Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Eavesdropping on an Empty Stomach

Overheard on 17:50 Dublin-Wexford Bus

[ring, ring]

Man on Bus: Hello??
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)

Man on Bus: Oh, pity. Christening and funeral in one go, eh?
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)

Man on Bus: Tell me, did they have any food?
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)

Man on Bus: yeah, yeah. But tell me, did they have any food?
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)

Man on Bus: Ah, yeah. And what food did they have?
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)

Man on Bus: Chicken?  Chicken? Chicken?
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)
Man on Bus: Ahhh, chicken.

Man on Bus: Ah, tell me, were there roast potatoes? You know, crispy roast potatoes?
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)

Man on Bus:  Oh good. The works?
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)

Man on Bus: Tell me, and did they do all the vegs?
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)
Man on Bus: Oh, yes, that be the works.

Man on Bus: Tell me, was there gravy? Gravy? Gravy?
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)

Man on Bus: Loooovely. Gravy.

Man on Bus: Oh, what about afterwards, did you get dessert? Dessert?
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)

Man on bus: Yeah, dessert?

Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)

Man on bus: Yah, but what'd you get for dessert?
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)

Man on bus: Man, that's the way to live. That's lovely. Loovely.

Man on bus: Oh, but tell me, was it warm? Warm?
Woman on Phone: (unintelligible)
Man on Bus: Yeah, warm?

Man on bus: Looooovely.

Overheard at Home 20:20

DH: Hello
Me: Hello
DH: There's some chicken and mash in the fridge.
ME: That'd be loooovely. Tell me, is there any gravy?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Christmas Stitches

Christmas has arrived in County Wexford.
Much in thanks to my friend Maria, who hosted our Saturday sewing morning. With a 6' Christmas tree and holiday music surrounding us, we began our yuletide sewing in her decorated conservatory in beautiful  Carrig-on-Bannow.

Both Maria and Danielle had a good start on me with log cabins and other blocks adorned in red and green. I've only just begun but already have high expectations to finish a few sewing Christmas gifts started in Maria's winter wonderland. 

Maria's favourite is Christmas, and boy does it show. I think she and I met when she was hunting Christmas fabrics. She hasn't stopped since.
Cutiepie came along and lucky for her, Maria's granddaughter lead the kids craft where they made, you guessed it, Christmas cards.

When we arrived, Maria's husband served us a full Irish grill much to our amazement. We ate among family and our leisurely sewing morning easily transformed into a productive full day of sewing.

Much later in the evening, we spoke of our trip to the Southern North Pole. Danielle and I gushed about Christmas fun as we amused our husbands with our early holiday cheer. 

Sugar plums danced in our heads as we conspired for the next Christmas sewing gathering.  

Friday, 16 November 2012

Seeking Sleeping Beauty

"The best thing about this business, is we can't guarantee a thing!" said the smiling the man as he took our money. 

We laughed as we left the Rainbow Health Food shop leaving a stream of incense from the warm inside to the brisk cold outside of Main Street in Wexford.
Thirty minutes earlier, we had walked into the shop, a family in need of a potion. My husband became sidetracked with the flavour teas and Cutiepie was fingering the new age dream catchers. I waited eagerly for the shopkeeper to finish attending to another customer.

When it was my turn, I explained that we were in search of a sleep remedy.  Describing restless nights, sleep walking and talking, and disturbances of every type, I had the shopkeeper's attention as DH returned to my side. Scanning his herbal homepathic treatments, the man deduced outloud that it was I who was looking to sleep better.

No, actually, I sleep well, it is DH who is being deprived of his sleep. Turning his attention to DH, the shopkeeper nodded in understanding.

But he didn't understand.

In the night, I am the one talking, walking, yelling, pushing, pulling and disturbing, and although my mind is on overload thanks to a life is full of stress, in all actuality, I'm not bothered about sleep.

On the other side of the bed, DH is. He is  desperate for a night of sleep without someone yelling about nonsense, digging beneath him, or sorting imaginary laundry in the same room.

So once we finally identified the patient, the shopkeeper handed me a herbal medicinal mixture that would give, as the label said, sleep relief.

The liquid cure is a rancid taste and putrid smell that fills the house. Now best known as Daddy's poison for mommy. With dedicated commitment, each night he infects my cranberry juice with thirty drops in all. After a chant and a swirl, the doctor instructs me to drink. Alright, no chanting, but I'm sure one night I heard a sinister chuckle.

Most nights I head to bed early and since this is really for his nocturnal benefit, I tuck in without a doubt that my medicine will appear before the sandman does. It does.

The first morning after, I awoke with a start, certain I had missed my morning alarm. After realising it was a Sunday, I made note of the hearty slumber from which I awoke.

Does it work? I don't know and I don't think I will ever know. Only DH knows. It has been five nights since we began my homepathic treatment and he has yet to admit to a moveless, soundless night.
For now, all I can report is that I'm sleeping sounder.  DH appears to be sleeping. Though, let us all remember, there's no guarantees.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Soaking is for Calgon

The husband is teaching the au pair, or the au pair is teaching the husband.

Either way, they need to be taken back to school.

Yesterday I came home to find four school drink bottles filled with clear liquid and the lids set beside.
Soaking containers of watery liquid to clean watery juice from the container? Nonsense. Just wash, dry, and put away the bloody things!

For why does a drinking bottle need to soak? I understand if there was four-day old milk in the container, but this is not the case. There is only one reason for soaking an otherwise cleanable item and that is laziness.
Further to my point, why then are the lids not cleaned and put away? or more importantly for the soaker, why are they not soaking as well? The lid is equally exposed to the contents of the bottle, which I presume is the 'reason' for the soaking in the first place.

If I soak anything, it is going to be all 618 pounds of my tired flesh. And, I will be calling for Calgon to take me away.

Any chef worth the salt in their boiling pot knows pots, pans, cups--EVERYTHING--is be cleaned without soaking. It is called forethought and/or hardwork.
It helps to clean as you cook. Some tips on how to do this:
1. Cook in a clean kitchen. Ie., have all dirty dishes cleaned beforehand and put away.
2. If necessary, place any dirty dishes to one side, the side you are least likely to use in cooking. This is the left of my sink, whereas the right of my sink is reserved for food prep. Obviously your kitchen is different. Figure it out.
3. Clear your sink.
4. Designate a pot, bowl, or even cooking sheet for compost or garbage. Just like at the parties, people, there is one responsible for driving home and keeping all the messy people safe. This garbage bowl is your responsible link in the chain. Toss all your peelings, chopped ends, whatever into this designated container. Your countertop stays clear and clean up is a quick emptying of the bowl.
5.  As you finish with an utensil, measuring cup, bowl, give it a spin in the sink. Whether it is sticky, oil, thick  or light and watery, I give it a splash to begin the cleaning process. If you have a mixing bowl or deep container such as a saucepan, begin to accumulate the odds and ends in there with some water for, dare I say it?--soaking, temporary at most. I keep my items easily rinsed, making repeat use possible. For example, if I bake with a cup of sugar, I will use my cup measurement. I either shake the sugar out entirely or a quick rinse means when I need 1/2 cup of oil, I simply reuse that cup. (Half filled, of course!)
6. This step is for all the soakers and their cooking pots and pans. If you, immediately after use, put the hot item into sink with a rinse, the cooked contents will be much easier to remove. It is a bit like soaking, only you stay in the room and deal with it. Anything with starch, such as rice and potatoes,  must be rinsed in cold water immediately. Otherwise starch hardens and leaves residue, giving you a clearly avoidable excuse for soaking. The hot gooey messes from fried meat, eggs, etc., well, deal with it. Applying warm water to the pan immediately after use will soften the caked-on food. Other than that, I recommend spending some time in your local five and dime shop and choose your favourite scrubbing utensil.

Face reality folks, all that soaking water and time does is get you out of the kitchen. You basically are saying, I'm too lazy to deal with this; someone behind me will finish it.
The worst offender is my husband. He soaks margarine tubs. He fills them to the brim and leaves them on the countertop for me to erupt. 1. anyone who is stupid enough to clean up THAT is in for a wet mess, because the water sloshes everywhere with plastic that has very little structure. 2. Butter is washable! Water is not going to make it come off more easily or quicker! What he needs to know is, the oily cleaning process is made better with better sponges. Unfortunately I get so irate, I toss the tub in the trash and forget to enlighten him. 3. All this is for recycling? I call baloney; can butter containers even be recycled?

Soaking can really get me worked up. I'm sure you can tell. Basically, people, if something is so caked on and your arm is sore from scrubbing, I say toss it and replace.
Afterall, isn't that why God made Ikea?