Sunday, May 25, 2014

Permanent


So...It's been a while, eh? I wonder why I haven't been writing sometimes. Why I haven't felt like writing? I always feel like writing. Anyway, yesterday evening I checked my email, as you do, and noticed an email from the immigration department which led to this conversation on the twitter:

And then I thought, why yes...I probably SHOULD blog about it. So yes. I'm now a Permanent Resident of Australia. It's taken since 2009 to make it happen. The last stage was frankly pretty easy. We presented immigration with further proof of Inspector Climate's and my relationship – invitations to weddings, plane tickets, etc. – we got statutory declarations from my Mother in Law and my old roommate. Kirsti from Melbourne on my Mind agreed to vouch for our relationship if immigration wanted to call her (did they call?).

The most frustrating part of the process is that when you submit all the documents online the website automatically emails you to tell you that you "successfully logged in" but doesn't email you to tell you if you successfully submitted the application or if it was received. You press submit and literally NOTHING HAPPENS. Immigration...get on that. I can tell I successfully logged in because I entered the portal (oooh the portal), I do not need to be emailed for that.

So, yes. I'm a permanent resident. And it feels good.

Friday, April 04, 2014

What's happening in my kitchen

Last week was meatfree week - which didn't mean much to me because every week is meatfree week for me - but I've been trying to many new recipes I thought I would share with you some of my favourites:

Oh She Glows Raw pad thai - this is basically a delicious salad slathered in peanut sauce which is just delicious to me. I'm a bit sad to be heading into autumn because I eating cold and raw salads is no longer as appealing as it was a few months ago.

Smitten Kitchen's Stuck Pot Rice - this is such comforting food to me. It's filling and feels so deliciously nourishing. And then there are the crunchy pieces of rice - DELICIOUS.

Smitten Kitchen's Cauliflower and Potato curry - OH MY GOODNESS. I've been eating this for lunch every day this week and it just perfectly hits the spot. Roasted cauliflower is just everything I want in this world.

Smitten Kitchen's Red Kidney Bean curry - this is another one of my lunch staples. It has so much ginger, which really helps my stomach to settle down and think about its actions (instead of being a rogue operator and hating me). It's tomato-y and easy to make.

I would write the recipes here for you, but I literally follow these exactly so what's the point. If you're anything like me and menu planning is your least favourite thing to do - trust me on these things. They're delicious, easy, and have a Decoybetty stamp of approval.

These also make 33, 34, 35 and 36 of my life list to try 100 new recipes.

You may also notice that I write a lot about Smitten Kitchen and Oh She Glows recipes, these ladies NEVER let me down.

Alright, I'm off to menu plan and cry a little bit, because i'm afraid if I make any of these things again at this point of time I'll never want to eat them again, and they're too delicious for that.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

You want me?

So, how are you? No really - what's new? Since I've been become the worst blogger ever, I really do crave to know how you're doing. 

What's new with me? Sweet of you to ask.

Well. I got a promotion. Seems like just last week that I was saying my ego was getting in my way and then, I got promoted.

Basically my current role involves running around trying to maintain some sanity in my team. They throw up balls and catch 90% of them, and then I scoop up the one that was falling down. I was the catch all. And frankly, I'm really enjoying it.

But, last week one of the people who throws balls up in the air resigned, and my boss asked me if I wanted to apply for the role - essentially hoping that I would get it. And I did!

Mostly what I love about it - isn't that I'll be playing a more integral role in terms of deciding what balls I throw up in the air, although that is going to be a bonus being able to plan my own work to some extent. But that my work place appreciates and values me.

You guys, they appreciate and value my skills. I've never ONCE felt that at a work place. It is ... amazing. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tasmania Day 2: Bruny Island (and that means one thing. Cheese!)

After our dinner in Cygnet, we went back to bed and breakfast to get a good night's sleep for adventure the next day: Bruny Island. Bruny Island is a long fairly skinny island off the south east edge of Tasmania. And it is most well known to me because it has a cheese maker who makes delicious cheese with raw milk.

After taking the ferry across, our first stop was the Bruny Island Cheese factory. Inspector Climate had given me a gift certificate to the factory for Christmas because he knows that I talk big talk, but when faced with actually spending my hard earned money, I usually wimp out and walk out of stores empty handed.


Not this time! We ordered a picnic lunch of a cheese platter for two. Which we planned to eat on the beach in the south part of Bruny Island. It's fair to say that the Bruny Island Cheese Company got me. "Cheese makes me happy" - so true, friends.

Then we we made our way south. The south and north parts of Bruny Island are connected by a skinny slip of land which I believe is called the isthmus. Which, frankly, is just fun to say! Isthmus! Almost immediately as we pulled up to the look out to get a view of the isthmus it started pouring rain.


It's still a pretty remarkable little strip of land though, eh? We got back into the car, and drove down to Adventure Bay where we planned on having a picnic lunch - which we did, oh so cozily in the car due to the rain.

As we were finishing up, the rain cleared and we went on a short walk. Once we made it on to the beach, I saw this little guy!


I'm not sure who was more surprised, me or him/her! I was not expected the wallaby to hanging out on the beach. But seriously, how cute?


People also built these towering rock sculptures along the beach as well, which I think are very cool!


A trip to Tasmania is not complete without my favourite road sign. I love that it looks like the kangaroo has just lifted the car up and thrown it back down on the ground - so hard that lightening has come down from the roof.



Then it was time to head back to Hobart to catch our flight home. We stopped at Mount Wellington to catch glimpse of Hobart. But the top of the mountain was covered in fog and rain. So we actually could only get about half way up to catch a glimpse of the magnificent view.


So what do you think would've been your favourite stop?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dessert Day: Apple Pie edition

This week Kirsti from Melbourne on my Mind and I had dessert day! We decided to make Apple Pie because ever since I say Inspector Climate eat that delicious apple pie in Tasmania a few weeks ago, I've been jonesin' for a gluten free version for myself.



For my birthday last year, my mom got me Smitten Kitchen's cookbook. So we based our recipe off of that, but we did have some slight adaptations. We used less sugar than Deb's recipe for the filling and less water in the crust. Since we were going to have a top crust, we didn't use the streusel topping that Deb recommends either.

For her pastry:
315 grams of gluten free flour (I'd suggest White Wings if you're in Australia, it's the best!)
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt (or if you're Kirsti and I, just a sprinkle).
225 grams of very cold butter
1/2 cup of ice-cold water

We used a food processor to pulse in the flour until it was in small pea like pieces. Then with the food processor running we trickled in the water. We didn't use all the water because the dough started to come together into a ball and we thought it would get too wet if we kept adding it all in.

Next we formed into two disks and placed it in the fridge for an hour to harden back up again.

Then we started watching Two Weeks Notice - as our Hugh Grant marathon comes to an end - and decided that we would use actors in the film to dictate our next choice. So next up is the Proposal with Sandra Bullock. We're fond of this plan. Very very fond.

After about 30 minutes, we preheated the oven to 375F/180C and we began to cut up the apples. As a wedding gift, Inspector Climate and I got this torture device contraption that peels, thinly slices, and cores apples for you.



We had about 1.75 kg of apples and the recipe calls for 2.25 kg. The recipe also calls for making the pie in a spring form pan, however we wanted it to have a top and bottom crust and so we opted for the normal pie plate instead.

For filling:
1.75 kg of apples
1 Tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup gluten free flour
a sprinkle of salt
a sprinkle of cinnamon (we added this and it was delicious).

Once we had mixed all the apple ingredients together, we buttered the pie plate and we rolled out the dough from the fridge. Next we gently, put the bottom crust down and put it back in the fridge so it didn't get too soft.



Next we rolled out the top crust. We then filled the pie plate with the apple filling, gently placed the top layer of crust on top, we cut three little slices in it to let any juices or moisture out. Then we used a cookie cutter to cut shapes in the excess dough.



After the pie was in the oven for 30 minutes, we turned down the heat to 325F/160C and let it cook for another hour. And then we took it out and waited impatiently for it to cool down enough for us to eat it. And it was DELICIOUS. Make apple pie.



This makes recipe 32 on my life list to try 100 new recipes and also gave me a lot of confidence in making a gluten free pie crust. In fact, I may try to always have a pastry in the freezer for emergency pie needs.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Divestment



A few weeks ago I tweeted this slightly cryptic tweet about my newest action on climate change. And over the weekend, I finally finished the process (it was not a hard one) and I'm super excited to share it with you. I know some of you care not for my climate change posts. But, this is too important for me to care whether or not this is something my readers enjoy hearing about. Sorry! I'm going to preface this, like I preface all my climate change writing. You have a right to your opinion about climate change, but I'm not going to debate it. It's happening.

I'm pretty conscientious when it comes to my footprint. I try to be as energy efficient as I can be - turning things off at the power points, turning lights off, etc. - I try to buy locally grown food, non-toxic cleaning products, reuse as much as I can, don't buy more than I can use or need, blah blah blah.

I know that when I spend a dollar I should think about where that dollar is going and that spending that money elsewhere is making a (small, sure) statement about my beliefs. That doesn't mean I always make the right decision, but I'm aware of it.

About eight months ago, Bill McKibben did a speaking tour in Australia. He is the face of the climate action group 350.org. He spoke about what the money that we have sitting in the bank or the loan that we have to buy our house or car is invested in. I think I, naively, thought that banks just loan money to people buying houses. It never really occurred to me that banks loan billions of dollars to fossil fuel projects. McKibben spoke about divesting, about taking our money from banks who are loaning money to destroy our future and instead investing that money with banks who are investing in a safe future.

I was a Westpac costumer - Westpac is one of the big four banks in Australia. It currently is investing in the Abbott Point coal terminal which will be the end for the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It invests in Hazelwood power station - a coal mine that has been on fire for more than a month causing health problems to families who live in houses which are a mere 500 metres away from the mine. Hazelwood is also one of the most polluting power stations in the world.

I switched banks. Inspector Climate and I don't have a huge amount of money. But we are saving to buy a house someday, so we do have money in the bank. The banks like us because they know if we're saving to buy a house than we're planning on having a mortgage some day. And mortgages are a big deal. But even if we only had $500 in the bank, switching is a pretty powerful statement: "We don't support what you invest in, we're moving to someone who shares our vision."

We switched to Bank MECU - a costumer owned bank. People seem worried about the interest rates - they're the same. The fees are the same, the only difference is that there are a few less ATMs. Bank MECU invests in socially responsible companies. They do not invest in fossil fuels. I dig that.

On Saturday, I joined 350.org Australia and about 15 other people and we walked into Westpac and closed our accounts. It's only the start of the movement here. It will grow. And frankly, I feel a giant sense of relief knowing that I'm investing in solving the problem, not creating a bigger one.

Even though I've worked in the climate change "industry" (can it be called that?) exclusively. Even though I've raised money, built movements of people, and lobbied the government with people power and a chorus of voices. Switching banks might be the most effective thing I've done to mitigate climate change.

I'd ask you to think about it. Yes, it will take a bit of time and paperwork (like maybe 2 hours), but I think it's worth it. And if you decide it's not, that's cool - maybe instead just ask your bank what they're investing in. Do a bit of research and ask them why. Questions are powerful.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Exploring Tasmania! Day 1.





As you may have gathered from the barrage of Instagrams, I went to Tasmania a few weekends ago. Inspector Climate had a conference to attend and so I went down when it was over to explore one of our favourite regions (and hopefully our future home).

Our base for the weekend was in Cygnet. We picked a beautiful bed and breakfast for two reasons, it had an amazing bath tub and I'd been jonesing for a bath AND the name of it was "Green Gables Bed and Breakfast" and we all know how much I love Anne. SO MUCH. If you're travelling to Tassie - check 'em out! It was a truly fantastic place to stay.

I flew in on a Friday night after work and then we drove to Cygnet. On Saturday morning we began our adventuring. First up? The Tahune Airwalk.


The airwalk allows you to walk amongst the tree canopy and out over a river. It's pretty spectacular. But what is MORE spectacular was the Huon Pine walk. On this short walk, you are close to the river's edge where the famous, and now rare, Huon Pine likes to grow. We saw trees that were 450 years old. Trees soothe my soul. (The tree below is not 450 years old. I have no idea how hold it is. It is just beautiful)


Our last trip to Tassie we'd driven by the Apple Museum but had been unable to visit due to timing difficulties. And this time we made it a priority. It was not quite how I expected. But we did learn a bit about the apple farming that went on in Tasmania. And Inspector Climate got to eat some, from what I could tell, delicious apple pie.


Next, we stopped on a farm stand on the side of the road and bought a kilo (2.2 lbs) of cherries for $6. Divine.


By then, I was starving so we stopped at the Lotus Eaters Cafe in Cygnet for lunch. I had, what is possibly the world's biggest salad. And it was fabulous.


After lunch we returned to our bed and breakfast for a bath - with a Lush bathbomb (you guys I've fallen in love with all things lush. It's a problem, I'm ok with it) I was gifted for Christmas, and a nap. After a refreshing snooze, we went to dinner at the Red Velvet Lounge. I had such high hopes for this restaurant. I'd heard such amazing things about the chef and the food and the atmosphere. But I was a bit disappointed. There was nothing on the menu that was gluten free and vegetarian. And although the service was good when I asked what they could do for me, in the end all I got was a salad without the meat on it - and they charged me full price. NOT impressed.


And that was our first action packed day in Tassie.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ego

Recently my ego has been getting in my way. 

My job is pretty awesome. I work for an organisation that does good things. Fights climate change. Stuff I care about. Stuff that defines me. 

However, I don't play the role I thought I'd play. There are other people in my team who do more. Who have "more important" roles. And at first I was a bit resentful that my role isn't more [fill in the blank]. I don't even know what 'more' I thought there was?

But when I really started to think about it. Isn't that exactly what I wanted? I didn't want a job that I had to work 20 hours of over time every week to be appreciated and to feel like I was making a difference. I didn't want a job where I came home from work so exhausted that the only activity I could do was watch Friends reruns. 

And my job IS important. My work is important. It's just my ego that needs to settle down and accept that. 

Because instead of being satisfied instead I'm thinking, "why do they [my coworker] get to do that job...aren't I good enough to do it." 

I think part of it is that after a year of trying to prove to people with my words that I'm good enough for them, I feel impatient to use all the skills I have - bring them to the table RIGHT NOW. But I don't need to prove myself in that way anymore. Now, I can focus on the part that matters - doing my job well. Doing my job, so that the organisation can be a catalyst for change. And isn't that what I wanted all along?

Like most things, I've had this conversation with myself over the last few weeks and I identified that I'm just suffering from egomania. Since then, I've felt a lot better. Because I actually LOVE my job. I love my work place, and I'm really happy. So why my ego gotta nag me like that, yo.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The story of a muffin

Most days I two things happen.

On my way home:
1. I walk to the tram stop with a coworker where he picks up a free muffin from a coffee shop who gives muffins away at the end of the day.
2. At the train station, I see a homeless man sitting with a sign asking for money.

Every day I think, why didn't I grab him a muffin?

Well, last week I mentioned this to the coworker, and he decided that there was no time like the present to do a good deed, so when we walked to the tram stop, I grabbed a muffin for the homeless man.

I waited by the tram stop for a while, but there was a tram problem further up the line and some lovely girls shared with me that the tram would NOT be coming for quite some time.

So holding this muffin (that I could not eat, and smelled DIVINE by the way), I walked two blocks to a different tram line, but one that dropped me off about a 5 minute walk from my homeless man. Not deterred: I trammed, I walked, and lo the homeless man was no where to be found.

Inspector Climate was out of town, so I couldn't bring him the gift of Muffin. Instead, I decided I'd just give it to the first person who I felt like would appreciate a 'stranger muffin' (for the record, I would NOT appreciate a Stranger Muffin). So I carried the muffin into the train station, down the escalators, and on to the train. A man moved to make room for me to sit down next to him and I thought "This is it!"

"Would you like a muffin?"

"Um, normally I would love a muffin, but I'm a diet"

You can only imagine how much my heart sank at the moment.

"...why do you have to get rid of the muffin?"

"I got it for a homeless man I see every day at the station, but he wasn't there today, and I'm allergic to the muffin"

"Oh, that's so nice, ok. I'll take the muffin and find it a good home..."

And then just like that we were talking about how awesome West Wing is and how Aaron Sorkin is one helluva a screen writer.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What's happening here?

So, it's been two weeks since my last blog post, which aside from when I've been travelling is probably the longest I've ever gone without posting. I'd like to say that I had some incredibly important reason for being away, but I don't.

I can't even really blame working full time because honestly I'm much less stressed when I'm NOT at work than I was at my previous job. Which means that I actually feel like I'm working less even though I'm working more. Although how do people go to the post office when they work full time?

The truth is while I still love blogging and I love the community and blah blah blah, but it has become less of a priority for me these days. Maybe it's because for the first time in a long time I've been fairly happy (thanks to two amazing health practitioners, I finally feel like myself after about 2.5 years). I've always maintained that blogging should be about the blogger first, that if I didn't feel like I had anything to say I shouldn't force myself to write (unless it's NaBloPoMo...clearly). So that's where I've been, not writing. However, I have been jotting down ideas in my daily planner about things I should blog about.

This is one of those things. With technology comes new ways to embarrass one's self. My personal favourite way to do so is via texting the wrong person because as it turns out my eyes are not capable of clicking the what I'm looking at via blinking (who knew?).

So, If we ever text each other, chances are you'll receive a text from me at least once which I meant to go to Inspector Climate. It will continue one of these phrases: I love you, I miss you, or hey you! I mean chances are I do love you. But I generally don't just use those words with casual friendships. Boundaries people, boundaries.