Ramblings and Purgings

Monday, January 31, 2005

DMB!!!

Wow, it has been 10 days since I last wrote but here I am.
So many things have happened but among the most exciting news is this: Dave Matthews Band are finally touring in Australia!!! They play 1 concert in Sydney on Saturday 26th of March, 1 week before my wedding and you better believe I will be seeing them then! I am so excited I can hardly concentrate :-) Tickets go on sale next Monday and I have no idea as to pricing but frankly, I do not care about the cost. My friends, who I think had planned a Hen's night for that Saturday will have to celebrate without me because there is NO way that I'll miss this show. I have been waiting for almost 5 years!!!
Oh, and in other news. I went to see "Closer" yesterday and I must say that it was a very good film. Not what I would call 'enjoyable" but very real. And I have a HUGE crush on Clive Owen - his character was oddly appealing...
Wedding plans are coming along well. We have to send invites tomorrow so I suppose it is really happening, hehe. No, seriously, I am becoming more and more excited about it al. I think I only have a little over 60 days to go...woah!

Friday, January 21, 2005

On Early Morning Cat Sightings

Every day, Monday to Friday, Oyvind and I catch the train to work.

I get off 1 stop before Oyvind, as he gets to cross the gorgeous Harbour Bridge.

Our train ride normally takes around 40 minutes and tends to be pretty uneventful. Well, unless Cityrail encounters "Adverse weather conditions"...which means trains are running behind schedule, in a major way.

NB: Adverse weather conditions = rain, hot weather, cold weather, pretty much anything that is not a perfectly sunny and mild day.

Anyway - during the train ride, as the train starts to approach Redfern (around 4 stops before mine) it starts to slow down...right down...

It was on one of these occasions that Oyvind and I noticed this gorgeous black and white cat sleeping on this tin roof under a Frangipani tree. The scene made me so happy that I decided to start looking for this cat every morning. Sometimes it is there and sometimes it is not. But, whenever I see him I just have to smile as it is a great way to start the day.

Now, it is time for the weekend to start. I am meeting my friend Jill for dinner at Zia Pina's, this great pizza place at The Rocks. Really, a place that has red and white checked table cloths is great in my books :-)

After that, we are going to watch "The Motorcycle Diaries". The soundtrack is great and I really like the actor Gael Garcia Bernal so I hope the film is good. At any rate, a film in my mother tongue is bound to put me in a good mood :-)

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Lindt and Dukkah...

Last Thursday, Ellen and I met up for "coffee" at the recently opened Lindt cafe.
Coffee we did not drink. Instead, we decided to go all out and so I ordered a Chocolate Frappe (yum!) and we also ordered a Chocolate mousse to share.
By the time I finished the Chocolate Frappe I was stuffed! I could barely eat a couple of spoonfuls of the mousse :-) Nonetheless, I recommend this place.
Now, whilst catching up and exchanging photos from the trip, Ellen gave me a Christmas present courtesy of her mum...it was something in a jar, which did not greatly surprise me. However, this year instead of home-made jam (which is excellent and mostly exotic...picture "Cherry Guava jam") this year Bea made Dukkah...

Ahhhh, Dukkah...

Dukkah

When Oyvind and I went away to the Hunter Valley in December, we enjoyed some lovely dukkah...or so I thought.

(Oh and for those not familiar with this, Dukkah is a type of dry dip made of sesame seeds and various ingredients. It is usually eaten by dipping crusty bread in some olive oil (or avocado oil, etc) and then dipping the moistened bread in the dukkah.)

Anyway, Oyvind and I took it home and decided to have some for dinner, along with some lovely marinated cheese purchased at the Hunter Valley from the Binnorie Dairy.
The dukkah was superb! I think everyone ought to try it...so, here's a recipe I found on the net although I think Bea's recipe will remain a secret for a while yet...

Dukkah

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sesame seeds (dry roasted)
1/2 cup coriander seeds (dry roasted)
1 cup macadamia & almonds or hazelnuts & almonds (dry roasted)
1/4 cup cumin seed or 2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

Chop the nuts or use a mortar and pestle. Do the same with the seeds, one sort at a time. Take care not to over-process. You can make it as chunky or as fine as you like. Mix all the chopped nuts and seeds together and add the salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.
Serve in a small bowl alongside a bowl of olive oil and some bread. Dip the bread into the oil and then the Dukkah. Bliss!


Dukkah 2

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Birthdays and pain

Well today is Pipstar's birthday! Happy 25th my friend...welcome to the wrong side of 25, it is only down hill from here on :-) Trust me, as I enjoy and clutch at the remaining weeks of my 25th year I must say it has not been all bad. I feel more like a grown up but still act like a kid...hmmm, I think that is how it is supposed to go. At any rate, here's a cake I hope you enjoy.


Cake...yum

Pain. Wow, I have not felt pain in my hip joints like this before. I am so out of shape...geez! On the plus side though, I did stick to my exercise routine for the week so far. Only one more day of working out...I guess a run around Parramatta Park beckons. Did wake up at sparrow's fart (I love that expression!) today and completed my Yoga tape. I am so far from achieving some poses though, it is not even funny. But, by the end of this year I hope to be able to do this:


The Crane Pose (Bakasana)

One can only dream...However, I am an expert in the following pose...Hehehe


Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Finding Neverland - review

So last night was our movie night.
Before the movie though, we decided to go to Pho Pasteur, the very delicious Vietnamese restaurant I think I have mentioned before. I had my fave - number 19 : Grilled beef on steamed rice...mmm, no idea what they do with the meat but it I so delicious dipped in some garlic and chilli sauce. I was craving meat like mad yesterday and I can only attribute it to my low iron levels...oh where are my iron tablets?

Anyway, once we finished our dinner, we sprinted to the movies. We entered the theatre just as the movie was about to start. Whatever happened to the 5 minutes grace period?
At any rate, we were soon lost in the world of James Barrie. What a lovely movie this was! It was funny and sad and full of fantasy. Johnny Depp, one of my favourite actors nowadays, was very good as Barrie and Kate Winslet was so lovable as Sylvia. The boys were adorable, in particular the little one who plays Peter - what an angel, just wanted to hug him! I did shed a tear or ten at the end of this movie but it was not an unashamed tearjerker - it just portrayed the theme of loss so well that you could not help but feel emotional. I recommend it and so give it
4* out of 5*

PS My body is in agony...oh my gosh, muscles I had forgotten about are painfully reminding me of their existence. Nonetheless, I am off to do weights now and will attempt to wake up for yoga tomorrow morning...The only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that on Friday night I get to eat dinner with mum at the Salvadorean restaurant and so eat some yummy pupusas...mmmmm

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

On exercise and cupcakes

So, yesterday I decided to begin my 12 (or so) week challenge to get as fit as possible for the wedding.
I am not unfit by average standards but I really have let myself go the past 3 months and last night really highlighted the fact.
Oyvind and I went to the gym to do some weights. It's funny, most women do not like to do weight in fear that they will bulk up but in reality, weights do you a lot more good than running on a treadmill for an hour? Why? Well, quite simply you burn more fat and you tone up. Also, if you get into a proper routine of weights training (say 2 to 3 times a week) you will see some serious results in a few weeks in terms of increased metabolism (you know, the thing models talk about although I think it is mainly bulimia or anorexia in their case...hmmm, moving right along!).
Anyway, we did upper body work and both of us were in appalling shape. Whereas before I could lift at level 6 or 7, last night I was lifting at level 8 and 9 - shocking!
Although by the end of the workout we were both hurting pretty badly, we both felt a lot better about ourselves.

This morning, I decided to keep the trend going and woke up nice and early to do a yoga session. I got a couple of new yoga DVDs over the weekend, so I was keen to try them out. It was tough! Now, I have been practicing yoga for a couple of years now (strictly amateur level though, not too many formal classes) but I was working up a sweat! Wow...

So now I feel great about myself. I will try to do at least 2 or 3 yoga sessions and 2 or 3 gym sessions a week. The wedding is merely an excuse to get back in shape but I think it provides for a damn good incentive :-)

Now, on to cupcakes...
I have decided that it would be a sweet idea to bake mini cupcakes and give these out as wedding favours/bonbonnieres at the wedding. So far, I have the baking forms and instructions on how to make boxes in which these will sit but I have NO RECIPE!

I want something really simple, like a French vanilla cake for example, and something that will keep for a couple of days.

So, if you are reading this blog, take pity on me and help me find a recipe...pretty please?

Monday, January 10, 2005

Unexpected Phone Calls

So today, while working away I ge a phone call from one of my colleagues, who usually answers the general telephone line.
I have my own line and so most of my friends and relatives call me there.
Not to day though...
My colleague's number came up on when I picked up the phone. He then asked me whether I knew anyone from Argentina. Puzzled, I said "ummm, no." He then said "Well, I have someone from Argentina asking for you by name on the line."
Intrigued, I said "Put them through please."
Imagine my surprise when, on the other end, was my childhood friend Moris!!!! We had not spoken in over 16 years.
Moris and his brother Victor, who are more than 10 years older than me, were my next door neighbours in El Salvador. I was like their little sister as was my older sister, Blanca.
We grew up together playing and having fun and when we moved to Australia it was a sad time for us all.
However, on this last trip to El Salvador, my sister and I (my sister will hereby be known by her true name of "Liono") managed to get in touch with Victor, who in turn provided us with Moris' details.
The fours of us, as well as other old friends, have been in touch via email recently but receiving a phone call was amazing! He now sounds like a true Argentinian (Moris moved there in 1990) and very grown up. He is married and has a young son who looks exactly like him when he was little.
It is so good to rekindle old friendships isn't it?

Friday, January 07, 2005

Belated Christmas presents!

If there is one thing I love, it is getting unexpected presents :-)
My poor Oyvind tries to keep secrets and surprises when it comes to presents but a good poker face he does not have, therefore I always guess things.
However, today Oyvind went t the post office to pick up a parcel and it turned out to be presents for us from Norway!!!
Also, there were some goodies attached such as coffee and licorice (definitely for Oyvind as I am NOT into licorice or coffee very much) and rekeost for me!!!
For those who don't know, Rekeost is, quite literally, prawn (shrimp) cheese. It is basically a spread that comes in a tube and tastes great on some nice home-made bread such as the one Randi (my future mother-in-law) makes.
Apparently, the family had also tried to send Baconost (I think you can guess what this is) but Australian Quarantine did not let it go through...oh well, I shall enjoy my rekeost tomorrow morning with a nice piece of bread. Mmmmm

On another front, Oyvind and I will try to book our honeymoon tomorrow as well as start our wedding registry...gulp! I hope it does not take ages.
Last night I ducked into House for a little while and I was salivating - they had some great stuff, including a Creme Brulee set complete with blowtorch and ramekins. In addition, they had lovely stainless steel mixing bowls and this awesome measuring spoon that was adjustable so you could use it to measure from 1/2 a teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. Wow!

PS. Creme Brulee is my favourite dessert and I have no idea how to make it.

PPS. Here is the only image I could find of Rekeost...I could not help but smile, how fitting!

Rekeost

Thursday, January 06, 2005

On travel and the Da Vinci Code

Ok, so I started reading "The Da Vinci Code" on Monday night and i finished the book last night...yep, it took me 3 days to finish it. It was a very easy read and quite enjoyable. At times very 'incredible' but if you let yourself go in for the ride, well, it is a lot of fun. The thing that it made me want to do was travel through France and the UK. *sigh* I know, I just got back from holidays but I think it is an addiction.

Speaking of travel...
Went to the local Flight Centre office to enquire about honeymoon packages for me and my boy. We initially looked at Thailand but do not think it appropriate any longer. Instead, we have decided to go to Fiji!

From the initial quote she gave me, it looks like a really good price and within our budget. Oh I love it when things go right for me :-)

Also, tomorrow is my friend Martin's birthday. We are going to a vegetarian restaurant in Darlinghurst called Govindas, which in addition to good food also has a movie room where you can lie on comfy cushions and let yourself digest the meal. Tomorrow night they will be showing "Hero" - a film I have already seen but which I really loved.

Anyway, Martin reminded me that he works for a ladies' shoe store so for my wedding shoes I am to go to him. He will give me a 40% discount! Ooooh yeah!

And finally. One of my work colleagues came in yesterday to inform us that his son's girlfriend is selling her car (which is registered for the next 12 months) for $1000 and was anyone interested? Now, Oyvind and i have been thinking of getting a car ASAP (that is, before his family arrives in OZ) but with the wedding and all, it is a big expense. Naturally, this was heaven-sent. I asked my colleague to find out the car's year of make and that we would talk tomorrow. Oooh I hope it is a decent car!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Ocean's Twelve - Movie review(?)

OK, so I am a little behind the times but I have not had much of a chance to watch movies.

Last night, my boy and I decided to catch a movie at our local cinema. We settled on "Ocean's Twelve".

We were both fans of its predecessor and although this movie was not as good as the original (well remake original), we both enjoyed it. Sometimes it is good to sit and not think too much...:-)

The actors looked as though they had a lot of fun in this movie and Brad Pitt's smile could melt any heart - wow, I am not even a fan of his. Much prefer Andy Garcia who is one sexy man.

Anyway, basically the movie picks up a couple of years after the gang pulled the heist at Benedict's casino. Somehow, Benedict has obtained all their locations and demands re-payment of what they stole from him plus interest. We are talking $198 million+...needless to say, the boys need to get together, pull another grand theft and stay out of trouble. Else Benedict kills them all.

Catherine Zeta-Jones features in this film as a detective keen on capturing the gang and so makes life a little more interesting for the guys. Coupled with the menace in the form of a rival thief, Ocean's gang is in for a hell of a ride.

Watch out for Bruce Willis' cameo - really pokes fun at himself.

My verdict? 2.5 stars out of 5

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Prospero Año Nuevo y Felicidad

Happy New Year all!
I have been on leave from work since Christmas Eve.
Got to spend some lovely quality time with the family and my adorable boy.
We went away to the Hunter Valley (NSW's most well-known wine growing region).
It actually happened on a bit of a whim. We woke up on the 26th of December and I went surfing on the net to check whether I could find some good accomodation deals at Wotif, and lo and behold, I found us a great deal.
I booked us for 2 nights at The Tuscany Wine Estate.
We basically relaxed and spent quality time together. I read a couple of books:
- The Family Way by Tony Parsons (really love all his books so far)
- Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach.
But more importantly, whilst on our idyllic break, we were shocked by the news of what happened in Asia. I really do not want to write too much about it as it upsets me. Furthermore, we had planned to spend our honeymoon at one of the resorts that was obliterated in Thailand. What upsets me most is not te fact that I won't have my 'dream' honeymoon any longer but that all these people will suffer for so long. I urge you all to donate generously. This is a natural disaster in which no one is at fault...

On a different note...

A couple of New Year's resolutions for me:
- Read more BBC Top 100 books and purchase those books I have read and not yet own
- Cook 1 meal a week using a new recipe (I think the boy will be very happy about this!)
- Go to the movies once a week with my favourite movie buddy
- Write in my blog more often
- Have a fun wedding
- Be happier
- Be healthier (eat better and exercise more - samba classes, here I come!)

Cheers to all

PS I am currently reading "The Da Vinci Code", now I know it is not part of the BC Top 100 but I have been pestered to read it by my sister for some time now. Must say that it is a very easy read, already up to page 240 in 2 days! Also, this topic interests me because I have read the more 'factual' story upon which the book is based: "Holy Blood, Holy Grail".