Hello, my name is Sandy.

Chamomile + ginger hot toddy

I'm sick and yes, if you must know, I will tell the world about it.

I'm having a hot toddy right now, and you know what? I'll tell the world about that too.

I try not to have caffeine in the evening - don't need anything else keeping me up - so it's a chamomile one tonight. Here tis:

Chamomile + ginger hot toddy

1 chamomile tea bag
½ tsp grated ginger
½ tbsp honey
1 thick slice of lemon, cut in half
1 shot of scotch

  1. Steep tea in ¾ mug of hot water (boiled to 100°C) for 5 minutes.
  2. Pop ginger in a strainer and steep that for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in honey until dissolved.
  4. Add the juice of one half of the lemon slice.
  5. Add the scotch.
  6. Drop in the other half of the lemon slice.

If you have a cinnamon stick, cloves, orange peel, or whatever else, they can go in the strainer with the ginger. The result is a tasty, warm treat that's soothing on the throat.

hot toddy, oops I dropped some lemon pith in there too

You don't see this often on bar and pub menus, but some places will make it for you if they're not busy, and if you ask nicely. The Village Bar and The Bird come to mind. The first time I ordered one at Village, they brought it to me in a little teapot. I almost cried with joy while my friends laughed at my daggy old drink.

Mulled wine and hot cider are nice, but the hot toddy gets me right in the feels. Once, a bartender made one for me using his family recipe. That was a few years ago, and still makes me smile when I think about it.

Drink well and be merry, friends!

Life should be a quiet weekend away

cats are good at helping you pack

We went away for the weekend. Spent 3 days away. Lucky I have a useful cat who helps me pack. Cats are good at helping you pack.

daybed at the Bay Village Resort, Dunsborough

I love Dunsborough. We stayed at the Bay Village Resort, a quaint, clean collection of apartments, cottages, chalets and villas. It backs onto The Pour House, the pub we seem to visit every night when we're there. Upstairs from the pub is a food place. Last few times we went, it was a burger joint. Now it's a bar-restaurant called Meat People.

Meat People bar and menu

beef brisket at Meat People

We ate there a lot. I decided to be good and not take pictures of every meal. But I did take this one meal. The beef brisket, served with slaw. In fact, there's slaw all up in this place. And the salad garnishes for some of their other dishes are bloody awesome. One salad was a mix of rocket, dill, mint, coriander, and pickles. So good.

Legolas with bigger arms and more beard

A round of archery ensued. Niaal spent the lead-up getting pro tips from an ex-competitive archer friend, while I had to make do with what I remembered from the ever-so-safe Lars Andersen video (no, don't copy him, you'll get kicked out of the park). Out of the two of us, I came second, which I think is a decent effort.

possum napping in a tree

And we saw a possum napping in a tree! This was at the Busselton Archery Family Fun Park, which is pretty foresty. They have a cute mini-golf course too, and a go-kart zippy track for kids. Nice way to spend an hour or two in the morning.

sampler at Eagle Bay Brewery

Then came the beer paddle. I'd love it if more non-brewery pubs did this in Perth. Maybe a themed palette, or a tour of craft beers, or something like that. As much as I love a good pint, I can't put away so many now, so I get two beers at most out of an afternoon session. And if you're having a whole pint, you gamble when you switch away from something you like.

tasting notes at Eagle Bay Brewery

Anyway, of course I got the Eagle Bay paddle. Kolsch and Mild were my favourites. :D

daybed and table at Evviva Cafe

I like the breakfast at Evviva Café. I don't know why they need 3 v's in their name, but it doesn't make their food any less tasty. The decor is nice, bit hippy and hipster-ish, and mostly outdoors with a grassy area.

avo and poached eggs at Evviva Cafe

I loved my savoury breakfast, but Niaal's sweet pancakes were for the birds. Literally.

little honey eater eating honey


a periwinkle, Austrolittorina unifasciata

We did a lot of beaching, and looking at things on the beach. Here is a banded periwinkle (Austrolittorina unifasciata), a type of sea snail.

weird green thing we found on the beach

This is a sea booger.

noodle-shaped seaweed

Some sea noodles.

lumpy seaweed

A sea tree of sea peas.

walking on water or sandbar?

And walking seaman.

Duckstein beer samples

And then more beer. This time at Duckstein.

the road home

It's nice to be home now, and back into the swing of things. I admit, I did spend a bit of time thinking about what to do when we got home.

One big thing is planting jasmine in the front garden. People have told us it's their only plant going crazy in the heatwave, and I'd like a hardy summer plant to create a microclimate and keep other plants alive. But more about that later. We're definitely not in a heatwave at the moment (week of thunderstorm).

Another big thing is making stuff from stuff I've grown. But not cooking. We don't eat or cook enough to keep our crops in check. Without a steady purpose for herbs, it's hard to be motivated about maintaining them. So maybe if I start making nice lasting things, like infused oils or soaps, it'll be easier to stay diligent about the cultivation. I'd like to explore this more.

And I want to try making lace. And paper. I want to clean my typewriter. I want to get cracking on my EP goal for this year. I want, I want, I want...

But I feel a psychological wall between me and all these things. A wall that's probably always been there, which I'm only seeing properly since starting to get my house in order. Cleaning has surfaced much that I initially procrastinated on, then tucked away. I'm only a couple months into the 6-month konmari campaign, but with just a bit of clutter gone so far, I can actually see the stuff I'd set aside "for later". And I have now done a few of those "later" tasks.

So, I suppose the most important big thing now that we're home will be to persevere with cleaning.

Woop dee doo!

What's been going on

abandoned toy rabbit on a shopping centre bench

Whenever people ask me what's been going on, I experience a moment of utter panic. Not only do I have to remember what's happened, I have to pick a timeframe of events. Then if I don't know the asker well, I have to guess if they're a normie who doesn't want to know I'm training my cat to walk on a leash.

cat on a leash

Well, that's out of the bag now, isn't it.

whiskey being poured at Whipper Snapper Distillery

A couple weeks ago, we went to the Whipper Snapper Distillery, which just opened in East Perth. They were preparing for the official opening, so we got a "behind the behind-the-scenes" tour. I feel totally hipster about that, but would like to go again now they're properly open.

bearded distiller Jimmy teaches us about whiskey making

a cup of wheat grains

We learned about the whiskey-making process. First, it starts with making a grain mash to ferment (into beer!). The liquid part is then distilled in a giant steampunk looking machine.

large copper still for distilling alcohol

holding chamber open - smells good

After distillation, you get alcohol. "Moonshine", you'd call it when you're making it on the sly at home, except these guys are doing it legally, and really distilling the fuck out of it, more than any normal person would. From there, the spirit is aged in barrels, where is takes on flavours and colours from the wood. Once aged, it may be called "whiskey".

Whipper Snapper

Their whiskey was still in barrels, but they had some bottled moonshine on hand, which is pretty much pure alcohol, watered down to make it consumable. I may reconsider my highbrow prejudice against drinking this stuff. The feeling it leaves is exactly like the first 5 seconds of chomping on cool mint chewing gum, only it goes for ages. It just tastes fresh forever.

newfoundland puppy

Last week, I saw a Newfoundland dog for the first time ever. He was only 10 months old, and MASSIVE. I can't believe how big they get. Yarr, I want a dog. As soon as there's room in our lives, our animal empire shall grow.

Bar Pop in the Urban Orchard, Northbridge

Visited a Bar Pop in the Urban Orchard in Northbridge. For a bar with no fixed address, they have a decent range on the menu. Charging pub prices, and I'm sure the serves are smaller, but worth it to sit outside on a nice evening.

When the weather warms up here, the city fills up with cool festival and pop-up type stuff. Markets, arts events, portable fooderies - how ephemeral! Perth Cactus and Perth Arena notwithstanding, this end of the country is coming along nicely.

IAOMAS conference programme

I had the privilege of taking photos at the first IAOMAS conference in Australia. I'm barely above a white belt at photography, so I felt pressure to step up and be responsible for something official.

martial arts seminar and demonstration

personal, professional instruction

What an experience! The most awe-striking was being around female instructors. I don't get much out of "all girls" and "for women" culture, and I don't gravitate to other people based on gender, but in sport, there's only so much I can relate to male body parts because I don't have male body parts. Seeing something done by someone who's built like me makes it easier for me to learn it too.

calculating decay over time using Euler's number

Some maths happened. It was one of those moments where you remember school, thinking, "I'll never need this in real life!" Turns out if you ever want to do anything fun with computers, you do need it. Every day, stuff like this comes up, and I'm so grateful we have the internet.

Alphabotanicals: A for Arnica

Started something new this week. There's a bunch of stuff I've wanted to learn for ages, but couldn't find time, so obviously the solution is to make art as an incentive to study them all together.

This is "Alphabotanicals" - studies in type, plants, and drawing. More on this to come.

me in the blood donation chair - yuck

Finally, I gave blood today. I hate it, yuck. Needles have given me the willies since that time. I managed to give blood since then, but that was rubbish too cos they only let me have a muffin. I gave them half a litre of my life essence and all I got was a stale muffin.

Not this time, though. Fuck you, 2013 canteen nurse. I got a sausage roll today!!!! 2014 nurse knows where it's at.

I carry a small fear that I'll regress to my stressful, sedentary lifestyle of 10ish, 11ish years ago. When I go for more than a few weeks without football, when my weight stalls or drops, I fear my efforts over the last decade were for nothing.

But today, I'm weighing in at 49.5kg (clothes on) with a haemoglobin reading of 152. I am still healthy.

This evening, I am enjoying the thunderstorm and some computer games. ^___^

So, what's been going on with you?

Chilli con carne and other things

bright red chillies on the bush

These hot beauties are cayenne chilli peppers from a two year old bush in our garden. I had my doubts, as the last couple of harvests haven't been spicy at all.

my two year old, frequently pruned chilli plant

Anyway, I was wrong. They had some kick, presumably because we've had a very warm summer - letting the plant dehydrate results in more concentrated flavour chemicals in the fruit. I didn't realise until today that cayenne is of decent hotness on the Scoville scale, at least according to the comic sans text on this website.

chilli con carne

We planned to throw the lot into a slow-cooked chilli con carne, but ended up only using four. They lost some heat, but still contributed to the dish. See here this photo with a blob of full fat sour cream. Mm~

Yesterday was full of tasty things. We had lunch at The Red Chair Café in Subiaco. Below is my Vietnamese spring roll noodles.

Vietnamese spring roll noodles

Nudie soft drink

I'm not usually keen on soft drinks, but this 'Nudie & Soda' was pretty good. It must be new, cos I'm not seeing it on their site. Best thing: it's NOT stupidly sweet. The ingredients say it's carbonated juices plus a little cane sugar - yeah, there's still sugar, but it was listed way, way late, which is a welcome change from seeing sweetener as the first or second item.

For an afternoon snack, I used up leftover lamb stock from a roast we made last Sunday - I say 'lamb stock', but it's just leftover liquid in the slow cooker, about 600ml worth. I was worried because the stock sat in the fridge all week, but I found there was a nice half-centimetre layer of solid lard on top - presumably that helps keep the air out, and the liquid fresh.

A few leftover veggies, handful of rice and some tomato paste (and one garden chilli) made a freakishly yummy soup. No stock powder, no extra salt - aaah, this healthy waste-less kitchen thing is starting to make some sense. :)

Dora, airing her harbl

My Fortnight of No Plans has started out well. Got some homework done, watched a lot of telly, and I've been learning how Ghost templates work. I'm mucking around with code again and it feels neat. I think I've missed it. Not as a job, though. Nineteen years ago, I took up dev and design for fun and looking back now, I think working in the industry made me grow to hate it. I never touch it during office hours these days, and feel really happy playing with it again.

Friends tell me it was a bad work environment that let me down, not the work itself. I'm willing to keep an open mind. I'd still like to be less deskbound later in my career.

It's now almost 4pm on a Sunday. I hope you're having a nice weekend too. I'm leaving now to go find something to eat.

Slow time

Receding heatwave for Perth

For a city that's not getting a heatwave after all, it's pretty bloody warm here. But no matter, the day still ended with a warm, tasty drink.

Blendy stick matcha drink

I got a box of Blendy stick matcha au lait while we were in Japan. They've not been so popular around the office, so I've taken it upon myself to finish what's left. It's not bad. Definitely not the taste I expected for the texture, or vice versa. It appears to be a blend of matcha and milk powder, to which you add hot water and get a slightly milky liquid with a creamy mouthfeel and green tea flavour. With a teaspoon and a half of honey, it tastes all right.

Today is the start of my Fortnight of No Plans. After deciding to be less busy, my calendar filled up and now I feel unwell. So this is a new habit to make time for rest.

tea for tú

I did catch up with some friends last night. Arrived early and accidentally caught a piece of a PIAF performance called You Once Said Yes, at tea for tú. They welcomed eavesdroppers. It sounded quite moving, confronting.

tea for tú seating

We drank and snacked at Mechanics. No, there are no photos of our snacks. Yes, I know the pictures make it look like I have no friends and sat by myself in an empty cafe.

my junk

This evening, I ate dinner, did some homework, fixed a broken hand fan, and paid a bill. ^___^ Ahhhh~ slow time is mine once more... precious...