Sunday, November 20, 2011

A poem about poetry.

I've been talking to the kids about poetry. They like poetry and they like music. Shorty noticed how lots of songs have rhyming words at the ends. I explained a few of the rules about poetry, and that some poems don't have any rules.These are rules you can follow if you want to but don't have to follow if you do not. this is an introduction to anarchy with words.

We pulled out their favourite Shel Silverstein books and read their favourites. Counted the iambs, named the feet, noticed the lack of rules from one to the next and sometimes in the same poem, but also recognized the forms in others that did follow a rule. They were delighted, inspired.

Shorty and I sat down and tried to write a poem. The question was "What should it be about?" I never know.  So here is what we created together:

8 Feet

A poem is a tricky thing;
not something started on a whim.

Should it rhyme? No, not all the time.
Should it inspire? Evoke desire?

Maybe just be for fun?

A poem is a tricky thing,
not easily begun.

We did well with the 8 feet for the first four lines, then went for a 6, 8, 6 finish for some reason. But since there are no rules it should be ok - right?

We are really bad at anarchy with words.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Vegan Lemon Extreme Cupcakes Recipe!

Now really you have to say extreme like it's a monster truck rally, because these are EXTREME! Ka-POW! Punch in the salivary glands and make your neck ache tangy lemon cupcakes. No prissy pretty cupcakes; these babies bite back!

This is the same old vegan cupcake recipe I've used for years, ever since we found out Shorty was allergic to eggs and milk. Don't worry I'll include it again at the end. I made a first batch to let Shorty decide how she wanted her cupcakes to taste and she exclaimed "Not enough lemon! Needs more lemon! Double the lemon!" while Husband said "These are nice, a subtle lemon flavour. Pleasant. except for this bit of rind I'm left chewing on."

From that I took this: Double the lemon and get a proper lemon zester because shaving it with the veggie peeler and chopping with my curved knife isn't good enough.

I bought a big bag of lemons and found a fine cheese grater in the drawer of kitchen stuff I never use that worked perfectly as a zester. I did a couple things differently than I normally would:

Vegan Extremely Lemony Cupcakes

That's the zest and juice of two small lemons. I did this bit first before anything else. I find it easier to squeeze over a small plate and then I can pick out all the seeds without fumbling up the sides of a bowl or squeezing over my other hand and trying not to let the seeds slip between my fingers. I then put the juice on the zest and let it soften up the zest and set aside until later.

Vegan Extremely Lemony Cupcakes

When the batter is ready, I spooned it into paper cake things that I pre-sprayed with non stick. Why? Because how many times have you been ready to enjoy a lovely cupcakes and then had to eat it off the paper because the paper stuck to the cake? I hate when that happens!  Also, see the one in the bottom left? That's how high you should fill the paper. The others are too full. Why? Because don't you hate it when you peel back the paper and it gets covered in sticky icing and it runs or gobs down the side? No? Well you're a finger licking icing freak. I like to have a bit of paper free of frosting to pull back and then I can grab the cake and not get all sticky from the icing. It's a dainty, delicate thing this cupcake eating! Al;so - look at all that zest in the batter - isn't it teasing you with its lemony promise of deliciousness?

Vegan Extremely Lemony Cupcakes

See them baked and how the one with the paper at the top is nicer than the one on the right that's overfull and guaranteeing the icing runs down the side of paper?

Vegan Extremely Lemony Cupcakes

This was them finished, the next morning. Now, I admit this was the batch I'd made and it has a flaw. The ones my daughter made were perfect and much, much prettier than these. The mistake was, I'd read other cupcake recipes (No, no not that reading recipes of others is a mistake, it's not, it's bloody essential!) and a few of them included a quarter of a cup of corn flour. I didn't understand this use of corn flour. Cornflour? I use that to thicken sauces. Does it thicken cupcakes? What was it going to do? Is it better than my usual corn flour free ones? So I had to try it out. I found it does in fact make the cakes a tad denser and flatter. Dense in a super moist sense not a hockey puck way. See how the cakes are slightly hockey puck shaped? That's the corn flour. I think it helps keep them from rising too high and dome-like and then they won't crack as badly making icing much easier. I'm guessing! It makes sense. Second batch, Shorty made without corn flour with her child's handful of lemon zest. This batch she proclaimed perfection while my husband grasped his neck hissing "My glands! Ack! Lemon! Tart!" and then grabbed another cupcake and left the room.

Sadly I have no pictures of the perfect ones Shorty made because they were scarfed up first. I'm not jealous! She did an awesome job, she was a kitchen Goddess! She'll have this recipe down pat by next week for the contest and she knows exactly how she wants her cupcakes to taste. She's 7 by the way, did you know that? She's a Junior Masterchef in the making. My cupcakes were only ok next to her ones. No one liked the mixed peel on top, they preferred Shorty's lemon zest only simplicity and the dome top on her no corn flour recipe was irrelevant in the end. I'll get you some more pictures of hers when she does her official entry for the 19th. If you cannot wait, then you'll have to try and make them yourself:


Vegan Super Lemon Cupcakes



Cupcake Ingredients



  • 1½ cups of self rising flour
  • ¾ cup of caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup of extra light olive oil
  • Zest and juice of two small or one large lemon (around 1/3 of a cup of juice)
  • 1 cup of soy milk and another ½ a cup to be added if needed for a thick but pourable batter.
  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar



Icing Ingredients



  • ¾ cup of icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Some lemon zest



Preparation



  • Zest the lemons and squeeze all the juice. Remove seeds but leave pulpy bits. Let the zest soak in the juice and set aside.
  • Place cupcake papers into a muffin tin and give a light coating with non stick spray.
  • Preheat oven to 170C.



Method



In a large bowl sift all the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the flour, keeping the vinegar aside, add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix until no large lumps appear – be careful not to over mix or the batter will become too heavy. Add the vinegar and give a few good stirs then spoon the batter into the cupcake papers leaving a few millimetres of paper showing at the top. Get quickly into the oven and bake for around 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean but the cakes aren't browned on top. Allow cakes to cool completely.



Once cakes are cooled make the icing by sifting the icing sugar to be sure it's free of hard lumps. Add the lemon juice a teaspoon a time and stir until a thick, spreadable icing is achieved. Add to the top of the cupcakes, top with the zest for decoration and allow to set

Storm clouds 09/11/11

That was coming towards us as we were happily baking. 

Ah - in the ingredients there's white vinegar. That's a great trick and saved us yesterday. It was a muggy, humid warm afternoon with storms brewing on the horizon but as we were baking it was the worst weather for baking. Humid kitchens make sticky, overly moist cakes that sometimes don't rise well. Add a vegan recipe and it's a wonder they work at all. A little chemistry to the rescue. The vinegar added at the end reacts with the baking powder and makes bubbles in the batter - it creates crumb. A nice crumb is necessary to a great cake. The vinegar flavour bakes off and you never know it's even in there, unless you lick the bowl. Then you know. That's a great thing about vegan recipes - no salmonella worry! Lick that bowl clean! Otherwise, you don't actually need the vinegar so don't sweat it if you don't have any.

Storm clouds 09/11/11

I hope you give these a try. They really are the answer if you've ever had a lemon cake and thought to yourself "I suppose it could be lemon?" and like Shorty screamed "More Lemon!!" then this will tickle your tang buds.

If anyone can tell me how to get the 1/3 to shrink down like the other fractions in Open Office, I'd appreciate that too. Damned annoying that.

Last trick - I didn't let the kids lick the bowl because there was about a 1/4 cup of batter left. After two bowls of leftover batter, I spooned it into the mini-muffin pan and baked them up too. Those were lovely lunchbox sized treats.  Why waste it when it can be cooked and used up. Even cupcakes can be frozen and used later!


 


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

SIGH

Ok, scratch that; the knitting is due tomorrow along with short stories, colouring and other crafty kind of stuff. Baking is due the 19th.

What am I going to do with these 2 dozen cupcakes and scones?

Chalk it up to practice.

sigh. I'm so tired.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes and Date Scones and a fast scarf....

Yesterday I mentioned there was a country fair at the school and Shorty entered the cupcake baking contest. Turns out it's not next week, it's tomorrow! Fucka-duck. I was positive the email I got a couple weeks ago said it was on the 19th but no, it's tomorrow.

Yesterday I made two different recipes of lemon muffins and let the family taste test them to see which they preferred. I was chuffed when they chose the first one which so happened to be my own, time tested favourite recipe. The only thing they all agreed was: more lemon. Well these folks are going to get some kick ass lemon bomb cupcakes now! I'm going to actually spend money on a zester and zest my little heart out.*

When Sassyface saw me give a dollar to let her sister enter a cupcake competition, she whined "I want a dollar!" and I told her she had to enter a competition and pay a dollar for the privileged. Did she have her entry form? No. So she had to go get one from the office, wringing her hands in anxiety because she'd have to talk to the receptionist - who is lovely, sweet and accommodating. But sucjh is the way of a anxious (lazy) kid "You do it for me?"

nope. You want to enter a contest, you enter it, not me. I'll have your dollar ready when you return. Good on her, she did it. then the cheeky besom entered two competitions and demanded $2. She entered finger knitting and scones. Luckily she's had a knitting project on the go for a couple weekends and has just been cramming her last stitches along on a soft, cranberry coloured scarf on the circle loom. She should have it ready for tomorrow. I may have to help tie tassels.

Now to find a recipe for date scones. Again, I have one that I use that's stupid easy, lazy and vegan. she says she'll use that one "The super sweet one." I argued it's not super sweet! But then, the dates done right are really sweet and the recipe doesn't need a lot of sugar if the dates are right.

This afternoon my little counter top oven is going to be very, very busy.

Wait - have I talked about the oven here? I haven't, have I? Well we moved house a few months ago because the old landlord was annoying and so were a few of our neighbors. One had many small dogs that barked all day. We have a new house and it's great on a quiet dead-end street (although our new neighbor just got a puppy that howls and barks all day indoors and outdoors) and we're happy. One thing I was taken with was the big, 900mm deluxe oven. I thought, I'll be able to cook up a storm in the mofo. Sadly, no. The oven doen't work. The gas top does, the grill does, the oven on max barely hits 100C. So gutted! I ended up going out and buying a small Breville counter top oven and let me tell you - this thing is awesome! Sadly not big enough for a Thanksgiving turkey. Turns out this deluxe oven the owners have is notorious for being crap. One star ratings galore. Biggest complaint was loss of temp. A total Golden Dancer.

Busy day; lemon cupcakes that exhibit the awesomeness of lemons, date scones and quick finish a knitting project. Here I go!

*Also let clarify that the kids will be doing all of this themselves. I m not doing all their baking for them. I found the recipes, tested them and now they're ready to bake them, themselves. I will help Sassy put on her tassels but she's cramming her own knitting. There will be no "You do it for me." bullshit because that would be cheating. Sassy did think she could just enter the school colours scarf I'd made for her last year in the contest, but I told her flat out No. Cheaters earn hollow victories. There's no pride in it.

Lemon Cupcakes

The school is having a country fair type thing next week. They came home with information sheets listing different events they could take part in. Shorty wants to do all of them. I told her to choose two. One is a cupcake bake-off. I'm hoping it's like a county fair where people bring in baked goods and they're all judged individually. Shorty thinks it's like Masterchef where all the kids are supposed to have a cooking contest. I'll have to clarify the conditions of the cupcake competition.

We talked this morning about cupcakes and what she thought she'd like to make. Flavour, frosting or icing, natural or food colouring; that kind of thing. She said Lemon, with lemon zest and lemon icing. A cupcake to display the amazingness of lemons. I'm all up for that. I also think she watches way too much Iron Chef.


The challenge now is to try and make a lemon cupcake that is also amazingness.
I'm looking at vegan recipes first because I doubt anyone else will make them and it'll be a nice surprise for people to taste that you don't need tons of animal products to make a cake taste nice. I have a standard recipe I always use but also want to make it as simple and use the fewest amount of ingredients possible just in case it is a bake-off. Try a few combinations and see which one everyone likes.

I'm considering, if I can find them, blood orange icing. That way it'll have a nice pinky colour naturally and keep the citrus theme.

I'm sure by the end of this week I'll never want to see another lemon cake again.

Inspirations source: Lemon Cupcakes

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lacking in foresight...

I just saw this political image on a friend's facebook page and it made me so angry.



Really? Let Jesus run the country? Has he returned and not let any of us know? No? Didn't think so, surely that would have been on the news. Well what then, put some religious experts in power so they can tell us what Jesus would do if he were there? Will these religious dynamos who have the inside line into Jesus's wishes and desires for the American population be making all our policies and clearing up all the ones Jesus would find unholy? That can't be right...surely they are just men and we cannot trust men. It says so right there in the quoted Psalm. Why not throw out democracy entirely, go back to theocracy and be done with it all - let Jesus guide us in his ever silent way. That sounds like a great idea - it worked perfectly in the Dark Ages after all, right?

Can we have an X over every Republican candidate's face too? Since they are all men or at least HUman as we now get to include Bachmann. To be honest, this would have to be a promotion of women over men - it doesn't say not to trust women after all.

Really now; what the fuck are you thinking?! If you want to try that kind of life, go live in Iran for a while. Keep telling yourself it wouldn't actually be like that because it would be a christian nation and then your self-deluded indoctrination will be complete because if you honestly think Christians wouldn't run their country exactly the same way then you are living in a dream world.

Wake up!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I don't want to know about your Organic Movement...

I'd love it if people wouldn't use the word organic to mean anything other than chemical free farming and produce. I'd also appreciate it if people would not say the word organic with an odd, sexualized lingering as one does for unctuous or moist. Stop trying to turn the word organic into orgasm; it's not to be used that way.

I think the biggest abusers are fashion types. They talk about organic fashion but not in the "This fabric if from organic cotton," kind of way. They roll the word organic around to mean original, new and sexually charged.

I know Frank Lloyd Wright used the term "Organic Architecture" to describe his mixing of habitation with nature. I get that - that makes sense. Your eyeglasses, however, are not organic fashion. I don't even think "organic ideas" works. Show me an example of pesticide/toxin free ideas? Is that some kind of Buddhism?

If I hear another drawling sycophant dribble "Oh my God, that is so organic." one more time I'll flip. Really now, cut it out. It's as vacuous as Hilton's saying hot with two Ts as if that makes it extra hot. "That is so hottt it got three Ts," ; dry heaves ahoy!

I can't even find the original post that set me off in my prudish word rant. It may have been something I read about Occupy Wall Street being an organic movement. All I could think about toxin free fertilizer. OWS deserves better wording. It's like that other dreadful phrase "Grassroots revival" ugh it makes me nauseated.

What's so bad with "Rally"?

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Guest room not free...

I'm going to write something here today. Where to start? I dunno; Title? uhm....I can think of a title later. Right, ready, type something...*Beep* Damn it! Washing machine interrupting me just at the moment I'm about to type something when I've not typed anything for days I mean what is that trying to say? Haha funny world having a joke on me.

Laundry done for now, so now. What to type?

I've been reading writing books again, I've been watching TED videos on creativity. I've been rather ill with a terrible cough that better not be Whooping cough or I will punch Jenny McCarthy in her smug anti-vaccination face. Yet the other day I had an idea. It just hit me, as it would after a TED video about ideas and where they come from and how other artists work through the process. I'm not an artist - how very smug. To be an artist you have to actually create something that other people seem to like, before that you're just a hobbyist; subject to every ounce of disdain and discouragement leveled upon you by the world who deems artists as inferior until they actually become famous. Society is seriously fucked up, don't you agree?

I didn't agree with Ms. Guilbert about creativity being an external thing or a Dobby the House Elf whispering in a writer's ear at inopportune moments, but I played with the idea. I thought about it being an external process. I got bored and made tea.

I then tried Amy Tan's talk on creativity. She mixes creativity with science and it worked much better for me. Amy Tan, I'm loving her now. Had not dipped my toe into her world before but will now.

Everyone has their process on where their ideas come from. In this I think it's very nuture vs nature. It is not innate, it is not predestined. It's also, annoying as it is, not always linear. I wish I could discover a story from beginning to end all logical and twinging the emotions at the right points. But it doesn't, not ever. For me, it's an argument. It always begins with an argument. I get a vivid movie flash of a disagreement, an epiphany for one over the unfairness of the other. It's extremely clear, their feelings, their machinations, their lack of self awareness. It's voyeuristic. I can barely get the whole of it on paper before it's gone. That's it. That's all I get; a fight. I am then left alone to figure out how these two got to be in this fight in the first place, and then what happens after the fight. I flounder. I have pages and pages of fights. Fights in cafes, fights in the home, fights in the car. Arguments, clashing wills, blatant ignorance.

When you happen upon a couple in the full fury of a disagreement so that the world melts away for them and they see nothing but their opponent, you can't help but watch. How could you not watch? They fight and then it's over because one storms off. You may share the story over coffee but eventually it's gone except for the thought that those two were assholes. Really, those two people arguing in public are assholes. These are the people who my subconscious/conscious bring to me to write about. Now I ask you - is that fair? Well, I suppose it is. If we see these arguments in reality it can be uncomfortable for us to witness but in a book we are removed from it all as it's fictional. It may have actually happened and the writer was using real life in their fiction but the reader won't know that. Barrier in place, freedom to enjoy.

I don't like it when people fight. I do like a good debate, a good exchange, wit and charm. But what to do with these people? That's where I get a bit stuck. I shouldn't feel responsible for them, like Amy Tan's example of if you save a man from drowning, you're now responsible for him; no. I don't want to responsible for them - but am I?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Loused up Monday

A couple days ago Shorty and her friends were throwing sawdust into each others hair. This morning, while walking to school, I noticed Shorty's scalp was dirty. I said "You did a bad job washing your hair, it's still covered in dirt..." when the dirt moved. But no - she's got a right good infestation of head lice. The utter irony of this, is that she'd just been saying this morning before we headed out that she'd never had head lice. None of us has. Shorty took particular pride. Imagine my confusion and then slumped acceptance when that speck of dirt moved. I, at first, thought she had fleas. They looked the same. No one has ever told me lice look like fleas. Sesame seeds was what I'd had them described as, not fleas. Apparently I've had more experience with fleas than they have. And sesame seeds.

We sent big sister along to school on her own* and we turned around and walked straight to the pharmacy. I went to the counter and when asked "May I help you?" Shorty announced loud and proud "I have nits!!" to which I'm sure everyone in the shop took an immediate step back from us both. Truthfully, for a kid who'd just boasted about how she'd never had nits, to be so delighted that she was now full of them was surreal. The pharmacist was great and I spent a fortune on all the stuff; foaming insecticide, shampoo, conditioner and the Rolls Royce of nit combs. She then sat happily in a warm bath for 45 minutes stinking of toxins; blissful. I began to get so overrun with feelings of creepy things on my head and face I used the solution too; I had been laying in her bed with her last night, sharing her pillow.

She was less happy to be sat on a low stool between my knees for two hours while I removed all the egg casings with the Rolls Royce of nit combs. She was less happy with my choice of TV show; Quincy M.E.

I'll have to repeat the combings every other day and do another Family stinky foam head on Sunday. I'll need to buy another bottle, too.


*I'm sure someone will be thinking why did I let Sassy go to school when chances are she has nits too? Well she'd had a haircut the day before and I'm certain if there had been any signs of nits the hairdresser would have let me know. She'll be treated tonight with the same potions, regardless.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Busy Monday!

I am all dressed, washed and perfumed. I have a job interview this morning. For a children's clothing store. I've done this sort of job before when I worked at BabyGap in Edinburgh so I know i can do the work without much stress. We're trying to save up for a down payment on a house. We are definitely staying in Australia. We love it here. Once we get the permanent residency we'll get some real estate and stop renting...then again the market isn't in our favor and buying a house in our current neighborhood would be at least one million dollars - and that just the land, never mind the house. I think the property bubble will burst in the next 18months-2 years. It's starting to decline. anyways...

I noticed the carpet was soaked in front of the bathroom last night. Turns out the hot water hose in the laundry room next door has been leaking. It's not been doing it for too long, but long enough. I'll set the dehumidifier in there and hopefully we'll not have to let the landlord know. I'm out to buy a new hose after my interview.

Here's me, in a dreary morning with fluorescent lighting. Have I mentioned I've stopped colouring my hair? Can you see the grey streak I'm sporting? It's pretty wild seeing how grey my hair has become. I still have some leftover summer streaks.

Job interview face

Job interview face

And my new glasses.

wish me luck!!

Ghosts of ghosts

Is it just me or do the lead singers of these bands all sound the same?

Cherry Ghost, Kissing Strangers (From Bolton, England about 150 miles from London)



Boy & Bear, Mexican Mavis (Sydney, Australia)



And even to some extent; Mumford & Sons, Winter Winds (From London)



And there are more! I just think there's a trend for these softly falsetto warble men. It's all good music, but when I hear it a lot I get confused over who's who and since I first heard Cherry Ghost, I always ask "Is that a new Cherry Ghost song? It sounds like the singer from Cherry Ghost." Nope, it's another CG type.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Stuff and Mothers

It was Mothers' day yesterday, but you lot are still hanging on to the last few hours of the Sunday. I phoned my mom this morning and we had a chat and it was nice. I don't send presents - the woman has everything and needs nothing. She's collected and purged so much stuff in her 7 decades; why would I want to add more? I think it becomes a burden. If I was to get something for Mom, I think I'd get her a Kindle. She was a mad book fiend all her life, but since meeting StepDad she's not as hungry for the yarn. Probably has something to do with real happiness and not reading about the adventures of others. Her story is really interesting just now. She's involved in her life. It's great to see. It's something I'm very grateful to StepDad for; giving Mom back her happy.

She's been in the hospital for the past week and a bit because my StepDad had major surgery. He's doing great, but the poor woman hasn't left the hospital in that time. Sleeping in bedside recliners and now she's finally got a proper bed. Selfishly, I'm delighted he's recovering so well. Mom will keep her happiness. He is her joy. I've never seen her so in love, and I was worried when he went in for his surgery to remove cancer from his lung - and it was a close call. He died for 15 minutes. - that she'd be devastated without him. I don't think it's any big secret she loves him more than she did my Dad. Theirs was a relationship of frustration; good and bad. This time around, she gets romance. I'm writing a thank you note to the surgeon who kept him alive by applying heart massage for those 15 minutes. So far he's got no neurological damage - that's stunning! Wouldn't you write a thank you note?!

I did have to ask Mom, and I asked today; did he see the white light? Did he find his passed loved ones? Did he feel the flames of Hell on his heels? Nothing. He got nothing. I wasn't the first person to ask him this - can you imagine?! I waited at least a week before getting insanely nosy. But he said it was anesthesia dreams and no Heavenly memories. You'd have asked too, wouldn't you? How often do you come across someone who's died and been brought back to life?? I mean as someone who doesn't work in a hospital.

Am I abusing the semi colon? I've kind of rediscovered it and I'm having my own romance with the semi colon. Do people even notice it? It's much more softhearted than a comma or ellipses. It's a wink or a nod.

I took a short writing break and started back with knitting. I think I've got the hang of it finally. I still struggle with Continental style or not and yarn in left or right hand and stuff is being made and coming along at a not too bad pace. I do find it much more boring than crochet. Probably because I have to concentrate on what I'm doing more than I would with crochet and as it's repetitive it's dull. I'd rather watch TV and mindlessly knit like I can with crochet but I'm not there just now so repeating the same four stitched over and over is getting blah. I rotate between three projects just to stop the boredom. I've ripped back many more. I have a bad habit of pulling things apart when about 40 rows into the pattern. "I don't like this as much as I thought I would; The yarn isn't right for this pattern; These aren't the right needles for either the yarn or the pattern." I get looks of horror from other knitters when I tell them. "You pulled it all out?! Why? You could've fixed it!" I just didn't like it. No hard feelings; not that invested.

You're noticing my semi colons now, aren't you?

I went for an eye exam. I'm getting older and my astigmatism is getting more annoying. I have one in both eyes now. One makes me short sighted, the other long. How's that for fun! I think I chose some nice frames; nothing too heavy or clunky or stupidly fashionable for my often plain face. One set of micro wire frames and another mildly fashionable. The word "varifocals" came into play at one point swiftly followed by "But you're too young yet for those!" Charmers.

Have had 2 really good writing ideas over the past few days. Aren't they always really good in the beginning?? they begin to suck shit once I try and write them. Can't I be the idea person? Can't someone else write it and I just yea or nae where they go with the story? No? Yes?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bloggy Blues

I don't know what to blog about. I'm sure I have tons but I've become rather meh lately. I don't know why. I'm content, moseying along. Feeling a tad guilty about my idleness but then I'm not idle, I just undervalue the role of a SAHM, which I shouldn't do, but I do and then there's that guilt. Which I'm not all that invested in so it's not an enduring guilt that motivates me to overachieve anything.

School hols just now, I've had 24 hour company for 2 weeks and I think I'm beginning to shut down and become a plank. It happens. Yet, on review I've done lots of stuff. Not so much with the kids. I took them to the park, to a movie, out to visit other friends. Trying to save money so no OTT extravagances. (Then again $70 for 4 movie tickets a kick in the gut. Good thing I bought cheap candy and bagged it up for each of us before we arrived)

I went to the taping of a popular Aussie comedy game show with my great freind, Jen. We had an awesome time, and after we met more folks for birthday cocktails. It's nice being in a city where they tape TV shows. I'm looking forward to more audience participation places.

On the tram in to the filming, there was a lady knitting on the tram. I admit, I was staring. Jen noticed I was staring and said "You're staring at that lady." The lady didn't mind, I asked her a few questions, talked about crochet, then we parted ways. It stuck in my head, as knitting, I've thus far let beat me. I've a dreadful history with knitting. Last attempt was when Mom was here in June last year. She told me to just stick with crochet. But I was reinspired by this lady on the tram.

I showed Jen how to loom knit, and she's giddy about it. We went yarn shopping with the kids (who were bored and annoying) and while there I bought some knitpro needles with detachable points. Jen just finished her first scarf and wants to go yarn shopping for more. I went trawling for patterns that would be a good way to practice my knit/purl but also be a bit challenging.

I'd recently started crocheting in cables and find it very satisfying. I made a lovely scarf for my friend Miranda. Cable inspired I sought an easy cable knitting pattern and settled on this one I found on ravelry. I like that it's also reversible. It's been a bit of a struggle, but it's coming along. I did have to go on youtube and watch a few knitting tutorials to see where other folks hold their yarn as I was knitting right handed and holding yarn in my left and it was becoming a muddle. I think the year of crocheting has helped me though, because I'm a lot more dapper with sticks and yarn than I was. Maybe I just needed to get my head around one stick before moving on to two.

Here's the scarf so far, it's not perfect, it's full of mistakes but not overly noticeable:

Dawn's Reversible knit cable scarf
Dawn's Reversible cable knit scarf.

I'm not counting the rows properly, and for some reason I keep losing a stitch, then get an extra stitch. Some cables bleed into others and some keep to their own 4 rib set. *shrug*  Do I want non-communing cables or anarchic orgy cables?

I've been cooking, too. With kids home all day that's three squares everyday being cranked out by moi and to be honest, it's annoying. All those extra dishes! Yesterday I was in the mood for banana bread and we walked to the local fruit and veg to see if we could get some cheap bananas. Since the Queensland cyclone Yasi wiped out the banana crop the price is wild at $12 a kilo ($6 a lb). Local lady had a box of browned bananas not on display that were perfect for baking. She sold me 8 for a dollar.

Banana nut bread

These were the best banana nut breads I've ever made. They came out perfect! Here's the recipe. You don't have to add nuts, or soy milk; use whatever milk you want. This is for the 2 loaves.

2 cups whole meal self rising flour
2 cups self rising flour
1 cup brown sugar
1.5 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
6 mashed very ripe bananas
3/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 cups soy milk (more to add to get the right consistency of slightly thick but pourable batter)
130g bag of chopped pecans (You can use walnuts, but I prefer pecans)

Preheat oven to 150C Mix dry ingredients well to remove any sugar lumps, add wet ingredients and mix together until batter is somewhat thick but still pourable. Pour into buttered pans leaving an inch at the top, and put into oven. Now, my oven is awful and once preheated I have to reduce heat to 130C and cook for about 45-50 minutes and check often the middles ares are cooked through with a wooden skewer. You'll know your oven best so think of this as a low and slow cook. Let them have a relaxed cooking time and they'll remain moist and wonderful.  Let cool completely and then slice and enjoy. Of course you can dig in while warm, but they don't slice as easily.

You can use plain flours but remember to add 1.5 tsp of baking powder and maybe a TBS of vinegar before pouring and get it straight into the oven.

I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman recently and it was pretty good. I'd bought it for Husband for some reason about 6 months ago; father's day, birthday, random act of kindness. I keep thinking about it, and it didn't annoy me over much. It was a great escapism story that I didn't find overly predictable. I liked how it was informative but I never got the feeling it wan infodump story. Dan Brown should take note. Husband thought it more predictable, we both enjoyed it though.

Currently reading Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman and Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living- a novel by Carrie Tiffany

It's Autumn and lovely.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I am bad

Last week Sassyface's reader circle was assigned Wind in The Willows for home reading. She didn't seem very impressed. I can't blame her, it wasn't a favourite of mine either. (And for those of you gasping in horror, allow me to say I never liked Winnie The Pooh, so your contempt of me can me be complete!) She asked me over the weekend what the book was about. I said "Aren't you supposed to read it to find out?" to which she huffed and rolled her eyes. Husband was nearby, said nothing.

Then I said "You'll probably love it. It's all dark and terrible."

"It is?"

"Yup. There's an evil Wombat who wants to take over the river. He's trying to get the Golden Acorn which will give him limitless power and control of the whole world."

"Really?!"

"Yeah, it's right up your street. It's like Lord of The Rings, but for kids. Toad and Rat and a few others have to take the Golden Acorn up to the top of Mt. Doom and destroy it, to save the river."

"Wombat." Says Husband.

"Yes, evil Wombat." C'mon, roll with it, I glare.

And that was the end of it. She'll find out I'm full of shit by chapter four.

Today, she yells at me as we're walking home "You! You lied to me!" (I'm hearing this more often as she gets older. Eventually she'll learn to fact check)

"What did I lie about now?" because I lie all the time, although 99% of the time, I'm proven to be right and not a liar. I'm misunderstood, me.

"There is no evil wombat, or golden acorn! Wind and the willows is not a Lord of the Rings for kids!"

"There's not? It isn't?" Trying very hard not to wet myself laughing.

"Mrs. N asked each of us who our favorite characters were in the book. I told her, The Evil Wombat. She said there is no evil wombat in Wind and The Willows. I was embarrassed, but then I told her everything you said, and everyone laughed."

Tonight is parent teacher meetings. I think Mrs. N and I are going to have a fun chat.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quickie goof moment

Was perusing the facebook links that some my politically charged friends post while I'm sleeping and saw this one I read as: Homeless Marathon. I thought to myself, that's mean making homeless people run long distances. How could they have had adequate training? It's no better than Bum Fights! Then 2 seconds later, an actual heartbeat, I realised it was a charity run for the homeless. Then and there I resolved to have coffee first, internet after.

http://news.homelessnessmarathon.org/

I have a history of this. Yes I was the clueless one in my first sociology class who had no idea why there was such a hoohaa over youth in Asia. Fellow classmates passionately debating against them! I was smart enough to keep quiet.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Uninspired MeMe Thievery

I know it's supposed to meme, but since these blog ones are all about the one person, I prefer to call them a Me Me.

I've not been up to too much, nothing worth writing about. Nothing positive. A lot of annoyance about noisy neighbours and complaining about why postal delivery guys don't walk through the very open driveway gate, but choose to open the awkward, spiderweb covered small gate five feet away? Completely illogical and yet they all do it. Not the same guy repeatedly, but a theme of consistently weird behaviour. Aw, now. See I started and now I have to show you...

Front gates

See? It's not far between yucky bug covered gate and clean, wide open gate. And that tosser across the street is just one in a long line of tossers who's been working on that hideous monstrosity of a house. They have 3 or 4 kids, and used all the available backyard space for a pool. Which means the kids play in the driveway. Why spend millions (And that plot will have cost 1 millionish and the house another 200K, and the labor etc. ) then stick an ugly basketball net on the front of it? The kids play cricket in the driveway too, hitting tennis balls at my and our neighbour's house. From our house there are 4 parks, all with cricket pitches, within a 1/2 mile. They are ridiculous people.

Anyway, I was going to put up a Q&A I nicked from Roxy's blog. For something bloggy to blog.


1. First thing you wash in the shower?
My hair.

2. What color is your favorite hoodie?

I own one hoodie and it's standard grey heather.

3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?

That was my daughter, saying goodbye at school, so yes.

4. Do you plan outfits?

More often than I should. Not that it shows.

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now?

I'm chewing my cuticle, bouncing my right leg, scowling...normal for me.

6. What’s the closest thing to you that’s red?

Lipstick.

7. Tell me about the last dream you remember having?

I've been having lots lately but the one I remember was from weeks ago. It was drowning dream. I remember because I'd not had a drowning dream for years. It's from feeling overwhelmed.

8. Did you meet anybody new today?

No. But the day's not over yet.

9. What are you craving right now?

Time freeze device. I could do with a couple hours with the world frozen.

10. Do you floss?

Yes, but could always do more.

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?

Spring rolls.

12. Are you emotional?

Yes. No! Maybe?

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?

As a child I'm sure I did, but probably in 100s.

14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?

I don't like ice cream. I prefer slush puppies. So I suck it.

15. Do you like your hair?

Not lately.

16. Do you like yourself?

Most of the time I'm pretty cool, other times I annoy myself.

17. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush?

Hell yeah! That would be a party conversation for life!

18. What are you listening to right now?

Airplanes, rain, traffic, birds, typing...

19. Were your parents strict?

No. They were mostly at work and too tired to be strict.

20. Would you go sky diving?

Sure.

21. Do you like cottage cheese?

Mostly no, I think it tastes like sick. I do love Cabot farm Vermont cottage cheese and have not found its like since.

22. Have you ever met a celebrity?

Several UK B-list during Fringe Festival. I seem to have a running theme of always saying "You're not as tall as I thought you were."

23. Do you rent movies often?

No, I forget to return them on time so just don't bother.

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you’re in?

I have daughters, there are always many sparkling things everywhere.

25. How many countries have you visited?

I dunno, too tired to bother. Let's say 8.

26. Have you made a prank phone call?

As a kid during the days before *69. "Is your refrigerator running?"

27. Ever been on a train?
Yes, apart from the daily commute to work pre Shorty, We took the West Coast rail line to Fort William for a weekend. Wish we'd gone along to Mallaig, too. It was a lovely trip. (That was before Harry Potter was famous and it was cheaper)

28. Brown or white eggs?

Free range.

29.Do you have a cell-phone?

Yes.

30. Do you use chap stick?

No. Blistex.

31. Do you own a gun?

No. But ask me if I can throw knives...

32. Can you use chop sticks?

Yes.

33. Who are you going to be with tonight?

Family.

34. Are you too forgiving?

No, I'm just not bothered.

35. Ever been in love?

This is where we realise this MeMe was written by a 17 year old.

36. What is your best friend doing tomorrow?

I don't fucking know.

37. Ever have cream puffs?

This is where we realise this was MeMe was written by a 17 year old with food issues.

38. Last time you cried?

...No idea. I can have months of Vulcan like mal-affect.

39. What was the last question you asked?

All I do is ask questions, I'm not keeping track.

40. What is your favorite time of the year?

Autumn.

41. Do you have any tattoos?

Not a speck.

42. Are you sarcastic?

No, never.

43. Have you ever seen The Butterfly Effect?

I've not been to Brazil to witness the power of their butterflies.

44. Ever walked into a wall?

Yes.

45. Favorite color?

Red.

46. Have you ever slapped someone.

Yes. Didn't help.

47. Is your hair curly?

Yes.

48. What was the last CD you bought?

Uhm...I have no idea.

49. Do looks matter?

Sure to an extent, but confidence and a sense of humor can trump looks any day. 

50. Could you ever forgive a cheater?

Forgive, sure. Trust, never.

51. Is your phone bill sky high?

No, we're not big phone talkers.

52. Do you like your life right now?

It's disgustingly easy and overly self indulgent. I'm the luckiest bitch around.

53. Do you sleep with the TV on?

Never. I like quiet.

54. Can you handle the truth?

I strive for the ultimate truth.

55. Do you have good vision?

Depends on the day but overall it's pretty good.

56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people?

I guess so, but I don't make a big deal about it. I just let them go about their douchebaggy ways and remove myself from their firing line.

57. How often do you talk on the phone?

Once or twice a week. If it rings.

58. The last person you held hands with?

Husband, last night, while falling asleep.

59. What are you wearing?

Get over yourself, creep.

60.What is your favorite animal?

I dunno. I'm partial to otters, but you know if you confess to liking any animal, you'll end up with everyone giving you tons of little otter knick-nacks and tee-shirts and dish cloths. It becomes a burden. A curse. "Gee I wonder what to get Lyvvie for a present - I know! she loves otters, I'll get her something otterish." Eventually causing a deeply, resentful loathing of anything otter.

61. Where was your default picture taken at?

Right here, at the desk, with the Mac.

62. Can you hula hoop?

Sure. A bit. My clicking hips gross people out, though.

63. Do you have a job?

If you suggest that mother and housewife isn't a job, I'll trade you.

64. What was the most recent thing you bought?

I spent money yesterday on new jeans, denim skirt, gym towels, tea towels (because I set one on fire Saturday), socks, knickers and a new sports bra. A red one. Aren't I racy.

65. Have you ever crawled through a window?

Yes. Why?

So there. My first MeMe of 2011 and hopefully the last. After 6 years of blogging I'm kind of bored with them. There's nothing new about them.
I'm going to make some coffee, have sloppy joe and chili olives for lunch and then watch my soap opera while folding laundry and roasting a pork leg joint and do burpees during the ad breaks because, this is a slow day.

Update* The roast was done at too high a temp because the oven is a fucking nightmare and it made so much smoke it set the fire alarms off. I had to have a friend collect the kids from school for me. But - best damned crackling ever!! It was worth the house that smells like pork fat. I will probably have to have the oven professionally cleaned before using it again.

Monday, February 07, 2011

My weekend stuff...

We had a rainy, stormy weekend with leftovers from cyclone Yasi so we didn't bother to go out. Quiet weekends spent with the occasional staring at the ceiling as the metal roof is pounded so loud we can't hear each other speak is interesting.

So I did some crochet, I did some baking, fiddled with my camera and read some books. I spent much of yesterday afternoon desperately trying to avoid my kids because the cabin fever was setting in and I was getting that "I need my space!!" feeling.

Here are some pictures of stuff.

Restart of the crochet sweater. Here's the pattern if you're interested. I restarted it because I'd been flummoxed by the decreases which didn't match the picture and then I noticed my left edge was all messy because I'd been finishing in the wrong stitch. See how it's all neat and braided? That's how it should look. I also redid the ribbing because the pattern asked for knit 2 purl 2 but it looked weird, so I did knit 3 purl 2 and it looks more even this way. We'll see what happens once it gets 16 inches and I have to decrease again.

Tunisian crochet

Husband's birthday cake. Cheesecake topped with lemon curd. It was awesome.

Lemon curd cheesecake

Making my own granola bars for lunchboxes. I'm tired of paying a fortune for crappy ones. I still need a good recipe for crunchy ones as these are chewy.

Granola bars

That's about it. Hope your weekend was good. OH! The answer to the cryptic clue?! Did you get it? Did you even try?

Silent film star's scene at Little Bighorn, as delivered by Spooner. (6,6)

What happened at Little Bighorn? Custer was defeated...or Beaten. Spooner that to get the name of the silent film star; Buster Keaton.

Try another one...

Burner of buns and more...(6)

(Part of the answer is in the question)

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Flibbertygibbert

I have no idea what to use as a title for this post so I just put what first came to my mind. Right now I'm all hepped up (Hopped up?) on double espresso (expresso, really because fizzbangwow!) and peanut M&Ms (Sugar and Caffeine are my drug) as Husband and I settled into an afternoon flick locked in our den/office/games emporium to watch Inception. It was kind of neat. I want to know what Freud would say about it after he got over the wonders of blu-ray of course. We let the kids have the other TV for any movie of their agreed choice with strict orders not to talk to us. We got interrupted once, and she got a flea in her ear and may never return again as she quivers from the double assault of "GET OUT!! Wait - Are you dying? No? GET OUT!!"". You will have no idea how long it's been since we've had a date night without kids. I can't even remember the last time and I'm sure even then, my heart/mind wasn't in it worrying about the kids. I'm such a drag.

Hey hey hey..look ---> see that green bar. Trounced it. Hate it to bits for it's unending suckage but it's done. HA! Now onto the next one. Three remember! Three. Going to do the three.

I am so thirsty...

I was looking at beachside properties today for fun, as you do. Found some amazing places in our price range, some really nice ones less than we're paying now for suburbia. Very very tempted. To smell the salty ocean every day? I'd be sad to get used to it, but when I'm there I melt into the sand and become part of the earth and it's home. Instant peace. I don't know why the seaside calls me, it always has. I rarely went to the beach as a kid, maybe that's why? I dunno. I just know I want to spend forever where I can see, smell, feel the ocean. But, one day. The kids love their school here so, they win. One day!

I need a new book to read. I may try one of husband's somber tomes for a change. His choice of books is ubercerebral where mine is pure escapism/entertainment. I read shit, he reads classics. Snore. At least it makes him easy to buy for so far as books are concerned.

Here's a cryptic puzzle for you: Silent film star's scene at Little Bighorn, as delivered by Spooner. (6,6)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's the 31st of January - Fuck!!

Janowrimo - has been a trip! I've learned a few things about myself. One, I can spontaneously organize a desk space and carve out a writing nest in 15 minutes. Two, I write better with the monster sized headphones on. Three, The kids see the monster sized headphones (MSH) as an invitation to ask me stuff of a lame nature, like "Mom, my leg hurt when I sat on it funny." Then don't sit on it funny! "Mom can I have the ...." Yes, whatever, just GO AWAY. Where the MSH were supposed to be a visual sign to leave me alone! Failed. Failed MSH. Three, I kept getting stuck and bored with my characters. They weren't exciting enough. Then I re-read what I'd put down and noticed; I write in all dialog. There was so little narrative it's no wonder they were boring. They had nothing to react with except each other. It's interesting that in a free flow exercise, I think in speech. Perhaps I should write stage plays instead?

Will I make the 50K target by tomorrow? Sadly no. Not too far off but I can't see me getting there. I lost a few days going on a spontaneous vacation (I wasn't passing up a free beach holiday) and then the few hot days we've had I can't use the computer as it overheats. I try and get all my "hot" chores (ironing, baking, tumble dryer) done early so I don't have to do them when the house is in the 90's. I have a lot written in my notebook that I've not transcribed and to be honest - I don't know the final word count. I may have made target after all! However, I'm erring on the side of no. Especially since, it's still not finished. Haven't got my conclusion.

I started reading On Writing and No Plot No Problem and both advised just writing, and that the characters should carry the story along without so much reliance on plot. I'm giving the characters free reign but they don't seem to be all that adventurous. I'm beginning to lose my patience. Where is this magic moment of plot bomb Eureka!? It's not happening yet.

I will keep going. I keep getting is flashes of ideas for other projects. I have to turn my notebook over and write those ideas upside down at the back to keep them separated from the main working one. You know, like the extra long advert sections at the end of some magazines.

When the writing part of the day is done, and I've done my chores, fobbed off vacuuming again until tomorrow (I really should get that done...but not now) I am cro-knitting. I found an easy knitting project pattern for a cardigan and am following the knit directions but using Tunisian crochet. So far so good. I still get a ribbed edging, a stockinette stitch and it's much easier. Annoying thing is it curls but that's the nature of TC. Once all the pieces are stitched up and it's blocked it'll be fine. It's given my hands a needed break, too. I was getting sore thumb and index joints but that's improved since I moved onto this. It's very hand friendly. Again, I'm following YouTube tutorials and it's all been good. I'll show you what I've got when it gets bigger. I may fuck it all up once I move onto other pieces and frag the whole thing.

Finally, I read a romance. I've been holding onto it for a while. I read Scoundrel by Zoe Archer as it was recommended by both Dear Author and got an A from the Smart Bitches Book Club. I thought I was in with a winner! I didn't mind shelling out actual cash for it as it came so highly pre-reviewed. My overall opinion? Meh. Maybe I'm just too nitfuckingpicky but if I have to be reminded every paragraph that the Hero is an experienced seducer and excellent lover, then they're doing him a disservice. I got a bit grumpy and was mumbling "Get on with it already, yeah yeah he's a sex god, I know." I felt the Heroine was better thought out and realistic as a character, even though she accepted her father's evilness a bit too easily in favor of the Hero. It wasn't that important, but I thought she could've argued Dad's case a bit more to make the eventual "You're dead to me!" bit more dramatic.

All the Greek history, sailor adventure stuff was good, too. The magic and warlocks and witches...not my thing. Gods had power and magic, magical creatures had power and magic, average people didn't.

I also found some of the sex scene language a bit icky but that could my prudishness sneaking in. I don't like all the soaking knickers and drenched pussy stuff. Even he was leaving slick trails along her skin from his cock - like a snail? I'm happy with a simple "wet" without making me wonder if they have bladder control issues. All that aside, I will say this is the first story I've read in a long time that made me believe in the "He says he loves me but I know he doesn't really love me? Wait...He really loves me?" line without me wanting to drop kick the heroine for being completely clueless. Nope, I actually like London, despite her confusing name since I kept getting mixed up at the beginning between the city and the character. I think you should only name your kids after great cities you don't plan to live in. People named Paris shouldn't live in Paris, people named Phoenix, shouldn't live in Phoenix. It's not like she didn't have a dozen other names.

So where everyone else gave it an A, I'm more of a C+/B- but only because of the constant reminding me that the Hero is a rogue in narrative and private thoughts.

I'm going to finish my anti-paranormal and then move onto the uptight single Mom chef and the teenage daughter's French tutor.

I have no idea why this ignores my italics commands but I assure you, I've tried to italicize book titles like a good girl.