Monday, November 28, 2011


Another week and as the stores continually like to remind us, Christmas is drawing near and it's time to spend up big!

Which really annoys me cause I'm never prepared for Christmas. There is always too much year left over at the end of my budget.


The lease on the house is due for renewal just prior to Christmas. I don't know quite how we managed that but yes, we moved on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago.

MOTH asked what we wanted to do. The rent is expensive *it takes almost half my wage each fortnight* but I really love the location of the house and moving is such a huge huge task. We decide to take the lease for another 12 months. I think we might like to take longer but they no longer allow leases to extend beyond 12 months.

The landlord has decided to rent again at the same price which means no rent increase and I don't have to find the extra bond money just before Christmas. Whoo!


Christmas shopping has barely begun. Funds are short as always and I just can't seem to get organised to begin earlier in the year. I have managed to get gifts for Elder and the Teen *heaven knows what she shall be named next year. she's no longer a teen then* and one for my nephew. Just two nieces, two siblings and one partner, two parents to go. My wallet is weeping just thinking about it.

Nephew's present arrived from the USA with astonishing speed. Order place night 1; parcel delivered day 4. Very fast service!


Elder has decided to give MOTH and I an early Christmas present. We have cable tv *foxtel here in oz* set up in MOTH's room. She is paying for an extra box to go in my room. Yay! Foxtel confirms that the tech will arrive on Saturday somewhere between 10am and 2pm.

I vacuum the floor. The tech has to have somewhere clean to work! There is so much cat hair trapped in the carpet. Elder phones early Saturday morning. The tech has phoned to say he'll be on his way. It's 8.45am.

He arrives not long after. Tech works quickly and gets the box installed. Fortunately there was an existing point in the wall so no extra drilling etc is required. He replaces the outlet with one that needs to be earthed. The new box is standard which means I don't have IQ so can't pause, rewind or record. That's disappointing but I can live with it.

He's hooked the box to the tv and it goes through the surround sound. Sweet. He climbs to the roof and adjusts the dish so the signal is 'perfect' *MOTH's words* and he recables MOTH's so that his too goes through the surround. MOTH is totally wrapt and says that he is very, very impressed with the tech.

The day is spent watching the box.


Sunny and his friend pop round for a visit and to introduce their latest family member. Her name is Spirit.

She is a very tiny 10 week old ragdoll kitten.

Jerome and Sheldon weren't so impressed. I wonder if this is the first time Sheldon has seen a cat other than his litter mates and Jerome. I don't know his history.

She doesn't see them at first but they surely see her! When she does see them, she arches her back. Jerome hisses at her then leaves the room. Sheldon hangs around, watching like a hawk and growling occasionally. I'm a little worried he might try to beat on her but although he's very tense he keeps his distance.

As the boys leave, she begins to meow; a tiny little barely audible squeak. So little! Shame they grow up really...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Oh Lordy!

I realised this morning that it's November 21. Where did this year go?


I'm staring out the bus window at the River. It's brown as usual and I wonder if both it and the Fitzroy flow upside down. But look! There's a kayak on the river. I sometimes see rowers but this is the first time I've seen a kayak. And it's bright yellow so a little more difficult for the Cats to run over!

Unless you're MOTH of course. Then wearing a bright yellow polo and being on a pedestrian crossing is not enough to save you from being bumped/hit by a car driven by a woman using a mobile phone.


One of the GTs tells me he has a new wallet. He tells me it's a bad mofo and pulls it from his pocket and shows me. It's a Bad M'F*ker Wallet. Totally awesome. We laugh about it and trawl through YouTube for the appropriate scene from the movie. If you have seen Pulp Fiction you will know what I'm talkin' bout.


I get on a different bus this morning and I'm first on. Excluding the driver and his escort that is. He must be learning a new route. We get to a stop with a woman and a toddler and a pram. I'm not paying attention until I hear the driver calling out. I look and the escort is out of the bus trying to fold the pram while the driver shouts instructions from the driver's seat. He laughs. Ask me about that he says and I'm fine. Ask me about anything else and I haven't got a clue!


I'm staring out the bus window at the River *de ja vu anyone* and I see a 'flock' of cyclists on the path below. One leads and the other two follow. Odd. They are all dressed the same. I don't often see that. Oh wait. They're police. On cycles. No wonder they look the same!


I book travel for staff at work as part of my job. I book for the managers and occasionally for other staff; very very rarely for Admin2 or myself. Prior to the new service that is part of my task we never traveled beyond our own conference.

As a travel booker, I make sure that I get to attend all the information sessions/morning tea events that the travel agent has. Most of the time Admin2 comes with me but just lately I made the mistake of inviting my supervisor and now she is on the invite list. Personally I get a little peeved because I regard these little outings as a reward for a stressful part of my job that goes unrecognised any other way.

This time one of the hotel chains that has a contract with the travel agent to service my employers travel requirements has just recently refurbished. We were invited to attend a viewing and a lunch. Brilliant! Supervisor was away so it was just Admin2 and I. She couldn't go on the day but I managed to find someone to take her place.


Up to the room for a viewing of the King room. Drinks on arrival at the room while our second 'hostess' explained the refurbishment and fitout. The chain had conducted a survey of what guests wanted to see in a hotel. One of the things they found out was that with a vast majority of couples the woman sleeps on the right side of the bed with a soft pillow, men sleep on the left with a firm pillow. That is why the hotel rooms are set up with firm pillows on the left, soft on the right and the pillows are labelled for you.

They use a shower curtain that has been specially designed. The rail is curved. The curtain has a thinner fabric at the top to allow natural light in and a double layer so that one side goes outside the bath and the other inside. The inside bit can be ripped off and disposed of so you are getting a fresh curtain each time.


Up to the conference area for lunch. This area is large and spacious but not anywhere near large enough for our conference requirements. Lunch is served after a small presentation from the hotel chain. I have chicken topped with brie on a pumpkin risotto. Delish! Dessert comes out as an alternate drop. I have the macadamia tart. I think I'd prefer the chocolate mousse but the tart turns out to be very good.
We get a lift back to work in a Suzuki Swift. I'm surprised that the head rests on the back seat are not flush with the seat. Even I would have to adjust it if I were to spend any time in the back seat!


Time for a treat I think. Our local cinema offers members an occasional discount to a selected movie. This week it's The Three Musketeers. I think it should be good. Especially since the ticket is only $5.50.

The movie is a rollicking good adventure with well choreographed fight sequences, action played for over the top on occasion and the baddie gets his just desserts. Throw in a few good laughs and you have a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Titus Groan

Gormanghast. Brilliantly different. Although I've only seen the tv series. And not all of that either because something interfered with the recording and blew it all to bits. We're talking VHS here people!

I was thinking of this because I was groaning. Monday morning and all.


I've mentioned that I was away booth minding for some of last week. It was good to be home but I didn't enjoy the flight as much as I might have. There was some turbulence due to cloud cover. And for the first time flying, my feet looked like balloons. I had to spend the entire flight flexing my ankles and calves and bouncing my heels up and down to keep it at bay.


Checking in is much better when you know how to do it. And you have someone to travel with who has flown many times. And who also has access to Qantas Club and can get you in as a guest. Free food! And drinks!


I decided to hell with the budget, let's do something different. Breakfast in the city with MOTH and the Teen. Topped up the go card and then tried to find a place to eat. We trudged past a couple of places and couldn't find something that appealed to all of us. Teen didn't want 'breakfast food'. We settled on Coffee Club. The big breakfast for him, shared nachos for us. Caramel cheesecake for me. Mugachino for him and mocha frappe for her.

The sun was shining, we were under shade and a light breeze came up from the river. Beautiful.

We cruised a couple of shops Teen wanted to look at. MOTH wasn't allowed to accompany us into one of them because he wasn't cool enough. I'm not sure what he thought but she had a huge grin. In we went and I looked at the stuff she pointed out - baseball and basketball jackets and caps and trendy shoes. Oh look, I say, that's got a nice design on it. She looked at me and hurried me past the shoe display. See what I did there? I slipped a little 'embarrassing dad' into the mix. She laughs.


The Teen decides to fly home. Do you want me to come in with you, get you through to the Security point and nick off? Gosh no, I haven't flown by myself before so I want you to come with me. Oh. She offers to pay for parking *so not cheap!!* so we're set.


Chattering in the car on the way to the airport. We have some time up our sleeves but the traffic is heavy and MOTH is beginning to worry. The flight departs at 3:40 pm. She has to check in an hour before she flies! Well, that's a good time but it's just a guide. They won't board before 2:20 or so, just as long as she checks in before then. Oh. He relaxes a little. Soooo, I say. Do you have your ticket? Silence. Then she bursts into tears. Oh dear .....

MOTH suddenly changes lanes. We don't have time to go back for it. We'll just have to hope that she can check in without it. I really need the reservation number. I investigate several options for checking in. After all, what good is an e-ticket if you still have to present the itinerary? Kind of defeats the purpose. After a while, she lets me know she has the receipt from the booking. It has the reservation number on it! We're set.

Check in at the kiosk and all is good. She can breathe a sigh of relief and we just have to get through security.


The bag is through. Whoops. No it's not. Through again. It sits there and the chappie does nothing. Guess it's ok. The deodorant has to go back in. You can have it, says the Teen. No point, says I. I've not got anything to put it in. But I won't be able to zip the bag again. I roll my eyes and put the can back in the bag. Zip it up and the woman with the explosives wand calls us over and we have to unzip the bag again.



I'm up early. Haven't played WoW all week and I want to catch up a little.

MOTH mows the back lawn. It's a rough job because it's uneven and the grass is patchy. The side lawn has already been done.

MOTH mows the front lawn. It takes about 5 minutes. It's a very small patch of grass that!


Over to visit Bestie and her hubby. He's been in hospital to remove a small piece of disc that has been pressing on a nerve in his back. It's far easier to visit at home than in the wards. Morning tea is the go. A cheese platter and dips.

It's a half hour drive over, and we visit for an hour and a half. Or something like that. Don't want to tire the old boy out!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The odd photo

The bath/shower/spa that was so narrow one end that I could _just_ sit down...

Inside the Elephant and the Wheelbarrow. The ceiling is a stained glass pattern but I couldn't get a good photo...

The Gold/Silver sponsor area. We were exhibition sponsors so tucked away in a different room...

In the city, see the tram go by...

Pellegrini's! This place is apparently a local institution. A long narrow shop where you order Italian and sit on stools at the counter to eat. It was full so we were shown to a communal table in the kitchen...

My dinner on the table in the kitchen. A little bland, but hearty. The granita made up for that, as did the view while he ate his meal and chattered away in Italian to the woman who was cooking...

The foyer decoration of the conference venue. I'm looking at it from the balcony on Floor 1...

The departure gate at the airport on my way out. Telstra sponsor this area. Chairs, coffee and lots of signs. Possibly wifi too but I was busy reading...

Visitors! ...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I'm late! To update my blog!

I usually update on a Monday, but this one has been a little busy!


A sad day. A very sad day. There is a construction site across from us. One of the workers was fatally injured. I heard nothing and only found out that something was amiss when one of the GTs mentioned that the Ambulance and Fire Brigade were in attendance. I hoped the man would make it, but it was not to be.

The television has only just begun running advertisements for Safety Week. I cannot imagine kissing MOTH goodbye for an ordinary work day then not having him return. I cannot.


First on the bus this morning! Yay. One of the regular routes is running a more frequent service. I usually choose not to ride this one - waaaaay too many school kids. But I bite the bullet and jump on. Hardly any kids on this route today.

I sit on the left side of the bus. The next series of passengers also sit on the same side of the bus. How interesting would the bus ride be if everyone sat on the same side? Would we tip over, or at the very least, lean heavily to that side? Hmmmm. These things keep me occupied until others get on and the load evens out.


I'm taking my regular route home and day dreaming as I walk down the stairs to the railway platform. A face drifts past in the crowd and I think he looks familiar, but no, it couldn't be.

Sol! he says and Yes! It IS him! Richard, from my old town; someone I haven't seen for some considerable years. He still lives there and the chances of a random meeting on a train platform are slim. My train isn't due for another ten to twelve minutes so we chat while I wait.

It was really really good to see him.


The Elder and the Teen return home; Elder to collect some belongings, the Teen for a visit. Elder has brought her latest with her, a shy quiet young fellow I'll name Burrich. He's younger than she *why do my kids always pick younger ones???* but I guess that's alright. He has a job, is quiet and polite and doesn't seem to spend his time with cars, booze and parties like a lot of them. Teen really likes him too so I guess he can't be bad.

They arrive fairly late Friday night and Elder and Burrich plan to leave early Monday morning.


I am in a different capital city for work. Boring, boring stuff being a Booth Bunny at a conference. I did get to spend one day with the girls before I had to leave though.

Taxi to the airport and we went the toll way. >$100 later! Glad work has provided cab vouchers! Check in at the airport has changed somewhat and I am a little stressed. I've not flown without another workmate before and it was several years ago so I'm feeling a little lost. The flight wasn't bad in spite of a heap of kids on the plane and I spend the flight reading.

Check into the hotel and the buggers have swiped my credit card for $100. So. Card now overdrawn and any money I had planned to spend for meals etc the conference didn't provide now also gone. Stupid, stupid, stupid hotel policy. How would it work if you went into a department store and they swiped $100 on a card 'in case' you purchased something? It just wouldn't go over so why do we let Hotels get away with it??

The GT I am here with and I decide to ride the tram into town. Fun trying to get the ticket on the tram. I'm surprised how dirty and vandalised it is. I can barely bring myself to sit on the seat *i have this thing about upholstery* but the ride is interesting. We walk the streets for a little while before returning to the hotel. The return tram is newer, in much better condition.


Dinner in the city, having been joined by another workmate. We choose Pellegrini's. Atmosphere galore! Plain, hearty Italian fare. But the place is full and we are shown to a communal table in the kitchen. Brilliant! We are served what seems to be a watermelon granita for drinks with dinner and I eat while I watch the woman prepare meals. She is very fast. I have a photo but no way to upload it at present. I'll add it later.