Silly Little Things

Silly Little Things

Life is made up of silly little things.  They join all the big important things together and holds them in place.  The silly little things are, in fact, not so silly after all…
Life wouldn’t be nearly as nice without:

  • Neighbourhood cats who greet you as you walk by, their tales held high in a gesture of happy friendship and interest
  • Babies falling asleep in your arms
  • Candlelight
  • Moonlight
  • Ice cream
  • Flirtatious strangers
  • The dance that happens before a relationship begins
  • Thunderstorms when you are tucked up in bed
  • Cookie dough
  • Cuddles from toddlers
  • The way puppies smell
  • Laughing so hard you do that weird soundless kind of laugh
  • Cheese on Toast with a bowl of soup
  • Soup in general, as long as it is homemade
  • Staying up way past your bedtime, knowing you can sleep in the next day
  • Music videos (especially retro ones from your childhood or teenage years)
  • Re-reading books you know and love
  • Sunrise
  • Sunset
  • The smell of the ocean
  • Fresh sheets (especially if someone else has made the bed for you)
  • Strawberries
  • Brand new notebooks
  • Christmas Eve
  • Three little words – “I Love You”
  • Jimmy Stewart Films
  • Pie
  • The colour blue
  • Butterflies
  • Handmade cards
  • Onesie pyjamas
  • Stripes
  • Polka Dots
  • Vanilla
  • Baby rhinos (Come on, have you seen one of these guys!? So CUTE!)
  • The last day of school
  • Writing in a journal that no one will see but you
  • Talking with a best friend
  • Sitting in silence with a best friend, because you can
  • Watercolour paints
  • Magazines (especially craft, decorating or cooking ones)
  • Cutting and pasting (with scissors and glue, not on a computer)
  • Being noticed, and asked if you’re ok, when you’re feeling blue
  • Singing in the car
  • Roadtrips
  • Caramel
  • Rainbows
  • Candles
  • Bubble baths
  • Autumn leaves

I’m sure there’s lots of things I’ve forgotten.  And that’s what we do – forget the little things.  It’s easy to get caught up in the big problems and the big adventures, the big jobs and the big messes, so we overlook the little things that actually mean the most.  What things make your day happy (or even just bearable, when bearable is all you can hope for)?  I’m going to get in my polka dot onesie now and eat a bowl of soup for my dinner.  I’ll look at some magazines and write in my journal.  Sounds like the start of a pretty good evening to me…

Whatever you’re doing right now, enjoy and be grateful for the little things 🙂

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Quotes for the Day : Home

Quotes for the Day : Home

Home is the nicest word there is… Laura Ingalls Wilder

Home meant a sanctuary, as common and taken for granted as the sun rising in the morning…G.P Ching

At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from.  Maybe home is somewhere I am going and have never been beforeWarsan Shire

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soulJean Cocteau

The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent itRalph Waldo Emerson

I used to dream escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary.  I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.
Likewise, I never imagined home might be something I would miss
Ransom Riggs

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Ricotta Cheesecake Flan

Ricotta Cheesecake Flan

I am seeing my friends this afternoon for another movie session. We get together, watch a movie or two (our current trend is Tarantino films but once they’re exhausted I’m sure we’ll move on…) and eat food that we’ve all prepared. We try to go with “healthy” snacks – doesn’t always happen but I think we all endeavour to bring/make things that are not too high in fat etc.

I am suffering from a bad case of the “can’t-be-bothered”s this weekend. I am tired and grumpy and my body is whacking out on me (is that a term? it sounds rude) i.e. causing me pain (stupid hiatus hernia). I was going to try and make something complicated and impressive but instead went with a dessert that is neither. Just simple and easy.

I got a recipe from a cook book at work that is filled with dishes suitable for people with dementia (in some of the later stages of dementia, swallowing can be a problem as can eating and feeling hungry in general) and are all pretty simple and quick to make.  The recipe called for quark cheese but I didn’t have any and a quick scout around my local shops did not produce any.  So I had to adapt things a little bit… Which is probably why it didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted.  I used ricotta cheese and yoghurt instead of the quark.  I guess this makes it a “healthier” and lower-in-fat recipe, but also made it less “cheesy” and dense, the way it would have been with the quark…

Anyway, try this if you’re looking for something quick to make and can’t be bothered with a lot of whipping/beating/mixing etc. It has a nice flavour and is light and goes wonderfully with a berry compote or some fresh fruit.

Ricotta Cheesecake Flan

375g Smooth Ricotta
125g Greek Yoghurt (I had a honey flavoured one)
1 Egg
100g Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
Pinch Salt
2 TBS Cornflour
20ml Cream
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice

Grease and line a round springform tin.
Preheat oven to 180 C
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Whisk until smooth.
Pour into springform tin.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes.  Flan should be set and slightly firm to touch.
Let cool/chill in fridge – overnight is best or for several hours.

Serve with fresh fruit or berry compote.

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And that’s it!  Pretty simple.  The original recipe called for 500g quark cheese instead of the ricotta and yoghurt – so give that a go if you can find quark!

Well, I’m off – hopefully my friends will like the dessert and hopefully my silly tummy / hernia will let me eat too!  Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday 🙂

PS Sorry about lack of crafting posts on here lately…haven’t had time to do anything even remotely crafty these last couple of weeks but will get back into it soon I promise! 🙂

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PPS Back home again after the movie night.  Dessert went down a treat.  T’was yummy 🙂

My Week in Pictures (July)

My Week in Pictures (July)

How did it get to be Sunday already?  Where did the week go?  Did I sleep through it?  Why am I asking so many questions?

I’ve had a busy week, despite having three days off (not due to illness or anything medical, for once.  Just needed a few days off to prepare my house for rent inspection – which was cancelled! Gah!  I did housework for nothing!!!)  and being quite lazy and un-motivated.  My desk at work had so much stuff piled up on it but the time I came back from my mini-break, that it looked as though I would be staying back every day for the next three years in order to get through it all and catch up.
But I ploughed through it on Friday and am now back to just being regular busy, instead of frenzied busy.

I did go for a couple of walks during my lunch breaks, just to force myself to get off my bottom and get some fresh air.  It is not unusual for me to spend 3 or 4 hours at my desk without getting up at all and that’s pretty bad, not just for my waistline and backside but for my general health and mental state, not to mention my eyes and back.  I had been told there was an op-shop down the road from our work place but had, as yet, not visited it (shame!).  I toddled down there one day last week and, boy-oh-boy, had I been missing out!  This place was huge with lots of lovely things to browse through.  They had a huge shoe collection – check out these “classy” numbers:

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I was good and didn’t buy anything (mostly because I had not taken my purse with me…) but I will return again another day!  Next door was the “Book Bazaar” which was also a dangerous place to visit.  Sooooo many books!  Everything from craft to language books, fiction to gardening…will be back there soon…

On my walks I took the opportunity to take a few snaps of the various pretty flowers, plants and foliage around my work.  As there is lots of bushland there are often wildflowers in bloom, but on this occasion it was mostly weeds and introduced species:

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I think these flowers are African Daisies…(but don’t quote me on that!)…

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These too…

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…A pretty little vignette designed by nature 🙂

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…even weeds can be pretty…(a type of oxalis)…

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…bee butt!  I can’t help myself…if you are a bee and you’re butt is poking out of a flower, watch out!
This little guy would NOT keep still, but eventually he found this Soursop (another type of oxalis) flower enticing enough to be worth lingering on…

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…soursop foliage…

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…even the sky was beautiful on this day (though those clouds brought rain later on…)

The weather this week has been alternating between blue skies and sunshine (though still cold), to freakish winds and thunderstorms.  At any rate, it has been too cold for me and I long for Summer.  I am tired of dressing like I live in the Antarctic.  I feel fat and lumpy, pale, bulky and sad in the cooler months.  I wish there was a giant beanie than would not just cover my head but my entire body in wooly warmth.

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I helped my brother run a stall at a local toy and collector’s fair last week.  My soon-to-be-ex normally gives him a hand but was unable to, due to being on holiday overseas ( will not bitch, I will not bitch) so I said I would be his assistant for the day.  We did pretty well – there wasn’t a big crowd but we made steady sales (my brother sells model kits and figurines).  I had dinner with my brother’s family that night and got to hang out with my little nieces and nephews, including this cutie (whose smiles and happy face is enough to cure any Winter blues I might be experiencing) :

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Yesterday, I bought a couch.  I went out to buy toilet paper, took a bit of a detour and bought a couch.  As you do.  I have been putting it off forever and I finally bit the bullet and ordered one.  No photos as yet as they have to make the couch to order.  I have to wait 4-6 weeks which seems like an age but I have heard that some people wait 3 months, so I won’t complain.  I want my lounge room to be inviting and cosy, as well as slightly quirky and stylish.  My brother and his partner were getting rid of an old mirror and I grabbed it before it got put out onto the verge collection.  I’ve put it up in my lounge room behind my twiggy tree, along with my squirrel ornament and metal crow.  When the tree is lit up with the tiny fairy lights I got at Christmas, and it all reflects off the mirror, it is so pretty and pleasing to the eye.  Well, my eye anyway, and I guess that’s what is important.

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Today I slept in (I’ve been so tired lately – I think it’s just a bit of sadness weighing me down) and then faffed about until mid afternoon when I went out to the movies with my friend K from work.  The day was bright and crisp, with blue skies and a gentle breeze.  The pretty Autumn leaves on all the trees were such gorgeous combinations of colour…

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The movie we saw was the French film, “Belle & Sebastian“.  So lovely.  The scenery in the movie was beautiful and the story itself (though a little bit cutesy and Lassie-ish) was compelling and tear-jerking.  Mind you, all the snow and ice in the movie left me feeling absolutely freezing and it was nice to get into a nice warm car and drive home to my PJs and Ugg boots 🙂

I had some nice news this week – my kidney function has increased to 49%!  I am so happy about that and also grateful and surprised.  Every percent is an absolute gift.  I am still praying I get to 50% but am very content with 49!

Hope you have had a good weekend xxx

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Cats and Kittens (should mind their own mittens!)

Cats and Kittens (should mind their own mittens!)

 I am trying to be good and keep truly negative things out of this blog (mostly for you, but also for me so I don’t look back in years to come and cringe) and I am trying to be mature and let go of things and move on and not be so whiny.  But then stuff happens and it is hard not to creep slowly over to the dark side and want to vent a little.  So, to do that without being too negative or depressing, I shall tell you my sad tale in the form of a thinly-disguised fable so that names don’t need to be mentioned (I’ve never done that here anyway) and I can try at least to be entertaining whilst cathartically venting my spleen.  So, here goes, the sad and magical tale of…

A Girl, Her Cat and the Faraway Journey

So, there was once this girl (ok, middle-aged woman) who lived with a much younger cat.  She loved the cat very much, despite his immaturity and strange habits, and tried to make a happy and warm home for him, hoping he would always come home to her and only ever groom himself by her fireside, ignoring all other offers from catnip-proffering floozies, whoops, I mean felines.

As time went on, the girl felt that the cat wasn’t happy.  He was staying out late in the neighbourhood, hanging out with other cats and indulging in far too much milk for the girl’s liking.  She thought the fault was hers – maybe she wasn’t pretty enough or fun to be around.  Maybe she was sick too often or too tired to stay out late and she didn’t fit in with the other cats, who seemed course and ill-mannered.  She tried for a long time to change into something she was not, and, in the end, she knew she would never be what the cat wanted. 

So they decided to live apart.  As the months passed, it was obvious the cat had moved on entirely and did not need the girl.  The girl was very sad but tried to be ok and live her life, alone but secure in her own little house with her own things and no one else’s litter tray to clean up.  She tried to stay out of the cat’s life, hoping they would one day at least be friends and care about each other enough to be kind and thoughtful towards one another.

Soon she found out that the cat had moved in with a particular ginger kitten whom the girl had always been suspicious of.  It hurt the girl but she tried to be mature and let it go, tried not to think about it.  She waited for the cat to tell her about the kitten, but he didn’t, preferring instead to let the grapevine that ran through the town do the work for him.  The same thing occurred when the cat and kitten decided to travel to Europe together – the cat did not tell the girl, did not think it was any of her business and did not see why he should care if it upset her.  The girl was minding her own business, reading news updates on her own social me(ow)dia page when up popped a charming photo of the cat and the kitten, having a feline-fabulous time in Paris.  The cat’s mother, whom the girl had always been fond of, had posted the picture, for all to see.  The girl was very sad and hurt and also, just a little bit ticked off.  It was one thing for the cat to be thoughtless and uncaring, but the girl was a little bit disappointed in the cat’s mother. The girl wondered, if she would ever be free from hurt and if she should actually have gotten herself a dog in the first place.

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OK, so not the best story in the world but hopefully it will have a happy ending eventually (a charming, handsome prince would be nice but I am not holding my breath).  The girl needs to get her head together and stop being a drip, torturing herself and living in the past with a cat who doesn’t actually care about her, and possibly never did (that’s the hard part for the girl to digest).

I have been pretty upset the last few days but last night, after seeing the picture, I got angry and then, started laughing. Because if you don’t laugh, you start to cry, and I have done enough of that already.  Besides, there are cookies to eat, craft books to read and endless cups of tea, all of which will help fill an emotional void, as well as good friends, family members and workmates.  I’m lucky that I have all of those things (and people) and I try to remember that.  I don’t know how I would have gotten through the last few years without them.
It possibly would have required dangerous amounts of cake and possibly anything with salted caramel.  And cheese.  Lots of cheese.

Hope you are having a happy day and not needing any emotional support at all.  But, if you are feeling a bit down and need a cyber hug, I am sending lots your way and hoping tomorrow will be brighter and less sucky.  I’m emailing you an extra-fudgey brownie right now – did you get it?

🙂

x

Tofu Burgers (and the Worst Blogger Award)

Tofu Burgers (and the Worst Blogger Award)

Worst. Blogger. Ever.  That award goes to me at the moment.  I apologise for my lack of posting.  It’s not because I haven’t had the inclination, it’s just that I am trying very hard not to be negative on here and write a bunch of woe-is-me-I’m-so-sad stuff.  The last few weeks have been difficult and I have been struggling with life in general so I have promised myself I won’t post anything when I am in that frame of mind.  It’s best for everyone.  Especially you.

Today I have been tidying and sorting out my house.  Again.  But this time, I am determined to get it to a point where things are contained and neat and make sense, rather than just shoving things in cupboards and hoping no one ever opens the doors.  I have three whole days off this week – I needed to take a few mental health days but also get my house in order because I have rent inspection on Thursday.  This always sends me into spasms of panic because I suddenly notice how dire the situation is, with regards to the neatness of my home.  When I am sad I tend to neglect things even more so I desperately needed to give the whole place an overhaul this week, for my own sanity if nothing else.  I spent much of Sunday cutting up a tree that had fallen down in my back courtyard.  It was only a small tree, a shrub really, but still too heavy and large for me to carry out on my own.  Besides that, the only access to my back yard is through the house itself, so, short of dragging a whole tree through my house, I had to cut it down to size and remove in stages.  Took me FOREVER.   I only had a small hand saw with which to do the cutting and as I am a bit of a girly-girl, I was not very good at using it (I would have been a terrible lumberjack).  Plus, at one point, I fell over the whole sorry mess and landed rather awkwardly and painfully on my wrist and shins.  Massive black and blue marks on my legs but luckily no harm done to my wrist.

Stubborn-ness will always win in the end though (that’s my motto, anyway) and after several hours I had dismembered the tree enough to take it out to the wheelie bin and get rid of it all.  Except for the main trunk – I gave up on that as all the smaller branches had grown and interwoven into an impenetrable mass and I would have been there until next Christmas trying to disengage it all.  So that large part got sneakily hidden behind a bunch of shrubbery and ivy vines in my back yard.  It will do.

Today I sorted through all my clothes and put away Summer stuff (we’re only 2/3 of the way through Winter mind you…soon it will be time to take the stuff back out again!), packed up unwanted items to take to the op-shop and put my mattress back in the bedroom (I’ve been sleeping in the lounge as it is so cold in my bedroom, but it doesn’t look very nice to have a mattress in your main living area – even a slob like me can see that!).  Bed made, ironing sorted and put away.  So I’ve made a good start and will begin on the craft room tomorrow (ugh – that could take HOURS and HOURS).

Tomorrow I am also meeting up with friends for lunch.  We’re all bringing something to share, so after a hasty search through my quite bare pantry, I decided to make Tofu Burgers.  These yummy little morsels are one of the first things my soon-to-be-ex-hubby made for me, but don’t hold that against them 🙂  They are tasty and easy to make plus they’re good for popping into lunch boxes or for taking to a party as a little snack (you could roll them into balls and serve them on cocktail sticks with a little bowl of sauce for dipping).  They’re pretty versatile and make a good meat-free option if you have vegetarians coming around.  I usually find that these go quickly when served at parties and are usually devoured by the carnivores in the group.  Which is just typical!!!  If you serve vego food, you can guarantee the non-vego people will eat it.  Every time.

Anyway, on to the burgers.  I have been making these a long time now and so have modified the recipe (i.e. forgotten the original) so I’m giving you approximate measurements here.  Add a little more breadcrumbs if you think the mixture is a bit wet, or add a wee bit more sauce if you think is too dry.

TOFU BURGERS

1 package tofu (silken or firm but not the hard stir-fry type) – mashed with fork
1 onion, diced finely or 1/2 cup powdered onion
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt & Pepper
Herbs of your choice (I usually use chopped chives or parsley)
1 TBS Soy Sauce
1 TBS Barbecue Sauace
2 tsp tumeric powder
1/2 cup grated cheese (optional)

Mix all ingredients together.  The grated cheese is optional, but does give a nice taste and little “oozy” bits here and there.  Form mixture into patties, balls or larger burgers (whatever you like!).  The original recipe called for frying the burgers in oil, but I don’t really fry anything, so I bake them in the oven for about 25 minutes at 180 C.
They should be lightly browned on the outside and firm to the touch but still moist on the inside.  Serve as they are with a salad or make up a hamburger with them (although I think there is already enough bread in there…).  Yum!  Try your own flavour combos with the mixture – it’s pretty forgiving and always turns out.
Recipe makes about 12-15 little patties, depending on size.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Life Hack Advice

Life Hack Advice

Feeling a bit down in the dumparoo today.  Found out some upsetting news last night (news that shouldn’t upset me now that I am all independent and “moving on”and being strong and having respect for myself) but instead of sharing that with you (and boring you to tears, most likely), I will instead share a few pieces of advice from the great website Mark and Angel Hack Life.  If you haven’t visited this great little website, you should take some time and have a look today.  I’m not one for a lot of self-help kinda stuff, but their advice and sensible tips make SENSE.  I find myself going “Oh yeah…”and nodding my head and also feeling a trifle guilty when they say exactly what I am thinking or tell me what I know, deep down, I should be doing already.  It’s good to read it daily or even just sporadically when you need a guiding hand to get through the day and to remind yourself that you are actually pretty damn awesome, even if you don’t feel it right now.

Anyway, have a look and see what I mean.  It’s worth a visit.  In the meantime, here are a few choice snippets from the site, ones that I particularly relate to:

 Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. There’s no reason to be ashamed for feeling something or acting out on it if it’s real to you. It’s a sign that you have a big heart, and that you aren’t afraid to let others know it. Showing your emotions is a sign of human strength.
The people who judge you for being human, and not being modest, emotionless, and “in line,” are the ones who need to apologize

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A great relationship is about two things: First, appreciating the similarities, and second, respecting the differences. So be cordial, but don’t completely change who you are for someone else simply because it’s what THEY want, or because it’s what THEY think is best for you.  If someone expects you to be someone you’re not, take a step back. It’s wiser to lose relationships over being who you are, than to keep them intact by pretending to be someone else. It’s easier to nurse a little heartache and meet someone new, than it is to piece together your own shattered identity. It’s easier to fill an empty space in your life where somebody else used to be, than it is to fill the empty space within yourself where YOU used to be.

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Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out. But making one person smile CAN change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world. So narrow your focus

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Start being more polite to yourself. – If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. You must love who you are or no one else will.

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Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait for what you deserve. Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand up taller than you ever were before. Sometimes your eyes need to be washed by your tears so you can see the possibilities in front of you with a clearer vision again. Don’t settle.

Be good to yourselves today 🙂