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[ profile] mc_shamo and I just spent a lovely weekend in Castlemaine. I think it really cemented for us the idea that we could live there in a few years. We both love Melbourne so much, but we'll never be able to afford a house here and have the kind of lifestyle we want. Plus for me it was such a luxury, this amazing feeling of walking more than two blocks at a fast pace and not reaching for my inhaler. The air is so clean! In fact the only times I used my inhaler were inside that cottage we stayed in as the couch was dusty and when we climbed up to the Burke and Wills monument- that was from genuine excertion though, which I hardly ever get to in Melbourne before my airways swell up, so that was a celebration in itself.

This time around staying in Castlemaine we lunched at Saffs Cafe which was just as good as last time, then went to the Drummond Natural Soap shop next door and stocked up on shampoo, conditioner and body wash (so worth it, the stuff is amazing). We were thinking of going on a walk around the old gold diggings but the weather was not clement (I seem to have a knack of booking weekends away during which it rains almost non-stop) so instead we decided to go to nearby Harcourt and find the cidery cellar door.

Thanks to the slightly dodgy map we were using we managed to get lost. This turned out to be a blessing as instead of Henry's of Harcourt we ended up at Bress Winery who in addition to very nice wine also make cider, olive oil, honey and assorted other things. Best of all they are a biodynamic estate, which means no added sulfer (yet another thing I'm allergic to) which means I cad drink their stuff without risk of respitory attack or headache (well, I'd probably get a hangover headache if I drank a LOT, but no sulfer induced headache!) On the way back to Castlemaine we dropped in at Peeler's Family Orchard for fresh apples and pears. Yum. The weather was still awful, so we ended up spending the night in our cottage with a cheese platter, soup and pudding for dinner.

Saturday morning we breakfasted at Togs, then did the Castlemain Town Historical walk, visiting the Burke and Wills monument with a spectacular view of the town, stopping in at the Art Gallery and Museum and discovering that practically every building in the place had been a police station at one point or another. I bought a few books in the bookshop as the rainy weather meant I'd finished my novel earlier than expected. I was glad to see signed copies of [ profile] cows_might_fly's Dad's book were still on the display table- they obviously support local authors, good news for me if I ever5 get around to writing that novel ;-)

In the afternoon we finally did make it out to Henry's of Harcourt and spent a pleasant afternoon trying ciders and vinegars and dessert cider (fantastic thing! think sweet apple brandy made with golden delicious apples, yum!) Then [ profile] mc_shamo felt inspired and worked on Omniprop's website for a few hours while I had a nap. That evening we tought we'd check what the local pizza place was like and were very favourably impressed, we took advantage of a weekend without the cats and had pizza on the floor of the cottage while watching Shrek on tv.

On Sunday we drove to Maldon for the local winter food and wine festival. Maldon is an incredibly pretty little town, full of friendly peope. I bought a crocheted cloche hat from a lady sitting behind a spinning wheel after watching fascinated as she spun her own yarn. My hat was made by her, hand crochet, hand spun, and it would have been hand-dyed except she left it natural so it's not dyed at all. We decided after the last few days to ignore the wine and concentrate on the food, stocking up on chutneys, puddings, cheeses and sauces, as well as a few little cakes and chocolates that are mostly gone by now :-)

We got back to Melbourne on Sunday afternoon and relaxed at home for a few hours before going to [ profile] cows_might_fly and [ profile] clappamungus's house for dinner, during which we hatched a cunning plot to go to a swing dancing lesson on Monday, which we did. It was an absolute blast and I definitely want to go again, there were a few people their I knew too, including [ profile] fin, so we didn't have to go in as total strangers which was nice.

All in all a fastastic weekend away.
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I've been having a break from work for the past few days, and that means I've also avoided the internet. A good thing too, since having four days worth of posts to catch up on gave me a way to fill in an hour this morning after completeing my work.

Christmas was great. We had dinner with Dad's relatives the weekend before Christmas, then the traditional Guzys family Christmas Eve (at my grandparent's house for the last time- next year it'll move east) which felt more relaxed than it has for a while. My grandmother has been slowly off-loading her old knitting patterns on me as her arthritis has stopped her knitting as much. This time instead of the usual jumpers and glove patterns it was toys, and baby booties. Subtle Grandma, real subtle.

On Christmas day we opened our presents under the Christmas tree. Seamus got me an entire outfit from Ecowear- one of my favourite shops- includinga scarf and bag. I got him some antique rose gold cufflinks with his initials engraved on them (and I didn't get the initials engraved- they came like that- fate!) then we had a breakfast of buckwheat pancakes, bacon and maple syrup while watching the cats run around happily with their new toy mice.

Christmas lunch was at Seamus' Mum's place with his sister Morg and her partner Doug. A very laid back meal. Seamus went on to his Dad's relatives afterwards, but I stayed home to sleep in preparation for my night shift. In the evening we had those that once were MUCAAS over for the annual Christmas wind-down party which was a lot of fun. I left at about 1130pm to go to work.

It wasn't too bad working overnight on Christmas night. I managed to get to sleep about 4am and didn't wake up until about 7:30, with only half an hour to go on my shift. Seamus and I hit Highpoint early to spend the money we'd received for Christmas (we now have a food processor!) before I fell into bed and Seamus went off to visit his Dad with his sister.

Apart from that the last couple of days have involved watching DVDs while knitting on the couch, reading, eating blood plums, having family and friends over for meals and going out to family and friend's places for other meals. It's been fantastic, and a wonderful break.

Bring on 2010!


Oct. 5th, 2009 09:04 am
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After several shift changes (about 5 in all I think!) I ended up working from Saturday 3pm right through to Sunday 7:30am. It sounds bad but it was actually quiet for a Saturday night (I actually checked the phones were working at one point!) and it meant that I got yesterday completely OFF!

I got home about 8am and slept until midday. Luckily as I thought I'd be working I'd already made lunch for [ profile] mc_shamo and I in advance, so all I had to do was stumble down the stairs and revive over a chicken salad.

After lunch we decided it was too nice a day to stay inside. We also looked at our "Gardening" fund and found it had enough money in it for a compost bin. With these factors combined we decided to make our way to Ceres in Brunswick. We ran into [ profile] hespa there in the queue for coffee and said hi to [ profile] aurellia who was there with her family, then I sat on the lawn sipping chai and watching two of the cutest little girls ever playing chasey, and a gorgeous hyperactive dog running around and around and around the cafe, all while lazily discussing the future with Seamus and enjoying the sunshine.

After a walk around looking at the animals and bikes and stuff we made our way to the nursery. We lusted after the native plants for a while then chatted to a lovely bloke about our composting needs (two people house with bugger-all garden, trying to grow herbs and sick of "wasting" food scraps) who suggested we get a Worm Cafe and took us through how to use it in detail. We bought one and 1000 worms to start our wormfarm. In the car home we decided the worms were our new pets. They are all called Leslie.

Once home we set up the worm farm in the garage (it's meant to be completely out of the sun, and let's face it, we're never going to clear enough space in our garage to park the car there anyway!) and made sure the Leslies were comfy. Inspired by our new purchase we set about clearing the front garden of grass and weeds, we've made a significant dent, and we're thinking of planting some native plants there with the landlords' permission- which I'm sure we'll get as our landlords are my parents and they're very easygoing.

In the evening I made spicy indian roo burgers and tandoori vegetables and we went for a walk around the neighbourhood, enjoying the dusk and the birdsong. Then we realised we'd completely forgotten to do any grocery shopping for the coming week, so high-tailed it to Coles.

And we've also planned our next mini holiday, on Wednesday the 28th of Oct we're going to leave Melbourne proper about 5pm and spend the night in Healesville, then the next day have a look around and visit the Sanctuary as I've never been. We'll be doing this on the cheap this time, so not looking for the luxury of the last holiday, but I realised how much better I feel after a break, no matter how short, so I plan to take them more often in future.

By the way, anyone who can get the Thursday off work is more than welcome to join us!
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On the 14th oh June [ profile] mc_shamo and I are taking a microbreak! What with Loki being sick and other stuff we never managed a holiday at the start of the year, so this will tide us over until such time as we can manage more than two days off.

The plan is to rock up at 2pm to The Grand Hotel and check in, then take the tram to the comedy theatre for the matinee of Avenue Q, then a nice dinner somewhere open on a Sunday (the hotel's restaurant isn't) then a night in style followed by breakfast in the hotel then home to relax and share a Monday off.

Only one month and one day to go!!!
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The day went really fast, I have a sort of "moment to moment" memory of it. Hence my post shall be a post of moments.

-getting my hair done in a salon. The hairdresser used so much hairspray I fear that it caused a new hole in the ozone layer.

-waiting for [ profile] jpom40's mother in the bus shelter, trying to move further and further back into the corner as the rain came down.

-sitting in the lounge room when an almighty clap of thunder sounded, loud enough to make my ears hurt

-James coming back from an errand, me asking him exactly what he did to make Zeus so pissed off.

-watching highlights from Four Wedding and a Funeral whilst being glued to the Bureau of Meteorology website, convincing ourselves we would in fact be clear for an outdoor wedding in the Botanical Gardens at 4pm.

-eating cheese and tomato toasted sandwiches with James' family and running through the schedule.

-dancing around the loungeroom with James and Rory and Caro (different Caro!) to Chapel of Love and Sultans of Swing

-pinning flowers on to lapels, having serious discussions about where specifically on the lapel they should be placed and making sure they were all as level as possible.

-getting into the gorgeous vintage Jaguar and bouncing on the red leather seat.

-frantically trying via phone to organise transport for those people who had been planning to come on the train (trainline was struck by lightning), again asking James what he did to upset Zeus

-Not being recognised by some of my friends on arrival with my hair done and in a suit.

-watching umbrellas materialise as the heaven's opened and the rain poured down.

-the look on James' face when Katie came into sight, being walked down the aisle by her parents

-seeing Katie and James linked hands behind their backs as James brought Katie under his umbrella

-signing the certificate as neatly as possible

-having photos taken in the gardens and on the beach in the bright sunshine that followed the actual wedding.

-changing into a dress and having my suit taken away by kind staff members at the reception

-chatting and relaxing

-giving my speech, which for posterity I shall place Under this cut )

-dancing with the groom to Losing my religion

-dancing with my fellow groomsman to Sweet Child Of Mine

-Seamus arriving in plenty of time to enjoy the party (he'd had to leave after the wedding to go perform in Melbourne Model)

-Saying good bye to the newly wedded couple

-James finding me on my own and presenting me with a bouquet

Truly wonderful, magical, awesome night. An unforgettable wedding.
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I sit here at work, with 90 minutes left on shift, after one huge weekend.

On Friday I worked til 11pm, then went dancing, getting homeat 2am. This was very generous of my darling [ profile] mc_shamo as it meant he got way too little sleep.

Saturday morning I vaguely remember stirring as Seamus kissed me goodbye and left for work. I woke up properly and mucked about at home before taking my new Eeepc back to the shop as the apostrophe key didn't work, rendering the bloody thing pretty useless. I dropped it off, dropped in to the Chinese grocery to get some veggie sasauges and then made my way to the engagement party of [ profile] cows_might_fly and [ profile] clappamungus.

The party was a retro bbq, and I seriously think that Shayne, Eva, [ profile] _audhumla_ and [ profile] ragedc missed their decade being born now, because they all looked fabulous in their 70s gear :-) I went 50s, A-line skirts for the win.

We left the party in the early hours of the morning, and I'd drunk rather a bit. I managed to roll out of bed for breakfast at Hot Poppy by 10am, which I was impressed at. I went to the city to get my laptop back (safe, sound and working, yay!) then went home. Shayne and Eva proved once again how awesome they are by giving me a ride to work. The hangover has been replaced by epic tiredness.

35 mins left now.

First day of classes tomorrow! I'm almost too tired to be excited. Almost :-)
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My Christmas was lovely.

I worked Christmas Eve. I work in emergency services, so you can imagine that working Christmas Eve could be a little disheartening (I was hoping I would not end up like Turk from the first Christmas episode of Scrubs) Luckily it was quiet, so apart from feeling very sad for two young motorcycle riders it was okay.

[ profile] mc_shamo came and picked me up at 11pm when my shift ended. He drove me home where he had laid out a candlelight supper on the table. There was organic stilton cheese and a spanish dessert wine and two little french puddings being steamed on the stove. By the time we'd finished it was midnight, and we exchanged gifts. I gave Seamus a pair of Etiko high-top shoes (think Converse but fair-trade with renewable rubber and organic cotton) and he gave me a truly beautiful amber and silver bracelet. It's really gorgeous, and it shows that he has excellent taste and also pays attention to what I like, as he got it to match my favourite amber necklace.

We got up on Christmas morning and had a breakfast of fruit and yogurt and cereal. I finished making the food for lunch and we drove to my parents place.

We had a really lovely afternoon. My parents live in Beaumauris, about three houses up from the beach. It was us, my parents, my brother, my paternal aunt Moira and uncle Michael and their daughter- my cousin Tess- and her husband Andrew. Small and manageable. Mum looked a bit disconcerted by my food; she'd forgotten that I was bringing the roast, but relaxed after she took the gladwrap off the salad and said , "Oh, it's cous-cous!" She'd thought I'd made a rice salad and was a bit hurt because she always makes the rice salad at Christmas and everyone always says how nice it is. I assured her that I would never have made a rice salad and was really looking forward to her one. And that there? That was the stickiest moment the entire day, for a family Christmas I believe that's incredibly good going!

For lunch there were four different salads, including mine, then roast ham for the meat eaters, a huge seafood platter and my vegetarian roast, which I'm sure at least my parents and [ profile] mc_shamo really liked, I certainly did :-) We did well on the present haul too. The night before was my mum's side of the family's Christmas thing, which I couldn't go to as I was working, I'd just sent cards for everyone except my cousin Emily, for whom I'd found a framed Degas print in an op-shop (which Mum said she watched Emily open and she obviously loved, yay!). Mum informed me everyone had disobeyed my "no presents please" request and Seamus and I were inundated with towels, crockery and booze. All of which are welcome. From Dad's side we were given beer glasses (Tess is teh awesome) and some gorgeous serving plates and I got some accessories to jazz up work outfits (Tess again- she is teaching me how to make one expensive outfit actually look like five for work wear). My brother gave us the entire Monty Python's Flying Circus and upped his cool points something chronic. Because we're hippies we gave everyone organic wine, except my brother, who we gave a JB voucher and a keyring of an ugly man who has snot coming out of his nose when you squeeze it. Being my brother David thought this the height of hilarity.

We sat round and vaguely helped with the clearing up and drank coffee until [ profile] mc_shamo was positive he was right to drive (not that he would have got much over .05 at any point in the day anyway) then drove home along Beach rd. I was really happy. My parents both seemed relaxed and well, and everyone has accepted Seamus as a member of the family. They all like him and include him, and I'm proud of them, because it's the first time someone in this little part of our family has had a "partner" they live with as opposed to a husband or wife. We weren't treated any differently to Tess and Andrew and there are now vague plans for my aunt and uncle to visit us soon for afternoon tea (I wasn't actually sure they'd been told Seamus and I live together). So all was well, and happy. :-)

Christmas night our traditional MUCAAS party was small but cosy and chilled. We had round [ profile] cows_might_fly, [ profile] clappamungus, [ profile] jpom40 (who quickly succumbed to the cat hair he was allergic too, poor thing!) and pseudo-Cambridge-Sam. We talked, watched Monty Python and drank. Lovely. It's a really good way to round off Christmas.

Boxing Day [ profile] mc_shamo and I hit the sales. Oh boy did we hit the sales. We did Highpoint and the CBD. Our haul:

-Ipod dock
-"All that Alternative" 3 cd set
-men's short sleeved shirts from Jeep
-women's short sleveed 3/4 length summer jacket thing from Jeep
-red zirconia and silver earrings to go with my new bracelet from a jewelers
-a white bra to replace my current one which is now not so much white but grey and has little elasticity left
-two pairs Thai fishermans pants from Ishka
-womens work/casual black pants from Ishka's $10 basket (the clasp had come away from the belt, it took less that ten minutes sewing to fix and hey presto! $60 pair of pants for $10!)
-womens formal/work black pants from Myer
-work top from Myer
-summer dress from Myer (one of those awesome dresses that can be work/formal/casual that Myers is so good at producing)
-mens socks 'n' jocks from Myer
-bananaman t-shirt (whee!I have both now!)
-De Blob Wii game

I also found a perfect suit for [ profile] jpom40's wedding. Unfortunately it was only available in size 10 or lower. I am a size 12-14. The nice lady at the Cue store in Myers rang around but nowhere in the CBD has it in a larger size. I was bummed, because it was so perfect I was willing to buy it even if James decided he didn't like it and I had to wear something else to the wedding, it would have been worth the suit alone, paticularley at 50% off in the sale. Ah well, cannot win them all. I then found another beautiful one at Antons, but it was $600. I am actually considering it but I'd want James' approval first! It's very nice indeed, the one at Antons, and the jacket could be worn over a dress at later formal occasions.

Today [ profile] mc_shamo and I are going to his mum's place for Christmas lunch. It should be fun!

All in all, the last few days have been relativley stress free (even the sales are mostly stress-free when done with [ profile] mc_shamo!) and filled with family and friends and laughter and fun. I have had a wonderful Christmas so far. I know for some people reading this this is not the case, and I truly hope you are as physically and emotionally well as possible and that things improve soon, and that next's year Christmas is better. I'm thinking of you.

Merry Christmas all.
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Last night I went to [ profile] clappamungus's birthday party and drank a lot of Scotch. This afternoon I nearly threw up, watched as the love of my life threw up in a skip in North Melbourne, then went to Hot Poppy for breakfast then came home and slept all day.

It was the most fun weekend for a while.


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April 2011



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