Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year Rambling

I am a failed blogger.  Seriously.  I just can't think of anything to write or its something I shouldn't write about.  Here is a case of the latter.

Wren and I are in the car, driving to the Post Office.  Its 5.15pm and all those unfortunate people who work all day are rushing home in the wet dark behind their streams of headlights.  I am in the same stream of headlights rushing to make it to the post office before it closes so I can collect my EXPRESS PARCEL from South Africa.  I have reason to believe it contains our Christmas Presents from Dad.

The presents are in the mail
As I drive, I brood.  I worry that I have not heard from the family that my Christmas Presents for them have arrived.  I fear the worst.  This year I failed to fully insure and register the Christmas Box.  After visiting South Africa this summer it seemed paranoid to spend $35 extra to make sure that it got there.  I felt it would since they'd caught those thieves at Oliver Thambo Airport and sorted out the main problem.   Anyway, I worry that the Christmas Presents, mailed December 5th, have been stolen.  Dad is sanguine.  He says they are probably still delayed due to the big freeze in the UK.  I want to believe.  I suspect Dad remembers the days when international parcels went by sea and took 6 weeks.  Remarkably, his parcel to me has arrived within a week.  This augers ill for my parcel reaching them and I start to think what Backup Christmas Presents I can send.

As we climb the hill in the stream of traffic I remember that I have left the masala sauce bubbling on the stove.  I reach for my cell to call Frost and ask him to turn it off, but have left my cell phone at home after one of Frost's friends called to ask for a playdate and I talked to her while slicing onions.  Now my cellphone remains near the onions, possibly near the site of the possible conflagration should the sauce burn and Frost not notice.  I start to worry that Frost notices too late and tries to turn it off and then gets burned.  I ponder turning around but the traffic is determined and evenly spaced.  There is no way to get off this arterial without wasting more time than my direct route.

At the post office I learn that the parcel I have come to collect is still out for Delivery in the mail truck.  He found me out but has not made it back in time.  I learn that it is Tuesday 4th January and Not Tuesday 5th, as I had believed.  I recall that an early sign of dementia is not knowing the date or day of the week.

Being called on my Twitting
At the major intersection where I must turn left, a cautious turner makes all of us miss the lights.

"You twit!" I exclaim.

"Why do you call everyone a TWIT when you drive a car?"  Wren asks.
"It is a bad habit.  Its what I say when I am frustrated."  I explain.
"Are you mad?"  He checks.  Wren checks this all the time. It makes me mad when he checks all the time whether I am mad when I am not mad at all merely saying "no" or "ow" or some other less-than-thrilled emotion.
"You should stop doing it.  Promise you will never ever do that again."  he demands.
"Well, I don't want to but sometimes I forget.  Like when you hit Frost on the head or in the tummy.  I tell you not to but you do it again."
"That is not like that." says Wren.
"Well, it is a bit."  I argue.
"No, its not."
"I shall try and stop saying people are twits when they are." I concede.

The Younger Generation  are also Twits
We race home through the twits and arrive to find the sauce nicely reduced and in a good state.  Frost is doing his Geography Homework.  He has a list of questions.  Instead of solving the geography puzzles by looking at a map to locate a certain Gulf, find the longest nation in South Ameria or determine which Hemisphere contains the most land mass - he Googles it.  Apparently his Geography Quiz questions are common ones because all are answered on or Wikipedia.

When I complain about his methods Frost says "I am doing research."

I notice him googling "What country is between Seattle and Anchorage" and grab the Atlas and tell him to look at the map.

"WHAAAT!" he exclaims in shock when he realizes that Alaska is north of Canada.  "I thought Alaska was down there!" he gestures towards Florida.

"Um, no.  You have to drive through lots of Canada to get to Alaska."
"Why is it America if its UP THERE!"   Apparently Frost has no future in US foreign policy. 
"I am sure some people in Canada wonder that too."
He stares at the map a bit longer before googling the next thing, something that would require turning to another map page instead of one-finger typing in a querey.

This generation is going to be real dumb real soon if they are without google.

Hawaii Bound
After dinner we sit in the man cave to watch a DVD on Kauai I borrowed from the library.  Frost has been keen to visit Kauai but after viewing the DVD he starts to ululate with joy and shout about Guavas everwhere and going up rivers on a boat and boogie boarding and eating shaved ice.   It has become real.  We have booked a trip to Kauai this spring and since it was very pricey I am avowed to get maximum benefit by anticipating the hell out of the trip for the full 2-3 months lead time.

I have also vowed to learn Spanish.  I have been embarrassed making calls in my Freelance work and hearing many respondents switch from Spanish to English when I flounder.   Today, Wren and I learned to say Hola and Buenos Dias.  Wren said it to 4 people.  We also practiced counting.

Unfortunately, they don't speak Spanish in Hawaii or I'd make it a whole educational thing.

What else is going on?

My First Running Injury
I am training for my half-marathon.  I am much faster than I thought - my faster pace seems to be around 9 minutes per mile for 4 miles - but I am weaker too as I have a mild calf-strain since the last run.  It didn't happen in a dramatic fashion, just started to feel sore and really tightened up when I cooled down.  I swam instead of running today which was good but I became quite waterlogged after 40 minutes and stopped.

We are talking about getting a dog this fall.  So far, the leading contender is a puggle.  However, looking at the price of these things I suspect a tulip bubble (or ostrich bubble, or alpaca bubble) and think we may get a small low-energy mutt.  To make an analogy - we would like the lost sock.  The one that is well loved, ordinary, and just needs to find a home.   In an alarming development (to me) Josh would consider dogs in the toy category.  You know, small fluffy things that sit on noble laps.  I tend more towards the large loping breeds which are often wet and full of mud.   Frost wants a corgi.  Wren wants "a cutey".

Frost on Broadway in the Bathroom
Frost is starting a drama class.  Josh gave him a man-talk and told him that the drama-geeks get the girls and so he should get ahead and learn his lines.  Frost wasn't keen at first but I have since seen him talking and gesturing to himself in the mirror and I think he is making up lines.  He also makes up and sings songs and sometimes dances in the middle of soccer matches leading Josh to announce "I don't think Frost has the right personality for soccer, I think he should get into drama as soon as possible."

He was frustrated with Frost who explained later that he was making up a song about playing levels of halo and forgot to look up.

Now, its time for me to get some tea and read my bookclub book.  This is my first bookclub and although friends tell me that reading the book is optional, I plan to do my homework so I can nod sagely while chewing my cocktail.

Blending Nirvana
Finally, no catchup blog post can be complete without mentioning the Vitamix.  I had a birthday and received a Vitamix from Mum and Josh and myself.  I had expected to use it a lot but I had not expected the blending mania to catch me to quite this degree.  Last night I made a curry which required coconut milk.  Rather than using canned milk I used a coconut Frost and Alex had opened (drilled and hammered) and grated the pulp in a cuisinart food processor.  I then added water to the pulp and blended it in the vitamix.  Then, I poured the thick creamy mixture into the Champion Juicer and extracted all the liquid.  We were left with some dry flakes of cocunut fibre and about 2 cups of coconut milk.  It was amazing how fatty it was.  When I scraped the vitamix container there was lots of coconut butter / fat in it which I ate.

I poured this coconut milk into the spiced sauteed onions and then cooked it down with squash, peas and tofu.  Delicious.

I am also having blending failures.  If you blend low-fat dairy yoghurt (for tzaziki) it turns into water.  They must put some kind of emulsifier in which fails in the face of the vitamix's blending power.  Similarly, soups can get too smooth and appear weirdly creamy.  This is nice for me but Frost and Wren prefer chunks.  Hummus is delicious and so easy - one can makes a whole cup of hummus.     The kids favorite drink so far is a raw shake - frozen bananas, agave, a tablespoon of raw coconut butter, raw cocoa, vanilla,  fresh nut milk and nut butter.  They beg for more.  I based it on the Thrive recipe for a chocolate shake.

Thank you Mum for the gift voucher for Thrive.  I had lunch and spent the rest on blending supplies (coconut butter, raw coconut pieces, red rice.)   Mrrmrmm

Frost asleep on the couch after staying up all night.

Wren hiding under the blanket to play the iPad when he is
already out of screen time.