Thursday, February 26, 2015

Like worms on a fish hook

I haven’t had time to blog. I have been learning Spanish and have been transfixed by a number of things including the amazing politics in this country. The battle for the Republican nomination for President is in full swing here and is absolutely fascinating. 

They all have excellent lines of patter but those damn journalists keep messing with their heads by asking them really hard questions such as:

 ‘Do you believe in evolution?’ and ‘do you believe in climate change?’ and the hardest one ‘do you believe that President Obama is a Christian?’

These trick questions tend to flummox them completely. They call them ‘gotcha’ questions because they find them so hard to answer.

The next year or so is going to be fabulous entertainment as these people wriggle around like worms on a fish hook trying to appeal to their antediluvian voters while also trying to not look completely stupid.

I am also keeping a close eye on the Australian Prime Minister Mr. Rabbit as he bumbles and stumbles his way towards oblivion while the good ship Turnbull sails on serenely.

If Mr. Rabbit was a horse they would shoot him.  

So I bought a Spanish course from Costco. It is much the same as Rosetta Stone but costs about a quarter as much. At the moment I am learning words and will soon launch  into the grammar. I can see already that it will be much easier than German – which I tend to speak on the oddest occasions.

I can tell you that there is no point asking a waiter in Indianapolis for ‘mineral vasser mit gaz, bitte’.

It seems that here they do not plow most of the streets when it snows. I guess they are worried about the plows disappearing into the pot holes and never being seen again. So driving is a bit tricky when it snows all the time like it has recently. I am just about to go outside and start shoveling – again.

Sissi still escapes from time to time – but makes sure she can be caught very quickly.

Friday, February 20, 2015

We would disappoint each other immensely

Most days I drive past a place called CrossFit Naptown.  I had no idea what this meant until Cate told me that Indianapolis used to be – and still is – called Naptown.  Now there are as many explanations for Naptown as there are for Hoosier – which is what people from Indiana are called.

Incidentally I found out that my great, great, great, great grandmother – who arrived on the second fleet in 1793 as a convict  -  was not a thief per se. She was a receiver of stolen goods – probably a rat turd given the nature of society at the time  – and instead of hanging her they sent her to Australia.

Almost certainly the rat turds belonged to the king’s swans and were not allowed to be poached by the serfs and churls who swarmed about the streets – which probably looked a bit like those in Indianapolis today.

But I think Naptown is quite cool and am not unhappy to be called a Naptowner – or a Napolite.

I am not sure when – and if – we become Hoosiers.

In Austria there was never any prospect that we would become locals. We were ‘Auslanders’ and would remain so had we lived there permanently and died in 50 years. When burying us they would say ‘nice people – but Auslanders’.

And bugger me dead but I found out tonite that there are still roller derbies in this and other towns.

You remember roller derbies? I used to watch these in the sixties. A number of people skate around a small track and attempt to assassinate each other. Every second lap someone is hit and somersaults into the crowd. They come back with a vengeance and cream the person responsible. It is almost as pointless as televised wrestling.

Anyway our girls are called the ‘Naptown Roller Girls’. I am not sure I can convince Cate that she should go and watch them roll but I will watch them assiduously.

When I was a teenager there was a roller girl who was at least six feet tall and blonde and so well put together that it took my breath away. I think she was called Elka.

I used to watch her every Saturday and dream about rolling along with her. She did not somersault into the crowds very often – she was more the somersaulter than the somersaultee. I loved her for this.

I will not try to find her now because she will be at least 80 years old and has – as we all have – been subjected to the forces of gravity and has been visited by the wrinkle fairy.  We would disappoint each other immensely.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I don't know how they do it

I have been using a lot of new recipes lately.  Last nite I made a multi-vegetable paella with onions, bell peppers, fennel and artichoke hearts. 

I only went slightly wrong in that I added a ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper instead of ¼ teaspoon. This made it a bit hotter than it should have been but we ate it with yoghurt – which was a nice combination. In fact – being a bit hot and using yoghurt probably improved it.

Shrimps would go really well with this and I will do that next time.

I could not find calasparra rice – or any kind of paella rice – so had to use risotto rice – which turned out adequate but was not what I was trying to achieve. I have ordered some calasparra rice from (where else) Amazon.

In recent times I have made Mexican chicken soup, Moroccan spaghetti, roasted chicken with clementines and arak (I could not find arak so used absinthe) and roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes with caper vinaigrette.

I once had a chef working for me (don’t ask) who called vinaigrette ‘vinegarette’.
He also called cappuccino ‘cuppachino’.

And have realized recently that it was not just President Bush who could not pronounce nuclear. A whole bunch of people - including some who should know better - call it ‘nukular’.

I have also spent a lot of time shoveling snow. It has finally arrived and we have had a few inches over the last week. I shovel the path to the garage and the sidewalks so that the snow does lie on the ground -  freeze and become too treacherous.

It is well  below zero here at the moment and for today they forecast a wind chill temperature of -25°. It was 53° in the house this morning when we woke up and I have had every furnace and fire blasting away to try warm myself, the cats and the house up.

My task today is to use metal polish on the stainless steel kitchen table. This is the type of stuff you have to do when it is just too cold to go outside.

Although this morning the squirrels and cardinals were out eating the bird seed. I just don’t know how they do it. Maybe that’s why they shoot squirrels for the fur.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Idjits at work

Idjits at work
The iRobot (Robbie) is just brilliant. It does an outstanding job of vacuuming the carpet and you can see that it does everything because it sucks and sweeps - so you can see where it has been.

When it finishes it goes back to its home base – nestles in – and goes to sleep. I have no idea how it knows that it has done everything but it apparently uses an infrared receiver and makes 67 calculations per second. This is 66 calculations more than I make when I am vacuuming. 

Robbie was so successful I have decided to buy ‘my pillow’ which is being advertised at the moment. It is apparently the ‘official pillow of the National Sleep Foundation’ so how can I go wrong. There is a two for the price of one offer on at the moment so I dived in.

Many people say it is the best pillow they have ever had – and why would they lie?

I tried to organize my upstairs linen cupboard today but it is very difficult. We have beds, mattresses, sheets and pillows from Australia, Austria and the USA. They are all different sizes and I just don’t have enough shelves.

But I did finally manage to organize my spice and herb cupboard.

I bought scads of jars from Amazon and decanted all my odd sized containers – from all over the world - into them and labeled them. I am quite pleased with the result and may now be able to find things.

I did find some unopened poppy seeds with a use by date of 1995. I am sure they are fine and have left them as they are. What could go wrong with a poppy seed?

Some idjits in Indianapolis decided that they would burn their house down and collect the insurance. So they left the gas running and scarpered. What could go wrong?

The explosion destroyed a large party of the neighborhood – killed people – and injured others. See the photo.

All the idjits are now on jail on murder charges and will not be using the gas for a while.

Monday, February 16, 2015

It was an aggravation fee

Beirut - handyman's dream
The iRobot was delivered and was given a test run. It alarmed the cats so much I put it back in its docking station and will try it upstairs first.

Of course the iRobot is nothing compared to what is about to happen to the cats. Cate very nearly got a dog on Saturday – but it was snapped up before she could see it.

Cate says I am being obstructive because I ask questions such as:

Where does the dog sleep?
Where does the dog eat?
Will the dog eat the cats? - or
Will Sissi eat the dog?
What do we do with the dog when we go away?

These seem pretty logical to me but are answered – ‘we will work it out’. I think she means that I will work it out – and I am sure I will.

I am racking my brains as to how we can do it without making Monika totally deranged. I am planning a series of dog doors – with cat holes – so that the cats can get away from the dog and have their own space.

I also need to think about fencing outside, dog food, dishes, leads, dog minding, vets when Sissi scratches Rover on the nose and a cat psychiatrist for Monika.

Cate is now going to walk in Ecuador in July so I have another travel planning exercise.

I think Ecuador will in fact be better than Jordan so am not unpleased. Quito is said to be a fabulous city. I will have to be up to speed on my Spanish before we go before we go.

So instead of Jordan we are going to see Molly and Gaston and Biggles in Paris -then we are going down to Brittany for a few days.

United was not pleased that I changed the flights and punished me. I think it was an ‘aggravation fee’ although they did not call it that. I am surprised they did not send people out to give me a good thrashing.