Welcome, nau mai, haere mai!
Come on in and stay a little while. . . you never know what you might find!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Love. . . Letter to the World and "note of encouragement."

Today I bring you the "Love Letter to the World" by Kate Swoboda, offered at the Kind Over Matter website. It's completely free to download as a full colour printable pdf.

Here is a very small taster of its wisdom:

". . . In the face of selfishness, wonder what it might be like to walk the world with a feeling of lack, of depletion. In the face of insults, consider where this person first learned that it's ok to abuse others. . . In the face of judgement or comparisons, step into the opportunity the world has just provided you for practising love and acceptance. . ."

And here's another little freebie treat for you: a free e-book by twenty three different contributors called "23 things you might not know about you" from Zen at Play. Just click the link to see if you'd like a "love note of encouragement to your glorious self!"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thought for Thursday - 3

A favourite little poem of mine, and one which applies to several good friends as well as my beloved:

O, the comfort,
The inexpressible comfort
Of feeling safe with a friend;
Having neither to weigh thoughts
Nor measure words
But pouring them right out,
Just as they are,
Chaff and grain together;
Certain that a faithful hand
Will take them and sift them,
Keep what is worth keeping
And with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.

This is from my quotes/poems/scraps notebook I started when I was 15, and still have on my bookshelf. . .

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Knit. . . International Knit in Public Week

Yes, it really does exist - with the mission of encouraging more people to embrace the wonderful woolliness that is knitting! International Knit in Public (IKiP) Week runs from 11th to 18th June, so you haven't quite missed it . . . yet!

Alongside IKiP week this year, 11th June was declared "International Yarn-Bombing Day" and as you might have guessed, I got up to some yarny mischief. I have detailed it all over at my Yarnificationz blog here, here and here. But here are a few photos to give you a flavour of what I got up to, with the able assistance of the Wifie! We got up at 6.45 am on the 11th June to sneak out and put the yarnifications in place before the rest of the village woke up. . . My "accomplice" at work knitted one of the bike rack cosies and I sewed them both in place on the 9th June.

All the yarnifications are still in place so far :)

Bike rack cosies at the local hospital

"Scarfies" sculpture in the village

Heart fence at the tennis courts

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thinking of you again, Christchurch. . .

. . . after yet more very sizeable earthquakes/aftershocks yesterday.  For those of you elsewhere in the world who may not have heard, the biggest two were magnitude 5.7 and 6.3 and the latter was only 6 km deep. I can only imagine how it must feel to live where the earth beneath your feet cannot be trusted from one minute to the next.

Sending much love and wishes for strength. . .

Arohanui and kia kaha.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Eat. . . Garlic naan bread and aloo gobhi curry

Freshly cooked garlic naan bread
Back in the day, I loved eating vegetable curries but had no clue how to go about making one. I knew that it was best to use a blend of spices rather than commercial curry powder, but had no idea where to begin. To be honest, the idea of combining all those Indian spices intimidated me and that froze me into inaction. Curries were a rare treat, made by someone else or bought from the local Indian restaurant. Then around 6 years ago, my lovely generous Indian work colleague ("R") offered to have some of us round to her house one night a week over the course of several weeks, to teach us how to cook authentic Indian dishes. I learnt so much, and can now cook a range of vegetarian Indian dishes confidently. But still naan bread was a mystery. Then for my birthday in January this year we had a potluck Indian feast with some friends (was originally going to be a whale-watching boat trip, but Sonny Jim broke his leg, which put that plan on hold!) The Wifie made some absolutely delicious naan bread, as well as a couple of curries for our shared dinner. The naan bread was amazingly good! Anyway, that gave me confidence to have a go myself and my first attempt is pictured above and below. It was surprisingly easy and delicious!
Naan bread cooking on the griddle, brushed with melted butter - yum!
 For once, I followed the recipe exactly as specified, and here it is: Naan bread recipe from Allrecipes.com We ate half the naan bread fresh with curry last week and froze the rest. I am pleased to report they froze very well and were almost as delicious when reheated. Sonny Jim proclaimed them better than bought ones!

This afternoon I decided to make Aloo Gobhi, which is a simple potato and cauliflower curry taught to me by "R" all those years ago. Here's how you do it:

Cut a whole cauliflower into small florets (save the stalks for soup?) and peel and chop 4-5 potatoes into small cubes. Heat a splash of oil in a big frying pan and add 2 inches grated ginger, a couple of teaspoons of coriander seeds, 2 tsps ground turmeric and 2tsps salt. Fry for a minute, then add the cauliflower and potato. Cook on a low heat.

Meanwhile, roast and crush the spices. In a small frying pan, dry roast 2 tsps whole coriander seeds, 1 tsp whole black peppercorns and 1 tsp cumin seeds.

Roughly crush these in a pestle and mortar.

Add the crushed spices to the cauliflower and potatoes. Cook for a while longer, then taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Garnish with fresh coriander if available (it wasn't!)

Bear in mind ALL quantities are approximate. This is supposed to be a dry curry, not a wet one with a sauce, but I often find the mixture starts to get too dry and sticks as it cooks. In that case, add a bit of ghee, butter, oil or water depending on what you have to hand and whether you are trying to keep the fat content down or not.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thought for Thursday - 2

"What would you dare to do, if you knew you could not fail?" (Unknown)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Love… my life!

Me in Paris on our 3 day honeymoon, in 2008.

This is just a little piece of thankfulness. This week I have been reflecting on how lucky I am, and feeling very thankful for it. I am filled with contentment, even though the ground beneath our feet doesn't feel as trustworthy as it once did. In some ways, what has happened in Christchurch has made me feel even more fortunate. Fortunate to have my little family and a weather-tight home, hot and cold water and a fully-functional sewerage system. Those things that most of us took for granted until very recently. Of course there are always dreams to be dreamed, and some people might say I don't have a flash car, a high-powered job or a fancy house. They would be right, but I feel no need for those things.

I have enough, no, an abundance, without any of those. . .

We have our own little family unit, small but very strong. I have a son, who is more amazing than I ever dreamed possible. He is the source of so much love and happiness, and I can't imagine life without him. I have the kindest wife imaginable, who loves me as I am. She is the butter on my bread and the jam on my toast! The one who picks me up when I stumble and encourages me when I doubt myself. I am so glad we found each other (even though at the start of our relationship, a certain teenager who lived with us for a while memorably told us "You two had to end up together. . . you were the last two left!" Bless her!) We have a dog, who is a constant source of unconditional love, exuberance, moulting hair and muddy paw prints. Sonny Jim got it right when he said that our family didn't feel complete until we got Frodo.

As well as a loving family far and near, I have wonderful friends. Some local, but most a world away geographically, if not emotionally. Once again I feel blessed. Some of these friendships have endured for more than two decades, and are amongst the most significant relationships of my life.

After switching employers, cutting my hours to allow more time with my son, and a complete change of emphasis within the same job title, I have a job which is fascinating and I really love doing. I get to work with babies/young children and their whānau & families in their own homes, which is a real privilege. I know I can make a difference, and that's a good feeling. I even get to do some work around breastfeeding, which is a real passion of mine. The post-grad study I am doing at the moment just makes me more certain that I made the right choice in changing jobs.

Our house may not be big or flash, but it's home. It is full of love and to me, that is far more important than how tidy it is, how much it is worth, or how well-kept the garden is!

So yes, I really love my little life. Life is good… and I realise just how lucky I am.

PS Just re-read this, and it seems to me that one of the main reasons I appreciate my life so much right now, is that there have been times, both as a teenager and as a young-ish adult, when life was not good. Not good at all, in fact it was decidedly unpleasant. But, isn't it the dark which makes us appreciate the light?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thought for Thursday

As I have heaps of quotes, poems, verses and suchlike squirrelled away in various notebooks, and I like to be reminded of them from time to time, I thought I might start a semi-regular Thursday blog post to share one with you. Here's the inaugural thought for Thursday - short, sweet and memorable:

"If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary, be not idle."

Samuel Johnson

That one was at the top of my list, as it has come to mind several times today, having had a very solitary and somewhat idle day. . . I shall endeavour to take heed of its warning and have a much more productive day tomorrow!