Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Blue Roses For A Blue Lady

Apologies to Wayne Newton for the title but I promised 'A Free Man' I could match him for blue velvet roses on Prom Night.

Of course, it's not called Prom Night in Australia. In 1977, this was my outfit for my school 'Formal Ball' (as opposed to the dance earlier in the year known as the 'Sports Dance' a very informal occasion indeed!).

My dress needs comment; it is my mother's wedding dress which she had 'cut down' to use for balls and dinner dances in the sixties. It was actually quite 'out there' in the realms of formal dresses of the day; which were, in the main, Laura Ashley puff sleeved numbers or handkerchief hem confections. I always liked to stand out from the crowd. The blue velvet rose was the very classy finishing touch. If I remember rightly I also had a black lace shawl reminiscent of Stevie Nicks on the Rumours Album. Ahhhh, those were the days.

The other reference in the title is that of a 'blue lady'. Now, as well as obviously being dressed in blue, I was also in mourning for the departure of my boyfriend, the Rotary Exchange student from the US who had the honour of being my first real love. I'm not sure whether I ever recovered from his return to the States although I'm pretty sure, from the tone of his dwindling letters, that College life back home put little old me pretty quickly out of his mind :-) Still, I seem pretty happy here, even though I had elected to go to the dance on my own rather than find a stand in partner.

I hope you're all feeling very sorry for me now ;-)

There are other memorable stories from that dance, notably my father's role as a chaperone! He had the job of patrolling the grounds to ensure 'couples' stayed inside the hall and didn't leave before the end. On one occasion he chased one of the teachers and her husband across the road demanding to see a permission note for leaving early! On another he asked a young man and his lady friend to come out from behind a bush, only to find himself dwarfed by a 6ft+ Aussie Rules football player. "Sit down, enjoy yourself," he recalls saying!

My father was also responsible for the unfortunate incident of the 'balloon structure'. We had spent the afternoon crafting a cane cage to hold balloons above the dance floor (obviously no helium around in those days) and, as the evening drew to an end my father felt the crowd needed a balloon shower. On his own initiative he climbed a ladder and cut a cord, expecting the cage to open and the balloons to fall harmlessly down. Instead, the entire cane contraption (a sizable affair) came crashing down onto the heads of the unsuspecting dancers. The Headmistress always thought I had something to do with that; although the fact that I was gyrating on the dance floor at the time meant she couldn't pin it on me.

If only she had known....

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Another Public service Announcement

Now I'm sure many of you have seen this going around the emails for a while but the BA insisted it was just the sort of thing all you Assertive Parents need to be reminded of when you feel your Flaming Swords sputtering and waning.

The Mom Song

I really hope the link works!

:-D

On Tenterhooks vs At Long Last!!!!!

I am DROWNING in work but I have just popped up quickly to report on two important and contrasting events!

1) The BA's interview went...as well as it could have. She feels confident that she gave a good account of herself and was happy with her answers to most questions. We will have to wait until next week to see what the outcome is.

In typical BA style, she was able to eloquently articulate the fact that while she would like to 'win' the scholarship, she isn't really sure if she wants to go to the school.
"It would kind of be like 'Yaaay I did it!' and then 'Oh...now I have to actually GO to the school...." she says.

Very fair I thought.

2) Himself finally got out his SuperDad cape yesterday and marched No2 Son off, kicking and screaming (metaphorically) to our local TAFE (College of Technical and Further Education) where he enrolled him in a last minute Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design. He starts tomorrow. I am not exactly sure how No2 Son feels about this but it certainly is a good course for him. It's varied and practical and will build on his strengths, if he embraces it. He just has to get over his dislike of being told what to do and acknowledge that there are people out there who know more about...oh I dunno....EVERYTHING.... than he does!!

Stay posted!!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Tradition: The Scholarship

My sisters and I grew up in Australia without an extended family. Any traditions my parents upheld with their families were displaced by the 12 000 miles distance between their upbringing and the place they had ended up raising their children.

This kind of dislocation can have strange effects on people. We were quick to establish new traditions; as my Middle Sis has pointed out, for her, anything which happened twice became a 'tradition'. We cling to roots which are painfully superficial but which are the only ones we have.

So when I was awarded a scholarship to an independent 'ladies' college in 1973, I embraced the traditions with open arms. Whilst openly bemoaning the strict uniform, daily routines and annual rituals of the Valedictory Service and Speech Night, I secretly adored being part of something so 'old' and far reaching. It was like being part of something...big. A family maybe?

Middle Sis who attended for 7 years feels pretty much the same way I venture to suggest. She has gone so far as to meet with the new Principal in order to discuss starting a chapter of the Old Scholars' Association in Europe! Which brings me to the Old Scholars' Association. Every year they offer a scholarship to the daughter of an Old Scholar who must put together an application detailing her academic achievements, her extra curricula activities and her all around good character. It represents about a third reduction in fees (not as much as the one I won in 72 *sigh*) and it is the only way we can even begin to look at the Baby Angel attending my old school.

To be honest, it's me who wants her to attend. She has been on a tour and whilst quite impressed by the facilities, remains mildly concerned that the clientele will resemble something from Hogwarts or, more worryingly, 'Daisy Pulls It Off'. I keep reminding her that, after all, I went there. She is happy in her peer group at her current school and the fees are much more affordable, but I would love her to have the opportunity to be a part of a tradition, as the second generation, something my family could not do here in this far-off sunburnt country.

Two weeks ago, as the Victorian bushfires raged and I wrestled with my own demons, she wrote an application for the scholarship. We were late of course, I suspect I am her greatest liability in that regard, but we got it in with a reference from the Bestie and another dear family friend (also an Old Girl) then we sat back and waited.

Last week we got the call. She has been shortlisted.


And so, tomorrow morning at 10 am my beloved daughter will attend an interview with the Principal of the College. She wanted me to tell you all.
("I like the affirmations of all your bloggy mums," she said. See how important you all are? :-)

How do I feel?
Wow.
I am shaking my head here.

On the one hand I am so proud of her. I think she is an exceptional young person, full of love and sensitivity, life, humour and amazing perception for one so young. On the other hand I know she is an inarticulate 13 year old whose every second word is 'like'...

("So then she's like 'duh-oh' and he's like 'gimme a break' and I'm like....")

I hate to be setting her up for failure. She is not a sophisticated kid. She is not calm and assured in company. She doubts herself. Hell, she doesn't even know herself yet and why should she?!

Yes, I would love for her to go to my old school, but equally I know she will find her own way. If she gets it I will be bursting with pride but then, I do that most of the time anyway.

In the end, whatever will be will be. The fact that we can't look at sending her there without a scholarship means that the decision is really out of our hands. I am sure the Lord will place her where she will do best.

Whatever happens I remain fiercely priveleged to have her.

After all, doesn't this look like a scholarship winner to you?

Interview 2009

So, who wants to know about me?


A Free Man decided to mix it up a bit by pairing up bloggers to interview each other. The lovely Nichole was given the unenviable task of concocting questions designed to make me talk about myself (as if I needed ANY prompting).


Here then, I give you: an interview with me.


1. In your estimation, what's the best blog post you've written?

Woah you sure know where to start! You are assuming I even remember the blog posts I’ve written and as I can’t even remember what I said to that man at the bar last Friday night….

Seriously, there are too many posts and too many categories in which I could answer this. I like this one on

The Flaming Sword but I also like this other one about my dear family.

In any case, my mother taught me to titter politely and decline to reply when asked questions like this. Apparently it is not ladylike to blow one's own horn .



2. If you knew that beginning tomorrow you would be blind for one year, what would you want to be sure to see today?

Are you trying to do my head in????

All right, gut wrenching answer; my daughter’s face.



3. What was your first job?

I was a ‘Checkout Chick ’ at Coles New World Supermarket.

(Have a Nice Day and Thank you for shopping at Coles New World!)

For those unfamiliar with Australiana, the term‘Checkout Chick’ was coined by comedian Norman Gunston (aka Gary MacDonald) on his TV show in the 70s and remains in common parlance to this day. I quite liked being a checkout chick in those days. You had to punch real numbers into the till and you could get a real rhythm up. On a busy day it was easy to go onto auto pilot and the time flew.



4. If you could ask God one question, what would it be?

Why Maths? Why did I end up teaching Maths? I mean, is this some kind of sick joke? And while we’re here…how come I have cavernous wrinkles and pimples at the same time? I suppose you think that’s funny too??????

Oh, did you mean a real question?



5. What's been the most daring feat you've attempted?

Giving birth.



6. Do you prefer cake or pie?

I prefer alcohol. No, seriously, cake. I mean, pie has all that pastry! Very gluggy. Unless American pie is better than Australian pie, which is entirely possible. I mean, a country that designs a dish where a meat pie floats in pea soup…. what is that about?



7. You are going to receive an award. What is it for? (This is supposedly a question Microsoft asks in job interviews.)

I am receiving a Nobel Piece Prize for executing the greatest number of incomplete pieces of project anywhere in the world, space and time. Seriously though, I always wanted to win an Academy Award, mostly so that I could make the speech. Mind you, in years gone by I have observed that the calibre of the winning actor and the making of a decent speech are sometimes inversely proportionate.

8. What advice would you give a rookie step-parent?

I am a rookie step parent. What the hell would I know? Ask me in 10 years time.

Aw alright…..to someone even more rookie than I am I would say……….don’t get married………..NO NO NO just kidding……ok, how about this……….

Try and put yourself in the kids’ shoes from time to time. They didn’t ask for this.



9. So far in 2009, you've had run-ins with snakes, jellyfish, spiders, fairy penguins and kangaroos. What's the scariest thing in Australia?

Spiders. Definitely spiders. Cos they’re everywhere! Snakes are pretty hideous but at least they’re generally outside. And spiders make a MESS. All those webs! No sooner do you sweep them down than the b******s are back up there spinning them again. Also, you may not be aware of this but spiders crap everywhere! The pile of tiny faeces under an untouched web can be enormous!!!!

When I was considering moving back to Australia, the one thing that stood out as a stumbling block were the spiders. I managed to overcome it but, bugger me they can be big.

10. Neil Young or Neil Diamond?

Oh my Lord!!!!!!! Neither! although ND did do Sweet Caroline which has personal resonances for me and NY did ‘Needle and the Damage Done’ which everyone in my generation learned to play on the guitar along with ‘Smoke On The Water’.

My husband wants NY’s “Hey Hey My My’ played at his funeral. I may have to put on my ipod during this segment of the proceedings, if I outlive him!

To be honest, if I had to pick a Neil it would be Neil Simon.

‘Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes’.

Ah-wah ah-wah…..

11. What was the last book you read? What was it about? Should I read it?

Brave woman.

The last book I read was “Toast’ by Nigel Slater the UK celebrity chef. It was an unusual choice, bought as it was at the Picton Library Annual Book Sale (a bag of books for $5.00).

I found it easy to put down and pick up and yet surprisingly engaging . It chronicles his early life with his father and mother, (a woman after my own heart who struggled with cooking), through her death and the arrival of a step mother for whom cookery was a form of martial art in the battle for his father's affection. The delightful thing about it is the way he focuses each chapter on a particular foodstuff; through this device he traces his journey of self discovery. I found it entertaining. Not riveting or a ‘page turner’ but well written and mouth watering.

Should you read it? Depends how much you like food.

12. Describe your ideal day.

I am 34. I am 56kg. I have a perfect knee without wires and bolts (this bit is fantasy as I smashed my knee at 28 and it will never be the same again). I am living in Jindabyne NSW and I get into my reliable 4WD and drive to Thredbo where the snow cover is top to bottom and perfect. I meet up with dear friends and family and we ski all day, stopping only for gluhwein and bratwurst at lunch and hot chocolate whenever the legs demand it. My boots fit perfectly and I have no pain in any part of my body.

At the end of the day we gather for rum and cokes, tell stories of the day, travel back to our house on the lake in Jindabyne and play cards until the wee, small hours after eating a fantastic meal prepared by someone else.


Wow. That was fun.



13. If you had to hide an elephant, where would you hide it

Under my skirt.

No one looks up there nowadays.

Except for my husband and he is really good at pretending he doesn’t see elephants.



14. Are you happy?

Well, a while ago I figured out that happiness is a journey not a destination. With that in mind, I am on the journey. Not everything is great 100% of the time of course but hey, if I wasn’t sad sometimes, how would I know when I was happy???

Reading back through this however, it appears that I still don’t.



15. What was the last concert you attended? Was it great?

The Vines at the Gov in Adelaide. Yup we loved it…..




16. Who would play you in the movie of your life? Why?

I don’t think she’s been born yet. Or hang on, maybe my niece……

You want a ‘big name’ don’t you? I dunno…..Cate Blanchett maybe? You’d just have to shoot the whole movie with her standing in a ditch. :-D



17. What would you choose as your final meal?

I suspect I wouldn’t be hungry. No seriously, food is such a pain for me. I would be really happy to exist on a handful of pills which made me feel ‘full-up’ and meant I wouldn’t have to make a decision about cooking. If it was going to be a useful last meal however, I wouldn’t mind a shot of Asterix The Gaul’s magic potion.



18. You find a sack full of cash in the middle of the street. What do you do?

Report it to the police. Seriously. I am so sad and honest that when the cash machine gave me $100.00 instead of $20.00, I rang the bank! Fortunately they said I could keep it but I wouldn’t have been happy unless I reported it. I mean, someone could get into trouble and lose their job for giving me too much cash.



19. I'd like to meet Boy Z. How can we get the Free Family back to the U.S. for a visit?

I’ve got a better idea. You come on over here for a visit! If I orchestrate it right I can irritate my stepson sufficiently for him to move out again in time for your visit! It only takes 2 hours to clean up his ensuite for visitors.



So there you have it. A riveting journey to the deepest depths of Arizaphale's psyche, which, it transpires, is about as deep as a teaspoon. Thank you to Nichole for providing me with such a varied range of questions and stay tuned for my interview with Jill at Twipply Skwood and yes, don't worry, I'm going to ask her about the name!!!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Test Pattern

We apologise for this break in transmission. Once school and home are back under control, normal services will be resumed.

Coming Soon: A Free Man's Great Interview Experiment.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

One More Addiction (Natalie Imbruglia)

Have fun with this one folks. Let me know if you decide to play!!


1. Put your MP3, iTunes, etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS.
4. Tag your friends



IF SOMEONE SAYS 'ARE YOU OKAY' YOU SAY?
TNT (ACDC)

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Miss Sarajev0 (U2)

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
The Weight (Jimmy Barnes)

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Because I Love You (Masters Apprentice)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE?
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Beatles)

WHAT'S YOUR MOTTO?
The Unforgettable Fire (U2)

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Never Miss a Beat (Kaiser Chiefs)

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards (Ian Dury)

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Let's Make It Last All Night (Jimmy Barnes)
(Nothing could be further from the truth hahahaha)

WHAT IS 2 + 2?
The Jean Genie (David Bowie)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
I Want To Be Straight (Ian Dury)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
You Got The Silver (Rolling Stones)
(Oh so that's where it went...I knew I sure as hell didn't have it!!!!)

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Smile Away (Paul McCartney)

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Midnight Rambler (Rolling Stones)

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
I Am A Rock (Simon and Garfunkel)

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Man Overboard (Blink 182)

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
I've Got To See You Again (Norah Jones)

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
Mysterious Ways (U2)

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Beautiful Girl (INXS)
(But how can I keep her a secret for much longer??????)

WHAT DO YOU WANT RIGHT NOW?
Take A Long Line (The Angels)
(also not even close!!!!)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Steamroller (James Taylor)

WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
One More Addiction (Natalie Imbruglia)

Bushfire Reflection

Remember I said I was going to descend into some pretty serious reflection about the Victorian bushfires? Well I descended so deeply that I was unable to write about it.

Forty Minutes of Quiet


how did I get here?

days like today

sitting in front of fresh faced youth

firm flesh

bright hair

creased brows

click click click the pens writing

swish flip

the pages turning

sighs.

how did I get here?

this was me

why am I out in front?

why am I captain of this ship?

did I pass my test?


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Public Service Announcement

Okay readers! Don't worry! Normal transmission has been resumed! Move along now, nothing to look at here.......

(My Bestie thinks I have finally gone gaga, seeing visions in the sky etc. She is a little worried for my sanity.)

So I thought I'd start with a nice 'up' picture from Kangaroo Island just to reflect my return to normality and pragmatism. This is just before I descend into serious reflection on the subject of bushfires.

But first I think have some marking to do. Wait! I always have some marking to do. No wonder I am losing the plot.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Best Shot Monday: The Adversary

On Saturday night I was desperate. I sat on our balcony despairing of our situation.

No2 Son is home again bringing all his angst (and consequently ours) back with him. He is negative, intense, super sensitive, manic at times and all this layered over a very real specific learning difficulty and self esteem issues. We are walking on eggshells.

The worst part about his behaviour comes when he tries to interfere with the parenting of the younger children. Few things are as irritating as a young adult telling you to 'lighten up' on your parenting or 'give them a break', when the obvious results of someone having done this in the past are glaring out at you from the speaker's own visage. So when this occured on Saturday night, after the younger children having been allowed to stay up until 11.30pm(!!!!!) watching firstly 'Back to the Future' and then half of its sequel, I was irritated. I contained this however and encouraged the kids off to bed, asking him to pause the DVD in order to get them moving. Now, I don't know whether he misunderstood me (part of the SpLD) or was just ticked off that I'd upset 'the atmosphere' of the evening (which, up until then had been good) but he switched the TV off with a flourish, retrieved his DVD from the machine in a fury and stormed off downstairs muttering something about my unreasonable-ness and having to 'just do his own thing then' >:-(!!!!!!!

Now, I realise that in the light of the bushfires which were ravaging Victoria as this little interchange took place, the whole thing seems kind of petty; but at the end of my day when The BA had been uncharacteristically Bolshie (as in Bolsheviks...revolutionary....obnoxious) resulting in no' sleep-over', property damage and an associated bill which will take her several months of chores and pocket money to erase, it was the last straw.

I was overcome with desperation. I wanted him out of my house and out of my life. His problems are too big for me; his influence on the children too damaging. But how could I ask Himself to kick out his own son on my behalf? I will not be that wicked step mother. The boy did not ask for the circumstances of his life and living arrangements to be altered in the way they were when his father and I married. I could see no way out.

I thought about praying but my anger and frustration were intensely more satisfying; they reinforced the idea that I couldn't cope any more and I would need to move out. I sat on the balcony sobbing and rocking and planning where the BA and I would go. I didn't want there to be a solution. I just wanted to run away. I toyed with going back to the UK. I told God I was not up to this stupid task he had given me.

But as despair overwhelmed me and I wallowed in my self pity, I glanced up at the sky.

Now, whether I was fanciful or delusional or had simply had one too many sav blancs with dinner, I looked up to see a massive cloud formation glaring down at me; a cloud formation with the face of The Adversary.

There were the horns, the beard and the cruel smile mocking me from above. He was massive.
"That's right," went the voice in my head,"why should you have to put up with any more of this? It's not your problem. You've done your best. No one would blame you for running away."

And right then, at that moment, I felt my resolve harden.
Oh no, no, no you B******. You get out of my head, get out of my house and leave my family alone.
And as I thought it the clouds began to shift. I raced inside for my camera because, well, this is pretty weird s*** right? None of you were going to believe me and some of you might well think I was losing the plot!And this is what I captured.
It had started to shift and change as I said but I was amazed that I could still see the face.
The Lord moves in mysterious ways and on Saturday night he sent me a really strong message.
Of course I can't handle any of this on my own. But through Him I will.
I went to bed with a strong sense of peace and a feeling that I'd had a very near miss.

And that folks is the end of the weird stuff and My Best Shot for this week.
Be sure to click over to Tracy's new site for some much more wholesome photographic fare I'm sure!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Hemispheres

I South

Busy busy busy busy
working
hot and busy
hot and working
working and busy
home.
home requires work
home hot and requiring work
busy
busy busy busy
crabby
hot and crabby
home hot and husband crabby
husband requiring work.


II North

meanwhile
on the other side of the world
my sister waited
in an unheated baggage hall for
over two hours
while the ground crew patiently
thawed
the frozen baggage compartment doors on the plane.
and her husband
warm but worried
on the other side of the thin walled partition
drank brand name coffee and considered
the snow covered motorway they must
negotiate
if they ever
got
to go
home.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Best Shot Monday: Pool Hair.

Hey ho for best Shot Monday!

I guess it's no surprise that we have been spending a bit of time in our pool (snake notwithstanding...he/she seems to have vanished ). In my case I don't venture out until the sun is on the other side of the house (some of you know of my problems with sun) but the kids of course are in at any opportunity. Having said that, the last few days have been too hot to walk across the paving barefoot so we have tended to leave it til later.

A couple of nights ago, I decided to forgo the joys of splashing about in an uncoordinated manner whilst fending off my loving daughter who seems determined to hang off me like a limpet whilst dragging me towards the deep end which she KNOWS I feel uncomfortable about, and sit serenely on the side of the pool taking photos/videos.

There was much "Look at me, look at me", going on.

video

from all parties,
video

but I also managed my Best Shot for the week.

We call this "Crazy Pool Hair". There are a number of versions!

For more photo treats, click over to Tracey at Mother May I to see the rest of 'Best Shot Monday'.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Heat Wave 4: Suffering


Didn't I tell you that heat brings out the bugs? Well, yesterday I had the pleasure of being stung by both a wasp AND a jellyfish!!!! Although I'm not sure whether a jellyfish counts as a bug.

But anyway! They both bloody HURT!!!!

And just feel grateful that, due to the unpleasant nature of each sting site, I have spared you the usual photographic evidence!

The wasp flew up my skirt and stung me on the left, upper thigh! Most unpleasant. I still have a raised welt an inch and a half across. The jellyfish wrapped its tentacle around the upper thigh of my other leg!

The BA was also stung by jellyfish, on the hand and leg, and when we ventured up to the Surf Lifesaving tower to ask if they had any 'Stingose', we were in a queue of three others! I blame the warm water after all this heat. Jellyfish are not usually one of our local nasties.

The lifesavers kindly handed out mini ice packs which we gratefully applied. Today the stinging has stopped and been replaced with itching!

The widget is telling us it's 31C but my thermometer on the balcony says 38C. Either way it's markedly cooler.

Good grief.
image credit

Chocolate Lessons in Life



You know how we all have those kitchen disasters: the fruitcake so burned on the edges that you have to slice an inch off all round; the chicken which disintegrates into stringy pieces as you lift it, rather than gracing your fork with a tender, juicy morsel; the soggy quiche: the boot sole tough steak; the flabby pavlova; the lumpy gravy; the overly thin custard?

We all have them. We live with them and learn from them. We curse with frustration the phone call that took our attention away or the new oven with unfamiliar quirks; but every now and again there is a kitchen disaster so explosive, so overwhelmingly wrong that you can do nothing but laugh hysterically.

A week ago we had that disaster.

It was my Middle Sis' birthday on Sunday and her loving niece decided to cook her a birthday cake on the Saturday night. The recipe was selected, a new one, for chocolate mudcake. The ingredients were weighed out and, together, aunt and niece communed in the kitchen; melting, stirring, blending and mixing.

To be fair, aunt had come in half way through when all ingredients were out and measured. She'd come in to help out when the Baby Angel realised that the chocolate and butter mixture was meant to be divided in half before you melted it together. No drama though, Middle Sis competently assisted in estimating half the mixture and added elbow grease for the laborious task of stirring it into the dry ingredients.

A very laborious task as it turned out. I had to come in and lend a hand eventually. Gee, our shoulders just aren't what they used to be. Still, a little more of the melted chocolate mixture and everything seemed to be combining nicely. We helped her pour the batter into the cake tin, lined conscientiously with baking paper, and licked our fingers.

Hmm. That was an unusual taste.

Into the oven it went. Fifteen minutes into the 90 minute cooking time I sensed something was wrong as I passed the oven. Grabbing a sneak peek, I was confronted by a chocolate cascade! Cake mix was exploding over the edges of the pan and heaping upon itself on the bottom of the oven!!!! Damn! The pan was obviously not big enough! Why didn't they specify?????

I scraped the mounting pile of half cooked cake off the bottom of the oven and closed the door. Oh well, at least what was left would be ok with a trim and some icing.

An hour later we went back to investigate.

This wasn't looking good.



I broke off a stalactite from the side of the pan thinking, well, this should be lovely and chewy....

YUK!
What the h*** was that flavour?????

"Don't worry," Middle Sis chirped cheerfully,"I'm sure the middle will be fine."
"Er... I'm not sure...I had a little taste before and...."
"Don't be silly....!" undeterred she cut a square from the centre. It was about 1/16th of an inch thick.
"Mmm, looks fine!" she smiled optimistically as she popped it in her mouth.

I am sure you can imagine how rapidly her face changed.

"yuueah, wo' i' i' thi'?"
('yuck, what is in this?': spoken with a mouth full of really unpleasant cake)

I scanned the list of ingredients quickly.
"BA? How much bi-carb did you put in this cake?"

She looked bewildered for a moment,
"Well, I just put in what it said..."
"It says half a teaspoon BA....", the dawn of realisation was spectacular to behold.
"OMG. I put in half a..."
"CUP?????" my sister and I chorused together.

Uh-huh.

When we had all finished laughing she made another cake. That one was lovely; and this morning as a farewell to Middle Sis (sniff sniff) she made a Moist Chocolate Dessert Cake for her.

It was sensational.
Live and learn eh?