Alrighty Then

November 23, 2019 at 9:37 pm (Food, general life)

A few days ago, I decided to give up on NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month, in which writers attempt to write the first 50,000 words of a novel during November each year), which was the right thing to do (the book was under-ripe and I was meant to be editing other books anyway). I love NaNoWriMo in part because I’m slightly manic depressive—enough that I can survive the inevitable depression, and live with the decisions I make when manic.

Anyway, so having left the mania train of NaNoWriMo I’ve spent my days watching TV and eating chocolate. But every so often, more or less accidentally, I did something useful around the house. Which is, you know, good and stuff.

Today, in a wild burst of enthusiasm, I set up what we call our “big pool”. We specifically bought it so I could hop in with the kids, which I did. Then I continued to supervise from a hammock. It was awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flushed with enthusiasm, I decided to attempt the impossible: feeding Louisette a Green Vegetable. To be fair, she has said to me more than once in the last week that she wants to eat more green vegetables “because I hardly eat any vegetables”.

THIS WAS THE MOMENT TO STRIKE.

Zucchini is my safest green vegetable (in terms of food intolerance), and has hardly any taste. I fried slices of zucchini in butter, garlic, and powdered fennel. Fennel, because I had Louisette sniff several herbs and choose her favourite. I had her smell it again as it was cooking (yum), and choose a cheese to go with it. Then I cut tiny squares of said cheese. When the zucchini was cooked perfectly, I turned the fry pan off and placed cheese on each slice, so it would melt juuust enough to be extra delicious.

And it was. Each slice of butter-saturated zucchini was a mouthful of glory. Louisette picked up a piece before declaring it inedible.

 

TJ didn’t get as far as physically touching any of it.

 

 

I also made risotto with roasted sweet potato, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and bacon. TJ had some of the rice, and I managed to convince him to eat some bacon. Chris and I enjoyed the risotto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, all in all, I’m reminded why I don’t generally make an effort.

But I did have a win this week. I bought fish fingers for the first time, and both kids loved them.

Yay.

In other news, John Scalzi mentioned “domestic felicity” in his blog a day or two ago, and I realised that should absolutely be the name of my blog. Oh well.

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A thousand ingredients, and not a bite to eat

November 12, 2019 at 7:12 pm (Food, Fully Sick, general life)

There are four people in my family: Chris, my partner, who is more or less normal food-wise; myself, intolerant of FODMAPS and salicylates (ie most fruit, vegetables, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, processed meats, and nuts); Louisette, age 7, who is intolerant of honey and sulphites, and TJ, who is more or less normal except for being 5 years old.

Standing up to make a peanut butter sandwich is enough to give me a sore back, so dinner is a real challenge. I wouldn’t say I’m succeeding, as such. Unless the bar we’re setting here is “no fatalities, no starvation”.

For example, this is what we’re eating for dinner tonight:

Chris: Literally frozen and reheated airplane food (I get some truly weird meals from a charitable food pantry at St Paul’s Anglican Church in Melba; I feed it to him so he gets a bit of variety). As usual, he doesn’t get served any vegetables because it’s too hard (he usually has a carrot at work, and sometimes adds baby spinach to his sandwich). Sad but true. On very rare occasions, I will find something at St Paul’s that the kids will eat. Usually even if they like it once, they don’t ever eat it again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me: Lamb chop roasted with potatoes (and usually sweet potatoes and sometimes carrot, but not today). This is my “safe” meal and I usually eat it about 3 times a week (my doctor said to cut down on starches and red meat, and I just laughed. Then I started taking fish oil tablets). Potatoes, sweet potato, and carrots are all in my top 5 best veggies (potatoes are the only fully safe vegetable for me, which is actually not that awful; potatoes are awesome). The only hazard is the brown flavouring in the gravy. Sometimes I make my own gravy, but not today. Chris will also eat lamb chops, but the kids won’t. (I could have made lamb chops for him today, but I’m on day 3 of the same thing so I thought something else might be good.)

Louisette: Sausages in bread with tomato sauce (a la BBQ sausages). She loves it, and had two full sausages and two slices of bread. Even with no vegetables (does tomato sauce count?) that’s a win: no whining, and a solid meal. Since she’s on Ritalin, she often eats very little and is in danger of losing weight. We worked hard over many months to get her to just sit at the table every night, and even harder to get her to take more than two bites of pretty much anything. And sausages are nice and easy to make. Chris also likes them; Tim has gotten over them; I’m strongly intolerant of sausages.

TJ: “Spicy noodles” ie ramen ie mi goreng ie 2-minute noodles (the kind with several sauces including chili). With grated cheese and ham added. He didn’t eat all that much today (his first time eating beef rendang flavour, which is hotter than the norm and he said it was too spicy but he “don’t feel like a sandwich” so I guess that’s it for him today. Also very easy to make in a single portion (we have a great bowl-and-lid set that has an inner bowl that’s also a strainer, which is perfect for mi goreng), which can be a lifesaver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other meals that we eat:

All of us:

-Eggs… sometimes. Poached, boiled, or eagle eyes. Daddy is usually the chef when it comes to eggs.

-Butter chicken with gnocchi and Greek yogurt. (Somewhat… international, I know.) This is delicious AND I’ve gotten to the point where I can sneak some zucchini (the only green veggie I tolerate well) into the sauce AND TJ will sometimes let me add frozen corn and/or peas to the sauce. Louisette doesn’t eat the butter chicken… but I set aside some of the chicken and add Ayam’s Lemon Chicken sauce, and she loves it. The butter chicken with sauce (but, interestingly, NOT the lemon chicken with sauce) freezes and reheats beautifully, so that can serve TJ or Chris or me again (with a bit of fresh-cooked gnocchi and some yogurt). We’ve been having this 2-3 times a week, so I’m starting to get a bit sick of it (plus spicy probably isn’t great for a sensitive stomach like mine). And I can’t stand chicken breast or tenderloins (unsurprisingly, I’m quite neurotic about food) so I always get boneless thighs and then have to cut them up. Handling raw meat is a lot of work, and gross. Still, for the moment, I can still stomach butter chicken—and it works really well for the whole family. The below photo is a classic scene, with the main pan having butter chicken, the pan on the right having lemon chicken, the bowl on the left cooling down TJ’s gnocchi (removed from boiling water with a slotted spoon so the water and heat isn’t wasted) and the pan at the back right waiting for the second lot of gnocchi to go in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Rice paper rolls. These are unusually healthy for me, including snow peas/cucumber (snow peas for me, cucumber for TJ; Chris is flexible as usual) and carrot. Louisette won’t touch them, but I use a Woolies roast chicken and I give her lemon chicken… ie some of the chicken pieces with the same Ayam lemon chicken sauce. And that works with relatively little effort. But rice paper rolls are a LOT of work and, again, handling the chicken sometimes grosses me out. Even though it’s cooked.

-Mini pizzas. I use English muffins so it’s easy to vary who gets what. The kids both accept basil pesto (tomato paste is anathema even though tomato sauce is ambrosia) and have pineapple and ham. I’m intolerant of pineapple and ham and aware that they’re basically just a sandwich, so I usually make mini pizzas for the kids when Chris and I are eating something completely different. Plus making two instead of 3-4 pizzas means less time spent standing up without a break.

Louisette only: Frozen nuggets and fish (1 meal, with both—but she’s over frozen chips) with tomato sauce, mayo, and lemon juice.

TJ only: Corn on the cob and ham. (Also he apparently eats a wonderful variety and quantity at day care. It will be a real shame to lose that when he starts Kindy in 2020.)

Chris and I only:

Beef stroganoff (although I think it’s awful as leftovers, so I rarely make it—plus I’m highly intolerant of mushrooms, but refuse to leave them out because they’re delicious and sort of a vegetable).

Lasagna/bolognaise (you and I both know they’re the same thing). Great for adding zucchini and carrot (my top veggies), and great for leftovers. Also our thermomix does a good white sauce without needing a human standing and stirring—it stirs and heats at the same time.

Maple marinated salmon with semi-fried rice (I add the leftover marinade to the rice and fry it for a bit). I can deal with frozen corn and peas in this context (mentally, at least). And yes, I know corn is technically a grain. Shut up.

I feel super gourmet sprinkling sesame seeds on top, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s where we’re at with meals at the moment. It’s… not great.

I’m about to attempt to get Louisette onto honey carrots (probably made with either golden syrup or maple syrup). Wish me luck.

Oh, there is one bit of good news. Louisette loves to have apple and hommus. She also likes lemon butter and Vegemite.

Parenting is weird, is what I’m saying.

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It’s time

April 19, 2011 at 8:04 am (general life)

I think all the readers of this blog also follow my main blog at http://twittertales.wordpress.com. Since the twittertales blog now has Miscellaneous Mondays (as well as shiny new writing articles on Saturdays, and Steampunk stuff on Sundays), this blog no longer has any unique purpose (unless my realist novel is accepted for publication under the Felicity Bloomfield name, in which case I’ll grab the metaphorical paddles and revive this blog like I never left).

I will still see comments posted here, and will respond to them.

Here to say farewell is a selection of relaxed cats:

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If you could choose

March 17, 2011 at 11:15 pm (general life)

If you were to choose to be above average in one of these three ways, which would you be?

A good person

A talented person

A happy person

I grew up aiming for the first, and I really really wish I could support the hypothesis that I’m the second. The third just seems impossible.

But probably more pleasant than the other two combined.

Which would you choose, if you could have only one?

I think most people require the first or second (or both) to be happy. On the up side, being good is a choice and being talented is generally a matter of how much effort you put in. So maybe we really do have a choice.

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Six months to come alive again

March 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm (general life, Mental illness)

When CJ and I married, it was like being Cinderella.

Before we married, I was living in a granny flat in which most of the appliances were broken (including the washing machine, oven and toilet), where there was a large area of fungus, and where the water was not safe to drink. It cost two-thirds of my income, and was my only real option of a place to live. I needed to live alone because my anxiety disorder didn’t let me live with anyone.

When CJ and I married*I had good company and massages permanently on tap, a nice house where everything worked, and I never had to decide whether to have meat or not based on the ebb and flow of my income. I also had the new brand-ability to plan my future with some degree of certainty, and for the first time I had a choice about whether or not to have children someday. Everything in every area got dramatically better on one day.

On the down side, if CJ dies I’ll lose everything. He has life insurance (I checked, believe me), but other than relative wealth I’d lose most of the goodness of my life.

The awareness of my dependence of CJ didn’t impair my ability to function and/or enjoy CJ – but it didn’t go away either. Which is why when I read this article – mainly about the five stages of grief, and how they’re overemphasised in modern counselling – it meant a lot to me.

The thing that really made me feel better is that, according to studies, most people are largely recovered from major life-changing grief in about. . . six months. They still miss whoever or whatever it was, but the human ability to revert to individual emotional averages is extremely effective.

As a writer, I’m constantly designing the other kind of grief – the rare kind that permanently damages the sufferer – because it makes interesting characters. It’s a huge relief to realise that the way I see grief is based on an entirely fictional world view.

If CJ dies, my life will never be the same – but the worst pain will be mostly done by six months. If I have to, I can survive that.

Morbid and optimistic is a lot better than just morbid.

*Evidently there is at least one person I can live with – and even share a room with.

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Ambidextrous Unconscious?

March 1, 2011 at 8:11 am (general life)

A few nights ago I had a dream in which my wedding ring was on my right hand. I only noticed it was odd because when I woke up and later glanced at my right hand I was momentarily startled to see no ring there.

Does our unconscious flip us into a mirror image of ourselves in our dreams? What does this mean. . . for SCIENCE?

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The secret of love

February 14, 2011 at 10:56 am (general life, Mental illness)

CJ and I have now been married over two years (the two that are meant to be the hardest – one of several reasons we haven’t tried for kids yet). Overall, it’s been a lot easier and nicer than I expected – and I know how unusual that is.

I think the secret to a happy home (other than picking someone kind) is knowing who should do what – and doing it (before the other person has to ask) plus a bit more for love (but not too much – the other person has to have a chance to show their love too).

CJ earns most of the money; I try my best. I do more chores than CJ, but when I’m freaking out I ask for help and he helps. I let CJ spend money on computer stuff and books; he lets me spend money on awesomenesses and writing things. I coordinate most things, especially money and running the household; CJ has less impact on day to day things but also less to remember and be responsible for. In all these areas, we’ve found what works best for both of us.

Chores are the most difficult thing. Before marriage, I expected chores to be the hardest thing (having seen CJ’s bedroom many a time), and they are (even now) – but they’re a million times better than I expected. We talked about chores plenty, both before and after the wedding. CJ lifted his standards, and I lowered mine.

A good marriage is built on mutual respect and love – which is exactly where chores come in.

I don’t think it’s possible for me as a woman to respect a man who is too immature to do the dishes without being told (that makes him a child, and I’m not attracted to children). I also don’t think it’s possible for me to feel loved if I’m constantly cleaning up after a man. I DO clean up after CJ, but I know he also cleans up after me.

We’ve now spend half our time together dating, and half married. The married half has been nicer, more peaceful, and has seen less disagreements (partly because we know each other better, and can predict the other person’s reactions with enormous accuracy).

The hardest part of being married is that I am forced to carry my mental illness with me. I hate feeling that CJ has only ever met the second-best version of me (not that that’s entirely true; I have plenty of good days). I often feel angry that he is so content and happy when I’m living in the dark. It’s pretty clear neither of those things are his fault – and if he wasn’t immune to my depression he would be pretty useless.

The nicest parts of marriage are being able to make plans together, knowing that we have each other to rely on and laugh with, and having a warm body next to me at night*.

*One that doesn’t only love me for my ability to open the cat food cans.

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The good side of a bad dad

January 18, 2011 at 9:05 pm (general life, Mental illness)

I sometimes wonder if I should have kids. I’m pretty nuts, and I don’t know how children will influence my mental illness – or how my mental illness will influence them. But my mum has an anxiety disorder too, which is oddly encouraging – because I inherited it from her, but my life is pretty good (which means that my kids may well have anxiety issues too, but that’s not the worst thing in the world).

Even better, I get to instantly know my kids are, in one way, much better off than I was.

My biological dad is a bit useless. He’s in and out of jail for fraud, and he left my mum before I was a year old.

I have a fantastic stepfather – in fact, my earliest memory is preparing for their wedding. But I feel like I have an advantage in the realm of parenthood when I realise that CJ will be the father of my children – from the first instant of their life. That’s pretty encouraging.

Who knows? Maybe my kids will even turn out non-crazy. That’d be nice.

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Denouement

December 26, 2010 at 1:02 pm (general life)

*hoping I spelled the title right*

One of the best things about living in the Southern hemisphere is that my Christmas holidays ARE my Summer holidays. Which means that the school year ends just before Christmas and the New Year. Which is an excellent story device – maximum panic in school/work (for teachers such as myself) and personal life (Christmas) followed by a week of collapse and leftovers, followed by a new start.

Today I can barely move, but in a wonderfully lethargic way. Outside the occasional car passes, slow now after the stressed-out speeding and near deaths of the last month.

We’re living in the epilogue, and it’s a nice place to be. Threads get tied up; people spout the kind of things found in greeting cards; and there are no fight scenes.

2011 is just over the horizon, looking bright and shiny and hopeful.

It’s a good time of year.

I managed to eat a sensible amount of food yesterday (in fact it’s now lunch time and I’m genuinely hungry). And we sold another piece of jewellery, which means we are now officially out of debt, with money to spare.

I WIN!!

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Do or Diet

December 24, 2010 at 11:09 am (general life)

Dieting is a strange thing. In a way, it’s tremendously easy. All one has to do is sit around (and exercise a bit) and one becomes magically thinner.

In another way, it’s almost impossible. Your body and mind need food, so it’s hard to judge what the right amount is. More importantly, both body and mind are designed to maintain whatever weight you’re at, so the instant you lose even 0.1 of a kilo your body and mind both scream at you that you’re dying.

If I’m very very good for the next eight days, I’ll end the year in the healthy weight range.

If I streeeeettch our food and petrol, and put off one of our Christmas presents, CJ and I will be able to make our savings goal for the year.

My two goals this year were to get in the healthy weight range (and stay there for twelve months), and to do better financially (which we sort of have, but there were a LOT of travel expenses).

If I don’t achieve the healthy weight range and get the last hundred dollars into our savings account in the next eight days, it will be as if everything I’ve worked so hard toward from day to day to week to month this year has been pointless. My greatest fear this year has been that I wouldn’t make those two goals.

It’s harsh, but that’s how I roll.

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