coconut chair and italy

coconut chair white 1.jpg

coconut chair white 2.jpg

when we were in italy, one of my most favourite moments was toward the end of our trip. we were in the italian rivierra, in an area called cinque terre. tim was napping, it was sunset time and happy hour on beach. a wonderful small place where we got coffees and drinks previously was serving free snacks on the bar (which i didn’t realize until i asked how much was it to try). i got a glass of prosecco, and they were so kind as to give me a small bowl of coconut. i have never thought coconut is tasty. apparently, that’s cause i never considered trying it.

i’m been jonesing for some fresh coconut since we came back. “strangely” enough its hard to find in canada, so i’m not sure when i’ll get this one sated. at least is pomegranate season…

this chair, called the coconut chair, brought the memory back. in case you’re curious, the chair costs an insane $3,700 or so. i think i’ll find my coconut faster than i’ll even get to see this one in real life.

its been a good day!

its been a good day! more full of exciting events than the average day, at least if we discount the re no vation period.

today i:
got 2 good marks back!
saw the miracle of birth for the first time! (i managed to shut my eyes in all previous occurrences – this time it was a video about cognitive development and they just THREW IT OUT THERE before i could do anything!)
realized that i am addicted beyond belief to renovating. and decorating. and looking at renovating and decorating. and that doing this makes me feel SO HAPPY.
realized that i love coffee!
had the cat jump onto my lamp voluntarily and then purring. i’m not a big fan of cats, and that was still pretty awesome. (i like this cat – but i love my dog!)

recently i:
have improved my cooking skills through osmosis of living with tim (i made roasted chicken! and then roasted potatoes! and then very decent roasted vegetables from a frozen batch, which was the best surprise!)
dressed pretty on the few warmish days that weather threw in (I. LOVE. SKIRTS.)
completed an insanely large renovation of many parts of the apartment (see links above).

in negative news:
i keep missing appointments, assignments, deadlines in my head
my sleep schedule is all messed up and i hate it
addicted to coffee! NOOOO i’m up to 2 cups a day regularly now. argh!
am almost always cold
haven’t shot enough (outside of pretty apartment pictures)

(one of the tests had 4 questions. i knew after i walked out that i must have gotten a 0 on one of those questions because i completely had no clue what experiment to write about, and so wrote about the absolutely, completely, totally, absurdly (!!) different unrelated and incorrect experiment. i got the other 3 questions perfect. YAY! the other was was chinese philosophy, which is lets just say wasn’t the best idea of a class to take as easy.)

more cat all the time

cat and tv

who knew i’d ever enjoy the company of a cat that much!

black pear

i made poached pears today. i keep forgetting to buy an orange to experiment with this, but essentially its 3 simple steps:

1. peel and core the pears while…
2. half a cup of sugar, 2 cups red wine, 1 cup water (more wine?), 3-5 cloves are coming to a simmer
3. simmer pears in liquid until desired consistency and color reached with lid on
(4 optional: to get a thick sauce to pour over the pears, simmer half the time with the lid off. or something like that. i just wing it, and it works.)

tasty, easy, and little effort, other than the peeling and coring, but i can live with that for the high class style of eating a poached pear off a tiny white plate.

Lawrence is doing well. cuddling on the couch is normal, he is sleeping ON the couch now, has a favorite chair (director’s chair), and rubs up against our legs regularly. he still bites and scratches in play, which makes me look like i climbed over chicken wire. but its a small sacrifice to waking up to a cat nuzzling at your chest!

also, i got an ear infection day before my first exam. i’m not really considering it luck as its (a) hassle (b) an extra exam to write at the end of the year, ruining my brilliant plan of having 3 exams per semester and graduating with 8 half credits (due to a full year movie course).

full of fantastic fun

haunted eyes

funny faced tim

bobblehead olya

bobble head tim!

(get a flickr account and let me add you as family to see above photos)
it is week 12 here in unsw there are 3 weeks left of studying, and then 2 exams, and then tim and i are off to drive up the australian coast.

hesi is arriving tomorrow! and so i will finally drag her and tim to see various sights around sydney and in sydney.

last night smita, lesley ann, tim, roshan and moi went out to sushi to some local place. it was the first japanese experience for lesley ann and smita – i was promising lesley ann to take her to sushi for a while and this was it. they both seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, liking the small rolls and nigiri sushi the most. (they did have problems figuring out how to eat the larger rolls – i’m still unconvinced, are you supposed to eat it in parts or just stuff it in?)

i realized i haven’t been writing much about my so called “australian experience”. to be honest, looking back at the past 3 months since tim has left it doesn’t feel like there was much of an experience, at least towards the beginning. the last month and a half were better in terms of fun as i have gotten closer with my flatmates, and thus ended up going out and doing interesting things far more.

the brighter experiences up until this moment was the day of the “races”, which i still failed to blog about. let me make a short attempt at it here.

the races

racing seems to be a huge australian phenonenon. apparently, there is this melbourne cup when the entire country shuts down to watch that race. of course, there is a huge race track just north of the university. and on one particular weekend in april, there was a large race occuring there, or rather a number of important races, to which barker apartment number 9 (that is the apartment in which i live) decided to head out to see. it was actually me, lesley ann, kevin (all of us from 9) and a bunch of other people who they have met from their earlier residence here in sydney.

in case you are not aware of the general things that happen at races, here is the approximate list of interesting and notable moments:

  • everyone dresses up. the most traditional form of uniqueness to the races is the hat which should be elaborate and odd and fantastic. while being the poor students we couldn’t figure anything out, many girls have arrived in fantastic contraptions.
  • drinking before noon is mandatory. champagne is $3/glass (or something like that), and betting on your horse while holding a pretty sparkling glass is oh-so-classy!
  • and of course, the betting! we bet; we lost. alas. our horse knowledge is not successful. however, mike and james (LA’s friends) who have researched the chances the night before, have won something atune to $100.
  • after returning home, we have ate, relaxed, and went out dancing! and as the tale goes, we danced the night away, and it was good.

    st patrick’s day
    while it was not any different from many parties i’ve been to, it was awesome because:

  • i live with 2 irish people and st patrick is the national saint
  • everything was green. we bought green food coloring and it went everywhere. people wore green head to toe. milk was green. water in the toilet tank was green. beer was green. water was green. anything that could be coloured green, was. windows were green. the room was decorated with green lighting.
  • and of course, people drank :D
  • kevin’s party
    one of the most notable things about kevin’s birthday party was that it was 4 days before tim’s arrival here. (and i think that sentence summarizes how i felt the entire 3 months he wasn’t here). of course the dinner, the drinking and the dancing was also notable – and a load of fun!

    there were many other moments. i tried curry (made by smita) – she made some specially for me without the spicy part. and she used all authentic indian ingridients. tonight, she’s making curry again – and this time tim has a chance to try it too!

    each monday night lesley ann and i (and lately smita too) watch desperate housewives while eating a shared dinner, and having dessert afterwards.

    before i got really sick at the end of the vacation week (end of april), i went to the gym, loads, together with LA again. unfortunately it stopped because there were 2 bad weeks which i spent mostly entirely in bed. after a few doctor trips, everything is now confirmed as being fine, which makes me very, very, happy.

    baking – bread, cookies, carrot cake, my mom’s apple pie.

    i got everyone here hooked on “oladushki” – thin slices of apple dipped in batter made from my grandma’s recipe.

    i guess food was a major part of this experience. i really love food and cooking now, and bubble over with excitement of trying new recipes. in the last 2 days i learned how to make a kick ass goatcheese salad (add small cubes of peeled apple), and fettucine carbonara.

    and of course, today tim has been here for more than a week. while sharing a tiny room as opposed to a whole apartment is interesting, thankfully he doesn’t have much clothes (although now the whole closet is taken up, and not just half ;) ), and we’re compatible people.

    i’m very happy. life is falling back in place again; the next 3 months look to be full of fantastic fun again (how’s that for alliteration). almost a month of study and party and fun in sydney; then almost a month of travelling around australia and 10 days in japan, and then a month back in toronto, together with my friends and family who i miss oh so much.

    too lazy? spring break (fall break?)

    i’m having a week break and am too lazy to blog.

    i have one important thing to write about: going to the races.

    hummus (higher)

    instead i will tell you how i made some rosemary and thyme bread with hummus. and it was good.

    and then we went dancing. and it was awesome.

    (i promise i’ll write when i finish my philosophy paper. im 300/2000 there!)

    assignment end, break begin

    she-crab soup

    she-crab soup made from this recipe (its awesome)

    today was definitely a good day. first off, last night after making triply sure that the assignment works (thank you, dad!), it was handed in with no problems, and i went out to have some drinks – for the first time evah! (the drinking out that is). that was fantabulous fun, and i came home and crashed to sleep.

    the morning of thursday was excellent. first off, dad confirmed everything is fine. thus this huge, terrible weight of that unbearable assignment fell off my shoulders. the linguistics assignment was almost done, so i spent my morning cleaning it up. (i also made scrambled eggs. yum!)

    the constant question of where to print if you’re not really in possession of a printer can drive a student to do odd things, especially if they have to hand in the assignment by 2pm and its 1:50. i tried printing at the library (which smelled like smoke, and later i found out that it was evacuated!), but ended up crashing their computers. so, on kinda vagueish instructions from LA and Kevin i found the place where all the american students get their sponsored labs – its a gleaming, white, clean room, with lots of big macs with flat screens and pretty mice and fast computers and fast printers. i printed and was outta there under 1 minute. yay!

    next problem was finding the drop off box. i got confused between two buildings, both of which intials begin with MB, so i ended up being at the hand in place at 2:10 or so. but they still took it on time!

    i also spoke the prof, and wished him a good holiday. yay!

    random memories on the walk home, when the world suddenly became bright and assignment free:

    a bearded, white, curly haired professor at his desk going “hmmm” in a serious tone to a young naive first year student cowering in front of him.

    “but i did everything i could!” “well my grandad was in the navy you know!” (as part of one conversation, very loud argument)

    a guy eating a watermelon (like 1/4 of it) on the run.

    the feeling joy surrounding the campus despite the rain as this was the last day of classes before the break (actually i felt the joy but didn’t know that second bit).

    upon arrival home i found out i have no classes tomorrow, and that elin will be going to the gym 2 hours later, so i snacked, chatted, relaxed, and then went to the gym for a hard core workout!

    this was my 4th time. i biked for 20 mins @ lv 5, elliptical for 20 mins @ lv 5, and for the first time, ran all 20 mins at 7kph (before i was 14 mins run and 6 walk, and then 16 mins run and 4 walk). then elin showed me some weights training, so i did about 40 sit ups on the big ball, some leg excersizes with the ball, some back excersizes with the ball, weight training for back and arms and legs, and stretched. it was good!

    came home, made the she crab soup, and that’s where the day ended, basically.

    i wont count the evening because i washed all of the dishes in the kitchen again for the 2nd time (not a single. clean. cup. 2nd. time. in. the. day. i washed almost all of them before the gym.) (so before sleep i went in and did a major clean up – washed majority of dishes that were “anonymos” – like not from LA’s baking – and finally cleaned off counters. yay!), and watched wolf creek which was scary. but that’s okay. it doesn’t count.

    i want to be a food photographer! so much fun!

    feeling good (or not)

    butter sculpture

    the past few days have been riddled with mixed feelings. on one hand, i was wearing a very cute “feeling” shirt (it says “FEELING” on it, and the shirt is light, cute, baby blue), on the other, i was feeling sick and tired and very very unwell the entire of friday. i even skipped class, for the first time, as i couldn’t concentrate on something like an email, let alone a hard math class.

    i have a big assignment due on sunday wednesday thanks to the extention, in AI. i can’t wait to be done with CS courses. no clue how i ended up being so far into the degree, but i’m glad i’m almost done. at least i did learn some useful things i’ll be able to apply in the facianating field of web management! haha.

    i took pretty pictures today as first i made breakfast, and then lesley ann. my favourite one is the butter uptop there. i really really love it, even though its just butter.

    i can’t wait to be done with the assignment.

    also, i ate sushi take out today. it sucked, compared to toronto’s sushi that i love, but it was not as bad as bad sushi could be. appreciate your luck, people, i’d kill for a nice salmon piece right now. yuuummmm….

    weighing chocolate

    pan art

    cooking space

    russian pancakes

    hunter valley and recipes

    sunset climber pouring wine glass (minimalism) tw215 glass (abstract) baked pretzels

    today i have cooked these pretzels. the only thing i changed is that i glazed them with egg white instead of baking soda. they looked and tasted delicious, but i’m getting bored!

    lately i’ve been making bread quite often. it started with this recipe, and then i was changing it around quite a bit, until i’ve tried pita breads, and other pretzels, and general experimentation. i AM improving – the kneading of my dough definitely has risen (and speaking of rising, when my dough rises, like today, it looks GREAT. just yummy.)

    lesley ann has been asking me quite a lot lately to make this carrot cake, thus i shall do that tomorrow (after gym, heh). last night she made these awesome coconut/chocolate squares which were SO awesome. i can’t wait till she does them again, and i’ll be stealing the recipe.

    i’ve also posted some photos on flickr from my recent hunter valley trip, on saturday. it’s been fun! i think the fun is reflected by that i had to fix the horizon on all the photos in the last half of the day – its crooked everywhere! (and i remember trying so hard to keep it straight…)

    some statistics

    ohmygod update

    okay, shame on me about blogging so shamelessly about all the insects and things i’ve seen. about 5 minutes after i pressed “post”, a huntsman crawled out to the ceiling of my bedroom. most. paranoid. feeling. ever. it was a small one – only 7cms in diameter (about same size as a smoke alarm), but i hid under my blanket the entire time oleg was trying to get it. the part that i missed, thankfully, is that after oleg missed the huntsman (not thankfully), it jumped down onto the window sill. it even might’ve went on the bed. its too freaking fast. anyway, after i saw how it squeezed itself completely flat into the crack of the windowsill, i crawled out of bed and far away, until oleg flicked it outside.

    – no more windows open. ever.
    – those things are fast.
    – and they can be very small when they want to be. PARANOIA BZZZZZ.

    good night! … i hope.

    oh yeah. photographs from last 2 parties, and, well, the huntsman.


    weeks in sydney: 4
    week of classes: 3rd
    number of classes i’m taking: 4
    number of exams i’ll have: 2
    number of textbooks i need to buy: 2
    number of textbooks bought: 1


    number of times i went to the movies: 2
    days off in the week i have: 1 (but almost 3 if i leave after 12pm on friday and skip the tutorial on tuesday)
    cost of parking ticket on our first day in sydney: 175$


    cost of internet that i get from university: 4.4c/meg (that’s $50 for each gigabyte)

    how much have i spent in the first 3 weeks despite not *downloading anything other than pages* (not even photographs): you don’t want to know. or rather my parents shouldn’t know :p

    cost of wireless modem that we bought to get away from that: $70
    cost of wireless router to connect to the modem to share the internet: $40
    cost of monthly plan at 12gig, 512kbps download, 128kbps upload: $90
    cost per person: $10 for lesley ann, $40 for me and $40 for oleg
    do we actually get that speed? only for australian websites, and even then not always.
    is it still worth it? hell yes.


    section 1: bites

    number of bites on my left arm: 16
    number of bites on my left leg: 5
    number of bites on my right leg: 0
    number of bites on my right arm: 3
    is it bed bugs? unlikely, couldn’t find any traces. looks like mosquito bites.

    section 2: spiders

    number of spiders seen: a lot
    number of significant spiders seen: 1, a huntsman in our bathroom. (visualize: i’m walking in without contacts, put my contacts in, look up and see this reflection in the mirror.)

    section 3: cockroaches

    last night, on the way to the movies, how many times i jumped from my own shadow (thinking its a cockroach or some huge crawly animal): about 70
    last night, on the way from the movies, how many times i jumped from my own shadow: 0
    last night, on the way from the movies, cockroaches seen: 4
    (biggest one was about 6cms long. right next to my foot.)
    did i jump? yes.


    amount of times i made bread from skratch: three!
    carrot cake: once, and very very good
    oladushki: twice, also very very good
    ate honey mustard chips: endless. very VERY good
    drinking: water, lots of awesome juice, green tea
    coffee: once (at home)
    cappuccino: 5 times. it is amazing here.

    my room

    things on the wall: only 3 4, all 3 are calendars (hesi’s, ansel adams, and UNSW’s). can’t find posters! aaargh. and sometimes a huntsman.
    pillows: 2
    lamps: 2
    spiders: 0 (so far). funnily i typed that 5 minutes before a huntsman crawled in. make that 1.