Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On Christmas Eve...

When else can you enjoy milk, mince pies & shortbread for breakfast..??

Yesterday Matilda and Myles wanted to bake so they made shortbread...and did a fantastic job of it too. This morning was pretty relaxed here...we lounged around and watched an absolute favourite DVD...The Princess Bride. I think I have seen it at least 20 times but just love it every time I watch.

Time to get showered and dressed and get on with food preparations for tomorrow.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Last night when perusing the wine cellar John noticed that a bottle of Penfold's Grange Hermitage was somewhat rusty around the top. On further investigation he noticed that it had leaked slightly.

From Nick's Wine Merchants website...

"Penfolds Grange is without doubt one of Australia's and the world's most famous wines. From humble beginnings in the 1950's, Grange has maintained its place as Australia's most prestigious red wine over four decades and lead the charge of Australian wines onto the world market. Today, it is a wine of international fame challenging the First Growths of Bordeaux as the Worlds best. And like the First Growth wines of Bordeaux such is the reputation of Grange that each vintage is eagerly awaited by collectors both in Australia and overseas...

...Penfolds Grange is the benchmark against which all other Australian red wines are judged. To share a mature Grange, 15 to 20 years old in fine condition is one of the great wine experiences."

Of course it couldn't have been any old run of the mill everyday drinking red wine could it..?? It had to be the ultimate Australian red wine.

Hoping against hope we opened it this evening to enjoy with a pasta dinner. Sadly it had turned, the nose was very much like methylated spirits and it had turned a nasty brown colour.

I have just checked the Penfolds website...1995 Grange is now worth $499.00/bottle


Think I'll keep that information to myself.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Five Questions...

I have taken part in a Meme with a difference...

Ian from Single Parent Dad "interviewed" me and here are his questions and my answers

1. Your partner was widowed, did this make you more or less reluctant to get into a relationship with him?

Hmmm, something I have never really thought about really. I was looking for a man who understood what it was like to be a sole parent, preferably 24/7 and not the every second weekend variety. John speaks of his wife with warmth and compassion and doesn't put her on a pedestal or eulogise her. I really like that. He speaks of her from time to time, never inappropriately and if I have any questions I am able to ask and have them answered. I was also glad that I wasn't the first woman John had been involved with after Dianne died. He and the boys all grieve in different ways, he for the partner and mother of his children, Josh had her in his life for 10 years and remembers her very well, Myles was very young when she died and doesn't really remember her at all. He says he sometimes does but isn't sure whether they are real memories or whether he has constructed them from what people have told him and photographs.

I guess the answer to this question is neither, not more or less reluctant, he was just the right man to come my way.

2. Will you be spending any part of Christmas day on the beach?

Quite possibly, yes...the forecast for Christmas Day here is 31C (that's 88F). We live very close to the beach and spend a bit of time there. It depends on how sleepy we all are after Christmas lunch...I always love a siesta afterwards. We have a swimming pool so that may suffice but a beach walk would be great too.

3. Who is your money on for the 2009 Ashes?

I barrack for anyone but Australia in any cricket match they play. They are far too smug and superior and I love to see them beaten. So I guess my money is on England, especially at home.

4. How frightened were you of your recent back surgery and have you been righted?

Truthfully...I was terrified. In fact my blood pressure was rather high on the morning of surgery. There were hours of waiting around before going into theatre which made it even more anxiety ridden. I was never so glad to get onto the operating table and be put under anaesthetic as I was that day, such a relief. It was good to wake up, even better to feel that there was no pain, burning or numbness in my legs and feet...there had been for the last 18 months.

The surgery has been successful, although today I have been having a bit of back pain but probably because I have been overdoing it...I need anti-inflammatory medication and rest. The surgeon tells me that it will take 6-9 months for the fusion to set completely and that I can expect some intermittent pain so until then I can't make a definitive statement about it's success but it's looking good thus far.

5. What was the last thing to genuinely make you laugh out loud?

Our cats...we have two lunatic Burmese cats, Leo & chocolate brown and the other red. They get along incredibly well for two unrelated male cats that were thrust together. Every morning there's a huge bout of rough & tumble...always guaranteed to raise a belly laugh.

Want to be part of it?

Follow these instructions:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation, a link to this post and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Running Away From Home...

Bit of a lazy post today...I found this clip yesterday while checking out another and just loved it. It's too good to keep to myself. I enjoyed it even more when I discovered the boy's name was Magnus...I have a special little friend also named Magnus who is quite like this boy...thoughtful, very smart & has an original answer for everything.


Matilda gets home from Noumea this really looking forward to seeing her and hearing her travel stories...if running true to form she will not stop talking for many hours then fall in a tired heap. No doubt she will be quite exhausted, she will have had a week of very late nights (she usually needs 9-10 hours sleep each night) and very full days. We have no plans for tomorrow and are planning a gentle is the last day of school here in Queensland and students are "encouraged" not to attend...the schools cannot officially condone taking the last day off however do not mind if the students do not attend. I love the Summer break, 6-7 weeks off school and no real plans. Matilda and Myles will probably both travel to Victoria to spend time with their grandparents in the New Year, if only Josh would go away too then John & I could have a "holiday" here at home.

Hmmmm...that means it's my last child free day at home alone today for some time...better make the most of it. Might get some Christmas shopping in.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho...not long to go...

I have been a little absent this week, have had to lay low as I have had some unusual back pain. Am off to see my surgeon on Friday but in the meantime I have to rest as much as I can.

Yesterday I planned our Christmas lunch menu...sat on the sofa with a number of magazines & books. We usually do a lovely breakfast (croissants, smoked salmon and cream cheese, preserves, raspberries & cream and a fruit platter with juices, sparkling wine and lots of coffee) and then one main meal for the day, served around 3pm or so...there are lots of leftovers if anyone happens to get hungry.

This year our menu is...


Oysters with Wasabi, Soy & Sesame Dressing
Tiger Prawns
Moreton Bay Bugs
Lemon Aioli


Roast Loin of Pork with Apple & Sage Stuffing
Barbecues Salmon with Mango & Coriander Salsa
Roast Duckling with Sour Cherries
Ham off the Bone


Crispy Rosemary Potatoes
Roasted Tomato & Red Onion Salad
Asparagus with Lime Butter
Wild Rice & Cranberry Salad
Mixed Green Salad (greens from our garden)


Poached Champagne Peaches
Christmas Trifle

To be served with the appropriate wines of course. I'll also probably make a festive punch for those not drinking alcohol.

It seems ridiculous to me to do the whole hot roast dinner when living in the sub-tropics. It will quite probably be around 28-32C (82-90F) here on Christmas Day so the meal needs to be adapted to suit the climate. I'll cook the pork, duck, salmon and potatoes in the barbecue out on the back verandah to keep the house cooler and to give me some space. It can still remain very festive & special. Many families eat outdoors or have a Christmas barbecue or picnic, a very sensible idea indeed.

After lunch we will quite probably either sleep or swim in the pool, possibly both.

Just once in my lifetime though I'd love to do the white Christmas thing in a cold climate.

Just as a side note...last weekend John was shopping and saw legs of ham that had been reduced in price. He thought they were very reasonable so decided to purchase one. When he got to the checkout the ham scanned at the original price so he was lucky enough to get it free of charge. Have to love the Scanning Code of Conduct, don't you...??? It was around $45.00 worth of ham, free of charge.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Leaving On A Jet Plane...

No more sleeps Mum...!!!

Matilda is off to Noumea this afternoon with her school French class...!!! How exciting are school excursions these days.. ?? I remember flying to Tasmania from Melbourne in Year 10 and that was a really big deal. They will be staying at the Hotel Le Pacifique and will need to use their French language skills at every opportunity. Matilda will spend one night with Ondine, (the New Caledonian exchange student we had stay with us for a week in August), and her family. The highlight of the trip is a visit to Amedee Island where they will get a chance to snorkel gorgeous coral reefs and view the fish, rays and sharks, eat an amazing feast and get a chance to watch/participate in local dancing. The kids have a reasonable amount of free time for beaching, lounging by the pool and shopping (doing a mild panic here hoping she has enough cash). One of Matilda's life dreams has been to swim in crystal clear blue, travel brochure style water...I think she is going to be able to realise this dream while away, how special.

It's been a long countdown for her and her friends Maddy & Anwen...they began the countdown at 303 days to go...reaching 100 was a big deal then quite suddenly we were in single figures.

I have to admit to feeling a little wistful and envious. You see, I was to go too as one of the parent escorts. By about September though it became apparent that my back would not allow me to travel, either if I had had the surgery or would have been a very difficult trip for me to make given their itinerary. Very reluctantly I had to cancel.

The bags are almost packed...
Passport in hand...
South Pacific Francs purchased...
Host family gifts purchased...

Now all we have to do is wait...and wait...until 4.30pm. It could be a long afternoon.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just Being...

Yesterday morning Matilda and I had to be out of the house early to get her to a Cheerleading display she was participating in. After dropping her off I went in search of coffee and the newspaper and a quiet, shady spot to spend an hour or so reading. I found a beautiful park, sat in the shade and wound the car windows down so the breeze would waft through...put a favourite CD on and just drifted for a while.

After she was finished I wasn't ready to go home, wanted more of that relaxed time I had spent alone so we headed to Kangaroo Point Cliffs...right on the Brisbane River. The City of Brisbane has set up this public space to be used by the community for rock climbing and abseiling. I guess they figured that people would use it anyway, they just made it more attractive and much safer by adapting the top of the cliffs. I really love the positive development of this public space.

The view from this part of the river in both directions is spectacular, to the east there is the city and Storey Bridge, to the west there is South Bank, the new Brisbane Star Observation Wheel and GoMA (the Gallery of Modern Art). We found a seat just for two in the shade and just sat and watched the world pass by on the river. CityCats passed every 10 minutes or so, I love that Brisbane uses it's waterway as a means of public transport that costs very little to use (Melbourne could certainly learn a lesson or two here), the trip from the University of Queensland to Brett's Wharf is a fantastic way to spend an hour or two, you can get on and off as you wish...there are a number of beautiful parks along the route as well as the Powerhouse Arts has a great cafe overlooking the river and lots of fun, free activities for children.

We didn't venture down the steps right to the river, sculpture gardens and maze...I'm not quite up to that many steps yet, 3-4 is my limit at present but that's improving all the time. We just sat, chatted and let the river breeze pass us by...we also took some "Thelma & Louise" style photos with my phone, a moment or two of silliness...we'd wave to the CityCat passengers just to see how many would wave back. I'd post the pics but cannot for the life of me find the software that I need to install before I can upload them to the PC.

I really enjoy the time Matilda and I spent together away from the rest of the family...there was just the two of us for almost 13 years and we did so much together. I think it's important to find time to spend like that. We don't have to "do" anything, we spent far too much time "doing" and not enough time just "being". We couldn't have done it if Myles were with us yesterday, he wouldn't have had the patience to just sit...he'd have had to have been up and down the steps, climbing the huge Moreton Bay Fig behind us or just wanting to get going. It made it an even more special time for Matilda and I...she gets just being.