Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Thank God for long weekends!

Well, this week has just been so hectic, that the weekend was true bliss. Boss has been away so I have had the office to myself and I believe I am almost caught up. Almost.

Last Monday was Dobby's birthday, as you know, and she spent the day with a friend. They cleaned up their mess, which is what we wanted, so she had a great birthday. After we got home, and the friend was duely collected, we took her to dinner at Montezuma's Restaurant. It's a Mexican place, and her first time there. Although I love the food, I don't think the other two will go again.

It took them half an hour to take our order. Another half to deliver it. An hour to come see if we wanted dessert, then another 20 minutes to come back to take our dessert order. And the place was hardly occupied, so they can't say they were run off their feet.

Fluffy, again, forgot his glasses so ordered on my suggestion, which I don't think was a good idea. When his food arrived, it was one small taco, a bowl of some dodgey salad stuff which he hated, and a bowl of a bean dip type of stuff. Dobby ordered nachoes, which she said weren't too bad, and I ordered a side of guacamole to share. It cost $5 and was probably the equivalent of one avocado...

I ordered my usual prawn and tomato dish, which I love, so I was happy.

After dinner we wandered home for a relatively early night.

Tuesday we were supposed to have a fellow stop by after work but as it turned out Fluffy was able to meet him on his way home. And Monday and Tuesday was a whirlwind for me of getting insurance ready, making calls, getting things organised.

Wednesday was guitar. Wednesday was also a very special day.

New Van Day. Yes, Wednesday was the day Fluffy picked up the new van. Originally I was to go with him but as I was the only one at work I couldn't. Dobby was home so she went. Apparently they got home just before me, as I met them out on the street.

Fluffy handed me the walkie talkie and away he went. It only took a few goes to get it, but he managed to park it on the front lawn, it's new home.

This van is somewhat larger than the last. Certainly taller - I can barely reach the clips that hold the pop top down! I can stand upright in this one without touching the ceiling. And it's a bit longer too. Duel axle, so a bit harder to maneuver, but Fluffy has had heaps of experience with this stuff so aced it, of course.

Then, after putting some minted lamb chops and oven fries in the oven, it was time to fill her up! And we did. Although not completely. I have free cupboards! And, for the first time since Fluffy made himself a wine cellar, Dobby has room to store her stuff.

Under my bed was almost completely emtpy until this morning, when Fluffy decided some of the outside things can now go under there. Bummer.

Anyway, I had to work Thursday, so Fluffy and Dobby finished the van off. Not that there was much to do, it was pretty much done Wednesday evening.

Friday and we were off. We weren't sure where Polish Hill was, but I found a place called Polish Hill River on the map so we headed north. It's a two-hour drive up the new Northern Expressway, and not a hard drive either. The old Falcon pulled the van quite nicely. I suggested to Fluffy that we turn off this particular road, then take another as the map showed something that may be where we should be.

Turns out I was right on the money. We were the last to arrive, everyone else arriving the night before. We found ourselves a site, and set up. Only took about half an hour, including the tent.

Then we just sat back. Friday was, of course, Good Friday, so I planned to make prawns with creamy chili sauce and macadamia nuts. Only the sauce was way too thin. Served with Fettuccine. I must say, the others had two servings, so it mustn't have been too bad! And no, SOL, the sauce didn't curdle either.

Friday itself was spent socialising, chatting, sitting around and doing nothing. I could get used to that. Friday evening was video night in the huge shed. I think they watched National Treasure. I didn't. I had a new bed to try out so I got a shower, and grabbed my book, and climbed into bed. Holy crap it was cold! Anyone would think it was winter!

Saturday morning, after a very cosy comfy night, we all met up for coffee at ten, as per the SAPI club tradition. There were only 9 vans altogether, so it was lovely. We had Treasurer time, kids club, and a quick trip into Clare to grab microwave dishes and a loud shirt for Fluffy (I'll explain later) before lunch with some other members at the winery next door.

On Friday, Dobby and I went for a walk around the winery and took these photos:

It is a lovely winery but very expensive, and certainly not worth what you pay. But that's the norm isn't it? Still it was nice to sit around a chat with friends. Fluffy bought me a polo top and I talked him into buying himself a lovely striped rugby jumper.

The afternoon was again very lazy. Dinner was a combined hot pot. Everyone made something and we all shared it around. I didn't realise how many different variations you could get of chicken curry! I didn't have much but what I had was nice. We decided next time to do a combined dessert instead for something different.

Just after dinner all the boys suddenly got up and left. None of the ladies knew what was going on, but knowing our boys, it was going to be something funny. And it was. All the boys entered wearing their loud shirts, one wearing a sarong instead. Very funny. When it was time for the group photo, they all decided to lick Fluffy's balding head. Ew.

After dinner we retired to the fireside, while the kids again watched movies in the shed.

Sunday we all got up early, and I wandered off to take a few more pics:

But I had to hurry as the Easter Bunny was going to pay a visit soon. The kids went wild, and after the obligatory group photo, were sent outside to hunt for Easter Eggs, which according to club tradition, were divided up between them as fairly as possible.

Then the Easter Bunny arrived, and all the kids chased him around the area.

Then he got up on stage and handed out a bunny to everyone. Even I got one! The kids got a pack of 10 little ones and a small bunny. The adults got a medium sized bunny.

Dobby had a sudden stomach pain, which confined her to the van for about half an hour. As a result she missed the Easter Bunny's visit. At the request of one of the ladies, he paid a special visit to the van to give her her eggs.

Some of the group decided to head out for a 4WD experience, but Fluffy and I and a couple of other people stayed behind to relax. It was wonderful! So quiet! We were out in the middle of the bush, with just the winery for neighbours, plenty of native birds for company. Aaah.

The others returned about 4pm, and settled in for the usual Happy Hour. Then dinner and back to the fireside.

Monday was Anzac Day and as 3 of the group were military or ex military, all except us and a couple of other kids headed off to the dawn service. I heard them leave then went back to sleep. They arrived back about 8 or so and we all went back up for morning tea.

As most people were tired not much was done on Monday. A couple of groups went home early because they had to work or had visitors coming, but most of us stayed another day.

Dinner for a lot of us was take away from the local fish and chip shop. Talk about lazy!

This morning we were all packed up and ready well before morning tea. Only three vans weren't but we all stayed around to chat. Then at eleven it was time to go. After 4 whole days of sitting and doing nothing, it was very sad to go home.

But, home it was, to unpack, update the blog, post some photos of Facebook, and see my kitty. Roger had missed me it seems because he was very smoochy.

So, now before I think about going back to work tomorrow, it's time for a soak in a hot tub, and a last cup of tea I think....

Sunday, 17 April 2011

All growd up

So Dobby is 14 tomorrow. I know! Where did that time go? She turned 5 the year we moved to Adelaide, and in fact had her birthday at the caravan park we were living in at the time.

Now she's in highschool and causing me endless grief as only a teenager can. She has a party each year (lets face it, it's no fun with just your mum and your dad) but the last few years she has opted for just a small gathering for a sleepover. She toyed with a themed party, toyed pretty hard in fact, but in the end, just selected a few close friends for that ever popular teenage girl bonding night.

I wouldn't mind, but because our bedroom is directly across from the lounge, and said lounge is so tiny, it can get a bit loud. I draw the line a big parties. I usually say only two or three friends. This time, because she has a trundle bed and a fold up mattress, she chose 4 friends and herself.

But boy, those friends! They have to be the loudest group she has ever assembled in one party! Still, they were quiet enough early enough. Though not for Dobby. She stomped off to her room for half an hour apparently because they wouldn't stop talking. Then they woke her early this morning (and me) and she got crabby again at them. Dobby doesn't do the whole group friend thing very well sometimes...

Anyway, she planned this one entirely herself. She figured what she wanted to do, and what she wanted me to buy so she could do it. Luckily she only had a few friends over so it wasn't overly costly. She is a big believer in the gift bag thing, but being all teenagers, you can't just shove some lollies and a balloon in the bag. No, you have to go and buy those multi sets of silver bangles and split them among the bags. And some multi packs of candy, and glow sticks, and one or two other bits and pieces.

Plus Pass the Parcel. She LOVES Pass the Parcel. So we found a set of Lip Smackers lip gloss and she wrapped one every few layers of newspaper. In the middle was a card of earrings. Went down a treat. Dobby was DJ and each friend won a lip gloss, with one winning the card of earrings.

They ran around the back yard for awhile, ate party pies and sausage rolls and cocktail franks (I can't call them Cherios anymore, people don't get it unless they are from Queensland so I have to practice being a South Aussie). They ate ice cream cake for dessert, then had a chocolate fondue, but by then they were all full so didn't indulge much.

The icecream cake was a bit of a disappointment to look at, but Dobby was happy with it anyway, and it was half cookies and cream flavour, half hokey pokey, and declared a resounding success by all.

They retired to watch Burlesque and were relatively quiet for the rest of the night.

Today I got them all breakfast of buttered toast with complementary condiments and they went back to watch TV. Several times I reminded them their folks would be here soon so get dressed and pack up your gear. They were all still sitting around in their jammies when said parents arrived. Typical teenagers.

Dobby and I cleaned up, put the mattresses away, then went off to see Diary Of A Whimpy Kid 2. She loved it. Home again and we watched Knowing (with Nicolas Cage). Fluffy arrived home, sat outside for a bit, then retired to the bedroom to watch the formula one racing. And promptly fell asleep. Halfway through the movie Dobby too fell asleep. Even the cat was asleep. Man, it was soooo quiet for awhile.

Dinner tonight was quick and easy - just put some chicken thigh fillets into the dutch oven with a jar of curry simmer sauce and some oven fries. Too easy.

The rest of the week was busy preparing for the weekend. You may remember last year for Dobby's graduation present I gave her two tickets to see Short Stack and Good Charlotte. She wanted to take a friend but we were reluctant to let two teenagers go alone to a concert. So she got quite upset when that left, well, her daggy old mum. It's just not cool to go out in public with one's parents.

But by concert day she was quite excited. We were dropped off by Fluffy, and stood in a very long line outside for almost half an hour. Then waited inside for another. But it was worth it. The first band they had on was called New Empire. I didn't like them much, but Dobby did. I had packed ear plugs to protect my ears but the music level was quite tolerable.

Next band were Short Stack. Dobby has long been a fan of theirs. The last year she decided maybe not quite so. But when I gave her the Good Charlotte tickets and she saw who was their support act, she was quite excited. They were actually very good. They tour again in July so she has asked to go see them then too. General admission tickets though.... not sure. Would have to arrive very, very early and snavel a seat methinks.

Anyway I didn't want to take my big camera so I used my phone:

I have more Short Stack pictures than Good Charlotte, because Dobby wanted them, and because my phone battery was going flat and I had to still phone Fluffy after the show. Here's a Good Charlotte pic:

Not terribly great photos, but Dobby was happy with them. Our seats look quite far away but it's just the camera. We were actually well placed I thought. We paid the same for seated comfort as those in the mosh pit. The place was not overly crowded which surprised me. And when the two young girls in front and to the left of us tried to stand up, the mother of the family beside us soon put paid to that rubbish. She twice made them sit when they got carried away. Go MUM! Haha.

Short Stack were not real loud either. During the break I went to the loo and wandered down to the merchandise stand. I had planned to buy Dobby a Good Charlotte shirt anyway, but when I saw a CD and poster for $25 of Short Stack I decided she could have that too. She was over the moon.

Then Good Charlotte came on. Oh man! They were sooo loud the music distorted. I promptly shoved my ear plugs in which toned it down to a more bearable level, but it was soo bad I couldn't recognise what song they were even playing because I couldn't hear the words!

They were good anyway, and we enjoyed the show. Fluffy picked us up after the show, after some initial confusion about where he had actually parked. Because I had guessed we'd be done my ten thirty, and he got bored at home, he came over an hour early and sat waiting for us. We didn't get out until after eleven. Home by eleven thirty and poor Dobby couldn't hear a thing after that.

That was Tuesday night. Wednesday she had guitar and her teacher started her playing "What Planet Are You From" by Short Stack. Thursday Fluffy took the black furry boys to the vet to get their shots, and I took Dobby to Marion to search for cheap lolly bag fillers. We did okay. So did the boys. Apparently the vet said he was very happy with Roger, saying we did the right thing by keeping him as a primarily indoor cat who only goes out under supervision, and his coat was lovely, and he's not fat (just fluffy).

Ozzie got a glowing bill of health too. The vet told Fluffy that if he ever had to show anyone what a border collie cross dog should look like, well, he'd get Fluffy to bring in Ozzie. He's right on his correct weight and he was told not to worry about his hip displacia because there were things they can do now to help with that when the time comes that don't even require surgery. Neat! I'm glad we got that out the way before we go away in the van next weekend.

Friday was get ready for party night. We packaged up the bags and cleaned the house. Saturday Dobby was to do a couple of chores then I would take her to buy the party food but she was being a pain so I went alone. I had to go to the cheap grocery store for chips and soft drink (because it's right beside the Chemist Warehouse where I had to buy iron pills) then across town to Harbourtown to Woolies for the rest of the food and the cake.

Oh yes, I went to the doctor on Friday because I had tried to give blood last week but my iron count was way too low and they sent off a sample to their lab. No drama, but I have to take pills for six weeks then go for another blood test.

Anyway, back to Saturday. Then, home to help decorate the house and set up for the party. Fluffy was at work so it was just us. Dobby got the lounge cleared and set up and then we sorted the food. Then the guests arrived and it was party time.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Oh my, that was strange. Just as I sit here typing this, the front doorbell rang. Unusual in that it doesn't always work. Even more unusual in that there was nobody there. At all. Fluffy answered it (it is ten to ten at night afterall) and there was no one. He went out the front, looked up and down the street. No one.... *insert Twilight theme music here....*

PS. Just as an end note, I started a diet a month ago. On Friday I went for a weigh in and I have lost 2kg. I also started Dobby on it but she won't seriously start until tomorrow (given we had a party weekend!).

I also decided to include a couple of the pics I said weren't really worth uploading last week. Because my brain was fried and I couldn't be bothered last week I guess....

Look! I photographed the rain! Hahahahah!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Ho Hum

Well, I really have nothing to blog about this week. I am sure you don't want to hear all about the hassles I have been having at work, which sadly is all I have to blog about.

So, other than that, it's been quiet. I have been quiet on the camera, although I did take a few photos on the weekend, none of them are blog worthy. Just trying to capture the rain, and a couple of the dew on the lemon tree leaves in the early morning sun. But even those are not that great.

Dobby went for a sleepover Friday night. She spent the day Saturday there, coming home about 4. So I took the opportunity to go buy her some birthday gifts. She's 14 next week. My how time flies...

I also bought myself a cardi from Millers, with a 25% off voucher it only cost about $26. And it's very warm.

I didn't even do much in the way of house work on the weekend. Saturday, after I came home, I did the ironing, 2 loads of washing (although it was raining) and sat and watched Dexter all afternoon until Fluffy got home and it was time to pick up Dobby.

Sunday she cleaned her room. Took her all day but she knew it had to be done or the party was off. She did it. Then last night she had to work on an assignment. They are learning about Greek Gods.

Now, I am wondering why they are learning all this stuff? Shouldn't they be focusing on real history? Like the formation of this great nation? I believe she touched on it one year in Primary school but that's about it. Surely there is so much more relevant stuff they could learn, other than some mythical creatures that form the basis of someone's religion?

Anyway, she had to cut out a whole heap of names (probably about 50), and make them fit on a piece of green poster card. I trimmed them up for her yesterday while watching more Dexter, so that they would fit. Then last night we sat there with a printout of the family tree of these Greek Gods, and a ruler, and laid them all out in their proper areas. I tell you, my old body is not what it used to be.

My back and hips were so painful I could barely stand. I have never felt such pain. Today I am still struggling. I had to get down on my knees just now to fetch a piece of paper from behind the printer table, and I was almost in tears. Stupid, hey. We still have to draw the lines connecting the proper people to the right parents, but that's tonight's task.

Anyway, once we finished, I settled in to watch League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I hadn't seen that before. Quite enjoyed it really.

Well, now this week I am going for my weigh in. I've been on a diet for the last 3 weeks, 4 this Friday, and it'll be interesting. According to my scales I had lost about 4 kg at one point, but then today it's only 2. So I must have lost a heap in the first week or so then put some back on. I'll have to really concentrate this week to make sure that the scales reflect the hard work I have actually done.

I'll let you know next week. I'll actually have stuff to blog about then.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

End of daylight savings

...couldn't come quick enough. I hated getting up at 6.15 and it still being dark after 7. It meant we got the morning sun in our eyes driving Dobby to school and no joke, in some places it was an accident waiting to happen.

Anyway, last night it finished. Which meant that I went to bed at 10, but woke up at what would have been 7. But was only 6. But it was daylight...

So, this week? Well, workwise it was busy. There seems to be no slacking off time anymore. No days where I am not busy and can take it easy. We have had disaster after disaster, including the biggest gas company in the country running out of Butane LPG, and an ISO shipping container mysteriously changing the pressure of the LPG inside it. Stupid things that have meant that a customer who deals with both, has been digging their heels in and not helping us any further with exports or supply to other customers. Anyway, enough of that.

From my point of view, it's been a busy week. Tuesday saw my last photography lesson. I'm out on my own now. We have been given the names of some clubs we can hook up with. I think I'll look at two fairly close to home. Maybe...

On Monday Fluffy said not to make plans for the weekend we had something on. Oh, okay. What? Not telling. Well, that's no good. How can I plan anything? Don't plan anything was the answer.

So I didn't. Thursday night I found out what the surprise is. Fluffy sent me away here for the weekend. All by myself. Just me. Well, not to this specific place, but to a property owned by them.

It was a house on the outskirts of Gawler, and it was mine all weekend (well, for Saturday night anyway). As the tutor from the sculpting class I did has a studio there, I decided to take "Bertha" up to see if he could fire her. Turns out he has just done a firing and won't be doing it for quite some time, but he did give me some tips of what to do with her once she's been done. And suggested I take her to someone closer to home.

But I digress. So Saturday morning, I packed an overnight bag, loaded up my camera gear and Bertha, and drove the hour up to Gawler. I hadn't driven that far by myself since we moved to Adelaide 9 years ago, but I managed not to fall asleep. Quite proud of myself for that! Haha!

I did a drive by of the property, but wasn't sure if it was the right place, as there was a car in the drive and I couldn't see a roller door. The fellow said he'd open the roller door and put the key in a key safe inside the door.

But I figured I'd work that out later. I drove into town, and found a car park in a multi level thing. Lots of spaces - very rare to see that! I needed some new jeans so I stopped in BigW and found a cheap pair. Then, because it was still before lunch, I went for a walk around the main street. Found a couple of cheap shops but didn't have a lot of spending money for the weekend.

The bikie club was having a run through the town, so on the way up I went through two random breath test stations. Just after noon the first few police cars came through town, followed by a stream of bikies, followed up by another couple of police cars. One of those had a flat tyre thumping away and he didn't even seem to notice...

I phoned my art tutor and made arrangements to drop off Bertha. But, I got lost. There are two streets with the same name in Gawler, and I got the wrong one. Eventually, after several long waits at intersections, and several U-Turns, I managed to find him. Only, as I said, to find he couldn't help me.

Never mind. Time to go find my house. It was the place I had seen previously. Didn't even occur to me that it could have been the owner leaving the key for me that I saw before. D-uh! It's a lovely house, big enough for a family to live in.

And the fridge and pantry were stocked with all the essentials for breakfast.

Gosh! That reminds me! I hadn't had lunch and it was after 1.00pm! Ahh, but there is bacon, eggs, tomato, milk and juice, and a loaf of fresh bread. Perfect lunch right there. I cooked some up and sat reading my book in the quiet while I ate it.

After doing my dishes I decided to have an afternoon on the couch watching the Dexter dvd's my mother had given my for Christmas. It was fantastic, having nothing to do, only myself to answer to. No house work (apart from doing the dishes), no one fighting with me. I could get used to that.

In between episodes of Dexter I ventured into the back yard in search of interesting things to photograph. That mouse didn't sit still long enough to capture, but I did find some spider webs and a brick wall...

Eventually I decided I should venture out in search of dinner. It was about six I guess, still daylight, so I went across the road to the nature reserve creek thing and took these.

Then, drove up the main street in search of somewhere nice to eat. I turned a corner and found a little pub, which of course, was fully booked out. Except the beer garden. Well, lucky I have my jacket in the car.

After dinner I stopped to take some photos. They didn't turn out very well, but you may find a couple of them interesting.

After dinner it was back to the room for a relaxing spa.

What a way to pass half an hour or so. After the spa it was back in front of the telly. Watching something on the Universe. Bed at ten.

This morning when I got up, I made a cuppa and put Dexter back on. About 7.30 I cooked up the last of the bacon, some toast, tomato, and fried an egg. I dashed into the shower then packed up all my stuff. Then back to watch a bit more Dexter.

About 10.15 I left the room. I had seen adds for some markets on the way out of town. I found them, but there wasn't much there, so I just bought a bottle of home made olive oil for $5 (great price!) and hit the road.

I was him just after 12, and found the floors vacuumed, sheets changed, bed remade, house spotless. Yes, I could definitely get used to this....

**** Just thought I'd mention, too, that with my background, you might want to click on the photos to view them, then just click the back button to go back to the blog after each one. Might make them look a bit better... or not...