Monday, August 31, 2009

We Found A Dragon

During our quick walk around the Fitzroy Gardens yesterday, we found this beautiful dragon. We had to wait for some people (adults, not kids) to leave before we took these pictures. As soon as I finished taking the 3rd picture, 4/5 kids and their parents arrived and we had to leave.

The Dragon turned out to be a slide. People are supposed to climb up its neck to get to the top of the slide between her wings and then slide down her spine and tail. Behind the Dragon is a sand pit. That's probably where her eggs are! Better not tell Hagrid about that!

Next to the Dragon slide was what looked like a two legged Giraffe holding a beam with two swings.

I love playgrounds, especially slides. I used to think that playgrounds should not be installed in gardens like the Fitzroy because it will distract the children from properly exploring the plant life. There is one getting built on Grant Street - not far from our Pigeon Hole. I first heard of the council's intention in April last year and nothing happened until a few months ago. I thought the people living in the apartments directly next to it may have objected to the idea. After seeing the plan for this new playground at a notice board, I just can't wait to have a look when it is completed. There is an increase of little Vegemites living in our area in the last year or two. People are slowly accepting the possible idea of raising children in pigeon hole type housing. Small families in our building tend to move out soon after their babies become toddlers but lately we are beginning to see a change.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy 174th Birthday Melbourne

Today is Melbourne Day. We received an Events and Attractions Program in our letter box around a fortnight ago and decided to attend the Official Flag Raising Ceremony and visit a few places listed in the booklet. Despite living close to Enterprize Park, we got there with less than 5 minutes to spare. LOL. A man named Ron Walker walked past me as we were crossing the bridge to get to the north bank and as usual, I didn't recognise him. LOL.

Here is our current Lord Mayor (Robert Doyle). Like Jeff Kennett, he seemed to like dressing up too. Is that jacket cool or what? LOL

Raising the flag ...

At the ceremony, speeches were made, a town crier read a letter from the Mayor of Launceston, semi-naked men danced, old style tram conductors gave away 'tickets' but the things I like most were performed by this small group of 'soldiers'.

The birthday cake consisted of 174 cupcakes made by Epicure. Other food and drinks were also served for free to the public but we took only one cupcake. LOL.

Our next stop was to visit the replica of the Enterprize docked at Waterfront City Marina at Docklands. This was a free event. I was quite surprised to see that it was much smaller than the Young Endeavour.

Docked in front of the Enterprize was the Zephyr. It is apparently Australia's oldest yacht.

We had lunch at Nandos over at Harbour Town and bought a toy for someone's birthday and another Schleich animal figurine, a kid (a baby goat) this time, for ourselves.

After leaving the Waterfront City Marina (Docklands), we took a tram to the other side of the city. We got off at the Parliament and then walked over to the City Museum at the Old Treasury. We have been into its basement to check out the vaults years ago but we have never explored the rooms displaying the development of Melbourne as a city. The picture I took shows a part of Melbourne in the 19th century. We were only there for about 1.5 hours and were the last to leave because it was closing time (4:00 pm). I really wanted to stay longer. I am curious about the family (the Maynards) that used to live there all so long ago. We also didn't have time to check out the shop at all.

After we left the museum, we walked over to see what was happening at the Cooks' Cottage. Although the entry fee was super affordable, we didn't take up the offer this time. We have been in there before and will properly visit this park (Fitzroy and Treasury Gardens) again later in the year. We did find something interesting when were there and I will blog about it tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Bonus Bundle Finally Arrived

We bought a new printer back in June. As part of the purchase, we were offered a choice of two bonus bundles that were supposedly valued $100 each. To redeem the bundle M had to go online to submit some contact details. Unlike people who turn up on shows like A Current Affair or Today Tonight to complain about being ripped off by similar promotions, we have never experienced such bad luck over the years. The bundle of our choice arrived last week. We chose the Home Bundle and it consisted of a pack of 10 T-shirt transfers, 40 sheets of A4 size, glossy photo paper, 40 sheets of small semi glossy photo paper, a pack of 25 DVD-Rs and 10 sheets of A4 coloured cards. Other than the T-shirt transfers and the DVD-Rs, I have never bought the other products in the bundle before, so I don’t really know if the bundle is really worth around $100. LOL. I did wonder why Canon didn’t offer Cash Back bonuses like other home office products though. Maybe this is one way to encourage us to use our printer more. Imagine the cost of replacing all the ink tanks regularly because we are printing anything and everything!!!

Sad Memories and then a Sweet Dream

Winter is almost gone! I have been kept so busy all Winter this year that I have almost ‘forgotten’ to feel sad. I have been experiencing gloomy Winters since 2006 and last year was particularly bad because my Guinea Pig died and I was grieving. Winter 2009 has been only short in my opinion. It was only cold and grey for a month and a half. We have been experiencing more Spring-like days in the last week or two. The days are slightly longer, the temperature is slightly higher for at least part of the day and what I love most is when the sky is blue for at least a few hours. Spring is now my happiest season.

I woke up at 4:00 am on Sunday morning feeling a bit sad. I stayed in bed and stared at my Guinea Pig’s photo. This is the same photo of him as the one featured in this blog except that this is a framed black and white version. The photo used to sit next to the fish tank in the living area but because we have moved the fish tank over to the dining area, I had moved it into our bedroom last Friday. Both M and I love this photo of our Guinea Pig but for some weird reasons, it got me thinking about his final hours. Tears started to roll and I began to feel like my tummy was upside down, but the feeling wasn’t as intense as it used to get. It took me nearly two hours of thinking about other things before I went back to bed. When I did eventually get out of bed, I still felt a little sad about my Guinea Pig.

On Monday morning, my sleep was disturbed again when I woke up around 3:30 am. This time I wasn’t feeling sad because I woke up from a pleasant dream. The photo that I mentioned before sits near our bedroom door. In the dream, the area near the entrance to our bedroom had turned into our Guinea Pig’s new home! His cage sat on top of a special metal trolley and I was placing fresh hay into the cage. My Guinea Pig burrowed in and out of the hay. He seemed very happy. I think I went to the kitchen to get a drink and was back in slumber land within minutes.

M came home with the latest catalogue for IKEA yesterday. I can’t wait to look into it. I want to buy a new lampshade for the lamp placed next to my Guinea Pig’s ‘ashes’. I am going to re-organize the things on top of my new chest of drawers. I want it to be peaceful and neat. I also want the lamp to be placed closer to my side of the bed so it can actually be used as a reading lamp for when I am reading in bed.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Surprises from Long Ago inside This Little Diary

I found this little Sanrio diary in a crate filled with unused or partially used stationery that I was sorting through last Friday. I bought it during my first trip to Melbourne when I was still attending a boarding school interstate. I remember liking it because it has a lock. Lucky for me though that it is not locked up because I do not know where I have stashed the keys!

Anyway this little diary was passed around school, mainly among the population of boarders + a few day kids, in the final weeks of the school year for anyone interested to leave me a few lines as remembrance of my wonderful time spent there. The diary was passed around so much that at times I didn’t even know its whereabouts. Eventually it did come back to me and yes people actually left me more than just a few lines! After I moved to Melbourne, the diary sat at first inside my desk drawer before it was stored inside this plastic crate for years.

After the diary came back to me, I had a look inside briefly but I never read what anyone had written. It wasn’t because I didn’t bother to. I just couldn’t face up to what people have got to say about me. As time goes by, I have completely forgotten about this little diary. When I first saw it last Friday (14/08), I remembered buying it in Melbourne and that’s about it. That is strange for me because I am known to have a superb memory. I am a bit like that TV character called Monk. LOL. As soon as I saw the note stuck just inside the front cover I instantly remembered what this little diary had been used for. This time I was eager to read what had been tucked away inside this diary for so long and because it has been such a long time since I left the boarding school, I was ready. There were no nasty surprises at all. The diary was just filled with pages upon pages of encouragements, reminiscences of shared experiences and what they have noticed of me. No one was rude at all. In fact, they loved me. I can’t believe it but people had actually liked me and this included people whom I thought at the time were a little frosty towards me! Because of my own refusal, it had taken me so many years to realise that they didn’t mind having me around after all! At this stage, I still haven’t finished reading everything written in the diary. I am saving them for when I am down. The little diary is no longer stored inside that plastic crate. It has now joined my drawer of favourite T-shirts.

Homemade Takeaway Meal for Moosh

I cooked this meal for M to take to work last week. It consisted of three small burger patties, a few slices of zucchinis and some broccoli and carrots, plus a small dollop of Lingonberry jam. A little bit of homemade Teriyaki sauce is drizzled over the food but it didn't show up in the picture.

There used to be a Four’N Twenty pies ad on TV where one tradie declared the food inside his brown paper lunch bag as “Rabbit’s food” and his mate peered inside his own lunch and declared “Mine is still growing” before the two went to buy pies for lunch instead. I used to think that is how M would see any food I made for him to take to work. I didn’t think he would appreciate my effort but it turned out that he quite likes the meals I make for him, including this one.

I don’t think the meals I make are particularly healthy but they are certainly cheaper to make than if M had to buy his meals everyday. My frugalness did and still does to a certain extent bother me from time to time because I don’t want him to look shabby but he doesn’t seem to mind one bit. It is bizarre how he doesn’t care how others perceive him while I am still slowly learning to ignore others judgements and criticisms.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Walk to Docklands

Spring is definitely around the corner. We had beautiful blue skies this morning. The temperature was mild enough for me to wear an unlined denim jacket over a long sleeve t-shirt. Since M didn’t have to go to work until after lunch, nosey us decided last night that we would walk to the Docklands to see Costco. It’s their first day of operation. At the entrance, we were given the impression by this lady that we had to sign up for membership before we could enter but M thought that anyone could walk in and that only members could purchase anything. The place looked very busy. There was already a long queue of people entering another door to either sign up for membership or to pick up their membership cards. The membership fee is only $60, an amount that is not too pricey in the eyes of many shoppers but is it worth getting one since there are only the two of us in this little household? On top of that we didn’t have all day to wait around because we had to be home before lunch time. In the end, we decided to ditch Costco and went window shopping at Harbour Town instead.

This is the moment when we first spotted Costco. I was given a few stares by a father and son team for taking this photo. There were no signs indicating that photography was prohibited in that area.

Oh, just look at this poor Ferris Wheel. It operated only for a few weeks and is now getting taken down because it is already broken due to the drought apparently.

We bought a Swabian-Hall piglet and a Gnu calf from Toy Kingdom to add to our collection of Schleich figurines. We also picked up the latest catalogue.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Queuing for Noodles

There is a new Asian grocery store in the City. This one is located at the old Commonwealth Bank site (corner of Little Bourke Street and Swanston Street). I found out a week and a half ago that they are offering customers a special instant noodles deal for the month of August. At 5 pm each day, 50 customers are welcome to purchase Nong Shim brand Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup at $0.10 per pack but each customer is limited to a maximum of 10 packs. When Safeway had them, these noodles were going for $1.49 per pack and at an Asian grocery store nearby, 5 packs of these noodles were priced just under $3.00. Seeing that it was such a bargain, we rocked up on the 1st of August thinking that no one would be there. How wrong we were. The queue was so long, we missed out. So we tried again last Tuesday. This time, we were two of the first 10 customers. I reckon that M and one other customer must have super thick skin because they were the odd ones out. LOL. I watched and listened with great interest to see if they were looked upon differently or picked on. I am super happy to say that no one gave a damn that they were there. It is nice to know that when you are an odd one out no one attempts to freeze you out passively or actively turns your experience into a negative one.

OK, Ok I already know that instant noodles are no good. As a small child, one of the first jingles I learnt from TV was an ad for Maggi noodles. My parents would buy them occasionally but I was never allowed to eat the noodles with the sachet’s contents added until I was in my teens when I would add it behind their backs. After I came to Australia, I was exposed to a big variety of instant noodles from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and more, to my parents’ utter horror. LOL. I learned very early that here you can buy Aussie style Maggi at places like Safeway & Coles, but if I fancy some Asian style Maggi, they are available at the Asian grocery stores. After sampling instant noodles from all over East Asia over the years, Maggi is no longer within my personal top 10. I can’t even remember when I last bought that brand. The brand of noodles on special at the new Asian grocery store is one of my current favourites. As two separate customers, we have bought 20 packs the other day. They are still sitting on the dining table because there is just no room to fit all of them in the pantry for now. LOL. Greedy us originally planned to go queue everyday to purchase 10/20 packs per trip. That was just a stupid idea. I can’t even see us finishing this lot anytime soon. Where are we going to put the others if we buy more? We might end up going completely bald like someone said if we eat this type of junk food too often. LOL.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Slow Progress but Getting There

This blog has been neglected for more than a week! So I am doing two posts today. It really doesn’t matter much since I think that I am the only one that pops in here. I am both the writer and reader. LOL.

M has been home for more than a week. The special duty that he was doing had finished earlier than expected. Even though I like to have him home, I wasn’t prepared to have him home for such a long period. Fortunately, he has been pretty nice and helpful. I just hate to be rushed.

We finally went to watch the latest Harry Potter movie last Friday – two weeks after it was released! I had to be dragged there because I dislike going to Crown Casino and we had to go there because that’s the nearest Village Cinemas. I also had to be dragged there because we intended to use up the Gold Class tickets which we were given for Christmas. I totally dislike going to the Gold Class cinemas. The usher who showed us to our seats never came back to take our food orders. That didn’t bother me because I had wanted the whole experience to be somewhat negative so M will never want to take me with him again to the Gold Class cinemas. As for the movie, I have to say that it was better than the last one. For those who have not read the book, it is like a movie length trailer highlighting some of the more exciting bits.

The ‘Pigeon Hole’ is still quite a bombsite. 75% of our clothes are sorted and properly stored now. M put together a ‘flimsy’ metal cabinet to store his DVD collection yesterday. During the construction process, he made one mistake causing an unsightly dent. He also made a mistake when putting together my new chest of drawers last week. I hit the roof of course but somehow, M managed to miraculously rescue it. There is still a small unsightly mark towards the back of the unit but it is almost invisible. I am hoping to do as much sorting and storing in the next few days so that we can start painting the ‘Cave’ (the spare bedroom) next weekend.

I just can’t wait to get everything done so I can blog and read blogs. My wish is to get it all done before the end of Winter. This includes sorting out the kitchen cupboards and pantry. Sometimes the work inside the ‘Pigeon Hole’ feels like it’s never ending because as I focus on something, other things are piling up on the side waiting to be done. Imagine if we are doing all this with little kids in tow. That would be a nightmare. Maybe I am just not geared to be a good mother. I get plenty of praise working with children but somehow, I can’t see myself managing housework and child care efficiently.

Resting Atop a New Chest of Drawers

We moved back into the ‘Caravan’ (aka our bedroom) last night. It feels weird sleeping on a bed again. The ‘Caravan’ is still pretty bare but not for long. Many pieces of furniture are waiting to be returned. There is now a brand new chest of drawers next to my bed. It is not made of ‘real wood’ and it is one of the cheapest at IKEA. I love it still anyhow.

The top of the chest of drawers is our Guinea Pig’s new resting place. I have put an old lamp desperately needing a new lampshade on it and most importantly, the Guinea Pig’s photo book and ‘ashes’ as well. It has now been 15 months since he left us. Once we get the ‘Pigeon Hole’ in order, we will get another photo of him enlarged and framed to be displayed here. It will replace the photo book because it is starting to wear. Maybe we should make a proper photo book (with hard covers) of the Guinea Pig. We recently walk past a camera shop (Ted’s) on Elizabeth Street displaying photos converted into different types of photo art. We didn’t have time to go into the shop to see if it can be easily done. I suppose we can save some $$$ by tweaking the Guinea Pig’s photos ourselves since we already have Photoshop Elements.

This next bit of the post is a sad news item. According to the media, Sam, the Koala rescued by a CFA volunteer during the horrible bushfires earlier this year had passed away yesterday (06/08/09). We learnt on Wednesday that she was riddled with Chlamydia and would have to undergo surgery. Both her Vet and Carer said on TV that 4 year old Sam may not survive the procedure. We found out from the 4:30 pm news yesterday that she didn’t make it. I am not sure if she passed away during surgery or had to be put down before/after the surgery. I hope that she didn’t suffer any more pain than the discomfort she was already in. I also wish that the people handling what happens to her now will do so properly. She had apparently recovered from the burns on her paws but was not ready to be released into the wild after they found out about the Chlamydia. So maybe if there is such a thing as a heaven for animals, Sam might be one of its latest members. She could be relaxing on a gumtree and munching on a never ending supply of gum leaves, free of pain and misery right at this moment.