Monday, November 22, 2010

Excuse me while I duck out...

For those of you that don't know, I'm inserting a quick advertisement here for my Facebook Farm Page - facebook.com/littlefarminthesuburbs . It has all the updates you could possibly need on the chickens, ducks, new flock, culls, slaughter and all the general mini-farm related stuff. I might possibly get a twitter for this in the near future. Ugh. :P

So. The farm has, count it, six sets of babies waiting to come to light. Basically, spring happened and everyone is now expecting. I've got a barely-laying hen on a Muscovy egg, a Muscovy on Blue Swedish duck eggs, a Swedish duck on Silver Swedish eggs, a leghorn (!) on 5 sets of rare breed eggs, a pregnant cat and we're picking up our new beautiful King Parrot on the 1st, when she's old enough.

Here's how animals work when it comes to all of the above, because as I wrote it I realized a lot of the information was stuff I had to learn - but that I haven't told anyone. So naturally now that I've learned it I assume everyone knows it. Here's the skinny:

Muscovies are EXCELLENT mothers and I. didn't. know. this. Pissed. Turned out Muscovies can clutch 14 eggs THEIR FIRST GO. This is 20 chickens. After that they can do 20 ducks! or like 30 chickens! What does my Lady Duck Muscovy have? 5. 5 Blue Swedish ducklings. And by the time I figured out what I had done - it was too late.

See, once a hen has a set of eggs, she has THAT set of eggs and unless you can time the hatching of ducks and chickens to the DAY, you're gonna screw yourself over. Because once things hatch, mama gives it a day and then gets off. So if you put new eggs under there too late - you just killed an entire clutch. (Clutch = one full set of laid eggs before the hen decided to sit on them usually 12 for chickens and 15 for ducks)

Leghorns are NOT known for getting clucky. Especially my Leghorn, which is an ex-battery hen. It was BRED to make eggs. For years and years and generations. It should not be clucky. Which is why I put eggs under her the SECOND day she was clucky. Sometimes new to cluck hens get un-clucky too soon because of their childish impatience.

Which brings me to Natalie. The reason we had to buy new nesting boxes. Bitch likes to swap eggs! Remember what I said above? I spent every day reorganizing eggs to very much the danger of the eggs. I tried to move all of them but she DOES NOT like it. The muscovy and leghorn have adapted to the new separated nesting boxes (it's a triple - three separate boxes in the same structure) but I've had to block her in with a cardboard box and a tyre. Which sucks because her singular duckling is due in 3 days. Meaning I have to make sure she STAYS there while simultaniously making sure once that baby hatches, she can get off quickly and start raising it without smushing it.

I've let the Silver Swede build her own nest in a corner near the house and lay an egg a day until she was done (which I believe was 9) and then I threw another what I suspect was Blue Swedish egg underneathe her. Muscovy was clucky but the blue has only laid that egg since. Could also be a Silver egg, but it was laid in a funny spot. Either way, they (10? 11? 9?) should all hatch at the same time and all, but one, 100% naturally!! From nest to lay to hatch, all natural. How cool is that?

The cat is just a whore.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'm not sorry...

When I was a little girl, I used to apologize for everything. Was it too bright that day? It was clearly my fault. Was the air a little cold? It was definitely my doing. When someone chirped up with even the tiniest complaint, such as, "Gee my feet hurt," my immediate reply would be a sudden and fearful, "I'm sorry!"

I blame my childhood. Mostly because I was a child and, well, I can't blame my adulthood, it hasn't happened yet. When I was little, for some unknown reason, the entire family decided things would always be my fault. If I had not been somewhere for weeks, I would come back and people would say to me, "Oh, it rained while you were gone! Why did you do that!?" They thought it was funny. I'm sure it was at the time.

It gave me a fucking complex. For years. Many. Many years.

And by many, I mean 'until pretty fucking recently'. See, I still apologize for everything. Not NEARLY as much anymore and, well, these days I pretty much refuse to apologize even for things I did (depends, really). People blame me for something and instead of apologizing these days, I just fix it. I'm so damn fucking sick of saying I'm sorry to people.

And you know why?

Because I don't fucking have to.

I'm hyper. Very hyper. I jump and get excited and just when you think, "Hey I know, I'll get excited too." it... just makes me worse. When someone else starts jumping, I start jumping and it becomes a cycle. Four year olds love me. For many many many years I apologized for this. I tried to cover it up. I had to not be hyper. People really don't like hyper for the most part, did you know that? Also, hyper is almost always paired up with 'stupid'. I did everything I could to not be hyper. If someone said, "Gee, you're hyper!" I'd apologize. I'm so sorry I'm hyper. I'll try not to do it again.

Fuck it. I'm fucking hyper. I'm twenty fucking four and I'm STILL hyper. It's not going away. No amount of alcohol, drugs, medications, etc will make me not hyper. And, well... it's not a bad thing. And screw the people who think it is! So what if I'm hyper? You're not me. You don't live with me. My husband loves my hyper (although admittedly it's a bit much for him sometimes too - but the best thing about me is I love honesty. Tell me to fuck off... and I will!). I'm sick of apologizing for an aspect of me that never changed.

That will never change.

And this is not the only thing I have done this with. And many of my friends too. Apologizing or being embarassed for things that make you, well, you. I cannot honestly recall a single time where I saw a woman snort when she laughed and I thought, "Ugh, how nerdy"... every single time I thought to myself, "Aw, that's cute!" and yet, every single time someone has done it around me they were humiliated, embarassed and apologetic. You snort when you laugh. Some people don't like it. Some people, like me, do. So why apologize for an aspect of yourself that may or may not make someone happy? Take your fucking chances!!! If they don't want to be your friend because of your laugh do you really want to be their friend?!

So. I'm hyper. And I'm bubbly. I'm excitable. I'm exceedingly and probably annoyingly (especially to the chronically depressed) positive. I exaggerate sometimes without meaning to. I blurt out sexist jokes on occasion without meaning to. When men piss me off, I aim for the crotch - fist or words, it's gonna get one of 'em. I love animals to the point of absurdity. I can take a genuine interest in simple basic things like curtain design or spoons. I read really quickly. I walk really quickly. I eat really quickly. I sometimes forget my keys. I always forget my glasses. I would lose my face if it weren't for mirrors. When I'm really insanely happy and I smile super big, my tooth sticks out really far and I look like a horse. Sometimes I just don't remember to do things. Sometimes I try to do too much. I am so sure I can do anything that I sometimes fuck things up because I won't let a professional do it. I eat things I dropped on the floor. I like expensive things. I like cheap things.

And you know what... I'm okay with all of that. It's just me. And I'm not going to apologize for it any more.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

*ded*

My first photo on my blog as a new wife is just like me - classy.

So I am back from my wedding, which wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I had some horrible people treat me in some horrible ways (see "I am not a Bridezilla" and then add another 20 crappy things, only from 'friends') right up until the wedding so I was nervous, stressed and basically on the verge of calling the whole thing off. ("Why get married if nobody will be there!?" I cried.)

It was worth it and I'd do it 100 times. The people that were there... well, they were the ones that mattered, now weren't they? Some of my closest friends came hell or high water, risking even death (!) to come to my wedding!

But now, now I know I have surrounded myself with quite possibly the world's best people. I have great taste, I think. Looking around at my wedding at all the people that were there for me just made me realize that it really isn't about quantity, but about quality and damned if my wedding was based on quality guests, I'd get a fucking medal.

At one point I was standing in the aisle and we all realized nobody had my music! My music! What were we going to do? All of a sudden one of my closest friends says to me, "Wait, I have a solution!" and whispers to me. I forgot. My friend.. is an opera singer. And only usually a drunk one. But there we go, stone cold sober and she sings for me. Sings loud and clear and beautifully for me to walk down the aisle. Screw iPods. Screw predone orchestrated music from a speaker system. I accidentally had a live opera singer sing me down the aisle. Beat that from your friends!

I am looking forward to writing out thank you cards. Wedding gifts rule. So thoughtful, really. I want to describe the things I got but I fear if I forget one, I will be just distraught with horror at the idea of offending someone who gave me a fantastic gift. Let it be known though that there wasn't a single damn gift I either didn't need, didn't want or couldn't use a million times over. And I'm hard to shop for!! Some people actually got me kitchen things I didn't have! Who can do that? My friends!

So now it's all over and my mother is gone, the coffee machine broke during the wedding so it's not on the counter, the dishes are all over the place, my candles are in a box in the garage... and sadly when we got home, one of our parrots had to be taken care of until she passed on, so her cage is missing as well. The house feels eerily empty and like we just moved into it - what with living out of laundry baskets and plates on the counter. I'm working on fixing it up - but we're still missing my adorable parrot sounds.

So it really IS like a new beginning for us, I suppose. We're putting away all our beautiful gifts (sheepskin rugs! two person woven picnic sets! digital photo frames! Tupperware! blankets! booze! GOOD BOOZE! Money! Shit I did what I said I wouldn't!) and even our own stuff so it does feel all brand new.

I feel different, the boy doesn't. I feel older and more mature. Possibly because I nearly killed myself with stress. I think I aged 6 years. I also lost some hair. Okay, I lost a lot of hair. But nobody noticed. Nobody even noticed my missing earring (except just before the wedding one whole person did). I stressed for nothing.

So now it's time for peppermint tea and naps. With kangaroos.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Don't Count Your Fois Gras Before They Hatch!

5 days until I get married. 10 days until baby chickens hatch. 30 days until we have baby ducks. And possibly only a week until we have kittens. Due to an overwhelming oversight in feline Houdini magic, a big fat orange tabby managed to make his way into my home about 6-7 weeks ago to give my 5 month old (at the time) little kitten a what-for. Figuring I had a couple months to fix her after the wedding, I was a bit taken off guard. I didn't witness the what-for and had actually assumed it didn't occur since I only found the behemoth in my garage, not the house itself. Judging by the belly...kittens.

So, I fail at cat ownership. In my defense, the little thing is barely seven months old and was always kept indoors. In my defense, cats are notorious for doing this and I should've just really known better.

However I really seem to WIN at duck ownership. I candled the eggs last night under my newly-nesting Lady Duck, who is Elvis's girlfriend, the muscovy. It appears we have two duds but SIX ducklings. My current problem is I made the mistake of not separating Muscovy eggs from Blue/Silver Swedish and Muscovies take about 4-5 days longer to hatch than Swedes, so hopefully this works. I'm GUESSING that the two duds might be Muscovies because her and Elvis are new to mating and, since it does take longer to grow, might not be duds at all, just slow-growing Muscys.


Lady Duck

So I am excited. I really don't know what kind of ducks she's hatching and I'm pretty sure she doesn't care, she's been stealing the unfertilized chicken eggs (much to my poor hand's distress when I need to retrieve them) and trying to hatch those as well. As you can see, she's plucked much of her gorgeous ducky down feathers and built her nest up with them. I have wild notions of sitting there for hours picking through it all to get enough fluff to make a pillow. Clearly this will end after about 10 minutes of cursing, but I like my wild notions nonetheless.

My fiance made a sook last night because I was excitedly telling people of my ducklings and kittens. "You are more excited about babies than you are about marrying me this week," he said. I felt bad, but he's not right - it just appears that way.

See, when you're about to get married, you talk about it a lot and people get, well, kind of sick of it. So you try not to talk about it as much. Only... the day gets closer the less you try to talk about it. So you feel like a rubberband about to snap wanting to describe your dress for the 1056387th time to your friend because the day is only a week away but you know you're just going to get an evil glare, so you don't.

... but this is my blog, so fuck you guys.

My dress is gorgeous! And the amazing tailor at Admiral's Quarters in Brisbane CBD really knows how to take care of people. Not trusting any tailor with Glynn's first suit, especially at Hugo Boss prices, I knew this particular tailor was, well, good. I've used him before. He has excellent prices, takes pride in his suits and it always willing to help you out and make you feel great - even if you're the 10,000th bride he's seen that day. He'll excitedly whisk you into a beautiful dressing room and professionally but nicely compliment you and help you any way he can. The whole experience is over before you knew it began - and the whole thing is relatively painless. Even the price - so I thought I'd put a little advertisement here for them. Stuart's Suits is just below (but inside) Admiral's Quarters and is fan-fucking-tastic.

Truth be told, I'm panicking just a little. Didn't think I would but I think my mother makes me panic and well, she's here. So I feel like I've got to entertain, plan a wedding, make sure she's proud of me, farm and get married all in the same week. All while feeling scrutinized beyond recognition. It's been making me nervous and I've been dropping things, stuffing up recipes, feeling sorry for myself and even crying - which is something I really don't do these days.

It's not hard, I'll say that. It's easy, life. It's just complicated. So many things to do, I feel a little overwhelmed but I don't feel so terribly challenged. I know I can do it. I know it'll be fine.

This might also be why I just start going on about ducklings and how excited I am 5 days before my wedding. Because actually talking about the wedding makes me start hyperventilating.

6 ducklings!!! 6 beautiful gorgeous roasted ducks. 200 bars of duck fat soap. 24 litres of duck stock. 3 gorgeous duck down pillows or 1 duck down blanket. 6 servings of hand-made fois gras.

DUCKS!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ramblings Deux

It's 4:30 in the morning and my future husband lays in bed, the wind sounding like two stroke engine through his nose as he cuddles a pillow for warmth, since my greedy ass stole the blankets last night. I have been awake over an hour already, had two coffees, done laundry and picked out my outfit for meeting my mother today.

Last night in a fit of 'I just did all the damn dishes' and 'what can I cook that's quick and delicious and warm' and ended up with.. well.. pancakes. Fuck it, I'm an adult. I can have pancakes for dinner. It's not like my body is going to get fat on the carbs, am I right? Might as well get away with it in my 20s while I still can. (Yes, it's the pancakes that'll make me fat. Not the 4 tablespoons of butter, whipped cream or handmade half-sugar jam that'll do it. Yep, the whole-wheat pancakes. Those will make me fat. Logic.)

So once more the house is spotless. Like, insanely spotless. Everything has a place. Every last object in my home has a home. I know where the tiniest thing is. 6 pairs of scissors by the way, not counting my pinking shears. And the spiders were coming from inside the couch. Just thought I'd update that.

Since everything had to have a place, I went through my pantry again last night to take stock. It looks utterly fantastic. There's something about a stocked pantry that I can sit in front of for hours and just sigh about. Happy sighs, of course. I found some ingredients I had forgotten I had - dates and coconut, mostly. But also some jams and fruit I had jarred and forgotten about. Delicious!

Food is so fantastically good. I love eating and sneaking and raiding. I have gorgeous home-dried strawberries and leaves for tea and I sneak the dried berries out now and again. Same with my jar of dried sugary (well, no, agavey) rhubarb sticks I made one week.

4:37. I write quickly. I'm bored and I have 1 1/2 hours to do my makeup before I have to leave to spend an unholy amount on short-term parking at the airport.

I eventually got the flowers.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jitters

My wedding is in a little over a week and I'm getting anxious and excited. The vows are written, the shoes are in their box tied with ribbon, the veil is sitting on the petticoat, the tailor has our outfits, the rings are bought, the glasses are rented and life is moving along swimmingly.

As per usual, I'm cleaning a lot. This is really nothing new in the daily life of me, but I did all those niggly things I've been meaning to do for over a year now. You know, where you find out just how many scissors you really have and finally realize, shit, that's where the spiders are coming from.

Ohp! And there I just got a delivery of a nice hardbound handmade recycled diary/planner I got for the new year! I specifically got November included just for the wedding, too. Perfect! I had it made with extra long Fri-Sun and short Mon-Thurs because that's how I roll when I work. Needed space for addresses of jobs and all that.

But anyway... I'm being ultra-organized. Obviously. Everything has a place. And everything is in it's place. It's amazing. There is literally nothing out of place in my house. Not a single thing. Except maybe me. I smell like something that walked out of a zombie festival for brains. I don't know what that smells like but I reckon not good. I don't know, someone can tell me someday I'm sure.

So. 9 days until my wedding. 1 day until my mother arives. 2 more days of work until I get married. $1100 left owing. Breathe Liz. Breathe.

Shit I forgot flowers.

Monday, October 25, 2010

How to Not Hatch An Egg

Life is good. I am very happy. Things are going well. Well, except for the fucking eggs.

We lost some eggs in the rains, but it's alright. We did the best we could but they just never hatched. The silkies appear to be doing well, but we'll see in another two weeks or so. I appear to not be so great at this egg hatching thing. It's a learned skill.

It's actually quite a bit more difficult than you think, egg hatching. First your chicken must be broody for it to sit on eggs or you need a pretty reliable incubator. Oh boy does it suck when it unreliables on you. And did you know your chicken can destroy the nest, eat her own eggs (yes, she ate one), hide some eggs entirely from you and then just walk away from nearly hatching babies and let them all die? Yeah well, I didn't either.

So I spent a good day spazzing around trying to fashion a heat box out of an ice box (sorry mother, I owe you another one) and manage the heat to a nice 100F, which is a good middle ground. Later on, you have to start switching shit up.

Oh and you have to turn the eggs. Like, 3-5 times a day and each night the egg has to be facing a different direction upwards. Or the chicken will not form properly and die. If the temperature goes to 102, the chicken will overheat and die. If the temperature goes to 98, the chicken will cool too much and die. If the humidity goes too high, the chicken will stick to the shell and die. If the humidity is too low the chicken can't break through the egg and will die. If you turn the egg after 18 days, the chicken will die. If you bump the egg a little too hard, the chicken will die. All of these are variable, as well. If you turn up the heat you might just get 5 retard-o chickens with gimpy wings.

And I had to learn all of this in about, oh, five freaking minutes. When I realized my stupid chicken had destroyed her nest and my second chicken had just up and decided not to be clucky afterall. You know, the day after I ordered a further 9 eggs. Thanks, assholes.

But then you have to candle the eggs. But not after the 18th day! That'll....make them die. Oh, and if you candle them with the air-pocket face down, they might die. So you must always candle with the big end of the egg up. Which is harder than doing it with the big end of the egg down. Brown eggs are just a bitch and blue eggs just make you wanna rip your hair out. Duck eggs are surprisingly easy.

Anyway you get a super bright light and a super dark room and hold the light up to the egg and move it around (gently!) until you find your baby.

This is kinda when I realized my chickens had been dead for days. There were bad rains and we think that's why the hen destroyed her nest. Or maybe I killed them. Or maybe they commited suicide for no reason. Oh yeah, no, one egg did do that. One egg of all 8 made it to 21 days and then... just decided not to hatch. It broke into the air sack, but nope, it just went, "Yeah okay that's good," and killed itself. Fucking chickens.

So it's day 26, 5 days overdue (too high of heat can also make them early and too low can make them hatch late) and that's too many, so the eggs went in the bin. Candled the silki eggs and they're living. One duck egg wasn't fertilized and another duck egg is growing a little duckers. It's about the size of my pinky nail right now, with a bunch of little veins coming off of it. It's a Silver Swedish duck, so it should be ready in 27 more days.

We're buying an incubator (proper one) after the wedding. I've gotten this heat/humidity thing down, but I'd just feel a lot safer around suicidal eggs if I had one. And to think, there's women out there who've hatched a dozen eggs in their boobs. No joke. Next time, I'm hiring my friend cAt to be my hen.

Current Score:

0/8 eggs hatched
9 silkie eggs incubating
1 duck egg incubating

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It Must Suck to Be A Man

I am probably going to alienate my female counterparts with this statement but I gotta say; I am so glad I'm a woman. I've started to really pay attention to men and I gotta say, it really isn't all it's cracked up to be.

First off, men's self esteems have got to be going down the toilet these days. Hey I'm all for female empowerment but this attitude of, "Ha we can make babies without you, we don't even need you for that!" is, well, not really going to inspire confidence in someone. I don't see why, in order to climb the ladder, we have to put others down. Is it really fair to put the men below us after all these years working for equality?

My partner is supposed to take pretty cruel insults as a joke. Jokes about weight, penis size, intelligence... every day, from everyone. Men and women included. As a woman, I don't have to deal with this. I don't regularly get insulted for my genitalia. How would a woman feel if as an every day joke we said to her, "Oh you drive an XR8? SOMEONE must have the biggest pussy!" You'd probably get slapped. Though if a man slapped you for the comment, he'd get arrested.

Constantly being berated and humiliated and told you're worthless aside - men also have a harder time in social situations, in my opinion. The male interaction 'rules' are just as complicated as women's PLUS they have to deal with women's! Women don't have to learn men's social constructs, but they sure as hell have to learn ours! Which leads to awkward situations when the poor things get it wrong.

It's a man's job to advance on a woman. A woman who could or could not be interested. A woman who could or could not like jokes as an opening. A woman who could or could not have a huge muscular husband around the corner. A woman who could have pepperspray in her handbag and you pray, oh hell you pray, you don't look like a mugger. Or she could just quite possibly shoot you down with a, "Go away jackass." Fantastic, you're a jackass and all you said was hello...

So women insult you and think it's funny. Men insult you and think it's funny. You're a jackass for saying hello. You're a jackass for opening her door. Damnit, you're a jackass for not opening her door. Does anybody compliment you? Does anybody tell you good job? No, not really, because a good job is EXPECTED of you. You're a grown man, you're what everyone compares themselves to (take it like a man) so you can't make mistakes. You can't cry. You can't show emotions. You can't accept compliments if you even get them because the best is expected of you.

Yeah... this is what I think about. How hard it must be to be a man. How hard it must be to work my ass off 9 hours a day with my hands cracking from the job, my coworkers making small dicks jokes about me, my boss making a joke about how he should pay me less as I wipe the sweat from my brow, the woman who works next door ignores me because I think I stared at her just slightly too long one afternoon when I was thinking about something completely different...then I get to go to the bar to enjoy the one beer I've been waiting for all day when a 'friend' slaps me on the sunburn, makes another small dick joke and when I finally...finally... get home... I could really just use someone who treats me like a human.

And that's why I always make sure to thank him. Thank him for working so hard. Tell him how great he's doing at keeping the house tidy for me. Tell him how great he's doing going to work every day so we can pay for the wedding. I make sure to compliment the fit of his clothes on him, the new haircut he has, and his eyes, though he's heard it a million times. I make sure to tell him he's wonderful. I always try my best to say thank you. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for cooking tonight. Thank you for wiping the counters. Thank you for going to work today even though you really didn't want to.

Just because they're men it doesn't mean they don't deserve our compassion. It's hard to be us. It's hard to be them. We're both stuck with it - so we might as well be nice to each other and remember, men need to hear their ass looks great in those jeans too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I am not Bridezilla.


There is something that needs to be said and I have a place to say it, so I'm going to. I am sick and tired of hearing the word "Bridezilla" being thrown around the second a bride has an opinion. Does that sounds familiar to you? Or does the bitch who also speaks her mind have something to say about it?

Women aren't allowed to complain. They can't be angry that they were charged a $300 for a stained dress and never got a refund. If they do, they're a 'Bridezilla'.

Women aren't allowed to be firm and steadfast. They can't be set on having their wedding under a specific tree because it's slightly out of town. That's unreasonable, 'Bridezilla'.

Women aren't allowed to question the prices of items. Why is a wedding dress $2000 when a prom dress in the same exact style $200? Don't question, just buy it, or you're a 'Bridezilla'.

Women can't be angry. Did one of her guests just ask her to change her entire menu around him a THIRD time, only a week before the wedding after all the supplies were purchased? Nope, if she gets mad and doesn't accomadate him, she's being "such a Bridezilla!".

Oh she's so sensitive because of the wedding. Oh she wants it her way because of the wedding. Better not upset her, she's getting married, she's a Bridezilla! Oh did you hear she's really angry because the caterer served lobster at her Jewish wedding? She shouldn't be such a Bridezilla! I mean, she got the lobster for the price of beef, what is she being such a Bridezilla about? The fact she can't eat it? Fucking Bridezilla.

I'm here to say I'm SICK of it. And for the love of all that is holy, me saying this is ALSO not being a Bridezilla.

Why? Because I KNOW I'm not the only one. I know there's engaged women who feel they can't say a word about how they feel because they might get labelled as being unreasonable women. Bitches without the same word. It's just another thing women can call women to make them feel torn apart and men can call women to excuse "their behaviour" and not take them seriously.

If I WASN'T getting married and someone charged me for a $300 dress that arrived stained and I never got the refund would I be a Bridezilla then? NO. I'd be a reasonable human being, wouldn't I?

If I WASN'T getting married and was having a birthday party under that tree, would I be unreasonable? NO. I'd simply want my party there.

If I WASN'T getting married would I still be expected to pay $2000 for a $200 dress? Nope. I'd be thrifty and smart.

If I WASN'T getting married and someone said to me that the birthday cake I had at my party better be dairy free after I already made it gluten free for the SAME person when they requested it, NOBODY would get mad at me for not making another one, would they!? No. They'd be greatful I went out of my way to make the gluten free cake to BEGIN with.

But no, because I (we!) am (are!) getting married, I'm unreasonable. I'm bitchy. I'm not allowed to complain. I'm not allowed to feel like you're ripping me off and I'm certainly not allowed to tell you you're ripping me off. I'm simply not allowed to stand up for myself.

And that, my friends, is bullshit.

All the brides out there!! STAND UP FOR YOURSELF. Question the $2000 dresses and inlaws that ask you to PAY for their full plane and hotel costs and then book a super expensive hotel!!

Remember to tell them NO you really CAN'T afford to do that and NO you're not being unreasonable in asking them to pick a more reasonable hotel and NO you're not being unreasonable for thinking they should pay their hotel to begin with!

I'm looking at you, father of the bride at that last wedding I went to. You're a jerk. Your daughter? IS NOT A BRIDEZILLA.

You've done your best to accomodate everyone but yourself and yet people keep telling you it's 'your' day. Really? Yours!? Then why are you unreasonable for wanting an unstained dress and a full refund? Why are you unreasonable for buying a black suit and getting a blue one? In the world of NON-WEDDINGS, it's perfectly reasonable to be upset when you spend a lot of money on things and DON'T GET THOSE THINGS.

SO GO. RETURN THAT DRESS. DEMAND THAT REFUND. SAY NO TO LIMOS FOR THE KIDS. SAY NO TO THAT AUNT YOU DON'T EVEN WANT THERE. She's just going to call you a bitch and then ruin your day and make a comment on your dress and you KNOW it. Everyone knows it! But you're a fucking Bridezilla if you don't invite her and spend $200 on her food so she can give you a used toaster an unsolicited advice about your sexual history.

And I know every single bride out there can relate with SOMETHING I have said. I know it. I know you've been told you're being unreasonable. I know you've invited someone you didn't want to because you feared the backlash and how it would make you look. I know you've gotten ripped off on some item for the wedding and were made to feel you couldn't discuss it. Heck, I know you were also probably bait and switched in quality AND price at the very last minute and HAD no choice but to spend $300 more for plastic tables when you ordered wood.

And you know what? I'm done. I'm done accepting it. I'm done not being called names because I HAPPEN to be getting married around the time I am purchasing lots of items or trusting in lots of people. It's not FAIR and it NEEDS to be said.

STOP calling brides Bridezillas when they have an opinion!! You too! I'm not just here on behalf of brides! One of you has DONE it. Remember your wedding? Or if you haven't had one, think about all the tiny details that go into it. Flowers, invites, friends, colours, locations, money, money, money... and you honestly, honestly, can't get TOO upset when she says she can't afford to accomodate a special request from you?

She's probably gotten a special request from EVERYONE and try as she might.. try as she might.. she just can't get to all of them. I'm not saying she's out to purposefully step on your hopes of riding an elephant to the ceremony, but she really honestly just doesn't have large mammal parking, sorry. So don't call her names. Just take the car.

The bride isn't trying to hurt you by having her wedding under that tree, she just really really loves that tree and damnit... you love her, right? So stop complaining and do the ONE thing she asked without calling her names for asking for it! You keep saying you'd give her anything.. so fucking do it!

And that's all I have to say.

- Not a Bitch. Not a Bridezilla. Just Elizabeth. Just me.

Edit: Brides! Future Brides! Faux Bridezilla witnesses! Post your stories here! What happened to you where you were made to feel you couldn't fight back just because you were a bride? What were you forced to put up with for the sake of not being 'difficult'?!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Win

I'm winning a lot lately. I don't know why or how, but things seem to be rocking into my favour these last couple months. I mean, besides that whole almost dying thing. Perhaps I'm just happier from that? No, no, I am definitely winning more.

Little things; like just barely making every single light on the road, finding that book I always wanted to buy on sale for $2, finding an exact replica of my wedding dress for $800 less than the original, getting to use certain things for free or even getting things for free from people for simply asking, and even managing to get my TV show on the right channel at the right time without even looking at a clock. Even personal goals in my head such as making it to the 1/3rd mark at 1/3rd my estimated time to a destination. As a bonus to that trip I even hit the 1/2 mark at 1/2 my estimated travel time. How win is that!?

I'm finding money, saving money, earning more. I'm getting more for jobs. I somehow managed to grow asparagus from seed. Managing to get the exact to the cm amount of jam for the amount of jars I prepared (come ON that's a serious win!). I've gotten free bags of fruits and vegetables for the chickens and even myself. I was accidentally delivered too many bags of oranges once. I've gotten deals on meat, fruits, vegetables and even fish.

I can't seem to stop winning. It's like the roulette wheel keeps falling on my number over and over. Well, to be fair, I bought a scratchy and lost that, but who cares? I can handle little loses if I keep having a bunch of wins like I have been.

This better continue!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What a S'morgasbord!

The other day I was sitting at home minding my own business when my stomach said, "I could really use a s'more." I looked over to my fiance and repeated what my stomach had said and he didn't reply. So I said it again. He nodded. Perplexed, I said, "Have you ever had a s'more?" He shook his head.

I panicked. "Do you know what a s'more is?"

He shook his head.

Well now I was just flustered. "You know a s'more!! A marshmallow and chocolate and graham cracker over a fire?"

And that's when he replied, "What's a graham cracker?"

Preheat oven to 350F. Place 2 1/2c wheat flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 3 tsps cinnamon and 4 tablespoons cold butter into a mixer and combine until like wet sand.

I was stunned. I didn't know what to do. Eventually, I decided to describe a graham cracker to him. Okay, for those of you who know what a graham cracker is, really think that through. My description resembled something like a sighted person describing purple to the blind, only more cracked out.

"You see it's a cracker that's like a biscuit. Well, not like an Australian biscuit. It's not a cookie. It's like the kind of biscuit you get in America, that's not a cookie. I mean. Wait. It's more like a cracker. Well, not really. It's a sweet cracker. With like, honey in it. And it's not really crisp like a cracker. But it's not soft or crumbly like a cookie. It's.."

In another bowl combine 2 egg whites, 3/4c brow sugar, 4 tablespoons honey and 2 tsps vanilla bean paste . Combine into mixer slowly until sticky dough forms.


"I get what you're saying!" he says to me, smiling. "I want to try a s'more!"

I beamed, "Well then I'll make one! Why don't you get the graham crackers and stuff on the way home tomorrow and I'll make them tomorrow for the fight?"

He agreed.

What he came home with was. Well. It was exactly as I described. Only not. As it turns out, a graham cracker is a very specific thing, but when described can be about two hundred different types of things.

Flour everything. Flour your hands, your bench, the top of the dough and the rolling pin. I'm not kidding, man. This dough is insanely sticky and if you add flour to the dough directly it falls apart. Nice, eh?

My fiance came home with a giant half kilo (pound) bar of compound baking chocolate, raspberry and vanilla flavoured marshmallows and a bag of tea cookies. You know those little cookies that ladies who lunch eat directly after finger sandwiches to dip into their tea? Yeah. Those.

I tried. I really did. I put melted the chocolate and added some cream and sugar and used that. I only used the vanilla marshmallows. I... well, there was nothing I could do about the biscuits cookies crackers.

He loved it.

Roll out dough, slice, place on baking sheet and prick with fork. Brush tops with egg whites and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 15 minutes.

I'm not kidding you people. He ate like 7 of them. He said they were great! I was sick. I was grossed out. I ate perhaps 3 out of some desperate hope they got better over time (hey man, he was really convincing they tasted fantastic) before handing them all over to him. The next day I ate all the tea biscuits and he was upset because I couldn't make him more. Ha. I did it on purpose.

If graham crackers had a Myspace, this would be the angle they photograph themselves.

He was quite upset by this and asked me to make them again repeatedly. It got to the point I could not take him to the supermarket or he'd hold up the packet of tea biscuits and beg me for them like a five year old child. I absolutely refused to make them again. I would absolutely not use my powers of cooking to disgrace the power of the S'more, man.

After weeks of this ordeal, I finally got sick of it. In order to placate him I convinced him I would make my own damn graham crackers so he could have a REAL s'more.



So I did.

Monday, September 27, 2010

That'll give you, uh, bees.


It's spring! Or whatever the Australian Queensland semblance of spring is! Of course that means my apples are blossoming and fruit is fruiting and bees are buzzing. Which of course means honey and wax! For those of you that know me, you might know I make candles. What you probably don't know is the process. It's fucking gross. So I thought I'd share with you.

This is unrefined beeswax. Well, the ones below the top one are. The top one has been refined one whole time and then when I realized the batch was too large for my pot, I had to break it down into smaller batches to refine a further three times. To refine wax in your own home, you simply put it in a pot, turn up the heat, watch until the wax melts (try not to boil) and then turn it off.

It should look like this as it starts to cool. This is a 3rd refinement. It went through four total. After it gets to thgis stage it hardens and cools for about half a day (since the wax seals the top as it hardens, it keeps the pot quite warm for awhile). The bottom of the wax is covered in scungy stuff. Old beetles, dead bees, wax moth poo... everything. As a matter of fact, here's my sink after I've finished cleaning the wax:
How I can turn something like this into a candle is amazing. I'll update later on how that process works, but hey, now you can scrape bee guts and refine wax in your own time!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Duck Duck Duck


Back in farming news, I'm really excited spring is here. It's warmed up enough that strawberries are in season. I only have a tiny bush so there's only one strawberry a day but there it is, a nice ripe fresh red one each afternoon, warm from the sunshine. My tomtatoes have hundreds of flowers and quite a few small green fruit. My capsicum have started to fruit and change colour on some branches. My oranges, mandarins and blueberries are flowering. And best of all, my ducks are laying eggs!

It's so warm I'm getting my usual 7 eggs a day with the chickens, most of which I'm finally selling to pay for the food I give them (and still keep eggs on my table) and now, duck eggs! They're not fertilized because the boy duck doesn't know what mating is yet, but he's eager to be a daddy. He eagerly urges her to build a nest and protects her as she settles in on the chicken's egg, leaving her own unfertilized egg in the middle of the yard for me to find. They really don't get it.

Mangoes will be in season again soon. Lychees will be in season soon. My tomatoes will be bursting. I've grown asparagus from seed. I've got three lettuces coming up. My potatoes are an entire new tyre tall. My chicks are getting fat and mature and may lay eggs later this year. It's warm and beautiful and it rains just enough at night to make me dance at not having to water my lawn. I'm lazy! Yaaaay!

I'm trying to learn to be more frugal so I soaked beans to make veggie chilli last night and had leftover beans when I was done. I am mashing them with breadcrumbs and herbs and am turning them into bean patties for 'ham'burgers. Hopefully the boy won't notice.

Today a friend came over and I had no bread so I thought I'd make tortillas to make veggie wraps for her. They turned out perfectly. Seat of my pants, baby.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Price of Food

I've been thinking lately about the price of food. How expensive homemade food can be if you don't have access to either land or money. The former of which costs a lot of money, as well. Slowly the world has started to adapt to more local means of eatins farm to city (CSA boxes and the like) but mostly, if you want a good fresh meal, it's going to cost you.

This is where little things, like windowsills and rent-a-gardens come in. For a minimal amount, you can rent little plots to grow your own food within the city. Finding a place on your way to work or other regular ventures (the gym, if you're stronger willed than me) is beneficial to finding the time to go and tend to it, as it may need watered daily in high heats.

I have about 200 mandarins I got two days ago. I juiced over half of them, and am leaving the rest to work on later. All these mandarins came from one tree. I thought about how much this juice costs. Should I have purchased the mandarins in the store, it would have been exceptionally cheaper to just buy pre-packaged juice, even the good kind. Getting it direct off the farm was just getting someone else's glut that would've rotted anyway; however it would've also cost me land to produce myself. Both things are pricey. So something like the most basic, fresh squeezed orange juice, is actually quite an expensive thing to produce. Not everyone can make it for themselves.

Of course if you can start getting to know your local farms, you can start getting a little bit of free excess as well. Usually for the price of some labour or something you have to offer (maybe your backyard has a mango tree) you can get the overstock of another's. It's just going to rot anyway, so the farmer is quite happy to get some stuff done in return for the over-abundance he'll have when entire trees ripen at once. Get to know the farmers at your local markets so you can start asking them when certain things will be in season, then you can start preserving them.

Eating in season feels so good. When your body adjusts to it, it feels 'right'. It feels like your skin is clearer, your mood is higher, your eyes are shinier.. I don't know. It could be because, automatically, eating in season tends to mean a person also eats healthier. (You're not really eating in-season packet chips, are you?) It just feels great to me.

Of course eating things you got in season in another season is awesome, too. Especially if you got yours direct from farm, you'll have preserved it at it's peak so it will taste much better than anything you could've bought, which was probably gassed, had a bunch of funny things added to it, and came from unripe berries and some other fillers that aren't on the label. Plus, with homemade product, you can always make 'twists', such as kiwi and papaya jam, which you could never get in the shops.

So, obviously I feel it's important to think about where your food comes from and how you can save money buying in a more direct manner. Food can be expensive but it doesn't have to be, if you know what you're doing and where you're going and if you're willing to put in a couple hours labour for it. It's totally worth it. If you had spent the money, you'd have never gotten that much plus the hard work makes you feel extremely content and productive for relatively easy work.

I have no point.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

This Story Explains Me Pretty Well

I'm starting to think I might be a tad impulsive. Ah, who am I kidding, we all know I'm impulsive. I have the natural self-preservation instinct of a chicken. Anyone who's owned chickens knows they'd most probably just sleep as their beloved was being murdered next to them by a fox and then act surprised when they get eaten next - if they actually wake up for it. I'm fairly certain when a chicken is being eaten alive at night, it opens an eye and goes, "Gee, I'm being eaten. Oh well, as long as he doesn't wake me." So yes, my point is, this appears to be the level of self-preservation I have.

So this introduction leads me to my next story; where I somehow ended up in the rainforest with a complete stranger showing me around with a machete. Logically, this would be a very bad situation, right? Like - hello, 24 year old woman by herself with a strange man in a forest - clearly I have no sense of danger - or I have an incredible sense of adventure. My mother prefers the word 'wrecklessness'. Whatever you call it, it's gotten me into some crazy situations. Not all I've loved, but most of them I have.

So let's back up. My fiance has been talking on and on and on about this excavator he's been wanting for ages that's bogged down in some guy's back-alley hidden farm. $1500 and if he can fix it, he can have it. Apparently this is an excellent deal for excavators are expensive. I have no idea. All I know is The Boy asked me if I could go drive 2 hours after what amounted to enough sleep to barely function in normal society. So of course, by the time I get there, my already meager sense of not dying was lowered below it's usual reserves.

So we meet these two swagmen, right. Now, for Americans - swagmen are Outback bush ranger types without the ranger bit. They love the land and wear big boots and cut down trees and sleep under the stars and grow beards and, well, are men. Think Brokeback Mountain, but less gay. Or more gay - I haven't really figured it out. But these are the men that eat out of cans of beans they heated over a fire and since they don't have a fork, they just use their dirt-encrusted hands to scoop the beany goodness into their mouths. Those kind of men. Real men.

So they meet us with our white ute and trailer carrying a boat (this is another story) on their own four-wheelers. As they lead us through this huuuuge pathway between state forests, I start noticing bizarre looking orange trees. Bumpy little oranges dot the pathway. So do bizarre animals, trees, rivers and funny-shaped natural structures. Point being, I wasn't in Kansas anymore, Toto. As we're following these two swagmen on their four-wheelers, they are using a machete to cut down overhanging trees and branches, leading us up this windy dirt road for miles.

So, again, just to be clear - I don't know these men's names. I've never met these men. Neither has my fiance. My fiance's father, who is with us, is probably the only person who has someone at home waiting for him in case he turns up missing - but since my fiance had the address, she probably didn't really know where he went. So as we're bumping through a rainforest path following two men with machetes I came upon the realization that, hey, they could kill us and nobody would even begin to know where to look for us.

We finally get to the destination and, lo and behold, there really IS an excavator for my fiance to look at. Well, I'll be damned. So - not being one for digging things I got a bit bored and started poking at the four-wheelers, which the men had gotten off at this point. I mentioned to one of the bushmen that I saw some really funny orange trees and did he mind if I picked some oranges.

"Ah those be bush lemons mate! Not oranges. I've got a million of 'em. I'll chop down 10 trees and you can take 'em home with ya if ya want!"
I was a bit taken aback, "Uh that's not, er, necessary. I'd rather just pick a few."
He looked at his partner and pointed up to the hills, while still talking to me, "Well there be some juicy juicy lemon trees up in the mountain but you need the fourwheeler to get them. Hey Sammy, take the girl on the four-wheelers to get some lemons from the good trees!"

So, let me elaborate again. Bushman #1 says to Bushman #2, hey.. take this lady on a strange vehicle up a mountain, far away from us, so she can pick lemons. Oh, by the way, she doesn't know your name, my name, or if the machetes we use have ever killed people. Did I mention I'm impulsive?

Instead of the normal human reaction of, "Oh this is probably a bad idea." I went, "Cool!! I can drive a four wheeler and pick lemons!? Awesome!!!" Logically, at the time, this made perfect sense to me. Now, mind you, we're in a fucking rainforest. So there's no paths, no tracks... and a lot of logs, creeks and bumpy things. Oh, and I've never driven a four-wheeler except once and it was on flat land. I have, however, ridden dirt bikes. Once. So logically, I think, "This can't be much different, can it?!"

So after ten minutes trying to figure out why the clutch was actually a brake, I got the girl going at a level that was reasonable. However, my first task appeared to be 'cross this 6' deep gully with a river in the bottom of it'. "Okay!" my lack-of-proper-judgment-brain said to me, "I can do this!"

So. Riding a four-wheeler is pretty much exactly nothing like riding a dirt bike. Except the part where you hit the throttle and pray for the ever loving grace of G-d that you're going to make it over the top of the bend without falling over backwards and ending up underneath a four wheeler, in a ditch, covered in river, on fire. There's a joke in that last sentence.

Before I decided it was a brilliant idea to make my first trip on a four-wheeler to cross a freakin river, my fiance decided to give me advice.

"Now remember, when you're going down, lean back. When you're going up, lean forward."

Yep. That's it. Not, "Hey and if the jolly swagman decides to cut off your neck, be sure to roll your head this way so we know to run." or, "If the river starts to carry you away, hold your breath as long as possible." No, this is not the advice he gives me. "Lean forward on the up and back on the down," was the best he could do.

And me? I thought this was excellent advice. Because, apparently, as compulsive as I am - he is just as equally trusting. Go! Go risk your life crossing dams so you can pick lemons with an unknown swagman carrying a myriad of knives, but just rememeber, lean back on the down and forward on the up. Yep. That seemed good advice to me.

Glynn's father, who is probably a bit more logical than us, handed me a knife 'for the lemons' he said. So I pocketed this tiny little golden utility knife feeling perfectly safe that against a man with a machete, this would be adequate protection. Did I mention I'm impulsive?

I don't know how I managed, but I crossed the gully with the river in it just fine. Maybe it's because I leaned forward on the up. Most likely it's because I just went, "Shit shit shit shit shit," and hit the throttle. And of course LEAPED over the top edge of the gully. Which, if you've ever done it, is exactly what makes you love the damn vehicles. So, with a renewed sense of "Fuck yeah I can totally do this!" I followed the jolly swagman deep into the jungle to pick fucking lemons, man.

You know what's awesome about open-air vehicles that cover raw land? That the thing you want to do, as opposed to the thing you should be doing are two completely different things. So when you want to lean into a corner, you really...really...shouldn't. I wish I could draw you a picture but imagine me, young redheaded female, on a massive 4-wheeler, pretty much sideways on the side of a mountain leaning into the corner before going, "Shit, I think this is how you fall the fuck over." and suddenly trying to counter balance in the opposite direction.

I guess just picture a redheaded praying mantis stuck to a flying rock, sideways. Got that picture in your head? That's what I looked like. Oh, and I wasn't wearing a helmet. Of course. I was in the damn jungle and in the damn jungle YOU DON'T WEAR HELMETS. Got that? Although I don't know why I'm mentioning this. There's fucking machetes in this story - I don't think the helmet was really my biggest problem here.

So we got to the lemon trees. I know, I'm a bit surprised they existed too. Did you know that bush lemons are absolutely covered in spines? Yeah well I didn't.

(Photographic Evidence I am not dead)*

So we come back with our bags filled with delicious bush lemons and my man is still checking out the escavator. I tell Swagman #1 that I really loved his land and it was very pretty and I thanked him for the lemons. This is when he said to me, "You should see the waterfall!"

"Waterfall? There's a waterfall!?"
"Yeah mate, up in the forest on the mountain. She's a beaut. 8 feet deep and just beautiful."
"Do we have time to see the waterfall!?" I look at Glynn with big sooky eyes, just begging him to let me go out with a strange bushman carrying a foot-long blade once more into the forest on a vehicle I've never driven up a mountain over rocks with no helmet. Yeah, read that again. Glynn said, "Yeah sure, you can do that!"
What a good man.

So Swagman #2 takes me back up the mountain, but this time on a different path, a much less travelled path. Okay, it wasn't even a path. It was a bunch of broken twigs leading the way; and every now and then the swagman would stop and break more twigs 'to help guide the way again'. So when I say I'm in the middle of nowhere, I am not kidding.

Once more I am sideways praying mantis. Upside down praying mantis. Downhill praying mantis. Basically, I was slowly climbing a barely-trecked mountainside on this vehicle that couldn't go past 14km (because, yes, at this time I also thought "how fast can this thing go?" - however it might go up to 15 or even 16, considering I was going uphill on wet rocks at the time). This is when the swagman stops and points, "You see these trees lining the path? Yeah they're poison, I'd put on me jacket if I were you. This is why I wear gloves, mate."

Poison. Trees. What. The. Fuck. Australia.

Also, at this point I'm really praying the cut on my head really DID come from the lemon tree. After what seems to me to be about half an hour, we have to get off the vehicles and start walking because the four-wheelers valued at around $17k each couldn't go across this part even though they had just trekked up a fucking mountain. Dude.

Next thing I know I'm jumping down huge gullies, skipping rocks across gushing rivers and at one point I kid you not, I had to cross a beam of wood the men had cut around a rock to serve as a 3" deep platform you could hold onto the rock for balance and cross to get to the other side. Mind you I am wearing little platform shoes made of rubber and a trenchcoat, along with a glittery studded Guess top. Mind you, Swagman #2 was wearing steeltoed boots, utility pants, a Drizabone coat, thick leather gloves and was carrying a fucking machete. I still had my tiny gold utility knife. You know, for the lemons.

Finally the swagman says to me, "Here she is."

In front of me is quite possibly the most beautiful natural thing I have ever seen. A giant slab of water-worn rock rests atop a carefully balanced boulder, a sheet of thick crystal clear water slicing across the air. The rainforest trees, with their thick wet foliage and thick twisted vines encased the entirety of the waterfall in it's roots. Soft green luscious moss splattered the shiny gray wet rocks like something carefully painted by only the finest of French artists.

The best part. The best part was the sounds. If you closed your eyes you felt like you had turned your favourite Sounds of the Rainforest CD on surround and managed to have million-dollar speakers. It was the live version of a natural symphony. The music of the rainforest was incredible. Cicadas wrote lovesongs in the trees. Parrots played among the twisted vines, announcing their adoration for the waterfall in playful clucks. The waterfall pounded on the rocks in front of me, the sounds of rushing water heavy and thick and so incredibly close. The hairs on my arms stood on end.

"Cleanest water you'll find. You should try some." he said as he pointed to the fall with his knife.

I couldn't help it. I had to do it. I climbed down the last couple feet to the base of the fall and skipped the slimy slippery wet rocks across the gushing river and shovelled both hands directly into the gushing water. Three times I drank from the beautiful pure rainforest waterfall, the splashes soaking my coat and hair with beads of crystalline droplets. Feeling as if more than three mouthfuls would render me 'greedy', I pulled away from the moment. I swear I could hear the ripping sound of my brain being snapped back into the real world.

I climbed back up the fall, back across the wooden plank, back through the rivers and gulleys, back onto the ATVs, back sideways down the mountain and back into the real world.

So this is the story of how I followed strangers into the rainforest without knowing a thing about what I was getting into and having one of the most beautiful moments imaginable. I'm fairly certain that when you do something so wreckless, there should be consequences, not rewards. So I'm guessing this will end up being the story of how I got Cholera. Watch.

*Textual evidence I exaggerate greatly.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting Healthy Once More

Lizzie's Back, baby! I am feeling rather good, other than the exhaustion. I know that sounds a little funny but other than being tired all the darned time, I'm nearly 100% better! My liver functions were normal at last measure and I managed to go out with friends on Friday for my hen's night, which was amazing! My friends bought me dinner and drinks and just spoiled me!

Even better, I came home to a clean house and my fiance professing his love for my while standing outside in the rain waiting for my arrival. It was quite romantic and lovely. I am happy. I am also happy that even though I was away for four days and I came home to a clean house and a doting fiance, I am not one bit suspicious that he may have strayed in that time. That's a nice feeling.

His doting is nothing out of the normal and not suspicious in the least; in past relationships that kind of action would've had me in a sudden e-mail checking frenzy. Last night had me in a sooky cuddle retelling my glorious trip to him as he laughed and humoured me. Yeah, you can gag now.

So I'm exercising a little, walking a lot, eating a ton and finally feel better - I just need naps. Oh, poor me, I know. I have to NAP. My life is woe.

I go back to work this weekend. I've already got a good schedule for making lots of money and that thrills me. Pre-booked and in succession usually means it's going to be a good night. Last minute jobs notwithstanding, I'll feel good about my contribution to my household this week, especially after my frivolous spending on my trip (which was mostly on food - I am so happy to be eating I think I ate everything in sight. Ask Lisa about the chocolate biscuits!).

So it's time to tan, time to get my nails done and time to get my hair trimmed and my eyebrows waxed. I'm back and I'm gonna take charge and I'm gonna be ME once again.

I can't wait.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ridding the World of Bored Cats - 2000 catnip bushes at a time!

For the longest time, I've been a very inactive member of Guerrilla Gardening, an effort to both beautify and feed the world with the cunning use of 'seed bombs', secret above-ground raking and making the most of tiny patches of forgotten land. I took some steps to Guerrilla Garden with others, but they fell flat.

So when I came upon The Lost Seed and their 2000 catnip seeds for $3.50, I knew I was onto something brilliant. So, armed with a Fae, from Green Grass and Purple Sky, we went on a clay-finding adventure! As it turns out, the local hardware stores don't carry clay. Why? Apparently it's what people don't want in their gardens. I asked the saleslady where these people with the clay they didn't want were. That didn't work. Eventually we found some at a craft store, Spotlight.

And then got out a bottle of cider and proceeded to make 100 catnip seed bombs. With 20 seeds per bomb, one of them is surely to take, right? The mixture was 500g clay, 100g compost from my garden (full of chicken poo!) and 1g of seeds, which is WAY off from the suggested seed amount for such a weight, but honestly, if we had done it the way the website specifies - we'd have little tiny tiny bombs made of nothing. 2000 seeds of catnip weighs 1g... so we just figured we'd overcompensate. They'll break down eventually.

So Lola, my fiance Glynn and I went out on my pushbike (I've been feeling well enough to go on short rides these days!) and started lobbing the bombs all over the neighbourhood. Miss Fae had already done her part and lobbed 50 of the seed bombs out her car window into the bush on her 20km trek home. On this trip, we only lobbed 20.
Glynn really enjoyed the action. I love that he supports even my silliest ideas. Our conversation basically went:

"Hey honey, I ordered 2000 catnip seeds."
"Uh.. why?"
"They were on sale. I'm going to make seed bombs from them!"
"Seedbombs?"
"You remember, from Guerilla Gardening? I figured.. forget feeding or prettifying our town, I'm going to make at least 2000 stoned cats in South East Brisbane!"
"Sounds good to me."

And that was it. He was on board and decided to help. Eager as I am, I already had the bombs ready by the time he got home.

So we had a good morning, leisurely riding to the back of the suburbs to the bush, where I felt the most cats could possibly benefit from the catnip I was hoping would grow. Afterall, about 500 houses are just behind me. Surely one of them has to have a bored desperate cat who just desires a little kitty marijuana..


Lola had fun too! The last 30 seeds are for the boy and his super duper pushbike of speed on his 25km trek to work. So from here to just a tad over the North Side, another thirty catnip bombs (or 600 seeds!) will be scattered over the East Side of Brisbane.

Dear Cats and Kittens of South East Brisbane: Enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wet And Cold


It's a rainy day here on the mini-farm and I made chicken stock to replenish what I have been leeching from the freezer these last few months. I made 5 litres of stock and the girls got all the bones and filling (the oranges were from earlier, I don't put oranges in my stock) all nice and toasty warm to keep them happy during the wet.

I love the soggy little bastards, they're fun to watch. Steamin' pile of food and they're still chasing each other around the backyard for a piece of carrot when there's half a dozen more carrots on the floor.

I've been given a billion (53) eggs by them in the last couple weeks. I'm looking at about 150 eggs a month or so, right now. Geeeeze. I don't need THAT much protein. Luckily I've got some friends in desperate need of eggs and have managed a trade for goods or money with a few of them. My favourite might just be my super Italian friend from a super Italian family giving me some Napolitana sauce in return for some. Oh yeah, no pressure. P:

I plan on making a good 2kg batch of handrolled pasta when I get the chance. That'll use 20 eggs by itself. I can roll out thin lasagne sheets and dry them for future use and then do some fettuccini as well. A nice large batch will keep me in pasta for awhile and only use 3 days worth of eggs! ....help.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blueberries!


Just so I don't feel like I'm depressing the ever loving heck out of my readers - here's a photo of my current joy - my blueberries! I had one bush for a rather long time before I discovered I needed two to make berries (my mother never did really explain sex to me).

I got another but then in some unfortunate mishap, it passed away - or dried out - or something. Either way, it looks like a dried up stick in a pot. In some feeble attempt at horticultural necrophilia, I stuck them side by side anyway. Well, maybe that dead berry had some get up and go left in him or maybe his dying wish was to berry-up his friend, but I got berries coming in this year!! I'm hoping to plant some and make another dead stick for it to mate with next year. Maybe 20 or 30, because, damn, I really love blueberries.

I hope this time next year we have some land so I don't have to keep berries in pots and I can let them explore my home and then I can explore their berries with my face.

Ramblings.

So I guess I haven't really updated this blog for real since I got my diagnosis from the specialist. I suppose it's because I don't really want to write it down. I don't want to say the specialist thinks my immunity is compromised. I know what diseases there are that are autoimmune and not many of them are simple. The majority are pretty bad.

As it turns out, I was so sick my friends in health (Doctors and Nurses, I know personally) didn't even want to tell me they thought I had HIV. I don't, thank goodness - but they honestly for awhile thought I did. That's a terrifying thought, especially considering my lifestyle. I don't sit there swapping needles or bodily fluids with people. At least I'm not contagious - so whatever it is, nobody else will get, and that's reassuring.

People are being hard on me and it's difficult. I've gone some people asking me if I'm lying about the whole damn thing. Of course, these are just people on the internet and not people visiting me asking where my weight went, or why I've suddenly and uncontrollably started shaking, or why I need a nap so early in the day. So, really, who cares if they think I'm lying? I suppose - I do. It's a stress I don't need, people being cruel and accusing me of lying as I stand between sheer joy I'm alive and utter sadness I don't know what's wrong with me.

Oh I did't actually say that, did I? They diagnosed the liver failure but, apparently, the continuously being sick is the real problem - not the liver. You know it's scary when liver failure is the lesser of the evils going on in my body. The specialist even seem unconcerned about my liver at the moment and was more concerned with my health this last year. I can't even begin to imagine what I have - but rest assured I've already imagined everything.

The bright side is I'm finally reading all those wonderful books I love. I also was super meticulous with the taxes because, well, what was I going to do sitting at home all day? So we got a very nice refund coming in, and that eases my stresses quite a bit. Plus my fiance got his raise and I got paid for a couple things I did in the past - so surprisingly, I'm still managing to 'pull my weight' (I don't think I am most of the time but the fiance tells me to slow down all the time) around here and make some money to help out.

I'm allowed to do simple easy stuff. Doctor said I was allowed to putter and do household chores and even leave the house for short periods of time (to say, like, get 4-5 things from the shops or get videos from the video store but not like a giant grocery trip or eating out). I've been planting a lot of seeds in my garden because that's fairly easy. Just sit there and poke holes in the dirt. The chickens even broke out of the backyard and scratched up all the dirt in the front yard for me to make it a little easier.

It's interesting, I can actually pinpoint the exact time I've used too much energy in one go - when I start shaking. I can start to control it a little or feel it come on and I know to slow down. When I slow down, the shakes stop. I have no idea what the shakes even mean. I'm eating, so it's not from hunger. I've started digesting again, so it's not that. My E/LFTs are still incredibly high, but not as high as they were. Perhaps that's causing the shakes? No idea.

I admit I jump back and forth in my emotions a lot these days. Super extremes too. Not like me. I have highs and lows but they're usually situational. These days I look around me and just burst into tears, wondering if it's all going to go away. Wondering and praying whatever I have is managable or curable or non-existent (Maybe they made a mistake! I cry.).

I am redoing my will, and I'm updating my living will, in case I end up in a coma. Scary thought. I'm also contemplating upping my life insurance, but I worry they will notice I saw a specialist before I upgraded and only a few weeks before I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I don't want them cancelling on my fiance if he needs it because I felt the desire to raise my limit at a bad time. Does anyone know if the insurance will do this? I'm not diagnosed with anything yet - but I probably will be.

I just... I want to live, damnit. Not live, look my blood is still running in my veins but LIVE, get out there and live. Live life, have fun, enjoy what I've got... I also want to pretend I never got this diagnosis and ignore it completely and pretend I'm healthy and just never go back to the doctor. I was supposed to make an appointment on Friday for this week. I can't bring myself to do it. I have a few blood tests still waiting for me to hear the results to - and I can't do it.

I know there's a few of you shaking your heads at me for being so stupid as to not make that appointment to see those last results. Stupid girl, you think, if it was me, I'd be in that doctor's office this second. Would you? Really? Because I'm stuck in this limbo between "It's really bad not knowing" and "What I don't know can't hurt me"....if I bury my head in the sand long enough, the world will pass by and everything will be okay. What I don't know today could be the worst news I get in my life tomorrow, you know?

People get mad at me because when they see me, I am laughing and joking. Even about the doctor's results and diagnosis... I joke and laugh. How dare I! How dare I? What else am I supposed to do? Break down in tears every time I bring it up like I do when I'm alone? Am I supposed to be sad until I get my autoimmune diagnosis and then be sadder still? Sometimes I begin to wonder if people just want to see me cry.

So I laugh and I joke and I keep my spirits up because, well, because this sucks. I'm NOT happy. I'm NOT in the mood to laugh - but I'm going to do it anyway. Even the simple act of making the joke or pretending to laugh eases the stresses a little. It satisfies me that the world is normal and happy and the pain will, in fact, go away. Laughter, jokes and smiles give me the hope I need to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

If I can laugh, then I haven't lost me. I won't lose myself in this, I refuse to.

So, I'm on bedrest for another 10 or so days. I can handle that, right? In 10 days, I'll join the world again - like nothing bad ever happened. That will be nice.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Has Anybody Seen My Mind?

Everybody wants to be what they want to be
Everybody want to have a good time
I just want to hang out with my peaceful itty bitty family
Playing sweet sweet music with some friends of mine

But I try to fake it, I can't do it all the time
Try hard to break it, but it was just a waste of my time
When I turn on my TV, seems like they're winning all the time.
I pray to God to please show me a sign
Has anybody seen my mind?
Has anybody seen my mind?
Has anybody seen my mind?
Has anybody seen my mind?

I would never ever leave you hanging on the corner with a problem
I would never ever leave you all alone
I always wanted you to know that you could depend on me
When I come out to your place, I will never be without a home

But I try to fake it, I can't do it all the time
Try hard to break it, but it was just a waste of my time
When I turn on my TV, seems like they're winning all the time
I pray to God to please show me a sign
Has anybody seen my mind?

I want you to walk with me now, talk with me now, be with now, and everything is all right
Walk with me now, talk with me now, be with now, and everything is all right

I try to fake it, I can't do it all the time
Try hard to break it, but it was just a waste of my time
When I turn on my TV, seems like they're winning all the time
I pray to God to please show me a sign
Has anybody seen my mind?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Honeymoon

I'm thinking about my honeymoon right now. I keep telling everyone my fiance and I plan to see Greece but I'm not entirely sure anymore. I wanted to go to Prague awhile ago but money problems arose from my last relationship. So I seem to have a general lust for Europe. I just switch sides.

However, I thought, why does a person need to do all the stereotypical things on a honeymoon? Why can't I go out and do something completely different? Something that might change my whole perspective on life and freedoms? Well, maybe because that's not like me at all. Of course not! I would never go randomly into a new country and follow a road less travelled. Of course not. Never done it before.

So I present to you, my idea. I want to walk the El Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James, to Santiago de Compostela. I have been studying it here and there over the last couple years and it's something I definitely want to do before I die. I've spoken about it often to friends and even made pacts with friends I deemed 'good enough to spend a few weeks hike with' to travel this road together. I promised even if I did it, I would do it again just for them and be their guide. This is the way of the road.

I read stories of the Templar Knights and of the promises made to the people and of how it all came crumbling down. I've read about the scallop shells and the protection and magick (though the Christians might not like that part) surrounding the road beneath the Milky Way. Follow the stars, follow your heart, follow your dreams - travel through history and become a part of the world as it once was.

I want to earn my Compostela, which is a certificate presented to pilgrims who have travelled 100km or more by foot. I want to do a little more than this, as this is one of the shorter routes, only taking about a good strenuous 2 days hike or 3-4 days with stops and relaxing. I would like to collect all the stamps possible in a two weeks period, before ending up in Santiago, with a prayer and a compestela.

Not your classic honeymoon destination, I wouldn't think. However, it would be one you would never forget, not for a moment. "Remember how after we got married, we strapped backpacks to ourselves and walked the Road to Santiago?" And we'll display the stamps and compestela in the glass cases of our house and speak fondly of those days until the road calls us back to be guides for the next pilgrims.

Sure, in my head it's fantastical and romantic. I know it's rough and complicated and dehydrating and the packs are heavy. I know it's a lot of walking. I know it's a lot of remembering some semblance of the Spanish I was once fluent in. I am fine with this. I would be proud to undertake the challenges of the Road in the name of Gd and feel history beneath me feet.

If not for my honeymoon, another day. I hate saying 'another day' though, because that's what people always say before they tuck away their dreams for a day that never comes. Still, I speak fondly of taking this trip every time the topic of travel comes up. Maybe it's not the worst idea I've had. But then again, I've had some pretty bad ideas.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

C'est la vie.

Such is life. No more, no less. Such is life. Why then, are these words considered so negative? Never are they used to describe happy events. And yet, in an of themselves, they are very neutral. So why do we not say, "Today I relaxed on the beach with my toes in the sand. Ah, c'est la vie!"? I think we should. Change the drudgery of our daily expressions to be just that bit more positive.

This goes for a lot of things - and it's also advice I myself need to take more. In and of themselves, words, people, objects and feelings are neither negative nor positive - it is simply the projection of our own bias we use to make them so. I vividly recall "horrible" events in my life that I woed over for many days before they magically seemed to turn into great wonderful things.

Take my meeting my fiance, for a small example. I met him because my motorbike decided it was not going to turn off. Ever. The ignition had broken and I was devastated. I had only had the bike for a few months! I got a couple offers from some dirty old man to fix it, but declined out of some sort of fear he might hurt me. When I continued to look for a new ignition I was met with much resistance. Bike shops had closed down for good. Parts were hard to source. Excuses were made.

Finally the dirty old man said to me, "I have the part right here if you're willing to come and get it." I so was not. I was scared, I admit, that he might use this way 'in' as an attempt to sleep with me. I was right, I suppose. Turns out the dirty old man was actually rather young, but still dirty (not minded! just dirty! covered in it!). He fixed the part for me, somehow convinced me to see him and again and my horrible messed up motorbike turned into me begrudgingly meeting some man I didn't want to meet - only to be marrying him in near one hundred days now.

Obviously the 'bad' in this example is not very bad, but I make a small point still. I have had much worse things happen in my life that have also turned good (one of these days I'll tell you how I ended up in Australia) but at the time, I didn't think they were good at all. Ranging from the time I was homeless to my husband leaving me for a teenage girl - those horrible things would not have put me in the place I am now.

So, I'd like to make a small suggestion. Not to you, not to me, just to the anyone who wants to think about it or consider for a moment their own lives. All those moments you sighed longingly and said to yourself, "C'est la vie," in frustration at something plaguing your life - that it didn't end up so bad after all. Even the worst things in life have meaning - this I know from the bottom of my heart. So perhaps we need to change not the definition but the feeling behind the words we say.

C'est la vie. Such is life. And it can be great.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Down

Well I'm down today. That sucks. I'm very much in a 'woe is me' mood. Actually I'm in a 'If I were a dog, I'd be put down right now' mood.

I can't clean, it wears me out. I do it in spurts but it's not really enough. I can't cook, it wears me out. Same as cleaning. I can't work at all. I can't exercise. I can't even really eat properly. I shake when I move. I've lost quite a bit of weight. I can't do a lot of things I enjoy and, frankly, I can't even pull my own weight anymore.

If I were on a farm and I were a dog, someone would've shot me by now, it's true. If you saw a shaking thin frail dog who didn't enjoy what it once did and couldn't even muster the cattle for you or, hell, protect your house - you'd shoot it. Unless you took pity on it - then the medical bills would be so high you'd have the vet put it down.

The letter from Telstra is upsetting me more than I thought. I had to leave a message and *shockingly* they haven't called back. I don't even know WHY I had to leave a message considering I called at 9am ON THE DOT so I could be the first one in line. But whatever.

The savings I made last month has basically depleted from my illness. I have other savings, but those are at a huge cost to me financially if I access them. The food stores in the house are depleting (market trips are also a big event for me).

The only thing keeping me from just saying 'fuck it' and hiding in a corner rocking back and forth for a week is my own damn determination and positivity (which is not present at all in this post, I'm aware). I got to say, my natural reaction is to revert back to a baby-stage and suck my thumb and cry and be rocked - that's how stressed I am. But I won't. I won't be put down - there's still life left in me and if I have to gather the energy just to do laundry so I can boast some kind of usefulness, I will.

I guess I'm just down and being hard on myself today. I guess I also don't take well to allowing others to take care of me. It's not me. I've taken care of myself since I was very young and made a point to be as independent as possible from as early as I could (much to my mother's distress). And now? Now I have to depend on people - and I have to have faith they just won't up and leave while I need them - and that's fucking terrifying. History hasn't been so great with me on this aspect. Baggage? Most likely.

I don't want the antenna installation guy to see me cry... I've put on happy music and I'm dancing. I've been depressed before. I've gotten out of it. I can do this. It only looks hard because I've made it look hard. Let's shine some light on this and cast away the shadows - so I can get over this crap. Grow up, Liz. Drink a glass of cement and harden the fuck up.

Happy and Mad!

I am up and down today. My moods keep either being really happy with life or really angry at people. I think both are still true.

The male has gone to a trip to my most favourite place ever and left me behind. To be fair, he's going for work and to be fair, I'm still in the midsts of some bizarre liver failure (more on that later). It's not like I could go if I wanted. Boo!

I'm happy with it though. We don't spend enough time apart where he just does his own thing and I do mine. We're either together - or he's at work. No inbetween. It's not that I'm sick of him it's just that the bastard (false, his parents were and still are married) really needs his own hobbies and life away from me. So now he's at a pub, hopefully drinking his arse off. I've directed him to the nearest strip club and am glad I'm the one holding the credit card. If his work is done before the arvo tomorrow he promised to go into the city and buy me my favourite chocolates! Yay! They don't have them in Brisbane.

I have plans that involve George Clooney now. I invited him over for some champagne and orange juice (he can drink, but I can't). No, I'm not delusional, I just like making up stories in my head and pretending they're real. Delusional would be BELIEVING they're real. Completely different. Completely.

I rented a couple George Clooney flicks and there's some salmon baking in the oven so I can make this recipe for cauliflower fritters. Fresh salmon instead of smoked. Eh. I setup a blanket on the floor of the livingroom and am about to climb into my most comfortable pyjamas to settle in for the night. Paint my nails. Read a book in the tub later with some of my bathbombs. I might make a bubble bar tonight too, seeing as I ran out the other day. I love being crafty!

The bad parts were really, once more, my doctor's negligence over my health and, once more, Telstra's negligence over my service. I guess what people and companies don't realize is I...kinda don't give up. My fiance told me Telstra pulled the same stuff with him and he just gave up. I refuse to. There's a LOT of flaws with their claims in rebuttal to my claims and I'm gonna wring 'em. Yay! As for the doctor - I have a specialist lined up for a second opinion already. On. The. Ball! Boo-yah!

There's a list of four diseases I might have. Some are just flu type things. Some can reoccur so I need to be careful if I have those and some I carry for life, but can manage. Nothing is deadly, which is remarkable news. Of course, this is just preliminaries - the specialist can confirm or deny my results for me on Thursday next week. Each disease, though, my doctor says, WILL leave me tired and exhausted for a long time. All of them cause severe tiredness for months. Nice.

Still can't go back to work. Ah well. I was thinking of working from home. I sometimes work as a chat hostess and can make anything, depending on how hard I decide to work. And it's freelance so I can take a break whenever I need if I feel my liver acting up. (Ever felt your liver? It's WEIRD.) I dunno, I just HATE not working. I love working and I love bringing in money and I love saving it.

Speaking of which, I did my taxes. I love doing that too. I think it triggers that little niggly slightly-OCD side of me (I should really check if I actually have OCD... I mean, really.. I organize my cans alphabeticallty by type, name and then size [like fruit-apples is before vegetables -peas]). Anyway - I liked it. I spent all day yesterday relaxing doing my taxes and drinking coffee and getting excited when I remembered another receipt. I managed over 4k in deductions on the car!! Score one for Lizzer!

So yeah... basically what I said. Happy with life. Mad at people. Life IS good. Stressful, but good. I have salmon. How can life not be good?