Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ode to Jessica.

She is the sort of friend I can off-load all the partially-eaten junk food I bought in a moment of anxiety-filled weakness. I'm talking 3/4 tub of Cookies & Cream ice-cream, 1/2 bar of chocolate, 2/3 packet of Tim Tams, raisins...you get the picture :) However, the Oreos have never made it to her...

Washing powder

I have double standards when it comes to washing powders. For my clothes, towels and sheets, I use the best fragrance-free washing powder for sensitive skin (if I'm being cheap, then the next best option). When it comes to bathmats, handtowels and teatowels, I just get the cheap, but branded, stuff.

My rationale is that clothing, towels and sheets are more likely to affect my skin than bathmats, handtowels and teatowels, which I only touch for a fraction of the time compared with the first lot.

Who knows if it really makes a difference in the end.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ode to Elsie.

She is the sort of friend I can send this sort of email. Subject line only.

afternoon need lollies

She is like my own private twitter service, and she understands. Even when she hasn't read it yet I feel like she understands.

Friday, May 27, 2011

French phase.

I've enjoyed a few random french songs that have been on movie soundtracks, and in wandering through itunes I found French Songs - 50 Best Tunes Ever for $15.49, and I'm playing it to death. They're old, mellow, piano-filled, quirky. One advantage is I don't know french, so I don't get distracted by the words, so it's ideal background music for me. Another advantage, which I recommend universally, is that EVERYTHING feels more glamourous with old french music. Washing up—glamourous. Putting boots on—glamourous. Cooking pumpkin soup—glamourous.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Teabag technology.

Did you know that you shouldn't squeeze teabags?

I did not know that. I have been enjoying the Dilmah Exceptional teas, Arabian Mint with Honey Tea is really nice, the leaves are big like fish flakes not fine like dust. That is a sign of quality, because teabags were originally invented to use up all the poor quality dust left over from the proper loose leaf tea. And they come in those fancy silk pyramids. I wrote in because I broke a few strings when squeezing them.

I have a personal email from Dilmah customer care informing me:
Please note that teabags are not for squeezing, when squeezing the teabag it can bruise the tea leaves, leaving a bitter taste in your cup of tea.

She offered to carry out a further investigation if I send in the teabags, but I'm happy to take her expert word and restrain myself from bruising the tea leaves so cruelly.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Something like this:


It has 5 bedrooms, so $715,000 divided by 5 is 5 manageable mortgages... do 4 people want to move to Maitland with me? Please please please... It only has 2 bathrooms, but it has EVERYTHING else.

12 Adam Street, Maitland, NSW 2320

I am a very proud sister.

So one sister is blogging, and the other sister is eat-streeting! I received a postcard from a restaurant in Perth, marking the occasion of the inaugural Perth Eat Street. The report on the back of the card said "reasonably nice italian place, with good ravioli and a nice chicken, avocado and aioli pizza. But there was a hair in the ravioli! Also it was expensive for an Eat Street but I don't know where the cheap food is in Perth. It's very challenging." Brings tears of joy to my eyes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Walking therapy.

I know I have raved about walking before, but it's just so great I have to keep plugging it.

When I walk, I'm cut off from screens and people and things to do. This means that not only do I process my thoughts (have imaginary conversations, worry about things, appreciate the weather, think of jelssie posts) but I get to process my emotional state as well. Walking home from work is the time when I realise I'm relaxed, or randomly happy, or I'm depressed, or lonely, or stressed. Everything bubbles up, and if I'm happy, I get a moment to wallow and be thankful, and if I'm sad, I'm less likely to just rush on with my life and not notice.

Practically, I wish I didn't have to walk home tonight, because I am underdressed, lulled into a false sense of warmth this morning by a few warm days and my post-jog glow. It's cold and wet out there.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Aussie Aussie Aussie

I nearly cracked up when my Chinese Chinese (i.e. from China) friend emailed me this:

Need your help

"Select stories of two convicts (one male and one female) who came to colonial Australia and demonstrate how each were able to turn their lives around and become founding members of modern Australia."

I think u must have learned about Australian history, could u plz give me the names of the people required by this question ? u don't have to give me their stories, only names will be enough. i would really appreciate that.

I hope I'm not outing myself here, but I think it's universally acknowledged that Australian-born Aussies are deficient in their knowledge of Australian history. My first reaction to the email was, "Poor fella, he thinks I must know stuff cos I was born and educated here!". Sadly, I could NOT think of a convict done good. I could think of non-convicts done good e.g. Macquarie, Governor Arthur Phillip, the people on our currency and other people who've had suburbs named after them.

So tell me fellow Aussie, how is your knowledge of Australian history? Can you think of any convicts done good without resorting to google? I couldn't :P


My sister Julia is blogging! I encouraged her to, because she wrote me lots of rather good emails and she has a lot of time on her hands. If you want to read her news (you may have met her, or you may just wonder what it's like moving to a small town on the NSW/QLD border to nanny on a potato/cattle farm for a year… she's living the dream,) go and read it. And be nice to her, she's taking her first baby steps into the world of blogging and is shy. And encourage her to take photos of cows—that's what I really want.

Good music hour

Listen to 2MBS FM between 12 and 1pm. Then switch to 702 AM for James Valentine between 1 and 3pm for good talking.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Musical lunchtime interlude.

Anna reported a piano in the lane behind the op shop. It being a beautiful day, Elsie and I were out for lunch so we stopped off to shoot a music video. It's 40 meg and not that special, the Chopin video didn't work so this is the Missy Higgins video if you like. If my uploading doesn't work, Elsie is a pretty good photographer!

Pianos on the open street are awesome.

Morning Tea.

The Ginger Snap biscuit is perfectly designed to dunk in tea. It is incredibly hard to bite when dry, but when dipped in you cuppa it is strong enough to retain it's chewiness and stability.

In related morning tea news, I do not like my new box of Twinings Chai. Scarbrough Fair has a much nicer taste, and the tag just fell off my Twinings tea bag when I was squeezing it on the spoon.

Finally, Coles has Capilano honey squeezers for half price this week. Honey is much nicer than sugar in most teas, especially chai and peppermint.

Ayam Goreng 99

T'was yummy. Lamb and chicken satay skewers. Green vegies of some sort. Ong choy I think?

Deep-fried chicken, grilled chicken. Breast was dry. Go thigh. Otherwise delicious. Beef rendang. Avocado drink.

Noodles & soup.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

KESC 29: Shalom

Next in line is Shalom, another halal indo student-level place. It's got red signage. 6.30 on the 27th May.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Underrated: old information technology

Old technology doesn't get as much hype as the new ones. People are suspicious of the new, so it needs to be discussed, whereas the old is understood and taken for granted, but the lack of discussion of old technology makes it sound redundant compared to the twitters.

Here are my 3 favourite old information technologies.

1. Radio. I have a digital radio at work, and a bedside clock. I would like 2 bedside clocks, so I can fall asleep with one station and wake up with another. I would like a digital radio at home, too, but they are too expensive. But I listen to a lot more radio than TV, it's how I structure my whole day actually, and it's where I get my news. The only reason I watch the ABC news is for Alan Kohler and his charts. Nothing has replaced radio.

2. Library. I'm not sure why they aren't redundant since the internet, but I go at least once a week, for fiction books, Miss Marple dvds and non-fiction books (recently crochet and european history). I guess on the internet I could browse and hire from a bigger range more conveniently at a reasonably low price, but the library still works for me.

3. The movies. I happily outsource the home theatre system. I like the formality of the session times, the red seating, the automatic lighting. It's the only place to eat pop-corn, although I don't like pop-corn I still think it's a valuable ritual.

I don't have the web at home, and I could live without TV (if I could still watch DVDs of my favourite two shows), and I could be happy without social media, but I would be rudderless without radio...

Salt-free salt

My McCormick's Szechuan Pepper Salt does not contain any salt in its ingredient listing.

Has anyone noticed those 7-11 Slurpee ads at the bus stop? Some have a picture of a pear and lime (implying the slurpee flavour), then in smaller writing at the bottom, there are words to the effect that the actual product does not contain any pear or lime.

As we say in accounting, substance over form i.e. what it actually is over what it proports to be.

And the Szechuan Pepper Salt is very tasty.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to buy a banana.

In these days of hardship and banana famine, the bendy fruit is a special treat. My frugality normally makes me stop buying things when I don't like the price, but I have bought 3 bananas since they went past $10/kg. I reason that they are one of the few fruits I can easily eat with braces, so I deserve to have one sometimes.

I have paid between $1.60 and $2.60 for a single banana. The trick, I've realised now, is to get a sense of the thickness of the skin. A fibrous, thick-skinned banana is poor value, because you are paying for the weight of the skin. Also, consider the length of the stalk. It is only a minute difference, but it all ads up. But definitely choose a banana that feels thin-skinned.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Tune out now if clothes are boring.

I have a skirt which is a good half dozen years old now; it's brown patterned and in that scrunchy peasant style which was all the fashion back then. I've not got rid of it, because it's a nice skirt, but I haven't worn it much for a couple of years after an incident in which it betrayed my trust.

But it has suddenly because a centrepiece in my wardrobe, worn over leggings and my Aragorn boots for warmth. I can wear any sort of cardigan or coat or scarf, and I look arty. And the beauty of the bohemian style is that the less things match, the better they go together. I can wear the brown skirt with orange, red and bright teal at the same time, all sorts of cheerful colours I normally only wear in small helpings. The joy of randomly putting things on and still having a cohesive "look"! It is perfect for Autumn as well, because of the light layering thing. The only problems I have is that a) I lack pockets and b) I'm dreading putting proper waistbands back on. The longer you wear loose floaty clothes the more torturous a pair of jeans is.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Garbage Ibis.

My teenage friends who now live in Namibia have been back in Aus, and I took a half day off to entertain them while their parents had meetings at CMS office. After lunch we walked to the ferries and caught one to Manly, hanging over the front of the boat we saw a dolphin, at Manly we had a hot chocolate before rushing back for the return ferry. Ferrys are so much fun.

I learnt many things about Namibia, such as they have not much Chinese food, and mostly all the restaurants do steak. They have mint flavoured toothpicks: I reckon there should be flavoured paddle pop sticks inside icecreams so you can lick the ice-cream up without tasting wood. And they pointed at an ibis, which they hadn't seen. I filled them in on how disgusting they are.

But I did have an interesting thought on garbage ibises. If Sydney suffered a severe depression or apocalypse type event, and food was scarce, we could eat ibises. They look about the same size as a chicken, but on taller drumsticks, and although they do fly they are currently pretty bold and slow, so they could be caught and eaten more easily than seagulls and pigeons.

File that away and hope you never have to use it. (Note: Ibises are apparently a protected species.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bible: reading/thinking.

You know how you're a bad Christian if your mind wanders off while you are reading the Bible or praying?

I have had an epiphany: This rule must be a construct of our time-poor, outcome-driven society, and I refuse to be guilty any longer!!!

I realised this because I'm now sometimes dipping into the Bible at breakfast and lunch. I normally don't do this because my "quiet time" is mostly done reading out loud, to aid my concentration and comprehension, which you can't do with food in your mouth. What I'm liking about the meal-time dip is that I read a bit, and then my mind wanders, and I don't instantly rouse on myself and try and pull it back to finish the passage. I think it's good to think about random things that reading the bible has stirred up in your mind. It's not a waste of time to follow some trail of pondering on a relationship or life issue or some biblical or doctrinal tangent you don't understand or an imaginary conversation or a memory.

Be liberated from attention-span guilt! The yoke is easy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cold, but not yet winter

Signs it's cold
- the uggs, doona and scarf are out
- it's harder to get out of the shower in the mornings
- switching from running shorts to 3/4 leggings, and sleeveless to short-sleeves when exercising
- making soup for dinner

Signs it's not yet winter
- heater, beanie and electric blanket are not yet out!

Things that are not actually useful #2: Toblerones. They are impossibly hard to bite. And they taste a bit weird. *Blogger not letting me post body text today. But quite I like the look.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Damn you, successful advertising.

Everywhere I go I see a packet of chips. Lime with cracked pepper, I believe. Not my favourite flavour, I prefer Sweet Chilli or Honey Soy Chicken. But after a week, noticing has turned into craving. I would really have bought some last night, at 8.30 on an empty stomach, if I hadn't fortunately happened to meet an acquaintance at the bus stop at Martin Place who lives in my street… so I leveraged her company into enough willpower to avoid detouring to Coles when I got off the bus. I bet they are doing quantity discounts on those chips, too. EVIL!!!!!

KESC 28: Ayam Goreng 99.

6:30pm this Friday
Ayam Goreng 99
464 Anzac Parade Kingsford NSW 2032

Delicious Indonesian chicken!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Winter skirts and learning things from books.

I walked to work in a skirt today, and unfortunately this morning was considerably colder than all the other mornings so far. It is officially no longer skirt weather, unless you layer up with stockings and boots, which is a very nice look but rather more effort to put on and destroys the freedom and simplicity of the skirt. A skirt on it's own is easier than any trouser, but a skirt with stockings is harder than any trouser.

As I was pondering the temperature of my legs, I had a flash of inspiration: flannel petticoats. In The Railway Children, one of the first children's adventure books every written, Roberta and Phyllis tear up their red flannel petticoats and make flags to stop a train from crashing. I filed 'flannel petticoats' away in my mind as old-fashioned and ridiculous. But now I want one. Imagine the freedom and ease of the skirt, with the softness and warmth of pyjamas! I shall make one this winter and report on my success.