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Happy b'day to Mum

Today's my Mum's 70th, and I'm in the high street trying to pick her up a present before going round there. The problem is that I can't decide whether to ignore her wishlist and get her something that I would like, nay, enjoy giving; or be a good daughter and buy her the sodding set of scales she asked me to get her last week.

I mean, scales? Quite apart from my honest conviction that they're the devil's invention and that she at least really has no need of them (I've never understood her morning and evening ritual of weighing herself, seeing as that both she and my sister are reed thin)-- how prosaic a birthday present can you get? Even if I ask the sales assistant to tie a bow around them, they're still...scales!

I know I'll probably end up buying the damn things anyway -- she never wears the jewellery or the perfumes or the scarves I've given her in lieu of what she asked for in the past, but why do I have to have a mum who's so aaaarrgh practical all the time? Going shopping for household appliances? Not my idea of fun.

Beside which, it's raining. In fact, it's pouring down. And my trainers aren't water-tight. And my hair's a mess. And I'm going to have to spend the rest of the day cooped up with my aunts and cousins, some of whom I haven't seen in years. If I don't see people for years, I think it's fairly accurate to say that I'm not interested in seeing them, so all in all, I don't think I'm having an especially good day today.

It started off alright, though: sitting by the fire going over bogwitch's opening chapter of her new WIP, entitled...well, she's not entirely happy with its working title yet, so perhaps I'd best not mention it. Which has nothing to do with the fact that I've forgotten it for the moment...;-)
As introductory chapters go, it has a nice, melancholy feel to it; and I can tell it's going to be angsty. No snarky Spike yet, but I'm sure he'll find his way into the story before too long.


( 18 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Jan. 17th, 2004 06:38 am (UTC)
Yep, Working My Way Back to You will be the title, I think. It was called that when the plot was very different, so I hope it works now - I've got used to it! It will be angsty, but with some humour too, I hope.

Relations, eh? My sympathies!
Jan. 19th, 2004 02:31 am (UTC)
Well, it sounds like she's working her way back to something in that first chapter; a slow and arduous process, I hope...but not too much ;-)
Jan. 19th, 2004 03:24 pm (UTC)
Well it starting out as the story of him trying to find her, but that idea got junked early on. The title just about stands now with the new plot.
Jan. 18th, 2004 05:52 am (UTC)
Happy birthday to your mum!

You're so lucky to have your mum--mine would have been 89 on 12/23. She was OK about getting gifts (roses were always a safe bet) but I had the worst time prying her out of the house for Mother's Day celebrations. It was as though she had agoraphobia, and yet she'd sky off to Europe every couple of years. Funny woman.
Jan. 19th, 2004 01:51 am (UTC)
You're so lucky to have your mum

Ain't that the truth? Honestly, I wouldn't know what to do without her. About a year and a half ago now, I was called away from work with the message that my mum had been admitted to hospital. She'd had a funny spell and ended up having to spend a few days at the heart monitor ward. They never did find out what exactly'd been wrong with her, and she's been fine ever since; but I can remember that during the drive over, I kept thinking things like "Omigod, I haven't asked her for that recipe yet" or "Who's going to put me in touch with a reputable plumber if my waterpipes burst?" and "I don't know how I'll get through the evenings without her phonecall!" and pure, unadulterated panic hit.

I'm sorry to hear you've already lost your mum. Luckily though, it's clear that you've got a lot of wonderful memories of her -- sounds like she was quite a character!
Jan. 19th, 2004 03:29 am (UTC)
Yes, the recipes! I'd get a little tingly "spider" the last few years before she died, and would call her for a recipe and write it down. I have them all now. I still get the urge to call her when I'm cooking.
Jan. 19th, 2004 03:41 am (UTC)
I still get the urge to call her when I'm cooking

LOL! I find that even if I have my Mum's recipes, somehow the end result is always slightly different than I remember it tasting when she's made it. It's never as good as Mum's cooking! Also, Mum's much better at finding substitute ingredients if the ones we should be using aren't available; which tends to happen every now and again. There's a lot of Malaysian foodstuffs around, but you do have to know where to look for them.
Jan. 19th, 2004 04:04 am (UTC)
That must make it harder. With my mom, it was just good old American cooking, with a soupcon of Swedish Christmas cookie recipes I managed to get out of her.

BTW, I love Asian food. I have a cookbook of Thai recipes I'm afraid to try. Is Asian cooking harder than European? (We have Asian grocery stores here in Minnesota -- lotta boat people settled here.)
Jan. 19th, 2004 04:42 am (UTC)
Is Asian cooking harder than European?

Provided you can get the proper ingredients, it's not difficult at all! It can easily be quicker (think stir fries) which I always think is a big thing in its favour, but other than that, it just depends on your individual kitchen prowess as to how hard it is.
Jan. 19th, 2004 05:43 am (UTC)
I should be brave and just plunge. I love rendang padang. Mmm good.
Jan. 19th, 2004 06:19 am (UTC)
Rendang padang? That's one of my favourites, too!
Jan. 19th, 2004 06:32 am (UTC)
So rich and good! Unfortunately for me, the big tough ex-Marine I'm married to is a big baby about spicy food! But I can make it for me alone, and portion out the leftovers for yummy lunches.

I'm going to take the plunge! Is your recipe like this?:
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. ginger
3 lemon grass leaves
1 lb top round or lean beef, sliced thinly
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 Indian bay leaf

Jan. 19th, 2004 06:41 am (UTC)
Yep, that sounds about right to me; though I think Mum puts in some laos, kemiri and chillies as well. Hmmm, I can almost smell the bumbu being prepared!
Jan. 19th, 2004 06:51 am (UTC)
laos, kemiri and chillies

I will add those to the list and see what the Asian market has. Yum, yum! Thanks!
Jan. 19th, 2004 07:02 am (UTC)
Oh well, in that case: the Malaysian word for these red hot chillies (Padang is a town on the island of Sumatra, and the local cuisine is very spicy!) is rawit (pronounce: rah-weet).

You could also add onions, cloves, a cinnamon stick and some assam (tamarind) to the recipe if you like. Some people even add trassi (shrimp paste) to the mix, but I wouldn't recommend it -- you'll never get rid of the smell again.
Jan. 19th, 2004 07:12 am (UTC)
That helps. These grocers are not Malaysian, they're Vietnamese, so it helps to have a couple of words to call a particular ingredient one is looking for. This is one reason why I've been reluctant to get started with my Thai cookbook. (That, and the grocers are in a bad neighborhood!)

This conversation is making me very hungry!
Jan. 19th, 2004 07:28 am (UTC)
Me, too.

I don't know any Vietnamese, so I'll explain what I mean by some of these words I've used: laos is a whitish root; in powdered form, we call it djinten. Kemiri is a nut, that looks a bit like a big walnut on the outside, dark brown with white. It also comes in paste form, in jars.
Tamarind paste is usually a deep, dark red in colour; but if you can't find it, you could use brown sugar instead.
Jan. 19th, 2004 07:31 am (UTC)
See, this is what I needed -- someone to "show me the ropes." Thanks!
( 18 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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