Electric Blue

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

You know when you have a great night out, and on the way home you get treated to some awesome tunes to top off your night beautifully? That's what happened to me this weekend. On Friday night I met my two dear friends from high school - yes, we've known each other over 20 years! - at the Alfred and Constance for dinner and lots of chats. It was a great night out and after catching the train from The Valley to Eagle Junction, I jumped into my car and cranked the tunes, hoping for the best.

I got a few gems including "More than Words" which is one of my most favourite songs and a great one to sing along to in the car. I was on a high when I got home, really feeling blessed that after 20 years of friendship, I can still depend on these lovely ladies in my life, and that is a great feeling.

And it happened again tonight. I met 2 of my dearest friends from uni, girls I've known for 15 years and have been a huge part of my life for that whole time. We went to a place called The Royal which is an Italian restaurant in Nundah. The food was so yummy and the company a delight. I hopped in the car and started cruising home. A few sing-along songs came on, but the one that finished off my night, and ended just as I turned the engine off when I pulled up, was Electric Blue, by Icehouse. This was one of the first albums I ever bought on record and it's still sitting in my parents' collection. I put it on sometimes when I'm visiting the house at Kelvin Grove. Good times.

So that's 3 dinners with 6 of my most favourite women in just over a week! And there's more to come this week too. This is incredibly therapeutic and I'm really enjoying such great quality time with the wonderful women in my life. Thanks ladies. I'm looking forward to more great times to come.

Happy Birthday Ma

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The main purpose of our visit this time around was Hubs' Mum's 60th birthday. Hubs and I took it upon ourselves to organise the "do" and it was so lovely to be planning such a lovely occasion and being surrounded by family is always wonderful.

We stayed at the family house in Wooloowin which was  vacant at the time, so it was a bit of a "camp out" which was fun! And a bit chilly in the mornings!

We came across my old violin that I had in primary school. (Did you know I played violin for 3 years? I then saw the light and switched to double bass. I never looked back, and I think everyone was grateful!) Hubs decided to pick it up and give it a crack, and I asked if he'd like me to teach him to play Happy Birthday for his Mum. He did as much practice as time permitted (not much) and Chanbe was happy to help him out with a few pointers too.

Saturday, the day of the party rolled around, and there was lots of preparation to be done for the 4 potjies we put on. Okay okay, Hubs put on! I was his Sous-Chef for the day and just did what I was told (within reason...) He was the master of ceremonies though, and did an amazing job keeping everything bubbling away.

He did 4 pots in total; 1 lamb, 1 beef cheek and ox tail, 1 beef brisket and 1 goat. I was rather skeptical about the goat but it was incredibly tasty!

This was the final product: 4 amazingly tasty dishes, each with its own flavours, served over polenta. Everyone raved about the meal and I was very proud of Hubs' efforts - feeding 30 or so people is not easy!

We then took our places around the fires and kept toasty warm. It was a rather chilly evening, so I was so glad we had these. It also created a wonderful party ambiance. 

Ma made a lovely speech and Hubs said a few words too. It was so special for Ma to have her 4 kids and partners and all of her grandkids together.

Everyone had a lovely afternoon and evening and it certainly kicked off a great holiday for us!

Happy Birthday Ma! And here's to the next 60! :-)

The previous post

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I just thought I'd inform you that the previous post was something I wrote during a creative writing workshop over the weekend. I attended a three day celebrants conference down the Gold Coast and it was so fantastic. I met some great celebrants, one of whom lived in Redcliffe and was kind enough to give me a lift home on the Sunday, and learned some invaluable skills to take to future weddings.

I've been wanting to revamp my methods and ways I run my weddings and I have heaps of ideas to try out over the next 4 weddings I have booked in the next little while. It also confirmed in me that I really want to give this Celebrant gig a good go. It's a bit tricky in Mount Isa - not many people actually come to Mount Isa to get married - but I'll certainly be trying none-the-less.

Anyway, the creative writing workshop was really challenging and a lot of fun. I'm not big on that style of writing but when given a task to complete in 5 minutes - write about your favourite song or piece of music and how it makes you feel - I was immediately excited to give it a go. And I was really happy with how it turned out, as was the facilitator. I think I'd like to challenge myself a bit more with my writing; both here on the blog as well as in my wedding ceremonies.

It's going to be fun!

Call Me Al

Monday, July 21, 2014

The synthesized organ begins and my hairs stand on end. I'm immediately taken back to the Transcontinental Hotel* in my 20s as Paul Simon starts telling me about a man walking down the street. I have to stop what I'm doing and listen. I know the words by heart but never tire of them.

This is my song.

The song builds up, the rich harmonies wash over me and sooth my soul. I breathe them in, waiting for the bass solo which I always have to air guitar in my head, if not physically. I start to get sad as I know the song is coming to an end, and as the repetitiveness of the chorus begins, I am brought back to the task I had abandoned to absorb myself in those nights out with friends at The Trans, listening to my favourite cover band play my favourite song.

It's back to reality. At least for now...

*The Trans did not look like this when we used to go :-)

Dinner with the girls

Friday, July 18, 2014

Get a photo. I told myself at least 5 times leading up to tonight's dinner. Get a photo.

I arrived back at the car. Dammit. I forget to get a photo.

I just had dinner with 2 of my best friends. I've known these girls my whole life and they've known me most of theirs. They've seen me at my best and my worst. They've watched me triumph and they've seen me struggle. They've celebrated my joys, and wept for my heartache.

They have always felt more like sisters to me than cousins. Up until last year they didn't even know they were identical twins. I was always convinced they were fraternal, because I could not remember a time when I couldn't tell them apart. Plus even though they were similar, to me they have always been very different people.

But one thing has remained constant. They have always been there for me. We are all living in different cities these days, which makes nights like tonight incredibly rare and special. Just the three of us. Reminiscing, talking about family, our parents, our current challenges and future plans. I've never been embarrassed to tell them how much they mean to me, and their ability to ring or text or email at just the right time is uncanny.

Amy and Emma. You are beautiful, talented, generous, loving souls and I miss you heaps. But I know we'll always be a big part of each other's lives, and we'll always have Spaceballs.

Happy Birthday Hubs

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

On Hubs' birthday last year, we found ourselves at a cocktail party, drinking far too much and finding out our friend Sonia had decided to apply to go to Mount Isa in 2014, mainly because of all the extra financial incentives. Hubs and I told her she was crazy and that was that. Or so I thought. We then started joking about how funny it would be if we considered Mount Isa. Then we looked into it. Then Hubs applied. And the rest, as they say, was a disaster... ha ha. I mean history... We still joke about that night with Sonia and now that we have made it halfway through, we are feeling like we have achieved something that we found quite challenging at the beginning.

So what does this all have to do with Hubs' birthday? Well, since his birthday falls in the middle of the year, and since we move every year, we have usually established some new friends who make up the guests at Hubs' birthday gathering. And as I looked around at the 10 adults and 5 kids that made up our little group, I couldn't help but feel very blessed that even though we haven't had the best of years, we have still managed to befriend some wonderful people who were excited to be a part of the celebrations.

Although Hubs had to work the night shift that night, he still had a lovely time and I know he appreciated our new friends making the effort on a Monday night. Chanbe had already told me that we had to make a green dinosaur cake for Dadda, so I had to oblige. Certainly not one of my most skillful efforts, but with Chanbe decorating with the smarties, it turned out pretty cute. And it was this recipe which is my current chocolate cake go-to. So delicious!

Just happy.

Happy birthday Hubs. It's been an interesting year, that's for sure. I love how you still say and do things that surprise me and keep me guessing. You are such a good egg and I love that so many people get to find that out for themselves. You show them the real you and that's who they get to know and love, just as I have and continue to do. 

Our inaugural family camping adventure

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I grew up camping. Even though Hubs can't believe I could ever be so tough and not-princess-like to "rough it", as a kid it was always an adventure and there was always fun to be had no matter what. Can I help it that, as an adult, I'd rather have a flushing toilet instead of having to squat, and a hot water to shower in, instead of a cold bucket of water to splash over me? And that I'd prefer a tent over a swag? (Who wouldn't?? Seriously??)

Anyway, a friend of ours who has organised a few 4WD days with us was keen for a trip to stay at Lawn Hill National Park (check out the map of Qld to the right of that page - we actually couldn't be any further from Brisbane if we tried!) and we were SUPER keen too, so he booked the campsites (there aren't many there and they book up fast!) and we (I) offered to organise the food for everyone (7 adults, 2 kids, 3ish days). It was all booked and we were enthused. I spent a couple of days getting the food organised, as well as eskys and all camping paraphernalia I could think of (thank you google).

We planned to leave on the Thursday whenever we could get away, and meet the others up there late Friday night (aka we would see them early Saturday morning). Hubs was on night shift Wednesday night and I spent all of Thursday morning getting everything ready to pack in the car. Of course, out of the all the days to be late, Hubs didn't get home til 9:45am (he's usually home by 8:30am) and I informed him that everything was ready so if he was keen, we could "just pack the car" and leave asap, instead of him having a couple of hours sleep first. He was happy to be persuaded so after a shower and coffee, he got to packing. This took about 2 hours all up by the time we fit everything in, and this was the end result! (This is obviously on the road.) (Oh yeah, and we borrowed a canoe for the weekend...)

Gosh there's so much to tell about this trip but I don't want this post to be too wordy! Our camera batter died on the second day and my phone was dead so we had to rely on our friends to take photos which I copied over last night. But after 4 days of camping, we neglected to get a photo of our tent set up, which is a shame as we were quite proud of ourselves that we managed to set the tent up first try after never having done it before and only ever seeing the tent up once just before we bought it for $70 at a garage sale in Townsville over a year ago! And with Hubs not having slept for 24 hours!

There's so much more I could say, but instead here's what you're waiting for:

We stopped at the Riverslea Fossil site:

The next day while Quinn was sleeping and I was "supervising" Hubs took Chanbe on a walk up a "big hill". That's the gorge right in the middle and the campsite to the left. Rather stunning, no?

The next morning, our friends had arrived so we decided to check out a lovely swimming spot. Hubs, Chanbe, Felix and Erica took the canoe and Sonia, Amber, Lindsay, Quinn and I went by foot. It wasn't very far, but it was a very exposed track.

Matchy-matchy stripey tops!

After the desert-feel of the walk, we go to the top of a (small) hill and had an "ooooooh" moment.

We couldn't have timed it better, with the canoe load arriving at the same time.

Just a touch (a touch) of paradise

Obviously Chanbe had an absolute ball

And Dadda enjoyed his Tarzan moment

There was a lot of this... 

...and this...

A beautiful sunset at the camp ground

On our way home on Sunday, we stopped for lunch at a creek crossing.

Years and years ago I found this recipe that I've always wanted to try!
You cut the tops off oranges, scoop out the guts (to eat later!), fill with cake mix, put the top back on, wrap in foil and put in hot coals for 20 minutes (ish!)

You can see the oranges in the foil underneath the jaffles

They were super delicious! Very moist and orangey.

Quinndy pointing delightfully at something

Chanbe made a very close friend in Lindsay, our pediatrician friend. A good friend to have!

The whole group on our way home at sunset

There are so many photos that I didn't get like the campsite set up (as mentioned) and my super-grubby kids on the Sunday after not bathing for 2 days and me just giving up on wiping noses or food off faces. It was super adorable, though I did enjoy taking to them with a nice wet washer before we got into the car!

I also hadn't mentioned that Hubs had been feeling ill since waking up Friday morning. He powered through the 3 days of camping, but then collapsed in a heap on Sunday night when we got home. After 2 more days of fevers and aches and pains, I sent him to the doctor. He had to have Wednesday and Thursday off work and still isn't 100%. This is a photo Chanbe took of him:

So all in all, apart from the sickness, it was an amazingly successful camping trip and we had a lovely group of people to share it with. We are already looking forward to the next adventure! Maybe this time I'll even remember to get a photo of the tent!

An unplanned and unexpected hiatus

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Wow. Um yeah, so the last 3 weeks accidentally passed by without so much as a cop-out photo post! The thing is, there's been plenty going on, including a visit to the Cloncurry show, an afternoon/evening 4WD trip with new friends, Hubs' birthday, our first official family camping trip, complete with tent, and Hubs getting the flu and being out of action for a week for the second time this year, which also coincided with our camping trip. Fun!

We are also in the middle of "application season" where Hubs has to apply for jobs for next year, so we've been talking about that a lot and have come up with a few ideas, and with a week-long trip for Hubs and 4 week-long trip for the kids and I to Brisbane starting next Wednesday, there's been lots of thinking about packing and putting it off until the next day.

And don't get me started on the fact that this book has kept me completely occupied since Tuesday morning (thankfully I just finished it an hour ago - which is almost a record for me as I'm the world's slowest reader) and this show has kept us busy in the evenings.

Not enough going on? Well I've also had some pregnancy blood tests and other tests, as well as my 20 week morphology scan booked in for Monday and follow up Obstetrician appointment for Tuesday.

Still not enough? How's this for the cherry on top: Our dear friends Haz, Maz, Jaz and Az are going to be passing through the Isa on Tuesday night en route to Darwin and are staying here the night. Hubs is working night shift that night starting at 11pm and we will be heading out to the airport at 8:30am the next morning to catch said flight to Brisbane. And we couldn't be more excited! It's going to be so great to see them and get the kids together again!

And of course, there's been the usual "life" stuff like washing and cooking and tidying and exercising and entertaining children to throw into the mix.

So yeah, that's enough. I'm tired just thinking about it. But anyway, I'm here and there are photos (that I need to upload and transfer and blah blah) so they are to come, but stay tuned!