Category Archives: Food

employment-go-round again

I’ll miss watching the progress – and the view 🙂

YoungB’s contract is at an an end, so he’s on the job-hunt. Again. The thing about our recent elections – both state and federal – is that the change of government (at both levels) means that there are opportunities aplenty in different fields, some of which he might find appealing. He’s had his resume professionally tarted up – I beg your pardon; updated – and it’s impressive.

Me? I’ve officially notified the Powers That Be the date on which I’ll be retiring later this year. Leadership at work seems surprised. I don’t know why! My age is no secret. I’ve clearly been suffering work-related aggravations to existing health problems ever since I started there. I’ve made absolutely no secret of my intentions. Why is it suddenly unexpected, and something they hadn’t foreseen? You know that emoji where you smack yourself? Yeah. That seemed about the right response; but I didn’t.

Someone who appreciates why retirement is a good idea asked me what I’m going to do – apart from all the obvious things like crochet and knit, of course – and I said I might cook. She thought that was a wonderful idea. So did I. I like cooking. I would have to shoo Dr B out of the kitchen – it is his domain, after all – but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me elbowing into his space if it means he has more time to do other things. I would bake, too. It would be gratifying to go back to making bread. That was one of my great pleasures that simply disappeared.

Dodgy back and leg notwithstanding, some routine exercise will also feature large. It’s most likely to be continuing the hydro-pool exercise classes that I presently attend. They’re generally kind in terms of both parts of the physique and, because it’s a therapy pool, the water is always wondrously warm. I would be free to join a book club. Or a gardening club. Or a photography group. Or all of the above!

I could once again suss out options for joining local choirs. This time, when they all respond with some version of, “We rehearse and perform during the day, during the week,” thus putting such delights entirely out of full-time worker contention, it wouldn’t matter. I’d have that availability.

I might by then have reached the top of the waiting list for eye surgery, and, postoperatively, be able to see better than ever – really ever, as I’ve been wearing specs pretty much all my life – and then I might be able to reinvigorate my sewing and make some inroads on all those projects that are presently too difficult. Oh, boy. And people wonder if I’ll have enough to do. Smack-yourself emoji again, I think.

Meanwhile, however, there’s a certain amount of excitement and tension around YoungB’s potential new job. There are choices in fields where he has qualifications and expertise, and there are choices in fields that would suit his outgoing personality. There are jobs with crossover. He’s already sent inquiries and job applications. It’s going to be an interesting few months, watching how everything turns out, but he is likely to have some much-needed downtime before starting in any new position, whatever the field.

During that downtime, I anticipate the mealtime conversation will centre on matters mechanical. I’ll be knitting in my room, if you’re looking for me 😀


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different sort of hooky

Colder, wetter weather, but about this peaceful

I didn’t go to work yesterday! It wasn’t really hooky, though, because I’d booked the day off in advance. The reason for such indulgence? It was so that Middle Aunt and I could help Youngest Aunt celebrate her birthday. Since COVID, the three of us have had fewer chances to meet up and restrictions around dining have added to the obstacles. We’d been waiting for our chance, and yesterday was it.

I can’t adequately express how weird it felt to simply sit and chat and nibble for hours, and not have to worry about how dreadful my flex balance would look at the end of it, or how strange it was to look out the restaurant window and see the waves crashing on the shore below, all during work hours. I have a wonderful view from my office window, and if I crane my neck in a different direction it’s possible to see the sea. But it’s not the same as being there, right there, with the salt spray and the rain adding to the holiday atmosphere. It was undoubtedly beneficial for mental health and wellbeing.

Also, we wanted to have that celebration before the borders open again. Who knows how long this degree of freedom will last? It’s always possible that we’ll go into another lockdown. So it really was special to be able to forget the clock and simply enjoy spending time with family.

I hope you’ve been able to do that, too.

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Posted by on November 13, 2021 in Food, Health, Musing



unexpected WFH

I stepped off a low step. I landed oddly and twisted my foot. I couldn’t walk. I had to work from home! I mean, I don’t type with my toes – whether for real or as a procrastination technique – so I could still work. I simply could not manage buses. Somewhat incautiously, I returned to the office after only two days at home. That proved not to be a particularly wise idea, but I made sure that I didn’t venture far at lunchtime, and there was someone to meet me when the homeward bus reached the interchange.

Although I didn’t do any more on the blanket during my couple of days at home, I made a few blanket centres during my morning commute. It’s progress, however small. Eventually all those centres get joined to their respective middles and added into the blanket and, before you know it, there’s another row done. I’ll soon have to order some more yarn, because some of the colours are – as you’d expect – getting a lot more use than others.

With regard to the pandemic, South Australia seems to be heading back to a situation with fewer restrictions, just as our eastern states friends are locking down. We’re still wearing masks and keeping our distance. However, today we supported a local eatery that was a COVID-19 hotspot but has now reopened. Most of the local Italian community was there, including presenters from the radio station where YoungB volunteers. They were doing a live broadcast. It was all systems go.

Tomorrow we’ll be out at a sporting event in which YoungB is competing. We’ll be back in sports photography mode. The camera bag is already packed. I doubt there’ll be many spectators, but the rules are masking up and maintaining distance, so that’s what we’ll be doing.

Whatever your current lockdown status, I hope you’re in good cheer.


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whitewashing the lingo

26 years ago, just singin’ in Italian!

Although we speak Italian at home, it is not my mother tongue and nowadays my fluency is poor. It is, of course, Dr B’s mother tongue and YoungB has native proficiency, for which he is often complimented by other Italian speakers. However, for a variety of reasons, neither of the Bs has a readily identifiable regional accent or cadence, and they use few dialect words that might help a discerning listener to pick that they are northerners. They can be a real puzzle.

Today is YoungB’s birthday. Twenty-six years, if you don’t mind. I don’t know where they went, I say, scratching my head in a puzzled manner. He decided he wanted to – and I quote – “eat Wog food” today, so we had lunch at one nearby eatery and afternoon tea at another. At the latter, the menfolk mentioned the celebratory nature of the day when ordering at the counter. One of our cakes came with a birthday candle and the offer to sing. We thought it was a great idea, so Dr B and I joined in. We, however, broke into “Tanti auguri” rather than “Happy birthday”, and the conversation was entirely derailed.

The waitstaff were astonished at how well Dr B speaks Italian. Uuh, yeah. We laughed and explained. The eatery workforce is almost all southern Italians, and Dr B plainly does not fit their mould. He has decided he has a credibility problem. YoungB has decided that we’ve all been whitewashed. I’ve decided we need to throw a few more dialect identifiers into our conversation. The odd word of Friulano would do, but none of us speaks it. We’re trying to remember a few of Nonna’s best offerings so that we can polish them up to provide a spot of colour to the whitewash.

May your lingo not be so whitewashed that it’s unidentifiable 😀


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crunchy stuff

Recent catering: healthy stuff to nourish and sweeter stuff to stop spirits flagging!

We had a “Remember the 80s” morning tea at work today; fancy-dress optional. There were some hilarious outfits. The colleague who fished out her legit 80s granny-square crocheted jacket and manufactured some truly over-the-top shoulder pads to bulk it out was the clear winner of the informal competition, judged mostly by the decibel level of the laughter evoked. She would, she agreed, have had an accompanying frizzy perm back in the day. Many of us could imagine it from the perspective of having been there.

In terms of food, there were several offerings of French onion dip accompanied by crackers and what are probably nowadays referred to as crudites. Here in Australia back in the 80s, we simply said carrot sticks, understanding that there would also be celery and sometimes cucumber; as in the photo. It was good finger food and surely not entirely unhealthy, even allowing for higher salt levels in some of the dips.

I remember the 80s as a time when we more usually held dinner parties. But, goodness, who has the time to dedicate an entire day to making almond soup (using a recipe similar to this one)? That was time-consuming and labour intensive but lacked the commensurate wow factor. I haven’t made it since. Or basting a chicken every half-hour so that it turns a glorious brown and you can show it off to your guests as you carve it at the dinner table? Been there, done that, too. But, you’re right. Do it now? Yeah, nah.

I can’t say the rest of the day went quickly, and there’s a general feeling that, despite Monday have been a holiday, it’s been a long week. Yes, it has. But we’ve survived this far, and tomorrow is Friday.

I hope your week hasn’t felt too long. Do you think some of the crunchy stuff would help?

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Posted by on March 11, 2021 in Crochet, Food, Health


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salubrious is the word

All of 10 minutes away, at the bottom of the road and around the corner. With pelicans.

Yesterday, Dr B came home from his latest pushbike outing and suggested we go out for coffee. The sun was shining, the laundry was already hanging out in the sunshine, and – because it was a public holiday – there were no other calls on my time. No-brainer, really. I grabbed my sunnies, locked the house, and away we went. Dr B always intends to park right out the front and usually does. Sure enough, he did it again today.

Gawd, it’s tough, slumming it there by the non-potable (but also non-odorous) waterways and the bound-to-belong-to-a-millionaire mansions! The cafe was doing such a roaring trade that we had to wait for an outside table; any table, really, because they were already beginning to limit their service to takeaway only in readiness for the early close dictated by public holiday demand: busy all day, but everyone fleeing for home at about 3 o’clock because “Tomorrow is a school day.”

We were ahead of the home-going crowd so we came back up the hill in next to no time. We’re very lucky to have such delightful facilities so close to us.

Do you have anything similar near where you live?

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Posted by on March 9, 2021 in Cycling, Food, Health


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squaring up

Eggs Benedict for YoungB – not our photo, but one from the cafe

Dr B recently had a dental procedure and, being allergic only to kryptonite as he is, was cracking fairly hardy – ie, being foolish – about taking adequate pain relief. I lent him my venerable (but still potent) bottle of clove essential oil to assist with topical treatment. He loved its efficacy and – bonus – the house smelt nice. He then went off for a long-planned (and several times postponed) overnight motorcycle jaunt with his group of old codgers. Obviously, the clove oil went with him. It did not, however, make the return trip. He lost it. I don’t want to know how. He probably doesn’t know how!

Back home, YoungB and I were out enjoying a mother-and-son breakfast before going our separate ways for a busy day. Having decided against a couple of popular eateries whose coffee doesn’t impress either of us enough to make the food attractive, we’d elected to patronise a nearby cafe where we know the food and coffee are both good. We were sitting outside in the sunshine, shivering only a bit, when the message came from Dr B: please buy some replacement clove oil. Righto then.

Luckily, there was a warehouse-style pharmaceutical outlet at the shopping centre. I was able to grab the last two bottles they had: one for Dr B to do with as he will, the other for me. I would have paid whatever was necessary as I don’t like being without clove oil and Dr B plainly needed it. But here’s where having a Seniors Card is useful: I got a discount!

Let’s call that all square, shall we?


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greater love hath no woman…

…than to sacrifice her Saturday to catch up with friends. Photo © Mayfair Hotel

It’s a warm weekend day and on Monday – two days from now – I return to actually working at the CBD office. My preferred Saturday occupation would be taking things easy and making sure my trousers aren’t too crumpled from having hung in the wardrobe for such a long time. But, no, I hopped out of bed early and made myself far more presentable than I would for work so that I could help a friend celebrate a significant birthday.

Four of us who have been friends for a long time enjoyed a sumptuous High Tea and a lot of chatter about how flexible we’ve had to be in terms of rethinking plans for whatever last year was and this year is turning out to be. Travel? Yeah, maybe, but certainly not overseas and perhaps not even interstate. There’s plenty to see close to home and we have some of the finest beaches in the world if that’s more your style. Terminology also came under discussion. One friend is embracing the “R” word but another feels strangely reluctant to describe herself as retired, so she is embracing the notion of “the next stage”.

All I can say is that, after this morning’s efforts, my next stage is probably going to be plonking myself near the aircon and catching a few ZZZZzzz’s. I’m not much fussed about what terminology we use to describe that.

Whatever stage of life you’re in, and whatever terminology you to describe that, I hope it’s treating you well.

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Posted by on January 9, 2021 in Food, Health, Travel


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Pockets to hold protective armour – white original, coloured reproduction

A good number of years ago, I mocked up some pockets to hold kevlar inserts for motorcycling jeans – one was the single replacement above, the other a complete re-creation for motorcycling jeans that had none. Making pockets isn’t impossibly difficult. Right? Today, I’ve been looking at online tutorials for putting pockets in shopping bags, on the principle that you need somewhere to put your purse and your mobile phone. There are few things in life more annoying than reinventing wheels when you know there are patterns out there – often accompanied by videos – that already have the answers you want, so a bit of research was in order.

Having said that, I was happy to put all that away and accompany Dr B to a brief appointment in town. And, as we were there, and it was lunchtime, we decided we’d try one of the nearby eateries. It’s something I can’t readily do when I’m at work – as I’ve said before, half an hour is not enough time to go far afield – so it was a pleasant way to spend an hour or so on a sunny Adelaide afternoon. The menu offered a good range. Dr B’s pizza was light and tasty. My soup was also tasty. Best of all, the accompanying bread had a pocket.

It’s nice when your diverse themes come together. I hope that you, too, have been able to enjoy a conjunction of ideas from both craft and cuisine, however unrelated they really are 😀

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Posted by on January 7, 2021 in Food, Sewing


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quiet days

Home-pickled olives, the neighbourhood’s finest

Whatever you celebrate, or don’t celebrate, I do hope that you’ve managed to find some joy at the end of this very strange year. We’ve been unusually quiet, but fine with that. The Bs were out on their motorcycles today. YoungB has a farewell party to attend later, so they weren’t away for very long. Of course there was a load of laundry magically doing its thing in their absence.

Youngest Aunt hosted the usual Boxing Day lunch, and we enjoyed the fruits of her labours and her garden. In a nice symbiosis, the olives in the photo are from a neighbour’s tree, which hangs over the fence. The neighbour is happy that the olives don’t go to waste. DrB has been raving about the excellence of this year’s batch. Youngest Aunt and Uncle had foraged locally for porcini during the season. The dried, stored and later reconstituted mushrooms were showcased in lasagne, whose sheets were homemade by Youngest Aunt. Youngest Uncle helped with turning the handle, he said, so that they were able to achieve a good rhythm that led to consistent output thickness: teamwork for the win.

Youngest Aunt has always been a good cook, but – like most of us, and particularly when she was in full-time paid employment – time poor. Now that she is retired, and with the added incentive of having to stay home during lockdown, she has been able to refine some hitherto unused, or rarely used, skills. She acknowledged that gadgets such as a dehydrating oven are now an essential part of her kitchen. We were all extremely grateful for her expertise, dedication and hard work.

Did homemade feature from our end? Yes, there were handmade face scrubbies and a shower puff. Oddly enough I didn’t take any photos of the shower puff; and that might or might not have been the precise pattern I ended up using. There are many good video tutorials on YouTube. The one I made was blue with a white crab-stitched edging, somewhat like the face scrubbies. It took me almost a week to make, I think, but felt longer because it was one of those rapidly multiplying stitch totals that never seem to end. I used Bendigo Woollen Mills 10-ply cotton, but can’t remember what size hook.

That’s about all I seem to have done. I wrote no cards this year, except for one or two to accompany gifts. I didn’t post anything, and with the convenience of e-gifts and e-vouchers there was no necessity to do so. Perhaps next Christmas – yes, there’s likely to be a next one and it will be here before we’re ready for it, same as every year – we’ll be able to present things in person. In the meantime, we’re safe and not as isolated as many. We have much to be grateful for.

Year’s end is astonishingly close. May it be one where we can raise a glass to the fact that we survived this extraordinary year as we toast what must surely be a better coming year.

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Posted by on December 27, 2020 in Crochet, Food, Musing


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