birthday

51 today | My birthday 2016

I’m 51 today.  It’s been a pretty good day. I woke up at 4.30 with rain falling. 

I started the day with my favourite drink. Coffee made with condensed milk.


Happy birthday to me

Breakfast

My birthday breakfast was a simple omelet

Birthday Cheese omelet
Birthday Cheese omelet

Lunch

I had a Yum Cha lunch with Bron at the Dumpling Inn. Sorry, no photographs.

Birthday viewing

The best view today was a FaceTime session with my daughters.

I also watched a couple of my favourite movies, viz., Crimson Tide and The Hunt for Red October. I like submarine movies especially two movies with Star Trek connections. Can you guess what they are?

Birthday exercise

I went for a walk around Lake Ginninderra. It rained three times, only lightly mind you. It was nice getting wet 51 today.



How is 51 different to 50?

Last year I celebrated my 50th birthday in Brisbane. The highlights of turning 50 in Australia include a faecal occult blood test and for some a colonoscopy

I’ve recently been enjoying some workplace training which has included sessions on persuasion and self awareness. The self awareness session reminded me of the importance of reflection. Birthdays are good for reflection. I spent a good portion of today reflecting on the last year.

Birthday disappointment

My footy team the Brisbane Broncos was defeated by the Cronulla Sharks.

Birthday dinner

I was thinking of making baked salmon but after a huge Yum Cha lunch I settled for a cake. I got the Big Boy from Ricardo’s Cafe and Patisserie

Big Boy from Ricardo's Cafe and PatisserieBig Boy from Ricardo's Cafe and Patisserie split open to show the mousse centre

Other birthday highlights

One of the great things about social media is the messages from friends and contacts. 

I really enjoyed the messages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

 

Final birthday thoughts

How do you feel about birthdays? Do you celebrate? Do you look forward to them anymore?


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Oriental Yum Cha

A family photograph at Oriental Yum Cha as we finish lunch!

Gary Lum My Mum, Dad and daughters
My Mum, Dad and daughters

My youngest daughter turned fifteen last week and I have spent this weekend in Brisbane celebrating with her.


First things first breakfast. Getting close and personal with a Queensland nut (Macadamia) tart served with too much cream from a can. The base was a little too thick and dry making the eating experience difficult.

Queensland nut tart
Queensland nut tart

I spent the morning with Ms20 shopping for birthday invitation stationery for her 21st birthday party.

Around lunch time I fought the Westfield Chermside traffic to pick up Ms18 and Miss15 from Gymnastics training while Ms20 drove my parents into Fortitude Valley so we could meet at Oriental Yum Cha.

When we arrived we were taken to a large table up the back. Mum was worried it may be too far out of the main area for trolleys to visit. At first things were a little slow but it picked up and we really didn’t have to worry.

It would have been nice to be on the upper deck but that was pretty empty.

Gary Lum Oriental Yum Cha
Inside the restaurant on the empty upper floor

So on weekdays you get the all you can eat option. We visited on a Saturday so we paid standard rates. We also took heed and did not waste food.

Don't waste food
Don’t waste food
Turnip cakes and stuff
Turnip cakes and stuff
Duck, pork and calamari
Duck, pork and calamari
Roast duck
Roast duck
Fried wonton
Fried wonton
Calamari
Calamari
Calamari
Calamari
Barbecue pork
Barbecue pork
Oriental Yum Cha lunch
Oriental Yum Cha lunch
Spare ribs
Spare ribs

Oriental Yum Cha

Prawns
Prawns

Oriental Yum Cha

Custard tarts
Custard tarts
Mango omelet
Mango omelet
Coconut jelly
Coconut jelly
Mango omelet
Mango omelet

In fifty years of eating this was the first mango and cream omelet I’ve eaten. I need to go back for more them. Truly delicious. A must have and equal to custard tarts IMHO.

So what did I think about Oriental Yum Cha? It was my first time but my daughters and parents had been there a few times before. They reckon it is consistently good. Not the best they’ve ever eaten but always good. I’d agree it was good. The food appeared and tasted fresh. The flavours were good. The service was friendly, helpful and easy going. We were able to get some things cut with scissors and if something was in short supply we could ask for more to come out. The meal was also reasonable in terms of price. It didn’t break the bank and my wallet didn’t suffer a knock out punch. I’d be happy returning and eating more Oriental Yum Cha 


We spent the afternoon recovering and trying not to move too much. I was charged with cooking dinner so I went simple and baked some salmon with some kale coleslaw and avocado. Mum made a hazelnut chocolate cheesecake which she served with salted caramel ice cream.

Baked salmon with kale and avocado coleslaw
Baked salmon with kale and avocado coleslaw

Nicola's birthday hazelnut chocolate cheesecake

Nicola and her birthday cheesecake
birthday cheesecake
Hazelnut chocolate cheesecake and salted caramel ice cream
Hazelnut chocolate cheesecake and salted caramel ice cream

Have you been to Oriental Yum Cha? What did you think?

Weekend wrap

Birthday ice cream cake made by Miss17. Three layers of Queensland nut with extra Queensland nuts, choc chip mint with TimTams and Coconut with 100s and 1000s.
Birthday ice cream cake made by Miss17. Three layers of Queensland nut with extra Queensland nuts, choc chip mint with TimTams and Coconut with 100s and 1000s.

This weekend has been one of the best. I got to celebrate my 50th birthday with my parents and daughters. After the Friday, it carried on in a similar vein to most weekends in Brisbane. That is, driving daughters to and from gymnastics training, to and from gymnastics events, having breakfast out as well as dinner.

So on Saturday morning I took Miss19, Miss17 and Miss14 to Groove Train for breakfast. Miss19 tried the corn fritters for the first time. She thought the fritters were okay but not a super breakfast. I had a taste and agreed the fritters were a little dense but did have a really nice corn flavour. Miss17 had a breakfast burger which of late has become her ‘thing’. Miss14 surprised us all and selected the granola. I went for the eggs Florentine and asked for a side of smoked salmon.

Eggs Florentine and smoked salmon from Groove Train Chermside
Eggs Florentine and smoked salmon from Groove Train Chermside

I was pretty happy with the eggs and salmon. I got so much salmon I was able to share some with Miss17 who really likes smoked salmon.

After dropping Miss17 and Miss14 at training I spent some time with Miss19 who was busy with an assignment and wrote my birthday blog post. We avoided lunch in preparation for afternoon tea and dinner while Mum and Dad enjoyed some really great smelling tomato soup.

At 3 pm we picked up the gymnasts and drove to Cold Rock to see if my birthday ice cream cake that Miss17 made had survived the power outage from the previous day’s deluge.

GOOD NEWS, the cake survived. It looked fabulous. Three glorious layers and extra scoops on top. The ground layer was Queensland nut ice cream with extra Queensland nuts added. The middle layer was mint chocolate chip with TimTams. The top layer was coconut ice cream with 100s and 1000s added. The cake was superb and the perfect afternoon tea.

Birthday ice cream cake made by Miss17. Three layers of Queensland nut with extra Queensland nuts, choc chip mint with TimTams and Coconut with 100s and 1000s.
Birthday ice cream cake made by Miss17. Three layers of Queensland nut with extra Queensland nuts, choc chip mint with TimTams and Coconut with 100s and 1000s.

After afternoon tea we went to the Kedron-Wavell Services Club for dinner in Cafe HQ. Miss19 had to go to work so it was Mum, Dad, Miss17, Miss14 and me.

Mum and Dad had the tempura battered snapper, Miss14 had beef nachos, Miss17 had crumbed flathead and I had surf and turf.

Mum's tempura battered snapper and chips from HQ Cafe Kedron-Wavell Services Club
Mum’s tempura battered snapper and chips from HQ Cafe Kedron-Wavell Services Club
Mum's tempura battered snapper and chips from HQ Cafe Kedron-Wavell Services Club
Mum’s tempura battered snapper and chips from HQ Cafe Kedron-Wavell Services Club
Miss17's crumbed flathead and chips from HQ Cafe Kedron-Wavell Services Club
Miss17’s crumbed flathead and chips from HQ Cafe Kedron-Wavell Services Club
My surf and turf, prime rib on the bone with garlic prawns at HQ Cafe at Kedron-Wavell Services Club
My surf and turf, prime rib on the bone with garlic prawns at HQ Cafe at Kedron-Wavell Services Club
My surf and turf, prime rib on the bone with garlic prawns at HQ Cafe at Kedron-Wavell Services Club
My surf and turf, prime rib on the bone with garlic prawns at HQ Cafe at Kedron-Wavell Services Club
My surf and turf, prime rib on the bone with garlic prawns at HQ Cafe at Kedron-Wavell Services Club
My surf and turf, prime rib on the bone with garlic prawns at HQ Cafe at Kedron-Wavell Services Club

 

On Sunday morning, Miss14 and my parents went to a gymnastics event while I took Miss19 and MIs14 to breakfast at 63 Cafe Wilston. They had waffles and I had what was called the Stockman’s treat. The Stockman’s treat consists of lamb’s liver, bacon and gravy. I asked for a couple of fried eggs too.

Liver, bacon, fried egg and gravy from 63 Cafe Wilston
Liver, bacon, fried egg and gravy from 63 Cafe Wilston

 

I’d have to say this was a pretty good breakfast. I’d happily have it again.

On the flight home back to Canberra (QF1549) I enjoyed some delicious cheese and a piece of coconut cake. 

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After getting home I went and bought some food for dinner and switched on the TV to watch New Zealand defeat Australia in the Rugby League test match. I wonder what the result might have been in the wet conditions of Friday night with Dad and me there to cheer on the Kangaroos.

For dinner I made some salmon with noodles. A nice light meal after a huge weekend of eating.

Curried salmon and noodles
Curried salmon and noodles

 

So that is the weekend wrap  I’m exhausted

How to celebrate a 50th birthday

Who would have thought I’d make my 50th birthday the way I eat! This year on Friday 1 May I was able to celebrate 50 years ex utero. Few people know that in the eight or so months of my gestation I travelled around the world in utero. You see I was conceived on the Indian Ocean on a merchant ship with my Dad as the ship’s doctor. He and Mum were travelling to England so Dad could sit examinations. On the way to England I visited Cairo and while Mum saw the pyramids I was busy with organogenesis. On learning she was pregnant Mum wanted to return to Australia to confine. If I’d been born in England I’d be a citizen of Britain and Fiji. Dad was born in Fiji and was yet to become an Australian citizen. Mum wanted me to be Australian. So Dad’s youngest brother, then an engineer for Qantas, flew over to England and picked Mum (and me) up and took her (us) to Brisbane via Boston, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Nadi. 

I had arranged with work to take my birthday as a formal leave day. Normally on Fridays I’m working at The Canberra Hospital in ACT Pathology as an Hon. VMO. I cleared it with both workplaces first. I wouldn’t normally take a day off work just to celebrate a birthday but I’ve noticed it’s a growing trend and I really wanted to share my 50th birthday with blood, kin, family. 

My iPhone. It's 1 May!
My iPhone. It’s 1 May!

I had booked a flight and arranged with Qantas for an upgrade in my seat to Business Class as a present to myself. 

Breakfast was a salmon and boiled eggs plate which was served with some bread and a small bowl of yoghurt. It was quite delicious.

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Prior to boarding I’d been called by my daughters and they had mentioned South East Queensland was about to be hit with a deluge of rain because of the formation of a significant tropical low pressure depression off the coast. My eldest also told me that my birthday present was a ticket to the Rugby League test match between Australia and New Zealand that night at Lang Park (very close to where I spent the first few years of my ex utero existence). I was so excited. Miss19’s voice quavered a little though because she was concerned about the weather. The other bonus was that she had arranged tickets for Dad and wheelchair access because he’s now quite frail. Dad’s birthday is later in the month. 

As QF950 began its descent into Brisbane the turbulence become noticeable and as we flew lower the bumps were increasing in amplitude and frequency. I tightened my seat belt a little more. Out of the window it was grey. Just grey. 

The pilot of QF950 on Friday 1 May did a splendid job, despite the bumps the landing was smooth. I was in Brisbane. It was noticeably warmer than Canberra so I removed my coat and let my skin drink in the moisture in the air. 

The colours reminded me of the NT
The colours reminded me of the NT

Sitting in a Hertz rental (a Ford Mondeo…my first Mondeo) I quickly learnt where all the windscreen wiping actuators were and quickly put them into use. The rain was quite heavy but nothing out of the ordinary.

On reaching my parents’ retirement complex we arranged lunch. We would be joined by Miss17 and Miss19. Next Friday they will become Miss18 and Miss20. Mum had booked the Aspley Oriental Chinese Restaurant for yum cha. We’d been to this place before. It was local, convenient and the maître d’ was well known for his brusque mannerisms and behaviour. He didn’t disappoint! I wouldn’t say that the Aspley Oriental Chinese Restaurant has the best yum cha in Brisbane. Not even close but for Mum and Dad convenience is key.

 

 

We enjoyed some steamed and deep fried dumplings, some Chinese tea and finished our meal with some custard tarts. 

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After lunch we visited Coles and Aldi and then headed back to home base. 

This is when the fun began. I had to pick up Miss14 from school and drop Miss17 at gymnastics training (she’s competing for Queensland in a fortnight in Melbourne at the national championships in WAG Level 10). The rain was now very heavy but nothing I’m not used to. The radio was calling it a super storm. 

Miss17 in her Queensland hoodie
Miss17 in her Queensland team hoodie

For what should be a 15 minute drive took 35 minutes to pick up Miss14 and then drop off Miss17. Sandgate Road was moving at a slow pace. It took about 45 minutes to get to Gympie Road in Lutwyche and then I spent three hours on Gympie Road trying to get to Chermside.

If you go to the @igersbrisbane account you’ll see one of my photographs used from my iPhone.

By this stage the rain was sort of reminding me of a decent shower in Darwin. I love this sort of whether and don’t mind driving in heavy rain. 

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I had the radio on the whole time and listening to 4BC for updates. I like 4BC because they carry most of the good rugby league news and much better than the ABC. I was even sending them road updates via twitter

 

 

Up until about the last 100 metres of our journey the footy match was still on. I’d been calling Mum and Dad and Miss19 throughout the traffic hold up as well as Mr43 (youngest brother) to discuss the logistics of the evening and how to get to Lang Park. After many iterations of how we were going to do this, we ended up with catching a bus from Chermside. Then on the radio the message was read that the NRL in conjunction with the television broadcaster had agreed to reschedule the game to Sunday 2015-05-03 1600 AEST. Poor Miss19 was so upset. She and her sisters had been planning this as a big surprise for me and my Dad. The weather got the better of the situation. I’m not sure as you read this if you’re aware that as of Saturday 2015-05-02 1400 AEST five people have been confirmed dead as a result of the water. I’m guessing they were in motor vehicles trying to cross flooded roads and were swept away. The Queensland emergency services and state emergency service undertook a large number of swift water rescues. We saw some quite extraordinary scenes. Water covering the entire northbound lanes of Gympie Road in two sections in Chermside. Later in the evening we saw cars floating on Shaw Road. 

Once we got to home base Mum had burgers ready for us to eat. The original intention was a quick and light meal to get Dad and me to the footy but in the end it was my birthday dinner 

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The next bit to this story was the trip to pick up Miss17 from training. The rain was still pretty heavy and we knew there were numerous road closures. The added importance of this trip is that Miss17 had made me a birthday ice cream cake at Cold Rock (she has a part time job at a local Cold Rock Ice Creamery). We set out and immediately got stuck in some traffic. We eventually got to Miss17 who told us she’d seen that her Cold Rock had suffered a power outage that evening because of the bad weather and she didn’t know if the freezers were affected or not. By the time we crawled past the lights were out and no one was there. Who knows if my birthday cake still exists or if it’s a milky creamy mess on the floor seeping out of  a freezer. Determined to celebrate my 50th birthday with cake after an hour being in traffic we got to a Coles and bought a cake (only a few were left). 

We got home and Mum added candles. There was singing cutting and then eating. Mum thought it would be funny to get a 40 candle and surround it with 10 candles to signify 50. This would also make it easier for me to blow out the candles. 

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All in all it was a memorable 50th birthday. I was with my parents and daughters. I spent about 5 hours in a Ford Mondeo in traffic. I enjoyed some nice tropical rain. I ate well and I laughed a lot. I smiled the entire day. Check out the next post to see if the ice cream cake survived.