Sunday, March 29, 2015

Be careful, you might just get what you want...

Inspector Climate and I have a dream to one day move to Tassie have a house on a bit of land with a chicken coop, small possum proof garden, a cat, a dog (or three), a lion cub, and some established fruit trees.

We talk about it a lot. It's the answer to my 'I want a puppy now' and Inspector Climate says 'someday, when we have a house in Tassie.'

But when I start thinking of life beyond the house in Tassie that's when things start getting ... unsettling. My parents are getting old, they live on a big property in the United States and I love their house and farm. I used to tell people that when I grew up I was going to kick my parents out of their house and live there instead.

And the truth is. I would. I really would. But there are no jobs where my parents live. So I can never really reconcile how we could possibly live there. But I would like to go and help my parents out when the time comes that they can't take care of the farm on their own.

The other unreconcilable part of the equation is once we buy a house in Tasmania (ok, ok...IF we buy a house in Tasmania) and we get the puppy, the kitty, the garden and the chooks how can we just up and leave it? We maybe could rent it out and then go live in the US – could we take the animals? But if I live in my parents' place could I ever leave it to come back to our house here in Australia? WHY AREN'T THERE ANY ANSWERS, LIFE?

I work myself up into a state of panic about this about once a year. I end up sitting up in bed sobbing unable to conceive of any possible solutions and Inspector Climate rubs my back and asks me repeatedly if I want a hankie. Which 'No I don't ok. I feel miserable and I want the full snot filled miserable experience, thank you very much'. (Ahem, my yearly panic may have happened last night and is feeling particular fresh in my mind).

The rest of the time, I'm able to compartmentalise that feeling of panic into 'future Decoybetty's problem'. The future is adventure, it'll be fine – just stop thinking about it. STOP THINKING ABOUT IT. No, really. Stop it.

Until...

Inspector Climate is about six months away from finishing his PhD. AND he just had a job interview for job in Tasmania. Which is like the most exciting thing EVER. I asked my work place if there was any possibility that I could transfer to Tasmania and they said 'why yes, that is possible, hypothetically.' By Christmas I could be getting the best present in all the land... A KITTEN and a PUPPY.

So what exactly happens when that future you've been planning for, pining for, working toward starts to solidify and becomes well, reality?

I don't know. But the good news is maybe I'll finally have something to blog about!

How are you?

Monday, February 09, 2015

Where are the butterflies, yo.

So...I'm about to write about work without really writing about work. So, consider this fair warning: vagueness lies ahead.

One of the benefits of being incredibly passionate about my job is that when we start a new project or new campaign (one which will help to protect animals, prevent environmental degradation, and limit CO2 emissions, by the way!) I tend to get goose bumps. I get so excited and so inspired that I'm convinced that we'll win. Even though we're up against the biggest of the baddies and everything is against us – I'm so excited to get started, to get it into it. I get butterflies in my stomach.

It's like starting a new relationship, sure there will be some rough patches (like when your boyfriend laughs at you when you're crying - why, no! I haven't let that go, thanks for asking), but over all it's all possibility, anticipation, and excitement.

Well, at work we've been starting a new project. And it's a big, ya'll.

No butterflies. No excitement. Today, after a 9-5 meeting about this project – strategising and planning – I left feeling frustrated and frankly, constrained. Where was that sense of overwhelming possibility and more importantly, hope!

Someone once told me that it's basically impossible to know if we're solving the big problems, like climate change, when we're in them. But studies have shown that if you're having fun while doing it, and enjoying the work, that means progress is being made. Obviously, not every moment is fun, but overall, the process is enjoyable. That really resonated with me, because it is so hard to know if I'm making any progress at all. Do more people think that climate change is a thing? Are more people worried? Are we closer to solutions? I don't know. But 80% of the time, I'm having fun figuring it out!

Except today. Today, I'm banging my head against the wall.

After feeling quite badly about how I acted at the end of my meeting (frustrated, people, really frustrated. Someone asked me what I thought and I literally said "no thoughts, am thoughtless" As a PSA, I wouldn't recommend this response!), I had to ask myself why. WHY! Where are my butterflies? Where's the hope?

And what it all boils down to was this: This project is filled with a lot of challenges, and some of them aren't coming from external factors, they're coming from inside the house. Basically what it all comes to is that I don't feel like I can do my best work, and I hate not doing my best work. It makes me feel terrible, I feel like I'm letting my team down, my work place down, and worst of all the animals and environment I'm trying to protect.

On the plus side, I made nutella stuffed cookies.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sometimes giving up is ok

I'm one of those people who just can't give up on a book. I just have this compulsive need to finish it. FINISH THE BOOK.

Everyone once and a while I'll be talking to my mom about my dislike of a book and she'll say "you're not in school anymore, you don't have to read it."

But...but...but...

This brings me to a book that's on my life listlessly book list The Plague by Albert Camus...I just can't.

I got it out of the library in September or October of last year and renewed in the three times and only read about 100 pages of it. Then I couldn't renew it anymore, so I returned it telling myself that I was just too stressed to read it at the time.

Then I got the book out of the library again right before Christmas and started to read it again...it makes me not like reading.

I don't know why – I'm actually kind of interested in the story, but I don't find the characters that enticing.

One of my favourite Oscar Wilde quotes is "life is too short to dance with ugly men" I think I'm going to adapt that to "life is too short to read books that make you hate reading."

Do you force yourself to finish books that you're not that into? What books have you read lately that you've hated?

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Top 10 things I didn't write about from 2014

One of my favourite things about blogging is that I get to look back of over (gulp) 10 years of my life and see what I was up to, what I was feeling. Just reading a post can instantly bring me back to that time and place.

But, of course I haven't written a blog post in a long time and thus - I have no evidence of the adventures that 2014 brought along.

Here are the top 10 highlights from 2014 that I haven't written about before (obviously, the dingo puppies and becoming a permanent resident were BIG highlights).

These are in no particular order:

1. I'm a yoga teacher now! I graduated in November and have been teaching two classes a week at my work place. I really enjoy teaching, but am glad I'm not doing more than two classes a week, I think I'd get bored. Before every class while I wait for my "students" (I feel like a tool just saying it!) to arrive, I wonder "what am I doing. I don't know anything about yoga - this is a terrible mistake!" And then they arrive and I open my mouth and before I know it an hour has gone by and it's time for savasana and class is over.

2. I visited a new country! I went back to the US this year to visit my parents and grandmother. And the timing worked out just perfectly to meet my brother in the Cook Islands on our flight back to Australia (strangely, it was cheaper to fly back via the Cook Islands than to fly directly back to Australia). My favourite thing about the Cook Islands was there were dogs and cats just everywhere. Normally, this is not my favourite thing in strange places. But these dogs were kind of domesticated. They happily followed us down to the beach and would sit with us for a while before finding a new family to spend some time with.

We particularly made friends with a dog who we dubbed 'brown-y black-y' (original, yes?), as you'd imagine she had brown and black fur. Our resort had a friendly cat who every morning was sunbathing by the pool.

3. I went to Once! One of the most amazing things that blogging has done for me is let me meet new people and hop on opportunities. So when Nuffnang (thanks Nuffnang!) asked if I wanted to go see the opening night of Once the musical I LEAPT at the chance. If you haven't seen the movie Once – do it...now. The music is stupendous and the movie is wonderful. And the musical – fantastic! Inspector Climate and I had the best time. This also coincided with that time I got my hair straightened – It's odd and blurry. You've been warned.



4. I read books. A lot of books. I read books from my "Life List" such as:

The House of Spirits by Isabelle Allende
Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
Time's Arrow by Martin Amis (Highly recommend this one!)
Bullet Park by John Cheever
A Summer Birdcage by Margaret Drabble (loved it!)
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Amazing)

I also read a lot of YA books which has been really fun. Perhaps the books I loved the most were Lev Grossman's trilogy The Magicians - so good! Particularly the third one.

5. For my birthday, Inspector Climate gave me a voucher for a fermentation cooking class. It was fascinating learning about all the things one can ferment and now I help Inspector Climate make his own kumbucha. The unfortunate thing is that I cannot seem to handle fermented foods – I don't want to go into too much, but my stomach gets very sad. Anyway, I enjoyed the class a lot but came out of it so angry with the instructors, they basically said that if one's stomach can't handle fermented foods the only way to fix it would be to eat beef marrow stew – which for this vegetarian is NEVER going to happen.

6. I cooked a lot! I mastered gluten free pastry (well, I mastered it at least once) which can be showcased here with a pumpkin gallette from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook:


7. I embraced silly yoga pants. Why yes, those do have stars on them. Inspector Climate decided that when I graduated from yoga school that he wanted me to be known as the teacher with the most awesome pants. These are Dharma Bums – I can't recommend them enough. They're made in Australia and all the prints are funky and fantastic. This is not sponsored, but I'm open to it.


8. I learned how to crochet! One of Inspector Climate's best friends is having a baby and I decided I was going to crochet an owl for it – seems like the most obvious baby gift amirite? Look at those feet!

9. My nephew honoured me with his flat stanley project: he drew a picture of himself and sent it to me. So I took Flat Nephew all around Melbourne showing him the sites. I wrote a story to go with it and then mailed Flat Nephew back to my nephew in the US. Some of the highlights were the huge lego statues in Myer, taking Flat Nephew to yoga with me, and catching the view from Brighton of Melbourne.




10. Work. I work a lot and I still love my job. I was promoted in the middle of 2014 some where and was made a permanent staff member which basically means I'm not on a contract anymore. This is...well, a giant relief. It just feels...Good. Real good.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

It's just like riding a bike.

For the past three or so months, I've been blogging in my head. I write blog posts about things happening in my day or recount tall tales of the adventures I've gone on and haven't shared.

But then it comes to putting words to a blank screen and suddenly – zilch.

Yesterday I Dessert Day-ed (yes, a verb) with Kirsti and she was like "maybe your New Year's resolution should be to blog once a week." But I've forgotten how, ya'll. (For those who are curious we made caramel salted brownies and they were delicious, but could have been more caramel-y. I didn't take a single photo...I've forgotten).

I remember when blog friends have gone through blogging existential crisises crisii crises and I used to roll my eyes. I didn't want to read about how their blog wasn't suiting them anymore or what they were writing about wasn't a good fit for their space. Who had time for that? I wanted to share in their hopes and dreams and watch as they had big successes and sometimes equally big failures. The day to day musings of someone who I had never met in the flesh but who after months of reading, what turns out to be, their diary I felt deeply connected to.

So of course, I had and am having a blogging crisis. There are many facets. Mostly happiness - happiness happened and now I feel my pool of writable stories is draining (my flair of the dramatic, not so much).

But the truth is...I miss you. I miss what we had together. And the only way to start...is to start.

So hello. Hi. How are you – and I don't mean that in a passing "ok, you?" kind of way, but really – what's news? Is anyone still there?


Sunday, August 24, 2014

I'm sorry, did you say dingo puppies?

About a month ago, Melbourne on my Mind was like "um, hi did you see that the Healesville Sanctuary got dingo puppies and you can go and play with them?"

You can imagine the reaction - I'm sure. I got home from work and immediately was like "Inspector Climate, I know what you can get me for my birthday. And it involves puppies! Go."

In fact, my mother in law ended up getting me the 15 minutes in heaven (i.e. 15 minutes with dingo puppies) for my birthday and yesterday, Inspector Climate and I experienced what I can only assume is pure bliss.

Unfortunately, the Healesville Sanctuary is a bit of a hike from where we live - sans car - and we ended up having to go about an hour via train, and another hour via bus. Totally worth it.

This is the first time I've been to the zoo where the Australian animals were so active, to be fair that is all relative. Australian animals have adapted well to the Australian heat.

Our puppy date wasn't until 1:50pm, and we got to the zoo early so we could explore before our rendezvous.

Our first stop was the wombats. Just stop, you ridiculously cute thing.


We hung out with the echidnas and the koalas quite a bit - did you know that baby echidnas are called puggles?


One of the koalas had joey - and while she was reluctant to move and show it to her fans, she did eventually move and good gracious. I could barely contain myself.


And then came the main event. Buckle up. It's getting cute in here.

I just could not contain my glee!


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?