Little Things

This week's theme for the great words and pictures set up by Meet me at Mikes of Little Things and if you want to read some of the other great stories, then just have a look over here and settle down for a read.

The words "Anger Management For Mums" flashed at me on the brochure in the Maternal and Child Health Centre. I grabbed the brochure & stuffed it in my bag before anyone could see me. It was a red brochure. Why red? Was that so that everyone would be able to see the people who had picked it up in their mother's groups? Thank goodness I wasn't with anyone. I pushed the brochure further down into the bag just in case it surfaced when I went to the shops later.
"Come on, let's get out of here." I said to my youngest.

I knew that I wasn't that angry, but still was it all right to scream like a banshee between 4 and 6 pm to 3 boys aged between 3 & 7. I know that there were a lot worse things that could be happening out there, but I also knew that there were a lot better things that could be happening. I wanted to find a way to stop that fire that built up inside me until I felt like getting one of the kids, it didn't matter which & throttling them. I knew it wasn't pc to talk about, but that was how I felt. I knew I couldn't throttle. I even knew that hitting wasn't ok, so all that was left was to scream. Once the screaming was done, I was like a wet rag all rung out. Nothing left except sorrow and remorse. All I could do was apologise for my terrible behaviour. I justified it with the fact that they were learning the full spectrum of emotion and that they would not be emotional cripples. Great! I knew I was wrong deep down, that screaming at the top of my lungs at them was not really doing anything.

I timidly booked into the course (with free childcare - whoopee!) ready to be lectured about my abhorrent behaviour. I expected there to be a bunch of really angry women there. What do really angry women look like? Wow! They just look like me, and you, and every other woman around me that I always see. It was the most empowering day of my life. There was understanding. There was nodding. There was sadness. There was a richness and most of all there were strategies, real life strategies on how to get through the anger.

The most important thing that I learnt from this was some words from the lady running the course.

When things are getting out of control, and they won't listen to you, or you feel angry, just slip their hand into yours, and remember that they are only this small once and your anger will melt away. They are just Little Things.

sorting the mountain

A great friend Andrea sent me an email last week wondering if I was interested in some old buttons & fabric from an old relative of hers & I have been having a wonderful time in lounge room since then going through many bags and boxes of this gorgeous lady's sewing history.

There was so much fabric that I had to sort it into colours (is this too anal?)

and then the buttons

and the buckles (can you believe the amount of them...! I think that I might have to make belts)

I feel soooo lucky. Bless her! There are are other treasures that I will share once I have got it organised and taken the pics.

now that's a weekend

2 nights out, without the kids, living large. Two events on one night - doesn't sound much to those without kids...but to the rest of us...this is HUGE!!

Friday night, Harmony picnic at school followed by (yes, second event!!!), CD launch for Charles Jenkins & the Zhivago's - The Blue Altas Collection at the Northcote Social Club.

Brilliant night catching up with friends, listening to great tunes, sensational strings and watching a definitely underated band perform. A CD worth having in my collection, and if you haven't heard of them, you have now, and should get yourself a cd of their intelligent rock. Best listened to loud & danced to (...well that's what I do!). All credits to Charles Jenkins and The Zhivagos (Matty Vehl, Art Starr and Dave Milne) & producer Ric Morgan & sound engineer Jimi Maroudas. Out now in Australia on Dust Devil Music via Stomp at all good cd shops ...

Next night out to dinner, just skip shopper & I, initially booked for one place that could only give us a late booking. We arrived for the late booking on time to find the said restaraunt booked...out.... Now, let's say, skip shopper is a little on the leaner side of skinny & doesn't last too long past dinner time... so we were happy to wait a little while, however... The people that came after us were given a table 15 mins after we arrived whilst we stood perusing the large window menu... thank goodness for the warm night! While I watched skip shopper turn yellow & eyes beginning to glaze, I looked back to our old favourite, The Asian Kitchen in Racecourse Rd, Flemington (Victoria). I ran up to check that they had a spare table & sure enough, just one. Gorgeous! They have done a beautifule reno & new menus but same food & same beautiful staff. I saw food on there that I was unable to read before because it was written on the blackboard & didn't want to stand for too long at someone else's table trying to read just 'cause I've got crap eyesight. Fabo. Phat talay. The best. Spicy tongues, full tummies, no kids & we get to walk home! Bliss.

Final hurrah. A good friend dropped over a stash of fabric & notions (that means buttons, lace, trims etc) from her old relative for me! Yippee!

Words & Pictures - Cosy

picture courtesy: su-lin

When I grew up in Lower Templestowe, there was a big paddock between our house and our school. We did not have to walk very far to school, in fact the walk was very short. My brother, four years older than I, my sister, half way between us, and I walked together up the crunchy gravel driveway under the big gum trees and out onto the concrete pavement. We would then turn right past the tall brick fence of the Boggi's house and run past the giant gate with the barking German Sheppard to get to the corner house with the sagging paling fence that had teeth missing. I would sometimes run a stick along the fence until I got the short brick fence with the black brick topping that ran to the corner angles. At the corner, the three of us would hold hands and look both ways before we crossed over Hazel Drive. We would then climb up the little worn-in dirt path that was in the cliff that would take us into the over grown and neglected paddock. I loved walking through this paddock to school because it felt like we were going on an adventurous journey. We would talk about the mysteries of the glasshouse that was in the next paddock and why all of the windows had been smashed. I always wondered if there was anyone in there and if there any plants were growing in there. There was a very falling down old fence that would have been very easy to get through, however, none of us were brave enough to go through it.

When it rained, we had gumboots and bright yellow rain capes to wear that protected our bags as well & had tiny slits at the front for our hands to come out. What this meant was that we couldn't really move our arms at all and had to be really careful not to fall over. I remember one day my sister falling over on the way home and falling face first into a muddy puddle. My brother and I couldn't stop laughing because she couldn't get her hands out to get up & she was just rolling around like a yellow lump in the mud. When we got home, mum quickly got all of her clothes off and popped her in the bath and made her a delicious hot chocolate and hot cinnamon and sugar toast to warm her up.

I was a very quick learner, even at that young age, so whenever it rain (and take note you youngen's, it did seem to rain a lot more back in the 70's), I would make sure that I got as wet and muddy as possible in the paddock on the way home to make sure that I could get that bath, hot chocolate and cinnamon toast and be nice and cosy....

tomato heaven

we have been doing a bit of thrifty buying lately with the humble tomato. Firstly on a trip to Lederderg Gorge, we found ourselves at Jeff Jone's fruit and veggie stall in Bacchus Marsh where we bought a whole box of tomatoes for $5. Yikes! I hear you cry! So I had to make sauce, as in the sauce you put on snags, chops, chips or anything you like. One batch with Red Wine Vinegar & one batch with Balsamic. It's a great sauce.
Tomato Sauce:
1 tbs cloves
2 tbs whole allspice
1 tbs black peppercorns
Tie these in a square of muslin
5 kg tomatoes chopped up roughly
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
30g salt
600g vinegar (I experiment with different ones to get different flavour ones, apple cider, malt, red wine, etc)
Put all these into your biggest non-reactive pot & bring it to the boil. Boil it steadily for 1 hour making sure that you stir from time to time to ensure that it doesn't stick to the bottom & burn.
Add 1 kg sugar & continue to boil for another 2 hours stirring from time to time.
Take out the muslin bag & squeeze out the juices. Blend the whole pot with a stick blender, & using a funnel, pour into sterilised bottles, cap & allow to cool.
Then skip shopper went to the vic market early on Saturday morning & bought another box of roma tomatoes (bigger box) for $10...that have sat waiting until last night - I couldn't be bothered doing it by myself. So last night, we got ourselves organised, 1st chopping board at one end, bucket for rotten bits, bucket with water for washing them, next chopping board to chop them up, then pot. We filled 2 huge pots - I know lust after one of those huge cauldrons. I also suddenly wanted to have music playing with people dancing around, beer and wine being drunk, children running around, food being eaten....a great tomato festival! Next year. We chopped, we cooked, we blended, we funnelled, we spilt, we put the crown seals on, I broke a bottle...not a good idea - but the red was a great red - we cleaned up, then sat down at 11pm & watch Scrubs, I had no idea that this was on at this time! Great show. I am tired, but have great bottles of tomato.


Crazy 90's flashback moment. The event was the Kensington Women's Dinner & I do quite like a dress up affair. I didn't think that there was such a thing as "flashback" to 90's & thought that maybe I was still wearing the same clothes...but, when it came down to it & skipshopper & I had a good think about it... there it was. Surprisingly enough (or sadly enough - depending on how you look at it) in my roof space, I still have my 21st dress, Thai silk with matching lined velvet bolero jacket. Yes, it did still fit, but no, I couldn't sit with ease all night - the dress has shrunk in the heat of the roof.

I still had the heels too which look barely worn, probably because they haven't been....I think that I stopped working corporate not long after I got them. The most wear they get now is up & down the hall with the boys...

Yesterday I had a ripper of an excursion to the Stitches & Craft show & met a heap of bloggers. I picked up Mixtape & took up a subscription, met Justine Telfer & watched them making buttons, saw Liz from Betty Jo & her gorgeous lino jewellery & chatted about diving into skips and so forth..., had a chat with Melanie of textile allsorts & grabbed a pair of patterned orange stockings to replace the last pair from her, marvelled at Thea's graceful designs & beautiful ecofriendly fabrics of thea & sami , said hi to the girls of ink & spindle & saw their beautiful works & the great tree for their display, inspired by Nicola Mallalieu (& she was incredibly busy!) with the beautiful bags & purses that she makes in such gorgeous colours, also met a lovely couple Ellie & Sam of red seed studio who do beautiful screen printing on cotton/bamboo fabric. I did also see Aunty Cookie who was swamped with customers - wow! Her fabric & quilts were looking great & she was pretty happy. I think there was something for everyone - there was the quilting, lacy, beading stuff, then there was the more "contemporary" stuff. I did hear an older lady say that it was a little bit "trendy" now.... I watched "Handmade Nation" while I was there too - super inspiring.

He he he....not really enjoying having all the kids at what will be my next excursion?

my book tower

This is the little tower that accompanies me when I go to bed & I am slowly devouring them (some faster than others). Some make me go to sleep, some have made me laugh out loud, some have made me cry. So far this year (this is the year that I have dedicated to reading) I have read "The Slap" by Chris Tsiolkas (thought provoking, good Melbourne read 9/10), "The Time We Have Taken" by Steven Carroll" (a little slow here & there, very Melbourne again, but well written, 7/10), "My Guantanamo Diary" by Mahvish Rukhsana Khan (WOW, everyone in the world should read this to stop and think, 10/10), and "All that Happened at Number 26" by Dennis Scott" (a laugh, a cringe, a cry...did she spy on my house...well written, very funny 9/10), oh, and not to forget 2 Frankie magazines cover to cover!
Right now I am reading "Breath" by Tim Winton (I loooooove him - well his writing, I haven't actually met him, yet), "He'll be OK" by Celia Lashlie (in some kind of hope that my 3, no 4 boys, all turn out all OK, and that I can stop worrying about them), and "I Could Do Anything I Want If only I Knew What It Was" by Barbara Sher" (in the hope that I'll turn out OK when I grow up).
What are you reading?

Words & Pictures

I love much so that my kids have sacked me from picking up duty because I talk too much...but I love the written word and that is why this words & pictures blog appealed to me. I like a challenge, and now that I have fixed the glitch in the computer (HURRAH!), I can work on it without it screaming at me and having it threaten to die (thank you computer man xxx)

The theme given for this weeks assignment is "School lunches" which immediately sends shivers down my spine as I remember the sound of my carrot top and apple core rattling around in my blue lunch box as I ran around the playground trying to hold on to it whilst playing. I think that my family were the only family at our school in the north east of Melbourne to have lunch boxes. It seemed to me, at that delicate age, that everyone else had fantastic disposable bags... Oh how jealous I was of them.

My mum, bless her, made our bread which we named crumpet bread. It was stiff and brown. Delicious straight out of the oven with butter dripping through it, stiff as a board at lunch time. We were allowed to choose our own fillings for our sandwiches, as long as it was salad (lettuce from the garden, tomato). The extra choices were cheese (none of that processed stuff please), and left over meat if there was any. It was always a bonus when we had meatloaf left over because she made a mean meatloaf (and still does). Occasionally we had "meat pie" sandwich which consisted of tomato sauce - yep that's it, just sauce! I know it is weird, but it is kinda nice. We did also sometimes have promite, Vegemite, homemade jam or peanut butter (of course on the homemade bread). I do remember striking out during high school and insisting that I could no longer have tomato in my sandwich as it made my bread soggy and I couldn't bear it any more unless it went between the lettuce and the cheese.

The other standards in our lunch boxes were 1 tomato - whole, 1 carrot - whole and a piece of fruit of your choice. In winter we could take a thermos of soup as well if we wanted.

I think I did spend a great deal of my 13 schooling years hankering after a canteen lunch or a paper bag lunch, or a white bread with jam, or white bread with Vegemite and plastic cheese sandwich like my best friend Jenny had. In fact, we found out later in life that we were very jealous of each other's lunches. I wanted her so called normality and she wanted my nutrition.

I now find that I am inflicting about 50% of this on my kids .... without the crumpet bread! The good news for them is that they get to leave their lunch boxes in the classrooms nowadays.