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Showing posts from July, 2012

Nearly five years

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The Kings Seed catalogue is late!  As tomorrow marks five years since I began blogging, I've been looking back at those earliest posts (from my first blog) and it turns out that at this time in July of 2007, I'd received my Kings Seed catalogue, salivated over every page and written and rewritten my shopping list a squillion times and sent the order off. 

This year the catalogue is delayed, apparently, but nevertheless I did get into the garden yesterday.  I buried the hedgehog, who had been dead and smelly for some time, but the weather and the busyness meant I'd forgotten about it.  I weeded a bit, planted some polyanthus, some iceland poppies and sowed some broad beans.  I transplanted the naked ladies from Mary K's garden which have been patiently waiting in a bucket for weeks.  Frankly, it wasn't nearly as much gardening as I longed to do, but small pleasures are still pleasures.

FH is sick, which means I have to turn into super-person.  Like Cinderella, I was…

The great lies of childhood and a special old lady.

Bluemilk (Andie Fox) has just written another fabulous article, published at Daily Life, on The Great Lies of Childhood.  The title alone is excellent, but I loved the article.  If you are procrastinating enough from whatever else you know or imagine you should be doing now to be reading my blog, then I recommend you upgrade the nuanced analysis aspect and read her entire article.

This is my favourite quote:
"Longing for the simplicity of the past leads some of us to pursue a more traditional parenting approach, but even then you can fall prey to hyper-parenting. Throw away the flash cards and turn off the educational iPad games and find yourself just buying a different brand of unattainable idealism. Because now the kids can climb trees, but only while wearing the organic cotton clothing you sewed yourself. Grow vegetables, make your own bread and try to summon the energy to teach the children knitting. This revisioned domesticity can be just as reliant on an intensi…

Franz Josef Glacier, Lake Mapourika, Lake Ianthe

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It was truly utterly fantastic weekend.  I'll not be tarnishing this post with any links to non-holiday reality.

Breaking news! Men demand more opportunities to care for the elderly for no pay, make cakes for the school gala and clean floors.

Over at A Bee of A Certain Age, Deborah has posted a review of the reports looking into the absence of women in the top police jobs.  It's a good post and the issues are worth reading about and I really hope the culture changes in the police force.

It's just that I can feel a rant of my own coming on. 

Why is it that I never see articles about the under-participation of men in caring sectors?  Yes I know many of us mention it in private discourse and it can be found on feminist websites etc., but why doesn't it look like:

Grave concern over lack of men in kindergarten structure.
or

Report identifies that only 1% of cleaners in schools and hospitals are men.  X from the Advisory Board of Hygiene Careers is very concerned about the messages this sends to young boys.  "Boys, explained Mr X, are hugely shaped by the roles they see around them.  When they grow up surrounded by women cleaning at home and at school, they feel excluded from the skills which help make a home or …

slow writing, fast food

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Prudent and sensible lost.

The mechanic's bill arrived and it wasn't as bad as I'd feared and I went ahead and booked a weekend in a rainforest.  I like being married.  It means I get to organise birthday presents which involve great pleasure for myself.

I still want to write like Deborah Challinor.  I lay awake at night plotting a West Coast historical drama, one with a strong and likeable female protagonist whose main aspect is not sexual gorgeousness.  I feel like I'm swimming upstream a bit on this, even just thinking about it.  Last time I wrote more than five pages, I was in Santa Marina de Valdeon, a tiny hamlet in the Picos de Europa in Spain.  My obsession at the time was the marriage of my Irish great great grandparents in Canterbury in 1880.  They lived in two quite separate parts of Canterbury, one in Lincoln and the other in Chertsey (which is near Ashburton).  I was sure that the travelling Catholic priest had arranged their meeting and marriage and I wan…

Holiday plans

My strongest response to the end of a holiday is to plan another one.  Prudent and sensible persons might not do anything of the sort.  P & S persons would observe the imminent need to replace the 21-year old car, the looming mechanic's bill to repair the aforementioned 21-year old car, and probably other tiresomely viurtuous aspects and stay at home and wash the kitchen floor and repair the toilet cistern.

But there is a birthday in the house soon and I don't think 'prudent' and 'sensible' were words in the marriage vows we wrote and exchanged.

So today, the last day before term time madness begins, I stayed in my jammies all day, napped for part of the afternoon and researched options for a weekend in a rainforest.  I looked at what other people have been sewing on their sewing blogs as well.  I watch sewing about ten times more often than I actually sew.

Turmeric muffins, blogging friends & bodice ripping

Turmeric.  It relieves inflammation and it chelates iron and there are plenty of high quality scientific studies showing this.  As a magical substance, it sure beats rain dancing, and is more useful.  This afternoon I was in whipping up a storm in the kitchen in preparation for term time (storms in my kitchen often look more like mess than completed food items).  I'd made some chocolate brownie and was contemplating pumpkin muffins.  Then it occurred to me that I could slip some turmeric in.  This, with approximate measures for the spices as I simply tipped them from the packet, is what I made:
2 C self raising flour
3/4 C sugar
75g butter, melted
3/4 C milk
1 egg
3 small-medium pieces of roast pumpkin (which I didn't think to weigh)
1 Tablespoon cream cheese
1 teaspoon each of powdered ginger, cumin, turmeric & cinnamon
black pepper

Mix flour, spices and sugar into a bowl.  Melt butter.  Beat egg.  Mix egg, butter and milk.  Mix cream cheese and pumpkin and black pepper …

Bits of brain scattered along the curtain mending...

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... like dandruff.
I've mended the curtains and attached the blackout lining which Mum made for them.  In this photo, the right hand side solar system curtain has been mended (the tape across the top replaced) and the lining added.  The left side is relatively sloppy and see through, but I've done that side since I took the photograph.

I'm half way through niece knitting, i.e. one item finished (apart from sewing in the ends).

I read Barbara Anderson's autobiography Getting There a few days ago.  Interesting without being challenging, so a perfect read for when I was sick.  I'm reading Gavin Bishop's Piano Rock to Brighid at the moment, partly for my own pleasure.  I bought the Winter 2012 issue of New Zealand Books yesterday, and the most memorable line so far?  "Denis Glover told me it was my job to look decorative.  I smiled but didn't tell him I'd observed how carefully he combed his hair in a shop-window reflection that day as I followed him …

When Santa Claus came to town

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Uncle Pete came to town.  A much anticipated trip by the shortest people, who were spoilt rotten by their grandparents and uncle in Hanmer recently.  The pictures above come from the animal farm at Hanmer Springs.  I squandered much of my child-free time by being sick.  Now I'm squandering an evening mending curtains.  It's true that they will look better afterwards, and Fionn really likes the solar system pattern on them They were rather worn out when I first found them at the Sallies, but my Mum has kindly made blackout lining for them which I need to hang tomorrow. 

We went op shopping today, the kids and I.  Brighid persistently requested we buy another copy of Sleeping Beauty.  I was more interested in buying her the picture of Tabitha Twitchett.  Op shops are good.  Low stakes so less intensive arguments.  We bought both.  I also bought a packet of about four metres of blue fabric for $2.  I hope I turn out to use it.  It is nice and possibly sensible, rather than flamb…

Vitamin C & iron overload

Now that I have a nurse, I am sick.  I was a little lurgied when I was home alone, but once Favourite Handyman came in on his white horse (which looked remarkably like the West Coast Shuttle bus), I descended, almost in a faint, into his arms, replete with that scary white river of cold down my chest which in my experience indicates an infection.

I am pleased to report that his excellent nursing means I am mostly out of bed now and showing signs of improvement.  I've been drinking lemon drinks, miso soup, spicey chorizo soup and blackcurrant syrup with vitamin C.

I'm still trying to learn more about vitamin C and haemochromatosis.  The received wisdom for persons with haemochromatosis is that they should not take supplemental vitamin C.  Vitamin C asssists the absorption of iron in the human body.

Which seems simple and straightforward enough, except that I have had such good success in improving my own health with supplemental vitamin C.  Given my dramatic history of, follow…

The red edged floral apron

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One apron complete.  One altered dress finished.  The sewing of one blue crossover top begun.  More photos and detail tomorrow.

thinking in quiet

When everyone is home and it is term time, I crave silence in the evenings.  I've been immersed in noise all day.  Having no television suits me fine as in the evening I prefer to read, sew, knit or read or write online. 

Tonight, after a quiet day to myself, I have a different set up.  I have set FH's computer up to stream Radio Four live while I knit/read/write online.  Just fifteen more minutes to Womans Hour.

Today:
1. I thought I would sew all through these solo days, but it turns out I want to read and think.
2. I went to see Laksmi, my treasured complementary therapist.  She did some visceral manipulation work while we talked at length about haemochromatosis, food, symptoms and next steps.  She strongly encouraged me to be more assertive with my doctor.
3. Inspired by Laksmi's pep talk, I made another attempt to get an appointment with a locum who FH recommended.  Wonder of all magical wonders, I got an appointment today.  TODAY!!  Unprecedented.  This doctor was f…

Writing the West Coast?

It's 7pm, long the craziest time of night at the messiest house in Wetville.  For the first time in almost ten years, I have the house to myself for more than a few hours.  The music is my choice and my volume, I eat to my own rhythm, wine is back on the menu and the fire is warming the house nicely.

Last time I had more than five seconds without multi-tasking, I committed to me-made-May '12, an online project where participants wear at least one piece of clothing they have made themselves each day for the entirety of a month.

All 31 days.

That turned out to be a misguided attempt at commitment on my part.  Tonight, I'm wondering about something else.  Could we create a book of poetry and prose related to the West Coast?  I've speculated on who to talk to to create a 'we'.  I've thought of what I would write about. I also know that when term starts this is going to seem a ridiculous idea in terms of finding time to make it happen.

But on every other level, …

Things I have learnt recently

1. If I am whizzing eggs with my whizzy stick, if I switch to the turbo function then half of the mixture will splatter all around the kitchen in a wide radius very quickly.
2. A single fix trip to the mechanic is never a single fix.  I may have learnt this before but I've learnt it more this week.  The car spent two full days at the mechanic's.  This afternoon, too late to add it to the mechanic's fix-list for the day, FH finally remembered to tell me that the front right headlight bulb isn't working.  Timing, I presume, is not the sole secret to a long and happy marriage.
3. Anne Else's thesis is an amazing document which is already giving me a framework to understand some of my own vexed questions about my world.
4. Computer screen reading isn't all that reading has to offer.  I won't be signing up for a kindle any time soon.  In the library today I found Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard, which is a lovely holiday read.  I've been trying to skive of…

the shaping force of gender

There is more baking soda paste on the oven, we had Dominoes pizza again for tea (is that how to get more time - never cook?), the children and I had a fabulous day, the eczema improvements are starting to show (credit to my extensive use of the new laundry regime today plus more epsom salts and baking soda in the bath and of course acres of expensive emollient), the sick hedgehog is now the dead hedgehog and we have a new heater.

Eventually the children went to bed and to sleep.  I continued my transformation of a $2 Hoki op shop dress into a skirt.  It's not screaming elegant success, unhelped by my cheerful disdain for careful measurement (the centre seams no longer run through the centre of the skirt, front or back, but I am keen to se it through to something wearable.  Once again I have failed to match my stated desire for more work-friendly clothes with a commensurate care for detail.

But no matter.  Because as I sewed (the pinning and unpicking parts at least), I read Anne …

In search of a red slip

I've had a splendid start to the school holidays.  Last night I went to a 40th birthday party and had a marvellous time.  Parties are good.  I like them a lot.  They're as scarce as hen's teeth for me for the most part, due to no longer being a young university student, and I find I leave somewhat earlier and less inebriated when I have a babysitter to return to. 

Yesterday I also gardened.  Holy grail of wonderfulness, scarcely ever achieved during term time this year.  I pruned my blackcurrant bush, making a solid attempt to create a 'vase' shape like the gardening guides advise.  I planted three of the prunings in the garden so that I can have more blackcurrants in future.  At least this time I will know that they need three years from twig to fruit.

Today it occurred to me, as the scales of the outside world fell from my eyes and just after I paid a bill of $120 to get rid of 300kg of windows which were given to us, were torturously difficult to move to our ho…