27 March 2009

I can see!

This little pup is likely to be ours, she is white with black patches, and opened her eyes on Wednesday! She's doubled her birth weight in 2 weeks, which is really good too. So cute! We'll be able to visit her in person in 3 weeks. And then we can take the photos ;)

As of this afternoon I'm on holidays! Well, I'll probably have to write a couple crosswords for my syndicator, and do a few business chores in the next month, but otherwise I'm off work, no books, no projects! Yay! Even did some screen printing with Dotter this arvo for funsies (she added a Mac computer 'on' symbol to this top). Note totally dead lawn. No significant rain for several months does that ...

The house inspection went well today, it was good to meet the owners (a depressingly young couple with two young kids ... and here we are in our mid-40s, still renting, sigh). Still, they had a good look around, and we could present them with our 'wish list' - pave some of the yard near the family room so it's actually usable - our entire 'lawn of weeds' is dead anyway [highly unlikely]; a screen door for the family room [likely, but we've been asking for this to be fixed for 18 months, get a wriggle on!]; more tam bark for the front garden to cover the so chic exposed black plastic and weeds [hopeful]. Our real estate agent was nice - she said this inspection counted as a regular inspection, so we don't need another one for 6 months, yay!

Son is out of work again (the bakery offered him a cleaning job, 3 hours a day with 9am starts - he lasted 5 days) ... it's all too hard, he gets overwhelmed, and physically 'shuts down'. It's clear that the Asperger's presents bigger hurdles than we were aware of. The past two months have certainly provided a lot more evidence and data - even if I feel like I've aged 10 years in that time! It's been pretty awful and frustrating for all concerned, and I feel very badly about letting the bakery down, as they bent over backwards for him, really like him, and desperately needed the help.

We're getting some help (yes, really) from Centrelink, in getting him some financial support and into the Disability Employment Network. He has more than enough official 'points of disability' to qualify easily. A provider within DEN can offer lifetime support, in helping him get ready for a job, finding an appropriate job for him, and helping him stay in it. I think it's what he needs. Onwards and upwards hopefully.

23 March 2009

Pink Puppy

This is a Mitered Baby Jacket by Phazelia (Rav link only). For a friend ... a great way to use up bits and pieces of sock yarn!

Progress on the Pink Clapotis. This is for a friend who I've known since high school - since 1977. Her sister, brother-in-law, and their 3 children perished in the Victorian bushfires last month. I know this won't bring her family back, but hopefully it will provide a little comfort...

And finally a gratuitous puppy piccie (get used to it, there will be more!). This is the little black and white spotted chihuahua - 1 week old. Her eyes should be open in the next week or so.

22 March 2009

Cake in a Mug

My friend Honeygo Beasley sent me this recipe, so of course I had to try it out! The only equipment you need is a large mug (volume ~400 ml capacity), a Tablespoon measure, and something to stir with (I used a plastic mini spatula).

4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (microwave safe)

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.

Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.

Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (a bit shorter if you have a more powerful oven).

The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed.
Be warned, the mug will be very hot, use a pot mitt!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired - you may need to loosen the cake with a thin knife or spatula.

EAT ! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?
Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

My verdict - I think I cooked it 10-15 seconds too long, as it was a bit dry - I prefer to aim for a moist puddingy texture. I'll experiment with additions to the mixture in future attempts, too, a teaspoon of jam would make it moister. But all in all - yes, it was super fast and definitely yummy, with potential to be even yummier!

I've finally finished the Activity Mania book! So apart from needing to cast my eye over the final pages as they come in (illustrated and laid out by their designers), and write some of my regular crosswords in advance, I'm on holidays! Hurrah! And for my first week? Cleaning the house and tidying the garden because the owners of our (rented) house will be in town next Friday and want to 'have a look over the place' because they haven't seen it for 2 years. They have reassured us that this is not preliminary to selling, though, which is a relief. But still - an unofficial house inspection - sigh.

Okay, off you go and bake your own little chocolate cake! Let me know how it turns out!

15 March 2009


Kenya gave birth to FIVE puppies yesterday. Four girls (two black, one cream, and one white with black spots) and one boy (the grey one). Eeeee! Exciting!

We can't visit until they're around 6 weeks old, but we will get frequent photo updates. At that time the breeder will decide which two girls she'll keep, and then we can choose OUR pup.

And check out Dotter sans hair - she went the whole way at the World's Greatest Shave yesterday! I'm so very proud of her.

If you'd like to sponsor her, even just a little, there's still a week or so. Note new nose piercing - added to her grand total of 5 others (ears (3), eyebrow and bellybutton) - all done this summer (apart from 1 ear).

Today is our 24th wedding anniversary! I'm retrospectively shocked that we got married when we were 20 ... ! Despite the downs, it's mostly been ups, on balance, and it's still good :)

We're heading off to the National Portrait Gallery soon to check out the new building near the lake, and have a leisurely lunch (neither of us is frightfully well at the moment, but we should be able to manage this much). We couldn't get in to fancy pants afternoon tea at the Hyatt - they're book out a month in advance, it turns out!

13 March 2009

Sublime Victorian Lace

Yes, it's name tells it all ... destined to be a Clapotis (am I the last knitter in the world to make one of these?!) ...

Here's the finished Victorian Sampler Spring Scarf, which I posted to my aunt yesterday ... it blocked out nicely.

The baker's apprenticeship hasn't worked out. Asperger's raises it's difficult head yet again. Back to the drawing board.

07 March 2009

A free loaf every day

Last weekend I ventured to The Canberra Show - first time I've been in over 10 years! It was a thrill to see the prize-winning offerings of Bells, Georgie, and QuiltingMick!

Look who came along for the ride ... yes, young Lulu.

She nabbed the pinwheel I bought for my uncle ... she's hidden it somewhere, but I'm sure I can torture her ask her nicely for it back, so I can post it to Uncle Toes in his isolation room in hospital.

This afternoon we visited the Joviva chihuahuas, including the mummy chi (Kenya) of our new puppy, who was looking very heavily pregnant and uncomfortable.

Here's my son being totally taken in by young Roxie, the 6 month old puppy who stole our hearts. She belongs to the breeder's granddaughter, so we weren't allowed to steal her!

And in exciting news just to hand - my son starts this next Tuesday (at 4 am), at our local Baker's Delight bakery. The graphic design course didn't work out, formal education really doesn't work for him, so we're hoping this will suit him better. Fingers crossed!

It'll be us driving him to work at 4am (the bakery is only 1.5 km from our home), but he's well on the way to getting his driver's licence, so hopefully this will only be for a month or two. As he gets more experienced he'll be allowed to start work earlier (3am, then 2am, and eventually 1 am).

It'll be a shock for him after being unemployed for 2 years, but we're hoping the hours (he's a natural night owl), and the work (he's good with his hands, and has always enjoyed baking), and the social aspect (just a few nice blokes to work with, and not having to deal with serving customers) will suit him and the challenges his Asperger's presents. After 4 years of apprenticeship he'll be a qualified baker, and able to get work just about anywhere - no shortage of jobs. Plus he gets a free loaf of fresh bread every day (which he seems disinclined to share with us!).