Thursday, 31 July 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Days 65 - 67 - Communication, In All Its Forms

Day 65

Still riding the wave of Sealgate, the cute little fella frolicked and fed his way onto the nightly news on three different channels. I haven't actually seen any of the footage they showed yet, but my personal footage DID show up on the internet, which can be found here. Not great quality because it was compressed to email it, but still pretty awesome.
Gotta say, I felt pretty famous on Monday!
Day 66
I realised overnight that my rather large-ish pile of baggage from my previous relationship was affecting the way I interact with The Kiwi, and also how I respond to various situations that really shouldn't rate a mention. Acknowledged it, addressed it, communicated it, and suddenly I feel like quite a mature adult (besides many, many other indications to the contrary). And it's awesome that I can openly discuss things like that with The Kiwi. Either he's completely blind and can't see how nutty I am, or just a really good guy. Mmmmaybe both...
I also ate a bowl of Coco-Pops. They're just as awesome as I remember them being... at least, they are in small quantities.
Day 67
Again, as with last week, I felt pretty uninspired considering it was a Wednesday. I realised it's because I have pretty much exhausted all the big topics I wish to or need to discuss during the weekly Toolbox meeting, so I'm just clutching at straws, which is hardly beneficial to either the workforce or the impact I make on them by standing up and saying something. So I have to rethink my strategy there... although it was pretty awesome that I was able to think on my feet and come up with something to say about twelve seconds before the meeting began. Not so awesome was that it took me until the last twelve seconds to gather my thoughts on it, even though I'd had at least a week to think about it (or, my entire career, if you want to get picky about it). But I got through!
Our admin lady had a bit of a breast cancer scare, and she got her results back yesterday, and it's not cancer. So that was awesome, particularly given my own recent experiences.
I had more Coco-Pops, which was also awesome... but now there are none left (it was one of those mini multi-packs). Sad face. I do, however, think it's pretty awesome that Kellogg's have acknowledged that Coco-Pops are like crack, and that siblings will fight over them tooth and nail, so they'd better put extras in the packet!
I met someone I'd never met before after work. My ex's sister contacted me a while ago because one of her juniors from work was coming down from Canberra for three or four weeks of medical treatment, and hoped I could give her some tips on things to do or see in Melbourne-town. I was more than happy to oblige, particularly given how much time I've spent in hospital myself this year. I know how disheartening and lonely medical incarceration can be, and how insane it can make you. So we've been texting a couple of times a week, and we finally met up last night.
I won't tell you about why she was in there, because it is none of anyone's business, but she was a really cool chick. I'd had no idea how old she was when I agreed to help her out, and even her text messages made it pretty hard to peg, but as it turns out she's only 18. Pretty mature for an 18 year old, because I thought she was about 22. Not that she looked older than 18, but it was mostly the way she conducted herself. She also thought I was about 25, so she's obvs my new BFF ;-)
It was really interesting talking to someone else who has had a medical challenge impact their life, and the way she deals with it. She's a lot like me in terms of wanting to live a normal life, and she is definitely not a victim. It looks like she's trying everything possible to manage it, which I think is great. I think she's more inclined to pretend "it" doesn't exist than I am, although I was a lot older than she was when things went pear-shaped, so it really is comparing apples and oranges.
Mmm, fruit.
Anyway,  I'm glad I met her, I hope I have helped her in some way, even if it was only in the form of an hour's entertainment, and I think it's awesome that two people with something in common and some form of understanding have been able to connect, who would otherwise never have met. Hopefully I can help her out in the future if she needs it, although she already seems like she's got her head screwed on straight anyway.
Also awesome is the fact that we went to a place called Massive Wieners on Chapel Street.
It's a very bare-bones establishment, and I suspect it's a really awesome alternative to the 3am Souvlaki mission you go on after a night on the tiles. It has grubby lino floors (probably not actually grubby, just old and scuffed); grubby, off-white walls covered in photos of customers who have triumphed over or been defeated by an entire yard-long hotdog (I'm guessing at the dimensions but I'm pretty sure I'm right); second-hand bar stools and a counter running around the outside; and the menu is an A4, framed affair, supplemented by notices that appear to be hand-written (could be a fancy, printed font??) tacked onto the front of the counter beside it.
We each had a pretty awesome strawberry milkshake - $5 buys you a regular, which was plenty big enough, and they keep their flavours to the simple chocolate, strawberry or vanilla - and shared a $5 basket of fries and ketchup. I didn't pay much attention but I'm pretty sure their menu was limited to shakes, fries and dogs... and I'm totally okay with that. Their website does not elucidate you to their opening hours, but next time I'm stumbling down Chapel Street late at night in need of a munch (nah, I'll never be too old for that!), I will definitely swing by and check them out.
Last but not least, I then met up with The Kiwi and had a pretty awesome evening re-enacting approximately the first half of our second date. Not, like, deliberately, but it was close by to where I'd met my new friend, and worth doing again for its own sake. Drinks at Bridie O'Reilly's (same table and all, including a near-repeat of me smashing my glass! I'm sooooo smooooooth...) and dinner at the Sweetwater Inn.
We shared the potato croquettes to start this time, and they were pretty awesome, especially with the wonderfully smoky hot sauce. And even though I really wanted the seriously awesome pulled lamb rolls like last time, the milkshake and fries I had just consumed put paid to that so I went for a lighter option - the calamari salad - instead.
I probably shouldn't have eaten it. I caught a wiff of something strange before I tucked in, and walking down the street afterwards I began to get stomach pains. I'm not sure if it was a little bit past its prime, or whether I'm developing an allergy to seafood, but over the course of the night I felt pretty ill. Ill enough to have a bucket next to the bed, and to actually sit up and tie my hair back in the night, because I was convinced I was about to spew.  I suppose it could have just been that I was really quite full, but the fact that I manged to eat half a slice of the ever-awesome white chocolate framboise cake from the Lindt Cafe and drink a cup of tea to accompany it and feel quite good, suggests otherwise.
Anyway, I'll never know, so there's no point in whining about it. It could just as easily have been the shake, or the fries, or the fact I licked the handrail on the tram (KIDDING!). But it was altogether a pretty awesome evening, and I hope all of you have had an awesome couple of days, too. Tell me what you've been up to!

Monday, 28 July 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Days 62 - 64: Sealing the Deal

Day 62

It was a Friday. So yeah, of course it was going to be awesome!
Well, mostly. Work was a bit meh, which it has been, on and off. But the most awesome part about Fridays is that it's the end of the working week, so that's always cause for celebration!
The Kiwi took me out for dinner to Chingon in Richmond, which is a Mexican restaurant that keeps things pretty simple. To that end, the menu is quite limited but I would still recommend you try it. We had the salsa, the corn, and shared a plate of four tacos, and I have to say, thank heavens we shared them because I damned near had to unbutton my pants as it was! Towards the end of the meal The Kiwi leaned across the table for a kiss, and I had trouble leaning past my full tummy. Haha, yep, I think I ate too much...
The flavours were pretty authentic, almost exactly as I remembered them from my trip to Mexico. The steak taco was wonderfully juicy and smoky, the pork one had some pineapple floating about which gave a really nice burst of sweetness, and the fish one was pretty much identical to the ones I ate on the beach in Playa del Carmen a couple of years ago. Yum. I will definitely be making a return visit! My only criticism is that the pork taco wasn't as awesome as pork I have had elsewhere... but I'm comparing it to the mouthwartering carnitas we ate in Mexio, and that is obviously totally unfair to all the pork elsewhere in the world ;-)
Next, it was to the video shop to pick out something to watch. Our original plan had been to go to the movies, but I was tired and keen for a quiet night, so we picked out Saving Mr Banks (uh, that was me... but I'd heard it was really good!), which we watched that night, and The Wolf of Wall Street, which waited until Day 64.
Sooo.... the Kiwi passed out on the couch half way through Saving Mr Banks. But in the first place, he has a habit of falling asleep during movies, and in the second place, as it turns out, he hasn't actually seen Mary Poppins (seriously! I didn't realise that was possible!!!), so I don't think that was really a true reflection on the movie's awesomeness. I personally found it to be quite interesting, and may have sung along and cried a little (hah, so it's a good thing The Kiwi was asleep). Plus of course it had the ever-awesome Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks in it.
Day 63
Saturday! Whoohoo! Mind you, it was a pretty miserable day. But it began with a nice sleep in, and an awesome cooked breakfast, and a trip to Ikea for a cushion for the stool I sit on at The Kiwi's house - I've been getting bruises on the backs of my legs from it. I"m such a special little snowflake.
After Ikea we headed to the Asian supermarket on Victoria Street to pick up some ingredients for the Tom Kha Gai I had decided to make for dinner. I'd actually been mulling over it since I had the same dish on Tuesday night, and - spoiler alert - mine was waaaaay better. I was also totally right about the flavours not being quite right - I used the pretty darned genuine recipe book from the cooking school I attended in Thailand, and, lo and behold, kaffir lime was in it. Just like I thought! As soon as my camera has been fixed I'll make it again and take some photos and post the recipe for you.
Yeah, cos I don't mean to brag, but I totally nailed it, and it's probably because it's a great recipe and one well worth sharing. Nessa came over to share in my awesomeness, and we polished off most of the batch between the three of us, plus a couple of bottles of wine. Which in hindsight, I probably drank a fair bit of myself, which explains why I was a little dry when I woke up on Day 64...
Oh! And I got a little teapot from the Asian supermarket, which of course means that I spend even more time drinking tea than I already did. I didn't know that was possible, but here we are. Perhaps next weekend I'll bake some kind of awesome cake to go with it... and actually post a recipe for the first time in a gazillion years. Sorry I've been so neglectful about that, y'all.
Day 64
Sunday! Whoohoo! Unfortunately I woke up quite suddenly, only 6 hours after I had gone to sleep, and was unable to get back to sleep. I spent two hours being annoyed about that before I got out of bed and realised what a beautiful day it was.
After brekkie I mucked around a bit and FINALLY cleaned out my laptop bag. I was a bit stunned at how much junk I threw away from it, actually. Including (but not limited to) a broken sachet of chicken noodle soup... which means that the long-lost set of earphones that have been kicking around the bottom of my bag actually smell like chicken noodle soup. Delicious, but really, really odd!
The Kiwi and I headed out with the intention of going for a run around the park. My heart started to let me down after the first 500m or so of walking, which was really disappointing for me. I'd already been silently freaking out at the prospect of running a) for the first time in ages and b) for the first time in front of The Kiwi, and that just made it worse. So we walked around the park instead... which is how we came to notice something a bit odd... (there is supposed to be a video embedded there, but it's not working, so I've taken some screen shots for you instead)
Heeeeeere, fishy fishy fishy...
 Om nom nom nom nom...

See you later, guys!

Yep, that's a seal, catching fish and frolicking. In the Yarra River. In Hawthorn!!! HOW FRIGGING AWESOME IS THAT??!!! I called Wildlife Victoria and they got the sealkeeper from Melbourne Zoo to call me, and he said that it's not unheard of for seals to be found that far upstream, but it is pretty rare. He said they'd go have a look for it on Monday. I'm a bit worried about the poor thing being so far from home, but he seemed happy enough. Hopefully he stays happy and goes home soon!
UPDATE: a friend just emailed me and it looks like the seal made the paper! I am the person it refers to who reported it and said the seal was heading up the river. I'm pretty much famous now... ;-)
UPDATE #2: Both Channel 7 and Channel 9 want my footage so they can show it on the news tonight. Yep, definitely famous now!
Aaaanyway, once the excitement of the seal spotting had died down, we kept walking, and I decided that it was time that I hardened up and tried a little jog. It was abysmal enough an effort to send The Kiwi on ahead, and for me to have only run a total of about 500m, but I guess you've got to start somewhere. I was, however, pleasantly suprised by how well my little sprint (hah, well, it was sprinting for me!) went at the end. So it wasn't all bad, and it was pretty awesome having company and knowing someone was there if I needed them. And now I have something to build on, which is always good.
The afternoon involved a trip to Kathmandu (or Kathman-don't, as I call them) to pick up some new shorts for my impending trip to India, seeing as I have prodigiously outgrown my old ones (well, I guess that really just means I've gained a bit of weight...). I ended up with a pair of shorts, a skirt and two shirts, so it was fairly successful. It was pretty awesome that I paid 1/4 price, but I couldn't wrap my head around the fact the people sometimes pay full price for this stuff. Seriously, what the hell are they thinking??
An evening spent watching The Wolf of Wall Street (The Kiwi stayed awake for that one!) and eating a pretty tasty Tandoori chicken salad for dinner was an awesome end to an awesome weekend that was very much too short.
So, what was awesome about YOUR weekend? Betcha bottom dollar you didn't see a seal in a river...

Friday, 25 July 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day 61 - My Lovely Lady Lumps

Day 61 could have been much, much worse than it was... but it turned out pretty awesomely in the end.
The morning was kinda pedestrian, although I did discover that the Irish name that sounds like "tier-knee" is actually spelled "Tighernach"... and that was about the most awesome thing about my morning. Mostly because I saw it and thought "Tiger Natch? Tiger Natch? Who the hell is emailing me?? A Bengali? I don't know any Bengalis..." (the connection there in my very strange brain being Bengal tigers.)
I left work just after lunch for my boob sandwich. By which I mean, mammogram and breast scan to check out that possibly, maybe, potentially lump. I'd been pretty damned nervous about it, and had been having a lot of trouble focusing at work for the couple of days before it. Understandably so, or so I like to think. At least I didn't eat my feelings.
Turns out, not a lump at all. Well, not a lump-lump. I just happen to have lumpy breasts (thanks for sharing!), with areas of denser, fibrous tissue. And that's all it was. Whoohoo! Doesn't get much more awesome than that!
I admit the machine that did the scan was pretty awesome as well. As was the fact I got to read a few acts of Romeo and Juliet whilst I was waiting, which I have been trying to re-read for about a year and keep being distracted from. I'm actually really starting to get into it and be able to easily understand what is going on, without totally bending my brain over it.
And the yo-yo biscuit and hot chocolate I treated myself to beforehand, just to get me over the line and into the building, were also awesome. Actually, that's not true at all. The yo-yo was awesome, but the hot chocolate was meh. And I swear, I wasn't eating my feelings! Much...
Well anyway, it turns out that mammograms aren't anywhere near bad as people make them out to be. Sure, nobody much likes having their lovely lady lumps manhandled by a technician and then squooshed between two bits of perspex. But honestly, ladies, harden up. I'm only 32, so my breasts are less pliable than they are at 40+, which is when most women start getting scans. It was less comfortable for me than it would be for someone older, but it wasn't that bad.
Add to that the fact I have a pacemaker, which was also squooshed against my ribcage during the process whilst pinching muscle and scar tissue. And STILL it wasn't that bad. So if you've been putting off a breast scan - or a pap smear, for that matter - because you've heard how uncomfortable it can be, or because you're embarassed by the thought of a highly-trained, very professional human being touching or seeing those parts of you, don't be. Because I'll give you the tip - any surgery you may require as a result of missing a tumour in its early stages will be a damned site more uncomfortable than a mammogram, and will probably also require you flashing more of your body to strangers than you could possibly have dreamt of. Oh, plus you might die from it anyway. Just a thought!
Anyway, now that I've lost all my male readers, I'll climb off my Womens Health soap box... ;-)
On the way back to the car I heard my name called, and I turned around to see my high school boyfriend (I was 16 at the time), who I hadn't seen in about fifteen years. It was pretty awesome to see him after so long. Amusingly, he apparently recognised the company logo on my jumper (he knows who I work for) before he recognised me. I'm not entirely sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing... although to be fair, it took me a second to recognise him, too, and (and I'm hoping he's not reading this!) it was mostly because he resembles his father a lot more now than he did at 16, and that made it harder to register who it was.
After that I was pretty much free for the evening, and I had decided it was high time I reinstated my long-held Thursday night shenaningans (which I haven't done since I went into hospital in March), so I caught up with my friend Viv. We were also celebrating my lovely lady lumps being okay, so dinner was definitely in order (Happy? Let's eat! Sad? Let's eat! Disgruntled? Let's eat! Cold? Let's eat! Confused? Let's eat! Excited? Let's eat! Yeah, you know how I roll...). We headed Chocolate Buddha in Fed Square and had a drink and shared some tapas-style food. It was pretty awesome food, from the pork belly and chicken spare ribs, to the tempura bananas at the end of the meal. Nom. And it was awesome catching up with Viv for a bit of a gossip, too.
Stepped straight onto a train to The Kiwi's (awesome timing), and spent an awesome few hours just chatting about nothing in particular and drinking hot chocolate. Just my kind of evening.
Yep, Day 61 was DEFINITELY more awesome than Day 60.

What was awesome about YOUR day?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day 60 - Hump Day

I normally enjoy Wednesdays. I like standing up at the weekly Toolbox meeting and talking to the guys. This time, not so exciting, and I don't know why.
I had a decent-ish sleep, but I was still exhausted. Exhaused to the point that I nodded off at my desk, very briefly, around midday. Concerning.
I didn't get much done at all at work, because I was feeling so far beyond unmotivated that it wasn't funny.
I think things have just been getting on top of me a bit the last few days, and even though I'm still making an effort to detect the awesome little things in my day, this time it was harder than usual.
I can't say that work was awesome, because I had a very uninspiring day. Totally self-inflicted, I admit, but that doesn't really change the end point.
I can't say that my family is awesome, because they are so far from awesome right now it's not funny. Dad's still in hospital, mum's within a bee's dick of checking herself in for a bit of a grease and oil change (but hey, at least she has the self-awareness to do that), and I'm generally worried about my brother.
I can't say that my friends are awesome (although they always are!), because a lot of them are going through their own personal challenges at the moment, and nobody's really feeling on top of the world.
I can't say that my health is awesome, because my heart has been feeling dodgy for about two weeks, and Day 61 will bring a breast scan to check out a potentially, maybe, possibly lump, which I am totally petrified about. Hah, well that's an awesome thing - my mum has lumpy boobs and has had several lumps that were benign, so that's going in my favour. Whoohoo, I found something! Yee-hah!
Yeah, that sounded a bit hollow, didn't it...
Wow, all of that totally defeated the purpose of this exercise, didn't it - to find the positives. I ended up listing the negatives instead. Geez. Okay. I'm going to have to try harder then.
Right. So it was a freezing cold day, the kind that sucks the heat out of you and gets into your bones, but it was nice when I got out on site in the sunshine (wearing a polar fleece and a woollen Bluey jacket, with my hands stuffed in my pockets to keep them warm). That was awesome.
I saved a tree, and not just any tree - a locally threatened tree. That was awesome.
I got to talk about landscaping with a subby. That was kind of awesome.
The Kiwi had dinner all ready to go when I got home from work (chicken salad wraps), so I got to sit there and pick at grated cheese and talk to him while he cooked the chicken. That was pretty awesome, as was the aioli I put on it.
I started reading the Zumbo cookbook that my awesome friend Rach gave me for my birthday (we bonded over a mutual love of food, so it was quite appropriate), and I realised that Adriano Zumbo is the twin of my friend Tollo, and not just because they're both Italian. Seriously. If Tollo shaved his head, it would be difficult to tell them apart. So that's pretty awesome.
I ended up with a wee dusting of glitter on me, because the cookbook had been inside a gift bag that was also covered in glitter, and glitter (in small, tasteful quantities) makes me pretty happy with its sparkliness, and that's awesome.
We had Mexican hot chocolate, and anyone that has visited the South/Central American continent will realise how awesome that is. We had the cinnamon one, which is my favourite.
The Kiwi cracked my back for me, which felt amaaaaaazing (and therefore awesome).
So that's about it. I had to dig a little bit deeper, but there was awesome stuff to be noticed.
Hopefully it was a bit easier to identify the awesome in your day today.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day 59 - Restaurant Review - Dining Solo at Steam, Rye

Most of the reasons my day was awesome were work-related, including scoring both a sleep-in and a hot chocolate paid for by my company, all because I had to catch up with a member of the public and sort out an issue. Sometimes the community aspect of my job drives me nuts, but yesterday was not one of those days!
Because of the meeting I didn't get to work until about 10:30, which you'd normally think was awesome, except it meant that I got a heck of a lot less work done. D'oh! Yep, looks like these last few productive weeks have gotten me a bit hooked on the rush of getting stuff done.
Haha, yeah, that's pretty sad isn't it...
Anyway, I decided to spend the night at Rye (because I have to be there before 7am on Wednesday mornings, and the early starts have been wearing a bit thin). It's awesome that my company will pay for my accomodation, even though technically they don't have to.
So I did a bit of Googling to figure out what I was going to do for dinner, and landed upon Steam, which is on the main street of Rye. I'm pretty much a fan of anywhere that puts their menu on their website and enables my menu stalking habit, so they were off to a good start.
The menu looked pretty magnificent, and is very much set up for sharing with a friend or a group. As such, it seemed a bit lacking for the solo diner with just four items in the "individual small plates" section, with a further three items available in "entrees" which again, are probably more for sharing - I mean, who wants to plough through a whole plate of edamame on their own?? I imagine I would not have noticed that if I wasn't dining alone, but I did find the menu choices to be a bit restrictive.
It was a quiet Tuesday night, so service was perhaps not as snappy as it otherwise may have been. I had a nice Canadian girl for my waitress, and although she was friendly she did place my order incorrectly, so I ended up with two rice paper rolls and one sang choi bao rather than the other way around, which she had personally recommended. Le sigh. But she was appropriately apologetic about it.
There was a second waiter, who did a good job of picking up the slack when my primary waitress was otherwise occupied. The style of service was friendly and fairly casual, and they made me feel welcomed. The second waiter in particular seemed to be quite experienced and professional, or at least confident, which was good.
I ordered the Tom Kha Gai, Rice Paper Rolls, and Duck and Shitake San Choi Bao (so, I effectively experienced 75% of the solo menu, and wasn't full afterwards). For a drink I had the White Peony Tea (I had intended to have a Lychee and Ginger cocktail, but they were out of the ginger element), and, because I wasn't quite full, I tried the Indonesian Black Rice Pudding for dessert.
The trouble, when you fancy yourself as a decent home cook, and have travelled fairly extensively, is that, if the flavours and textures aren't spot-on, you can get a bit more finnicky about your food than your Average Joe might be. I'm the girl that sits and watches Master Chef or My Kitchen Rules, and yells "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!!!" and "I can do it better! *rolls eyes*" at the TV. So I'm just putting that out there, to provide a bit of context to the review which others nay find to be unfair.
You could tell from the prices that the servings were going to be quite modest, kind of like an assortment of entrees, and The Tom Kha Gai was no exception. It came in a small bowl (cup??) that probably only held about 150-200mL. It was thick with coconut milk, and had a few slices of mild chilli, some bean shoots, half a cherry tomato and a prawn swimming in it. The menu says it is flavoured with lemongrass and galangal, but I have to say that the coconut flavour definitely dominated the soup. I recall from when I made this very dish in a cooking class in Thailand that the flavours were far stronger, so I was a little disappointed.
The Tom Kha Gai was pleasant enough, but not quite what I had expected. My expectations of the soup were obviously unfairly raised by a) my experience in Thailand, and b) the amount of time I've spent with The Kiwi in Asian restaurants on Victoria Street lately, where both quantity and quality are king, and at a very reasonable price, too. But none of that changes the fact that I wasn't especially impressed by the temperature, quantity or strength of flavour. The prawn was pretty nice, though, and I'm not a big prawn person.
The Rice Paper Rolls... errr, so I heard a rumour that there were prawns and pork in them...?? To be honest, I mistook what I now realise was the pork for some kind of roasted chicken, kind of like that dodgy chicken you get in the chicken and avocado sushi rolls they make in shopping centre food courts, and didn't really notice the prawn or remember it was supposed to be there until I was half way through the second roll.
As it turns out, the prawnts were butterflied and hiding along one side, and were rolled up with an abundance of rice vermicelli, a couple of leaves of Vietnamese mint, and I think there may have been just a skerrick of grated carrot and maybe a beanshoot or two, although the fact I don't clearly recall indicates that they obviously weren't the star of the show. There was a stalk of coriander and a wedge of lime on the plate, but no coriander actually inside the roll. I ended up picking off a coriander leaf and placing it on the roll for every bite of the second roll, just to add a bit of interest to it.
Look, I've never been to Vietnam, so I don't know for sure what an authentic rice paper roll tastes like. But I did just Google the heck out of it, and all the recipes for authentic rice paper rolls came up with more balance in terms of meat and vegetable content and were lighter on the rice vermicelli. This page explains the importance of balancing flavours and textures, and I more or less felt like I was eating noodles using my hand. Again, I know I'm biased because I don't even bother putting the noodles in my rice paper rolls - mine are all meat, bean shoots, veggies and herbs - but I've eaten a few rice paper rolls in my time, and none were that heavy on the noodles.
Lastly, I had the San Choi Bao. I always love the combination of a cool, crisp lettuce leaf with hot, flavoursome meat. And again, I enjoyed that aspect of it. I would probably order it again, although the water chestnut slices were still whole (in my experience they're normally chopped), the primary flavour of the meat was salt (not unpleasantly so, but I'm just saying that the flavours of the spices didn't really come through), and I would have been quite certain that the meat was a pork mince and not duck, had I not previously read the menu. I suppose I am just accustomed to my duck coming in whole pieces, and enjoying the texture and flavour, rather than having it all minced up. It kind of seems like a waste of duck.
I sat for a moment or two after finishing those three dishes, before deciding my hunger wasn't quite satiated. So I asked for the dessert menu, and chose the Indonesian black rice pudding, served with coconut milk ginger ice cream, on the basis that it would be served warm. (Note that, having eaten the meal, I think the coconut and ginger ice cream were actually supposed to be two separate entities, but the punctuation did not reflect that.) On a cold night like last night, having a warm dessert was important! The price of $13 indicated to me that it would certainly be bigger than the servings of the other foods I tried, and I was right. The generous portion came in a large, flat soup bowl, with warm, fragrant black rice piled in the middle of a sea of sweet coconut milk. A dome of what I had assumed was ginger ice cream was set in the centre, sprinkled with toasted, shaved coconut.
In general, the dessert pleased me. It filled me up, warmed me up, and the flavours were nice. I had two criticisms, however. The first criticism is that I'm pretty sure the dome of ginger ice cream was actually a dome of whipped double cream or maybe even Crème fraîche. It wasn't noticeably cold (nor did it melt), it wasn't gingery, and it was distinctly buttery to the point of over-richness, so I laid off on that after a couple of spoonfuls.
The second criticism is that the cardamom pods and star anise were still floating about in the rice, which meant that I found myself unexpectedly chewing on a strongly-flavoured cardomom pod serval times. I had learnt my lesson by the time I was about a third of the way through the dessert, and began thoughtfully probing each mouthful of rice with my tongue before biting down on it, to allow myself the opportunity to discard those little flavour bombs. You shouldn't really have to work for your rice pudding, and a graveyard of blackened, par-masticated cardamom pods atop your serviette is none too pleasant a site for other diners to behold, but nonetheless it was a nice dessert.
Overall my experience at Steam was fairly positive, despite finding the food to be barely above average. The quality of ingredients was excellent, but the execution of the dishes I ordered was not. I had a serious case of of food envy when the ladies at the adjacent table were served some amazing-looking food, to the point that my mouth watered and stomach grumbled just smelling what had been placed before them. Understandably, I was pretty bummed that, as a solo diner, those meals weren't really an option for me, and it would be good to see those dishes offered as a half-serve for the occasional lone wolf. I imagine that if you are in a group, and have the entire menu available to you, your dining experience would be a far more positive one than what I experienced.
Overall, I would probably return there, but certainly not alone.
I should also point out that the waitress let slip that the chef was "the new guy", which may account for several of the factors that I picked up in terms of the quality of the food, or the food not quite matching the description. And I won't know that unless I go back there. But I'd be interested to hear about the experiences of any readers, to see if they match my own.
Despite my grumbling, it was still a pretty decent meal, insofar as I live in a country where a little seaside town can support decent-quality restaurants in the off-season. My bill came in at $38, including two cups of white peony tea, and that's probably roughly what The Kiwi and I have been spending between us on almost twice as much food on Victoria Street (which obviously use lower-quality ingredients and have lower overheads, but which is far more authentic).
I would describe Steam as an upmarket Asian-inspired restaurant with potential, inspired rather than Asian itself, because it appears to be totally run by Anglos, at least, it does on a Tuesday night! Perhaps the meals have been altered to suit the local palate. Who knows. Like I said, I'd go back with a group but probably not alone. That said, having seen the serving size of the sharing plates, you could probably be a rebel and order just one for yourself and perhaps some rice. Just a thought.
So, did everyone have an awesome Tuesday?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Days 54 - 58 - Happy Birthday To Me!

I just had quite the hectic weekend, because it was my birthday! A fair chunk of the weekend was spent having a party, setting up for said party and cleaning up from said party, but it was a great weekend nonethless.
So here we go again, in reverse chronoligical order, the awesome things:
Day 58:
- Yoga
- Good day at work
- Read this post on Reddit and the comments that followed it, and it prompted me to pay more attention to and appreciate what was around me. Which is quite a bit of talent, as it turns out - I work in the construction industry and am surrounded by men all day. And, believe it or not, almost every man has something going for him, regardless of age (although admittedly the majority of the age profile of my office sits between 27 and 37). So yeah, I spent two minutes of my site meeting checking out the scenery, appreciating that, and then letting it go. I strongly encourage you ladies to do the same. Just not in a creepy way ;-)
- Support from The Kiwi when my mentally unbalanced father called
- Flirtatious texting with The Kiwi. Yeah, we flirt even though we're actually together. It's fun! You should totally give it a go!
Day 57:
- My birthday, which means I survived another year. Go me!
- My birthday, which meant that a whole year had passed since the first guy since my ex busted some moves on me. Although it's unlikely that he's reading it, I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge how awesome it was that a 24 year old was interested in a (then) 31 year old. Even though he wasn't for me, it did help me heal, improved my self esteem and reminded me that there are some quite lovely guys out there. Thanks, J! Hope you find happiness for yourself, too :-)
- My birthday, which meant PRESENTS!!! The Kiwi did really, really well and bought me a bunch of little things that showed he had been listening, and all you ladies know that the little things generally add up to more than the grand gestures. Especially demonstrating they have been listening. Don't get me wrong, the occasional grand gesture doesn't go astray! But I scored some nice chocolates (what girl doesn't love those), a warm pyjama top from Peter Alexander (he knows I get really cold at night, and that I'm a PA girl), some Jurlique hand cream (I'd run out of the tube I keep in the car), a pizza cutter (he sat with me while I decorated the wedding cake the other week, and I had commented that I should be using a pizza cutter not a knife to trim the fondant, so he went out and bought me a really good one), and... well the fifth thing was probably more for his benefit than mine, but I'm totally okay with that ;-)
- My birthday, which meant left over cake, jelly slice and profiteroles for breakfast. Nom.
- We went for a drive to the Dandenongs and had a Devonshire tea. Nom.
- We went out for dinner on Lygon Street and I had a really nice fettucine cabonara, chased by gelato. Nom.
- The Kiwi did a stellar job of helping me clean up from the party.
- I had an early night, which I REALLY needed after the big weekend I had.
Day 56:
- I slept in (a little bit)
- I had an awesome massage (although I do have bruises now...)
- I made this cake (no, I don't plan to grow up. Why do you ask?):
- I had a birthday party and saw approximately 30 of my friends and family
- The Kiwi bought me a bunch of white roses. My favourite! (Yep, he definitely listens.)
Day 55:
- I had an appointment with a dentist, which I thought was going to end really badly... but which actually ended in having my teeth professionally cleaned. No cavities after all, just teeth that I apparently brush too well. Yep, that's a thing...
- I got a bit of my tax stuff sorted
- I got a hair cut and donated the ponytail to charity. Now you see it...
... and now you don't!
And yes, they were really both taken on the same day. I had a few people ask me whether I was twelve years old in the first picture, and the answer is no. It was taken at about 7am on Friday, and the second one was taken about twelve hours later. True story!
- We had Burger Lounge for dinner, and I have to say, they make THE most amazing burgers
- And by "we" I mean "mum, The Kiwi and me". Yep, the new man met the mother... and it went well. Whew!
- Went for a drink at the Young and Jackson with my BFF Ness and The Kiwi. We were out pretty late but it was a good night with good company and good wine.
Day 54:
- Spent the evening finishing off the book my hairdresser had lent me. Which is just as well because it was beginning to give me nightmares...
What awesome things have been happening in your world?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Days 48 - 53 - ... *crickets chirp* ...

I really am getting unpardonably lazy with this. Six days in one post. That's practically a week, and, I must say, vastly impractical when it comes to actually remembering the awesome aspects of your days! But I will try my darndest, and I think I'm going to have to do it backwards for this to work. So...
Day 53 was awesome because:
1) I had an awesomely productive day at work;
2) I was given the opportunity to eat as many lollies I wanted out of a 5L tub, and only took 5 small lollies, which I have to say is a pretty awesome effort for me;
3) I had an awesome impromptu workout in the form of unloading about half a tonne of coldmix asphalt from the back of my ute;
4) I got to hang out with my BFF Nessa, who is a pretty awesome human being;
5) I ate this awesome dessert of ice cream with frozen raspberries and dark chocolate ganache, 2/3 of which were effectively leftovers from that wedding cake I made:
Nom. And,
6) The Kiwi saved the day by going to the supermarket for me when I got stuck in traffic on the freeway. Many (four) hands make light work! By which I mean, we have four hands between us, not that he has four. He's a bit quirky, but he's not an alien!
Day 52 was awesome because:
1) I had another awesomely productive day at work;
2) I spent a couple of hours reading the book my hairdresser lent me, which is just as well because my haircut is booked in for Friday and I still have a couple of hundred pages left! So it was an awesome achievement, considering I'm not the world's fastest reader, and awesome that I got to spend the evening reading, which I love. It was slightly less awesome that I had kind of delusional nightmares about it - it's a pretty creepy book so it was quite a restless night for me. But still, I love reading!
Day 51 was awesome because:
1) I had yet another awesomely productive day at work; and
2) I had a really awesome yoga class. Which kind of turned into a group therapy session, because my instructor says "tell me everything" at the start of every class, so I told her about my dad. She threw in an extra line than she normally does when she was getting us focused for the class, about keeping our thoughts on the yoga mat. I suspect that was mostly for me. She's a pretty awesome instructor, and it's a lovely, sharing class and an awesomely warm, friendly and welcoming environment.
Day 50 was awesome because:
1) It was Sunday!
2) I had a really good sleep in;
3) The Kiwi made me Eggs Florentine for brunch. Looks like picking a fella who did part of his chef's apprenticeship was an eggcellent idea;
4) I saw my dad, which wasn't great because he's quite ill, not himself, and has shaved his beard off and pierced his ear (the beard shaving is an especially big deal because I've never seen him without a beard, nor has my mother, and she's known him since he was 21! It was kind of disturbing...). But he's still my dad, and he still gives awesome hugs, so at least there was that;
5) We took the scenic route through Sutton Grange to Bendigo, which was awesomely pretty, but which unfortunately led me to discover that Collier's Chocolates no longer seem to exist, which was the entire purpose of taking the back road;
6) I had a really awesome Bee Sting from the Beechworth Bakery (they're a custard-filled pastry, for those not in the know);
7) The Kiwi came up with me, not to see dad, but so that I wasn't alone afterwards. He really is an awesome guy;
8) My friend Sara from uni texted me to see how the visit was, which was really sweet of her. I really do have awesome friends; and
8) The Kiwi and I went out for Vietnamese on Victoria Street for dinner, and we had a pretty awesome soup and an array of entree-type things. Nom.
Day 49 was awesome because:
1) It was a Saturday! I had another nice sleep in, which was definitely awesome;
2) I went to a birthday lunch of a uni friend, and it was really awesome seeing everyone and finally meeting one of my friends' two-year-olds... which kind of shows how long it's been since I saw Sara!;
3) The Kiwi and I became "Facebook official" Which means, I really, actually have a boyfriend! Ooo-ooh! *giggles* (I won't explain how many levels that is awesome on, because you'll probably throw up. I mean, you already know that he's supportive and you're about to find out that he cooks for me, so the rest will probably be positively nauseating for you...);
4) I decided it was finally time I stopped being such a slacker and cooked dinner (The Kiwi does it more often than not, which I have to say is pretty awesome), and I think it turned out pretty well if I do say so myself; and
5) The Kiwi and I spent the evening just hanging out. I darned the elbows of my cardigan (I really do like to party hard on Saturday nights...), and it was awesome finally having it done after about a year of avoiding it... which explains why the holes have gotten so big! He had bought strawberry tarts - my favourite - for dessert, and we sat around talking, eating tarts and drinking whisky. There was nothing particularly exciting about the night, but it was still awesome.
Day 48 was awesome because:
1) It was Friday! And Fridays are always awesome!
2) The Kiwi came to my place for dinner and we hung out with my housemates Rohan and Nyssa, who I have seen way too little of lately, and of course my awesome li'l Housebaby, Layla. Pizza, self-saucing pudding and the M*A*S*H trivia game made for an awesome night with awesome people.
I have to say, it's good that I can actually recall the awesome things about my days almost a week later. It means that things are really positive for me, and it's not all down to The Kiwi (although he certainly helps). No, life is just awesome right now. Mostly. And the bits that aren't awesome are made up for by the support from the awesome people around me.
What awesome things have y'all been up to this week?

Friday, 11 July 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Days 45-47 - I Got The Music In Me; Turkish Delight; and I'm Really Paid To Do This

Something happened on Day 45 that hasn't happened in quite a while.

I picked up a guitar.

And I didn't pick it up and just muck around for one or two songs. I did that the other week, when I was trying to teach The Kiwi to play his own guitar, and that's probably what started it for me. Partly because it rekindled my affinity to it, and partly because he has quite a nice guitar to play, and it doesn't hurt my fingers like my own one does, so it's actually a pleasure to have it in your hands.
It's also a pretty darned sexy instrument. Not sure if it's exactly this one but I think it might be:
I really got into it. By which I mean, like, five or six songs. Or maybe it was even a couple more than that. But I was playing, and I was singing, and I was loving it. I'm pretty rusty, and I never really had great technique, but The Kiwi's dog didn't howl in distress which I think is a good sign!
I'm telling you this, because it is by far one of the most awesome things that has happened to me all week. I'm just so happy because I have found my music again! It was really, truly dead for a while there, and it's really nice to have it back. I'm even finding myself singing randomly, for no reason, and it's probably only a matter of time before I start singing along with the music playing in the supermarket again. Yep, that's an again. I used to do it, before the music died. Bet my fellow shoppers are thrilled to bits that I'll be back at it again ;-)
Day 46 was Kiwi Interrogation Night for my housemates and two of my BFFs (incidentally, also former housemates of my housemates, and the way I met them to begin with), which in all honesty was just the seven (can't forget the Housebaby!) of us going out for dinner with the intention of getting to know The Kiwi a bit better. The good news is, he seems to fit in fairly well and didn't rub anyone up the wrong way so far as I could tell, which was awesome. We had Turkish. Mmm, hot meat and dips. How can you go wrong! The quantities were pretty awesome as well as the quality, which meant that I couldn't finish my meal... and yet we still journeyed across the road to Cold Rock afterwards, where I managed to fit in a serving of Turkish Delight ice cream with Malteasers mixed in. Pretty awesome combination - obviously very sweet, but the maltiness of the Malteasers kind of took the edge off. I'd probably actually consider peanuts next time...
On Day 47 I was reminded of one of the more awesome perks of my job - being able to claim reimbursement for a hot chocolate. I basically had to drive 45 minutes to get someone to sign a Deed of Release, and we had a coffee while we were at it to keep things friendly. So I was pretty much paid to drink hot chocolate and chat to a nice lady. And then I popped into my BFF Alice's house for half an hour for lunch - she lives around the corner for my office and is on holidays at present, so it was awesome to be able to catch up with her. She also fed me some really awesome chilli!
My evening plans came undone when I realised I didn't have my gym gear with me, which I had carefully packed... and then left on the floor :-( So I was bummed about not finally fitting a workout in, but the payoff was that I got to read a few more chapters of a 650-page book my hairdresser lent me back when I had surgery, and which I am feverishly trying to finish before my appointment next Saturday! Creepy book, but awesome. It's by Joe Hill (Steven King's son) and is called NOS4A2. Apparently it is pronounced "Nosferatu", which is the name of a German vampire film/rip-off of Dracula from the 1920's. And there was a couple of Haigh's chocolates with my evening cup of tea, and Haigh's are pretty awesome, too. Nom.
So between finding my music, and Turkish (food AND delight), and being paid to drink hot chocolate and chat, it's been a pretty awesome couple of days.
What awesome things have you been up to?

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day 40-44 - Morrrrrre Caaaaaake, Ribbons, A Wedding, Some Chocolate and Yoga

Whoops. I actually fell asleep writing this on Thursday night/Friday morning. After my 21 consecutive waking hours on Wednesday/into the wee hours of Thursday, I expected to feel somewhat less energetic than I did on Thursday night... and yet, aside from a small dummy-spit, I was still going strong at midnight, some seventeen hours after I had arisen!

Day 40 - Thursday

I put the fondant on the wedding cake I was baking on Day 39 after work. I thought the sheer scale of it was pretty awesome... until the groom texted me at about 10:30pm after I posted this picture on Facebook (note the scale of the 2L juice container):

He did not, it appeared, find the cake to be as awesome as I did, and had a small freak-out about the dimensions of it. Bear in mind that he had no idea what the end product would look like, besides "white fondant with navy blue ribbon" so it's quite possible his mental picture was very different to mine!

After I shouted my least-favourite swear word and possibly startled The Kiwi, I remembered that a) the groom hadn't seen the other layers of the cake that would allow him to accurately judge the proportions of the cake; and b) people who are to be married quite shortly tend to be a few sandwiches short of a picnic and nervous about relatively inconsequential things. So I took a deep breath and calmed myself, explained about the other layers, and told him to trust me because I wouldn't let a friend have an ugly cake. He settled down, which is just as well, because I was about to lob the fondant rolling pin through The Kiwi's nice, glass French doors! Bear in mind that I had only had 8 hours' sleep in the last two nights and was already stressed out about providing them with a beautiful cake, so it's not all that surprising that I was also a bit on edge. And it's awesome that I didn't end up damaging any property in the process... ;-)

This is what I sent to give him perspective of the scale:

I wasn't quite so happy with the way the bottom layer turned out (it's really hard to handle that much fondant, so I've learnt a hard lesson there about when size counts!). But the top two were pretty awesome in the end, and I had them all covered before I went to bed on Thursday night, as I had planned, to give me time to re-cover them if they were horrible. And I didn't need to. It's awesome when plans actually come to fruition :-)

The bottom layer was mud cake with dark chocolate and raspberry ganache filling; the middle layer was fruit cake for the happy couple to keep for a year; and the top layer was a gluten free orange sponge with dark chocoalte ganache as the filling.

Day 41 - Friday

You'd think that getting ribbon on to cake would be a relatively simple affair. But it's actually nowhere near as easy as it sounds! The big base ones were easy enough, but despite liking the clean simplicity of oit, I wasn't quite satisfied with what I saw:

I know a lot of it is because of the angle of the lighting, but to me you can quite clearly see the separate layers where the fondant sagged over the filling, and that's not cool, man! So I had to find a way to detract the eye's attention from it. Luckily I had an assistant to help get the ribbon placement right-ish:

That's right, my assistant has a cake for a head.

Once the placement was about right I made up a template to keep the levels consistent, marked the lines I wanted the ribbons to take using a pin, and then "glued" the ribbon in place. I was a bit surprised at how long it took, but it felt like a pretty awesome achievement at the end of the night. I was well and truly ready for bed, and when I lay down my feet were so incredibly grateful. It felt awesome to be horizontal, and passed out into a deep sleep in about two seconds flat.

Day 42 - Saturday

This was The Big Day! The cake was transported with no trouble at all, the bride's florist gave me offcuts from the bouquets with which to decorate the cake, free of charge, and it stopped raining in time to carry the cake to and from the car. Awesome!

All this time I had assumed the cake would be set up in a dark corner, and only be the focus when the cutting happened. And then I walked in and saw this and realised that everyone would be looking at it right away - right in front of the bridal table:

(Except obviously the cake wasn't already there at that time).

Eep! No pressure!

So I fussed over the geometry of the layer placement, and fiddled with making flower arrangements (something I'd never done before, but now that I have, I'm seriously wondering how florists get away with charging so much for buttonholes and table decorations...), and I think it turned out quite awesomely in the end (although the leucodendron on the bottom kinda let the team down a bit, I feel).

Off to the ceremony, then to the pub to wait for the reception. I had gotten drunk, sobered up and was hung over by about 8pm, so I had a quick, five minute nap in my chair at about 8:30pm and ended up feeling awesome again. Lovely wedding (still haven't been to two that were anywhere near alike), and an awesome opportunity to spend time with awesome people.

Day 43 - Sunday

Started the day with a free facial, which is always awesome. Moved on to spending the afternoon with my BFF Ness and having a cup of tea, some chocolate and a good natter. It's always awesome hanging with my homies! And then off to Richmond for some Vietnamese with The Kiwi, including this awesome Tom Yum soup, which is exactly what I needed on that cold night.

Day 44 - Monday

Ya know, it was a Monday. Eh *shrugs* But there was a yoga class at the end of it, which was awesome. And dad was hospitalised again, two whole days after being released this time, which, although distressing for all concerned, was actually awesome because it means he's back in the system where he can get treatment and hopefully be stabilized. It's frustrating because the clinical staff never, ever listen to what you have to say about the patient and whether they are ready to go home or not. I imagine if they actually had to support a mentally ill family member they might not be so offhand about what families have to say about the needs of someone we've known our whole lives, but I suppose it's not entirely their fault - the health system isn't really set up for chronic mental patients. So hopefully the psychiatrists are actually competent enough this time to see that three admissions in under two months might actually indicate serious mental illness and a need for proper treatment. I won't hold my breath... but it's awesome that he's in the right place, which is a start. Hopefully the new Mental Health Act doesn't screw us over completely. I'm not sure that anyone really thought through the implications of giving a patient more say over their treatment when they don't actually have the insight to perceive that they're ill... Keep your fingers crossed for me!

So on that less-than-awesome note, what was awesome about your weekend?

Thursday, 3 July 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day 39 - Soooo Muuuch Caaaake, So Little Sleep.

Well it was a Wednesday, and we all know how much I love Wednesdays, despite the early start. But on this occasion, the early start plus the late night I had meant I was up for 21 consecutive hours... and I only drifted off at my desk once! Heck, I don't even do that on international flights - I'll take a hayfever tablet and knock myself out cold. So being up that long was both compeltely unaccustomed and also somewhat less than awesome.
But I had a pretty awesome day at work. And I unexpectedly got to see The Kiwi for all of about twelve seconds, which was obviously also pretty awesome. He's a nice boy :-)
And then I had to cook an awesome quantity of cake... literally. Four cakes' worth of mud cake, baked one cake at a time, because the oven isn't big enough to fit two large tins. And because the seals are screwed and temperature is inconsistent at best; and mostly because the shelves in the oven fell to pieces and I had to fix them and start over with the reheating, it was 2:22am before I snuggled down into bed. Understandably the sheer quantity of cake was the only awesome thing about that.
Okay, and maybe the ganache. You're looking at 1kg of dark chocolate and 1L of cream there. Mmm, ganache... *drools*
And yeah, okay, you got me, I licked the whisk. And that was pretty awesome. Because duh.
Actually, an unexpected but awesome bonus of the baking taking forrrrrr everrrrrr was that FINALLY I had a chance to read a bit of the book my hairdresser lent me to read when I had time off for my surgery. Now, my birthday is coming up and I usually get my hair cut for that, so I've realised that I pretty much have two weeks to read a 650-page book and get it back to her, with little to no spare time on my hands. So I'll be the one with my nose buried in a book at any given moment for the next few weeks. Hopefully I don't injure myself doing that (I've done it before)...
Well, that's it for the awesomeness. It's lunchtime on Day 40 as I write this, and I'm struggling to stay awake. So I'm hoping there is some awesomeness in this day that will at least keep me awake... I do have to cover those cakes with fondant tonight, so that should keep me on my toes! (Note to self: remove rings and cut fingernails down to nothing so as to not damage the fondant.)

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Day 38 - Vietnamese Dragons with Heart

Well my title sounds kind of cryptic, but it isn't - it's just that the three items had nothing to do with one another besides occurring on the same day.

It was a "work from home" day on account of me having an cardiology appointment scheduled for smack-bang in the middle of the day. I had decided that there was not much merit in making the trek out to work and then having to come all the way in to town after a couple of hours and then back out again. So I began my day with a short sleep-in and then got to work. It was a pretty productive morning, too, which was awesome.
Walked up to the train station just as the train arrived and jumped straight on it, had a quick lunch with my BFF Ness, and then stepped straight onto a tram up to the hospital for my appointment. Awesome. Kicking goals all around right there!
The appointment was a bit less than awesome because when they did one of the tests on Zappy it sent my heart into an irregular beat and I felt a bit wonky, which was kinda scary, but they corrected it soon enough. And The Kiwi called to see how the appointment went, which was pretty awesome, and not something I've really had anyone do before. Gold star for you, my boy!
I got off the tram a few stops early on the way back into town and wended my way through the arcades of Melbourne, via Haighs Chocolates. They're an old favourite of mine from the time I spent living in Adelaide, and not just because they make these amazing, gigantic chocolate frogs - I am also quite a fan of their rose cream chocolates, ginger anything, chocolate coated coffee beans, dark chocolate apricots and... oh, who am I kidding, I'll take one of everything!!! I got a couple of bits and pieces from there, and of course said yes to the complimentary chocolate buttons (does anyone ever say no???). Visiting Haighs is always awesome for that reason alone.
Back on the train, home to do some more work, and then out to see How To Train Your Dragon 2 with The Kiwi (haha yep, I imposed my incredibly mature taste in movies on him... which turned out just fine because it's a good movie, and even the cartoon-y ones have enough adult content to keep everyone entertained nowadays), before heading out for some pretty awesome Vietnamese. I have also decided that Toothless is a pretty awesome dragon, and I kinda sorta want a dragon of my own... (that could happen, right??)
Altogether a pretty awesome day. How was yours?

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

100 Days of Awesome: Days 34-37 - Roast, Hiking, Caterpillars & Yoga

Gosh, my weekends really are doing their darndest to be so awesome that I don't have time to post! Eh *shrugs* I doubt anyone is following along anyway, but that's okay - my purpose was to remind myself of the everyday awesomeness of my life, and that's certainly working for me.
Friday (Day 34):

The day was off to a shaky start when I realised I had a flat tyre. A very flat tyre. 50,000km on rough roads and sharp sticks in Tasmania last year without a problem, and a tiny little screw in a suburban street brings me undone. Sheesh. It probably would have been somewhat less awesome if The Kiwi hadn't very kindly changed my tyre for me, but, as it was, I got to watch a man do manly things for me (even though I can change a tyre myself), so not such a shaky start to the day after all! It also meant I got to leave work early to pick up the repaired tyre. Winning :-)
But the main feature of the day was going to my friend Rachel's place for an awesome roast pork dinner. It was originally supposed to be a spit roast, but it was blowing such a gale that a) it was never going to cook, and b) 3 gum trees fell over in their neighbour's yard, which makes sitting outside in the elements by choice kind of foolhardy. I suppose you could say that the wind was awesome, too, in the truest sense of the word!

Awesome food, awesome company, and awesomely amusing watching Rach's husband Russ grill The Kiwi. Which I'm pretty sure Russ took pleasure in doing.
Saturday (Day 35):
First, and probably best, was an awesome sleep-in. Nothing quite like lolling about in bed, with no intention of doing anything productive.
But, all too soon, my day's responsibilities (being baking cakes for other people) crept up on me, and so I had to lever myself out of bed and get up n at 'em. But first stop, eggs and bacon brekkie! Any day that starts with an egg and bacon brekkie is an awesome day.
Fruit cake for Hamish and Chrissy's wedding: check!
Smelt awesome, too. Mmmmmmaybe because of all the brandy in it...
Cupcakes for my Housebaby Layla's The Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday cake: check!
The Very Headless Caterpillar, mostly assembled: check!
(I'm glad my icing writing is improving)
And somewhere in there, I found time to go do the 1000 Steps in the Dandenongs. It was awesome getting up there again and doing it again, and even more awesome that I did it in under an hour, which surprised the heck out of me considering how off-colour I've been feeling.
Two of my Usual (hiking) Suspects, Kaye and Jamie, came along, and The Kiwi also joined us. And I think that after I explained to him that me going bright red in the face was a good thing because it meant that my heart was actually beating, I suspect he enjoyed himself a bit more. Everyone was awesomely patient with me, as usual, and I'm really glad I did it. Even though my legs are still sore!!!
Sunday (Day 36):
My day started with another, smaller sleep-in, and progressed to playing with my friend Emma's staffy Milly, and then cuddling her adorable baby Arthur (who is approximately double the size he was the last time I saw him, which wasn't even that long ago!). Then Em and I went for brunch at Mixed Business in Clifton Hill (they don't know I exist), and I had some pretty awesome apple pie waffles:
as well as an epically huge hot chocolate:
Truth be told the waffles were probably a touch sweet because I'd just had the hot chocolate, but I ordered a green tea to chase it and all was awesome in the world again. It's also just as well I had that massive mug to wrap my hands around, because it was freeeezing cold and pouring with rain and we were seated under cover but nonethless outside. Between that awesome hot chocolate and the crocheted rugs they handed out to customers, Em and I had a pretty awesome brunch.
Next, I sallied forth home to assemble the Very Hungry Caterpillar. My Housebaby's mum Nyssa had carved a head for the caterpillar out of watermelon, and I think she did a pretty awesome job of it:
So there were a few hours of kids' party-type activities (by which I mean, I sat in the kitchen drinking cups of tea, doing work and playing with the occasional tiny human that came my way), and then the adult "Whoohoo, we survived a year of parenthood!" festivities began. By which I mean, beer and poker. And I ended up with about 75% of the winnings, which was especially awesome considering it had been The Kiwi's money to begin with. Now THAT is an excellent investment ;-)
Monday (Day 37):
Ugh, Mondays. But, there were breakfast cupcakes. Not ALL of these, obviously, but one or two ;-)
The day was average, but, as per usual, yoga saved the day in the evening and made things awesome. Actually, it really was an awesome yoga session. I know I'm getting better at it, partly because they've moved me to the front of the room so people can use my form to guide them. And then I had an awesome Thai green curry cooked for me, and having food cooked for you is always awesome.
Tell me what was awesome about your weekend!