Nothing Quite Like It

The Bloke and I opted for some of our local bike/walk paths for our Saturday fitness walk and, wow, what a difference hills make.

Our usual path is absolutely gorgeous but also flat. Locally we have quite a few more hills, so while we didn't get as much of the scenery, we got even more of the workout. Especially because our 'hour walk' turned into an hour and a half.

I am proud of us for being more fit, but wow. That walk took a lot out of me. I also wore a sweater, too, because it was cold when we started, so I was very yucky when we got home.

So, what's 'nothing quite like it'?

I swear, there is nothing quite like the clean feeling you have after you take a shower or bath after getting all gross like that. A usual shower or bath is good, but there is just that extra level of refreshment when you're getting truly clean.

I lurve it. Mmmmm. It makes the hard walk, protesting muscles and sweat all worth it.


Just Can't Help But Share

I'm so proud of myself.


Giving Blood

When the bushfires hit Victoria earlier this year, The Bloke and I felt like many other Australians - desperate to do something. Like thousands of other Australians, we went to our local Australian Red Cross building to donate blood and ended up being turned away because there were so many people trying to get in to donate blood.

We left our details and waited for the call.

Given that The Bloke and I have the two rarest blood types in Australia, we were happy to make an appointment when the call came a couple weeks ago.

Tonight we went in to donate our blood. For a payment of a while of sitting and relaxing with The Bloke, I don't think it was too bad of an exchange.

This was the first time I had ever donated blood. Age, tattoos and piercings has always kept me from donating before, but I finally managed to work out a time that worked for everyone.

The Bloke, of course, bled like a champion and felt just peachy. Mine took a little longer because the vein was difficult to find (though she got it on the first go) and then my blood wasn't flowing well so I had to pump a stress ball for the rest of my time on the machine.

The entire place was lovely, though, and they really take care of you. Heck, you can have a milkshake - that a staff member will make for you! - if you want to. There are all sorts of lollies, juices, sodas, bikkies and even cheese.

Of course, I'm on a specialized diet, so I stuck to low salt crackers. At least The Bloke was nice enough to not have a milkshake in front of me.

We sat there for a while and enjoyed ourselves until I felt warmed up and ready to go. (My arm turned into an ice block during the process.)

Alas, tonight I'm going to call it a bit of an early night because I'm still feeling a little tired. I feel very good, though. It's nice to give.


This and That

It’s about quarter to 9pm at my time zone right now, I have some candles lit because they relax me, Spicks and Specks is on the tele (one of the few reasons we turn on the TV), the man is eating dinner and I have my dinner as well. I’m relaxed, eating and watching a good show.

Stringing together sentences with actual points isn’t something I’m great at right now. I vote for bulleted list.

*All my permanent residency papers have been sent in and now I get to wait to get government permission to stay here forever and ever.

*The husband and I are still looking at other job opportunities and hopefully moving soon no matter what happens. I’m thinking I should start packing non-essentials now just so it’s not such a big job later. Have any of you moved? Tips?

*I’m on a new eating regime to test it out for a month. Anyone have any interesting veggie recipes? No potatoes, corn or sweet potatoes. I absolutely love mushrooms, but I need to eat a lot of green veggies.

That’s all for now, folks! Have a good one.



I hate it when I have so much to say, but I'm too tired and have too much work to do to say it.


I'll be back as soon as I can.


Sit and Wait

Now it's time for sitting and waiting.

My police check came back sooner than I thought it would and I was able to send off everything today. Given that the deadline to get everything in is June 21, I'm hoping my prompt response will be a 'good mark' in my file.

Not only that, I hope it means that my application will be decided upon sooner. I'd love to know that I'm now a permanent resident before June 21st.

I usually hate the 'sit and wait' periods for things, but I'm busy enough lately that I can be patient.

For the moment.


Permanent Residency Paperwork

My two year wedding anniversary is significant for more than just being the marker of two years together with my husband.

Two years also equals permanent residency time...

Two years go, not long after we got married, I applied for permanent residency (so we didn't have to face coming up with the money for another trip out of the country to renew my visa or possibly face being split up).

As it turned out, applying for permanent residency cost us about two grand anyway, but that's beside the point.

I was granted a bridging visa which basically meant that I got to stay here, travel in and out of the country, receive medical care, etc. It's a 'best behaviour' period combined with a 'we want to see if your marriage lasts and if you really want to stay in Australia' thing.

I thought the two years would seem like forever. Honestly, I ended up forgetting about it. That is, until I received more paperwork to fill out for the final 'judgment' on my permanent residency.

Yep, it's that time.

The good news is that this round there isn't nearly as much paperwork to do and it only costs me the price of a police check (about $50, including the registered post envelope for the application and money order).

In fact, we even have all the paperwork done already. We just have to wait for the police check and then I can send 'er in.

Hopefully the police check will come soon because the deadline to send everything in is June 21 and I'm already getting antsy.

Almost there, Australian citizenship...

PS. I can't apply to be a citizen until two years after my permanent residency is granted.


The Bikkie Lady

I love baking and cooking - even better when I have the time for it - but with only The Bloke and me around the flat, I risk getting us into an even fatter state if I keep all the stuff I make. So, what I end up doing is making a batch of this or that, keeping a bit for me and The Bloke and then sending the rest off with The Bloke when he goes to work.

Of course, the people at work certainly don't mind me sending along cakes, cookies, brownies, etc.

As time has passed and I have tried making different things, I have received some very nice comments. But nothing - nothing - has garnered something like the last batch of bikkies I whipped up.

Bikkies, by the way, I completely made up on a whim.

Those bikkies were so good that when I went in to volunteer, I had people coming in and telling me how nice the bikkies where and how I could feel free to send in a batch any time.

Talk about me feeling chuffed the whole day.

I had one woman - I have yet to think of an appropriate blog name for her - tell me that I had to go into business.

That got me thinking. I know she was just being complimentary, but could I actually turn this into a little business?

I feel a bit silly, but I have already come up with a name for the business. I just need to have the confidence to go ahead and do it. Of course, it would help to be able to make more varieties of bikkies as well. Six - variations of three different kinds - just wouldn't cut it.

I don't know if I will take it any more seriously, but it is fun to think about.


Happy Anniversary to The Bloke

On May 5th, 2007, I put on my veil, my white dress and my white shoes... I sipped a glass of champagne with my good friend, PinkLady... Then I got into the wedding vehicle and headed towards the local park.

When asked if I was nervous, I said no. The day was my official marriage, sure, but I'd long considered myself to be married to The Bloke.

While PinkLady hurried to the friends who had joined me and The Bloke on our special day, I took a few deep breaths and waited just a few moments before starting the walk to my husband.

There, on the gazebo in the middle of the lake, surrounded by our small group of friends, I marveled at my wonderfully handsome Bloke and read the vows we had prepared together.

Though the day was cloudy, I couldn't have been more happy for us.

Two years on, we have both learned a lot about each other and about marriage, but we are stronger now than we have ever been. We still remember our wedding day fondly and steal away on our anniversaries to celebrate being with each other.

The journey has been long and, at times, hard, but we have made it through and will always continue to do so.

My love forever to my Bloke. XOXO


The Toolangi Tavern – Victorian Bushfire Victim Support

Even though Toolangi is a smidge out of Melbourne proper, it is my pleasure to review the Toolangi Tavern and other small businesses around Victoria that will feel the hit of not only diminished customers because of the Victorian bushfires but also because of the coming winter months.

When you first walk in the front doors fitted with gorgeous stained glass windows, you can’t help but feel cozy in the Toolangi Tavern. With hardwood floors, a small but well-stocked bar to your right, a large fireplace in the centre of the wall to your left and large windows so you can look out at the gorgeous views surrounding the tavern around the rest of the room, it feels almost like home.

Being true to the pleasant surroundings, the staff are always friendly and smiling, and they’re always up for a quick chat or a joke.

Beyond being beautiful and cozy, the tavern is also a great deal. They have a wide selection of mains – all of which are $15. Yep, no matter which one you order. The menu does change on occasion, but you always have your staples like rump steak and fish and chips.

The Bloke highly recommends the rump steak, whereas I… Well, I recommend it all.

Not only are the mains a steal, they also have $6 absolutely delectable desserts. The Toolangi Sundae is a must-have dessert for anyone who loves fresh, ripe berries.

After you’ve eaten, you can settle down in the comfortable chairs in front of the fireplace to warm up and enjoy your after-meal coffee or tea.

Not only that, they are also attached to the Toolangi Shop where you can pick up and odds and ends you need.

All in all, the Toolangi Tavern is a gorgeous place with stunning views and even more stunning food. Arrive hungry and enjoy yourself.


One More Time

I know you all are probably incredibly sick of me asking for your help, but this is the last time I will for a long time.

The Times Online has a poll going right now where you can vote for The Blogger's Guide blogger you like the most.

This is a one-click deal (two clicks with clicking on the link to get there), so it's even easier than the last one. I don't know what the prize is for this one, but I would love to come in as the underdog (I'm in last place) to win.

Thank you all so much.

You can go to vote by clicking here.


Five Ways to Keep Warm in Melbourne Winter

Winter is coming to Australia all too quickly and when it starts getting colder, keeping warm and finding cozy spots grows in importance. Here are five ways to keep warm in Melbourne:

1. Have a coffee. You’re in Melbourne! You will get some of the best coffee in the world here, so go for it. If coffee isn’t your thing, try a hot chai or even a hot chocolate. I have tried all three, and they are all excellent.

2. Eat some Indian food. Multicultural Melbourne is a term I use a lot – and for good reason! There are all kinds of cultures dishing out their best food. But if you’re looking for something to warm you through and through, I recommend Indian food. (Especially butter chicken. Yum.)

3. Find a free wi-fi café. When it’s cold outside, there is nothing nicer than taking a rest in a nice, cozy café that has free wi-fi. If you want an incredibly massive (but ever-changing) list for other Melbourne hot spots, check out this site:

4. Go for a brisk walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens. The best way to warm up is to get moving, and the Royal Botanic Gardens are going and growing no matter what the season.

5. Stop in at a pub. Alcohol is certainly good at warming you, but any decent pub will make you a coffee, too. Pubs often have the game on, music going and a lot of patrons to keep the temperature warm. I have written about a number of pubs, so be sure to check out my blog entries.


How Sweet it Is

Given my fantastic failure with Problogger's 31 Days to a better blog (due to vacation time, work time, etc), I have decided to make this blog a better place by joining NaBloPoMo for May.

For those of you who aren't familiar, NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Posting Month. It used to happen only once a year, but some people decided to give it a go for a whole year, giving each month a new theme.

The name of the game is to post at least once per day for an entire month. You don't have to use the theme, of course, but it's fun if you do.

May's theme is sweet, which I find entirely appropriate given May is the month The Bloke and I got married two years ago.

So here is to more posts about life in Australia and to celebrate how sweet my life is...