Monday, December 29, 2008

The Day the Earth Stood Still...


Hmmm... Having been a fan of the 1951 movie I was intrigued by the remake. I recall watching the original many times as a kid and LOVING it. The original scared me - I was terrified of aliens and the messages stayed with me for years.

I know.... I shouldn't hope for much being a remake however... there was the hope...

In selecting the lead I know the casting agents thought... "Hmmm where to find an actor with no skills in emoting?". Keanu Reeves was perfect for the role of Klaatu as it did not require any form of emotion to be shown - well done Keanu, a completely wooden performance in every way.

Please don't bother to see this version - it is completely forgettable! At the end I was very much "Humph, well that was pretty average - not terrible, but very, very average". Go to the video store and rent the original. The concepts and the fear of aliens, cold war and atomic weapons are all so much better suited to the 1950's movie experience rather than the politically correct environmental message in the remake.


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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all... And to all a good night...


Merry Christmas!

I cannot believe how quicky this year has passed us by. I am certain someone stole a few months somewhere along the way. However... be that as it may the year has nearly finished and we are looking straight down the barrel of 2009.

2009 will bring with it a whole new world of challenges. I will be getting married in 6 weeks - again where have the past 18 months gone? Catering is still up in the air but everything else is under control. Fingers crossed it will all happen smoothly on the day.

Following that is the joy of Malaysia. With health issues throwing a spanner in the works we will still be enjoying the orangutans, proboscis monkeys and tarsiers of Borneo in February. I cannot even start to tell you how happy I am to be taking a month off work! This will be an amazing trip.

So what did I acheive in 2008... I hate this part... Apart from teaching Nia on a part time basis and starting a new job in policy, 2008 has been a pretty "nothing" year. I am quite happy to see the back of it actually.

I stepped down from repsonsibility at Zonta mid way through the year which was a nice relief. I discovered the music of the Great Lake Swimmers - who I love. I read a lot more books than I have done in recent year.

Today I am trucking off from work around 11:30am. Heading to the Gold Coast beaches for a picnic with friends. Tonight will be church service at 11:30pm and Christmas morning spent with Mark's family. Lunch will be in Brisbane so it will be an hour's drive before spending the afternoon with my family. Home in the evening to spoil my baby cat silly with tuna and many snuggles.

Hope your day is peaceful, filled with love and great food.


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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Time keeps on ticking.

The day is coming nearer. Less than two months to go. The checklist is slowly getting ticked off. Just one more item left to go now and we are all there.

I am learning that even the most prepare of us can get quite stressed by all this fuss and bother. It is quite a strain pulling everything together.

My number one complaint to date - people who do not respond to requests for quotes. Even a simple - thanks but we don't want your business would suffice! Better that than waiting, waiting, waiting and nothing coming back.

Mark and I are truly looking forward to our holiday to Malaysia. Mark has tracked down the best local markets in KL and found out they are best on a Saturday night - our last night. So I sense we will be spending up big on our last night in Malaysia - Mark may get a replaced Polo cap to match his Vietnam "genuine". That and a copy of Twilight for Miss Isabelle at work...


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Friday, December 12, 2008

How much do I LOVE this game!

Anti-Monopoly Board Game

This game may sound and look familiar at first, but don't be fooled. This really is a fantastic game. Terrific to teach those kids about the differences that are out there in the big wide world!

This real estate trading game presents an exciting twist where players choose free enterprise or monopoly - and play under different rules as a result. In addition, this fun and intriguing game comes to you after making its way through a fascinating, real-world legal battle.

Decide for yourself: who wins? Is it the Competitor who charges fair market value for rent? Or is it the Monopolist who amasses control over whole regions and can charge much higher fees?

This game is more difficult that regular monopoly, therefor it not only provides a new challenge for a adult, it is not too difficult for a youngster to play.

Includes:

  • game board
  • game money
  • 3 blue monopolist pawns
  • 3 green competitor pawns
  • 25 monopolist cards
  • 25 competitor cards
  • 28 title/mortgage notes
  • dice
  • 35 houses
  • 15 apartments
  • instructions


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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

AC/DC blamed for financial crisis

AC/DC blamed for financial crisis
By Stuart Fagg, ninemsn Money, October 28, 2008

As the global financial crisis continues to make headlines around the world, talk is inevitably turning to who is to blame.

The usual suspects have been wheeled out — greedy investment bankers, greedy investors, greedy politicians and so on — but it seems a group of Aussie legends could be inadvertantly to blame.

According the UK Guardian's music critic, Alexis Petridis, Aussie rockers AC/DC's ascension to the top of the UK charts amid the current crisis may be no coincidence. Every time the iconic rockers have topped the charts, financial catastrophe has shortly followed, particularly in the UK.

Shortly after the band formed in Sydney in 1973, the world was hit by the global oil crisis, which saw prices quadruple. In 1980, meanwhile, as the UK struggled with inflation at 20 percent and unemployment hit 2 million, AC/DC released Back in Black.

As Australia was gripped by "the recession we had to have" in 1990 and interest rates soared towards 20 percent, AC/DC scored a remarkable comeback with The Razor's Edge.

Fast forward to 2008 as the world is gripped by the biggest financial crisis since the great depression and guess who's comback album is number one in the UK? That's right, AC/DC's Black Ice.

As the Guardian's Petridis said, the world economy may be in tatters and uncertainty may be the watchword, but one thing remains constant.

"Western capitalism might collapse but at least [Angus] Young can be relied on to perform a song about either rock and roll or testicles while wearing shorts, blazer and cap," he wrote.


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Monday, October 27, 2008

This is why I love the Police Blotter...

Amusing description of the act... Every time I read this I hear a bad American "Puff Daddy" style accent in my head.
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POLICE ARREST PROSTITUTE

Sok Srey Neang, a 27-year-old prostitute, was arrested by Tuol Kork police on the suspicion of being an accomplice to a robbery in Tuol Sangke village and commune, Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh at 1am Wednesday. The police said that Choy Min, 28, had his Suzuki Viva stolen by four men while he was getting it on with the young prostitute. Sok Srey Neang is currently awaiting trial in court.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Cake Wrecks.

If you have never been to this blog have a look sometime... There are some hilarious cake decorating mishaps.

Cake Wrecks: A gallery of deformed, distasteful and bizarrely decorated wedding and birthday cakes

Today's balloon disaster on a 2 years old's birthday cake is one of my favourites - Dirty Minded Decorators.

Another good entry that is close to my heart at the moment... Cakes for When Brides Have No Budget (Or Taste).


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Thursday, October 23, 2008

PP Police Blotter - Wednesday 22 October

The first brings visions of 1980's movie classic "Nuns on the Run" and the second makes me happy to know that the accused will no longer be involved in "unwholesome activities" again. Good to see a "promise" is a legally binding tool in the judicial system.
_________________________________

TWO MONKS ON THE RUN FROM POLICE
Phon Sokum, 21, was seriously injured after two monks, Nuth Sok Phoun, 23, and Nuth Sovanny, 24, along with a number of other men, attacked him with axes and chains in Steng Meanchey commune, Meanchey district, Phnom Penh at 6:30pm on October 15. The police said that the attack was caused by an argument between the monks and the victim's grandmother, which greatly angered the monks. Phon Sokum is currently recovering in hospital. The two monks are on the run. (Kumpuchea Thmey)
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YOUNG MAN'S BODY DISCOVERED IN POOL
Chao Meung, 20, and 10 of his house mates were arrested by Banteay Meanchey police when the body of Piseth Sok Heng, 24, was discovered in a pool in their backyard in Village 1, Ponlea commune, Serey Sophorn district, Banteay Meanchey province Friday. The police said that Piseth Sok Heng had been murdered. Chao Meung has been sent to court. Chao Meung's house mates have been sent home after the police made them promise that they would not get involved in any type of unwholesome activity again. (Rasmey Kampuchea)
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Save the ta tas month.

Every year Breast Cancer Awareness Month brings out some new ideas for the innovative and crafty amongst us. My favourite gimicky item of the month for this year - and keeping with my recent car theme.

The gift that every girl needs is the Save the Ta Tas car magnet.

Unfortunately it looks as thought they have sold out so this little image will have to do...




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Monday, October 20, 2008

Cambodian Carmaker...

I take it back...

This guy is my new hero...

The Cambodia Angkor car is awesome!









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Khmer vehicle news...

Thanks to The Phnom Pen for this article...

One Sweet Ride - like to show off much? Yikes!

Now as I was leaving Cambodge the flashest car I can recall would have been a Lexus... Maybe Cambodians should take a leaf out of their own book and look to this locally made vehicle.

Local carmaker updating Angkor for speed, with extras. I love the photo! I think the description is hilarious - can anyone find the 3rd and 4th seats in this photo? True to Khmer spirit is has massage seats!

Each of the Angkor II's four seats was fitted with massage vibration devices, and the roof folded down at the push of a button. Its other premium features included air conditioning, CD sound system and electric-assisted side mirrors (with flashing turn indicators), retracting aerial and screen washers. Nhean Phalet even added a television and camera to allow the driver to see the rear of the car.

I wonder if they will export? Maybe we should alert Top Gear Australia?


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Good food security article.

Had this sent to me at work today - I really enjoyed it.

New York Times Magazine: The Food Issue - Farmer in Chief by Michael Pollan

Enjoy...


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Friday, October 17, 2008

Ahhh... That's Cambodia for you...

Some days I need something to put me back "in touch" with Cambodia. I simply turn to the Phnom Penh Post's Police Blogger... While sometimes it reminds me of the darker, awful side of Cambodia occassionally there are a few gems that make me remember the head shaking moments of disbelief that come from living in Cambodia. Highlights from this week's selections.

_________________________________________

ARM-WRESTLE TURNS UGLY
Khem Savoeun, 25, was arrested for attacking his two friends with a knife following a drunken dispute in Taley village, Dangkor commune and district at 2:30pm Saturday. The police said that Khem Savoeun injured Un Leng, 28, and Yoeun Bun Thoeun, 27, following an argument about who had won an arm-wrestling match. Khem Savoeun has now been sent to court.
_________________________________________


MEN TRY TO SELL STOLEN COW
A group of seven men were arrested by police for stealing a cow from Son Pen in Damnak Popoul village, Kampong Chhnang commune and district at 3:30am on Saturday. The police said the men stole and killed the cow because they wanted the beef to complement the alcohol they were drinking at a party. They were apprehended by the police while trying to take the uneaten portion of the cow to sell at the local market.
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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Love this song!

Pot Belly by Freshlyground from South Africa. Thanks Winalee!


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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Mind and Spirit please take note... The Body is talking now.

Wow... I had somehow wiped from my memory the exhaustion that is Nia Belt Intensives - sort of how people tell me that they wipe away the pain of childbirth soon after! This time I am merely auditing... It is a great opportunity to renew, reenergise and explore my love for my Nia community I have around me - the people, the moves and the joy that it brings with it.

However... my poor little body is talking loud and clear - slow down please!

My thoracic spine is speaking to me... you need to sit correctly at this silly computer and keep me in alignment. You need to pay some attention to me and not take me for granted.

My right knee is speaking to me... you have not been kind to me and now I am yelling at you.

My core is speaking to me... you have not rested enough and now your chesty cough is telling you to rest more. Open up and breathe.

However...

My mind and spirit are speaking to me... we love to do Nia and we want to more, more, more. We want to releve! We want to cross front cha cha cha! We want to spiral, to explore and to shake your booty.

Sorry mind and spirit but the rest of the body has spoken and voted. It will be an evening of Level 1 intensity and simply enjoying "being in the space" rather than exploration of boundaries and intensities.

My past few weeks have been choatic to say the least. Next weekend I have a friend arriving in town to stay for the weekend and from then I have no weekend plans for a month. That gives me a month of resting, relaxing and enjoying life. Taking time to plant new seedlings and enjoy the spring.


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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Its oh so quiet... Shhh... Shhh...

Everyone has been very quiet on the blog front lately. Makes me wonder what you are all up to...

Me... well I to have been very quiet. Mark and I have been questioning purchasing a new house which, after much thought and conjecture, we have decided against it for the time being. Reasons for this include:

1. Our house needs a lot of work to get it up to "selling standard".
2. We need to get through the wedding first.
3. If we were to purchase a home in the coming month settlement and moving date would be smack bang in the middle of Mark's university exam period.

So... Now we have to successfully manage our neighbours who are driving us crazy. Last weekend we had a 24 hour period of screaming matches and drunken fights - and that was between guests of the tenant! They didn't even live there! They make life entertaining, but incredibly annoying to live next to a block of 6 units containing no less than 5 abusive alcoholics. Mark found one of them crawling under our car the other morning apparently trying to "save our cat" and yelling at Mark for not taking care of his pet - who was curled up on our bed asleep at the time snuggled into a quilt. Yep... one very unhappy, mistreated cat indeed.

Just got to get through to about March next year - post wedding. Then it will be a "free for all" as we seek new walls and a roof.

In the meantime there is painting, skirting boards to replace, wiring to be checked, garage doors to revitalise and a new front fence to be installed. Fingers crossed we will be able to make some small changes over the summer and come March we will be all set to go!

Work = tiring and annoying at the moment.
Nia = working on AO and loving it! My students are enjoying the journey almost as much as I am.

The coming week is Nia Fest in Brisbane. We have Winalee coming out from USA to run a White Belt Intensive and there are classes, workshops and general merriment abounding. Will be wonderful fun! Head to www.niaaustralia.com.au for more information.


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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

This is appalling...

This week Hungry Jack's (Burger King's Australian brand) launched their Quad Burger.

What's in it? Four beef patties, four slices of cheese, two rashers of bacon, barbecue sauce, and two buns. It has no vegetable matter whatsoever.

It tops the scales at more than 70g of fat and over 4520Kj (1000 calories) – that is 80% of my avaerage daily calorie intake. As a bonus - if the high fat and sugar levels weren't enough - the burger has more than 1,900 milligrams of sodium.
Eeek! I think I will give this one a miss somehow...
The burgers are certainly not "better at Hungry Jacks". I notice the new burger is not included in the dietary information on their website.


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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The snorkel approach.

Some days it really feels as though you need a snorkel to keep breathing through all the murky depths of life...

And that little ticker widget on the side of this page just reminds me of the 100 plus things I haven't done that need to get done in the coming 5 months.


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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vege patch.

It is starting to look good! I am so happy I got it "possum proofed" before spring comes. Should be a bumper harvest this year! I am going to plant out a few seedling trays with seeds this weekend and see what sprouts!



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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Funny videos from You Tube.

American band on CTN



Khmer boy putting on an Aussie accent - a little scared about the "dingo stole my baby" part...



Australian girl Rebecca Nhep on CTN. Apparently Rebecca is (1) married to a Khmer boy, (2) invovled with GenX media, (3) is quite the star on Srok Khmer and (4) GenX media is all christian ministry program promoting values through popular music.

sit back and enjoy the evolution of Miss Rebecca Nhep...






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Friday, August 15, 2008

Honeymoon ahoy!

Woo hoo! Just booked our flights for the honeymoon! Northern Borneo here we come!

Got an absolute bargin on Air Asia - both of us return for $1300.

How soon will 7 Feb 2009 come around?

We are going on an Intrepid journey to save on time and organisation. It includes a jungle overnight stay with a local village so hopefully we will get to see orangutans, probiscus monkeys, a tarsier or two, maybe a python and if we are incredibly lucky a clouded leopard or bay cat.

Oh my goodness if tarsiers aren't the cutest animal on the planet I don't know what is!



Even more exciting we are going to climb Mt Kinabalu.

Only 175 more days to go 'til the big day...


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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Strange but strangely entertaining...

So I stumbled across this blog the other day penned by Alyssa Milano.

Alyssa Milano's blog

I found it strange to think of someone of this nature and "celebrity" as a normal person who goes out shopping with her Aunt and goes to visit her Gran. I also found it amazing that she didn't go to her prom because noone asked her.

Such a waste of my life reading random crap like this... However it is strangely addictive reading...


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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Starbucks

Wasn't aware of the entire global downfall of Starbucks... Wow...

I guess it is a sign of global credit squeeze and cost of living increases. Luxury items are the first to go. I know - in an effort to save money - I have moved from purchasing coffee to drinking brewed filter coffee here at work most days.

Obviously I am not the only one.


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Ding dong the witch is dead...

Well... The Australian public have spoken with their wallets and Starbucks will be closing a vast majority of its stores throughout the country.

There is much discussion locally about why they did not flourish in Australia. Pressures from international chain such as Gloria Jeans, McCafe and Hudson's are being blamed. Personally I think it has a lot more to do with a huge resurgence in small independent, local, coffee companies that are much, much more popular with the people I work with. Merlo, Di Bella, MAP and small coffee shops (Black Star, 5 senses, Jasper, etc) are much more popular around town.

Read on...

I recall visiting Seattle about 10 years ago - before Starbuck's arrived in Australia and was amazed at the coffee culture. It is very different to Australia. Australia is - mostly - about sitting and drinking rather than grabbing and go. I was in Bellingham discussing the coffee phenomena with my taxi driver - Turbo Terry - amazed at the drive through coffee booths. Turbo told us to avoid the Starbuck's locust plague when it arrived in Australia. I am happy to advise that - in line with Australia's strong quarantine stance - we were able to avoid the plague.

It is really interesting to see the failure of a multi-national and incredibly strong brand.
__________________________

Announcement to Customers - 29 July 2008.

Starbucks Coffee International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Starbucks Coffee Company today announced plans to restructure its business in Australia through a geographical refocus on three core cities and surrounding areas: Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

This decision will result in the closure of 61 locations throughout the country by August 3, 2008.

We would like to thank all of our customers for your continued patronage and support during the past eight years.

Starbucks has been a part of the Australian market since 2000. There are currently 84 Starbucks locations throughout the country, including Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne, South Australia, Sydney, and Tasmania. 23 stores will remain open in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and surrounding areas to serve customers in those communities.

The list of stores that are scheduled for closure will appear on this site by 5pm July 31st after all affected stores partners (employees) have been personally notified.

Other articles
Union response
Bloomberg
Starbucks won't be the only one
Starbucks tastes defeat in Australia
Why Starbuck's lost its mojo... (interesting article from the Christian Science Monitor)


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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pleasure.

Extracted from today's edition of the Nia Everybody Newsletter. I loved this piece so much... It is written by Regena Thomashaeur - the creatrix of The School of Womanly Arts.

"Pleasure gives you clarity. It refreshes and rejuvenates. It keeps you ahead of the curve. In my experience, dedicating yourself to pleasure doesn't cause a lightening bolt to change you overnight. It gradually aligns your thoughts and actions with what you desire. It's a journey that requires paying attention to what you want and making mistakes that you learn from.

"Pleasure encourages you to notice what lights you up, and what doesn't. Building your life around personal fulfillment requires that you choose what lights you up again and again, each and every day. And for each woman, it might be a different thing.

"For one woman it could be dating multiple men while living in a big city. For another woman it could be getting married and having lots of babies to raise. For another, it may be writing for a living in a cabin in the woods. For another, it may be working for the Peace Corps and living overseas.

"Since you are the only one who can identify what your deepest desires are, it requires real independence, self-knowledge, courage, and determination to attain your true, deep cravings."

Mama Gena-Regena Thomashauer

Regena Thomashaeur is the creatrix of The School of Womanly Arts. She is an icon, a movement, a revolution rolled into the body of one woman and is the author of Mama Gena's Owner's and Operator's Guide to Men, Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts, Using the Power of Pleasure to Have Your Way with the World, and Mama Gena's Marriage Manual. She lives in Manhattan where she teaches women the womanly arts in an ecstatically fun and enlightening experience!


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Favourite quote of the week...

.
.
From a Lululemon postcard
.
.
Dance, sing, floss and travel.
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It shall now be the mantra of my life...
.
.


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nia class.

I had the BEST Nia class last night. I went to the class dragging my heels, really not wanting to be there, dog tired and quite cranky really.

I got there, found a space on the floor and read a book for 15 mins before the students arrived. All the time ticking through my head "I really don't want to be here". Students arrived and the class commenced. By the second bar into the first track I felt all my worries and cares float away and a release through my body.

At the end of the class I spoke to the students, thanking them for the energy they gave me and helping me to get over a small slump in mood.

It always amazes me the strength of power that combined energy and sense of community brings with it. Without community you are just one single solitary body. With community you sense the transfer of energy and the combined force it brings with it.

I walked home with a spring in my step and a song in my heart.


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Jumping because...

Jump Because is a great blog... Take a look.

It makes me happy just looking at all the folks jumping for joy from all around the planet.

www.jumpbecause.com

PS: They posted a picture of me jumping for joy!


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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nia class.

Last night I taught a Girls Night Out class for my Nia class. It was rather amusing... I haven't taught it from start to finish before - I generally pick out a few songs and mix it up with another routines of Carlos'. That's the problem when you are starting out and only have a few routines - keeping it fresh and exciting! Luckily I share teach my class with another White Belt (alternating weeks) and we focus on different routines. By alternating weeks with another teacher it keeps things fresh and interesting for the students while I am builing up my routine database. It also makes it heaps easier to fit in with a full time workload on top!

So last night out of the 8 or so songs we danced I had never actually taught about half of them. Luckily for me the class numbers were down - thanks to cold and dark winter evenings! - so there were only a few students to witness "Steph's Night Out".

I was certainly "in my head" throughout the class, but we had a great time with added leaps, impromptu clock steps when I couldn't recall the next move and this strange hybrid move that I think was generated from a scoop but got confused along the way. Will have to review my DVD and see just how far off track I got in parts...

I laughed when the Hip Hop / Urban Dance class came into the room after our Nia class and proceeded to mop the floors with towels. Apparently we tend to sweat quite a lot and the floors are a little slippery. To all the people who look at Nia and say "that doesn't look like a workout" let me assure you... it is!

But hey... Last night despite all of the hick ups we kept our bodies moving, we laughed, we sweated, we grooved and had a great time. To me... that's the key to Nia.


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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Vegetable patch woes.

Something is eating my veggie seedlings... I built a possum and cat proof fence around my veggie patch after replanting my beds as I thought they were the enemy. However recent intelligence has got me thinking it is the evil grasshopper empire yet again...

Little buggers ate all my parsley, nibbled on the basil, munched on the sage and are working their way toward the lettuce and sugar snap peas.

I am interpreting this as a direct assault and will have to establish a plan to retaliate against their well planned sneak-attacks.


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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Life, love and mung beans.

Know how some years your birthday rolls around and you really don't feel like celebrating much? This year I really didn't feel up to it, just wanted to ignore it and carry on. Not too sure why. Generally, I love birthdays.

Last week I turned 32. My darling boy treated me like a princess and I love him so much more for it. He took me to my favourite restaurant and we ate so much we both felt ill coming home. Over indulged is too weak a term for the amount we ate. Morrocan lamb with cous cous for me. Dessert was at a different restaurant and was a chocolate/raspberry tart. He bought me the gifts he knew I would love.

Yet I really had a crap day and it rolled into a crap week. I guess the funky mood was sort of because I work in a new unit and I don't feel "part of the crowd" - don't think I ever will. I knew that noone would remember or even realise it was my birthday. Noone did.

I think it was the a little to do with the "getting older" and still not having acheived a few important things in my life. Every birthday is just another reminder that I am indeed getting older and another year has passed with nothing exceptional happening. I hate this feeling. I hate getting older. I hate being 32 and feeling like there is still something missing.

Why can't life be as simple as 5 years ago?


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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Junk food.

Does anyone have a junk food item that can beat the Hungry Man? Apparently the Baskin and Robbin's Reese Peanut Butter Cup Sundae does in the fat content arena...

Three scoops of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ice cream topped with layers of Reese's Peanut Butter Sauce, chopped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, hot fudge and whipped cream on top!

Darn it! It sounds so freaking yummy! Peanut butter is a gift from the gods I tell you!
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Serving Size 1
Serving 344 grams
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Amount Per Serving % Daily Value*
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Calories 1250
Calories from Fat 730
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Total Fat 81g 125%
Saturated Fat 32g 160%
Trans Fat 1g
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Cholesterol 100mg 33%
Sodium 680mg 28%
Total Carbohydrates 108g 36%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugar 91g
Protein 27g
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Calories per gram:
Fat 9
Carbohydrate 4
Protein 4
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What the heck??

Some days I am amazed that people wonder "how did the level of obesity get this bad". Here's part of your answer... Is this sort of thing actually sold here in Australia or is it the sole joy of our American cousins?





Yep... that is one "death in a box" meal. However, I'm not sure what I am more grossed out by the nutiritional content - or lack thereof - or the idea of microwaving the contents instead of cooking from scratch... Microwave pancakes - gross!


Edit: One man's experience of the Hungry Man Meal. Found this on the net and it is quite a funny breakdown of the meal.

And while I am at it... Can one of my American friends please tell me what the heck is this? The Jimmy Dean's Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick. No really you did read that correct!

Your favorite breakfast foods are even easier to eat. We wrapped a delicious sausage inside a sweet pancake, and put it on a stick to make it portable.







In the words of an anonymous contributor to a junk food blog:

Jesus tapdancing Christ, what's next? Chocolate covered deep-fried twinkies with bacon grease in place of frosting?

Makes my breakfast this morning of a banana, an apple and 2 pieces of gluten free sultana toast look rather boring now.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Biofuels seriously gone wrong...

There are not a lot of things in this world that actually keep me awake at night but I find this issue really worrying. I wasn't aware of this until recently - until the report released by ECDF has given international attention to the issue.

The Burmese "government" had mandated the growing of Jatropha curcas to feed in to the international biofuel industry.

A report on the issue is here.

JUST RELEASED
1 MAY 2008

Biofuel by Decree, a new report by the Ethnic Community Development Forum, unmasks Burma’s bio-energy fiasco. The report details how the military’s nation-wide campaign to plant eight million acres of the toxic tree Jatropha curcas for biodiesel production is resulting in forced labor, land confiscation, loss of income and food insecurity.


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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Hilarious!

Here is a BBC sketch called "Facebook in real life" and it is absolutely hilarious.

Thanks for this link Michaela.

Facebook In Real Life
The British haven't discovered the Internet yet, but that doesn't mean they can't enjoy Facebook. In today's video we get to see British people, in their natural habitat, enjoying their own real-life adaption of the popular Web site.


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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Crazy cat update.

So... I finally got him to go back on his old bedding last night - after hours of scratching and biting. I assume he slept on his old pillow last night as there was no scratching at our door or generally unsettled behaviour.

The new bed on the other hand... Max will walk the full width of the house to avoid going near the new bed. I have no idea why. Maybe the stripes? It is certainly not the smell as I completely cleaned all animal bedding throughout the house and aired it.

I rang the manufacturer of the pet bed and they were awesome. They have their own Dr Harry on staff to assist in the design of toys and bedding. Sarah, the animal behaviourist (Dr Harry), is also sending up some aromatherapy spray to use as a calming tool for him. So once we receive that I think I will bath him in it!

Mark thinks I am taking this all a little to seriously. Yes, yes... I know! I hate seeing Max upset and not knowing why. But what I hate even more is spending good money on a bed that my snobby little bugger of a cat won't go near!


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Monday, April 28, 2008

Public holidays.

This past weekend was a long weekend for us here in Australia for Anzac Day. For the first time in years I didn't attend dawn service which I am a little annoyed with myself about, but I did enjoy the sleep in all the same. The weekend was spent in a very lazy mode. I did get to the gym on Saturday for bounce class (aerobics on a mini-trampoline) and on Sunday for a weights class. So I didn't feel completely lazy. Next weekend is also a long weekend for Labour Day - so looking forward to that!

Yesterday afternoon all hell broke loose in our house. I was doing a wonderful thing and purchased a lovely new cushy bed for Max the cat for winter (below). It is made from this a great knitted material - really snuggly. I popped it into the lounge room and all of a sudden Max went crazy - and hasn't really settled since. We let him sleep in our room to try to settle him overnight - which is a big no no in our house.

This morning I picked him up to give him a snuggle and he scratching the living crap out of my stomach and ruining one of my favourite tees in the process. I cannot for the life of me work out why he has reacted so badly to the new bed. I thought it was smell and removed it from the room, but he hasn't really settled since.

I rang the shop where I purchased the bed from and they were dumbfounded as to why he would react the way he has. I asked if there was any chance the bed was returned and had a cat smell to it? Whether there was a chemical sprayed on it that they were aware of? If the dog smell from the dog cleaning service may have an effect? If they had seen similar problems with other customers? But they drew a blank. They told me I could bring it back if I wanted to and they would talk to the manufacturer.

Spoke to our vet and they are also equally flumoxed - they have never had a cat react in this way to new beddding. The only thing they can think of is a dog has laid on it in the shop or something.

Any ideas?


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Friday, April 25, 2008

A very quiet weekend.

Mark has left for a boys weekend with Ian and Paul. They are making the very manly journey to see Helmet play their album "Meantime" from start to finish in Bryon Bay.

The house is quiet. I am about to get stuck into cleaning.

Then...

Settle in for a night of cups of tea, girly movies and snuggling the cat! Bliss... Pure unadulterated bliss...


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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Camping.


I so very much want to be here: Camp Lake Fire
Camping, sitting by a fire, eating damper cooked over coals, toasting marshmellows and sausages over an open fire, hiking, sleeping, canoeing and generally away from a computer for a few days.


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

05 - I felt grown up when...

I still don't feel grown up. Inside I still feel like a little kid.

In recent months I have felt more confident in a professional capacity that's for certain. While I see myself still as a "fresh faced graduate" I know my features are aging and changing.

Over the past year I see myself in a mirror and see a change. I have aged. I have laugh lines. I dress a little "older". Gone are the cut off army greens and doc martin boots - what a very sad moment that was!

I think the true "grown up" feeling will come with having children, but we will have to wait and see.


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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

04 - Did you ever know someone who had "everything"?

Regularly. I meet people all the time who seem to “have it all”. I meet people all the time who make me insanely jealous. However, the interesting thing is that when you get to know them you find out that they don’t necessarily “have it all”.

I think when I look at “having it all” I really don’t focus on material things. Don’t get me wrong, yeah - a nice house, a nice car would be great, but of all things on the planet they really don’t mean a lot to me. To me “having it all” is about family, friends and joy.

The people I am generally most jealous of are people with large networks of friends and family around them. I generally feel at my lowest when I don’t have a million social networks on the go at any one time.

Material possessions really don’t mean all that much to me. I am more than happy with a tiny TV rather than a plasma monster. I know Mark would disagree with this notion when it comes to kitchen needs – he doesn’t understand a girl’s need for cooking gadgetry. However even in this area I don’t have an exorbitant range – just a few of life’s cookware luxuries to make life easier.

Given my comments above and my “idealistic” view of life that hasn’t stopped me going out today to buy a lottery ticket nor did it stopped me from buying a ticket in a raffle for a house that is simply amazing last week.


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Sunday, April 13, 2008

03 - What Do You Mean the Next Stop Is Hell?

Hmmm... What a weird topic. Sometimes it would simply be easier to skip a topic and make one up, but no... I will continue on this weird blogging journey.

I guess this can be interpreted your take on the after life. It could be that you have simply gotten onto the wrong bus. It could be that your life is going to shit. What take to decide on?

All religions, including Buddhism, Hindu, Mayan, Christianity, Islam, Jadaism and many other, have a notion of a place of eternal suffering for some following death. I personally like the Bahai version of hell which is seem as a "remoteness from God". Everyone has a soul in Bahai and it is linked to the character of that person. When a being dies, the soul lives on eternally - freed from the physical body. Heaven is seen, in part, as a state of nearness to God; hell is a state of remoteness from God. Each state follows as a natural consequence of individual efforts, or the lack thereof, to develop spiritually throughout their lives. So live a good life and you will be close to God. Live a "bad" life and you will be held remote from God after death. No fire and brimstone, no fires and devils - simply consequence for your life's actions.

I guess I have always been Christian in a way, but I don't think that description offered by Christianity is necessarily a reasonable description. I have always believed in spirituality regardless of the belief structure behind it. There is "something out there" but who knows what?

I am by no means a theologian in any way. However, I really don't understand religion from a "god" point of view. To me the bible is a great book of stories provided to the massess to give them hope in bad times and to give direction when you feel lost. As for the factual nature of this... I really have no answers.

I don't think I agree that is it facutal. I don't necessarily agree that "Christ died for my sins". I believe he may have well been a real person who was a great leader, but that would be my limit of understanding. I have difficulty understanding the miracle worker side of the story. However, I agree that it would have given hope to many in hard times to believe someone like that was out there.

During premarriage counselling we were asked what our spiritual understanding and belief structure was. I had to admit I couldn't bring myself to answer "yes I believe in God". I struggled to find the words for my beliefs, but I think in the end it came to - I believe there is a guiding force, an energy or a "being" who assists or guides us along our life's path. I read this the other day and I found it a really interesting interpretation.

God is simply a word, nothing more. God is a word that represents collectively all the fathers thoughtout all time protecting their children. God is an idea. God represents many thoughts. We all share the same great great great great... grandfather and grandmother so we are all children of the same father and mother. We are all children of the same tribe.

Maybe "God" is simply a being like the parent's of Turanga Leela in Futurama - Turanga Morris and Munda. In the episode "Leela's Homeworld" you see her mutant parents have always been with her. Protecting her from falling down stairs, pulling a blanket up to stop from being cold, etc.

Maybe "God" is simply an energy that directs you one way or another in your life's journey. Offers you paths and it is up to you if you chose them or not. I have to admit I stopped, for a long time, in my life taking notice of the pathways offered to me and as a result the place I ended up was a long way from my destination. It took me a while, but I honestly feel like I am back on my intended pathway - or at least travelling up the service road running parallel to it.

Artists have, for centuries, painted images of their concept of what heaven and hell. But what is hell? For me it would be a place without love, without hope and without direction.


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Saturday, April 12, 2008

02 - Describe Saturdays at your house.

Hmmmm... An ideal one or a normal one?

An ideal one would be sleeping in and then eating a big cooked breakfast of saturated fat goodness.

A normal one is a little less lazy.

In the past I have been an early riser - waking up between 5:30 and 6:30am religiously. For some reason recently I have been sleeping in whenever I have the opportunity and not waking up until 7:00am. I'm not too sure I like it... I think it is because we have been quite busy recently and I'm grabbing any chance for sleep.


Lately I have been getting up between 7:00 and 7:30am. I quickly grab the first movement clothes I can find that aren't too stinky and dirty and jump into them. This is done with my brain still slumbering, but body on autopilot.

I drive to Sherwood for an 8am Nia class. This is always "my class" to let go in. I normally stand up the back. No real reason - I sometimes like to dance "my body's way" which may be slightly different to Sophie's instructions. Leaving the house I am always quite happy to be on my way, but between getting up and driving there is a lot of "come on... go back to bed..."

The class goes for an hour. Some Saturday's a group of us will go to the fruit and vegetable / gourmet food markets at the Brisbane Fruit and Vegetable Markets for a coffee and some shopping. Lots of cheap fresh fruit and vegetables out in the open air. Hmmmm... Olive Sour Dough... I so feel like that now!

Other Saturdays it will be coffee at Threads and More at Sherwood. Home of the knitted sweets.

I love this place, but it does remind me of my inability to knit... Something I would love to do one day. I know I wouldn't have the patience to complete an item but the "idea" of completing a knitting project is cool.

Regardless Nia is normally followed with errands of some kind. Food shopping, picking up lunch items or whatever.

This morning it was off to the dentist. It was meant to be quite a simple procedure - I have a cracked tooth. However... once my dentist started the crack was much larger and I basically had to have two teeth demolished and reconstructed again. Bless MBF who covered this $300 bundle of fun and only charged me $25 for the fun. Makes health insurance worthwhile some days. My teeth are aching a little but all fixed now and I can actually consume cold food and drinks again!

Anyhow... I digress. I get home from errands and Mark is just getting out of bed or just finishing his breakfast. Some weekends I will get home and 2 loads of washing are on the line and breakfast is waiting for me to get home, but most weekend's it is Mark's sleep in time.

After brunch / lunch or whatever we normally chill out. Watch DVDs, jump on the net or whatever. Mark normally goes for a swim around lunch and it is off to soccer for him in the afternoon. Today Max the wonder cat and I alternated between watching TV and sleeping most of the afternoon.

Saturday nights bring a myriad of events from dinner and movie through to wherever the mood takes us.

So that is a Saturday in the Denman household. Very lazy. Very quiet. All good.


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Friday, April 11, 2008

01 - The first thing I remember. . .

So I am starting to work through this list of 20 journal topics. This is topic one.

The first thing I remember...

This is quite tough. You recall a lot from when you were a child, but thinking about it is a logical timeframe is quite difficult. What came first?

I recall being small enough to sit on my Grandad Fred's lap. I remember his smell. I remember his songs. I remember his huge hands. I remember how the house smelt - a mix of cooking and washed linens. I remember how the lounge room of my paternal grandparents house was really dark with a really dim orange light. I remember crawling under the dining room table to get out from the booth seats. I remember hiding in my paternal grandmother's sewing room and being amazed at the sewing manequins. I remember the sun lounges out in the back room that we would have afternoon naps on. I remember their toilet which was just about on the outside the house in a little room. I remember my grandmother, Olive, cooking soups and corned meat on an open fire in the back yard and being allowed to poke at the fire with sticks. I remember being scared of their chickens. I think my earliest memories are from my paternal grandmother and grandfather's home.

I remember the day my father stopped carrying me on his shoulders. It was at the Bunya Mountains and I asked to ride on his shoulders. He looked at me and said "but you are a big girl now". I don't know if I showed it at the time, but I was so upset.

I remember my first day of school and my Mum making me talk to a girl who was weird. She never stopped being weird throughout primary school. Not in a geeky weird way - heck she would have been just like me in that case! - but in a stinky wierd way. I never did like her. My Mum made me walk to school every single day with her for so long. I hated going to her house to collect her because her house smelt like pee. I remember in Grade One being really upset and crying because I saw my sister, Jill, eating salt and vinegar chips for lunch and I had something boring. She would have been in Grade 7. I remember tracking down my other sister, Col, who was a much older Grade 4 girl and asking her why? I remember thinking it was the most unfair situation on the planet.

We had a Ford Falcon with a bench seat in the front and sold it for a minivan when I was about 7 years old. I remember going on long trips in the Falcon and having to sit in the front between my parents on every trip. I remember lying down on the seat with my head in my mothers lap in the passenger seat. My legs would be stretched as far as I could to reach my father's lap. I remember my father letting me be in control of the windscreen wipers - that was my job. I remember my father tricking my sister that we had run out of petrol on Birkdale Road and nearly making her run to a friend's house.

Our first house we moved out of when I was about 8 years old. I remember my bedroom that I shared with my sister, Col. I remember my bunk beds. I remember funky smelling carpet. I remember purposely falling out of bed to get attention. I remember my father sneeking into my room one night to scare me - I thought he was a wolf and I thought he was going to eat me - I was terrified. I remember seeing witches in my bedroom when the lights went out. I remember seeing ghosts. I remember sleeping in my sister's bed whenever she wasn't there simply because it smelt like her and I loved that smell - it was comforting. Even now when I smell her pillow or clothes or something like that it takes me right back to then. I remember having a big birthday party for my 7th birthday and hand making all the cards. My maternal grandmother, Lillian, and I cut out clowns from wrapping paper and stuck it on cardboard. We wrote each card individually.

I remember the garage full of tools, wood and things to hunt through as a child. I remember the pigeons that lived in the garage roof. I remember tea-chests we used as cubby houses. I remember standing on a nail in the tea-chests. I remember a big mango tree in our yard but I can't remember it getting cut down. I remember lying on my trampoline in the back yard and looking at the stars with my father. I remember seeing a UFO.

I remember in preschool going to a friend's house and the swing chair falling from the roof and hitting me on the head. I remember going to Brownies with my sisters and wondering what happens when I pull the pin out of the flag pole... It fell and hit me on the head. I remember falling off the trampoline with my legs going either side of the springs and ... hitting my head. I remember diving into our above ground pool and... hitting my head on the bottom. Its a wonder I even finished high school with so many head bumps.

I remember before I was old enough to go to school waiting all day until my sisters came home from school for lunch. We would watch TV together for a little while then they would go back to school. Mum and I would lie on my parent's bed to have a sleep. The green bed cover - I remember that. It smelt little bit like a camphor-wood chest.

I remember my first ever sleep over at Kristy App's house. We slept on the floor of her parent's bedroom. I spent so many wonderful nights at her house having sleep overs. I remember dancing to the Smurfs, then it became Icehouse, then Melissa Ethridge. I moved to another state then. I would never have a friend like that again. We would spend so much time together as kids and I never appreciated what a wonderful friend she was until I became an adult.

I can vaugely remember coming home from living overseas at about 4 years old. I remember a workman building something - my maternal grandmother's flat in our house or something. I remember my father talking about the people living in the house while we were living overseas.

Sitting here and going through everything I remember has made me realise that I recall quite a lot about my early childhood. The smells, the sounds and the change in perspective as you grow taller. One theme... how unfair life seems when you are little and how the little things are almost insurmountable. Life never stops being unfair, but the little things aren't quite a big anymore.


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Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour.

Do your little bit...

Originating in Sydney in 2007, the Earth Hour campaign has now gained global attention. As a result, on 8pm March 29, 2008 millions of people in some of the world’s major capital cities will unite and switch off for Earth Hour. See what is happening in your city and how you can get involved.

Partner cities for this year's Earth Hour are: » Aalborg » Aarhus » Adelaide » Atlanta » Bangkok » Brisbane » Canberra » Chicago » Christchurch » Copenhagen » Darwin » Dublin » Hobart » Manila » Melbourne » Montreal » Odense » Ottawa » Perth » Phoenix » San Francisco » Santa Cruz » Suva and Lautoka » Sydney » Tel Aviv » Toronto » Vancouver » Plus there are a few more US cities involved.

www.earthhour.org


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

General rant...

Where is the year going? It is already just about April...

Someone told me once when writing in a blog or emails home when travelling make sure you don't ALWAYS write when you are feeling down. It only shows one side of you. Make sure you write about the good times as well. It is honestly hard to do this, but I really need to make the effort.

I recently had the opportunity of a job interview which would have been this morning. I turned it down. It was a wonderful and challenging job. However my current position was officially made permanent last week. So I had to choose between challenging, interesting and new skills or benefits, stability and "practicality".

I chose the latter. Hmmmm... Did I make the correct decision? Who knows!

I keep a little Nia postcard on my partition wall at work. It is the red one with Debbie and "Mind Body Spirit" written on the bottom. I really haven't been giving my attention to my "mind, body or spirit" lately.

My body especially...

Over the past few weeks I have put on weight, I started biting my nails again and I feel more than a little sluggish. When you don't exercise it is a terrible rut. You feel crap so you don't feel like exercising. You feel even more crap for not exercising and the downward spiral continues.

I know my job take a large chunk of responsibility - or at least provides a wonderful excuse! Longer hours of sitting perfectly sedentary typing away on a computer is definitely not good for the "mind, body or spirit"!

My job is a policy position - so basically responding to industry while meeting government needs and strategic direction. It is a little draining at times - the general government "bureaucracy" of it all. It really can take ages to get anything done.

However there are upsides to everything - if you don't make the effort to seek them out and idenitify the positives life will honestly get to you. The positives include:

  • the relationship building with industry members
  • when changes actually occur and your suggestions are taken on board
  • working in a relatively young unit who all enjoy their work (well... most of the time!)
  • its really, really hard to fire a permanent employee in the government
  • there will be opportunities come about to move into different roles for short times in different work groups

So... I start officially as a permanent next Monday. I head back to the gym at lunch time today. The positive changes start right now! I stopped biting my nails on my right hand about a week ago.

Small baby steps and you'll get there eventually...


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Monday, March 24, 2008

Kids Rock...

I love this - I'd buy it!



My personal favourite is the GnR McDonalds advert - Welcome... Welcome to McDonalds... Would you like a happy m-m-m-m meal meal?


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Monday, March 17, 2008

New Business!

Its all happening around here at the moment.

Just completed the paperwork to register my business - "Barefoot Sensations". I can now start my journey spreading the joy of movement.

Still got lots to get organised apart from this but baby steps and we'll get there eventually.


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New permanent job!

Let's track back... My job with FarmBis finished up over Christmas when I was offered a temporary contract up to June with a policy unit in the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries. It is a policy job so it can get pretty frustrating some days. So I took the temp position and thought - it will give me 6 months to work out if I enjoy it or not.

Last week I got offered an interview in a vocational college to do the project management of a state wide roll out of new the programing. A good job - difficult, but interesting. The best thing is that one of my friends would be my boss. This position would be a 12 month temporary contract.

A few days after being offered my interview I told my boss and he mentioned that he was in the middle of pulling together paperwork to get my temp job converted into a permanent one.

So decision time folks...

Do I take the permanent job which gives me access to maternity leave, leave without pay and many other benefits or take the job that is more interesting?

Both pay the same. Both have their share of pros and cons - the list is underway.

I am leaning toward the practical option of benefits and long term outlook at the moment. It has potential to be a really interesting job...

Hmmmmm... Which path to take???


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Neighbour Day 2008.


On the last Sunday of march each year it is Neighbour Day. Neighbour Day is about developing better relationships with people next door and across the street to create stronger, more healthier and vibrant communities.

It was founded in 2003 after the discovery of an Australian woman who died alone in her home and was not found for two years. Neighbour Day is now a global event.

The aim is to encourage us all to develop a greater sense of community caring, looking after the vulnerable and isolated – especially those who live alone. Whether you live in the city, in a town or on a farm anyone can participate.

What can I do to participate in this event?

Participating in Neighbour Day is easy. You don’t make a donation, you don’t wear a ribbon and you don’t buy a badge. You don’t even have to register or volunteer or set up a committee.

All you need to do is:
  • Say G'day to your neighbours.
  • Make a special effort to introduce yourself to older residents in your street and anyone who lives alone.
  • Leave your mobile and home telephone number for use in an emergency.
  • Agree to keep in contact.

For more information and resources, please visit http://www.neighbourday.org/



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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hot Chocolate.

Just made the recipe below - OMG! It is completely amazing! Make it!

Incredibly indulgent and so very, very yummy!


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Thick hot chocolate

Have you ever tried thick Italian hot chocolate before? If not track it down. Amazing experience let me assure you. I was trying to track down a supplier of Fraus Hot Chocolate and found this recipe for "do it yourself". I'm going to give it a go tonight.

Spanish/Italian Thick Hot Chocolate

Ingredients (per small cup serve)
9g cocoa
34g sugar
5g cornflour
20mL water
170mL milk

1. Mix sugar and cocoa together

2. Dissolve the cornflour in the water by stirring, then mix it with the sugar/cocoa to form a disgustingly good looking brown goo.

3. Heat the goo in a saucepan over a low-medium heat, always stirring with a whisk. Slowly add the milk to the mixture, and keep stirring.

4. Bring the mix to a simmer and keep stirring, but slow it down a bit so you're only stirring occasionally.

5. Once it's a thick, glossy molten liquid you're ready! It'll look like a thick chocolate pudding that's not quite set.

6. Pour it into cups, grab a spoon and dig in.


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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Time keeps on ticking...

Where has all my spare time gone?

Mark... Zonta... Nia... Work... Family... Friends...

Life floats by and before you know it months have gone by and nothing to show.

Time to get serious about all those promises to set priorities and get my shit together.

But what comes first?

I am the sort of person who cannot say no. However in the coming months watch out this normally very willing person is going to start saying a lot of "sorry but I can't". Life and the hours that we spend with our loved ones are too precious to spend phaffing about with a million and one other committments.

I have accepted that my baking was getting out of control and it really wasn't always the most "healthy" of ways of displaying love and affection. It was actually verging on OCD at times. Some people wash their hands a million times and some bake 11 dozen tarlets in one evening. Not healthy.

I noticed a few weeks ago that wheels have started to really fall off. Not enough time to stop and smell the roses. I have already prepared my Zonta club that I won't be taking on a role from May which is a real pity - you are supposed to take on President's role for 2 years, but I really cannot commit.


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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Nia journey.

I posted last year about my Nia intensive training here. Someone posted an anonymous comment - please leave at least your name so I know who I am talking to! - asking about the rest of my journey. So here it is...

Warning this is a pretty large post - grab a cup of tea and settle in!

If you asked me this morning what my Nia journey looks like... Sore thighs and upper arms from dancing 3 classes yesterday (2 on my own and one with my students). Is it just me or does everyone push themselves a little harder when dancing on your own? You sink deeper into a sumo stance, your precision is a little more "tae kwon do" and less "tai chi" and your cross front cha cha cha seems to take up the entire space. Once I am in front of a class I am more aware of "toning it down" for students.

So where was I? Oh yeah my Nia journey...

Nia looks like... Heading home last night and falling asleep very soundly. Waking up this morning and looking forward to presenting Nia to the general population of my city on a stage in the Queen St Mall! A year ago I could not have seen myself dancing 3 classes a day and dancing in front of hundreds in a public space! So how did I get here?

In April last year I undertook my White Belt. The white belt expereince was really intense. Emotions and bodies were certainly frazzled by the end, but we were excited about taking our next steps.

However, I found - at the end of my white belt - I was a little lost. I certainly wasn't confident to teach. I guess this is why there is the new 25th Anniversary Nia Green Belt being advertised. Everything that is found in the Green Belt is what I expected as I entered my first Nia white belt circle. I realise now that there are a lot of Nia folk who attend White belt on a purely personal level so can completely understand the focus. I would attend the green belt if I could, but it is a little too far to travel.

Since completing my white belt there have been ups and downs galore. I didn't actually find time to learn a routine until I was asked to sub for Sophie while she went to the US to undertake her Brown Belt on October - 6 months after my white belt. In the 10 days she was away I led about 6 classes - teaching a sort of personalised version of Dreamwalker White Belt.

I found the learning of the routines really difficult. I am a logical person who likes things "spot on". Needless to say of the form and freedom Nia encompasses I think I slept through all the freedom sections of white belt! I was completely "in my head" for those first classes - got to get it right, got to remember the music ques, got to do 8 leans followed by 8 pulses followed by etc etc etc...

I now have a lot less difficulty learning a routine - much more about feeling it and simply moving to the music. If I miss a que, completely forget a section of the choreography or whatever who cares - just keep that booty shakin'! When I talk to students they say basically the same thing - it doesn't matter what we do we just love to move.

I taught a new routine for the first time last night comprised of Girls Night Out, Dreamwalker and a song or two from a few other routines - theme is "play" - my students were fabulous! I knew about 75% of the routine really well and at the start of the class I mentioned that it was the first time I had taught this routine. One of the students said don't worry - we won't notice if you mess up and flail about the place, it will just look like "melodic arms" to us! Bless them!

But I disgress again...

So I learnt my new routines, I taught my first classes and could confidently call myself a "Nia White Belt Instructor". I am proud of that tag. To all the lucky students who are able to share a Nia teachers first baby steps into teaching it is an honour, but I do apologise to all of my lucky bunnies. I was so jam packed full of adrenalin I danced at level 3+++++ and by the end we were all in a big pile of sweat on the floor. I am much more mindful now about bringing my energy down a peg and letting others take it up a level on their own.

For me - someone who has never danced before, never really been into any form of exercise - it is a really wonderful feeling to be able to get up in front of a room and give people an experience. There are so many people out there who - like me - have been told over the years - you will never be a dancer, you are as graceful as an elephant, dancing is too expensive. That is simply not true! You simply need to find your feet, find your style and find your very own groove. Nia gives people the opportunity to express themselves, dance and enjoy the moment.

Last night I was dancing Adouma (by Angelique Kidjo) with my class and there is a section of "chicken arms". I looked around the room and people were smiling, laughing and dancing like chickens. I said to them "how good does it feel to let go of everything from your day and be a little silly?"

We sit at work all day with our "professional face", go home and put on our "Mum / partner / carer" face, but sometimes I just want to put on "my" face. Nia allows you to do that. A lot of my students call Nia "their time" - time they take out of their day to release, have fun and move for no other reason apart from "it feels good".

I want to write more, but let's face it... If you have made it this far wow! I should be nice and let you get back to your families now.


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Monday, February 25, 2008

Interesting article.

Thanks to Michaela for sharing this one!

The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb

I really enjoyed this article. Time keeps on ticking... One line that I giggled over was "I certainly don't feel old, but my eggs sure do!".

So yes this is certainly not your feminist viewpoint on how life pans out for a mid-30's woman who hasn't met Mr Right yet. However... it is very honest! Enjoy.


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Friday, February 22, 2008

Biggest loser.


So we went to the vet yesterday... I'm a bad Mum. My cat is 6.5kg and has tartar build up on his teeth. "Normal" is apparently just under 5kg for a cat of his frame. Hmmmm...

So we now have young Mr Max on a more extreme diet, we have to give him lean steak for his teeth and exercise regime - Mark and I are his own personal trainers.

We have purchased a laser pointer which is awesome fun with him. His exercise consists of us sitting on the couch with a laser pointer and watching him chase the laser mouse shape all over the house. He appears to love it and it is entertaining for us as well. It is really fun to move it in circles and watch him run in circles. Am I cruel?

Last night we did a PT session and after 10 mins my poor little cat slumped in the middle of the room panting furiously. I gave him a few minutes break and off we went again. Needless to say last night we didn't hear peep from him throughout the night - when I woke up this morning he was still asleep.

Now we have to get a set of scales to keep tabs on this tabby and for his weekly "weigh ins".


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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Interpol.

Went to see Interpol last night and it was really good. I am surprised - not being a HUGE fan - that I knew all the songs. Not too surprising I guess given that Mark is a mad keen Interpol fan and plays the cds over and over... Overall had a wonderful evening.

Youth Group were really good as well. I really enjoyed the light show - its been years since I have attended an all out "rock show" as opposed to small gigs in clubs or smaller venues. I think the last one may have been Pearl Jam, Hole or Soundgarden in the mid to late 1990's.

Interesting venue and the overall dynamic was subdued - it was in a big convention centre. So no alcohol inside, started super early and crowd control was pretty strict. We were watching the crowd and thought this is a really subdued audience. The support band, Youth Group, said the same thing. Our comment was if you had a teenage daughter you wouldn't even remotely question letting them attend - it was safe and not too many drunk fella acting up. I took ear plugs as well in case it all got a bit too loud, but I didn't need them. The sound and acoustics were awesome.

One thing though that Mark and I were discussing on our walk back to the car. We are officially old now. We both really appreciated getting seats as opposed to the standing / dancing room on the floor. On our way home we agreed... Our view was great, our feet weren't sore at the end of the night and I didn't have to fight with big fellas for personal space. Yes, yes I know... we are old...


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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pre-marriage counselling

What is it about counselling or whatever that makes it feel okay to discuss things to strangers that you haven't spoken to anyone about in a long, long time? What is it that makes it okay to share your phobias, your dreams, your highs and your lows with people you have never met before?

Don't get me wrong - I am a pretty open and consider myself somewhat honest straight up person. But I have to admit I find it quite surreal when I sit back and review everything we discuss.

For those who have never had couples counselling before I would say - go for it! Don't sell yourself short and take the easy "one weekend" option for pre-marriage counselling. Do the hard yards and take the time to stop and listen to your partner. If not through an organised program then through a professional counsellor or someone.

I thought I knew most things about my relationship, my partner and myself, but as they say... You never stop learning. So far there have been a few lightbulbs going on for me. Some things that have made me stop and think about my actions and their implications on others around me. Some things have made me take stock of what is important to me. There will be some changes in the not to distant future in my life and the choices I make.

Who would have thought it... Apparently I actually do have annoying habits!


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Monday, February 04, 2008

Bridesmaids forced to sign pre-nuptial contracts

This is insanity! I guess by the very last comment I am not a very stylish bride by having 3 bridesmaids...

Follow link for article.

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Bridesmaids forced to sign pre-nuptial contracts
Monday Feb 4 13:00 AEDT
By Rajeshni Naidu - ninemsn

Bridesmaids are being forced to sign pre-nuptial contracts before weddings in an attempt by brides to take control of their big day, according to a UK survey. More than one in five women would opt for a contract and almost half of those surveyed by You and Your Wedding magazine said they would fire a bridesmaid if they broke the agreement.

Popular clauses in contracts included gaining weight, getting pregnant and changing a hairstyle before the wedding. The recent trend in pre-nuptial contracts for bridesmaid could soon be hitting our shores, with a Melbourne council worker admitting she was ostracized for dyeing her hair before her friend's wedding.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said changing her hair colour from blonde to brunette five months before the wedding drew unkind remarks from the bride's mother.

"Her mother said, 'oh, I can't believe she dyed her hair just before the wedding': she said it would throw off the symmetry in the photos," she said.

"She was kind of hoping that her brown-haired daughter would be flanked by two blonde bridesmaids."

The second-time bridesmaid said she was surprised and disappointed by reaction she received. "I didn't think it would make a difference because I thought I was chosen for me and not my hair colour," she said. "I thought if worse came to worse I'll wear a wig but I definitely was not going to change my hair colour back."

Fashion editor for Bride magazine Kirstie Armiger-Grant said she's never heard of bridesmaid contracts in Australian weddings.

"I think it's very shallow and selfish and I don't think it's going to happen here," she said. "More of the trends in Aussie weddings now is letting bridesmaids choose their own dresses to make sure they're happy and comfortable on the day."

Ms Armiger-Grand said Australians tend to opt for more outdoor weddings, which are more friendly and relaxed. "We have less church weddings than the UK, and some older and stylish brides don't even have bridesmaids," she said. "There's less of a huge bridal party in today's weddings."


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Lime Polenta Cake – gluten free version

Wish I had a photo of this cake, but literally it was devoured at work this morning in record time! A definite favourite for my work unit. The outside goes sort of crunchy from the polenta, but inside it is sticky and creamy. So amazing! I want to try it in pink grapefruit flavour next time.

Follow link for recipe.


Lime Polenta Cake – gluten free version
250g butter
1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
¼ cup lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 ¼ cup almond meal
1 cup polenta
¼ cup gluten free self raising flour

1. Cream the butter and sugar
2. Add vanilla and then the eggs one at a time. Beat well.
3. While continuing to beat add the lime zest and juice.
4. Add the polenta, almonds and SR flour.
5. Pour into a round tin lined on the bottom with paper.
6. Bake at 180 degrees (celcius) for about 40 mins.

To serve – heat cake (if it is not served immediately) and drizzle with citrus sugar syrup. Or pour hot syrup on cold cake. One has to be warm so it soaks through.

Citrus syrup
1/3 cup lime juice
3-5 strips of rind
1 ¼ cup caster (superfine) sugar

Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to boil stirring regularly. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 mins or when it has thickened a little.


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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Not a happy camper...

UPDATE: Received the medium tee in the mail for the second time! The shirt is indeed not only too big, but stretched even bigger after just 2 wears.... Mental note to self do not buy Peter Alexander tees ever again...
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I can't believe it... So unhappy... I bought a tee online. It was sent to me as the incorrect size. I sent it back for an exchange to get the correct size I ordered. It has been 10 days and I hadn't heard anything from them so I rang their call centre.

So sorry, but we have sold out of the size you originally ordered. We can only send back the incorrect size we originally sent you or give you your money back.

I purchased this tee - knowing full well it would sell out within a week - the first day they went on sale! I had been diligent. I had been organised. It was your mistake!

Grrrr....


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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pre-marriage counselling for cohabiting couples.

So... we started "pre-marriage preparation for cohabiting couples" last night by answering a 160 odd question quiz that is supposed to give insight into the potential problems we will be likely to encounter as a married couple. Now I'm not 100% certain what I actually expected but let's just say I wasn't expecting questions like "I am happy with the level of sexual experimentation in my relationship" from a Uniting church questionairre! There were some real doozies!

The question that made both of us laugh out loud when we got to it was - and those who know Mark and I well will understand why - "I believe my partner is too stubborn". I think I know both of our responses on that question! Hmmmm... if there are two more stubborn people on the planet I would like to meet them.

Another question that made me giggle - "In an argument I am the first person to back down" or "I tend to agree for the sake of ending an argument". Not in our house baby - no argument is settled until one of us gets onto google or wikkipedia to find an impartial answer. How did couples settle arguments in the past without google? Important arguments like "who did the voice for XYZ character in Simpsons?". Then the winner is entitled to do the "I told you so" dance around the house. I didn't see any questions in the Uniting Church quiz about "I told you so" dances.

We now wait for 2 weeks before we get to sit down with Heather, the minister who is going to marry us, and work through the results of the quiz. Should be interesting...

Dress update: Final design is settled - it is "same same but different" to the post the other day. A sort of combination of about 3 or 4 dresses I tried on last weekend. Appointment with the dress maker on 21 Jan. Yay! The dressmaker did a few of the dresses for the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral.


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Citizenship test.

So the Australian government introduced a citizenship test late last year for new immigrants.

Can you pass this version of the test? Citizenship Test - Australian Test Practice Questions

I hope this is not the proper test as I scored dismally! How would anyone coming to Australia know or remember from studying who landed on the western side of Cape York Peninsula, the northern tip of Australia, in 1606 ?

Or my personal favourites from this test:

  • When did Caroline chisholm land in Australia?
  • When did a popular new literature emerge in Australia?
  • Which is the birth place of Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet?

I don't even know who Frank is! I consider myself educated and intelligent and have no drama answering the questions on the Practice Questions for the Australian Citizenship Test page. Fingers crossed this is closer to the type of test people are likely to have to answer as opposed to the first one.



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Friday, January 04, 2008

Wedding dresses...

Mark do not look at the links in this entry!

Psssst... This is the dress I really want for my wedding... I really, really love this dress...

Lea-Ann Belter 2007 Collection - find the design "Kaitlyn" (No. 4)

However, in the interests of budget and financial contraints tomorrow I am off for a day shopping to see if can find a cheaper dress that is on sale. Apparently all the bridal shops around town are having massive sales and the chances of getting a dress for under $500 are quite good.

So tomorrow morning I am trudging off through a few of the shops with my bridal party in tow - Josie, Donna, Col and Casey Jayne. Maybe we'll find something I am willing to settle on if the price is good enough.

I know deep down though that I really want the Lea-Ann Belter dress... But how can I justify spending $1500 on a dress know I'll only ever wear once.

I am not a big fan of shopping so this is going to be an interesting day. Wish me luck!


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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Depression and cookies.

I recently read this amazing feature story by Megan Seling from The Stranger. Thanks for the link Michelle!

It touched me quite deeply. Ever since reading it I have had it in the back of my mind.

Depression is something that most of us deal with to varying levels. Turning to baking and cooking is a release for some of us. To give someone a gift of cookies, to see their faces light up at mini tartlets, to receive comments like "wow this is amazing how do you make this" or "can I have your recipe" is sometimes all that is needed to keep on trucking through your day. Sometimes it is simply easier to bake someone something than to tell them you love them - it requires less "giving of yourself".

Read this article - it is amazing: The Long Winter by Megan Seling.

"All about the time I attempted to bake 106 different kinds of Martha Stewart holiday cookies in two months. People laughed and said I was crazy. Well, I was crazy."


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