Wednesday 26th Nov '08

Jocelyn, my Mum and I went to Carousel today to take care of a few errands. After getting our travel insurance sorted out at HBF, we went to the food court to have a bite. My mum and I occasionally go to the store that does crepes to share one - we usually have the 'Norwegian' crepe with smoked salmon, caviar, spring onions and bechemel sauce.

the Norwegian crepe

Jocelyn ordered the 'Chicken Pesto' - chicken, avocado and cheese. I thought it was a bit too mushy for me. The avocado and chicken tasted like it had been pureed.

When I brought our crepes and coffee order to the table, I noticed that we needed an extra set of knife and fork since there were two crepes to be shared amongst the three of us. I went up to the counter and asked for an extra set of cutlery, to which the counter assistant replied, “That will cost an extra fifty cents”.

I tried to hide the disbelief that I knew was passing over my face, but I guess I didn’t entirely succeed, “Oh, okay…”

The counter assistant said, “But…” she leant down to rummage in the cupboard below, stood up brandishing something in her hand, “I can give you this spork for free.”

I said, “Okay, I’ll take that, thanks.”

I flashed her a smile and walked away, thinking “what the!?“

Back at the table, I told Mum and Jocelyn and they were both disgusted that we were being asked to pay fifty cents for an extra plastic knife and fork…in a food court. Mum then told me that we weren’t even given teaspoons or stirring sticks for our coffees, so Jocelyn went up to ask for those. She returned with some but said that the counter assistant was so rude about it so she walked off without thanking her for the spoons. Good on her.

It used to be that the cutlery was arranged in little utensil holders near the register so that you took what you needed when you collected your order. I suppose people have been taking more than they need and wasting them, which has meant that the store now supplies the cutlery on a one-set-per-customer basis. It’s understandable, but also completely ludicrous. If only I had remembered that I have a set of metal cutlery in my bag (that I keep in there for work) and taken them out to use. Fifty cents for a plastic knife and fork - bah!

Back at home, I went outside to water the garden. The first time in about three weeks that I've been able to actually check on my plants properly. There has been so much growth, I will have to get out during the next few days and do some work before I leave on holidays. Plants are growing wild, and there is much to be harvested.

My tomatoes have been ready for the picking for the past week! Aren't the colours gorgeous?? If I get more ripening during the weekend, my mum has suggested that we pick them and take them to Singapore with us. I think that's a fantastic idea!

In the evening, I went to Noel and Fleurette's place for dinner and Bond Night. Fleurette's been busy creating a Christmas display - it's gorgeous!

Chooks for dinner - family pack
whole BBQ chicken

Noel's been going through the Bond movies and showing one each week on a Wednesday night. Tonight was Moonraker - I think we all enjoyed ourselves when we got lost in the plot and especially the 'space fight' scene at the end. *chuckle*

We also opened my bottle of French champagne - yes, I'm allowed to call it champagne because it is really from France. We were celebrating being close to finalising our plans to travel together on a twenty day cruise to Hawaii in April next year. Can't wait!

Simba getting comfortable on my bed

Tuesday 25th Nov '08

WHEE - last night of work!!

(until the New Years Eve shift I'm rostered on for)

Time to catch some shut-eye.

Monday 24th Nov '08

bee hoon soup with prawns
garnished with freshly sliced onion

wah - I miss my coriander and fresh cut chillies!

Sunday 23rd Nov '08

I dragged myself out of bed earlier than usual today to meet up with friends for dim sum! We went to Jade Garden on Francis Street, Northbridge.

I've been eating so many prawns lately! I haven't broken out in a rash like I usually do, so my theory is to keep eating more and try to build up some resistance to them in preparation for Singapore. I have read in an article somewhere that it is in fact proteins in the shell of the prawn that is what people are allergic to. I try to avoid eating prawns with shells, or remove the shell before eating them or mixing/cooking them in my dishes. I don't know whether that's what's made the difference, but I'll keep doing it for as long as I can eat prawns without any adverse reactions! I didn't take a single antihistamine while in Geraldton, eating prawns nearly every day.

After dim sum, we walked towards the Art Gallery, where they were holding an outdoor display of photos taken of various environmental settings. There were some really interesting and thought-provoking images. The above picture is of a sand sculpture. I swear one of the figures looks like it's touching itself - hee hee.

I drove home to get changed into wet gear and met up with the guys at the South Perth foreshore near Coode street, with plans to get out on the water on catamarans. The weather did start out a bit cloudy, but very soon became overcast and then came the downpour. It was like walking through a shower.

I decided I'd just go straight to work early and get something to eat. The rain cleared by the time I pulled up outside work, so I walked down the street to Hampden Road. Not many places were open, being a Sunday.

Cheesy Beef Pie from Jesters
Soy Long Macchiato from Dome

Dinner was a cup of Heinz soup but I didn't feel like taking a photo of it. Or rather, I was too lazy to go back into the lab to fetch my camera.

At home, I quickly put together supper and hoped that I would be able to finish eating it without being interrupted by a call-out. My last on-call for the year of 2008!

bee hoon soup with prawns

Saturday 22nd Nov '08

Today I slept in, happy to be snug in my own bed. When I finally decided to get up, I realised I only had about half an hour to rush and get ready for work. I looked for leftovers in the fridge to have for 'breakfast'.

Thai chicken basil with rice and a fried egg

On the way to work, I got my dinner from KFC.

spicy chilli twister
potato & gravy

I remembered that Andrea had bought me a drink with an unusual name from the Asian supermarket near her place. It was still in the fridge. I forgot to take it home with me tonight!

Mum left me some supper for when I got home from work. A bacon and tomato omelette. One of my favourites. Yum!

Friday 21st Nov '08

Geraldton - Day SIX - flying home

I set the alarm for about 7:30am so that I would have time to finish packing the last of my things. I'd be taking my luggage with me to the lab and getting picked up by the taxi to head straight to the airport.

For lunch, the girls all had a serve each of the penne marinara I'd made for them, and I ate the last of my tuna pasta that I'd cooked the other night. I also bought a french bread stick to share. I ate some with lots of butter.

In the evening, Jo, Sharna and I chipped in together to get some fish and chips from the store down the street - Hooks. Yum!! Just what I needed to stave off the hunger and yet not heavy enough to make me feel sick on the plane if there was turbulence.

I had a cup of coffee on the plane to try to keep myself awake. I haven't had much sleep all week and was eager to get home to my own bed and to see Simba.

At home, I had a quick dinner of bee hoon soup and then fell asleep watching some episodes of 'Scrubs' with Simba lying next to me.

Thursday 20th Nov '08

Geraldton - Day FIVE

Lunch - Penne with Tuna, Garlic, Onion
Zucchini, Chilli, Olive & White Wine

After work, I went past the shops and bought some seafood to make lunch for the girls at work tomorrow. But before getting busy in the kitchen, I visited the beach for the last time. It was a bit gusty and the water was rather choppy so I just walked up and down the shore for a while.

a piece of driftwood

the Sunset Beach sign

Back at home, I showered, turned my mp3 player on and poured myself a glass of wine. I busied myself cooking a marinara sauce. I used the last cloves of garlic, an onion, a couple of cans of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine, olive oil, fresh basil and chilli flakes. I added the seafood at the last minute and then stirred the al dente penne through. I divided the pasta into some takeaway containers and left them on the bench to cool down before putting them into the fridge.

For my own dinner, I had bought a nice sized salmon steak yesterday, which I panfried in some olive oil and served with the rest of the gourmet salad leaves, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and some potatoes I had roasted with olive oil and rock salt. Delicious!!

the salmon was perfectly cooked

After dinner, I used up the rest of the ingredients in the fridge - bacon, mushrooms, onion and cream - to make a penne carbonara, which I left in the fridge for the scientist who was flying up to replace me over the weekend.

I spent most of the night between watching TV and packing my things so that I would be organised to go in the morning.

Wednesday 19th Nov '08

Geraldton - Day FOUR

Lunch - Penne with Caramelised Eggplant, Zucchini
& Prawns in Olive Oil, Garlic & White Wine

After work I went home to change and rushed to the beach for a swim, the weather being perfectly warm and only a slight breeze in the air. As I parked the car, I saw another car in the parking lot and several metres away, perched on top of the sand dune on a fold-out chair, was a guy strumming his guitar. I slid past him down the dune and as I was walking out towards the water, I pretended in my mind that his music was the soundtrack to my moment in time. I was amused! I was expecting it to turn into the Jaws theme when I got into the water - ha ha!

The water was absolutely beautiful and refreshing! I really could have stayed out there for the rest of the day until the sun set, but I needed to get back and make a start on dinner. I got out, rinsed myself off at the nearby shower and then decided there was time to take a brief stroll down the beach before going back. This would also give me time to dry off.

I can see the attraction of living here. Peaceful, laid-back. A beach pretty much at your doorstep. It's not that far from Perth. I suppose if ever I needed a break away from the stress of work, I could jump on a plane and come here to re-energise myself. There's an option worth thinking about next time.

Heading back to the car, I got stopped by the guy playing the guitar. He approached me and I suppose what happened next could be called one of those 'movie moments' that you always wish you could have whenever you're watching a romantic comedy. Except in knowing that this was my 'moment', I couldn't help cringing a bit as I realised how corny it was at the same time! The guy basically told me that I had given him inspiration for coming up with a song while he saw me out there swimming alone. I think I remember nodding and replying "Really? That's great..."

What followed was a brief conversation - basically he's driven over from Melbourne to settle in Perth after falling in love with it whilst on holidays not long ago. He writes music and sometimes gets it put into production for various things. He's currently working on music for some website. Anyhoo, I gave him my email address just in case he really does end up writing a song about me so he can send it to me.

On the drive home, I just couldn't help feeling a surge of self-confidence coursing through my body - I wanted to turn up the music and dance! My ego had been given a huge boost. Maybe there's hope for me afterall. All I have to do is go swimming alone in remote coastal towns.

I bought more of the fresh cooked Tiger Prawns and made another salad as an entree tonight. I used gourmet salad leaves, the other roma tomato I bought, and made a dressing out of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, chilli flakes and a pinch of rock salt. The lemon really helped create a light, zesty flavour.

A few hours (and a few glasses of wine) later, I got up and cooked my other piece of steak. I had it pretty much the same way as last night. I am going to have to make this steak sauce for my meat-loving friends one day!

On impulse, I bought this packet of cheese. I used to eat it alot when I younger, when my Mum bought it for us as a snack. I also had it at Noel and Fleurette's place one night a few weeks ago. I had a few pieces while waiting for my steak dinner to cook.

I went to bed chuckling over my "magical movie moment" at Sunset Beach.

Tuesday 18th Nov '08

Geraldton - Day THREE

I had a quick cup of coffee before heading out to work. It's such a huge change driving in Geraldton. People actually obey the 40km per hour school zones here. It just feels more laid back and no one's rushing to get around. Or maybe it's just me and I'm just feeling elated because I'm out in the country getting some fresh air.

For lunch, I had the remainder of the pasta I cooked last night.

After work, I stopped by at the Queen's IGA to have a look around and I spotted some fresh cooked tiger prawns - perfect. I bought ten and couldn't wait to get home to eat them. I was too tired and hungry to hit the beach today so just veg'd out at home.

entree - prawn salad

I diced a roma tomato and piled them on top of some gourmet salad leaves. I arranged the prawns on top and then made a simple dressing by melting some butter with crushed chilli flakes and a pinch of sea salt in the microwave. The prawns were still cold from the fridge so as soon as I poured the melted butter dressing over the salad, it solidified on the prawns.

I sat down to watch some TV and peeled all my prawns before getting stuck into the salad. Oh my were they fresh, plump and tasty! I didn't have time to pick up any antihistamines while in Perth, so I was risking breaking out in hives to eat these little suckers!

main - porterhouse steak
with a creamy mushroom, garlic and white wine sauce
& a side of broccolini with a squeeze of fresh lemon

All accompanied by a lovely drop - Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc

The stove has those hotplate heating elements so it was a bit difficult to judge how long to cook the steak for but I didn't do too badly. I browned the steak a bit too much on one side but it wasn't burnt so didn't taste like charcoal. It turned out being on the rare side, but with the creamy mushroom sauce, I was able to polish through it without grimacing.

After dinner, I chopped up some baby eggplants and caramelised them with some zucchini and onion to make pasta for lunch tomorrow. I also threw in some prawns I'd bought from the deli section. Lashings of olive oil...yum!

I had to open my second bottle of wine...yes, had to.

supper - platter with hot Italian brawn
pickled cocktail onions
fresh cherries

I predicted that I would feel like nibbling on some cold meats tonight so I decided on trying something new that I saw in the deli. The hot Italian brawn. It turned out tasting rather bland. I should have gone for the regular brawn that I usually get.

Aah, I shall sleep well tonight after this feast. That's the problem when I'm bored...I eat.

Monday 17th Nov '08

Geraldton - Day TWO

This morning I woke up and made a quick packet of mee goreng for breakfast before catching a taxi into work. I had the same driver that drove me around yesterday pick me up, D'arcy. He was like a tour guide, pointing out all the historical buildings and it was a pleasant ride despite having to have the heater on his car because the radiator was overheating.

At work, I quickly settled in - there were a few familiar faces from the last time I was here. I took the work car out to pick up lunch - Jesters. Last time I had waited about an hour to get Subway for lunch, and since it was right next door I thought I'd try my luck but as soon as I got near the door, I saw the massive queue so backed away and headed into Jesters.

Chunky Beef (stockmans) Pie & Chips

I thought I'd try something different rather than the usual 'Spud Deluxe' that I always get. The meat was a bit too chunky for my liking. The chips were just as saltily seasoned as those I get from Carousel in Perth.

After work, I took the courier car and went grocery shopping at Woolworths. I cautiously selected what I thought I'd need for the next few days and then went 'home' to unload my purchases. I quickly changed into my beach gear and got into the car to find the nearest beach. I was in luck...right down the road was Sunset Beach, which made sense since the suburb I was staying in is named as such. It brought a smirk to my face thinking about the American TV drama series I used to watch late at night during TEE called 'Sunset Beach'. It pretty much was like the 'Bold & the Beautiful' except set by the beach. Just as addictive and lame though - hee hee.

I didn't feel like a swim since I was pretty much alone on that stretch of coast aside from the guy walking his two dogs. If anything should happen to me, no one would know so I thought better of it and just walked amongst the lapping tide. It was great to get the fresh air and just unwind. It's not often you find yourself on a stretch of beach alone. Beautifully tranquil and invigorating.

After my stroll, I went back to the house, had a shower and started on dinner. I made a creamy penne pasta with chicken, garlic, onion, zucchini, mushroom and basil. I poured in a good drop of white wine too.

Last night was scary to sleep on my own, but after several glasses of wine and a few cups of tea, I was ready for bed. I slept very well.