Sunday, November 27, 2011

Updates and stuff - again

Holy guacamole, where has the year gone?  These last few months have been flying by and my poor blog has been neglected.  So, what has been happening, you ask?  Well!
 
Wedding planning continues with a vengeance, and we're well and truly into count down phase now, with three weeks to go.  It's all very exciting.  Mr Fork has had his buck's night, and I've been talked into having a girly day.  That's happening in two weeks - a high tea at home and a mobile spa that comes to you for pampering, very swish!  We have bonboniere boxes (yay!) and must get organised about something to go into them soon too I suppose.  Although I wanted to elope and I'm been very blah about having this wedding, I'm really looking forward to catching up with everyone and having a lovely evening.

The gardening has been going swimmingly.  The carrots I blogged about previously have all been eaten (I think I got one, the puppies got the rest as treats), and the new excitement is my baby pineapple

I don't remember exactly when I planted this little cutie, but it's been a bit neglected so I'm pretty chuffed it's growing at all really.  We've also gotten the big guns in to help with the tidy up of the garden which just never seems to happen on the weekends.  All the (horrid! disgusting!) palms have been cut down, and the inside hedge has disappeared to leave us with a yard so large I can't beleive it.  I'm also having a dedicated vegetable patch put in, so my home made compost will soon be in use and enjoyed.  I can't wait until I can make an entire salad out of goodies I've grown myself.
 
Does anyone have any tips about what I should be growing right now?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beavericious!

I know I've been a bit slack, which I definitely promise to remedy.  In the meantime, here's a filler post of something I saw in the pet store last weekend but was over-ruled because apparently it was just "stupid".  I still think our furbabies would have loved this little guy!!

Justin Beaver

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I grew that

This is my first baby carrot, pictured with a Haviana for size purposes.  I couldn't be prouder if I'd grown it myself... oh but wait, I did!  It's brothers and sisters are still happily growing away, but I got impatient when I saw this one poking it's orange head above the soil and pulled it out.  I think I'll wait until the others get bigger because while it was tasty, there wasn't much to taste.


I included it into a simple pasta dish, served with a red wine sauce chock full of veggies.  I can't wait for the weather to be right to grow some more fresh produce.  At the moment I have carrots, garlic, mint, parsley, rosemary, spring onions, leek, pineapple and chilli growing.  I'd love to add some beans, tomatoes and other delicious spring time foods.  I've also got a compost bin on the go, so that ought to add some nutrients when required!

What does your garden grow?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Operation fascination

In outfitting myself for the wedding(s) I've been trying to DIY as much as possible, partly to keep costs down and partly because I like having our own personality stamped on the day.

I mentioned here that I'd unexpectedly found a hairpiece for my red wedding after brunch one day, but I was scratching my head (haha) about the white wedding.  While I was shopping on the weekend with a bridesmaid, we walked past one of those cheap hair/jewellery stores.  Just for fun (and to be thorough) we popped in to have a look.  End result - a few pretty little flower hair clips that will look perfect - especially from a distance.


Just a few days before, I'd been looking at an option that was going to be $60, and I thought it was cheap! Cost of these little pretties? $8.  That's a nice tidy saving that I can put towards something less frivolous than a one day hair accessory!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Chortle

I think that chortle is a great word; it makes me giggle a little every time I hear it.
 
In support of that word, I'd like to share some things which have given me a chortle this week.
  • My regular coffee man always greets me by name and with a smile.  Not to mention that this is one of the few cafes I've found who use Bonsoy (many other commercial brands of soy milk just taste revolting).  This week I also got a little heart on my cup lid.  Soy chai, made with love! ('scuse the lip gloss marks) 
  • Dumplings. I love a good dumpling and last night, Mr Fork's mother made me a whole pot of steamed dumplings, stuffed with shiitake, cabbage, corn, carrot and peas.  It was delicious, and there was even enough for me to bring for lunch today.  That's saying a lot, because traditionally Fridays are my day to have 'tuckshop' and eat out, but those dumplings won hands down over buying lunch!

  • Puppy cuddles.  While it's still officially winter there have been a few cold nights, and although my furbabies are affectionate all the time, it's even more pronounced during cold weather when they can't resist a good snuggle (and neither can I).

  • Yesterday marked the beginning of birthday month, the countdown until my actual birthday.  I suggested to Mr Fork that perhaps he might like to mark the occasion with festivities and fawning but he didn't seem overwhelmed by the idea.  Not to worry.  I love birthdays myself and can fawn perfectly well on my own behalf!

  • I love a good freebie as much as the next person, and one of the things I did when I first got my Kindle was to sign up for a service on ereaderiq.com to notify me when books for the AU region become free.  So far, I've gotten a bunch of books which go for up to about 20$ when full price, and I'm expanding my reading horizons by picking up books which I mightn't have if I'd had to pay.  Wins all around!
     
  • Saturday, July 30, 2011

    Product du jour - MooGoo Shampoo and Conditioner

    Lately I have been obsessed with natural cosmetics, skin and hair care.  I have gradually been switching my products as they run out, moving from chemically laden things to alternatives with less numbers, more natural whole ingredients and lots of healthy benefits.

    The items which came under the firing line most recently were my shampoo and conditioner.  I've got very fine hair, which I like to wear long.  If I don't wash it every second day or so, it tends to get lank and oily, and of course, being long, takes forever to dry, making washing a chore.  For the last couple of years, I've also had itchy, flaky scalp issues (an attractive feature, natch).  When Head and Shoulders was released, I jumped on the bandwagon with a vengeance, but I never really got any long lasting benefits from it.

    Further investigation (oh Google, how did I survive before you?) gave me a couple of insights and aha! moments:
    • While I'd love to follow the 'no 'Poo' movement, I just can't cope with having to wait potentially months for my hair to find it's routine.  Nor am I keen to switch to a pure bicarb and vinegar routine.
    • Harsh detergents are irritants which stimulate oil production while drying skin. So why do so many manufacturers load their product full of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or by Sodium Laureth Sulfate?
    • The first three ingredients of my current shampoo rotations in the shower are: water, sodium, laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate.
    Something had to be done.  


    I bit the bullet and breaking my usual rule, didn't even wait to finish the bottles I have, ordering some MooGoo 'Scalp Friendly' Milk Shampoo and Cream Conditioner after being convinced by the multitude of rave reviews out there.  
    It's early days yet, but I've used them a couple of times now, in conjunction with the MooGoo MSM Soothing cream after I've washed and I can't believe the difference.  My scalp is less itchy, and I'm not flaking constantly.  My hair feels lush and natural and smells divine (this could also be because the company believes in products so natural you could eat them so I'm literally bathing in milky goodness).


    The shampoo foams nicely, and is a good rich texture.  I'm used to my conditioner allowing me to just comb right through in the shower, but the MooGoo one didn't do that and I had to work the comb through a bit more than usual.  Having said that the next day, my hair hung beautifully without blow drying, went easily from pony tail to out without kinks and didn't knot up at all.  I think I'm onto a winner here.  At $17.50 each for the shampoo and conditioner, and $17.95 for the MSM cream, it's not the cheapest product out there, but if the results continue, I'm going to stick with it.  

    Sunday, July 24, 2011

    What can I do with... molasses?

    Yesterday I did my usual Saturday morning yoga class, which I completely voided afterward with the usual follow up breakfast with the girls.  Although I did choose the relatively 'healthy' option of bircher muesli, so that should count for something right?  I mean, it does come with fruit.

    After chatting over much needed coffee (caw-fee) and food, we went for a wander around the fantastic James St Markets.  Yes the market is overpriced and yes you could probably get better value elsewhere, but as soon as I walk in there, I'm like a kid in a (vegan) candy store - I want everything!

    I debated the merits of hibiscus flowers (redundant at the moment, because Mr Fork won't drink champagne with me), hot chocolate (delicious, but I don't want to spend $14 on that), vegan laksa paste (yes I want it, but I should finish the one at home first), and the plethora of deli goods such as flavoured oils and vinegars that I need to have.  I swear, I don't know why Mr Fork finds it so hard to think of presents for me.  Fill a basket full of yummy gourmet foodstuffs or MooGoo cosmetics and I'm a happy camper.  That aside, I did walk out of the market with a jar of molasses.


    I've heard so much about molasses in my cookbook collection and blogs that I follow, but I've never personally used it.  I know that it'll be great for my iron, calcium and potassium levels and I can use it like a honey substitute (honey, ugh), but is there some fantastic molasses recipe that I absolutely must try?  Suggestions welcome, and I'll update on my molasses cooking adventures!

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Winner!

    I've always been a bit shy in the internet world.  I read a lot of blogs quite avidly, but I rarely stop to comment on them.  I scour various specialist forums for other people's advice, but again, rarely add little to the conversations.  I decided recently that I should really change that, and so I've been moved to comment on a few things I felt strongly about, add some expert knowledge and advice when I could and oh yes, enter the odd competition or two.


    Maybe this is the way the universe is telling me that I'm doing the right thing, because I won something!  A blog that I follow recently celebrated it's 18 month birthday and was giving away a few gorgeous things.  I was the lucky winner of a Kit Cosmetics Duo Cheek & Lip Creme in Turn it On!

    It arrived today and I couldn't resist opening it right away.  First impression was that it smelt divine.  Fruity and full of watermelon scented goodness.  I then had to try it out.  I'm working from home today so I don't have a nice base to add blush to, but I couldn't resist adding some to my lips.  The lighter shade on its own was a bit too pink so I added some of the darker one... perfection!  They just blend beautifully together and give my lips a nice sheen and a feeling of ultra hydration.  I can't wait to see how this will look on my cheeks.  

    Thanks, and what a great "hump day" pick me up!

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Soap Scum Begone

    Soap scum has been the menace of my existence ever since I moved in with Mr Fork.  Internet research has shown that his preference for soap bars over my preference for liquid soap means that he is more likely to produce that waxy white buildup on the shower glass (and since I have no chance of converting his soap choices, we need a solution).


    My subtle hints may have been too subtle, as leaving a squeegee and various cleaning products in the shower didn't seem to have the desired result that he wipe the glass when he was done, and as a result, we had a shower so thick with soapy scum that I'm ashamed to describe how bad it really is.





    I decided that something needed to be done and searched around for a clean, green cleaning solution.  The overwhelming suggestion seemed to be vinegar so I mixed a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water in a spray bottle and went to town on the glass.  Just a segue way here but the way that most cleaning solutions are designed to work is that you apply them, then leave them to sit there for a small while before wiping away.  This gives time to sort of soak in, and get the job done.  Anyway, I left my vinegar/water solution to sit for several minutes, then got in there with one of those slightly rough cleaning pads, scrubbing through the solution and really putting some elbow grease into it.  Next step was to rinse with clean water and then wipe down with a dry towel.


    Our glass was pretty terrible, so it took a few more sessions with the vinegar but I can report back that our screens are now transparent again and our shower feels sparkly clean (and smells vinegary fresh!).  I also feel good that I used a natural solution so didn't contribute anything extra down the drains that shouldn't have been there.  Win, win all round.


    What's your best natural cleaning solution? 

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    New toys!

    I finally talked myself into getting a Kindle.  After debating back and forth with the decision, I opened it up to Facebook and was overwhelmed with comments by people who loved the device.  Being an obedient sheep, I followed the herd and signed up.  I have to say, Amazon make shopping fun – the anticipation started when I got to track the Kindle on its way towards me.  It even arrived a day earlier than promised and so far I’ve not been disappointed.  In preparation for my new toy, I downloaded the appropriate apps for my phone and my mac as well as some sample freebie books so I could test it out.  Now I’m throwing it out there – anyone have any good, inexpensive book recommendations for me to whet my Kindle appetite on?

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Sore

    I'm aching today.  Could it be because, after 6 weeks of Yoga for Dummies, I went to my first ‘real’ yoga class and realised how inflexible I am?  Could it be because, after 1.5 hours of yoga on Saturday, Mr Fork and I decided to dig up a tree in our backyard (and let me tell you, that tree was well entrenched with multiple trunks and a heinous root system!).  Or maybe, it’s the 50km I rode in the Brissie to Bay yesterday while fearing for my life the entire way?  Perhaps a combination of the three?

    In all honesty, after doing that ride once, I will never do it again.  It was the most badly organised ride I’ve been on, with little regard for rider and other road users safety.  I lost count of the number of near misses I saw, including the idiots who rode more than two abreast, who refused to give way to cars, stop at red lights or even just stay in their lane, as well as the riders who didn’t know basic rider etiquette and didn’t call when they were stopping, didn’t give way and didn’t move to the left when riding slowly – and didn’t even stick to the road, opting to terrorise pedestrians on the footpath.  Additionally, riding up every, freaking hill between Manly and the city, including eating exhaust fumes along all the heavy industrial roads through Murarrie did nothing to improve my mood.  I considered not completing the ride but my retentive self wouldn’t let me not finish what I started.  I pity the poor cars who were inconvenienced by bad riders, closed roads and general rider/organiser stupidity.  I so hope they send out a survey asking what we through of the event.  Moving on...

    Last week, we rescued two puppies who were out terrorising the neighbourhood at dawn.  On calling the owner, turned out they live across the street from us.  He was relieved that someone had found them and arrived post haste, two crying girls in pink dressing gowns in tow beaming through their tears.  This Saturday, while we were wrestling with the tree, the neighbour came over with his little girls who’d made us homemade thank you cards (complete with drawings of our house and puppies) and a box of Favourites.  Bless.  The cards now grace our refrigerator and the chocolates mostly grace Mr Fork’s stomach.  Good neighbours still exist in the world (*cue soapie theme song*)

    Monday, May 30, 2011

    Awwww

    The cold gives me a chance to get away with things which Mr Fork might not otherwise let me, such as letting the hounds run around in small outfits.  So here's a picture of our furbabies rugged up against the wintery chill.

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Recipe: French onion soup

    It's been a bit cold of late (yes, I know my southern friends would tell me that Brisbane doesn't get cold, but I have felt the chill), and nothing satisfies more than a big bowl of warm soup when it’s cold outside.

    For some reason, I had a hankering for french onion soup, I'm not really sure why as I'd never had it before in my life.  A quick search around the internet and I had a collection of recipes that provided enough inspiration for me to go ahead and do my own thing. 

    Here's the one that I based my version off.  It was already vegan (traditionally french onion soup is made on a beef stock), but I wanted to make sure I had enough to eat now and for plenty of leftovers so I changed it up a bit. 

    • 4 large onions (mix of red and brown), sliced in half and then sliced thinly
    • 1.5L stock (I used stock powder, so I added that with boiling water – see step 2)
    • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
    • Pepper to taste
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 4 Tbsp cornflour

    1. Heat oil in pan, and saut√© onions until lightly brown.  Add garlic and saut√© a bit longer, then turn down heat, cover and cook for 30-40 minutes until mixture is all soft and wilty (stir occasionally).

    2. Add cornflour and stock powder to coat onions, then add boiling water (this is so it doesn’t go lumpy when you’re thickening it – if you’re using liquid stock, just add the cornflour first, then the stock on top).  Bring slowly to the boil.

    3. Simmer until thickened to preference then season to taste.

    Traditionally, this would be served in a hollowed out bread bowl with some melted cheese, however, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having such a carbohydrate laden dinner, so I deviated from the norm with a plain bowl filled with soup.  I don’t add a lot of salt to my cooking, so for an extra flavour and vegetable boost, I served the soup on top of some kale chips which were lightly sprayed with olive oil and sea salt.  Delicious!!!


    Next time I’ll probably dice the onions and up the flavour with some herbs and spices as this version was a little bit too subtle for my tastes.

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    Look what I found today

    I've been thinking about head wear lately, specifically, what sort of head wear I'll wear with my two wedding gowns.  There's a whole world of fascinators out there, most of them gorgeous and hideously expensive to boot.  Its not that I'm cheap per se (although I am...), it's more that I'm not really the type of girl who's going to wear those things regularly, so I don't see the point in paying gazillions of dollars for them.

    So I was shocked and awed today, to find affordable, fantastic headwear at a gorgeous little shop in New Farm.  I was having lunch with a girlfriend at pintxo today (side note, love that tapas train!) and decided to check out the little store next door afterward.  From the outside it looked like one of those pretentious overpriced shops so common in that part of town, but the inside couldn't be more different.  It was staffed by two lovely ladies, who couldn't have been more friendly.  I think it's primarily a handbag shop, but they also do custom upholstery and have lots of lovely materials and textures everywhere.  As a side line, the owner also sells a whole bunch of handmade fascinators, at prices that are so dirt cheap, made by the girl who is dating her son.  They ranged from the pretty, to the whimsical to the just plain cute.  I was a little disappointed that they didn't have anything in ivory, but I did pick up this little thing, to go with the red gown.



    It was $14, and worth every dollar.  The owner has promised to ask if her artiste will make some ivory ones.  Although she doesn't take orders, so I'll have to take pot luck and pop back - but at that price, its certainly worth it.  Guess it just shows that you can't pick a snobby, pretentious shop by the facade!

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    I can see a rainbow

    This was my view from the bus this morning.  A grey and miserable day it might have been, I might have been tired, cranky and completely against going to work, but that sight brightened my day enough to get me through.

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    MIA

    I have been a little MIA of late, but life somehow gets busy when you least expect it.  Oh hang on, there's a saying about that - life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.  So what kind of plans have I been making I hear you ask? 

    Well in health news, I ran the Mother's Day Classic again this year.  Less impressively than last year, I got about the same time, but can't claim anything as the course was shorter and I did walk a fair bit.  I'm also halfway through my introduction to yoga class.  While I do like it (not to mention the brunching opportunities it provides!) I don't feel like I'm getting a workout.  I suppose I shouldn't slack off on my other activities just yet.  I've committed to riding to the Gold Coast again in October this year (5 hours is the time to beat) but I'm not sure about whether to do the Bay ride - somehow the idea of riding in freezing cold winter headwinds isn't very appealing.

    Mr Fork and I have been eating fairly well of late - in his case it's justified as he's started regularly working out, in my case, it's cold and I'm hungry.  I have been rather more active in the kitchen of late.  Notable creations have included an attempt at vegan frittata (sauteed mushrooms, garlic and spinach baked in a flavoured besan flour mixture).  It tasted delicious, but didn't solidify as much as I'd have liked, so next time I'll add extra flour to the mix before cooking.


    A large array of home made Tabasco sauce.  This is what over a kg of chili will make!

    Pancakes! Two batches, one vegan (pictured) with maple syrup and one for Mr Fork, with egg and moo milk, which he happily also accessorised with crispy bacon before wolfing it down (not pictured).


    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Favours

    I've really struggled with the thought of what to put on the table as guest momentos.  I went to a bridal expo awhile back, and one of the ideas I really liked was the idea of donating to a charity on the guest's behalf.  Some charities provide a little token like a pin or a keyring and some just give you nicely worded cards to place at each seat.  On further research though, the etiquette behind such a thing was a bit murky.  The general consensus seemed to be, by all means donate, but no need to shove that down your guests throats.  Similar to "donations" given for Christmas/Birthday gifts - apparently its very passe to do so, as you're effectively saying to the beneficiary that you decided they didn't need a present and donated it away.  Although it's allowable to ask people to make donations instead of giving you presents, you can't make that decision on their behalf when gifting to them.  That aside, it happened to me one work Secret Santa when "Santa" donated a goat to a starving village on my behalf.  This appalled me on several levels.  Firstly, c'mon, I'm a vegetarian - don't donate a goat to be eaten on my behalf.  Secondly, if you're going to make a donation in my name, at least give me the receipt too, so I can claim a deduction at tax time - you don't get it both ways "Santa"!!!  So I moved away from the idea of donating to a charity, much as I love the gesture behind it.

    The other criteria is that I'm set against those little sugared almond things.  For one thing, I don't like them myself, so why should I inflict them on others, and the second thing is, it's apparently well known that many guests don't take the favour away, so I want it to be something I won't mind having multiples of when I get to keep the left behinds.  So this rules out things like little photo frames, matched salt and pepper shakers (yes, that's a thing apparently), and anything plain wanky.

    So I was at a baby shower last weekend and there was a whole bowl of these little cuties.  I quite like it... could this be a wedding favour concept?  Picture it smaller, perhaps just big enough for a ferrero rocher.  And the bow will be tied nicely, in appropriately coordinating colours.  I wouldn't mind having a bunch of leftover ferrero rochers, at all.  Win.


    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    The search for the perfect shoe

    I can't seem to find those Miu Mius anywhere - although I won't stop looking (the brand whore in me thrills at the idea of owning such an expensive pair of shoes!

    However, Mr Fork's sister proposed this (much) cheaper alternative.  Thoughts?  They're almost the same, just with a T-bar instead of a plain ankle strap.  And they aren't leather.  Still... for the sake of several hundred dollars I could compromise...

    I think I know what I'll be doing with one lunch time this week... hello, Haylow-G, meet my foot!

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Peace, man

    I have just realised that I've taken up yoga and I'm learning to knit.  I'm turning into a hippy.  Then again, it could be the saving of me.  I wouldn't call my job highly stressful.  Well its not highly stressful all of the time; I'm not saying that I haven't been close to the odd breakdown every now and then.  I do however have moments of panic, moments of stress and moments of sheer and utter boredom and incredulity.  Maybe having a couple of creative and stress releasing outlets is a good thing.


    Perhaps not though - in knitting my hat I seem to accumulate extra stitches, constantly drop more than a few and knit at the pace of a snail.

    Updates and stuff

    We may have found our photographer today.  He's the son of my dad's university friend.  We haven't had a lot of luck with photographers.  Granted, we also haven't been looking very hard, but of the ones we did look at, there was a certain sameness to their work.  The one we did like best was busy on our date, and although she did recommend an alternative, we didn't like her work as much.  I also considered asking a friend of a friend to be our photographer, however, she posted her latest engagement party proofs online, and seriously the bride-to-be's bum is the focus of quite a few shots, and another view is right up that poor girl's skirt, with panties and cellulite visible.  Cross that option off the list please!

    So my dad recommended his friend's son.  The boy is still at uni, studying photojournalism.  Which means, he knows the techniques in theory, and in practice he actually does have a couple of weddings under his belt.  We figure this also means he'll be enthusiastic, willing to try new things, and in keeping with a journalistic background, wanting to capture as natural (read: non posed) a moment as possible.  At this point I've only spoken to him on the phone, but we're planning to meet up after he's finished with exams (oh, bless) to have a look at his work and get to know him.  Hopefully he'll have some good stuff.  And be cheap, ahem, I mean affordable.

    In other news, I'm learning to knit.  My first project will be a blue and grey hat.  I may or may not post progress pictures.

    Sunday, March 27, 2011

    Coveting

    Have I mentioned how much I want these shoes?
    I found them on a blog while I was surfing around for wedding inspiration.  I have to say, Mr Fork and I are a tad unorganised.  We have a date, a venue and a celebrant.  And even if I may not know where to get them, I have an idea about the shoes I want.  I thought we were doing well until people started making panicked faces at me.  


    Now apparently the next hurdle is the invitations.  Oh my gosh, why did I decide to be cheap and make my own?  Take my advice people, when you have a guest list as long as ours, it is worth it in sheer sanity saving to pay someone else.  Who knew invitations were so complicated?  There's the colour scheme, the paper, the font, the printing, the spelling, the punching of holes, the arrangement of components, the type of envelopes, the RSVP cards and dates to organise... and I'm sure I haven't covered all the bases yet.  A trip to the local Officeworks to pick up supplies was a start.  We are now the proud owners of lots and lots of paper, fancy clip pin things, a paper slicer and other bits and bobs.  I have to admit that I spent the whole weekend trying to get the hang of our new paper slicer and I still can't do a straight line.  Its enough to make a girl want to sneak away and do it all on the quiet!

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    New News

    Lots been happening lately.  I know that I said I'd be more proactive with this blog, so its time to uphold my part of the bargain.

    Life has been chugging along rather nicely.  I've got my (last! ever!) exam on Friday, which is quite exciting.  I'm not sure I'll know what to do with myself with no study, but I'm sure I can fill the time.  Possibly with wedding stuff; there seems like a never ending list of things to do.

    On that note, Mr Fork and I have (finally) selected a venue, and a date.  Nevermind that his family think its a bad date to be married, nevermind that the 'W' word seems to spark dollar signs and zeros being added to everything.  By hook or crook we will get married on that day.  Not to mention that it would be embarrassing having to retract all the 'save the dates' we've sent!!

    So that's about the extent of our wedding planning.  It just seems discouraging how much the actual event costs.  Maybe I'm unrealistic.  If it was up to me though, after seeing all the figures, eloping looks like a fabulous option!



    Work continues in much the same way it always does.  I've rolled off one client, onto another old faithful, and then onto a new experience again next week.  I've got my fingers crossed that I'll pick up a long term Brisbane contract, because I'm totally over the travelling for work.  My friends used to think it was glamourous, but now that I'm not the only one having to travel for a crust, I think they understand better and then shine has worn off the experience.  I worry about what I'd do if I didn't do this though - its hard to be a consultant if you won't travel, and the Brisbane labour market isn't the biggest either.  Have I niched myself into an tough corner?

    I guess the whole wedding thing has me on edge.  Its tough to think about how much things cost these days, and how much you rely on two incomes just to survive.  Looking at for example, house prices these days versus a generation ago, and the work required to get them makes me want to cry.

    Saturday, January 29, 2011

    Strange happenings at Chez Fork

    Odd things have been occurring over the past couple of days.  My usual morning routine is to get out of bed, take the furbabies downstairs then come back up to start making breakfast.  When the furbabies bark at the jogger who runs past, I go downstairs, yell at them, take them back upstairs to eat and all is right with the world.  Except last Friday when the furbabies barked, I went down to get them and instead of being inside barking at the jogger, they were outside loping along after him!

    Turns out, somehow, the side gate had gotten open and they had taken the opportunity to escape.  I ran inside to get slightly more decent than just my nighty, let Mr Fork know, and took off after them.  10 minutes later, I returned home to get my mobile and the car and continue looking.  We found them, 3 blocks away, after we saw a car swerve to avoid hitting them.  The fluff balls were ok, and were chastised, punished then cuddled in that order.  How the side gate got open, we don't know.  To open it, someone would have needed to come through our front yard and then through the gate.  Needless to say, we didn't see or hear a thing.

    A few days later, I was out on the deck for some reason and noticed something spilt on the floorboards.  Mr Fork and I cleaned it up... and this mysterious liquid also seemed to eat away the paint underneath.  Neither of us remember dropping anything there, and it goes without saying that we don't use anything in the house that would be so dangerous, especially with all the pets we have!  Mr Fork suggested that it might have been some sort of animal marking it's territory overnight, but I ask you, what sort of animal has spray that dangerous and corrosive ?!



    I don't know what's going on, but we've padlocked all the gates and we're keeping a close eye on things out at the ol' homestead.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    Happy Australia Day

    While the rest of the country:

    a) sits back to watch the cricket
    b) basks somewhere on a beach
    c) laze in a blow up pool in the backyard with JJJ hottest 100 on full volume (thanks neighbours)
    d) has a BBQ and throws back the beers
    e) all of the above

    I sit and try to do my assignment.  The assignment that I asked for an extension for because the floods destroyed my assignment mojo.  I know, karma will bite me.

    It's too hot, I can't concentrate and Australia Day is not made for assignments dammit!

    At least, now it is afternoon, I can relax with a drink.  I'm still trying to get through all the engagement champagne (Mr Fork is no help), and in the absence of strawberries, I improvised with fresh Tasmanian cherries.  I quite like the way they turned my drink pink and the bubbles make them float and dance around in my glass.  Delicious!

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Flood Update

    It's all so sad. We're ok because we're high on a hill, but some friends have evacuated and some have houses underwater.  My best friend went back to check on her place to find the water was up over her lawn but didn't reach the house.  She was lucky; her neighbours not so much, and her driveway became the boat ramp for vessels trying to get back to homes to see the damage.  We had house guests for awhile as well, a hound we doggy sat so his parents could go back to their house, and a friend who was on 'The List' of places to be affected.  


    As for Mr Fork and I, we're fine but its hard to see places that are so familiar looking so different. Its harder than words can say actually, and its horrible to think that I'll have to go to work on Monday and brave the smell of sewerage throughout the city and the sight of all that devastation.  On a personal, selfish note, I have tickets to Wicked on February 5th, and I'm hoping like mad that QPAC is able to re-open.

    Of all things, we ran out of toilet paper, and when I went to get more, because of all the panic buying going on, the shelves were bare! I mean honestly, I expect the bread, milk, fresh produce, pasta, eggs etc... but the loo paper? Merde!!



    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    City under siege

    For those who don't know, Brisbane is currently under floor warning.  This morning, 75% of QLD was declared a disaster zone.  In the aftermath of Toowoomba's flash flooding yesterday, the Brisbane forecast is not great, with predictions that we could equal or exceed the flood waters of 1974.  The heavy rainfall which has lasted over a month, in conjunction with high tides and the full dam capacity means flood releases will be constant.  The death toll is currently at 10, with 90 missing.  


    I was told to leave work yesterday while the leaving was good.  As I left, the river broke it's banks at West End, and crossing Southbank, had just covered the bike way and was en route to the grassy knoll outside QPAC.  Ipswich and Caboolture were on evacuation alert.


    Our house is fine; we're on a hill and suffered only a little soggy yard.  And smelly puppies.  So its extremely unlikely that we'll have to evacuate - which is good as I haven't bothered to prepare anything. 


    This morning, the river flooded over the Yeronga Corso.  Much of the CBD was shut down and power cut.  Some of my friends have left their homes in search of higher ground, others have been flooded already.  There has been a run on grocery stores as some areas are now isolated and others expect to be without power for up to 5 days.  Fresh fruit and veg, bread, eggs and milk are in short supply.  I'm Asian, so I do like to buy in bulk and we're fine, although our loo paper and bird seed supplies are a little low.  


    To those who have offered thoughts and prayers for us, thanks.  Its going to be a tough couple of days - while we're fine, I have friends and family who aren't as lucky and my thoughts are with them.  This is a picture of Eagle St pier.  Somewhere under that mass of water is a bike path that I often ride on, and restaurants I frequent.



    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    New Year's Reflection

    I know, it's well into the new year now, but I came across 20 questions here to reflect back across 2010, and I couldn't resist.

    1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
    Mr Fork proposing.  He showed off his romantic side for a change!

    2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
    The fall out with my mother.  There was a big gap in my year without her around.

    3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
    My furbabies give me joy every day.  It was unexpected to get them but I wouldn't have it otherwise.  Unconditional love and snuggles; who could ask for more?

    4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
    It was incredibly hard sometimes to realise that I can't control everything and other people can do things as well as I can.

    5. Pick three words to describe 2010.
    Fabulous, challenging, more!

    6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2010 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
    Be [the] bigger person.

    7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2010 (again, without asking).
    Stop spoiling surprises!

    8. What were the best books you read this year?
    Book? Please. Mostly repeats last year, textbooks don't count. I'll fix that this year when the degree is done.

    9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
    My fiance, my friends, my furbabies, my bicycle, my dad, my uncle.  Not necessarily in that order.

    10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
    I went from having a family to having fractured parts. It was a big challenge pulling myself together after the fall out from that one.

    11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
    I learnt that there is a time and a place. Sometimes you need to take time for yourself, and there is a lot of time for thinking when you're off cycling.  Just don't think too hard - buses are big and look like they'd hit hard.

    12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
    When someone close to you dies, you start to see them in places you'd least expect.

    13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
    Technically I shrunk physically.  If we're going to be literal, my thighs are more muscular and my left ring finger developed a sparkly attachment...

    14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
    Again, when a door closes, sometimes a window opens.  I may have reduced time with some people, but as a result I developed closer (and new!) ties with others.

    15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
    Branching out and taking on some new challenges.  Moving in with Mr Fork and learning to share our spaces.  Shared responsibility with the furbabies.

    16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
    Branching out and taking on some new challenges.  Taking a step back and realising I'm not always right. Learning to let Mr Fork take care of me.

    17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
    Facebook.

    18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
    I am *this* (holds fingers apart) close to another degree instead of a couch potato specialising in TV series.

    19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
    People can surprise you.

    20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2010 for you
    Glad its over, and bring on 2011!

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Welcome!

    I thought I should get back into this blogging thing.  New year, new blog, new attitude, new me.  I think 2011 is going to be a big year.  2010 was big, don't get me wrong: Mr Fork and I bought a house together, we got engaged, we now have two furbabies to care for as well as the feather and scale-babies, not to mention the now notorious familial dramas.

    2011 is going to be the 'new me' year!  I'm finishing the degree, we're getting married, I'm going to start blogging more and I'm going to be positive and fabulous about it all.  On that note, I'm not one for resolutions, but it is a new year and all and so:

    1. I aim to ride 2000km over the year (Mr Fork thinks I'm aiming too low and so this figure will be reviewed mid year)
    2. I will be more experimental with food and blog about my experiences
    3. I will not be bridezilla
    4. I will be the bigger person (figuratively not literally, natch, as I have a wedding dress to fit in to)
    5. I will maintain a healthy diet and exercise
    Why the fork? It's a bit of an inside joke, but I do like to cook, and eat.  So if it's vegetarian (even better if it's vegan) why yes, I'll be there with a fork!

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