December 2019 Archives

2019 Year in Review

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The new year started for us in the Bermuda Triangle! It was 9am Caribbean time, 12am AEDT time. Stu was in bed and I was eating breakfast. And I watched the Sydney fireworks. Live. On an ocean liner. In the middle of the North Atlantic. I love technology :) We actually managed to stay awake til midnight ship time and heard them sound the horn to mark midnight.

So our overseas trip of the year was just the tail end of our North Atlantic crossing and Caribbean cruise. Had four days in New York which is not nearly enough time. Came home via Singapore on the longest commercial flight you can take (for now) - 18 hours!. Early in February I went up to Sydney to visit Mum for a post-Christmas catchup. Went and saw a Lego show, took the River Cat to Parramatta and caught up with Pam, and later with Daniel and Fi. Didn't get to see the Cartans on the Sunday morning which was a shame because Doug Cartan died later in the year. Visited Luc and Lizzi for Ryan's penultimate donut photo and saw Cordeaux Dam on the way home. We went down to see Kit and Pete several times - in March to see their house and go to their engagement party, in July for a visit and to do some wedding planning and go to the zoo, in November to do some wedding planning and meet and ride Kit's new horse Jet, and in December for their wedding. Went and visited David in Junee in June. In August I went up to Sydney for Diana and Graham's funeral, and Chrissie and I geeked out at standing in the spot we met thirty years and a couple of weeks earlier. Came home via Dapto that trip to meet up with Kit who wanted to look at a horse (not Jet), and had a fun drive up Macquarie Pass. In November we went to Melbourne for the weekend to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with Hannah and Rita.

Work was pretty decent this year. My life is four things: source, dest, port, protocol. Simple. Except way too many people don't understand basic client-server communication which is pretty frustrating. Whenever I had the time I would clean things. Our section disbanded (or was announced it would be disbanded) around February 14 - exactly one and a half years after I started in that section. I went back to comms but kept sitting in the same place for a while longer until they did a bit of a floor reshuffle. Fortunately I was able to get a seat away from the corridor and things stayed pretty stable which is essential for my mental health. Socially there was a big event at the beginning of the year which included an Escape Room, and dinner at the War Memorial, Laser Tag, and I ran a trivia night for it (using mostly recycled questions). We won a trivia night in April which meant we ran one in September. Had a whiskey night in June and a ball in October. Our drinking buddies dropped like flies though - Lachie, then Doc, then Hannah. Very sad times. Ran our annual Christmas party at the lake again, but it was very smokey and numbers were down - only about 40 this year!

On Valentines Day I had my appendix out! My first ever general anesthetic and first ever hospital stay. Then in April Annie had hers out too - didn't know these things were contagious ;) After surviving the plague ship (don't travel in northern hemisphere winters with old people - everyone gets sick) and not even getting sick when Stu did, I had a very small cold in February, but then survived all winter without getting sick again, only to get one in September then another one in December. The one in December was the worst and I was coughing for a couple of weeks, including being sick at Kit's wedding. Insomnia was a lot better this year but still got bouts of it.

Saw a bit of my family. Saw Mum in Sydney in February. David and Kat came to stay in April. Took them out for a bbq at the new van. Mum came to visit in June and we went down to Junee to visit David. Later blacklisted Kat from ever coming here again - I can't stand the way she treats David and there's no way I could be civil to her if I saw her ever again. David came to visit in October and we took him out for his birthday and then on a tram because he was going to interview for a job driving them. David got the job, and moved in with us in November (had to clean out space in the bedroom, bathroom, pantry and study). Mum came down at Christmas for a couple of days. We saw a little bit of Stu's family too. The other Stu came over for dinner in January. Kerry and the kids came to see the balloons in March and dropped in to visit. Dropped in to see Annie and the kids in April and save Daisy's life (emergency cash supply). Scott and Kerry and the kids dropped in briefly in October. Saw Noah on his 18th birthday. Stu and Annie and the family came over for Christmas lunch. I saw a bit of Chrissie during the year. Went over for a couple of low key dinners in January (hot cross bun ice cream!) and December, saw her the night her aunty and uncle were murdered and we just tried to process, had a few lunches out and about, and a nice BBQ on Anzac Day which also included her Dad, siblings and their partners. Saw quite a lot of EffanC and the N-gang which was great, including a couple of dinners at R&F's, various visits back and forth and dinners out at Pot Belly and Malaysian Chapter with EffanC including an election night event and New Years. We're still missing Kit and Pete and the chickens although did see them a few times during the year. Other than the four times we went down to the coast, they also came to stay for Tarun's wedding in March. Went wedding dress shopping with Kit then had dinner at Old Canberra Inn for Pete and Leisa's birthdays. They came back again in April to see Kit's brother before he went home to Germany. Kit came up again in May for Katie's sister's funeral and her friend Sophie's wedding. I organised Kit's Hen's at the end of November - Laser Tag and dinner at George Harcourt with drinks after at Moby's. And I ended up being a bridesmaid at their wedding after it became too difficult for Audrey. We farewelled Stewie and Cath (again) in February. Fiona came to stay the weekend after I got my appendix out, but was pretty stressed about it because everyone was sick and I couldn't sleep in the spare bed. Jenn came over a week later for a Turkish feast, and we caught up for drinks with her in October. Went to see Doc's new place with a big group of work peoples which was lovely. Had a couple of dinners with Hannah, at Dumpling Inn and Pizza Artigiana so Stu could get to know her before we went away together. Had our annual hanami part with Nat and Andrew, although I was sick the original weekend and the flowers were mostly all gone by the time they did get to come over. And went to @CLBradley's 60th at Ciscos.

Spent a bit of time at our social club. There was a Finnish night in March, with a wallaroo joey. Not to eat - that's Australian, not Finnish ;) In April we bought a well-established van off another member to give us some space to move (our old van was just barely big enough to sleep in, and even then not really). Sold the old one for a lot less that we paid for it because it had a leak that we never fixed and wasn't in great condition. Spent a bit of time cleaning and decluttering the new one, but there's still a long way to go. Had Chris and Ian's anniversary there, it's been a shame that I've had to miss two of them over the years. We did Christmas in July again for a huge crowd. Had a couple of nights there in August, including the AGM on Stu's birthday (doh!), and another night in September. September was a Chilean night, which was great, but some people really need to learn to better estimate catering. I mean a bit of overcatering is fine, you don't want to run out, but you also don't want an entire fridge full of leftover food - both cooked and uncooked! Went for Oktoberfest in October. We missed the Christmas party because we were down the coast at Kit and Pete's wedding. We were going to go out at New Years, but I was too nervous about the weather and potential for fires.

Pretty quiet fish year. I discovered my angel is a girl - she laid a couple of batches of eggs! At the end of the year I had four active tanks. The angel tank, with the angel, a cory, and a sucking catfish. The two foot, with three black neon tetras and a sucking catfish. Chrissie's little tank, with two clown loaches and a sucking catfish. And the downstairs two foot, with one large danio. Stu has his four foot which is always covered in algae because the lights are too good and there's not enough algae eaters, a tiny tank on his desk with a white cloud, and a little tank downstairs with a white cloud. There's also four empty tanks that were for killifish but they all died. I want to restock my tanks, but needed to prove I can take care of them first (ie, making sure at least one of them gets a water change every weekend, so no more than four weeks between water changes for each tank).

Nothing much on the Lego front either. I'm still working on sorting out Vic's Lego. It's extremelly slow going. It takes a good chunk of the weekend to do pick parts for six sets, so if there's anything on on a weekend nothing would happen. Really need to get back into it, as I really want my tubs and floor space back.

Not so many jigsaws this year either. I feel like there's too many other important things to do to "waste time" doing jigsaws :( Similarly with any of my other hobbies.

The weather was *hot* when we got back from overseas in January. We had the cooler running for three weeks straight. There were a lot of thunderstorms at the beginning of the year too. Had a duststorm in February. Then drought with a dry winter and super dry November and December, and the shroud of bushfire smoke for most of December.

Around the house.. I took a few days off at Easter to have a ten day break, and we Marie Kondo'd the house - well, clothes, linen cupboard, under the house a bit, some of the garage, and the pantry. David came during that break and replaced the light in the fan light, and also the kitchen lights, with LEDs. Had the sewer pipes eeled in May and he cleared a blockage at the same spot twelve metres in as last time. For Christmas I treated us to new towels - the first time in my life I've ever had matching bathroom linen - loving it!

Considering it feels like we don't eat out all that often, it seems like we ate out a lot. I tried Master Hin Dumplings at the mall. Very average dumplings. I'm surprised they're actually still there. Went to Chong Co on Australia Day and had their delivery a couple of times. Went to Gus's with the sweetie in February. Malaysian Chapter and Pot Belly a couple of times with EffanC, and for a work farewell lunch. Indian Pantry with Cath. Had Pho Hub with Neil. A couple of work lunches at Chompy's. Had Yat Bun Tong at least once with the sweetie. Possibly only made it to Dumpling Inn once this year - to meet up with Hannah so she and Stu could meet and we could discuss Harry Potter. The sweetie took me out to Temporada on our anniversary which was expensive but excellent. A group of us went to Rashays for their $5 lunches in May. We haven't been back since. Tried Tasting China and Akiba which were both pretty good. Went to Chez Kimchi a few times. They're ok but their menu is just a mess. Had Disappointing Sushi (aka Hero Sushi in Canberra Centre) a couple of times. It always meets expectations - it's always disappointing. We had Pizza Artigiana a couple of times. The first in July to meet Hannah's flatmate Rita who we were going to see Harry Potter with, and again with Stu in August. Tried lunch at 54 Benjamin a couple of times. Nice, but a bit expensive to do too often for lunches. Had Alice's in July, the Lake George Hotel in Bungendore in August with EffanC, Bella Vista on my birthday, Happy's in December. Tried out Yarralumla Kebabs' new store in Belco. Pro tip - take a knife and cut one in two and split it with someone - otherwise you'll feel to stuffed at the end (even Stu finds them too big!!). And went to Bharat International with some work guys. And there were several treks to Kingsley's ;)

It seems I wasn't terribly creative in the kitchen this year. Or maybe I just didn't document things. We ate one of Kit's little roosters and made a couple of lasagnas with her tomatoes. I had a lot of fun with puff pastry - making cheese and vegemite scrolls, pizza scrolls and cheese twists. Made tacos a couple of times. A large kit works a lot better with three people than two ;) Made a gnocchi carbonara bake a couple of times. Also made cheesy hash browns which are always pretty awesome. And made a huge batch of gingerbread biscuits for Christmas.

The only theatre/shows/exhibitions I saw were two Lego things (Lego Cities by Ryan McNaught in Sydney, and a private Lego Christmas Show in Ngunnawal), and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in Melbourne.

The only movie I saw in theatres was the Lego Movie 2 - the Second Part.

Saw a lot more movies on TV. As well as invididual movies which I won't list, we (or I) also carried on watching movies in series. Including:

  • Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2
  • Sherlock Holmes 1 and 2 (Robert Downey Junior version)
  • The Hobbit 1, 2 and 3
  • James Bond movies, starting in April, still haven't quite finished
  • Paddington 1 and 2
  • Bridget Jones 1 and 2
  • Molly Ringwald teen movies (except Breakfast Club cause that's kinda boring)
  • A few Tom Hanks movies
  • Twilight saga
  • Die Hard 1, 2 and 3 (haven't had a chance to see the rest yet)

Watched a surprising amount of TV too!

  • The Good Place Season 3
  • Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
  • Discovery Season 2
  • Fuller House Season 4
  • MacGyver Season 1, start of Season 2
  • Homeland Season 7
  • Brooklyn 99 - up to season 5
  • Death in Paradise Season 3
  • Lego Masters
  • Veronica Mars Season 4
  • The Good Place Season 4
  • The Amazing Race
  • Fuller House Season 5

I'm not a big reader but did get through some books:

  • Heaven is for Real - Todd Burpo
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and six more - Roald Dahl
  • Silicon Snake Oil - Clifford Stoll
  • Little Brother - Cory Doctorow
  • The Cult of LEGO - John Baichtal and Joe Meno
  • You Always Remember the First Time - edited by B.S. Johnson
  • The Reader - Bernhard Schlink
  • On the Road - Jack Kerouac (never finished)


And as always, I finish off with a big list of other bits and pieces..

  • Started blogging weekly on Sunday nights, as that seems to happen more consistently, and get my photos online in a more timely manner
  • Still raging that Apple sees fit to modify the timestamps on my photos and screenshots - on the phone!!
  • Posted my Canberra 1986-2016 blog to Reddit and got a lot of nice comments
  • Android (at least the last two Stu's had) has a SUPER annoying bug where the forward facing camera has no date taken exif data saved. Makes it harder to geotag the photos.
  • Finally filled up my 2T drives with backups, had to split them out. Also bought a 4T drive to have room for everything. Took nearly a week to copy everything
  • Found "Tent Go Bye Byes" on the internet so Mum could finally see what all the fuss was about in 1983
  • Finished scanning all of Mum's photo prints
  • Saw the Balloon Fiesta
  • Took a stack of Tupperware to the Green Shed
  • Read all of Julie Powell's "Julie and Julia" blog (started and got a good chunk of the way through in February after I had my appendix out, finished in September)
  • Collected all the Coles Stikeez. And Little Shop 2
  • The neighbours got ducks, although they didn't keep them for too long
  • Got asked to be a bridesmaid at Kit's wedding. Got the shoes for the girls
  • Finished scanning all of Mum's analogue photos. Started on her slides.
  • Got our democracy sausage in May
  • Finished labelling all 10000-odd photos from our last trip
  • Created an S3 bucket for holiday photos. Still haven't gotten around to doing anything with it.
  • Filled with rage at Qantas' website and general customer service, booked my next trip with Emirates instead
  • Three cats we know - Pookie, Celeste and George - all had to be put down
  • Processed and labelled all our Hong Kong and Singapore 2016 photos and got them into the blog
  • NBN screwed us over - disconnected us during upgrades and never bothered to reconnect us. Had to get a tech to come out and fix it. Found out a while later they'd downgraded our speed from about 25mb to 12mbit. Bastards. (Edit: they broke the connector, hence only half the speed, later we got it fixed)
  • Microsoft FINALLY enabled control-backspace in Notepad!!
  • STILL raging at Apple and the inability to copy timelapse (and even regular video) files to my computer
  • Bought a toasted sandwich maker - loving that
  • David bought me a new frying pan (and another one at Christmas)
  • Had my hair trimmed. Trimmed is an understatement.
  • Got my North Atlantic trip fully labelled and blogged
  • Didn't see blue sky in Canberra from before Kit's wedding til the end of the year
  • Saddened by the bushfires that raged through south-eastern Australia
  • Played some escape games on my phone which are a lot of fun
  • Watched both Christmas Carols events. Carols in the Domain are pretty tacky but Melbourne's Carols by Candlelight is still ok.
  • Spent the last couple of days of the year tidying and organising the house, and catching up on blogging

We finished out the year at EffanC's for a quiet evening with great friends.

David brought this up on one of his visits earlier in the year.  A little tricky because all the pieces are the same shape.

Uluru jigsaw

I did this at work because it was only 750 pieces and fits in the space I work on them in.  Have done it before.

Undersea jigsaw

I think I may have gotten this at Vinnies.  A nice easy little one I did at work.

Portual jigsaw

David brought this one as well and we did it together.  I'll have to do it again myself one day before I can give it away ;)

New York jigsaw

Mum brought this at Christmas, done in a minute or so.

Parrot jigsaw

I got this out so we could do it one year to the day after I actually went to St Lucia :)

St Lucia jigsaw

Gosh what a busy week.

So Sunday a week ago was the Lego show at Ngunnawal.  Earlier in the day, which I didn't note last time, we went to Aldi and saw that they've changed their coin locks so my tool will no longer work with them.  Bastards.  I wouldn't mind using a coin if shopping centres could get off their asses and have a decent trolley return system, but they don't, which is why I'll continue to use my tool until it no longer works.

Pretty tree

Monday morning I woke up at 4:15.  Hurrah.  And couldn't get back to sleep.  At least the day at work was relatively peaceful.  I cleaned out my locker and did a bit of inbox tidying.  After work we did some food shopping for Christmas.  But I was acting as a go-between for a couple of guys at work for a crisis that was going on, and so trying to rapidly type messages to both of them.  But OMFG iPhone autocorrect is infuriating sometimes.  It kept changing words that I'd typed correctly into different, incorrect, words, and so I'd have to keep retyping everything and sending correction message after correction message.  I swear I nearly smashed the damned phone onto the ground.  And I managed to screw up the steaks I cooked for dinner.  Yay.

Tuesday morning I woke up at 5:10.  Hurrah.  None of us were wanting to touch anything at work, because who wants to risk breaking anything so close to the break.  But as it turned out, the crisis the day before (still continuing Tuesday) was caused by someone changing something on Monday, and not telling their own damned team what they'd done.  So the others in the team had no idea that the problem was caused by one of their own.  Our team was dumbfounded.  I did however delete a bunch of Dev firewall rules for servers that no longer existed.  I figured if I broke anything in an environment that was being shut down anyway noone would care :)  Had a couple of sneaky drinks that we had leftover from the party before going home.  Had a super relaxing afternoon.  I even managed to finish scanning Mum's 1960s negatives and finish labelling our Hong Kong/Singapore photos, both of which I'd wanted to get done before Christmas, and I did!  In the evening we watched the Carols by Candlelight, which is so much better than the Sydney one.  It's more traditional and more mature and just not as *tacky* as Sydney.  

Look how low the lake is at the moment!  A good six inches down on its normal height.
Low lake

I may have iced and sprinkled some of the gingerbread cookies.

Decorated gingerbread

Decorated gingerbread

This is the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  I got a better view of them on TV than I did in the theatre.

Harry Potter cast

Harry Potter cast

Wednesday.  Christmas Day.  Had a fairly relaxed morning.  Well other than having to take three quarters of an hour out of it to go feed Chrissie's animals, and clean up the cat poop one of the cats had done in the bath tub.  Hurrah.  The last hour before lunch was pretty busy, but the sweetie helped me with stuff so that was nice.  Annie and the family came over and we started snacking.  Then Mum arrived and we had Christmas lunch of prawns, ham, salad, bread, dips.  Then Stu put on stoopid YouTube videos so I went and did my own thing.  

Christmas presents

We got the house some new towels for Christmas.
Christmas towels

Christmas snackages

Christmas table

Epic prawn platter

Christmas feast

My Christmas lunch

Christmas dessert

Mum brought this down from the cleanout at Diana and Grahams.  I can't believe noone else in their family snaffled this up.  And the wedding favours on top were from *our* wedding!
Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Christmas tree

Me and Mum

After everyone had left, Mum went off to go catch a tram, because they were free.  I went to put on a Christmas movie I had saved in my Netflix list, only to find that Netflix had deleted them all.  Bastards.  Moral of the story:  if you see something you want to watch on Netflix, watch it as soon as you can, because it won't be around for long.  Not the first time we've been caught.  I ended up watching The Movies that Made Us: Home Alone.  We watched Love Actually in the evening.  Well Mum and I did.  Stu ran away.

Thursday woke up early.  Hurrah.  Went to Bunnings in the morning with Mum.  Tried to have a sleep when we got back.  Failed.  Spent ages going through Mum's photos with her and updating labels with extra infos.  At one point we came across photos of the new Youth Hostel in Canberra that she was at the opening for in 1968.  So we went for a drive to try and find it.  We found it but the view is covered by trees, and even the building has had a lot of work done around it.  Had pizza for dinner and watched some BBT and into season 5 of Fuller House.  Played a couple of rounds of the basic game of Itchy Feet, a game I got for Christmas.  It was a little boring as the basic game, but may be better with the expansions, but I was too tired and cranky to feel like trying them.

Mum ate all the leftover prawns for us ;)
Mum and prawns

Friday woke up at 2am, didn't get back to sleep til after 3:30.  Then woke up around 6:30 with an aching spine.  Hurrah.  Mum went off to Chrissie's for the morning, which gave me peace and quiet to tidy the house and prepare lunch.  David arrived just before lunch, and we had roast pork with a lot of crackling and it was all very yummy.  Although not convinced by the stuffing (most of which oozed out and then burnt).  After lunch Mum left to go visit friends on her way home, David went to work and Stu went to the club, leaving me home alone.  I had a bit of a look at my todo list for the rest of the break but didn't actually do much.  Had some crackers and dip for dinner and a piece of crackling.  Healthy dinner, yay.  Watched 28 Days in the evening which I enjoyed.

Pork roast

Veggies before

Pork roast after

Pork roast carved

Potato bake

Veggies after

My lunch

Epic leftovers

Kaz and Stu at Christmas

Bon bon toys

This is what we call Five O'Clock Charlie - the smoke blowing in from the east.  It's usually more like 7pm though.  These photos were taken just four minutes apart.

Five o'clock Charlie before

Five o'clock Charlie after

Saturday woke up at 5:30 with an aching spine.  Hurrah.  With no car and no sweetie we couldn't do any shopping.  So grabbed the little brother to go storage tub shopping.  Basically there's a bunch of stuff in the dungeon and the spare room that's just all over the ground because there's no cupboard space, and I don't want to put any of it in the garage because of all the bugs.  But you can't even walk in those rooms because they're so choked up, so we can't even start with the decluttering of them.  So the idea is to use tubs as temporary storage to clear the rooms enough to be able to work in them again.  Once things are clearer, those tubs will be for more permanent storage of things that are in cardboard boxes right now - not good because, silverfish.  Spent the afternoon rearranging and filling tubs and getting rid of stuff.  Tidied the linen cupboard, the garage, the dungeon room, the hobby room.  So that was pretty good.  In the evening I watched Phar Lap, which I *might* have seen once more since seeing it at the movies in about 1983, but may not have.  Lots of been-there's heh.  Started watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but then David pointed out that The Sound of Music was on, so may have accidentally watched the rest of that.  Even though I have it on DVD with no ads.  Whoops.

As I was cleaning out the linen cupboard, I found that my roller blades had completely disintegrated!! :(

Roller blades disintegrated

Roller blades disintegrated

When I was in the garage working, I heard a scratching on the door outside.  When I went to look, there was an itty bitty little blue tongue lizard.  He was pretty energetic too because he was so warm but I still managed to catch him for a photo.

Teeny blue tongue

Teeny blue tongue

Sunday was lots more tidying and organising.  Also a bunch of computer work.  Finished watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which was silly but a bit of fun.  I totally want a food machine ;)

Lego heads

Monday not a lot of physical stuff, mostly computer stuff, including catching up on blogging.  Went out for lunch and did a bit of shopping.  Picked up a heap of lemons off the ground, and made a lemon meringue pie with five of them.  Managed to piss everyone off after dinner, and so instead of watching Die Hard 4 we all got grumpy with each other and did our own thing.  I watched Sliding Doors which I first saw a few years ago.  

Blue sky!  Haven't seen blue sky in weeks!  It's gone again now though.
Blue sky has been so rare the past three weeks

Lemons

Lemon meringue pie

Lemon meringue pie

Lemon meringue pie

Lemon meringue pie

Today I've pretty much been doing computer stuff all day - downloading and processing photos and blogging.  The weather is making me extremelly tense.  Canberra new year festivities have been cancelled.  We were thinking about going to the club but don't think we're going to now.  I certainly couldn't concentrate on writing up my year in review post so that will have to wait.  Have a happy new year and stay safe everyone!

Sunday night a week and a bit ago, David dragged me out to Ngunnawal to have a look at a private Lego display.  I was a bit hesitant because, kids, crowds, but we got there right on 18:30 so it wasn't crowded yet.  It was actually pretty good.  They had a lot of commercial sets, but they also had a big town centre with a Disneyland parade and a lot of "fun stuff" going on.  A lot of fun.

David at the Ngunnawal Lego show

Hogwarts Castle

Ngunnawal Christmas Lego Show

Space display

Space shuttle

Lunar lander

Pink Lego Space minifig

Disney castle

Disney train station and train

Roller coaster

Ngunnawal Christmas Lego Show

Ngunnawal Christmas Lego Show

Ngunnawal Christmas Lego Show

Ngunnawal Christmas Lego Show

Ngunnawal Christmas Lego Show

Selfie

Disney truck

Steamboat Willie float

Wedding couple

The Beatles

The Village People

Busker

Escape from the museum

Protesters

Tower Bridge and ships

Landmarks

Landmarks

Hogwarts Founders

Kit hired Michael Boyle Photography to do all the official photos.  He arrived half an hour before the ceremony and left after the party started, so was able to capture pretty much the whole day.  I got access to the online gallery, and I was very impressed with the photos.  Here's some of the highlights!

Getting ready

Kit getting ready

Kaz ready

All the girls

All the girls

Girls all ready

Bouquets

Kit ready

Kaz walking down the aisle

Kit about to drive in

Kit walking down the aisle

The ceremony

The ceremony

Exchanging of rings

The kiss

Kit and Pete

Group photo

Kit and Pete

The girls

Kit

Kit and Pete

Kit and Kaz

The wedding party

Kit

Kit and her ute

The pizzas

Travis and Kaz

Pete and Kit entering the reception

The bridal table

Pete and Kit

Pete and his nieces (Elena and Zoey I think)

Stu and Kaz

Pete and Kaz

The cakes

Mel and Stu

Kit and Pete

Chloe giving her speech

Cutting the cake

First dance

awwwww

So after not really getting any sleep at all, I was a bit of a zombie on the Saturday morning.  I raided my food supplies and had some cheese and salami for breakfast.  Had a shower and wandered out to the shed to help setup.

The others surfaced, and we started getting ready.

Audrey steam-ironed the dresses.

Audrey steam ironing the dresses

The dresses all hanging up.  Guess which one is mine?

The dresses

The makeup and hair ladies came around 9-9:30.  I was first to get makeup done (this is sans-lipstick).

Makeup done

Chloe plied me with champagne (Henkell) while I was getting my hair done.

Kaz getting hair done

Ending up with a sort of "messy bun" style.

Kazza's hair

We even got little flowers glued in.

Kazza's hair

Kit got us all matching jewelry.

My jewellry

Chloe's mum did the flowers.

Flowers

I had time to go and photograph some of the setup.  This was where the ceremony was held.  Such a pretty spot.

Ceremony stage

Hazel did an amazing job with the flowers.

Hazel and her flowers

The tables had books and bottles and greenery and it all looked very rustic.

Table setup

Kit's mum prepared a stack of fruit, and there were some party pies and sausage rolls which became lunch.

Kit getting her hair decorated.

Kit's hair

Kit all ready.

Kit in her dress

Kit in her dress

Then it was off to the ceremony.  Being in the ceremony I didn't get any of my own photos.  Not that I would have been allowed anyway, they said "no photos" which would have made me PISSED at any other wedding.  I can understand not wanting people to take photos during the ceremony, but where's the harm in letting people take a few photos during the entrance and setup? #grunt.  

This is me and the sweetie afterwards.

Kaz and the sweetie

And I did get a few of my own other photos after the bridal party photos were done.

Wedding venue

Including one or two of Kit and Pete.

Kit and Pete

And a couple of the venue

Audrey

Lantern at the reception

Terara Park

There was pizza for dinner, and speeches and dancing, a pretty fun night.

Kit in her akubra

At the end of the night the wedding party stayed up a little longer just hanging out which was pretty nice.  Did make for a late night though.

Kit and Pete

Coast Weekend

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Three weekends ago we headed down the coast for Kit and Pete's wedding.  We left on the Thursday after lunch.  I was still sick and coughing and had been in bed all morning.  Hurrah.  

Driving down Smith's Gap we saw the fires over at Braidwood.

Braidwood fires

Braidwood fires

This was the last weekend we were to see blue skies this year.  As I write it's been three weeks since we saw properly blue sky (except maybe a day or two).

Pretty clouds

This C-130 water bomber (N134CG) had just left HMAS Albatross.  

BMBR134 C-130 over HMAS Albatross

We stayed at the Springs Shoalhaven, quite close to the wedding venue.  Pleasant enough place.  It had a pool although I didn't have a swim (Stu did).  Both those beds were *very* soft.  I took the single to give myself a bit of distance from the sweetie with my coughing.  

Our room at Springs Shoalhaven

We chilled out for a bit, then went next door to the Ex Serviceman's Club for dinner.  It had a lovely aspect, facing north over the golf course.  At the far northern end of the golf course was the venue for the wedding. 

View of the golf course from Shoalhaven Ex Servicemen's Club

Pasta I had for dinner

Dinner at Shoalhaven Exservicemen's Club

Stu looking out the window

Spent half the night coughing.  Of course.

Stu thought it might be nice to have room service breakfast on the Friday, so we ordered that the night before.  Unfortunately because I'd had so little sleep I really wasn't hungry when it turned up at the appointed time.  It was nice enough though and I would have enjoyed it on another day.  

Room service breakfast

I pretty much spent the morning in bed.  We were waiting for word from Kit to see if they needed our help transporting anything or setting anything up, but they were running late and a bit frazzled.  In the end the sweetie and I went into Nowra to get some supplies (I still wasn't very hungry) and stuff for the wedding.  Then we headed all the way down to the end of Greenwell Road to have a look at the water.  That was quite nice.

Crookhaven River at Greenwell Point

Stu at Greenwell Point

Pier at Greenwell Point

Crookhaven River at Greenwell Point

Pelican at Greenwell Point

Pelicans at Greenwell Point

Dropped the sweetie back to the motel, then met up with Chloe, Katie and Kit so we could all get our nails done.  I've never had my nails done professionally before.  

Kit and Katie getting their nails done

The result!

Chloe's, Katie's and my nails

Picked up the sweetie, then it was off to the rehearsal.  There were quite a lot of people there and it was a little bit chaotic, so took quite a while to get through.  

Dropped off the sweetie again, then to Kit and Pete's to load up the car with food.  Swung by the motel on the way back and got Stu to drop me at the venue with all the gear/food.  He'd had a rotten time at the Ex-Serviceman's club - it was super noisy and crowded and he had to wait *forever* for food and couldn't even go get another drink because otherwise he'd have lost his table.  Poor thing.  Then he headed back to the motel while I stayed at the venue.

At the venue four of us girls stayed in the "Bunk House", while Kit stayed by herself in her own room (at Chloe's recommendation to get a better night's sleep).  

Chloe got us some takeaway burgers for dinner (and very nicely got me a kids meal so it was a lot smaller ;) ).

Chloe and Audrey made up little bubble blowers.

Making up bubbles

And Katie and Kit made up decorations.

Making up decorations

I supervised ;)

I slept on my inflatable mattress.  Or rather, I *didn't* sleep on the mattress.  I was so stressed about my coughing/snoring keeping Katie awake, that I couldn't get to sleep til very very very late.  And then I woke up early.  I think I might have gotten about two hours sleep.  How to recover from a cold - get lots of rest.  Yeah right.  Vowed never to sleep in the same room as anyone else (aside from the sweetie) ever again in my life.

Anyways.  I'll leave the day of the wedding to the next post.

This magpie was hand raised by the owners of the venue, and hung around while we cleaned up.  Very cool.

Magpie helping

Stu and the magpie

After driving Pete's ute back to their place late morning, with everyone's cars full of *stuff* that we'd spent all morning packing up, we finally headed home.  

We couldn't even see Smith's Gap through all the smoke.

Smith's Gap

This was leftovers of a massive antipasto platter that we had at the wedding (I put it in the fridges overnight, everyone thought I was mad heh).  We didn't need to do any food shopping that week - we just ate this all week!

Leftover antipasto

Sunday afternoon watched the finale of The Amazing Race.  I quite enjoyed the season, although with a limited Australian budget they only went to two other continents (Africa and Asia).  After "the influencers" went, there wasn't really anyone I *didn't* want to win, except maybe the nurses, they came across as a bit dumb.  Good on the guys that won!

Monday was too busy to actually achieve anything much at work.  hrmm.  I did manage to get dinner/washing/kitchen done by 19:25 which was nice.

Tuesday wasn't much better at work - so busy I don't know where to start, and when I do start it's just interruption after interruption.  So much smoke around too!  And I totally ruined David's day by preempting Christmas shopping on him.  

Tuesday evening went to Chrissie's for dinner - some yummy fried chicken, skewers and fried rice.

Kid in a box!

Big brothers are great

Fried chicken at Chrissie's

Chicken feast

We started calling the smoke Five O'Clock Charlie because it keeps coming around in the evening.

Smoky evening

Tuesday night I couldn't get to sleep - stoopid restless legs.  Then work up really early.  Hurrah.  Got cranky at Italian Bite putting the price of their small place up from $7.90 to $9.50.  So went to Ali Baba, only to get cranky at them because they've downsized their kebabs - meaning if you ask for a small you get a small, but it's the price of their "original".  So $9.90 for a small.  Not. Happy. Jan.  They'll go out of business at that rate, with Yarralumla kebabs offering about four times the food for only $5 more.  

Blood sunrise

Why did the ducks cross the road?

Wednesday night I went to bed early, but another night of restless legs keeping me awake late.  Zombie day Thursday.  Finished BBT up to the end of season 4.  Had a wildly unhealthy lunch with the sweetie at Kimchi.

Kimchi fried chicken

Mount Ainslie is gone

Friday I woke up at 4:15 stressing about the party.  Then. Smoke.  So. Much. Smoke.  One guy thought we should cancel, but I already had all the meat.  We thought about doing it on prem, but the poo-pooers probably would have had a hissy fit, so we went ahead with the lake anyway.  Noone did any running around, we just chilled and ate and drank and had quite a lovely time, and there was even a slight breeze to make it all less unpleasant.  At one point there was just me and twenty-eight other boys ;)  Unfortunately there was a *lot* of extra food as there were less people and it was so damned hot.  I caught my duck again, although I didn't catch her wings so she was a bit more stressed and uncomfortable.  Then she pooped on my hand haha.

So much smoke

So much smoke

Trolley loads

Ute loads

Lake bbq

Gracie the duck

Came home and we watched Die Hard 2.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:00 stressing about the leftovers.  Because that's what I do.  Le sigh. 

Blood sunrise

Blood sunrise through the plum tree

Spent much of the day scanning mum's negatives and labelling Singapore photos.  David and I had some of the leftover sausages in the morning, and we didn't die of food poisoning, w00t. I might have made gingerbread cookies.

Gingerbread cookies

Went to the Green Shed in the afternoon and did a bit of shopping in Gungahlin.  Finished off last week's lamb for dinner, watched some BBT, then Carols in the Domain.  We haven't watched commercial television in literally months, and when we turned on the tv guess what, a commercial.  Le sigh.  I reckon there's more adverts and promotions and just *fluff* than actual singing.  Next year I might time it.  The Sydney one is always a bit lame.  No Ode to Joy or Hallelujah chorus, and only one or two hymns.  And I was surprised that they allowed candles during the total fire ban, but apparently they're allowed for "religious ceremonies" so long as there's suitable containment.

Carols by candlelight

Today was pretty much all just housework and getting the place tidied up for Christmas and having peoples over.  I did play through the "Rime" escape game which was pretty good.  Got stuck in a couple of places where I didn't even realise you could click on certain things.  The "ending" was a little odd, and got a bit complicated, probably wouldn't have been able to solve it without walkthroughs.

And there's a big white bird outside our window eating Kit's plums.

Cockatoo eating the plums

Cockatoo eating the plums

Didn't sleep well Sunday night - awake for hours with hurty and coughing.  But went to work as I'd already taken too much time off.  Slogged my way through the backlog of tickets.  Had leftover antipasto for dinner, haven't made a dent in it.  And so. much. smoke!  Got lots done on my own todo list.  Was hoping for an early night but didn't finish the "urgent" stuff til 21:30.

Tuesday continued doing All The Things.  The wind swung around in the evening and blew in all the smoke from Braidwood, so sky went from relatively clear to smothered in the space of a few minutes.  Was pretty scary.  Had more antipasto for dinner.  In the evening I was looking at storage units - I just wanted to see what the things cost these days.  But the couple I looked at sure don't make it easy.  Instead of a simple table saying how much each size is per month, no, you need to fill in all your details before they'll give you any information.  And then they want to call you.  And message you.  Over and over again!!!  Sheeesh.  For what I want it's prohibitively expensive, will just get some tubs and stack things in the garage.  

Thursday was drinks for Noah's birthday.

Birthday boy

Friday the sweetie went to the club for the night, so David and I watched The Hunt for Red October.

Saturday had a great day doing All The Things.  Got heaps done, but also relaxed and generally took my time.  Was a productive yet relaxing day.  I updated a couple of previous entries with photos if anybody could be bothered going back to look.  Watched Kit and Pete's ship leave Sydney on their honeymoon.

Kit and Pete's cruise

Watched Die Hard in the evening.

Today was pretty quiet.  Didn't get a whole done, which is a bit worrying because of how much is on the todo list.  But have been trying not to panic and take things easy this week, as I've been stressing myself out trying to do everything.  We did do some food shopping, lamb roast for dinner, then photos/blogging.

Praying mantis

Having a Ball

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This was back in October.  Whoops.  I did get some extra wear out of the fancy dress I bought for our last cruise.

Kaz and Stu ready for the ball

The venue was very pretty.

Work ball venue

Work ball venue

Work ball venue

Work ball venue

Work ball venue

Entrees were either "Sous vibe (their spelling) pork belly with carrot truffle puree, rocket salad and soya beans" or "Thai beef salad, mild marinated beef with vermicelli noodles, trio of capsicum, julienne carrots, fried shallots, bean sprouts and pine nuts".  I had the pork and it was delicious.

Work ball food

Work ball food

Mains were either "Braised lamb shank with soft polenta top and a mushroom ragout" or "Supreme chicken breast stuffed with spinach and ricotta fennel mash, brocolini and capsicum jus".  I had the lamb shank which was also very nice, but all that meat meant I was *very* full all night.  

Work ball food

Work ball food

Dessert was either "Lemon meringue tart with zesty lemon curd topped with pillows of soft meringue" or "Brulee infused with bailes and served with chocolate dust, cream and strawberries".  I had the lemon meringue tart, but struggled with it, and would have enjoyed it a lot more I hadn't been so full from dinner..

Work ball food

Work ball food

Then there was lots of dancing.  A fun night as always.

Work ball venue

For some reason these weren't quite as epically awesome as I thought they would be, but still pretty good.

Our ingredients - potato, bacon, cheese

Cheese and bacon hash browns

Grated, chopped, etc

Cheese and bacon hash browns

Mixed

Cheese and bacon hash browns

Fried

Cheese and bacon hash browns

Flipped

Cheese and bacon hash browns

Enjoyed!

Cheesy Hash Browns

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I'm sure I've posted something like this before.  But they're just too good.

This is the simple version - cheesy hash browns.

Simply grate a couple of potatoes, mix in a couple of handfuls of cheese (about as much cheese as potato volume-wise)

Cheesy hash browns

Fry on your favourite non-stick (very important) frying pan

Cheesy hash browns

Until golden

Cheesy hash browns

Enjoy!

North Atlantic 2018

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One year ago today the sweetie and I headed back to the Northern Hemisphere to do another trip on the Queen Mary 2.  We spent a couple of days in Tokyo first, then a day and a half in Southampton.  Did a mid winter transatlantic crossing, followed by a week and a half over Christmas and New Years cruising to the Caribbean and back from New York.  Five days in New York, then took the longest commercial flight to Singapore.  Had a day there before coming home.

It took me eleven months to download, process, geotag, label, cull and blog all the photos.

But it's all finally done.

You can see the entire blog here:

http://kazza.id.au/north_atlantic_2018/

Yippee Ki Yay

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Yeah so Sunday night had a great night sleep but woke up with a sore throat Monday morning.  By Monday evening I knew I was getting sick.  Didn't sleep well - in fact was in bed for four or five hours before getting any actual sleep.  So Tuesday spent most of the day in bed.  Watched a documentary on Die Hard (from "The Movies that Made Us").  

Slept quite well Tuesday night so worked from home Wednesday.  But OMFG the STOOPID!!  Just dealing with people who don't understand basic networking, or in fact how their own applications work.  So frustrating.  Even the brother type person got cranky at me and I just wanted to rage quit the whole day.

Got the sweetie to trim my hair.  Asked for two inches, got six.  oops.

Hair before

Hair after

Wednesday night I was awake for hours coughing and so zombie tired Thursday morning, so gave up on that day as well.  Spent all morning in bed, then we got ready and headed down the coast for a long weekend for Kit and Pete's wedding.

Back home Sunday night.  Still sick.  Still coughing.

Back at work today.  Still sick.  Still coughing.

My todo list is out of control.  The house is out of control.  

Stop the world, I want to get off.

Monday night was washing, dinner, tv, kitchen and suddenly it's 19:43.  Sigh.  Did do some holiday photo processing and blogging though.

Tuesday was dinner, BBT, kitchen but only 19:00 - better.  Patched and rebooted the computer.  Half an hour later.

Taco Tuesday

Wednesday.  Sucky day.  Realised I'd broken stuff and had to fix it.  Realised other people had broken stuff and I'm *still* waiting for them to fix it.  Had leftover lamb for dinner and inflicted our last holiday slide show on David.  

Thursday we went to Bharat International, an Indian grocery store that has a restaurant attached.  I had goat curry which was ok, but a tad spicy for me and very bony.

Bharat International goat curry

A guy at work had this tshirt which was pretty cool.

Never Forget

Didn't you know it's *never* lupus? ;) #bbt #housemd

It's never lupus

Friday was the first of the work Christmas parties.  Quite a lovely afternoon.  Didn't go bowling because it was too hot and sunny. 

Had a drink with Kit in the evening which was really nice, before she headed off to the pub with Katie.  Watched The World is Not Enough.

Saturday got bits and pieces done in the morning while Stu went off to the club and Kit slept in. 

In the afternoon was the first of Kit's hen's events - Laser Tag!!  Except there was only ten of us, so they put us with fifteen little 10-11 year old girls.  It was chaos.  Fricken Little Girls everywhere.  And they'd hang around in little packs or pairs.  The worst thing was some of the expressions on their faces - they looked like psycopaths or something - no emotion whatsoever, they would literally just stare at you and expect you to move on.  I'd have been a lot happier if they'd actually looked like they were having fun.  Still, our team of five (Kit, the bridesmaids and Leisa) won both games.  I came fourth in the first game and second in the second, and Kit won the second which was pretty cool.  

Hens laser tag

Hens laser tag game 1

Hens laser tag game 2

Came back to my place so we could get changed and get ready then headed out again.

Hens bride and bridesmaids

This time to the George Harcourt.  Those guys *seriously* do not want business.  Well not if you want to book anyway.  During the week I tried about five times to get through to the function number - 0423 257 978 - but they just wouldn't answer the phone.  I left a message once which they did *not* return, even though I explicitly asked them to to make sure they'd received my message (because last time I left a message a couple of months back when I was trying to make the original booking, they never returned my call).  I tried one last time to call the function number before calling the pub directly, but they answered this time.  I asked them to please change the numbers from 15 to 18.  I bet you can guess what happened.. yep, they never ammended my booking.  Not impressed.  Fortunately it all worked out and we all fit in.  (I won't even get started on the fact they don't do "doubles", even in a high glass, yet they will happily sell me two at once, or apparently you can get it on the rocks - so you could mix it yourself.  Makes no sense at all).  

But anyhoo.

Bride and mother of the bride

Had a pretty good night there and Chloe and Katie had a couple of party games which were a bit of fun.  Chloe and Kit and I split two dishes (arancini balls) between the three of us, which was a much more sensible quantity of food.

At midnight Chloe drove Kit, Katie and me to Moby's.  Had a couple of drinks there (these guys don't take cards at all, all a little dodgy).  I was trying to hold out for Kit but I just couldn't keep up with the youngsters so called it a lot earlier than them.  

Sunday I woke up pretty much at normal time, because that's what my body does.  Had a bit of breakfast (loving our toasted sandwich maker) then attempted to get more sleep.  Failed, because that's what my body does.  Still, I rested for a few hours, so wasn't as tired in the afternoon as I would have been.  Made toasted cheese sandwiches for Kit and Chloe before they went home.

Around lunch time I logged on to do a cutover of mail to our new environment.  Except we had a really really bizarre issue that I just couldn't figure out.  So rolled back the change.  Didn't figure out what the problem was until today.  Stoopid dependencies.  So what should have been a ten minute job had me online for 2.5 hours :(  #grunt.  Watched some Amazing Race in the afternoon, and BBT and Good Place with the sweetie in the evening.

Today I woke up with sore throat but felt mostly ok.  Busy day as always.  But the sore throat wouldn't go away and by evening I was definitely starting to feel sick.  Fricken great.  I don't have TIME to get sick - I'm too freakin busy both at home and at work to get sick.  Had dinner with the sweetie at Happy's, then did a small food shop.  And instead of me doing All The Things that I need to do, I'm going to go to bed as soon as I've hung out my washing.  I certainly don't have the energy to fight with Apple to get my photos, so I'll update this entry with photos later.  

Sweet and sour duck at Happy's

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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