If You Always Do What You've Always Done...Then You'll Always Get What You Always Got

Friday, 30 November 2012

Wagyu Beef

Today, I had wagyu beef for the first time ever.  Wow.

So, I went to a friend's place for lunch.  Lunch was just, you know, steak with ratatouille.  And red wine.  It's just that the steak was wagyu... and the wine was Spanish...  I was totally spoiled.

I've heard so much about wagyu.  It's all justified.  I was told it's like having casserole beef that has been cooked slowly for hours - except it's been cooked quickly.  If you haven't had it before, and you're not a averse to red meat, have it at some point in your life.

The ratatouille is also ... just... yum... and jacket potato with (I've never even thought of this but it is so good) truffle oil and butter.  Drool.  I need to get over this cold so I can run again. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Youtube Autoplay and BYOB

One thing about my brain: there is always music.  Well, probably more like 99.9% of the time, but you get the idea.  When I decide I want to hear something instead of having my brain produce the music, there's usually something that it has in mind (haha).  Today, for example, when I opened up iTunes, I had Mumford and Sons' I Will Wait in my head, and nothing else would tempt me.  Unfortunately, I don't have a recording of this, but in a flash of inspiration I went to Youtube.  I found a few videos - and then the channel.  Hello autoplay!  Which meant I could get on with all the little tasks I had to do and just listen.  Once I was done with Mumford I turned to Muse.  Win!  I still want to buy the actual recordings so I don't use up oodles of download quota though.  But especially handy for those bands about which I'm undecided, or just haven't bought yet.

The other New Thing for today was something that really shouldn't be a New Thing.  I took my own bag to Target.  So often, I go in on impulse... Or I know in advance I'll be shopping there yet forget a bag.  But recently, I've noticed the wealth of bags in my possession, and today I actually remembered to take one.  Go me.

Today's photo:

In the last few days, I've noticed my lettuce is actually looking more like lettuce.  This is exciting.

So exciting, you even get close-ups. 

The really super-looking one in the middle (in the top photo) wasn't from seed, but a seedling so that doesn't count.  Looking forward to eating it though...

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Outfit #97 - Celebration Assembly

Outfit details:
Dress: Fahrenheit (from Jeannie).  Earrings: gift from a student.  Shoes: Target.  Singlet: Ambra.

This is it for outfits for the year.  Today was the very last day I had to be at school this year.  YAY!!!  The quartet I take was shocked at the start of term that they would only have a few more rehearsals, so they asked if they could be part of the celebration assembly (you know, the one where they get their certificates).  The powers that be said sure, and so we had some more quartet time... and I got another day at school.  Well, a few hours.

And even though I felt fairly horrible (who gets sick on the holidays, really?!), it was nice to be at school.  I was given some lovely presents - including these earrings - and the assembly was pretty cute. 

On the way home, I realised there was something glittery in my bag - my phone was covered in it.  Later, I discovered the glitter gift tag... 

Today's photo:

On the way to school, these flowers were just catching the sun.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Breakfast Spices

Well, are you ready for a big one?  Yep, I used different spices on my breakfast this morning.  Wow.

I love cinnamon.  It used to be that I would have cinnamon and nutmeg on my breakfast on school mornings, and cardamom and cinnamon on non-school mornings.  Then I changed (!) and just stuck to cinnamon and nutmeg.  Yesterday, I made a slice which required cinnamon... all of my cinnamon... and this morning I forgot that.  I opened the pantry to find cardamom and nutmeg.  Agh!  Deep breaths... and I can deal with this now.  So breakfast had those two spices.  And no cinnamon. 

A little bit weird.  But today was weird anyway, and not just because of the spices.  At least, I hope it wasn't because of the spices - I didn't get to the shops today so I am still without cinnamon.

Today's photo:

These were kinda left at my house yesterday... Pretty cute, huh?!  Pretty gone now, too...

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Faure Requiem

The Faure Requiem is right up there in my list of Favourite Works.  I have played the violin solo part before (with choir and organ), but nothing more - apart from repeated listening.  So when I was asked to be part of a small orchestra performing it with a choir, of course I said yes.  Even though the performance was on the Sunshine Coast. 

Oh, the other thing about this requiem - solo violin part, yes, but no first or second violins.  First viola or second viola.  And the usual cello, bass, percussion and woodwind stuff.  So the person organising the orchestra had to find people who could play violin and viola comfortably (we also did a Schubert mass and the real Brandenburg Concerto #3).  This is good for me.  I really consider myself a violinist who can play viola, but it's good for my brain to get a workout with viola clef.  It also boosts my confidence with my viola students.  On the downside, I now have a really sore neck (although, admittedly, this could be from this morning's workout...).  Sore necks don't happen to me with violin.

It wasn't a perfect performance - for my own part, I had a bit of clefilepsy, and there were a couple of other slips from others (but not huge or glaringly obvious).  However, it was one of those that confirm for me why I am a musician.  During the introit, I looked into the audience, and saw a woman with eyes closed, smiling.  I know this doesn't sound like much, but she was so obviously enjoying this, and a part of what we were creating at that time.  It made the trip all worthwhile.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Chinese Dishes

Last night, we went to a season launch for a musical theatre company.  Finger food was provided, but we felt the need for something more substantial after that.  As we were in the Valley, we had a wealth of Asian food places from which to choose.  We opted for an unassuming place on Wickham St which has been around for 20 years - so, great food.  (I think it was called 'Super Bowl' - which gave me a giggle).

I tried 2 dishes I haven't had before - Sang Choy Bow, and Pork ribs.  I am really glad I had someone experienced helping me along otherwise I would have had mince all down my front.  We also had Mongolian Lamb (an old favourite), and the combination of dishes (refreshing, sweet, salty) was a winner.

So now I know the better way to roll the lettuce so you have a roll with a backbone... and how addictive sweet sticky ribs can be...  It's probably a good thing I don't eat out very often - I'd most likely have to be in permanent training for a half marathon!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Boxing in the Park

This morning, I did some boxing in a park with a friend.  This friend has done proper boxing training, and promised to teach me good technique and train properly.  I'd done some boxing with Trainer Dan, usually as a warm-up (so, not for a full 45 minute PT session).  I thought it would be easier for everyone if I was treated as a complete novice. 

So, New Things:
*Boxing training for a bit over an hour.
*Doing something new in a public park - in case you are unaware, as this is a relatively New Thing, my risk of embarrassment was correspondingly high, and doing this out in the open was potentially intimidating.  Especially when 2 fit-looking blokes rocked up to do some footy training. 
*Shoulder exercises.  They're a secret, so I can't tell you...
*Holding the pads.
*Not getting totally smashed in a training session.  I think that's because it was my first time though, so the next time will be less talk, more action.

Today's photo:

We had a post-workout second breakfast.  I take absolutely no credit for this.  Bacon and eggs will never be the same again... So, this is a (sorry, just wiping off the drool) French omelette with tarragon, mushrooms and truffle oil. 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Outfit #96 - Yippee

Outfit details:
Dress: Hot Options.  Shoes: Target.  Earrings: from Jeannie.

Yippee!  Today was my last full teaching day for the year.  Enough said, really.  I thought of doing a photo with a jump, but my brain couldn't work out how to do that with a timer and tripod and .... just ... no.  But believe me, there were internal jumps happening.  I am so looking forward to the holidays!

I only had a few kids to teach, too, so it was a pretty short day.

Yesterday's photo:

I was in a hurry when doing yesterday's post, so didn't include superfluous photos.  I was rather impressed with this grade 3 girl - she asked to do 'Morning Mood' (the theme from the morning bit in the Peer Gynt Suite), which she could already play on piano.  She played it on the piano for me, then I wrote out the sol-fa, and told her do = d.  She wrote out the notes, then I told her to start with do = g, and so = d (3 fingers on the A string).  She promptly wrote out the new version - although we didn't get around to putting sticks on the second lot of notes.  Then she played both versions.

Today's photo:

I stepped outside this afternoon and noticed flowers on my strawberry plant (which is now a monster).  Fingers crossed for a couple of strawberries!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Outfit #95 - Grade 3 Concert

Outfit details:
Skirt: Sunny girl (op shop).  Singlet: Lorna Jane.  Top: Sportsgirl (op shop).  Ribbon: from a skirt from Katies.  Shoes: Target.  Necklace: op shop.  Earrings: Mombasa

Today was the last strings lesson for the grade 3s, so they gave a concert to the grade 2s.  Pretty cute.

One of the grade 3s, straight after I'd tuned her violin, looked up at me with concern.  "What happened to your feet?" she wanted to know.  I explained they were 'just in case' bandaids.  I don't think she got it.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Outfit #94 - Almost

Outfit details:
Skirt: Sunny girl (from Jeannie).  Top: Suite Boutique.  Singlet: Ambra.  Shoes: Spanish, from Jeannie.  Earrings: David Jones.  Necklace: Mombasa (I think).

It's almost holidays.  But today I realised it's not holidays just yet.  Today was a really, really long day.

As for this nail polish colour - it's an OPI colour called Pompeii Purple.  To my eyes, this is the pinkest of pinks.

And because it's almost Christmas holidays, I wore my Christmas earrings and a necklace in green.  Although, now it looks like the next earring outing will require a close-up of the earrings, but you can get the idea.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Movie #28 - Star Trek

Last night, I had my first ever Star Trek experience.  For real.  I'm pretty sure the friend who introduced me to this was a bit gob-smacked that I hadn't seen any Star Trek or Star Wars (yes - it's true).  We were just going to watch the very very beginning (actually so I could experience blu-ray for the first time) but then ... well, I don't like to leave things unfinished.  We watched the whole thing. 

Things I learned:
There are movies and tv series (I hadn't realised this before).
It's really great to watch something as iconic as this with someone who knows about it.  Short of watching every Star Trek movie and tv episode myself, then watching and going [lightbulb] aahhhh! - having someone knowledgeable (but not totally gung-ho) was a pretty good option.
Well, I could go on and on... But the other thing about watching an iconic movie like this, is that I now recognise some of the references from the Simpsons.  Yay!

Things I liked:
It makes your brain work.  Not just a plot that does a 3 act drama, this one made my brain try to work out how this had happened, tying it in with what I was learning about the previous shows that were really coming after this in time... kinda... and I know that once I've watched more, there will be more things I'll notice. 
The violence isn't overdone.  There were some bits that made me cringe or get a sympathetic twinge, but not overly.  And you didn't have to see close-ups of fighting or blood-splatters or anything.
Simon Pegg.  And, not Simon Pegg as recognisable from any of the ice-cream movies, but in an actually different role.  He does make me laugh.
The music is really well done.
I recognised the writers from Hawaii Five-O (I'm not great at recognising non-actor names).
I know it's cheesy, but the costumes.  So sixties and reminiscent of Austin Powers.  Love it.

Without having watched any other bits of this, the whole destiny thing is something I'd like to see a bit more.  That idea of our history, our past, the bits of time that have gone before us that have contributed to the way we are, the way others see us, the way we see ourselves - whether or not we are getting into the whole space/time travel thing, this is something so close to us that we don't even realise it's a part of us sometimes.

Today's photo:

Today's photo is really yesterday's photo x 2.  The first is from the 3rd storm of the day - I was at church in the evening and the clouds looked pretty impressive around the city.  Massive storm - we had to delay the service because all you could hear was the downpour.  The streets in the city, and around my neighbourhood, are all covered in debris today.  A bit further out of the city though (where some of my brothers and their families live) was really badly hit.

The second - much calmer - is my first try of gnoccho - a combination of shell pasta with gnocchi.  Love the little scoops with sauce!

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Yesterday morning, I was told I would be playing poker in the evening.  Probably.  Probably turned into, actually, yes.  It had been a long while since my last poker game.  Although I was rather more sober than the other participants throughout the evening, I still lost. 

But that's not the point.  At the start of the night, these poker-playing scotch drinkers suggested I try some scotch.  Having been around scotch drinkers a lot, but not having had any of it myself, I was curious.  I had a shot with them.  Apparently, the first scotch for the night is in a shot glass, and you sip it first, then scull.  The sip I enjoyed, and the rest of it too - although I couldn't manage to scull it all in one.  Mine was the one on the left, if you were in doubt at all.

Of course, conversation returned at various points in the evening to scotch, and smoky versus not smoky and all that.  This wasn't smoky (I guess I have to try a smoky scotch eventually), but its aroma was very apple-y (in my uneducated opinion). 

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Lodging an Objection

Today, I started my Objection.  This is the sort of thing I would normally think about doing, particularly if I actually feel strongly about something... and then, you know, the deadline for submissions would pass me by, and I'd think 'oh yeah...'  For this, though, I feel really strongly, and the thought of the proposed development going ahead is just horrifying.  I'm starting this today so it happens by Monday, which is just over a week before submissions close on November 27.

Oh, the horror.  I am a member of St John's cathedral.  It is a significant building in its own right, and there are city council rules regarding what happens around it.  A nearby block of land has put forward a proposed development which contravenes these rules, but the council is saying this will be fine, and they'll change the city plan to accommodate this new building.  Not cool, Brisbane.  At our last cathedral council meeting, we were shown the proposed development.  Gasps all around.  We were asked, if we felt strongly, to lodge an objection.  I feel strongly.  I'm lodging an objection.

The cathedral chapter has prepared a guide to help people submit an objection (the link is here if you wish to see for yourself). 

Today's photo:

Bit of a storm this morning... and another about to come through.  This was taken after the morning storm, when things were clearing. 

Friday, 16 November 2012

Becoming a Recipe Contributor

Recently, I made a banana custard slice with a recipe I found on the Natvia site.  The recipe had no photo, so once I'd made it (and, naturally, photographed it), I sent through the photo.  The photo is now the photo for that recipe - a little thrill right there.

In communication while sending through the photo, though, I was asked if I would like to be a regular contributor and tester.  The best bit - they send me stuff!  First I had to ask the people around me who would be likely eating the products if this was okay.  Grudgingly, yes...  So long as it's not too healthy.  As this is a sugar-type product, I'm pretty sure it will still be not so healthy, at least in flavour.  I just had to send my postal address so they could deliver free food to me.  Easy.  Looking forward to trying out some new recipes and inventing new combinations too.

Today's photo:

For a little while, the bridge on my violin has been ... not amazing.  Just a little bit bent.  Last week I took him in for either a new bridge or a repair, and went with the repair option.  Today I got to pick him up - ooh... So good to have him back, all fixed up and running smoothly again.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Outfit #93 - Blue 31

Outfit details:
Dress: no label (from Jeannie, from an op shop).  Singlet: Jeanswest.  Shoes: Target.  Earrings and pendant: from Jeannie.

Today was forecast to be 31.  I'm also in a super-busy time of year, so ironing is not on my list of Things To Do.  Maxi dress to the rescue.  This was its first outing, and I was a little unsure once I'd put it on... but I was told by several people (yes, most of them 9 and 10-yr-old girls) that it is a very pretty dress.  And, although 31 is up there on my list of Least Favourite Numbers, I did appreciate that we were forecast for 31 on my 93rd outfit...

These shoes are a little hard, and this was the first time in ages that I've worn them.  I packed a stack of Band aids... I used nearly all of them...

Possibly the most versatile earrings ever.  They go with everything. 

Today's photo:

No rehearsal today, the ensemble had their last performance last week.  At morning tea, nearly all of them (plus a couple of extras) rushed to my room with these flowers, a card, and a big group hug.  Followed by some dancing and more individual hugs.  Made my day :)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Outfit #92 - Solar Eclipse

Outfit details:
Skirt: Hot Options.  Shirt: Miss Shop (from Jeannie).  Belt and shoes: Target.  Singlet: Dotti.  Earrings: ???

This morning was a solar eclipse.  I'd heard about it yesterday as something for people in north Queensland, so when the light went all weird this morning, I kept looking out to see if it was cloudy.  It wasn't cloudy - I actually saw a bit of the eclipse!  Being so much further south than Cairns, we didn't get much eclipse, but there was some.  Normally when things like this happen, I either forget about it entirely, or there are too many clouds to see anything good. 

Of course, I blame the weirdness of today's photo on the weird light outside.

Today's photo:

No, I didn't get a photo of the eclipse.  I did get all excited when I saw the poincianas are coming out in my street, though.  Another weird photo thing - this is the HDR version, which is not as bright in the colours as the actual subject.  However, the standard version looks photoshopped.  Must take a real photo soon!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Outfit #91 - Summery Apron

Outfit details:
Dress: Caroline Morgan.  Shoes: Target.  Earrings: made by me.

I haven't worn this dress to school very often.  In fact, I think this was the second time.  The first time I wore it (about a year ago), a girl in grade 3 or 4 asked if it was an apron - it's not (it has a double layer so it's a bit deceptive), but I think of it now as my apron dress.  Today I was told I looked very summery, but really it was just uninspired.

And my hair started the day not pulled back, but it started to look ... umm... weird (like a haystack) so back it went.

Today's photo:

Recently I was introduced to coffee bags.  I forgot to buy any last week, but I made sure they were on my list yesterday, and today was my first at school.  Win.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Miso Soup

Last night, a friend said I must try miso soup.  I have some miso paste for Japanese-style dishes, but I've never had miso soup.  He handed over 2 packets of the miso, and 2 packets of the ... you know, the other stuff you put in it.  He did tell me what the flavours were, but I neglected to take notes - and it's been a long time since I read any Japanese so I'm not so sure.  (The yellow one is K6 if there are any people in the know reading this).

I thought (due to its salty factor) this would be a good post-run snack.  I think I'm right.  Liquid, quick, and salty.  I still followed it with chicken and kale, but it was a great starter.  And I can't wait to try the other flavour.  Whatever it may be.

Today's photo:

This was almost a New Thing.  Well, it is a New Thing... Today, I ate my first home-grown tomato.  It was so good!  So good, in fact, that you get a bonus photo.  I ate it with fried haloumi; a (delivered) organic tomato; 3 wrinkly but finally red cherry tomatoes (also from the garden); and basil, chives and parsley from the garden.  The large tomato is a Black Russian, so even though it looks a bit green still, it was quite ripe.

It was a good lunch.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A Night at the Opera

...No, not the movie.  On Thursday night I went to the opera for the first time in ages (this century, if that gives you an idea); the first time to an Opera Queensland production; the first time to an opera in the Lyric Theatre at QPAC.  More exciting, though - the first time to see Carmen.  I love the music of Carmen, but had never heard the whole opera, or even some of the well-known parts in their original format.  It was so good to hear music I know well from the violin repertoire, performed operatically.  It is so easy to learn a piece of music violinistically but neglect the original setting. 

There were 4 of us going.  Inga picked me up just after 5:15, and then we sat on Coronation Drive for about 50 minutes.  Dinner ended up being a chocolate chip cookie from the bar, and we had a light meal after the show.  We had good seats (2nd row in the balcony), and could read the sur titles easily as well as take a peek into the pit.  Even better, though, was knowing a number of people in the pit, and some of the singers on stage.  I didn't have a thorough read of the programme, so I missed that there were even more people on stage that I know than I thought.  I'd seen some photos (thank you, Facebook) of some of these friends in costume - think corsets and spray tans - so I knew a bit of what to expect, but it was still really hard to spot friends.

The music was well-performed, although occasionally I felt the singers were out of time.  Not knowing the score though, I will reserve judgement.  The interpretation as a whole was ... not subtle...  M rated, definitely.  So I hope my kids don't see it!  (Oh, the dilemmas of music teachers).  As for the singers (coming at it from an ordinary person perspective), the only one I didn't really warm to was Micaela, who had a very thin sort of voice.  After all this, the actual ending was a bit of a fizzer - I think the choreography of the stab could have been more dramatic or realistic (it was a very quick stab, when it would have had to go through a whole lot of dress and corset and abdominal muscle, and would likely not have been instantly fatal - do I watch too much crime tv?).  But for everything else, I'm a fan.  Now I just want a bit of spare time so I can dig out my Sarasate and play these tunes again.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Outfit #90 - Junior Proms

Outfit details:
Dress: Fahrenheit (from Jeannie).  Shoes: Target.  Earrings and pendant: both gifts.

Today was the Junior Proms concert.  For the first time, I had 2 groups performing - the string ensemble, and the junior string quartet.  The ensemble ... well, they didn't play their best.  The violins mostly watched my beat but played really softly.  The cellos didn't watch me (and missed their cue) and played really loudly.  One piece, they all sped up at the same rate.  The other, the lower strings won the race.  Thankfully, the junior string quartet made me feel better.  They played beautifully, even better than in rehearsal.

I actually had my hair out while at school, but today was really warm and I just couldn't stand it too much longer.  The dress was a big hit, too.  Doing this post, I realised - this whole outfit cost me $12.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Outfit #89 - Multicoloured Bits

Outfit details:
Skirt: Temt (op shop).  Top: Ambra.  Shoes: Pulp.  Earrings and bracelet: from Jeannie.

I know it's not obviously colourful, but the shoes and bracelet I find so exuberant in their colour mixing.  Which is great if you want to pair them with other colours!  I just had neutrals available today though.

Hair was a bit odd today.  I went for a run this morning, so gave it a quick wash afterwards, which resulted in a bit of ...weirdness... on one side.  Still getting the new haircut compliments (mostly) which is nice though.

After 2 days of wearing heels, I thought a flats day was in order - and I'm so glad I did!  About half my kids were needing to be picked up from various places around the school so I did a lot of walking.  Plus, these shoes make me think Summer.

Pretty bracelet - first outing.  I like bracelets that stay in one place.  If it doesn't stay, it's gone within about 5 minutes of playing.

Today's photo:

Another from the rose garden.  The perfection of this rose hasn't really come through the photo - hopefully I'll remember my camera tomorrow, and hopefully it will still be in a state of perfection.  It's really something.