Thursday, 8 November 2007

An awesome salad

With A down in Melbourne on weekdays (a fact I may have neglected to report here) I'm left alone to fend for myself. My solution to this last week was to catch up with friends for dinner every night, an endeavour that left me well socialed, but tired, poorer and lardier than before.

Thanks to the Melbourne Cup this week, I'm only "home alone" for 3 days. Tomorrow afternoon I'm heading down to Melbourne myself - and hopefully escaping the deluge that has engulfed Sydney for the last week!!

What I have decided is that these 3 days are going to be the start of Operation "Me Time".

I'm going to take advantage of this time to make healthier meals than I might if I was feeding both A and me, and to cook all the things I love, but that he finds less agreeable. Namely a lot of salads and soups - lucky its soup weather at the moment!! A is gradually being converted to soups and salads, but is not the biggest fan. There's also other things he doesn't eat - like tofu, eggs and spinach - that I'm bursting to cook.

As part of this, I want to use up some of the random ingredients cluttering up our fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboards. I've got tapioca that I bought 4 years ago sitting in the pantry, 2 falafels left over from a Lebanese meal in the freezer, and more dried porcini mushrooms than I can poke a stick at. It's all gotta go!!

Apart from food, other things I want to do with this "Me Time" is continue to clean up the mess that is our kitchen cupboards, second bedroom and the verandah. These feel like never-ending tasks, but I hope I can make a dint in them.

Doing some more study, and working on my honours project wouldn't go astray either!!

Before I go, here's the salad I made tonight:

Yummy chicken, sweet potato and haloumi salad

  • Lettuce and rocket leaves
  • 60g chicken
  • 90g baked sweet potato
  • 15g grilled haloumi
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • sliced red onion
  • dressing: 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, juice 1/2 lemon, cracked pepper
Very tasty, and very filling - in fact next time I might cut down the portions - especially if I'm eating late.

And right now, I need to finish packing!!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Washing Betty - long overdue!

A washed, and I polished. Was way easier than I thought it was going to be, despite the shockingly dirty state she was in.

Can you believe I have owned her for nearly 3 years without ever having washed her before? The shame!!!

But now, ain’t she beautiful!!


This needs to happen a lot more often!!

Saturday, 3 November 2007


I'm not normally one for guzzling down too much milk. Sure I have it in coffee, and I have the occasional glass of Milo, but I can easily go a week without consuming more than 500mL of the stuff. Likewise, I'm never really tempted to order a milkshake when out. Unless the magic word "spearmint" appears in the title.

After that, the chances of me *not* ordering it are slim to none.

Ok I must come clean, I'm just generally a mint hussy. And normally the mintier something is, the better*. But somehow spearmint - the milder cousin of peppermint - works best in these shakes. It gives it a light and sweet taste, that combined with soft bubbles of milk is just pure delight to imbibe.

Unfortunately a spearmint milkshake is not that easy to come by. After more than half a decade's searching, I can still count on one hand the number of establishments I know that serve them. And now that Poppies of Stanmore has closed down, the number within a 20km radius of my house is now zero.

I was once so desperate to obtain some spearmint milk that I cajoled my mother into visiting a wholesale confectioner in her city, and allowing them to sell her a 2L bottle of the mint-flavoured syrup. She succeeded, and that bottle kept us in good supply of milkshakes for well over a year. After that bottle though, our source literally dried up.

When I visited Broken Hill at the end of last year I was delighted to visit Bells Milk Bar; a 50s style milk bar serving a massive variety of flavoured milkshakes.

Image from

I was even more delighted to discover that spearmint was one of those flavours.

Spearmint milkshake

I was even more delighted to discover that they sold bottles of their homemade syrups, which I promptly bought. I am ashamed to say that for nearly a year this bottle sat atop my desk, unopened.

Spearmint milkshake

But today something cracked, and I decided a spearmint milkshake was in order.

Perhaps it was my anticipation in going to Melbourne next weekend to visit A, and knowing that one of the few reliable spearmint sources resides at the Queen Vic markets there. Perhaps it was just time I cleaned up my desk. Either way, it tasted great. And made me keen to seek out another source for when this 250mL bottle runs out.

If you know of one, please do let me know!!

* The only occasion this has even been shown not to be true is when I accidentally bought mint flavoured water in China. It tasted like I was drinking toothpaste backwash.

Sunday, 28 October 2007


Thanks to not realising it was daylight savings, and turning up to my yoga class just as it was finishing, I was a little more awake (and in a slightly worse mood) than usual when I got home and watered my plants this morning.

Perhaps that’s why I noticed that they had been attacked by evil caterpillars!!

Image thanks to flickr.

It was the mint that I first noticed. Mint is nothing if not hardy, so I was immediately suspicious when I saw that a few of it’s leaves looked a little moth eaten. Evil plans don’t just make themselves, you know.

Closer inspection revealed a couple of dark grey looking caterpillars. Ugh. After having lost a battle with caterpillars on my rocket earlier this year, I wasn’t relishing the though of having to repeat the experience.

Observation of my other plants revealed a similar invasion. My basil had been all but demolished by a number of the green suckers.

Despite the copious foliage, my tomato was also under similar attack by a mixture of green and brown suckers.

This particularly disturbed me, because the first of the plant’s fruit had just started to appear. I’m desperately hoping I get some to eat before I got to Vietnam!!

The only herbs that are (so far) immune to the caterpillar’s attack are the lettuce, chilli and parsley. Fingers crossed they stay that way!

1. Lettuce, 2. Chilli, 3. Flat-leaved parsley

Needless to say, I wasn’t going to take this lying down. When my rocket suffered a similar fate earlier this year, I lost the battle despite using slug and snail pellets, and a combination of soap, garlic and chilli (a method I devised, but must have read about it somewhere though surely?).

I was aware this wasn’t going to be easy, so I pulled out the big guns – Google – where I stumbled across this recipe for an organic bug spray. Deciding it looked suitably caterpillar-toxic, but person-friendly, I thought I’d give it a go. After all, should it survive, I do want to eat this stuff!!

Spraying it onto the plants certainly had some effect. At least 10 caterpillars dropped off and died. The tabasco also went right up my nose, and a few hours later my hands and lips are still tingling.

The question is, how many caterpillars remain?

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Me not dead

Whew, it's been a while. A lot has happened in the 17 days since I posted.

I'm now nearly halfway through my Obstetrics & Gynaecology rotation, and am enjoying it thoroughly. I've yet to witness a vaginal birth, but I've seen about 7 Caesarean sections. The first one blew my mind.

I was scrubbed in, and after the initial abdominal incision it was my job to hold instruments that help keep the tummy open, giving the surgeon a clear view of what he's doing. All of a sudden, instead of looking at fat or muscle, I was looking at hair. From then, it was my job to push the bulging mother's belly towards her feet - in other words, to move the baby so that its head popped through the hole. And it did! All of sudden I'm staring at this tiny face, still inside the mother. At the same time amniotic fluid is gushing everywhere, over the side of the table, and down my front.

I couldn't remember anything that happened after that, so dumbstruck was I by what I had witnessed. The next 6 Caesareans weren't as mind blowing as the first, but they were all pretty damn amazing. I'm not tired of them yet, unlike how I felt after watching 7 colonoscopies or 7 laparoscopic cholecystectomies earlier in the year!

I've also enjoyed the ante-natal clinics I've sat in on. It's fascinating seeing the range of different issues that pop up in pregnancy, and how different each pregnancy can be for each mother. Every mother is different too - from the 14 year old who didn't want her baby, not realising she was pregnant until she was 28 weeks along, to 40 year olds who'd undergone IVF treatment and were cherishing their pregnancy.

It's also made me acutely aware that the proverbial biological clock on my own eggs are ticking away. I'll soon be 32. That'll make me a mere 3 years from being considered "Advanced Maternal Age". That's a slightly daunting prospect.

An even more daunting prospect would be having a baby whilst studying, or doing internship. But is there ever an "easy" time to have a baby. Or is it just something that happens, and you fit whatever else is going on in your life around it as best you can?

The thought of having kids scares me. But so does the thought of not having them, and regretting it once its too late to do anything about it.

Wow this has become a rather meandering post hasn't it? Certainly ended out in a different direction that I'd thought it would when I started this brain dump. Still, better out than in hey!!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Bay run!

I finished at hospital early today, so decided that despite not having run any distance for a while, I’d give the Bay run a go. It’s perfect running weather at the moment – not too hot, but still nice and sunny. What better track to run and admire the slowly setting sun?

It wasn’t all peaches and cream though. 15 minutes in I got a stitch that lasted a good 20 mins. It wasn’t too bad that I had to stop and walk though, so I just pushed through it. With 15 mins to go I also noticed my knees were hurting – I hope that is something that will go away rather than continue if I try to do this more often.

All up I did the 7km in 45-50min (I forgot to look at my watch until after I had finished stretching). I was pleasantly surprised that I made the whole thing without having to stop and walk.

A few hours later and I can feel my calves are tightening. It feels good knowing that I pushed myself today.

Let’s see how tomorrow feels though eh?

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Catching up

It's been a busy time since I checked in here last. I don't have the energy to write a long, detailed post describing it all, but here are the highlights of the last week or so of my life, in roughly chronological order.

  1. Eating dumplings, drinking much wine and singing lots of Guns 'n Roses at Karaoke.
  2. Waking up still drunk the next morning and having to pack my bags for a morning flight to Cairns.
  3. Making it to Cairns in one piece and enjoying a cruisy day wandering the streets, sussing out what had changed in the 5 years since I'd been there.
    By the water
  4. Spending 3 days on a boat staring at a view like this non-stop. Note the lack of blue sky.
    View from boat
  5. Doing 10 dives in 3 days, including 2 night dives. Never done a night dive before and was expecting it to be very scary - it wasn't! Best dive was the last morning - there were 9 sharks right underneath our boat as we descended. Then we saw 7 turtles in the one dive!
  6. Making it back on dry land and discovering that blue sky still exists.
    By the water
  7. Getting home and unpacking. Such fun - not!!!
  8. Finding out I passed 3rd year and am now officially in 4th year - woohoo!
  9. Realising this now officially means I have 9 weeks before I head to Vietnam for 3 months. Buying a Lonely Planet (still not opened it though)
  10. Picking out a new pair of glasses. They'll be ready to collect soon.
  11. Visiting my Babushka and getting to eat prawn dumplings at the same time. Yum.
    Baba's verandah
  12. Starting my first 4th year rotation - Obstetrics and Gynaecology. It's going to be an interesting 8 weeks, and I am loving being able to walk to hospital in the mornings.
So I think that pretty much brings us up to date. I need a rest from all this excitement!!

Thursday, 27 September 2007


A blog that I've recently discovered is Criticism & Friends. From what I've read, I really admire Bathsheba's commitment to training, and the way she expresses herself with the written word.

I think it was a posting I read whilst trawling through her archives that inspired me to drag A down to the nearest oval last night and attempt to do interval training.

Now I have to come clean:I've been an on-off-on-off-again amateur jogger for years, but I don't have the faintest clue what I'm doing. I've done 5 city2surfs but never done more than 5 training runs for all 5 of them combined. I hate jogging on the treadmill, and the last time I dragged myself to an outside run was well over a month ago. In short, I'd have to say that I lack motivation, discipline and commitment.

What appealed to me about trying out intervals in the first place was the fact that it was an activity that A and I could do together, yet go at our own pace. It'd also mean we get outside and get to take advantage of the warmer nights we've been experiencing this week. Plus it'd be all over in 20 mins, even if it turned out to be a disaster.

So last night we headed down to the footy oval a few streets away and did some interval sprints. I've never in my life attempted interval training, not even on the treadmill, so I wasn't really sure what to do.

I decided to sprint along the straight part of the oval, and jog around the curvy bit. After the first few laps that changed into a sprint/walk combo - it was tough!! But you know what, it was damn fun! I loved the rush of giving it everything you could - that's what I normally do toward the end of my 30 min slow jogs - but this time I got to do it every few minutes. Major endorphins!

After 20 mins I was red, puffed and sweaty. But happy. And even happier that A enjoyed it too. We've decided to try and do this twice a week or so. I'm hoping I feel this good after every session!!

The fate of the rhubarb...

...turned out to be, not as predicted, a crumble.

Instead, after spending the previous two evenings polishing off the apple crumble that Mum gave me, I decided something else was in store for the rhubarb. I did some googling, and flicking through my cookbooks before deciding upon Nigella Lawson's Rhubarb meringue pie.

Rhubarb meringue pie

It was pretty easy to make, though took a while to assemble all the various parts. Due to our lack of food processors and electric beaters, I had to make the pie crust and meringue the old fashioned hand way, making it more time consuming than it otherwise needed to be.

Still, I'm on holidays, so I'm not complaining about the time.

Neither am I complaining about the fact that all I've eaten for lunch today is another slice. Time to go have a sandwich, methinks!

Monday, 24 September 2007


Yesterday I went down to the Gong to celebrate my Dad's birthday. My brothers and I joined my parents and their bushwalking group on a short walk along the escarpment cliff tops at Mt Ousley.

We sat and ate a picnic lunch on the side of the cliffs at Broker's Nose, overlooking the northern suburbs of Wollongong. You'll have to trust me when I say it was spectacular, because despite being organised enough to take my camera, I was not organised enough to ensure it contained a memory card. Boohoo!

After lunch we went back to my parents house and ate chocolate muffins and freshly baked apple crumble. Again, you'll have to believe me when I say my Mum makes the best crumble ever. That's not something you can capture in blog format.

In the fading daylight I wandered around my parents backyard. We looked at a nest that a bowerbird has recently been constructing near their front door. The bowerbird was hiding behind the fence dividing the nest from the next-door neighbours house, so I only caught tantalising glimpses of its midnight blue feathers. I love the way they collect and hoard blue trinkets - this one had milk lids and clothes pegs aplenty.

Continuing through the garden, I scored aplenty as well. First, a bunch of beautiful purple azaleas.


My parents are gardening freaks and literally have well over 20 types of azaleas growing (not to mention all their camellias). I had my choice from dark purple to pale pink to weird stripey kinds.

I also scored a bunch of brilliant blue lavender from their front yard.


I don't think it's as fragrant as the regular lavender (although my Mum disagrees), so I actually nabbed a bit of the regular stuff too. I'm attempting to propagate it in one of the pots on my verandah. Fingers crossed.

I would have loved to take some scented fresias home as well, but was a week too late as most of them had withered in the grass.

My Dad's veggie patch was also kind to me. He picked a big juicy bunch of rhubarb for me.


Hopefully I'll be making some crumble of my own later this week!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

So how did I not know about until now? rocks! So much better than listening to crappy ad-infested radio stations that play the same ten songs over and over all day long and have announcers whose voices make you want to go and put your hand in between the blades of a blender.

Plus you can choose what kind of music you want: “chilling”, “electro”, “grunge” or a mix of anything and just go from there.

I’d say that at the moment it has re-connected me with old music I had forgotten about more than discovered new good stuff, but it’s definitely given me ideas for fresh tunes to put on my iPod.

It’s now officially my preferred musical entertainment when stuck in front of the computer for hours on end. Within the space of one short week, I now don’t know what I’d do without it!

Chilli bean soup with cornbread

I posted a link to this recipe on HealthNuts a while back, so this is nothing really new. Except last night when I made it again I took pictures!

I'm going to repeat the recipe here as well, just so if when I add new recipes here, they'll all be in the one place.

Chilli bean soup with cornbread

With many, many, many thanks to (and a few comments by me in italics)...

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 2 tbs olive oil (I just add a small splush)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 roasted capsicums
  • 2 small red chillies, seeded, chopped (I normally add 3)
  • 900ml vegetable stock
  • 700ml tomato passata
  • 2 tbs sun-dried tomato paste (or some sut up dried sundried tomatoes)
  • 415g can red kidney beans, drained, washed
  • Sour cream and coriander, to serve

Corn bread

  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 175g instant polenta
  • 100g goat's cheese, crumbled (I use half fetta, half cottage cheese normally)
  • 310g can creamed corn
  • 2 red chillies, seeded, diced
  • 1 tbs coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 175ml buttermilk
  • 50g butter, melted (I skip this, or sometimes add a splash of olive oil instead)


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan, add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until soft. Add garlic, capsicum, chilli and cook for 1 minute. Add stock, passata, tomato paste and kidney beans. Stir to combine.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 25 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, then blend in batches.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  4. To make the corn bread, sift the flour, polenta and 1 teaspoon of salt in a mixing bowl, add goat's cheese, corn, chilli, coriander, honey, buttermilk and butter, and season with black pepper.
  5. Stir to combine and transfer to a greased 20cm spring-form pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Swirl sour cream into soup and garnish with coriander. Serve with corn bread.
  7. Go to heaven cos it tastes so damn good!
Chilli bean soup with cornbread

Sunday, 16 September 2007


I've been doing a bit of procrastinating reading about motivation, desires etc. Here's something I came across that really struck a cord with me. Maybe you'll find it useful too. I've edited and abridged it a bit, but you can read the complete version here.
When we’ve brought awareness to our desires, we can begin to work with them...take the impulse that longs for pizza and romance and caffeine and new toys and find a way to transmute it so that it fuels your deeper goals...

[Ask] yourself the question, “What do I want by getting what I want?”

You can apply that query to almost any desire, and the results are often surprising. What do I really expect to get from eating that sweet? What do I really want from the dream lover I pine for, or from the recognition I hope to achieve, or from making 100,000 a year?

Your first answer might be ‘intimacy’ or ‘companionship’ or ‘security’. But if you keep asking (“What do I want from intimacy? What do I want from security?”) the answer will almost always be something like happiness, fulfillment, love, or peace of mind.

The desire for happiness is really the bottom line, the underpinning of all desires. Once you realize that, you are, once again, in a position to ask yourself whether it might be possible to feel happy without necessarily getting what you want...

When we’ve learned to identify our deepest desires, the longings of our soul, we can truly take advantage of the creative power of desire. That’s when our intentions, instead of being wishes or fantasies, become powerful engines that awaken our life...

Working with desires

Are you wondering whether a particular desire is healthy or unhealthy? Here’s how you find out.

First, bring the desire fully you’re your conscious awareness. Notice the words associated with the desire. Especially, pay attention to the feeling quality of it. Notice where you feel it in your body. Notice the emotional state it induces. Do you feel excited? Do you feel uncomfortable?

Once you’ve identified what the desire is, and how it feels like to be in a state of desire, ask yourself:
  1. How does this desire fit in with my greater priorities?
  2. Will following this impulse hurt others? Will it hurt me?
  3. Does it take me closer to my higher self, or will it create more barriers between my soul and myself?
  4. Is it beneficial to other people as well as to myself?
  5. What will I have to give up if I follow this desire?
  6. What will I have to give up if I don’t?
  7. What do I really want by getting what I want?
Turning a Desire into an Intention

Once you’ve identified what it is that you really want, articulate it. Even if it is something that feels vague, like “to be happy” you can still put it into the form of an intention. You might say, “My intention is to experience happiness in an intimate relationship.” Or “My intention is to experience happiness no matter what is going on in my life.”

Thursday, 13 September 2007

decluttering - zones 2 & 3

Top of chest of drawers is now done:

I bought the bookends from Officeworks. Was sceptical they’d withstand the weight of my textbooks but they did!

Next challenge was the table next to the bed. As you can see, it was covered in crap.

Bedside table - before

You couldn’t see the top of it, let alone appreciate the fact it’s made out of a recycled surfboard.

My brother made that table. He's a bit of a legend, isn't it?

So that’s zones 2 and 3 done. Now I’m down to the hard stuff. Here’s what remains behind my door:

Still pretty shocking, but better than what was there back in May:

Monday, 10 September 2007

New exercise plan

For a while now (12 weeks to be exact) I've been planning and tracking my exercise on 43 things and trying to do something every day. Looking back over my past entries, I've been pretty good about doing something, but not very good about doing what I'd planned to.

That's why plans are merely guides and not set in stone right?

The trouble with not sticking to a plan is that it's easy to stop pushing yourself and become a bit complacent. For me, any opportunity to slacken off and make excuses is just inviting danger and sloth-dem.

Now that I'm home for the next 3 weeks I've decided my generic plan needs some alterations if it's going to be closer to reality. The main changes I'm making are to:
  • Do more weights at the gym (Pump classes).
  • Take advantage of the $5.50 weekday yoga classes at the studio less than 5 mins walk from my house (thanks Mary for introducing me to this place!!)
  • Get off my butt and do the Bay run in the beautiful weather we are experiencing (fingers crossed it lasts). Otherwise if the weather is nasty, go to the Gym instead.
  • Do my exercise in the morning - why not when I'm at home anyway? What a start to the day and beats going to the gym in peak hour! Plus I can get a coffee on the way home.
After poring over my gym & yoga timetables, here's what I've come up with:

Exercise timetable

Don't freak out over Saturday. It's basically saying I've got yoga, Pump and BodyAttack all going on. That's so not going to happen but it's good to remember all those options are available.

So that's the plan for this week. Next week will be different because I've got exams all day Monday and Tuesday (eeek!) but I'll worry about that when I get there. One day at a time!!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Lust, thy name is Crocs!!

Crocs seem to have become the new religion and politics - something you can't talk about without creating an argument. You either love them or hate them. I'm the former.

I have been an avid croc-wearer for about 3 years now. The first time I ever saw these shoes was at the Glebe Street Fair in 2004. There was a stall there selling the classic croc shoe, holes and all.

I had walked past the stall without even noticing it, but my mother - whom I attended the festival with - made me stop for a closer look. This was a few weeks before I was heading to Ecuador for 2 months. My everyday, most comfortable Birkenstock's that I'd owned for about 5 years had just died, and I was moaning to her about what shoes I was going to take with me. I didn't want to fork out $130 for a new pair of Birks just to wreck them in my first few months of owning them. The only other sandals and thongs I owned cut up my feet if I wore them for more than 15 minutes at a time (yes I know I must have weird feet if even Havaiana's can cut them up).

So my Mum made me stop and look at these funny looking shoes.

This was back before you could buy them in shops. The stallholder was telling me they were soon going to be stocked in Rebel stores, but at the moment they were trialling them out in Australia only at festivals like this. Apparently they were already big in America, but I'd never heard of them.

I wasn't convinced until I picked them up. From that moment on, I was sold. They were light as a feather and made of plastic so they were completely cleanable. Covered most of the foot so they offered a lot more protection than thongs but you could still wear them at the beach. The ultimate hybrid between shoes and thongs. All in all, the perfect travelling shoe. I can't remember if I put them on then and there, but had I done so I would have immediately been impressed by how comfortable they were from day one. No painful breaking in required.

My time in Ecuador only cemented my love for these shoes. I wore them pretty much every freaking day. To the beach, to the school I taught at, in the cities, the mountains and on boats. I walked across a road with hot tar on it - which removed a bit of the sole, but not enough to make a lick of difference. I walked up a volcano wearing these and a pair of socks. I had locals curious about the holes in them, but later admiring my shoes as I made them feel how light they were. One night I was at a bar and met an American girl wearing a pair. We danced and bonded together over our matching footwear. I lived in these shoes.

By the time I arrived back in Australia crocs had hit the stores here and were already taking off. I was excited to see other people sharing the croc-love. My parents were about to go to the US with some friends and visit Colorado, the original home of the croc, so I put in an order for myself and A. By this time I had checked out the crocs website and seen you could get more than one style. I went for a black pair sans holes on the top, but still with side ventilation, so they could pass off as shoes even better.

The perfect hospital shoe, I thought. And I was right. All year long I've worn these whenever I've done a surgical rotation. They are the perfect shoe to wear when you have to stand still for hours at a time.

But even I, despite my love for these shoes have admitted they're a bit funny-looking, and not exactly the epitome of style. Until I saw the new range available. I've fallen in love all over again with not one, but 2 of their new styles.

I don't know if you can buy these in Australian shops yet, but after my exam I will definitely be investigating. And if not, I forsee a purchase from coming up very shortly!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

decluttering - zone 1 finished!

I’m happy to say the space between the wardrobe and my desk is now complete. Doesn’t it look a lot better!

Next challenge: the top of my chest of drawers. Not exactly overloaded, just in disarray (and in need of a good dusting!)

How to make rain in 5 easy steps

Attention farmers and other drought-ridden people! Rain can easily be conjured up. Here's how:
  1. Have me decide to go out for a walk, a coffee, or a combination of the two.
  2. Have me think "I'll just have a shower", "I'll just do the vacumming", "I'll just read one more chapter" or "Ill just [insert other task] first".
  3. Complete task.
  4. Look outside and witness sunshine that was there 10 minutes ago replaced by grey skies and rain.
  5. Sigh at the world and all it's injustice.

UPDATE: This routine has now worked successfully for 4 days in a row. You cannot argue with statistics like that!!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Ooh ouch!

I was going to write a long entry earlier today, moaning about the agony I'm in after doing a Pump class on Monday morning.

Yesterday was bad enough but this morning when I woke up I felt like I couldn't even get out of bed. I seriously don't remember ever being this sore - not even after jogging the City to Surf!

I haven't done a Pump class oh for about a month, and I haven't done it regularly for a few months longer than that.

Just goes to show how quickly your muscles can get deconditioned from doing weights, even if you have been doing other high-intensity exercise. I'm especially surprised, because my quads are hurting way more than my pecs or arms are. If I had to put money on it I'd have said my legs were a lot - well stronger isn't the word, but I don't know what is - more "worked out" anyway. Clearly they are not.

So I was going to write this long, whiny post. But then I read M's entry today (from which I blatantly appropriated this title) where she was revelling in the ache, instead of just moaning about it. And then I felt bad!

For the last few hours I've been trying to revel in it. Really I have. I've also promised myself I'll go to another class on Friday morning AND I'll brave the weights room at the gym and actually start to use it every now and again.

I need to not be this sore from one little class ever again!!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Image thanks to timeoutA while back I emailed redroomdvd requesting they get a copy of this movie.

Today I got an email saying they now have a copy! Now I just need to go grab it.

Sometime soon hopefully – it’s a great night-in movie.

I love redroomdvd!!!

Like most books made into movies, the book is infinitely better: both happier, sadder and a lot more happens. I used to own a copy of this book, but have'nt actually physically had it for years. I have no idea what happened to it.

I think it could be time to find a replacement or join a library!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Decluttering my room, one item at a time

The obligatory BEFORE shot.

This isn’t technically either inside my wardrobe, or behind my door, but it’s where I’m focusing on tidying up right now.

Clutter, clutter clutter.

Some of these things have been sitting here in this particular spot FOR 3 YEARS. Unmoved.


Sunday, 2 September 2007

A mixed bag

Yesterday was a day full of activity. Some good, some bad, some just plain frustrating. A real mixed bag.

It started out well with a relaxing morning at home. Porridge for breakfast and then a few hours worth of low key study.

I'd booked a car share vehicle for the afternoon since A was coming along. We decided to visit Westfield Burwood to do some Fathers Day and birthday present shopping. You know you're a converted scooter rider when driving a journey in a car that you normally do 5 times a week by scooter fills you with rage the one time you do it by car. Stuck at the same traffic light for 3 red lights because traffic is at a standstill? Doesn't happen on a bike baby.

The main event of the day was our netball final. By the time I got there I had worked up a decent amount of pent up aggression thanks to the traffic into Burwood, the lack of decent electronics shops there and the fact it took us 15 mins just to get out of the carpark.

The game itself was a close one, but didn't turn out so well because we lost by 2 despite being even at one stage in the last quarter. Such a close loss is pretty heart breaking, especially when one of the umpires was just terrible and made so many bad calls against us. But what can you do eh?

My afternoon was salvaged however by a treasure hunt that turned out right. Thursday night I had been out for dinner and as I was walking back to my bike I felt an earring fall out and land on the grass around me.

Riding a bike is an inherently earring-unfriendly modality due to all the helmet insertion and removal involved. In the 3 years that I've been riding I think I've lost about 5 single earrings so far. Every time it's heart-breaking; I love my earrings like some people love their shoes.

Thursday night was particularly frustrating because this happened whilst I was still metres away from my bike and had nothing to do with my helmet. I was pretty upset because it was one of my favourite pairs of earrings. I'd only bought them a few months ago in the OC so wasn't yet ready to part with one.

I scrabbled around in the grass looking for the missing earring for a bit, but gave up because it was cold and dark and at 10:30pm I was bushed! I vowed to come back and search in daylight, and I did just that on Saturday afternoon and look what I found: my earring. Yay!


Once I got home I had a moment of panic because I couldn't find the matching earring that hadn't been lost. I was getting worried that I had thrown it out until I found it stashed in the handbag I was carrying that night.

As part of my search I found 2 other earrings who had suffered the same fate thanks to the motorbike helmet and are partnerless.


I haven't parted with them yet, but perhaps I should. I don't think the whole wearing mismatching earrings look is ever going to be in style, do you?

Thursday, 30 August 2007


I tend to go through phases where I really get into a particular food and eat it constantly. After a few months I find another craze, and move on to something else. Sometimes I go back and re-visit previous crazes. I'm doing that right now with bagels.

I think we're a bit bagel-deprived here in Australia. We don't have the plethora of bagel bakeries that they do in NYC or all across Canada. We don't have the opportunity to walk down the street and be tempted by the fragrance of freshly cooked bagels. Nor do we have the sheer variety of flavours available; from plain to seeded to jalapeno-cheese all the way through to chocolate or maple syrup you think of it, Canadians have made a bagel out of it.

The supermarket bought bagels we get here just don't measure up. Bagels are a fleeting treasure; get them fresh and they are chewy on the outside and soft and doughy on the inside. A day later and they are just tough, dry and nasty. Not worth the effort!

So I was delighted to discover that a sourdough bakery just up the road has freshly baked bagels. They also do great take-away coffee. My latest thing has been to go the gym and grab a coffee and bagel on the way home for breakfast or lunch depending on what time it is. But you have to get in quick; their supply of bagels is usually all but gone by mid-morning.

Blueberry bagel with cream cheese

Here's my perfect breakfast: a blueberry bagel with extra light cream cheese and a coffee. What a start to the day.

Cheese bagel with cream cheese and vegemite

Another brekky favourite is a cheese bagel with a smidge of cream cheese and vegemite. Divine!!

Plain bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese and rocket

This creation is superb and does equally well for breakfast or lunch. I'd even eat it for dinner if it had managed to survive the rest of the day uneaten! It's a plain bagel topped with cream cheese, rocket and smoked salmon drizzled with lemon juice and cracked pepper. I now keep some smoked salmon in fridge purposely to make this little treat!!

Poppy seed bagel with haloumi, tomato and rocket

This one is great for lunch and can be adapted easily with whatever ingredients are on hand. The staples are rocket, tomato and some kind of cheese (preferably haloumi or feta) with chilli. Olives, roasted capsicum and pesto are a great way to liven it up as required.

If anyone else has any great bagel ideas please let me know. I'm always up for another way to celebrate the humble bagel!

UPDATE: Having had a cheese bagel for lunch today I decided to take yet another photo to make my bagel collection complete. I was having trouble capturing the cheese one though - it somehow didn't seem to be as photogenic as the rest. A decided to help me out, but by the time he'd crossed the room I was already stuffing my face!

Scoffing down the bagel

I'll also come clean with the details of the purveyor of bagely goodness since M asked: they're from rise Newtown (the same shop used to be called d'ough which is just *the* best name for a bakery) on King St Newtown, right next door to Franklins. I'm a bit confused though, because according to yellowpages their name is The Bread Connection, but I'll go with whatever name is on the shopfront.

And yes, I am worried that they'll disappear but every time I go I stock up, making sure I have enough for at least one of every flavour to sit in the freezer. Some days I clear them out of all remaining bagels!! Though having consumed several over the last few days, my supplies have dwindled down to nothing, so looks like I'll be going for a walk tomorrow morning!!

Monday, 27 August 2007

mon afternoon

  • tired when I got home – CHECK
  • already dark – CHECK
  • muscles still sore, knee still bruised and jaw still aching from netball on sat – CHECK
  • my turn to cook dinner – CHECK

  • got off my ass and did 45 mins yoga before cooking – CHECK
  • felt a hell of a lot better afterwards – DOUBLE CHECK

yay :)

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Lemon seeds - take two!

I've started working on one of my 43things again - to grow a lemon tree from seeds.

Last time I lost my seeds in a little accident on the verandah - I decided they weren't getting enough direct sunlight, so I thought I'd move them from their safe spot on the kitchen bench to the verandah for an hour or two on sunny afternoon.

Minutes later when I went to check on them the paper towelling had blown away, taking my precious seeds with them.

Since then I've been avidly collecting seeds - I have about 50 by now, so surely some of them have to pop!!

This time, thanks to a great suggestion from little miss ruby, I'm using cotton wool instead of paper. Hopefully that'll mean less drying out, and less blowing away.

(I didn't have normal cotton balls, so I'm hoping those cotton wool make-up pads will do the same trick)

Fingers crossed this time is more successful. However due to the nasty and greyness outside I don't foresee there being much verandah-time put in - today at least!

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Some reflection

I've just completed the second essay I had to write for this silly portfolio we have to hand in tomorrow. The first essay was infinitely painful - writing up a case report on an ethical issue we had witnessed this year - and I've spent the past few evenings struggle to get that one done.

The second essay I wrote tonight - a reflection of my personal and professional development over this year. It was actually quite cathartic; writing this essay actually felt quite similar to writing a blog entry, so I'm cheating and using it as both. Here goes!!

Third year has been an interesting year; it’s a vastly difference experience to second year. It’s been busier than ever, but despite the busyness it has somehow managed to be less stressful, something I am immensely thankful for, because I am not sure if I could cope with the stress of second year and its barrier exam again. The third year barrier exam that looms in a mere months time somehow does not seem such a daunting task after having been through one before and passed out the other end, and after having successfully made my way through the Long Case exam that was the major stress-inducing object to deal with this year. I’m unsure of whether my reduced stress is due to improved coping, lower motivation to be able to induce stress, or heightened perspective of where I’ve been, where I’m going and what I need to do to get there. Either way, for my sanity’s sake, I am glad.

That’s not to say this year has been a walk in the park. Yes, it’s been very busy, and compared to the last two years, the busyness is less focused and frustrating, because it seems less outcome driven. The year had barely started; our first few days at a new hospital (in Orange) and already we were being bombarded with EBM, PPD and CDT presentations to prepare. Where was the time to study? And what did our lectures have to do with our PBL topics for the week? And what about our ICAs – when were we supposed to learn anything relating to them? And what about the ICAs we never got allocated – will I never learn anything about Respiratory or Neurology?

This year was filled with many unknowns and unanswered questions. I kept waiting for a mystical ah-hah moment, when everything would suddenly snap together and make sense. I continue to wait.

But comparing myself now to where I was at the start of the year, things have changed -just as previous third years, when imparting their wisdom to us - told us they would. Somehow this crazy and confusing system I’ve had to muddle through for the last 7 months has worked. Sure I’m still no pharmacist, but I know a lot more about many more medications than I did this time last year. Flipping through most patients’ medication charts I can make reasonable sense of what their main medical issues are, instead of the bewilderment I felt last year. And sure, I still stammer and give stupid answers whilst in the middle of an operation getting grilled about anatomy by surgeons, but now I welcome it, not dread it, because it’s a great way to learn.

One area I thought I would feel more confident about by this stage is procedural skills. Unfortunately they are something that I continue to feel that if I don’t do them with regularity, then I need to learn again. The only thing I feel vaguely confident in at this stage is venepuncture. Cannulation, ABGs and suturing are still stress inducing experiences for me. I have discussed this with my supervisors, who say don’t get caught up with these things now, that by the time pre-internship arises I’ll be bored with cannulating ten patients a day, that now is the time to be on the wards talking to patients and practicing history-taking and performing physical exams. Taking this advice on board is something I have tried to do, with varying success at times, and is something I am still aware of.

As third year draws to a close, I am stunned by how quickly it has come and gone. I am filled with awe about everything I have learnt this year, and disgust at all that I knew last year but have now forgotten. I’m also starting to think about next year, and all the new experiences that will bring with anticipation. Not to mention the year after.

Anyway, I'm glad that's over and done with. I'm going to go have a glass of wine now, and celebrate its completion, as well as the fact that instead of having a 7:15am vascular tutorial tomorrow morning, we're having it at 2pm instead. I get a sleep-in yay. Much more civilised!! I'm even going to try and go to the gym beforehand as well!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

The place to be

Over the last 2 days I have come to realise that the most popular place to be in Sydney must be my street. It's sort of like the anti-Bermuda Triangle because in the last two days within 50m from my front door I have met (within 10m of each other):
  1. A friend of my parents who lives 6 hours drive from Sydney, who happened to be parked on the side of the road as I walked by.
  2. His daughter who was across the road with her 10 year-old child visiting their doctor. The last time I had seen her was before she had ANY children.
  3. My friend and her daughter - although not entirely surprising since she owns the beauty salon which inhabits that 10m strip of land.
  4. A friend from uni who lives a few suburbs over and was visiting the beauty salon for the very first time.
  5. A registrar from hospital who happened to be visiting the chiropractor next door to said beauty salon. She lives half an hours drive away.
The lesson in this: you're never anonymous, not even in inner Sydney, and especially not when you're wearing ugg boots, old purple cords, messy hair and just running out to grab a coffee!

Friday, 3 August 2007

A sad sight

I just went downstairs to empty our bin. After opening the door to the garbage room I spied movement on the ground. A rat!!

Unlike most other rats it didn't scurry away in a flash and hide behind any object it could. It just sat there. I stood, frozen in the doorway not sure what to do. It actually was quite a cute little thing, with fuzzy whiskers and glossy dark brown fur. But still, it's a rat!! To throw away my garbage I had to walk past the rat, but what if it chose that moment to make a run for it and went right up my leg!!

I stomped my foot a few times, but that didn't have the desired effect of scaring it away. So with much trepidation I stepped past it and hurled my bag into the big bin. The rat moved maybe 5cm. I think there was something wrong with its hind feet. Maybe it got caught in a trap that didn't quite kill it. I know the humane (animane?) thing to do would be to kill it quickly and put it out of it's misery, but I didn't have the guts.

I feel awful about the whole thing. I'm now up in our warm apartment and it's downstairs on a cold concrete floor slowly dying no doubt in immense pain. Sometimes life sucks.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Bring on the sunshine

21 June
Originally uploaded by yublocka
Inspired by a combination of Mary's beautiful winter solstice post, my desire for warmth and sunshine, my new found vigour in uploading to flickr and my intention to start taking more photographs I have decided to track the lengthening of the days via a daily photograph from our verandah.

Today I was struck by how quickly a glowing orange sunset was enveloped by darkness. Initially I wanted to capture the moment in it's orange brilliance, but by the time I had walked the 15m into my bedroom and retrieved my camera, the sunset had dulled into a mauve blur.

A mere ten minutes later at 5:30pm the sky looked like this.

From now on every day I am home at 5:30pm I'll try to record the view from the same position. Bring on the sunshine!!!

In a few months time I'll be cursing the intense heat that pours through all our windows at that time. For now I'll enjoy the feeling of expectation while it lasts!

Back from the dead!

OK so being in the OC was not even remotely like being dead - unless you're trying to find an open restaurant on a Sunday night - but it just sounds dramatic, doesn't it?

I've actually been back for a grand ole 5 weeks now. Ever since I have been intending on positing a massive photopost run down of my time there, but I simply haven't had the time or the motivation to be honest.

Two things this week have changed that: firstly I have been sick and had the last 2 days at home, and secondly thanks to one of my 43things I have been madly organising all the photos on my laptop and uploading them to Flickr. I haven't finished all of them, but the OC ones are well and truly there.

So fiiiiiiiiinally I've picked out a few to share with you here: the last 4 months of my life in 8 photos!!!

1) This was my room in our 6-bedroom house. Despite being demountables they were actually quite nice inside. The best feature was the individual air-conditioner and heating in each room (including the bathrooms). In the 4 months we were there the weather changed from boiling hot to freezing, so both features were well and truly appreciated.

My room

2) Our courtyard between the 3 houses. The site of many a BBQ.

Our courtyard

3) This is us! Believe it or not this mugshot made it onto page 3 of the local paper. How embaressment!!

Front page news

4) One of our many BBQs. Good food, good company and lots of wine!!

BBQ #3

5) A came up to visit one weekend. The weather was glorious so we went to a berry farm and went berry picking. The raspberries and strawberries we picked were simply to die for. Apart from stuffing our faces whilst picking them, we made berry pie, muffins and slice and still had heaps left to freeze for smoothies etc!

Berry picking

6) One of the most "scenic" features of the OC: the electrical towers on top of the mountain that overlooks town. Needless to say every visitor that came up for the weekend was subjected to this magnificent tourist attraction.

Climbing mt-cnob

7) We didn't just have BBQs, there were also lots of local pubs that we frequented. The wine bar was a firm favourite, although it started getting very chilly outside in late Autumn! Luckily they were all within walking distance of home, just what you need at 3am right?

Last night in OC

8) The town itself was just beautiful. This is the hospital - isn't it cute? This photo was taken on one of our last days there. I miss the beautiful autumn trees!

Streets of OC

And there we have it. If you liked any of there there are a lot more where they come from!!!