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January 2010
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March 2010

Colin Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft.

This afternoon at 2pm I noticed that Lorelai Gilmore was shaking her head from side to side, so (brace yourselves) I smelled her ears and looked inside and diagnosed FlippyFlippyEar. I rang the Hospital and we had an appointment at 2-30!!! Peri was Not Happy Jan and banged the gate repeatedly and crossly as we drove off. Even though I had given her a rice biscuit or five. Harki just ate her biscuits and looked inordinately cute!!

While we waited, Lorelai Gilmore met Colin. Colin was so cute and so friendly and it was very amusing indeed to see Gilly on the receiving end of puppy Colin's nips and enthusiasm. She didn't like it one bit and she tried to sit on my lap. A Lot.

When I'm Colin You

After a short adoration by the Doctor (Isn't she beautiful? Isn't she good!!) she looked in Lorelai Gilmore's ears and said it was FlippyFloppyEar. Lorelai Gilmore was very good and she sat quietly while the long poky ear investigator was poked down both her ears. She then sat and asked with both her paws and gobbled up some treats!! After a quick trip out the back, blood donor training, we went home. She tipped her drink over in the back of the car whilst trying to lie in it.

The drive home is about seven or eight minutes but it was so hot, it's been hot again today, that when we got home she flopped down right in the paddle pool: she just needed to be wholly cool.

Cool Pool Gilly
Not to be outdone, Harki and Peri had a lot of fun biting the water from the hose and getting generally wet as well. Yesterday it was hot too, and Harki was very unhappy and couldn't get comfortable or sleep. It took her ages to settle. She seemed better today. Peri has been in and out the pool, making herself and all of us wet and cool/muddy. She has also been hyper alert and protecting us from lots of (imaginary) things.

Hose Happinessfor Harki and Peri
Because it is almost the end of the month I have, well not sprung, lurched slowly into OPAM action. I have washed and ironed fabric for a skirt and found the measurements in my email. I have trimmed Otto's new cushion and covered it with wadding and sewn it tight. Now I am going to cover the wadding and then sew the proper cover. On top of the cushion is the right front of ADAMO(Tempest) with the colours not right again. I don't know what I did the first time I took a photo, I just can't replicate it. I decided to do the hem turnunder on 3.25mm needles and it seems a lot less roly. I also decided to do stripes for 28 of the side stitches on the front. I need to tidy up the joins and sew in the ends but I am quite pleased with the effect. And even if I become less pleased, it's jolly well staying that way!!

Right Tempestuous Cushion
Auntie Dutch and I dabbled in a little button covering and without her even knowing, she made a button that perfectly matched her top, so now it is a brooch!! She's still broken but feels a lot better now. Her embroidery is beautiful.

Auntie Dutch Button
I read Matthew Reilly's The Five Greatest Warriors yesterday while I was waiting at the Hospital and then after my very long nap (4 hours!!) when I got home. It's all action and very little characterisation so it's a quick read. The Complaints by Ian Rankin was a quick read too. It was a book I had to put down a few times because I didn't want to read on to where I knew the plot was taking me. I should have popped it in the freezer!!(Scroll down to the Allusions) The heat has affected my mind too. I woke up yesterday and spent a good ten minutes berating myself because I hadn't recorded the Neanderthal programme on the ABC, and I hadn't asked MrsDrWho to do it, and she was relying on me. I was a bit puzzled because I didn't remember having a spare recording device (there are three) and I knew I should have had one. It wasn't till I went to the Newsagency that I realised that yesterday was THURSDAY, not Friday. I had accidentally missed a whole day. The Neanderthals were still to come!!!It is going to be cool tomorrow, and cooler on Sunday and Monday. I think my brain will appreciate the rest from heat.

It's getting dark earlier, 7-59pm tonight. Not long till Day Light Saving ends. It will be Easter anon. Last year someone in MrsDrWho's class gave her a smallish cardboard Dalek or some-such Doctor Who-y thing with an Easter egg in it. When you press a button, it makes a Dalek or TARDIS noise. I want one for myself. I covet hers, which is a sin, so if anyone sees a cardboard Dalek or TARDIS out and about, could you let me know please???

Now I am going to make a cup of tea, and knit while I watch Statewide in timeshift and then to bed because I haven't had a nap at all today.

A Room With a ReView

Today the temperature was 15*C and it rained. The Labradors and I are feeling so happy. My headache gradually ebbed away over five days: two eyes and my head, one eye and my head, one eye, and then just my ear was sore and today?? No headache at all!!! Thanks for all the kind 'be gone' headache comments: they worked!!!

Today I had my hair cut. No photo this time, because I went straight from there (well, with a detour home to take The Labradors a bone) to see my psychologist. Next week I have to have a medical review again for my Superannuation pension and I find it all very stressful. Last time I was truly a quivering wreck. This time I am coping a lot better. I have been more proactive and assertive about some unreasonable requests which could not possibly be met by the deadline they set. I have made appointments, asked our lovely Leukaemia nurse to come along as my Advocate to the appointment and visited the excellent psychologist for some helpful talk and preparation.

I find it all very confronting and adversarial. Being chronically ill with a mystery disease doesn't help. Thankfully I have The Labradors, wonderful friends (like MrsDrWho who is finally blogging again) real and imaginary, and fantastic doctors and nurses. Without whom......  Now I just have to get through the next week or so!!!

The cool weather has made it possible for me to knit again. My As Dreams Are Made On (Tempest) is going along quite well. The hem rolls. I am not too worried, I expect my fat will fill out the rolliness. I did indeed do the stripes. They made the waist increases easier as I didn't have to count rows. I am planning to do some stripes on the front too, maybe just one third of the width from the side seam to the front. Again, this will make the shaping easy and the sewing up too. The colour in the photo is not very true, it is much more aqua, khaki, green and much less blue. I did try to adjust the colour but I just succeeded in making everything red. I shall finish the back tonight. Wow!!!

Back of ADAMO
Here's what I saw in the supermarket today:

DIY sugar and gelatine
So that would be a box of sugar and gelatine, to which you add some boiling water and fruit juice to make, Ta Da: A Jelly!!!! What will they think of next?? 

Harki and Peri had a great walk yesterday, though they will have an even better walk tomorrow because there will be puddles everywhere!!! It was still hot and so we stopped half way up the track for a breather. Well Harki and I stopped for a breather, Peri stopped in case there might be a treat!!!

Half way there
Lorelai Gilmore has been running in and out of the house in the rain with her new toy. A piece of plastic. Peri has been chasing her trying to steal the piece of plastic. Why do I buy them toys??? I love the way she is standing, as if she is a warrior!!

Plastic Gilly
So nothing much else to report. Doctor Who has ended with a Regeneration, but I saw it a few weeks ago so I didn't watch last night.

I have a new book from the Library, Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross which has some lovely patterns.

Tomorrow afternoon I am going to visit Auntie Dutch who is still broken, but not plastered, and we are going to make some embroidered, covered buttons!!! Lots of sitting carefully on the couch and drinking cups of tea.

I am planning on an excellent night's sleep tonight. The house is cool and I might even swap a sheet for a doona. Might, it's not definite!!!

Monday Munchies #8

Veal was on special, and the sage next door was abundant, so I thought I would try my hand at some Veal Saltimbocca: veal 'jump-in-the-mouth!!! Veal production is Australia is governed by strict rules, and all animals must be looked after very well. 

Jump In Your Mouth

Veal Saltimbocca   serves 4
  • 4 pieces of veal, about 150g each. So 600g ish or you may like more
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto
  • fresh sage leaves (8!!)
  • 4 tbspn olive oil
  • 4 tbspn butter
  • 1/2 lemon
  • about 1 cup white wine or chicken stock
  • salt and pepper

I put each veal slice between some cling-wrap and lightly 'bashed' it with a meat mallet thingy, just to make it a little thinner. Season well with salt and pepper. Lay 2 pieces of the prosciutto on the veal, and 2 sage leaves and fold in half, enclosing the prosciutto.

Heat half the oil and butter in a pan over a medium heat. Place the veal in and cook for 3 - 4 minutes on one side then turn over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining oil and butter as needed.  Remove from the pan, cover and keep warm. It may still be a tad pink inside, but it will continue to cook as it rests.

Add the wine or stock to the pan and scrape all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the juice of the half lemon and cook over a low heat till slightly reduced and thickened, stirring occasionally.

To serve, place one of the veal parcels on a plate and drizzle over the sauce. I was too impatient to wait for the sauce to reduce. I had some snappy broccolini and mashed potato. The veal is quite salty, so no more salt in the potatoes is necessary.

I made two and put one in the fridge for the next day. MrsDrWho said I would eat it, I said not, but it called to me. It called my name till I had to slice it up and then savour each bite-sized piece.

Now You See Hem, Now You Don't!

I have begun knitting a cardigan. It has been hot again and I have been poorly and in bed with a horrid headache yesterday and today. I took lots of drugs and went to Knitting in the (noisy) Pub which probably wasn't a good idea, but at least I ate some delicious fish instead of nothing at all. Socks were too hard to think about so I started my Tempest (As Dreams Are Made On) I used a new provisional cast on where you crochet with waste wool over your needle. It 'unzipped'!!! They always say it will and it never does, but this time it did. I used some Bambi Grignasco for the hem turn under. I cast on, knitted the hem then a row of reverse stocking stitch in the Regia and then knitted till I had the same number of rows as the hem. I 'unzipped' the provisional cast on and picked up the stitches (Thanks BionicKnitaWoman for the circular needle) and then knitted the stitches from the two needles together, a kind of three needle un-bind off!!! It worked so well and I love it.

I am even happier because when I knitted my tension rectangle, I had perfect tension. That never happens.

Now I am remembering things that happened, backwards.

Uncle Dutch came and did some taking away of the garden yesterday. I went to bed to sleep, but I did make him a cup of tea with two lemon shortbread. Peri and Lorelai Gilmore were very helpful. Well, Uncle Dutch is kind and says they were, but I have my doubts!! It is so kind of him to take my garden away and The Labradors have much more space to run and play!!

Helping, or not

The day before yesterday I visited Auntie Dutch who has broken herself falling down the stairs.  She is not too broken, well not plastered, but she is poorly. Next week we are going to make some embroidered buttons.

Earlier still, met TinkingBell for toasted sandwiches and tea. She gave me a terrific cup and saucer. I had admired it last weekend, but since  I didn't need it, I walked on by with MrsDrWho. A parcel came in the post from AmyP: Oooh Doctor Who and some lovely green fabric. Just because. How nice!!!

Last year I won a book from The Tribal Mind!! I wrote a limerick and David Dale liked it and so I was one of the winners. And what a bonus because he wrote inside his book with green pen!!

Book Win
There's more, but I am too hot to think. Here is a picture of Harki. Harki always makes me happy, which is apparently very good for your heart: cheeriness that is!!! Officially, with a proper study over ten years and everything.

Cheery Hearty Harki
I've missed a whole day today. My headache is slowly receding so I am sitting in the cool-ish lounge-room, knitting a little and catching up on TV. Swedes are cooking on the stove, they smell yummy and The Labradors adore them. I can't read, which is a pain, because I have lots of new books. I will take truckloads of drugs again at bedtime and perchance I will sleep soundly all night and wake up feeling less boogelly tomorrow.

Machine Wash. Workin' At The Machine Wash Yeah!

It was only after I had ironed the third top that still had dirty marks on it, and picked up a spotty fourth, that I realised I had done a whole load of washing with no washing powder. At all.

I should ask Lorelai Gilmore to do my washing, she has the whole water in a tub thing down pat. Not so sure about trying to pick the tub up while you are standing in it, and I hate the sound of teeth on plastic!!! Puppy Power!!!

Harki and Peri had a lovely walk today. We are walking a bit later because I can actually sleep longer in the cooler weather. Harki had a little run (5 metres down the hill) and was ever so pleased with herself. She was smiling when she caught up with me. Peri runs as fast as a train with no brakes and I often have to jump aside at the last moment. I love her Wheeee!! leap.

Harki has a little run Peri goes Wheeeee

A while back I found a potential husband, but in honour of St Valentine's Day (well not really, it just ties in nicely) I have found him a much more appropriate wife:

Valentine's Day

I have made a start on my OPAM projects for February. I am about half way through the Noah's Ark and I have taken a picture of Otto's old cushion. First Vundy, then Tori, then Peri and finally Lorelai Gilmore wrecked the cushion. Gilly loves to curl up in the great indentation dug over the years. I have the fabric, thread, piping cord and zip too. Notice Harki's name is not on the list?? That's because she is The Best Labrador ever and would not even entertain the thought of digging a hole in a cushion.

Half Ark de triomphe  Otto undressed

I went to Mr and MrsValley's last week. It was inordinately hot, but I had a lovely time and I met lots of native animals and birds and I even fed one of the wallabies some bread. They are not tame, they are just not afraid. Their hectare-age is beautiful bush, complete with a dam, native ducks and hens, parrots, wallabies, paddy-melons and an echidna. Oh and some ravens. And it is just ten or so minutes from the centre of town and you would never know. Mr and MrsValley live in their own little paradise!!

Valley Paradise
The rain had come and gone, and it is cooler, but hotter temperatures are forecast for this week. Today I plan to do some tidying up in the loungeroom, finish The Ark, press it and apply some Heat'n'Bond to the back and then definitely a nap. It's already the afternoon and all we have done is go for walks and have breakfast.

Oh. new wool!!! Paton's Kaffe Fasset Design Line sock wool all the way from the UK. Thanks to RoseRed and Bells for the link to the shop. Fourteen balls and postage for about $48 AUD. A Bargain. It's not all for me, just six of the green/blue mix on the right of the photo.

Facets of Fassett

Monday Munchies #7

MrsDrWho had some lemon slice at brunch on Saturday, though she felt it wasn't lemony enough. I think I have spoiled her for other lemon things as I add A Lot of lemon because her dad likes it!!

So here's the Coconut Lemon Slice from my childhood. My nan and mum made this a lot, along with a chocolate version and a ginger slice too. Strangely neither Nestles nor Arnotts had a recipe for this that I could find.

Things I learned: always put the slice in the fridge otherwise it stays kind of bendy, and baking paper is your friend. 

Nice slice

Coconut Lemon Slice
  • 3/4 cup condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 packet of Milk Coffee biscuits made into crumbs (250g)
  • 2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 50 ml lemon juice
  • extra coconut
Line a small slice tray with baking paper. Heat the condensed milk and butter in a pan or microwave until the butter is melted. Mix in the lemon zest and juice. Combine the biscuit crumbs and coconut in a bowl and make a well. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir well.

Press into the lined tray and you can use a small straight glass as a rolling pin to even out the top.

Meanwhile put the icing sugar and lemon juice for the topping into a pan or microwave and heat a little, till it's just warm. Mix and then spread over the slice and sprinkle with extra coconut.

Refrigerate and then cut into smaller pieces. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for optimum enjoyment.

PS It took 12 tries to get a halfway decent picture!!!

If at first you don't succeed...

None Like It Hot

It has officially been hot, hot and dry. Hot and dry, relieved only by rain yesterday, or in Perth's case, the day before when there was a small flood. It was enough to lower the overall temperature and we have had a good night or two's sleep. Before then I was sleeping on, or under, a wet wrung out sheet. That worked too. Probably hideously unhealthy but it was too hot otherwise. We have officially had record long stretches of high temperatures. But there were puddles, and Harki made the most of one at the dam.

Puddly Harki

Consequently there has been no knitting or sewing or anything really. We have lain about like beached whales in front of Mr Cooly. Except when Peri and Lorelai Gilmore ran about like Barbarians while I was out and knocked Mr Cooly over and the water went all over the carpet and I had to use my tiny screwdriver kit to attempt repairs. Of course Peri has been hot, but not too hot to sunbake. She lies in the Sun and only comes in when she's way too hot. Hot and sleepy. I love her curled pink tongue!!!

Yawn. Peri is hot
As of today we are in Election mode. I cannot talk about the Election because our Electoral Office seems to have interpreted the rules in such a way that in order to comment, bloggers must declare their full name and address, otherwise you can be prosecuted. That's not going to happen so I must, perforce, not comment until March 21st. Lorelai Gilmore comments about when we will be getting there when she is in the car on her way to her walk. She makes little quivering sounds of excitement and looks all about. Her ears look strange.

Gilly in the car and on the jetty
Wee Jock has a new little sister: Bessie. I think it is so nice of her parents to name her after Doctor Who's car!! I have popped along to their house, which is about one minute away, twice, to make sure Wee Jock and Bessie are getting along well. And they are!!! Bessie has grown, she's so much bigger today than last week. I can't take a photo because I left my camera at MrsDrWho's house. Too much Press Gang excitement!!

Wee Jock and Bessie
When I get my camera back I can show you pictures of new wool and my visit to MrsValley's house and all the wild life that abounds.

Biscuit update: MrsDrWho reports that the Monday Munchies #6 Giant Choc-Chip biscuits are as crisp and tasty today as they were last Friday. She's kept them in an airtight container and they are good as new.

Lorelai Gilmore is getting a bit uppity so there will have to be some rigorous enforcement of rules. It is really hard to take a photo with all three Labradors. Even harder when I don't have my camera. Luckily I had downloaded one hundred and five photos on Tuesday!!

Girls just want to have fun
Cooler temperatures are forecast and I hope to make some headway with covering Otto and finishing my Stargate cardigan. It is two years old and bordering on the ridiculous when it just needs the fronts finished and then sewing together. I must update my OPAM sticky post anon!!!

Monday Munchies #6

I was watching Nigella Express a few weeks ago and she made giant choc-chip biscuits. Excellent, MrsDrWho is in dire need of Christmas cooking, because she was in Singapore instead of here during the Festive season.

I asked MrsDrWho to rate them and she gave them 20 out of 10. She also said that she found herself eating one for breakfast and thought to herself that it wasn't exactly a balanced meal, so she picked up another with her other hand, and then she felt completely balanced!!!

Although these are giant, you could make them smaller and thus have 24. Not sure about the length of cooking time though.

Choc full of chips

Nigella's Giant Choc-Chip Biscuits - makes 12
  • 125g good dark chocolate
  • 125g softened butter
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 cold egg (!!)
  • 150g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa
  • 1 tspn bicarb soda
  • 375g (ish) of choc chips, dark or milk as you choose

Preheat oven to 170*C (160FF) and line two trays with silicon paper.

Melt the 125g dark chocolate either over a double boiler or in the microwave like I do!!

Cream the butter and sugars till very light and fluffy, add the melted chocolate, the egg and vanilla and beat till well combined.

Sift the dry ingredients together and then mix in and finally stir in the choc-chips.

Nigella used an ice cream scoop to form the biscuits. I used a 1/4 cup measure almost full. Dip either in hot water before you scoop up the biscuit mixture each time. Arrange 6 biscuits on each tray. Cook for 15-18 minutes. Chocolate biscuits burn easily, so it's best to check early. I rotate the trays and swap shelves too.

Leave on the tray for about 5 minutes and then place on a rack to cool completely.

Then eat as part of a balanced diet, ie one in each hand!!!.

Dude, Where's My Brain?

Last weekend I caught up with the Lovely Mrs KateKnight, and her equally lovely family, for lunch in The Northern Capital. It never ceases to amaze me that when I meet people I know virtually, it's just like I know them for real. Mr Knight and the little Knights, Kate and I had a delicious lunch and there was a lot of chatting, non-stop, and knitting as well. KateKnight made me a lovely gift, an Andean bag, with Four Golden Dogs to guard it: one for every Labrador!! I had neglected to post about it, and then when I remembered (Dude, where's my brain?? Fried by the heat, man!) I followed her instructions and gave it a light steaming. My word it came up beautifully. Thank you so much KateKnight!! I love it. And to think this is her first attempt with the 'knitting two colours with two hands' style.

Andean I love you so

I knitted my cloth for the Cloth and Soap Swap. I used some Heritage Breeze/Bendigo Harmony and knitted a pattern of little knots. I wanted to make it look vaguely like orange skin and I think it does look vaguely like orange skin!! I found this knot in my Vogue Dictionary of Stitches. 

Orange you glad I made this
I did a four row pattern, keeping the 5 Moss stitches as a border with a multiple of 6 stitches for the body (42):

Row 1 - K3 {P3 tog, K into same 3 stitches, P into same 3 stitches}
Row 2 - P all stitches
Row 3 - {P3 tog, K into same 3 stitches, P into same 3 stitches} K3
Row 4 - P all stitches

When we come home from our walk, Lorelai Gilmore behaves as if she has been separated from her sisters for aeons. I love the way you can almost see her tail wagging and the happy smiles of Harki and Peri through the gate.

Where have you beeeeeeen
Speaking of gates, I think this is a little overkill. All those locks on a track to nowhere.

Lock the gate
We haven't had any rain, apart from a few random 2 minute showers, since the beginning of November, we must almost be in drought again. Last night it was still 29*C/84*F at 10-45pm. I have been surviving on 4 1/2 or 5 hours sleep. I had hoped to sleep today, but there wasn't a cooling breeze. 

I have to declare my February OPAM goals, so here they are in no particular order:

  1. Re-cover Otto's base and upholster the new foam cushion I bought. Oh and cut it to fit.
  2. Draft a pattern and make Gaby's skirt
  3. Finish The Wee Spawn's Ark embroidery
  4. No doubt there will be something else.
Right now I'd settle for a good night's sleep.

The Doctor Who Fell To Earth

I can attest to the fact that it has been an extraordinarily dry and hot January. The heat has not been of record highs, but of record duration: more consecutive days of hotter temperatures. The Labradors and I have been so hot, and though I sleep at night, it isn't proper sleep, which is why when there was a cool breeze this morning we all went back to bed and slept soundly for three hours. MrsDrWho said it rained at her house last night, but all we saw was thunder and lightning in the distance, no rain. It must all be in Spain on the plain. Nevertheless we are still walking every second day. The bush is very dry.

Harki and Peri heard something in the bush and then they were both ultra alert. They are very funny. It was a man jogging in the heat and when he actually jogged past, they were way in the bush, running after the sound they heard!! In the wrong direction.....

Looking Listening

On Saturday I was sitting outside on the deck with my cup of tea reading away. I went inside and when I came back Harki and Lorelai Gilmore were doing synchronised lying. As soon as Lorelai Gilmore realised I had the camera she was up and running towards me. I don't know what she thinks, maybe that the camera is tasty??? They all lie in the Sun until they are too hot and then jump in the paddle pool.

Harki Gilly Paper
The Dessert Buffet Outing lasted from 6-30pm till about 10pm. The Buffet had lots of fresh fruit, melons, strawberries and passionfruit. Yum, I especially liked the jelly lamington, berries, ice cream and strawberry sauce. My favourite!!

Would you like a little dessert
  There was knitting as well, and lots of cups of tea!!

Knitting Buffet
This afternoon, MrsDrWho and I watched The End of Time, the last two episodes of David Tennant's Doctor Who-dom. Usually I try not to pre-empt The ABC, but they promised Doctor Who on January 17th, but now it will be a whole month later. Suffice it to say there were tears, there was laughter, much amusement and many questions answered. RTD certainly had a plan, a plan from the very start of his reign. Now I just have to bide my time till Matt Smith's Doctor appears!!
(No links to avoid Spoilers. People who watch DW know this is The End for Davis Tennant)