Sunday, December 10, 2006

keepin it real

These pics are too good to not post. It was Amy and Leesa's "gangsta stylee" fancy-dress (love that term for any costume party) birthday party last night upstairs at the annandale, and i must say the effort put forth by party-goers was highly commendable. Everyone pretty much went to Paddy's Markets to find the appropriate gear. Check it out...

I tried to channel J Lo's MTV awards hair style from a few years ago when she attended with P Diddy/Puff Daddy/Sean Combs during that whole era.

I think Leesa and Amy had a great time, they looked hawt!


Monday, November 27, 2006

the visitors from o'er there

The highlights are so many, beginning with ann, lucy, gregg, laura, and andy all coming over for beer and wine and segueing into a night in Bondi (re: Thai Ploy and BBs), with my bro and the incredible Jen announcing their engagement. There was makeup shopping at the Jungga, Target shopping at the Jungga, the big wedding day and the incredible dancing Johnston kids (my nieces and nephews). There was the Hunter Valley trek with my parents (and 2 Kiwis, and 6 Finns) and some very generous wineries. The Opera House tour was another highlight, as was the adorable, happy Norwegian baby in our tour group.

The afternoon at Manly brought the first ocean dip of the season as well as a delicious $5 ice cream cone -- makes me think of the $5 milkshake in Pulp Fiction. We trekked across the Harbour Bridge to Luna Park and its amusements. Laura, Andy, and I took in the Convict Museum and Laura and I tried out the hammocks the cons used to sleep in. (And we looked up our own last names in the convict data base).

There was a most spectular, elaborate cornucopia of Thanksgiving on Thursday at the beautiful Beach House. Three kitchens, 2 sweet potato dishes, and a table for 13 made for a glorious night in Bondi. All present: Mom, Dad, Tara, Haydn, Ann, Lucy, Gregg, Uz, Kathie, Sophie, Joeley, Andy, Laura. We didn't have football action, but we had Kath & Kim DVDs for post-turkey.

Oh, I'm so wistful now about it all, I can't believe my family and friends were here on my street, in my corner of the world, enjoying the breakfast spots of Bondi (Sun Cafe, Skinny Dip, Bondi Cafe, Baristas...). Most memorable times...

it looks like they're discussing world peace, but the topic was actually how to glue on fake eyelashes.

Ella and Ainsley

Tara and Laura striking a Young Hollywood Starlet pose

Either my dad can look pretty cool watching my mom's purse, or it was the shot of Dragon's Bite that we just sampled

Backdrop: Harbour Bridge

Backdrop: Opera House

Tara & Andy (nice shirt!)

Kathie & Gregg

Pa & the husband

The gang's all here

Ann in the warm glow of candlelight

Laura & I love to tour anything spooky and sordid: convict residence, check!

Much love!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

best day. ever.

It was a most lovely, perfect day and and a total ball at night at the beach.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

ARIAs a bit late

Haydn and I went to the ARIAs last Sunday (Australian version of Grammys), and it was fun to get dressed up and gawk (one of the guys from Savage Garden sat at a table near us and he drinks beer and text messages just like the rest of us!). One of my faves, "Bob Evans won an award and Wolfmother won a bunch of awards of course. Gosh the pressure will be on for the "sophomore effort" so to speak.

But anyway, it was like 6 hours long and of course the dessert was the best course. And I guess the Veronicas are really short. And I need a best of Midnight Oil album bc so many of those songs are soooo good and they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame by Silverchair, who was introduced by the man, Bono.

And I just really like this pic of me and Haydn. His lips are probably a little purple from a few glasses of red. Hee hee.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Jack O'Lantern

Happy Halloween and here is my dear little pumpkin, all come to life. I didn't have any trick or treaters, but saw a scattering of them in the 'hood as I walked home from Bondi Road tonight.

I wish this picture included my little favorite neighbor dog, who I have decided to call Reggie. He's an old dog who just hangs out in his yard and is docile and reliable, and I think he was sniffing things out when I took this pic.

I'm making my little playlist for the upcoming nuptials, so if you're coming this is your chance to make a request. And if you're not coming, this is your time to make your long distance dedication! Just remember, I have veto power. And so does our friend Adam who is DJing/curating the evening's music.

Happy Halloween,

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Great Pumpkin

So, as I realized last year, Halloween is decidedly American. There are a few down here who get excited, some shop windows filled with fake cobwebs and whatnot. When I lamented that I miss Halloween, my Mom suggested that I just go out and find a pumpkin to carve so that I can have my own little observance. Good idea, Mom.

Haydn and I swung by the Fruitologist to check out the produce and while I thought I might have to carve a butternut squash, we spotted the Halloween Pumpkins and took the chosen one to the check out. Now, I think I found the Great Pumpkin that little Linus waited all through the night for...because this seemingly average pumpkin cost $18. Wow, that's some pumpkin! Can anyone share with me the going pumpkin rates in the U.S? Is this outlandish? Or am I just thinking in pumpkin rates of 1992?

Regardless, I'm so happy to have my pumpkin and will reserve next Monday for a carving session, then put it out on the balcony Tuesday night to let alert any random kids possibly trick-or-treating that there are fun size Snickers to be had at this residence.

Me and the pumpkin:


Monday, October 16, 2006

on the green, nearly

After Friday and Saturday's heatwave, a wind blew in Saturday night and gave us a cool, overcast, sort of questionable Sunday. But not questionable enough to rain on Langer's birthday party at the Bronte Bowls Club. Yes, Bowls as in lawn bowling, as in the civilized pasttime of cold midis (half size beers), framed pictures of Queen Elizabeth II in the clubhouse, manicured lawns (not very green, I imagine bc of the DROUGHT), and good ol' friendly competition. Except don't ask Geoff (pictured below) about friendly competition bc the closest my bowl got all day to the jack and it was smacked aside on the last bowl of the game by the ruthless Geoff (in action, below).

I wonder if that is how good ol' TK Shakespeare, who dedicated the club in the 1950s would have played? I imagine so.

So, we grilled out sausages, little kids ran through the green as an added level of difficulty, and fun was had by all on a Sunday afternoon.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New frontiers

It's late, I'm tired, my belly is full, but I thought it very important to report that we have joined the ranks of maybe a few thousand other people in Australia with our broadband hook up. We're a wireless family and when anyone comes to visit, feel free to logon to our network, the Johnstons, and I'll give you the password.

So, with the wifi in effect, we feasted on roasted chicken, potatoes and pumpkin tonight, thanks to Haydn's never-ending culinary talents.

Wow, this pic uploaded fast!

Good night,

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Hurrah hurrah, we ushered in the first bbq of the almost here summer. Sunday was a big blast of heat, the dissonace of a trip to Ikea way out in Homebush (only for the selected dresser drawers to be out of stock, 2nd choice please bc we were not coming back), and finally an evening of cooking out with Jimmy, Michelle, Emily, and Geoff.

Haydn manned the grill and there was so much meat one might think it was sponsored by Sam the Organic Butcher. Chicken wings, sausage, steak, hamburgers. Seriously. But Haydn was in his element, a true multi-tasker. We even capped off the meal with Moet and apple pie. Style, class, wholesomeness.

And for good addition to the dresser, we figured since we made the Burke & Wills trek, we might as well get a butcher block while we were at it.

(ok, slightly staged...)

So while it may seem to be all BBQs and power tools with Haydn around...whilst I write we're wrapping up an evening of Gilmore Girls and Project Runway...staying true!


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Work in progress

It's been hard to write lately with all this nesting going on. We've moved a few streets over and now find ourselves in North Bondi -- upmarket as Haydn says. But I'm sure the southsiders might beg to differ. In the meantime, there's been lotsa boxes, suitcases, more boxes (thanks Love Police, they make great nightstands!), a hot water heater with a mind of it's own, 5 channels on a very small tv followed by 5 channels on a big tv, and as of Thursday Foxtel digital cable on a big tv! Yay! Up next -- the guy comes to hook up broadband. There will be a dance of joy on the newly acquired floor rug on that day.

Oh and that whole Pacific Ocean deal is still like 2 blocks away and the weather has been beautiful and that's why you throw open the door on your verrrranda.

The rug, the tv (E! News), the framed Wilco poster awaiting its place on a wall. We're still a work in progress...


Thursday, August 31, 2006

34th Street Friends

Either the world is reassuringly small, or Australian men have a way of wooing women on an international scale, or perhaps my friend Katrine and I are just on similar paths -- no matter, I was so happy to be reunited with her last night after 2 years since our last visit.

Katrine and I spent summer 2002 interning in NYC and both ended up residing at the genteel, well-mannered, lady-like (read: clean, safe, and strict) all-female residence straight-out-of-1933, The Webster. (Or maybe straight out of 1993 if you look at the pics on the Webster website). What a summer it was! After our summer, I was back in Wisconsin and Katrine in Copenhagen.

But last night we were both in Bondi, as Katrine is in town visiting the very charming Ben, and the three of us had a wonderful evening of tapas and conversation -- loved the haloumi and lamb especially -- and discussed the intricacies of chunkytoast (the food, not the blog) and flat whites. And here are some pics from the travels Katrine and hope you make it back this way soon...


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How soon is soon?

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The Smiths asked "How Soon is Now?" I ask, "How Soon is Soon?" I was walking home tonight and went past a store window I have been keeping my eye on for some time but with nary an indication that "Mexican Opening Here Soon" is indeed occuring in the near future. (Granted, this is if said Mexican is actually referring to Mexican cuisine...)

This poster went up probably 8 weeks ago or something and Haydn and I agreed that we don't care if it is merely mediocre -- maybe even not that good -- we just want a close, easy Mexican take-away place as an option. That doesn't seem to be too much to ask.

And you go and you stand on your own
and you leave on your own
and you go home and you just want to stop for a taco...


Monday, August 07, 2006

At the footy

I attended my first Australian sporting event the other night, Australian Rules Football. The Sydney Swans vs Essendon Bulldogs. Swans owned the game!

It's relatively simple game, but I'm sure there are details and things I missed out on...not always sure whey the game stops, why someone gets a free kick, if the ball bounces thru the goalposts does it still count (yes it does). So on and so forth. It's not cricket, in other words.

Here is what I liked about it:
1) no nets on the goalposts, so when they kick the ball thru the uprights it flies into the crowd
2) that in the section we sat, men had to wear collars (downside, haydn didn't have one on so a friend had to bring one over)
3) meat pies! pretty good little snack for rainy weather

But mostly, eating a meat pie, drinking a VB, when the ball gets kicked thru the posts and lands one row in front of me, is pretty priceless. Haydn said immigration should have instantly appeared and given me an Australian passport at that moment.

Me and my meat pie:

Second-half action:

go swans

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Put on yer glad rags

A bit more pictorial we got all dolled up Friday for a good cause, The Red Cross Gala, that our friend Joe is on the planning committee for. There were some top notch Australian celebs and notables, we had former Prime Minister and champion beer guzzler Bob Hawke in all white, former Midnight Oil lead singer/current member of Parliament Peter Garrett , model Michelle Leslie of Bali prison fame, and then a bunch of people I didn't really know were famous but sort of are here.

And then...there was our table of good times and much champagne. It goes down as a historical even merely bc it was the first time I ever saw Haydn in a suit. He cleans up well!

Keynote address by he of "Beds are Burning" fame

Lovely couple Cass and Tom

Champagne whoo hoo!

Table #28 in its glory

Haydn and Tara, on the town

Dessert, including a mini pumpkin pie/torte!

and that wraps up the evening...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Migrating north

Finally settling back into the normal routine after the Byron Bay sojourn to the Splendour in the Grass festival. While it only really rained on the festival right at the end Sunday night, there was plenty of rain beforehand to set the stage for much mud and many gumboot fashion statements. Myself, I sported bright blue gumboots that Haydn picked out for me for $23 at a hardware store. For those who packed the usual Converse or flip flops, they could purchase boots for a whopping $100 onsite!

But enough with the mud, the festival was grand. Highlights included... all the way from NYC, TV on the Radio and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- who when they ate dinner together in catering, Haydn dubbed it the fashionable hair table. Death Cab for Cutie made for a rather buoyant show Saturday afternoon and Brian Wilson wrapped it all up on Sunday playing his Greatest Hits Medley for the Ages: California Girls, Wouldn't It Be Nice, Surfer Girl, etc. The Big Fella seems to be sensitive to smoke as he turned to the sidestage a number of times during his performance to yell at people to stop smoking.

So, without further adieu, here is my little Byron pictorial.

The boots worth their weight in gold:

These concert-goers sported the same boots as me. Unfortunately, I did not partake in the Mexican food harkening in the background but stuck with the rather vague variety of stir fry meals at catering (tho the coconut chili prawns were a highlight...)

Sydney goes north: Leesa and Joeley

I met this handsome dude backstage...

I swear I had red eye reduction set on my camera...Emily and Jeff

And from sunny Southern California...Brian Wilson!