Sunday, April 29, 2012

Libraries are a hub

Local government libraries are a hub for migrant/non-Anglo families. It could be that the last two libraries I visited were culturally diverse areas, but I suspect the appeal of the library stems from:

- free access to a variety of materials: books, magazines, CDs, DVDs etc.

- access to a clean, free, comfortable and sometimes quiet environment, which is good for studying (crucial in Asian culture) and good for reading free newspapers (enjoyable for senior citizens, as well as saving precious pennies)

- books are for nerds and most migrant parents want their kids to be the biggest nerd in town.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pantry challenge

I have a lot of tinned goods in my pantry that have been sitting there for too long. So I've decided that each week, I will open at least one tin and cook with it. Two good things: forces me to cook and I use up things in my pantry, thereby creating more space. Win, win!

First on my list is a tin of evaporated soy creamy cooking milk. Even though I generally avoid soy products (except for fermented soy and tofu), I will make the creamy leek and prawn pasta recipe on the back.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"I only eat food from the bin."

I did actually just say that. I've got a reputation at the office for eating. Because I am enthusiastic about eating anything that is offered to me. Today I ate a banana that nobody wanted. I didn't really want it much either, but it was good healthy food, you can't have too much healthy food, so I ate it. But, for the record,  I have a lot of self-control with food that is just lying around, like the big jar of M&Ms that someone brought in (I've never touched it!), or the biscuits in my drawer, and I don't get cravings and have to go and buy food. I ignore a lot of food most of the time. However, food that is going in the bin if nobody eats it, I feel like I have a DUTY to attempt to eat.

I think this is an extension of my upbringing, "no ice-cream unless you finish all your dinner", and my frugalness. No amount of "your stomach is not a bin" can undo that.


I have pretty good spatial skills: I design, I can draw in perspective, I make stuff, I can read maps, I can solve puzzles. But I am completely confused by the 3 lifts at work. In my head, the lifts spin 180 degrees between the lobby and level 3. I know the lift doesn't spin around but I feel like whenever I use it I step out the opposite side of it. I can stand on level 3 and know that the street is on one side, but when I get out the lift and step into the lobby, hello, the street is on the other side. I get in the lift on the right, I expect to get out the lift on the right, but it's now the lift on the left—because my brain forgets that I turned around in the lift. I've obviously never had to cope with more than one lift before, and it's totally muddling me up. I've given up trying to figure out how the lobby and level 3 relate to each other, and just put up with the disorientation every time I get off the lift.

Pots and pans

I've managed to reduce my stovetop cookware to four items. My cooking style seems to be either one portion or many portions (with the most heading straight to the freezer). Here are my essential four:

Small fry pan
This fry pan is about the size of your palm, including fingers. Great for frying an egg or two in the morning, or a piece of steak in the evening. Got mine in great condition from Kingsford Salvos.

Small saucepan

Great for making a quick Tom Yum soup for dinner, cooking a few dumplings or porridge.

Large fry pan, with raised sides

For when I want to cook in bulk or add bacon and other things to my eggs. The raised sides are great because it means you can add more things than you would in a regular fry pan, and it would all fit inside.

Large pot

For cooking soups and stews. Sometimes I even cook stir-frys in it, because nothing is going to fall out while stirring!

If I really had to cut down, I probably could go without the large fry pan.

I also feel like a fake Asian because there's no wok in my list.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

That brilliant advice I always blog...

I'm in a non-coping place right now. I'm going on holiday on Saturday, and I've become stressed. And the thing is, everything is fine, plans are laid, preparations are made. But my brain can't stop worrying through things (what shoes to take, will I be late, airports and so on) when it should be sitting back and enjoying the anticipation of adventure.  I've started writing comprehensive lists, to get it all out of my head like I always preach, but it's too late, it's gone right through my body so now I'm completely anxiety-soaked. So I think this is when even jelssie advice is useless, I just have to survive another week. In the meantime: lists, progressive muscle relaxation, garlic-eating, and packing bags within bags.

Ironically, I filled out a research survey a week ago about anxiety attacks, and I merrily answered "no" to everything.

Monday, April 9, 2012

100 Ways To Uncomplicate Your Life

I'm a big fan of Hellen Buttigieg, a personal organiser from Canada, who has her own tv show. She recently published a list of 100 ways to uncomplicate your life. It's a great list and I highly recommend it. As Jess said, "That is so much Jelssie in one spot!"

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bag search.

I'm kind of looking for a new bag. One just big enough to hold an ipad and a lunch and a purse, and little pockets all over the outside to keep bus tickets and keys in. It's going to be a long search because bags are quite expensive. And in the meantime I'm getting bag envy of all the cool bags that men are wearing in the city. Women are loaded up with big ugly handbags, and men have all these really cool satchels. That's where it's at.