Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dog Kisses

There is nothing quite like the love of a pet. Our ancient dog Bella just loves everyone in our family and she shows it. Thursday family dinner night is her favorite night of the week as we all arrive and she gets all the kisses and cuddles she could want. But in return get the unconditional and absolute love of our devoted dog.

You can't beat it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And now for something completely different ...

Tonight S and I decided to do something different, we went to a screening by the ANU Anime Society. S was quite into Anime when he was at uni but my exposure has really only been a smattering of the more famous films. Still it did mean I had a bit of an idea of what I was in for and I was not disappointed.

There were random lyrics to pop tunes to start. Doe eyes and massive boobs galore. Storylines that veered in seemingly inexplicable directions. Fight scenes with improbable levels of gore and just moments that made no sense whatsoever. Our favourite of these was when a pretty standard fight morphed into a battle between a cross dressing zombie wielding a chainsaw and a nearly naked attractive witch mostly covered with a cloak. The zombie was the good guy.

Of course it all actually looks fantastic. The artwork behind Anime is really quite impressive if highly stylised.

It certainly was a completly different but fun evening.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mmmm fresh sheets

I thought I would take advantage of some of Canberra's beautiful weather at the moment and so did a bit of spring (well autumn) cleaning which included airing out all my bedding in the sun for a day.

I read a statistic a little while ago about the very few people in the Western world who sun dry their clothes anymore.  American's in particular seem to think it is rude to air your smalls in public!  I spoke to an American colleague about this and she agreed that when she arrived in Australia she could just not believe her eyes when she saw glimpses of washing hanging out in the backyard.  All I can say is that they have no idea what they are missing out on.  Aside from the environmental benefits of not using a dryer,  I don't think there is anything that quite compares with the sun in how fresh it makes washing smell.

After a day in the sun, all my bedding seems a bit warmer, fluffier and more comforting, plus I get to bring a little of that Autumn sunshine into bed.

Just lovely!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Autumn in Canberra

Autumn is such a spectacularly beautiful time in Canberra.  Clear blue skies, gorgeous multi-coloured trees, warm days, cool nights and the afternoons have a particularly golden light that makes everything just a little more lovely.

This coming weekend daylight saving will end and very soon it will be dark by the time I head out of the office, so this week I'm making an extra special effort to notice the beautiful afternoons and lovely light as I head home for the day.  My drive past the lake, now lined with gold and red trees and lit by the soft evening sunshine will be all the more appreciated in the knoweldge that I won't be seeing it for very many more days.  The avenue of trees I drive down is extra beautiful as the leaves turn knowing that soon they will be bare branches against the sky (not that it isn't beautiful in its own way).

This Autumnal beauty might be fleeting, but I'm sure enjoying it while it lasts.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday afternoon

I have had a fantastic day in which I did lots of great things so it was hard to pick one. Rather than blog about the big things I've decided to write about something small that may normally escape notice.

There is a magical hour each afternoon where my family room is filled with sunshine. In summer I block it out but as the days have become cooler I'm welcoming it back in. The room gets filled with a beautiful golden light and it is the perfect time to curl up in the couch with a cup of tea and the weekend papers. It is just such a lovely, comfortable, relaxed time - life at it's best and a golden moment to be treasured.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Improving my education

It may be that I've led a somewhat sheltered life but I've never seen a stripper in the flesh (so to speak) before. That is until tonight and now I feel quite educated.

S and I went out for a dance tonight only to find our chosen venue closed for a private function. So we headed over the road to what is normally a funky, quiet cocktail bar. But tonight it had been taken over by a moulin rouge themed hen's party. We found ourselves a seat at the other end of the bar and had just got our cocktails when the first stripper arrived. He was clad in a fireman outfit and S helpfully changed seats so I could see better.

I have to say as a dancer I just wasn't that impressed. True he was fairly nicely put together but his poorly timed gyrations did little for me. A while later the music began pumping again and S commented there was now a cop in the house. I checked it out and commented that unless I was very much mistaken this new stripper was a woman! It seemed to be a very enlightened hen's party catering for all tastes.

So now I guess I've had a view of both sides of the stripping world. What an educational night.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Home made pizza

Tonight we made the yummiest pizzas. Lebanese bread bases, the first with Brie and pancetta, sage, olives and cherry tomatoes and the second with carrot, potato, chilli haloumi and oregano.

They were awesome! So delicious, flavoufull and healthy. What a fantastic meal.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

All by myself

I have been learning to dance for over 7 years. I've learnt multiple styles, progressing through to intermediate level, advanced level and even to a dance teacher. But today I had my first ever private dance class.

It was fantastic. I don't want to sound ego-centric but it was fantatic being having it all about me! Little things that had been bugging me were solved and it was great to have someone analyze what I was doing right and more importantly wrong.

The only problem I don't think I can go back to group classes now. I've discovered the joy of all that personal attention, and I just want it to be me, me, me now!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dramatic Lighting

I wish I'd had a great camera with me this morning as I drove to work because the sky sure was putting on a show.

As I slept last night a fog must have crept in or the clouds crept low.  Either way, the sky had a low grey ceiling as I left the house.  However far from being drab it was punctuated with holes through to the clear blue above which were acting as God's spotlights.

Aspects of the rolling still green (!) hills were brilliantly lit while the surrounding mountains wore moody cloud headdresses.  Somehow a single white trunked tree would be picked up and made look all the more luminous by the somber backdrop.  It looked spectacular and made my drive all the more interesting.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ego Trip

I was so overwhelmed with my friend's happy news yesterday that I forgot my own piece of bragging.  Technically this was yesterday's smile but given I'm still smiling about it, I think it counts.

As I mentioned on Sunday, one of the things I did on my quiet pottering weekend was to make a cake for a colleague's birthday.  Actually his birthday was almost 3 weeks ago, but because I was away and I am the coordinator of birthday celebrations in the office it got missed.  However I was not about to let him miss out on our terrible singing and a cake, so I made a peach and cherry strussel cake.

Mum is the queen of strussel, so I have to say while I though my effort was ok, it didn't quite reach her heights.  However my colleagues thought different.  In fact one went so far as to say it was better than the things we get from the Flute Bakery!!!  How is that for an ego boost?

As it turned out the birthday boy had a family emergency and had to leave early - so we ate the cake without him.  But I'm nothing if not determined, so I'm pretty sure that cake number three will turn up soon.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy News!

Last night, later than I would usually expect it, the phone rang.  I immediately simultaneously thought:

(a) its an emergency
(b) Dad has not looked at the clock
(c) it must be my best friend ringing from England

The answer was C!  It is always lovely to hear her voice but last night there was an extra air of excitement in it.  I had an inkling of what it could be so I crossed my fingers, hoped for the best and she blurted out that she is pregnant! 

I'm so thrilled for them, they are going to make fantastic parents and I know this child could not be more wanted by a more loving family.  I could hear the smile on her face through the joy in her voice, and it has made me smile all day too.

I remember thinking how grown up we all were when we got drivers licences.  Then moving out of home seemed to be the recipe for adulthood.  When people started getting married I really felt like we had reached maturity, but once people start having babies, well that is a whole extra level of grown-up-ness.  And yet, somehow I suspect that even when we are old and grey and those babies are adults ourselves, we will still be trying to work out how to be grownups.

So today has been a super happy day through shared joy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Enjoying the day that life presents you

This time last week I was on international flights, racing around Singapore, eating fantastic and different food.  Today I pottered around home, did some grocery shopping, baked a cake and visited an old family friend.

I don't think the two Sundays could be any more different, but I enjoyed today as much as I did the jet-setting one.

As much as I love travel, I am a bit of a home-body and pottering about in my own space at my own pace is just lovely.  It was a grey rainy day, so whipping up some comfort food and enjoying the company of loved ones was the perfect thing to do.

Variety is the spice of life and by being able to find the enjoyment no matter what the day presents, I've found a true and lasting internal peace.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Catching Up

I know I was only away for two weeks, but it seems like I missed out on so much going on.  I don't just mean the momentous world events that have been taking place, I'm also talking about the little things.  So I'm busily catching up with people to hear what has been going on in their little corners of the world.

Today I dropped by a friend's house for a catch up and a walk.  We pushed her 8-month round the suburb as I told her all about my adventures and she updated me on what has been happening in her world.  I always value my friendships, I went through a stage in my early 20's where I think I literally had about 2 real friends in the same city and that makes you realise how precious they are.  So even though very little time has passed, I'm loving really making the effort to catch up with people.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

I had the fortune (or misfortune depending on your perspective) to attend an Anglican school where along with our regular subjects once a week we had a religion class.  I may not be a believer but I find religion very interesting, so I actually quite enjoyed learning about the bible for a couple of years, followed by having a smattering of information on various other religions (although I do doubt the school's sincerity in introducing us to other religions, I think Islam got as much attention as the Moonies and Jonestown). 

In fact my interest was such that one year I actually won the prize for religion in my year.  I think you could have knocked my parents over with a feather when I came home with that news.  I'm pretty sure I was also the reason the school stopped letting students pick their own book prize when I chose the Time-Life Book of Things That Never Were.  My teacher was slightly appalled, I thought it was very appropriate and it is a great book, I still have it.

While I have forgotten much of what I learned in religion (and in school for that matter) I did pick up a few nuggets of information along the way.  One of them is that in lent, you are meant to give up things.  I however, not being a Christian have instead chosen to adopt an extra thing in lent - hot cross buns.

Hot cross buns these days seem to make it into the shops even before new year's eve.  I love them but my mother taught me long ago that one of the things that keeps things special is scarcity, so instead of indulging from January, I wait for lent to tick over, then I get stuck in.  Only having them for a few weeks makes them that much more special and something I look forward to each year.

As I was away on holiday I missed pancake day and the start of lent, so today was my first hot cross bun.  I know there is much debate about who makes the best ones, I really like Woolworths ones!  They don't have mixed peel but they do have a good ratio of sultanas to bread.  And the cross isn't super hard.  However I'm always prepared to try a new one, so I may have to give a few different bakeries a go.

Mmmm, I have a delicious few weeks ahead!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I love giving presents.  Don't get me wrong, I love getting them too, but if I'm really honest, I get more enjoyment from giving them.

As a result, when I travel, I always by my loved ones presents.  Sometimes I go a little overboard.  I returned from South America with an entire bag of things for my family, so much that my sister asked me not to get them an engagement present in addition.  But I had fun buying all those things.

On my recent holiday I was back in my usual form buying gifts for other people before I had even considered getting things for myself.  I think I've been much more restrained this time, but I do have some lovely things that I've already given or that are all ready to go.

Tonight I will be seeing my family, so I'm feeling very excited about distributing their gifts, it will be great fun.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


It was dark when I woke up, which made it somewhat tricky to pry myself from my oh so comfortable bed when I'm still getting over travel tiredness. But when I did surface I found that a lovely thick fog was the cause of much of the gloom.

I love fog, the way it mutes colours, softens the edges, seems to make everything just that little quieter and more gentle.  Like a soft focus on a camera lens, everything seems to come out just a bit more beautiful.

One of my favourite views in the whole world is the view down lake Burley Griffin, when the trees have turned gold, and the fog hangs low over the early morning rowers and swans.  It is one of the signs of the glorious change of seasons.

This afternoon rain showers have passed over the city - I think we will be in for another fog tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Home Time

I've had the most fantastic two weeks away discovering Vietnam and Cambodia.  They are both such fascinating and wonderful countries.  Despite dark and devastating pasts, the people seemed so friendly and welcoming to visitors.  The scenery was beautiful and the food amazing.

But one of the things I most love about a holiday, a different country and a change of scenery is how appreciative of home it makes you.

The comfort of your own bed, you own bathroom and different clothes other than what you can cram in a pack.  The joy of being able to drink water from the tap or wash your toothbrush under it.  And the familiar things like weetbix for breakfast, a cup of plain old ordinary tea, even just being able to grab the right note out of your wallet without having to do a close examination.

Even cooking your own dinner or doing the laundry is fun after you have been away (even if that wears off pretty quickly).

But the best part of being home - the people.  Reconnecting with my loved ones.  Now that is what being home is all about.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vietnamese Street Food

So, I'm in Vietnam and am LOVING it!!!  For a detailed description feel free to read my travel blog.

But one of the things which is making me smile at every turn is the food here.  My goodness is it amazingly delicious.  Tonight we ate at a market stall set up on what during the day is a busy road.  We ate beef, squid and prawns, flavoured and barbequed to perfection.  Everything was tender and juicy and oh so amazingly tasty.  The flavours are both pure and complex.  I can't tell you how much I'm loving it!