Friday, 29 November 2013

Shopping spaces, christmas hams, manicures

Hello and happy weekend to you!

I am spending a quiet Friday night in. The fella is at a conference in Auckland. Good bit of time to do some....stuff.

I've been a bit under the weather over the last couple of days - my sinuses are staging a rowdy protest at the wacky weather here in Melbourne, and all the pollen that bursts forth. Hence today was a bit of a go-slow one.

Over the last few days I have been actioning some Christmas things, and thinking a bit about the season. As I have said, we are having a Kris Kringle type arrangement, but I wanted to buy a few bits n bobs for my family.

So off to the shopping centre I went. And you know what? I found it very overwhelming. I tottered around a few shops, just feeling at a loss, and then ended up making a beeline for the body shop, and buying some gifts there. And then getting the hell out.

I used to love shopping, hoofing around shopping centres for hours on end.

Now increasingly I find it difficult. It may sound strange but I feel a bit...inadequate. And don't even get me started on one saleslady who yapped with another customer for 10 minutes about gel nails while I was waiting to be served. Otherwise, I am a bit scared of the salesladies, and their sales pushes. I feel guilty for saying no to their higher pressure sales tactics...

Though some such tactics made me buy a pair of uber flattering boyfriend jeans, very similar to these.

I cannot lie, they are super comfy, and flattering. Win and win.
I am loving Witchery Jeans lately.

I have also had to buy a bit of work-appropriate wear - almost 3 years in PhD and nursing home land has made my armamentarium of power work couture dwindle somewhat. I am doing some more work in another environment.

In fact, on lazy data-entry days, I have been known to come to work wearing tracky daks. (But only my good ones. My outside tracky daks).

I think I like going to funky shopping strips rather than shopping centres, if the weather is good. They have better cafes and it is less claustrophobic. I like little independent stores, and I like to support small businesses. But I do sometimes wish they would put a Witchery, Country Road and Veronika Maine on Brunswick St Fitzroy or High St Northcote....

I quite like Chapel st but parking is a bit of a nightmare, and I risk being poisoned by the ambient levels of fake tan and hair bleach.

The other thing I have been giving a lot of thought to is Christmas ham. Today, on a visit to Woolies, I summonsed the butcher out of his den to interrogate him about the hams on offer. In my paws I had a free range, private schooled, triple smoked behemoth. The independent stores sell even more expensive hams.

He said "you know which one I go for?"
He pointed at the lower end ham and said "it's juicier". He pointed to my fancy schmancy ham, claiming it to be dry.

This is some food (or swine) for thought...

Clearly I need to do some more independent research on the issue.

But I did manage to purchase some cloves. You know, just in case.

In other news, I have allowed my nails to grow - see?

I now need a manicure
I will post photos when I have attended it.

Well now I had better go to bed. I want to go to training in the morning.

Pump some iron etc. Plus I have engagements following this which involve eating.

Now - a few questions

Do you retreat to the comfy world of online shopping?
Which christmas ham do you recommend?
Where do you like to buy your clothes (Ruth if you are reading I already know the answer).
Which Australian clothes brands do you like?

Monday, 25 November 2013

Music Festivals. Compliments. The cbfs.

Hello and happy Monday! Greetings from the wifi I have finally managed to set up!

I had a big bout of multifactorial mondayitis, but managed to shake it off by going to my running group.

Every Monday and Wednesday, at about 4:30, I develop a great case of the cbfs.

There are about 20 things I would rather do than run. Especially on a nice day like this. Most of them involve wine and eating things that are yummy.

And yet, barring injury or foul weather, I go.

I always feel better. It helped my mondayitis.

Oh, and on the topic of running, on the 17th, I ran the 14km city to sea event. I promised a photo. Here 'tis.

 My smile and red face says it all, really.

I have had a few back issues recently, these are longstanding. I have been recommended a physiotherapist who also practices acupuncture. I went to see him today, for the second time. He did some pushypushy, some needling and some cupping.

He is quite gentle, very zen like. I am a liker of a good firm massage, if it doesn't have me whimpering it is not working.

But we shall see how it goes. The back gave me no curry in training today.

Over the weekend, the fella and I decamped to Queenscliff for the music festival.

Geelong (like Melbourne) was doing its spring thing - a bit of rain, a bit of bitey sun. Not great for a music fest. Weather was better last year.

I have to confess I find it hard to "attach" to bands or singers.... I may only like one song of theirs. Hence when I am feeling tired and chilly and my feet are sore, I would prefer to decamp to the comfort of the bed rather than stay out till 11pm to catch the act. I missed some of the bigger acts. I am ok with this.

The bands I loved were Saskwatch

And the Melbourne Ska Orchestra. Hard to find a good video. If they are playing in your area, you should see them. They will have you dancing and laughing in equal measure.

I also got a few surprises in the way of Jeff Lang (guitar virtuoso), the Transvaal Diamond Syndicate (dirty heavy grungy blues), and the Brow Horn Orchestra (big band meets rap meets reggae and everything in between).

They also had great food trucks there - I had yummy tacos, poboys, the best chai masala outside of india, dosa masala...I ate all the things.

The people watching was interesting.... overexcited schoolies, old rockers, young families and hipsters... all together.

Note to the ladies - putting black opaque stockings underneath summer dresses/ short denim shorts does not a good outfit maketh.... IMHO.....Just sayin'.

Note to schoolies - don't smoke joints in the concert tents. I will smack you on the bum, or shake my finger (don't even get me started)

Anywho.... I had a lovely weekend with the fella. He is gallavanting all over the place to conferences for the next 10 or so days.
I shall miss him.

To change a topic.

There have been a few instances recently where I have been paid a compliment.
Today, a former colleague who I had a brief catch up with sent me an email, saying "you look beautiful".

What did I do?

I brushed it off.
I thought "surely you blow smoke up my bottom".

I do that often.

Yet I will take to heart a criticism. Either an internal or external (or imagined) criticism. Take it on board.

Perhaps it might be a relatively easy thing to learn to accept compliments?
I have just been reading this post from Nikki at Styling you.
Some food for thought there.

Good night. Or good day. Depending on what time you read this.

How do you graciously (or not) take a compliment?
What music do you like?
Any aches or pains at present? Carte blanche to whinge here.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Moving. 'Scuses. Christmas.

Gah, it has been a while.

I have 'scuses.

These are:
1. I've moved
2. I have no wifi at home
3. Work has been busy. Rewarding but busy.

They are good 'scuses, I think.

So I have now *officially* been in our new place a week. The move went ok, apart from the breakage of a single bowl. Pfft. Won't miss that bowl, there are other, better bowls.

And so commences the long and arduous process (with the emphasis on Long) of unpacking.

In packing up, I was fairly ruthless with chucking stuff out, so hopefully it won't be too painful.

However our mattress is still on the floor. It will be a while till the bed is up as the fella has to go away to a couple of conferences. He says he quite likes being down low. Good think I am laid back about these things!

Moving might be considered also a good excuse for flopping my butt down on the couch and having takeaway and copious amounts of wine.

I did not scuse myself from healthy eating and exercise.

The night I moved across, I went to my training as usual. And followed it up with a home cooked dinner.

On Sunday, I ran the 14km City to Sea event. Here is me at the finish line.

(Blogger does not seem to want to do it now, will put it up later....)

Anywho, I ran it. I have had some back pain which I am getting seen to. This body is a temple. During the week and some weekends, anyways.....

I have a trainer who is very nice but kicks me up the butt tells me firmly what I need to do. I have been trying as much as possible to do as she says. She seems to know what she is talking about. And I don't think many people know what they are talking about so that says something.

We are moving inexorably towards Christmas. In the past, for many and varied reasons, I have found Christmas a very challenging time of the year, and was very bah humbug.

Things are very different this year. More so this year than last year. Things are better.

My sister, who usually does the "don't buy me anything because I can't afford to buy you anything" thing about this time of the year, has arranged a Kris Kringle.

This decreases the financial burden on her and allows her to participate. The thing is that I would like to buy for all my family and don't know what the etiquette is about that.
Although on reflection stuff is less important than the togetherness.

The only issue is that I was allocated getting her boyfriend a present. Like a significant one.

I don't want to get her boyfriend a significant present. I would be happy just to get him a bottle of merlot as a token thing.

This is because

a. He likes merlot
b. I haven't met him that many times and don't know him that well
c. I confess I don't particularly like what I have seen of him (my mum refers to him as "whathisface"). Also see a above. He clearly cannot be trusted.

My boyfriend has been allocated to my brother's girlfriend.

I don't know. Think I just have to deal with the discomfort and roll with the plan. And make different arrangements next year.

But I have embraced the festive period to committing to glaze a ham. A good ham. I've never done that before.
I am looking forward to the ham, perhaps more than anything else.

My fella has embraced the festive period by ordering 2 cases of assorted wines for the day.
That'll sort out me and him, wonder what others will be drinking :P

Anyway this weekend we are off to the Queenscliff Music Festival.

I am looking forward to it! The place we are staying has a nice pool, and I have performed depilatory procedures in readiness.

So have your festive preparations commenced?
And do you have to do anything / spend time with anyone you are not comfortable with?

Monday, 11 November 2013


WARNING: This post contains lamb on a spit, which I find pretty damn impressive (not to mention mouthwatering) but some people mightn't like it.

APOLOGIES: some of the comments from the last post ended up in my spam queue, hopefully I've now rectified the situation.


I call this procrastiblogging - I have a shitload of stuff to do, but I would rather be doing this. Plenty of time to be working hard.

I have just gotten back from Christchurch, New Zealand. It was a flying visit for my Fella's parents 50th Wedding anniversary.

I had done the whole "meeting the family" thing before so that was no biggie.

The bigger deal was trying to fit it all in among moving preparations etc. But not to worry, we can only do what we can do.

So we got into ChCh at about 0200 on Friday morning. The flights etc were uneventful, made that way by some nice wine taken in the lounge (my fella has Qantas club membership). Flights are best taken a little bit drunk. But not too drunk.

The next day was a sleep in, touching base with the family, helping them with last minute shopping, and some wandering around. As everyone knows ChCh was affected badly by an earthquake in 2011 ( and a less destructive one in 2010). Things are slowly but surely being rebuilt. It is still worth a visit if you are going to NZ.

Here are some photos.
The Cathedral

The Fella, Surveying the Damage

I remember this from my visit 10 years ago - it survived unscathed.

Condemned buildings and Chain Link everywhere, but some pretty on the chain link
That night we went to our favourite ChCh haunt, DuxDine - if you are in ChCh you should go there.

Here is a rose from their garden

Saturday was the big 'do - the family, plus the golden couple's 40 closest friends, mostly over the age of 70.

We assumed that these people wouldn't eat much - they did.
We assumed that they wouldn't get into the wine too much - they hit it hard.

I busied myself collecting plates and keeping on top of the mess. Tidying (most unlike me) kept me out of the wine trough and kept me from having to talk to a whole bunch of people I didn't know. The family was very grateful. Win, win and win.

The main food item was lamb on a spit. Here is the beastie (you have been warned)


My fella carving the delicious beast

And here is my fella's mums wedding dress.  Teeny tiny waist.

On Sunday there was a family get together in Hurunui, up in the Waipara region about 90 minutes outside ChCh. More food (mostly Pavlova) was eaten. Pictures are not shown to protect the privacy of the other folks.

We then went down to the river- the Fella's nieces and nephew had a frolic in there, and an all-out mud flinging brawl ensued, with my Fella's brother in law starting it. It was hilarious. The 5 year old neice showed impressive guerrilla tactics.

Monday was a catch up with the fam and then home, via the plane. And the frequent flyer lounge, where much soothing and restorative wine/gin and tonics were drunk.

I am spent.

But this week will be busy.

Speaking of family gatherings, I am thinking of making a baked leg of ham for Xmas - have never done it before. My sister's boyfriend doesn't eat pork. Oh well, we don't like him very much and he will have to make do with other less festive meats.

And how are youse?

Have Xmas preps started in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Moving. Removing. Repurposing.

(Warning - long talk about old fridges!)
Well it's been a long time!

I am currently in the process of packing up all my stuff and moving it across to the house that I will be sharing with the fella. He moved in there on Monday, and I am "officially" moving in next Thurs, but given that we are going away to Christchurch tomorrow for a few days, I have been working away at it for the last week or so.

For me, this time, is not just the packing of stuff in boxes and moving said boxes.

I have to streamline.

I have to declutter.

I have to say goodbye to some things.
Moving from a marital home, into a shared home then a little flat, I had a lot of marital home stuff that has stayed with me. Plus a lot of other things I bought.

Buying stuff on impulse, or to soothe ourselves when we are down, or even with the best of intentions, and never using it....we've all done that. A lot of the things sitting in my spare room have been forgotten. Going through them and sorting them out...well, it's a bit confronting isn't it?

I have had an "if I haven't used it in a year I am not likely to so give it to charity" rule. Ditto keeping stuff that is a bit tight "I will fit into it soon". (That last one is very confronting).

Yet with a bit of thought, I have been able to repurpose some things. Those silver frames that were given as a wedding present and stayed in boxes? Lovely for the free photos that also sat in boxes.

I want our new home to have lots of photos in it. Photos in frames make a house a home.

Part of my inner resistance to clearing out stuff I don't use is the old "what if I fall on hard times and need it again" thing.

It's also sad to let some things go because they are the last bittersweet reminders of a past life.

In the dissolution of my marriage, I got custody of the fridge and washing machine. They sat in storage while I was sharing house but got used when I moved in by myself.

They are 10 years old, my fella has newer and better and more efficient models, so they go into the new house.

I've struggled to decide what to do with them. Part of that is the memory of my ex husband and I buying them with our very first paycheck. It sounds silly but it is really hard to let go of them. It is really hard to sell 10 year old fridges and top loading washing machines. So I have decided to give them to charity. A struggling single mum might benefit. That will make me happy.

I am determined to bring a strong sense of myself into this new home (and, more broadly, the relationship). Some of my paintings, and other stuff, will have pride of place.

This moving thing - it's a process. A process of saying goodbye, compromising, letting others in. Perhaps acutely experiencing a little of that fear that comes with taking big steps in a relationship.

But it's the right time, and the right thing, and we are moving into a lovely place, and I am looking forward to it.

So I say bye bye fridge (mustn't forget to keep London Marathon Magnet)

Bye bye rattly but reliable top loader

And bye bye stinky and worn sneakers I ran the London Marathon in.

And HELLO  neat and organised Walk-in Pantry

And every last oil and sauce one could ever need

Hello to barbies (barbecues, not the doll) in the back courtyard.
Hello to many years of lots of nice experiences and memories.
A life lived well and consciously.