02 May 2015

Too. Much. Volunteering.

It seems I stopped blogging last October. I'm not apologising.

Last October I was elected as president of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexer's ACT Region branch, which also put me back on the national Council. And on the committee for organising the joint IPEd (editors) & ANZSI national conference. I'm also the graphic designer and web master for the conference. And in November I became half of ANZSI's web redevelopment team. And also became the ANZSI Newsletter Editor, as the previous one resigned suddenly.

So heaps of stuff has gone by the wayside as a result, including work on my next book, and blogging, just for starters. And a social life. And my self-care health routines. And other important stuff.

The liberating news is that most of these commitments are about to end. The glorious new website is about to launch (should be live in a few days), after roughly 800 hours of work by me and my wonderful colleague Ali — we've enjoyed the work, but it's been a lot of work.

The write | edit | index conference is happening next week. That one short sentence in no way sums up the amount of time, effort and energy the next week and this event are about to take! I'm doing photography, blogging and tweeting during the conference (as part of the small social media team), as well as giving a speech, chairing one session, and I'm involved in presenting two sessions. It'll be great, I'm sure of it, but also extremely exhausting. Not entirely sure I can cope.

At the conference we're voting to abolish local branches (dismantling the local committee structures, to make the groups easier to run), in a a major restructuring of the whole of ANZSI.

So by the end of next week, both the website and conference will be done — two huge projects. And in another 59 days hopefully (yes, I'm counting), I won't be on Council, or local branch president any more. With any luck, there's only one more local branch committee meeting, and one more Council meeting to go.

Which just leaves the newsletter editor's role, which I can cope with. And my new maximum number of committees? ZERO.

23 October 2014

Sweet & Sour Chicken

This tasty recipe is failsafe (low 'food chemical') and gluten-free. I hope you enjoy it!

Serves 4

  • 450g chicken breast fillet, sliced thinly
  • 2 Tbspns cornflour*
  • canola oil for frying
  • 1 choko, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 100g sliced bamboo shoots (tinned)
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 cup tinned pears, diced (reserve syrup from the tin)

  • ½ cup pear syrup (from tinned pears)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tbspns brown sugar
  • 1 Tbspn gin
  • 2 tspns cornflour
  • 1 ½ tspns citric acid
  • 1 ¼ tspns salt


1. Mix the sliced chicken with the cornflour. Heat a tablespoon or two of canola oil in a large frypan or wok. Fry half the chicken, until golden brown. Remove from pan, and set aside. Fry the second batch of chicken in the same way, adding a little extra oil if necessary, and set aside.

2. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl or measuring jug. Put the cornflour into the jug first, and just add a little water, whisking constantly. When this paste is smooth, add the remaining water, whisk, and then add the other ingredients.

3. Heat a little canola oil in the pan. Stir-fry the choko, spring onions, bamboo shoots and cabbage for a few minutes. Add the garlic, and fry for another 10-20 seconds. Return the chicken to the pan, stir well.

4. Add the sauce, and diced pears to the pan. Stir well, until sauce has boiled and thickened.

5. Serve with rice or rice noodles.

*cornflour = white cornstarch, not cornmeal or polenta

04 October 2014

New Garage Doom

Oh god, it's the garage AGAIN ... as usually happens when we move house, a bunch of stuff just gets dumped in the garage by everyone who's helping us move, and ourselves, as the move gets into the awful ending hours. And there it sits. And sits. And SITS. The question "Where is the ...." invariably gets answered with those dread words "In a box in the garage somewhere".

When we moved in March, we only unpacked the things we really wanted out, which means a fair few boxes are still unpacked. Upstairs is glorious — minimalist, sunny, uncluttered, and a delight to live in, I gotta say. Easy to keep clean, cos it's not full of stuff.

But. The minimalist in me is desperate to clear out the garage too. And we need to. House inspection coming up, and I'm just generally sick of the mess. So it's back to hours of cleaning, tidying, sorting, and culling. And to Freecycle, and Salvos, and recycling.

Some progress has been made —

The before photo is on top, and the 'after some hours of work' photo is underneath. No, I wasn't sure, either.

A major challenge, as ever, is that a lot of this isn't mine — it's my son's glassmaking gear as he's not allowed to use the wonderful tiled workshop area in the garage for his glasswork because the owners are annoyingly paranoid and ignored our reasons why it was safe  refused permission.

So that's all a mess, and unused (he is setting up a studio in an old caravan thingy out the front, but it's taking a while). And a lot of it is son's and dotter's shtuff. Endless shtuff. Or hubby's shtuff. 

Getting there  s l o w l y. And who knows, maybe one day we can actually *gasp* park the car in the garage.