Monday, March 31, 2008

2 Resolutions And A Funeral

An update on various household headaches, past and present:-

1. After more than 3 months of angst with the real estate agent, strata agent, electric company, turning to the Fair Trading Office for help after hitting a brick wall with the aforesaid, I finally got about $58 back in credit in the mail today for my electricity bill. This makes all those white hairs, non-printable spewing (including my favourite coined by an aghast Singaporean friend, who could hardly believe how horrendously bad/inefficient/incompetent/nonchalant Australian customer service can be - "FUBAR"), constant ranting to everyone who cares (or not) to hear my grievances, ALMOST worth the while.

2. My gas situation also got sorted out and I received my first "real" bill of almost $200 which gave me a shock until I realised that was for the last 7 months as the gas company had been billing me for the wrong address (to the wrong address so I never got the bill while the occupant in that unit was enjoying free gas all the time) while my own unit did not receive any bill throughout that time. Maths isn't my strongest subject hence the initial almost-heart attack till I divvied it up and figured it was only $20 plus per month.

3. After 2 happy conclusions, I have to report a sad one. My 9-month young TV was off-kilter as I shifted it slightly to get it to a better viewing angle in the midst of "Grey's Anatomy" last night and it crashed face down onto the timber floor. I must thank my lucky stars my toes weren't crushed as even from that low height, it was mighty heavy. I put the TV face up again and the sound of a million pieces of shattered glass greeted me. I was grateful to have my toes intact and also not to have smithereens all over the floor as the TV screen was somehow intact.

I will bury the dead (TV) when I get some help to carry the body.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

I Am Not There

I Am Not There

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glin
ts on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye (1932)


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Not Meant To Be

I'm beginning to think that I and friands are never meant to be. With my good intentions brewing for a long time, followed by researching easy-to-make recipes online and finally procuring the elusive bag of almond meal, I still was unable to produce some evidentiary proof of my friand-making efforts. Thwarted tonight by insufficient eggs (not realising that the one egg (which I had so carefully saved) wouldn't do, but I needed 4 egg whites), I turned my attempt towards the tried and tested (and loved by all) rock buns. With a twist - as I've soaked the mixed fruit overnight in strong Early Grey tea.

So friands take a back seat, until I stock up on eggs.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Shopaholics Hit Gold Coast Outlet Shops

G is quite tickled by this photo of me pigging out on waffles with dollops of Movenpick ice-cream when we were in the Gold Coast, thus upping the sin factor. We had hit Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Mall, reminiscent of those huge, sprawling American factory outlet malls where riding a golf buggy from shop to shop wouldn't be a far-fetched idea.

It felt like we had spent what seemed like an eternity trying on loads of jackets (G), trench coats (me) and shoes (both of us) . We had picked up a few good buys, these suede ankle-high Nike shoes with the baby blue laces were value for money at A$30. Plus G egged me on to get them, he thought they were really cool. But my right Achilles heel tendon doesn't seem to like being rubbed against by the top of the shoe. I'm hoping to break it (the shoe not the tendon) in soon.

So after hours of trudging from shop to shop, trying on endless pieces of apparel, lugging shopping bags, we had to stop for sustenance. What better than a cup of coffee and something sweet, to hit the spot?

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cucina, Gold Coast

This was one cool deli cum cafe in the Varsity Lakes area we stayed at, when we were at the Gold Coast. The glass showcase in the front had all sorts of mouthwatering hams and cheeses. Rows of Italian mineral water neatly lined the shelves behind, fusing the display of its wares with a sense of aesthetics as well.
Decor-wise, I especially love the hanging lamp, made of little glass bottles filled with some sort of red Italian soda. Ingenious designs are usually simple ones too.

The Bertoia wire chair is not one of my favourites, as I always have the phobia that the wire mesh pattern would be branded into my buttocks and back of my thighs if I sat in one for any protracted period of time. I was pleasantly surprised that even with a very thin chair pad, it was quite comfortable actually.

Since we were only there for breakfast, I ordered a ham and Jarlsberg cheese croissant. The croissant was fluffy and buttery, and beautifully displayed with a dark brown sauce drawn across the white plate. G wondered if it were chocolate sauce while I figured "Vegemite?" Turns out to be a delicious balsamic reduction. The cherry tomatoes were juicy and sweet and the rocket and spinach, lightly wilted, made a nice accompaniment, both taste-wise and visually.

I can still imagine the taste of that ham and cheese croissant as I write this entry, a simple little sandwich really, but oh so beautiful.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Leap, And The Net Will Appear

Today I question the concept of love. And why people make the choices they do in the face of blazing, unanimous, how-can-you-not-see-it objections from all and sundry. It is easy to fall back on the old saying that love is just between the 2 of them/us and nothing else matters. But is it? With the wisdom of age and experience, my sobering conclusion is that it is not just between the 2 of them/us. Other things DO matter. And that is why there is an interactive audience, participating in life's decisions from the sidelines, whether you want them there or not (mostly not).

As they say, there is no smoke without fire. Why is everyone holding up big placards saying "Don't do it!"? Are they green with envy and not wishing to see true love consummated? Or are they old cynics who have long given up on love? More likely, they are objective by-standers, with all the care and concern in their hearts and not wishing to see their friends and loved ones, hurt by the very glaring mistake waiting to inevitably happen.

However, with all the good intentions these by-standers may have, they will almost certainly not be appreciated. In fact, sometimes it is this knowledge of certain rejection that makes one hold one's tongue or at least moderate your original opinion to a watered-down version (that will still be rejected). After all, love is blind. And the lessons of love, very often have to be learnt and not taught. So as we let the big placards fall limply to the ground, as we drag our feet home in silent defeat and resignation, we hope that we were wrong, that they were right, that things turn out well, that things have changed. That perhaps, just perhaps - "leap, and the net will appear"...

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Back In Time

Erskineville is quite a quaint suburb. We caught the train, and it was just a couple of stops from Central station. The signs to show the time of arrival of the next train on whichever platform, are really a throwback to the past. I hope they never upgrade the signs to those common digital TV screens. A little character goes a long way, and it's not a very busy station that manually turning the hands of the clock cannot cope with.

It was lunch before inspecting the wares at the Mitchell Road Auction House. We had been to Bitton before. It was a little pricey and had a gourmet food store (and an online store) as well as the cafe. The lamb cutlets I had the first time were quite good - I have developed a liking for lamb ever since I moved to Sydney, I used to abhor the smell of lamb back in Singapore. Perhaps it was the different way lamb is cooked here that makes it so delicious. The spicy Moroccan chicken sandwich I had this time round sounded and looked better than it tasted.

This will remain on the "if I'm in the area, I might drop in" list, but I do want to try the other cafes and pubs in the area.

It was yet again a throwback in time at the auction house. Retro, mid-Century design furniture were being inspected by a steady trickle of people who are obviously in the know. This is where I spied the day/night lounge that I had loved and lost. But I know I will be back to Erskineville and to Mitchell Road.

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