Monday, 21 July 2014

Christos Tsiolkas

If there is one author everyone must read in the current times I'd say it is Christos Tsiolkas. My brother and his lovely wife recommended him to me during a recent visit. My brother was not much of a reader growing up, so when he suggested I read it I was a bit skeptical, but Tsiolkas' The Slap and Barracuda are two of the most riveting books I have read recently.

His works are thought provoking, make you deeply uncomfortable and force you to acknowledge truths that you tend to live in denial of. This is especially true for an immigrant like me, trying to raise a child, who I believe will develop a sense of belonging if I stay put in one place. Until now I have believed that if we had all stayed in my country of birth and just plodded along we'd all be fine today, that we'd have a strong sense of belonging, but I don't know that for sure. I will never know if that could be true.

The truth of the matter is that regardless of where we are born and raised we have to go through the coming of age ritual. It isn't cultural or traditional and there are no timelines. It is an individual battle and Tsiolkas illustrates that so vividly for a person of mixed parentage in contemporary Australia. It is frightening to think that children battle through such emotions as they grow up. I had my own challenges growing up away from my country of birth, but I doubt I can compare my experiences to what Tsiolkas speaks of in his books. My heart aches a little for my nephew and nieces and my son.

These two books are a must read for everyone. It does not matter where you are raising children, it is not just about ethnic differences or white dominance. It is about class consciousness and what matters to an individual at each stage of his or her life. There is a lot to take in with these two books, but the one thing I want to hold on to is to try and look at life through my child's eyes so I can be empathetic to what he goes through as he finds his niche in this complicated mess we have created.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Distracted walking

So there's a new law against texting and driving in Ontario! Higher fines, yay!

But we have way too many people who just don't get that this is not about you holding the bloody phone, but more about being distracted while driving. I head out yesterday thinking people will be mindful at least on day one only to be stuck behind a jeep where I could clearly see the passenger holding the phone up for the driver who was oblivious to the lights having changed and the cars ahead of her being long gone! She weaved between lanes making it incredibly hard for me to get to where I wanted to go. All the while I could see a hand holding up a phone for the driver. So I am not sure how this is going to turn out for us.

And for people like me who would rather walk than drive I am also annoyed with people that walk and text or do whatever they do with their phones. The most annoying thing they do while on the phone is stop dead on their tracks while walking. I was walking down the hall at work yesterday and walked right into two people, not one but two people who did just that.

With cars it is one thing, the person at least step on the brakes and the brake lights tell you that the driver ahead is just randomly stopping in the middle of the street, you curse and stop, what else can you do if you can't safely pass them! When people do that while walking, we just walk into them because our bums are not fitted with brake lights are they! I said just that to the first woman I walked into yesterday! In hindsight I doubt she registered anything I said, she was totally distracted by her phone. Sigh! I feel like this is a losing battle.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Pizza a la Dork

Well, I can't take all the credit for this pizza. I have Martha Stewart to thank for the dough. I always thought it was a lot of work getting the dough done and that it involved a lot of muscle work. I don't care for that because one needs muscles to do it and I replaced mine with fat a while ago. So I was thrilled when I found this recipe for pizza dough. It works brilliantly.

My monkey loves pizza and it is one night we can eat without my having to harangue him at the table. It is also a great way to get rid of all all the bits and pieces of vegetables, like that half a bell pepper, three mushrooms and the kale or spinach. You know what I am talking about.

I also liked how the sauce turned out. I heated a can of crushed tomatoes with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of dried basil. Now I have sauce and dough for another batch when all desire to cook eludes me.

So what did my pizza look like? This is how.
And oh, I like to use habanero cheese to wake my deadened taste buds. You see, the possibilities are endless!