Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Easter Eats

Are these the most awesome Easter treat ever????

Here is a partial list of the food and drink we (each) consumed over this weekend.  (P.S. we feel like crap)
-5 pints of shitty beer (add an extra two beers and a bourbon & Coke for Pete), reheated turkey burger
-breaded fish (salt & cracked black pepper breading) with salt & vinegar chips, mussels with pasta and white wine sauce (YUM!!) and sugar snap peas, white wine, quiche
-lots o porridge with syrup, four sausages, five chicken wings, potato & chorizo salad, 3 bottles of beer, chocolate muffin, smoothie, quiche
-four slices of french toast with syrup (and fruit for good measure), quiche, barbeque lamb, potatoes, broccoli, white wine, Easter basket chocolate, left-over Turkish delight
-Easter basket chocolate, porridge, salad with ginger chicken strips, two sausages, mash potatoes, garlic spinach (we tried to end on a healthy note), kiwi-chocolate smoothie.

 Over the break I decided to clear out my cupboards.  Here is another partial list of the more interesting items I found...
-a full open package of dried angel hair pasta (with mould spots).
-a litre of lime cordial which met its 'best by' date two years ago.  It smelled like an industrial solvent.  I threw it down the toilet. I figure it can do something about the limescale.
-a box of tea leaves bought in Christmas of '06. Which I served to my mum when she visited a few weeks ago.  She promptly bought a new bag.  I will throw that out in another 5 years.
-a pot of banana-flavoured powder, also expired over two years over.  As I threw it away, the smell was so sickly sweet, I gagged.
-an almost full bag of wholewheat flour, 3 years passed its 'best by' date, also with mould on the bag. 
-half a bag of oatbran as old as the wholewheat flour. (I believe both this and the whole wheat flour were bought when I was making gluten-free bread four years ago.  Obviously, that endeavor was wildly successful.)

Let me pause here to point out that we moved into this flat 19 months ago.  Stop and do the math.  That means that when we moved, we (I) packed up expired food and moved it with us and painstakingly stored it away in our new cupboards.  Housewife fail. 

-and finally, 5 packages of cran-raisins in various stages of consumption.  Obviously, we like our cran-raisins, but not enough to finish a whole pack before it gets lost at the back of the cupboard and I buy more. 

Part of the reason I went through the cupboards was because I just two boxes of 'Easy' yeast packets and 'citrus peel' for Hot Cross Buns and needed to find a place to store them.  I didn't get around to making them.  After all that food from above, I couldn't fathom making a dozen hot cross buns and Croatian peach cookies (which I had planned).

I have to go 'weigh-in' now.  I'm not holding out much hope for a 'good' number.  I managed to maintain last week, I don't think I will be so lucky this week. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Just call me Neo...

It’s Tuesday Fit-Day.  An occasional  meditation on fitness goals, successes and failures. 

I think I might almost be a runner.  Or at least a jogger.
The other day I went for a run after a bit of a break (I have got a bit complacent with my WW and exercise, and while I haven’t gained weight these past few weeks, I haven’t lost anymore either) and it was painful. Very painful. I couldn’t find my rhythm and the playlist wasn’t working for me, my mouth was so dry it hurt to swallow (my mouth was so dry because I was panting like a dog), but I kept going.  That’s not the story. The story is that despite this agony, without thinking about it, I took the turn for the longer run.  I was voluntarily opting for more pain.  My body made the decision without me.  It was a very Matrix-Buddhist moment; the body separating from the mind, realizing it can function independently…
…No?...Not going there with me?...I’ll continue on then. 
My body made the decision for me.  It was apparently craving more exercise.  I have become a masochist (or is it sadist? I can never keep those two straight).  Or maybe I am just enjoying this new body.  My clothes are fitting again and I no longer have seam-indentations on my hips and thighs when I get undressed (girls, you know what I’m talking about, don’t deny it).  In fact, a lot of my favourite clothes are too big, which is exciting and sad at the same time.  Have no fear, I have consulted with the Greenwich Phantom and have an appointment with a local seamstress.  
I also appear taller.  I’m not sure how this has come about, but in dropping 15 pounds I have gained at least an inch in visual height.  I think it is because there is more space between my thighs (get your head out of the gutter) and so my legs appear longer when standing.  Whatever it is, I’m feeling good about it and will keep making the turn for the longer run.

In other running news…
A Traveller campsite has gone up along my running route.  It has been there about two weeks now.  At first I was excited about this.  I have a bit of an obsession about caravans and motorhomes now that I have lived in one and am always interested to see what other mobile dwellers have decided upon in terms of their homes and space set-up.  However, this particular group has a lot of little yappy dogs.  At first this was cute, these little things would come out and bark at you in warning to get away from their territory.  The other day, they weren’t tethered to their houses as usual and came running after me.  At first I laughed and then they kept coming and jumping and then started nipping at my ankles and one actually made contact!  Luckily I had long pants on or it would have got me right in the Achilles.  I am no longer amused.  Yesterday when I went by the dogs were tethered but there were at least a dozen bicycles strewn across the sidewalk in various states of disassembly and at least double the amount of discarded bike tires (as you would expect since each bike comes with two tires).  It was like an obstacle course from a football training montage.  I also noticed a new, rather large, hole in the chain-link fence nearby and an extremely long powercord.  I won’t begrudge someone CP*, I have been known to take advantage of it myself and even scale a few fences to come by it, but this is getting ridiculous.  I’m dealing with the dogs and the tires and now I have to jump this new trip wire. 
Although, if I want to put a positive spin on this (it’s a new thing I’m trying out), they do say to change up your fitness routine every few weeks.  Maybe an obstacle course mid-run is just what I need to restart the weight loss. 
UPDATE:  Over the Bank Holiday weekend I tried out a new running route.  When I finished I could barely breathe.  I know I always say that, but this time it was for real.  I was exhausted all day and could barely get up the energy to enjoy a neighbourhood Bar-B-Q.  I later mapped out the new route and, low-and-behold, I had run over 5K!!!  HELLO!!!  I suddenly felt entitled to my exhaustion and rewarded myself with a chocholate muffin.  (I was going to eat it anyway because the batch I made for Pete's birthday last weekend were starting to grow mould dots, but this way I had a little less guilt.  I have really fallen off the WW wagon this week, but more on that later.) 

*CP stands for City Power.  This comes from the circus.  As you may, or may not, know a travelling, tented circus has its own generator but it doesn’t run all the time.  At night, you are usually dependant on a personal generator or your 12 volt battery for electricity.  However, sometimes you may be lucky enough to find an outlet on the side of a building, or wherever, that you can discreetly, or not, plug your house into for the evening.  This is referred to as CP and is always an exciting feature to any circus lot.    

Monday, 25 April 2011


Can I just say, I love tulips.  I think they are my new favourite flower. 

They come into the house all neat and curled tight and simple, elegant. 

And then you put them in water and they spring to life.  The blooms start to open and they literally grow, stretching up to the ceiling or out to the side. 

It's as though they have been waiting all this time just for you to bring them home.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Drunk Cleaning

It's Friday!!!  Welcome to ‘The Chronicles of a Reluctant Housewife’ where I document my love/hate relationship with my current occupation.

It’s 11am on Good Friday and we have already had our first Rocker (Pocker, Chocker….) from the Kingdom Hall.  It was perfect timing for to test my approach yet again.  I had just stepped out of the shower.  I was ready to answer the door in my robe and wet hair ensemble, but Pete closed the bathroom door (it has a direct view of the front door) and went to face the unknown. 
10 minutes later, my hair was dry and I was about to start applying make-up when Pete finally reappeared at the bathroom door.  He got sucked in.  Apparently passers-by were giving him sympathetic head shakes.  You know they immediately scurried home and closed the blinds.  We were the early warning system for them. 

Last night we went out for some drinks with Pete’s old workmates.  It was nice to see the guys (and girl) and to catch up.  I enjoy playing the proud housewife when we meet up with these guys.  It makes Pete look even better if his wife is able to stay at home and we can still go on a two week cruise to the Caribbean.  I should say that the performance is really only for the managers that give Pete grief for leaving and made his leaving more difficult than it had to be. 
But here’s the real housewife story.  When we got home, I sent Pete to the toilet to pre-emptively puke and while I was waiting for him to finish, I decided it would be a good time to put away the clean dishes in the drain and straighten up the kitchen a bit before I started heating up leftovers and homemade scones for Pete’s belly.  Either I am a great mulit-tasker, or I have truly tapped in to my inner homemaker.  Who thinks that 1am on a Thursday is a great time to start cleaning? Especially when you’re already a little tipsy and your husband is puking in the next room?
Turns out I didn’t actually do that great of a job.  The dishes got put away in basically the right places, but I managed to cover every horizontal surface in the kitchen with unidentified crumbs.  Drunk cleaning.  It’s the new housewife craze. 

Not much of a shocker for you really, but it’s the best I have for today.  It’s the start of a four-day weekend and it is going to be sunny and 78 all four days.  Weather like this, on a Bank Holiday no less, is unheard of in London (and probably the UK in general).  We live in the most beautiful and green part of London and our back deck is calling.  You’ll forgive me if I don’t get back to you for a few days. 

Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Other One

In honour of her birthday this week, I have shared some memories of Mama Ria on The Other One today.
Head on over there and learn a little bit more about the family. 

Mum-please forgive me. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

You have been warned

We have two bank holidays coming up.  This means long weekends and sleeping in, but it also means unwelcome visitors. 
We have a group of people here called Chuggers.  These are charity volunteers that stand on the sidewalks and mug you as you go about your business with pitiful pictures of animals or children or what-have-you in an attempt to get your bank details to take £20 from your bank account every month.  These are easy enough to avoid.  You learn to avert your eyes like with the homeless guy with the mangy dog in the tube stairway  (I know, I’m horrible) or in Pete’s case, take out your phone and pretend to be having a conversation. 
However, when a bank holiday comes around, they move from the sidewalks to your front door.  They know you will be home and having a well-deserved lie-in and they come a-knockin’.  The animal hospital and Red Cross I can usually get rid of by pulling my housewife act, “ I can’t make any decisions without talking to my husband.”
However, being that this first bank holiday is associated with Easter, we will also be visited by the religious knockers.  These are a bit harder to dissuade.  I have no problem with religion or sharing your faith with like-minded people.  I do have a problem with you waking me up or making me burn my dinner because you won’t GO AWAY!!!  On our street we usually get the sweet old couple from the local Kingdom Hall.  How do you close the door on a sweet little old couple? Once, I was really ill and they came to the door and they wouldn’t leave.  They asked my name, they offered to get soup for me, they offered a prayer for better health.  All this while I was standing in my PJs and duvet when its 20 degrees outside.  What would help me is if you let me close the door!!!  This particular couple came back two days later to check in on me!!!  That’s dedication!  Scared the crap out of Pete when the same couple came asking for me by name and checking on my health.  He must have thought I was sicker than previously thought if I had succumbed to a Chocker (church knocker?).  But they just started in on him. 
However, by a freak miracle of chance, I have discovered how to expedite the experience.   I pass this secret on to you. 
One morning, when I had a rare reason to be up and showered and heading out the door at a particular hour, the Latter-Day Saints came a-knockin’.  I was not in the mood, so I threw on my robe (which is a bit short) and stomped from the bathroom to the front door, hair still wet and dripping because I didn’t get a chance to towel dry it before the assault.  I wrenched open the door (not due to anger, but because our front door sticks and you really have to give it a good yank) and had to grab at my robe as the effort loosened the hastily tied knot.  The men standing on the other side were visibly taken aback and hurriedly introduced themselves and handed over a pamphlet before practically running to the next house.  RESULT!!!!
I thought this might be an exception, so I have tried it out on other Rockers (religion knockers?) (obviously, I have too much time on my hands).  Sometimes I have to stage it a bit by hiking up the PJ pant legs so that it appears I am indecent and the hair sometimes gets a tussle, but is rarely wet anymore.  Works like a charm!!  Sometimes it backfires when I have to sign for a heavy package and then wrestle said package into the tiny front hall and the robe isn’t secure and I am actually indecent.  And sometimes the animal hospital and Red Cross aren’t as prudish, but overall, foolproof!!
If all else fails, or I don’t have time to stage the wardrobe, we have also taken to hiding in the bedroom until we hear them knock on the neighbours’ doors.  Childish, but it’s kind of fun to play hide n’ seek.  We perhaps take it a bit too far—sitting absolutely still and giggling and whispering, but you have to find your fun where you can. 
All this is to say, if you are planning on stopping by, give us a ring first because I plan to spent the next two bank holidays in my robe with wet hair and hiding in the bedroom.  Of course, there are no promises that we will answer…

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Splitting Hairs

I got excited to write about my topography.  I felt like I was finally getting a handle on this stuff.  It’s superficial, I know.  But after years of never really feeling confident in my skin, I was feeling good about being in my thirties.  My acne was finally clearing up and I was down to just getting those cute little pimples that disappear in a day instead of the painful mountains that hang around for months and cause scarring because I can’t stop picking at my face.  I finally accepted my flat, limp, poker straight hair and we have been having a very nice relationship since.  So I decided to start writing about this journey of coming to grips with what I have to work with.  (While grammatical-unsound, that last sentence has a nice rhythm.  At least in my head).
Then it all started to fall apart again.  My nails (which have always been my go-to feature) started flaking and peeling uncontrollably, my skin started erupting again, and,  horror of horrors, today I plucked a chin hair that had a split end!!!
Let’s ignore the fact that I have chin hairs to pluck-but a split end to boot?  How much damage can a chin hair be exposed to, really?  I’m not applying excessive heat or product. Or any heat or product.  Although, wouldn’t that be a conversation starter-“Yes, I like to use a combination of mousse, round brush, and low heat to achieve this perfect pig-tail curl.”
Clearly, I got a little over-confident and my body wanted to remind me who is really calling the shots. 

Friday, 15 April 2011

Behind every great man...

Welcome to ‘The Chronicles of a Reluctant Housewife’ where I document my love/hate relationship with my current occupation.

It has been an interesting week. 
I decided to sleep-in all week, and then spent each evening tossing and turning and reluctantly crawling out of bed because ‘what was the point?’
I did get the doctor’s appointment done.  Always fun, that one. I got the jean skirt almost done.  It took me one and a half Harry Potter movies and I still have more work.  I also altered some trousers (the rest are too nice for my improv alteration skills).  I didn’t write any posts (more on that later) but I did plan a weekend away for Pete’s big birthday (although he has to do all the driving).
This week I realized that it has been a year since I have contributed financially to our family.  In about two months I will complete my first year as a housewife.  I have come to realize that what I like about the job is not enough to satisfy me in the long term.  While they might be helpful, laundry, food lists, errands, chores and general reminders aren’t really inspiring.  I haven’t been holding up my side of the team. 
My beautiful husband turns 30 this week (I know, he’s a young’n). In the past five years I have watched him go from working shifts in a basement monitoring computers to creating a global VP position for himself at an international company, while also dealing with my fortnightly PhD breakdowns.  That is inspiring.  (Incidentally, he also planned five years of holidays, a surprise proposal in a foreign city, managed all our finances, negotiated for our current flat, and temporarily ran away with the circus). 
Meanwhile, I have gone from part-time professor and dance teacher and funky independent woman to financially (and visa) –dependant housewife.  I racked up the calligraphy adorned papers, became a half-decent cook and planned an international five-week extravaganza (although Pete helped with that a bit as well, and really, the cooking is an accomplishment since five years ago I could barely cook rice).  Except I did all that while still contributing (no matter how little) to our financial pot.  For the last year I have done nothing inspiring.  I have had all the time in the world and the best I have done is ensured there is dinner and clean shirts and lost some weight.  It’s helpful to Pete, but it’s not really inspiring. 
I stopped writing regularly about my weight loss and domestic life because I thought there was more to me than that.  Turns out I was wrong.  My life is about diets & dishes.  I am the woman behind the great man.  Is it wrong to feel that it isn’t enough?

Friday, 8 April 2011

Filling the Hours

Welcome to ‘The Chronicles of a Reluctant Housewife’ where I document my love/hate relationship with my current occupation.

There was this line in Chuck the other night where Awesome is telling Chuck that he is standing outside his own door, breathing deeply because he needs to calm himself before he steps inside.  This is because his wife makes up for not talking to another adult in 10 hours in about 10 minutes.  Pete laughed a bit louder than this particular dialogue warranted.  Perhaps he saw a connection to his own life. 
But it is true.  The life of the reluctant housewife does mean limited human contact, let alone adult contact.  I have yet to come to a solution for this.  Currently, I keep the TV or radio on all day as a form of company.  It’s like being a little old lady. 
I have a week before my next project starts up.  I have been working on a plan to keep me occupied and entertained during the day.  Ellie (the TV wife) spends her days doing brain research.  My plan is a little less intellectually challenging.  Part of it includes writing a few posts for this here blog.  A bit of spring cleaning of the closet.  Finally getting that jean skirt made.  A doctor’s appointment.  A bit of clothing alteration and reading over my dad’s screenplay. 
I also intend to sleep in.  Recently, I have found our bed to be incredibly comfortable.  The morning sun streaming in with the fresh air. I think that I have finally created the perfect dent in the mattress to fit my body.  I also bought some new pillows a few weeks ago.  Lovely. 
Plus, the more I sleep in the less time I have to fill. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A Lost Weekend

I owe you a housewife report but I was busy pulling my mum out of traffic this weekend.  We spent the weekend showing Mum around our little patch of London.  We walked over Tower Bridge, shopped at Borough Market, and then stayed close to home in Greenwich and Blackheath.  The weather cooperated for the most part.  Yesterday was a bit chilly and we returned to the house quickly (just in time for the sun to come out). So all in all, a successful weekend. 
Mum was here for my graduation.  I am finally finished with the PhD process.  It was anti-climatic, which is par for the course.  There were only three PhDs walking in my ceremony.  All women. One was genuinely excited and interested to hear what we all did and what we were doing now. The other was dismissive of my particular project and current lack of academic work (I said I was working on a book). It put me off for the rest of the day and I wasn’t able to enjoy this moment.  I know it was her own problem, but at that moment, the last thing you want to hear is someone dismissing all your hard work.  I tried very hard to move past the back-handed comments. I turned my attention to the musically performance. One particular song struck me, “Send in the Clowns.” I don’t know who picks the music for the ceremony or if it was the same music at the four ceremonies that weekend, but I couldn’t help but think it was connected to my project title.  It seemed such a coincidence. It probably is, but I enjoyed thinking that it was for me.  I have to admit I welled-up at bit during the performance.
As it came time to cross the stage, I tried to stay in the moment and enjoy this last part of the process.  And then it was over.  It’s all over.
What next?
Well, I have to get back on the WW track.  I haven’t been tracking these last few weeks and it has been a bit of a yo-yo.  Along with that it is back to my running and yoga routine. I also am back to my writing, hopefully.  I sent off a chapter for an edited book the day before Mum arrived. I have a meeting on Thursday about editing a colleague’s manuscript. I have another chapter for another book due in August.  My dad has just finished a draft of his screenplay and wants my notes. None of this is paying (or at least not much) but I hope it is leading somewhere.  I will also be working a bit harder on the blog.  I have been lazy as of late. I would like to think that there is more to my life than dieting and cleaning and I will try to make the blog reflect that.  I haven’t given up on attempting a book from the research, but I’m still in the thinking stage of that project. 
But now my attention is turning to a jean skirt and a birthday.  I have been saving pairs of jeans to make a skirt since before Christmas.  It is time. This is the season.  It is also time to turn my attention to my partner in crime.  It is time to celebrate him and his 30 years on this earth.