Wednesday, May 24, 2006

winter is here

Yesterday I had the first mandarin of the season - I had almost forgotten how good they are! This morning it was so cold I had to wear a jacket AND a scarf on the way to work. Unfortunately my office is so hot that I have to strip off when I get to work, but I can still enjoy mandarins. Did I mention I love winter?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


So I'm in San Francisco for the conference for computer geeks from everywhere. There are a few other geeks staying at my hotel - you can spot them a mile away. How, you ask? Male, unfashionably long hair, jeans and sneakers, complaining about having to pay for internet access at hotel, mobile phone attached to belt. Pale, either skinny or ever so pudgy. You can tell. I think women are outnumbered about 80 to 1 at this conference. They're giving away free stuff everywhere - I spot a pile of t-shirts and try to talk to the people at the stall until they give me one, but some people just walk right up and help themselves, then they're off.

Yesterday I did a tour with my good friend VanBubbles and her fiance starting at fisherman's wharf, around the Presidio, to Golden Gate Bridge. All very good. Our tour guide (Romeo) latched onto the fact that 2 of us were australians and told us bad jokes. He wanted us to sit at the front of the bus but we declined - and even from the back of the bus he managed to pick us out regularly. I also managed to run into a couple of old school friends, here on holiday from London - small world!

I went shopping yesterday, in Haight-Ashtbury - lots of vintage/secondhand shops - I seriously had to restrain myself from gasping out loud at everything I touched - so many fabulous dresses! I bought some new jeans - may leave behind those others that I've patched several times already... And a couple of shirts... And some shoes, and a couple of books... I found a fabric store called Far Out Fabrics - Japanese prints were all I could see from the window, because it was closed. May have to go back there.

Friday, May 12, 2006

the bank will give us money

all paperwork is signed – now we just have to wait for settlement.

I have been moaning about the inconveniences of running 2 houses for months, but now that we’re actually moving in together it’s a little bit scary. What if we can’t agree on whose plates to keep? Or what drawer the tea towels go in? Or whether the cat is allowed on the coffee table? More importantly, whether the cat is allowed to lick the plates when we’ve finished eating? So many issues… We’re frequently having discussions at the moment about how to discipline said cat. Which may be a moot point because the cat seems to be fairly indifferent to all methods of discipline – but what will we be like when we have children??

pistachio, yoghurt and cardamom

100g pistachios
1/2 tsp ground cardamom or the seeds of 3 cardamom pods
150g butter, chopped
1 1/2 cups SR flour
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
100mL water
zest of 1 lime

Process pistachios and cardamom in a food processor until just chopped. Add butter, flour and 3/4 cups sugar and process until crumbly (can be done by hand with a wooden spoon). Add the combined eggs and yoghurt and mix well. Pour into greased 20cm round cake tin (make sure the top of the cake is flattened). Bake 45-50 min at 180C.

To make syrup: heat water and remaining 1/2 cup sugar over low heat until dissolved. Bring to boil, add lime zest and boil gently 5 min.

Once cake is cool, poke some holes in the cake with a skewer and slowly pour strained syrup over cake.

quilt store snobs

Inspired by this post (I do like that quilt) from one of the - ahem - many crafty blogs I subscribe to - this one's for you, Sponky.

Sponky and I have had several visits to the quilting store recently to purchase supplies to make baby quilts, mostly. We have spent considerable time taking fabrics down from shelves, spreading them out here and there on the floor, hemming and hawwing about whether there are too many stripes, or not enough colour contrast, or whether batik prints are allowed at all (eventually we agreed to disagree on that one). Then, after deploying the trusty credit card to pay for said purchases, we go off happily exhausted to have coffee and cake. I didn't notice - I was having too much fun mixing up the fabrics - until Sponky pointed it out, that the quilt store ladies look down their noses at us for numerous reasons.
  • Example 1: Sponky was looking for a 1" bias binding maker, and they said in snooty voice "oh no, we like our binding a little finer than that".
  • Example 2: djbebe was looking for bright red blanket binding, and they said in equally snooty voice "oh no, I'm afraid we only have apricot and lavender - you know, most people use this for baby blankets" and I said "well I'm making a baby blanket, but it's red, and apricot just won't cut the mustard". Actually, in the end, I couldn't find red anywhere so I used royal blue which is maybe even better.

Personally, I think quilting (everything?) is easier if you do it in a way that comes naturally - once you have the basics - rather than following the rules. Sponky - maybe this is why you had so much trouble quilting the black and white quilt? And maybe this is why I prefer to buy my fabric at thrift stores.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

the joys of no email

Our email system has been broken ALL DAY. This includes calendar - so due to all the meetings I've missed and all the emails I haven't been interrupted by, I managed to get lots of work done today. Hurrah. Tonight I'm going shopping. I feel the need for another pair of shoes.