Tuesday, August 16, 2011

a thousand words

Finally managed to download a couple years' worth of photos from my phone. Thought I'd chronicle a few adventures in a single photo.

Like, a poutine lunch in Toronto...

Or an evening at the beach, sharing fish n' chips with The Husband...

Or, the flower shop down the road...

The sight of Fiji, from an airplane...

Airplane food, in all it's glory...

A movie under the stars with loved ones...

Sunrise from a random hotel on a business trip...

Or a cheeky pelican at the fish market.

Such great memories in that phone.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
~ T.S. Eliot

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Spent the weekend at a gorgeous country estate in the Southern Highlands for a work conference. It was the culmination of several months of hard work, but it paid off. It reminded me how blessed I've been having such a great team of people to work with these past couple of years. I am exhausted and so glad to be home, but it was a positive couple of days. I got to see a brief snow flurry, sit in front of a massive wood fire, listen to great speakers, and enjoy a beautiful Christmas in July party.

There were also a few small hints that spring is finally on the way! Looking forward to it!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Maybe it's cabin fever from this nevergoingtoend winter we are having, but lately, I have been feeling the urge to get rid of stuff. Amazing how we arrived here with so little, and now this tiny apartment is chock full of stuff I have collected. I seem to be a bit of a collector. I have a jar of shells and coins and bits and pieces I have saved from trips to the beach. I have a million recipes. And shoes... don't even get me started on shoes. It's embarrassing.

I have been in a get-rid-of-it mood these days. Too many books I won't ever read again, clothes I won't wear again, and general stuff I will never use. Time to purge. I feel that way at work too. Lots of notebooks full of nonsense and files full of nothing. Time to throw it out. Maybe it's a spring cleaning thing.

Speaking of spring cleaning, I need to clean the oven and the fridge. Anyone want to come over and do that for me?

Sunday, July 3, 2011


The last three weeks have been a test of my patience. And a test of my ability to persevere. A coworker asked this week how to spell "perseverance" and I had to laugh at how it's become an overwhelming theme in my life lately. The Husband and I both have been traveling more than we have been home. It takes a toll eventually. I found myself arriving home from the airport late one night last week to an empty apartment and an even emptier fridge. I admit that I stood in the kitchen and ate heated up dim sum from the freezer at 10:30pm. Not my proudest moment. And the heartburn after wasn't so fun either. Though it did keep me up late enough to watch Dirty Dancing all the way through for the hundredandseventh time. "I carried a watermelon?!" Love it.

Work has been especially challenging lately... I have just sat here for 10 minutes trying to figure out how to follow that sentence... and I have nothing. It has just been one big giant challenge. I am not one to back down from a challenge, but this one is really kicking my youknowwhat. That isn't the word I wanted to use, but my parents may one day read this blog, and I would hate for them to think that I use that other word. Of course, I already disappointed them by voting Democrat, so I am not sure why I bother. LOL

Anyway, back to perseverance. And the scarf, pictured above. I started it a few weeks ago, and really made some good progress. I had to consult youtube on how to cast on, since my knitting classes two years ago are but a distant memory now. And I actually stuck with it for like, a whole week. But now, all I have is a half completed scarf. In fact, as I look around, I have a half completed lotsofthings. But this weekend, The Husband and I made some plans and some lists. And made some big decisions. So, I am going to kick myself into gear and get some things done. Because time is a-wasting. And that scarf isn't going to finish itself.

Happy Canada / Independence Day to all of you back 'home'. Throw something on the bbq for me!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

vivid sydney

day off

There is something about Balmoral Beach that makes you take a deep breath. And then another.

With the winter chill being assaulted by the warm sunshine and the never ending blue sky, the sight of brightly coloured sailboats catches my eye.

The waves crash with a regular shoosh, shoosh against the empty beach. A few die hard swimmers do laps across the bay.

The promenade is dotted with elderly people, walking slowly past. Mums with prams and the occasional nonchalant nanny. People with dogs. Girlfriends at lunch.

I stopped at 'Bottom of the Harbour' for some crispy fish & chips to eat on my blanket on the grass. Above me are ancient fig trees, sprawling and green. Pigeons beg for crumbs and at the end of the pier a pelican minds his own business.

I wonder if those who live in the big old houses across the road ever get tired of the view.

A young boy races past on a tricycle, is tongue hanging out as he pedals with all his might. I want the afternoon to stretch on and on for days.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


It is wintery cold and raining in Sydney tonight, at the end of a chilly, dark weekend. I have been so homesick this weekend, which is ridiculous. Ridiculous because I don't currently have another home to be homesick for. Every once in a while, I struggle with this expat life. It's Memorial Day weekend back in the US and the internets are full of barbecue plans and beach going. We have our share of beach weekends here, but it's strange to be rugging up for winter when friends and family are enjoying summer back 'home.' I'd much rather be admiring my garden in the long summer sun of June.

Most people who know me can tell you what I do when I am stressed or sad. I bake. And so, this afternoon, that is what I did. Apple muffins and pumpkin pie, to be exact. My kitchen is too small to make proper pie crust, but I suppose I am not above buying a frozen one. The smell of cinnamon and spices warms the apartment and my soul. Now I just need to find people who want to eat all these baked goods.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


It seems like ages ago, instead of only 3 weeks, that we had an amazing long weekend in New Zealand. The last couple of weeks have been some of the craziest I have had at work here, and there is no end in sight, currently. I love the rat race and an a self-confessed workaholic, but the weather lately has made it so hard to get out of bed and go to work.

Mostly winter in Sydney is rainy and cold. Sometimes we will have the most glorious, sunny day, that makes you just want to 'chuck a sickie' and run away to the beach. But by the time the afternoon sets in, it's dark. In fact, I have been arriving to work lately just as the sun is coming up and leaving in darkness. I am not a fan, and honestly, I'd just like to hibernate until spring. Especially today, as it was bitter cold, rainy and windy. Eew. Although, watching people waiting for the bus with umbrellas blown inside out is always good for a chuckle.

I have been trying to fill in the weekends with fun things that get us out of the house. Last weekend we visited my favourite farmers market with some friends, and then went to the fish market... all of which spontaneously ended in a gathering of friends at our place for nachos, fish tacos, and a rousing game of cards. (I lost badly.)

This weekend we are taking a small road trip to meet one of my online-but-never-met-in-real-life friends for lunch on Saturday. I am looking forward to the drive and the company.
I think now that it's full on winter, it may be time to finish that two year old knitting project and finish all of the books I have been meaning to read. I suppose, if all else fails, I could always clean the oven and fold laundry. Exciting times, hey?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

n zed

The Husband and I had an extra long weekend over Easter, due to a fortuitous Anzac Day add-on. So, I booked us some cheapo flights and a rental car... and we hopped over "the ditch" to New Zealand. Or, New Zillund, as the locals say. So, so glad we went. What a gorgeous country. I think we spent the entire four days with our mouths agape, breathing 'wow' over and over again.

I have been sorting through my 600+ photos (The Husband took a further 900+) and it's hard to choose, so I am just going to load this post up with a whole bunch of them. I am sure, once you see them, why it was hard to stop taking photo after photo.

This is the view as we left Christchurch and started making our way towards the Mountains and Arthurs Pass.

The landscape starts to change.

A rainstorm heralds us through the pass.

Mist covers the mountain tops.

Fox Glacier was an incredible, breathtaking hike. Freezing cold and beautiful.

This glacier moves at a rate of approximately 1 meter per day and receives over 40 meters of new snow per year. It is absolutely huge. It's sad to think that at it's current rate, it could be completely gone in 2 or 3 generations.

There are people climbing that glacier, can you spot them?

From there we moved on to "Middle Earth". Some spectacular scenery as we descended from the mountains and into the valley. We hiked through deciduous rainforests, covered in moss, to see the 'blue pools' - ice cold rivers the deep blue of the glaciers they came from. (Click the photos to view them full screen.)

One of the last legs of the trip included a stop at Lake Tekapo, and the home of the Church of the Good Shepherd. I was looking forward to photographing this spot, and it didn't disappoint. What an amazing view, albeit bitter cold. We drove up Mount John to the observatory and the 360 degree views just take your breath away.

The last morning we awoke to snow covered mountain peaks. We spent the morning on a horse trek up the mountains and around the lake, with sweeping views of sheep-dotted fields and all the autumn colours I had hoped for.

We didn't take any photos of Christchurch, as the earthquake devastation was just too sobering for me. But after this trip, we know we'll be back. There is still so much to see.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The Husband and I are headed off on a little road trip. Looking forward to some autumn colours, the crackle of a fireplace, a horse trek in the mountains, and possibly a dusting of snow.

I have had this photo as my desktop wallpaper for a few weeks now, in anticipation of this trip. Can't wait to share my own photos with you when we get back!

Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Easter holiday.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Such a beautiful day, it would have been a shame not to take a walk with The Husband and our cameras. Loving the colours and textures. Summer made a reappearance this week and the sunshine is glorious.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I love this time of year. The blur between seasons, as the summer fades away and the winter creeps in. Even when I was a child, I would love this time of year. Granted, it happened in September then, instead of April. I used to sneak away for long walks in the woods and fields, listening to the birds and feeling the chill in the air.

Lately the nights have been getting chilly and the days have been cool and rainy. But every couple of days there will be one perfect, sunny day. An indian summer day. Gorgeous and golden. Today was one of those days. The kind of day that makes you want to pack a picnic and run away.

Driving home this evening, the temperature was absolutely perfect. The scent of eucalyptus was in the air and the sun was setting through the trees. I was reminded of how easy the weather is here, and how much I have love the smooth and subtle change of seasons.

This weekend The Husband and I will celebrate another anniversary, remembering the cold, rainy, fabulous spring day when we said I do. Fingers crossed that Sydney will give us another golden autumn day to celebrate with. Maybe we'll pack a picnic and run away.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Last weekend was cold and rainy. Really, really rainy. It poured for almost 2 straight days and nights. Usually I love a good rainstorm, but by the end of the weekend, even the sound of the pouring rain was getting annoying. Like a never ending freight train. It was starting to feel like winter, and suddenly I felt the need to hibernate. So I visited the farmers market and picked up some native flowers and lamb for the slow cooker, to warm up a dreary weekend. I love the colours and flavours of this season. Reds and oranges and browns.

Thankfully, the week ended up being gorgeous and sunny. I love a hint of autumn, but I am not ready to see the end of summer just yet.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I wandered through the bookstore yesterday, killing time before meeting a friend for dinner. I happened to pick up a book and start reading... only to find myself, 25 minutes later, lost in the second chapter of maybe one of the best books I have ever read. I bought the book, tucked it in my handbag, and finished it tonight. I am already anticipating reading it a second and third time. I have a feeling it will become one of my favourite comfort foods.

The book is called The School of Essential Ingredients and reading it is like rolling sweet and sour around on your tongue at the same time. I don't normally use this blog for things like this - but I feel like this book should be shared. I can't explain it other than to say it makes you want to cry, and laugh, and cook sauce and whip up some sumptuous butter cream icing. It will wrap around you like a favourite quilt, and satisfy you like a pot of rich, hot cocoa.

I've included one of my favourite parts for you below. I promise you, this book will change the way you think about food and life.

"Spaghetti del mare," she said, coming through the door, "from the sea."

In the large, wide blue bowl, swirls of thin noodles wove their way between dark black shells and bits of red tomato.

"Breathe first," Charlie told him, "eyes closed." The steam rose off the pasta like ocean turned into air.

"Clams, mussels," Tom said, "garlic, of course, and tomatoes. Red pepper flakes. Butter, wine, oil."

"One more," she coaxed.

He leaned in - smelled hillsides in the sun, hot ground stone walls. "Oregano," he said, opening his eyes. Charlie smiled and handed him a forkful of pasta. After the sweetness of the melon, the flavor was full of red bursts and spikes of hot pepper shooting across his tongue, underneath, like a steadying hand, a salty cushion of clam, the soft velvet of oregano, and pasta a warm as beach sand.

from The School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister

Saturday, March 5, 2011

time marches on

March is the first day of autumn in Sydney, and suddenly the weather has changed. Summer almost seems to have ended over night. It gets dark earlier and earlier these days, and the night air is cool and fresh. Thoughts turn to sweaters and quilts and the glorious blue-skied days of Australian autumn.

Work has been challenging lately. I have been lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to do some things I have been wanting to do for a long time. Some of my current projects are exciting and fun. But other parts of work have been less exciting, and I've had some rough days. I think back sometimes on other jobs I've had and the lessons I learned there... lessons that help me so much all these years later. I've had the opportunity to teach some of those same lessons to others lately and it's been so rewarding, seeing them come full circle.

This year has only just begun and already there has been so much heartbreak in this part of the world. The floods in Queensland, and Victoria, followed by Cyclone Yasi, and more recently the earthquake in Christchurch, NZ. Lately it feels like there is never any good news anywhere. That's why it's important that we find a little bit of joy every day.

The Husband and I walked over to the outdoor cinema last night for the last showing of the summer. We've been lucky to live in a place where we can walk to these kinds of events. The weather was cool, the stars were out, and we walked through the park, holding hands. It was bittersweet... a funny movie, but the ending of another season. A good reminder to make the most of each day. They go by so fast.

Friday, February 18, 2011

working on the calm

Gosh, what a week! It's been one of the more trying weeks I can remember. I don't know what it is lately, but I feel like I am some ones voodoo doll. Yikes, I don't think I have ever been so happy to reach the weekend. Seriously, I felt like driving home from work whilst blaring the 'Rocky' song, fist pumping the air like 'yes! I survived the worst week ever!' I have a suspicion that most of the folks sharing my commute would look over at me and nod knowingly like, yeah girl, we totally hear ya. Anyway - it's the weekend and I refuse to give my office bully a second more of my head space this weekend. Bitter bully - be gone with you!

On a happier note, I went to the outdoor cinema with some friends tonight to see Gulliver's Travels, which, as a film, was not great. But I am always a fan of the outdoor cinema, and it was an awesome evening. Thanks, friends! Perhaps if the weather is clear tomorrow, I can convince The Husband to head over there again to watch the Brazilian film that's playing. Shouldn't be too hard of a sell, considering he won't even have to read the subtitles.

Today is my little sister V's birthday. I can't believe she's nearly 30! I remember when she was just a little bratty kid. And she was bratty, let me tell you. But she has grown up to be such a wonderful young woman, and an amazing mom. I wish I could see her more often.

Anyway, this post has become rambling, and I really only sat down for a few minutes while the washing machine was finishing. I meant to write about my efforts to remain calm this week, and how listening to Celine Dion in the car on the way to work was oddly not helping... and then I found the photo (above) and my thoughts drifted to what Celine would sound like accompanied by a kazoo and I realised that would be just about right.

Have a good weekend, ya'll!