Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Spontaneity rulz, ok

You could also call it "winging it". Or Chaos Theory, where, if you're lucky, sometimes, you can cobble up something special for someone out of the disorganisation, and you can pull it off as if you'd been planning it for ages.

It was Middle daughter's birthday yesterday - 12!! I did have the pressies sorted (I'm not that bad!), but we hadn't yet sorted out any sort of party or outing with friends. (I'm slack like that these days). It turned out that Marc had a late Touch game - he wouldn't get home till nearly 9pm - so the family birthday dinner concept wasn't really looking that flash.

An idea hit me during the morning, and I called her friend's grandmother and arranged for the friend to arrive for dinner at around 5.30 as a surprise. It turned out to be a surprise for her friend too, as she had gone straight from school to a 'physi' lesson, so she had no idea she was coming either till her grandmother turned off their normal route home.

The standard birthday M.O. in our house is for the birthday girl to choose what to have for dinner. If it's a weekend or Dad can get home from work in time, it would inevitably be something cooked by on the BBQ - but she was limited to me and my kitchen last night, and what I could produce around the usual afternoon taxi run. Caitlin had netball training from 4-5, and I still had to get to the shops to actually buy the ingredients!

She chose Fettucine Carbonara - which I made for once with real cream (and decided never to try and make a low fat version again because it's soooo much nicer this way - believe it or not!) And garlic bread. And I whipped up one of my fail-safe quick mix cakes. (Golden Caramel Cake - using brown sugar and golden syrup in.. Mmmmm).

She even got away without salad as I forgot to buy lettuce at the shops. (Actually, I refused to pay $4.90 !!! for an iceberg lettuce; had thought to try a different shop and then within 5 minutes of thinking that - and having a chat to someone in the shop - forgot to go there. Typical really.)

When it came to icing the cake after we'd had the carbonara, I thought I might melt some chocolate to drizzle over it. I didn't have any normal or even cooking chocolate in the cupboard, but I thought I could melt some of those choc bits. Hmmm, do you think the fact that choc bits retain their shape when you bake them might mean that they won't actually melt? And that they make 'melts' for that purpose if you are too lazy to use real chocolate ? Duh!

So, dusted icing sugar it would have to be. Till Cait suggested I do chocolate glace icing. Hmmm, what a good idea. So even though I'd already dusted the cake with the icing sugar, I drizzled choc icing over it, then scattered smashed Maltesers* on top, and filled the hole in the middle, and it looked kind of arty in a Blue Poles or Meester Hart! What A Mess!! fashion. (Ok, so maybe not actually that good.) Cait put an array of deliberately non-matching candles over it, including one glow in the dark one, 3 spherical smileys, and one that continually relights when you blow it out.

I think having her friend there made it just a bit better than it would have been.

I'm still vaguely thinking about when and where she could do something with her group of friends. When inspiration hits and/or I pull my finger out and decide, I'll call it spontaneity.

Over the weekend I also spontaneously bought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and spontaneously read it and finished it by about 1 am on Sunday night. I am not obsessed by Harry (no really I'm not!) but I've always found it hard to put the books down when I read them. (Though I must confess not much of the previous one stuck in my memory - I did a quick Wikipedia-reconnaissance on the plot outline of The Half Blood Prince to refresh my memory, and was a bit peturbed that I hadn't retained that much of it at all! Part of me is somewhat relieved that they are all finished, so I don't have to read any more speculations about what was going to happen, and who was going to die. I guess I just don't get that obsessed about analysing books. I read 'em. I enjoy them. I move on.

On Sunday, Marc and I spontaneously went bike riding with some other BUG riders who we met up with about 10km from home. (Does organising it just the night before count as spontaneous?). We left the kids to sloth at home, and set off on our tandem. 36km each way, with lunch at a cafe.

On Sunday night, because I was reading Harry Potter, finally crawling into bed at 1am after not bothering to move from the dining room chair where I'd "picked it up to read for a few minutes"- seriously... I'm insane! - I forgot to wrap Alison's presents. A bit of angst there, snuggled up in bed. Do I get up and do it now, or get up early enough in the morning? I decided to risk the getting up bit, and even that worked out for me.

Planets and stars must have been in alignment for me these past couple of days.


* Jamie Oliver dessert suggestion from one of his TV shows: smashed Maltesers over icecream. Yum!

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Happy Birthday Ms 12!

Yes, I pointedly ignored the housework, myself and yes even the children until I finished Harry-bloody-Potter ;)
Yah for Birthday! Happy Birthday Ms12!

I'm reading Harry Potter too, but I'm not devouring it. Just a chapter or two a day. I'mm too ADD to sit down and read something all at once.
So I'm not the only one to 'force' salad upon my family!
Ahhh - that sounds like a super birthday dinner - give us the recipe for the cake, sounds so good.

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