Sunday, April 29, 2007

Good bye rainy email

There, I'll bet that had you puzzled. The title is a distillation of 3 topics for today's post, which won't be very long itself. And what better way to brevity than those useful bullet points:

  • Good bye for a few days - we're going to stay at a country resort tonight, then on to our place near Castlemaine. Some of you may have thought I have said good bye to this blog as I don't post so frequently, but...I'm busy doing other things, like teaching myself how to make pop up cards and books. Fun! (See Val's motto in the sidebar)

  • It's raining fairly solidly, let's hope it's getting into the reservoirs and dams.

  • My email has been rejecting notification of your comments, although they still appear on the blog. I may have to switch to another email address if this doesn't get fixed. Sorry if your comments bounce back.

Well, those bullet points weren't so brief after all.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Where do you eat dinner these days?

No, this is not a question about your favorite restaurants. I'm talking about the dining habits of those of us who started out in a two-person household, then were invaded by some hangers on (= kids), and now are back to two again (at least sometimes).

When the Man Who Cooks and I met all those years ago, the preparation and consumption of food was a shared interest, dare I say, mania. Because we were students we lived in a small apartment, with a table in the tiny kitchen to serve as a dining table. Occasionally we would turn the tiny "living room" into a pretend dining room. Oh, for the day when we'd have our own house which would of course have a separate dining room.

That eventuated, and we always set the table nicely, including candles, a ritual that has even become a habit with our sons when they were old enough to understand. Dinner was the time when everyone was present, none of this trend of each person heating up their own meal at various times (our household is one of the last holdouts in the developed world NOT TO HAVE A MICROWAVE). There was always conversation, catching up with everyone's day, maintaining that family togetherness. (Sidetrack: recent research has pointed to decreasing time children spend talking with adults as a possible reason behind the fall in children's language development and that the fact that modern families often don't eat meals together means less opportunity for adult conversation).

Now things are changing in our household, especially the first half of this year with Techie Son studying overseas. Number One Son is now in a job with odd hours which often has him working from late afternoon to midnight, so he too is often missing from the dining table. That dining table, and the dining room, now appear way too large and lonely! And although I would have never thought this would happen, the two of us find ourselves gravitating back to our comfy and cosy kitchen for the evening meal.

I guess a lot of people have gone through this...

Some photos from our student days in our apartment. This must have been a special occasion. A tablecloth on a card table does wonders! (I've just figured it out: These first two photos were taken in August 1973, so that was probably my 28th birthday)

My sister made my dress, with a beautiful appliqued animal (?) on the front. Unfortunately I outgrew this dress years ago.
An early photo of the Bread Nazi!!
We still have that bread board, made by my brother in his high school workworking class.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Paperbark picture

There was some interest in the paperbark photo I posted, and I thought you'd like to see a photo of a picture made up of paperbark and other natural materials. I bought this in the 70s shortly after arriving in Australia, but haven't seen them for years. I think they're very charming, and portray scenes that are still, thankfully, very common in Australia.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Walk to the local park

Starting out at the driveway, ready to head up the hill.

Many of our street trees are paperbarks.

Here's a closeup.

At the corner, I always stop
to admire the collection of conifers in this garden.

Here's one of the water tanks the council has
started installing and periodically they are filled with recycled water which is trucked in. But why oh WHY didn't they site it near a building to be able to capture rainwater???

A lovely liquid ambar at the start of the walking path which goes around the park. Don't you hate the way they "prune" the trees to accommodate the overhead lines?

A lovely place to sit, with views.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Our Easter break

I hope you've all had an interesting, relaxing and fun Easter break. I'll be visiting all my blogger buddies soon to catch up.

For the second weekend in a row we drove up to Castlemaine so that we could go to some more festival events.

Two events were on Sunday. At 4.30 we went to a guitar and violin concert in a mineshaft, yes! you read correctly! This horizontal mineshaft is near the town of Maldon, and for the concerts they line two converging shafts with a double row of folding chairs. The musicians are at the intersection - the acoustics, to say nothing of the atmosphere, are amazing! The tunnels are lit with candles, no electric lighting was used. Everyone, including the musicians, had to wear hardhats, and as it turned out, that was a good thing. I had noticed a steady "rain" of debris from the roof, until one rather large chunk dropped right onto my hardhat and made a resounding clunk!
This is the entrance to the mineshaft, and you can see the hardhats everyone had to wear.

Beforehand we did a walk of a nearby goldrush site. The path goes quite close to some scary looking shafts.

That night we went for something completely different, a burlesque show (yes another one - there seem to be a lot of naughty young ladies around these days). That was fun. We made it back to camp without hitting any kangaroos.

The weather was perfect, and I decided to stay a bit longer. The Man Who Cooks unfortunately had to go back on Monday night so he could leave on a business trip the next day, so I put him on the train back to Melbourne. He was so looking forward to it, but when the train pulled in, there were only two carriages and lots of passengers, and he had to stand for a lot of the journey. Not very good for encouraging people to take public transportation rather than drive!

Here's the Man Who Cooks in his bush kitchen. We can't have campfires yet because it's still too dry.

So I had an extra couple of days up there by myself, pottering around town, and spending lots of time reading in the quiet. Staying there alone at night might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm glad I proved to myself that I could still take that solitude. I hadn't stayed there on my own since the boys were little.
I 'm doing a "model" of a new book I'm working on.

Monday, April 02, 2007


...I can get into Blogger this morning - last night I couldn't log onto Blogger, get into my blog, leave comments etc - thought their whole system had crashed;

...Carlton came from behind to win the first game of the 2007 season;

...people didn't seem to take my last post as negative, although I maybe didn't say strongly enough how much I value the bloggers I do keep up with;

...we had a bit of rain on Friday (but did enjoy the magnificent weather in Castlemaine)

Speaking of which, we were there for the start of the Castlemaine State Festival, and the place was really alive. As we walked through this usually quiet country town, we could hear different music coming out of the various venues. On Friday night Mel and I went our separate ways to indulge our various tastes in entertainment. Mel went to a jazz concert in the Theatre Royal, Australia's oldest continually operating theatre (1854) on the mainland (for you non-Aussies, that implies that Tasmania would lay claim to having the oldest in Australia).

I opted for a more contemporary event, a hiphop group consisting of a half a dozen young men who did amazing acrobats, drumming, and something called beatboxing, which I never heard of before, here's a definition: primarily concerned with the art of creating beats, rhythms, and melodies using the human mouth. It can also involve singing, vocal scratching (the imitation of turntable skills), the simulation of horns, strings, and other musical instruments, and the replication of a vast array of sound effects. It was unbelievable the sounds that guy could make with just a microphone, and the whole event was a hit with both young and old (and I was not the oldest!).

On Saturday night we both went to see a circus/burlesque group: 4 acrobatic young w
omen with a very naughty sense of humor. My face hurt from laughing and smiling so much. Next week we go back for some more: a guitar and violin concert in a mineshaft (wonderful acoustics and atmosphere, we've attended a concert there before), and another burlesque show - retro but fun!

But for peace and quiet our favorite place is our bush block behind the dam, where the rest of the world disappears.
This was what greeted us Sunday morning, the gentle autumn light filtering through the gum trees.