Monthly Archives: May 2012

Jen Versus the Volcano

It’s 1990 and Tom Hanks agrees to make a quirky movie called…Joe Versus the Volcano. As an 11 year old, I happily emersed myself in this movie and loved the montage where he was stranded on his four watertight, all purpose trunks in the middle of the ocean. But it wasn’t until I watched it recently, that it struck an entirely different chord with me.

As a kid, I used to fast forward the opening sequence where Joe Banks and the rest of the workers trudge slowly into work, looking depressed and as grey as the sidewalk. It was boring, it was bland. And I guess that’s exactly the point. Joe was living this ghastly conformist life that made him sick. He didn’t even know why he did things…he didn’t question them. He just went to work every day, half asleep. Gah.

Besides the excellent rectal probe references, which I obviously hadn’t picked up before, his arrival at work made me draw some comparisons to my own morning ritual. Ok, so I don’t have it as bad as poor Joe (and I don’t work with rectal probes), but I often feel blotchy and drained sitting under the fluorescent lights. And I swear to you that my glands go up and my throat feels scratchy when I arrived there and turn on my computer. (Maybe its just because its flu season?)

There is a scene where Joe’s Manager – Mr Waturi is on the phone repeating himself…”But can he do the job. I know he can get the job but can he DO the job? I’m NOT arguing that with you. I’m not arguing that with YOU. I’m not ARGUING that with you. I’m not ARGUING that with you Harry! Harry… Harry… Yeah Harry… but can he DO the job. I know he can GET the job but can he do the job?” I’m pretty sure I’ve said the exact same thing. Well….almost.

A terrible hypochondriac, Joe is told he has a “brain cloud”. An incurable disease with no symptoms. In fact, you don’t even realise there’s a problem until you’re dead. So after an offer he can’t refuse, he is given the option to live out his remaining days like a hero…and embark on the adventure of a lifetime. He sets sail to the island of Waponi Woo where he will jump into a live volcano to appease the volcano god.

The best quote of the whole movie is when Patricia says to Joe:

“My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement.”

So the question remains…when do I book myself on the first yacht to Waponi Woo? When do I wake up and start living in a state of constant, total amazement?


Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Tune In...


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Did you hear something? Yeah, like a swoosh.

I think there are two types of people in the world when it comes to ‘clothes management’.

  1. The type who carefully sort their washing by lights, darks, colours, delicates, heavy-duty and woollens (huh?). Always select the correct cycle and water temperature. Pegs on the line with care.  Folds the clothes when getting them off the line. Then irons and hangs them immediately; OR
  2. The type who sorts by light or dark only. Chooses the regular cycle every time.  Pegs on the line with abandon. Then throws everything in the washing basket to remain until needed.

I’ll  give you one guess which type I am. Yeah…Number 2 with a bullet. I try to be a Number 1 laundry person. But there always seems to be far too many clothes and not enough time. I do not know how mothers of tiny little people manage. Seriously, all those little socks and jumpsuits and singlets. It’s too much to think about!

Boltanski’s No Man’s Land

I try to complete all my washing on the weekend…sometimes its ok to hang outside on the line. Sometimes I have to use the clothes airer inside. If it’s an inside job, the clothes can ‘air’ for many days. I just forget they’re there, waiting to be pulled off and dumped haphazardly into a basket.

Then every Monday I’m faced with the same problem. What….do….I….wear? I truly long for my school uniform days. One look, no thinking, just whip it on and away you go. But I have clothing freedom and with that comes responsibility. And ironing. I do iron you know. Every morning when I rifle through that basket looking for something that won’t make me look like I got dressed in the dark in the 1980’s. I just iron what I need for that day. Usually after I’ve showered and standing in a towel. I will confess to also burning my stomach several times from ironing in the nude. NOT RECOMMENDED. I once burned my stomach so badly, I had a long red scar that looked like I’d had some organ removed.

Photo cred: Wikipedia

I also do not own a full length mirror…so some days, whilst the top half matches well, covers well and makes me look like a real life adult worker, the bottom half could be a complete lucky dip. Lately I’ve found myself saying to my husband as I run out the door “Does this look ok? Do these shoes go with this skirt?” He always replies with “I don’t know these things”.  Last week after one of his responses I was so desperate I found myself on top of a dining room chair, trying to look at the my outfit in the dining room mirror. Lucky save, those shoes did NOT go with that skirt. Or the other day, I put on a lovely bone shirt dress only to see myself in the mirror looking like a safari hunter. All I needed was a hat and gun and I could be on the set of Out of Africa. Disgraceful.

Which all leads me to today’s outfit. It was cold this morning and I had the urge to wear pants. I can’t actually remember the last time I wore pants to work so finding a pair that fit, had a working zipper and no holes in them was a challenge. I selected what looked like a perfectly fine pair that met all the criteria. Until I started walking. They make the exact sound that George Costanza’s pants made from Seinfeld. A swoosh, swoosh, swoosh sound. By the time I discovered this, I was well and truly over the ordeal and decided to go with the George pants anyway.

So here’s to free styling your laundry and swooshy pants. Can you hear something?


Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Charmed, I'm Sure


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The only time I’ll touch a wild boars testicles.

I make no secret about wanting a few of my own chubby legged kids one day. And today I was given this little nugget of advice. There is a statue in front of the Sydney Hospital in Macquarie Street called Il Porcellino. My friend said that the legend goes if you rub his wild boar grapes, it will help your fertility. After further research, apparently only rubbing his snout is recommended for good luck. Oh well, next time I’m in the big smoke, I’ll be sure to rub his man-junk just in case.

The incredibly harassed pig.

Which brings me to my next topic…the overly fertile women in my life. I’m telling you, it’s an epidemic (of the good kind naturally). One good friend of mine just gave birth to a healthy baby boy two weeks ago, and another five of my friends are set to follow suit in the coming months. So as the next cab is patiently waiting to drop off her fair…which is already a week overdue, I got to chatting to another one of those lovely ladies about the joys of pregnancy. I was going to re-write it from my perspective…but her words are too good not to share as is. WARNING: do not proceed if you have a weak stomach and/or wish to know nothing about the truth of pregnancy.

Without further adieu, I introduce Dee – our topical expert! She says…

  1. Right, so…when you are pregnant you lose ownership of your body.
  2. The life growing inside you that takes what it wants regardless of how much you have to give.
  3. Your body becomes public property, especially during your first pregnancy. Note: it’s not ok to touch other people. Especially if you’re not really sure what their name is, or if they are looking at you as if they are about to kill you but the only thing holding them back is making a messy scene at work.
  4. Your Dr will do things to you and make you feel discomfort you never knew existed.The dreaded strip and stretch, meant to help your body kick labour off when you are at or past due date, actually just makes you realize you do have Spiderman-esque powers and you can crawl up a wall backwards.
  5. Many women take delight in trying to scare the hell out of you with horrific labour stories, and some just like to give you really bad and condescending advice, such as ‘if you think your tired now, wait till the baby comes’ in that ever knowing voice of a woman who excels at whipping up over cooked-meat and packet rice every night.
  6. Pregnancy brings with it bladder weakness, flatulence, weight gain, fatigue, mood swings.
  7. Magazines try to convince you that being pregnant is like an illness and you need to purchase the entire catalogue of baby kingdom or you will fail as a mother.
  8. Maternity clothing is a complete chapter to be dealt with separately, it’s bad, expensive and designed by men.
  9. The actual process of going through labour is designed to push you to your utter limits, your body will do and feel things you can’t imagine possible, but after you have bared all in a room full of people you barely know, done a poo without even knowing and demanded a hysterectomy you will be handed a red, slimy, screaming creature that will depend on you completely make you fall in love and drive you insane everyday for the best part of your life.

Thanks Dee! I’m sure Number 3. was a technique used in the 1600’s as a punishment against treason. “You said what about the King??? Bend over! Its punishment by the strip and stretch!!!”

I was seriously considering by-passing my manly bacon friend above until I read the very last part of Number 9. It was really touch and go for a while there. Rub-a-dub-dub!


Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Charmed, I'm Sure


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Lock up your slurpee machines!

It all started 97 days ago. I was new to Blog Town and happened to stumble across LL Cool Jen’s blog….Sips of Jen and Tonic. She’s like the bomb and way too talented. She should have her own column in a world syndicated newspaper.

So when she invited me to go and hang out with her in America…I packed my hip hop hat and was on that plane in a jiffy. (I’m not sure if Hip Hop and Jiffy have ever been in a sentence before, but they are now).

Jen opened my eyes to the culture, to the adventure, to the wonders of her home town. Now I know what I’d look like with rockin’ facial hair.

Please check out our adventures here on Jen’s The Saucy Aussie post.Thanks for the memories girl…we’ll always have Freedom Fries.

AND…if you have decided to become a follower as a result of Jens post…welcome to the team y’all! This is the time when it would be way cooler if background music started playing like a movie soundtrack. Until WordPress figures out how to do that, this will have to do. So maybe press the link below then go back and read the paragraph again.


Photo Cred: Salt n Pepa…I mean Sips of J&T.


Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Charmed, I'm Sure


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When you realise you have a super power.

I mean, I guess there have been signs. But I’ve never really put it all together. Not until recently anyway. So before you’re all like “yeah girrllll, you really are She-Ra!” Let me assure you, I only possess ONE super power and its less She-Ra and more like the character Bruce Willis played in the movie Unbreakable. All undercover and subtle.

Here are the signs:-

  • I’m a chronic light sleeper. So light in fact that I sense someone in the room before they enter the room. I need to wear ear plugs, not only to block out my husbands snoring but also the sound of yapping dogs miles away. I once completely believed that there was a kangaroo outside my bedroom window which would not stop its incessant ‘chet chet chet’ noises. It kept me up for 3 nights.
  • My ears reject bud-like ear phones. They just will not stay in there.
  • I constantly have to ask my husband to turn down the tv and/or radio. He says he cannot hear it but I claim that it’s at a very comfortable level, thank you very much. And who needs to hear the latest news bulletin with window shattering decibel anyway?
  • I’m a big believer in subtle background music rather than a “in your face” volume. If I have to raise my voice so you can hear me over the music, why am I even bothering to talk to you.
  • You can’t mutter something under your breath about me. I know what you just said, even if I pretend I don’t so you keep saying it.

If you haven’t already guessed…I believe I’m in the possession of super sonic hearing powers.You can call me Super Phonic Girl. I shall defend you with all the power that I have.

I’m in need of a catch phrase of which I shall shout at my assailants with every victory. Suggestions welcome. And if anyone wants to make me a superhero outfit, I respond well to primary colours!

There are more out there like me. Although, this Super Hero guy seems rather upset that his super hearing has resulted in what look like handless arms protruding from his head.


Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Charmed, I'm Sure


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A weekend of family and food = 152,698 calories.

It’s true…a thoroughly modern woman can do anything. Which I think is evident from the crazy weekend I just had. Let me fill you in.

It all started last Thursday (imagine wavy lines appearing to give you the impression we’re travelling back through time). My brother was in town and was staying at my house. As we don’t see each other that often, its always a grand affair. He also shares my passion for food so I had to turn up the heat and provide a mid-week masterpiece. Because a modern woman can work full time and produce gourmet meals…right? Hmmm. 

I served up a delicious tray of baked salmon fillets, king prawns, asparagus and procuitto. Accompanied by a pear, parmesan and rocket salad and steamed baby potatoes. All finished with a banoffee pie and ice-cream. Now, the only reason I made this feast after I had worked all day, run a thousand errands on my lunch break, then driven the 40 minutes home to stop at the supermarket a second time for a few last minute items, was because it was all supposed to be all made in 30 minutes. Or so the recipe alluded. The tray of seafood was easy and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. But the rest was just a little too much for this weary woman.

My little bro…eagily awaiting my (more than) 30 minute meal.

Friday was another early start with a day of woodchopping in store. And what does any good team of lumberjacks need for such an occasion? A lumberjacks breakfast of course. I made buttermilk pancakes with raspberries, bacon and maple syrup. I know you’re thinking…woah lady…high carbs, high sugar, high fat. Yeah…true, true, true. But as I ate these at 8am and didn’t eat anything else until 6pm, and helped chop two tonnes of wood, I say “meh?”

Looking like a pro wood chopper after my breakfast. Technically I didn’t ‘chop’ any wood…but I stacked a heck of a lot.

Saturday! A day of rest? Bah! Another early start with an appearance at a little girls 2nd birthday party. I was happy to eat a piece of her Elmo birthday cake at 11am simply because I didn’t make it. Then we were off again with a family trip to the beautiful Botanic Gardens for a stroll through leaves and trees and crisp autumn air. We did stop at the coffee shop but I was terribly disappointed, so that’s all I’ll say on that.

When I ordered a Snickers slice…I expected a little more than a hard, un-inspired block of sugar. Poor form coffee shop…poor form.

Saturday night – Indian takeaway and beers! Besides having a rather close encounter with a hot vindaloo, it was a wonderful meal shared with precious people.

So we’ve finally arrived at the pièce de résistance! Sunday – Mothers Day. My husband, my brother and his girlfriend (who arrived the day before) were on hand to create a mouthwatering mothers day spectacular for our mother. I was up early to make the dough for my much loved cinnamon rolls. See here for recipe. We then prepared, in a flurry of knives and bowls and hot pans the following:

  • Steamed and fried wantons with a spicy chicken filling
  • Thai fish cakes served with cucumber dressing
  • Thai chicken curry made with homemade paste (a first for me, and making your own paste really does make a kick ass curry)
  • Cinnamon Rolls served with chocolate and caramel ice-cream

    The ‘kids’ made mother cry from happiness with this Asian inspired lunch.

Needless to say I was rather exhausted by the end of it all and probably a few kilograms heavier. With all the marathon cooking happening, I did have a very vivid dream that I was a contestant on the reality TV cooking show – Masterchef. In the dream I made sausage rolls of which George Calombaris refused to try because he said the meat looked too dense. I happily argued the point with George but he still didn’t try my sausage rolls. Why George? Why?

And that concludes my amazing weekend with my amazing family. I hope you spoilt your mum rotten this Mothers Day!


Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Fire Up the Rayburn


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Here are the hard-hitting facts:

In March 2006, the average price for a kilogram of bananas was $2-3. In June 2006, the price had skyrocketed to an outrageous $15 a kilo. Why? A little crazy cyclone called Larry, that’s why. Since then the price for a banana in Australia has been up and down. Following another cyclone in 2011, some bananas were selling for up to $3 each. Now that’s bananas! At the height of the crazy banana scarcity, I was relying on my frozen banana stash under the cloak of darkness. Even the smell of a banana would send the natives into a frenzy.

Today, the price for bananas is around $5-$6 a kg. Quite modest really. I still fight the urge to stock up big in case the bottom falls out of the market again. Which sometimes leaves me with a rather large stockpile of spotty, blackened overripe fruit, sitting lifelessly in the fruit bowl. Where is all this going you ask? Well….only to most delicious, quick and easy Caramel Banana Cake you’ve ever eaten, that’s where!!!!

Caramel Banana Cake

  • 125g butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 overripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/4 cup milk

Pre-heat oven to 170c degrees. In a small saucepan, melt your butter, sugar and vanilla. Take off the heat. In a large bowl, mash your bananas. I used a fork from go to woah in this recipe. Minimise the washing up I say.

Mix in your butter and sugar with the bananas. Add your egg and mix. Add your sifted flour and mix. Add your milk and mix.

Pour into a greased cake pan. I’ve used both round and bar for this recipe. Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins. Just keep an eye on it. Test with a skewer and when it comes out clean, cool on a baking rack. It will be a fairly moist cake.

Caramel Icing

(I’m sorry to say this is largely a guessing game for me but I’ll try my best with measurements).

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar mixture

Heat the sugar, cream and butter in a small saucepan until all melted. Sift (very important) in the icing sugar mixture until it becomes a spreadable icing consistency. Spread over cake.

You can serve it warm with vanilla ice-cream for a dessert or with just a plain old cup of tea.

WARNING!!! Side effects may occur. If you find yourself sitting on floor in a quiet corner of the kitchen, licking the bowl with wide frantic eyes, hoping your husband doesn’t catch you, then you have caught….the most delicious case of uncontrollable cake batter eating disease. It happens with all the good cake batters. Don’t fight it.


Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Fire Up the Rayburn


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Don’t Fight Nature, You’ll Only Get a Black Eye.

Ding ding, round one!

A good friend send to me the other day “don’t fight nature”. She was actually referring to the plant selection for the landscaping of my front garden. You see, last year we built a new house and after all our tradies had vacated, our block roughly resembled a desolate wasteland. Besides excavating, filling, digging, destroying and an unseasonable amount of rain…our gently sloping grassy meadow was turned into a boggy, rocky outcrop. And lacking any amount of landscaping vision, it’s been a challenge to say the least.

You see, I come from a long line of very good gardeners. My Nanna definitely had an affinity with nature and grew all sorts of beautiful things from cacti to exotics to fruit trees. Her daughter (my mother) must have inherited that gene because she creates wonderful little pockets of heaven in her garden. But instead of yours truly picking up the green thumb award from the family tree, my younger brother scooped the prize. He is probably the best of them all. A Greenskeeper by trade, my mum said that anything he plants will grow like crazy. He has the goods alright.

Ding ding, round two!

So far we’ve been here a little over 8 months and in that time I’ve managed to kill a tray full of pansies, a bowl of succulents, a cactus, the rose-bush is looking woeful and one of my orchids is in serious need of therapy. We did get some turf laid but as I have mentioned, my guy spent a long time installing pop up sprinklers and its the only thing looking like its going to go the distance. So understandably, you can see my hesitation in planning an entire garden that is not only a blank canvas but that will also need continuous care from that point on.

Oh did I tell you that a friend once described me as killing a desk stapler with too much love?

Ding ding, round three!

I recently read a Better Homes & Gardens magazine. It led me astray. It consumed my mind with visions of tropical gardens filled with palms and warm climate rainforest plants. It bewitched me, it tricked me. I began to think that my front garden deserved a Tree Aloe that cost $1000, that it needed palms and ferns and birds of paradise plants. Why? I have no idea. Let’s call it zero inspiration and a great photo spread on BH&G’s behalf.

But after re-consideration and a surprise plant shopping trip from my mother who showed me the error of my ways, I’ve changed my tune. I’m going for a garden that suits my environment, that doesn’t have struggle just to put on its boxing gloves. And let’s face it, that garden has already got an uphill battle with me looking after it.

My garden is still a work in progress but I’m determined to do the right thing by it. I’m not going to fight nature.


This is roughly what I have to work with. Stay tuned to see me transform my wasteland into a garden of tranquility. Image (c)


Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Holly Hobby


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