Friday, January 30, 2009

Gee we've had a long run of hot weather. And yeah, I know it's been 10 degrees hotter in other places, like Adelaide and Melbum... doesn't make it any easier here tho. We have lovely dusty smoke haze over the city from the Budawangs fires (south coast); nasty warm winds and a lot of gum tree branch-drop. Not to mention foot-expansion, face-melting, clothes-too-damn-hotting, and general yerk. A lot of ppl say it's not worth getting aircon in the house here, for the '4 days it's hot each summer', but by my count we're up to about 16 days now, that makes 1/24 of a year. That sounds MUCH longer!

We are seriously considering evaporative cooling thru the house. Other people I know here use it to great, fresh effect. Even in the humid days we had two weeks ago, Cath's (hi) evap cooling was still far more pleasant than outside. Not to mention being wonderfully soothing for hardass sinuses which never stop complaining about something; anything...

So ... we're abandoning this vale of sweat and tears and taking ourselfs down to the coast for a week. M will return in 4 days, but I have a whole, blissful nearly 9 days. I expect this time I'll actually go for a swim. Unfortunately I can't convince M we have room in the car for the portable cooler - I mean, all we'd have to leave behind is clothes, linen, food and supplies. Meh.

Today brought to you by a very very good and happy lunch with the Good Wimmin (now all three of us are non-workplace-enabled); a splat cat; several items crossed off the list; and a determination to try to do what the counsellor says, and ... just ... STOP. No purrfume, it's not worth it in the heat. But I will give a special mention to the delicious aroma of the eucalypt forest in the Fog/Sculpture Garden at the NGA. Very Very Delicious. They could have charged a gold coin donation for ppl to walk in and out of the fog, today.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's still hot. Now it's humid as well. We've had cracking great storms the last two nights, dumping great rain on the gardens, washing the birdsh off the car, and getting quite carried away making a huge hole in a new garden bed. Triffic. No watering by hand or bucket for several days. But sheesh, the humidity. The ultimate waah happened when I visited a friend (hi there Plummet-mummy!) who has evaporative aircon in her house. Kind of cooler, but sticky. The only downfall of evap aircon as far as I can tell. It was fine when we were blobbed on the couches, sucking back g + t and admiring the cats. But move and the great curtain of sweatiness descends... it's kind of uncool to have drips coming off your chin. And icky.

I cooked my ass off last week, entertaining house guests. There were amazing feats of ovening, grilling, salading, opening of bottles and eating; oh my, the eating! I'm glad I did it cos now we are happily making our way through some very good corned beef and some interesting salads. I amaze myself with what I can do if I don't think about it too much. The carrot salad was particularly good - grate carrot, apple and ginger. Mix with a bit of shredded coconut, a small slosh of balsamic vinegar, and the juice of a small ruby grapefruit. Nom.

But this is not really a recipe site, unless you count recipes for abstractions such as disaster, achieving serenity, the care and comforting of the furry feline, and how to garden without bending. Sometimes I alarm myself with the level of abstraction, but mostly I have part of one foot approximately in the same hemisphere as the ground....

I went shopping yesterday after Medicare paid me a nice lump sum. They were very generous, almost enough to make me forget the size of the bills I had to pay to get such a large return. I took me to the purrfume area of DJs, BAD ME. Of course I bought something. But but it were a bargain!!!! Three pocket sprays of 'Covet' for the price of one I tell you. On the strength of that I felt I could afford the sale price of small bottles of 'Angel', so now I have two. This is merely cautious pantry management principles being put to work on another kind of cupboard collection, ie as soon as one is close to running out, replace it. And gosh I could be left with an empty bottle at any time! I must be vigilant I tell you.

We won't discuss WHICH bottle, or point out that I have dozens, will we??

Today brought to you by M's birthday celebrations, hurray for him! And yum to the Thai dinner and pink champers. And yay for the birthday party tomorrow, there will be cake I tell you. I was going to be very organised and start tonight, but meh. I'm still hot, and the cooler in the bedroom is calling to me. I have a new edition of my fave magazine, several borrowed books to get thru (thanks to Shadow's-daddy and his joint collection!), one of M's xmas present books to attack, and at least 30 crosswords lined up for my delectation. You just don't know you're alive until you've delectated a crossword, trust me.

Today also brought to you by easy weeding after the rain; the pleasure of spending nearly a whole day in my silk nightie setting a new sloth record; Maccy looking equally pleased with hisself for excaping, and pissed-off for being founded and putted back inside; a serious drenching of 'Covet' for wearing out to dinner; and a strange sense of optimism.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It worked!

I am Officially Amazed. For once my 'make it rain' antics made it rain! We were sitting in a Szechuan restaurant (yeah, chillie on a hot muggy night, weird I know) and suddenly a huge flash of lightning, then a crack of thunder and it was pouring. Then there was another loud bang, and we saw a substantial bit of ceiling descending on two hapless customers. Oooooops.... the sudden flush of rain had caused a leak in only seconds which was enough to bust a ceiling panel. Those two grrrls didn't look very happy. The restaurant owners just stoically swept up the mess and put a bucket under the leak. The perils of working in the food industry!

It IS somewhat cooler. We are lucky that the breeze is going the right way to waft into our bedroom. Let's hope it means a comfier night, and no asthma. I've been koff koff wheeze all night for several days now, what a damn pest.

This evening brought to you by Ma Po Tofu, a decent squirt of 'Angel', and lovely cool feeties.

Noxious weather too.

Hot, hot wind, blistering sun, fading garden, failing ppls, house getting lovely n warm if you like sweating like a bloody sweater all the time. I've had wet hair for days.

We used the portable aircon thingy in the lounge for a few nights, blowy but cool. Last night we even lugged it into the bedroom to cool it down before bedtime.

Now it's muggy, blowy and trying very hard to be a huge thunderstorm. To encourage this, I've washed windscreens, left some washing out, and watered the pots. The only thing left in my armoury of how to make it rain is to have all the nappies in the house on the line. But as none of us use nappies and in fact I don't have any left (well, it HAS been about 20 years since they were required)... that's tricky.

Today brought to you by a cool shower at 2am, the hope of a g and t later on, and two floppy, sacked out cats. Bloop.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Noxious weeds.

I decided to look them up, so I wouldn't spend the whole night wondering if I know less than I thought. If you want to check, go to 'Weeds Australia- Noxious Weeds List'.

I am delighted to report that apart from the plants I listed, I have also eradicated or refused to accept these plants for my garden:

- periwinkle
- radiata pine/cypress pine
- St John's wort
- broad-leaf and Chinese privet
- asparagus fern
- willow
- Chinese elm
- pampas grass
- false acacia

However I am alarmed to skim through the list and see that some plants I have, or have planned, appear on the list. I'll need to investigate plants such as cape daisy, golden rain tree, flax (some ok, some not); and see if I'm still legal! I know I can't add blackberries, for example, to my fence of thorns.

Interesting reading. There's a lot of area-specific plants, many weeds which I suspect I couldn't identify easily. And some are deadly poison in one state but not noted anywhere else. Very interesting and confusing!

Do YOU have a innoxuous garden??

Sunday, January 11, 2009

View from the weekend..

Bumpy. Undulating? Definitely not smooth, anyway.

A friend had a bad fall and broke his hip; instant mayhem for the family. I hope he'll heal fast, completely and with added wisdom. Nasty events always have this potential!

My darling M has been very down today, after spending yesterday being wonderfully energetic and keeping ME going. He woke in the night saying he was feeling his age. Poor man. We decided that this meant today was an Official Sunday, thereby throwing all expectations to the winds and letting ourselves blob around, eat funny things at funny times, indulge each other, and play with the cats. The highlight of the day was watching a dvd of Claudio Abbado conducting the Berlin Phil in a lavishly gorgeous theatre in Sorrento. A wonderful purrformance of Dvorak's 'New World Symphony', with some rather pretentious doco-style ramblings about supposed influences on his composition. But the purrformance was masterful, and very well filmed. We enjoyed it very much, as we quietly removed a few more bits of fur-lump from Maccy, snorted our evening drinks down with posh chocolate, and tried very hard to get Wendy to come in from a storm. She turned up well after it was over, looking very pleased with herself. And very wet!

We've reconstructed my workroom as a spare bedroom (ie put a bed in there again), and M is now sacked out, safely tucked in away from my nocturnal/insomniac interruptions. I'm happily up the other end of the house (there's a lot to be said for long, rectangular houses), playing the Corrs, typing, arranging my 'art' teatowels on the bed (I can feel some hanging up coming on tomorrow), contemplating the Ikea delivery next weekend, thinking of sofa-hunting tomorrow, and considering the effect of a cheese sandwich before sleepytime. Trouble is, I want a cheese sandwich with LOTS of butter, and I'm sure my doc would shudder and point to my latest cholesterol level results. Dang.

I haven't made much of a start on this year yet, except to throw out the prescriptions from 2007 which are definitively out of date. I'm not trying for a resolution, cos I aint got any. Even moderate attempts at willpower are largely a failure. Going with the flow is easier, except I don't flow much, I'm more of a stasis girl. Oh well. There are some fun projects I could start on, easily completed, which would be satisfying. Like putting a hanging pocket on a sequinned and embroidered cloth, to hang behind our bed. Finishing putting polar fleece along the edge of our bedspread so the fringe doesn't tickle our noses. Sewing ditto to mum's HYOOG knitted blanky which is going to Germany to adorn the bed of my eldest niece. This one will have to be handsewn, and with temperatures aiming for 37 later this week, I'm not looking forward to having it in my lap! I might have to do a deal with the ironing board.. it can take the bulk and the weight, while I fiddle with the edge. We'll see. It might be one of those things which is massively attractive to the attentions of a cat. A cat which might think it's great fun to 'help'.

.... I should get my wobbly ass back to gym. And off to the pool for wading, which, dear readers, is THE exercise invented to fix your tight lower back. Goes like this: hop into the medium pool at Dickson, the one which is only 1.5m at the deepest end, is under shade-cloth, and is big enough to stride around. Stride around. Do this until you feel like a coffee. Go and get one - they're rather good at the cafe there - and resume striding around with your coffee in one hand. Fabbo. You can do all this without getting your hair wet, your self sunburnt, or endangering your caffeine level. Close to purrfect as a form of exercise don't you think?

Alice the Garden came today (delayed from last Tuesday when it was too hot). She does miracles every time. Today she put in the three large iceberg roses I was given before christmas. I've been keeping them alive in plastic bags... I hope they'll all thrive. We're happily planting prickly things all along part of our front fence, because late last year someone walking along there broke off most of my fruit tree saplings. Much grief, especially for the persimmon tree which was leaping towards the sun and looking very happy. Now it's only 2 feet tall. A nice thick row of high and rambling roses; boysenberries, raspberries, spiky grevilleas and anything else I can think of to add to the deterrent mix; a year or so of growing, and my trees will be quite safe. AND I hope all this will outgrow the bloody vinca, which is big fat nuisance all along the fence-line. As bad as ivy.

Alice's visits always leave me with lots of things to do in her wake. I can't dig the holes or cart the heavy bags of stuff around. But I'm a gun Seasol-er; I can plant wee things into the softer soil; and I can plan, oh how I can plan! I have many natives to go in, and my sis busy growing more from seed, the clever thing. When all my hakeas finally fall over, I'll have Canberra grown and hardened replacements all strong and healthy. Nice. I'll also have a very eclectic garden full of cape daisies and mint bush and boobialla and blue fescue and lavender and agapanthus and pigface and geraniums and seaside daisy... I think there's only one environmental weed in that list! I'll check... I've spent 10 years removing masses of the top ten enviro-weeds which were all rampant in this old garden. The huge piles of privet, honeysuckle, ivy, cotoneaster, vinca, wandering jew, ... well that's 6 out of 10. I know I had ten but it's too late to look up details. Trust me!

And now I see it is tomorrow and that cheese sammo is looking better and better. I guess I could go easy on the butter and add a bit of mustard... I will certainly be adding purrfume to the nocturnal mix. I have some Mugler 'Angel' which needs opening. The one I've been using in the last week is 'Lily Angel', a difference I didn't note until I saw bottles on display in a very dangerous shop in Manuka... a shop full of shiny things and discounted purrfume and beads and makeup and and and.. what with being under the influence of pancakes, being very relaxed, and knowing what was in my bank account, I had no chance did I?

Please send bone-knitting, garden-growing, headache-dispelling and sense-of-smell-in-full-opurrational-order vibes. They will all go to good homes. Send some dorter-patting too while you're at it, pats are always useful on dorters. Especially darling ones like mine.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My cattie..

.. is feeling better!! Add thyroid meds, and he's himself within half a day. Amazing. All he's done since we started meds is sleep, and be happy. Every now and then we see a black shadow stomping up to the kitchen for fud supplies; then he returns via a nice drink from the bucket in the shower to his preferred sleeping place - the carpet on my study floor. He lies against the door, paws all over the place, and sleeeeeeeeeps. Gorjuss.

That Other Cat is busy hunting buffaloes, committing atrocities under mrs nexdor's deck, and climbing trees to catch (or shoot) the breeze. Her other plan is to mulch the kitchen floor for me, so she engages in lavish dust-baths, rolling and rubbing herself in so that she turns brown, and then comes in and flosses it all onto the floor. She gets bonus points if I'm wearing my black daks, so she can rub the top layer off on them. What a life. Her other activity is sleeping on the dining table on my summer hat.

Cats are WEIRD. But oh so independent and norty and delightful.



kinda like me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Maccy: the update.

Saint LIbby the vet says all his symptoms (agitation, extensive vocalising, weight loss, poor grooming) can be attributed to hyperthyroidism. We were investigating this in early December, but he was unwell in other ways so the treatment had to be delayed. Now he has nice thyroid tablets to take for a few weeks. Then we'll re-check his blood test to make sure other things are working properly, and then !!!! he may well be a very good candidate for radio-isotope treatment. This means a week in an isolation ward while he metabolises the bit which makes Geiger counters go berko. Heh. This treament cures 95% of cats permanently from thyroid disfunction. I find it kind of amusing to consider having a radio-active cat! He's had so many other dramatic things wrong with him, I'm sure this will just add an eery green glow to his 8th or 9th life.

As for the rest of me, I am slowly climbing out of my 'return-to-home' slump. I spent a couple of hours in the garden last night, clipping, pulling a few succulent weeds, tying things up again, watering and plotting. The plotting is the most abstract and the widest ranging activity. I'm delighted to see that almost nothing has suffered during our absence. I think several storms of rain did their bit to keep things looking very good. Mysteriously the four pumpkin plants have disappeared, but I suspect they were put in a place that Wendy considered to be sacred digging territory, so I'm NOT going to investigate! The artichokes have positively creaked upwards, the roses are getting ready to bloom again, all the veggie seedlings are about 8 times bigger, and the weeds in the 'cleared' areas are looking especially lush.

I enjoyed having enough heat in the day to deal with umpteen loads of sheets, towels and every knicker in the house. Hmm, sun-dried knickers, there might be something in that... I like having my dvd collection, and my proper cushion on the chair, not to mention the lovely purple velvet pillows on the bed. So sofffttt....

Resolution? I haven't had the heart to make any, but today a little thought kind of trickled through the layers of early morning fug, caffeine absorption and bleariness - maybe I could try a bit harder. That's it. I'm not going to spoil a good idea by confusing it with details, expectations or deadlines. We'll see.

Today brought to you by a very shiny laundry (after I had to completely take down, re-organise/prune/clean/de-tangle and tie up properly George and Georgette, the monsteras). Also a very shiny cat (Wendy, fopping all over the euphorbias), and a ruffled but patient Maccy. Also a few blasts of Angel, which I think I am going to be addicted to for a bit. Tomorrow is jam-making, sewing (with the aircon on for sure), and a proper dinner. Of..... proper food, proper cooking, and such. Watch this space!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cautious re-entry...

So... 2009.

We returned from our coast holiday this evening. Somehow getting home was not entirely joyous, even tho we had to push the car all the way cos it was so full of xmas purrchases and gifts! Our dear Maccy has been incompletely cared-for, and has lost weight and condition. He's been found outside a lot, so I suspect he's suffering food allergies again. Poor kitty. Little Miss Wendy however is looking shiny and sleek and VERY pleased to have the staff back. I was even granted a chin rub.

We enjoyed bringing in our new toy, a kitchen trolley - a rather spiffy beechwood trolley with removable cheese board, tray and drawer, includes bottle and glass holders, brakes on the coasters n all.

I am concentrating on optimism. I have read and read and read, and slept and slept, and cooked some lovely food, and rested and failed to engage in any projects except for the most personal and gratifying. I have talked to my darling dorter a lot. Not enough but a lot. I have successfully avoided quite a bit of the festive event, and enjoyed the rest. I have been expurrtly and thoroughly spoiled by my darling M, and the list of goodies is too long for me to print without embarrassment. A good season, then.

It's fun catching up with email, f***book, random spams and so on. Nearly three weeks off the webs! It may be the cure you know. The world has managed purrfectly well without me.

Tomorrow being another day, and all that. Today brought to you by Mugler's 'Angel'. Spicy, strong and encouraging. Always a good mix!