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April 2005
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June 2005

Fast and not loose

All prepared for the Labradors to visit Aunty Cathy and we had to cancel as her grandmother died. We went for a compensatory walk to the shop and met a nice lady!!! Yes, I put the two pairs of stretchy cord jeans on lay-by and I also bought a lovely Labrador throw, it has 2 Labrador puppies and it is all plush and cuddly. I expect it will be commandeered soon!!! I have therefore been to Aunty Captain Mrs Archer’s and watched Stargate Atlantis with her : two dark and very American POV episodes. I bought wool for the Fibonacci sleeves and I am about to start one now!!. That, alas, is all there is to tell.

Easy Peasy Lemon Sleevey!!!!

Having to change Insurance companies meant I had to ‘assess’ the value of things in my house. Mainly my house is full of ….books. I have books everywhere and I walked in every room and counted them. I have too many!! But I need them all. As well as books I have magazines like Handmade and Delicious and Stitches and Burda. Happily the insurance people are glad to cover any number of books!!! I took spreadsheets and my Boob Book to show them !! Books are my downfall, and as a vice they are pretty harmless. Books call to me as I walk past, I peer into shady windows ands sneak longing looks at hardcovers, the soft covers are easy, and the magazines? They hop off the stand into my hand!!! Today I went to Aunty Captain Mrs Archers after walking the Labradors and changing insurers. We picked up her table and bought Star Wars drink containers and watched Blake’s 7. Peri ate a shoe. I am trying to be glad about the fact that the pair wasn’t my favourite green. It is hard. Farewell shoes…… I have 30 rows to go and the body of the Fibonacci Jumper is finished!! I will finish it tonight and begin the cuffs and then the sleeves in as much stripe pattern as possible. Tomorrow I can buy more wool and sleeves are easy!!! In fact, we are , it appears, having an easy recipe week!!! Easy Vanilla Slice Lattice biscuits 300 ml thickened cream 1 cup milk 85 g packet of vanilla instant pudding 1 tspn vanilla extract Optional fruit : berries, drained fruit salad, etc Place half the biscuits in a lined square tin, best side down. Combine milk and cream in a bowl and beat in pudding. Add extra vanilla extract. Beat for 1 minute or until thick and smooth. At this stage add any fruit if you so desire. Pour mixture over the biscuits and top with the other half, best side up!!! Refrigerate till set. You may ice with a simple lemon or passionfruit icing too. This is so simple and very yummy.

Truly a day of rest here....

Today is a day of total rest, even the offer of Blake’s 7 watching was not enough to tempt me from the bounds of the house. I am not in my pyjamas, despite previous threats, so all can rest easy!!! It is the school holidays and all my friends will be available in the day time so I want to save myself as much as possible. The Labradors finally made me get out of bed just before The Insiders at 9 am, and I have cooked them their breakfast. Cathy commented about pears and elimination diets and it will be no surprise to any one that, yes, I have had a dog on an elimination diet hat involved pears and rice and all those things. You slowly add new foods to their diet to see which they are allergic too. I am the person whose dog had their tonsils out!! Who knew dogs had tonsils??? I am on the home run of the Fibonacci Jumper body and almost crashed. I thought I was out of the plum coloured wool and of course the wool shop isn’t open today. But lo, in the East, a star…. Well, in the hall, ½ a ball I had rescued from Peri’s playfulness. So I can finish the pattern : feather and fan, and then maybe make it all the way the armhole cast off and the underarm which is itself only 6 cm. I have decided to do the sleeves with Fibonacci stripes at the cuff and up the sleeve for one repeat 1,1,2,3,5,8 and then knit one sleeve black and one dark blue. I think all over stripes will be too confronting. I feel that I am going to be able to finish this, but it will be a race against time!!! I have 2 almost finished dinosaurs, so when I do run out of wool I have ends to weave in and dinosaurs to finish….. So, my exciting life today will consist of throwing a ball up the backyard for Harki, patting Peri, knitting and catching up on TV. Oh and talking on the phone which really cuts into my knitting time. Easy Chocolate and Coconut Cake for a Sunday 250 g melted butter 60 g sifted cocoa powder 300 g caster sugar 3 eggs 150 g shredded or desiccated coconut 225 g plain flour 1 ½ tspn baking powder 180 ml milk ( or coconut milk) Preheat oven to 180 C ( 160 ff) and grease and line a 24 cm tin. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk or beat till combined. That’s it!!! Bake for about 50 minutes. Cool on a rack.

A pear of lovely ayes.....

Who could resist the pun : a line from a song and an accolade for the pears though strictly speaking there were three people eating them. Peri and Harki were confused as I gave them a pear each. When I asked Peri where her pear was she looked at me as if to say “Here I am!!” and when I asked Harki, she raced over to Peri!!!. Hence, on the knitting front I have done zilch, none, nada, nol, nil : I must knit tonight all night to catch up. I have Dr Who to watch and I am taping Monk on the digital station. I have also not been wasting my wishes, I wished to win Tattslotto!!! On the very up side I saw about 8 pairs of green trousers and jeans and I intend to lay-by them on Tuesday – ‘pension’ day!!! There is little else to tell : it was snowing in Hobart but sunny and clear here. I need a hat for walking the Labradors, it was very chilly this morning. I am feeling the after effects of the euphoria of being slightly better so I am staying home ALL DAY tomorrow and I may not even get out of my pyjamas!!! It will be a good day for knitting…..

Reasons to be very cross - Part 1 ( No Ian Drury though)

I expect people expected a diatribe today, in fact over the last few weeks, but here are things I am too cross to discuss : The Industrial Reform announced yesterday The new Tasmanian Forestry Agreement Mandatory Detention DIMIA Re the whole Corby affair, I heard a similar story on Radio National, except the woman was Japanese and the country prosecuting and gaoling was Australia : Chika Chika is the story of a Japanese tourist who lost ten years of her life in Australian prisons for a crime many people believe she never committed. What started out as the holiday of a lifetime nearly became a death sentence, after Chika was accused of involvement in one of Australia's biggest heroin smuggling cases.The documentary explores the deep cultural misunderstandings and mistranslations responsible for Chika’s imprisonment, and the friendships in jail that kept her going after she tried to kill herself. Chika’s story is narrated by Mayu Kanamori, a Sydney-based Japanese-born documentary maker, and features original music recorded in a collaboration between Australian composer Tom Fitzgerald and Japanese-born koto virtuoso Satsuki Odamura.

This is exactly the same situation as Corby’s. I don’t know where you can hear it now, but it was repeated this year.

I am doing weird sleeping again. Yesterday I slept in the afternoon from 4 – 6pm ( Dr Who!!) then I slept again from just after 6 till 7-30. I woke up this morning at about 7 am and gave up trying to sleep. I watched Stargate: Atlantis and then cooked the Labradors’ breakfast and knitted. I did 40 rows of the Fibonacci Jumper last night, all with the correct colours too. Quelle surprise ! I feel I am on the homeward run now, half way across the front, with only one more section of patterning to think of. I shall have to think long and hard as I don’t want to have to undo anything again. I have two sleeves to knit and a bazillion ends to sew in. The sleeves should be OK. I knitted 1/3 of my cardigan sleeve quite quickly. I am jumpering in earnest now though…..
I have a tiny paper cut on my thumb at the base and it really hurts. If I was being snarky I would say that I thought Bush was refining paper cuts as a new torture instrument.
Oh there is another thing I am too cross to talk about. He said this ( more or less) : The trouble with the French is that they have no word for entrepreneur. I shake my head in dismay. This is the man who – NO I am too cross to talk about it.
Today is the last day of school. Hurray. Lots of my friends will be available for brunch, lunch or afternoon tea on a weekday!! I will have to do a lot of sleeping and napping so I have some stamina and not collapse in a social heap.
Today I am making poached pears to take to Di’s for tea, so here is the recipe.
Poached Pears
Beurre bosc pears ( 6 for this amount) peeled but leave the stalk on
500 ml red wine
l water
180 g sugar
1 cinnamon stick
orange or lemon rind – ¼ of the orange or ½ of the lemon
Place all ingredients except the pears into a medium to large pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pears ( you might need to slice the bottoms off to make them sit flat) and cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn the pears if needed. Cool in the pan and then refrigerate the pears. Boil the syrup for as long as it takes to thicken. BE CAREFUL as it turns to toffee really quickly!!!

Walking back to knittingness, oh oh oh oh oh......

Today I arose at a most ungodly hour. The alarm went off and I woke up suddenly, and realised I had to be dressed and out in 15 minutes. There was ice all over the car, but I managed to be at the Kmart as the doors opened at 8 am. There were 2 treadmills and only 2 and I managed to lay-by one for Aunty Captain Mrs Archer!!! Then the Labradors had to be walked as they missed out yesterday. They like the ice!! Then after a rest I went to visit a friend while she had her chemo in the Hospital. We chatted for about 2 hours until she fell asleep. On the knitting front I have finished the body of another dinosaur and I have taken up the set aside cardigan. I am on my last sleeve, and I know that sounds like I have myriad arms, but I have the requisite two. No Chrysalids here!!! I have knitted a ball of wool and I am over a third of the way to the underarm. It is all increasing and an uphill slog, but once I start the decreasing I will be cruising. Then there is only one more front to go, and the back of the neckband. I should start searching for buttons right now. It is so hard to find good matching buttons. I despair sometimes. We are preparing for 150 km an hour winds as the evening draws in. I hope the power doesn’t go out. I miss electricity! I must get candles and matches ready. We may miss Stargate Atlantis. The sky is already darkening and the wind is strengthening. It’s colder too. Winter might actually have arrived in one fell swoop. The Star Wars recipes are at an end, and so today a cake recipe. Orange Poppy seed Cake Cake 200 g butter 1 tbspn grated orange rind 180 g light brown sugar 3 eggs 300 g plain flour 1 ½ tspn baking powder 125 ml orange juice 80 g poppy seeds 180 ml milk Syrup 110 g caster sugar 125 ml orange juice orange rind – grated or thinly sliced Cake - Preheat oven to 160 C ( 140 ff) and grease and line a 20 cm tin. Soak poppy seeds in the milk. Cream butter, sugar and rind and then add the eggs one at a time. Fold in the dry ingredients, the juice and milk and seed mixture. Bake for 50-60 minutes, cool in tine for 10 minutes and then on a rack. Pour syrup over the cake once it is on the rack. Serve warm or cold. Syrup – Place all ingredients in a pan and stir over a low heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes or until it thickens. Take care not to let it turn into toffee!!!

Kingdom of Hell-ven

Unbelievable!! I have turned into Victor Meldrew AGAIN. I cannot believe it. Last night we went to see Kingdom of heaven, and the theatre was peopled with MORONS, impolite, inconsiderate, rude people: “Hey, the tickets are half-price, let’s go to the cinema and talk all the way through a film. And in the quiet reflective parts, lets talk more because we can hear each other better. Oh, and lets read all the writing on the screen out loud, and exclaim loudly when a plot point is explained or we see a character we recognise, which is often. If our phone is turned on, which it is of course, we will let it beep a lot, and then answer it noisily and then as a token of respect go down the stairs a bit and talk really, really loudly. We will crinkle cellophane type papers frequently and loudly and we will shuffle the popcorn too. We will be quiet if the usher remonstrates with us, but only till the usher leaves. We will hoot loudly in the romantic parts and generally make the theatre our playground.” We are never, ever going to the cinema on a Tuesday night ever, ever again. Despite the hardships, I really liked the film. It was a bit gory and I watched the battles from behind my hands, but apart from that it was great and Orlando was good to look at!! Liam Neeson hasn’t been out of a beard for what seems like years, he has a beard in Batman Begins too. Other actors included David ( Professor Lupin)Thewlis, Alexander ( Bashir)Siddig, Jon ( MacBeth) Finch, Phillip ( State of Play) Glenister, Kevin ( North Square) McKidd, Jeremy ( Brideshead Revisted) Irons and many many more!!! Right, I have morning tea with the GardyGardeners, a visit to Janette re Jessie’s going away present, and then Jessie’s afternoon tea. Then I will need a nap!!!

Luke, I have felt your presents...

What Darth Vader said to Luke Skywalker at Christmas time. Oh wow, it rained today for the first time in months, and I mean that literally, not figuratively!! It rained hard and long and the Labradors camped inside, confused at the wetness. All went well at the Hospital. I am once again making some of my own red blood cells!! Huzzah!!! Of course my marrow is still half way to being shot, but nevertheless, no horrid drugs or injections or other pokey things. We are all of the opinion that the virus I had over Christmas affected my so severely that I had one of those immunity crises I am prone to. Hopefully I am out of the acute mode and into long term chronic again. Who would ever have thought this a prescription for happiness and celebration? I was so tired , and no doubt reading today, that I slept for about 3 hours from Dr Who onwards. I watched Jordan’s ( makes me ) Cross-ing and then I watched Atlantis, plagued as it was by drop outs and loss of sound. Greta episode. This morning the Babylon 5 movie DVD set arrived and Season 7 Stargate-SG1 as well . This is cause for joy as we missed the first episode of this season. In the UK the movie set only had 3 of the movies instead of 5. Also out soon is Atlantis, Enterprise and Blake’s 7. A veritable feast. The Labradors are full of love today. Every time I sit down to type they both want to be patted and cuddled. You can’t type with two Labradors wiggling about next to you. On the knitting front I have sewn up Bronty’s legs and I took another dinosaur to knit in the waiting room. I only did about 10 rows and it was my turn. They have turned out really well and I might knit some more for BE. Tonight I am going to see Kingdom of Heaven. We were going to see Sahara, but it is only on at 9-20 pm and I can’t be out that late!!! I will nap now till 6, and then away to the cinema. I have traced and embroidered a back stitch outline of Tasmania onto calico to sew onto the bag. I will also cut out some red felt apples and appliqueé them as well. Then the Tasmanian goodies can go in it : special glasses, a ‘stubby’ holder, leatherwood honey, lavender soap, Tasmanian playing cards, some special chocolate, a bookmark and bush peppercorns. All reminders of Tasmania, and I will write a song too. I have emailed the Fresh TV show with another song, requesting the details of the gingerbread 3D house cutters. I don’t think anyone ever reads the questions, the same one has been on the website since it was updated. I send them a poem or a song every week in the hope they will weaken and give me some information. They say they read their mail but I have my doubts. Here is the last Star Wars Recipe:

500 g of mince
1 onion, chopped
1 tbspn tomato paste
1 tspn Worcestershire sauce
sliced tomatoes
mustard and tomato sauce
4 wholemeal hamburger buns
Other fillings: capsicum, pickles, onions, chillies etc
Cut the buns in half and toast them as desired.
Combine the mince, paste, sauce and onion and mix with your clean hands for about 5 minutes. Divide into 8 thin patties to fit your buns. Fry or grill the burgers till they are cooked to your liking. I like well done.
Squirt sauce/ mustard on the bottom bun, top with one patty, then tomato, lettuce and any other fillings you choose, then another patty and mustard/sauce. Put the top half of the bun on as a lid and serve immediately. I have a (bad good feeling about this!!!

And then, and then , and then.......

Today is an ‘and then’ grade 3 story. I walked the Labradors and we met Dr Tim with Nellie and Saskia, And then Peri and Harki were well behaved, And then I went to have a blood test, And then I went to school to get 2 books about Morocco, And then I went to Spotlight to swap 2 lime green balls of wool for grey, Bronty took 1 and a tiny bit of a ball left over from the previously mentioned knitted nativity, I only have to sew Bronty and stuff him/her, And then I went to ACMA’s and sewed her curtains to the adding the header tape stage, And then I cooked muffins with Rolos inside, And then I went to the supermarket, And then I came home and found the bag of potatoes Peri is in lurve with empty of potatoes!! She had taken the potatoes out and just wanted the bag, And then I came inside!!!!!

Bronty had the ‘three needle cast-off’ I have read about it in various places. I was a bit worried, could I do a 3 needle cast-off? I looked in the Readers’ Digest Needlecraft book and found that Yes!! I could. It was so easy, just like real casting off, except you knit through the two stitches on each parallel needle, and then cast off on the right needle as usual. It makes a nice even join at the front of Bronty’s head. I plan on finishing Bronty and making a start on Trice or Mr Stegs. We are all still having a rest from the Fibonacci Jumper. I can recommend the dinosaurs, they seem to work very well and be very cute!!!
There is a wrap knitting pattern in the Australian Stitches magazine that has just arrived – actually there are two, a knitted and a sewn. I wish I liked and could wear wraps. They suit me in the same way a shrug or a bolero doesn’t. Is a shrug the new bolero? What is the difference???
I have kilos of Dutch cream so I fancy potatoes with onion and bacon for tea tonight. I am doing that weird eating-only-two-meals-a-day thing again. Tomorrow I have to go and see the specialist about the whole being ill thing again. I hate being in the waiting room : waiting, waiting, waiting to go in and hear that my numbers are good/bad/confusing. I do feel a bit better, though my spleen is still boogelly , but I am not too pale. Doing the whole Pollyanna Glad Game here….

Only 2 Star Wars Recipes to go now…..
Greedo’s Burritos
425 g tin blackest beans ( kidney will do, but choose your favourite)
1 cup grated cheese
½ head lettuce sliced thinly
1 tomato diced
1 tbspn olive oil
700 g mince of your choice
4 flour tortillas
other items like chopped capsicum, spring onion, black olives , chopped chillies etc

Preheat oven to 180 C ( 160 ff)
Drain beans. Brown mince in oil for about 15 minutes, heat tortillas in the oven or microwave. Add drained beans to mince, along with any other ingredients you want to cook. Place each tortilla on a plate and divide the mince evenly between them, top with the cheese, lettuce, tomato and any other of the topping you choose. Roll up and then serve with salsa or a sauce you like!!!

Doctor Who? The Doctor is in !!!!

Those Labradors are rascals!! Harki has taken, just every now and then, to dropping a toy out of the front window. It then bounces down all the stairs to the bottom of the garden. Then she runs and sits at the front door and yips until I come and climb down the stairs and fetch her toys!!! This morning Peri was taking Harki’s kong and running away with it. She hovers about it till Harki comes then grabs it and runs away – a good game!! Last night I went to Aunty Captain Mrs Archers and Pauline was there and we watched Doctor Who “Rose”. It was like H2G2 : Time is an illusion : Lunchtime doubly so. The 50 minutes went so fast I couldn’t believe it was over. It had all the right elements: the Tardis, an excellent quirky Doctor referring to his recent regeneration, the sonic screwdriver, Autons, doppelgangers, a surprisingly good companion, humour, death… I could go on and on obviously. I shall try and restrain myself. I now have 12 more episodes of this season to see and then another season to come – guaranteed!! Oh bliss and joy. I need to make something more Doctor Who-y. I have a hanging Tardis. It is like the door side of the TARDIS with a handle and the windows are pockets and there is writing and everything. I think I need a green K9 handbag. Now there is something every girl needs. I shall have to make a pattern. We went to see Star Wars again this morning. There were too many children with crinkly paper , but the queue for the next session at a godly hour was out the door. I am also knitting some dinosaurs for ACMA. I found them here : I am making Bronty in Panda Disco Lime green. It was the best colour and even though I don’t know how many metres or yards in a ball I bought 3 x 20 g balls. I hope to finished it today. I am having a rest from the Fibonacci Jumper. Star Wars Recipe of the Day: Tatooine Twin Sun Toast For 1 serve you need – 1 large slice of sourdough bread 1 tspn butter 2 small eggs Using a 5 cm scone cutter, make 2 holes in the bread, discarding the circles. Melt butter in a pan or on a grill. Place bread in pan . Break each egg into a cup and gently pour one into each hole. Fry 1 or 2 minutes until the whites are no longer clear, then flip over to complete cooking – about 1 minute more. Serve at once with crispy bacon, ( Bacona Fett!!) and grilled tomatoes ( Tusken Raider Tomatoes!!!)