Monday, June 30, 2003

More Stuff

We ran around yesterday, getting my shopping out of the way, and then heading out to see the new Richmond Ikea. I found it was less organised than the Moorabbin Ikea, but it had a garden section (as well as all the other standard sections). And a huge bonus, I found lucky bamboo there! So I now have 3 lucky bamboo stalks which should be very easy to care for. Then we went to Alasya again, and ate too much as usual. It was insanely busy, but the service was still good, and the food was excellent. They have freshly squeezed orange juice (for real), which was absolutely yummy. I couldn't eat many of the desserts (only the gelatinous ones), and two dips due to dairy intolerance, but the rest of the food was fine. We were going to see a movie after this, but ran out of time, and ended up watching X-Men 1.5 DVD and some of the (huge number of) extras, till we realised what the time was. Tomorrow I am finally going to go and explore the shops in Dandenong and get a yoga mat from Rebel. I've only been living up the road (well, quite a way up the road), for nearly 2 years and apart from going through it on holidays and once to the bakery, I still haven't been there.

Fighting the bull

Bullfighter is a product aimed at getting rid of (or at least making fun of) the nonsensical jargon used in business. It looks quite cute, and some of the students I teach could make use of it for CSE1304 Professional Communications and CSE1402 Technical Documentation for Software Engineers.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

More procrastination

It's amazing what I can do to procrastinate, but at least this time I have a vague excuse (pain makes thinking near impossible when on loads of codeine). In the last few weeks I have managed to learn about Feng Shui, Wicca, more about sustainable living and voluntary simplicity, update my site quite a bit (html hacking does not require thinking), read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, mark assignments for 15 hours straight, draw a picture of a hobbit hole and follow the PPC Amiga-emulator discussion on ann.lu and amiganews.de (and I don't even speak German!).

I've worked out a comprehensive schedule, got up to date entering my finance information, caught up on email, watched TV, slept a fair amount, finished a cross stitch I had been working on for 4 years and made purple fluffy cushions. I have however, managed to completely skew my sleep cycle, and at some stage will have to roll it over to the next day so I don't sleep through the day and work (or procrastinate) during the night. I really really really need to find some motivation to do actual study as I am so far behind (and work - notes are due on Friday for printing).

A couple of dragon links

Lots of dragon information, including their many appearances in the bible. Aon Celtic art and the art of Keltia have some gorgeous Celtic knotwork and a couple of Celtic dragon images.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Breaking Down

Migraine sparklies, dead ankle, sciatica flaring up, sinusitis back straight after finishing antibiotics, fever, possible UTI, and loads of pain.... I think my body is giving up.

Cat link...

Not that I can read the stories that go with the images, but some of the images are insane enough that they don't really don't require it! Cat stories and interesting pictures (I think it's in Russian).

Finished the book...

But for those who haven't read it yet and don't want a review, I'm not going to say anything other than that I was somewhat disappointed by it. I'll post more details in several weeks. (And for those who hadn't guessed, this was about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). Oh.. and it took me about 8 hours to read it - I did get a little sleep during the day

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Unfair...

Just as first semester is finally finished with, the notes for second semester sit there waiting for modifications for printing and loads of honours work has been scheduled for the break between semesters, I bleed through the pill. Murphy must be laughing very hard.

I was quickly going to get my cse467 paper finished this weekend, followed by a crazy week of updating courseware for next semester, then another paper in a week, and the final of the Lit Review. Now, all of that is probably not going to happen. I'm getting very frustrated that I can't seem to get anywhere with my honours stuff - I've fallen behind this years' students already.

Unfortunately I am likely to lose a whole week to high doses of codeine, pain, warmth and sleep (brain shutdown). Although some of it sounds nice (specifically the warmth and sleep part), it usually takes me quite a while after the week of insane amounts of pain to get back to normal enough to think about writing.

Teddybears!

Teddybears!
nifwlseirff on flickr
I finally have finished a cross-stitch I have been working on for 4 years. This is the first one I have completed in over 6 years, and I'm going to get it framed, hopefully next week (with a 10% off voucher courtesy of Debbie - Thanks!). I still need to wash it, and hope like crazy the colours don't run. It is titled "The Teddy Bear Reunion" and is published by LeisureArts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Marking done, now for 2nd semester

For some reason, the final marking took a hell of a lot longer than last year, I spent a good 15 hours straight marking 11 groups. The other markers have noticed it too, and we can't figure it out why, whether the standard has dropped, or the reports/sites were longer? Or we just couldn't get into a rhythm? Don't know. But I am so glad it's done, it was a nightmarish job. Now I just need to re-do the notes, pracs and tutes for next semester's programming subject. First year computer science will be getting an overhaul for next year (where it runs in all three semesters) so it won't be changed too much, however I am determined to change the tutes and pracs somewhat as the incidence of cheating has sky-rocketed this year.

We will be using an online cheater checker for the pracs and Debbie is considering making participation in the tutes worth marks and attendance at 80% of the tutorials a hurdle. I'm not looking forward to next semester (I've still somehow to complete my honours project and another 6 point honours subject around the teaching commitments and health crap).

Monday, June 16, 2003

Circles

I find it very interesting how fads work. I have witnessed two surges in the popularity of wicca, feng shui, aromatherapy and other natural therapies (and related new age shops). However, after the huge wicca boom when Charmed and Buffy were new, interest has once again waned, and it's not profitable to stock those items (or keep those shops open). I am told that Yoga and self-help are the current topics of interest. Only a couple of items remain constant in those shops - incense, essential oils and pretty stones/crystals. Candle fads also seem to come and go. I found it difficult to find even taper candles at Chadstone recently (and nothing in green!). I love candles, and don't like it when I'm running low, so am quite annoyed that I can't stock up easily and cheaply. However, large, ugly pillar candles are all the rage, as long as they are sitting in glass hurricane lamps with some kind of sand or stones to stabilise them at the base. *grrrrr* I want my candles.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Dairy free quiche

As the title suggests, I can't eat dairy, and wanted to make something that I could eat for a party recently, and so modified a quiche recipe. I am able to eat sheep and goat milk products, but cheeses from these sources are typically very strong, salty and quite different from cows milk cheese. It takes some getting used to, but you can't taste any difference in this quiche.

Dairy Free Quiche

about 1.5 cups flour a couple of teaspoons of nuttelex (or butter)

some soy milk

sauteed vegies (any combination of onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, spinach)

finely chopped sauteed bacon (optional, but tastes sooooo much better)

a handful of grated sheep's cheese

4-5 free range eggs (they taste better)

some soy milk

garlic

0.5 tsp mustard (seeded is better)

salt/pepper/herbs

2-3 tbsp plain flour

Rub the butter into the flour using a fork till it resembles breadcrumbs (don't use hands), pour in a little soy milk, and smush into a dough (not too sticky and not to dry). Wrap dough in plastic and put in fridge for several hours. Roll out dough and put in a very flat and wide quiche flan with removable bottom, being careful to not get any tears. Push into edges and corners. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese over base, and put sauteed vegies and bacon over cheese. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Whisk together eggs, flour, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, mustard and some soy to make an egg custard. Pour over vegies. Place sliced tomato (best) and/or mushrooms on the top. (If the mushrooms are arranged around the edges it seems to stop it flowing over the edge). Bake in a medium oven (350F/180C) for 30-40 minutes or until set.

To get a crunchier base, pre-bake base for 5-10 minutes.

Best served warm with salad in my opinion. Serves 8-10.

Head and Feet

I'm not sure what my triggers are for migraines, but I seem to be getting them weekly. It could be stress, food, or general weather. However, I do feel like I am getting a cold and just got new glasses, which my eyes are still getting used to. So, marking of assignments is being done while under the influence of pain and lots of strong pain-killers.

I saw the podiatrist today, who seemed very competent, and who personally knows 2 people with endometriosis in very strangest places (eyebrow cavity and knee). Having endometriosis anywhere other than pelvis is extremely rare. Anyhow, my feet are weird (duh... just like the rest of me), and my back problems/turned in knees and hips apparently aren't caused by my feet (like other podiatrists have told me). She also had no idea why I had a lump in my previous set of insteps. I don't know who to believe any more.

My current insteps also are 'off the shelf' whereas I was told they were made 'specially for me' and paid for it too, through the public system. The podiatrist I received them from is no longer in business, so I can't chase that (and don't have the spare energy to do so). 2 weeks till I get my new insteps, sculpted in metal and foam from a plaster cast, and 2 weeks till the podiatrist rips my insoles out of my lovely Asics sneakers to fit the insteps.

*bah* My next major purchases will be new doc martens and sneakers, once I get my bills/loans down a bit.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Cheesecake numminess

I can't personally vouch for this recipe, as it contains dairy, and lots of it. I am on a dairy-free diet as it helps with pain management, but those who ingested the resulting cake assured me it was delicious. It uses light cream cheese and not much sugar as the birthday mum is diabetic. (Note - I do not measure things)

Strawberry/Raspberry Cheesecake

Take a packet granita biscuits and process to fine-ish crumbs. Melt enough butter to hold the crumbs together and not let any cheesecake mixture through and mix with the crumbs (use a microwave for this). Push biscuit base into springform tin and set in fridge for about 3 hours or more.

Process 2 packets of light philly cream cheese till very smooth. Add a couple of soup spoonfuls of light sour cream, the same amount of cream, about 2 tsp of vanilla essence (the real thing) and process till mixed. Add a little raw caster sugar (Why raw? It tastes better) Probably about 1 tbsp. Process again. Boil water, put 3-4 tsp gelatine in a jug, add enough boiling water to dissolve it. Let it cool a bit (don't put it in the fridge!) and pour into cheesecake mixture blending continuously. Keep blending for a bit. Pour cheesecake mixture into chilled base.

In a blender or bowl (to be mixed with a hand blender) put a large handful of strawberries (de-greened) and several spoonfuls of canned raspberries (without too much syrup). Blend until there are no lumps of berry to be seen. Pour berry mixture into cheesecake and create a swirly marble effect with a knife, being careful not to disturb the crust. (Note: this results in a creamy, not quite set, swirled berry layer on top of a set vanilla cheesecake layer. If you want swirliness all the way through, you could try adding the berries and cheesecake mix to a bowl, mixing ever so slightly and pouring into the base).

Set in fridge for a long time (overnight). Serve with a bit of extra whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Evil test...

Found this somewhere.. and just had to.. and was horrified at the result. I am:
47.14004% - Super Geek
in the Geek Test

(Ok ok... you can stop sniggering now)

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

New Glasses

I finally have got around to getting new glasses, and much to my surprise the best frames (looking, comfort and quality) at my optometrist were Nike frames. Which means they cost a mini-fortune. I have no idea how much I'll get back from Medibank, but I hope all my medical spending this year is worth it (tax deductions). Hopefully this week I'll also get around to booking acupuncture and getting new insteps (trying to get as much back in deductions as possible this financial year and time is quickly running out... not to mention the money side of things). Anyhow, I'll try to post a pic of the glasses when I get them (at the end of the week). I hope they will stop some of the headaches.

Podiatry

I just found out how much a set of custom fitted insteps costs (private sector) - $400. When I got my second set of insteps five years ago, I think I paid about $200 (public sector). However, Medibank preferred podiatrists charge 80% to Medibank, so I will only have to pay about $80-90. Beware - these practitioners (MB preferred) are very rare, and a lot of travelling is involved. I think saving $120 by not using the public sector podiatrists will cover travel costs, although it might be expensive getting a lift early on a Saturday.

So Cold...

Why is it that I am so cold all of the time? Food, hot drinks, exercise, heat packs, hot baths and even heaters are failing to warm me. It's not just my extremities, but my 'core'. It's not like this autumn/winter is particularly cold so far. *bah*

Everyone is blogging

In the last few days of internet ramblings to procrastinate (drafting a paper), I stumbled on a number of blogs by people that I know. Typically blog browsing covers people I have never met, but this was just weird. Most of the people I have known in the last few years seem to be blogging. Most of the content is pretty standard and it's sad to see how screwed up their lives are. Some however, are doing quite well. Others have blogs that are quite single minded on technical (computery) or political subjects (which I didn't expect). For some reason, this makes me feel claustrophobic.

Monday, June 9, 2003

Health update

I saw the surgeon last week, which put me into a huge downward spin, even though there was some good news. I don't have much endometriosis now - only one small spot was found on one ovary, and only two adhesions had formed (one had stuck the left ovary down in the pouch of douglas (at the back and bottom of the uterus.. a long way from where it should be. Don't ask me why that area has that name, I don't know...).

This shows that the continuous birth control is working. The bad news.... the pictures showed blatantly that I have severe adenomyosis in one big splodge, which is sitting on my bowel. This is causing all my pain, and the only treatment is a hysterectomy. As soon as I have 'completed my family' it is strongly advised for me to have a hysterectomy.

Nothing can be done about the bowel pain (without removing the uterus). It's likely nothing further can be done about the general fight I have with my immune system and rundown-ness. Neither the coldness, or the general pain.

The only other suggestion the surgeon made was acupuncture. Other herbal medicines are likely to have no effect and carry the risk of damaging my kidneys further. I'm not looking forward to living with this until I am ready decide to have or not to have kids. Funny that.

Kitty Yoga

Yoga Kitty looks very interesting, sometimes I feel it's a shame I'm on a 28.8 connection.

Thursday, June 5, 2003

Robert Holdstock

I just stumbled across Robert Holdstock's website, another excellent author. I hope more of his books get re-released in Australia as I'm trying to collect them, and with some being out of print, it's very frustrating.

The Matrix Reloaded

The effects were very smooth, although they looked very "computer game"-ish, and seemed to be in there for their own sake, not to help the story. The story itself wasn't that impressive, and I hope the third one is better, though I have a hunch that if the story of 2 and 3 were combined, it would make a much better single movie. There were some 'flashy' scenes that I think gave me a two day migraine, it was either the lighting/frames or the sound, which seemed to be extremely unbalanced (it was hard to hear the dialogue in parts over the music). I couldn't sit through the credit music, my head might have exploded if I tried, so we missed the preview for number 3. It was mostly enjoyable, but definitely not something I would rave about (unlike the original Matrix).