Wednesday, December 30

SLOW living

I've been feeling like a bit of a fraud for a while. This week, its really come home to roost but I've been conscious of and feeling like this for a couple of months. Fraudulent in the sense of not deceiving outright, just feeling a little like stretching the truth somewhat.

My tag line for my blog may have to change.

Living with SLOW principles when you are a mum of three and a worker and a student and starting a small business and helping another one get up and running does not for SLOW living make. Having a husband who is now running for parliament in the next State election doesn't help. SLOW living is not really HOW we live hour to hour. Its pretty hard and fast around here.
'Doh!', yeah, i hear you groaning.

Funny, I really identify with SLOW principles. I believe in savoring, getting back to first principles, working for your rewards, not taking the easy options, respecting nature, appreciating the effort that goes in to making, doing, being. SLOW principles are what we always try to employ in what we do, what we use, what we consume, and how we do it. But it all adds up in a modern world to a crazy busy life of promoting SLOW. Our lives are based on generating a public interest in ideas like this. My tag line needs to read something like' a SLOW principled woman working too FAST in a modern world, striving to make SLOW a conscious and attainable way of life.
Within all my responsibilities, paid and otherwise, I try and practice SLOW but at the end of the day it really all adds up to BUSY. Trying to live as consciously and ecologically as possible and getting the word out there and trying to make a difference as a working person with a family is inherently not SLOW.
Cant quite work it out.

Monday, December 28

bean playing

I've been busy the last few days. Busy unwinding, really unwinding, from the tight coil that was me trying to get my thesis done by Christmas. It took a few days to unfurl, to drop the physical and emotional stress I had been carrying, which had been propelling me along. Its been beautiful, this time at home. I've mostly spent my time playing in the garden, the girls too, the weather has been just perfect for outdoors. We have spent most of our days sitting in the creek, above the creek, beside the creek, listening to the waterfalls and indulging the Boybean in his favourite new pastine; rock tossing. Plonk.
I havent been out in public since I finished. We've been living off food from the garden, Christmas leftovers and pantry staples. We've been playing games, cooking together, doing hours of Lego building and watering the vegetables. Life is good this week.

Friday, December 25

comfort, joy and butter up its arse

Here's a Merry Christmas read from Waffle; Belgiums slattern extraordinaire and 'unfit' mother. Hope 'y'all had a good one. Im barely conscious. The thought of eating another crustacean is making me feel a bit ill. 'The Night' went extremely well. lots of laughter and wine and food and family goodness. It was brilliant. The Big Beans declared today the best-est, happiest day of their life which they wish could be repeated every day, like groundhog day, hereafter...
Hope you're all well satiated.

Wednesday, December 23

i dunno what i was thinking

when i decided that the 24th December would be a good deadline to submit my thesis for its last supervisors' edit. Im snappy. I think I thought maximum time to finish and then I'd be free and able to enjoy the compulsory University shut down from midday tomorow until January 5. Im cranky, stressed, short tempered and suffering a mga burn (dropped a hot molten butter pie crust on my arm??!!??) I've cooked three dishes tonight since i got home from work- dinner; ravioli with carrot sauce, sweet potato bake with nut crumble topping- sweet potatos baked with fresh thyme then mashed with cooked garlic and leek and ready to have the parmesan pine nut crumble topping placed then baked tomorrow night. Boysenberry pie crust cooked, creme patissiere made, that too is ready to be assembled tomorrow and berries piled on top. Just the Beef Wellington and hasselback potatoes and beans to do tomorrow when i get home, after Ive finished the thesis.

Looking forward to that, and the fact that my brother has promised a massive lobster, and prawns and calamari. Surf n turf tomorrow night here i come! Cant remember the last time I ate all that over farmed seafood but Im not going to kick up a stink. I love love lobster. And I look forward to a glass or two (or three or four) of celebration fizz. My mums coming for a sleepover too- first Christmas morning with her for a long time. The big beans are pretty happy about that and she's stoked too. So, this may be the last post until after the crazy hullabaloo has died down. Ive so enjoyed having you all in my neighbourhood, thanks for your company. Have a wonderful time in peace and solitude, with friends, with family; whatever the silly season holds for you. Take care and look after the planet.

Monday, December 21

carrot and citrus wine

A few months back The Gnomes came to visit to make some wine. We decided on carrot and citrus wine (we had lots of citrus- lemon, orange, grapefruit) We picked and peeled and chopped and boiled and stirred. Then we poured carrot and citrus peel and juice and sugar and regular baking yeast into a big plastic bucket and left it stewing awhile. Then we decanted and drained off the must into another bucket and left it to ferment a month or so.

We tasted, checked the alcohol content, added a little more sugar and left it to ferment again.

When fermentation had slowed right down and the water seal in the bung/ airlock wasn't gurgling anymore we racked it; drained the wine from the sludge that settled at the bottom.

Near finishing time, we checked the clarity, added some gelatine to aid it clearing, and racked it again.

So, yesterday, two months after we first chopped boiled and stirred, the Gnomes returned and we bottled up the wine. A dozen each thereabouts. We reckon it packs quite a punch.

We sampled a little; its very good, spirit-like its so punchy, no hint of carrot and the bloke reckons 'it tastes a bit like Christmas'.

The Gnomes also guided me in a trimming and carving session on a huge hunk of beef. I now have lots of meals of thin schnitzel, a fillet for christmas, some steaks and chunks for curry or mince. What a rare treat! I even got invited to a 'pluckin' party'! Like minds is all Im saying. Stay tuned for that post.

The boybeans got a sweet little thing goin' on with Veggie Gnome. Must be all the berries...

Sunday, December 20

Viva Chavez!

Press release. Copenhagen.
Chavez Calls for Systemic Change to Save Planet
By Kiraz Janicke

During his speech to the 15th United Nations Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez slammed the lack of political will of the most powerful nations to take serious action to avert climate change, and called for systemic change to save the planet.

Chavez, who received a standing ovation for his speech, said the process in Copenhagen is not democratic; it is not inclusive. In particular, he criticised an attempt by rich countries to overturn the Kyoto Protocol. Doing so would eliminate differentiation between the obligations of rich and poor countries, treating countries from the Global North and South as equally responsible for climate change.

There is a group of countries that believe they are superior to those of us from the South, to those of us from the Third Word...this does not surprise us...we are again faced with powerful evidence of global imperial dictatorship, Chavez said.

The Venezuelan president also applauded the initiative of the protesters outside the summit who were calling for serious measures to stop catastrophic climate change.

There are many people outside... I've read in the news that there were some arrests, some intense protests there in the streets of Copenhagen, and I salute all those people out there, the majority of them youth. They are young people concerned for the world's future, he said.

I have been reading some of the slogans painted in the streets. One said, "Dont Change the Climate, Change the System!" And I bring that on board for us. Lets not change the climate. Lets change the system! And as a consequence, we will begin to save the planet. Capitalism is a destructive development model that is putting an end to life, that threatens to put a definitive end to the human species.

Another notable slogan is, If the climate were a bank, they would have bailed it out already, Chavez said during his speech. Its true; the rich governments have saved the capitalist banks, he said, but they lack the political will to make the necessary reductions to greenhouse emissions.

One could say there is a spectre at Copenhagen, to paraphrase Karl Marx...almost no-one wants to mention it: the spectre of capitalism, he declared.

History requires all people to struggle against capitalism, and if we dont, life on the planet will disappear, the Venezuelan president argued.

Do the rich think they can go to another planet when they've destroyed this one? he asked as he recommended a copy of a book by Herv Kampf, How the Rich are Destroying the Planet.

Climate change is undoubtedly the most devastating environmental problem of this century. Floods, droughts, severe storms, hurricanes, melting ice caps, rise in average sea levels, ocean acidification, and heat waves, all of that sharpens the impact of global crisis besetting us, he continued.

Human activity is exceeding the limits of sustainability and endangering life on the planet, but the impacts of climate change are also being felt disproportionately by the worlds poor, Chavez explained.

He also pointed to the relationship between economic inequality and levels of greenhouse gas emissions. He said the richest 500 million people, or 7% of the worlds population, are responsible for 50% of global greenhouse emissions, while the poorest 50% of the worlds population are responsible for only 7% of total emissions.

Using this analysis, he argued that it was not feasible to call countries such as the US and China to sit at the summit on an equal footing, insisting that the same obligations cannot be imposed on both nations.

The US, with a population of 300 million, consumes more than 20 million barrels of oil a day, while China, whose population is almost five times greater than that of the US, consumes around 5-6 million barrels a day, he pointed out.

The behind-the-scenes negotiations at the summit have been marked by sharp disputes between the US and China, and between rich and poor nations. Poor countries have criticised rich countries for attempting to set inadequate emissions targets for industrialised countries and for pledging insufficient funding for poor countries to alleviate the impacts of climate change.

According to various reports, poor nations argue that rich countries should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The European Union has pledged a 20 percent reduction. The US, however, has only offered only a 3-4 percent cut.

Outside in the streets of Copenhagen mass demonstrations calling for climate justice have been repressed by police using pepper spray and batons. More than 1000 people have been arrested.

We ask from Venezuela: How much longer are we going to allow such injustices and inequalities? How much longer are we going to tolerate the current international economic order and prevailing market mechanisms? Chavez questioned.

Chavez called for the summit to change direction. We cannot continue like this. Lets change course, but without cynicism, without lies, without double agendas, no documents out of the blue, with the truth out in the open, he said.

Saturday, December 19

so my brother called...

and told me that he loved me, that they would lock in next Christmas lunch as i had requested, that they would come to our house on Christmas Eve and we would do dinner as a complete family, that they would bring food, and I cried. I think my last email must have worked or something? My poor mum was beside herself with joy. I cant remember the last time we had a Christmas meal with them...

So my head turns to a menu. Thinking that I will suggest they bring wine and i will do the food. I'm thinking a piece of fantastic local fillet of beef wrapped in mustard, wild mushroom duxelle and pastry ala Wellington style, a boysenberry tart courtesy of the Gnome berry bushes, nut loaf with pimiento sauce for the vegos and some vegetables/warm salads. Any suggestions? I haven't ever done a Christmas Eve dinner. Usually Im a seafood for lunch at Christmas kind of girl and we always have nut loaf, its our family tradition. Whats your favourite Christmas food? Do you have a Christmas food that's tradition for you?

Thursday, December 17

very, very adult chocolate tart

This was B1s request for birthday cake. It followed a very favourite baked chicken, proscuitto and mozarella dish that i know from memory but can no longer locate since my move-in with the Bloke and I lost my Foods of the World Time Series cookbooks. If anyone has the Italian small companion recipe book I'd love you forever if you could tell me what this dish is called. Its floured, flattenned chicken breasts, gently sealed and browned, then topped with proscuitto and mozarella and baked in stock until it looks just perfect. Its moist and delicious and when we have it (birthday dinners) I always serve it with hasselback potatoes and beans/brocollini.
So the choc tart was the only thing I remembered to photograph, well that and the risotto balls I made for the vegos amongst us but...another post...

Its Jamie Olivers Chocolate Tart, best served with some berries. Its like a good red.

4 large eggs .
3 tbsps sour cream .
1 sweet tart crust ( I used Careme sweet vanilla bean pastry)
8 tbsps cocoa powder .
250 g 70% cocoa dark chocolate .
140 g unsalted butter .
syrup .
200 g caster sugar .
3 tbsps golden syrup .
1 pinch salt .


Step #1 Pre-heat oven to 150*C.
Step #2 Blind bake the pastry shell for about 10 mins or until it is almost cooked & golden.
Step #3 In a bowl add butter, chocolate, salt & cocoa powder.
Step #4 Put bowl over a saucepan with simmering water & heat until melted & golssy.
Step #5 While above is melting, mix together eggs & castor sugar until smooth.
Step #6 Add sour cream & golden syrup to the eggs & mix again till yoiu get a smooth mixture.
Step #7 Add the melted chocolate mixture to the eggs & mix well until mixd.
Step #8 Pour this batter into the prepared pastry shell & bake for 40 mins at 150*C.
Step #9 Cool.

*p.s. Hasselback potato hint: use a chopstick to brace the knife from cutting all the way through.

Addendum; according to some, this chicken dish is apparently better than sex

Wednesday, December 16

gender bender

Im loving this.

On Monday, the Bloke won endorsement to run on the Greens ticket for the Legislative Council in the next State election in March 2010. Life will be getting busier.

Yesterday the Bloke, who is also a stay home dad to the boy bean, now 18 months, faced his first child care dilemma, the first of many to come I imagine. He has a meeting with Federal Greens Minister, Sarah Hanson-Young lined up for today. Neither my mum, B1 or myself could do it at such short notice. So he rang Sarahs office to see if it was OK to bring the bean in to the meeting. Her male PA said 'sure fine, he could help out looking after the bean a bit'. I love it! Bloke has issues with child care for meeting with female minister and takes the Bean in to be looked after by her male PA. Im really lovin' this.

Tuesday, December 15

Christmas issues

I may love Christmas and my family around but I have one small problem which arises every Christmas. My only sibling doesn't. Over the years he has made himself and his family quite scarce. Christmas has been either a 'we dont want to leave the house' day (fair enough) but we wont make any other arrangements, or a 'you're to far to travel to to be with (30 min) and 'its a pain and we'd prefer to do Christmas low key by ourselves this year' (later finding out that Xmas has been done with the in-laws family (the truth is so much better) or 'what are you doing this year? we're staying home, feel free to drop in anytime'.

Its always on his terms and at his place. Or else its a Christmas Eve visit,his kids optional and for an hour or two. No other options considered. So, if I dont take up the offers and times they propose, there's no recourse. No negotiation. 'This is what we're doing, join in if you want to see us. If you cant make it, too bad. '
Its dissapointing to say the least.

So, in the last few days, after I found out that the Christmas proposal that I thought he''d made when we last saw each other at our Mums birthday; to have lunch together, is not happening, i was pretty shattered. They have lunch with the in-laws and early evening drinks with friends and neighbours organised...but again, feel free to drop in...(thanks for including us in the arranging but we have a 1 1/2 year old, so night-time drinks are a small problem. He seems to think this is inclusive, an expression of interest. Or am I wrong here?

Alternatively, we have been offered a Christmas Eve at their place (with the caveat that they're both working till late so its probably not possible ) but hey send me a 'proposal'" or else Christmas morning at their place before they head out for lunch. Geez thanks. Last time we were invited over to their place (2 years ago) he cancelled due to rain??? And never rescheduled. I dont get him.

My heart has been in recovery mode. I sent him an email saying how sad i was about it all, his lack of priority of my family. His very legal response (he owns a law firm) was not touching and heart warming to say the least. Last time I spoke up about something I didn't like, he and wife didn't talk to me for three years.

Im waiting his response to my latest letter...Im actually quite terrified but it feels great to purge!

Monday, December 14

saving the world, one weekend at a time

Our efforts started on Friday with Bloke picking me up after work for The Greens Christmas drinks where the boy bean intermittently went from grazing the horses-doovers, returning what he didn’t like to the platters (i just know there were a few moments where i missed it...eww, sorry fellow party folk!) and sitting at the bar performing embarrassing imitations of his father by sipping his drink, munching potato wedges and slapping flies. Role modelling in action. Noice.

Flew from Christmas drinks to home where i got turfed with the boybean and the Bloke grabbed some snags and some beer and a candle or two and headed to our local library and lawn where the 350 vigil he organised was taking place. Its always nice when the co-ords late... I put the bean to bed and passed out on mine for a while then dragged my way up the hill, white wine in hand; just to keep the classiness going, and promptly had myself a good time. Finally got home at 11pm. Sleep. Up. Got the kids ready and we all bussed to town. It was great as pretty much the whole bus load were on their way to the Walk Against Warming so there was a bit of communal spirit along the way. I was half tempted to start a round of 'kumbaya'.
Once at the rally I pressed the flesh and talked the talk for Food Connect Adelaide and after an hour and a half of handing out flyers and 'doing the promo' I could hardly string a sentence together. that’s bloody hard work. Then we walked through the city centre in solidarity to take a stand for the health of the people and the planet and to try and foster some real government action on climate change.

Sunday was a Christmas picnic with friends; petanque, wine, kids, soccer, cricket. Well... I had a lie down. No, I didnt have toooo much to drink, just little sleep the nite before and a midday glass of wine took its toll. And for those of you who noticed..these are the Blokes favourite reusbale plastic picnic cups from a bar-in-his-past in San Fran. The rest of the party held up fine.

Friday, December 11

Wednesday, December 9

a dedicated reader and an embarrassing moment

Being a bit of a statistics nerd; professional interests dont just dissappear when you're on leisure time, i really have a very fond relationship with my stats counter. I uploaded Google Analytics a few weeks ago and loved the detail. Dont mean to freak you out...but I KNOW WHO YOU ARE! lol. Well i thought i did. I noticed a very avid new reader from Mountain View, California. Many, many logins per day, and every day without fail and several pages 'read' each time. Nice. I wonder who they are Will they introduced themselves? Who is this keen Mountain View reader. Who are you?

Anyway, being the ever stats nerd I went back into my set-up for Google Analytics to re-set the counter to exclude one of my computers so as to not log my self in the count and adjust some settings.
Embarrassing moment.

My Mountain View reader is Google Analytics taking daily readings.
So half smart.

Tuesday, December 8

D-Day report

Well can I say I made a mountain out of a mole hill? Slight histrionics perhaps...hindsihght is always easy. How do you reconcile a 27/28 , Ive forgotten exactly how old he is now, year old with a 14-0n the brink -of -15 year old girl? You dont. You just cope day to day and communicate and set firm boundaries. Its been tricky but I have to say, meeting the guy today was a little bitter sweet. On the one hand, I wonder about my daughter and on the other hand, Im not worried about him at all. At first sight he looked just her age. I though 'no way, he can't be 27/28' He looks like a teenager. Awkward, uncomfortable, gawky. How I wished he was interesting. Id had in mind a professional, mature, interesting sort of person; my ex-husband at 28 years old. Nup. Kid. Ten years too old for his mind and body. Im thinking they are made for each other right now. She needs love and attention from someone safe and reliable and not complicated and undemanding and unsure. Check. (absent father issues, yes) And so does he (his issues I have no idea about!) I actually felt sorry for him. He'd get eaten alive in this family. B1 on her 15th cusp seemed more worldy and mature. How does that happen? The power differential that I imagined and was so terrifying to me just isnt there. She rules their roost. He is a kid who just hasnt matured. I even wondered at some stage if she'd got his age wrong. My 21 year old nephew seems so much older. Im a bit confused by the apparent contradictions he presents. He appears to be very compliant and no threat at all?!

For those of you who cared about the lunch menu. We had home-made burgers. Toasted wholemeal Portugese rolls, bio-dynamic beef with chilli, basil and onion burger, organic cheddar, home made pickle, home made sauce, mayo, 'garden' and beetroot. It was good. Poor guy didnt even make it half way through, even without the 'garden'....

I have been so happy to hear of experiences about relationships others have had with older men in their past; Em, Katy and my hairdresser. Reassuring at least. But Jeez, its a tough one to navigate with grace as a mother. Most of me just wants to say Noooo.

Monday, December 7

Not ready for this...

Its a good thing i have been so busy. My mind has been well occupied. Tomorrow is D-Day. The meet the 'too-old-for-my-daughter-why-dont-you-just-fuck-off' bloke day. Im not ready. Im ill prepared. I have no speech, no knock out punch, no poisoned chalice or moment of hypnotherapy prepared. I dont even know what we're having for lunch. When I dont know what's for lunch you know I'm not prepared. Well I do know we ARE having salad coz apparently he doesnt do 'garden'. Well he can bloody well 'do garden' just coz thats whats in season so and you cant have your cake and eat it too right, and garden is bloody well low carbon and good for you and if everyone just ate meat and chips...can you tell im really looking forward to this? I just hope he doesnt start calling her darling or worse...babe then I just might choke on my chokoes, or thump him one, or get really pathetic and passive aggressive on him. Ah fuck it. Cant prepare for this. I'll be winging it and hope that we all make it out alive.Better get that gas bottle filled...

Farm of the Future

Im a bit of a 'know-it-all' (in my head that is ; Im not claiming out loud to actually know it all) so when i see something that provides me with simple and engaging information about stuff that I feel already well versed in (besides specific technical info of which I will never claim to know it all) then Im one happy camper. This documentary, broken into five You Tube videos, really helped me understand the role of oil in modern farming. Its about one city woman who inherts her family farm and her exploration of more eco-friendly pathways to make it a sustainable venture. The alternative cattle farming methods showcased I found illuminating. Hope you take some time to watch these. They're REALLY good.

Sunday, December 6

Scallion pancakes

Finally, a food post! A two ingredient lunch. Scallions + flour; way too easy peasy. Well water and some oil too, but hey, minimal!
A half used bunch of scallions had been languishing in the frdge for a week. Scallion gulit had become a problem. Thankfully the light bulb went on. Problem solved. Family Styles scallion panckaes. They also have a good series of pics if you cant understand my instructions. My hands were so flour coated I only took a few pics of the process.
These pancakes are quick, tasty , crispy, flaky and best of all easy and low fat. We scoffed them for lunch, even the bean loved them (sans spicy sauce).

makes 4 frypan size pancakes

:: 2 cups plain flour
:: 1 cup boiling water
:: 1/2 cup of chopped scallions
:: sesame oil

mix flour and water with spoon (its hot) and then knead with hands into a smooth, soft ball. Divide into 4 balls.

Roll a ball of dough into a thin flat circle to fit your frypan. Drizzle sesame oil to taste over surface then scatter 1/4 of the scallions over complete surface. Then take an edge and roll the circle into a 'cigar' shape. Make a coil from the 'cigar' and then roll the coil back into a thin flat circle. Fry in a sesame oiled pan , turning until cooked. Nest time I will use more oil and cook for less time. Im too used to dry frying tortilla and indian bread.

:: soy sauce
:: smashed clove/s of garlic
:: chopped scallions
:: chilli flakes/sauce
:: sugar
:: rice wine vinegar

Mix together vinegar and sugar to dissolve the sugar. Add other ingredients to taste.

Serve with the pancakes! (the leftover sauce I used to season the okonomiyaki we had for dinner)

I squeezed these in for lunch around finishing the dill pickles (after fermentation comes canning!) and limoncello bottling before I braved the 'Monster Mall' with three kids in tow. It was actually much less traumatic than usual. Either we've all grown up or the planets were aligned. No tantrums, no tears, just endless searching for the 'perfect' summer apparrel. I thought I handled myself well not to mention the picture perfect small-child-handed-down-from-heaven who happily sat in his wheel chair watching all that an afternoon at 'Fountain Lakes' offerred his innocent self without complaint. He was pretty enamoured with all the sparkly christmas baubly bits. Four hours of shopping centre tramping took its toll on both my feet and my 'stumulus tolerance' level, driving me to fall into a deeply soothing alcoholic beverage after the unpacking, re-feeding, fashion parading and bathing frenzy subsided. Ive now fallen into a second snifter of limoncello. Good thing I made somewhere near six litres of the stuff! Might get me through till Christmas...

Saturday, December 5

Christmas planning

Not having a religious bone in my body (only if you discount Green as a religion) I do ridiculously look forward to Christmas. I think possibly it may be the excuse to cook way more food than usual,and the chance to eat full interesting meals at least twice a day for days on end. Really, all i have to say about christmas planning at the moment can be found here. All i want for Christmas is to write like her. Loving the kids fridge based Christmas lists this year; scrap papers with ambit claims for outrageous 'things'. Plasma TVs, a new home, Pandora bracelets (each BEAD is a mortgage payment) and you'd definitely need oh about 15 to have something resembling anywhere near 'cool'. Must examine them to check for something reasonable.

Christamas at Chez Pan compensates for the rest of the years non-indulgence. Christmas staples from this tight wad always include a recommended read, 'more than one' piece of clothing-a whole new outit or two all at once kind of deal-(told you I was tight), fair trade chocolate, a bottle of sparkling grape juice, one 'something quite outraegous' that they have been hankering for (usually a piece de resistance ala Christmas list) and a few small other things that I hesitate to buy them throughout the year that they pester me for (make-up, perfume, new belts, bags, sunglasses). Somehow I always manage to fill the sack and they're always more than happy with their 'stuff'. B1 was NOT impressed upon learning that Christmas sacks do not just go on indefinitely until one leaves home but expire at age 16, at which she was quick to get me to clarify whether it was the 16th year or at age 16! meaning otherwise this was going to be her last Christmas and she just wasnt emotionally prepared for that! I love the christmas morning ritual of kids piling onto the bed with sacks and the patient ceremony of sharing turns at selecting and opening. Five on the bed this year. Could be messy.

How many days left to get it together? Im no way there. Havent even planned the menu!

Friday, December 4

Wednesday, December 2

Elevated Christmas

Last years Christmas 'tree' is even more useful this year with the Bean tearing around the place. He was mooching last year, but this year its essential. The only dilemma is where to put the presents? This weekend we will hoist the old steel wagonwheel into place and wind it with foilage. Its a great alternative to a tree. Last year I used hawthorne and holly from the garden. That was a little painful.
This year i think eucalyptus leaves and its big gum nuts, but maybe thats a fire hazard?...and definitely still use the glass fruit and veg baubles which I love. I mean really, how can you not be happy with a bauble shaped like a bunch of asparagus, a dill pickle or a giant strawberry?

I find my love of Christmas quite contradictory.

delays in programming

I enjoyed a glorious moment today which made my heart sing and my brain take a break from its now seemingly regular convulsing. Mid 'working with the media' workshop, where a bunch of harried university types were furiously swatting and cramming all that can be crammed in 3 hours of training, honing up on writing press releases, the do's and donts of live interview and a role play of a press conference (dont you just love adult role play moments? (well actually it was rather hilarious and we all had a good time) i looked out the huge floor to ceiling window. Far above in the sky I spotted what looked to be small gliders, moving across the sky. Well they were gliders of a blooded type. Two pelicans were playing in the currents above the city skyline; up, down ,around, moving silently through the air. It was a moment of pure peace and delight. I revelled in all 10 seconds of it.
Food post coming soon!