Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred

A food meme from Very Good Taste.
"Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers."

Here’s what to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at the original author's blog linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros - I've made a version of this a couple of times.
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper - food should not cause pain.
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl - I LOVE clam chowder and now I must experience it in a sourdough bowl!
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float - nope but I've had plenty of spiders in my time.
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea - Sadly no, my devonshire teas are usually accompanied by King Island cream
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat - nope, but I have had honey marinated whole roast goat.
42. Whole insects - not intentionally.
43. Phaal - if it's hotter than vindaloo I seriously doubt I want to go there.
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu - I'm not into extreme sports :P
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin - apparently we've probably all eaten this, it gets used as a food additive and in medicines.
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef - I've had wagyu beef, but I doubt it was genuine Kobe, didn't cost enough for one thing.
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Well, I've had 34, there's 5 I'm not willing to try and that leaves 61 culinary experiences ahead of me.

It's been a long day

You know how I said I might try ice-skating today? Well, I did.

I was really apprehensive because I had memories from the last time I tried, years ago, of being so distressed that all I wanted to do was hide somewhere and cry. I remembered that my feet had been in agony but I couldn't remember what it had been like on the ice. Was I still able to skate (I used to go regularly for sport in high-school and had taken lessons when I lived in the US) or was it just an exercise in frustration and humiliation?

Turns out I can still skate. Sort of. But the feet? OMG OW! No doubt it was partly down to the crappy hire skates but I'm quite sure it wouldn't be nearly so bad if I was lighter. All the pressure of my 130kg resting on thin metal blades instead of spread across the soles of nice comfortable shoes had me in some serious pain after only 2 circuits of the rink. Damn. I wonder if it'd be bearable if I had my own skates? I've coveted my own pair for many, many years and at least now I wouldn't grow out of them. Anyway, I made Caitlin happy by giving it a go (we arrived a short time before Caitlin's friend and her mum) and I was able to help her friend get started by doing another 2 circuits (whimper!) the first time holding her hand the whole way and the second time just being encouraging as she tottered around on her own. After that Caitlin took over the hand-holding and coaching duties and I got to sit and chat and let my feet recover.

I think the reason I couldn't remember being still able to skate from last time was because I'd been so overwhelmed by the pain and humiliation of my fat getting in the way of being on the ice, this time the pain was still there but the humiliation is gone, so no wanting to cry.

Caitlin and friend's arm

Caitlin ice-skating

My very wonderful mum had the boys this morning, I also dumped the dog on her with the suggestion that she and the boys could fill in the time by going for a walk - this is less cheeky than it sounds because my mum is a going for walks fanatic. She volunteered to look after them so that I'd be able to give Caitlin some one-on-one time, which was great, but it did mean that although I was already half-way to the city I had to go back home and retrieve the other 2 offspring before heading back into the city to meet up with people for Nixy's birthday party at Lowenbrau.

I decided to relax my no toys at the table rule and let them bring something to keep them occupied in the hope of having a relaxing lunch. HA! It kinda sorta worked...for a while. I still spent a significant portion of my lunch time trying to quash squabbles, begging not to be whinged at and threatening to cancel the planned trip to the movies to see Clone Wars tomorrow.

This pic is a touch blurry but the expression on Tom's face just had to be shared


We ordered the platter for 2 to share amongst the 4 of us but it still defeated us.

The platter defeated us.

Happy Birthday Nixy!

Happy Birthday Nixy!
(We found Adam's and his brother's steins in the glass cabinet at the end of the table there.)

David refused to give me the dessert menu until I'd taken this photo. This was the last of the relatively harmless silliness. After this it got a bit ugly *sigh*

David was getting bored

The afternoon culminated in a fairly impressive melt-down from Tom complete with tears and screams of "I hate you" directed at his brother. Note to self: the times when you really hope they'll be on their best behaviour, expect the worst, when it doesn't matter, they'll be angelic, that's just the way these things work.

We got back to the car and they asked to listen to Abba on the way home. They all sang along for the entire trip. We got home and they'd transformed back into reasonable human beings and have played happily together for the rest of the day. And now they're asking for food.

How can they possibly be hungry? There was all that MEEEEEAT!

*goes to conjure dinner*

PS. I need a foot massage.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Link-fest No. 5

Another random collection of stuff.

The world's most bad-ass grotesques and gargoyles in a post on deputydog.

I'm insanely jealous of Kate's new favorite form of exercise.

Lois McMaster Bujold has finished chapter 5 of the new Miles book, yes, I'm tragic, I know. *is in love with a fictional character and can't wait for a new fix*

John Scalzi is evil and Wil Wheaton is a good sport.

The Guild Season 1 DVD is available. It's awesome. You should watch it and possibly buy it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Being everything I can be

I read a post on Nat's blog this morning that got me thinking. Here's the bit that gave the old brain cells a prod:

...even now, 'just' 52 kilos lighter I am much more of a person than I ever was before.

This seems so shallow but it reinforces my belief that we categorise ourselves and filter our world through our obesity...just like someone who is depressed. And this stops us from sharing so many of our good qualities with others. We allow ourselves to become less of a human being. We allow ourselves to watch the rest of the world go by. I am certain that there is the rare human who weighs 150 kilos and takes part in everything, but I'd be certain also that they are RARE! How many of us have sat back and said no to something, or not taken part in something that we really wanted to because of our weight? Or has our weight physically limited us in such a way that we can't do something because of it?

Having made the no more WW decision, I have to acknowledge that there are physical limitations associated with my size. I want to go horse-riding but unless there's a something like a Clydesdale-Thoroughbred cross on hand that's pretty much a no-go. I'm hesitant to go ice-skating because the last time I did I was in some serious pain in my feet in a very short time, I'm planning on testing the (frozen) waters on Saturday though. I wish I could do the free fall thing at Questacon, but I wouldn't fit in the jumpsuits they have and I can't support my weight with my arms. I'd like to fit easily into seats in restaurants, theatres, aeroplanes and the like. There's more but I'm actually having a hard time thinking of things to add to the list just now. There's lots of things that would be easier if there was less of me but which I do anyway.

The thing is, I've been on a bit of a journey of self-discovery too in the last few years. And it's happened not because I lost weight, but in spite of my weight.

Here's something I wrote back in September last year:

I made a conscious decision years ago that my feelings of discomfort would not stop me from doing with my kids all the things we should be doing together as a family. So I decided I would go places with them, swim at public pools and at beaches, run around helping with soccer coaching (that one only lasted as long as David's interest in soccer). And then I started doing stuff for myself. I wear sleeveless tops so I can be out when it's hot without expiring. I bought clothes using the primary criteria of comfort rather than to hide my body. I went out on a limb and met people I knew from the net. I stood up in front of a theatre full of strangers and led a sing-a-long. I ended up on film doing the same (it's in the Sydney Q&A bonus feature on the Serenity DVD) and when I watch that I DON'T cringe, laugh at the geekiness yes but the physical me? that I'm ok with.

Since then I've done more. I've taken up jewellery making and managed to sell some of my creations - I've never thought of myself as creative or artistic so this came as a bit of a surprise to me. I've dressed in dark ages period costume and participated in a living history display at a public event - being in the public gaze like that is hard. I've taken on the P&C presidency at my kids' school - each time I run a meeting I'm conscious of being the fat person sitting at the front of the room with everyone looking at me (I'm sure none of them care what size I am, they're all just grateful they don't have to do my job but still, I feel exposed). I went for a job interview and convinced someone to hire me - my last job interview was 14 years ago and I was sure at the time that my (then much smaller) size was the reason I didn't get the job (nonsense of course). I went out dancing and had a great time - need to do that more often.

Every day as I get dressed, as I move around, as I pass a reflective surface, I am confronted by my body. How I fit (or don't) into my clothes, how I get hot and sweaty so very easily even in the middle of winter, how my reflected image sometimes makes me smile giving me a spring to my step and sometimes makes me wince and yank at my shirt trying to cover up the bulges (as if another layer of cloth somehow makes them invisible :P). I smile at myself more often now than I used to.

I don't know why I was able to choose to at least sometimes put aside that filter Nat mentions. It's not gone, at best I see double, but that seems to be enough.

I like who I am. I'm happy with what I'm doing with my life. There's an effort involved but I suspect that's not unique to being fat.

Could I be more, if there was less of me? I don't know. But I do know that I'm being all that I can be now and that is good enough.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

As if it wasn't bad enough already

Today Caitlin tells me that another of her so-called friends (keep in mind there are only 3 kids Caitlin calls friend) told Caitlin that she wasn't allowed to invite Caitlin to her birthday party because her mother said Caitlin was rude and inconsiderate.

I feel ill.

Caitlin has only been to this friend's house once and as far as I know there was no problem on that occasion and seeing as every other report I've ever had of Caitlin's behaviour at other people's homes has been unfailingly positive I'm at a loss to understand where this comes from. Unless the friend is lying? (This begins to seem probable.)

Yesterday's issue is not yet resolved though I did talk to the mum this afternoon (told her exactly what Caitlin had told me) and found out that F1, despite telling Caitlin that she isn't interested in going ice-skating with us, has been lording it over her older sister at home and shows every sign of being very excited about going.

The more I'm finding out, the more it looks like Caitlin is being subjected to bullying behaviour from a number of her classmates. In fact she says there's only one girl who's not being mean to her and that's friend 2 from yesterday's story.

Next up, interview with the teacher I think.

I'm alternating between wanting to cry and wanting to bang a few heads together.

Meanwhile, in other news David managed to get himself into trouble on Monday for standing up to someone who was bullying one of his friends with a little too much of the physical kind of protest. A sense of justice can be a tricky thing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sometimes life really isn't fair

I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes and an aching heart. I've just driven Caitlin to her dance lesson and on the way she started to talk to me about some stuff that's been going on with a couple of her friends. Caitlin doesn't have a large group of friends, when I told her she can ask whoever she wants to her birthday party she only came up with 3 names, so this is not a small problem.

Friend 1, for no readily apparent reason, has taken to telling friend 2 that if F2 wants to spend time with F1 then she can't spend time with Caitlin and conversely that should F2 choose to spend time with Caitlin then F2 will not be allowed to spend time with F1. F1 has been one of Caitlin's closest friends since they started kindy together. F2 came into the picture in year 1. These are long-standing friendships and Caitlin (despite much probing questioning from me) can't work out what has gone wrong. The questioning comes about because I have no illusions about my kids, they're all just as capable as any other kid of being unpleasant to be around.

But, whatever Caitlin's faults may be, she has never and would never do something like this to anyone she knew and it's killing me that it's happening to her.

We had invited F1 to come ice-skating on Saturday but seeing as, along with the power plays above, F1 has alos been saying she doesn't need to come ice-skating with Caitlin because she can do that any time with her family I'm now thinking maybe it's not such a great idea. The really fun part will be explaining to F1's mum why we're changing the plans. I'm leaning heavily towards telling the truth.

Walking down my front path

I came home this morning after doing the grocery shopping and as I staggered down the front path loaded with bags of dog food, pasta, snacks for the kids and the like I looked over into my garden and was seized with an urgent need to go get the camera.

Kangaroo paw budding

Kangaroo paw budding

Tiny and pink

Tiny and pink



Prostrate grevillea - This does ground cover duty over much of the front yard.

Prostrate grevillea

Another grevillea

Another grevillea

Tiny and purple

Tiny and purple

Teeny tiny pink thing - Can you tell I'm completely clueless when it comes to plants?

Teeny tiny pink thing

My garden makes me happy :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Menu plan 25 Aug 08

Last weeks plan didn't survive the "I don't want what you're cooking" incident. I was so exhausted on Friday (this going to work business is killing me) that I went to bed and left Adam to cook the sausages he'd rejected the night before. Tonight the plan is to grab a quick meal out before going to the movies. Caitlin and I are going to see Mamma Mia, the boys may or may not join us.

Adam is off to the US on Monday so I'm looking to keep things as easy as possible this week, he gets back on Sunday morning.

Oven baked crumbed chicken, noodles & steamed veg
Fruit & yoghurt
Spaghetti bolognese & salad
Fruit & yoghurt
Crockpot coconut beef, rice and steamed veg - attempt number 2
Chicken Korma curry & rice
Fruit & yoghurt
Japanese takeaway
Fruit & yoghurt
Soup & bread - we're having lunch at Lowenbrau for Nixy's 40th, I don't anticipate needing much by way of dinner.
Shepherds pie
Bread & butter pudding

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Good day

The beginning of my day:

Adam has been making me awesome breakfasts for almost 20 years, this morning I said I was craving pancakes and bacon and eggs. I got up, had my shower, got voilà!


The middle of my day:

I took Caitlin shopping. She ended up with FOUR pairs of shoes. They were: school shoes which cost a bloody fortune, long black boots at 25% off bought slightly big in the hope they'll be good for next winter and 2 pairs of crappy flats from Kmart which cost $5.60 a pair and will probably do horrible things to her feet. She had ice-cream, I had an affrogato and no-one whinged about anything. (My last shoe shopping expedition with kids was an unmitigated disaster.)

The end of my day:

We spent a very pleasant evening sitting around chatting to a big bunch of Browncoats at Di & Bren's engagement party. Here they are doing the cake cutting thing.


They seem pretty pleased with themselves. Congratulations guys :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dinner plans

Conversation between Adam and I late this afternoon.

Adam: "Can we have chinese for dinner? I don't want what you're cooking tonight."

Me (slightly taken aback but happy to not cook): "Um, yes, we can have chinese."

Adam: "....what are you cooking tonight?"

We went out and had Peking Duck. I'll forgive him the faux pas :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It doesn't take much to make me happy

Caitlin has not had a particularly easy learning to read experience. Although she does love to have books read to her and will happily browse through non-novel type books of various types I've rarely seen her settle down with one and read for a significant length of time and she has read very few chapter books.

This afternoon Caitlin came out of class clutching a book and began enthusiastically telling me all about it. The book in question was The Magic Faraway Tree. I asked where she'd got it as it didn't look like a library book, turns out it's one of the many books I've bought over the years hoping to tempt her to try something that wasn't either Disney or the god-awful Rainbow Magic series, she'd found it in her room and decided to give it a go.

Once we got home she and Tom disappeared downstairs and a disquieting silence fell. I would normally be driven to investigate such a suspicious circumstance but I'm still feeling a little worn out so I decided to risk leaving them undisturbed. They've just come upstairs and it turns out that the nefarious activity they were engaged in was reading the book together, they took turns reading aloud to one another (yes, Tom's reading is as good as if not better than his 3 years older than him sister - he'll quite happily spend hours on the lounge with a pile of books).

I gotta tell you, when I heard Caitlin being full of excitement for a book which I remember loving at about her age I felt like doing the dance of joy. Hallelujah! I'll turn her into a reader yet!

Now I have to get them to do their homework. I can't help but feel the reading was time much better spent.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Huscarls hillside camp

We went camping with the Huscarls on the weekend and to be perfectly honest I didn't have much fun. I don't mind roughing it a bit but I object very strongly to not having any flat ground to sleep on - sliding feet first off my bed multiple times through the night does not make me happy. There were other problems too but I don't really feel like going into them here. Suffice to say I've had better weekends.

Which isn't to say there was nothing good about the weekend. The kids certainly had fun. The weather was good. Clara had fun (I'd have been happier if she hadn't been growling at wallabies in the wee small hours of the morning, but hey, I was awake anyway on account of the whole sliding off the bed thing). There was interesting food that was new to me and I'm all for exploring the new. The guys had bought a whole goat which they roasted on a spit over the open fire. It was basted with a honey marinade and stuffed with grapes, bread and I believe barley. It was pretty good as was the veggie stew accompanying it. Leftover goat was added to the stew and served up for breakfast the next morning and that was seriously yum. Adam cooked porridge in one of the smaller cauldrons. Lunch on Sunday was rabbit cooked in buttermilk. Plus, I wasn't in charge of the cooking and that's always a good thing. I actually felt quite guilty at how little I did to help, I'd have done more on the Sunday but by then I was feeling somewhat worse for wear (I had a thumping headache and felt nauseous which in hindsight may have been due to smoke inhalation).

So yeah, I have mixed feelings about the whole experience.

Here have some photos.

Goat on a spit.

Goat on a spit

Tom, Clara and geteld on a hill.

Tom, Clara and geteld on a hill

Waxing Adam's drinking horn to seal it.

Waxing a drinking horn

Watching the goat cook.

Watching the goat cook.

Adam sitting outside our tent (a Viking a-frame).

Adam sitting outside our tent

Viking a-frame tent with shield.

Viking a-frame tent with shield

Still watching the goat cook (it took 7 hours). I've stolen Adam's seat.

Campsite in late afternoon sun

Rabbit being prepared for Sunday lunch.

Rabbit in buttermilk

Menu plan 18 Aug 08

Damn I'm exhausted.

There's no way I can face both grocery shopping with the kids AND cooking tonight so home delivered pizza it is. I'll drag myself up to the shops once the kids are in bed.

Last week's plan
worked out pretty well. We swapped Wednesday with Friday and Caitlin had her instant noodles when we were eating roast goat on a spit on Saturday night.

Fruit & yoghurt
Honey lamb casserole, rice and broccoli
Ice cream & fruit
BBQ seafood kebabs (garlic prawns, tuna, scallops), rice and stir fry veg
Crepes - didn't manage this last week, shall try again
Sausages, mashed potato & steamed veg
Ice cream & fruit
Crockpot coconut beef, rice and steamed veg - time to try something new in the crockpot
Bread & butter pudding
Di & Bren's engagement party - My mum is looking after the kids, I think I'll do a left-overs raid for them.
Shepherds pie
Fresh fruit

Thursday, August 14, 2008

On the re-reading of series

I've just been reading a post, and the subsequent comments, over at titled Re-reading Long Series. There's something very satisfying about seeing a whole bunch of people talking with enthusiasm about re-reading the same series of books that I too love re-reading. There were a number of series I haven't read mentioned as well, perhaps I should give them a go.

There are a few series that I re-read on a fairly regular basis, I love coming back to the familiar characters and watching the stories unfold with the pleasure of knowing how all the puzzle pieces fit together. It's about appreciating the craftsmanship of the writing, noticing all the little details that are imbued with so much more meaning now that I know where they are leading. Noticing details that I missed the first, second, even third time through (I read fast, the first time through I'm all about finding out what happens next). Revisiting worlds that I love, immersing myself in the series' universe and reveling in the fact that I can stay there for many, many hours as I work my way through anything from 3 to 36* books.

Here's my (probably incomplete) list of series re-reads. Some I'll come back to on a yearly basis, others I revisit when there's a new addition to the series and some I haven't re-read in years but really should dig out and rediscover.

Dorothy L. Sayers - Lord Peter Whimsey
Terry Pratchett - Discworld
Lois McMaster Bujold - The Vorkosigan Saga, The Chalion books and The Sharing Knife
Dorothy Dunnett - The Lymond Chronicles, The House of Niccolo
C. J. Cherryh - Foreigner
Arthur Ransome - Swallows and Amazons
Madeleine L'Engle - The Time Quintet
Marion Zimmer Bradley - Darkover
C.S. Lewis - Narnia
Tolkien - Lord Of The Rings
Susan Cooper - Dark is Rising
John Marsden - The Tomorrow series
C. S. Forester - Hornblower
James Herriot's vet books
Spike Milligan's war memoirs
Sharon Kay Penman - The Welsh trilogy: Here De Dragons, Falls the Shadow, and The Reckoning.

I even went and wandered around my bookshelves when compiling this list in an attempt not to forget any of my favourites. What I noticed (aside from the fact that my bookshelves require a "wander" to peruse rather than a "stand in front of") is that there are a fair few series on my shelves that I used to re-read regularly many years ago but which I now have no desire to re-visit. I wonder if I would be recaptured should I venture into those worlds again. Experience suggests not as I also found some series which I have tried in recent times after many years absence only to find my that either my tastes have changed or I'm much less tolerant of less than wonderful writing now that I have rather less time to spend with book in hand.

Are you a re-reader of entire series and if so what are your particular favourites?

*Ok, I haven't actually done the Discworld series from go to woe since it reached such gargantuan proportions.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I hate him

Adam has just got home from having dinner with his brother at the Lord Nelson. It was a gourmet set course meal with beers matched to the food. Let me share with you the menu.

oysters natural
with three fruits
06 deus brut des flanders 11.5% - belgium

steak and kidney ravioli
three sheets pale ale 4.9% - sydney nsw

confit of asian spiced duck
sauteed shitake king browns bok choy
little creatures pale ale 5.2% - freemantle wa
111 pale ale 5.4% - sydney nsw

from trentino alto ita
broadside 200 8.7% - sydney nsw

oven baked flourless chocolate pudding
rich chocolate sauce and mascarpone
six month keg conditioned old admiral 6.1% - sydney nsw
coopers stout 6.3% - adelaide sa

He has now used the phrase "fucking awesome" at least a dozen times in telling me about his evening. I hate him.

Next time I'm going too.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Link-fest No.4

Another random collection of stuff to read.

The August edition of the Down Under Feminists Carnival is up at Audrey and the Bad Apples.

One of the reasons I'm not watching the Olympics (or watching very little anyway): Lauredhel at Hoyden About Town posts on women athletes' uniforms.

The 2008 Hugo Awards results have been announced.

Check out, there's short stories, news and a community to join.

There's a new Serenity comic on-line at MySpace Dark Horse Presents.

And finally, who would ever have imagined there were so many possible Zombie Rhymes? lilacsigil contributed one of my favourites:

Who are the rulers of zombie dwarves?


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Menu plan 11 Aug 08

Thursday night was the only slip up last week, KFC for the second week in a row. I call that progress :P The apple and rhubarb crumble on Tuesday was awesome if I do say so myself, definitely make that again some time. Di and Bren came over on Friday night so I ended up cooking chicken burritos as well as tacos, then we watched Stargate: Continuum, was good :)

Steak, jacket potato and grilled veg
Fruit & yoghurt
Corned beef, onion sauce and steamed veg
Ice cream & fruit
BBQ chicken, prawns, salad & bread rolls
Crepes - lemon and sugar for me, maple syrup for the kids
Lasagne & salad
Ice cream & fruit
Chinese takeaway
Fresh fruit
Camping with the Huscarls - I believe the plan involves dead animals on a spit over the open fire
Noodle/leftovers night - raid the fridge/freezer/pantry for whatever looks good, fall back plan is 2 minute noodles, except in Caitlin's case where noodles is her first choice.
Fresh fruit

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Meme time again, Heather's to blame for this one.

1. What is his name?

2. Who eats more?
I'm not sure, probably about the same for most things.

3. Who said, “I love you” first?
Him. In fact he said it to me on the night we "got together" (we went to the same high school so I can't say it was the night we met though we didn't really know each other before then).

4. Who is taller?

5. Who drives most when you are out together?
He does, because he likes driving and I don't care either way.

6. Who is more sensitive?
Well, I'm more likely to show sensitivity, I'm not sure that means he's particularly less so.

7. Who does the laundry?
The whole family! Adam and I are equally likely to put the washing machine or dryer on, or hang the clothes out, we make the kids help with the folding and we both iron...or not as the case may be ;-)

8. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
Adam at the moment but it's random when we travel and we've swapped several times at home when we've moved furniture around.

9. Who pays the bills?
Mostly Adam lately, used to be mostly me, that changes back and forth too.

10. Who cooks more?
I do most dinners, Adam is a dab hand at breakfasts (pancakes! omelettes!) and he usually makes the lunches for the kids.

11. Who is more stubborn?
I just don't see this as applying, neither of us is prone to insisting on having our own way for the sake of winning the fight, we negotiate decisions. Being stubborn implies to me that someone isn't willing to bow to reason or reach compromises.

12. Who is the first to admit they are wrong?
Um, the person who was wrong? It's not a competition.

13. Who has more siblings?
I have 2, he has 1.

14. Who wears the pants in the relationship?
Ok, this meme is starting to piss me off. We neither of us control the other, the mere idea gives me the creeps.

15. What do you like to do together?
Lots of things! We share interests in TV shows, movies, books, food, wine, various hobbies, I even like talking to him about his work. I love being on holidays together, long conversations in the car, being somewhere new and just spending time together exploring, relaxing and not having to deal with the usual routine. Cheese and crackers and a good vintage port in front of the TV after the kids are in bed. Going to a park with the kids.

16. Who eats more sweets?
I don't keep a tally.

17. Guilty Pleasures?
Guilt is overrated ;-) We do tend to spend a fair bit of money on wines and eating out which is certainly indulgent!

18. How did you meet?
We first met at high school, he was 2 years ahead of me and we had a few mutual friends but we didn't really have much to do with each other. When I was in year 12, one of those mutual friends extended her invitation to a party being held by another of Adam's friends to myself and a few of my friends. Adam was there, we danced, we kissed, he said "I think I'm in love" (see question 3 above) and I gave him my phone number which he promptly lost. Thank goodness for mutual friends!

19. Who asked whom out first?
There was no asking out per se.

20. Who kissed who first?
Oh, that was pretty mutual :D

21. Who proposed?
There was this whole thing where he kept talking about growing old and grey together and eventually I pinned him down and made him explain himself. He did the formal version some time later with dinner and a ring.

22. His best features and qualities?
He has infinite patience (all right, almost infinite). He's generous, kind and thoughtful. He has boundless enthusiasm for lots of different hobbies (without Adam as the driving force there'd be no amateur rocketry, remote control model boats and aeroplanes or historical reenactment in my life. And all those things are awesome!). He's intelligent and talented. He has enormous integrity. He's handsome and cuddlesome and, um...other stuff :) And he makes a perfect cup of tea.

That was a weird mix of reminiscence, relationship analysis and seemingly meaningless trivia. Wonder what Adam will think of my answers....

This meme is brought to you tagging-free with the usual invite to do it if you feel like it.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Well, there's nothing wrong with that

I had a long conversation with my daughter recently which was sparked off by a couple of things that had come up at school. It started with her recounting a conversation that took place when the word "gay" was used an insult by one one of the boys to one of Caitlin's friends, the friend responded by asking him if he knew what gay meant and he replied "Yeah, it means happy". Caitlin's friend said "No, it's when 2 boys or 2 girls love each other" and Caitlin chimed in with "Well, there's nothing wrong with that". Then Caitlin's friend came out with "Yes there is, it's disgusting and wrong!" (I believe that after a couple more "no it's not/yes it is" exchanges the subject was dropped without resolution.)


Next came the revelation that one of Caitlin's friends had told her that she (the friend) believed that other kids at school didn't like her because she looked different to everyone else.** This friend is Chinese. I was, rather naively I suppose, quite surprised and very saddened by this, as was Caitlin.

Sigh again.

Anyway, it all led into a long discussion about the problem of prejudice and the issues of homophobia and racism. David joined in too after a while. Both the kids were coming up with some great ways to explain their understanding of the issues. I even overheard them going over the same ground amongst themselves - Tom included this time - at the breakfast table the next morning (which had me calling out "Less talking, more eating, we're going to be LATE!).

Let me share one of the arguments they came up with.

They've learned about how left-handed kids used to get into trouble for writing with the "wrong hand" at school through their history studies, so when I explained that some people are just made differently when it comes to sexual orientation, they made a connection.

"Being homosexual is like being left-handed, you're just made that way, it's not wrong, just different. People used to believe that being left-handed was wrong, it's not, they were wrong. There's nothing wrong with being different."

I was proud that Caitlin was willing to take a stand against homophobia, I hope all my kids will be willing to speak out against hate and bigotry and I dare to hope that their doing so might help their peers to understand a little more and hate and fear a little less.

*I have gay friends and family, the kids are pretty disgusted by the idea of homophobia.

**My kids' school is a bizarrely homogeneous Anglo-Saxon enclave considering that there is quite a large proportion of Asian and other immigrants in the surrounding areas. There's a Chinese church one block from our house for one thing.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Vegan Indulgence

I received a parcel in the mail this afternoon. Inside it was this:

My very lovely friend Leigh Drew (aka ZB ) has had her first cookbook published. Leigh is an awesome cook, she is creative and adventurous and her enthusiasm for great food is contagious. When she talks about her cooking you can't help but be excited with her. This little book is packed full of taste-bud tempting treats and each recipe is illustrated with gorgeous photographs, makes you hungry just reading it :)

I was lucky enough to be involved in some of the taste testing of these recipes earlier this year and all I can say is YUM!

If you'd like a copy for yourself Leigh has posted a list of places where you can find the book on her blog, which I'm reproducing here:
aduki independent press, for both Australian and international orders
Cruelty Free Shop
Food Fight!

"Real" Life
Organic food stores, health food stores, book stores (such as Dymocks, Megalong Books etc) - go and ask if they carry aduki titles, or contact aduki for more information on stockists.
Leigh also teaches Vegan cookery courses through the Sydney Community College and will be running 2 Vegan Indulgence Workshops, the first on Saturday August 23 from 10am to 4pm and the second on Saturday September 13 from 10am to 4pm.

You can explore some of Leigh's other vegan creations on her blog ZB's Vegan Recipes.

Hmm, what to cook first...choc cherry squares?...passionfruit melting moments?...aha! Orange and fig slice, this I remember as being one of my favourites, think I'll start there.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Planning ahead

When I turned 6 on the 23rd of October in 1976 I got one of the best birthday presents I've ever had. The sun hid behind the moon. I remember being so excited. We made pinhole cameras and my dad explained what was going to happen. We even went on holidays to somewhere further south in order to be closer to the path of the totality (I can't remember where and it's too late to call mum and ask). I have a vivid memory of sitting in the car watching the dot of light in my pinhole camera being slowly nibbled away as the daylight faded to an eerie orange colour. It was just so cool. I think that's when I got hooked on all things astronomical.

Yep, a solar eclipse makes a great birthday present. As did the plastic pterodactyl I got on the same day, I kept that flying reptile right up to the week before I got married when I culled my "keeping boxes" and my parents decided to be helpful and threw out the box of stuff I wanted to keep instead of the one I wanted to discard. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?

This solar eclipse memoir inspired by this post on Hoyden About Town.

Now for the planning bit. Thanks to Sydney Observatory's upcoming sky events I can do some thinking ahead.

I've never been to Cairns and I haven't really wanted to go there either, but this seems like a good reason to head north. Except, November? In far north Queensland? I don't know if I can come at that.

Total eclipse of the Sun 14 November 2012

This will be the first opportunity to see a total eclipse from Australia since the South Australian eclipse of 2002. In 2012 the eclipse will be visible from North Queensland. The eclipse track will begin in the Gulf of Carpentaria, cut through Cape York and after moving out into the Coral Sea continue across the Pacific Ocean towards North America.

Cairns is on the path of the eclipse and may be the best viewing spot. Totality will occur at 6.40am Eastern Standard Time with the Sun 14 degrees above the horizon. Totality will last just over two minutes.

In Sydney the eclipse will be seen as partial beginning at 7.09am and finishing at 9.04am. Eclipse maximum will be at 8.02am with about 70% of the Sun's diameter covered by the Moon.

Path of the 2012 total eclipse of the Sun in Australia

And here's a good reason to stay living in Sydney. For the next 20 years. What's the bet we don't fare any better with the weather than poor William Scott.

Total eclipse of the Sun 22 July 2028

Should you be in Sydney on 22 July 2028 at 2.00pm you can view a total eclipse of the Sun. For 3 minutes and 50 seconds the Moon will fully cover the Sun, called totality, turning daytime into night time. This event is rarely visible from a large city like Sydney. Interestingly a similar eclipse happened on 26 March 1857. The astronomer Rev. William Scott travelled to South Head at the entrance to Sydney Harbour. At 6:50am he tried to observe the eclipse, for the 3 minutes that the Moon fully covered the Sun. As sunrise was at 6.00am, the Sun was only 9 degrees about the eastern horizon. Luck was not on his side as clouds made it impossible to directly view the eclipse.

Path of the 2028 total eclipse of the Sun in Australia
Something to look forward to hey?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Menu plan 4 Aug 08

Last week would have gone a lot smoother if I'd managed to plan the shopping as well as our meals. I was still on the uphill stretch from being sick (today is the first time I've felt like I had any energy) and I couldn't get my head around more than one day at a time. By Thursday night I'd dropped the culinary bundle completely, we had KFC for dinner *sigh*, then on Friday we had pizza (not homemade). On Saturday I bought Cornish Pasties and sausage rolls (I figured the kids weren't going to go for the pasties) and served them up with oven baked potato wedges, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce so that was a bit better, and tonight we've had ricotta and sundried tomato ravioli with mediterranean sauce and baby spinach.

This week starts off easy with things I already have in the freezer and I won't have to do any grocery shopping till Wednesday, assuming I've bought enough bread and milk to get us through till then!

Oven fish & chips
Fruit & yoghurt
Veal casserole, rice and peas
Apple & rhubarb crumble and custard
Lamb kebabs & couscous salad
Fruit & yoghurt
Spaghetti Bolognese & salad
Ice cream & fruit
Tacos & salad
Fruit & yoghurt
BBQ - steak, sausages, jacket potatoes and salad
Fruit & yoghurt
Mango chicken curry & rice
Fresh fruit

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Today in photos

Tom played soccer this morning.

Player of the week

We sat on the front deck enjoying the sunshine.

Adam on the front deck

David hunted siblings

Hunting siblings

And then we went on a picnic with my mum AND Adam's mum, took Clara to a dog park for the first time (she was in HEAVEN), played basketball with the kids, and completely failed to take a single photo.

It's been a particularly awesome sort of day :)