Killing Herman

Killing Herman

It has to end. I just can’t care for him any longer. When he first came to us, I was vigilant about feeding him, looking after him, helping him reach his potential. But it’s been a month now and I just don’t think I can do it any more.

I could blame it on my busy life. Already caring for five males (one husband, three sons and a ginger cat), it would be reasonable to say I don’t have room in my life for another.

I could blame the injury. A fall at work last week left me on crutches for a day and my scraped right hand is still giving me gyp. It doesn’t need another task to undertake each day.

But if I were to be truly honest, I would have to admit that it’s most probably because I am bored. He’s had a pretty good life with us, three times longer than we were expected to keep him, but he’s starting to outstay his welcome.

I almost killed him over the weekend. He should have been fed on Friday. I remembered on Monday. He’s hanging in there but it doesn’t seem right to subject him to such neglect.

So it’s time to lay Herman to rest.

Herman

Herman – Surviving rather than thriving

Herman is a chain-letter cake. Okay, so technically he’s Herman the German Friendship Cake but when it comes right down to it, he’s really just an edible version of those annoying chain letters that do the rounds. I’m not much of a fan of chain-anythings but in this case, at least we got cake. Multiple cakes, in fact.

The theory, having been given Herman by a ‘friend’ (see aforementioned opinion of chain letters and suchlike), is to look after and grow Herman until he is able to give of himself and to then pass him on to three friends while keeping one portion for yourself to bake into a cake. I thought it was clever to give away two portions, make a cake with one and then keep the last one to start all over again. Herman has been prolific in his sharing. I thought we’d be together longer. Others have lived for 25 years. It’s a romantic idea but impractical in a barely-managing household of teenagers and working parents.

I’m sorry, Herman.

At least you can cater for your own wake.

Herman Cake

Still giving.

 

 

 

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Deliciously Scared

Diana: “Oh, Anne, I’m so scared.”

Anne: “So am I. Deliciously scared.”

– Anne of Green Gables (TV Miniseries)

I am not a fan of horror movies. I can’t take those…”slasher flicks” I believe they’re called. All that blood and gore and people being cut to bits with a chainsaw.

But I do like to be scared. Deliciously scared. I love that phrase of Anne’s. It’s not in the book, it just appears in the television series but it’s such a good description of the best way of being scared.

All the great masters of fright knew that to truly scare people, you didn’t need horror in the form of violence and intimidation. It could be a mere door that would make your heart beat that little bit faster.

“I was once asked what I thought was the most disquieting thing you could see on the screen and I said, “An open door.” “- Christopher Lee

“Nothing is so frightening as what’s behind the closed door.” – Stephen King

Open or closed, a door leaves you wondering what is behind it or what will come through it. Your heart rises up in your mouth, you hold your breath….

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” – Alfred Hitchcock

Yes, the anticipation. Alfred Hitchcock certainly knew his stuff there. The “is what I think is about to happen, about to happen?” nervous thought. And then, because of the suspense, even when what we think is going to happen happens, we still jump out of our seats in fright.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” – HP Lovecraft

Recently, we took a Ghost Tour of the local old gaol. Built by convicts when the city was first founded, it’s a place of horrifying injustices and menacing history. The Ghost Tour is conducted at night with only small lanterns for light. To add to the atmosphere, we happened to choose one of the wildest and coldest nights of winter to wander about an old bluestone gaol in the dark. Shivers all round.

The guide shared stories of various inmates and of course tales of those believed to still haunt the place. We were, at times, shut into cells in the dark while frightening stories were told, more often than not ending in a sudden scream.

Were we scared? Of course. Did we love it? Of course we did. In the darkness, we would titter nervously. Jumping at the sudden screams, we would laugh at each other. “My, aren’t we silly?” we would see in each other’s faces and then try not to run as we made our way out of the cells.

It was invigorating.

I’ll confess here that the scary movie that has had the most profound effect on me is The Sixth Sense. The story of a boy who can see dead people haunted me for years. My boys were mere babes at the time and every time one of them screamed unexpectedly in the dark at night, my heart would beat a little faster and I would have to quash the urge to turn on the light.

The Sixth Sense was one of the best movies to play on our fears of the unknown, of the dark, of things we don’t understand. And to play on that thought of “this could really happen”. It wasn’t gory or over the top. The scary scenes were played almost casually. A boy with his head half blown off wanders casually into the child’s lounge room. It was the normality of it that made it all the more frightening.

Doctor Who writer Steven Moffatt is a master of the spine-tingling fear of monsters. The television series has been frightening children for more than 50 years but Moffatt has been responsible for introducing two of the most frightening new monsters the series has ever seen. One is the Weeping Angels (previously written about in this post) and the other is The Silence.

Both of these monsters play on the same fear – that which we know is there but we cannot see. Is there anything more frightening than knowing there is a danger but being unable to see it?

That digs into our deepest childhood fears. The noise of the wind that sounds like a ghost, the dressing gown on the back of the chair that suddenly becomes a crouched man in the dark, the awareness of space under the bed and what might be lurking there.

Pixar tapped right into those deep-seated fears with their movie Monsters Inc. But I can’t help wondering how many children were actually helped by the personification of the monsters that haunt their bedrooms into everyday people who go about their job of scaring small children and who are just as afraid of them.

Scary books are easier to handle. We can stop reading at any time, go and do something else, take the scary bits in small doses. But books are also, therefore, great ones for granting that delicious scare that we love. From Grimm’s Fairy Tales to Stephen King, the opportunity to make our hands go clammy, our hearts beat faster is there for the taking whenever we want it in whatever dose we think we can take.

I rather love to be scared but only in that tingly, caught-breath, delicious way.

Do you like to be scared? What scares you?

 

 

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An Ode To Milk Duds

Milk Duds

I think that some will never see

A poem as lovely as a tree

But to them, I say “My buds,

No tree can match the great Milk Duds.”

My favourite American ‘candy’ (I’ll excuse my use of this so-USA term since it relates to confectionery native to that country) is the Milk Dud. Or must they always be referred to in the plural? My favourite American candy is the Milk Duds. That doesn’t sound right either. Anyone know the accepted convention? No?

Anyway, however you say it, these golden nuggets of chocolate-coated caramel are always my imported candy/lolly/sweet of choice.

So imagine my eagerness to stock up on their nuggety goodness during a recent visit to the Big Toffee Apple.

Except I couldn’t find them. Not anywhere. Not even at the great Dylan’s Candy BarNot even at the Hershey’s store.

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Milk Duds are made by Hershey’s. You’d think, logically, wouldn’t you, that an iconic Hershey’s flagship store would stock their own product, right?

Wrong.

Was there a national Milk Duds shortage? Or had they (gasp!) stopped making them?? Had Milk Duds gone the way of the Pollywaffle to be relegated to the Dodo-land of Extinct Chocolate Bars?

No search of the candy aisle in a supermarket, bodega or gift shop could turn up the favoured treat. There was nothing for it but to go home empty-Milk-Duds-handed.

And then today, as I wandered aimlessly in our state capital, the display in a local Lolly Shop caught my eye. GASP! MILK DUDS!! I hurried into the shop and asked for the precious gold ingots. I purchased the last remaining box. Perhaps they really were soon to be relegated to “Retro” status.

I could, of course, ask Mr Google if my worst fears have been realised but I think I do not want my worst fears to be realised. Much like believing in fairies, if I keep the belief in the existence of Milk Duds alive, then surely they will continue to exist.

But perhaps it would be wise to consult Mr Google as to the availability of further purchases within reasonable delivery cost and stock up, just in case.

GROSS FACT NO.1

Any turd found at the bottom of a public swimming pool was colloquially referred to as a “Pollywaffle”. Perhaps this is what hastened the poor chocolate bar’s demise.

SAD FACT NO.1

The Allen’s Confectionery Company (owned by Nestlé) has just announced the cessation of production of Spearmint Leaves and Green Frogs. This has caused outrage from the Mini Chocolate Christmas Pudding makers of Australia who will no longer have a sugary imitation of holly leaves. Nobody seems to care about the frogs.

 

 

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Pecan Pie!!!

Okay, so maybe I’m inclined to pursue a joke a bit too far….

A couple of weeks ago, I published a post about my love of the movie When Harry Met Sally and my absolute delight in stumbling across filming locations for the movie in New York City. Much of my excitement lay in suddenly finding myself in the place in which my favourite scene – the Pecan Pie scene – was filmed.

This post led my blogging friend Barbara Pyett to post a recipe of Pecan Pie (partly for my benefit). This in turn led me to make said Pecan Pie for a family dinner this evening.

Pecan Pie

And yes, there were silly voices around the table. (Actually, I told them they couldn’t eat it until they’d said “pecaaaaan piiiiiieeeee”. Possibly cruel but hilariously funny.)

Pecan Pie Slice

So, in turn, here is another post about Pecan Pie. Because it’s funny. And also delicious. (Thanks, Barbara.)

But wait. There’s more. (And it’s not steak knives.)

I’ve just finished appearing in a production of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona. I played Panthina, servant to Proteus’ mother Antonia.

And all the Shakespeare scholars out there are suddenly scratching their heads and thinking, “No, that’s not right. It’s Proteus’ father Antonio who is in the play. And he has a manservant called Panthino.”

Yes, well, let me tell you about non-professional theatre. Men are hard to find. And our little theatre company believes it is better to gender-flip a role and put in a great female actor than put in a terrible male one. (Not that I’m a great female actor. I just happened to be handy.)

ANYWAY….

Panthina was only in the first half of the play. In the second half I got to play an Outlaw, along with a couple of those great female actors I was telling you about.

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Such a frightening rabble.

(Don’t you just love those bearded beanies?!?)

One of my fellow outlaws is another big When Harry Met Sally fan and after my post, there was some hilarity out the back as we replayed our favourite scenes while waiting to go back on stage.

Then things got a little more out of hand.

At one point in the play, we had to run along the outside of the hall in which we were performing making a racket as if we were chasing someone through the woods. One night, my fellow WHMS fan decided she would shout “Waiter, waiter” the whole way. It didn’t really matter. No one in the audience ever had the faintest clue what we were “hallowing” about anyway.

Well, that just seemed like a bit too much fun to me so the next performance, I proceeded to shout “PEEECAAAN PIIIEEEE!” as we ran, trying not to fall over laughing.

I believe on the last night of the play, we not only repeated these phrases but threw in a “I’ll have what she’s having” while we were at it.

Way too much fun from one little scene.

Pecan pie. I love it. In sooo many ways.

Have you ever threaded a favourite movie scene into your life in some way?

 

 

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When MOSY Met Harry And Sally

Sally Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.

Harry Burns: I guess not.

Sally Albright: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.

One of my all-time favourite movies is When Harry Met Sally starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. At the height my passion, I could quote whole tracts of dialogue and to this day I can’t see pecan pie on a menu without descending into a silly voice – “But I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie. Peeecaan piiiieeeee.”

(Interestingly, in doing some research for this post, I discovered that the silly voice scene was improvised by Billy Crystal and he dragged Meg Ryan along (you can see her look over at director Rob Reiner in confusion at one point).)

So on a recent jaunt to New York City, how could I not be excited to find myself in places where Harry and Sally once stood?

It’s not that I went on a When Harry Met Sally scene hunt. (Although, I have been known to do that. Harry Potter in Oxford, Doctor Who in Cardiff, James Bond in Monte Carlo…) Most times we just stumbled across it or were there for other reasons and the movie connection was just a bonus.

Of course, no visit to New York is complete without a visit to Katz’s Delicatessen.

Katz1

Katz2

I told myself I was there for the pastrami but really, why go to New York and not visit the site of that infamous orgasm scene?

Eating at a diner one night, I ordered apple pie for dessert (of course).

Pie Ala Mode

When the waiter confirmed, “Pie a la mode?” it took all my willpower not to launch into a complicated pie request for heated/not heated, vanilla/strawberry icecream, real/canned cream.

We had very limited time on our visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (I know, I know, we managed our timing badly. So sue me) so we picked out the ‘must see’ items in our guidebook. One of these was the Temple of Dendur.

Temple of Dendur 1

 

Temple of Dendur 2

It was only when we walked into the space that I realised it was where my favourite pecan pie scene was filmed. I also love Harry’s view on hieroglyphics.

I only purposely hunted down one site from the movie. I had assumed the archway where Sally drops off Harry in New York was at Central Park.

Running around the park twice a few days after we arrived, I could not see it anywhere. But on a visit to the top of the Empire State Building, there on the mounted guides of what we were looking at was the arch. It’s at Washington Square Park. So off we trekked and found it.

Washington Square 1

Washington Square 2

We found it full of people with pillows. We’d stumbled across International Pillow Fight Day. Well, that was just a bonus, really.

Pillow Fight

While I didn’t find the arch in Central Park, we did pass the Loeb Boathouse restaurant and Bethesda Terrace on our rambling travels one day which also feature in the film.

Boathouse

I’m sure, had I thought to watch the movie before we left, I could have gone to more locations both intentionally and accidentally but in the end, I loved the spontaneous and serendipitous nature of it.

Hm. Speaking of Serendipity, this place was familiar.

Ice Rink

Oh, that’s right…

 

 

 

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My New Extreme Sport

Are you looking for a new challenge? Is parachuting getting you down? Is mountain biking a bumpy ride? Have ultra-marathons taken you too far?

I’ve got just the thing.

It will take guts and determination. It will take all your focus and intelligence. It is a sport not undertaken lightly. Prior experience in lower levels could be beneficial but ultimately success will come only through hard work.

Are you ready for it?

Dot1

Can you tell what it is?

Yes, that’s right. Dot-to-dots. What? That’s one thousand dots there. It’s Extreme Dot-to-dots.

So, do you think you’re up to it? Prepared to put your brain and writing hand on the line for this challenge? Okay. Here’s a few things you need to know.

This is not a high level equipment sport. You will need a pen. That’s it. Or a pencil, if you’re the wussy type. Oh, and an ability to count to 1000. And maybe a ruler, if you’re anally retentive about straight lines or an engineer.

If you’re thinking, “I did heaps of dot-to-dots when I was a kid; this will be a breeze”, you need to understand fully that this is nothing like those. The numbering does not follow a predictable pattern. You will find yourself wandering across the page and back again. It will feel like you are covering old ground. Keep your eye on the numbered signposts. One misstep and you’ll be lost forever.

But don’t panic. There is help at hand. Each one hundred group of numbers is colour-coded. This will make it easier to find 457 when it is hiding amongst the 800s. And they will. Hide, that is. If you can’t find your next signpost in the immediate vicinity, it is best you wander further afield to locate it. Just don’t lose sight of whence you came.

Dot2

Looking for 389…

Be attentive. Always. This sport will play tricks on you. It will try to convince you that the number after 334 is 345 by placing the numbers right next to each other while the number you are looking for will be hidden across the page in the 670s.

Don’t be tempted to travel backwards between two numbers because it’s easier to hold the pen that way. You take a great risk of heading off along the path from the wrong point and that way confusion lies. Also the picture won’t work.

This is a gruelling event. It is possible to undertake the challenge in stages but where’s the fun in that? However, if you choose to complete it in one go, be warned that you will in all likelihood lose the ability to count by about 825. This is when you will really need to focus if you are to claim the prize at the end.

Dot3

Halfway there. Don’t give up!

By the end of the challenge your head will hurt, your hand will ache and your brain will be so muddled you will have trouble remembering your own name. Unless you can spell it out in numbers.

But it will be worth it!

Dot4

Now do you know what it is?

This is not a sport for the faint of pen. You’ll need a good solid colour or you won’t get the full effect.

One final warning. This sport has a tendency to become addictive. You will want to go again almost immediately after completing your first challenge. This is not recommended. It is suggested that you wait a minimum of 24 hours before attempting the sport again or you are likely to find yourself unable to speak coherently.

Think you’re brave enough? Good. See you out on the Dot Field.

Dot Croc

Never smile…. (There’s a mistake in this one. Can you find it?)

Dot Chimp

Yeah, same to you, buddy.

Dot Cat

Everybody now… one, two, three… AWWWWWW.

Dot5

There’s two more books I can get when I’ve finished this one.

With many thanks to the Button Pusher friend who gave me this for Christmas. She knows me a bit too well, methinks.

 

 

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The Shock Of Finding Out You’re Actually Canadian

So I just found out I’m Canadian.

I am not a Southern Hemisphere dwelling lover of surfing and cuddler of koalas. Maple syrup flows in my veins and I have a penchant for mooses. Or is it mise?

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Nah, don’t worry. There hasn’t been the big reveal of some deep dark family secret. I just took a quiz to discover my “inner nationality”.

The Internet is awash with pop quizzes that will tell you what job you should be doing, what breed of dog you would be or – my favourite – what Sesame Street character you are. (I got Mr Snuffleupagus. Of course.)

Some are a bit more obscure like the one that asks “What 4-letter word best describes you?” (Someone should develop one of those just for politicians with appropriate 4-letter word answers. I have a few suggestions.) Some will try to guess your real age or your middle name. (Actually, that last one is ridiculous…but yes, I still did it. They got it wrong. Duh.)

But you have to be picky. Some are annoyingly obvious and telegraph which answer you’re heading for so clearly, you could engineer the answer you want with your eyes closed. Or at least half-closed because, you know, you still have to see the screen to answer the questions.

Quizzes about your nationality that ask you what your favourite food is and give you options like Pizza or Sushi and what your favourite movie is out of choices including The Godfather and Godzilla are, frankly, a waste of time.

Yes, okay, so they’re all a waste of time, but I have found some of them so pinpoint accurate it’s almost creepy. And I can’t pick where they’re going with the questions either.

I was rather thrilled to be told my inner nationality was Canadian. All you lovely Canadian bloggers out there – no wonder I’ve felt an affinity. And we are soon to have a Canuck marry into the family so that’s all right. Here’s how they describe a Canadian:

Canadian

I’ve never been so proud to wear a knitted jumper sweater (sigh – this could take some getting used to) with a giant maple leaf on the front.

Oh, if you’re wondering which quiz site it is that told me I am a 20-year-old Canadian Writer who is Real and a Diligently good person, it’s this one. (Direct link to Nationality quiz here.)

So. Who are you really?

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It’s A Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Christmas

It all started with an angel.

A weeping angel to be exact. Well, a Weeping Angel. One that needs capitalisation.

Back in 2007, Steven Moffat wrote an episode for Doctor Who called ‘Blink’ and introduced probably the scariest monster the series has ever seen. The Weeping Angels. If you’re not familiar with these gorgeous creatures, check this out:

And then, this year, the ever-increasing Doctor Who merchandising machine introduced a Weeping Angel Tree Topper. You heard right. One of those to put on top of your Christmas tree.

I wanted one.

Well, because we do things a bit differently in the MOSY household.

And we’re not the only ones. I waited too long and they sold out. Seriously.

Devastated, I frantically searched the interwebs for anywhere that may still have one. And then I stumbled across a blog post explaining how to make your own Weeping Angel tree topper.

Oh, that’s more like it. We love a craft project in this house.

I can’t show you a photo of the angel I started with because, believe it or not, I don’t always do things with the thought, “I’ll blog about this.” I was just keen to get started. Needless to say, the $3 angel I found was crappy, all gold and white and serene-looking with ribbons and weird, fat, fabric wings.

Ribbons and wings removed, some new wings (courtesy of a pipecleaner and six ragged feathers found in the craft drawers), a can of granite-effect spray paint and…

 

But, really, if you’re going to put a Weeping Angel on the top of your Christmas tree, it only makes sense that the rest of the tree should match.

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So, have yourself a Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Christmas and whatever you do, DON’T BLINK!

 

PS: Yes, it freaks me out when I have to go past it in the dark. It’s especially bad when the lights are flashing and you’d swear it moved while the lights were off…

 

 

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The Crumb Wars 5: Terror In The Skies

 

A report from the Central Republic of Kitchen by our foreign correspondent Heath Dempster.

There has been a temporary cessation of hostilities between the government forces of the Central Republic of Kitchen and the rebels from the Northern States of Boys Rooms as they battle a new enemy invading both countries.

The CRK, Northern States and other countries in the region, including the Kingdom of Laundry and the United States of Lounge are under sustained aerial attack from the secretive terror organisation Clothing Moths.

Clothing Moth

Originating from hidden bases inside the tiny states of Wardrobe, the Clothing Moths have been attacking crops of Woollen Garments. While it is currently not Woollen Garment season, the attacks are likely to leave the citizens of all countries in dire circumstances in future months.

Together, the CRK army and the Northern State rebels have attempted to eliminate the threat by targetting individual Clothing Moths, but it is becoming evident that the assault is larger and more extensive than expected. There have been confirmed reports of the decimation of Carpet crops in some corners of the region.

The leader of the CRK, Mother, has called an emergency meeting of cabinet to discuss the possible action of widespread bombing to clear the region of this terror cell.

Even if the terrorists are driven from the region, the countries will undoubtedly require international assistance to clean up the extensive damage sustained by the attack.

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Scene of battles with the terrorist Clothing Moths.

In Related News:

The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench
The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States
The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order
The Crumb Wars 4: Rice Wars

 

 

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