Jun 24, 2010

Your A Woman

Yesterday was cold and wet, funny that ever time I say it never feels like winter Mama nature sends a day to reassure me, bless her.... so with the chores done and the afternoon cool and wintery I put on a copy of an old cd I found, Branches in the Mist by Julie Felix and sat down to some knitting.
I really had to stop when the last somg came on, I remember it so well even though it was releasedway back in 1992.
This song bought tears to my eyes. As I listened to the words I thought of the different woman who I had known in my life, those woman who are strong even when they can not see it, we all have the ability to improvise, adapt and overcome. Listening to my beautiful daughter giving me insight to a challenge I was facing, I was blessed by her awareness and wisdom well beyond her years, and I think I said at the time " When did you get so wise" - I thought of Miss 11, the daughter I have from another mother and as I watch as she learns to deal with the death of her mother, the total change of lifestyle that bought about and her growth from child to woman I wonder why the Goddess chose me to help her on this journey, when I feel so ill equipped to do so. I also thought of the many woman whose lives I share via the blogs I read here - I shed a tear for Rhonda over at Down To Earth who lost her best friend to cancer and I also thought of you and you and you... for your a beautiful woman, sweet sister of mine.. Sadly, I could not find a video of this song but here are the lyrics... Blessed Be

Woman - Julie Felix 1992
Cause you're a woman sweet like summer-corn
you're a woman and to the Goddess you were born
beautiful woman, sweet sister of mine

You serve the old, You raise the young
You caught the stars when they where flung into the sky
You heal the sick, You feed the poor
It is your love that lights the way and that’s for sure

Cause you're a woman sweet like summer-corn
you're a woman and to the Goddess you were born
beautiful woman, sweet sister of mine

Your scars are deep, Your tears are warm
It is your threat that mends the sails when they are torn
And like a wave your heart may break
But it keeps pounding like the sea, Make no mistake

Cause you're a woman sweet like summer-corn
you're a woman and to the Goddess you were born
beautiful woman, sweet sister of mine

Isis, Astarte, Diana, Asarat
Teachers of the mysteries that we forgot
Virgin, girl child, Madonna and old crone
Faces of the moon that you know
You' re not alone

Cause you 're a woman raped and cheated for the long
you’re a woman, to the Goddess you belong
beautiful women, sweet sister of mine

and from the moon you gather light, illuminate the dark
Take back the night
You channel love, And love is strong
And you regain your rightful place
Before too long

Cause you're a woman sweet like summer-corn
you're a woman and to the Goddess you were born
beautiful woman, sweet sister of mine

Jun 22, 2010

Winter Solstice

Today we celebrate the Winter Solstice (Yule) here in the Southern half of the world. The mid-winter celebration signifies the returning of the warmth to the earth and days are growing longer. Today the Holly King gives into the light, and the Oak King is reborn..
After I got up this morning, I went and stood looking into the garden, above me the most beautiful blue sky, the warmth of the sun had turned the concrete pavers beneath my feet toasty. I looked over at the two standard hibiscus trees, standing straight and tall in their large earthenware pots and watched their pretty green leaves rustle in the gentlest of breezes. While they often get a flush of flowers in autumn in tropical and sub tropical areas, it is foreign to me to see them in flower in late June. Yet my two trees are budding away quiet merrily, oblivious to the fact it is winter and that they should have lost there leaves at the end of the growing season..
This does mess with my winter happy though. While the nights are cooler sometimes boarding on cold even, we have still had little need to even use indoor heating. I do believe I am getting acclimatised to the sub tropical climate but often during the day I am still wearing short sleeves my head still struggling with the foreignness of it in late June.
However, as I stood in the warmth of a West Australian winter, thinking back over the past year finding the things I was grateful for, I found it difficult knowing this night was the passing of the Holly King not ready for him to go nor did not I feel ready to farewell the Crone, I want to stay with her a little longer, sitting snug in the darkness reflecting in the quiet and taking heed of her council. Their is no fear in that darkness it is to me like the safety of the womb.. but the wheel will turn no matter how I may feel, the old will pass and the new will return as the Crone is reborn as Maiden... The Oak King will reign and I will move along with them giving thanks for the new things to come.
Blessed Be
Random Little Things
This is a small table in the corner of my bedroom, it is one of those places that I see everyday that gives me a sense of home. The candles were a gift from my daughter and never got used because of their significance. The "Drawing down the Moon" painting is a Limited Edition and a gift from my husband, as was the stone vase. It matches a large dish my daughter gave us as a wedding present - the tree on the bowl she say's is our new family tree and the tree on the vase to me represents the Tree of Life, Then there is the photo of my husband taken during a 12 month separation when he was off overseas doing *Navy* stuff.. a funny little quirky thing I do, is have a spare set of his dog tags hanging on this photo. That way I already have a 'set' so that way the ones he wears while at sea or on deployment may never be bought back to me.


Jun 16, 2010

Navy Sailor missing presumed drowned

I received this email tonight... and to me it is absolutely gut wrenching:|

"The Royal Australian Navy regrets to advise that a member of the ships company of HMAS
( I have removed the ships name)
is missing presumed drowned in the South Pacific - (I have deleted the port due to OPSEC = Operations Security) There was more to this email but I chose not to post it.... "
I am so saddened by this news, it affects each one of us who are and have loved ones serving. We are a VERY big family and in a country our size, someone always knows someone who knows someone.. they serve together, train together, fight together, play together, eat and drink together and when along side, we socialise together.
It could have very well been my husband, the kids dad, my in laws son, I thank the Goddess it was not... it is a fear that we, who love those who serve have. While it was not my sailor, it was another mothers sailor, this sailor was so very precious to a family here in Australia. Tonight as I sit and type my heart and thoughts go out to an unnamed family, whose loved one will not be returning home at the end of this tour.. may they find strength in the knowledge that there are many people here tonight who are thinking of them

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them
Lest We Forget

Jun 15, 2010

Nasty Goreng & Cinnamon Buns

I wonder if Nasi Goreng was actually an Emperor in China before he was a take out meal? Was he supposedly famous for his inventiveness of the Chinese cuisine, taken to a whole new level called Indonesian cooking or was he just the figment of a telephone companies imagination? No matter how he came about, I wonder if the person who created this Indonesian dish knew what would be going on in my kitchen with their signature dish and how it got a new name in our house!
About 6 months ago, I decided to make a home made, take out meal - Nasi Goreng, as we all are huge fans of Asian cuisine... so I lovingly gathered the ingredients, rice, chicken, prawns, onion, soy sauce naming but a few and then assembling a wonderful array of fragrant spices... with great care they where added in order to a heated pan, the smell was wonderful and tantalizing.. the colour of the rice turned a beautiful and appetizing, golden colour.. it looked and smelt fantastic.
The table was set, the kids waiting eagerly.. we sat to steaming bowls of this Indonesian loveliness, my DH popped a spoon into his mouth and moaned in gastronomical ecstasy... the kids and I watching him having near spasms over his favorite dish, we decided this has to be a good thing, in unison we scooped and chewed and hesitated and stared and as our eyes met and watered and blinked, we simultaneously and very non graciously spat said rice right back into our bowls, totally speechless and gasping with Chili induced breathlessness..... as DH looked at us like we had grown two heads, I frantically spooned yogurt into the mouths of the kids, trying to quench the after burn of this very spicy Nasi Goreng.
As I served toast and baked beans to Miss 11 she looked at me with watery eyes and said "That was very Nasty Goreng" my husband ate quiet content, muttering that it tasted just like it did *up top*
The name the kids gave that dinner has stuck and I often, as I did today make my husband this Nasty Goreng. It goes into containers to be frozen for those times he doesn't want to eat in the Mess...

Along with his Nasty Gorseng, I made some very tasty Cinnamon Rolls. Oh My Goodness they where divine. I got the recipe from Slow Living Essentials, Christine is such a source of culinary inspiration. I have to admit mine do not look as glamorous as Christine's, did, somehow I think I need to ask her how she maneuverer's these buns from dish to rack without mishap *laughing* have you ever noticed that other peoples recipes nearly always look just a little bit better than our own *smiles*

Jun 14, 2010

Yum Cha and Gunpowder

What a ride over the last 6 days.. firstly there has been a virus which absolutely flattened me Wednesday and Thursday by Friday afternoon I was functioning in Elmo mode.. all red n wide eyed, tottering when I walked, with a grimace on my face. I do not know where it came from but I was certainly glad to see the end of it.
Come Saturday I was up helping my son move into his new apartment, doing far to much lifting of heavy objects and feeling like I had been in the spin cycle of the washing machine. By 6pm on Saturday night, I fell into the shower, knowing full well I had done to much but looking forward to my lounge chair and the rare treat of a take away dinner.. yanno when you been lifting and carrin' and helpin' people move house and when your done and buggered - fish and chips taste like manor from the Gods.
Unfortunately, I did't feel that flash this morning either which bugged the daylights out of me, I had HUGE plans of cleaning and mopping and bread making and biccie baking but as a woman presently living with active Rheumatoid Arthritis- I woke feeling a bit like I had square wheels and didn't achieve very much at all. I did what I could, doing a load or two of washing, the beds and and tr bathroom then I gave in to common sense and slowed down, and did a bit of knitting.

The bright spot of the day was the parcel left on my door step this morning. I thought it would have been here last week, but as we have stringent quarantine laws into Western Australia, to keep out anything that would threaten our agriculture or honey industry I wasn't too surprised to see the big QUARANTINE sticker on the box.. so it must have been held up at the border, opened and checked..
There was waiting for me. the little Yum Cha teapot I had ordered, it was so cheap and it held just the right ammount.. I am very fond of Yum Cha, which is the experience of drinking tea and eating Dim Sim.. no not my cat, but beautifully steamed or fried Cantonese dishes that can be either sweet or savory... with Yum Cha there is always tea and it is served in little pots like this one.
Gunpowder tea- is a rolled tea and is often served with Yum Cha or at cafes. It's weird stuff to look at, it looks like tiny bits of rolled up, grey play dough, but tastes so good. I was really surprised I didn't recognise it when I drank it at Bettyblues Bistro the other Sunday with breakfast.
The first pot I made near ripped my tongue in two... far two strong and bitter, so I made a weaker brew in me dinky wee Yum Cha teapot, which was tasty but I think the best taste comes from adding 1/2 teaspoon of Gunpowder popped into this dinky little dippie tea thingo my daughter gave me this past Christmas time... I love this to bits.. and it's cute too.. so thank you Sarah for the best making tea thingie a mother could want :-)

Jun 10, 2010

Will you meet us at the water?

How self absorbed are we? How many of us get up in the morning, throw on a robe and go about our morning routine, before maybe getting in our cars and driving to work, thinking about nothing more than what we can see in front of us or what might happen during the course of our days. I know a lot of people who don't turn on a radio or a TV or pick up a paper because it's to negative, ( I do however, respect their right to do this) Sound familiar? I think we are all guilty of it from time to time.. Many people brush the disasters off with "Oh it doesn't affect me or "Oh that's such a tragedy, but what are we all supposed to do about it? " and then not giving it a second thought.
Yes, Somethings are out of our control, somethings leave us feeling angry hurt and helpless - but it doesn't mean we should bury our heads in the sand and hope it all just goes away.. because it won't and it doesn't.
This morning I cried, as I sit here I feel like my heart could break..I feel angry, sad, helpless - Why? not only because I have seen this on a smaller scale on my own doorstep but just
because 15 Congressional committees are investigating the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, just because the drilling has been paused and not stopped, just because BP apologised to it's share holders and just because all the talk will not save my Earth Mother, her coastlines, her coral, her marine life, the health of the people living along her shores nor the clean up crews, nor this pelican...

Not Hannah over at Divining Woman has written a powerful post, click here to read her post, and moved to unite us all on the 12th of June.

Will you meet us at the Water?

Jun 8, 2010

Tea drinking, Hippie

I love my family - however any quiet, quality time with my husband is something treasured by me. We have done the hard yards, spending months and on the odd occasion up to a year at a time apart. We don't have a huge social life nor eat out often, so I felt quiet blessed that a week ago we actually escaped and got to go out for breakfast at Bettyblues a real live Bistro, where there were lots of champagne and orange juice drinking adults enjoying each others company, minus any kid inspired madness, with some of the best cafe food I have eaten in a very very long time. I sat content with perfect company, replete after munching my way through thick sliced sour dough toast topped with fresh field mushrooms, spinach, poached egg and then drizzled with perfect hollandaise sauce. With the winter sun glistening on the blue waters of Cockburn Sound, I took a minute to pay attention to the tea in the cup I was cradling in my hands.
Yes, I did say tea cup and for those who don't know me personally will realize the irony of such a thing, as all my life I have been a hard core coffee drinker. These days though I can barely manage to down one coffee in the day without gagging, this seemed to transpire after deciding after a year to stop taking HRT - if your curious this is how me & HRT came to be .. I drink numerous herb teas these days Fennel, Oat Straw, Cinnamon and my favorite Green tea. I digress though..
This clear green liquid I was sipping was wonderful, and I decided while trying to discreetly peer into the teapot to see what the leaves looked liked, I would find out what type of green tea this was and where to get it, the wait staff happily gave me the information, after a little searching later that day I found it online and ordered some. I had really hoped it would have arrived in the post here on Friday, *sighs* it didn't though. While dunking a make do teabag into a mug of boiling water yesterday, I mentioned my disappointed to my husband, his silence made me look up.. he had a look of mirth all over his face and after much coercing to what he found so amusing - he said "Your turning into my tea drinking, hair growing, hippie" After smacking him around with my soggy tea bag for a bit, I told him not to stereotype it was shallow - not all hippies drink tea nor opt for doing the natural look... he was laughing when I told him I have no problem with going Au la natural .. "Sounds like a challenge to me" he says - I am proud to be an aging, tea drinking, feral, hippy chick.
Personally, I think he is just a little jealous, that he has to wait until he leaves the Navy before he can find his old hippy lifestyle roots, go feral and grow a ZZ Top beard...

Random Little Things:
Two things I love, potted plants and pottery..this hand made pottery cat has traveled thousands of with me - from the potters by car, between countries by ship, over land by train there isn't another one the same so it is one of my wee treasures and funnily enough the other treasure is the wicker basket, 50cents at a car boot market, makes a perfect home for my Ivy.

Jun 5, 2010

Just rambling really..

My son's friend from New Zealand arrived today, so our nest has stretched to house one more for a week until they move into their apartment next Friday, so here we sit on a Saturday night here on Foundation Day weekend, our tummies are full of home made chicken burritos and we are all feeling a bit roly poly - there is Miss 11 laying on the couch yawning after her afternoon at the beach , Mister 14 doing the X Box thing in the family room, Mister 27 and his g/f watching a DVD , my husband engrossed in Monster Movers on the TV, and me taken to reading blogs, which I enjoy since I am totally fed up with the baby blanket I am trying to knit, for now I am over trying to get my head around the circular needles I am so not used to using and a pattern that would try the patience of a Saint.
I have found this great little place on the web called BlogFrog where some very cool bloggers have communities. It is well worth a visit and some of these amazing woman have also inspired me to tidy up and do a bit more with my blog. So I have added a few pages with some photos check them out here, I love looking at other peoples photos and secretly I think others have the same curiosity as I do... For sometime I have had another blog where I have been putting numerous recipes and interesting bits and pieces, however it can be hard enough finding enough time in the day to commit to one blog without trying to find time for two, so when I get my head around linking together pages in a blog I am going to slowly start adding them here to Butterflies and Breezes. *smiling* it should be easy one would think since I used to design web sites and have illustrated books as a job, funny how talents left unused over the years can corrode away wand leave you wondering if you still have the ability to do something you used to... I might also open Photoshop and make a Wendyified blog back ground.. so ladies thank you for inspiring and letting me share a small portion of your lives within your blogs.. and thats all the not so interesting rambling from me for one day..

Random Little Things:

This is my kitchen window ledge, and it is home to some of my wee treasures, like the little *Herb* trowel which was given to me by my daughter for Christmas, whenever I look at the afternoon sun high lighting bits and pieces up here, it always gives me a feeling of homeliness.

Jun 2, 2010

Therapeutic Tomato Chopping

Wow what a totally disjointed day today.. I have achieved several things but it seriously felt like I flitted from task to task with no real rhyme nor reason to anything..
The last few days have been sprinkled not with humor but with the trials and tribulations that comes from being a Mum to a teenage boy.. more so from said teenager who hailed from another Mama and sadly, a pretty unsettled home life. While the teenager in question has returned to *normal* the adults however have been left feeling jaded and wondering what on earth happened... some days I wish there were step parents somewhere to talk to about such dilemmas... soooooooooooo to get myself a little balanced again, I have thrown myself into my domestic bliss... washing linen ready for my oldest son's move next weekend, getting a few things prepared for when his friend arrives this Friday to stay with us until they move, the making of a few loaves of Sour dough bread, some of the best I have ever made actually, I just wished I had remembered to photograph them.. and I also therapeutically chopped tomatoes for my homemade tomato sauce... Everyone loved the last batch.. and when I found some cheapish tomatoes on Sunday at the market, I grabbed them to make this easy and very tasty sauce.
Here is today's sauce experience:

I always put into muslin the spices, it makes it easier to get out after the cooking process, I learnt the hard way the first time.
10grams, whole allspice
10grams whole gloves,
1/2 stick of cinnamon
Put into a pot with 2.5 kilos of chopped tomatoes, 400 grams of roughly chopped onions, 50 grams of salt and 10 grams of ground paprika.

Cook gently for about an hour until the tomatoes are soft, then add 1 & 1/2 cups of sugar ( I use 1 cup of white and 1/2 a cup of brown) and 2 cups of white malt vinegar..
Cook this down until it is nice and thick about 2 hours on a slow simmer.. when you draw the spoon though it, it should leave a *path* with minimal liquid seeping out.

Pull out the muslin with the spices in.. now this is where your meant to put it all in a sieve and mush it to get the smooth pulp.. however I take to it with a stick blender or a food possessor till it is smooth..Season now with pepper if you like, putting cracked pepper in a recipe that cooks for a long time can make it taste bitter, alternately you can put some whole peppercorns in the spice bundle.

Then I pour it into sterile bottles preferably, with metal lids , that have both been washed and popped in the over for an hour on about 100c (200 degree f) You can process in a water bath for about 30 minutes, but I don't bother.. two reasons, it keeps well without it, and in our house it doesn't last long.. This made 3 large bottles and 1 small, however the 3rd large bottle made it's way into a grocery package.

Jun 1, 2010

$20.00 made a difference

Well, number 1 son has at last an apartment to rent. It seems all the pulling out of hair and running around that has been done over the last few weeks, including venturing into some very scary looking residential complexes has finally paid off, with a clean and very livable place being found.
I suggested to C he may need to look at adding an extra $15 to 20 to the amount he wanted spend on rent.. while it was going to be a wee bit tight on the budget, he agreed. When I started looking in the $220 bracket I was totally amazed at the result. It seems in the rental sector, an extra $20 can get you a place with some carpet, a place to put a washing machine, cupboards that actually come with hinges, a wardrobe, the omission of growths that could be used in fungal warfare and electrical fittings that are not designed to turn you into a crispy critter if you are brave enough to use them. Whats more the little gem I found is right across from the beach. It is a nice tidy 2 bedroom unit in a complex with a swimming pool, I hope he will be happy there.. remember he hasn't seen it yet.. he is taking my word for it. I'm glad he trusts his mum.. so he will be moving in on the 11th of this month.
I have helped him hunt around for a fridge/freezer for $70.00, a 12 month old washing machine for $85.00, a large convection microwave for $40.00 and a slow cooker for $15.00 - we have given him a good queen size bed we got off eBay for $10.00 as well as a box full of crockery, cutlery, towels and linen we never use. We replaced our lounge suite at Christmas time so he can have the old one.. He shipped a few bits and pieces over from NZ when he came, so he will have enough to be comfortable. I have knitted him some dish clothes and he doesn't know yet, but over the last few weeks, when I have been to the grocery store, I have popped a few specials into the basket for him, cheap soap powder, dish liquid, soap, toilet paper, discount items like spaghetti sauce etc.. he will be living close to borderline, but I think having his own wee place will be good for him again. I will give him his box of shopping when he moves in, as well as some frozen soups, sour dough bread and a couple of tins of baked treats.
He does like to cook, and when he puts his mind to it is quiet good at it, so my next job will be to teach him how to still live well - while living frugally.. you and I both know it can be done, we do it all the time.... and I don't mind to make extra bread or pick up a few extra veges at the * Spud Shed* which is a huge market garden warehouse type of arrangement. Some real bargains to be had there... for example I can get 8 kilo (17 pounds) of potato's for between 3 and 4.00 dollars. Tomatoes for as little as 90 cents a kilo (2.2 pounds) in the height of the season... this place is such an assets to me, since I am unable to grow very much, because of the soil and the house is rented from the Defense Force and I can't take to the yard with a back hoe like I would like to.. *laughing*
As much as he has driven me to frustration over the last month, I will miss him being around with his quick wit and mischief.. however I am sure he will visit often, peeking into the tins to see what treats might be there for him..

Random Little Things:
Tonight's dinner, a beautiful Steak and Mushroom pie with the easiest and most scrumptious pastry ever.. You will find it on my recipe blog right here.