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March 2005
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May 2005

Winken, Blinken and Nod.

Thank heavens Karen rang on the dot of 6 pm last night as I was deep in the Land of Nod and would have missed Dr Who ( again!!!). I managed to spill green peppermint tea on the phone and in my drawer but everything survived. I knitted away last night only to find this morning that I should have been decreasing for the V of the V neck!! I had to undo and then reknit. I have almost caught up. It dictates a lot of notation as I am decreasing at the neck and armhole edges and doing the pattern as well. I like it to be symmetrical so I have to note down how much of each pattern I do, when I do 1/2 and when I just abandon it altogether. This morning we have been for a walk and then I have been doing my knitting. It is sunny but crisp and I should have done a load or two of washing but I didn't and now it is too late for any drying to happen today. I have made an appointment to have my hair cut and I have also watched Stargate and it was a set of two very good episodes, Parts 1 and 2 and then we have 3 episodes next week and then Stargate : Atlantis starts. I wonder if we will ever get the missing episode with the crossover from this season???

Easy Lemon Curd

Whisk the grated rind and juice of 2 lemons with 2 eggs, 30 g butter and 110 g caster sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. The water must not touch the bowl, this is all steam!!! Whisk for 5 minutes or until curd thickens. That is it. Keep it covered in the fridge, it makes about 180 ml.


Google-eyed!!!

I forgot to say that I invited myself to have a Google mail account. I like having email accounts for different purposes, some I never sully with anyone other than friends, some are just for signing up for things and others for newsletters and discussions. I googled and found a link someone had made so they could 'invite' you to join!! Now I have 5 email addresses. I am very happy!!! It is very hard to think of names though. I settled on my Dad's middle name with the 'i' from Harki, who is named after him, on the end!! Very cool!!!

Knit knit knit wit turn it into a jumper ( Rip Rip woodchip by John Williamson)

There were only 3 of us at sewing last night - and we had a glass of wine and a lovely chat. I have knitted over a ball of wool and the pattern on my cardigan is not quite right : it looks a bit wonky, but there you go, as long as it is consistent it will be fine. I have been to the Library and I am making some comfort food - basic pasta with bolognaise sauce. I am using pork mince as beef is a bit strong. I have been watching Jamie's School Dinners and feeling all teary again as Nora, the dinner lady, is so nice and caring and so dedicated. Jamie is learning to deal with children more effectively too. I am amazed and appalled that British people can't cook. They couldn't cook pasta, rice, a stew : anything at all, at Dinner lady camp. Jamie also saw that the women wouldn't eat the salad and vegetables - the root of all the problems really, families reheat too!!! The Labradors are happy, I am a bit tired but reasonably OK if I keep drinking peppermint tea!!! I have just not recovered form that ultrasound. I am going to cook Karen an apple and berry custard cake. I won't be having any, but she will like it. I am eating very little really, yesterday I had rice and vegetables for tea and an apple. Today I have had some bread and meat and an apple. I must eat more food. When I was sick before I faded away to a mere shadow - no mean feat!!! Toffee Oranges 4 oranges 2 limes 2 tbspn brandy 220 g caster sugar 65 ml water Peel oranges with a knife, following the curve and cutting off all the pith. Slice the base so they sit straight. Slice some lime rind incredibly thinly and place on top or oranges and then pour over the lime juice and brandy. Meanwhile, put water and sugar into a pan over a medium heat and stir till the sugar is dissolved. Then boil without stirring for about 5 minutes until it is golden. Pour over the oranges, and serve with thick yoghurt - though I would like cream or ice-cream and a dusting of icing sugar. I am allergic to oranges but I do cook orange things for other people. They like orange syrup cake too. Oh and orange poppy seed cake.

Sick and tired? NO NO NO !!!! ( well a bit tired!!)

On Tuesday morning, Bronwyn rang early and said she was going into the hospital too, and so we would meet there for coffee/tea/hot chocolate at 11 am. I arrived at 10-45 and she was already having an X-ray. Her Lymphoma is back, twisted around her heart and lungs – and she is having trouble eating and breathing so after my blood test and a shake-up of the ward we went to the cafeteria as neither of us felt up to the 50 m walk up the hill to Aroma’s, and had a lovely chat and a hot chocolate. Bronwyn gave me a bag of green things to cheer me up: a tiny green light torch, marble, nail polish, socks and other miscellany too. We played with them!!! We went back to the clinic and waited for our appointments. Bronwyn has to go to Hobart today so the Thoracic surgeon can take a biopsy and put in a temporary line. I saw the doctor , finally, at 1 pm ( waiting, waiting, waiting) and lo and behold , my Hb had gone up. Huzzah!! No drugs or transfusions for a month at least. I had to go to the bowels of the hospital to give more blood for more tests and finally arrived home after 1-30 pm. I had a nap and missed the first half of Dr Who. Rats. I watched TV and then slept all night as well. This morning we went for a walk and I made choc-chip pikelets for the GardyGardeners. I am starting to knit the front of my cardigan. I have decided on the patter, a crossed stitch one that looks like a cable. I hope to finished the rib this afternoon and then do the pattern tonight at sewing. Chocolate Choc-chip Pikelets 35 g butter, melted 1 egg 150 ml milk 150 g plain flour 2 tspn baking powder 55 g sugar 1 tbspn cocoa choc chips or chopped chocolate of your choice – as much or little as you like Mix wet ingredients, sift in dry and mix well with chocolate. Drop a spoonful into a medium pan greased with butter. Cook till bubble form and pop on the surface and then turn. The first batch are often ‘dog pikelets’ and the second lot are better!!!!

I could write a sonnet, a book with eggs upon it!!!!!

Right, I must be more diligent : I went to Karen’s for tea and we watched Underworld. What a waste of space that film is, and there is a sequel/prequel being filmed. I shan’t bother with that. Then on Friday I went to Karen’s school and gave an ANZAC day talk to the children. Saturday I went to brunch with Karen and Pauline. I had found a pattern for a Davy Crockett hat for James, who is 4, and Pauline is knitting it for him in lieu of a poncho, which she knitted for the three girls. Yesterday I stayed in my pyjamas all day and watched 5 or 6 episodes of Century City. It was neither one thing nor the other : not sci-fi enough and too run-of-the-mill lawyery. WIN TV did their usual thing again last night and we saw an episode of CSI-Miami out of order. It explained a whole lot of things that had been happening for no apparent reason in recent episodes. They TV stations are absolutely hopeless and have no consideration at all for their viewers. That is all really, I am off to hospital again on Tuesday for more tests and appointments and then on Wednesday or Thursday for transfusions. Then I will be taking more Cyclosporin again and I hope to get a little better. At least this time I won’t have to stick a needle into the skin of my stomach for 8 hours every day and pump in drugs to counteract the excess iron from blood transfusions. See, there, is a silver lining to every cloud. I have spent a few happy hours winding new embroidery cottons Pauline bought me onto the bobbins and then reorganising the spreadsheet with all of the colours in order. Such happiness. I am up to the front of the cardigan now, I just have to decide on the pattern I will use : not yarn forward lacy ones, or cables – I think I will use a nice diamond or diagonal one. I want to be up to that for when I spend the 6 to 8 hours in hospital. Oh, and great excitement as I bought a magazine on Ebay that I really needed. I lost the handmade issue with the calico eggs decorated with felt appliqué. There is an oval of black felt and then 12 different appliqués : a dove, a hen, a chick, a sun, stars, bunnies, iris etc. I lent the magazine to someone and they never returned it. I must stop doing that. I made a dozen for Karen, and then everyone else was getting an egg a year until this year when I had no pattern at all. I am very happy and the seller even emailed me a scan of the page!!!!! Now, a recipe for the day ( or the week, I have been so slack) Raspberry Tiramisu for those who don’t like coffee ( sacrilege, I know) 230 ml single ( unthickened) cream 500 g marscapone 1 cup dessert wine 26 savoiardi biscuits 600 g frozen raspberries Whisk cream till soft peaks form and fold through marscapone. Dip both sides of half of the biscuits into the wine and layer the bade of a dish to fit. Spoon half of the cream mixture over and then the raspberries. Dip remaining biscuits, layer onto the berries, cover with the rest of the cream, cover and place in the fridge. This is best made the night before. Dust with Lust Dust ( freeze dried berries!!!!!!) or icing sugar before serving. Where to buy the Lust Dust : http://www.discovertasmania.com/home/product.cfm?productid=9000555&from=All%20Tasmanian%20Attractions

A week is a long time in politics.....

I hadn't realised I had been so remiss as to ignore my blog for almost a week. I have been in a semi decline: on Tuesday I went and had bone marrow taken again, and they didn't quite give me enough sedation so it really hurt. I slept on and off with the help of a gin and tonic and tablets that night. OK I know it is wrong, but there were extenuating circumstances, I had a big hole in my hip bone. Then I went to the doctor last night to have my flu vaccination and a general health chat. The blood doctor had sent a letter to my GP and it appears I will most likely have a transfusion of 3 or 4 bags of blood on Wednesday. I have to see the specialist on Tuesday to hear the expected bad news that my bone marrow has stopped making red blood cells again. Then I will be taking Cyclosporin again. Hello pethadine injections!! They are the only thing that will take away the headaches. I am not looking forward to this whole process again, but I have little or no choice in the matter. The Labradors are mostly better, Peri totally, and Harki had gyp in her hip - arthritis - and so is having a course of injections over four weeks. The Labradors are both perky and happy and bright. They ate apple cores last night as they are so hungry. Tonight I am going to Karen's for tea and tomorrow I am going to her school to give an ANZAC Day talk to her class. Pineapple macadamia loaf 450 g tin crushed pineapple 1 egg 150 g toasted macadamias finely chopped 1150 g self raising flour 110 g brown sugar 90 g coconut ( I like shredded) 125 ml milk Grease and line tin and preheat oven to 180 C ( 160 ff) Drain pineapple, discard syrup and then add to a bowl with all other ingredients. Mix well and spread into tin. Bake for about 50 minutes. Cool in tin 10 minutes then turn onto a rack to cool.

Brave.

Poor, poor Harki : she has a kneecap that pops in and out whenever it feels like it in her left back leg, and arthritis in her left leg. Harki is so brave and good, she has never really complained at all. She has tablets to take too and I must say they are both happier today. They both have to be 35 kg, Harki has 7 kg to lose and Peri about 2 or 3. They like cabbage and celery though , today’s had the end of the salmon, skin and bones, and a bit of rice. They had a little walk to the shop on the lead. They have to be on the lead till next Wednesday. Harki is a happy little blossom today, full of bouncing and playfulness and love!!!! Peri is back to normal with no trace of a limp or soreness!!!!! I, on the other hand, am getting paler. I can hear my heart beating and am eating less, wanting to eat less and sleeping more: all definite signs of my haemoglobin falling below 8 again. I am having tiny depressions where I envision horrid treatment and transfusions again, but after a sleep things do always seem better , even if they aren’t. On the ‘up’ side there were two good episodes of Stargate SG1 last night, even when the TV station didn’t play the episode where Daniel and Hammond went to Atlantis . This is because we haven’t seen Atlantis yet, and goodness knows if we will ever see this missing episode now. Apparently Jack is not a regular in Season 9. He will be a guest star occasionally. Very sad about this as Ben Browder is no Jack. The Howard Government had broken ( yet another, they are too many to count now) election ‘rock solid’ promise and raised the thresholds for the Medicare Safety net. As a single person I will never make it to $1000 as my most expensive bills are paid by Medicare, but I do pay $40 now for pathology and it is $30 for drugs, and $25 when I go to the Doctor and $32 at least for a single prescription, which means that I pay out, for one of each, $127. I don’t do all of them every month, so I always almost reach but never cross the boundary. Simple Rhubarb Tart Bunch of rhubarb 2 tbspn caster sugar 1 sheet puff pastry 1 cup ricotta cheese 2 tbspn icing sugar 1 tspn vanilla extract Preheat oven to 200 C ( 180 ff) Sprinkle trimmed rhubarb with caster sugar and bake for 20 minutes or until soft. Cool. Place pastry on lined tray . Mix cheese, icing sugar and vanilla and spread on pastry leaving a 2 cm border. Place rhubarb on top, turn edges of pastry over to enclose the filling and bake for 12-15 minutes, when the pastry will be browned and the filling set. Served hot, warm or cold with cream and/or ice-cream and a dusting of icing sugar. You can substitute and fruit in season really and change the flavouring of the cheese, adding, eg, rose water, peel, spices, nuts, dried fruit etc.

The house of Iller

This is the house of ill people. Harki is still hoppy but when I came home last night Peri was limping badly on her back left leg. I thought it was her cruchet ligament, so she went to the Vet instead of harki. Dr Tim said, yes, it was her cruchet ligament. She has either sprained ( hoping, hoping) or torn ( most likely with our luck) her ligament. She had some anti-inflammatory tablets and has to go back in a week. She can go for a walk on a lead, but if she is still limping it is cortisone injections and then the big operation. She has to be 35 kg and Harki needs to lose weight too, so they are on a boiled cabbage and celery diet, with 3/8 of a cup of cooked rice and 1/2 a cup of dried dog food. They ate it all up as they are hungry. Now Harki has an appointment tomorrow to see about her legs. It is almost all too much. I was upset last night and found it very hard to sleep, I am more worried about them than me!!! At least it gives me something else to focus on. I have finished reviewing all but one of the 21 books I have read for the book competition. I have to go and post them before 6 pm, so they will arrive at the judges on time. I have to make something for the Vet as well. I always take them something. Today I took them truffles and tomorrow I think I will take them caramel slice. Caramel Slice 24 icecream wafers, the flat kind 185 g dark chocolate 15 g butter 3/4 tin condensed milk 1 1/2 tbspn golden syrup 15 g butter 3 tspn smooth peanut butter Line a lamington tin ( 28 x 18 cm) with foil. Cover base with wafers to ascertain fit, and cut 12 more for the top. Combine butter and chocolate and melt, spreading 1/2 on base of tin, keeping the other 1/2 war. Place wafers on top and refrigerate. Meanwhile make caramel by placing milk , butter and syrup in a bowl and microwaving on High for a minute at a time until thick and caramel coloured. Stir after each minute and finally stir in the peanut butter. Spread over wafers, top with remaining wafers, spread on chocolate and refrigerate for 30 minutes, leaving at room temperature before cutting for 20 minutes. Cut into squares, then triangles. Makes 16-24 depending on size.

Round, like a circle in a swiral !!!!!!

I am endlessly checking my gums like some strange deranged person. Gums and fingernails: the telltale signs of having not enough red blood cells!!! I feel slightly better in the enlarged spleen department today though. We woke up early and the Labradors were so excited we went for an early walk and then I went back home to rest. I have tidied for 210 minutes in the yard again. Peri is petrified of the spade and runs into the garage and hides until the noise of the spade stops. It is very amusing, she has the same reaction to the vacuum cleaner. Harki likes the paving with no leaves and cavorts, though she has sore back legs/hips today. She may have arthritis a. It is not unexpected. I have checked thoroughly for tick but can find none. I can only do one thing a day really now as I have to save my strength. Today I shouldn’t be doing another thing but I am going to Di’s for tea and then home early. I have knitted the band of the back of my cardigan and I am about to start the knitting proper. Here is a recipe Karen really recommends. I made them for her at the weekend and she has eaten them already!!! Swirly Biscuits 180 g butter 220 g caster sugar 1 tspn vanilla extract ( or grated rind of choice) 1 egg 300 g plain flour ½ tspn baking powder ¼ -1/2 cup jam – or anything really, lemon spread, marmalade, choc/nut spread..etc Cream butter, sugar and vanilla, add egg and then sifted dry ingredients. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then roll out between 2 pieces of non-stick baking paper. Roll into a rectangle about 40-50 cm long. Spread with jam, leaving a 5 cm border along one long edge. Roll up, using the paper to help and refrigerate till really firm. Cut of 1 cm slices, place on a lined tray. These spread a lot so leave space. Bake for 15 minutes at 180 C ( 160 ff)

There is a season : return, return, return...

Although I am up to writing something again, there is no recipe and I feel worse now after the ultrasound man prodded and poked me about. I am tired and pale, unfortunately not interesting!! I am lounging on the couch interminably. I have to go out to the post office and the Labradors need some extra food. Other than that I am not doing anything or going anywhere really. I have been sleeping and wanting more sleep. I have managed to walk the Labradors and today I threw the toy for 15 minutes in the backyard . Harki as very happy and played in the paddle pool. Yes it is Autumn and we are having warm weather again. Peri has run around a little and is napping. I have finished knitting one sleeve for my cardigan and I am starting the back now. I have collected the copy of statement of earnings for 2004 that I lost to post to the pension people and sent that off, and I posted Claire a letter and bought fruit. Harki had a big play with the tennis ball on the tidy paving and Peri kept stealing the ball. A nap now I think!!!