Wednesday, March 31, 2004

First round of the footy tipping, and I got five. Pretty much guarantees that I’m not going to win. Although with the prize in Tony’s comp, I’d prefer not to :0)

I spent much of Saturday trudging between the myriad of hiking/outdoor adventure shops in Flinders lane, trying to find the perfect travelling in South America coat, while the sales were on. This has brought me the conclusion that it is almost impossible to find travel clothes that aren’t, well, dorky. This is fine for most of the trip, I don’t think the Inca trail requires much more, but we spend the last few days in Buenos Aries, the Paris of the south. Obviously I’ll have to spend the first day shopping. My shoes are the biggest dilemma; at this point I don’t see how I can go without taking at least five pairs. Ridiculous I know. I am now working on leaving my shoe fetish behind. Of course this is easier said than done. The problem is that we are visiting many different climates, including the Galapagos Islands, the Andes, and big cities, so all manner of footwear is required. Oh I don’t know what to do. Maybe I’ll just take shoes and forget clothes.

In other news I am a bit sad because my sister in law and her family (and my two beautiful little nephews) moved to Queensland today. I have been trying not to think about it, just pretending that they are on holiday. This will get harder as time goes on, but for now will keep me from bawling. At least it gives us somewhere to visit, and we of course still have the phone, but there is nothing like the adoring hug of a four year old. My nephew solemnly told Mr R he had to give me lots of hugs when he was gone because I would be missing them. I’m sure he can manage that.

It did occur to me after that last post that you might have got the wrong idea with the sexy gimp outfit comment, so consider that retracted. My point was that he’d pick anything leather over crystal! Ahem, I’m thinking I’ll now get heaps of bizarre google hits now this blog contains the word gimp. You should have seen the stats after I said poffertjes!


Friday, March 26, 2004

In a couple of weeks it is my three year wedding anniversary. Yeah, who woulda thunk that Mr R wouldn’t get sick of me by now?

So I have been looking around for some good ideas for anniversary presents, and off I went to look at the traditional gift list , yunno, for some inspiration. So go on, have a guess what the third anniversary traditional gift is? (If you have already checked out that link then your guess doesn’t count).

Give up? It’s leather. The modern gift however, is crystal, and if it comes down do a sexy gimp outfit and a crystal decanter, I know which one Mr R would pick every time.

So this has got me wondering just who decides this stuff. Particularly when they made the change from Traditional to Modern gifts. Is there a committee of gift givers that votes? Did someone say “Golly gosh, I really think the seventh anniversary traditional gift of wool or copper is getting a bit behind the times! Lets update it, I know, lets go for wood!”. And desk sets? Who the hell has a desk set? Some changes are good (like changing from tin to diamond jewellery), and I guess ‘appliances’ is practical for the fourth anniversary or that may be overstating the life of appliances given to you for your wedding!

So looking at the supposedly modern list, I think it’s time for a new modern list. Something that includes improvements to technology over the last, say 50 years. An ipod would be good. Digital camera. DVDs. Cars. Weekend of relaxing spa treatments. Overseas holiday.

Actually, when you think about it, this is a marketing person’s dream! Just invent a new must have wedding anniversary gist list, all modernised and jazzed up, and fill it chock full of whatever products you are trying to sell. Maybe that’s what happened in the first modernisation, a warehouse full of desk sets.


Thursday, March 25, 2004

Last night was The Comedy Festival Gala. As you can imagine, it was a veritable b-grade celebrity spotting fest, particularly as it was sponsored by Ch 10. So we started a little competition, where you got a dollar for every celebrity spotted. Nothing like a dollar to motivate.

So anyways, most of the conversations then went something like:

Me: Look, there, that guy in the pink shirt, he does the sport or something on Ch 10.

Friend: Which one? Nah, he’s a nobody. What does he do? I’ve never seen him before

Me: Look closer, it is so the guy that does something that I cant remember what it is. I know, I think it’s the weather. You have no idea when it comes to celebrity spotting. I’m not going to play anymore if you just shoot me down.

Friend: (looks again) Oh yeah maybe the weather. (turns to her husband) Is that the weather guy from Channel 10?

Him: Yeah, Mike Larkin. Sarah wins.

Friend: Hmmph.

Me: And looks where he is sitting, (about 5 rows from the back) he must be pissed off about that.

2 minutes later

Friend: There’s Rove and Belinda, two dollars for me.

Me: No way is that two dollars, they are joined at the hip, that only counts as one. And they are so little that they only make up one person anyway. I’ll grant you one dollar.

Friend : Tough crowd.

2 minutes later

Me: There’s Brian Nankervis.

Friend: Who?

Me: You know, Raymond J Bartholemew! Let the Blood run free! I swear you do not know enough b-grade celebrities to play this game with. I’m gonna have to find a new friend.

Her husband: Sarah’s right. Might have to find a new wife too.


Me: Oh, that’s the other guy from Rove. What’s his name? Peter someone. Hill? Hell? Whatever – I get another dollar.

Her: If you don’t know their name it doesn’t count. It’s Hillier, so I get the dollar.

Me – sulks


Me: I was sure there’d be some Neighbours starlet here! Where the hell is Steph. Or Bouncer.

Friend: I’m sorry to break this to you, but I think Bouncer might be dead.

And then

Mr R: (comes back from important beer buying expedition in foyer) I saw Rove and that girl who had cancer. I get two dollars.

Me: You’re a bit late honey.

So we had a good night. I had to hold hands with the sweaty guy next to me (the one that wasn’t my husband) in the crowd warm up bit, as we pulsed the love through the room through a series of hand squeezes (don’t ask). Perhaps that is a common TV crowd warming up technique? Actually, he was a great seat mate for a comedy night, cause he laughed very hard and loud so nobody noticed my silly laugh.

It was a funny night, you always feel good after a nice hearty laugh. I thoroughly recommend fitting in a show over the next few weeks if you can.


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

So it turns out that I was having breakfast in the same place that a fellow blogger was getting coffee and we didn’t know. My close encounter with Rae on the weekend has made me think about all those movies that have that same concept, with situations where the people either just miss each other, like Serendipity (I know its mushy, but John is cool), or An Affair to Remember or alternatively meet but don’t know who is who, ala You’ve got Mail.

I wonder how often this happens? It’s not like you would actually find out that often, so it possibly happens all the time. Maybe you shared a see-saw with your husband as kids in a playground. Maybe you sat next to your future boss on a tram. Maybe you once kissed your workmates’ husband at a blue light disco. I have now found myself looking at people differently in chance encounters, because they might actually be part of your life, or one day will be part of your life, and you don’t even know it. It’s a good reason to be nice to people really, smile at that stranger walking past, they might be me.

Today on the train into work I saw a girl who attends my old school. It was all I could do to stop myself from blurting out this fact, seeing the uniform really stirred up old nostalgic memories.

Which reminded me of one day when in school uniform I was accosted by a deranged woman on the train who squealed with delight when she saw my uniform

“Oh wow, I used to go to your school! I loved that school, it was the best time of my life. You really must be just having the best time of your life. Oh I am so jealous, Oh I’d love to be back at school, Oh you are so lucky!”

Really, she nearly knocked me off my seat with her enthusiasm. At the time I thought she was a raving lunatic, particularly when we got to Flinders St Station and she still wouldn’t leave me alone and was asking after teachers and the principal and followed me half way down St Kilda Rd wheeling an old bike that she kept slamming into my leg in her deluded raving monologue. She almost hugged me when she finally let me get away, and told me that she couldn’t wait to have a daughter to send to the school. I was just thinking that I hoped the school wouldn’t make me as demented as she was.

So after my encounter today I can kind of see where she was coming from. I wanted to grab that girl, with the bored look on her face, staring out of the train window, and tell her to appreciate what she has. How great it really is to be at school, that I was jealous. But she wouldn’t have believed me, just like I didn’t believe my crazy mentor, and I don’t think I’m old enough to be the crazy lady yet.


Monday, March 22, 2004

Yesterday I went on the Great Melbourne Bike ride. Consequently today I am having trouble sitting – my ass is just a little sore! The ride was great, particularly the part over the West Gate bridge, although we got told off by a policeman for stopping at the top to take photos. We took it pretty easy, opting for the shorter route (only 30km) and spent over an hour for a leisurely breakfast at a nice little Yarraville café.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning really, if only my ass would agree.


Friday, March 19, 2004

Once my house got to an almost renovated state (it is far from finished, and I think that most probably it will always be that way!), and I had my shiny new kitchen, I was at a complete loss for what to cook. I would look at the kitchen ,and ingredients in the fridge and huge walk in pantry and declare that we had nothing to eat. All those months of toasted sandwiches and Thai takeaway as we lived with no kitchen, left me with no imagination.

Normally, I love cooking. Sorry to say that I am one of those annoying people that can improvise with ingredients at hand and no recipe, and usually come up with something reasonably edible. People ask me for a recipe for something I’ve made and I’ll say things like, take a handful of something green that goes with eggs, and then add a bit of paprika. And yet here I was, with my new oven and mountains of bench space and I was just so, uninspired. I think I was scared to cook again, particularly because (as I think I may have mentioned here) I was definitely scared of my new oven. It was downright depressing.

But I am more than happy to report that I think the tide has turned. Last night I managed a roast pumpkin and fetta risotto, when I thought I had nothing, and on the weekend we did a Sunday lunch for about 20 of Mr R’s family. Phew. Thought I’d be eating toasted cheese sandwiches forever!


Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I have been meaning to put some sort of a disclaimer on this site, in case anybody who knows me should stumble across it. This isn’t a secret site or anything, I don’t write anything that I am ashamed of, or write things about people that I wouldn’t say to their face, but most of my real life friends don’t really know about the site as I don’t want to force it upon anyone. And I prefer to tell my friends what is going on or what I think about something in person, with wine. Wine is always good.

It did however occur to me that it is possible that someone may find this site and then link it with me and then maybe get upset if I don’t mention things here. Or for that matter, if I do mention things here. For example, I may have talked about one of my friends having a baby, but not another, so I just want to be clear that this no way implies that I care more about the friend I did mention.
Me writing / not writing about things here in no way reflects the importance of events to me personally. I mean I could write a whole entry about being on hold to a phone company, and only one sentence about my new nephew being born, so you can see there is no correlation between the amount that I write and how much I care.

Thinking about this, it does make me wonder what it is about some events that makes me update, when other larger, more significant and probably more interesting things have actually happened to me. I can’t come up with an answer for that, often my updates are a function of when I get 10 minutes spare and the thing that is upmost in my mind at the time. Or the thing that’s bugging me. Or the thing that I found funny, or weird, or exasperating.

So, all I ask is that if you do come here and think you know me, let me know you are reading, leave a comment, send me an email. And then I’ll have some advance warning not to bag you!


Thursday, March 11, 2004

Sometimes, I wish I was Greek. Or Italian. Spanish would be nice. French maybe, Dutch is a possibility, or Japanese would be fun. Really, what I wish that I had some sort of heritage that meant I could speak more than one language.

This is a problem with growing up in Australia, unless you have parents from a background where they speak another language, it is very hard to pick one up, particularly due to our geographical isolation. I mean, I have tried to learn other languages. At primary school I did Italian. At secondary school, German and French. Which is handy only if people ask me very specific questions like “Please count to ten” or “That is a very nice red jumper you are wearing, where did you buy it?” You can imagine how often that phrase came up when I travelled in France and Germany, given that I didn’t even take a red jumper in my backpack.

Europeans are generally fantastic at speaking at least two languages, and quite often more. During our Europe travels we met some girls from Holland. They spoke perfect English, Dutch of course, Italian, French and German. And they were studying in the Czech Republic. My point is that when you can jump on a train and a couple of hours later be in a different country with a completely different culture and language, then this is a big help in your learning. North Americans have their proximity to South America for Spanish and Portuguese. Canadians have the wonderful French provinces to help them along.

And in Australia we have New Zealand. No offence to New Zealanders, I’m sure they feel the same way about Australia. Actually when we went to New Zealand to visit my little sis who is living over there, I was surprised at how many words they used, and food they ate, that I had never heard before. For example, judder bar. U-burger. Chilly bin. Kumara. Feijoas. I spent my whole time in New Zealand feeling like I was in the twilight zone, everything was familiar and similar to Australia, and yet there were just the occasional differences that completely threw me.

So I guess that trip helped me learn to speak New Zealand, heh. But it hasn’t helped me in any other language. All this brings me to the point of this, which is that in an effort to improve the chances of being understood whilst travelling in South America, we are doing a Spanish language course. This time I can’t use the excuse of not practicing the language, as the six week course ends two days before we leave. I figure that if I can say enough to order two beers (actually I already have that down pat, that’s all I could say when we went to Spain) and find somewhere to sleep then I’ll be alright. But gee it would be nice to know more.


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

You know when you are on the phone on hold to, for example, a large telecommunications company, and their annoying hold music is giving you a headache already after only 12 minutes? I’m sure you can all relate this pain as it happens to me right now – but the worst bit about this waiting, waiting, waiting is that every minute or so the music stops and you think – Ah! And get ready to tell the person what you want, and then you realise that it is just the recorded message thanking you for waiting, your call is important to us, and there is really no-one there at all.

After getting sucked in to that the first five times, I have finally learnt my lesson and now I am up to the THIRTEENTH thankyou for waiting, it’s just as well I did, because you can only feel silly so many times in thirteen minutes before you really think about just hanging up. But then that’s thirteen – oh no, now lets make that 14 minutes of my life that I’m never going to get back, and I don’t want to waste another 14 by ringing back another time.

Can I also say that this enlightening phone call has clued me on to the fact that whilst I thought that the 30 second commercial for this particular company (say the word…) was annoying enough, the super re-mix extended 2 minute version is even worse. It sounds like it is trying to be something from the lion king.

15 minutes. Geez. I don’t actually remember the last time I spent this long on hold. Do people do this all the time? Oooh, I’m through. I wonder what people who don’t have a blog do whilst they are waiting?


Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Some of my friends and I have a bit of a tradition now, where once every Summer on the first Saturday of a month, we head to Red Hill for the market. This is really all about the food, which is as good a motivator to get out of bed at 6am on a Saturday as any. The only way to do Red Hill is to get there early (before 8am) and start with an egg and bacon roll from the top tent. Enjoy munching on the greasy goodness until it is time for something sweet and then work your way through a plate of Dutch poffertjes . Ahh, I’d walk over hot coals for those little pancake things of goodness. When I was in Holland and couldn’t get those I was most disappointed, they are probably not even eaten by the Dutch, but are the product of a marketing managers imagination.

Mr R sensibly stays away from this adventure, but was happy to partake in the rest of the weekend that was spent demolishing my other purchases – tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, apples, pate, jam, red hill soft goats cheese, nougat, saganaki, sourdough and sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce. That’s a lot of eating - thank goodness for long weekends.

Other random things that I can’t be bothered to turn into real entries:

I was amused to note that some poor sole found their way to this site by searching for “how to win tatslotto”. My only advice is to buy a ticket, I don’t think there is much else you can do. But if you do come up with the answer then be sure to let me know as obviously I am still working on that.

I saw a DVD on the weekend, Intolerable Cruelty. Without a doubt this is one of the most ridiculously named movies that I have ever seen. What is really a fluffy-not very believable- twist you saw coming miles away-romantic comedy, has a title that makes it sound like a gang warfare-serial killer-terrorist movie. I like to think the title of a movie should give you some idea of what to expect – and that one failed miserably. As did the movie by the way, even George couldn’t save that one.

I was excited to get the Comedy Festival program in the Age on the weekend – now for what to see. I’m loving the idea of the guy who has tracked down Veruca Salt, from one of my favourite movies (all about chocolate – who couldn’t love it?). And a friend has organised tickets to the Gala – all for a good cause.


Thursday, March 04, 2004

My father retires next week, after over 30 years of teaching. In true style, he has managed to use up some of the twenty years or so of his unused sick leave this week, by chopping off a couple of fingers with a power saw. Extreme, I agree.

This rather dramatic turn of events involved much blood, and a trip in the ambulance, and he is now set up in the plastic surgery ward of a public hospital, one fingertip re-attached, the other lost forever in my uncles’ backyard. He’s feeling a bit silly really, and due to risk of infection he has to stay in hospital for 6 days.

My most recent visit to a hospital was to visit a friend of mine who had a beautiful new baby, in one of Melbourne’s hotel-hospitals in the Eastern suburbs. Her room was so much like a hotel that anything that even slightly looked like a piece of medical equipment was rather out of place. I’m thinking that a plastic surgery ward at her hospital would involve nose bandages on privileged socialites, glass of Chardy in one hand, mobile phone in the other. In stark contrast, you should see the motley crew my lucky Dad gets to share with.

For example, in Bed number one we have the groaning man, who has some sort of leg injury. Every now and then he shifts his position on the bed and lets out an almighty groan. The first few times I looked over in terror, and expected a nurse to come running and shouting important commands like on “ER”.
“10 milligrams of nidocane, stand clear, we may have to intubate!”
But nobody even blinked. Not sure what you would have to do to actually get noticed.

So the moral of the story is to play carefully with power tools, and learn to groan really really really loudly to get attention in an understaffed public hospital. And get well soon Dad!


Monday, March 01, 2004

I have finally made an attempt to get organised with my life and made an appointment to see a tax accountant tomorrow, to do last years’ tax return. I had been a bit ashamed of this fact, so I had been keeping very quiet in admitting that I was so far past the end of October deadline. I mean, I am the original do-gooder, I cried when I got a speeding fine for goodness sake, I might have got fined or something. A criminal record. A jail term.

But then I was chatting to a friend on the weekend and I find out he hasn’t does his return for FOUR years. Then I started to ask other people, and it turns out most people I know are at least a year behind. My first clue to this terrible scenario should have come when I made the appointment and the receptionist asked my how many years of returns I needed to make.

So now that I have clued on to this undercurrent batch of society, where normal everyday respectable citizens are so behind in their tax that they cant even remember where they were working four years ago, I think its time for some tax reform.

Sure, it would be nice to not have to pay tax at all, but realistically society has to function somehow. I’d like to think that if I were down on my luck the government would help me out for while, so I don’t think abolishing tax altogether is going to work.

So to get all of those normally law abiding citizens to get their tax returns in, or at least make it a bit more fun and not akin to torture, I bring you, shoot the tax man – the game. Tax returns should be done online via a shoot em up computer game. I can just imagine harassed looking tax workers running through a rabbit warren of offices in fear of deranged citizens. Australians are all competitive, and the people with the highest score should win prizes of tax concessions.

I do see that this is a violent suggestion, and I am not normally in favour of anything like that, so I also suggest a return in a SIMS like environment, where you can send your virtual self off to a virtual tax agent and maybe have a virtual love affair on the way. Anything really to brighten up what has to be one of life’s worst tasks. Wish me luck.


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