venetia_sassy: (MCR // Best smiles!)
Had friends over today - we've been doing catch-ups more often this year which is great. Pip is often frantically busy but comes when she can and the four of us sit and talk and drink tea and sometimes I bake things or we just have fruit and we might watch movies or talk and talk for hours.

So today we had tea and strawberries and birthday cake and Rena gave me this beautiful tea cup for my birthday and Kitt brought me a book on the history of female sailors which looks fascinating. And we finally gave her her wedding present. Kept forgetting, whoops.

Oh and an achievement which must be recorded - Miss Shadow got up on the sofa of her own volition. Yes, the hounds are allowed on the sofas now (it's Mum's fault.) Mr Nosey is right up there with his head on a cushion at every opportunity but Miss Shadow tried a few times, was deeply dubious and gave up. She loves the futon in my study but I think the sofa is too squishy and slippery and she finds the footing too uncertain.

But today, I managed to get her up beside me twice. As soon as I stood up though, she was off as well. But later Mum and I looked in and not only was Mr Nosey sprawled over one sofa (of course) but Miss Shadow was on the other. Still looking dubious about it though.

I never thought I'd be encouraging a dog to get on the sofa. And since when does a greyhound need active encouragement to take over the sofa anyway?

(Kitt called us dog nerds today. Well yes, but her husband just got a tattoo of a cat so they can't talk.)

venetia_sassy: (MLP // shake it off)
I don't know what my body is doing, I really don't. Recuperating from last week, I hope.

The long weekend passed in a blur of sleeping, waking, realising I wasn't all that awake, going back to bed, waking up, trying to work out what day it was ... you get the idea. There were also white chocolate bilbies on Sunday, which is really the only point of Easter for me.

Our neighbours invited us over for hot cross buns on Friday. Mum woke me up to ask if I wanted to go. I'm not sure if my reply involved words but it indicated a negative. Mum went and they sent some chocolates back with her which was sweet of them. Mum also came back with word of an incident which made me laugh to hear of it but probably would have made me blush in second-hand embarrassment.

There were various visitors, family and friends, including the grandfather who is quite old, quite deaf, speaks very loudly and has lost certain social inhibitions at this point. Also present were a young couple (18-20), friends of his youngest granddaughter. A clean-cut, nice-looking guy and a very pretty girl. After asking who they were, the grandfather looked at the girl, then turned and said, "DO YOU KNOW WHAT I THINK? DON'T TELL HER I SAID THIS. I THINK SHE LOOKS LIKE SHE'S GOT A LOT OF SEX IN HER!"

At which point, most of the room was falling about laughing, his daughters were dying of embarrassment and alternating between apologising to the girl and telling their father, "Not. Funny. Dad!" Fortunately the girl in question was not at all shy and just laughed. I would not have been so composed at her age!
venetia_sassy: (Images // tea)
Fig, Mint and Honey Galette. Niiice way to eat figs! Possibly add a touch of nutmeg? Cinnamon? Not sure.

Another nice way to eat figs: Linguine with Fresh Figs, Chard and Parmesan (plus a little lemon juice.)

That's one of the more exciting points of my month which has largely consisted of headaches and brainfog.

I went to the osteo a few days after I last posted and he couldn't help the sinus headaches but he sorted out the new and interesting variety which involved pain in my jaw and shoulder and weakness and discomfort all down my right side. This was caused by clenching my jaw which is something I have never been prone to. Given the timing, I suspect the jaw-clenching was a reaction to the pain of the sinus headaches, migraines, etc. Feh. Anyway, he did some Very Painful things to my jaw and neck, gave me a mouthguard to wear at night and within a couple of days I was feeling much improved! At which point I was felled by an appalling sinus headache.

I have been a tad displeased with my body lately.

Allergy test results came back negative but both doctor and osteo suggested that it might be mould (which is toxic anyway) from the very wet summer we've had causing me grief. A dehumidifier has joined the household and while it doesn't seem to have improved the headaches yet, a smell I wasn't even aware of in my bedroom had now disappeared. My study is also smelling less musty.

So that's the tedious stuff. I will mention the good points.

A brief lull in right-side pain encouraged me to go to the market a few weeks ago. I didn't buy much since I hadn't been able to cook much (wise move!) but they had cavolo nero (love it) for the first time this year which was excellent. I also tried a fresh waffle - delicious!

Cute report: there was a German Shepherd with an amazing plumed tail, a black Labrador puppy just starting his Guide Dog training and his older friend who didn't graduate the program, and two gorgeous whippets who were delightfully friendly.

The next market day, I went with Pip and we had a good time catching up. I bought more cavolo nero, another free-range chicken, some figs (I think I've only had dried ones before? They're so often matched with blue cheese which I can't stand.) Pip tried some buffalo milk gelato while I had a waffle with chocolate sauce and raspberries. Yum. There was also a new stall with tea and spices where we both succumbed to giant vanilla beans (2 for $5) and various teas. We then went to get the dehumidifier (which Pip hauled around like it weighed nothing. I can barely lift it), came home and experimented with the different teas. Highly satisfactory.

And a few days ago, Mum's wrist were hurting too much to go to aquarobics (carpal tunnel) but she wanted to go out so we did some shopping. Not very exciting (new sieve, photo storage boxes, etc) but successful! Also, Game of Thrones is out on DVD, yay!

And despite major brain fog (I am rereading detective novels again. And skipping any complicated parts) I have suddenly been capable of sorting out piles of papers from my study. It happened a few days after seeing the osteo. I woke up bizarrely early and somehow ... it was just easy. And this continued for several days, leaving me a trifle unnerved. It's been up and down since then but I have made major progress with the clutter.

So there have been good points. But I can't say I'll be sorry to see March go. And we'll be starting April by taking a brief trip down to Canberra to see the Renaissance exhibition at the National Gallery. Paintings by Botticelli, Titian, Bellini, Raphael ... it's an amazing opportunity! I just hope the headaches will stay minimal for a couple of days.
venetia_sassy: (MCR // Best smiles!)
Mum and I saw in the new year in our living room - which is now so much more comfortable and attractive with its new rug, etc - watching the ever more spectacular Sydney fireworks (seriously amazing this year!) on tv, while I nursed a lousy headache.

Kind of sums up the good and the bad of the Year That Was. *rueful*

I wish you all a healthy, happy and non-apocalyptic 2012!

*many, many hugs* I'm very happy to know you all.
venetia_sassy: (Images // puppies! With Santa hats!)
Oh, poor Christchurch! I hope all my dad's family are okay with no further damage to their houses ...

(I can't get in touch with them as I have only been asking brother for what phone numbers and addresses he has for ... over a year? Someday, he might remember.)

Flora dropped in today with her younger son (who used to garden for us) and his wife. They arrived earlier than we (or they) expected so I was in the shower when they turned up. Whoops. And while I wrapped vast numbers of chocolate caramels last night, and enough raspberry caramels for one gift today, the lavender shortbread was still too warm to be packaged. So I set some out for all of us and wrapped the remaining shortbread before they left. They all liked the shortbread very much, so that was good. Flora loved the pottery dish we'd found down south. And the couple were delighted with their wedding present - a metal sculpture of a frill-necked lizard. That's the third one we've given as a wedding gift and they have all been well-received (but we certainly wouldn't have given one to Flora's older son and his wife. Or brother and his wife. Not their style at all.)

I missed seeing what plant they'd given Mum so I asked after they left:

Mum: 'A crepuscule rose.'
Me: *pause* 'A ... twilight rose?'
Mum: 'That's right.'

I think that as interesting a word as crepuscule is, there are times when twilight is the more appealing option.

And my gift from Flora was so much fun! Japanese style socks in pink with red and black fish, a notebook with a bow-bedecked giraffe on the cover and a box of recipe cards with hilarious illustration on them (for lamb 'pops' - picture of sheep on sticks. *facepalm*)  

I always enjoy seeing Flora. We were having a random discussion about the oddities of the human body and Flora said that now, being older, she can see the tendons in her hand and how they work much more clearly and really, it's quite fascinating and creepy to watch. She'd been almost mesmerised by it the other night ...

At which point I cracked up and asked if she'd been a Buffy fan. Certainly she had!

Spike: 'I was at Woodstock. I fed off a flower person and I spent six hours watching my hand move.'
Ooh, she remembered that! Spike was one of her favourite characters! And then Flora was telling us about her experiences with LSD back in the sixties. Heh. I imagine her older son would expire from shock at hearing that.

Wish they could have stayed longer. But we hope to see her again after Christmas. I miss the Christmas night gathering our families had for so many years.

Now I need to spread melted chocolate over the florentines (tedious) and make another batch of shortbread (easy), oh and wrap some more raspberry caramels. Possibly wrap some presents, too.

venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)
*yawns* Tea and talk and food and flowers. Good day.

I think I made roughly the right amount of food in the end - except for the marshmallows and caramels but I didn't want to fiddle with reducing the recipes first time out. I did send Kitt and Rena home with extras though so it's all good!

We haphazardly exchanged presents today (we never manage to be organised about this) - some Christmas presents plus a couple of birthday gifts for me! Flowers from Rena and a crazy but gorgeous platter from Pip. Her Christmas presents to us were tea cozies and trivets since we are fond of tea parties! Pink for me, green for Kitt and purple for Rena. So very us. And Kitt went op shopping and Rena now has a polka-dotted cravat, Pip has a patchwork skirt and I have a lovely sheer embroidered black poncho (yes, poncho! No, she is not an MCR fan.)

Mum went to look at rugs today and the rug guys are bringing several here tomorrow so we can see them in the living room. And Mum's new mattress is arriving tomorrow as well! So many new things ... we used the new fan today and the four of us watched in fascination as the blades came out - then turned it off so we could watch them retract. Yes, we are dorks.
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)

Almost forgot, I bought some Christmas cards yesterday! If anyone would like a Christmas/holiday card, leave a comment with your address here (comments screened) or send me a PM.

To those of you with your own card posts, are you still taking names? I didn't want to ask for cards until I knew if I could send some myself. But I do love getting Christmas cards!

venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)
... or at least 40% of me, which would explain why I don't match the pace and bustle of the world around me.

It almost made sense in the context of the conversation, really. Kitt and Rena suggesting that a silk-draped palanquin with muscled bearers to carry me around on sunny day was an image that resonated with their idea of me ... I'm not sure if that made sense in context either. But there was context! Really!

Today was yum cha and much entertaining conversation (after yum cha when we could hear each other talk!) and window shopping and starting my Christmas shopping, ahahagghh.

Also, I found some Vanilla Honey. The stall that sold the Butterscotch Honey I liked to use in my tea hasn't been at the markets for ages and I've never seen it anywhere else. But this Vanilla Honey is fabulous in tea (I don't like honey much usually. But this ...!)

And then I came home, nearly fell asleep on the sofa (which has changed position since Mum's in one of her redecorating moods. The living room is the Most Awkward Room Ever and we're still trying to get it right.) I think the next batch of lemon curd can wait another day. In the meantime, I'm browsing Etsy and panicking over shipping times and when I can afford all the things. But I think I have Mum's stocking mostly planned out.
venetia_sassy: (MCR // Frank SMILES!)

I think I've recovered from my weekend away! Exhausting but it was fun.

Drove up the coast with Pip and two friends of hers from work on Friday. We were staying at the holiday house recently bought by Pip's parents. Now, when I hear 'holiday beach house' I think slightly shabby, rundown old place near the beach. Not an almost new duplex with shining wood floors, fancy new appliances, big wooden deck and huge plate glass windows with a spectacular view down the hill to the beach and out to the horizon. Y, H and I just walked around with dropped jaws at first. It was gorgeous. Pip said that the last time she'd stayed there, the only furniture was two reclining chairs in front of the windows. Well, the place was mostly furnished when we got there - with very comfortable beds, chairs and sofas!

It was raining when we arrived but the weekend forecast was good. When the rain stopped for a while, we walked down to the beach ... which was my mistake. I thought we were just going for a short walk before dark. I wasn't counting on scrambling down the access 'path' or the, er, rather long walk (I would have sat down but the sand was still wet from the rain so it didn't seem a good option) then the scramble back up the access 'path' (I fell over several times and Y and I were almost on hands and knees for part of it.) We got back to the house and I went straight to my room, fell on the bed and didn't move for twenty minutes. The other were bouncing around, talking about making dinner and I'm thinking, how can you even be standing?! Eventually, I made it back to the living room and we had asparagus and egg for dinner (mmm) then headed downstairs to watch a movie - but the media centre Pip had brought wasn't working so we checked out what was on television! How novel! We watched Karate Kid II to the delight of the two who'd seen it before and the intense bafflement of the two who hadn't (that would include me) and came to the frightening realisation that 80s fashion is returning.

The others went on to watch Young Guns but I headed upstairs and read a bit before going to bed. Next morning, the weather was fabulous. Not a cloud in the sky but a cool breeze to keep it from getting too much. We headed over to Terrigal around noon to meet up with Rena and Kitt and check out the beach (we quickly decided that we would not attempt to visit Terrigal on a summer weekend!) It did seem odd to go to a place I'd been to so many times with my dad. Not for a few years though but it hadn't changed much. A bit neater and shinier perhaps, but that was about it. We wandered around, enjoyed the sunshine and the gorgeous views, had some ice cream and eventually headed home for lunch (pad thai with tofu.) Then the active sorts went off to the beach, while Kitt remained to read her book. I was going to do the same but I lay down just for a bit ... and didn't wake up until 8p.m. when Pip came in, asking if I wanted to eat dinner with them or should they put some aside for me? I got up and we had stuffed artichokes (they were so good, I hadn't had artichokes in years), stuffed capsicums and roasted carrot salad.

We rounded off the evening with mojitos (mock for me) and a viewing of Labyrinth. I had not seen it before. My main impressions?

1) Sir Didymus (clearly the precursor of Shrek's Puss in Boots) and his noble steed, Ambrosius, are utterly delightful!
2) I suspect that everyone involved in creating that movie was quite familiar with hallucinogenic substances.

We also started to watch The Dark Crystal but mojitos caught up with the others and exhaustion caught up with me.

Sunday ... I woke up feeling pretty shaky. Watched the others dancing with the Wii. It looked like fun but I could just imagine the tantrum my body would throw if I tried it so I just watched. Again, the active sorts hied off to the beach for awhile, we eventually had lunch (broad beans, leek and bacon salad) then packed up and set off home before peak hour.

It was a fun weekend (although I wish I hadn't gone for that walk the first night.) It wasn't so much the location (although that was great!) but getting to spend time with a group of smart, lively women who like to talk and laugh and just have fun. We talked about so many things ... science, history, religion, 80s movies, dreams, pets, holidays ... quite the mix! There was never any shortage of conversation and it was lovely, never feeling the need to make conversation.

I still felt like crap on Monday but I think I've recovered now. I'll try not to take too long to catch up!

venetia_sassy: (MCR // Frank SMILES!)

I've bought my BDO ticket! MCR FTW!!!

The house is almost at total state of clean, the garden looks good and Mum is home tomorrow!

Flora came to visit for a while today which was lovely - it's always fun to talk to her - and it made me slow down for awhile. Good thing because the dark purple shadows under my eyes this morning were somewhat alarming (I did not sleep well.)

We had talk and tea and talk about books we had both read (look, this doesn't happen very often for me) and Chocolate Angel Food Muffins.

Did I mention Mum is home tomorrow?! The dogs are going to go insane.



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.
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)
I had that song stuck in my head for hours yesterday. I wonder why? *g*

Tea and scones and flowers and books )

Then we headed home (with a detour to buy flowers for Kitt) in time for Pip to pick me up and the two of us headed off for afternoon tea at Kitt's place.

Friends and tea and fangirling and asexuality and cats and Antarctica )

And that was the day! I'd forgotten the way we could talk like that, just talk for hours, without any awkward silences at all. It was wonderful.

venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // woeful puppies)
To get the less than pleasant aspects of yesterday out of the happy post:

MCR fires their drummer

I hate to think what it took for them to publically say 'we just want him out of our lives'.

Oddly enough, the other unhappy aspect of the day was discovering that a disagreement between Missy (not there) and Rena has gone to full-on feud. Our Gang of Five may now be a Gang of Four.

Friends falling out )

Looking back though, it's a pretty logical progression of behaviours we've seen over the years. I had the rather horrifying realisation that Missy was turning into Mrs Scorrier:

'One of the advantages of having led a sequestered life is that you've not until now encountered the sort of woman who can't refrain from quarrelling with all who cross her path. She is forever suffering slights, and is so unfortunate as to make friends only with such ill-natured persons as soon or late treat her abominably! No quarrel is ever of her seeking; she is the most amiable of created beings, and the most long-suffering. It is her confiding disposition which renders her a prey to the malevolent, who, from no cause whatsoever, invariably impose upon her, or offer her such intolerable insult that she is obliged to cut the connection.'

I don't want my friend to turn into that. But I don't want to be friends with a Mrs Scorrier either.
venetia_sassy: (101 Dalmatians // happy puppies!)
I have comments to answer and things to talk about but they will have to wait until tomorrow because right now I am wiped.

Today there was tea and scones and flowers and Agatha Christie books at a fundraiser, then tea (lots and lots and lots of tea) with friends while we talked and laughed and talked and talked and laughed until we cried then talked some more for five-and-a-half hours. Where did the time go?!

It was a very good day.

venetia_sassy: (MLP // shake it off)
We went to visit Flora's son and daughter-in-law and their nine-week-old baby today! And she is very cute with gravity-defying hair. But the poor baby has silent reflux (Nephew #2 has it as well) so she's frequently crying and not sleeping very well. She was awake when we arrived and Mum had a cuddle (and received spit-up on her top in return) but she then dozed off in her rocker for awhile. But she woke up not long before we left and I was immediately offered a cuddle which I happily accepted. Cute baby was cute and watching me very intently but she soon started to cry again and she kept looking at me.

Like, why are you not helping me?! I am in pain! You are a Big Person! Make it stop!

A minute of that and I felt horribly guilty. And I'd just met the child! I can only imagine how parents feel under that gaze ...

Ride on

Apr. 14th, 2011 11:13 pm
venetia_sassy: (SH // Gladstone oh no! dead dog?)

Brother's best mate died. Brother spent hours trying to talk him awake ... he never came out of the coma.

This guy was best man at my brother's wedding. On a dare, he shaved his (rather thin and straggly) hair into a mohawk. And while the other groomsmen were wearing black dress shoes with their sharp black suits, he wore electric blue sneakers.

He was thirty-five years old and had two small children he adored.

His family have asked people to come to the funeral in their racing gear. And I bet there will be a few motocross bikes, engines revving, as well.


venetia_sassy: (Words // levels of insanity)

Last year, my brother's best mate was diagnosed with severe aplastic anaemia. He's been in hospital, in isolation, ever since. None of his relatives were an appropriate match for a bone marrow transplant.

A few weeks ago, he had a transplant from a registered donor (from Germany) and things were looking hopeful.

He's now developed an infection of some kind. He's in a coma. I don't have details, brother was too upset to say much to Mum.

This guy is in his thirties and has two small children he adores. Think good thoughts for him?

venetia_sassy: (SH // Gladstone oh no! dead dog?)

I think I overdid it yesterday *she says weakly*

Friday and Saturday were really hot and the second day was when I had to make a dessert for a holiday lunch with friends on Sunday. So I was already feeling pretty tired but I made the Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Glaze, the Lemon Pie ice cream and the Swirly Chocolate Peppermint Bark. And I went to lunch yesterday and it was fun and I got to see my friends and chat and eat and play with Pip's rats (not at the same time) and it was good although I kept wanting to slide down in my chair and fall asleep.

Then I finally came home and there was the storm and the blackout and neighbour's visit and when I went to bed there were long, involved, exhausting dreams and when I finally surfaced today it was 5p.m. and I still wanted to roll over and go back to sleep.

Hot weather + activity + socialising = exhaustion. No shit, Sherlock. Really have to stop overestimating your own capabilities. *makes cranky face* I hate not feeling capable.

But I did enjoy seeing my friends. And everyone liked the cake and ice cream so that was good.



venetia_sassy: (Default)

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