Tasks and tools

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I have always said that for every task there is a tool, and while I don’t always stand by this (why accumulate more and more specialized tools when you can improvise and accumulate less), sometimes the difference the right tool makes is astounding.

One example that surprised me was when I somehow acquired a little plastic thing that makes holes in the middle of cupcakes to fill them. I thought it seemed like a wasteful wee bit of plastic until I actually used it – the days of ripped-up cupcake tops with holes inelegantly stabbed into being with not-fit-for-purpose paring knives were finally over. And the cupcake “holer” was so much quicker, neater. And for someone who makes filled cupcakes by the hundreds, rather than the dozens, this made a lot of sense.

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On a similar note, for a very long time, I have been using a cheap, flimsy but reliable blender to make my morning breakfast monstrosity (a lot of spinach and a bit of kiwi, yogurt, cinnamon and turmeric). It’s been a loyal and useful tool. I also had a KitchenAid blender, which was much more expensive and supposedly heavy-duty, but it couldn’t handle anything, meaning that I eventually went out and bought another of the cheap blenders when the first one eventually died.

Just before the end of the year, I bought a heavy-duty, rather insane, Ninja blender/food processor thing but put it away until the old, basic blender breathed its last, which happened to be this afternoon, when it spewed a not inconsiderable amount of smoke into the air and smelled of burning plastic. Yes, the time had come to give this trusty blender his well-earned retirement.

Making a smoothie in this Ninja thing is like joining an entirely different world of appliances. Not unlike moving from mixing everything by hand to the magnificent KitchenAid stand mixer (which is, apparently, the only thing KitchenAid can reliably make – my other KitchenAid appliances are weak and fragile).

Once upon a time, I lived in a seaside flat in Iceland and spent my days and nights mixing all my copious baking projects by hand. I know the difference a purpose-made appliance can make. And while this Ninja thing might be overkill, it certainly created something completely different from what I was drinking – using so much less noise.

“You will always be a loser…”: A ballad of users and takers

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Heading into a new phase, discarding and changing.

Ages ago I bought a cheap-as-hell blender so I could blend fruit and veg on the road (in my long commute days). I never took it out of the box until now. I’m all about the spinach and kiwi gorilla juice. Or some knockoff gazpacho made of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. This cheap little blender works – improbably – better than my relatively expensive KitchenAid blender ever did. Sometimes paying more is not better. But the trick is learning when it matters and when it doesn’t. This is true for things you purchase and for the people you let into your life. How much can you really spend on someone else before you’re running on empty?

But the concept of spending anything is so remote… I’ve spent so much time, so much money, so much patience, so much care, so much compassion, so much understanding, so much love, so much tongue-biting frustration, so much support, so much much much much much that was all for nothing. I am numb – what is it in my karmaorwhateveritis that makes the people who get close to me so damaged, petty, troubled and such users and takers? Sometimes it’s narcissism. Sometimes it is a weird brand of self-hate. You know the self-haters who have to be as cruel as shit to you to take you down with them, right?

For a couple of days, while shedding stuff and moving forward in a real way like I haven’t in years, I’ve been crying – a lot. Improbable things set me off. Like at the end of the latest season of Orange is the New Black, suddenly the cheesy Foreigner tune “I Want to Know What Love Is” played over the end credits; soon tears are shooting out of my eyes like arrows. Sometimes I cried out of anger and sadness but sometimes just because it felt cathartic to shed tears in the same way I could shed a tattered sweater or a pair of tights with a hole in the heel.

Wasserkocher and Net Neutrality

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Okay so my birthday happens week after next and I just realized I actually need something. My beloved electric kettle just started leaking in a weird way – and now is my chance to replace it with a kettle that matches my other kitchen appliances! I am kind of excited because I did not even know that KitchenAid made kettles. Please someone procure it for me. Hahaha.

KitchenAid kettle to match my kitchen

KitchenAid kettle to match my kitchen

In other news, the HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Oliver is just getting better and better. The whole program was fantastic (loved the evisceration of Australian PM Tony Abbott), but Oliver’s critical rant of the US net neutrality issue is precisely the kind of thing that illustrates why Oliver deserves his own show.

 

Cookies someday soon… Happy Anzac-less Australia Day

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Since taking on several new activities and (for the moment) spending a bit more time in the office, I have not been at home with my dear oven and beloved KitchenAid mixer in order to get some serious baking underway. As a result, Australians throughout the office will be devastated to learn that I have not been able to supply much-loved Anzac biscuits for today’s Australia Day event. (But follow the link! You still have time to make them for yourself!) Likewise, my intention to bake caramel cream cookies remains just that, an intention.

Rest assured, I have an overwhelming amount of serious writing to do for work, which means I will spend a week or so holed up in my house behind the keyboard. This always means that the oven will be going at full throttle as well.

Cookies, dear addicts, will return soon. I would like to say “…return to an office near you…” but recognize that this is misleading. Chances are, they will only turn up at the Opera HQ in Oslo. 🙂

This year, in a reversal of fortune, I am so happy not to be in Iceland for the winter! The main road between Reykjavik and Keflavik, which is NEVER closed, was closed due to snow. This means the weather has reached an insane level of inhospitability. Icelanders are hardy, tough folks for whom a normal blizzard is just “a few flakes of snow”… so I cannot even imagine what is going on over there right now.

Last night, in mildly snowy Oslo, I went to see Reggie Watts‘s live musicomedy act at Parkteatret. Hilarious in that uniquely Reggie way. A long time ago, when I lived in Iceland, I used to know Reggie (briefly). This was before his comedy had taken off, and he was mostly known for fronting the band Maktub. We both had Seattle connections and had a lot of phone conversations. I eventually messed the friendship up by being more than a bit flaky (those were difficult times).

Last night when I saw the show, it suddenly dawned on me how much time had passed since then. In many ways it felt like yesterday, but when I really reflected, I realized how much has happened in my life since we were acquainted — so I can only imagine how much had happened and changed for him. (No wonder he seemed to have very little recollection of me. Not that I am particularly memorable.) The temptation to run to Stockholm to see Reggie’s show tonight is palpable. I will be wise, though, and stick with my working and baking plans (it’s the responsible, and incidentally, selfless, plan).

Happy Australia Day, my Aussie friends!