Thursday, October 29, 2009

The other woman

Last night as Marianna was falling asleep she sat up and said "Mum, when will we visit Nury?".

She often talks and asks about her birthmum but this time it shook me up a little. There was something about her tone and expression which made me wobble. Usually I'm very cool and unemotional about these conversations. I've always thought I am comfortable with the idea of my children's birthmothers. They are part of our family, whichever way I want to emotionally deal with them.

But last night I felt an emotional tug I hadn't experienced before. I can't quite put my finger on it; what it was and why it turned up last night, unannounced.

He's not the Messiah...

I am wondering today if anyone who voted for KRudd and his Labour Party believing them to be the great white hope/s still clings to any bit of optimism.

If this current refugee situation doesn't crystilise their total sameness and lack of real political balls as compared to the much maligned previous Liberal government than I wonder what will make people wake up.

It's pretty obvious I've never been a fan of Labour, though to be honest that doesn't make me a big supporter of the opposition, I just am by default. I find that there is little real definition in politics. The humanitarian and social issues which are of concern to me don't have much of a voice amongst either side of politics. So I generally loathe all politicans and what the game of politics turns people into.

As I was driving into work today I was just thinking that if some people thought that KRudd was going to offer some sort of "softer", possibly more "human/e" alternative, than they must be mightily disappointed right now. I think I had some small, vague hope too. But the refugee ping pong game continues. Whichever way you look at things, what's happening to those people right now can not be viewed as a humanitarian solution. I have conflicting feelings about refugees, especially the ones we are watching on our news right now, but that topic needs it's own post at another time. All I know is I feel sad and helpless when I see those women clutching their children. How would it feel to be that desperate? I truly can't imagine but in my gut I know that in a parallel universe that could be me and my children.

Boy with a Barbie

I'm listening to Ben Lee's The Rebirth of Venus quite a bit lately.

I really love Boy with a Barbie. Right now I would say it's my favourite song off the album. [Is album an old fashioned word? What do you young people call these things now?]

Not only does it have a wonderful 80s-ish electronica beat but I love the sentiment.

Speaking of sentiment, I Love Pop Music, is also a gorgeous little song. While he does his best to ruin this one for me by throwing in reference to the Global Warming Hoax and also featuring the highly annoying Missy Higgins (who, I have to admit, sounds rather good on this song) I can't help but love it and it's message.

As always, Ben manages to put together songs which make me feel good and reflect my natural optimism about life. There's nothing better than seat bopping to one of Ben Lee's CDs in the car on a Saturday morning.

Try to tell that to the young people of today and they won't believe you...

Do you remember the Four Yorkshiremen skit? God, I love that skit. Classic and brilliant Monty Python.

A couple of week's ago on Richard Glover's Thank God It's Friday, a comedy current affairs hour which can be found on Sydney 702 Local Radio on Friday afternoons, Richard asked some of his guests to do a modern re-write of the skit and Subby Valentine came up with an absolute ripper.

If you click HERE and then fast forward to 13:45 minutes into the podcast you will go directly to the bit which made laugh so much I almost burst a gasket. Otherwise listen to the whole program, I find them a weekly treat and download each week's show via iTunes.

Friday, October 23, 2009

One thing I noticed while watching the tribute to Don Lane last night was how REAL the stars looked way back when.

They actually had crooked, discoloured teeth, wrinkles, pores, frizzy hair. You couldn't possibly let a person like that on television these days, they'd scare people.

Alan Alda's teeth were positively yellow, shock horror!

The bits of interviews they showed were so entertaining. People used to be able to say and talk about anything. They were able to let "themselves" through and actually interact with their interviewer in a real way.

Imagine that. Twenty, thirty, forty years ago people had to have some ability, some semblence of talent to be called entertainers. They had to have some personality (as opposed to being a personality, which these days is often an oxymoron).

They were able to take part in a television interview without having every question wrangled and edited by their 23 media coaches and image consultants.

Watching the show last night made me realise how different the media is these days, how homogonised and diluted and controlled. The stars are trotted around to promote their films, tv shows, books with well rehearsed and pre-prepared amusing quips which show nothing of themselves. They are botoxed and blow dried within an inch of their lives, so that we see a glossy, airbrushed version of a human being.

I'm definitely one for progress (you can't stop it you know) but I really wonder if we're going in the right direction (like NSW, side joke for JB, sorry) with all this bs. What do you think?

P.S. Rest in peace Don Lane, you really seemed like a top bloke.

P.P.S Rest in peace Pop (Big Jay's grandad). He passed away yesterday, exactly two weeks after Nan.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Since I love a MEME (but enough about you, let's talk about ME!) I'm taking up Kath's Food Fetish meme challange.

1) What's your #1 comfort food?

HOT CHIPS. Without a doubt. There's nothing I crave more when I'm tired and/or stressed than a mountain of hot chips, preferrably the chunky crunchy ones with extra chicken salt (how do they make salt out of chicken?).

2) If you were stranded on a desert island what 5 foods would you want to have with you to survive on?

A never ending supply of above mentioned hot chips, prawns, oysters (natural only), avocado and watermelon.

3) What are your signature dishes (what dishes are you known for making)?

1) Pavlova Roll (most people who come to our place for summer bbqs are subjected to some version of my pav roll - strawberries inside, chocolate shavings on top or mango inside, strawberries on top or peaches inside, toasted almonds on top, the possibilities are endless).

2) Chocolate Buttermilk Cake (not sure if I'm "known for it" but it something I make regularly and it's yummy).

3) Banana Muffins (I am constantly using up old bananas by making muffins, usually they include some frozen raspberries and pecans and are made with yoghurt or buttermilk, so they are reasonably healthy. I tend to take a batch to the office most weeks.)

4) Everything in the fridge winter soup (I have been working on an always changing meat and veg winter soup which Big Jay loves. It involves throwing in whatever cooked meat is floating about - e.g. leftover roast beef or lamb - with a huge amount of vegies, a tin of tomatoes, stock and a handful of barley or small pasta, some herbs, chili and whatever else looks appealing at the time.)

5) Asian-style Wombok Salad (a gorgeous Asian coleslaw type salad made with thinly sliced Wombok, lots of other salad veg, toasted cashews, sometimes those crunchy noodle things and a dressing made with soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon or lime juice, a little olive or macadamia nut oil. This even works as a main meal with the addition of some marinated, cooked, sliced chicken thigh fillets.)

4) It's Friday night you don't know what to cook, you opt for?

If I don't want to cook on a Friday night it's generally take away - Thai or (the newly discovered) Crust Pizza, occasionally a bbq chook and chips. Otherwise, bacon and eggs - you can't beat this breakfast classic for a quick and yummy dinner.

5) What's your ultimate food weakness?

The previously mentioned hot chips. I love fried chicken too (why are the good things always the bad things?) and have been known to be partial to KFC's Hot & Spicy (love/hate relationship really).

6) What food can you soooo not eat?

Generally I would eat, or try, pretty much anything. I used to hate celery but now will eat it (cooked) happily. I'm not a fan of peas, but will eat them if they are put in front of me. Tend to stay away from the usual suspects like tripe and haven't tried the chicken's feet at yum cha yet (but would do so if someone else was game). Hate, hate, hate the buckwheat my mum would semi-regularly present as a sidedish when I was growing up; just the thought of it makes me feel ill.

7) You need a drink, you grab a ...

Love a Caffeine Free Diet Coke with ice and slice of lemon (or normal Diet Coke if it's around lunch time, otherwise I won't sleep that night). Love an icy cold glass of water. Love a really good chocolate milkshake or banana smoothie (like Big Jay ordered at Cucina Viscontini, our local Italian deli/cafe, last Sunday).

8) What's the most decadent dish you've ever had?

The most decadent meal I've ever had was an anniversary dinner with Big Jay at Quay restaurant a couple of years ago. They do a degustation set menu and every dish was amazing, both visually and taste-fully (??). It was a super expensive meal but worth every cent. We had a table overlooking the Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay (my favourite view in the world). I'll never forget that night or that meal.

9) What's your favourite type of food?

Not exactly sure how to answer that. Seafood, as a "type" of food would be my overall favourite. However, I would choose yum cha is my favourite "style" of food. Since most yum cha dishes contain seafood the two things do overlap, I guess.

10) Favourite dish?

Mud crab, stir fried with ginger and shallots, or maybe a good, not too spicy Singapore stir fried crab. I love crab. It's something I so rarely eat but I really love it, especially when it's fresh and beautifully cooked (i.e. not overcooked). Very fond memories of trying different varieties of crab at Joe's Crab Shack in LA, both times we visited in 2000 and 2005.

Got to run now, Part 2 coming up later on today.

Friday, October 16, 2009

While we're talking about when good chefs go bad let's talk about that arsehole Neil Perry.

I almost choked on my tea yesterday when I was forwarded this little nugget of comedy gold.

I particularly like how Perry says:

"I'm 52 and I'm over customers that don't understand what we do".

This is particularly hilarious because when my sister sent Perry an email to complain about the disgraceful evening she had there a few years ago his reply included a comment about how they "didn't understand what he was trying to do". I don't know Neil, I think we're all clear on what you're trying to do: be a pretentious wanker. No, really, we're all on the same page there.


"She didn't know how to complain and that turned me into a person who didn't know how to respond."

Don't you love it! Obviously the woman hadn't read The Official Guide to Complaining by HRH Neil Perry. How dare she assume she can just go about complaining about poor food and bad service when she doesn't know how to do it properly. The gall!

One thing is clear from this article and from my sister's experience, Neil Perry is a pompous ass who doesn't understand that the customers who pay his inflated menu prices are always right, even when he might not necessarily agree with them. How about a little humility you egotistical prick?
Let's talk about what's making my blood boil right now.

You know I'm a MasterChef fan. I enjoy the original English version. I enjoyed the first series of the Oz version (though I have issues with the production styling, which annoys the bejesus out of me). Now I'm enjoying the Celebrity version (bring on Ryan O'Keefe, COME ON).

What I'm hating is the Coles ads featuring MC judge (and apparently top class restauranteur) George Calombaris. You just know the man has never stepped foot in a Coles and it is so very disingenuous of him to spruik the less than wonderful "fresh" food sold by Coles.

Don't get me wrong. I shop at Coles, it's a decent enough supermarket. But I only get some fruit and veg there if no other option exists. Most of the time their produce is limp and tired and just plain yuck. Don't get me started on the state of their lettuce selection.

So for someone like George, who to me represents the best of what food has to offer, to stand up for what Coles sells us is really insulting.

The by-line for the ads and on the Coles website is "Take a fresh look at Fresh with George Calombaris" by I think it should be "We're taking the piss and so is George Calombaris".
I don't get the whole Andre Rieu thing. I really, really don't get it. At all. In any way.

But this. THIS. This is a whole new level of bizarro as far as I am concerned.

If I was offered free tickets to see this spectacle of horror or the choice of having an anvil dropped on my foot I would choose the later. After all physical injuries will heal, but the mental scars can stay with you forever.
Why does hearing Tiny Dancer always make me want to cry?

Do you remember the scene from Almost Famous, where they are all singing Tiny Dancer on the tour bus? Hurts me just to think about it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I think we may have created a monster.

We took the kids to see Wicked a couple of weeks ago. It was fantastic. I'm not a huge fan of that sort of music (Rocky Horror is more my style) but the story and the costumes and set were amazing.

Anyway, we bought the kids the soundtrack and I downloaded it onto their iPods. They have both been listening to it constantly.

Marianna is right into it. She walks around singing "No-one loves THE WICKED!!!!" at the top of her lungs. It cracks me up!
Conversation with Marianna:

Me: "Marianna do you want lasagne for dinner?"

M: "NO!"

Me: "I can make you some eggs if you like."

M: "I want eggs!"

Me: "If you'd like me to cook you some eggs can you please say: "Mum, I'd like some eggs please." "

M: "Mum, I'd like eggs."

Me: "You need to say please. That's the polite thing to do."

M: "I can't."

Me: "You can't do what?"

M: "I can't say it." (Eyes welling up with tears.)

Me: "You can't say "please"?

M: Nods.

Me: "Why not?"

M: (Bursting into tears.) "Because it hurts my tongue."

Interesting. I think she must have the same condition as The Fonz. You know how he couldn't ever say "Sorry".

Friday, October 09, 2009

Is anyone else totally fed up with the media eating itself? You know, the whole Kyle Sandilands bullshit beat up, now the Hey Hey It's Saturday storm in a teacup.

What is happening? Why is it happening? More importantly, what have we become?

Am I too cynical to think all this shit is just a case of all publicity being good publicity? Are we just seeing the facade of the PR machine working double time to keep things in the media; thus ensuring us media consuming shmucks are constantly talking about things which, to be frank, I think we are too intelligent (or not!) to keep on discussing.

I'm really not sure if there is any genuine interest in the political correctness aspect of all this. Does anyone truly care who Kyle Sandilands upsets or is just fodder for the hungry mill? Is the Hey Hey discussion about Harry Conick's seemingly genuine discomfort or is it at all about racism or is it just an unexpected avenue for making people talk about a show which is nothing more than a nostalgic wank? Why have these stories continued to be featured as actual news stories in prime time bulletins?

I don't know about you but I'm baffled, annoyed and downright over it.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Big Jay's grandma died today. That's his birthmum's mum from Grafton.

I'm glad. She's at peace now and not suffering any more. That's a good thing.

When someone dies at a ripe old age, especially when they have been ravaged by the pain and indignity which old can bestow, I can't see it as a sad or bad thing.

I think we should celebrate their lives, be happy for the time they had. I don't understand mourning, in the sad sense, at this particular time.

Rest in peace, Big Jay's grandma.
I'm really on a roll today. First the KitchenAid, then the gym.

I've joined Fernwood gym. You know, the one for women only. I've finally become one of those women. Who knew.

I drive past this one just about every day as it is near Marianna's day care centre and only a couple of minute's drive from work.

Something about it looks inviting.

So today I got online and had a look at the classes they have and dropped in after work to have a chat and a look around.

It seems like exactly what I want and need; clean, quiet, peaceful; women who don't look like they break balls just for kicks; a total lack of young blokes posing in front of mirrors.

I don't want be unrealistic. I just want to lose 3-5 kgs and tone up. I want to feel fitter, firmer. The year since the hysterectomy has seen my body soften more than ever. I guess that's nature and I'm fine with that. But at 41 I don't want to fall apart altogether, I don't want to get old before my time.

They are offering a "free" personal training session once a week until Christmas - so I figure I can fit in about 8 or so between now and then (I'm officially joining from the 19th as Big Jay is away in Perth for the next week). I've never worked with a PT before and I'm really hoping it will be a positive experience.

Mostly I'm looking forward to the Pump classes and a spot of Yoga, I used to really love those way back when...
I'm giddy with excitement, happiness and a little sick at the thought of it.

Today I've bitten the bullet and purchased something I've been dreaming about for quite some time:

Yes, it's a KitchenAid Artisan in Almond Cream. A truly beautiful piece of kitchen machinery.
My crappy little hand held device (no, not that hand held device) has finally kicked the bucket and today an email arrived announcing a super special at my favourite online kitchen stuff store ( - if you need top quality kitchen gear at really good prices - no, I don't get a commission but I should). So I took it as a sign from, well, someone...
I've ordered it and with any luck it will be delivered tomorrow or Monday. Woohoo!
The bad news is the price, $649 on super special. Yes, that's a frightening amount of money for something which basically mixes things. But I'm looking at it from a few angles: it's an heirloom item; it should last until I'm of retirement age (at least the current retirement age, possibly not the new one); it's retro good looks will make it a gorgeous addition to my kitchen; it will make all those pavlova rolls I make for summer BBQs so much easier; it simply makes me happy.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I've been wanting to verbalise my thoughts on the Roman Polanski drama but haven't quite got around to it. Then I came across THIS on a blog I don't read often enough. It puts my thoughts, more or less, into the words I haven't had time to type.

If you have any interest in the subject take a moment to read this post.

Otherwise here is a brief synopsis: Roman Polanski is a major creep. He bad, must pay.

Friday, October 02, 2009

I bought a pair of these Rockport (Darcy) shoes yesterday. This picture doesn't do them justice.
To be frank I love them, I really, really love them. If it was legal I would marry them.
Not only are they gorgeous, patriotic (country of choice, colours fit a few) but they are so comfortable I refused to take them off at the shop and wore them home. I would have slept in them had I a more understanding husband. They are light as a feather and I feel like I'm walking on a cloud wrapped around a marshmallow when I wear them.
I know that Rockport are an old people's brand but I can live with that. If the shoe fits, etc.