Living Alone VI

A friend wrote to me the other day ‘Enjoy your new found freedom’. I wrote back to the effect that there seems to be a fine line between “I’m free, FREE, FRREEEEEEEEE!!!!’ and ‘Oh my God, I’m so lonely, what on earth was I thinking of…’ He said ‘tell me about it’.

Well, clearly we need to establish some basic facts about the good side to living alone.

Right up the top of the list for me is complete world domination of the TV controls. I have to say, however, this may only be a plus for girls, since boys have complete world domination of the TV controls if they are in a relationship anyway. It is possible we need a girl list and a boy list. Still, my list starts right there.

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Living Alone V

Yeah, okay, it’s true. My lunch yesterday was a tin of sardines and I’m going to lose marks for everything here. Where they on a plate? No, out of the tin. Sitting down? No, standing up at the counter. I didn’t just have a tin of sardines, I had a bowl of cereal as well. Honestly, I had a good reason. I had a friend coming around and there just wasn’t time….

So today, to make amends. While a saucepan of spaghetti is doing its thing…

Toast some pine nuts in a frying pan. Don’t burn. Take out when a little brown flecked. Take some good quality bacon with rind, fry the rind in the same pan to render the fat….NOT just to render the fat…when the rind is ready, take out and eat. Please don’t tell me you think that is wrong unless you do actually cook roast pork without crackling.

Add some olive oil to the bacon fat and then the chopped up bacon, fry for a bit and then lower heat to very low and add some chopped garlic. We do NOT want to burn the garlic, we are Italian today, so stir a few times and take off the heat, let sit.

Destem lots of baby leaf spinach – you will NEVER have too much, it just disappears. Grate parmesan cheese.

A minute before the spaghetti is ready, put the frying pan back on the heat, when oil is hot again, throw in spinach and then the drained spaghetti. Mix through the pine nuts.

After you have put this concoction in bowls, splash a little best quality olive oil on top (you used whatever your standard cooking olive oil earlier in the cooking…good quality but not best) and then parmesan. Lots of freshly grated pepper before and during eating.

One of the spaghetti dishes to which I’m addicted. I gotta say it does beat tinned sardines and cereal….

Living Alone IV

One of the things that happens when you go through the process of leaving home and moving elsewhere is that you do lose people along the way. Especially when you’ve done what I’ve done.

You see, I’ve moved from St Kilda West to St Kilda. Melburnians will understand the implications, but I’ll explain for others. St Kilda West these days is a privileged, over-priced little pocket of real estate, populated by IT professionals who like their neighbourhood clean. They fancy the idea of being near St Kilda, but they never actually go there. I don’t think I’d been to St Kilda myself for about 10 years and I’d consider myself less scrupulous than some.

St Kilda is hookers, druggies, mad people, English backpackers, people who think they are writers though they’ve never written anything. If a St Kilda West person were to contemplate a trip to Acland St, he’d first discuss the possibility of shots with his doctor.

Clarissa’s just not having it. She’s a St Kilda West girl through and through. She will step onto the city side of Fitzroy St but no further. So, well, she’s staying with a friend in West St Kilda who used to put her up years ago. She won’t even come up here for a g&t – ‘do you have a garden?’ she asked dubiously. Well, no, I have pot plants. That’s what happens when you live in an apartment.

So my relationship with Clarissa is strained to say the least at the moment; I haven’t seen her since I moved, and I can’t see things getting better. We’ll see. I’m going to meet her for coffee on the right side of Fitzroy St tomorrow and I will report.

Living Alone III denouement

So I’ve been to a party. ALRIGHT? I hope I’m not going to get nagged about that any more. You know who you are.

When a single girl is back home from a party, home in bed by 10pm, it means one of two things. Either the karaoke started at 9pm or she got seriously lucky.

The karaoke did indeed start early. I’ve lived a sheltered life – this was my first karaoke ever. I saw the birthday boy do a couple of songs and really, my evening was complete.

Most of you reading this will know I play bridge. If what they say about ‘lucky in love, unlucky in cards’ is true…well….I’m expecting to picking up a lot of aces this week. Enough said?

Living alone III

If you are on your own, some time or another you have face… parties. You’ll have people telling you to get out more and when you say you’ve been invited but you’re thinking you won’t go – well, on the list of sins committed by single people this ranks somewhat below eating fish out of the tin for lunch – so we’re talking pretty low indeed.

Nothing springs to mind in which I have less interest than parties. If I do go to a party I want it to be comfortable. I want to go with the same person I always go with. I want to know when the argument is going to start about whether it’s time to go home, how it is going to develop and I want to have a few choice lines ready. Oh, and the taxi fare because I always lose that one, no matter how good my lines are.

What I do not want, when I go to a party, is to have to worry about whether people are hitting on me – or whether they aren’t – and it seems to me that this is pretty much how single people approach parties. I’ve scarcely ever been one before – a single person, I mean – but I know how their minds work. What they always want to know afterwards is ‘do you think so and so…..’

This time I’ve got things sorted. It’s a 40th birthday for the husband of a friend of mine. It’s in a pub on a Friday night. And I’m taking my knitting. Yes, that’s quite correct, I’m taking my knitting to a pub birthday bash. And I’ve organised myself a date who is also bringing her knitting. One drink because people don’t think you can possibly be having fun if you aren’t drinking, finish my sock, back home tucked into bed by 10pm.

A figure of speech, ‘tucked into bed’….when you live on your own, nobody tucks you in. How sad and lonely can things get?

Living alone II

Day three. I go out to lunch with a friend who speculates that it won’t be long before I’m one of those people who stands at the counter in the kitchen eating fish out of a tin…I say but I love doing that, I’ve done it for years. He says but now you are going to do it because you are hungry. Yes….I can see that the two are different.

Day four. I stand at the kitchen counter opening a tin of fish. But wait. Honestly. It isn’t what you think. I love cooking….

Take a tin of pink salmon. Gently saute some garlic and chopped shallots in a little olive oil. What does gently mean? Well, once I translated a Brazilian recipe into English via Yahoo. At some stage the recipe called for you to fry the fairies with the chillies. So, what ‘gently’ means in this context is a temperature at which fairies would be happy to sit in the pan, merely warming their little bottoms and not being boiled alive in oil.

Now increase the heat just for a bit, add a splash of vodka and let it burn off. Heat back down low, add the salmon, stir in a dollop of cream and take off the heat. While you’ve been doing all this you’ve had water boiling and you’ve added pasta.

Prepare lots of baby leaf spinach. I always take the stems off. I do it for guests so I’m certainly going to do it for myself. When the pasta is ready, put the sauce back on low heat, throw in the spinach, toss in the pasta. I might also add a little freshly chopped chilli. You can also now add cheese if you like. Grated parmesan, or something like Coon – ie a good melting cheddar – if you prefer. To taste, at any rate, and not compulsory.

Eat with too much freshly ground black pepper. There are a million variations on this, they’re all divine.

If I were really sad and lonely I’d have taken a picture of that so that SOMEBODY out there other than me would have seen my lunch. Now I understand why people put ‘this is what I had for breakfast’ pictures on their blogs. Not me, I’ll never be that sad and lonely. Well, not AND be a competent photographer….

Living alone

In my whole life to date I wouldn’t have spent more than maybe 6 months living on my own. It’s not as if one never considers the idea, however, and I’ve formulated the odd strong opinion. Like I’d never be one of those sad lonely types who don’t cook properly. I was rather taken aback, therefore, on the evening of day one alone, to discover myself eating two crackers and half a pear for dinner.

Day two things got worse. Dinner was a piece of toast (with vegemite) and an orange at 3pm. Well, it seemed worse to me at the time.

Day three? Come back tomorrow.