Saturday, April 04, 2009

The last post.....

From now on you can find me at

Blogger is okay, but I've been hearing good things about wordpress. So far its okay, I think it looks neater but there are more changes to come. I'm also planning on getting my own domain set up at some point.

Remember to update your favourites, bookmarks etc and sorry for any inconvenience!

- Jen

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I want you to remember, I'm still on your side

This week the man and I started our 'pre-wedding preparation course'. The man wasn't keen on going and I made a joke (sort of) about how we were not going to have a fight about going to wedding counselling right before we went. But anyway, it wasn't bad at all and actually turned out to be a bit interesting.

I mean, you don't get engaged to someone without having at least a vague idea about what they want for the future in the way of kids etc but we hadn't really had a proper talk about all of that. 

The first part was just answering questions, a lot of them about 180! You had to answer only 'agree' 'disagree' or 'uncertain'. A few of them were funny, like if the man's homosexual tendencies were likely to impact our relationship (uncertain) or 'I sometimes feel this may not be the right person for me to marry' (disagree).

One question though made both of us laugh out loud. I call it 'number 84'. Now I can bring it up all the time in conversation, like "you're being a bit number 84" or *cough* number 84 *cough*.

'Does your partner always have to win'? 'Agree', 'disagree' or 'uncertain'.

I'm sorry the man but I had to go and borrow a permanent marker rather than a pencil to fill in the answer to that one. Of course this will pose no problem for the man when it comes to discussing the answer because it's quite simple. He doesn't always have to win, he just always does. Or if Jen was ever right then she'd win, but I'm always right so that would never happen.

Quite simple. Next week we go back and go through all the answers that were different. We are allowed to talk about the questions and our answers now so we can prepare for the onslaught next week.

Should be interesting. Did you do anything like this before you got married??

- Jen

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dwindling crowds at GP??

Oh no wait ...Formula still wins the fans.

Confusing no?

Maybe it's saying that only actual fans are going this year? I don't know...

- Jen

Friday, March 27, 2009

I've seen those English dramas too, they're cruel

Thanks everyone for letting me know about the atrocious spelling mistake in the title of my last blog post. Or does no-one read this blog anymore?

I've fixed it now but it did say 'it bears it's teeth like a light'. And no one said a thing. Also, no one commented on my awesome hot cross buns. 

The title of the post was supposed to be lyrics from Snow Patrol's song 'take back the city'. Except now when you google 'it bears its teeth like a light', the first hit..the very first Jentopia.

Aaargh! Not happy!! Actually, before I do lyrics title I always google the lyrics to make sure I got them right. I just checked and all the ones I looked at have 'bears'. Still.... I should have picked that up. I know I'm hopeless at maths, but spelling too!!

- Jen

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It bares its teeth like a light and spits me out after days

Forget I said this, housemate is awesome. Actually, this week we've had two housemates and they've both been great. I have really truly had a blast.

Talk about a work/life balance.

 Thursday night the girls and I got a bit loose, just at home with a few quiet ones. Then last night housemates parents took us all out for dinner and we got a little loose again.

Earlier in the day I bought that Melbourne drinking card pack which I've wanted for ages, which has maps of all the cool bars on the back. We had dinner at Dimattina's which was really nice and then predictably headed to The Croft Institute which I've been to a couple of times before.

It was pretty fun and I caught up with some other friends which was good. After that we weren't quite ready to go home and housemate bumped into someone she knew who said they'd just come from a cool bar called the Emerald Peacock. 

It was closing though but they let us in for a drink which was nice of them. We had grand plans for going home and partying on with tequila and guitar hero, and housemate even cajoled some lemons out of the bar staff. It seemed like a really cool place and I'd like to go back there again.

Seriously, I love this city.

We did a Macca's stop on the way home which provided housemate and the man ammunition for an impromptu thickshake/coke fight when they got out of the taxi. 

The drinks at home didn't really happen, we were way too exhausted so after some greasy food we all hit the hay. AND I didn't feel too bad this morning! 

When bartenders give you lemons....

- Jen

Trip down memory lanes

I've had a very enjoyable morning recovering from a mild hangover by checking out London on google street view. I don't think street view London has been up for very long, because I checked awhile ago and it wasn't. Amsterdam is up too. 

I think its really really cool. Especially when you can get stuff like this:

This is 'the falcon' our local when we stayed in London. It's near Clapham Junction for folks in the know. Debenhams is on the opposite side of the road. Pretty awesome hey!

- Jen

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The best thing to happen to Moonee Ponds...

I thought it was pretty good. Although my sister was confused because she didn't know Dame Edna was 'from' Moonee Ponds. Of course if you don't know who Dame Edna is then the ad would be just strange.

Anyway so Moonee Ponds has a new shopping centre linking Coles with Puckle St. In between there is a K-Mart, 1st Choice liquor, Dick Smiths and a ton of other shops. Some pretty nice clothes shops too. Oh and an Original Lolly Shop which we will definitely be frequenting.

It's nice having a K-mart so close and it will probably mean we don't go to Highpoint much except for the movies, and of course the man for his weekend work. If the cinema that was talked about ever goes ahead we'll be set! Apparently Hoyts at Highpoint keep blocking it though.. so we'll see. All within a five minute walk. If we'd stayed in the apartment I could have looked out the window and taken a photo for you! Of course, then we'd also be locked in a battle with a body corporate and VCAT. I'll enjoy that relaxing walk instead I think. 

It is a great spot we're in though. I do still appreciate it, stumbling out of bed and strolling down Puckle St for a coffee. Since my sister is staying with us, I'm talking Melbourne up big. She's a fan of Degraves St now too!


- Jen

Hot cross buns, hot cross buns..see how they run

I may not know how the song goes but we do know how to make hot cross buns. 
This recipe comes from the Women's Weekly Kitchen recipe book.
First step is to assemble your ingredients:

2 x 7g sachets of granulated yeast 
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups warm milk
4 cups plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
60g butter 
1 egg
3/4 cup sultanas

First up, combine yeast, sugar and milk in small bowl or jug and cover, stand in warm place for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is frothy:

Sift flour and spices into large bowl, rub in butter. Stir in yeast
 mixture, egg and sultanas: m
ix to form a soft sticky dough. 

Cover: stand in warm place about 45 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. 

Now because we are chocolate fiends, alright well because I am a chocolate fiend, we split the recipe in half and replaced choc-chips and cocoa for raisins and spices.

Next Grease a pan (recipe says 23cm square pan), we used a rectangular pan and it worked fine! 
Turn dough onto floured surface (not too floured), and knead for about
5 minutes or until smooth. Divide dough into 16 pieces (we only managed 14 pieces, 7 regular and 7 choc), and knead into balls.   

Place balls into pan: cover, stand in warm place 10 minutes or until buns have risen to top of pan 

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220oC/200oC fan-forced.

Flour Paste: 
Combine flour and sugar in bowl. Gradually blend in enough of the water to form a smooth paste, pipe crosses on buns we just used a freezer bag with a small hole in it. Don't make the hole too big, it can be disastrous.

Bake buns about 20
minutes or until well browned. Turn buns onto a wire rack, brush top of hot buns with hot glaze (sugar + gelatine dissolved over heat) . Cool on wire rack. 

Smother in butter, and eat!

These really were awesome. The regular ones tasted like...good hot cross buns, the chocolate ones probably needed more sugar or something. The housemate came up with a solution to that though. Slice open chocolate bun, insert chocolate bar, put in microwave, melt and eat.
A nice way to spend a day off!

 - Jen

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Learning to fly

Back to the sore back. I finally have a diagnosis and I pretty much figured it out by myself. Stop groaning and going 'oh Jen you googled it didn't you'? Well yes, I did. Shutup the man. I was googling how to strengthen back muscles because the physio said that's why it was sore. Anyway I saw pictures of all these people with backs like mine, it just hasn't looked 'right' for awhile. It's called a winging scapula. As opposed to a whinging scapula. 

Anyway so when I went to the doctor (a different one this time) he looked at my back and says to me 'have you ever heard of a winging scapula'?

Ah. HA!

I had a blood test and also have to have a nerve conduction test to make sure it is an actual 'mechanical' problem and not something caused by an auto-immune disease. Nice. 
Today I rang up and tried to book in for the nerve test but they couldn't see me until the 9th of April. When I asked if there was anything I had to do for the test the receptionist said 'oh..are you sensitive to PAIN'? Then she giggled and said 'oh I probably shouldn't laugh'. But hey thanks to Medicare I only have to pay $30 to be electrocuted. 

If those two tests check out, then I'm off to a shoulder specialist and possibly surgery to move the shoulder blade back where it should be (flat against my ribcage).

Hrrrm. Although I'm still in a little bit of pain, its nowhere near as bad as it was. I just can't lift weights anymore, although now I'm all good with my orthotics I can run. If its not one thing, its another! I kind of felt that way, like maybe I was making too big a deal out of this, or that I was a sook. I also felt incredibly guilty about having so much time off work. I realised later I hadn't really had that much time off, but because I've been taking a few hours here and there to get to appointments it felt like I had. My boss pointed out I need to make work #2 priority which I've been trying to do. I just felt really slack. 

Of course the man has been right on the ball with nicknames, because I just don't have enough of those to keep track of. So far he's got 'clippy' (as in my wings will be clipped) and 'tampon' (with wings).

I can still ride but will probably get a rack thing to put my backpack on soon just to be safe. Last night I freaked out a bit because I don't want to be a winged bride but the man says it doesn't look too bad. Despite the man's accident I am still riding, but a bit slower and seem to be shaking my fist at drivers more. Or giving them dirty looks, I'm not co-ordinated enough to shake my fist and ride.

Speaking of the man's accident his elbow ended up getting infected which he only noticed because it reeked. So he's on some super dooper antibiotics and next time will insist the ambulance actually takes him to hospital. 

Oh time??? I am such an optimist!

Thankfully I have Thursday and Friday off work which I took as annual leave. I will be able to hang out with my sister who is staying here which I'm really looking forward to. Tomorrow we are going to attempt making hot cross buns! I will be photographing and putting up the recipe here if they are a success.

Right now I am off to the movies with housemate and my sister. We're seeing 'Confessions of a shopaholic and its going to be awesome'. Leaving the man at home to his own devices. Literally. He has been parked in front of the wii since I got home!

- Jen

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Party time at the insane asylum

Last weekend we spent at Beechworth for the man's aunty's 60th. It was heaps of fun, as usual I forgot the camera but I'm hoping to get some photos from the man's brother soon.

Speaking of the man's brother (Chris), he tried to out-do my triple j nickname by drinking almost a whole bottle of Jim Beam and then sleepwalking around La Trobe at Beechworth in his jocks. He got picked up by security who had to drive him around looking for where he was supposed to be staying, he got dropped off at the right spot but walked into everyone's rooms looking for his bed. Unfortunately I don't get to relinquish my nickname, it just means Chris gets one too.

It was a pretty cool place to stay and it looks like we will be going there for Fankhauser Christmas this year.

- Jen

Thursday, March 12, 2009

He's the luckiest the man alive

Well most of my readers have either commented on Facebook or called us but anyway this has to be blogged about 'for the records'.

I was out to see a client today and didn't get back to the office until about 1pm and saw a message from the man on my phone asking me to ring him at home. My first thought was 'what a bludger at home already'. When I called he sounded sick and when I asked him what he was doing he said 'um I got hit by a car on my way to work'.

He sounded so awful but it was because he'd been asleep. My reaction 'oh my GOD'. Then I had to sit down.

Someone opened a car door on him, and he hit it, came off his bike and then fell into a car driving alongside him and then that car hit his head.

Sounds impressive doesn't it. He saved the part about the other car hitting his head until I got home. I was worried enough at work and afer I got off the phone said 'the man got hit by a car' and Stuart said 'just go'. So off I went. 

The ambulance and police came, and the police got everyone's details including the door openers. Of course because the man is such a tough nut he got the ambos to patch him up and then he got a lift into work with the cops. 

Thankfully, Dr Ben (the man's mate who is a surgeon who is doing his PhD as well) drove him home and then inspected his wounds and re-dressed them. It's nice to know plumbers and electricians - but actual doctors are pretty handy to have as friends. 

The man got off with a pretty nasty wound/hole in his elbow, swollen and scraped hand where he hit the car door, a scraped knee and a tiny scrape on his nose. If he hadn't of had a helmet on, I hate to think where he would be now. Seriously unbelievably lucky.

His bike wasn't so lucky...but very much the least of our worries.

So I've been unsuccessfully trying to help him. Imagine a cranky bear. Now imagine that cranky bear with one paw bandaged up trying to cut up chicken kiev without taking up offered help.

My poor boy.

- Jen

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Cause blinded I am blindsided - SOTM March 2009

This month's SOTM I actually heard on Still one of my favourite blogs, and probably the only blog I literally laugh out loud at. 

Anyway I heard the song 'Blindsided' by Bon Iver on Dooce's year in review. If you follow Dooce at all, then its a pretty awesome clip. So I will link you to that instead of a youtube clip of Mr Iver, or do I just call him or them Bon? Like Bon Jovi

I wish I had to photography skills to be able to do that sort of stuff. I can't work a camera to save myself. Cameras and video recorders. 

Another good Bon..or Iver song is 'Skinny Love' off the same album (for emma, forever ago)

In more music related news, the man and I have finally, finally agreed on songs for our bridal waltz. I'm not saying what they are but they are a compromise on both our tastes. 

- Jen

Watching the people get lairy, is not very pretty

I don't know if I mentioned we acquired a housemate. But we did, she moved in last week and its been a definite left eyebrow raising experience. The man and I have lived with a housemate before but not one this much younger than us.

I've known our housemate for a while, since I worked at EB way back when.

Although the man and I aren't old, we just aren't the going out kind. If I had to choose between drinking beers at a loud club or sitting on the couch watching tv on a Saturday night with the man the latter would win every time. Beers at a bbq yes, Beer at the elms yes, beers at revolver, no.

It's always been this way. I didn't get old overnight I'm just marrying someone who thinks exactly like me (on this topic anyway). Until now, I didn't really think this 'binge-drinking' thing was anything unusual for young people. After all, when I was at uni I I drank lots and went out too.

But I was still so far removed from this. Even when I was at uni I'd look at the girls in their short dresses and 'CFM' boots (you will have to google that one on your own) and wonder if I was doing it all wrong. Except now that I'm older I just know I'm not like that, will never be like that and I'm very happy about it.

Housemate falls somewhere between me and the 'other girls' I think. But her mate last night, who we almost took to emergency at 3:30am - if it wasn't for a helpful phone call to the man's fellow PhD'er, Dr Ben..well that's just out of control.

Mind you, housemate says this girl normally handles her drink well. Which had us more concerned her drink had been spiked or something. Both were going to Future Festival today and it was the man who had the brains to ask if she was on anything. I'm so naive I didn't even think of that.

I don't think, in cases like this the alco-pops excise hike works. These are girls with large amounts of disposable income, who aren't struggling uni students who were back drinking by midday today (or earlier).

I am definitely not having a go at people who drink, because I definitely partake in a wobbly climb down the steps of Parliament station on a fair few Friday nights but as long as I eat, its not so out of control I'm unconscious and falling face first out of taxi's.

Like housemate said though, this girl is usually fine, this might have just been that one time she missed dinner...

But its just different when it's in your house. When you rent, you don't care if your housemate spews in their room, you don't care if they spew anywhere as long as they clean it up (or in one case, put a towel over it for a few months). But when its your house, you worry about spew on your floorboards and marks on the walls. At least I do.

Apparently its not going to be a regular occurence, which would want to be the worlds biggest overstatement. I don't know if housemate reads this, I think I've been pretty fair anyway. Go out, get smashed, have fun, explore an awesome city - but don't wake us and the neighbours up at 3:30am and 6:30am and don't mess up our house.

Having said that, the man and I are the kind of people that will get up at 3:30am, 6:30am or any am and make sure you are okay. I just really wish we weren't like that.

- Jen

Degraves St Subway

Seriously, I love Melbourne. And I love coffee. And so I love its quirky dark laneways and hidey hole bars with cool coffee spots.

But I didn't know about the Degraves St subway! 

Not that I know many of the laneways and that but this was a serious shock! On my way to the doctors on Friday I relished the thought of cutting through Degraves St (or Diagon Alley as I like to call it). When I hopped off the train at Flinders I turned to the west and instead of going out the last exit on the platform went down the middle rabbit hole and found this subway.
It's not a bad thing, still being this new to Melbourne because I love discovering all this awesome stuff. It was so old! 

The other day while I was out for work I did the same thing with an exit of Flagstaff station.  But this was way cooler. So while I was excited about the subway, imagine just how excited I was when I popped up in Degraves St. 

- Jen

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Oh the weight, oh it aches

So what'd the doctor say? What did the doctor say.....

Ah, you guys are going to laugh. This little 24 almost 25 year old is stressed.

What a surprise! Apparently my spine is pretty good. But my muscles are so incredibly tight that its like having a permanent cramp in my back.

The doctor asked me what I do to relax. That's a difficult question for me, because I don't really. So I'm supposed to start making time to relax, and try yoga or something.

I'm not sure something like yoga that requires co-ordination would be the best thing for me to relax, but my gym has heaps of those classes so I guess I will give it a go. I will probably also start getting massages.

I guess more importantly its taking more time to breathe and conciously relax. Obviously coffee and the paper on a Sunday morning isn't cutting it.

What do you guys do to relax?

- Jen

Friday, March 06, 2009

There's nothing to do here except just whine and complain

The knee I can handle. I don't have to run. I can do other things. But my back is a whole other kettle of fish. I've wanted to blog lots in the past week, but sitting down and typing after doing it for eight hours already, is way too painful.

So I've done something to my back. I don't know what it is, but it hurts like hell. It's been sore for a couple of weeks, but I figured I'd done something in the gym and it would clear up. It was only when I sat down at work that it would play up. Until now it just felt like something in my back needed to crack and then it would be fine.

This week after being in unbearable pain, I took myself off to the physio. Who said this sort of thing is his bread and butter and he'd fix me. I quite like him, even if my back didn't feel better he made me feel it would be okay. I'm such a patient person as everyone knows so I expected to feel better that night after some stretches and some manipulation by him. If anything I felt worse, and yesterday someone from work had to drive me home because I was in agony. Not only was it when I sat down, but also when I walked around. The worst thing was that I've been to the chemist and got some voltaren but it made no difference at all.

I'm off today and have a doctors appointment this arvo who has spoken to the physio. Hopefully they can give me some good pain relief. I'm going to have to go and pick up 'the precious' and bring it home on the train because I had to leave it at work overnight. 

Of course I'm freaking out about this because I've never ever had a sore back before and I have a ton of work to do, and even if I bring it home, sitting down at home is the same as sitting down at work. 

But it seems most people get something like this sometime. A guy at work had a sore back not long ago, and it seemed a lot worse than me and he's getting better. It's just stopped me in my tracks, can't work, can't run, can't ride 'the precious'. With some pain relief hopefully I can't get to work, and its a long weekend so hopefully by next week I will be feeling better. 

The physio had some interesting thoughts though. Almost all the work I do using weight at the gym is for my front, ie bench presses are for the chest but very little to none specifically for my back. I do some lower back, but basically nothing for my upper back. I did start doing a new program two weeks ago where there are some lat pull-downs and rows (back). I don't think this is a coincidence. The physio thought it might be my back muscles trying to pull me back now, but my stronger front muscles pulling me forward causing pain. The man thinks this is frog poo but it sounds logical to me. 

Also, do you know how hard it is to rate pain? I rated mine an 8 when I went to the physio, then I said 7..because I don't know! He probably sees people with their spines snapped in two who rate the same! Right now its more than it was the other day, I would say an 8-9. What about people with broken legs! Its a stabby, burning, tingling pain. 

The health and safety guy at work showed me how bad my desk is, I like to write a lot, then I type, then I read and make notes so I'm all over the shop turning to my pc then back to notes etc. Shocking. The actual set up of my desk wasn't too bad, but now I've got a document holder. I don't particularly like it, but hopefully it helps. 

Sigh. I'm trying to think up song of the month, but this was hard enough to write so I'm going for a walk to get a coffee before I go to the doctors. 

- Jen

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I had nothing to do on this hot afternoon, but to sit down and write you a line.

Today just might have been the best day I've had in a long time. It started out very average, got into work about 6am to get in some time on an EOI I'm working on. Long story short, they opened up the position I am currently acting in as long term higher duties. But the application is open to everyone I work with, so its going to be an interesting couple of weeks. It's due Friday.

So there I was at work, grinding my teeth about the application, badgering Stuart my workmate to get his arse into gear and start his....when all the lights went off.

I pressed ctrl+s frantically over and over hoping the damn thing had saved. Then I remembered I'd saved it to the desktop, so it wasn't saved on the server. 

No worries, I'll save it to the share drive -'A network cable is missing'
No worries I'll just print it out - Power is off so printer is off also...der
No worries. I'll email it to myself - 'Outlook could not connect to server'

I started to panic a little bit at this point. So in desperation I grabbed my phone, took three photos of the screen and just as I took the last one, my computer switched off.

Could be work as one of those fancy things Tony has which gives you time to save your work before the computer carks it after a power outage. The next question was, what was going on? 

It was only our floor and thoughts automatically turned to the builders renovating our bathrooms. There was a collection of very guilty looking tradesman lingering about the liftwell and a strong smell of smoke. After waiting around for an hour, enjoying the darkness, going to get a coffee and generally having a nice bludge and a chance to relax we went upstairs to an IT training room. I couldn't check my document because my profile wasn't loading up on the new PC. Aarrgh. 

So I typed up my document from my phone screen. Yes that actually worked. Best idea I ever had. In case I get in there tomorrow and it did get wiped, I'm covered.

After that we all got sent home and it got put down to a standard day. So much free time (it was 1pm) what do I do? 

I called the man to see if he was working or bludging and he said he could meet me at 3pm and we'd go and see a movie. 

I dropped by a bike shop near work and chatted to the guy for about an hour and a half and test rode about eight bikes. Nothing really jumped out at me. 

On the way home I stopped in at our local bike shop and looked longingly at the bike I'd tried out on the weekend. It was only slightly out of my budget (by $75) but I also needed a lock ($60) and to change the quick release part to a more secure one. 'Part' is a technical term too, just so you know. Three weeks ago I knew nothing about bikes now I can look at one and tell if it has good gears and stuff. Alright, so I still don't have much of an idea. 

Anyway long story short I got the whole kit 'n' caboodle for only $50 more than my budget. Not bad negotiating on my part. I use the word 'negotiating' loosely. I asked for his best price on getting the whole lot. I was stoked actually and I pick it up tomorrow. It's a flat bar road bike and it is beautiful. 

Funnily enough the pedal on my current bike snapped today so it will be an interesting ride to work tomorrow. I might throw it off citylink on the way home. I always threaten to do that to the damn thing. 

After we got home the man and I went down to Highpoint to see a movie but there were none on! What! We were caught in a movie black spot. The next one didn't start for an hour so we gave up and went home. 

I had a hot bath, started and read a book I've been meaning to read (yes I read fast) and ate easter eggs. I know. At least I haven't started on hot cross buns.

Seriously, I have had the best day. But now its time for dinner, Bondi Rescue, Packed to the Rafters and then bed.

The photo is Stuart, my team mate in the darkness of our office. He told me today that I 'look better in the dark'. Nice.

- Jen

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Review: Growlers, Torquay.

Yesterday during a whirlwind tour of 'The Bellarine', my sister and I stopped off at Growlers in Torquay for lunch. The place looks great. The menu was average and it looked overpriced. They didn't disappoint either, it was overpriced.

We ordered a thai beef salad and a 'pint' of king prawns to share. 

A pint of prawns was a pint glass filled with NINE prawns ($30) and the thai beef salad ($18) was about ten centimeters in diameter. It was...tiny. Shell said she could have shoved a few more prawns in there.

Also, what is the deal with giving us NINE prawns. Anyone who knows an Unsworth knows you don't put yourself in between them and an uneven number of prawns. I was accused of eating more than my share and we had to pull out the poor prawn heads and count how many we'd each had.

The 'pint' was served with marie-rose sauce. Do you know what it is? Its seafood cocktail sauce. 

$48 later...we had to go and get ice-cream because we were still hungry.

The food was nice enough but ridiculously over-priced. Their breakfast menu looked good though, and much more reasonably priced. We saw some people eating breakfast and it looked like a decent serve. 

Nice views too. If you've got money to burn and you're not hungry I'd recommend it. Is that a backhanded compliment or what? 

- Jen

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The best man

This meme was featured on Dooce and Zucchini Bikini so you know its good.

I'm sure the man will disagree with half of these. Its what he does. See answer to 'who is smarter'.

What are your middle names?

Mine is Kathleen, his is James. I just had to ask why it was James. His response was: "I dunno, because my pop's middle name was James..I dunno, I 'spose that's why......wait..why do you need to know that?"

How long have you been together?

Five years in May, getting married in October.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?

No idea, maybe a month?

Who asked whom out?

Probably me. It's the old story everyone (except me) loves about me slipping my phone number into his pocket after the time we met, him finding it before I left and giving it back with his number on it. 

How old are each of you?

I'm 24, he's 27. I'd like to say, 'but I'm more mature'. Except I'm not. 

Whose siblings do you see the most?

At the moment, mine. I only have one sister, and he has an older brother and sister and two younger sisters. It's mostly geography.

Which situation is hardest on you as a couple?

Dooce said work. Kathy pretty much said work too. At the moment, the man works so hard with two jobs. I feel guilty but its just not practical for me to have a second job. Other than that...nothing is too hard. That's going to come back and bite me. I can tell. 

Did you go to the same school?

Nope, not even close. I went to high school and uni in Albury. He went to high school in Finley and uni in Melbourne.

Are you from the same home town?

I'm from Albury, he's from Berrigan which google tells me is 122 kms away from Albury.

Who is smarter?

These questions suck. The man is the smartest person I know. Sometimes I think he dumbs himself down to be able to communicate with me. The running joke is that he is always right. This isn't actually true, but he is so good at arguing that its just easier to agree when I am actually just right so he shuts up.

Who is most sensitive?

While the man has a sensitive side, this would have to be me. 

Where do you eat out most as a couple?

We don't really. I think if we went out for dinner by ourselves it would freak us out. We do have takeaway japanese fairly regularly. I always have to be the one who orders because I can never understand what they are saying and they can never understand me so I end up shouting at them down the phone which the man seems to find funny.

Where is the furthest you two have travelled together as a couple?

No idea. London? 

Who has the craziest exes?

Apparently me. Turns out one actually is crazy. I mean, we haven't had the man's assessed or anything but I'm going to go with me.

Who has the worst temper?

Well! This is tough.  Just to pick a fight I will say him. He gets angry when he drives. Every time. Don't deny it the man, you do.

Who does the cooking?

Don't mention the eggs in the spaghetti episode..don't mention the eggs in the spaghetti episode..don't mention the eggs in the spaghetti episode.. Damn! He does. I get home too late most nights and he's usually started dinner or has it prepped ready for me to put it together. 

Who is the neat freak?

He is neat, but not 'notice the dust on the window sill' neat. If I ask him nicely to do something he usually does it without grumbling too much. And he mows the tiny lawn we have. 

Who is more stubborn?

Ha. HIM! Along with being the smartest person I know he is also the most stubborn. Wait..I could have used this in 'which situation is hardest for you as a couple'...'anything that involves getting him to change his mind about something'.

Who hogs the bed?


Who wakes up earlier?

Me. I'm up and about at 5am on week days. On weekends he gets going earlier than me because he works that pesky second job.

Where was your first date?

I think Harvey's fish and fun park. In Albury.

Who is more jealous?

Schroddy. Actually I don't know. I've never seen him jealous before! 

How long did it take to get serious?

Ha. What's serious? Maybe two months. Two months sounds good. 

Who eats more?

Me. He doesn't eat breakfast or lunch. But he will snack on kitkats and coke before coming home and infesting the house with his revolting melted vegemite and cheese on cruskits in the microwave smell.

Who does the laundry?

We sort of alternate. I do the ironing though! Things are looking up since he stopped putting my bras in the dryer. That was devastating (for me).

Who's better with the computer?

It used to be me, but now he builds them from scratch so I'll go with him.

Who drives when you're together

Again, used to be me. But since WE got a car and got rid of MY car he drives all the time. Also see 'who has the worst temper'.

- Jen

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Is the Commando our biggest water wally?

I apologise for not using one of my nifty song quotes for the title. But I have a headache. I didn't drink nearly enough water this afternoon and now I feel like my brain is trying to escape through my left eye.

That's why I'm blogging instead of sleeping. Anyway. So to the title of this post. Normally we are too busy cooking tea and I don't usually see The Biggest Loser but tonight I caught some of it and I was aghast. That's right, aghast. The Commando.... is a water wally. He was using a hose and spraying contestants telling them 'toughen up.. its just like rain'. 

What a tool. Or the producers of the show are. It's not like they would be spraying them with bore water. Would they? Nah. 

I was disgusted. Do you know what else I was disgusted about tonight? The huge slug in my broccoli. All day I've been hanging out for some lightly steamed broccoli and as I was putting it on my plate I saw it. This yellow caterpillar/enormous maggot creature. It was horrible. I couldn't eat any broccoli, and of course the man being such a delicate little thing threw all his out as well. I still ate the rest of my vegies because I was hungry. 

I am not sure if I should be happy the vegetables at Coles are so...fresh or if I should be freaked out about how many other little creatures I've probably eaten in the past. Seriously, it looked like an enormous maggot. No I didn't take a photo. Yes, wishing I had now. 

- Jen

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Put your money where your mouth is

I've been thinking up this post for awhile. The recession/global financial crisis/credit crunch has not hit us as hard as the nuptial crunch has. Our bank balance usually sits at a certain level, and rises a very small amount after each pay. Initially when the man started his part time work, he didn't really need to work. But for a time there without his work, we'd be very slowly going backwards. My higher duties at work, were pretty important there for awhile. Since my promotion, its not going to be such a devastating fall in pay (just my pride) if I ever have to go back to my substantive level.

So what have we done to save money?
  • Shopping at markets, saves us big $$ on meat
  • Using the meat as a base for our meals, means we can plan our week ahead avoiding unnecessary trips to the supermarket where we might make impulse purchases of stuff we don't need
  • Eat cheap, we ate Chilli Con Carne 3 nights last week, + 1 lunch for me. I'm really really sick of Chilli Con Carne. Someone pointed out we should freeze it. That sounded pretty logical, will have to start to plan meals better using pre-prepared frozen meals
  • No dry cleaning. I used to dry clean my work shirts. But not really necessary. I do hate ironing though
  • Sadly, sacked my personal trainer saves $45 a week
  • Ride to work, saves a little more than $200 a month on public transport, and the costs in bike maintenance are minimal
  • Drink instant coffee at work, limit to maximum 1 bought coffee a day, if possible none. This has been the hardest.
  • Bring breakfast to work, everyday. 1/2 cup Carman's untoasted muesli + jalna yoghurt prepared the night before makes bircher museli. Keeps me going until lunchtime and is very good for you. Because its bircher muesli its easy and fast to eat at work.
  • Naturally bring lunch to work everyday. Usually leftovers or banana on toast + fruit.
  • We're still repaying our mortgage at the highest repayment amount on our variable portion, we haven't dropped after all the rate decreases. Our 3 yr fixed runs out soon, and its likely we will be able to lock it in for even lower than what it is now.
  • Stay in. We're both hermits so this isn't too hard.
So, there you go. I'm sure I will edit this as I think up more. Any tips?

Oh yeah, and I'm spending some of my $900 on a new bike. My current bike has just about had it, and its murdering my knees. It's like riding an..arthritic clydesdale. A racer-like bike it is! So the bike research commences. The man, sadly falls into a surplus black hole. His scholarship (which isn't huge) for his pHD is tax free. He earned more than $6000 last year, but the low income tax offset took him back to $0 which means he isn't eligible. He also isn't eligible for anything from Centrelink e.g. Austudy because they count his scholarship as income. He really should get something, but he is just in a black hole. There must be others in his situation. 

- Jen

But things just get so crazy living life gets hard to do

Our weekend didn't really go as planned but turned out pretty good in the end.

We'd planned to go back to Albury and the boys were going to go looking at suits, which I have been nagging them about for a couple of months now. So that was the main thing to be done. As we were going back we'd also planned to go to our reception place and start working out table decorations and also talk to the travel agent about our honeymoon.

On Thursday, the groomsman the man was going shopping with called to say he'd been sent up to Flowerdale with the Reserves to help with the fires. Not going to argue about that! Well, it would give us more time to do other things!

On Friday night when we got back Dad told me the people at the reception place were away, as were the travel agents. Not to be put out, we cheerfully said, "well we can spend more time with you guys!". Mum and Dad looked at each other and then said "ah, well about that...we're actually going away......".

So we spent Saturday looking at suits, having lunch with the man's Mum and Step Dad, squeezed in a visit to Cold Rock, dinner with Mum, Dad and Nan and then drove back to Melbourne before Mum and Dad left as well. Oh and it was the anniversary of our engagement, so we've been engaged for two years now. We gave each other..nothing! 

We had a nice drive home, well the man drove while I read a book until it got too dark. Then we talked about the awesome bike I'm going to buy with my $900. I am a bit apprehensive about getting a bike so good, it will get pinched.

When we got home, we were both stuffed so we went to bed. Then I got to have an awesome sleep in. The reason we came home is so that we have time to get stuff done for the week. Hence the title of this post. We headed to the markets about 11, just in time for the closing bargains. 

We got:

- 6kg of lean beef mince $30
- 5 kg chicken breasts $50
- about 10-12 yearling beef steaks,  $10
- 2 lamb roasts (about 1-1.5kg each) for $20 - yes, $20 for TWO roasts.

The stuff is good quality too. We will freeze one roast, and have one for dinner tonight. Somehow I have become the household 'roast cookerer'. A title that was reserved for the man but he has relinquished to me. I'm not sure its a good thing. Apparently I'm good at cooking the vegies. I will admit I have mastered cauliflower and cheese sauce from scratch.

Then to the fruit shop for fruit and vegies. We don't buy this at the markets because its just as good and cheap from the shop, or even Safeway. I suspect the fruit shop ripped us off on bananas because they were $4.98kg, and Safeway would be cheaper.

Then onto Safeway for the rest of our household stuff. Washing powder etc. Spent $110 there. But we bought a ton of bulk stuff. Like the man's cordial, Cottee's was on sale. 2 x green, 1 x red and 1 x lemon. Then home, where it took approximately 30 minutes to put it all away, including weighing, bagging and putting all the meat into the freezer. 

All this before a coffee! My head was about to start pounding, but I made do with an instant, saved in the nick of time. 

Now we're set for the week, well a couple of months with all that meat actually. Nice to have a day just to get back on track.

- Jen

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The worst day in our history - no question

I've been trying to blog about this for a few days now. But its incredibly hard to put into words, everything that has happened. For awhile it seemed like there was just a fire, a bad one but not catastrophic. Then it seemed like everywhere was on fire. People were warned not to go down the Great Ocean Road or the Mornington Peninsula in case they were trapped. Saturday afternoon there were no reports about any deaths, then Saturday night it started filtering in. The death toll is staggering. I was worried for family for awhile, and some of them were fighting fires. A little bit of property was lost, but everyone is okay.

So it's been a sad week, and I've been murmuring along with everyone at work about how terrible it is, while it all felt so surreal. It wasn't until today when I sat down to eat my lunch and I unfolded the Herald Sun that it really got to me. A picture of a tiny little eight month old baby boy that died did it. I couldn't read the article. Or the other 3/4 of the paper. I managed to keep it together until I got home, and so now I'm having a good cry. 

Actually Crikey has described the front page as cynical and manipulative.

How did John Brumby know the day before it was going to be our worst day in history? I feel bad for bagging the guy now, but announcing it on Friday sounded over dramatic to me at the time. 

The bush was so dry. When we went camping a few weeks ago I could snap off largish tree branches with one hand. 

There are so many variables that caused the fires to be as bad as they were. Namely the drought, the wind and the heat. If the drought wasn't as bad, it wouldn't be so dry, even if the drought was bad, if the wind wasn't so bad, if it wasn't so the blame game starts. If only that early warning system had been put in place, if only the greenies hadn't been against clearing around homes, if only people had been better prepared.

But it seems like it didn't matter what anyone did. The best prepared people died along with the unprepared. All of those variables just came together in the worst possible way. 

Right now, the CFA is working to stop the two major fires, the Kinglake complex and the Bunyip State Forest merging together. 

Here is a photo from the Herald Sun taken from Kinglake looking towards the city. Kinglake, like Marysville
was pretty much completely destroyed.

Reports are 1 in 5 Marysville residents died in the fires. That's just how quick it was, people didn't have time to decide whether to stay or go.

The great thing is that the support being generated is just phenomenal. We haven't done anything yet. I'm not sure what to do. Donating blood I can do, but like Daniel said they're full at the moment, and its probably better to wait. Money, we can give but it looks like plenty of that is being generated. We got an email at work today from our site leadership who said that they really need formal clothes so people who lost everything, have something to wear to funerals. I could only shake my head.

So along with it being Victoria's worst day, it looks like Australia's worst day.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

It's beautiful, freeze it, pause it

This is a picture I took the other day on my way to work. The balloons were flying so low I thought they were going to hit the new Children's hospital which is why I stopped to take a picture. 

Taken 6:17am on 5/2/2009 on Flemington Rd.

- Jen

The worst day in our history?

The day isn't over yet, so this might come back to bite me but why John Brumby would say today will be the worst day in our state's history is beyond me. 

Edit 10.00pm: Okay, now looks like there is a rising death toll, not good.

Edit 8/2/09: Worse than Ash Wednesday.....the town centre of Bendigo almost went and lots of houses there were lost. I've got the man ringing people we know there. Also thinking about relatives who have properties near Clonbinane. Just read Broadford is now under direct threat. Lots, almost all my extended family there. 

For the future I had to post a picture from the city's hottest day ever, even though the picture is getting a workout around the traps. I think the bottom of it might be taken from our backyard.. Only a month or so ago I was admiring our green its all dirt and prickly grass.

The Hume Freeway is closed at the moment between Broadford and Wallan because of a large fire at Kilmore. Mum and Nan are supposed to be coming down tomorrow to go and see my sister so hopefully its open by then. 

So today the man and I took it as easy as we could. We went into 'the lab' this morning so he could setup some experiments. I entertained myself by looking at all the bio hazard stickers and warnings about carcinogens everywhere. Seriously, one whole door was covered in stickers about the danger inside. Those bio hazard stickers freak me out. Too resident evil-ish.
After that we went down to a paper shop in South Melbourne to have a look for materials for our wedding invites. Not far away was the South Melbourne markets so we went in for a walk around.
Interesting, the difference between food section in the Queen Vic and in the South Melbourne markets. The SMM seems to be very much the South Yarra crowd serving the South Yarra crowd. That's not actually a very astute observation though given where the SMM is located! I didn't see Prue and Trude though. 

We ducked up to Highpoint briefly and purchased a cheap evaporative cooler from the Good Guys. The salesman was obviously suffering heat exhaustion because he tried to talk us out of buying it. "Honestly, its not that good, it will only cool your legs". Well my legs are hot buddy and I don't have air conditioning, so right now, this is looking pretty good. I didn't say it, but I was thinking it. The man's weekend work purchased a few for last weekend and they didn't seem too bad - it was only $95 and we plan on getting proper air con when I am the Commissioner of Taxation and the man wins a Nobel Prize for curing cancer. So, shortly.

We got a couple of dvds and then collapsed in front of the tv and the cooler. The cooler was not too bad, you can put ice in it, but its huge and if I had enough ice to fill it, I'd probably just rather sit in an esky instead of putting it in the cooler. We put tap water in it and I was aghast at how much it took to fill. I hate to think how much water people are using at the moment. I hope someone has reported that pesky orange helicopter buzzing about. I'm joking about that. I suppose for some people, today was the worst day in their history.

I wondered if I filled up the bath if the cats would get in koala style - see picture below. The man thought this was a dumb idea but later I saw Ren's video on Facebook of a cat swimming around quite happily in a bath. I'm not game to try putting them in because Schroddy already hates me with a vengeance and I don't really want to get Tilly offside.

Well enough talking. Time for dinner. More salad! Hot meals are a thing of the past.

- Jen

Friday, February 06, 2009

Well you shouldn't, 'cause that's my sideboob.

I still read the Border Mail online and have noticed some interesting stuff this week.

A picture of Peter Griffin associated with an article about 'man boobs'. Reminded me of the man's and Gus' commonly quoted Family Guy moment. 

I'm pretty sure someone at the Border Mail has a sense of humour.

- Jen

I frown and down my brow

I frown and down my brow at this Herald Sun headline, or sub-headline or whatever it is:

Spot the odd mini/sub headline.

Just not quite right. I can remember someone, possibly Daniel blogging awhile ago about one of the papers and how their website was linking to odd google ads about death after car accidents, or something like that. Actually The Age looks like they still do, with ads for fire extinguishers and Toyota along with an article about a firebug driving a Hilux. 

FYI - It's the thing about Myers'.

- Jen

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I really underestimated the creepiness...

The man was just showing me some funny superbowl ads, I think this one was the best:

- Jen

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Oh I fear, I'll become unclear - SOTM February 2009

Still on the Josh Pyke bandwagon. I've had a great few weeks getting addicted to Josh. I always love having new music to listen to and wondering if it will grow on me and then playing it again and again when it does. 

I bought 'Chimney's Afire', his latest album...and not much has grown on me. I bought the album for 'Make you happy' which is a good song, but I've been playing it to death. I listened to the album almost twice driving to and from Geelong the other day much to the man's horror. Only one other song jumped out at me and it's 'you don't scare me'.

It's a typical Jenu song, very sing-alongable-to.

I couldn't even find you guys the video, so you will have to make do with listening to it here, the player is in the top right hand corner of the screen. I recommend buying it on itunes. 

- Jen

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cameron the chameleon

I don't know if I've blogged about this before, but the man and I have this 'thing' about Karma Chameleon. You know, the song by Culture club: Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon 

The man tries to tell me its Karma THE chameleon. As in a chameleon, named Karma. I used to dispute this, but lost a bet and so now I have to agree that it is Karma THE chameleon.

So tonight, while I was taking out the rubbish the man decided he would hide and jump out at me as I walked back into our yard. When he jumped out at me he stood on a prickle and I said "well you know what chameleon that is don't you" and the man (without missing a beat)
goes "Cameron, Jen. Its Cameron the Chameleon".

I had to blog about it because its this kind of stuff he comes out with that I love about him.

- Jen

This is what the world is for, making electricity

I thought I should blog about it, I know. It's hot.

But my blog has been going for awhile now, and I plan to keep it going. If we end up having kids, I'll be doing a Pumpkin Diary style thing for sure.

Lately while my new years reso (I'm calling it a reso now) is still holding out, I've been contemplating all the things I should be blogging about.
I didn't blog about Obama being elected, or his inauguration and that was a pretty big deal. I like reading my archives, I'm such a goose.

I was a goose three years ago, and three months ago and I'm pretty sure I'm a goose right now.

So I should blog about this heatwave, this 'once in a century' heatwave. Lucky its only 'once in a century' because I shouldn't see another one. And if I do, I won't be riding home from work in 43.4 degree heat like I did yesterday and the day before.

This afternoon I procrastinated (reso! damn!) so long about riding home the temperature dropped 5 degrees and the ride home was tolerable. Only 1 icy pole needed today and no wondering if I should hop off my bike and throw up. 

Still better than catching a train. I shouldn't forget to put that in. Right now, readers of the future - the trains SUCK. I don't know enough about why they suck, or who I should blame - Kosky v. Connex but if you want to know, talk to this man. 

It was pretty funny at work the other day when Angelo, on his first day back from holidays went to stroll out the door at 3:40. I asked him where he was going and he said 'gotta go, my train goes at 3:43'. 'What line is it on?' "Werribee'
''re not going anywhere'. He literally had no idea about the trains and apparently hadn't seen a newspaper in three weeks. A little bit funny. 

So the title of this post comes from 'electric feel' by MGMT. I still try and use song lyrics in my blog posts which is why some of them probably make no sense to most people. 

Anyway, the man and I drove to Bunnings (aka hardware store hell) to buy a hose winder (its scientific name) and some extension cables - which were of no use later.

Driving home we noticed cars behaving strangely at traffic lights and found it hard to see them (the lights). It turned out there were no lights! I figured that if there were no traffic lights in the 'ponds there was probably no electricity on at home either. We went home and checked before getting our groceries and for once I was right. Damn. Also my phone was running flat. Damn.

We had a romantic dinner sitting in our backyard eating tuna out of a can and salad. It was actually delicious. The man puts all kinds of weird and wonderful things in his salads, like kiwi fruit, oranges and nectarines, in addition to lettuce, carrot, tomatoes etc. 

Poor Schroddy was not coping well in the heat, she kept walking around with her mouth open and her tongue out. Despite it not being a good sign, it still looked funny. After they both had some tuna juice they perked up though.

There you go, its Friday 30 January 2009 and it's hot. 

- Jen