Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I Had a Dream

I've been dreaming a lot recently. Crazy, mixed up dreams where nothing seems to make sense and if you get distracted for one moment, when you turn back to something, it isn't what it was before. I've never been one for writing down dreams, but this morning I had an appointment with someone who knows a bit about dreams, so we talked about it, and even in the retelling, I came to some realisations. I was told to try always to write them down. Some of it is still vague, but it went something a bit like this...

I was in an amateur biatholon or something like that - nothing too strenuous - and I couldn't tell you who else was in it, but they were all familiar to me and we were chatting as we were finishing the walk/run, going past some buildings from the last school I taught at as we approached the water. That school is nowhere near water. I am a passable swimmer, but not a strong one, however I went into the water for the final leg with a calm confidence, if no real drive. Rather than having to push myself, I just did it. I have no memory of any real finish, other than that it was out in the water and we had then to swim back to shore.

As I was lazing my way back in on my back, a man I knew - though I have no idea who it was - was complimenting me on my swim leg and the calm strength with which I'd approached it. He asked me what was different to other swims and I'd said that I wasn't really trying, I'd just been determined to live in the moment and focus on each stroke, my breathing and so on.

When we all left the water, people went to get changed whilst many others, who hadn't been participating, settled to a buffet dinner in two school rooms made into one with the retraction of a concertina door. Some were people I knew but there were many others I didn't. There was a buzz of conversation reminiscent from progressive dinners I attended as a child in the 70s. Unlike the other participants, I wrapped myself in a towel and made my way through this impromptu dining room to let myself into a storeroom at the end where I had my belongings. I received friendly jibes about my inappropriate attire for dinner as I walked through, all of which I replied to wittily.

As I was gathering my things, I needed to blow my nose and then needed somewhere to put the used tissue, so I put it under the switch of a light. Pinned by the switch. This is nothing I've ever done (is it even possible?) yet as soon as I did I realised it was a common sight in my dream and almost a mark of ownership. This is my space. I control the lights. Some other woman - an older version of me? - came into the room to do something and I felt a little intruded upon but went about my business and I think she went back to the meal outside.

Soon this storage space had suddenly turned into a walled garden. It was lit with shadows and had several garden beds, paths, trees and a compost bin constructed out of recycled timber. The whole space was not well kept but was alive. Functioning. I went to put something in the compost heap and discovered there the carcas of a sheep. It was somewhat decomposed, with insects and birds having removed the flesh from much of its face and other parts of its body. I needed to move part of it to fit into the compost whatever it was I had and received a shock to see the sheep flinch - that the sheep was not dead at all, but in a dire condition.

As a result of my inadvertant stimulation, the sheep suddenly shook itself and heaved itself out of the compost. It moved away from the bin to find two other small but full-grown sheep, in perfect condition, together in the garden. It tried to 'talk' to them, but they wouldn't tolerate it, rejected it, and it stood in dejection. The sheep required euthanasing, it was obvious to me, but I couldn't find any means to put it out of its misery, so I re-entered the dining room to find someone to assist me.

Having secured myself an assistant, I drew them back to the walled garden only to find that the door now suddenly led to an overcrowded bus on a hot day - replete with animals. I searched amongst the passengers and found the two healthy sheep stuffed under seats. I approached the rear of the bus, fearful that the injured sheep would be gone and that I would not be able to do anything about its suffering. Under the second back seat, I found my female dog, who looked a bit guilty (sheepish? Ha!) at being discovered. What was she doing there? Then, from under the back seat of the bus I dragged out the sick sheep, only to find that its nectrotised face was in fact only marred by a couple of sores. The assistant I'd brought with me to put the animal out of its misery exclaimed that this was not an animal in need of being killed and then I woke up.

Bizarre. Huh? Apparently, everything we dream is a part of ourselves. The different parts of the dream represent different parts of our self.

What the hell does this say about me? I have some ideas, but they are perhaps not for sharing here.

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A Veritable Feast

This is what my kitchen looked like the morning after I had friends over for dinner and made Japanese food for the first time in a long time. It would have been better if I'd taken snaps of the food as I'd prepared it, huh?

Please note the lovely retro kitchen. That's not a trendy reworking. It's original.

Anyway, want some recipes? I made:
Tofu in Lime-leaf Broth
Soy-marinated Salmon
Spinach with Sesame seeds
Teriyaki Chicken
Awayuki (Strawberries in Cointreau Jelly)

Tofu in Lime Leaf Broth
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp grated ginger
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup chinese cooking wine
6 shredded kaffir lime leaves
2 1/3 cups vegetable stock
1 bunch snake beans, cut into bite-sized lengths
500g firm (silken) tofu, diced

Place all ingredients except beans and tofu into a pan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer then maintain for 3 minutes.
Add the beans and tofu and stir gently for a further few minutes to heat.
Serve, for four.

Soy-marinated Salmon

1 tbsp oil
500g salmon fillet
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lime juice
2 tbsp chopped dill
1 tsp cracked pepper
steamed bok choy

Heat the oil in a frypan, over a high heat.
Add the salmon and cook for 5 - 8 seconds on each side. (This is not a typo)
Remove from pan and place in a a shallow dish
Combine the soy, lime, dill and pepper and pour over the salmon
Cover and refrigerate for 2 - 4 hours, turning once
To serve, slice the salmon and soerve on steamed bok choy. Pour a little marinade over the salmon as a dressing.

Spinach in Sesame seeds

500g fresh spinach, deveined.
3 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp dashi stock (I use one made from a powdered product, not from scratch)

Heat sesame seeds in a non-stick pan until they smell toasty.
Set aside a good pinch of seeds to use as a garnish and grind the rest of them in a mortar and pestle.
Add sugar and mix well with dashi and soy.
Wilt spinach in a large pot of simmering water. Drain, cool and chop to 2.5cm lengths.
Toss or drizzle with dressing.
Serve and garnish with remaining sesame seeds.

Teriyaki Chicken - the way I like to do it

Teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup light soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin wine
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sugar

Combine ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Set aside. (This can be made several days earlier and stored in the fridge.)

Chicken breasts, skinless) for 4 - 6 people (I use three)
A little oil for the baking pan.

Cut each breast into 4 - 5 strips. (The chicken, not your own!)
Bake at 180C for 10 minutes with foil over the chicken, then 10 minutes without foil.
Remove any excess pan juices and set aside for use in a sauce or stock later on.
Toss the chicken pieces in the teriyaki sauce and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Serve with rice.


4 cups hot water
8g agar-agar powder
4 egg whites
1 punnet of strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Cointreau
1/4 cup milk

Place agar-agar and water in suacepan and bring to boil then simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the Cointreau and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Strain the mixture and set aside to cool.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold with the milk through the cooled mixture.
Pour into a square plastic mould.
Hull the strawberries and arrange in rows in the mixture. Place in the refrigerator to set and cool.
When set, cut into squares and serve with ice-cream, whipped cream or on its own.
I served mine with green-tea ice-cream made from a packet mix!

Monday, September 05, 2005

I'm not usually much of a political person...

... but Tony Abbott makes me really, really, really fucking angry.

He makes me angry pretty much every time he opens his mouth. I first heard him speak in person in 1999 and I thought he was a knob then. On a panel, he attempted to hijack every question that was asked of other panellists and successfully painted himself an arrogant, narrow-minded fool. Another panellist, Tim Costello - that other idiot-Costello's brother and now head of World Vision in Australia - was talking total sense about strategies for the safe management of otherwise unsafe illicit drug-taking practices and Abbott repeatedly failed to listen, in course completely failing to divert the thrust of the discussion. Whilst the good twin was daring to dream of practical and compassionate responses to reality, the pollie dug his heels into that rich, privileged soil from which he hales and dug himself a hole not quite deep enough for my liking.

Fuck it.

I'm so angy, I can't even really articulate my full response to him. This is the censored version.

The really fucking annoying thing about Abbott is the electorate that was stupid enough to vote him in.


Friday, September 02, 2005

There's Smoke, Now Where's the Fire?

Smoke is the most unusually-coloured of the kittens. I've never seen markings like them before. Charcoal/black on the back, tail and neck, but flip it over and you have a dark grey tabby on the legs and the mask of the face. I think Smoke might be the favourite to stay here at the moment.

Smoke worries me cos he/she isn't really thriving. Far more likely to keep sleeping than eating, it's the runt of the litter and very ribby. Whilst Sox, Stripe and Mini-mum are in training for ripping the heads off other animals, and doing it with commitment, Smoke will just be off on its own, catching up on some more shut-eye. If called upon to do so, he/she will participate in a bit off rough and tumble, but is often at the bottom of the stack.

I've tried to orchestrate a bit of Mum and Smoke alone time, but it feeds for about 30 seconds before dozing off. I keep poking Smokey's ribs to stimulate and remind him/her of what it's meant to be doing, but it then only lasts about 5 seconds.

Now I know I'm a nervous new kitten-rearer, but can anyone give me some advice or reassurance?