If home is where the heart is then I have two homes. One with my family and one with some of the best friends ever.
I did a quick trip “home” with Miss8 and Master2 for 24 hours filled with belly laughs, champagne, beach time, champagne, fun and did I mention champagne? It was a whirlwind trip but I got to check out a friends new library (can’t be called a study anymore when it’s wall to wall bookshelves!), make my famous bean dip, laugh like a lunatic, admire the local curlews, stay up far too late and have loads of fun.
My bean dip is always well received and it’s so easy to make. Why don’t you give it a go?
Drain, rinse and blitz up four cans of kidney beans. Add a jar of salsa and two packets of taco seasoning.
Layer the bean mix with a drained can of corn kernels, three tomatoes roughly diced, one medium onion diced, globs (technical term, that one!) of salsa and sour cream and plenty of grated cheese.
Top with grated cheese and chopped shallots and put in a 180 degree oven for 15 minutes or so. You want the dip to be heated and the cheese to be bubbly and golden.
I serve this with three large bags of corn chips… it makes a lot of dip!
Not that I’m counting or anything, right? It’s one month til one of my favourite days of the year. Yep, better than Easter, Christmas and maybe even my birthday… it’s one month until the opening day of the Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show!
For the past few years this has been a day to not only try (and buy!) lots of wines and drool over amazing food but also a day to spend with my best friend as we do the things we do best – eat, drink, laugh, find bargains, drink, catch up, chat to people… and have a wine or two. We lead such busy lives and, sadly, no longer live as close as we used to but this day is something we both look forward to. We catch up and laugh and thoroughly enjoy ourselves!
This year we’re going bigger and better with VIP tickets. I’m celebrating a, ahem, significant birthday and I’m not a big “party in my honour” kind of chick. Instead we’ll have the VIP tix and a (wine) barrel load of laughs. We get to see Maggie Beer and eat canapés made by Matt Moran (or at least inspired by him… puh-leeze, birthday gods, let them involve lamb!) and drink wine with whoever is game enough to join our raucous laughter.
Oh! And we get to order our yearly case (can I be greedy and order two?) of our favourite O’Leary Walker wines. Drat, now I’ve told you all the secret of Hurtle I’d better hope they have some set aside for us…
It’s long been a family joke that Esmerelda the Magical Cleaning Fairy is missing in action and desperately needed. I’m not a big fan of cleaning… in fact I’m not a fan of cleaning at all. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not wallowing in 28 complex layers of filth here, but if I can avoid it then I will. Unfortunately for me it is now Spring and my Facebook feed is absolutely littered with posts about spring cleaning by my dear, darling and demented friends.
Fortunately for me I don’t do guilt well… and I am the best procrastinator around. That means that if I did ever get the guilts about my lack of spring cleaning I would manage to put it off until Spring has sprung out the window and we’re heading into summer and then it’s just too hot to get stuck into it. After all, who wants to be standing there on a 37 degree day with 98% humidity (and no air conditioning!) and decide that is the perfect day to sugar soap the walls? Not me!
So if I’ve ignored spring cleaning and summer cleaning then it’s autumn… but the joys of living in a place where summer is hot and humid means that autumn is still fantastic weather… like summer, but you aren’t breathing through a thick wet blanket… or like summer, but you don’t start sweating the instant you turn that cool shower off. Since we’ve just spent three months covered in sweat (or lightly shining if you’re one of those people who don’t sweat but just glow… I’m not, but I pretend!) there’s no way you want to get right into heavy duty cleaning and start sweating again.
Then it’s winter which means technically that it’s cold and wet and you can’t wash walls because they might not dry. Never mind that here we had the mildest of winters to the point where we ate outside most nights and quite often wandered around in bare feet (on tiles!) and in singlet tops at 3am. Can’t risk those walls not drying!
See, I just managed to talk myself out of spring cleaning for another year… yay! Of course, if Esmerelda the Cleaning Fairy is around and wants to visit and work her magic I won’t say no. I’ll even point out the bits I don’t get to as often – I’m helpful like that. But I have a sneaking suspicion that either someone else is holding her ransom, I’ve sat on her and squished her completely or she’s a figment of my imagination.
Relentlessly cheerful. Annoyingly optimistic. Living in some hippy-dippy happyland. Always playing the Glad Game.
Yep, that’s what I’ve been told over the years – many times. And I have to admit it’s true. I do tend to search for the brighter side of everything. Yes, there have been hard times and difficult conversations and issues and… and… stuff. But I much prefer to laugh than cry – unless I’m crying from laughter! – and would prefer to smile than frown. The only way I can do that is be constantly admiring the silver lining in every cloud or looking for the rainbows after the storm. Negativity exhausts me and so that’s why I’m a star at The Glad Game.
Sure, there are things in my life that are difficult – finances are tight, we have a child with multiple issues (severe autism, intellectual impairment, global development delay and so on), there are the usual life pressures. But I can make the choice to be brooding over those things or I can take a breath, put a smile on my face and look for the beauty and joy in the world. I may not be rich financially but I am rich in friends, experiences and opportunities. One of my kids has issues but we live in a country where there is help available. Life can be tough but we live in a country where I’m not going to get shot just because I’m walking to the shop to get milk or bread or fruit… and all those things are easily available to me.
Isn’t it funny how books stay with you? Who’d have thought as an eight or nine year old reading Pollyanna for the first time that it would have such an impact? Words, they’re far more long lasting than you would ever dare to dream. Of course, that’s a two way sword in itself… sometimes the funny little comment you make has a way of cutting far too close to the bone, but then there are times where someone reminds you of something you said as a throwaway comment a few years earlier and it turns out they used that to help them in some way. Sometimes the biggest impact you can have on someone is when you least expect it.
The world can be a harsh, scary, sad and maddening place to be at times. There are some horrific things going on, not just overseas but in our own backyards. I can’t make sense of that, to be honest. It is just so far beyond my realm of comprehension. A friend posted a pic on Facebook today that said “Be a nice human.” Simple, to the point and within reach of everyone. Here’s hoping it compels someone to do something kind for another person today.
If you keep getting the same message over and over, delivered in different ways, do you ignore it or do you pay attention? Normally I wait for it to jump out in front of me, hand raised like Diana Ross and The Supremes doing their best in silver sequins as they belt out “Stop!” Other times I try to take the hint a little earlier, this is one of those times.
I wouldn’t consider myself a blog type person, but the past week has had four different people say to me “What’s your blog address? I want to read more.” When I’ve said I don’t have one they’ve actually looked disappointed – go figure! – and insisted that I should write a blog, I could write a blog, I must write a blog. I hate disappointing people so figured what the hell, I’ll give it a go.
There was only one stumbling block, and it’s not the thought of writing. I quite like writing… I do some social media for my husband (more on that later), I’ve written an article or two previously and I write fabulous letters of compliment or complaint to various businesses. I also write the kind of Facebook statuses that usually have that little blue “See more” bit because I’ve got a bit carried away… which explains why I’m shocking at Twitter, I can’t limit my use of characters. I’m also rather prone to ellipses… oops!
Anyway, the stumbling block – a blog name. Yep, that’s what was holding me up. I couldn’t for the life of me think of one so I did the only sane and reasonable thing I could think of, I asked my best friend to come up with one. If you don’t like it, blame her. If you do like it then I guess we’d better give her credit.
So, now I have the blog name I guess I have to blog. *Iol*