Posted by: adeliciousmoment | May 28, 2012

Required viewing

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Hey there, my fellow Americans… Have you heard about Eurovision?

Did you know that it’s an insanely popular European song competition? No? You’ve never heard of it before? Same here, until last year, when my boyfriend informed me that the show is required viewing for pretty much everyone in Australia.

Wait–in Australia? you may be asking. Isn’t it a European thing? That’s right, very much so. Yet the contest is ridiculously popular here in Oz, primarily because of disco super group ABBA. You see, ABBA got their start by winning the Eurovision song contest in 1974, and the rest, as they say, is history. (In case you were unaware of how huge ABBA was–and still is, in Australia, you can read my post about the phenomenon right here.)

Ok, back to the show…

Here’s how it works: Eurovision showcases one song each from 42 different European countries. Each song/ performer has to win in their own country before competing for the main event. Each country votes for their 10 favourite songs, with extra points going to their top three choices. They are not allowed to vote for their own entry. This process leads to some ass-kissing votes, based on geo-political interests (or so I am told), but most countries seem to award their top vote to the song which is truly popular and deserving of a chance to win. The performers can be amateur or professional, young or old, of any nationality (I do find it odd that performers do not have to be citizens or residents of the country they represent, like Celine Dion, who is Canadian, singing for Switzerland in 1988, and winning). The songs must be original, and they must be sung live. There are two semi-final rounds, on two different nights, in which ten entries per round are chosen to compete for the final show. Also, five countries, the ones who pay for the contest, along with the previous year’s winning country, are automatically entered into the final round. The winning country hosts the show for the following year. This year, Eurovision was held in Azerbaijan.

Last night was the big finale of Eurovision, and what a show it was, full of razzle dazzle and all that jazz. And I’ve got to say, as much as I abhor cheesy song and/ or dance contests, and that sort of thing (sorry, Dancing With the Stars fans, that stuff is just not my cuppa tea), I was seriously into Eurovision. Why? Because it is over-the-top fun. And gay. As gay as it gets. Happy, silly, dance-inducing fun. Lots of pretty boys and gay commentary, including an array of queeny tweets (I even chimed in, trying to get on TV, I’ll admit, but we are half an hour behind here in Adelaide, so there was no chance of that). Watching the Aussie hosts are as much fun as watching the performers themselves, with their dry witticisms and sincere adoration for the show.

Eurovision had it all last night. There were grannies from Russia, in traditional costumes, singing a dance club-style song, goofy Turkish dudes wooing the ladies with some odd form of charisma, ponderous ballads, wacky costumes and even wackier dance moves, crazy hair-do’s, glittering sequins, Star Trek-style shoulder pads, pyrotechnics, and even a performance by Engelbert Humperdink.

Wow… All that and gay humour too? How did I miss out on this incredible show all those years? Oh, yeah, I was in America, where we ignore most things from other countries.

Yes, I went there.

The winning song for Eurovision 2012 was a fabulous dance club kinda number by Loreen, from Sweden, called “Euphoria”. It certainly got my uncounted virtual vote.

You can see the winning performance here on YouTube.

Cheers! Next year, onto Sweden! Maybe we will get to see a reunion performance by ABBA…. We can dare to dream.

(By the way, last night I did not indulge in any of the Eurovision drinking games, which are supposedly very popular here in Australia. I’m not saying that I was sober while watching the show, but I kept my inebriation to a respectable level, just one drink. Ok, it was only because we ran out of wine, but still.)

Photo: Jedward from Ireland, performing at Eurovision 2012, found here

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Posted by: adeliciousmoment | February 16, 2012

Oh, Casper, my Casper…

One of the most difficult aspects of moving abroad was having to part with my beloved kitty cat, Casper. At least I knew that he would be in good hands, living with my mom and step-dad. They really made Casper a part of their family. I saw how well cared-for he was while  I stayed with them, on my visit back to the U.S. last year.

When I left Ohio to return to Australia in early December, I had a feeling that I would not see my cat again. I just didn’t know how soon I would lose him. Casper already had a tumor growing within him when I left, but I had no idea.

My sweet boy had to be put to sleep, about two weeks ago. Needless to say, losing him hit me pretty hard. The odd thing was, I’d had a dream a couple of nights beforehand, that my mom had told me he died, and that they had buried him the back yard. And my boyfriend, Glen, had dreamed of holding a dead cat, the night before I was told about Casper’s passing. I guess my sweet kitty was trying to tell us what was going on.

Casper lived a healthy happy life. He was almost 12 years old when he died. I’d had him since the day he was born, and I still recall how it felt to hold his tiny body in the palm of my hand. He was the bully of the litter of kittens, and he grew larger than his mother within 9 weeks of age. Casper grew to be a very big kitty, just about the largest cat I have ever seen, in fact. You could say there was simply more of him to love.

What I wouldn’t give to feel his warm fluffy body burrowing against mine, while I’m reading in bed, and feel his soft paw gently nudging my nose, when he would try to tell me to wake up and feed him. I would like to believe that his spirit is living here with me, that he somehow found his way across 10, 000 miles, so we could be together again. Maybe… It’s possible.

I did a tribute to Casper on my blog, lamb & blonde, on the colour white, here.

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Rest in Peace, my beautiful boy. I will never forget you. You were the best kitty ever. I will always love you.

11 May 2000 – 30 January 2012

Posted by: adeliciousmoment | January 22, 2012

This is how we roll

Our new place has a feature which I had never seen before my arrival to Australia: roller shutters. This ingenious contraption serves two very helpful purposes, security and sun-blocking. In the States, as far as I am aware of, roller shutters are not used. But here in Oz, they seem to be quite popular.

When I first encountered them here, I was not sure about what I was seeing. I worked out that they were some sort of shutters, but I had to ask Glen to explain how they work. The shutters are made of rows of metal, and they roll up inside a casing above the outside of the windows. There is a switch near the window, on the inside of the home, to operate them. You can put them up or down, or anywhere in between.

Roller shutters are most often used on the front of a home. They would seem to be more useful if they were used to cover every window of a home, since most criminals do not break in through the front, right? But, I guess most people want to save money, so they just use them on the front windows.

I must admit, I think that roller shutters are rather ugly to look at. The shutter in the above photo is more attractive than most I have seen. Roller shutters are often a contrasting colour to the exterior, and striped. I like the one shown above much better, because it looks more seamless, in relation to the design of the home.

Despite their lack of beauty, I have come to appreciate roller shutters, after having used the ones on our new rental place for the last month and a half. I feel more secure when they are down, which is obviously a good feeling. And they really are useful on hot days, because they block out the sun and heat very effectively.

In fact, today the temp is around 38C/ 100F, and we have the roller shutters down, other than a very small opening at the bottom of the one in the living room, to allow a little sunlight into the room (having no natural light inside does get a bit depressing). Glen and I like them so much, we are considering installing them on all of the windows, when we build a house.

(Image source: cwproducts.com.au)

Posted by: adeliciousmoment | January 15, 2012

As good as it gets

Well, the holidays are over, and my life is returning to some form of normalcy (whatever “normal” means). I’m settling into a daily routine, and glad for it.

One of life’s greatest mundane pleasure is food. Wouldn’t you agree? Don’t get me started rambling about the sublime feeling of satisfaction that comes from roasting your own chicken, or the bliss of tasting homemade pasta and sauce. I love food. But I don’t always love to cook. As fantastic as it is to whip up a delectable feast with my own two hands, I find nearly as much joy in producing a quick and easy dish, with little effort–saving more time to indulge in eating, rather than preparing food.

A very tasty and easy snack or side dish, which is incredibly popular here in South Australia, is potato wedges served with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream. The potato wedges are twice-cooked. From what I understand, they are first deep-fried and then baked. Glen and I buy the frozen kind, which have already been fried. All we have to do is pop the wedges into the toaster oven and bake them for about half an hour. Then, voila! The wedges are ready to be consumed.

Last year,  on a rather chilly summer evening, Glen and I ordered wedges from the cafe at the top of Mount Lofty in Adelaide. We enjoyed them with glasses of rose wine, which went together brilliantly. We were served an enormous bowl of wedges, along with the ever-popular sweet chilli sauce and sour cream, and we ate this bowl-full of goodness while gazing out the wall of windows at a glowing pink sunset descending upon the city below. It was an unforgettable evening full of simple pleasures.

Let me tell you, there is something almost magical about the combination of tangy and creamy flavours dancing between the sweet chilli sauce and sour cream, coupled with the crisp earthiness of the potato wedges. Try it, and you will see what I mean. There is nothing else quite like it.

(Image source: thefoodpornographer.com)

Posted by: adeliciousmoment | December 19, 2011

You know you’re in Australia when…

You hear an ice cream truck playing “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” while you’re outside, hanging laundry on the line to dry.

That was my I’m-not-in-Ohio-anymore moment for today.

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