Saturday, December 19, 2009
I’ve been a bit off colour recently. Definitely not my usual perky, laugh at life (and myself, lots of times) get up and go –or at least try to- type person. Could it be the cold I have had? Could it be the recent loss of boyfriend? Could it be not having my children this Christmas? Could it be my marathon training has sapped my energy? Could it be I am just a whiney, pathetic thing? Well, whatever. Today I realized what a twit I have been.
It is a sad fact that sometimes it takes someone else’s misfortune, to make you realize how fortunate you are. Don’t worry- I am not going to get all pre Christmas preachy with you! Bear with me. A friend came over today to wish me a Happy Christmas, and to tell me she has cancer of the uterus. She was not resentful about having cancer, because in retrospect it could have been avoided. In the sexual game of Russian Roulette, my friend was not lucky.
Did you know this cancer is the only one that originates from a virus? It is the “by product” of genital warts. Now, I am not super “au fet” with all these sexually transmitted diseases. Infact, for a mother of two girls, I am ridiculously naive! When I was teaching in the UK, and had a tutorial group of 15 year olds, every time I had to give a talk to them about drugs or sex, I was left gobsmacked, wide eyed and shocked! I knew nothing and they knew it all! Better do some swotting before my girls hit the teenage years.
In my era (oh, so wise at the grand old age of 42) contraceptives were so you did not get pregnant. Condoms!? Cringy, embarrassing, and not necessary if you were on the pill or something like that. The problem with herpes or genital warts (sorry if you are eating your supper whilst reading this) is, it is a viral infection, one of those nasty buggers that lurks about your bod, waiting to nab you! Maybe it will get you 2 years on, or 15 or whatever. You can’t get rid of it; you just have to hope your body can keep it at bay.
We girlies are the unlucky ones (mainly because you guys don’t have a uterus!) and when it reappears in our lives, it is on a much grander scale than the embarrassing trip to the doctors years before to have your bits looked at (if you even noticed you had anything down there at all!).
Ok- now I realize how fortunate I am. I have sooooo much to be happy about instead of mopping about like a wet blanket (do blankets mope?). I have a great life, with great people by my side. Just to be on the safe side ,I am booked in for an early MOT with my “front botty doctor”- This is how my children describe the female species nether region ( sorry, the “V” word is one I have a problem saying-a bit like my smirking every time I say chicken BREAST!) A short aside…. We bumped into my gynecologist in town the other day and My Girls said “who is he?” I explained and they said “EEEk, Mummy, how can you look him in the eye, let alone talk to him. He has seen your front bottom!”
What I want to promote is “Condom Week”. We have “weeks” for so many other things! I want that children from an early age are made to feel comfortable with the whole idea of condoms. I want that in sex-ed at school they not just wave what looks like a floppy, beige coloured balloon about. I want that they show you all the fun things they have done with condoms (flavours, shapes, ones that vibrate etc) I want that every girl and boy should have one in their bag or pocket. This is a cancer that you can protect yourself against!
Beat Cancer Smoothie!
Green tea, veggies, fruit, and fiber – but more importantly, positive thinking, the need to survive and strength. Oh and ……..a condom (strawberry, vanilla or bubblegum flavour!) Do not add condome to blender!!!!!!
Very important P.s.
Ladies- get a check up with your front botty doctor annually.
Guys- carry, and use, a condom- any flavour, size or gimmick.
Parents.In Spain they now vaccinate 12 year olds against this virus…..shows it is on the increase! Find out if you can get your daughters vaccinated!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I have mentioned before that I am a believer in all things magical- fairies, Father Christmas, The Easter Bunny etc. But just recently I have been having my doubts about Cupid!
Looks can be so deceiving. There he is curly blonde hair, angelic style wings, cute cherub face, and innocent smile. He flits about hither and thither; he takes aim; fires his cutesy little bow and flits off somewhere else- leaving a trail of destruction and despair. I think he needs to go back to Cherub School and get some target practice. Can he really have such bad judgment and aim? Or…….does he inflict love on people to be deliberately cruel and nasty? I reckon Cupid has a lot to answer for- as an ethereal being he creates more havoc and angst than if The Greek Gods, The Grim Reaper and Mr. Plague got together and decided to have a “bit of fun” with us mere mortals.
So Stupid Cupid what did we ever do to you. From the minute hormones start careering around our pubescent bodies, this arrow, wielding midget makes our lives hell. He fills our lives with agonising, obsessive, crushes:-
The crushes; The Impossible- the local Love God or Goddess; The Inappropriate- the Biology teacher, one of your parents friends or someone of the same sex as you; The Forbidden Fruit- your best friends boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife; The Street Cred No No- you are besotted with the person know as “The Geek” or “The Loser”. Once you have a crush, you transform from, the intelligent, sensible, sociable and witty you, into a gawky weirdo.
You lose the ability to communicate sensibly. There you are having a perfectly great conversation with your friends and the object of your desire joins the group. Result-you start to babble like an idiot with a speech impediment; you laugh like a hyena at his/her every word; you try to sound cool and knowledgeable “I love Nirvana too- I can’t wait for Kurt to finish writing his next album!” or “ Can you believe Tiger Woods got another duckie in The Americas Cup?!” The icing on the cake- whilst you are braying like a horse at something He/She has said, that piece of spinach that has been on your teeth since lunchtime, dislodges itself and makes a beeline for Crushs` top lip.
Every movement you make is over exaggerated and clumsy. You emerge from the toilets and see your crush walking towards you; suddenly you can not walk in a straight line! As you weave your way towards him, you start to flick your hair, batter your eyelashes and grin insanely at him/her-this combination plays havoc with your senses of balance and vision and you end up stumbling into something or someone. It is only when you have picked yourself up off the floor, acting like nothing has happened, that you realise that you have tucked your skirt into the back of your tights or you left your trousers undone.
When Cupid picks on you, you not only transform into a gawky weirdo, you transform into an insane, gawky, weirdo. Those under the influence of an impossible crush behave, to say the least, bizarrely. Watching the phone, willing it to ring; writing his or her name in silly little hearts; writing your name in silly, little hearts, but your surname is different- it- is the one you will have when you marry your crush; having imaginary conversations with your crush whilst looking in the mirror. These conversations are usually, him/her asking you out or him/her declaring undying love to you. You change your route home, just to walk near their house (those 3 extra miles a day are good exercise-no?) You spend hours getting ready; just incase. If Crush looks at you, you are as high as a kite. If Crush doesn’t look at you, you are suicidal. Everything you see; say; hear is Crush related. My personal favourite- and something I still do- is personal dares, for example, if I make it across the sitting room in 10 steps exactly, he will call me.; if I kiss the tyres on my car, he will love me forever (not proud of this one and it didn’t work!).
In the end you are a wreck- you can’t sleep; you can’t eat (or you can’t stop your self eating) and you can’t concentrate. Your friends tire of you and stop inviting you places, because you keep making a spectacle of yourself. Then along comes that bastard Cupid again and makes your Crush fall in love with your best friend. You better watch out Cupid- if I ever get hold of you, I am going to pull out every blond hair on your cute, cherub head; I am going to pluck off your wings-slowly and painfully and I am going to ram your cutesy bow and arrow up your angelic little ass.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Seems like everyone in the village is giving birth at the moment. Had a nasty experience yesterday; I was in the local newsagents and I suddenly realized the three other women in the shop were all fit to burst. All three due to go through the joys of childbirth this month (obviously they do not know what they are about to experience, because if they did they would not be smiling quite so much!) I made a hasty exit from the shop incase the pregnancy thing was catching! Ran out the shop straight into a double pram. Yikes, twins. Both babies were howling at the top of their tiny lungs. I looked at the driver of the pram, and yes- she looked shattered. In a desperate voice she asked if I had any advice for her, after all I had been through, and survived, almost unscathed, twins. In my state of shock I mumbled something about, patience, things getting better and that I had a good book on bringing up twins. Rushed straight home for a good, strong cup of tea and there on my bookshelf was THE BOOK- “Caring for Twins is Easy”.
My ex- husband bought me this when I was pregnant and it became my Bible- until I realized it must have been written by Satan himself.
“You will blossom” Yeah right! I had a permanent green tinge from twenty four hour nausea; upside down legs (ankles as thick as my thighs); a belly button that protruded obscenely like a huge on/off button from my frighteningly enormous stomach. My one chance to be a buxom babe- no, my chest stayed as flat as my cake baking attempts.
“Mummy should rest when babies have their naps” They were presuming the babies were taking their naps at the same time and for more than twenty minutes in one go. Mine refused to sleep in unison and thus I got no rest and ended up with bags under my eyes as big as Father Christmas’s sack at the start of his yearly, world tour. Also telling my husband it would be cereal for supper again and that there were no clean shirts or underpants, because I was having a rest! I don’t think so
“Breast feeding twins is both beautiful and easy” Imagine the scene- me sitting like Buddha in a huge armchair with my babies sprawled, face down, on the bed in front of me. Baby number one is picked up by the scruff of her neck and thrust on to one leaking breast. Same baby then has to use lip suction to stay in place, whilst I lean over and pick up a screaming baby number two. I am dying of thirst and, try as I may, I cannot pick up my glass of water with my feet. Next, both babies chucked over my shoulder to bring up any wind and the result is both shoulders covered in sick. Oh yes-a beautiful and easy procedure to endure at least six times a day. And the book said I should not be afraid to breast feed in public-ha,ha,ha!
“Make sure you get out and about” How I envied all those Mums with trendy, collapsible, petite prams. My Girls were pushed round in something that looked like a big, blue bus. Our bus did not fit through shop doors or even on the sidewalks. Our bus could not be neatly folded and popped into the back of the car and as for getting it on public transport forget it! So-option number two- baby pouches. In the diagrams it looked so easy. Baby number one squished into pouch on my front; nearly tip front baby onto floor as I try to man handle baby number two into pouch on my back. Consider trying to chuck baby number two, basketball style, over my shoulder and hope she lands in pouch. Decide to “chuck” the pouches instead. Anyway that has taken so long it is time for another nappy change and “beautifully easy” feed.
“Make sure Daddy does not feel rejected and unloved” Poor daddy-so he needs to feel loved does he? Well I am sure he will feel the strength of my love for him when I shove this book where it belongs!
Friday, December 11, 2009
I will take no notice of the rubbish my girls told me. I dooooo believe in fairies (saved you again, Tinkerbell!) So here is a copy of my letter to Santa that I shall be posting (not e- mailing) to:-
Mr. Father Christmas,
I don’t know the postcode, so hope it gets to him!!!!
As you read the following I want you all to hum along, in a breathy voice, to Santa Baby (the Marilyn Monroe version-not Brittany, Madonna or the Pussycat Dolls one!)
I'll wait up for you, dear
I 'm sick of frogs and toads
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Around mid evening I got my usual weekly criticism from my ex husband. On a good week he only calls once to let me know what a dreadful mother I am, or what a money grabbing floozy I am or to let me know the latest scandal someone (normally him) has dreamt up concerning me, and how this is causing him embarrassment. I wish I had done, or at least had the opportunity to do, half the things I am said to have done! As usual he managed to wind me up (wish I could control that) and I returned to the table fizzing with anger. I am not going to take advantage of the fact you will never hear his side of the story and spew forth all my gripes and grumbles about my ex. What I will do is warn you- before you have children, check your relationship is solid, and very importantly, look carefully at your partner- is he the Strong Black coffee type or the Chocolate Teapot type.
When I was pregnant I read a huge variety of books on pregnancy, childbirth and babies. All had a confusing amount of different ideas on how to get you and baby safely through the first months. So many different, and often contradicting, ideas it made my head spin and actually made me more nervous, rather than soothing my troubled mind. Now I believe you should be made to do a university type degree on parenting before you get pregnant, just to make sure you are up to the job!
My head was so full of information from various “Baby Gurus”, but when push came to shove and I was sent home from hospital with these two tiny babies, all these words of wisdom were forgotten. I was filled with panic and self doubt. Were they too hot, too cold, hungry, in pain, ill? Was I holding them wrong? Was I putting them the right way to sleep or the wrong way? Was baby poop meant to look and smell like that? Was I supporting their heads sufficiently or would I cause them irreversible damage? No new mother is sufficiently prepared for the responsibility of looking after their first born alone (single mums, I salute you-you deserve a medal). With neither of my parents living near me I looked for support and help from my husband.
Now comes my main point of contention with all the books I read; not one of them prepared me for Disappearing Father Syndrome! There was not a single page explaining what to do when Daddy opts out! I know we women are famous for being able to multi task but; being tired, hormonal, terrified of my new responsibilities, and still being expected to carry out my duties as cook, cleaner, entertainments manager, good listener and sex goddess was beyond me. I am naturally quite an independent person, but even I had to admit I could not do this solo so I turned to my husband Sam for help and support. Silly, silly me!
Sam had never really showed much interest in the pregnancy: - he missed most of the pre-natal classes; he thought I said “it’s wind” when I told him “it’s twins”; he found the idea of feeling the babies inside me kicking repulsive and even managed to miss the birth! Initially Sam took one month off work to “help me”. Should have been bliss-Mummy, Daddy and our longed for (hard to achieve) babies. In reality it was a disaster!
The main problem was the night feeds (as the girls were premature and tiny; they needed feeding every two hours). By the third night I actually had to get up before the feed and make Sam a cup of tea before waking him up, otherwise he was in a foul mood. I know lack of sleep is like a slow torture, you feel ill, disorientated and miserable (if anyone wants to get a secret out of me, just deny me sleep and I will tell all). But I did not need Sam to let me down now. Anyway after one week he went back to work-so for him life went back to normal and in his head everything should have gone back to normal. That first day I was left completely alone with the two screaming pink bundles (otherwise known as my daughters) I finally realised that my husband was the as much use as a chocolate teapot. So what did I do about it? Nothing. I struggled through my daughters’ infancy alone and slowly watched my marriage crumble.
All my friends were aware, from early on, that the cracks in my relationship with Sam were growing to ravine size- probably because I kept phoning them and telling them! Resentment, tension and stress built up over eight years (I don’t give up on anything easily) and finally erupted like a volcano. End of marriage, start of bitter divorce.
By no means does it have to be like this. You might strike it lucky and find your husband is a natural at daddyhood. My friend Sues’ first husband was the chocolate teapot variety but her second husband was a double espresso of strength and support. He took his turn doing the night shift, changed nappies, fed the baby, took the baby for walks and made sure Sue had special time to herself. He wore his baby pouch with pride; he was an expert on colic, botty wipes and new more about mastitis than any of us! He was, and still is, an absolute star (I wonder if he has a brother or cousin looking for a ready made family?!) However, on the whole, we mummies need to take control in this situation (as in every other situation!) Two umbilical cords need to be cut- the babies and that which binds your husband to you as his mother figure. Time for partner to act like your partner and not your eldest child!
My advice to you is; before you consider having children with your partner assess how he performs when you have a serious bout of flu (fake it if you have to). If he looks after you, mops your brow, does the washing, cooking and general house stuff (even if it is not up to your standard) you are safe to consider having his children. If when you are ill, he still expects you to cook, clean, pamper him and have sex, then you have four choices; ditch him; check he has enough money to pay cleaners, cooks nannies etc; gird your loins for a tough few years being like a single Mum but with added “duties” or resign yourself to a life without children!
If you have a Chocolate Teapot of a husband, I commiserate – make yourself a good, strong cup of tea. Open packets of any kind of biscuits drenched in chocolate and get dunking! You deserve it! Make sure you do not dunk too long or you will be spooning slops from the bottom of your cup! Or you could make the following cake to have with your friends, whilst you moan about your useless other half!
I am not a fan of either coffee or sweet things (I am sweet enough-ha,ha,ha) but this cake is FAB and fairly easy to make.
Espresso and Hazelnut Cake.
300g unsalted butter
480g shelled hazelnuts
4 tablespoons of instant coffee (splash out on a good one)
180g dark chocolate (70%)
220g caster sugar.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
Make sure your food processor is baby puree free!
Grease a 25cm cake tin and line with parchment (unless you know your tin and you know the cake will not stick!)
Roast the hazelnuts in the oven until brown and when cool rub the skins off them. Grind in food processor into a fine paste.
Dissolve the coffee in 1 tablespoon of boiling water.
Melt the chocolate with the butter and the coffee in a bowl over simmering water. Cool and add hazelnuts.
Separate eggs and beat yolks and sugar in a mixer until pale. Fold in chocolate.
Beat egg whites in mixer until stiff and carefully fold into mixture.
Pour in to tin and bake in oven for 40 minutes.
Remember if you have one of those rare species-“The Strong Black Coffee Husband”, save him a piece!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
You probably think I am now going to tell you how to make Gluhwein-wrong, because I am feeling a bit queasy after my Styrofoam cupful of “Christmas Cheer!
We are about to enter a time of parties, parties and more parties! Seems a shame we save up all the parties and cram them in to 3 weeks of the year! Surely it would be better to spread them out over the whole year? Anyway, before I start getting on my soap box and preaching again, I shall move swiftly on! I am a firm believer in the idea that if you are hosting a party, you should enjoy the party too. What pleasure is there in opening your doors to visitors and you spend the whole time getting hot and hassled in the kitchen, missing out on all the chat and gossip? My dinner party recipes are always quick, easy and the majority of the preparation can be done ahead of time. The following is one of my favourites:-
Breast of Chicken Wrapped in Parma Ham.
4 large chicken breasts
8 slices of Parma ham
½ a tub of herb and garlic soft cheese
A few glugs of Masala dessert wine.
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Slice horizontally through each chicken breast. Do not cut all the way through- the aim is to create a “pocket”. Stuff the “pocket” with the herb and garlic cheese and then wrap the chicken breast in 2 slices of the Parma ham. Place the prepared chicken breasts in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and pour on a generous amount of the Masala. Cover the lot tightly in tin foil and pop in oven for 45 minutes.
You can prepare this ahead of time – just remember to put it in the oven 45 minutes before you want to eat! Serve this with-rice or potatoes (boiled, mashed or roasted) and a green veg. Lurvly!!!!!
Anyone else out there as immature as me? I can not say (or even type) the word “breast” without smirking!!! Grow up Kate!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Gucci, Dolce and Gabana, Prada? No I am not actually referring to this kind of label (infact, I have just realized I do not have a single designer label item in my wardrobe!)
The kind of labels I am talking about are Personality Labels.
Are you: - A Depressive, An Obsessive, An Alcoholic or Ex- Alcoholic, A Wife or An Ex Wife, A Single Mum, Neurotic?
Do you, or have you, suffered from: - Anorexia, Bulimia, Panic attacks,
Does your child have: - ADHD, Conduct Disorder or Oppositional-Defiant Disorder?
Yesterday a friend of mine, whose child has always had problems learning at school and is famous for being clumsy, phoned me and said she was delighted to find out that her child suffers from some illness affecting eye/brain coordination. On one hand it is sad that she was so happy that her child had an illness (we normally do not wish for a sick child) but on the other hand I completely understand why she was so happy. Whether there is a cure for this problem, or not, my friend can now understand why her child behaves in this manner. That child now has a label- The Child with The Eye to Brain Coordination Problem. This label will explain and excuse her behaviour and therefore make her more acceptable to society.
How many times have you been told (normally in a hushed voice) “That is the one who suffers from depression” or “He is an alcoholic” or “She is ****’s ex wife” or “don’t worry he always does that-he has ADHD” or “she had a tough childhood”? Haven’t you found that once you know that persons “label” you see that person in a different light? You find their bizarre behaviour more acceptable? I know I am much happier about someone’s odd behaviour if I know the reason behind it; if I know their “label.”
I was over the moon to be diagnosed with Obsessive/ Compulsive disorder! Now I understood my somewhat strange behaviour. So what if I was annoyingly organized? So what if I had panic attacks if my routine was disrupted? So what if I made ridiculously stupid and rash decisions? None of this mattered anymore; I could use my “label” to justify all this to myself, and others.
Many times I have used my label as a crutch or an excuse. For me this label is not a problem, but sadly for others being “labeled” has adverse effects- they can never escape from it. They may have moved on in life, but we, the ever critical public, will never let them forget their past. To us they will always be “The Alcoholic”, “The Adulterer”, “The Mistress”, “The Drug Addict” etc.
The Obsessive/Compulsive (my personal favourite)
The One With All The Cats
The One With The Strange Hairdo
****’s Ex Wife
And there are probably more I haven’t heard (the ones whispered or communicated from one person to another by the raising of eyebrows or “knowing” looks) Not a bad list really. What do you think your labels are?
Ok- that is my lot for this week. Busy weekend ahead I have already bought and wrapped all my Christmas presents, but it is only 21 days to Christmas, so I had better start laying the table for Christmas Dinner ( hey, so what-I am Obsessive about being organized!)
Time for me to give up my coveted award. I have realised that I am still computer stupid and that despite help from UberGrumpy I have changed the picture of award (although this is rather pretty ,isn't it!) and probably made it impossible for the reciever to get it/pick it up-whatever computer clever people do.
My award today goes to ..................................................................................................... Don't you hate it when on awards shows,quiz shows etc. they do this, drag things out, make you wait, dramatic music, silent crowd - oops, get to the point Kate!
My award today goes to:- http://travelwithkids-familytravel.blogspot.com
The writer of this blog is a friend of mine. She used to live in Spain but now is a zillion miles away and I really miss her. I always knew she was funny,quick and clever but I never realised she had such a talent for writing. Usual scenario-when you have children you are known only by your ability to juggle motherhood and being a wife (most people in this village know me as The Twins' Mother , *****'s Ex Wife or The Odd English One Who Goes Jogging-my real name is of no importance)
So Karen- congratulations on reclaiming your name!
Oh yes.......part of this award is that you only have it for a week and then you must hand it on AND (take note Karen) you must tell the Blogging World 7 truths about yourself. Here are my Magnificent 7:-
1. I am 5 ft 2 and a 1/2 " in height (the 1/2 is very important)
2. I secretly sing to Kylie Minogue's old hits when I am alone ("I should be so lucky", and "Better the Devil You Know" are my favourites)
3. I would love to have my bikini line done Brazilian style but I am scared of the pain.
4. I raid the fridge every night.
5. I still suck my thumb when I am tired (so what, I am only 41!)
6. I hate puttting my head under water because the water goes up my nose.
7. I hardly ever practise what I preach! I often tell my girls- "Do as I say,not as I do"
Now you will probably remember me as-the chubby one with the nose clip and the hairy bikini line,who sucks her thumb whilst singing Kylie....you know the hypocrit midget!
I once got detention at school for peeling an orange in Religious Education class. I had finished the set work and the teacher said I could do whatever I wanted. I was a bit peckish,so I decided to eat my break time orange. How was I meant to know Mrs Hill meant I could do anything I wanted, as long as it was educational! I was mortified that I had a detention. I was terrified at having to tell my parents. I was 9 years old and this for me was like having a police record! When I was 12 the deputy head teacher stopped me in the corridor and told me off for wearing a necklace to school- I nearly wet myself with fear. At 16 Mrs Cox, my history teacher, caught me passing a note to a fellow classmate- the note said “Mrs Cox has fingers like sausages.” That stupid note almost cost me my university place- Mrs Cox failed every single one of my A Level essays and predicted me an F in the actual exam (I got an A in the end-ya,boo,sucks Mrs Sausage Fingers).
Getting slowly to the point- when I was at school the majority of us had huge respect and fear of teachers. There have always been “The Rebels”, but the majority of us did our homework, studied for exams, followed school rules, sat when told to sit, stood when told to stand and NEVER, NEVER answered a teacher back! If the teacher had asked me to run round the school play ground, naked, singing Morning Has Broken (my favourite school assembly song) I would presume she had good reason for making me do this and I would jolly well do it!
I am shocked by the behavior of children in schools today. I am out of mainstream teaching now (just select, well behaved groups in my home) but my daughters keep me up to date on what is going on. Children have zero respect for teachers-they swear at teachers, throw objects round the classroom, never do homework, talk amongst each other all through class and more. As for fear….what have they got to fear? The teachers are powerless. Teachers can not give detention, extra work is not done, children are happy to be sent out the classroom or excluded from school. They say what they want to say, do what they want to do and wear what they want to wear (generally as little as possible!) and the teachers can do zilch about it.
Schools are no longer a place of enlightenment and learning and teachers no longer respected. Now schools are holding cells- the inmates just passing time until they are set free to wreak havoc on society and the teachers are prison wardens just trying to survive each day.
The Three R’s are now- Rebel, Riot and Rampage. Sad.
Monday, November 30, 2009
This weekend I was let down really badly by a Martian. I won’t bore you with the details but it did get me thinking. How can men be so stupid, ignorant, selfish, egotistical, self absorbed etc? Now, before all you men start rolling your eyes and thinking “oh no, not another feminist rant” and before all you women start thinking “Go Girl!!!” I have a new idea on the answer to this question. Please remember it is just an idea- so no hate mail please!
Why are men this way? Because we (women) let them be this way! Seriously think about it…… We take on so many roles when we become someone’s live in partner:-girlfriend, cook, cleaner, sex goddess (no, Mum and Dad obviously not me!!!) psychologist, doctor, secretary etc. But they don’t actually ask us to take on these roles. We don’t have to sign a contract saying we will fulfill these roles and we don’t have to provide a C.V to show we can fill these roles. So why do we do it?
Are we scared if we aren’t exactly what they want, they will cheat on us or leave us? Do we get so caught up in pretending to be all these so we “catch” the guy, that it becomes too late to stop the lie? Are we doing what our Mothers did? Or are we just plain silly? I don’t have the answer to this-I just know I am guilty of it!
Finally- if we know how men are; that they are so different from us (so many books on this subject), why are we sooooo surprised when things go wrong or, like me this weekend, do we feel so let down by them? When will we learn by our mistakes? When will we accept the differences? When will we be ourselves and not what they want us to be?
Hey- Who do you think I am- your cook!!! Just joking!
Tonight I prepared lasagna for My Girls. I always have a load of bolognaise sauce in the freezer and tonight I decided I would do lasagna instead of the usual spaghetti bolognaise. I used all the short cuts (is my middle name Deliah?) and they loved it-infact so much there is none left for me!
For the Sauce (My dad’s recipe!)
Fry 2 chopped onions and 3 cloves of garlic (chopped). Add I kg of mince and cook until mince all browned (my dad uses umpteen pans for this-I use one!) Add 2 tins of chopped tomatoes and a HUGE squeeze of tomato puree. Add salt, pepper, 2 bay leaves and any mixed herbs you have in the cupboard, a glug of red wine and THE SECRET INGREDIENTS………..4 grated carrots (honestly, makes a huge difference!) Simmer for as long as possible, on the lowest heat possible.
Once cooked- you will have enough for 1 lasagne and some for freezer.
Building the Lasagne.
Use precooked sheets of lasagna and prepared béchamel sauce (or prepare your own and spend hours cleaning the pan)
In a baking tin:- a thin layer of bolognaise sauce, a single layer of pasta, a layer of béchamel. Repeat this and then on top of the last layer (should be béchamel if you got the order right!!!) sprinkle some grated cheese. Pop in oven (preheated to 180 degrees C) for 45 minutes.
So good that there is none left for me and I am on cheese savoury sandwiches again (good job I keep a tub of this in my fridge)
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I’ll tell you what has happened (if you don’t mind!)-there is an acute epidemic of laziness! I know I keep harping on about, “when I was young…..” but really, all those eons ago, children were out on bikes, running (often aimlessly!), playing football, playing hop scotch, or on family hikes. Why? Because we did not have computers, Nintendo’s, Play Stations or all day T.V (remember when Blue Peter was about the only thing for us to watch?)
We walked to school, or at least to the bus stop. Gym classes at school were hockey, netball, track, football, tennis and rounders- I know they still do those sports today but “in my day” they were all competitive, tough and played in any weather. I have many a fond memory of tearing about a playing field in howling winds and below zero temperatures in my miniscule gym skirt! Now, if there is a slight breeze or a spot of rain gym is held in the heated sports hall.
Summer holidays were off to beaches for swimming, more rounders, football etc and normally in below zero temperatures! No theme parks or “all inclusive, don’t need to move from the hotel complex, don’t need to bring your imagination, holidays.
I could go on longer but your eyeballs are probably exhausted and my typing finger is throbbing almost as much as my nether region! Anyway- we three survived and we ate some delicious food prepared by my friend Shirley and her husband Peter- Falafel Wraps. We are making them ourselves tomorrow night.
Falafel. Makes 12.
In a food processor chuck in the following:-
400g (13oz) of canned chickpeas –drained.
½ an onion
1tsp of ground cumin
1tsp of ground coriander
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp of plain flour
Salt and pepper
Whizz the whole lot up into a smooth paste. On a floured work surface divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and mould each portion into a flat, round patty. Shallow fry the Falafel (great name!) 2-3 minutes on each side.
Put 2 falafel on a flat tortilla or in a pitta pocket with some houmous (please see my previous blog for recipe for this), some minty yoghurt (natural yoghurt with a spoonful of mint sauce mixed in) and some finely sliced iceberg lettuce.
This is seriously delicious (thank you Shirley and Peter) and …….super healthy!!!
Now wish I had not got rid of my bath tub and replaced it with a super duper shower!Iit would be alright to dip my lower half in the kitchen sink full of cold water- wouldn’t it?
Thursday, November 26, 2009
We actually enjoyed the initial auditions more than this part of the show. Why? Well, it is a sad fact that society today loves to see people; make a fool of themselves, look bad, have a tough life, lose their fortunes, get fat etc. What a sick bunch we are! We revel in looking at pictures of Famous Peoples Wobbly Bits. We squirm with delight when another celebrity marriage hits the rocks (we really have been spoilt rotten recently with Katie Price and Peter Andre’s shinanikins.) We drool over any scandal or dirt dug up about someone in the limelight who has always portrayed themselves as pure and innocent. We love to criticize the beautiful starlets (we being soooo perfect!). We adore getting the chance to nosey about in the homes of the stars, wether it be via photos in a magazine or on a trashy T.V show. You only need to look at the number of “Gossip” style magazines on the shelves in the newsagents to see we are indeed a nasty lot! We don’t wish them well-we wish them failure, embarrassment and cellulite.
But, I must add, all those contestants on X Factor-the really cringy, painfully embarrassing, squirm in your socks ones- why did no one tell them NOT to do it? How come a family member, friend or next door neighbour who heard them screeching (I mean practicing) did not tell them the truth, did not prevent them from making absolute twits of themselves? I hope someone would tell me the truth! Actually I think I have a bit of a Diva in me-maybe next year I will enter the X Factor! Not sure why at this very moment my daughters are pulling faces, pretending to be sick and about to phone their father to see if they can go and live with him! Strange!
Recipes today are dedicated to Ubergrumpy (Mr Curly Wurly). Check out his blog –it is FANTASTIC. He wanted ryvitta and carrots. We will be having these dips tonight whilst we wish the worst on the remaining X Factor Contestants. If my Girls complain about the food, I shall point them in your direction- Uber!
Serve the following with crusty bread, potato wedges, bread sticks, tortilla chips, RYVITTA and/or CARROT sticks (happy C.W?)
3 Ripe avocados
1 clove of garlic- crushed
½ red onion-finely chopped
2 tomatoes-de-seeded and diced
Juice of 1 lime
3-4 dashes of pepper sauce
Salt and Pepper
Scoop out flesh from the avocados in to a bowl and red onion, crushed clove of garlic, diced tomatoes, lime juice, pepper sauce and salt and pepper. Mash it all up and ..Bob’s your uncle (‘cos he certainly isn’t mine) Guacamole.
Alioli (traditional Catalan garlic dip)
1 Clove of garlic-crushed
A pinch of salt
Put clove of garlic and salt in a blender and slowly add olive oil whilst blending. No idea how, but the end result is a lovely, creamy garlic dip. Quite amazing to watch the transformation (simple things please simple minds!!!)
Homemade houmous is soooooo much better than bought!
400g canned chickpeas
3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
1 garlic clove-chopped
2 tablespoons of tahini paste
Juice of 1 lemon.
Bung the whole lot in a blender and blend until smooth!
All very easy, very healthy and very garlicky- so no kissing after!
“I think I would miss you, even if I had never met you”
Something about that sentence made me go all mushy and lovey dovey. Such a sweet thing to say. It brought out the romantic in me and I started to think that one day my prince will come hobbling by on his 3 legged, lame donkey. The more I thought about this statement the more absurd it sounded, to the point where I ruined the whole loveliness about it! You can’t miss something you never had!
I started thinking about other sayings I like and wondered what their meanings were. I was on the point of Wikipediaing them and finding out their origin when I decided “NO” I like the not knowing!
Here are my top 10 favourites? Got any sayings you like? Please let me know:
1.“As happy as Larry”- who is Larry, why is he so happy? Sounds like a good person to have at a party. Anyone know his number?
2.“It ain’t over until the fat lady sings”- does it mean she has a terrible or fantastic voice? Is her latest CD available?
3.“Not on your nelly”- where or what is your nelly? Do I have one? Should I order one?
4.“Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face”-ouch! I know Van Gogh cut off his ear but has anyone really been so desperate as to cut off their nose?
5.“Never look a gift horse in the mouth”- have many of you received a horse as a gift? I personally think it is probably not a great experience to look in a horses mouth, gift or no gift (unless you are buying a horse and are checking to see how healthy it is, but then it is not a gift!)!
6.“Silence is golden”- not if you are in class and the teacher has asked you a question, or in court and are being asked if you are guilty or not guilty! In these cases, silence could have dire results! Additionally if someone is in the huff with you, silence is like torture.
7.“All cats are grey in the dark”- really? Will consider standing outside in the freezing cold tonight to check out this theory……NOT!!!
8.“Eat drink and be merry (for tomorrow we die)-what a dreadful outlook on life! How can one go through life thinking that the next day you will die? Thinking like this could lead to numerous phobias-agoraphobia, somniphobia (incase you sleep in late and then it is already tomorrow and then you die!) electricalappliancaphobia, peopleaphobia (yes, I did make the last 2 up!)
9.“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”- I am more than happy to let the bird in my hand be with the two in the bush! Do you know how many bugs live on a bird? Also the bird will no doubt be terrified at being in your hand and therefore poo in it!
10.“Life is like a box of chocolates” Great saying Forest Gump but does my box of chocolates always have to be filled with coffee and orange creams? YAK!
My recipe today is a traditional English recipe with a name I don’t (and probably don’t want to) understand.
Toad in The Hole- (at some point in history did they use toads and not sausages?)
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F) Put a roasting tin, with a little oil in the bottom, in the oven to heat up. Cook some chunky sausages (any kind you like). While they are cooking prepare your batter:
75g plain flour
Salt and pepper
Sift flour into a bowl add salt and pepper. Add egg and whilst adding, bit by bit, the milk and water, beat all the ingredients into a smooth mixture. An electric hand whisk will do this in seconds! Put the sausages into hot roasting tin and pour batter on top. Put all straight back in the oven for 25 minutes.
Serve with any veg you like and drown the whole lot in gravy!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Geez I am tired. What a day! Started this morning at half five- She ruthlessly kicked me out of the bedroom. I just don’t get it; what could be lovelier than being woken up bright and early by a good looking guy like me paddling on your stomach and howling in your ear? I was a bit peckish, hadn’t eaten in over two hours, but first I had to get past the two hissing, spitting balls of fur I share this place with-Girls, I will never understand them. Before cruising the food bowls I decided to check in on the latest addition to the house. Got to feel sorry for her- God hasn’t been kind to that cat-dodgy ears, weird nose, shocking excuse for a tail and truly bizarre way of moving about. Poor bugger doesn’t even get to sleep on the bed-rattles round its cage eating paper! They call it Bunny- what kind of name is that for a feline? Actually I think They have rotten taste in names; take mine for instance- Stinky! I see myself as a Charles (suitably royal) or a Valentino (one for the ladies).
Right, back to the food bowls. Empty! No problem- I will just go and howl lovingly outside her door; works every time. Ooof, She is looking really rough this morning. Hey, careful you don’t stand on me as I walk in figures of eight round your ankles. Good woman, get that tin open. Nope, not my favourite- something else please. Got to be quick before “Hiss” and “Spit” get here. Whoa- not so quick Missus- don’t forget to leave the back door open for me or I’ll just have to come a howlin’ again. Perfect, just trip Her up one more time as She stumbles back to bed.
So, what’s new on the street today? Oh no! Not you. This other cat has a nerve. Not only does he look exactly like me- except my tail is much shorter, stubbier, more broken and cuter than his, but he wears a girly collar with a bell on it. Firstly that collar threw me- wasn’t until I had put on my best show ( huge yawns to show “her” how big my teeth were, how big I was fully stretched out and how fantastic I was at running wildly for no reason at all) that “she” turned her back on me and I realized “she” was a “he”! Secondly that collar scuppers all my chances of catching birds to “play” with.
On the subject of birds; wonder if I should go get another one to play with? Actually as play mates go, birds are pretty useless; knock them about a bit and then they go and die on you. But it’s worth it just to see Their faces when I race into the house to show Them my latest play thing- especially if the head has fallen of it. Oh-hang on, She’s left the rubbish bag outside the door for me to wee on. It’s my special “thing” doing a wee on bags- rubbish bags, school bags, shopping bags- I’m not fussy. Quick dash round in circles and pouncing on thin air, five minutes of terrorizing “Hiss” and “Spit” and it must be nap time. Wonder when She will be up to give me more food.
Got to get a cat nap in before the day really gets going because I have a busy schedule. The carpet and sofa need regular scratching; black clothes need sitting on; rubbers and pencils need knocking off the table and losing under chairs and in corners; hairs need leaving on all kitchen surfaces and piles of important papers need attacking. Big part of my day is to defend my territory- I am the only stray allowed in this house. Defending territory involves puffing myself up like a cotton wool ball, making a lot of noise, avoiding looking directly at my adversary (how scary if I saw they were bigger than me!) and more weeing on things. Obviously throughout the day I have to do a lot of deep throat meowing to remind Her to give me food on demand and I have to use my best sneak and attack methods to make sure my other two feline companions stay suitably fluffed up and nervous. Best part of the day is when She has students and I put on my show. First; up on the table, lots of cute purring and parading around in front of them (making sure my bottom is always in their faces) next; for no reason at all, attack them and finally sit on their books and lick my “bits”.
See what I mean about exhausting! I am dog tired – crikey, how could I forget, I have to prance about infront of the dog next door to drive him into a barking, frenzy ( good job he is behind a locked gate otherwise……!!!) One more tripping Her up session; usual evening routine of going to the door to be let out, then not going out, then going to the door again to be let out and then not going out- strangely She doesn’t find this funny, I think it is hilarious, and then mad dash to Her bed to get my sleep spot right in the middle so She has no room. It’s a cat’s life but someone has to do it.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
For a reasonable price (mind you, I didn't pay- thank you Anine!) we ate delicious, well presented food. We got exactly what we ordered and neither rolled out of the restaurant bursting at the seams or dived into the nearest fast food restaurant to satisfy our hunger.
What is my point, you are probably thinking! My point is what the heck is it these days with restaurant food? Why do so many eateries serve food with descriptions you need a dictionary or thesaurus to understand and the article itself would be more at home on the wall of an art gallery than on the table infront of you?
I am mainly having a go at Nouvelle Cuisine and its off shoots. I know I am a Northern Girl and we have a reputation for liking our grub basic not fussy. However, I also enjoy good cooking and fresh produce. I also like new combinations of flavours. I also like new ideas and concepts concerning food. I am not just pie and mashed potato of fish and chips wrapped in nespaper (although both the afore mentioned are delicious!). But there is a limit!
Coulis, slivers, fusion, medley, quenelle, chiffonade, mirepoix-WHAT?
Starter (sorry, I mean entrée),main course or dessert- they are all presented as beautiful works of art. Tiny weeny portions, set in the middle of a HUGE plate and decorated with various coulis, extracts, concentrates and bits that look like they have come out of someones garden. Very pleasing on the eye but not very satisfying in the tummy! I would not be happy eating food blinfolded.I would not feel satified after munching my way through The Mona Lisa or grazing on bits and bobs growing in my neighbours garden ( for health reasons I would not eat anything from my garden!) So, why should I feel privileged to eat; food the ingredients of which baffle me and miniscule portions? And at the end of the experience, what? A heart attack inducing bill and a rumbling stomach.
Perhaps I am just a Northern Heathen. Perhaps a bacon sandwich and a mug of tea are more my style, but at least I will know what I am eating, feel full after the meal and not need to take out a second mortgage to pay for it!
P.s I live close to the world renowned restaurant El Bulli, run by the famously tempramental Ferran Adrià and if anyone out there wanted to invite me there for a meal I would accept their invitation...for research puposes only!!!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Great news: Dark chocolate may not only make you less anxious, but also cut the risk of heart disease.
Teenagers lying in at the weekend might seem like laziness, but it will actually help them stay slim and healthy, claim scientists.
I can plan my whole weeks’ activities to the exact minute.
I can draw up the weeks’ meals menu and never deviate from it.
I can have the lunch table set and the food prepared as soon as the breakfast dishes are cleaned away.
I can have Supper ready to be heated up as soon as lunch is over.
I can write all my reminders in the same colour pen and stick them in exact, straight lines on my fridge.
I can keep everything in its EXACT place.
I can never have ironing waiting to be done.
I can make sure there are never shoes or coats lying around.
I can organize so that my childrens’ school snacks for the next day are put in their bags as soon as they walk in the door.
I can organize and tidy my fridge at least twice a day.
I can have the weekend planned by Monday evening-one plan for good weather, one plan for bad weather.
I can brush my teeth at the exact same time morning and night.
I can see that my cats always have a clean litter tray and my rabbits’ cage is immaculate.
I can book all my years’ holidays in January.
I can have the suitcases packed days in advance.
I can send Birthday cards and Christmas cards weeks too early
I can wake up every night, at least 3 times, to make lists.
I can have a panic attack if there is a change to my plan.
I can make very bad, impulsive decisions.
I can make a decision and must do it immediately.
I can never ask for help.
I can start to shake if a job takes longer than the time I allotted it.
I can have a severe headache if I have to reschedule.
I can stay up late to finish all the jobs on my list.
I can never say no.
I can fall totally head over heels in love over night.
I can fall out of love in the blink of an eye.
I can ruin every relationship because they upset my routine.
I can tell you I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Anyone out there want to share their favourite feeeel goooood food? I am willing to try most things!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Weekend upon us and for many that means Sunday is spent trying to coordinate a Sunday lunch-Don't do it! Enjoy your Sunday!
Sunday Lunch in a Tin.
Take heaps of vegetables- carrots,onions,swede,peppers,celery, tomatoes etc and roughly chop them and put them in the biggest roasting tray you have.Add lots of salt and pepper, rosemary (fresh or dried), bay leaves and garlic (crushed or just chuck in whole cloves). Drizzle with Olive oil and put in hot oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes place chicken breasts or pork chops on top of veggies. More salt and pepper and olive oil and back in oven for 40 minutes (or until meat cooked) Serve from roasting tray with potatoes (mashed,boiled or roasted) if you can be bothered to make them, or some lovely fresh bread. Gravy optional!
Time saver- you can do all the roasting of vegetables the day before, so you only have to chuck some meat on top and voila- Sunday roast in 40 minutes!
“Please Mummy! Pleeeeeese! I have wanted one for like forever. All my friends have one. I promise I will take care of it. I swear on my sisters’ life”
I could be explaining my daughters’ desperate need for numerous things- a bike, a Nintendo, a computer, a Roxy jacket etc , but no what she wanted was a rabbit. Before the rabbit she “neeeeeeeeded” to have a hamster. I can just picture the poor rodent cowering in its’ cage as my three cats stalk round it licking their whiskery chops. Before the hamster it was a guinea pig. Before the guinea pig it was a fish- but not a pretty goldfish type fish, one of those weird fish that suck on to the side of the fish tank. For goodness sake where is the fun in watching a pair of big lips slide found a glass bowl? Before the fish it was a terrapin- until her friends’ terrapin bit her. My daughter is like one of those nippy, yappy terrier dogs- once she is on a mission she never shuts up and she never lets go.
So, this time she must have caught me at a weak moment and I agreed to her having a rabbit. As soon as I uttered the word “yes” I knew I had made a huge mistake. I tried to justify my decision to others, and myself, by saying- she is now 11 and therefore mature enough to take care of the rabbit; it will be an excellent way for her to learn to be more responsible etc. etc. Friends and family gave me that sad, how deluded are you look. Wake up and smell the coffee Kate. This is Robyn we are talking about. Robyn who thinks that coats belong on the floor with the wet towels and dirty clothes. This is Robyn who can’t see the sense in making your bed because you are just going to get back into it later. This is Robyn who thinks all available space in our home should be filled with her “stuff”. This is Robyn whose school bag contains scary, mouldy stuff and whose gym bag should have a “Risk of Contamination” sign on it. This is Robyn who is so lazy she would rather talk like the man in the Mr. Kipling adverts than blow her nose. This is Robyn who rather than brush her hair cuts the tats out. Anyway, I had agreed….enter Poppy.
First we had to buy all the necessaries for Poppy- cage, water bottle, food bowl, snacks, special baby bunny food, brush, collar and lead (yes, really!),vitamin enhanced, wooden, chewy sticks and hay. How on earth do rabbits in the wild survive without all these things? All prepared (or so I thought) off we went to get Poppy.Oh, so cute! A little ball of golden, silky, fur. One ear up and one ear down, little twitchy nose- she could melt even the hardest of hearts. Little cotton wool tale, shiny black eyes and ……teeth. With those teeth came phase two of buying necessaries for Poppy- blankets to protect my sofa, covers for all electrical cables (the video cable was the first of Poppys’ victims), patches to mend clothes and boxes to store toys (we now have a very scary looking “Phantom of The Opera Barbie”- no nose and half a face!)
We wanted Poppy to be a house rabbit; freedom to hop and jump wherever her sharp, clawed little feet wanted to. All fine and dandy until you find your house covered in little chocolate like balls and you sit on a patch of warm rabbit wee. Super, until you see your house slowly disintegrating in front of your eyes. Perfect, until you go to tie your shoelaces and realize they are no more. We wanted Poppy to be human friendly; Robyn was to spend quality time with her every morning and night. But do you realize how busy an 11 year old is? There’s hair to be straightened; outfits to be chosen; computer games to be played; vital conversations on Messenger to be had (after all a girl has so much to tell her school friends; the ones she saw only half an hour previously!). The list goes on and that is before the tedious tasks of homework, brushing teeth, showering etc enter in. So, who gets quality time with Poppy? Muggings here. Who cleans out Poppys cage? Yours truly. Who chases Poppy round the room in a vain attempt to brush her? Moi.
I suppose I shouldn’t complain- she could have neeeeeeeded a horse or a pot bellied pig. Next time I am getting straight on to Amazon and buying one of those DVDs of a virtual fish tank. Actually, I wonder if they do a horse one?