Monday, March 26, 2012

Now You're Just Somebody That I Used to Know

* I started this post before Christmas and never got around to finishing it until now so sorry if it seems out of the blue. I'm not in the thick of these feelings now, although there is a bit of lingering hurt, I just hated having it sit there incomplete.*

I read this quote in a magazine recently that really resonated with me. In fact, I tore it out of the magazine and now keep it on my car's dashboard as a reminder (or at least I thought I had, I just looked for it to use it here and it looks like it's become a victim of one of MOTH's car clean outs).  Basically its message was that just because you used to be friends, doesn't mean you have to continue to be friends simply because you have known each other a long time.  You should only continue to be friends with people who make a positive contribution to your life.

As I've gotten older, I've stopped being a friend collector.  At this point I feel like a person is either a good friend or they're not. Generally, I don't burn any bridges, I just let people fade into acquaintance (or less) status and I give people lots of chances.  We're all human, we all mess up sometimes and hurt the people we care about; me included, me especially sometimes it feels like.  But at some point, I do reach a breaking point and say "Enough is enough.  You've hurt me or let me down for the last time."

See, until I moved here, I didn't really know what it was like to have good girl friends. Girls who have your back 100%, girls who don't flake out on you, girls who don't gossip (at least not a lot or in a malicious way, because come on, when you are close to someone, you're bound to get on each others' nerves every once in a while and say something in frustration or the heat of the moment). I'm lucky to have found that in the girls I call friends here.  My life is pretty drama free these days, but if I were to need something, I've got a bunch of girls in my corner I know I could call for help.

From the time she was a young teenager, my sister was fortunate enough to always make really deep and awesome friendships with girls. As her life has changed, she doesn't keep in contact with all of those good friends anymore, but while they were in her life they were in her life and ready to go to bat for her and show up for her whenever she needed them. Her girls were her family when we weren't around. I was always jealous of that. Now, I have that on some level with my friends here, too.

My sister is ballsier than I will ever be in a lot of ways.  She, for example, called out someone who was being a fair weather friend.  The person made a request for her and backed it with a "do this for me because we are friends" plea and Nae flat out said to her, "No, we are not.  A friend has your back no matter what.  A friend shows up.  You are only my friend when it's convenient for you.  You are an acquaintance."  Ouch! Surely that must have stung the person a bit, but you know what?  Sometimes being a good friend is calling people on their shit.

Oh man, how I wish I could say that to a few people!  I think half of me would feel so empowered but maybe the other half of me would feel really crappy?  While saying that to her former friend/current acquaintance may have forced some re-evaluation on the acquaintance's part to try and work back towards a friendship, the people I want to say it to, it just wouldn't make a difference to.

And so I do things my way- I bite my tongue, I let myself be hurt and mourn the loss of what were once important friendships, I let my contact with that person fade, and I focus on all the people I DO have in my life that build me up.

Just because we aren't friends now, doesn't mean you weren't an important person in my life at some point.  And just because you've hurt me, doesn't mean I won't still look back fondly on a lot of the memories we made together.  While we aren't friends any more, I certainly don't want to be enemies either and I think biting my tongue and not expressing my hurt and avoiding potentially saying something that I can't take back is the best way to leave it, even if it doesn't bring any closure to things.

From Here to Infirmary

It's been a pretty eventful week.  We met the favorite cousin and her husband in the City last Sunday, even though they weren't feeling so great and we had a really nice catch up dinner with them.  Monday MOTH worked from home as he had pulled something in his shoulder/back and couldn't face the train commute.  I went back to the doctor that day for a skin cancer check and because I still had a headache.  My head hurt so bad on Friday at MOTH's birthday dinner, that I was actually sick in the bathroom...not cool!  I had taken two rounds of codeine pain killers and not even they could kill the headache.  The doctor on Monday said that this was normal and wouldn't even prescribe me real migraine medicine.  He is obviously a dud and I won't be going back to him!  I swear doctor's here act like I'm some hysterical woman when I go in to see them, but I don't think constant nausea, stomach cramps and other issues, vomiting and headaches are normal.

The last week of work flew by and I was trying to soak it all up.  I didn't have any nasty customers or any really difficult situations so that was a nice way to end things on.  I just tried to spend as much time as possible with my team mates and luckily we had a few minutes available time between most calls to be able to chat.

Thursday after work I packed for our trip to Wollongong.  The plan was I'd have my last day of work and be off at 2 and then I'd drive down to Neutral Bay, pick MOTH up around 4-4:30 and we'd head down from there.  I had booked us in to two different hotels (both were booked out for one of the weekend nights) and had looked up activities nearby (blow hole, stand up paddleboarding) as well as a bunch of places that were breakfast and dinner potentials.  I'm sure I've mentioned this previously, but in the 7 years I've lived here, I've still never made it south of Sydney and I was really excited to be heading out of town (a birthday gift to us from my parents).

MOTH got home around 9pm Thursday night and he was complaining because his thumb was infected and really sore.  He had asked me to grab him epsom salt so he could soak it and he did but it didn't provide any relief.  I was getting frustrated as it was now nearly 10:30 and he still hadn't packed or done the dishes.  He decided to cut his finger to try and relieve the pressure but it didn't and nothing came out but blood.  After he stopped bleeding, I told him I'd do the dishes and he started packing.  We finally made it in to bed and for the next hour and a half neither of us slept-MOTH because he was in so much pain that even the sheet brushing against his thumb was excruciating and me because MOTH kept tossing and turning.  He got out of bed and started wandering back and forth through the house.  I suggested he try and soak his finger again.  He said the pain was getting too much to handle so I called this nurse on call hotline and the recommended we go to the ER.  After waiting for about 3 hours (there were hardly any other patients there so don't know what took that long, but anyway) they finally drew some blood to make sure the infection hadn't spread, looked at the finger, gave him a shot of antibiotics and sent us home with a prescription for more antibiotics and some codeine.  I emailed my manager at 6:15am when we finally got home and advised that I would be late for my last day of work and actually needed to take it as a sick day, but I knew my team was doing something for me and I didn't want to miss it.

At a few minutes to 9, I woke up as I heard MOTH go out to our car and come back in.  I called out to him to see what was up.  When he called back to me, I could tell he was in tears and that really freaked me out. He said the codeine was only helping for about an hour and his whole hand felt like he was resting it on a hot plate and the pain was now radiating up towards his elbow.  I didn't want to wait in the ER again so I tried calling some local medical centers to see if they could get him in, they couldn't.  I called his Mom at work and she said go back to the ER and she'd meet us there.  I called my manager and told her I had to miss my last day completely and I started crying and asked her to apologize to my team if they had gone to any effort for me and that I was really sorry I couldn't be there.  She said they'd understand and to just focus on MOTH.

We got to the ER, about a 3 minute drive from our house, and the parking lot was packed and the entrance was swamped with people in suits.  I saw someone holding a sign for one of the local politicians and said to MOTH, "Oh great, so actual patients have to hike a mile to the hospital because some local politicians is here to make an announcement about something."  We did end up having to hike about a half mile away and at the bottom of a hill, luckily MOTH was able to walk it.  We found out it was actual the prime minister who was visiting the hospital and announcing that there were plans to build a new cancer center there.  Had I seen her, I would've recommended to her that she also add a new parking structure to her budget, haha!

This time we were called back within 20 minutes of waiting, which was good because I don't know that MOTH could've waited another 3 hours to see someone this time around.  The doctor decided they needed to cut his finger deeper to get to the infection and that they would also put in and keep in an iv port on the back of his hand and over the next few days we'd need to come in everyday to get an iv drip so Wollongong was out.  We were both really disappointed but focused on getting him better.  They gave him a local shot to numb the thumb and a morphine pill, even still his Mom and I heard MOTH screaming from across the hall; poor guy.  Shortly after that, he was feeling much better and said his hand was only slightly throbbing.  We came home and MOTH slept until the next morning, only waking for an hour to eat dinner and check in with his parents.

I did manage to get back in to work on Monday to say good bye to everyone and to clean out my drawer and hand in my swipe key.  I was pretty sad to be leaving, not the job but the people there (and the pay!).  I got lots of hugs and my team wrote the nicest messages on my good bye card.  They also got me a bunch of stylish office supplies I can use at my new job which was really thoughtful of them.

It'll be weird going from a team of 16 people, in an office of about 100 people, to an office of 3-4 other people max, BUT I'm looking forward to it.  I'm nervous and excited and can't wait to see what the role is all about.  I haven't gotten official confirmation, but I'm tentatively due to start this Thursday.  I'm using these few days off to play Nurse D, sleep in, and run errands like getting my work pants hemmed so I look respectable at the new job and sending my passport off to be renewed.  Hopefully nothing more "exciting" happens between now and then.  Wish me luck for Thursday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Like Food, Food Tastes Good!

Here are some of the recipes I've been loving on over the past 12 months but have been to lazy to take pictures of and do full write ups on.  I'm chubby and I love these recipes; that's all the endorsement these recipes should need to for you to know they are good and you should make them.


Thai Cilantro Stir Fry:  Just yum, good week night recipe. Super easy to make if you just buy a bag of coleslaw and use that as the veggies in it.

Caramelized Honey Dijon Chicken:  Another tasty and easy week night recipe

Ground Turkey and Peppers:  This is a low carb recipe.  I usually add some soy sauce to it for more flavor.

Persian Meatballs with Orange Sauce and Spinach:  Sounds weird to have meatballs with orange sauce, but it works, even my Dad likes it, which I was surprised by.  I substitute the ground meat for ground turkey or chicken.

Black Bean Soup:  I made this for dinner tonight, but reduced the broth a little this time to just make it more like straight black beans.  I don't know where to find Serrano chiles here so I just threw in a can of diced green chiles.

Not Overly Bad Nor Overly Good for You

Sweet and Spicy Honey Grilled Shrimp:  I omitted the sweet chili garlic paste, but that was the only thing I changed.  I would eat these every day if I could, if I could remember to prep them 24 hours in advance.  They really do need to marinade that long to be great.  We bbq'd them and had they with asparagus.  Seriously, let me say it again, I could eat these every day for a few weeks and not get sick of them.

Not So Healthy

Chicken Flautas:  You can't get Rotel here but it's just a can of tomatoes and a can of green chiles.  I also don't add the jalapeno and I don't use chicken thighs that have the bone in or skin still on them.  I don't tend to follow recipes exactly but for the amount of thighs they are telling you to use, I don't think there is any way you can get 24 flautas out of them.  If you did, they'd be the most miserly filled flautas in the world.  We probably make about 12 each batch.  You gotta make sure you top them with guac and sour cream.  We were eating these about once a week but our diet doesn't really allow for it these days (I type as I'm in the midst of currently baking 4-5 dozen of those chocolate chip oreo cookies I posted about earlier!).

Pasta with Bacon and Mushrooms (and Chicken, we add the chicken):  this is our go to weekend recipe when we want to indulge but don't want to go out to dinner.  I bam it up a little by adding a grilled chicken breast to it (I cook that in the pan first and then follow her recipe as she says to)


Chocolate Bliss Cheesecake:  The name says it all!

Glazed Lemon Cookies:  These are pretty easy to make.  They are a drier, more shortbread like cookie than I normally make but one of the girls at work said it reminder her of something her dad used to make her and she's requested them a few times.  They are like a sweet burst of sunshine in your mouth.

Honey Bun Cake:  MOTH's family isn't as in to chocolate as I am so I'm always on the lookout for recipes that are none chocolate that I still think sound yum; this recipe is one of those.  It's sweet and delicious warm.  Probably best during fall or winter though as it's a bit on the heavy side for a summer night, I think.

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Open Up the Tired Eyes

View from our table at our favorite restaurant

Well, I did it!  I got the job!  I start in about 2 weeks.  They pulled some strings and were able to get me all the leave I need off for the wedding and everything.  Although it's a substantial pay cut, I think this job will bring me more satisfaction and happiness and I'll finally put that degree I got to some use.  Plus, I hope that this job will start me on a great career path and it's the type of job that I could do anywhere in the world through any university, which is part of the reason I chose teaching in the first place.

I've taken a sick day today because I woke up with a headache and my ears have really been bothering me lately.  I'm going to the doctor's later today to have them check my ears and discuss an ongoing issue I've been having:  for the past 3-4 years a few days a month I get really nauseous or have other unpleasant stomach issues and up until now the few doctors I have seen have said it was probably a gluten allergy.  When I cut gluten out, my life wasn't magically transformed.  And believe me, I know it would've been since my Mom cut gluten at the same time I did and her stomach issues have all disappeared.  After telling some friends about my symptoms, two suggested it might be this other problem that is fairly common in women.  I'm hoping when I speak to the doctor today and suggest that this might be the cause of my problems, they will refer me on to the right person and I can finally get to the bottom of this. I wish I was the type of person who could just "chuck a sickie" but I have so many days off where I'm actually sick that there are never very many days left over to use because I just want to lay in bed and watch Revenge all day.  (P.S. Are you guys watching Revenge?  I know it's cheesy and girly, but I'm totally sucked in!)

I'm hoping that I'll be able to schedule in an appointment next week for a skin cancer check, too, since they also offer that service at the medical center I'm going to this afternoon.  I've never had one done and with my Mom's history of having skin cancers removed, my love of bronzing, and the intense Aussie sun, they'll probably find more than a few things to cut off of me.  I just hope they don't find anything serious.  MOTH has a few sketchy looking freckles and moles that I've been on him for forever to have looked at so hopefully my appointment will motivate him to get it done soon.

Speaking of my MOTH...the big man turns the big 2-9 on Saturday.  Tomorrow we are going out to dinner with his parents and his brother to our favorite restaurant on the water (see the picture at the top of the page).  Have I mentioned this place before?  To be honest, I'm too lazy to read back through my last few blog posts to see if I have so if I have, sorry for the repeat!  It's called Fisherman's Warf in Woy Woy.  The decor is really cute and beachy and laid back and the huge windows overlooking the water open out so I always spend at least 75% of our meals with my head hung over the rail looking in to the water below.  We've seen tons of fish, starfish, and a few stingrays while we've sat there eating.  Last time a momma duck came by with her 12 ducklings and we saw two sea eagles fly by.  They also serve fish, chicken, veggie, and shrimp tacos.  I am obsessed with the shrimp ones.  The only thing they get wrong on them are they chop parsley to serve on top, not cilantro, other than that the whole place leaves me feeling like I'm in California having dinner.

Saturday night for his actual birthday, we are going out for teppenyaki with some friends and then probably hitting the bar for St. Patty's day festivities...I don't like beer, but I've never had green beer, and while I know it's just food coloring added to normal beer, I want to try one anyway!

Sunday, we are headed down to this fake Crate and Barrel place: Wheel and Barrow to do a mini wedding registry.  We weren't going to register anywhere since a) lots of our guests are doing serious travelling to come to our wedding so we weren't expecting gifts anyway and b)we didn't know where to register at for the people who may want to get us something since the wedding is in California, but we'd have to bring it back here to Aus with us.  This place looks good since it is just like Crate and Barrel and they let you register in store and then people can look at your registry online and buy stuff and they accept American credit cards.    We are then hopefully meeting up with one of MOTH's cousins and her husband for dinner in the City that night.  She loves all things wedding and has actually become a wedding officiant and we'd like to ask her if she'd do a reading at our wedding;  I hope she'll say yes!

Speaking of wedding related stuff, we ordered our invites over the weekend and approved the proof yesterday.  Wedding Paper Divas was having a 30% off sale so we jumped on it.  We had had a certain design in mind for the last 6 months but when I went on to personalize it the other day, I came across this other design that caught my eye and when I showed it to MOTH he loved it and had such a gut reaction to it that we knew it was the one.  We're using the flowers on the invite as our main wedding flower.  They are called craspedia or billy buttons/balls and they are an Aussie native.

We also put a deposit down on a house we are renting a few hours outside of Puerto Vallarta for a week for our honeymoon.  I can't wait to get there!

That's about all from here.  I thought for sure I'd posted the recipe for Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies before, but going through all my recipe posts, I haven't.  I know throwing Oreos in to chocolate chip cookies sounds like overkill, but believe me, it's not, no one has ever complained and I get requests to make them all the time.  Make sure you use dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips, though, so they aren't sickeningly sweet.  I'll be making them tonight for my workmates since one of the girls has put in a request for them.  I will also try and take some photos of the coconut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting I've just started making over the last few weeks since they are amazing (and I'm not even usually a coconut dessert loving girl) and my workmates have requested them 2 times since I originally made them a month ago along with the recipe I threw together for them some time next week (I'm trying to bake everyone's favorites before I leave).

If I have time this afternoon, I'm hoping I might finally get around to a blog post with links to all the recipes I've been loving lately, too.