29 December 2006

Out with the Old , In with the New...

Year that is... Well it's finally here and I for one could not be any happier to see the end of 2006. As you will remember it has been one heck of a year, especially the last six months. All in all we have much to be grateful for and most of all that James and I have each other, and for that alone I am eternally grateful.

So, what do we have to look forward too? Well, starting with the New Year weekend we will be going to TASTE today, which is one of the best food and wine festivals I've ever been to. We will be able to pick up a bit of wine, for the house, from local vineyards here in Tassie and have some of the locally produced foods. I know I sound like I am tooting the proverbial horn but I really believe that we have some of the best fresh foods and wines in the world. All because we have such clean air and water down here. Maybe I'm prejudiced or just plain deluded but that's how I see it.

Next, we will head over to Constitution Dock to have a look at the boats that have finished the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Some of the boats are huge and others are not so huge. Either way you wouldn't catch me dead trying to cross the Bass Strait in any of them. It was bad enough having to take the Spirit over when we first moved here.

To end the year we will be meeting friends at our favourite local Greek Restaurant for some good food and plate smashing.; then we will end up walking over to the harbour to watch a bit of fireworks.

As for the beginning of the New Year, we will be celebrating James' B-day with friends on the 5th and then he and I will head up to Melbourne for a couple of days. When we come back we have a few things to tend to around the house like painting the bathroom and other odds and ends. All leading up to a visit from friends in February, and that is as far as we have planned for now.

So, I'll let you know if we come up with anything more exciting but until then keep watching this space.

I wish for all of you a very Happy New Year!

28 December 2006

The next US President

I found this straw poll about who people think will be the next President of the United States in 2008. Go here and cast your vote. It's not scientific or anything but it will be interesting to see what the results will be. And yes, the holidays are over so we will resume regular postings in the not to distant future, but first we have to get past New Year and James' B-day (includes a trip to Melbourne to see Dame Edna).

22 December 2006

Happy Holidays!

Well it's the day before our Christmas party and I have tons of baking and cooking to do so I'll be pretty busy for the next two days. After the party tomorrow we head to Sydney to spend a few days with James' parents. I won't have much time, if any, to post a lot and I just wanted to tell all of you I hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season and I wish you all the best for the coming New Year!

20 December 2006

Some people just piss me off!!!

Over 40 million people infected with HIV with over 25 million dead and there is this fool in Perth Australia who claims to be a scientist and she says this:

Expert witness says HIV does not exist

A Perth medical researcher has told an Adelaide court that Africa does not have an AIDS crisis because HIV does not exist.

Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos has told the South Australian Court of Criminal Appeal that no one had proven that HIV exists.

Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos is a witness in the appeal case of Andre Chad Parenzee, 35, who was convicted on January 31 this year of endangering the lives of three women.

Parenzee had unprotected sex with the women, knowing he was HIV-positive.

One of the women, a mother of two, became infected with HIV while the other two tested negative to the virus.

Parenzee's lawyer, Kevin Borick, QC, argues Parenzee could not have committed the crimes because HIV does not exist.

Under cross examination from Prosecutor Sandi McDonald, Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos, a medical engineer from Royal Perth Hospital, dismissed recent World Health Organisation and United Nations reports that outline the world AIDS epidemic.

Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos said there was no published reports that conclude HIV exists or could be linked to AIDS.

The 5,000 people who signed the Durban Declaration in 2000, which says AIDS was an epidemic in Africa, linked to HIV and spread by sexual contact, were backed by politicians, not scientists, she said.

"I am a scientist, I look for science - I do not look for consensus," she told the court.

"There is no massive epidemic of HIV infections because no one has proven it."

Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos denied she was appearing at the case to gain publicity for her theories and her research organisation, the Perth Group.

The Perth Group, which Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos heads, believes there is no link between HIV and AIDS.

Parenzee's appeal application continues on Wednesday before Justice John Sulan.

Sourced: here

I understand everyone has the right to their own opinion but this kind of rhetoric is ridiculous considering that after 25 years and still counting this epidemic is still going strong and people continue to be infected and die every day! Also how does she want to explain what I have been dealing with personally for the past 21 years? These pundits are all around and have been for years and all they do is spout this disillusioned theroy when there is more scientific evidence then you can shake a stick at and even if there wasn't it doesn't matter as people are still living with HIV and many are still dying. End of statement! So this kind of rhetoric is for a lack of better words Bull Shit!

Anyway, I'm emotional and I should breathe deep. I just don't know what to say but if you want to read more about this group, this woman and their deranged ideology; you can write to them and you can find them here

P.S. If someone wants to disagree with me. DON"T. I have the right to my opinion too and besdies I'm not in the mood!

P.P.S. I've learned that this woman and her group have claimed since 1988 that HIV has never been fully isolated; as such she is among the best-known AIDS dissidents. I've also learned that she has no academic appointment and newspaper accounts have also indicated that she does not hold a doctorate even though she claims the title of Doctor; her highest academic degree is in fact a Bachelor of Science. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleni_Papadopulos-Eleopulos

18 December 2006

Just desserts

I like to bake especially desserts and I like to cook in general with Xmas on it's way there are lots of things I want to make or attempt to make. One of the best things about this house had/has going for it when we were looking to buy was the fact that is has a big kitchen. The apartment we own in Sydney and that we lived in for six years before we moved here had what is called a galley kitchen. Let me tell you it was just that; a galley. It was like trying to cook on a small sail boat, which is why we almost always had some type of takeaway (Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, you get the idea...).

I could never make a big meal in the apartment kitchen because it was so small. The stove/oven combo which was also tiny to be accommodated in the kitchen was also very old. So old that it did not regulate temperatures right if at all and only three of the burners worked. Needless to say about the only time I turned that thing on was in the winter so I could pretend to cook something but I was really only hoping to warm up the apartment. Mind you we really only got really cold days about two times during the winter. We were living in Sydney after all.... Funnily enough we replaced that stove with a brand new one just before we left to move to Tasmania, because we were going to rent that apartment out for some extra income and we had to provide them with a working stove. I don't know if the tenants use it or not as they would still have to deal with the size restraints of the kitchen in general but that's not my problem.

Anyhoo, when we found our new home we/I loved the new kitchen. It was huge (it runs the width of our house in the back) and best of all it has a separate gas cook top and a separate oven which is an electric fan forced type. I had not used a fan forced oven before but it had to be a hell of a lot better that what we had. We also gained a dining room for which we ended up buying a real life dining table. The need for one in the previous apartment was non-point as there was no dining room. We used to eat or takeaway on our laps. If we had guest or a party I made sure the food was either something cold and finger food size or once again shipped in. I was looking forward to all sorts of dinner parties.

I have been cooking dinner now on a regular basis since we moved in two years ago, no more takeaways. (OK, we have takeaway once a week. I need a break too). I mean I've been making real meals with things like, roasts, spaghetti bolognase, stroganoff, fresh steamed fish and real vegetables sliced, diced, boiled and mashed. You name it I'm making it. Best of all I love to bake and was thrilled at the thought of being able to make things like chocolate decadence cake or my grandmother's buttermilk pie. I have this big beautiful oven that actually works. WRONG!

As I mentioned earlier the new oven is and electric fan forced type, top of the line even. The previous owners had expensive taste. A fan forced oven is very different from a regular electric oven and you have to bake things at temperatures at least ten degrees less then normal. Well let me tell you this thing burns things like there's no tomorrow. I mean I have to actually turn down the heat by twenty degrees and also back down the cooking time by 10-15 minutes. I do keep trying but it's really bad.

I tried once again to bake something yesterday, a key lime pie and as usual it burnt that baby as if had been bad all it's life and it had been sent to hell. Xmas is a week away and we have friends coming over next weekend for a small get together and I am really concerned about what to make for food. I have purposely picked a menu that does not use the oven except for one item and I will just have to keep my fingers crossed. So, why am I telling you all of this? Well, I think it just seems like just desserts that I was so happy to get away from that kitchen in Sydney and to move to this big wonderful kitchen only to be reminded that the grass is not always greener on the other side (or at least when it comes to kitchens). Who knows maybe Santa will bring me a new oven???

16 December 2006

The week before Christmas...

Well, it's the week before Christmas and I'm as ready as I'll ever be. All of my shopping is done including the food shopping for a little soiree we are having next Saturday night before we leave for Sydney on Sunday, Christmas Eve. The weather is holding out so once again we will have moderate temperatures, which is one of the reasons we moved down here. I just couldn't put up with the heat and humidity in Sydney. The little soiree is just a few close friends that we had over last year with some drinks and lovely nibbly bits. I am making lots of my old favorites including, deviled eggs, vegetable dip and prawn and crab dip. I'm also going to attempt to make a few new surprises. We shall see...

It's also only two more weeks until the end of 2006 and I have never been so ready to see the back side of a year as I am this one. I'm sure that if you've been keeping up you are aware of what a crappy year it has been for us both and at this point enough is enough. We just want to move forward and get on with it!

So what is in store for the new year?

  1. I am taking James to Melbourne for his birthday to see one of his favourite comedian/variety acts Dame Edna.
  2. Some friends are coming out for a visit starting in February and will be staying through the end of March. We will be going up to Cradle Mountain and also making a short trip to Sydney with them.
  3. James goes to Sydney for a week to do the residential part of his college distance course. He has been working on this course which is an add-on to his degree for over a year and will finish it in June this year.
  4. After James finishes his course we plan to start our travelling around Australia. So many people live in a country and only travel outside of their own country, never seeing any of where they live. So, we are going to do just that and head up to Darwin, Perth, and Uluru to name a few. We are going to rent a camper van and take our time to see what there is to see. I'll be taking our laptop so I can post pictures and updates
That's about all we have planned for the moment but a week before Christmas and all through the house all is calm and it is starting to look like a good year ahead!

10 December 2006

A Christmas list...

This was fun. I stole it from here and he stole it from someone else. If you're brave enough or just plain bored give it a try and let me know how you went so I can have a read. I could tag some one (Mark) but I won't.

Happy Holidays!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot chocolate all the way. Egg nog tastes bad besides it's hard to find here in the land down under.

2. Did you ever do anything for Santa?
Yes, but he had me promise not to tell anyone... I'm just kidding, we put out milk and cookies.

3. Coloured lights on tree/house or white?
Coloured lights on tree, and I used to put both on the house but we don't put them outside anymore because it stays light outside until almost 9:30 here in Tasmania so it seems senseless to put out lights that most people won't see.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No.. never bought into that one.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
December 1st or weekend closest.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Cranberry sauce

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
Not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve and always trying to get my parents to get up to open presents at about 5:00am, but they always made us wait until at least 7:00.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I think I was about 8 when I found the box for my GI Joe jeep; hidden down in the basement behind the hot water heater.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
We open one gift.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
I don't like one theme or just one colour. I use different coloured lights and all different ornaments that I collected over the years. (As seen previously)

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it.
I love it but we don't get snow at Christmas time here because we live in the southern hemisphere where it is summer so I have to wait until June to see snow.

12. Can you ice skate?
Yes, but not very well and it has been a long time since I have been skating so I would probably fall straight on my ass.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
All gifts are wonderful because people go through the trouble of buying/making them so I think they are all great.

14. What's the most exciting thing about the holidays for you?
The tree, I love watching the coloured lights twinkle.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
My mum's rum cake which I will have to try to make myself this year seeing that we live on the other side of the world.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Staying up to midnight with James so we can open presents on the very beginning of Christmas Day.

5 December 2006

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree...

Well it's that time of the year again and I love it. We bought a new tree this year as the old one has done yeoman's service over the past 7 years but I finally told James that it had to go as it was looking a bit pathetic. So the new tree is great it's real bushy but so bushy I can't get any presents underneath it. I'll figure something out. Our tree is not your typical all one theme tree that seems so popular nowadays. I like a variety of ornaments. I have been collecting ornaments since about 1990 adding at least one new one a year. Some are from friends and many of them with dates which remind James and I of different Xmas' of past and where we were and what was happening in our life at the time. I love Xmas although it is also a sad time for me because it also is the anniversary of my late partners passing. He died on December 21st which has always put a damper on this time of year from that point forward. I have moved on from that day and since then found love and happiness with James. We have finally settled and we have made a home and in that home I try to bring back a little bit of Xmas. so I share it with you even though it's not the best picture...

...and another

The human pillow...

I love our cat Molly even if she is a right royal pain in the ass. All she does is eat and sleep, eat and sleep. When she's not here in the house she usually is sleeping in one of the big cushioned chairs out on the veranda. Or she is at one of the neighbors begging for food or sleeping on their bed. (I know that's where she sleeps because they told me). What I find to be the most brazen of acts is not that she goes into other peoples houses and sleeps on their beds but that she eventually comes home at night and thinks that I'm as good as a bed and uses me as a human pillow. Of course she waits until I've fallen asleep which I inevitably do every night while watching TV. I love her but really...

Anyway, I want to come back as a cat after I die because life is so easy for them especially her.