Monthly Archives: December 2015

Recipe for a Happy New Year

Another New Year. A chance to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. I hope you enjoy this wholesome, healthy New Year recipe. Share it with your friends over a cuppa. I’m sure it will become a favorite.

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Recipe for a happy 2016

Take twelve whole months, clean them thoroughly of bitterness, hate and jealousy. Make them just as fresh and clean as possible.
Cut each month into 28, 30 or 31 different parts, but don’t make up the whole batch at once, prepare it one day at a time.

Take the following ingredients, and mix well into each day:

One part of faith, one part of patience, one part of courage and one part of work.
Add to each day, one part of love, hope, generosity, and kindness.
Blend with one part of thankfulness, one part of meditation and one part of good deeds.
Season the whole with a dash of good spirits, a sprinkle of fun, a pinch of play and a cupful of good humor. Pour this into a vessel of love, cook thoroughly over radiant joy, garnish with smiles and serve with a cherry of cheerfulness.
You’re bound to have a happy year.

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And if that fails bring out the champagne or Grossmutters Scripture cake. Scripture cake is also known as “Bible Cake”, “Scriptural Cake” and “Old Testament Cake” and was extremely popular in the latter part of the nineteenth century.  The cake was meant as a way to teach young girls baking and Bible verses.  The cake was sweet to eat, and a chance to modestly exhibit knowledge of the Bible.  It was fun in the form of an early trivia game, and a great dish to take to a church supper.  The original recipe didn’t include the ingredients only the amount next to the scripture.

scripture cake apple fig walnut

Grossmutter’s Scripture Cake

1 cup butter                              (Judges 5: 25)

3 ½ cups plain flour                  (1 Kings 4: 22)

2 cups sugar                             (Jeremiah 6: 20)

2 cups rasins                             (1 Samuel 30: 12)

2 cups figs                                (1 Samuel 30: 12)

1 cup warm water                     (Genesis 24: 17)

1 cup chopped almonds            (Genisis 43: 17)

6 eggs                                      (Isaiah 10: 14)

1 tab honey                              (Genisis 43: 11)

pinch salt                                  (Leviticus 2: 13)

1 teas mixed spice                    (1 Kings 10: 10)

2 teas baking powder               (I Corinthians 5: 6)

Method: Follow Solomon’s advice for making good children, (Proverbs 23: 14) or you can cream butter and sugar, add honey, eggs and water. Sift flour and baking powder together. Proceed as in ordinary rules for cake making putting in the fruit and almond last of all.  The raisins should be seeded, figs chopped and almonds blanched and split. Beat well. Place in a large tin and sprinkle with slivered almonds.

Bake in a hot oven approximately 2 ½ hours. Biblical references are from the Authorised King James Version of the Bible.

Öffentliche Silvesterparty am Brandenburger Tor

There are so many ways to wish family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers a Happy New Year. I have German/English heritage and for some unknown reason in our family it has always been the tradition to have a Scottish toast. We’d raise our glasses and in our broad Australian accents recite

Lone Scottish Bagpiper stock photo                  Snowman, greeting card, vector illustration vector art illustration

May the best ye’ve ever seen
Be the worst ye’ll ever see
May a moose ne’er leave your girnal
Wi’ a tear drap in his ee
May ye aye keep hale an he’rty
Till ye’re auld eneuch tae dee
May ye aye be jist as happy
As we wish ye aye tae be.

If you are like me you may need a translation:

May the best you’ve ever seen
Be the worst you’ll ever see
May a mouse never leave your store-room
With a tear drop in his eye
May you all keep hale and hearty
Till you’re old enough to die
May you all be just as happy
As we wish you all to be

We’d link arms and sing  Auld Lang Syne by Robbie Burns as the clock struck twelve. These days I listen to it on YouTube.

During this festive season I wish everyone I meet a Happy New Year and whatever your race, religion, gender or sexuality, whatever language you speak, wherever you are right now, let’s all make sure that we have an amazing 2016.

May this coming year be filled with Peace and Joy 

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Happy Christmas 2015

May it be filled with joy and happiness

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So much for me being organised this year. Here it is Christmas Eve and I’m sending you all greetings. My excuse? The heat. We have air-conditioning downstairs and only a portable one in our bedroom. Great for sleeping at night but during the day upstairs is like the second rung of the oven and my study seems to be the hottest room of all. Hence I’ve been staying downstairs and using the heat as an excuse to be completely slothful.

Australian Christmas

Teaching has finished for the year and I don’t start back with my Memoir Writing class until next February. What a great excuse to read the pile of books beside my bed. Fun stuff, but serious as well. I have The Velodrome by Liam Davison. A dear friend gave me a signed copy. A treasured gift and so very special. Liam died on the Malaysian flight  MH17 when it was shot down over the Ukraine killing all 298 people on board. I have such wonderful memories of a generous teacher of novel writing. He was my Melbourne University referee and his reference enable me to do my Masters  degree at Melbourne University. I also attended his farewell dinner from Chisholm TAFE where I met Carol-Anne Croker who convinced me to continue studying and to do my PhD At Swinburne University. Carol-Anne and Mairi, who gave me Liam’s book have walked beside me every inch of my academic /creative journey.

I have just finished a thought provoking book Poems from the Madhouse by Sandy Jeffs and am ready to start an anthology by fifteen Maine (USA) writers. My writing Group has been going 20yrs and we published our latest Anthology in November titled Kingston our City. It is going to be online as an ebook. My new novel still isn’t published but I’m considering making it an ebook in the New Year. I guess while the summer is here I’d much rather swim each morning or take my kayak for a paddle. Later I’ll do something…Honestly I will :>)

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Recently, when walking the dogs around the streets of Hampton I actually saw this holly growing and couldn’t resist taking a picture on my iphone.

May you all have a happy Christmas and may we, at this special time, remember the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

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Christmas: remembering fascinating family characters

Christmas is a time to remember the past and to dream for the future.

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Tinsel is hung, solar lights flicker and laser lights dance on the water. Christmas has come to the Tidal Canals and we are celebrating another year of sun, sand, great neighbours and good cheer.

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Today we drove past our old house in Edithvale and delighted in the changes that have taken place over the years. Opposite was Ma and Pop Whitting’s home and I couldn’t help smiling at my memories of Pop.

My dad was an engineer and pedantic about everything being correctly measured and assembled with care and attention to the finest detail. Pop Whitting used to drive him mad. Pop was a cockney lad  from England and near enough was good enough. I remember the day he decided that the refrigerator in the kitchen was taking up too much room so he grabbed a saw, and cut up the left side of the wall beside the refrigerator, across the top and down the other side. He then shoved the refrigerator back level with the kitchen wall. Brooms, pans and a mop went flying out of the broom cupboard in the laundry behind the refrigerator.

‘Where will I put my brooms?’ Ma cried.     ‘You’ll find somewhere,’ Pop replied. ‘At least you now have more room in the kitchen.’ I’ll never know how he managed to miss cutting the electrical wires inside the broom cupboard . Sheer good luck, I guess. To cover the jagged edges of the sawn kitchen plaster he simply tacked a wooden strapping edge around the fridge  and painted it the same colour as the walls. I’d love to go into the house one day just to see if the refrigerator is still recessed into the laundry cupboard.

Pop was an original, a one off character who lived off his wits. When he was eighty he decided one afternoon to climb a ladder and paint the guttering. No preparation, just slap on as much paint as possible to cover any dirt. He happily painted a section of the gutter before deciding it was time for a cup of tea. Balancing the nearly full open paint tin on top of the ladder he proceeded to climb down. On reaching the bottom rung he looked up in time to see the tin of paint spill all over him. Thank goodness he was wearing glasses because it covered him from his bald head to the tops of his shoes. Instead of standing still, he yelled ‘Ma’ and proceeded to slosh down the side way, around the back of the house and into the kitchen leaving a trail of white paint behind him. It was left to Ma to clean up and the rest of the guttering was never painted.

My dad, on hearing the news shook his head and said, ‘You mean he didn’t even sandpaper the guttering before he started?’

Family characters. How they fill our memories and our hearts with love. 

Australian Christmas

Part Three: The journey to recovery

The last thing I remember is waiting on a trolley outside the operating theater , my fingers crossed, hoping I was doing the right thing. Dr Lawrence and the anesthetist both came in and said in unison, ‘We know, no Gelofusine.  Now go to sleep.’ I woke up in a four bed ward with no pain. I couldn’t believe it and thought that maybe I was still numb from the anesthetic.

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2.08 am…..2.09 am. Why can’t I sleep? I’m still not in pain, which is amazing. A catheter means for the first time in years I have the opportunity of sleeping through the night, but I have tubes in me I don’t want to crease or bend . I know I need to sleep to heal and try to close my eyes and relax. Useless, so I drag out my journal and start writing. It is my salvation as the minutes slowly tick by…2.19 am.

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I turn on a small down-light and a nurse pulls the curtain around my bed so I won’t disturb the other patients. Their regular even and deep breathing makes me wish I could do the same. I have made up names for them all. Opposite is Dementia Doris. Beside her is Happy Helen and next door is Pacemaker Pearl who has sleep apnoea and snores loudly above the regular hiss of her C pack machine. A considerate nurse offers me earplugs but I reassure her the snoring makes me feel at home. My husband starts with a stage one whistle and progresses to a stage three guttural snore. I’m usually asleep by stage three. It is the lullaby to my nightly dreams.

At least I am resting comforted by black scratchings on paper and I have all tomorrow to doze to my heart’s content.No cleaning, paperwork , classes to organise or honouring the promise to catch up on filing and tidying I keep saying I’ll do…one day. Paul and Marian are visiting again tomorrow and we will chat and laugh at ordinary things.  Last night they fixed my phone, rang relevant people, kept Alan informed and arranged for my trip home. All I have to do is eat, sleep and heal.

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I do just that. The meals are superb, as good as any five star restaurant. It only takes two night’s stay in hospital with wonderful nurses like Paola and Annie who treat with compassion and respect, spoon feed and calm two dementia patients. One old lady keeps calling out all night ‘Where am I? Where am I? I want John. Where is my Mum? Where am I?’ The nurses gently tell her she is in Cabrini Hospital but in five minutes she has forgotten and it all starts over again. How sad to not know where you are or what has happened to you. About 3am I hate to see her distressed and toddle over to her bed taking my ‘bag’ with me. I put my finger over my lips, ‘Shh’ I say. You’re in Cabrini Hospital and it is late at night’. ‘I want John’, she says. ‘And Mum.’      ‘They’re asleep,’ I reply. ‘Well bully for them’ is the answer. I laugh all the way back to my bed.

The next morning I blissfully shower on my own. Dr Lawrence calls and informs me that I’m better than ever and tomorrow Paul can take me home…if the catheter  is removed, I void twice, two ultra sounds show my bladder empty and my bowel behaves itself.  Fortunately all happens according to plan and I am soon heading down the freeway.

Conclusion

I follow instructions to the letter. No lifting and plenty of rest, but I am, and have been all along, pain free. A week after the repair when I step into the Godfrey Street Neighbourhood House ready to take the Memoir Writing group I realize how lucky I am to be able to get anything fixed before it breaks and that I can survive an anesthetic. I have gone from making sure I have a medical power of attorney signed and sealed to facing the future with confidence. I hope more women my age research and talk about their ‘girly bits’ and see a professional about any problems ‘down there’. In the meantime the receptionist at Bayside Womens Health gave me a sample of a pH Plus intimate wash  which helps promote a healthy pH balance. I didn’t know such a product existed.

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Next week I promise to post a light-hearted Christmas piece