age 45 plus the two obviously younger members 20 somethings - gee they were attaining enlightenment at an early age...(they still had zits!) 120 people in the audience all with the average age of 82 & 1/2 plus us three 'youngies' that was a total average age of 81 years. I asked myself 'WHY is it just the oldies looking to contemplate meditatively?"
But failed to answer that question...
It was reasonably interesting but really I could have learned all I came for in the last hour and a half...I had been there since 10am and listen to this kindly contemplative rabbit on...

Then it happened! Right after lunch! Well more like 45 minutes after the lunch break it was time for our own 20 minutes of contemplative meditation.

I steeled myself..someone had switched my chair in the break and my feet no longer touched the floor (could have been the Nun beside me..but I didn't want to be all accusatory), I was at a Christian function afterall. I sat forward so my feet touched the floor...grounding me (this wasn't a part of it but I thought I would be more comfortable. OK so straight back, good posture feet grounded I was ready. I repeated my word over and over again n my mind - it was meant to be a 1 syllable work but I could only think of two words four syllables. I hoped this would work regardless. The idea was to say the word over and over again radiating God's love and then receiiving. I kept repeating my word over and over. A passing truck distracted back to the words, I thought I needed a pee, back to the words...then I think I got in the zone. After 14 or so minutes I think I got it and then had enough. Good work Father...You taught me something! There was a rhythmic... noise very melodical, it was disturbing my enlghtened state. The words weren't working anymore. I gingerly opened one wasn't time yet but I was enlightened. I looked around all the oldies were still doing it...God on them and the noise was growing louder and louder, it seemed amplified. I cocked my head to one side and caught a glimpse of the Enlightened Father...he was slumped forward toward the microphone and seemed to be...snoring! I grimaced OH NO! This was not the place to laugh innapropriately, I sort of caught the ye of the girl next to the Nun next to me...we smiled...we made motions at each other trying not to disturb those at peace around us...It just got louder and louder, by this stage we could no longer make eye contact or I was going to lose it completely. At the 35th minute the Father woke with a hUrmmph and started saying the Our Father...very funny!
I am feeling a little deeper.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Life is GRAND!

The plan was that this blog was going to keep me honest about diet and exercise. Well somehow its not working....I have been to the gym once last Thursday, it is now Tuesday and I haven't even contemplated going. But I also am trying to go green and recycle recycle recycle. So far my big change has been not to purchase bottled water, but to carry around a refillable container. This week I am really working on the rubbish situation...we produce soooooo much rubbish in our house. The worm farm is on the cards to get back in business and I am composting wherever possible. Really we have the scorched earth policy happening here so there is no valid reason we can't be composting! Look out La Familiglia there are changes to be made.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lemon syrup disaster

Today is the day of The Princess' baby shower. I thought it would be simple whip my amazing Greek Lemon Syrup Cake and WOW! 'em. Unfortunately I haven't made it for quite a while and I failed to double the quantities of the recipe but somehow doubled the quantitiy of the lemon syrup you pour on the cake when cooked...The result is sticky lemon syrup awash all over my kitchen, om my phone, in my fruit bowl all over my glad wrap and a sorry example of a cake swimming in syrup looking like a used sponge. I used to be good at this entertaining malarky! I think it is just me and syrup 'cause yesterday I cooled the sugar syrup mix I needed to make the portugese tarts and made a whole pot of toffee. Searching the 'net for a recipe for scone pinwheels I found a recipe for savoury saveloys EEEWWWW! Scarpettta has just called with her tales of blue iced cupcakes going horribly wrong...or looking like sea anenomes. Still thinking positive that this small soiree for 30 or so will go off deliciously and without a hitch...second thoughts I think we should hit the champagne early!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Momentus Day for the whole world!

Today is a momentus occasion and I cannot let it pass without taking some time to ponder the enormity. We have a black President in the White House...a man with a new vision, a man who brings to this highest office.... HOPE . It feels kinda great to be proud of Americans (for a change). As my pal Scarpetta said..."This must be what it felt like when peace was announced after the war". She is right! This is history in the making! This is the beginning of a new era.

I trust you are excited as me.

This is just an excerpt from Obama's accecptance speech...if you haven't yet I encourage you to read the whole transcript.

"So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers, in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends, though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn; I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down, we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security, we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright, tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America, that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves, if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Day 2 - Day 1 was a moderate success

Hurrah! I have made it to Day 2 of the new me and I am even contemplating the gym. Yesterday I managed to eat healthily but not is all about correcting that imbalance.
Well I made it to the gym...a whole hour and a half! twenty minutes on the cycle, twenty miniutes on the eliptical trainer a combined twenty on the treadmill and then 5 mnutes...16 floors on the of course a circuit til my muscles hurt.
Unfortunately there is no time for the gym tomorrow as I am having breakky with my good mates Scarpetta, Farthing and Pete. I am also attending the Canberra Theatre Centre launch of the 2009 Season, very exciting!
I am cooking a healthy pasta for dinner with a tomato base, a few olives, anchovies (for taste), I will try to limit my pasta as I don't really want to carb load.
Today is Melbourne Cup Day and we had a public holiday. How lucky are we! I love a holiday that is a welcome intrusion into the working week! I certainly didn't pick the winner but I was wearing a fabulous fascinator...a little blue feathered number. Next year I am going to make something grand.
This afternoon I went off to visit Craftie and Red Cross. Craftie is called Craftie not because her eyes are too close together and she always rips us off but because she is the craft queen! And my mate Red Cross because she is always there in an emergency. We have a Christmas craft group and make interesting things to get us in the spirit of we made christmas trees from craftwood and covered them with lovely christmassy scrapbooking papers. I just have a little bit of glueng to go and then...a completed project. Henny will be so excited! I can hear his drycomments...'Where ya gunna put that dust collector?'
It is a very busy life being a diva!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day 1 of the rest of my life

OKAY I have said it before BUT today is the day...or more importantly tomorrow is the day. The 1st day of the rest of my life. I need to make a couple of changes...only a few...bit more exercise, good diet and only thnking happy thoughts. And tomorrow is the day. I am going to be kind to myself and in turn the environment. I am going to walk part the way to work 3 times a week and work out at the gym at least 3 times also.
Monday I am getting off my larger than is comfortable bottom and doing something for myself.
To be Continued...

Lazy Sunday afternoon

It's Sunday 2 November 2008. How did it ever get to be November. The year has almost passed and there has been so much happen. I started a new job, it didn't really fit so then I found a new job. I am working in the 'green' sector and finding it fascinating, so I may add a few tips to save our world along the way.
I am cooking a huge roast dinner for our mates The Princess and The Gas Man. The prinecesses father is out from Old Blighty, I am hoping he has seen a Kangaroo since he has been in Australia, otherwise our first task will be to go for a walk to see some 'roos.
Today I had a breakfast date with one of my favourite friends Ginny. She is the sort of friend that you can see and it feels like it has been just yesterday since you last saw her. Ginny is very special to our family. She has picked me up several times - WHAT A FRIEND!