24 May 2012

Soup days...

I'm not sure about you, but sickness means soup time in our house. It was the same when I was a kid, and even now the first thing my folks in Australia think of if I let on that we're under the weather is how they can post me a batch of my step-dad's patented flu killer, aka chicken soup. (Interestingly when I was in Hong Kong I was told that if you follow the guidelines of Chinese medicine you absolutely should not eat chicken soup if you're sick, because it strengthens the bad guys.)

But for us, soup represents healing and warmth and care. It also makes a great camping-out-in-the-hospital meal because all you need is a good thermos and some crusty bread and you've got a tasty home cooked meal! So, with the husband being ill I've been souping it up big time. 

I made Taste's chicken and sweetcorn soup for the first time, and it was tasty and ridiculously easy. I also made Stephanie Alexander's delicious and surprisingly creamy (for a soup that has no dairy products) leek and potato soup. And this week I made a beef, barley and leek soup based on another ridiculously easy recipe, this time from Smitten Kitchen. 

Does sick mean soup in your world? Any favourite recipes you can share?

In other news, we had to cancel our trip to Australia, which was a bit sad but rather sensible considering the circumstances. And not so bad as we've decided to fly the step-sons over to see us instead (how great that we are able to do that!). 

And it looks like we'll be hanging out with the nurses for a few more days yet, but that's okay because the nurses are lovely. 

And we've been watching so many DVDs, to try and keep boredom at bay. Including the new version of V which I though was great (if you like sci fi, check it out). Plus re-watching old favourites like Boston Legal, Best in Show, Flushed Away and Charlie Wilson's War.

And, in related news, I've now got the Words With Friends and Draw Something apps - so start a game with me if you like (I'm 'ejorpin').

And yesterday a repairman set our fridge on fire, which caused me to freak out a bit and have a little cry (I find sometimes everything is a bit more bearable after a little cry, don't you?). And our lovely gardener gave me a hug and told me not to worry, which was pretty sweet of her. 

And today has been much better than yesterday, thank goodness!

22 May 2012

Hospital days...

Well, the husband is on the mend - hooray! So hopefully our hospital days won't last for too much longer (especially as we have a plane to catch on Thursday night, for a quick trip to Australia to see the step-sons and hopefully some whales!). Thanks for all your well wishes, they have been very much appreciated.

18 May 2012

Death by Doxie : Elfi and the Sick Bed

Those of you that follow my pointless ramblings on Twitter will know that the past week or so have been a bit sick in our household - the husband managed to get himself a dose of pneumonia. (I could write a whole other post about people who pretend they are not sick and don't go to the doctor and make their wives sit up worrying all night, debating whether they should call an ambulance or not, but that's for another day...). 

Anyway, the husband has been been under strict orders to stay in bed for seven days, so to stop him from completely losing his mind with boredom we've set up a sick bed in the lounge room. Now at least he has a change of scenery and easy access to Seinfeld: The Complete Series

Of course Elfi thinks that the bed was set up for her and, being the mountain goat that she is, has had quite a jolly time exploring and nesting. We've lifted Ferdi up on it a few times so that he wouldn't feel too left out. I think they will be quite sad when the bed goes back to it's proper place.

16 May 2012

Rock + Purl Guest Post : Outside My Window

Throughout 2012 Ruth from Rock + Purl is having a year of 'blogstars'! A diverse group of guest bloggers are writing posts around a common monthly theme, and my post just went live. It's on the theme 'outside my window' and it has some musings about the changing views outside our windows and the life of an expat. 

Click here to have a read of my post, and click here to see all of the blogstar posts so far.

14 May 2012

Kickstarter is Ace : Part Two

Back in this post I mentioned that Kickstarter is ace because not only do you get to play a role in making great ideas become a reality, you also get things in the mail! Really very cool things too! Here's a bunch of things that have landed in my mailbox over the past few months, all from Kickstarter projects I've backed in the past half year or so. 

First up is the very ace 'Intergalactiphant' from Bunny With A Toolbelt's Elephabet project. He is every bit as great in real life as you'd think. The rather exciting news is that there's an Arfabet project kicking off soon, and I imagine there'll be a fair few doxies up for grabs!

I love card games, so Creatures grabbed my eye - I haven't played it yet but it looks like a lot of fun and I really love the drawings and design, it has a kind of retro look don't you think? The aim of the game is to create creatures with your cards and battle it out in a survival of the fittest type scenario. 

And lastly, I think I mentioned before that I'm a sucker for a documentary and Death in Arizona seemed an incredibly poignant project to back. I knew nothing about director Tim Dirdamal at the time, but his video for the project - which documents a year of heart break in Bolivia - was beautiful, bleak and captivating. Part of the reward for this project is a set of striking block prints made by Tim's mother, they are quite stunning.

09 May 2012

Collecting Colour : May is Purple

Purple is my Mum's favourite colour (could have something to do with it's links to feminism, perhaps?). Whenever we were stumped for a gift for her we'd fall back on something purple (a brooch, a scarf, a bit of pottery) and it was always a winner (either that or she's a really great actor). 

I kind of get why people would love purple, but personally I do not feel passionately either way about it. I do like seeing it in full bloom (hydrangeas anyone?), and it can look kind of nice on fingers and toes. But I don't have much of it in my house or my wardrobe or my kitchen cupboard. I was a bit surprised by how much stuff I had for this collection actually! 

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Every month through 2012 I'll be 'collecting colour', and you can join in too!  Link up below, and/or add your photo to the Flickr group here.  And go here to get all the information you need.  

07 May 2012

Everyday Objects : Vintage Napkins

With a visit from one of my sisters-in-law and her family, last xmas was the first time in years that there was more than just the five of us around the festive table. And, as any sane person would, I saw this as reason to spend days hours trawling Etsy in search of the perfect set of vintage napkins for the occasion. 

At the time I was a little obsessed with a moody colour scheme of greys and blues, with a bright pop of yellow (see this). Not exactly festive but...well, I have no answer. 

The napkins of awesome above - in all their polka-dotty, daisy goodness - are from Ligonberries and Moss. The slightly more subdued floral numbers below are from Retro Rubbish, an Etsy shop that never fails to tempt me with it's fun retro loveliness.

Everyday Objects is all about celebrating the design in our day to day lives.  Recognising those little things that bring a bit of happiness to our day through beautiful, thoughtful design or by reminding us of happy times gone by.  See all the posts here.

05 May 2012

Mail Art to Jessica Gowling

About the same time I put this package together I also sent off some snail mail to Jessica Gowling from Nature's My Friend. I have already received a lightening quick reply from her, so I'm playing a bit of catch up with this post! 

The package I put together was meant to be a little burst of yellow sunshine. It included: an 'Aloha' notecard, a map notecard, a postcard of this photo, stamps, stickers and various ephemera including a clipping of a tropical fish and a mountain lion swap card.

ps. If you haven't seen Jessica's gorgeous nature inspired work before you should absolutely have a look at her latest graphite drawings of 'antlered animals' - wonderful stuff!

02 May 2012

Pills! And other American tales...

Although we ended up having a fabulous time in the US, it's safe to say that America and I did not get off on the right foot this visit. You see, just about the moment we touched down at McCarran International Airport I realised I'd forgotten to pack my trusty pills - the daily ones that help regulate my pesky hormones and stop me getting pregnant. Oops. 

If I was in Hong Kong or Thailand I'd just stroll to the nearest pharmacy (and there'd likely be one on the next street corner) and pick up a pack to tide me over. But I was in America, a place where reproductive health is a bit of a touchy topic at the moment (see also 'war on women'). 

Straight off the plane I did a quick Google to get the lay of the land (so to speak) and it left me fearing poking and prodding and testing. Chats with two different yet equally sceptical/unfriendly/judgemental concierges (both female) didn't make me feel any more comfortable with the whole situation. 

After many dead ends I was finally referred to the hotel doctor, who berated me for - among other things - laughing on the phone (he clearly didn't think I was taking my reproductive health seriously enough). Did I mention I'd just gotten off a long haul flight? And hadn't eaten? And was possibly delirious? 

Anyway, long story short, there was a knight in shining armour in the end. Or, more accurately, a Walgreens pharmicist in a lab coat. I may have cried. She may have been awesome. No! She WAS awesome. Another Google to find the active ingredients in my usual meds, a search of the shelves to find a match, a quick call to the grumpy doc to get the okay and voila! Crisis over. 

The lesson - ladies, when you travel to America don't forget your pill. And, by the way, I noticed our hotel mini bar was well stocked with condoms. I know there are health issues associated with oral contraception so it's a bit more complicated but at the (emotionally fraught) time it did make me think - if you want control over your reproductive health, best not to have lady parts. 

[Speaking of lady parts, if you're easily offended by naked lady bits don't try too hard to figure out what is lying on the immaculate Vegas lawn in the photo below...]
The lovely Walgreens pharmacist reaffirmed my faith in America - just when it seemed every man and his dog wanted to have a say in my life, she made me think that maybe it really is a society built around convenience, choice and freedom. 

She also reaffirmed my love of Walgreens. I am obsessed with the place. I think I visited almost everyday. I bought five different mascaras, lingered longingly in the snack aisle and stocked up on all kinds of wonderful over-the-counter medication (Nyqil! Robitussin! The pretty blue one that helps me get over jet lag!). I realise this makes me sound like some kind of pill popping freak. I'm not, I promise. It's just that the strongest over-the-counter medicine you can get in Korea is a hangover cure that tastes like bee urine (or so I'm told), and this is after they've relaxed the regulations.

Other American things: 

- At one of the Vegas bars where we were having a pre-dinner drink or three, there was a DJ who was Goldmember! Helmet hair, stilted dance moves and all. And he played Gotye. It was pretty great. (On second thoughts, it would have been even greater if he was actually wearing roller skates...) 

- There are three main differences between a reasonably priced hotel room in Vegas and an outlandishly priced one: double glazing or lack thereof, the size of the bathroom, and the level of smoke stench. We had a reasonably priced one on this visit.

- Vegas is possibly the best place on earth to be jet lagged. Wide awake at 4 in the morning? Go say hi to the cleaners on the casino floor, grab a vodka and orange juice and maybe tuck into a plate of hotcakes (American breakfasts! Oh my!).

- I have a serious, serious mac 'n' cheese problem. I go weak at the knees anytime I see a bubbling mass of pasta with that gooey, creamy sauce. Y to the um.

- The outer fringes of Orlando suck. It's an un-walkable soulless wasteland with not even one token 'gator napping by the roadside to brighten things up. But the shopping is quite enjoyable. And did I mention the mac 'n' cheese? (Orlandians - please don't send hate mail. I'm sure there are nice bits. Somewhere.)