Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Dinner? ... "I want House!" said the 3 yr old

The lead up to Christmas is always a maelstrom of activity in everyone's lives - so I won't make excuses for not updating, but I will apologise for the unreturned phonecalls and the lack of Christmas cards to my nearest and dearest.

Nevertheless, two days before Christmas I decided I REALLY did want to make a gingerbread house.

My first, though only technically. Mum and I used to make them each year as homage to my European ancestry. However, I tended to play the role of asthetic adviser and thematic consultant. I had never actually baked, assembled and iced one on my own before.

I know IKEA sell kits, but that's just cheating as far as I am concerned. It certainly doesn't allow for the addition of mezzanine levels, juliet balconies and lighting systems.

Jms did request a Barcelona Pavilion, as we were spending Christmas in the company of designophiles.

But as it was my first attempt, I figured in the name of disaster mitigation I ought to stick to the script, and so went for the classic but basic gabled cottage design.

As you may see from the picture above, basic did however go so far as to include a table repleat with a bowl of fruit and teacups fashioned from icing. It also incuded the obligatory cat on a mat in front of the open fireplace, chintz carpet, lace curtains and paintings on the walls. Unfortunately the other photos my dearest beloved took while I was splitting the atom for the third time that day, were (ahem) out of focus. So you will just have to take my word for it's magnificence.

Better still it survived the 1 and 1/2 hour car trip down the coast on Christmas eve better than I did. After 5 hours icing it, I was a little dismayed that the host did not just want to admire it but had pulled out plates and cake forks before I'd even got it out of the box. Fortunately I managed to beat the hungry hordes off till the following day, so they could at least admire Jms' electronic work that night after the sun had gone down.

I'll try and hit up the other guests for some photos that were taken before its (energetic) demolition. Or even some of the post apocalyptic site - as there was something very poignant about the half destroyed house with it's European stamp "paintings". A bit Dresden post World War II. All it was missing was some tanks fashioned from icing and an advancing army of gingerbread men.

Unfortunately it was very well received by the other guests both asthetically and gastronimically, and as per usual, I am the victim of my own success. I have already had requests for next year including multiple storeys and MORE lights. Even the suggestion of roman ruins. But at least I have another 12 months to decided whether or not it is to be corinthian, doric or ionic columns.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Berlin to Bergen

Been back for almost a week now - long enough to know that the honeymoon is over, but not long enough to be over the jet lag nor to have finished tackling the giant pile of laundry!

In a month filled with daily paradigm shifts, its hard to distill the experience into bite sized chunks. But I guess my not-so-short list of highlights include:

Firstly, whilst in Berlin...

Potato dumplings the size of tennis balls at the Alte Fritz Kartoffelhaus.

The subtle but exquisite Martin Gropius Bau and the Richard Avedon exhibition contained within.

Ampelmann, amplemann, ampelmann (the East German pedestrian stop and go symbols). I (heart) amplemann.

The Jeff Koons exhibit at the Neue National Gallerie (and the freebie Blue Flower Balloon around the corner at Potsdamer Platz)

Marvelling that a 6 pack of beer was cheaper than a 6 pack of water at the supermarket.

Seeing Eis bears (Knut!), Pandas and Flamingos all for the first time in one day (my head nearly exploded)

Snaffling the last Comme des Garcon wool jacket in the bedlam at H&M (much to the dismay of several other shoppers).

Walking, walking and more walking around Berlin's broad and stately streets.

The consumption of many berliners

(Ein Pfannkuchen wenden Sie sich bitte!)

German MTV (and subsequently addiction to Deichkind's "Arbeit Nervt")

Tracing the scar of that infamous wall with our feet, only barely being able to comprehend its impact. Astounded that the "wall" is just one of many epoch defining moments in the city's incredible history.

Playing with particles at the "Welt Machine" - an interactive exhibit about the building of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

(Nothing like observing an animated discussion about sub-atomic physics between a cute German physicist and my husband to get me all steamed up). Now that's my idea of a threesome.

Overhearing a tour guide saying Berlin is the greatest city on earth, and quietly agreeing with him.

Then on to Copenhagen...

Smushi at the Royal Cafe (a cross between traditional Danish smørrebrød and sushi).

The fish that got away (AKA the most wonderful pair of bright blue, knee high leather boots). Alas, not to be.

Shop after shop of to die for fashion, furniture and homewares, some more interestingly named than others.

Being given shit for asking for orange juice with my steak by the Muscle Mary barman at a local pub in Denmark. Fair enough.

The BEST florist shops I have ever seen - Their sheer ingenuity (when winter makes fresh flowers prohibitively expensive or just plain unavailable)

Finding the Aladdin's cave of haberdashery among the tiny cobbled streets.

And finally, when in Norway, and the picturesque town of Bergen...

Snow, snow and more snow on our arrival.

Eating ice crystals. I love snow.

Sun, snow and sea.

Sparklers in the snow on Sotra Island.

Tandem sledding down the hill beside the house. Very romantic (in a scary, squeally kind of way). Did I mention that I love snow?

Bergen op-shops (oh to have a suitcase big enough for all the great stuff we found).

So many shops filled with exquisite Norwegian handicrafts. No 'Made in China' here thanks.

Glow-in-the-dark frisbee with Darcy in the snow and the inevitable snowball fight.

Snowman hate crimes.

Following deer tracks in the snow, taken aback by the stillness and ghostliness of the forest that quickly encompassed me.

Refraining (only just) from asking the MIL to sell all our stuff and put the animals on a plane. The Weebl's got it wrong (no offense Kenya), but Norway is the best place on earth.

(And apparently it's even better in summer)

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Leaving on a jet plane...

Image shamelessly stolen from here.

The animals have been clinging to me like their fur is made of velcro. They know something is up.

I have repacked my case 4 times now and I think I'm ready to go. Hopefully I haven't forgotten anything major.

I told jms (who left a week ago) that I was scared about flying by myself. He said "Don't worry they give you a plane"

Ha Ha.

Back soon!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Admiral Ackbar single again

Yes, Bernard Black passed away this week.

Bernard the Black Moor, not the bookstore owner - though he did drink like a fish!

Apologies to any Dylan Moran fans out there for the potentially upsetting news. Apologies to everyone else out there for the terrible joke.

Ahem. Shall I start again?

Bernard: the fish. Although a consummate professional at 'playing' dead he actually proved quite the fighter - surviving some nasty fishy disease outbreaks and outliving several tank mates over the years.

Alas, the latest bug got the better of him, despite my tank-side ministrations. It is a bit of a relief with the impending trip OS and the MIL house-sitting (she was considerably perturbed by Bernard's fake death shenanigans last time she stayed).

Some months back I swore that I wouldn't get fish again once Bernard was gone. But now I am not so sure. Admittedly the house is a little crowded with 2 people, 4 cats and a dog (tho' he is only small). Tank upkeep is unsurprisingly not my favourite task (especially with a dodgy arm - which is partly to blame for the latest disease outbreak).

But the tank light bathed the room in such a nice glow and the bubble of the filter was like a meditative white noise in one's peripheral hearing. Not quite whale song or crashing waves, but comforting nevertheless. And ever so more so noticeable now, for its absence. Watching the tank was definitely better than daytime television. Now its sits dormant, bereft of light and life.

Unfortunately I am becoming increasingly aware of the unethical practices in the pet industry. Just Google "puppy factories" or "puppy mills" for some seriously disturbing information about practices at the core of the industry. Aquarium practices are perhaps less outrageous, but just because a Goldfish costs $5 and there is 50 in the tank, shouldn't mean that their life is any more disposable.

Fish are promoted as low maintenance, instant pets. I can't tell you how many times I've seen families bundled out of the pet shop door with a tank, chemicals and a bag of fish. This is particularly offensive when the proper set up of a tank, even the most basic, takes days if not a lot longer, before live fish ought to be introduced. A bunch of (expensive) chemical additives might help fish survive, but is no guarantee. Which leads me to believe that pet stores don't give a flying fuck whether the fish live after you've handed over your cash, because you'll either be back for more to replace the ones that died, or will abandon the tank after the novelty has worn of and come back and buy a puppy.

Not to mention that the presence of rows and rows of Siamese fighting fish in water glass sized tanks makes me so angry. That is cruelty personified. The "fact" promoted by the industry that they can survive in small puddles of water is appalling. Yes, they CAN survive. Just like we CAN survive on a diet of rice cakes and water if necessity dictated it.

But surely we want more than mere survival for our pets. The reason they sit motionless at the top of the tank is because they are starved of oxygen. Put a Siamese fighting fish in a large tank, properly oxygenated, with no inappropriate tank mates - and you will see an energetic and happy fish of the most luxurious and dazzling colouring.

And who knows whether tropical fish are harvested with any respect to maintaining wild fish stocks in their native environments. Or whether breeding fancy goldfish with "aesthetic" deformities impinges on the fish's quality of life.

I guess every decision we make has ethical consequences if we dig deep enough. Responsible pet ownership is one of them, and I often wonder whether it is wise to consider our own needs of companionship, or if it is just selfishness. I am not advocating never getting another pet once our household ultimately becomes pet free. Nor can I stand on any perceived moral high ground. Our collection of animals have variously been acquired from both pet stores, breeders and rescues. I adore each and every one and don't regret taking any of them in to our home. Had pure desire won over practicality, I'd be the happy owner of chooks and (to Jms' dismay) a donkey. I'd keep bees in a heartbeat if I weren't allergic.

(Of course the local council might also have some sway in the matter too...)

So Bernard is gone, and the tank remains empty. But I am yet to dismantle it and really put some action behind my ethical convictions. A friend once commented that we ought to have kids - if only to stop us from getting way too many pets!

Hmmm. They ARE cute. Jms?? Don't kill me.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Ich bin ein Berliner

Image from here.

Breaking news is that Jms and I are going to Berlin!

It is a belated Honeymoon that has been in the pipeline for a while, but with this and that, it looked like wasn't going to happen until the very last minute.

We will also be making a much overdue visit to Norway, where my brother lives with his lovely fiance. Flights don't go Berlin - Bergen direct so we will have to make a stop over in Copenhagen (how will we survive?).

It will be the first time we will have traveled overseas together (aaaiiiieee). If the planning process is any indication, this may be the quickest way to divorce. Can the honeymoon be over before it has even begun?

And like J.F.K. I too, will be a jelly doughnut, or at least plan to sample some while I am there (though I will pass on the Minke, thank you Dr Jimothy). In the interim here are some doughnuts of another kind...

(AKA Olympic Rings Biscuits, because I couldn't wait another 4 years to make them again). Too delicious (especially without the toxic levels of food colouring)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Better than half a worm, in half an apple

My bestest beloved linked me to this , with the tag "... and I thought of you".

After the red veil subsided and I put down the kitchen knife, I did have to admit it was familiar turf and pretty close to home. Too close.

What is it with our brains - and why do they seem to take such joy in self sabotage?

Ordinarily, under strict laboratory conditions, I am a fairly intelligent and erudite person. But its like there is a "Random" switch that gets turned on in my head which causes gibberish to fall out of my mouth. It used to happen occasionally - you know, the odd spoonerism or Freudian slip. Normal. Human.

But now it happens A LOT.

For instance - that thing that you cut grass with? I know its called a LAWNMOWER. But in idle conversation what does my brain pop out? VACUUM CLEANER.

Pretty much 99.9% guaranteed (the .01% being the times I practice before hand to get it right). I've even tried rewiring my synapses by creating and repeating appropriate word associations. No dice.

Words with similar sound and spelling and are more excusable and unfortunately therefore more common. MELON when I mean LEMON. MUSHROOM instead of MATTRESS.

Or words of a like category. HAND instead of GLOVE. CINEMA for THEATER.

"The traffic lights up ahead are BLACK, we can cross..."

Obviously I meant RED. Certainly conceptually alike in their 'don't do it' kind of way. Perhaps that explains my brain's use of FRAGMENT instead of SNOWFLAKE. Crystallization creates both?? Work with me here!

Or there is just the plain weird: SAUSAGE instead of CIRCLE (Though technically phonetically similar to begin with - and if you cut them in half...)

At least if these 'exchanges' were of a saucier nature it would be a source of mirth and amusement, not just frustration and embarrassment.

On occasion I catch myself saying the wrong word - and quickly send a message to my mouth to say the right word - and like the three stooges trying to get through a door all at once - they jam and I end up stuttering like a skipping record.

For some reason it seems to be mainly nouns.

A further regression occurs when I can't recall the desired word and so out aloud, I scroll through the ones that do make it out of my brain until I hit on the right one or Jms figures out what I'm trying to say by deduction. Its like a shopping list version of charades.

Perhaps I'm just getting old - although I'm (technically) not mid-thirties yet, so surely that's too young for dementia? Please?

It could be an overworked mind. But idle times seem to make no difference.

I muse sometimes that I have some kind of rare, degenerative brain disorder that is eating away at my grey matter - like a worm in an apple.

Or an undiagnosed tumour. Like an episode of House, there would be that A HA! moment (after the requisite dicking about) where I can explain all my tics in one foul swoop and say "I told you so" and smile smugly.

Oh wait. Fantasizing about having a brain tumour? Um. Perhaps not.

(Though if it is fantasy "House" land, it will be fixed with a simple operation and I can go on to be Secretary General of the UN. There will be no long and difficult rehabilitation)

I could be generous and blame the pain meds. But let's be honest - this might just be personality, not acquired.

If you are a regular reader here at chez Trickle, you might appreciate that words are kinda my thing. I like using them and especially like to stretch my lexicon a little (hopefully without sounding like the nob who ate a thesaurus for breakfast).

I guess I just fear being 'that guy': dazed and confused in the supermarket, getting increasingly agitated as I yell out random words till my carer collects me and apologetically escorts me home.

Maybe I should start wearing a "Please look after this Bear" sign.

Or carry around flash cards. Lawnmower, Vacuum Cleaner, Hand, Glove ...

Saturday, 27 September 2008

The littlest bird

The family tree has been updated.

No schmancy Louis Ghost chair this time. Just my hard rubbish kitchen chair.

The only chair in the house not flocked with cat hair.

Now excuse me while I go to the supermarket. Like Mikes, I don't think there is anything "Grand" about a football match.

I try to avoid supermarkets on the weekends - I am hoping it is a ghost town.

Just me and the hum of fridges and the flicker of dodgy neon. I might even sing along with the muzak.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The kindness of strangers...

Back from Sydney. Had a great time - lots of newborn nuzzles, cuddles and effervescent smiles that could melt polar ice caps. Not to mention an early dose of t-shirt weather (and a touch of sunburn!).

And the Matryoshka was a BIG HIT.

They even got taken to bed (only top tier toys get this rare privilege I'm told). Phoebe's Giraffe didn't get a look in - but then she is only 3 weeks old and hasn't discovered her hands yet!

Unfortunately, it seems that the black dog I thought I'd cleverly left at Melbourne airport, managed to track me down and then proceeded to catch a lift home in my luggage (seemingly evading any excess baggage charges).

Hopefully its only got a short stay visa (or as Yogi Shiva would put it - just a passing sensation).

Certainly abated by the sight of our dining table upon my arrival:

Technically the Gocco was MY birthday present (I'm yet to actually touch it) but who could poo poo such industriousness? Paper, card, fabric - you name it, if it's flat, its got a test print on it.

It seems his new favourite colour is Barbie Pink. Should I be worried?

Then an unexpected present in my Bloglines reader - sweet words and a link from the extra special Kirsty (I can't tell you how much this made my day).

And finally, the icing on the cake was a wonderful parcel in the mail today from Gemma with goodies from the Kaotic Kraftster Day that I missed out on 'cause I was AWOL. Woot!

Thank you.

P.S. Happy Birthday Granpa - Rest in peace.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Gon Out, BiSy BacKson

Gone to Sydney to visit Bebe and Imi. Yippee!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Through the round window

From PBase.

I don't know what it is about circles - but I find them profoundly restful.

I am always drawn to circular patterns - initially this was an unconscious phenomenon until Jms pointed out that ALL our bedding (ever) had had circular patterns*. Nesting much?

Perhaps it harks back to something innate in (my) primitive brain that seeks security and completeness. Like the Zen art of "enso" or circle painting. Akin to the chanting of an "om" but with the body, the hand and brush circling and circling endlessly until thought is reduced to pure existence.

From Otter Cards.

Or I just like circles.

Especially round windows. I positively ACHE to live in a house with a round window (yes, yet another feature of the lofty warehouse of my dreams).

I know all windows frame a view, but there is something especially nice about the view framed by a perfect circle. A portal to another world.

Don't even get me started on Moon Gates. (I kept Kodak in business when I traveled through China several years ago).

Ideally the lofty warehouse has a sizable garden with Moon Gates too. Though possibly a bit much. Realistically, on my budget, this is going to be a lofty cardboard box under a freeway extension.

From Totara Valley Barns.

There was a photo I recall from an old Black + White magazine (long since ebayed in a misguided attempt at decluttering) of a beautiful round window in a stunning designer home. I think it was from an Andy Warhol photo shoot. I have since seen glimpses of it on a random ABC afternoon Arts shows - but unfortunately never caught the name of it ...

From Grey Lines.

Until I find this amazing Tardis of a warehouse - with cantilevered stairs, double floor rooms (sustainable heating!?) and said round window and the 'magic pudding' wallet to match, I'll continue to wander aimlessly the image search function on Google looking for the window of my dreams.

From Villa Sumaya.

*Footnote - In defiance I last bought stripey bedding - and to be completely honest - it just does not feel right and I can't wait till wash day. Never again.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Livin' on the (selv) edge

I have been dutifully collecting the registration prints from the selvedges of fabric over the last year or so. I don't have much.

I don't buy lots of fabric - I tend to leech it of others and purchase miniscule bits that are already on sale (I am the poxy customer hunched over the scrap basket trawling for gold). And they are ever so small - so this was only ever going to be a small scale project.

But I just adore them. Sometimes I pull out my wee stash out and just look at it lovingly. Quite possibly it's the rainbow thing.

I had revolutionary plans for these little bits, and thought I was being oh so VERY original. But then I discovered, as you usually do (there is no such thing as original thought - thank you Aristotle) that someone else has been there and truly done that. Far more up scale and amazing than anything I was planning. Phooey.

Never mind. I'm happy to stand on the shoulders of giants. It's a great view.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

I'm sure impulsiveness has its merits

Who goes to IKEA and impulse purchases a FOUR POSTER BED??

YELLOW at that.

(But Jms - It was 70% off, and I've always wanted one since, well forever... and what do you mean I've never mentioned this before, I could have sworn it was in the wedding contract vows...)

You gotta feel sorry for the poor bugger, who then had to construct it single handedly. With onlookers. Exacting onlookers.

Nevermind also that we live in a small, dark Art Deco house. Admittedly the bed formed part of my "live in an lofty warehouse style apartment with double floor rooms" long term goal.

But why wait - life is NOT a dress rehearsal.

On my desk...

Courtesy of my father. To help with the RSI of course.

Thanks Dad.

I won't ask how he found it (DO NOT GO THERE)

Not quite the look I generally go for.

(But surprisingly VERY ergonomic - something to do with minimised nerve compression aided by her ample cleavage)

I actually blushed the first time I grabbed her by her extremities. I am ever so glad they refrained from including nipples. I feel like a perv, but it's really comfortable to cup my hand over "lefty" while I work.

In fact I've now become quite fond her - I feel I should give her a name (or at least buy her a drink).

Though I can completely see myself having a bit of a "Lars" relationship with her (this is why I haven't succumbed to Blythe. I know it would get weird). So perhaps we should keep it professional.

P.S. If you haven't seen Lars and the Real Girl - do so as soon as humanly practical. A great movie that sublimely surpasses its cringe worthy premise. Definitely in my top 10.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

This is...

Just had a quick squiz at Three Buttons - and noticed that this weeks "this is" theme from Handmaiden is your favourite fabric/craft shop.

I have to join in this week and sing the praises of my favourite.

Although I adore Patchwork on Central (especially as it is a coffee and walking distance of my house) and think Winterwood felt is the BEST, I must implore you to visit the not so pretty "Darn Cheap Fabrics" in Glenhuntly (and Heidleberg and Newport).

The stock is always changing, and every week they seem to have more. They have a brilliant and ever expanding selection of trims and notions and of course the cheapest silks by the metre you will ever find.

It is a bit of a mixed bag - with bits of everything - but always worth a visit. Even though it is all new fabric, they are largely a remnant business, so everything is technically salvaged and recycled. Which is great for the eco conscious - and a little easier than trawling the op-shops when you specifically need hot pink rick rack!

As far as the "Aladdin's Cave" of fabrics go - I hear that the Job Warehouse actually lets people in the front door these days. I was fortunate enough not to be forcibly removed (as have some of my designer friends who mistakenly tried to "browse") but found the quality not worth the asking price. Still, I'm sure there is some amazing stuff there. And apparently browsing is not forbidden anymore!

Literally cut up

Got a call from Southern Health two weeks ago saying its been well over a year since I was put on the wait list for surgery and was I still interested..?

Interested? Not quite the word for it really. I wasn't really interested in getting the condition in the first place but there you go. But now that I've got the chance to do something about it it well - yes I am quite interested thanks for asking.

It made me wonder how many folks do say "Nah, don't think I really can fit in a heart by-pass with my schedule - what say we give it a miss!"

Admittedly mine is a condition that is neither terminal nor life threatening, and even though I do try to be very careful with the term "need", I think it does count as "needed" (But not quite like how I need a cobalt blue Kitchenaid). I know that without intervention the condition will ultimately result in increasingly debilitating pain, possible infertility and potentially ruin a perfectly good marriage.

So worth doing I'd wager.

Unfortunately as I discovered at the pre-admin clinic shortly thereafter, surgery did not necessarily prevent any of these things. But things should improve. Three cheers for qualified optimism!

The inspecting Doctor (and the cast of thousands that "needed" to inspect my most private of parts) said there had been a cancellation and would I like to be scheduled for the 27th?

Well "like" is again a term most folks don't readily associate with being cut open, but having spent so long dreading the phone call right before I started a new job or right before my wedding, I was relieved that it was finally going to happen.

I will spare you the details of "bowel" preparation for surgery, suffice to say it was both worse, and not as bad as I expected.

My poor Dad probably knows more than he would have liked about my reproductive organs and sexual history, but he was outstanding company during the long wait for theatre.

By the time I made it to the recovery ward my bits felt like the Ikea car park - with everyone having had a visit. This was not a teaching hospital but I think they shipped in a herd of 4th years just for me.

The coincidence of all coincidences is that one of my best friends was also (unexpectedly) under the knife at exactly the same time. Fortunately for her, she at least got to take home a baby. Though two lucky viewers/research organisations did get to take home a show bag of my dodgy DNA. May I serve as a warning to others.

Jms and Dad are well deserved co-recipients for the "Man of the Year" award for my post-operative care. Having become an invertebrate (delightful effect of the morphine) they had to pour me in and out of the car/bed/chair and put up with me falling asleep mid-sentence.

Jms commented the following day that my pupils were still completely dilated. That might explain how I got the glow stick (just a hallucination) and the fluro wristband. No wait - that's the "don't stick anything nasty into this already dodgy arm" band. With the matching "allergy" red hat and arm band combo (and rather humorously "Bee Stings" written on it - just in case they had an apiary problem in theatre).

And so much for not driving a car for 24 hours - its Sunday night (4 days post -op) and I am only just able to sit in a chair without falling over. Lord knows how you'd do this with a new born.

Thank goodness the last few months have me well trained for sitting on the couch. This time staring wistfully into the distance and wishing I was in Sydney. Holding the latest member of the Dobbins clan, Phoebe Arbella. All 9 pounds and 10 precious ounces of her. Our "in utero" flower girl is finally here.

Well done Bronald!

Thursday, 28 August 2008


In anticipation of the change of seasons and THE GREAT SHEDDING, Gir and Trout are at maximum fluffitude. It may yet be a white Christmas in OZ.

Must. Resist. Snorgling.

There's claws in dem dare hills (and infinite sneezes)

Monday, 25 August 2008

3 4 A Cause!

Over at Mikes the Mirabel auction is on!

Round 4 has started including my not so little contribution (yes the largest one is about 40 cm high)

Put in a bid if you're able - Great value for money with three times the cuddle of your average softie!

As a free gift with purchase is the knowledge you are helping a wonderful organisation. Yay!