Here is a nice attention-grabber:
When I walked inside of my apartment after work, it smelled like a potent fart. I figured that something in our kitchen garbage bin had spoiled, and I was right. This happens almost every time that Al makes chicken. He throws the raw scraps in the bin, and he forgets to take it outside. Then, it sits there for a day and gives off a ridiculously rank odor by the time we get home. I go straight to the bin, gag a few times as I tie the garbage bag up, take it outside, open up all the doors and windows and spray air freshener. Given time, the smell eventually goes away.
Was that a nice opener? Did you learn anything from that?
Moving on, I'll tell you all about taking off my no-chip manicure
. If you are sick of hearing about it or just plain old don't care, then feel free to scroll down to the food stuff. Nobody is watching you.
Last night, it was time to kill the manicure for good. It was starting to look funny after four weeks. That's funny, because most people remove it after two weeks. Anyway, I used non-acetone polish remover to take off my regular coat
and acetone remover to get off the no-chip polish.
Regular polish is removed.
That was the easy part.
I needed to soak a cotton pad in acetone polish remover and put it on my nail. The challenging part was that I couldn't just rub it on my nails the way that you can with normal polish. It had no effect on this hard-as-a-rock manicure. No, I needed a new technique.
I needed some Glad Wrap fingers!
I had to wrap every finger individually in Glad Wrap to hold the acetone-soaked cotton pad on my finger. It was a lot of work. I may or may not have spilled the remover all over my pants and the carpet....
After a good while, the polish softens. You can gently scrape it off with your finger. Here's an important tip: soak it for a good 10-15 minutes on each finger. If the polish isn't soft enough, it will take off layers of your real nail with it.
My bare nails look very scratched up, don't they?
They looked a little better once I filed them down. Finally, I can take out my contact lenses without nearly removing my eyeballs. It's a great feeling.
That thought aside, my nails look much better today. I put on a coat of nail strengthener for "severe problem nails". They don't feel any weaker than they normally would, either. I would definitely do this manicure again, although I might wait a few weeks in between them. It was wonderful to have a perfect manicure for so many weeks!
Now, let's move away from nails and talk about my body. It is paying for Mt Lofty
today. I have two shin splints, and my gluteus maximus is on fire with every step that I take! I decided to give my lower body a break today. After disposing of the fart-smelling garbage after work, I went grocery shopping with Al and then did a quick at-home upper body workout.
I did three sets of twelve repetitions of:
- military shoulder presses
- bicep curls
- triceps dips
- standing rows
- combination chest press/flies
I didn't break a sweat, but I'm glad that I at least did something.
Next, I made dinner. I was craving a delicious baked potato (but not something bathed in fatty cheese, sour cream and butter), so I whipped up a recipe while I made my shopping list during the day.
French Onion Soup Baked Potato
One large potato (I got a bintje potato)
1 tablespoon vegetable stock
1 garlic clove
1 brown onion
Low fat cheese- use as much as you want
Non-fat Greek yogurt
I didn't use the garlic powder, so you can pretend it's not there.
I washed off my bintje potato, pricked it all over with a fork and then stuck it in the microwave for 20 minutes on high.
While the potato was cooking, I chopped up my onions and garlic and sauteed it in a pan with a little olive oil spray. When the potato was ready, I cut in half and poured on the vegetable stock (I actually used a concentrate stock and didn't mix it with water, but you won't make the same mistake). I then poured the garlic and onions from the pan into the potato. I topped it with the cheese and a few sprinkles of paprika and put in the microwave again for 1.5 minutes.
It was a success! Look at all of the cheese spillage over the side.
I planned on making a salad on the side with baby spinach and grape tomatoes, but then I found a chicken breast in the fridge that needed to be used by tonight. I cut the breast into small pieces and cooked it on the pan. I added it to the salad. Everything went wonderfully with the potato.
It really did remind me of French onion soup. The sauteed onions were key!
I love all of that ooey gooey cheese.
I put my raw chicken scraps in another bag and will take it out tonight or in the morning. That's one thing that I do right!
You wouldn't believe it, but I ran into a pink rainbow piano on my way home from work today. I found it unattended under the Morphett Street Bridge. Later, I found another one under the King William Street Bridge on my run along the river. I suppose the new hot spot for lonely pianos is under bridges.
Actually, I went to the website
when I got home. I found that there are pianos all over the Adelaide parklands, the city and some of the outer suburbs. It's part of the Come Out Festival, which is an arts festival for children. When the festival ends, all of the pianos are donated to schools and community groups.
By the way, they are real pianos. I could have sat down on the chair and played one of the parts of "Heart and Soul" until my fingers hurt, but I didn't really feel like it.
After my experience with the rainbow piano, I went for a nice and easy run along the river. I saw lots of these guys (and the other piano).
I did my normal three-mile loop. I still found- like I find every time -that I got so tired just as I got to the end of my run. It's always in the same spot: right as I cross the weir over the river on the western side of the city, go around the side of the coffee shop and get on the wooded path that heads back to the city.
Today, instead of letting that exhaustion get to me (and really, for somebody who works out regularly, 3 miles is not very far to run), I played some mental games. You how when you're in the car with a full bladder, and you feel like you are going to explode just as you realize that you are just about to stop at a bathroom? It suddenly gets worse? When that happens to me, I always pretend that I have much further to drive before I reach a bathroom. It somehow calms me and makes me hold on for longer without being in extreme discomfort. There's something about almost being there that makes it harder to wait.
I applied that mental game to my run today. Instead of thinking that I had five minutes left to go, I imagined that I was going to do the loop all over again. You know what? I probably could have run those extra three miles if I didn't really feel like going home and starting dinner. Instead of feeling fatigued and gasping for air when I finished, I felt like I had a great run. I'll definitely think like that again the next time that I do the loop. Maybe I'll even go for six miles (if Right Leg allows it).
When I got home, I cooked a minestone salad
recipe from taste.com.au.
I made a couple of changes, such as using wholemeal spiral pasta instead of regular macaroni. I also didn't have red wine vinegar or yellow cherry tomatoes. I just used white wine vinegar and stuck to the red tomatoes. It turned out great. It's just like minestrone soup but without the soupy-y liquid. It would be great in the summer when it's hot but you still have a craving for the soup. This stuff will last me for days!
Today, I am proud of myself for a few reasons. First, I only ate HALF of my gnocchi
last night. I brought the other half for lunch today, and I packed some broccoli to make it more filling. This is a big accomplishment for me, because I usually polish off a whole packet of gnocchi in one meal. It tastes great, but it's twice as many servings as I need. By immediately spooning half of the cooked dish into tupperware for the next day, I am saving myself a lot of extra calories AND money by turning one huge meal into two.
I also did a load of laundry. Actually, we do the washing on most days, but it seemed like a good time for a picture. Like a lot of Aussies, we don't own a dryer. Even if we did own one, we wouldn't use it very much. We save so much money on our electricity bill by hanging our clothes outside. We're fortunate to have a private courtyard in the back, which makes it perfect for a clothing rack.
Thirdly, I made HEALTHY mashed potatoes. Actually, they're not mashed potatoes at all. It's mashed cauliflower, but it looks like potatoes. It doesn't taste exactly the same, but it's very similar. They're not quite as starchy. I got my inspiration from April's
Exercise-wise, I went on a hill run after work. There is a huge hill behind the Adelaide Oval that looks short, but it is very painful to run up. I was literally gasping for air when I got to the top, but I kept running. Then, I did it again.
On a side note, I'll have to take photos from the top of the hill. There is a beautiful view of the city from up there.
I also planned a circuit workout for tomorrow morning. I first made a list of all of the muscles I want to work, then I made a list of exercises I could do to work them.
I then made another list of exercises I plan on doing with a "station" number next to them. Station 1 is for an elastic band, station 2 is for body weight or other exercises such as squats or lunges without weights and station 3 is for hand weights. I'll do each exercise for 90 seconds with quick breaks in between for water or moving in between "stations". It's all set up in my living room for 6 am.
I've never made a list before doing a workout before (I usually just do whatever I feel like), so I hope this motivates me to work harder. We shall see!
Those are the reasons that I'm proud!
I also want to say that one of my coworkers was in Japan when the earthquake struck on Friday. I was sure that his plane was going to be delayed, but he ended up coming in at his scheduled time on Sunday. He was on a brewery tour at the time (of all the places), and he was able to get out of the building safely. He told us all about how the ground was trembling nonstop and about the aftershocks for the rest of his time there. It sounded like it was terrifying, but at least he's back here unscathed. Many people were not that lucky.
Time for sleep now! If I stay up too late, then I'll never wake up early for my workout.
Feast your eyes on my iPhone photos from the past few weeks that I have taken but not uploaded! WARNING: These are completely random.
Photo one: This is an iced coffee. Apparently, if you get an iced coffee in Australia and don't elaborate on how you want it, you end up with a cup of coffee with milk and ice cream. It tastes good, but I think it was too heavy to consume when all I wanted was cold black coffee. I should remember that for next time.
Photo two: I ordered falafel from the snack shop last week for lunch. It was scrumptious.
Photo three: We bought this couch for about $350. It was a bargain, considering it was relatively new and originally cost over $1,000. We found it on Gumtree
, and I inspected it with one of my coworkers (the seller lived down the street from my office) before we sealed the deal. We were never able to have a big couch in the shoe box that we left, so we are elated to have something so big and comfortable in our new place.
Photo four: There was a full moon on Saturday night. It was picture-perfect until I snapped it with my iPhone camera. Honestly, though, how often do cameras actually do justice?
Photo five: This is a Peter Alexande
r shopping bag. Peter Alexander is an Aussie pajamas store that caters directly to me (execept I can't really afford anything in there). Everything there is pink and decorated with dogs. I especially love this bag, because the dog's face looks like my darling dog Mickey
(with a pink bow). I parted with the bag on Sunday, so I said goodbye with a picture.
Photo six: I found flowers that I swear I have never seen before.
Photo seven: The sky was such a beautiful shade of blue today, that I had to make more than just a mental picture of it while I was on my lunchtime walk.
Before I go, here is a link
to before and after photos from Christchurch. I've been following the coverage all day. It is an absolute nightmare (at least 75 people are dead), but at least there are many people who have been rescued from the rubble.
Have a great day, blog friends!
What a week! There has been a lot going on. For one thing, we are all moved into our new place! We got the keys last Tuesday, and then we made several trips between Al's parents' home and the apartment. Luckily, they're not far apart.
I took the day off on Wednesday and started to sort through this mess.
Doesn't it remind you of right before we moved out of our last apartment
Well, as I said in the title, we love our new place. It has a bay window that looks out into the gardens across the street. It doesn't look that blurry in real life.
It has a garden in our little front courtyard. It looks bare now, but we already have some new plants to put in it.
The front gate and courtyard are perfect. We can easily fit a small table and two chairs. It will be great to be able to eat breakfast in the fresh air.
Once we clear all this stuff off, we'll have a lot of cooking space.
We also have a back courtyard with some berry plants.
The two bedrooms in the back open up into this other private courtyard. It's not very big, but we'll be able to at least hang up our laundry there.
The last tenants left this phone in the cabinet. While I don't think we'll ever use it, I am proud to temporarily own one.
Since moving in, we bought a little garden companion. He has a chip on his right foot (the one covered by the dirt), so we named him Chippity Hippity.
Here are some other random tidbits from the week (since I've been gone for an inexcusably long time):
I learned that our friend
(or his friends- it's hard to tell) hangs out in the trees across the street.
I learned that I really like quinoa. I cooked it for the first time last week, and I think it's actually fun to eat (not to mention healthy).
Finally, I learned that bachelorette parties (or hen's nights, as they say in Aussie Land) are very fun. I won't explain the photo below, but I will tell you that I wasn't getting arrested.
One of my coworkers, Nikki, is getting married next month. She had her hen's night on Friday and a tamer party on Sunday afternoon.
On Sunday, we had a competition to see who could make the best wedding dress out of toilet paper. I was the model, and we came in second place! They made a Grecian one-shoulder dress with a very long train in the back. When I held up my 'bouquet', I apparently looked like the Statue of Liberty. Anyway, I think they did a great job. I might hire the girls from my group to make me a wedding dress. Thoughts?
I also found out while I was eating lunch today that there was a horrific earthquake
in Christchurch, New Zealand. People were literally crushed in their office buildings as floors in the downtown area pancaked on top of each other. They actually had a more powerful earthquake last year, but this one has done far more damage. Last year, it was very early in the morning while most people were still asleep. This time, people were working and out on the streets. There are already 65 reported deaths. It's another terrible blow for this part of the world.
In the wake of a disaster, there are still ways to find humor in the situation. Today, I want to thank CNN for that.
Whoever made up the map to go with the coverage of Cyclone Yasi obviously didn't know their Australian geography very well, because they thought that Queensland was in Tasmania. Ya know, that little island off the coast of Melbourne? They thought that the cyclone was in Queenstown, Tasmania! To the person who mixed up a little city and a gigantic state : thank you. You made me and the rest of the world laugh.
Preview for tomorrow
Tomorrow, I am going to share my experiences from one of my favorite places in the world! I hope that you're just as excited as I am.
Ten brownie points to anybody who can tell me what it is!
If I moved back to America tomorrow and somebody asked me what I missed the most about Australian food (besides my excessive stash
of Cadbury chocolate bars), it would probably be finger buns. Yesterday, Penny and Jamie brought one home in the form of a loaf, but you can also buy them individually
When I first moved to Australia and lived with Al's parents for several weeks, there were almost always individual finger buns in the kitchen. My first impression was that they looked like Long Johns
. Finger buns, however, are not deep fried like doughnuts. They just taste like bread (with or without raisins or other dried fruit) with a thick, sugar coconut cream coating spread on top. I'm not a huge fan of coconut, but this topping just tastes like sugary cream frosting. The coconut only gives it texture.
We hardly buy finger buns anymore, and I know why. Once I start, I can't stop! I think I had three slices yesterday. They're not excessively fattening (I think a single finger bun is something like 200 calories), but you don't want to go overboard on them. They're a fantastic treat though, and they're probably healthier than a Long John.
I went to the cricket yesterday, although I really didn't feel like it at first. The weather turned much cooler, and I spent about three hours shopping with Penny before. We were looking for dresses for Grumpy's
80th birthday party (she's having three, by the way), but we had no luck.
I ended up going, anyway. I wore jeans and boots with a tank top and a cardigan, and I still wasn't warm enough. I clung onto Al for warmth for the first 20 minutes, and then he just gave me his sweatshirt. What a gentleman.
We sat with our friends Claire, Duncan and Andrew. The Adelaide Oval was almost completely full, because it was final Redbacks game of the season. They made it to the championships. We played New South Wales.
The sky was gorgeous while the sun set. Claire and I were snap-happy.
Can you spot the Fruchoc Man
in the photos above and below?
We won! There were fireworks, which I didn't expect at all.
They were no Sydney Harbour New Years Eve fireworks, but we still enjoyed them.
We all grabbed a drink at the Lion
after the game, and then we headed home. Al and I kept talking about how much we wished that we already lived in our new apartment. If we did, we would have been so close to the game! We have a little more than a week until our exciting move-in day. More Wacky Weather
Now, Australia, when will the weather be normal again? There is more flooding
in Victoria, there are bush fires
near Perth and we all know what has been going on in northern Queensland. Adelaide is unscathed, although today feels like an autumn day. It's strange, but we're going back to the hot summer weather this week. I hope it holds out for the weekend. We're supposed to go strawberry picking and to a winery next weekend for an early Valentine's Day!
Wine and chocolate. The last of that huge stash of Cadbury chocolate
, actually. I also ate home made spaghetti bolognese (not pictured).
I am thrilled that it's a Friday night. This week at work has been hectic with the heat.
You have to expect ups and downs like that when you work in the air conditioning industry.
Cyclone Yasi Update
By this morning, Yasi became a tropical depression (no longer a cyclone), and it seemingly did not cause as much damage as anticipated. Unfortunately, there was one reported death today. A 23 year-old man was found dead in his home this morning. He died from the fumes from his generator. There may be more as the towns survey the damage and check into homes, but it seems that the death toll from the cyclone will be very low. If you want to see more coverage and photos, click here
I want all of you to know that in the time between starting and ending that paragraph above, two new mosquito bites have joined the family of many on my skin. It didn't take me very long to type that, either. Silly mozzies. Stay outside!
Moving on, I found an article today titled "Airline reveals dumbest in-flight questions".
Some staff from Flight Centre (Aussie travel agency) submitted some of the stupidest questions that people ask them before they travel. Read the top ten and enjoy.From news.com.au on 3rd February 2011. Written by Kate Midena
1. Can I catch a train from Fiji to New Zealand?
2. What time does the three o'clock ferry leave?
3. My passport expired, so can I get a new one when I get to London?
4. Can you withdraw Australian money from international ATMs?
5. Do I have to use my real name on my airline ticket?
6. What is the capital of Europe? And what is the capital of Africa?
7. How is it possible that my flight leaves Sydney at 10am and arrives in Vancouver at 10am on the same day?
8. How many cartons of cigarettes can I take on my driving holiday in Queensland?
9. Do I need a passport to go to Hamilton Island, because I am flying overseas?
10. Do I need a passport to travel to Tasmania? And what is the duty free allowance?
Notes about 9 and 10: Hamilton Island is part of the Whitsunday Islands (you saw them if you watched the Oprah Australian specials; they are arguably among the most beautiful places in the world) off the coast of northern Queensland. Tasmania is an Australian state, although it's an island off the coast of Melbourne. It's the same as an American asking if they need a passport to go to Hawaii.
I love silly questions like that. I have another list of Australian-related questions that I found in the comments section of cnn.com. I have to remember to post those. Even if you don't live here, you will find them hilarious.
Happy and healthy Friday to ALL!!!!
Cyclone Yasi hit Queensland's coast very early this morning. While the damage is catastrophic, there have been zero reported deaths or injuries. Northern Queensland prepared for the worst case scenario, and that alone saved lives.
The Advertiser (above) had these statistics in the paper today, which I found very interesting. Please note that the figures for Cyclone Yasi are expected, while Hurricane Katrina show the actual figures.
Everything in bold was copied directly from the paper.
Landfall: Near Mission Beach, about 50km south of Innisfail, just after midnight this morning
Size: 500km (310.7 miles) wide
Eye: 150km (93 miles) wide
Wind Gusts: 300km/h (186 miles/hour) expected
Storm Surge: Waves up to 9.5m (31 feet)
Rainfall: up to 1000mm (3 feet) expected
Damage: Potentially widespread destruction
Landfall: Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, August 2005
Size: 640km (398 miles) wide Eye: 51km wide
Wind Gusts: 280km/h (174 miles/hour)
Storm Surge: Up to 8.5m (27 feet)
Rainfall: 300mm over eastern Louisiana (about one foot)
Damage: 1833 people killed, more than $100 billion damage.
I'm not sure about all of the actual statistics from today's cyclone. I believe they were accurate, though. I read that the wind speeds were about 290km/hr when it first hit land on Mission Beach. It seems that this storm was smaller than Katrina's, but it was stronger. As far as we know, Australia has never seen anything like this monster.
Thousands of people will be homeless, and even more people are without power. You can read more coverage here
, and there are also links to pictures and videos. I read so many sad stories on there. One man
recalled going to his brother in-law's home in Cardwell, Qld. The wind and rain were so loud that they didn't even know that the storm ripped the roof off the house. They took shelter in the downstairs bathroom, but they had to move when the roof above them caved in from all of the water.
There are so many unfortunate stories like that. Farmers will lose their livelihoods for a while as their banana and sugarcane farms are swept away, families will not have homes to return to, and the tourism industry will suffer tremendously. As I've heard again and again through this summer, though, Queensland is no stranger to heartache and will come back stronger. They are resilient people.
Yasi has now downgraded to a category one storm and will hit the mining town of Mt. Isa in a few hours. From there, it will makes its way across the center of the country through the Northern Territory. This will unfortunately hit people in rural Australia. While it's a much weaker storm, it's still very dangerous. Parts of South Australia will also be affected. There are flash flooding warnings for the weekend. We're likely to get rain in Adelaide, although it won't be anything serious. Adelaide is very lucky when it comes to weather.
Now, what is going on with this SNOW? Al sent me this photo
today. Does anybody from Chicago recognize where this is?
It's Lake Shore Drive! But really, how would you know? I've already seen enough photos on Facebook to make a scrapbook, but I still couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this one. Chicago was mentioned in the news quite a few times today (although not as much as Queensland). I am just swelling with pride!
You may be able to tell that Al and I love chocolate. More than anything, we love Cadbury blocks of chocolate.
These are all photos from the past seven days. My favorite? I think that would have to be the rocky road flavor. It tastes like peanut butter and jelly and chocolate all in one bite! Then, the crunchie is my second favorite. Honestly, though, I'm not going to discriminate when it comes to my Cadbury chocolate. They are all good!
By the way, in case you were wondering, DAIRY MILK=MILK CHOCOLATE.
Right now, Queensland is preparing for their worst cyclone in possibly 100 years. This will affect some of the most beautiful resort areas on the Great Barrier Reef (Cairns, Townsville and the Whitsundays may sound familiar to you). Cyclone Yasi will hit land in a little under 4 hours. You can view the live coverage here
, and look here
if you want to grasp how large this storm is. Really, you should look.
Queensland is having a very bad summer, but it will get through these disasters. It's incredibly scary, though.
Also, I can't believe these snow storms in the US! Despite the wacky winter weather, I still miss snow. Am I crazy? I don't like driving in it, but I love watching it fall and seeing the world around me covered in white. I'm sure that Chicago is beautiful right now. Just be safe and smart (and make sure there is plenty of windshield wiper fluid in your cars)!