So fluffy I could DIE!

my breadThat right there, my friends, is the result of blood, sweat and many, many tears.

That’s my first successful sourdough bread loaf, made from scratch with just flour, water, salt and the sourdough starter that was, yep, made by me.

Am I just a teensy bit proud that this loaf would not kill ducks if you threw it at them?

Why, yes. Yes I am.

Am I grateful that the boys didn’t seem to mind that some loaves required a chainsaw to cut through the crust and consumed all previous loaves?

Indeed.

Am I happy that it only took approximately eight weeks of persevering through making a loaf every week to finally get one that worked?

Damn straight.

Did I make EVERYONE who came into the house yesterday marvel at and admire my lovely, fluffy, delicious bread?

I really did.

Am I concerned that I don’t actually know what I did differently to get this loaf right and lay awake at night fearing I’ve reached the pinnacle of perfection and it’s all downhill from here?

Just a little …

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Memory Loss

Still-Alice-coverI forgot my mother’s birthday.

Well, technically, I didn’t forget it – I was just a whole month early for it. And when the mistake was pointed out to me (by my mother), it actually freaked me out.

I blame February’s 28 days for the mix-up but it should have registered that her birthday is just 8 days before my youngest son’s, not a whole month before.  It’s a semi-long and complicated story but the general idea is that I had two meetings in my calendar for the 16th of February and March and figured I could kill two birds with one stone by traveling to Brisbane early and spending time with Mum on the weekend for her birthday. Only thing is, the meeting is March is a teleconference and the one in Feb an onsite one. So in between all of that, I got a little mixed up.

But still …

It was a shocking moment when I realised my mistake. I was absolutely gobsmacked at my own stupidity. How could this happen? I’ve known my mum’s birth date for almost as long as I’ve known her! Am I losing my marbles? What is going on here?

There’s a movie out at the moment called “Still Alice” starring Julianne Moore. I haven’t seen it yet but I read the book by Lisa Genova a few years ago. It’s a brilliant yet terrifying read from the first person viewpoint of Dr Alice Howland, a noted linguistics professor at Columbia University who makes the devastating discovery that she has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  Everyone gets forgetful; loses keys; can’t remember someone telling them they were going somewhere etc. But it’s when she’s doing the same morning jog through the same streets she’s followed for years then suddenly coming to a stop in the middle of campus and not recognising anything that she realises there’s something more than simple forgetfulness going on.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to slowly lose yourself – but I think I had a taste of it the other day and I can safely say it is not a pleasant sensation.

I made jokes about it with the kids, asking for assurances that when I get to the point where I start forgetting to put my pants on and go wandering the neighbourhood, they’ll come and drag me back home and dress me.  Their response was along the lines of believing I should be free to do what I want and why stop me from entertaining everyone?

Little bastards …

 

 

The little things …

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I liked and shared a post on Facebook this morning called “Six reasons why you should read The Princess Bride“.  The original book by William Goldman (not the film adaptation) is so very witty, inventive and massively tongue in cheek.  I was introduced to it by my next door neighbour Helen.

She was the oldest of five kids and about 6-7 years older than me. She babysat us sometimes when we were on school holidays and had a great collection of interesting reads in the small bookcase in the room she shared with her younger sister.  I always think of Helen as my ‘dealer’, fostering a voracious appetite for reading, as well as possibly setting me on the long and winding path to a 20 year career in libraries.

On this particular day, I was sitting on the floor in her room, browsing through the titles when she reached over and pulled out one with a gorgeously hand-drawn picture of a beautiful blonde-haired woman on its cover and said, “Read this. It’s weird but funny. You’ll love it.”

As always, she was right. It was weird but really, really funny (and a little different to the movie – although this is not a movie bashing post!).

In Goldman’s telling, “The Princess Bride” is an epic work by Florinese author S. Morgenstern that Goldman’s father used to read to him as a young child. As an adult, he reads the story himself and discovers his father actually cut out large chunks of the story and only told “the good bits”. Sounds strange but it really does work.

Another literary classic Helen introduced me to was “The Hobbit”.  As usual, she picked it out for me and handed it over with the advice that I might find the language a bit hard going but I really should persevere because one day I will want to read “Lord of the Rings” and this little book with a dragon basking in a sea of gold on the front cover will set up the back story.

Helen also possessed the album Jeff Wayne’s musical version of “War of the Worlds“. Anyone remember that?  My clearest memory of Helen babysitting us consists of making and eating pancakes with lemon and sugar and my brother and I begging her to let us listen to ‘War of the Worlds’. We had to promise her that we wouldn’t have nightmares before she’d give in. Of course, we did have nightmares (I still can’t hear the musical yet creepy call of the martians’ “Ooohhllaaaa” without getting the shivers) but that was all part of the fun.

It’s been years since I last saw Helen. She grew up and left home then Mum and Dad moved house and the two families that had once lived so closely with kids in and out of each place lost touch for years at a time.

Although a couple of books and a musical record that was a little left-of-centre may seem like small things, they struck a chord and have stuck with me throughout my adulthood (I purchased ‘War of the Worlds’ on Google Play and listened to it whilst doing long haul on a bus through Europe last year. It still spooked me.)

And I have Helen to thank for introducing them to me.  I wonder if she knows that, in some small way, she is responsible for the woman I am today?

I guess the point of this whole thing is that every person that comes into your life has something to show you, even if at the time they may seem like such little things.

Signs from the Universe

pinnacles dk photography

courtesy of DK Photography

I woke from a vivid dream yesterday morning that left me slightly troubled and found me questioning where I was headed with all this graphic-design-in-the-comfort-of-shorts-and-tshirt-at-home malarky.

You see, sometimes it feels a little TOO comfortable. Too safe. Lots of time to do things like make bread, make my NIH’s lunch every day, get the washing done, have morning tea catch-ups, grocery shopping and keep the house in some semblance of order. I get interesting jobs but spaced out enough that I’m not having a coronary.  And in this day and age of hustle and bustle and high-octane stress … well, it feels a little wrong somehow.

So my dream had me sitting in a caravan talking to a guy I went to school with about living life to your fullest potential. I had sat next to this guy in our school’s version of “Home Room” for 5 years and, let’s be honest, had a major crush on him for roughly the same amount of time. Sadly, he died last year – far too early and from last photos, looking far too much like my dad’s last days when cancer had found it’s mark. A cruel and untimely death that seems unfair, especially since he was only my age.

In the dream, he was questioning me on whether I was really pushing myself to achieve. Was I growing and developing my skills? Was I reaching my full potential? Would I still be pottering (my brain coughs politely and inserts ‘pretending’ there) with being a graphic designer?  Should I be looking for a ‘traditional’ job with a company or organisation in a design-related area that would improve my skills/develop my experience/pay me more money?

Now, graphic designer jobs are few and far between where I live in rural Central Queensland. But I do know that there are a couple of jobs I know I could do and have a pretty good chance of scoring with a previous employer. However …

  • I work on contract for an association that requires me to travel to Brisbane once every 2-3 months and I’d have to ask permission for time off
  • I would have to ask permission to take holidays and we’ve already planned one biggish one and a couple of mini’s (can you tell I hate having to ask for permission?)
  • I still have 3 units to finish of my Diploma and trying to do that with full time work and still doing jobs on the side would be crazy
  • I know the current situation at this particular workplace and let’s just say it’s a rather noxious environment at the moment with nil morale and leave it at that
  • What about my morning tea catch-ups and card games?
  • I’d have to get dressed every day
  • And be on time to work

As you can see, the list is a little on the weak side …

I’d more or less convinced myself by yesterday afternoon that all I needed to do was pull my finger out, start being a grown up and actually print some business cards and start a Facebook page to advertise locally.  And that’s about the time that the Universe decided to cement the deal and drop me a very clear and concise message.

I received an emailed remittance advice for an invoice I’d resent to this particular workplace because it was way overdue. Great … except that they’d paid it to another person with the same name as me. I mean, I can understand initial confusion with the name but my address and bank details are on the invoice. You would think that would be checked – I certainly used to when I did it – but no.

So after my expletives were spent, I took a deep breath and thanked the Universe for letting me know that I am on the right path, old ground and past workplaces should be left where they lie and as long as you’re managing to pay the bills, there’s nothing wrong with having time to perfect the art of baking bread.