27 April 2010

Wednesday

What I know today is two things:

1.Work doesn't agree with me. Just came back from a long weekend. It's Wednesday and already I'm getting that grey pallor and the multi-tasking buzz in my head. Emails and more emails. An assignment and essay to do. Staff and students to deal with. Deadlines and clock watching and routines to be adhered to.

2. I need to take more photos. There's been so much I've done this year. Places I've gone and fun times had but do you think I took my camera? No. So my new resolution for a new city is to take more photos! Life is short and memories fuzzy.

You will be impressed dear reader that I have finally updated my CV. For the next month however I've been asked to step up into my bosses position while she is away. It will be great experience and bonus points for my CV though I hope it will not be a month of stress and politics. We'll see.

After that I need to start actively job-hunting and looking for a place to live. Funny enough I am more keen than ever to be in that moving van and on my way. Let it begin I say.

The other day I was contemplating the boxes of books still in the original mover's cartons. Over time they have been opened, dipped into, but never unpacked all the way. In five years they have never had a real home. I never thought I would be in the same house for this long and the lack of bookshelves may have had something to do with that. It's also symbollic of my life currently. Always half unpacked, half packed. Home but scanning the horizon ready for the next adventure.

19 April 2010

Planning

Back in Canberra.

Had a lovely time away in the country. We cooked and ate fabulous food, drank wonderful wines and laughed talked and talked and talked away the time. With no internet or mobile phone reception our own company was the only entertainment. We went for walks, gazed up at the night sky with zillions of stars and the milky way, which being an urban dweller, I haven't seen for years. We lit a bonfire and ate fresh roasted lamb, smoky and with a strong smell of sheep but so tender it fell off the bone. The rest of the time we sat around the fire in our comfy clothes enjoying the wonderful bliss of good friends and conversation and doing nothing.

It was wonderful.

The first week back at work was intense. My inbox was overflowing with requests, tasks, petitions, people wanting help with this or that. After getting my out of office, some people even sent a second follow up email on the exact date of my return to work - just to make sure that I read it. Thankyou, you special people.

Now a week and a half later it feels like I can exhale and breathe again. My desk is relatively clear - I've addressed most pressing issues and just a few recent projects to contend with. Until tommorrow's daily bombardment that is.

Today at work a group of us - mostly female, I think there was one guy, did a lunchtime yoga class. After yesterday's 1.5 hour session, I feel great. Relaxed and sleepy actually.

It really is time that I got a move on in sorting this move. Today I started working on my C.V. I feel strangely ambivalent about the whole thing. My friends and family are more excited than me. It is a new chapter in my life. No matter how much we want to, the past will always remain in yesterday always out of reach. But somehow I find it hard to get excited. What will life hold I wonder? What new adventures, people, experiences await? Strangely it all seems a blur at the moment.

Mentally I am am boarding the plane out of Canberra but physically I'm finding it hard to leave. It's hard to leave after 5 years though my housemates are certainly giving me plenty of reason to get a move on. My 45 year old housemate had a hissy fit and said he didn't want the real estate agent to come and re-inspect (we failed the first inspection) because he didn't like her and doesn't want her in the house. Hello - yes. Honestly sometimes it's like living with two children. I'm sure they will be fine without me - would be interesting to see how they organise to pay the bills on time etc. Though am definitely looking forward to my own place and space at last.

I'll be starting a new blog in Melbourne. That  is if I ever get there....stay tuned.

22 March 2010

Transitioning

This morning we awoke to a thick fog. The kind that only appears around here in winter. Knowing that the forecast is for a warm and balmy 26 degrees and staying clear and fine for the rest of the week, it was a little surprising. Perhaps a reminder that winter is around the corner. And so before I got in the car I ran back in the house to grab a lavender cord jacket to throw over my ensemble. At work I caught a look at myself in the bathroom and realised that I'm channelling an air hostess- fitted shift dress with shirt underneath, black stockings, heels, hair french pinned back in clip,discreet gold studs in ears. Or perhaps a no nonsense corporate secretary. Unfortunately I also look and feel tired. My hair needs a color and a wash (tonight) and I stayed up too late last night doing boring stuff like ironing, cleaning and trying on cocktail outfit combinations to pack for my holiday in a couple of days.

I'm also really itching to leave Canberra

I love this city and it's been a wonderful five years, but I'm really really ready to move on. I miss the big lights - the food, the shopping, the action, the buzz, the culture. I miss my family and friends that I've known for way longer than 5 years.

Since I'm going away in a couple of days, there's not a lot that can be done till I get back. I still have no where to live and no job lined up. Which in itself isn't that big a deal, more that I can't seem to get enthused about either. Perhaps that will change when I get back, refreshed, relaxed and ready to tackle the world again.

I hope so.

17 March 2010

The Bread Tales: My progress so far...

My First Attempt at Bread-Making was with the now infamous NY Times No Knead Bread Recipe:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html

This does not call for any home-made starter but uses packet yeast.


Verdict: A great bread with rustic/European crust and texture. Perfect for dips/olive oil and tapanade. My major quibble was that it isn't sourdough and I prefer the taste of sourdough. However nothing that a generous spread of butter won't cure:












Attempt No. Two= Disaster.

Instead of following the recipe I decided to add 50% organic rye flour. The recipe required plain white all purpose flour. And so I learned the first lesson - getting sourdough starter and rye bread to rise is an almost impossible task.

Verdict: A tasty and very crusty loaf that unfortunately was as hard as a rock and therefore unedible.

At least the bottom of the loaf turned out looking very French provincial:


The Third Attempt I followed the recipe exactly: Good Plan!

Verdict: Overall a great loaf. Lovely sour dough taste and easy to cut and slice. The crumb is very tight and bread like (sandwich kind) and the crust is chewy. Not bad for a loaf backed entirely from a sour-dough starter:








My ideal bread is a cross between the first and third attempts: sourdough starter with a crusty rustic outer layer. Stay tuned!

10 March 2010

Bread adventures

Let me explain first by saying that my job is completely non-creative. I enjoy what I do but there's a strict set of procedures/policy to be adhered to, authorities and signatures and templates and forms that must be learned and embraced. I am longing to take up art classes again but as have just started my second-last subject (yes that's right- woo hoo!), there's no time for it at the moment. So cooking or at the moment baking, is my creative outlet.

My current thing is bread. Baking it that is. After making an acceptable loaf from scratch using a prolonged rising method, I've now begun my own sour-dough starter. You can find the recipes here:

http://www.io.com/~sjohn/sour.htm

and here:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/233


Who knew that there was a whole sour-dough starter making community out there? I particularly recommend The Fresh Loaf as it is full of amazing tips and answers to every question a newbie can possible think of.

The starter takes a good 10 days before it can be baked with.

Am now up to day 4 and all looks on track. Can't wait to bake my first sourdough loaf!

Ps. Apologies for the lack of photos, I really need to find my way around a camera
 
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