Sunday, October 30, 2011

NEW YORK SNOWSTORM, SHUTTERS ON THE BEACH AND TEETHING. (Travel with a baby ain't for the faint of heart).

We flew into California and were greeted by this...

Then flew into New York and got involved in this...

Add jet lag, a few time differences, no sleeping on the plane, (and for the few days after) molars coming in, 9 cousins, 5 uncles, 4 aunts, 2 grandparents - all in the one house, several snotty noses and one freak snowstorm and Little Miss Q is rolling with it like a champ.

Roll on week two...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Whenever Gregory cuts onions he stops himself from crying by becoming the onion. I don’t know exactly what it is that he does, but somehow he becomes one with the onion. 
He is the onion.

I am definitely not one with the onion. I am not even two with the onion.
In fact, I am very far from finding any affinity with the onion and cutting one is painful in the extreme.
I have sensitive, allergic eyes at the best of times, and the common domestic task being performed daily throughout suburbia almost does me in.
And so, (on the grounds that Gregory is a trained professional chef and I am not) I am hereby abdicating all onion-cutting responsibility to him.

Onions are not the only food to annoy me.

Glace cherries are right up there too. What is a glace cherry? Is there any actual cherry in them? And if there is, what was the inventor thinking? Cherries are expensive. What braniac came up with a way to ruin an expensive, short-seasoned delight?
Glace cherries are a potent, chewy, unnatural Christmas pudding destroyer and it is perfectly acceptable to pick them out of said pudding and add them to landfill. Unfortunately, I doubt they will ever decompose.

Actually while we’re on the topic, I love most dried fruit, but take serious issue with the drying and sugar coating of tropical fruits. Pineapple, papaya and the like.
There’s no better way to ruin a morning than to take a mouthful of your morning cereal, only to have it sabotaged by a piece of nasty, teeth-sticking dehydrated paw-paw.
Even Q doesn’t like it. (I tried to fob it off onto her, by mixing it in with her puffed rice, but she spotted that sucker faster than a Sydney red-light camera).

Artichokes are tasty, but far too labour intensive for my liking. Seriously, who (apart from a home cook who fancies themselves on a season of MasterChef) actually prepares artichokes?

Chokos. Does anybody still eat them? Tolerable when drowned in cheese sauce. But then, everything is tolerable when smothered in cheese sauce.

Risotto. Love to eat it, but the continuous stirring annoys me. I get bored.

Ice Magic. You know that chocolate sauce that sets hard on ice cream. It was big in the 80’s. It’s runny topping all the way people. No debate.

Jelly. Read my rant in the Herald for further edification. It is total rubbish. The inventor should be ashamed.

Vegetables that require peeling. I can’t peel. I blame being left-handed and my parents never supporting my uniqueness by providing me with a left-handed peeler. Peeling a potato is such an exercise in frustration that I eat frozen beans instead.

Jubes. Contentious I know, but I’m a Jelly Bean girl. Jubes are like thick jelly. 
Gross man, gross.

Mint in desserts. And chocolate and mint together in particular. Unfortunately this is a favourite combination for Gregory. Our house is generally hiding several packets of Mint Slice, so come 2pm in the afternoon, (sugar-hit o’clock) I can easily pretend they’re Kingstons instead.

Instant coffee. Particularly when it’s milky and lukewarm. It reminds me of Church as a kid. Each week we’d be dragged along by our parents, attend the Sunday school where no one spoke to you unless your parents were one of the teachers (which ours weren’t) and the only redeeming feature of the whole experience was the seriously diluted cordial, the crap coffee and the one Nice biscuit we were allowed.

This post is inspired by the instant coffee I’m drinking because the delicious real one I purchased from the cafĂ© made it all the way home and up the stairs (along with several other packages, a water bottle and one wriggling baby) then suicided out of my hand and all over the floor.

Ask Shakespeare, this is the definition of tragedy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


When I eat grapes, I have to grab a handful in an even number.

When I eat m and m’s (which is a fairly regular event) I have to eat them in lots of four and all the colours have to be different. So if I grab a handful that doesn’t result in the last four fulfilling such requirements, I have to grab another handful. And on it goes until there are none left.

When I’m sitting still I play combinations on my fingers and toes that have to be repeated and reversed and I cannot stop until the cycle is complete.

When I grocery shop, I cannot buy the first item on the shelf because in my head that is the one that everyone touches. I have to get the second, or preferably third one.

When I walk with someone, I have to be on his or her left-hand side. This is not because I’m partially deaf in my left ear, but because it feels wrong walking on people’s right.
Also, I can’t walk in a straight line. I list to the left. So it’s better for everyone if I start there in the first place.

I have a special way of tying the shoelaces on my running shoes. There has to be just the right tension around the ankle otherwise I have to undo them and start again.

Phew. Do I feel better now that’s out in the open.
The very open, given that I’ve just published it on a blog that can be accessed by anyone anywhere in the entire world.

Doesn’t matter.

Acknowledging is the first step to accepting.
It appears that for me things have to be even and fair. What happens one way must also happen in reverse.
(Except for the shoelace thing. That’s just a peculiarity).            
Psychologists would have a field day with that assumption wouldn’t they?

This post was inspired by the grapes I was eating just before I sat down to write. 
The eight grapes I was eating to be exact.
And as I counted twice to make sure the number of grapes was, in fact, an even number, it made me wonder just how many obsessive-compulsive habits I actually have.
Quite a few as it turns out.

But come on people, ‘fess up. I know I’m not alone.

I’m off to eat peanut butter and honey on an even two vita wheats.
I’ll check back in later to see if any of you have let me in on the weird things that make you, you. 

Embrace 'em people, they're what makes us unique! 

Monday, October 17, 2011


In 5 sleeps time we will be boarding a plane bound for LA, then after a 2 day pit stop, will board another plane bound for that wonderful town, my old stomping ground, NYC.
With our 11 month-old daughter.
Our 11 month-old daughter who doesn’t even like to sit in the pram long enough for her mother to get her daily takeaway coffee. The daily coffee that helps her mother survive because by this time (7.30 in the morning) she has already been up for at least 2 hours.


Don’t worry. I’ve been getting prepared.

I’ve bought countless snacks and squeezy food. Pear and lentils anyone?
I’ve never bought her packaged food before. Not because I’m an ultra-organic granola mum, but because I’m a tight arse. I can boil and puree my own food thank you very much.
Not sure Q will even go for it though as her independent streak means she’s been feeding herself since she first started to eat.
It also means every meal requires a stack hat and a drop sheet. 
Neither of which is possible on a plane of course, so I shall just wear a poncho from here to LA to catch all her mess.

Distraction Quilt is ready. And no, those buttons will never come off. I’m not a good sewer - or a neat one for that matter – but those buttons are going nowhere.

Then my ambitions got far beyond my abilities and I made her a distraction book.

Clearly that is a lion. And a lollipop. Not that she has any idea what either of those things are.

No, that is not a black woman’s breast as my husband guessed. Obviously it is an ice cream. Although again, perhaps not a good choice as she doesn’t know what that is either.

That’s a nose, as if you can’t tell. And a nail.
Necklace and noodle and other easy things like that only just occurred to me.

That is cellophane stuck to the page in strips.
The book has a lot more pages than there are letters in the alphabet. So after I did the numbers I was really digging deep.

I’ve also got a couple of real books, made by professionals. Although they’re also ones that make noise, which could possibly royally piss off the people around us, and is why I’ve made them all disarm-them bags, to be given out as soon as we board. It’s hard to hate someone who gives you a gift.

They will be filled with chewing gum, lollies, earplugs and in the spirit of Australia, Anzac Biscuits.

I’ve got plenty of nappies, (no, we’re not taking the cloth ones. Can you imagine the stench of one of those babies by the time it gets to NYC. Talk about weapons of mass destruction) outfits, blankets, bibs, washcloths, and of course the requisite baby panadol. The adult version is a couple of stiff gin and tonics, my preferred in-flight beverage.

I’ve been tweeting with @QantasAirways who assure me no strikes are planned for Sunday, but have also probably red-flagged us to be moved up the back near the toilet.

Other than that, we’re just gonna wing it (ha ha) and hope for the best. 
As long as she’s allowed to crawl up and down the aisle ad infinitum we should be ok. 
I hope.

If only we had our own private jet…

Thursday, October 13, 2011


‘I did something really mean yesterday,’ says my friend over the sound of her screaming child. ‘I sent a text to my husband saying I was pregnant. And then I switched my phone to silent so I didn’t hear his calls.’ She pauses. 
‘He had been annoying me for several days.’

If you were at war, you would want her on your side wouldn’t you?
That sort of stealth bombing is to be commended.

I prefer a less direct approach.
My combat style is less of a deadly missile and more a war of attrition.
My method takes time. And steadfast commitment to the cause.
Niggle, niggle, niggle. Pick, pick, pick.
Slowly chipping away at my husband’s resolve until he explodes in a torrent of swear words, which I then yell about because he says them in front of our daughter.
Double victory.

Of course if he could just pick up his towels, put his dirty clothes in the basket, close doors he opens and stop losing his wallet, I wouldn’t need to fight like the Vietcong, but then I would also be in a marriage unlike any other heterosexual couple in the world and I honestly just doubt that actually exists.

You can learn a lot from our friends in Vietnam, so if you’re fighting method needs work, follow these few points below.

·               Tunnels. The Vietcong hid in tunnels and surprised their enemy by popping up all over the place. You can do similarly by striking when your husband least expects it. A mid-shower reminder to hang up the floor mat afterwards is a good way to start.
·               Booby traps. Don’t be afraid to ask your husband to clean the bathroom, then claim that because the laundry is included in the space, that also means start the load of poo-nappies.
·               Land Mines. Bloody awful things. Likened around the house to forgotten things in the fridge, the inside of the oven and the temperament of an exhausted breastfeeding mum. Best part is, he’ll never know just where and when they’ll blow.
·               Hit and Run attacks. Now our human has dropped the 11pm and 3am feed, it is time to reclaim my independence one occasional evening at a time. It is perfectly acceptable to feed dinner to said human, (both solid and boob) leave the resulting mess on the drop sheet and flee out the front door for a night on the town with the girls. This will still not make up for the daily torture of removing Weetbix cement from the grooves of the table, but it’s a start.

Everyone’s fighting style is unique, and depends largely on the foe, the territory and the current political climate. You may find more affinity with the Kamikaze pilots of WWII (although crashing and burning is not a sustainable attack I would venture). Perhaps you’re more of a sniper - one shot and they’re down. You could be like poison gas – silent but deadly. Or maybe you’re more of a Spartan soldier, sporting a razor sharp sword and a small loincloth.

Whatever your style, embrace it wholeheartedly. As Winston Churchill, that great wartime leader said,

If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.

Go forth and conquer people.
May victory be yours.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Following my post about eating your feelings, I thought I’d continue in a theme of self-help and talk about poor attitude, or as it’s known in our house, stinkin’ thinkin’.

Stinkin’ thinkin’ is an ailment that directly precedes eating your feelings. It is often accompanied by people telling you to ‘look for the silver lining’, ‘swing the positive’ and most annoyingly to ‘turn that frown upside down’.
I love to bust that one out, being the Pollyanna that I am.

While everyone’s symptoms will present differently, the condition (at least around our joint) is most often identified by
·                 Swearing. Seriously needs to change now that Q is starting words. Having Mama, Dada, Bye-Bye and F#$% as her first four words is hardly ideal.
·                 Short fuse. Not to be mistaken for the short fuse associated with breastfeeding fatigue because that is a legitimate condition and no debate about it will be entered into.
·                 Wet towel amnesia. As a general rule men suffer this condition perpetually, but it worsens from leaving it in a crumpled heap on the end of the bed, to forgetting to put down the floor mat entirely and leaving the towel under the bed, not to be found again until sheet changing day.
·                 Edge of the ledge attitude. Out of proportion responses to everyday situations. I would like it noted that for the performer in the family, I am nowhere near the worst offender.  
·                 Couch napping. Stinker Thinkers want to escape themselves, and so they sleep. On the couch, straight after dinner, shoes on, un-showered, snoring. This usually causes great annoyance to the other person wanting to watch Spicks and Specks without the added nasal symphony.

It’s big people.
Stinkin’ Thinkin’ is a real issue.
We need to talk about it.
It needs it’s own awareness day.
Perhaps even a t-shirt. Something in a soft jersey cotton so sufferers’ delicate skins aren’t harmed.

But help can start right here, right now. With you. You can exact positive change.
Reach out, give them a hug, a pat on the back, buy them a full-fat cappuccino. Tell them they’re doing a good job, that you think they’re great and well liked.
Give them your time, your energy, and then hit ‘em with the truth and tell ‘em to harden the F#$% up princess.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Can you buy a frozen cheesecake and an apple crumble please? Orders my husband as I head out the door to pick up some milk.

Why do we need two desserts?

To balance each other out.

Have you ever heard such logic?

Gregory is what I like to call a feeling eater.
He eats his feelings.            

The amount of fat and sugar involved in his meals is inversely proportional to his level of contentment.
That is, the more distressed he is, the more he eats.

He calls them fat attacks.

Packets of chips downed in a second, chased by a couple of icy beers, accompanied by cheese and crackers, followed with a huge carb and meat-heavy meal and rounded off with not one, but two desserts.
Throw in a bottle of wine and perhaps a whiskey or two as a nightcap and I just know what you’re all secretly thinking.
Don’t worry, I think it out loud.
It drives him crazy.

Well it would wouldn’t it? If you were busy indulging in your third piece of Sara Lee cheesecake and your wife is busy destroying it by harping on about strokes, diabetes, heart attacks and blood clots.

That’s right, I can ruin a good meal better than Jenny Craig any day.

Oh, excuse me, must be off, I can hear the kettle boiling.
Time for a cup of tea and a big fat piece of brownie.
These aren't mine, they're a pic from photobucket.
I am anti-nuts as a general rule.
Oh, don’t look at me like that, I’m a breastfeeding mother. I can justify anything.


It is well known amongst my friends and family that I am a tight arse, although I prefer the phrase fiscally prudent.

Perhaps it was my upbringing, or my grandmother’s influence (she could make a chicken last a week), maybe it’s just my nature.

But without such highly developed skills I would never have survived seven years in New York living and working as a musical theatre performer.

Ketchup soup anyone?

It ain’t so bad when your other option is tuna surprise…tuna mixed with whatever else I found in the cupboard.

And now I’ve found a way to carry my ‘waste not want not’ attitude into my daughter’s meals as well.

Behold. The ever changing, ever delicious, not-a-thing-goes-unused menu for the divine Miss Q…

·               Vegetable muffins - Wholemeal flour (yes, yes, I seriously am that healthy) and leftover vegies from dinner the night before. Sometimes I really shake things up by mashing the sweet potato so the muffins are a delightful orange colour instead of the grey of the healthy wholemeal flour.
·               Frittata – made in the microwave. Do the microwaves cancel out the goodness of the dish I wonder? Again, use any leftover vegies, rice, a few eggs, a bit of milk and toss in some sour cream or cottage cheese. Truly, I hit upon this by accident because I was just trying to use up what was in the fridge, but it adds a certain richness to the dish and honestly, I think MasterChef may want to speak to me soon.
·               Bran Muffins – these are actually a recipe, but I’ll have to post it later as it’s at my mum’s house. Suffice to say they include sultanas, buttermilk, all-bran and healthy flour. Keeping you healthy on the inside folks.
·               Leftover cold fish – got to admit, not something even I could choke down. But Miss Q’s uncle likes a spot of spear fishing, and what could possibly be better than freshly caught, freshly barbequed filets of fish prepared just for you. No tartare sauce required.
·               Meatballs – I use chicken, mince, pork, whatever. Mix with some breadcrumbs, an egg if need be and some seriously finely chopped vegies. Roll into balls and bake. Big hit people. Big hit.
·               Savoury pikelets – there’s a recurring theme here of using last night’s vegies, but Q has become the perfect replacement to our no-longer-alive dog. Just to really shake things up, you could grate the vegies instead of chop them.
·               Crockpot surprise – there is always a lot of jus (that’s sauce for you non-chefs out there) left over with a Crockpot meal, and I see no reason to let such a delicious thing go unused. What’s wrong with steaming a bit of chicken or pork and mixing it in with the jus? Or adding rice. Or pasta, couscous perhaps. The possibilities are endless.
·               Marinated chicken – in yoghurt, soy, whatever else is close to expiration. Leave them for a while, then wack ‘em in the oven and bake. Any leftovers can be re-recycled into the above muffins or frittata.
·               Stewed fruits – get the bag of old apples reduced to a couple of bucks on a Friday afternoon at the supermarket. Stew and mix with yoghurt for dessert. Your child need never know how many brown spots you had to cut out.
·               Porridge – do you know how cheap that stuff is?

I could go on and on, but I think I’ve given you a good enough start.

If you are a fellow fiscal prude and have suggestions of your own, please, consider it your charitable duty to keep the rest of us informed.

If you’re new to this way of life, I embrace you.
Soon you too, will be justifying your bought coffee addiction with your budget saving cooking.
Waste not on your child and you will not want for your coffee.
Everybody wins.

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