Two Christmases

Thursday, December 27, 2007

As I mentioned in a previous post, we're having two Christmases this year.

1st Christmas was regular christmas - December 25th with my parents & sister; grandparents; aunties, uncles and cousins.
2nd Christmas is with all of these people again, minus my grandparents, as my grandfather isn't well enough - because, as he puts it, he's going down the gurgler. 2nd Christmas will also include my brother, his wife and their 3 year old daughter. They spent Christmas in England with her family this year, which means that we get 2nd Christmas once they get back in mid-January.

I think it's just because everyone missed spoiling my niece, who is the most loveable, pretty and well behaved child I have ever come across in my life. This is despite the fact that she's the only grandchild so is therefore incredibly spoilt. I know you think I'm biased because she's my niece, but if you met her, you would agree.

She's such a good kid that I've actually considered just stealing her instead of ever trying to have kids of my own. I believe it's completely as a result of my sister-in law, who is an amazing mother and has a freakish 6th sense that tells her exactly what the appropriate reaction to her child's behaviour is. It's not normal. Everyone knows you're supposed to screw up your first two kids and then just let the third one do whatever they want because by then you're over the effort.

Anyway, the point that I was getting at is that because of this wonderful child, I get to have two Christmases. That means two gigantic christmas meals, two lots of presents and two lots of cheap christmas bon-bons/crackers with dodgy jokes and paper hats. And as my christmas present to my niece is a box of dress-ups, i'm guessing that we'll all be enjoying our meals, presents and crackers while wearing big fake witches noses and clown wigs.

It's going to be fun.

The Pumpkin Pie Experience

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Nothing beats Christmas lunch as made by my mother. She is the master of the Christmas roast. Every year she cooks a gigantic leg of pork with the most amazing crackling; a turkey with ricotta and spinach stuffing under the skin, a mountain of vegetables; a baked ham; Christmas pudding and the very best potatoes known to man - baked in the juices from the roast pork. And then to top it all off, we eat it all again at dinner time, along with piles of barbequed seafood & salad. I'm drooling just writing about it now.

Every year I make a small contribution to this fantastic feast which in the past has generally been a dessert - in particular an ice cream dessert which is super easy and super popular and I am going to share my top secret recipe with you right now so that you can impress your friends and family with your amazing dessert making super-powers. For people like me who find recipes pretty boring to read, just skip over this part to hear about my amazing Pie making attempt.

Torrygirls’ Amazing Magical Mini Pudding-Shaped Ice Creams with Chocolate.

I soften a litre or two of ice cream (depending on how many people you need to serve. 1 litre makes about 8-9) and mix in some crumbled meringues, chopped up cherry ripe bars and frozen mixed berries. This works best if you don a pair of gloves and squish everything in by hand – otherwise the berries start to melt and everything turns pink. Pink is pretty, but not very Christmassy.

Then I line muffin tins with cling wrap, and spoon in the mixture. Push it down well so it fills up the corners. I cover with more cling wrap & re-freeze.

Then after dinner I just pull them out of the muffin pan, peel of the cling wrap and we have mini pudding-shaped ice creams topped with chocolate – I like to use Cottee’s Ice-Magic because it sets firm and looks all pretty and professional when really I’ve just squeezed it out of a bottle. It takes about 10 mins to make, tastes awesome and looks impressive.

This year as we’re having 2 Christmases (long story) I thought that I would use 1st Christmas to try out something new on the side of the family that I’m not overly fond of. I attempted, for the first time ever, to make a pumpkin pie.

The pie baking would have been a lot easier had I been able to get the canned pumpkin that was suggested in the recipe, but as canned vegetables in Australia are pretty much limited to corn, peas and carrots, I had to make my own pumpkin purée. This involved chopping up a bunch of pumpkin, boiling it, blending it and then putting it into a tea towel in a sieve and sitting it in a bowl overnight so that the extra water could drain out. Yes, you're right, that does sound like a lot of effort. Actually, making the pumpkin puree took more effort than putting the pie together. Oh for some good old fashioned American convenience food.

The rest of the pie making was fairly simple. I opted to make my own short crust pastry, which sounds incredibly fiddly, but in fact just involves a packet of pastry mix and some water. The pie prep only took about 30 mins, including the pastry making, so I did it first thing Christmas day & then let it bake while we went about the usual Christmas morning business.

This is the recipe I used (as suggested by Carrie), except that I substituted the ground cloves for nutmeg and I made my own pumpkin puree. It took a lot longer to cook than the recipe said it would, but I think that’s probably as a result of my dodgy oven rather than anything else.And how did it go? Well in an amazing 2D/3D first, you can see for yourself:

Tasty looking, I hear you say? Well yes, in fact it was. Very tasty. Oddly enough it didn’t really taste a whole lot like pumpkin. It was a bit like a more savoury version of a custard tart. It was very sweet and creamy and spicy. And despite the crazy side of the family being incredibly rude about it (I hate people who criticise different foods even though they’ve never tried them), it was a hit. Something I will definitely make again.

Senior Sergeant Santa

Monday, December 24, 2007

Every year on Christmas eve, the Police from the suburb I live in drive around the streets with Santa in the front seat, blipping the siren until people come out of their houses so Santa can give gifts to the kids.

I like that I live in a suburb where the crime rate is low enough that the police have time to do this.

Either that or they're just really inept and don't care about crime.

I like to think it's the former rather than the latter.

Merry Christmas!

The Midnight Shopper

Since it's the holidays and I've spent most of the last six days sleeping, I decided at about 10pm last night that it would be a good idea to head to Chadstone Shopping Centre, which is open for 34 hours straight over Sunday/Monday. I don't have any shopping left to do, but I figured that because it was pretty late in the evening, it wouldn't be too busy there and it would keep me amused for a couple of hours.

Ok, so it was a stupid, totally unoriginal idea. It seems that every other person in Melbourne had very inconsiderately left all of their Christmas shopping until the last minute and were managing to ruin things for those of us who, by some miracle, finished their shopping early.

It should have a been a good sign that we should turn around and head for the hills when we got to Warrigal road and the traffic was absolute chaos. Three lanes of traffic, all trying to merge into the right hand lane was not a pretty sight. It's amazing how many people think they can just sneak a tonne of metal into a 10cm gap between cars - and that sticking out across two lanes of traffic is a-ok.

It's no wonder people get so road rage-ey at Christmas.

We stuck to the left lane and headed around to the other side of the shopping centre, which was relatively tame - although it did take four changes of lights for us to get into the carpark. We fluked a parking space almost immediately, without even having to stalk anyone, which made a nice change.

Inside it was more crowded than I had thought - the walkways inside Chadstone are pretty wide and the centre is absolutely enormous, so I figured that even with the crazy traffic, things shouldn't be too bad. Again, I was wrong. Someone had the brilliant idea of filling the walkways up with vendors stalls, so it was chaotically busy. I was belted with so many boxes of Barbie scooters and train sets that I expect my shins to be solid purple this morning. Kids presents are dangerous when placed in the hands of frantic, last minute shoppers.

Don't these people know that Santa does home delivery?

We stuck it out as long as we could, but had to bail out after about an hour as the throng of people just seemed to swell with every passing minute. It was bizarrely hot in there with all those bodies pressed shoulder to shoulder and 20,000 people all talking at once in stone corridors is loud.

Leaving was a lot easier than getting in, and I didn't even mind being stalked to our parking space by a desperate looking man with a car full of kids. I guess my great idea of a late night shop while everyone else was asleep was not really as great as I hoped.

Christmas shopping really could kill the Christmas spirit in even the most dedicated holiday-lover.

Buckets of Rain

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yesterday the bottom of my street was submerged in a flowing river of rainwater. Some kind of bizarre flash flood type rain jumped out of the sky and soaked all of Melbourne from head to toe. It’s not such a bad thing, since we’re in the middle of a pretty severe drought – I just wish it would rain into the catchments a little more and onto my lounge room carpet a little less.

I spent half an hour during the most torrential part of the rain holding a bucket to the lounge room window in a vain attempt to catch the water that was streaming in thanks to the blocked drain pipe outside. I was soaked within minutes, but at least I got a good view of the bizarre river that was flowing through the front yard of the people across the road. We live on a street that is sort of on the side of a hill - our house is way above street level and the people across the road are way below street level. This means that while they were submerged in a brown, frothy tide of rain water, I was standing at my window watching the water flow down our steep driveway and add to the river below.

If I was a better blogger, I would have taken a photo of the river and posted it here you could see how bad it really was. As it turns out, holidays have made me lazy and unmotivated and to be honest, the only reason I’ve managed to blog at all is because I have a laptop computer and I didn’t have to get up from the couch to do it. I figure this is ok, because that’s what holidays are all about – not leaving the couch without a good, solid reason.

I’m going to have to get myself motivated to get off the couch, because with Christmas day coming up very soon, I have a lot to do. This year I’ve decide that I’m going to bake, and I thought that in aid of trying something new and different I’m going to bake a pumpkin pie. I have a recipe from Carrie that I’m going to have a go at. Sadly for me it will be a lot more work because in Australia we have a devastatingly limited selection of canned vegetables, so I’m going to have to purée my own pumpkins.

It should be interesting given that I’ve never done this before, but it’s worth a go, I think. Every Aussie that I’ve spoken to who has tried pumpkin pie has hated it, so I’m beginning to thing that maybe pumpkin pie is a taste that Americans are conditioned into liking – much like Aussies and Vegemite. It could be very disappointing.

I’ll let you know.

Beautiful, Beautiful Blissful Holidays

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Beautiful, beautiful blissful holidays - I love you.

I slept until midday this morning and woke up with a smile on my face. 3 1/2 weeks of NO WORK. 3 1/2 weeks of sitting on my bum watching tv, browsing the net and shopping. I AM SO HAPPY!

My last day seemed to go reasonably well by comparison to previous years. Everyone had been warned in advance about me leaving 3 days earlier than everyone else, so they had gotten themselves organised. The guy who usually causes me grief and has me working until 8pm on my last day had finished work on Monday to drive from QLD to Victoria, so I didn't have him to worry about. Or so I thought.

At 5pm as I was saying my goodbyes to everyone, the phone rang. I was standing next to the GM, who took a call from annoying man. She was nodding and smiling and when she hung up, she said to me
’Annoying man said he's got 8 jobs for you to draw up and that we didn't tell him you were going on leave’.

'I told him 3 times’ I replied.

‘Don't worry about it, go and enjoy your holiday and forget about him, I told him myself 3 times so you don't have anything to worry about.’

I could have kissed her.

I'm not sure why annoying man delights in making my life hell like this, but I think I’m at a point now where if he does it again, I’m going to have to tell him what I really think of him. Given that he is a director of the company this may not be the best idea, but he
does it every time I leave the building - for any reason at all. And this time I genuinely don't feel any guilt at leaving early, which is a sign that I’m well and truly over the drama.

On the brighter side of things, the receptionist (who I have lunch with every day) bought me a Christmas present – just something little that I had pointed out at the shops one day – so that made the day a lot more enjoyable. It’s nice to work with people like her when you have to deal with people like annoying man.

A tale of two scary scary man legs

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Two things I learnt today:

1. While you are laughing at how funny an American accent sounds, they are laughing right back at your Aussie accent - and you probably deserve it more.

2. Don't assess the need for shaving your legs without turning the light on. They may look smooth and beautiful in your new skirt in the half-lit bathroom, but in daylight they may be scary scary man-legs.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On Tuesday night we had a bbq dinner as a sort of mini goodbye party for my brother and his wife & daughter who are headed over to England for Christmas. I love these sorts of family barbecues because they’re always a bit of a laugh for one reason or another. Most of the time the entertainment is provided by my niece, who is now a little over 3 years old. This bbq was no exception to the norm.

I decided that I wanted to teach my niece a joke. I told her to listen carefully and I’d teach her a joke that she could tell her granddad. The conversation went something like this

Me: Can you remember this so you can tell Grandad

Her: OK

Me: why did the chicken cross the road?

At this point she farts loudly and we both laugh.

Her: because he wanted to get to farty land!

This seemed like a much funnier response than the regular old’ to get to the other side’ bit, so I suggested that she go and tell the joke to KJ. It then went something like this:

Her: KJ, why did the chicken cross the road on a bike?

KJ: Why?

Her: Because it’s a joke!!

Which all just goes to prove that three year olds are way funnier than adults.

Lazy Town

Monday, December 10, 2007

There is a segment on the morning radio show that I listen to called ‘Lazy Town’. People call in and talk about the laziest thing they’ve ever done. Like the guy who drove around with his fuel light on all day, then drove into a service station that night, looked at the pump, thought to himself ‘I can’t be bothered’ and drove off, only to run out of petrol about 2km up the road.

A girl rang in to say that when she wants to use the phone at home but can’t be bothered getting up to get it, she rings her house, pretends to be someone else and asks to speak to herself so that someone will bring her the cordless phone.

This has got me thinking about the lazy things that I often do. I’m not sure that I can meet the super lazy standards of the petrol man, however I think I could probably come close.

Tonight I couldn’t be bothered stopping on the way home from work to get something for dinner. The cupboards are bare (yet again) and instead of popping down to the shops to get something nutritious and wholesome, I once again ate whatever the cupboard coughed up. Microwave meat pie, hot chocolate and original flavoured Doritos.

That is how lazy I am. 10 minutes of time in the car and at the supermarket and I could have had something great, but I was too lazy. It’s a sickness, really.

I’d like to hear other people’s lazy stories – hopefully there is someone out there lazier than I am!


Sunday, December 09, 2007

I am so sunburnt from sitting in the park today.

I am half human, half lobster.


Six Days (& Counting)

The Christmas tree is up, the present shopping has begun and really it’s just a shame that I have to go to work on Monday. I think I’m well and truly ready for a holiday, or else to change jobs. It’s hard to distinguish the difference at this time of year, because by Christmas I’ve had enough of everyone I work for and everything I have to deal with. It feels a bit like I’m sick of my job, but I’m pretty sure I just need a break from it.

This year has been hard because once again the issue of me taking extra time off has presented itself. I’m the only one who knows how to do my job, so if I’m not there the work doesn’t get done. Every year one of the salesmen (who also happens to be a company director) goes off his nut about the fact that I want to take an extra week of in January.

Who will do the work? He demands.

There will be no work for me to do that week, I tell him

But what if there is?!

There isn’t. There never is.

But there could be this year!

There won’t be. You bitched last year because I wanted to take it off, and it was fine. You bitched the year before because I wanted to take the time off, and it was fine. You bitched again this year and now I’m sick of it.

It’s not nice to constantly have to justify why it’s ok for you to not be at work for 5 days. 5 days in January, when all the schools are still on holiday, when all the councils are still working out their budgets. In January there is no one to sell to. In January, there is no work for me to do. In January, nearly all of the other people in the company will take leave that week and I shouldn’t have to show up to work just so you don’t freak out.

So it’s seven working days and counting until I can sit back, relax and forget about the constant nagging of a disorganized control freak who is bent on making my holidays difficult for me. Six days if I leave out next Friday which will be taken up by the work Christmas function. Six days and counting….

Another weekend eaten away

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ah yes, another weekend draws to a close and yet again I’m sitting on my bum on the couch after having eaten (ok, and drunk) my way through the weekend. I feel that I can justify my total lack of….anything…by saying that it was KJ’s birthday and that means that the weekend should be all about him. This means there is no time for practical things like Christmas shopping, housework, exercise or moving my butt off the couch.

It was a good day today; things went pretty much as I had hoped they would with only a few minor glitches in the plan.

Instead of waking up around 8am, I woke up at around 6 after a long night of disturbed sleep filled with what I fear are the beginning of an endless stream of dreams about our wedding. I wasn’t so excited (and cruel) about his birthday that I was going to wake him at 6 to make him open his present, so I spent 2 hours on the couch trying to doze off again. At 8 I kicked into birthday mode and jumped around and made him open his present, which was this – A slot car set in the shape of the Bathurst track. Obviously this present meant that as predicted he got out of bed faster than he would normally, so we set the track up and had a quick go at it before we had to start getting things ready to have the family over.

The rest of the day was just the same old regular birthday business. Family over, presents exchanged, food consumed, endless slot car races and an afternoon nap on the couch. It was a good relaxing sort of day but now I’m so tired that as I’ve been typing this, I’ve been putting the words in the wrong order and I have hit the backspace key more than any other on the keyboard. I think this may be a sign that it’s time to drag myself off the couch into bed.

No Plan B

Friday, November 30, 2007

It’s KJ’s birthday on Sunday and I am SO excited. I’m a total birthday fanatic. KJ, on the other hand, can’t stand birthdays, so I feel that it’s my duty to be excited enough for both of us. This is easily done, because the more I think about how great birthdays are (even other people’s), the more excited I am on his behalf. I’m especially excited about this one because for once I have managed to think up the perfect gift for him. I’ve been so careful not to let it slip to him what it is that I’m too scared to even write it down here in case he sees before Sunday. Let’s just say that it’s fun, childish and something that all boys would love.

I went to the shops at lunchtime today and bought it, then brought it back to work with me and wrapped it up there. Before I wrapped it, each of the sales guys came down and laughed at it before making half-arsed attempts to steal it. This is the great kind of gift that I have found – it’s silly and pointless, but all the boys want it. This is the main reason that I’ve managed to muster up so much excitement on KJ’s behalf – it’s such a great present (if I do say so myself).

Here’s how I imagine Sunday morning will work:

At about 8am Sunday morning, I will wake up and begin jumping up and down on the bed like I would if it were my own birthday. Then, while he whinges about me waking him up so early on a Sunday I’ll jump out of bed, run down to the garage and grab the present out of my car. I’ll run back upstairs, leap onto the bed only to find that KJ has gone back to sleep. A bit more bouncing will wake him up, at which point I will thrust the present into his face and demand that he opens it. He’ll stuff around for a while, rubbing his eyes and pretending to snore while I bounce around impatiently. There’s a good chance that he might even make me go and make coffees before he’ll agree to open his gift.

Eventually, he’ll open it, get really really excited about it and get out of bed to play with it all day until his friends come over for a BBQ around lunchtime. Once they arrive, they’ll all take turns at playing with it until late at night when my birthday excitement has worn off and I make them all leave so I can go to bed.

At least, this is how I would like it to go. The only small snag in this plan is that there is a very good chance that once the present is open, KJ will go back to sleep and there will be no-one to get birthday-excited about. I haven’t thought up a plan B for if this happens, so Sunday could end up being an enormous let down.

I better get the butcher's paper and textas out and start brainstorming.

Crazy Lazy Déjà vu

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I keep having these little déjà vu experiences this week, where I am in the middle of doing some intensely mundane task like punching holes in paper and I suddenly realize that I had a dream about this exact thing months and months ago – sometimes even years. It just pops into my head that I recognize this exact moment.

This has got me thinking about time. Time is a funny concept really and the more of these freaky little déjà vu things that I have, the more I’m beginning to believe that maybe everything has already happened and I’m just sort of remembering it a bit at a time. This would explain a lot of things – like why people inexplicably hate some things without any valid reason – maybe it’s from a future memory of something that put them off that item. It also explains why I’m so lazy. It’s because I’ve already done everything.

I think it might also vaguely explain psychics but I’m not 100% certain on that one because I haven’t quite worked out how they know stuff about other people rather than just themselves.

Quite disturbingly, Wikipedia tells me that apparently there is a link between déjà vu and schizophrenia and anxiety. I prefer the time theory, because it means I’m not crazy or stressed out – plus it explains my laziness a lot better than anything else I’ve ever thought up.
Is it crazy to be lazy because of déjà vu?

Hobby on Hold

Another warm, sunny day has brought with it the smell of summer and the sad realisation that one of my favourite hobbies must be put on hold for a few months.

Through Autumn, Winter and Spring I spend copious amounts of time with the windows in my car rolled up and the radio cranked to full volume. I sing loudly and proudly and very very badly to whatever dodgy music I can get my hands on. Recently it has been Cake, Ben Lee and Mika, although other regular sing-alongs involve Elvis, Aretha and Huey Lewis amongst others. Summer means rolling down all the windows to account for no air-conditioning and also more traffic jams for some reason. Singing into other people's open windows while waiting at traffic lights is not a pain that I wish to inflict on anyone, so I'm putting down the imaginary microphone for a little while.

The bonus of this time of year is that once mid-December arrives and the traffic congestion has eased I can get out the Christmas Carol CD's and embarrass myself with those instead. I can't wait!

Mr. Minister

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tonight we went to dinner with my fiancée’s mother and her new(ish) boyfriend. The interesting thing about her boyfriend is that he is a minister for the uniting church. Ok, so maybe it’s not interesting to people who regularly attend church, but as a non-church-going kind of person I find it interesting because it’s not a job that I know a lot about and it affords me the opportunity to learn something about a career/lifestyle that I wouldn’t know otherwise.

The thing with this guy is, when I first met him, he seemed really nice. Friendly and generous and maybe a little too attentive to everything you say. You expect that from someone whose job is somewhat equivalent to that of a councillor. We’ve now spent a bit more time with him and I find that every time we come away from a meeting with him I like him a little less. I feel uncomfortable around him and I think it’s because as someone who listens a lot, he’s not great when you put him in a position where he has to speak about himself. He keeps looking at me like he’s waiting for me to spill my guts about something. I feel uncomfortable around him because he is constantly looking at me as though we’re having a very serious conversation, even when we’re not.

It’s a strange and difficult sort of thing to explain, because rather than being a specific sort of behaviour or quirk about him that makes me feel uncomfortable, it’s just a sort of feeling that I get when I come away from seeing him.

Something that left me feeling a bit odd was that I asked him tonight about his job and what that involved other than the obvious things. Naturally he asked me what the obvious things were and I explained that I meant that everyone knows what a ministers job involves on a Sunday and when there are weddings, funerals etc., but he is paid by the church to do a full time job and I wasn’t sure what else was involved. He told me that it involved a lot of preparation for his sermons, a lot of meeting with people in a councillor type of role, and various other church related duties. Then at the end of explaining all of this he said something strange that went along the lines of ‘So have I justified myself to you?’

What the hell does that mean? Does the fact that he’s a minister mean that I’m not allowed to ask him about his job? If he was a butcher, an accountant or the international liaison for a famous sock importing company, I would ask him the same question. Would he feel like I was asking him to justify his job if he was an accountant? No one else that I have ever asked about their job has ever responded like that to talking about what they do for a living and it is making me a little crazy. It’s making me angry and crazy because I shouldn’t come away from an innocent family dinner feeling like I’ve been judged by him for being curious about his work.

It was all round a very odd and unsettling dinner with Mr. Minister’s weirdness and also with my fiancée’s mum’s behaviour. I’m not going to get into what happened with her because I hate ranting like this and if I start I know that I will go on for hours. Suffice to say that the whole night left me wishing that we’d just gone to McDonalds for a $5 burger meal, a quick conversation and an early night in.

Hot Stuff

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I can't be 100% certain, but I think my eyeballs are sweating.

They must be, because every other part of my body seems to be. The weather here is freakishly hot considering it's not even summer yet. Yesterday was 37°C (that's 98.6°F for those of you who insist on using weird measurements just like my 1970's oven) and today was 35°. This is allegedly spring weather, but there is nothing springy going on around here because everyone is too hot to be bouncy.

The most irritating thing about the heat is the fact that both yesterday and today I was stuck in a traffic jam on the way home from work. It took me over an hour to get home both days (a 30 min. trip) and my car doesn't have air conditioning. In fact, it has a heater that insists on working even when it isn't turned on. This is very practical in winter, but in summer it means that my legs feel as though they are on fire for the majority of each trip. I was hoping to save this joyous phenomena for the summer months but alas, global warming has other plans.

If weather like this (and worse) is what is in store for summer, then I think I might have to consider migrating somewhere colder for the summer - like into my refrigerator.

Interesting Facts about Ingrid and Boris*

Saturday, November 17, 2007

In all of my banging on about the fabulous dress that I wanted to wear to the wedding last weekend, I never mentioned the other interesting facts about the couple who tied the knot. By the ‘other’ interesting facts, I really mean any of the interesting facts, because obviously, their wedding ran a distant third to the fact that I got a new dress and I got to catch up (and dance) with friends that I haven’t seen in over a year.

So here they are, Interesting facts about Ingrid and Boris*

1. Ingrid and Boris met online many many years ago. I have never been told the real story about where online they met, so I choose to believe that they met on a forum for people with rare and uninteresting pets.

2. Ingrid is an Aussie and Boris is an American. Not just any kind of American, but the kind that has an intense accent, as though he has just stepped out of the TV and into the reception venue. He pronounces her name in a way that is incredibly humorous; the humor of which I cannot convey fully in this blog as I have changed her name to Ingrid.

3. Ingrid is meek, quiet and says little. Mostly she just giggles. At everything. All the time. During their wedding vows, the celebrant said that Ingrid liked Boris because Boris made her laugh. This made me giggle.

4. Ingrid’s mother is a pushy, overbearing woman who will not let Ingrid do anything for herself. She was very upset when she found that Ingrid had agreed to marry Boris without her knowing anything about the proposal and without Ingrid asking for her approval. She vented this anger by organizing the entire wedding on Ingrid’s behalf

5. Ingrid looked gorgeous on her wedding day.

6. I thought I would have at least 6 points, but it turns out that Ingrid and Boris aren’t as interesting as I first thought. Feel free to make up your own for this one.

I’m off to another wedding this weekend. I’m looking forward to this one, especially as we’re going to have our makeup done. I had my makeup done for my brothers wedding last year – it was great! I would kill to be able to do my makeup as well as these people do it. The great thing about this place is that although it costs $60 to have done, the $60 is redeemable on products, so you actually get something you can keep out of it.

I think the wedding is going to be a cross between a traditional Greek wedding and a modern wedding, which should be interesting.

Greek weddings are great because they’re such lively, fun, family oriented events. The ceremony is fairly dull (being in another language and all) but once you go to a few, you start to know what each section is about and it’s not so bad. The receptions involve lots of dancing, drinking and then more dancing. That’s the part I’m looking forward to. I love to dance and am lucky enough to have a partner who will dance with me pretty much whenever I ask. Just talking about it is making me get excited! I can’t wait!

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of people with much more boring names

Kettle Etiquette

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Let’s talk kettle etiquette. I am a firm believer that you should fill up the kettle when you want to use it, not when you finish using it. It makes zero sense to put fresh water into a kettle, only to have it sit there for god knows how long before it gets used.

Also, opening a kettle and pouring cold water into it after it has just boiled is asking for a third degree burn of some variety.

A lot of people at my work whinge that all they ever do is fill the kettle up. Well what’s the difference between filling it up before you boil it or after you boil it? It’s a big kettle, you’re only using one cupful, so you only have to fill it up once either before or after! Stop complaining!

I never ever ever fill up the kettle after using it, so to all those people out there who complain that it’s bad kettle etiquette to leave it empty, I say Bah Humbug! Fill it up yourself.

Two Things I Noticed Today

Monday, November 12, 2007

Two things I noticed today:
  1. I am becoming way too desensitised to violence on TV.

  2. I am very quickly turning into a boring housewife.
I was watching law and order re-runs on TV1 tonight (I watch a disgustingly large amount of TV) and a very dodgy looking man was pouring ball bearings, nails and screws into a glass dish - obviously on the pretext that he was making some kind of shrapnel bomb. I watched him do this and took it in without thinking twice. I knew what he was up to before any explanation had been made - a sign of watching too many cop/detective shows.
The saddest part is that while watching him pour these ball bearings into the glass dish, I looked at it and thought to myself 'that is a really good sized Pyrex baking dish. I could make a really great lasagne in that dish.

Wrong or what?!

Cheating on Old Reliable

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My very worst and saddest habit is shopping with friends for clothes when I have no money. For fun I will pick up the most expensive item in the store and try it on while they try their more reasonably priced garments.
I find that there's nothing more dull than waiting for friends to try on clothes because they dress with the speed of a lethargic turtle. That's right, not just a regular turtle but a sleepy, dopey one that gets confused half way through the process and has to start all over again so they remember what it is they're doing.

This game of dress-up always spells heartbreak for me, because as it turns out, i would have fantastic taste in clothes if i was a millionaire and could afford to spend $1200 on a slip dress.

Yesterday's effort was on a shopping trip to purchase a dress for a friend's wedding. I had already bought the trusty reliable old favourite - the sensibly priced little black dress - a few weeks earlier, so we were shopping for my best friend. After loitering around various stores looking like a bit of a change-room stalker, I decided that it was time for the old 'try on a dress that's worth more than my car' routine. We had entered a department store that has a large designer clothes section, so while my friend tried on affordable clothes, I picked out a very cute dusky-pink dress from the 'can we check your credit card limit before we let you in' section and headed for the change-rooms.

Sadly, as fate would have it, my taste had remained impeccable and the dress was absolutely stunning. It was without a doubt the most comfortable, cute and sexy dress I've ever had the opportunity to wear. Even more sadly, being comfortable, cute and sexy comes with a price tag of just a little over $800. I danced around the change rooms umming and aaahhing over whether or not I would buy it (a well rehearsed show for the benefit of the store staff) and found that I didn't really want to take it off. I began to wonder if maybe I could just leave wearing the dress without anyone noticing. I began to think of ways that I could afford to buy the dress, like getting a second job or a second credit card or selling some body parts. Who really needs their liver, right?
It was at about this stage that my best friend emerged from her change room, saw me dancing around contemplating how to sell my soul for a designer dress and dragged me back into the change room to take it off before its evil spell took hold completely.

She dragged me out of the store and we continued on with our shopping. I spent the rest of the trip picking out and trying on accessories that I would never buy for a dress that I will never own.

Today I will feel a little like I'm cheating on my good old reliable black dress, because although I will be wearing it, I will secretly be thinking about wearing another.

Tea for Two (Thousand)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tonight I'm watching elderly British ladies pretending not to be ecstatic that their mother's mother's grandfather's brother's kitschy tea pot is worth 2000 pounds. I love the guilty look that they give when the valuer says 'unfortunately it seems to have been scoured with steel wool at some point which has faded the pattern and halved the value' and you know that they were the ones who did it an hour earlier in an attempt to clean it up before bringing it on to the Antiques Roadshow.

I've always wondered, what does one do with a 2000 pound teapot? Once they tell you that your ugly old china is worth a mint, do you immediately sell it? Or do you put it back into the cupboard where it has always lived because it was too ugly to have out in public and forget about it? More importantly, if you did try to sell it, would there actually be anyone out there who would want to purchase it? Surely there has to be some kind of limit to the market for crusty old tea pots with satanic looking clowns painted on the side.

Collecting things seems to be a hobby of choice. I'm thinking i might take up collecting something, just as soon as I can think of something worth collecting. Thoughts so far include stubby holders (very useful), spoons (will be the envy of my nursing home when I'm 90) or toenails (seem suitably disgusting). I've excluded newspapers (fire hazard) and empty bottles/cans (stupid and pointless). Any suggestions?

Thriller Movie Moment

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

This morning I had a brief thriller movie kind of moment. I was standing at the kitchen bench making coffee, staring vacantly into nothingness. I can't seem to function properly without my coffee in the morning, so I was not entirely awake yet, which may account for some of the following story.
There I was making my coffee, minding my own business when I glanced up out of the window, and made eye contact with someone.

After jumping quietly 10 feet into the air and out of my skin, my morning brain kicked into sluggish action and began registering what it was seeing. It was the neighbours cat. End thriller movie moment. I side-stepped back into my skin, pulled it close around me and looked back out the window at it. It was sitting calmly in the middle of the courtyard peering at me through the window and it wasn't blinking. Eerie.*

Not to be outdone by a podgy, staring calico cat, I thought to myself 'I can beat a cat in a staring contest' and I began to stare back. I had never tried to out-stare a cat before, so was completely unaware that doing this to a cat is a little like trying to out-stare a small child. A cat, like a child, just looks straight at you without embarrassment. It stares right into you in a way that is downright creepy. I could have sworn that it was trying to read my thoughts - and maybe it could. It had a calm, all-knowing gaze and it didn't break eye contact for a second.

The cat continued to stare straight back at me until my coffee was ready and i was forced to look away. When I looked back, he was padding quietly away. All of sudden, he stopped, looked back over his shoulder (do cats have shoulders?) and I swear to you that he made a sudden karate chop move with his front paw. The cat was trying to psych me out! If he could of spoken at that moment I know he would have said 'hyyyy-ahh!'.

He stared for a moment longer and then disappeared from sight. Next time it will be me who tries to psych him out. If only I can work out how to psych out a cat....

* note: eeriness of said moment may be attributed to not knowing whether or not cats blink

Spacebar for Space

Sunday, November 04, 2007

When my sister was little and learning to read, she used to say the word 'spacebar' instead of pausing between words.


Barking Mad

Friday, November 02, 2007

The dog next door is barking and I cannot concentrate on what I'm writing. It has been barking since I got home at 6 tonight and it has barely stopped. It's a wonder that it hasn't passed out. It was barking yesterday when I got home from work, and the day before that and the day before that. It is constant and it has begun to eat at my patience because it has been doing this every day, all day for the past 2 months. Generally things like this don't bother me but this dog barked from the time I woke up on Saturday (8am) until the time I went to bed (12am) non-stop. Without exaggeration, the dog could not have been quiet for more than 10 minutes during the day.

If i yelled non-stop all day, every day for 2 months, I don't think I would have a voice left. Do dogs lose their voice? Is it possible for this dog to bark itself quiet? Maybe tomorrow the barking will sound a little hoarse, then the next day it will be faint, and the day after it will just sound a little like a frog is croaking nearby. Maybe I will look out the window and the dog will be lying down with a mug full of warm honey milk and a packet of soothers looking sad and sorry for itself.
Maybe it will go to the doctor/vet and the doctor/vet will tell him that if he keeps barking, he might lose his voice permanently. Maybe he will buy a laptop and decide that emailing and blogging is a much better substitute for barking himself stupid and he will quietly browse the internet all day long. Maybe he will realise that his barking is a result of his mother not loving him enough, or feeding him for long enough, or maybe he will realise it's because he is lonely and he will be happy because he has the internet on his laptop and he can join a doggy dating site so he never has to be alone again.

Maybe he will just be quiet so I can think some sane thoughts.

I have begun looking around the house every time it barks to see if I can find something sharp and at this stage I'm still not sure if the sharp object is for the dog or for my own ear drums. I'm pretty sure that a few more days of this and I will know the answer for sure.

Online Hermit

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You may not realise this, but it is entirely possible to continue living in a house after having eaten the entire contents of the refrigerator, freezer and pantry. In fact, i have mastered the skill of shopping for food only when it becomes an absolute necessity - for example, when i am down to eating a meal of instant mashed potato, 2-minute noodles and savoy biscuits. For some reason, these are the 3 things which seem to abound in our house and they are a true sign to me that it's time to shop. Nothing says get off your arse and buy some real food like a plate full of Deb and artificial chicken flavoured noodles.

It's not that I don't love food - because I do. I have shelves and shelves of recipe books that I use at every opportunity. I'm just insanely lazy. This laziness means not being able to muster up the motivation to get in the car, drive to the shops and push my way through a bunch of other unmotivated looking people to get my groceries. I'm thinking of maybe trying online grocery shopping, but have shied away from it for fear that I might soon become such a computer nerd that I will be a hermit without noticing. I do pretty much everything else online already.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realise that it may already be too late....

Hen's Night

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's a hard choice to decide whether your Saturday night should be spent with oiled up, overly-muscular men thrusting their stuff in your face or sipping champagne and running from canvas to canvas sketching a nude, heavily tattooed man - but this was the choice I was faced with and decisions had to be made.

The oiled up men came with a boat ride down the Yarra River on what turned out to be a very balmy evening, as well as all the alcohol that I could consume. The naked tattooed man offered something different from the norm - the chance to give my drunken drawing skills a go.
I weighed up my options, and in the end I opted for the tattooed man. The idea of 3 male strippers was just a little bit less appealing. With the nude model, I knew exactly where he was going to be at all times - no surprise lap dancing or grinding.

The idea of a male stripper is fairly unappealing to me. It all seems fine until he's down to his g-string and threatening to whip it off - then you start hoping that he'll keep it on, because you know what's under there isn't exactly the prettiest thing to look at. Male strippers are a thing of the 80's. They had their time and now it's all a bit daggy - like perms and leg warmers, only more risqué.

So i went with the life-drawing class, which turned out to be a laugh. we ran from canvas to canvas, adding to each others drawings while the model remained completely un-fazed by the fact that 25 liquored-up girls were giggling at him every time he dropped his robe.

Definitely an interesting way to spend a Saturday night.

The sin will come out, tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I am starting to have serious concerns that my fingers may be dyslexic.

Now I know that my brain is not, because as I type, I know exactly what should be appearing on the screen, and my brain thinks that my fingers are on the case, however once I go back over what I've typed, I find that things are not as they should be. Letters are jumbled up and in some cases, missing completely. This is a serious issue, and I was thinking that some kind of remedy is probably needed in order to get my typing back on track.

My first thought was a bit of tough love - discipline them into doing what they're told. Then I realised that beating up your own hands is not an altogether easy job, because a good and proper beating requires the use of heavy blunt objects, which must be lifted and swung around - usually requiring 2 hands to do so.

My next thought was that perhaps I could do a bit of positive reinforcement. I thought this through a bit more and couldn't come up with an adequate reinforcer. What would a hand like? What would a treat be? The only thing I could come up with was a manicure, and it's not entirely practical to give your hands a manicure after each correctly typed sentence. This idea went into the rubbish with the first.

My last thought was good old fashioned yelling and threatening to take things away. I gave this a bit of a go and found that yelling at my hands only seemed to further distract them. I threatened to take away the very shiny engagement ring that they love so much, but they saw right through my bluff and just laughed right in my face. (side note - hands laughing in your face is incredibly similar to hands waving in your face)

I'm at a total loss. I'm stuck with these challenged hands of mine and the problems are beginning to affect my life. I have to say - it's not ideal to have hands that often type the word 'sin' instead of 'sun' when you're designing playground equipment for kids. A spell checker will not pick up the fact that you have labelled something a 'smiling sin face' instead of a 'smiling sun face'.

I think i need to get my hands some serious help before it's too late...