Had a pretty good day out w/ Katy, after a rough start. Got woken up after little sleep at 8:30 by hungry/thirsty cat who'd consumed his foodstuffs (and, I suspect, was also just bored/lonely), never really got back to sleep despite trying for several hours.
Katy and I have two anniversaries due to differing opinions as to what marks the official beginning of going out, and this one, Hers, thus my gifts, is split into spending today together out doing fun stuff and then going for Japanese some other evening (since she had to record a Shalka read-through tonight). We began by visiting a Christmas Market at The Water Poet in Spitalfields (something of a fail as there were few merchants and Katy didn't really want to watch the free Christmas films, be bought food, or stick around for the caroling later on (I'd sort of banked on her wanting to do these, as they're Her Sort of Thing). Then we dodged disaster by going to Portabello Market, which, over-populated and over-popular though it is, was v. nice, with a lot of Christmas greenery vendors with actual boughs of holly (NOT IN A SONG! LEGIT-ASS BOUGHS OF HOLLY!!) and mistletoe (I SHIT YOU NOT!). Katy was not nearly as shocked/interested as I was. I mean I'd seen these things like, once. In sad little dry bunches, not in riotous profusion. My mom bought boughs of greenery some years, but like, that was just some fir-strands w/ pine-cones stuck in. And I liked that too! But this was cooler.
Also there were some nice pop-up shops, some decent vendors, and I successfully remembered/spotted... I think it was Lefton? anyway, some mid-century floral cat figurine of a sort that is sometimes valuable and which Katy rather likes. She suspected this particular one of being v. new, though (and thus worth bupkis), and also it lacked an intelligent/curious expression, and I suspected our cat could try to fuck or kill it, either resulting in the loss of a porcelain figurine potentially worth thousands. Needless to say we did not get Sasa a new 'friend.' Still, I'm happy to have remembered it from a conversation last Autumn in Edinburgh.
Some interesting walking around and looking at stuff and buying people presents and NOT buying an AMAZING fuzzy wolf-hat with connected paw-gloves (which Katy may deeply regret some day, I feel), and then we started back. I felt it'd been a nice date thing. Then I had to use the bathroom at McDonalds before we caught the bus. I got stuck behind a looooong queue, and, I eventually realized, specifically behind some clueless tourists who had no idea they were IN said queue, much less holding it up. Eventually bypassed them, after having been queue-jumped by half the known female bathroom-needing world, only for a McDonalds employee to ROAR IN shrieking 'this toilet is broken!!' and slamming the door in my face. Whatever was broken she fixed, and then in the same unfortunately URGENT poor English she demanded I go in and use the thing RIGHT NOW!! I did so, and not fifteen seconds had I been in before an old angry and pretty drunk homeless woman started banging on the door, cursing, saying she was 'about to fucking bust'again and again. So I had to finish as quickly as possible and stumble out still trying to pull up my layers of tights (it was nasty and cold today). I washed my hands veeeery quickly because said woman didn't see a need to close the door as she did her biz. Magical. I fucking hate tourist!London sometimes. Nothing was the speicifically poor homeless woman, the situationally-stupid tourists, or the harried employee's fault, but I felt incredibly frustrated.
Then we got on the bus an hour and 40 min before we HAD to be home (for a 40 min max ride), and due to the police cracking down and arresting a ton of protesters outside parliament (Londoners of African descent who were suggesting, with strongly worded signs and other WMDs, that perhaps it wasn't cool for the UK and associated governments to continue supporting a hideously oppressive, rape-happy and illegitimate regime because they thought said regime could get them a good deal on cheapo laptop components--so obviously people who needed arrested en masse, and violently too!), we were stuck in a traffic jam about 40 min. We got home like 15 min late.
Pretty much pretending the day ended riiiight before I went into McDonalds. Anyway, then Katy did her readthrough, and I made chorizo chicken with potatoes, did loads of laundry, put away dishes, entertained the cat so it didn't yowl much/audibly during the recording, etc. Also watched a chunk of "A Damsel in Distress" while doing this, because the BBC iPlayer almost always has a classic film on dock, and I like to watch them while doing chores so I feel less like I've missed out on an entire era of largely decent-to-excellent film-making (well, at least that's what's come down to me--there very probably were clunkers aplenty, as ever, now mercifully lost to time). Aired out the rooms, which smelled of cat. This necessitated chasing Sasa out of them, opening the windows, hoping no one came in to steal shit for an hour, shutting the door without letting him sneak back in, and putting anti-Sasa notices on all the doors. He sulked in the hall way, pissed at my effrontery. Literally, he did a number on his litter box. His rage!!!waste is prodigious, and fearful to behold. Did a veeeery little Shalka stuff, and talked to flatmate Kasia about Christmas plans.
I need to type up my to-do list for Kasia, who seemed to think I'd be making a few things, and she'd make a few things, and we'd muddle through--she's welcome to contribute anything she likes, but I have a full big ass menu planned out which I'm comfy cooking, and I don't want to be rude, but altering it to do less, when I've so carefully planned that, seems annoying--I'll try to be very out of the kitchen on the Eve and the Day, due to pre-prep, but I'm pretty ready to roll here. Also have to type this up so Katy's mom can do some things, which is both nice and a bit annoying, as I've pretty much spent a ton of time figuring out how to manage this, and well-intentioned offers of help may well throw off my carefully timing, budget and ingredients plans. Also I specifically asked if she wanted anything special, or to make anything at home or at ours, because I didn't want her to feel that her decision to come here meant me taking over or undermined her/striped her of agency/ruined her Christmas, and she said no, so I went with that? Idk.
I'm not good at delegation, but esp. not re: cooking. I know how to get a lot done myself, but not how to relinquish control over steps or whole processes, or how to share space and resources seamlessly. I think maybe I used to be better at that as a kid, but I haven't really had to share kitchen duties for a long time, and the freedom's made me snotty about it. It's a bad trait, but when I'm working I mostly want people who aren't people I specifically REALLY know how to work with, like Katy, to fuck off and stop watching me chop vegetables and remarking on the speed. (Re: that, It's a bit silly to say 'gosh, you're sooooo faaaaast' (a la the other day) when I know my knife-technique is juvenile. I was just pathetic at this in basic high-school culinary arts chef-training, and my dicing's never been sufficiently speedy or uniform, and the mince knife technique, sort of a swivel hand gesture? fanning the knife around VERY QUICKLY rather than lifting and chopping?, is just beyond my skill. I cringe whenever anything asks for minced garlic. I can't even keep the French terms straight. It's this huge, fundamental technical skill that marks an important distinction in the highly sexually segregated world of 'chefs' and 'cooks', and I just do. not. have. it.)
So yeah: maybe typing up the list and displaying it will sort of nicely tell Kasia that while she's welcome to also do stuff, this is the stuff I will be doing, and emailing it to Katy's mom with some nice indicators of thing she could helpfully prep at home and finish here, or make at home and heat here, or make here, time/space/logistics permitting, would be okay. I'm just eager not to insult anyone/ruin anyone's holiday, nervous about doing Christmas at my house/with my food (never done that before), and anxious to please gf and gay!in-laws.
Also I helped edit Mez's uni!personal statement and feel v. virtuous/proud of her.
Apparently Joy of Cooking's 'lowfat' gingerbread men cannot be trusted, as I suspected. Low-fat is the devil's recipe designation, second only to 'atkins/south-beach friendly' in its foul degradation.* Also that's weird b/c I typically trust Joy of Cooking with my life. Also I need to make their cranberry relish soon, having discovered it freezes well. And the chicken broth and lard too. AND SOME BLOODY CHRISTMAS CRAFTS THAT ARE CLASSY AND ATTRACTIVE AND CHEAP. Anyone know any? :/ May have to hunt Tumblr. Ew. Tumblr.
May try this: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/gingerbread_man_cookies/
without pepper, b/c wtf, pepper?
, but the lack of molasses concerns me.
may well be the antidote to the oddly thin, too-formal sugar cookies I produced in Batch 1. Think I'll try the first.
Hrm, Groupon. This accredited TEFL course for 49 pounds might not be too bad. Idk what that regularly costs, though. All I know is I could use sweet sweet tutoring/teaching monies... Will check it out.
* Speaking of, have you seen Morgana and Brax in 'look, I need to eat to live like everyone, okay?' Please view this trailer for "A Princess for Christmas." And laugh. Until you cry.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0b8t6qXm0w
Buttle hard, Brax.