Friday, July 29, 2005


Since we leave for our trip in a day or so, this might be my last post for awhile.

I'll try to do some sort of posting while I'm away - if I'm not having too much fun, that is :-)

Violet, I look forward to beautiful baby pics when I get back. And lots of posts from everyone whose blogs I'll miss while I'm away!

So proud!

One of my close friends (though due to his aversion to email, we're less in touch these days) is a real-life musical genius!

I'm so proud I could burst!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Mmm, quiche

Since we've been quite busy recently, I've fallen back on an old friend of those who are too lazy to do stovetop cooking: quiche.

Quiche sounds a bit fancy sometimes, and it certainly can be. It can also be insubstantial.

I've been making us a quiche once a week for the past 6 weeks or so. It's quick and simple, and it gives us leftovers for lunch.

So here's my recipe for a nice, hearty winter-time quiche.

For 4 good-sized servings, you need:
frozen pastry - any kind but the sweet stuff
4 eggs
200g frozen spinach
250g feta
1 large onion
tomatoes, if you have them
cumin, if you like it

Get out enough frozen pastry to cover the bottom and the sides of your dish. Let it defrost.

Meanwhile, cook the frozen spinach in the microwave. I like the free-flow Watties spinach, cos it cooks fast and doesn't go too watery. Leave it to cool down a little.

Beat 4 eggs with some water, maybe 1/2 cup. Use a bit less water if your spinach is kind of watery. If you're feeling less healthy, substitute milk - but I don't think you can actually taste the difference.

Add a whack of paprika (I guess maybe 1 teaspoon) - supermarket stuff is fine. If you're feeling adventurous, add about the same of ground cumin.

Whack in some salt and pepper. You need salt because of the spinach, but remember to add less if you have extra-salty feta.

Chop up the onion and the feta, and the tomatoes if you have them, and throw them into the egg mixture. If you have any yummy veges like asparagus or boiled potatoes, chop them up and add them too.

Throw the spinach in, and mix well.

Grease and line your baking dish with the pastry, then add the egg and spinach mixture.

Bake @ 200C for a while - in my small but deep dish, it's maybe 1 1/4 hours.

IMHO, it's even better the next day :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


The shame of it all...

I had to get a Hep B booster yesterday. It's a just-in-case sorta thing, so I won't worry about getting Hep B if I am in an accident in Argentina and need a blood transfusion.

(Yes, the likelihood is not so great, but traffic accidents are very common there, and usually rather nasty for pedestrians.)

So I went and got it.

And passed out.

I managed to tell the nurse that I was going to keel over, and get myself to the ground before I lost consciousness. And apart from confusion as I came to, it was a not-terribly-unpleasant experience.

They were worried I was having an allergic reaction, bless them, and kept me under surveillance.

My "quick jab" turned out to take 1 1/2 hours, after which I was told to go home and rest.

One of my workmates laughed till he saw how pale I was.

The doctor recommended getting all "needle work" lying down from now on (I already have blood taken lying down, because my pressure is so low). The shame of it all!

Still, it did get The Trouser home to look after me instead of going to yoga!

Monday, July 25, 2005


...for it to be time to take our trip.

...for 6 months to pass so I can buy a paperback copy of Harry Potter 6 - as a librarian's daughter I need a matching set of books!

...for my cold to finally go away.

...for my birthday (BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!), even though I think everyone has pretty much forgotten about it, and I will be far, far away. I will still get a small present from The Trouser - I know because he bought it very un-covertly.

Friday, July 22, 2005


- Jelly-Tip ice cream in a tub - pure heaven.

- Sunshine and crisp, cold air.

- Knitting on 7mm needles with a chunky wool - making quicker progress than the smaller stuff, so even a long wrap feels achievable.

- Knowing I only have 5 1/2 work days left before The Trip.

- The Trouser coming home at a decent hour last night and looking after me.

- My heater @ work - the best work-friend there could ever be.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Long-lost twins courtesy of The Simpsons

Yes, it's true - Britney Spears and Nicole Ritchie have cartoon twins!

My reluctant Simpsons-watching has finally paid off :-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Yes folks, it's the "These are the days of our lives" meme.

I've never been tagged before - but thanks to the lovely Jussi, here goes...

10 years ago
I was "doing a Liesl" - that is, I was 16 going on 17 and in a German-speaking country. Germany, in fact.

(BTW that's a The Sound of Music reference. Yes, I like TSOM. So shoot me!)

Anyway, I was an exchange student. My first host family were freaky, but the second family were less dysfunctional and generally very nice. I went to school and did all the usual things.

I wasn't very good at speaking English after a while - the immersion method of language learning is really very effective - and it made for some fun phone calls with my parents!

For the first time ever, I wasn't doing too well at school - and I was loving it. (Chemistry is hard enough without having to translate it all!) In addition to German, I was learning a bit of Spanish and Italian - the latter necessitating extra classes every second Saturday, would you believe?

I got the chance to travel a bit in Germany and Hungary, and to enjoy the lovely food and drink. Mmm, German chocolate, cakes, noodles, sausages, currywurst, beer, gummy bears... not a lot of vegetables. Although I was not a porker at the beginning, I became one!

Everyone thought I looked older than I was, and I took advantage of this by going to the local nightclub - quite a change from teenage life in suburban Auckland!

Although I didn't actively knit at this point, I had knitted myself a jumper to bring along. I think I wore it once.

5 years ago
Hmmmm.... Spent the dawn of the millennium alone, because my then-boyfriend was a tosser. He broke my heart later that year by breaking up with me over the phone on Vlaentine's Day, when I was working.

I didn't have much taste in men, really. Well, not any good taste!

I was studying at University at this time - I'd ditched law and was working on my BA. Living with the parents in suburbia (it was free, after all), and one I was single again, going out a lot with friends.

This was the most recent time I visited my family in the US, a trip with my mum and one of my brothers. I missed driving during the trip - I'd just gotten my restricted driver's licence.

I was quite skinny (for me) at this point. Misery and then too much partying did that for me!

1 year ago
Living with The Trouser in our then-almost-new-to-us apartment. We'd bee together for 3 1/2 years and were very happy (still are, just for the record!). MUCH better taste in men :-)

I'd gotten another job and resigned, and my boss responded by offering me a big, fat pay rise to stay. So I stayed. It was still stressful and busy, but I was geting plenty of money for it!

Still not knitting - spending lot of time on TradeMe though. Working some obscene hours, but loving it.

Got up late and went into work - the same job I've been in for almost 2 years now! Meetings (taking the minutes too, yuck) and lots of last-minute stuff ruined my plans for the work-day.

Bought all the cash etc. we need for our trip and recommended some cough syrup to the person at the bank who served me.

Spent what seemed like forever doing the final sewing-up on my grandmother's cardigan, including adding the pearl buttons I'd bought.

Still no packing.

Microwaved frozen meals for dinner (fettucine carbonara) courtesy of The Trouser when he came home from work & yoga @ 9pm.

I did watch some TV - TV2 mostly, but not the scary ghosties show at 10pm, since I am highly suggestible and it freaks me out.

Fell asleep late, again.

Up late again - the late nights do take their toll - and into work later than I like.

Lots and lots of annoying tasks at work, setting my plans back even further. It feels like I'll never be able to go on holiday!

On the up side, we had a great team lunch, and I had a fantastic development review with my boss. It never hurts to have someone tel you how fantastically you do your job!

Stayed late at work to talk over plans for my dad's surprise 60th birthday party (Mum's planning a lower-key affair than my dad will be happy with), and got home in time to microwave a frozen meal (butter chicken tonight) and sit in front of the VT while typing this on my laptop. The Trouser might be in by 9, but I doubt it.

Oh, and waaaaaaaay too buzzy from a large mocha this afternoon. Memo to self: coffee in any form is not good for me, but especially not when mixed with sugar.

Pretty much the same as today, minus the team lunch and plus a work morning tea. (We do have a lot of social stuff at work!)

I hope to get more work and knitting done though. And maybe see The Trouser a little earlier.

5 snacks I enjoy
Popcorn with salt, ground cumin and coriander.
Caramel popcorn.
Feta and dill dip from Turkish Kitchen, on pretty much anything, or straight from the container.
My home-made biscuits.

Hm. I tend to prefer savoury snack, but these were the first that came to mind...

5 bands/ singers that I know the lyrics of MOST of their songs
Ummm.... I like music but tend to listen to whatever is on.
Black-Eyed Peas
Do nursery rhymes and national anthems count?

Things I would do with $100,000,000
Hm, pay off our mortgage, visit our family and friends overseas.

Invest a lot.

Make some donations to things I care about, like women's refuge, and maybe my old university.

Buy The Trouser a really lovely present, like a Leica.

Maybe buy myself something nice, like some lovely shoes.

I think I'd probably keep my job, but work a little less. Only a little though.

5 locations I'd like to run away to
To The Trouser's grandmas' house (spoiled rotten and *such* comfortable beds, plus lots of unconditional love)
Anywhere The Trouser was, really! :-)

5 bad habits I have
Consuming low-quality literature and media (I am too embarassed to say what, exactly).
Leaving little mohair hairs all over the house when I knit with it.
Not making the bed before getting into it.
Wanting to spend money but feeling guilty for it.
Whining about people and things that bug me, even when people have heard it all before.

5 things I like doing
Spending time with The Trouser
Reading people's blogs
Relaxing with good friends
Giving presents

5 things I would never wear
White jeans
Boots that come over the knee
Tapered pants
Shoes that are too small

5 tv shows I like
OK, confession time here - low-quality media consumption revealed:
The Apprentice (such silliness!)
Sex and the City reruns on Sky (pretty clothes!)
Escape to the Country on Sky (perving into houses, plus the occasional trashy time-waster couple to laugh at)
The OC (90210, but with more sex and fewer anoying morals)
Shortland St (no idea why, but we watch it a lot)

5 movies I like
Well, obviously, The Sound of Music
Harry Potter movies (love the books, love the movies, even tho' the latter are inferior - it's HP after all!)
Um. I'm not really a big movie buff, either... Maybe:
Stand By Me (cute actors before they were cute)
ET (scared the crap out of me when I first saw it - ET was in my closet for the longest time!)
Ummm... Monsoon Wedding

5 famous people I'd like to meet
George W Bush - so I could tell him what an embarrassment to the human race he is.
The former pope - John Paul II - he looked like he could do with a hug. Didn't agree with him, but I felt fond of him nonetheless.
Tolkein - another dead person, but someone whose writing I really admire.
JK Rowling - because I do love her Harry!
Hmmm... Kofi Annan maybe? He does his best to make good things come out of a tough situation. Plus, he could probably do with a hug too.

5 biggest joys at the moment
The Trouser (sorry, it is repetitive, but it is also true!).
Knitting and making beautiful things.
The prospect of a holiday in not very many sleeps.
Doing a bloody good job at work, even though I am under-resourced and overworked.
Things that keep me warm, like heaters and fine merino jumpers from Glassons, and my own hand-knit cardigans.

5 favourite toys
Knitting needles - though they do some good work too!
My laptop, though I neglect it somewhat.
My new digital camera.
The blender, for quick breakfast smoothies.
Does Google count? If not then the Interweb.

Whew! What a long meme.

Hm, who to tag? If you haven't been tagged already:

Go to it!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Fruits of my labours, part 1

After going on and on and on (!!) about my knitting, you can finally see some of the fruits of my labours - the bootees and hat for Violet's baby.

They are knit in 100% cotton, and using patterns that I found online.

The hat is a lot more attractive when modelled by Violet's panda. I know babies are meant to be universally cute, but the baby-hat-model was definitely not.

In making these, I have firmly established myself as one of the weirder people at work. Apparently no one else there has ever sent off a gift to someone they haven't met in person yet.


Friday, July 15, 2005

Ah, chai

I've been really tired recently, so when I remembered that there was a work function today (in theory a non-compulsory social occasion where partners are invited to attend - which, in practice, means attendance is practically mandatory and The Trouser will be the only partner to show up, plus it won't be terribly social since we'll all talk shop), I decided to sleep in a bit.

When I sleep in, I suck at getting breakfast sorted. So I knew it was time for *yet abother) trip up to one of my favourite cafes.

I got what I always get there - soy chai and a cinnamon brioche. (My home-made brioche are better, but theirs are available and fresh.)

When I first started going to the current incarnation of this cafe (new ownership y'see), it was all great except for the horrible chai. It was too sweet, too aniseed-y, and generally rotten.

So I told them it was crap, and that I preferred delicious chai. I suggested that the cafe workers tell the owner to get some of the good stuff and at least trial it. (Another cafe in the near vicinity did stock it, but didn't advertise it, and it was up several flights of stairs, so it was unlikely I'd ever benefit!)

They did, and they have kept it on ever since.

Power to the people!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Trip

Violet, you're right - I haven't explained where we're going on The Trip! (I feel my excitement, and the fact that we've discussed and then planned this trip for ages, justifies the wild capitalisation there.)

First off, a week in Buenos Aires to visit some of The Trouser's family. We've never met them, but from all accounts they're lovely. They own a shoe factory (o joy!) and the older members of the family only speak German or Spanish, so I will be putting my very rusty linguistic skills to work for us!

From BA, it's on to Florida, to visit some of my family for a week. It's hurricane season there, so hope we don't have a Dennis thrown at us!

Then we're off to the original Windy City - that's Chicago, not Wellington! - for a week with yet more of my family, and perhaps a trip to a lakeside cottage in Michigan.

After that, it's a week in New York. We *were* going to stay with The Trouser's sister and her husband, but they are rude-arses and withdrew their much-touted offer of accommodation only after we'd booked our international (and expensive to change) tickets, and booked and paid for out internal (non-refundable, non-changeable) tickets. Let's just say they ain't getting *any* presents at all - especially not lovely knitted ones.

After that, we fly back to BA for a couple of days, then we're home in time for a weekend of rest. It's about 5 weeks all up, and I am hanging out for it!

The other important part of The Trip that I foolishly forgot to blog about is that it inspired me to join the digital age, so we bought a digital camera to take with us!

Technically it is my birthday present. I say technically because The Trouser is having a lot more fun with it than I am. It is quite tiny though, so he may have to let me use it if his hands are too big to hold it properly!

Aside from the trip, this also means I will be able to take photos of my knitting projects, yay! Then you could see how I cleverly stopped knitting something butt-ugly, and messed around with someone else's pattern to make it quite beautiful.

If I ever get a break from knitting (and packing) that is!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Counting down

Our upcoming holiday is coming closer and closer. Only 18 sleeps to go (I think?)!

According to The Trouser, I am already moving into relaxation mode - i.e. expressing feelings of tiredness, and the desire to spend as much time as possible engaged in non-work-related activities.

Well, more so than usual, anyway.

It's weird, but I think he's right. It's weird because usually it takes me a couple of weeks to wind down, so for example, I would be properly relaxed by the end of a 2-week holiday.

This time around, I think it's a combination of crazy work stress and getting sick that has tipped me over the edge. So by the time we get on the plane, I will probably be relatively relaxed - as long as packing and gift-knitting don't get me all tangled up in knots!

Speaking of the cold, it's still hanging on. My cough is not as noisy or as productive, thanks to the foul-tasting but eminently effective Robitussin. I HATE their ad almost as much as I hate the foul, bitter after-taste of the cough syrup. Buy Benadryl instead - it is sugary-tasting but doesn't make you want to retch!

My saving grace in this last-bit-of-the-cold-lingering-for-days-and-perhaps-weeks stage has been my Kleenex tissues with lemon oil and lime. Actually, I like any of their scented tissues, and lavender is usually my choice - but the citrus-y scent has significantly improved my mood recently.

Anyway, more importantly, our trip plans are going well: we bought luggage (expandable, pale blue, The Trouser's choice!), got presents for the kids (Tamagotchi, 2x magnetic build-things kits, Play-dough), and have made inroads on the gifts for other people, including my grandma's cardigan, which I have bored people to tears about, and this little number in a dark purple for our South American hostess.

We even booked our accommodation where required, and have booked a rental car - a convertible, no less - for the driving part of our trip (i.e. a visit to a place with no public transportation!).

Hurry up already (whines) - I want to go *now*!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Lemmings reinvented

They've been replaced by sheep.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Just another update

Not much is happening in the House of Trouser and Skirt at the moment - apart from my recent cold and the related sick days, we're both still working a lot, and seeing each other in a tired (but fond) haze.

Roll on holiday is all I can say - only 23 days to go!

Until then, The Trouser is working 60-hour weeks for an important work project. I plan to use the time up by knitting like a demon, and planning and packing for our trip.

Given the complex conditions of our trip (winter and summer climes; formal and informal situations), I think that packing will be a bit of a challenge. But if there's anyone who can tackle it, it will be me, with my years of packing experience. Of course there are also gifts to be bought.

Anyone got suggestions on what to buy non-English speaking kids - 1 girl who may be 7 or 8, and 3 boys who could be anywhere between 2 and 6? We were trying for fun toys that could be shared - but all we have so far are: crayons that you use in the bath; crayons that you use to write on windows; and creepy big goldfish that look very real but squirt water (the Trouser's fave). Ideas?????

Anyway, whatever we don't have but need will be dealt with in one brief shopping trip - I am a shopper extraordinaire, but time is at a premium - there's knitting to be done!

Speaking of my knitting, I have finished my grandma's cardigan - only need to block and then sew it up - and Violet's baby's booties and hat. All I need to do before I go is a single baby bootee for a colleague, a mohair wrap for someone we're visiting, and fingure out what I'll bring along as my project(s) while we're away. It's a 5-week trip, but I'm planning to make a stop at quite a few wool shops while I'm away.

Trivialities aside, what has been happening in London is horrible. Horrible, but not surprising. Hello, war in Iraq? Admitting you knew there were no WMD, and the press publicising the fact that you really just wanted a war?

An attack was expected, but not discovered. What's up with that? You have to wonder if the intelligence specialists are crap, or if terrorists simply outclassed them.

And while I feel for all Londoners, I think especially of all the non-honky Londoners (and Brits for that matter). Racism is already a very real problem in the UK, and the last thing that these communities need is to be targeted yet again.

You have to wonder if terrorists realise that corresponding communities (religion, ethnicity, etc.) in the place they attack will be victimised as a result. Do they think it serves the people right, since they are not militant and they should be? Or are the terrorists so wrapped up in their fundamentalism that they simply don't think of anyone else?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I hab a cold


Thanks to my generous co-workers, I have a walloping, rotten cold. It took hold in the wee hours of Saturday morning and I have steadily gotten snottier ever since.

It is *so* kind of them to share their germs with me. I mean, if you look and feel like crap, and cant' stop sneezing for more than 10 minutes at a time, I'm sure it's still fine to go in to work, spread your germs and complaints about how crap you feel.

C'mon people! We are all set up to work from home! Plus, we have double the statutory requirement of sick days.

I am sufficiently recovered after a sick day yesterday - so I will be in the office this morning. But I know my limits - I'll be working from home in the afternoon.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Cupcakes and pretty shoes - if it isn't perfect, it's damn near close.

Of course, if you eat too many cupcakes, you may find that shoe shopping is the only kind you really enjoy.