I found my juggling music!

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Last Wednesday, I had to work late for an impromptu project. My co-worker put this song on, and I thought: “this is the perfect juggling music!”

Wednesday is my juggling night — I had brought my gear then, but obviously could not go any more. The itch to juggle was strong, so I whipped out my pink and gold balls and started juggling. Heehee. My club-mates usually play this kind of music, but I never knew what style it was!

Melbourne graffiti

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I finally got around to editing the photos from the November trip! I miss posting (and taking!) photos. I think this blog needs a few more, hey?

These were taken in Hosier Lane.

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Hosier Lane isn’t that huge — but the amount of graffiti on the walls is overwhelming (but in a good way!) It’s not like Sydney, where there is a lot of street art, but most of it is spread over the neighborhood, so you’d have to walk around a bit to see them.

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Spent some time taking goofy photos with the graffiti… heehee.

On rather inconsequential curveballs

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I had been mentally congratulating myself for keeping well within my budget in February. I’d had several high-expense months — I was still fixing up my new place, see, and it was the Christmas and summer holidays, so definitely a time to enjoy things. :P

But I’d more or less gotten everything I needed, so I resolved to get back into my usual budget. I was also panicking a little bit inside, thinking I was now a spend-a-holic and would no longer be able to get back into (my relative) frugality.

I had just gotten home from work drinks this past Friday night, and was on the way to dinner, a mere 2 KM away.

I started up my car.
A few grinding noises. Then nothing.
Incredulous, I tried it again.
And again.
Same result.

I’d last used my car 2 weeks before. It had started as usual. I drove as usual. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I was positive I’d turned all lights off (I’m usually obsessive about that kind of thing.) I quickly messaged my friend I couldn’t make it. After the initial hysterical panic calling/texting about what I was supposed to do next, there was only one option: sign up for a certain roadside assistance program and request for a new battery ASAP.

As a friend advised, if the battery was really dead (and that seemed like the probable case, since I hadn’t changed it in years), jump starting the battery would fix it temporarily, but then I’d have to take it to a mechanic ASAP otherwise take the risk of getting stranded somewhere. Since I had an appointment early next morning, which would cost me $110 to miss, I didn’t want to take the risk of not finding a mechanic in time.

Total cost? $508.
$211 for the battery.
$109 for the roadside assist program.
$55 for the joining fee.
$133 for the immediate assistance fee.

Sigh. There goes my budget.

But then I try to think about it in a more reasonable manner. The $211 is for a product which will last me several years. The joining fee and roadside assist program fees were inevitable, because I’d already decided that I needed to get my car fixed before morning. Plus, it would give me additional peace of mind for the next year. The annoying thing was the immediate assistance fee — if I could’ve waited 48 hours, I wouldn’t need it — but then I reasoned that if I had missed my appointment, I would’ve had to forfeit $110 anyway. And if I took public transportation, I would to allocate around an hour each way. And having a busy day ahead of me, I didn’t want the trouble.

So yeah. That took a little bit of the sting off.

But still! $508! Argh! Haha. I’m a little bit annoyed because during my last car checkup, around 6 months ago, they said my battery was still OK. It’s probably because of me moving, and not using my car as much. Sigh.

Also reminded me — sometimes life really throws you unexpected curveballs, eh? Just when you’re mentally patting yourself on the back for keeping within your budget — bam. Bye, bye, $508. Well, I hope life has better curveballs for me this March. (And can you believe it’s already March?!)

Back to baking

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I finally have baking gear again! :) Back in the Philippines, my mom (who runs a small, home-based bakery business) would let me play with her stuff all the time. So I baked to my heart’s content — cookies, pies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, breads, cookie bars, etc. It also helped that I had access to her pantry. (In retrospect, the stuff I made probably wouldn’t have tasted half as good without her top-of-the-line ingredients, haha.)

I didn’t do much baking when I moved overseas. I remember trying to make cookies at my uncle’s place in San Diego, then learning in horror that they didn’t have any kind of mixer whatsoever. It was then I realized that no, not every household has a mixer. My uncle tried to help me out by mixing my cookie batter by hand. Thank you, Tito. But I didn’t want to subject him to any more unnecessary labor, so that was the end of it.

When I moved to Australia, I asked my brother if he had a mixer — he said yes, he did. It turned out to be a hand mixer. I didn’t know there was anything other than a stand mixer. I was used to my mom’s professional-grade KitchenAid mixer (not to mention her assortment of baking tools), and the hand mixer wasn’t particularly powerful… so I made one loaf of banana bread and promptly gave up.

So anyway, I finally decided to get back into baking this year! Some things I noted:

Baking gear is expensive! The KitchenAid stand mixer I thought was a kitchen staple? Apparently it’s at least $600. I ended up buying a hand mixer for a fraction of the price. But even then, all the other things I needed — mixing bowls, cooling racks, baking pans — added up to a pretty substantial amount. Ah, well. But now I think I pretty much have everything I need, so no more baking expenses, hopefully!

I’m supposed to be cutting down on sugar this year. One of my resolutions in my quest to become super-fit is to cut down on sugar. So yeah, um it’s kinda at odds with this hobby, haha. I resolved to find healthier alternatives to my favorite baked goods. Maybe. And a girl can indulge sometimes eh? Er, wish me luck. :P

I still really enjoy baking. :) So far, I’ve made my chocolate revel bars* and chocolate surprise cupcakes. They both turned out well, all things considered — apparently my oven is a convection oven, which I’ve never had before. This coming weekend’s experiment: oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

* The main photo they’re using for the recipe is mine!

“La da da me, la da da you…”

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I just watched “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.” I thoroughly enjoyed the first one, and this one was super cute too!

Thank goodness I kept watching til the credits because this amazing song came on.