January 2009 - alvers.info

Just a place for my old thoughts

Not a very nice week
Thursday, 29 January 2009 6:38 am

Well, the week is only 4 working days but has been a pretty hard slog. As Deb has already mentioned on her page I have made it through a major adjustment at work and will be staying in Brisbane for the time being.

This is definitely in line with where I was hoping to be so that is a great relief. Basically I have been very very lucky under the current economic circumstances so I can only be happy about that.

It now means that the forseeable future is a little more certain, Deb can plan her holiday and we can buy some chairs for the breakfast bar.

Not everyone is as lucky so I have to thank my stars and wish them all the best.

Not a very nice week.

Spirit House Cooking School (Da Words!)
Tuesday, 27 January 2009 3:07 am

Well, that was the long weekend. And one that I really enjoyed. Yesterday we went out to Spirit House for a Bangkok Street Food session. The people were really nice and the instructor Katrina was wonderful.

We were put into smaller groups and prepared a dish per group. I also got to show off my knife skills which were good but still not up to that of our instructor who did the most awesomely fine shreds.

Deb and I even managed to cook our dish ourselves which was fun. We had dueling woks going with both of us cooking at the same time. Our result, the mussels and squid was pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

This is definitely something worth doing.

The trip home was fairly quick and uneventful so that part was good. The pussy cats had, as usual, lost their minds while we were away but nothing new there. Furrg managed to knock a chair onto Deb's umbrella which destroyed the handle. He is a weird little pussycat sometimes.

the editor
Tuesday, 27 January 2009 7:26 am

'muscles and quid', lol. I had to fix it, sorry :).

Spirit House Cooking School
Tuesday, 27 January 2009 12:58 am

In a bit of a rush this morning so I'll just post the pics and come back later with words.

Sunday, 25 January 2009 6:39 am

The Australia Day weekend it is going very nicely. Friday night Deb and I had bubbles on the deck with an antipasto plate and then watched a movie. Saturday was slow paced but still saw the house get polished. We then headed down to Southbank for dinner and then onto Dock & the Circus. That was a fun performance and worth seeing, if only for the dude in the steel ring. That was an amazing act and could have been the finale really.

This morning we woke up and had a proper breakfast of eggs, beacon and my muesli, yum! The we headed up the coast to Serena's for a light snack and then out to the local shops to top up our casual clothing supplies. I scored two t-shirts a shirt and a pair of board shorts so a pretty sweet deal.

Now, I have deliberately been holding off posting anything here because it is...public...but things are not well at work. Not with me specifically but with the economy as a whole. This means they are looking to trim 'fat' where ever they can. I knew when the Firn let me move to Queensland that I was putting myself in a tough place. The hub of business is in Sydney and frankly Brisbane might as well be the moon in terms of access to what makes things happen. Anyway, flash back to before Christmas then I get a call asking 'If...a role in Sydney was available would you take it?'. I talked it over with Deb and thought...maybe... Now come forward a few weeks when I get a call from someone else in the firm, outside the line of command, who says that things are dark for anyone not working at the coal face.

That was when I realised that the previous call was more along the lines of...new role in sydney or no role at all. A freaky thought to spend your Christmas with.

But now, as I sit here at Yaroomba listening to the ocean I am finding it very hard to justify moving. I honestly love being up here so much that the very thought of moving leaves me feeling like I have chosen the consolation prize.

So far everything has been speculation so only time will confirm things one way or the other. But the idea of leaving Brisbane and my little house is something that I will have to work hard to reconsile with whatever alternatives present themselves.

A minor change
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 2:17 am

After many years of using a browser frame to hide the URL of this website I have chanced it back to *normal* function. That should make copying links, using fresh and clicking some links a bit easer to use.

Let me know what you think.

the other alvers
Thursday, 22 January 2009 12:15 pm

massive bloody improvement, imho

Pleasant surprises
Monday, 19 January 2009 12:21 am

Well that was a nice quiet weekend. Friday saw us heading home early because the computer systems at Deb's work were taken offline in the middle of the afternoon. Why you would do that to a production system during work hours is beyond me but it did mean we got an early ticket.

Heading home Deb suggested that BBQ'ed seafood would be nice for dinner. So a quick run over to Raptis Fishmarket and we had Morton Bay bugs a big juicy king prawns. Being home early was pretty sweet so we just sat out in the front yard and tried the new sparkling wine that Deb had ordered from the Wine Society. Then a quick BBQ, add a salad that Deb made with mixed leaves, orange segments and the smallest amount of fresh shaved coconut, and the meal was absolutely outstanding.

Saturday was very lazy with me finally getting the yard cleaned up after so many weeks of neglect. I dumped a ton fo water from the tank onto the gardens and lawn which are looking the worst for wear with the heat. Saturday night we had a simple Caesar Salad with Chicken and just watched TV.

Sunday was again a lazy day with Deb going on a cooking jag with prep for dinner tonight as well as Lasagna from scratch. Yumm! And to top it all out we opened one of the oldest bottles of wine we own. A 1997 Elderton Cab Sav. Now this is their standard wines. We had tried to age a couple of their premium bottles but they fell a little short. No wonder really when you consider how badly they have been treated over the years.

So you can imagine my surprise when the wine turned out to be sensational. It had an awesome leather note with chocolate and finished clean with a great mouth feel. (That is about as wine wanky as I get.) It was so good we opened a second bottle that was just as good.

It's funny but most of our best wines are drunk with a home cooked meal while watching TV. It turns out that way because we never would have risked serving this wine up at a dinner party without having a fair amount of other wines to fall back onto if they are awful. Anyway, it turned out to be one of the best bottle of wine I have drunk in a very long time. Back to the cellar for us this week in order to refill out little home wine fridge.

Almost a week without alcohol
Friday, 16 January 2009 5:25 am

Well, today is *kind of* my fifth day without drinking. I have to say kind of because we had Jannet around on Tuesday night and Deb cooked this great Indian meal so I could hardly pass up a glass of wine right?

Oh and yesterday when we went to lunch I did have a glass of wine with my meal, but it was only one.

So, as I was saying I have kind of not been drinking all week. It is largely as a result of the Christmas break in which I demonstrated my complete lack of restraint by drinking every single day and in some quantity. But it was Christmas right?!?

I haven't made any resolutions or anything silly like that, I have just decided to take some time out and try to let me liver dry out a bit.

Hopefully I may even end up dropping a little bit if weight as well which is the ultimate aim I suppose.

Can you eat too much seafood?
Monday, 12 January 2009 11:11 pm

Well two weeks back at work and the lawn still isn't mowed. I am going to start loosing pussycats out there soon.

Speaking of pussycats we have FINALLY got catcatraz working now that I have installed a new clothes line and put buckets over the top of the old clothes line poles. Furrg has had a go at escaping but it hasn't worked out for him. This is actually pretty awesome given the money and time we have spent in getting it setup.

The only downside is that he sits at the front door now and yowls his head off because he knows it is the only way out.

We have also found out that by closing the front gates Eeep is able to wander around the front yard and has not attempted to jump over the fence. Even with Furrg showing her how it is done. Repeatedly.


Lunch at JTs was great although relatively short. We picked up the seafood from Sammies Girl and then tootled down the freeway and made it to JTs in record time. If someone had told me that I could get from my place, to Sammies and down to JTs in less than an hour I would not have believed them. But there you go, we did.

That lunch made the fifth round of seafood for the entire holiday. I have NEVER eaten that much in my entire life. It was pretty amazing and won't be topped next year when we are in Adelaide for Christmas. (Deb and her Mum are not as big seafood fans as my family).

We also took our old TV down to Mum's on Sunday and got it installed along with their VCR and DVD. It is good to have it being used rather than sitting in storage somewhere.

And work has been pretty good in terms of letting me get back into it gently, so that is good.

The Eeep is still going with her special diet, daily tablets and twice weekly fluids. I certainly think she is more 'normal' so for the time being she is with us for a little bit longer.

This weekend will be outside cleanup...didn't I mention the lawn...and maybe cooking something yummy. Deb has been on an Indian jag and cooking dhal and curries from scratch. So I am being put to shame cooking all the old things over and over.

Oh, I did cook Frito Misto with squid. I should explain. When we were in Italy I was eating tons of fried seafood (Frito Misto)...the Italian version of the fishermans basket. Now what intrigued me was how light and simple the batter was. It barely coated the seafood. So fast forward to Christmas and Deb gets me a Venice cookbook. Flicking through it I found that their Frito Misto is just raw seafood patted with plain flour and deep fried. That's it. So when we went to pickup the seafood for JTs lunch they had these fresh looking little baby squid for $12/Kg. After leaving JTs we drove back over to Sammies Girl and picked up half a kilo. Now, cleaning squid is a bit of a labor but it worked out a treat and the fried squid, served with a rocket and cherry tomato salad was the perfect light meal.


This is going to be interesting...
Friday, 2 January 2009 11:32 pm

It seems like a ton of things has happened since the last time I posted...and thinking about it they have.

I had taken an extra week of leave up to the 19th of December and used it to play WoW, clean the house and generally take it easier. Unfortunately we found out at about that time that our newest member, Olivia (aka Eeep), has kidney disease and is not in a good way. It has resulted in daily tablets, a special diet and twice weekly injections of fluid to keep her going. So far she has responded well so we should see her around for at least the foreseeable future.

The work Christmas party was good fun and the first time in absolutely years I was in a city that closed down for lunch. So off to the Sofitel for beers, wine and the traditional skit from the graduate staff. I had been coming down with a bit of a cold so the constant heat of the day and the AC of the hotel didn't do me any favours. I had also discovered that morning that our Bluray player, which was an extra with the new TV, had arrived so I took my leave early-ish and headed home.

Deb and I then spent the next few days taking it easy and getting the house, and ourselves, in order for Christmas. I had the wrong mental map of Christmas and thought that Tuesday was Christmas eve. It wasn't until Deb came in on that morning and said -It's the 23rd, isn't it?- that I had to say 'DOH!' and then spend the rest of the day playing Warcraft. A tough life I have.

The next day though we went out shopping for seafood and stuff for Christmas. JT and Jason were coming over for lunch so we wanted to have tons of yummy food. We finished off Christmas eve by exchanging a gift each. I got Deb a handmade glass bead for her bracelet and she got me the Bluray version of Kung-foo Panda...sweet.

Christmas day it was over to Dad's for breakfast with everyone. It was a really nice morning actually with us providing fruit salad. We all exchanged gifts and I gave Wayne a copy of WoW that I had picked up earlier that week. It doesn't include the latest expansion but I figure it is going to take at least a few months to get to that point anyway. From there it was home with JT and Jason to relax and digest breakfast before a HUGE Christmas dinner of seafood, home cooked chicken, salad and Deb's special lobster salad. Yummy! Then we went for a walk down to the park to digest again and watch the city lights. Back home and we watched KFP again. I very nice day.

Boxing day we took it easy and then headed up the coast the next day. I think Furrg has the two cats in a box with luggage thing worked out because we was nice and quiet the whole way. Eeep on the other hand sang a few times but at least didn't disgrace herself.

At the coast it took a few days but I did finally find my Zen just sitting out on the balcony in the afternoon sipping on ginger beer and being cooled by the sea breeze. It was pretty sweet. And Libbette even got us a coffee machine for Christmas. We are definitely spoiled!

New Years eve was a fairly quiet affair but one that I really enjoyed. Libbette had a bunch of her friends over and we cooked a BBQ. As usual the over-catering was monumental but all enjoyed and my steak sandwich was awesome. At about 11pm everyone headed off because Libbette was going over to see Lincon who was with his family. This left Serena, Pete, Deb and myself to sit back and have a very mellow midnight. Something I actually really enjoyed.

I didn't really want to leave the next day but I was worried about leaving my TV alone for that long (Yes, that was one reason I left the coast!) and I mentally had to get the house in order before returning to work. We did though drop off the cats and then make a run to the Gold Coast to catch up with Mum and John. They had some questions with the computer which I had promised to look at. In turn John took us out to the local Chinese restaurant which I have to remember serves HUGE portions. Deb and I over did it a bit but soldiered on and made our way through a boat load of food. From there it was a quick run home to feed the pussycats and watch the first half of LotR-FotR. (You figure it out!)

Yesterday we finally cleared out the study which I had been promising Deb we would do for months. It had just accumulated tons of paper and boxes and stuff and needed a good sort through. So with that done I spent the rest of the afternoon playing WoW and taking it easy.

Unfortunately...hehe...it is raining this morning so I will just have to continue playing WoW I guess because I can't work in the garden. Tomorrow we are off to JT's for Christmas lunch with Mum and everyone so that will be pretty nice actually.