Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Terrible Addiction.

I am a bit of a contradiction really*, I embrace the simplified life but at the same time I have to admit that as I get older I am becoming a bit of a technology addict.  
Perhaps not in the way you would expect, yes I have a smart phone now (a hand me down from a nephew) and yes I am typing this on a new (to me) net book, I even got a new DVD player (yes they still have them, at Op Shops for $15!) but that’s not the technology I mean. I am talking kitchen appliances. The addiction sneaks up, you know, nobody sets out to become addicted (actually my husband tried to become a chain smoking alcoholic during the divorce from his first wife but failed miserably, he kept forgetting to drink or smoke but I am aware that he is the exception).
 It started off with the usual suspects, a microwave here, a juicer there, maybe a second hand popcorn maker and a mixer and before you know it you have cupboards overflowing with gadgets. I don’t regret it, not even for a second. This is not a post about the remorse I feel for so many appliances. There is joy in my admission!
A quick roundup in my cupboard reveals my current inventory:
  • ·         A breadmaker
  • ·         A pressure cooker (not appliance really more of a gadget right? Not an electric one maybe shouldn’t be on the list)
  • ·         Thermomix (all hail the HypnoMix, I mean Thermomix, your new God, HAIL it!)
  • ·         Tefal Actifry (a recent present from inlaws)
  • ·         Sunbeam frying pan (ancient, reliable, $5 from a garage sale)
  • ·         Dehydrator (cheap from an auction)
  • ·         Automatic sprouter
  • ·         Another breadmaker (yes a backup, or to make dough in or something- leave me alone!)
  • ·         Two yoghurt makers,
  • ·         A pasta machine (this came with the dehydrator at the Auction- I haven’t actually used this one at all yet but it is so wonderfully shiny!)
  • ·         A potato ricer
  • ·         A mandolin slicer
  • ·         Pancake factory

 I do use many of my gadgets. My breadmaker does not languish, I rarely buy bread so it is used between two and five times a week… sure the backup one doesn’t get much use but I am loathe to get rid of it as it does me no harm .
The Thermomix is used every day and truth be told it didn’t replace all my other appliances- it did replace the food processor and the stand mixer but I still use the breadmaker and the yoghurt maker and the stovetop and the pressure cooker and the electric fry pan (an ancient sunbeam classic)  . Less used but still valued are the newest addition the Actifry, the dehydrator (come summer I predict more use!) the Automatic sprouter (yes I use it, yes it is pure indulgence) and the pancake maker ( this is a contentious appliance- the story is worthy of it’s our post I think..).
 I still covet MORE! I sort of fancy a slow cooker and I saw that the opshops are now brimming with novelty single use appliances(donut, pie, cupcake makers) for as little as three dollars.  I didn’t used to be this way, I used to live in a hut next to a shed in the hills there was no mains power, no running water, I cooked on a gas ring which also had to power a gas mantle lantern showers were from a bucket with a tiny pump powered by a battery.
Washing clothes was fun, I had an old pickle barrel which I filled with water soaped up the clothes and popped the lid on, then I would rock it from side to side as vigorously as I could muster, replace the solid lid with mesh and kick it down the hill (my version of a spin cycle) at the bottom of the hill I would hang the clothes on the five wire fence. Low tech and truth be told not particularly effective but not having the cleanest clothes doesn’t really affect your social standing when you are in your early twenties in Northern NSW.
But I am not in my early twenties now, it is ten years on, three children and let’s be frank I like a bit of comfort nowadays.  So, heap on the kitchen technology! It makes my life easier and is less harmful than a drug addiction, (as long as I stay away from the $7.50 appliances from K-Mart – they CANNOT be good for you- like cheap junk food!). I don’t want a juicer or soup maker or a grain grinder or ice crusher (the Thermomix really does replace them for me) but have you seen the HotMixPro? Oooh it’s a Thermal cooker similar to the Thermomix but can cook at higher temperatures.. but the price. Ah I can dream can’t I it’s good to have something to aspire to.

What’s that you say Internet? I really do need a slow cooker? Well all right then, who am I to argue?

*like most human beings.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

On Being Accountable and Whatnot

Here's some food. It is good, and healthy.
Sometimes numbers and statistics are my friend, sometimes they put themselves soundly in the "to be ignored" pile and sometimes that isn't the best idea.

As you would know if you have read other posts, I am calling down hard rain on my excess weight left over from pregnancy and reducing my calories. It turns out that I have an Elvis like capacity for food if I let myself go (well maybe not that bad- this is an Elvis-like capacity he liked his deep fried though) so I need to count my calories realistically. 

At least for now. When I was pregnant I could eat a whole large pizza without batting an eyelid but after 7 weeks of lower calories I find my capacity for masses of high calorie food has decreased. To the point that eating chips makes me feel queasy and two small pieces of brownie have me burping and groaning like after a Christmas dinner. If I wasn't tracking my calories I think I would have just continued to eats masses. Because I love my food. I really love food. Probably too much. That's why I have too much weight for my frame.

Anyway, this is where numbers can help, I am less likely to eat lots of calories if I have to write it down and I can see what makes a good choice and a bad choice calorically if I pop it into my My Blackmores diary. Sort of a curse (because calories alone don't determine the worth of a food- some healthy food have high energy such as nuts and avocados- the My Blackmores meal suggestions do include small amounts of these though) but a blessing because I can be accountable and keep track of my energy intake, which is of course the point. 

Another way of using number to keep track of things is by measuring one's self with scales. Ah. 
I have been very good and weighing only once a week but noticing that the scales behave differently depending on where I stand. The difference can be anything up to four kilograms. I had recorded that I had lost around nine kilograms (the crowd goes wild!) and then I bought some new digital scales which are presumably accurate and my weight is three kilograms higher on the new ones. Oh. Even though I know I am smaller (hello pre-pregnancy jeans, the smaller ones at that!) I can't help feeling a little defeated by the numbers on the scale.  So I might ignore them for now.

I haven't been using the handy meal plans really, nor sticking to the exercise plan provided with the My Blackmores program BUT I have been using them for ideas and ensuring I stick to the calorie allowance and exercising appropriately. My knees have gone a bit funny from Roller Derby training so I have seen a physio and have to alter my exercise accordingly.
Spring is wiggling it's way forward so in between some truly wild storms there are some sunny days and I have been walking as much as I can to get my sunshine and exercise. If you have mild depression in Winter I really recommend this, it can sometimes be the cure and at any rate it will do you good. 

I sound like a health book from the 1930's "Sunshine! Exercise! Vitamins and Pure thoughts will make you Strong!" 

P.S. I am not doing a sneaky sponsored post or anything, I won a 3 month membership to the My Blackmores via a comp on The Shake so I thought I might as well provide some feedback for those interested in using it or similar programs.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This is One Of Those Posts About Writing and Why I Can't.

This is a post about why I can't blog right now:

My desktop is creatively stifling

I share a computer with my husband and business.

Children keep finding me and shouting demands.

I can't figure out how to do everything from my phone.

I bit my tongue so hard that I haven't been able to eat solids.

I keep having existential crises about pointless things like rollerskating.

Other people are more successful than me ( yes I am perfectly aware they set goals and work hard,so what?).

I will write after I clean the house and dye my hair and all those other things I am refusing to actually do OK? Sheesh get off my back.

I am hungry, or I have a headache or something.

Writing is hard work.

I have no clear direction yet.

I am going to buy a netbook so once that gets here I will write all the things.

All I have to do is get over the massive case of writers block.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Guarded Excitement and De-Cluttering!

It's raining here today. After days of unseasonable joyful sun we have been visited by oppressive grey clouds heavy with a persistent surly rain. Enough to drive you indoors for the duration . A pleasant relentless noise. 

A navel gazing sort of day.

Maybe it is the rain, which seems to induce introspection  or maybe it is just the timing. Yesterday we signed a contract on a new family home . 
A lovely old house with more than enough bedrooms, a cupboard under the stairs, a big gas cooker and butler's sink in the kitchen a cubby at the bottom of the garden and an old disused well. It is in a little town 15 minutes from the city and next to the library which is across the road from two big parks. The front was a former cafe which allows for some interesting possibilities.

The bank is positive but they have been positive before and delayed  and delayed and then said no. 
We planned everything and they said no. 
I can't feel content until the contract is unconditional and the finance approved. 
The feeling has echoes of waiting until you are twelve weeks pregnant before telling everyone and feeling safe. 

In the meantime we are de-cluttering which is really just throwing away junk rather than clutter. I tend to walk the fine line between "that will be useful one day." and "hoarder" but watching those shows on TV have kept me alert to the signs and as a positive result we don't have that much to clear! (I don't want to die under a pile of egg cartons and have my corpse eaten by the cat.)

Baby clothes are my worst clutter though.
I tried to keep on top of them. A couple of years ago I sat down to organise and donate all the tiny clothes my sons had worn and my dear beloved found me in the boys' room sitting in a see of musty onesies with tears rolling down my face. I couldn't bear to get rid of them. He assured me we had the room and could do it later if we wanted.
 Of course they have been sorted and washed and used for our surprise little baby girl afterwards but she is outgrowing so many clothes and I can't bear to get rid of them either. I don't know if I will ever say "This is our last baby" and cleanse the place of baby gear. My main argument against more than three children was the awfulness of people mover vehicles for large families but our old Mercedes estate wagon seats seven and the new house will have spare rooms...we will have to play it by ear, but the tiny clothes stay for now!

Life is becoming more manageable, it has been really hard graft getting it to this point. Light is shining at the end of the tunnel now.
I had better get packing for when it arrives.