Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year - Gift Card Giveaway

And the winner is...
Craig Smith
email coming to you

Congrats Craig
And a huge, huge thank you to everyone who entered.
I had 304 entries in total!!
And it was such a lovely lovely way to celebrate my 40th Birthday :)
Thanks again

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Celebrating Forty

I have been away to a place so remote that the internet goes at DIAL UP speed, AND I had to drive down the road to get phone access.  Yes. I have been at my parents house.

The Horror.

Civilisation I have missed you.

On Sunday it's my 40th Birthday. 1st January. Oh yes indeedy.

I bid my thirties farewell without much regret - though I do miss my early thirties pre-babies flat tummy (miss you xxx).  I'm looking forward to my forties, I think its going to be an awesome time for me and my little family.

Over the last few months I've been mulling over how to kick off this next decade.  Hubs and I have discussed a few ideas...

  • Party - great except I'm an anti-social introvert
  • Dinner somewhere nice - great except I like to be in bed by 8pm
  • Holiday - great except travel makes me constipated - which would be a terrible state to start my 40s in
Oh I kid.  Any of those would be utterly wonderful and I'd love them, but hubs's work contract has just ended and we're hoarding the pennies.

So I got to thinking about celebrating my 40th in a meaningful way without spending much money (or none at all).  And that led me to thinking about the things that fill me with joy, and then I realised that those things don't cost anything anyway!

I ended up with this list
  • Walk
  • Cook
  • Give
  • Learn
  • Grow
And my plan to celebrate my 4th decade (5th!! its my 5th decade, ahem, thanks Jennie :)) on the planet is going to go something like this...
  • Walk - a dawn walk on Long Reef Beach with my family watching the sun rise up out of the ocean, we'll bring breakfast with us and thermos of tea.  Perfect. Also rain is my favourite beach weather, so I don't mind what the weather is.
  • Cook - a feast at home.  Huge bowl of prawns with homemade mayo and a cold beer - something fun that doesn't take hours
  • Give - I love to give and I love to knit.  So over the year I'm going to knit 40 of my world famous dishcloths and give them away - via the blog, watch this space! (On the subject of giveaways, a book voucher giveaway is starting here tomorrow - shhh, its a surprise)
  • Learn - I'm starting Embroiderer's Guild courses this year
  • Grow - you all know I love my garden. So I'll be planting an avocado tree and watching hubs turn the front garden into a space that fills me with delight.
I just cannot wait :) 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas YAY

I am trapped in the house with my family and Miss 5 has just locked us all out of the bathroom. Help meeeee...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Gingerbread house

Today was gingerbread house decorating day....
Decorated by hubs and the kids
I left the decorating to the rest of the family this year.

I am writing a novella at the moment (30,000 words).  I'm planning to submit it to Entangled Publishing on 15th January as part of their call for Geek Girl stories.  So far I have a kick-arse story, but its only 10,000 words long. Which has turned me into a bad tempered headphone wearing individual who is glued to her computer - well, in between over-compensating the kids with lollies and movies, to alleviate a massive glut of mother guilt because I'm not rushing about with carols on full blast and the house smelling of frankincense and myrrrr.

Honestly, if I'd been left to decorate the Gingerbread house, it'd would've ended up looking a lot like Edenland's House of Doom...
This sublime gingerbread house has an accompanying blog post and vlog over on Edenland's blog, which if you don't know it already, is well worth a read :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The SAHM 12 Days of Christmas

On the First day of Christmas the Universe gave to me: 
Very long school holidays

On the Second day of Christmas the Universe gave to me: 
Two tired children
Very long school holidays

On the Third day of Christmas the Universe gave to me: 
Three ice-skating lessons

Two tired children, and
Very long school holidays

On the Fourth day of Christmas the Universe gave to me: 
Four swollen tonsils

Three ice-skating lessons, Two tired children, and
Very long school holidays

On the Fifth day of Christmas the Universe gave to me: 
Five days of rain

Four swollen tonsils, Three ice-skating lessons, Two tired children, and
Very long school holidays

On the Sixth day of Christmas the Universe gave to me: 
Six craft activities

Five days of rain, 
Four swollen tonsils, Three ice-skating lessons, Two tired children, and
Very long school holidays

On the Seventh day of Christmas the Universe gave to me: 
Seven howling tantrums

Six craft activities
Five days of rain, 
Four swollen tonsils, Three ice-skating lessons, Two tired children, and
Very long school holidays

On the Eighth day of Christmas the Universe gave to me: 
Eight glasses of alcohol

Seven howling tantrums, Six craft activities
Five days of rain, 
Four swollen tonsils, Three ice-skating lessons, Two tired children, and
Very long school holidays

On the Ninth day of Christmas the Universe gave to me: 
Nine Happy Meal Toys

Eight glasses of alcohol, Seven howling tantrums, Six craft activities
Five days of rain, 
Four swollen tonsils, Three ice-skating lessons, Two tired children, and
Very long school holidays

On the Tenth day of Christmas the Universe gave to me: 
Ten loads of washing

Nine Happy Meal Toys, Eight glasses of alcohol, Seven howling tantrums, Six craft activities
Five days of rain, 
Four swollen tonsils, Three ice-skating lessons, Two tired children, and
Very long school holidays

On the Eleventh day of Christmas the Universe gave to me: 
Eleven presents forgotten

Ten loads of washing, Nine Happy Meal Toys, Eight glasses of alcohol, Seven howling tantrums, Six craft activities
Five days of rain, 
Four swollen tonsils, Three ice-skating lessons, Two tired children, and
Very long school holidays

On the Twelfth day of Christmas the Universe gave to me: 
Twelve burnt biscuits

Eleven presents forgotten, Ten loads of washing, Nine Happy Meal Toys, Eight glasses of alcohol, Seven howling tantrums, Six craft activities
Five days of rain, 
Four swollen tonsils, Three ice-skating lessons, Two tired children, and
Very long school holidays


Monday, December 12, 2011

Holidays Day 3

Day 1 of The Horror: Supposed to be Ice skating, but thanks to a large selection of traffic lights simultaneously going tits-up - leading to unimaginable traffic chaos - we ended up at Puss In Boots 3D.  I thought it was weird to the point of creepiness, the kids utterly loved it.  Cost $48. I winced. Actually I'm still wincing.

Day 2 of The Horror: Finally made it to Ice skating.

Day 3 of The Horror.  Guess WHAT??? More ice skating.  If you see me around and about rugged up like a michelin man even though its Summer, its because my bones, liver and other essentials are still frozen.  So. Frickin. Cold.

The rink
Once I was turned into a human icy-pole, hubs rolled me out to the car and we hurried off to Brasserie Bread down in Banksmeadow (on Botany Bay near the airport if you haven't heard of it).  I had the kids enrolled in one of their free baking classes.

Hubs and I got to scoff artisan breads and cakes in the cafe whilst the Screamies created...
A bird, cinnamon scrolls and some pizza
More pizza, cinnamon scrolls and a butterfly with choc chips
 There are worse ways to spend an hour, and the heaps long drive was so worth it.
They do grown-ups baking classes too, this is what you can make.
Awesome eh??
Eight weeks to go people. Eight weeks to go.

This post is dedicated to Jill, Lyndel and Megan. Thanks for the endless hugs and support and thanks for reminding me why I write this blog.  You guys are the best.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Have you any wool??

There is one person in the world who has had as tough a year with Miss 5 as hubs and I.  Miss 5s teacher.  The Universe smiled on Miss 5 when they assigned her kindi teacher.  We were blessed with one of the warmest, kindest, gentlest individuals that I have ever met.  We took the journey from bewilderment and frustration to Aspergers diagnosis together, and when I was beside myself with stress and grief she was a rock solid support, her positiveness and optimism never wavered for a moment.

A comment she made recently to my Mum has become my mantra when things are really tough.  "She has so much potential (Miss 5). It will take us a couple of years to properly unlock it, but when we do it will be wonderful."

She is so right.

There is no way I can ever fully express my thanks to that gracious lady.  But I did make this cross-stitch as a small way of showing our gratitude.
Thank you for everything you did for our little black sheep

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Upcycling a towel rack

We don't use our heated towel racks any more - too expensive to run and really, not necessary in this climate. Also this one kept blowing all the fuses - which is upsetting with any electrical device, but doubly so when that device is in the bathroom.

So I gathered my initiative and have up-cycled it.
Yet another stroke of genius, or something

Friday, December 09, 2011

Decorating the Tree

So last weekend, with beer in hand and Michael Buble warbling away, we decorated our tree.
Slight issue with star on top
And the finished result - you can never have too much tinsel
Star got banished to the chimney - we decided it could be the 'guiding light' for Santa or any passing wise men

Monday, December 05, 2011

Home made pressies

Pressies for the teachers.... Four types of homemade soap, and some knitted dishcloths.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Writerly Talk - summary and links

Last Thursday night I was honoured to do the end of year talk at the Hawkesbury River Writers Group.  I promised those good folk I'd fling a quick summary up on the blog, and add links to various websites I'd mentioned.

So here it is...
  • With the changes in the traditional print industry (ie move to author self promotion), and the explosion of the e-industry the ‘unpublished’ stage of an authors career is now a vital part of their success – it is not a rite of passage, or something to be endured until ‘your ship comes in’.  It is a busy, active time where you can establish yourself.
  • Am talking about published and unpublished as if there is a line, or a hill, or everest in between the two. These days there is not.  If any one of you chose to, you could be published by tomorrow night.  I don’t recommend you jump in blind, but its there for the taking.
  • E-publishing or self publishing is huge.  With the massive popularity of kindle and other e-readers, millions have access to self-published e-books. There is cult-y following, and agents and editors alike are scouring sites like Smashwords to find new talent. 
  • Amazon’s new imprints are going to be massive and industry changing
  • The unpublished part of your career is absolutely vital –
    • establish yourself,
    • make connections,
    • get your voice out there, ie have a presence online, so that agents and editors can find you
    • learn, about marketing, advertising, self-promotion
      • what works - learn from other's mistakes
      • what you like, what you can handle -
        • I am passionate about... 
      • finding where and how you can promote your books once they are published
Any questions, email me... caitlyn . nicholas @ gmail . com
No spaces

Good luck to all :)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Bloggy Slackarsery

Yes, yes, if there was an award for bloggy slackarsery (and there probably is) I would be a contender.  Life, at the moment, is consumed with Miss 5 and getting her myriad issues under control - well, trying to figure out exactly what the issues are and then trying to get them under control.

A sensible approach, I'm sure you'll agree.
Its war.

We are living with a 5 year old dictator, who we are somewhat unsuccessfully attempting to overthrow.  Its rather like a Fijian coup.  A great deal of stamping about, shouting and waving of arms, but in the end the same guy ends up in charge (ie, her), and life continues exactly as it was - but, with an added layer of knowledge about the capabilities of the opposing parties

Yes. Like all good despots, she is not going quietly.  The riff-raff who've had the privilege to serve under her (ie, us) are rising up, and she Does Not Like It At All.
If she had a band of minions (and I swear she's working on the prototypes) then they would be sacrificed without turning a hair.
There is no crime too outrageous, no line that cannot be crossed, no limit that is... er.... limiting.

Actually, am desperately proud of her.  She'll go a long way, Miss 5, if she learns to stop confessing to her misdeeds and gets better at hiding evidence.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Is it a Tomato? or is it The DEVIL??

Hard to tell really...
The last week at Chez Nicholas has included...

  1. Speech therapy appointments, 
  2. Counselling, 
  3. Dance Spectacular rehearsals,  
  4. Excursions, 
  5. Swimming carnivals, 
  6. Dance Spectacular performances (2.5hrs worth, I kid you not), 
  7. more speech therapy appointments, 
  8. kids parties, 
  9. Weightwatchers weigh in (getting back to 67kgs (went up to 75kgs for a bit there!)
  10. Cooking, shopping, cleaning (etc)
  11. doctor's appointments (to get referrals for more counselling and dietician appointments) 
  12. Request for a partial of my latest novel
  13. Watched a documentary about chickens (Did You Know their eyes work independently, so when one is looking at the ground the other is checking the weather - seriously)
  14. And driving, driving, driving (I do 600 - 700kms a week in the car, and mostly don't go outside a 15km radius of my suburb)
  15. Oh and Libby had a baby boy!! (my bestie who lives in Sweden)
The next three weeks looks pretty similar (apart from anyone giving birth) and then, horror of horrors, the long school holidays begin.

I will be blogging during this time, oh hell yes - am already looking forward to the post about the entire Nicholas family staying in ONE ROOM when they go to visit Jenolan Caves.  (We'll have to share a bathroom with backpackers as well. Shiver.)  But as you all know, my blogging always gets a bit spotty over summer, so I apologise in advance.


Monday, November 07, 2011

Stitch Week: The NSW Embroiderer's Guild

On the weekend I headed off to the Embroiderer's Guild in Concord West for their annual market day.  It was just wonderful.  I'll be putting out reminders for all Sydney residents next year, as if you are into delightful handmade bits and bobs, it is not to be missed.
Handmade bag, $30!!
If anyone is at all interested in stitchery of any sort, I can't recommend the Guild enough.  They do amazing work, and are an awesome talented group of ladies.  The Guild runs an incredible array of embroidery courses, and they have a wonderful library and collection of heritage embroidery pieces which members can access.

Their intent is to preserve the many embroidery arts, by giving the basic techniques to anyone who is interested, and then setting them on their creative way to move the craft forward.

Many members have commented to me that my generation (ie Gen X) does not sew and has no interest in it.  But, from my own interactions, I don't think this is the case.  I think we Gen X'ers (and Ys) are under immense pressure and simply don't have a huge amount of time for fine embroidery - many many people sew and have a project or a cross-stitch on the go, but involved as we all are in families with children, none of us are in a position to really embrace it.
New needlecase, $5
And inside.
Its an organisation I hope to become more involved with over time, I was nearly voted onto the committee this year, but had to withdraw at the last minute when it became clear that the next couple of years would be absorbed with getting Miss 5 the help she needs.

Argh... there is a chicken pecking on the window, I have to go and round the damn thing up before it gets its beady eyes on my carrots...


Saturday, November 05, 2011

Stitch Week: Fat Lady Sampler

I've had the pattern for the Fat Lady Sampler (actually called Dutch Beauty) for about fifteen years.  But it's huge and intricate and I was always daunted.  However, I was recently given a kick-in-the-pants by the ladies at the Embroiderer's Guild (of which I am a member), and decided that it was now or never.

This is a picture of the completed sampler - see the fat lady in the top left corner - hence the name.  The original was stitched by a 13 year old girl in Holland in 1790, and aside from modern thread colours and linen it is reproduced exactly as she did it.
It measures 96cm x 59cm (ie huge) on 32 count linen (ie teeny weeny holes)
So far I've got the centre section done, the part with the deer.  Its the size of an A4 page.

Yes, expect to be hearing about the progress of this one for at least the next few years!

I love these old samplers.  I love the uneven-ness of them, the bits that don't fit in properly, where you can see the maker was doing it all by eye.  I was comparing it to Miss 7s little sampler...
Better photo than yesterday - its been washed and ironed now
... and you can see this has been designed on a computer - its just a bit too even, a bit too perfect.

Give me the old woggly ones any day.


Friday, November 04, 2011

Stitch Week: Some Stitching

Finished Miss 7's Christmas pressie...
Still to be washed and ironed
Apologies for awful photo, was being covert.

Still, you get the idea.

Next to get it framed. :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Strawberry Mousse - And Clawing Back The Routine

Dessert last night... after a slow-cooked leg of lamb and somewhat firm vegetables because the oven died again (le sigh).
A great big bowl of Strawberry mousse
Strawberries from the garden - eggs from the ladies that morning
Sugar from Coles, origin undisclosed
Low fat cream from Coles and seething in chemicals (yums)
Anyway, quit your salivating, I have important news to announce.

The Routine (the one I'm clawing back) is... working.

Oh dear LORD, are you reading the right blog? Could this be true? Are you about to fall over with delight?? (well I am, about to fall over, with delight, but also because I've got an inner ear infection and my world is going up and down, up and down, ug giddy).

Anyway.  I really thought the routine I was trying to establish was a bit ambitious - but the kids have taken to the change with a good natured willingness that really surprised me.  Of course now its been going for a week or so there is resistance amongst the ranks, but I am squashing the dissent with all the tools I have at my disposal...
This is NOT a democracy, I say, this is a Dictatorship, and anyone, ANYONE, who does not do their chores does not get to open Granny and Grandad's Smurf package on the weekend.

Yes, denial of Smurfs, I am a cruel and heartless monster, this has been pointed out.

Anyhoo.  The routine / chores / indentured servitude still need work, but the first steps have been taken and are a success.  Huzzah.

Next up is tackling the sodding budget, so we have some hope of actually paying off the house before it falls down from old age (or we do), and getting through Christmas with no creddy cards or nervous breakdowns. Yes, I aim high. I know this.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Strawberry Jam

Saw this sign...
Jam Strawberries - who could resist?
A few hours later they looked like this
The kids were my able assistants
And by that night...
3kgs of Strawberry jam


Have you liked my Caitlyn Nicholas facebook page??  I post all the odds and ends that don't make it onto the blog there... like photos of hubs in a turban at last night's Bollywood thing :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Laugh or Smack-Him-In-The-Head

Bring the straw in, I said.
I'm not driving around with it in the car, I said.
Don't leave it outside, its going to rain, I said.
Yeah, frickin hilarious.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Broad Bean feast

The broad beans are coming to the end of their season. Not as prolific as usual, but productive enough - can't complain :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stylish Butter Dish Lid

Someone broke the butter dish.  So I have gathered my initiative and fashioned a new one.
Am not sure if this is up-cycling or down-cycling

Monday, October 24, 2011

The End of the Spuds - frickin chooks

My Magnificent spud patch fell victim to voracious worm hunting chickens
It was solid green before
The spuds were about a month off being harvested.

But, being one to make mashed potato out of, um, potatoes, I set my beady-eyed spud harvesters to work, to clear it out for me.
We got around four kilo's worth
And planted it up with some zuchinni's (plus room at the front for more carrots - you can never have enough carrots).
Zuchinnis - yes they are in there somewhere

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The self-seeded Peachterine

Two years ago a little seedling came up in the tomato bed, it looked like it might be a peach or a nectarine, so I named it the Peachterine, took a chance and nurtured and cared for it.

This year it was covered in stunning pink blossom that has resulted in...
Peaches, white ones I reckon
Its doing brilliantly, and my next big challenge is keeping fruit fly away from it.

Yes, I know this is not a fruit fly
This year two more peachterine seedlings have popped up.  Can't wait to see how they'll go.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Clawing back the Routine - Part 2: Written Down Routines

We're still in a mess.  Yes, having meals planned and the food in the house has been brilliant.  We are eating better and I'm not in a daily panic about the evening meal.  I'm even having wild thoughts about a FORTNIGHTLY meal plan.  Going to the supermarket once a fortnight - do worlds like this exist?? Can it be true??

Now I did say I'd be doing all this meal planning on Saturdays - but I've changed that so I can resume going to the Hornsby Farmer's Market on Thursday and getting my hands on some high quality, cheap fruit and veg - rather than expensive supermarket crappy stuff.

So Wednesday will be meal planning day and Thursday will be shopping day.

The next step in getting this disaster zone back on track is written-down routines.

At the suggestion of Miss 5s OT Lady we have, for the last few weeks, had an evening routine that looks something like this...
The Going To Bed Routine
Each step is laminated with a velcro dot on the back, so when she's done she can pull it off and put it in the finished box.  Miss 7 has a similar one, but just words, no pictures.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Preserving Olives

A few months back Dad gave me a bag of fresh olives.

Following one of the recipes in the sublime Preserving the Italian Way (a book I cannot recommend highly enough if you are into preserving your own stuff at home), I have pickled a kilo or so of olives.

Olives ready for eating
They taste wonderful.  The lot in the sieve are back in brine and will be used in the next six months.  The lot in the jar (well Maggie Beer Ice cream container) are in fresh water in the fridge with some oregano and garlic.

Rather chuffed actually.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Clawing back the Routine - Part 1: Meal Planning

Following the ups and downs of the last few months, our home routine has descended into having no routine at all.  Haphazardry is the name of the day, chaos reigns and stress levels for this poor weary Mum are flying high.  In addition to this, Aspie kids crave routine, Miss 5 is no exception and changes in routine (or not understanding what's going to happen next) lead to spectacular levels of anxiety followed by meltdown after tantrum.

Nothing is getting done, untidiness is creeping over all the surfaces, I'm making almost daily trips to the supermarket, bills are being forgotten to be paid, budgeting consists of checking the bank balance on my phone before filling up the car with petrol, I've put on 8kgs, the bathroom looks like a public toilet, the clean laundry pile is gigantic, the dirty laundry pile is worse, I have no idea when I last bathed the kids... well you get the picture.

Big fat heaving mess.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oh the Purpleness

Purpleness is bursting forth in the garden.  A lot of heirloom vegies have a purple version, and as purple is my favourite colour...
Purple shallots
Purple carrots
My purple podded peas (try saying that six times fast) which were pruned by a possum, have made a comeback.  Nothing spectacular, but hopefully enough to save for planting next year.

I have generally found that the purple versions of things are more robust.  The carrots are ready sooner, and less likely to get all neurotic about soil conditions (within reason, I mean they are carrots after all), though they do seem to be hairier (ie more roots - maybe that's why).  The purple shallots have survived where as the wussy green ones didn't even try (well, this may have something to do with where they were planted and where the wretched chooks chose to go worm hunting - but yanno, details).  And the purple beans are more prolific - and also awesome when you cook them and they go green. 'Mazing that.

I'm feeling a bit of a purple summer coming on actually.  Have been fossicking about on Diggers and looking at all the purple versions of artichokes, basil, beans, eggplant, passionfruit, garlic...  I reckon I could declare it the Year of Purple and plant purple everythings.  That could be so much fun (well, only a gardener would understand the funness of it, the rest of you will have to humour me).


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tick Season + Lyme Disease

Ella's rose is starting to bloom.
Buff Beauty
Tick season never really ends in Sydney, even in the middle of winter dogs still get paralysis ticks.  But from now to the end of January the threat is at its worst.

We use advantix on Sebs, once a fortnight.  It is wretchedly expensive, but I don't even want to contemplate the alternative.

That said, we lost Ella nine days after I had put Advantix on her.  So chemical warfare, whilst effective, is not an 100% guarantee.

I don't use a tick collar - it has nasty chemicals that do unpleasant things to children, girls especially (it messes about with their oestrogen according to my naturopath).

So, other precautions I take are;

  •  Keeping Sebs clipped short, so that ticks are easy to see.
  • A daily tick check - they are commonly found on the head and neck area, including under the collar, around the lips, and in the ears (Ella's tick was on the back of her hind leg though)
  • Keeping the backyard free of long, grassy, weedy, damp patches - ticks love this environment
  • Letting the chooks roam - they have beady eyes and love a tick (almost as much as freshly planted lettuce seedlings)
If you do find a tick the best way to remove it is to drip on some Advantix (or similar), and then pulling it off 15 minutes later - that way the tick doesn't put anymore poison into the dog.

On the subject of ticks, those in Australia might have noticed a plethora of Lyme disease pamphlets infesting chemists of late.  Lyme disease does not exist in Australia (link here to Sydney Uni research on it).  The tick that carries the Lyme disease bacteria does not exist in Australia, and the most common Aussie tick that bites humans has been tested as unable to carry the bacteria.

The only case of Lyme Disease at Westmead Hospital was a person who had just returned from an area of Northern Europe which was suffering a Lyme Disease carrying tick plague (and I'm getting this from the Sydney Uni medical school Department of Entomology website - the link above)

However, due to publicity, the testing for Lyme Disease has dramatically increased.  Hmm. I wonder who makes a profit from that testing? And I wonder where all that publicity is coming from? Surely if the disease is non-existent in Australia then pharmacists - who are the most trusted profession in the country - would see no reason to be part of a campaign to 'raise awareness'?? And in fact would be wary about promoting something that could put a shade of grey over their pristine reputations.

Which brings me to how this subject came to my attention... you see I was having a long chat with a pharmacist (yes the qualified one with the Uni degree that works out the back) when picking up some medicine for Hubs very late one night. The guy saw me glance at the Lyme Disease pamphlet and told me, in detail, how the whole thing was bullshit.  So why the pamphlets?  If the pharmacists know they are blatantly misleading, they why does every chemist I walk in to have Lyme Disease pamphlets right next to the cash register??


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Escapologist is at it again

I planted some lettuces to fill in the gaps amongst the flowers.
Perfect for a dust bath apparently
As she is laying beautifully at the moment she has been forgiven. Just.


Friday, October 07, 2011

3 Year Old Apple Trees

This is the third year I've had my apple trees in.

To my utter delight it looks like the Granny Smith is going to bear some fruit (famous last words!!).
Love that pink
As I have banged on about before, our climate, here in the northern 'burbs of Sydney, is exactly in-between sub-tropical and temperate.  When I bought the apples and pears for the front garden I was under the impression we were temperate, but since then I've figured out that we're a bit too warm to be properly temperate.  As apples need set times below certain temperatures to bear fruit, I've always had a sneaking suspicion that we're not going to get very far with them.

But, the Granny Smith is performing this year, and all the others did the right things, ie went dormant at the right times, so maybe, eventually, we'll get something out of them.
Potential apples
In hindsight, I would've bought sub-tropical type apples from Daleys Fruit, rather than temperate type from Diggers.  But, yanno, live and learn.

The pears are not happy, by the way, not happy at all.  I expect I'll eventually move them to some quiet corner and leave them to their own devices.

This is an On My Mind post, with Rhonda at Down to Earth (brilliant blog if you haven't discovered it yet).

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Farewell Grandad

My Grandfather passed away last night after a short illness.

He was 95. He had a wonderful life, achieved amazing things, fought in a world war, started a company that is now a household name, and always gave back more than he ever received.

We will all miss him.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Things I love

Ten things I totally love right now....

  • My new laminator... (mmm, laminating)
Why yes, I have lost the plot
  • My husband...
We had children
  • My children, who went to bed with no fighting, no screaming, no getting up, just cuddly cuteness (that Hadron Collider thingy must have torn a hole in the space/time continuum or something)
  • The three almonds on the almond tree
  • Going to see Alexander McCall Smith speaking at Sydney Opera House
  • Apple blossom
  • Massive roast dinners with wine, laughter, second helpings, third helpings
  • Phone calls that go... "Guess What." "What??" "I'm pregnant!!!"
  • Twitter - its great company when you are sitting in a hospital listening to someone breathe
  • Sleep

Friday, September 30, 2011

So, this is what's been going on...

Hey there my lovelies, ta muchly for hanging about during one of my longest absences in my entire blogging career, and hello to my new followers - resounding silences and blog posts with the dramatic contents of what is about to follow are not usually what Cait Nicholas is all about.  No. Mostly its about doomed attempts at growing things, and bit of kitchenaria, a lot of grumbling on my part, teacups feature as do burnt cakes and NO, even though I am a writer I cannot spot a tyop to save my life.

So here it is...
1. In laws are visiting - life is busy
2. Miss 5 has been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome - along with a lot of What The Fu**ing on my and hub's part.
3. Grandad is in his last days - or weeks, in usual form the stubborn old thing is doing his own thing at his own speed

I was told, by a psychologist, the other day, that any one of these things would send a frazzled mum over the edge.  And I consider myself so far over the edge just now that not even a vat of red wine would bring me back.  No.  Someone asked me as well, if I'd started the grieving process over Miss 5s diagnosis, to which I replied, that I wasn't sure which grieving process to start first, her or Grandad.

I do not want to talk much about Miss 5, this is not a blog about a kid with a thing, and whilst there will no doubt be reference to the myriad of activities we are undertaking with her, don't expect the subject to come up again.

With Grandad, all I can say is that I know more now about death and the terror of it, than I ever wanted to - and any slim chance that there might have been of my believing in a merciful God, is gone.  Mostly I hover somewhere between wanting to throw up, and wanting to cry until I throw up.

Still. I am here. My sense of humour is still intact. I have so many many people around me to support and listen, I had no idea. No idea. I've even been invited on a pub crawl.

Be back soon. Promise.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I'm quiet.  I've got a lot on and I'm stressed and tired, and this is when I lose my words.  There has been a paradigm shift in our lives - nothing tragic or terrible (the kids are fine, no divorces, or illnesses, apart from Granddad and his agonising decline which continues relentlessly, no unemployment) - and I will blog about it all soon, when I can.  But for now I don't have the words, so be patient with me.

And NO, I am not pregnant!!

The garden is in full spring flush, and I'll get some photos up when my damn phone stops losing them - another reason I've been quiet, having photo issues - even when I do have them, due to bloggers ineptitude, it can take me up to 30mins of fiddling to get a photo up here.  It makes me want to scream. Frequently.

Back soon. :)

Monday, September 05, 2011

Bed 1 Harvest

Spent Saturday afternoon working in the garden.  This is Bed 1, root vegies.  I took out a row of potatoes, which hadn't been doing well, or so I thought until I earthed up a heap of spuds.  Where the potatoes had been I put in some chard, carrots, beetroot and some beans.
At the front of the photo there's carrots and swedes which are just about ready for harvest, then behind are more carrots which went in about a month ago.
Bed 1; Root vegies
This is what we had for dinner...
Spuds, a turnip and baby carrots