Monday, January 31, 2011

some wedding details I love...

So I stumbled across this amazing wedding on GreenWeddingShoes, which I only go on so very occasionally.
There are so many details I love- these two photos for one thing..
bridal party photos in the woods
Check it out. It's awesome.
And then as I went further and further into the post, it got more and more awesome.

cry baby.

I just finished speaking with my manager about the fact that my last day will be on the 18th of Feb.

As I was talking, I felt my eyes start to tear up a little, which was ok. Until a couple of co-workers sitting nearby, and overhearing this conversation, turned and looked at me in disbelief. Then, one of them- a girl who has admitted being 'pretty bad' at crying at everything (like me), but not 'as bad' as me, says:
"Wow, you really do get emotional over everything!"

Which has then called attention to the fact that I'm a big crying pussy, and what was just a damp sheen over my eyeballs then becomes actual tears.
Thanks a lot.
And of course I'm laughing at the ridiculousness of the fact that I'm calling it quits and crying about it, because, hey, it's stupid. I'm really looking forward to getting out of here, actually.
And another guy says:
"But you've been here so long!"
And that makes things worse.
Just stop. talking. to. me. And I'll stop crying.
And I have been here so long. I just looked up my Calendar, and I started on the 25th of Feb, 2008. So, I'm JUST shy of my 3 year anniversary.

But you know, I'm really, really looking forward to my forced 2 week holiday. I'm really looking forward to going to the gym with Nic after he finishes work, and not having to eat dinner at 8.30 because of it. I'm looking forward to being able to go to the bank or to a shop that's only open 9-5 because I won't have to leave home at 9, and get home at 7.30. I'm looking forward to not driving to Carlton, to not paying for parking every day. I'm looking forward to walking Mallei and reading about education, and volunteering my time at a primary school so I can get experience. I'm looking forward to writing more, reading more, studying, and not having to drive for 2 hours for a 5 hour shift like I did last year.
I'm really looking forward to visiting my Dad in my between-semester holidays because he'll fly me up to Townsville and I can spend a couple of weeks of winter in a tropical place where it's 25 degrees all day. Or just a week. We'll see. I don't know how long I'll be able to leave Nic and Reya, and I don't think he'll be able to come (although I would LOVE him to come :( ).

So there it is.
As of 18/02 I'll be officially a "Student" and nothing more.
I think a lot of the emotion and the crying comes not from the act of quitting, but from that fact. From being 'out on my own'. From no-longer having my work saftey net. And this place is that- a saftey net. People drift in to this company and don't leave. Because it's comfortable, and easy, and you can wear tracksuit pants and slippers to work if you want. You take calls and go home, and no-one will fire you unless you really badly stuff up, and you get paid on time, and you're sort of near the city and pubs, and if you're like the 'typical' employee, there are plenty of people like you to socialise with.
And when I'm not here, I'm out on my own. I'm not earning money, I'm just getting it. I'm tutoring (which I'm scared to death of), I'm having to socialise on my own, not at work. I'm having to rely on Nic more than I'm ever used to doing. And that's what kept me up last night, and what has made me cry this morning. The finality.. finalisation.. final..ness..? Of it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

a wedding in apricot...

I am aware that there's a lot of 'competition' amongst women. Recently, I have noticed it specifically regarding wedding stuff. The judgments passed among women about weddings they've seen or been to. How this was tacky, or that was cheap. How her dress didn't have enough beads, or how they should have had flowers in the church. To this end, I am very aware that when writing about the wedding Nic and I went to last night, that these are not judgments based on the 'worth' of the wedding, but based on my own personal tastes.

Because here's the thing; the bride and groom were glowingly happy. In their speeches they thanked everyone for making this such a special day. How everything was perfect and beautiful. And that's the important thing. And I am sick of people competing and judging and saying what should and shouldn't happen. And I know that, compared to the wedding we attended yesterday, ours is going to blow people's minds.

Friday, January 28, 2011

to scare a mockingbird...

The other day I had two raspberries and a strawberry in my garden that were all about a day or two off being ripe.
I left in the morning, came home in the evening, went out to water the plants and... my berries were gone.
So today, on my day off, I decided to do something about it. After spraying my raspberries with some pesticides for the little moths I'm convinced are evil, they seem to be doing a little better. There are about 3 or 4 berries left to ripen on the big plant. The little one has had a tough time of it and didn't get any berries, but since their packaging said they wouldn't get anything for a year or 2, I'm amazed I had any berries at all. GO BIG PLANT! Anyhoo.

I googled what to do about birds. Some sort of silver tape seemed to be effective. Or hanging CDs. I didn't want to buy any silver tape, I already had silver -stuff-.... So I made my own Bird-Repellent System*
In a lot of ways it reminds me, weirdly, of Camelot. Flags fluttering in the breeze, castle-shaped pot... and.. that's about all, really. Mostly it's about the flags.

*Not guaranteed to survive wind, rain, or weather.**
**Also not guaranteed to repel birds.

things to do before i die...

Every so often, I get the urge to make another list of 100 (or other arbitrary number) things I'd like to do before I die. I always get stuck at about 70.

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, because a lot of the things I'd like to do, I've done. Most of them recently.
I was just skimming through the Mighty Life List, and yes, we are different people with different goals, and different situations, but I thought; ha, I've done a lot of these. Roll a kayak (albeit badly), check. Grow vegetables? Check.
Whenever I do my own list though, about 50% of it ends up looking like:
Go to India.
Go to Nepal.
Go to Japan.
Go to Peru.
Go to Machu Picchu.
And so on.

Although I think it's very nice to have a list of things, I think it can be somewhat deflating, or demotivating to have if it doesn't 'fit', or seems like an impossible dream. I know, it's good to aim high and go for your dreams, blah blah... but if I want to get to these places, which I do, having a list, or not, isn't going to change anything. If an opportunity and a time comes up when Nic and I can get to Machu Picchu, we'll get to Machu Picchu.

Really, I was just having a nice feeling of accomplishment about things I've done, in a fairly short amount of time. Things I can do, things I've yet to do and know will happen.
Beside that I'm feeling like a freakin' fitness junkie, as I'm about to go to a pump class, and when Nic finishes work this evening I'll go back to the gym to do my program that, by all appearances, is trying to give me muscly, manly shoulders. I figure that either has something to do with a) making my waist look slimmer (I think I read that somewhere? Beef up your shoulders for an illusion of a smaller waist?), or b) having strong back & shoulders then means I'm awesome at arm exercises. I may have made that last one up. But who knows! Maybe it's true?

Maybe in a few months I'll be a beefcake, able to pin Nic with a single arm. (And if that isn't motivation enough for him to out-do me, I don't know what is.)

 Life goal #32; wrestle bull while in loin-cloth.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

this is why i can't have nice things...

Oh, two posts in the space of as many hours! Lucky you (maybe?)!

I was running late on the way to work today, and since I didn't have my boss' phone number, I emailed her, with my iphone, to say I would be late, then left the phone on my lap.
I pulled up in the parking lot - I bet you can all see where this is going - and got out of the car. Something fell on the floor.
My phone!
No big deal, I've dropped it a dozen times. The sides are all dinged up but it's never caused any real damage. I'd been carrying around an invinciphone. I'd heard stories of people's iphones with screens that shattered after the first fall.
But not mine!
Mine had been dropped from high and low, onto soft and hard and gravelly. It had water splashed on it, food, coffee...
And yet, it was still going strong.
Sure, the back was scratched up, the corners were a bit dented, but I showed all those people and their wimpy phones that broke at the first opportunity.

I squinted a little at my phone on the ground. My eyesight's not so good from close up, or far away, and it's sort of dark in that carpark.
Looked like it had spiderwebs across the screen.
Then it dawned on me.
And I burst into tears.
Ok, so I'm feeling a little more emotional than usual (see previous posts), although crying over something like this is totally in line with my character. I braved glass spinters and SMSed Nic to tell him the news. I waited for the lift in the parking lot still snuffling and crying. I attempted to stop once I realized there was a man in the lift. And really, it's more than just the phone.
It's about the fact that I don't have any goddamn money to just throw around on shit like this.
Honestly, I get my fricken tax return, my $600 tax return that I was going to be responsible with and put it straight on the next 6 months of rent (which pays for like, less than a month, by the way), and that would be great. And then I get my car rego, which is $600 too. Great! And I'm about to have to take a week and a half off work so I can continue to get my measly being-a-student payments, because rather than work all summer and SAVE UP MONEY so you don't go poor and hungry, they'd rather you don't work for 4 months in a row, but instead take time off (wtf).
 (Edited to add photos of my phone)

This might be a long one.

kittens are cheap.

I went to a petstore the other day.
Wait, with that title, this is a bad way to start. We didn't get another kitten. Keep reading.

Reya previously had an 'evil mouse'. It was just a small black and white toy mouse covered in rabbit (?) fur, with a little ball or something in it, so it rattled, and it had a feather tail. Mallei, instantly, decided it was evil. Every opportunity he got, the mouse would be in his mouth. Which, as it was a small mouse, and he has a large, dog-sized mouth, I was a little concerned about. Eventually he ended up leaving the mouse alone a bit more, though it was slobbery and horrible and every now and then when Reya was particularly interested in playing with it, he'd swoop in and carry it off. Jealous pup.
Dear God, a whole SWARM of evil mice!

Then, inevitably, she lost it. Yes, I've looked under the couch.
So I went to the petstore the other day, and bought 2 new evil mice $2.00 each, and also a mouse that is sort of knitted and makes a mechanical squeak noise that almost sounds like a baby bird. That was about $8. So I spent about $12 on this trip. I don't like that particular pet store because they sell puppies and kittens, but that's a rant for another day. Anyway, I get home and triumphantly give Reya one of the new evil mice. She goes bonkers, and plays with it for a few hours. Nic and I go out, somewhere.

The mechanical squeaking evil mouse.

Coming home, I can't find the mouse. I do find a mutilated bit of plastic with some pink felt stuck to either side and a feeble rattle coming from within. I originally pass it off as just another bit of rubbish that the kitten managed to find and turn into a toy. She often does this, and as such, Nic and I look like absolute slobs as we have used Christmas wrapping paper lying around, usually scrunched into balls. The fronts of envelopes with the plastic window, also scrunched into balls. We have odd socks all over the place because as she channels her inner puppy, she steals socks from the washing basket and carries them about the house in her mouth.
Anyway, it wasn't rubbish. It was the new evil mouse which Mallei had kindly de-furred and chewed up. It's a sad sight.
So I gave her another evil mouse, which she lost.

And right now, her favourite toy is the little plastic circle from the top of a jug of milk. She chews it, bats it across the floor, holds it up in her paws, carries it around in her mouth. And it was free. Well, apart from the milk, but we drank that anyway.
Do I need to bother buying her mouse-shaped toys?
Probably not.
Is she so darn cute trying to attack a toy mouse?

I have a habit in my blog posts where I start with a thought. Then I realize that that thought it going to make no sense without a backstory. Rather than edit the post (I like authenticity- ie: I don't like 'altering' the way things came out. I think it makes things more organic? Spelling mistakes I'll change, but the flow? Not so much) I continue on, and try and tie it together. Does this annoy anyone? Nobody's probably noticed. Just that I did right now, because I find myself writing the first line, then saying: wait, this is only half a story!


If you didn't notice it before, you certainly will now!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

mid week public holiday.

Happy Australia Day!

Today we have a public holiday to celebrate the arrival of the First Fleet to Botany Bay (Sydney). Some people call it Invasion Day. Go Australia!
Today, many a fellow countryman (or woman. Or person) will fire up the barbie, throw on a snag and listen to the Triple J hottest 100. There will also be beer drinking. And according to a google image search, people may also paint flags on their faces, or possible use flags as beach towels. People will drive around in utes with little Australia flags sticking off the bumper.

This person has their geography a little wrong. I could point out what's wrong, but I think that would defeat the purpose. I'll say this: everything. Except the desert bit. Although, I think they wrote 'dessert', which, I admit, would make Australia fairly epicly awesome.

Apparently these are real questions asked by real people and responded to on a tourism website for Australia.
I'm not sure if I believe it, but I sure hope that's true.
These are only a few from a list I've unashamedly ripped off.
Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad
tracks? ( Sweden )
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Which direction is North in Australia ? ( USA )
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and
we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its
name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. ( USA )
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum
trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare
them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Anyway, enough of that silliness.

In all seriousness, Australia, for me, has never felt like home. Say that to any Aussie though and they'll drop their jaw and gasp, like this is Eden, and why would anyone want to leave, ever? In fact, my ex almost said this exact thing when I tried to convince him of the awesomeness that is overseas travel, shortly after I bought my ticket to Europe without consulting him (whoops). To which he replied; But why would I need to leave? We have everything here.
And I said: um, what about different cultures, and foods, and languages, and people!
He goes: We have plenty of different cultures! I could travel around Australia and see different cultures!
And I think I actually replied: Um, you could see like, bogans, and maybe some aborigines. Maybe some bogan aborigines. And that's it.
Evidently I went to Europe, came home and broke up with him, so I guess I won that argument. 
Anyway, my point being, this place has never been home. I've always wanted more. I never knew what, or why, but I did. And maybe I still don't know, not 100%. Because I love Europe. I love so much about it. And I loved BC- Canada. I loved the mountains, and the people of the west coast. You know, in Melbourne, if you tell someone you don't like Australia and don't want to live here, once they get past the shock & horror of the fact, if you tell them you'd like to go to Canada, that suddenly makes it ok. They say: "Well, Vancouver and Melbourne are very similar".

Vancouver city - we miss you!

Which... I find a strange kind of comment since I've just said how I don't like it here. So, why tell me it's similar? But I did like Vancouver, not because it's anything like Melbourne, but because it's everything like Vancouver, and that means everything like a place with jagged, awesome mountains 30 minutes away, cool neighbourhoods, interesting cafes, outdoor activities abound, etc etc.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

sooo.... how about that weather out there...?

So I might have mentioned once, a while ago, that I have a little social awkwardness sometimes. I'm not great at the small talk thing. And I have concerns about awkward silences.  So sometimes a conversation with me will go like this:
Me: Hi, I'm Em!
New person: Hi Em, Irene.
Me: Nice to meet you, Irene. (using their name in a sentence is meant to help you remember it) So, what do you do with yourself? (Nice open ended question. Could be relating to work, or hobbies, or life in general. So far so good. Except that I've just forgotten their name.)
Irene: Oh, you know, this and that. I work in <insert dull profession>. And yourself?
Me: I'm studying to be a teacher.
(Brief conversation about what I want to teach ensues, basically ending with me saying: I don't know yet, ask me at the end of the year.)
Silence follows.
S'more silence.
At which point I'm thinking: Oh no!!! A moment of silence!!! Jeez... this is awkward. Despite the silence going only for a moment, I'm already thinking it's awkward. But it's been a bit longer now. Maybe it actually IS awkward... Oh, I bet it is. Maybe if I flash a hopeful smile, they'll think of something else to say. Ok, now I just look weird. God, think of something to say.
Something to say.
Just say something good.
Not relating to the weather.
If you talk about the weather they'll know you're feeling awkward and all you could think about was the weather.
How about the weather.
NO! Don't...
Oh, but the silence has been going on for so long now....
Just... think of something other than the weather...
Me: So... crazy weather we're having lately, hey? (Inner self looks out at perfectly blue skies, and shrivels up and dies a little).
Irene: Oh, it totally is, hey?

I think I just need to stop overthinking these things! Or follow this survival guide. Because it is awesome.

Monday, January 24, 2011


This is just a quick one, because I think it's funny.
So the wedding isn't until November 2012. That's about 21 months away. That's far enough away that I haven't really thought seriously about STDs (*snicker*), don't want to buy a dress because 21 months means a lot of potential body changes (particularly with gym memberships), don't even want to book a venue because who knows what can happen even in the next 9 months, let alone 21... So, much like life, in a way, I'm in 'wedding limbo', where I don't feel like I can go anything much until we're 18 months, or 12 months out.

So, that being said, I find it really amusing that since becoming engaged and starting back at work after the trip, most people at work seem to have forgotten everything about me, save one thing.
"So, how's the wedding planning coming?".

At first it was exciting, and kind of cute.
I'd blush a bit maybe, smile, and shrug, tell them my general vision, that I've tried on some dresses, where we're thinking of having it, etc.
But now it's like, every 2nd day.
"How's the wedding planning coming?"

Can we get this wedding over with and get to the drinking?*

Well, it's not.
Because I can't do anything, because, as you know, person, it's not until the end of 2012.
And I know I could direct them politely toward something else, but until I'm back at Uni, not too much else interesting is happening. But I have my little family, and we go on our little adventures.
But that's not as interesting as planning a wedding, I guess.

I just find it really interesting that even though is so far out, I am suddenly defined as the bride who is busy planning. Which, I am, but not solidly, I can't.
It's just a very interesting phenomenon, because nobody asks Nic how the wedding planning is coming. At best they might ask him when the wedding is, but not what's being planned. I suppose it could be that I work with young people, who go out and party every weekend. So maybe I'm a novelty. Who knows.

(I love him)

(OMG I just found all the photos from Nic's iphone that he took on the North Am. trip. I didn't know/remember about half of them!!)
*Not really. See above linked blog post about people who party too much.

with or without you...

In amidst nearly crying while listening to "With or Without You" by U2 this morning on my drive to work, I figure I'm feeling a little emotionally vulnerable at the moment.

That's a nice term isn't it? Emotionally vulnerable.

This came to the fore on Saturday, at the end of a very long and very fruitless day of 'wedding stuff'. The day I tried on dresses that were frustratingly un-me. The day we went to wineries and were given information package after information package quoting $85-$120 a head. At one place, we were told that girls who drop $25k on their wedding were ridiculous, and nobody should need to pay that much. This same place had quoted us $85 a head, plus $600 to use their crappy gazebo for the ceremony, plus more for the chef there to make pies, or cakes, etc etc. So, ok, it wouldn't be quite $25k, but I don't think she has much perspective of the sheer cost of things, particularly when you start looking at a photographer for $3k+, and a dress for $2k+ (probably) and then all the random crap you're expected to have.
Anyway, that wasn't my point, that's just me venting, and setting the scene.
I consider that I did a lot of my 'growing up' in the area where we were- on the Mornington Peninsula.
I spent the first 12 or 13 years of my life on a 21 acre hobby farm, running around paddocks and having imaginary adventures with the family dog, or riding my pony around the dam.
Then we moved to Red Hill, where we had a beautiful property. We planted cherry and lemon trees, had the garden landscaped, my Dad planted gum trees up the long drive. When I turned 18, a bunch of friends from highschool bought me 18 seedlings, all native trees, and I planted them by myself in the paddock, and let them be. When we had to put down my pony, Cocoa, after he had been my companion for most of my life (he was, I think, in his 20s when it was time for him to go), we burried him and one of Mum's horses in one of the paddocks, where we planted a grove of trees. In highschool I had a band, and one of our 'famous songs' (haha) was called 'Shady Grove', and was about that place.

I had gone back a couple of years ago and was surprised at how big the trees were.  I think last time I was there, with a couple of friends, I was overwhelmed by the thrill of 'tresspassing' on my old home- we walked up the driveway and nobody was there.
I went back this time and as we drove up I broke down and cried quietly. The trees starting to bear fruit (we never got to eat them as we left before they were mature enough), the tall line of gums up the drive. The fact that the people weren't home; that I don't think they're usually home- only on holidays. At the beautiful gardens. At the fact that my mother sold this place to move to a snobby suburb to be near her parents, when she could have feasably rented it out, or something. And I don't know why this made me cry. I think the last part of my 'growing up' was done there. The property is spectacular, the house is amazing. Maybe I think I could have been living there- Nic and I, even though it's too far from anything. Maybe I'm just emotionally vulnerable and needed to ahve a cry and what we've lost.
Maybe I just like to cry. (Also a valid theory).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

hit the pause button.

In a lot of ways I feel as though my life is on hold at the moment.

Plenty of discussions with Nic begin with me saying:
"Next year, when I have a teaching job..."
And up until that point it's like I'm in limbo.

This photo has nothing to do with anything, I just like to see my kids loving on one another.

A lot of that has to do with the fact that I have no money. So it's like:
"Em, do you think we should replace my old car with a different one that'll cost $8k? Or should we wait until we run this one into the ground?"
And I think about it, and I know my ex had an old car which he planned to run into the ground, and it ended up costing a ridiculous amount to fix the car because problems would just keep popping up, again and again. In the end he spent a couple of grand to fix the problems, then sold the car to the scrap heap for about $250. So not worth it. But at the same time, I'm not going to be working, so Nic unnecessarily taking out a car lone while trying to support both of us on $20 an hour isn't so hot. So I say:
"Well, next year, when I have a teaching job, you won't have to pay for so much. So we can save up, and we can get another car. And if problems come up with your car in the meantime, we'll deal with them now."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

i am not a bride...

What's up with all the super melodramatic post titles??

The wedding is still about 21 months out. But I'm a bit of an obsessive planner and have already figured that I'm probably not going to find my 'perfect dress' at a bridal store- especially considering the lack of any interesting, affordable designers down here (at least from what I've found/what I like). But, I thought that since this means I'll probably be designing the thing, I'd better figure out what looks good, and what I like. Which is difficult, because when it came to it, I didn't really like anything.

Nic and I went to a new bridal store today that also hires out the dresses, doing minor alterations, etc. My goal is to find/make/have made a dress under $800. It seems the average cost from a store in Australia is about $2k. So, ha, that isn't so hot. Not only that, but I'm of the simple-whimsical-flowy-chiffon-semi-vintage type thing and have just looked at so, so, so many dresses online that I feel like I've lost a sense of what I like. Plus I'm trying so hard to figure out what is going to be my 'style', but how can you possibly do that with a dress you'll wear for the big daaaaaaaayyy? I don't know- I can't see any of us wearing the dresses we buy as part of our 'style'. But anyway, at this store I probably tried on about 8 dresses. The two ladies there were very helpful and not pushy (hurrah), but ultimately probably got frustrated with me. Hell, I got frustrated with me.

But it came down to the fact that I felt awkward in them, I didn't feel like they were 'me', and that I was playing bride. So I have about a million photos of 'dresses I kinda like', so I think maybe I'll go through and make a list of common 'themes' and try and mash them together and see what I get. ;)

 Meet cynical-Em, post dress trying on many dresses and becoming disenchanted.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

tired & cranky..

So I had a terrible night's sleep.

I don't recall if I wrote about when we had to take Mallei to the emergency vet. My brain is all fuzzy from no sleep, so apologies if I did already.

Basically, our dog is a pig. A pig in dog clothing. He burps and farts, and likes to walk through muddy puddles, and eats. Oh, he loves to eat. Which is fair, he is a dog. Or a pig-dog.
He used to throw up every now and then, in the middle of the night. Google reccomended feeding him something before going to sleep. We introduced the 'bedtime biscuit'; a simple charcoal infused dog biscuit. On the third night after the biscuit had been introduced, he expected it. It was his damn birthright to eat this biscuit before bed. If I forget to bring it with me after brushing me teeth, he snuffles around and looks gloomy until I go get it. The kitten is insanely interested in this biscuit, so sniffs around at his feet as he attempts to inhale every last crumb, lest her teeny-tiny kitteny mouth steal some of it. I'm glad he's just an amazing dog (that I did an amazing job training, if I do say so myself), and he doesn't get 'protective' and aggressive over his food.
Anyway, he loves food.
My bad- positive training via food-based rewards has spawned a food loving demon who will flip out every trick in his book (which is fairly long and extensive) just to get... well, whatever you have that could be tasty.

So a few weeks ago, I left for work in a hurry. When we got the kitten back in December, we found this great kitty littler made of wheat, no chemicals, safe to eat, clumping, no smell, and cheap. Awesome, right? Except that Mallei saw this as a golden opportunity- unlimited supplies of cereal! Which I realized after about 3 days, and we built a makeshift gate. Well, on this morning when I left for work, I forgot to close said gate. Nic and I came home that evening to a happy dog, as always, who then proceeded to gulp water like he never has before. I looked in the laundry and noticed that the kitty litter was severely depleted. And yes, this is terrible and disgusting, but he just likes to eat. He'd had an all-day wheat party, had drunk water, and it had puffed up in his stomach. He wanted outside. Bad.
Stumbling around the front-lawn, which had been mowed that very day, he attempted to find any piece of grass long enough to eat. He was having a grass feast now, and looking twice his normal size. Afraid of him getting bloat, we went to the animal emergency center on their recommendation, where they admitted him straight away and induced vomiting. Yum.

He came out of there about an hour later looking chipper and probably wondering where his next meal (or bedtime biscuit) were. We went home.

Yesterday, Nic went out for about 2 hours, and game home to the gate ajar. And Mallei was fine all day, although his water had been rationed as he tends to gulp and slurp it everywhere- more going on the floor than in his mouth. Then we went to bed, where he proceeded to burp and fart as only a man can, and threaten vomiting. I'm a light sleeper at the best of times, and moreso when I'm afraid my dog is on the verge of death. So, I pander to his every need- he gets up and shakes his collar (signal that he wants to wake me up so I let him out), I peel myself out of bed, stumble through the dark, and wait, naked, by the back door, as he scuttles around on the pebbles outside. He comes back in, Reya and I have a cuddle and get comfortable and fall back asleep.
This goes on every 2 hours, and about 3 times between 5.40 and 6.30. The last time I let him out I tell him he can just bloody well stay there, and go back to bed. At 7am, he's whining by the door and my alarm goes off.
He seems ok, now, though doesn't like drinking much. I'll keep an eye on him. Idiot dog.

Anyway, at the end of all that, my job at work is to be cheerful to people and try and sell them into giving me their money, which, if I'm tired, can't concentrate and I'm grumpy probably won't go down so well. Also when I'm super-tired, I tend to cry. So if someone is rude to me on the phones at work, I'll cry.
I'm having a sick day; I've cried enough times at work (sad, but true. That being said I cry at most things, and it's more a physiological response than a psychological one since I'm usually laughing about whatever it was that got me stressed out/upset in the first place). Time to go to the doctor's. Blah.

Dr. Mallei to the rescue.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

adrift in a sea of unemployment...

Oh lordy. That title sounds so melodramatic. And no, I haven't been fired.

But here's the thing. I go back to Uni in March.
I'm on... well, the equivilent of Welfare, I guess, for students.
Were I to earn $0, I would get $440 a fortnight from my 'Youth allowance'. I can also earn up to $236 (all in a fortnight) (so, so arbritary) and still get $440.
Then, the more I earn at work, the less I earn through Centrelink.
Which is ok, I could work a little bit and earn a little bit, and get about $600 a fortnight. Right?

So that was like, super ominous.
The problem comes from the fact that I have a few shares (ie: quite a number, as investments my mum & grandparents have been putting away for me since I was born), and a money gift from my grandparents that subsequently earns me interest- about $100 a FT. Plus the shares, they figure I'm "earning" about $200 a FT from those things.
Which then means, every dollar I earn, cuts my Centrelink by 50c to the dollar.
Well, Em, what the hell does that mean? (I hear you ask). I asked myself the same thing for the last 10 or so months. It's a brilliant system when the people using it can't even figure it out.
Basically, last year, I worked 5 hours a week- 10 hours a fortnight, thinking I'd be sneaky and earn $235 a FT from work,. adn get my full Centrelink. I've now worked out that if I do this, I will earn $100 less from Centrelink.
So effectively, I earn half of what I work. I'm working for half my wage. I don't know if that makes sense. But if we forget that the $100 comes out of my Centrelink and just think that it is deducted from my pay, I work 10 hours, and earn $100. That's like, $10 an hour. Which is stupid. And shit.
Pardon my language.
I scoured the internet looking for some sort of awesome picture to put here, like, an unemployment joke, or something, but nothing came to hand. So here's something random instead. I don't know what it is yet because I haven't found it- I'm still searching. Ok scrap that, google fails today. Continuing on.

So I think, maybe I can work twice as much! If I work like, 16 hours a FT, I'd earn about $350, which means my Centrelink would be cut by about $180.... which then means I'm still working for a grand total of $10 an hour (all approximate, of course). And really, I think I'm worth more than that. PLUS, studying a Masters degree, I don't really have time for a heap of work.
I know it's a bit late for a cut, but I feel like this is going to be a long 'un.

Monday, January 17, 2011

chaps 'n hats...

This is a trilby hat (apparently.).

main photo

And I must say, Nic looks unbearably adorable (and sexy) in one of these hats.
Though, thinking about it, I'd almost need some sort of 20's Glamour dress for the 'theme' to work, but whatever, I don't care. Oh. I was meant to preface this with:
Nic may will be wearing one of these hats to our wedding.

The kitten woke me up at 5.30am this morning. And my elbow joints ache from the pump class I did friday night (wtf?). Most of the rest of me is feeling better, although I got on the scales this morning and that particularly depressing. That being said, the kitten (who weighed 1.3kg a week ago) also got on the scales, and it said she weighed 3.5kg, so I can probably subtract 2kg from her weight, and therefore, from my weight. Our scales lie. Which is somewhat inconvenient. Regardless, I'd quite like to loose about 9kg at some point. Or not even. Because weight is a tricky thing, what with muscles being heavy and so on. So, I shall revise that to: "I'd quite like to fit into the jeans I bought in Paris", as that was the lightest I've ever been. And I love those jeans.
So elbow pain or no, I'm going for a run this afternoon.
Wait, that doesn't make any sense.
The kitten's constant disruption of my sleep is really messing with me (and Nic).
The problem is that she's so fricken adorable. I mean, who wouldn't want to be woken up by a purring, soft, head-bumping love machine of joy and adorability?
Which is fine, until she settles in on my chest, across my face. Causing me to twist my head to an awkward angle so I can breathe without sucking in mouthfuls of fur and getting it up my nose. Since I'm especially comfortable, she shows her gratitude by kneading my windpipe.
With claws.
Which, at first, is ok. Her claws are trimmed. But after a while, the pad-pad-pad-pad of soft and clawy, turns into rasp-rasp-grate-grate-bleeding.
It feels like that anyway.
BUT SHE'S NOT COMFORTABLE! So she tries a different tactic, and goes under the covers.
Where her tail tickles my stomach. And that's not comfortable either so she comes back up. I'm doing my best not to move, because that will start the whole process again. My arms are usually in some ridiculous pretzel up near my head, and she decides that this=kitten basket, and curls her way into the pretzel, cutting off the circulation to my hands. The purring, louder than any cat I've ever known, continues on. And I've been on one side for long enough now that I'm uncomfortable.
She begins to drift off, eyes closing lazily, purr fading a little.
I try not to think of how uncomfortable I am. How much I hate my bodyparts being numb. How my legs feel crooked, and my back is twisted, which probably isn't good for my spine, and oh my god what if I'm giving myself body issues and a bad back because of this damn kitten.
And she's asleep now, a warming ball of downy fluff, little kitten smile on her kitteny face. Which is adorable, but my hands are in agony, my arms are pretzels, my feet feel weird, and my back is twisted dangerously, I'm sure of it.
So, I try and roll over, to the other side.
The purr starts up again!!!
And so the cycle begins anew.

The point of all that, which I seemed to have missed, is that I'm feeling particularly fuzzy in the head, dead tired, and not able to concentrate too well. Plus my elbows are sore. Which is just me complaining. But really, who gets sore elbows? You go to the gym to work out your shoulders, but they're really the only 'joints' you try and beef up. Nobody says:
"Hey Joe, check out my beefing elbows! They're totally ripped."
"They've got nothing on my ankles. Look at these bad boys..."

It's time for a nap. Will they give me sick pay because I had to go home tired??

Sunday, January 16, 2011

if it's 30 degrees out...

...why not have the oven on for a few hours?

Today my mother came around for lunch. Which was nice, I suppose. We went for a walk up to the little park near by so, as Nic puts it, we could have some 'mother-daughter bonding time'. Really it was just an opportunity for me to suss out some important things such as - car insurance. Who is it with, and why can't I get my car fixed with it. Evidently she knew as much as I did.
Which is nothing.
Also, about whether the family business will pay for my health insurance when I turn 25 and can no longer be on her policy. No, they won't. So, until next year, no health cover for me, probably.
Also about wedding budgets and plans, which she seemed generally disinterested in, and still seemed to be of the opinion that having a wedding in one's backyard (we don't have a backyard) with a catered spit-roast was just as an acceptable way to go as any. Which it probably is. For some. But not for me. So we sussed out budgets a little bit, to which she likened the 5k she hesitantly said she would contribute to 'paying for a whole year of Uni' for me. Is that meant to be a guilt trip? I'm trying to do this wedding as cheap as I can. Put it this way, we're working with a 10k budget, total. My cousin is getting married this October and her dress is going to cost between 10-15k. Um. Yeah. So how about we don't complain. Also I found out she threw away her dress. Which is probably ok, cos it's a probably a little too vintage, stained, and informal for me (even with our super informal wedding, I'd still like a -nice- dress.)... but still, I would have liked to have seen it to have the chance. Then again, I guess if your marriage ended and you were unhappy with the marriage, then you don't keep the dress forever and ever. Maybe. That might be sometime to discuss later: The weigh-up between getting a second-hand dress vs. new, and also: what to do with the dress when I'm done with the dress. Being as I don't plan on having kids, I don't imagine a daughter I'll be able to give it to... but we'll see. (At 10k, I can imagine you'd not just get rid of it... but at $700, I'd be more inclined to donate/sell/whatever it).

Anyway! We had lunch, then played a game of bananagrams with her, which was fun. Then the left.
And we started baking.
We baked a new nut-bar based on last-weeks tasty-delicious-omg-can't-believe-we-ate-boxed-museli-bars-from-the-supermarket concoction. We also baked an apple crumble, and Nic is about to begin some granola.
Under the cut are some approximate recipes. We tend to abide by the If It Looks Like Enough And Tastes Or Smells Good, It's Probably Enough measuring system. Ie: Throw in stuff. Taste. Throw in more stuff. Or not. But, I'll try my best. Also, there are pictures!!
Top of the apple crumble once baked.

my kitten is certainly not a princess...

Today I made a video:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

the start of a weekend...

I went outside this morning at about 7am, and the billions of ants that usually infest our drive weren't there. I figure they were sleeping in. Luckily for me, Reya has an inbuilt alarm clock that doesn't factor in weekend-time (really, I just want to sleep till 8. It's not that much to ask), but dictates that she (and so, by proxy, we) wake up at 6.00am every morning. If her attempts to actually get us to be exciting don't work then, she'll try again at 6.30. Subsequently, we were lucid by 6.40 this morning, which, ironically, is earlier than we've been awake all week, despite going to work, interviews, etc etc.

But as per my second-to-last blog post, I thought I'd share a bit more about the world here.

So, this is apparently how we spend a (not every) Saturday morning. Nic throws a teatowel over Mallei's shoulders and calls him a "Bar-tender-dog". Mallei mopes around looking depressed. He drops off his tea-towel in the laundry and comes back, looking a little more chipper.
Nic is aghast.
"What?!? Where's your bar-tending scarf?! Now you're just a regular dog!!!"
Mal and I go on a mission to find the scarf. It's been discarded. As I put it on, I realize this has much more potential than I originally considered. I tie it under his chin, and cover his ears. He instantly looks despondent, and together we trek back to the kitchen. Nic looks down from where he's making pancakes.
"Is he a maid!?!?!?!?"
"No! He's an old Polish lady!!"
"Oh! And he has to go toil in the fields, with a horse, and one of those stupid things that doesn't work!"
I look puzzled. "One of those stupid things that doesn't work?"
"Yeah, you know. And he gets beaten." Nic starts pretending to hit Mal with the spatula. Mal hangs his head.
"He looks pretty unhappy with his lot."
"Well, you'd be unhappy too if you had to toil in the fields."
And this is not an abnormal scenario for us. Which is slightly concerning.

This is how Reya helps me on the computer. She is going to be so much awesome fun when I'm back at Uni and have to type 6,000 word assignments again. 

And there is my garden. I'm calling it my garden because I planted everything in there. At the top is a tomato. We have many, many tomatoes currently growing. So many tomatoes I think we may need to throw some kind of ridiculous tomato party where we feed our guests nothing but tomato sauce, salsa and tomato salad.
Next to that is looking up the garden. You can't see my very sickly capsicum plants, but they are there. Also there are 'mixed salads' but I think a few varieties died, so now it is monotone salads. There are also zuccinis with not enough space, salad I tried to plant from seeds (nothing in this garden grows if planted as a seed. Seriously.) Then there are spinach, leeks which we've grown from seeds inside, then planted outside, and which seem to be taking a ridiculous amount of time to grow...Then there are spring onions, and covering all that is a rhubarb (Nic didn't tell me it was going to turn out like some tropical monstrosity with huge leaves so now it's poorly positioned. it was very small when I first planted it there, having come from a very small pot considering how big its grown). Then there are the tomato-plants-that-are-taller-than me.... Oh, and on the side is another zuccini in a pot (the pot where the rhubarb used to be), and you can't see it but there's also a 'perennial lettuce', and my beloved raspberry.
And the last photo is the herb section of the garden. With the ridiculous mint of doom, the still-new rosemary plant, the thyme, the too-much-oregano and the chives. Plus there are strawberries. OH! And Basil, which is near the tomatoes. Maybe a tomato-and-basil salad at our tomato party?
And that's my little garden. And it's poorly planned out, but things seem to be doing ok, considering, and we've eaten about 6 raspberries now which is amazing and so delicious, and soon we shall have tomatoes. And one day I'll pull some stalks off my rhubarb but not until it's a little more 'developed'. And then I'll feel bad. For destroying it.

Off to see about joining the gym!! I did a Body Pump class last night and now most of me is in pain. Good pain. But still, pain.

Friday, January 14, 2011

i should watch what I say...

Re: My last post? When I said we should enter a race or something...

I meant some time in the future.

Apparently Nic is right now in the process of entering the both of us in a 5km fun run.
Should I restrict his access to the blog?


They do have a free pancake breakfast at the end.

My ex's Dad used to do this race. Hopefully we won't run into him there. Awkward!!!

Edit: Apparently Nic should continue to read my blog, but stop reading my mind. He insists that he hadn't read the last post, but just got it in his head to enter a race. I like him.

Edit 2: Here is a picture  of our kitten, because she's on my lap right now pressing the trackpad mouse with her paws every now and then and being quite upfront about her presence. So here she is, as of last week, sleeping on my chest. Reyasun:

here I am with nothing to say...

I asked Nic for some ideas for blog posts this morning and he wasn't particularly helpful.

I've just recently become addicted to Hyperbole and a Half, which is a little unfortunate since there haven't been any updates in a while, but considering it makes me laugh to the point of having to stop reading while I'm at work, I figure it's worth the wait. Seriously, I'd read, and have to change the page so I stopped laughing unless people walked past and thought I was a weirdo for having a giggle-session at work.
That being said, the blog is so brilliant that it makes me feel like mine is a pile of piss. Or mud. Or something equally insignificant and unpleasant.
Well, not unpleasant, that's a little unfair.
But, well, unimportant.
Which it is. (Oh, woe is me, boo hoo).

But I can't be anything other than myself, and if myself involves talking about vague wedding plans in the future, or bitching about my mother, or telling lame stories about Nic, then so be it. But maybe I need more about our cooking (like the super-fricken-fantastic nut/granola bars that we made last week that I SHOULD post about because I couldn't find any recipes I liked when I googled 'nut bars' so I just threw a whole lot of crap together, and now have to restrain myself from gorging myself on them because OMFG they're so good but made out of nuts and seeds so super calorie-heavy, but in an awesomely kick-your-ass-store-bought-granola-bar kind of way)...

AND I should post more about our garden because we're soon to be inundated with a bazillion mini tomatoes, but I still can't grow anything in the garden bed from seeds. WTF is wrong with me there? Plus we've been eating a tasy, tasy raspberry every other day and omg it's amazing and nothing from the supermarket will ever compare.

And when I'm back at Uni you can hear about that. And about education (oh boring), and maybe a bit about getting fit again. Maybe I'll make that part interesting and enter some sort of competition and have to train. Oh, trials and tribulations ahead!

But it'll still just be a blog about me. And my family, pets included. I suppose that's all I can do! And since I've drawn a wedding dress that I like, I don't feel the need to look at them at the moment (BIG STEP! Even when I found ones I liked I'd keep looking, but I feel "at peace" with my current design) I won't talk about that. As we get closer to the actual date though, I'm sure more drama will come up.

I based my drawing on this dress from Etsy seller yourfairytalewedding
Short and Sweet Chiffon Bridal Gown (Full Length Variation)Short and Sweet Chiffon Bridal Gown (Full Length Variation)

And when I say I 'based it' on this dress, I mean, I like the softness of the ruching on the bodice, but want to change the bodice. I added some embroidery, and also like how the skirt falls straight down, and how it falls, but would have a dropped waist, and get rid of that white ribbon. So there are very small aspects of that dress that I like (ie, I'm not ripping it off), but it's the closest I've found to my 'vision'.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

chirp chirp chirp...

This morning I learnt something... Learned...? Whatever.

This morning I learned that I don't think Nic can hear cicadas. Which seems insane because in summer they make up 80% of the ambient noise, with birds hidden between.
Last night we'd gone for a walk, and I tried explaining the differences between cricket noise, and cicada noise. (Here's a cicada)(I can't find one of crickets because it just wants to give me the game, but not the bug. They sound like someone's blowing a whistle, sort of). Here we go!

So we're laying in bed this morning- no cricket noises, since it's day time, and I hear cicadas. Eager to prove that I do know what they are and that I will educate him, I gesture to the window. "Hear that!? That's a cicada!"
He listens.
Looks puzzled.
"That's a bird."
"No, the erk-erk-erk sound. I can't even hear the damned bird you're talking about."
Cicadas chirp away merrily in the background.
"Nope, I can only hear a bird."
And then it dawns on me that maybe he can't hear the cicadas, cos they're at the wrong frequency or something, and I can't hear the birds because all the cicada noise drowns them out! And I realise that we are living in very different worlds sometimes. Though, his may be decidedly more pleasant since he gets birds. I get ugly noisy bugs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

business is not my business....

So I have a business idea.

I've always wanted my own business, somewhere deep down inside of me. Ideas have always presented themselves, but I certainly haven't had a) the 'right idea', b) the moxy, c) the money or d) the strength to actually go and do something about it.
Plus someone always seems to have the market.

But this... this is something that to me, seems so obvious, but from my recent experience, doesn't exist in Melbourne, or Australia. I'm comparing the idea to a store in the US, where they're crazy-successful, BUT, they have 3 times the population we do... still, I can't be the ONLY person who wants this thing... And I want to be super-secrets cos I'm super-paranoid even though like, 0 people read this....
It would be catering to people on a budget, like me, who don't want to shop online, like me. So budget is tough, cos you'll probably be making only small profits, but hey, my Great-Grandpa started a plastics business, whch my Grandpa took over, and from each meter of plastic, they made a couple of cents profit. They made millions by cents. So, if you're smart, that might not matter so much.

My concern is, I'm training to be a teacher, not a business person. Nic has a degree in politics and emergency response/planning/management... I think he'd be awesome with logistics, maybe after getting some help from my Dad (trained in logistics)... my brother is studying advertising, so that would be a good help, and my family on Mum's side has a good, solid background in business. But Nic and I are terrible with numbers, so things like budgeting, accounting... really tough. Things like knowing markets, and negotiating real-estate, and all those annoying businessy things like profit margins and ... well, I was trying to think of more business-y terms but I've run out already -- THAT shows how little I know!
And then I begin to doubt, and wonder if the reason that this particular thing is successful in the US is because they have a much higher population...

Must do research. Time to put together a survey for various sites. ;)

This will be Nic if we fail at business. ;)

Monday, January 10, 2011

inexplicably sad..

I feel sad for my mum.
Depressed, even.

It's a strange feeling that's come over me like a sudden wave.

I feel sad that she's lonely. That her friends are her parents, and a woman who lives hours away. That she makes lame Facebook updates about her dog, because she has nothing more interesting going on in her life. That instead of calling, she messages me on 'the book'.

I feel sad that she doesn't like Nic, when he's an amazing person who does nothing but look after me, and let me be lazy on the couch when I just can't be bothered. That she doesn't see how happy I am, and won't share in it with me because she's stuck seeing something that isn't there, and fearing notions her parents taught her (he'll steal my money, he's only after our wealth, whatever.). It upsets me that things are so tense between us, when she used to be my friend who I'd visit every week, and, when things started going downhill with Tone, would just know that I wasn't ok. And now I feel sad that I can't be myself around her because I feel like I have to be constantly defensive, and second-guessing everything she says. Is that a thinly veiled criticism of Nic? What does she really mean by that?

I feel sad that nothing is going on in her life- nothing- so she feels the need to talk to me about it for hours, when I am struggling through Uni, teaching rounds, adventuring, travelling and planning a wedding... and all she does is ask a cursory question before going back to her own life.

I feel sad that our relationship has changed, and I don't think it can go back to how it was. Whether that's my fault, or hers, or both of ours equally (I don't know), it is how it is...

/end rant.

i have no interesting title...

Alright, a general sort of update-post, and musing about work, which I understand isn't the most exciting subject but so it goes.

So, I work for a health insurance company- one of the country's biggest. I'm at a call-center, outsourced by that company, and usually I act as a sort of soft-core debt collector. Since people don't go into debt with us, it's more a friendly reminder that their bill is outstanding, which is fine. Though, the reactions of people when I call can be somewhat hilarious if they think I AM a debt collector, and I have to gently let them know that I'm not. And they appologise and try to convince me that they're usually good at paying, and appologise some more... but that's ok. Hey, I wouldn't want a call from someone telling me I hadn't paid my bill...
But sometimes, I have to try and retain members who want to close their policy.
We used to be able to freeze their membership for 2 months, effectively giving them '2 months free' where they didn't have to pay. Awesome. Just lost your job? No problems. On a pension? Have some saving time. Going through a rough patch? This should help... But not any more.
So here's a scenario: Dear old Betty calls up. She's 83.

There she is. She looks peeved. I'd be peeved too. Remember how I said I needed more pictures on here?
 The main things she'll need would be dentures, heart surgery, and a hip replacement. Maybe a hearing aid, too. This makes for a very, very expensive cover. I'm talking $130 a month expensive, assuming she's had cover since 2000, which I'll assume she has, because most of them have, and have been paying a fortune for years. Now $130 isn't TOO bad... but it's pretty bad on a pension. So my job is figuring out what Betty needs... convincing her how her membership will provide her with these things, adjust her membership accordingly, and thank her very much for her time. But often, for Betty, the recently or long-term unemployed, the single-parent with 3 kids, or whatever... it's a case of eating... or paying for health insurance. And you know what, it's INSURANCE. It's a just-in-case. It's not something to sustain your family. Hell, if the single parent told me they wanted the money to take their kids to the movies and a game of mini-golf, I'd say go for it.
But I'm not supposed to.
And I can't do what they want me to do because it's not right to do that. I'm meant to put up a fight. To 'handle' their 'objections'.
"Oh, Betty, you won't be able to afford your groceries and medication this week? But at least, if you get sick in the future, you'll be able to go into the private hospital... If you have an accident? No, then you'll go through the public system. What's that? If you don't tell them you have insurance? Yes, your treatment WILL be free... no, there's no guarentee that by having insurance you won't pay anything. In fact, you're almost guarenteed to have something to pay. Yes, I know that it makes no sense that you're paying monthly for something just so you can pay again when you need to use it, but that's the system we're dealing with here."

And it's not so bad now, but we used to get paid based on how many of these people we could convince to stay. We still do, to a degree, but it's nothing as bad as it was.

So that's a rant. And I will take the moral highground and close Betty's membership, management be damned if they don't like the way I operate.

On a more positive, and possibly interesting note (more interesting than me rambling on about my morals? Unimaginable!), we had quite a good weekend. Saturday was too hot to do much, but Sunday was cool, a little drizzly, but good for a drive.
We hit up probably 8 or so 'potential' venues. We liked one town hall (that I thought would be scummy but had awesome windows and surrounded by a bit of bush), found one winery, and right across the road were some 'formal' gardens...
The winery, Acacia Ridge, in the Yarra Valley is run by a husband and wife team. On wednesday, they're erecting a permanent gazebo next to the 1850's miner's cottage they have on the property. It's almost like being in their backyard in a lot of ways, but in that, it feels very relaxed, casual, and cool. The outlook is spectacular. It was a cloudy day, and most of the mountains were obscured but the view was STILL awesome.
The owner told us he made money by selling wine, not through weddings. I get the feeling that enough people (including his kids) approached them about holding a wedding there that they caved, and do it 'on the side'. I like that they're not trying to gouge people their money. In fact, if we did our own catering, he'd charge $10p/p for the use of the grounds... which, with what I've heard is a 'good caterer', would mean we could be looking at $45p/p which is MUCH more reasonable than $100. It also just felt like a family thing. He was talking about how he could cater, but he'd be getting Dad, and Father-in-law to help with the steaks, or do this and that, and wanted to involve OUR families in the day... which was really nice. Plus there was a really nice open grassy space for umbrellas and blankets, and it just felt really nice. Plus, me, the picky wine drinker, LOVED their pink wine- sweet, delicious.. we bought a bottle, and a bottle of, I forget.. but it's like strong wine. Anyway, very tasty stuff.
We also went to Alowyn gardens, which we saw by accident as we drove away from Acacia ridge. Nic managed to sweet-talk his way in for free (usually a $9 admission) by telling them about the wedding. There's a looooooong arch looking on to a fountain, with speakers in the arch... and it's a semi-formal garden with some little hedges, but also a grove of fruit trees, and lots of flowers... and it's not the ideal thing that I wanted (under a big tree!!!) but... it was still nice. $750 for the ceremony for 3 hours, so time for drinks in their courtyard area... apparently the archway thing is quite waterproof so is VERY outdoors/indoors in a cool way...
Plus, maybe, the flowers would still be out!
The archway from the little hedge thingie, Wisteria flowers out... preeeeety!
From inside the arch, in Autumn, looking to the fountain, where we would stand (I guess). Guests would sit in the archway area.
This is all very exciting! It means we have potential venues (!!!!), though I still want to look at the Mornington Peninsula, I'm not feeling so depressed now about the whole thing costing many many moneys. If we were to do it at these places I reckon we could keep it under 10k without too much trouble. Which would be really nice!

Friday, January 7, 2011

my brain is fried..

So, I had a neat idea for a post.
It wasn't too long. Or deep... it was just interesting.
And then I was going to prattle on about how maybe I needed more pictures so people would stick around, but now I've forgotten what it was.
Apart from the pictures bit, I remembered that.
But the actual 'important' bit, I can't remember.

Oh! Aside from the fact that I told 2 girlfriends from Uni last night that I was thinking of having our wedding at a school camp and we could all go canoeing, and hiking, and on ropes  courses, and their faces were of concealed ... horrified...ness... Horrific..ness? horrifiedal... I don't know. Maybe that word doesn't exist. Anyway. They were trying to look like they thought it was an ok idea, however they did warm to the idea when I told them they could sit on the banks of the river and drink wine while I canoed (preferably, according to them, in my wedding dress).

And now, since I think my blog might be too 'wordy' for people to stick around, here are some pictures of animals doing awesome things.
They are from cuteoverload.

big orange hovercat

Maybe I should sprinkle some text in here so it looks like I'm discussing the awesome merits of these animals. But, I mean, that cat is pretty cool.  I wonder if somebody photoshopped his feet and legs out. DAMN! Now I think I ruined it for myself.

 Cute Panda Experiencing Happy Tours  Booking...
A panda walks into a restaurant, sits down, and orders a sandwich. He eats the sandwich, pulls out a gun, and shoots the waiter dead. As the panda stands up to go, the manager shouts, “Hey! Where are you going? You just shot my waiter, and you didn’t even pay for your sandwich!”
“Hey, man, I’m a PANDA!” the panda shouts back. “Look it up!”
The manager opens his dictionary and reads:
Panda: A tree-dwelling marsupial of Asian origin, characterized by distinct black and white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves.

And I think I'm done for now. This project is going downhill, fast. I need some followers. ;)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

you don't... want... children...?!!?

Lookit me go! I'm on a blogging roll. Thank God someone at work showed me how to get internet access beyond

So, I don't want children. Not real ones- I have my furkids, they're pretty awesome. It's like a bit of a joke, people say: "So, when's the wedding? And when's the baby?" And I don't think they're trying to insult me, post-America-stomach and all, but I think it's that natural progression- Boyfriend->Fiance->Wedding->Baby.
Which is fine.
For people wanting that.
And then I say I don't want kids. And people look shocked. How dare I?! I haven't finished Uni yet... if I were to follow the timeline here, I would have spent 5 years studying, 1 year teaching, then be into babymaking. Then, say goodbye to adventures for at least the first however many years... goodbye to get-up-and-go travel, to long travel, to financial freedom, to time to ourselves... And I don't want that. It's enough having Mallei and Reya- if we go away, somebody has to look after them, or we board them... we can't just go for the night anymore since Mallei needs to be fed and to go outside... I've had the "we'll see..." lecture a bunch of times. The other day I explained my thoughts to somebody, and ended with this:
"Maybe that's selfish, I don't know."
And I regretted saying that the minute it had come out.
Because who's it selfish to? It's selfish to something that doesn't exist. To an idea. To my ovaries? To my Mum, for not supplying her with grandchildren? (I'm sure my brother will)... It's not selfish. It's what I want. You can't be selfish to something that isn't.

If I had kids, I think my great delights would be in naming them stupid names. Like... Zebra. Or Aaron Abr--(my surname) so they're ALWAYS called first in roll-call. I don't think that's a good, reasonable, or responsible reason to have children.

And I'm happy with my pets. I'm happy cuddling them, and smelling their fur, and crying on them and having them lick my tears. Except Reya. She thinks the salt is tasty and my eyebrows are catterpillars and she just wants to claw out my eyeballs and eat my face.... She's a lovely kitten. But, you know... we take Mallei with us when we go hiking, if we can.We run, walk, explore, climb, boulder.. and he comes. Reya cuddles up and sleeps on my chest while we watch tv. We feed them, wash them, love them. We take them to the emergency vet because they've done something stupid and cry with worry.

It's funny, I bet nobody asks Nic when we're having kids... I was about to write that I don't know why I'm the one being held responsible... then I thought that was stupid, and then realised that no, it isn't stupid. Just because I can BEAR children doesn't mean that I'm the only one in charge of having them! (It's a team effort, after all) If we were to have kids it would be as much his decision as it is mine... yet everybody asks me and (I could be wrong), I don't imagine anyone would ask him. Stupid gender roles.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

venue shopping, cost madness...

So my mother seems to be in good spirits based on her most recent FB messages.
Nic had suggested that we go, all three of us, in a car, for an extended period of time, while we visit some wineries and venues in the Yarra Valley, and try and suss out if she's contibuting anything, and if my grandparents are, and to give her the idea that we don't want a BBQ wedding in our backyard.

In a way, I'm still reeling over the expense of the venues- and they're not even that bad! I've seen places FROM $160 p/p. Imagine if you had 150 people. That's $24000, just on food/venue. THEN you probably have to add booze, dress, invites, suits etc etc etc etc... blah blah... I just... Nic found a figure online the other day, that the average cost of a wedding in Australia is $40k.


In the US, the story is a little different with most people apparently spending between $14,000 and $25,000... not including engagement ring and honeymoon. So... that's VAGUELY better... But it's just insane here.

Eg: wedding dresses. I've seen people on US websites picking up nice-looking dresses for $250, or $450 from David's Bridal. I think you'd be lucky to find a dress here for under $800. Really lucky. It makes me want to order a whole bunch of styles from some Chinese wholesalers, put them in a shop, order them from China for people, sell them for cheap (and make a profit along with it)... Surely there are brides in Aus... in Melbourne who want dresses on a budget. Who want to TRY those dresses on before they buy them. I'm all for buying online but I think wedding dress shopping is a) fun, and b) important to know what looks good, and c) a great way to bond with girlfriends and family in the lead up to the wedding. Maybe I just haven't looked in the right places, but I can't think of any stores that are anything like DB's in the US, where you can get 'standard' dresses in different styles for like, $450. I think we need that.

But that wasn't the point of this post. I've gone off topic. So in order to get friendly with my mother again, we're going venue shopping, and maybe she'll realise the actual cost of this thing. And we can talk with her about other important stuff, such as fixing my car, and my not being on her health insurance any more, and so on and so forth. Luckily the Yarra Valley isn't too far from home so if she becomes unbearable we can just go back and she can leave.

But! I have a very long list of wineries, and barns, and reception centers (tending to be more expensive) and camps! School camps. With bunks and fire pits and canoes and ropes courses. And I think, if we found a good one, that this could be such a kickass option. All our cool friends could stay the night, we could adventure all day, party all night, have a campfire, wake up late, go canoing, or walking, or exploring, or whatever. Just a matter of finding one that will let us- and a lot of them do corperate retreats so I wouldn't imagine it would be too different- and that we like, that's pretty, and has the appropriate 'scenery'. The look & feel of the place is so important to us...
But...! Lots of exploring to be done! Through Yarra Valley, Macedon, Daylesford and the Mornington Peninsula. Good times ahead.

Monday, January 3, 2011

venues & flying blind without a budget...

Yesterday we were going to go for a hike somewhere, but I'm a bit sick, so instead compiled a list of town-halls and other 'potential' hopefully not-too-over-the-top expensive places. I must say though, community halls are fairly uninspiring from the outside. I'm sure you could jazz them up, but really they're a bit blah.
We ended up visiting a restaurant, an archery range (blah) and a farm...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

saving the date...

Now that we have a date, I know the wedding is still not for many, many months, however! I figure now is the time to start really planning and thinking and getting STDs ready (that always sounds so wrong) and what not...
So I wanted to do something a little different then just a random card.. something 'us'... And I saw this..

And then like, putting a magnet on the back so people can put it on their fridge.

Pretty. cool. stuff.

Plus Nic likes it! and I like him. So, this is promising. Just have to figure out where to print them, and how much that will cost. ;)

Must getting 'wedsite' spiffed up so we can put the address on there too and also think about how we want it to look. Maybe something with a piece of pie, or one with a book, or OOOO.... involving Reya and/or Mal (ie: Mal holding sign in his mouth... TOTALLY plausible I tell you!!!)