Saturday, 27 June 2009

Sunday Scribblings "Toys"

Let me introduce myself. My name is Jackie. I belong with Linda. I live where ever she lives and have been with her since she was just nine years old. I was made by her grandmother. Well, not really her grandmother by blood, more her grandmother by marriage to her maternal grandfather Joe Trennery, my maker's name was Gran though. She made my brothers and sisters too. One for each of Joe's grand children that year for Christmas. I don't know if any of my brothers and sisters are left. But, I am still here. My original clothes are long gone. I wore a pair of red velvet trousers and a pink paisley shirt when I was new. My buttons have all gone and been replaced with odd ones. That red velvet one you can see on my hat is one from Linda's old red dressing gown, almost matches.. My pink nose used to be red velvet too, long ago.
Linda used to love to cook with Gran when she was a little girl and Gran taught her how to make those little cakes with the bright pink icing that Gran used to make for the grandchildren. Linda still uses Gran's date cake recipe.
Linda gave me a new dress, even though it was second hand and is quite old now too. You see it belonged to her daughter Anne-Marie, she is 20 years old now. So it has special sentimental value for both of us. Linda's eldest sister, Thelma, bought it for her and Annie wore it home from the hospital when she was born. It has matching pink pants, but you can't see those. I am a lady you know! But.... I do need a safety pin to hold them up nowdays. He he.
I have been with Linda for 40 years now. I reckon not many clowns would have had that privileged to brag about. I sit above her bed and watch over her at night. Well sometimes I slump down a bit, but you know....I am getting old. There was a time though that I was left in the dark box in the corner of the bedroom for years. I might not have survived this long otherwise I suspect. I have a few stitches here and there to prove it, but I am a survivor. Yes I am! When all the other toys were broken or stolen or lost or passed on, I survived. I am back in my rightful place of privilege above where my Lindy sleeps. There were even times when I soaked up her tears and held her. Such a privilege for a long term friend. I cuddled her cat. I was dragged around by her babies and used as a pillow. I moved house with her.
Yes definitely a privileged life I have led. Yes.

That is my story for the Toy prompt this week for Sunday Scribblings.
I wonder if any of Jackie's brothers and sisters did survive as long as she has.
I have boxes of my children's toys in the garage that I can not bear to dispose of. Even though they have no interest in them now ......maybe one day?
This morning I was pampered. And it was bloody lovely. My son got me a gift voucher at a day spa in the city for Mother's day. I was a bit slow to act on it but this morning I did.
So at 10.00 I rocked up there and got exfoliated, massaged and had a beautiful spa. The massage and spa were just heaven. Well... the whole thing was. I lay back and loved it. The spa was filled with milky bath stuff and essential oils, surrounded by rose petals and I lay back and enjoyed a pot of Japanese tea and chocolate hearts while I bubbled and soaked. The noise of the bubbles drowned out the relaxing music and I didn't get to listen to that until the spa stopped so I lay there a little bit longer just to enjoy that. Beautiful, just beautiful. I have not had the pleasure of doing anything like that before, but I can heartily recommend it. So lovely and girlie.
Thank You Michael! My Mickle pickle.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Today my oven decided to work again. There must be a short in there some where.
This is what results from the family chocolate cake recipe I had in my post yesterday.
looks alright doesn't it.
Love Linda.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Sunday Scribblings "Visions"

The Sunday Scribblings prompt for this week is "Visions".
I thought a bit about that word and couldn't get my thoughts together.
Then I thought what was my last vision.
Well today I had a vision of a yummy chocolate cake, ( or was that a craving?). I went to the shop and got some groceries with just that in mind. I wanted a moist soft chocolate cake to split down the middle and fill with freshly whipped cream then top with chocolate icing and fresh strawberries. Mmmmm.
Well I came home and started to go through my old hand written collection of recipes for my favourite chocky cake ones.
Here they are;
The first one came from the side of the cocoa packet, I have made it many times over many years. It works well.
Dark Secret Cake
125 gram margarine.
1 & 1/4 cups caster sugar.
1/4 cup cocoa.
2 cups self raising flour.
1 teaspoon bicarb soda.
2 eggs.
1 cup boiling water.
1 teaspoon vanilla essence.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Grease & flour 2x 20cm cake pans.
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, beat .
Sift together cocoa, flour,& bicarb.
Add to mixture, add rest of ingredients and mix well.
Pour evenly into tins & cook for 25 minutes or until cooked.
Cool for 10 minutes in tins before turning out.
Sandwich together with whipped cream and ice with chocolate icing.
You can also cook this in one larger tin then split it and fill.

The next chocolate cake recipe that I use and recommend is one I have had for years that I found in some magazine long ago. It is a large cake and keeps well.
Family Chocolate cake.
185g butter or margarine.
1/2 cup cocoa.
1/2 cup water.
1 cup milk.
3 eggs lightly beaten.
1& 1/2 cups caster sugar.
3 cups self raising flour, sifted.
1 teaspoon vanilla.

Grease a 32x22cm baking dish or a large cake tin and line with paper.Set oven temperature at 180 Celsius.
Place butter, water and cocoa in heavy based saucepan and cook over low heat until melted and blended together. Remove from pan and cool.Pour into mixing bowl. add milk, eggs, & sugar and beat until well combined. Stir in flour and vanilla then beat 1 minute until smooth and combined. Pour into prepared tin, smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes or until skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean. Cool in tin. When cold split, fill with whipped cream and top with chocolate icing or dust with icing sugar.

There is another chocolate cake recipe that my daughter likes to make. It is from the Lady Flo Bjelke Peterson book that I love. Her recipes always seem to work out good and I use quite a few different ones from that book.
Easy Chocolate cake
1 cup self raising flour.
1 cup caster sugar.
1 teaspoon vanilla.
3 tablespoons butter.
3 tablespoons cocoa.
2 eggs.

Mix all ingredients in bowl for 4 minutes.
Pour mixture into greased lined 20cm tin. Bake in moderate oven (180-200 degrees C) for 40-45 minutes.

I found this one in my book toooooo, cut out of the newspaper. I am going to try this one out, next time.
Mud Cake
250g butter.
150g dark chocolate, chopped.
1 cup hot water.
1/3rd cup whiskey.
1 tablespoon coffee powder.
2 cups caster sugar.
1 & 1/2 cups plain flour.
1/4 cup self raising flour.
1/4 cup cocoa.
2 eggs, beaten.

Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
Grease and line 23cm tin.
Mix butter, chocolate, water, coffee powder, whiskey and sugar in a heat proof bowl. Stir over boiling water until melted together and smooth.
Sift flours and cocoa together.
Stir into melted mixture with eggs. Mix well.
Pour into prepared tin and cook for 75 to 80 minutes, test.
Cool then ice with this mixture.
Melt 200g chocolate with 1/4 cup cream over boiling water until smooth. Cool until it thickens a bit, then spread over cooled cake.
Ohh yum!. Definitely gotta try that one! I haven't got any whiskey but I thought I would just use Tia Maria instead.
So I went to start getting the ingredients together and measure them all out.

On Friday morning the electricity company was doing some work in the park outside our house. The power was off for about 4 hours.
My oven didn't like that, obviously.
Today when I switched it on to preheat to do my cake it was not working.
But... I had a vision of this yummy chocolate cake, split down the middle and filled with cream and topped with that icing, maybe some of those strawberries I got the other day....
I could almost taste it!
I have lost some weight, probably 12 to 15 kilos over the last 3 or 4 months. I am quite proud of that. I have dropped 2 clothing sizes and have been having fun buying new clothes. I haven't fitted into this size for a long long time.
Someone must be looking after me... because my oven won't work! He he! Thank you God.

Love L

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Here are a few pictures to share, just because.
The chooky thing is the finished result of what I made several months ago. She is guarding my front door. Not a very good picture. It is in the same glaze that the mugs are glazed in, an iron red. Some of my blog friends asked to see something I had made. So... here tis'.
Next picture the mugs. Iron red stone ware glaze. They turned out o.k. I had to fiddle with them quite a bit because the glaze had too much water in it and as it belonged to the potter's society I wasn't game to try to fix it up by taking some of the water out, so I left it and had to keep dipping and drying the mugs out as I went. If the clay absorbs too much water while you are glazing it, the glaze goes on too thinly and starts running off again before it dries and gives a poor coating. So that is what was happening with these. Interesting though, one of the mugs went into a different firing to these and must have gone a few degrees higher and came out absolutely beautiful. Darker, glossier and with an almost oil spot effect to it. I had 6 of these, they all were o.k. i am using them at home now.
Scribbling, by me.
Scribblings again.
The next picture is inside the war memorial at Goulburn. (See my post a few stories back.) I was puffing by the time I got to the top of the stairs but the view up there was pretty good. I probably used up a few extra calories getting there and it is supposed to be good for you to put your heart rate up. :> It was cold too, doesn't your body use up extra calories to stay warm, and less to stay cool. Ah what a nice idea, there has to be some sort of bonus to having cold weather. Last week here in Canberra we had a cold snap. One of those days it was just 3 degrees at 2.00 in the afternoon when I went to work. I wore about 4 layers of clothes and didn't take my big jacket off all day. Brrrrrrr. That night it got down to minus 6 degrees.
The war memorial again.
This is a wonky pot. I don't really like it and should have trashed it and not bothered to fire it. The glaze on glaze decoration on it looks OK. though. Them's my finger prints. I like putting those little turned lines on the bottom of all my thrown pots. They have become my own little signature.
Today I went to the Thursday drop in morning again at the potter's society. I turned 2 serving bowls that I made there last week. turning is cutting the excess clay of the half dry pot ( known as leather hard), a bit like wood turning except with clay. I also put 2 bags of clay through the pug mill. One was too hard the other too soft. What a great toy the pug mill is. It remixes, blends and De-airs the clay so I don't have to spend hours upon hours recycling it and doing it all by hand. I didn't get to use one of them before I came to Canberra, a friend in Wagga used to have one and she said I could use hers but I never did. I used to do all my recycling by hand. Silly me!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Sunday Scribblings "Absurd"

Sunday Scribblings prompt this week is the word "Absurd". Yes I can do that.
What is Absurd.
Mad, crazy, silly, ridiculous, stupid, nuts, idiocy
The whole bloody world is
That is everyone,
Except for me.
I learned that you are not crazy if you think you are
and that you are if you think you are normal, and not crazy.
So what am I?
He he.

Absurd is the ridiculous comedy inside us all,
in our society
in our culture or someone else's around the world.
Our views on another religion that we don't understand.

Absurd is that stupid idiot box in the lounge room
and watching what goes on in it
for the sake of its lame entertainment.
Then telling the other people in the room with you to shut up while you watch
so you can hear it as well.

Maybe absurd is sitting here in front of a puter screen
while your beloved sits by themselves in another room.

Absurd is putting too much of your self into your job,
to the detriment of you family life.
Just to get the praise you need from your colleagues
and treating that job as your life instead of
the means to an end that it ought to be.
As a female I never could understand this,
I know males think differently.

Absurd is making money to the detriment of the environment
and fighting to keep doing it just for the sake of money.

Absurd is....political correctness gone overboard.

Absurd is reading silly joke books that have things in them like this;

An elderly couple was enjoying an anniversary dinner at a small hotel, lounge.The husband leans over and asks the wife , "Do you remember the first time we had sex together over 50 years ago?" we went behind this hotel where you leaned against the fence and I made love to you".
"Oh yes, she said, I remember it well".
"O.K." He says "How about taking a stroll around there and we can do it again for old times sake?"
"Ohhh Henry, she says, you old devil, that sounds like a great idea!".
The local policeman is sitting nearby listening to all this, having a chuckle to himself and thinks.
"I've got to see this, I had better keep an eye on them to see that there is no trouble."
He follows them around the back. They walk haltingly along, leaning on each other for support and aided by their walking sticks. Finally they get to the back of the hotel and make their way to the fence. They start going at it. She turns around and as she takes hold of the fence the old man moves in. Suddenly they erupt into the, most furious sex the policeman has ever seen. Just like a couple of 18 year olds.
This goes on for about 40 minutes, She is yelling " Ohhh God!" and he is hanging on for dear life.
Finally they both collapse onto the ground where they stay recovering for half an hour. The policeman still watching thinks, I've got to ask them what their secret is, that was amazing!
As the couple passes by he says to them, "That was something else! You must have been having sex for 40 minutes. How do you manage it? You must have had a fantastic life together. Is there some sort of secret?.
The old man says "50 years ago that wasn't an electric fence."

Yes I do have a few of these books.
Or just plain naughty?
He he.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Sunday Scribblings, Soul Mates.

The Sunday Scribblings prompt for this week is "Soul Mates".
I had a read through what everyone else has said so far. I don't like the term Soul mates. It seems to me an excuse to try to romantically hook up with someone and then when you lose them be able to say well they weren't my soul mate after all.
But... If there is such a thing is a soul mate?
That certain someone you feel a special link with and feel that you knew from a different life on earth. Someone who share the same likes, dislikes, dreams with? I have met this person several times, a different one each time, of either gender. Meshed with them on different levels, socially, mentally, emotionally or sexually.
Someone you met and might never mesh with this time around, or an attraction, right or wrong, that may or may not come to fruition. Or maybe someone you shared a bed with for a little while.
I can not remember the term used when I was young, it is a newer term.
In my life over the last 3 months or so, I have had experience in having my ideals and beliefs turned upside down and had the shit shaken out of them. It has zapped my confidence in my partner and my self and what we had for the last 32 years together. Just when I think I am on top of it all, some idea comes into my head to remind me where I am, and question myself and my partner whom I still am in love with, but don't know the truth of at times. I have learnt that what I thought I had, might not be what I thought I had, but both of us are trying to fix it and move on to another level of our relationship. It is working, slowly, but what happened will always be there.... in my mind anyway. When we are together we are great but when he is away from me I doubt and question. Soul mates? Nah!
I prefer the term life partner.


During the week I worked, of course, to get my pocket money.
Monday, today is a public holiday and therefore provided a nice long weekend in which my hubby Pete, was able to participate because his work roster was friendly to it for a change.
On Saturday we did our homework, as requested by the counselor we saw together. Our home work requires us to go on a date together, as if we were still dating and find something alternate weeks that we think the other might enjoy to do. We look in the "What's on " section of the local paper to find something. This week was Pete's turn to take me somewhere and there was an exhibition I liked the sound of at the Bungendore wood gallery. It was called Mingei. It is a Japanese term that means the arts of the people. The idea being (From the brochure) "a common beauty and function in everyday utilitarian objects whose forms were arrived at intuitively, over time, not pre- contrived, but bound in them the makers' mastery of technique through repetition." Three artists exhibited together. There was a japanese man, Masayuki Ogura who exhibited his beautiful use of wood in Japanese lacquer ware. He is from a family of 5 generations of practicing artisans. Oh wow. His work was.... just so!
There was also a lady who was doing Japanese traditional indigo dyeing, her work was beautiful too but not that appealing to me.
Then...the reason I wanted to see the exhibition... Peter Rushforth. I actually had intention of buying one of his pots just because he is so special in the pottery world, but they were way, way beyond my price range. Real collectors items. The smallest one I saw there was a bowl about 6 inches across and it had a price tag of $460, but most of the work was already sold anyway.
Peter is touted to be the father of Australian pottery. He is 90 years old this year and is still working in his chosen craft. He is a wood firer in the Japanese tradition, a great great man. His pots are just Mmm.....Mmm. He uses Jun, Ash, Tenmoku and Limestone glazes. Like I said Mmmm.... Mmmm. He lives in the blue mountains west of Sydney and in the bush, lucky bugger. I met him once at Gulgong when I went there years ago. He is such a gentle, humble, gracious, man. Gulgong is a pottery happening where potters invade a small town and spend a week doing lectures, lessons, exhibitions, happenings etc, held every 4 years. Years ago there was a movement trying to get Peter Rushforth declared "An Australian National Treasure". I was talking to a lady on Saturday that said they are still working on it and it may soon come together. He deserves it. Now just let me stop sprouting on about him and get on with it. He he.
We also went for a drive across to Goulburn, not far from Canberra. My hubby was born there and we had a look around and a trip up to the war memorial on the hill over looking the town. I do have pics but as things have changed on the puter lately I don't know how to do stuff anymore so...later. We have a separate thingy for storing my pictures on and a new printer/fax/scanner that I can't work. He he. Yeah later. When my grumpy son will permit me some of his scant time to help.

That is all, bye for now.
Love Linda.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Wotcha Doin'? Joe and Janis.

Good morning all. It is Tuesday morning and I just had a slice of yummy brioche toasted with honey on it for my breakfast and am not half way through my first cup of tea for the day.
Blogging gets you in doesn't it? This post is a sort of dear diary.
On Sunday night Pete and I went to the pictures to see the Woodstock movie. It is the 30th anniversary of the event, and I had heard on the radio that there was a screening in the city. It was more documentary style than movie but we enjoyed the music anyway.
"Oh Janis! Didn't the world lose something special when it lost you."
I always loved her voice. In the movie she sang 2 songs and she felt each and every note that she sang, or screamed, as would be some peoples interpretation of her. When I was in my early teens I listened to her records over and over again, tried to sing along, poorly, but I loved them. If my elder sister was out somewhere I would sneak into her room and play her records. She knew, I don't remember her minding about it, as long as I didn't scratch them. They were treated with reverence, which is more than how she treated her things.
Also in the movie was a very young Joe Cocker, I never remembered him looking like that. He still had all the same funny body movements that he has now, probably a bit more pronounced then than now. I love gravelly voices. Last week I bought a" best of" DVD of his to watch when there was rubbish on T.V. I intend to get a collection together, so far I have just 2 music DVDs in the collection. I can draw parallels between he and Janis's style and life, but Janis did not survive her rock and roll life style. Joe barely did, with scars. I wonder where Jimmy and Janis would be now if they were still here and what they would be doing. Still singing and making music for us oldies who remember when we were young. I wonder?
I got a phone call this morning from a lady whose house I am going to clean. I thought that she must have forgotten about it because I has been a few weeks since I first spoke to her. Anyway I start tomorrow morning. Her home is really nice, I will be scared of breaking one of her treasures, so I will have to be careful and not clumsy. When I went there I couldn't see that she was the type of person that would ever be untidy or get dirty, so it should be good in that dept.
Last Thursday I went over to Watson to the potter's society and took my few pots I had made to be fired. Thursday is one of the drop in mornings they have during the week and I will be able to fit that into my work schedule so I am going back this week to join in. Three of the ladies I met before at the course I did were there, so I do know someone who is going, sort of. Bonus. The lack of participation in my craft will, or has, already led me to a loss of skills and memory of its processes and I have been potting too long to want to lose them. So I have to step up to the plate and do something about it. I have to get over not having my own kilns and studio/ shed, and learn to adjust my potting to what I have now. It will also be good for social and mental reasons.
Coming up also...maybe... is the new jail's pottery lessons. I don't know when it will come up but I may have a foot in the door as a teacher. I am a bit nervous about it because I don't know how I will handle those sort of people...but... I sure want to try if I get the chance. I have done some pottery teaching in the past and know I do alright at that but.... I am also nervous about burning my bridges with the job I am doing now if the jail one might not work out. I don't want to finish up because I quite like it most of the time and our boss is nice and treats us well.
Hey! something else that happened on Sunday that was pretty funny was...My son David came for a visit on the weekend and bought his dog Ruby with him. Ruby is a young staffordshire terrier and very strong. I took her for a walk around Fadden Pines on Sunday morning and she wasn't too badly behaved apart from trying to pull my arm out of the socket which I reckon she would be quite capable of doing. She came back when she was called and I had let her go for a run etc. Well, she wasn't too badly behaved until she saw another dog. I got her back on the lead before she saw it. When we got level on the pathway with the other dog she became more and more excited and mananged to ankle tap me in her efforts and tripped me over. I fell, flat on my face, at the feet of the other dogs owner and she pulled me along the ground towards it for about a foot and a half. Bloody hell, I am no light weight and she dragged me along. I am pleased to say that she did not get the other dog or the situation might not have been so funny. I had her lead wound firmly around my wrist, thank goodness. I reckon it would have got an award on funniest home video though. I wonder what the man with the other dog thought when I fell splayed at his feet. He apologised about his dog being so naughty, as did I of Ruby's performance. I had a slight graze on my knee but otherwise no damage done apart from my red face and dirty jumper.
I have decided to have a try at a new Meme site.
It is called "That's my World".
I will add the link to my side bar.
Every Tuesday you get to play tourist guide to show off your world or travels by putting up some pictures of something from where you live. I put my river post in last week.
I don't want to complicate my blog too much but I liked the idea of this one.