venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)
Mum to friend: "I'm going to be a grandmother for the third time!"

Me: "I have nothing to do with it!"

Third and definitely final child for Brother and SiL. Mum laughingly asked if they were sure it wasn't twins and SiL said, "No, thank God! I was so worried about that!"

Baby is due in June. Finally, a family birthday outside the major holiday season!
venetia_sassy: (SH // Gladstone oh no! dead dog?)
What a splendid few days it's been. I didn't sleep very well on Friday night but I had to go to Nephew #1's 6th(!) birthday party the next day and while it was a perfectly nice party as such things go and the kids were having a great time, it really was very boring for anyone who wasn't a) a child, b) a parent wanting to talk about children or c) a relative (preferably with grown children) wanting to talk about children. I can only manage c), minus the grown children, very briefly and really, no one cares. Plus, it was hot, the kids were loud and I was bitten on the neck by a green ant.

(Curious thing: Brother and SIL always manage to massively overcater. Why is that? They've had several kiddie parties and any number of family gatherings by now but always, always massively overcater. I hope they don't just throw out the leftovers but lord, I'd get sick of them. And if they didn't freeze some of the food, it would go off before they could eat it anyway. Peculiar.)

We left after a few hours, went home, I passed out, woke up with the worst post-exertion headache I've had in ages and blessed my doctor for the new headache pill prescription. Ate something, went back to sleep, got up the next day for a book sale, found something for the difficult uncle, plus a few interesting books and two more M. M. Kaye novels I've been looking for in an omnibus (I really should just give up and buy them all on ebay.)

Monday, more stinking hot weather and the unnerving urge to wrap Christmas presents. I decided to take advantage of it and got a few done. Mostly I'm waiting for packages to arrive now, but I do need to go out sometime this week for a few things. And make my food shopping list!

Hideous hot windy weather today and no walks for dogs for several days now! But there have been games and zoomies in the garden. Can it cool off soon please? I don't even want to play Christmas carols, the references to snow sound so wrong.
venetia_sassy: (Images // tea)
Day 1 of Baking Project: run into various small problems, as one does when trying something new, but able to solve them. Things going pretty well.

Day 2 of Baking Project: things go more smoothly with practice, all going well ... but the edible ink pen is hopeless. Have to go to the shops tomorrow and find something else. Stick to baking for the rest of tonight.

Dee has asked me to make two boxes of mixed biscuits for her grandsons who are starting Year 11 this year, a 'good luck and good start to the year' gift, so I'll be doing that later this week. She's also asked if I would consider making some biscuits for Easter gifts because she's sick of giving people Easter eggs, especially when they're not that fond of them! And the good ones are so expensive ...

Mum asked me and I said happily, 'Baking excuse!'

*
We went to the osteopath on Thursday (my neck is, eh, a little better? And I did my ankle in with tendonitis. Fun.) He's out on the northern beaches. It was so hot and still and humid here; still very warm there but with a strong breeze blowing, it was rather nice. His office is literally a couple of minutes walk from the beach so we walked to the top of the dunes and looked out at the waves crashing in. The smell of salt was so strong. There was a stunning hibiscus in full flower nearby - creamy-white with a pink centre - very beautiful. It always startles me to see hibiscus and frangipani in Australian gardens; they always say Maui to me.

Then we came home and I managed to stay upright just long enough to strip off my clothes and makeup. Treatments are exhausting.

*
On Friday it was cold, pouring with rain and there was thunder most of the day. The fuck? And it was even colder on Saturday. Look, I have no objection to the colder weather, I am just very confused. And so are my clothes. And my bedcovers.

To our surprise, we were invited to join the informal family party for Nephew #2's 2nd birthday. We'd already received the invitation for the official party so I figured that was it but no, we went over and had pizza and cake and were included in photos and ... I don't get it.

Since we hadn't anticipated this, we went shopping beforehand (and the centre we went to had a cake art shop that I wanted to look at and will go back to tomorrow.) We found a cool colour matching game for Nephew #2 and Mum wanted to find a wise owl ornament or soft toy for Nephew #1 who just started school this week and is very excited by it. No luck at the toy store or newsagent and we were less than thrilled at the notion of going outside to get to another area (pouring rain) but we went into a dollar store to find a gift bag and thought we'd look in the ornament section. And amongst the usual animals who looked like they needed attention from a vet was a magnificent snowy owl with glitter dusted wings. Absolutely gorgeous. Nephew #1 has named her 'Heddie.'

(Also, fandom has Done Things to Me. Mum was dithering over a nice green gift bag. It was a softer shade of green and had some blue and pink on it. It wasn't obviously coded male or female and Mum thought it might not be 'boyish' enough. I started to say, 'Mum, don't encourage gender norms.' Which I don't think is something I've ever said to Mum. Or out loud. So I rephrased, 'Mum, don't make me start channeling one of my fanfic characters and start saying, don't encourage gender norms.' She laughed. We bought the bag. And Nephew #1's green gift bag had bright pink ribbons on it.)

We spent two hours listening to four sugar-hyped, over-stimulated, highly-excited children aged five and under shrieking delightedly (egged on by two teenage girls who could shriek just as loudly) then we came home and I passed out. I had a headache yesterday.

*
This computer is getting very twitchy. It's unnerving.
venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)
Mum rarely drinks beer (she prefers wine) but she does find it a good drink for very hot evenings. Thus she was sitting outside this evening with a bottle of Pale Ale when she suddenly asked me if she'd ever told me about the time Dad got drunk and had a fight with the orange trees.

... no?

This was several years before I was born, it seems, back at our old property. They'd been over at the neighbour's place, having a drink and while Mum had gone home to put young Brother to bed, Dad had stayed on to share some of Husband Neighbour's home-brewed beer.

Well, some time later Mum heard a rather, ah, lively, conversation taking place in the side paddock and went out to discover Dad having an animated discussion with some orange trees. And boxing with them.

The next morning, he said that he was never touching that stuff again. (She'd pretty sure he did though.)

This reminiscence not only set me off laughing, it prompted Mum to give our old neighbours a call (they've lived in Queensland for over twenty years now but we've always kept in touch.) They were delighted by the story although their own memories of the evening were, er, a trifle vague.
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)



I don't know if the baby is actually calming down or just going, 'Wtf is that noise?' but hey, it works!

Maybe Brother and SiL should look into getting a husky to get their boys to calm the fuck down because holy shit, those kids do not stop moving. Then again, if two cattle dogs haven't slowed them down, I doubt a husky would!

(Brother and SiL said they thought Nephew #2 would be easy after Nephew #1. Now they are laughing at themselves and figure the universe is playing a very big joke on them.)
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)
Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup.

That turned out well. I'm not usually a fan of creamy soups (the smoother they are, the less of them I can eat) but I didn't process it into oblivion, the bacon garnish was excellent and I almost finished my bowl. I used low-fat milk and a mix of cheddar and parmesan and it made for a very rich flavour. I cannot imagine using cream in this. Oof.

The bacon I used was a strip of the honey and port cured bacon we buy from the farmer's market. Oh yeah. It's a good trick - there's a stall that sells freshly cooked bacon and egg rolls using the bacon sold at another stall. First time Mum tried one of the rolls? We bought some of the bacon.

*
We were supposed to have dinner at Brother's place tonight. Actually we were supposed to have dinner there last Thursday but there was a big contract in the offing and when Mum saw him at Nephew #1's Christmas Concert, Brother was practically twitching with tension which is ... not like him. So Tuesday? Mum said that was fine but when she went to put it in her diary later she went, 'Er...' and called Brother to ask if he realised Tuesday was the 13th and thus his wedding anniversary.

When she called him again today, he said yes, he'd realised the same thing and how about this Thursday? Mum laughed and said didn't he feel like celebrating his anniversary with his Mum and sister? Brother said he thought he should probably take SiL out to dinner instead.

*snickers* Yes, just possibly.

*
Which mean I am going to be absolutely flattened by Friday. We're off into town tomorrow to see the allergist again. At least a two-hour round trip, mostly by bus this time since car and train were a hassle last time. Hopefully not as much time spent in testing this time. I am looking forward to seeing the city Christmas decorations. I can't remember the last time I was in town in December.

Thursday is the osteopath, another two-hour round trip and I'm usually exhausted and have a headache after an appointment.  Then dinner with Brother and family in the evening. At least with the kids it won't be too late.

I was hoping to see the girls this weekend. Maybe not. Sunday? Maybe. We'll see.

*
Pretty sure I posted this last year but it's still fabulous.


venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)

Opened an email this morning that started:

Hi [Venetia],

I just wanted to let you know that your order has been delayed due to the erupting volcano ...

I stared at that for a moment before I realised the email continued:

... that we will be getting back in stock on Monday.

I then realised it referred to Build your own Erupting Volcano that I ordered for Nephew #1's Christmas present along with the Design your own Superhero Cape for his birthday. 

Granted, tea would have helped my just-woken-up comprehension but some capital letters might have helped too.

Anyone else have fond memories of bicarb soda volcanoes? Mum helped me make an awesome one for a dinosaur diorama when I was about six. Who says boys are the only ones who go through a dinosaur phase? Pah! Mum thinks a kit is an excellent idea. *g*

venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)
Wretched sinuses. Between my my fuzzy-headedness and Daylight Savings trying to mess with my sleep cycle just when I'd managed to get it relatively stable, the weekend is a bit blurry. Not in a fun way.

I have started on my annual Present Finding Frenzy which will soon result in forcibly reminding myself to Put Down the Debit Card and Step Away from the Computer (this is closely related to the annual Christmas Cooking Frenzy, requiring many repetitions of Put Down the Cookbook and Step Away from the Kitchen, You Need to Rest.) I just like finding nice things for people. And baking tasty food for them.

(I have informed Mum that if she doesn't give me a wishlist soon, I'm going to start buying things anyway.)
 
(Well, I already have. But only a few things! She has a birthday coming up as well!)

Brother, SiL and Nephew #1 also have birthdays coming up (at least Nephew #2 is in February?) I have zero ideas for the former two because they are impossible to buy for and horrible at giving suggestions, especially in any sort of timely manner. Nephew #1 on the other hand ...

Design Your Own Superhero Cape

I'm pretty sure he's already a superhero in his own mind anyway. He should be appropriately caped.

And speaking of people who are impossible to buy for ... when I was out the other day I saw a display of Black Caviar's biography and thought, "Oh, that would be Dad's Christmas present."

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW RARELY THAT HAPPENED WHEN HE WAS ALIVE?!

I suspect I'm going to twitch reflexively every time I see that book until Christmas is over.

*
Meanwhile, Mum would like my wishlist and I am having slight problems with this, in that nearly all my window shopping this year has been done online and all the online shopping in this household is done by me. The other week, Mum needed to buy and download a new version of Photoshop and had no idea how idea how to go about it. (As far as the the installation part went, I really didn't know either but I could work it out.) I can't say to Mum that I might like this t-shirt or this lipstick or this wall decal or this skirt or any number of books, DVDs and CDs that aren't available in Australia or if they are, only at extortionate prices.

So I'm checking various links and favourites to determine what is actually available in places where Mum could buy them.

... I really haven't gone out much this year.
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)
Last week, I went to Nephew #1's Easter preschool concert and it was really very cute. Mum's been to others but I'm usually dead to the world at that hour. We walked over and met Brother and Sister-in-Law (who's being fairly polite at the moment.) Nephew #2 had stayed at home with his Nana.

Watching the concert was almost a nostalgia trip. I remember singing some of those songs! (Also, the preschool owner was my preschool teacher, too! Time flies.) Most of the kids looked like they were wondering what the hell was going on - oh wait, we're singing now? Really? Oh, okay.

Nephew's first appearance was during a song that made me go ... um. 'Three Easter Eggs in the Chocolate Shop.' Three little girls dressed in Easter Egg costumes, another little girl behind a 'counter'. Little boy comes up, buys one of the 'eggs' and leads her off by the hand. Nephew comes up, buys one of the 'eggs', leads her off by the hand. At which point I'm going, oh you've got to be kidding me ... and then a girl came up, bought the last 'egg' and led her away. Okay. Not so creepy. And apparently, they picked different kids at random for each concert (there were three). I hope there were boys playing 'eggs' as well as girls.

Nephew looks different every time I see him. He's only four but was almost the tallest kid there (one kid was taller. He's a year older.) He was looking very stylish in his skinny black jeans and white t-shirt with a wolf head on it! He's taking after SiL's family in build, he's gone all long and lanky. Brother was stocky and solid until puberty. He's looking more like me in colouring - pale, pale skin, blue eyes and his white blond hair is darkening to ash blond. I imagine it will end up dark ash blond/light brown like mine or darken more to brother's shade.

He's just had his first 'grown-up' haircut. The baby curls have loosened to slight waves and I swear he had a bit of gel in his hair that day, not just water, to make it a bit spiky - it was almost a fauxhawk. He's feeling quite grown-up at the moment - he's just lost his first tooth and what did he buy with money the Tooth Fairy left him?

Deodorant like Daddy's.

(Mum nearly laughed herself silly when she heard that.)

(So did I.)

*solemn nod* My nephew is a cool little dude, people.
venetia_sassy: (Images // puppies! With Santa hats!)
The day started out rather blearily, thanks to staying up way too late fiddling with florentines, shortbread, caramels etc (I do not have enough airtight containers! Every year, no matter how many I have, it is never enough) but after some revivifying tea, I sat down to my first task of the day - halving and pitting, then poaching 600g of cherries (reduced the sugar a bit, only one cinnamon quill. And oh wow. The smell is amazing!)

I survived this encounter with minimal redecoration of the house and my own self. Disposable gloves and my apron were a great help, although I still managed to smear cherry juice up my forearms and drip on the apron (which went into the wash immediately afterwards, although if I hadn't been checking for stains I might not have noticed them for awhile. The juice dried to the same shade as the flowers in the fabric, it was quite remarkable.)

Then there was wrapping presents and making the vanilla bean bundt cake (1 teaspoon Cointreau instead of lemon extract, since that's what I had) which I have yet to taste but the batter tasted fabulous! Glazing will happen tomorrow.

*
We had our usual Christmas Eve dinner with Dee, which was really nice. She gave me a lovely glazed pottery bowl that she bought in 1947, at a pottery on Friday Hut Road in the Forgotten Valley. She saw it being made and they went back a few days later to collect it. It's a deep gumleaf green with an unusual wavy rim. Dee said no one else in the family particularly cares for it and when she saw the pottery I bought at the Artist's Trail last month, she thought I might like it. And she'd like to think it will continue to be loved.

That was lovely.

We also discovered that we are not only connected through Mum's father's family but there's a connection on her mother's side as well. Mum started to mention her grandfather's name and Dee chipped in with his address! Connections within connections.

*
We took a few detours on the way home to check out the Christmas lights in the neighbourhood (with some of those blinking lights, I wonder that everyone in the neighbourhood doesn't wind up with migraines.) Now, having tidied up, washed the dishes, finished wrapping presents, read half of 101 Dalmatians, I just need to take Mum's stocking into her room and I'm done!

Merry Christmas!
venetia_sassy: (MLP // shake it off)
... but I'll make a different dessert on the day. And yes, I should have made it a couple of weeks ago but Mum was having trouble finding all the glace fruit. Usually it's easy to find this time of year but this year, it was all glace cherries and ginger. No idea why.

I don't even like Christmas cake or Christmas pudding or any kind of fruitcake really, but Mum loves it. And my aunt makes very sought after fruitcakes and she shared her recipe with us. So I'm making a Christmas cake for my mother from my aunt's recipe. I like that.

It does smell good in its way. Although, I soaked the fruit in rum overnight and just opening the fridge door nearly knocked me off my feet with the fumes. Whee. And I add more alcohol to this?!

venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)
Mum went to see Nephew #1 in his preschool Christmas concert today. He was dressed as Santa and shaking maracas (in time!) for Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Awww.

*
The caramels remain incredibly delicious (especially with a sprinkle of sea salt) but cutting them up is tedious. More muscle power would help, I suspect. The marshmallows however were very easy and only a bit messy.

I am not a fan of supermarket marshmallows - sticky, gluey, all sugar (okay, faint flavouring) and you can't scrape them off your teeth. Toasted marshmallows were not a part of my (Aussie) childhood but I have tried them a couple of times and consider them the only acceptable way to eat standard marshmallows.

When I started going to farmers' markets however, I discovered that there were other kinds of marshmallows. There is a gourmet sweets stand at my local market and I have tried their pastel, fruit-flavoured, melt-in-your mouth marshmallows. Still not quite my thing but so much better than the usual. And when I started seeing marshmallow recipes on Foodgawker, I started bookmarking.

Today, I made Ribena marshmallows.

1) Ridiculously easy.
2) Boiling sugar syrup looks scary. This may be why I did not burn myself today.
3) Today's saucepan did not have a lip, so the thermometer could clip on. Excellent!
4) Slicing the marshmallows is a bit messy but it's quite easy as long as you keep cleaning the knife and use lots of icing sugar-cornstarch mix.
5) They are pretty and pastel and very sweet and soft. They're still not my favourite thing but I might try making other flavours.
6) Ribena! THE DRINK OF MY CHILDHOOD! I haven't had any in years but I opened the new syrup bottle (plastic now, not glass) and oh, it smells just the same. It's a nice flavour for the marshmallows but I think I still prefer it as a drink. This will require further testing. Ribena and soda water ...

How many times did I type 'marshmallow' in this post?

*bleary*

Dec. 6th, 2011 11:44 pm
venetia_sassy: (SH // Gladstone oh no! dead dog?)
Ugh, I haven't experienced this particular flavour of exhaustion for a few months at least.

*
The weather remains unpredictable. I'm all for the cooler weather but Mum's getting a little cranky about needing heaters in December. However, the really spectacular weather turned up on Sunday about half an hour before we left for Nephew #1's 4th Birthday party. There was an absolute downpour here complete with thunder but when we got to brother's house we discovered the remains of hail. Brother said it was ankle-deep in their backyard. Bloody hell. Luckily, there was only a little rain after that so the kids could still play outside.

As such things go, there were minimal tantrums and as many adults as children, which helped. Brother displayed his general excellence with children in running the games (seriously, children and animals love brother) and, to our considerable astonishment, displayed previously unknown cake-making skills.

Yes, he made the birthday cake and shaped and decorated it to look like a red and black guitar. It was fantastic! There was a rock star theme for the party as Nephew #1 is insane about music. He has a several guitars, takes lessons and has his own drum kit. Not a toy one. He destroyed the toy ones apparently. Not sturdy enough. (Still, my brain keeps repeating, he's four.) He has two music posters in his bedroom - AC/DC and Justin Beiber.

Yeah, I have no idea.

Minimal contact with SiL, laboured conversation with her mother but the rest of the family are nice.

Anyway, after nearly four hours we decided to take our leave (I did not have a raging headache which surprised and delighted me but I was tired) and we briefly stopped by the homemaker centre to pick up the mini sound system that was on order. We may also have spotted a coffee table. But by the time we got home I was feeling very faded. I managed to stay alert long enough to heat some leftover celery soup for dinner but then I headed for the sofa and curled up with the purring cat for several hours. I haven't fallen asleep on the sofa for ages. Blegh. (Also, nearly ick. The next morning, Mum found the cat had upchucked a hairball where I'd been lying. Thank you for waiting, puss.)

Around midnight, I woke up and thought I'd better try for bed. It still took me a bleary hour to make it through my going-to-bed routine. (Brushing my teeth, washing my face, getting changed, etc, takes energy. During my worst phase, I was falling asleep on the sofa so many nights because I just didn't have the energy to go brush my teeth or even to take my clothes off.)

As for yesterday ... yeah, not much happened. I'm a little better today but I didn't go with Mum to the local garden centre's Christmas sale. Not surprisingly, she came home with new Christmas decorations even though we said we'd already bought our new decoration for the year. Plus, mass quantities of soil and mulch but we needed that.

I'm not even sure if this post makes sense ... I was feeling better earlier but I'm getting bleary again.

Anyone else for Christmas cards? Last call! And reciprocation not required!




venetia_sassy: (MLP // shake it off)
Did you know there is an excellent way to neutralise dog fart odour? Light a match. Really! It works. (Thank goodness since poor old Lady Muck has always been a champion in this area but old age is increasing the results.)

*
The electricians came by today (Mum only called yesterday but they had a job nearby so we had next-day service! They did say that this is Not The Usual especially before Christmas. We just got lucky.) We now have a light/fan combo in the living room (with retractable blades! Why did no one come up with that before? And the room might actually be cool in summer!) and the new light fitting (Nimbus) installed in Mum's office. It looks rather good. I gave up on my attempts at assembly last night. I made it about halfway through but then it would all start to slip apart. Again. But one of the electricians had a go at it and while he shared our opinions of the instructions, he did it! I suspect having larger hands would be a help in this case.

Mum was very impressed by the guys. Very helpful (see light fitting) and efficient and they asked her for the vacuum so they could clean up any mess they'd made.

*
Nephew #1's birthday today. We thought we might get to talk to him on the phone but we'd been invited for the official party on Sunday so that was something. But at the last minute we were invited over this evening, since various friends and family were already there. I had to decline (I'm still tired from the trip, I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, dinner on my birthday and kiddie birthday party on Sunday. Meep) but Mum went over and SiL didn't talk much to her but didn't ignore her either. Brother looks like something the cat dragged in apparently - 90-hr work weeks and a cold. Yeah. Nephew was very happy with his magnetic dartboard (he has amazing hand-eye coordination for a four-year-old, Mum told me.) And Mum said people asked after me and a cupcake was sent home with Mum. Nice.

*
I'll probably get the last of my Christmas shopping done tomorrow.
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)

Mum: *holding the new dustbuster* This is very effective but I think it's going to be tricky to clean.
Me: Did you read the instructions?
Mum: ... no?
Me: *reads the instructions, takes the dustbuster apart in three easy moves, cleans it, reassembles in three easy moves.*
Mum: Ah.

*
I have new shoes! Specifically, sandals for walking around. I have a very pretty pair of flat black sandals which still, after several years, give me blisters. I've finally given up on them (I hate shoe shopping, okay?) and found some nice, slightly higher-heeled black sandals (third row, Krsytal, but in black.) Not quite as pretty but incredibly comfortable. The brand is called Homy Ped (which ... does not sound attractive however you approach it) and I bought them in a pharmacy. Yes, really.

There were a few other styles that I liked but these were the ones the store had in my size (5 1/2! A brand that makes shoes in 5 and 5 1/2!) and a colour I liked. And they are comfortable! Not quite flat, unfortunately, but comfortable. Why is this so rare?

*
My head is still a little dodgy but overall, much improved. Good timing since we're off to the South Coast again tomorrow! Just for one night this time - we're going to pick up a lamp for Mum and a sculpture for me and we'll spend the night at a lovely B&B we discovered on the last night of our previous trip. And do a bit of Christmas shopping on the way!
 

venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)

Mum had a check-up with her oncologist today. Cancer-free, two years and counting!

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it.
 

venetia_sassy: (Adam // glitter and stars)
On Sunday, I did very little. It was nice. And that night there were fireworks nearby and while we couldn't see the lower ones, the bigger ones were over the treeline and quite spectacular! The Boyo, of course, rushed around the garden the whole time, trying to outbark the noise.

On Monday, the cat came home from the cattery (where he was a model guest) and was very pleased about it. I continued to do little besides read (and try not to expire from the heat) but that night I made Pasta with Celery and Lemon (omitting the chilli and adding toasted pine nuts) which we enjoyed.

Today, I made Roasted Asparagus Salad with Valencia Oranges and Ginger-Citrus Vinaigrette, followed by Chocolate Cloud Cake. Why the cake? Mum's birthday! She had many phone calls and I gave her a little glazed pottery bowl I found at a market on our last day (we'd been admiring a piece by the same potter the night before.) She was very happy with that and very happy with dinner! The salad was really very good (and I liked the method of slicing oranges in the recipe. Less awkward) and the cake. Oh my. It's rich. Very rich. Like a giant, intensely flavoured brownie topped with clouds of cream. And rich. Did I mention rich?

And I didn't even use Cointreau. Or all the cream! (The cream is absolutely necessary btw. The cake would be too overwhelming without it.)

We're looking at the cake and going, we are not going to finish that before it goes stale. Who can we share it with?!
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)
Mum's home! The dogs went nuts with delight; when the cat came in, he gave her a very disgusted look but then she fed him and brushed him, so he likes her again.*g*

She actually arrived about two hours before I expected her (customs only took about twenty minutes, the strikes didn't affect things, traffic was good) so I was still in my dressing gown and hadn't finished in the garden. But she was delighted with how the garden's looking and very impressed with how clean and tidy the house is. So that was nice.

She was definitely running on adrenalin (more than 24 hours of travel) and promptly unpacked everything and holy shit, Christmas came early! She brought me so many presents.

I'd asked for a few things that we can't get here - butterscotch chips, extra-dark cocoa, some Pop-Tarts (childhood memories, we could get the double chocolate ones occasionally. You can still find them sometimes - for $11 a box. Hah.) and some Goody hair pins I wanted to try. Also some Skittles because I prefer the American flavours. Besides all that? Let's see ...

Four tops (black, grey-green, deep purple and mushroom pink), one bright pink cowl neck jumper, a lovely black cardigan with ruffled neckline, black leggings, a cute nightgown, purple leather gloves with flower detail at the wrist, a long apron ...

Three KitchenAid spatulas to go with my stand mixer, plus a whisk in a similar shade of red. A Strawberry Slicer (just for the silly), a 'soup sock' for making stock ...

An earthernware bird, a lovely porcelain box in a traditional red and blue floral pattern, with a dog on top (a Borzoi or greyhound, perhaps), a blown glass perfume bottle in blue and gold, a glass pendant, blues and pinks and sparkles, like a fantasy ocean. Also some other hair combs which seem to stay in my hair. Amazing!

Plus, there was the book and program for War Horse, all the playbills from the various plays they went to, some lovely prints (for both of us), a notebook with a running cat on the cover, a guidebook from Savannah ...

Also, my Deluxe Edition of Vices and Virtues which I had sent to Persia since the shipping cost to Australia was outrageous. I have been listening to it tonight! And more bandom brain: Mum bought a lovely lightweight black cowl neck poncho. It's really very nice (I tried it on and yeah, very nice) but I had to laugh because 'poncho' now equals 'Gerard being dorky' in my head.

Seriously, Mum bought plenty of things for herself, too, lots of lovely tops and the prints and shoes (she said Persia rather laughed at all the clothes but as Mum pointed out, here all that she'd bought would have been four times as much or more. She was going to take advantage!) but I admit my eyes were going wide as more and more came out of the suitcase. I have been spoiled, people!

Mum also bought a delightful fireman's outfit and some books for Nephew #1, and a sweet black and white plush rabbit for Nephew #2, plus little things for a couple of friends. She took a small suitcase with a few outfits with her, planning to buy another suitcase over there for the purchases - at one point she thought she'd have to go back to the store and get a larger size! But Persia is a ninja at packing suitcases so somehow it all fit.

Mum was running on fumes and kind of babbling, so we didn't talk much about the trip except for the flights back. She said she'd never seen so many kids on planes. And while half of them were well-behaved and their parents looked after them, the other half ... suffice to say, the couple in front of her on one flight, changed their baby's nappy on their tray tables. The poor person sitting next to them. Then the father vigorously bounced a fussy baby after his feed so, naturally, baby puked all over dad and the seats. Baby was also teething and screaming unhappily from the pressurisation. Parents seemed oblivious. Mum was glad to get off the plane.

Anyway, we wandered around the garden and Mum was happy she was home in time to see the crabapples bloom. We had dinner and she finally succumbed to sleep at 9p.m.

Having been reunited, I am off tomorrow afternoon for a girls' weekend up the coast. Back on Sunday evening!

venetia_sassy: (MLP // shake it off)

Mum's bedroom and bathroom are done, living room, hallway, Mum's office, kitchen 1/3 done ... rest of that, plus dining room and laundry. Also the back porch if I have the time or energy.

I will possibly regret this energy expenditure but I just don't want Mum coming home to a dusty, messy house. Frankly, this is the house's general state as neither of us like housekeeping (we wage an ongoing war on the clutter and the clutter remains undefeated SO FAR) but it seems like it would be so depressing to come home to that after all the awesome.

*
BDO tickets go on sale tomorrow! They usually sell out fast so I will stay up after letting the dogs out around 8:30a.m. and try then. *crosses fingers*

 

Soulmates

Sep. 20th, 2011 11:39 pm
venetia_sassy: (Adam // glitter and stars)
We have adorable kitten!fic! Thank you [personal profile] auctorial!

I got up early this morning to see Mum off. While we were waiting for the shuttle bus to arrive, I showed her the kittens - and she started her vacation laughing. :) She was possibly also laughing a bit at me, when I told her to have fun, stay safe and call or email me when she got there.

So Mum has departed for three weeks to stay with her friend Persia, on a trip that will include D.C., Baltimore, New York (!) and a road trip down South - Savannah, Atlanta and Charleston at least, I'm not sure where else. I have informed Mum that she must take many pictures and tell me all about it.

She and Persia realised the other day that on this trip they will be celebrating fifty years of friendship.

Isn't that fantastic? They've been friends since high school, best friends since uni. Persia's lived in the US from over thirty years now and they maintained the friendship through letters and the occasional international call while looking forward to Persia's trips to Australia (she's the one who can afford to travel - and donate frequent flyer points to her best friend!) Persia's elder daughter is a year older than my brother, her younger daughter almost a year older than me. Her granddaughter was due on the same day as Nephew #1 (but arrived five weeks early, while Nephew #1 was a few days late.)

Now, Mum is a long-divorced mother of two and grandmother of two, while Persia is a widowed mother of two and grandmother of one. These day they can call and email easily and they still look forward to seeing each other whenever they can.

Mum doesn't believe in in the idea of One True Love or destiny but she does believe in soulmates. You might have more than one in your lifetime and more than one at a time. And there's no reason a soulmate has to be a romantic partner. Mum and Persia? Soulmates.

Fifty years.

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