Katherine Hayton | BLOG
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21 Jun / 3 ingredients

I learned an important lesson today.

If you’re going to make a dozen scones using a new recipe that calls for only three ingredients, you should probably make sure they’re in your pantry.

I do often improvise in recipes, but it’s usually after having tried them straight at least once. And the recipes usually have a few more things tossed in there.

To be fair to me though, what really is the difference between greek yoghurt and lite vanilla yoghurt? They’re both yoghurt. They both have… whatever is in yoghurt in them.

I mixed together the two and a quarter cups of flour. It was meant to be two and a half but I was at the bottom of the bag and I couldn’t be bothered opening a new one and covering myself and the bench in that flour that’s always caught in the top and goes flying everywhere when you pull it apart. I would’ve done it if I was a cup short, but a quarter. Who’d even notice?

Anyway, that’s an easy adjustment. By putting in less cheese and less yoghurt it should have balanced out okay.

I’ve just remembered that I did also forget to put the extra half cup of cheese on the top of the scones after I dropped them onto the baking tray, but surely that didn’t cause any trouble. It was just a topping.

After ten minutes the lovely smell of baking vanilla came wafting out of the kitchen.

The scones came out of the oven, and it was quite obvious that there was something wrong.

They were far too white for one thing, and far too flat for another. I tried putting them back into the oven, but although that should have cured the far too white aspect, it didn’t really.

When I sliced them open they were gluey. I added butter, which is my instant cure-all for anything, but there was just no fixing the problem by that stage.

I had planned to store half of them in the freezer so I could pull them out progressively during the week for my lunch. After a taste test it was clear that plan was not going to go ahead. I want to look forward to lunch.

Instead my darling and I ate them all. Not all at once, but certainly all today.

Failure tastes very much like vanilla cheese scone dough.

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20 Jun / Virtual Reality

As though reality wasn’t trouble enough to be getting on with, virtual reality has now touched down in my household.

I looked into purchasing a fancy Samsung VR headset earlier in the year, and was less put off by the fancy pricetag than I was at the fact I’d need to upgrade my phone to a newer model. Something I’d done late last year, and was hoping to put off for another full year at least.

While I do love the newest gadgets, when I actually use them (and I’m talking about more than a few weeks here) transferring the information from one to another before wiping the memory clean and sending it off to be recycled and sold on to folks that I hope don’t know how to hack wiped information from a phone, makes the whole process a bit too I-can’t-be-bothered for my tastes.

So I hummed and hawed and decided to let inaction make my decision for me. I was then distracted by a new robot vacuum cleaner that may actually vacuum as opposed to sweep, and the thought of VR dropped away.

Until a few weeks ago when I was spending my time looking up things on TradeMe I can’t afford to buy, and stumbled across Cardboard.

Excellent. Finally a gadget that only costs the amount of use I’m likely to get out of it.

I actually plugged for the more expensive model, and laid down a cool $7.80 on the VR headset which came equipped with an NFC tag.

When it arrived yesterday I remembered that I did have a whole lot of unused NFC tags that I could’ve used instead of paying the extra dollar, but I’d forgotten about them because they were so 2013.

This gadget is so cool that it doesn’t even arrive with instructions for putting it together. No. It arrives with an arrangement of slots that are labelled with numbers.

A word of advice for anyone planning on assembling one of these headsets. Look at the internet. See what they should look like. Even look up a video of someone putting one together.

That’ll save you time and energy when you realise that three of the slots are labelled 6. Not to mention demonstrating which way up to put the nosepiece. Or when to apply the rubber band. And even what the hell those magnets are for.

Best of all it will quickly lead you to the conclusion that just because some of the pieces of cardboard are bent, does not mean they’re meant to be assembled with a bend in those places.

Even with these impediments it only took me an episode of Hannibal to put the whole thing together and then I was completely entranced. I loaded up the cardboard app, put the VR headset to my face, and commenced watching an exciting tale about a mouse, a hat, and the forces of nature.

It was all going quite well, and then an exciting 3D message came up on screen. I couldn’t decipher it, so I had to take the phone out of the headset.

Unfortunately, Cardboard has stopped.

REPORT OK

Never mind. I left it for a while and then tried again. I loaded up a rollercoaster app this time. Apparently it’s just like being there.

This turned out to be quite true. Except, unlike when you’re actually on a rollercoaster, when you’re fed up with feeling out of control and sick you can just abandon it by taking the VR headset away from your head. Even better, you can then hand it to your darling and let him take on the rest of the rollercoaster ride, complete with sound effects and unstable body motions.

I feel like I’ve got my $7.80 worth already.

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This morning I brought up my internet banking on the screen and typed in my customer number and password. When I looked up at the screen only half of my customer number had gone into the box before the screen froze.

Muttering some joyful words under my breath I closed down the internet and opened it again. I brought up my online banking login page.

This time I froze.

What’s my customer number?

When it was assigned to me twenty or more years ago it was randomly assigned. Very safe. Unless you happened to open my mail by accident. Or on purpose.

Randomly assigned.

That means that when I forget the number they provided two decades ago I have no source of reference to remind myself what it is.

It starts with a four. That much I’m sure of. It has six numbers total. Or seven. There’s a zero in there. A couple of even numbers, or odd numbers, and it ends with an eight or a six.

I typed in a few different combinations. None of them worked. I tried a few more on my phone in case they were counting and I was going to be locked out until I phoned up the bank on their 0800 number.

Phoning is my least favourite thing which is why I have internet banking instead. Except I didn’t.

After the sixth combination fail I started to wonder if, in all the excitement, I’d actually picked the correct customer number but was using the wrong password.

I felt confident that the password was correct. But then, I’d felt confident my customer number was too easy to ever forget and look where that had got me.

There was a chance that it was written down at home in the diary that I’d bought myself in 1998 because it looked like the type of diary an efficient office worker should own.

I’d kept it all these years because it definitely has some other codewords in there which I hardly ever need, but which if I forgot my life would ground to a halt until I grew the balls to phone someone.

Luckily, before I got to the point that I needed to check, I sat down at my home computer, opened up the online banking login page, and logged in with my automatic recall fingers.

Phew. Close call. I still don’t have any more money than I would have if I’d managed to check my accounts this morning, but for now just being able to check feels pretty good.

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18 Jun / Day off

Today I took a day off.

When I arrived in the office bright and early on Monday morning, I was not feeling bright and early and immediately looked up to see how many days leave I had available that weren’t already earmarked for other things.

The answer was 1.5 days, which is now down to .5 days.

Thursday may seem an odd choice for a day off, I’ve had many ask me why I didn’t take Friday and make a long weekend of it, but I had meetings booked and I was too lazy to deal with the hassle of rescheduling. So Thursday it was.

When my darling woke up early this morning and crawled out of bed, I had the luxury of half waking and then turning over and going back to sleep.

When my darling turned on the light in order to shave his facial hair, I kept my eyes closed and pretended that it wasn’t morning.

When my darling kissed me goodbye I grunted, and then fell asleep again before I heard his car pull out of the driveway.

Ah, blessed sleep. I dream of sleeping.

In fact, I dreamt of sleeping-in until 3.13pm.

A highly specific time that has no known relevance to me whatsoever.

I ran around in a panic. I couldn’t believe that I’d slept the entire day away. A day I’d earned by my sweat, and tears, and sheer hard work over hours and hours and hours.

And there was a whole lot of washing that needed to be folded for some reason. I don’t know. I don’t direct these productions, they merely screen themselves inside my brain.

When I woke up in a state of fear and regret it was 7.14am. A much better time to wake up.

If it’d been the weekend I would’ve dozed on and off for another half hour or so.

I kept my eyes open as wide as I could and jumped out of bed.

I’d already wasted one day off. I wasn’t repeating that mistake.

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16 Jun / Happy endings

I don’t know why television stations do it, but everything ended yesterday.

Game of Thrones: finished. Maybe forever. *Spoiler.* Almost everyone is dead.

Veep: finished. And lets hope next series it gets back to its fundamental premise. Like, you know, its name.

Silicon Valley: finished. And thankfully rescued before we needed to drink our own urine.

There are few enough things to look forward to on a Monday without all of my favourite TV shows calling it quits.

I understand that on the side of the world that these shows are created it’s now the height of summer and time for everyone to be out playing in their backyards and getting a nice dose of skin cancer, but downunder it’s the middle of winter and the sun has set by five o’clock. It doesn’t matter how much TV you don’t screen, I’m not heading outside to play.

I could always start watching the local version of Come Dine With Me, except according to everyone who’s watched it so far I couldn’t.

Sigh. Winter Blues. I may have to resort to reading a book. Or, you know, writing one like I’m meant to be doing.

Nah. Only joking.

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14 Jun / Binge fail

I tried.

Let it never be said that I didn’t try.

I’ve been glued to the couch apart from minor breaks to take care of ginger crunch baking and physical needs all weekend, but there are still four episodes of OITNB season three unwatched.

Well, somewhat unwatched. I’ve started the tenth episode as I type this. After that though, I’ll have to call it a night. There’s sleeping to be done.

Now the remaining episodes will have to be spaced out throughout the rest of the week as I get back into watching my regularly schedule programming.

It’ll practically be the same as watching any other skimpily doled out television show.

There are many things I do which I occasionally question my ability to do. Television watching has never been one of them.

Until now.

Binge fail sadness.

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Not to be mistaken for ginger slice wars, as that was the precipitating purchase.

The restaurant next door to our work sells a lovely looking what-they-call ginger crunch, which is disappointingly only a ginger slice as there is no crunch to be found.

After reminiscing that nothing quite sets off the beautiful tooth-sinking heated loveliness that is a ginger topping like a thin base full of CRUNCH we’ve now come down to the rather-harder-than-it-first-appeared task of recreating the fond remembered ginger crunch of our oft-lamented childhood.

And when I say WE, my contribution so far has been to taste test end results.

But I’m not a freeloader (for ever) so this weekend I’m putting my own baking skills to the test to try to magic up a memory out of a few staple kitchen ingredients.

First, and most important, Ginger. Tick. I checked that last night just in case the memory I had of it being in the cupboard was out of place by a few years and missing in between was a snapshot of every time I’d opened the cupboard to see an empty slot.

I’ve made that mistake before in the long-ago gingerbread wars, and I’m not going to make it again.

Flour. Tick.

Icing Sugar. Tick.

Normal Sugar. Tick.

Coconut Sugar, Palm Sugar, Brown Sugar. Tick. Tick. Tick. In case I wake up tomorrow channeling a fancy-arse pastry chef vibe. I even have Splenda brown sugar in case I wake up feeling fat, but not so fat that I won’t immediately commence baking.

Butter. Tick. But also tossing up whether the last of the exquisite cocoa butter I have in the back of the cupboard should be broken out for its final supper.

Golden Syrup. Cross. I’m thinking of livening up proceedings with a dash of molasses in glucose syrup instead.

Baking Powder. Tick. Final ingredient. I’m set.

Now, I’m thinking of taking the standard recipe (still tossing up between Chelsea Sugar and Edmonds Cookbook) and baking the base twice in a nice biscotti twist for extra, extra crunch.

However, I’m also thinking of how nice it would be to have an extra hour sleep-in tomorrow since my darling woke me up at 7.14am this morning in order to commence grocery shopping.

No, I don’t know why either. I blame the parents.

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11 Jun / Unsubscribe

Dear Retailers,

If, perchance, I’ve signed up to your email list in the past, please do not be offended if you receive an unsubscribe request from me this week.

I am trying to save money.

I have also discovered that the “willpower” others claim to possess is not on sale anywhere at the moment, so I don’t have any.

The reason that I signed up for your emails is because I like the things you have to sell. In the past this has meant that I wanted to see everything you had to offer.

Unfortunately, this now proves to be too much of a temptation and the self-denial I’ve recently indulged in doesn’t seem to be performing the task of making me feel smug and superior as was claimed on the box.

Therefore, please treat it as a compliment when I ask to unsubscribe from your emails this week.

If in the future I find myself sufficiently endowed, I promise to pay you a visit.

Yours sincerely,

Kathay1973

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09 Jun / Shoelaces

Tonight, as part of my exercising in an endeavour not to die early, I walked home from work.

I’d done it yesterday as well, and if my willpower holds out I may just manage it tomorrow.

The walk home is a changeable distance. When I start out it seems easy, though relatively time-consuming. When I’m past the point of no return (the last bus-stop for forty minutes walk) it starts to get harder going. When I’m about twenty minutes from home it seems like I’ll never reach my destination. Then I make it inside, crawl to the couch, and pretend that it was a breeze.

It was at the point where it seemed impossible to finish the journey (alive) that a terrible incident overtook me this evening. One that demanded my complete and undivided attention. Immediately.

My shoelace came undone.

There was no way that I could keep walking with it flapping about and just pleading to be stepped on. When I was younger I’d have bent over and tied that up with no problems.

Being a middle aged woman who’s just started exercising again after a sabbatical and whose skeleton seems to belong to a woman twice her age there were a few considerations.

1) Did I think I could bend over to tie it up, or should I risk the knee bend?

2) Did I think I could maintain my balance whilst doing so, or should I risk tripping for another minute in order to make it to the bus stop where I could sit down?

3) Did I think that now I’d committed to bending over I’ll be able to stand back up, or should I just drop to the pavement and crawl the rest of the way home?

I wish I still had bendy joints that did things the way they’re meant to. If you catch me staring into space the next few days it’s me looking at my departing youth.

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