Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Re-evaluating, Regrouping, Re-starting - Part One

I have been sitting, staring at the computer screen for half an hour wondering how to start a post after seven months of a blogging hiatus. Reading my last few posts I have realised how much I must have seemed to have dropped off the end of the blogging world! It has been an interesting seven months, but I am sorry for leaving you hanging.

There have been quite a few challenges and changes in my life since last November. To start with, the Skinny Suitcase has been made redundant. It was great to finally be able to fit into its contents again, however they were soooo eighties and nineties that current fashion trends would not allow me to get away with pulling that look off. What was I thinking?? Also, the cause and effect of bearing children might have had something to do with it. Business for the local op-shop has been booming, and I have more storage space under my bed.

Family illnesses have been preoccupying most of Mr. H's and my spare time. A chronic cardiac illness almost got the better of Mr. H's father and we thought last Christmas would have been the last we would share with him. Fortunately, the success of trials and ongoing developing technology gave him the opportunity to have a longer life. Almost eleven weeks after major open heart surgery, and more than his fair share of complications, he is finally home and well on the road to recovery.

My darling grand-father, on the other hand, has been deteriorating since being diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the end of last year. He has had multiple serious, conflicting health issues since February which has seen him in hospital until a fortnight ago. He has been assessed as high care for a nursing home but due to the lack of beds, he is living with my parents while we wait for one to become available. The situation is far from ideal, not to mention inappropriate, and my parents are struggling to manage caring for him. It is heart breaking to watch someone you love become slowly incapacitated both physically and mentally. Old age can be so cruel. My Mummy (yes, I call her Mummy!) has been extraordinary in caring for her Dad and coping with the entire process. I am doing my best to support her through it.

On a lighter note, we took off to Byron Bay in March for a holiday. Our first in two years. We fell completely and utterly in love with the place: the beaches, the National parks, the shopping, the restaurants, the markets, the laid back attitude of the locals, the transientness of the backpackers camping out the back of their hired kombis. I surfed for the first time and, yes I got up! I will admit I was the only Aussie in my group, and I was the oldest by about eight years. I don't know if it's considered cool to have your hubby and kids on the beach cheering you on?? But hey, check me out!

Wicked!! We came home feeling very relaxed and refreshed. However, unbeknown to me, I was yet to face my next challenge. Stay tuned.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Silent Sunday

Saturday is Caption Day.

Caption Day again at Mammasaurus. I found this pic the other day when I was scanning Dad's old slides.

Dad took this whilst on a trip around Australia with his best friend after they finished uni around 1971-72. What can you come up with??

Join the fun with Mammasaurus.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

My First Blogging Award!

The gorgeous Viv at Melksham Mum (in her hot new frock) has given me my FIRST EVER blogging award. So big kisses to Viv, thank you! As we say here in Australia, 'This is going straight to the pool room.'

So, here it is.

In exchange for this fabulous award, I must share with you Seven Secret Things about myself. "Ooo goody," I hear you nosey parkers saying. I then pass the award on to fifteen - fifteen???? - other suckers awesome bloggers.

1. At thirty-five I still hide in the pantry, sneaking food.

2. I like the smell of pencil sharpenings.

3. I have one toenail that isn't polished.

4. My favourite perfume is Eternity but I can't wear it all the time because it gives me hayfever.

5. I used to be an artists' model for TAFE art students. Yes, I was once quite liberated!

6. I turn my music up really loud and dance when I bake.

7. I'm scared of roosters.

That's about as secret as I can be right now. So the fifteen lucky bloggers are:


Phew. Thanks again Viv. And you look smokin' in your new frock!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Thumbs down to Sunbeam Customer Service

Yesterday, I rang Sunbeam to confirm that Betty and her motor were still under warranty before taking her off to the mix-master nurse. According to their website, there is a five year warranty on the motor. But I like to double check.

After being on hold for fifteen minutes, I was put through to a woman who didn't sound a day older than eighteen. Ok, maybe twenty.

All started well and, yes, the motor is under warranty. I mentioned that I needed to get my mix-master fixed quickly because I use it a lot. She asked me if I used it for a business.

Me: "If you can call it that."
Her: "There's only fifteen months warranty if it's used for commercial use."
Me: "I bake for a friend's gallery. It doesn't outline different warranties for commercial and domestic use on your website. It states five years for mix-masters. "
Her: "So you're saying it's for a business."
Me: "No. It's not a registered business."
Her: "But you just said it was for a business."
Me: "No. I said 'If you could call it that.' I bake for a friend."

She then started to get a little wound up, and proceeded to talk over the top of me. This got me very wound up. I asked her to stop interupting me, that I was the customer and a very dissatisfied one at that. She started to talk over the top of me again. I asked to talk to her supervisor. She kept talking. I hung up.

I then rang a chap in Wangaratta who services Sunbeam products who was very friendly and helpful, and that if I drove over there he will fix it within the day. Yay for Betty!

Sunbeam, your products are great, but you need to do something about who you hire in customer service. That girl was a snooty, little bitch.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Silent Sunday

Where have I been?

No where, really. Just in my kitchen.

Over the last ten days I have occasionally glanced at my computer as it called to me, yearning for the touch of my fingertips on its keyboard. I could feel the gravitational pulls of the blogosphere of which I have had to defy. Honestly, I just haven't had time.

I have been flat out baking. As well as baking for the Gallery, I have baked for a 40th, and an open garden. I am also preparing to cater for a special lunch a friend is having next week.

There is one slight problem. My beloved mixmaster has blown her gears and needs a nurse.

It all happened on Friday afternoon when I was already in a fragile emotional state. There I was, beating away at a red velvet cake when suddenly a sound I had not heard from my 'Betty' became evident, and very loud. That's when the bowl stopped turning. And then, she became very hot! Then nothing.

You may remember me telling you how much I love my mix-master (and yes, I call her Betty). So you will understand why my already fragile emotional state lost composure, and I burst into tears. I rang Mr. H at work and blubbered nonsense before he had to go. So, I wiped away my panda eyes, blew my nose (in a very noisy, Pretty Woman like fashion), and endeavoured to finish the cake. Once it was in the oven, I poured myself a pink gin and, a few minutes later, I poured another. Miraculously, I immediately regained some composure.

The cake, although yummy, did not get the height it should have, and looked rather flat. So I'm not going to show you a picture of it. I will share with you the more successful feats of the week.

WARNING: These pictures may induce mouth-watering, and cause hunger pains!

Armenian Nut cakes for the Open Gardens.

Rose water meringues with pistachios
Pink meringue kisses

Macarons for a friend's 40th: rose water with coconut butter cream, vanilla with vanilla butter cream, and pistachio with orange butter cream.

Making my friend's 40th birthday cake.

The finished result. How brilliant am I!!!


Even I'm slobbering now. So that's why my kitchen has been running hot. It's no wonder Betty blew her beaters. Hopefully she'll be fixed in no time so I can attempt this.

Image from here.

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