Monday, November 29, 2010

Listening to your elders

As you grow there are things adults will tell you to do that are meant, not only to keep you alive, but stop them from having to explain to social services why the soon to be dot to dot game of bruises speckling your body are result of stupidity rather than abuse. For example... don't run across the road, this makes sense, cars are larger, stronger and much faster than you, if it came to a fight it is easy to see who would stand victor in the end. How about - Don't stick your hand into fire... Fire is hot, again an unhappy result from this union does seem likely to occur. 

So when my cousins said, don't stick your hand in the pool table you would think I'd take head their advice. They were after all older, more experienced and generally spent less time injured than I did. However my ability to rationalize any instruction unfortunately lead me down the wrong path. You see, when weighing up the size of the ball and my cousins aim, I honestly thought I had nothing to worry about. I will never forget the mind numbing pain of having all your fingers crushed between a hard wood plank and a heavy ceramic ball... I spent the rest of the holiday in a bandage with the throbbing of every small bone in my fingers providing a constant reminder that it's always best, to listen to your elders.. well most of the time anyway. 

Stay safe everyone ^_^

I never really drew on the walls, but I was fortunate - or unfortunate (not sure yet) to hear the story of a little boy that was caught painting the walls with his poo - this entry goes out out to Nat that has to endure stories (and visuals) like this every week. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

What colour should chicken be?

After a an unsuccessful attempt at cooking dinner last night (should have listened to my instincts when they said not to put the whole stock cube in the stir fry), it started me thinking on all the other culinary disasters I have managed to survive in my time as chef. As I've told you before, mum enjoyed giving us independence, pushing us on numerous occasions to take initiative and look after ourselves. When I was around 10 years old, her sights turned to the kitchen. Having always asked for company there, we had on many occasion watched with fascination as she would create dishes from scratch. A fan of simple and tasty meals, they usually consisted of some type of meat and veggies, although occasionally it would branch into something really creative, like her family famous "Stack". That is a whole bunch of different veggies sliced wafer thin and piled high amongst generous dollops of persian feta, olive tapenade, pea sauce and topped with a sprinkling of parsnip chips. mmmmm, Stack…. Ok I'm back (had to go down and get a snack, I think it may be dangerous for me to write about food, may have to lock myself in a room in future). I must also mention our own creative endeavors - times that usually involved forcing each other to eat things we knew the other was allergic to or disliked intensely. Any way the point of that little digression was that it was not our first time in the kitchen, nor was it the first time we had been told to help prepare things for the table. 

So when the time came for my duties as "big sister" to extend to putting dinner on the table, I was happy to oblige. Cut to the night in question. All I had to do was take the crumbed chicken fillets out of the freezer, follow the instructions and make a salad… seemed simple enough. So carefully removing the chicken from its brightly colored box and dropping the fillets into the pan I turned on the oven to 180 and pushed them to the back. Done, now to the salad. Looking back on it, I must admit it wasn't my most impressive assembly of greens as it really only consisted of lettuce with copious amounts of dressing. In fact I think the ratio was something like 3 parts dressing, one part salad. However, although highly vinegary, it didn't taste all bad. By about this time I heard the ding on the oven and seeing heat rising from the now golden crumbs of the chicken, I grabbed our rooster oven mits and carefully slid the chicken from the hot interior. After placing them on a plate along with some tomato sauce I had made into a cute yet slightly wobbly smiley face, with the salad on the side, I headed out with the plates for us to enjoy. 

We had decided to eat in front of the tv, where light was scarce but our bean bags provided a sort of chair and table in one. Having never been able to do more then one thing when tv was involved I had a nibble of my chicken and lost interest as the show moved on. My sister however, never letting anything get in the way of a meal, had torn through her salad and half her chicken in about five minutes when a splash of unexpected light came bouncing of the tv and onto her plate. "Um Lesley" she said softly, concealed by her bean bag "Yeah?" I replied absentmindedly 
"umm… is the chicken… well is it supposed to be pink in the middle?" My eye's widened as I realised what she had said, not answering I cut my chicken in half to inspect the damage and sure enough not only was it pink but almost completely raw. Struggling to get out of the bag I put down my plate and told her to stop immediately. That the chicken was fine but I should probably put it in for a second go just in case. I left her in the lounge room looking confused and slightly green. I felt terrible, my first time making dinner and I was being faced with the possibility of jail for poisoning and killing my sister with dodgy chicken. 

I decided to re-cook the chicken and pretend like nothing had happened… after all, Alex had shown on more than one occasion that she had the stomach to handle such food based afflictions. Amazingly she ate the other half, and after a big glass of milo for dessert felt fine.

So for those kids reading this that are about to approach cooking of chicken for the first time, make sure you cook it all the way through, I mean siblings can be a pain, but poisoning them definitely isn't the solution.

A postcard I sent out recently about the launch of my new website - I promise next week I'll have a picture actually relating to the entry 

Have a great week everyone! ^_^

Sunday, November 14, 2010


When you're little, batteries can seem as elusive, extravagant and priceless as gold. Especially when they are in charge of powering the things in your life you value the most. There's no greater disappointment than opening up a new toy and discovering the batteries haven't been included. They weigh a lot too, making the small cases seem even more impressive. Oh and don't even get me started on the ones that have the little button on it so you can check the amount of juice it has left, I think I wasted more battery life digging my grotty little fingernails into the tiny bumps than using it in the actual appliance, proved by the small crescent shaped grooves perpetually dug into them. 
It's awful as well when you discover your new toy has more than 2 slots for them, meaning you'll probably only get to play with it twice a year, there's no way your parents are going to keep you supplied with that much battery power for long. 

So yes, batteries are like gold, they're expensive, hard to come by and look amazing incased in the right cocoon of appealing accessory. You may feel this is something I discovered whilst reflecting on my youth, but you would be wrong. I knew it from a very young age, it was after one particular day, the day my casio keyboard died. I may have mentioned that until I started playing the trumpet I wasn't an impressively musical child. My abilities reached as far as being able to mimic the chipmunks in song and short but high energy  performances on air guitar. Performances that looked more like I was holding an imaginary stick that I would strum repetitively with a limp hand. Not too impressive. One day however, in a moment of what I can only assume was insanity, my parents gave me a little 2 octave keyboard, with the batteries already inside! I loved that keyboard, played it whenever I could, that is, hit the demo track (wake me up before you go go) and let my little fingers fly. I played in my bedroom, put on concerts, played on the stairs, in the car on the… you get the idea. One day, after having noticed the light on the far right side flickering, it stopped mid octave slide. I couldn't believe it, apologizing to my imaginary audience members I tried desperately to turn it back on, sliding the power switch back and forth, wiggling the batteries, swapping them around. Nothing worked. Head down and keyboard tucked lovingly under my arm I headed to my parents den ala Matilda appealing to the Wormwoods for a book. "What do you need a book for??" "To reeeaaad" 

Luckily my parents weren't as cruel, they had however had enough of my demo track and sighted short funds for a reason to wait for my next round of batteries. I was crushed. No longer able to play the track, I would sit at the keyboard pretending it was on and closed my ears to the thud of my fingers pressing the darkened keys. It was a sad day, a sad week, a sad month… this went on until finally, my dad couldn't handle it anymore and in a moment of weakness he came home with a fresh set of shining new energizer batteries and threw them on my bed. "There you go Lesbes, don't use them all at once" I couldn't believe it, I hugged the plastic case for 2 seconds before attacking it's cardboard back with scissors like a starved child trying to get to food. Carefully pulling them out one at a time a feeling the weight in my hands I placed them into the back of the piano. When the last of the 6 batteries had been correctly slotted into place and the back was clipped in I flipped it round and tentatively slid the power switch to on. SUCCESS! The light went on as if the power had never left, next came the demo track - accompanied by a groan from the next room. 

I remembered it like it was yesterday, starting with the imaginary chords then to the slide, rounding it up with some good ol' fashioned honky tonk (slapping as many keys as I could). I remember then taking it over the the steps to the second story which had been conveniently placed over the front door, slotting my legs through the gaps and waiting with bated breath for my step mum to come home. I've never seen someone get more of a shock in my life as I heard her keys in the door and pressed the demo at full volume, she shrieked looking around wondering how the dreaded music had made a come back only to see dads sorry face in the hall way. "She just looked so sad"… Yes children, never underestimate the value of a good pout. So to end, remember that even when the bright lights of tiffanies beckon there's always the electronics isle in woolworths that can mean just as much. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm Ok... Really!

It's funny what you inherit from your parents. Round eyes, a nose that points up, earlobes that attach to your neck. Parent/child similarities often consist of a long lists of physical attributes and behaviors acquaintances love to comment on. I'm not talking about when your a kid either, in fact often you settle into them. After 23 years of suspicion over my origin (I've mentioned my pasty complexion amongst a family of tanned) I'm just starting to notice how much I'm beginning to look like my mum. It's nice in a lot of ways, like finding a group of people you have something in common with, knowing you belong somewhere, not to mention a topic of conversation with relatives and family friends you never see and have nothing to say to. This sense of kinship and implied conception however can come at a price. Sure I got my dads sense of humor, both their artistic inclinations and my mums fierce sense of independence but I also got my dad's lack of physical prowess, their combined short stature and my mums weird pertinacity to attract strange people. Most importantly I've inherited a curse from the family that means no matter where I go or what I do it's almost impossible to stay anonymous. Take the other night for example. I hadn't seen my boyfriend in a while and choosing the middle of the week to rendezvous we headed to the movies in Bondi for the 25th anniversary of "Back to the future". 
I'd arrived late thanks to Sydney peak hour traffic and managed to settle in my seat just in time for the pre show festivities. So far so good, a late arrival had not spoiled my quest to remain one of the crowd. I cuddled up to my boyfriend and we laughed as we watched self professed BTTF nerds excitedly answer trivia questions in exchange for DVD's or Blue Ray's generously sponsored by Universal. Not knowing the world well enough I hadn't made a fool of myself answering a question wrong, or tripping down the aisle in an attempted to collect my prize. It's safe to say at this point I was feeling confident - I had gone a whole day of relative anonymity. Then, disaster struck. Relaxing further into my seat, unaware of impending doom I looked on as the host announced he was sadly out of trivia questions and would now resort to throwing DVD's into the audience… my muscles tensed… this sounded like trouble. After a brief pause as he collected himself and placed valuables at a safe distance, he picked up the box and taking on the persona of a trained Ultimate Frisbee sportsmen begun flinging them carelessly into the audience. Men dived into the aisles attempting to catch them, laughing and holding their prizes in triumph. My gut told me this gayety wouldn't last. Suddenly I noticed the host turn to face our direction, he still had some left. Eye's wide I watched as he flung one into the front, then another - wait it was a trick shot, it went spiraling in the other direction. Surely that was it, there couldn't be anymore. I waited, breath caught in my throat. 
To my horror there was one more. A shiny beacon of hope for everyone, a weapon of mass destruction for me. With a glint in his eye he cocked his arm back and spun his wrist around like a pro cricketer ready to bowl the opposition out. All four discs of extra features slowly spun towards me, I couldn't move, A hand shot up deflecting the blow only to strengthen it's arc as it came towards me. There was nothing I could do, bracing myself for impact I shut my eye's, too slow to lift my hands in time. BANG, the corner of the heavy plastic penetrated my glasses and went straight into my eye. I was down, withering in agony in the seat as tears sprung to my eyes. I could hear whispers of concern and disbelief spread through the cinema like an air born pathogen. With that one blow, I had become famous. The host called up guiltily to see whether I was alright (contemplating whether he had time to run out of the cinema before police were called) unable to open my eye and embarrassed for my tear streaked face I buried my head in the my lap and raised two feeble thumbs up to the crowd hoping it would communicate that I was indeed going to live and would appreciate it if the people up the back would turn of the lights so I could continue to cry in privacy. At the end of the film as we walked out I saw people looking around for my exit, whispering excitedly as though it was the highlight of their night… It probably was. 
We met some of my boyfriends friends and looked on as they realized I was "the DVD girl". That my friends is the story of my life. I'm perpetually The ________ (insert word of your choosing) Girl". So if your ever anywhere you see someone getting attention for something beyond their control, it's probably me, and know that I would appreciate you going back to you business and letting me continue with mine in private. 

Thank you