Thursday, December 26, 2013

Packing for fair weather...

With one eye on the weather forecast we were packing and preparing.

Looks like we need light clothes during the day and something warmer at night. I have lots of things to remember to do and to actually do AND fit in a trip to the panel beater as well. I'm looking forward to rolling out on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all...

Dear Hayley,
 Today started like every other Christmas morning with Erin waking us up and asking 'can we open presents now?' but this time it was 9am. The present opening wasn't as frenzied as other years and I hope every one was happy. The awful part of facebook is all the bragging that goes on with pics of superloaded Christmas trees. Ours was minimalist this year but that's how it goes sometimes. We went down to Big Sister's and had our usual lunch with prawns, turkey, pork, ham, loads of roast potatoes and gravy. It was all delicious. The surprise this year was a small gift with the bonbons which was a very nice touch. It was good to hear everyone's news. Big cousin is working in a pub and going off to Cambodia in January. Middle cousin finished his VCE this year and has a place at a city Uni/College to do a Bachelor of Music Production. Littlest cousin is not so little any more and will be in Year 10 next year. You will definitely be the shortest grandchild in the picture now. Little cousin is doing her IB next year as well as fitting in some part time hours at Wendys scooping icecreams.

Dad hates posing for photos

dad made sock puppets and a silly hat with his new socks

They all wanted to know what you are up to and how you are going. I missed you acutely today and thought back to you saying last Christmas that you wouldn't be with with us for this one. I didn't believe you back then but you knew what you wanted to do and I'm so glad you have gone off and done it. I hope you have a lovely day and that the people over there realise how lucky they are to have you spend Christmas with them! love you lots, Mum

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


A good last day at work that brought about more gifts and platitudes was marred by a fender bender for Erin. Someone pulling out of a driveway failed to give way and she couldn't stop before bumping into him. No-one hurt, no major damage just a shake up that an experienced driver may have avoided but with only 9 hours under her belt did not. His admission of "I wasn't looking, I didn't see you" helps a little. His insurance will have to pay but  over the Christmas break may not happen for a while. 

So the mood around here was a bit sombre as we did the last minute things but she made me laugh out loud tonight when she proclaimed that she hadn't realised pickles were...vegetables.
Erin had thought that that's what they were, just pickles, not that the vegetables were pickled to get like that. Not that she eats pickles. She sees them as the annoying thing that (other) people pick out of their burgers. She was a bit embarrassed that she hadn't realised that. Some things you learn you don't get taught you just sort of know them. This wasn't one of them.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmassy pics...

Christmas is really close now. I think I have all the gifts done and also the food done. I bought some alcohol today so really all I have to do now is work tomorrow then let the festivities begin.

 I'm not cooking anything else now. The panforte, rocky road, cashew clusters are done and I've just the pork to roast, the pear sauce to make and a salad to put together.

The over achieving neighbours are putting everyone else to shame

the Police Box lights up
 At least we had some lights going
And I got to play some more with my camera

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Queen's colours...

I liked this pantone of the Queen's fashion over the past year

I think my chart would be heavy on white then blue and throw in some orange followed by red.

What would yours be like?

Friday, December 20, 2013


I did a double take this afternoon when we turned into our street and saw this in the neighbour's front yard.

A life size London police box.

Forget Dr Who I was hoping Hayley was going to pop out.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The day where nothing happened...

Still having internet problems but was hoping that the NBN connection that was booked for today will fix them. And it might. When they come and install the next bit we will know. We are one of the first areas to roll out the NBN in Australia and during the year it was commonplace to see men working in pits outside our homes or digging up the nature strips. We had the outside connection put in some months ago. The next step is to install another box inside your house then your internet provider installs a new modem. They (NBN Co) didn't show and the next booking is for 30th Dec. So maybe then we will be a bit closer to fast reliable broad band. 

We were feeling the love today when the Specialist gave us our Christmas gift.

One each, for a special occasion
He celebrates Chinese New Year instead of Christmas but always thanks us generously. Thank you Dr F, I will enjoy.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dear Hayley, anniversary edition...

Dear Hayley,

Congratulations on your 6 month anniversary!!!!

The last 6 months seems to have flown by. 6 months since I squeezed you goodbye at the airport and watched you go through those doors with a mixture of emotion. Having to let you go on your adventure was hard for me as a mother. I want to be there, for all of you, to help you with things, to make things easier for you but you seemed to have done a great job figuring it out for yourself.

I am immensely proud of you for going off to the other side of the planet, to see and do things I have only seen on TV. I am so glad we are able to message chat so frequently. I look forward to the video chatting more though as I want to hear your voice. Sometimes I ring Erin's phone to hear your voice mail message with your Aussie accent. I know things haven't always been perfect for you but you have matured so much in the way you handle them. I know people will love you wherever you go and your personality will get you far.

Celebrating Christmas away from family and old friends will be different but you survived your birthday in a foreign country, and you've travelled on your own and gotten a job. Who knows what the next 6 months will bring and how many countries you'll visit in that time. Like I said to you before, while you are away I have something interesting to talk to people about, even on Saturday night at the Christmas party I was telling all manner of strangers about you! All things here will be exactly the same when you get back, just you will a world traveller. You'll always be able to say " When I lived in England I..." When I lived in Spain I turned 25..." "I saw in the New Year in London..."

We love you, we miss you and we live vicariously through you, keep it up!

Love, Mum,xxx

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The wedding/christmas party...

We inadvertently became wedding crashers today. Our work Christmas function was booked at a local restaurant and our tables were upstairs. On the other side of the big room was a wedding party. We seemed to have the same menu and were able to enjoy their entertainment. We were  joking about photo bombing and catching the bouquet but they were a very sedate group and didn't have any speeches or cake cutting while we were there.

The bride was very pretty.

Mrs G and I had a nice time

The food is nice at 'Stone Bar & Grill'
The weather is warming up but I can smell smoke in the air, hopefully the smell of cake cooking will cover that up. I hope the family don't mind a toasted sandwich for dinner, I'm all partied out.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The kitchen's heating up...

I started on the Christmas baking. Finally. Erin had made peppermint truffles, some to give to her guitar teacher and has nearly eaten the rest herself. Today I started the rum balls and the almond bread and made some of these yummy spice cookies

Tomorrow in between our Day Medical Christmas Lunch and shopping I will make the Christmas cake, some gingerbread, roll the rum balls, slice and dry the almond bread and hopefully make the panforte, rocky road and cashew clusters.

I had to drive 70km to get the glace fruit I needed. Nowhere closer had any. Chris and I zoomed over to the Nut Shack in Werribee to get it and then they didn't have any figs. While I was being served an older couple struck up a conversation about glace fruit. In the 10 minutes it took to get my requirements I learned that they were travelling from Adelaide to see family and cant get glace fruit anywhere in Adelaide. He was born in Seddon and tomorrow is their 50th wedding anniversary. They were lovely people but chatty.

We are off to our favourite restaurant, The Plough, for Chris' breakup. Should be a good night, I know several of the drivers but more of the wives from tennis or work. There is nothing worse than not knowing anyone at your partners function. That is why Chris will stay home tomorrow while I go out and enjoy some more good food at Stone.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dear Hayley...

Dear Hayley,
I loved our Skype conversation yesterday, you definitely have a lilt to your voice that has an English influence but your funny, quirky self still shines through. I went through your stuff today looking for the peach scarf but couldn't find it. I found a jumper and a thick shirt that Erin has snaffled up to wear. If the Post Office x-rays your parcel they might be a bit puzzled by the hair extensions. Don't read the declaration on the outside of the parcel so you get a suprise when you open it.

I have been playing around with the camera and put the exposure onto 5 seconds to get this pic of the lit Christmas tree

 Not bad. It took a few shots to get this one, you cant see what you are photographing in the dark.

Then I put the camera on 'P' for this shot of your decoration. Erin wanted to put all the decorations on the tree in the end.
Hope you are nice and warm and looking forward to Christmas.

Love you, Mum

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Internet is back!!!...

The last 4 days have been interminably long. Between the four of us we had gobbled up 500 gig of data and without internet we didn't quite know what to do with ourselves.

But now it's back and I can try to catch up the last 4 days.

The Grammar clocked up 25 years and to celebrate the anniversary they handed out these badges to all the students. Erin is wearing hers with pride. Not a lot of years in the scheme of things but the school has grown from humble beginnings with a handful of far sighted parents to the magnificent school it is today.

Monday it poured with rain most of the day but then cleared to a beautiful evening so the Monday night ladies could play out their grand final. Not in it this season I was able to cheer on and watch.

Still no word from the bolting student. The more I think about it the more I can see that our experience with her is just a small part of the bigger picture. And now not communicating with the University is cementing her future.

Running buddy told me about a Pilates class at her son's gym held on a Wednesday night. I went up to see if I liked it and was delighted to see my previous instructor is now holding her classes in this bigger space. I really missed Pilates this year and thought I had lost my place forever with Karen. She is highly sought after as a myotherapist and has a long waiting list. Not really what you want when you have an injury that needs attention but a measure of her skill. I will be attending classes and my saggy core will be strong in no time.

Erin is finished school and Chris is finished school runs on the buses. I hope he gets some charters over the long summer break. This year his chocolate ratio is 6 to my 1. Luckily for Erin neither of us eat chocolate. He was well rewarded by the children and got some lovely cards to go with his haul. Some parents are well organised and generous. Me, I'm neither. I can still barely get into the Christmas spirit.

I'm dying for a chat with Hayley tonight and then hope to get a bit more organised over the weekend.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The wallet...

I have made some good friends at the tennis club. Today I played in the club championships and teamed up with a lovely young girl after my partner suddenly had to ditch me cancel. We won 2 sets and lost one 8-5 and the other in a tie breaker. All in all a good day, not too hot and not too late. If I had of entered a mixed or veterans section I would have had another 6 sets to play and that would have been just too much. We aren't club champions after all.

Hayley gave this to me for Mothers Day
I was telling someone today what had happened on Thursday night and now I will tell you. After the grand final we stood around and had some drinks to celebrate, I got my wallet out to pay and put it on a ledge while we were chatting. I didn't give it another thought and I didn't get another drink as I was driving. When I got home at about 1045pm I heard a little tapping on the front door. I opened to see the lovely Rosie standing there with my wallet in her hand.

As they were leaving the club rooms they noticed the wallet, looked inside for my address then dropped it off to me on their way home. What lovely kind, considerate people. And I hadn't yet noticed the missing wallet before it was returned to me and I didn't have any hassle trying to get it back from locked club rooms or the stress of cancelling cards etc.

Thank you John and Rosie. I am very lucky to found such good people through tennis.

We have used up our 500 gig data allowance again this month, we are really puzzled as to where all this data is going. Just a few more days of really slow internet before it is reset. We are using as little as possible until then but it is very difficult, we are all so dependant on it. May not be a post until we sort this out.

Dec 7...

My blue and silver themed Christmas tree got this little addition. Erin found it and put it on in honour of Hayley.

Ole' Hayley girl, we are missing you this Christmas time.

We ventured to Highpoint this afternoon. The queues were long, the carpark was busy and we didn't achieve that much but we are getting a little closer.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A day off...

After last night's tennis grand final I woke up with a very sore forearm. I know it's an overuse issue but I wont give up tennis so am trying this to soothe my ache

This pungent salve was an enormous help to Hayley after she crushed her fingers. After the damage was repaired from the heavy sash window falling onto her hand she used to rub in Tiger Balm to ease the lingering ache. She even took it with her to the UK so I had to buy another pot. It smells strongly of spices and it has a strange effect of warming the muscle until it feels cold. That sounds strange I know, but that is how it feels. I am playing in the Club Championships on Sunday so I want to be in good condition.

We missed out on cardio tennis this morning and my forearm has felt OK while I was scrapping/chatting with Big Sister today for a much needed catch up. There were work woes aplenty to commiserate about. We are both looking forward to our Christmas break.

I'm looking forward to some warm weather as well...


Missed yesterday's daily pic. I shouldn't say my plans out loud as they don't always eventuate. Yesterday I went to a 730am meeting which was today. I then went to work, came home and went for a run then fell asleep on the couch.
Today I went to the 730 am meeting on the correct day, had a busy day at work which included failing the student's clinical placement. I came home with one eye on the weather bureau's radar which tracked the sometimes heavy showers and wondered if we would get our mixed doubles tennis grand final in.

turned out to be a chilly perfect night
Well we did

Runners up this time
 It was very close. 2 sets a piece and it came down to the 5th set decider. I won one and lost one, so it was very even and lots of fun. It was quite cold still and only one shower interrupted play. It was as cold today in Melbourne as it was in Ipswich for Hayley.

I'll try to keep up with a daily pic from now on.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Taco Tuesday...

It's Tuesday so it must be tacos for dinner. It has become a tradition for Tuesdays after a busy day at work. I wish all meals were as simple to put together and everyone makes it how they want it. Erin makes nachos sometimes and Cal makes fajitas.It was one of Hayley's favourites as well, even though she worked in a Mexican restaurant she never tired of it and I see on her blog that she is checking out international Mexican places as well

Even Chris assembles.

Monday, December 2, 2013

December daily - its all about fertility...

I am trying to post a daily photo in December and wondered what I would put up the days I am at work. During the week we work, eat and repeat. We wear uniforms daily and lead a pretty boring life. So when this little bit of gold landed in the mail box this afternoon, it really helped me out.

Cal has been randomly selected from the electoral roll to participate in a survey about fertility management.

He looked at me a bit incredulously when I asked him if he would do it. Seeing as he is a 22yo male without a girlfriend it seems pointless to him and just a bit embarrassing.

I know they need a broad cross section of answers to satisfy their enquiring minds and to give us the real truth. He on the other hand does not.

I was just tickled with the large envelope from Monash University, and we got a good laugh out of it anyway.

Today was a very warm day and my dedicated handy husband has replaced the broken pump from the rooftop air conditioner. Yesterday he was on the roof doing its pre season maintenance and declared the pump deceased. Today between runs and a trip to the plumbing suppliers (and $150 later) he has it working very nicely thank you very much.

Probably by Thursday we will need the heater again.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dear Hayley...

Dear Hayley,

Today is the first day of Summer and the day we usually put up the Christmas tree. Erin wanted a real one this year but I didn't get one so we put up our usual tree. She is enthusiastic at the start but peters out before its done.

I finished it off and put out some of the house decorations. It was a warm day and maybe our summer will start now. I don't feel Christmassy yet and it usually takes me a while to get into the mood. The house lights may not go up this year, I have to get Dad motivated as well. I haven't got a clue what gifts to get you or anyone for that matter. I started the facebook album to share our Christmas with you. I'm not doing it to make you homesick or to miss us at Christmas but to see we are doing the same things we always do. When I start my cooking I will get into the mood. I will have to work Christmas Eve and then start holidays, luckily Christmas Day is at Big Sisters'. Nana is coming over and staying with your Aunties I think on the 18th.

Do you see that shadow in the first tree picture? Some of the other inside pics I took are like that too. It looks like the flash isn't aligned or something. I want to play with the exposures are bit more now and want to get a pic of the tree at night with the lights going.

Erin has her first guitar concert tonight and she doesn't want me to watch her. I'll either sneak in the back or get Callum to video it on his phone.

I hope your Christmas will be nice, and you get to spend it with family-like people. It will be quite different having it in wintery conditions. All those cards with snow flakes on them will be perfect. I hope you get to have a tree and rumballs and turkey and gingerbread and reindeers dashing through the snow.

love, Mum xxx

Monday, November 25, 2013

My gorgeous girl...

I was trying to explain to Erin why I hate so much when people put up their hand to block their face when you are trying to take their picture. Or they turn away or pull a face. What you end up with is a bad photo of them and this reinforces their wailing on how bad they look in photos. If you just do a nice smile and its all over and everyone is happy. She has been doing this to me lately, wont let me take her picture, it is very frustrating. Chris is exactly the same. We will look back one day and wont have any good photos.

So we sat and thumbed through her scrapbook albums last night. And she has a few. There were lots of 'aww how cute' moments. She was reading through the comments and notes and we had a lovely time looking back at them. She remarked how the number of photos has dwindled and that reinforced my point exactly.

Hopefully she wont carry on in the future when I pull out my lovely new camera. It also sparked lots of conversation about what sort of a baby she had been and some of her accomplishments. It was a very nice time spent together. I think she is gorgeous and I love her to bits.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Catching Fire...

Erin desperately wanted to see the second Hunger Games movie 'Catching Fire'. We have both read the books and I was keen to see it as well. The new shopping centre had an opening special of $10 a ticket so it was a rainy afternoon well spent. We thoroughly enjoyed it and felt it was as close to the book a movie can get. I dabbed away some tears and gasped several times. It was action packed and engaging. And it leads you straight into the 3rd book which they are half way through filming. I didn't enjoy the 3rd book as much as the first 2 so it will be interesting to see how they wrap it up. We did a bit of shopping and satiated ourselves at the Max Brenners chocolate shop. I was surprised to see how wet it was when we came out at 6pm, the roads were flooded in parts and I'm glad Erin hadn't wanted to drive today, it would have been quite hairy for a novice. She can get some practice in those conditions when she has mastered dry roads first.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tennis and tea...

Yesterday was the second High Tea Tennis Tournament run as a fundraiser for the hospital. I had worried over the forecast over the last week but in the end the showers stayed away, we had a mild day with little wind and occasional breaks of sunshine. The day couldn't have turned out better. Or it might have if we had come home with a trophy. But not to worry we all had fun.

 This year I paired up with Helen. Her partner from last year moved to Cairns in June so we've started a new pairing. We are similar players and were put into B grade and ended up winning 2 and losing 2 of the 4 matches. We were soundly beaten by the eventual winners of our Grade but we were a bit stiff to lose to the other pair. They were an older pair who were pretty serious about the match. We were ahead 4-2 when Helen copped a ball in her face. Her sunglasses didn't break but cut into the bridge of her nose. We suspended play and mopped up the blood then returned to the court. Even though she said she was fine I think Helen was a bit rattled after that and we went down 4-6. You have to watch out for the older ones they don't look like they have got the goods but they can whip your arse without breaking a sweat.

I thought I had the goods
 We had a yummy lunch between sets and some champers afterwards

It was a very nice way to spend a Friday all for a good cause.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I hate moths...

I hate moths. I hate the way they flap around. If you look closely at a moth they have creepy furry bodies and feelers. I hate they way that they fly straight at you. I don't like spiders much either but I know a spider on the wall will stay there, it wont suddenly fly into your face. I also don't like the gutsy feeling if you are brave enough to cover them with a tissue and squash them. They will not co-operate if you try to shoo them out the door.

this is my hell
We are having a plague of them at the moment and there are hundreds flapping around outside and many of them are making their way inside...shudder...
If I leave the washing out overnight invariably there will be a few stuck inside the clothes when I bring them in. And as I sit here and type with the blinds open they are banging on the window trying to get to the light.

They love my grapevine and they are out there laying eggs that will turn into caterpillars which will eat my lovely shady grapevine leaves.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dear Hayley...

Dear Hayley,

Hello love! So the weather is changing and you're feeling the cold now. I was reading this page about moving abroad...
Have a read, I think you will identify with all of the points, especially how its normal to have some regrets.

We had 2 lovely warm days and now its back to cold again. I am hoping our Ladies Day Tennis Tournament on Friday will not be a wash out. Fingers crossed. I've put on some fake tan lotion but it might be for nothing.

Maureen's daughter Amanda is back from her travels and is looking for work locally to save some money before she heads off again. She has an interview at the new Max Brenner chocolate shop that has opened at Woodgrove. She was thinking of applying at Burke on Main as they 'need staff' but I told of your experience and she wasn't keen anyway.

Do you want me to send over my red woollen knitted coat from Ishka? Erin tells me you want the hair and a peach scarf, is there anything else?

She is desperate to see the second Hunger Games movie, we might go on the weekend. Did you see Jennifer Lawrence's new pixie hair cut? It looks really cute. Wish my short hair looked as good.

I've started watching the next Real Housewives of Beverly Hills but there is no Taylor or Camille. I get annoyed with it and fast forward through the bits where they are fighting with each other and then the show is over.

Love to you my dear and I hope you are having fun with your new friends and enjoying the 'living abroad' experience, xxx

Monday, November 18, 2013

City to sea wrap up...

Photos and times are in, the race is done and I am looking forward to the next event.

We couldn't have asked for a better day yesterday morning with a top of 22 forecast. The skies were clear and blue and not even a puff of wind. We lined up outside the Arts Centre in St Kilda Road and headed off in the second 'green' wave at 8:10. Down St Kilda Rd at a cracking pace, around Albert Park Lake and then down Fitzroy St to Beaconsfield Pde and back to Catani Gardens. The course was fantastic. All 14kms were flat or even the slightest hint of a decline down to the foreshore.

I struggled towards the end. My mind was telling me all the things I didn't do right.  Mistake number 1. I hadn't really trained for this distance. I foolishly thought that the training we did for the half marathon would carry me over the line. Mistake number 2. I didn't carbo load or hydrate the day before. At 10 ks in I felt as if I had no energy at all. Mistake number 3. I didn't wear my compression pants. Placebo or not those pants seem to squeeze the best out of you. Mistake number 4. My shoes are on the way out. I need to replace them, they have done the hard yards and have no spring left in them. Mistake number 5. I ran too fast in the beginning. Classic mistake, I've read lots of articles telling me you shouldn't but I couldn't seem to get the pace right. Mistake number 6. I let my head get the better of me and I didn't like the last bit and just wanted it to be done.

I finished in 1:33 and beat myself senseless with the "what I should have done differently's". The rest of the day was lovely. We had coffees and a late second breakfast and a browse around St Kilda market and shops with our medals around our necks like the Victors we felt.

I'm sure we'll do that one again, with hindsight and a little recovery time I am feeling good again about this running caper.