Sunday, February 25, 2007

When I was younger, Chinese New Year was such a big deal in my little life. It used to start with a massive clean of the house from top to bottom. Followed by a massive family dinner. My mother, although not extremely religious, kept up certain customs and rituals. The actual New Year day would always be a vegetarian day along with a visit to the Buddhist temple. There was always so much food, prepared for guests and relatives who would come visiting. One thing in particular which makes an appearance every year but I realise I've never been too fond of is the dried sweet lotus seeds. I always find the too sweet and too dry. But what I do look forward to is the copius amounts of peanut brittle, sesame brittle and the new year cake. The cake is this seriously gummy thing which can cause aphyxiation if not chewed properly. However, the ritual which is always most memorable for me is the following morning after New Years day when we get up at around 5-6am and have dinner. That's right, we open the new year with dinner!! I've only started to regularly eat breakfast maybe 2 years ago. So eating such a heavy meal so early in the morning has always been a real chore.

For some reason, CNY goes on and on which is why I don't feel that it is too late to be wishing a happy new year. Even this weekend, we were going around visiting relatives. Of course the other highlight of CNY is the little red packets filled with cash!!

With all this eating, basically going through Christmas, New Year and now Chinese New Year, there is no doubt that the weight would pile on. Well it sure did. In order to fit into my favourite jeans again, I decided that it was time I attempted to get fit. Since October last year, I started the Couch to 5K running program from Cool Runnings. Prior to doing this program, I was running but not consistently nor for very long. I finally completed the whole program today completing the third session of 30 minutes running. I never really thought I would complete it as I don't have very good endurance. I'm extremely proud of myself and now plan to continue the running so that I can do the JP Morgan Chase. I did register to attend this year, but because the weather was so bad, they had to cancel it. At the time I registered, I thought I'd just walk it, but next year, I'd like to attempt to run it.

On the knitting front, I've been working on these socks:

Can you see what is wrong with them? The heel is actually too big - the angle I shot the picture makes it look big as well but it really is very big!! I'm going to have to rip it back.

Monday, February 12, 2007

House hunting and other bits and pieces

I spent Saturday like the majority of Sydney people. We went to open houses. Here was how it went:

  • 8.30am - North Parramatta - 3 bedroom mid floor unit - ugly layout, small bedrooms, pathetic view, but it was discounted due to owner wanting to sell
  • 8.45am - North Parramatta - 3 bedroom top floor unit - fantastic layout, large bedrooms, own laundry, skanky stairwell, skanky neighbours
  • 11.45am - Rydalmere - 2 bedroom fibro house - polished floorboards, IT'S A HOUSE!!, needs a lick of paint, IT'S A HOUSE!!, within spitting distance of water, deposit taken (from someone else)
  • 12.15pm - Parramatta - 2 bedroom unit - large balcony, walking distance to Parramatta gaol
  • 1.00pm - Gladesville - lots of open houses available for viewing this day - minimum purchase price $1million
  • 1.30pm - Ryde - 2 bedroom unit - shared laundry, enough said
  • 2.00pm - Dundas - 2x3 bedroom townhouses available - set among "resort style" living - with 500million other people

I was absolutely exhausted after and we did not find one which was worthy of a second viewing. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, there is currently a rental crisis in Sydney due to the changes to the Superannuation laws which make it more attractive to people about to retire to put their money into superannuation than investment properties. Well, if this is the case, where are all these investment properties which should be up for sale???

I also went to see the Egyption exhibition at the National Art Gallery the weekend before. A friend and I decided to catch the train to Canberra which took all of 4 hours each way.

The friend which I stayed with speaks and reads French and was able to translate a lot of information plaques - having lived in Belgium for 15 years. She also works for the Government Department which the National Gallery falls under. I told her that she had better have a word with the translators for the exhibition.

It was a really good exhibition. I love the all things Ancient Egypt. Even though it did seem as if they were quite obsessed with death.