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Archive for the 'Potpourri' Category

Heavy Breathing

The idea for this post came to me in the wee hours of this morning. I woke up all of a sudden to the musical sound of my husband’s snoring. Now, we’ve been married for a while, and I have him well trained. I handle this snoring business in two ways.

1. I’ll put my hand on hubby’s shoulder and say in a firm voice, “Turn on your side.” Like a well-trained seal, he turns over on his side without even waking and the snoring stops. I go back to sleep and all is well in the world.

2. Hubby continues to snore and I’m tired. I get grumpy and that’s when I wade in with a well-placed elbow. It’s a take-no-prisoners jab, designed to shock a snoring husband awake. If I’ve got to suffer and be awake then so does he!

This morning I chose method number one and he did his seal flop. The snoring stopped and I went back to sleep. I’m lucky since this doesn’t happen very often.

The noise of snoring is caused by parts of the nose and throat – in particular, the soft palate – vibrating as a person breathes in and out. At night, the muscles that help keep your airways open relax and become floppy. This causes the airways to narrow and vibrate more, making snoring more likely. Alcohol, colds and allergies, being overweight, smoking and sleeping on your back can all contribute to snoring. Evidently more than 3.5 million people snore in Britain. That’s a lot of noise. I imagine the figures are similar in the US and New Zealand. I can only wonder what a spying alien might think about all the racket!

In the interests of transparency, I’d better add that I snore whenever I have a cold. As I tell hubby, I have to breathe!

Ways to treat snoring include not drinking alcohol before bed, maintaining a good weight for you, sleeping on your side, raising the head of the bed and using a humidifier. These days you can also purchase special nasal strips, which are said to help.

Do you have people who snore in your household? How do you cope?

Note: Just a reminder about the Bitten by Books – Naughty Nights of Christmas contest. There are lots of great books up for grabs. I’m on Night 12. Don’t delay because the contest will end very soon!

King’s Love Letters

I read in the New Zealand Herald today that some of King Henry VIII’s love letters, along with thousands of other Tudor and Elizabethan documents, go online this month for public viewing.

The love letters were written by the king in 1527 to the woman who became his second wife. He was still married to Catherine of Aragon at the time. He writes to Anne: “I beg to know expressly your intention touching the love between us. Necessity compels me to obtain this answer, having been more than a year wounded by the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail or find a place in your affection.”

Here’s the link. It wasn’t live when I went to look, but they say it will go live very soon.

Birds and Bees

I’ve been going to post this for ages. It’s an ad shot in Auckland (you’ll see quick glimpses of Sky Tower and the waterfront from Mission Bay) and it’s very cute. It never fails to make me laugh.

There’s a new version of the ad playing at the moment with the daughter asking her mother where she came from. The above version flashes through the mother’s head, then she turns to her daughter and says, “Ask your father.” That makes me laugh, too. I looked for it on Youtube but it’s a bit too new at the moment.

Well, it’s back to the writing cave for me. Things are going well. If you feel inclined, tell me who told you about the birds and bees…

Oldies But Goodies

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I went to town. Of course, I couldn’t resist visiting Whitcoulls. (the store I mentioned here)

While I was there, I purchased season two and three of Deadwood (my love of Deadwood and several photos of the town are here).

The shop assistant and I started talking about the Deadwood series and I told her how Mr. Munro and I had originally watched the first program of series one and were horrified by the swearing. I said how we’d visited Deadwood and decided we’d try to watch the series again. Obviously she didn’t need to know we’d fallen in love with the series this time – she could work that out for herself! But we started talking about all the old Western shows that are starting to come out on DVD. Shows like Bonanza, Petticoat Junction and Daniel Boone.

My father loved Westerns. He still does, and if Daniel Boone was on we had an early dinner then all sat down to watch it as a family. Another assistant joined the conversation and we started talking about Fess Parker who starred in Daniel Boone. She said she’d seen him on TV recently, and despite his advanced age, the man was still a hunk.

This is my long-winded way of asking what shows you enjoyed during your childhood. I liked cartoons and still do with The Flintstones and The Jetsons being some of my favorites. Doctor Who, and the daleks in particular, used to scare me silly, and Lost in Space wasn’t far behind in the scary stakes. What can I say? I’m a big wimp!

What shows do you consider oldies but goodies? And for you Doctor Who fans out there – who do you think they’ll cast as the new doctor?

Plain Wrong.

I went to my local town today to post parcels and do a few other things. A couple of the stores have Christimas trees in the windows and are in full-out Christimas advertising mode. We also have a few Christmas adverts on TV. No doubt the first of many to come.

I think it’s plain wrong to think about Christmas in early November. The year is going quickly enough as it is.

Am I the only one who thinks this way? Which date do you think Christmas promotions should officially start?

Pumpkins and Kitchen Gadgets

I promised Gabriele a pumpkin soup recipe. There are lots of variations of pumpkin soup. I make a vegetarian version and leave out the bacon. I replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

knob of butter and a little olice oil
1 onion chopped
3 – 4 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons mild curry paste (I use curry powder)
3 – 4 rashers of bacon, rind removed and chopped
1/2 cup buttercup pumpkin pieces, peeled and seeded
5 cups chicken stock or 4 cups stock and 1 of water
light seasoning of salt and fresh ground black pepper
coconut cream to garnish (I use plain greek yoghurt)
fresh herbs such as coriander or thyme for garnish

Place the butter and oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until softened with a gentle heat. Add curry paste and when fragrant (allow about 30 seconds) add the chopped bacon and pumpkin pieces.

Constantly turn the pumpkin to avoid catching. Add stock and cook until the pumpkin softens. Once cooked process with a kitchen whizz until smooth. Season and garnish with coconut cream and fresh herbs.

Note – this soup always tastes better the next day so make it in advance if possible.

And in totally random news – I saw an ad for some new pots. The knobs come off the pot lids. The handles also come off and this allows for easy stacking in cupboards and also the dishwasher. They also have these nifty plastic lids so you can stick them in the fridge. They also come in frypans. I saw some in our local kitchen soup. Man, I’m in love. I’m lusting after these pots, and unfortunately, they’re expensive. I’m not big on kitchen gadgets, preferring to do most things by hand, but I really want these pots!

Do you like kitchen gadgets? Kitchenware shops?

Handbag Security

This might seem a random topic to blog about, but last week, not far from where I live, a woman was killed during a handbag robbery. Most women carry their lives in their handbag. I know I’m guilty of carrying way more stuff than I need. I thought a refresher of some commonsense rules wouldn’t go astray.

Here are a few things we can do to keep both our possessions and ourselves safe.

1. Be aware of your surroundings. When exiting your car in a carpark look to see who is around.

2. Walk with confidence and display positive body language.

3. Avoid walking in badly lit or isolated areas, especially if you’re alone.

4. Keep your bag close. Zip it shut and be wary of anyone who tries to distract you. Don’t leave your bag unattended. e.g. in a supermarket trolley.

5. Keep your car door locked while driving, and avoid leaving valuable items in your car when you leave it, if possible. Secure valuable items in the boot (trunk) before arriving at your destination.

6. Have your keys in your hand before you reach your vehicle. Secure your handbag first before your shopping.

7. Watch your handbags while in restaurants, public toilets. If you’re at a club and dancing have someone you know look after your bag. I’ve done a lot of traveling and I know how quick thieves can be. When I’m traveling I have my hand on my bag at all times. Sitting on the seat beside you is not a good place to keep your bag.

8. Keep your bag in front of you or in your hand while you’re at the bank or a ticket counter.

If you have any other suggestions please let me know.

A Potager Garden

When we first moved to our current house the section was bare, and the soil consisted mostly of clay. After throwing around some ideas we decided to design a potager garden.

A potager is French and it’s a raised bed garden, normally for vegetables and herbs. Hubby built three box squares out of timber and filled them with good quality soil. We made a decorative path between them so it’s easy to plant, water and harvest and not long ago, Mr. Munro planted a hedge of shelter trees because it seems to be windy where we live.

Mr. Munro spends hours out in the garden and periodically, I have to go out an inspect his latest improvements and crops. This year we’ve had fresh potatoes, lettuce, zucchini, red onions, leeks, green beans, basil, radishes, beetroot and the tomatoes are starting to ripen. It’s so handy just wandering out to the garden to pick whatever vegetables we’ve decided to have for dinner.

Here are some photos of Mr. Munro’s garden:

Mr. Munro's garden

Mr. Munro's garden

Mr. Munro's garden

I have to confess I’m a bit tired of zucchini but I’m really enjoying the green beans and can’t wait for the tomatoes to ripen so I can make fresh tomato sauce to have with pasta. Do you grow your own vegetables? What do you grow? And if you don’t have a garden, what is your favorite vegetable to eat?

The Bog Man

I was fascinated by this story and the photos in my National Geographic newsletter today. It’s about bodies discovered in Denmark’s bogs, most of whom seem to have been sacrifices. Check out the photo of the man with the battle hairstyle and the one with the red hair. (They think the bog has made the man’s hair turn bright red)

This is the link here