Monday, November 29, 2010

Wanted: A good home...

So anyone want a kitten? Comes with a free dog.

My glasses went missing. To be truthful, I didn't notice they were missing till I said goodbye to the dog before I left to catch the bus for work on Monday. And there they were, tucked under the dog in his bed. With a lens missing. I was thinking they were beyond salvage because I couldn't see the lens, and these are half frames.

MOTH found the lens after and took the glasses to see if they could be repaired. They were, and for nix. Yay!

I was off sick on Tuesday and Wednesday. I've been having a bit of trouble with vertigo. Seems my blood pressure is a wee bit high. Never mind, we'll fix that the way nature intended. With medication. So new meds. It's been almost a week now and I'm still suffering from bouts of light headedness.

Somewhere around 3am on Thursday morning, the Elder left to go back north to collect the last of her gear. She left Sheldon and Fred with us.

Thursday I'm back to work but maybe I should have pushed the doc for the rest of the week off.

Saturday morning and I'm into the kitchen to let the dog out and do the rest of the morning pet stuff. And what is this!? My expensive pretty blue and silver havaianas - which I have owned and worn everywhere pre doggy I might add - are in the Fred's bed. Chewed. One thong is now too short for my foot and I can no longer wear them! If they must chew something, why the heck do they choose my $30 footwear?!

I'm not happy.

MOTH and I go out briefly to the shops. When I return, the lace curtain in the toilet is now sporting a tear approximately two feet long. Stupid cat! I so do not like you right now!

So much for keeping my blood pressure down.

MOTH gets a text from the Elder on Sunday. Apparently the car has broken down and isn't going anywhere in a hurry. She's stranded up there for a while longer. She's trying to convince me to take the animals up to her in the car when we go mid December. I'm trying to convince her to come back by train and she can look after the animals in the back of the car. I'm certainly not sitting in the front while Fred tangles himself in the harness on the back seat and knocks the cat cage off the seat....

Sunday night I let the inner child have its way and I sat down to watch Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. It lasted 3 hours. And every 10 minutes there was a minimum of 8 ads. Minimum. Talk about ruining the movie.....

Oh, and I've completely forgotten to post the pic of the pirates at party. Ah well.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A half strangled cat and a tangled dog!

It's been a busy week.

After a stressful work week, I called in sick on Monday. I think the reason I'm so very dispirited is that I would normally have had a brief holiday by now. I break up the year with a week at Easter, a week or two September/October, and a few odd days in between. This year I'm taking it all over Christmas so I've yet to have a decent break away from work.

There you go.

So, Monday I was sitting in the rumpus room and heard the lorikeets at the bird feeder. That's loud, but thought nothing more of it. A few minutes later, I walked through the kitchen and glanced that direction. Oh. It was a pair of galahs, not lorikeets! No wonder they were noisy.

At some point MOTH went out on an errand. He returned a couple of hours later with a small bunch of purple flowers he'd found on the footpath. I put them in a tiny little jug I have. They were so very sweet! And they lasted a few days. It's not the first time he's brought me these little roadside flowers, but it always makes my day.

From Wednesday I have to catch the bus again because Zman is travelling. Out on the busway I happen to glance up at the sides of the embankment. There is a door open in the side of the wall that denotes the sound barrier at the top.

And there is a bloke sitting in a wheelbarrow! His hands behind his head, legs swinging. It made my morning.

A lass is waiting at a stop. Maybe she's a student. Her gold belt catches my attention. When she actually gets on the bus, I can see it's a gold 80s glomesh style bum bag. For those overseas readers, I believe the Americans call them fanny packs. How handy would that be for an 80s themed party? I consider rolling her for it.

I'm standing in the kitchen after work and I hear my mobile go off. It's Zman. There is a problem with his accommodation. Oh, great. Just great. I spend some time online searching for alternatives but everything seems to be booked solid. I'm just thinking I should tell him to phone the travel agent, when he calls back. He's just phoned the travel agent and booked something else. Thank you travel agents. It seems that the first night accommodation was missing - he didn't pick it up, I didn't pick it up and the travel agent didn't pick it up.

Thursday proved to be an exciting day for the Elder's pets. Sheldon has a very, very bad habit of jumping at the cords that operate the vertical drapes. *bad kitty, naughty kitty* At some point, from his study MOTH heard a noise and came to look. There was Sheldon, hanging from one of the cords with it tangled around his neck. One very lucky kitty! MOTH lost one of his beloved siamese in a very similar fashion many years ago and it is one of the very few times I have ever seen him cry.

Sheldon followed him about for the rest of the day. And kept away from the cords for a day or two after that. But guess what, he's back at them AGAIN! I swear his behavior is getting worse. Even constant spanking doesn't help curb his enthusiasm for rampant mischief.

Thursday night is for shopping you know. Yes, it is. Fred was left on his bed in the garage. When we arrived back, he greeted us with tail wagging ... and a huge tangle of nylon rope around his front legs and body. We've no idea at all how he managed to do that.

Certainly seemed the day for it.

Friday I had a doctor's appointment. It's the first time I've been there for a little while. Whoo! A new receptionist. Male. Young. Attractive. Think I'm going to be sick a lot more often!

Saturday we headed out around mid morning for Bestie's little boy's 6th birthday party. The theme was Pirates! Which makes a change from dinosaurs. Bestie had found a company that do themed kid's parties; she hoped it would be worthwhile.

It was! Captain Jack turned up right on time, after a loud chorus from the kids. They were a little startled at first, but they soon warmed up. He kept those kids constantly occupied for a whole hour. Kudos, I say.

I'll add a photo later.

We stayed after everyone had left and relaxed a little. Dinner was offered, but MOTH was wanting to get home to check on the animals. It was nearly 5pm when we got home. What a day!

Sunday we caught a bus to the cinema at South Bank. I like those cinemas because they have great pricing. There are closer within driving distance, but when you pay $8.50 *plus bus fare* for an adult ticket compared to $16.50 *plus fuel*, it's a bit of a no brainer.

We chose our seats and waited for the screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I teared up a little at the beginning at the whispered word, Obliviate. The cinema was deathly quiet through most of the movie, apart from some gasps, laughter and muffled tears.

Yes, surprisingly enough, there were some good one liners.

Can't wait for Part 2.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mini quiches and cupcakes

Well, it seems the quiche and cupcakes were quite a visual hit. As requested, here are the necessary bits:

MINI QUICHE
INGREDIENTS (I don't usually measure so these are a guide)

Sheets of ready rolled puff pastry. I use Pampas frozen.
2 tspns butter
1 cup grated cheese
Approx 150g of diced ham OR 2 rashers of bacon, diced
1/3 cup cream
1 egg
Pepper to taste

METHOD

Allow pastry sheets to thaw as per packet directions.
Preheat oven to 180 deg.
Spray shallow patty pans with a little oil. I use gem scone trays.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except butter.
Heat butter and combine with ingredients.
Cut each pastry sheet into rounds approx 6cm diameter. I use a glass that I press into the sheet and get about 12-14 each sheet.
Press pastry into the trays.
Place approx half a teaspoon of mixture into each pastry round.
Cook in oven for approx 15 - 20 mins.
Repeat with pastry and mix until it's all used.
Turn on to racks to cool.

I can't tell you how many it makes because I don't measure the ingredients but go on consistency, so the amount is always a little different. I can usually get around 3 dozen out of this mix...

RED VELVET CUP CAKES
This is an american recipe so I've provided the conversions....
INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plain flour)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa (powdered)
1 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn salt
1 tspn baking soda
2 sticks butter at room temperature (approx 230g)
5 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (see note at bottom)
1 tspn vanilla
1 tspn red food coloring

METHOD

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Sift dry ingredients three times.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to beat well after each egg.
Add 1/4 of dry ingredients to creamed mixture then approximately 1/4 of buttermilk alternating until mixed well. Mix in vanilla and food coloring.
Fill lined cupcake pans 1/2 full of red velvet batter. Bake in a preheated 350 (180C) degree oven for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes in pans for 5 to 10 minutes then remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

NOTE: If you don't happen to have buttermilk on hand you can try this simple substitution. Place one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in an empty one cup measuring cup. Fill with milk to 1 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes then use in any cake recipe that calls for buttermilk.

These taste great with cream cheese frosting. You'll have to source that one yourself, but I use something like:

250g cream cheese softened
approx 60g butter
1-2 cups icing sugar
vanilla essence or extract

Beat cream cheese and butter till softened and creamy. Add icing sugar and combine well. Add vanilla to taste.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pincushion city.

Since that cat moved in, I'm beginning to find out how a pincushion feels. Or becoming a blood donor. Whichever. Sheldon is a livewire and loves my desk chair. Regardless of whether I'm sitting in it or not. *sigh*

The Tuesday morning traffic was terrible! A usual 10 minute run took 25. There was a bonus though. Yes. A sign we pass every day that says "IN NOV" finally had enough time to display the whole message. NIGHT WORKS IN NOV. Excellent!

Sheldon has been giving me plenty of exercise. Busily climbing the screen door every few minutes, tangling himself in the vertical drapes, trying to steal my glasses from my desk and even turning on my computer! Well, that's accomplished by stepping on the mouse, but hey.

video

Fred and Sheldon tear around the rumpus room in the evenings, making me worry about the state of the carpet....

Wednesday night Zman and I hit JBHiFi for a one night only sale. I didn't really have any funds but managed to pick up 3 blu-ray dvds for $28. Zman spent considerably more than that! The dvds were the Prestige, Scorpion King 2 *ok. i confess. i like b-grade movies* and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.

Friday morning woke us up well and truly. At the end of the road we use to access the carpark, there is only a right turn. The cycle path joins the road at that point. A cyclist came up to the road and stopped. Zman glanced at a pedestrian on the footpath while turning right. Just in time to see the cyclist crossing right in front of the car! SHOOOOOT! *or something like that*

*dangit. sheldon is trying to eat my flowers*

This week has been rather rushed with several staff members travelling. Friday morning I was asked by a third party to make arrangements for my boss as they were having difficulty. Alright, fair enough. They would be willing to reimburse, but only to a certain amount. Because it was last minute *the traveller was heading out on monday* all the hotels close to the venue were already full. They had given me three options, and the only one with rooms available was a 15 minute taxi ride away. I confirmed it, 'paid' for it and sent the details to my boss. At about 3pm he gets back to the office and has a huge dummy spit. No. I'm not staying there. I'm not taking a cab every day. I need to stay at the venue so I can network with people. I can't do that while I'm staying that far away. I would rather stay at my sisters place. *i'm rather gobsmacked during all this. a 15 minute taxi ride is NOTHING in my book. and how would staying at his sisters be any different unless she lived next door to the venue???* Oh, and you can write back to them and tell them I'm not staying there, I'm not doing it. Make sure they pay me the per diem amount not the accommodation amount, and if they want me to take a taxi, then they can pay for me to get a hire car. I told him the girl I had been liaising with was in Bangkok and she wouldn't have any authority. He was quiet for about 5 seconds before he started again.

So, I had to cancel that booking and suck up to Bangkok and ask if he could be paid the per diem amount. Then my wonderful travel agent said, I can get you a room at the venue. But it was only for two nights, not three. I went back to the boss and told him that if our company was willing to wear the cost of the flight changes and the cost of the difference in the accommodation, I could get him two nights at the venue. He was most pleased with that *and i think he even called me my dear!* I suspect because he got his own way.

I didn't finish work that day until nearly 5:45pm.

Saturday I baked. It seemed nearly all day. Mini quiches. Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.


Sunday the Elder and I took Fred up to the markets. No bath this time, but we stopped for an icecream and drink. It was a little warm. While there I did espy a young lady wearing brown leggings. And a short top. Definite no no in my fashion book! And as an added feature, there was a big hole on her inner thigh near the top. How did she think she was going to get away with that?? Or was it just my eagle eyes?

Sigh. Work tomorrow. Ah well. Cupcake anyone?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Black Dog.

Been an odd sort of week...

Monday morning MOTH and I headed out early to collect the ute. We didn't have enough room in the car so it became necessary to hire something. Turned out to be a ute which MOTH would drive up to bring home some of the stuff in. He dropped me off at work and headed straight out. It felt odd, and I didn't really want him to go.

A message in the afternoon let me know he had arrived safely.

Monday evening it was home to an empty house. I felt odd, not quite knowing where I fit and having to cook dinner for one. I often wonder how singles do it. Cooking dinner for one is such a pain.

Tuesday morning felt strange as well. No competition for the bathroom. We have two bathrooms. Well, one is the ensuite, but it seems I am trying to do my makeup at the same time that MOTH is brushing his teeth, taking his medication or brushing his hair. It's a bother to go down the other end of the house to do my makeup there, so I wait.

That evening I cooked Wednesday night's dinner - quiche - so we didn't have to fuss. Then to cook something for me for dinner. The phone went off. I had my hands full and the tv blaring while I tried to watch something I had recorded the night before. The phone stopped ringing just as I reached it. I hate that. But I found I had two home messages. Which the phone never tells you about by the way. One from that day from a friend of MOTH's. One from the day before from the realtor.

The lease is up for renewal just before Christmas. The rent is hella expensive, but we decided we would like to stay for a little while longer.

I settle back in to eat and watch television. The phone goes off again. It's mother. We chat for a bit while I'm eating and the telly is on pause. She gets call waiting and we finish talking. I finally finish dinner and the phone rings again. It's mother again after having finished her previous call. We chat for a time longer.

Wednesday I phoned the realtor. The landlord is happy to renew the lease for another 12 months, with a $10 a week increase in rent. I guess we can't complain too much as last year we got to renew with no increase at all. She'll post the paperwork out to us.

MOTH and the Elder have arrived home by the time I get dropped off by Zman after work. They've decided not to unpack anything and will do it in the morning. It also seems that they didn't manage to fit all her stuff on the ute and in the car. Fred and Sheldon have arrived as well. I've met Sheldon before, but by golly, I didn't realise how much of a little mischief he was! I have a photo on my phone and maybe I will upload it another time.

Nothing much is happening for Thursday and Friday. I'm glad of Friday evenings after work. Sunny was thinking of coming down for a visit, but Thursday is shopping night so we leave it hanging again.

Saturday was relaxing. We have hired a couple of movies and I settle in to watch them. Iron Man 2, The Punisher: War Zone, and Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. A movie marathon and I'm having fun.

The Elder and I go for a walk with Fred to the markets. She takes him for a hydrobath and spends some time buying him some treats. Her mood has relaxed a little over the last couple of days. I do the washing from the last couple of days and peg it out. It looked like rain at one point, but the clothes have dried and I bring them in.

And then.... there is an exchange of words with Subs and the black dog is barking at the door and shoulders his way into the house. Subs is abusive and the Elder has given him ample opportunity to use her words as ammunition for a fight. He's not very pleasant and even has words to say about MOTH. I don't waste breath on gentle words this time. I tell her what I think of what has been exchanged and it's not complementary.

I wish this dog would just go away... although dinner bought tears of laughter. Definite improvement.