Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee you’d notice the beautiful new coffee machine in the kitchen. It’s cranberry red. Nuff said about coffee, except to mention I drink quite a lot of it. Black and strong and espresso, thanks.

If we were having coffee you’d notice it’s not at the kitchen table because I’m trying to do my tax. There are receipts all over the table. 2 years worth for both my company and my personal tax. I hate receipts. I finally found a new system: chuck all the receipts into a chic black tin box originally containing Aesop grooming products and close the lid. Do not open the lid for a LONG time. Hence the kitchen table has now become a hideous receipt-encrusted eyesore.

If we were having coffee you’d notice a few appointments in my diary this week: I have an interview coaching session on Monday with my DH’s work coach. I’m terrible in interviews and vivas, because I can’t think fast enough and I ramble. Conciseness and precision are not my allies. Hence why I am doing so many 100 flash fiction challenges: I need to edit better. The spoken word: I wish I was Aaron Sorkin and had his brain. But I am not. On Thursday I have a singing gig, yay, and on Thursday night I head south to Sydney for a job interview.

This interview is important because the job is a good one.

I really really want this job.

However, if we were having coffee you’d notice my hesitation about leaving my DH to go work in another state. It’s HARD WORK. I have no fear our relationship would fall apart but it would get one hell of a beating. I’d have to work hard to manage my work commitments alongside family commitments, and to balance weekends and travel plans. UGH. And I have NO extended family in Sydney. They’re all in Melbourne. I’d be all alone (all by myself).



If we were having coffee you’d notice I’ve put on a kilo or two – that’s too many sticky buns and lounging around work for me. Summer here is hot. I’ve been painting. Then there was Xmas. They’re my excuses. The reality I was depressed and I’ve been watching a hell of a lot of TV/ Netflix/Stan. Now I’m fat again. Time to get to the gym which I’ve not attended since September (hence the fatness).

*Note to self: New Year’s Resolutions, dammit.

If we were having coffee you’d notice I’ve started cooking again, and I planted a herb garden last week. It’s going well, thanks for asking. The brand new bathroom is now fully useable (if still missing an extractor fan), and I am using fluffy white towels. Brand new. It’s a luxury. Finally, I want to draw your attention to my bedside table – it has 3 books on it. I’m part way through all of them.

Life is pretty good this week. It might be because of the good coffee. How was your week?

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Diana at Part-time Monster.



Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee, I’d be asking you: seriously, what do people without employment DO all day? I am so bored I’ve taken to DUSTING THE HOUSE.


(Image from franklycurious.com)

If we were having coffee you’d notice the house is clean and tidy but not spotless. I hate housework. Keeping the kitchen clean is as about as much as I can manage even on a good day. Never mind washing the floors – vacuuming is something I do only when I’ve reached maximum crunch underfoot. I’m not sure I’ve EVER cleaned the window panes. If we were having coffee I’d ask you if you do the dusting while you’re on the phone to your mother, like I do.


(Image from Mommyish.com)

So I’m writing in my blog (hello readers), I’m reading fiction novels. I’m reading the news, and opinion pieces, and websites about the next US Presidential campaign because we’re just getting the noisy people here in Australia – Clinton, Ben Carson, Idiots Trump, Cruz and Bush. The most likely Republican nominee Marco Rubio isn’t even getting any traction in Australia, which bothers me because he’s the candidate most likely to put up a fight against Democrat Clinton. I think I’d still prefer a Democrat in the White House thank you, even though Marco Rubio is damned fine looking: Mmm-Mmm! Republican Rubio’s politics are conservative and he likes guns. For those who care, my politics are moderately left-wing and I hate guns. One of the things I’ve noticed about my time with the TV series The West Wing is that I’m much more interested in and knowledgeable about American politics than formerly.

I pay bills, I apply for jobs, I cook, I bake, I watch renovation shows – I know: sad. I play computer games. I visit friends. Perhaps I’ll go back to the gym before I have to quit altogether. I paint when I can stand it. DH and I are doing small house things such as gardening and minor home maintenance. We walk the dog together and go to the movies.


(Image from Photokapi.com)

But folks, there’s a job-sized hole of about 10 hours in my day I just can’t fill. Every day. I’ve been advised to apply for a DECRA (which is an acronym for Discovery Early Career Researcher Award), which will certainly fill my time for the next 2 months, but it doesn’t pay the bills. DH gets so excited when he sees me thinking again – but I can’t maintain it when I’ve not much to think ABOUT. Saddest of all: I’m not a Stay At Home Mum. My children are adults. So this old blogpost I read just now totally resonates with me but you know something? At least this lady from Mommyish had someone to care for during the day!

If we were having coffee I’d be asking you how the unemployed keep going without going mad. You’d be telling me drily to take a second look at my bloody New Years Resolutions.

At least the coffee is excellent.



This blog is part of a weekly link-up hosted by the lovely Diana over at her blog Part-Time Monster

Check it out and join in!

Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee you’d notice I’ve got a little bit of a buzz going – two coffees down and I’m a bit wide-eyed and staring. There’s a reason. Have some coffee and I’ll tell you the story. It’s actually a story about coffee.

On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve our coffee machine finally died. It was a beautiful machine. For 18 months it purred along making beautiful espressi, flat whites, lattes, all manner of fabulous coffees. It was a Breville Barista Dual Boiler 900:

Breville coffee machine

It was large and glorious and cranberry red. I loved it. We are pretty serious coffee drinkers. I drink 4 cups a day of double espresso: 2 upon waking, 1 mid-morning, and one in the afternoon around 3pm. Hubby will have 2 flat white coffees a day and my daughter will drink 2 or 3 cups of something that may or may not be a kind of frappe. The machine is probably used more frequently than our toilet.

Anyway, about a year ago we had a huge power surge (not unusual during electrical storms) and our coffee machine was the unfortunate victim. It still worked but the temperature gauge and on-board computer were affected. It’s a double boiler and one of them continually boiled without stopping. It eventually steamed up the computer and then on New Year’s Eve the whole thing just gave up and decided to short out one of our electrical circuits instead.

The following day I used our plunger to make black coffee as we still have a working grinder and yes, we grind our own beans. Yes, we’re so middle-class and frighteningly hipster.

It was diabolical.

Yesterday DH bought us 2 takeaway coffees from down the road. They cost $8 and there was no Zymil (Lactose-free milk). He had to drink Soy. Yes, this is a seriously first world problem. Yes, it counts. By 12 pm we each had a coffee headache.

That was it.

We lasted 24 hours without our beloved coffee. At 2pm we headed to the local Breville/Kambrook Factory outlet to have a look for a cheap and cheerful coffee maker while we saved up for the really expensive one ($2100 minimum. Yes I know it’s more expensive than your first car. I’m old. I don’t care). With good beans and a great grind you can get a machine that’s quite cheap and the coffee will still taste good.

And that’s when we saw it. This:

Breville barista

A Breville Barista Espresso in Cranberry. No second or factory sample. It’s a brand new coffee machine that looks nearly exactly like our old one but was less than half the price. And it was nearly 50% off the new retail price. Why? Because they’re running out the Cranberry Red colour. Why do we keep buying Breville coffee machines when this is our third, you ask? Well, I like Breville products normally. We have lots of their products in our kitchen – our food processor is 27 years old, for goodness’ sake. The first coffee machine got plastic cancer (don’t know why), but it still worked ok. And then it disappeared. And the second was an act of divine retribution by an angry god because I’m an atheist or something. It was not actually the fault of the product.

Why do we buy things when I have no job? It’s something I do. It’s like nesting up before a storm. I stock up on food and something nice because I may not get the chance again for a long time. I’ve never had a problem finding work before so my current predicament is awful, but maybe if I just call up to the ether like I used to do when I was down to my last brass razoo something will come along. Today I feel remarkably sanguine about the whole thing because there’s nothing I can do and we also fixed up our pantry and I cleaned the kitchen. It’s amazing how good you can feel with a bit of a clean up.

The new machine sits exactly half-way between our two other machines in terms of usability and features. Which is fine by me. Anyway, we’ve got it working, and after a few missteps with the inbuilt grind size and amount, our coffee is now, once again, perfect.

Which is why, this morning after 2 coffees, I’m a bit buzzy and googly-eyed. What a way to start the year.

And now, time for another coffee. Ciao!


(Weekend Coffee Share from Part-time Monster)




Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee, you’d notice we’re having it in the nice new child’s bedroom I’ve spent weeks painting, which is very nearly finished and only needs a teensy tiny little extra bit of oil paint on the windows to be complete. You’d ask me why I haven’t done the windows and I’d be telling you it’s because working in oil paint is a bitch. It goes on easily and covers beautifully but it’s hard to remove when you make a mistake and it makes your hands tacky and sticky. And then there’s the turps.

I’d also tell you I’ve still got to do some walls in the rest of the house – they need sanding and I’m kind of over sanding – it gets in everything and I just want an easy time in the next few weeks. You’d remind me that hey! You’ve only got to sand one section of the lounge room and then it needs painting with an undercoat and some gap filling and you’re so close and don’t give up now!

I’d be giving you that sneery look I’ve been telling you about:

sneering child

and remind you that I’m OVER PAINTING AND I JUST WANT IT FINISHED ALREADY. Plus, if I start the wall that has just been replaced then I have to paint the walls and ceiling in the lounge room too, because there’ll be a big patch where the old colour meets the new colour. And then there’s the gap filling.

If we were having coffee you’d notice it’s awfully close to Xmas and our tree isn’t up, nor the Xmas lights, or the tinsel or any of the stuff that gives Xmas its festive feel. See comment above. The lounge room isn’t done and there’s mess everywhere (the Oh Jesus rooms have been downsized to just 1 room now, so I’m not so panicky) and frankly I’m just not in a celebrating kind of mood. This year it’s the DH (darling husband’s) year – we’re staying put here in Brisbane, QLD. But there’s only 5 of us and we had the big family Xmas thing yesterday because some people in this family decided to become church ministers and are busy on Xmas Day. Yesterday was fun, but sad too. There was a death in the family (a sister-in-law’s elderly dad) just the day before, and my parents-in-law aren’t so healthy. But on the plus side another sister-in-law has been given a reprieve from a very worrying cancer scare – she has melanoma, and it was originally diagnosed as at stage 4 (terminal), but her prognosis has been downgraded to a treatable cancer with great outcomes. She should have a long and happy life after all.

The day was lovely, but at about 3pm the cooling breeze died off and it became unbearably hot and sticky, as is often the case in SE Qld. The in-laws aren’t great celebrators because of that ministerial thing – it tends to suck the life out of you with all the hatching, matching and despatching they attend to. So they don’t celebrate stuff very well. It’s all a little off-hand. But we all put on a good show, nevertheless.

I’m not much good at Xmas without the rest of my extended family present. It feels small and miserable with only 5 people for lunch. I’m used to 20+ people for Xmas lunch, drop ins and “yes, let’s just find and extra chair, we can squeeze one in”. If we’re doing Xmas it needs to be with lots of people: an angry uncle and the odd cousin or two rocking in the corner, little kidlets screaming down the corridors, squealing as they open their family gifts, my mother’s loud, merry voice the heart note of the day. Lots of kids, noise, tinsel, Xmas crackers, too much turkey, champagne and home made brandy sauce.

So I’m going to think about Star Wars instead and remind myself of its glorious, nostalgic, senseless, silly fun and give this to you as my holiday gift. You may have already seen it, but it’s worth seeing it again. Jimmy Fallon is like a big kid in a candy store with his show and his guests. He’s lovely to watch but sometimes just a tad enthusiastic and fanboi-ish. But here his enthusiasm totally rocks. The Roots are awesome, folks.


Happy Xmas and may you enjoy house painting more than me.

Weekend Coffee share



Weekend coffee share 1/11/15

If we were having coffee you’d notice I’m going for several cups of the black stuff because I’ve had one hell of a hangover this weekend. My fault: DH was hosting his first Gala on Friday night (first time the Gala has been hosted in 20 years at our institution) and we celebrated with the staff and friends before, during and after the event with sparkling wine. I hadn’t eaten much and although there were plenty of nibbles at the after party I didn’t drink any water. I’ve been paying for it all weekend.

I’ve been in a grumpy as hell mood subsequently but I’m cheering up now because today I’m using my Ilve oven and cooktop for the very first time. Today I made (for the first time, too) an apple and strawberry crumble cake. At this time of year in this hot state we can get cheap strawberries. Not always the best quality, but there’s usually enough in a couple of large punnets to make a delicious something. I’m closer to kitchen perfection with my appliances too – my sisters chip in for birthday gifts so that we can get something nice, and I had requested a Kitchen Aid hand-held mixer to go with the lovely old-fashioned Kitchen Aid cake maker thingy DH had bought me for Xmas the year before (Empire Red, folks). I don’t cook very often but Sundays when the family is gathered it’s nice to put together a Sunday Roast and something sweet. My Sunday cooking mostly consists of roasts and something sweet (but super-easy to make), such as scones or a simple cake or pancakes.

The cake was perfect. The Ilve oven is a bit slow. So while it says 200 C degrees, it’s closer to 180 or even 160. I’ve put our portable oven thermometer inside to test the accuracy of the dial and yep, it’s pretty slow. So even though I used the normal oven setting for the cake (which was a bit slow, but this doesn’t matter too much for cakes) I found it necessary to crank up the dial and use the fan-force setting for our roast chicken dinner.

The cooktop is also slow, but I’ve found using Ceran electric cooktops this is normal. We just have to adjust up the temperatures all the time otherwise the setting sits permanently on simmer, whether it’s at 2 or 8. Luckily the setting goes all the way to 12. One better than 11, Spinal Tap! Oh, and one other thing. It’s perfectly level. After enduring 4 years of a cooktop with a 2 degree angle it’s great to finally work with a level cooking surface. I kid you not. This makes a difference.

So Sunday night we set the kitchen table, sat under our new light, ate dinner made with our new oven and cooktop, and were able to switch off the kitchen lights at the end of the day. Bliss.