Monday, 7 May 2018

just the way I like it







Monday evening, the end of a long weekend. It was a good one. It started with my Birthday on Saturday, which I celebrated in style, by doing exactly what I wanted to do. Which is absolutely nothing useful. I opened presents, blew out a candle on my cake, went for a long dog walk with friends, came home for a waffle breakfast made by Annie, read my book, then read my book some more, played with my 700 English paper piecing hexagons, read some more, enjoyed a G&T followed by dinner and yet more reading. Dinner was beef Stroganoff with easy cook rice, an old childhood favourite. We never have easy cook rice, I don't normally like the way this rice separates into single grains the fall of the fork like peas but in my mind, beef Stroganoff must be enjoyed with this type of rice. I am a child of the 1970s after all. I also chatted with my old friend Ursula, which is always a highlight. She is planning to visit in August and I am very much looking forward to this.

Sunday, we spent all day pottering around, getting ready for a big BBQ with friends. I made delicious salads, one a bulgur wheat tomato salad with tons of mint, parsley and lots of spices, topped with pomegranate seeds. The other was a cucumber and radish salad with an orange blossom dressing. Richard took care of everything else. We had burgers specially made for us by Richard's friend Stevie. They are the best and they are quite possibly the biggest burgers one can imagine. We also grilled halloumi vegetable kebabs, which are just delicious. Our friends started trickling in from 3:30. The weather was in my favour, we opened our bifold doors up completely, and sat in the garden until late. We had the fire bowl going to keep warm, and I brought all my quilts outside for a extra cosiness. I laughed more than I laughed during the past three months and all the grumpiness that has been weighing down my heart fell of my shoulders. It was so good to be surrounded by friends. I had not admitted to myself just how grumpy I had felt for a long time.

I have a bag full of presents that I'll be able to enjoy for a good long while, among them books, scented candles, rainbow trainers and a set of beautiful bamboo bowls. One of the books is a recipe book for fermented food. Soon glass jars full of burping cabbage will be adorning our windowsill. While flicking through the pages, I remembered that once upon a time, I was the proud owner of a kefir thingy, a community of yeast and bacteria. It looked like a translucent and very much alive little cauliflower and seeing it in the fridge, fermenting away happily, must have given my mother the heebie-jeebies. Anyway, I think I may want to get another one of those tiny wobbly cauliflowers.

I went to bed a happy woman. I also woke up a happy woman on Monday, save in the knowledge that I didn't need to go to work. I got up to take the milk in early as we had forgotten to put out the cool box the night before and I didn't want the milk to go off. Ok, that was a fib, the cool box was used to store beer and wine for the party. We took Jack, the boys and Annie up the Whangie for a slightly more challenging walk than usual. The Whangie is a bizarre rock formation in the Kilpatrick Hills, not far from Glasgow. The views are amazing, facing Loch Lomond and the Campsies. Jack loved it, as did we. There was some grumbling along the way but not too much. Lots of other people had the same idea but we were quite early and the path was still negotiable. It was less muddy than usual. Jack jumped in a bog and looked like the bog monster with short wonky legs. I tested my new binoculars, which Richard gave me for my Birthday. They are quite amazing, I could probably count the peas on my neighbours dinner plate if I wanted to. I spotted some birds that I was not instantly familiar with. One kind looked like a grey wagtail but without the long tail. The other kind might have been a lark of one kind or another. It is rather vexing because Google won't find me a match for the first bird, it seems to be absent from both my bird ID books, too.

Finally, I bought a sofa. I have been agonising over this sofa for weeks now, the colour of the cover that is. Richard and I went to sofa.com a while back and chose a sofa style we liked. It was easy, there was exactly one that we both liked. Sofa.com is a great shop btw, should you need a sofa. There is knowledgeable staff that doesn't follow you around the shop and a great variety of sofas and dozens of blanket sized pieces of fabrics that can be draped over the sofas to see how they look with different covers. We got proper nice coffee and tested a great many sofas while we were there. Richard found a book which he read on one sofa while I tested some more. Choosing a cover was far more difficult. The choice was always going to be mine, I care more than Richard. I really wanted a dusty pink one but the existence of a grubby dog and equally grubby children put a stop to this. I settled for a dark grey wool cover, soft, elegant and understated I think and definitely more forgiving. I am looking forward to the delivery in six weeks time. Someone needs to fell a beech tree first somewhere, build the frame and cover it with comfy foam and fabric. Meanwhile, I shall contemplate the making of some cushions, colourful of course and cheerful, too.

Tomorrow, I am going to meet my new colleagues. I have been moved to a different department, along with my MSc programme and office belongings. I am quite happy with this because it means moving back to the other campus, which is surrounded by countryside. I am also happy to actually have people to work with and bounce ideas off. Lastly, I am happy because everybody there takes their dogs to work and I am hoping to take Jack on the days that he is not out with his walker. When I visited last week, it was dog walk time: some eight dogs raced past me out of the building into the grounds for a chase around and playtime. It looked so much fun for them.

The kids are off for another day. Lucky them!

I hope your long (or normal) weekend was as happy as mine. Thanks for stopping by, it is good to see you. x

22 comments:

  1. Happy birthday! It sounds like the perfect weekend with some very happy memories with friends and family. Maybe a gathering of friends will shift my grumpiness too :) Enjoy your new workplace, it sounds lovely! We aren't allowed dogs on campus at all where I work, which I very much resent as the main reason we don't have one ;) have a lovely week x

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  2. Happy Birthday and happy days indeed. You sound like a different lady. Mind you, don't we all, after a Bank holiday weekend of friendship, fun and sunshine? I'm certainly sharing in your joy and zest for life. How great it that to be able to take dogs to work, I want to work there!
    Have a wonderful week
    Wren x

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  3. Really glad you had a great birthday weekend full of fun things. Sounds like work has turned a corner too. Looking forward to hearing about your fermenting escapades. B x

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  4. Happy birthday! So happy you are feeling more cheerful, and I hope it stays!

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  5. Happy Birthday to you, Christina! It sounds as if you enjoyed lovely celebrations. Your birthday dinner with friends and family sounds wonderful. Love the sound of your new sofa. How nice to be able to take your dog to work with you. Enjoy your new job.

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  6. Such a lovely happy post Christina and so pleased you had a happy weekend. Belated birthday greetings to you xx

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  7. what a lovely happy post, I'm so glad you had a good birthday --your salads sound amazing - were they from a cook book? I hope the new job goes well.

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  8. Happy Birthday, Christina...and by your delightful account it was happy indeed! I so admire the way you share your life with us. The boys triumphant climb is fun to see as well :-) I truly am smiling at you as I type. xxxxxxxx

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  9. Happy, happy birthday and a long weekend too - it sounded like perfection all round!

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  10. Sounds like the perfect weekend and birthday to me Christina. I hope today goes well in the new office and that you soon settle in. It would be lovely to bring one of the dogs to work but I'm not quite sure how much work I would actually achieve if I did.

    Mitzi x

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  11. What a fantastic weekend, I'm glad you had a good birthday and a couple of other nice days, they really sound brilliant. I like fermenting things, and I have kefir on the go all the time, I'm convinced it's really good for the gut and the immune system. Kimchi is a brilliant thing as well, I always have some of that about the place. I'll be interested to see what you try. I'm very envious of your new sofa. Mine is a very sad old thing, but I daren't get a new one - dog, boys etc. I did go wild and get a couple of new cushions the other day which have made things a bit better. The others were an absolute disgrace, Bertie had pretty much dismantled them. Hope you have a good week. CJ xx

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  12. Belated birthday wishes. Sounds like a wonderful weekend and appears to have lifted your spirits. Hope all goes well with your office move and that Jack makes some new four legged friends easily. We are in need of two new armchairs but they are so comfortable we are reluctant to let them go. We did think about getting them recovered but when we got a quote sadly it was cheaper to buy new. I am tempted to have a go myself, thinking what have I got to lose.

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  13. What a fine climbing adventure the boys had.

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  14. Happy birthday and it sounds like you had a wonderful one! We got a new couch cover for our couch, couldn't justify a new couch. Love the style, but hate the color so I'm hoping to crochet an afghan to cover it up.
    Your new office sounds wonderful.

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  15. Happy birthday, Christina! It sounds like you have had a wonderful few days. I'm so glad. I'm struck by how big the little boys are getting. They remind me so much of my husband's only sibling, who passed away due to an accident when he was a teenager. He had bright red hair and freckles and a very similar look to your boys. I never knew him, have only seen photos of him. I know exactly what you mean about the rice. I don't cook what we call "instant" rice very often either, but I do like to put it in soups, and it's convenient for the kids' dinner on our at-home Saturday date night, when I make a simple meal for them to eat earlier in the evening. My mother only ever cooked that kind of rice, so it's the one I associate with certain meals too, mostly what she called "meat patties," which were the same mixture as her meatballs, only made into patties and baked in the oven with tomato sauce. The rice was for sopping up the sauce. Hope you're having a good week!

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  16. Belated Happy Birthday wishes, Christina, and thanks for sharing the details of your celebration. However, I hope that you plan to celebrate your birthday for the entire year and not just a single day. I tell this to everyone, whether it's a birthday or anniversary -- make the celebration last as it only comes around once! Your day with family and friends was a great start and the presents sounded lovely as well.

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  17. Happy birthday! I’m glad you had a wonderful weekend, the weather was gorgeous.

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  18. A belated Happy Birthday from me. And good luck with the new job. Or new location at least. Wish I could take my dog to work! Xx

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  19. *H*A*P*P*Y* * *B*I*R*T*H*D*A*Y*!*!*!* to you! It sounds like a wonderful party and you are obviously very well loved as a friend, wife and mother. Your new job and taking the dog to work sounds so nice! We did have a nice weekend, a big celebration, I just blogged about it so feel free to drop by and see.

    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  20. Ah just great to hear you this happy. Long may it last through the warmer months. Many happy returns for your birthday from your pal Jo xxxx

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  21. Happy Belated Birthday! Sounds like a wonderful way to spend it.

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  22. You birthday celebrations sound just perfect, I am so glad you were appropriately spoiled, you should be. Wishing you a fantastic year with your family and your new position.

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx