Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I had a massive pout the other night while applying for a job. I was complaining to Hugh through the entire application process. I was just frustrated that I'd applied for countless jobs in the last six and a half months and been rejected for all of them, without so much as an interview. I didn't have much hope for this one, but I knew I needed to apply for it. I'd wanted to go to bed early that night, but I ended up working on the application until about 11:30pm, so then I was really grumpy. And after I submitted it, I realised there had been an error and it said that my current visa expired this past January. I was soooooo grumpy. I went to bed with a horrendously sour face and Hugh asked me what was wrong, then told me to just email them explaining the error. He is a wise man.

Eight days later, on Monday, I received an email inviting me to interview for that job. And the next day, yesterday, I got another invitation to interview for a different job. Two in two days, after six and a half months of nothing! Further evidence that I need to quit being a Negative Nancy and just keep chugging along. One step at a time.

In other news, I suspect my visa application may be inching forward. In order to travel to the US (or rather, in order to get back into Australia after going to the US), I had to apply (and pay for) a special travel visa. I'm on a Bridging Visa A while waiting for my Partner Visa to be approved, but you need a Bridging Visa B in order to travel. They processed that application last week, and sent me an email to say it was approved. But also included in the email was a letter requesting I get my health exam for my Partner Visa. I have to get tested for HIV and TB, among other things. So I think that's a good sign, right? I think it means they've started processing the application. Anyway, I get poked and prodded tomorrow. Wish me luck! Hopefully, I won't faint when they take blood.

Monday, September 16, 2013

some notable meals

I used to say, before I met Hugh, that I needed to find myself a man who either loved to cook, or who was rich enough that we could hire a personal chef. Luckily, Hugh fits the former description. He makes me the tastiest meals for dinner!

The other night, he was craving a Big Mac, but we're on a diet (it's a no KFC or McDonald's diet). So he decided to make a Big Mac pizza. He used a focaccia bread base, then added sausage bits, onions, pickles, and lettuce. He googled a recipe for special sauce. It didn't quite taste like a Big Mac, but it was really tasty! No complaints from this McDonald's baby!

A few nights later, he decided to tackle Kentucky Fried Chicken. My mouth is watering just remembering the result! He used little chicken strips, panko breadcrumbs, and a beer batter mix. When he had battered all the chicken, he had a bit of batter left over, so he battered a couple chunks of cheese and some slices of chorizo. Soooo yummy!! The chicken was super tender and juicy, and we ate it in pitas with lots of veggies. There might be a reason, though, why I haven't lost any weight on this "diet."

Friday, September 13, 2013

I heart Hobart, Part 2

In the late afternoon on Saturday, Hugh and I grabbed some tasty sausages for a snack, and I dripped sausage grease all down the front of my only pair of trousers. The evening was to be full of schmoozing whiskey industry peeps, so I decided to go buy a new pair of jeans. Except that shops were starting to close, and I panicked a bit, and ended up buying a silk hippie skirt that showed off my unshaven calves. It also looked totally ridiculous with my brogues. Hugh and the others went ahead to the whiskey event while I shopped, and when I turned up to the event, the girls on reception were obviously not impressed with my fashion sense. I probably would have been better off with my greasy jeans! Oh well. We had a good night anyway, and Hugh totally impressed the crowd with his talk of cold filtration and micelles (did you know that adding water to whiskey has a completely different effect on the flavour than adding ice does?)

The next morning, we headed out of town to the New Norfolk region. We grabbed breakfast at a place called Salmon Ponds, the saddest excuse for a tourist attraction I think I've ever seen. Breakfast was stellar, though! They specialise in "pancakes" (the European kind). Then we headed further out of town to Redlands Estate to visit the onsite distillery.

The Estate was large and beautiful, with loads of historic brick buildings, including a main house, a butchery, a general store, tenements, and barns/warehouses. Oh, and what looked like a Victorian tennis court, of course. It's located next to a river, and there's a resident platypus, named Mr. Scratchy that comes and runs around sometimes. On the drive back to town, we caught three mountain goats climbing the hill by the side of the road.

Hugh's coworker's girlfriend and I spent an hour in the town of New Norfolk while the boys explored the distillery. The town is small and doesn't have much going on at all, but they had an awesome stationery store called Flywheel. There was an old printing press at the back of the shop, and they sold old unused letter blocks. There were also lots of larger home decor pieces like you'd find in Anthropologie. I bought some cute shield stickers by mt.

From there, we went to the Museum of Old and New Art, or MONA, which has improved the cultural reputation of both Hobart and Tasmania. It was created by an eccentric Tasmania who has won millions as a professional card counter. The site includes the museum, living quarters for the owner, a vineyard and winery, a brewery, and a restaurant. The owner's parking space is labelled "God" and his girlfriend/wife's spot is labelled "God's Mistress." The museum is housed mostly underground, in a cavernous space that would make a fantastic evil lair. Modern and classical art pieces are scattered throughout in artistic fashion.

Hugh and I failed to grab audio guides before heading down the spiral staircase into the museum, so we didn't really understand much of what was going on. But it was modern art. I doubt the audio guide would have changed much. I always want more explanation for stuff than the audio guide, or even the artists, are willing to supply. It was a cool museum, though, and I enjoyed it, even though I chickened out and didn't have a go on the bell-adorned trampoline.

And that was about it! Back in Hobart, we had fish and chips and caught a plane home!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Elections, blech

Ugh. Australia had a big election today, and the result is not pleasing. I won't begin to try to explain Australian politics, because I don't understand them in the slightest, but the Liberal National Party being in power does not bode well for Australia. Hugh is ready to leave the country!

The Liberal Nationals aren't very liberal. Tony Abbott, the leader of the party, is strongly against gay marriage. He opposes abortion being legal and has made so many negative comments about women that his wife and daughters had to go on TV defending him as "a good father and husband." On the election trail, he told voters they should vote for a certain female member of his party because she had "sex appeal."

The party's campaign has been all about how awful life in Australia currently is, due to the Labor Party of course. Except that life in Australia is pretty damn good. While the rest of the world is still recovering from economic recession that started in 2008, Australia has sailed through relatively unscathed. The economy here has flagged slightly, unemployment has risen slightly, but overall, people are doing fine. In the recent list of most liveable cities, Australia takes four spots in the top ten. And they only have five cities! Okay, like, seven. But Tony's gonna introduce what equate to austerity measures. Cuz those have worked so well in other countries. And also, WE DON'T NEED THEM!!

Ugh, I'm just upset because I haven't been able to get a research job, or even a research INTERVIEW, in six months, and the chances that the Liberals are going to support public health research seem pretty dang slim. So yeah. I might be working in retail for the next few years. Ohhhhh, that is a depressing thought...

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

I heart Hobart

Hugh and I spent last weekend in Tasmania, and it was so fun! I really enjoyed myself. We went to Hobart, which is the capital city of the State of Tasmania, which is an island off the southeast coast of Australia. Nine of Australia's 21 currently-operating distilleries are located in Tasmania. Hobart is a pretty small town, with just over 200,000 people living there currently. It is located to the southern end of Tasmania, and is really not all that far from Antarctica (relatively speaking). The climate is more similar to the Pacific Northwest or to southern Scotland than it is to the rest of Australia.

The Australians love a bit of what I call "regional racism," and Tasmania is the favorite object of their scorn. Because it's an island, and perhaps owing in part to its history as a penal colony, the rest of Australia likes to claim that Tasmania is rife with incest and two-headed people. They also imply that there is no culture or anything of interest to do in Tasmania, despite the fact that Hobart has loads of great shops and is a thriving bastion of hipster culture in Australia.

Hugh and his coworker were invited to present at a whiskey event on Saturday night, so we decided to make a big trip of it, with Hugh, his coworker, his coworker's girlfriend, and me flying over on Friday night. We stayed at the self-catered "Apartments on Star," in a 2-bedroom apartment. The apartment was gorgeous and had a view of the water. On Friday night, Hugh and I tried to check out the whiskey bar run by Lark Distillery, but they closed at 10pm. On a Friday. Small towns, eh? To be fair, as we wandered back to the apartment on foot, we passed quite a few raucous bars and pubs, so it's not a completely dead town.

Saturday was a big day, starting with tasty breakfast at the Tricycle Cafe off Salamanca Place. Prior to leaving Melbourne, I had made a short list of shops to check out in Hobart, and I set about checking them off my list, starting with The Maker. They had lots of little wooden craft supplies, decorative papers, homewares, and clothing designed by the woman who runs the shop. I bought some mermaid washi tape!

The Salamanca Market was in full swing, so we wandered through there a bit, then I headed into town to Liverpool St to find The Stash Cupboard. This was a really great yarn store with quite a selection of luxury wools. I bought last season's Pompom Magazine, which I've been meaning to buy but it isn't available in Victoria. I looked for wool for a sweater for Jody, but all the good ones were from a company in Seattle. It didn't feel right to buy wool in Australia that came from Seattle, for someone in Seattle. Right? Plus it was super expensive (because of the high quality). I wished there was more Australian wool available, but I know there aren't many companies making luxury wool in Oz. I tried to go to another yarn store, called the Craft Hive, but alas, it was closed.

I met back up with Hugh and we ambled back toward Salamanca Place. On the way, we stopped in at Store & Co, which was very Anthropologie-esque with pretty stationery, awesome homewares, and a smattering of clothing. They had a vintage tin dollhouse that made my heart skip a beat.

Back at the market, I pulled Hugh into the Tasmanian Woollen Co., which had a small selection of even more luxurious yarns than the last store! Hugh found two skeins of some really gorgeous dark green and blue hand-dyed merino wool. It was so beautiful...and $25 each. I spent a solid 15 minutes trying to decide whether it was worth the expense, whether I'd be able to make a nice scarf out of it, and whether Hugh would actually wear said scarf (he's never worn the one I made him last year that cost me $80.) In the end, it was too beautiful to pass up! We explored the markets some more and chatted to another whiskey distiller who runs a stall at the market. As we were talking, a long procession of zombies passed through the market. It was a pretty impressive turn-out, but the majority of the zombies totally didn't bother to stay in character. There was some very poor shuffling going on, let me tell you.

And I'm gonna leave this post there cuz this is getting quite long! Part 2 tomorrow! Or in a few days...