Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Goodbye, fridge.

This fridge was donated by a colleague in Maitland from her mother's estate. It went with me to Bowral and then Kingsford and then Randwick, and then its life was cut tragically short by some kind of electricity thing during a storm. It faithfully refrigerated my food and the food of the 7 flatmates I've churned through in the last 6 years.

Here is the funeral ritual for a fridge before curbside collection.

1. Unplug fridge.

2. Remove lightbulb (location circled in last picture). Put it in the kitchen draw in case you can use it to replace a bulb in a future fridge.

3. Remove fridge magnets and menus.

4. Unscrew top door hinge and remove door. With an adjustable wrench from your GOSM tool kit.

5. Two people can carry the fridge to the kerb, and the door separately, without need of a trolly. Unfortunately it was collected before I had time to take a photo in location of fridge and door on curb.

Please marry my useless son.

With what joy did I stumble into PMMB last night, unaware that such a show was premiering—where were the fanfares? Elsie is away so I texted her and received the reply "I WANT TO WATCH THAT SHOW!!!!" The concept is too good to be true. Take a bunch of men who want love but are too precious to settle down, give them a harem to choose from and a bunch of awkward orchestrated romantic moments… so far so Farmer Wants A Wife. But add… MOTHERS. Mothers who get to choose the wife. Mothers who grill the harem and ask difficult questions and don't care about "chemistry". Mothers who aren't impressed by boobs. Mothers who make their son squirm with embarrassment. Mothers who have spoilt their son, mothers who want grandchildren, mothers who want their son to marry a nice Serbian girl, mothers who just want their son to grow up and move out. This is probably the trashy match-making show of our generation.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Baking School.

If you would like to learn how to bake bread, I would love to teach you! Because I think it would be fun. Free lesson, free lunch, probably with some free games of Rummikub while the bread rises and bakes and cools. Must be on Saturday or Sunday. Ask me about it, and I will invite you over.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Keep a stocked toiletries bag

For people who go away a bit throughout the year, it's worth keeping a stocked toiletries bag. I used to pack and unpack toiletries every time I went away and returned. But it's annoying and a waste of time to do it several times a year.

It's taken me ages to work this one out, and I bet some of you are smart enough to be doing this already ;)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Roll with me, Henry

It's probably been discussed on jelssie how rolling your clothes saves luggage space. Jess and I have applied this principle to our drawers at home. There seems to be more space and it's easier to get items in and out of drawers.

Grace has a filing-system-like method to her folding of clothes.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Jelssie loves mainstream fiction.

We both planned to watch some friends swim in the harbour, and knowing there would be waiting and public transport at various times in the day, we both separately turned up with library books by mainstream best-selling authors—John Grisham and Patricia Cornwall. That's not a huge coincidence, I know. But we could both have brought no book, which is normal in this age of ipods and so on, or brought a second-hand classic, to impress other commuters, which is the normal rebellion to the age of ipods. It's quite unusual that A) we would both bring a book and B) both were from the library, which is a "frugal talent", and C) neither book would be an intellectual status symbol, and we don't care. We thought it was a photographable jelssie moment.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mainstream, and we're cool with that

Jess and I like borrowing books of mainstream authors from local public libraries.

Photo by Georgina

I'm holding a copy of The Litigators by John Grisham, a very fun read.

Since I'll be doing quite a bit of commuting this year, I thought about getting a Kindle, an e-reader. I decided to do a little experiment first.

Firstly, to see how much I would actually read while commuting. If I do read, then more points towards getting a Kindle.

Secondly, to look at the cost of books I would want to read on the Kindle. On this point, the Kindle loses because books from the library are free (and I don't even have to keep them afterwards) and second-hand books are cheaper. However, a Kindle is thin and carries many books!

Currently, I am sticking to books.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fathers and sons

I'm developing this bad habit where I call fathers by their son's name. It happened most recently at church on Sunday, where I didn't recognise my error until the father burst out laughing and pointed it out to me.

There is one trick I use to deal with this problem. Let's say the father and son are called Joseph and Jesus, but I can't remember which name belongs to who. My brain then goes, "It's Joseph and Mary [wife's name], Joseph and Mary, Joseph and Mary, therefore the son's name is Jesus, and the father's name is Joseph!". My brain seems better at names of couples, rather than names of individuals.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just a minor quibble

Dear Pinterest,

Love your work, but a heart is not "like", it is love.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Better than Disney Princesses

After watching Arrietty, I have concluded that Disney Princesses are LAME in comparison. Arrietty is adventurous, brave and full of spunk. She is a risk-taker. She's not scared of bugs. Disney princesses are just pretty women with tiny waists.

Image from http://www.arrietty.com.au

This Disney Princesses vs. Hayao Miyazaki Debate is a good place to start. (Miyazaki is the creator of Arrietty and other Studio Ghibli creations). I'll end with a quote from the debate:

Except for Mulan, almost all the actions of Disney princesses still seem to be defined in relationship to their man.

In contrast, Miyazaki’s female leads offer a far more complex picture of what it means to be a person. They often have agency outside of their relationships to men.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Another really good podcast.

It's because James Valentine is still away. My ears are bored.

Radiolab. It's kind of like Dr Karl, Catalyst, Mythbusters, ie science infotainment, but better.

The beginning of friendships

Friendship is a delightful thing, isn't it? One of my favourite staring-into-space activities is to pick a friendship and work out how it is that my friend and I became friends in the first place. They often have an element of serendipity or divine intervention to them. I find that you're just acquaintances to begin with (nothing special) and before you know it, you're knee-deep in a valued friendship. How does it happen?!

There is one friendship I made last semester that I keep reflecting on because it reminds me not to judge by worldly standards, nor to hold on to my initial judgments too tightly. I also reflect on this friendship because I have been so enriched by it.

So today, I tell you the story of T and me. T was in two of my classes last semester and my first impression of him was that he was quite shy. I didn't think we'd progress any further than just classmates. Plus, I just wrote him off as a young person with lots of study experience and not much work/life experience.

He surprised me one day, when he said something in response to my noisy thinking-out-aloud. "Maybe he's not so shy after all," I thought.

A few weeks later, he approached me to join my group for a class assignment, at the suggestion of a mutual friend (that serendipitous/interventionist touch). And that was the beginning of our friendship.

I discovered that T is very patient, reliable, and giving. He shared his time, study notes and almond M&Ms as we studied. He is also very smart and hard-working. I found out that he wasn't quite the inexperienced young 'un that I thought he was; he'd had considerable experience in a respected, international, mid-tier accounting firm back home.

Reflecting on this friendship gives me a lot of joy because it turned my first impression upside-down and reminds me to look beyond the surface in people. Be open to people whom you initially think you may not connect with.

As an aside, if you need a bit of a pick-me-up, reflect on your friendships and think back to how your dearest friendships began and deepened over time.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Inspired by Bircher

Have you ever had Bircher muesli? It's basically oats or muesli soaked in apple juice overnight, and then mixed with dried fruit, fresh fruit and nuts in the morning.

My current favourite breakfast is soaking muesli with just enough water to cover it, overnight, and then eating it in the morning with a big dollop of organic, natural yoghurt. Yum! I like how the dried fruit plumps up. Not so great if you like crunch.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

First KESC 2012!

I think the next place is Taiwanese Express Meal, according to google street view circa 2009. It may not be there anymore, but we'll meet there anyway, 2 doors to the right of 85c Bakery Cafe.

Friday 27 January, 6.30.

Love yas all, hope you can come!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

TV is too good.

I should be making the productive most of having no set-top box. In the absence of TV I should be playing the piano, finishing craft stuff, filing photos and so on. However, I have instead been gulping hungrily at TV series on DVD. I watched Samantha Who, it was not great but I finished season 1 in 3 days. I just find Barry Watson a bit hateful. I started watching Heroes last night though. Always been meaning to watch it. Hiro is the cutest Japanese nerd ever. I'm going to skip free red room night tonight at watch more Heroes. TV shows on DVD are the biggest binge substance ever. TV beats movies for involvement in plot and characters. It's a golden age for TV! The only sad part of the DVD binge is that it's not a shared experience like it is when everyone watches things on live TV at the same time and you can go to work and compare theories about SD6 or Red John.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Progressive Muscle Relaxation.

I've been uncomfortable tight across the back of my shoulders for the last few weeks. I'm stiff even when I get up in the morning. I can't get rid of it while at work obviously, and it doesn't relax in the evening, and no amount of stretching helps much. Yesterday I was so irritated, I'd just decided to get a massage soon, when I had an idea that would be cheaper, and worth trying first. There's some sort of yoga thing for relaxing.

I did a quick search of audible and itunes, listening to samples of tracks that talk you through relaxing your muscles group by group. It's sort of like you concentrate a "yawn" on a part of your body: clench, hold, then relax, then move on. I found one I liked the voice, Ken Goodman, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, and spent $1.69.

I did it while dinner was cooking, but I wasn't sure if you lie down or stand or sit, so I was jumping around and swapping (sitting in my high-backed armchair was the best way way), but in the end it was definitely relaxing. So I did it again around 9pm, it goes for 10 minutes. I went to bed and fell asleep pretty much straight after. And this morning, my shoulders and breathing felt looser. I can gradually feel myself getting a little tense again as the day goes on, frowning at the computer and so on.

I think if you drive, a car would be a brilliant place to do this, when you get home at night. Put the seat back a little and you've got good support for your head and everything. There are some free podcasts of this stuff on itunes so you can try it for free. I'd be interested in hearing if it works for anyone else.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This American Life.

I've only recently heard about this podcast, people who listen to it love it, and I can see why. If you like interesting, human, random things, download the current episode and check it out. It's an hour long program each week with a loose theme—this week, the Apple factory, last week, neighbourhood.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A life with no fridge.

Sunday night's storm left me with the great appliance massacre of 2012. [skip this part if you already know the story or find detail boring] To fill jelssie readers in, who haven't followed the trauma on my other blog, while I was out it stormed, and when I got home 3 things wouldn't turn on, one of them being the fridge. The shock has worn off: I was in a bit of a panic esp about the fridge, and I watch a lot of TV so the broken set top box really bugged me. Although, I have been thinking for some time that I should watch less TV, so this is a good experience. And upon further evaluation of the fridge situation, there is a lot to be thankful for. First, it was free in the first place. I've had it for almost 6 years, and it was a gift second hand. So that has been an enormous blessing. Second, it's just a fridge, not a freezer. Which annoyed me when I got it, and I bought a freezer separate, but now the benefit is huge. On the weekend the fridge happened to be pretty empty, whereas the freezer is pretty full. I transferred the freezable stuff over. I cooked "dead fridge stew" and froze it last night. There were a few bags of things to put in the bin, like almost empty bottles of mayo and lemon juice, it's good to cull stuff periodically. A couple of phone calls to repair people eventually got me an over-the-phone diagnosis. I described the problem and made the noise, he said "buy a new fridge". I am very pleased that I didn't have to arrange and pay for a repairer to come and look in person to find that out!

[start again here]

So now that the fridge is off, and empty, the worst is over. And at this point, I am relaxed. I'm going to wait until flatmate returns and share the decision burden with her.

Here's an idea though. Do we need a fridge? We have a freezer, is that enough? Because fridges are so useful and so good at what they do, we don't just rely on them, we take them for granted. It NEVER occurred to me to go without one, and how long have fridges been around? 3 generations? It can't be impossible. I have googled, and of course there are people living an alternative fridgeless lifestyle for the planet. The idea excites me a lot, even though I use the fridge for a lot at the moment. Would my diet and cooking habits have to change very much? I wonder. Perhaps a compromise, get a little fridge just for milk and cheese.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

2nd CWA Sandwich.

Brown bread, cream cheese flavoured with chopped onions and worcestershire sauce.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Steam mop review.

I have written this within only hours of purchasing and using the highly anticipated steam mop. I know there is a lot of interest in this subject, people who have been wondering for a long time about getting one but don't know if it'll be any good. Here is the jelssie scoop. I don't have my camera connecter. Unless this laptop has a thing to put a memory card in! Looks like this is it. Never done this before. Photo will be included below if I'm clever.

I bought the Optim, $36 on special at Godfreys, and got talked into buying 2 extra fluffy heads which I wish I hadn't; my hesitation saved me $5 so silent haggling works, but I don't need them yet and wont for a while, so that was not frugal of me. Total spend $50.

It needs to be constructed, but it's not hard to click together. I thought it would only work in a straight upright position but fortunately once I used it it bent to the normal angle for floor cleaning things.

You sweep or vacuum first. Personally I can't see much benefit in vacuuming hard floors, but some people like it. Then you fill it up, wait a minute for it to boil, and then use it like a vac. Each time you push it forward the handle pumps some steam out. Therefore, it actually takes a while for the steam to moisten the floor cloth sufficiently. Next time I would damp the cloth first to get started quicker.

I think it worked quite well. The floor looks clean and the cloth is dirty. It's very manual though. I'd say this cheap one is good enought for my light cleaning. I suppose the expensive ones do more of the work for you, work better on heavy mess and maybe are easier to push. But not a bad investment.

I'm not really sure where to store it. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

How to tie a bow tie.

I can't tell you how deeply satisfied I am to finally know how a man ties a bow.

Steam Mop!!! !!! !!!

My latest obsession.

Last night having dinner at a friend's house, three of us had totally scintillating conversation on a diverse range of subjects. Frugality and dentistry and grilling food and eyebrow trends and stuff. I have never felt more like a grown-up woman discussing grown-up woman things. There was no way there could have been a man involved in that conversation. There were 3 moments: first, S got out 2 containers of Connoisseur ice-cream, and J and I went "oooohhhhhh". S's husband was bemused. Is there a woman on earth who won't swoon over Connoisseur ice-cream? Then, S brought out her wedding photo albums, and J and I went "ooooohhhhhh!" with surprisingly genuine excitement. And finally, we discussed cleaning. S demonstrated her steam mop. She loves it. I am going to get one. I HATE my mop and bucket, so I rarely mop, and our living room is woodish so that means 2 thirds of the house… so in theory, the steam mop just gets filled with water and plugged in, you run it over the floor like a fluffy iron on a stick, and it washes without detergent, then it dries fast because hot. And then you put the cloth in the washing machine. So, shopping trip to Godfreys! So excited!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

CWA sandwiches are go!

First one: Brown bread + fried champignons, salt and pepper, mace.

Champignons seem to google up as ordinary mushrooms, not tinned ones or anything. Mace, in the glossary, is equal to nutmeg, not pepper spray. So I bought some mushrooms and a masterfoods bottle of nutmeg, and picked up a $1.80 loaf of brown bread from the bread shop on the way to work. I figure it wouldn't be authentic to use posh Burgen bread for these recipes, only white or brown unfancy square loaves.

Cooked 2 thin sliced mushroom on sandwich press with a very little butter, put on bread with salt pepper and nutmeg. Nutmeg has an evocative smell, I placed it as smelling like pumpkin scones. It's a little bit sickly. Didn't butter bread but I think I will tomorrow The mushrooms were freshly cooked and warm, not sure how it would taste cold. I cut the sandwich into little triangles, and ate it. It was nice. A bit plain, and not enough salt probably. Not very filling. I'll happily eat it for the rest of the week, but will probably add other things to it to make it bigger.