Thursday, October 29, 2009

What we've been up to lately:

I've been sewing, making Christmas cards, baking, socialising, trying to find motivation to exercise, working, being a wonderful Wifey (in my opinion!)

Hubs has been studying, putting together a rockin' media pc (guest blog post to come, right Hubs?), tinkering with various projects, being a wonderful Hubsband.

We attended my cousin's wedding a couple weekends ago and had an absolute ball! I'm planning on a separate post about that soon. Life is just kind of cruising along at the moment, but this could be the calm before the storm as Hubs starts exams in 11 days and has a LOT of them. Plus, I have committed myself to a few projects and bits and pieces that aren't pressing yet, but I know how time has a tendency to fly so I need to keep an eye on the calendar. (What do you MEAN Monday is the first day of November???)

We are looking forward to coming up to Brisbane over Christmas, as well as travelling to South Africa early January, celebrating my 20tenth birthday mid-January and attending Hubs' brother's wedding at the end of Jan. Then it's back to business in Melbourne on the 1st of Feb 2010. 2010???? Wha????

So this is just a heads-up to let you know we'll be up in sunny Queensland soon and would love to see as many people as possible. Well, I would love to see as many people as possible - Hubs would be happy with a few small gatherings over a few beers, in between working on his boats (a couple of Hobie cats he's been fibreglassing for a little while.) We'll see how it all pans out.

The weather down here has been just beautiful since Saturday. It's currently 28 degrees and I can't WAIT to finish work and get out amongst it. The weekend is looking gorgeous too, and I'm really hoping this is going to continue, seeing as how it IS currently Spring time. Chances are though, (and I don't mean to tempt fate) it will plummet back down to 10 degrees some time next week. WHAT? It's TRUE!

Watch this space for posts about a duplo "pyramid", a giant cookie, a fairytale wedding, a game of "how much you think I pay?" and, as promised, a guest post from Hubs. It's going to be WILD!

A matter of life and death

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I've contemplated writing this post for the last year or so, but have never quite gotten around to it. The views expressed in this post are of myself and many people I know. By "we" I refer to many many people in general, but I realise that not everyone feels this way.

Firstly I want to talk about life. New life in fact. Babies, if you will. What is it that "we" find so fascinating about babies? What makes "us" go ga-ga over them? They're everywhere! I see babies almost every day being pushed or carried around by their Mum or Dad (or their nanny in New York!) and every time I see one, I go all gooey inside. Now before you blame my biological clock (tick tock tick tock), I have to point out 2 things:

1. I've ALWAYS been like this
2. I'm not the only one who starts pulling funny faces whenever there's a baby around

4.3 new babies are born every second!! Babies are common. And I don't mean in the chav sense of the word, I just mean they are a dime a dozen, yet every baby is a miracle and something to be in awe of. "We" will never get over the wonder that is the warm bundle of goodness wrapped up in a blanket. *sigh*

And then there's the other end of a life. Death. Again, death is so common. Around 2 people die every second of every day. As my Dad says, "Death is a part of life." People go through stages of grief that are often unbearable. I can't imagine this level of grief, but I know that sooner or later, I'll have to deal with it. I have known people who have died and I have bawled my eyes out at their funeral. I know a lot of these tears have been for their families - a lot of my grief in these instances has been out of empathy for their loved ones left behind. But I also believe in a life after this one, which brings comfort in the midst of the heartache.

I feel I am categorically ill-equipped and unqualified to speak with any level of authority, on such life-changing experiences, even though I have witnessed a birth (the second most amazing thing I've ever experienced. The first being the commitment I made to Hubs on our wedding day) and have grieved over death. It's just one of those things I find fascinating. We are mesmerised by birth and can be broken by death. We are captivated by the face of a newborn, and can be scarred for life by the death of a loved one.

We rejoice in the start of a new life, and I like to think we can rejoice in a celebration of a life that has ended.

Potato salad and the splits

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do they have spines?? Or bones at ALL?? I actually really like the music (and I like potato salad!) but the real fun starts about a minute in! Watch til the end. It's pretty amazing.

 (And yes, this is a cop-out post. I have lots of photos and posts in the slow-cooker, I've just been too lazy I just haven't gotten around to finishing them!!)

My Addiction

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

For some people, it's cigarettes (yeuch), for others it's exercise (I wish), or it might be chocolate (guilty!). But my main addiction is being organised. I love it. I get a thrill out of it when everything falls into place and my handy work pays off. I pretty much single-handedly organised our trip to the USA and it was brilliant. Because I'd done all the work before we left, and we were flexible once we got there to change our plans (somewhat) if we wanted to, we had a stress-free travel experience. I can't help it! It's the way I was brought up. (Have you MET my Mum??) Nor do I WANT to help it. (Why on earth would I??) Organising our wedding was like heaven for me...

Hubs, on the other hand, is a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kinda guy. And this is certainly one of the things I find endearing about him. He is relaxed and chilled out most of the time and I know this rubs off on me which is a good thing. I also know that we disagree on certain things when it comes to organising or "over-organising" things as he might say. But it's a learning curve.

The weekend that we just had, however, proved that no matter how much you organise something, if you keep leaving your suit and dress for the wedding you're attending behind (first at College and then at Hubs' Mother's place), things aren't going to run so smoothly! Ha ha. Oh, and I haven't even MENTIONED the fact that I left my purse in Melbourne as well. It was a hilarious comedy of errors by someone who is usually on the ball. I think my memory is failing (yes! Already!) so I might have to start writing more lists.

Our weekend was delightful (apart from the forgetfulness) and the wedding we attended was fabulous. But more about that later. It's time for me to get .....

(everybody all together!!!!!)


1 whole year today!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy-1-year-at-my-job-anniversary-birthday to meeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Yes, it's official. I have held a permanent, full-time job for 1 whole year. Hallelujah! Today marks 1 year at my job here at Newman College, full-time, and I'm pretty excited about this milestone. Well, actually, I only just remembered about it now!

Interesting things about my job:

  • I haven't taken a sick day since I started (I've been late in twice with a bad neck though)
  • I have had about 7 weeks of holidays (some taken leave without pay)
  • I have another 6 weeks off over Christmas
  • We have coffee every morning together at 10:30am
  • We have morning tea all together (including other non-office staff) every Wednesday and the kitchen provides tasty treats such as toasted bacon and egg sandwiches or scones or biscuits (I'm trying to cut back though!!)
  • We celebrate everyone's birthday with an extra morning tea
  • We go out to lunch a few times a year all together and enjoy a lovely 3 course meal
  • I really like working here. The people, the location, the flexibility and generosity I experience every day reminds me of how blessed I am to have this job.
And I plan to be here until we leave college next June/July, so let the morning teas continue!

The comfort rain brings

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The weather has been so appalling here lately, with cold winds and rain and temperatures barely hitting the mid-teens, that us Queenslanders are finding it difficult to cope. Hubs in particular has NOT been impressed that we are living through winter again.

Having said this, I DO love it when it rains at night when we're all snuggled up in bed and drifting off to sleep. I always find I go to sleep much quicker when it rains. I think this stems from when I was growing up and I was always so paranoid about burglars. There was no good reason for this, other than me being a big scaredy-cat about... well... pretty much everything! But I knew that a burglar wouldn't be so stupid as to rob a house when it's raining, (how did I know this???) so I always slept soundly on those nights. The heavier the rain, the better.

These days it just brings a nice feeling of comfort. A feeling of home, wherever I am.

Wanting to be Mary

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I had a flashback the other day about being at pre-school as Christmas approached. We were, as usual, putting on a nativity play, and as the parts were being selected, I was hoping to be Mary. The angels got cast first (Billy Bob's Mum was one of them) and I was selected, but I turned it down. I was hanging out for the big one. Once the angels were all selected, they went on to the animals and "extras". They must have chosen Mary and Joseph next, and I was overlooked. I have no idea how disappointed I was about this, but I can tell you, I was even more disappointed to find out that the only parts left were the 3 wise men. So I got stuck with being a man. I remember this was a little upsetting, but Mum made me feel better somehow and I ended up having a blast. I can't remember what gift I was carrying for Baby Jesus, but I like to think I held the gold...

Happy Anniversary Nanny and Grandpa!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Today is not only my Mum's birthday (Happy Birthday Mum!!!) but it's also the 60th Anniversary of when my grandparents landed in Australia. They were refugees from WWII and had a choice to come to either Canada or Australia, and luckily for me, they chose Australia! (Lucky, cos, you know, otherwise I wouldn't exist. So maybe it's lucky for ALL OF YOU!!! Ha!)

Mum and Dad wanted to commemorate this milestone by throwing Nanny and Grandpa a party, and Mum took it upon herself to make the coolest cake EVER!

Mum hired the cake tin from a cake shop and bought the accessories to put this creation together. When she first emailed it to me, I thought it was a picture from a magazine that she wanted to copy, but no! It was the real deal! I showed all the ladies here at work and they went berserk over it as I did!

Mum has made many of our cakes over the years, mainly from the Woman's Day Birthday Cake Book. You know the one. I had the doll cake, the bunny, the monster, the piano (it was purple cos purple is my favourite colour and Mum would do anything for me), the sewing basket, a few numbers (like ONE - 3 cakes spelling it out!), the cricket bat (yes, I had the cricket bat) and a few more I'm sure. This is a bit of a hobby of Mums, but I reckon she could turn professional!

I hope you have a lovely birthday Mum! And I trust the Anniversary celebrations were a blast! :-)

Updated: And here's Nanny and Grandpa enjoying themselves on their special day:

P.S. I love you

Friday, October 9, 2009

I love a good P.S. That is, I USED to love a good P.S. but they seem to have become obsolete since email became the favoured form of correspondence. In my younger years, I had many pen-pals and I LOVED writing them letters with pretty paper and glittery pens and funky stickers, almost as much as I loved receiving letters from them. I used to have about 4 or 5 pen-pals all at once, but only a few went the distance. They were all people I had met through primary school or through friends and kept in touch with them by putting pen to paper. I had one in Japan, a couple in the US, one in Gladstone, one in Cairns, and one in PNG.

The girl from Papua New Guinea I met in year 4 and we were pen pals up until I was about 22. We lost contact after that, but on a visit to Australia earlier this year, she popped in to see if my parents were still living at the same address, which they were, and asked after me. Unfortunately I was already living in Melbourne and Dad didn't think to get her number or email address (that's okay Dad. That's a "Mum" thing to do!) so I never did get to catch up with her. I still have all of her letters though, and unlike my crazy scrawl, I always marvelled at her perfectly neat writing that didn't change from start to finish, nor from 9-year-old to 22-year-old.

I used to experiment with different writing styles too - at one stage I was dotting all my "i"s with circles, or giving "g"s and "y"s straight tails. I went through a big loopy letter-writing phase, but mostly you could tell it was my writing because I started off with neat and normal-sized words and finished with a big, uneven mess!

But that's not what I'm here to talk about! While writing my letters to various pen pals all around Australia and all around the world, usually 3 or 4 pages long, I would start thinking about what to write in my P.S. Not that I HAD to include a P.S. but I always did love to.

A typical ending to a letter may have looked like this: (pretend it's almost legible:)

P.S. I miss you! I really wish we could just hang out!
P.P.S. Say hi to your family for me!
P.P.P.S. My family says hi too!

After the 3 Ps it would just get silly. But don't think for a second I didn't get silly!! Ha ha.

I guess the main reason for writing a P.S. is that you want to include something that you had left out of the letter, and it would be too messy to try and write it in the body, so you add it at the end, hence the name Post Script. Now, call me crazy, but if you're typing a business email, and you'd forgotten to put something in the email, wouldn't you just go back and add it? Is there an etiquette for this? Am I missing something?

I think in personal emails, it's nice to put a P.S. I miss you or P.S. I love you, but not such a great idea, in a business email, to put something like P.S. Please reply to this email to acknowledge receipt of information. Shouldn't that be in the body?

I just think it's weird.

P.S. I miss you!

A weekend visitor

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A few weeks ago, our friend Ian came down for a visit. He's been threatening to come down for a year and phoned us on a Wednesday to tell us he'd be here Friday night til Sunday! So we booked him in for Saturday afternoon and evening and looked forward to it with great anticipation.

About a year ago, Hubs and I went on a winery tour with our friend Nate, and one of the bottles we bought was a Verdhelo from Sticks Winery. We had been saving it for Ian's visit as we knew that was one of his favourite varieties of wine so of course, we had to buy some cheese and bikkies to go with it!

We headed out to Hardware Lane, as Ian is our jazz buddy and there's live jazz at Hardware Lane most nights. There are also LOTS of restaurants and way too many spruikers. Business is obviously slow EVERYWHERE as we were offered free bottles of wine, Cosmopolitans, beers and bourbon to try and convince us to dine at a number of places. We opted for a place called Pop.

It had no Pop.

The free bottle of wine was actually really nice, and about $40 on the menu, but we were right in the middle of the 2 groups playing jazz so we couldn't really hear either of them which was disappointing. The food and service weren't really up to scratch so we decided to look for somewhere else for dessert.

We went down to Block Place which is a neat little lane way in between the Collins Streets (little and big) and went to Caffe e Biscotti for a night cap. Hubs wanted "something different" to drink so the bartender took full advantage and made him a Frangelico, Kahlua and lime. I won't disclose the cost, but it was a delicious drink! Ian had a liquer coffee with Cointreau and I had a port.

The drinks really were lovely but not something we could afford regularly!! We also ordered a stack of pancakes to share which were delicious, but the best thing about this place was the little jazz band outside! They were great and really added to the atmosphere of the place. The service was good and it's somewhere I'd like to go back to try the meals. But definitely only for a special occasion.

A great night out in Melbourne!

A comedy of errors with a happy ending

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hubs and I try to have a designated "date night" every week or 2 and it usually occurs on a Wednesday night. A few weeks ago, life was hectic and the only day we could do was the Tuesday, so we put it aside. Hubs planned to cook up his famous pumpkin and mushroom rissoto, so before he got home from uni, I got a few things ready for him. I had frozen some leftover stock from the last time we'd made rissoto, so that was all thawed out and ready to go. I chopped up all the mushrooms and put them in the steamer part of our saucepan set to rinse before setting them aside. Then I chopped up the pumpkin and got the rice out ready for Hubs to come home and make some magic.

So Hubs comes home, tired after a long day of studying and slowly gets to work. First of all, he grabs the "saucepan" of mushrooms, puts it on the bench and proceeds to pour the defrosted stock "into" the saucepan, all in one go, before I realise what he's doing. You can guess what happened to the stock....

 (This photo was taken AFTER the mushrooms were put into a "proper" saucepan)

Chicken stock - 1
Hubs - 0

Somehow this was my fault for putting the mushrooms in a saucepan with holes in the bottom and not telling him. I wasn't so convinced and started to get a bit cranky, but tried to see the funny side.

Not a happy Hubs. So I helped him clean that up while he continued preparing. Now it was time for the rice. As we had some leftover, again, from the last rissoto he'd made, I had rolled up the packet and put it in a re-sealable glad bag, but as he went to take it out, he grabbed the "wrong" end.

And you can guess what happened to the rice...

Rice - 1
Hubs - 0

It went all over the counter, on the floor, beside the oven, EVERYWHERE! And that was my fault too. I was laughing quite hard at this stage, but Hubs wasn't ready to see the funny side, so I decided it would be best to leave him to it and go and read my new favourite comic book.

We had a couple of glasses of wine over dinner and a DVD and started to relax a little and try not to take it all too seriously. Dinner was absolutely delicious and looking at these photos now (and having the sense to take them at the time) I can't help but laugh. A lot. It really was a hilarious date night, and we have learnt that Tuesday nights are NO GOOD for date nights any more, and we should stick to Wednesdays from now on!

Maybe I should have learnt from last time, although, this might be another one of his ploys to do things "enthusiastically and badly" in the hope of not being asked to do it again!!

Guilty pleasure

Friday, October 2, 2009

Growing up, we didn't really eat that much junk food (well, I wouldn't consider it to be much junk anyway) but over the school holidays, we were allowed to pick a treat-type brekky cereal, and I usually chose Coco Pops or Froot Loops, i.e. bowls of sugary goodness. We were talking about this over lunch at college the other day and I said how much I used to LOVE Froot Loops. A few days later, an anonymous good Samaritan had left a box of Froot Loops on our doorstep! Now, I have my suspicions who it might have been, but I know this person would want to stay anonymous, so I have been quietly enjoying them as a tasty treat.

How can something so pretty and colourful be so bad for you! I haven't even been eating them at breakfast time, as I like to get the day started on a much more nutritious note. I've been eating small bowls, like the one seen above, with a small spoon, while Hubs is at his tutorials at night! Tee hee! What a guilty pleasure!

Spoiler alert!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NOTE: If you haven't watched the movie SERENITY, and you don't want to know the ending, this post isn't for you.

As previously mentioned, Hubs and I have been watching Firefly and we finished the last episode on Tuesday night. It was a bit darker than previous episodes, and not one of my favourites, but it got me excited about watching the movie Serenity. We were going to have a movie night Friday night, but last night rolled around and it was lovely and warm and we had nothing planned so we decided to watch it then. Serenity is considered as somewhat of a sequel to the TV series and it had all the same characters that we had grown to love, so I was super excited.

The movie was also pretty dark and a bit scary (I had to close my eyes at times) but it was a pretty cool story line and was fun to watch. Actually, it was just like watching a double episode of Firefly! It was all going along nicely - I was nervous and the suspense was great! And then it happened. Wash got harpooned by Reavers and they left him on the ship cos "he was dead". And I was like "naaaaaaaaah. There's no WAY they would kill off Wash after they'd already killed off Shepherd and Mr Universe. No WAY."

Yes way. I was gutted. Devastated. I cried. Like, SERIOUSLY cried. Why would they do that? If there are any fans out there (I know there are), TELL ME WHY THEY WOULD DO THAT!!!!!????? Hasn't Zoe been through enough in her life??? Even if they DID think it was a good idea to kill him off, they needed to get Zoe to completely lose her nut. They needed her to break down and cry and not be able to focus cos she's just lost the love of her life. Instead, she continues in her usual no-nonsense manner and kicks some Reavers butt.

I was not happy. I'm STILL not happy about it.

I need answers people!!


No, I'm not telling him to chill out. I'm talking about chilblains. (I looked up the Wiki article link, but it had a gross picture on it. Now, how many of you are going to look it up?...) I was talking to a friend down here a few months ago and she was telling us that she gets chilblains and she explained what they were. It's where your extremities - usually fingers and toes - are sensitive to the cold and blood vessels get inflamed and cause numbness, itchiness and pain.  For the few weeks before that, I had a really sore toe (the one next to the big toe) and it was really sensitive to touch, and sure enough, that's what it was. My doctor said that it could take up to 6 months to get better, but it might also get worse, and sure enough, the next toe down is sore now.


I thought it might get better after a month in the US summer, but they've gotten worse since being back home. Stupid cold Melbourne weather.

Now my toe can't go to the market...