Friday, 27 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Days 32 & 33 - Strawberries and Turtles and Pho, Oh My!

You know it's a good day when someone cooks dinner for you.
Actually, Wednesdays are usually my favourite day anyway, dinner or not, because, despite having to get out of bed at a time that starts with a 5 (ugh), Wednesday is the day that I get to say a few words at the site Toolbox meeting. Effectively it's my weekly opportunity to communicate with the entire workforce in one hit and educate them on environmental issues, which is pretty awesome.
And you know what else? If you'd told 12- or 22-Year-Old Vanessa that she would, at some point in the future, relish standing up in front of anywhere between 20 and 200 people and speaking to them, she would have thought you'd gone soft in the head. But I actually do enjoy it, which is an awesome progression from those years of painfully awkward public speaking. Go figure!
It was a long day, but I headed to the gym after work, which I was pretty proud of, and worked out for about an hour. It felt pretty awesome afterwards, too. Mmm, endorphins...
And then I headed to The Kiwi's house, where a simple but awesome dinner was waiting for me. Bowtie pasta with mint, peas, mushrooms, cherry tomato, garlic and lemon juice. Boy can cook! And then of course he upped the ante and served dessert - strawberries marinated in icing sugar and balsamic vinegar, served with vanilla bean ice cream *lapses into a food coma*
It sounds like an odd combination, but it's actually really awesome. I suspect that what it does is simply enhance the existing flavours, but whether or not that is why it works as a flavour combination, it's certainly very nice!
Directly after dinner I got all shivvery and developed a really sore chest, and at first I thought it was the ice cream, but when I didn't warm up I realised that I was probably actually coming down with something. So The Kiwi drugged me up and gave me a hot water bottle to warm myself up until the shivvering subsided. And I have to say it was pretty awesome being looked after, because even when I had my surgery, I pretty much looked after myself afterwards. Even in hospital. It definitely made a nice change.
Thursday, I was still feeling the effects of the bug that had made me all shivvery on Wednesday, so, after putting in a fairly successful day at work, I headed out with The Kiwi for the closest thing I could get to chicken soup - the universal cure-all. We went to this little Vietnamese place in Richmond which had a couple of cute little turtles in a tank (presumably not destined for eating, like crayfish and the such frolicking around in tanks in Chinese restaurants generally are...), and I loaded up on a chicken broth smothered in chilli oil and lemon juice. It was pretty awesome in its own right, even more so because it seemed to improve my symptoms, which had begun to feel suspiciously like that time I had pneumonia. Whew!
After the Pho we watched How To Train Your Dragon, which is a pretty awesome movie. My choice, by the way. I'd seen it before and I really like it, and the new one is out at cinemas now, so I figured I should do a bit of prep work. That's my maturity shining through, right there - doing homework to prepare myself for a children's movie ;-)
So what awesome things have you guys been up to? Any turtles or yummy food or awesome children's movies?

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day 31 - Croquembouche

Yesterday was my Housebaby's first birthday. I think it's pretty awesome that I've now had the pleasure of living with her for almost exactly 50% of her life. I helped her celebrate by jiggling her on my knee and giving her a jar of sprinkles to shake and make sounds with to entertain herself, whilst talking on the phone to my BFF Ness. Yep, I really know how to party! (As previously identified during the recent crocheting-in-onesies Hen's weekend...) Actually, I thought it was pretty awesome that, of all the things on the kitchen bench, she went for the sprinkles. I'll make a baker of her yet!
The other highlight of my day was my cake decorating class. It was awesome for two reasons - one, because it was a cake decorating class. And two, because it was the last cake decorating class of the term, and I'm pretty run down and looking forward to having my Tuesday nights back to myself!
We made croquembouche, which I have made for myself before, but last time I did (quite a small) caramel croquembouche, not chocolate. So this is the chocolate one, and even though it's a bit wonky, the guys at work still thought it was pretty awesome:
It's not quite as wonky as it looks - the cone in the centre was a little off-kilter from the trip down in the car - and once upon a time, pre those chocolate butterflies were in one piece.
But, more importantly (four profiteroles later), it tastes pretty awesome!
So tell me, what was awesome about your day?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Days 26-30 - Oops, I Did It Again

Yeah. Life has been too awesome to blog about (if by "awesome" you mean "chaotically busy"!), so there I go again, being all quiet on the blogging front.

Day 26 - Thursday

Got a heap done at work, which was awesome.

And then I went home and made a pretty awesome Thai beef salad, which was made all the more awesome by the company I shared it with. Yep, things are going pretty well with the guy I've been seeing. We've actually cooked one another dinner, and nobody has died of food poisoning, so that's promising!
After that came something that was simultaneously awesome and not awesome at all - I decorated a snowboarding-themed cake for my workmate's daughter's 30th birthday. And despite the fact I was up until 1:30am for the second night in a row decorating it, it turned out pretty well. The being up was the un-awesome bit.
Here's the mountain (it's hard to see, but it's sculpted into a ramp, and iced with cream cheese frosting, with a sprinkling of edible glitter on it to make it more ice-like):

Here are the rocks (which I CBF rotating because I'm doing this with my phone, but you get the idea. I was also told by someone that studied geology that they're good rocks, so I'm pleased by that!):
And here is the snowboarder:

Zoom in a bit and you''ll see that she even has a little nose, and tiny little ears, and properly cut hair! She vaguely resembles the birthday girl, clothing and all (apparently):

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it assembled myself, but here is a very blurry one that somebody took on the night:


Note that I didn't do the piping, but it was my suggestion to pipe it in yellow (as in, "don't eat the yellow snow"). Yeah, I'm a bit twisted like that!

Day 27 - Friday

Most of Friday was a bit meh, although I got on a roll after lunch and ended up doing a bunch of stuff I had hitherto neglected to do, in a very efficient manner, and that felt pretty awesome. Awesome enough to overstay my intended finish time by an hour and a half, and be the poor sucker that had to lock up the site compound in the dark. No matter, I got the stuff done, and it felt amaaaaaaaazing.

And then I had to hightail it up to Trentham for a hen's weekend. It was dark and foggy and pouring with rain for much of the drive up there, which was not so fun. But it was awesome seeing everyone, and playing Hot Lasagne (a word game... yeah, I know, we're a pack of geeks... and it gets worse...), and hearing the Hen's mother say the phrase "c*ck s**ker". She also told a joke involving the c-word, which was pretty awesome (even though I hate the word with a fiery, fiery passion), so she was pretty amusing to have around. I probably would have lost my bundle if she'd gotten that phrase in the miming round, though...

Day 28 - Saturday

Most of the hen's festivities took place on Saturday. We had a bit of a sleep in, attempted to become motivated and went to a farmer's market in Trentham. I ended up buying some pretty awesome chocolate truffles, and a mixed six-pack of craft beer as a thank-you gift for the guy I've been seeing in anticipation of something nice he was doing for me the following day.

And you know what? I'm totally going to give him a name, because writing "the guy I've been seeing" is becoming kind of tedious. He will hitherto be referred to as The Kiwi. Yes, yes, I've been dating a Kiwi. Go on, laugh it out. But hey, he's pretty awesome. You know, for a Kiwi! (for those not from Australia or New Zealand, there is a friendly rivalry between the two nations. We like to pick on each other and make inappropriate jokes about the others' unnatural affection towards sheep, amongst other things, so don't think for a second that I'm being genuinely mean!)

Anyway, back on track - after the market a few of us went back to the house while the Hen went to a day spa, and my friend Em and I prepared dinner (by which I mean, cut up a bunch of food and dumped it in a slow-cooker). I love how well Em and I work around each other in a kitchen, and it made an otherwise potentially-tedious experience pretty awesome. Spoiler: dinner was also awesome. Damn, we're good. A few people also contributed to this hen-themed cake (mainly Viv and Sal). I covered the eggs in fondant:

After that we headed to Daylesford for a late lunch, which was pulled pork and coleslaw on toasted brioche. The fact it took us about 20 minutes to have our order taken was less than awesome, but the amazing food made it all worthwhile.

The evening's festivities involved learning to crochet (yes, really, and yes, I do think that's awesome because I have always wanted to learn!); having a cocktail party wearing onesies/PJs (yes, really); and headbanging to Queen at 2am (yes, really. I even have a pulled muscle in my neck to prove it!). Altogether a pretty awesome evening. I mean, come on, twelve drunk girls in onesies singing to Queen - how can you possibly go wrong?!! ;-)

Day 29 - Sunday

Sunday was always going to be a little bit less than awesome, on account of the fact that I was driving up to Bendigo to see my dad in the acute mental health ward up there. I think I have mentioned that he has some mental health issues, and that he went back into hospital last Saturday for treatment.

But the Kiwi definitely made it a bit more awesome than it otherwise would have been.

First, I picked him up from a local train station and we drove up the stretch of highway that I built (single-handedly, of course... er, okay, not so much, although I did personally manage the construction of the overhead wildlife crossings!) and I told him all about it, and he pretended (or maybe actually was??) to be interested in it. I love driving that stretch of road and remeniscing about the awesome time I had on my first major project.

Got to Bendigo, decided to stop at the Beechworth bakery and introduce The Kiwi to their famous Ned Kelly pie - always an awesome choice - and then dropped him off to explore Bendigo whilst I visited the hospital. Of course, I promptly discovered that the visiting hours didn't start for another hour, so I went back into town and met him. We wandered around the local gardens and saw some bats, which was pretty awesome (in a stinky kind of way):

And then we found this awesome second-hand bookshop, where I found two books from my very favourite series from childhood, in really good condition, more than 50 years old. That was pretty awesome.

Back to the hospital, and it was awesome seeing dad, even if he is nuttier than a fruitcake. He gave me the most wonderful, warm hug, and then took me to do jigsaw puzzles, which I love, so that was awesome. We sat there and chatted and did puzzles and talked to other patients that approached (= pretty much all of them), all whilst screening out chaos around me. Special mention goes to the guy who was screaming profanities at the nurses in the hallway, and to the other guy who was doing that classic maniac-style laugh you hear in movies and kind of hustling a pole, as if it had a soccer ball and he was trying to retrieve it. Psych wards are always interesting places, although mostly they're just very sad to visit. Not just because you see your own loved ones in an altered mental state, which is difficult to see, but also because, when I visit, I am invariably mobbed by patients I have never met before. Sometimes they'll even hug you, so it's just as well I'm okay with being touched by strangers. It is abundantly apparent that they don't have much of a support network themselves, and that they receive very few visitors. It must get quite lonely in there.

So, like I said, I anticipated a less-than-awesome day visiting dad... and it wasn't as horrible as it could have been. I guess I did most of my crying over him being so ill when he was in hospital the other week.

And it definitely helped that The Kiwi was there to pep me up and distract me a bit afterwards. We drove home via a couple of wineries, including Bress, which run a biodynamic operation nowadays. I thought the fact they use guineafowl to control insects was pretty awesome, and is the sort of thing that is right up my alley. The Kiwi must have felt a bit sorry for me, because he agreed to drive so that I could make the most of the tastings and get drunkity-drunk-drunk. Hehe. Bless.

We also stopped by The Cascades in Metcalfe on the way home, and the fact it had been raining all weekend made for a pretty cool display. I used to have to test water quality here when I was working on a nearby construction job, and it was awesome being able to revisit it and act as a tourguide for such a pretty, secret spot. Yep, my job definitely has its perks!

(no photos taken, so I borrowed it from here)

Once home, I made some profiteroles for Tuesday's cake decorating class, and, even though they're not exactly round, they still turned out more or less awesomely. They appear to be cooked properly, anyhow!

Lucky last, I picked up a guitar for the first time in about six months, which was awesome, and taught The Kiwi a few chords. He's had this pretty amazing guitar for years, and it was played more in the half an hour I had it out than it has in its entire life. Poor, lonely guitar :-(

Day 30 - Monday

Again with the getting stuff done at work! Feeling pretty good about that. I even solved a potentially massive dilly of a pickle we were about to encounter.

And then, of course, there was my weekly yoga class, which is invariably awesome.

So... sorry I've been gone so long, and I can't promise I'll do much better moving forward... but tell me, what have I missed? What has been awesome about your last few days?

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day 25 - Cake Makes Everything Awesome

Well I'll keep this one brief - Tuesday was awesome for three reasons:
One, I finally got my car serviced. It was about 4000km overdue (oops) and the brakes had started doing some weird stuff, so it was awesome knowing for sure that they would actually be functioning safely. Phew!
Two, I spent most of the day doing GIS mapping via remote access. It was like watching paint dry because the computer I was driving was in my old office in Tasmania, so the connection was slow. In fact, mapping can be slow at the best of times given how much RAM it uses... but anyway, I get quite a sense of satisfaction out of producing a map series, which was awesome. Yeah, I know, I'm a geek. Whatevs. I'm actually paid to do stuff I enjoy, so I think I win this round!
Ancillary to the mapping (because I had to ask her to go move the mouse) was that I chatted to the office girl down there in Tassie for a little while, and it was good catching up on all the goss. She recently got engaged, so there was a bit of wedding talk. She's pretty excited about it, and I'm pretty excited about it on her behalf. When I met her last year she'd been having a bit of a rough time of it, so I'm glad things have finally come good for her. And I may be practical in pretty much every other way, but I do love a good wedding. Just as well that I've bridesmaided 3.5 times (the .5 was virtual bridesmaiding for an elopement)!
And three, I went to my cake decorating course and made this, which, if I do say so myself, is pretty frigging awesome. I'm annoyed that my equipment list didn't have ribbon listed on it, like most of the rest of the class did, because it would really have set it off nicely. But, no matter - it still looks pretty awesome :-)

What was awesome about YOUR day?

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day 21-24 - Beer, Weddings, Sugarcraft Snowboarders and Yoga

Well. It looks like life has been so awesome lately that I haven't actually had time to write and fulfil my commitment for the last four days. Er, sorry about that, me...!

Day 21 - Friday - Beer.

Fridays aren't so awesome, at least, not until the time that you can leave work. And THEN they become awesome by default. De-fault. The two sweetest words in the English language.
That's pretty much how it went. Friday dragged its sorry arse, right up until home time. Luckily, IT did something awesome for us for once and decided to update the server between 4:20pm and 4:50pm, and decreed that we needed to log off during that time. What's that? You want me to go home at 4:15pm? Sure thing, I can do that! Which is just as well, because I was quite literally falling asleep in my chair, and concentration wasn't really an option by that stage.

Because of that you'd also have thought the smart thing to do would be to have a nanna nap before I went out, but I made a pretty awesome decision (for me!) and did some chores instead.
I had another date lined up, which was awesome - things seem to be going pretty well and he's a nice guy, so spending Friday night with him seemed like a good idea. We were headed for the Moon Dog Brewery in Abbotsford, which is co-owned by my friend Jake, and it's a pretty awesome place. Their beers are not for the faint of heart, and weigh in with up to 9% alcohol content, so if you're into easy drinking this isn't really your place.

But if you love craft beer with quirky names, and venues with a warehouse-y yet cosy feel, get amongst it! They open from Thursday through Saturday nights, and you can check out their website to see which food truck will grace the bar's presence that night. And Jake's brother Josh, one of the other owners, was handing out buckets of popcorn when we walked in. Definitely onto a winner there - good beer, free popcorn, awesome food.

I also roped my friend Ness in, who seemed to have had a below-average day, because beer and food truck food will make most things better. I also got my friend Harry to join us, so Ness didn't feel all third wheel. Altogether it turned out to be a pretty awesome night.

Day 22 - Saturday - Weddings

Saturday was quite a day! I discovered (er, and became a member of...) another cake decorating supplies store, this time in Richmond. This one was Bake Boss, and I was there to pick up supplies for a cake I'm making later in the week for my Site Superintendent's daughter's 30th birthday cake. Any day where I get to mooch around a cake decorating store is a gooooood day :-)

On the way there, I also saw this shop. And I'm really glad to know that they don't frame body parts...

After that I had to dash out to mum's place and see if I had a dress that would fit for the wedding I was headed to, and it did, which was awesome. The question was raised because I recalled how snug the dress was last time I wore it, but things seem to have improved a little since then... yay!

Then I had to go buy a new pair of Bridget Jones undies to wear under said dress, because my existing pair were in the wash. The awesome part about that was the look on the lingerie store attendant's face when she asked whether I'd just had a baby and I said no, I'm just fat. She recoiled ever so slightly, and then, without missing a beat, she tapped my belly and said that it looked like I had recently lost weight. Good saaaaaaaave!

Had lunch at Nessa's place, which is always awesome, then toddled off to Yarra Glen to get ready for my friend Matt's wedding. He scrubs up alright, don'tcha think?

The wedding was at Train Trak winery/Zonzo's restaurant, and it was pretty awesome, despite the fact the rain did its best to ensure the ceremony was not heard by anyone! Great people (and I pretty much had to make friends from scratch, so that's really saying something), amazing food, good wine. Awesome night.

Day 23 - Sunday - Sugarcraft Snowboarders

First there was the awesomely leisurely morning with late checkout at the B&B I had stayed in out in Yarra Glen. Then I toddled down the pub for lunch with the remainders of the wedding crowd, and had a pretty awesome cream of mushroom soup. I decided that it was hometime after that, because I was getting kind of snoozy and driving would soon become difficult.

Things are getting down to the wire with this cake I'm making, so I had to make the snowboarder figurine for the top on Sunday or it just wasn't going to happen. This coincided with the urge to watch Four Weddings and a Funeral, which remains one of the most awesome movies of all time. And this is what I crafted (not quite finished at this stage, but I'm still pretty pleased with myself!):

Meanwhile, I put a lamb roast on, and it was pretty awesome, too:

Day 24 - Monday - Yoga

Monday was pretty good for a Monday! I got heaps done at work, which was an awesome start to the week.

And then I had a pretty awesome yoga class.

And then I hung out and chatted with Friday night's date for a bit and did Tim-Tam Slams with a cup of tea, which is awesome any day of the week, let alone on Mondays. As it turns out, the caramel ones are much better option because the caramel kind of acts as reinforcement and holds it all together when you suck the tea through it. Yep, in case you hadn't guessed he's an engineer, and has actually thought through the physics behind a Tim-Tam Slam, and any (Aussie) girl would think that's pretty awesome!

So that's four awesome days for you. I'll try to get back to doing it daily again, promise!

Friday, 13 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day Twenty - Audits and Tarts

The day could have been less awesome than it was. There was a compliance audit on site with the local shire council, and I had to meet with a landholder (who we refer to as "teepee man") to assuage his concerns.
But working day turned out pretty awesomely - the audit went fairly well (yay!) and teepee man seemed to be fairly reasonable and not at all stoned (contrary to earlier indications), although I'm sorry to say that he has taken down his teepee. I will, however continue to refer to him as teepee man. Wouldn't want anyone to get confused about his identity ;-)
After we were finished with teepee man, we went for a vanilla slice down in Sorrento. Apparently these vanilla slices are pretty famous, and I can see why:
Got a bit more admin done, and then headed home to get ready for a date.
The evening was off to an awesome start - my skinny jeans fit me. Yay! Uh, skinny as in the cut, not as in the size. But hey, small victories, and they looked alright!
Then I had a pretty awesome dinner cooked for me - steak and salad with roasted potatoes, and the steak was very well done. As in perfectly done, not as in a leathery, overcooked waste of meat. It was a simple meal, but a good one. And for dessert... *drum roll*
Strawberry(ish) tart! He remembered that I liked them from our date on Saturday. That was pretty awesome :-)
Hmm, I'm sensing a theme here - any day where I am fed good food is an awesome day, or so it would seem! No surprises there.
What was awesome about your day?

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day Nineteen - Long Days Can Be Awesome, Too

Up before 5:30am to be at work before 7, but it was an awesome sunrise. That's always been my favourite part about going to work early - having the opportunity that so few choose to take, and seeing the day dawn all clean and shiny and new. 

Then the day went blah blah blah blah busy busy blah blah. 

Then I came home and went to the gym, where they set me up with a program, which was painful but in an awesome  way. 

And now I'm sitting here watching this week's episode of Game of Thrones, which began somewhat averagely but as I sit here, it is improving in its awesomeness. 

I spoke to dad for a little whole, too, and for the first ten minutes or so he was quite lucid, which was pretty awesome. But then he started to slip again, which wasn't so great. But hey, small victories, right?

So now I'm going to finish this awesome hot chocolate, have a nice warm shower and snuggle up into bed where I will hopefully have an awesome sleep. Tomorrow will be another big day and I'll need all the rest I can get!

What was awesome about your day?

Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding

So I thought I'd take the briefest of respites from my 100 Days of Awesome caper. Yeah, yeah, I know, I heard you all breathe a sigh of relief. I know that it's not exactly rivetting blog content, writing about the tiny little awesome things that happen each day that add up to make a good day. But hey, this blog is called "The Teensy, Tiny, Insignificant Details", and that's what I'm talking about, y'all. Those little spots of sunshine. You'd be surprised how much more positive you feel at the end of each day when you actually take stock of those moments, and I highly recommend doing it.
Anyway, this particular, more widely-interesting (to the general public, particularly those with a love of baked goods) ray of sunshine showed up on Saturday. I had made a vegetable soup out of the manky dregs of my vegetable drawer, and decided that it wasn't going to quite fill me up.
So, because of that, and because I had a cold and wanted comfort food, I decided that I needed* to make chocolate self-saucing pudding. Immediately.
I had also recently come into possession of these totally adorable individual enamelled baking dishes, and I needed* to use them to assauge the cuteness overload I was experiencing. Immediately. Let's just take a moment to bask in their awesomeness:
Done. Note also the cookbook to the side - from the Australian Women's Weekly "Kitchen" - and what it should look like if you make it in a large dish. (Note that the link I provided is for an Australian book store, and they don't know I exist (besides having taken my money in exchange for books from time to time!), but I do support the concept of buying local books from companies that employ some people locally, rather than just buying them off Amazon.
Moving on, this recipe is a bit of a winner - it only requires one bowl (which isn't a bowl at all - it's a saucepan); is dead easy; is egg-free (not an issue for me, but some people are allergic... and it will also make you feel much safer licking raw batter off the spoon if you're pregnant!); and it uses only baking staples that you are already likely to have in your cupboard. True, it's not exactly fancy-pants dinner party fare, but certainly is delicious and is perfect for a comfortable dinner with friends. 
It also travels quite well if you make the batter and put it in the dish, refrigerate until you're ready to transport it (it should stop it from rising), bring the brown sugar/cocoa mix with you in a plastic bag and do the sprinkle/add boiling water step once you're at your venue. And if you do that and pop it in the oven right as the main course is being served, it should be ready for consumption at just about the right moment.
I halved the recipe, and made it in three smaller containers - two of my adorable enamel dishes and one small Chinese bowl. I used a little less water because I got the feeling I was going to drown the puddings (although that ended in a more chewy, caramel-y sauce rather than a runnier one I have had in the past when making a full batch in a large dish), and reduced the cooking time by about ten minutes. I'd keep a closer eye on it than that if you're not following the original recipe and check it after about 25 minutes, though - my oven has a track record for not running at the temperature it is set to, so you never can tell what's going to happen. Makes things exciting!
The recipe, from AWW "Kitchen", can also be found here.
60g butter
½c milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾c castor sugar
1c SR flour
1 tbsp cocoa
¾c brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tbsp cocoa, extra
2c boiling water
Preheat oven to 180oC.
Melt the butter and milk in a saucepan. Remove from heat, mix in vanilla and sugar, followed by flour and cocoa. Stir with wooden spoon until smooth and well-combined.
Transfer to greased ovenproof dish/dishes (I've used a 6-cup Pyrex casserole dish before which worked well). Mix brown sugar and extra cocoa together until evenly distributed, sprinkle over the top of the pudding, then carefully pour boiling water over it.
Bake in oven for around 40 minutes, until the centre is firm (I tested with a skewer and tasted the crumb to check with it tasted raw, which it did. Once it was cooked the skewer actually came out clean).
Serve with ice cream. Yummo!
And how quick and easy was that! You may even have noticed that the method wasn't full of my usual disclaimers about how I changed the recipe on the fly, because I didn't. It really was that easy.
*Use of the word "needed" is fairly subjective in this case and pertains more to actions that will lead to feeling gratified, than to more widely-accepted basic human needs such as oxygen and water.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day Eighteen - Chocolate Flowers and Accidental Dating

Work was pretty awesome today - achieved some stuff, had a couple of D&Ms with tough blokey blokes about their daughters which was really sweet, and got to see some guys I haven't seen in a while.

Then I dashed onwards to this week's cake decorating lesson, and I made these awesome white chocolate roses:

Last but not least, I discovered on my way home that the guy I went out with on the weekend was having a drink with a friend just a couple of km out of my way home, so I took the little detour and got to see him again, which was pretty awesome. Being scrutinised by a friend is less awesome, but I'm pretty sure I passed the test. Plus I basically had hot chocolate and a Smarties cookie for dinner, so that was an awesome result!

Well past my bedtime now!

What was awesome about your day?

Monday, 9 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Days Sixteen and Seventeen - Love Long Weekends

Well I didn't get around to posting last night, because I was still out and about on Date #2 when the clock ticked over midnight. I think we were sitting in a little cafe on Chapel Street, drinking cocktails, when I should have been posting. So sad, too bad, not even going to apologise for it. I'll take a date over the internet any day! (And I'm sure he'd be glad to hear it...)
So anyway, we'll start with Sunday.
I had a decent-ish sleep, which didn't quite make it into the awesome category, but the fact I felt less like I was dying when I woke up than I had for the last couple of days was pretty awesome.
I went to mum's to fix her computer and sort out her superannuation, and was able to do both of those things by the awesomely simple move of paying her internet bill. Magic! While I was there I also saw my friend Ness, which was awesome, and then I came home and actually did some grocery shopping for the first time in about two weeks, which means I actually have food in the house again. Definitely awesome to not be foraging and eating weird combinations of stuff!
I came home, had an awesome nanna nap; and, in a move that proved I was fairly interested in my date, I had a shower and got ready to go out. None of this "changing socks and wearing mascara" business (although I did do both of those things) - I actually made time for the full routine. It's pretty awesome that I'd finally gone out with someone who was worth the effort. (Note to Future Vanessa: If I don't feel the urge to put the effort in, it's probably not actually worth going.)
My housemate dropped me at the train station with awesome timing - I stepped straight onto the train I had planned to be on, and was right on time, which, let's face it, is a pretty big deal for me! We went for a drink at Bridie O'Reilly's, where this awesome band of old men were playing some pretty modern tunes, and had a couple of drinks and a chat. Then we headed around the corner to the Sweetwater Inn and had the most amazing pulled lamb, slow-cooked in this awesome BBQ sauce and served on a damper roll with coleslaw *lapses into a food coma*
Eventually we admitted defeat on dinner -  the servings were awesomely big, but if you're a big eater then you should definitely get amongst it - and we went for a wander to find another venue. The other bar we walked past seemed a bit... not us, or at least, not me, but I don't think I'm too far off the mark in tarring my date with the same brush. Put it this way - the music was loud and not especially musical, the guys had a lot of gel in their hair and the girls were all short-skirted, heavily made-up clones of one another. Pass! So we crossed the road to this cafe that says it's open all night, and it really does appear to be - there were still people being served calamari at 1am. We sat there for a couple of hours chatting and had a hot chocolate and a couple of awesome cocktails before calling it a night.
I think that classifies as a pretty awesome date - good company, good food, good conversation. You know, except the part where I broke a glass... oops!
And then there was Sunday.
Awesome components of my day have involved a quite tasty brekkie, the amusement I have derived from friends clamouring to see how my date went (the funny part about being single is seeing how the coupled ones like to live vicariously through you), had an awesome afternoon nap, and an even more awesome yoga class. I think I must have been sweating out the last of the two pints and two cocktails, and also the last of the cold, because I had more sweat pouring off me than when I was climbing temples in Mexico a couple of years ago. Sexy! It was really challenging while I was doing it, but I feel pretty darned tootin' awesome now.
And now, dear reader, it is past my bed time. For those of you in Australia, I hope you also enjoyed your Queen's Birthday long weekend as much as I did, and capitalised on the awesome opportunity to go out and play on what would normally be a school night. For those elsewhere in the world, well I suppose that Monday is only half way through (or less), so you're probably still basking in the afterglow of your weekend. So, what awesome things did you get up to over the weekend?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day Fifteen - And That's How it's Done

I totally rocked this whole awesomeness gig today. True, it was made easier because it was a Saturday, but I am still suffering from a cold, so I'm pretty impressed it was that good a day. 

First up, I woke a few minutes before my alarm went off, but in an awesome, "gosh I feel awake!" kind of way, not in a "whyyyyyy?" kind if way. 

Next came my brunch date down at St Kilda. It could have been awkward - I have my "no food in the first date" rule so you can bail quickly if it's a terrible date - but the gamble paid off, and brunch was pretty awesome. Both the food and the company, I mean. He even brought me a little packet of tissues cos he knew I was sick. Bless. 

We ate down at the cafĂ© on the pier - smashed avocado, feta and pomegranate on sourdough toast with a poached egg - and then we went and checked out the penguin colony, and actually saw a penguin, which was pretty awesome. As was the racist hobo with the goon bag showing us where the penguins were. 

On our way back down the pier we got some free chip-type things - disturbingly, there is now a Special K-branded savoury snack. Sour cream and chive crackers. Low in calories (for this kind of snack, anyhow), kind of abrasive on your mouth... But free, and therefore awesome!

Then we went for a wander and decided to have another cuppa, and a pretty awesome strawberry tart, which are my most favourite-est baked goods ever. And apparently also one of his.

So that's a pretty awesome effort, I think - a two-venue, two-meal, four-hour first date, and with hobos and penguins, too! Bonus!

On my way home I stopped in at Chaddy and got an awesome massage. She totally fixed my shoulder, plus did the reflexology thing for my feet, so I'm kinda blissed out from that still. Oh and I scored a car park almost straight away, which is unheard of at Chaddy on a Saturday. And I chatted to a friend on the phone whilst obtaining said car park, which was an awesome combination. 

When I got home I finally went through my veggie drawer and threw out the gross stuff. I turned the salvageable portion into soup for dinner, which was actually pretty awesome considering how manky the collection of veggies was to begin with. It's incredible what some cayenne and a wholllle lot of garlic can do!

I watched Romeo & Juliette with my housemates while eating dinner (it's just as awesome as I remembered), and chased it with the awesome chocolate self-saucing puddings I'd made. 

The only way I could have upped the awesome would have been by hitting the gym, which would be foolish because I'm sick. Patience, Grasshopper. 

So. Did anyone have as awesome a day as I did? I sure hope so!

Friday, 6 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day Fourteen - Boogers and Blocked Ears


Such a sexy day today. I woke up with a horrible cold and didn't go to work because I didn't want to share the germs around (but still actually had to get some work done, only from home).
So, the sleep-in was awesome, and well-needed.
And the fact I was able to rest between spates of working was pretty awesome too. I'm seriously contemplating getting a hammock for my office.
And then there were a couple more messages from the guy I'm brunching with tomorrow, although, truth be told, if I'm still this disgusting in the morning I'm not exactly going to make an awesome impression. Oh well, we shall see. He's been warned!
And then this evening, I watched two DVDs - Valentine's Day, and Paperback Hero. Paperback Hero is alllllways awesome. It's got this guy in it, for starters:
Hugh Jackman, with his shirt allllmost off? Yes, please! And you're welcome :)
Tomorrow is the start of a long weekend here, so I'm going to endeavour to make my weekend more awesome than the previous couple of weeks have been. I know the weekdays have been a bit mundane, but I guess that's the idea here - taking stock of the little things that make your day more positive and brighter. And if I manage to make it through the night and not wake up feeling like I've been breathing with my mouth open all night, that will be a pretty awesome start to the day ;) (I like to aim high. Hehe.)
So what awesome things are you looking forward to getting up to this long weekend?


100 Days of Awesome: Day Thirteen - Drugs and Danishes

Oops, I was a very bad blogger and didn't post last night. Yesterday was one of those days where it's just a little bit harder to find awesome things to focus on, in fact, to focus on anything at all. Not that there was anything particularly bad about the day, it was just a very meh kind of day. Probably - as I now know - because I was coming down with a cold.

My friend Kaye emailed me to say that her dog is finally making a recovery from his bowel obstruction, so I guess that's pretty awesome. I like Scruffy and I'm glad that he's okay.

My friend Kat emailed pictures of her dog totally ignoring a helicopter removing mangroves opposite their house, which was awesome. The dog, and also the helicopter, I mean.

Blah blah blah, came home, started to really suspect I was getting sick, and my housemates had friends over for dinner, and this is the part where it got awesome - as I was going to bed, one of their friends took a berry Danish out of the oven, and I was able to squirrel away a piece so that I could have breakfast Danish today. Win!

Then, because I can't take cold n flu tablets, I took a hayfever tablet instead before I went to bed. That knocked me for six and dried my nose right up, and that was awesome.

No wonder I didn't post anything yesterday. If drugs and Danishes are as awesome as it gets, that's kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel. Again. Note to self: Must make more effort towards awesomeness.

Oh, I thought of another one! Some of you may know I've dipped my toe in the online dating pool (hah, okay, so I'm practically submerged!), and there was a few exchanges of messages with this guy who seems pretty cool, which is awesome. Anyway, we're going out for coffee on Saturday. So yay to that.

That is all.

Was your day more awesome than mine?

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day Twelve - Hump Day

Wow, no wonder I was having trouble remembering this morning - I was up at 5:15 to get to work by 7. It's been a while since I was up quite that early, probably since before surgery, actually, but it was awesome knowing I could survive the day if I woke up that early!

Also awesome was people at work actually involving me in stuff that I should be involved in, which was nice!

The main HDD operator, who is 54 and a colossal flirt, bought me a packet of Clinkers and some Pineapple Lumps. He knows he doesn't have a prayer, but he's a sweet guy and likes the attention, and I don't find it at all offensive so hey, free chocolate? Awesome!

I went to the gym for my fitness assessment and didn't die, which awesome. I also stuck around afterwards and worked out for half an hour. I'm kind of proud of myself for that, actually. Unfortunately it also reminded me that my improved fitness pre-surgery has been shot to pieces and I need to start all over again...but at least now I know that I can do it, which helps tremendously. 

I watched Game of a Thrones, which can't possiy ever be anything but awesome...and yet I find myself disgruntled and dissatisfied. I know they did it on purpose, but ARGH! I WANT ALL OF THE THINGS TO HAPPEN! NOW!!!

My former sister-in-law-to-be messaged me to tell me that she played netball tonight, and they lost, and her son asked why and she said the girl she played against was really tall. "Like aunt Vanessa?" "Even taller than her." Her younger daughter then chimed in, "Wow, that girl must be as tall as a dinosaur." So cute! And good to know I'm slightly smaller than a dinosaur... And also awesome to hear from them. Awesome and sad at the same time, but mostly awesome.

Lastly, I watched my wheat bag burst into flames in the microwave, which was pretty awesome to behold m. And then the awesomeness turned to anything-but-awesomeness when I realised I have no other way to warm my stupid, perpetually cold feet up, so sleeping might be tricky for me tonight. So, awesome-not-awesome (kind of like sorry-not-sorry, I guess!). Note to self: obtain boyfriend for sole purpose of warming iceblock-esque feet on his legs. Hehe. 

Anyway, sleep time for me. And I need it, too!

Hope your hump day was awesome. You can tell me about it below, if you like. 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day Eleven - No Internet and Chocolate Cake makes Ness Something Something

PThe day started well, with an awesome sleep that actually lasted eight hours. I needed it. And I need a little bit more, but I have to be up by 5:30am tomorrow. Ugh. 

When I got to work I discovered that the email and the internet were down, which, in a strange turn of events, meant I actually got some stuff done that I'd been putting off. It cut out all distractions, as well as access to the second server, the contents of which normally monopolises my already-limited time. So I was super-productive. And it also meant I finally had time to clean my desk, which was also awesome. 

I had a pretty good sandwich for lunch, too. Odd combination - chicken, mayo, avocado, spinach, cheese and pesto. But the bread was what really took it over the top - super fresh, but toasted so the outside was all nice and crispy and awesome. 

The last awesome thing about my day was the cake decorating course I did. Tonight's offering was a hearts gateau, and I have to say, damn I'm good. I'm also incredibly humble, if anyone asks ;)

So, dear reader, what was awesome about your day?

Monday, 2 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day Ten - Pretty Awesome for a Monday

...not that it was an especially awesome day. If it had been a Friday it would've been distinctly un-awesome. But it's Monday so I'll take what I can get!

The first thing I did at work was go out for a hot chocolate. With marshmallows. Which I didn't pay for. I assume nobody is planning on denying the awesomeness of that situation. 

Then I got some real-life work done, which was awesome. As was the fact that said work was outside. 

Then a couple of friends emailed and texted, which is always awesome to have happen. Especially on Mondays. 

I went to yoga this evening, and you probably know by now how much I enjoy turning myself into a pretzel. Damn, it felt good. And this was an especially awesome session because I actually started to feel myself get stronger and automatically correct my form, and felt just a shade less like a hippopotamus with three legs balancing on its head in the height of summer than I did last week. Squee!

Last but not least, I had an awesomely balanced dinner of mud cake, corn on the cob, and custard with drinking chocolate in it. It was spread over the course of about two and a half hours, either side of yoga. I just couldn't be stuffed cooking tonight. Mostly because I forgot to defrost any meat. But there were (ok, was) vegetables (ok, vegetable). And custard for dinner? Yes, please!

What made your Monday awesome?

Sunday, 1 June 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day Nine - Cousins, Ikea, Mexican and Music

This post is going in just under the wire, mere minutes before midnight. And what a day!

This morning I headed to my cousin's place to help assemble some Ikea furniture. That was awesome for two reasons - 1. He's just relocated his family to Melbourne, so I get to see more of them; and 2. Ikea furniture is essentially giant Lego for adults. WHOOHOO!

We then had a really awesome glass of wine to celebrate a job well done. 

Next, I headed home and had a piece of that awesome m&ms-topped choccy cake for lunch. 

And then I had a really awesome nap. 

The nap gave me sufficient energy to make it out to dinner at an awesome Mexican restaurant with my friend Viv, and then to the even more awesome show The Waifs put on at the Corner Hotel. 

I think I win Sunday!

What was awesome about your weekend?