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Edible food art

Photo from 9gag.com.

So that was 2020. Late last year the above quarantine calendar was doing the rounds. I’d say that about sums up my year.

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I’m still not in the mood for anything serious yet, so today it’s food art.Sherylyn found some amazing food art on the internet. I have to say, I didn’t realise there was so much of it around, but it’s so good.

Bored Panda has 16 awesome food art ideas, many of them to encourage younger children to eat food.

From Chewbacca noodles to a sleeping rice bear.   All of them are fantastic, take my word for it.  Go and look at the site.

Bears made out of rice look really good.  I could do a whole blog just on them.  Or on designing edible plates for children.

Then there’s Tisha Cherry’s pepperoni pizza faces over on the Lifestyle Asia site.  (5 food artists that turn simple ingredients into edible masterpieces, Kankanit Wichiantanon).  Using vegetables to put scenes onto flatbread is quite common, and you can do almost any scene you want.

Or what about playing with your food.  Back in 2008, they made a toast stamp called Tic Tac Toast.  It was a simple stamp, two lines across, two lines down.  Then you cooked the toast.

I have to say, here in Australia we tend not to mix our jam and peanut butter—or not when I was young, anyway—so I’d like peanut butter and butter, maybe. 

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Post-Christmas exercise

I should be writing, but I’m not. I should be exercising. I’m not doing that, either. No, in this post-Christmas lull all I want to do is sit down and read a good book. Or failing that, play a mindless computer game or pick up a game like Sudoku. I’m sure many of you feel the same, so here you have it.  Two slightly twisty games of Sudoku. And look, they don’t even go up to nine. That makes it easier, right?

If, like me, you like your Sudoku on paper, here’s a link to printable pages.

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Watch out for 2020 submarines

Washington Post, 18 December 2020

The Washington Post asked readers to describe 2020 in one word or phrase. I went to their site to check it out, and the first word that came up was ‘exhausting’.

Yes, that’s my 2020.

Other words people came up with included lost, chaotic, surreal and relentless. Yes, all of those, too, but overall for me the year was simply exhausting.

Also from the Washington Post article—the best summation. “It’s like looking both ways before crossing the street and then getting hit by a submarine.”

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A pre-holiday puzzle

I’m getting into holiday mode, as I only have four days’ work left in this year. A puzzle for you.

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Reflecting on changes in how we watch television

We’re binge watching a show on Netflix called Black. It’s a fantasy-thriller about a girl who sees black shadows around people who will die soon, and a grim reaper who inhabits the body of a human in order to track down a fugitive grim reaper.

It’s eighteen episodes long and even though we’ve only been watching it for three nights now, we’re half-way through the series. I’m enjoying it, although to be honest sitting I’d rather it was a few episodes shorter.

I can remember when binge watching a series was only something you did at movie marathons over Christmas and New Year. They’d take something like Star Wars and show all three movies back-to-back. That’s right. There were only three movies then. Now known as episodes four, five and six. In those days, it wasn’t even the television channels that got into the act but the movie theatres.

If you wanted to watch a movie on demand, you had to buy the video, or later, the CD.

Now it’s Netflix, and streaming and we don’t have to wait any more.

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Today’s mood

It’s Sunday and I’m working. My own fault, but it’s been one of those weeks where the work just keeps piling on.

I haven’t touched the novel for two weeks. Four weeks to annual leave, and I’m exhausted. 🙂

Hope the rest of you are having a good week.

Keep safe.

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Granny came out of the phone

The ring of steel around Melbourne is gone.

Here in Victoria COVID restrictions have eased a little and we can travel around the state. Sherylyn and I, who are both the only members of our family living in Melbourne, haven’t seen the rest of the family since the start of the year.

It’s been like that for a lot of people. Sherylyn was talking to a woman today, down from the country, who hasn’t seen her two young grandchildren all year. She’s kept in touch of course, video-calling them weekly, but this is the first time she’s been able to visit them personally in months.

What did these two young toddlers say?

“Look. Granny came out of the phone.”

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Time is flying

Lockdown has eased

Yay. Less restrictions. We can do more things. We’re no longer restricted to going out for just exercise, food, medicine and safety, and only for an hour a day. We can go further—25km rather than just five—and there’s no curfew. We can eat out, provided the groups within specified guidelines. The hairdressers are open.

My hairdresser booked me into my regular 11:30 Saturday slot as soon the announcement. Then she sent me a message to ask me if I wanted it. That’s service. She did that for all her regulars, so much so that even when I arrived on Saturday (the announcement was the Sunday prior), she was still turning people away as she was booked up for the next three weeks just with the regulars.

To be honest though, outside of a haircut, little has changed for me.

Tax deadline looms

31 October is the deadline for tax returns if you’re doing it yourself, and the tax financial year itself runs from 1 July to 30 June. We do our own tax (except the super fund, which we leave to the experts). Because so many of our receipts are electronic nowadays, one thing I do as part of the process is export my bank transactions to a spreadsheet and compare them against the receipts.

Given that COVID-19 has been around since the start of the year, and the first round of restrictions came into play in March, with more severe restrictions commencing from August, it’s been interesting to see the change in my spending over the last 12 months.

Mostly, it’s all about the food. I can’t believe how much I spend on food. Less eating out, obviously, and more takeaway. More expensive takeaway—many local businesses simply switched their menu from on-premise to takeaway but didn’t change their prices. (Takeaway is the Australian term for take-out.) What surprised me most, however, was how far back I started doing this. March and April, rather than August. Eight months, not three. I know this year has flown by but reading the patterns it feels as if time has been compressed. March to October is a blur, and it doesn’t feel like that long.

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Hairy carrots and other horrors — take 2

WordPress ate my post. It’s on Goodreads, which takes a feed of the posts, but it’s not on the site. I have checked. It has gone. Totally. Talk about gremlins. (So for those of you who follow on Goodreads, apologies for the repost.) This was originally published on 17 October 2020, it’s now the 24th. Let’s see if this one disappears, too.

We passed day 100 of our lockdown. The numbers are going down, which is great, and restrictions may be eased soon, but meantime we’re still stuck with going out for a maximum of two hours per day for exercise, and once to buy supplies—all within five kilometres of home. It’s not so bad, and buying local is good. We did mostly anyway, but we’re making an extra effort to support the food places that are open.

Like a lot of people, I’ll be happy once I can eat out again. Meantime, we’re doing a lot of cooking at home. Also experimenting with online grocery deliveries, as I’m finding that the supermarket fruit and veg is more than ordinary. I found a grocer who delivers (turns out they’re close to work, actually) and their food is good.

Our workplace also organised a fruit and vegetable box for those of us stuck in lockdown. This was from an online company who specialises in deliveries like this. The fruit and vegetables, when they arrived, were amazing. So fresh, so tasty. I promptly ordered another box for the following week.

All I can say is, box two was a disappointment. Not using them again.

With all these boxes of fruit and vegetables being delivered, I forgot I had a bag of carrots in the crisper. When I finally remembered they were there they’d started to grow. Fine white roots all over. I decided to peel them, roast them, and turn them into roast carrot soup.

I don’t know if you have ever peeled hairy carrots, but I found the texture quite creepy. So much so that I had to force myself to keep going. They’re peeled now, and in the oven roasting—although they’re not doing so well at that, they’re not softening at all. We’ll see how we go.

In other horror stories—I’ve talked about my COVID-hair before. It’s growing out, both colour and the length. Longer hair does not suit me. Come Halloween, if anyone came to the door (I don’t think they’ll be able to), I’ll be a perfect witch. I’ll scare anyone.

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The music suits

Lovely music — Hans Zimmer’s Time, from the soundtrack of Inception, as the background to the Italian mountains, by Bashir Abu Shakra.