Monday, July 21, 2008

My mum's garden...

Thought I'd share the tropical "jungle" that is my mum's garden. I loved it as a kid, and still love coming down to visit them and seeing what's new and what's flowering.

It's always staggering to think of the time she puts into the garden and how it has evolved over the 20+ yrs they have been there. They planted everything from scratch on the bare block before I was born and it has grown into the 'jungle' (as my friends used to call it) that you see today. Full of gum trees, shade loving plants, rainforest trees, natives and a few vegetables (that's Dad's turf!).

And it's not just the flora! In terms of fauna - she regularly sees koalas in the gum trees, lots of birds due to the natives planted, blue tongue lizards, pheasants and a few snakes!

Here is the newest part - the little pond area:

Wordless Weeknight..

I'm a bit lacklustre in all respects tonight.

So you can breathe a sigh of relief - no wordy post to follow!
Instead ponder on a few random photos -

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)

My man!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mt Glorious - it is!

Today was a Sunday.

Technically, you may be right in reminding me that the monks may say otherwise, but I say in all other respects it felt like a Sunday!

And what a delightfully fine day it was too - for celebrating, belatedly, my mum's birthday. Andrew and I had organised lunch, at the cafe we discovered on our last trip to Mt Glorious. So, together with my godmother - Murph, family friend - Ted and Mum and Dad, we all trooped up to this glorious mountain retreat for a leisurely lunch. And, unlike last time, I had my camera with me to capture the moment (and the view).

The birthday 'troops'

The Birthday Girl's Sparkler Moment

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!

Talking about projects - the beautiful rambling garden at the cafe inspired me, yet again, to look at my own poor backyard and get 'stuck-in'! Plus, the warm and cosy enclaves inside inspired further day dreams a la Martha Stewart!

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

"The Wedding God's....

have conspired against us" (direct quote from Groom-to-be)!

Would you believe, the only two wedding invitations we got this year....and they were on the SAME day! July the 12th to be exact!

So it was with much delight that we attended Julie and Keir's wedding yesterday, but with much regret that we had to decline Steph and Roger's invitation.

I'll quickly share with you some photos from Julie and Keir's wedding. The ceremony was held at St Mary's Anglican Church at Kangaroo Pt (overlooking Brisbane river and city - gorgeous!) and the reception at Brisbane Golf Club at Graceville. I'm very tempted to go back to St Mary's as the priest seemed particular good - sincere yet humorous - which could bode well for his sermons! The church itself was visually stunning, small and cosy with English-reminiscent interior ie. lovely stained glass windows and fresco ceiling.

The night went off well, with particularly good speeches from all the bridal party and relatives. Julie's speech 'ticked all the boxes' our table noted - emotive, sincere, humorous etc. - which not only drew tears from her but from everyone listening! Lovely to see both her and Keir so happy!!

Julie looked STUNNING in her vintage inspired gown as did the groom in his silver vest-tie combo. I'm going to have to ask Julie the name of the dressmaker she used for the bridesmaid's outfits, as they too wore simple yet stylish dresses.

As Andrew and the rest of our table noted (I may have spent a while taking photos - length of time being effected by my new camera which refuses to take anything in focus!), I was full of admiration for all the attention to detail (hey, been there-stressed over that) in the decor at the reception. I loved all the personal finishes by Julie (and Keir) which tied everything together. As an art teacher, her creativity was clear with personally designed and made invitations (just GORGEOUS), place cards, menu's and bonbonnier boxes. Wish I had half her talent and flair!

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Le Soeur (not pronounced as "Le Sewar" as foot-in-mouth Jen did, but instead "Le Swerve")!! Congratulations also to Roger and Steph! Best wishes for your married lives together!

and this little piggy....

went umph umph umph umph, through her chocolate cupcake...

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


I'm so excited! I just found not only the music to the dance routine we're doing at Bollywood dancing lessons at the moment, but also a video on You Tube! It's fantastic! Check it out below..

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

Jen - foot in mouth syndrome sufferer...

I'm just back from Bollyfunk and what better lead in than my two left feet for some foot-in-mouth funtime.

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?".
J: "mmmm (guilty sideways glance), I did once"...
A: (gasping for air while laughing) "ONCE!" A: "Have you noticed it has been empty for the past TWO weeks?!!. Here was I thinking it was a mexican standoff!".
J: "Well I only iron the collar of my work shirts and work pants!".
A: (again shocked) - "Are you a woman?".
J: (taken aback) - "What?! Is loving ironing supposed to come genetically with the X chromosome or something?".
A: "No, it's just that's something a guy would do - only iron their collar".
J: (affronted) "But I wear a jumper all day, every day, in winter over the top of my shirt!".
A: (struggling hard) - "that's exactly what a guy would do!". A: "So here was I thinking it was a mexican standoff, but it's more that you're just too darn lazy"....
J: "hmmmmm maybe?! "
(Ah, Andrew - he's my Iron Man!).

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

Soundtrack to life...

I just had a "Movie Moment".
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

A change is as good as a holiday..



Have had a few classic reactions to the reversion to my (near) natural colour, after four years as a blonde. The funniest being the people at work who didn't recognise me! They stared at me through the glass into the laboratory where I sit, and I waved back. Still looking perplexed they looked around me and then headed then call me on my extension and see if it was me! Hilarious!

My boss asked me if a change was as good as a holiday....well, we'll have to see. Apparently blondes have more fun, but hopefully that isn't the case - I do miss the blonde, but felt like a serious change - or change for the serious!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hump Month..

It's like this I feel...

Wednesday = Hump Day of the week, June-July = Hump Months of the year.

The public holidays are over, the only prospect of a decent holiday is 6 months away and I'm in a slump! Hence I've decided that currently it feels like a Wednesday at work, and has done for the past month... You're glad to see it come, but my goodness it seems to go all too slowly when all you're looking forward to is the weekend.

Is it just me? Or is anyone else out there, in the eerie echoing vastness of cyberspace, also feeling sluggish at present?

As Andrew can attest to, I'm having particular trouble getting out of bed each morning at my alloted time of 6.10am. Seemingly with the advent of winter I have chosen to ignore everything apart from the doona, including the alarm clock and Andrew shaking me at regular 5min intervals. Aaaah sweet doona, bringer of warmth and just 5 more minutes slumber..

When I do drag myself to work, missing breakfast and some serious makeup needed to disguise my hideousness, I feel exhausted by 10am. On the positive, I think I've managed to bring my colleagues down with me! At lunch time my small group of 4 coworkers in Operational Science (2 x ento's and 2 x plant path's) sit around the table and just look blankly at our lunches..too lethargic to even bother with trivial conversation on the appalling state of the traffic (always a hot topic!).

So.. now I'm home from work, and exhausted once again. Tonight, as per usual, I'll resort to the computer, the sofa and the TV for entertainment to distract me from the chores that are just tooooo much for my tired body. Then some more computer time before hitting the hay at 11pm...

I tell you, it must be hump month, there can be no other explanation! ;-)

p.s. Bring on the Ekka Show day!