Seniors Menu

Monday, March 31, 2008

Last week I had dinner at the East Malvern RSL and it was oddly reminiscent of dinners at my Nanna's house when I was young. The bistro was small and cosy, everything smelt like roast vegetables and gravy and the room was about 2 degrees warmer than was really necessary - just like my Nanna's house always is. I couldn't shake the feeling that my Nanna was going to walk in with a roast leg of lamb on a large platter and start dishing up enormous plates of food.

The entire menu read a little like a Seniors menu would, with items like 'Lambs fry & bacon' and 'roast of the day' - although oddly enough, there was actually a seniors menu as well. I've never been anywhere before where Lambs Fry made it onto the regular menu instead of the seniors menu.

The meals were very good and they did actually turn out be like home cooking. To be honest the food was probably better than it ever was at Nanna's place. The reason for this is not because she is a bad cook - she's not at all. No, the reason is because as my grandfather got older, it became harder for him to taste things and in order to stem the flow of complaints from him, Nanna would add large quantities of miscellaneous seasoning to her recipes to 'bring out the flavour'. It never stopped the complaints, of course, but it did make for some interesting tasting food. It was never enough seasoning for my Grandad, and he used to put all sorts of extra stuff in his food to give it more flavour.

During one very memorable meal, he complained loudly that the Chicken soup had no flavour, so he added salt, then pepper - but still no flavour. He added Worcestershire sauce - still no flavour. He added tomato sauce - still no flavour. He then proceeded to add a large scoop of Vegemite. At this point the chicken soup was a strange brownish black colour, and he had run short of strange things to add in order to increase the flavour. He had to content himself with putting his toasted sandwich into his soap and eating it all in one big sloppy, black, soupy mess. I guess the theory was that if you put enough kinds of food into one mouthful, you'll eventually be able to taste it, no matter how dull your sense of taste has become. I think i'll give it a go with tomorrows dinner. It could be interesting...

I shall call it.....Brinner. Or maybe Dinnfast.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Breakfast foods for dinner. Totally under-rated.

I just had a big bowl of muesli and yoghurt and it was waaaaay better than it could ever be at breakfast time. I wouldn't normally eat muesli for breakfast, because I have to give my stomach its all important 3-cup-coffee-coating before it's ready to handle food, and by then it's usually lunchtime.

Bacon and eggs is another great breakfast for dinner food, although I have to admit that nothing tops a bacon and egg sandwich for breakfast - not even a bacon and egg sandwich for dinner. But bacon and eggs are truly a great all-rounder.

I'm toying with the idea of dinner foods for breakfast, but I'm not so sure how that one will go. I'm easing into it; starting small. On the weekend I fried myself up some left over fries and then scrambled an egg in them, so that's a start. It was pretty damn good, too. Who would have thought that potatoes and eggs would make such a good team! If i can keep this up, soon it will be roasts for breakfast and fruit-loops for dinner.

It makes more sense this way, if you really think about it. In the morning I'm refreshed, I'm awake, I have the energy to roast a leg of lamb, prepare and steam 5 fresh vegetables and season and roast potatoes. At 6pm after driving an hour home from work on a 40 degree day in peak hour traffic in a car with no air conditioning - I think cereal is more my speed.

I'm not sure where this leaves me for lunch, however. I may have to leave lunch as it is. It's worked pretty well for me for the last 26 years, so I guess it must be doing something right.

In other, completely unrelated news, we've had another two Huntsman Spiders in our house. One in the bath (I think it fell there and got stuck, or else it wanted to wash its hairy legs) and one in the room with no name. The room with no name is thus named because it's just the weird bit of house that sticks off the side of the kitchen that I guess is there to eat meals in, but that we never use because we eat all of our meals at the dinner couch. Huh, having said all that, I guess the room does have a name.
Anyway, the point here is - I'm totally over the spiders. If anyone knows a good way to deter them, then let me know because I don't think I can stand much more of these freaky, hairy, uninvited guests.

If you concentrate really hard...

Friday, March 14, 2008

I have discovered that if you just type a lot of nonsense sentences into notepad and squint your eyes as though you’re concentrating really hard, it looks as though you’re working instead of bludging and playing scrabble against the receptionist.

Reality Soapie

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Today I had the strangest conversation with my boss. She called me into her office to tell me about some things that were going on in her personal life, because they had crossed over into her work life. She wanted to tell me about it before I heard about it as office gossip, because we’ve known each other a long time and she wanted me to know the truth about it all.

As she was telling me about what was going on, I got a little confused and thought maybe she was reading me the TV guide instead of telling me about her life, but no – she was definitely talking about herself. I felt like she was reading me a blurb about a TV soap opera.

I’m going to tell this story so that you can tell me if you think it sounds like real life or like a dodgy drama series.

Obviously I can’t use their real names, so instead I’ve named them all after characters from ‘The Young and the Restless’, ‘Days of our Lives’, and that great Australian soapie – ‘Neighbours’.


Female Boss – Charlene

Male Boss – Victor

Suave Salesman – Bo

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives….

Charlene has been very happily married for 6 years when she unexpectedly has an affair with the suave salesman, Bo. They are careless in covering it up, and are caught out. She splits with her husband.

Charlene’s husband works up a jealous rage and threatens to beat Bo to a pulp and dump him in the bottom of the bay, but ultimately ends up drinking himself almost comatose.

She is going to tell Victor that she is leaving her husband and that Bo is leaving his wife (who is 8 months pregnant) so that they can be together, but before she can, Victor receives an anonymous phone call outing their affair.

The anonymous phone call turns out to be from Charlene’s evil stepfather, Stefano, who somehow has a personal stake in the break up of Charlene’s marriage and has tracked down and called Victor without Charlene or Charlene’s mother knowing about it.

To be continued….

Is that day-time TV material or what? And I’m not making any of this up – this is the kind of melodrama that is happening while I’m off drawing playgrounds. All it needs is a nice rounded ending with someone in a coma and an evil plot by someone’s jealous wife. I think that Victor’s wife would be good at the jealous wife part, but I’m not too sure about the coma and the evil plot. Still, my boss told me all of this today and it’s only been two months since she split with her husband, so I guess there’s still plenty more time for B-grade drama to unfold.

My Secret Shame

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Look, I’m going to be honest and come right out and say it.

I don't like spiders.

My secret shame is revealed.

Yes, I know, it's not unusual for a female to hate spiders, but I’m not normally the sort of woman who gives in to stereotypical female behaviours, so this is a big deal for me. Having said that, let me tell you that of all the things to be scared of in Australia, being afraid of spiders is closer to the rational end of the fear list than it is to the irrational.

Recently we had a few trees cut down in our backyard, and unfortunately they were gum trees, which are often home to Australia's most lovable bug - the huntsman spider.

We've had FOUR of these suckers in our house over the last two weeks and they have been the biggest that I've ever seen. The largest one would have had a leg span of about 15cm (about 6 inches). It was the largest, creepiest bug that I have ever seen and I swear to you that it looked me in the eye and gave me the death stare. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. I could see its eyes and it was looking right at me. If a bug is so big that you can make eye contact, then I think I can safely say that it is not an irrational thing to be afraid of.

Because we've had a few of these spiders in the house, I am now constantly paranoid about more appearing. I've spent the last two weeks opening doors cautiously and checking the walls of every room I enter to make sure that there isn't any kind of giant bug lurking, ready to pounce. Everything takes longer because you’re scouring the room for bugs the size of your hand.

The first three times that one of these spiders appeared in our house, KJ was around and although he wasn't keen to get rid of them, he did the job anyway. I think it may have had something to do with me yelling at him to suck it up and do his duties as an Aussie male. I can’t be certain, because I left the room (hastily) and wouldn't return until all evidence had been removed.

The fourth time a huntsman appeared (tonight), I had a problem. KJ was away for two days and I was still so creeped out by the evil death stare that the last one gave me that I couldn't even go anywhere near the thing.

This presented a problem.

How was I going to get rid of it? I couldn't bring myself to get close enough to squish it or spray it in case it looked at me like the other one did, and KJ was two hours away. I couldn’t just leave it there, because if I looked away for too long, it wouldn’t be there anymore and the only thing worse than seeing a giant spider in your house is not seeing the giant spider that’s in your house.

I started cursing, wishing that I knew the neighbours a little better so that I could get one of them to help me. I rang friends who live nearby, but because it was Saturday night they were all out. I was expecting a friend over for drinks and I prayed that she would be the bug killing kind. No such luck. She was more scared of the thing than I was.

I exhausted every possible option before I had to resort to my innate childhood instincts – and called my dad to have him get rid of it. I felt like I was 5 and I had called him over because I needed him to hold my hand while I crossed the road. He came over and got rid of it while we watched from a safe distance. He scoffed at my mother, my friend and I for cowering in the kitchen, which leads me to believe that the fear of spiders must be an inborn female trait, something that men will never understand.

I will defend myself by saying that it was a very big, very hairy spider that may have been able to see that I had been given the evil spider death look by their ringleader, right before I had her killed. That if I had left it there, it would have come for me at night while I slept, and it might have brought its friends.

Sadly, despite my justifications, my true colours have shone through. I am a woman who had to call her dad to have him kill a spider.

Oh, the shame.

3, 127, 66, 5, 1/2 and 1

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Three websites, 127 playground drawings, 66 cups of coffee, 5 international product orders (resulting in one very irate company director), half a retaining wall and one funeral.

These are the things that i have been doing instead of blogging.

The websites were for friends and for work. If i didn't treasure my thin veil of anonymity so much, i would post links to them here, because they're pretty impressive (if i do say so myself). I'm not really a web designer, more of a professional nerd with an artistic flair, so i don't get to do a lot of web design, but I've enjoyed what I've done so far, and it's nice when you do these sorts of things for friends because they're always so grateful and thankful. Which is kind of the opposite of what i get for doing the work website...

The 127 playgrounds sort of go without saying. That's my job. 2D, 3D, 2D,3D....endless and also a little boring after 5 years. 127 playgrounds in three weeks means i've been very very busy.

The 66 cups of coffee is not an exaggeration, sadly. I fear that i have another addiction, and a little bit of nerdy maths has revealed to me that i'm averaging about 22 cups a week. That's a hell of a lot of coffee. I started to work out what i drank yearly, and just how much money Starbucks & Gloria Jeans have taken me for, but i got scared and had to stop.

International orders. Yet another excuse for crazy sales rep who takes issue with me leaving the building to crack the sads over nothing.

The retaining wall. Oh, my beautiful retaining wall. It was holding our backyard up, then it was not, and now it is again. It caused me to do excerise, and that means it must be something special. Eventually, one day, i will fix the other half of you.

The funeral. This is the number one reason why i haven't been blogging. For the past few weeks, my grandfather has been very ill, and on Saturday morning he passed away.

They told us about a week before he died that he only had a few days left and I've found it hard to think about much else. The funeral was on Tuesday.

I honestly can't think of anything else to say about it at this point. It's crap, death is always crap and to be honest, every time I've sat down to write in the last few weeks, I've drawn a blank because all i can think about is how crap this is, and there hasn't been anything else to say.

Now that the funeral has come and gone, i think i just needed a bit of a nudge to get back into the swing of writing and thinking about other things, and i got that today - thanks Tyge.

So i intend to sit down now and read the 92 blog entries on my Google Reader that I've put off for the past few weeks, and hopefully after that, I'll feel like writing some more. Although i may need a coffee or 22...