Gluten-induced homesickness

Fresh sourdough toast with jam and ricotta has made me ponder moving back to Sydney. A fig Danish pastry has triggered layers of crispy homesickness. A pork and fennel sausage roll has almost brought me to tears.

Fig danish

Love is a fig danish

I have been overloading on gluten and memories at Bourke Street Bakery. I am remembering the loss of these sights and smells and sounds, at the very same time that I am soaking them up. Equal parts happiness (I’m back!) and sadness (I have to leave.)

Daily London life is so solidly full and interesting that I rarely pine for Australia. So after nearly 3 years away, this visit has been surprisingly  interrupted by ‘in situ’ homesickness.

I am missing the thing as I experience it. That doesn’t make sense. But a dark chocolate and sour cherry cookie as big as my hand does. In gluten we trust.

Here’s one I wrote earlier

Where do you go when you press Home? Does your life have a ‘Home’ button? I’m back home (Sydney) after a brief visit to London (new home). My old house is empty and my new house is waiting for me.

The Dark Side of digital time wasting

Lost : one incomplete Death Star.

I have lost my Tiny Death Star. I’ve been working hard on adding levels for Emperor Palpatine since December, and tonight my 75% complete moon-sized battle station disappeared off my phone.

My first thought: “All my hard work is lost!”

My second thought: “Did I just call playing a mobile game ‘hard work’? ”

My third thought: “How am I going to fill my in-between-time?”

In-between-time

I rarely do just one thing at a time, and Tiny Death Star made it worse. I was playing my game in typical situations – waiting for a friend, train or download. I never knew how much of this ‘in-between-time’ I had! I discovered a magic side street of time that I could skip down to play with Darth Vader.

Last week, on the train to work I was doing all of the following at once:

  • Playing Tiny Death Star on my phone.
  • Watching downloaded TV on husband’s phone. (We have one earbud each, and it’s so romantic.)
  • Reading the newspaper of the passenger next to me.
  • Sending text messages.

Ridiculous. This blog is about finding a balance between digital and ‘real’, however my reality is getting digitised faster than I can process.

I didn’t choose to lose my Death Star, but I’m quite relieved. I’m turning away from the Dark Side of digital time wasting, and re-joining the Rebel Alliance of reality.

Here endeth the Star Wars references. 

Here’s one I wrote earlier

How Star Wars took over my life. I used to like Star Wars quite a lot. As a young-ish urban childless New Media professional, basic Star Wars knowledge was mandatory.  We all spoke fondly of the original films, and bitched about the betrayal of the prequels.

I give up. I keep giving up. I have THIS MUCH to do each day. (Imagine me holding an over-sized hand-knitted cushion.) I have THIS MUCH time each day. (Imagine me holding a medium box of assorted supermarket chocolates.)

12 reasons I don’t hate Christmas

My crying in front of the Christmas tree has been interrupted by the arrival of our online shopping order. Bags of quality produce to last us through the next few days of family, friends and festive-ness.

I’d just received one of those phone calls dreaded by expats, involving “sad news” and “I wish I could be there”.

The call itself was fine. It was only a few minutes afterwards that the sneaky waves of sadness started washing over me. An unexpectedly large wave knocked my legs out from under me, and I gave in to a little quiet seated weeping.

The shopping delivery put an end to that. As did the discovery that the luxury Madagascan vanilla custard was substituted by an own-brand LOW FAT custard.

You shall not say that you hate Christmas

It may be fashionable to declare that one despises Christmas. This year, Christmas is reminding me of the good things in my life.

Here are 12 reasons why I don’t hate Christmas:

  1. Pork, in all its many forms. Every meal is piggy.
  2. A wobbly drunk man in a novelty Christmas hat (with dangling fake mistletoe) trying to kiss strangers on the Tube.
  3. Christmas craft. I made a willow wreath.

    Willow Christmas wreath

    Willow is bendier than I expected…

  4. This is the last year that my son sort of believes in Santa. “I think it’s you putting my present under the tree, but I’m not sure. I hope he’s real, because I want an iPad.”
  5. I’m not homeless.
  6. Husband is like a Christmas cooking machine – shortbread, pavlova, potted duck, Christmas pudding, pork terrine.

    Christmas pavlova

    The secret ingredient is crumbled Flake chocolate bar.

  7. Parcels and presents and cards are outnumbering junk mail.
  8. Kids singing. Even if they’re not entirely in tune, the sound of kids singing carols is wonderful.
  9. Half price Nordic cheese domes. (I have no idea…)

    Nordic cheese dome

    I thought about it briefly, but didn’t buy one.

  10. We put aside any concerns about global warming and turn on ALL the lights we can find, as soon as it’s dark. It’s so pretty!
  11. Christmas jumpers. I bought my first one this year and have been told that it is Awesome.

    Christmas jumper

    I wore this to work – twice.

  12. Family and friends, and my health and my home.

Here’s one I wrote earlier

You ungrateful cow. Would you like a whinge with your excellent coffee today? I would. It’s almost a reflex: “No sugar thanks. (The man on the bus smelt like old sausages.) Full fat milk please. (I hate filling in forms.) Just a regular size coffee today. (Charity muggers are taking over the streets.)”

Alien fruit

On holiday, I like to relax. And take pictures of fruit.

camera + fruit + toys = alien fruit

peach and pear

Oversized luggage?

pears and alians

Take me to your leader.

garlic peach pear

Where did I leave that garlic?

Here’s one I wrote earlier

Tiny tablets and toys. It was a quiet morning at home. I was pondering the largeness of my multivitamin tablet.

The sound of one glove clapping. Hold my hand…

Judgemental as anything

It’s not cool to judge, unless you are a legal official or preside over hotdog-eating competitions.

Women and mothers – judge me not

Women, and the subset ‘mothers’, are the most judgemental people I’ve met. The sisterhood is not always a friendly suburb of tea and sympathy. Motherhood is a place where sometimes I roll up my windows, lock the doors and drive through really fast.

I don’t like the gently shredding comments about other women’s choices. Casual dismissal of circumstance and background. Little packets of superiority sliding across café tables.

My close lady friends are, of course, excellent people. I have ‘binders full of women’ who I like and love and would share a Twix twin bar with.

Nerds and geeks – free hugs!

Nerds and geeks are the least judgemental people I’ve met. I recently had to say goodbye to a charming group of them. I said that it was ‘one of the most diverse places that I’d ever worked at’. This wasn’t a euphemism for unpleasant weirdness, but an appreciation of difference.

Aside from the obvious differences (gender, race, sexual preference, age etc), in the team there people who:

  • Liked a screen of neat code or fat book of chick lit
  • Changed hair colour on any day of the week ending in ‘day’
  • Enjoyed noisy gigs (yo there thrash piggies!) or throwing pottery shapes after work
  • Were proudly working class or mildly middle class
  • Could dance like Justin Timberlake in a tumble-dryer
  • Didn’t eat carbohydrates or food with faces or didn’t drink alcohol
  • Wore tweed in a non-ironic way
  • Could discuss non-intersectional feminism or Grand Theft Auto cheats.

A basic level of mutual respect (and sharing of kitten videos) kept this mixed bunch together.

(BTW – I found this intriguing empirical analysis of the difference between nerds and geeks.)

So don’t judge a book by its cover. I was once too embarrassed to read a Dr Who novel in public, so I hid it under a fake book cover titles ‘Mother truckers’… Was that any better? 

Here’s one I wrote earlier

Slightly ranting about kids, technology, good and evil I can’t decide. Internet = evil cesspit of narcissistic idiots chatting to gambling-addicted paedophiles? Or Internet = global community of inspiring humanity sharing knowledge and joy? Depends on which parent I am talking to … 

Will you be my friend?  The fastest way to make friends is to have a brief chat, run around a park for a bit, then exchange phone numbers. This method seems to be working quite well for my son.

I give up

I keep giving up.

I have THIS MUCH to do each day. (Imagine me holding an over-sized hand-knitted cushion.)

I have THIS MUCH time each day. (Imagine me holding a medium box of assorted supermarket chocolates.)

I started working full-time again this year, so my not-at-work time is precious. The less time I have, the more closely I evaluate how I spend it.

Here are things that I‘ve given up this year:

  • Facebook. In January, I wrote about why I left Facebook.
  • Buying clothes. I stopped buying clothes in June, and I intend to keep it up until the end of the 2013. I like what I already have, and am now enjoying my existing clothes. (I do miss my hunting and gathering on ASOS a tiny weeny bit.)
  • Watching TV. I will plonk myself on the sofa, glance at whatever husband is watching, and 3.5 minutes later get distracted. A book, or a pile of washing or an email will beckon. The last complete thing I watched was ‘The White Queen’ (BBC historical soap opera / costume drama). I am grazing in the wide open plains of middle-aged TV.
  • Following Australian news. Australian politics makes me feel sad. Lots of seething white men in bright white shirts shouting about refugees.
  • Regular Twittering. I’m sort of binge eating on Twitter. Nothing for days, then I stuff myself on an information buffet.

 Maybe you should give ‘giving up’ a go?

All animals are created equal

We don’t have pets, but we do have some amusing animals in our lives. Here are some photos of our favourites so far…

Kangaroo with glasses

An air of resigned dignity on this poor kangaroo. The new management really don’t take her qualifications seriously.  

damian hirst dove

Amazed at Daiman Hirst’s dove.

Lego minifig crocodile man

Grrrr. No idea what this Lego minifig is. Some poor man trapped in a crocodile suit?

grape dragon

A once terrifying dragon rendered harmless by a bunch of grapes.

bees on orange flowers

So busy.

New York croissant cat

It’s a croissant cat!!