Saturday, January 06, 2007

Last day of freedom

Back to work tomorrow and so how do I spend my last hours of freedom? Dishes, laundry and contemplating the basketful of ironing. Could life get any better? Yeah, right.

I did spend a good part of the morning on the phone with Julie and for her, here is another shot of the courtyard out from the kitchen. (Just so that while you're clearing out your stuff darl, you can see if there is anything that would fit in. Some cuttings from your plants would be good especially those ones in the big front garden.....)

The other shot is especially for Blaire although it doesn't really do justice to the ENORMITY of my tomato plants. They are getting so big now that any day I expect to get a letter from the council telling me they have to be topped before they interfere with the power lines.

Actually writing the comment about cuttings from Jule's garden reminded me of an article in the Herald yesterday about the "Compact". From what I have read so far the gist of it is that a group of friends "worried about the impact of mass consumerism & today's disposable society" elected to see if they could give up shopping for a year. Well that's the short version according to the Madcow anyway. The real version is here. Also there's a Yahoo group over there.

It's been a bit of a hot topic around here lately with the onset of that strange holiday phenomenon ... cleaning out the pantry. Where other people choose to go to the beach or sit quietly reading books, apparently in this particular corner of Auckland a journey to the back of the pantry is "the" thing to do this summer. Robyn, Leonie, Lynnie & Jules have all made their own intrepid journeys to the dark place and the resulting obsession with "Use By" dates is comforting. I of course had been on my own adventure some months earlier when we shifted and had cleaned out the pantry here & at the old place, resulting in a supply of tinned fruit salad, that if it were ever released onto the open market, could tip the balance of the world economy. As for the supplies of tinned tuna ....

Still it is comforting to know that I'm not the only one with more food in the cupboard than one person could possibly eat but it's also disturbing. Why the apparent need to hoard? Why do we insist on almost daily trips to the supermarket when the cupboards are nowhere near bare? Is it just marketing and advertising? I can't believe we are all the gullible and yet it seems we are.

Then there's all the other "essentials" - the magazines, the books, the scrapbooking supplies, the computers, the cameras .... all rapidly cluttering my house. When I first left home many Cow Years ago, I packed all my worldly possession in two small suitcases and caught the train to Wellington. Now I need a large truck and several burly gentlemen to move it all.

This needs a bit more thought but it may well be a "Compact Cow Year". Of course easy to say at this end of the holidays where a great deal of time and a significant amount of cash has been spent shopping for "essentials" but still the politics of it all interests me. I'll let you know how this pans out.

PS. Wine IS an essential.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy Feet

Just a quickie today. Aren't Leonie's jandals gorgeous!!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Chicken & Leek Pie

Is there no end to this madness? Am I destined to channel Martha Stewart for the rest of my life?

Tonight the leftovers from the NY roast needed to be either cooked or disposed of. Strange enough that I thought I would cook them but to make matters worse Martha really took control and I "created"! Himself not only said the end result was very tasty but also gently suggested I may like to write myself a note on how exactly I did it. For the future you understand when Martha has left the building.

So one day when I ask just remind me to:

Chop up the leftover potatoes from the roast and saute with one large (and chopped) leek. Add the chopped up leftover chicken and stir in a jar of Chicken Tonight - Golden Honey Mustard sauce. Bung on a bit of pastry, stick it in the oven and take it out before it burns. Sigh. I am a goddess!
PS. Now E, take another look at the picture below. The orange thing with the seeds looks a lot like pumpkin because that's what it is. The white thing with the dirty purple skin is the kumera. I should have taken a photo of the kumera with the potatoes to compare it with - perhaps that would have made more sense but it's been a long time since I ever made sense so why change the habits of a lifetime?? xxxxx

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Kumera by any other name ....

I had a bright idea last night when I was getting the veges ready for the roast - I seem to remember the cookbook I sent to E and Jules having recipes that used kumera so here for identification purposes is a kumera (and a bit of pumpkin!). Don't know what the equivalent would be. A sweet potato? Maybe not - I've always thought sweet potatoes were just another name for yams .... Anyway, this is the best kind of kumera with the purple skin but there is also a golden one. Himself doesn't mind the golden one but many people say they taste "muddy". Who knows? Not me - I'm not that keen on either variety although I have been known to be partial to kumera wedges with sour cream.

And here too is proof of the roast dinner and look, none of them look even slightly sick or poisoned! I had to post both shots - why is it you can never get three people to all smile at the same time?? Anyway, perhaps if Russell pops in for a visit he can see that mum & dad are doing fine! (Happy New Year Russ, Stephen & Charlotte!)

But wait, there's more!

If I don't expire from boredom while they download, here are some pics of the new/old Madcow Palace or at least the outside...


Well it only took ALL DAY to log into Blogger ... aaaaaaaaaaaargh! So much for the New Year resolution to blog more often!

The old pc, I fear, is dead as a dodo or at least heading that way. Now I need to make some decisions. Shall I call in the ever helpful Mr Fixit to rid the dammed thing of whatever is bothering it, buy a new monitor that doesn't decide at a moments notice that it's "tired" and wants to sleep ... or do I just go buy something sparkly and new with all the whistles and stops??

The whole thing just pisses me off a little. A couple of days ago I went out, with bankcard at the ready, to buy a new monitor and a new battery pack for this laptop.

The first shop, which advertises customer service second to none, was like the Marie Celeste... at least to those of us of a "certain age". The Madcow Brother & I tried, honest we did, to snare ourselves a little shop assistant but to no avail. Sweet young things in pretty little uniforms wafted around the store oblivious to all our arm waving, shrieking and trip wires. No, they were on important business that seemed to involve other pretty young things wearing a different kind of uniform (body piercings, belts pretending to be skirts and tops that could possibly have been fashioned out of two very small hankies). Apparently two grumpy old bastards throwing wads of cash on the floor in a feeble attempt to lure them to the IPod department where the Madcow Brother wished to PURCHASE WITH CASH was just too silly for words. Either that or we had suddenly become invisible and nobody had the heart to tell us. Needless to say I didn't bother even looking at the monitors etc...sigh.

Being the hopeless romantics we are we headed for the next "Super Store". Here we made progress. Mmm. Sort of. If you think having your last shred of self confidence ground into the carpet is progress well then this was the store for you.

After three attempts to engage with The Bright Young Thing In A Uniform I realised where I was going wrong. I apparently had forgotten to pin on my penis that morning. Silly me. As I jumped up and down in the aisle, waving my bankcard and wads of cash like a demented cheerleader and yelling "I want to buy something, I want to spend money", TBYTIAU approached every male in the store, the carpark, the nearby shopping mall all in a desperate attempt to avoid having to serve me. Silly boy. Did he really think a mother would give up that easily? I've made 20-somethings clean their rooms, eat their greens and pay their parking tickets and some of them weren't even MY 20-somethings. He didn't stand a chance.

I did what any woman with half a brain would do. I hid behind a man. Literally! As TBYTIAU closed in on his prey, a rather ample middle aged man, I hid behind the aforementioned gentleman. When he trotted out the usual "no I'm just looking" I took my chance, leapt out from deep cover and clinging to the sleeve of TBYTIAU shrieked "But I want to buy!!!!!!"

Of course that was enough to piss off any self respecting BYTIAU - trapped by some demented virago - he immediately got an attack of "Eye Rolling & Terminal Sighing" which I believe is now a notifiable disease with the Health Department.

"NOBODY IN THE WORLD would ever want a monitor that wasn't a LCD Flatscreen, and OH MY GOD, you must have the oldest laptop in the world if thats the battery pack you want to replace ... oh it's only two years old?? You say that like it's a good thing. I don't OWN anything that's two years old."

He then dispatched me to "some other store" which sells "out of date" hardware. I didn't have the heart to even try and find it. God knows my pacemaker wouldn't have coped with the walk over there.

I think I'll buy a new pc online. At least I'll never have to talk to anyone.

PS. For your viewing pleasure (before the cataracts and glaucoma get ya!) The Madcow Xmas Decoration courtesy of Jules which is just divine.