Wednesday, 28 March 2007

The Way It Is

Righto, I've been a bad blogger, haven't I? Life is a bit of a haze at the moment, full of attempting to live life to the maximum yet also fit in an overload at uni (Honours in Politics plus Professional Conduct for Law, why oh why) and teaching, working and being. Moreover, I haven't been entirely sure how to approach the blogging issue - do people want to hear merely about food in Hobart, or more broadly life in Hobart, or about what it is like living in the same household as cancer, or...? I'd love guidance on this, but as it is, I think this is turning more into an on-line journal as I muddle my way through life: restaurants, cancer, theatre shows, work, uni, cafes, bad love experiences, millions of west wing episodes, shopping, and goodness knows what else, all a part of it. So here we are, get prepared for a whole lot of possibly narcissistic ramblings that I hope we can all gain from.

Ten Days on the Island
This week we went to see Dream Masons, as part of 10 Days on the Island. It was fantastic: it certainly made me both laugh and cry. It was just so visual: bright colours, son-et-Lumiere, a lone woman singing "Bridge over Troubled Water" (that was when I started to cry), lots of activity. It was just spectacular in the true sense of the word. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week - Dave Walters, Maria Lurighi, perhaps a few more other things, if I can afford the time and money. But aren't we lucky to have so many talented individuals in Hobart?

I am also loving the write/here project. If you live in Hobart, you couldn't have missed the red and white billboards around town with striking sentences on them. It turns out that they are segments of Hobartian's stories - refugees, migrants, prisoners, nursing home residents, young people, and anonymous public responses. Once put in this context, the billboards are so touching. I really hope the artists are planning to release a book with the texts.

Went to Don Camillo the other night with the girls. It was fantastic - the veal in white wine was just beautiful. Claire had the Puttanesca which I think was a bit too chilli for her, but I enjoyed a mouthful. Belle had Marinara which she liked. Service was good, keen to go back.

Ventured to Express at New Town Nursery the other day. The breakfast was good but I thought not spectacular. I heard later it wasn't a good day there, and so I'm keen to return for cake or lunch sometime soon. However, it was a stunning day in the sun, and I was happy anyway. I've given up coffee and was glad to see they had Irish Breakfast tea. Yet if I were still on the caffeine kick, I'd take heart to see Steve (ex-criterion) as the Barista.

At home, we are adjusting to loads of organic food, fish, wholegrains, and the occasional chocolate croissant (which probably isn't on the Ian Gawler list of preferred foods, but oh well). I have not yet succumbed to Uni food, or to coffee, since giving both up.

Just a general question - what is it about "roasted tomatoes" on breakfast menus which apparently always come out watery, unripe and unappetising? Get me in the kitchen and I will show you a real roasted tomato - there should be some garlic, herbs or breadcrumbs present, but in truth, a ripe tomato would be a good start. I have experienced this at several cafes lately and have been severely unimpressed at paying $2-3 for something almost inedible - especially at this time of year.

Went to Raw Comedy the other night at the Uni Bar, and it was fantastic. Congrats to all the talented and brave individuals who strutted their stuff. I was very impressed with the quality of the comedians, again fantastic to see so much talent in Hobart. Hurrah guys.

Listening to Ayo, the Waifs, Madeline Peyroux, Ray Charles, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, can't find my fave Bob Dylan CD and that's driving me to distraction.

Well, this isn't getting those 3,000 words written or that article read, or even that work done, so I will leave you all for now but will post again soon, promise promise! S xx

Hobart Cupcakes (for Ness)

Cupcake from Sugo that we ate on the day of mama's graduation

My 22nd Birthday cake (you can so grow older without growing up!)

My darling best friend and inspiration, Ness, is living in the UK at the moment and sent me photos overnight of cupcakes from London. Ness and I have fairly similar weaknesses: shoes, pretty floaty garments, jewelry, and cupcakes. It is all making me so desirous of moving to London to be somewhere where there are all those things in abundance (somehow, London has now become a symbol of pretty things to me - perhaps I'm wrong about that?).

Anyway, in a haze of technological illiteracy, I couldn't figure out how to compress these photos so as to send them to Ness without causing her inbox to crash. So, to share them with her, I'm putting them up here - all for you Nessie xx

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

The Highs and Lows

Thanks once more to all of you who are thinking of us. We are well, in a sort of life-upside down, facing mortality kind of way. It's so odd how life keeps going when everything is different, and it feels like everything should stop, because how can life be normal now? How can things possibly continue? And yet, they do. We are keeping positive in the way that says, "let's have a fantastic time for the time that we have left". We are cherishing the moments: the Hobart rain and the Hobart blue skies; home-cooked meals curled up on the couch with the dog and the first three seasons of 'The West Wing'; flowers, books, and most of all, people we love. We are playing music loudly and living in the way that people should always live, but never take the time to. My future has morphed into something I never wanted or thought possible, but I will continue to love life, and to live surrounded by love.

Anyway, I'm sure you want less of the self-reflectivity and more of the food news? A quick round-up of recent adventures through Hobart...

Highlights of the past few weeks:
  1. Breakfast at Criterion Street Cafe. I haven't been to Criterion in a LONG time, but we went back and were tempted by the pear bread, and the special of stewed rhubarb and apple with oats and yogurt. Both were sublime, actually. The toasted pear bread was buttery and served with extra poached pears as well as pouring cream and maple syrup. The service was fantastic, the (decaf) coffee was good, and I was happy. Take note Nellie - just around the corner from Kara... perhaps a sojourn to Criterion is in order?
  2. Dinner with the girls at Fransiscos in Battery Point. We shared tapas - bread with aioli; chorizo and red wine; meatballs; jamon; fried calamari; tortilla. It was genuine Spanish fare, something that just does not happen enough in Hobart. The menu tempted us with many other options to return. Fransiscos is an a favourite for the girls and I, and I've tried the paella and the chicken before, and still I can see reasons on the menu to go back. Mmmmm.
  3. Shopping at Myer. I have a random passion for Myer - it seems to exude decency and calm. And I love it even more when they have sales, or send me gift cards. Hurrah for Myer and hurrah for the false economy of being convinced that you are SAVING money, when in fact you are SPENDING money... Less guilt, more purchases.
  4. The Greek festival. I dragged all my friends and we all had a fantastic time. Stupidly, we all indulged in the Spit Roast (when in reality, divide and conquer was in order - we should have got lots of things and shared. Oh well, there's always next year). However, the Spit Roast was truly fantastic: fresh, succulent meat, lots of salad, and I was stuffed, to put it bluntly. Kourambides were taken home, Greek dancing was watched, and I loved, loved having grown up in North Hobart and always having been part of such a fantastic community.
  5. Discovering coriander pesto. Toss through pasta, add some cherry tomatoes, serve with a glass of wine and a salad...

Low lights of the past few weeks (other than the obvious):
  1. Breakfast at Phoenix. It held so much promise; it failed to deliver. Average service, hard poached eggs, unappetising toast. I was sad.
  2. The lack of night-life in Hobart. Really, nothing for those of us too old to go to Curlys, too young to go home when Tele/ T42 closes, and too practical to line up for hours.
  3. Finding out that the man I had been seeing before I went to Asia had always had a girlfriend in West Australia. Hmph.
  4. University food. I have made a pact not to eat on campus EVER AGAIN after the last over-priced cheese sandwich, and thus am bringing food from home, or from the Wursthaus on the way to uni.
  5. Giving up coffee. True. I have been suffering exhaustion ever since, might have to take the caffeine back up...
Hope this post finds you all well, and remember to live in the moment as much as possible and to hug your children and your loved ones, call your parents regularly, and eat fantastic food (full of nutrients and not carcinogens or other nasties)... S xx