On coffee

Not that we’re addicted to coffee in this office, but at any point in time if you were to head over the road to one of two local coffee shops – you would find at least one staff member in either one, or both. We also ask for our coffees by name, not drink: a Mark – small long black, three shots; a Matt – medium latte; a Maddie – large long black; a Julie – large skinny latte, 2 sugars.

I’m old enough to remember a tea-run with a trolley being wheeled through the building with an enormous urn and teapot; individual mugs clattering on the trolley. Everyone would come together, stop, have a drink, a gossip and a biscuit, taking a break and chewing the fat.

While we have tea bags and instant coffee on site, going and buying coffees gets us away from our screens, a breath of fresh air and stretches our legs. The exception is the engineering department who have a morning and afternoon break with a large plug-in peculator. The standard line is “How many engineers does it take to make a pot of coffee?” but it gets them away from their desks. Also the instant coffee here is so bad, someone stuck a skull and cross bones hazard sticker on the container (we all have jars of our own coffee in our desk drawers and share them amongst each other when someone runs out).

I have one cup a day and relish in it. Except today Hubs made me one, I brought one on the way through to the office and then the CEO did a coffee run and brought me one at the same time.

Today I’m running on three coffees, wheeeeeeeeee!



Ten on Tuesday – favourite edition

Carole has asked for ten things that we’re liking at the moment. Ready? Go.

1. A long weekend, I took an RDO on Friday and a half day on Monday morning. Badly needed, not least because I’d pulled a muscle in my back. By Friday morning, I was waddling not walking, and in a fair amount of pain. Knowing I didn’t have to go to work helped! I met with a girlfriend on Friday morning, then came home and propped myself up in bed to rest.

2. Parks and Recreation. I’ve been hearing about this series for a while, Hubs brought me season two for my birthday, a friend sent me season one. On Saturday afternoon and evening I watched the six episodes of season one, and 18 of the 24 from season two. I’m now having withdrawal symptoms as season three is yet to be purchased.

3. Spending time with a friend. She’d had major surgery in December, this was the first time I’d been able to see her since her op, so the two hours we spent catching-up was glorious. I brought her some flowers, because I liked the colours, and inadvertently managed to buy her favourites!

4. The blue shop. This is what Peanut calls IKEA, perfectly sensible to me. When I booked the time off work, I wondered about what I could do with it. One thing was to clear my mind and work out what and where I wanted to take my company. Did I still want to carry on with what I had been focussing on, or move it slightly? Did it need a new name and so on. I’d planned on meeting my friend, then heading over there, but my back was too sore. On Saturday morning, I helped Hubs get ready to take Peanut camping, then headed over. In the restaurant area is a library. I brought a coffee (free refills), opened my notebook and spent a good three hours on my own, no podcast, no music (other than the muzak) and plotted and schemed. After that, I had a restorative walk round to look at all the Swedish neat and order.

5. Billy Bunter roll. Back in my hometown, there was a sandwich shop that did the most amazing rolls. Called Billy Bunter’s after the character, they were round, large (you needed both hands to eat it) and filled with whatever you wanted. Mum and I always had prawn cocktail. Brown roll, butter (not margarine), crisp lettuce and prawns in thousand island dressing. I had a yen for one of these on Saturday, so brought gluten free brown rolls and thousand island dressing. When I got home, I laid my lettuce, tomatoes and two hard boiled eggs with some prawns in a bowl, dribbled over the dressing. Buttered a roll, put Parks and Rec on and was in heaven. Mum and I used to meet on Friday afternoons, my college finished early, so did her work, we’d meet at the station, walk over the road, then head home. By the time we’d got there, the sauce had soaked into the bread, which meant you could eat it without random prawns falling out. Bliss.

6. This.

7. Where the Wild Things Are. Not my favourite book by a long shot, but Peanut and I read it twice the other day, he went out like a light and slept right through. It was the best night sleep the house had for a while!

8. Gloria Steinem. I’m reading My Life On The Road, and eeking it out (technical term), as I do not want it to end. What a great start to #OurSharedShelf

9. Cooking on a Bootstrap if you’ve not found this food blog, please do seek it out. I’m a huge fan of Jack’s. The recipes are amazing, simple, nutritious, versatile and unlike some cooks and chefs, affordable! Literally down to the portion by penny (they’re based in the UK), Jack is now wading back through and converting as many recipes on the blog as they can to include vegan alternatives.

10. Osher Günsberg this man is fabulous. I don’t do reality TV. I don’t watch the Bachelor(ette) or Australian Idol, which is predominantly what he’s known for in Oz. I found him as Osher was interviewed by someone else’s podcast I subscribe to, Meshel Laurie (more in a second). Doing as I do, I followed and connected the dots. Found his podcast, mainlined them, am recommending them to everyone I spend time with, so am sharing them here. iTunes only have the past 100 episodes, so if you try them on and you like them, you’ll have to go to his website to get the rest of them. Working in the media industry for as long as he has, Osher’s network is vast, so the guests that pop up are eclectic, but the interviews are warm, intimate and life changing. Literally.

11. Meshel Laurie set up a crowd funding page to assist child sex abuse survivors to go to Rome to hear Cardinal Pell give evidence in the Royal Commission investigation into the Catholic Church. Make no mistake, this investigation is huge. The cover-up and lies the church committed runs long and deep. Cardinal Pell, now residing in Rome is too ill to travel to Australia. So Mohammad is going to the Mountain, in five days members of the public raised over $200k. The fifteen people travelling to Rome include survivors and support staff, the remaining money will fund mental health support.

12. Tim Minchin also wrote a songin support of the survivors being able to hear Cardinal Pell’s testimony.

PS I make no apologies for linking to the same things twice in two posts, it’s important.

PPS I got to twelve on a Ten on Tuesday – go me!

Smooth Operator

Like many people around the office, I’m making smoothies and guzzling them for breakfast. Although, I’ve been making them long before they became fashionable. I used to get odd looks drinking them on the train up to London when I was commuting, but I guess like most things – if you wait long enough for anything, it will come around again.

I’m not sure about the rest of the world, but in Australia the new-fangled kitchen gadget is a blender that you whizz all your goodies directly into the glass that you’ll drink from. There are hundreds of them in the shops, literally stacked up in their boxes in Target and K-Mart, with more robust versions available in any store they sell electrical goods.

Have we gone that mad, we can’t decant a smoothie from a blender into a pot now? Are we really that time-poor? Continue reading “Smooth Operator”

Ten on Tuesday – cheese edition

Oh boy. Cheese. Let me count the ways I love you. I can live without chocolate, I can live without alcohol, but if I have to miss out on cheese, I can get downright cranky.

The onset of Christmas was never more loudly signalled to my brother and I than to our annual visit to Middle Farm to select our cheeses for the holiday table. That’s when we’d get excited, I can tell you! Some of the cheeses in my list, I miss and will never get to taste unless I head back to the UK (which ain’t happening any time soon). Still, I know they’re waiting for me and if I think really hard, I can remember the taste too.

As an aside, I really miss Hovis biscuits, both the thin flat cracker with the slightly darker edge, and the thicker fat one shaped like a loaf. Smeared with butter, then with either pâté or cheese – yum. An ex-boyfriend and his family was nothing less than horrified that I put butter on my biscuits with cheese. Apparently it was ‘lower-class’ – I said ‘I don’t care, I like it. So get over it.’ I don’t miss these because I can’t get them, I miss them as I can’t eat them now. Rice crackers are ok, but oh for some variety!

In no particular order, just as they come to me:

  1. Cornish Yarg – possibly my favourite cheese on the planet. You don’t have to eat the nettle covering, but the cheese inside is delicate and earthy both at once.
  2. Triple Cream Brie – yes, you have read that right. Triple Cream. It comes out soft and welcoming from the fridge, but if you leave it out, it is soon running over the plate. On a cheese board, this doesn’t last long in our house, all three of us love it.
  3. St Agur – Blue cheese. It’s not to everyone’s taste. Some people can’t get over eating the mould and I get that as I couldn’t for ages too, However, as I smothered my salads in blue cheese dressing (back when I could smother my salads in dressing) I figured I liked the taste, so I needed to get over the mould bit. This cheese is also not too strong, which can also put people off. It’s very creamy, and goes really well with bacon bits, spring onion, a dash of cream and some black pepper for a jacket potato topping, or more cream for a stir-through pasta sauce.
  4. Caerphilly – I love this salty, crumbly cheese.
  5. Danish Blue – a stronger blue cheese; if you get a mature version, it can make your eyes water.
  6. Red Leicester – now, please proper Red Leicester, not the plastic version you can get in supermarkets. Your taste buds will thank you, I promise.
  7. Blue Stilton – possibly my mum’s favourite blue cheese. One that we always had a Christmas. Always.
  8. Gorgonzola – I can’t believe out of ten cheeses, I have listed four blue ones AND this was a toss-up between Dolcelatte! I had to have one or the other of these Italian cheeses in, as I love both of them.
  9. Haloumi – I am a late comer to this cheese, but wish I’d found it years ago. I love the salty tang, that you can cook it up and it stays firm. We use it a lot, in risottos, in pasta, or as a side on a BBQ. Peanut tried to grab it off our plates when he was younger as he loves it too.
  10. Smoked Gouda – yum. Just yum.

I haven’t even got close to all cheeses I like, and this was a lot harder to do than I thought it was going to me. I’ve missed Edam, feta, cheddar, cream cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, bocconcini or the plastic cheese slices I put on burgers. But one glaring omission you may have picked up on? Goats cheese. I can’t bear it. Sorry folks.

I am also very happy I’ve found www.cheese.com how great is that website!

Church mice

A little jaded

Thank goodness it’s the weekend. Thank goodness Hubs can have a relaxing couple of days to get over last night! Peanut was in full roar from 4pm-midnight. While we have no idea what set him off, I think it was the tiny drop of infacol I gave him to help his wind as he’d not burped after a feed. I’d tried to get one out of him, but failed miserably, I’ve used infacol a couple of times now and each time he’s been worse afterwards, but last night was unbelievable.

We tried for 4-5 hours to calm him down. We changed his bum, gave him a bath, changed his clothes, let him latch on to me for comfort, walked around with him in the Moby, everything. I called my cousin over, they both tried everything all over again for another 2 hours. I called the Maternal Health help line at 11pm, for some advice in case we’d missed anything. She told us that we need to reassure him and keep him secure and safe. No shit sherlock. She also told us to try a dummy/pacifier. Which I hate. But desperate, we bundled him up in his coat, kissed the cousins goodnight, and drove to a 24hr supermarket.

By the time we’d got there, he’d fallen asleep, driving home he stayed asleep, Hubs put him in his cot and we climbed into bed. I’ve never been so pleased to see a pillow in my life. Spooning each other, we reassured each other we’d done everything we could and slept till he woke up around 4am. I fed him, popped him back down, he slept through till 8am, Hubs had to collect him as I’d fallen asleep on my arm so had pins and needles all along it. After that feed, I changed him, then brought him back to our bed. Putting him up by the head board between our pillows, we slept until 11am.

Two showers later, we staggered over to Chadstone for breakfast. As the dishes from yesterday’s breakfast were still in the sink, I voted to eat out this morning. It was quickly seconded. As the coffees went down, and the food went in, I could visibly see Hubs relax and the tightness and stress get ironed out. My breakfast was so good, I nearly cried. The mushrooms were cooked with parsley to perfection, the tomato was slow roasted, the bacon and sausages were chock-full of piglety goodness and the eggs – were sheer heaven on a plate. I hope Peanut appreciated it all early this afternoon.

He’s now freshly changed into his cloth nappy, (I’m introducing them slowly over the coming week now his belly button stub has fallen off), he’s in his pram in the last patch of sunlight, chattering away to himself, looking like a little angel. The hardest part about last night wasn’t the screaming, or that whatever we tried didn’t help settle him, but that we don’t know what set him off for sure, so we can’t stop it from happening again.

Oh, the best bit? The midnight dash and sterilisation of said dummy? He absolute will not let you put it in his mouth…

Operation getting ready for labour

I’ve finished work, insofar I’m not going into the office anymore. I do have some stuff I need to do this week, the CEO has given me 2 days to get things done spread over the week, which is fine, she’s also taken projects off me and delegated them elsewhere. However, the cold that I’ve been struggling with for the past couple of weeks has arrived. I guess now I’ve stopped, it thought it was safe to get here. Cough, cough, cough.

I spent most of yesterday in bed, surfaced about 2pm and did my ironing and then sat on the couch for the rest of the day. Another fitful night’s sleep later, I got up when Hubs left the house and vacuumed, and cleaned the bathroom, and made Peanut’s bed, and put the dishes away, and made a ratatouille. The plumber who we’d requested visit to look at the taps in our bathroom arrived and messed up the shower again as he fixed it, but I ain’t cleaning it again, I’m in clean clothes. I’m now waiting for our three-month inspection visit, they’ve an hour to get here, then I will get back into bed for the afternoon.

But I’ve finished work. And I don’t really know what to do with myself. I tweeted last night that I’m worried about not being fit enough or strong enough to cope with labour. So these coming weeks, however long they last before Peanut arrives, I’ve got some goals:

  • Get my diet back on track, stop eating wheat because it was easier to eat it – I’ve finished the quiche in the fridge and will not eat anything else with wheat in.
  • Walk every day, every day, when Hubs comes home tonight we’re going for a walk round the block. I need to make sure my legs and body are strong, I’m about to run a marathon or climb Mt Everest.
  • Exercise at home, I’ve got a yoga mat and I’m not afraid to use it.

They’re only small goals, but to me they’re huge. Simply because we’ve only got a few weeks for me to regain some semblance of fitness. I have not been able to exercise for a while, because I’ve felt so rough, I’m hoping that my usual resilience and because I’ve trained off and on all through my life I can bounce back quickly. I just need to shake this cold.

I’ll think of a title later

I didn’t eat normally yesterday, I had a light breakfast because I was getting a massage at 9am. We then didn’t really eat lunch, but had an early dinner at 4ish with brother-in-law and his children. Consequently, I felt a bit queasy round the edges. And got told off my best friend who I called in the evening.

So today, I’m going to resume eating properly, which isn’t going to be easy in itself, as it’s due to hit 40c today. Who feels like eating when it gets that hot? Luckily we’ve got air-con in the living area downstairs, the portable unit is thundering away in the bedroom so hopefully that stays cool. Sleeping in the room while it’s going is hard work, it’s not so much a white noise, but a loud one. Tomorrow is going to be just as hot, so I’m predicting lots of grumpy people at work for the beginning of the week!

On another note, I think I’m feeling Peanut wiggle around. Hubs laid on my tummy last night and thought he could hear something too, ‘other than gas’ as he pointed out. I’m looking forward to seeing Dr Najjar tomorrow, getting a scan and another glimpse of Peanut, it’s been an odd couple of weeks what with one thing and another.