Monday, September 29, 2008

veggie week!!

i just found out it's australian national vegetarian week! (although every week is vegetarian week for me)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

what i want to be

at work yesterday (my only day of work this week of the holiday program-- and we only had 9 kids. and ALL of them slept!) my co-worker was asking a couple of them what they wanted to be when they grew up.
boy 1: a cowboy!
boy 2: (thought for a minute first) an astronaut so i'll be all the way up there and then you won't be able to get me (they had been playing a chasing game before this conversation).
girl: i'm gonna be pregnant!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


i decided to try a couple non-dairy cheese recipes. i started with vegan sharp cheddar cheese (originally from the uncheese cookbook). i realized right before i started that the agar agar i had from an asian shop was actually vanilla flavoured to make it into jello (i also had a "red flavour" one which had strawberry flavouring listed in the ingredients). i don't think the vanilla affected the flavour much though. this recipe is good cuz it doesn't have any added fat- just what is naturally in the cashews and the small amount in the nutritional yeast. i didn't have a small loaf pan (plus i halved the recipe) so i ended up pouring it into 3 holes in a cupcake pan to cool (i guess i could have used a small bowl). it does have a rubbery-jello-ish look to it but it tastes good and melts REALLY well. i ended up adding some chopped up jalapenos and melting some in the microwave and dipping corn chips into it. soooooooo good!
next on my list to try is vegan nacho cheese from happy herbivore.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

little visitor

we've had a spider hanging out by the kitchen window for a few days. i kept meaning to have a closer look (its always upside-down in its web) and try to figure out what it was in my melbourne wildlife book. today i looked at it a bit better and noticed a red spot on its ass

flipping thu the spider section of the book the only one that has a red spot like that is the redback (i always thought they were bigger and most of the time they're completely black not black and brown-- although they can be brown).
then i noticed the bottom of her abdomen-- she (i assume she's most likely female-- apparently males are rarely seen):
(click to enlarge if you're not creeped out by large spider photos)
she's got the hourglass so she's a redback. she'll be re-located later today (most likely across the road).
i always thought redbacks hung out in dark areas. i guess not.

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5 weeks

that's how long that flu/cold illness lasted. i am finally (almost) completely healthy. the cough still remains slightly and my nose still drips a bit but i have energy and i actually feel well again. a few weeks ago a co-worker came into work and said "i am finally well again! i didn't realize how horrible i felt and how good it feels to be well until now. it's so nice to feel good again and have energy to do things!" i remember thinking at the time that i definitely wasn't there yet. i figured i'd be like that in a week (she got sick the week before me). that next week came and went. and the one after. finally in the past few days i've felt like myself again. i can go out and do things. i made it thru the weekend and actually had fun (and didn't need to go back to bed at 3pm after a big walk, a coffee and a beer). i've never been unwell that long in my life and hopefully won't get like that again.

Monday, September 22, 2008

sad girl

something is wrong with wombi. for a week she's had a bit of ear irritation and we were gonna take her to the vet for that. now it seems to be her mouth (don't know if its connected to the ear issue or something separate). she's going to get it checked out this afternoon. she didn't go to sleep until 4am this morning because she was so uncomfortable. she slept on our bed most of the nite, moved to the floor a couple times and re-adjusted her position about 80 million times (i was awake for most of them). we can't tell if her jowl is swollen or if its a tooth problem or something else. she seemed ok for a bit this morning but she just isn't quite herself (she still eats though--just slightly slower and more cautiously). poor girl.
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

why vegan

i just found this great video with many good reasons to go vegan
VEGAN. for the people. for the planet. for the animals.

it's almost 12 min long but its really good. i've been thinking a lot more about taking that step from vegetarian to vegan. i decided earlier this week i'm no longer gonna buy cheese. we can afford cheezly occasionally and i'll just learn to eat less of it. i'm still gonna buy my free range eggs for now and i'm gonna make more of an effort when we go out to eat to find vegan things on the menu (i usually end up going for something really creamy and cheesy when we go out). there really isn't any reason to eat dairy other than convience when we go out (at home we can easily make a vegan version of any food).

Friday, September 19, 2008

the difference

a cyclist was killed by a bus yesterday morning right in the middle of the city on a major cycling route that is quite dangerous. this street has a lot of coach and tour buses that park along it. there are also tram tracks down the middle (and a VERY narrow gap when a tram goes down along a row of coaches). add in a bunch of unaware pedestrians (why would you step off a curb on a major city road without looking first?), some taxis and some horse drawn carriages and you have accidents waiting to happen. bicycle victoria has been working with the council to find an alternative place for the coaches (they are planned to be moved some time in 2009 i think). unfortunately this had to happen.
looking at the readers' comments in the age article there was a lot of support to try to remove the coaches sooner from a very dangerous high cycling volume area and other things that could be done to help make cycling thru the cbd safer and encourage more people to ride. next i went to the herald sun site. the difference between the readers of each of the papers (which i knew already) is shocking. the first half dozen or so comments (and more throughout) just state ban the bikes! do they not think what would happen if those 2000 people each hopped into their cars and decided to drive along with the already ridiculous traffic (or even using already overcrowded public transport)? yes there are idiot riders who do dangerous and illegal things but most cyclists are not like that (and the ones who are doing illegal things should be fined more often). some of the comments were completely ignorant drivers who actually have no idea what the cycling rules are (saying its illegal to ride 2 abreast and hold up traffic-- its actually completely legal when there is more than 1 lane of traffic and is often safer to take up a lane than to be pinned next to parked cars while cars try to unsafely pass the bike rider in a narrow lane).
what happened yesterday was pretty horrible but hopefully it'll make drivers and cyclists think more and be more aware of other road users and hopefully out of this tragedy swanston street (along with other major bike routes) will be made safer in the near future.

cooking and the dog

with my birthday money i bought myself a couple cookbooks i'd been wanting for a while:

i've already tried a few recipes from each (i think they arrived in the mail on tuesday). eat, drink and be vegan is really good for gluten free vegans (i work with one) cuz she has a HUGE amount of gluten free recipes including lots of muffins, pancakes and other normally wheat flour recipes that she's done using lots of different types of flours (spelt, oat, chickpea). i'm gonna have to try some of those ones. la dolce vegan! has a lot of sarah's own creations as well as recipes others have sent her for the book. soooo many good things to choose from in there.
when i went to download the pic of the cookbooks i discovered some pictures of wombat from earlier in the week on the camera.
the lazy beast in (our) bed:

yawning sleeping beauty (a little like the wolf in grandmother's clothing):

lazy one taking over the couch:

she's only supposed to be on that brown mat on the couch but that rarely happens. she'll start there and take over the couch when we get up or if the mat is on the couch and the other half is free she'll go for the other half. she does love that mat though-- she won't go to bed without it now. she has this new bedtime thing going where if she goes into bed but that mat isn't on her cotton covered big foam bed she'll just stand and stare at her bed and wait for you to get the mat and put it down then she'll happily curl up on it. i'm trying to teach her to get it herself.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

where'd it go?

2 days ago we were wearing t-shirts (well i was, zac still insisted on his flannel shirt) and flip flops and we've slept with the windows open the past 3 nites. now it's not even 7C outside with the windchill. snow is forecast for the hills outside melbourne tonite! this is pretty much how it was when i arrived here 5 years ago (and my first words as we left the airport were "it feels like winter!"-- but we had just come from summer in canada and then a week in san diego). come back spring!

5 years

today marks 5 years that i've lived in australia. i celebrated by having a tooth pulled. last nite most of a tooth came out when i had my first bite of my dinner (gnocchi-- not even a hard food). it was a pretty decayed tooth that had a root canal done and there wasn't much left to it. i was able to get a dentist appointment this afternoon and had the rest pulled. i HATE dentists because i had a horrible one as a child and i associate dentists with large amounts of pain (even for a checkup). the guy i had today was really good. the only time i was in pain was when he did the forth and final needle to numb my mouth (and he warned me beforehand and apologized that that one would hurt). it took him ages to get out just because he couldn't get a grip on it but i never had any pain. i went straight back to work when he was done (much to everyone's shock). the dentist warned me to take pain killers before the numbness wore off and i did as soon as i could feel a bit of aching pain. i made it thru the afternoon and its still not bad (i'm a little worried about tomorrow though because even though it wasn't hard to pull, he was poking at it for about 45 minutes so that's gotta make the gums a bit tender and sore by tomorrow). fortunately i was already planning on making vegan cream of broccoli soup tonite before the whole incident happened so i had an easy meal to eat (chewing is just way too much effort when i have to do it all on one side).
crazy to think 5 years ago i arrived here on a 1 year working holiday visa, moved into a share house on brunswick street, had no job, very little money to my name and wasn't sure how long i could go without a car. now i have a nice 2 bedroom house (rented), a dog, a husband, a good job with people i like, permanent residency and no reason to own a car.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

the country/continent shaped like a dog head

when i was in grade 3 my teacher taught us to identify australia as the continent shaped like a scotty dog's head (with a slightly deformed ear). i thought everyone knew that australia looked like that. apparently not. zac thinks i'm crazy. i did find a couple random websites that mention it but that's all. look at the comparison though:
pretty similar. the fact that this country looks like a dog head (and that they have some of the coolest animals like koalas, kangaroos and platypus-- what's the plural of that???) always made me interested in this country and i wanted to come visit (then i met zac, came here and stayed). i definitely looks like scotty dog though.

Friday, September 12, 2008

warming up

it got to the mid 20s today!!!! apparently its the warmest day since anzac day (april 25). unfortunately the warm spring weather usually means strong winds. i went out this morning in the 60km/h winds (on my bike) because i thought the winds would only get stronger in the afternoon. it took ages to bike the 2km to the shops and back. the poor dog was freaking out all morning because the wind is the scariest thing ever. she finally calmed down when i turned on the vacuum cleaner (which she's usually scared of but i think she preferred that sound over the wind-- she kept close to it as i moved thru the house). fortunately the wind died down a bit in the afternoon so she had a good sleep. i wish i'd gone to the shops in the afternoon though.
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longest ever cold

i'm almost done my amoxil. pretty sure it did nothing. a co-worker gave me some essential oil inhaling stuff and the name of a good saline solution nasal spray she uses. i'm hoping those 2 things will help get rid of the congestion at least-- then it'll just be the never ending cough. i'm taking a sick day today (at my boss' insistence), i'll only have 2 days at work again next week (and a half day in-service another day) and i'm only working 3 days over the 2 week holiday program (plus one day of whatever hours i want to do to get the room ready for term 4). hopefully by having these few weeks of quietness i can beat this thing. i'm sooo ready to be healthy again.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

not great

i've had a relapse with the cold-- the cough is still there and now i'm congested and constantly blowing crap out of my nose. merideth tickets went on sale at stores today so i decided that even though i felt like crap i'd go line up and make sure we get tix (only about 2000 tix are sold throughout about a half dozen locations, the other 8000 go thru the subscriber ticket ballots which happened last week and then internet sales which start thursday). i stood in line in the cold for over 2 hours, got to about 20 people from the door when they announced they were sold out! we still have a shot at internet sales on thrusday except i'll be at work from 8am and can't do it and zac's got some meeting mid-morning. hopefully we can get a friend to buy them on our behalf.
after freezing in line i wandered around brunnie street and got coffee and came back home. i had a bit of cold remedy tea left in a pot so i put it on the stove. i forgot about it and went back in the kitchen several minutes later to see our stainless steel pot (a wedding gift) was now very yellowy/brown. i took the lid off to discover there had been a fire in the pot (which was very dry with a few clove embers)!! fortunately the fire was contained to the pot but the pot is now very black and burned on the inside and yellow on the outside. i'm now airing out the house and soaking the pot. hopefully i'll be able to get it back to a usable state.

Monday, September 08, 2008


its finally feeling like spring! we haven't used the heat for the last 4 nites and 1 1/2 mornings (i turned it on for 10 min just now to just get the room mildly warmer since i'll be home most of this morning-- zac got up, showered and went to work without having any heat). i did a bunch of prep in the garden yesterday and i'll hopefully have some things planted by tomorrow
here's some spring shots i've taken over the week or so around our yard:
a bee on the nectarine blossoms:

more nectarine blossoms:
a flower from the neighbours yard. i forgot my boss's birthday was friday (i was busy preparing early birthday things for my co-worker who's birthday is today and i'm not at work). i ended up grabbing my favourite wine bottle vase i painted and a flower from the neighbours yard during my lunch break and bringing that in for her (project for today: paint myself a new wine bottle vase-- first step is to finish the almost half bottle of wine. probably should have breakfast--and maybe lunch-- before i start) the photo doesn't do this flower justice. the colour is almost florescent. i'm sure they're a weed but they look amazing when the entire side of the freeway is covered in tiny bright yellow dots

Sunday, September 07, 2008

"i think i've got the black lung, pop"

after another horrible coughing attack friday nite i decided to go get the amoxil yesterday morning. i'm willing to try anything that has a possibility of working (except a spoonful of margarine which zac's nana thinks will cure my cough-- i think it'd make me vomit). i'd like to go back to work healthy on wednesday.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

beach day!

as kind of a late birthday gift zac took me and wombat to the beach for the day (he wanted to go over nite but the dog friendly place we stayed at before was booked).
wombat on the ride up:

(she looked pretty similar on the ride back but her eyes were closed-- it doesn't even look like a comfortable position. i think she just likes to be able to face forward)
happy dog on the beach:

proud dog and her seaweed:

me and my pup:
action shots:
zac and wombi:
the bluff in barwon heads (we had some wedding photos taken here):
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Friday, September 05, 2008


a couple months ago i had the cough that just wouldn't leave (it was a virus). after almost 5 weeks it finally started to go away. since i had the flu 3 weeks ago i've had a lingering cough. it felt the same as the viral one i had just gotten over. this week it changed. at first i liked the new cough. it was slightly phlegm-y and was much less effort than the dry one. then it got worse. i've been having horrible attacks most nites causing me to feel sick to my stomach and even vomit. yesterday i decided i need to see a doctor. i called the clinic where my doctor is yesterday morning. i knew i wouldn't get to see my doctor (she's only in a couple days a week and it usually takes a couple weeks to see her) and i thought i might have to wait until today to even get an appointment but i was told there was only 1 doctor on yesterday and today (usually i think 3-5 doctors are on). the receptionist said she'd call me if anything came up. i didn't hear anything. this morning i planned on calling as soon as they opened to make sure i was #1 on the waiting list. before they even opened the director suggested/insisted i call the clinic up the road from work. i got in and even got an appointment right after work so i didn't have to worry about somebody covering my shift at all. unfortunately that clinic doesn't bulk bill which means i have to pay upfront and 1/2 the money will be reimbursed by medicare next week (my entire fee is covered by medicare at doctors that bulk bill). the doctor saw me for 5 min or so and concluded it was a virus. there's nothing i can do. she did give me a prescription but said not to rush out and fill it because it's not likely to help if its a virus. at least i have a 4 day weekend (i gave up my r.d.o. this week in exchange for getting 2 days of my choice off next week) to help me relax and hopefully recover.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

show and tell

had this conversation with a child at work yesterday:
bob*: why didn't we do show and tell after group time? are we doing it after lunch?
me: do you remember what [the teacher] said at group time today?
(she said we'd probably do it before we eat)
bob: yes
me: what did she say?
bob: she said that today is the first day of spring
me: um, yeah but what did she say about the show and tell?
bob: look-- its my darth vader ship. its flying

i gave up on the conversation at that point. lego made into star wars stuff was obviously much more important than his question about show and tell

*name changed