Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A verry merry Christmas and happy Birthday

This year, I spent Christmas day at the BFG's house - sleeping. It's not like I have been working super duper hard in the days leading up to Christmas. I managed to stay awake enough to exchange presents, eat breakfast, and dozed on and off while we tried to watch "The Librarian" (yes... this is extremely geeky of me and how could I have not known about it earlier?).

We ended up making our way back to my place for Christmas dinner where there was ham (my parents have a real fascination with Christmas ham and every year there is more than enough to feed the Republic of Congo), prawns, salad, and even lobster (credit crisis? what credit crisis?).

Not surprisingly, there was birthday cake. Not for Jesus, but for me. The sucky thing about having your birthday on Boxing Day, is that NOTHING (except for supermarkets) are open. So in order to have a fairly decent birthday cake, my sisters always get one on the 24th and we have the cake on Christmas Day - same every year. Same again this year.

After having such a sloth-ish Christmas Day, I was much more energetic on Boxing Day. So the BFG and I walked from his house to the cinemas (crazy crazy thing to do as it took over an hour and it was the beginning of what was going to be a really really hot day). Last year's Boxing Day blockbuster at the movies was Atonement. This year it appears to be The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - which is of course what we went to see. Oh... watching that movie made me want to hop on a plane to New Orleans and have some good ole' chicken fried steak!!

Seeing as it was really getting to be a hot day, we took the bus and then the ferry to Manly for a stroll by the sea. It would have been nice to have gone for a dip in the surf, but seeing as we're both not that organised, we didn't have our swimmers with us. So we just enjoyed staring at the British backpackers. I stared at their blistering lobster red skin and the BFG, I'm sure was staring at something else.



Movies and the Beach - that is my favourite way to spend a birthday!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kylieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee




Kylie.com

One of the benefits of working where I do, is that my company has a Corporate Box at Acer Arena. Normally, an email goes round our department if there are spare tickets to an event and we all madly respond to try to get tickets. So far, I've been to see Celine Dion (not really my thing, but my sisters love her) and Eros Ramazotti (no idea who he is but apparently quite popular in Europe). So I was particularly excited when our little pod of support staff were invited to see Kylie Minogue on her Australia tour. We were allowed to bring a partner or a friend. All my colleagues brought a girlfriend. I brought the BFG as he is a HUGE fan (I'm kind of glad I didn't know this when we first started dating... even though I try not to judge people by the music they listen to).

Although her music is not something I listen to on high rotation, nor something I would purposely go out and buy a ticket to, I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. It was pure entertainment and I'm completely in awe of the way she is able to bop around on 9 inch heels. It was also quite a shock (and rather embarrasing to admit) that I know a lot more words to her songs than I realise. When she sang Locomotion (or parts of it), it also made me realise how old I am!! She released that song when I was in Year 4!

My favourite part was her "Geisha" themed act and it was also where she sang this song (okay... I admit it, there is one song I really like):

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas...

I suggested to the BFG that we should get a tree to decorate his place. That was met with a resounding "NO". Okay... then. End of story. I didn't realise he was such a Grinch but according to him it's more of a matter of being a Scrooge. To my delight, his mum pointed out that he actually had some Christmas decorations stashed away somewhere. After some persistent nagging (I don't think he realises that I'm a complete expert in the art of nagging), he finally brings out the box containing these:


Handmade dolls (I assume they are hand made - they look it).



These are my favourite - girl and boy cutouts.



Some cross stitch the BFG made (yes - I know - he can do crafty things too!!). Actually, I do recall him mentioning on our first date that he has done some cross stitch when he was younger.



A little wooden Christmas tree candle holder with little yarn dolls.


There were a whole lot more cutouts to string across the wall which were very vintage-y cute (probably are considered vintage now) and very Danish but he refused to let me put them up. He was pretty reluctant to put out the dolls and the tree but of course I promptly removed all the crap on the side table and set them up for display. Now I just need to find some fairy lights. Did I mention that I love fairy lights?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In which Librarians plan to take over the world

A friend I went to uni with pointed out this YouTube video someone made about Information Science. On the one hand, I am completely freaked out by the fact that they bothered. On the other hand, what a F*cken nerd!! One of the things I really didn't get when I was studying Info Science was why we were constantly debating the question "What is Information?" Countless lectures and tutorials where bored students were forced to think about information in a thousand different ways but the conclusion was always the same... there is no one definition. Whatever. And if I ever hear the name Brenda Dervin and her bricks and bucket theory again, I'll scream. Wait, that's not true. If I hear one more aspiring Librarian say "I want to be a Librarian because I love books" I'll scream. You don't want to be a Librarian because you love books, you have to like people too. Ummm... which could be the reason why I studied to be one but never became one. Heck, I can't even catalogue, so I would have made a pretty crap Librarian anyway. Do I really care about the Dewey Decimal system which never had enough scope to include new technologies such as computers so that whole subject needed to be shunted in the front with zeros? And more importantly, do I really care about controlled vocabularies and thesauri? Probably not enough. But then I thought you just had to like books to become a Librarian.

Warning, the video below goes for more than five minutes. But you might learn more from that than doing a 3 year Bachelor course in Information Science.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Good Food Affare

Another foodie event was on this weekend which saw the BFG and I take one particularly long winded bus journey to Castle Hill Showground. The main reason why I wanted to go was because the doyenne of Australian cookbook publishing Margaret Fulton was going to be there. We arrived just in time for her beef welllington demonstration.

One of the first cookbooks I ever read was a Margaret Fulton dessert cookbook (can't remember the name) so I was quite delighted to see her in person. She's very funny along with her daughter Suzanne Gibbs and for someone who is about to turn 85, she's still churning out those cookbooks.


Margaret Fulton (left), Suzanne Gibbs (right)




I also have some mystery knitting that I finished this weekend. This is a present which will be sent off. I'll post another picture once the recipient has received it.

And although I've picked up Anna's shawl again, I finally ran out of yarn. Bendigo Woolen Mills no longer make the colour Venetian. I have a cone of 3 ply in Peacock which I can use to finish it with. The BFG suggested I finish it with the peacock colour and then dye the whole thing. I think the problem is the dye might not take evenly for the two types of yarn. What a predicament!! Too depressed about it to continue, I started another project instead.



This is the Minimalist Cardigan from the Fall 2007 Interweave magazine in exciting black. I'm not quite sure what the yarn is. I bought it from Bendigo Woolen Mills last year when I went to Bendigo in their back room. So no ball bands. It was cheap though - $1 per ball or something like that.

.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Goodreads

I'm really bad at keeping records of books which I've read and books we have discussed in my book group. So I was quite excited when I found this particular website where I can make a record of the books I've read and also keep thoughts and comments. This would be good for when I need to go back to try to remember how I originally felt about the book. Anyway, I'm starting to write my reviews, but after reading this one below, I realised that they are not really reviews but more about what I thought of the book.

Unpolished Gem Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung

My review


When I first started reading this book, I thought that there was so much I could relate with growing up Asian and living in Australia. But then I found Alice really quite annoying towards the end of this book when she talks about her relationship with the Anglo Aussie guy she starts dating. I just want to tell her to get over it, being Asian doesn't mean that it needs to get in the way of living your life. It obviously wasn't an issue with that guy and he went out of his way to adjust to the "Asian-ness" of her family and he still liked her.

There is a lot of stereotyping in this book which started to bore me. For example the old Asian woman at the markets bargaining down to the last penny (we all know that Asian women do this so nothing new there) and the fact that she ends up being a lawyer. Okay, so she probably chose to be a lawyer (and this is an autobiography) but it just adds to that whole stereotyping of Asians only being interested in pursuing careers in law, medicine and accounting.

There were some highlights. For example, when she describes how the way her grandmother and mother talk to each other. How every comment contains "bones". That is a very Chinese saying (and a very bitchy Chinese way to be). Basically, it means that there are underlying messages in what is actually said (never good). Her mother and grandmother's relationship sounds like my mother's and my late-grandmother's.


View all my reviews.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Movember

Movember

Because I finally donated!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Creepy

So when I said that there were still a couple of weeks before the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, I was completely wrong and it was on yesterday. But I didn't really have to worry about it because I ended up just running/walking with my Manager and it turned out to be more of a social thing than competitive. Although the high achievers in my company ran the whole it in a very short amount of time. It turned out to be a nice sunny day and the 6 km didn't feel very long. You can see some photos of the race here, but there are no pictures of me! Thank goodness. I was wearing a shirt with my company's logo on it and it was about five sizes too big and was the most unflattering outfit ever. However, there are pictures of Railcorp employees wearing the most ghastly green shirts - but it did make them stand out (and they won the t-shirt competition).

Anyway, feeling like I didn't put enough effort into the run (and after stuffing myself with food from the corporate tent afterwards), I went back to the BFG's place and went for another 30 minute run with him. So that was a total of 11km (run/walk) that I did yesterday.

The BFG is also participating in Movember. I think it started off with him being too lazy to shave for a couple of days. I personally am not a fan of the moustache. But seeing as this is for a good cause ...

He decided that he wasn't going to do the whole moustache thing first but progressively shave the beard off. This is him pre-shave.



And then in a moment of insanity, he decided to shave off just the chin section. We're thinking which part should go next (and what shape). All I can think of is that my work Christmas party is on at the end of November in which he will be sporting the extremely creepy looking moustache. Yuk...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Anna on XPT

When I was in primary school, the XPT used to zoom past while we waited for the regular train to take us to our swimming lessons. The boys in my class used to go "oooooohhhhh.... the XPT!!" with great excitement. I used to think... hmmm.. it's just a train.

Well yesterday, I got to see what the excitement was all about when booked myself onto the Sydney to Melbourne service as it stops in Goulburn on its way through. I still stand by what I thought all those years ago... it's just a train. The BFG saw me off at Strathfield station and no, it was nothing like this:

I will hold you in my dreams


Although I did have these romantic notions of wearing a 1940's cloche, a travelling coat and gloves while waving goodbye as the steam train pulls away from the platform. Instead, I hopped onto the train, waved a quick goodbye to the BFG as he trundled off to catch a regular Cityrail service into the city and whipped out my ipod and ...



Anna's shawl!! In the two and a half hours it took to get to Goulburn, I managed to work out where I was up to (which required ripping back a couple of rows) and get into the rhythm of lace knitting again as the countryside sped by.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Consolation prize

So none of the horses I put money on today got a look-in at the Melbourne Cup. The one time I actually took the time to go down to the TAB, mark the little boxes and queue to hand over my cash. I really wanted Profound Beauty to win! How could you not with a name like that?

I was already thinking about what to do with my winnings. So my consolation prize is that the RBA cut interest rates today. The money I save on my home loan next month, I think I'll go and blow it on more yarn.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thinking, thinking, thinking

The BFG and I have these strange conversations where I'll ask him "What are you thinking?" and he would reply with "Nothing". Then he'll ask me "What are you thinking?" I would say "Nothing" and he would go "Oh, come on - you're always thinking of something".

I have to say, this is probably true. When he says nothing, I believe him because he probably is having a moment where his brain is like a cabbage (his words not mine). I'm generally having a zillion thoughts running through my head that it's easier to say "Nothing".

Based on this, it could explain why I started on an easy garter stitch project for lunch time/commuting knitting. I'm freeing up my mind for all the things I need to think about.



So while sitting in the Botanical Gardens (yes I've started again!) and working rows and rows of garter stitch, these are the things I was thinking about (in no particular order):

  • how the heck I managed to forget a few crucial steps when re-programming the timer for my dad's automatic watering system this past weekend because this morning it wasn't running properly;
  • going to the supermarket tonight on my way home and how unfair it is that I got lumped with it when Lucille works shorter hours and closer to home than I do;
  • having to re-run a Banker's request when I get back to the office which had already taken me all morning to put together just because he forgot to tell me that he wanted the figures in Australian Dollar;
  • that I should start looking into campsites for the camping trip I suggested to the BFG for December;
  • how I really should be working on Anna's shawl (see sidebar) because it's been woefully neglected for the past year;
  • about visiting a friend this weekend who just had a baby (incidently, I have two friends who had babies within days of each other and I have not done any baby knitting - surprise, surprise); and
  • that I really should go for a run tonight as the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge is coming up in a few weeks.


I'm sure there were other stuff that I was thinking about but I'll need to save them for when the BFG asks me that question again (generally when he has run out of things to talk about) because he knows that I'll always have something to say.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Food Food Food

So if you haven't already noticed, it's Good Food Month starting today. In previous years, I have just attended the night noodle market and also a couple of the Sugar Hit events. My current manager is a self-confessed food-a-holic and was quite keen on many of the events. Today we went to Glass in the Hilton for the Hat's Off lunch. We both had the Duck Confit and a glass of Chardonnay and watched while the kitchen staff yelled out orders (in a rather refined, yet not unlike Gordan Ramsay kind of way) and even managed to get a glimpse of Luke Mangan himself.

Other lunches I'm booked in for include Becasse and Ocean Room. I also tried to book lunch/dinner for the BFG and I at Quay (because it won 3 hats in the SMH Good Food Guide awards and we're both shallow and go purely for these types of reasons) but didn't manage to get a booking as they a) don't do lunch on weekends and b) fully booked out for weekend dinners until the end of the month.

On the weekend, the BFG and I went for a run (can I just say that running at 10am is not a good idea - especially when we are heading towards warmer weather - yes I'm talking to you BFG!!). To reward ourselves, we went into the city and had a late lunch at Bills in Surry Hills where we both got the scrambled eggs with chippolatas. So apparently Bills is famous for their scrambled eggs. I thought it was nice and creamy (I think the copious amounts of butter and cream added to it helps) but the whole experience was a bit of a let-down and I personally think its all a bit overrated. However, I can attest to Bill Granger's scone recipe - it's the only one that has ever worked for me. Afterwards, craving something sweet, we went over to Balmain to Adriano Zumbo where the BFG bought me one of every flavour of his macaroons (they're the new cupcake!), a citron tart and for himself a chocolate pastry thingy. I grabbed a coffee from Bertoni Casalinga and we made our way to the park to stuff ourselves full of sugar.

Needless to say, all this eating has not helped me in living the Weight Watchers way of life. The problem does not end there. Next week, I have my work Offsite (which unfortunately isn't really offsite for me as it's held in Sydney this year) which will involve much more eating (2 dinners at what I hope to be some fancy schmancy restaurant) and heaps of boozing networking and training.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bridge Run

On Sunday, the BFG and I did the Bridge Run. We took the train to Milson's Point and as the train was approaching the station, we saw all the families who were doing the 4km Family Fun Run. At the back of my mind, I was thinking that I should have signed us up to do that one as I didn't really know if I was up for running 9km. Of course I wasn't ready to run 9km!! I haven't been keeping up with the running and its been about a year since I last ran 5km straight. Well at least I didn't overestimate our abilities and signed us up to do the Half or Full Marathon which was all happening that day.

The BFG and I had decided that we would run/walk it while we listened to the Couch to 5 K running podcast. That's how sociable we are when we go running together. God forbid, if we had to actually talk to each other!!

I really enjoyed it and I think the BFG secretly did as well but was not ready to admit that publicly. Anyway, I finished it in 1:09:03 and the BFG's time was 1:09:04 - because that 0:0:1 millisecond made all the difference!

Afterwards, we went to my company's corporate tent and stuffed our faces with fruit and pastries. Having done the race, we both felt the need to go and spend more money on running gear and so the BFG got himself some new shorts (but he refused to get the short shorts) and I got us both the Nike + Ipod kit.



So the plan from here is to be able to run the whole distance for the Bay Run. And I still have the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge coming up in November.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vietnam

The thing about keeping a blog is that I always feel a bit guilty if I've been neglecting it. Before I set off for my trip to Vietnam, I was trying out all sorts of things on how I might post to this blog while I was over there. I had it all worked out where I would snap photos from my phone, email it to my Blackberry and then post to the blog from the Blackberry. Of course I did none of that. I think I took a couple of dodgy photos with my phone but didn't do anything else. And then I returned to Australia with good intentions to blog about my trip. For some unexplainable reason, getting the photos off my camera, onto my computer and then posting about it all seemed too hard as I tried to get back into work, keeping the house tidy while my sister is on her big Europe trip (okay this one is definitely a lie - my mother has been to Sydney a few times to tidy for me), etc. I found trying to sum up the whole trip in one blog post was a bit difficult and I'm not normally one with only a few words.

But here I will try:

1. Vietnam was hot - so much so I got a heat rash. At first I thought it was bed bugs. When I panicked, my mother assured me it was something I suffered from when I was a baby as well.

2. We still have a lot of poor relatives. I don't think anybody realises how good they have things here until they go there. But then we also have some relatives who have done well for themselves. Everybody talks about what happened when the war ended.

3. Things were cheap. Really cheap. Maybe too cheap.

4. Vietnam has cheap broadband internet in out of the way places. Why is it then that Telstra can't get it right? My own internet connection is so dodgy and I only live in the suburbs?

5. I've always had great issues with using toilets in foreign countries. Vietnam did not cure me of that. In fact my paranoia has become worse.

6. I really want a scooter now. I am incredibly jealous of the fact that every second person in Vietnam has a scooter. My mother was horrified at the number of scooters and completely freaked out when crossing the road.

7. I'm glad that going to Vietnam did not make my mother cry. I'm glad that my mother and my aunt did not kill each other on this trip. I'm glad that my cousin Alan was there to act as peacekeeper.

8. I suffered from real coffee withdrawal symptoms. At the same time I was starting to become a diabetic with the amount of sugar present in the awful crap they call coffee and which I persisted in drinking every morning. I think my father misses their coffee. I still can't understand why.

9. The dogs in Vietnam all look like Ewoks. When they bark at me, I threaten that I will eat them - they do that over there - I don't think the dogs realise how real that threat can be.

10. I will go back. Next time I will go North as Ho Chi Minh city was fun for about a day. Cholon (where I was born) was fun for maybe half a day.

So I'm back and I've still got to get the photos off my camera and onto the Mac. Here is a selection from Cousin Al's swish new camera he had bought from the trip. I think being a Project Manager makes you one of those super organised people. I'm yet to give him a copy of my photos.


Me, trying to blend in with the locals at the market.



Ho Chi Minh city



Lunch at a relative's house.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hello Summer - where are you?

Winter - I like you... really I do. I like how I can:


  • layer my clothes to hide my ever-increasing waistline;
  • dress in my usual colours of black, grey, brown and red;
  • knit with wool;
  • eat hot food; and
  • walk around with a scowl on my face.

But I think it's time for Spring or Summer to make an appearance. Winter, its not entirely your fault that I have:



  • caught a cold twice in the space of one month;
  • not been able to go for my nightly runs because, frankly, its too darn cold;
  • stopped living the Weight Watchers way of life because hot chips are so much more satisfying on a cold night than salad; and
  • left my favourite umbrella on a train and now have to deal with the world's dumbest umbrella purchase ever.

I think its important to understand that I need the warmer weather so I can:

  • Start training for this.
  • Make this mess:

    look more like this:

    Oh who am I kidding?? The change in weather will not get my desk anywhere near Kikki K perfection; and
  • Get up earlier so I'm not constantly late to work.

Because I am of the impatient variety and you, Winter, who I feel is overstaying your welcome, it must be I who will leave you. Not for long. Just two weeks. I am sure you will still be here when I return. So next Thursday, I will bid you adieu as I head off to the warmer climes of my birthplace.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beating those darn curses

I had grand plans to knit something in time for The BFG's birthday last week. But yet again, my ability to "knit to a deadline" let me down again. Not that I was going to make anything elaborate. I think most knitters know about the Sweater Curse, I was not quite willing to risk that so early in the relationship (and not to mention the number of wasted knitting hours when I could be making something for myself). Having already experienced the Scarf curse (remember this - yep, never made it to the recipient. Lucille's boyfriend got it instead) a small - really small - project was in order.

So I chose the London Beanie.


The usually camera-shy BFG.


I knitted this while watching Farmer Wants a Wife last night. Shocking - I know, but it's so bad I can't stop watching it. Anyway, it was so quick to make that I'm going to make another one for my dad with the left-over yarn but this time I might make it a bit bigger. The pattern calls for about 40 rounds before decreases which make it a bit short - hence it doesn't really cover his ears and at 72 stitches, is just short of cutting circulation to his head.

Ravelry Swap #3

I find it difficult to knit to a deadline (as seen with many unfinished baby items) and so when the Australian Group on Ravelry had another swap and decided that it should be small items, I thought I'd risk it. Thanks to the lovely FeistyWench for this fantastic package:



Fingerless gloves, chocolate, tea for one, HANDSPUN JUST FOR ME YARN (it has my name on it!!) and a card.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Perfect Winter Day

With all the hoo-ha about World Youth Day recently, I thought a nice couply thing to do was to join a rally to hand out condoms to the Pilgrims. I found out about the Rally through Pom-Pom. When I put the idea to The BFG, he suggested we go to the Mountains instead and have high tea. Given the choice between facing thousands of Pilgrims all singing and chanting or a nice quiet afternoon at Lillianfels sipping tea and eating cucumber sandwiches, the Mountains seemed like a much more civilised option.

We took the train, arming ourselves with juice, muffins and Top Gear.


Scones, cakes, sandwiches and Chai tea


When the three tiered cake stand came, we discussed what our modus operandi should be. Both The BFG and I agreed we should work through the savoury and then start on the sweet - unlike Yum Cha where I'd be quite happy to have the egg tarts in between the prawn dumplings and chicken feet. I suppose the delight of afternoon tea is that you can take your time sipping tea and daintily eating the tiny sandwiches and cakes as opposed to hoovering through the selection. Which was why we were both quite surprised at how full we were by the time we got down to the last 2 pieces.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Teacher's peace plan

Guess who happened to arrive at work at 10.45am this morning (yes, I was late - The BFG failed to mention that trains left once every half hour on his line after peak times) and had to fight through this to get into work.

Actually, these sorts of rallies and political protests happen quite often outside my building. I always have a guilty look on my face as I walk past the picket lines and try to get into work. As if, somehow going into the building they are protesting outside of is somehow supporting the other side.

However, today's rally by the NSW Teacher's Federation is the biggest gathering I've seen so far. I went to a public school and can generally understand the cause of public education teachers. But it appears that one of the reasons they are protesting is that they don't want Principals to make hiring decisions and prefer the old system of service transfers (whereby teachers who were willing to stick it out for a few years in some hick country town gets preferential treatment when opportunities for transfers come up). I personally think Principals should have some sort of say in hiring and that it should be based on merit rather than length of service. If I was a student in one of these hick country towns, I would hate to go to class knowing that the teacher who is teaching me is only there waiting for the next ticket out. I would hope they were there because they genuinely want to make a difference to children. Although, having said that, it's not exactly true about how I feel about my job. My care factor for EV/EBITDA and PE multiples is pretty low to non-existent but I'm sure Bankers who ask me for it don't know that!

Speaking of public schools. I went to school with a lot of Jonahs.

All things Rosy

Just a quick post to show that I have still been knitting. I finished this a few weeks ago and presented it a friend of mine who I enjoy weird experiences with. Not the trippy, happy, rainbow-type experiences but more the "I can't believe this weird shit happens to us all the time" type experiences.



Pattern: Rose Red by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Cleckheaton Studio Mohair


I feel like I've worked with nothing but red yarn lately. Apart from this hat, I also made another Verity for Lucille in red and am currently crocheting a hoodie for a friend's baby (also in red). Umm.. oh yeah, the baby was born last Sunday. Luckily I made the hoodie in 6 months size. All pieces are done, just need to put it all together now.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Another 10 years on that one

A couple of week's ago, I went to get a photo taken to get a visa for my upcoming trip to Vietnam. Being paranoid about passport photos, I had that slightly spaced out, closed lip face when posing for the photo. The friendly guy who was taking my photo goes "you can smile for visa photos" so I was like "oh, okay" and so put on a demented toothy grin and had the photo snapped.

While I was putting the paperwork together for the visa application, I realised that my passport expires in November and even more paranoid about being stuck in Vietnamese immigration, I thought I had better renew the passport. The new passport photo guidelines meant that the photos taken for the visa were useless and I had to get new ones.

There is no such thing as a pretty passport photo. My passport application interview at the local post office was at 9am on a Saturday morning. At 6pm on the Friday evening, I was desperate to get a photo taken and so went to the pharmacy down near Circular Quay. After a day of staring at the computer and dealing with bossy bankers, my eyes were bloodshot and the bags were big enough to make Carrie Bradshaw proud!

The BFG grabbed the photos eagerly as soon as they came out of the machine and went silent. I was like "they can't be that bad?" They were.

The next morning at the post office, the woman taking my application goes "you look much younger than you do in the photo" and promptly processed my application. Guess I've got that for another 10 years.

When people ask if I've ever been to Vietnam, I've found it rather difficult to answer. I guess I was there in 1977 for all of 6 months, but I don't remember any of it. So yes, I have been but I can't tell you where to get the best Pho. And my belief is that all the best Pho chefs probably left Vietnam and have all opened restaurants in Cabramatta.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Graduating - again

I ummed and ahhed about attending my graduation for the postgraduate studies I did. But my mother who is quite proud of the fact that I'm about the only person in the family stupid enough to return to University, insisted I go. So really, the whole ceremony thing was for her. I did enjoy going though as my undergraduate graduation ceremony was a bit of a blur. This one was nice and short. I have been to four other graduation ceremonies apart from my own and each one I was there out of obligation. Each time I felt that watching a slug squirm through salt more bearable.

Although what I did find interesting were the PhD students. Each with an thesis topic more obscure than the last. Where do people find such inspiration?



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Postcards

A new "important person" in my life (you may be hearing more about him, but I promised I won't mention his name on my blog so will be referred to as The BFG -in reference to one of my favourite Roald Dahl books!!), mentioned that he liked receiving postcards. I like receiving them too but never really know what I should do with them afterwards. Whilst I like receiving them, I'm terrible at sending them. Each time I go overseas, I'd buy postcards with the intention of sending them as soon as I've written on them but never really find the chance to. The recipient usually gets the postcard after I've returned home. Or when I went to the States in 2003, a postcard I bought in Los Angeles didn't get sent till I was across the other side of the country in New York.

So this week, I found myself at lunch in a coffee shop with no knitting and nothing to read. So I decided to send The BFG a postcard:



There has been a lot written about the lost art of writing letters. I don't think my issue is with writing the letter but more about getting my ass to the post office to post it. Anyway, I've decided to try to do this more often. So if you receive one from me out of the blue, it's because I thought of you and chances are, when I was thinking of you, I was sitting alone somewhere and needed something to make me not look like a complete loser with no friends.

A happy coincidence

It's been a bit chilly this week to do much knitting in the Botanical Gardens. But one day last week, there was just enough sunshine to grab a coffee and the current purple project and get out of the office.



Although the sun was out, it was still a bit cold and so I brought the wrap that I normally keep in the office with me. I realised that I must have looked like some strange batty woman with so much purple around. Not only is my current project purple, the knit picks cable, my wrap and coffee cup were all the same shade. I was also sitting near a bush with purple flowers.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Making Contact

You know how people come into and out of your life? Sometimes they stay around and become a part of your life or you lose contact and they belong in your past. Today I tried to meet up with someone I had met a couple of years ago through work (who is also a knitter) but bad communication on my part meant we missed each other. However, while waiting for her, I came across someone who I very nearly became sister-in-law to. So I was quite pleased that he approached me and suggested we have lunch sometime.

Thinking that was the end of my "connections", I got a phone call from a friend who had bumped into someone I used to work with and gave me her details. It was a Manager I absolutely loved. I called her straight away and talking to her brought back so many memories for me. When I finished uni,I worked 2 jobs. One was my full time job with a publishing company, and then I would work Thursday nights, Saturdays and Sundays with this Manager in a retail shop. Apart from work, I didn't have much spare time to do anything else. But I never really noticed it. My second job was more like my social life because I really enjoyed the company of the people I worked with. So while I no longer miss the crazy hectic schedule of rushing from job to job (weekends are bliss now), I did miss their friendship.

So while I'm extremely thrilled at hearing from people I haven't seen in quite a number of years, I doubt I will be joining schoolfriends.com to find people I went to school with. That can stay in the past as far as I'm concerned. The movie, Romy and Michelle's high school reunion comes to mind whenever I hear about up coming school reunions.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Good luck ahead

Some days when I walk down the street, I just want to be invisible. By this I mean, I wish charity workers would leave me alone (most of them work on commission which I'm totally against and why would I be offering my bank details to someone on the street anyway?), cameras outside my work wouldn't be pointing in my direction, people dressed in bear outfits wouldn't approach me, etc - you know, everyday stuff.

So while waiting to cross a set of lights today, this strange man stares at me and starts talking. Seriously, this is the bit I HATE!! I believe that I'm a fairly sociable person, but for some reason, I hate it when I get approached by random strangers. This is why I never ask lost-looking tourists if they need help (although I appreciate it when other people ask me when I'm lost in a foreign city).

Anyway, what riveting and insightful piece of information did this guy have to share with me while we both waited for the traffic lights to turn that one shade of green?

"You're going to have good luck in the next two months"

Umm.. not what I expected and no further explanation. And why in the next two months? Why not now?? When I got back to work, I checked my diary to see what could possibly happen in the next two months that could bring me good fortune. The only thing I could see was a day trip to Melbourne for work (which means a 4.30am start for 6.30am flight - how is that good fortune??), and my graduation in May (I'm still paying for my post grad studies so in effect I'm not ahead on this one) and then basically, nothing.

My recent windfall has been to score some free corporate box seat tickets to the Celine Dion concert (but I've already got those) so not exactly happening in the next two months. I'll wait and see... but probably won't hold my breath.

I may have mentioned before that I absolutely loathe cooking, although I don't mind baking and making desserts - the fun stuff. Bad things always happen to me when I'm in the kitchen and generally avoid it if I can. I have some scars to prove it. My sister (the one I live with) cooks for me and makes most of my meals. She loves to eat and can't bear the idea of a boring meal (whereas I don't cook so try not to be so picky and just eat whatever).

Anyway, to combine her love of food and cooking (I think she genuinely enjoys it so I feel that each time I let her cook for me, I'm contributing to her happiness), she has started a food blog. Here is the link to her blog: One chopstick cook.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Running short

I feel like I've had so much time off!! First Christmas, then the extra two weeks, the few days between jobs and now a long long weekend! I feel like I've hardly worked at all! But this has been a pretty productive weekend. Firstly, two days in Goulburn with the parents and siblings and some friends. Apart from the showing the friends around town, we also explored some new territory. My mother goes to English classes at the local TAFE (she has been trying to "better" her English for years on and off) and has met a lot of friends there. Some of whom were originally from Thailand. One particular friend volunteers at the Sunnataram Forest Monastery which is in Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands. I'm not particularly religious but my mother is and she has wanted to go back for a while, so we took her and she packed the car full of vegies from the farm to donate to the monastery. It was absolutely beautiful out there. The monastery is set on 100 acres and the day we went, it was all misty and very spiritual. I liked how the people there were extremely welcoming. I found out that you can actually stay there for a few days for meditation, etc at no cost! This is so unlike a lot of Chinese Buddhist temples where I feel as if it's all about making money. When we arrived, they provided us with this fantastic Thai vegetarian lunch. One of our friends who were visiting with us is vegetarian, so she was happy.



We also went to visit the Goulburn Brewery which was having a market day. This place was another surprise find - so quaint! They still brew their own beer to sell on premises.


What my parents failed to tell me before I left Sydney on Saturday morning was how cold it had become in Goulburn. Considering I was still wearing a sleeveless top to work on Thursday, I didn't expect it to get so cold in the country (and being only 2 hours out of Sydney - how could the weather pattern be so different??). Luckily I brought my knitting along (but even that didn't keep me warm):


It's the lace ribbon scarf from the latest Knitty. I'm using the two skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca sport weight which my brother in law bought for me on their trip to Washington DC last year. In the picture, that is already one skein. The problem? It's going to be too short and so it's certainly not going to look like the one in Knitty and will not go around my neck several times. Oh well... I'm hoping that when I block it, I can squeeze an extra 10cm out of it.

At work, I've been feeling very productive. In my last post I said that I haven't worked so continuous in so long!! Well my knitting has been the same. Here are some FO's (okay - one of them is an old one but I finally sewed in the ends and blocked it so it can be worn!!). So here I present - the fruits of my recent labour:


Rusted Root by Zephyr Style in Cotton Fleece.


Lace panel

I finished Rusted Root quite a while ago but I keep losing my wool needle and never got around to sewing in the ends. I finally bought another set and ta-da - completed!

Completed - Jaywalkers


I recently went to the French Film festival with a couple of friends and I was frantically trying to finish Verity so that I can wear it and look the part. Unfortunately I'm really not that fast a knitter and couldn't finish this in one night. But I did manage to complete it over three days (including train and lunch time knitting). When I finished it, I realised that I actually look really bad in hats and now that I've cut my hair quite short, it looks even worse so I asked Lucille to model it for me.

Verity by Ysolda in some Bendigo Woolen Mills yarn (not sure what it is as there were no ball bands)


It still needs a button. I'll need to visit the one in The Rocks to pick a nice vintage-y one.

Seems like quite a busy weekend? But wait there's more. I also went to the Easter show with Katie and did our usual rounds of the Knitting competition, saw the dogs, alpacas, and mohair goats. Because I still felt like I had more energy to burn, I also went and did the Bay run (although we just walked it) this afternoon in the hope that the one hour walk will burn off all the chocolate and hot cross buns I've been stuffing myself with all weekend.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Settling in

I haven't been to the Rubi and Lana knitting group for a while. Apparently at the last meeting, everyone asked Elaine how her new job was. There was a bit of an identity mix-up. But that can be understandable as even I have trouble identifying Asians.

So how is my new job going? I have one word for it - intense. I don't think I've worked so continuously for a long time. But I actually enjoy it. The research is the type I like to do - very specific requests. I have to say I'm not such a fan of vague research requests. An example of this is "Can you find me some information on the thingumy jig thing industry? A client of ours is interested in moving into this market". Ummmm.. it would be okay if the industry was the size of Rio Tinto, but trying to find information on something which perhaps two people in the world have an interest in? Very difficult, if not impossible. To top it off, for some bizarre reason, people who ask for these sorts of things can't take no for an answer. "But there must be something out there!!"

I think I've finally found my way around the office and more specifically to the office. Whilst the building I work in is quite a well known one in Sydney, the first couple of days, I was still getting lost trying to find it.

In my old job, to while away the lunch hour, I would spend time at a nearby cafe (and when extremely desperate for quiet - Starbucks) and knit. I've been trying to find a similar place where people won't stare (they do anyway) and it's away from the mad rush of lunch hour. So to my surprise (although you would think that growing up in Sydney - I'd know) I found out how close my new office is to the Botanical Gardens. What an absolute oasis in the city!! Armed with my skim latte and my Jaywalkers, I spent today's lunch hour in the rose garden. I'm happy now.


Second Jaywalker in progress



A sneak peak of the Harbour Bridge from the Botanical Gardens


Whilst getting back into the swing of things, I have started to increase my running again. Since moving into the new place with this killer hill, I have been rather slack with the running program. My walks to the train station every morning and most evenings (4km each way taking me about half an hour), has been giving me excuses not to go running. Seeing as I feel a bit more settled into the new job (another excuse again), I have started to increase the intensity of my runs (as in I've moved beyond week 3 of the Couch to 5K program). Tonight I did session 3 of week 5 (one long 20 minute run). Although I had previously completed the program, re-doing it again has been a bit of a killer. I don't actually have any goals in mind except to finish the program again although a few people I know are planning on doing the Sydney to Surf. I don't have such aspirations. I might enter and just walk it but who am I kidding? I have never been the athletic type and I don't really plan to start now!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

From the beginning

Today is Day 3 in my new job and Day 1 of having a new internet connection! I put off getting one for ages as I was trying to find a cheap way of "getting connected" without having to get a phone line.

I finally had to get one due to the fact that my new job has restricted access to a lot of websites. This means no checking of personal emails, blogs and Ravelry.

Starting a new job is always quite nerve racking. A series of questions goes through my head and generally have nothing to do with the job itself. These include the following:

  • What if nobody talks to me?
  • Can I live with crappy stationery?
  • Can I trust putting my food in the fridge?
  • Where to get a good coffee?


It's all these little things which I will have to sort out - the job itself is the least of my worries.

The new workplace is on Level 48. Lucky I'm not afraid of heights but seriously, I wonder what they do during fire drills. I'm not sure I can cope with walking down 48 flights of stairs.

I've been budgeting in lift time because it takes so long to get to the top. Remember my desk from my last job. Well I've lost the water view and am now back in a "cubicle" along with 99% of other office workers. I can see the window from where I am but can only see the sky because we're so high up.

I'm also extremely far from the bathroom and the kitchen. So no more sneaking away for another cup of coffee.

I also find it difficult to find my way around. I think this company likes to hide everything behind doors. And every door looks the same. I have trouble picking the right door to get to the corridor which will take me to the toilets. The kitchen is also hidden behind a door which looks like the same door that takes you to the corridor that takes you to the toilet. Did you get that?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Two weeks of nothing

You know when children chuck tantrums and scream "I don't want to do that"? Well that was how I felt on the last day of work last year. I REALLY didn't want to go into work anymore. I didn't really know why I felt this way as my job isn't exactly rocket science and the people I work with are pretty darn fantastic. But it could be the lack of a challenge. Unfortunately, my financial situation prevented me from going in and handing in the white envelope.

But because of my lack of finances, I did have 2 weeks worth of annual leave up my sleeve. So I rang my manager and asked for 2 weeks off after the Christmas break (she was NOT impressed but gave it anyway).

So what have I been doing with 2 weeks off with no plane tickets booked? Not a lot but the time has gone by pretty quickly. I actually had a mild panic attack as I wasn't sure what I was going to do with myself. However I've found that the time has gone by so quickly.

Here are some highlights of me finding something to do when there really isn't all that much to do.

1. I went for a job interview with an investment bank and got the job.

2. Went to the movies all by my lonesome and saw 2 Days in Paris.

3. Went to the opening of the Open Air Cinema and saw the Jane Austen Bookclub.

4. Went to the beach with Katie and got caught in a rip and needed help from a guy nearby (worked on my tan while I was there despite near death experience - okay might be a bit of an exaggeration here but still!!!)

5. Survived a family lunch in Goulburn where all uncles, aunts and cousins attended (despite my father's attempt at hiding but 25 acres isn't really all that big when the whole clan is there).

6. Spent 2 days in Terrigal at the Crowne Plaza and also at The Entrance.


Fish and chips at The Entrance



View from my hotel window


9. Resigned from my current job.

10. In between I've been working on Cobblestone for my dad. I thought that I might have finished it by now but my attention span is rather limited. I'm about 90% done now!

So that was two weeks ago on my two weeks off (it's been a while since I've blogged).

Since then:

11. I started the first Jaywalker sock using the Araucania yarn from my birthday gift.



12. Ran a doggie fat camp (gotta be cruel to be kind):


This dog is WAY too fat - no excuses really!!


13. Did a stocktake of my current WIPs and while not completely unmanageable - still ridiculous to be starting new projects.

  • Anna's Shawl - looks like the Eunny Jang's Print O' The Wave Stole and everybody knitted that one!. I'm running out of yarn and am procrastinating about what to do!!

  • Only one Hedera completed - why did I start on the Jaywalkers when I've still got another pair that I haven't completed? Don't know.

  • Cobblestone - still currently working on this one!!

  • Rusted Root - only needs to be blocked.

  • Ivy - needs to be sewn together. This has been sitting in my WIPs for about 1.5 years now!!


So these are only a few that I will mention. There are a few other smaller projects which will need to be frogged. But then again, frogging is such a pain - rip, rip, wash and wind up again - it's a project in itself!!

Anyway, this year's new year resolution? Same as every other year - to be more organised!!