July 2013 Archives
Didn't sleep all that well on Saturday night. The bed was definitely too soft. And my mind was still going from the excitement of the day. The curtains were pretty good and kept the light out really well, so we had a bit of a sleep-in.
Went to The Scottish Restaurant for breakfast after checking out, but they took forever and I was worried about missing the train we needed to catch. I was thinking we'd have to catch a City Circle train to Central and change, but the train we caught at Circular Quay went to Hurstville! How weird is that!?!? So did that and changed there, as it was less far to walk than Central. Although more than Sydenham, but I wanted to go as far as we could. That, and the novelty factor of catching a train directly from Circular Quay to Hurstville!
So yeah arrived at the parents' then went out to Tradies for lunch. I had a reasonably decent caesar salad for lunch, and then there was cake! Two of them :) One for dad and one for me.
Lots of people came. Around seventy! Lots of people I haven't seen in years. Lots that knew me but I had no idea who they were. But quite a pleasant afternoon. Dad's not doing so well at the moment - very unsteady on his feet because of all the zapping they're doing to his brain :( But he did well and I think he had nice time.
After everyone left, we went back to my parents'. Stayed there for a while, before dropping Dad back at the hospital and Mum dropped us off at the airport.
Had a pretty good flight. Took off from part way down 34L and banked round to the left, which gave a great view of my local neighbourhood. In fact because the ATR planes are slower than the jets, got a really good long view. Couldn't document it because it was too dark, but was able to locate heaps of things, so that was lots of fun. Also got to see the Antonov that David saw yesterday. It was just sitting at the international terminal. I thought it had already left Sydney, but there was definitely a huge plane with wings on top and a blue tail, so what else could it have been?
Got home with a sore throat and exhausted. Definitely feeling like I needed a weekend to recover from my weekend ..!
My Dad turned 70 on Sunday.
So we trundled up to Sydney.
And I figured if I was going to be in Sydney, I'd try and catch up with some of my Sydney friends for part one of my birthday bash.
Stu wanted to fly (to get points so he can get Virgin lounge access). So we spent obscene amounts of money on flights and a hotel.
But let me backtrack a minute.
I'd decided that we should go to the Löwenbräu Keller, as it was central for everyone, it had pork, and it had beer. I thought that we could have a lunch, and people could stop in for a drink afterwards if they weren't able to make it to the lunch. Except when I made the tentative booking they said that they were a restaurant and everyone had to be dining. This they underlined. Well actually they said that everyone who made a reservation had to be dining. And they wanted a $20 deposit for everyone. And we had to order off one of the very restrictive set menus. So that was my drama last week. Anyways. I got my RSVPs and made the final booking and paid the deposit, and fortunately on the day everyone showed up who said they would, and no surprises. But more on lunch later.
So Saturday morning we got up and got ready and headed to the airport. And after complaining a couple of weeks ago about Stu getting to fly in one of Virgin Australia's ATR 72-600s, I got to go in one :)
Took off to the north, with a view of Canberra and the new Majura Parkway, but a lot of fog around still (delays all over the place because of heavy fog in the morning, and was a bit stressed that our plane would be late or cancelled).
Actually to say was a bit stressed was putting it very mildly. I was totally stressed out all morning - about the lunch, who would/wouldn't turn up, the restaurant being bumheads, getting to the airport on time, the plane being on time and on and on. Was feeling quite queasy until we got to the airport and our plane was going to be on time ..
But carrying on ..
Because it's such a little plane, they don't have the full food service where they sell food/drinks. Instead they have complimentary drinks and snackages for everyone! So that was pretty nice of them.
Flew almost right over the top of River Island (it was on the other side of the plane)
Then up over Campbelltown and in from the south-west.
Look Mum I can see your house from here.. and mine (under the clouds). Looking into the sun, so not much more in the way of good shots for the rest of the flight.
Bate Bay looking very blue
So off the plane and onto the Airport Train. I've never actually taken this train before. Reason being: it's a complete rip off! $31 for the two of us to get to the city. Absolutely ridiculous. And of course, there was trackwork, so we had to change trains at Central. At least there *was* a train to Circular Quay - when Stu went a couple of weeks ago, there were no trains at all in the CBD.
Walked up to our hotel, and were able to check in. Fairly basic hotel room, but very nice and a pretty decent view.
Then we wandered down to the Lowenbrau, and even though we were fifteen minutes early, we were only *just* the first ones there heh.
No good photos of Marc/Ryan and none at all of Emma/Charlotte.. doh!
So everyone arrived and they brought out meat. So. Much. Meat. This times four!
We got the "Schmankerlplatter" which was $39.50 and the cheapest of the options we were forced into having by the Lowenbrau. I was really annoyed by this, as it meant people couldn't go for a lighter lunch if they wanted to. One thing's for sure - I'll *never* be booking to go to the Lowenbrau again. If opportunity arose I'd still go there, but I'd never organise an event there again.
*Fortunately* they were happy to package up all the leftovers, and Stuart R and my brother took them home. So at least a quarter of all that food didn't end up going to waste.
And the pork was pretty damned good. And there was other meat too. For those that wanted it ;)
So after lunch, since the Lowenbrau were being buttheads about not wanting people to drop by casually, we headed up to the Argyle for drinks. Fiona, Stu, Chris, Daniel&Fi and me and the sweetie went, and were joined by Fran, Jake, Ric, David and Yvonne. Where we stayed til early evening :)
The Argyle's unisex bathroom. The funky pods at the far end are the urinals!
So all in all it was actually a wonderful afternoon. I hadn't seen Chris in twenty years, and I'd never even met Stuart R (except online, and he had actually thought I was a boy which gave everyone a good laugh ;) ). And all sorts of lengths of friendships in between. The only sad part was not having enough time to catch up with everyone for as long as I'd have liked. Oh well.. will have to make more effort on future trips! And convince people to come visit ;)
Stumbled back to the hotel.
Picked up some snackages on the way back to the hotel, thinking we might get hungry later on. But we never did. Too much meat!
However the hotel had put out a little bit of cake and a macaron for my birthday - how sweet of them :) (when they asked at checkin if I was up for a special occasion I said I was :) )
Enjoyed the view briefly before collapsing into (a very soft) bed.
More a work drama day today. Upgrades and things not working and things different between environments (which always drives me balmy).
Tonight I had to raid the five year old bag collection for bin liners. Stu and I have been using green bags for years, even before the plastic bag ban, but we still had a large supply of plastic bags for bin liners. Those finally ran out the other day. But in the garage was a big bag of bags that we've had since our last house. And somewhere in a box there's a big pile from when I was still living in Sydney. So we won't have to buy bin liners for a few years yet :)
Pretty crappy night tonight.
Well it started off all right. Went to Alice's with the sweetie for dinner which was nice.
On the way home I started getting anxious about stuff I have to do and unknowns I have to face and strangers I have to call.
At home we found that the third brake light on Stu's car wasn't working. After we had just gotten the car back from a service *today* in which they assured us it had been fixed (this was the second time they've looked at it). So I'm like, you've got to be kidding me. One more stress. More money wasted. More hassles. I mean I like Mick and all, but sometimes I think he's not a particularly good mechanic :(:(
The Old Reader has died, hopefully only temporarily. They did a migration to new hardware on the weekend and it all failed in a heap today. They're still hoping to get it back within a couple of days. So using Comma Feed in the meantime which has all the same stuff in it, but isn't as good as a reader.
And then the real drama started (yeah the rest of it was just a warm up).
I tried booking the lunch I'm having on Saturday. But because there were more than ten people coming we have to choose a set menu and pay $20 deposit each per person. Except I don't actually know how many people are coming yet because quite a few people haven't rsvped. And it's fricken expensive - with a set menu there's no choice of having a smaller cheaper meal if you wanted. And heaven help you if you're vegetarian. And also, because they're a "restaurant", people can't just pop in for a while during the afternoon for a drink - they have to dine as well. So I've had to change the plans a bit, and then email everyone again asking *again* for rsvps.
I fricken *hate* that sort of drama. It's made me stressed/depressed about the whole thing.
Oh yeah, and I forgot to call dad *again* tonight.. wonderful daughter I am .. *not*
Yesterday we went out to the club for a Christmas in July lunch. As usual there was a feast of food thanks to R&T and A&J.
Lunch included, but was not limited to, lots of potatoes, turkey rolls, corn, salad
Dessert included, but was not limited to, rum balls, chocolate mud cake, trifles
And then.. it snowed!!
That was pretty exciting :)
Afterwards we debated staying the night, but the sweetie had some work to do for uni, so we came home, as he thought it'd be easier to do at home. That, and it was *freezing* out there.*
This morning there was still snow on the mountains out past Queanbeyan.
There probably would have been snow on the Brindabellas too, but we didn't leave the house all day, so we didn't see.
Bit of house tidying today, and then my tax man came to sort out my tax.
And so endeth the weekend.
* Freezing in the both literal (snow) and figurative (feels like) senses of the word, for people that want to complain.
Had a whiskey tasting night last night.
Order of perference:
- Connemara Peated Irish Whiskey
- Longrow Red Cabernet Sauvignon Cast 11 Year Old
- Glenmorangie Extremely Rare 18 Year Old
- Glendronach Revival 15 Year Old
- Arran Malt 100 Proof
- 1986 Adelphi Cragganmore 26 Year Old Cask Strength
The last one was just too sharp and bitey to enjoy drinking. The others weren't bad. I liked the peaty ones the best of course :)
- Pyramids of Egypt
- Chichen Itza
- Mont St Michel
- Great Wall of China
- Kashmir Valley
- Topkapi Palace
- Taj Mahal
- Nile River Cruise
- Prague Old Town
- Carnival in Rio
- Serengeti Migration
- Easter Island
- Golden Temple
- Galapagos Islands
- Amalfi Drive
- Angel Falls
- Grand Canyon
- Colosseum of Rome
- Yellowstone National Park
- Machu Picchu
- Fjords of Norway
- Chartres Cathedral
- Antarctica Cruise
- St Peter's Basilica
- Mezquita Cordoba
- Iguazu Falls
- Egyptian Museum
- Damascus Old City
- New York Skyline
- Amazon Rain Forest
- Valley of the Kings
- Uffizi Gallery
- Eiffel Tower
- Ngorongoro Crater
- Hong Kong <-- I've been to the airport, does that count? :)
- Rio Panoramic View
- Great Barrier Reef
- Sistine Chapel
- Golden Pavilion
- Niagara Falls
- Angkor Wat
- Burj Khalifa
- British Museum
- Victoria Falls
- St. Basil's Cathedral
- Burj al Arab
- Forbidden City
- Louvre Museum
- Abu Simbel
- Yangtze River Cruise
- Canals of Venice
- St Mark's Basilica
- Florence Cityscape
- Ayers Rock
- Carlsbad Caverns
- Hermitage Museum
- Banaue Rice Terraces
- Chambord Chateau
- Bora Bora
- Kathmandu Valley
- Li River Cruise
- Lijiang/Shangri La
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Shwedagon Stupa
- Neuschwanstein Castle
- Potala Palace
- Mt Everest
- Sahara Desert
- Banff National Park
- Jerusalem Old City
- Temple of the Emerald Buddha
- Leaning Tower Pisa
- San Francisco
- TerraCotta Warriors
- Hagia Sofia
So up to 24 now :)
Ten years ago this month I was in the countdown to my 30th birthday. And I was pretty depressed about it. You see for a Christian not to be married by the age of thirty meant there was obviously something wrong with you. I truly believed that. I *knew* there was something wrong with me. (me). I was in a lot darker place back then. I felt like I had very few friends. Although I think mostly it was the hormones (but that's a story for another blog post).
But then I met Stu in 2005 and generally I've been better. Things still piss me off, and I still get depressed, but I'm not *lonely*.
And in contrast to ten years ago where I was dreading my birthday, this year I'm pretty excited about it.
And speaking of jigsaws ...
Here's the third jigsaw I've had to give up on because the pieces are so poorly designed it's impossible to tell if they're in correctly or not. It's becoming a disturbing trend - three in my lifetime, two this year... (this is actually an April jigsaw, but it sat on the table for two months incomplete)
And here's a couple from June
This is the Louvre. I picked this up from Vinnie's for $6. It was actually a fairly easy jigsaw to do.
One from David's collection - an "Impossipuzzle". I last did this jigsaw in 1997. Correction. Not *this* jigsaw. Another one just like it ..
This is an idea that's been kicking around my head for a while now, but I don't think I'm really the person to make it happen.
What I want to do is have a monthly "Jigsaw Exchange". This would be a monthly meetup (similar to Bookcrossing meetups) in a cafe or pub where people can come along with some jigsaws and exchange them with other peoples' jigsaws. It'd mean a never-ending supply of jigsaws for me and the guys at work, as well as being able to share my jigsaws around with others. Other than a small collection of jigsaws that I've had for a long time, I rarely feel the sentimental need to keep jigsaws anymore. Jigsaws need to be loved by all! And with the price of jigsaws even at second-hand places like Vinnies, sharing them around would be very economical as well.
So if anyone's reading this and has the motivation to do it, please do ;)
Well not for Stu anyway ..
Yesterday morning was a pretty slow start. Got out the door eventually and went to This Cafe in Gungahlin for brunch. I had eggs benedict, which was reasonable (although the bacon was on the side which was a little odd). But we were sitting by the door, which didn't close properly, and let a gale in every time someone came through, until the sweetie leaned over and closed it. Most irritating.
Went out to Wintercon at EPIC and had a look around.
Then did our food shopping and came home.
I did a bit of cleaning of PVC goo with acetone in the afternoon.
After dinner we went over to Annie's for a while to catch up.
This morning I got a bit of housework done in the morning.
Then Stu got a phone call from Annie. She'd fallen (in Sydney - she'd gone there to take the kids to the zoo) and wanted to come home but couldn't drive. So the sweetie flew up to Sydney to rescue her. He even got to go in one of Virgin Australia's itty bitty little planes. Slightly jealous heh.
In the meantime I tidied up the laundry which has been a disaster lately.
Dinner was pea and ham soup that the sweetie had put in the slow cooker before he left. It was pretty good.
The sweetie didn't turn the TV off after Harry Potter last night, so we had on the start of Superman III. But then once I was far enough into it I couldn't help but watch it. It's completely ridiculous of course, but I hadn't seen it in years, so ended up staying up far too late to see the end of it. Doh!
Had a nice day at work yesterday. After getting some work done I had some free time in the afternoon to clean my desk, which really needed doing (especially since we'll be moving soon).
The sweetie picked me up and asked if I wanted to go to the Dumpling Inn for dinner, and I'm like, oh all right, you twisted my arm.. heh
So we got the mixed chow mein which was very nice, and instead of me getting shredded beef Peking style, I got the Dumpling Inn Crispy Duck, which was like Peking Duck Lite (the full thing you have to book in advance). It was pretty awesome :)
So Thursday we had a nice slow morning. Saw Fiona off, then got ready and headed to the airport.
Took a Virgin Australia flight because it was $20 each cheaper than Qantas. Stu even got a spare seat next to him which was nice. Got some snackages on the plane for lunch.
Canberra from the plane
Gulgong - the town on the $10 note. Well it used to be.
Turns out I even got a couple of pics of Chay and David's suburb, and the reserve (middle) that we did a couple of walks around.
Had the nice approach into Brisbane, and I think pretty much the only time I've done this approach, in daylight, with a window seat.
Picked up our hire car and then headed into New Farm to have a look at the city, get something more to eat, and have a look at Stu's old house. (I took my jumper off after I got off the plane, and didn't put it back on again til we arrived back in Canberra!)
Then we headed out to Chay and David's.
We've driven past this pool a few times, but this was the first time I'd ever seen anyone in it.
For dinner we picked up some beer and pizza. I had pepperoni and feta, with a couple of pieces leftover for breakfast.
We played a few games of Buzz and did some Singstar.
Fairly slow morning. I'd had awful trouble sleeping because of the heat, and also the bed sagged in towards Stu so felt like I was lying on a slope all night.
After my pizza leftovers for breakfast, we eventually headed out to Orion, where we got the sweetie a coffee and had sushi for lunch.
In the afternoon I worked on a jigsaw Chay had picked up for me, and we all pretty much just chilled out.
Later in the afternoon we all went for a walk in the nearby reserve.
We also had a look at the memorial to Jeremy Wackrow (spelt Jeremy Wacrow on the memorial), who had been found dead there in October 1995. (The next day on the same walk we even ran into the guy that found him).
Had some very nice fish and cauliflower bake for dinner.
Then we headed over to Storm's where we played quite a few games of Emporer-Scum, and then some Singstar til very late.
Better sleep last night! I had leftover cauliflower bake for breakfast. Continued to work on the jigsaw, where I had to defend the pieces against Ichi stealing them!
We were going to go to the cafe in Springfield Lakes for lunch, but it was closed! How rude!
So we went back to Orion for sushi again.
After lunch we went for a drive to go see Helen's amazing new house.
Came home and finished the jigsaw.
David cooked up the rest of the fish, as well as a whole stack of yummy veggies. Yum!
Watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which was good, but it was very strange seeing Emma Watson try to do an American accent! Then played a bit of Singstar.
Woke up at 5am, then couldn't get back to sleep :(:(:( Got up and we headed off to Sizzler for breakfast. All you can eat bacon FTW! Except the bacon ran out, so it wasn't all you could eat, unless you wanted to wait. So waited, but the bacon wasn't as nice in this batch. Mushrooms were almost gone the first round, so had to wait for those too. Didn't have a croissant cause they looked pretty doughy. The potato gems were really nice though. And had the added bonus of not needing to eat again til dinner time.
Picked up another small jigsaw at Crazy Clark's on the way home.
Did a bit of the jigsaw, then had a long afternoon siesta.
Had another walk around the reserve, but it wasn't nearly as nice - heaps of trail bikes making a whole tonne of noise :(
Had corned beef that had been in the slow cooker all day.
After dinner played a couple of games of Buzz, then watched Sherlock, then some Singstar.
David and I tied in "Who Wants to Live Forever"
Quiet morning. Had muffins for breakfast and finished the little jigsaw.
Then we headed out to the airport and had some snackages in the Qantas club.
The flight back was also pretty good, and most of the back of the plane was empty, so Stu got a spare seat next to him again. Flew right over the top of Sydney, then into Canberra from the south.
Cessnock (with the Crowne Plaza where we stayed at Christmas at the bottom left)
Lake Macquarie and some of Newcastle
Gosford and Brisbane Water
Eastern Suburbs of Sydney
So as always, a lovely weekend away!
I'm finally cancelling the last of our Aussie Farmers Direct orders.
We started off getting the couples organic fruit and veg boxes last year. But there was no way the two of us could get through the boxes each week. So we dropped back to fortnightly. And even that was a struggle to get through. The number of times we had something leftover, or simply too much food to eat and not enough freezer space to freeze the leftovers, was so great that in a fit of rage a couple of months back I cancelled the order completely.
We were having similar problems with the milk and orange juice orders we were getting. A week and a half ago I dropped our order back to fortnightly, as it would usually take us three weeks to get through two weeks of deliveries. I checked the delivery calendar last week and there was nothing due for last Wednesday so I didn't put out the cooler bag. But in the morning there was one milk and one OJ (don't know what happened to the other OJ - either just not delivered or stolen). Grunt. So I thought we wouldn't get anything this week, given that we got something last week. But no, more damned milk and OJ turned up this morning. This time the milk bottle had a small hole in it and was leaking all over the front porch. There's now eight litres of OJ in the fridge, two litres of milk in the fridge and another four litres of milk in the freezer. This is ridiculous.
Plus their website *sux*. It's a pain in the posterior trying to even figure out if you're due for a delivery in any given week.
So while I like the *idea* of Aussie Farmers Direct, the impracticality of it all is killing me, and I'm cancelling. If I can figure out how. Have I ever mentioned how much their website sux?
Last week I finished reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. I never even knew what the story was about before I read it, so went into it with no expectations.
Having just read "Careful he might hear you" a few months back, I thought that the clarity of mind was too great to be written from the point of a view of a six year old. The mind/narrative of a six year old seemed to be a lot more believable in Careful he Might Hear You than To Kill a Mockingbird.
But other than that, yeah fairly good. Must see if I can see the movie some time.
Whoops so it's been like a week since I last blogged..
Friday night the sweetie and I watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
Saturday we went to Pulp Kitchen for breakfast. I ordered a small breakfast raclette with a side of Pulp Kitchen bacon. Except the waitress thought I said streaky bacon. No, I said I wanted the chunky bacon (like I'd seen on the RiotACT). The sweetie ordered a regular cotechino sausage meal. Well I got streaky bacon after all (not that I'm complaining - it was really good), but the sweetie only got a small meal. But the food was awesome and I don't think they charged us the full prices that were on the menu.
Then we did our food shopping and went home.
Fiona arrived in the afternoon, and we sampled the caramel slice I'd made for the evening to make sure it wasn't poisoned! ;)
In the evening we went to Mishi's for a games night. Chatted for quite a while before playing Citadels which Stu brought along and wanted to play. I think I might have played it years ago, but I didn't really like it - it was a bit confusing to start with. And then I got all my gold robbed three rounds in a row, which was completely demoralising (and, as it turned out, game changing - that loss of gold was the deciding factor in where I ended up placing in the game (fourth out of six)). So yeah not a game I'm enthused about playing again.
Sunday morning we took Fiona to Pulp Kitchen. This time I had "eggs anyhow with three sides", and this time I made a point of specifying the chunky Pulp Kitchen bacon. The sweetie had savoury granola and Fiona had the breakfast raclette. The chunky bacon was pretty good, but possibly not as good as the streaky bacon :)
Went to The Front afterwards for more coffees (I had a babycino)
Stu and I didn't do much else for the rest of the day while Fiona did her own thing. We had a beef stew for dinner that had been slow cooking all afternoon.
Monday night we (us and @phonakins) met up with @chrispycon and @NathanaelB at King O'Malley's for drinks. I'd actually met Nat a couple of weeks ago at Jamo, but I wasn't 100% sure it was him so didn't say anything. Tweeted him later and it turns out it *was* him heh. So nice to actually finally "meet" him :) Came home afterwards for leftovers.
Tuesday was a very weird day. The fog didn't lift all day. This was the back view at 5pm:
And then later in the evening some bogans came along and rolled our neighbour's car onto its side :(:( I heard something odd and looked out and saw it, but nobody around it, they must have cleared off pretty fast. Neighbour called the police but not much they could do. Fortunately there was very little damage - even the side mirror had just folded itself flat and not been smashed off!
Tonight we just ordered pizza for dinner. It was that kind of a night!
And so now I'm caught up :)