Wednesday, November 30, 2005

like a freelancer

Dear readers,

I'm a bit out of commission as of late, as I am working this week at Homebake, a great music festival on a big green lawn right in the center of the city. In a strangely reassuring way, it is good to know that people at record labels the world over ask for way too much at the last minute. And of course, commuting in a whole new town is pretty novel, too. Instead of the 1 train, it's the 380 bus for me now.

But check out the line-up of all Oz music (not sure if the Finn Bros -- from New Zealand originally-- count, I think they are adopted countrymen) and I will post lots of pics and stuff in the coming days. And with the espresso machine in catering, I'm hoping to be able to proudly say soon that I, too, can make a flat white.

There ya go.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Lingering a bit

In the wake of Thanksgiving, not much blogging or movement really occured. The highlight of Saturday was sunshine and finishing off the Thanksgiving dishes that lingered, and perhaps a bacon, avocado and BBQ sauce sandwich from Three Steps. Simple, easy.

Sunday, my goodness, was pure Seattle. I think it might have been the most rain and wind since my arrival. But this gave good reason to sleep til noon, read all the newspapers and laze about. And it was the return of good Sunday TV + takeout -- one of my favorite things dating back to NYC and Marie, Gregg, Lucy, Six Feet Under, and Kobma Thai. Last night was a made-for-tv movie of Kath & Kim, a Christmas special "Da Kath & Kim Code." Suburban Australian comedy at its best, it is sometimes on Trio in the US, and like The Office it takes an episode or two to get used to the accents. And there will always be slang that goes right over your head. But it went great with Thai food from up the hill -- red curry, basil chili with cashews. And for dessert...Marquee ice cream bars. My dad recently recently posed a very serious question: "How is the ice cream down there?" And, I can say it is outstanding, especially these ice cream bars. As popular and widespread as Good Humor, but a bit more up-market. I had an ice cream bar "Ego Caramel" -- vanilla coated in chocolate, then a caramel coating, and another chocolate coating. For good measure.

And with the start of the week...more rain, but in true Sydney fashion, things can change fast, and the afternoon ended up sunny and pleasant. Or as they say in the weather reports here "fine." As I write I have a big pot of vegetarian chili stewing away, and I'm hoping it reduces a bit. I thought for the sake of photos and a little public service announcement, I'd show y'all the green re-useable bags here that everyone uses for grocery shopping. These bags are good for the beach, too. Oh and the green pepper in the picture is actually referred to as capsicum here and I have no idea of the origin of that one.

Also included a picture of a street I walked down that was littered with shopping carts. Do we think those people who leave carts outside use green bags for their groceries? Things to ponder when wandering around the streets of Bondi.

so long,

Friday, November 25, 2005

A very special Thanksgiving edition

Of all things Americana, I think Thanksgiving is pretty much the best thing to spread the world over. It's very much an equal opportunity holiday, only concerned with food, good company, and maybe an afternoon post-turkey doze. And, so we hosted a big Thanksgiving dinner in Bondi last night, in part to give the Aussies the goodness of the holiday and also to help me feel that much more at home here. And it was a rousing success on both counts.

Haydn was self-appointed tour manager of the holiday and nobly did all the cooking. let the basting beginI did peel ALL the potatoes, tho, which was really the only time he let someone else be in the kitchen with him. The day started with the ceremonial cooking of our 6.3 kilo/14 lb. organic, free-range turkey. It lived a good life up at Byron Bay and did a swell job in our oven. The afternoon was all about the pies, and Haydn made the pie crusts, including a gluten-free one. I peeled potatoes. He took on the stuffing and sweet potatoes. I peeled the other potatoes. The pies finished and when I finished my illustrious peeling duties, I was kindly excused from the kitchen.

And with all the right and comforting smells wafting through the apartment, guests started to arrive, I did a bit of cultural ambassadorship by recalling some historical points on the holiday and the importance of getting up at 5am the day after to start your Christmas shopping as early as possible. All the food was timed perfectly and in the true all-inclusive spirit of Thanksgiving, our dear friend and vegan, Adam, did the honor of carving the bird. All the trimmings (in vegan and gluten-free form when possible) accompanied the turkey -- mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry (as it should be, from a jar), and stuffing.Alert PETA!
at ye olde feed troughL-R: Joeley, Tara, Anthea (a veteran of photo I have to say, the stuffing took first prize with apples, walnuts, raisins. Including Haydn, Joeley (lovely lady in red top) and me, there were 14 people and there was quite a bit of build-up to the pumpkin pie, which people here are a bit leery of -- perphaps because pumpkin is so common as a side dish, it seems a bit strange as a dessert. But throw some whipped cream on it, and I think we made some believers.
Popsy, savoring his turkey until the very end
Girl with pumpkin pie
Emily and Langers
Popsy, James, Michelle post-turkey

As the evening winded down, the turkey kicked in and made for a bit of sleepiness. I now understand how football has become such an integral part of the holiday, as it provides a good opportunity for a nap without really offending anyone. And, so, with that my first Thanksgiving in Oz was true to spirit, filled with wonderful, thoughtful people and the food you wait all year for. One more round of applause for Haydn's cooking, please...
Awww...this one's for the immigration peeps

Enjoy the leftovers back in the US!

p.s. -- I had captions for all the photos, but alas they are not showing up...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Preparation commences

Here on Francis Street, we are pretty much fixated on Thanksgiving. We have to pick up the turkey from Sam the Organic Butcher this afternoon and then do a big grocery shopping for all the other goods. Meanwhile, we're also figuring out stuffing and pie crusts and things like that. Up until this year, the only thing I prepared for Thanksgiving was green bean casserole complete with fried onion rings on top, which could prove itself daunting. But am looking very forward to the familiar scents wafting through the apartment when the oven gets going and Haydn is totally in the cooking zone.

There is, of course, a part of me that misses the excitement of the holiday at home. That feeling of a short work week, packing bags and hustling to the complete madness of Penn Station to head up to Ann's in Boston for the annual gathering of East Coast orphans, and then the official ushering in of the Christmas season. Or there is the Madison celebration too, with my grandparent's stuffing of all ages with raisins in it, maybe a late afternoon trivia showdown, and of course, the kids table.

It's a bit grey and overcast today, a bit autumnal actually, so this should further help us get in the spirit. And of course, it is good to know that the Butterball hotline is 24 hours a day, what with the time difference.

And that's about it from this side of the world...


Monday, November 21, 2005

Coming through in the clutch

For those of you losing sleep over my seemingly ill-fated quest for canned pumpkin, you can sleep well tonight. My dear flatmate, Joeley, ventured to a different David Jones Market on Saturday and bought 2 of the last 3 cans of Libby's Pumpkin. There will be pumpkin pie as intended -- from a can -- for a traditional American Thanksgiving! I thought the pic of the pumpkin and vegemite proved a good visual metaphor for our Aussie and American cultures meeting and getting on like old chums.

And I have to say it was a really successful weekend, as far as weekends go. At last, I got to see my favorite Aussie band Art of Fighting on Friday night and lead singer Ollie's voice is seriously as wondrous to behold in person as on cd. Thank goodness for a pure singing voice in a day of rather "artful" (ahem, strange) voices in alternative and indie music (re: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Neutral Milk Hotel).

Another great band was on Saturday aftertoon at the Hopetoun Pub, The Kill Devil Hills, from Perth. A rather rag-tag bunch of guys who looked like they should be driving Ford F-10s in Backwater, USA, playing really cool alt/country/rock what-have-you. We're talking big, burly guys in boots playing mandolin and fiddle. Awesome.

Sunday, I must say, was really Haydn's day to shine. The man can barbecue, folks. Not that any of you that have met him would be surprised. After big ol' Sunday breakfast of the bacon, beans n' toast variety, and then some couch time, we headed to the pub markets at the Annandale. Yes, there seem to be reasons to go to the Annandale any time of day. They have these great little markets of handmade clothes, vintage stuff, and artisanal sausage named for dead rock stars. I bought what can probably be categorized as a mu-mu and Haydn took the helm at the grill. He even pulled his pants up high to do so, because he thinks pants up high is always funny and that it has something to do with manning the grill.

But, yes, that was only BBQ #1 of the day. Our pals Jimmy and Michelle just moved into a new place with a spacious veranda, and they acquired a second-hand deluxo BBQ. Last night was the first BBQ at the new place. Kebabs, shrimp, and lamb cutlets were all on the menu. Haydn multi-tasked with pants at an appropriate waist-level, and then with food aplenty we just sat around the table and ate, talked, laugh. It was another co-mingling of Aussie, Irish, English, and American. Sometime we must find a Canadian!

And in good ol' campfire tradition, the night segued into some kind of acoustic sing-a-long with Haydn on guitar and Morgan on voice and percussion.

And in case all of the meat consumption sounded a bit alarming, don't fret -- I had tofu and vegetables for lunch before heading to the library.

Some follow-up on the last couple of comments:
Sweet Thai Chili Sauce -- here is the description from the very side of the bottle: A delicious hot sauce made from fresh Thai chili and Thai spices. It will add flavor and spice, not just heat. Use in place of hot sauce or ketchup. Add to your salad dressing, chili, soup, or a few drops to your favorite dip or pasta.

Christmas in Oz -- the seasonal decor is slowly appearing. Without Halloween or Thanksgiving to sound the opening bell on the season, it just seems to sort of pop up. Like for instance, the little island of wrapping paper at the local IGA that you might bump into on your way to the bananas. But as I walked through the Central Business District today, the big department stores have their windows decked out with finery, although I'm sure Australian retail won't be staying open 24 hours a day or having too many door-busters, which is kind of nice, really. And as far as Christmas specials and cartoons, I'll keep you posted. Please, please let there be A Charlie Brown Christmas -- I am "sore afraid" there might not be!

Keep posting comments, I lurve it! And, Ann, can you give us some tips on the polenta you are stuffing your turkey with?!


Friday, November 18, 2005

Sweet chili sauce stops the nation

It's the great outdoors here, that's for sure, and I'm exhausted. I'm still without camera too, as it continues to be on hiatus in the glove compartment of the car. Must take pictures this weekend, because blogging is kind of boring without it, right? It was a really sunny, fresh air Friday. I started with yoga at Tamarama and then took a bit of an adventure to Coogee Beach. The trail that I run keeps going that far, probably farther, and I decided to head there today for a more mellow beach scene.

It is more than a walk and more like a hike, so upon my arrival there I went to Oporto for a chicken burger. It is is a chain around here, but pretty good if you ask me. The chicken burgers (filets), come with sweet chili sauce, which is an accompaniment here I am coming to love. Then I laid on the beach, but the walk back seemed a bit daunting so I bussed it to Bondi Junction and then walked home. I have that post-sun, sandy feeling.

In additional sweet chili sauce the soccer match the other night we got a huge order of seasoned potato wedges which came with a bowl of sour cream and sweet chili sauce for dipping. Talk about good living. And talk about a victory for the "Socceroos." Right down to the penalty kicks and all that. Australia will be back in the World Cup for the first time in over 30 years. Makes me think of those glory days with Madison soccer power, the Gremlins.

And it seems that the soccer match was a moment that stopped Australia. I was watching a special called 20 Moments that Stopped Australia last night, and they already inserted that moment in the top 10. Seems a bit ambitious perhaps, but I'll take it. I have actually been in Oz for one other country-stopping moment, this year's Melbourne Cup, when the horse won for the third time in a row. 10% of monumental moments in about 6 weeks, not too bad.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Aussie Aussie Oi Oi!

Not a whole lot to cover today, it is so terribly windy and dreary out, that the couch is pretty much the most welcoming place. The weather here seems to toy with one's emotions just as it does in the Midwest and East Coast. I did get a run in this morning after a completely captivating episode of Little House on the Prairie. But the rest of the day has been dedicated to scoping out Thanksgiving type recipes and whatnot.

For the last 24 hours, an amazing batch of Mexican food has kept me going and kept me warm. In Haydn's words, he "winged it" last night and just bought a bunch of Old El Paso products and went to town. We had beef and bean enchiladas with rice for dinner. He even made the rice yellow with tumeric. Who woulda known?

So the rice, beans, and meat made for wonderful burrito fixins today. Thank goodness for that.

But, now, despite the rather Seattle-esque weather, I'm heading out to meet Joeley at a pub called The Light Brigade to watch Australia play Uruguay for a World Cup berth. I'm considering this a cultural experience, watching the "Socceroos" -- as the Aussies call their soccer team -- in a pub. Yes, cultural research so that the rest of you may benefit.

good night!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

In search of canned goodness

Very, very remiss of me to write nary a word in three days. I think it partly has to do with the whole good weather culture around here. When it is nice out, you just want to go outside, lay on the beach, wander around, and not be bothered with a dial-up connection.

So, here I am at the good ol' State Library of New South Wales. I haven't started to recognize any other regulars yet, but in due time...all libraries have them.

It was a great weekend tho, complete with massive Haydn breakfasts both days. Saturday my usual request of bacon and more bacon please, with salsa and avocado. On Sunday I even contributed with my yogurt, banana and granola (muesli here in Oz) and Haydn followed up with beans and toast and more salsa. This beans and toast thing while very of the Commonwealth, very much appeals to my Midwestern taste for the simple and hearty.

There was a cookout on Saturday night and I actually ate sushi and went back for more sushi. Very odd for me. When we got to the house for the BBQ, Haydn and I were standing on the front step waiting for someone to answer and we could hear A Ghost is Born playing inside. And, here I was on this doorstep on the other side of the world and there was Spiders (Kidsmoke) playing and, well, moment of pause for how we end up places in life and all that.

More good weather Sunday and more Bondi markets and laying on the beach and eating spaghetti bolognese for dinner with some really good store-bought garlic bread that you toast in the oven. Monday was more sunshine and a bit more beachtime. So with today and its grey skies and winds that would blow me over if not for having my computer in my shoulder bag weighing me down, I find myself in the friendly confines of the Library.

Prior to getting here, I was on a mission for canned pumpkin. We're having a Thanksgiving dinner next Thursday, but for all their love of the pumpkin as a side dish, the Aussies have not developed a taste for pumpkin pie. Hence, no canned pumpkin to be found. I did find a little American foods section at David Jones Food Market (complete with Bisquick, Aunt Jemima maple syrup, Welch's grape jelly, French's Mustard), but alas they are out of their supply of canned pumpkin. The other Seppos have beat me to the punch! After that letdown, I decided I should eat some Subway, Veggie Delight with Chipotle sauce no less.

And with that, can someone please Fed Ex some canned pumpkin? Thanks.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Friday Fish Fry

Let's see...since I last wrote, there was some amazing risotto that stuck to my ribs like nobody's business, courtesy of Haydn. He is such a good cook that I have pretty much given up on my own culinary aspirations. I wash a mean batch of dishes, lemme tell you. Oh and I can scoop ice cream like a pro.

Woke up to a beautiful sunny day with lots of construction and hammering next door, so I got up right away and did a quick run over to North Bondi, where you can run up a hill on a golf course on the edge of the world and look over look at the ocean as it goes on forever and ever.

Then there might have been a couple of episodes of Laguna Beach. I am finally in episodes I haven't seen yet and I am as riveted as ever.

I ventured back to the Paddy Market to check out the chatchkes, purses, Australia souvenir beach towels, peasant skirts, and knock-off hand bags. And I found a really cute, girly pair of silver flats. Met up with Haydn at his office and we headed back to Bondi for fancy fish n' chips from a place called Mongers (sorta the fish n chips equivalent of NYC fancy hot dog place F & B). I have a pic from the restaurant included in an attempt to give some glimpses at Aussie fashion. Note: the red jeans and green shoes on the girl with her back to us. And there is another young lady that I really wanted a pic of because she was sporting this airy white sundress with some kind of fur vest. Yikes.

And I have just finished my fancy fish n chips and the chips were super thick wedges and the fish was fresh and lovingly battered without it becoming a little fish to go with your batter. There were some sweet potato chips for garnish, and some of you know how I adore the sweet potatoes in fry or chip form. It was so good, the Simpson's are now on and Haydn is asleep on the couch. But we're venturing out in a bit to see Youth Group at Annandale, an Aussie band I dig very much for their moody and rocking brilliance. They opened up for Death Cab for Cutie in the US, actually.

Have a lovely Friday --

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Poor, dear Skippy

I don't really want to be a weather blogger, but it is very ominious here in Sydney today. I think there have been about a dozen weather changes since I woke up this morning. And that wasn't very early, mind you. It's gone from overcast and mild, to muggy and sunny, to rainy, to cloudy and windy and at 4:30 pm it's getting pretty dark.

But enough Weather Channel, because last night we went out for pub food and it was mightly delicious and hearty. As it should be. Haydn and I met up with our pals AJ and Lizzy at the Carlisle Hotel in Newtown. One of those old corner pubs that seems to keep going -- tiny pub room, pokey room, pool room, a dining room, garden, and then a couple other various rooms for eating and drinking and whatnot. I started with a blonde beer that is indigenous to that pub, as did everyone. Lizzy and I were not too pleased with the aftertaste ("rice beer" was an apt description) so we switched to Cooper's Pale Ale. (Note to Amanda, I've had the Sparkling Ale too and it was crisp and outstanding).

Then we grabbed a table in the dining room and went up to the counter to order. The menu pretty much consists of pastas and steaks. The others all ordered rump steak with chips (fries) and salad. I was thinking pasta with prawns (shrimp), but for the sake of being in Australia, for the sake of the blog, and because I was in the mood for mashed potatoes, I opted for the Kangaroo Sausages and Mash. Oh yes, I did. Sorry, Skippy.I was a bit hesitant because I thought I might be eating a national symbol of the country, or that maybe they are endangered or something. But, Lizzy reassured me they are like the rabbits of Australia. There ya go. And when it was served, the sausages were so hot off the frying pan that I burned my tongue. But it was delicious and comforting and just what I wanted. I think for the sake of all readers, I will restrain from going into culinary descriptions about the sausage. Just know that it was good and pretty much tasted like sausage. The steak was well-received, too, and I think it was clean plates all around.

Today, I went for a run along the Bondi to Bronte path and dodged many an elderly person in sensible walking shoes and visors as they walked along to check out the Sculptures by the Sea. Then I ventured into Surry Hills to Haydn's office and got a somewhat disappointing chicken kebab. I think I would have liked it if it would have been sans chicken.

And that about wraps it up, as the clouds roll in...


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The word on the street

Wow, so I leave the land of Orange terror alerts and look what happens!? Terrorist plans afoot right here in the Sydney suburbs. HOLY WAR ON AUSTRALIA reads the frontpage of my beachy tabloid The Daily Telegraph. Zoiks.

But we're all well and good.

So I thought of my vegetarian friends last night at dinner, especially those who are wont to create Greggums. Joeley threw a bunch of stuff in a stew pot and it was great -- pumpkin, broccoli, carrots, onion, a can of crushed tomatoes and some vegetable stock. Put some tobasco in for good measure and serve over brown rice. So good. It was downright autumnal and was a great antidote to the blustery winds outside.

But it was a new day this morning. Sun, blue skies, just how it is suppose to be here, right? I ventured to the beach, but decided I wanted some Doritos to go with my flat white. I stopped for the paper and took a peruse in the chip aisle and found something somewhat questionable. Doritos Tapas. Um? Well, I suppose for the sake of the blog, I should have tried them, but I wanted old-fashioned Dorites. I'll give it the old college try at some point, but not just yet. I opted for Nacho Cheese flavor -- however it is not like the nacho cheese in the US. There are Doritos in red bags here, Cheese Supreme. I have a feeling they are orange like standard issue Doritos stateside. The Dorites I got harkened back to a time when I believe there were Taco flavored (not to be confused with the Taco Bell flavor, tho). Anyway, please chime in if you recall this. In the meantime, tapas?

The beach, though, was lovely. Funny how a person can just lay there and time passes. I got into the water a couple of times, it splashed me, it was very cold, but nice.

Then I sent a letter to my Grandma, she's not hip to the blog just yet. I hope she receives the letter before Thanksgiving. When I was here in February, I sent a postcard and she got it after July 4th.

Off to meet Haydn and then we're going to dinner in Newtown with friends. Full report tomorrow!


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Blown away

A very blustery day here in Bondi, being by the ocean makes it windier. Last night was nearly a dark and stormy one, but it didn't seem to really rain, just gust and gust.

A bit of overcast and raindrops on the window made it a bit hard to get up and motivate for yoga, but it was well worth it, as I was the only with gumption to show up, so I essentially had a private yoga lesson. And I'm exhausted, but oh so clear-minded and loose.

After class I wandered along the path and for the next few weeks there is a big sculpture exhibit "Sculpture by the Sea" along the path from Bondi to Bronte, there are some small, detailed sculptures and some really random stuff like a big, fake fried egg at Tamarama beach, and then some really large pieces like the cool wave in the picture at the top. These pieces all have to be pretty sturdy or they would get blown away.

Yoga was followed by an extremely leisurely flat white and huge muffin at a place in Bondi. The muffin was neither toasted nor served with butter, so it was a bit of a disappointment.

No major meals to report as I've been a bit of a scavenger around here lately, but Haydn is coming back from meetings in Byron Bay and is hungry so I am looking forward to a big dinner and a pretty quiet night around here.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Going places and going with it

Monday afternoon at the State Library of New South Wales, the library is one of the few places that stays open past 6 pm during the week, my kind of place. Pretty action-packed weekend, and I have a high speed internet connection and the photos to prove it.

Saturday was the wedding for Haydn's friends, Brent and Deb. It was very casual and a very happy event, as those things should be. The wedding was over at Coogee Beach, a nice suburb just a few beaches down from Bondi and the reception was at a hotel (aka pub) right on the beach. I even went downstairs to the betting area and bet $10 on a horse race, and lost $10 on a horse race. The bride is a belly dancer by trade, so there was a big belly dancer number at the reception, very interesting to see who came out of the wedding workout as a belly dancer. Pictures below of revelery and a good opportunity for some of you to see just who this Haydn character is who wooed me all the way to Oz.

A pitfall to the wedding, was that it the food was passed hors d'oeuvres, and while the various fried things of yumminess that I had were delicious, it seemed the trays of food somehow often did not cross my path or were completely picked over by the time I was able to get my hand in there. So, Haydn and I simply had to leave around 5:30 or so and went home and ordered pizza from Bondi pizza institution, Gelbison's. We got a Mexican pizza -- thin crust with pepperoni and a gazillion other things, and very very spicy. I don't usually go for novelty or theme pizzas, but this one is pretty darn good.

On Sunday, I was midway through my bacon/avocado/BBQ sauce roll, when a colleague of Haydn's, Morgan, called and invited me along for a day to Manly. Morgan is just arrived from London and wanted to do a little daytripping, plus he knew Haydn was going to be working hard for the Pussycat Dolls on Sunday, so very nice of him to give me a bit of a distraction, all things considered. Heh heh.

Manly is a lovely beach town across the harbo(u)r, and I did go there last time I was here, but it was very drizzly that day. So this was really my first proper journey to Manly. We took the ferry across the harbour and it is such a nice 30 minute ride, you can look back on the skyline, Harbour Bridge, and Sydney Opera House and look forward to all the houses perched on the hills along the water. We wandered a bit through the pedestrian mall at Manly, then met Morgan's friend, Troy, down at the end of the beach. Troy lives right next to the beach, really. It was such nice, warm weather yesterday and the beach is just nice and quiet there, so I finally took my first swim since I got here and it felt great. Also had my first chips (french fries) with chicken salt. Pay attention here people, it is like yellow salt that is, ah, poulty flavored. It is pretty much the secret ingredient to everything at KFC and it goes well with a diet coke and a beach. After swimming, we headed back to a hotel at the ferry, Manly Wharf Hotel I believe, and had a couple of beers and a beautiful plate of nachos with loads of stuff: sour cream, avocado, chili, melted cheese.

This place was quite the Sunday evening scene, with loads of locals who are much more attractive than any other average "local," as far as I could tell. Everyone was all sunny and tan and happy after a day at the beach. This picture is from where I was sitting opposite the corral area of good looking Aussies. If you look beyond the pier and across the water, you can see Sydney.

It was really a near-perfect day, and one of those when I stop and think about how I ended up here...there on a beach with a couple of people I didn't know a month ago, and the sun is shining, and I just kind of go with it.

til next time,

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ye olde Sydney towne

It's a quiet saturday morning and I'm listening to the great mix that Greggums made for me before I left, "Ye Olde Seppoe Mixe." In Australia, a sort of non-affectionate term for Americans is Seppo, short for septic tank, as Americans are full of...

Oh but we're all getting on great in Oz, with the English and Irish in our circle of friends, too. And it was a great showing at the second night of The Mess Hall and Wolfmother at the Metro. Nothing like a sold-out rock show on a rainy Friday, and The Mess Hall were on fire. You can see for yourself in the pic with their totally DIY banner -- sort of an answer to the white sheets covering Wolfmother's rather elaborate galactic backdrop.

Yesterday I took a big exploration to Centennial Park, I ran over there a backway and then ran thru the park. Really pretty with little ponds, lots of swans and birds, manicured gardens, grassy knolls, big hills, white fences. And it's nice because you're running in the park and then can see bits of the Sydney skyline. Kind of like another great park I know back in NY. And I find I really like running on grass and thru terrain, rather than asphalt. Nothing like big open green expanses.

Then I thought I'd make it a loop thru the rather posh suburb, Woolahara, it was a lengthy detour. Very lengthy, but eventually brought me home and it was a bit chilly and rainy and I figured since we have a wedding today, I better try out one of the nail shops in Bondi. Mani/pedi for AU$40, which is a little over US$30, can someone remind me the going price for the nail combo in NYC? Very nice, chatty nail shop with lots of gossips mags -- as Haydn said that is part of the requirements of registering a nail shop.

After that it was off to the office for some beers before the show. After The Mess Hall, I had to run out to Hungry Jack's. Had to. It is Burger King, but with a different name down here and it was just what the doctor ordered.

And now, I think it is time to summon the chef to make breakfast!

your pal,

Thursday, November 03, 2005

After the sun

So here I am, feeling very tired from the sun. Feeling like an underachieving, unemployed blogger today. No pics again, very bad. I actually took a couple, but have forgotten the cord for uploading and here I am at the Vandelay offices with access to high speed, and, alas, no cord for uploading.

But, first: The Mess Hall were outstanding. To me. I guess the band wasn't all that thrilled with their performance, but when I like a band, I kinda like them live no matter what. Those two dudes work hard up there and it is really very cool to see it live. But the headliners and Aussie "it" band Wolfmother, "not my thing" as we would say around the Nonesuch office once in awhile. Highly derivative to me, but the word is if you like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, you will like these dudes.

But this morning, it was sunny and blue skies and the beach beckoned. Water wasn't too bad, still haven't gone up past my thights, tho. I'm a wimp. Then I went and got a kebab -- which in the States are affectionatlely known as gyros -- and you get to pick your fixins on it which included garlic yogurt and chili sauce for me. Yum.

I ventured into the city after the beach, and stumbled onto Paddington Markets just as it closed, it looks like el cheapo central and fun stuff. I will be back, oh yes, I will.

Then stopped at a park as I tried to find my way back to Oxford Street for late-night shopping -- Thursday is when the stores stay open til 9. But at the park, a homeless man sat next to me on a bench and I just wasn't having it. I lost my shopping mojo.

I must, must say again, I love all the comments on the blog, they crack me up and make me miss y'all heaps. It means so much to have your readership as I find my way around this part of the Southern Hemisphere...


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

When there is so much to do

Funny how full a day can be. I have a good friend (ahem, ann) who is also on sabbatical right now and she has given me sage advice as to fill a day when you're a lady of leisure (LoL): you should have two things scheduled. Here's how my day went...

First off, I recommend sleeping late, til about 10. Followed by a bit of television watching, Martha Stewart's sorta awkard chat show works. Hop on-line for a bit of instant messaging with peeps in the States, then get some exercise, like a short run to North Bondi. But be careful of *over-heating.* Oh and don't forget the clothes on the line and the other load of laundry that's going. Then, coffee (finally) and an ill-fated quesadilla in a non-stick pan. Last night's dishes too (Joeley made pesto pasta, very impressive considering her post-Derby condition -- Makybe Diva won, fyi). Then a call about volunteering in New South Wales, followed by prep time to leave the house. When one doesn't work, prep time really is quite a production, like two hours of I'm not exactly sure what.

Then a bus-ride to the city and a stroll to Haydn's office for actual work. Tour book writing, to be exact. Followed by a delicious Turkish Pide, like the little pitzas at Moustache on Bedford St. Spicy with lamb meat, lemon juice squeezed over it and a coca-cola. I find that I consume quite a bit of caffeine here, love having a coke at some point in the afternoon or with dinner.

And nighttime activities are slated. We're going to see The Mess Hall and Wolfmother at the Metro tonight. A girl can never really get enough indie rock, I suppose.

Oh and reply to further questions about transportation. Cars aren't a big vanity thing, most people drive small, economical cars because gas (petrol) is expensive. Get ready: a litre of gas is $1.18 right now. 1 gallon = 3.785 litres. However, I have seen more Porshe's in Bondi than I think I ever saw in the West Village. But, let's not talk about the Hummers and Range Rovers that cruise the streets in the WV.

Ok, that wraps it up.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The way around

Little habits are taking form, I'm realizing as I write this, because today was Tuesday, which meant I went to yoga at Tamarama and then went to read and drink coffee and eat banana bread at Bronte Beach. Then due to an enormous appetite that I will attribute to the yoga class (and not to the tapeworm that Haydn thinks I have), I headed home and ate the leftover deluxo tuna/tomato/chili pasta from last night.

Today was a big day in Australia, as it was the Melbourne Cup -- Australia's Kentucky Derby, but on a larger scale, I'd say. It is the "Race that Stops the Nation," and it is a holiday in Melbourne and around here a lot of people leave work to head to a pub and watch the race, a few don the suits, dresses and hats for the occassion.

After I watched the race, I headed into the city to Haydn's office. There are a few buses that go from Bondi towards the city. I can take one right into the center of the city, or I can get off the bus at Bondi Junction (a short ride, and do-able walk from where I live) and catch a bus or train to other parts of the city. It takes usually a good 45 minutes to an hour for me door to door from home to the office. It's a nice walk from when I get off the bus to get to Haydn's office, which is in Surry Hills, a leafy neighborhood of furniture stores, cafes, and shops.

Sydney kind of reminds me of Chicago in terms of transportation. While the expressways are not nearly as terrifying or massive, it is the kind of city where you don't need a car, but it is highly recommended and for the most part, makes life a bit easier. Haydn has a car, but it is manual transmission and since I really only like to drive in Madison, I will be staying off the roads and sticking to my co-pilot duties.

It is a day late, but I thought I'd include a picture from Yum Cha on Sunday.

More tomorrow!