Fallacy of fantasy

Let’s take a sharp turn away from muffins and onto another topic I find fascinating. Fantasy. I have touched on this issue previously but now I’m going to get a bit adult about it.

I want to take a moment to talk about bedroom fantasy. Are you with me? Can you handle the truth? If not, look away now.

I am really interested in how people manage to play out their fantasies with other people. I am going to assume most other people have fantasies of a sexual nature; whether it’s your hubby doing the dishes in nothing but a frilly apron or you doing [insert celeb of choice here] in nothing but a pair of cowboy boots. These are fantasies which play out inside your head when you’re doing the old horizontal folk dancing, thinking about doing it or are just on your own enjoying a little DYI.

My problem is with people who are able to transform their fantasy into reality by getting their partner to act things out. It’s just that I find it hard enough to translate my desires to my partner on any given day. Normal household tasks never get done the way I like, so taking that scenario into the bedroom generally results in disappointment… or so I assume.

You see the ideal sexual partner would need to be totally telepathic for me to be truly happy. By the time you manage to say “more, to the left, faster” and they manage to grunt “what?” and you manage to squeak “forget it!” the moment is long gone and you may as well be loading the dishwasher.

If your partner is not telepathic how do people manage to have fulfilling sexual lives where they bring their fantasies to reality? If you like dressing up or enacting different scenarios how do you explain that to your partner and have them act it out in the way you find satisfying? I just can’t imagine it.

In my mind it would play out like the set of a Francis Ford Coppola movie: “stand here, walk to there, say this… no, no, let’s try it again”. That does not scream sexual excitement to me. Either we would be laughing hysterically or it would come to fisticufs.

So I like to let fantasy stay in my head. It’s the best place for it. In my head people do what I say, when I say it. In fact there is no need for nasty old conversation at all… luckily everyone is telepathic in my fantasies and know where to stand and when to put what where. Except sometimes, even in my fantasies, my own brain conspires against me and throws in stupid thoughts mid-good part (that toilet isn’t going to scrub itself, don’t forget the athletics carnival note tomorrow, did you remember to set up the PlayStation to tape The Voice for next Monday)… what a killjoy.

Is it just me? Am I the weird one? Do other people manage to happily enact their lewd fantasy scenarios with their partners without anyone getting hurt? I’m not being all pervy, I’m being genuinely anthropoligcally curious. Help a deepkickgirl out here.

I bake, therefore I am #1: Apple Crumble Muffins

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It’s funny that I have become somewhat known for my baking – certainly for the quantity, if not the quality – since I used to be a bake-a-phobic in the not-too-distant past. Looking back I actually wonder if it isn’t this particular recipe (or at least the first incarnation of it I found many years ago) which kick started my baking career. These days there’s not too many days which go by without me bringing a batch of muffins or choc chip cookies or some other baked goodies to the office or sending some to Big Jay’s office after packing some for the kidlets to take to school for recess.

Of course the aforementioned kidlets would much rather take an LCM bar or a packet of broken glass for recess than anything their mother lovingly bakes for them… but that’s another story and best left for the psychiatrist’s office.

Today I am going to share a new variation on my versatile “Anything Goes” Muffin, a muffin I’m calling:

Apple Crumble Muffin (patent pending, all rights reserved)

Ingredients
1 egg
1/2 cup olive oil (or sunflower oil/rice bran oil/any oil you like that’s not very strong in flavour)
1 cup light sour cream (or not light sour cream/Greek youghurt/other youghurt/buttermilk/vanilla custard/something wet and thick)
1/2 cup maple syrup (don’t substitute with maple flavoured syrup because that’s just wrong and possibly against the Geneva Convention)

1 apples (any type), peeled, cored, diced small
1 3/4 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup sugar, white or raw
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons rolled oats
1-2 Tablespoons pecans, chopped (or walnuts/almonds/macadamias and/or coconut – whatever rocks your boat)

Method
1) Pre-heat oven to 190C. If your oven runs hot you may need to reduce to 180C.
2) Prepare crumble mixture: in a small bowl mix brown sugar, oats and nuts.
3) Place paper muffin cases in a regular sized muffin tin (12 muffins). I like to spray lightly with spray oil to ensure no nasty sticking occurs.
4) Whisk first FOUR ingredients in a large bowl with a fork until well combined and smooth.
5) Add chopped apple and stir through.
6) Sift flour, sugar and cinnamon onto the wet mixture and stir through until just combined.
7) Divide mixture into the muffin cases (I like to use an old fashioned ice cream scoop to ensure even distribution).
8) Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly all over the top of each muffin and gently press into the batter with the spoon or fingers – gently, don’t sink the mixture into the batter.
9) Bake for 20 minutes. Check the muffins. They need to have risen and be firm on top. You want the crumble topping to be a little caramalised and the brown sugar to be melting. If that’s not happening you want to leave in the oven for another five minutes or turn on your grill and carefully grill the top of the muffins for a couple of minutes to achieve a nice result. I’m a little anal about the crumble looking nice on top (note to self: probably shouldn’t be using the word anal in a recipe).

If you love the Apple-y, Cinnamon-y, Nutty, Oat-y goodness of an Apple Crumble you will love these. And by using oats you can kid yourself, like I do, that you are doing something good for your heart health and cholesterol levels. No, don’t thank me.

Enjoy.

[Instant Rewind #2] New York countdown is on

Today marks three months until I head off for the much anticipated Middle-Aged Women Gone (Not So) Wild in NYC trip. New York City with my sister and some of my very best besties. Heaven? Very close to it.

Yesterday I finally purchased tickets to The Book of Mormon on Broadway which was a very exciting moment. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this production since our last visit to NYC in 2011. We are also hoping to see Once while we’re there because I’m owed an extra Broadway show after seeing a grand total of none last time we were there.

This trip has been in the planning/dreaming stage for a very long time and it’s hard to believe it will be upon us so soon. In the meantime Big Jay leaves for his Middle-Aged Men Gone Batshit Crazy trip to Las Vegas next week, so I do have 10 days of solo parenting to get through (an experience which I find is getting easier and easier as the kidlets get older and more self-sufficient).

Here is a little rewind to May 2011 when we set off on our first trip to NYC. Enjoy.

[Instant Rewind #1]

I’ve just transferred the previous incarnation of DeepKickGirl – The Adventures of Deep Kick Girl Down Under – onto WordPress and to celebrate I will be revisiting some of my old posts for those who didn’t suffer through them the first time around. There are 877 posts to sift through if you have a really large cup of coffee to get through.

No, don’t thank me.

Hard to believe our last visit to New York was almost two years ago. This was 26 May 2011.

Oh! MONA

No I’m not going to spout lyrical about best forgotten cover versions of inspid songs by ex-Neighbours’ stars. I am going to spout lyrical about Tasmania’s greatest un-natural treasure: MONA. The Museum of Old and New Art.

Researching my post I came across this* article about its founder David Walsh and now I have nothing left to write. This article captures so well many of my own thoughts I find it pointless to say much more.

Except to say this place had a profound effect on me. I am the first to shout “the Emperor is naked” when it comes to modern art. I know what I like and I don’t like much. But I fell into this place, like Alice into the rabbit hole and it wove a spell on me.

This quote from the article sums up so much:

“At this point, MONA begins to feel like a mashup of the lost city of Petra and a late night out in Berlin. Everything about it is disorienting and yet somehow familiar, from the high-tech tropes to the low-culture babble, the black humour about so much that is so serious, the attention to aesthetics in a museum unsure if beauty exists or, if it does, if it matters.”

I wouldn’t claim to like or enjoy everything in this place but I can say that most things here were thought provoking and/or emotionally challenging and/or striking in a way which makes them intensely memorable.

There is a lot to be said for benevolent dictatorships and this is why. A place like this is not the work of a committee but of a man who knows what he wants and doesn’t give a crap what others think. A true eccentric who has earnt his money and wants to spend it on the cultural playthings that make him happy.

Reading his story after having visited this amazing place gives me lots of “aha” moments. This man and this place make sense.

It is not just the Museum itself which is impressive; it is the grounds, the positioning, the views. It makes a statement, it’s weird but totally unapologetic. I loved it. I want to go back and visit the Poo Machine. I need another MONA hit.

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* This is an awesome article. Read it. Really.

Love/Hate: Kidlet Birthday Parties

I have a on-going, complicated love/hate relationship with the kidlets’ birthday parties. I find them stressful and exhausting; probably because I don’t like children very much… they are unpredictable and overly energetic and have minds of their own from an unreasonably young age. But I have very fond memories of the childhood parties I attended so I have kept up with annual parties for both kids from the beginning.

The parties always end up bigger and more expensive and more stressful than even I can predict and experience would dictate but nevertheless we plug on.

We have only ever attempted one joint party previously. The last one was five years ago and I am still seeking therapy. Let’s not revisit that particular horror story.

Instead let me tell you a happier story. The story of our Luna Park party held last Sunday. I am not exaggerating, but I am possibly being lazily forgetful, when I say it was the best party ever.

Let’s start with the food.

Inspired by my new friend Suze of ChocolateSuze fame I decided to make a Chocolate Box Cake – cake, chocolate, lollies… what’s not to like.

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It’s a really easy cake and, apart from the Rainbow Cake from last year, the cake the kids got most excited about. I used Julie Goodwin’s Neverfail Cake recipe with some added lemon zest which results in a really lovely dense, tangy cake. I would suggest even a novice cook can make this cake without too much heartache. The decorating is a no-brainer: cover with buttercream icing (I made my own but store bought would be just fine), make a “fence” with KitKats (I used White Chocolate KitKats because I love them and white chocolate doesn’t make kids go quite so nuts, apparently) and then fill it in with lollies of choice.

In hindsight I would say don’t use jelly type lollies, or at least not the lolly snakes. They are really hard to cut through and cause some grief at cake cutting time. However the kids (big and small do love them) so maybe have a stash nearby for when it’s time to serve.

Another new favourite for kids parties is No-Brainer Sausage Rolls.

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These require almost no effort for a great result. You need a packet (1 kg) of baby frankfurts, 4 sheets of puff pastry, 1 beaten egg thinned out with a little milk and a couple of teaspoons of sesame seeds. Pre-heat oven to 200C fan forced and line two or three large trays with baking paper.

I cut the puff pastry into rectangles about 8cm x 9cm which is just big enough to roll a frankfurt in with a little sticking room. I used the pastry offcuts to make more rectangles.

Once you’ve neatly rolled your sausages into your pastry blankets (and made sure the pastry ends are sealed nicely) place them on the baking trays, brush with egg/milk mixture, sprinkle with seeds and bake until golden brown and puffy. Time will depend on the ferocity of your oven I guess.

The good thing with these is they are good hot or cold so ideal for picnics.

Now onto the party. For kids this age (Miss M is turning 8 and Monkey Boy turned 14) Luna Park is a great venue. OK, it is expensive-ish but on the positive side it’s not at home, it doesn’t cost anything for parents who just want to hang out and supervise or enjoy the glorious Sydney Harbour location and there is plenty to keep the kids very happy. Our gang literally ran themselves ragged and had an absolute ball.

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Happy birthday to my sweet, exasperating little people.

Book Review: The Wasp Factory

I am a big fan of Neil Cross and his brilliant, dark writing. It was through a comment on his Facebook page about being inspired by the Scottish author Iain Banks, now terminally ill, that I became interested in exploring his books.

“The Wasp Factory” was Banks’ breakthrough novel published in 1984. Like Neil Cross’ work this story is deceptively simple and it unfolds steadily, with an underlying feeling of unease.

Frank is a strange young man living in relative isolation on a Scottish island with his reclusive father. His life is filled with bizarre ritualised behaviours and his relationship with his dad is strained.

Slowly Frank’s story is revealed, each revelation more strange and baffling. Overlaid onto this scenario is Frank’s brother Eric who has escaped from a mental hospital and is heading home.

I find stories with a dark bent fascinating and satisfying. There is a darkness in all of us which we ignore or control or embrace or fear or some combination of these. Reading about dark characters or good people being embroiled in dark situations allows me to explore my own dark side safely.

What I particularly loved about “The Wasp Factory” is the ending. Throughout the novel there is a building sense of foreboding, of a threat on the horizon. You crave a climax to explain or at least relieve the build up yet there is none. Or at least a finale which sets up more questions than it answers.

How delicious to end a book with a need to know more. So often I read a book which is the literary equivalent of a slice of white bread; tasty enough but with nothing to remember it by. The test of a truly great book is how it stays with you, how the characters haunt you, how the story rolls about in the recesses of your mind.

This book does just that and I can’t wait to see what other dark offerings Iain Banks has in his extensive bibliography.