Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy birthday

So he is three. It's good to pause for a moment to recognise how full and amazing and rewarding and (definitely) challenging the past three years have been. Quite a ride.

From a tiny (one month early) baby to a "big boy".


Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh dear

Someone turns three this week. In my attempt to be organised I tried to make teddy bear biscuits for him to have with his little daycare friends on Wednesday.
This is what they are supposed to look like:

Mine, however, look like this:

Not quite the same. Somehow I think they will get eaten regardless...

UPDATE: E took one bite of these and pronounced them "yuk". OK then.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


So we went to the snow for the weekend. It was Shaun's idea and he organised the whole thing, which was nice. We got to Mt Selwyn on the Sunday to find a nice amount of snow - but rain falling. Bummer. We paid out a small fortune to hire all the clothing and gear. We get E a snowsuit (which looks impossibly cute). He plays for 10 mins - with Shaun, not me - making snowballs and a snowman.
Then he howls.
Hysterically. Begging to go home, sobbing that he's cold.
So Mum and I take turns sitting in the cafeteria with him.
My total skiing time was probably under an hour - but that's OK because I was reminded just how bad I am at skiing and why last time I went I swore I'd never do it again.
Oh well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Completely beaten

Okay, I know this is irrational, but can food writers please stop devising recipes that call for beaten egg whites? I find nothing more infuriating than starting to make something and then finding you need to beat egg whites to complete it (yes, yes, I know I ought to actually read these recipes before I start cooking).
I'm afraid I find few things more frustrating. It takes ages to get anywhere, makes my arm ache and I always, always run out of patience before it's actually 'stiff'. I don't own a blender so I'm required to do this by hand.
Then there's the damned 'folding' - can anyone tell me what that actually means? I realise it's all about blending the egg whites in carefully to retain the air, but how do you know when you have mixed it enough? Where exactly is the point of balance?
Yesterday E and I made a chocolate cake which called for beaten egg whites to be folded in. I thought I'd done OK but as it cooked there were pale crusty bits on top of the cake from the eggs not being mixed in properly. I just smothered them in chocolate icing and got away with it, but how annoying.
From now on I am declaring my house an egg-white-free zone so I can stop muttering more swearwords than Gordon Ramsay.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

All Greek to me...

My Greek lessons have begun - self-taught at the moment, but we'll see how it goes. I may need proper tuition. My mum, sister and I have agreed that we're all going to Greece together in 2013. Yes, I know that seems a long way away but for me that's a good thing. You see, it's to celebrate my 40th birthday (yikes!) and right now, I'd prefer to focus on 35 ... not 40. It hurts too much!
So, five years out, Mum has bought a great teach-yourself Greek language kit. I have a different one from the library, but it's not as easy to follow as hers. I will take a copy when I can. The goal is for us to at least be able to converse at a polite level in Greek - and I'm certain we will do this. The language itself is phonetic, which is nice. The fact that it's a whole different alphabet ... not so nice.
Still, it ought to be fun trying to grasp it (and surely five years gives us a decent run at it). Unlike my mum, I have many opportunities to practice. My neighbours are Greek, like every second person in this 'hood.
Love a good challenge!

Monday, July 7, 2008

How can a baby vanish?

The magazine I was working on earlier this year has a monthly books page, which means all the new releases get sent in - by the boxload. Every now and then the books editor (ie the guy I sat next to) would sell off the ones he didn't want for a pittance. Usually $1.
In the last book sale we had I scored some fantastic reads - some I've not even opened up yet. One which caught my eye was a book by the Channel Nine journalist Allison Langdon. She was one of the court reporters who sat through the entire Tegan Lane case. I grabbed this book for my dad, and he enjoyed it and gave it back to me to read.
And it was so fascinating I have just read it in a day.
The book itself isn't a masterpiece - it is repetitive in spots and some of the grammar is a bit questionable - but it's a riveting yarn. For anyone who doesn't know: Tegan Lane was a baby born to a Sydney woman called Keli Lane. Tegan 'disappeared' two days after being born. The mother swears she handed her to the natural father, but no trace of the man or Tegan have ever been found. It's (of course) far more complicated than that - no-one knew Keli was pregnant. She disguised three pregnancies (other two babies adopted out legally).
Three pregnancies went unnoticed by anyone.
How very bizarre.
No-one - not her parents, her close friends - could testify that they had asked Keli what happened to Tegan.
Why ever not?
The tangled web of stories she told police is ridiculously convoluted and unbelievable.
How was she able to stand in front of the Coroner and not shed even one piece of light on what had become of her daughter?
This case has simmered down since the Coroner found that Tegan was probably deceased and ordered a homicide investigation.
Just incredible - to think that in this information age someone can have a baby slip through the net in such a way.
I wonder whatever became of that poor little girl?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

On eBay

I'm an occasional eBayer - I like it a lot though. I figure it's like every garage sale in the world distilled and (hopefully) you can find pretty much whatever you want. I'm very excited about my latest eBay purchase: boots. I think buying boots on eBay is risky, because they are definitely the kind of thing you need to try on. Somehow - by sheer chance - I've managed to get lucky and score a great pair of flat black boots.
And here they are (excuse the knees, please):

It's really not a great photo, but you probably get an idea of what they are like.
I think I am in love with these shoes. And purely because I LOVE a bargain. I have been in desperate need of some shoes that are suitable for winter - up until now I've been trying to get away with still wearing my summer sandals to work. The other girls, meanwhile, all wear great-looking boots. Most covetable.
I was after a flat pair because I only do heels now and then. Plus I have to walk about 10 mins to the train and in the afternoons there's the kid to wrangle as well.
So, for some reason, a week or so ago I decided to search eBay for 'black flat boot size 6'. After scrolling through several vomitous pairs I stumbled on these. They are a size 6.5 but I figure a $2 on a pair of inner soles could sort that. The pic made them look silvery: emailed seller to confirm they were actually black. Still I didn't bid - too unknown.
They went unpurchased and were subsequently relisted. By now I was regretting not buying them. You see, they are Gary Castles boots, supposedly with an RRP of $269. The starting price was $30. Nice. I decided to take a punt on them. This time round there was a little interest in them and the final price was a whole $41 ... plus $9 postage.
The boots arrived on Monday when I was laid up in bed with an appalling migraine. I'd also sprained my ankle on the weekend, so I didn't even open the package (no point,there's no way they'd go over the swollen ankle). When I did get around to it I was very pleased with the look of them - hardly a scratch. Next issue: they were rather, er, snug around the calf. One afternoon's wearing and they are stretching nicely. Am feeling most smug about my $50 investment. Granted, they may not be exactly this winter's shape or style, but I imagine they will last me several seasons.
This eBay experiment proved much more successful than some others I've carried out in recent years. There was the Country Road t-shirt I bought for my nephew last Christmas. Brand new, tags on, nice colour, five bucks. What could be wrong? Well, I found that out when it arrived: the fabric was terry towelling. Bleurgh. Not something you could pick up in a tiny picture. Then there was the time I bought my all-time favourite bottle of perfume, Samsara, on eBay. The bottle was new and seemingly a great bargain ... again, disappointment when the parcel arrived and said scent was a teeny weeny 5ml purse-sized bottle. My fault for not reading carefully before I bought.
So, yes, it's buyer beware - you win some, you lose some.