Thursday, December 16, 2010


One of my favourite things about the Christmas season has always been the lights. I remember when I was growing up, we used to drive down to Thanksgiving at Grams each year, and on the way home, my brothers and sisters and I would count how many houses we could see all lit up for Christmas. We never had Christmas at our house, you see, so those lights were like the mark of some secret society, all glittery and pretty against the snow.

I'll admit, I think the snow is a big part of the magic. The Husband and I took a detour on the way home the other night, just to drive past a house we had heard about - all lit up for Christmas. For Australian standards, it was pretty fantastic. You just don't see houses decked out Griswold-style here the way you see them 'back home.' Maybe it's because a strand of lights is $40+ here, but it could also be because there is no snow. The lights just don't feel the same without the snow.

The Husband and I didn't put up a tree this year, and I am missing the sparkle of the lights. I remember putting up the tree in years past and then turning off all the house lights and sitting in the dark, just watching the tree twinkle. (Of course, that is usually about the time the tree would crash to the floor. No kidding. It happened three years running. True story.) Still, I would love to come home to the sparkle and twinkle of those lights. It never seemed like Christmas until they were up.

Last night, after one too many Christmas centric episodes of my favourite TV shows (how many of you would have loved to kick Dwight Schrute in the face?!) I was feeling a little blue. It just doesn't feel like Christmas without the lights! So I dug out a single strand of white Christmas lights, plugged them in, and draped them over the book case. Turned out the lamp, and just looked at them twinkle. Perfect. All is right with the world.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

baking day

Every year for over 10 years I have said "one day, I am going to take a day off and do all of my holiday baking." Well, this year, I finally did it. I took a Friday off, dusted off a few favourite recipes, as well as a few new ones, and spent a whole day baking. In reality, it ended up taking the better part of 3 days to get it all done, but everything sure turned out pretty.

The final tally... three days, 12 eggs, 1 kilo of butter, 2 bags of flour, 5 pounds of chocolate, over 350 cookies, 4 batches of icing, and 12 gift boxes of goodies. Oh, and a very, very sore back. Ugh.

But, how beautiful are these? Bet you are wishing you are on my Christmas list this year, aren't you?

Monday, December 6, 2010


Just had two minutes this morning before rushing off to work, and wanted to share some of the photos I took yesterday. The Husband and I took a walk through the city, all decked out in it's Christmas fancies. One upside to all the rain we have been getting is that the city is so green. All the flowers and blossoms are lovely, but I was so thankful for a sunny day - finally!

We had a nice afternoon at the Art Gallery of NSW with some friends, and then a long dinner on the patio at Pinos. It finally felt like summer. Love it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

looking backward to move forward

Aren't you always amazed at how fast time flies? One minute you are a child and the very next minute, you are all grown up, with adult worries and responsibilities. It's crazy how fast life just passes you by.

I admit, I have been wishing my life away lately. I am always waiting for it to be the weekend, or for it to be the holidays, or for it to be lunchtime, for that matter. It's not a healthy way to live life, but it seems that most of us are always looking forward to the next big thing, instead of appreciating the little things that are right now.

I was telling The Husband this week that I'd like to write a book about growing up in my family and all the little things that I remember. Trouble is, those little things come to mind when I am lying awake in the middle of the night, or when I am washing dishes... and I never take the time to sit in front of a notebook and write them down. It's hard to grasp onto those little things - they can zip by so quickly.

I have been looking back at old photos this week. After a recent hard drive failure, I am feeling a little more vulnerable about back ups and losing memories. My biggest regret is not taking the time to take more photos. I think I always felt like I had plenty of time to take more photos later. But the sun goes down and people move away and kids grow so fast and... suddenly the opportunity has passed.

I think my resolution for the coming year is going to be two fold. First, I am going to start carrying around a notebook to capture the little things. And secondly, I am going to take more photos. It's time to start making the effort; I know someday I'll be thankful that I did.

Monday, November 29, 2010

food coma

Thanksgiving was a massive success. Food, friends, laughs, and a total food hangover. Two days later and I think I am still suffering the effects. Totally worth it though... I could eat pumpkin pie every single day and never tire of it. While I missed my family, the friends we shared the day with were a perfect substitute. (Read more about the day here.) Many thanks to them for sharing their day with us!

Now that Thanksgiving is over with, it's officially summer here in Oz. In fact, this week marks the official first day of summer. I am looking forward to getting out on that beautiful big blue ocean and going kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming. So glad it's beach season - I have a ton of books to read! I am trying to focus on the positives and not think about the fact that "back home" they got their first dusting of snow this week. Strangely, I am feeling a little jealous. Feel free to mail me some!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

thanks giving

Even though we won't be home for Thanksgiving this year, we are still going to be observing the day. While we will be trudging off to the office on the actual day, we'll be sharing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with some good friends on Saturday. The turkey, whom we have affectionately named Kyle, is already cooling his heels in the fridge. I'm not convinced the 15 pound guy is going to fit in the oven, but we'll see.

I thought it would be appropriate, given the season, to take a moment and give thanks for the good things in our lives. It's a Thanksgiving tradition in my family to go around the table and name something you are thankful for. Given the size of my family, this can sometimes take a while. But it's a good reminder for all of us as to all of the things we really have been blessed with.

This year, if I were sitting around that table, I would first say that I am thankful for my husband. He is the best man I have ever known. Kind, smart, thoughtful, good, loving, patient, calm, and so much fun to be with. I am truly the luckiest woman in the world to have both him and his daughter as my family.

I am also so thankful for the health my entire family has been blessed with. One of my biggest worries when coming here was that something might happen back home and I wouldn't be able to be there. There have been some scares, but for the most part, I am so thankful that everyone is happy and healthy.

I am thankful for friends. The good kind - the ones who show me grace when I screw up and those who offer a shoulder when I need one. The ones who make me laugh and even those who have taught me tough lessons.

Lastly, this year I am thankful for peace. The kind that comes from knowing that I am doing the right thing, even when it's not popular. The kind that comes from knowing I have done my best, and that is good enough. The kind that comes from realising that not everyone is going to approve of my choices, and that's ok! That doesn't make them bad choices. That kind of peace is such a blessing.

To those who we hold dearest - may you have a blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving this year. We have plenty of turkey to spare - feel free to stop by!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

summer saturday

After what has seemed like weeks of rain, we had one gorgeous, hot, sunny day last weekend. We spent that day at the Red Bull Flugtag in Sydney's botanic gardens. A whole day, sitting in the sun, enjoying the view and the company of friends. Which led to me getting perhaps the worst sunburn I can ever remember, except for that one I had in Italy years ago... Anyway, this sunburn was so bad, in fact, that I neglected to wear shoes at the office for four days last week - simply due to the fact that I couldn't get them on my poor feet. I may have even claimed at one point that said sunburn was more painful than childbirth. I may have been crying when I said that. You get the idea. It was a bad sunburn. The moral of this story is that THIS weekend, when they predicted hot, sunny weather, and The Husband wanted to get out and enjoy it - I finally did what any responsible person would do: I went out and bought sunblock. Three cheers for me.

All that said, today we got out on the water for the first kayak of the summer. We joined a 7:30am Saturday kayak fitness class and it was fabulous. The water was calm and quiet, the sun was coming up and it was still cool enough to be comfortable. While the fitness part of it was a little annoying (says the professional couch potato), the kayaking was gorgeous and I can't wait to get back out there. I think we are going to make it a Saturday tradition from now on. It was a good workout and so much fun.

Since the kayak place is just around the corner from my office, I took the opportunity to take some photos of a couple of the things I drive past every day on the way to work. I see them each day and have been wanting to stop and take pictures. I think these are the kinds of things I'll miss the most one day when Australia is no longer home.

To me, November is the most beautiful time of the year in Sydney.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Just a nod to the time of year I love the most in North America. Autumn leaves, the smell of cinnamon, the taste of freshly made pumpkin doughnuts. The urge to start nesting for the long winter months. Baking pies, wearing sweaters, planting mums. Looking forward to doing that all again someday.

three years

Today is the 3 year anniversary of the date The Husband arrived in Sydney. It seems like just the other day I was starting this blog and looking forward to this move with such excitement. I can't believe how quickly the past 3 years have gone. Faster than I could have ever imagined.

Over the past 3 years, this city has gone from being a strange, scary place to being home. I've learned to find my way around. I can drive on the "wrong" side of the road without giving it a second thought. I know where to go to buy shoes and macarons and contact solution. I say things like "easy as" and "I reckon" and "get stuffed." I have learned to look forward to springtime in September and summer in January. Things that once were foreign are now familiar.

Someday I will look back on our time here and there are so many things, people and places that I will miss so much. For now, I am focused on trying to enjoy those things all the more because I know that I won't have them forever.

The Husband and I have been loving the warmer weather lately. It's well and truly the early days of summer now, and the longer afternoons are so welcome. We've recently spent a day at the horse races and caught a Sydney Kings basketball game. Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending two lovely weddings while The Husband travelled to the Gold Coast for a work/play weekend.

This weekend I am determined to start my Christmas shopping and choose recipes for some holiday goodie boxes. It will be the end of the year before you know it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

business or pleasure?

I went to Queensland for work last week. Raise your hand if you think travelling for work is fun? Guess what? You are wrong. It may seem fun, but it is so not. Unless said "work" includes sitting on the beach or getting a massage... there is nothing fun about it. Case in point, my trip to Queensland last week. I went to Noosa, a town that is known for it's beautiful beaches, lovely shops, nice restaurants, and tropical feel. Want to see what it looked like? Like this:

Only it was darker. With more rain. In fact, with about 400mm more rain, to be precise. That is SIXTEEN inches, for those of you in the Imperial world. Say it with me folks - holy crap!

While I had a lovely time training our fine folks in the Noosa office, the fun really started once I went to the airport to try and go home. On a Friday night. On the last flight out of town. (And for some fun irony, it was the Sunshine Coast airport. Snort.)

Apparently the runway at the Sunshine Coast airport is too short, causing real problems in rainy weather. And boy oh boy, was it ever raining! Like a bloody monsoon, I tell you. So - about 3 hours after we were supposed to leave, they announced that we would not in fact, be leaving on a plane that evening. But - never fear - they kindly offered to bus all 160 of us to Brisbane that evening, allowing us to try and get a flight home the next day. However, the buses would not arrive until nearly 10:30pm, and they couldn't exactly guarantee we would get a flight the next day. But - the alternative was sleeping on the floor in the airport, so we all got on the bus.

I'd like to go on record and truly thank Jetstar for that lovely experience. Taking a 2 hour bus ride in the middle of the night while getting soaked by leaky windows and kicked repeatedly by some annoying kid next to me was totally on my bucket list. And now I can happily cross it off.

After about 5 hours sleep at a (thankfully) fairly decent hotel, we were herded back onto the bus and returned to the Brisbane airport... where we waited for a plane. I arrived home about 22 hours after originally getting to the airport. Losing most of my weekend in the process.

I am truly looking forward to flying back to Brisbane next week. I think they are calling for rain.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

daylight savings

Last weekend was Labour Day weekend here; officially the first long weekend of summer. With it came daylight savings, The Husband's birthday, and 3 days of rain. Why does it always seem to rain on the long weekends? Regardless, we had a nice couple of days off work, spent time with friends, and lunched at Sushi Train. Yum.

The days are longer now, and while it royally stinks to have to get up at what feels like 5:30am, it sure is nice to leave the office when it's still daylight. Feels like summer... which totally makes me miss having a bbq in the backyard. I also miss having a backyard, for that matter. But I am looking forward to some beach weekends very soon.

Work has been going well - nothing too exciting though. I am heading back to Brissy for part of this week. I thought I would love to travel for work. The Husband would travel every day and be happy as a dog with two tails, but I don't enjoy it all that much. I don't enjoy flying by myself, airports make me tense. And I don't enjoy staying in hotels by myself, I never know where to get dinner. But - it's not too terrible to have to fly to tropical Queensland, even if it is for work. I should really take my camera and try to take some photos this time. Alternately, I could learn how to get the photos off my iphone and onto my computer, eh?

This month marks the 3 year anniversary of when The Husband first landed on this continent. I cannot believe that it has been 3 years already. Where has the time gone?

Sorry for such a random post, I can't think of anything to say lately. The past few months have been tough for me and I struggle to know how much I should put out into the blogosphere these days. I find myself wanting to be more private and hold my loved ones and our memories a little closer. I am sure some of you understand.

Monday, September 27, 2010

spring in the hunter

This weekend was the first that really felt like summer. It was hot and the air carried the smell of smoke from the preventative burns they have been doing in the western suburbs. The Husband and I both needed a change of scenery so we took a drive to the Hunter Valley. It was in full spring bloom - flowers everywhere. Lots of colour to photograph.

We took the long, winding way up, enjoying the view. I don't think I will ever get over the bizarre beauty of this country. Sometimes the scenery takes your breath away. Other times, it seems straight out of a Dr. Seuss poem.

Back to work this week, with the anticipation of a long weekend coming up. And it's The Husband's birthday, so we will have a little celebrating to do as well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

under the weather

I have yet another cold. And this one seems to have moved in for one of those long extended stays. It's packed a few suitcases and brought it's own pillow. It's not going anywhere. I am miserable. I hate having a cold. Especially now that the weather is warming up and starting to hint that summer might actually come sometime soon. Instead of getting out and enjoying it, I am huddling over a tissue box, coughing up a lung. (I love that expression! Just try and get that image out of your head!)

The good thing about having this cold is that I get to cancel all my training classes this week and spend some quiet time in the office. All my office mates are So Glad that I am sharing the whole "I've got a cold" experience with them.

I am including this picture only because it's the one thing inspiring me to leave the couch this morning.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

picnic weather

Spent the most beautiful, hot & sunny day yesterday at Kurraba Point with some new friends. Spring is in the air and the sunshine is hot and delicious. I hope it's the first of many picnics to come this year!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


We took a wander down to Bondi last weekend for the Festival of the Winds. Bondi isn't my favourite beach in the summer - I find it too crowded and there is very little shade for those of us who can fry like an egg in 30 seconds flat. Also, it's pretty far from home and extremely hard (and expensive!) to find parking. But in cooler weather, Bondi is gorgeous. And as we are just starting our spring season here, we took advantage of a warm, sunny day to check out the kite festival.

There were hundreds of brightly coloured kites, all shapes and sizes. Beautiful against the blue sky and the ocean. So many interesting people to watch. I could have done an entire photo collage of funny dogs we saw on the boardwalk. (Might have to keep that in mind for the next time we go for a wander.)

It's so nice to have warmer weather and be able to get out and enjoy it on the weekends. Looking forward to some fun weekend plans in the coming weeks!

Monday, September 6, 2010


It's September again. Seems like I was just celebrating my 30th birthday, and here it is two whole years since. Time sure does fly. I always used to love this time of year in North America. September meant the end of summer, cooler weather, autumn holidays, and back to school.

The first two years we were here, I had a really hard time in September. I wanted it to be autumn, and it felt weird that it wasn't. But this year, I am so looking forward to spring. It's felt like a long winter here, and I am ready for some sunshine. Can't wait for beach weather, kayaking weather, and picnics by the ocean. Looking forward to snorkeling with The Husband too.

If you are in the northern hemisphere... what was your favourite part of summer this year? And if you are here down under... what are you most looking forward to this year?

Sunday, August 29, 2010


She is my youngest sibling, so much like I was it's almost scary. She is so full of life and she absolutely cracks me up.

summer vacation in Michigan

It was hot, sunny, and gorgeous. We spent time with my family, and a couple of days in Frankenmuth. Such a fun vacation - relaxing and full of laughter. Sorry we don't have great photos - I was having too much fun to take many!

changing seasons

Gosh, I am not doing so well with this blogging thing, these days. Sorry to the (maybe) one or two people who still check it occasionally, hoping that perhaps, just maybe, I found some time to actually write something.

We had dinner last night with some folks who have just moved to Sydney from the good ol' USA and we were commenting on blogging. I was thinking back to when we first came here, when everything was new and exciting. It was easy to blog then, everything seemed interesting and "blog worthy." Nowadays, I think back over my week (work, grocery shopping, laundry, dinner, work...) and think, meh, not much to report! Sad, I know.

Perhaps it will help that is is nearly spring here in Oz. Cannot tell you how nice that is. It's been a chilly winter and I am ready to get me some sunburn, I mean some summer. Pretty soon the jacarandas will be blooming!

Our vacation back in Canada / Michigan was a nice one, but too short. We had a great time with G and with our friends and family. Since returning, we have been back to work and busy. Traveling for both of us - a conference for The Husband and Brisbane last week for me. Teaching 4 back to back sessions on the same thing, not exactly my idea of pie and ice cream, but it was fun to see another city.

It's nearly autumn back home again, and it gets easier and easier each year to deal with the changing seasons. I still miss my birthday month being about pumpkins and falling leaves... but here we look forward to the spring sunshine and upcoming beach picnics. So, it all evens out. We have some fun plans for the next few months. A few weekend trips, a friends wedding, and a big end-of-year finale. Can't wait. Have to try harder to get my blogging shoes on more often.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

life takes over

We are in the middle of our third winter here in Sydney. Sometimes it amazes me that we have lived here nearly three years. There are days when I don't know where the time has gone... like it was just yesterday when we arrived. I remember the day I exited the airport into the heat and humidity, taking in the smells and sounds of Australia for the first time. I remember learning how to find my way around on the bus and the train and on foot. I remember hearing the Aussie accent over and over again until it no longer sounded foreign and started to sound normal.

At the same time, there are days when I feel like we have been here forever. I think back to all our firsts here; all of the things that are now part of our daily life. Things we now do without even thinking about them. We have done what we set out to do here - we have made a life. And it's a good life. We have made the effort to learn about Australia and have come to appreciate so much about this country and it's people.

I joke sometimes that I either love it or hate it here. But to be honest, I have had more joys here than sorrows. Last week I planned to meet a friend in the city after work. So I left my car at home, took a bus into the city, walked to meet her, spent an hour showing her around the city, grabbed sushi, then walked back to the station and took the bus home. As we crossed the harbour bridge, I looked out the window at the lights of the city and found myself thinking, "I love it here." And the truth is, I have had so many of those moments here. And someday, when our time here is over, I can honestly say I am going to be very sorry to say goodbye to Australia.

I haven't been blogging much lately, for lots of reasons. One, I joined Facebook. Yeah, I know. I joined in a moment of weakness when I was really sad and lonely and somehow I thought FB would make everything better. Ha. Can I just say, if you treated me like crap in high school, is there a reason why we'd want to chat it up now? Anyway, another reason I haven't been blogging is because I started a new job in June and my life has surprisingly become a lot calmer. It suddenly felt like I had my life back, and it's been nice to just experience what that feels like. And speaking of life, the other reason I haven't been blogging is because, well, because life has just sort of taken over.

For the most part, life here isn't sort of new anymore. It's comfortable. It's grocery shopping and weekends and dropping off clothes at the cleaners. It's just.. life. And while life is good and we are good, there doesn't feel like there is much to talk about. It feels like the honeymoon is over and I have accepted that Australia is never going to put it's socks in the hamper. And I am ok with that. But I am not ready quite yet to give up on the excitement. There is still so much we haven't done here yet.

So, starting in August, I am going to try and get some of that honeymoon feelin' back. I am going to make more of an effort to find things to get excited about. But first, I need to spend a weekend in bed to try to get rid of this cold.

random winter photos

A few random photos from last weekend's trip to the markets.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

on the counter

Things you will find on my counter (or benchtop, as they say here) in winter:

A pot roast in the slow cooker. Warm and smelling delicious when you come in from the cold. Root veggies, staple sides to most winter meals. Lemons, to season grilled haloumi salads and Moroccan tagines. Fruit, to keep away the scurvy. (At least that is what The Husband likes to say.)

It was the coldest morning recorded in 15 years today. It was bloody cold. I think they said -4c, but I can't be sure. I couldn't hear over the sound of my shivering. Crazy to think that people 'back home' will be grilling at the lake this weekend, watching fireworks and making s'mores. I feel like curling up under a couple dozen blankets and sleeping til spring!

Happy Canada Day / Fourth of July, everybody!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

winter again

I think it rained every single day of May, this year. And probably most of the first 2 weeks of June, as well. And while you don't have to shovel rain, therefore I shouldn't even think of complaining about it... 6 weeks of solid rain can really get to you. However, the winter sun has finally arrived and we have been having crisp mornings followed by glorious blue skies. It's winter again in Sydney.

I think I may have been here too long, because I find myself missing snow. How insane is that? It feels like winter. The leaves have all fallen and the trees are bare. It's cold at night and people are wearing scarves and mitts. There are end of financial year sales on in all the shops, and it almost feels like Christmas. But, what it all really needs is a light dusting of snow to tie it all together.

Thankfully, next week marks the start of the Sydney Winter Festival. For the second year, the magic of a snowy winter is coming to Sydney. With an ice rink and mulled cider and a snow machine... visiting the Winter Fest is like a mini-vacation to the Alps... just a short bus ride from home. I can't wait.

And, if that wasn't enough, my favourite market is also having a winter festival, Winterland, starting in July. Pretty excited about that one too.

But, best of all, in Balmain they are hosting Christmas in July! With caroling! I am so there. The Husband doesn't know it yet... but I am planning to hit all three festivals this year! Hooray! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

arrival of winter

In the past two weeks, the weather has turned cold here, and the rains have started. It's funny how you wish all summer for cooler weather, but as soon as the winter comes, you dream of sunshiney days. It has been nice, however, to "rug up" as they say, and wear cozy sweaters and make pots of chili.

We've been busy lately - working altogether to much, and doing some travelling as well. The Husband is getting to travel for work quite a bit in the next month, which makes him very happy. As I have had some exciting new changes to my job, I'll also be looking at doing some travelling in the next while. Pretty exciting stuff.

Not all that much to report lately, just wanted to share a few photos taken at a popular kayaking spot nearby, on one of the last of our warm autumn weekends.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Last night we had tickets to the symphony. Now, I know you are probably scrunching your nose and rolling your eyes and thinking "really? the symphony?!"... but seriously, it was one of the best nights of entertainment I have ever had.

When I was growing up, we didn't get to watch regular TV. But we did get to watch whatever videos could be borrowed from the local library. And so my brothers and sisters and I grew up watching lots of animal documentaries, and lots of musicals. So when I heard that the Sydney Symphony was doing the best of Rodgers & Hammerstein's, on stage and screen, I was pretty excited. And rightly so - what a show it was!

Always a joy to attend a show in the world renowned Sydney Opera House, going there at night with it lit up and surrounded by people all dressed up is really an experience. We had fantastic seats and I felt like a kid in a candy store, watching all the different instruments and hearing them play the songs I grew up listening to. Definitely a night to remember.

The whole time, I was thinking about how much my family would have loved it, and how I wished they all could have been there with us. I am feeling a bit sorry for myself this weekend, as I am missing out on the big family party for my Mom today. But I am thinking of you, Mom. Hope you have a fantastic birthday and Happy Mother's Day! Mwah!

road trip to the roo valley

We took a drive down to one of my favourite towns, Berry, in the Southern Highlands region of New South Wales. I was hoping that we would see some lovely autumn colour, but it's been too warm lately and there wasn't much colour to be seen. Still, a nice drive and a fun day with my favourite guy.


A day that always makes me feel both proud and sad. It seems like it rains on ANZAC Day every year. Makes it hard to get some good photos, but we managed to get a few anyway. We had good intentions to go to the 4am dawn service, but it was pouring rain, and admittedly, very warm and cozy in bed. So, maybe next year. We did end the day in a very Aussie way - with a couple rounds of two-up at the Australian Hotel, in the Rocks.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

long weekend

It's ANZAC weekend and so we have Monday off work. I am so relieved, it's been a long week. We have some fun things planned - yum cha at the fish market, dawn services and the parade tomorrow, and a road trip to Kangaroo Valley and Berry on Monday. Hoping to get some good photos at the parade and in the Southern Highlands on Monday. The autumn colours in the foothills should be just about perfect. I am so excited!

Hope you all have a good weekend - we'll be back next week with photos!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I am feeling under the weather this week. Not sleeping well, achy and tired. Generally icky. The Husband has been wonderful, as always, and is taking good care of me. So glad it's finally almost the weekend. All I want to do is sleep!

It was cold in the mornings here this week - in the 50's! The leaves are starting to turn and I am hoping for a road trip to the Kangaroo Valley next weekend to photograph some of the autumn colours, just like we did last year. Seems hard to believe that was an entire year ago already. Time sure has flown by.

Not much else to report this week. Work has been busy for both of us and I have been working a little too much, which is probably why I feel so icky. Hopefully nothing some rest won't cure. Here's hoping for a rainy weekend!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I know it was sunny and hot here today. And it doesn't feel like winter is coming... but it is. And while we won't see flocks of geese flying south or snowflakes dancing in the air... the seasons do change here. One of my fears in moving here was that I would miss out on the changing of the seasons. Thankfully, I was wrong.

The time changed last week and there is a distinct chill in the morning air. It's dark earlier, and shop windows display sweaters and winter coats. Apples and pumpkins are in season, and I start to have thoughts of soup and quilts and flannel pajamas. (Ok, admittedly, I wear those year round.)

Saw this poem today and felt a little excited for winter. Surely that is a sign that this North American girl has been here awhile.

Winter is coming! The wind that blows
Hard from the north, from the land of snows,
Nips the fingers and reddens the nose,
Whips the branches and tugs the clothes
And strips the tree,
Till nothing is left of her yellow attire;
And hoar frost streaks the choclatey mire,
And crows string like crochets along the wire,
And wanderers think of home and fire,
And so do we.

-Shirley Hughes

Sunday, April 4, 2010

road trip through the blue

A few weeks ago, on a foggy Saturday morning, we spontaneously decided to jump in the car and take a road trip through the Blue Mountains. We have been to the mountains before, but we'd never done the whole loop, and since the seasons are changing here and there is a hint of autumn in the air, we figured it would be a perfect day to take a drive in the Blue.

Some may think a spontaneous 8 hour road trip is not a fun idea, but it's one of our favourite ways to spend a day. And we were rewarded with some gorgeous views as the sun burned away the fog. It seemed like we had the whole place to ourselves. it had been raining for weeks, but the sun finally came out and everywhere was the smell of eucalyptus and pine and roses.

We stopped and bought a fresh baked apple pie at a roadside stand - which later turned out to be horrible tasting, but it sure smelled good! And we spent a good hour photographing an old frontier town, overrun with time and home to some of the biggest lizards I have ever seen. We wound our way through sleepy little towns like Kurrajong, Bilpin, Mt Tomah and Lithgow - where we stopped for some homemade burgers and hot chips in a little holeinthewall diner. We then looped back around to Leura, one of my favourite little tourist towns, where we stopped for ice cream before heading home. Great way to spend a day.

tidal caves

The day after the terrible earthquake in Chile, we were issued a tsunami warning for low lying areas on the coast. As it happens, that is the day we planned to go tidal caving with a group from The Husband's photography club. Maybe not the smartest thing going, but in the end, there were no tsunami's and we had a chance to learn a lot about this amazing country we are living in.

Accompanied by a local guide, we were afforded an up close and personal look at the vegetation and geology of the coastline, about 2 hours north of Sydney. Did you know that after a bushfire, the burnt trunks of palms can remain and continue growing for over 40 YEARS after the fire? Pretty inspiring. Also, apparently palms aren't trees at all. They are a grass, since they grow from the top up. Neat.

It was an unbearable hot day, and we had a pretty steep climb ahead of us to reach the caves, but along the way we saw sinkholes, rare and endangered plants, iron ore deposits from ancient underground rivers, and some of the most gorgeous coastline you could imagine.

Once we reached the beach, we had to roll up our pants, tie our shoes around our necks, hold our cameras way over our heads, and wade through the surf to get to the tidal caves. I wasn't expecting caverns the size of a stadium to be buried under the cliffs. Years of pounding waves had created this whole underground world, filled with crazy cool rock formations. It was well worth the 2 hour hike in 100 degree heat.

It's pretty awesome to think that these kind of places exist... all you have to do is go looking for them.


I think I have mentioned before that the Eveleigh Markets are one of my favourite places in Sydney. We got another chance go hang out there a couple Saturday's ago, and every time we go, I love them more. They make me want to scrap the office career and plant veggies. Someday I would love to run a farmers market like Eveleigh. The smells, the colours, the people... it's my favourite setting in the world.

We happened to be there on the day they were celebrating Chinese New Year, and so the place was alive with drums and dragon dancing. It's also the place you'll find THE best bacon-egg-roll in all of Sydney. And I am not making that up. There is just something about bacon and eggs cooked in the open air, then piled on a soft roll and doused with tomato sauce (ketchup.) Yum.

We went to take pictures of the summer produce at it's peak, and we left with bags of cheese and veggies, and hot pink homegrown roses that smelled like raspberries. Looking forward to going back this month for autumn apples, pumpkins and some amazing kangaroo paw to decorate our apartment for Fall.

ride em, cowboy

One hot weekend back in February, The Husband and I drove down to a small country town called Taralga, for their annual Rodeo. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I didn't expect to have such a great time. And I didn't expect it to make me feel so homesick. These people were the kind of people that I grew up with. Simple, country folk, enjoying the day and the sun, and cheering on their neighbours. It was an awesome day and I can't wait for next year.

The Husband and I both brought our cameras, and between us we took over 700 photos. There were so many interesting characters and gorgeous horses and hilarious kids. The people interested me the most, and I mainly focused on them. Loving the zoom lens, so I can get photos while no one even notices.

The entire day, all I could think was how much my sisters would have loved being there. I wished they could have come along and shared the day with us. It was hotter than you can imagine, and dustier than all get out. At the end of the day, I could write my name in the layer of dust that clung to the sunblock on my arm. But it was worth it. We had a great day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

miss me?

Sorry... life has sort of, well, taken on a life of it's own lately, and I just needed a break. However, I promise to update you on all, or at least some, of our recent adventures very soon. I have a long weekend ahead of me and I have resolved to make the most of it.

But first, I am going to try and enjoy the day with The Husband. It's 6 years today since he said "I do, I will, Whatever" - so a celebration is in order. Be back soon!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

random summer shots

Posted by Picasa

advance australia fair

Yikes, it's been over a month since Australia Day. I have been so slack in posting photos. The Husband and I had a great day off... even if it was about 108f that day. So glad that heat wave has finally passed.

Crazy as we are, we got up at about 4:30am that day and trucked out to Parramatta, a western suburb of Sydney. I don't usually get out that early and it's always fun to experience the sounds and smells of Australia in the early morning. It was already nearly 100 degrees at 5am, and the whole world smelled strongly of eucalyptus. It was so strong I could barely breathe. We were on our way to the fairgrounds to see the dawn hot air balloon launch. Sadly, it was raining (as it had every day for 3 weeks prior) and so there was no "dawn" just a grey drizzle. But, we went anyway.

Despite it being hot and sticky, we still managed to get some decent pictures.

After that, I'll admit I went back to bed for a few hours. And then we headed down to the Sydney Harbour.

My lovely boss had given us a gift certificate for a harbour front restaurant for Christmas, and we thought this would be the perfect time to use it. Great views, great food... what more could you ask for? The highlight was the table of inebriated old guys next to us who spent their lunch singing the Australian national anthem at the top of their lungs. Ah, good times.

The ferry boat / tall ship parade was great this year, and the air show was pretty fun too. We hung out on a blanket under the bridge until I was well and sunburned, then we headed home. All in all, a fun day off.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I know I am so far behind with this blog. I have photos to upload from our Australia Day adventures, as well as the rodeo we went to a few weekends ago. And I'll get to those soon, I promise.

It's been raining every day here for almost 3 weeks. They are predicting rain for the entire month of February. Usually I love rain, but lately it just feels depressing.

I look back on the past 2 weeks as some of the hardest weeks of my life, emotionally. The Husband and I have faced a couple of challenges that have left us both feeling shell shocked and drained.

I acknowledge that there will always be those in your life who will disappoint you. However, when you are disappointed by someone you least expected, someone you thought you could trust, it's doubly hard. Figuring out how to reconcile that disappointment, how to move on, and how not to let it leave you bitter and angry... that can be equally challenging. I especially struggle with that. My first instinct is to close ranks and shut that person out of my life... not allowing them to further hurt me or the ones I love. It's hard to know the right way to react. Maybe it will just take time.

Here's hoping this week brings clearer skies and a clearer mind.

Monday, January 25, 2010

a day off

Tomorrow is Australia Day, which is like the 4th of July, or Canada Day... only Australian. It falls on a Tuesday this year, which kind of sucks, since we had to go to work today... but tomorrow we have the day off. And we have some fun plans, so check back later for the photos.

Happy Australia Day!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

tomato... tomahto

It’s interesting how when you grow up in the US and then relocate to another part of the world, you start to realise how very American certain behaviors, fashions, and expressions really are. While in the States I never gave it much thought but here someone will say, “Oh that's so American!" And I could never quite decide whether that was good or bad. For instance, this week a co-worker, who was talking to me about another co-worker said "do you see how he drives? with his arm hanging out the window? that is sooo American!" I am starting to think that it might not be a compliment.

On a similar note, the funniest thing happened this week at work. I was working at reception one morning (Did I mention that our receptionist quit? Does anyone want the job?!) and I had the following conversation with a woman who called in... in the heaviest southern American accent I have ever heard.

Me: Good morning, XYZ Property, this is Valerie.

She: What? What company is this?

Me: This is XYZ Property, may I help you?

She: Is this XYZ Property?

Me: Yes, it is.

She: Oh. Sorry, I didn't understand your Australian accent.

Wow. I wanted to say "lady, you just made the blog."

The photo above (taken by me, and not The Husband!) was from one of our regular Saturday morning trips to the Eveleigh farmers markets. I could live there, I love it so much. Just thought I'd share it, since I hate blog entries without photos.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

a regular week

Things have settled back into a regular routine now that we are home from our trip. The Husband is still going to the gym regularly... I am not. It's been hot for days and days, but tonight we got a nice big summer thunderstorm. The kind that washes everything clean and drops the temperature ten degrees. Ahh... good sleeping weather. it will be good to turn off the air con and open the window for awhile.

Work is hum drum and it's hard getting back into it after having so much time off. But, I am slowly getting back in the habit of working again. Our receptionist quit though, so that's a bit sucky. Anyone interested in the job?

I got to go spend and hour tonight with a friend who just had twin boys. They are the tiniest little chicken-legged things! So cute and soft. Can't wait to go back and see them again. Newborns smell so yummy!

We had Indian for dinner last night. The Husband usually cooks and then I run downstairs and across the street to get rice and fresh naan - straight out of the the oven - from our neighbourhood Indian restaurant. Except, I swear that he (the restaurant guy) is judging me for just buying carbs, so I always feel like I have to order something else. Sigh. And then we have too much food and we eat too much.

Tomorrow night I have my regular dinner and catch up with Tash, and then Friday The Husband has his camera club meeting. Hopefully this Saturday I can do some shopping and get some new shirts for work.

Sometimes people think that we live this all-vacation-all-the-time life here in Australia. And I look at the laundry and the dishes and the bills and the bathtub that needs to be cleaned... and I laugh. It's just a regular week!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

a new year

Let me just start by saying that we didn't take very many photos on our trip this time. Perhaps it was because it was cold enough to freeze snot, and it was a hassle to remove the 37 gloves we were wearing just to get out the camera. Or, perhaps it was just too easy to press the camera button on my iphone than to use the actual camera. (There's gotta be an app for that!) Anyway, most of the pictures we did take were blurry, a fact which The Husband has announced calls for a new lens for the camera. Whatever. I think I'll stick with the iphone.

As one of my favourite bloggers wrote this week...
The holidays seemed to have picked me up by my feet, swung me around its head, and flung me into a dumpster.

And isn't that the truth.

I am never sure if a trip "home" is going to convince me that Canada actually is home, or further my feelings that I am completely without a home. This trip made me want to curl up into a ball and eat myself into a stupor. I wonder how many Wendy's number 4 combos that would take?

Two days into the trip I told The Husband that I realised how much I missed Canada. The people are so lovely... the customer service to die for... barely a funny accent to be had. And then we arrived in the Soo. Holy cow, I thought we were in Fargo! Since when do Canadians sound like Sarah Palin? Freaky. (There's gotta be an app for that, surely!)

Anyway, we survived it. It was cold, and snowy, which was fun for about 30 seconds. And then it was just cold and snowy. Christmas was nice. But every year I say "Less stuff! Fewer presents!" And this year, I mean it. The craziness has got to stop with someone, and I'll gladly put my hand up. Next year, everyone gets a goat!

New Years was a lot of fun though, and it's nuts to think that we are already 10 years past the insanity of Y2K. Seems like that was just yesterday.

After 61 hours in airports and on tarmacs and in line for (some seriously invasive) security and on planes, I am happy to be back 'home' and getting some rest. I seem to have contracted the annual post-holiday sickness. Ick. Hopefully nothing a weekend of rest won't fix.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

and we are back

Sorry I have been MIA for the past few weeks. It's been a little crazy. I promise a Christmas recap soon. Right now, I am just too tired.
Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!