Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Blue Room

It is delightful being back at work with the Childerbeasts but I am missing my little Shorty friend immensely and am very tired. Being at work is the least demanding time of the day. That and the few minutes alone in the Blue Room.

When I have finished picking people up and dropping them off and doing another couple of hours helping the new high schoolers with their homework, I like to sit in the sun room in the dark. I forget about it till I'm turning off the lights to go to bed. Then I notice the Christmas lights that never made it down, making the room all glowy and blue.

It is rather still and special to sit alone in the peace of the late evening, looking at the mountain and faint glow of the city beyond . I should go to bed but then it seems I will wake up almost immediately and start again. So I forfeit some sleep for the luxury of doing nothing, being wanted by nobody and not having to be anywhere by a certain time... in the blue room.

PS It seems women who work have always had this problem as explained here so succinctly by the marvellous Madeleine Kahn.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Still Raining

The January rain is still pouring. Pools are getting a green tinge and pool toys lie unused and forgotten.
There are some that relish running and playing in the warm rain looking for goodies in the grass.
Everything is lush and green and blooming in the cool and wet.
They'll need to bomb dive the pool today to get a few inches of water out.
I'm not complaining. There was a flood last year and a drought before that. I love the rain.
I love how it makes everything quiet including children and the outside world in general.
I love how everything is fresh and dewy and not wilting in the heat.
We don't feel obligated to buzz around being busy and fun on the week-end. Instead there will be hot chocolate, tea, cup cakes, home made pizza, maybe some board games and cards and lashings of Ella Fitzgerald- my favourite rainy weather music.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On the Lamb

One of the good things about Australia Day is leftover roast lamb. Sometimes it may be almost as good as the roast itself. For lunch I threw some rocket, chopped up lamb, roast pumpkin (also leftover), cherry tomatoes and basil into a bowl with herbed salt and a balsamic dressing. This is it half eaten. It was delicious!
So I thought I'd knock up dinner out of the rest of the roast. Nanna makes a mean lamb curry but not the vindaloo sort. More the old style English 'curry' that my own nanna used to make. After chopping up the lamb and roasted potatoes and pumpkin I rang to ask her how to do it.
Turns out she and Grandma Reilly both got it from this old book which every Australian girl had as her Home Ec text once. It's a great reference for the basics.
It seems this recipe isn't so much a curry as a curry sauce that you add your meat and veg to last. It had lots of onion and apple and sultanas...
then surprisingly some chutney and rosella jelly (I used cranberry instead) and other miscellaneous nanna-ness.
The book has pictures like this...
and unadorned recipes like this.
It's looks don't do it justice on a rainy night served on a bed of fluffy rice with a schlurp of Greek yoghurt on top.
Pretty in Pyrex, it waits in the fridge. I actually got dinner made early. There's only enough for the Big Fella and I as the swimmers need therapeutic pasta tonight. Yes there are two meals and we got to a 3 year old birthday party and I got a full time job for next week. That was a very big surprise. It's more than I wanted at this stage but it's only for a week so it's a case of biting the bullet. It's not in an art room though which is a shame. Fingers crossed for later on.
Meanwhile the eggs and laundry don't stop for the rain although they do work quite well together.

Australia day cuppa with Nanna and Grandad

Young and free....
nature's gifts...
rich and rare...
of beauty...

...and free!

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's Raining Zen, Alleluia!

Last night we tried to work out the boys' new timetables. Big Fella was at work till late, Shorty was stroppy and neglected, Lala wanted to flake in front of the screen and we needed another space to work quietly in. This one had to be sacrificed. To be honest the most creative thing I did at this table was the Big Fella's birthday painting and since then it's been mostly folding the laundry. Since he moved the dining room table around, I would rather work in there if I ever get the urge again in this lifetime to paint a canvas or sew. It's a great table to spread out on.
Mostly I was reluctant to give up my tea drinking and nattering space out here. I like staring at the mountain and sipping tea, feeling like I was hiding out around the corner. However they found my hideout ages ago so today while it was pouring outside, Shorty and I did some moving around.
The study table (as it shall now be known) was relocated to the tea corner without all my dusty art stuff on it. It needed a lamp and remembered the old Planet lamp that was under-the-house. There's usually a piece of old furniture there for most purposes if you don't mind it being old. The Big Fella is over it and prefers shiny and new these days. It's a dilemma! Too bad he's back at work now and unable to comment on the lamp.
This lamp was found at a local church trash'n'treasure when the twelve year olds were still little enough to be left outside in a pram. It weighs a ton and sheds a great puddle of light. The Planet label is all but worn away but I've seen them painted white and enamelled up in some mags and Pins recently. We'll just leave this old dear as is for now.
So this is the new corner. It means they can find me more easily but I can also see the kitchen with one eye as I stare at the mountain with the other for my zen quota. That may not paint a pretty picture but it works. There's the truculent succulent that was nearly dead on the desk. It may get more attention in the tea drinking area.
Shorty is trying out the new study desk for the big boys. She also brought her twig stool out as a contribution to the change.
It was always a bit bland in the Porter's grey so it got a quick slap of turquoise to pep it up.
Now you can sit in this tea drinking, mountain watching, zen soaking chair when you come over for a cuppa. It is so nice to have the house back to Shorty and myself through the day- mine, all mine!
P.S. That's one of Anna's Shiny Happy Art cushions on that chair, a very special godmotherly one!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fishy Birthday to you!

Fishy turned 11! His birthday is always wedged in between Christmas, school starting and this year the big Golden anniversary last week-end. He is easy to please though which is lucky because it was the fastest I have ever thrown a party together. I had subliminally led him to believe party bags and balloons were babyish so he insisted on not having them. Instead they were lucky to get a tablecloth and a Killer Python jelly lolly at the end. The cake was minus a candle which has still not been found so I borrowed one from the party over the way. There was too much wind so we fake blew it out any way.It was the ubiquitous rainbow cake but not the ones you read about in the mythology of blogworld. Anna had scared me with stories of cooking icing so I cheated. This one is three $2 Green's vanilla cake mixes making six thin cakes. I split each mix, added red, blue and yellow colouring and then mixed the colouring for the green, orange and purple ones. The kids loved swirling the colouring into the batter. There were enough e numbers there to send a dog into space. We used the packet icing to stick the skinny cakes together. I didn't slice them. Too hard. I just cooked them skinny by baking the half batches in a normal cake tin for less time. The whole thing was schmeared with whipped cream, Fishy's favourite, and much easier to apply to a dodgy multilayered cake which has just been speed cooled under the fan.
They ate the whole thing in minutes and there was a lot of it. One boy asked for the recipe! Ha! Even he should be able to manage this one.
I had to hold the Big Fella up for a while as he had exerted his turbo charge to excess entertaining the rabble.
Whilst the girls hung around, the boys got stuck into some serious cricket.
Laundry basket cricket is our preferred version.
Huzzah! That is his soccer face, also his cricket face it seems.
Shorty and Lala found some friends poolside and socialised the afternoon away.
Meanwhile, the Big Fella thought he'd get a bit nautical with the rope. It wasn't there to tie up the guests as I had thought.
He thought he'd get a bit creative with the tug-o-war games
which left his turbo in need of a recharge.
Coco Van, our rubber chicken, attends all our parties now. I had to fish her out of the straw down in the coop/ cubby where she resides between party gigs as a bush turkey cautionary tale. Note the posture, hold and deep concentration of the flinger. The game was invented at Newmarket Pool at the twins' 11th birthday party and has come to be known as Hot Flung Chicken. I am informed that it became the event du jour on the Year 7 party circuit last year. You can read more of its dubious history here.
We fed them watermelon, chips, sausages and cake. Some locals joined us in finishing off the food.
Happy Birthday, Fishy boy! Thanks for being so easy to please and for inviting us to your way cool party! x

Where was I?

You know it is time for the childerbeasts to return to school when:

* You are driving them for a much anticipated outing to the art gallery and on the way you suddenly forget the destination and have to ask the eye-rolling children where we were going- including the bewildered cousin in the back.

* You get out of the shower and find your sunnies on top of your head.

* You spray your armpits with Glen 20 room deodoriser instead of deodorant- two days in a row.

* You forget the thermos for the children's party but remember the rubber chicken and a couple of rolls of Contact just in case there's time to cover a few more books between candles.

* You forget one of the candles. There were only two of them, both 1's making an '11'. We told them to eat cake.
I may be ditzy, but I'm germ free and smell like freshly laundered linen! I can also fling a mean chicken!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Don't Ask Me Why!

Because I was sitting there hiding out in the new unfinished panic room, I took a photo. This is the view from the old squatter's chair where I believe I will partake of my morning tea from now on.Because I was at DFO selling my soul for five pairs of boys' school shoes, I ran into Typo and Cotton On for some self indulgence.

Because Lairy Godmother told me about these handsome wooden hands I felt a need to peruse them and then buy one- and some bunting for the patio.

Because everyone went to bed early and I was reading a blog about an installation artist, I chose to display my purchases in a piece called 'Self portrait as a Bedouin Retail Shopper Who Has been Abandoned by the Oppy gods'. (Because they are lazy, they get a small 'g'.)

Because I felt dishevelled of face and hair I took a liking to these huge glasses, then saw the scarves and threw in the nail varnish in case I ever get down there.

Because the sales girl was staring at a corner in the ceiling or there was some unknown special offer, it only came to $10!
Because I was bored with the movie on TV there was some experimentation with the finger of destiny.

Because you are a duck, I pick you!
Because they all went to bed early I had to pack up the Cluedo.

Because the 9 year old has a better social life than us and has been at two different houses in two nights, I felt obligated to play Cluedo just as she will feel obligated to remove my toe nail polish tomorrow.

Because I don't want to go down there!

Because that looks like Catherine Z. Jones on the Cluedo cover, I am faintly annoyed.

Because I forgot to steer her to her bed, the self bedder has fallen in action.

Because the couch is suffering from post holiday ice block mutilation I photoshopped the blue to make it acceptable just like the Woman's Weekly did with Ms Hutton.
Because of the enormous production of laundry around here lately, Mother Scarlet is not in the sunroom with the candlestick that she had intended to do something interesting with.

And because you should never start a sentence with 'and' or 'because', I did. Just because!

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