Monday, April 20, 2009

thankyou nigella, thankyou from the bottom of my heart

Sheesh I was cranky tonight. Really, really cranky. Crankier than I have been for a while, since the detox seems to have ironed the worst of the wrinkles out of my emotions.

It was my first shift back at work for a while, and after being on my feet all day I was tired, just plain tired. And I had a headache. And I really should have gone to the toilet before I left work.

So there I was, trying to reach the (still not fixed) toilet and the traffic lights before they changed and I lost the opportunity to cross for, I don't know, three minutes or so. I missed the lights and responded by hitting the pedestrian button vehemently, wondering what the traffic authority might have against me personally. Maybe 'wondering' is a little too generous... I muttered and vented and rolled my eyes before collapsing against the post of the traffic light to tap my foot and wait. It did cross my mind that perhaps I looked rather stupid, cursing and cussing about missing the lights - the world does not revolve around me after all! Just as I was starting to pull myself together a white ute screeched around the corner, encroaching on my position of safety on the footpath in its effort to beat the lights. Instantly I regressed into a fit of hissing and glaring and fury worthy of an adolescent. Again I started pulling myself together until the lights changed and I completed the remainder of my journey home unhindered.

I duly collapsed on the couch, poured over recipe books wondering what on earth to make for tea and pumped out a few rows of crochet on the darling scarf I'm working on before dragging myself to the kitchen to cook. I selected 'Linguine with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms' from Nigella Express and set to it. Chop, chop, mix a bit, stir, done. Gotta love fast food.

Half way through the preparation I stopped scanning the instructions for the barest of detail and started absorbing all Nigella had written:
Slice the mushrooms finely, and put in a large bowl with oil, salt, crushed garlic, lemon juice and zest, and marvellously scented thyme leaves.
Who writes like that in a recipe book? Nigella obviously. Marvellously scented thyme leaves... I slowed down just a little and smelt the thyme leaves (mmmm) and some of the crankies mosied off out the door.
Toss everything well, then add the chopped parsley, grated cheese and pepper to taste, before tossing again, and eat with joy in your heart.
Eat with joy in your heart! Ha ha. This is one lush recipe book. So I did. I took Nigella's advice and ate with joy in my heart, and my tongue joined the party with a little jig of excitedly firing tastebuds. Delicious!

Ah. Hearty, healthy food - a beautiful way to beat the crankies for sure and for real. I am so thankful for food. And for Nigella (who is still making me laugh with her querky little food homilies: 'I'm afraid this dish had to be forcibly taken away from me during the photo shoot for this book, otherwise I'd have eaten it all up before it could even have its picture taken.')

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

the most beautiful autumn ever full stop

I'm not sure if I am just in a better place than I was last year or if this really is the most beautiful autumn ever full stop. Whichever it is, I'll take it, drink it, live it, love it. Day after delicious day of cloudless skies, warming sun, and lazy breaths of air. Heavenly. And that's without the autumn leaves. Last year the drought pushed all the leaves into a premature, lifeless fall. This year they are turning golden, red, brown ever so gently and beautifully and lingering on the trees just as they should. I keep looking out on it all in dazed wonder, thankful to be the recipient of such treasure.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

toilet talk ii

Allow me to say a little word in defence of public toilets.

I've seen a few in my time, and I have to admit some have been less than salubrious. I'm thinking of China here. Not the '5 star' toilets of Beijing. No, I'm remembering the truly revolting hole in the wood out in a country area. I cannot even begin to describe the sight or the stench, and to be honest I don't want to. Hideous. In Kazakhstan while peeing in an almost full hole, I learned the benefits of icy winter, and in Tajikistan I developed the art of good aim (no mean feat when you're female). In the USA I blushed at the size of the gap between door and stall wall, and while I'd rather not eat at McDonalds if I can avoid it, they do provide convenient toilet stops along the way, although again, cleanliness is unpredictable.

Wherever you may be, in a public toilet seats (if they have them) may be drippy, the toilet paper scratchy or non existent, latches broken, and the air somewhat... well... fetid. I suppose you could say I have a love-hate relationship with public toilets. I dislike them. Then again I need them and I use them. And really, not much beats the sheer relief of letting go (even in a filthy loo) after holding on too long.

Saying that reminds me of my Turkey toilet experience. I dislike public toilets, but I dislike bus toilets more. So there we were, travelling from Izmir to Istanbul and I was trying to last the whole bus trip. I can't recall how many hours the journey was, but by the time we reached the outskirts of Istanbul I was in great pain and could hold on no more. Relenting, I went to the toilet ardently hoping those Turkish men had not left too much mess, and did the sweetest pee in living history. Thinking back, I suspect the bus toilet may have been a better option than anything on offer at the bus station. And at the precise moment I was perching gingerly over the bowl we drove over the Bosphorous in all its evening beauty. Sigh.

All great public toilet history aside, public toilets have taken on a rosy sheen for me of late. There's this one thing about them - they flush. Well they do here anyway. The council, under great pressure from the local female population, has put extra time and effort into ensuring their loos are both functioning and clean.

And right now, for me a flush is very important.

Our toilet is gebrocht. Water is pouring out of the inlet pipe, and try as we might we cannot fix it. To me, this is an emergency. I would have had the plumber in by now - tipping buckets of water down the hatch is not my idea of a good time. Alas, Frank seems unperturbed. He phoned a plumber friend and said 'oh no, it's not urgent'. So here I am, five days later, still pouring water from a bucket. Believe me, a flush is way, way better.

And so I organise my shopping excursions around the public toilet. Do I need to go yet? No... oh well, I'll wait a little longer before I head to the supermarket. Busting? Time to head to the shops and those alluring public loos! Here's hoping the plumber comes early next week. Clean and flutshing as they may be, I can only take so much of the public toilets before I crack!

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

no knead for the old family bible after all

Apparently if you have a ganglion you should pull out the old family Bible, bash the two together and all will be resolved.

I've never been a fan of the treatment myself, too violent and base. So my ganglions have been left in peace to come and go at will. That meant my first ganglion hung off my wrist for a few months before gradually fading away. Occasionally the odd small lump has quietly come and gone, but lately my right wrist (always my right wrist, I think it's the violin that does it) has been sore and bumpy again. I've patiently waited and hoped this ganglion would go away, but all the while I am protecting my wrist from too much strain (because it does hurt, and that's without the emotional pain of such an ugly protrusion. Oh my, that pain is worse than any physical twinge) and nothing changes.

On Saturday I was kneading dough for another loaf of sourdough bread (anyone want one? I have starter coming out my ears). My wrist being tender, I was acting all protective and not really kneading properly, but the dough was slowly becoming supple as it should. I must have been feeling impatient with progress, because all of a sudden I exerted an almighty effort to push the dough into shape. Almighty when compared to my previous kneading of course, not almighty when compared to God Almighty - you get my drift? It was a super knead. With it there was a most definite, audible pop from my wrist.

And just like that, the ganglion was gone! It faded away over the course of a minute or two until now I have only a slight, diffuse, barely raised lump on my wrist. Amazing! Nurse that I am, I imagine my synovial fluid splattered amongst my delicate bones, but hey - my wrist is slim and elegant once more and all pain (emotional or otherwise) has disappeared!

And with that I am off to amend Wikipedia's ganglion entry. Really, everyone should know about this!

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