January 30, 2012

jack & nick

Scenes from last Wednesday...2 birthdays, 1 cake and a room full of friends.

January 29, 2012

the hunt

It’s a jungle out there. A concrete jungle in fact, made of winding streets, lane ways and non-existent parking. It’s in this congested area we look to call home and for the past few weeks have been spending every Saturday on the loathsome, torturous exercise they call apartment searching. The word ‘search’ implies a delightful day of discovery, seeking out the cities lesser-known nooks and crannies but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  What actually happens during those few hours on Saturday can only be understood by those that have experienced the seedy underbelly of Sydney’s rental market, when seemingly normal and courteous people turn into ugly, vicious rental warriors, its not an apartment search at all – it’s a hunt.
I’m not one for violence but put me in the middle of 50 other people lining up to look at an overpriced, run down, one bedroom unit in Surry Hills and something dark inside me comes out. It’s a real estate version of Lord of the Flies. As the agent arrives and begins to slowly open the apartment door for the 15-minute window that will determine your fate, you can feel the tension in the air, sweat begins to bead up on everyone’s forehead in anticipation. This unit comes with a parking spot – the stakes are high, no one is safe. 
Without fail there is always one idiot chatting up the real estate agent (admittedly that’s sometimes me) but that person is normally pushed aside as the crowd of people throw themselves into the cramped space, eyeing up every square metre trying to determine if their IKEA furniture will fit (it wont). Last week one very excited man screamed (literally) “I’ll take it!” before I even crossed through the doorway and I swear the crowd almost attacked him, trying to tear up his already filled out application form complete with references.  It gets ugly and I’m not proud to admit that I’ve pushed (okay shoved) women and child out of the way just to get a better look at the storage in the built-ins. This shit is serious and it’s not for the weak at heart. J and I have become quite good at sizing up a unit in a matter of mere seconds, acting in tandem like a team from the Amazing Race, we communicate without speaking and nod silently to each other when the checking the shower water pressure or making sure our fridge will fit. 
We haven’t yet found what we’re looking for (or been accepted to those units that ticked all the boxes) but we won’t give up, the war isn’t over just yet. So if you know of an available unit in the city let us know or if next Saturday if you happen to be driving around the city and see a crowd of defeated looking zombies lining up to look at another unit honk your horn in support, we need as much as we can get.

January 26, 2012

happy australia day

Happy Australia Day. We celebrated in true aussie style: a bbq, a cold beer and thankfully, some sunshine.

January 23, 2012

bag lady

I'm not a big fan of baggage. I don't care for emotional baggage, bags under your eyes, grocery bags, handbags, travel bags or any other form of annoying, heavy, cumbersome accessory that you're forced to carry around. I go to great lengths to check my luggage rather than drag around a carry-on bag or scale down my belongings when going out to only include my credit card and license. I wish I could say the reason I do this is for the sheer freedom of being able to run for a flight unburdened or to rip it up on the dance floor without a sack slung over my shoulder but the real reason is more embarrassing. You see I have a bit of a problem when it comes to bags, and I don't mean that I can't stop shopping for them. There is only one thing that happens when I get my hands on a bag of any kind - I lose it. For the past few years I thought I had everything under control...until this past weekend. 

To explain, I was packing for an overnight trip to the Hunter Valley for our annual company retreat. I tried to keep it small but I needed a dress and some heels for the evening cocktail party and my costume for our department skit (yes we're forced to act out skits and musical ensembles, don't be jealous). That morning I jumped on my usual bus and headed to meet a colleague who was giving me a lift. When getting on the bus I threw my bag in the luggage area near the driver and shuffled my way down towards the back as more people filed on. We had strict instructions not to be late but the sun was shining and I was running early - life was good. Luckily I had my iPhone to distract me so the morning commute was a breeze and I barely noticed when we pulled up at my stop.  On autopilot I jumped up, squeezed past a bunch of people and bounded out the door happy to be out of the crowded bus and back into the sunshine. Still early and in an exceptional mood I thought I'd treat myself to a coffee and off I went. It was somewhere between deciding if i wanted a large or small flat white that something began to feel strange. What was it I thought? Then it hit me - my bag. It was still on the bus.  

Immediately I drained of colour and begin to shake. "No, no, no," I muttered to myself causing those around me to stare. Instinct alone caused me to call J, hoping he'd know what to do or at least be able to calm me down but I got voicemail so I bolted out to Military Rd and frantically flagged down a bus with the urgency only used by parents that have lost a child in Kmart. I don't know if I was more concerned about losing my bag altogether, being late for our retreat (a corporate crime if you will) or letting my team down by not having my skit costume - it was stressful.  

The next half hour was a blur, I cried (then yelled) at a lovely man working at the bus depot, I plotted unsuccessfully to retrieve my bag by hailing a cab into the city, I called my boss and tried to explain, all before finally realising that if I wanted to get there on time I'd have to go with the clothes on my back, so that's just what I did. For the next day and a half I lived in jeans and sneakers with a few outfit changes courtesy of a helpful friend and a timely Project Runway team building exercise. In the end it all worked out, my bag was found and let me just say that dancing in my sneakers was way more comfortable than heels...I guess everything happens for a reason.  

p.s - I was way too frantic to even think about documenting the scene I created (although in hindsight it would've been hilarious) so here are some pics from the rest of my weekend...

January 18, 2012

sydney celebrations...

I've delayed this post in a poor attempt to keep the Christmas spirit going but the pine needles have long dried up and the carols stopped playing weeks ago so it's time to accept defeat and realise that Christmas is over (and by over I mean that its now time to go back to secretly listening to Jingle Bells on my iPod). Luckily for us when the plane touched down in Sydney after our trip to the US, we got one last chance to celebrate Christmas by the beach with J's parents. The tree was still up, there were presents to open, champagne to toast and one final holiday meal to eat guilt-free. It was a perfect.

January 12, 2012


I said goodbye to 32 and hello to 33 in the most enjoyable of ways: a sunrise walk down to the beach, surprise presents, cold drinks on a hot night and Mexican food with J. This past weekend we continued with more drinking, eating, people watching and celebrating with friends, the perfect way to spending any birthday (and at my age guarantee yourself a hangover the next morning - how fun!) Headache or not, bring on a new year I say, I've got a feeling it's going to be a good one... 

January 11, 2012

to tina fey, with love

I knew I would love Tina Fey's book Bossypants from the very moment I saw those big, strange, hairy man hands on the front cover. The cover alone makes me laugh out loud, so much so that I actually have a photo of it hanging in my little cubicle at work, just to help me make it through the rough days. This photo lovingly hangs near a picture of J and a near nude shot of Will Ferrell. Is this strange or at the very least slightly alarming?  Certainly, but my little SNL tribute wall keeps me happy (or sane - I can't tell which).  

This week, as jet lag consumed by entire being, I have Tina Fey to thank for keeping me alert and half alive as I made my slow commute to work. Maybe it's coming back from holiday, maybe its the perfect beach weather or maybe it's just that I'm feeling a bit lazy but I've found it really, really, really hard to motivate this week. That's where Bossypants comes in to save the day. Transforming what is normally a claustrophobic bus ride in traffic into a comedic journey of unrelenting wit and humour, I emerge from my hellish commute feeling refreshed and dare I say it - happy to be starting my day (it's a miracle!) At one point during the commute this morning, I was shaking - violently - with laughter.  I don't know if Tina was talking about mom jeans, bushy eyebrows or wearing bike shorts seriously but I couldn't help myself and frankly didn't care. Tina's a genius and it was worth every strange glance. Call me crazy, but I can't wait to catch the bus tomorrow...

January 9, 2012

so long, farewell...

We're back. The flight was long, our bags got lost and jet lag has set in big time but isn't that the way any good holiday comes to an end? Admittedly it was nice to trade in the New England cold for the Sydney sunshine but I do miss my family, their crazy antics, endless stories, American reality TV and of course the constant food supply. Before I wrap up, here are a few last random holiday pics: celebrating my birthday a bit early with chocolate chip brownies (my fav), toasting a trip to Italy with left over limoncello, getting to catch up with Cia, Liz, Mango, Tom, Kristin and the girls, baking in the kitchen, waking up and realising that my mom and I are wearing the same PJ's, cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee and mornings spent reading the Boston Globe. It was a true Christmas as I remember it and worth every minute of this jet lag. I miss you guys already...
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