Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Crimbo

Was I a bit bah humbug the other day?  My apologies. Its been a christmas lead up like no other.

But things, as of this afternoon, have found their equilibrium and christmas cheer has burst forth in the Nicholas household - we even put on carols at St Mary's for an entire five minutes - then we were made to switch to Wallace and Grommit.

We've spent the evening making icecream (had slight measuring brain-fail and managed to squeeze out a gigantic 2 cups worth for  7 people, sigh) and visiting neighbours and admiring christmas lights and eating mince pies (yes, I can eat again, not complaining about the 2kgs in 4 day weight loss, but would prefer in future to do it with slightly more dignity).  The kids were so excited that (in our own Christmas miracle) they both passed out the minute we put them in bed - yes, yes, we'll be up at dawn (5.14 if you were wondering).

Well, its 55mins to Christmas, and I must away to bed.  Season's cheer to everyone who reads here.  Take care, be safe and have an awesome day.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twas the Week Before Christmas...

My mother just rang, having a stress about christmas.  Fair enough, you may think, its a stressful time for anyone, but here is a short list of what has been going on in addition to your usual christmas kerfuffle.

  • My youngest sister has been trying to get on a plane, from Heathrow (news just in: she departed 25mins ago - so now 24hrs of worrying about plane crashes and it'll be fine)
  • My brother in law, who has been recovering beautifully from his spine operation, came out of hospital yesterday (in record time - YAY).  
  • My nephew who has been suffering from chronic ear infections has been ferried about to specialists and a grommit operation is looming on the horizon
  • The vet ballsed up my sister's dog's cruciate ligament operation and thought that this week would be a good week to fix it all up ("you'll only have to pay for the anaesthetic") - because what someone with an incapacitated husband and sick toddler needs is a dog that can't even get itself outside to go to the bathroom
  • I got food poisoning - and not just your normal 24hour type food poisoning; its been so bad that I haven't been able to function since Sunday, and in a great improvement managed to eat two tablespoons of boiled rice yesterday.  Apparently my gut has shed its lining, about which I have no idea, but I do know its really fricking painful.
It can only improve from here, right?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cocktail Hour, Caitlyn Nicholas Style

What? Serving cocktails in the measuring scoop that came free with an extra large bag of dog food IS classy. The champagne chasers are necessary, trust me.
Today has involved christmas shopping (DONE, yesssss), 35 degree heat, violent thunderstorms, bickering with my husband (all good now, have been shown error of my ways at length, in detail, repeatedly, LOVE YOOO), feral children, Miss 4 crapping in the pool (again) and then a fight with the dog to get the floaty out before he dived in and ate it (and managed to do that without sacrificing pool scoop this time, WIN).

Was considering doing a bit of a photo blog post about my day As-It-Happens sometime these holidays, am glad today was not that day.

Cocktail recipe: Applesinthe
45ml Absinthe
30ml apple juice
splash lemon juice, splash sugar syrup
Mint leaves 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Not my year for garlic

Lately have been feeling Very Pleased (ie, jealous as hell) when I read about Other Bloggers harvesting their bumper crop of garlic.  I love home grown garlic and this year put in three huge patches, but, as with so many other things in this garden, it has not worked out as planned, and here is the sum total of my garlic harvest for 2010...


After planting over 100 onion seedlings (most of which I bought) I've also ended up with about half a dozen golf-ball sized onions - I did lose a lot to the wretched escapologists chickens - but even so, its just not been my year for alliums this year.

But in cheerier news, followed Greenfumb's example and picked the largest and most alluring of my tomatoes and they're now ripening on the kitchen windowsill.
Did I mention to anyone before that I'm slightly allergic to raw tomatoes?  Um yes (now do you see why I feel so strongly about The Universe Hating ME???). But I still love growing them, and eating them when they've had the crap cooked out of them.  So, YUMS.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Close Encounters of the Oprah kind

So, have been a bit miffed that I missed out on a ticket to Oprah but today fate, fortune or whatever, smiled down on me and quite by accident I got to see her and say hi.

We were down at the Opera House, at the last of the baby proms for the year.  The place was utter chaos, as all the Oprah audience were queuing for tickets, and a huge stage and tv camera's were being set up on the forecourt.  Oprah herself was walking over the harbour bridge and the place was seething with helicopters.  Even a skywriter had written the letters O H R A in the sky (and then clearly given up in embarrassment at his spelling mistake - or was it initials... Oprah Has Royal Authority??)

We carolled away with Saskia from Playschool and members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the proms, and then went for our usual wander in the botanic gardens.  Then as we headed back to lunch at Circular Quay I saw a bit of a fuss near where they'd set up the huge stage.  So I hurried over, phone in hand and as I got to the barrier, who should be standing there but...
Yes, yes, not her best angle :)  Sorry Oprah.  She was chatting to the lady next to me about how she'd been up on the harbour bridge that morning.

Then she held out her hand to me, and I shook it, and squeaked, "Hi, its great to meet you, welcome to Australia."  Look, I was having a fan girl moment okay, I could barely get the words out, it was almost as bad as when I met Jackie French.

She smiled vaguely at me and then moved along to the next person - yes, am sure she'll be writing about meeting me on her blog this evening - and then I ducked out the way so the other ladies behind me could get a chance to say hi, and that was that.

Circular Quay has gone Oprah mad.  Oprah flags everywhere, and you could even get the t-shirt...
I did not get the t-shirt, but was amused by the fat hairy old guy wearing a t-shirt that said "Oprah Loves Me."

So, I've said Hi to the Queen of Daytime TV.  Rather chuffed actually.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Check out these beauties

Quick brother-in-law update:  The surgery went really well, though took a lot longer than expected, apparently his back was a mess of scar tissue from the earlier accident.  He was kind-of with-it by yesterday night and all is looking good. Phew.

Summer has arrived here on the Upper Upper Upper North Shore (locals will know that this is a humorous reference to the fact that real estate agents like to extend the poshness of the North Shore to suburbs that are blatantly not even remotely near the North Shore, in an effort to increase house prices - thus far this strategy has not appeared to work).  Temps are hitting 30+ every day and the humidity is hovering at around 50 - 60%, making the mould in the bathroom grow as you watch it.  Its also making the vegies grow as you watch them.

Amish Paste tomatoes.  This one is about the size of my fist.  Have a dilemma though, do I pick now and ripen inside, or leave to ripen on the vine and risk birds, chooks, caterpillers, snails, slugs etc etc...

Pumpkin - Queensland Blue I think - I dunno, this was a self-seeder so it could be anything.

And those there are my cucumbers growing everywhere apart from up the trellis I carefully set up.  Am a bit chuffed about these ones as they are grown from seed I saved last year.

Have a good weekend everyone :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hugs, finger crossing, vibes, thoughts, prayers... I'll take 'em all.

Today my brother-in-law is having a major operation. It'll take a surgeon 4 hours to fuse two of the vertebrae in his spine and hopefully this will relieve some of the horrific pain that he is enduring right now.

This is not a pleasant story.  Many years ago my bil badly injured his back in a car accident.  He's had serious problems ever since. Lately these serious problems have doubled and tripled in their intensity.  It has become a regular occurrence that he'd have injections into his spine to relieve the excruciating pain.

Then about ten days ago, his back spasmed and my sister knew immediately that this was like nothing before.  The pain went from excruciating to uncontrollable and my bil was taken to hospital where he has remained on a cocktail of drugs.  Last Thursday these drugs were failing to control the pain, and... well, its been really distressing.

So, after tomorrow we hope that after rehab, the pain will be over and he can get on with a normal life.  Oh, I hope it all goes okay.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Being Precious

So I rock up to my local garden centre on Sunday morning.  One of the employees is standing by the entrance and upon spotting me shouts, "Well hello there, precious."
What the...
I gave him a quizzical glare look, removed my sunglasses from my head, put them on pointedly, and stalked off to inspect capsicums. Wondering briefly if I do come over as precious to complete strangers.
But he wasn't finished there.
No, when he came to relieve me of my money, he spotted the bottle of pyrethrum I'd picked up - I use it on the patio to get rid of the sandflies mostly - and he said 'Ah, chemical woman.'  As if I'd just confirmed all his assumptions about being precious.
Chemical woman?
I said, 'Okaaaaaay," in a tone that was supposed to suggest that I'd rather we didn't speak further.
But he just grinned and said, 'bye chemical girl.' And handed me back my card.

Its not been the only difficulty I've had communicating with the human race this week.
Yesterday I had an appointment at a beauty salon for a person to go at my nether regions with hot wax and a pair of tweezers.  Yes, and pay them for the privilege.
Alas, in a moment of utter brainlessness I picked the Wrong Time to make this appointment.
Upon arriving at the salon I told the receptionist that I had to cancel that part of my appointment due to it being The Wrong Time.
"Wha?" she said.
"The Wrong Time," I said, slightly louder.
"Wha?" she squinted at me.
"I've got my PERIOD," I snap.  Just as every hairdryer in the place was switched off.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

More wildlife

2.75 hours into school holidays and Bloody Hell.  56 days to go.  Help meeeee.

In other news, on Monday I ate a turkey sandwich for lunch THEN walked outside and there was a brush turkey sitting on the roof.

Coincidence? I think not.

Clearly it was here to avenge its fallen comrades, OR sexually harass my chickens.  Either way, next door's dog scared it off, and it hasn't returned. Phew.  (Yes, you might be wondering where Sebs the Attack Spaniel was... after some half-hearted barking from under the outside table he disappeared inside to leave me to fend for myself.)