Friday, 29 May 2009

The Ritalin Song

Ever wondered what it feels like to take Ritalin when you have ADD? I’ll do my very best. I have a song I associate with Ritalin. It is ‘Remember Me’ by Blue Boy. The song has only one line – “Remember me, I’m the one who had your babies.” It also includes a scat refrain going “ging-gi-gi-ging-ging-ging”. The one line and scat gets repeated over and over during the song. Remember Me was a dance hit in 1997. The song starts with a bzzz sound – reminiscent of a machine being switched on. Then there is a sound which can only be described as electronic bubbles before the lyrics start. There is also a very strong beat which gets repeated without variation throughout the song. So, about 10 minutes after I take my first Ritalin at 7 in the morning, a bzzz feeling starts and gets stronger till the methylphenidate hydrochloride (active ingredient in Ritalin & Concerta) kicks in good and proper, just as the bzzz in the song starts very soft and become louder. When I feel the electronic bubbles, I know we are at full strength now. For the next 4 hours I am on a sustained repetitive beat, same as the beat in the song. The lyrics and the scat are immaterial, but their repetitiveness and upbeatness (I know there is no such word) is the only way in which I can describe how it feels to be on Ritalin. If I take my 11 o’ clock and 3pm Ritalin, I will be on this beat till 7pm, after which I will come off. I will usually be tired then. Concerta is a slow release version, and works very good for many people, but I don’t like it. Because of the monotonous repetition of the lyrics, beat and scat, I feel with-it and I can concentrate on things. If I don’t take Ritalin, it is like having headphones on with two different songs playing in each ear. (Come on Eileen in the one ear and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture in the other.) In both pieces the rhythm and cadence keeps on changing drastically. It is huge fun, but it makes it near impossible to concentrate on anything else.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Aeroplane Jane Image & Daddy

Last week Thursday I learned that I had to go to East London on urgent personal business. As my parents live there I decided to visit them for a few days as well. (That is why you haven’t heard from me.) I booked with 1Time going down on Sunday and SAA coming back Wednesday (yesterday). Immediately after booking a strong internal debate started. Should I take Image along or not? I did not really feel up to it flying alone with a 6,5 month old baby, but my sister Honey Bee, who is not well because of her heart condition, has not seen Image yet. By Friday afternoon I was becoming paranoid that Honey Bee will never see Image. I discussed it with Lamb and so I decided to take her along. I quickly phoned the airlines to let them know that I am bringing an infant along. I did not tell Honey Bee nor my parents that I am bringing Image along. So off we went early Sunday morning. Image strapped to my chest in her Kango Pouch, my Laptop over my one shoulder, Image’s bag with all the baby paraphernalia on the other shoulder and the car seat (I’ll never let her travel in a car without) in my right hand. Negotiating the airport like a pack donkey was no joke. Once we boarded the 1Time flight it took forever to get settled and then we waited and waited and waited. The aircon was not switched on and eventually more than half an hour passed. They then asked us to disembark. We loitered another 20 mins in the airport when the announcement came that we can board again. We all were feeling a bit uneasy by then. I dosed Image with Stillpaine because of the stinging ears the babies get when the plane descends. It helped and she was very good. Tears flowed when the grandparents saw that I brought her along. We had such a good time and the grandparents enjoyed her tremendously. Honey Bee was thrilled to see her as well. The trip back was uneventful, but I was quite stressed. It is still no joke to travel alone with a baby on a plane. Driving back from Jo’burg, I do not know how I reached Mordor in one piece. I struggled to see through all the tears. Honey Bee is not Honey Bee any longer. All the joy in her is gone. No more silly jokes and comments. She still works for my Dad, but I can see it takes just about everything she has just to get through the day. Since my previous post about her, my Dad phoned the doctors and told them that he knows that they are not telling us everything and he demanded to know the full truth. They then told him that Honey Bee’s heart is finished, kaput and on its last legs. I really am glad that I took Image along in the end..

Waiter, there is Beer in my Belgian Beef Bistro Dish

Waiter, there is Beer in my Belgian Beef Bistro Dish! I have decided to contribute to the Waiter there is something in my... challenge again. This time it is being hosted by The Passionate Cook... I had a very hard time deciding between two very definitive Bistro dishes. The one is my very secret Beef Filet with Cafe de Paris sauce and the other is Boeuf à la Flamande – or Flemish Beef in Beer. The reason why I chose the Beef Braised in Beer is because I associate bistro food with ‘where restaurant and home cooking meet’. I associate Bistro food with hearty braised dishes. Dishes which leaves one sated and contented. I am not a very good photographer, but here is a picture included. We South African’s love our rice, so although the recipe calls for serving the dish with thick slices of French bread cut diagonally, I served with rice and red cabbage and courgette stir fried on the side. Ingredients 1 Kilo beef short rib or braising steak cut into largish cubes (I used the short rib) 425 ml beer – I used lager 2 onions peeled and chopped 1 celery stick chopped 2 carrots grated 1 heaped table spoon plain flour Half a teaspoon ground allspice Few thyme sprigs 2 bay leaves Salt & freshly ground black pepper Olive oil Heat oven to 180˚C. In a large flameproof casserole dish (I used a cast iron pot with lid). Fry small amounts of the meat in batches till all have been browned on all sides. Keep aside. If needed put some more olive oil in the dish and slowly fry the onion, celery and carrot till soft. Add the meat back, give a good stir. Add the allspice, thyme, bay leaves and seasoning. Also add the flour and give a stir to evenly coat everything with the flour. Add the beer and bring to a simmer. Put the lid on the dish and transfer to the oven. Leave in the oven for about 3 hours.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

God and Guns

I am being very bad. I keep on referring to old posts and do not put much other content in my posts. I am rather busy with odds and ends at the moment and will be able to be a good blogger again from tomorrow onwards. Please also accept my apologies for the sparce commenting on your blogs. I shall rectify. For the last time then, please go and read one of my very old posts. It is one of my personal favourites and it deals with how I got my firearm license renewed. (Betty, in which instance is license used and in which licence?)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Mordor revisited

Hi there! Long time ago I did a post about the place where we live. Mordor. Angel and Glugster, who know my real identity also know where Mordor is. I've decided to come clean to the rest of you. Please do not judge me because of where I live. (Though it is very hard to be really clean where I live). I live in the Vaal Triangle. More specifically - Vereeniging. Good old V-Town. I do not have time for a proper post today, so if you have started reading my blog recently, please go and have a look at the post I did in 2007 titled Mordor. If you live in SA, you will know why I call the place Mordor. Soon I'll do an update on Mordor and one on our neighbour 'Ant Stienie.

Friday, 15 May 2009

If this does not impress your dinner guests...

I’m neglecting my ‘weird food’ posts. We have had Kentucky Burgoo and Deep Fried Twinkies. Today’s post is on two types of roasted fowl. One, the most magnificent walking the earth and the other, the most graceful on water. I am talking of course of the peacock and the swan. Both were popular from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance at the banquet tables of Europe. If you don’t believe me, consult the most authoritative Larousse Gastronomique. After roasting the cooks dressed it again in its feathers, added a few spectacular embellishments and served with a lot of pomp and circumstance. Here is an excerpt from the Larousse: “The peacock was served with great ceremony, roasted and entirely reconstituted, sometimes spitting fire (the beak covered with camphor and lit). It was skinned, roasted (the head wrapped in a wet cloth to protect the crest), then re-covered with its skin (still bearing the plumage), and its feet were gilded. The task of carving it was allotted to the most eminent guest, who carried it out to the applause of the company present and then made a vow to perform some exceptional deed, for example in a war venture or in the service of his lady or of God.” The entry in the Larousse on ‘Swan’ reads more or less the same. I am an adventurous eater, but in this case I think I shall stick to chicken and duck. I am glad that ever since the peacock and swan gained status as ornamental birds only.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Househusband - Stepford vs. Desparate

Yesterday I looked and felt like a frumpy housewife. I have a cold which I caught from Image. So I kept Image with me at home. I tried to clean and did 3 loads of washing. Now trying to do that when feeling ill with regular cold symptoms, whilst having a fussy, ill baby strapped to your chest in a Kango Pouch is no joke. I have new sympathy with stay-at-home moms. I was dressed in my oldest track suit and I never combed my hair. Luckily I had a frozen Bobotie, which I made a few weeks back, in the freezer, so I could at least give Lamb a decent plate of food without having to go through too much trouble. She is really tired at the moment and so last night I told her to take a tablet and go sleep in the guest bedroom next door and I took Image in with me – so Mommy can get some sleep. Image usually sleeps in her own room now, but when she is ill, either one of us keeps her in our bed. The privileged one who’s allowed to sleep, must take the guest room though (the bed is not as nice as ours). Today I had a root canal. The dentist is very good, and I didn’t feel a thing whilst he was working, but the feeling is returning now and my jaw aches now. I keep on being astounded by the baby products on the market. On recommendation I bought a Nosefrida today. It is a nasal aspiration device and on the website they advertise it (so ewe tong in die kies) as a snot sucker. Which is exactly what it is. It is a plastic tube attach to a rubber pipe, with a disposable sponge filter in the tube. One then stick the tube into the infant’s snot filled nose and suck on the rubber pipe end. The filter prevents it ending up in the parent’s mouth. It sounds awful, but ask any parent about those rubber bulbs which also are purportedly effective to remove mucous from a child’s nose. Purportedly, because in reality it does not work.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Grooming and priming - things which men shouldn't admit

Grooming - I am a bit lazy in that department. I have my hair cut, I take a bath and wash my hair once a day and sometimes even twice. The Nutrogena for Men Moisturizer with SPF 15 unfortunately stands in the bathroom cabinet and I may remember to put on once a week. I love a good and expensive (tend to like the old fashioned) eau de cologne like Terre d' Hermes or Vetiver by Guerlain. The whole metrosexual thing is all fine and well - but I just couldn't be bothered. I cut and clean my nails regularly and I comb my hair and I wash my face with Lamb's face wash. I don't exfoliate nor use toner (where do girls get the time?). There is just one thing I do which I feel men should not admit, but I'll be brave today.... I pluck my eyebrows. By no means do I shape my eyebrows or anything, but some mornings when I wake up and look at myself in the mirror, it looks as if I've sprouted antennae overnight. I have thick unruly and very long eyebrow hair. Every now and then one becomes particularly wayward, long and wavy and it sticks out either upwards or across my eye, thus impairing my vision. There is only one way to deal with those. Pluck it out. I've found it better to do it myself than to have Lamb rip one out when I least expect it. I've inherited the affliction from the old man, who has his trimmed when he goes for a haircut, which leaves him with thick rows of thick, short stubs. Ek sien nie kans daarvoor nie... I've put the promised photograph in yesterday's post.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Indian Butter Chicken for Mother's Day

Indian Butter Chicken for Mother’s Day. I haven’t yet done a post about our friends Supplanter and Lanza. They have a baby boy (John the Messenger) about Image’s age, which is one of many things we have in common as couples. Supplanter and I decided to treat the first time moms Lamb and Lanza on Mothers’ Day. We did all the cooking and we got them movie vouchers so that they can go out after lunch and the daddies will look after babies. In the end we were more people, including Lanza’s parents, Supplanter’s Sister, Mom and Mom’s Boyfriend, as well as Kara Noir, whose husband is overseas and her two children (Singularity - girl 3 and Germaine St. John - boy about 18 mths). Her mom and dad also came along. I got the most wonderful recipe for Indian Butter Chicken from Lotus Flower – an Indian lady and former colleague of Lamb’s (see below). We got together at Supplanter and Lanza’s house and we had a fabulous day (apart from one very scary incident). Supplanter set the table outside in the late autumn sun and him and me kept ourselves busy in his kitchen. Kara Noir (also a foodie) made small amounts of Rogan Josh- and Bombay Curries which we had for starters along with naan bread, lime pickels and a few other sambals and dips. It all tasted extremely good. I then served my butter chicken with basmati rice and everyone raved about it. Supplanter assisted with the sambals and he also made a very good Tiramisu for dessert (Delia Smiths’ recipe from her Winter Collection cookbook). I know the dessert didn’t go with the theme but we felt like Tiramisu and it was lovely. We had lots of fun (and wine) preparing the food. The moms and other guests also had a great time outside. Lunch was all conversation, laughter and merriment as only good company, good food and good wine can bring about. Then just before serving dessert, little Singularity came running around the corner shouthing, GERMAINE ST JOHN IS IN THE WATER. Kara Noir and Supplanter were the quickest to respond and rushed to the pool on the other side of the garage from where we were. Supplanter’s Mom grabbed her head in both hands and wide eyed started rocking back and forth. Supplanter jumped into to pool and rescued Germaine St John crying and soaking wet from the pool. He was fine otherwise. We then had dessert, slightly more subdued. Kara Noir decided to forgo the movie with the girls and went home. I also took Image home as she has a bit of a cold and do not want to keep her out after dark. The girls went off and watched the SA movie – White Wedding – which they all thoroughly enjoyed (by Lamb’s account). I really thanked God for Singularity’s quick response in calling for help... As I am not working at the moment, I did not take Image to daycare today and I’m keeping her at home with me. It calms her tremendously to have Lamb and me around when she’s not feeling well. Here follows J. Hardspear de la Azotea’s adapted version of the recipe.
caution - arteries may clog only reading this recipe
Indian Butter Chicken A) Marinade + step 1
3 kg chicken pieces skin removed (thighs & breasts – cut into smaller pieces) 2 tsp yellow food colouring 3-4 tsp hot curry power 2 tsp garam masala 2 tbsp crushed garlic 2 tbsp crushed ginger Zest & juice of ½ a lemon 2 level tsp salt 750 ml natural yoghurt Combine all of the above & marinate overnight In a large saucepan put 250 ml chicken stock & chicken pieces including marinade. Cook on stove on medium heat till moisture reduced by half. B) Butter & step 2 375 g Butter (it is Indian BUTTER Chicken – not Margarine chicken) 2 cardamom pods crushed 2 sachets or 1 can tomato paste 750 ml fresh cream Chopped fresh coriander Almond slivers. Melt butter at low heat, add cardamom and tomato paste and allow to come to boil. Add cream and all of the chicken and liquid from the previous step. Cook for about 10 mins till sauce thickens. Garnish with coriander & almond. Serve with basmati rice.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Star Trek the Movie

I just saw Star Trek 11 (eleven not two). It was brilliant! Mr. Spock made the movie though. They could not have gotten anybody better than Zachary Quinto (Sylar from Heroes) to play Mr. Spock. I do not want to give away any spoilers, but I must tell you, I nearly cried a few times during the movie – especially when new- and old Mr. Spock meet. I am a Trekkie at heart (even though I did not pitch up at the movies in full costume). Live long and prosper! (Oh, Spear TA, I did follow that Onion NN link you've put in the comments of yesterday's post - Hillarious!)

Monday, 4 May 2009

Less gloom

Momcat's comment on my 'Recidivist' post made me realise that I should be more positive, and I am going to be. I do realise that I my outlook on life has been rather gloomy of late. I have to complain about one thing though. One of my upper molar teeth started disintegrating last week and I phoned the dentist for an appointment. They could only help me on the 6th, but as I did not have any pain, I said it was fine. As I said, we went to visit Lamb's mother - Ewe - who lives in Tappet-Valley (large mining town in the North West Province) this weekend and she babysat Image so that we could go for a meal and a movie. Whilst we were munching our pizza it suddenly felt as if someone put a chisel to my tooth and and gave it a massive bang with a great big hammer. Shock waves of pain originating from the epicentre (broken tooth) radiated through my whole head as Lamb chatted happily away - blissfully unaware of my agony. Only when I uttered a mangled curse, she realised something was wrong. Not wanting to spoil the evening, I had the rest of the meal put in a take-away and we drove back to mother-in-law's house where I raided her considerable pharmacy of painkillers. I made sure that I had a very good coctail of analgesics. I poured a bottle of Image's teething remedy into the hollow tooth, and we rushed back to the cinema, and arrived just in time to still catch the movie. We watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The reviews I read was not so good, but I liked it. Good escapism fun! Wanted to see Slumdog Millionaire - but it didn't show in Tappet-Valley. Glad to see our very own Gavin Hood (of Tsotsi fame) made it as director of a Hollywood feature from a successful franchise such as X-Men. This morning I badgered the dentist's receptionist till she gave me an appointment. The guy did his drilling and injected some sweet relief into the tooth. Now I have to go for a root canal next week...