August 2005 Archives

One size fits all

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My parents spent last week gallavanting around the South of France with my parents-in-law. I think we're tremendously lucky that they all get along so well, despite the language barrier and the occasional hilarious misunderstanding.

They seem to get along so well, in fact, that the parental figures came back on Saturday telling us that next time they're in Europe, they might do a wee tour of Italy and Switzerland with Sylvain's parents.

"Oh," Sylvain and I looked at each other. "That's cool".

"And they're thinking about coming out to Australia next August," mum added, whilst leafing through her newly purchased book about Les Baux.

"Really?" Sylvain exclaimed.

"First I've heard of it!" I said incredulously.

The rest of the weekend was filled with many exclaimations, "oh and we did this!", "oh and J said this!" and "oh and we ate this!"

I spoke to my father-in-law yesterday on the phone.

"So, have they recovered?" he asks.

"Oh yes," I reply. "And they had a marvellous time!"

"Good good," he says.

We pass a few minutes discussing his recent mushrooming expedition, then suddenly he says, "ooooh I saw something PERFECT for your father yesterday!"

"What was it?" I ask suspiciously.

"Well you know how, whenever he comes across something he doesn't like, he says, It's different?"

"Yes," I giggle. Dad tries to be diplomatic, but he's so easy to see through. Even to someone who doesn't really speak English.

"We found a t-shirt which says 'It's different!'", he exclaims, with glee!

"Ooooh really?" I reply.

"The only problem is..." I can hear him grinning over the phone. "It's a womans t-shirt."

I burst out laughing.

"We could still get it for him, because it would be funny, but..." my father-in-law pauses, not sure how to finish the phrase, then sighs. "Oh it's such a pity that it wouldn't fit."

"Yes yes," I reply. "A pity."

Thick as thieves, I think the expression goes.

SMS fun

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Using it's clever predictive technology, my Nokia translated

"booked the resto for tonight. No worries!"

to

"cooked the serum for tonight. No worries!"

Pity I didn't reread my sms before I sent it.

Sleep easy

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So, Ma and Pa Aussie Lass are still in town, and they'll be here until Thursday.

It's been really great.

But I'm looking forward to not being woken up by people going to the toilet in the middle of the night.

I'm just saying.

Having spent 3 years in a Boarding House and nearly 5 years in a Student House at University, I used to be able to sleep through anything, but it's obvious that 3 and a half years of 2 foot thick cement walls around our apartment have spoiled me.

They will be missed.

But it will be nice to not have to deal with my dad's smelly feet for a while again.

And I'm sure they'll be glad not to have to sit through another episode of Top Model.

What is it with earphones this week?

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My foam-covered ipod earphones are plugged into my mac, which is sitting on the coffee table in the lounge room.

I walk in to find that Symphony had knocked the earphones onto the floor and is batting them around gently.

"Oh you," I say, affectionately, take the earphones away from her and sit her on my lap. She begins to purr.

Fifteen minutes later, reading blogs, I'm directed to go to a funny site and have a giggle.

I like me a bit of a giggle, especially after a long week at work. So I reach out to my earphones - I rarely listen to things on the computer at home, but I keep them plugged in anyway, for moments like these - and, knowing the trouble I have with keeping earphones in my left ear, I jam the plug into my ear, to try to stop it from falling out...

... to find that the foam surrounding the earplug is soaking wet.

Obviously, before I entered the room, Symphony had drooled all over it.

Eurgh.

A time for sharing

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A couple of weeks ago I was forced to share a WHOLE PACKET OF TIM TAMS.

I was caught unawares. This would not normally happen under my watch.

We had invited some friends over for dinner, and everyone got the chance to meet my parents, and all was going well. Everyone was on their best behaviour. That is, until someone mentioned Tim Tams and then the conversation just escalated into a great big terrible grotesque nightmare.

"I've heard so much about them but you've never given me any!" one guest accused.

"After all this talk on her blog, I can't believe she hasn't let us taste at least one," another guest lamented.

"She has actually let ME taste one, but it was one of the crappy ones," sighed another guest.

My parents looked at me in horror.

"Thanks guys," I grumble. "Now I'm in trouble."

"We brought you up better than that," my mother frowned at me. "You know how to share!"

I felt like I was five years old as I tried to explain, "but these are Tim Tams we're talking about."

Everyone looked at me, eyebrows raised, smiles on lips.

"Fine," I snapped.

I dragged my feet over to the cupboard and took out a packet of Tim Tams.

"Not the crappy ones!" one of my guests complained.

I turned around and looked at her. "The ones I let you taste weren't crappy," I explained. "They were coffee flavoured."

"I want an Original one," she crossed her arms and grinned at me. "The best."

"Pfft."

I opened a packet and passed it around.

"I bet, after all this build up, they're not even going to taste very good," one guest commented.

Bite.

Chew.

Silence.

"These are pretty darn delicious," she commented, looking at me.

"I kindof understand why you didn't want to share them now," another guest giggled, as she polished off her biscuit and smacked her lips.

We all looked at the half-empty packet of Tim Tams, then looked at each other.

My dad piped up first, "now you've gotta try a Tim Tam Slam*."

I glared at him.

He laughed.

And thus rounds of Port (and Milk, for those not keen on the alcoholic version) were poured out, and everyone was instructed to bite off opposing corners of their Tim Tams and suck the liquid through the biscuit, then eat it whilst it was all soggy and delicious-like.

"MMmmmm," was the resounding verdict.

I may have to find another hiding place for my Tim Tam stash before I have anyone over at the apartment again.

(* Arnotts have named the "Tim Tam Slam" a very disgusting "Tim Tam Suck". You can read a description of how to do it with coffee here - click on "select a variety", then choose "Tim Tam Suck".)

Random ramblings

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Pikachu is being sold. Hoorah!

And even better, Sylvain has been convinced that pee is not a good colour for a car! Double Hoorah!

Friends who come and eat lunch with you are great. Yes they are. Even if they blame you for their spiral into the deep, dark addiction that is Neopets. I can't be blamed for their delusions.

Blog reading makes the afternoon go faster, but also means I get less work done.

I am craving a Cadbury Snow Flake. Either that, or some Salt'n'Vinegar chips. Always what I can't have.

Panicking slightly over the four articles I have to write by Monday for the neomag. Must put my head down and finish them. Can't figure out why I feel guilty about doing some of these things at work though. heh.

I don't like closed doors.

As an aside, I keep coming across random packets of Tim Tams and Smoked Mussels hidden in the oddest places around the apartment. I think my dad had fun. At least I get excited whenever I find a new packet.

heh.

Colour-blind

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I am a bundle of nerves today - we've been trying to sell Pikachu* for the last couple of months, but haven't had any serious bites. But when it rains, it pours, and over the last two days, we've had two very interested parties see the car. We've given first dibs to the people who contacted us first, and we should get the yay or nay today. If not, we'll sell Pikachu to the second lot. So, if all goes well, we'll be saying goodbye to Pikachu in the next few weeks and the search can really begin for something more... interesting.

Sylvain has thrown caution to the wind and is counting his chickens already - he's got a couple of preferences, but given my horror of all things car-related (and his evident expertise in the field), I prefer to just leave all decisions in his hands.

All decisions, that is, except for the colour.

Believe it or not, he was considering a pee-coloured car.

My word on this is final : I don't care if it makes coffee for me in the morning and tucks me in at night, I will not have a pee-coloured car.

* The name Pikachu for the Picasso comes from Sylvain's colleagues. They all get to drive fancy, fast cars all day, then Sylvain comes home in the practical Picasso, which, to them, seems like a wee little cartoon character in comparison to what they all normally drive at work.

Covering up

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Parisian skies have been gray and threatening rain for a few days now, and overnight, they followed through on their threats and now the roads and sidewalks are wet, and the trees are dripping.

So this morning, I decided to pull out my umbrella and put on the first pair of covered shoes that I've worn since... oh... April?

I always feel sad when I start wearing covered shoes again. Sure, winter is not exactly upon us yet, and there'll be more opportunities to wear my sandals, but there is something that makes me feel a little melancholy when I put my covered shoes on for the first time in a while.

Of course, that melancholy doesn't last long - all it means is that I have an excuse to seriously check out the new seasons shoes ;)

Hearing aid

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I have a serious problem with my ears.

I am walking along, happy, content in my little ipod bubble, then POP! The earphone pops out of my left ear and I have to shove it back in again.

100 metres, repeat 30 times.

It doesn't matter what sort of earphones I use - they just won't stay in my left ear.

Right ear : fine! I can shake, rattle and roll, and it won't fall out.

Left ear : as soon as I even think about breathing, it's fallen out.

For quite some time I was using earplugs that had a hook that kept it in place over my ear, which worked well, except that the earphones themselves were really really crap (I abhor the idea of being one of those disrespectful people who sit on the train subjecting the other passengers to loud music, because their headphones are too crappy to channel the music inside the ear instead of all around).

My current set is a pair of Philips ear buds, which have soft buds on the end of the plugs, and actually sit inside my ear, channeling the music and theoretically holding in place better. Alas, no cigar. Pop! The earbud falls out, over and over again. Sometimes it holds for a few minutes, and I get lulled into thinking that this time, just this once, it might stay put. But no, this solution is not working for me either.

So unless I go for a full-on head set, I'm stuck.

Does anyone know of a Miraculous Earphone Solution for Troubled Ears which will not make me look like a complete idiot? (or, more to the point, any more of an idiot than I am already?)

In related news, all of a sudden, Windows Media Player is throwing a hissy fit on my work computer, and I'm getting error messages left, right and centre. I can no longer listen to Launch. Nor Nova 100 - they both apparently rely on Windows Media Player. Most curious state of events, as everything worked fine yesterday.

I've resorted to listening to Triple J and giggling at the accents on Radio Australia (do I really sound like that?). I don't know how much longer I can do this though, so let's just hope that something magical happens overnight and it works again tomorrow. Goodness knows I don't want to work without music. heh.

Toilet training

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The toilet seat at my place of employ is broken. One has to place ones posterior on it in just the right fashion, and maintain this position (calf muscles straining), otherwise one ends up slipping on the seat and falling on the floor.

The toilet is, itself, located between my office and the journalists office, and as a result, we unfortunately hear everything that goes on in there. If someone falls off the toilet seat (which happens about once a day), we hear it. And so on and so forth.

Extremely pleasant.

Thrills and spills

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The coffee at my place of employ is cheap, nasty, jus de chaussettes, aka "sock water". So when I really need a jump start to my day (especially when Symphony has woken us up at an unearthly hour by more plastic-chewing), I resort to stopping by the local Columbus Café on my way in to work.

But things aren't off to a good start when a. it doesn't taste very good (maybe the cashier spat into my cup when I said I didn't want cream, and she said, "but it always has cream"), and b. I spill my mocha on my shirt when I arrive at work. Why don't I keep a spare shirt in my drawer? I have a spare pair of shoes in there, for goodness sake.

I button up my cardigan in a vain attempt to disguise the stain. I hope it's not going to be warm today, otherwise I'll be sweltering.

Today has to get better than this.

Milky goodness

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Despite coming back from Ireland with several packs of Twirl, Flake, Crunchie, and other related Cadbury products stuffed in my bag, I couldn't resist picking up a couple of little blocks of Dairy Milk Chocolate when I spied them on a shelf in Monoprix tonight. Goodness knows I don't need them, but with an expiry date of December 2006, and given how rarely I see such things in the supermarket (once in the last 3 1/2 years), I may as well get them while I can.

Sylvain nodded and smiled knowingly when I pulled them out of the supermarket bags this evening.

Despite tasting many different types here (and I'm lucky to have married into a family that enjoys showing me different French specialties), I just don't enjoy dark chocolate the way I enjoy milk chocolate. Perhaps it's that milky flavour, just what I've always been used to, or perhaps it's just that little taste of my childhood, of my past, of my country. Or perhaps it's a little of both.

(I'm setting a record with my number of posts today - I don't know what's going on!)

First day back

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Bounce bounce bouncing.
Jig jig jigging.
Just watching you
out of the corner of my eye
is making me tired.
Perhaps your chair
will break.
I need a nap.
And a Tim Tam.
And maybe
another holiday.

Round-up 2

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Our voyage around France was ...
- time with the extended family as we ate so much good food : foie gras, seafood, mirabelle tart
- some long drives through the country
- a realisation of how dry France really is at the moment
- a prehistoric history lesson at Lascaux 2
- a night spent in a cave (or more technically a hotel set into rock)
- a visit to a foie gras farm
- wine tasting, and tasting, and tasting...
- a visit to one of the most beautiful wine regions in France
- tasting of cognac [sniff, taste, reflect, I think she's had enough] and fishing for cognac
- country markets (green figs bursting with sugar)
- more than our fair share of churches, cemeteries, and other various monuments

In all, we toured as much as we could of the Périgord (my first visit - I'd going back there at any time of the year, summer for the kayaking and fishing, winter for the food), Bordeaux and Charentes-Maritime. [see more pictures here]

Round-up

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Ireland was ...
- surprisingly not very wet (albeit a little misty sometimes)
- filled with generous people
- tiny, picturesque rural pubs and villages
- all about the beer (the consensus was that Murphys is better than Guinness) and the whisky (five large glasses in a row? half-full? after a lot of red wine? I shouldn't have wondered why the ceiling was moving)
- brimming with flora and fauna and stunning landscapes
- historically wonderful : stone circles, castles, manors, leprechauns, celtic crosses and cemeteries upon cemeteries
- strange shops
- narrow, winding roads lined with fuschias. I've never seen such abundant, glorious, thriving fuschias. My grandmother would have loved it
- fabulous food : fish and chips, seafood chowder, sumptuous steaks
- lots of sheepies!

We spent most of our time around West Cork, then made our way through the Ring of Beara, Killarney and to the Rock of Cashel, before we headed back to Shannon. Every single day was fabulous.

Would we go back? In a heartbeat. [see more pictures here]

Best and worst

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The worst thing about coming back to work after three weeks holiday : My body is still in holiday mode. I have to pause and think about the shortcuts on my keyboard. It's the first time I've worn makeup for the last three weeks, so my skin feels a little funny. I feel like a snack and my tummy is growling. I am sure I'll be wanting a siesta after lunch.

The best thing about coming back to work after three weeks holiday : I am earning more money for the next holiday.

La rentrée

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It's hard to come back to work after three weeks holiday, especially when I don't feel particularly refreshed and there is a very stressful period coming up at my place of employ. Too much running around like a crazy thing during the holidays. I start asking myself the usual questions - is it time to start looking for something new?

Whatever is going on in my head, I'm here now.

In three weeks, we spent : 5 days in Paris, 7 days in Ireland, 2 days in Paris, 6 days travelling in Saint-Etienne, the Périgord, Bordeaux and Charentes-Maritime, 1 day in Paris, 1 day in a tiny town near Fontainebleau and 1 final day in Paris... attempting to recover.

My parents are now heading down to Southern France again for a week, which will give us a breather, what with being back at work and all, then they'll be with us for five more days before they go back to Australia.

I know that I've done a whole lot of stuff and discovered parts of France that I've never visited before, and it's been wonderful to spend time with my parents, but it's been a bit crazy! I like my holidays a little more relaxed and laid-back than that.

And here I am at work again, tired, a little cranky and out-of-sorts, nursing a cup of coffee. One hour in and I've already checked the dates for the next public holidays. Come to me, November.

Warm Welcome

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Ireland was AMAZING. Sylvain and I both want to live there. Now.

We saw heaps of interesting things, and I will (hopefully) do a recap later (if i remember), but since there are crab pasties and pizza pinwheels to bake, I will just quickly sum up what we came home to :

YOWLage

Symphony is on heat. Again.

Who is the bad cat owner that forgot to give her The Pill?

This has basically led to several nights of very little sleep (this doesn't suit me very much - remind me not to have kids in the near future). The only time she stops miaowing is when she's curled up in the crook of my left arm. Cricked neck party anyone? Just punishment for forgetting to give her The Pill, I suppose. During the daylight hours it's not much better, as she stalks around the apartment making groaning noises in the back of her throat. Hmm. Thank goodness my parents are from a farming background and it doesn't really shock them too much.

We've upped the dose of her medication in the hopes that we'll reduce the time that she's actually on heat, but as of this minute, there is still a bit of butt-quivering and yowling going on. I think a visit to the vet for a wee operation might be in order after the holidays.

But this time around, it's intersting timing - especially because we have guests coming over for dinner tonight.

I just hope she doesn't decide to rub her butt against too many of them. Although I suppose it could be described as a Warm Welcome.

Life is tough

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It's been a fabulous couple of days doing all those touristy things that I rarely get to do as a resident - a visit to the catacombs, a wander around the Parc de Sceaux, flaming hoochie coochies, and coffee in tiny Parisian streets. Ok, I do the last two in my normal everyday life, but still, having visitors is a great opportunity for me to put on my tourist hat and do things that I don't normally do. Although I couldn't help but cringe when my dad pulled out his camera on the Metro. hehe.

Now it's time to grace the shores of leprechaun land! Hopefully (if my phone plan is properly set up) I'll be moblogging along the way ;)

Letter to the parental figures

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Dear mum and dad,

Just because you've hardly slept in the last 24 hours doesn't mean that you're allowed to wake me up in the middle of the night* with your sms that you've landed in London and are cooling your heels before you hop on the plane to Paris, on my First Non-Weekend Sleep-In of the Holidays.

Happens again? No pain au chocolat for you!

love,
your eldest daughter

ps. see you soon!

* ok, I exaggerate slightly, it was 7am, but still. It's the principle.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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