The Ruminator

Come on up and grab yourself a beer.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Best. Birthday. Ever

My birthday was on Friday – yay! My brother and sister-in-law sent me a big, beautiful bunch of flowers, with a note that hoped I spent the weekend being spoiled by everyone. I have to say, mission accomplished, because I have just had a three day birthday festival!

My first, and incredibly special present, was from Pete – a couple of small paintings he did himself. There is something wonderful about a gift someone made, rather than bought, and when they have made it beautifully, it’s great!

I didn’t take the day off work, but that’s ok as I was spoiled there too – flowers, home baked cookies and cake, and an office lunch. [No commentary on the public service.] After work we met friends for drinks and dinner. It being my birthday, I didn’t have to buy a drink all night. Thanks everyone!

Saturday the birthday extravaganza continued with an early lunch with my parents at the National Library. A nice meal, presents, and a stroll around the terrace to look at the lake.

Saturday afternoon/evening was my birthday party – planned and executed with great precision by Pete. We had a bbq down by the lake – in Lennox Gardens for any Canberrans. We had plenty to keep us occupied – Frisbee, soccer, and the surprise hit [no pun intended] of the season – totem tennis! [Pat Rafter endorsed, naturally.] There was food enough to feed an army, including beautifully cooked rack of lamb. Competition from other picnicers for bbq space was fierce, but that’s ok, because Pete brought a bbq! The weather was great, it was good to spend time with everyone, and for the first time since childhood, I had a birthday party I didn’t have to organise myself.

On Sunday the birthday festival finally wound up with afternoon tea with my relatives. Over the three days I saw a lot of people, some of whom I hadn’t seen in a while, received numerous calls and texts, thoughtful presents, great food and drink, and generally had a fantastic weekend. All in all – Best. Birthday. Ever.

Friday, February 03, 2006

A quick catch up

I would like to be able to say 'OK, I haven't updated my blog for ages, but that's because I've been really busy doing ...' But I'm hard pressed to come up with stuff I have been really busy with. It's not like I've been studying, or deeply involved in charity work or something.

I have actually managed to spend some time with friends lately, which I'm very happy about. Regular Friday after work drinks are a great way to make sure you actually see all those friends of whom you might otherwise spend months saying, 'I really should call ----, we haven't spoken in ages!'

I think it's because we've all hit some stage in our lives, that makes it hard to keep up. Everybody is balancing decision time in major aspects of their lives - work, relationships, lifestyle - Save up to buy a house or keep renting and have money for travel, or a car, or new stuff? Change of career direction or corporate climb? Stability or a new challenge?

Some days it feels as if time is flying by. I'm lucky enough to still have some friends from school, and it seems amazing to think that where once we gossiped about the ups and downs of school, our parents, cute boys ... now it's careers, partners, mortgages ... Hmm, maybe nothing much has changed after all ...

Anyway, I'm glad my friends are still with me, and I'll try to make sure I take the time to appreciate them. We used to think we were sooooo sophisticated going out for a cappuccino and a muffin. So maybe we could go for a cocktail and some tapas? ;-)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What I did on my summer holiday

Spent time with my family - a particularly good thing to do over Christmas. If only my brother and sister-in-law were here too.

Spent time with friends - both new friends I made in 2005, and friends from school and uni days, including visiting expatriates Doug, Jasmine and other Peter.

Spent a considerable amount of time gazing at the changing light over the lake (including some lovely sunsets), the wind in the trees, the pattern of birds across the sky, the shifting clouds, and the growth of healthy plants (not mine, unfortunately).

Learned how to mount photos (thanks Pete!), and decorated my apartment with pictures of my family and my recent travels.

Flew a kite.

Had many enjoyable meals including barbeques, picnics, lazy brunches, family dinners, and fish and chips.

Accompanied those meals with (as appropriate) champagne, cocktails (in which limes and or watermelon were major players), home made cappuccinos (thanks Pete!), ice creams, and lots of cold water.

Technically it wasn’t even a real holiday, just the office shutdown between Christmas and New Year. But somehow that little break felt like a proper getaway, even though I never left Canberra. It was one of those lovely retreats from everyday life that reminds you how unimportant work actually is in the grand scheme of things. I’m very grateful to have had this time, and I’m trying to hold onto that feeling into the new year.

Happy 2006 everyone. :-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The good and the bad

Good things that have happened in the past two weeks:
- I caught up with several friends I haven’t seen for a while, including Doug
- I saw the new Harry Potter movie, which was great fun, though I still like the third one best
- Pete and I did fun stuff like going for a drive in the open car and stopping for iced coffee, and sitting outside in the evening drinking vodka, lime and soda (not, I hasten to add, in conjunction with the driving)
- Our frisbee team won the final game of the season by 9 points
- I starting acting in a job at a higher level
- I got some Christmas shopping done.

Bad things that have happened in the past two weeks:
- Someone tried to break into my car when it was parked under my apartment building during the day and now the lock is broken and I have to get into the car via the passenger side door and then climb over the gear stick and it’s really annoying not to mention embarrassing especially when everyone outside the shops is staring at me trying to climb through the car when wearing a skirt...

OK, I feel much better now, I'm done whinging. Put into perspective, I’m certainly not hard done by. In fact, I lead a very fortunate life. I should pause to remember that more often.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

RIP Mr Miyagi

Mr Miyagi, a.k.a Pat Morita, real name Noriyuki Morita, has passed away aged 73.

Like many who were kids in the 80s, I loved the Karate Kid. It had everything - martial arts action, hormonal teenagers, eastern mysticism... And that goofy little guy with the exaggerated accent was an unexpected, and totally kick ass, action star.

Rest in peace Mr Miyagi. A little piece of the 80s died with you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Experimental Cookery - Episode 1

I suspect I am not alone in having several cookbooks that look good on my shelf, but which I have never used for anything more than browsing through and thinking, ‘that looks nice’.

In the spirit of personal improvement I have invoked on this website in the past, I have resolved that every time I do a big grocery shop, I will pick a new recipe, buy all the ingredients, and prepare the meal in the following week.

With the able assistance of my dinner guest / guinea pig / assistant chef / dishwasher Pete, I set out to prepare Experiment Number 1 – pork medallions on a minted pea puree.

The verdict - not too bad for a first try. I think my major failing as a chef is getting everything going simultaneously so that it is all ready at the right time – so half the meal isn’t either over or under cooked while the other half is cooling on the table. Or making sure we don’t nibble so much cheese while cooking that we’re half full before dinner is ready.

But definitely a resolution worth sticking to – we shall see how long my enthusiasm lasts. In the meantime I’ll be picking up some new skills, trying new things, and avoiding takeaway food, so that’s all good.

And if anyone needs any minted pea puree, there’s still quite a bit left over. :-)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Online and unhooked

I finally did it - I finally got around to getting broadband connection at home. And while I was at it, a wireless modem. It's fantastic! I can surf the net while sitting on my balcony drinking gin and tonic! Or while sitting on the couch watching tv! (Or a lot of other places in my apartment, but I won't disturb you with that.) And it's speedy. And convenient. (Almost too convenient. I can see the new iTunes store being a real danger to my bank account.)

Not that I need iTunes to spend too much money - I'm a danger to my bank balance all on my own. The picture was taken with my brand new digital camera. Add to that my iPod Mini, and that's a lot of gadgets I've bought this year.