Monday, May 30, 2011

Winter sucks

[image source]

I don't like the cold. I'll admit, there is some satisfaction in curling up on the couch with the heater on and my Snuggie keeping me cosy, but all in all I do detest cold weather.

In fact, it is one of the main reasons I moved to Brisbane. You see, I grew up on the Darling Downs near Toowoomba. We lived on a farm, and the area frequently competes with Stanthorpe every year for the lowest temperatures in the whole of Queensland. Many a morning did I layer up for school in pants, jackets, gloves and beanies to walk the 500m to our front gate and catch the bus in temperatures less than 5 degrees.

I think I only realised just how cold winters were there when I went to Thailand. I travelled there in May, and reveled in the 34 degree days with crippling humidity (all part of the holiday experience, you understand). But then I had to come home to June on the Darling Downs, and the change in seasons was nothing short of shocking!

I had visited my friend B in Brisbane over the years and certainly it didn't even seem to get cold there. Yes, the summers were hot and muggy, but winter barely seemed to call for more than a pair of jeans and a serviceable cardigan or winter jacket.

So I made the move when the opportunity arose with my work to move to the Big Smoke, and I've never looked back. I own one cardigan and one wool trench coat. One pair of jeans and one pair of track-pants. And I don't seem to ever need anything more than that. I still keep a pair of gloves and a scarf for when I visit my mother though. These will be coming out of storage this weekend – I'm going to a scrapbooking camp up at Lake Perseverance, and it's going to be BLOODY COLD. All part of the experience, though, you understand.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Moments

My Happy Moments for this week:

* Friday night pizza night with my darling other half

* The satisfaction of completing a task I've been wanting to do for a while - tidying the dining room

* Hosting a dinner party for six without getting stressed out

* Getting my photos printed ready for scrapbook camp next weekend

* A long hot shower with new new aloe vera shower creme. Yummy!


Dinner parties with ease

Last night, we had four people over to dinner. My dearest partner had taken the liberty of extending the invitation without consulting me a few days prior. You can imagine my first reaction – one of incredulous exclamation.

Fortunately I swallowed the “You did WHHAATTT?” that threatened to explode from my mouth and instead took a deep breath and asked, “Well, what are you cooking?”.

Yes, I'm patting myself on the back here for being crafty. I have discovered a stress-free way of dealing with unexpected dinner guests – let C do all the work. My plan evolved as follows.

  • Step 1 – as already indicated, I made it clear that he would be cooking. By doing this, I ensured that it was something easy, as C's repertoire is somewhat limited in scope and imagination (as is mine, but that's beside the point).

  • Step 2 – when I pointed out that we had nowhere to sit 6 people, he immediately suggested we sit outside under the patio. And offered to clean it up. Which he did. All I did was wipe down the table and arrange some chairs. Voila. Dinner setting done.

  • Step 3 – make sure we had actual ingredients to cook dinner with. C had decided on a simple pasta and sauce, but as we only had one jar of sauce in the house, he volunteered to go get some more. Off to the shops he went, coming back with a block of chocolate as well that we could serve with coffee, and two bag of Doritos for entree. Posh, I know, but cheaper than a platter of sun-dried tomatoes and goat's cheese or whatever it is people are supposed to serve these days.

  • Step 4 – our guests wanted to know what they could bring. I said BYO drinks, but they showed up with dessert as well (apple pie and custard). Mental note for next time – ask your guests to bring the dessert course!

  • Step 5 – shower and dress, then relax with a drink until guests arrive.

I was amazed at how well it worked. I was completely stress-free all afternoon, apart from some initial whining at about 4pm that I don't like having people over. The dinner itself went great, and most people had seconds. We were fortunate in that our guests are easy-going and not in the least pretentious, and were completely satisfied with what was served. And so was I!

By the time I was nibbling some chocolate with my cup of hot tea, I was as full as a goog (to borrow my mother's phrase. No, I don't know what a goog is) and a very happy hostess.

So now I've discovered a great formula for keeping things relaxed and tension-free when having people over to eat, I'm interested in your tips. What do you do to make entertaining easy on yourself?

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Weekend Away

One of the things I have been saying for about two years now is that I wanted to go away for the weekend when we had the money. We haven't had the money to do it for so long, and a "cheap" hotel just wasn't going to cut it. Let me point out that we don't have champagne tastes here in this household, but there are minimum standards. Like a balcony. And self-catering facilities.

Finally, I got my annual leave payout from my previous job, and I decided to do what I've been promising myself for so long - actually have a weekend away. No, not a Dirty Weekend - just a getaway, the two of us, to actually be someplace other than home. To sit on a balcony with a drink and just look at the view. To have a whole afternoon with nothing to do and plenty of time to think of something. Things like that.

So I got on the accommodation websites and after swearing a bit about what the Sunshine Coast now costs (!!) I turned my search to the Gold Coast. Our second choice, but a cheaper one. I stumbled across a great deal for a self-contained apartment for the night, right in the heart of Surfers Paradise.

So on Saturday morning, down the M1 we cruised, eventually reaching our destination, Wyndham Surfers Paradise. It is a nearly-new place, and right across the road from Q1. I was seriously, seriously impressed by the wine bar in the lobby, and thought straight away that it seemed far too posh for the likes of C and me.

We checked in and checked out our room. It was decorated in a modern style, lots of bright colours and thankfully not a tropical fish or shell motif in sight (all too common in older units). It was a lounge, a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom and a balcony, and just plain perfect.

We took a short trip down to Burleigh Heads to visit a particular shop that C wanted to see, then stopped at the beach on the way back. It was grey and overcast, but I took the opportunity to practice my photography and I think I got a few good shots. I really miss the ocean sometimes. Even though I've never lived near it, I have memories of waking up to the sound of the surf from my childhood holidays, spent at a unit right on the beach at Tugan.

I had decided to cut costs a bit by planning an evening in - dinner in the unit and popcorn in front of the telly with a glass of wine. But first I wanted to check out the Surfers scene, so C escorted me down to Cavill Ave.

What a cosmopolitan place Surfers has now become! Walking along the boulevard, in parts it really reminded me of Bangkok, there were so many touts trying to get our attention. And shops full of junk, little restaurants selling Thai or Indian cuisine, strip joints, flashing neon and even a gambling den.

We actually got stopped by a Meter Maid. C was almost beside himself. Never seen one before, and of course produced $2 to put her in her donation bucket. I asked if he wanted a photo with her but then he got all bashful. I went and sat in what I believe is supposed to be King Neptune's throne.

Next was upstairs in the shopping mall to check out the prices for the indoor shooting range. C declared it a complete rort, and we walked out, though he conceded it is probably the only place in Qld you can legally fire a Desert Eagle.

We had a shake, then walked home. An evening in eating pasta and popcorn ensued, and a bottle of wine was consumed.

The next morning we toddled off home, and because I couldn't bear to acknowledge our Getaway Weekend was nearly over, we went to the movies. Pirates of the Caribbean topped off a great few days away.

We should do it again sometime.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Worky worky

I haven't blogged in a while, I know. A few reasons, the main one being that I have started a new job and I don't sit in front of the computer in the evenings any more.

I'm on a 9-5 roster (or the "Dolly Parton" shift as I like to call it) and my new commute sees me battle afternoon rush hour traffic to get home. So by the time I get there, cook dinner then collapse on the couch I don't feel much like blogging!

My new job is... well, it just IS. I don't love it, I don't hate it. I definately can see myself getting very bored with it very quickly. However it's ok at the moment as I'm learning lots of new things about a whole new industry.

And the best part is... it's not Telstra! Yes, now that I have left that company I am no longer wary of naming it on the internet. I am really, really happy to be out of Telstra and telecommunications altogether.

I've gone from working for one of the nation's largest employers to one of the biggest global brands - not sure how many employees my new company has but it has offices in 200+ countries (I got that from the website! hee). And as a bonus, I get to look at planes all day out the office window. It really was a highlight for me this morning to come into work and see four planes parked outside the building (there is usually only one) and have one of them be a 747. Those things are huge, and the nose of it was practically touching my office window. That was great.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Moments

My happy moments for this week...

1. Going scrapbooking with my mum for the first time in ages.

2. Asking my cousin to be my bridesmaid. And her saying yes.

3. Snuggling in warm flanellette sheets at my mums place, on two freezing nights.

4. Watching Eurovision semi-finals in front of the wood fireplace.

5. Scoffing pizza with the other half after getting home late.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Moments

My happy moments for this week!

1. Starting a new job and realising it is not as complicated as I had feared. The knowledge that I can do this is powerful and wonderful!

2. Snuggles in bed in the mornings now that it is getting colder.

3. Making and emailing mum a little mother's day message out of paper flowers. She loved it.

4. Picking up a top and scarf at KMart for only $15!

5. Time alone two evenings in a row with the TV to myself while C is working. Bliss.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Walk in the Bush

On Easter Friday (or maybe it was Easter Saturday? I have a bad memory) we decided to go for a bushwalk. It's something that C and I have been wanting to do more regularly, and we came up with the idea of making each hike an opportunity to practise our photography skills. That way, the hike has a purpose other than exercise (which I HATE).
We invited our friend along as well, as he's much better at photography than both of us, and drove up to a picnic spot called Bullocky's Rest, at North Pine Dam. We chose a short walk that went around a small peninsula.

I wore a hat. Because I was being sunsafe. I also wore sunscreen. The boys wore neither.

This was the scene at Bullocky's Rest picnic area - heaps of families just hanging out, eating, fishing, throwing balls around. It was great to see people getting out and enjoying the great outdoors instead of staying inside playing video games etc.

The view at the start of our walk - in fact you couldn't see much of the dam the entire time, as the track is set far back from the shore in some places.

The boys, as you can see, were dressed sensibly. Our friend did the entire 5km or so in thongs.

My feets. I like this shot. It's different and clearly inspired.

This was the best part - we stumbled on a small trail off the main track and found someone's swimming hole. See the rope strung up for convenient swinging? There were also crab/yabbie pots set here. C pulled one up, worrying the whole time a dead body would float to the surface instead. There was nothing in it.

At one point C thought he saw "something" run across the trail in front of us. "Something BIG... " was all he would say when pressed. This ruined the rest of the afternoon for me, as I have a complete and utter horror of yowies, bunyips, sasquatches, chupacabras and Australian panthers. Seriously, bushwalking sometimes freaks the hell out of me because I will suddenly become terrified that a yowie will stride out of the trees. I'm weird, I know.
Anyways, it was probably a deer or a really large roo or something. We walked back to the car and didn't see anything else the rest of the way.

And then we went and got a slushie. The end.

Friday, May 6, 2011

What's Your Number?

Something very exciting has happened. No, I'm not talking about Lady Gaga's latest music video, it's a movie trailer!

Many years ago I read a book that has become very important to me, namely Karyn Bosnak's "Save Karyn". It was one woman's story about how she realised she was a shopaholic, not being afraid to ask for help and crawling her way out of debt to a better life. I still re-read it from time to time because it reminds me that there's always a way, no matter how desperate things seem to be.

Well, I've followed Karyn's blog, Pretty in the City, for many years now and so when she broke the news her second book, "20 Times a Lady" was going to be made into a movie, I clapped and whooped.

Today the trailer premiered... and it's bloody funny. So many familiar faces too. I heart Martin Freeman, by the way.

Check it out - it's now named "What's Your Number?"

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Weekend in photos

This weekend, as it was another long one, I drove to the farm to see if I could be of some use to my mum. She has finally realised her limitations in that she can't do everything one-handed, so she pretty much worked me to the bone with little errands and tasks. But it wasn't all bad.

Captured a beautiful rural sunset. It just doesn't happen like that in the city.

Played with my brother's beautiful labrodor puppy

Woke up to dew on the window after a frosty dawn. Was glad to be rugged up under my doona that morning!

Took my mum to church for a farewell cuppa with the leaving minister and his wife. These are the stained glass windows which I have always admired. They are memorials for parishioners who have died. I hope someone dedicates a window to me when I go.

Took a photo of my grandparents' Agatha Christie collection. This is just a small sample. I love reading them when I'm at the farm.

Had a very civilised cuppa with brother's GF. She has the most awesome tea set.

Checked out my brother's latest car purchase. I think he has an addiction. Someone needs to ban him from ebay, seriously.

Picked up some special edition mags with Royal Wedding specials.

So what did you do on your weekend?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...