Sep 19, 2017

Tuesday's Miscellanea.

It was about time too, Australian Bureau of Statistics.

My postal vote form arrived last night and I've had my say, ticked yes and popped it back in the post this morning.  I can feel change, acceptance, and equality in the air as our nation comes together to hopefully agree that love is love.

The week's been off to a brisk start for me.  Work continues to be hectic and I am dealing with it by draping myself in beautiful prints via my new Boden frocks and making being on my feet all day less excruciating by wearing my new shoe from Louise M.  I'm hoping to have my review post up on the blog Thursday.

I won't lie.  I am loving all this sun that Sydney has been gifted with lately.  It's even been warm enough to wear shorts.  Albeit for around thirty minutes in the early afteroon but it's a start and my legs have seen enough sun to rescue them from their pastiness....

These bicycles have started appearing around my neighbourhood.  Some of them seem to get around a fair bit but this particular bike has been comfortably propped up against a tree I walk past on my way to get my morning coffee for quite some time now.  Perhaps it's a sign that I should be the one to ride the bike and relocate it to someplace new.

Elsewhere in the world, the Emmys were on earlier this week.  The frocks weren't that exciting but here are my favourite looks.

The Emmys were on earlier this week.  Congratulations on your win, Nicole.

And I am so glad that you won as well, Elisabeth Moss.  For your Outstanding Lead Actress nod in 'The Handmaid's Tale'.  I'm still trying to pluck up the courage to watch.

In lieu of an Emmy, I have these new kitchen scales to put on my kitchen bench top.  I wonder if it's true, by the way, that the recipients of such esteemed awards keep them in the most ordinary of places around their homes.

But back to the scales.  I'm very excited about them because them they appear to be virtually indestructible.  My digital ones have a habit of switching themselves on and off on a whim. I like that these scales are old school mechanical with a tare function and a dial full of numbers that I find strangely soothing.  I bought mine online from here.

I can vouch for the all-round deliciousness of this Sriracha aioli I bought at Costco the other day.  It's perfect with my sushi bowl salad as well as normal sushi.  I'm currently trying to think of the kind of sandwich that might also do it justice.  Fish finger ones, perhaps?

In more news from the world of sauces, it is now possible to order Big Mac sauce to go with your McNugget Happy Meal.  Preschooler SSG gives it two thumbs up with both fries and nuggets.

Preschooler SSG had a party at school on Friday complete with two very special guests - Bumblebee and Buzz Lightyear.  Both were a huge hit with the children.

I managed to find some Transformer pyjamas for him in the miracle area of Target that is the childrenswear sales rack.  They and his Toy Story pyjamas have traveled the route from wardrobe to bed to the laundry machine and clothesline many, many times already this week.

Given how much Preschooler SSG enjoyed the party and all the gross out humour and physical comedy that took place, I've taken the plunge and bought us tickets to see Frank Woodley's Noodlenut show at the Opera House these school holidays.  It looks like lots of fun and well, harbour side on a Saturday afternoon isn't a bad place to be either.

Sep 18, 2017

Life This Week 18/9/2017: Taking Stock.

Making : fairy wands using a craft set I bought at kmart.  Those sets are godsends for combatting Preschooler cabin fever. 

Cooking :  roasted vegetable buddha bowls.  I've tweaked a recipe from Goodful by adding a few things to the original dressing (orange juice, fish sauce and sesame oil) and it's now just right for me.

Drinking : T2's peppermint tea.

Reading: the pricing information booklet for the play centre where Preschooler SSG wants to hold his fifth birthday... this December.  He's already set the date and the guest list will be 'all my friends'...

Trawling: TripAdvisor for tips and tricks for my next trip.  I'm excited already.  If it all comes together, I'll be off to the US in January.  I know.  What a surprise....

Wanting:  to go on a magical mystery train ride with Preschooler SSG these school holidays.  I've heard Kiama is a lovely place to visit with a scenic ride all the way there.

Looking: for a new set of kitchen scales.  Mine are broken and as a guesstimate kind of cook, I'm missing them more than I thought I would.

Deciding: that my eyeballs can only deal with contacts so many days of the week.  

Wishing: that my eyeliner didn't migrate into my eyes as often as it does.

Enjoying: the later sunsets we're getting these days.

Waiting:  for my antihistamines to kick in.  Hay fever.  Grr....

Liking: that my hands are no longer cracked and sore after I've taken to smothering them in Vaseline and wearing old socks over them each night.  It's my cross to bear each winter and if I'm slack about it, I really do notice the painful difference.

Wondering: if the new iPhone will live up to its hype and if I should get one.

Loving: how clean my desktop and laptop screens are now that I've given them a good clean.

Pondering: how all the sand finds its way through the house.  Despite me pouring it out of shoes at the back door before we enter.

Listening: to Preschooler SSG chatter away with such imagination and passion.

Considering: whether I should open this week's Aldi catalogue.  Browsing it always convinces me I need things I never thought I did.

Buying: Aldi plain flour for the first time.  I'm a long time fan of everything else in this trolley.  I don't think I can go too far wrong with the flour.  It's Australian grown and milled.

Watching: Australian Story's interview with Dennis and John, two of Australia's most lovely and inspiring foster dads.  Hearing each of their foster daughters speak with such love, pride and respect for these two beautiful people was just the parenting inspiration I needed this week.

Hoping: for a stable, relatively peaceful world in 2018 because I'm planning to travel to a fair few corners of it.

Marvelling: that I've already sent in all my tax stuff to my accountant.

Cringing: in advance at all the questions he will then have for me relating to missing paperwork and overzealous attempts to claim potential deductible expenses.  

Needing: to change the battery in the remote for our back gate.  

Questioning: how I managed to collect three bags of dark brown sugar in my pantry.

Smelling: cinnamon scented oat, sultana and chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven.

Wearing: a much loved pair of jeans I bought in New York 9 years ago and a deliciously comfy pima cotton top I bought in New Orleans 2 years ago.

Noticing: that practically all my favourite clothes come from those epic outlet shopping expeditions I have when I'm overseas.

Knowing: that despite this, some things like the perfect black leather jacket always seems to be elusive on these trips.

Thinking: that those letters the energy companies sent out because the Government told them to do something about the massive bills consumers are getting from them are both a waste of time and of trees.  The media reported on how many of us would be too complacent to do anything making it doubtful the letters would change anything much.  The corollary is that the energy companies are being just as complacent.  I parked myself with my phone and the letter at my desk the other day expecting to be on the phone for half and hour but with a better plan at the end of it.  Instead I only had a five minute chat confirming that I was already on the best plan for me. Grrrr....

Admiring: how other people keep their manicures in such immaculate condition.

Getting: excited about the long overdue catch ups I have planned over coming weeks with some of my favourite people.

Bookmarking: online sellers of the printer cartridges for my new printer.  Exciting stuff.

Opening: windows on the work browser far too often from home.  

Closing: the door of a decluttered wardrobe full of clothes you actually wear is a great feeling.

Feeling: a rush of excitement as I walk through the stores in the city.  Everyone seems to be gearing up for spring/summer.  So many new things.  So many lavish product installations.

Hearing: the hum of my fridge in the background.  It's been hectic today but the sound of my fridge is one of those reassuring sounds of home and winding down for the night.

Celebrating: some of our cultural heritage with Preschooler SSG.  We visited a festival on Darling Harbour organized to promote Hong Kong recently and Preschooler SSG was fascinated (at a safe distance) by these dragon dancers.  He had no such hesitation at the fried noodle stall we visited after looking at the dragons.

Pretending: that summer is already here!!!!!!

Embracing: my chance to have my say on marriage equality.

Sep 15, 2017

The Friday Download 15/9/2017.

There are those days of the week where comfort is key.  You don't have to go to work, you're not going anywhere special or you might even have had a swim in the morning and hence aren't in possession of either good hair or makeup.

On days like those, I hitch up the waistband of my mum jeans (we do not wear belts on the days we are not at work) and head out the door for a spot of mum lifing.  This involves picking up my dry cleaning before draping it over the side of my trolley as I scoot around doing the groceries.  

The dry cleaning drape serves two purposes.  Firstly my bags of perfectly pressed shirts and scarves are a reassuring visual reminder of those days where I actually make it out the door dressed appropriately for a day of action and decision making in that parallel universe I imagine my workplace to be.  A place where I rarely raise my voice (I can't even bring myself to confess that I shout, now that wouldn't do...) unless it's to speak in the ear of someone who's hearing aids are playing up and I rarely have to say the same thing more than once in the same conversation unless the person to whom I'm speaking repeats their question.  And secondly, having my dry cleaning over the side of my trolley keeps it in better condition than if I were to just drop it on the bottom of the trolley.

Speaking of work and it being on occurrence in my weekly schedule for which I dress up, how exciting was that thirty something degree day on Wednesday?  Everyone around me was dressed in anticipation of the heat.  There were beautiful sundresses all around me at work, there were tank tops and shorts on the street and Preschooler SSG was sockless at pick up time on account of the heat.  

Spring/Summer (because that's what the next six glorious months will be to me), I'm so glad we've been reunited.

I've discovered a new brand of soba noodles.  These are a Korean brand and not only do they come with a beautiful purple wrapper, they also cook much better than the brand I was using previously.  They hold their texture without going soggy and don't overcook as quickly as the competition.  They do cook to an inky purple which gives my lunch a goth / Prince kind of edge.

The brand is Sukina and this is what the packaging looks like.  I found mine at my go to Asian grocer at the Top Ryde Shopping Centre.

So you know how I love my work stationery.... well I endured the worst imaginable pain this week.  I had to take a full hour of notes using ... shudder ... cheap supermarket biros.  It was physically painful.

Definitely less painful was this gift to self after a long half week at the coalface.  I've been curious about Louise M shoes for quite some time now and when I found out that they were having a spring sale, I had a browse and found myself two new pairs of shoes for work.  

I know what you're wondering to ask.  Yes, definitely.  There will be a review post.  I'm on my feet for hours on end, I'm up and down endless flights of stairs, I walk on all kinds of mostly hard and slippery surfaces and I need to be comfortable, dressed appropriately for my work environment and comply with OH&S regulations too.  I also have an endless fascination with the lives of flight attendants and Louise M shoes were originally created with female flight crew in mind.  What could possibly go wrong with my post?  There will be something in it for everyone, I'm sure.

I ordered Wednesday evening, got shipping confirmation an hour later so I reckon I'll be ready to review here by mid next week.
In other retail news or perhaps that should be the retail news of the week, the new iPhones have been announced.  It's all looking like a brave new world in smartphones.  No home button, wireless recharging, retina identification, acres of smooth (and breakable) glass and shininess with the iPhone X estimated at having a base price of around .... $1500 in Australia this November.  It's so wrong yet strangely so right to be contemplating dropping that kind of money for a new phone...

Do strong feelings cross your mind as you ponder your dry cleaning?

Do strong feelings cross your mind as you ponder the new iPhones?

So many big questions.

Sep 14, 2017

Lovin' Life 14/9/2017: My Right To Vote.

Our council elections were held over the weekend so we joined the rest of the neighbourhood in making the trek to our local primary school to cast our vote.

Some of us travelled via scooter, others on foot.  There were dogs in tow, prams in tow and even the odd balloon.  But sadly, no sausage sizzle or cake stall.

I'm just going to come right out and say it but you can't have an election without on site food and beverages.  Aside from the sustenance, the stalls add colour, noise and vibrancy to the day.  Voters mill around and chat as they peruse what's on offer and the proceeds from the sales on the day benefit the host primary school.

Preschooler SSG enjoyed the outing nonetheless.  Because it was quiet, he got to explore the school's playground and have a go at a few of the games on his own.

By coincidence, we found ourselves at Circular Quay on Sunday at around the same time that a marriage equality rally was concluding in the forecourt of Customs House.  In a peaceful yet powerful demonstration, members of the LGBT community stood shoulder to shoulder with their heterosexual supporters under an expanse of rainbows, pithy placards and simple yet devastatingly effective costumes.

People of different religious faiths were present in a statement that their God focuses on love above all else.

Several thoughts crossed my mind as I went to vote on Saturday and as I sat in that food court on Sunday in the midst of the crowd of marriage equality supporters.

The right to vote and the right to equality and free speech are all effortless to me.  They're all practically handed to me on a silver platter.  The thought that I or my family could be persecuted or even killed for not toeing some political line doesn't even cross my mind as I cast my vote or look over the campaign material for the 'yes' and 'no' campaigns.  No one is watching me or being encouraged to speak against me by some omnipresent ruling party.

But as with anything that's so easily come by comes the risk that politics become a meaningless blur of media sound bites and headline grabbing policies.  I'm taking steps each day to become more aware of what our politicians are actually doing rather than what they say.  Curiously, this getting of wisdom happens around bedtime as I listen to ABC News Radio.  But it's a start, at least.

Judging from the crowd on Sunday, Australia and all its people are ready to acknowledge that love is love.

Sep 12, 2017

Not Quite Summer. Silicone Baking Sheets.

I was so excited when I checked the weather forecast for Tuesday last night.  31C as a maximum with a balmy 19C overnight.

I fished out one of my pairs of Bettina Liano denim shorts from that Costco haul I made a few weeks back and even managed to find my favourite pair of Birkis (right where I left them at the end of last summer).  Sadly, I only got to wear the Birkis because it's taking it's time today to hit that 31 degrees.

It's also pretty cloudy (I should have paid more attention to the clouded over sun icon on my phone) so this is as much bright gold as I got to see today inside my bag as opposed to up in the sky -  the lining of my bag as I opened it to safely store a random knob of ginger that I discovered on the floor of the car on my way from the pool.  Actually, it's not even that random a knob of ginger.  It fell out of my shopping bag last night as I unpacked the car.

I'm a big fan of canned plums with my muesli.  I think this version flavoured with Amaretto and vanilla will definitely ensure my day gets off to the best possible start.  From Aldi, where else?

In more 'from Aldi, where else?' news, I lucked out and found this pair of silicone baking sheets.  They were the last couple at my local store.

And I found them just in time to bake a batch of Sally's Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  I've never understood the joy some people find with eating cookie dough until now...  Butter, cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar.  So good together as is and baked.

Google told me that you don't need to grease silicone baking sheets before use.

And Google was correct.  All my cookies slid off the sheets cleanly with the help of a spatula.  The sheets were also very easy to wash clean afterwards as well.  A light rinse loosened any stray crumbs or smudges of melted chocolate.

So I'm now officially a convert to silicone baking sheets.  Do you use them yourself?


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