Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I hate the Department of Immigration(warning: big rant)

perhaps I shouldn't post this for fear of them reading this and punishing us further, but it is somewhat anonymous so I think I am safe.

Mr T and I applied a few months ago for his spouse visa, before was his temporary spouse visa which was approved.

We poured our hearts out for that application. It is so bloody time consuming chasing around everything, make copies of everything and then getting everything certified. We provided everything they suggested and more. Photos (of both of us in 4 different countries and more, photos of him with my family and then my friends, even a photo of one of the gift packages he sent to me for valentines day) long stories about where we met etc, phone records showing calls daily while we separated, his text message records showing he messaged me daily while we were separated, testimonials, airline tickets showing our joint holidays, our joint bank account statement showing that we both contribute a small amount each fortnight to our savings, letters, emails, proof that I purchased one ticket here for a holiday as a part of his bday and xmas present, and even a sample little gift tag that we got made from a company that has a little pic of me and him and our name and so much more.

Was that enough though? NO!

Now they are asking for more. Invitations we both received etc. The problem is we haven't received any invitations since we have been living in the same place. No weddings, no big birthday parties. Just verbal or text message invites. They also ask for utilities bills in our name which would be easy if we were renting but we are not at the moment (yes still at mothers place).

I want to scream!

And to make matters worse because it has taken so long he will have to redo the police and health checks. Yes police checks from overseas and health check (including xrays) which isn't exactly cheap.

We are in a genuine relationship, perhaps I should provide my blog address as proof of it. Because I don't know how to provide things that don't exist. What am I supposed to do it, fake it? Fake things for my genuine relationship: fake invites, change a utility bill but only for a month before we move out. Its ridiculous!

Ohh feeling slightly better now I got all of that off my chest!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Baked tofu

I can't believe I have been vegan for so long and only just tried baked tofu.

I used a recipe from Vegan planet and marinated it overnight in a mixture of water, braggs (soy sauce), lemon juice and sesame oil and then baked it for almost an hour (flipping once).

I made it this evening in preparation for tomorrows sandwiches but ended up eating quite a bit.

Fellow veg*ns and other tofu lovers go and try it if you haven't already. Its amazing!

Now I just need to explore what else goes well with in a sandwhich.

Wish I could post a pic (but still haven't got a replacement voucher from insurance company)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?

that's what one of Mr T's colleague was asked him today followed by:

Are you marrying Kristy just for the visa?

To which Mr T replied:

yes, because I want to give up being close to my friends and family and career just for the visa. We also went through 18 months of long distance where Kristy would often have to wait up to 1 or 2 am just so she could talk to me just for the visa.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Grocery shopping

Last night I finally sat down and did a realistic budget (using one of the excel templates) and found as I expected depressing news, with the projected rent (that I'm not yet paying) and other expenses I will be left with about $20 each month to my name. I also did one for Mr T, and he will actually be in debt each month (don't ask).

That got me thinking about grocery shopping. By shopping mostly at the market and trying to cut down on expensive food items but stll enjoying a varied healthy diet I think my weekly shopping will be about $75-$100 (for 2 people) so today I spoke to everyone at work to see how much they spent. It ranged from $35 to $200. How much do you spend? (if you don't mind sharing). The $35 a week is the woman I sit next to, who does actually eat relatively healthy and she eats meat which I would imagine adds another expense. I can't believe how little she spends I really don't how she does it, she did however start to give me a few ideas to cut down:

* Buy dried beans instead of canned (yes I know they taste better but they also take a lot more time and organisation)
* Cut out expensive snacks (no more garlic bagel slices and pretzels)
* Buy in bulk nuts and rice. Any suggestions on where to get cheaper nuts and come to think it i'm not sure that i've ever seen bulk brown rice?
* Shop at an Asian grocer ( I already do this with tofu since its saves over half the price)

Anyone else have any other suggestions?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Thanks to Katie at Frugal Veggie Mama who posted Dr Furhams almond carob fudge recipe I tried it and fell in love.

I wish I could take pics but my camera got stolen in a burgulary we had here last week.

I'm not much of a fan of carob or almond butter (love cashew butter though) and I loved it.

The only problem now is trying not to eat it all in one go and I might just have to get a copy of Disease proof your child, even though I don't have any kids.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I have a new TV show to my list of weekly watching list:

Chief and Commander

there is something about having a female American prime minister that it is so appealing that even a fictional sitcom about one is satisfying to some degree.

Sadly I beginning to think I will never see a female* prime minister of this country, or an openly same sex attracted individual or an indigenous prime minister in my lifetime.

*Amanda Vandstone doesn't count.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Menu planning

Mr T and I are trialing menu planning at the moment in an effort to reduce time and money spend from going to the supermarket almost every day. I have well and truly outlived the 'I am too spontaneous to shop weekly' excuse.

We did it last week with success so here is trial 2.

You will notice that we are very frugal trying to make almost every dish last for leftovers the next day and mostly one bowl meals. I also want to try a couple of new recipes this week.

So here is the plan for the next half a dozen days, minus snacks (fruit, nuts, popcorn, Mr T;s baked goodies and even a few salad-ish side type things) and breakfast which generally consists of toast or one of a couple of cereals.

Would appreciate any advice from those who are more experienced with these types of things.


B: Katie's Vegan French Toast which I tried last week and have been dreaming about since, served with banana and maple syrup

L: out for mothers day lunch probably to an Indian restaurant (my mothers fav)

D: Corn, Kale and Sweet Potato Chowder with garlic bread


L: Left over corn chowder for Mr T
Cashew Butter and raspberry jam sandwiches x 2 (because I will be at a conference all day and besides Mr T doesn't appreciate them like I do)

D: Burritos (refried bean, tofu and veggies) with avocado

L: Left over burritos

D: Kale and toor dal with rice and mango chutney carrot slaw (inspired from new vegan cookbook recipe)


L: Leftover kale toor dal with rice and mango chutney carrot slaw

D: Fried Rice with tofu, veggies and broccoli dish

Leftover fried rice

D: Dinner out as going to 2 open for inspections after work. If anyone is in the fitzroy area that evening let me know.

L: Our fav last minute sandwich: avocado, tomato, pine nuts with salt and pepper.

D: Mr T's mystery pasta dish

Now I just need to start actually sticking to a good budget system and I will be fine.

Btw, Mr T has been in aus for 6 months today!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Carnival of Cages is being hosted over at shrub by Ariel and the theme is passion. I started off looking at the description and thought about activist groups, I'm afraid I'm not passionate about them, well not in a positive way.

After 4ish years of being a vegan, I'm still unsure about all of the animal rights activist groups I've have had contact with.

I know for certain that I'm not a fan of groups such as PETA simply because they give vegans, vegetarians and animal rights activists a bad name and they clash with my other believes/values particularly feminism. I don't think the way to 'sell' animal rights or veg*nism is through explicit pictures of women. I do understand that is the way they work, they rarely pay for advertising because they are so controversial that they don't have to. I've also spoken to PETA member who told me that the salad guys didn't even get half the attention that the salad ladies did, hence the focus on half naked women. Still I can't help thinking there has got to a better way.

There are others, that take the law into their own hands, again not a fan.

Which leave me with what group exactly?

I don't know any!

Perhaps the only group is food not bombs and it's not an animal rights organisation. It does help animal rights though and the homeless since it feeds the homeless vegan food. If you want to volunteer let me know and I'll pass on their info for the melbourne one.

In the meantime I try to lead by example and try to spread the word through food. The one thing I am truly passionate about! Before anything else I think people need to know that vegans don't live on lettuce leaves (which I can't stand for the record even with salad dressing). I never preach about animals rights instead I wait for the questions to come to me and sometimes they come in a positive way and others in a not so negative way.

People also say 'but vegan that's so limiting isn't it?' And the crazy thing that no-one except maybe other veg*ns understand is it actually has the opposite effect. Yes you stop eating different things, but you also start exploring different foods that many omnis never would think of trying. Within the vegan world I'm open to try just about everything at least once. And so I get the pleasure of trying and enjoying food from different cultures such as red bean soup and turnip cake (HK-Chinese), falafel (everyone seems to claim this one: Turkish, Lebanese and even Greek), dhal and so many of the great vegetable and bean curries (Indian), refried beans and black beans (Mexican), tempeh (Indonesian), tofutti cuties (Jewish-ok pushing it a little there), miso and okonomiyaki(Japanese)and so much more.

Not even that but there is something else. Like a lot of people I fell for the whole lets put a lot of dairy, cheese in particular in everything. It's not until you take it out that you start to really taste everything and notice how overpowering it can be. I did read somewhere that after certain time without dairy your taste buds open up more (kind of like quitting smoking), will have to get back to you about the source.

I also started exploring different fruits after I turned vegan: persimmon (sp?), durian (still unsure about it by the way) figs, lychees, and starfruit.

The other thing that changed was the way I see food. I'm much more aware of nutrition and the power of healing foods (you know ginger tea great for sore throats, miso for when you have a cold etc). I no longer see food as something to shovel down on the way to somewhere. I now look at it and think yes it tastes ok but it does nothing to fuel my body or my mind. No vitamins, no fibre, just pure crap. When I see people eat real junk (aka McDonald's) I feel a little sad thinking: what a waste of time, resources, good taste buds and perfectly good health. The other thing I don't get is how people just ignore the fact they need to eat vegetables and fruit. Almost everyone I know doesn't eat the required minimum of two pieces of fruit a day. And don't even get me started on the whole meat and 3 veg that I was bought up on.

Speaking of the importance of food and health. The strangest thing happened after a few months of being vegan I suddenly felt a lot of clarity about everything, the interconnectedness of everything (animal rights, environment, women's rights, peace and more),I even had clarity about how the current relationship I was in at the time was not suitable, yes I know i'm starting to sound like a hippy or maybe a little crazy, but it was truly a beautiful feeling.

Yes food is my biggest passion and is very much connected to my veganism.
The new job

I started back at wing chun last week after a long long time off and went again tonight so at the very least I am exercising again.

I haven't been overly social lately (except for ann's party- don't u feel special ann?) and feeling pretty bad about it. Also, missing everyone!!!

The truth is one I am poor, and two my new job is taking up a lot of my emotional space right now.

Sometimes I want to cry with my clients because their stories/lives are so disturbing, sad, horrible, and just heart breaking.

The good thing about my job though is that with most of them there are happy endings well at least to one of their major problems and then I of course want to have a happy cry.

Most of the clients have found themselves in a very lunfortunate position at no fault of their own. Despite what society and the media might tell you. The best advice I got from a boss at an old volunteer job has therefore been really good to reflect on now:

it is bad circumstances, not bad choices

Often these people are living relatively normal lives when one thing or often several things all go wrong at once and then they are left as vulnerable as you get when I try to step in and help.

I've also been working on a uni grout project involving interviewing different refugees. Boy do they have stories do tell. One in particular was so charismatic as he told of both funny and sad stories. Maybe I will share some of the report later.

But back to the job, I do love it but it is tiring emotionally. Some days more than others. I know it will harden me a little, but I'm also concerned that I will get to the point where many do in the industry where they are either numb or just bitter 100% of the time. The good news is help is on its way. I have my first external supervision session tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Nosy about wf-am

One of Mr T's old classmates is being really nosy about our relationship or rather me, heres part of an email that Mr T's friend sent to him:

you know what? suddenly your **** ****(name witheld for privacy) got so freaking interested in you and kristy. one of them (I never thought that he was a nosy one) added me in friendster, not for friendship but kristy's pics. I got furious. they found nothing in there and then came to me, asking how kristy looks like. I said australians are human beings like us, not aliens and don't be too curious. I told them I haven't got a single pic of her. dunno if they believe it or not.

I couldn't stop laughing after Mr T read that out to me, by the way K thanks for defending australians !

Another one of Mr T's friend asked him If I 'look like Nicole Kidman' he replied 'no, Kylie Minogue'.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Very special socks

I went to buy nice warm slippers and instead come back with these very special socks. They are by bonds and yes vegan in case you were wondering and they have the little things (can't remember the name) that help to stop slipping.

And very warm!

And they look even better on:

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm food pictures

I've been getting lost online lately in the world of food porn*

It all started when I started looking through some of the links (she has quite a few) on Harmonias blog and come across:

Recipes from a gluten free goddess in particular her Purple-cabbage-sweet-potato-soup. I have a big thing for pictures of yummy food, in particular colourful yummy food.

Other Favs I've since found include:
Fat Free Vegan
Vive le Vegan
Let's Get Sconed
Eat Air

And of course old favs include:
Vegan Lunch Box
Asian Vegan
What the hell does a vegan eat?

What are your fav food blogs?

*porn: I hate the use of this word even in a playful way but it was all I could think of, I welcome suggestions for alternatives.