Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I have no power

I have no power and I feel like a complete diva complaining about it given I have at least one close friend and one relative who live right in the middle of cyclone-land and deals with this every year. I know I need to grow a pair, but I want to have my whinge.

I don't mind storms, but I have a real issue with high winds. And on Sunday night the winds were high!
Thank god for kerosene lamps

The lights went out at about 9pm and I decided to go to bed. Then I decided to worry about all the things that could happen like the windows imploding, or something tearing my roof off, or the tree next door falling on me. I didn't get much sleep.

I got up and checked my yard and apart from a couple of small twigs there wasn't much going on there. I felt like a complete wuss. Then I walked down the driveway and saw a tree in my neighbours yard had crashed through their fence.

Then I walked a bit further counted about six other big gum trees uprooted on my block. So I wasn't over-reacting, I was just lucky. Then I got scared of the wind and ran back inside.

I decided to go to my grandparents. I just couldn't sit around the house all day on my own worrying about the second lot of storms that were supposed to hit later that day (they never came, but I still worried about them).

So I had a stressful drive down to the Redlands where I dodged several more uprooted trees, navigated four or five non-functioning traffic lights and was detoured around someone's roof that was inconveniently blocking the road.

Nothing would have made me happier to have stayed there again today, but I had to get back to work. I had planned to work safely from home as I was not relishing the idea of getting stuck in the city while the river flooded (been there, done that). But when I walked in the house there was no power... just a bad smell coming from my fridge.

After a frantic drive around for ice, long-life milk and two-minute noodles I decided to drive into work. I dodged another couple of uprooted trees, went through more non-functioning traffic lights, but gladly didn't come across any more house parts not connected to houses.

As I drove to work I spotted my local power substation... with a tree lying across it. This is possibly the reason I still have no power.

But, my house will not be flooded. I don't have a giant tree lying through my roof. And everyone I know is safe. So I'll suck it up and get on with things.

Thank god for the primus

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Today I rode the train with no pants

I don't remember how I came across Improv Everywhere. It was probably during a trip down the Youtube rabbit hole. But the moment I did discover it, I promised myself that if I ever got the chance to be involved in one of their missions I would do it.

I did cross my fingers and hope that the No Pants Subway Ride wouldn't be the first opportunity that came my way though.

The pantless changing trains at South Bank Station

It seems that the comedy gods had other things in mind however because last week (strangely about half an hour after I was once again browsing the Improv Everywhere website) I got an email announcing that the annual No Pants Subway Ride was happening again and it was going global.

Getting on the train at South Bank

Founded in New York in 2006 this year the No Pants Subway Ride took place in over 70 cities around the world - Brisbane being one of them.

I psyched myself up and committed to myself that whatever happened I was going to take part - no chickening out. I bought myself a new pair of undies (a pair of modest Bonds boylegs) and made my way to Central for the ride.
Proof that I did, indeed, go pantless

There wasn't as many people as I expected (about 20), but I stuck to my guns and got on the train. The hardest part was taking my shorts off once we left Roma St. I sat just up from a couple of other girls that were taking part and it looked like they were going to pike, but I went ahead - like ripping off a band-aid - and they soon followed. The guy sitting opposite me didn't know where to look and it was extremely difficult to keep a straight face.

QR and the Queensland Police were really supportive. They announced us at South Bank station, which kind of ruined the spontaneity of the event, but was still nice. And the cops had got some guys to ride on the train to make sure everyone was safe. One copper even came dressed for the occasion.

The cops getting into the spirit of the day

I'm so proud of myself for getting involved. As someone who hates being the centre of attention I didn't know how I was going to go.

The best part was overhearing peoples reactions. At first I had my earphones in, but then I decided I wanted to experience everything that was going on. The looks on peoples faces and their confusion about what was going on. One of the coppers even told a passenger that everyone had to take their pants off if they wanted to ride the train today - priceless.

Who needs to jump out of an aeroplane when you can just ride public transport in your undies.

DFTBA Everyone!

p.s. I'll post the official video later on when it's available.

Check out Improv Everywhere here - seriously, if you ever need cheering up, spend some time on their website and I challenge you not to smile.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Things I learnt while painting my bedroom

1. Painting in the middle of a Brisbane summer isn't smart

I've nearly passed out couple of times and had to force myself to take some time out. I have drunk about 3 litres of water, but that seems to have made me feel more unwell.

I've also revived an old trick I learnt while working in a fish and chip shop in my youth - wet a hand towel and roll it up like a sausage; Pop it in the freezer for an hour; Take it out and drape around your neck until it thaws. It's a good idea to have at least two on the go so you can swap them over when the one you are wearing feels more like some kind of sweaty fur stole.

2. I hate sanding

As simple as it sounds. I freaking hate sanding. My apartment has lots of heavy gloss trim that I have to wear down so the paint will stick to it. Plus there is a sliding door that separates my bedroom and the bathroom that I'm afraid to take out because I know if I do I will never get it back in again. So this had to be sanded while in situ... not fun.

3. Don't stop to Instagram half way through the second coat

Yes, you may feel inspired to take a photo of your new fresh white walls (see photo above). But when you come back you will have forgotten where you were up to, the paint will be drying on your brush and roller and you will realise you just posted a picture of essentially a blank white wall with paint drying.

4. Sometimes it is smarter to just turn the fan off

Heavily related to point 1. It may be 32 degrees and your t-shirt rapidly becoming more sweat than fabric but if you intend to stand on a ladder to reach the fiddly bit at the top of the wall, turn the bloody fan off. I know it's a tight race between heat stroke and a concussion, but all in all I'd say it's smarter to turn the fan off, at least just for the duration of the fiddly high painting*.

5. I REALLY hated the colour of my bedroom 

You know you've made the right decision to repaint when you find yourself doing a little dance of joy as you cover up the last of the old paint job. I still have a bit to go before the bedroom make-over is complete, but if I only get as far as painting over the nausea inducing cream that my apartment is covered in I will be one happy girl. 

And I think I've earned a glass of wine.

*I am pleased to say that I intuitively figured this out before I gave myself a concussion.

Friday, January 4, 2013

DIY Terrarium

My bathroom was in desperate need of some greenery so it was time to knock me up some terrarium.

The only thing I had to buy was the sphagnum moss so this whole project only cost me $10, and I'll be able to use the moss for other potting projects.

You will need...

1. A glass jar, vase, bowl or any other vessel to plant your plants in
2. Some rocks, pebbles or sand for drainage
3. Sphagnum moss
4. Potting mix
5. Some little plants - cacti, succulents, ferns and moss are perfect
6. Little things for decoration - pretty rocks, shells or ornaments are perfect

and... 7. If you are putting a lid on your terrarium you will need some charcoal to help filter the air

I had a glass jar that was given to me years ago. The paint's been progressively chipping off and the lid got broken somewhere along the way so it seemed like the perfect option for my terrarium.

I scraped off the remaining paint with a blade and cleaned it up ready to go.

Add a layer of rocks, pebbles or sand.

(If you are putting a lid on your terrarium add your layer of charcoal next)

Add a layer of sphagnum moss.

Add a layer of potting mix.

I took some cuttings from a few rangy succulents that are on my list of garden to-do's on the holidays and planted these in the potting mix.

Tip - use a pencil or stick to poke a hole in the potting mix first so you don't damage the bottom of your cutting when pressing it into the soil

I added my two little ornaments: a rabbit my Aunt brought me back from Greece and a tiger I bought in Japan - very international.

Water your plants in with a little amount of water and you are done. Easy!

 Perfect for my bathroom

Happy DIY'ing

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Baking Day - Low Fat Dog Biscuits

Last year I made my puppy Peanut Butter dog bikkies and after Christmas she put on about 5 kilos. So this year I decided I should go for a low fat option.

Low Fat Oatmeal & Wheatgerm Dog Biscuits

  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 6 tablespoons low fat margarine
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup (or molasses)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup water

1. Preheat oven at 160'c and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

2. Mix wheat flour, oatmeal and wheatgerm together in a large bowl.

3. Then mix in margarine, golden syrup, milk and water.

4. The dough will be stiff to stir. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for 1/2 hour.

5. Roll teaspoons of the mix into balls and place on baking trays. The don't spread too much so don't panic about spacing them out. Flatten with a fork. 

6. Bake for 1 hour rotating 1/2 way through. Cool on a wire rack.

Happy baking.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pizza Oven - the first firing!

The building of mum and dad's pizza oven has been a major project for myself and my dad this year. It's been a while since we've worked on a project together and it has been great to do something and have it turn out so splendidly.

For its inaugural fire up we cooked pizzas for Christmas Eve, which I have to say were AMAZING!

Dad lit the fire early in the morning as we par-cooked the meat for Christmas Day lunch and the oven got very hot very fast.

At one point we checked the thermometer and the gauge was at the very limit (500'c) so it was probably hotter than that. Once the flames burnt down and the coals started to cool the oven got to a more normal temperature. By the time we were ready to cook our pizzas it was at 170'c so just right to pop the pizzas in.

We made one Hawaiian, one Meat Lovers and one Veggo and they were all pretty damn good. Next time we will make our own pizza bases when we have a bit more time.

The pizza and garlic bread cooking away in the oven. You can see that all the coals have burnt down and there isn't any flame. If you have a flame you will burn the back of the pizzas and need it to be a steady heat - just like an indoor oven.

The very first pizza out of our oven!

Dad got the first slice. Thanks Dad for heaps of fun building the oven :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Brisbane Staycation - Palace, Garuva & the banks of the River

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely night last night, that the day (and year) is looking bright and full of promise and that you aren't feeling too under the weather.

I've had a bad run of New Year's Eves so I tend to avoid them. This year I decided I wanted to do something that was fun, but not too filled with aspirations so as to inevitably fall flat. I think I found the perfect itinerary to the evening and certainly enjoyed myself.

Palace Cinemas & Hitchcock

The night started with a premier screening of Hitchcock at the Palace cinemas on James St. We arrived to a glass of champagne and a very long queue of people waiting to go into the cinema. Instead of joining the end of the queue we collected our wine and scoured through the upcoming film brochures only to discover that Quentin Tarantino has a new movie coming out in a couple of weeks - the perfect start to 2013!

As the queue filed into the cinema we joined the end and felt like celebrities with our glass of champagne in the cinema (all movies should include this). Hitchcock was a great movie. Biopics can sometimes leave me feeling a bit... blah, but this one was very well done. Combining the story of Hitchcock's marriage with his production of Psycho made for a very interesting view. The scenes where they shot Psycho were so perfect to the original you could tell they must have watched it over and over again. Now I feel like I want to watch it again. The film was also bookended by two Hitchcock monologues straight out of Alfred Hitchcock presents that were so compelling I felt like I was ready for a sequel. Made with much love for the great Hitchcock, I'm very glad I got to see it.

4 stars


This is my second visit to Garuva. The first being quite some years ago and back then the food wasn't that great, though the atmosphere was really what made it. So I approached this visit with trepidation.

Garuva is one of those places in Brisbane where everyone likes to think they are the only one who know about it, but it's been around for so long that everyone has already been there. 

The unsigned restaurant is hidden away down a little lane-way filled with green lights and ferns. You are met by large Balinese doors that open up to a softly lit room filled with muslin curtains that wrap around each low table. You sit on cushions nestled inside these curtains and though the restaurant can be very full you still get a sense of intimacy.

I had the Cajun chicken and a very delicious lime cocktail. The food was much better than I remember which is a good sign. As the evening wore on the other diners started to leave for their next New Years' destination  and the restaurant took on an ethereal air. You could see silhouettes skitting through the curtains and this is where the magic of Garuva happens. I would recommend this restaurant on a mid-week night when it isn't so busy and sitting amongst the curtains in the hushed dark is much more atmospheric.

Banks of the Brisbane River

We left Garuva at about 10pm with plans of finding a bar to grab a drink at and see in midnight. However, Garuva is in Fortitude Valley which meant all the bars were loud, obnoxious and filled with 18 year olds. We decided to head over to South Brisbane and find a spot to watch the fireworks then head home and enjoy a wine there. South Bank is always ram packed on fireworks nights like New Years, but I had the idea that most people would be on the Parklands side of the Queen Victoria Bridge as that is where the fireworks display is focused. 

We took up position in front of the art gallery which was surprisingly quiet and had a great view down to the river. The display included a giant laser countdown on the casino hotel so we could see everything and when the fireworks went of we had a great view. Our position meant we missed some of the smaller fireworks, but it was worth it to avoid the body-jam in South Bank.

I apologise for not taking a better photo, but I decided to watch the fireworks instead of documenting them.

We were lucky to beat the rush to public transport and walked straight onto a train which got us back home with our wine and a deck of cards in half and hour.

Easily my best New Years ever.

Wishing you all the best for 2013

x Debbie