Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The Last Time I Skied

Milord and I are now booked to go skiing for a few days in September while we are in New Zealand to pick up my visa. We're a bit nervous about it as it has been more than 5 years since either of us skied!

While browsing through some old emails I came across this account of the last time I went skiing in 2002. I'm going to post it for later comparison! It also recounts the passing of my 30th Birthday, always a major event ;-).

19 March 2002:

"A good friend of mine once stated that any woman who passed the age of 30 without being married was a lesbian. So you will all be glad to hear that I have now reached that significant age without the benefit of matrimony, and am awaiting the change with interest. I have had a very short haircut so far, but the ‘comfortable shoes’ have yet to materialise!

As I was in France skiing over my birthday, I had a party in London the Saturday before. Jon and Tara kindly let me use their flat, and 12 of my closest friends came along for oodles of snacks and much, much champagne. Cheers to everyone who came for making it such an enjoyable evening! (and to those who couldn’t make it, you missed a great time!) It was a lovely chatty, boozy, laid-back evening, and at around midnight we all staggered over the road to an indie club where the music was excellent. Then back to the flat at 3 for more champagne… I had one of the worst hangovers on record the next day! 9 of the 12 stayed over, and we limped down the road to the greasy spoon for a fry-up at about midday on Sunday. I had meant to produce breakfast, but was too ill to face it! I still felt terrible on the Monday, and work was a trial!

On Friday the 8th Paul, Tara, Jon and I went to France to go skiing in Les Arcs. We travelled by train, which is not bad – it means you get 2 extra days skiing, as the train arrives at 7am on Saturday, and leaves the following Saturday at 10pm. I managed to drink far too much far too fast on the train there, and was not feeling well when we arrived in Les Arcs. Paul and Jon had stayed up most of the night sponsoring the bar, and were not too good either! But as we could only check-in at 5pm, we bravely hired skis and launched ourselves at the chairlift.

I decided to try out snowblades (v short skis, turned up back and front) for the week, while the others took skis. They’re cool, you can get down any slope, no matter how steep or icy, as their turning radius is so small! On the downside they react to the surface a lot, and I never felt quite safe at high speed.

Paul, Tara and Jon are very good, and very fast, skiers. I had spent a large amount of time in the gym before the holiday building up my leg muscles, in the hope that I could keep up through brute strength. It seemed to work a bit, as I was not too far behind at each stop (and my legs didn’t get sore - bonus)! I will never be as fast as they are though, even on proper skis – my sense of terror kicks in too soon at high speed!

I’m a bit of a lazy, social, fair-weather skier, and 8 days in a row of 6 hours a day is a little too much skiing for my liking. I took a day off after 3 days, and an afternoon off a couple of days later, and towards the end of the week tended to head for home an hour or two before the others. Unfortunately there is not much else to do in a ski resort, and I was bored silly! If I go skiing again it will be in a big group, with at least one other lazy person to chill out with.

Les Arcs is a superb skiing resort. We were very lucky with the snow too, as they had a huge snowfall the week before, and the piste was still 1m thick at the bottom and 2m at the top. It was getting pretty thin at the bottom by the time we left, and I felt sorry for any novices trying to dodge the grass! There are about 4 villages that you can ski between, and one of them is very high up and always had excellent snow. It was very sunny for most of the time (we all got sunburnt on the first day, and now have sunglass-tans!) and surprising warm. This is the latest in the year I have skied, and the sun is getting strong!

I had a great birthday – I didn’t even notice it! The best way to spend your 30th I say! (or the beginning of your fourth decade as someone said – sounds even worse!)"

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

City2Surf

I need to do something drastic about my weight gain. I was heavy before winter started, and now that the days are short, and cold, and wet, I've gone into hibernation mode. Cue lots of eating and sleeping and long hot baths with a bottle of wine within reach. Slowly but surely I am packing on the blubber, and it must stop!

To this end I have convinced my friend Gillian to run the City2Surf Sydney fun run with me on the 12th August. It is 14km (about 9 miles), so really only twice around the Bay which I can do easily if very slowly at the moment.

Gillian is a petite, slender, energetic Irish girl with oodles of energy and the metabolism of a teenage boy. She has to eat all day long or else she'll waste away and faint. I, on the other hand, could probably forgo food for a month and not lose a kilo, my metabolism is so slow. (Milord has the same problem, and we joke that if we crashed on a desert island we'd still be wobbling around just fine after everyone else had died of starvation! And we'd have the resources to run away from them when they decided to eat us...)

I am not, and have never been, much of a runner. My heart rate seems to be faster than most folks when I run which means I have to run a lot slower than them or else I die. I wear a heart rate monitor and don't let my bpm go over a certain value, at which point I can sort of chat... apparently that's the sign of where you should be! It serves me well, I can go without stopping for ages and don't feel too awful afterwards.

Today Gillian and I went out for our first training run at lunchtime. There are a few parks near our office, so we picked a flat, roundish one and ran around the outside of it a few times to the great amusement of the blokes working on the new playground. I did my usual slow jog while Gillian sort of ran circles around me... she says she struggles to run so slow. I was having visions of "the tortoise and the hare". Be that as it may, she was soon puffed while I gently plodded on and we had to drop to a walk every so often.

We jogged twice around the park (in 20 min), then walked around it a final time. Including walking to and from the park we were out for 45 min. We're going to go again on Friday if it isn't raining, and then on Sunday we'll have a go at jogging the Bay.

By the 12th August we need to be able to run twice around the Bay without stopping! That's 7.5 weeks away and I'm sure we can do it ;-)

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Mum's Visit Nov 2006 - Part 2


Mum's Visit - Part 1
Mum's Visit - Part 2
Mum's Visit - Part 3

Milord decided he fancied coming with us to the Hunter Valley (5), so we did a bit of sightseeing on Monday waiting for him to finish work, then travelled there in the evening. We stayed in his (and his ex’s) golf apartment, which is pleasant and quite central. It needs a bit of TLC though, so on Tuesday mum and I had a bask by the pool while m'Lord shopped for paint etc, then we all mucked in and gave the place a slight makeover. Most of the effort happened on the balcony, with pressure hoses, paint and furniture oil in full flight. Inside we had a spring clean and touched up paintwork – it all looked far better in the end although we were all covered in paint! It’s been on the market for over a year so hopefully this will help. (Update: the place sold within weeks of our make-over!) On Wednesday Milord volunteered to be chauffer and tour guide, and we had an excellent wine tour and lunch in the region. Everyone is so friendly, and being out of season we could have a good chat with the staff and try everything ;-). We also spotted a couple of galahs (big pink parrots) in a tree at the golf course.


On Thursday the 16th we all travelled to the Blue Mountains (6) via the scenic, winding back roads, and checked into a somewhat scruffy and grubby but very cheap cottage in Blackheath. Not m'Lord’s style at all, but he wasn’t supposed to be along on that leg of the trip so I hadn’t allowed for his sensibilities! Then a quick sightsee to the nearest gorge, before heading home to play with the log stove which made it all warm and homely.

Friday morning early Milord headed back to Sydney on the train to go to a birthday lunch/dinner/boozeup, and mum and I went for a glorious scenic walk along cliffs at Katoomba overlooking a vast gorge where we could see flocks of cockatoos flying through the trees below. We walked to where there used to be coal mines, and travelled to the valley floor on a thrilling almost vertical railway that used to carry ore to the top. We had very interesting roam around in the forest and saw a rare lyre-bird, then took a cable car back and walked back to the car. After a late lunch we went exploring in a vast rhododendron garden … being so high up it stays pretty cold in spring and they were just finishing, but we could still enjoy acres of colour.


On the Saturday morning m'Lord came back very hungover on the train, and after a fry up we headed off for the Gardens of Stone national park which I’d read about somewhere. We’d hoped to go walking but couldn’t find any trails so Milord ended up doing an extremely exciting impromptu 4x4 drive through some fantastic scenery. It’s the first time we’ve tested the car (big 4wd Lexus) off-road and we were pleasantly surprised! We were in the bush for hours, and it was fascinating to see the GPS showing us meandering around in uncharted territory… Then back to the cottage for a jug or two of g&t and a roast dinner.

Sunday was a slow start, with the smell of ash from the back-burning around a nearby bushfire that had been raging for nearly a week. The clouds of smoke over the ridge were truly ominous! We went out to do a walk along the nearby gorge, only to find it completely filled with smoke… we decided to head home to Sydney instead and had a quiet night in. I later heard that the fire jumped the back burning and entered the gorge, which is a shame.


On Monday 20th mum and I went for a little scuba dive off Shelleys Beach near Manly to brush up her skills as she hadn’t been diving in the sea for over a year. Shelleys is very sheltered and no deeper than 10m where we were so nice and safe, but very very boring to dive. It was good to be back in the sea though, and mum soon got the hang of things again.

Mum's Visit - Part 3

Mum's Visit Nov 2006 - Part 3


Mum's Visit - Part 1
Mum's Visit - Part 2
Mum's Visit - Part 3

On Tuesday we flew to Uluru (Ayers Rock) (7), got picked up by a “safari” outfit along with 12 others and headed off to the rock. It was very hot, about 45 deg, so we just did a gentle walk around the base before heading off to watch the sunset change the colours of Uluru. Turns out I’d found a rather, ahem, budget outfit, so we got to watch other tour groups sipping champagne from crystal while the 14 of us shared 2 bottles in scruffy plastic mugs! That kind of set the tone for the rest of the evening (rather blah dinner and no booze to be had), although we had the bonus of our own tent/hut with light and fan when most of the group bunked down in dark dorms. We were the only English speakers in our group, then rest being mostly young Germans and a couple of Japanese – pleasant enough but we didn’t exactly click!


The next day we woke before dawn and set off to watch the sun rise over Uluru and the Olgas (a nearby mountain outcrop sort of similar). We did a walk in the Olgas, through amazing deep red mountains and rock outcroppings. It was hot at 8am, and by late morning when we left the safari and checked into our room in the resort it was scorching! We gratefully collapsed in our en-suite air-conditioned room with a bottle of cold wine and two fresh fruit salads and had a much needed nap, before going to sit in the shade beside a very welcome swimming pool for the rest of the afternoon.

On Thursday we lazed around the resort until midday when we flew to Sydney airport, met Milord and flew immediately to Brisbane (8) to spend the night with his mum. She is in the middle of a chemo course (she has lung cancer) so was very ill, but managed to stay up quite late chatting to us, and our mums were pleased to have met each other.

Friday we flew to Townsville (9), near Cairns, and spent the afternoon in a pub/restaurant on the beachfront. It was so pleasant there that we had lunch, stayed for more drinks, and when the kitchen reopened we had dinner there too! Then boarded our dive boat and headed off to sea… It’s a somewhat slow boat so took 8 hours to get to the first mooring, through some rather heavy chop and swell. Mum gets seasick, so had dosed herself up for days to deal with it, but lying down in the corkscrewing dark was all too much and she ended up bent over the rail in the darkness with waves breaking over the deck for all 8 hours! When I found her in the morning it was all she could do to sip a glass of water, and she skipped the first dive of the day and instead had a bit of a snorkel.


Luckily the weather and waves were kind from then on, and mum recovered enough to get her appetite back and join us on the rest of the dives. It is definitely the best diving I have done in Australia, reasonable visibility and lots to see. We also did a night dive, which was not as creepy as I expected, and also not as interesting as most of the fish are asleep! Our final two dives were on the wreck of the Yongala, which has been in 25m of water since 1911 and is so overgrown with coral that she looks like a wreck-shaped reef! It’s an excellent site and we’d like to go back, but maybe on a faster boat for a daytrip ;-). We had a nice crowd of 10 other divers with us, from Sweden, America, Oz and England, and the crew were excellent. A bit no-frills, but I can certainly recommend them!


We spent a glorious night back on dry land in big beds that don’t rock with en-suite and air-con in Townsville on Monday night, and flew back to Sydney on Tuesday 28th where we collapsed.

The last few days were very relaxed as we were all exhausted. Poor Milord had to go back to work, and mum and I did some gentle sightseeing for the last couple of days including climbing up one of the Harbour Bridge pylons for amazing views. We had a mob of people over on Thursday night for a barbie to meet the parent ;-), and mum flew home on Friday night.

Mum's Visit Nov 2006 - Part 1


Mum's Visit - Part 1
Mum's Visit - Part 2
Mum's Visit - Part 3

Last November my mom came to visit for the whole month. I was able to take the entire time off and we did a blitz tour of South/East Ozzie. Here is the travelogue:

Mom arrived from the UK at the crack of dawn on Nov first, and after a shower and champagne brunch we took her out for the famous Saffa introductory tour of Sydney (1). This involves a stroll through Balmain to the ferry stop, a ferry ride under the Harbour Bridge and past the Opera House to Circular Quay, then a walk beside the water past the Opera House (with pub stop) and Botanical Gardens to Lady Macquarie’s Chair viewpoint and Woolloomooloo (another pub stop). Then a leisurely walk through the middle of town to the Darling Harbour waterfront and a late lunch overlooking the water, then a taxi ride home. Then more wine sitting in the garden…We managed to keep mum up til 9pm, which is pretty good going, and she says she slept quite well til 3am… We have a lot of big crow-like birds here called magpies (which tootle) and currawongs (which have a moaning caw) that like to congregate in the garden at daybreak… mum didn’t appreciate that one bit although she got used to it by the end!


The next couple of days encompassed the Aquarium, Fish Markets, Sydney Museum, various lunches and barbeques, and culminated in a belated birthday dinner for mum in the lovely Café Sydney which is on the fifth floor of the old Customs House overlooking the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, lit up at night.

On Sat the 4th mum and I flew to Tasmania and drove to the Cradle Mountain National Park (2), which is lovely and rugged. It reminded us a lot of Scotland in fact, and even snowed to reinforce the impression! Yes, snow in November! We stayed in a lovely little cottage with a huge gas fire, so had a pleasant place to warm up and dry off in after going walking during the day ;-). We spotted wombats grazing, and also spent a bit of time at a Tasmanian Devil info center and got to stroke one… turns out the ravening beast image is not true at all, they’re really shy and only eat dead things. They’re about the size of a Staffordshire terrier, with heavy neck and shoulders, very interesting. We also saw a few wallabies, one of which kept turning up on our porch hoping to be fed!


After 4 nights on Tasmania we flew to Melbourne, and drove due west a couple of hours to the coast, then spent the next two days driving east along the Great Ocean Road (3), which is stunning. Cliffs, rock formations in the surf, winding roads through mountain passes, rainforest and rolling green hills dropping down to holiday villages on white sandy beaches.


We also saw koalas perched in gum trees munching on leaves, completely unfazed by us underneath! We reached Melbourne (4) on Friday night, had a really blustery walk along the beachfront near kite-surfers while looking for a sheltered pub and ended up in a very funky backstreet bohemian area called St Kilda out of the wind watching the weird world go by ;-).

Back to Sydney on the Saturday, and Milord and I went to the U2 concert that night, which was as well done as ever, although they’re getting rather too political these days for my taste and kept losing the momentum. On the Sunday m'Lord took us flying in a little 4-seater plane over the Blue Mountains, then along the coast past Manly Beach and the Heads, and we were able to fly up the harbour and do a few circles near the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, which was fantastic! Our neighbours threw an impromptu barbeque that night and invited us, which was very pleasant. The neighbourhood possum also made an appearance, walking along the tops of the fences!



Mum's Visit - Part 2

100 Things

I see these everywhere on other people's blogs and I think they're great, so I'm tagging myself to write 100 Things!


1. I don’t do religion. I understand that it is a very supportive thing for other people, and provided it doesn’t hurt anybody that’s great. South Africa is very Christian and I went to Sunday school, and was a member of the Scripture Union, and we had hymns and prayers and bible readings every schoolday, but it didn’t stick.

2. I also don’t believe in ghosts or that kind of stuff, although people I respect and trust have had some interesting experiences. Until it happens to me I’m not going there.

3. I think you should be able to rely on no one but yourself. A couple of years ago I was in a very bad place emotionally, and everyone I tried to lean on had better things to do (or were too far away) and I had to do it alone. And you know what? I turned out fine eventually! I have great friends and a fab boyfriend, but I know that if the shit really hit the fan I’d be able to cope on my own.

4. My mother is my best friend. We were always close, but after she and my dad divorced when I was 18 we became best buddies. She knows all my secrets. Yes, all of them! We can go weeks without emailing or talking, so it’s not too weird like those girls who have to speak to their mom every day… I wish she was in the same country as me.

5. I get on fine with my dad too. We had a tough few years in my teens, but once we started treating each other as adults it came right. Sometimes he tries to tell me what job to take or something but that’s because he cares about me. I make my own decisions and he respects that. He didn’t half freak when he saw my belly piercing though – I was 28 at the time and had to laugh.

6. I love my sister, but I can’t say we connect, and that makes me sad. I don’t want to talk about her here.

7. I usually only cry when I’m angry. In a crisis I’m cool and collected, and in grief you’d swear I was the ice queen, but I’ll burst into tears if someone is mean to me.

8. I adore food, especially the salty, savoury, meaty, nutty, greasy kind. I have been known to serve roast pork to friends, and when they’ve gone brought the crackling out of hiding and eaten it. Alone.

9. I also love fresh vegetables and fruit (there is always a bowl of fruit on my desk, and salad in the office fridge), but I’m not bothered with sweets.

10. I thoroughly enjoy wine, generally a crisp dry white but I’ll drink anything really. I drink far too much of it, far too often. When I am honest about my wine intake people look at me like I’m a freak of nature and ask how I can be possibly functioning the next day.

11. I struggle with my weight (funny that). Folk who know me only from work think I am a gym-addicted salad-and-water health nut. They wonder why I don’t lose weight. I am under no illusions as to why I don’t lose weight, but at least the gain is under control!

12. I can’t stand being in a relationship with someone who isn’t bothered about food and wine.

13. I avoid fizzy drinks like the plague ever since I found out that I have dissolved patches of my teeth enamel from too much diet coke.

14. I never used to floss, but now that I am starting to get fillings between my teeth I floss every day. Talk about closing the stable door after the horse has bolted!

15. I have the slowest growing hair on the planet. Seriously. I haven’t had it cut in six months and it’s barely grown 3cm. I’ve been growing out a short style for three years and my fringe hardly touches my chin. And then the ends split and I have to get them trimmed…

16. My natural hair colour is mousy dark blonde. I think – it’s been a long time since I saw it! I’ve tried several colours including red, black and brown, but I always come back to blonde.

17. When my hair is not blonde I become invisible. It’s weird, no one sees me, I get inferior service and guys don’t flirt with me.

18. I love to flirt. I miss the dirty banter we used to have in my last job in the UK.

19. I hate wearing bras.

20. Luckily I have great small pert boobies, so I can get away with not wearing a bra most of the time.

21. I love high heels but they hurt my feet so I wear medium-high heels.

22. All my high heeled shoes (and boots) are black. Not through conscious choice really, just seems to have turned out that way.

23. The best thing that ever happened to me was graduating from college and getting out into the big wide world.

24. The worst thing that ever happened to me was realising that my sister was not ok, and that she’d never be the friend and confidant and role model I wanted.

25. I love reading other people’s 100 things but I had no idea it was going to be so hard to write one of my own!

26. In my head I feel 25 years old.

27. Apparently I can pass for 30 years old.

28. I don’t consider myself ruled by my relationships, but some of the biggest decisions I ever made were caused by the men I was with, or wanted to be with. Like changing countries. Twice.

29. I have been really, truly, “he’s the One” in love three times.

30. I had to kiss a lot of frogs to find my prince, but it sure makes you appreciate him when he turns up.

31. I will never say how many frogs that was. Some things are not meant to be shared!

32. I have never been proposed to. Well, not when sober!

33. I’d like to be married before I have children, but I’m running out of time so I may have to skip that part.

34. I have never fantasized about my wedding day.

35. I have never been broody, but I’d love a family with the right man.

36. I think I’d be a super mother, strict but loving and fun. Hopefully.

37. Kids love me, and babies think I’m funny.

38. I have never changed a nappy.

39. I enjoy sex enormously, if the man is not being selfish. A quickie now and then is fine, but not every time!

40. The better the sex is, the more I want it. When things are great in that department I reckon I think about it as much as men are said to.

41. When I am single I don’t think about it at all. Although I’ll probably, um, help myself achieve a certain state every night once I’m in bed. Yes, every night, it’s a great way to fall asleep!

42. I had sex with a girl once, as part of a threesome. It doesn’t do it for me. Girls are too smooth and petite and squishy.

43. I will never have a threesome (or more) again. Way too destructive.

44. I won’t be posting any details about that.

45. I was born with a strawberry birthmark on my left cheek, and it has always bugged me.

46. When I was 16 I had the birthmark removed. Now I have a scar on my left cheek and it bugs me even more.

47. Apparently a couple of years after removing my birthmark they invented laser treatment to remove birthmarks without scarring. You have no idea how much that bugs me!

48. I rarely leave the house without a smidgen of base, powder and concealer on my scar and face.

49. Apart from that and a bit of eyeliner I don’t really wear makeup. Lipstick and mascara on special occasions.

50. I think the new lipsticks and mascaras that don’t rub/wash off are the bee’s knees.

51. Until the next morning when it’s all shifted a bit and I struggle to get it off because I look like a clown. You have to get special remover for this stuff, the usual remover does nothing.

52. I read a lot, only fiction but most genres with a heavy lean towards sci-fi and fantasy. I am always a member of the local library and I try to select a broad mix of genres when I’m borrowing books.

53. When I go several days without reading I get twitchy and have to make time for it.

54. I would rather read a good book than watch TV.

55. When I do watch a TV series I prefer to get whole seasons out on DVD and watch it in one go.

56. I used to be totally addicted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I only discovered the show in season four, so was able to watch all four seasons over the course of a couple of months. That stuff gives you very odd dreams after watching 6 episodes in a row!

57. When I am home alone I rarely turn on the TV or the radio, I enjoy the silence when I can get it.

58. I liked living alone, it doesn’t make me lonely. I lived alone for a year in Cape Town, and for three years in England.

59. I can’t stand sharing a house with anyone except my significant other. I lived in some very nice shared houses in London and they still drove me crazy.

60. I don’t like renting a house as I like to be able to renovate and redecorate my homes.

61. In one place I rented I painted all the rooms warm colours while I lived there, then back to white as I moved out. The landlord had no idea!

62. I enjoy gardening, with the exception of weeding stuff.

63. And maybe digging holes. That’s not much fun.

64. Oh yeah, and mowing lawns, I don’t enjoy that.

65. So really, I should say that I enjoy planting and growing things in gardens, but the maintenance is a bit random.

66. I’m not bothered about pets, but I think I’d like a dog once the kids come along. And maybe a cat too.

67. We didn’t have any pets when I was a kid because my sister is very allergic.

68. I am slightly allergic to animals, unless I’m living with one.

69. I kept pet mice in my teens because they were small enough not to affect my sister. They were called Bubble and Squeak.

70. I get hay fever from time to time, but nothing like in my teens and twenties.

71. In my teens I had a constant stuffy tickly nose, and I used to get yelled at all the time for sniffing. One day when I was 20 I mentioned my tickles to a friend and he said “Oh yeah I get that. Here take this” and the tickles stopped immediately. When I asked my mom why she’d never thought to give me hay fever meds she said it never occurred to her there might be a physical cause.

72. I had my first boyfriend when I was 17. He looked like a blonde Tom Cruise and was an amazing kisser.

73. My mom was the coolest mom when I was 17 because she said she’d put me on the pill if I thought I needed it. No one else’s mom was that cool (South Africa is pretty conservative. I was one of the first girls in my class to even kiss a boy).

74. When I was 17 I asked my mom if I could go on the pill because… well, you know. Soon.

75. She said no. She and my dad felt I “wasn’t ready”.

76. They are so very lucky not to be grandparents of an 18 year old today.

77. A couple of years later I discovered that the local planning clinic would have given me free contraception with no questions asked. Why did no one ever tell us these things?!

78. When I was 17 and had my first boyfriend I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about sex. I was very disappointed and didn’t bother again for a couple of years. Turns out we were just clueless.

79. I am not scared of spiders, but past a certain size it’s more likely to be killed than caught.

80. I loathe large cockroaches. When I was in school we had to dissect preserved cockroaches in biology. It was the middle of summer and my home room was the biology lab. The stench of formaldehyde in the hot classroom and the big jars of roaches totally freaked me out and I can’t go near the things today.

81. When I left school I knew I was going to be a graphic designer. I spent a year at art college and loved it. I got A’s for the fine art and failed the graphic design, so I dropped out.

82. Today I am a computer programmer. I don’t think you can get much different!

83. I still enjoy sketching. I don’t do it much because it takes up space and time. The last sketch I attempted was a zebra. Attempt one came out like a donkey, and attempt two like a giraffe. I need more practice.

84. I rarely use my computer at home. I definitely never program in my free time. I’m a geek, but not that much of a geek!

85. I’d probably enjoy computer games but I never really got into them. I had an ancient dos version of Civilization I used to play through the night, but I don’t think I have it around anymore. If it is around then it’s on a floppy disk and my new laptop doesn’t have a floppy drive!

86. I never got into x-box either, but when I do play I’m pretty good.

87. My outdoor hobbies are bushwalking, scuba, and swimming.

88. By swimming I don’t mean laps. I hate swimming laps. I will happily bomb drop, somersault, dive for pennies, do handstands and play piggy-in-the-middle for hours, but don’t ask me to swim laps.

89. And I love swimming in the sea and body boarding. I never got the hang of body surfing though.

90. I reckon scuba is the closest one can get to flying. Swooping out over deep chasms, gliding effortlessly up and down, barrel rolling weightlessly – it is wonderful. Plus there’s some cool stuff to look at down there.

91. I once went trekking in the Himalayas for four weeks – the Annapurna circuit. It was incredible, and really put the rest of my life in perspective. It’s kind of hard to get stressed about a mortgage tracking system after that.

92. I got really ill on the trek. A tummy bug that lasted for a fortnight, plus a throat and chest infection because I was run down. When I got home I’d lost 10 kg and had the body of a model. My collar bones stuck out, I had cheekbones and hip bones, I looked amazing.

93. I didn’t like being so thin! I had crow’s-feet and no boobies. So I plumped right back out again.

94. If I ever do a trek like that again, it will be with someone who looks after me properly and lets me stay an extra couple of days in bed when I obviously can’t walk up a mountain. I reckon my mom would be ideal!

95. I love doing jigsaw puzzles.

96. A couple of years ago in England a girlfriend talked me into ciroc/jive lessons. I adored it! I liked meeting people, flirting with the guys, laughing myself silly when we made a mistake and got completely tangled, and most of all simply dancing until I was soaking with sweat and my feet ached for days afterward. I miss it. A lot.

97. My best friend in high school, who meant more to me than anyone else, and who first got me tipsy on a sleep-over, and who was probably the reason I lost my virginity because she made it sound so interesting, dropped me from her life when I was 18 because her boyfriend didn’t like me (I went off the rails a bit when my folks divorced). I grieved for years.

98. My best friend from art college, who knew all the stuff about me the other girl knew, dropped everything to come and get me when I rang her in tears after my friend dumped me. She’s a strong Christian with high morals, but she has never judged me and has always been there. She is my closest friend in all the world (apart from my mom) and is totally incredible.

99. If I could change one about myself it would be… not much. Maybe a longer fuse on my temper.

100. If I could change one thing in my past it would be… hmm. Nothing. What I have done has made me what I am today. I rock.



Got my visa!

YES yes yes yes!

Finally, after 8 months of paperwork and waiting I am the proud holder of a visa grant for a Skilled Independent Migration visa for Australia! Oh gosh I'm so excited! It's like waking up at Christmas to a mound of pressies under the tree!

All on my own merit, no mention of Milord anywhere in my application, all me me me ;-). I'm emphasizing that because some of his mates still think I am sponging off him, using him for a visa and financial gain. Not bloody likely!

I’ve always been on my own work visa, I earn the same as him, and I have more cash in the bank. We’re about to open a joint account and pool resources so that’s really immaterial, but people’s assumptions really bug me! m’Lord says to chill out, I have friends of my own who know me and that’s good enough. He’s right of course…

Now I just need to leave the country for somewhere with an Ozzie consulate to stick the visa into my passport, and return back on it. We're thinking of going skiing in New Zealand in August... I’ll just stick it on the credit card and figure it out later!

We had a nice celebratory evening last night - I went to the pub for a couple of drinks with a girlfriend then went home to find m’Lord waiting with a very expensive bottle of real champagne... then I cooked dinner and we watched a DVD - it was a school night after all!

Ah, what relief ;-)

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Old News - Newsletter June 2007

I got my visa!

YES yes yes yes!

Finally, after 8 months of paperwork and waiting I am the proud holder of a visa grant for a Skilled Independent Migration visa! All on my own merit, no mention of Milord anywhere in my application, all me me me ;-). I'm emphasizing that because some of Milord's mates still think I am sponging off him, using him for a visa and financial gain. Not bloody likely!

Oh gosh I'm so excited! It's like waking up at christmas to a mound of pressies under the tree!

Now I just need to leave the country for somewhere with an Ozzie consulate to stick the visa into my passport, and return back on it. We're thinking of going skiing in NZ in August...

Might skip home early and crack the champagne...

La la llaaa la la woohoooo!

*big grin*

Monday, 11 June 2007

Header Image

So, finally I have customised my page with my own header image. You will not believe how long that took me to create! And that's with Photoshop so I have all the tools at my disposal. Not that I know how to drive the thing yet - it took me half an hour to figure out how to draw a line.

Milord says I should change my blog title to "Wandered Saffa Chick" or "No Longer Wandering..." or something because I am no longer drifting. I told him that five years ago I was very settled in England, and look at me now! The only difference is that he has come with me if/when things change again ;-).

Anyhow, hopefully you can recognise the three icons of my three "home" continents in my header.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Took the words out of my mouth

In my browsings in the blogosphere I came across this lady. She is a couple of years older than me, and has a very different life as a nurse, and as a mother of two teenagers, but she has her head screwed on right!

Living Single in the Buckle of the Bible Belt...: Why I Will Never Be President

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Montheversaries

I like to celebrate every month that I am in a relationship. Nothing huge, usually just dinner out and we take turns choosing where and paying. Anniversaries are of course still special, but they’re really just a bigger version of the montheversary – and oddly enough it makes the anniversary easier to remember with 11 months of reminder! I’ve just googled “montheversary” and it seems I’m not the only cheesy one out there ;-).

Milord had a little trouble with the concept at first, but I think he now really enjoys our monthly romantic fuss. He’s not big on the flowers/cards/etc stuff - in fact if I didn’t demand a card on Valentine’s I’d never get any - and he’s given me flowers exactly twice, and that was over a year ago. Before you start I do give him flowers too - I last gave him flowers on our anniversary in January (and a card too, but I’m mushy like that).

I also do Christmas cards, birthday cards, get well cards… I found this really cool site where you can customize your cards, even to the point of writing in them, and they print and post it for you. It is the same quality as a store-bought card, but personalized and so convenient! They have a UK branch too so I can organize cards for folk there within 2 days of an event (I miss Royal Mail).

Our montheversary date is the 7th of the month, and we count them from the 7th Jan 2006 - the day I landed in Sydney to start my new life with my darling man. We also pay respect to the 8th March as the anniversary of the day we met in 2005, but usually roll that up into the 7th March’s montheversary. And my birthday is on the 10th March, so that’s a pretty good week!

As of tomorrow Milord and I have shared 17 montheversaries. It’s my turn to take us out to dinner – I think we’ll try somewhere I haven’t been to in our high street.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Quizzes

I'm rather bored at work again. We don't have much to do except write unit tests, and I'm trying to make 5 tests last me all week when I could bang them out in a couple of hours! Hopefully Milord will be passing this way on his silver steed to rescue me soon.

I came across a personality quiz while reading other folk's blogs today to determine which Star Trek character you are, but I ended up as Beverly Crusher whom I'd never heard of. I stopped watching Star Trek a long time ago!

I am however a Lord of the Rings geek, so I had a go at the LOTR test. The first go said I was a Legolas, which is pretty cool. I tried it a second time and ended up as Sam, which is less cool but you couldn't ask for a better friend, right? Then I had a go at the Sexual style quiz and it rated me as Sweet. I have no idea how I feel about that, but it is definitely time to go home!