Sunday, November 25, 2012

Please help

We are off to India in January for 3 weeks. All the kids, my Mum, tBG and me.

I think we're going to have an awfully big adventure. Half the people I speak to think it will be a terrible adventure, the other half think it will be a wonderful adventure. Everyone agrees that it will be challenging on many, many levels.

One of the challenges we've anticipated will be the poverty. What to do about the beggars, how to do it without feeling heartless and unkind, how to do it without supporting a ruthless industry, how to do it without ignoring pain and suffering, how to do it and stay ok in our hearts.

We've talked to the children about what they may see, we've watched a stack of travel shows and read blogs and looked at pictures, they understand that India is very very different to Australia. But they don't know it. It's not in their bones and nor in mine.

So what we've decided to do is to make a difference while we're there by funding an organisation that works in the community, with the community. We're raising money for Seva Mandir and then when we're in Rajasthan we'll get to meet some of the people who work for the organisation and give them the money we've raised. We'll be providing funds for non-formal education centres, or for an immunisation program like this one, or maybe to help fund healthcare for women and children.

I've set up a My Cause page. If you can, I'd really appreciate your help in raising funds for this.
I want our kids to see that we can help, that we can make a difference. Not just be tourists.

No donation is too small, not when the wage for an agricultural worker in Rajasthan is less than 100INR per day ($1.80 USD, $1.70 AUD) ... and women get paid less.

Please visit and help us help others.

Friday, November 2, 2012

10 years ago

10 years ago I was 10 weeks pregnant with my own best Little Guy.

Today, instead of writing a paper like I should have been, I was trawling through iVillage archives and finding all the posts I made from 2002 onward in the forums there, documenting my pregnancy adventure. Copying/pasting them, into a diary of sorts, and remembering how I felt. It's bizarre going so far back in time and reading old younger me. I was so sad at first when I got pregnant. I spent the first 8 weeks crying about it. TLG was completely unplanned and I was preparing to leave my XH when we got pregnant. And so when I discovered it I felt so incredibly trapped and forlorn   Also, the hormones just about killed me with moodiness.  But once I hit the 8 week mark I felt beatific instead of sad. And I stayed like that the rest of the pregnancy.  Delighted, wondrous, happy beyond compare.

How I wish I had been able to experience that again.  This time I wouldn't have been at all sad, not one tiny bit.  But no matter how hard I wish, how much I want it, it's just not happening.  Mostly I'm ok. Sometimes I'm completely not.

Today, not.

Truthfully internet, some days even looking at pictures of baby Little Guy makes me cry, he was so small for such a short time, and now he's all big and I'm terrified of losing him. What about when he stops cuddling and kissing me with love.  He still does, but I know that the time is drawing ever closer when he pulls back.  I don't want him to.  I'll be lost without his affection.  And what about when he gets older and marries.  What if his wife doesn't like me? What if she won't let him see me? How will I live with that? Then the other day, my Mum offhandedly said something about daughters being the ones who look after their aged parents.  I don't have a daughter. What about when I'm an old old lady, will tLG visit me and do all the things I see my Mum doing for her Mum, will he care? It breaks my heart to have him growing up and away from me.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Things I love

I love the $2.80 Japanese store near our house. First because it's a "$2.80 store" - no round dollar amounts for them! And secondly, because of it's amazingly awesome stock. Case in point ...

Haven't you always wanted your house to smell like a Resort Wedding? I know I have.

And what about smelling like New York ... wait, what? Like hobos and smog? Like vomit and subway steam? I'm not so sure I want my house to smell like that. But then I read the top of the bottle (which I photographed badly, so you can't see it properly) - it says "Unisex Citrus".  Do you think that's how New York wants to be known?

In other news of things I love, there's this musician:

... and this musician too:

Do listen to them for me.

Then there's this incredibly cute ratty with his little ratty-sleepy-pal and his astoundingly tiny and hand-like paws:

And finally, there's this table that contains phrases I am sure I will both write AND really mean

Thursday, May 31, 2012

40 for fuck's sake


I'm 40 now.

I turned officially old and my internal teenager is completely horrified.

I had an awesome party with as many people who like or love me as could attend and said "Goodbye 39" in fine style.

I've thought about this post for a while and I still don't know what to say. It really sucked to be turning 40.

When I remove my infertility-smog-coloured glasses and look back at the past years I can see that lots of wonderful things happened, but with them on it's all tinted gray ... and the lustre, the shine of the awesome is dulled. I think I would be so much more grateful for my what-really-were-fantastic-30s had I not spent so much time and emotion chasing a futile dream.

C'est la vie.

I hope you are all well. I stalk around on the outskirts of your blogs occasionally, but mostly I'm completely swamped by life and my multiple roles. I'm loving placement and finding that providing intervention for little kids with ASD is incredibly rewarding. I'm winding up at work with a huge global survey that's killing me, but once it's collected I'm done there. And I'm slowly reading and getting my head around my PhD topic, which is also huge and doing my head in. My family are well; my darling Little Guy is no longer a baby, showing his abilities and his love in new ways every day. My step-children are growing up quickly into lovely young adults who delight me. Life moves so quickly. My Big Guy is, as always, completely wonderful and wonderfully devoted, a blessing in no disguise.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

crack pie

I've gooed and gaahed over the Momofuku Crack Pie recipe for ages (seriously, almost 2 years!).

This Easter weekend we are off to a friend's for a board-game-and-fiesta evening and then tomorrow off to the XHs house for Easter lunch with him and the Little Guy. So I decided to give it a go! The recipe makes 2 pies, so both of my "we'll bring dessert" promises could come true in one fell swoop. [By the way, I am such a terrible English-nazi - when I've seen "one foul swoop" I just cringe. Tell me I'm not alone?]

Anyway, they're in the oven cooking now and I'm pretty sure I've buggered up the recipe. Damn you Amnericans for using different names for ingredients. I thought "heavy cream" surely meant extra thick double cream (which is HEAVY). But after mixing it through my sugary filling I realised I may have erred. Chef-Google tells me that your heavy cream is my thickened, pouring cream. Which explains why my filling would not pour out of the bowl, but had to be scooped in and forced to spread.

The mix tasted ok though, so fingers crossed.

I think I also stuffed up the 'golden brown sugar' thing too. I used brown sugar...

...but I think I was suposed to use this, which is waaaaay lighter.

Oh well, it's looking ok as it comes out of the oven so hopefully it will taste good too.

Note to self: stop trying out brand-new recipes on other people. And this is my 200th post :)

Editing to add: it tasted amazing but I'll not be making that again unless I need dessert for a lot of people because Crack Pie is richer than the richest pie on Rich St in Richtown in Richworld.

Here is A Table for Two's Aussie conversion pie recipe

Momofuku Milk Bar's Crack Pie (Adapted from The Los Angeles Times)
Serves 6 to 8

Cookie for the crust
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces) flour
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 egg
Scant 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats (or cornflakes crumbs)
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit (190 degree celcius).
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until fully incorporated.
5. With the mixer running, beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined. Stir in the cornflakes until incorporated.
6. Spread the mixture onto a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking sheet and bake until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack.
8. Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.

Pie Crust
Crumbled cookie for crust
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 tablespoons
(3/4 ounce) brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Combine the crumbled cookie, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended (a little of the mixture clumped between your fingers should hold together).
2. Press the crust into tart pan shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins.
3. Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.

Pie Filling
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
3/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1  teaspoon (3/4 ounce) milk powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
3/4 cup plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
2 prepared crusts
Powdered sugar, garnish

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degree Celcius).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla.
3. Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.
4. Fill the tin shell.
5. Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees (160 degree celcius) and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown (similar to a pecan pie), about 10 minutes.
6. Remove the pies and cool on a rack.
7. Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. The pies are meant to be served cold, and the filling will be gooey.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fresh Horses - life as we know it

I'm loving Eden's Fresh Horses meme. It's on the weekend, so I can always find the time and she thinks up the idea for me - brilliant!!!  Today's theme was Picture This.

Someone wanted a Captain America helmetymasky thing - continuing his trend of asking for very specific costumery. I was very proud of my effort!

Summer afternoon at the beach - catching the end of a hot day with the dogs.

The Big Guy and I had a naughty weekend in Sydney recently, this is the best view from a train platform evah :)

Have you got some pics to show me?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fresh Horses - partay with the tyger

Eden told me do it.

I had a poem in my head long before I ever heard all of it.  Snippity snappets of it were rattling around clinking and clanking and brightly banging its sweet rhythms in bursts of sharp taste.

So one day when I was about 15, long before the internet would have made it easy, I hunted for the snatches I knew I'd heard. When I heard it all, it resonated, but I really couldn't tell you why. I hope you like it too. (Thank you William Blake.)

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Editing later to add: My other choice was Dylan Thomas' Do not go gentle into that good night. And the birthday thing didn't click when I posted this earlier ... thank goodness I didn't choose that poem, Happy Birthday Eden!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fresh Horses - handwriting

Eden has inspired a post, I like her Fresh Horses meme, I like memes altogether really.

Here's my crappy handwriting. Sorry it's SO crappy, it's kind of painful to bare it to the interwebz - everyone else's is (as always) so much prettier than mine.

C'est la vie.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Time keeps on slipping into the future

Yes it does.

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year Bloggy friends. Every other year I've posted either Christmas or New Years messages in a timely fashion, but not this year. I didn't make pointless wishes at Christmas this year and New Years was quiet.

I know that 2011 has been a crap year for a lot of people, but it was good to me - despite not getting miraculously knocked up. I achieved some intense goals and have been kindly rewarded. It's the first year since 2008 that I haven't experienced the crushing pain of failed assisted reproduction attempts throughout the year. In 2011, I wished and hoped but with no faith in my preferred outcome so when the inevitable blood began each cycle, I wasn't dragged down and out with the flow. Last year I focused on a baby-free future and that cushioned me against its loss. Last year I let go. I'm free falling.

This January we went on summer holiday up north to the sun and the sea and had a lovely time. Feast your eyes my lovelies.
Rainbow Bay beach on a crystal clear day

View across to Coolangatta from our rental house in Bilambil Heights - we all want to live there permanently

Drowned trees outside Forbes