Tuesday, 28 February 2012

So, now we're talking :-)

The other day I was just complaining to one of my previous golf buddies Jean about the lack of good games I've had since October last year. She emailed me with her great achievements from the last time, and in NZ we used to keep an eye on each other's handicap and had a bit of a hidden competition going on. When I left NZ I was on my lowest handicap of a 22.9, and Jean was about the same, but a bit higher I think. I lost track of her achievements, because here in Australia we have a slightly different handicapping system, and we also don't use the same website with your personal historic handicap overview and friends who's performance you can keep an eye on.

So I had to get a new handicap by putting in three cards, and started here on a 29 I think. For a couple of weeks now I've been hovering around the 24 and 25, but didn't seem able to get over that hurdle and down again. My game was very average. And then Jean emailed me, saying how well she did, that she now was on this 18.9! Well, that's a huge jump in that short amount of time, so I kind of woke up (wtf - she's doing well without me?? Can't be trailing behind!) and got this competition thing going in my head again. Last Thursday night I played well, had 19 stablefords over 9 holes, and immediately my handicap went down from 25 to 24 (again). But today...that was something different altogether! I had 21 stablefords on the first 9 holes and 21 on the second 9: 42 stablefords!!! Woohooo! Finally a great game. And I could feel it coming. I went out of bed this morning thinking: Hmmm, I'm going to play well today.

So now we're talking again - I'm on a 22.7 (=23) for my next game.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Lemon smell

When walking outside I often smell something overwhelmingly citrussy. At first I thought that someone had cleaned something vigorously, but I smelled it too often to be a coincidence. It is that you walk somewhere and suddenly this strong clean smelling waft passes by. It is a nice smell, almost lemongrass-like, with a hint of kaffir lime, if you know what I mean.

So yesterday on the golf course it suddenly was there again, and I asked my golf partner whether she had any idea what that was and if she smelled it too. So she sniffs in the air, thinks for a second and says: yes, it's the lemon gums! So these huge eucalypt trees I see everywhere give off this smell!

From Wikipedia:
Corymbia citriodora is a tall tree, to 51 metres in height, from temperate and tropical north eastern Australia. It is also known as lemon-scented gum, blue spotted gum and lemon eucalyptus.
Corymbia citriodora has smooth, pale, uniform or slightly mottled bark, white to coppery in summer, and a conspicuously narrow-leaved crown which smells strongly of lemons.

Well, there you go. Mystery solved.


What else is there to report... let's see...
  • We bought a new desk for Age.
  • I've had my second 'Creative Writing' class. Of course I left my homework till the last minute. More about this class in a separate blog.
  • Everyone at golf was informed about the new season and regional team competitions coming up (Pennants (for handicappers to 18) and Cleek (for the 19-28 handicappers). Those who are interested in becoming part of one of the teams are invited to come to matchplay practice twice every week. The match committee is involved and will assess progress, tactics and play of the players. I put my name down (of course), and we're currently with 12 women 'competing' for 5 Cleek spots, to be confirmed sometime in May.
  • Oh, and Adelaide's festival season is about to start: there is the two-week Adelaide Festival, with music, film, writing, dance, theatre. There is the Fringe Festival, overlapping the Adelaide Festival and I still don't know if these two festivals are the same. Then there is The Garden of Unearthly Delights. That's already happening. 
  • And we have the Clipsal 500, a V8 Supercar race, held over one week early in March and racing through Adelaide's city. That's something completely different! And probably fairly annoying as we get to deal with road closures on our way to and from work. Adelaide used to have a Formula 1 race through the city, but Melbourne has that one now. There were some women at golf who got very excited about the car races coming to town, can you believe it?! Seeing the website it looks like a lot of testosterone and adrenaline pumped-up men will be on the streets. And ladies in bikini, as I also saw 'access to the bikini parade'??? I've always missed the link between a car and bikinis.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Beautiful fruit from South Australia

Fruit from the Adelaide Hills in our office. Short on storage space for Orientation week, that's why...

A Royal Gala apple with leaf still on, a huge peach and a plum.

Apples, lots of nectarines - white and yellow flesh varieties, enormous peaches, pears. The bananas are from Queensland, they need more tropical weather. Because I'm working at the Division of Health Sciences (at least that's what I think is the reason), we always have a (smaller) fruitbowl available with good-looking excellent local fruits. I almost don't buy any fruit anymore, which isn't good for Age :-)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Busy

Busy busy busy...

  • At work, with the development of four new online courses for clinical educators. Clinical educators are health professionals (like nurses, podiatrists, pharmacists, fysiotherapists, speech pathologists, ...) who supervise students on their placements. Students have to learn the profession in practice for a large part of their studies and need to be supervised and assessed. The new courses will prepare the clinical educators for these tasks.
  • At home, with getting organised. We have bought some more book cases. Now we need to find the time to assemble them!
  • This weekend for the first time in a long time it felt organised enough in the kitchen to spend time on proper cooking:  two delicious Italian meals (home made pasta!) and a yummie apple pie were the results. Very nice.
  • The x-box didn't survive the move, it kept switching itself on every couple of minutes, and when you turned it off you couldn't get it on again. It was fairly annoying, because we used it as a media player to watch downloaded series and movies on the tv instead of just watching the usual crap that's being offered by the tv channels. But, there's always a sunny side: we now have an Apple TV. It's not a tv, it's a little black box - a media player. And it works like a breeze.
  • My cycling still isn't what it supposed to be. I had my bike serviced, new chain and more, was all ready to cycle to work on Friday, hopped on my bike, cycled for about 3 minutes till the first elevation, so I changed gears, and krrrrrrrrr - block - chain ran off the thing. No problem, bike upside down, chain back on - I said: chain back on.... no, never got it back on, it was totally blocked! And it started to rain too. So I walked back home, got Age out of bed, told him about my chain: 'Oh', he said, 'that is reaaaallllyyyyy easy with those bikes'. Well, he couldn't get it back on either. Buhhh.
  • And Jos & Zwaantje will be here very soon, early March. That is a good deadline to get ourselves organised and at least to clean the house once before they come over.
  • And I'm going to Tasmania for work for three days early March as well. Something to do with a workshop for clinical educators. Very nice, hope to see a bit of Hobart!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Creative writing course

Yesterday I had the first class of my creative writing course. Apparently there is a lot to creative writing, and one of the things I have to do is to keep a journal and do writing exercises. Therefore you'll find a new link in the links on the right hand side of your screen to another blog: Bestselling Debut.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Settling in and cycling plans

I don't know what it is with moving house, but at first it's a big mess when you arrive with your goods and your boxes, then it quicly looks very organised after assembling a couple of big furniture items, and then it becomes a total disaster when opening those boxes with small goods and nowhere to put it yet. We're in that stage now - clutter everywhere :-)

Last week I've been staring longingly at my bike everytime I was in the garage. I really want to use it to ride to work, or let's change that into 'check out how it is to ride to work', as we're talking about a 17km commute with a big hill at the beginning (or end). On Thursday staring at it wasn't enough anymore, I was going to ride it! So I asked BikeSA what the best route would be to get over the hill from home to 'the flat' where the city is, and they told me that there was a nice sealed bikeway to get away from the narrow and windy road into the city. That sounds wonderful!

So on Thursday I had a look at my bike, hmmm, those front brakes weren't doing much at all. Age looked at it too, yes that needed work, lubricants nowhere to be found of course, couldn't take any cans under pressure from NZ to Oz. Well, who needs front brakes anyway? I was going to cycle to work on Friday, no matter what. Found the air pump in the meantime, so that was all good. My tyres had air now.

Friday morning, I'm all ready, hop on my bike, go down the driveway, brake hard and then this screeching noise comes from my back brakes. And there also appears to be quite some movement in my handlebar, which was quite scary as you don't want to end up with your handlebar in your hands. So, aaargh, I turned around, put my bicycle back in the garage, changed clothes again and hopped on my scooter. I don't think any of this surprised Age at all.

On Saturday I brought my bike away to the nearest bike shop for a service, and crap, was that painful cycling the 1km from home to the village. It goes up and down like madness, got a sore butt after 2 minutes, and I swerved all over the road with this moving handlebar. I am so not looking forward to the first 10 times on the bike again. The last time I cycled regularly was in Wellington two years ago. I had to get into it there as well, and of course no flat land there either, so that was hard work in the beginning. Why are we doing this again? Who invented this antique way of transportation??

Anyway... we also cleaned the unit, our previous rental, on Saturday. Of course it was 30 degrees so steaming warm while doing much-loved (not) house work like mopping and vacuuming. When is someone going to invent a self-cleaning house?

And on Sunday I played golf while Age got round to unpacking most of our computer stuff. We're online again, but the study looks a bit like a bomb has exploded there. It doesn't help that we currently are without proper desks. Age's desk broke in three pieces during the move, and my desk is back to being just an ornamental piece of furniture in the lounge. Today after work we're going to Ikea to find a solution for this desk-problem.

The weather behaves as if autumn has arrived, we're back to the low 20's with wind and rain now and then. I quite like it, it's back to normal :-) - but there are a lot of people here who only do one weather pattern and that is sunny and warm with no wind. So that means that with yesterday's weather the golf course was almost empty, I couldn't believe it. These people would never immigrate to New Zealand, that's for sure. I thought at first that the course was closed and that I'd missed the announcement, but no, people just stayed 'warm' in bed or so?? I was there with two other ladies, and on the third hole we got this massive shower with gale-force wind, horizontal rain and hail! Everything turned white! Water everywhere! Well, that was one lady gone, she walked back to the clubhouse, so there was just me and Doris. We had two more of those showers, but in between it was fine and sunny. I was lucky with that, because I forgot to bring a sweater or jacket, but I did have my umbrella :-)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Moved house

And we've done it again! We've moved house, and as I said we're getting rather good at it. We're even not surprised anymore when things didn't survive the move as they should have, we only just hope when handling each individual item that it's not this item that has damage. But you get a bit concerned when one of the movers says 'Should this flat pack bend so much?'. Well, that was Age's desk top. Now in three pieces.

Boxes in the kitchen
And internationally wrapping items is fine, but the hardest part is to get all the wrapping materials off. The most delicate goods are wrapped in bubble wrap with cardboard around it, and with most delicate I don't mean crockery or glassware, but couches, desks, bicycles, etc. So how do you unpack a couch that's tightly wrapped in bubble wrap? With a stanley knife. And what happens when you aren't very handy with your knife? You go straight through the leather couch.

Our new lazy chairs with footstool on the deck
And so forth. The list is growing slowly as we're still unpacking things. The latest discovery is a hole in one of the doors of our self-shipped-Australian-to-NZ Ikea bookcase that's now back in Australia. At least we won't have troubles replacing that one - one would think... But that bookcase was bought in Sydney, and it looks like they don't stock that particular door in Adelaide. So we need four new doors then!

Everything in the kitchen has found its place

A bit of moaning and groaning to start the day, but it's not all doom and gloom. It's actually really nice to have our own stuff back and to have room to move. This house is big!! Yesterday I met the landlord, who plans to live in it in a year or two, as she needs 'something smaller'. Good heavens.
We decided that we really like Australian houses, they are quite smart with their floorplans, although they take up a lot of space as mostly it's all just one level.

Age watching the Ozzie Open Final on own couch
We are the first people to live in it, so there are a few teething problems to go through:
  • We didn't have gas, so couldn't use the gas hob to cook. Got connected yesterday :-)
  • Because we couldn't cook we were so smart to use the oven instead. But we can't find its power switch! My suspicion is that someone tiled over it. We've been looking with four people now and no one knows where to switch the oven on. We'll get an electrician over to find that one out.
  • We don't have a washing machine yet, as we've sold ours, but even if we had one we wouldn't be able to use it as there's no laundry possibility at the moment. Something for the plumber.
  • Oh, and we don't have curtains in our bedroom yet.
We have also encountered our first wildlife:
  • A terribly annoying mosquito that we couldn't slap because it sat on these white pristine walls and had sucked itself full with our blood. Our insecticide was still at the other rental place.
  • A dead white tail spider in the dishwasher. When I removed it it was actually only playing dead. By then we had been over to our other rental place and retrieved the spray can with insecticide.
  • And our very first redback spider! That one was hiding in/under our bathroom cabinet. I had spotted spider poo, but didn't see a spider, and thought nothing of it. There is heaps of spider poo spots on the floor in corners everywhere, not being cleaned by the cleaners before we moved in.  Then I wanted a new toilet roll, opened the cabinet and there it was, hanging under the door in its small messy web. We couldn't see immediately its red spot, but they have a very recognisable shape, so even without ever seeing one before we both knew that this probably was a real redback. So the spray can came in handy yet again. Time for surface spray to prevent insects from entering the house altogether!
  • Oh and we had a really funny encounter with three big magpie's (eksters). We were sitting outside, on our lazy chairs on the deck, eating lunch, and there they suddenly were, sitting on the fence not even a meter from us. They started singing! Do you know how loud that is!! Dideloodelaaadilooodeliiii. And then got off the fence and started walking around us. Well, a magpie is actually quite big too, when you are in your lazy chair. Very funny.
Cricket: Australia vs. India on Saturday. Not that you see much from the stands - Age got a free ticket so went on Saturday, but the game was over in not even 1 hour and it was too early to start drinking beer. Apparently cricket is all about drinking all day. No surprises there! Who can watch that game for five days in a row???

Oh and one last thing: I'm still dreaming of becoming this famous (and rich, very rich) writer, so I thought I better start doing something about it then. I am starting a 6-month creative writing course next week :-). I'll tell you all about it soon in a new blog, as we have to keep a journal and do lots of writing exercises. That's what my free Tuesdays will be for too!