Friday, November 26, 2010

Just like Dad

Just like Dad
Originally uploaded by ninevah
We're currently in the toilet training phase. Small boy always tells me he "needs something to read". Guess where he gets that from!

Friday, November 19, 2010

who knows how long i've loved you*

I’ve been playing a lot of Beatles lately – these days I don’t get to listen to a lot of complete albums – mainly for nostalgia’s sake and because I’m still acclimatising myself to their album, The Beatles (also known as ‘the White Album’ (a requested Christmas present from last year which I’ve relocated from the ‘rubble’ of the study). It's one of those albums I've always wanted to own and seem to be on every "Albums You Must Own" list I've ever seen published. It contains several of the songs I know from growing up, and several I’ve rediscovered the joys of, and several I’ve fallen in love with, wondering how I’d never heard them after all these years.

For most people, a lot of their permanent musical tastes, or so I’ve assumed, usually develop from the music that their parents love. In my case, it was the Beatles. The Beatles seemed to define a shared common musical waterfall between my parents, cascading downwards to my brother and I. As I reflect now, my parent’s individual musical tastes seem quite different – my father was partial to acts like The Kingston Trio and my mother was into acts like the Seekers, and later, Barbra Streisand – but somehow, The Beatles were the meeting point. Perhaps it was this deep love of their catchy tunes combined with their sometimes witty and sometimes poignant (and sometimes altogether weird) lyrics that made the Beatles seem an innate essence of my being. I remember being aghast when a friend told me that she hated them. To her, the Rolling Stones were it. I was amazed that someone couldn’t like the Beatles, it seemed impossible and unnatural!

Every child usually remembers the music that was played on long car trips – my husband revealed Roy Orbison was a favourite – and usually, whether you liked it or not, those songs became ingrained in your memory. I can’t ever remember when we DIDN’T listen to the Beatles. The companion to our car trips was a 6-cassette album produced by Reader’s Digest called the Complete Beatles. Other musical variances – Hooked on Classics was another to get continual airplay and another Christian rock cassette briefly featured – came and went, but the Beatles was a permanent fixture.

Only on really long trip would all 6 tapes be played on each side. And they were always played in order. Each cassette measured the musical history of The Beatles, from their earliest hit to their later obscurer songs. We all sang along to Love Me Do, Do You Want To Know A Secret, Norwegian Wood, and Eight Days A Week. By the time Cassettes 5 & 6 were played – usually an indication that it was a really long car trip – we would be treated to later gems such as Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, The Long & Winding Road, The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill and Piggies. Possibly the reason I didn’t quite like the latter songs as much as the earlier songs was because we didn’t play tapes 5 & 6 enough. Somehow, Cassette 5 went missing; disappointing as it featured some of the favourite songs, and though I denied any wrongdoing, I had to ‘fess up years later, finding when emptying a small bedroom cupboard. By which time, it didn’t matter since we hardly played cassette tapes anymore. I still felt guilty though.

It seems funny to me now, that the music I loved was the music that my parents loved – by the time the Beatles had reached my ears, it was some 20 years after those hits were made, a long time after they’d disbanded, and about 5 years after John Lennon had been assassinated. By which time, any hopes of a Beatles reconciliation that my newly christened ears (and mind) had formed were dashed. I often wonder music what my children will adore, since I know that whatever my husband and I will play will stick with them, as it did with me when my parents played it. Still, my love for their music has remained and I get pleasure from playing it – sometimes repeating particular tracks endlessly – as much now as I did back when I was younger.

*taken from “I Will”, featured on the album, The Beatles (aka The White Album)

Who knows how long I've loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime
If you want me to, I will

For if I ever saw you
I didn't catch your name
But it never really mattered
I will always feel the same

Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we're together
Love you when we're apart

And when at last I find you
Your song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you
Make it easy to be near you
For the things you do endear you to me
Oh, you know I will
I will

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today I attacked the study... again. It's the room that bugs me the most, it's a dumping ground for stuff that can't be sorted, filed, organised, or be bothered with until later. This week, it forms part of my 'to-do' list. So I borrowed Dad's shredder...

Last week, while Corey was away working in Gippsland all week, I set myself a long list of things to do around the house and gradually chipped away at it. While I didn't finish the list, I crossed off most of the items and was pretty pleased that I (mostly) stuck to it. So last week, I was cleaning the house like a woman possessed.

This week, Corey is away again, so my goal is organising/tidying/cleaning the study. Today's first step was sorting the various piles of paper and 'things' into piles on the floor and removing all the financial & work related bits of paper that were older than 7 years. These got shredded, a slightly cathartic activity. Fingers crossed I can keep up the effort and have the study sparkling by the end of the week!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

that one day in september

Yesterday happened to be the re-match of the AFL Grand Final, but that's not what I'm blogging about. While the Grand Final is synonymous with the phrase "...that one day in September", for me it was different. Yesterday also coincided with what happened a month ago, on a day in September. 3rd September, to be more precise.

The start of September usually heralds a few things - the start of spring, goodbye to coldness (although you wouldn't have known much difference in the weeks that followed) and my beloved late Nanna's birthday. This particular year, it was also the day I found out I was expecting our second child. It's something I'm still grappling with, not so much the shock, but the realisation settling in. This pregnancy was planned, or rather, in the words of my husband, "We should get onto that", as if it was yet another task that had to be done, like mowing the lawns.

A test was conducted, me musing, "hmm, what if" and there it was, 2 pink lines on a stick. I said a quiet "Happy Birthday Nanna" to myself, knowing she'd be tickled pink to know - or perhaps she already did on same other level. I kept the stick, showed my husband and we kept quiet for a good month. It felt good to have a nice little secret all to ourselves, but when we started telling people (at 10 weeks), the excitement and happiness was infectious which made it seem all the more real.

In the meanwhile, it's business as usual with the daily grind. I'm not stopping myself going to the gym, I'm determined to not blow out of proportion, though I'm a bit dismayed to see the middle "tyre" returning. I'm thankful now that I'll be moderately "with child" during the summer period, instead of heavily pregnant, it ought to make the summer a bit more bearable. That, and maxi dresses.

So happy birthday Nanna, you're not here to share this news with us but it made your birthday a little more special, even if I was the only to know it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

a win

Originally uploaded by ninevah
Because I rarely win things -- thought I'd share this. Each week, my gym has a competition for those who come in at least 3 times a week.

This week, I won! A snazzy Contours backpack is nothing to sniff at (and it's quite comfy to wear, too).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Arrival of spring & clean-outs

Another quiet period between posts. Typically, I can't think of much that has happened - Winter, for the main part. It's cold in our house, we have no central heating, and the main heating unit is in the lounge/communal area. The only other heater we have is one of those standup, moveable metal oil heaters, which resides in Rory's room during the winter months. Thankfully yesterday marked the first day of spring - though you wouldn't know it from the persistence of rain - so the weather is on the way up.

Along with the onset of spring, the vegetable/herb garden has been re-invigorated with more vegetable seedlings and herb seedlings, some herbs have been transplanted to other areas to make better use of the space and the citrus plants which will one day be 'espaliered' are slowly getting bigger. I'd love to take a picture and upload it of the revamped garden, but someone (who recently turned 2 1/2) broke the camera and until I can get a new one, I've borrowed my father's "pink" digital camera however don't have the means to upload just yet.

Today the small boy and I are having a day at home, we're both suffering colds (his is worse than mine so far) so I took the opportunity to do a stocktake of the pantry (how many cans of tinned tomato and corn kernels have I?!) and make use of some overripe bananas. Next stop, resorting the plastics cupboard. I'm still avoiding completing the study clean up/sorting, as I know I'll need at least one full Rory-free day to do this. Maybe I'll feel motivated this weekend? Though wouldn't you know it, sunshine is predicted for Saturday and who wants to spend time indoors?!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

comfort soup

Originally uploaded by ninevah
Today's very simple recipe is a favourite I used to make when I was living on campus at University. It's from a tiny Gabriel Gate recipe book and is super easy and super quick to make.

Leek & Chicken Soup


2 chicken fillets
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon butter
2 medium leeks, finely sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 medium potato, diced
8 cups chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup corn kernels
2 tablespoon parsley (optional)
crusty bread to serve


1. Cut chicken into very small pieces and toss in a bowl with soy sauce.

2. Heat butter in a non stick fry pan and stir fry leeks for 2 minutes. Add carrot and stir fry for 1 minute.

3. Add potato and chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

4. Blend half the soup to a puree and return the pureed soup to the pan.

5. Add corn kernels and simmer for 5 minutes.

6. Add chicken pieces to hot soup and leave on gentle heat for 5 minutes without boiling it. Stir in parsley and serve.

Serves 6

Note: I find using a bamix in the pot to blend it, rather than remove portions in batches to puree, much easier.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Originally uploaded by ninevah
Rory was given this cool handmade wooden car last night by my step-grandmother, Ma. What's even cooler about it is that it was made by my late grandfather, Poppa, as a gift for someone they knew. Now it's been returned to the family and Rory (and later, presumably when Huon's old enough) is delighted with it.

It's his new favourite toy. In the picture, you can see his two teddies have been stuffed in. 'White' Teddy is driving (allegedly) despite both legs hanging out the side door, and 'Yellow' Teddy is rear passenger.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

capabilities vs complacency

I sometime think that Rory was sent as a challenge, both physically AND mentally. My endeavours at the gym - to lose weight, keep fit and be able to chase after a small tornado - have clearly paid off. The mental challenges are ongoing and the goal posts are always changing with no abatement in sight. It's interesting to note that none of the other kids in my Mothers Group appear to challenge their parents in the way Rory does. He, perhaps, sets the trend at times.

Every so often, we appear to reach a point where boundaries and capabilities are met, silently acknowledged and respected. And then, predictably, a sense of complacency sets in and we (both mother and son) know what we are capable of and life is good. That is, until another skill or ability is discovered.

As was discovered this morning.

Since Rory transitioned to a 'big boy bed' in the past month and a half, he's now able to get himself up and out of his room when he wakes in the morning. Usually, he'll run down to our room and snuggle in bed before his father reluctantly gets up and organises his (Rory's) breakfast. In the past week, he's started taking himself off to play nicely with his toys in the loungeroom.

Until this morning.

I awoke sometime after 6am to hear noises in the kitchen. I was sure I'd shut the kitchen baby gate, which is secured from the wall to the bench. My ingenious son had pushed his high chair to the bench and clambered over (no doubt thanking his skills he'd picked up from Gymbaroo in the process). By the time I'd dragged myself to the kitchen, I'd caught him standing in front of the fridge, with the door wide open, plastic bowl in hand, filled with 'bix' (Weet-bix). It was hard to tell him off for showing such initiative.

Unfortunately, this now means more baby proofing is required in the kitchen, as one of the last few 'gated' areas of the house is now accessible to a small inquisitive tornado. But on the flipside, now that Rory is becoming more self-reliant (by showing that he's able to entertain himself and get his own breakfast), it's a comfort to know that he able to carry out 'routine' activities without a lot of parental help.

Still doesn't mean we get a sleep in though!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

there are no donuts in death

Every Sunday afternoon I check the Postsccret site to absorb the writings of postcards of anonymous people wanting to get a secret off their chest. Most of the time, the secrets are slightly depressing, although there is quite often a few gems which shine some basic truth.
Today's batch included the one above. It struck me as being a pretty obvious sentiment. Why forgo all the pleasures that life can give you for an eternity in an unknown oblivion?
I think I want pizza for dinner now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

ANZAC Day Weekend

Spent the l-o-n-g weekend at Leongatha, with Corey's family friends. A chance for us to do nothing (finished a book, started another), not cook (2 dinners out, 1 lunch of chips & pies), be amused by local (Gippsland) advertising on television, and of course, catch up with the family. Returned home and spent the remainder of long weekend with family and friends down at Balnarring.

Saturday: Down to Leongatha just after lunch, chatted, relaxed, played on the playground (small boy, not me). Dinner at local Chinese where everythign that could go wrong, *did* go wrong. Dinner disagreed with small boy so most of Saturday night (from 10pm onwards) was spent cleaning up sick).

Sunday: Ben was dropped off on Sunday at Kay & Bim's. Out on Bim's boat down at Inverloch - he took Corey, Rory (first time on a boat) and Ben out on the water while Kay and I traipsed around Inverloch for lunch. Out of 2 pie shops (the one that claimed "50 varieties of pies" had sold out of pies), we bought hot chips, pies and chips for lunch, eating them at 'Pensioner's Corner' where Bim had driven the boat. Dinner at Leongatha RSL, boy was well behaved at dinner, unlike previous night. Finished early, battled with Rory to get him into bed whilst Corey had retired early.

Monday: Drove back to Hastings, baked some scones and took lunch down to Kim & Kylie's with Rohan & Kinga (& Huon) joining us. Corey helped Kim put some of their new kitchen together.
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Big Boy Bed

Aged 2 now, and in his own big bed. Small boy is delighted with his "new" room - I had to totally rearrange the room to fit the bed in. He hasn't fallen out of it yet so that's another good thing. The quilt on the bed is the one I made for him before he was born.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chocolatey Squidgy Brownie Goodness

(Also known as Nigella's Flourless Chocolate Brownies)

Discovered this recipe recently when a friend posted in her facebook status that she was making them. It's available on Nigella Lawson's website, but I've converted it slightly to suit Aussie measurements, including ingredient recommendations. Nigella's recipe works well as a dessert with accompanying hot chocolate sauce, but I've only ever made it as a brownie.

This recipe is very easy to make, as all the ingredients can be mixed together in the same saucepan and then transferred to a 24cm square baking tin.

225g Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa solids)*
225g Butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 cup (200g) Caster Sugar
3 eggs, beaten
150g Ground Almonds**
100g Chopped Walnuts***
Icing sugar, to dust

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan.
  3. Take the pan off the heat, mix in the vanilla and sugar, and let it cool a little.
  4. Beat the eggs into the pan along with the ground almonds and chopped walnuts.
  5. Turn into a greased square baking tin (or a foil one if you have one)
  6. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, when the top will have set but the mixture will still be gooey.
  7. Allow to cool and cut carefully into 16 (four down, four across) squares. Refridgerate until it needs to be served.
  8. Prior to serving, dust with icing sugar.

* 2 x 200g blocks of Lindt 70% or Black & Green 70% chocolate works well.
** I used 'Freshlife' Almond Meal.
*** I used 125g packet of 'Lucky' Crumbed Walnuts

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

birthday boy

Our little boy - even as I write he's still half the size of me, in height - turned 2 last Saturday.

His birthday coincided with the Westernport Festival so Saturday was spent opening presents, watching the parade down High Street at midday and wandering around the amusements, attractions & rides at the foreshore. For dinner, we enjoyed a BBQ tea at the fire station (for brigade members) and topped the evening off with fireworks down the foreshore.

On Sunday, we hosted a small afternoon tea for close friends and family. Hubby took the small boy down the foreshore to look at the big truck display (scoring himself a ride in a crane whilst down there) whilst I cooked, baked and generally got the decorations up before the guests arrived.

Small boy was spoilt rotten with the guests and presents and was in awe of the excellent train birthday cake that his Nana made for him.

Monday, February 22, 2010

self-imposed hiatus.... Over!

Ok, it's been well over a year since I posted. Life gets in the way, and that'll be my pathetic excuse for not posting.

An update:

  • The small boy turns 2 this weekend. Tall (about a metre in height, half my height!), blonde, curious, into anything and everything. Speech has finally kicked in, with words coming left, right and centre.
  • Gym visits still going strong - 3 times a week. Have lost nearly 35kg (which I'm quite happy with) and starting to reach a plateau, which is to be expected.
  • I'm a SAHM. No intention of going back to work just yet, unless a good offer comes up!
  • Hatches, Matches & Dispatches update: 2 engagement, 2 marriages, 2 babies (plus another in March). No deaths - anyone that I know closely - as yet.
  • House progress - pergola built, laserlight to be attached shortly, gutters currently being replaced. Garden beds built (one vegie patch, one out the front, one for citrus plants). Hot water system replaced and insulation (as per government scheme) replaced. Mostly work outside; inside work relatively quiet, save for some shelves in laundry.
  • Current TV addiction: Dr Who and Torchwood.

Until later...