Monday, May 30, 2005

What colour are you?

you are violet

Your dominant hues are red and blue. You're confident and like showing people new ideas. You play well with others and can be very influential if you want to be.

Your saturation level is lower than average - You don't stress out over things and don't understand people who do. Finishing projects may sometimes be a challenge, but you schedule time as you see fit and the important things all happen in the end, even if not everyone sees your grand master plan.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the html color quiz

My weekend

I really love weekends that are mostly unplanned.
On Friday afternoon, I saw my sister off as she made her way to El Salvador for a holiday. Naturally, I was jealous as I would have loved to go along with her but such is life. Anyway, whilst at her place I ran into Mum, whom I had not seen in a couple of weeks. We then made plans to spend Sunday together.

On Saturday, the sun was shining gloriously. I woke Oyvind up and we went for our Saturday jog around the park. We stayed out there for almost an hour and half - so naturally, by the time we got home we were buggered! I made myself an omelet with dill and smoked salmon on the side - I know, a very meager breakfast, hehe.

I then got ready to go to Leichardt (Sydney's little Italy) to check out Almodovar's movie 'La Mala Educacion' but got there too late :-( I consoled myself by meeting up with my friend Ellen for some Italian Hot Chocolate. Now, Italian hot chocolate is very similar to Spanish hot chocolate, which is usually served as Breakfast or afternoon tea and accompanied by churros. Yum! This treat became my chocolate fix for the next 4 weeks...For more on Churros con chocolate - read here

I spent Saturday night at home alone. Hubby was out with my brother-in-law, so I took the opportunity to veg in front of the TV and watch 'All about my mother' - another Almodovar film. After 10 I got a call on my mobile - it was DD calling from Denmark! (DD is short for Dirty Dane which is also another name for my friend Martin.)

Anyway, DD and I chatted until the batteries on my phone died and I must say that chatting with him put a big smile on my face - I miss him terribly (and so does my hubby) but we will be seeing him in December so that keeps our spirits alive. DD is the biggest workaholic I have ever met but when one can pry him away from work he is one of my most favourite people to hang out with, so if you are reading this DD, stop working so bloody hard and be sure to take time off in December...

On Sunday I went over to mum's place. She was to teach me how to make 'Leche Asada', a traditional Chilean dessert. It is basically baked custard and tres simple to make. Ok, so my first go turned out OK but I think I can definitely perfect it - practise, practise, practise I say. And checking out different recipes on the net certainly helps :-)

After the cooking efforts, I went home, did some laundry and performed my weekly skin ritual - 1. Wash face with a mix of cleanser and sugar (This is to exfoliate)
2. Steam my face over a bowl of hot water and some herbs mixed (This is to purify)
3. Apply moisturising mask and rest.
4. Wash it off, apply my nightly eye cream and sleep...

And how was your weekend?

Friday, May 27, 2005

On 2005 and not feeling too old

As I was out on my daily walk in the crisp late Autumn afternoon, my thoughts were on nothing in particular.

Until I saw a teenager riding his bike.

You see, he was wearing a rugby jersey with his school colours and the numbers '05' printed on the back. (Rugby jerseys are commonly worn by seniors in high school on their last year).

Anyway, I did a bit of quick maths in my head and it turns out that if the guy was 17, he would have been born on the same year that I arrived in Australia as yet another bright-eyed, bushy tailed migrant.

I halted my thoughts for a second. But if he is 17 that would make me...OLD!

I stopped this depressing thought before long though - of course I am not old!

Besides, I get my brand new car next weekend and it is my first ever, personally owned car. Also, with the car comes the loan and insurance contracts - also firsts. So, I conclude that I am not 'old' - I am barely in my mid 20s, I still get asked for ID at the liquor shop AND clubs, bars and pubs.

And so with a smile on my face I sign of for the week. Have a lovely weekend all!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

On waiting and traveling

Sometimes, well no, most of the time I feel as though I am waiting to travel somewhere. I think this is because I am one of those people who is a planner - I LOVE to have something to work towards, and trips (National or International) are my specialty. Just ask any of my friends and especially my husband.

Luckily for me, Oyvind goes along with most of my ideas!

My concrete travel plans for the future, at this point in time, include:
- A trip to the Southern Highlands over the June long weekend with some friends
- A trip to Norway, Denmark and possibly Hungary at the end of the year
- A trip to the US and El Salvador in August next year.

Travel plans that are not yet concrete include:
- A weekend getaway to see my friend Pipstar
- A romantic getaway during the October long weekend
- A trip to New Zealand sometime in Easter next year (We really want to do the Milford Track).

I often get teased for being such a planner and for being a bit of a control freak. This is hard for me to admit but I do accept it - yes I like to be control.

However, before you get the wrong idea about me, I like to plan only to get to a place. Once there I LOVE to just do whatever comes to mind - a joyflight on a WWI plane, Staying up with friends singing, drinking and laughing without planning it, taking a wrong turn on a trek and walking an extra 5 kms without needing to, giving my heart to a lovely guy on an airport lounge... The best thing is that all these experiences have worked out so well for me.

I think I may have found a balance that works for me - are you as anally retentive as I am when it comes to these things?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

On Funny Fantasies

Last night I got home at a reasonable hour. However, in the afternoon I had experienced really bad stomach cramps - no, not related to menstruation but I think it was something I ate.
Anyway, I had earlier called my husband to advise him that there would be no dinner as the chef was not fit for such duties.

I got home, lit some candles and decided that I would do some yoga. Perhaps my cramps could be helped by it?

It had been almost 2 months since I last did a yoga session and I had missed it terribly. The good news was that by the end of the session I felt a lot better. By this time, hubby had arrived at home and he had bought me chicken soup and a Kinder surprise. (Isn't he the best?)

We sat down in front of the TV and as I sipped my chicken soup an ad came on - it was for Mars Bars. Anyway, I won't go into a full description of the ad but it basically reminded me of this fantasy I have always had - to break into a public pool at night with a bunch of friends and to swim and muck around until the sun rises.

Am I weird for having such a fantasy? Has anyone out there actually done something like it?

At any rate, the fantasy is still on my to-do list so any suggestions or ideas would be most welcome.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

On why there was no post yesterday

When I was growing up, I was set on becoming a dentist. Yes. Really.

Looking back on it, I may have seemed like a very strange child to most people. Picture a 10 year old who dreams of becoming a dentist - very, very strange.

Anyway, I was so keen on the idea that used to have a 'dentist's chair' where I used to check my patients. These included my grandpa and the dog (Both were good sports about it though). I always advised my patients to look after their teeth and to brush regularly - so as to prevent cavities, etc.

Before the wedding, I went for my semiannual dental check up. Although I did not end up studying dentistry, some habits are good to keep. Now, I pride myself on my dental hygiene so it came as a surprise to find out that I would need not one, not two but FOUR fillings! How did this happen?! Upon expressing my puzzlement, the dentist had the nerve to suggest that I stop eating so many sweets and that I brush my teeth more often. The nerve! I heard somewhere that dentist have the highest suicide rates of any profession - well, I would have been glad to assist in her suicide. Grrr.

I resigned myself to my fate.

So, last week I had the first 2 fillings done (left side). Naturally, this involved numbing my gums. Now, this wasn't so bad - I had feeling back within the hour.

Yesterday, however, was a different story.
She numbed my right side so much that I had NO feeling on the whole right side of my face for 3 hours! Once I got some feeling back I got this throbbing headache that lasted for hours - I do believe that dentist was trying to kill me... Still, I will go back in 6 months (Not to her though, she can torture some other poor soul). Some habits are good to keep despite certain unpleasantness.

So, I was not up to my usual self and did not post anything yesterday...

The moral of the story is...Well, there is no moral. I brush my teeth and floss more than recommended, yet I still had to endure fillings.

Hmmm, well ok, if there is a moral of the story it is this:
Do not apply lip balm to your lips while one side of your face is still numb. It is just too bizarre a sight for words, especially the bit where you smack your lips together...

Friday, May 20, 2005

About getting around to things

I have looked at my past blog entries and I seriously need pictures. My own pictures; not Google sourced varieties. Oh the shame.

I have been meaning to learn how to upload pictures onto my PC but I never get around to it - there is always too much on. Relatives to entertain, friends to counsel, a wedding to plan, a husband to spend time with - I have been swamped. And yes, I realise that these are excuses but that's just how it is.

Last Friday I posted my plans for last weekend. Out of the 9 things I listed, I achieved 7 - not bad really. Ok, I can do this. I must learn!

If I can manage to steal the computer from my husband (He is completing some papers for uni) and if I get around to purchasing a card reader - I should be able to start learning.

I have so much to share - I went shopping last night and bought the cutest green angora wraparound sweater...It irks me that I cannot share this with you. AGH!

A picture really is worth a thousand words but no one ever said anything about card readers and internet connections. I rest my case or should that be I start my case?

I think I need to start working now - it is almost lunch :-)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

About Trivia

We were running late.
As we entered the smoky and dimly lit pub, my husband and I searched for the table where our friends were. We found them soon enough, a few introductions were made and we sat down to business.

Ahhhh trivia.

It had been almost a year since I last had been to a trivia night. And it showed. I was rusty and slow. Soon enough though, I was literally shivering with excitement - oh boy had I missed it.

A couple of years ago. I went through a period when I would go to trivia every week without fail. Sometimes there were up to 4 of us and sometimes there was only one - me. My dedication to the cause was exemplary.

But our trivia host left - he got himself a 'real' job (he was completing his degree). It wasn't the same after that. A new host came on the scene but he was the most disgusting chauvinist imaginable. No more trivia for me.

Until last night. I had a ball! We ended up fourth so not even with a prize but it did not matter.
Wednesdays at 6.30pm - you know where I'll be.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

About Walking

Since moving to a new office in the suburbs, my work routine is a little different.

I get to wake up half an hour later than I used to and start work one hour earlier. As a result, I get to go home (on most days) one hour earlier than I used to.

It now only takes me 10-12 minutes to drive to work and 10-12 minutes to drive back. As opposed to an hour worth of travelling each way on cramped, smelly trains.

I love having the opportunity to start work when the sun is out and get home when the sun is still out. I am very lucky indeed - just ask anyone who lives and works in Sydney!

Added to all these benefits is that since we are in a rather pretty area, I am inclined to go out at lunchtime and walk for between 30 and 45 minutes. I did not get to do that when I worked in the CBD because it was too crowded and there were too many tempations around in the form of shops. Not only was I being deprived of extra sleep but I found myself spending a LOT more on clothes I really did not need - my purse was straining.

Walking in the 'burbs is a very nice experience. Although I generally take the same route, there is always something new happening. A house being built. A cat napping in the sun. A spider spinning a web. Leaves falling. School kids skipping school...

I am, obviously, very lucky to have all this but there are trade offs. The saddest one is not being able spend 2 extra hours each day with my husband as we ride the train to and from work.


Oh well, at least now he is getting an extremely varied dinner menu :-) And I am nurturing my love for trying out new recipes. It's all good.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

About Heinz

A couple of weeks ago, one of my work colleagues purchased some newly released Heinz sachet soups.

Since it is Autumn, I like to include more soups in my diet. Preferably home made but when all else fails a sachet soup will do the trick.

Anyway, these new soups looked pretty interesting and so I decided to give them a go. I purchased 4 different kinds: Pumpkin, creamy chicken, Minestrone and tomato soup. All the soups were pretty decent, except for the Minestrone. This soup was vile! It tasted like tomato paste watered down with vile pasta bits mixed in - yuck!

Instead of wallowing in self pity and since my computer was nearby when this all happened, I decided to visit the Australian Heinz site and leave a comment about my experience. I did not have any hopes of receiving any sort of acknowledgement but imagine my surprise last night...

After spending 11 hours working, driving through the rain and thinking of what to cook for lunch for today, I got home tired and not too cheery. I picked up the mail in the steady rain and there, slightly soggy, was an envelope addressed to me.

It was a letter from Heinz! They thanked me for taking the time to get in touch with them, providing them with feedback and apologised for the inconvenience. Further, they had reported the incident to their technical and production staff and to top it all off: They provided me with reimbursement for my purchase!

Ok, so it was only a cheque for $4.00 but it is the gesture that counts. Besides, I think that with that money I will purchase more soup.

Right after I change my name legally though.

The cheque was made out to my married name...*sigh*

Oh well, the point is: don't keep quiet, give feedback. I am not able to send you any cheques for your comments but you have my unending appreciation :-)

Monday, May 16, 2005

Recipe - Salvadorean Beans

A special post for Amylou

I never really considered this before but Salvadorean food is quite Vegetarian-friendly. We LOVE our beans and corn and cheese - ok, so cheese is not strictly Vegetarian but you get my drift.

Anyway, you'd be happy to know that I did cook the yummy beans on Friday night and they were delicious! I love to make them and they are so easy to prepare, so here goes the recipe:

2 cans of red kidney beans (Approx 400gms each) - drain most of the liquid but leave a little bit
1 large green capsicum (pepper), chopped
1 - 2 large tomatoes finely chopped
2 large vegetable stock cubes
2 large sausages (Can be Cabannosi, soy, etc) sliced
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
Optional 3 green onions (also known as shallots) sliced

1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan (medium to low heat) and add the tomatoes and green onions until soft.
2. Add the green capsicum (pepper) and cook for a couple of minutes.
3. Add the sausages and cook for a couple of minutes
4. Add the vegetable stock cubes but be sure to mince them with your hands beforehand (even distribution and all). Stir all vegetables and sausage for a couple of minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly.
5. Add the beans to the mix and stir. Turn the heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens.
6. Serve with crusty bread and sour cream on the side and Fetta cheese crumbled on top.
7. Enjoy!

Note: With the beans, you can buy the dry ones and boil them yourself but using the canned ones is way easier and tastes just as good. If boiling kidney beans, don't forget to use a couple of whole garlic cloves and some salt.

Friday, May 13, 2005

On weekends

I am still here only because I needed to print out some recipes and to update Tisane.
However, as I look at the damp darkness of a late Autumn evening in Sydney I rub my hands at the promise of the weekend. A chance to forget about systems and high energy levels.

I plan to begin my 48 hours of freedom by stopping at Harris Farm Markets and purchasing some crusty bread and perhaps some whole milk so that I can make some Norwegian waffles tomorrow morning.

Mmmm, waffles

But for dinner tonight I shall make some delicious Salvadoran style beans accompanied by plain scrambled eggs and some sour cream and fetta cheese on the side.

Once I have done that, I will sit down to watch "All about my mother" or "A room with a view" or both.

I will go to bed and sleep until the sun is just shining over the horizon. If weather permits, I may go for a jog around the park or else go to a Body Attack (choreographed fighting) class.

Then I will shop with my sister for some new winter tops.

Lastly, Oyvind and I will head to Pj Gallaghers to celebrate Daniel and Elke's return to OZ. Dan and Elke are some pals who have been in the UK and Europe the past year or so.

Sunday will be spent recovering and possibly shopping for a new bed.

I will end the day by cooking a fabulous meal.

Structured? Yes! Exciting? Perhaps to some.

Achievable? Of course not!

Monday will tell...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

On Movies in December

The Goblet of Fire

The other day I found myself watching a sneak peek preview of the new Harry Potter film - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but what can I say? It looks fantastic!

Granted, I am a Harry Potter fan (films and books) so my opinion is biased but I don't really care. I love movies and books into which you can be transported, whether the destination is Middle Earth, Florence, Vienna, Pemberley, The Cliffs on Insanity...

So, naturally, I really am looking forward to the film's release in December.

Other than Christmas and a trip overseas, I thought that Harry Potter would quench my desire for good things in December. Little did I know that also in December there is another film being released - The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I thought the new Harry Potter film looked impressive...oh boy - TLTWTW kicks ass! Check out the trailer - it looks really magnificent. The WETA people have done it again - Lord of the Rings was no fluke.


On Gnocchi

I have an interesting relationship with gnocchi (Italian potato dumplings).

The first I ever heard of these was through a friend of mine of Uruguayan descent who mentioned that his mother made these a few times a week and that he was getting quite tired of them. I did not know exactly what they were but I had no interest in tasting them. Which was fine by me.

Gnocchi did not make an appearance in my life until many years later when my mother was with an Italian man. Mum learned to make some amazing food during that relationship - gnocchi, 'real' pizza, these ricotta dumplings whose name now escapes me...*sigh*

Anyway, I got to taste gnocchi during this period. They were pretty nice but not a favourite of mine. I felt that they were rather bland...

I forgot about gnocchi for a couple of years.

Last week, however, I was at Coles (supermarket chain) shopping for groceries when I happened upon the pasta aisle. There, among the pasta, were some ready made gnocchi. I decided to get a bag and see what I could do with it. A day later I decided to make my own sauce for it, or least throw some ingredients together to make a sauce.

I used a ready-made mushroom and tomato pasta sauce, slices of zucchini, chopped cabannosi. Tossed it in with the cooked gnocchi and voila - it was really yummy! The blandness of the gnocchi was a perfect backdrop to the delicious sauce. Who knows, perhaps one day I may be game enough to make my own gnocchi from scratch. Don't hold your breath though.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

On School Uniforms

It has been many years since I wore a school uniform...9 years in fact, but when I was driving to work this morning it ocurred to me that wearing a school uniform was always part of my school life. I mean, I wore a school uniform from when I first started school at the age of 4 (that's another story) to when I finished in 1996.

Then it occurred to me that there are people out there, like my husband, who never had to wear a school uniform at all.

Whatsmore, my husband has also told me that when he was at school in Norway they called their teachers by their first name, not Mr Smith (or should that be Mr Hansson, hehe) but Greg or Mike. That concept is so completely foreign to me that it sends my mind spinning.

Call me old-fashioned but I rather liked calling my teachers Mr or Ms. Oh, and I loved wearing a school uniform too.

The school uniform has now been relegated to a storage box but every once in a while it makes an appearance. No, I won't go into details.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

On Salsa Dancing

Last night, hubby and I went to a salsa dance class in our neighbourhood.
Now, I suppose I have an unfair advantage. I was born into the world of Latin dancing: Merengue, cumbia, salsa, mambo, etc. However, I was never taught how to dance with a partner and so when it comes down to it - I am as bad as the next person. But, I can feel the music and can bluff my way through it all.

So, this class was a chance for the two of us to spend time together, get fit and have fun. We tried to follow the steps as best as we could and I was pretty pleased with our efforts. We kept it simple and enjoyed ourselves - so much so that after class we stayed around for an extra hour. We went home only because it was getting late but I think we will go back next Monday.

Whilst dancing there I noticed the same thing I always notice when I see non-Hispanics/non-Latinos dancing their version of 'salsa' - way too much arm movement and fancy spins. THAT IS NOT HOW YOU DANCE SALSA PEOPLE!!!

This is definitely a bugbear of mine. It is so wrong. This is not ballroom dancing. That's not the point of salsa. You are supposed to be sexy and seductive but how can this be when you look like you are trying to scare flies away from your face? Besides, it is supposed to come from the heart and not look so choreographed. To all you budding 'salseros', please try to keep it simple. It really does look better.

Monday, May 09, 2005

The origins of tisane...

are unfortunately unknown to me.

It was probably created by cavemen after they discovered that water on its own was pretty boring and so decided to put grass in it and then discovered that it still tasted pretty bad. And so decided to keep experimenting, until one day they found that herbs like peppermint infused in water made for a pretty refreshing beverage, not not mention the digestive benefits.

Or so I like to think. I honestly have no idea and Google was of no help. Besides, the word is French and so most of the result pages were in French. Perhaps the answer is buried there...

At any rate, what I basically know of tisane is the following:

Definition: Any tea that is made with herbs other than true tea, is called a tisane.

Tisanes or Herbal Infusions

Often referred to as herbal teas, but mostly don't actually contain any part of the Camillia sinensis plant in the blends. Tisanes use a variety of flowers. Berries, seeds, Peels, Leaves and roots of different plants. Some common tisane ingredients include:

Chamomile, ginseng, rose petals, hibiscus, peppermint, valerian, dandelion, lavender, aniseed, ginger and jasmine.
Tisanes are typically caffeine-free.

Also, when I watched 'Le Divorce' there was mention of a particular tisane that was supposed to 'refresh' a woman's own natural scent. No idea if it works but I went ahead and bought the ingredients and I must say that it makes for a very fine drink...