She's Apples

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Poppies

It is always the small things in life that make make your soul glow. :) This week I watched a bunch of shrivelled, furry green buds – remarkably reminiscent of canine testicles – hatch from their little cocoons and stretch into bright, cheery blooms.

A close up of the poppies that are on my kitchen bench

A close up of the poppies that are on my kitchen bench

I’ve never patted flowers before, but these copped a bit of a scratch behind the ears. I couldn’t help it. They were furry and adorable. Ugly, yet interesting. I could almost imagine them cooing and stretching their little stems up for more.

I rather like the little guys. :)

Seeing Spots

In our bedroom, there is a wall. It is a beautiful earthy rich red ochre and is quite a strong feature in the room. Unfortunately most bedroom soft furnishings don’t expect a colour like that. 9 times out of 10 quilt covers have touches of pinks or vibrant pure reds that clash terribly. The sad thing for me is that they are usually really attractive fabrics and designs in and of themselves, they just don’t go with the room. It is almost enough to make me want to break out the paint rollers and crack a pot of pink.

But no more! Today I picked up two really funky earth tone quilt cover sets – not a splodge or swoosh of pink to be seen! Both were from Pillow Talk and both were very much on sale, which is almost necessary when you need king bed size!

The first is Orion:

70's Spots & Dots!

70’s Spots & Dots!

The next is Arcane Tangerine:

Arcane

Aren’t they just totally awesome duuuude? They are due for their first wash tomorrow, and then one or the other is going straight on the bed. Wheeee! Put away those paint rollers, the ochre wall is staying! No more pink quilt covers for us!

Ideal Setting

Gosford is lovely this time of year. It is even more lovely if you get to see more than the outer suburbs. Today I rolled out of bed, into Dad’s ute and was driven up the coast to pick up my new outdoor setting. Well, new to me.

Timber and aluminium foldable table and benches

Timber and aluminium foldable table and benches

It isn’t as large as I’d expected, but to be honest this size is probably far more practical for our yard anyway. Besides, if it turns out we use it we can always upgrade. If we don’t use it quite so often, we can just fold it down and hand it up in the garage. Easy peasy. Hopefully this new little setting and the outdoor umbrella I picked up earlier in the week will mean many a summer meal being enjoyed outdoors. I’m still on the lookout for a heavy umbrella stand and some big citronella candles to ward off the buzzing insects but, other than that, we are all set!

Dad and I did manage to crowbar in some fish and chip time at Monti’s Ashore before beating the peak hour traffic home. There is something very soothing about ripping open the paper around your food and chowing down on freshly fried seafood with the smell of the sea filling your head. The perfect end to the trip :-)

Cheap Charity

Today was almost a bust. I had planned to spend the morning starting a new project while finishing off an existing one, and then trundle off to pick up an eBay purchase at about 4pm, and that way I could pretend that I would miss peak hour on the drive home.

What actually happened was a bit different.

I woke early and managed to squish in some brief checking of emails and browsing of sites before my morning vanished in a phone call. Unfortunately I had not managed to squish in my morning cuppa and breakfast. Heaven knows how coherent I was by the end of the call. I shudder to think what brilliant ideas I came up with that will turn out to be not-so-brilliant after all. I shouldn’t talk shop before brekky. It, like, does things to you, man.

Anyhoo, after that I decided I was too wiped to do any meaningful work and that I was sick of transplanting my clutter. First it was the top spare room, then it was the kitchen bench, and now it is all comfortably residing on my dining table. This was a rather misguided attempt at giving myself a kick up the backside to get it completed, but in reality I just became accustomed to tables having lumpy surfaces. No more, today I packed up a big old garbage bag and trekked the things that weren’t worth Freecycling or eBaying down to the Salvo’s.

And then, of course, I was conveniently at the Salvo’s shop. I love 2nd hand clothes shopping, but 2nd hand “stuff” shopping is soooo much better! Salvo’s shops are just crammed full of stuff! There were very old children’s classic books, a plethora of jigsaw puzzles, enough 80’s dressmaking patterns to keep the Jazzercise ladies happy for decades, and an old galvanised canary cage that took me straight back to being a child and trapping sparrows in my grandmother’s garden.

The thing that really caught my attention was this, a genuine 70’s enamelled fondue pot with polished wood handles, complete with warming stand and matching enamelled tray:

Enamelled Fondue Set - a bargain (for someone else) at $10!

Enamelled Fondue Set – a bargain (for someone else) at $10!

I had to jam my hands into my pockets, I really did. We don’t *need* a fondue set. Actually, it is only the pot, isn’t it? I forgot about forks. It probably had forks. They are strange at that shop, they seem to separate container bottoms from container tops, but I digress… I ended up with 3 bamboo bowls of different shapes and sizes and two ex-Moccona Coffee jars for cleaning up and storing my tea in. They are nice and upright so they’ll take up far less precious real estate in the tea cabinet.

I found myself at the big shopping complex to run a few errands with some time on my hands, and decided that I was going to fix some niggly things around the house with a few small purchases. The dog needed new microwave safe dinner bowls for his mince (located at the Reject Shop for $1.75 each) and I really wanted a chopping board for morning sandwich-making so I wouldn’t end up with odd numbers of dinner plates mid-week (located at Big W for $17 – after much comparison shopping). Missions complete, I then splurged a set of 3 pair of big hoop earrings that I found at a cheapie shop.

On my way back to the car, I thought I’d have one last wander around the Reject Shop. Now while I know that a granny cart isn’t exactly a brilliant fashion statement, I’m forever trying to lug around more shopping and library books than I should and one of these little things would probably go a long way to stopping the creaks and clunks that suddenly appear after a long afternoon shopping. Besides, for an anti-fashion item, they are ridiculously cute:

Not your Grandma's shopping cart

Not your Grandma’s shopping cart

But again, I sat on my hands, bit my lip, and walked away (but I had a quick test drive of the one on the left and she goes like a dream – though perhaps she’d be less dreamy when crammed full of 15kg of library book).

I scurried home via the sewing shop where I picked up only the items for mending and making some new dog coats, and arrived home in time to realise I was supposed to be about 45 minutes away picking up my eBay bargain! I sat down at the computer only to find I did not have the seller’s address or phone number. There will be no “A+++ GreAt ComMuniCatIon!!” for me. Thankfully the seller was quite understanding. One phoncecall and a lovely nighttime drive later, I’m the proud owner of a brand new outdoor umbrella.

All up, even though it was not the day I was expecting, it was still pretty good :)

Betta sort it out

Yes, Betta with an “a”.

Betta Splendens.

I have them stacked on tanks, and stacked on desks and stacked on themselves. There were over 300 of the little devils living here in individual numbered plastic jars, and if you think that sounds a bit overwhelming, you would be bang on the money. 300 fish at 2 feeds of frozen worms per day, placed into each individual jar with the help of an eyedropper is enough to send anyone a bit loopy.

The betta rack in the laundry - that is 80, so imagine many more!

The betta rack in the laundry – that is 80, so imagine many more!

So I’m thinning out the flock. That was the original plan anyway, but it is not as easy as it sounds. First you grade them, then you ditch the runts and dags into a tank to see if any ugly ducklings sprout into beautiful swans. Next you scoop off the cream and dangle it in front of aspiring breeders and enthusiasts. Once they take the bait, you are sentenced to hours of prepping, bagging, and packing them into plastic bags and foam boxes to be whizzed around the country by under-enthused couriers.

Today was packing day. Tomorrow I wait to see if the courier can summon up the strength to show up at a designated time, collect the packages and drive them to the depot for redistribution, or if I have to arrange for a mad dash to the depot myself.

Right now I’m sorting the remainder of the fish. Re-stacking, feeding, exercising and generally making a fuss over the little things. I’m trying desperately to forget that soon I’ll need considerably less of the lower quality fish. The idea of bulk bagging and trekking to various fish shops to sell them off makes me quake in my uggies.

Still, less fish means less work. Less work means more time to do the other things that need doing.

It also means less fish…

Blast the Past

All it is going to take is one ill-placed slug and I’ll be on my backside. Walking to the garage at night requires a whole lot of courage, a torch and some very grippy shoes. I do a lot of walking to the garage, usually in the dark and usually while carrying far more weight than is good for me.

Well no more! Today I’m weilding my borrowed pressure cleaner and 3 years of moss, slime and incredibly slippery weeds will be gone gone gone! I don’t even need a permit from Sydney Water to do it, which is mighty handy, though I’m hoping that all of our neighbours are aware of that fact too, otherwise I could get a most unpleasant visit from the garden hose police.

So, comparison time. Here is the overgrown jungle before photo:

My backyard in early August 2009

My backyard in early August 2009

Stay tuned for the exciting moss-free update!

UPDATE: Here it is! Nowhere near finished, but far less hazardous to my health.

My backyard in late August 2009

My backyard in late August 2009

Pre-Spring Cleaning

Last week I hit breaking point on some personal matters. I hear that the standard treatment for emotional distress is a whole tub of double chocolate chip ice cream and a night of pelvic thrust-based dance moves at the pick-up club with your best gal pals. I am not really normal in that respect, although I have recently discovered a splendid choc chip ice cream to fix what ails you (Coles Chocolate Choc Chip, in case you are in need). No, when I need a good dose of post-stress therapy I steer well clear of the freezer. I upend my drawers, sort my cutlery alphabetically, polish my knickers, and take a big bag of not-quite-junk to Vinnies.

This past week I have:

  • sorted the alcohol cupboard – we need new Cinzano
  • cleaned the bathroom vanity – I even tossed out out-of-date medicines!
  • organised the baking cupboard – now I have room for ponies!
  • cleaned my bedside drawers, but not the top
  • reorganised the top of my side of the wardrobe – new boxes for out-of-season and NQR gear
  • tidied my pantry-cum-bookshelf
  • removed the plethora of glass jars that seemed to be breeding under my sink
  • washed both of the cars (Elvira is a blue 4WD and Pegasus – AKA the TicTac – is a white hatchback) for the first time in about 9 months
  • repotted and potted various succulents – I’m a sucker for a good Sedum, and free ones are simply irresistable!
  • trimmed, nay, obliterated the ornamental passionfruit vine that was half-dead underneath
  • washed the car seat covers from Pegasus – Note to self: don’t spin dry things that specifically state DO NOT SPIN DRY in big shouty letters on their care tag *le sigh* duct tape is now required
  • constructed large piles of things that need to go back to their owners

Add to that some cooking and general cleaning, a good dose of end-of-season sale shopping, and a trip to the osteopath, and you pretty much have my week.

Of course, I should probably confess that there are a few things that I have not done. Sitting in the loungeroom is a rather unsightly pile of chewed plastic that seems to have come from one of our cats. It is revolting, but weirdly not revolting enough to motivate me to pick it up and scrub the surrounding dried dribble out of the carpet. Go figure.

I’ve also not mentioned the state of all of the flat surfaces in my loungeroom. They are somewhat less flat than they should be, what with the piles of random things crammed on top of them. There is a wire crate of things to Freecycle and eBay, a stack of glass jars that need squirreling away for a rainy day (I have a box of them, and while it is technically a bit of my packrat nature showing through, we have oil painting to do and glass jars are mighty handy for putting the brush wash in) and a small mountain of craft projects that really need to be put away until this cleaning blitz is complete… except I can’t find all of the bits to put them away until I clean up the other piles. Ho hum.

Anyway, that is not important right now. Right now I’m working my way through the house. If I have to sacrifice 2 flat surfaces for a few weeks while I rip and tear at these piles of clutter, so be it. It’ll be well worth it :) Even now, I feel GOOD.

Bring it on, Spring! I’m gunna be ready for you!

Resolve

Resolutions are not my thing. I break them. I get distracted by som…Ohhh! shiny!

Lists are much easier. I can do lists.

  • Get fit – this will involve a range of activities, including but not limited to dog walking, swimming, beach walks, ice skating, rock climbing & rollerblading. It will not involve any sort of over-exertion, passing out, or further long-term body damage. While not strictly necessary, losing some weight would be rather good.
  • Get out and about – much time has been spent indoors and, more recently, behind desks. I want out! This will include weekend trips, nights out, restaurants, and grand expeditions to far away shopping complexes (a little realism never killed anyone)
  • Get dressed – the year of looking smashing. As well as a small truckload of makeup, dye, and copious quantities of wax, this involves tighter tailored shirts, snappy little shoes, higher pockets, and a slate grey pinstriped fedora. It will also involve wearing all of the above instead of simply buying it and continuing to sloth about in PJs and flannies.
  • Get organised – everyone gets a birthday card this year. That is the plan anyway. It isn’t rocket science. Wait for specified date to appear on the calendar and send a card, easy.
  • Get it together – time to be a grown-up. This seems to require earning enough money to complete the above list items, buy a round when required. If it could stretch to a very small pony, all the better.

Now, time to start crossing them off…

Look again

I generally assume people expect me to be honest, open, and just a little bit out there, but I’m starting to wonder if that really is the case. Perhaps I’ve spent so long trying to be everything to everyone that I’ve become a bit of a nothing. Just another friendly face. No outstanding features, no real substance, just another sugar-coating, self-censoring someone who happens to fall within the definition of friend.

I don’t like that. I don’t like that one bit.

I used to be so shrewd with people. If they didn’t like me, or I didn’t like them, I just moved on. Case closed, it was just too much energy wasted, and that was not in plentiful supply. These days, with more energy to burn, I seem to be bending over backwards trying to keep the peace with people. Like them or not, for some reason I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. I’m holding back. I’m censoring myself. I’m mirroring behaviours that I find utterly distasteful just so I can fit in.

I am rather peeved that this is what I’ve become.

Over it.

Annoyed with myself.

Trying a new tack.

Another name for Enter

I really thought that posting a long and uninspiring questionnaire would help get me blogging again. I mean, really, who would post something like that and have it sitting that the top of the page for months?

As it turns out, that would be me.

Sorry about that.

Still, even though I feel dreadful for abandoning my blog for so very long, it was all for a good cause. I have now finished studying. Completed. Done. Finito. Results are in and other than my complete balls-up effort with the JavaScript assignment, I’m not too shabby :) I can make websites, and I have the piece of paper to prove it (or I will have, come January).
The icing on the cake is that I was actually completing two courses simultaneously rather than just the one. Win! I can now design and administer. I do believe that is the IT equivalent to country and western.

But but but I’m done! Its over! I can start picking up the rest of my life and getting on with things. I can spend time baking hideously moreish cookies, I can mow the lawn before it becomes a buffalo jungle, and I can go out and get absolutely hammered while wearing clothes that would be considered somewhat inappropriate for polite company.

Actually, scratch that last one. A year of sedentary desk work has done my already borderline backside no favours whatsoever. Ho hum. The cookies probably won’t help the cause either, now that I think about it, though from what I recall of my cookies it’ll be well worth it.

So that is me. I already have a handful of webby projects on the go with the opportunity for a few more down the track. There are plans for a diploma some time next year, because I just can’t get enough of management and paperwork. But that is for later. Right now, right this very minute, I’m on holiday and enjoying every second of it!

I love being able to recognise a holiday as different to everyday life. I’m starting to understand what all the fuss is about!

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