Got to Get Away

August 16, 2010

I couldn’t wait another second – I headed out of town on Thursday night for a spur of the moment spell at the holiday house. It was chilly, but sunny. We just spent the last 3 days lolling about reading books, playing board games, watching DVDs and eating.Mmm, even a fantastic baked dinner on Saturday night.

This place heals me – it is one of the very few places that just makes me instantly relax.

When we returned I even realised we’d brought home most of the junky snack food I’d thrown into a bag in a hurry on Thursday night and we’d eaten for the most part reasonably healthily. If you don’t count cheese as unhealthy. Dairy is good for you. It is too.

Today my muscles are telling me that rowing miles up the lake might not have been the smartest move. My bruises are telling me that falling in the lake after a few lemonades on Friday night serve me right and that water and alcohol do not mix. My mind is telling me that things just might be ok.

A Change is as Good as a Holiday

August 5, 2010

I have no idea who said that, but it sounds like a lie to me. Who in their right mind would say “Oh no, I don’t need a holiday – I’ll just change my job, or move, or any number of other frightful sounding options!” Nobody would say that, that’s who. They’d all say “I’ll take the holiday!” So I need a holiday.

Where to, though? The Boyfriend and I have been debating the merits of various destinations, for yesterday I decided – we need a holiday! Soon! At least 3 weeks worth! We shouldn’t waste any time in picking and booking, just in case an amazing job comes up for him. (He has an unusual work style. He blows any old job off if he decides he’s had enough. That’s why he’s had more jobs than I’ve had hot dinners. We think he’s decided what he wants to do though, finally, so we should go on holidays before he actually acts on that idea. Although really that gives me months, he’s not that keen – he’d probably prefer to win Lotto and not work. Wouldn’t we all, but some of us are more realistic than others!)

I quite like the idea of Turkey and Egypt. My mum always promised to take me to Egypt when I was a kid, as I was always fascinated by the pyramids and the ruins. Then she went without me, and told me that Turkey was just as good, if not even better, so perhaps that defines the itinerary. The Greek Islands are only close by, so that would round out a top holiday nicely. The Boyfriend’s done Egypt already though, and some of Greece, which kind of spoils the idea of going somewhere new! and exciting! together. This option doesn’t completely get ruled out yet though – there’s a difference, I keep telling him, between going and seeing every bar in a new city, to actually getting out there and seeing things – you can drink yourself silly at home, but you can’t pop over to check out the local ruins here, mostly because there are no ruins here.

Machu Pichu is another consideration. Apparently it’s all open again to tourists since those dreadful mudslides earlier in the year. I’m not exactly in top shape for a 4 day trek, but I think I could manage it. Neither of us has been, that’s a bonus. Another mudslide would really put a dampener on this option. Plus I really hate being dirty. I wonder how well I would cope with the reality of the idea.

I have seen some amazing deals for places close by (Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong) but they are much more common destinations – I don’t want to waste a big holiday really on just lying by a beach at Patong.

Any ideas? Somewhere surely must fit the bill – not too expensive, with enough to entertain for 2 to 3 weeks, somewhere amazing and different. I need to go and buy a world map, and populate it with pins for every place I’d like to visit. Might need more pins here.

Food by the Sea

July 23, 2010

When I wake up, and am still in that dreamy half sleep state, I often have marvellous conversations with The Boyfriend. Mostly about what I was just dreaming. I am assuming this is true, because of course I hardly remember any of these conversations. I only go by what I am told.

There are 2 specific things that I apparently talk about the most frequently when referring to my dreams. The first is the holiday house where I spent all my school holidays as a child, and still try to get to a couple of times a year even if just for a long weekend. Well of course I can understand I would dream about that place – it’s a magical, wonderful place. I plan to have my ashes scattered on the water there when the time for that little ceremony rolls around, it’s the most special place I have ever been. Speaking of scattering ashes on the water, I apparently dream of swimming all the time as well, but I kind of link that in with the holiday house – they are one and the same, in my mind. Not swimming in ashy water, to be clear, just swimming.

The second thing is food. I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me really either, I am greedy and love to eat. Luckily, I love to cook as well, although I don’t do as much of it as I really should as work really cuts into my leisure time. But hey, when that Lotto win comes through I will be happy to hang around the house and cook up a storm. (I could then pay someone to diet for me – that should work, right?) I didn’t realise I dream about food so much – although I suppose, the one dream I do recall from the past fortnight is the one where I was for some unknown reason carefully dipping sliced cucumber into melted chocolate. I guess that clears up the worry that I’m forgetting fantastic recipes that I dreamt up, eh.

I was surprised these were the dreams I ramble about the most. The dreams that I do remember are usually rather vivid and frightening, and involve mazes and races and running away from something/someone. The Boyfriend looked at me rather dryly and said that when I am not dreaming about cooking, and not dreaming about the holiday house, I apparently dream I am in a cooking contest at the holiday house, so I managed to get the “competition/race” part of that involved in there too. For a while I got a bit excited and thought I surely would be a natural shoe-in for next season of MasterChef. Then I realised that cucumber dipped in melted chocolate was probably not a MasterChef winnng combo.

*Edited to Add:

That’s a lie – I just realised there IS one other dream I remember from last week. It has nothing whatsoever to do with food or the holiday house, either. It does tell me that work is stressing me out JUST a tad though. I dreamt I was at a book launch, for a book I had written. It was a children’s book, and was beautifully illustrated much in the style of Beatrix Potter. I couldn’t quite remember what I had written in the book, so was flicking through it. It was a story about a little bunny rabbit who was having issues with her computer. Etc. Till the last page, when it ended with “Peter the rabbit smiled to himself, feeling pleased, for he didn’t have any issues with his computer – he used a PC, not a Mac.” I’m now convinced that I have either totally lost the plot, or thought up the idea that is going to make me my fortune.

Things that go Poke in the Night

July 20, 2010

The other night as we lay in bed, I said to The Boyfriend “You know, sometimes I’m not sure if you’re still breathing at night. It’s normally reasonably easy to tell if you’re alive – the snorty noises give it away. Sometimes though, I wake up and you’re all quiet. So I poke you to see if you’ll make a noise, just to check if you’re still alive.”

The Boyfriend looked at me with absolute shock on his face. I thought he was horrified that I would be poking him in the ribs every other night. Gee, and I didn’t even tell him how HARD I do it sometimes, especially if he’s annoyed me that day! Nope, that was not the case. He replied with “That’s so weird, I do that to you too!”

I didn’t really believe him. Until last night, when I was sleeping lighter than usual all night as The Boyfriend had  very selfishly been coughing all night. Hey, I’d offered cough mixture, he wouldn’t take it because it was 9 years out of date. Bah. I was lying in a half sleep state, when I felt a very sharp finger in the rib cage. I leapt up, thinking he was sicker than I’d thought, and somewhat regretting my growl of an hour or two earlier that if he didn’t shut up I’d poison him. He said “Don’t worry honey, I was just checking you were still breathing”.

Bits and Pieces

July 12, 2010

Ah yes, ye olde blog, I have neglected you. I blame the fact that it’s been a busy couple of weeks that have really kicked my ass.

A funeral – for a friend who decided to take their own life. Such a sad event – and saddest of all for his young son, barely 1 year old.

A birth – a girlfriend’s first baby. I was relieved when visiting her to see she had a good looking baby. Sometimes they seem to come out looking like little old men, or monkeys. Fortunately I was able to honestly say her son was a gorgeous little thing.

In hot water – or not, as my hot water heater is on the verge of exploding, if the the hot water leaking from underneath the tank is any clue. I really must get a plumber out to have a look. I suspect a new one is in the near future.

Railing at the cost – of new balustrades for the balcony project. I’m horrified to find the iron lace panels etc look like they are going to set me back around $15,000. Yikes. That’s JUST for the lacework ballustrade, corners and frieze.

Soccer World Cup is over – and so it means the end for my latest favourite joke. Where you mention casually in conversation that someone told you how annoying you were. When asked why, you say “I dunno, but I nearly choked on my vuvuzela!”

Hot Stuff

June 25, 2010

This morning I had a lovely sleep in, as I was headed to the office that is only 1 suburb away rather than trekking into town. (Sidenote: The staff in that division must wonder why I am always so open to come out to their office to work. I tell them it’s because I care. Really, I just like sleeping in and getting home early.)

I made a cup of hot milo at 8:15am, just before I left for work. (Sidenote: And was at my desk by 8:25, suckers!) I put my milo in this travel mug.

At 11am, I finally finished that milo. That cup works so well I could hardly drink it for ages. This thing is magic – it keeps a drink hot for almost 3 hours!

Sad really that these are the highlights of my day.

Not Too Crummy

June 23, 2010

I don’t like stale bread. Toast? Fine. But really, you can’t beat a nice sanger for lunch, can you. I don’t think bread tastes the same after it’s been frozen. Given that I tend to do the grocery shopping once a week, that doesn’t leave much time for fresh bread to make sandwiches from.

Tidying the kitchen recently, I rediscovered my bread maker, which had been used all of about 6 times before being shoved to the back of the cupboard. I was pretty excited to buy some good quality bread flour and give it a go. I was less than pleased that the darn thing would knead the bread for a while, then stop. Oh, not in a quiet, fizz out of a way. No, more in a way that all the house plunged into darkness, all power lost, and trips out to the fuse box type of stop. I guess the silly thing is broken.

I haven’t let it beat me – how’s this for a first attempt – real bread, kneaded by hand, baked in a real oven rather than a fake bread maker! I’m pretty proud. Of course, I also have a funny feeling the ease of a bread making machine might make me buy another one soon, but in the meantime? I’ll be baking it.

Word to the Wise

June 22, 2010

Helpful hint for the day:

Never diss your cleaner online. Never even hint that you’re tempted to sack her. For one Tuesday, when you’re least expecting it – in fact, when you’re expecting to go home to a clean house because she cleans your house every Tuesday – you might find that she sacks you.

It’s true. I did hear a rumour at The Local the other day that my cleaner had been offered a full time job somewhere, which I assumed might mean she could soon no longer need the money OR have the time to clean houses on the side. I did kind of expect her to let me know rather than just not turn up though.

This afternoon, The Boyfriend sent me a text to let me know there had been a no-show in the cleaning department at my place. Damn, you know what that means? It means I did my pre-cleaner clean for nothing! (Yes, every Monday night I run around like a madwoman doing a fast clean before the cleaner gets there. No, I am not mad. Really. It’s just a little tidying in fact – for if I left all the junk lying around the house that ends up there after a week, it would be impossible to clean anything. Hmm. Interesting thought – I might just pretend the cleaner still comes every week, at least the house will still get tidied weekly if not cleaned!)

Of course, on receiving this good news, I sent a quick query text to the cleaner in question. It’s been a good half an hour and she hasn’t responded. So I did what any sane lazy ass would do – I sent The Boyfriend a text saying “$20 for every hour it takes you will be on the bar tab for you if you get the cleaning done before I get home”. I’m not sure yet if he can be bribed with money. I’m kind of hoping the words “bar tab” jump out and grab him…

Trivial Pursuits

June 7, 2010

On Wednesday, The Boyfriend, my brother and I are going to a trivia night at a nearby pub. I actually met The Boyfriend at a trivia night at The Local, so happen to know that he is a fantastic team mate for these types of functions. I, however, also have a special secret weapon! A few months ago, in a mood of something related to extremely poor decorating skills, I replaced my shower curtain with this little beauty:

It’s already come in handy – a group of us were recently sitting around at The Local, waiting for the footy game to start, when someone read out some trivia questions from the newspaper. The Boyfriend and I were the only ones who happened to know what country was bordered by Algeria and Libya. I am contemplating only one change to the routine – I might have to turn the shower curtain inside out. Sure, it’ll look a bit funny for visitors using the bathroom to see a back to front world map, but think of how much time it’ll save me in the morning, no longer straining my head around to read backwards what that country is.

Housekeeping 101

June 2, 2010

I work pretty hard. (I also play pretty hard!) That doesn’t leave too much time for much else. I tend to get home late enough that most people would have already eaten their dinner long ago, then I do a mad dash to eat and QUICK, QUICK, must RELAX, and FAST – there’s only 19 minutes of relax time then bed, HURRY. No wonder I sometimes don’t sleep well, huh.

Food wise, I look forward to weekends – this is when I make yummy food that takes hours, like the big roast beef and roast veg I did for Sunday lunch this week. The weekdays are planned out carefully to include slow cooker meals that can be popped on in the morning and ready by evening, or quick meals like grilled veggies and lamb rumps on the BBQ.

Not that I meant to start carping on about food – clearly I should not have skipped breakfast in my tearing hurry this morning! I am simply trying to explain I have very little free time through the week. I don’t mind, in fact I enjoy, spending a few hours cooking up something tasty, but I don’t really think I’m getting the best return on my limited weekend time if I spend half a day cleaning the house.

A few weeks ago a friend (friendly acquaintance more like – lovely girl but not on my speed dial, when I see her I am happy to talk to her but don’t tend to catch up other than randomly when we’re both at the same place) told me she’d started doing house cleaning with another couple, and was after a couple of places she could do on her own, on her days off, as she didn’t get quite enough hours. I jumped up and suggested she could do my place – how could this go wrong!  I’ve wanted a cleaner for years, but have not gone ahead with it mostly as I am a little nervous about letting someone I don’t know into my house when I’m at work.Here was someone I trusted, brilliant.

Well of course it could go wrong! Not dreadfully wrong, but it did start getting a little awkward. You see, even if you’re not close friends, it’s sort of awkward to say to a friend of any level that you don’t think they did a good job cleaning your toilet that week. Then The Boyfriend happened to get home from work early one day, and caught her leaving about half an hour early. Another time he mentioned she’d been on the phone for quite a while during the hours I pay her. I started wondering if I was getting ripped off.

Yesterday I left a note for the cleaner/friend. I tried to be as light as I could, and just stated I wanted to make it easier for her to work out what to do on top of the usual every week tasks when she had the time, so I made 2 lists – one of “Weekly” items, and one of “Extra” items for her to get started on to make up the time when she finished the other jobs with time to spare. I tried to make it sound like I was trying to help rather than preach.

She left me a note in reply saying that she was already doing all the weekly tasks, and they took up about  2 1/2 to 3 hours (I’m paying her for 3), and that she’d get onto the other items as she could with that up-to-half hour left. Phew. Sounds like I managed to word it all delicately enough to not make her take offence at my suggestion that she could do more. Plus, my house has never been more clean than after yesterday’s cleaning session.  I must have given her a gentle but well earned kick up the bum to remind her that I can tell if she slacks off, because my house today is sparkling.