Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The advent calendar is hung and eager fingers are busy "looking" at each piece.

The first of this years "Pozie" ornaments is finished.

Two more ticks on the Christmas list.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I do love cherries. I love the way they taste but I love their look even more. Visually I find them utterly utterly appealing.

This year I intended we would go cherry picking. I had visions of sourcing morello cherries, I adore jam made with this tart fruit. I thought I would pickle some to use throughout the year and preserve some in a simple sugar syrup and others in vodka!

So far, this hasn't eventuated and at this time of year there just aren't enough days. I've said for many, many years that the balance is off - we should really work only two days a week and be off for five. However, that IS my reality and yet still I don't get these lovely things done! What's my excuse now!


Our Christmas family finished. Very sweet and apparently Santa (with the pointy hat) is always smaller than Mrs Claus.... who knew?

Sunday, November 27, 2011


A challenging weekend is almost over, but I feel like the challenges themselves will hang around for a long while. We returned to Beechworth as a family this weekend, for my eldest brother's birthday gathering, the first time since we lost Mike, approaching four months ago.

My parents lived in Beechworth for many years, I did also for 18 months between overseas trips. It's a town I've always been very fond of, but it seems different now.

We rented a house with my parents, the same one they had booked and stayed in with Mike for a few days a couple of weeks before he passed.

We had a family lunch, the remaining family all together, but it wasn't the same. I know it's not meant to be and I know that eventually you must get used to the new normal, but it was so challenging, the balance was just off.

Two separate but extremely hurtful comments have left me so very very wounded. Neither of them were intentionally unkind, but my oh my, both cut me to the core in very different ways. I'm trying to let go of hurt, to not make unkind words my issue, but unfortunately they just do. Empathy is so essential, not just in times of loss, but it's a characteristic I value very highly, at all times, in all people. The ability to put yourself in someone elses shoes, to consider not just your own perspective, your own wants and needs, but those of others above your own, well I don't know if there is anything I value in myself, or others, more.

As should be the case though, the girls had a lovely time. My brother arranged a treasure on their property and they were thrilled with what they found.

Let's all be kind to each other this week. To ourselves, to those we care most about and those we know little about.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


The Christmas crafting has begun. Not sure who's more excited, the youngest or the oldest in this house!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


One bowl of homemade pesto, so many memories.

Over 16 years ago, when Geoff and I had decided we were officially going out, he met my parents. We had dinner at Toofeys in Carlton. That was the first time I ate and liked olives, Geoff and my parents also. Small tasty ligurian olives.

When we were first married and travelling around Europe on our honeymoon, we were in Italy when the new olive oils were released. We were in a small village, perhaps Vinci, and they were releasing the new olive oils. There were a few local producers who had set up stands within the shadow of the town's church. There was a charcoal grill where they toasted bread, bruschetta. At the end a lady picked the pieces, rubbed a garlic clove across them, tossed them on a plastic plate and passed them to the next lady who liberally doused them with the vivid green olive and handed them to us. No hard sell, just taste. Peppery, grassy, olivey absolutely delicious, our first taste of new season's oil.

A trip with Geoff's parents through Provence, gosh in the early 2000's. A visit to Arles and the linen bought from a store near the bull ring.

My first herb and vegetable gardens, my own, growing basil, the pleasure the joy of making pesto myself, although my mum's is still better.

These are some of the reasons why food brings me so much job. Thankfully I can resist the eating, keep that within check, but it's the making and the memories that brings, that keep me in the kitchen.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


At 3am my mum awoke, as she often has on November 13th, and thought I was pushing about now.

We all slept until 7:45 and then only woken by Ella's morning are you awake and can I come for a cuddle whistle. I then sat up in bed and unwrapped extremely thoughtful gifts from my man, my girls and my parents.

We got showered and dressed and had a lovely time at our local farmer's market. I went to take photos and thought why is the lens shadowed? and realised that I had left the battery in the charger.

We came back and Ella make pikelets for breakfast.

I went to Spotlight and bought some lovely liberty like fabrics.

A dear friend stopped by with a gift.

The four of us went bowling.

We cooked dinner together and Geoff cooked his first ever cake alone - aside from the girls assistance in licking the mixers!

The girls are in the bath and soon my man and I will snuggle on the couch with another glass of wine and some rubbish tv.

Today I turned 42 and the only thing missing was a call from my brother. It's strange but it was the first thought I had when I woke. I opened my eyes, realised that I wouldn't get that call this year and I lay there remembering the sound of his voice and how every year I'd answer the phone and he'd say Happy Birthday Torie. I have/had three brothers, but he's the only one that always called me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I'm learning some new skills, although perhaps not as quickly as I'd like. I feel it's a confession to admit here, with some people who know me in my real life listening, to say that I'm also talking to my professional about my marriage and issues that we have there. I feel that's a real confession, perhaps a slightly guilty one. If I'm honest though, it's more because I find it hard to admit that we need help, so that flows through to it being hard having others know that we need help.

There's no secret to our situation, to where we find ourselves, it's just that somewhere along the way we lost each other and couldn't find our way back without help. It's not a case of a lack of love, quite the opposite, we just both let life, our responsibilities as parents, commitments to employers and everyone else, get in the way of our responsibilities and commitments to each other.

So now we both talk to someone, different people, about the things going on in our lives. We're making changes, slowly. I am an eager person, keen to commit to things and get decisions moving, so I find the process challenging. I can feel personal changes and commit to trying to be different, but it takes time to unlearn bad habits, and I find that extremely frustrating. I just want us to be back where we were for all those years, now! Geoff's person described me as a green banana, in terms of that frustration with the process. I'm not sure I've evolved enough to appreciate that just yet.

Part of what we've relearned, for we used to have this skill, is to slow down, to relax. Our weekends were a constant whirl of feeling we had to do this and must finish doing that, and I've already learned that those are negative messages to send to oneself. We would get ourselves and the girls wound up with all the tension, the rushing, the pressure that we only put on ourselves, to get stuff done and honestly, it was just STUFF.

We are now slowing down. Last weekend was wonderful and this weekend is measuring up to be the same. Slow starts in bed, girls chatting under the covers about all sorts of things. Daddy going for a run, the girls and I making a picnic breakfast to have outside which we didn't eat until 10am. Pottering in the garden, the girls building lego, playing fairies in the bushes, everything just happening slowly and in such a relaxed manner. We even managed to read the papers without interuption!

This afternoon we're going to have some fun, we're rembering how to do that, and I'm loving every minute of it.

Monday, November 07, 2011


That's him and me. Apart we're ourselves but together we're always us.

Film grain is kinder to me, I feel, as the years pass, but I honestly feel he looks as delicious now as when I first laid eyes on him 16 years ago. When we met I thought he was student, he looked so young and sweet, even now he looks the same, kind sweet and gentle as he is.

13 years my love. I think this year can be especially good.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011


A cafe date with my love this morning. Her favourite word right now is brilliant, which she pronounces with the most wonderful trill.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


A special dinner with Nan and Pa, lots of fun. The girls were sad because no-one knocked on our door for treats, if only we could have scrounged up someone! Next year we'll organise something via our kinder so they can wander the streets in costume.

I have spared my poor parents the public embarassment of showing photos of them here, but they were the horny devils. My dad has white grey hair and mo and made us laugh no end as he'd blacked out his mo and sideburns with mum's mascara. I was a fortune teller, complete with chocolate eclair (the lolly kind) necklace as I couldn't find gold coins. I'd be happy to embarass myself here, but no photos of me! Leila was Lizzie the Littlest Witch and Ella was a corpse bride. Lots of fun.