Monday, May 31, 2010

Budget Month - Day 1 Revisted

It's the afternoon of Day 1 and I've managed to not spend a damn cent! Not bad considering how I've spent the day lounging in my own home, not even leaving for a second. Well, we can't have a social life AND a budget, can we? Ha, joke's on you! Like I've ever had a social life...

So, this is my fruit and veg box. I know, I know, I do remember what I said in my Nothing But An Apron about these boxes, but I'm going to have renig that. I was wrong. I suck. I fail. Turns out I joined at the worst time in the existence of food, so my first few boxes sucked. I'm better at it now. Included in my box this week was:

1 pineapple
3 lemons and 1 lime in a bag
1 lemon and 1 lime not in a bag (I have NO idea)
1 biodynamic bunch of parsley (damn hippies)
1 corn
1 head of lettuce
1 broccoli
2 avocados
1 orange the size of my damn head
3 mandarins
7 apples
5 bananas
2 sweet potatoes
1 giant ginger root
5 potatoes
11 roma tomatoes
5 finger eggplants
2 zucchini
1 capsicum
1 radish
4 mushrooms
1 bunch spinach

So... this is the fruit and veg I have to work with for the week. I always hated that I got a large variety but not many of each thing. I am definitely more of a 'use a lot of things to make a giant batch' kind of person that I am a 'oh yay I can use my two limes to make a gin and tonic' (ooooh gin and tonic... be right back).

Okay, I lied. I don't put limes in my gin and tonic - so they're safe. But now I have a gin and tonic (no really, I do). So my day gets better. I'm running out of gin. I did not budget liquor into my expenses. Curses.

So, first things first - let's start somewhere. How does the damn eggplant sound? What does a person do with 5 eggplants that vaguely resemble, well, I'm pretty sure I can't say 'a dick' on my blog. Oh darn. Too late now. Anyway - I've got 5 mini eggplants that probably don't even equal one big one and I need to use them.

Well, there's the obvious sauteed baby eggplants, but I think I want something more substantial. Especially since the recipe calls for six. I have five. No, I'm not a moron, I'm being funny. Oddly enough, I DO have mirin, of all things. Hello Lover, what is this recipe? A recipe that uses both the bag of split peas I've had in the cupboard for ages (yes, I really do have everything) as well as my eggplant, as well as some capers (yes, everything), tomatoes AND fresh lemon juice. So let me get this straight, in this recipe I get to use:

1 lemon
5 eggplants
6 roma tomatoes (in place of the two tomatoes)
AND my giant store of split peas

And for dessert, I've been eyeing off this lovely mini upside down pineapple cakes recipe. So that means I'm down one pineapple. I didn't use last week's either - so I still have a pineapple. DAMN.

Small problem: I don't have the onion for the split peas. Solution: use green onion. Nobody will notice. Shhh. Should I just got out and buy a damn onion?

Well, according to my budget I am allowed to spend $159.43 a day. Thus, I am going to say I am $159.43 ahead today. Ignore the fact rent is due tomorrow and let me be happy at my hundred fifty, okay?

I'm not buying the damn onion. I can do this.

Budget Month - Day 1

You've got to be kidding me, right? I write up that post last night and my lovely wonderful fiance comes home and announces to me, "Guess what I found!?" After guessing (why do I play this game?) I was confronted with a picture of a truck. Not just any truck. A vintage truck - the exact kind I described to him as my favourite type of vintage car. With the rounded frame and the fat nose.

"We are NOT getting a truck," I say.
"It's only five hundred dollars!" he pleads.
"Well you either have to buy it in the next 3 hours or next month."
"I was going to buy it next week."
"Can you wait, like, one month?" I am almost begging I think. I can feel my cookbook slipping out of my hands.
"If I don't buy it, my dad said he would," he said, sadly, almost regretfully.
"You've talked about it with your dad already!?" Why did I not see this coming?
"We could work on it together! It's the truck you've always wanted and it's cheap and it RUNS!"

Fuckety. Really? Really really? Couldn't give me a day, universe? Not one damn stinkin' motherfuckin' day? I don't want a truck (okay, I do), I want my damn cookbook!

So. I don't think we're actually buying it. Hopefully. He does this a lot, comes home and says, "Look what I found!" Once it was a tractor. Another time it was an excavator. A third time, it was two excavators - because, and I quote, "So you can have one too!" because we obviously don't live in the suburbs and if we had plenty of land would the same time?

I have spent nothing as of this very moment. And currently I believe my husband is on the phone, trying to see if we can do a trade or a deal so I can stick to my budget and he can get his damn truck.

Curse you.

Edit: GAH! I just realized I promised a friend I'd take her out to lunch tomorrow and another friend I'd go with her to Sex and The City 2 Gold Class - which is $40 a ticket. Obviously my mentality was not in 'better budget' a week ago when I made these promises. Curses! By day two I'll have squandered some of my hard-saved money. Damn.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Budget Month - Tighten Them Purse Strings Ahoy!

My fiance and I have been working on a budget for a month now. We've been writing down everything we buy and inputting our income into our Handy Dandy (patent pending) iPhones with our Handy Dandy (patent pending) Budgeting Program, called HomeBudget.

I gave us a budget to begin with without a clue what our actual spending was. Well... we exceeded that by $1713.87. Seventeen hundred fricken dollars over this made-up budget I did. And after I went through every expense for the month you know what I discovered?

My estimates of my budget were fair.

I only went over about $100 per category on my budget. Problem is - there's lots of categories. Second problem is - I could've totally stayed in my budget for those things! So the budget hasn't changed at all - just my mentality has. It's the 31st of May in this country and the 1st of June starts tomorrow.

I have purchased one large soap order today as well as the last of my seeds for sowing for awhile and this is it for expenses for me that do not fall into my budget. And y'know what? I'm gonna fricken blog about it. Why not? I won't be terribly specific but I'm gonna need to be a little so I can STICK in my budget.

You know if I stick to my budget for ONE month I can be entirely free of debt? One month. 30 days. Debt free. But. I'm a moron. I love shoes and food and chickens.

So here's a few of the plans:

I get my fruit and veg deliveredon Tuesdays - Tuesday night I'm going to write a menu for the week using as many fruits and vegetables as possible from my delivery. That's right. Me. Going to write a menu. I've been checking out heaps of blogs for ideas and awesome recipes to use even though I have no idea what I'm getting. I can guess, since it's all seasonal, but I don't know for sure.

I will not buy any cookbooks this month. I will not even buy them on Kindle. I will not buy them with a pen, I will not buy them with a hen. I will not buy cookbooks with a chook, I will not buy cookbooks with another book. I will not buy them with a cow, I will not buy them ANYHOW.

I will scour Kindle for free books. Why not? I'm sure I'll find some oldie-but-goodie I'll love. I really used to love love love John Steinbeck as a kid, so I don't see why I can't download some of his goods for free (they're free, right?) and read those instead of spending ten bucks a week (we'll say a week, so we can pretend I don't spend all day reading books on my phone) on the Dresden Files. Which, by the way, I love and am only halfway through. NO DRESDEN UNTIL JULY. Also, I am downloading the series. Don't tell the government.

I have planted tomato, brussel sprout and salad seedlings. This should last me awhile. The tomatos are already fruiting little green babies, so this will save me some money.

If I have spent $499 in food and my budget is $500 and I have a week left - TOUGH COOKIES BITCH. I still have a dollar. Better spend it wisely!

So. Every week or so I will post my budget and how far along I am in it. Y'know, commit myself so you guys can laugh/yell at me if I fail. Or congratulate me if I don't. Or give me free food if I fail on day 4. Y'know, what friends do.

Budget for June:
Rent - $1440
Utilities - $800 (includes phone/internet/TV/elect*/gas)
Groceries - $500
Restaurant - $100
Pet Food (remember, we have 30 'pets') - $130
Clothing - $100
Personal (soap, girly things, etc) - $50
Toys - $20 (I'm married to a boy, what can I say?)
Books - $40
Kitchen - $50
Homewares - $50 (decorative, etc whereas above is supplies)
Gym - $89 (exactly the amount per month for both of us)
Dates - $300 (includes eating out together while restaurants includes eating out by ourselves)
Petrol - $100 (I overspent by $108 this month!)
Car Loan - $400 (we're trying to pay this off quickly, this is not our actual payment, lol)
Rego - $55
Parking - $20
Auto Insurance - $~~~ (I have $212 but I JUST got a HUGE cut and I don't know what the amount is yet, but should be $80ish)
Home Insurance - $60
Medical Insurance - $186
Gifts - $150 (yeah, I know - just cause it's there don't mean I'll use it**)

I also had advertising and plants listed as expenses with no budget. Advertising I spent about $30 this month on for Nothing But An Apron and Plants I managed to spend $249.00 on. And no, I didn't buy "plants" with that, I bought plants. I know I know, not as fun when it's only an apple tree....

*we're currently paying off a HUGE electric bill
**who am I kidding? I'll use it.

Also, while I'm aware my gift budget is higher than my own personal items budget - I went over THAT by $90 this month. EEEK! So cutting back, I am. A lot of those numbers are 'just in case' numbers. Like.. I've budgeted for it but it doesn't mean I'll use it.

If I stick to this budget I will save... *drumroll*

$1713.87 - I already said that, don't you pay attention?

Where will this $1713.87 go? INTO MY SAVINGS ACCOUNT YO. Well. No. $1000 will go to paying off my damn credit card to below the overlimit so I stop getting monthly "BAM $80 interest OOPS now you're over BAM $40 overlimit OOPS now we gotta charge you interest on that BAM $20" bull.

The other $700 will stay in my Savings.

And in July, Glynn gets a raise. And in July, I plan on sticking to my budget. Or better still... lowering it.

For all this I will... buy myself a cookbook. But not just ANY cookbook. If I STICK TO MY BUDGET AND ONLY IF IT STICK TO MY BUDGET I WILL BUY:

And yes, I am aware of the irony of not buying cookbooks for a month just to reward myself with a cookbook for the efforts. Don't judge me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Blog Personified

I think I have finally found the image that hysterically personifies my blog. An incredibly failed batch of soap I hand-made with my lovely suburban home as a backdrop.

I know, I know - it looks like a near-perfect bar of soap, but what can I say, I like things to be spot-on and the giant wooden spoon in the loaf of soap is just not at all condusive to washing oneself. Though I may try, by golly! It might be the latest greatest thing in 'don't drop your soap' prison efforts! Though I assume, should you drop your soap, you're in a newer world of hurt than if your soap didn't have a butt-maiming instrument of torture glued to it.

In all honesty, I think I might keep it. To serve as a reminder of what happens to soap around here that fails to meet my expectations maybe? Or perhaps to reach that sore spot on my back I can never get by myself. Or I may just sell it to the Museum of France and let them deal with it's glory. All in all, I think it's a perfect example of a young woman, now on her own, going from Gucci to Geese in her Little Farm in the Suburbs.

At least my Gozleme turned out. Filled with goats feta and roasted capsicum. Sided with salad, a hamburger (because that's totally a side) and homemad chips fried in rice bran oil.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lazy Day

It's a rather overcast hazy lazy day, my favourite. I like the wind, the threat of rain, the way it just feels like a bit slower of a day. Can't drive fast, can't eat fast, want to sleep. So today I thought I'd make soap and I've set that aside to set overnight. Dinner is going to be Gozleme with baked chips and salad.

I've been cleaning up and as I was cleaning I was smiling. I couldn't quite figure it out, but for some reason putting away everything made me happy. I soon realized everything I put away was a memory I got to relive. It was quite theraputic. I put away the chocolate Glynn gave me the night before. I returned the knife from the homebaked bread we ate together. I rearranged the food in the fridge from being overstuffed last night. Little reminders all around the house about the day before. It was almost sweet.

I am excited about my new soaps. Two are pure castile, no other additives except scent and colour. Olive oil only. Should take a good year to harden nicely. I also made 75% coconut and 25% shea butter soap, which should turn in the most lathering creamy thing in the world. I also made some beeswax furniture polish for the wood bits in the house.

All in all, it was a lazy puttering sort of day. I plan on enjoying some peppermint tea with lemon in a moment as I wait for Glynn to return from the shops with the vinegar I need to make my pickled cabbage. Heavens, I sound like my grandmother.

I fed the chickens and started giving them antibiotics, which means I can't eat their eggs for two weeks, which is a bummer. Luckily I was on a bread making kick and finagled the purchase of three dozen and managed to not actually make enough bread to use more than one dozen, so I now have leftover eggs by the truckload.

This post needed a photo so I chose one of my overworked boy eating a caramlized apple tart I made a few weeks back.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


And I do mean baby! I've got five new arrivals on the farm. Two teenage Araucanas of an unknown gender and these three baby fluffballs, one Auracana, one Araucana cross and a Naked Neck. I know I know I already have two naked necks but check out this chick's eyes! Looks like Cleopatra!

The best part about raising baby chicks is you can raise them how you want. I've been giving them lots of hands-on time so they will be very tame. They already enjoy neck scratches and have personalities of their own. The black one is the shy sleepy-head who loves a gentle neck rub. The brown one is the leader and protector and proud chicken. The yellow one is hungry and likes butt rubs. :)

I don't normally update on a Saturday but I will today. Apparently today is my day to play with the babies! My life sucks.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

No I don't WANNA post!

Frankly! But, thinking I had done nothing worth posting about, I found a pile of photos I realized I could share from this last week. So. Live with it.

Work has been slow and I have been making and baking and creating a lot lately. Last night alone was busy. I was supposed to go to a friend's nightclub but never ended up making it. *sigh* I'm a social fail, really. Anyway, I did end up making roasted capsicum for dinner. With feta and basil... delicious.

I also cleaned the kitchen, which made me very happy. Cleaned the whole damn thing with 2L of boiling water with lemon chucked into it. I have a feeling I'm going to ruin it today by making soap. Oh well, that's what bribing husbands with cakes is for.

One of my chickens has been laying twins! This is not nearly as effecient as laying two eggs at once, but almost. Two yolks of normal size in a smaller white. Perfect for mousses. As you can see these two are in a bowl with lemon zest. I also made lemon custard.
I've been doing my laundry with soap nuts lately. I'm impressed. They're incredibly cheap, organic, do a million washes, are soft on clothes and frankly, look kinda cool. Next to it is my organic "bleach". Environmentally concious. THIS is what I mean from Gucci to Geese. I'm a spoiled fricken snob - on a farm.

Lately I've been watching River Cottage on TV and it has got to be exactly what the doctor ordered for me. The chilly hillsides and sheep and cows are probably pretty much exactly what I'm looking for in a farm - with a prettier house. Don't get me wrong, it's a gorgeous house, but not us. The copious amounts of home grown food, the chickens scattering around like morons, the cow - all of it I can see owning myself. I even found myself looking forward to my first sheep competition! Yee-haw!

Until then, I sit in suburbia, watching the petals on my lemon tree slowly open so they can give me their winter fruit. Blueberries have started growing now that they've fallen in love. Someday I'll have that little farm on the chilly hillside with the rooster crowing it's head off as I eat a fruit salad I picked from my own trees that morning. Until then, I'm somewhere in between Gucci...and Geese.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I went to Canberra for a photoshoot and once more didn't get to meet up with someone I wanted to. I really enjoyed myself and pretty much spent everything I made but I got a gorgeous nice coat in the process, which I desperately needed. It's a nice long thick trench coat with buckle sleeves and a tight belt. I got it in a size 6, too! Scoooore.
I also got these gorgeous wall stickers which UNLIKE THE BROCHURE SAYS do NOT apply easily. The decal itself does but the fricken application sticker is like 10x stickier than the decal so it's impossible to get off without tearing it. However, the decal looks easily removable, but the application sticker tore bits off my wall! I repainted it! :/

At the same store I also got these cute blocks for my entry-way. So when you walk in you know G&L live here. I know I know, I'm Elizabeth, but everyone calls me Liz.. besides, G&E is a terrible company, I'd rather my entryway not advertise them, hahaha.

The teaset I love and got for twenty dollarts. Most expensive decor was that bowl, actually, but it makes me happy.

I've been trying to settle in and pretty up the place from my husband's bachelor-style furniture. It goes well with his leather and dark wood in the rest of the house. Obviously the ikea light bookshelf needs to be replaced with a thick heavy dark one, but that'll come in time. It's in the entryway for now so doesn't not match the rest of the house, since you can't see the rest of the furniture from there.

Really need to learn to budget my income though, as variable as it is. Oh well, I'll work on it!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Current Score

I keep thinking about how this blog is called from Gucci to Geese, which is very me - and yet I never seem to talk about Gucci much. It makes me laugh. I think I'm slowly going more goosey from my original expensive city girl. I still have a few pairs of Gucci heels, two Diors and of course, my amazing cost-more-than-my-last-car Roberto Cavalli boots.

I haven't bought a pair in a year. Glynn keeps pushing me to, because he knows I love beautiful shoes, but I can't seem to spend the money these days. I have a friend in America who buys them for me and sends them to me for half the price of the overpriced Australian shops - she's getting married so she's super busy, but I'lll at least be buying a pair of Choo's for my wedding. You can't talk me out of that one!My dress is very Grecian so I think these will go amazingly with it. I'm also eagerly hoping to buy another Diane Von Fursetenberg dress. I simply love her wraps! Always so flattering on anybody!

Now, back to your usual farm news:

Everyone, meet, well "Zell" for now, because he looks like that infamous Final Fantasy 8 character with the same 'hair'. He's the new baby of the house but I highly doubt he's the youngest. He sure as heck is the tamest though. I'm guessing on the 'he' part. If he does happen to be male, Glynn will finally be one of TWO men in this house - out of 20 living creatures.

Yes. Twenty.

The current score of animals:
2 dogs
2 cats
2 Leghorns
2 Australorps
1 Bantam
2 Naked Necks
1 Isa Brown
2 Muscovy Ducks
1 Eastern Rosella
1 Budgie
1 Indian Ringneck
1 Cockatiel

... and counting Glynn and I, that makes 20. 16 women, 1 man and 3 unknowns, although odds are good the baby chick and duckling are female. It's up to the cockateil to live up to it's cock-ameme name. Ha.

I also went out yesterday, like I said, and bought a BUNCH of plants. Here's my current score:

2 purple spinach plants
4 purple capsicum bushes
1 coriander bush
1 oregano cover
1 purple tomatillo bush
1 peppermint cover
1 bunch chives
1 strawberry bush
1 taraggon pot
2 parsley types
1 eggplant
5 kohlrabi seedlings
1 elderberry tree
2 grape vines
1 lemon tree
1 thyme cover
an unknown amount of lettuces (I planted a bunch at once and prayed)
1 avocado tree
1 habenero bush
1 lychee tree
1 basil plant
2 blueberry bushes
8 butterhead lettuce babies
8 asparagus bunches
6 climbing bean sprouts
1 rosemary bush
various johnny jump ups
1 pink lady apple tree
1 orange tree
1 mandarin tree
1 gala apple tree
1 raspberry bush
1 pomegranate tree
2 mulberry bushes

.... and that's where I currently stand. I think I really should get into canning here soon.

Lovely Day!

Glynn and I went to the festival today and had an amazing time! First we went to the markets and I got a bunch of handmade soaps and some herbs and we ate food while listening to an awesome Australian country singer. I bought two of his CDs. I had grilled corn on the cob and fresh squeezed lemonaid with ginger. Glynn had three polish sausages with bacon. Ha. He also bought fudge.

We really should have stopped at the first garden because the other two were pretty much not worth the entry, sad to say, except for some lovely succulents I got at the second one. The first one definitely belonged to an insanely wealthy family. There was a giant avocado orchard and I pocketed a couple avocados from the ground - many were rotting so I didn't think they'd miss them one bit. They had a million fruits and vegetables lying around and I took a photo of the view:
The garden amazing. You had to walk through a forest with a tiny path to get to the garden. It really did start to hurt my legs from all the hiking before I'd even finished the tour of the first place. I settled down and ate an organic chicken and tarragon sausage on a wholegrain bun with a spicy pepper sauce. Delicious.

I went to a cafe with Glynn and had some pretty terrible burger to go with his pretty terrible chips. I went down the road to this lovely place that used to have the most amazing sauces and curries and jarred rare bits.. but they didn't have it anymore. It was very sad. It had all be replaced by doilies and lavendar wheat bags. Sad.

On the way back Glynn reminded me of the huge nursery that's up there. I bought another blueberry plant to go with the one I have (they only fruit in pairs... which I didn't know). I got two apple trees (because I did know they need to cross polinate), a mandarin tree and an orange tree. One of the apple trees already has little knuckle-sized apples on it, about ten. I got a giant raspberry bush as well. I have about ten new pots of herbs - I lost count. Coriander, chives, dill, oregano, thyme...

I'm hoping to get food for every season so that we'll eat should, y'know, the world end like my dream. Ha. If anything, we'll never need apples or blueberries again.

So, I'm happy. Now to listen to some Bush Country and nibble some cheese.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Fanny Laying Me An Egg

Heyhey! I looked at the blog today and went, "Whoa, comments!" because, well, I didn't know people were commenting! Is this a new thing? Sweet! Now I feel bad for making my most recent post lyrics. Ha.

Anyway, my day started off rough after having a fall out with my best friend last night and basically feeling used and abused. Not to mention my dream yesterday and hunting down things - but things are looking up!

I have a little party with a friend today I'm looking forward to followed immediately by 6 hours of work, followed by bed followed by morning trip to Mount Tamborine for the Seasons Festival! I'm really excited, been looking forward to it for weeks.

The new duck with poorly clipped wings. Ducks fly, as an added bonus.

Got a new duck and three new hens as well. While I was at the farm picking out my new girls, I was shown how to check to see if they've ever laid an egg by feeling up their "Fanny Cradocks" if you know what I mean. GROSS! But, apparently, if you feel up a chickens egg-layer you can feel how far apart the bones are. Further means eggs have been laid. Only a finger's width mean they haven't. So I spent yesterday poking chickens in the bum. Nice.

I also successfully integrated the bigger girls with the babies and there's no clawing and fighting going on which is awesome. I caught one of the new girls chasing, rolling and pecking a fake egg I keep outside which was a worry, but I am hoping it's just her going, "Hey is this food?" not "Hey I like to eat eggs!"
I love how you can see the overgrown lawn on the other side of the fence. I mowed the other side last week. I haven't mowed the ducks/chickens side since I moved them there.

I got a small job on Thursday. The 'massive amount of shoots' didn't pull through for me afterall and I didn't end up working last night (did I mention the fall out with the friend?) so I thought, crap, money, tight.. but it doesn't look like it. Even with the small shoot, I am looking at making almost two thousand dollars this week! Holy cow. Nobody can say I don't pull my weight around here, can they? Added to this Glynn has been picking up Saturdays to work, we should be just fine without me going back to the clubs. Thank GAWD.

I am considing not working at all for awhile. Of course, I've been considering it for awhile. I keep going back and forth. We can survive on Glynn's pay but I can't just not work, y'know? However, I do keep up my end by saving us money with making stuff and taking care of the home and Glynn even said, "You more than pull your weight even without working." Which, I suppose, is true. Glynn gets a raise in early July so I might consider it again at that time.

I'm going to paint my nails and tan for tonight. All the shows I have booked were booked four days ago, which usally means a good crowd. It's last minute bookings that usually mean "We don't plan, we're all drunk and we're gonna be assholes"... but sometimes not! Never know. I'm actually looking forward to work tonight. Who knew?! :)

I've also had WAY too much coffee this morning.

Bad Mood

All my friends are revealed
As no one in the sun
And all light was concealed
Otherwise undone

All my hopes are laid bare
Like smoke dreams in a chair
All the plans for escape
All the faith

And all my time has run out
Just seconds in a jar
All the nights that I owned
In Saxony and Cuba

All my faith has been lost
Like people in a flood
All the flesh that I knew
All the blood

All my friends are revealed
As no one in the sun
And all light was concealed
Otherwise undone


I'll let these lyrics sum up my feelings for today.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I always have vivid dreams, that is nothing new. The problem with last night's nightmare is it was so realistic and it could actually happen. And in this nightmare, everything that happened... happened today. I recall even being upset I couldn't meet someone I had plans to meet next week or go to the club tonight and everything. Now I am terrified.

I don't know how big of news it seems to be at this moment, but in the oceans California, we have drilled down too far into the Earth and pissed her off. As I write this, hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil are spilling into the ocean and we don't have the technology to stop it. The oceans may very well die, taking us with them.

Yesterday in Australia, all communication via one of the largest networks in Australia went down. I thought nothing of it more than a minor annoyance. Apparently my subconcious is terrified.

I was eating lunch with a friend and we were doing our normal thing. We were giggling as we thought someone was watching us. We poked fun at a couple on a date. We spoke of times we had missed. And then.. people started leaving the restaurant. I thought, well, this is stupid. I noticed people started leaving their food behind, or before even getting their food. My friend left as well, because she couldn't understand why everyone was leaving. It started with a couple groups but everybody got curious and I sat there, determined to stay, until the waiters and chefs started to leave, too. Something was wrong.

Apparently this restaurant was in a popular mall, because when we filed out of the restaurant I was in a large building with a bunch of shops and a bunch of televisions. Everyone was watching.

There was a video of an Australian man off the coast of Queensland trying to stop the burning hot crude oil from exploding in his pipes. I saw him struggle with this giant pipe before it exploded and I watched him die. I saw this man's death. Everyone did. I could tell you what his outfit was. I could tell you where the smudges from work were on his hardhat. I could even tell you about his dark scratched up tan hands, which made him look older than he was. His death was that real to me.

We all gasped in horror and the newsanchor came on and said to us, "We have failed to cap the oil on our end." Everyone was incredibly sad. Nobody could actually say what we all knew. We were all going to die, sooner or later.

There was panic. I pulled my phone from my pocket and, score, we seemed to get signal. It was hard to get a connection, it took a few tries, but eventually everybody at some point got connected to who they wanted. We were being filed into the parking lot so we could all be filed out of the mall. Slowly, nobody wanted to die before they had a chance to say goodbye. Now that I look back, this mentality was pretty scary. We all knew we were going to die - so we weren't going to do it stampeding around a mall.

For some reason, I saw a candy shop and thought to buy Glynn a dark chocolate bar from Darrel Lea. I bought some other chocolates and the lady gave me half a bag for free. I paid ten dollar all up for everything. I have no idea why she still sat behind that register, but she seemed very sad and continued her work. I think she was scared.

I ran out of the mall, passing a small stall of Christmas decorations. I was sad. I would never see another Christmas. I don't know why this bothered me as much as it did. Maybe because, even though I don't celebrate Christmas, I was always fond of the shiny glitter and wrappers. I liked watching people like Christmas.

I called Glynn. He had seen the news. He would be waiting for me at home. Oh Gd, I said. My mother is in California! For some reason I didn't think about it for a week... she was right there! (she's not, actually, she's in Arizona now, which I am currently grateful for). I had to call her.

At this time I was outside of the mall, but I couldn't remember where my car was. The entire restaurant was huddled close to one another as we waited our turn to find out cars and go home - we had some sort of bizarre connection to each other. Afterall, we had all just learned we were going to die together. You may not know someone, but when you gain that information at the same time, you suddenly have this emotional bond.

I couldn't connect to my mother before this large black cloud of smoke filled the air. This bizarre disgusting smell filled my nostrils. Suddenly there was lightening in the cloud and it started raining. It started raining hot crude oil. At first it wasn't so bad. At first the air cooled it on the way down and you could get away. Then it started raining more and more and more - and by now you know I was outside.

The oil was having less and less time to cool as it fell. This mall was modern, it had lots of glass and holes in the ceiling to let sun in - like malls are these days. I ran under a tree but soon the leaves were shaking and dropping oil on me. I ran under an awning but the rain was getting too hard and hitting me there. I felt the burning. I saw people running, people screaming, people dying.

I recall telling someone I was lucky I had chickens and spare food at home but then.. I remembered I was lying. My chickens laid one egg a day. My food - I had not saved enough! I had simply not started growing enough vegetables in the garden to eat. I had simply not prepared enough meals in the freezer to make it between harvests. I had simply... failed. My family was going to die slowly once I got home and it was all my fault. I knew this.

So I ran. And I hid. I found a small triangle awning near the wall that the rain couldn't reach. It only fit me. I watched everyone around me die. I reached into my pocket to pull out my phone so I could call Glynn for the last time...

..and I woke up.

It was so real. So vivid. I can remember the feeling of burning hot oil dropping onto my skin. I can remember the sheer helplessness I felt. I remember the sad longing for one more Christmas, oh Gd, please, one more. Give me time. Give me time. It was so sudden and I was caught off guard and I wasn't prepared.

I'm going to take this dream as a warning. Maybe the world won't end, but hey, you never know. I'm going to work my arse off to be self-sufficient at home. I'm going out today and I'm getting more pots for gardening. I'm going to start more foods. This time next year I want to make sure my family is able to eat off what we have on the land. We won't have to, of course, but I refuse to feel that helplessness again. The realization that even if I did survive, we simply didn't have enough...

..well I'm not feeling that again.

...and we're back!

It's been so busy here in the Costello house, I have to say. The duck has been getting big and eats nearly everything in sight. I had to chase him around the lawn when I caught him with a piece of plastic in his beak. No idea how he got it. He's also been eating all the banana peels the chickens leave behind. Hm. Worrisome.

Fanny Cradock has been laying nearly an egg a day since she started, much to my pleasure. Still no sign of eggs from Julia or Jacque laying another egg since they laid the first few times. I have no idea why.

I've been making shaving soap because, well, I can. It's turned out quite nice. No colour, just a nice soft shea butter and vitamin e with minerals soap, sandalwood scented, because all men should smell like sandalwood. Or that's my theory anyway.

I rolled out a lovely tart crust the other day and made quite a few shells. The other day I made a lemon meringue tart, as seen above. I also made a dragon fruit puree and a vanilla creme brulle one. Tomorrow I plan on making a milk chocolate ganache filled one. I only like a little sugar so my husband has been eating them all. We still can't figure out why he's not dropping that last five kilos.

This weekend my husband and I really looking forward to going to the Mount Tamborine Seasons Festival.. I'm eager to try freshly grown pecans and maybe some delicious pecan pralines. I don't like sugar much so I won't eat much, but I can never say no to a good praline! Mmmm, nutalicious. Glynn and I really love our dates and every date say we never go out enough. It's wonderful really, since we're so hyper and weird and just love to be together. A few nights ago we went bowling. I totally won, but don't tell him I said that.

I've also gotten a huge job coming up in Canberra. Each shoot is worth quite a few hundred dollars and it's looking like I might get six or so shoots, so this will *finally* hopefully get Glynn and I out of this weird hole we've gotten ourselves in. I mean, we're sort of in it, then we're out of it, and then we're back in it again! Agh. Always works like that doesn't it? I also have a nice cheque I was supposed to get months ago I called about and should be getting this week.

Maybe we'll *finally* catch up.

So busy the next few days. It looks like I might be headed back to the clubs Friday night (yeah, money has gotten *that* weird lately). We're not behing really.. just constantly not ahead. We really need to get ahead. But.. I hate working the clubs. I quit ages ago and it was on my terms and I only like to work on my terms, y'know since I'm an independant contractor and all.

I never work the local clubs because it feels 'too close to home'. Glynn doesn't think it's worth my mental ranting to do it - but if I can just get us where we want to be, I can make the next year easier for us. If I can do it for a month or so we should be good. Glynn really wants me to quit, though - all of it. Not because I hate my job, really, I love it - it's just politics has gotten too complicated. I'd do it all 100x over if it wasn't for politics. I love my job, I really do. I'm going with a friend on Friday and if I can't stand it, I won't do it again. Simple as that.

I have a lot of work Saturday and a party I'm going to that should be nice. So hopefully I have a good day Saturday. Just gonna need a lot of sleep after work Friday night! The last job is near my house though so I can go straight home after - score. Looking forward to that.

Then our date on Sunday, where I should be cashed up and buying pecans.. and then Monday, I'll be broke again. That's my theory anyway.