Queensland is breaking my heart

4 08 2012

Well, not Queensland, as such. The people of Queensland and their most recent voting activities and this new, directionless, flailing, policy vacuum of a government. Having dealt with them in opposition, I remember clutching at straws in the leadup to the landslide election, trying to convince myself that it wouldn’t be so bad because some of their stuff wasn’t too bad. If you kinda squinted and ignored the gaping holes.

I think this post from John Quiggin, juxtaposing $130 million in cuts to a key northside hospital and Medicare Local and a $110 million boost to the racing industry, captures it perfectly.

I just don’t understand what sane Cabinet process arrived at this pair of decisions.

All I can see is how this path will lead to more people in misery in this state.

That’s the part that breaks my heart.



24 07 2012

Apparently one of the things you do when you have in-laws is have them around for dinner.

Truth be told my relationship with my lovely in-laws hasn’t really changed since they went from the parents-of-my-partner to parents-in-law. Although, in the same way that something subtle has shifted in the landscape between the Architect and I since the rings-swap, there’s been a slight change with the in-laws too.

It’s hard (and probably a bit pointless) to articulate what that is, but here’s a try. Our communities and societies have rituals, big and small, imbued with socially accepted meaning. It’s a cultural shorthand, really. Over many conversations with a clever friend on this topic, we agreed that sanity exists in balancing trying to change the system and trying to live within that system.

So deciding that I wanted to get married was partly deciding that I did want to access the socially accepted meaning and, I suppose, validate it. That last part being the bit I overthought and struggled with. The thing is, because of what they are, those rituals have a huge amount of power. To be married, to say “this is my husband”, puts our relationship in a certain framework that is built on a whole bunch of assumptions and social rules. That I am definitely not outside of or immune to. Nor is my husband, or his family. Or mine, I suppose. So I think it affects us whether or not we want it to or are conscious of it.

Anyway. Enough of that. Point is, that subtle shift is all for the good. It might all be in my head, but it feels somehow more clear and certain now, and I feel like the in-laws feel that too. So yay. It’s good.

Now where were we? Dinner. I have married a Greek-heritage-Australian boy. I have, over the past however many years, feasted on a range of delicious Greek and Australian morsels cooked by his mum (and sister, and aunties, and so on). In fact, I may be eating baklava right this instant. Time to return the favour and teach them to make sushi (without the 15 year apprenticeship).

Enter temakizushi.  What better for a post-wedding-celebration we’re-all-family-now dinner than Japanese homestyle party cooking? A classic summer party dish (so, perfect for the Brisvegas winter), it takes into account food intolerances and dislikes, is super easy to prepare, has maximum visual impact, and provides interactive eating – what’s not to love?

So what is it? A picture would be useful at this point, but unfortunately we ate it all so fast that I didn’t take one. So here’s a dodgy phone pic of a different temakizushi, at my cousin’s house in Osaka:

It’s make your own sushi. A big bowl of sushi rice, a platter or two of different fillings, and a pile of toasted nori (seaweed), and you’re away. Maki at Just Hungry has, as always, the best instructions to make awesome sushi rice (scroll down for the sushi rice). You toast nori by holding it over a heat source (like a gas cooker flame) for a few seconds on each side. And the fillings can be whatever you want.

We had: tuna mayonnaise, rolled egg (tamagoyaki), smoked salmon, cucumber, roasted sweet potato, capsicum, asparagus, green beans, carrot, snow pea sprouts, poached chicken, dill pickles, and fresh tuna and salmon. Yum. You could also have prawns, avocado, celery, roast beef, crab, other types of fish… and so on. All the fillings were sliced long and thin to make it easier to put in the roll. The asparagus, green beans and carrot were lightly steamed and cooled as well.

The method is simple: put a small amount of rice on the rough side of the nori (a small amount is the key – both to being able to roll it and to not filling up on rice!). Add your filling/s of choice, diagonally across the rice. Roll from one corner to make a cone. Dip in soy sauce. Eat. Repeat until bursting.

Note that the cone isn’t essential – you can roll it into a cigar shape, or treat it like a burrito – I just find the cone the easiest shape to eat!

Maki (of course) has more information on temakizushi here.

It was so good (and I overcatered so much) that we had it again the next night, with brother and my other in-law. As the Architect said, two parties from one party meal is a win.


Low light

9 07 2012

We’ve had no power since 8am. It’s dinner time now, and after a day of no access to computer or internet, I’m making dinner on the camp stove. The Architect is playing me a song on the guitar.

We have candlelight and homebrewed ginger beer.

If it weren’t for the desire to later have a hot shower, I’d be fine if this lasted for a couple of days more.

Take a moment for tea

7 02 2012

Life is generally good. Right? I say that to myself a lot. Like, really, sherdie, if you think about this properly, get some perspective, life is actually pretty damn sweet.

But then sometimes I feel like dirt.

And when that happens, I’ll often make some tea. Hot tea, iced tea, black, green, rosehip, mint from the garden. Any kind. Sometimes a few kinds.

My brain wants to be that person who can STAY TOUGH and PUSH THROUGH and GET ALL THE THINGS DONE and MAKE IT RIGHT. My internal organs disagree and want to avoid and organise sneaky rebellions so I have to sleep and move slowly and eat okayu and be still instead of MOVEMOVEMOVE. It’s a fundamental disconnect. And neither side is right. But there is a balance in there that I often struggle to find.

The tea doesn’t fix things, but it does remind me that it is just a job, and they are just people.




11 01 2007

Just got home from my first night playing a team sport with some friends. Except, not all of them were my friends, some of them were people I’d just met who were friends of my friends. It was a lot of fun, running up and down with relative strangers. I didn’t do well, but I didn’t do badly either. But I had a little realisation, out there on the grass. That any civilised thought going through my head is but a thin veneer covering an untapped well of rage and violence.

Here’s why. I was covering (or something) the huge muscled tattooed guy with the shaved head. He was at least a head taller than me and probably close to twice my weight. I’d just met him. Nice guy. Friend of a friend. Friendly game. He blocked me. And I really wanted to hit him in the head. Really. Bang. In the mouth.

Flashback to another team sport a couple of years ago. Mixed comp. We were playing an all-male team because the mixed team didn’t show up and we wanted a game anyway. One particular guy had a loud whinge about not wanting to play on a team with girls on it, because everyone knows girls are crap. So we didn’t get off to a good start. Then he tripped me when the ref wasn’t looking. And tried to kick me in the head. I like to think I’m a pretty socialised, civilised individual. I don’t believe violence is the answer. I am shocked at the pain people cause others on a daily basis. So I got up and punched him. In the guts. When the ref wasn’t looking.

B and I used to beat each other up regularly when we were kids, as siblings do, but it’s been a while since I was an age where the ‘punch in the head game’ seemed a fun thing to do. So those moments when the adrenaline is galloping through my blood and for a split-second it seems like a plausible idea to do physical harm to the man-mountain blocking my way – or even, plausible that I could do physical harm – are like electric shocks. More shockingly, I enjoyed the feeling. I felt powerful, indestructible.

Rationally – post-shower, sitting on the couch – I have no desire to engage in any sort of physical violence. In fact, I find the idea repugnant. That feeling of indestructibility and power has led countless people to do harm to others. The direct result is awful things like the death of Andrew Farrugia.

But until today I hadn’t really made the connection between that raw aggression I felt, and violence that other people do. I’ve always felt horrified by stories like Andrew’s, but also distanced, because I couldn’t comprehend how human beings with any shred of empathy could do something like that. Now I’m a bit closer to understanding how tenuous a hold rationality can have on emotion, how thin the veneer is – and how easy it is to slip into it.

Can’t help thinking we might be stuffed as a species, eh?