Monday, January 31, 2005

Book review - There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale

By request I am going to do an occasional book review. I am an avid reader, so you'll probably find that the picture in the sidebar of what I am reading will change quite frequently.

Yesterday I finished the following book:
There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale by Sean Astin and Joe Layden

Quite frankly, I was disappointed. By looking at the cover, and reading the back, you'd think it would be a book about the making of LOTR (Lord of the Rings). Instead, it is mostly about Sean's life and the other movies he's made, as well as LOTR.
Indulgent, whiny, and a bit of a wanker are words that come to mind. Although he admits that he has these qualities, it doesn't seem to make him want to change them particularly, and he feels the need to express his whininess at any given opportunity.
The layout is not chronological by any means, and jumps from time period to time period, with very little to segue between parts.

Yes, there were some interesting parts to it. I hadn't realised that he was a decade older than the other hobbit actors, and didn't really have a lot in common with them.
It was interesting to hear about the special effects they used, and the prosthetics they had to wear.
The sheer scope of the project is awesome, and really highlights what a major talent director Peter Jackson is. If he ever had the time, I would love for him to write an account of the experience. Not likely though.

Rating: 2.5/5

Carnival of the Recipes #24

Hey, the Carnival is up, you can find the recipes here. Thanks go to Kin of Kin's Kouch for putting this together.

Friday, January 28, 2005


TGIF - Thank God/Goodness (depending on your religiousness or not) It's Friday!

I was only at work three days this week, but it still felt like a long week.
Monday I was sick, so no fun there. This left me behind the eight ball tiredness wise, couple that with Australia Day off, and I never really hit my stride workwise this week. So Hooray, Friday it is!

Nothing much happened today, woke feeling tired and hot, as we are going through a real humid period of weather at the moment. Got to work five minutes late, which in a normal world isn't much, but in the call centre environment is evil. *sigh*
They were having cake at work for anyone who'd had their birthday in the last two months, but I passed as I had guiltily given in and had a pack of potato chips for morning tea. Also to assuage said guilt I went for a run/fast walk at lunchtime, still very humid, icky. Had my lunch at my desk when I got back, leftover rice salad from Wednesday (note to self: rice goes to hard, crunchy consistency after two days in fridge, nice to know).

And now I am home, and can relax.

Don't have a huge amount planned for the weekend.
Tonight will relax at home with hubby, pasta for dinner, then lounging time.

Tomorrow morning we are seriously considering buying a new lounge that we have been looking at for the past couple of weeks, as the January sales fittingly enough finish at the end of January.

After that, grab something for lunch, then over to my sister in law's for the afternoon. My brother is off to a concert, and seeing as sister in law is due to give birth in 6 weeks or so, she didn't really feel like standing up for hours on end. Instead hubby and I are going over to keep her company, probably get a DVD out to watch.

Apart from that, the weekend is our oyster (or any other mollusc of your preference). Actually I'm not a fan of oysters, but anyway, the rest of the weekend is ours to do with as we choose.
I have uni work to do, so hope to get some of that done, plus I bought some vege seeds to plant out in my new vege garden. Bought carrots and spring onions to start with, will be fun to see how they go.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend. :)
Be good to each other, and give a hug to someone you love.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #24 - Apricot slice

**UPDATE** Ok, apparently there was some confusion as to why this is called a slice. Another difference between the US and Australia. I spoke to an American friend of mine, and he said that slice in America literally means a slice of cake. Whereas here, a slice is a type of cake that doesn't rise as much, and tends to be rectangular in shape.

Here's the recipe for the apricot slice I made for Sunday brunch, as mentioned in earlier post. Hubby and I divided up the leftovers and took them into work today, apparently were enjoyed at hubby's work, so that's nice.


185g (1 1/2 cups) plain all-purpose flour
170g (3/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
3 eggs
60ml (1/4 cup) milk
2 tsp natural vanilla extract
180g (6 1/2 ounces) butter, softened
14 apricots, pitted and halved (this may vary depending on the size of the apricots. Also, if fresh apricots are out of season, you can use bottled or canned ones)
2 Tbsp caster (superfine) sugar, extra


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C (315 F/Gas 2-3). Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Place the eggs, milk and vanilla in another bowl and mix to combine. Pour the egg mixture and butter into the well in the dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes until smooth. Spread the mixture evenly into a greased or non-stick 20 x 30cm (8 x 12 inch) lamington tin.

Push the apricot halves, cut side up, evenly into the cake mixture in four rows of seven.
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, sprinkle over extra sugar and cook for another 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

This recipe is from Bill Granger's book titled "bills open kitchen", (2003)
Like a lot of his recipes, it was straightforward to make, and yummy to eat!

Australia Day

Aussie Aussie Aussie oi! oi! oi!

Yes, I know Australia Day was yesterday, but I am still feeling patriotic, so thought I'd write about it today.
Yesterday was a bit of a scorcher outside, so spent most of it inside with the air con on. Wussy?...yes... Comfortable?... yes! :)
Started the day cooking as the inlaws were coming over for brunch to celebrate mother in laws upcoming birthday. Being Australia Day, had to go the prawns, seemed like a good idea at the time I bought them. Not such a good idea yesterday morning, when I was deheading, shelling and deveining 24 prawns. Still, they turned out yummy, and I don't mind cooking, so it was all good.
Oh yeah, and I also made an apricot slice for the first time, and it turned out quite nice, *phew*. Was feeling daring so *everything* I made for the brunch was being tried for the first time (well, except for the cups of tea, I've made them before!... oh hang on, hubby made those!)

After they left hubby and I put our feet up on the lounge and watched the tennis. Poor Alicia lost, but wow, what a match, nailbiting stuff!
Note to self: yelling "Come Ooooon" ala Lleyton Hewitt at the TV not very affective.

After that, watched the second half of Starship Troopers on TV, good movie that. For the main characters they used models, except for one guy, who was the guy that played Doogie Howser in that TV show. He's better looking now he's an adult, his huge head doesn't seem that huge anymore, the rest of his body musta done some growing.

For dinner, had a BBQ, just the hubby and me, very nice indeed. Sausages, onions, leftover rice salad from brunch, I was in seventh heaven.

Back at work today.. ho hum.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Crockpot chili

We went out and bought a slow cooker (crockpot) the other week and have visions of lots of lovely stews and curries in the winter time. Why did we buy it in Summer then? Well.... too impatient to wait!
First off, we tried a chicken with veges mix. Was quite good, although the moisture level turned out to be a bit low, so the very top part of the chicken was a bit dry. Yummy though.
Second attempt occurred on Sunday. I saw a chili recipe from Dawn at "My life with garlic" (I love the title of that blog, can't get enough garlic!) , and had to give it a try. It was a bit different from her recipe, I had to substitute the condensed black beans or bean soup as I couldn't find any, so used a vege soup instead. And I had no idea what "vegetarian beans" were, (me thinking... as opposed to meat beans?!?!), so used chick peas instead. For the beans of my choice I used butter beans. So with those few alterations we set out to cook us some chilli. Whew boy, I will be using a tad less tabasco sauce next time, quite hot!

Now normally I am not a bean lover, but this was quite good. The corn kernels give it a sweet lift, and the spices are great.

So as far as vegetarian recipes go, I give this the thumbs up!

Australian Open

Hooray for Alicia Molik!! Well done, well done.

Alicia Molik defeated Venus Williams 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).

I knew she was in fine form coming into last night's match, but I was concerned how she'd go against Venus Williams. What a game, it certainly was an edge of the seat affair. Although I must say, there were quite a few more dodgy line calls than usual, and Venus didn't seem to be at her best. Apparently she wasn't match fit, but decided to play in the tournament anyway. Alicia has proved she can slog it out with the best, it will be interesting to see how she goes against Lindsay Davenport tomorrow, she will certainly have the crowd behind her, even more so as it is Australia Day.

And Lleyton, what a comeback!

7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2

When he lost that third set I thought it was all over. But then he showed what a legend he is, and toughed it out to come back and win. Kudos to Rafael Nadal though, only 18 years old, and not a bit intimidated to have a go in the main arena. He will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #23

Hi guys, the Carnival has been posted. Great job by Caltechgirl, there certainly are a few recipes there that I am going to try out.
You can see the Carnival here.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #23 - Roasted lemon bay scented fish

This is what I am cooking for dinner tonight, so I thought it would be a good one to submit for the Carnival.
I had found in the past that I wasn't very good at cooking fish on the stove, so was happy to get this one that you can bung in the oven. It is in the Ainsley Harriott book "low fat meals in minutes". Quite a good recipe book, I've cooked a few recipes from it, this one in particular I have done loads of times. The recipe calls for cod fillets, but you can use any firm white fish for this, it is rare that I use cod. Tonight I am using Pacific dory fillets. I will be serving it with potatoes (recipe is below the fish one), and steamed carrots. And quite possibly with a lovely cold glass of Aussie Chardonnay (please feel free to substitute local equivalent, although if you can get your hands on an Aussie one, go for it!)

Roasted lemon bay scented fish

Serves 4


4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 x 150g (5oz) fish fillets
2 lemons, thinly sliced
10 fresh bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C/425 degrees F/Gas 7. Mix together the garlic, parsley, oil and some salt and pepper. Rub the mixture over the fish fillets and set aside for 10 minutes or so.

2. Arrange the lemon slices and bay leaves on a baking sheet and site the fillets on top. Cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes until just cooked and a little charred. Serve immediately.

BBQ'd potatoes

You can of course do this on the stove, I just love cooking them on the grill of the BBQ.


Baby potatoes (whatever amount you like, for hubby and me I am using four). Don't peel them, leave them with their skins on.
cooking oil
any fresh herbs you like


1. Bring potatoes to boil on the stove in the water (in a saucepan, otherwise it just goes everywhere!). Boil for fifteen minutes (this is not intended to cook them the whole way through, just to get them most of the way there)

2. Drain, and baste with the oil mixed with your herbs. Then skewer them on skewers (as opposed to other pointy things you may have lying about). To make it easier to turn them I tend to only put two or three on each skewer, they tend to get unruly if more than that (with more than a small number, you'll try to turn them, only one of them turns, you try again, the rest of them turn, first one turns a different way etc.. at this stage you reach for the chardonnay for sustenance)

3. Heat BBQ or stove to a medium heat and then basically cook until they get a nice browny colour.

Voila! Potatoes are ready to serve up with the fish and steamed carrots.

Weird much?

Of all the weird test takers:

73% are more weird,
10% are just as weird, and
17% are more normal than you!

So there, I am not overly weird.....hmmm

Thanks to Caltechgirl, who had a link to this quiz on her page

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

In the Wars

Just call me limpy, I am a woman with a twisted ankle!
Last night had training for touch footy, we are getting together a mixed team for the new comp. None of us are all that good, but we try hard. It is more a chance to have some fun and get some exercise. Believe me, touch footy will give you exercise!

Anyways, we were 2/3 of the way through training last night, and I zigged a little hard on my right foot, trying to step around the defence. My ankle twisted and down I went in a boneless heap. At first it absolutely killed, but I was able to limp off to the sideline, no more training for me :(

Got home, had shower, spent the next hour on the lounge with an ice pack on my ankle. Not much in the way of swelling, so not a bad sprain or anything thank goodness. Woke this morning to a stiff and sore ankle, no going for a run for me today :(

Ah well, these things happen.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

First uni essay

I just got the results back for the first essay of the uni unit I am doing.

I got.... drum roll please..... 82%!!!..... and..... I topped the class!!!!


I am definitely doing a dance of joy at the moment.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Sun, sand, and surf

Yesterday, I made my first trip to the beach for the Summer.

We'd planned all week to go, as Sydney has been having some hot weather. So, of course, Sunday morning I wake to the sound of thunder, and rain is pouring down! Fortunately it cleared, and after having bacon and egg rolls for breakfast (cooked on the BBQ, yuuummm), we were off. An hour later, we'd arrived and parked. Normally it would take about 45-50 minutes, but there was a bit of traffic when we got to the northern beaches, and it took a while to get a park.

There are heaps of beaches to the north of Sydney, normally we go to one called Whale Beach, but this time we decided to go to Bilgola Beach. Quite a nice beach, but there was quite a rip in the ocean, as such the flags we could swim between were quite close together. Spent half my time walking against the current, trying to get back between the flags!

Hubby and I prefer different things at the beach. Him, big waves, me, not so much. I am not as strong a swimmer as him, and tend to get dumped by big waves. We took our boogie boards, and I did manage to catch a wave or two, then a big wave came through. I managed to catch it at first, then it picked me up and dumped me down below, ouch!
Got a little sunburnt, but not too bad, made sure I had the sunscreen with me. Have had some shocking burns in the past :(

After swimming/drowning for a bit the clouds rolled in again, plus a gusty wind. So we packed up, and hightailed it out of there to go to a friends place for lunch and swim in their pool. Very nice, good company, good food, good swim. Sunday is my favourite day of the week, the pace is a bit slower, and it is a good day to kick back and relax.
After lunch we headed off, and stopped off at other friends for afternoon tea. Also a very nice time, it is good to spend time with friends.
Once home did some chores, then watched The Bourne Supremacy on DVD. Well, rather hubby watched it, I watched most of it, then slept through the last half hour!
And that was my Sunday :)

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #22

Carnival of the Recipes is up! Thanks to VW of One Happy Dog Speaks for doing a fabulous job. So click that link and get cooking, dammit!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #22 - Champagne Risotto

Hi everyone. This recipe is from Nigella Lawson's new book "Feast". My husband and I tried it the other day, and it is very good. Perfect for a romantic evening together. Like all risottos that you cook on the stove there is a lot of stirring to do, but it is well worth it. It helps the time go by if you pour yourself a glass of champagne to drink, and keep hubby on hand to share the task.

Champagne Risotto for Two

* 1 small stick of celery, 1/4 cup when chopped
* 2 leeks, 1 cup when white part is chopped
* 3/4 stick unsalted butter
* 1 1/2 cups champagne
* 1 tsp olive oil
* 3 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
* 1 1/3 cups carnaroli or Arborio rice
* 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
* Ground white pepper

1. Chop the celery and the white part of the leeks very finely. In a wide saucepan, melt 1/2 stick of the butter with the oil, and cook them gently until softened. In another saucepan, combine 1 cup of the champagne and all the chicken stock. Keep the mixture on a very low simmer, close to your risotto.
2. When the vegetables are soft, add the rice, stirring to coat in the oil until slicked and glossy. Turn up the heat and pour in the remaining 1/2 cup champagne. Stir constantly until the liquid is absorbed.
3. Turn down the heat slightly -- not too low, and continue adding ladles of the champagney stock, letting one ladleful be absorbed before adding the next, stirring all the while.
4. Once the rice is cooked, approximatley 18-20 minutes, stop--even if you’ve got some stock left over. If the rice has absorbed all the stock and still needs further cooking – both happen, add a little more. It’s just a very little more you think you need, boiling water will do.
5. Remove risotto from heat, and beat in the remaining butter and the Parmesan. Season with a good grinding of white pepper if possible to keep it looking pure and unspeckled.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

BBQing for my country

Last night we had guests over who were from England. They were hubby's Nana's sister's grandson and wife, so I guess that makes them some sort of cousin?
Anyway, they are on holiday here in Australia, we'd never met them before, so asked them to come visit. At first they were like "Don't worry about cooking us a meal, don't want you to go to too much trouble". I explained that it was no trouble, would do a BBQ. Well, that changed their tune... "Oh, the world famous Aussie BBQ, count us in". No pressure on me there, just now I had the reputation of Australia riding on my shoulders!
I was a bit hesitant about the whole thing, as we had never met them before, hoped we'd find stuff to talk about, that we'd like each other etc etc. Would be a very quiet meal if we didn't. Anyway, my fears were groundless, they were lovely. A youngish couple (I'm guessing middish 20's), both doctors, who come from London. It was classic listening to their accents, felt a bit like we were watching a British TV show! I never really think of myself as having an accent, I know I do, but because everyone around me pretty much has the same accent, it is not something you notice. Also, in Australia, there is no real difference in accents around the country, unlike America and England, where different regions have quite a different accent. Ours can range from a reasonably posh accent like Nicole Kidman's, to a real ocker accent, like Steve Irwin's. But this is not dependant on location, although I guess in the country, accents do tend to be a bit more broad.
Anways, for dinner, I started off with a thai prawn and lime satay (closest we get to chucking a shrimp on the barbie!). Very yummy, but fiddly to prepare. The prawns take a while, as I take the heads off, shell 'em, then get the vein out (really don't like the idea of eating a prawn's intestine, plus it can make you sick). It's worth it though, the lime and coconut milk marinade is heavenly, a perfect summer meal. The recipe called for 450g deheaded prawns, I didn't read that bit, so bought 450g prawns, heads and all. D'oh! Meant we only got one skewer each, but it was ok, only meant to be an entree....
After that, we did marinated steaks, and onions. The steaks were marinated in red wine (shiraz), crushed black peppercorns, a head of garlic, rosemary, and thyme. The marinating really helps to keep the steaks tender, and I must say hubby did a superb job of cooking them. We served this with a preprepared green salad, bread rolls, and a butter that I had made up, which had shallots, mustard, and crushed peppercorns mixed through.
All in all it was a big success.
We had fun comparing TV shows that the two countries had given to each other (Neighbours, Sons and Daughters to England, Jamie Oliver, Blackadder, The Office etc to Australia). Somehow, I think we got the better deal there!
Apparently Bill Granger is making himself known over in England. He is an Australian chef who has a few books and a TV show, and a couple of restaurants. His recipes are easy to cook, and are usually very tasty.
It's so interesting talking to people from different countries, comparing similarities and differences. That's partly why I blog, and read other blogs, although I love communicating to my fellow countrymen too! (Hello Daffy!)

Monday, January 10, 2005


My resolutions for the year:

Eat, drink, and be merry.. oh hang on, that's not it...
ah yes, now I remember... eat better food, drink less alcohol, exercise more, and spend less money.
I actually decided this stuff at the new year, but well, umm.. hadn't quite got around to starting. So yesterday was the start. Lots of salads so far for me, along with OJ, green tea, and water. We are having a BBQ tonight, but I promise to eat more salad than meat. And no wine. *sob*
Actually I feel good about doing a bit of a detox for a while, have been feeling a bit run down, want to get back on an even keel.
Today at lunch went for a walk/run. Pretty out of shape, so can't make it all run yet, but I'll get there. It is a beautiful day today (besides the fact that I had to start work at 5.30, meaning I was out of bed at 4.30, but that is another story!).
The sun was shining, but some clouds about so not too hot. The sky was so blue, amazing how blue the sky can get in the middle of Summer. My walk/run took me through one of our national forests, and the sun was filtering down, striking the green leaves, making them look iridescent. I feel more at peace in that sort of environment. Not surprising really, as work is mostly beige in colour, beige monitor, beige desk, beige phone, you get the idea. I am a sucker for bright colours in the outdoors, love flowers etc

Other things that I wish to accomplish this year:
I would like to learn the piano. I now have a piano as Mum and Dad didn't want theirs anymore. Score!
I would like to plant out my vege garden. Gardening is a relatively new hobby of mine, I have had a couple of citrus trees for a while, they are not dead yet, so will now branch (hehe) into other areas, eg carrots, capsicums, shallots etc. All the better to go with my other hobby, namely cooking!

So, all you reader(s) out there, what, if any, goals/resolutions do you have this year?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes #21

Hey, The Carnival of the Recipes has been posted. Click here my friends, to find lots of yummy recipes! This week it was hosted by Matthew from his Physics Geek site.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Recipe for the carnival - Lasagne

Now, being Summer here at the moment, I don't cook this too much at the moment, but thought, what the hey, all of you who are in Winter at the moment would appreciate this. It is very yummy, and very filling. Not one for those who are trying to lose weight...


500g (17.7 ounces) beef mince
1 onion
Olive Oil (not a lot, just enough to brown the mince in)
810g (28.6 ounces) can crushed tomato
2 packs tomato paste, each are 140g, 4.9 ounces (we have a brand here called Leggo's that sells these in 2 or 4 packs, not sure how widespread they are)
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
garlic to taste (I think there is no such thing as too much garlic, so adjust to your own taste)
1/2 tsp Italian herbs (if you don't have a mix of this, just oregano is nice)
sherry (enough to fill one of the Leggo tubs, so see amount above)
Lasagne sheets (fresh, not dried, I haven't been able to cook this successfully with dried)
Tasty cheese slices
500g (17.7 ounces) grated mozzarella, tasty cheese, parmesan mix (or whatever of these cheeses you feel like)
Jar of bechamel sauce, optional (yes, it can feel like cheating to not make your own up, feel free to do this if you like, I just can't be bothered.)

Brown meat and onion in olive oil until the liquid is gone.
Sprinkle parsley, Italian herbs, garlic, pepper, salt on top of the can of tomatoes.
Pour this mix of tomatoes and herbs into the meat.
Mix this in, then add and mix the tomato paste.
Turn heat down, and add the sherry.
Simmer for 1 hour, uncovered on a low temperature.
In a large baking dish, make a layer of the lasagne sheets, then a layer of the cooked meat. Add some bechamel sauce if you are using this, then add a layer of cheese slices.
Add another layer of lasgne sheets, and then another layer of meat.
Put some more bechamel sauce on if using, then sprinkle the grated cheese on top.

Bake at 150 degrees Celsius 300 Farenheit for 40 minutes.

Serve with a green salad and a healthy appetite!

Hi everybody!

Yes, I know, been a long time since I posted last, have been very slack.
Well, let me fill you in on the busy busy busy (I've been reaaally busy) last couple of months for me and hubby.
Where to start......
  • After a long time of not studying (about 10 ten years), I have tentatively started doing a subject at University. It is all online, so no classrooms etc. It is good, but very challenging. I was a hopeless student last time I was at Uni, as no motivation to study whatsoever (those doors to the library open? You can actually go in? hehe), so it is a big thing for me to try this out. Just the one subject at the moment, will see how I go.
  • The whole Christmas/New Year shebang. It felt like every frickin' friend and relative I know came to visit, our front door may as well have just stayed open. Christmas Eve, friends over. Christmas Day - hubby's parents place for lunch; quite a few people there, including some English relatives, prompting the rest of us to try out our English accents, not pretty! Then back to our house for Christmas dinner, including us, there was 19 (yes, that's right 19!!) for dinner. Being Summer here, our traditional Christmas fare is cold meats and salads, so we had ham, turkey, chicken, sausages (obviously they weren't cold!), coleslaw, pasta salad, green salad. For dessert we had trifles, cheesecake, and fruit salad. It all went very well, but was very tiring. Four people stayed overnight, so it was bacon and eggs cooked on the BBQ the next morning, yummy. After they left, we had another family over for lunch, next day, another family over for lunch. At this stage, I was starting to get a bit peopled out! Had a lovely New Year though, went to my brother and sister in law's place. They live in Newington, opposite the Olympic stadium (from the 2000 Olympics). From there if you look to the left you can see the city in the distance, so we got to see the fireworks over the Harbour Bridge, very spectacular.
  • Dealing with #$%ing tradesmen has really sapped my energy and time. The latest drama is with getting our pool resurfaced. We accepted a quote over three months ago, and to date they have not finished. The sum total of what they have done: chipped pebblecrete off rim of pool, tiled rim and waterline tiles.... that is it :( Still to do: the actual resurfacing ( a marble sheen), and the filter needs to be converted over from chlorine to salt. There have been multiple multiple phone calls (only from our side, they never bloody ring back!). They tell us their dramas, oh, we've had rain, it's held us up (we have had some rain, true, but definitely not 3 frickin' months of it!). Oh, we've been a tiler down (this is my problem how?) The reason we went with this company in the first place (even though they were the most expensive), was that they are a big company, so we thought we wouldn't have these hassles. Turns out that they subcontract all their work, and don't feel that they have any control over the contractors. So if you have heard a loud grinding noise lately, that would be me grinding my teeth, trying not to pick up the chainsaw....
Another reason I haven't been blogging much, was that I was feeling quite disillusioned about the whole blogging experience. So many blogs I read are fantastic, and quite frankly I felt mine wasn't good enough. When I was growing up, I had pretensions of being a writer, but never did anything about it. I read back through the blogs I'd written, and thought "geez, I'm just taking up space here"
Anyways, why am I back.... partly thanks to a lovely comment from Mellie Helen who wished me well, and hoped I came back.
And partly 'cause I do enjoy putting down my thoughts and I thought what the heck, lets give this another go.

So hi, everyone, I'm back xxx