life, in snippets

How to Make Amazing Meatloaf.

March 28th, 2014
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Step the first: be born to a mother who loves to garden. Wait for a year where one poor tomato plant decides that this is THE YEAR that it will produce ALL THE TOMATOES EVER, so that Mum is pulling out her hair trying to figure out what to do with nearly three hundred tomatoes (yes really!), offer to take them all off her hands.

Haul a chilly bin and freezer bag of tomatoes home from her place. Apply to chest freezer until inspiration strikes.

Step the second: decide tomato soup is the way to go.

Make tomato soup the proper way, with stock and carrot and celery and onion and long slow cooking and blending and sieving out the solids. Eat the soup. Put the pulp in the freezer until a bright idea presents itself.

Step the third: a kilo of ground beef, half a kilo of pork sausage, the tomato soup pulp, bread crumbs, flour, kneading, and baking.

For bonus points, drizzle the top of the loaf with previously home-made tomato bbq sauce, for a glazy spicy loveliness.

Feel proud, as your first ever meatloaf is a resounding success.

I got dropped in performance and my neck hurts and my feet are bruised and my ribs ache like they’re bruised and if I wear my glasses my head pounds worse but I can’t wear contacts 24/7 and wah wah wah. I’m tired and feel like I’m cold although that’s very unlikely so I’m sitting here in track pants with GEEK on the arse and a hoodie with shitty faux fur in the hood to keep my neck warm.

And the sodding dance teachers forgot the official makeup so, because I’m that sorta girl, I ended up going out and buying the appropriate makeup for the girls MYSELF. Maroon and gold, neither of which are colours I’ll be able to wear!

The weekend started on a kind of hilarious note. A, J and I carpooled down to the festival of the weekend, as the festival is in my hometown, where mum lives, so I was going to chill with my family while the girls did ALL THE DANCE, then I was just going to party at night.

About 30 mins away from our destination? A’s car died on the side of the road (J was travelling with her). I belong to a roadside assistance scheme which includes free towing. A does not, because her dad is a mechanic. So after some back and forth I eventually told her to STFU and accept the free tow the remaining 30 minutes to my mother’s place. The person I ended up speaking to could not locate me on a map, so eventually I just told her in painstaking detail where we were (it helps to be a local) and she relayed the wrong info to the towie. Sigh.

However, the towie did arrive, and started chortling when I relayed the destination address. Much to my amusement it turns out he’s towed my Mum in the last two months twice.

Anyways, A’s car gets on the tow truck, we trundle off towards Mum’s and we blow past a friend’s car (containing four dancers also en route to the festival). They’re all out of the car 10 mins from town.
We go “yeah, having a break.”
“… maybe we’ll call.”
I pulled over. We rung. Yup, dead car #2….

So I turned around, went back, piled two of the passengers & their gear into my car. While we did this, the towie blew past & honked.

Because it was the same towie who would be returning shortly to collect K’s vehicle.

Then I got ID’d at the bottle store buying wine, by a young man who apologised PROFUSELY for checking my ID = “oh my goodness, I am SO SORRY. You are THIRTY.”

So, jump forward to Saturday night – Mum’s in the audience of the showcase (which I was performing/got dropped in.) She’s sitting next to some people from Napier who are chatting to each other cheerfully and talking about the weekend’s curse on vehicles. Mum cracked up.

As it turns out, A’s dad (the mechanic) was in $nearby_town dropping off $things the next day – so they did an extra ~90 minutes driving, put A’s dead car – the auto transmission shit itself – on the back of the truck & drove it the three hours home. It worked out.

Honestly, I’m still grumpy & sore and such. But I can indeed see the funny side.

I’m feeling singularly uninspired, but would kind of like to recap 2013 – so I have jumped on the meme train.

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I’ve never really been a New Years’ resolutions kind of person. But I was trying to lose weight, and I kept that up.
What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I cut out drinking soda. With the exception of a few dance weekends and similar, I’ve stuck to it. My consumption used to be up to 1.5l a DAY and now I may occasionally drink 355ml on a weekend, once. I’m quite proud of that.
It’s a chequered achievement, but with my dance partner, created a choreography completely alone and took it to Nationals. I started teaching zouk properly – the free nights at the bar and as a sort of assistant for S&T. Taught the flashmob choreography.

What was your biggest failure?
I lost track of the home/dance/work balance. It swung too far dancewards, and this year I need to get it back into some sort of equilibrium so everyone’s happy.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes, mostly dance related. Feet injuries, shoulder/back/neck strain, more feet issues. Entirely self-inflicted and on the whole I don’t mind. I don’t remember the last time my feet weren’t damaged in some way. My big toenails are a complete mess (thanks, Brisbane), I have blisters, a heel crack, bone bruising. The price I pay for being a dancer.
I got a pretty major lung infection just before Congress, and spent the whole event hopped up on medication. I managed to love it anyway.
I’m also back on dried frog pills. I’m not particularly happy about it, but I’m not too stubborn to admit that antidepressants have helped me before, they’ll help me this time, and if I need the help it’s stupid to refuse it.

What was the best thing you bought?
Probably dance shoes. Or some of the new clothes I now fit.

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My husband. For all that we’ve had ups and downs this year, he’s worked SO DAMN HARD on the various health issues he’s had/having and he’s made so much progress. There are no words for how proud I am of him.

Where did most of your money go?
My spending money mostly went on dance stuff. Shoes, classes, trips. Household money went on household expenses and trying to shift debt.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The trip to Wellington for Congress. The trip to Brisbane for Brazil Central. The trip to Wellington for work, the technical/root cause analysis workshops.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? About the same.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner, to the tune of 22kg down.
iii. richer or poorer? About the same.

How did you spend Christmas?
At home with a collection of waifs and strays. I cooked FAR too much food, it was amazing. Excellent company, exactly how I wanted to spend Christmas.

How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?
At a friend’s home, with champagne, watching fireworks.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 30 this year. I had a “anyone, show up” party at home, which I think was the first time I really tried to combine my dance & non-dance friends, it worked really well and I had an excellent night. It was casual but cheerful and fun.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Practical and probably unfashionable. I live in leggings far too often, never at work but definitely at home / the studio.

What kept you sane?
Dancing. No question. It’s my therapy and, yes, probably my obsession too, but it keeps me sane and happy and healthy.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
It’s not a new lesson, but one I always need to remind myself. It’s in our wedding vows, in fact – “I will remember that love means saying ‘I feel differently’ instead of ‘you’re wrong’.” It’s really, really hard for a stubborn person like me to shut up and listen, but it’s important to do. Not just in context of our marriage, but at work, with friends… anywhere that differences arise.

Xmas is impending, and I’m feeling pretty good about it this year. My inlaws in the UK have presents incoming via the magic of the internet, I’ve purchased all I intend to for my beloved, and on the basis that none of my own family celebrate Xmas, I don’t have to worry about them.

I’m doing my usual mostly-DIY-ish presents for friends. I get a lot of pleasure out of putting little things together, and thankfully none of my social group have great expectations.

It’s also turned into 2013: The JAMening. So far, tomato-bbq sauce & cranberry-orange sauce have been produced; this weekend will also see tamarillo-apple jam and spiced curry orange sauce. Between now and Xmas I intend to do, oh, strawberry and probably normal apple sauce too. It’ll be fun!

I’ve put a “come one, come all” invite out on Facebook for Xmas day/Boxing Day. I’m on call over the silly season this year, so I intend to make ALL the food, and hope that everyone I want to see makes the effort to turn up at some stage. And, well, if they don’t, we have a chest freezer to accommodate leftovers.

I’ve spent today doing laundry, vacuuming, and mopping, so that I can put up the Xmas tree with a clear conscience tonight. I’m looking forward to it.

I dropped the ball on this whole blogging thing. There’s been a lot going on that I just didn’t want to talk about on the Internet.

I’ve avoided measuring myself too obsessively with this whole weight change thing (or rather, I’ve tried!). However, after yet another throw out of things that don’t fit, I did haul out the tape measure.

Since the last time I took measurements, I’ve lost eight inches off the hips, eight off the stomach, and 6 off the bust. No bloody wonder I had to replace all my pants.

I’ve managed to stay off the soda, with the exception of dance-event-weekends when I need the caffeine to remain conscious.

I’ve been to a load of dance events. Performed. Learned choreography. Performed choreography. Competed in Champs, Open is next weekend. Taught a choreography (an international flashmob).

I don’t remember the last time my feet weren’t damaged in some way. My big toenails are a complete mess (thanks, Brisbane), I have blisters, a heel crack, bone bruising… The price I pay for being a dancer.

I commissioned my friend SPark to make me a Elephant. See, when I was a tiny, I had a beeeeg blue Elephant. I have distinct memories of this elephant, and was quite upset when my parents disposed of if (I’m informed that one too many episodes of baby-sick made it unpleasant as a tenant of the indoors, which seems reasonable enough!)

In January-ish this year, I realised that a) I am a grownup with disposable income b) one of my friends in the States makes plushies, amongst other things, for a living.


We had T’s birthday party a couple of weeks ago. It was lovely – a chilled out evening, bbq, friends. Really nice.

My sister in law and friends visited from the UK. It was amazing to have her here for the first time.

Life goes on?

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