February 2010 - alvers.info

Just a place for my old thoughts

We have air conditioning
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 4:24 am

Well, after Deb's Mum's visit to Brisbane and a few more weeks of 25+ degree nights we finally decided that enough was enough and got air conditioning installed.

At the moment we have one monster unit in the lounge room that cools the better part of the whole house. We might look at a smaller unit in the bedroom but for the moment it is heaven.

On the weird side it seemed to make Raffi go a little destructive in terms of shooting around the house and generally destroying things. I'm not sure if that is just nature or the fact that her fur was blowing in the breeze.

Anudda weegend
Sunday, 21 February 2010 10:34 pm

So, Friday night Deb had drinks and dinner with her work mates so I headed home early for a little TV and evil dinner (Pork sparerib sandwiches). I had a midnight phone hook-up so after collecting Deb from the ferry I had to wait around for that to start. By the time it finished, I had typed up my notes and did a little research it was well after 1am.

Saturday had had a later start and headed over to Carindale for a spot of shopping. It turned into a bit of a kitchen-fest as we got a knife sharpener and a potato riser. I also managed to claim my last medicare doctors visit and pick-up a suspension are for the kitchen PC.

On the way home we picked up cold meats, cheeze and the makings of a beef dinner. As it turned out though we stuffed ourselves on cheese and never got around to the beef. No worries.

Sunday we went over to get Deb some new shoes from DFO. It was a very successful trip with 4 pairs for our troubles plus some new running t-shirts.

When we got home Deb got to indulge her lasagne craving and I talked her into making the pasta from scratch. We haven't made pasta since moving up from Melbourne so it took us a while to get back into the swing of it. In no time through we had it assembled and into the oven.

It was very very good. It was very very rich. It was washed down with a '99 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz. A very nice weekend.

Monday, 22 February 2010 2:24 am

Apparently we hadn't unpacked the pasta maker since moving to Brisbane, either. And I foolishly didn't take note of how I packed it, so now I have no idea how to fit it all back into the box (I seem to recall it took me hours to figure this out when packing for Brisbane three years ago, lol).

Happy Valentines
Sunday, 14 February 2010 11:25 pm

That was a nice lazy weekend that has left me feeling exhausted. Friday night we had to head home early because we had a builder coming to quote on replacing our front and back decks. As the allotted hour came and went Deb called to see where he was to find that he had overlooked out appointment and would not be round till tomorrow.

This left us with the afternoon to sit on the deck and enjoy a couple of cold drinks. We then headed down to Oxford Street for dinner and tried the new Ales and Scales place. While the food was actually very good Deb had a reaction to either the oil it was cooked in or the beers before hand. Sort of mucked up what could have been a very good night.

Next morning we just gave the house a quick once over and headed out for a spot of shopping. We picked up baby squid and prawns for dinner. Ended up doing a spanish style tapas thing with calamari, prawns and tortilla. Not too bad.

Sunday was very very lazy. We slept in until the bedroom was too hot to stay in and then headed out to the wine cellar to get a few things for dinner that night. We finally cracked into our really good stuff and brought back 10 year old cab sav, shiraz and a couple of bottles of sparkling black. Yummo.

I had booked a table down to David's for an early dinner which worked out really well. We were the first to arrive and it turned out the only ones to actually see David who had been working all day and ducked off for his own dinner shortly after.

The food as usual was very good and washed down with two bottle of wine. We then headed home to watch the winter olympics on TV. We've subscribed to Foxtel's coverage and are absolutely loving the HD.

Oh, and before I forget Happy Birthday Wayne!

I actually won something...
Friday, 12 February 2010 5:49 am

I got a mysterious email from Harper Collins saying that I had been one of 15 lucky winners of the Quick Smart Cook recipe tip competition.

Now, I do remember entering a competition over Christmas but for the life of me I couldn't remember what it was about. To make it even more cryptic the email didn't actually name the contest or the prize.

To cut a long story short I finally (through Google, email archives and deduction) figured out that I had entered a contest off the cover of my cookbook that I got for Christmas. And that it was for a cooking tip.

So here it is...my kitchen wisdom in 25 words:

A substitute for oven roasted capsicum is to microwave capsicum slices on high for 10-12 minutes and then sear on a griddle pan. Panzanella perfection!

And I get a subscription to delicious. a cook book collection and a few other bits. How sweet is that!

Sunday, 14 February 2010 9:47 am

Secret Santa wants to know if that was the cookbook she got you for Christmas. If it is, she's taking the kudos cause how cool - a gift that just keeps on giving!!!

Sunday, 14 February 2010 10:44 am

How cool is that!!

Monday, 15 February 2010 5:05 am

Yes, I think SS gets the credit here!

Another weekend down
Sunday, 7 February 2010 11:49 pm

I am trying not to watch my year race past but WoW! Is this month racing past. Friday I worked from home because I had to go to the doctor and have my results reviewed from my back scan.

Turns out I actually have two prolapsed discs. This worries Deb because it is actually really something wrong with me. It makes me happy to finally be vindicated after all these years that there was actually something medically wrong. F&%ing moron doctors that kept telling me it was a sprain and that I need to build my core back muscles. Sheesh.

Anyway, I have been trying to get a referal to a specialist so that I can find out if it is as bad as it is going to get or if I need to have action taken to prevent it getting worst.

Friday night Janet, Deb and I headed down to Oxford street for Indian. Janet was taking Raffi to a cat show on Saturday in which she won another ribbon for being the cutest cat eva. She has picked up a little sneeze so I think that might have to be the last show for the little one.

Saturday Deb and I got the house cleaned and then made chicken and mushroom crepes. They turned out pretty well I think. The filling would definitely work well wrapped in filo pastry as well so definitely one to add to the list.

Sunday we headed down to the Gold Coast to catch up with Nicky and Curtis who are in town for the weekend. The night before it had absolutely bucketed rain so it made the drive a little interesting. Also put paid to mowing the lawn. Lunch was so huge that we didn't even have dinner. Deb has made meatballs and an asian dipping sauce that we are going to have tonight. I think I'll be able to face food by then.

Oh my back
Monday, 1 February 2010 11:12 pm

Ok, so where do I start. After the post yesterday I had a doctors appointment for 11:30am. I was fully expecting the same non-action that I have got for the last 10 years and that is exactly what happened.

She spent more time telling me about how I drink too much rather than checking my back. I got poked a bit as she looked for crushed disks (which I don't have) and some pointless stretches which can show if there is a pinched nerve in my neck (which I don't have). She then prescribed me anti-inflamatories and physio (which never work long term).

I think she picked up on my hopelessness because she also gave me a referal for a CT scan on my back. CT scans are more about bone and disks but I was willing to try anything to find out why I keep hurting the same damned spot. Personally I would have prefered an MRI which will look at the soft tissue but I'll take anything at the moment.

So I headed home, grabbed my tablets and made some lunch. On the off chance that I could get a booking for later in the week I called the x-ray center and they had an appointment available in 45 minutes. So I wolfed down lunch and raced over to Wynumm. There I discovered that my Medicare card had expired so I had to go around to the local office. There I found that because it had expired over 6 mths ago I now had to prove residency. So I rushed back to the x-ray place and arranged to have the test but to have the results held until I could get a medicare number. After the test, which only takes 2 minutes, I bolted home. There I grabbed every offical document I owned and raced back to the Medicare office before it closed. Issued with a new number (I have to wait for the card to arrive in the mail) I was able to get my results released. All this while jumping in and out of the car with a bad back. What a day.

On the upside Deb cooked dinner last night plus a cake for work from which I get a lovely big warm slice straight out of the oven.

ex-HMAS Brisbane and one awesome weekend
Monday, 1 February 2010 12:21 am

Ok, so I am currently flat on my back in bed waiting for a doctors appointment. It was worth it.

Serena had given me a gift voucher to dive on the ex-HMAS Brisbane wreck off Mooloolaba. At the time I hadn't logged a dive for eight years so I really was a bit worried on if they would let me dive even after a refresher course. I ended up booking the scuba update for that very weekend and spent a few hours on the bottom of a swimming pool learning how much I hate still taking my mask off underwater. I had spent the previous two days doing the entire online theory as well which, while not required, made me feel much more confident.

So Friday we packed the car and were on the road by 4:30pm which was an achievement in itself. Even with bad traffic we got to Serena's place at 6:30pm. She arrived home shortly after with takeaway Thai food which was very good, washed down with a couple of glasses of bubbles. Then off to bed ahead of a 6am wakeup call to be at the dive shop by 7am.

Everything went as planned as we geared up and went through the site briefing. Then onto the dive boat, which was completely booked out, for the 20 minute run out to the wreck. During the briefing they had spent time saying that first timers, in-experienced or lapsed divers would have to take it really easy and would most likely just stay up on the deck and look around.

On the way to the site our dive leader Tony introduced himself and said that it would just be the three of us on the dive. You have got to love the level of personal attention. Anyway, I am thinking about taking it easy, staying fairly shallow and just getting my scuba experience back. Well Tony says, how many dives have you got. Serena says 20, 10 were years ago. I said 28 but that I haven't dived in 8 years and only completed my refresher a few weeks ago. Right says Tony, down the deep end and into the wreck we go then! SHEEIT! Serena almost cheered, I am sure I heard a WooHoo! So off we went, about the third group to get into the water. My control was a little out and we burned a lot of air at the stern which is in 28 metres of water but all up Serena and I were pretty close on our air consumption which is really important, you don't want a buddy that is too far ahead or behind you on air.

On returning to the surface we headed back to safe harbor for morning tea because the sea was getting a little choppy. I was feeling better about my skills.

On the way back for the second dive Tony says, Right, let's go down he main stack into the engine room. Do you guys have torches. No? Ok, I'll just keep mine turned on all the time. Torches? We're gonna need torches? SHEEIT! (WooHoo from Serena...) Tony had figured that some of the other groups may attempt going down the stack as well so suggested that we hit the water first. Serena and I were geared and waiting before we had even tied off to the mooring. After a quick fix on my regulator which had a slow bubble leak we swam down to the top of the chimney stacks and then descended the 20 odd meters into the engine room and through the very interior of the ship. Absolutely amazing stuff. Probably the single greatest dive I can remember. We even dumped the air from our buoyancy vests and went up an internal ladder-way to the higher rooms. It was F*%king amazing.

We did briefly loose Serena but that was more because there were so many people down there that you sometimes loose your own group. A quick double back and we had her in tow again.

Other then a couple of small nicks and cuts from the coral we came out completely unscathed and smiling like idiots. A truly outstanding experience.

On the way back to Serena's we picked up seafood for lunch and dinner so ended up having a couple of nice bottles of Shaw & Smith on the front deck while eating sashimi tuna, fresh prawns and mud crab. Sounds like tough afernoon huh? Then as we watched the tennis I made a simple green fish curry and Serena took care of the rice. A lovely end to a great day.

Oh, I should also so that at some point we had the brainwave to try to get into Spirit House for lunch the next day. Normally you have to book a couple of lifetimes ahead but again the angels must have smiled on us because Serena left a voice mail at 10:30pm and we got a call back the next morning that a booking for three was available at 2pm. Perfect. We headed off to Coolum shopping for an hour and then headed out to Yandina way too early. Serena had said that there is a pub out there so we could grab a drink and relax. Well, the pub has been completely refurbished and it absolutely amazing. The dining area out the back is gorgeous and has a private dinning room that can cater verticals of Grange. Nice.

As was hoped the food at Spirit House was outstanding and has moved to slightly fewer dishes but executed just as well and definitely on the more generous portion size. Three entrees and mains had us very full and content by the end.

Deb did growl once at the waiter for trying to take an empty dish that she was licking the sauce out of but other than that the meal was great. Then a quick trip back to Serena's, box a couple of cats and off to Brisbane on a record run of one and a bit hours.

Sweet. Now off to the doctor about my back. Next time when I am lugging around scuba tanks I need to be much much more careful. It was still worth it though.

Monday, 1 February 2010 10:44 am

My chest is getting tight just reading your entry. You obviously missed out on the Alvers claustrophic gene (but I think I got enough for both of us). Breath in...breath out...