Sunday, April 26, 2009

Who Do You See In The Mirror

Who do you see when you look into the mirror?

In the mirror of my mind (or perhaps even in the physical looking glass), I see a young adult, perhaps 28 or so, with a full head of dark hair. I do not see the grey bits showing intermittently depending on how I part my hair. I do not see the 3 creases on my forehead. I do not see the slight lines that have started developing around my eyes.

But today a headline catches my eye "Golden Girl Beatrice Arthur, dead at 86". I stop to think a little - is that the little old lady who was the mother of that manly woman or was that the manly woman character, Dorothy herself? The article confirms it was Dorothy, the towering, strapping woman with that dry, sarcastic sense of humour which I had particularly enjoyed, with her deadpan expressions as she delivered her lines. I was more shocked that she was 86 than she was dead. How could she be 86?

I loved the "Golden Girls", a sitcom about retirees, not the usual sitcoms surrounding a bevy of beautiful, young people. Instead it was about 4 ladies in the autumn of their lives, still looking healthy, attractive in an elderly person's way I suppose, still having their wits about them, charming us with their sense of humour. The show aired from 1985 to 1992 and I was a teenager at that time and Dorothy/Beatrice Arthur was what, 60 plus at that time? Fast forward 20 plus years. I am going to reach a milestone birthday this June, the ones with a zero, so is it any wonder that she would be 86?

I guess how we think of ourselves clouds our perception of things around us. It is time-warping to say the least. I do not feel 40. I do not see myself as 40. But I guess biologically, I will soon be. But for me, life will still go on the same way, pretty much I guess. I don't think it's going to start changing anything for me. I am too comfortable in my own skin to start conforming to what the world's notion of a 40 year-old should be. And after all, I'm too old to start...

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Murder Weapon

I like good bread. No I love good bread. But this loaf in my humble opinion, could double up as a murder weapon. It is so dense and heavy and I just don't like the taste. The aniseed flavour is too strong which even the delicious homemade jams could not mask. I swear I can taste the "machine-made-ness" of this loaf. For once, I wish G would do his bottomless pit act that he does with the yummy loaves that I bring home, and polish off this concrete block so that I can move on to some other bread which would not feel so at home in a CSI lab.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

The Good Stuff

Recently I received an edict from Bruce, my jam-making ex-colleague to stop drooling over the Jam Lady's jams. I had developed an addiction to this fig and earl grey jam and had been trying to order some online from Victoria but have been facing some technical difficulties. So I hike back to the old neighbourhood to get my fix and have been using her jams as an industry benchmark to give Bruce some feedback and critique on what's yummy and what makes it so.

It's good that Bruce puts some value on my taste buds as he came over this afternoon bearing a cloth bagful of his home-made deliciousness poured into bottles with handwritten labels.

He had brought over 4 different peach (with brandy, cointreau and a couple of other which I forget as all I need to remember was they were yummy) jams, a fig and lemon jam and a plum paste. I made some crepes to go with the jam-tasting session.

You can't go wrong with peach I reckon. Peach anything is good, more so these peach jams. The juicy, plump bits of fruit were visible and the fragrance was enticing. The fig and lemon jam had a nice contrast of chewy bits of fig and the lemon rind, I love the zestiness of this one although it is different from Jam Lady's fig and earl grey jam which was my favourite of her range. The plum paste was recommended with cheese, but we just tried it with the crepes anyway. As the paste was much firmer, I guess it didn't go as well with the crepes as the jams.

And Bruce left me several bottles of goodies to savour. I promised him to let some friends do some tasting and take some orders for him. Good stuff needs to be shared all round...

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nature And Food

We have a waterfall in our backyard (literally)! A charming handwritten scrawl in chalk on the pavement helped orientate the unfamiliar towards the lookout point where the waterfall is. The (minor) roar of the water was unmistakable. We just need to find the path that leads down to it. There are lots of bushwalking possibilities in the neighbourhood, we just need to find a map of all the walking trails and start planning our new activities. Life is all about change, if nothing else, isn't it?

Well and some things never change. Love for my food that is. Being our first real weekend in the new house (last weekend was spent unpacking and clearing the bomb site so that didn't really count), I decided that we were going to make pizzas for dinner tonight. Somehow, my pizza which was on the pizza stone didn't come out as nicely cooked as G's which was on the pizza baking tray. But I love, love, love the anchovies. I just wish that I also had smoked oysters on mine, the smell of the anchovies just triggered off a craving for that. G reckons my body is zinc-deficient. I think that is right, I used to have regular cravings for smoked oysters and used to open up a tin and eat it right there and then with a fork on the spot.

Now listening to the rhythm of the patter of rain outside, it is such a nice comforting sound to end a good day.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just Bread

This was my favourite bakery in my old neighbourhood.

It is almost an institution and the constant queue that snakes around it is proof. I love how the queue moves so quickly, the hustle and bustle of efficiency, with everyone making up their minds on their choices while waiting in the queue, there is no need to hem and haw when one gets to the head of the queue.

The freshly-baked loaves of sour dough, with weird yet fascinating combination of ingredients like fennel and raisin, sour cherry and hazelnut, potato and sour cream, apple and oat never ceased to thrill my taste buds. I love how "meaty" each loaf was, heavy and moist. A simple loaf of bread, yet it can bring one so much enjoyment.

This was one of the things that I miss the most about the old neighbourhood. Just bread, but such pleasure...

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Monday, April 13, 2009

A Pasta To Rave About

After hearing G rave about the chilli and prawn spaghetti at the Light Brigade, we finally made it there for a late lunch today. Tired out from the semi-industrial cleaning of the old apartment (erasing 5 years of grime takes a lot of hard work, my biceps have had a good workout), we only ate at 3 pm.

But wow - this is a pasta worth waiting for. And well worth the $12. Totally exceeded expectations which were already high to start off with. The prawns were big and succulent, the rocket added a nice texture, the chilli gave it a little bit of a kick and the parmesan cheese just made the dish even yummier. A simple few ingredients, well executed. I was so blown away by this, I wanted to have it again for dinner!

We both licked our plates clean. This easily gave other gourmet pasta places a run for their money. If only this was on OUR side of the Bridge...

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Number Seven

And so we made it. Across the Bridge. Survived the packing, moving, and didn't have to throw any of our furniture away upon arrival at the new apartment. Empty spaces always seem smaller than they really are, and once you stick furniture in there, the space will almost always appear larger. And more liveable. The layout of the new place is also much better than our old place and the quality of the building is just much better and stronger.

We like the quaint little '50s brick building with its number "Seven" spelt out on the facade. We like the quiet around us. We like the greenery we see everywhere, the golf course, the tennis courts, the nature reserve and pockets of little green patches. And the little boats bobbing in the water. We like being surrounded by other similar retro-looking, little buildings and houses. We like the fact that the Green Park Village shops, a row of only 6 shops is exactly opposite us. We like the idea of our friends being able to find free parking easily when they come and visit - now we just need to entice them over and convince them that the Bridge is only a psychological barrier that they can break through...


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Towards The Bridge

As I walked through the familiar park to work, it dawned upon me that I am walking the last 80 plus days of a life that I've become accustomed to, not just for the past 3 years in Sydney, but the past 12 years of working in the company. It's almost a countdown towards death - death of the old me. A rather frightening thought, leaving behind a familiar cloak of purpose, of routine, of certainty and walking into the unknown, with no idea of how long the hiatus (of sorts) is going to be, in the economic crisis that has taken the world up, in its long-armed sweep.

The fear ebbs. A pensiveness remains because this is life. And although one could argue that this decision to walk this path was one that was within my control and I could have chosen otherwise, one could also argue that it was almost Hobson's choice. It was this or my sanity. A detox was gravely required. This is the price to pay for mental health I guess.

And almost as though to mirror the change in life's direction that will soon come, a physical change will take place even sooner. We spent our last weekend in Surry Hills, snapping pictures of familiar alley ways, favourite cafes, quaint little houses and shops, the people, sights and sounds... I've spent my last 3 years in the neighbourhood and surrounds and have always loved the vibe and everything about the place. To make the move is to leave the old me behind again. Walking into the new me - across the Bridge which represents almost a metaphysical divide between the old and the new.

Towards the new, towards the Bridge.

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