Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Saturday so far

This is why we LOVE Saturday and why we LOVE the sun! number 250. Yay me, yay you, thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just finished reading #16

The sorrows of an American - Siri Hustvedt
Before I started to write this I decided to check out a few reviews of the book. They were very complimentary which was nice. I found the book interesting and enveloping but thought the plot and range of characters was very complex. Thankfully the other reviewers did too. Phew. I read slowly and with this book it took a week to read the first seven pages. That is more about being exhausted at night than being a pedestrian reader. I read somewhere that slow readers retain less information. True about me. I digress.

Erik, the main character, is a psychiatrist who is dealing with grief over his father's death and the break up of his marriage, finding family secrets, supporting his grieving sister whose famous and fallible historian husband has also died and falling in unrequited but sensible love with Miranda, solo mother in the flat below. Add a raft of patients, a movie star, stalker photographer boyfriend (of Miranda) a chubby sweating friend, a bunch of oddball family members in Minnesota and a darling little girl, Eggy, and you have a really complicated and slightly over blown plot. In saying this, I got the characters on a surface level although I believe there was much more going on in their heads. I must have missed those bits. I also forgot who some of the characters were by the time they popped up again. Oh yes, Erik and his sister Inge are of Norwegian heritage.

In saying this I did enjoy this book, obviously from an entry level perspective, and loved the writing. Siri is a stunner in the sentence structure zone. If you think this is a book you would like to read then log onto your library catalogue and get yourself a copy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Just home from upholstery and have plonked my latest project on the floor and Georgie has claimed it for herself. She loves it so it must be good. It matches my piano stool and is supposed to be for Nic's room but I think it might not be so great for sitting on. It is a footstool after all. It has only been a three week project which is nice as my other have taken ages. Before


Monday, May 25, 2009

Rain, rain, rain and even more rain

I found the perfect way to spend a sodding wet weekend. Go to Hanmer Springs with a bunch of gal pals and just chill out!
Up on Saturday morning with a very enjoyable stop at The Mud House winery for tasty winter fare, warmth and a chance to chat. The eight of us travelled in two cars so it was nice to get talking asap. Lovely food and very nice wine. Next stop was our home for the weekend. Fire on, bags dumped, beds bagged and off to the pools for a hot soak in the rain. It was so busy as usual and just lovely. We sheltered in various pools under the sail clothes and just chilled out and watched the stories unfold.

Home, wine, nibbles, laughing and almost snoozing before heading off to Malabar for a delicious evening meal. If you are in Hanmer you have to visit this place. Book ahead, it is very busy. Home for a big snooze after lots of silly giggling.Me up early as Nicholas has programmed me to be and onto the sofa with a book and my MP3 player. Late breakfast at The Powerhouse then some serious shopping and off to The Spa for 'treatments' and home in the rain rain rain. What lovely women and great conversations. Can't ask for more than that. I loved it and felt so relaxed when I got home ready for another week of life on the treadmill. Thanks gals.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Watching, Reading, Listening, Doing, Eating

It's been a busy time lately doing a lot of nothing much. I think I am almost over my SAD phase and getting the hang of the cold winter weather, although it is not officially winter yet.

This weekend I found my self Watching my darling boy through the sunroom window as he peddled his wares at the gate on Saturday morning. We had made some dukka and he wanted to set up a tasting stall at the end of the drive with some (expensive) olive oil, the dukka and little bits of bread. He has been keen to do this for some time and I thought it would be crushingly disappointing if no one partook of his fare so have been saying no. However, he had it all set up before I could say no so I observed from afar as he tried to entice passersby to try his stuff. Most were kind and sweet when they declined, one was rude and one darling woman who was biking past stopped and sampled. It was a shining moment and it actually brought tears to my eyes. I love that boy for his enthusiasm and guts. Good lesson for me, he loved it and got to eat all the food. I finished a book the other day called 'White Tiger' and really could not be bothered writing a 'Just finished reading' post about it. Go and check it out if you want to but I wouldn't rush anywhere over hot coals or anything to read it

On these cold winter mornings my MP3 player is my best friend. It allows me to listen to loud music, often sing out loud and forget about how bloody freezing it is on my bike. My latest craze is still the Mama Mia sound track which is just a sad indication of my love of pop. Katie Malua is stunning too but she just isn't energetic enough to get me pumping those pedals.

Jonty and I got a rare opportunity to go out on our own in the weekend. While the sun was shining and it was unseasonably warm we gifted ourselves a trip to the movies. Oh yes, nothing like spending a warm Autumn day lolling in a picture theatre stuffing Maltesers in your mouth. We saw 'Angels and Demons'. Fell asleep in the first 10 minutes ---dull dull dull. Did nod myself awake to take in the show but would not recommend it. It was Jonty's choice as he had read the book and thought the film might be good. I felt mean not loving it but I just couldn't.

And finally, Eating....A LOT. Good and bad. Just got my new Dish magazine so I am going to trawl through that later and see what tasty treats await within and hopefully get myself back on track cooking delicious inspired food, not boring tummy filler fare.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers day

Today is a commercially driven day, rightly or wrongly, but it is also a day for pause. It is nice to celebrate the work of our mothers and also take time to look at ourselves as mothers.
I think I am getting the hang of being a mother. Trying to untangle the vines and challenges of parenthood is a bit of a puzzle but taken in small steps seems to be working out ok. Being a full on working mother adds a whole new dimension to motherhood that takes a little extra effort. You have to try harder to be better to ensure your child gets what they need even if you are out of the house for 10 hours a day. Getting to the school to meet the teacher, never making on a school trip, never knowing what your child's friends look like, how he learns to swim or play the piano are the challenges facing full time working mothers. Let's not even talk about the things you never get to do for yourself. However, as part of the family package we all have to do our bit and it is what it is. While blow drying my hair this morning and looking myself in the eye I admitted to myself that although I am an ok mother to my son, I haven't been a very good stepmother to my step daughter this year. I finally admitted that I haven't quite forgiven her for not coming home this Christmas. And the thing is that it was not that she wasn't here, but that I want a better life for her than I think she is having and I can't do anything about that. And it really isn't any of my business as she is not in mortal danger or appears unhappy...then it would be my business...but it isn't really. No need for any of the readers of this blog to judge me, I can do that for myself. I think it is easier to forgive your own children but someone elses, who even though you love, you haven't brought up takes a bit more effort. It is hard being a step parent..hats off to anyone who manages that well. It is sometimes easier to stop trying so hard. Here's to me getting my shit together and getting back on the step mother train.

Monday, May 04, 2009

I have been at a bit of a low ebb the last few weeks and I needed to get and do something about that so I invited Julian and Lesley over for dinner on Saturday night. Thus I needed to go to the market and buy in some tasty bits and pieces and it also necessitated the buying of flowers, a new candle, some fine wine and a few bits of jewellery...mmm not sure how that happened. I also had the good fortune to need to buy some presents so I got to spend money with a purpose and not on me. So in all the retail therapy went a long way towards lifting my mood. Add that to the cooking and the tasting followed by the trip on Sunday and things are looking up. Partner that with book group tonight and upholstery tomorrow night and I am definitely feeling better.

Although I love Jamie Oliver's food it was not my intention to produce a meal that was an ode to him but that is how it turned out. I made his pumpkin soup recipe. Generous in proportions and cost, I am glad we got about 10 plus servings out of it. It tasted delicious and that boy who hate 'punkin', could not get enough of it. Excellent. I coupled this with organic ciabatta fried in dark green olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
Last weekend we lunched at Mediterranean Foods and Nic had lovely flatbread so I popped back and picked up a ball of their dough and we made dukka to sprinkle on it. It was delicious and we have enough dukka to last at least a year or two.

For the main I made stew. I love stew. Again Jamie's ...'Beef Stifado' with fluffy mash potatoes and another Jamie recipe of fennel bulb and fresh tomatoes off our plant backed in wine, garlic and butter. The recipe is on his website.
Lesley and I both made quince desserts. Hers a quince tart and mine a quince and pistachio cake. Both coupled with yoghurt. What a feast. All seasonal and home made. A meal to put a smile on your face.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Lakes are just big puddles

Jonty decided we were going to Maruia Springs today. So that is what we did. We headed off on a stunning Autumn day driving north west in to the main divide. Mauria is about a 2 and a half hour drive from home so it was a long drive both ways but the traffic was light and the weather perfect.We stopped at a little tarn just before the Lewis Pass summit and had our lunch before travelling the 10 minutes to the hot springs. We were wandering around the tarn and Nic said to me 'Lakes are boring, they are just big puddles'. I laughed so hard to myself and I kind of agree. Being beach people we are used to our water actoin packed. Something you don't get from a little lake in the mountains. Of course there are other wonderful things about lakes but Nic hasn't quite got that yet.
Mauria Springs is a very natural capturing of hot and sulphurous water and black algae stuff. Unlike Hanmer Springs which is very develped. Set deep in the mountains it is just gorgeous and very quite with few people. Nic and Jonty spent time in the Japanese bath house playing with all the buckets, stools, showers and baths which is total heaven for Nic. He is a water nut. Anyway, he said to Jonty 'Dad, this is the best day of my life'. It was so funny. The boy has been around the world and back again and done some fantastic things and his best thing ever was being in a room with water stuff and hot pools. So cute. Having finished the dishes from our little family gathering last night, done all the ironing and folding and making biscuits for the lunchboxes, I am feeling very excited about the week ahead having had a chance to sit quietly and contemplate, relax and enjoy the pureness of nature. Tired though, so I'm off to bed.