Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two Down, One To Go...

Holy guacamole..... another Christmas over. I have to admit that Christmas this year was a little strange at my house, what with us expecting a new baby to the family and all. With my brother and his wife expecting their second child on Christmas Eve, we couldnt really make any concrete plans for Christmas Day, just in case she happened to be in hospital. For the record, my impending neice/nephew did NOT arrive for Christmas and still hasnt arrived. I'm thinking he/she must be pretty stubborn ( like their father... ) because they've kept us waiting a week overdue now. My sister-in-law has now said it doesnt matter when the baby comes out, he/she will be grounded until they are 16 because so far they have refused to do as they've been told - that is, being born a week early. Kids these days, they just have no respect....

So, anyhoo, aside from the expected baby not exactly playing by the rules, my holiday break happened to be pretty good. I got a gorgeous little Guess watch, a new yoga mat and a great dessert cookbook ( amongst other things ) and, in part due to the fact my 18 year old sister still insists on opening presents at 6-freaking-am, i managed to fit in an awesome nap during the afternoon. The Christmas afternoon nap is a great Christmas tradition - it pretty much goes that you eat yourself to near-explosion at lunch and then settle in for a well earned sleep naround 3pm. Of course, this probably only works when there are no small children to be looked after, so i'm making the most of my Christmas naps while i can.

Boxing Day was pretty good this year too. For those not in the know, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas, and is a designated public holiday here in Australia. Its also the day where the Christmas stress is done with and you can now actually relax, lie around, watch the start of the annual Boxing Day cricket Test, and have bbq's with your friends as opposed to celebrating with your family. Which is exactly what i did. I was invited, via Facebook page, to a cocktail party/BBQ by a friend of mine from high school. She and her three brothers all live in other cities now, and seeing as they would all be home for Christmas they decided they should host a party at their parents place. Freaking great idea! I hadnt seen this girl for years, so it was great to be able to sit and chat with her again. A handful of my other old schoolmates turned up, so it was like a mini drunken shcool reunion of sorts. I was pretty merry when i arrived home - I had forgotten my keys so I had to knock on my parents bedroom so they could let me in. I think i remember crawling into bed next to my mum and raving on like a madwoman for a few minutes before my father very gently reminded me that this wasnt my bed - and promptly kicked me out. No hangover in the morning though so yay for me!

And that be about it really. Its New Years Eve tomorrow and i intend on hitting one of the local pubs with my friend Ree and my cousin B - which could turn out quite the adventure. Both Ree and B are known for their spontaneity so we may start at our local but.... we could end up in Sydney. Who freaking knows ?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jingle Bell Time, What A Swell Time....

.... to do a Christmas survey! Thats right, I've decided Christmas Eve would be the perfect time to present my personal Christmas beliefs and traditions. I'm not going to make it a meme, but if you so desire, feel free to do your own list ( on your own blog, not mine. Hijacking my blog would just be rude ).

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I'm a warpping paper kind of girl. Unless its something odd shaped like, like a botle of wine or a childs toy, I'm totally into wrapping. And doing it neatly - there's nothing worse than recieving a gift that looks like its been mangled by a three year old that couldnt get the sticky tape undone.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial. I know some of you people i going to be aghast at that, but there arent too many people around here ( my part of Australia i mean ) that have a real pine tree. First off, they arent as abundant here as other parts of the world, and secondly.... its really freaking hot here at Christmas, so the poor trees tend to wither up and die quiet quickly. I appreciate the Emo aesthetic, but i dont want a dead Christmas tree.
3. When do you put up the tree? On, or around, the 1st of December. We all know that its just plain bad luck to put it up anytime sooner, and if you leave it too late you may aswell not even bother.

4. When do you take the tree down? This one isnt as definate. I try and do it sometime around New Years Day, but usually I end up going " Nah, it can wait til tomorrow " and by then we're half way through January, its almost my birthday, and my decorations just look sad and misplaced.
5. Angel on the tree top or star ? I'm a star person. Angels are cute and all, rather lovely in their way, but stars are way more glittery and glam. Plus, I dont like to think of mythological creatures having harsh pine trees stuck up their bottoms - its just not dignified really, is it ?
6. When do you start shopping for Christmas ? Inspiration usually hits me around mid-November. I'm not averse to buying something earlier, if I see something that I know a particular person would love. I'm usually all done by early December. I dont understand these people who leave their Christmas shopping til the last minute. I mean I love shopping, and i actually like the feeling of being part of a crowd - what i'm not so fond of is stalking people to their cars in the hopes of getting a carspot, of finding that perfect item i was after is all sold out, or waiting in line for what seems like hours to get to the cashier.
7. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning ? Christmas morning. I dont know anyone in real life who opens them Christmas Eve. I'd always seen that on American movies and wondered if it were an American thing - but then i spent a Christmas with my US host family and we opened presents Christmas morning too. Correct me if i'm wrong but - no-one actualy opens their Christmas Eve, do they ?
8. Favourite gift received as a child? Its a toss up. One year i got two Cabbage Patch Dolls ( it has to have been '88 or '89 ), one named Agatha and one named Muriel. I loved those dolls. I wasnt too keen on those names but you cant just change a name on an official adoption certificate can you ? The other choice would be the year i reached into my Santa bag and pulled out some clothes for a Ken doll - not that i had a Ken doll- and then the next thing i know, i reach in.... i pulled out a Ken doll! Woo hoo - Barbie and Ken together at last!
9. Worst Christmas gift you ever received ? My grandmother gave me some stuff for my glory box one year. I appreciate that she was trying to stock me up for when i moved out ( although, in her mind, it was for when i get married.... ) but it was some horrible, ugly, second hand floral bed sheets and a tea towel with this ugly applique thing on it. Just for the record - i know they're clean, but i dont DO second hand sheets.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I'd usually say both but this year i have been really slack and not gotten around to writing out Christmas cards. I sent one off to my host family in the US, but everybody else is getting either an email or a hearty " Merry Christmas !!! " from me in person.
12. Favourite Christmas Movie? I can't narrow it down to just one. I'd like to nominate " Santa Clause " with Dudley Moore, " A Muppet Christmas Carol " with , well, The Muppets and " Bad Santa " with Billy Bob Thornton as my top 3. " Santa Clause " was my favourite when i was little - those candy canes that made kids float were so cool! - , i think i've watched " A Muppet Christmas Carol " every year for at least 6 years and I only discovered " Bad Santa " last year, but its freaking hilarious!
13. Favourite Christmas song ? I'm going to admit it - I'm not a big fan of Christmas carols. I'm quite partial to " Jingle Bells! Batman smells! Robin laid an egg! " but aside from that, I couldnt name one Christmas song i truly love. If pressed, i'd probably go with " Rock Around The Christmas Tree " which i remember being on the Partridge Family Christmas Album that my mum had when we were little.
14. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas? Prawns! Cheesecake! The christmas icecream that i make with almonds, cherries, cranberries, coconut and brandy! Ok, lets just say food - Christmas makes everything taste better.
15. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Its a tie between Christmas merchandise being in stores in September and annoying ads for Christmas food clubs. Seriously, Christmas is best without the over kill.

Monday, December 22, 2008

An " Its Almost Christmas ! " Weekend By The Numbers

500 - amount in dollars that I got as a Christmas bonus from my company. They may suck most other times of the year, but boy do they give good bonus...

10 - number of people who attended our work Christmas bbq. This included two children. Yes, i work in a small office.

55 - time it takes in minutes for my famous Apricot with Macadamia Crust cheesecake to bake. I made one for the bbq. Mmm....cheesecake.

1 - number of bottles of champagne i managed to drank on my own at said bbq. Cheap champagne too. Its the best kind.

87 - amount in dollars that I spent on presents. For myself. Using some of that Christmas bonus money. Who can resist pre-Christmas sales on open toe wedges ?

4 - approximate number of hours spent watching the Country Music Channel over the course of the weekend. I enjoy country music, its what i was brought with up. Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire ( the unrivalled queen ... ) - all of that type of stuff.

6 - approximate number of websites i trawled whilst researching what type of dog i want to get you know when i finally move into my duplex. I'm thinking i want a whippet.

Whippet - Whip it good!

1 - number of books I finished reading. It only took me a week to get through " Pride and Prejudice " ( by Jane Austen, but you knew that ). Loved the Keira Knightley movie, and thought it was about time i got around to reading the classic. I thoroughly recommend it. Plus, I totally want to be Elizabeth Bennet - she rocks.

35 - approximate number of minutes dancing in our living room with my 3 year old neice. And I am not ashamed to admit, it was exhausting. If we were at the pub, I would have had to have had at least one drinks break in that time. Me neice is some kind of crazy dancing fool!

10 - approximate number of minutes my neice spent screaming and crying after she got smashed in the knee by a bike pedal ( long story ). Apparently it was my fault.

Ooh, and lucky last....

3 - number of sleeps til Christmas. Bring on the Fat Red Man i say!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

You Can't Seriously Be Serious ? O.M.G....

So the funniest/weirdest thing ever happened today. I have a client who comes in every few months and gets me to tighten up his spectacle frames, realign them, replaces the screws .... all the type of stuff you cant do without your own glasses on. He's a nice bloke, always has a little joke and says please and thankyou - all in all, he;s one of my good customers. So he comes in today and i do the usual thing but when i went down the front to give him his glasses back, he takes me aside and asks me what time i'm having lunch. Say what now ? He says he has something sensitive he would like to ask me about, and he doesnt want the other women in the office too overhear. Alright, i told him what time my lunch usually is, and he says he'll come back.

My colleague and i had two immediate thoughts - either he's going to ask me out or he wants to kidnap me and chop me up into little pieces. I'm not sure which i would prefer - he might be nice but he's old so i'm not keen on going out with him ( i was preparing my best Elizabeth Bennett refusal speech ), but if he kidnaps me at least i get some time off work. So my lunch time rolls around and my curiousity is almost killing me ( although J is still convinced that i'm going to be kidnapped and tells me to keep my mobile phone handy ). I meet my client out the front and he starts to get all nervous and bumbly. " Umm, i know this must seems strange, i'm not really sure how to say this.... " Inside, I'm going - Oh. Crap.

And then - do you remember Average Joe ? Turns out that my client is a good friend of Joe, considers himself like a surrogate dad type of figure, and, well, umm, just that young Joe must have been talking about me and was apparently more than a little disappointed when we didnt go out for a second time. You're joking right ? Inside i couldnt help but smile and how sweet my client was trying to be. He told me he wasnt trying to interfere, that i didnt need to go into details or anything, just that the poor guy was wondering what he did wrong. " You know, if there were no sparks, then were no sparks! If he said something wrong and you think he's a dickhead, then tell him he's a dickhead! Just tell him why - the poor young bloke is wondering what he did to upset you and is a bit disappointed, because he liked you and wanted to see you again ". Well bless this mans little socks for telling me so - like he said, he was just looking out for his friend, he and he always thought i was a " good bird ", so maybe i could contact Joe and let him know what happened ? So i smiled, and told him that i would send Joe an email, which i fully intend to do. I always did, i just couldnt think of how to word it, but now i feel extra bad because it seems like Joe must have really taken a shine to me.

After work, my sister and I went to get some take out, and i'm relating this whole odd little story back to her. She looked at me and laughed and said, " You know, i was going to try and set you up once.... " Say what now ? Oh yea - my bright spark of sister thought it would be a great idea to set me up with Banky McHands. Not that she even knows Banky McHands. No, her plan was to just track him down at the bank where he worked and describe me to him, and then just plain old tell him i thought he was hot. I can say with, like, 95% certainty, that had she done that i would have been forced to punch her in the forehead. How embarrassing would that have been ? I wouldnt have known anything about it, until the next time i went to the bank and he gave me this odd look, like i had leprosy or something, and gently explained that i was far too old for him. Seriously, if my sister had done that i think i would have been mortified to death.

But thats not all. On my sisters 18th birthday, she went out to dinner with her friends and, because her boyfriend wasnt in town, her boyfriends best friend went to keep her company. Aww, what a sweetheart you say ? Well, yea. YoungBoysBest Friend ( or YBBF as he shall now be known ) had come up to our duplex when my sister and i were flatmates, and after i had cooked everyone dinner, YBBF took my empty plate to the sink and volunteered to take the garbage out. Aww, what a sweet young man. Sure. So when on my sisters birthday my best friend P and I finally caught up with her, and my sister mentioned that YBBF had come to be her " date ", we all went - Aww, what a sweetie. When sister got up to get a drink, P goes " You should totally put YBBF on lay-by ! ". Thats lay-away for you American people. And why would i have to do that, do you ask ? Because YBBF is only 16 years old! And i mean he's only just turned 16, so that makes him almost 9 full years younger than me. And not only did P suggest this, but when i was telling my sister this story tonight she tells me that she and her boyfriend had already discussed this. Oh.My.God. My best friend, my 18 year old sister and her 15 year old boyfriend have all decided that I would be great with a 16 year old boy - who apparently, would "totally like to tackle " me. Which is 15 year old boyfriend speak for " The 16 year old guy wants to do your sister ". Oh. My. God.

A 16 year old boy ( who is quite sweet, and you know he's going to totally good looking and attractive when IS eventually legal ) wants to tackle me. That is just wrong. Flattering, but wrong. Right ? I just cant believe that all these people are so concerned about my almost-non-existent lovelife....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sweet Baby Jesus, Save Me

Yes, i know i'm not religious and I dont actually really believe in God, but in the spirit of Baby Jesus's birthday I am praying that he can save me from the horrid Christmas cd my boss has insisted on playing the last two days. Let me just give you this:

Seriously. See, one of our clients is an Elvis impersonator and he's made some crappy cds of himself singing various Christmas carols. Being the dutiful client-pleasing lady that she is, my fellow manager has decided that we should at least try listening to it. Because my desk is closest to the cd player, I have the supreme pleasure of hearing it all day long, even if i dont want to. I mean, I like Elvis and I like Christmas, but Fake Elvis sucks chocolate, salty , Christmas balls ( a cd of Chef from South Park singing Christmas carols would be way cooler! ). He's one of these Elvis imitators that thinks sounding like the King means you have to slur all your words to the point of incomprehensibility. Plus, he's chosen all the boring, slow paced Christmas songs, so the entire CD sounds like one monotonous drone.

Sweet Baby Jesus - please deliver me from this evil. By some miracle, please return the Partridge Family Christmas Album that my mother played when i was a child ( at least those kids were boppy ). I beg of you to please find some divine way of sending me a Harry Connick Jnr album full of smooth, jazzy Christmas cheer. I will even take one of those generic " hey, all the cool popstars love Christmas !! " albums, featuring Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera and Ricky Martin ( who really oughta be singing " Feliz Navidad " ). Anything would be better than Fake Elvis.


P.S I also pray that this mock prayer does not offend any of your loyal followers. If they were me, they'd be praying to be rid of Fake Elvis too.

Amen again.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday Nights Alright for Flirting

So my friend Ree invited me up to her place for cocktails last night. Sweet, something to do on a Friday night so I was glad to be invited. Now, my friend Ree is kind of a reformed wild girl - she's a few years older than me, she has three sons and after her husband passed away she went of the rails a little. But she's one of these people who have an infectious enthusiasm for life, so its great to see she's seetled back down somewhat, but has still maintained her " you're only as young as you feel " views. I'm kind of proud of her for that actually - Lord knows it cant be easy trying to raise three children on your own after losing your husband, whilst still keeping a part of your life for yourself. My point is, whenever Ree gets the chance to have some fun, she does the fun up right. So what if some of the people who said they were coming didnt turn up ? Those of us who were there had us some pink champagne cocktails and a big, girly chatfest ( you know, clothes, shoes, sex.... all the good stuff ). After a few hours of drinking at her house, we decided going out to the pub would be a good idea, it being a Friday night after all. Ace!

She had told me earlier that the very casual dress code for the cocktails was " classy " so i chose to wear my darkest pair of trouser-cut jeans, a crisp cotton cami, tan open-toe stacked heels and a cute necklace. I didnt scrub up too badly for a girl who didnt have a lot of time to plan her outfit, and i was glad i was able to pull that outfit together because I would have felt a little out of place at the pub if i had just worn jeans and a t-shirt. The point of all this talk of my appearance is - I was not expecting in the least to pick up. Thats right folks, i said " pick up ". Who knew that a woman dressed like a lady could get a guys attention ahead of girls dressed as skanks ?

I dont mean that to sound crude, but i like to have a little decorum, a little class in the way i dress and speak and present myself ( on most occasions ), so it came as a suprise to find myself getting a little special attention on the dancefloor, ahead of the girls wearing mini skirts and tops that they could potentially fall out of. He was cute - not much taller than me ( but hey, short guys need loving too ), had the build of a football player and some sexy stubble going on. The fact that he was dancing up against me with his hand on my hip was enough - this girl was sold. I'm ashamed to say, but i didnt actually catch his name - he did tell me but its that noisy on the dancefloor that i couldnt quite make it out. Brendan? Nathan ? Benjamin ? Something like that..... This did not, however, stop me from spending some good, quality time with my lips glued to his, and getting a slight case of pash rash. Yes, sometimes, I am THAT girl, the one who is bumping into you and your friends because she's too busy kissing random cute dudes. Oh, and while i'm busy feeding you all ( ok, most of ... ) the juicy details, as best as i can figure out Mystery Stubble Guy is probably 20 years old at the most. Yes, that now makes me a cougar.

Don't judge me! I gave MSG my number, I had a freaking great night, and isnt every girl allowed her " i was a little tipsy, plus it WAS really noisy " indescretions?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

There goes the neighbourhood....

So you know how I said the horizon had been defeated ? Well, it had been. But, as with the real world, their has been the dawning of a new day - and its sunny and warm people, sunny and warm! For all of you who are lost ( which is, i think, probably all of you... ) let me explain. I put on offer on some property - different property to that which was previously mentioned ..... and it was accepted! Once the solicitors have drawn up the papers and everything has been signed, I will officially own real estate! I never thought i'd be this excited about something like this, but I have to admit it does feel awesomely cool ( and incredibly grown up ). So once everything is official, I will be the proud owner of a modern, two bedroom duplex. Two bedrooms with built in wardrobes, a bathroom with bath, shower and toilet, kitchen, laundry, living and dining rooms and a single garage. I have a few plans for it already - I'd like to render the interior brick wall and paint it over, and knock out one of the kitchen walls to make the living area much more open plan. Oooh, and do some painting. And, because it has a fairly decent sized backyard, I can finally get a dog! The only thing is that the current owners would like to keep living in it until April - theyre building a new home which wont be ready til then. So, rather than turf them out in the street, we've decided that i will buy the property and lease it back to them until theyre new home is ready. So even though i wont be moving in til the end of April - isnt this all exciting ?

So, until April i plan on saving a little extra money, watching a lot of the Lifestyle channel ( Thom Felecia is going to be my new best friend ), reading a lot of interior design magazines and trolling Ebay for cute, funky furniture to replace my boring stuff. If anyone has any cool decorating tips or ideas they wanna share, leave a message after the beep*.......


Sunday, December 7, 2008

I am the Blackbird - koo koo ka-chu!

Okay, before you all think I've gone completely mental and mixed up my Beatles lyrics, let me explain. Firstly, yes, i know that I am the Eggman, you are the Eggmen and I am the Walrus, koo koo ka-chu. This is not the point. What is the point is I was listening to the soundtrack to " Across the Universe " while i drove a little ways out of town to visit a friend and I'm singing along to " Blackbird " and do you know what i realised ? That song is about me - I am the blackbird ( koo koo ka-chu! koo koo ka-chu! Sorry, couldnt help it... ). You know what I mean, like when you're listening to a song and then all of a sudden the lyrics just become so overwhelmingly profound, like John and Paul forsaw the future and are actually trying to send me a personal message ? Witness :

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Don't you see ? Blackbird taking broken wings and learning to fly = me breaking free of depression and crap and moving on with my life. Its genius! Ah, The Beatles save the day again....

Not the day really needed to be saved - i was having a great day as it was. I finally saw " Australia " and let me tell you - fantabulous. Sure, I might be just a tad biased - because i live here and i'm almost completely in love with Hugh Jackman and Baz Luhrman is my second favourite director - but it really was great movie. It was epic on the scale of, say, " Giant " or " Gone With The Wind " but i dont think its on the same " classic " level. I can see what Baz was aiming for but he misses by this much. ( Which is to say , like, this <...> much ). The cinematography was superb, as expected - the shots of the Australian landscape are gorgeous, the use of colour is strikingly simple, and the costumes are perfect ( god, how Hugh Jackman looks so delicious IN clothes... ). Mr Jackman does a good job and brings this beautiful raw charisma to the Drover, but Nicole Kidman is a slight let down. I do not care how much she tries to deny it, the womans face is pumped full of plastic. She smiles, there are no smile lines; she frowns, her brow does not furrow. The real suprise packet though is the child who plays Nullah ( Brandon Walters i believe his name is ). He has a beautiful expressive face and he seems so authentic in his role - i suppose in part to his upbringing in a remote community. I am telling you, any of you who have read negative reviews on this film, especially those of you in the States, please give this film a shot.

The best part of my day though was the visit to my friend, Mrs N. Now Mrs N is a woman who was, for lack of a beter description, a teachers aid at my primary school. I should say is, because she still works there after 20 years. I have never asked her old she actually is ( that would just be rude, wouldnt it ? ) but she would have to be in her late 70's , if not older. The thing is, Mrs N gets me. She is the easiest person to talk to and she is never anything but gracious, kind and non-judgemental. In lieu of the relationships i DON'T have with my grandparents, Mrs N is like a surrogate grandmother to me, and its a relationship i very much appreciate. She indulges me intellectually too. It is so wonderful to be able to spend a few hours with someone, to be able to discuss so many topics and ideas and issues and have someone understand and appreciate what you're saying. Its an incredible boost to divulge your most personal demons to someone and still have them say they love you, admire you and are inspired by you. I feel like everyone should have someone like Mrs N in their lives.

I told her about my smile challenge, but what I didnt tell her is that spending the afternoon in her ramshackle little cottage was the biggest smile I'd had all week...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Horizon Has Been Defeated

For now.

So, I put in an offer on a property today .... and it was turned down. I put in a deliberatly low bid ( thats the way you play these thngs after all.... ) but still it was a little disheartening to be knocked back. But no worries, i plan on putting in another, slightly higher offer tomorrow. Of course, I've never actually tried to buy a house before so I'm not entirely sure of the processes of house hunting, but what i do know is i like the house i inspected today. It's relatively small - two bedrooms, but its still a whole tonne bigger than most shoebox apartments in major cities. Its also 58 years old, but its been nicely refurbished on the inside so i'd barely have to spend a dollar on improvements if didnt want to. So I guess all is not lost - i still have another chance and if that offer gets turned down i have a few more thousand dollars to play with before i have to admit Game Over. Wish me luck ?

And you know what gives you luck ? Or rather, what pays you back in awesomely good karma ? Giving to charity, thats what. Which is exactly what i did today - I donated some canned goods and new toys to my companys annual Christmas appeal. Each Christmas we try and gather small donations to give to a local charity and this year nobody had given anything yet. So i decided to set a good example and get the ball rolling by using the spare cash i had in my wallet to buy some non-perishable food and two small toys. I opted for a Barbie doll for the girls ( i always a Barbie kind of girl, as opposed to playing with "baby" dolls ) and a Transformers action figure for the boys. I, of course, made sure to get an Optimus Prime because everybody knows Optimus Prime was the bomb ( followed closely by Jazz ). Hopefully seeing our basket now has something in it will encourage others to give aswell. I'm not going to mention what the donation cost me but suffice to say it was probably more than some families can afford to spend for themselves. So now i get the good karma of having done a good deed, a satsifying good feeling and some family somewhere gets a little bit of a brighter Christmas. And isnt Christmas the season of giving ?

Oh, and in case you didnt read between the lines there, this is me now actively, officially and very obviously asking you to give something - time, money, food, toys, whatever - to someone in need this Christmas. Charity should be a year round activity, but if your only going to be proactively charitable once a year, why not make it during the holidays?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Long Weekend by The NUmbers, Plus an Update on the Smile Challenge

So technically it wasnt a long weekend here in Australia - that is, we didnt have an official public holiday or anything. However, seeing as I had both Friday and Monday off, I had my own long weekend. Thus, you get the stats from four days rather than two. Aren't you people lucky ?

4 - numbers of days I had off. I said that already, didnt i ?

10 - amount in dollars that Tradie lunch cost on Friday. Make that a $20 Tradie lunch, because i bought lunch for my auntie as a birthday treat. My 7 month old cousin ate tiny Vegemite sandwiches from a cup.

5 - number of open houses i intended on inspecting on Saturday morning.

2 - number of those open house inspections that actually went ahead. The other three were cancelled: two because of the weather and one because it had been sold.

40 - approximate number of minutes i spent driving around to get to and from these cancelled open houses. What a waste of petrol.

2 - number of naps I managed to fit in over the course of Saturday afternoon/evening. It was one of those rainy, stay-indoors-and-do-nothing kind of days. Somehow i manage to fall asleep easily when it comes to naps, but i lie awake for what seems like forever at night...

87 - approximate number of minutes my mother spent farting around looking at shoes and pretty tops on Sunday morning. Don't get me wrong - I looooooooooooove shopping - but my mother is the most frusturating shopper on earth.

1000 - approximate ( and slightly embellished ) number of jumps my neice did, in a row, on the trampoline at our house. Seriously. We had a barbecue on Sunday night and after she finished eating she was bouncing on that thing for like an hour straight. I dont know how she didnt bounce her little brain to death.

1 - number of Christmas's ruined by my neice. Yep, seems like the three year old can't keep a secret.: " Hey, Aunty Amy - we bought you a yoga mat! ". This prompted her mother to, mockingly, tell her she'd ruined Xmas. " Yea? Well you cant look at me anymore ". Cue (still ) bouncing, now with her back to us.

60 - number minutes of spent getting a facial. Ah, the pampering....

170 000 - amount in dollars i can realistically borrow to buy my first home. My modest first home.

180 000 - amount in dollars i could afford to offer, as a maximum, on a property. A modest property.

6 - number of seperate tests they need to run to try and figure out why i'm so low in iron. I'll let you guess for yourself what kind of tests they may, or may not be.

3 - number of days i need to be on a exclusion diet to run some of those tests. Woo hoo - no broccoli!

10 - number of minutes i spent lying on the floor after i almost passed out at the gym. OMG - so embarrassing. Apparently you should not push yourself so hard on your first day back at the gym after being sick.

And so, onto the smile challenge update. Granted, i havent been keeping a regualr blog list of each and every thing that has made me smile the last week or so but, believe me, I am taking notice. And its working - think my colleagues are starting to think i've gone even more mental. Just, you know, in the opposite direction. And, for each negative thing that happens, i've been able to find a positive and much better side to focus on. For example, no, I wont be able to borrow enough money to build a new home ( boo hoo hoo, disappointment ). However, now that i know my budget and range, I'm looking forward to seeing what i can find and figuring out what i can do with it ( i've been watching a lot of the Lifestyle channel lately. I love Thom Felicia! ). Or so it was rainy and three open houses got cancelled ( wasting my time and petrol - poo to that! )? Yea, well it gave me a whole bucnh of time to catch up with a friend who lives a few houses up my street. She's almost 32 (totally old according to her ....) she has three kids, and she went flying off the rails when her husband died three years ago, but she's getting back to a good place. She's wonderfully funny and irrevent and because of all her derailing at various times in her life, she has great advice sometimes.

A total plus huh ?