Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Four Things

Kerala Dec 2012 (2)Kerala Dec 2012 (3)Kerala Dec 2012 (5)Kerala Dec 2012 (4)

Here’s my take on a meme doing the rounds currently. Lisa, Amber & Allison have all done it and I’m joining in. Also, have four random photos I took about two years ago in Kerala, India. I never have blogged much about my time in India but it’s topical now as we’re heading back next week. Not to Kerala sadly, because looking at these pictures really makes me want to!
Four names that people call me other than my real name:
  1. Aunty Poo – blame my brothers for this one. Poo oh so conveniently rhymes with Sue.
  2. Swells – not my name but not far off.
  3. SusieQ – a family nickname before Poo took over. The extended family and friends that have known me from my childhood use this one.
  4. Wellsy jnr – not for a long time but growing in the shadows of my older brother, that’s what a lot of his mates called me.

Four jobs I’ve had:
  1. Risk Analyst/Business Analyst – credit risk analyst in an investment bank setting
  2. Tax accountant – I started my career in personal and employment taxes at a big 4
  3. Bar maid – I’ve worked the bar both in Leeds, UK and here in Melbourne. The Melbourne gig was pretty much just pulling beers at the MCG during footy season. Easy money during uni, that’s for sure.
  4. Box Office Bitch – for lack of a better phrase. I worked at the local cinema during high school. I was predominantly in the box office selling tickets but I also worked in the candy bar, popping popcorn and scooping choc tops. There was some time spent on floor, clearing cinemas and ushering but it really was predominantly in the box office. Such a great high school job. Paid well and 2 free tickets a day.

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
  1. Ten Things I Hate About You.  I’ve watched this more than once in the same day. I was obsessed with this movie.
  2. Love Actually. Christmas movie of choice, although it can easily be watched year round.
  3. Before Sunrise. I feel like this movie plays a small part in my wanderlust
  4. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Love this movie, great cast and beautiful setting.

Four places I’ve lived:

  1. Leeds, UK (0.5 years) – I deferred during my uni days to go and travel around Europe before I settled into my Mum’s home town for a little while, working as a barmaid at a hotel bar.
  2. London, UK (4.5 years) – this comes as no suprise, right?
  3. South eastern suburbs, Melbourne (I now live a few suburbs closer in than where I grew up but I’m still in the Sth East)
  4. West Gippsland. Sort of. That’s where my parents are and I returned to after my travels. It remains my postal address for things I’ve been to slack to change as well.

Four places I’ve visited:

  1. Cuba
  2. Kyrgyzstan
  3. Zambia
  4. Iceland.
This one was both hard and easy. Easy to list four, hard to chose which four to list. You can see from my travel page I get around, so to speak. I’ve chosen some of my favourites above though from the different regions I’ve been to.

Four things I prefer not to eat:
  1. Bananas. They smell gross, they sound gross when people eat them and they are just gross. I don’t think I’m allergic or anything but I have had to get off public transport when people are eating them too near to me. I have also vommed on a ‘friend’ who thought it would be funny to mash one in my face knowing how much I don’t like them.
  2. Chicken. It freaks me out. Other meats, including turkey? No problem. Chicken? No way, no how, no thanks.
  3. Eyes. This is a bit general but I can’t handle eyeballs on my plate. Whole fish or prawns that I need to shell myself etc. Just can’t get past the eyes. I do realise you don’t eat the eyes, but I won’t eat any part of the produce if the eyeball is on my plate.
  4. Melon. Watermelon is my least detested but I still don’t like it and think it smells. Cantaloupe and honeydew are just gross. Slimy smelly grossness.

Four of my favourite foods:
  1. Blue cheese. Can’t get enough of good blue cheese. Sometimes I like them strong, sometimes crumbly and sometimes soft but I love blue cheese.
  2. Chocolate brownies. I have no resistance.
  3. Almond croissants. Such an indulgent treat but I don’t think I’ve ever had one I haven’t loved.
  4. Crisp cold granny smith apples on a hot day. Cut and quartered of course. Yum.

Four TV shows I watch
  1. Orange is the New Black. We’re behind but slowly making our way through this.
  2. Newsroom. I don’t have cable but my folks record it so I can watch it at the farm
  3. West Wing. Another DVD box set I’m working my way through.
  4. Ellen. Not often but of all the talk shows etc, she’s easily the most enjoyable for me. 

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:
  1. Returning to India – next Monday actually! We’re heading over there for three weeks over Christmas. I’ll be revisiting a few places but seeing so many new ones.
  2. Getting a job. I finished my last contract 30 Sep and am hunting for a new role. I’ve enjoyed the break and being available to friends and family as needed but ready to go again. The joys of being a contractor in a fickle market.
  3. Babies. Hell no, not mine. But seeing my friends babies and my little niece (currently 9 months) grow and develop and show their personalities.
  4. Bike riding. Just something I want to get back into a bit.

Four things I’m always saying:
  1. Shit happens. Not the polities thing to say but I do say it a lot.
  2. FFS. Usually under my breath, thankfully.Usually the expanded version that doesn’t need to be typed. Usually in moments when people don’t let you off the tram/train before they try to get on, or when they walk 4 abreast on the footpath at the pace of my 98year old arthritis ridden grandad. Or when they show a general lack of awareness.
  3. Hi. Can I please have a skinny flat white, take away, regular size? My daily coffee order.
  4. Once I get a job. I’m fine financially not working for a bit because of savings and all that but I have cut a lot of superfluous spending. Things I want but don’t need (think a new rug for the living room or something like that) are being postponed.
This makes me really sound like a potty mouth but for the most part, I'm not.

Kerala Dec 2012 (1)
And one last gratuitous Kerala photo. This one as the sunset in Cochin.  Of the tope four, the beachy ones (1 & 4) are in Varkala whilst the backwater ones (2 & 3) are near Alleppey

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

So There's That

What do you do when you've got lots of thoughts on lots of things but they're not all cohesive and you don't know where to start? Why, bullet points of course!

  • loving this city I call home. I loved Melbourne when I left all those years ago but I think I love it even more now. Sure, there are things here that frustrate me but I'm just so thankful this is my home town. This cool city is where the bulk of my family and friends are.

  • reading again slowly but surely. I just joined the Melbourne City Library last week and am on my third book in as many work days. Nothing of substance yet (all are Cecelia Ahearn novels) but it's baby steps to get back into reading after being book blocked for a few months. Do you have that? If I start reading a book, I don't like starting a new one until I finish whatever I started. And when the one I started doesn't grab me, my reading slows right down, almost stopping. I was stuck on An Abundance of Katherines for three months. No YA book should take that long! As you can imagine, I do not recommend it.

  • reminiscing about being how cheap and easy it was to travel from London. We're beginning to think about Christmas holidays and everything just feels expensive by comparison. Or it could also be some job uncertainty that leaves me questioning what we should do. So far we have considered not going anywhere, travelling within Australia (the top end, the outback or the Great Barrier Reef) or travelling overseas (India (Rob's not been and I always thought I'd return - there's so much more to see), Borneo, Burma, Vietnam, the USA (cold, I know but Rob's sister & family have just been posted to Rhode Island for 18months so perhaps Christmas with them?), Fiji or another Pacific Island. As you can see, we're getting nowhere. No where I tell you, no where.

  • feeling uncertain about work. The role I took last year and am currently doing is a contract role on a project team so I'll be looking for another job come the end of this month. I knew that going in so it's no big surprise and I've been saving my pennies for it but I guess I'd just underestimated how much it would affect my decision making ability in other parts of my life. Holidays, living arrangements, everything. Also, a big stumbling block is what type of role I'd really like. What I do is kind of niche, there's only a tiny market for it here in Melbourne which is about to get even smaller. I never thought I'd even land a job doing it here in the first place, I'm kind of back where I was last year, but no closer to knowing what else I'd like to do (still in finance most likely although I do have an accounting background for fall back on so perhaps not. I  HAVE NO IDEA!)

  • wishing my big brother lived closer. He's up in Brisbane with his wife and baby and I miss them. I missed them anyway but since Hannah was born in March, it feels so much further. The flight is only 2hours but see above re Australia and lack of cheap travel. Everything is expensive. And I want to see my niece.

  • spending less money on groceries than ever before. We're really spending a bit of time meal planning and my gosh, what a difference it is making. It's not something I've ever been very good at, nor put much effort into but I'm enjoying it.

  • inspired by the changing of the seasons. Summer is on its way. We had a gloroious last few days of Winter, but Melbourne being melbourne was back to gray and rainy for the first day of Spring.

  • taking beginners Pilates classes. I got back into it through a great Groupon deal. It's not a cheap hobby so I'm only going once a week but I am really enjoying it. It leaves me sore but in a rewarding way, if that makes sense. I'm often put off by the cost of these things but at some point, and to some extent, I want to prioritise my health and this is just a step in that direction.

  • working on going to bed earlier. A constant goal. I'm a girl that needs my sleep and I can't get more of it in the morning so obviously I have to get more of it at night.

  • listening to the really bad cheesy Mix 90s station on digital radio or the Jezabels. The playlist that gets the most airtime on my phone includes Sara Barelies, the Jezabels, Missy, Ellie Goulding, Emile Sande, The Lumineers, Birds of Tokyo albums along with a  few other random singles.

Pictures at the top are from the weekend just gone, spent up in the hills, mostly on my parents farm (top row) and taking in the sights of the nearby town, Noojee)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Victoria’s West Coast: The Great Ocean Road

Sad to leave and sad to be headed home after such a short break, we still had plenty to see on the way. We'd decided to drive home the long way on the Tuesday, hugging the coastline as we went. It's not a short trip, especially once you factor in stops for viewpoints and scenic lookouts, for meals and comfort breaks, but it is a wonderful trip.

Highlights from this section of the drive were the Grotto and the Bay of Islands Coastal Park as I can’t remember seeing them before. And of course, the Cape Otway Lighthouse as you know I have a for lighthouses. Cape Otway was the fifth lighthouse of the trip for us.

We only made it as far Kennett’s River before the sunset that day but luckily for me, I was headed back along the closer stretch of the Great Ocean Road with a visiting Canadian friend the following weekend. As you can see from these pics, we’ve had wonderful weather so far this winter (well, at least on the weekends).

Bells Beach, the following Sunday