Saturday, May 22, 2010

I love you I Love You Too

Yesterday Big Jay and I had a date day. I decided to make the most of his current unemployed status by taking a little time for ourselves. Friday is my normal day off and I usually fill it up with shopping for fruit and veg at the wonderful Flemington Markets, shopping for the endless array of gifts the children need for the never ending array of children's parties they attend, occassionally taking my grandma out for lunch or one of many other tasks which cry out for my attention on my "day off".

But yesterday was a little space for us to enjoy some couple time. I chose a movie and yum cha and after dropping the kids at school and having a standard (don't panic!) blood test we turned up at Rhodes for a 10:30 AM session of I Love You Too.

This is the new Oz film written by and co-starring Peter Helliar. Maybe I'm going soft in my old age but I LOVED THIS FILM. Not just liked a lot but LOVED IT, as in I wanted to see it again the very minute it was finished.

It was full of Oz-isms which made me happy and warm and comfortable, like coming home after a hard day and putting on my comfy pyjamas and slippers and drinking a cup of tea on my sofa in front of a re-run of Roseanne. Sort of like The Castle (which I also love with every fibre of my being) but not quite the same.

Like Kevin Smith, Peter Helliar does the sort of dialogue I adore. For me it's the dialogue which makes a film terrible, OK or outstanding. Yes, Avatar had brilliant graphics and effects but I couldn't remember a single word, let alone line, of dialogue if you held a gun to my head.

The characters are endearing and interesting without being bizarre. The story is little and sweet, like a darling little cupcake which looks gorgeous and gives you a couple of perfect mouthfuls you'll remember fondly for a very long time. As I write this I want to watch it again, right now. Relive the little moments, the little bursts of happiness, sadness and laughter.

It is funny that in a week when I was dwelling on the fact that so few movies really touch me and stay with me (like Say Anything, for example) a perfect tiny gift like I Love You Too drops into my lap and my heart.

Hipstamatic, baby!

I read about this on a while ago but didn't pay much attention until I came across it again today while playing with my apps (yes, damn it, I have an iPhone and I hate myself for it, but it's so good I'll have to learn to live with the shame).

Generally I have found taking photos on my iPhone a boring and non-user friendly task, especially compared to the camera on my old Nokia N95 which was very very good. Until today.

This is the most fun you can have with a small hand-held device (well, almost). It certainly kept me entertained during a dreary day at the SCG, where the Swans were systematically humiliated by the Fremantle Dockers (oh vey!).

Here is a taste of what it can do:

At the wedding we shouldn't have been at...

Big Jay and I at last weekend's wedding, before all the weird feelings and shit.

Beautiful day, Harbour Bridge, Alannah Hill dress... all good until those stupid feelings had to ruin everything.

In other news, another wedding may be in the works. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Definition of surreal

Having a conversation with my mum and sister about the possibility of the stripper who my sister organised for my hens' night over 12 years ago being available to "perform" at my mother's upcoming cocktail party for her friends. Weirder still is that my sister is a FB friend with the aforementioned stripper who used to be in Manpower (or some such) but is now a choreographer. After some FB to-ing and fro-ing it was discovered he no longer did stripping himself but could recommend some of the younger boys he now choreographs for. After some more to-ing and fro-ing my mother decided against such form of entertainment for reasons I can't possibly describe here (no, not those reasons).

How did my life come to this?

P.S. Further surreal aspects of my life right now: I will be having coffee with my ex-husband on Saturday morning. Haven't seen him for 10 years or so, will be interesting to catch up. Sure he left me for my best friend's (at the time) sister-in-law after meeting her at their wedding, but any hard feelings have long since evaporated (and she did end up helping BIg Jay and I buy a very nice Ikea bedroom suite for a give-away price).

Sunday, May 16, 2010


We went to see Janeane Garofalo and Greg Behrendt at the Sydney Opera House on Friday night. I've been a fan of Janeane's for a long time, particularly for whacky little flicks like Clay Pigeons and Mystery Men, though she's been in quite a few. She is the sort of dark funny which really appeals to me.

She didn't disappoint on Friday night though I felt her off beat timing and dark leanings went over the top of many heads in the audience. I enjoyed her performance a lot.

Greg Behrendt was very much an unknown quantity. I knew he had co-written He's Just Not That Into You but apart from that I wouldn't have recognised him if I had fallen over him. Sometimes not having any sort of pre-conceived ideas works the best. He killed me.

God! He is a very funny dude! Not much point paraphrasing any of it but I do want to comment on his concert for older people routine. He suggests having concerts just for us older people (I think he suggested 28+). We'd pay extra to keep out the young people (who I think we all agree are just plain annoying, just like we were back way when). The concerts would start at 7 pm, no support act, just the hits, then home by 9 pm to watch our favourite shows. I hear you Greg, I really hear you! [These would also be a great marketing point for my Concert Catheter invention.]

If you get to see these people do live comedy, do yourself a favour...

Lesson learnt

Yesterday I learnt a valuable life lesson:

Don't go to your sister's ex-boyfriend's wedding.

Seems obvious in hindsight, but then that's always 20-20. Isn't that what they say?

The said ex-boyfriend is also an employee of the company I work for, the family company run by my dad and his business partner, which has been my extended family and home-away-from-home for the past 19+ years. AB has worked there for 15+ years and I have come to regard him as part of my extended family as well. Especially after he had a meaningful, if difficult, relationship with my dear sister for a couple of years.

He and I have always got on well. We talk and laugh, though I'm sure we're quite opaque to each other as real people. I hold him in high regard as a work colleague and a person.

I didn't think twice about accepting the invitation to his wedding. It never occurred to me not to, that there could possibly be any sort of problem. Only that it may have been awkward for my sister, but she assured me she was cool with it.

But during the speeches (strangely not at all during the ceremony) it hit me like a tonne of bricks. Whoa! I did not see it coming. AT. ALL. The feelings (fuck, I hate feelings)... they just came flooding through and it took a lot of self control and staring intently into the middle distance not to burst into tears. The "what could have been", the "why?", the "fuck, fuck, fuck, what am I feeling here?" feelings.

I struggled with the words and the eye contact when saying my goodbyes to the bride (if I didn't come across as thoroughly insane I will be very surprised). We left early, feigning tiredness and having to drive my dad home, when in reality I just couldn't wait to get away. Very suddenly I felt very very wrong.

Well enough about my psychological problems for one Sunday afternoon. As you were.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Recruitment Advertising

I've not had my mind on the job re: blogging lately. Or to be more precise I've had my mind on it but I've just not been able to squeeze it into my days/weeks.

Big Jay is officially a house husband at the moment due to his redundancy and I have been spending a great deal of time searching job websites. It's a whole new world of bullshit out there. I haven't had to look for a job for over 19 years so it's an eye opener.

The reason I am doing the bulk of the search work is that you could say I'm more open minded when reading the job ads. Big Jay seems to think that his dream job will have a bold heading "Big Jay's Dream Job" (sort of like he thinks that the mayonnaise will be front and centre in the fridge when he wants it and not hiding behind the grapes on the bottom shelf).

The other reason is that Big Jay doesn't really have a "dream job". He started life as a carpenter/builder, moved onto installation of security doors and 10 years ago fell into telecommunications/IT support. He enjoyed his last job and was very good at it but he is not an IT head. He's not one of these people that the employment ads require ... "passionate about IT". Big Jay likes getting the job done and he likes getting on with people and he likes leaving people happy about the job he has done. But the actual IT part, he could take it or leave it.

So at the age of 40 he finds himself good at a number of things but not particularly expert or passionate about any of them. So we've sent off applications to a fairly wide variety of positions. He's had a couple of interviews. He's squeezed in two short courses. Today and tomorrow he's helping a friend with a small building project. You could say he's keeping busy.

What I've really learnt from this past week and a half of having Big Jay around a bit more is that I really like it. I would love to have a house husband. It's not so much the extra help with the housework that I'm appreciating. It's the extra help with the kids. For a start I've been able to get to the gym three times since last week. I've missed going to the gym and I'm loving having the opportunity to get back there.

Anyway, I started with an idea to write about the weird and ridiculous world of recruitment advertising but I've ended up blathering on about nothing. Suffice to say job ads are a weird and wonderful breed. They range from two lines which tell you almost nothing about the position to point lists requiring twenty different competencies, a degree and the desire to take on a position for $40,000 per annum.

Personally I would love it if we could find a way of living on less (ha! after what I spent on an Alannah Hill dress to wear to a wedding on the weekend we need to start cooking up some meth in the garage for some extra cash) so that Big Jay could work part time and we could have a calmer lifestyle. I just know, short of winning lotto, this can't happen in any practical way.

Now, back to ...

Friday, May 07, 2010

Just in case my blood needed a little more boiling

A very interesting little article about the tangled web behind saving the planet from imminent climate catastrophe; aka fleecing the folk who care and all the others who don't have a choice.

[F*&# it's good to read this stuff which gives some real structure to what has been weighing on my mind and twisting in my gut for these past few years. Climate change is real but it's natural, not man made and it can't be fixed with Toyota Priuses and paying airlines for less-than-useless carbon offset charges.]

Saturday, May 01, 2010


I am borrowing the title of this blog entry from my sister (hope that's OK, JB).

Have you ever seen such a big bunch of whiney little girls as the contestants on this season of MasterChef? Boo hoo, this is for my grandmother. Boo hoo, I've let down my team mates. Stop blubbering and cook.

Having said that, let me say this. GO, ALVIN! You cute little gay scientific officer, you!

Furthermore, this morning I won Julie Goodwin's cookbook in a Fountain Sauce competition. So it's all MasterChef, all the time, around here.

But I actually have something sensible to say about cooking following on from that rambling about all things MC.

Strangely, considering that Big (not so much now) Jay and I have been on a Leptin Green Coffee 800 based loosing weight frenzy these past six weeks or so, I have also been on a bit of a cooking frenzy this week. Because these recipes have come out so well I thought I might share them with you, loyal reader, just in case you're looking for something new to spruce up your winter menu.

1) Chocolate and Almond Brownies

I found these on the website when I was trying to use up some sour cream I didn't want to throw out. I love brownies but have never found a really good recipe that has excited me.

These are good. The sour cream makes them moist, even after a couple of days. The almonds add a nutty crunch contrast which I love. I don't put in as much sugar as they suggest, I only put in about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup. I also use maple syrup instead of golden syrup. I have also added and/or substituted other types of chocolate including half dark cooking chocolate/half Mars bars (I had a couple of fun size laying about in the back of the fridge). The brownies always turn out just right.

2) 12 hour slow cooked lamb

I found a version of this recipe in a Gourmet Traveller which found it's way into my hands recently (great magazine, I've asked for a subscription for Mother's Day). I didn't use the spice mix in the original recipe because I didn't have the necessary ingredients and I didn't want a middle eastern flavour.

My version involves making a paste of an onion, some garlic (I used quite a lot, maybe 8 or 10 bits), lemon zest and juice and olive oil. I rubbed this paste all over a 2.5 kg leg of lamb and covered in plastic wrap and then foil and left in the fridge for 36 hours (I would probably leave for at least 24 hours). I then took it out of the fridge for an hour and put in the oven at 110 degrees for 10.5 hours (I know, I got impatient at the end). The lamb was absolutely beautiful, not quite fall off the bone, but very moist and tender and wonderful. Next time I might turn up the heat to 120 degrees or just find a little more patience and leave it in there for the full 12 hours.

3) Lamb, lentil and vegetable soup

This recipe is a variation on one I made a lot last winter (mainly because I wound up with a great deal of frozen, left over roast beef and lamb... long story). This recent version involved the left over slow roasted lamb, as above. I trimmed all the meat from the bone and placed in the slow cooker with 6 cups of stock (4 cups chicken, 2 cups vegetable - just what I had available, use what you have). Also a large tin of chopped tomatoes and a cup of dried green lentils (brown or red lentils or barely would work just as well). I diced up a whole lot of onion, garlic and celery and a small sweet potato (because I like them) and fried them gently in some olive oil to caramlise and add some flavour. I then tipped them into the slow cooked with the other ingredients. I would suggest seasoning to your own taste, I tend to cook a little bland because that's how the children like it and because Big Jay pours on salt and pepper onto everything before tasting a mouthful.

I left all this on for about 6 hours on low and then turned it up to high for about 1 1/2 hours at the end. You could probably just cook it on high for about 4 hours for a very similar result.

Hearty and delicious. A big pot lasts for a few days, including work lunches for me. The kids love it. When we have it for dinner I make some croutons out whatever bread or rolls we have laying about.

4) Spicy-ish Pumpkin Soup

This year I've been back shopping at Flemington Markets and the beautiful fresh produce always inspires me. Two weeks ago I bought a gorgeous medium sized Jap pumpkin for $2. After peeling and seeding I got 3.5 kg of pumpkin flesh from it. I put all that in the slow cooked with two chopped up onions, some garlic, ginger (I think it was the young ginger I bought which added an extra zing) and one bit of lemongrass, as well as two teaspoons of korma curry paste and one tin of Carnation Light Evaporated Milk, Coconut Flavour. This cooked for about 6 hours on the low setting. I then left it too cool for about an hour before putting it through the blender in batches (my hand held blender thingy has some awful fungal infection which should lead me to buy a new one but I can't bring myself to do so yet as this one is quite new and barely used, shame!).

Anyway, the result was a beautiful pumpkin soup with so much flavour - Big Jay and I just love it. However, it is just a little too spicy for the kids (next time I will omit the lemongrass and most of the ginger). The freezer is full of soup right now which gives me a satisfying feeling, knowing there is a quick meal only a microwave zap away.

OK, enough domestic goddess bollocks for one day.

We're off to the Swannies... and tomorrow is Will's 11th birthday and a soccer party.