Here you will often find my thoughts of the day, with the occasional vent - but first and foremost this is where I can share my passion for stitching.

Monday, February 27, 2006

2nd happy dance today

Just in the nick of time (ie before midnight) I managed to put the final stitches into my 2nd stitching goal for the day ... and it took me all that time to actually finish it. I'm sorry to say that I really didn't enjoy stitching this one at all, which is probably why I was so slow at stitching it. I found the colours really drab, and I really detest stitching over-one with variegated thread because I have to stitch each stitch individually - all-in-all this is not a project I would ever have chosen myself ... however, there is a good piece of news in all this - as this is one of the ornaments Mum liked in the 2005 JCS ornie issue, this will be finding its way to her tree at the end of the year ... at least it will be going someone who will love it :) If anyone is wondering what the design is, it's "Home for Christmas" by Brightneedle.

Still haven't decided what to stitch tomorrow yet ... will see what I feel like when I get up. I also need to make an eating and exercise plan from tomorrow night onwards ... you see, tomorrow is D-Day (Diet-Day) - our company is subsidising 50% off 3 months of Weight Watchers for those of us wishing to lose weight, and I put my name down for it a few weeks ago - tomorrow is our first night/sign up. Another sign that I'm feeling good about myself, I guess - I'm actually wanting to make an improvement to my body, as well as my mind. :) It couldn't have come at a (possible) worse time with my finances in trying to cut back, but I'm already committed to it, and it's something I think I really need to do as I have put a considerable amount of weight on over the last year or so, and I'm starting to feel really unhealthy. They say life begins at 40, perhaps it's true ... ;)

Small happy dance

Oh boy, I slept like a baby last night - the traffic noise outside has a tendency to wake me up at about 7am, but this morning I didn't hear anything until about 9.30am - woohoo!! I have two goals for stitching over my two days off ... and I managed to complete the first one just in time for lunchtime - my little giftie ... here's the latest teaser piccie.

As for what's next ... I'm going to stitch my latest ornie in my Christmas ornie RR, so at least I know it's all finished ready for posting next month - I've got my fingers crossed that it'll get finished today, as it seems like it's just a small one ... mind you, that can always be deceiving LOL. Then tomorrow I want to stitch my WTC quilt block plus one more ornament. After that will be my last two charity quilt blocks, followed by Marine Elegance (hopefully my threads will have arrived by then). After that, it's back to the Dratteds and my rotation ... no excuses! Mouth At Side

Fingers crossed I'll have more progress to post tomorrow - if not, I'll have time to catch up soon, as I'm only back at work for two days, before being off for another two - the joy of Hotline relief work, as I'm switching between two different roster lines ... then it's back to 7 days of work straight yuk! Rightio, both Coach Carter and Dragonfly movies are sitting in the DVD player, now where did I put that ornie envelope ... ?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Another happy birthday event

Last night we finally had the official birthday dinner for myself and Ben, at Cafe Platia, Burke Road, Camberwell. We had a banquet, and there was so much food to eat we certainly felt we got our money's worth - the food was divine, the atmosphere wonderful, and the company second-to-none. All-in-all it was a fantastic night out. Fraze surpassed himself and brought a caramel cheesecake with birthday candles for us - it was the perfect end to a great evening. We then had an unexpected bonus, as we drove back to Croydon to stay at a friend's house for another chat ... unfortunately, though, I'm working today so not overly thrilled having to drive an hour home to just have a shower and drive halfway back again - but it was nice to be able to catch up for a bit longer. Have to admit to having a sore head today, but more from the lack of sleep than over-excessive alcohol (although there was definitely more than 1 or 2 glasses imbibed haha).

Unfortunately, not everyone is in the photo - Fraze, Dawn, and Gavin are missing.

So, just a very quick post, as I need to jump into the shower and wake myself up ... thankfully today is the last day of 7 working days, and I get Mon/Tue off this week before I get to play on the Hotline again for another two weeks yippee :) Considering I only got a few hours sleep last night, I'll need no extra rocking to sleep tonight! LOL. At least I get two days to play with a needle for a change, seeing I haven't seen one much just lately!

Friday, February 24, 2006

I didn't get the job :(

... BUT I feel really OK and calm about it all. Got some very very positive feedback from the two Supervisors that did the interviews. They actually said "the job is yours" - it's just that the other two candidates that got the jobs hit more of the interview criteria than I did, and unfortunately that's the way the company does their interviewing ... I know I'm really bad at interviews - my nerves get in the way, and it's like somebody sucks my brains out in a big vacuum as I walk through the door. They both said with my experience I have plenty of situations I deal with every week that proves I can do the job backwards ... but it's my interview technique that is holding me back. I can give scenarios, but just hit the exact nail on the head. One of them said she wanted to kick me under the table, 'cos I was so close to nailing it, then stopped, and missed the 'finishing off' part. Oh well, c'est la vie - getting such awesome feedback from both of them made it a much easier pill to swallow. I said to them I have a timeframe at the back of my mind until I call it quits for applying and would have to start looking elsewhere for the challenge, as I have too much to offer than just doing the 'normal' phones all day - they agreed, and one even went so far to say it would be tragic if the company lost my experience and knowledge, that it would be a tremendous loss.

Anyway, the outcome is that after the Supervisor has her operation and is back at work, we'll get our 'official' feedback, and we go through the various questions step by step, and they'll give me some additional coaching so I can learn what the company are specifically looking for in their scenarios ... as they put it, you've got the experience to get you through, we're going to help to give you that extra nudge over the line :)

In the meantime, though, they told me under no uncertain terms if I got offered a day shift position, that I should jump at it with both hands ... I'd already been considering it, anyway, as a lot of times a shift position can come up within months, and you're already a permanent senior, so you can move into the slot straightaway, then they re-advertise for the day position again. And there is soon to be some movement on the floor - last week one of the day shift seniors got a promotion to Quality Evaluator (a job I don't want, even though it's more money, so I didn't apply for it), which means if they get approval within the next weeks to fill her spot, they can use someone from this interview group ... and the way they were talking, made me wonder if it was me in line next ... but then again they could have said that to everyone ...

So, my challenge next week is to speak to my bank and credit union, to see if there is any option available for debt consolidation, to bring my outgoings down to something a little less each month than what it is now ... which means I could do the day position for a short time without crippling myself - as they said today, if I took a day position you get asked to do relieving Quality Evaluator, which is Mon-Fri so no weekend penalties, but for 1 in 3 weeks you get shift penalties for 3-11pm shifts, and you can also do Supervisor relieving, which could be shift work. I couldn't believe how they were so proactive in giving me all this info and being so definite about me not passing up the opportunity if it comes up. Oh boy, I hope I'm not reading anything into it ... :) I've already said I'd accept the job as a day position - and in the meantime now I've got to do my homework and see if I can cut some corners in spending etc ... so I am now so on the wagon it's not funny ... just in case!!

On a positive note today, I finally received my Silkweaver FOTM I've been longing for - and they sent an extra small "happy" (a small cut of 28ct Jobelan Solo) to make up for the late posting. So, KarenV, your mail will finally go out on Monday - so much for a birthday gift hmmm ... I'm spreading your birthday wishes into March now LOL. I decided to hold off sending your parcel when I thought the fabric had arrived the other day, then I had confirmation from Silkweaver that it had left them 8 Feb, so I figured it couldn't be too far away ... and it's finally here! It's a very pretty blue, too :)

Oh heck, if I have to cut costs, I suppose my FOTM club will have to disappear too :( Oh b*gger, that was my only vice left ...

Squishy mail :)

I have to say my heart sank when I saw the PO Box worker carry my parcel to the counter before work yesterday, thinking my outstanding Silkweaver fabric was sitting impatiently for me to pick it up ... my disappointment was tangible ... BUT, when I took the parcel from him, my curiosity was aroused - I wasn't expecting another parcel ... imagine my total surprise and sheer joy to find a birthday gift from Bine - and at a time that couldn't have been any better if she'd tried. It put a huge smile on my face, and I am very very touched at this generous gift. Bine, you're a real sweetheart - and I love everything in it! Now, if that's a "little" piece of linen for me to try, I'd hate to see a big one ... my parcel contained some 32ct Permin Country Linen in the colour "shell" - I'd admired it for Bine's DT Gameboard Sampler, and now I get to stitch on some in real life ... it really is beautiful - the colour is gorgeous, and I love the feel of Permin linens (that's what the Dratteds are stitched on). Bine also sent a gorgeous little address book, and some scrummy beads ... funnily enough, I used to do some beading projects, and have been thinking of getting back into it again, so they will come in handy not just for stitching, but for other projects as well. Thanks so much, Bine, for your gift - it was very generous, and very very welcomed :) {{hugs}}

I've been managing to keep my nerves etc under check quite well about the interview results, but my subconscious was having a harder time trying to keep itself under wraps, it seems ... I was awake almost every hour last night, and especially struggled to sleep after 4am - the interview results at the forefront of my mind each time. Oh well, only a couple of hours left before I get put out of my misery and I get told either way ... regardless, I still feel quite positive about keeping to the mantra "it is what it is" ... I think ;P

I'm glad today is almost my final late shift for the week - I have taken tomorrow off work so that I can go to my 'official' birthday dinner with Ben and friends ... we're going to Cafe Platia, my favourite mediterranean/Greek restaurant with chargrilled calamari, souvlaki, lamb on the spit, various dips and saganaki etc ... I'm drooling just thinking about it - I've only ever ordered off the menu before, and adore their food, but this time they're putting a banquet on for us as there is a group of 15. And on the upside from last week, I'm getting the $65 back from my best friend. When asked how much I hate him, my reply was just that I was disappointed and that life is too short for hate ... boy, oh boy, living on my own and 'finding myself' again has been fantastic - I'm finding it so much easier to 'let things go' again. As long as I have my stitching, I'm happy haha.

Talking of which, I'd better go dry my hair from my shower, and try to take my mind off today for an hour and pick my stitching up - I really want to get my little gift finished so I can post it off ... then my next project has to be the WTC quilt square - hmmm, after that, who knows? LOL. With any luck my threads will be on their way any day now from NZ, so I can catch up on my "Marine Elegance" (I'm soooo behind now!) - and I also have two more charity squares I've promised, so I think I should probably stitch those first before getting carried away with other things ... then I think it's time I get my A into G and get back into my rotation again ...

Thanks again for all your supportive comments - that's another reason I've found it easier to roll with life's punches these days ... having the emotional support from you all, even though we're miles apart and never met, it really does help to bolster you up. I appreciate it greatly, and love you all for your kind thoughts and comments :) {{hugs}} And there was no need to send a 'pick me up' gift, Carol - but that's very typical of you, you're soooo generous, and just an all-round gorgeous person with a big heart! {{hug}} In saying that, though, I'll be stalking my PO Box in a week's time haha.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Time to relax ...

... as my interview is all over - I was in there for almost an hour, and can't say I feel 'thrilled' about the whole thing ... I struggled with one scenario, so with that one and one other one, I probably didn't answer as well as I would have hoped, but I feel OK about the other 8 'major' questions. Unfortunately my best scenarios weren't able to be used, as they didn't match the questions they wanted ... oh well.

I have to say, I feel really quite relaxed and calm about the whole thing - last time I wanted it soooo badly I got all uptight when I didn't get it ... this time I've got Jenna's attitude down pat, "it is what it is" (love that one, Jenna!) - I'm learning to make the most of what I have ... there are many other qualified people that deserve the job as well, so the competition is fierce - if it takes me another year to get it, then so be it, but I refuse to stress about it this time round. Obviously I'll be disappointed if I don't get it, as I do still want the job ... but I won't be visiting Migraine City for weeks on end at the end of it all this time! :) At least with my current job I get plenty of variety, and still get to do the Hotline job as a reliever on a regular basis so it keeps my skills up etc.

We actually get the results back on Friday, so at least we don't have long to be put out of our miseries - there is one shift position and one day position ... unfortunately with my finances I can only accept the shift position, so if I get offered the day one, I'm going to have to turn it down, which will break my heart. Anyway, we'll cross that bridge when/if we come to it. I'm now putting it out of my mind, and getting back into my normal routine again until Friday.

One thing that cheered me up today is that there is a parcel sitting in my PO box ... fingers crossed it is finally the Silkweaver fabric I've been waiting for a whole month for, so I can get it posted off to KarenV for the Star of Wonder ornament SAL (though I don't think it'll be done in time for the February deadline hmmm). Woohoo!!! I'll have to go into work a bit earlier to be able to pick it up from the PO counter while they're open.

OK, off to bed early tonight ... only just walked in from work at 11.45pm, and I'm exhausted already ... what a wimp I am! LOL

A meme to clear my mind

Mr Obnoxious is still with me this morning, as I knew he would be, so I've decided to take some time out to catch up on blogs to take my mind off it, before I start concentrating on my interview information. Thanks for your supportive comments - I am going to take it further, and take the time after my interview to speak to both the Manager of the area concerned, and also our own call centre manager. Mr O is the sort of guy who twists one comment you make 50 different ways and turns it back as an accusation and keeps harping on about the same thing then making it personal. He doesn't swear at all at you, unlike some others - if he does, then we have the full management back-up to terminate the call after telling him we don't have to put up with that sort of language etc ... I've threatened that twice before, and both times they've calmed down - this guy is just in a league of his own! I wish I could give you an example of what was said, but that'd be unprofessional. His main personality is to take one word or sentence that was said, out of context, especially loving to stop you mid-sentence and start a tirade, and harp on about it for 15 minutes to turn it into a personal attack.

Anyway, enough of that vile pig (as someone else called him last night) ... on to clearing my mind of clutter, by doing some 'fun stuff' :) I just noticed that Chiara tagged me ages ago to do this meme - for some reason her blog wasn't showing on my updated list, then all of a sudden there were 36 posts there today, including my 'tag' ... so apologies for the delay (and thanks for tagging me Chiara!), but here goes:

The Meme of Fives

Here are the rules: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone else up a notch. Then add yours to the bottom spot. Like this:
Recent Runes
Chiara’s Loft
Feather Stitching

Then select 5 people to be tagged:
Um, I'm pretty sure that by now everyone in the universe has been tagged, and it would take me too long to wade through the unread posts to find who hasn't ... but if you read my blog, and you haven't been tagged yet, feel free to join in :)

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Turning 30, working for a major international pharmaceutical company in Auckland, NZ, organising medical conferences for a living ... wondering "what am I doing here?" and dreaming of working in the travel industry.

Five snacks you enjoy:
  1. Milk chocolate
  2. Salt & vinegar flavour potato chips/crisps
  3. Dips and with sliced turkish bread (eg hommus, tzatziki etc)
  4. Watermelon
  5. Chocolate-dipped strawberries
Five songs to which you know all the lyrics off the top of your head right now:
  1. Superman by Five for Fighting
  2. Superman by Five for Fighting
  3. Superman by Five for Fighting
  4. Superman by Five for Fighting
  5. ... let's just say, song lyrics are definitely NOT my forte! LOL - but I can hum along to all the tunes!
Five things you would do if you had one million dollars:
  1. Buy loads of aida so I can make more charity quilts, along with buying the charts and threads I'd need
  2. Buy a house near the beach
  3. Buy a new car for both myself (Mazda 323, blue, sporty model with rear spoiler shaped boot - not being specific, or anything LOL) and my Dad
  4. Take a long holiday to the places I'm still dying to see yet (Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, as well as many other places), and take Mum on a holiday too
  5. Share my spoils with others - give some of the money to my best friend and her family, some to Mum & Dad, and buy a car for Fraze
Five bad habits:
  1. Too soft, and easily taken for granted
  2. Swear like a trooper
  3. Don't finish what I start
  4. Can be very untidy
  5. Great procrastinator sometimes
Five things you like doing:
  1. Stitching
  2. Watching DVD's/going to the movies
  3. Having dinner with friends
  4. Walking on the beach
  5. Helping others
Five things you would never buy, wear or get new again:
  1. A car (it devalues so much as soon as you drive it off the lot)
  2. Uncomfortable shoes
  3. Clothes in pastel colours
  4. New DVD's (would rather wait until the price comes down)
  5. 'Label' clothes/goods
Five favourite toys:
  1. My computer
  2. Mahjong
  3. Solitaire (pack of cards)
  4. Uno
  5. My stitching stash (spend more time playing in that than anything else! LOL)

Do I really want the job?

After tonight, it makes me wonder why on earth I'd consider doing this job full-time ... at 10 minutes to 11 (pm) I took one last call for the night - and it was a complaint call from hell ... it was the one passenger I've dealt with that has had me in such a state of upset, that my hands were shaking the last time I spoke to him two years ago - and tonight was no different! In fact, by the time I got off the phone at 11.30pm my whole body was shaking and I was nearly in tears ... not a single other person has been able to do that to me. He is the most verbally abusive and obnoxious person I have ever dealt with in my life - and he is verbally abusive to every person he's dealt with. Without breaching confidence/business ethics, I can say that the area that deals with what his complaint is has a huge file on him from all the complaints that different staff have made about him, and there's not a thing they can do about him, because "he hasn't broken any rules in the program". I won't repeat the language I used when I got off the phone, or say what I felt he should do to himself, but let's just say it was rather impolite!

So thanks Mr Obnoxious (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent) for giving me the start of a migraine ... right on the eve of my interview when I need to be feeling calm and centred. The last time I spoke to him he screamed at me ... literally ... for 50 whole minutes before speaking to my Supervisor for another 20 minutes of screaming. At least tonight he was abusing me at a more moderate decibel, so I suppose that's one positive ... He is the only person I've ever taken home in my head and had him appear again as soon as I woke up, he had such a huge negative and emotional impact on me. Unfortunately, that didn't help tonight, as I still have that memory of the previous abuse imprinted on my brain, so I was tensed up as soon as he came on ... but then again, I was also more prepared for his attitude and was able to keep quite calm throughout the whole thing. I will go to sleep tonight fantasising about my final day at work for this company, when I can phone him up and tell him exactly what I think of him ... that should put me to sleep with a smile on my face.

Fingers crossed I'll wake up tomorrow morning with no migraine taking hold, and I can forget about him for a short while, and I'll be able to focus on my interview prep, as I certainly am in no frame of mind to concentrate on it tonight :( I will end by saying, Mr Obnoxious, I hope your hotel room has cockroaches, your bags all go missing for 3 months, and if there is such a thing as karma, you'd better watch out, buddy, 'cos it's gonna be BAD!!!!!

OK, that helped to get that vent out of my system ... sorry for the ranting! :/

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Survived the day ... just!

I have to say you all should have come round for a stitchalong yesterday - my little flat was the perfect location ... everyone would have had perfect stitching, as I'd swallowed all the frogs!! To say I woke up with a croaky voice was probably an understatement - a little touch of laryngitis was in order. I've had this in the past when I've overindulged and been dancing etc for a lengthy time among a lot of smokers. Thanks for the offer of the Berocca, Katrina, that would have been lovely yesterday LOL. Have to admit, I woke up feeling OK, although I didn't get much sleep, waking up every hour - but I can honestly say that's been the hardest day of work I've done in ages ... the after-effects decided to wait until the afternoon to arrive. Luckily that was more in the form of a splitting headache and fatigue, and nothing else ... can't complain, though, as it was worth it for such a good day out LOL. I have a small amount of sunburn which has given me a healthy glow, and slightly aching calves from all the dancing - and it feels great! :)

Anyway, back to stitching news - can't say there has been a lot of it happening for the last week or so ... I started stitching something the same night I finished the M Designs' Thistle Treasure Bag, but it's a small gift for someone ... and to say it's small, it's taking me forever to stitch! I think a lot of it is that it's on a very small count linen (or it seems that way) with a darkish colour, and I'm using metallics for the whole thing. Hopefully on my next days off (Mon/Tue next week) I will be able to get my WTC quilt panel finished as well as putting the final touches into this little piece. I can't resist putting a teaser picture up - but there's not much to tease you with LOL.

The other stitching news is the very small gift I sent to Becky for her birthday - I was a bit disappointed with how it turned out, but I couldn't find much within my stash that had a suitable design for that little mirror. In hindsight, I probably should have used a slightly darker brown for the backstitching. It was well received by Becky, though, and I guess that's the important thing. If you haven't seen these before, they're made by Framecraft, a UK company, and they're quite neat little items.

Rightio, that's all for today, I guess - except to say, thanks again to all of you for your kind words of support during my 'blue day' ... it really does mean a lot to me, and made it easier to 'roll with the punches'. {{hugs}}

Now I'm off to start preparing for my interview tomorrow, and have to sift through my poor old brain for real-life on-the-job scenarios for when I've had to deal with complaints (gee, it'll be hard to find one of those LOL), gone above-and-beyond with customer service, etc etc ... I feel quite 'OK' about this interview - I'm going in with the expectation that I won't get it, as there are some top calibre candidates again, and it's helping to keep my nerves down. I refuse to let it affect me like it did last time ... que sera sera, what will be will be :)

Ooh, one last thing ... a big Happy Birthday to Danielle - hope you have a wonderful day, Danielle, full of everything that your heart desires!! Birthday Surprise Party

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Thanks for your support

I'm now home after a wonderful day out ... I have to admit, I am typing this in a slightly tipsy state, after drinking wine since about 11am (it's now 10.30pm - so that's a LOT of wine!) - it's probably the most I've drunk for about 2 years, and I have to admit to have had a blast of a day. A couple of the girls there today I know pretty well, and have poured my heart to on occasion, so knew the history I've had here in Oz, and were very supportive today - and I really enjoyed a day out with 'the girls' for a change. I guess it was a bit of a learning curve for me, that I really am 'OK' on my own. There has been a lot of history with this friendship, and a lot of personal pain involved, and it has been easy to forget that because it hasn't happened for a while ... so when it happened again, it was in some ways a shock, but some ways almost expected. It serves me right - I should never have paid for the tickets myself ... but I'm too soft!

Anyway, enough moaning - 'cos all-in-all I've had a really awesome day. We took a bus tour round 3 different vineyards, and at the last vineyard ALL the bus coaches ended up there, so there were 1000's of people - each vineyard had it's own tents with food and wine on offer, and live music at each one. We all met up for breakfast before we left ... seeing I was now on a budget, I opted to arrive late and pick up a McDonald's bacon and egg McMuffin on the way instead of forking out $15 for the same at the restaurant, but sat and had a coffee with the group - then we went to the first vineyard and had a glass of sparkling wine while we jigged to the African band that was very reminiscent of Paul Simon's Graceland album.

After driving another 45 minutes in the bus, at the next vineyard we had a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, and enjoyed the more mellow sounds of the solo artist while sitting on blankets and nibbling on cheese and crackers we brought. Then when we hit the final destination we could finally relax and sit down without having to move for a couple of hours, so we had a proper meal of chicken or steak with Greek salad and baked potato, along with yet another three bottles of wine (4 of us put in $30 each at the start of the day, and we shared the bottles of wine during the day - it lasted us the whole day, which was great). Heck, I just realised exactly how much we drank today!!! That means we had a bottle each while we were out, then we decided to go to the 'after party' at a pub in town where we probably drank another 4 wines each ... oh heck, I think that means I'm gonna wake up with a major headache tomorrow - good job I'm not starting work until 3pm!!

Mind you, I'd better wake up remembering my car is parked at work already (I left it there today so I could drink, and still meet everyone for breakfast, rather having to take 1 1/2 hours to get there using public transport on a Sunday!) ... which means I have to go to work on the train - it's been 2 years since I've had to do that, so that'll be an experience! LOL.

Anyway, I'd better call it a night ... I just wanted to say "thanks for the support" - it means a lot to me! But I feel very happy about the great day I had ... perhaps it will finally help me to sever some ties that have been holding me back ... ?

Feeling a bit blue

Normally it's a colour I enjoy, but I don't like it when it's describing my feelings ... how can it be that just overnight your emotions switch from one opposite end of the scale to another? Today I have had the dampener put on what is supposed to be a fun event, by my best mate ... a text message received at 4am stating he's not going. I don't mind that so much, apart from the fact that I had to shell out the $65 for the ticket cost in advance - told him it had to be paid by 24 January, but I never got the money ... my account ended up in overdraft, and I got hit with a $29 fee. Since then I've had to scrape the money together, but I figure I have that money coming today so I re-budgeted, yet again, around that ... you'd think I would have learnt by now!!

I guess that's why I feel so blue ... my finances since I moved out are so tight, it's not funny - I've been putting $20 away each payday so I can have some 'fun money', but has been spent on some sale threads/fabric lately, so I can't even fall back on that today. I also have my official birthday dinner next Saturday, at which I am expected to provide wine etc ... That $65 is the equivalent to my food and petrol costs for a week - that's a huge amount of money for me to shell out for nothing, on top of the cost of my own ticket!

I'm sorry for venting ... but I wanted to get it out of my system before I went out. Today was supposed to be a part-celebration for my birthday ... it now looks like I'll have to use the birthday money I got from Mum or work to have a day out today ... so much for using it for framing - I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I feel today ... but in this friendship, unfortunately, it's nothing new. Hopefully, by the end of today, I will have gotten over it ... but right now I feel like a 40-year-old doormat. The truth is I know him too well, and he doesn't have the money to give to me, so the easiest way out is to bail and leave me with the bill.

OK, enough of me airing my dirty laundry to the world (especially as he and his new girlfriend read this blog apparently) ... Carol, I think I need to come to you for a visit - I can stitch my heart out in that wonderful basement of yours, inbetween therapy sessions!

Rightio, off to get dressed, and try to get myself out of my funked-out mood ... at least I know some of the others going from work today, so I won't be totally on my own today ... Mind you, just looking out the window there are serious black clouds out there, so the day might end up actually matching my mood LOL.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

SBQ's and a Meme

I'm soooo behind with the SBQ's so here goes, with everything all at once! Most recent is first ...

15 February - Today's SBQ was suggested by Heather and is:
"Comment on your comments (giving and recieving): Do you love comments or hate them? Do you check them every day, never check them, or find them helpful? And finally, are you convinced no one is reading your blog if you don't get any?"
I love this question, and it's one that's very easy to answer ... I LOVE getting comments. That's the way I've found some more wonderful blogs to read that I wasn't already aware of. When I first started blogging last year I clicked on other peoples links and found new blogs that way, but when people started leaving comments I didn't do it that way anymore (or rarely) - I always pop over to a new commenter's blog to read it, and most of the time have found some real treasures that way. In fact, I know there are people out there who read my blog but don't comment - I'd really love it if you left a quick comment - even just to say who/where you are - so I can return the favour :) I'd love to know who reads it, and where you're located!

I feel guilty at the moment because I haven't been reading blogs much, and now have 410 unread posts, but I don't want to miss anything and will still go back and read every single one, even if I don't comment on each post (in fact I'm allocating 3 hours of today to get through at least some of them). I think leaving comments shows you care/support the other stitcher, and I like to give back the support and love that I've been given. If nobody comments on my post, I don't feel as though no-one is reading, just that it's not a post that generates a response - sometimes I'll read a post and enjoy it, but it doesn't drive me to respond because I have nothing to contribute, but it doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed reading it.

As for reading them, I have it set up that I receive all my comments via email, and it automatically gets sent to a separate folder in my inbox - I read everything else, and leave my comments folder until last ... 'cos it always leaves me feeling positive at the end. So yeah, I love 'em!

8 February - today's SBQ was suggested by Nancy and is:

"Describe your "perfect" project. (Include the designer or specific pattern, the fabric, the floss, and anything else that would make that project "perfect" for you.)"
OK, the 'perfect' design would be a stitching 'small' of some sort, incorporating bright turquoise and cobalt blue silk threads (Gloriana would have to be the ultimate brand), stitched on 32ct linen. In the ultimate fantasy, it'd be stitched on a balcony somewhere on a balmy day where the sun is just bright enough to give the perfect light, without being hot, and your fingers never getting 'sticky' - rainbow lorikeets would be chattering in full view, and ducks swimming around in the pond below the balcony. My floss wouldn't tangle, and frogs would be non-existent ...

Alternatively, I would be sat in a comfy recliner, with my favourite DVD's on, and a daylight bulb giving the perfect light, and stitching whatever was on my scroll bar at the time - oh, hang on, that's what I usually do ... hmmm, maybe my normal stitching area isn't too far from my own version of 'perfect' after all :)

1 February - Today's SBQ was inspired by Renee's visit with Dawn and is:

"With the exception of your online stitching friends, do you have any other stitching buddies?"
I've never had stitching buddies in real life - none of the people I know stitch, and the only way I've had interaction with other stitchers in the past is to sign up for classes. Since I've started blogging, though, I've met some amazingly talented and generous/kind natured stitchers online, and more recently met two of those face-to-face in my own fair city, so hopefully in the future I'll be able to give a different answer as relationships get forged :)

18 January - Today's SBQ is:

"Have you had a happy dance yet this year? If so, tell us about it! (Or just point to the entry that talks about it.) If not, when do you predict it will be?"
Yep, I had my first happy dance quite quickly ... in fact I've had speedy needles for the early part of the year, but more recently had a bit of a stitching slump (just starting to make up for it again, though). My first happy dance was here - it was the Love needleroll ornament by Jeannette Douglas Designs, in the 2005 JCS Christmas Ornament issue.

* * * * * * * * * *

Also, I got the following from Jenna's blog, which started in Melissa's blog, and it seemed like a fun thing to do ... so anyone who reads it, count yourself as being tagged :) You have to list 5 things that make you happy, right at this moment.

Five things that make me happy today
1. Looking at my birthday scrapbook from Vicki, with the sentiments and colours - it's giving me warm fuzzies.
2. Knowing I'm now living in a relatively stress-free environment after 2 1/2 years of mentally 'surviving' - I can do what I want, when I want, and enjoy doing it. I'm happy just enjoying the silence.
3. Sat at my computer watching the birds fly past outside my window, and having a dedicated stitching chair/area where I can stitch whenever I feel like it - I'm happy about where I live.
4. Happy about all the birthday well wishes I've had from near and far (mostly from afar).
5. And like Jenna, I'm happy about all the wonderful friends I've made online - it's teaching me to open my heart again and be the 'giving' and happy person I always used to be.
All-in-all, today I just feel "happy"! :)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Gob-smacked again - I LOVE the 40's :)

Today was another good day in 'my world' ... I'll get to the part that had me gob-smacked earlier today right until the end ... but I won't keep you too long before you can get there (unless the curiosity has got the better of you already, and you've left me here on my own, and already jumped to the bottom! LOL). I'm pretty tired tonight, so my apologies if I'm not too coherent. Anyway, back to business ...

Yesterday was a wonderful mail day in general - in addition to Barbara's gorgeous gift, I also received an Ebay win in the post. I have to admit that after my huge financial blow-out last year, I've been avoiding Ebay like the plague so I'm not tempted, but Sharon and Gina told me there was a XS book called Allura's Australia in XS at a reasonable price - after seeing Sharon's copy first-hand, I decided I definitely had to check this one out ... so I did, and managed to win it for a sum total of AU$2.24 - daylight robbery on my part, is all I can say! I can't believe a hardback book of 192 pages and oodles of charts could go for such a paltry sum!! I honestly do feel as though I've robbed the seller - with postage included it came to a total of AU$10.64 - crikey!!! Am I grinning? You betcha! Thumbs Up

The other wonderful thing to arrive is my black aida ... finally!! It was supposed to arrive last week after being on backorder - but the supplier stuffed up and missed it off the back-ordered shipment, but it finally turned up yesterday. I was about to email off to the US organisers taking up an offer for them to send me some, as my Aussie supplier had fallen off the rails, but luckily it came through ... and that means I can finally stitch up my block for the World Trade Center charity quilt ... Cheerleader

So, that was my wonderful mail yesterday all sorted out ... The other good news I had today is that I had an exam at work for another permanent Hotline role - it was supposed to be next week, but the Supervisor running it has finally got a surgery date to get her gallbladder out, in two weeks time, right when she was planning interviews ... so we've been getting pulled in really quickly to sit the exam. And I passed, which means I'm at least over the first hurdle - 17 have applied for the job again, but I don't know how many have got to the interview stage ... but I'm now trying hard not to think about the outcome of the interview, as I'm appalling at interviews, and I wanted it too badly last time ... this time I'm going to try to 'go with the flow' and not end up with a couple of weeks off with cluster migraines over the whole situation ... what will be, will be!

OK, I've prattled on for long enough ... on to the great mail day for today ... oooh, no, before I do that, let me say I finally made the infamous Mars Bar slice today to take into work, and it went down a treat, with yet another two people wanting the recipe. Anyway, I figure it's always such a winner with people, I'd share it here as well ... if you decide to make it, your arteries will hate you for life, but your family, friends and loved ones that you share it with will love you for eternity LOL:

3 x Mars Bars (approx 60g-65g each)
90g butter
3 cups rice bubbles
200g milk chocolate
30g butter

Yup, that's all there is in it - do you see why I said your arteries would hate you? haha.

Base: Melt together the Mars Bars and butter in a saucepan over a low heat, making sure not to let it burn - keep mixing until it's a smooth creamy mixture (can take quite a bit of time). Mix in rice bubbles until they're all coated, then press down into the base of a greased 19cm x 29cm lamington pan (or equivalent dish - I usually add baking paper as well, as it can be a pain to get out!). Spread with the topping, and devour! (I usually pop it in the fridge to set properly, especially when it's roasting hot weather!)
Topping: Melt together the butter and milk chocolate over a pan of hot water (ie using a double-boiler).

Frazier heard I was making Mars Bar slice today and he put his orders in straightaway for me to save him some!

OK, now on to the best bit ... you see, you always have to leave the best bits until last ... Today I got an additional surprise in my PO Box (I really love my PO at the moment - they've left some wonderful surprises in that box!) - today I received a parcel from my very best friend of all time, Vicki, in New Zealand. Vicki and I have been best friends since we were 10 years old, so exactly 3/4 of my living days to date. Anyway, she is the most creative soul I've ever met - everything she touches creatively, she turns to gold ... she works in the scientific realm for her work, and comes home and does all sorts of crafts ... and every craft she has tried, she does it to perfection! If I didn't adore her so much, I'd hate her for being so bl**dy perfect haha. She seriously is amazing, and I'm very very blessed to count her as my best friend. I would most definitely give her both my kidneys if she ever needed them! And she really out-did herself with this little creation!!

So, what did this gorgeous creature do for my birthday? She created the most amazing tribute to our friendship - she has gotten into scrapbooking in a big way I think, and has put together a concertina book with photos from our growing up years and memorable occasions ... I'll photograph and scan the images so I can share it with you ...

Above is a photo of the other gifts as well, and I adore them all - another duck for my ever-growing collection (but I'll never ever have enough LOL) (the little duck was chosen by little Orion - boy, did he choose well!), and a lovely hand-bound book by a bookmaker (Rhonda Niven) in Motueka, Nelson. For those of you who are non-Kiwis, that's a fantail on the cover ... and of course everything is in my absolutely favourite colours (yep, turquoise is definitely my all-time favourite of all the blues). OK, on to the details of the concertina book Vicki made me ... here is a scan of the cover:
And the four inside 'pages':

And inside each of these 'pages' there is a little page that pulls out - this is the most amazing part of it ... I just love the contents of these!

I did say, though, that I'm glad I went to my PO Box before work and opened the gifts at work, 'cos if I'd done it at home I would have bawled my eyes out, I am so touched and honoured by this wonderful gift. The sentiment behind this gift makes it a treasure beyond compare, and it's something I'll continue to treasure throughout my lifetime ... Vicki, I love this gift with all my heart and then some ... if someone today offered me a million dollars for it, I would turn them down. I've always longed to own something that Vicki's created, and this exceeds all expectations ... yep, definitely "gob-smacked" and feeling well and truly blessed! As stitchers we all know how much time and effort goes into making something, so this is truly a labour of love ... and worth more than gold itself to me!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What a wonderful day!

Thank you all for leaving such wonderful birthday wishes today - what a lovely inbox to come home to! {{hugs}}

Have to admit, the day went really well - my lollies/choccies went down a treat, and I got out of work for an entire hour walking around the two floors to hand them out and make sure everyone got one ... see, there was a method behind my madness! LOL. As soon as I walked in the door I got ushered over to the 'Hotline' area where we sit when I'm on Supervisor Hotline relieving duty, and got given a big bunch of beautiful pink tulips, and a birthday card, and an envelope containing the collection money - so I now have another $95 to spend (wow), and I've told them I'm going to put it towards framing costs too, which means I can get both my fave stitched pieces framed - it will also be a long-term reminder of my 40th, and all the people in my life at that time. I've had a day full of 'physical' hugs from my colleagues and well wishes, and loads of 'cyber' hugs from you all, and I feel as though I am absolutely glowing from the good vibes :)

But the gifts didn't end there at work, I also got yet another gorgeous gift from the other side of the world in my PO Box today ... Barbara sent me some of the most wonderful, glorious threads in my absolute fave colour - blue!! Barbara, thank you too for your very generous gift ... I am blown away by your generosity as well - thank you so, so much {{big hugs}}. And I get to see some of that that infamous silk thread up close and personal - it's no wonder you love it so much ... it's "yummo"!

I've decided that the United Nations should start a campaign and get everyone in the world blogging - because I reckon world peace would be created within a couple of months :D Everyone I've met through blogging so far has been the most generous and loving in nature and spirit - OK, admittedly we're all stitchers too, so maybe we have an edge there ... LOL.

So thank you, thank you one and all once again ... I'm now off to crack open a bottle of bubbly as my final end to a wonderful day ... so I guess that means no baking happening tonight LOL.

No longer 39 ...

Yup, that time has come that I hit the new age bracket ... no longer can I tick the "30-39" age bracket in surveys etc - I'm now in the "40-49" bracket as from today. Have to admit, the day has started off eventfully in two different ways ... I don't know why, but I've been having a serious lapse of memory this week (and I'd better hurry up and snap out of it, 'cos I've got an exam next week for work, then hopefully an interview again ... but I don't have my hopes up this time - but that's another story). Anyway, where was I? See, I think early senility has kicked in! That's what happens when you jump up a decade - that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it!!

Right, back to the story (I'm starting to feel like Billy Connolly!!) ... Last night I went supermarket shopping after work (didn't finish work until 8pm) - bought some lollies (aka candies for my US readers; aka sweets for my UK readers LOL) to hand out at work today, as well as buying the ingredients to bake a birthday cake to take to work, and the ingredients to make Mars Bar Slice ... or so I thought! What did I do? Managed to remember I needed 7 eggs for the cake (tick), cooking chocolate for the cake (tick), rice bubbles for the Mars bar slice (tick), milk chocolate for the Mars bar slice (tick), butter for both (tick) ... and off to the checkout I went and came home. Put the oven on at 10pm to start baking ... started getting the ingredients out for the cake ... first one - 1/2 cup of cocoa ... um, cocoa ... cocoa ... Bugger!!! - hmm, that's right Anne, you threw out what was left when you moved flats in August and didn't replace it ... Never mind, I can make the Mars bar slice in the morning ... Yeah, right! I get ready to start 'cooking' my Mars bar slice this morning - the one thing missing from my shopping list ... yup, MARS BARS!!!!! Duh and yet again, a double Bugger . Luckily I bought the lollies to hand out, or I would be going in empty-handed! Oh well, looks like my cake and slice will be going in a day late - at least I'm on a 2pm start tomorrow, so I'll have more time to get it ready as well. What a blonde!!!

An interesting start to the day ... but before I realised the Mars Bars were AWOL, I checked my emails - and what did I find? A comment in my blog saying Silkweaver had sent me a postcard and 'click on this link' to get it - I have to admit, I originally thought it was spam and nearly deleted it, then realised that I have word verification on, and Silkweaver was reputable ... so I crossed my fingers it wasn't a virus or something awful and clicked on the link ... WOW, was I surprised?!!! Shocked I was truly spoilt by my great online pal, Jenna, for my birthday - with a $40 gift voucher from Silkweaver ... I'm truly speechless at the awesome generosity - and have to admit to shedding a tear or two this morning. Thank you Jenna from the bottom of my heart - I've said it before, and I'll say it again, you're a true sweetheart and I feel blessed to call you 'my friend'.

In fact I want to say a huge heart-felt thanks to all my online pals - I feel truly blessed to have met you all (thanks Blogger!!). I have appreciated every comment left, and the support given at times when I've needed it, and have been humbled by the gifts that have been sent. I really do feel blessed today ... {{{Hugs}}} to you all Big Hug

And my pals have been so generous with their gifts with charts, and now fabric, I've decided not to spend Mum & Dad's birthday money on stash - I discussed it with her, and we agree it's a good idea ... I'm going to use the money towards getting one of my XS pieces framed (either my Graham Ross Tiger, or Thea Dueck's Gold) - it's something I never have spare cash for anymore, and I'd dearly love those two pieces framed up and on the walls somewhere ... Thanks to Mum & Dad for your generous gift as well - love you both!

Right, off to work I go ... I think I'd better go to work early today and buy Mars Bars before I forget!! It's the one thing I make that always gets someone asking for the recipe - it's disgusting just how much fat content is in it (it's pretty much just chocolate, butter and rice bubbles), but crikey it's delicious!! Fraze isn't a huge 'sweet' fan, but even he goes mad for Mars Bar slice ... I made him some last year as his birthday 'cake'.

And three more birthdays coming up over the next week - tomorrow it's Karen's, followed on the 18th by Becky's, then last but not least it's Jenn's on the 23rd ... Happy Birthday to all in advance!! (but I'll try to pop over in 'person' on the actual day)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Happy dance

Thankfully the full-on migraine only lasted 24 hours ... I picked up my needle at about 9.30pm last night, and stitched my little heart out for a few hours, finally putting everything down at 1am - just stitching for a short while helped me feel a bit more relaxed. And today I put the last stitches into my Thistle Treasure Bag by M Designs - not very often I get to finish an entire design in 24 hours, but the last few days has seen two done! My thistle just has to have it's little bee charm attached to the top right of the thistle head, and then made up into a bag ... but I think I'll leave that until a bit later :) Thanks Tobie for a project that was real fun to stitch! :D

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I'm finding that even just a short time spent on the computer today is straining my head a bit, so I'm keeping my PC time very very short to try and keep the migraine at bay a bit longer. Not sure what I'll attack next ...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A bit of melancholy

Thanks for everyone's comments on my scrapbook page - I have to admit, Jenna, this really was my very first attempt ... and I can't say it's something I'll be continuing - I think it could be a very expensive hobby, and stitching's enough for me for the time being. It was fun putting that page together, though - and it was nice to be 'creative' for a change :))

Well, this is very very brief, as I've been laid up with a throw-up migraine most of the day. I've only been out of bed for 4 hours today, and thought I'd try to catch up on blogs, but managed to get through about 4 of them, and gave up. So, I'm about to switch the PC off again, and have a quiet night - I'm hoping to start stitching a small project, but not sure how my head is going to take it just yet ...

Anyway, I'm going to stitch the Thistle Treasure Bag by M Designs - those of you who've been reading my blog for a while may recognise the design ... it's what the lovely angel Tobie sent me for a gift. You may also not know, but Tobie has apparently been very ill, and it felt appropriate for me to stitch this piece while I'm thinking of her at the moment - I know you won't be reading this, Tobie, but my thoughts are with you at this time, and hope your recovery is a quick one {{hugs}}. If anyone has some prayers spare, I'm sure they'd be appreciated :)

Fingers crossed I'll be fighting fit again tomorrow, so I can clear that backlog of blog posts ... I thought there were only about 200 to read, but I was wrong - as at this afternoon there were 318! Yikes!!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A day of mixed blessings

Today started off quite sadly - by saying goodbye to Mum at the airport. I felt fine until she said goodbye at the departure gate, and I was teary-eyed all the way home. As much as it's nice to get back to my routines, the flat feels very very quiet after having her company here for 2 months. Love you loads, Ma - and miss you already! Miss You

I was originally going to attend the Guild's general meeting today after going to the airport, but I didn't feel in the mood. Instead I came home and finished my second quilt block for Quilts4Kids - this is my second block for wee Emily T, stitched in its recommended colours, except I replaced the gold metallic thread with a plain yellow DMC ... the next one will be the Batman theme for Jordan B.

I also finally managed to put together (well, it's almost finished anyway) my first ever scrapbook page for Doreen (my best friend's Mum). I don't think it turned out too badly, but I still have one more page to complete. I cut up 3 different colours of paper to make up an alpine setting reminiscent of the Desert Road and Mt Ruapehu in the North Island of NZ - I have so many happy memories of our skiing days there, so I thought that would be an appropriate theme for me. I just need to add some words to the page, which I'm going to add along the snowline at the top of the 'mountain'.

Hopefully I'll be able to catch up on blogs this weekend - last time I looked I had over 200 unread posts again ... you guys have been busy!! LOL. Look forward to seeing what you've all been up to while I've been 'away' :))

Testing ... testing ...

Just trying out some smileys from Smiley Central ... :D
G'day Kangaroo Kiwi Maori Kitty 2 Peacock Duck 3 Duck Rubber Duck

Rightio, well that works a treat! LOL. All I need to do now is to work out how to take the black lines from around the clips - but I think that's part of my template that Design-a-Blog set up ... hmmm ...

Friday, February 10, 2006

And the spoiling continues ...

... Yup, the mail man is getting overworked this week - I have yet another wonderful surprise gift from a blogging pal, KarenV ... a most wonderful chart from my wishlist, "Accessoires l'oiseau bleu" by Au Fil des Reves. This chart is even nicer in person than it looks on their website. I do love my birdies at the moment :D And the great thing is that the finishing instructions are in English, but I can have fun deciphering the rest of the chart in my minimal french. Karen, I really love it - thank you so very very much. I'm just gob-smacked by the friendship and generosity of my blogging friends - you're awesome! And it's turning this birthday milestone into one of the best I've had :)

And thanks for all the supportive comments everyone leaves - it really is lovely to receive feedback from everyone ... it's the bright highlight of my day. Hugs to you all :))

A couple of people have asked when the 'official' day of my birthday is - so here goes ... The day I officially turn the corner to the naughty-40's is the 16th of February (so I'm only dragging my birthday celebrations out for a week heehee). And I finally heard back from Ben so we can go ahead and start organising our combined birthday bash, since Dracula's got cancelled. We're off to dinner at a venue yet to be decided on the 25th of February ... OK, looks like I'm going to be dragging my birthday celebrations out a bit longer ... hahaha.

Anyway, time to head off as I need to do a couple of errands for Mum before she finishes packing, as it's her last night here tonight. As much as it will be nice to get my routines etc back to normal, I'm gonna miss her like heck - but I'll be seeing her in May when I fly over for her 70th birthday celebrations :)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Spoilt old me - birthday blessings!!

Wow, I have to say I have been right royally spoilt rotten by fellow bloggers ... my mail box had a lovely gift in it from Carol for my birthday - a Tacky Bob, which I was about to buy for myself in a couple of weeks from Stitching Bits & Bobs with my birthday money - I reckon this is one of the most useful stitching tools I've come across for those of us who use beads ... just awesome - can't wait to use it! And that's not all - Carol also sent me a chart called "Be Kind to Birds" by Sunflower Samplings, as it reminded her of me with my fascination of the local birdlife (the feathered kind!) ... thank you, Carol, from the bottom of my heart - you're very thoughtful, and generous! :)) (I'm now rushing off to check my supply of GAST threads for it LOL).

And seeing as I opened Carol's gift, the curiosity got the better of me today too - I finally opened Sharon's birthday gift for me ... I've been smelling it for the last two days, as Mum had put in my room while our Canadian visitors used the spare bedroom, and was determined not to open it until my actual birthday ... but ... I weakened and succumbed :) Thank you so much Sharon for the most wonderful smelling soap - I'm not sure if you realised it, but Frangipani is one of my most favourite flowers in the whole world! Thank you so much, too, for your generous gift - you're a real sweetheart :))) And you have to congratulate Erin on that gorgeous artwork!! (yup, I did notice that little copyright name!)

Wow, I feel truly blessed - stitching bloggers really do make the best of friends! :))

Well, my visits are almost all over, and life will be returning to 'normality' again in a few days (Mum goes home on Saturday). As much as I've adored having everyone visiting, it will be nice to get back to my routines again. And I'm putting my only resolution to the test this month, hoping to get to some of the Guild F2F meetings - I don't know what roster I'll be following next month, so I can't plan that far ahead yet.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Melbourne sightseeing

It was a lovely day in Melbourne yesterday - it was very overcast in the morning, but by early afternoon the clouds cleared and it was a glorious day. We took Auntie Monica and Norbert into Melbourne city on the train, which gave us an opportunity to play tourist for the day. We went to Queen Victoria markets, where they were surprised to see camel rides available, and we bought some lovely deli items, fresh fruit, and some tourist souvenirs.

We then headed back towards the river and walked around Southbank - we had a special treat in store for us, as it was Chinese New Year, and there was a big demonstration/celebration taking place.

We had time for a leisurely coffee, before hitting the pavements again, this time heading for a short walk to Queen Victoria gardens.
After that we called it a day, and headed back home on the train and had scrummy fish and chips for dinner (very decadent, for us!). All in all, a really wonderful day out :)