On mushroomsauce

Don’t try this at home.

It is a waste of time, energy, electricity, ingredients and willpower.

You have been warned.

I [re]started taking B12 supplements this week. They’re [supposedly] good against tiredness, grouchyness, depression, energy-deficiency and a whole load of other stuff. The catch is, you have to take then half an hour after eating. This means you not only have to eat, you have to finish eating at least half an hour before you go to bed. This means cooking it in time to eat, in turn meaning starting to cook in time to finish cooking, eat and still have half an hour before bed. I suppose the only options are get organised or cancel out the energy benefits by sleeping less. Unfortunately the second option seems most likely.

I came home from work late and tired as a tired thing. I would have gone straight to bed if it wasn’t for needing to eat and wanting to post. I took a bag of semi-posh frozen ‘forest mushrooms’ and a pack of minced beef out of the freezer on my way in (my freezer’s on the landing outside my second front door) dumped them on the counter in the kitchen and turned the computer on. I officially wanted to read my email and write a post for day-1-month-2. So much for planning. Instead I stalked the people who’d liked my posts, the people who’d liked their posts and some people who came up in a search including my post, and here I am 6 hours later wondering why I’m not asleep yet.

The seemingly only connecting factor between all these things is this saucepan of brown gloop resting on my knee.

I remembered I didn’t like the slimy texture of the forest mushrooms last time I ate them, and that I’d whizzed them into a sauce and mixed it in to… something. And there was the first hurdle. I couldn’t remember what I’d mixed it into. No problem I thought, I’ll make something different. Mushrooms are good I thought, I shall make something like bolognaise sauce but with mushrooms instead of tomatoes.

Famous last words.

Because I am lazy and it was late and I really need to go shopping, I limited myself to very few ingredients. I whizzed the mushrooms (probably waking up my neighbours – they must love me :)), fried the beef mince, added a couple of chopped onions, fried everything a bit more so I was sure the meat was done, and added the mushroom goo. So far so good.

Then I tasted it.

BLEUGH!!

That was something I hopefully won’t repeat too soon.

So anyway. There I am with half a saucepan of grey-brown sludge. I am a big believer of not throwing food away, especially if it’s got animal in it, and even more of a believer in my ability to rescuing things which go wrong. Besides. I had a B12 tablet and a ravenous stomach waiting for me to eat and not a lot more edible options. I looked around and opened drawers and the fridge and found the following things:

  • black pepper
  • 2 beef oxo cubes
  • a lump of cheese
  • a tin of kidney beans
  • 3/4 of a tube of tomato puree
  • curry powder
  • worcester sauce
  • marmite
  • cumin seeds
  • paprika

and maybe some other herbs/spices which I’ve forgotten about.

Half an hour later and with the help of these things, I’d created something slightly more edible than my initial creation. I am sitting here eating it as I write.

I don’t think I will make it again. I think by the time I’ve figured out how to trick myself into eating the rest of the saucepanfull I will be thoroughly cured of the idea that posh mushrooms must be better than normal ones, or at least as good as people say. Hopefully I’ll remember not to [ever] buy them again. I’ll stick to ‘proper’ mushrooms in future. By proper mushrooms I mean the sort you buy fresh, in blue (or black or green) plastic trays with cellaphane/clingfilm over the top 😉

Also, I shall aim to keep enough milk about the place, that I can eat muesli and go to bed without braving the weird world of unknown cuisine.

Quote: the end?

Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.

– ?? (If anyone knows who said this first, let me know)

Day X

<or on Flying and boredom>

Hello dear people 🙂

I have decided that repetitive lists of filled water bottles and shiny sinks are rather tedious. I’ve moved them to their own blog which you can find here.

The interesting parts might be allowed to stay :p Happy reading 😉

Quote: your offering

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.

– Barbara Kingsolver

On motivation.. (or lack of)

< something I wrote yesterday >

"I work in a motivation vacuum. Any motivation I ever had, even what was stored in reserve, is sucked out of my being as soon as I walk through the doors. No matter how inspiring the weekend, how urgent the task at hand, the nagging and stropping of my colleague, the shinyness of my sink, none of it helps. Occasionally I can hide it until midday, but it's always found and sucked away. I don't want to end up some kind of wreck. I actually like what I do, naja, at least when it works. I want to make amazing things, but somehow I have no energy, no strength, no oomph. I don't actually know what the problem is.. If I did it might be easier to do something about it. I've tried changing places, washing the windows, decorating the wall. I have a [marginally] later start time. I still don't make it to work earlier than absolutely necessary, and often come too late. My exam is in less than 6 months and I can't bring myself to find the bother to care or revise or practise."

On a wet and windy night

A wet and windy night met her at the door and accompanied her to the entrance of the station. She was almost glad of the company.

The day had started so well. That surprised her. Recently, her days had all started with a bleary haze, been greeted with a grumpy monolgue of varying lengths and volumes and drawn out with a mix of frustrated silence, cheery banalities and the smell of beer. Today was different. It was a lot less bleary for a start, there was fruit juice and the warm smell of fresh (from frozen ;)) breadbuns. There was a walk to the busstop at something which resembled a ‘leisurely’ pace. There had been a short, gruff, “Good Morning” followed by a distinct lack of monologue. Shortly afterwards, she’d come back from the toilet to find her new ‘ProjectMeister’ waiting for her with 2 2litre beakers and some encouraging words. The grumpy voice took it’s leave with a terse “‘bye” and pulled the door firmly shut behind itself.

The ProjectMeister discussed the new project with our heroine and mentioned his interest in glassblowing. 35 minutes later he walked out of the workshop proudly holding the world’s first trianglular spiral like a trophy.

She was left with a new sense of purpose; somehow the motivation vacuum had been temporarily turned off. She relished the prospect of doing something worthwhile for someone who was not only interested and interesting but was also capable of picking up new ideas and running with them, despite them still being fresh and not quite totally thought out yet.

After a remarkably pleasant morning of trial and error and a home-made ready-meal for lunch, the grumpy voice made a reappearance.

In the distance the motivation vacuum started ticking over, vibrating lightly.

The new project was packed away for the next opportunity. There was a more urgent project waiting. It had been her custom-made baby originally, but the custom had changed and the baby was too small. The grumpy voice had tried to steal it, discussing designs with the custom-meister (;)), the designs she’d helped develop. It was hardly fair she thought, he doesn’t even understand why it has to be like that, or care about the problems behind the idea. She supposed he’d meant well. He’d told her she wasn’t to do any more project work and to spend the time practising for her upcoming exam – “you need all the practise you can get, and then some” was his reasoning. Since then there’d been a stream of interesting projects and they’d all been removed from her clasp by the voice of reason. And now her baby was going to be mangled. It was unfair. There had been an exchange of words and a half-victory yesterday afternoon. “It’d better be finished by tomorrow” he’d said, hurling it back to her before packing up to go home, barely concealing his discontent and leaving the unspoken threat hanging in the air between them.

Tomorrow was now. She wouldn’t work on untempered glass which had cost her an evening. She should have started on it as soon as the voice had left, but she’d been so wrapped up in the new [semi-secretly accepted] project, that she’d almost succeeded in blocking out it’s feeble cries. Besides, having been shut out of her baby’s future, she hadn’t listened to the final decisions and since she couldn’t get through to the CustomMeister she had no way of knowing what to do until the voice returned and deigned to enlighten her..

The CustomMeister appeared just before the voice, though luckily there was just enough time before his arrival to work out what went where and at what angle and all the rest of it.

She spent the last common hour of their day faffing about and trying to look occupied while fending off disdaining comments about her genius constuction (the grinder has a water-spewing arm which reaches the middle of the wheel. The beakers are far too large to fit around the arm, so she’d moved it out of the way and errected a make-shift water tower which did the same job, if a little less consistently).

Once the voice was gone, she gave her secret project a yearning glance and forced herself to concentrate on her baby. She’d fought for it afterall. She prepared the pieces, put the holders in place, got her rubber-tube out and attached it to one end, and started working. It was going well until she let her perfectionism have a word. “Too long” was all it said, but she had to agree. The work was undone and re-prepared. Thick glass, even boro, doesn’t appreciate being warmed up too quickly, especially unevenly.

[enter your favourite description of the noise glass makes while it thinks about breaking, followed by a couple of select expletives and a mumbled ‘pleasedon’tbreakpleasedon’tbreakpleasedon’t break’].

She’d just about finished patching the cracks up and started joining the pieces together for the second time, when one of the holders started to wobble. She poked it a bit and it seemed ok. A few minutes later the other holder joined in. Argh. Swivelling quarter of a turn in her swivvel-chair to sort out the holders, she caught the tube on something (maybe the burner? or the armrest? or the table? or…) and was unable to prevent the inevitable.

Glassblowing isn’t always a spectator-sport. Children should be issued with earplugs on arrival if the chance of increasing their vocabulary worries their parents.

Sweeping up the fragments, she reminded herself that she was going dancing later and so still had a good hour or so to make a new baby (psssh! not like that!). And then she discovered something unimaginably terrible. Each piece had been made up of multiple Glass Things joined together. The flanges and ventiles were all still ok, if a little unconnected, EXCEPT for the ONE sort of ventile they didn’t have in stock.

A couple of minutes later she’d checked all the cupboards and the drawer or spares and random bit and found nothing suitable. She’d have preferred to confess to the CustomMeister there and then but he was as elusive as ever. She had to admit other people probably had better things to do than sit by their phones waiting to be phoned with bad news.

The motivation vacuum roared into action. Nothing more to be done except wait for tomorrow.

After eating the leftovers of her lunch, she made her way towards the station. In the rain, and the wind.

Dear ticketmachine…

Thank you so much dear ticket machine. You must know how much I love getting to stations on time with the right money, typing my destination and how many tickets I need into your slightly greasy screen only to then miss the train I came to catch because you don’t like the taste of my money. It must make your day just that much sweeter!

I appreciate the care you go to, to give me the right change and print the right details on my ticket.. and you put up with all the grubby fingers poking your screen all day, and all the abuse from impatient people…

But is it really asking too much, to want to catch a train on time for once?

I might also be impatient, but at least I’m polite… and I didn’t punch or kick you.. I very patiently fed you my 20€ note 57 times (plus/minus a few) and you rudely spat it back out 57 times.That’s hardly helpful, is it? Hardly Customer Service. When I finally gave up and asked the other machine it obliged first time.. Can I suggest you ask it to teach you some manners?

I really hope that we will one day be successful ‘business partners’. Until then I will go directly to the other machine and you won’t get the chance to spit my money back at me.

Your friendly but frustrated Ticketbuyer