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Secret false cake – by Justyna

3 Aug

I’ll let you in on a secret of mine. I don’t really like cake all that much. Same goes for tea. I would prefer to sit around pints of beer and pretzel sticks with my friends, but, as previously mentioned by Beth and Tabs, women tend to like cake. Loads. So I sit along with my dainty fork and join in. I’m not in pain really but I do often wish there was a plate of beef jerky in front of me instead. Cooking I can do, but baking, well my repertoire is reserved to muffins and oatmeal cookies (mainly because of Kazek who loves baking). Creamy cakes are definitely out. Torts are just some sort of misunderstanding. And the remainder? Well I’ll eat it and enjoy myself but mainly for the ritual rather than the taste. If you give me an espresso to wash the cake down with I’ll be happy enough. And I have never, ever, wet myself at a wedding when the cake has been brought out.

My cake eating patterns have changed somewhat in the recent years though. I eat cake more often these days than before. Mainly due to Michal. He is the biggest cake eater I have ever met. He likes peasant cakes mainly though (read no fancy shit or cream please), and he can eat copious amounts. Sometimes Michal’s mum will bake a massive apple strudel or a cheesecake and bring it over. Within two days Michal can eat the whole thing with me having but a sliver. He doesn’t apologise for it either. It’s his weakness and he’s happy to indulge every time. When we came down the mountains yesterday we stopped at a spa town famous for its underground springs (Krynica), wanting to show Anthony how smelly the water can get and how supposedly good it is for you. There is a massive building reserved for the water sampling. There is also a cake stall. Michal visited the cake stall first. My mother, never the biggest baker, bakes a cake every time Michal comes over. Her son-in-law-arse-licking-type behaviour. It’s pretty entertaining.

Under the commie times there was a sweet product here roughly called ‘similar-to-chocolate’ chocolate (czekoladopodobne). Basically it was fake chocolate. Apparently the masses were not allowed to enjoy the real taste of cocoa. I still have the taste of it in my mouth because I accidentally bought a block of it a week or so ago. I thought it was outlawed but it appears there is still a market for this horrid garbage. It looks like chocolate, it is packaged like chocolate, but it smells and tastes like cardboard dipped in a thin layer of a runny chocolate-flavoured milk drink. And then it leaves this horrible, oily film on your upper roof. Kids used to get it as birthday treats and for Christmas. It caused many tears and psychological issues.

False – by Karen

29 Jul

I started my new boot camp class a couple of weeks ago, and found myself in the middle of a gym drama. The woman who had taken the previous weeks’ classes, which I had enjoyed, turns out to have been a fill-in for another trainer, who arrived this week. I met one of my co-exercisers on the stairs, who said, “Oh, Cherie’s back,” with a roll of her eyes. “Cherie?” I asked. “Yeah, she’s the normal trainer, but Daniela was way better.” This did turn out to be true, and the new trainer was fairly unengaged. She also filled the room with a cigarette smoke halo, which is kind of weird for a fitness trainer. Seemed like a very nice person though.

Anyhow, afterwards, all the gym girls congregated for coffee while Cherie got a talking to from the gym manager. Suddenly, all the women were excitedly speculating that she might be being fired.

Cherie joined us for coffee, a bit teary, to report that she’d been told to stop talking so much and to give me heavier weights.

Suddenly, all the women were shocked. How could he do that? Doesn’t he know they all love Cherie? In fact, they’d all stop coming if Cherie left. When they saw that hot young Daniela, they just wanted to give up. Clearly Gym Boss doesn’t understand women.

Well, by the end of that, I felt like I didn’t understand women either. To be more honest, I understood all too well, and the scenario was all too familiar. High school. Groups of girls. The bitching and the sucking up in rapid-fire succession. Wanting to get Girl A on side by supporting them, then wanting to bond with Girl B by tearing Girl A down behind their back.

It tastes sweet at the time, but leaves a nasty after-taste. Like a spoon full of aspartame.

Faux. It’s French for False – by Tabitha

24 Jul

This is my new faux fox fur, bought from the Bo Phut night market last week:

His little mouth opens and closes!

Moments before buying him, I was explaining to Nathan that now I’m pregnant and soon to be a mother, I should really try to reduce my cutesy-poo wardrobe stylings. This was prompted by seeing a headband with a faux chocolate eclair stuck on it, which I quite fancied, but talked myself down from. In Vietnam, the maternity fashion is for these awful, tent-sized, short-sleeved dresses tied loosely at the back, and covered in pastel-coloured images of puppy dogs kissing kittens. They look like an oversized version of a toddler’s dress, and that’s exactly how they make the wearer look: like a waddling, oversized child. I’m pretty sure that wearing a chocolate eclair on your head would have the same effect. Actually, no, I’m totally sure.

And then I saw the fox, and knew he had to be mine.

This sums up the internal, fruitless, struggle I have over practically all my wardrobe purchases. I am always drawn to the fabrics with animal patterns, or the hats that have ears, or the scarves with faces, and yet I know these do not a stylish woman make. As I get older, I worry that in fact I look more and more like Kathy Geiss, surrounded by her collection of unicorns and rainbows. And yet I can’t resist a faux fox.

Nathan was horrified by the idea that I was suppressing my innate urge to wear a chocolate eclair on my head because of impending motherhood, and tried to insist that I buy it, which is one of the many reasons he is the best husband ever. I agree there’s something really, really wrong with the idea of “age-appropriate” clothing, one that dictates all mothers should wear natural fibres in neutral tones from Country Road, but it usually goes hand-in-hand with what actually looks good on a person. I am not so blinded by my love of A-line skirts covered in dachshunds that I don’t know I look, well, better, in fitted dresses that show off my womanly features. The dachshunds, against my better judgement, are just more me.

At various times in my life, I have made brief bids to look a little better by looking a little less me. Based on the increase in compliments, I suppose it’s worked, but I have no staying power. I have heard the sentence “Wow, you should wear make-up every day!” many times. I have learnt that at new workplaces, you should never set the bar too high by letting them see you in lipstick. The same rule can be applied in the bedroom with sexy underwear, which is why Nathan’s never seen me in anything other than black Bonds hipsters. One day he discovered my collection of frilly knickers – purchased over the years in extremely fleeting attempts to be sexier – buried in the deepest, darkest sedimentary layer of my underwear drawer. “What are these?”, he said, like a geologist discovering a very lacy fossil from an unknown time. “Haha”, I said. “You can forget about it”.

So, what does this mean for the future? Will our child be asking me not to wear my faux fox when I pick them up at the school gate? Yes, yes they will. And then this will temporarily remind me to dress better, and maybe I’ll even wear lipstick for a week or so. But then the fox will call me back, and how can you ignore a face like that?

False – by Beth

24 Jul

The random word generator says “false” and I think “false teeth”! Here are a couple of false teeth stories for you.

Back in the day in small town NZ, it seems that the cleverest gift to give a young man setting off to the big city for university was the removal of his teeth, and their replacement with dentures. So that’s just what happened to my Dad.

He still has all of his bottom teeth, but his entire top row of teeth are false. Pearly white for always. He’s only just recently gotten his second denture – he had the other for 40 years or so. His gums are impossibly smooth, pink and toothless.

The falsies have made for some laughs. One cousin, now in her thirties, still asks Dad to push them in and out for gross effect every time she sees him. The other day Dad was telling me that he was giving directions to a stranger while he was out on a bike ride. He sneezed, and his false teeth flew out with great dramatic effect. The stranger was left open-mouthed. Awkward.

Mum tells a story from their courtship that would have sent many women packing, but not her! One night they went to see Roman Polanski’s Macbeth. Dad was drunk and had eaten his meal too fast (can you see what’s coming?) He was making noisy drunken remarks in the theatre “Bloody Thane of Cawdor, eh?” he guffawed. “Bloody Macbeth, eh?!”, nudging Mum in the ribs. It was no surprise when he had to go to the bathroom urgently in the middle of the film. He hurled up not only his guts, but his teeth out and into the toilet bowl! Mum says she felt funny kissing him for a few days after that. Dad has no memory of the whole episode.

The other day, Mum and Dad stayed over and Dad was brushing his teeth in the sink, as you do… Leo insisted on watching and was a seemingly aghast to see Grandad holding his teeth. But when I talked about it to him later he had no memory of it. Too odd a sight to even register maybe? Or maybe kids are just the coolest and hard to phase.