Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Making Christmas Presents - Chutney

I am feeling rather chuffed with myself that, to date, I have not bought one commercial present - and I am trying hard to keep it that way this year.  We have had a general concensus that no bought presents are to to given or recieved this year.  Only home made ones, or the present of the persons presence!

I don't trust that people want my presense so much, so tonight, I am making chutney as gifts.  The recipe is from the man I secretly want to run away with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall but only as far as River Cottage.

Here is the link to the original recipe ...


Makes 2-4 jars


  • 500g onions, chopped
  • Scrap of oil
  • 1kg diced apples, any will do but try to include some Bramleys
  • 500ml cider vinegar (I will use verjuice)
  • 400g demerara sugar
  • 200g dried figs, diced
  • 125g dried cranberries
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Generous glass of port
  • 5cm piece root ginger, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves (will leave these out as I hate them)
  • 12 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 100g walnuts, roughly chopped


  1. Start by sweating the onion in a scrap of oil then add the apple. Pour over the vinegar and sugar and and once it's had a good stir and the sugar has dissolved then fun can start.
  2. Add the fruits to the pot then after that the orange zest and juice, followed by the port.
  3. Next it's time to put together your spices. Tie the ginger, cloves, cardamom pods and coriander seeds in a clean square of muslin and secure with string. Immerse the pouch deep in the simmering chutney and let it bubble away for an hour or so, making sure to stir it regularly so it doesn't catch on the bottom.
  4. Add the walnuts and cook for a final 30 minutes. If you can part your chutney and see a little bit of pan on the bottom you are done.
  5. Decant the warm chutney into sterlised jars, seal with vinegar-proof lids and allow to cool.

I will post back and show how it went.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dear Santa ...I wanna poneeee for Christmas!

Not that I would EVER has asked this way, no sirree.  I was brung up right.  I asked nicely and politely .. the first few times.  Then I asked incessantly for weeks and months afterwards.  Then I pretended that I already had a pony - I fed it, talked to it, rode it - which freaked the parents out, and then, one very special 11th birthday, I did indeed get my wish.  It was the most special and exciting and thrilling day of my life.  My very own horse.  I didn't have to share him with the other kids from the riding school, he could come home to live with me, I could talk to and look after a real horse instead of my imaginary one. I was the luckiest eleven year old alive.

We named him Tullie.  Spelt like my name, Jodie. He was a worm ridden, scrawny, barely broken, brumby (we think).  To me, he was like black beauty.  We did so much together, learnt an awful lot (me), had tears and frustrations (him) - but we came to mature into a pretty good team.  Sadly, I lost him way too soon, he got very, very sick and we had to put him to sleep.  I still love that horse, I have never found one to replace him.  I have owned many horses since him, but never one like him. 

My beautiful and kind Tullie

I still yearn for a horse in my life.  It has been a deep desire that is always there, yet circumstances have asked me to shove that desire down deep.  Every now and again, it creeps back up to the surface and I am left with a sadness and emptiness that only the hot breath of a horse's soft muzzle can fill.  I did get to buy a horse property, but can't live there yet.

So, Santa, if you are listening.  This is what I would like for Christmas. Please.  Pretty Please.  I have been such a good girl, all year. 

  1. The Business to actually make a profit next year so we can pay off our overdraft, then we can afford to move
  2. Mr K's Mum to find her ideal unit in the care facility she wants, so we can move
  3. Real Estate to pick up in our area so we can sell our house and move to the horse property
  4. Our current (and lovely) tenants to find their own dream house so they are happy to move out
  5. To move into my beloved horse property and I will never ask for a single thing.
  6. Oh, well, maybe a pony ? !  ?
Got all that Santa?  You the MAN!

Coming up ... 11 glorious days off!

Not that I am counting or anything, but just in case you were curious, there are approximately 104.2 hours until I can departmentalise my work life from my home life.  Eleven days to wallow about in our pool, to water the garden at my leisure, to have sleep ins (well laying in bed awake, can never 'sleep' in), to read the six books I have beside my bed, the four I have on my kindle and the stack of nine beside my chair in the reading room.  Ambitious?  I love a challenge! 

My folks are coming up to stay with us, to stay in what they now call their 'City Apartment'.  Our recently renovated Guest Wing - I love that.

For the first time, Son #1 will be hosting a family Christmas event.  We are going to his house Christmas Eve for dinner and drinks.  He has worked so hard building a patio, gardens, a lawned terrace - it will be special to see him be a host!

Christmas Day is going to be a cook off between my Dad, Mum and I.  We all have cookbooks at the ready, bring it on!

Boxing Day is always a toss up between drag racing or watching the first day of the test match from the pool.  Weather will be a deciding factor.

Then endless days of nothing.  Doesn't get better than that.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Busy Day Today (or not ;-)

'The staff have all voted to have the Staff Christmas Party at our home again this year' ... so declares Mr K, all proud like.

He takes this as a sign that our staff love us and want to come to our house as they think that's neat.  He sees this as just one big Friday night after work drinks - on steroids.  With lots of food and a pool.

I see this as a big pile of hard work.  Which is fine, I am happy to show our staff how much we really do appreciate them, to say thank you for all their hard work, to spoil them for a bit.  But, guess who gets to do all the work that Mr K just can't see?  All the 'little things' that only women know about?

It's like that old joke that does the email rounds, the one about the husband who tells his wife she can have the night off and he will do the BBQ for their guests.  He stands turning snags whilst drinking a beer - she shops for all the ingredients, cleans the house, makes salads, sets the table, gets platters ready for the meat, makes sweets, clears the table, washes the dishes ... and he asks her afterwards how she enjoyed her night off cooking?

This will be our fourth year we have had the end of year party at our home.

The first year I had caterers in.  Lovely food, useless service.  It cost a small fortune, more than if we had taken everyone out to dinner. We had leftovers which would be great anytime except for right before Christmas when I need my fridge empty.

The second year we had the waitress of our local cafe, who was a cooking student, come and do it.  I worked harder than ever and my kitchen looked like my kids bedroom after they had searched for the missing Lego piece. 

Third year, I said ENOUGH and we went out to a restaurant.  I will admit that the party was flat, we sat at a table and had to behave ourselves. We were in public.  (I really didn't care this year, it was right before I had a hysterectomy, I was in no laughing mood!)

The fourth year, feeling SO much better I threw caution to the wind, having learnt from past experiences about caterers and cooking students; that I can do it better, quicker, cheaper and cleaner than anyone.  I made one little mistake - I got all elaborate and made lots and lots of canapes from scratch, far too many choices. 

Fifth year, this year, I am older (boy am I ever) wiser (I think!) and under the misapprehension that I have it all sussed.  I have simplified the menu, bought things that are fiddly to make, like four dozen mince pies, frozen spring rolls, and cheezels.  There will be huge slabs of roast meat, fluffy bread rolls and gravy - the majority of our staff are young lads - give them meat, bread and beer.  A few salads to keep the waif girlfriends happy. 

I have written a huge TO DO list for Mr K.  He has his jobs allocated.  Lets see if he is as keen to host the party here next year <wink>

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My new Toy - A MS Surface

I am no geek, but I do like neat toys.  Except this is really not a toy.  I will actually be able to work on this little device.  So much better than the iThings. 

So far, I like it.  Its like a tablet/iPad but also like a laptop.  The OneNote is great, I can sync with my PC at both home and the office.  I can see this will be great for writing, keeping tabs on projects, being organised.

Lots to learn still, the only drawback at the moment, is that there are very few apps developed for it yet.  But that will come as they become more popular. 

I got a red one as it goes faster.  The cover is actually a keyboard.  Now this is kewl.

Very thin, and light, yet powerful enough for me to remote into work and run all my applications on the move.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

OK, OK!!. I will put up the Christmas Tree Today!

Feeling so much like the Christmas Grinch, I look green! (Now I know that our vision of Dr Seuss's character has been tainted by Disney, the original Grinch was a pen and ink drawing with red hat and red eyes, which, when I think of it, I resemble much more)

It's not that I don't like Christmas, I do, I just don't like how quickly it goes from 55 shopping days til Christmas to oh-crap-I-haven't-done-a thing-and-its-now-less-than-2-weeks-til-the-big-day.

Not one single present has been purchased, so I have declared we are having a 'homemade' Christmas.  So far I have made one bottle of Chili infused oil. 

We have the staff party here this Saturday. I have bought paper plates and plastic cups.  The fact that I am catering for 25 people should have me in a mild panic at least, but I am too tired to care.

My first Christmas cake I made in November got eaten.  I have boiled the fruit for the next one 10 days ago and it has sat on the stove, waiting to be cooked in the oven.  I can't smell or taste anything at the moment so I am not sure if its gone off yet.  I am hoping the copious amounts of Grand Marnier in the mix is preserving it.

The Christmas tree is still in the shed.  Its in a dust covered box, up high on the shelf.  The very thought of getting it down, dusting it off, putting it up, finding the lights, decorating it - is enough to make me forget the whole palaver.  I liked it when the boys were still living at home and their girlfriends would come and put up the tree for me.

The house needs a good, deep clean.  Pity that.  It might be lucky to get a lick and a spit. 

Braved the shops on Sunday - ha!  Who says we don't need Sunday trading?  It was carnage.  So we came home with nothing after walking out of 3 stores when we saw the queues at the checkout.  Went again last night, thinking it would be quieter.  Well, there were not as many people true, but the calibre of the ones there, the ugly language and delinquent kids more than made up for it.

The only good part is we have 11 days away from work, my parents are coming up to stay, I will get time to relax and chat with my sons - yep, we forget, its all just about family and some down time.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Great Rock Sell out

It's a bad photo.  I had to take it with my phone. I was holding the 'few things' I had popped into Coles for.  People thought I was a bit nuts, juggling toilet paper, 3 litres of milk, cat food, tim tams (yeah, I fell for the special ploy), broccolini (what we used to throw out as underdeveloped/bolted broccoli heads when we were growers, they now market and sell), Bonds socks - three pack and tonic water - to try and then, with arms full, (really should have got a basket) to try and take a picture.

What was it that made me carry out such madness?

Status Quo.

Once, they were cool.  Long haired, hard rockers.  I would bet my arm full of shopping that they had done their fair share of groupies, Jack Daniels and white powder in their time.

Now they are sad old men, trying to make a bit of money by selling out their famous hit to Coles.

There, at the checkout, you could buy the CD of Status Quo singing Down, down, prices are down for $10!

That's why I had to take the photo!  No-one would have believed me otherwise. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tim Winton - you Rock!!

I feel like my child has just won the honour awards at school.  I am bursting with pride!

Yeah, a bit weird of an analogy, but stay with me here.

My all time, ever, favourite author, Tim Winton, took out #1 place in the ABC's First Tuesday Bookclub's 10 Aussie books to read before you die, with Cloudstreet.  Number One!!  Out of all the amazing books in this country, the public chose Cloudstreet as their favourite.

ABC First Tuesday Bookclub

I have read every book Tim has ever written, buy all his books as first edition hardbacks plus a paperback when it comes out so I can lend it to people.  Some of my hardbacks are signed by Tim himself - confess that I am a bit of a groupie and go to book readings or signings by him.

Although, the last time I went to a reading (for The Turning) I didn't line up and ask him to sign my book.  He just looked so sad, so out of place, wanting to be away from people and this book selling machine.  He looked like he wanted to be on a beach, or at his kitchen table, writing.  So I went home, and gave him a gift of personal space.

I have loved every single book he has ever written, but my favourite is his latest Breath.  My sons love his books too, something that is tough to do - get boys to read.  I still remember Son#1 hopping about, getting me to read That Eye the Sky after he had read it and wanting to talk to me about it.  Lucky it was a short book, I devoured it in half a day, then Son and I sat and talked and talked.  Now that is something!

I love Tim's style, his (seemingly) easy writing manner, as you read, you feel like you are talking to an old friend.  I get the same feeling of place every time I read his books - I am about 15, everything is exciting.  We go camping on the beach, way down South, with my family, my best friend is there too.  We escape the adults, and at night walk down to the beach where there are some boys with a campfire.  They look a little rough, older, surfies, our hearts race, but we try and be brave/cool.  We sit with them, we talk, they are smoking pot and hand us some, we shake our heads.  I look into the fire, there is a delicious electricity around us, a thrill to be had, yet we don't know why... yet.

This is where Tim's writing always takes me.  On the precipice of discovery, a teenage girl about to fall into the most exciting time of her life.  Fear, mixed with sexual tension and a sense of emerging power.  I wish I had better words to make this scene of time and place come alive.  It will be a good writing exercise I think!

If you haven't already, go discover Tim's work.

On being a cocaine user

Icing sugar anyone?

Shocked are you?  That all this creativity comes from a white powder?  Let me put your mind at ease.

I have discovered that I would make a lousy cocaine addict – I can’t even snort nose spray up my nose properly.  I have had some kind of allergy/sinus infection for weeks and weeks now.  I like to let my body fight things naturally, but its got to the point where the bug/irritant has won and I have lost.  I haven't been able to breath normally at all.  Not wanting to wait hours in a Dr's surgery with real sick people, I went along to my local drug pusher chemist.  I was given a nasal spray and some quite nice tasting medicine. 

I read the instructions carefully, (after I found my glasses, the print certainly was fine), had a little practice go of putting the nozzle up my nose, breathing all the way out and a big breath in.  Looked like an complete naff but I was in the privacy of my own kitchen. Repeat these steps, while at the same time I am to breath in, squeeze the bottle to emit a spray of liquid up my nose.  Oops, forgot to block one nostril with my finger.  Talk about multi-tasking - how would a man do all this?

The first try was a failure.  The liquid just ran back down my nose and dripped on the kitchen bench (so much for hygiene).  I guess you have to take a bigger breath in.  Tried again, I breathed back harder this time, and got a nose full, that trickled down the back of my throat and made me cough and splutter.  OK, so in between the two actions might be the way to go. 

Third try lucky.  I pretended I was a groovy chick at a upmarket party and this wasn't nasal spray but fine cocaine. I sniffed it up and waited for the rush.  Oh my giddy aunt.  I could breath, for just a minute.  Clear fresh air - is this what cocaine does for you?

A friend, who, umm, knows all about chemistry, informs me that I could just shoot cocaine direct into my veins, but where is the fun in that?  No, I want to look Kewl (yes, with a capital K) with white powder around my nose, otherwise how will the hipsters know I am one of them? 

Clearly, a seasoned user

I have also been taking this sinus relief medicine (yeah, watch out, I am one mean, on the streets, druggie) with big bold letters saying

Three minutes after I take it, I want to sleep the sleep of the dead. 

I guess I just wasn't cut out to be a drug addict.  Pity, I reckon I looked pretty with it! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Very late things I learnt this week

I knew it!  I knew that I would be unable to keep up a regular blog post, on the same day each week.  I think I managed 2 weeks in a row.  I suck at routine, yet crave it.

But, I am still learning things each week, so here are the latest.
  • Don't use eucalyptus tissues as a substitute for toilet paper when you have run out.  Obvious really.  Ouch!

  • When Mr K has a early morning meeting to attend, I will have to get up extra early to make sure he is ready and on time.

  • Hoping to make an advent calendar, with little gifts, for my sons before December 1st was just that - hoping.

  • Eating the little gifts for the above project wont make me feel better.  But I do like the little bags of tiny teddies.

  • Don't believe the weather man when he says that rain is unlikely.  This really means it will most likely rain and you had better put up the windows on the ute otherwise you will be sitting on a wet seat.

  • The towel you put down on the wet seat of the ute won't absorb any water at all and you will walk around all day with a wet bum.

  • Making a detailed shopping list is pretty useless when you fail to take it with you.

  • There are only 20 days til Christmas!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Careful what you wish for!

Have felt like I have been pulled in seven different directions the last few weeks.  So much to do, half of which is my own making - I wished I could be a writer.

So, three weeks ago I enrolled in an online writing course through UWA Extension.  It was a six week course with 12 lessons.  Each lesson has about 5 chapters, each with a number of writing exercises.  Plus a quiz and an assignment, and lots of extra reading.  You post your assignment onto an online discussion board for critique by fellow class members and the lecturer.  You are also expected to read and comment on your fellow class mates work. 

Love every single minute of it, but it sure takes a lot of my time.  Add to this, a few all day writing workshops, that annoying habit, called a full time job, housework, gardening, Christmas looming, and it all makes me a very busy girl.

My dear blog, the thing that has saved my slipping sanity, gets the cold shoulder.  I don't mean to, and yes, it makes me feel very guilty.

On top of all this, I have some kind of sinus infection. Its been with me for weeks now.  I thought it was just hay fever set off by the easterlies.  Some days are better than others, the worst days make it so hard to think I need a Bex and a good lie down.  Actually, the drug I am taking that has stamped on the box in bold 'Non-Drowsey' makes me so sleepy its like I have taken a sleeping tablet. 

I wished I could be a writer and write all day. Now I know I need to change the wish to, I wish I could do nothing else but write.  Geez, why cant magic genies who grant you wishes use a bit of common sense?  When I wished I could be a writer, they could have made the assumption that I couldn't do it all and cut out the non-writing things in my life. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sweet Nagomi Cumquat of Mine

Crappy Monday.  Not for any other reason than its Monday and all Mondays are crappy.  It’s a fact. 

This Monday, I got a smile on my face as I sat at my desk to see what the week will bring.   Looking out the window (yes, I was seeking distractions already) I see my little cumquat tree.  Poor thing, once a majestic, topiary, cat-walk-model Nagami cumquat, she was now a lopsided, bedraggled, half dead half alive shadow of her former self.

She looks like a drug addict, and this is why I had to move her onto my front veranda where I can put her into rehab, watch her closely, and nurture her back to health.  She needs lots of good food, water, fresh air and tender care.  I think a good haircut, some fresh clothes and a good bath won’t go astray either.

I blame the Kaffir lime.  He is handsome yes, but thorny and rebellious and was a real party boy.  Growing WAY outside his pot, his lifestyle spilled out and influenced the elegant Tahitian Lime; the smooth ladies’ man Kalamata Olive and my poor sweet, innocent Nagami cumquat.  I could see the aftermath of some of the parties, puckered limes on the ground, leaves strewn everywhere.  Sometimes it got really rough and there would be soil spilled on the paving.  Those times, I had to call in the police and get the place swept up.

Kaffir had to go.  He had sullied all that was nice and decent in the fruit tree village.  His ego had got out of control, being fed by illicit substances like the air-conditioner water.  His roots were firmly down into the seedy underground.  The other fruit trees, were content to stay in their little pots, happy with the life given to them.  Sure, they indulged sometimes, but Kaffir just had to take it a step too far.

Yesterday, he was evicted.  He was thrown out onto the streets to fend for himself.  I don’t know if he will survive, his life blood being severed from the connection with the underworld.  I know Nagami will pine for him, but time and healing will show her a better life. 



Friday, November 30, 2012

Steve's Private Wine Cellar

It was pretty damn impressive!  I knew it was going to be as, when we walked down the stairs, the first thing to greet me was a few dusty MAGNUMS (not bottles) of Grange!!  After this sight gave us a lovely excited glow - the rest of the vista was nothing to be sneezed at either.  Lining the walls were floor to ceiling shelves laden with wooden (note the word wood, not cardboard) boxes with a stamp of the winemakers mark and filled with bottles of precious red (and white) liquid. 

On the vast floor area were rows of free standing shelves, cradling individual bottles of wine, from all over the world, and places in time.  One row was missing, and in its place a long table, with chairs and dinner settings.  This was where we were to have our special end of year dinner.  I was very impressed and now am kicking myself I didn't take photos!  All the photo's on this page are from Steve's own website. 

Mr K is a member of a business group called TEC and this was our end of year get together.  This group is very social and all the partners came along so it made up quite a big (and noisy) group.  Over the years we have been members, I have come to know them all, and really do like them.  All the women had the same comment - 'damn, we only bought our little teeny, weeny, going out clutch purses' (you know room for a lippy, a tissue, maybe a mobile phone) but definitely no room to smuggle a magnum of 1995 Grange out!  Between you and me, I think the staff were watching us closely!

The meal was satisfactory, as good as a set menu for a big table can be. Pretty hard to serve that many people, especially as the poor staff had to walk down a big flight of stairs, carrying plates, into a cellar.  The service was excellent. 

Anyone interested in a function, this was a unique and excellent venue. 

Steve's of Nedlands

The only down side, is the original old hotel has been dwarfed by high rise apartments and the new part which is where the restaurant and cellar are.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ageing Aquarius

I have always had a yearning to be a hippie* but in my own way.  This yearning is a whole new blog post, but for now its safe to say that I identify with the hippie ethos - well most of it anyway.

This post is about what came out of the first writing workshop  -  the idea for a whole book - about Hippies.

I even had the name of the book come to me, which often does not come until the whole thing is written. Having said that, I may yet change it, but for now, its called -

Ageing Aquarius.

Have you ever wondered what happens to old hippie's?  I guess it hasn't really been an issue up until recently as the hippies of the sixties and seventies are still relatively young.  But what about a baby boomer, born in 1934, so she is 35 in 1969 when the Woodstock Festival brings the hippie sub-culture to the light of the rest of the world?  In 2012 she is 78 years old.  What happens to her then?

It came to me when we had to write a short piece describing a persons physical description to tell a story about who they were.  I think I wrote something about wooden bangles and flowing skirts, but not on a young fresh body, but an ageing, wrinkly, paperthin body.  It got me thinking - what does happen to an old Hippie? We always think of them as young and carefree, with no responsibilites and freedom. 

This is the premise of the book I want to write.  So in preparation, I am reading all things Hippie, which is very dangerous if you are married to me,  It's evoking all kinds of mid life crisis, probably a lot like the Hippie movement itself.  I want to shuck off all the contraints of affluenza, run naked in life, with no burdens. 

Maybe after I write my book, I will have come back down to earth.

* The word Hippie comes from the word Hipster.  It was used to describe a sub-culture of people in the mid 1960's on the west coast of the USA, predominately around San Francisco. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beautiful Noise - Gin Wigmore

I am in the office today. It's humming with servers, buzzing with the sound of techs on phones, people talking out in the showroom - nothing at all like when I work from home (when I get squealing girls, blower vacs, angle grinders, dogs barking!).  I used to work in the office 5 days a week.  It was fine.  Now, I only come in on average once a week - and I notice all the noise and humbuzzing.  These computers and servers sure make a racket.  From my little corner of the open plan office (right next to the server rack), I am just surrounded by modern noise.

I must really be becoming a grumpy old women.  Officially I can't use this title for another 18 months when I turn 50, but I am getting into practice early. I am going to be SO good at it when I turn 50.  Once upon a time, noise did not worry me at all.  Now, I am so sensitive to it, I can hear it everywhere.

I think I might just plug my earphones in and listen to some music to stop all this noise.

Yes, that's better.  A nice deep bass, bad ass drum beat, a gravelly voice, a screaming guitar.  All that bad noise gone away.

I am listening to a very talented Kiwi singer, who I have been following for a while now.  So thrilled to see she is getting the airplay she so deserves.  I believe too she has a song on the new James Bond movie, along with another favorite female singer, Adele.

So who is she?

Gin Wigmore (and no I didn't discover her because of the Gin connection)

Gin Wigmore Website

This video is not one of her big hits but I like it a lot.

And this is another favorite.  Killer bass beat.

Hope you get to have a listen - she has an awesome voice, and I just love the mexican guitar and deep bass notes. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What I learnt this weekend

As the silly season gets a good grip on our lives, we are pulled from social event to social event, in ever increasing frequency.  This weekend we were out Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.  All good fun and worth the effort, but also tiring.  So what did I learn this week?

  • Grumpy really does start at 50.  Uncle J turned 50 on Friday.  In true form, he didn't want to do anything but smoke his cigar, drink and moan about the world.  Being his special day, we indulged him, but when he started to say that Shakespeare was a pretentious twat, I drew the line.

  • I never knew I was so passionate about Shakespeare (I am not really, but it is fun to bicker and argue with cranky, middle aged men)

  • Sheep poo doesn't feel so nice squished between your toes.  I was helping Son#1 with a little garden project, and we had emptied a bag of sheep poo on this garden bed a few weeks before.  It was now wet and breaking down nicely.  I had stupidly not worn suitable shoes for digging in (I thought we were just going to do the fun bit, like shopping for plants at this stage) so had to wade in barefoot.  It was all very Bohemian.

  • Watching a lone bagpiper play a traditional song moves me to tears.  We went to watch Son#2 girlfriend play in her brass band (she is a very talented trombone player).  It was held at the Salvation Army hall in the city and it was a huge crowd.  The theme was very British, and very moving.

  • We have now renamed our little part of the world Bas Vegas.  Mr K spent the entire afternoon putting up blue lights around the pool.  Its all very Flamingo 1950.

  • Don't mess with a proven pastry recipe.  If I do say so myself, I make a pretty good apple pie.  My mum makes one to rival it.  I have her recipe, but like all offspring, we try and make it better, make it our own.  Over the years I have tweaked, and changed and perfected my own recipe.  Except yesterday, when I was asked to bring an apple pie to a Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to experiment with my pastry.  Fail.  Back to the original.

  • When you put out your rubbish for bring-out-your-dead collection, and a lot of it is good stuff that you hope other people will take - it will rain like it hasn't done in months and ruin the stuff you have kept dry and safe.

Well that's about all the lessons I can stand for one week.  The week coming up looks like a doozy too. 

What did you learn this week?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jackass Spiders

I know it's a recurring theme and maybe you think I am part arachnid, or perhaps that I was a spider in a past life?  Either way, you would be right in assuming that a) I am obsessed by spiders, or b) I am a terrible house cleaner and my home resembles an abandoned house - complete with spider populations.  Both are correct.

The Jackass Spider Gang

But the spiders in my bathroom seem to be a unique bunch.  I think they must be teenagers.  Daddy long legs is their nickname (common name) but if I was a showoff I would call them Pholcidae as their family name. 

They seem like nerds, not very strong, fragile, certainly not athletic at all.  If they were school boys in the school yard, then I could imagine them being the boys who liked to read, or do science or maths.  Brainy, nerdy boys. 

Except these dangly legged spiders may not even be that smart.  They do the all the dumb things (thanks Paul Kelly).  You may recall my tragic bathroom legless incident?  Daddy Legless Spider Well, the offspring of our alcoholic, accident prone daddy spider, are just as reckless.

So, I am standing in the shower, having a lovely clean time, when this spider bungee jumps down from the ceiling into the area where I am standing.  Right in front of me.  What makes a spider do that?  I can only assume that it was a dare.  That up in the corner where the other spiders were hanging out, bored, one of them says


'Hey Steve!  I dare ya to drop down and scare the human' 

'Right, you're on Johnno.  Bet ya a big fly I can do it!"

So Steve gathers up his bungee web and launches himself down into the abysses.  I stand and watch, amused.  As he nears the steam and water, he starts to feel a bit giddy.  His web cord is swaying about, a few drops of water hit him and he starts to curl up and think that maybe this wasn't such a smart idea. 

The lads in the corner are all shouting at him.

'Oh ya wuss, scare her!'

'Come on Steve , go all the way'

Poor Steve the Spider is just trying not to faint from the steam.  He tries to climb back up the web, but its swinging about wildly.  His pride and his life are on the line.  If he lets go, his weakling body will get washed down the plughole and another spider tragedy will be on my hands.  I turn off the shower, the water and steam stop and Steve can get a better grip.  He slowly starts climbing back up to the corner of the ceiling.  His head is down, he is embarrassed in front of the lads. 

Did I imagine I saw one of them videoing this with their mobile phone?  Will it be on facebook later?  I hope not - my naked form on a Spiders facebook page might go viral - and not in a  good way.

I've done all the dumb things.

PC and Kris Kringle and Employers

As one of the owners of the business, and one of only two women who work there, it always falls at my feet to be the Christmas Fairy and make magic happen for the staff.  But every year it gets harder and more fraught with gotcha's.  Gone are the good ole days when you could just tell the staff to turn up, have some fun and leave it at that.  Noooo - now we have regulations about bloody everything.  I try and make it a bit fun, but really, in these days of the employer being responsible for every little thing and litigation, well it kind of sucks all the fun out of it.

So I sent this email to all the staff to try and make light of the PC Christmas Grinch, while being a 'responsible' employer.  It still probably won't be warning enough if Worksafe got hold of it, but really, who wants to read a whole lot of strict rules just to attend your work Christmas party?  Some workplaces also make the staff sign that they have read and understood all the rules.  Talk about PC madness.
Dear Enablarians
For the benefit of the people who like to be super organised, or to give a heads up to the new boys, or to remind the old boys – here is a rundown of the Christmas traditions at Enable.  We respect all your personal beliefs, and this is not really a Christian celebration but just the end of the year 'thankyou'.  It gets called Christmas party as this is when it happens.
(note - I can say 'boys' as all the staff bar one is a boy, and she likes to be one of the boys anyway)

*      December 15th is the Christmas party.  Starting at 1pm. Partners/kids are invited and very welcome.  There is a pool, so if you don’t want to get thrown in, in your clothes (SB) then bring bathers.  And a towel.
(oh this one does my head in - the lads all want to play, and throw each other in the pool.  I run about and stress and say things like 'careful'and 'gently', all to no avail of course.  I even got thrown in myself one year for being a mother hen)

*      At the Christmas party Santa gives out the Kris Kingle gifts – see below. And kids get a present if they have been very good (T, you are too old now for Santa, even if you think you have been very good - sorry)
(tricky when you have a family that don't give gifts at Christmas)

*      All food and drinks are catered for – if any of you or your guests has any dietary requirements please let me know.  There are alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks - please drink in moderation - otherwise stupid pictures of you hitting on the secretary will appear on your facebook - we won't be responsible for the fallout.
(I hate having to tell the staff how to behave at their end of year party.  We spend all year telling them to do things - I would like to think we employeed sensible people.  Surely I dont have to keep telling them how to behave?)

*      Mr K will give a speech (oh nooooo!) But don’t worry, it’s all about you!  If anyone has any dirt on their fellow workers, then please send Mr K a confidential email – but remember – it’s all in fun and good taste – unless it’s about Mr K then you can send it to me and no holds barred!
(tricky one this, we are not allowed to make fun of, or tease anyone - but they all love to relive funny/silly things that happened over the year - humour is the key)

*      Enable loves you – so please ensure your own safety and arrange for a safe journey home if you plan on drinking.  We do live on the train line (well not exactly ON, but next to J) and we will provide taxi vouchers home for those who wish them.  Or con your girlfriend or mum to drive you home.
(This is a big one.  The party does not end until all the staff are safely tucked up in bed.  One year, all the lads got on the train and headed into the city to keep on celebrating.  Technically, we were still responsible for them.)

*      Kris Kringle – for those not familiar with this tradition.  Firstly, it is not compulsory to join in.  I will be going around getting the numbers soon.  Secondly, there is a strict price limit of between $10 - $15 dollars (or if you are a clever shopper less!).  Thirdly, just keep in the back of your mind that there will be children watching the opening of presents and we don’t want to shock them J (too much anyway).  OK.  So it works like this.  The people who are participating all put their names in the hat.  Then we all draw out a random name and keep it a secret.  We buy that person a gift – within the limit – and something that is unique to that person.  Wrap the present, put the recipient’s name on it only and give it to Santa’s helper – J – prior to the 15th.  We all then have a good time opening them!
( I had to bring in the rule about buying 'nice' presents as the lads got more and more risque (think AdultShop).  Again, we have to have a safe work environment, free of any unsavory things. I use the kids as an excuse for them to buy appropriate things)

*      Closer to the date, I will get final numbers for catering.


*      We close the doors on Friday 21st December.  If it’s quiet, early.  We will have a few Xmas drinks and nibbles in the PM to bring in the festive season.  Again, if you plan on having a drink please plan your trip (safely) home.


*      Work (for those not on further annual leave) starts again on Wednesday 2nd January 2013.


*      There are 4 days of compulsory annual leave in the break.


I think that’s all.  If I think of anything else, I might tell you, I might not ;-)


Cheers J


PS: Anyone who draws me I the Kris Kringle – remember that I have a fondness for blue bottles.