Tuesday 26 October 2010

Suprised? Anyone?

Coles Supermarkets wins Choice's "Shonky Award"

A $10 meal for four that actually costs $30, a credit card that makes you spend $12,000 for a $20 reward and olive oil that is anything but virgin have all netted Shonky Awards from consumer watchdog Choice.

The Coles "Under $10 meal promotion", fronted by celebrity chef Curtis Stone, was singled out for failing to include all the ingredients in the price of its budget meals that are supposed to feed a family of four.

"If you include the uncosted 'pantry items' (including 3/4 bottle of wine) in Curtis' $7.76 Coq au vin it would actually cost more than $30," Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn said.

"The deal claims you can feed four people for less than $10. The catch is you have to already happen to have some of the ingredients in your pantry, which aren't included in the price.”

Qu'elle Suprise

Monday 25 October 2010

I can haz....



Sunday 24 October 2010

Kaiyfa Halik?

For a man that doesn't officially actually have a job yet, Furry is getting around!! He's off to Kuwait later this week to check out the state of the company's plants there. Then back to Dubai, and possibly off to Qatar to do the same!

In the meantime, he..we..are now members of the Coolibah Club, the Australian expat club in Riyadh... And guess who's going to his first black-tie function at the Embassy for Melbourne Cup?

Good thing I told him to pack a suit, although, apparently, designer clothing is insanely cheap over there, and he could pick up an Armani or Hugo Boss suit for less than $500.

Hmmmmm.. Furry in Armani?


Although, until he starts drawing a wage, he'll just have to get the maid to air out his good old Aussie David Jones microfibre one! (Yes, I just casually said "maid". He also has a "driver".. more on that next post.)

So, with Furry as done and dusted as he can be during this hideous long and drawn out process of him actually becoming officially employed, I am adjusting to single life once again.

And I have to admit, I LOVE it.I get ALL the bed real estate to myself, I can have yoghurt for dinner, I am not serenaded by Furry "humming me a love song with his nose" overnight, and I can do what I want, when I want.

I am taking Arabic lessons (emphasis on food terms and shopping skills), and...as always.. shopping and cooking seasonally.

The Spring weather is a bit fickle at the moment, so we're going from the heater on overnight, to the cooler on by the time we get home. It's playing havoc with my menus! But recently, World's Best Son and I bought up big on broad beans.

Now, broadbeans are a much maligned veggie. Most people my age remember them as vile, bitter, grey nasty lumps of pap.

Which they most certainly are if not cooked properly. When prepared correctly, they are delicious sweet nuggets of legume-y goodness.

pg and Lima Bean's Asparagus and Broadbean Bruschetta.

Buy good bread. We chose a pasta dura from our local bakery and we cut it into doorstop wodges. While Lima Bean toasted these and rubbed them with some freshly cut garlic, I podded the broadbeans and snapped the asparagus.

Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil and throw in the asparagus. after 1 minute, throw in the broadbeans. Let them cook for a further 1 minute or until the asparagus is vivid green.

Drain and refresh in cold water.

Drain again.

Pick up each individual broadbean and squeeze it. Out should pop the most brilliant emerald green nugget. Discard the grey skin... this is the source of all your childhood angst. THIS is the offending wrapper that has assigned broadbeans along with Brussels sprouts as the 2 most maligned veggies in history.

Fry up some bacon/pancetta/prosciutto, combine with beans, asparagus, maybe some shaved leek and some crumbled fetta. Drench the whole shebang in some fresh lemon juice, a goodly slurp of olive oil some freshly ground salt and a generous grind of fresh black pepper. Mix all together, top bread with said mix and scoff.

And the next day, add some freshly cooked and peeled prawns to it and you gots an amazing seafood dish for some lovely organic bucatelli! (I reheated it over a low heat with a small knob of unsalted butter)

And, because Lima Bean is possibly the funniest, smartest young man in the world, the conversation over said scoffage was all about Dan Savage and inscrutability, so I offer you:

Did you know that my left nipple is really the vestigial nose tip of my malabsorbed twin?

Hey, you TOTALLY just read that on the Internet so it MUST be true!!


So, if you think that random "information" and "facts" gleaned from the "Interwebs" are permissible as "facts" or indeed, "evidence", I gots me some cyber "real estate" you might be interested in.

You might also want to look up the definition of "poetic licence" and "satire" and "semi-fictitious"

Have fun, kiddies!!

Thursday 14 October 2010

Dubai, my love, Dubai...

Dubai Airport. Looks nice, doesn't it? You could cheerfully spend a couple of hours wandering around, sniffing out stuff, don't you think?

This is where Furry just spent nearly 30 hours.

The gig with Emirates is, that if you have a long layover in Dubai, you get a hotel room.

Which Furry did. Where he had a shower and slept and Skyped me and shook off some jet lag. There was a small issue with his meds, the customs officials weren't keen on letting him out of the airport with 20kgs of cardiac/diabetes medications, so they held them over while he had his layover snooze.

Pretty simple, eh?

Well.. no.

Like EVERYTHING in my husband's life, NOTHING is simple.

He got the the airport 3 hours ahead of his scheduled departure. Was given a bum steer on directions to get his bag of meds,  spent nearly an hour finding and them finally retrieving said meds.

All good so far.

So, on his way from customs to the departure gate for his flight to Riyadh, he asked an airport security guard for directions. And said guard most politely gave those directions, swipe his access card, and let Furry out of the terminal, with the instructions: "Walk up here, around the corner, and through the door on the right"

Again, all good so far....


He attempted to re-enter the terminal at said "door on the right", to discover, he'd left the security of customs and immigration, and was now OUTSIDE with 20kgs of meds in a bag.

Not cool.

Customs officers took him to a "special" room where, thankfully, all the paperwork in triplicate was in order.

But.... there was still a language barrier that was not that easy to cross.

After repeatedly describing the contents of the case as "medicine" and pointing to his heart and saying "tablets".. tapping his wrist and saying "blood tablets" he uttered the OTHER word to describe the contents of said case:


And that, dear reader, is when things went South.

From here, he was taken to an even more "special" room, where he was strip-searched and drug swabbed.

And all he could think of was that he'd borrowed the suitcase from our darling friend Peakie, who had recently been to Bali.

Apparently his happy-place mantra while he was being "probed" was:

"Please don't have let her walk past some random person smoking a joint, whose smoke got on her t-shirt that was stored in the case"

So, needless to say, he missed his connecting flight to Riyadh, and after (most apologetically) being given drug-free clearance, was told NOT to leave the airport for any reason whatsoever.

Oh, and by the way, the next flight to Riyadh isn't for another 26 hours.

So, I can tell you, Dubai airport is a WONDERFUL place, unless you are a sleep deprived, recently-probed, unfairly accused drug mule who has to spend 24(ish) hours sitting in a plastic hair and eating airport food.

And, in closing, for all you international travelers who may suffer from diabetes,

Januvia, apparently, looks like Ecstasy.

Monday 11 October 2010

He's gone.

Ok, it's now official. He's moved to Saudi.

For the past three months, we had nothing.. nada.... to hang our hats on. While all this talk of "moving to Saudi" has been the focus for us, the reality has been that nothing's been in writing.. in reality we hadn't actually had a "real" job.

The contract was signed was dependant upon the visa, which was dependant upon the medical which was dependant on the whims and vagaries of the Saudi Consulate... which at one stage rejected the visa..

On the grounds that their own paperwork was out-of-date.

And while he's in the air, winging his way to Dubai, we're still far from home and hosed.

His actual employment.. that thing he does that will earn us money.. will be dependant on FURTHER "requirement" being met once he hits the ground in Riyadh.

The issuing of his iqama.

Everything hinges on that.

So, while I dropped him off at the airport last night, and we're all full of the hope and possibility of this new life.. we do have a small way to go yet before he is officially "employed"

Still, that meant nawt last night when I had to do the kerbside drop, knowing it could be MONTHS before I see him again.

And in true Instant Kharma fashion, I turned on the radio to cover my sobbing on the way home.

Did I get "Bohemian Rhapsody"?

Did I get "Tainted Love"?

Did I "Too Drunk to F**CK", or some other uplifting, quirky and funky mindless 80's one hit wonder to whom I could have sung away my tears?


My drive home playlist consisted of:

Lou Reed's "Dirty Boulevard" ("fly, fly away...")
Hunter's and Collectors "When the Rivers Run Dry" ("You got nothin' but your soul to sell, you got nothin')
Foo Fighters "Next Year" (pretty much the whole damn song")
Nickleback "Far AwaY" ("I keep dreaming that you'll be with me and you'll never go")

I swear I was waiting for REM's "Everybody Hurts" to come on and suck my soul dry.

"Nothing Compares 2U" would have made me punch myself in the throat.

So, today, I sit at work, with eyes like a sad panda with hay fever AND conjunctivitis, counting down the minutes until he lands and we can skype. I'm like a 16 year old waiting for the phone to ring.

If I start doodling  hearts over my i's and writing "Mrs Lee 4 evah" in cursive script on my pencil case, you have my permission to kill me.

Friday 8 October 2010


A few weeks ago, I needed some serious R&R.. like "if'n I don't get outta Dodge, I might go postal" kind of R&R. And in one of those random moments of epiphanatious-ness, I completley, 110% knew EXACTLY where I had to go to heal myself.

Over 18 months ago, the girls and I had headed up to Nojee for a Goddess Weekend, and I had met Sue, the owner of Nana's Place. I hadn't actually stayed there, but I'd seen it and had fallen in love and promised myself I'd come back and stay there... one day.

But when my gaskets were screaming on mach 11, for some strange reason I felt inexplicably called to go there. So after some random hunting (cos I actually had NO idea how to contact this person, who I only knew as "Sue from Nana's in Noojee", I had a phone number and my weekend was organised.

Three totally relaxing, delicious, self-indulgent days later, my nerves were screaming less, my shoulders were where there should be, in relation to my neck.. not somewhere up around my temples, making me look like a transvestite version of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, and I had ALMOST convinced myself NOT to kill certain people (yes, I AM talking about you, Furry)...

And, as you do in these social-media-savvy times, Sue and I exchanged Facebook details.

Which meant she read my previous note about what happened with Stella and Mrs Peaches.

So guess what?

Mrs Peaches is going to live at Nana's Place, in Noojee, with Sue!

We went up yesterday, and they met, and fell in love.. and Mrs Peaches frolicked (off her lead!) in the wild dandelions, and sniffed to native orchids and discovered the delights of rolling in duck poo.

And was hand fed corned beef and a wee bit of Jindi triple cream brie, with a dried cranberry in it, and was loved and snuggled and tickled.. and even Sue's wonderful partner, Wayne fell in love with her and those stupid fucking fairy wings!!!

So she's back at home with us, as yesterday was just the first meeting, but Sue is coming for dinner on Wednesday for a love-in.. and then next Saturday, Mrs Peaches will be ready to go and live in Noojee as a single dog.

And if you could have seen Mrs Peaches yesterday, leaping through the lupins, with her ewok smiley face on, you'd be as completely and utterly as happy and contented as I am right now.

You can follow Mrs Peaches story here

Thursday 7 October 2010


On the way back from Sydney, after I'd calmed down, we stopped in a place called Tarcutta... it's a dodgy outback town, famous for being 1/2 way between Sydney and Melbourne.

So it's a famous long-haul truckie stop. It even has a "Trucker's Museum" and a monument to the brave truckies killed on the highway **eyeroll*
BUT that also makes it a great place for truckie stop food...

BUT, It also makes it a place frequented by truckies... wife-basher blue singlet wearing, speeding of yer tittties, bigoted anti-everything Neanderthals with barely a functioning synapse between the lot of them.

So we're in Tarcutta, with a dog who's shit-faced stoned on Valuim, wearing a pink tutu and a pink fairy wing harness, and I need to pee... So I get out and go and pee and come back.. and Furry and Peaches aren't in the car... and I look around, and Furry is carrying Peaches, and exiting the men's loo.

This is a man who took a small fluffy lap dog, dressed as above, into the men's toilets ar Tarcutta MEGA Trucker's Stop... and survived.

And when I asked him why he didn't just leave her in the car while he had his pee, he answered " I don't think she's ready to be left on her own, for the first time in her life, yet"

Despite the fact, that at that very moment in time, we didn't have a ratified employment contract, so we were giving away our babies on a hope and a prayer, he's pretty hard to hate, sometimes.

Oh, and by the way, the Tarcutta Chicken Shop, the mainstay of my kids childhood trips to and from Sydney, is gone. **sad panda**

Monday 4 October 2010

It's not always about the food...

Man, Saudi Visa land is a place you can get lost in.. I seriously haven't even been on here in over a month. But in my defence, I have been busy. And sometimes things happen in my life that are NOT about food.

I know, crazy talk, right?

Well... I've spent the past month doing the hideous deed of re-housing my beloved dogs, so I hope you'll forgive me for my absence.

Ok, here is the BRIEF version of my weekend… We set out for Sydney (about a 10 hr drive from us) at 2.30am on Friday morning. I was pretty much hysterical the whole way. Stella is VERY sensitive to my moods, and so I had to suck it up.. but basically I told Furry that if I was giving away my babies, and he FUBAR'd this Saudi thing, I would kill him for making me do this.

In his defence, he was also in tears.

So we make the long trip to Sydney and arrive at their new owner, Helga’s at about 11.30am and proceed to meet Helga and her Mum.

Who are, without doubt, the most beautiful, wonderful dog owners in the world. Helga has an illness that stops her from working and her Mum is her full-time carer, so they are both pretty much always home. They have made notes over the past few weeks, while we’ve been talking via phone and have gone out and bought Stella’s favourite chips (lime and black pepper Kettle chips) and a coat for Mrs Peaches to wear when it rains.

The coat is pink and has fairy wings.

They’ve roasted a pumpkin for the girls, bought some Bach Flower rescue remedy for them and made Furry and I a cake.

They bring out their boy, Bailey, who is a neutered male Briard, who was also abused and abandoned… so they know what they’re taking on with Stella.

Stella and Peaches and Bailey do some sniffing and there is a bit of growling and teeth baring.. but that is TOTALLY normal with Briards.. It’s what they all do whenever they meet.. but there is NEVER and contact….

So after a while, we let the kids off the lead.. and Bailey is showing keen interest in Mrs Peaches butt.. he keeps sniffing it…

Now for those of you who don’t know.. Mrs Peaches is a fluffy black lap dog.. and Briards are pretty much the size of a BIG German Shepherd…. With long long LONG hair.. and the blonde ones look pretty much like male lions.

So Peaches gives him a bit of a growl and he backs off.. and I mention to Helga that if he keeps doing that , she WILL nip him.. but they need to work it out.. and I am sure that all will be well.

So in the end, Furry and I leave…

We’re hysterical.. we can barely see thru the tears.. but we also feel like we have TOTALLY done the right thing.. These women are just lovely and our girls are going to be so so SO loved.

We ring that night and apparently Peaches and Helga’s Mum have totally bonded and she is had feeding her roast chicken… and Stella and Bailey are getting along famously and all is well… and Helga and her Mum (who are both vegetarian Buddhists) have bought chicken Marylands for the girls and apparently Stella didn’t like the raw carrot sticks for snackies so they’re going to STEAM them tomorrow for her.

And Furry is TOTALLY like “Can I come and be your dog, too?”

So we go to our friend's place with a really REALLY good feeling about this..

Furry and I proceed to have the FUNNIEST night of out lives and it ROCKS.. and we go to bed ad I say to Furry “Who knew that THIS night was going to be as easy as it has been?”.. and we go off to sleep knowing our girls are just going to be so loved and spoilt.

So on Sat morning, we ring them up and get a report.. and Peaches and Stella have slept on Helga’s bed and being hand fed doggie chocolates. And Peaches is getting a bit growly with Bailey, but they’ll work it out.. and Helga has a spray bottle of water called a “boo boo” and every time Peaches gets a bit too growly she gets a spray… “because we don’t ever raise our voices are smack”

And I am like “WTF? I want to go and be their bitch, too!!

And we decided that we won’t drop past on the way home, as it won’t be good for the girls.

It's done.. and we are actually a LOT more ok about it than we thought.

So off we go and hang out, up in the Blue Mountains and we have a picnic and we are totally hanging with friends and picnicking in the mountains on luscious food and our girls are happy and loved.

And we get a call that night that Bailey and Stella are totally in love and Mrs Peaches LOVES beef minced by hand and doesn’t really like the doggie chocks but LOVES being hand fed strawberries..

And now we’re ALL like “Can we come and live with you?”… and I end by saying:

We’ve poured so much love into those girls and now they’re with you, so our love is with you now.. so you're family…

And I go to bed thinking that everything is going to be juuuuuust fine.


The phone goes at 6.15 AM on Sunday, and it’s Helga’s mother and she is HYSTERICAL… and I mean it in the medical sense of the word… She’s crying and screaming and we can barely get a word out of her…

There’s been a fight… and Helga and her mum tried to separate the dogs… and they couldn’t.. and there was a total all out dog fight in Helga’s bedroom…


And I am like: WHAT THE ......?

These are the dogs that can’t even be bathed separately because they get anxious when they can’t see each other?

They have NEVER EVER fought.. growled over a piece of food maybe. But fight?

And drawn blood?

Apparently Bailey and Stella and Peaches were on Helga’s bed and Peaches just LAUNCHED at Stella… and there was a full on to-the-death fight…. And Helga and her mum couldn’t separate the girls and in the fray, one of them BIT Helga’s mum… and there was blood everywhere.

Eventually they got the girls apart and took Peaches outside and loved her up and calmed her down.. and had them apart for a good 20 mins and then bought her back inside… and Bailey and Stella had moved to the couch together and when Peaches saw Stella she just  LAUNCHED at her and it was on again.

Except this time Peaches had Stella by the throat and Stella is SCREAMING.

So eventually they separate the girls, lock Peaches in the bathroom, where she just lies down and is totally calm, and ring us.

So Furry and I are running around Gabby’s apartment in the nude, trying to pack and clean up and I am pretty much hysterical and Gabby offers to come with us and sort this shit out and we jump in the car and take off.

And we get there and the Mum comes out of the house holding Peaches who looks TOTALLY subdued and has her naughty face on, and Furry shoved 1/2 a Valium down her throat and throws her in the car.

And Gaby and Furz and I go in, and Helga’s Mum’s hand is bandaged and Helga is rocking foetally in her bed and Stella…. My precious, beautiful baby…

Looks at me totally like “oh, it’s you”.. and lies down and totally starts MAKING OUT with Bailey!

And I search her all over for damage and there isn’t any and I tell her I love her and I hug her and Helga, and Bailey gets in on the love in.. and Stella is like “whatever, nice to see you but YOU never bought me chicken Marylands”.. and totally snubs me and starts cuddling her new squeeze.

I swear it was "Talk to the dew-claw, lady"

And they’ve changed her name to Isabella.. and I swear, it’s like “I am totally grown up now, and I have a boyfriend and I am in lerve and I am going to change my name and move in with him” and she has totally dropped Peaches, Furry and I like a hot potato.

We are totally living in the Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie saga, except the Nicole character is a little black fluffy dog, wearing a pink tu tu and fairy wings, munted on Valium in the back seat of my fucking car!

So we just leave.. we just hug Gabs and say goodbye and leave… and Peaches is off her tits and so groggly. And it takes us hours to get home and she won’t eat or drink and I am completely BESIDE myself.. and I am getting all anthropomorphic and starting to HATE Stella. And I ring the Tanya,  who organised this and she confirms what we suspect. Stella has bonded with Bailey and abandoned Peaches.

So we get back to Melbourne and Peaches is a total mess.. She is so so so SO sad.. she is all whimpery and cowering (as your would be after your best friend and soul mate that you had NEVER been parted from ALL YOUR LIFE tries to gnaw your goddamn head off)

And she’s so bruised and sore and so sad and forlorn.

And I remember something that Gaby said “Where do you think the word “bitch” comes from?”

And I am just so incredibly sad for my little fluffy “chew toy”

......TO BE CONTINUED.........