Monday, February 28, 2011

favourite things pt 2.

Happy last day of February everyone!
I'm on to my 2nd week of Centrelink-Imposed-Leave at the moment, with Uni starting next week (arg! Under-prepared!) which means another week of sitting around watching period dramas (Nic hates them, so I watch them when he's not home, but I think I've run out of 'good' ones (which is to say, most of them are only questionably good, at best)), walking the dog, cleaning, playing loud music, and looking at too much of the internet. Oh! And I have a bike now, so I should go riding, except the space between the handle-bar and the brake is really far, and so I can't get a good grip which means if I'm going down a hill, I don't feel like I'm in control of the fact that I need to be stopping because I can only just grab the brake lever with the tippy-tips of my fingers. So we're going to call the store today because, hey, braking is pretty important, and I have small hands.

But after yesterday's exercise bonanza, I'm pretty achey all over, though have decided we're still going to the gym this afternoon- we'll see how that pans out.
It's Monday!
And that means: Some more favourite things!
  • Watching Nic read my blog. Seeing him smile, then laugh at something I've written, possibly about us, or him, or our family. Even if nobody else comes here, he enjoys reading it, and is entertained by it. 
  • When the kitten gets so, so fired up... like a string that's been wound and wound and wound, and then it untwists super fast? Yeah, she's like that. She careens around the house, launching through the bookshelf, using human bodies as springboards. When she's wound up like this and trying to explode energy, sometimes she makes a primal little noise that isn't a meow. It's like a meow of happiness and excitement that just wants to burst out of her, but she doesn't let her. Sometimes it's like a little gurgly: "Mrrrr!!!" or sometimes it's a more high-pitched "Mreee!!" We know she's really getting going when she starts making these noises. 
  • The ache in your body after you know you've done a good workout. It's your muscles saying: Wow, I'm pretty tired, but that means I'm getting stronger and more awesome, so keep it up.
  • Emerging, bleary eyed from bed after Nic has let me sleep in, to find my husband-to-be busy cooking up a storm (particularly when that storm is pancakes), coffee ready. He looks around, horrified that I'm out of bed, and when asked if there's anything I can do to help, I'm commanded to go sit down, or go back to bed. 
  • (Edit: Listening to Nic speak French, even if it's just on the phone to the French bank. Even though I think it's stupid that he appologises to the call centre bank worker for disturbing him. Really, it's no trouble, they're paid to take your call, hun. But anyway. Nic + French = Both adorable, and sexy.)

Two loves. She has grown!!! I feel like Mallei will be jealous if he doesn't get a picture up here, but he has a whole advice column to himself, so he can't really complain.
What am I talking about? He doesn't know what's going anyway.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    we're becoming one of those couples...

    This morning, Sunday morning, Nic and I woke up at 6am.
    Crazy, right?
    It's Sunday! Day of weekly-weigh-in, berry pancakes (previously enjoyed with real maple syrup from Vermont (not the suburb south of here), but now since we're too poor to afford such luxury, with Supermarket Brand Maple Flavored Syrup), double episodes of Grey's back-to-back, vacuuming, and occasionally going for a walk.
    But not this week, no.
    I had been saying for over a year that we should go in a fun run! as a way to increase motivation to train and go jogging and try and get to 5km (or whatever). Since Nic had arrived in Australia, and had actually not run off on me (like an ex of mine), I had been saying this. But it hadn't happened.
    Then we joined the gym,
    And here I was, running 5km on a treadmill in 35 minutes (with occasional breathing-and-hacking-up-a-lung breaks), or doing intervals and running between 8.5km/h and 11km/h (I think I mentioned this, I remember putting something into miles a little while ago. Yup, here it is), and, a month before said gym membership or newly-found-running-ability, Nic found a fun run that completed the morning with pancakes, and entered us in it.
    So we wake up this morning to a perfect Melbourne autumn day (a couple days early), which is to say that it was bleak, drizzly and depressing.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    i like the feelin' of wind in mah fuuur

    It's time for a 2nd installment of Dr. Mallei's Advice Column, pertaining to Food and Relationships*. But mostly food. Except only this one doesn't have much to do with either of those things and mostly to do with cars. So, Dr. Mallei puts on his serious face, and does his best to reply.

    Dear Doctor Mallei,

    I hear that you are well trained in the art of knowledge and advice. I also hear that you have spent much time riding in cars of all shapes and sizes. I seek some answers...

    What sort of car do you think is best to ride in, when you get to go out and about on weekends or even during the week? Where best do you like to sit? And how important is that 'movie-star head and tongue out the window in the wind' look to most dogs?

    And lastly, what is the best/most comfortable car you've ever got to ride in?!

    ~ Anon. 



    I don't know where you get your rumours from, but you may wish to check your sources before making assumptions. As Doctors, we're trained to research and confirm information- it doesn't seem like you have ever written a thesis* or similar, because I'd say that I have only ridden in a few cars in my life and, if you'd done your research, you may have been aware of this. Regardless, I shall do my best to answer your questions.

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    feet up

    I think I'm really preparing to get settled in to the house. That is to say that I just went to Target and ended up getting a couple of tank tops with boob-support so I can slouch around the house without a bra on, while I'm not at Uni (or work).
    To all that have just arrived, hello, welcome, usually I don't give you much insight into my chest, but apparently today's the day. Anyway, I don't think I've ever been so excited about a piece of clothing that nobody except Nic will see, but there you have it.

    So after a fair amount of badgering last night, I managed to get Nic to email me his priorities for the wedding. In fact, he spent about 20 minutes over on his laptop madly typing away, to the point where I didn't actually know what he was doing and had to double-check to see if he had understood the assignment.
    Here they are, more or less, with a little editing from me. This is almost kind of like a guest post, but one that took much pestering for the guest to write.

    1. Location
    2. Not having it uptight, not getting focused on the details, and just letting it go. Be as it will.
    3. (Maybe this should be part of two) Feeling like a 'real person', or that the day is about us, and not worrying about what everyone else is thinking or doing, or if they are happy or not. Maybe - acknowledging us for us?
    4. Having some friends! And friends that aren't my friends or Em's friends, but friends that are ours.
    5. I want for it to be colourful, happy, and to be like a big friends/family get together type of thing, with some formal aspects, like the vows and actual 'marriage' i guess, but also just like friends, sitting around, dancing, eating, drinking, being merry. A campfire would be fricken awesome. And not HAVING to do stuff, but choosing to dance and be silly, and wear cool shoes that don't necessarily go with a suit, and wearing a hat... Cool stuff.

    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    running away to the mountains.

    After looking at some other potential venues last weekend, and having had lunch with my Mum again the other day, I was beginning to solidify the fact that I didn't want to do this traditional wedding thing.
    And I don't mean that I didn't want a traditional wedding... Because we all knew it was going to be offbeat, anyway... but that I was beginning to want, less and less, to deal with the hassle of the big hooplah that is the wedding. Of worrying about catering for people having to drive 'too far' from the city (as my mum said, again, when I suggested a place that's about an hour and a half out of Melbourne, and I had to remind her that half of Nic's family (beside the immediate family all being overseas) are at least a 6 hour drive from Melbourne itself.)... of worrying about costs, of etiquette, of my mother being uninvolved... literally and emotionally.

    So Nic and I were laying in bed last night, both of us tired and about to fall asleep, which seems to be when we have our best discussions sometimes. I said:
    "I think I'm about ready to throw in the towel on this wedding thing. I mean, not the wedding (I meant 'marriage' here), but the wedding."
    Nic looked at me from across the pillow, confusion smudged across his tired little face. After all, I'd just said I wanted to throw in the towel on the wedding thing, not the wedding, but the wedding.
    Which he kindly repeated to me, to make sure I knew how ridiculous I sounded.
    "Not the marriage, but like, the whole ordeal that is the wedding."
    You know things aren't good when you're using the word ordeal to describe something that's meant to be fun. Ok, so the planning probably isn't 'meant to be' fun, but the wedding itself should be. Nic looks at me as though I've lost my marbles (this happens often).
    "I've said this ages ago! Just the two of us should go somewhere and do it, and then we'll have the party later, some time! You said we couldn't though, cos your family would tear us a new one!"  He's so eloquent, my fiance.
    "Well, they probably would," I reply.
    "Weddings are so trite and traditional. I don't want people to sit there and go Wtf are Yay flags, and why are they doing that? And being bored or confused. I want to get married and then have a party later!"
    We discuss this for a little while- I don't necessarily want it to be just us, but with a select few people, sure! Somewhere awesome, in mountains. Nic feels it should be somewhere (in mountains) that's special to us, not just randomly in the Swiss alps. Nic tells me he's desperate to wear the ring, to do this, that he can't wait. I tease him, in a sing-song, mocking kind of way: "You wanna be my huuuusband".
    "Nah," He replies, eyes closing tiredly, "I just want to wear some bling."
    I love him.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    you mean we're not all gonna sit around and sing about rainbows?

    I went to visit a school today. I think I might have mentioned it- it's a primary school in the area, a very small primary school, with a focus on 'democratic education', and learning through doing, the stuff I'm super interested in.
    So it's a funny thing because I had emailed the Principal telling her a bit about me and why I wanted to come volunteer one day a week, and she said: sure thing! Come in on Wednesday and meet the teachers!...
    And that was it.
    No sort of informal interview, making sure I'm not a psycho, checking why I was coming (Ok, I'd said this in the email, but it's easy to lie through email), y'know.. making sure I fit.
    So I get there and their receptionist shows me around into their classrooms and tells me about the school. Looks nice, only about 10 kids in each class, none wearing uniforms (US readers: It's very uncommon in Australia for schools to not have a uniform. (I wanted to write Unicorn just then. D'oh). My school didn'y, but we were known as the 'pot smoking hippie school'. Even cruddy public-funded public schools will have some kind of cruddy wannabe uniform, but there you go), one class was having a meeting. This is where the school starts to go a little off track for me. The receptionist shuffles me outside the classroom, after we'd observed some of the kids just starting school having a meeting with those who were there last year.
    "Every morning they have a meeting. It's basically a glorified show and tell," she says, with a smile.
    I force a smile. Background: I did a lot of reading of Alfie Kohn's work regarding democratic classrooms last year, and two things he said were: Meetings are super important, and great ways for kids to make decisions about their life at school. They could bring up issues relating to school chores, homework, their projects, whatever. Then everyone could discuss and come to conclusions, decisions could be made, and everyone could be happy and bathing in rainbows. The second thing he said was that show and tells are bad. As in: It's basically just showing off how awesome you are, and trying to out-awesome your peers. I remember this, you want to bring in something more cool than anyone else, and somebody else always had something cooler, damnit. Which doesn't make for a harmonious environment.
    Y'know, I'm gonna put this below a cut cos if you're not interested in education, you probably don't wanna be spammed with all this.

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    world tree...

    Does anybody around here read Fantasy stories?

    I think I might have just accidentally started writing a new story. I haven't admitted to this part of my history on here yet, but I used to write a lot of fantasy. I even wrote a fairly functional language. I'm quietly proud of that, and want to include it in everything I ever write from now on, but can't.

    What I'm wondering is, if I'm busy writing a story instead of doing Uni assignments (when it gets to that point), and I post it up here, bit by bit, would people enjoy reading it? Not that you can really make a fair assessment - you've never read my writing writing, only the rambly stuff I post up here when I feel like making a point about something-or-other. And also, if you were to read, would you also prod me, were I to get writer's block for non-legitimate reasons (ie: I have a Uni assignment and can't write, doesn't constitute a time where you can prod me.)?

    I'm peering at the notes I've scribbled up in Word in the last half hour- new worlds, new religion, new people, races, characters all developing, and wondering if I can pull this off. I might have to tentatively suggest it to Nic tonight. One thing he does exceptionally well is shoot down my ideas.
    That sounds terrible. More like if I say:
    "So I'm super excited about democratic education hon, it's gonna be GREAT! Kids are gonna just hang out and we're all gonna listen to each other and like, paint flowers on the walls and they can have a say in their classroom and they'll be engaged and happy and awesome. So there."
    And he'll say:
    "But how?"
    And I'll say:
    "Well... I don't know. It just will be. Ok. So shut up."
    And he'll say:
    "But what about this thing? Or that? Or what if a kid throws a chair at your head? Or what if kids don't want to make decisions? What if they just want to be told what to do? And you can't just have them hanging out.. they have to actually do work. And what about homework? And what about when they leave your classroom and suddenly can't make any decisions? THEN WHAT?!?"
    And I say:
    "...Homework doesn't do anything, and well... they'll be better thinkers when they go to another classroom, and y'know.. it'll just be awesome. Shut up."
    My point is, is that he thinks of things that I don't, cos I get caught up in the shiny, and forget about the hard parts. Then he grills me on the hard parts.
    Example 2:
    "Hey, hon! We should totally do our ceremony in the middle of the bush! It'll be awesome. We can make chairs out of haybales and be married under a tree! And it'll be pretty. And natural. And awesome. So awesome."
    "So how is the celebrant going to get power for his/her mic? Or are they going to bring in a generator? Do we need to get a generator??? Or do they have their own power or something?"
    We actually had a fight over this. I was more grumpy because we haven't even picked a venue yet, let alone figuring out small logistics like this.
    So, point is, he sees the hard parts, and makes me think about them, which is important, because then I can fix my ideas, and adjust them so they're a little more realistic. So I might ask him about my story later.

    Which reminds me about something else I'd been thinking of, which is my fear that I don't actually like kids, and don't actually want to teach. I see hooligan youths on BMX bikes without helmets on and just want to run away. I'm scared of kids. I'm meant to be teaching people I'm scared of??? I don't know how to talk to young kids! I'm like Mallei. He wasn't socialized with children as a young pup (my fault), and now he just wants to run away from them. Especially small ones. They're scary and smell weird and make strange noises. I think he's got the right idea, to be honest. So what if I'm just... no good? Some people are great with kids. All the time. I'm awkward. Ugh.
    But I'll write more about that. I'm visiting an alternative primary school tomorrow to see about volunteering, and I'm excited about that, so maybe it's unnecessary fear. Back to my story ideas now.

    a post for another day...

    I'm a bit out of ideas at the moment, for today.
    Though, I would like to say that yesterday I ran 5km (3.1 miles) in 35 minutes (35 minutes). Which is pretty freaking spectacular, for me. Granted, it was on a treadmill, so I could play tricks on myself, and set it to walking speed for a minute so I could catch my breath. Plus I was watching an episode of friends, although I tended to zone out during the actual show, and zone in during the ads, which is weird. But anyway, I got there in the end, and it was at the very end of my capabilities, I think. I was gritting my teeth and puffing like a steam-train by the end (granted, just wanting to "get it over with" and setting the speed to 11km/hour (6.8 miles/hour) probably didn't help) but I got there. Then went and collapsed on the stretch mats. Then did my gym weights, barely.
    But that wasn't the point of writing today because who cares? I'm just proud.
    What I was going to write about was something I've told Nic I think... and I think it's ok. Though I'm probably going to sound like a horrible-person-who-doesn't-believe-in-love by saying it.
    I don't believe, that as humans, we can have unconditional love.

    (gasp, shock, horror).

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    favourite things pt 1.

    It's Monday.
    I feel like, for most people, Mondays are depressive. After all, everyone/most people (not me!!!) have to go to work after a nice/interesting/exciting/lazy weekend. Stupid mondays.
    I also feel like one thing I like about other blogs is when they have "Wacky Wednesday!" or "Freaking-Out-Friday!" or "Friday-Fashion-Frenzy!" and every Friday they have a fashion frenzy. Or a freak out session. Or whatever.
    So, I was thinking during this weekend, that I'm really contented with Not-Quite-Married-Life, but there are a few things that make it extra special. And this doesn't just apply to relationships, as you'll see. Just life in general. So maybe I should make a little list of these things..
    Because everyone needs a pick-me-up.
    Especially on a Monday.
    So here are my favourite things of a Monday morning, in no particular order.

    • Absent-minded shoulder rubs on the couch while watching the 2nd episode of Grey's in a row.
    • The kitten's purr becoming super intense as she kneads her feet into Mallei's fur, as if the ecstasy was too much for her to handle. 
    • Watching Nic love Mal and Reya
    • Getting so awesome at holding the Plank position at the gym* that I have to start looking for harder variations.
     I might be back with a real post later. After all, I'm having 'afternoon tea' with Mum (ie: I need to waste time between getting my haircut and picking Nic up at 5 from his work, and Mum happens to leave conveniently nearby to the hair place) and she always provides me with plenty of material. I will try and spare you a long and ranty bitchfest and maybe glean something more productive out of our time together.

    *Been going to the gym consistently for about a month now. Feeling a little more toned, but have apparently lost 0kg. Which is damn depressing. A girl at work says if she hadn't lost anything after 2 weeks she would have given up, so I need to keep trucking along. I know it's not the scale that's important, but hey, my clothes aren't fitting any better either so that's not really a good judgement tool!! Bah.

      Saturday, February 19, 2011

      two foods that go with everything...

      Today I saw my picture of Mallei in glasses and decided what would really make me happy on this beautiful autumn (!!) day, would be to write a Dr. Mallei advice column. So I looked around, and making the most of the resources available to me, I whined:

      He always knows this is a bad start, because it means I want something from him that he probably won't want to do.
      "Yes, hun...?" 
      "Can you like... write me a question to Dr. Mallei and then I, I mean he, can write an answer to it and I'll copy and paste it and put it on my blog?"
      He sighs.
      "What should I write about?"
      I try and think about what things Mallei knows about, or what he could possibly be so qualified for that he could be considered a doctor. One of these I think has just come from his experience as a person observer, as he diligently studies the shifting dynamics of human relations, and how this can affect, either positively or negatively, the overall well-being of the person... and the other is food.
      Because he just fricken loves to eat.
      So here is the first, anonymous letter received for the ever enlightening Dr. Mallei's Advice Column, pertaining to Food and Relationships*. But mostly food.

      Dear Doctor Mallei,

      I recently have a dilemma. It would be nice to be a vegetarian, but using chicken and bacon in meals is so easy. Its also tasty. But Is this caving in to the ease of 'modern life', or being dishonest to some vaguely growing morals and ethics?

      You are wise on these matters. Please advise.

      Sincerely yours,


      Dear Anon,

      I'm struggling to grasp the point you're making- chicken and bacon are tasty. As a dog, I find vegetarianism a strange concept, but I'll give it a whirl. Firstly, however, I'd like to pose a question to you. Nay, a challenge, if you will. Can you think of any foods that don't go with either chocolate, or bacon? 
      I think you'll find that there isn't a single food with which you can't pair either bacon or chocolate. Which leads me to believe that it is close to impossible to eliminate bacon, at least, from one's diet. Another critical point in the argument here, is the fact that humans are commonly argued to be omnivores. Now, I see no sense in this, since meat serves the job just as well, but each species to his own, I suppose.
      In regard to the issue surrounding ethics, this is a tricky one. I would like to say it depends on how you source your meat, but I suppose in one way, whether you buy the chicken or not, somebody will still breed them, kill them and eat them. The question really is whether your 400g of chicken breast a week is making a difference, in the grand scheme of things. I suppose you could argue that if you don't buy the chicken, the chicken won't be killed, or you won't be adding to the killing of the chicken, but then the chicken is still going to be killed, you just don't get to enjoy its tasty meat.

      I think you need to listen to yourself, inside your heart. If your heart is having palpitations because you eat a kilogram of bacon for breakfast every morning, have a KFC original bucket for lunch, and finish off your day with a nice hearty serving of wicked wings, then yes, you are a bad person and should stop eating so much bacon and chicken.
      If, however, you gorge your bacon fetish in moderation and enjoy it as an source of protein and deliciousness, then I believe you should be able to continue doing so without letting those pesky ethics get in the way.

      That being said, I eat an entire chicken's body every day, so I may not have been the best person dog doctor to ask.


      Dr. Mallei.

      If you don't eat meat, you'll basically be doing this every day.  Though, to be honest, I look pretty chuffed. Maybe it's a meat-flavored stick.

      *Feel free to send in your own! Just leave a comment.

      Friday, February 18, 2011

      battle strategies.

      I'm going in to this buffet all you can eat thing tonight with a battle plan. After my regular morning what-the-hell-am-I-wearing-nothing-fits-anymore meltdown, I found a baggy tshirt that a gay friend had been given as a gift but which we decided looked too girly, even for him. Which is saying something. It may be the low neckline. Perfect for cleavage. Not so good for man chest.
      Anyway, since I don't do baggy so well, I decided to couple this shirt with a stupidly tight pair of jeans. I might have mentioned my weight loss goal was to fit into the jeans I got in Paris? Well, this is them.
      You can stop celebrating though, they're clearly about 2 sizes too small. It's only thanks to the long, baggy tshirt that you can't tell.
      It has lead to an interesting predicament.. With jeans so tight, I can't possibly gorge myself tonight, and thus, can walk away, diet still marginally intact. Hurrah!! So, predicament isn't the right word, but it's ok, I can't think of anything better right now.

      This will be me, by the end of the night. Or not, because of my awesomely small jeans. Even if they are cutting off the circulation to my lower half. That's o.k. {via}

      Thursday, February 17, 2011

      i don't know what organdy is but...

      Having more or less decided, yesterday, that I like knee/tea length dresses (I'm talking wedding, here), I googled 'tea length wedding dresses' today with that vision in mind, and came across Posh Girl vintage.
      Browsing through the images I found this:

      1950's White Organdy Long Vintage Wedding Dress -M
      Go to the website to see more photos because this one alone doesn't really do it justice, I don't think. {via}

       And I think I'm in love.
      Although it's not tea-length...It's got beautiful laze, sleaves, the waist would probably be in the appropriate place (not too high, not too low), and, once I keep going to the gym and eventually my body switches on and actually loses some weight, the waist would be fine (it's about an inch off now. Can't be too hard, right?) (My measurements are based on me getting my Apple power cord for my computer, wrapping it around various parts of myself, then measuring that against an A4 sheet of paper, then converting it to inches. In other words: My methods are flawed.)...
      But like... I could actually see myself in this dress. I don't know if I'd get somebody to make it, if it turns out to be hideously expensive (no prices up yet), or whatever... But for a fairly plain, white dress... I can't stop drooling. I feel weird. I feel weird loving a dress so much on first sight.

      I'm still staring at it.
      I can't do my job because I'm staring.
      And drooling.

      ....holy crap.

      wanted: zombies to perform menial call centre job*.

      Tomorrow is my last day of work in this hell-hole!

      You have to understand how stoked I am with this. After 3 years I'm just over it. It's been good, the pay has been ok (considering), and I could wear whatever I want to work, but I'm so excited to be leaving.

      Just outside the women's toilets is a poster made by the company, of some of the qualities they want their employees to have. There's a picture of a little man juggling the letters A. S. K.
      These stand for:
      A Will-Do Attitude.
      Appropriate Skills
      Relevant knowledge.

      Or somethingt to that effect.
      It's the first point that gets me: A will-do attitude.
      Not can-do.
      Not will-try-to-do.
      Not give-100%...
      Will do.

      As in: If I tell you to do something, you will say 'yes sir' and do it.
      As in: If management makes a decision, you will abide by it, and do what they tell you, whether you like it or not.

      Wednesday, February 16, 2011

      the (inevitable) ranty dog-food post..

       And now, for Dr. Mallei's advice column****.

      So, I feed Mallei a raw diet. He doesn't get dry dog food, and he certainly doesn't get tinned/wet dog food. I'll admit, I'm probably a little more slack about 'varying' his diet than I'd like to be: he tends to get one chicken carcass a day (ie, the breastbone, back, spine, ribs etc of the chicken, sometimes a bit of innards left in, and most of the meat stripped off), sometimes fish, sometimes red meat/bones, and scraps sometimes when we're cooking. I'm a big believer that if nature has taken a couple of thousand years to evolve something, nature has made sure that that thing will survive best in its environment. That is to say: A dogs' digestive system is set up to hunt and eat animals. And maybe occasionally graze on some grass. But I figure rabbits, deer, ducks... fair game. Chickens are about as close as I can get usually (rabbits are too expensive). I don't believe that we can necessarily improve on something that has been set up to 'survive best' under these conditions. This is why I don't believe in commercial dog-food.

      I know a lot of people don't, and won't agree with what I'm saying. I know a lot of vets are suss, but then I've also read that vet's nutritional training classes are sponsored by pet-food companies, plus their clinics get commissions for food they sell to customers. Unbiased opinions, anyone? But here's the thing: I don't think that commercial dog foods (or cat, possibly) are designed with the dog in mind. I'll get to that.

      Awww, look at the unrelated picture of my baby-boy. Yes, this photo has nothing to do with the text on either side of it. Deal.

      Mum's dog, Biscay, is now 14. When he was about 7, we used to take him to the park and run him hard- get him to chase tennis balls. When he came home after the run and laid down for a while, he would develop a limp in his right shoulder. By morning, the limp had gone, but it happened every time he did a big run. After I had decided raw food was a good way to go, we switched him and Mallei to this diet. A week later and I haven't seen the limp since. Biscay's brothers have all died, a lot of them from cancer. Some died several years ago. Until last year, Biscay was still fit and happy, although losing his eyesight and starting to slow down. He, too, now has cancer in his jaw, but he's 14, and a 25kg dog. A border collie's (Biscay is an Australian shepherd- they don't seem to be listed) expected lifespan is 13*. Ok, so he isn't ancient, but he's doing pretty damn well. Mum has, in recent years, begun to mix dry food in with his raw diet, but he's still ok.

      So. Why don't I believe in dog food?

      Tuesday, February 15, 2011

      surprise! let's make a life-changing decision on the spur of the moment!

      A girl at work got engaged last night. She is sporting some seriously massive bling today - I wonder where she'll put the wedding ring, but anyway.

      It made me think about a post I'd read elsewhere by a groom about how much surrounding weddings is about surprise. Think about it:
      The groom is meant to pick the ring.
      Ask the father (behind the daughter's back)
      Surprise her with a proposal.
      The girl then picks a dress but doesn't show the groom until she's coming down the aisle.

      Happy husband rushing to work to pay for his $10,000 engagement ring. Or something. Ok, I just like the photo and wanted to include it here. {via}

      I'm sure there were more that he thought of, but they're the only ones I've got.

      And I think it's really... odd... that the engagement/proposal thing happens like this. Because, for one, it's the guy making the decision, right? And the girl agreeing to it. I don't know if this girl at work had discussed, seriously, with her boyfriend (now fiance) about getting married before he proposed. Maybe she had mentioned it, fleetingly. They don't currently live together- she's never lived out of home. Which is fine, for some, but I wonder how you can commit to spending the rest of your life with someone if you've never, I dunno, picked up their clothes off the floor, or cleared their dishes off the table, or put up with their morning farts, or worked out your finances together. And these are just life things. Things you learn for yourself when you move out of home, and things you adapt when you move in with a partner.
      So, this idea of getting engaged being a surprise is perplexing to me. I like the idea of the proposal itself being a surprise- we tried for that - but the actual decision to commit to one another and get married coming as a surprise and having a moment to decide yes or no... I don't think that sort of decision should be spur of the moment!

      new car, caviar, four star daydream, think i'll buy me a football team...

      10 points to anybody who knows the song that the title has come from.

      I have such great memories associated with that song, but I think that they might be inappropriate to write here/might get me in trouble/might change people's opinions of me. So I'll leave it at that and you can wonder.

      I've been wondering about extra ways to make some dough once I'm not at work. Aside from berry picking, i could tutor, though that will be dependent on my uni schedule as well, because kids are only home to get tutored in the afternoon/evenings, or on weekends. Since I'm finally getting some evening time, since I won't be working till 6.30pm, I'm loath to give them up. So I'm trying to think if I have any super mad creative skillz that I can put to use.

      Nic says: "You're creative! You have great ideas!"
      Which is lovely, but not so helpful, because selling creative ideas is a difficult business. I can also write, if I really want to, but again, I don't know how to sell that (maybe I need to look into freelance writing? Problem is, I don't feel strongly enough about things, I don't think, to write good articles, or whatever. I don't even know how it works. Maybe if I could write for some online...places... hmmm...). Then I thought maybe I could learn how to do something that wouldn't take very much effort/time/equipment, and then sell stuff on Etsty.
      "You could just make some random crap out of pegs and then say they're magnets and then people could put them on their fridge and peg stuff!" Was Nic's suggestion. I love that he tries. But I think I would need more than pegs. I wish I could sew. Or had a sewing machine- that'd be a good first step. If I had a sewing machine I could teach myself how to sew and maybe I could become awesome and like, make dresses or wedding dresses that are different and funky and sell them. Or something. But that requires a sewing machine.
      To be fair on Nic, who's taken a bit of a beating in this post, he did suggest I could do something with photoshop.
      I used to play a game and on the game I used to do a lot of photoshop stuff, particularly of people's dogs, their dogs' names, etc. So I could do some sort of photoshop thing- I photoshopped my banner, and I think it's pretty nice (for those of you reading through a reader, you miss out). But what can I do for people? And do I trust my skillz enough to do it (nope)? And what sort of things would I design for them?? And would doing all this interfere with doing Uni? Eg: Any sort of writing activity? Probably going to make me less inclined to write 6,000 words for an assignment.
      Does anybody who does freelance writing know how pays work? I mean, I'm in Australia... might have to do some research on this.
      PS. The song is 'Money' by Pink Floyd.

      Saturday, February 12, 2011

      tomato festival pt.II

      More tomatoes!!
      There's probably at least this many again out there still so I'm pretty excited.

      Nic and I have a friend who recently had a cancer scare. Since then, he resolved to turn his life around, get fit and healthy, and generally look after himself more. One of the ways he decided to do this was to try and eat everything organic. Which is fine, aside from the fact that it's exorbitantly expensive in this country. Oh, and the fact that he seems to assume that organic=healthy.
      "Oh! I got this great organic apple pie the other day! She used only organic flour and butter in the crust! And it was only $20!"
      (Ok, pies aren't the worst example, but he said it in such a way that seemed to suggest he could eat five of them and would still be healthy).
      Anyway, my point is this: These tomatoes have been pretty much hassle free, and as such, I've never had to spray them with anything- natural or otherwise (unlike my stupid raspberries and strawberries. Camelot is still holding up though, y'all.) and so I can say with (complete?) confidence, that my tomatoes are organic. Ha.

      So I'm gonna bombard you with some photos again, because I like trying to get better at photography, and I don't know if I am, but hey, it made me wipe down the kitchen benches before taking the photos, and that has to be a good thing right? Anything that makes me clean in the name of doing something fun can't be a waste of time.
      I ended up getting a whole little bucket worth of tomatoes today. And a strawberry. And some basil for artistic effects.

      I made them small so you can click on them to see my 'artistic effects' if you want. Plus the yumminess of our tomatoes. I don't know if I wrote about why these tomatoes are so exciting, but basically we Nic grew them from seeds, had the seedlings all up along our kitchen window through the last of winter, and JUST before the trip we dumped them in the ground, asking our neighbor to come and water the garden, but not expecting much from them. I expected to come back to see scraggly little dead things... little did we know, Melbourne had a strange, wet and humid spring that turned out to be perfect growing weather, and we came back to a jungle. I thought they'd be dead, but here they are, giving us fruit!

      Today we're off to do the V-Day things, and then we can relax tomorrow. I'm being given instructions on what to wear and still can't deduce what's going on or where we're going. Also, Reya has discovered how to pop the bubbles in bubble-wrap.

      (Nic, standing in kitchen and listening to me type away on this post:
      "Are you blogging it up?"
      Me: "I'm just about to post one."
      "Ooooo.... you're like a post-master demon!")

      Friday, February 11, 2011

      daddy's girl..

      I spoke to my Dad tonight- for the first time since pre-Cyclone-Yasi. They got through fine, although he said it was "pretty windy! I've never seen it so windy!" (really, Dad?), and they only just got power back on yesterday. Happily they kept their roof, although some of the sheets came unattached, he's fixed them.
      But my conversation with him ended (with him saying "love you!" - which just throws me because it's so rare, and not necessarily in a bad way, because it makes me appreciate it more, I think) and I found myself on my knees in the living room floor forgetting to breathe. This happens when I'm crying, but not crying. Ie: I'm trying to not become a big blubbery mess. Nic was holding me. I kind of wanted to sob that "I miss my Daddy" but I was a bit more composed than that.

      Me and Dad laughing, on my visit to Townsville last year.
      Of course, this followed from a terrible conversation with my mother today where she basically questioned, again, my decision to quit my job, and the fact that Centelink don't know I'm in a relationship and whether that was wise. I basically have no choice, because if they find out, I get $0 per fortnight, instead of the measly $400 I get now.
      Maybe I should do a comparison table of Dad's Awesome vs. Mum's Suck. Suckiness? Sucktastic. Anyway.
      Upon hearing I'd quit my job because I'd be working for less than $10 an hour:
      "Oh! Well there's plenty of cash in hand jobs, if you know where to look! And tutoring is a great idea because you'll get plenty of good experience!"
      "Oh... well, sorry, I only "earn"* 20k a year and won't be able to help you out."

      Upon hearing we want to (hypothetically) go overseas:
      "Cool! I'll put some travel money in your bank account!"
      "Oh. Well, Grandma wants to go overseas. But she can't. Because she's old. Life sucks. Woe is me."

      Upon hearing we're engaged:
      "Awesome!! That's great news! Congratulations! Do you know when you'll get married!?"
      "Oh. Well... that's good. Anyway... Life sucks around here. I'm bored. Woe is me."

      Just general conversation:
      "So S and I were talking about your wedding the other day and we thought about x-y-z venue, have you thought about that!?"
      "Woe is me. Woe and misery and despair."

      More general conversation:
      "So! What's news with Nic!?"
      "So my dog barfed the other day. I had to clean it up. Well, better get back to being miserable. Talk to you later."

      I may have altered some of what Mum said, but it's close enough to the truth that I don't care.
      And something occured to me while I was sitting on the floor missing Dad tonight. Some idea that had begun brewing recently upon reading about a bride who had never considered being walked down the aisle, and then figured; hey, I love my Dad! And he was so thrilled and proud to be able to do it...
      And I never wanted to be 'given away' or walked down the aisle... but... I'm thinking, maybe I will. I love my Dad. He's awesome. He makes me laugh. His phone conversations are always the right length- he knows when to say goodbye. He flies me up to see him. He asks about Nic. He is interested in my life and loves to hear from me. He's great. I want him to share with me, in a very special father-daughter way, this transition in my life. I won't be 'given away'... I want him to walk with me.
      I think Dad might be walking me down the aisle after all.
      Now I'm all teary again. I think I'm going to have to make a 'crying' tag.

      Dad, after he decided to try and pull apart some leaf ant nests and got them all over himself. Please note fashionable hat, and long socks with runners. He's the coolest guy I know.

      Us on Dad's Triumph motorbike before we went for a spin. Very happy to be on a bike again! 

      *My quotation marks, because she doesn't work, therefore I don't consider her to 'earn' anything.

      following the bandwagon- a post about valentine's day.

      I feel like some sort of blogging machine (kind of). I have a post half-way finished about weddings being a competition (I may have said what I feel about this already but this is another example), and I'm sure there'll be plenty of pictures coming from Nic and my early foray into blackberry picking tomorrow (hopefully there will be some!), and then Nic's-Epic-Valentine's-Day-Plans for Sunday.
      Which is sort of what I want to talk write about today.

      Because all my blogs are flooded with V-Day stuff. Printable cards, cards to buy, cakes to bake, etc. There are a hundred flower ads on the radio at the moment. It's pretty hard to ignore. But usually that's a US/North America/Rest of the world thing. I refer you to Halloween. Long hailed as an "American tradition" that was "Too American" for Australians, we never did it.
      Sure, you'd occasionally see kids in the 'burbs dressed up... maybe 5 kids... but that was it. You didn't bother to buy lollies/candy because nobody would ever come knocking. I don't know when it happened, but at some point in the last few years, something changed.

      Just before Nic & I left for North America in October last year, there were halloween buckets in the supermarket, special 'scary' candy, witches hats and noses for sale... thing you would have had to go to a party store to buy before... now in the major supermarket chain.
      Don't get me wrong, I fricken love Halloween. You should have seen me in Courtenay, BC, the day before, when all the kids in town dressed up and got candy from the shopkeepers (doesn't that term sound antiquated?! Top of the morning to you, shop-keep! Have you any .... um... iron... monger...?! Ok so clearly I don't know what sorts of things you'd buy back in the day, but you get the point).

      You too could buy this heart-shaped potato and give it to your loved-one. Now available on ebay, highest bid + $18 shipping (seriously). {via}

      But it's this whole commercialization of the event that is suddenly coming to the fore... the idea that you have to get a gift, or have to show your person how much you love them and if you don't get material things you don't really love them (similar to a lot of engagement ring debates, hey?). And look, I'm not against getting presents, and I'm certainly not against going out and doing things together as a couple (though it shouldn't take a 'day' to be inspired to do this)... it's just... I'm not sure of the point I'm making.
      -Commercialism = bad.
      -Using holidays as a reason to do things = ok, but shouldn't be the only reason.
      -Being guited/shamed into doing things because it's a holiday = bad.

      Valentines day here is becoming more like Halloween: something you knew about but didn't really pay all that much attention to, because it's not so big a deal. I still don't think it's as big a deal as it is in the US. I feel like I'm sort of getting a 'skewed view' on things because I read all these blogs and websites written in the US and people are going crazy about V-day and maybe I sort of generalize that over to life here where actually, nobody cares.

      But! I am looking forward to seeing what Nic has planned because I'm super sneaky and usually if he thinks of something to surprise me with I take all the little tiny things he says about the thing and I figure it out and shatter all his hopes and dreams and send him into a funk. But this time, he has eluded me! I don't know what's going on, which is killing me, but it's ok, surprises are fun, I don't need to be in control, I can let someone else plan thing, I don't need to know what's going on, what to wear, when to leave, what to pack, it's all going to be ok (the control freak in me is quietly hyperventilating in the corner).... He's super excited, and although I find it difficult to get as excited since I don't know what's going on (downfall to surprises!) it's still awesome and I'm looking forward to it, and he's bursting to tell me but can't because then I'll know.

      He's asked me about 3 times now if I'm planning anything (I can't, hon, because I don't know what your plans are and so can't plan around your plans! <- Also a sneaky way to get out of having to think of anything to do), so I wonder if I should be, or should be getting him something. Maybe I should write a card. Maybe my genuine surprise at not knowing what we're doing or where we're going will be enough of a present.

      Thursday, February 10, 2011

      loving, learning, experiencing...

      I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
      than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
      whatever life you wear
      it will become you
      somewhere i have never travelled

      I've been thinking for a long time of getting a tattoo.
      Nic is, as well. We've mentioned the idea of doing 'wedding tattoos'. Not tattoos of love, or wedding rings or anything, just the act of going, together, and getting it done, sometime before our wedding.
      But I'm always stumped for ideas.
      For a long time I was going to have a version of Mallei on my ankle, but I'm not so sure about that.
      Then, when I was trying to break free from my last relationship (without knowing it), and took off by myself to Europe for 5 weeks, I came back thinking I would get the latin words: Alis Volat Propriis - she flies with her own wings. Which, at the time, probably would have been insanely appropriate to that time in my life, and would have been a great 'marker' of my strength and independance to do it alone. But, the time passed, Nic came along, and I became sickeningly co-dependant. Which isn't a bad thing! I just don't feel those words apply as they once did.
      I've also considered some wolf/eagle variation, those being 'my animals'- the two which I have adored my whole life, that I've felt power and strength from. Ask Nic - I get stupidely excited when I see eagles.

      I think this photo is testament to that fact. We saw this bald eagle building a nest on the trip - she was the first eagle we'd seen, and we pulled over to the very narrow shoulder of the road and I stalked her with the camera until she flew back. I still missed getting a photo, but here she is, in her nest anyway.

      But even then I'm kind of meh. I mean, I've seen plenty of eagles, but the only real lives wolves I've seen have been either at a zoo, in Poland, or pretend wolves in Squamish:

      The actual photo quality of both these photos is much better than shown here, however as I'm at work, I've had to take the photo from my phone, pretend to edit it in the photoshop app, upload it via the mobile to flickr, then put the flickr address across to here. I can't imagine with that kind of abuse, that the photo would retain its quality.

      Wednesday, February 9, 2011

      if a story were a tree, these would be the roots...

      Today I feel like telling a story.

      I feel like I've launched into this blog thing without really giving a sense of who we were and where we came from. I wrote about our engagement back in October, but there was no pre-story. Because I like writing, and because I'm trying to waste time at work, I thought I'd write the story here of how we met, re-met, and fell in love.
      Ok, so that sounds a little epic for what I actually intended, and could probably turn into a novel (I've had people tell me it should be a movie) so I'll try and not go on and on too much. In the end, this is the story about how we met - the re-meeting and falling in love will have to come later on.

      It was 2001.
      I was an awkward year 9 student at a 'hippy' private school. I would have been 16 at the time, getting way into the internet; chat sites, role-playing, various pagan/wiccan spiritual sort of communities. And I made mistakes, stupid teenage decisions, but decisions that meant Nic and I ended up meeting. It was these mistakes which lead me to have some bizarre Canadian obsession and so, when my best friend of the time heard that there was a new kid at school (who was Canadian, lo and behold) we became instantly fascinated and made it our lunch-time quest to hunt him down.

      He wasn't hard to find- a green backpack proudly had the Canadian flag sewn to the front, red maple leaf screaming his nationality. He was eating a sandwhich. I can imagine us two girls now, with eyes bulging and mouths open, as though we'd never seen someone so fascinating in our lives, and he, unaware that he was about to meet someone who would torment him for the rest of highschool* and would, eventually love him, and be loved by him.

      Are you Canadian!?!?!" We asked, shrill voices ablaze and probably talking in unision.
      With a nod of his head, we commenced conversation, although I have a feeling much of it revolved around us trying to convince him to say 'about', or 'out', or 'mouse'. But this is just the story of how we met.

      Let's be clear about something: Nic and I were not highschool sweet-hearts, even though it seems as though the story is going in that direction.

      Tuesday, February 8, 2011

      why get married?

      Do you ever have an idea as you're trying to fall asleep?
      I mean a great idea- something that makes you almost compelled to get up, switch on the light, and write it down before you forget? Except only, you're all curled up with your future husband and the dog has sandwiched your legs in place, and the kitten is lurking around somewhere and you're liable to tread on her if you go anywhere because damnit, she's dark and she blends in.
      That happened to me last night, and I think is was relating to writing a post today, since I didn't write anything yesterday (and was apparently wracked by guilt, if my sudden pre-sleep lightning bolts were anything to go by). Regardless, I can't remember what it was that I was thinking about so I'll have to default to my backup plan, which is something I've been musing over lately, and that is, as the title suggests:
      Why get married?

      Sunday, February 6, 2011

      it's like a fricken tomato festival in here...

      My tomatoes have ripened (and are continuing to ripen!)

      Despite Melbourne's massive amounts of rain, my garden seems to have come through unscathed! Of the 4 zucchini plants, one is flowering like mad, and the other three (which are in the garden itself, while the flowering one is just in a pot) are just trying to get as big and dominant as possible, but aren't worrying too much about the whole flowering/fruiting thing.

      My strawberry, I think, needs more bees (for pollination, see?), as the fruits are small and gnarly, but I think that would involve more flowers other than the little strawberry ones, and I don't have any.

      My basil has gone mad and I have a heap of basil bushes, which is exciting because I love basil, and I especially love pairing it with the hundreds of tomatoes! Today I went to check on the garden, noticed a heap of tomatoes were splitting open (too ripe!) and picked a few... which turned into a handful... which turned into me, using my t-shirt as some kind of peasant's apron. I tried to find a photo on google of what I mean by this, but nothing came up, which makes me wonder if I had invented the concept. Also the fact that Nic said:
      "You look like your pregnant", when seeing said food-carrying-t-shirt-apron device wasn't entirely supportive, particularly since my tshirt was pulled up (because it was carrying so many mini-tomatoes) to expose my belly. Maybe I should have been mad about that comment.
      Point of story.
      There were too many tomatoes for my hands alone.
      Some have already gone into our mouths via sandwhiches (delicious). Others still will go into our mouths via future meals. Not tonight, alas. Tonight we are attempting some sort of chicken, leak and corn disaster concoction (I was joking about the disaster part, I just thought it would be funny, and particularly since I like love using strikethrough, and frankly, don't abuse use it enough. Are you sick of it yet?), unfortunately with none of the ingredients coming from my garden. We could maybe have used the thyme but I think that while I was out there the other day pulling up the mint-that-had-gone-rampant, I stood on the thyme, which, to be honest, was in a bad shape already.
      Truthfully I stood on it about five times. I did apologize, but since it was in the process of dying beforehand, I can't see it being too appreciative of my shoes on its... um... face? Whatever.
      Here are some pictures of my tomatoes. Cos they're so shiny and pretty and tasty. And one terrible one of me. The whole close-ups-with-blurry-bits photos are what my Dad would term "Artistic Effects". He gets very excited doing these with the digital camera he bought with his frequent flier points (or whatever reward scheme it was). Though his photos are usually just super-close-ups of things.
      Bowl of tomatoes! They don't look very red, but some were splitting from being ripe, and they came off the vine easily, so they are ripe, they just don't get more red. There's also basil leaves on the side. It is a small bowl, and they are small tomatoes.

      Check out mah artistic effects. Pretty gnarly.

      This is to prove that I have many more tomatoes to come. Also there are leeks and spring-onions in the background which may be ready by winter, if we're lucky.

      Here's me. I mainly put this one in because then you can get a feel for the scale of the tomato-to-bowl ratio. Also, you may like to note in the background that the BirdScare100 (not to be confused with Bird-Eater100) is still in full-force. Camelot continues to fly her flags! The wind and storms did not destroy it! Unfortunately I think it has been slugs or something eating my berries, so the system, although brilliant and probably doing a great job at scaring birds and not being blown over by the wind, is, unfortunately, completely useless.

      Saturday, February 5, 2011

      sex sells...

      I find it amazing, intriguing, and a little disturbing how women have to 'sell themselves'.

      Ok, so I blame myself- I randomly stumbled on a terrible website called 'model mayhem'. I don't know how this happened. I clicked a link or a photo or something and BAM, there I was, Facebook for models and photographers (of which, I am neither, by the way). Now, I love watching America's Next Top Model (the Australian version, not so much) and thinking I know as much as the judges do. I love applying what I think I know to criticizing editorial/commercial photos that I see in magazines ("Oh, her eyes look dead there" or "She should have extended her neck more! She's lost her neck!")... so I have a bit of a fascination with this sort of thing. 

      As I looked through the little profiles and comments other models leave on each others' pages, one thing became increasingly apparent:
      Every woman's photo was of her in a bikini, pouting, and trying to look seductive. As a male model, they could do whatever they want, be it fully clothed, pulling a funny pose, or being half-naked.
      And I thought: Well, isn't this sad? That the only way women, here, feel they can get a job, or attention, or whatever it is, is to be as sexy as possible. There's no pictures of girls in cute clothes acting the 'girl next door', or in say, a beautiful gown, or some couture wear doing an editorial-style photo... Anyway, maybe that's just what happens on this type of site, but I just thought it was a bit sad.

      In other news, I've been throwing the idea of moving to WA. And that's Washington, not Western Australia (damned acronyms) in the future. There are a heap of really great reasons to look into it, not least of all because we could actually afford a house that wouldn't put us into debt for the next 40 years, and y'know, the mountains and forests and water, and friendly people and cheap food and clothes and stuff...
      But there's one big fat problem getting in our way which is, of course, immigration. (Dun dun dun..... cue evil music). So that might ruin that idea. Any move we make would be one with a view to permanency so the idea of going on a working-type-visa and getting booted after 3 or 6 years isn't so appealing. Nic has a sister in law who is American, and his brother has a green-card, but that's about as far as our family potential goes, and I've read the waiting list for that kind of relation is 10+ years, which ain't so hot. There's the lottery as well, but of course with 8 million people applying and 50,000 spots, that also ain't so hot.
      So I don't know what to do. Apparently the US needs teachers, and hello, by the end of the year I'll be a teacher with a Masters degree (though there seems to be much more 'education inflation' in the US. In a lot of forums I read, every second person is getting a Doctorate/PhD, I think, which is a little concerning). And as much as I've never been interested in living in America, I think WA has a lot of the stuff we're looking for, while being affordable as well. At least now, with the economy and all... I read somewhere that the median house price in Seattle in 2006 was 400k. Now it's like, 275 or 300k instead. Sooo, in the grand scheme of things, still expensive, but considering you can buy a house 2 hours from Melbourne for maybe 350k if you're lucky, and you literally wouldn't find anything, anywhere, for under 200k.... having glanced at real estate websites and seen (granted, rundown and crappy) houses for $80k gives me a little hope.
      Sorry if that paragraph was fragmented, but my brain is all over the place.
      Here's some pretty pictures of WA.
      Oh, hey Rainier, you're looking like a pretty awesome mountain. And BTW, nice forest & lake too.

      Why yes, I would like to kayak down your pristine rivers.

      What's that? You also have rainforests and awesome hiking!?
      And did someone say rugged pacific coastline? Though, I have a feeling we've been here, and I have a feeling it's along the coast of the Straight of Juan de Fuca. I could be wrong, though.

      Friday, February 4, 2011

      not the barramundi!!!

      Reading about the post-cyclone devistation, one news site breaks down how towns have been affected. Eg:
      Townsville: 85 per cent of city is without power. Minor structural damage. Debris strewn across streets. Storm tide in Townsville was 2.3m
      Carwell: Around 60 properties have major structural damage, 100 have "medium level damage" and 50 have minor damage.
      And so on...
      The town where the cyclone was expected to hit hardest is Innisfail, remember? So, keeping in mind that this is the destruction, houses have been wiped out, flooding, etc... this is the first line of what the news article has to say about the damage at Innisfail:
      Innisfail: Some 8,000 baby barramundi killed at a barramundi farm at Mourilyan. 

      And then goes on to talk about "Town was isolated by floodwaters. Roads strewn with debris."(source)...

      I just find it strange that the first line about this town, is in regards to some baby fish.... Nevermind houses, flooding, debris.... Some baby fish were killed. Are they so desperate for a mortality figure (as nobody has been reported dead yet. Someone on Facebook commented that the morning news reporters almost looked disappointed by the fact yesterday morning.) that this is what they come up with? I'm no fish expert, though. Maybe these fish are vital for our eco-system or something. Really, I think people just like catching and eating them. Ah, turns out they're QLD's most important commercial fish. Even so... I don't think that, in the grand scheme of things, it's the most important piece of information.
      Who knows. Maybe it is.


      Thursday, February 3, 2011

      maybe australia isn't for us...

      I'm feeling less and less like I want to get married in Australia, and more and more somewhere with scenery like this:


      Um, hello Mountains!

      Or somewhere like this:


      Or, hello awesome circle of friends-and-family:

      Uh... I'm picking my jaw up off the floor now. Can you see this scenery? Realistically, these places are all a little 'dry', hence the pictures higher of the couple near the lake with the tall, tall evergreen trees, deep and green and damp and beautiful.
      Cos here's the thing. I want people to come to our wedding. I want my family and friends, and Nic's family and friends to come. So, realistically, this means we can't really go more than 2 hours out of Melbourne. Most people are already going to be travelling as it is. But... I don't know. We love mountains, and water... How important is scenery? How important is it compared to having as many people as possible there? How far will people travel? What is a reasonable drive to expect of people? (because places we would consider wouldn't have airports nearby)...

      And oh-em-gee this whole wedding is in the most spectacular place. Oh, BC, I miss you :(

      And, um, YES...

      I would so love a wedding shot, cliff-top, like one of the favourite ones of Nic & I... but only imagine if we were wedding-dressed and being awesome. Shyeah.
      Now get me up there in a wedding dress!! Ok so we had to climb a mountain to get where we were, but it wasn't that difficult...

      Anyway, I love mountains.
      Nic loves mountains.
      I would love a mountain wedding.
      (Mountain marriage!?)

      Edit: Compromise!? What if we were to take a friend who is a photographer-of-sorts up to the Grampians (National Park where above photo was taken), with our wedding getup, and do like a post-wedding-photo thing... Though, then my hair won't be as pretty, I guess. But it could be done! We could hike up the mountain with packs full of wedding dress 'n stuff.
      Maybe that's a silly idea. Idunno.

      going back to my roots...?

      I tend to go through phases of 'obsessions'. Poor Nic knows this, and has grown to accept it. Example: The last month spent looking, frenzied, at wedding dresses. Dress after dress after dress. And my problem is that I'll settle on something... I'll say:
      Yes! This is what I like! I feel happy with this. Done! I'll stop looking.
      And then something nags at me. Or I get curious. And I look a little more.
      And a little more.
      And a bit more...
      Until I'm full-blown back into trawling galleries of dresses, peering at designers, lauding the benefits of this neckline or sleaves or trains vs. no trains, etc.
      It seems to have waned a little for the moment, at least on the dress hunt. I'm sure it'll be back (though am still loving the Wai Ching Athena dress - see the ideas page)... just right now, it's settled.
      For now, anyway.
      But my new, most recent obsession, is the what-do-I-do-with-my-name-when-we-get-married dilemma.

      Wednesday, February 2, 2011

      they've all moved on...

      So I'm eating up blogs.
      Since most of my job involves sitting around staring at the screen and waiting for calls to drop in, then trying to creatively waste time when I finish the call, I find I need a lot more to read than what I currently have.
      The problem I''m finding is that so many of the popular 'wedding blogs'- that is, real people planning their real outdoor/budget/earth friendly/awesome/unique weddings... are married. And, usually, they're having babies, or whatever. Which, lovely as it is, isn't what I'm interested in reading about. And yes, there's more to this than the wedding, but I'm not baby ga-ga, and don't plan on having kids. Maybe if I'd been with them 'from the start', when they got engaged or made the blog, or whatever...

      Otherwise, they've just opted out. I've found a bunch of blogs with their most recent post (usually a year old) saying: "Well, I'm not planning a wedding any more, so I'm not writing, and this is my last post. Thanks".

      Can I be one of the 'new generation' of wedding planning blog people!?
      Considering our wedding isn't for 21 months yet, maybe not right now.. but possibly.

      Anyway, I'm just finding it a bit sad. Like: Oh! $10,000 Wedding blog! And... no, it's finished.
      But it's ok. Once I'm back at Uni, I should stop reading blogs and actually read, y'know, school stuff.

      my father's optimism

      I just called my Dad and his partner S, who are bunkering down up in Townsville, in preparation for Cyclone Yasi.
      Dad started the call by thanking me for the call.
      Well, duh, Dad. It's not like I'm doing a favour. I'm your damned daughter checking if you're ok.
      Although he probably hasn't heard from my brother. But that's ok.
      Then, of course, because they were still alive (um, Em, the cyclone is still over the ocean and won't get to land until some time this evening.), I had a bit of a cry at my desk here at work. And because I was worried.
      Dad told me they'd moved all the electrical things from the 'downstairs house' to the 'upstairs house' (theirs is a typical 'Queenslander Style' house, built for flooding and sea rises, so the house was originally up on stilts, but somebody filled in the bottom section and built another house under there, kitchen and all.)
      He said he wasn't worried about the rising sea tide, though reckons it'll be 'lapping at their door' downstairs..
      "So long as the roof doesn't blow off, we'll be right. That's the main thing."

      Tuesday, February 1, 2011

      happy february! & why i'm worried i'm a psychopath...

      Happy February Everyone!

      Ah, February. A month I hate spelling. Like wednesday. I hate spelling Wednesday. I have a perpetual fear I'm going to mess it up. I feel pretty proud of my spelling, so when faced with a word I'm not sure of, it worries me a bit. I only recently mastered ne... DAMN.... I had mastered it, and now, when I try and conjure the word from my brain, I'm left with just the first two letters.
      Necessary. Necessarily.

      Sorry about that.
      But, in place of Necessary (which has apparently gained its own Capital Letter. You have no idea how long I have struggled to memorize how to spell it), I have only just realised that "Evidently" isn't "Evidentially". Though Word seems to be disagreeing with me today and not giving me a squiggly red line (see, I have to double-check these things so I don't look the fool) under evidentially so maybe I was right all along.

      Anyway, that isn't really the point of this post. At all.
      It's more about me being a terrible human being.