Tuesday, December 23, 2008
At last, Christmas joy has awoken in me and stretched its bent wings..
I'm feeling abit more Christmas jubilation today. The reason - good hard labour!
Labour of love that is. Just as I was decrying my lack of creative inspiration this christmas...lo and behold, I made some cards!
Alas, too late to actually send them to you my friends! My apologies...and now just to rub it in, here's what they looked like! (Ok, so I'm a little proud of my first proper attempt with stamping)
Plus, I'm making chilled carrot soup for Christmas day (taste better than it sounds!) and have experimented with some ginger, citrus and green-tea (ie. I had left over ginger and added to a teabag of citrus green-tea - oh I'm such the culinary genius!).
So now I'm feeling like I've contributed more to Christmas, than propping up the languishing economy!....and talking about languishing, here's a little word from the silent blog partner
Joyeux Noel (eat, drink and follow Andrew's lead!)
Monday, December 22, 2008
Situated 45mins east of Brisbane by the bay (Moreton Bay) the Redland Shire used to be a sleepy farming district but alas has blossomed over the last 20yrs into a thriving mini-metropolitis! I still feel the charm, but it has certainly been lessened somewhat with the mushrooming housing developments on the subdivided farming land. Each visit, I find more land being consumed by developments and it does break my heart alittle. Bring back rural living or at least larger home blocks with a less monotonously-rendered appeal!
Anyway, off my anti-development soap box!
My visit today took me back to other years, where about the same time I would be enjoying the delights of christmas shared with my parents and grandma. The days when I lived at home and toiled long and hard over handmade christmas cards and gifts! The days when my wonderful grandma was still alive and joyful, and sitting with me watching King's Choir on Christmas Eve. Glorious memories!
My grandma two years ago, at her home for one day only, and a special day that was.
Each year out of home reminds me how I have slipped more into laziness with store-bought cards and gifts and seemingly the joy of christmas diminishes just a tad each year too. Now this is quite an admission for me, as I LOVE Christmas! I adore the decorating, the gift giving, the carolling, the midnight church services, the visiting of friends and celebrations with family. But to be honest, I think the older I get the more I wish I was younger for Christmas sake! It also makes me wonder if children bring out this joy again at Christmas time. What a delight!
Anyway, off my self-indulgent soap box.
On a merrier note, I took great delight today in other aspects of getting older - observing and aiding your parents adopting new technology! Notably my mum and the woes of the computer age! I am apparently a computer wiz according to my mum's high IT standards and so I am called in to explain all manner of error messages and broken internet connection problems. Today was no exception! Mum was confused about a 'drive error' (and I have to admit, so was I) that appeared as she failed to connect to the internet. Donning my IT whiz-kid robes I strode into the room and looked quizically at the screen in a most thoughtful IT-superior manner- then I did the failsafe routine of checking all buttons and then if all else fails hitting the computer. Thankfully, I was able to avert stage 2 violence when I realised Mum had not actually turned on the vital link with the internet - the modem! With a flourish of satin robes I departed. Another disaster curtailed by IT girl!
Later that day I had another chuckle - this time at the strangest children's name I could possibly imagine hearing - and in Australia, nay, the Redlands! Now, I'm quite au-fait with the latest celebrity trends of naming your children after the city in which they were conceived...case in point: Victoria Beckham and her son Brooklyn. Au-fait, if not bemused! So strike-me-down speechless if I didn't hear a woman calling her child "Cleveland" at Victoria Point today! Cleveland?!! What next?! Ormiston for his sister?! Oh that gave me a good chuckle!
So Merry Christmas one and all! I hope you have a little child inside you that takes great delight still in celebrating Christ's birth. If not, I hope you enjoy it through your own children or other's or in whatever way you can! (I find a good verse or two of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" works wonders for me ;-)....
Jingle-all-the-way Jen xx
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
I value word of mouth. I wish more companies did!
Case in point - IMPULSE Solar Panels.
I took a cold call this week from IMPULSE who were promoting solar panels and a deal to become a 'display home' for a discounted solar installation package. I, for once, showed some interest. Their speil included the phrase "would I be willing to pass on favourable comments to my friends and colleagues about IMPULSE if I was impressed by their service". I was indeed willing to do this, as I value word of mouth as an effective and often incredibly persuasive means of advertising. I am all too willing to help out those who value their clients and giving them quality service.
So after arranging a time, during my day off, they came to give me a quote and some information about this discount deal. Their speil on the phone had also included the phrase "this will not be a hard sell". I also appreciate companies who do not force their product on potential customers, but respect their customers enough to let the product sell itself.
So at 1pm today, after arranging my time around this appointment, the salesman from IMPULSE arrived. He chatted about the neighbourhood, enquiring about the neighbours and what the percentage rental vs buyer was like in the area.....'hmmm' thought I. He then asked where my husband was - to which I replied truthfully, that he couldn't come as he was too busy. At this point, having not even given me any information he shut his books and said he couldn't proceed as it was 'company policy' for him to talk with both husband and wife. I stared incredulously at him! Excuse me! What about the 'quote' of how many solar panels I would potentially need etc???
He then proceeded to talk AT me about how information would not be passed back accurately to my husband about what IMPULSE had to offer and that my husband would OBVIOUSELY have questions to ask. I then stated, truthfully, that I would have more knowledge about Solar electricity than my husband and that I was quite capable of passing back information to my husband. I was happy to take all their brochures and pass back all quotes to my husband for our joint decision.
The salesman then told me they had NO BROCHURES!???? What company has no brochures about an area of their business?!
He said they had only a select number of properties that could take advantage of their 'discounted' display home offer so "usually customers made a decision yes or no on the spot". Oh, now the alarm bells went off! This was a hard sell through and through!!! The salesman however said "Oh if that's how YOU want to see it - you do have the option of saying yes or no". Yes or No ON THE SPOT that is!
I stated as such to the salesman! By no means would I or my husband be making a snap decision ON THE SPOT regardless of whether it was just me talking with him or us both together. I consider it an affront that he thought I was incabable of passing on information to my husband and that he considered me less worthy than my husband of asking pertinent questions about solar electricity.
Aside from the fact that I was specifically told on the phone that this was;
1) NOT a hard sell
2) no mention was made of a 'company policy' to only talk to husband and wife together
3) no mention was made of a limited time frame in which to make a decision about this 'discount deal' - ie. ON THE SPOT!
I am still very angry at this outrageous, outdated, hard-sell tactic and the prehistoric attitude of the salesman. I can't believe they would think, in this 'modern age' that alienating customers would somehow guarantee a sale?!
Plus we are not talking about a small amount of money here either!
As my mother said later, I could have told him to leave then. But it was the principle of the matter. Another age-old value I consider important. I was promised a quote for solar paneling and that was what I had set aside time to obtain. I was very annoyed that they would not even do what they said they would come to do - and that was look at our situation and determine how many solar panels would be needed. Regardless of whether we were buying into this 'discount deal' they surely would want to sell their product???? Does this not seem a logical sales tactic?
But no, the salesman would not give a quote. However, he rang his manager and I then talked with him and the manager conceeded that I could be given a quote. Conceeded to a quote? Again, am I totally behind the times? Do companies not usually WANT to sell their product?!
After scribbling figures on a rough pad of paper. The salesman told me that they sold "top of the range panels which had numerous small panels interconnected which was more efficient than a solid single panel". Naturally interested in this sweeping statement and its basis, I enquired why this was so much more efficient. He could not answer! Indeed he even said "I don't know why. I was just told they were more efficient than the single panels". Oh my goodness!!!!!!!!! First rule of sales - KNOW YOUR PRODUCT!
So all in all - I was very dissapointed at the underhand, shoddy tactics of IMPULSE and their sexist, chauvanistic attitude. I am not a fan of policitical correctness on the whole, but my dealings with IMPULSE could be described as nothing short of sexist and patronising.
For a company that wants word-of-mouth promotion so badly... Then I am happy to oblige!
I advise all - stay well clear of IMPULSE!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I know it seems unbelievable, but I have actually been able to prise myself away from the computer of late (read addicted to Facebook now instead). So alas, my blogging has suffered as a result. Therefore I am well aware that my few loyal readers may have given up on the Pimpernel and her supply of ink!
Refilled I continue with:
1) J and A'isms:
Oh I wish I remembered them all ;-)
A: rushing into the room in a loud indignant manner - "I don't belieeeeeve it!"
J: turning away from the computer screen (shock horror) - "What?! What is it?!"
A: holding aloft newly acquired cough syrup - "The measuring cup off the cough liquid starts at 25ml! I specifically went for the one cough mixture that had a measure for the amount I needed to take". Letting the breverity of this statment sink in - "The dose says 5ml! And the b"%$y measuring cup starts at 25ml!!!"
J: Obviously speechless at this cunning plot by the manufacturers, and waiting to see what was to follow from this DASTEDLY set back to my man-cough-suffering husband's recovery.
A: "I mean, if it had started at 15ml then at least it would have been closer to 5ml and I could have taken a shot at it."
J: thoughtful "hmmm" (I may have been distracted by someone's status update on Facebook)
J: attention now piqued by the lack of ranting and raving from indignant man-cold suffering husband
A: "Ah, I see......"
A: "it's actually 2.5ml, not 25ml"......sheepishly eyeing off measuring cup and slinking out of room
J: satisfied that the danger had passed and settling herself back infront of her Facebook profile for the evening. "Jen is..bemused at her husband's antics - again!".
2) Plagarised posts (part A):
'Why do you blog?'
- this comes from a recent post by Min who outlined her reasons and emotions behind the desire to blog.
Perhaps - I blog, therefore I am. Which means I haven't blogged, therefore I am not?!....hmmm.
Actually I think it's a stock standard reason of wanting to have an outlet for all these tit-bits of life you want to share with others but seem too trivial to actually call someone and tell them about. As we don't have children, it's not about updating relatives with news of what our mob has been up to but rather a creative outlet for myself. I find I read so little of late that I feel my vocabulary slipping. Take normal conversations - I forget words. Common words! Like 'sequin' (aka: that circular shiny thing - as I described it to my boss while gesturing hopelessly around the room, as if that would somehow pluck the word from a corner in which it was hiding). So blogging is a form of mental exercise for me, allowing me to dabble in creative writing, which I love so much, while hopefully resoldering a few frayed neural connections!
Okay, so soldering torch aside, it's good to be back posting!
I have so much to tell you, but will save it. I know others have been frantically posting all November, so my excuse is that I'll let you all catch your breaths before I too join the fray again!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
At last I can admit it!
Step 2 - admit defeat....
I'm no green-thumb - however hard I try!
While my sherlock-style sleuthing has improved since I've moved over to the 'dark side' of plant physiology, my pot plants have suffered long-torturous deaths as a result.
Plant pathology = pathos = laziness = death.
See it was inevitable that when I walked hand in hand with the scalpel, my love of the secateurs was lost.
But redemption is at hand!
Well, nature has a sneaky way of showing she's still there to pick up the dry, withered pieces and go forth and be fruitful!
That's right - it's Spring - trees are blooming. Even in my garden!
Infact it feels like Eden to me in my garden as I witness trees that I thought were so deprived of nutrients, flowering and then ...... producing fruit!!!!
I'm like a little kid, I'm so excited to see my avocado, mango and lemon tree all with small growths that indicate that maybe this time:
- the voracious possums haven't eaten all the new growth on every accessible tree limb
- the bronze-orange-bugs aka: stink bugs haven't sucked all the juice out of the citrus buds
- the mysterious flowering pattern of the avocado has come together in magical synchronous dichogamy!
I just had to share the wonderous bounty of our poor neglected garden!
I think that sole bucket of laundry grey-water obviously pushed the avocado over the line this year. Plus the talk of demolition scared the mango into reproduction! And the lemon tree - well she's a stayer!
"And that's your bloomin' lot, but just for this week!"....
Monday, October 13, 2008
Ah, now the regular readers may have picked up on a very saliant point already..
(Clue: read the previous post)
Yes, this was not on my list of forthcoming blog posts! Surprise! Ah, spontanaeity is the spice of life! (And, yet another example of how far short I fall when it comes to goal-driven behaviour!)
So, for those of you who missed it, the Multicultural Festival was on this past weekend. Andrew and I got ourselves out of bed just in time to - not go to church - and head over to Roma Street Parklands and enjoy the festive atmosphere! We were going to meet our refugee family there, but alas that never eventuated.
What we did end up doing was enjoying the delights of:
a) Lagos = Hungarian deep-fried yeasty flat bread. Delicious! Excellent source of three essential vitamins (O, I and L) and helps provide essential padding for any traditional thigh-slapping behaviour which may follow.
The well-satiated male of mine!
b) Donuts = not American but another Hungarian delicacy. They looked like a hollowed-out, thick french stick with cinnamon. I'm thinking aesthetically pleasing cuisine is not a Hungarian forte (but hey, it's taste that counts according to my stomach).
c) Angels of Fire = awesome threesome of kiwi sisters whose voices were so rich and powerful. Great rock/pop set from so young a group! The eldest would have been 16 yrs, if that, but very mature arrangements
(says the consumate performer herself! Like I have an idea about music?!).
d) Sudanese dancers = displaying their traditional dances in vibrant costumes. I particularly loved the little girl who instead of holding one of their 'traditional weapons', held a multi-coloured feather duster! Hilarious! Obviously warding off those dreaded evil dust spirits!
f) Mauritius dancers = very flamboyant latin-looking dancers of all ages. Particularly enjoyed the little girl intent on playing in the sandpit despite all this dancing occuring around her.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
6 random recollections for today:
1) It's good to be alive! - Despite the racket of last night, as our neighbours directly across from us (of the burn-out fame) celebrated their imminent departure from our fine suburb, and thereby (our) lack of snooze time. I thought this morning in Church, how good it was to be alive! I think this was obviously influenced by the uplifted voices of the congregation at St Phillips Church (Annerley) and the glory of a gorgeous morn. There's something to be said for a congregation who enjoys singing, even if I can't, at least with all voices raised it's hard to tell those in-tune from the tone deaf! I love a good hymn! Especially those I remember from my Anglican childhood! Who can go wrong with "All Creatures of our God and King" and my favourite "Lord of the Dance".
2) Christening the day - Felicity Isabelle Smith. Thanks to Matt and Steph who kindly invited Andrew and I to the christening of their daughter Felicity. It was lovely to come and share in the warmth of their special day - apologies though for leaving before cake! As mentioned above, I really enjoyed the service! Promise! Particularly the Franciscan element and the enthusiasm of the congregation. In the church hunt that Andrew and I are on at present, it's always nice to find somewhere with potential - and I think St Phillips may warrant a return visit!
3) Soul stirring stuff - pass the caffeine please....hot on the rosary-tails of the spiritual start to the day I met up with a friend for a caffeine injection and some more soul stirring stuff in a 'girly-get-together' way. Now as I've mentioned before, Bronwyn is someone who blows into town like a tornado (as Karen so accurately said) and leaves as fast - but leaves not havoc in her wake but a shake-up which can be the basis for a new life (re-evaluating) direction.
So it's always good to see her and this was no exception! Our venue was the local Ned's cafe, on the basis that Bronwyn LOVES the butterscotch pancakes (she even rang in advance to make sure they were serving them after a previous DISASTER breakfast date sans pancakes). As a result of our catch-up - we've decided to only go to Ned's when Dave the chef is on (cause his pancakes are the proper ones) - and she reawakened my passion for craft, travel, gardening and writing - all in one morning! She's a dynamo that girl ;-)
Did I mention she's also started up her own business in Time Management?! If you need a girl to organise your life, (and I'll attest to her powers at this), I'd be happy to pass on her details!
4) Mother nature - wildlife warriors to the rescue. "Apparently" I am a wildlife warrior! I don't know how I came by this title - certainly not by any merit that's for sure! The only thing I've fought for is...hmmmm. I do love nature and have been forced to hold many creepy crawlies thanks to my entomologist/terrorising father. Anyway, basically to Bronwyn I'm a lover of wildlife - hence I'm a warrior.
Me strong fearless lady..Me go take eggs from hens for Bronwyn.. Me beat chest, as me fearless wildlife warrior...Me surrounded by hens, me not fearful... Me see beak of hens, me laugh...Me see toes, me see beak....Me run! Me hang head in shame.
5) Oh to be a man - and no that isn't a direct link with the hens! I doubt Andrew would have had better luck than I did in the chicken coup. I tell you that was one beefed up mother-hen sitting on her clutch of eggs and her bevy of bantam bouncers were just eyeing off my toes! It was purely because of my exposed toes that I was alittle 'cautious'! Anyway, so Andrew has been in bed ill with the flu for the past three days - and I'm realising what a bad wifey-wifey I am. As I was discussing with Karen and Bronwyn, it must be because as women we try to 'soldier on' even if we lose a limb! So to me, three days in bed doing nothing is not on! Yes, I'm terrible I realise this - I guess if I have a day off when I'm sick I'll still fit in housework and other chores and then when that's done go and rest for abit. Yep, I really need some lessons in wifely compassion and understanding. Oh to be a man instead..
6) Craft central - rock, paper, scissors - origami! It's time to get those pinking shears out and get a decorating! All these ideas and pieces of wallpaper I have floating about the place - and all this lack of will power! What's a lazy, un-compassionate wife to do? Well, join a craft group I say! We say infact. Bronwyn and I (yes, this girl features heavily in my day today) have struck gold we feel, with the idea to start a craft group with our joint friends. We all seem to love crafty stuff and have lots of good intentions - but follow through needs companions it seems. So come join us!!! Here's what we are thinking - one day a month we go to someone's house and they provide abit of food and we all bring our latest craft project and sit about and do just that - get creative! Anyone keen to dust off those paints and get productive?
Friday, October 3, 2008
1) Matrimonial bliss, obviously comes in at number 1 - why, I don't know! It would be impossible to achieve, let alone in two years! Who do you think we are?! Have you not been reading this blog?!
1) Matrimonial harmony, instead comes in at number 1 - much more realistic!
yes I don't count whinging to friends about my dearly-sedated, man-cold sufferer as a sign of disquiet on the home front, merely therapeautic, in the quest for conviviality!
2) Computer envy. Andrew clearly needs to organise his time better rather than whinging about my frequent forays into the 'facebook office' - how rude!
3) Domestic bliss. Yes clearly this is possible to achieve in two years. All you need is a residence (and yes we achieved home-ownership status in 2 yrs) and to rid yourselves of those pesky guilty feelings (programmed in by your parents no doubt) that dust/grime/uncleaned dishes are your enemy. Relax those standards, hide that duster and all will be well. Embrace the heat-saving benefits, of the dust carpet that enfolds you.;-) Aaah choooo.
4) Responsibility freedom. Two years.. and counting...;-). Although technically a mortgage the size of katmandu could be a slight impingement to the term freedom, and designate us as responsible - home-owners (nothing else).
5) An incredible (and deepening) love for an incredible man.
Andrew's cue to say vice-versa but he's in bed still with the lurgy so his coughs I'll take for aye aye's of confirmation.
In his many roles as friend, teacher, nurturer and entertainer, alongside that of husband, he has been such a positive influence on me and on our marriage! So that would make el husbando Mr Incredible, and by association - just call me Mrs Incredible! Together we are - The Incredibles! (it all comes back to Pixar).
Do I hear a cough of affirmation?
Grow old along with me
the best is yet to be...
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
So what did you want to be when you were/are all grown up?
I never had a burning ambition as a child to 'be' anything in particular - apart from dessert taster (this I am still working hard on) and an annoyance to my father (success!). I did enjoy the thought of archaeology at one point until I realised that bones = dirt = digging = heat. End result equals sweat and not necessarily equal archaelogical achievement of monumentous proportion (unless sweat marks the size of a small wading pool can be called an achievement of modern wonder).
Then with such sustained logic now driving my career endeavours I shied away from the sun and into the shade. The shady bone-chilling world of pathology - forensic pathology. Just call me Kay Scarpetta. Like my grandmother before me, I loved a 'good murder' and was (and am) a dab hand at guessing a 'who dunnit'. With stellar qualifications such as these my career path seemed obvious to even the dumbest schmuck! However again, I overlooked a fundamental piece in this career puzzle - bones = body = scalpel. End result equals surgery and a surgeon/pathologist inserting scalpel into aforementioned body to excise and extract pieces for puzzle. Hmm, did I mention I'm a little squeamish at the sight of operations?
Logical compromise: Plant (no blood and guts) Pathology (mysteries to solve - Elementary my dear Watson!). And it's turned out to be brilliant!
Although, as my friend Adele once asked me - what have you always wanted to do? And I wouldn't say either Archaeology or Forensic Pathology now but these would be my top 5 choices:
I spend so many moments (especially after a fabulous photographic foray around Byron Bay on our hols) thinking the immortal line "that would make a wonderful photo". I am in the car and in between clutch, brake, swear at inconsiderate drivers, clutch, ...(notice the lack of accelerator - there's never much use for one on Kingsford Smith Drive between 7.30am and 6pm!), I see the warm afternoon sun playing on the city builidings or the Brisbane river and delight in another gorgeous photographic moment - missed. If not professionally, I'd certainly welcome doing photography (scenic not people) more regularly and certainly with some proper professional equipment (and training!).
Non-fiction. I've always wanted to charm and delight people as a witty novelist (like the other 49 99999 billion people worldwide) not necessarily extrememely popular a la Steven King but more Bill Bryson - stimulating and entertaining all in one. For someone who's well on the way to stardom in this respect, check out Clever Girl Goes Blog - she writes so well and is endlessly amusing!
3) Restaurant Critic:
This was the one I told Adele when she asked! As another friend Anna, and my husband comment upon, I am already a bit of a self-proclaimed critic. I have a healthy (ahem) love of food, a good set of discriminating taste buds and I err towards pessimist [and humility ;-) ]. Restaurant critic = fait accomplis!
4) Travel Writer:
Love 1 = Travel
Love 2 = Writing
....spelling it out would be humilitating for us all.
5) Aged Care Nurse:
Yes, this has crept in recently to my top 5 displacing but not necessarily replacing psychologist. I have always been quite different in that I relate better to the older than the younger generation. This may have been caused by a lack of siblings and exposure to many adults from a young age. Plus I feel it is terrible to see the treatment of our older generation, especially in western cultures where our traditions do not place as great an emphasis on care for our elders. I know the arguement before with forensic pathology may come up here - and with due cause - I'm still squeamish! However it would be worth working on this perhaps and integrating my psychology background to maybe adapt aged care nurse to social worker come psychologist with senior citizen emphasis?
Anyway - they're my top 5 - how about you all?
Watch this post - my top 5 chocolate bars coming soon....
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
"you know you've become an old woman when...":
1. You're number one gripe is service and the lack of it from most shop assistants.
My big gripe here is that a smile doesn't cost anything (oh my goodness that distinctly sounds like a phrase my mother would use!) yet it is the hardest thing to obtain from an assistant. Is surly now a selection criteria? Gone are the days of customer service and the assumption that the customer is always right (that's how I was raised in my youth - oh those many years ago- when serving at the Newsagency).
Case in point: I've just had a run in with a woman at Kmart yesterday about poor quality photo reprints who was determined to talk over me at every single opportunity. Hence, what could have been sorted out quite easily and quickly, if the right attitude was taken to start with, escalated quite rapidly as my temper simmered then reached boiling point beneath my calm exterior (well let's hope that poker face was serving me well for once). I couldn't seem to get a word in edgeways with the Kmart lady and we reached a stale mate with her line "the machine prints them" - from which I wasn't able to move her. Today - Holster loaded (with reprints of the same photos from other stores) I then marched myself up to the photo counter in Kmart, mind brimming with possible scenarious she may counter with from her ammunition belt, and prepared for an all down show down (think guns of Navarone). Outcome: boy with pleasant attitude sorted it out in 2 seconds, refund took 5 mins, lady wasn't to be seen. All OK at the OK Corale!
2. You utter lines your mother/father would have uttered at you in your youth:
a. Is that a belt or a skirt?!
b. How does that keep her kidneys warm?!/ She'll get kidney disease with all that exposure?!(referring to short shirts with short skirts - for those as slow as Andrew out there)
c. Would a smile kill her/him?! (that's my own addition)
3. You get overwhelmed by crowds:
There is no longer joy associated with a Saturday spent shopping. Instead I find myself tired before I'm even there and once there turn into a grumpier old woman with every passing minute. Goodness knows why considering the:
a. struggle to get to the shopping centre as the rest of Brisbane goes shopping at my particular mall
b. struggle to get a car park with the rest of Brisbane because of the lack of public transport options and the lack of car spaces at shopping centres in general
c. struggle to tolerate the throngs of pre-teens/post-teens and teen-teens who swamp in their twittery groups every travelator, shop entrance and walkway that you need to get through.
d. struggle to comprehend once you've reached each store, as you madly cross off chores (no longer do you pleasure shop), where the day has gone?!
(Amendment: Andrew would like it to be noted for the record, that I am a great participatant in the 'pleasure shopping' category - bah!)
e. and don't get me started on the customer service ;-)
Friday, September 12, 2008
The collective 'we' of the Hargorrisons?!
Oh I see, it's like that is it!
I'm away for a few days and suddenly it's the silent treatment. Well, as I learnt from my cat -once I bang the tin you'll come a running again! Hmm or else just let sleeping cats lie?!..
Alternatively, I'll take the humming silence as your collective indrawn anticipatory breaths...
Jazzy Cat is back.
It's been, goodness me, nearly four days since we've returned from our Bryon Bay escape and I've been remiss in not reporting in to my cyberspace minder. But what I truly have been remiss in doing, is filling you (my stalwart cyberspace bloggees) all in on a few more classic conversations between my beloved and I.
J and A to the rescue! So without further adieu:
Andrew: "Is that a recruitment place?" - (referring to a building with the sign: "Extra Staff") - Me: "that or a chinese"
note: I'm so glad I chose the alpha male?!
Andrew: "..didn't recognise you" (as I 'surprised' him one day in the house)
Me: "yeah 48secs can do that to you"
note: that and removal of prescription lenses at close range
Andrew and I were watching the crap movie, (Crap with a capital C), "Something's Gotta Give" the other night. As the two main octagenerian's begin to get it on in the movie, (while I cower), Andrew pipes up from the opposite couch:
Andrew: "..my polyps are up!"
Me: "ah that's great?...." (and collapse into paradoxies of laughter)
note: Andrew has polyps in his nose, large obstructions basically, which cause him and thereby me grief. He can't breath quietly, and I have to try and sleep beside a rasping jet engine each night.
and for a new segment:
"You know you've married an old man when...":
a. he can't walk in a straight line
(He says I was going in the wrong direction - the direction we had both agreed on - but he seemed to want to pursue the path of most resistance ie. direct into me!)
b. he collects soap in his ear and takes great delight in telling you about it each day
(we've taken economising to new lengths)
c. he can't hear you when you're right beside him
(He says I'm a mumbler - I say that's true - to an extent. TO AN EXTENT ANDREW!)
....any connections here. Connections?
Friday, September 5, 2008
Well that seems to be how mine are going thus far!
As Min so rightly suggested, it is time for an update on my holiday 'to do' list and to share with you what exactly has been happening this past week. I'm sure everyone is dying with excitement to read of my ever-so-thrilling adventures at Bunnings, with Bpay and with the dreaded dusting - but I'll save you that excitement, alas, to another day.
Holiday Highlights - Part I
My goodness my skin has never been so well cleansed, exfoliated, rubbed and buffed for many a year! Even the toes got a look-in, with a pedicure to make them look pretty-in-pink. Then to round out the week, today the girls (Helen, Anna and Elizabeth) and I went to the Korean Bath House for some spa action. I bought the necessaries - aka: togs, champers and chocolate and Apollo Day Spa provided the hot and cold spa pools, sauna and naked women!!
This spa is not for the prudish! Hence we four swimwear-clad girls, stood out amongst all the nakedness, like a pimple on a nude bottom! Our rather feeble excuse was that we didn't want to scare the other spa devotees with our rather 'womanly' bodies! If we too had had flat abdomens and well sculptured thighs, then it would have been a free for all ;-) In another 10kg....
And what a seemless segway that was!
Yes, it has to be said, eating and pampering seem to have rated equally highly in my accomplishments for this week. Who would have thought?! After all, the stomach is the furnace, fueling me and my well-manicured feet as they tirelessly pound the pavement crossing off the essential 'chores' on my 'to do' list. So I must stoke that furnace at every available opportunity!
And what better places to refuel and restoke than:
1. New 'chocolaterie' in Paddington - this new chocolate place is next door to my favourite shop on La Trobe Tc. My favourite shop being the Antiques Market in the old cinema, which I also took much delight in scoping out this week (and may have made a purchase or two).
2. French Patisserie in Fresh on Melbourne, South Brisbane - Oh my goodness!!!!! I have a new love! The delights of the cabinets here made me swoon in a rather loud way the other day when I went there with Sal. Andrew had talked about taking me here, but alas we had never discovered where it was hidden....until this week. Oh my! I was in heaven at the sights and sounds of this authentic francophile cafe! I will be returning next week!!! (avec camera and beret).
3. Swiss deli cafe in West End - I must have walked past this before and never seen the wonderous delights of this heaving deli! Helen recommended it for lunch today so we all had a scrummy time there and I would love to return to buy a few deli items for a rather decadent picnic hamper!
4. La Belle Journee Cafe on Gladstone Rd Highgate Hill - have driven past numerous times and exclaimed at the sight of a new place which looked 'just me'. So, with no other reason than I wanted to try it out, I had a cuppa there one arvo. Lovely service and good coffee but it's location and limited menu were detractions. Don't think I'll return in a hurry.
5. Cafe/restaurant precinct in Martha St, Camp Hill - this is relatively close to us and where I had my 21st dinner infact! However, I haven't returned to this quiet surban street since and it was to my surprise when Mum suggested going there one day because it had quite a few eateries! I also realised when we got there that it was where Andrew and I had come one other night recently for dinner at Rapide (very good modern Australian). So in daylight hours I discovered that it indeed is quite an eating mecca for the suburbs, with two lovely cafe's (we only tried one), three or more restaurants and a GREAT art place! This art shop has classes and displays of the locals handiwork - well worth a visit! I may even enrol in an art class ....
Anyway enough for one day - I'm going to cook dinner and continue on 'scrapbooking' all my pictures and ideas for decorating/renovating our house (which is waaayyy in the future). This way I can fool myself into feeling organised, if all my scrambled ecletic thoughts are colourfully represented by cut out images from numerous mags and rags in a collection of scrapbooks. One day some poor salesman is going to have such a book shoved under his nose with the ominous words "something like this! is what I'm after "....
Let's see - what day is it today? Oh, two more days until we're NUDE, totally newd! ;-)
Friday, August 29, 2008
Here's what I hope to (and will not) achieve over the next two weeks:
... because hey, while the list is good for the listee it's not exactly a stimulating form of entertainment. But I'm stuck for what to write on short notice - so with glazed eyes or otherwise, attempt to read on:
1) Clean (properly) the house - this includes the dreaded dusting
2) Put tools into garage into organised unit, that currently reside in box in second bedroom
3) Fix plastic storage unit to door under sink to organise plastic lids from takeaway containers (don't know where they came from since I cook 7 nights a week ;-) )
4) Speak to next door neighbours re: tree removal - yes our disgusting palms are going to be removed one day in the near future to make way for a 'proper' garden of natives and such like
5) Craft projects including: painting, putting saved fabric pieces into picture frames, blackboard
6) Draw up sketch of new improved laundry for Dad - whose wonderfully agreed to build for us
7) Draw up plans for my new improved garden (minus palms and chinese elm weed tree)
8) Phone Claire o'seas!!!!
9) Visit Mum
10) Arrange pampering get together with girls
11) Buy much needed household items - ahem, read excuse for shopping
12) Enjoy the delights of coffee out!!! How I love an excuse for a free mag with some caffeine!
13) Go to Byron Bay for three days with Andrew and avert eyes from nudist beach we are 50m from!
14) GET FIT! - which is not in any way hindered by a "31 days of chocolate" buffet I have planned. I must, I must, decrease my distrust, of exercise.
15) Research and cement ideas for my company!!!!!!!!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Well. I have nothing to write.
Or to be more precise, I have plenty of conceivable blog ideas in my head but not enough energy to manoeuver my fingers over the keyboard long enough to convert to written form.
So instead I'll just summarise succintly -
I AM ON HOLIDAY AS OF TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!
So to prove Adele right - first thing ticked off the 'to do' list for my two week break done -
1) written on blog!
2) facebook action....
I'll be baack..
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
So Mark II - 6 (more) Un-remarkable things about me:
7) I LOVE the EKKA with a passion! Each year I go to the Ekka with my Mum, not once but at least twice! I have the advantage of getting in for free thanks to Mum's RNA membership, which is certainly a benefit! As the unrecognised ambassador of this event, I try and 'convert' lots of lapsed EKKA goers each year to the merits of this fabulous institution. My favourite things - the cows (get in early they go by Mon), the FOOD (strawberry icecream, dagwood dog, coffee, honey puffs, cupcakes (that's another story in itself) and the list goes on!) and the photography and art. There are so many free things to see and do and always lots of inspiring creative work to aspire to! Only 365 more sleeps!
8) I could potentially be a very annoying traveller. That is because of my love of photography and the tendency to always exclaim on day trips, "just a sec" and "that would make a great shot" with annoying regularity. I also tend to take my camera wherever I go and 'record' the moment, also with annoying regularity.
9) Dessert is my favourite meal - yes, it's can be a meal, not just a course! I love nothing better than making a 'pud' during winter.
10) I have dreams of a fan-forced oven and sleek all-in-one cooktop - ah yes, it's sad but true! Then one day maybe my cakes will bake properly again!!
11) I detest = Summer = humidity = sweat. No more needs to be said.
12) When it comes to a well rounded diet, I fail miserably on the main pyramid level. Fruit is my foe and not my friend. Basically I'm lazy. If it would come cut up and peeled I'd eat it. As it is, even an apple is a stretch! Shocking!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
First, the rules......
1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
4. Tag 5 following bloggers by linking them.
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.
Okay, here goes.... 6 Un-Spectacular things about me.
1) My outer extremities have been refered to as "Icebergs"!! [followed by intake of breath and loud exclamations of ah..love ;-) ]
Now I thought my friend Min had poor circulation, when during school days her fingernails turned blue at the mere mention of winter, but it looks like she may have a rival. Apparently "I have no circulation" according to a 'close' source whose exposed skin I like to torment. I say I'm just sharing my affection - Andrew may say I'm using him for his warmth. And he may just be right, especially with the winter we've been experiencing.
2) I can't stand dry cracked skin or scabs or anything rough on the surface of my skin - hence I pick everything to death and have the scars to prove it. Logical? Disorder? I know not of what you mean?!
3) I am a compulsive day dreamer. Nothing is better than long car rides to cultivate the imagination! This may also be related to why I'm hard to surprise! (I've usually already imagined the situation and all possible scenarios around it!).
4) I love surprises!!!! Getting them or giving them! However it does make it hard for others, ie. Related to (3), with Andrew finding it incredibly frustrating that I tend to guess most/all surprises he does try...but hey, practice makes perfect I say!!!
5) I overanalyze/overthink nearly everything! Innocent remark? Throw-away comment? Disorder? I know not of what you speak?!
6) My plans are grand and numerous but when it comes to completion, my momentum fades towards the finish line! Hence I'm terrible at taking shortcuts with nearly everything I do. It's one of my most frustrating traits, especially when in other aspects I'm a perfecti...
* 5 people to tag (play along if you want to):1. Tracey 2. Bronwyn 3. Renae and the last two who don't have blogs but whose responses are sure to be interesting: 4. Andrew 5. Murray
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
1. Cell phone? dying
2. Significant other? yes
3. Hair? chameleon
4. Mother? garden
5. Father? Hargreaves!
6. Favourite thing? Husbando
7. Dream last night? weird
8. Favorite drink? coffee
9. Dream/goal? many
10. Room I'm in? study
11. Church? hunting
12. Fear? freedom-less
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Earth
14. Where were you last night? Adele's
15. What I'm not? Manager
16. Muffins? Baking?!
17. Wish list item? Creativity
18. Where did you grow up? Redlands
19. Last thing I did? TRAFFIC
20. What are you wearing? uniform
21. TV? One
23. Computer? Addict!
24. Life? Yes!
25. Mood? Tired
26. Missing someone? Yes
27. Car? Old!
28. Not wearing? Tiara
29. Favourite store? Loot
30. Summer? Sweaty
31. Love someone? Yep
32. Favorite color? Blue
33. Last time you laughed? Today
34. Last time you cried? Recently
35. Who will repost? Murray
Saturday, August 2, 2008
1) Skipping - is not something you see every day. But it should be, I say! Why relinquish this joy of self propulsion at youth, when you could be lightening your load with this joyous frolicing of the feet, at any age!
The other day I witnessed a Sudanese teenager skipping merrily down a street of Moorooka (the place for the young at heart) and it got me thinking - when did I last skip? He seemed blissfully unaware that this may be unusual for most western kids of his age, and I thought how intersting that was. Then I saw it again today - another african teenager skipping lazily along! Is this related to the Kalahari warriors who jump on the spot, or the loping strides of the african marathon runners?
Regardless, it is such a fascinating example of the differences in culture. And more importantly, it is such good fun when you give it a go (yes I may have skipped around the house and had a good laugh)!
2) Fire up - and we have, at last, managed to light and sustain a fire for more than 10mins! Thank you kindling and a forward thinking Mobile servo! Mind you, this also coincided nicely with a warm spell this week! I didn't let a few extra degrees impeed me though, in my efforts to create an impressive marshmallow-toasting environment. Instead, turning our place into a sauna on Friday night, regardless of hot flushes and stampeedes to open windows.
3) Hargorrison Happy Hour - debuted on Friday night, where it was great to have a relaxed drink with friends from overseas and closer-by. Indeed, it was a double billing that night with happy hour at our place, followed by drinks for my friend Sal's birthday afterwards.
4) Funbags - Only 8 more sleeps till the EKKA!!!! Yes, devotee as I am, I am going twice to this great institution with my mum and maybe even Andrew! Nearly two years into marriage and at last I'm exerting a positive influence over my husband.
5) Moorooka - it's the place to be! I'll get the debate between those north of the river and those south started now, shall I?! Well as you're clearly aware, the southern suburbs are the place to be. You need look no further for examples than the African Festival on Saturday held at Yeronga park. As part of the Brisbane festival, which apparently ends today (glad I got onto it yesterday then!) they held celebrations for African culture at the park - which included fantastic live music and some good traditional African food and souvenir stalls. Quite amusing to see a number of aussies getting up and shaking their booty -african style - to the encouragement of the band members. The kids stole the show though when they got up on stage and wiggled it very impressively with no practice nor encouragement needed!
- The responsibilities of management -
My boss is away for three weeks this month, so I've taken the helm in the pathology department (ie. consisting of me, myself and I). This means the unfortunate batton of responsibility is passsed over and I now have the frightening power of release and destruction in my unsteady hands.
With that, is the ever disturbing problem of justification - you mean my word isn't law? - when decisions are questioned by irrate importers! And alas, that has already started! One week in - and I'm ruing the time I daydreamed away in those middle management courses!
On a lighter note - one of the guys in the nursery stock unit, with whom we work closely, actually called me Boss yesterday which made me question, not only his sanity, but the degree of knowledge he mistakenly thought I held!
Vanessa come back soon!!!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Candice, Carlene and Rachael @ Chalk Hotel - Girl's Night Out
Steph's Hen's High Tea
Southbank by moonlight
Drinks @ Jo Jo's (aka: Photo Fun for Jen)
Leo - the lionhearted burmese (not ours unfortunately)
Friday, July 18, 2008
The birthday 'troops'
My Godmother - Murph the Magnificent
The cafe has a spectacular view over the valley and you can see, on a fine day, all the way to the islands in the bay. We had a table on the verandah to take in the view to its fullest - and I was delighted to see they had made an extra effort for our birthday group - with lovely additional touches, such as flowers, tablecloth and candles!
A bird's eye view!
A few quintessential Hargreaves-isms from the day:
1) The heated horticultural conversations - One particularly extended conversation involved what the prolifically-fruiting citrus tree in the garden was. Mum swearing it was a Tangelo and grilling the waitress on this (not to her satisfaction) - while everyone else swore it was a grapefruit (Andrew, wisely, abstained from the heated discussion!). Dad brought up the leaf structure being closer to an orange in his debate (good point Dad), while Mum used the 'pimply' appearance of the skin and size of the fruit for her counter argument (hmm). Ted then disappeared to 'borrow' a fruit from the tree to take home for confirmatory testing - ie. taste testing! I tell you - I have no idea where I got my love of science from!
2) The Trivia King - aka: My Dad sharing with me his tips for remembering over 80 countries' flags! Apparently he's decided that 'flashcards' are the way to go - makes it a lot easier to train your memory that way. He's neatly printed out (all in work time of course) these flags and plans to test Andrew and I next time we come down to visit them...hmm now when is that again? 2009? Would love to see the government big-brother IT department looking through Dad's IT usage and seeing 'Azerbajahn, Quebec, Turkmenistan' and 'flags', coming up continually in his search records! I tell you - never a dull moment!
Actually, I have to admit that I'm secretly very impressed with Dad's mental ability and his voracious reading habits. Also, I'm continually awed by Mum's horticultural knowledge and wish I remembered half the things they told me. But alas, I've got the dreamer side of Dad's genes and the impatient side of Mum's genes - mix well until an even consistency, bake on high for 9 months and voila: a day-dreamer who loves to create and seek out new projects, but doesn't retain much from any nor really get a substantial lot done in the process!
The cosy enclave inside
So, all-in-all, the warm weather, the good food, the great company, the gorgeous surrounds combined to make me feel that Sunday had come early!
Mt Glorious - well worth the drive!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
While her excited piglet sidekick, took many an atrocious photo!
So this, you may have already gathered, was my foray to the Cupcake Parlour in West End. Having tempted my friend Elizabeth out of her pj's (at the respectable time of 3pm), with images of pure icing-laden decadence, we moseyed on down to the CP at WE.
Now I had high hopes for these delectably decorated treats, but alas, they fell short of the mark (the mark being set by the cupcakes from the Ekka - never has a finer-textured, more flavoursome cupcake been tasted).
I would give them top marks for visual appeal, both the cupcakes and the cute candy-striped surrounds, but low marks for actual taste. I have been told I"m a harsh critic though, so read no further if you don't want to hear my cupcake post-mortem....
Date Of Birth - approx 2 days old - not the freshest specimen I've seen
Weight - on the heavy side
Height - impressively tall for width. Suggest attractive headress may have attributed to this.
Cause of death - I believe weight may have attributed to hardening of the gut. This was followed swiftly, by a terminal failure of the taste metabolic rate. Once headdress was removed, I observed signs of flavour fall-out...all in all - a sad demise for one which showed so much promise!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Now, at last, I may be able to remember some steps for more than an hour!!
Tub thumpin' and a floor shakin' it -here I'll come every night to practice my moooves.. with a very patient, and rewind-able teacher! Poor Andrew, he and the creaking floorboards, won't know what hit them!
...ofcourse I'm as polished as those bollywood pro's! ;-)
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Last night, at dinner with good friend Murray, I had a foot-in-mouth episode - one of many in my salubrious conversational history. Here it is - with a few others thrown in for good measure:
1) Referring to a visit to the physio (my one and only) in which I was alittle shocked to find they needed me to be nearly naked:
J: "So I was there naked, bending over, and doing stuff"....hmm you can see where the two boys minds were going as they broke down into fits of laughter!
2) Domestic bliss -
A: "I think we should get a little jug thing, for the iron - you know to fill it with water easily"... (pausing thoughtfully) "So, have you ever filled the iron with water?".
3) At Ahmet's restaurant - talking with friends about a rather disturbing massage by a male masseuse:
"J: So there I was with my legs akimbo wondering what the hell was going on. The masseuse had not spoken a word to tell me why he was lifting up my leg and shaking it all about, nor why his fingers kept on steadily working up my abdomen and my hands kept on creeping lower to prevent an increasingly uncomfortable meeting!".
My friends looked a little, empathetically I thought, uncomfortable.
"Ahem" said the waiter standing behind me. "Can I take your order?". J: (aghast at yet another foot-in-mouth episode) "Oh I'll just have a large serve of humiliation - to go"....
Saturday, July 5, 2008
I've had them before, and wonder if anyone else ever has times when they too felt as if you're looking at life, from a director's point-of-view?
Scene 1: Take 1:
This afternoon I was driving back from visiting my parents in the Redlands and feeling in a 'sentimental, joy de vivre, possibilities-are-endless' sort of mood. On the radio was a song (don't ask me to name it because I can never remember bands or singers) that matched my mood perfectly, and which I imagined as a fitting soundtrack to the scenes passing me by as I drove. Every action of the passerbys, from the kids throwing back their heads with laughter as they fooled around on their bikes to the softball team playing in the park, just fitted so well into this 'soundtrack to life'. The world felt such a calm, free-spirited, joyous place in the three minutes the song set the tone for the muted actions around me. The warm setting sun of a winter's day as it bathed everything in that glorious soft red hue, also added to this surreally beautiful scene. I felt that excitement, you had when young (yes, I'm sooo old now), of the potentially endless opportunities out there to pursue and quite simply, the joy of being alive! Yes, this was the weekend! Time to revel in the freedom! Ah, but wait - it's Sunday afternoon...Doh! Why does that always happen!
Anyway that got me to thinking...what songs would others pick as a good soundtrack to life?
One that I like alot at the moment, which may do the trick, would be Coldplay's "Viva la vida". Although it will be overplayed soon and hence ruined, there's something about those staccato strings and the orchestral accompaniement that is so stirring....
Lyrics Viva La Vida lyrics
Music can be so evocative can't it! Anyone else care to share?
Friday, July 4, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
p.s. Bring on the Ekka Show day!