Monday, July 27, 2015

winter weekend at summerhill

This gang. We went away with them for a long weekend to a beach house in a reserve overlooking a wild and desolate piece of coast.

Yes. It was as idyllic as it sounds.

Some of us got lost on the way there (and by some I mean them) and arrived just as darkness fell and the rain began, but that didn't put us off lighting a braai fire in a wheelbarrow and pushing it around the outside of the house as the winds changed direction and the storm grew.
Ribs, roast veg, immaculate wine, lots of laughter to kick off the weekend and drown out the rain, and the next day dawned sunny and chill.

This time we lit a fire in the designated pit outside, moved some comfy seating out and settled in for the day.


Surrounded by beauty we talked a lot of shit, drank a lot of wine, ate some spectacular meals (how's this for a hangover-busting breakfast?!), had some epic croquet battles and just ... relaxed.

There was nobody there but us, and nowhere to be but there.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

the very best of friends (vol.5)

I have a friend who turns 40 today. She's a keeper.

We met when we were much younger, much thinner, getting up at dawn to shoot local movies and getting up to no good when we weren't doing that.

Now we're married matrons, mothers, upstanding members of society - but just as mischievous.

This girl can make you a gin cocktail which'll ignite pure happiness in your soul. She can call you out on your prejudice and give you the path to redemption in one sentence. She has practised infinite forgiveness within her own family and will not tolerate cruelty in any form - man or beast.
This girl can make you laugh til you fear for your knickers, spin a tune to a packed dance floor that makes you want to never sit still.
She can flip your perspective and double your happiness.

And the cherry on top? Her daughter is besties with my daughter, they have a friendship which is tolerant and kind and supportive and fun. They laugh 'til I fear for their knickers and they take flights of fancy which foretell of adventures and travels and growings together for many years.

My hope for my daughters is always that they'll have true girl friends. My hope for myself is that their friends will come from families who have taught them their worth, and their responsibilities living in this world.
In this case we've certainly found both.

AND, she bakes!

A few years back we made a most magnificent birthday cake for this lovely lady ...

... for my 40th she made a mountain of these - for all the lunching ladies and more to take home to my brood (the recipe is here and just reading through it is fun, but my baker gal had some tweaks which just next-leveled the hell out of these things:
'I doubled the recipe and used 2 tubs of marscapone and one of creme fraiche instead of cream cheese. I stuck bits of Lindt 85% into the cupcakes just before baking.  I also made a ganache with a tub of double thick cream and 65 percent Lindt chocolate which I did as a first layer of icing, then layered the marscapone on top. ')
Magnificent boobie cakes!

So yesterday afternoon, whilst our girls played happily together and she put in extra hours saving the world so she could take her birthday off today, I thought I should ensure the old gal had some breakfast cake on her birthday morning.
And there was really only one choice of flavour ....

Not the best pic, and it was all rather rushed towards the end as I raced the clock, and my convection fan stopped working so the outside got a little dark as I readjusted the cooking time but ... just like our friendship this cake is sticky and boozy and honest and fun.

Happy birthday darlene!

Monday, July 13, 2015

the grit

A friend told me my blog has been looking a little squeaky-clean of late. Enviable family holidays away, gorgeous sunny birthday parties in the middle of winter, daughters who read all day and stay out of my hair, birthday lunches with lovely ladies ... yeah, it's been a wonderful few months ... but we all know life ain't like that all the time right?

I just don't really like to moan, don't like to come into this space with the blaah. Not that I haven't in the past, but the thing is, what do I want a record of?
The warm 'n fuzzy moments of my life - the big events, the everyday love, the heart-stopping moments of ordinary awe and immense gratitude?

Or, do I want to remember how in the last few weeks I've also ...
... had two jobs canceled (turns out they couldn't afford the full ass) and all the related financial stresses
.... been back and forth to the vet 5 times with my beloved Lego. She's had a big skin sarcoma biopsied, then removed, then re-stiched, then re-bandaged and re-medicated. Her little brother was responsible for the second round of stitches and bandages. Resulting eventually in this:

... managed The Cone: rearranged furniture, placated a seriously unhappy pup, had my shins smashed into over and over, kept the food bowl filled just so so he could use it and any number of times been called on to extricate him from some cone/bush/chair jam, once involving dog shit
... tackled our first case of head-lice in the family (not bad for 8 years of parenting huh?), which involved copious research, laundry, tumble-drying EVERYTHING, quarantining 2 black bags of soft toys, spray, comb, shampoo, check and repeat. Over and over and over and over and over.
... managed my annual seasonal asthma issues, lots of wheezing and discomfort and fretting at 1am about dying of emphysema until I get myself to the doc and hand over a lot of money in exchange for the welcome news that it's really not that bad, and the right (expensive) meds to manage it. Boring.

So ja, I could've blogged about all that for some perspective right? Life is not all hoorahs and polished apples.
But we know that, you know that, and I know that despite there being some challenges and tedious days of soul-destroying adulthood, my life is pretty damn fine.

It's more than fine, it's mine - and it's the best life I could be living right now.

Monday, July 06, 2015

polishing apples

A dear friend came for lunch yesterday.

We were chatting in the kitchen when she glanced over and asked, 'Did you polish your apples?'
We both burst into giggles.

Because yes, late the previous evening on my way to bed, after I'd let the dogs out and turned off lights and set the dishwasher running, I'd stood in my kitchen with cold toes and grainy eyeballs, and polished my apples.
Because that's the kind of housewife I am.

I polished my apples because having them shiny has made me happy every time I've looked at them since. I polished my apples to carve out a small corner of beauty and perfection in a kitchen which is totally not that in any other way.
I chose to spend 3 minutes polishing my apples because it was worth it. For me.

If time is a luxury, then spending my time in the manner in which I alone choose to is the greatest luxury I can have.
My friend totally got that, husband rolled his eyes at us from the sink, a child ran in and grabbed an apple. The fruit bowl twinkled.
For a moment all was right with the world.