Saturday 13 February 2016

Hello, Its Me....

Hello, Its me
I was wondering if after all these months you'd like to read.
To go over, everything......

I should of had you at Hello, but in case i didn't and you've been living on Mars for the last few months with Matt Damon, I've just tweaked the first verse in Adele's single "Hello" and snuck in a line from Jerry McGuire, the movie, and now i feel complete.  Ha!

Its been a while.  Miss me?  Don't answer that, i might not like the answer.  There have, however, been a few comments via various forms of media that maybe, just maybe, some of you might want to hear from me.

I can feel my head filling up with stuff and so its time i starting writing again to let it all out. I've had a few of you asking if I'm OK and the answer is yes, I am.  Not sure why i stopped posting.  I've walked past the PC in the office many times with its bright shiny screen and it has hauntingly said "come on, you know you want to".  But just like my weight loss program (NOT), I've kept on walking, had another cup of coffee with a few biscuits and sat down somewhere out of its view.  Mostly, in front of Foxtel.  I seem to have disappeared into the ether that is filled with home decorating and cooking competitions, armchair travelled around the globe a few times (you bush people in Alaska are a bit strange), watched documentaries on the most obscure subjects (I'd be great at trivia night) and and........ in short, I've become a 


Couch Potato!

Why do they always draw sad faces on couch potatoes.  I haven't been unhappy.  Guilty? Well yes, i have felt guilty.  There is always so much to do at work, in the garden and in the house and its this pending work that has finally dragged me off my couch and finally onto the PC to get some inspiration.

We are re-decorating our house and with Rob continuing to progress with the flooring, its finally time that I put my two cents in and started painting.  This use to be a simple task but not any more.  With my new found knowledge of design (courtesy of the Foxtel brigade) I now have so many options that I don't know where to start.  I mean, its such a big expense and time commitment that I cant just slap on any ole colour, now can I?.  It must be SHA (Selling Houses Australia) and worthy of all the hours I've already wasted watching Shayna turn the hideous and out of date into magazine worthy with the slap of a paint brush.

In the end I've decided on white!  Pause........  

Yep, all of you out there peeing your pants with laughter that after all this time and effort, headaches and lack of sleep, tossing and turning thinking of colour charts, the end result is white.  Not only is it white but I've chosen a shade that is the most popular white in Australia - Antique US White for the walls contrasted that with Vivid White on the wall units, table and other bits and pieces.  How's that for imagination and being all out there.

After doing test patches all over the house, I've doubled the strength of the Antique to give a greater contrast but there it is, essentially it is all just white.

This is the look i am going for - THIS IS NOT MY HOME!  It has surfaces that are uncluttered.


You can see the the darker floors (similar to our dark bamboo floors) and the contrasting white furniture. All our furniture is stained wood at the moment, so we are looking at doing the same thing and taking the top off the dining table, paint the base and chairs white, and then re-stain the top to match the floors.   Like this example, our house is quite dark inside due to having pergolas on both sides.  The windows are letting in filtered light rather than direct.  So white was the obvious choice.  I'm hoping to incorporate a few reflective surfaces (mirrors and shiny things) around the house to bounce the light around as well.  A skylight would be nice but probably too expensive.  I will however, put a solar tube down the corridor which is like the Black Hole of Calcutta (which happens to be the subject of one of the docos i watched).

Our walls at the moment are a shade of yellow and very 1990's.  It was all the rage back then.  For the moment we are keeping the stained skirting boards because they match the architraves around the windows and doors.  We can paint them Vivid White later if it doesn't work.

Anyway, that's what has been keeping my mind busy without actually doing anything until now.

Christmas came and went and the biggest thing that comes to mind is that Doris came to spend the day with us on Boxing Day.  So, i hear you think!  Doris (my MIL) hasn't been to our home (or any other) in over 10 years.  It was great and a surprise for Rob so when he came into the family room and saw his Mum sitting at the table it was very emotional, for all.  Thank you so much Doris and thank you also to Glenda for going to get her and kidnapping her for the day.  We hope to make this a monthly event.

We go all out at Christmas, NOT, and our day was taken up with board games (New Melbourne Monopoly) and a competitive game of Chinese Checkers.  Rather than have a big roast meal we shared lots of our favourite things to nibble throughout the day which included home-made baked Christmas fair from Veronica (shortbread rounds, fruit cake and mince pies).  Glenda, Bell and the kidlets joined us for the day.

In January, I went to spend a weekend with Doris in Templestowe (while Trev and kids went away) and we busied ourselves getting out and about.  We joined friends at Beasleys Nursery on the Saturday and then the next day went with Glenda to Rivers of Yarrambat.  Doris knows that when I'm around, she's got to be on her toes.  We have a bucket list to get through.  While i was there we actually watched the film.

You might remember that i was planning a holiday get-a-way for Doris this year.  Next weekend Doris, Glenda, my bestie, Kerrie and her friend Helen and I will be driving to Lakes Entrance to stay at a beautiful home overlooking the lakes.  The weather is expected to be a mild 24 degrees and i see lots of chatter, reading, laughter, great food and daily outings in our near future.  There is also a private pool for us to venture into.  Doris has a critical wound on her heal courtesy of poor care in hospital when her hip was fixed and she cant go in.  I plan on putting her into a blow up ring and pushing her around.  You can just picture it cant you. Bum down and legs akimbo. Its going to be awesome.  One 82 year old (with nothing to lose) and 4 X 50 somethings (let off the chain) in one 5 bedroom house.  Come 2 am there will be a lot of traffic at the bathrooms. LOL

The garden has been doing its thing without too much assistance from the resident gardener (she's on the couch with air con remember) and it only goes to prove that it doesn't need too much attention.  In fact, my garden is fairly thriving on neglect.

See what happens when you do nothing?

I cannot keep up with eating all the toms and cucumbers so the neighbours are doing very well out of the garden this year.

The Great Wall of Tomatoes has returned and they've gone way past the eaves.  I've started hanging wire coat hangers from the guttering so that they are supported.  Seriously, they are getting up to 3m high.    Remember, I'm neglecting them so pruning them down was out of the question.
The face of neglect - out of control grass  (i could make a mint if this was a cash crop) , wild tomato bushes growing everywhere (i mean everywhere) and some awful fleshy weed that is starting to take over my paths. 

It has been a very hot summer this year and I'm very thankful for that bank of solar panels up on my roof that's allowing us to run the air cons during the day.  Its been even hotter up home in NSW.

There's been quite a few of these hot ones this summer.  
Given that I'm fair skinned with red hair and zero tolerance for any UV, you can see why I've spent a lot of time inside.  On the few days i did try to garden, i could feel the sun burning by 10am.

When we have managed to get out and about we have tried to get down the coast where it is always a bit cooler.

It really is so beautiful down in Port Lonsdale.  There are sandy beaches that go for miles further down the coast but i like the rock formations.  On this day we got to see two ships pass through the rip at the opening of the bay.  

On the same day as above, Rob and I first went down to Port Arlington to visit our favourite bakery that does All Day Breakfast.  To sit outside in a leafy courtyard, with a yummy meal (I didn't cook), coffee and papers to peruse at leisure was certainly worth taking a day off work.   

I do have much more to tell you, in particular about Tom so stay tuned.

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land Of Oz. 

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Ahoy There!

Am I at sea?  No, but I do feel afloat, drifting,  with no set course at the moment.  Any minute now i'll feel motivated to put my thoughts into writing and a post will emerge that's worthy of reading. Until then know that all is well.  I just didn't want the month of December to pass without at least one post.  Don't worry, i'm reading your posts and staying up to date.  
Stay Tuned.

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land of Oz

Monday 16 November 2015

I live in Maddie's Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child.  Well I'm sure glad that I live in the same village as the family and friends that surround Madison Heeps.  Yesterday saw the second last fundraising push towards the target of $25,000 for Maddie's assistance dog Hank.   In the city of Melbourne, we held a fete with BBQ lunch, a bar, stalls selling cakes and crafts, raffle & silent auction, lucky dips & face painting plus beautiful live music to entertain. So many people came and freely gave of their talents and time for a cause beyond worthy.

We were given access to a Bar/Restaurant, La Di Da, through one of Daniels friends, at no charge.  
If you are wondering why i am involved its because i work with Maddie's Dad, Daniel, and I'm so lucky to be included in their circle of friends.  It was a privilege to be included in the organisation of the event.

I've spoken of Maddie before.  She was born with a chromosomal abnormality resulting in a condition known  as Cri Du Chat.  Its not common and therefore the community of Cri Du Chat families in Australia is small but very supportive of one another.  Late last year Maddie was given the opportunity to have an assistance dog.  They are very highly trained and expensive dogs, very similar to guide dogs and therefore given public access wherever needed. Fortunately its not a case of pay upfront before you can have a dog.  Maddie's need was great and after carefully planned introduced to Hank, their bond was immediate.

Dogs for Kids with Disabilities  (DKD) is a not for profit organisation in Victoria that provides assistance and companion dogs for children and young adults with a range of challenges.  They have been so supportive of the Heeps family and the difference that Hank has made to Maddie's life has been , well, life changing for all of them.

Hank Our Hero - Don't you just want to give him a big hug.  Well don't - he's working.  
If you want to know more about Hank, visit his Facebook page Hank Our Hero.  If you have a few spare dollars then enter the DKD via Hanks page and make a tax deductible donation towards the provision of these beautiful four legged angels for children in need.

How skilled was Jonathon.  He designed and painted about 10 faces on boards the night before for children to choose from.  He started at 10.30am and was still going after i left at 3.30pm.  Each face costs $5 and he had a queue all day. His contribution to the total must have been huge. The lady in the bottom right was fulfilling a $100 dare that she wouldn't have her face painted and wear it on the train, all the way to Bendigo in the country.  I like her spunk!  Top right is my little darling, Chelsea, with her missing front teeth she almost looked the part with her fangs.

Inside the ceiling was decorated with balloons with thank you cards attached.   There was a table with donated prizes for the raffle and the silent auction.  I really wanted the Blitz Pro but my boss beat me by $20.  Drat!

These were some of the gifts hand crafted by family and friends for sale or donated to the auction or raffle.

This table was my responsibility but i cannot lay claim to the mouth watering goodies.  Bell's fella (Mark) and I paid for the groceries and then I delegated the baking to my very clever niece, who actually has some talent. Thank you so much Bell and my sister Glenda (for the clean up).  Daniel's Mum, Carol, also made some lovely bags of beautiful biscuits to sell.

Harry Healy donated his music free of charge for the event.  This guy is so talented and had us all singing along and tapping our feet.  He sang and played for almost 4 hours non stop, covering tunes from several decades.  Harry gained some celebrity status from being a contestant on The Voice.  Check out the new CD on his website here.  I'd love to see him live again.

DKD sent along one of the younger dogs in training.  At 11 months you could still see the puppy playfulness but again, so well controlled by his trainer.   Maddie was having fun with her constant companion.

It important to note that Daniel and Kym have another child, Austin.  They are careful to always make special time for him so that he doesn't feel left out.  Above, Granddad supervising Austin's lunch and Daniel and Kym having a 3 way dance with him.  He is such a beautiful boy and smart. When he was at the office last time I upended the big box of matchbox cars I'd brought in and when he was packing up he counted up to 87, one by one, without missing a single one.  He is 3 years old people!!!!!

OK, there are a few businesses that i need to personally thank.  I'm kinda like that guy played by James Garner in The Great Escape, Hendley.  If you want something, i can get it.  My motto for life is that "If you don't ask, you don't get" and so my thanks go to the following for their generosity.

Sam from Pacific Meat Sales - for 360 sausages
Margaret from Supagas -  a bottle of helium   - we had some fun with that!
Werribee Party Hire - Balloon, Strings and Table Cloths
Annette from BBQ's Galore, Hoppers Crossing - Roasters, Recipe book, Marinades etc for the raffle
Fab & Staff from The Good Guys, Hoppers Crossing  - The Kambrook Pro Blitz for Auction
Lou from Anaconda, Hoppers Crossing -  The Chimnea for Auction

I'm sure I could have made the list longer if i had started earlier than a week ago.  Many companies referred me to their HQ and that's where it all gets lost in red tape.

These events take a lot of organising by a lot of people but in this case it was all done with such joy.  I bet I'm not the only person whose glad that its over though.

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land Of Oz

Sunday 8 November 2015

The Loveliness of Spring

Spring and Autumn are my favourite seasons.  Not quite hot, not quite cold and certainly not boring. Our changeable weather here in Melbourne (famous for four seasons in one day) has been in overdrive.  We've had the most beautiful spring days with gentle warmth and bright blue skies and then a day later we have endured the most torrid of storms with flooding and unfortunately for some, damaged property.  I came into work this week to find that overnight the rain had flooded the gutters on our large factory roof and landed on the suspended office ceiling of plasterboard tiles.  As you can imagine the plaster absorbed the water until it couldn't and then it just collapsed onto the carpet below.  What a mess.  Since it was still raining  it was far too dangerous to send someone up there for repairs, so i watched the rain drops literally falling into the office.

But hey, its got to rain sometime right?  It would appear (from my observation and all your blogs) that everyone's gardens are flourishing, with weeds, grass, flowers and veggies.  The not so distant roar of lawnmowers has returned to disturb the quiet of weekend mornings and Tom's hay fever is constant.


While the current weather is changeable, we all know there is a long hot summer coming.  I was in Bunnings when i spotted one of these large extended garden umbrellas for $80 (normally hundreds).  I didn't quite believe it and neither did the sales person.  We both thought that someone must have put the wrong price label on it.  Turns out that the manufacturer decided to change the box it comes in from blue to green.  I quickly said that if he had another one, id take it and sure enough on the very top shelf was one more blue box.  I do think that my veggies are quite spoilt, don't you?   I haven't had them up since but come those 40 degree days in a few months, ill be all set.  I just need to set up a little table with some iced tea and put my feet in a bucket of cool water while i sympathise with the veggies about the hot weather we are having.

I don't like broad beans but I've grown them for the first time for Rob.  I'm pleased with the OOO's and ARGHH's i've been getting from him.  With memories of large grey thick skinned beans the size of boulders, I've been picking the pods just before cooking when they are only about 15cm long.  This meal was a salad of fresh asparagus and broad beans lightly steamed then tossed in a little garlic and butter and placed on a bed of lettuce.  I've served it with whiting oven baked in foil with lemon and pepper.   Nope, still didn't eat it!

There is nothing sweeter than a coleslaw from a just picked cabbage.

As you can see from the top picture, my lettuce bed is gloriously full of a variety of leaves to pick at any time.  I have no success with Ice-berg's or Cos but a sprinkle of mixed lettuce seeds in any available space means a constant supply for salads.

My garden futures include plenty of tomato plants.  Since i had such an abundance last year i got a bit lazy and just let them lay where they fell.  There are a gazillion baby tomato plants coming up in all the beds, even those that didn't have any.

This dark leaf spinach is fabulous on a pizza, on top of sauce and hidden beneath the other toppings.  I'm really finding that I'm having alot more success planting things all over the place.  Those who remember my first season would laugh. All those straight lines.  Trouble is remembering where i put things.  I had this terrific tomato the other day and kept one in my pocket until i could race outside and put it in the soil.  Now i cant remember where that was.  Oh Dear.  Thank goodness i only have 8 small beds.

Have you noticed that the supermarkets are getting savvy to all of us complaining about veggies being uniform and their food wastage.   There is a lot of money to be made from "greenies" who put their principles before their $$.  A new range of packaged veggies have appeared.  I really did have a laugh at this one.

On the front it says "A Bunch of Imperfect Potatoes, who don't have a chip on their shoulder, they just want to be mashed".    I noticed similar packaging on a bag of wonky carrots.  It appears that being slightly bent or a bit wobbly is the "In Thing".  I knew i only had to wait a while to become cool.

While I'm at the supermarket, there have been some great specials lately that have provided plenty of opportunity for stocking up the freezer with veg.   You have got to love asparagus season.  I cannot eat enough of fresh asparagus.  Its appearing in all our meals.

Sometimes i hear a little voice that says "why would you spend so much time and money trying to grow it yourself when you just have to wait for it to be in season and buy it cheap" - well it would be in season anyway if you were growing it DOH.  I answer that little voice  (sometimes its me, sometimes its my long suffering husband) that i know what the soil was like that it came out of, i know what was sprayed on it (nothing much), i know when it was picked and because .........  it feels really good to put a plate of food on the table that includes some of your own produce.  That's why!

Speaking of meals on the table, this was tonight's.  Yum Yum   Oh and a few for the freezer.

After splitting some breasts and giving them a good bash, I dusted them in flour, salt and cracked pepper. A quick dunk in an egg wash and then i crumbed them in panko (Japanese bread crumb) with added dried onion flakes, Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley (mine of course).  Shallow fried until golden in olive oil and butter and then place on paper towel to dry.   Now that's a real chicken schnitzel.

Our quest to "find" Doris (my MIL - see previous post here) continues and she has now been introduced to the game of  UNO.  No joke, she had never played.   I had a Monday off so joined my sister for a day at Doris's home. We laughed ourselves silly as usual and after a light lunch sat down for an afternoon of cards. I think she felt quite cheeky making me pick up 4 with a wild card several times.

"What, who me?"   That innocent face doesn't fool me.  I was the one holding all the cards.
There is no getting out of our Escape to the Lakes with Doris in Feb now.  I've booked and paid the deposit on a 5 bedroom home in Lakes Entrance.  Five!  That's right, I've invited a couple of others and there will now be 5 women in our 50's and one 82 years old, so she had better get ready to keep up!

This pool and that table have my name written on it.  Oh, and Glenda's, Kerrie's, Helen's and DORIS!!! Seriously this is going to be a relaxing holiday with dips in the pool (private thank goodness),  books, great coffee and lots of laughter.  I cant wait!

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land Of Oz

Thursday 29 October 2015

Oh Doris

I'm waiting for something to happen!  

I've waited and waited for something to happen.  Something that would be worth you, my reader, taking a few minutes out of your day to read but life seems perfectly normal at the moment and it feels pretty good. Mind you, what normal in our house might be totally off the wall to you.

Who knew that it would be my Mother-In-Law that would break the cycle.  Doris, (82) fell off a tall bar stool in her son's kitchen and fracturing her hip in 3 places.

I mean REALLY?.  For goodness sake Doris, sit on a proper chair will you!  One with 4 legs, down low, with a back rest and one that does not require you to climb up on to it and then become off balance while getting off it. Jeepers!  I thought you older people had a life time of experience to draw on.

Well it would appear that one of the skills not mastered was the ability to sit on a bar stool Doris!

Oh, i hear you.  "Show some respect, Lynda".  Doris knows how i roll.  I can just hear my own Mum when presented by me or one of my five siblings with evidence of an injury.  "Well if you did that to yourself, what would you do to me"?  So as you can imagine, this is exactly what i said to Doris when i confronted her after the operation to replace part of her hip. She didn't laugh. In fact she was so out of it and away with the fairies that i almost didn't recognise her.  Literally. I had to peer hard to recognise her. Did i have the right room, the right ward? Doris was pale, drained, hair limp and looked like a little injured bird swamped by an oversized nest. I had to shelve some of my normal repartee and find some sympathy from somewhere.

Do you think i could buy some from here?  If so, i think my husband would buy me a huge gift card to last a lifetime.
Since i cant fly over to Wales to visit this shop, i got busy.   Right, where are your clothes, I'll take these home to launder and buy you some nice new ones (much needed) while I'm at it.  Would you like a foot rub? Seriously, how do you get to be 82 without ever having had your feet massaged.  How about some lovely cream for your hands and your nails clipped.  Despite her ill health i could tell that buried deep inside was a woman just longing to be pampered.

Flowers? Nah, they just die and take up space on the small cabinet provided.  Much better to buy helium balloons that last weeks and make you smile.

See much nicer than all those Get Well cards.  Who wants to be reminded that they are NOT well.
Doris suffered some minor complications after her op and hadn't been able to eat for several days.  She was looking completely stuffed (excuse the pun).  After talking to the nurses and finding that the treatment would soon be working (you all know what I'm talking about) i felt sure that she was going to need a pick-me-up in the next few days.  I booked Doris a sorely needed in-house haircut, shampoo, head massage and blow dry. Well who knew that the next time i visited I'd be looking at a new woman with a stylish short doo and a new found love for head massages.

I know its all messed up but i love this shorter style that does not allow for those dreaded rollers to be put in.  Its a big improvement.  
Rob works shifts and so he was able to drop in to visit after or before work, which was close by. The rehab facility was over an hour from our house making my visits limited.  A blessing in disguise perhaps?

Anyway i took a day off work to visit her in the second week and she was much improved, moving gingerly around doing therapy.  I had passed a room full of wheel chairs and so i kidnapped her from her shared room and we spent the afternoon outside in a small courtyard in the sun, chatting and laughing for several hours. I don't think we have that MIL/DIL relationship.  It feels more like we are just "girls" hanging together. We went back to her room around 5 and after having just settled in, her dinner arrived. We laughed some more.  I'd filled her up with tea and cake.  After looking at the soup, i know which one I'd rather have.

Doris has cared for her husband with dementia for many years and hasn't really had the opportunity or courage to get out and about.  Jim passed away last year and so we talked about what she would like to do now.  Not as a mother, not as a wife but as Doris. Remember her? Actually she doesn't and so I encouraged her to make a list that we could work our way through.  Doris is so quietly spoken and unassuming that she rarely asks for anything.  Things are going to change.   Do you think she's ready for me?

She's back at home now and getting stronger each day.  I've booked her first holiday in 20 years in February and so now she has a goal.  I'm taking her to Lakes Entrance for 3 days.  Item number one on her bucket list and a desired location she has mentioned before.  She remembers being there when her children were teens and has fond memories.

Its about a 4 hr trip so we will have to take lots of breaks.    The house I've booked is lovely.  
So perhaps this little slip up (or down i should say) has been a wake up call.

Life's short Doris, lets go grab it!

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land of Oz

Tuesday 13 October 2015

What's That I Spy - A Red P?

Surely not, but yes i think it might be. A Red P in the corner of the front windscreen of Tom's little RAV4 and again on the rear window.  This can only mean one thing.

Tom Got His Probationary
 Drivers Licence! 

on his first attempt last Thursday and its to drive manual vehicles.  No nancy pancy auto licence for Tom.  We have waited for this day for so so long.  Go Tom!

I think he's taking me literally because he's going and going and going.

On Friday i was shocked to see his beaming face appear in front of my desk at work.  His first trip out on his own was a 25 min drive across several suburbs.  I was very surprised.  It was so cute when he called me on arriving back home.   I thanked him and said it was my job to worry.  He told me it was his job to stop me from worrying.

On Saturday we had to visit Doris (his Grandmother) on the other side of the city.  He followed us over the Westgate Bridge, through the tunnel (scary for most) and out onto the Monash Freeway till we reached Forest Hill in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. No problem but Dad joined him on the way home for company.

Sunday he decided we needed cheese.  My response to his request to go get some, was "grab your keys and go get it yourself".  The list of items started getting longer and longer until Tom went out and did our entire weekly shop on his own with my credit card.  Nothing was added to the list other than bananas which he thought was surely a mistake. I'm not sure how long this will last but i sure enjoyed sitting on the couch with my feet up while he shopped.

Today is Tuesday and he was given the task of getting our scripts filled at Chemist Warehouse.  This is just too good!.  I really could get use to this.

Later in the week I've asked him to go to the local shopping centre and check out some clothes for interviews.  He's never done this before so fingers crossed.  With independent travel firmly in his grasp he can now start applying for jobs outside our local area.  Tom hates public transport (strangers and crowds) but he loves driving himself.

Can you tell I'm a proud Mum?  Those 120 hrs of recorded practice was worth it.  Thanks also go to Lynette, his Life Coach (new title, Tutor doesn't work any more),  who has let him use her car for several weeks to get use to the make and model of the car he would use to do his driver test.  Our plan  worked brilliantly.

Fly Tom!

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land Of Oz

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Bloomin' Marvellous

Nope this is not about a 1997 UK TV show set in Yorkshire (not another one please - is there anywhere else in England that can be used for a location) nor is it a gardening post, though i might include a few photos later.  This post is about feeling Bloomin' Marvellous.   I don't want to put a jinx on it but at the moment, everything is looking pretty good on the home front and i want to take the time to take a big breath in and savour a period when there are no major issues at play, Spring is in the air and life feels pretty damn good.   So if it all comes crashing down around my head tomorrow i can look back on this post and say "See, it hasn't all been bad!"

On the job front, we are both in full time employment in jobs that we love.  Now that is saying something as it hasn't always been so for poor Rob.   Its taken six years to find a place where his level of skill and experience is again recognised, where he is shown respect and where he can genuinely say he likes his fellow colleagues.   Its been a long long journey with many downs (the last job in particular) and not many ups but he has pulled through.   Lets just pray that his new employer (its a biggie) stays profitable and this job will see him through to retirement.

He looks happy doesn't he and that makes me happy!   You might notice he looks a little different as well. No moustache or beard.  Trimmed for food grade packaging plant.  It was either that or wear a beard net.

Rob was initially employed by the agency for 4 months probation (so they can make lots of money contracting him out) but the company has paid out the agency after only one month and he is now a salaried employee.  Last week, the agent called him and personally thanked him for doing such a great job as now other sites of the same company are using them.  Can there be no greater validation of his skills and in his belief in himself.   We would both like to truly rub a few ex-employers names in it but we are taking the higher ground.

This new job is quite a distance and so we seriously had to start thinking about our motor vehicles and running costs.   Robs Falcon XR6 is 13 years old and my Fairmont 5.4L V8 is 12 years old.  Both in need of ongoing repairs (expensive in my case) and not very fuel efficient (OK again in my case). Lucky us, Rob was gifted an amount specifically for this purpose and so he was able to buy a new Mitsubishi ASX which is a lovely blue 4 cylinder SUV.  Just perfect for the job at hand.  Yes, i know, that gift would have gone a long way on the mortgage but that's was not its purpose.  It has made him very happy and able to put up with the long commute (he doesn't like driving).

Which brings me to my dilemma.  I know I'm not supposed to love a car but i do.  I love the leather (sorry veggo's), I love the sliding roof, I love that if i want to get somewhere in OH say a few seconds, i can just gun it and "poof" I'm there, like magic.  I know I'm supposed to think green thoughts.  I know that a tiny little eanie weannie 4 cylinder would get me to work and back BUT A. it wouldn't make me happy (sorry Gav) and B. we wouldn't FIT IN IT, which i guess is a pretty BIG (excuse the pun) reason to buy a family sized car.

Why do i feel like im having an affair?  Its one year old and has 6500 km on the clock so it practically new and was $10,000 under its new price.  Bargain.
My emotions from selling the V8  have been soothed by a very gleaming Falcon G6 Sports.   Its a 6 cylinder and so far its proving to be very fuel efficient using normal unleaded rather than the premium I've been buying for the last 7 years.  Both cars now have 5 years warranty and fixed priced servicing and so Rob's days of spending weekends under a car are over.  Did, i say that?  There is always the stereo mods you know he's going to do.   So did i sell my soul.  Nope, having paid cash for the ASX i financed this one and after much discussion and bargaining i got them down to 6% which is almost home loan rates.  I can also pay extra and reduce my term which suits as i pay all my bills weekly.  I think we have set ourselves up for the next decade with regards to having good reliable vehicles and me thinks i had better stop trying to justify it to you and just enjoy.

Since everyone's posts are full of spring flowers, i will add my very small collection of garden snaps from last weekend.  I promised last spring that i would start planting more flowers.

The bees are certainly appreciating my efforts.

On the veggie front i continue to pick buckets of snow peas each week with no end in sight.  The broad beans seem to be doing their thing as are the cabbages and brussel sprouts.

I've put in lettuce, a couple of early cropping tomatoes and quite a few seedlings which i will call "bird fodder".   They were there one day and not the next.  Last weekend my sister and I refurbished one of the raised beds, first filling it with leaf mulch before adding lots of nitrogen and soil.  I'll let it rest a few weeks before popping something in, with a net over the top.

I had a blocked pipe on my worm farm and once unblocked i collected rather a lot of worm pee for use in my garden, my neighbours garden and my friend Ella's garden and still, i have more.   I was told they would take my "shit" anytime.

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land Of Oz