Thursday, 31 January 2008

Here are some photos of the mural I made with workmates last week, to go in the Dr Pott's memorial garden that is being built at the new Junee Hospital. Also some photos of the sunset today and of lunch in the park in Wagga last Sunday. See my last post. The first one is of my son David wrestling with his sister Annie.
You can just see a big fountain in the background, it is made of cast iron. When I was a child I loved it and would play in it. It was let get run down and rusty over many years and was removed from the park and taken away and forgotten about . It was sent away a few years ago and has recently been returned and set up in the garden at the front of the park. It is beautiful.
My son Michael and Mum in the park at lunch time last Sunday.
Gayton, he is one of the wardspersons at work, doing one of the small plaques.
The one above is Nick working on the smaller plaque.
This is Sharon's son Nick having a try on the potter's wheel which he thoroughly enjoyed.
The small plaque with the verse on it. One plaque has the verse and the other one has all of 2008 staff names on it in sgrafitto. Trish wrote the verse.
Sharon painting the verse.
Nick turning his pot. I measure how long I have been working at the hospital by Nick's age because his Mum went on maternity leave just after I started work there.
Cutting the mural up into tiles. Gayton doing the cutting. Lucy holding the guide, Alta supervising, in the red shirt and Janece looking on. Lucy is gorgeous and one of my favourite people, our kids have been good friends since kindergarten, we were married on the same day, same year and time and we both have 2 boys and a girl in that order. Also our Mums have the same birthday. It is weird how we have so many coincidences between us.
Linda practicing writing with a brush before painting the town names onto the mural.
Anne and Sharon smoothing and piercing the thick bits on the tiles.
The mural after cutting up and having the town names put on.
Me working a coil onto the edge of one of the small plaques.
I went out the front this evening and took a picture of the nice sunset. This is looking south.
Rocky hill sunset this afternoon.
The mural before cutting.
Alta and Lucy working on the mural.
I gave Rose the job of making up the slip recipe. Beside her is Gayton working on one of the small plaques. He was a chef in an earlier occupation and likened this job to cake decorating. Sorry these picture are all out of sequence.
This is in the park in Wagga last Sunday when we went over there to move all the shelving back into the gallery after the renovations. David my son was wrestling with his sister while her boyfriend Michael was looking on. My daughter may be tiny but she is quite capable after growing up with two elder brothers who teased hell out of her.
A couple of sulphur crested cockatoos in the tree above us. We went to the park one day a few years ago and my kids thought it highly amusing that one of these cockies shat and it landed on my head. They are quite big birds. I guess I could add the line from an old joke here, ( Gee, I'm glad that cows can't fly!).
The Potter's club gallery with the painting done and floor just polished. A big improvement.
The sunset looking south west tonight. Taken from the lane behind my house.The tree silouette is in my back yard. It is a very old dead almond tree with a lovely single yellow rose growing up it.
A bit more of the pretty sky tonight. Looking south out the front of the house.
This saturday is the potter's club A.G.M. I don't know who is taking on the executive jobs this year but I expect there will be a few changes as the presidents husband is very sick and I am still waiting to see what eventuates from the move to Canberra idea. Pete went all the way to Canberra today, a three hour drive to attend his interview and it took all of 15 minutes. He was offered a place on the training course pending his successful health and fitness test which will be carried out next week.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Lazy Sunday Morning, Pottery.

Today is Sunday. I have been lazing around, sitting in the sun, reading a few blogs, doing some washing, enjoying the morning.
Yesterday was Australia Day, a national public holiday where we are supposed to celebrate and be patriotic about being Australians. It is also the day when community and citizenship awards are given out and new Australians can become citizens if they want. I went to work, but I watched the concerts etc.
During the week I had workmates in my pottery shed for 2 days and we worked on the Mural I am making for Dr Pott's memorial garden at the new Junee Hospital. It is looking good. It measures about 4 and a half feet by 3 and a half feet. The main idea being the spreading branches of a big old gum tree, likened to the hospital spreading its arms across our local area in care and protection. I used buff raku clay because it is nice and gritty and strong and it colours nicely when fired. I am going to once fire it to 1200 degrees Celsius, and it has been written on with brown slip to include all the town and district names in our area. I added a bit of frit to the slip recipe to get a better melt and colour response. Should be good, it just has to survive the firing. I must be very careful. It can't be put up for a year after the new hospital is built because there is some legal thingy in the contract that says we can't do any changes to the outside of the building for one year as it will be still considered the property of the building company until then. I guess there is a good reason for that ? I will most likely be in Canberra before then.
Pete goes back to Canberra for the formal part of the job interview on Thursday next week.
My baby has left home. Yesterday. In preparation for the beginning of the new university semester which starts next week with orientation week. I keep walking into her room and looking at what she has left behind. Some old artists books she painted in and a few stuffed toys, her bed since she was tiny. Hmmmm. I am not as bad as when David left home though. Then I went through weeks of thinking I was now redundant, and dropping around to the flat where he had moved, trying to buy him more stuff I thought he might need and cleaning up for him. C'mon Mum, boys dont want pretty curtains, lol. They want to party and attract girls and be out of your sight.
This afternoon I will see them. I have teed up with Dave, a few of his friends and Pete, the 2 Michaels and some other people to put all the heavy shelving back into the Potter's club after the renovations have been done. They have to be lifted so our new polished floor isn't scratched. I told them I would shout them lunch beforehand. I reckon Pizza in the park would be easiest.
I am going to make some phone calls to finalise that now.
Bye. Love Linda.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Sunday Scribblings.

Today's entry I have interpreted as Favourite Fellow Traveler's.
My favourite fellow traveler would have to be my husband of 26 years Pete. It is so nice when we get to do something by ourselves. No kids to please, nobody else's ideas to cater to.
Yes, selfish in a way, I know. It doesn't happen very often that we get to travel anywhere by ourselves but it is special when we do. Possibly happens only twice a year.
I know all the cliches, like spending quality time together etc. I don't really plan to do that, our trips away are usually short breaks away for a specific reason like a Dr's appointment or whatever. The outcome usually does result in that though.
One of the favourite trips away we had was about 2 years ago. We took a few days off to go to the coast together. We stayed in a caravan park in Narooma ion the south coast of N.S.W. Trips from inland eastern Australia to the coast always involve crossing the great dividing range so you go from farmlands across the mountains, down the escarpment, through dairy country and patches of rain forest then finally hit the south coast. On that trip it was just the two of us, zooming along on the top of the world, singing to old 70's songs on the radio and loving the changes in scenery along the way. Our children would cringe at the music and our singing. Ha.
Beautiful memories.
The dry farmland flashes by. Becoming increasingly hilly . Past Blowering dam. Up Talbingo mountain. Through the low, twisted snow gum forest to the almost treeless plains between Kiandra and Cooma, full of summer wildflowers. Stopped to peer down at a stream full of a group of brown trout swimming in a pond left under a bridge. Then the thick rainforest pockets on the eastern side of the escarpment, gorgeous big fern trees, and a few quick glimpses beyond the top to see a blue ocean in the distance. Then more steep, winding, mountain pass road that opens up into lush green dairy country. The gorgeous tall gum forests of the south coast and finally the salty perfume of the ocean. The sand between my toes and salty water rushing against my legs. A feast for the senses.

Fixing it up.

Today is my fourth of four days off work. Ya Hoo, it has been raining since yesterday morning. A good slow soaking rain that doesn't run away down the drain. The temps are in the mid 20's today and are a cool reprieve from the heat we have experienced over the past couple of weeks. Lovely.
Yesterday I work cleaning up around my pot plants in the covered area at the back of the house. I scrubbed the paving then rinsed it off because the whole area was covered in fine dust. I had removed the old tiles from the back steps and Pete had smoothed the steps off with the angle grinder and re tiled them in nice light coloured slip proof tiles, looks good. Anyway from there I started on the laundry. (Ouch! my hands are sore.) I pulled the whole room apart and went and got some sand and cement mix, cleaned back the bare brick walls then coated them with cement and sand mix. I am now waiting for that to dry so I can paint it white. You know how these things snowball. The next thing I saw was the old tiles stacked at the side of the house and I though we could recycle them on the laundry floor. So Pete and I sat out the back last night cleaning them of all the old grout etc and started laying them in the laundry. It is about half done and we have to wait for that to dry to move the washing machine and tackle the other side of the room. We had to make a quick trip into Wagga this morning to get more tile glue. While I was in there I spotted some lovely textured terracotta coloured paint. So I got some of that to put on the garden edges in the covered area out the back too. If we get to go to Canberra some of the hard work will be done, if not, well I have done some good improvements that have added value to our house. All in all a good productive couple of days. Pete went for his day in Canberra during the week to do the job tests, he feels he went well and he has to go back soon for a formal interview.
Other news. Annie was offered a place in the first round of applicants for university. She was so excited and jumped straight on the phone (her life line) to tell all the important people in her life. Pete got her a laptop from eBay to prepare for the start of the course. She has had a big week. She also swung into action job hunting and put in a heap of resumes around Wagga at different places so she can move in there to start her studying. So it is all go go go.
O.K. I am going to close this off now because I have a birthday party to go to tonight and I want to have a play with the Sunday Scribblings weekly writing prompt, "Fellow Travellers"

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Sunday Scribblings post

I lied, I'm not working although I should be. I am catching up on reading my regular blogger people's blogs. I had a look at the Sunday Scribblings site and came back in response to their writing prompt. Dates;
Which prompted me to write about days that have been my most stressful.
The first day that comes to mind is the day my daughter had her tonsils removed. What a day. One I never want to repeat.
She was 5 years old at the time and had had quite a few bouts of tonsillitis which were increasing in severity each time. The last one her poor little throat had swollen so much she looked as though she didn't have a neck. Anyway our dear old Dr Potts decided it was time for an operation.
I took her to the Wagga Hospital in the morning and admitted her and settled her in for her operation early the next morning. I am very soft when it comes to my children and when I took her to theatre I was nearly in tears and had to get out of there as I felt like I was betraying her sending her in to get hurt even though I knew it was for her own good. So I left the hospital and went a few blocks away to a coffee shop to get a drink and breakfast. When I got back she hadn't returned to the ward yet but the nurse met me at the door with a funny look on her face and said "Now I don't want you to panic Mrs Lander but your son David has had an accident and is on his way in to Wagga in the Ambulance , he will be here soon and you have to go and meet the ambulance down stairs." What nurse? You don't want me to panic? Ha.
I went downstairs to meet the ambulance and it arrived shortly afterwards with David 9yrs at the time, on a stretcher. He had been swinging by one hand around a pole in the school playground and had fallen, crashing his head into a brick wall and had head injuries. They had got an ambulance to the school and taken him up to the local hospital then decided he should go across to Wagga, the district base hospital. Anyway he was on observation & had xrays etc, so was kept for the rest of the day with regular checks . I was running up and down stairs between the kids ward to Annie who was still sleeping after her operation and the emergency dept. When Annie woke up she was distressed and I wasn't there so one of the other Mums stepped in to help calm her as the nurses could do no good with her. Poor baby. Peter came in after work. My mum came and took David up to her house late in the afternoon when he was released but he started vomiting so she bought him back again and he was put into a bed in the emergency dept until he had had absolutely enough about 1.oo at night. I asked to take him home and they wouldn't let me so they actually, finally, admitted him to the children's ward. When he woke up in the morning he was beside Annie who was very glad to see him. They have always been close, ever since she was a baby she fascinated her two brothers.
David has put me through a few hairy days growing up, with falls climbing trees and accidents, headfirst over barbed wire fences off his bike to name a few. It was always his head.
My other worst date was with my other son Michael. When he was 18 he decided to try to suicide. Luckily he didn't succeed. I'm still not over it and don't think I ever will be. He is 25 now and I am still scared and keep watch over him closely. I'm getting teary thinking about it. I had good support from my workmates and especially remember Kate who didn't give advice but just sat with me and listened which helped more than anything. Also Helen a nursing sister whom wasn't my favourite person but was there when I took him to the emergency dept at work and was very good at the time.
Three of the nursing sisters at work lost their sons in the years following Micheal's attempt. Two of them to suicide the other to a car crash. That's a lot in a small town, and a small hospital. We also lost 2 staff members to road accidents on the way too and from work around the same time. One of whom I had been sitting with and having morning tea just a few short hrs before and was talking to her two small children on the phone, unknowingly for the last time. We lost 3 nurses to cancer also. It is a terrible way to have to find you have a strong community and workplace support. But we do.

Summer Garden.

These pictures add to the record of my summer flower garden. The above picture is in the garden at the door of my pottery shed. The red things are seed pods of the green lily that pops up every year unbidden and has reseeded around the yard. The flower isn't much but the leaves which last all winter are pretty and I love these bright red ripe pods. Don't look at the weeds.
I don't know what this is called. It is a summer flowering bulb, one of those nice plant and forget things that pop up each year.
This purple plant is in a pot beside the pergola with Mum's violas. It is a Hebe, it fades away to a pale lilac colour.
This is the dam wall of Lake Hume, in Albury. We had to go there last week for a Dr's appointment re; Pete's shoulder. The water level is less than 50% at the moment. I used to go here for picnics often in my teens with my older sister and our friends. There is a little boat hire place where we used to get canoes. We had great fun . My sister's favourite trick was to paddle out and tip everyone out of the canoe then swim off laughing and leave me to drag the canoe back. She was a very good swimmer, I wasn't. What a fun way to get rid of a little sister.
Hume Weir again. Hume was an early explorer. Albury is a bit less than 2 hrs drive drive from Wagga. It is the damming of the Murray river, and is huge. Before the drought there was concern for cracks that had developed in the dam, and danger from the dam wall last time the water was up to there which would have caused havoc downstream in Albury if it broke.
Summer flower arrangement on my kitchen table. Roses and Fuschia. My daughter used to call these ballerina flowers because we would float them in a bowl of water and they would dance when we wobbled them.
Plectrantus, Mona lavender.
White verbena in a pot on a pedestal out the back. Good value plant.
A red gladioli on the pergola.
A Sydney rock orchid on the archway out the back. It struggled for years and never flowered until I moved it to here, it still hasn't flowered yet but it has grown 5 new bits, or arms or whatever you call them.
A beautiful double orange day lily. From Edie's garden. Another friendship plant to keep.
Seduction rose. A variation on the famous Ice berg rose, at it's lovely best.
Laegerstromia or Crepe Myrtle.
I know this as beauty bower vine. it is at the door of my pottery shed.
This is the big old iceberg rose on the back fence in full flower. It is a semi climber.
Petunia. This one is supposed to cascade down over hanging baskets. It must be too hot for it, as it hasn't done so yet.
Isn't this gorgeous. A purple Gladioli. Dame Edna would love it.
Christmas day. Princess Grace, one of Pete's great nieces. Pete's sister Maureen and his Mum in the back ground.
Aren't these great! Big gum nuts I pinched from a tree at work for my Christmas decorations, the nuts are about 4 to 5cm long, they have now been added to a dried and silk flower arrangement in my family room. Note the psylid damage on the leaves, I think it adds to them.
Christmas tree and some of the presents, now gone for another year.

Today is my first of three days off work. I am in the process of organising the Potter's club renovations. The painting was supposed to be done before the floor sanding and resealing but I don't know if it will be now, re; depending on other people to do part of the organising, and work persons fitting in around each other. I should have done the lot myself.
Pete had a phone call from Canberra to attend a psych test next Thursday for the new jail job. Should be no problem, he's done them before. Don't know if I would pass at times though. Lol. We are still vacillating between selling here and buying in Canberra or renting. Houses are so expensive there, but most rented places won't allow pets so that will drastically cut down on our chances of finding something to rent. I will miss my garden soooo much, but if we buy I would be able to rebuild a new garden.
I spent a lot of last night lying awake thinking about the processes to go through for the mural I will be making soon that will go in the new hospital. It is to go in Dr Pott's memorial garden. The idea was to have as many of the staff involved as we can and none of them have done any pottery at all before so it will be busy busy. The hardest thing will be keeping the clay from drying out while we are working on it for a couple of days, because it has been so hot lately. For the last week and a half it has been in the high 30's each day which is over the hundred mark (37) on the old Fahrenheit scale. I must be getting older, the heat didn't bother me too much before. It said on the news a few days ago that 2007 was the hottest year on record since the beginning of record keeping of weather in Australia.
We had a dust storm yesterday but got no rain out of it, even though it was looking good. I have gone back to watering each evening for an hour. I tried to use the new water tank a couple of nights ago but the tap that came with it is useless and I could get no more than a slow trickle out of it. I will have to action it and get a new one fitted, so I can at least use the water I have saved. my little plot of corn out the side is ready to use, beautiful. I had some about a week ago and it was a bit young so it should be good now. I have had a few ripe tomatoes, very few so far and the potatoes in the straw garden have not been looking healthy so I had a look at those and rescued a few small straggly potatoes to try from that. Nothing very special, although they were the purple colour that I expected.
I had better go do some work instead of siting on my bum here, Bye. Love Linda.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

A Favourite Recipe. Honey Roll.

Today is my 5Th of 7 days off work. I took Annie in to Wagga and had lunch in the park under the big old shady trees. We had Kentucky fried chicken. Then went for a bit of a walk and had a drink from the kiosk. A nice way to spend a Saturday summer afternoon.
I made a sponge this morning. It was from a favourite recipe that I have had for 20 years or more that works really well.
Honey Roll.
3 good sized eggs, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of cornflour, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and mixed spice, 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.
Beat eggs (whites and yolks in together) and salt together on high for 2 minutes. Add sugar then beat on high for 8 minutes. Turn mixer to low and drizzle in honey, then with mixer still on low add sifted cornflour, baking powder and spice mixture.
Cook in moderate oven 200 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.
O.K. here the fine details or tips to make it work good.
I always sift the dry ingredients 3 times to mix and aerate them.
Always butter and then line your Swiss roll tray with grease proof paper.
Yes it sounds like a lot of mixing but it works.
The eggs whip up better if you mix them at room temperature. You can speed this up by putting them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes instead of remembering to take them out of the fridge before hand.
The honey mixes in better if you warm it up a bit by putting the jar in a bowl of warm water for a while.
When you take the cake out of the oven, turn it upside down on a clean tea towel, peel the paper off the back and roll it loosely inside the tea towel then leave it there for a few minutes before gently taking the tea towel away and letting it cool down in its rolled up shape.
When it is cold, fill it with whipped cream that has vanilla and a spoonful of sugar in it.
Don't be tempted to over cook the roll or it will just break when you try to roll it.
Plain roll; Delete honey and spices. Add 1 tablespoon of custard powder.
Chocolate roll; Delete spices & honey. Add 1 desert spoon of golden syrup, 1 tablespoon of cocoa and 1 tablespoon of plain flour.
The plain roll is good too but I wasn't impressed by the chocolate roll.
You can also use this recipe to make a good spiced sponge cake by cooking it in a normal cake tin.
For the plain roll you can spread jam or lemon butter on it instead of whipped cream.
It is a good recipe for people who don't believe they can make a sponge cake. It is just a case of getting a recipe that works for them.
Bye fo today. Love Linda.

Friday, 4 January 2008

New New Year.

I am trying something new today. I found a blog called Sunday Scribblings. They give a weekly prompt with a subject to write about. The latest one is new year.
Well!!! This year I have made a resolution to make no new year resolutions. Each year I think of things to resolve for the new year like lose weight, be more caring and patient or whatever and when a situation arises they all go out the window. I eat that nice biscuit of have an big serve of meat or get annoyed at Mrs K (a patient at work) who I know has lost the plot big time and will neither understand me or be reasoned with and is exceptionally obnoxious. So this year, no resolutions to make. Instead I will just be me and try to be the best person I can be.
My hopes for the new year? I hope we get the move to Canberra. I know it won't be easy, especially setting up a social network of new people, as that is not easy for people like me. I hope that all the stuff we see as an advantage of moving to a bigger place turns out to be what we expect it will. I hope to learn lots of new things and move forward in my pottery, finances and health, for myself and the family. Gee this is harder than I thought it would be, trying to stay on a subject instead of my usual ramblings.
O.K. enough of that! My front tooth has lost a filling and I have been waiting to hear if the dentist has had a cancellation so I can get it seen to. Meanwhile I have been popping it back into place for cosmetic reasons and trying to chew on my back teeth so as not to dislodge it again. The trouble is we have a dinner date tonight with a workmate of Pete's who is leaving. Could be interesting... or embarrassing! Lol.
I went down to the local Museum today. Brian rang early this morning and invited me to their monthly music and sing along day. He invites me most times but I don't always get to go, I have only been twice before. I took Mum and we enjoyed it. They had quite a good roll up while we were there. We stayed about 1 1/2 hrs. There was the lady with the violin whose name I can never remember but whom I have met lots of times, Brian who plays ukulele, squeeze box, harmonica and drums on the back of his ukulele to keep time. Another local man Rus, on the banjo and a lady on the organ. Good fun. In between there were also tourist type people coming and going who stopped for a while to join in and have a cuppa. The museum is in an old fashioned pub that closed down quite a few years ago. It still has the big coach entrance (arched doorway) at the front of the building and is 2 stories with the original iron work decorations along an open verandah, on the second floor, a lovely old building. It was still open as a pub (the Broadway Hotel) when we first came to town but it became dilapidated from being closed down and empty, until the museum people were able to take it over.
My darlin' braticus daughter wants to get the puter back off me, so I better hand it over,,,, to be fair.
Bye Love Linda.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

G'Day Again!,
I Just watched the clock tick over. It is now 12.04. Happy New year. The big fire works show is on the Tele. Sydney harbour is beautiful. I hope to see many more.
Bye Love Linda.