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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Not at Home at the Mo

I have had to take a short trip and will have more stories when I return. No photos though! Doh I forgot the camera!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lets Talk About Migraines

I very rarely ever get migraines, bad headaches yes but migraines I reckon I could count on two hands in my entire life. My eldest daughter on the other hand has suffered with them since she was only months old. She has followed the same pattern since she was a baby; intense pain, darkened room, tries a dose of something to relieve but soon vomits it up and has the next dose and only then does she slip into a deep sleep that reminds me of my friend after an epileptic seizure. Over the years we have tried everything and so have many doctors. We can find no trigger or cure as such.
Well I had a horrid one the other day with blurred vision and nausea and I thought maybe a calming bath was what I needed. Just as I had stepped in the phone rang....I missed it. Just as I stepped back in my mobile rang, it was my eldest ringing for a chat. When I told her I was in the bath and what I was doing she told me to get out immediately!
The latest word she has had from a helpful pharmacist is to take off a jumper. You may not feel hot but your temperature will be slightly elevated and cooling the body helps. Well that makes sense because we always resorted to cool wet face cloths for her forehead. "So get out of that bath" she said. She has had more success with aspirin based analgesics than paracetamol based ones and the pharmacist recommended they be taken with caffeine to "push it through the gut quicker"! (If you click on the link below it is explained in medical terms)
Well I'll be! I thought caffeine would be a big steer clear but maybe it's the old adage of things in moderation. This is by no means a recommendation about drugs etc and as I work for a nephrologist, I am reluctant to advocate aspirin carte blanche but as this is a fairly common condition, I was hoping to get people talking about their experiences and tried and tested tales. There are many who mis-use the term "migraine" (second only to the mis-use of the diagnosis "flu"...come on people surely you have a cold and there is no shame in being sick with a common cold, it's hell). So lets share.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Knit With Me 23

Eiffel Tower Stitch

I haven't been at my peak this last week and I couldn't even pick up the needles but I must be on the mend now....I find this stitch endearing and so appropriate for the French Fever that seems to be pervading homewares fashions at the moment.
This pattern introduces M1 which means Make 1 stitch. You do this by taking the thread over or around the needle. Very simple. This is how a lot of lace patterns are made too; making stitches and knitting them together.
In a way they also look like lots of little Xmas trees don't they. I'm thinking that this could be a useful stitch for a holiday vest for our Northern Hemisphere friends. For the Southern Hemisphere friends, what about Xmas tree decorations. I wonder what Lee from Killiecrankie Farm will make of this pattern? Not only is she a talent with hook and wool but she is also in the Christmas Tree business AND with a craft store on the side while raising a young family etc etc....

Eiffel Tower Stitch
multiples of 8 so I'm doing 48.

Row 1: *M1 (wool round needle to the front), P2 tog, P6*
Row 2, 4 & 6: *K7, P1*
Row 3, 5 & 7: *K1, P7*
Row 8 & 16: P
Row 9: *P4, M1, P2tog, P2*
Row 10, 12 & 14: *K3, P1, K4*
Row 11, 13 & 15: *P4, K1, P3*

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Prices of Spices

I love the spices. I love to cook Indian, Moroccan, Middle Eastern and Asian. I always make up my own spice mixes and I have a stock standard curry powder I make to my own taste when I am doing a meat or potato curry that is suitable for a tomato or milk base.
The easiest way I have found to use my spices is from an Indian Spice Tin called a Masala Dabba from which I can spoon my spices by the teaspoonful. The large supermarkets and grocery stores tend to sell spices in packets of about 25g - 50g so about 1-3 tabs. Not enough for this black duck so I tend to buy my spices from a specialty store like a spice shop where they are sold in about 60g bags or even better from my local wholefoods store where I can have as many scoops as I want into a packet. For example I generally buy about 100g of ground spice at a time but at least three times that amount of ground turmeric. The spice has a high turn over in the shops I go to so I know it's as fresh as I can get. BUT....I hadn't really taken much notice of the prices because how do you compare apples to oranges? It's not a quick "at a glance" price check. So I bothered today and I was AMAZED!

Spice $/kg   Wholefood shop   Spice Shop   Lge Disc Store

turmeric      $15.30              $25.00            $50.00
cumin          $24.00              $40.00            $69.00
coriander     $15.00              $45.00            $53.00
cinnamon     $15.90              $40.00            $70.00
mustard seeds $13.60           $20.00            $48.00
ginger           $17.40             $45.00            $76.00
garam masala $24.00           $50.00             $84.00
grd hot          $21.20            $45.00            $65.00

I am so surprised at the differences in the prices! For argument sake, even buying say 5 tablespoons of each spice could give you a price difference of  
                      $14.60            $31.00          $51.50

Even taking into account packaging, I mean COME ON!!!    Are you serious???   Maybe it's worth taking a look in your local area at what you are paying. Do you feel a bit ripped off by the large multi-national supposedly discount chain store that is slowly taking out all the competition?

My personal favourite curry powder mix is about 1 tabs of turmeric, 1 teas each of ground cumin, coriander, garam masala, chilli powder and ground ginger, half teas of cinnamon and quarter teas of ground cloves. Then depending on my mood additions of curry leaves and mustard seeds are common too. Remember to cook the spices off in ghee/oil/butter to release the full flavours. I'm nowhere near Indian (though I did have three Indian boyfriends) and I did not learn this at my mother's knee, it's purely what I personally like. So use it as a guide and find your own unique blend that becomes the "favourite family curry".

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Letter for Kate

happy homemaker in the making

Recently Kate and I have exchanged a couple of emails and the last reply became quite lengthy and I thought I would open the circle wider. Kate is currently working in a big city but looking forward to a simpler lifestyle in a smaller environment that allows her to raise wonderful children. She is learning lots of skills in anticipation and it makes my heart rejoice.

Dear Kate,

.....I am lucky to work part time now but I really do think I spend too much time on the computer and could be DOING more! You have probably noticed I don't blog every day and I do think you have to find balance. There are quite a few bloggers I have discovered who have significant illness which prevents them from working (in the conventional sense). They have perfected the homemaker art and I think their blogging is a wonderful way for them to share and be a part of a community. It's good for them but also lucky for us.

I really admire the goals you are striving for. Craig and I often comment on the differences between children raised by their parents and those raised institutionally while their parents are working. Many people say they both NEED to work, but is that REALLY the case? Really? If it is, then what are the options to change that circumstance? At one point in my life, my husband and I were earning a significant amount of money, but because of our work life imbalance, we were spending huge amounts on child care, petrol, bought clothing, home cleaning and dinners out because we were so exhausted and it was our best option for getting vegetables in our diet! We were working more but spending more. Our quality of life was in fact worse.

I have come through all the raising the family and working full time stuff as one of the next generation women of the world and do you know what? I feel dudded a bit. Work is good, it's important and my children needed to see that example but I am disappointed that we didn't celebrate the homemaker at this time (80's and 90's). I am so pleased that motherhood and homemaking is increasingly being accepted as worthwhile and valuable. There is no shame in nominating one person who earns outside the home and the one who stays home to enable that. I was sold the idea back then that it was subservient but I now know it's nurturing. Of course this only works if you have a like minded partner who appreciates the care you take of them, the home and the children (plus you have to live simply and turn your back on that bs consumerism). If the nurturing and appreciation is flowing right then you find, that life, love and relationships are back in balance in a more "old-fashioned" traditional role model way. Feminism has brought us a long way and now given us choice but did it dictate the choice?

I was recently at a charity function and when asked what I did, I replied "homemaker" as my primary role and there was a moment of uncomfortable silence. When I expanded further and invited comment, the man I was conversing with visibly melted and his posture became so positive and he opened up and told me how much he admired women and their role. In the safety of our circle he was able to say how much he missed women in their truer sense. He was a professional and a world-wide lecturer and leader in his field and many of his colleagues are women. Their choice was not in dispute, he was merely expressing regret that it had become socially unacceptable not to have a paying career.

Are my musings and experience merely one womans'? I doubt it.
Is it something you have to discover for yourself in your own time? Maybe.
What I will tell you is to have the courage to stick with your convictions and I applaud them. You should expect uncomfortable silences when you tell people in professional circles that you are a mother but one day we will be truly equal. For now the biggest accomplishment forward in such circumstances will be not having to justify your choice or to defend your inteligence by trotting out your degree.
Your children will thankfully be of the generation that accepts all womens' choices as being equal and will applaud the homemaker every bit as much as the Prime Minister.
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