Friday, 30 November 2012

some progress

There's been some progress here in a few areas.  No progress at all on knitting front.  I have done none.   My knitting mojo has got up and went!  I have thought about some things but my mind has flitted from one possibility to another and has been unable to settle on any one project.

I think this is symptomatic of all that's happening lately in my life.  Perhaps when that settles, motivation may return.

Son had another blow when he discovered something the other night.  It was something I could never, ever, have imagined DIL doing and it knocked me sideways.  I can't really mention particulars and it wasn't an affair.  Just something totally out of the blue.  As I said, I have warm regards for her and like her a lot.  She's hardworking, kind, openhearted, well organised and another dozen similar adjectives at least.  But this was different and I'm having trouble processing it.

So here we have some cooking, instead of knitting.  I had a pack of pork mince in the freezer  from Butcherman delivery.  This was very finely minced with almost no fat in it.  Rissoles, meat loaf etc seemed very boring.  I also had an iceberg lettuce in the fridge where I normally have mixed salad leaves.  San choy bau came  to mind, so I looked up a few recipes which were all similar.

Brown the mince with lots of garlic and a finely chopped onion.  I also used some chopped red chilli. Add in a tablespoon of soy sauce, I used tamari as it's gluten free so I keep that in house for granddaughters.   A couple of tablespoons of oyster sauce and a splash of tomato sauce if you have it on hand.  I didn't.  One grated carrot and a chopped zucchini go in too.  My zucchini looks remarkably like asparagus as that was what I had.  Stir it all around and cook till done.  When veges are cooked, add drops of sesame oil and some sesame seeds.  As you can see, I had a bit of a disaster  with the seeds and ended up with far too many.  I couldn't scoop them out because they were on a meat mixture.  Actually I like them a lot, so was happy with them, although the amount was really over the top.

To serve, spoon mixture into washed iceberg lettuce leaves and roll to make a parcel.

This was no more time  consuming than making meat balls and I enjoyed it.   I'll do it again.  Can't understand how this recipe was missed as I cook lots of Asian recipes.

I had an advertising email from Beauty and the Bee the other day.  I haven't bought anything from them for a couple of years but  enjoy their products.  The bar shampoo is  very good and I've used several types.  Long lasting too.  A cake lasts months and months.

I had several people I wanted something for for Christmas and it's obviously not going be something knitted this year.  So on Wednesday afternoon I sent off an order.  It arrived here about 9:00 am on Friday morning by courier.  Pretty good from Tasmania to Sydney.  All the soap pieces at the front are free samples, and the little black pot is foot cream, also a sample.

I bought one tin of the calm balm for myself and have used it already.  I was hot, tired and headachey.  It has helped.  I rubbed it into temples and forehead. Three tubs of a solid hair conditioner to rub between hands and then onto hair after washing.  I had almost  forgotten how good their products are.

Very hot up here today and tomorrow will be much hotter.  The heat which Victoria and Tasmania had yestrday has moved up the coast to Sydney.  Temperatures in the 40s° C are forecast for tomorrow.  I have the place closed up and blinds drawn, iceblocks topped up in freezer and easy food.

Some good news.  As I think I said earlier, my son is seeing a psychologist.  He gets on well with her and this GP and the GP works well with psychologist.  This has made a world of difference to him.  This cooperation has never happened in the past and he's given up in disgust.

He went to psychologist for the second time yesterday.  She was  very surprised and pleased with the progress he's made.  What has happened in the fortnight between visits was expected to take two months possibly.  I can hear the difference in his voice when he rings me.  This is encouraging and it's been good to go back to being his mum and not trying counselling as well.  It also means I can genuinely express my encouragement to him and this is also a help to both of us.

Now to get the knitting underway again.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

hot stuff

One of the signs of Christmas and summer to me are cherries.  I love them and the season is all too short for my liking.

These were part of the delivery in my fruit and vegetable box this morning.  They were the same price as Colesworths, as I noted it yesterday when I was in there.  However, the chainstore cherries were about half the size of these, almost all seed probably.  They were also pale and anaemic in colour and these are deep red and large.  I have been very restrained and had only two or three as I unpacked the box.  There were also mangos in the box and I could have ordered peaches and nectarines separately.

I like chillies but with only one person here, I don't use many.  I find that if I leave them in a compartment of fridge door, they are usually quite usable, even if dried out.  This handful was $2 and will last me quite a while.  I may leave the green ones out to ripen a bit more and make some chilli jam. It goes well with cold meats and salads, even roast chicken and similar.

I don't have a recipe handy but there are lots on the internet.  Chillies, sugar, vinegar combined and cooked down.

Things are settling a bit with my son.  He's had some panic attacks and is now seeing a professional counsellor and psychologist.  That means I can  return to being  a mum and not needing to call on my counselling knowledge.  This is a much better arrangement for me and really for him too.  He needs to speak to someone who is disinterested.    DIL is being quite pleasant but resolute.  There are times I feel like a mother bear whose cub has been attacked.  I suppose that's natural, but it's not a feeling I want to have.  I am fond of her.

Son is happy with the psychologist and his GP and the interaction between them.  I'm pleased about this as it is likely to mean that he will persist in treatment.  He did not like the psychiatrist he used to see who refused to discuss different medications.  What he was giving my son was not suitable but he would not change it.  Son is now on an antidepressant and seems happy to take it.

Some years ago I was given a copy of the book by Matthew Johnson, I have a Black Dog. It is a look at depression and its effects.  Depression is shown as a friendly puppy which worms its way into the owner's life and takes over.  On a forum I frequent, one thread was about depression and the animation of this book was linked.  Have a look,  it's fairly short.  I sent the link to my son who knew of the book.  It was this video which finally convinced  him that he needed to seek help.Knitting?  Oh yes, since last entry here I've done precisely one row on a sock.  I have however been thinking about a few more projects.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

groovy grandma rides again

I have a coffee mug given by one of the grandchildren some years ago.  It says, "Groovy Grandma" on it and shows grandma with all the latest gadgets.

It seems I am not as groovy as I thought.  I mentioned my old clock radio, over 35 years old, had died.  I bought a new one on special in Target and came home to set it up.  Groovy Grandma worked her way through the poorly written instructions but finally came to  a dead end and could go no further.  So I put it aside till help arrived.

This was sooner than I expected.  #1 son arrived in cab at my place from plane home from Perth.  He was supposed to be picked up by DIL but she wasn't answering her phone and he waited nearly an hour.  He had a look at instructions and then told me that two other people he knew had reached the same stage and could go no further.  So probably not my fault.

However, he suggested packing it all up again, it hadn't been used and returning it to Target.  So  what would go in its place?  Why an iPad app of course.  So groovy grandma who works her iPad hard in various ways had not even thought about an app.  He recommended Nightstand.  All I needed, I didn't really want  the radio part.  I plug charger into wall, plug in iPad and app displays all night and charges iPad at same time.  It's easy to read and colours and brightness can be adjusted.  This is the free version, so there's an ad at the bottom.  That doesn't worry me at all as I'm asleep!  I will investigate the paid app as it costs only $1.99.  It may have features I would use but haven't thought of.  I returned the purchase yesterday and got a refund, no problem.

On Saturday I was checking the Big W website for some detail.  On front page was an ad for that day only purchase, online only, of a Roomba iRobot vacuum cleaner.  It was a very good price that day so I bought one. #1 DIL has one and I've used it many times.  They work well and it's so easy to set it running every day or so and everything is always lovely.  I have a Vax which I bought several years ago.  It too works well but makes my shoulders and back ache.  I will give it to son.  My place is ideal for the cleaner, small, flat.  It zooms around and  returns to base station to charge again. So groovy gran is back in the saddle.

I went to son's place on Monday and DIL did my hair.  It is fine for ages and then is terrible.  It was son's birthday.  I wasn't looking  forward to visit but it was much better than I expected.  She still wants him to leave but hopes they will get back together again in a few months.  I'm not so sure this will happen but will keep my mouth shut.  He was fine but apparently had a panic attack when she was out after I left.

He is seeing a psychologist today for the first time and will get recommendation for professional counselling too.  I can withdraw from the counselling side which is not really me, although I do know theories etc.  I'd much rather just be his supportive mum.

They are looking for a decent place to rent for him.  There's not much around up there, many to lease are just dumps.  He did find one place yesterday, near shops and trains and a three bedroom town house.  He' s applied.  I hope he gets it.  Panic attacks are very nasty things.

Jill, lovely to hear  from you.  I appreciated your comment.  It's been quite a while.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

not a good week

This has not been a good week.  I  have done no knitting.  It probably would have helped me, it has in the past, but I have ben very stressed and barely able to think straight.  My typing has been terrible, I have burnt food and had little sleep.  I didn't trust myself to knit.

One DIL last weekend told one of my sons she wanted him to move out.  None of us saw this coming and he is utterly sideswiped and devastated.  Two children involved.  Right at the moment she is being very hard about this.  I'm sure this is a protective measure for her so she can continue to be in control. So she thinks. Really, she cannot make unilateral decisions on behalf of four people and not expect there to be protests. I think there is a glimmer of hope but hesitate to say anything as it may disappear.
One good thing is that son has gone back on medications and is now seeing professional help from someone skilled in his disorder.  This will really be needed if she does leave, but it is also welcome as it will strengthen him.  He's also had some good practical advice from a former work mate who has moved from one  area of law to that of family law.

I've been his backstop, we've always had a close relationship although I try to not interfere in any of their lives.  It has meant I have had to draw upon a lot of  resources and skills.  I have  the basis of A Graduate Diploma in Counselling but not the award.  Only the basis.  I have done all the academic side of this as electives in two other courses, but have not completed the practicum side of it.  I found the courses challenging and interesting but I am not really  a counsellor.  I did the course because they fitted with my main area of study.  It's easy to see why doctors don't treat family..  This has been very hard.

Sydney's west had a bad storm on Thursday afternoon.  We had it yesterday in the early afternoon.  One minute it was fine, the next it was dark and I could not see across the main  road outside.  Hail, torrential rain and strong winds.   Then it was gone.  I noticed westward traffic was very heavy.  I later discovered that the depot and op shop in an old building for the Salvation Army had its roof blown off.  It's only a couple of hundred metres from here.  What was worse was that massive amounts of asbestos fibre blew onto the road.  Fortunately it was sodden in seconds so did not blow around, but a huge clean up was necessary.  A nearby car yard lost most of its glass doors and windows.  Tis also shattered on road and over the stock in the yard.

Two mynahs had built a nest in the right angle corner of these gutters.  I thought the baby birds would have been washed down the drainpipe but the birds are still there. Or seem to be.  The parents keep bringing food back, so I suppose the birds are there.


I have been fiddling with my camera exploring using the manual setting only.  There have been some failures but mostly I am pleased with the results.  The jacaranda shown here is at the top of the hill towards Parramatta river.  It's probably a good  ten minutes walk away up the road opposite.  I swapped my smaller lens for the  big 18-270 mm zoom and fiddled with the settings.  I still don't entirely understand the shutter settings and how they work, but I suppose I'll learn as I practise. S you  can see there are still storm clouds around and while it was glary, it was also dark.

I liked the roof angles at McDonalds.  It was McHappy day down there , so lots of music.  Unfortunately also lots of music playing loudly, although I will say it was better this year than last when the beat of the music vibrated right through this building.  Perhaps they angled the speakers away from us.

Farewell good servant.  Getting into bed late last night after waiting to hear from son I saw my old clock radio dial glowing.  I don't use the radio part of it at all, only the clock.  I turned it off and checked the switches.  I couldn't see anything turned on so plugged it back in.  More glow.  I don't know the problem but I was worried enough to unplug it as I didn't want a fire.  Checking this morning shows it's probably dead.  No shame to it.  It was dad's and I've been using it since 1990.  I worked out they had it before building in the mountains.  That happened when youngest son was two, so 1977.  The radio owes nothing to anyone.  I have bought a new one.  All whizzbang in settings and geared to digital radio not AM/FM.  I turned it on and the display popped up with the correct time with no effort from me.  It's mostly set up but I'll need to ask one or another son how to make sure alarm is off.  Instructions are not really clear.


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

still here

It's been a strange  week and one I really will  be glad to see the end of.  I was sure I had photos of the knitting I had done, but can't find them, so must have imagined taking them.I was using the new book of socks and testing out various fancy ribs and lacy patterns.  Some of the sock have heel flaps which don't suit my very flat feet and I thought I'd just experiment with what was there.

I did, but don't seem to have the photo, the coronet which is at the top of the cuff of the pattern called ballerina.  It's very pretty, particularly with the scalloped edge hem, although it's hard to see in my variegated yarn.  However, it takes 29 stitches as given.  That means a coronet on the front and back and that's all.  I have decided I like the actual coronet pattern which has several nupps in it and that I would like it around a cuff.  However, I wouldn't do the lace in which it is set.  That would give several more repeats of the pattern.

The twisted rib which goes down the leg of that sock pattern is very easy and quite effective.  Just invisible in the variegated yarn.

This top picture was taken on my phone with  two different types of cloud together.  I found it interesting and the iPhone takes quite reasonable cloud pictures usually.  It's certainly quicker to take photos with the phone than to find the big camera and set it up.  By the time it's ready the sky has usually changed.

The week has been stressful for the family.  Middle son has been working very hard to get his house ready for sale.  It's been a big effort.  They had a lot of "stuff."  Don't we all sometimes?  However, it's been cleared out and repainted right through.  However the effort and a new job learning situation has tired him out.  He's been getting four, perhaps five hours a night sleep  for several weeks.  The house is now on the market and they've found one they would really like in the next suburb up.  It went to auction last Saturday but son could not bid as bank did not have papers ready.  It was passed in with no bids except one from the vendor, so son is pushing bank so they can make an offer.  It's in the suburb where all the children will be at the same school next year.  This will mean no before and after school daycare will be needed and the school's sliding fee structure will use the care money saved and will cover the extra two girls' tuition.

So if anyone wants a starter home in the western suburbs, have look  here.  Its just too small for them but is in the quiet end of a pleasant cul-de-sac with good neighbours.

I've been experimenting a bit with some different salads.  This one has been good in the warm weather. There were three large, good mangos in my fruit and  vegetable box.  I've chopped them into cubes, sort of, added some chilli, mint, parsley and juiced a lime over the lot.  I could have put more mint in as a contrast and lemon would be good if you didn't have a lime.

It's very refreshing and I finished it off tonight with some hot chicken.  The two went well together.

I've also been experimenting with using the manual setting only on my big camera.  I like the petunia, it's so white.  This photo turned out OK but some weren't to my satisfaction at all.  

Edited:  I wasn't happy with what I had written.  Suffice to say that some family relationships are under great strain and several of us are very stressed.