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 hot....now 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 lawn..now 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