Celebrating the 4th – Australian style

This post is part of the 31 Days of Writing for July. Click here for my previous posts or click here if you would like to join in.

Day 5: Tell us about your July 4th celebration.

So, obviously, it isn’t day 5. I was going to skip this prompt because, as an Australian, the 4th of July is just another day for me. For some reason though, this year I had two 4th of July/American themed celebrations. Considering it isn’t a day of much significance here that was a bit odd so I figured I’d tell you all about what I did and you can laugh at the stereotypes we have of Americans.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take too many pictures as I didn’t see much use for them – until now – and well, most of the food was deep fried into oblivion. I do wish I’d gotten a photo of the spread at work though, it was quite cute.

So, on Thursday afternoon at work I was telling one of my colleagues how I was going to a 4th of July party on Friday which had, what we consider, American foods. I wasn’t sure why we were doing it but one of my friends has a soft spot for all things American and was hosting the show. He had a full menu sorted for us and there were, seemingly, never ending alcoholic slushies. So, win win. My colleague kind of rolled his eyes and couldn’t work out why we were celebrating another country’s holiday, then 2hrs later my work was hosting a 4th of July afternoon drinks.. coincidence? Considering he arranges these things, I think not.

I was prepared then for endless eating of pizza, burgers and hot dogs.

And that is how the work events started, we could grab a drink and then swarm down on the food. We had mini hotdogs (with ketchup, American mustard – is American mustard, just called mustard in America? – and bacon.. mmm bacon), beef sliders and pepperoni pizza. All of them really well made and the rolls were delicious and surprisingly filling, I had a few and felt fine and then 15mins later thought I was going to explode.

After that I left work, and struggled to walk up to Jarrod’s work (so.. full..) where we were getting a lift out to the party.

We arrived at the party and were promptly handed drinks (our host is good like that) and started snacking on some chips.. probably a bad idea considering the plethora of food to come.

While we waited, we got to watch our chef for the night (sort of) preparing a bunch of things for us, starting off with jalapeño dip which scared me immensely, especially when he also started adding avocado and sour cream.. Funnily enough it tasted pretty mild and decent, all things considered. Meanwhile the slushies flowed, right into our bellies, mmm blue.

We then started on the cheese kransky’s, I’m not sure if this is an american thing or just because we wanted cheese kransky’s, either way. Delicious.

Then came the Frickles, I actually had no idea what a frickle was prior to the party, I sort of wish I didn’t know now. Although I like pickles, I do not like frickles, well not these ones anyway. I don’t even know what I didn’t like about them, just.. no.

Our Frickles looked and tasted like this, which is apparently a good thing

Our Frickles looked and tasted like this, which is apparently a good thing

One of the more interesting things of the night were the deep fried chicken wings. Normally you wouldn’t call a chicken wing interesting, but our host had accidentally used icing sugar instead of flour in his batter so they were quite sweet and unusual.

These were followed up by corn with a nice butter, ribs and more sliders with chipotle fries.. except the fries had paprika in them, which was a sore point for our chef. I barely got through the sliders, they were the best thing of the night too I was just so full by that point I couldn’t eat another thing.

All the while, we watched/listened to a flash back friday music video show (which I was surprisingly good at guessing/remembering the years the songs came out) while drinking, chatting, fighting for the couch (once you get the couch, you basically can’t move, otherwise someone else will steal it) and having a good time. As far as 4th of July is concerned, it was pretty decent.

So, tell me, how did we do in our many courses of American food? Was it sort of accurate, not at all or completely? What did we miss that you’d suggest?

Of food and events

It’s strange that the days chosen  for the A day in the life project I pretty much lounge around the house doing a whole lot of nothing and then there are days like a few I’ve had this week where I do cool things nearly every day.

On Wednesday of this week a few girls and I from work were tasked with organising a work lunch for us and 3 other people of our choice. We had to choose the day, time, destination and get our unlikely guests (we were told to choose people that aren’t well known in the company and don’t socialise much) to attend our event. As this is the guinea pig lunch we chose something easy for lunch – Teppanyaki – so that at least the food would be entertaining if we turned out to be awkward and uncomfortable. 

The chef was very good and entertaining, he obviously was very experienced because the food all tasted delicious, plus none of us got hit in the face with anything he was throwing around so there is that. We had fried omelette pieces thrown at us and also a bowl of fried egg which everyone did really well in catching and not much food ended up on the floor. I was a bit concerned by the fish and beef because I don’t really eat much of either but wow, it was cooked perfectly and I just wanted more! At the end the chef left us a ‘thank you’ written in salt which he did upside down and backwards. It was better than I can write normally.

A teppanyaki thank you

A teppanyaki thank you

My boss had been down all week and for the first time ever (I’ve been at work nearly 2 years) she took the team leaders out to dinner. Our newest team leader chose the restaurant, which was way to fancy for my liking. If it had been up to me I would never have chosen it. It was very much a high service, small serves kind of place. We shared  an entree that was quite nice and I sort of wish I’d had it as main, in the end I chose a Duck dish for main which looked nothing like how I expected, it has also been a long time since I’ve eaten duck. I could probably lived with not trying it again. The highlight for me (other than the vodka) was a chocolate torte that had some berries and icecream with it. So, good! Unfortunately, I have no photos as I devoured it too fast.

After dinner we convinced the boss to take us to a nearby bar – although based on all the complaining from everyone it wasn’t nearby enough, it was about 500m.. not a big deal really – for cocktails! The place was small and quirky and ONLY HAD ONE TOILET… I can’t imagine what it must be like late on a Friday or Saturday night. Apparently they sell churros too, I nearly bought some but was too full from dinner. In the end I went with a Chocolate Freckle and I liked it so much I bought another one. 

Chocolate Freckle Cocktail

Chocolate Freckle Cocktail

I’m not sure how much alcohol this had (I know it was creme de cacao and Kahlua though) but it basically just tasted like a delicious chocolate drink which isn’t surprising considering about 1/3 of it was chocolate syrup.

On Friday night many of my colleagues tried to convince me to attend a poker night but I really couldn’t be bothered doing anything else work related and well, it was Veronica Mars movie release day! I was one of the backers and have been waiting forever for it to happen and finally, on Friday morning I had the email saying I could get my digital download of the movie. I had to wait until I finished work but I really wanted to get it downloaded and be watching it on Friday night. If you are a part of any sort of social media you probably know how annoyed everyone is with Warner’s choice of using Flixster for the downloads and how it just doesn’t work. I had to download the desktop software twice before it was successful and even then it still wouldn’t let me log in. Not only that, but the 16mb file became 23mb and ended up as 38mb before deciding it was done.. it also took 20mins to download. Basically, it is a buggy piece of crap.

In the end, after trying for at least an hour to get the damn software to work, we found a torrent and downloaded it instead. It took about 30mins and I could watch it on whatever device I wanted (with flixster we were going to resort to hooking up my laptop with HDMI to the tv) and it was fast, easy and the quality is good. It’s disappointing that we had to do it and that it was so much easier than the legitimate way although I don’t feel like I did something dodgy considering it is something I have paid for.

Oh, did I mention that Jarrod went and bought surprise icecream to have with the movie, to make it just that little bit more worthwhile? It was delicious and the movie was better than I was expecting, I was pretty scared leading up to it that it was just going to be terrible and endlessly disappointing. Fortunately, I was wrong.

Today, we had a spontaneous lunch (at 3:30) at a local cafe we like. The owner does AMAZING chocolate thick shakes, I don’t know how she makes them (other than lots of icecream) but they’re so good every single time. Each time I usually try something different from the menu to eat, although initially I nearly gave up on the food because I didn’t have many successes. This time I went with a Chorizo and Mushroom Melt which was so big! I didn’t expect so much, it was also cheesy delicious.

Chorizo and Mushroom Melt

Chorizo and Mushroom Melt

Lastly, Jarrod and I decided to go to Skyfire, which is an annual event here that includes many, many fireworks going off on one of the lakes. It’s meant to be synced to the music but it never really seems to happen so well. Rather than sit with thousands of people on the lake we decided to go to the roof of a pretty tall building and watch from there. It’s much nicer with just the two of us, even if you can only see the fireworks that go higher into the sky. We sat, with hot chocolate, waiting for it to begin and just enjoyed the view and each others company.

The fireworks were quite nice this year and I wish I had some good photos but we were too far and I only had my phone camera so they didn’t turn out.

Basically, it’s been a few busy, delicious and decent days. The next Day in the life is in 3 days, I hope it can be at least half as interesting as some of these days for you.

Where did that month go now?

Oh my, it has been an age since I’ve been able to sit in front of a computer and just relax. The only reason I’m doing it right now is that one of my tools has decided to stop working and I can’t work for the second but I’m hoping it comes back soon. I was on a roll!

March was hectic, although it was mainly just work, food, sleep and repeat.

At work we have a leaderboard system and every month the top 3 people on the leaderboard (for that month) get a bonus. This month I strived for 1000 points (each call I take is worth 1 point and each ticket I resolve is 1 point) and… I got it! My highest point was 1031 which was a record for the company. So, they arranged a little surprise for me. I got my bonus ($300, yeah!) and also received a $200 voucher for a massage place called Orchid Essence. TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS! I’ve never, ever had a professional massage before so this is going to be awesome and I might get a thing or two waxed while I’m there… probably just my eyebrows.

And that wasn’t all. I also got a little gift basket of chocolates from my team leader for my effort. So, needless to say I’m feeling pretty good about work right now. For the first time in, well, ever I actually feel appreciated at my work place. Last month 4 managers (at separate times) told me how much they love my work and and happy I’m in the company. It was all kinds of awesome. I’ve never had a CEO tell me I rock before!

I think they were building me up for next week though. One person resigned and his last day was today and another guy went MIA this week. Seriously, incommunicado! It is the strangest thing, they have tried multiple ways of contacting him (including calling his Mum) and nothing. Oh, and did I mention they made a whole team redundant and gave us their work! It is all kinds of scary.

Speaking of the guy that resigned. We had his farewell drinks yesterday afternoon and it was actually really great, I was kind of dreading it – given that most the people I work with are complete nerds – and I had a couple of drinks which is a first in I don’t know how many months. Granted, it may not have been the smartest thing considering I started work at Midnight and had a 12 hour shift but whatever, I’ll get over it.

In between all the chaos I’ve been trying to catch up on some reading but Cleopatra: A Life kind of bogged me down. One hard read. Glad I experienced it, but glad it is over.

Now, it is working again! Back to work.