Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Just have to share what is probably the number one reason I have not lost weight here in Oz.
This, my friends, is a chocolate Lamington. It is cake, rolled in chocolate, rolled in coconut.
It just does not get any better than this.
Here is a recipe if you are interested in making these at home: http://www.aussieslang.com/features/australian-lamingtons-recipe.asp

Happy Australia Day!!

Happy Australia Day! The 26th of January is considered the nation's Birthday, and we had a lot of fun celebrating. We spent the day on Saturday in The Rocks, which is Sydney's oldest neighborhood. Lots of free outdoor activities and fun for everyone. We got to see some of the air show - compliments of the RAAF - and the parajumpers who eventually landed in the harbour. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and I was sure to wear LOTS of sunblock.

The highlight of Australia Day in Sydney is the Ferry Boat Race and Regatta. Literally hundreds of boats and ships decorated with flags parade through the harbour. It's so much fun to watch them go by and see all the different kinds of boats - everything from a guy in a row boat to giant masted tall-ships. The view from the Harbour Bridge is supposedly really something, but we took a ferry across, just for the fun of it. (And because the breeze off the harbour was cooler, I must admit.) The atmosphere was very festive and we had so much fun sitting on the grass, watching people go by. Such an interesting blend of people here. We felt really at home.
After the heat of the afternoon, the sun finally went down and we joined some new friends for dinner in Darling Harbour. Seemed like the whole city showed up for the fireworks.
The rest of the weekend was spent chilling out and exploring the outer reaches of Sydney. This weekend we may venture further and try to get photos of some wildlife.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Just in case anyone was wondering - it is not WE who "stagger home from the local watering hole in the wee hours." Though, we did accompany a few new acquaintances home from one last weekend, following a get-together of local American ex-pats. It was quite the event and I can post youtube videos to prove it. But, I'd rather not. Lets just say you SHOULD NOT ride the train home if you DO NOT have a ticket. That, my friends, is a hefty no-no.

And I never meant to imply that my dear husband "demands" me to cook dinner. I am very fortunate in that he does most of the cooking. I clean up. Did I mention I killed our dishwasher?

And - to answer your 3 most frequently asked questions:
1. yes, I am still unemployed
2. no, we don't have any furniture yet.
c. no, the toilet does not flush in "the other direction."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

An Average Day - The Late Edition

So, by now most of you have noticed that I don't blog much. Those that know me, know that while I deem myself to be quite the wordsmith, I rarely ever (if at all), make the time to put pen to paper. Or in this case, type a few lines. That, and I haven't consciously made the effort to drift past here lately. Well, chalk it up to what you may, here I am. I'll follow-up with the "Late Edition"...

I too had an average day... Started with my usual cup of coffee from our local purveyor (The Moody Chef - www.themoodychef.com). Let me also take a moment to give their B.L.A.T (Bacon,Lettuce,Avocado,Tomato) Roll a nod! Also a fine burger complete with beetroot! Granted you need to have the Hungry Jacks from time-to-time, I'll reserve those occasions for the stagger home from the local watering-hole in the wee hours (another story).

Work presented the usual challenges. It's a bit transitional at the moment and there are a number of changes being implemented. Most frustrating for me is the fact that I have very little influence on the changes. There seems to be a lot of pontificating, but very little progress. Ugh.

For the record, I don't demand dinner. I'm actually quite happy to prepare any number of curious and interesting dishes. In fact it's almost a pastime of mine to seek out new favorite dishes and attempt to "decode" their recipes for re-creation at home. Well, that and the "take-away furniture" (yet another story). I'm quite pleased with the variety and level of international cuisine here. Although I occasionally miss the AYCE sushi of Toronto. Food here is usually quite fresh and varied. Yum.

Indeed, the news of today (both here and globally), was the passing of Heath Ledger. Seems to me too early to speculate on cause, but it is sad for both his family and friends.

Well, seems my bedtime is upon me. I'll try and stop by again soon....

An average day

As I am still unemployed (despite good effort, I assure you), I find myself forming rather domestic daily habits.
I wake up early and see Jon off to work around 8. As it is then about 4 pm (the previous day) back in Michigan/Toronto, I spend the first few hours of my day checking email and reading my chat groups. (I get very little email from ya'll, by the way.) I read the news online and catch up on what has happened during the day, while I was sleeping. Then I spend about 3 or 4 hours job hunting. Sending resumes, making phone calls and searching for new postings. I schedule a few interviews and make some brunch - usually toast. Haven't found milk here that doesn't make me sick yet. So - no cereal for awhile.
The early afternoons have been spent interviewing, going to the library, the grocery store, etc. Yesterday I walked to Mosman (a suburb about 20 minutes away on foot) and got a library card. It's a very nice library, with new books, big windows, and confy couches. Nice place to hang out. You can only check out 12 items at a time though, which is irritating.
Sometimes I get take away for lunch and eat it outdoors. There is a great fish place 2 blocks away that has $6 fish and chips for lunch. Very good and very cheap.
Yesterday, Jon came home from work and I informed him that I needed to go to the beach and get a burger. So we spent the evening up at Manly Beach. We walked the promenade and watched the surfers until dark. Full moon last night, it was beautiful. I got a cheeseburger at Hungry Jacks (which is Burger King). Best burgers in Oz. And NO beet root!
Today my husband has informed me that he wants dinner at home tonight, so I walked to the grocers and picked up some prawns and chicken and stuff for a stir fry. And I stopped at the bakers and got bread and a chocolate scone... my fave. I have the chicken marinating now and the dishwasher is humming away. The windows are open and I can hear people walking past and buses driving by and the occassional miner bird screeching.
The big news here (and everywhere) today is, of course, Heath Ledger's death. As a much-loved Aussie boy, his death has shocked everyone and it's all anyone is talking about. Such a shame. What a loss. He was younger than me.
Well, on to a few more interviews tomorrow. I hope to get a good offer soon, but I am holding out for something fun and an employer who is honest. Hopefully not an impossible goal!
This Saturday is Australia Day and it's a 3 day weekend! Loads of fun planned - I am sure to have stories and pictures next week!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

General update

Well, I haven't been blogging, because there isn't much going on here lately. Jon has been in Canberra for work this week and I have been spending the week looking for a job. I am still trying to think positively about the one in North Sydney, as I have been on TWO interviews with them and they have told me that I am the front runner. But, they won't be making any offers until next Monday, so... we wait.

It's supposed to rain here for the next 5 days. And it's only about 75F, so I guess it's NOT always hot and sunny here. Huh, go figure. The rain is nice though. Keeps everything green.

Not much else to report. Thanks to everyone for keeping their fingers crossed for the job situation. I am hoping to have some good news soon.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday in Sydney

So, it turns out the Noodle Market isn't a farmers market. It's just food stands and live entertainment. And now we know. Have to find somewhere else to buy cheap fruit and veg.

Today we spent the day being tourists. We took the train into downtown, and spent the afternoon walking around The Rocks, which is the oldest part of Sydney. From there, we walked under the Harbour Bridge and out onto Circular Quay (pronounced 'key') which is the main harbour entrance for both ferries and cruise ships.

We continued walking past the Opera House, into the Botanical Gardens, and all the way onto MacQuaries point. Then, we turned around and walked all the way back the way we came. It was about a 5 hour walk. Jonathan says it was "maybe" 5 miles. I say it was about 15. Ok, maybe not, but by the end, it felt like 15.
I definitely needed ice cream by the end.

It was a beautiful day. Quite hot and sunny. The Botanical Gardens were really pretty. Lots of giant fig trees and flowers. I have never seen birds of paradise growing before - amazing!

The size of the trees were really something to see. I told Jon that it made me think of the story of the Swiss Family Robinson. I never believed they could build all that in a tree - until today. These trees are like every kid's dream. You could build an out-of-this-world treehouse in these things! Some of them were over 200 years old and had branches that had grown so long that they had started root systems of their own. Very cool.

Another cool thing in the Gardens were the bats! Huge, hairy bats... hanging everywhere! They were really interesting. Kind of creepy - I am not sure I would want to be there in the evening when they all took flight. Might be interesting though.

It was a good day. I think tomorrow we are going to pack a picnic and go explore Bondi Beach. I think "explore" in my case might mean soaking my feel in the water all day.

No news on a job for me yet... but I am hoping for good news to share on Monday. Keep your fingers crossed for me. My second interview went great on Friday, so you never know.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Noodle Market

Tonight we are going to the Noodle Market. It's like a farmers market, Aussie style. Every Friday night in the summer, they have an outdoor market in North Sydney where you can buy fruit and veg. You can bring a picnic and hang out and meet people and just enjoy being outdoors. They even have entertainment like concerts, clowns for the kids, etc. Sounds pretty fun. And, it's a cheaper way to buy produce than in the grocery store. Produce is VERY expensive here. Bananas are about $2 per pound. And mangoes and avocados can be as much as $3 each. So, we plan to hit the Noodle Market each Friday for some fruit... and to meet some of our new neighbours.

I have a second interview this morning for a really great job. I hope to have good news to report about that soon!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Settling in

This blogging thing can get difficult after awhile. I wonder what sorts of things are going to be interesting for someone else to read about.

Jon and I spent last weekend settling in. Got a bed finally and assembled it. So nice not to be sleeping on the floor anymore. We also spent a small fortune on "stuff" at IKEA and Big W (which is realy Walmat, but don't say that to an Aussie, because they are pretty squidgy about Walmart and all things American.) Whatever. We can't wait for the Costco to open!

The weather has been great. A bit rainy last Saturday, and then a few days of cloud, but that was good for me, because I have managed to get a beauty of a sunburn already. My nose is peeling like you wouldn't believe. We spent the weekend wandering downtown Sydney and checking out Darling Harbour and the various tourist attractions. We also went for a drive up the coast a ways and saw some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Most have been closed for swimming due to the tail end of Cyclone Helen, which went through last week. The waves have been over 9 feet in places. The surfers love it though.

I have been going on these fun little mini-adventures I like to call "job interviews." They are just delightful and I can only hope that they are not all in vain and that one of these days one of them might actually result in a (gasp) job offer! We are keeping our fingers crossed. I am starting to feel like a bit of a lazybum.

No living room furniture yet. When we get around to it, I'll post pictures of our apartment. Right now, just picture a big open space with a pile of laundry in the middle.

Ya'll would not believe the number of restaurants around here. I think there must be at least 100 within a 10 minute walk of our apartment. Not great for the diet - but the Thai food sure is good! yum. We have been doing well though, and going for a long walk every day. I hope that my stash of "skinny clothes" will fit soon, or I am going to feel real foolish for filling a suitcase with them instead of more important items... like sheets. Or flip flops.

Our crate hasn't arrived yet. Maybe another week or so. By the time it gets here, it'll feel like Christmas, because we'll have forgotten half of the stuff in there. There will be exclamations of "wow, I totally forgot we owned THREE plastic pasta strainers!"

This coming weekend we plan on heading back down into the CBD (Central Business District, also known as "downtown") and checking out The Rocks and the Botanical Gardens. Friday night is the farmers market, which I need to stop at and buy some fruit and veg. Much cheaper there than at the local grocery store.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I am getting around quite well now on the bus and train. I feel like I can get pretty much anywhere and it's not bad at all. And my cold is pretty much gone. Finally.

More soon!

Friday, January 4, 2008

One of those moments

Yesterday I sat under a palm tree, reading a book. I hear a noise, look up, and see a lorikeet. I think to myself, "self, you are sitting under a palm tree, reading a book, and there is a lorikeet over your head. Oh, and self? It's January."

I wonder if that kind of moment will seem commonplace after awhile? I hope not.

I have my first Aussie job interview today. And our bed is being delivered today. Woohoo!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year from Sydney!

Happy New year to you all. Hard to believe we are finally here. What a crazy couple of weeks. Christmas was good. Jonathan was home on the 19th and we had several crazy days of running around and buying last minute stuff (that we later learned we had NO room for in our suitcases.)

We had Gabby with us this year from the 22nd through the 28th, and the visit went pretty smoothly. We arrived in the Soo late on the 22nd and stayed through the morning of the 28th. Somewhere in there I came down with a bad cold and sinus infection, which I am not so happy to report, has followed me to the Land Down Under.

On our way north to drop off Gabby on the 28th, the rear wheel bearing went on the car, which made for a not-so-fun day and caused us to arrive back in TO around 3 am on the day we were to fly out. Oh, and did I mention we also were enjoying a huge snowstorm that day? Ugh. However, we managed to get packed and to the airport on time. (Thanks Mr. DiMarco!)

The flight to LAX was not so fun. The stewards and stewardesses were former Nazis who refused to let anyone use the washroom for 4.5 hours. Note to self, avoid American Airlines. Once we were in LAX though, we had relaxed and finally realized "hey, we are on our way to Australia!" That euphoria almost helped us ignore the price of a sandwich in LAX.

The flight from LA to Sydney was great. Seriously, I have never enjoyed a flight more. For those of you who swear they'll never visit us because the flight is too long, I have to say, your loss. It's not bad at all. Big shout out to Qantas Airlines, you guys rock. We settled into our comfy seats, turned on the video on demand movies, and were served dinner, snacks, hot cocoa before bed, and had comfy pillows and blankets. They even give you socks for the plane. Nice. In the morning, we got a hot breakfast, hot towels, and a gorgeous view of Sydney harbour as the sun came up on New Years Eve.

As a recap, we left TO on Saturday evening, and arrived in Sydney 21 hours later - on Monday morning. Sunday was pretty much lost. That is a bit of a weird feeling.

Arriving in Sydney was a surreal experience. It was HOT. And sunny. And there are plam trees everywhere. I was a bit shellshocked and tired. Anxious for a shower and a change of clothes. We took a cab to our apartment (which is great - well done Jonathan!) and dumped all our stuff on the floor. Four days later, it's pretty much still there. LOL

After doing a bit of grocery shopping and taking a nap, we were off to meet some friends from Jon's office for the NYE fireworks. We had a great view from the naval base, and it was amazing to sit and look at the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House and think "we are really here!" The fireworks were the best in the world. Absolutely amazing. What a show. What a fun night.

On Jan 1st we went up to Manly Beach and stood with our toes in the waves while we watched the surfers. Amazing. What an experience to stand on one of the world's BEST beaches on the first day of the year. Unforgettable. Manly is so beautiful, it instantly inspires you to sell everything you own and live the rest of your life as a beach bum. Ok, maybe that is just how it inspired me, but I promise, you have to see it for yourself. It's amazing.

Jan 2nd Jonathan was back to work, so I spent the day finding my way around on foot. It's about a 25 minute walk to Jon's office from home and pretty much anything you could ever need is within walking distance. I am hoping to find a job I can walk to or at least get to easily by bus. Shouldn't be too hard. I got a bit of a sunburn on my walk and need to be more diligent about the sunblock, hat and sunglasses. It's VERY sunny here.

Today is my catch up day and I'm starting to seriously look for a job. We have a bit of shopping to do yet for the apartment (some furniture might be nice, eventually) but otherwise, I am anxious to get back into a routine.

I promise to post more pictures soon!