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Saturday, 26 April 2014

Townsville Times

So the Easter week was fast approaching. I couldn't wait for the break from everything - to be able to sit back and relax, unwind and not have to think about everyone else. Me-time with my sister, niece and Dad. Bring it on.

Maire had a surprise 30th party for her boyfriend Colm in The White Room on Fitzroy St on the weekend before Easter. Jo Jo was sharing her 30th with the him and everyone had been looking forward to the night out. Turns out management at The White Room had triple booked the function room/bar area with another leaving party and a Hen Party. Needless to say Maire and Jo Jo weren't impressed, but fun was still had by pretty much everyone. I learned that I'm still not ready to be out or to be drinking, but after some texts to friends and a good girly chat with Lara the next day at "Monkey Bean" in Toorak Village (lovely apart from the length of time it took us to get our food), I felt much better about things. After this, I headed to a birthday BBQ but was so tired from the night before that I was pretty much like a zombie all evening.

I don't normally talk about work, but I will for this. A few weeks previously, I had suggested (and pretty much said) that we should have an Easter Egg Hunt in work. I got Serena, Dan and Jess on board and we each took 7/8 clues each on board to invent and Cat bought the eggs. On the Tuesday of Easter week we had the Hunt - so the morning was spent frantically trying to think of some clever clues! I thought I did OK actually -

"Tell me; when you were a kid,
And watching TV,
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,
Who was the enemy?"

Answer: "Shredder"

Good no?? I was pretty pleased with my attempts at rhyming and being cryptic at the same time. More than I can say for Daniel's attempts:

"Your egg is in the archive boxes in the Finance Dept"

Not very difficult to figure that one out.
Not to mention that when he went to hide the eggs, he was walking around with them in his hands looking as guilty as all Hell; as though he had just committed murder or something! Subtle as a brick :)
The whole office seemed to enjoy it and everyone got an egg - so there was smiles all around with hopes of it becoming an annual thing. It's funny what a little bit of something different (and some chocolate!) does to give a bit of a pick-me-up to employees!

I was thinking that we might put in a LDC team for The Corporate Games in November. Just for laughs, cos we're not exactly the most sporty or athletic office around. We're good at eating, not that great at drinking (but will still give it a go) but are mostly sedentary nerds. We need to think about our strengths...We have 2 employees that are 6ft 6in and 6ft 7in respectively; so am thinking we need to enter the Netball comp and just make them stand at either hoop. Is that cheating or using your brain?!
To those who are ignorant to the world of Netball and would like to know what it's about - don't bother. It goes alongside cricket with the boring-as-hell to watch category and has silly rules, but it's MASSIVE over here. Think basketball with no contact or running with the ball.
Anyway, considering that we know we've no chance in hell in winning anything, I'm thinking of perhaps Dragon-Boat racing or something fun and different while hopefully asking for a free day off. Looking forward to the planning - just have to let the two lads know they've been recruited against their will and then use my powers of persuasion to get other members to join the "team" as currently it's just me, myself and I.

So, the Easter break arrived! My flight was changed from 6am to 4:20pm so I missed out on a day of my holiday, but I managed to win a little by having a row to myself on the plane on the flight to Townsville. Arrived to a "balmy" 29 degree evening and got to see the beautiful Izzy again. She has grown so much in such a short time. 3 months old now, she is so much more alert; although nonetheless spoilt now that Nanny had left and Granddad was here. A right little princess now, and a pink one at that once Aunty Ciara arrived :)

I got a free 5-day pass to the Genesis Gym down the road and went there every day. Thank God for the ladies-only part of it; if it was only to avoid the complete intimidation of 7ft Pacific Islanders in the weights area of the gym it was worth it. Don't think the beast would have been too impressed with my sweating and struggling to lift 5kg weights above my head!

It's amazing what joy babies bring to everyone. No matter who you are, you can't help but smile when a baby smiles at you, you can't help but melt when you see them laugh or feel sorry for them when they cry. People who aren't normally touchy-feely or affectionate become mush around babies and especially when they're part of your own family. My Mam and my Dad are completely in love with Izzy and can't refrain from taking their eyes off her or having her in their arms 24/7. It's funny to see my parents around their grandchild - it's a different love; a more "on display" kind of love it seems. Like they don't care who's watching, wearing their hearts on their sleeves for all to see. I guess when the baby isn't your direct offspring; when you don't have to discipline them, to teach them and bring them up, then all you have for them is love. "Spoiling" a baby is only because your love for them is overwhelming and my God do grandparents spoil their grandchildren! Izzy even got her first Easter egg; which Bhany ate - obvs...

I was laughing to Bhany and saying that I'm sure I'll get to see Izzy the third time I come to visit; when the grandparents aren't around :)

My sister and her fiancé asked me to be Godmother to Isabel and my brother Kev to be Godfather. I am beyond excited and grateful to be that bit more involved in Izzy's life! I am now the proud Godmother to two beautiful precious girls! Again, distance is once again an issue; but she'll be the closest one to me at a mere 3 hour flight away.

We didn't do much the time I was in Townsville; which suited me perfectly to be honest. I went to the gym every day and then probably spent the rest of the day eating!! (No change there I hear you all say!)
We went to "Billabong Sanctuary" and saw all kinds of Aussie animals - venomous snakes, kangaroos (even one with its joey in its pouch), wombats, dingos, crocodiles, emus and koalas - where I even got to hold one. They are cute as all hell, but they stink! And I narrowly missed being used as a toilet by the female koala that I was holding - thankfully she managed to crap on the zoo keeper and not me; a fact that was noted by my sister and Dad as unusual that it didn't in fact happen to me. Would have been a good story for the blog! :)

We went to see Orion, Bhany's horse; who is like a completely different animal from the wild beast I first met. He used to run away from everyone, and hated men. He would stamp his feet and snort if a guy approached him and we would have to go round the fields trying to catch him to bring him in. This time, he came up to Bhany when she called him, followed her out of the field (paddock to you Aussies), and stood beside us. The amount of time, effort and money that Bhany has put into him is truly paying off and he loves her so much it's so cute to see! Bhany the Horse Whisperer :)

We saw some vampire bats, including one that Bhany found with a broken pelvis hanging from the bottom branch of a bush with it's head on the ground. It unfortunately needed to be put to sleep.

We went for a walk on The Strand where we amused ourselves with the areas set aside for people keeping fit - monkey bars, steps, ropes etc; using them for photo opportunities instead or for funny videos.

We ordered 2kgs of chicken wings (along with some other items!) for our lunch at "Longboard Bar and Grill" and took a photo of "Aunty B" (the "B" standing for "Butch" - the lovely nickname bestowed onto me by Luke) and the bones.  Obviously he is extremely happy with himself after coming up with that gem.

The "butch" bit came about when Bhany and I were standing at the fireplace at home years ago with Mam and our GrandAunt Nora in the room. Mam asked Nora if we looked alike. "Oh yes", Nora said smiling "but you can easily tell them apart. Ciara is the butch one". Wouldn't want to have feelings in my family! This "complex" was further intensified by a brother of my GrandUncle Frank "complimenting" me by saying I had "mighty calves". I don't think I've ever recovered.

Anyone who knows me knows I can't cook. I will "cook" for myself, but nobody else, as I don't have the confidence and know that I'll eat whatever it is anyway, cos....well, cos it's food and it's me :)
I decided this week to help with the dinners. One night I decided to suggest making "Dropscones" - a delish treat that my Granny (Dad's Mam) used to make years ago. I got the brief recipe low-down from Mam via Whatsapp and then set about making them. This effort was soon brought to an end after Dad came into the kitchen, took one look at what I was making and said "I'll make my own thanks". Insulting much? I made mine and that was it - Dad made Luke's and Bhany made Dad's; who was delighted with her attempts of playing chef; just not mine apparently. Nice one Dad.

I am shattered from the week of staying on the couch in the living room and having my sleep patterns become those of a 3 month old at nighttime. Isabel sleeps through the night, but it's been midnight or 1am most nights that she's been going to bed, and then up at 6am. Sleeping in the lounge area means Ciara is awake too; and for someone who needs A LOT of sleep to get through the day; this takes a lot out of you.

The other night I was going to bed when I heard a noise from the kitchen. "What's that?!?!" said the Scaredy Cat inside my head. "It's OK" I reassured myself, "it's only a chicken". For about 5 seconds I was reassured that there was only a loose chicken in the kitchen, when I suddenly questioned the validity of what I was thinking. "Don't worry", my sister said (clearly seeing the look of terror crossed with confusion on my face), "it's only a lizard. Goodnight"; and with that she walked into her room and closed the door; leaving me to fend for myself with the giant dragon that was squawking from the kitchen. In the darkness, I feared for my life. I thought of how the lizard would crawl from the kitchen and leap onto the bed to attack me just like the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park. I imagined how you might wrestle or kill a lizard and how much of a mess I would leave on the sofa-bed once the dragon had slain me in my sleep. So I decided I wouldn't sleep; and stayed curled in a ball on the sofa-bed, under the covers for fear of clasping eyes on the predator.
In the morning my sister showed me the demon itself. It was about the size of a matchbox. Needless to say I didn't announce the reasons for my lack of sleep that night after seeing how pathetically small and friendly the little tail-less (since Bhany stood on it and it left it's tail behind in the hurry to get away!) creature was.

Australia has the weirdest of animals along with the deadliest. In the middle of the night I heard screams from out the front of the house. I was slightly alarmed that nobody else seemed to be in the slightest bit bothered that clearly someone was being murdered only feet from where we were sitting - Dad even turned the TV up! However, Bhany then explained to me that the screams were actually coming from a Minah bird that had nested out front. From that night; it routinely screamed it's head off about 11pm onwards - each time making me wonder if ever there was a murder outside, we'd all be inside reaching for the remote!!

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