101 things about me

Monday, 13 December 2010

Our most basic common link...


"Our most basic common link
is that we all inhabit this small planet.
We all breathe the same air.
We all cherish our children.
And we are all mortal”
~ John Kennedy

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Thinking about you..


"If I had a single flower for every time I think about you... I could walk forever in my garden."
Claudia Ghandi

To my beautiful brother
It's been 2 years since we lost you...
You are in my thoughts every day.
I will miss you and love you always
& Forever.


xxx

Monday, 6 December 2010

Just another manic Monday...



























It's just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
'Cause that's my funday
My I don't have to runday
It's just another manic Monday

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Doing a little happy dance...







































Blogging has been rather neglected of late in my corner of the world. I have been adding posts when I get the chance, but not managing to visit my blogging friends much. Firstly I have a friend who has given me the first 30 episodes or so of 30 Rock and I hold her (at least in part) responsible...

I used to get into work early and do my catch up blogging - posting, reading and commenting - before the beginning of the work day, but that hasn't happened for ages (in fact rarely since my role at work has changed)

I do try and visit my regulars regularly(!!), though I generally have so much catching up to do, it usually means I need quite a bit of time to catch up on all the comings and goings, and often I get interrupted before I have the chance to finish or leave comments.

Daily I scan my blog list down the side of my blog and select one or two and that's about it.

This morning one update in particular caught my eye, as it referred to a Thanksgiving giveaway that I had entered over at Flossy-P's blog (a long time blogging fave, and stunning artist) and so I decided to head on over and take a look at who was the lucky winner.

I watched as the random selector, bounced balls through a labyrinth and my name stayed in the running. As we neared the end and I was sitting in 4th position, I was giving a little sigh, believing I would have to wait another year... and then... and then... I bounced my way to victory, somehow passing the other runners and jostling into first place!

I seriously did a little happy dance right there in the middle of the office!

Woo hoo!
Flossy-P, you made my day. I am totally excited to have won one of your prints! You truly have bought a bright ray of sunshine to an otherwise rainy day!

Only problem is, I have been to the Flossy-P Etsy shop, and taken a look at her gorgeous portfolio... and I like so many of her illustrations, I really don't know what to choose! I've managed to narrow it down to three so far...

Go take a look people, you will totally understand my dilemma.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Just call us the drought busters...

























This Saturday, a friend and I are scheduled to take part in a walking tour of Melbourne Street Art. This is the third time now that we have tried to do the tour, as the first two times have been cancelled due to horrendous weather... the first time it was called to a halt one hour in as we couldn't get to some of the areas due to flooding.

Now this is a tour that is advertised as going ahead, rain, hail or shine...

Of course, drought breaking rains and flash flooding were never part of the disclaimer. Could it possibly cancelled a third time? Surely not...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Shree Ganesh, Melbourne Street Art...

This beautiful street art is by the Melbourne born artist Deb.
Make sure you go visit her website Day of the Deb to see more of her amazing work. And thanks Deb for dropping by and saying hello.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Bleeding heart...

So I am over my little tantrum about the weather yesterday, though I think I should say, there was a little bit if frustration involved too... Let me explain.

When I got back from OS, I caught up with a girfriend and she told me she had bought us both a walking tour of Melbourne Street Art. It was an amazingg gift and we organised our dates and spent the next few weeks looking forward to it.

Along comes the day of teh tour (Saturday 2 weeks ago) and the weather forecast is dreadfull. No worries, we are assured, the tour goes ahead rain, hail or shine (which given Melbourne's reputation could all happen in the course of one day!)

The tour started at 1:30. At precisely 1:25 the rain began.

But we were troopers and so off we went, met our guide and the other tour members and we started in Melboure's Hosier Lane. For those of you who know Melbourne, you probably also know this lane has the most incredible and everchanging graffiti.

The rain started in earnest right there. And it didn't let up. We tried to take shelter, but it was a street art walking tour afterall, so there really wasn't much escape. By the time they pulled the pin (1 hour in) the rain was so heavy, it was raining on the inside of my umbrella! We were all wet up to the knees and the tour guide (sans umbrella) was soaked.

And so, the whole thing was called off and we resceduled for yesterday. And as the day drew closer, the weather forecast was almost an exact replica of 2 weeks ago... but worse! 

And (you guessed it) we went in to start the tour and the rain started, or rather it got heavier. Saturday it didn't really let up at all, it just rained in different drop size... And before we even began, it was cancelled. Again.

Despite our disappointment, in some ways it was a relief, because we already knew the misery of trying to keep going in the rain, and besides, the rain really did make it difficult to take photos!

The photos you will see in posts for the next few days are from the first tour. Hopefully we will be able to reschedule and we will be able to do the tour in it's entirety soon. Some sunshine might be nice too!

In the meantime, enjoy the pics over the next few days, Melbourne Street Art (despite the rain) is alive and well.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Good weather for ducks...





























I know I shouldn't complain. I know all this rain is wonderful after years of drought. I know that we need more so that water storages can be replenished. I know the farmers are happy. I know that gardens are lush for the first time in years and gardeners are celebrating. I know all of that.

I know I know I know.

But I don't like the winter.
I don't like the cold.
And I especially don't like it dragging into Spring and Summer, and I especially especially HATE when it is nice for a few days during the week and then so so crappy on the weekend.

When I returned from the USA in late September, I thought the weather would be on the improve. But winter is dragging it's feet. Friday was the first day over 30 degrees so far, AND it was followed by thunderstorms, a huge drop in temperature to 14 degrees, and (yep, you guessed it) more RAIN! Seriously, the rain never stopped yesterday.

It might be good weather for ducks, but not this little duck. This little duck prefers sunshine and blue skies. Bring on the summer now please, enough of winter already.

And yes, I just did an entire post on the weather.
Quack quack!

Friday, 12 November 2010

The wish tree... What would you wish for?




The wish tree at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Imagine Peace...


End each day with thoughts of peace.
Begin each day with thoughts of peace. 
Continue thinking thoughts of peace 
throughout your precious day
and happiness will be yours.

On Remembrance Day, as across the world we pause to remember fallen heroes and reflect on the sacrifices of war, let us also pause to imagine peace. And to live it in our everyday lives.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

More window dressing...

Isn't this AMAZING? This is 'just' another window display in a NYC shoe shop.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Monday, 8 November 2010

The people you meet and the friends you make...

During my recent travels to the States, as well as catching up with old friends and reconnecting with people from long ago, I also had the pleasure of meeting and spending a few days with a blogging friend who I had only met online.

I met Patty online way back in 2008 through our blogs. I remember it was around the time that my brother died of kidney cancer as her husband had kidney cancer too. We made contact at a time when we both needed someone to talk to, when our lives were both in turmoil. Patty's husband of over 10 years Frank, had survived 4 years since his first kidney tumor was removed, though when we met, the cancer had returned and it was stage 4 and she was his full time carer.

He lost his fight and died on February 28th this year. Throughout this time, we have checked in on each other, emailed, visited each others blog and even exchanged snail mail. And so, when I told her I was heading to the States, she booked flights to NYC at the time that we would be there and we spent 3 days together exploring the sights.

It was nice to hang out, to see the sights, to explore NYC together and to meet face to face. It was odd not only meeting Patty in person, but spending 3 days (and nights) together in NYC, and I have to admit, there were some people who thought it was a bit crazy. But it was great fun and we had a ball! And she was not a psycho-killer or stalker!

Patty has two blogs. One is a crafting blog (Midwest Knit Girl), and the other one (My Cancer Hat) talks about her life as carer (and loving partner) of her husband during the cancer treatment.

She no longer posts to My Cancer Hat which was her chance to speak about her and her husband's lives with cancer from the carer's perspective, though it is still active if you would like to visit.

So, Patty was a treat to meet and full of energy and fun. We never stopped for the entire time we were in NYC together and it was lots of fun. She even sat in as lead news reader on the NBC tour! 

And just this Friday, as a halloween treat, I received a package of American candy... I have been on a sugar buzz the entire weekend (notice I have managed to post each day!)



Here we are - Patty, me and my Mum in bright sunshine on the ferry, bound for the Statue of Liberty!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Etsy + Strong Aussie dollar = irresistible temptation










I have been eyeing off this style of bracelet for aaaages.

What can I say? They are a bit quirky and bit old style... AND they incorporate my love of all things type.



In any case, with the Australian dollar as strong as it is, and Etsy just so damned accessible, well eventually I was going to get my act together...

And so, after a lot of trawling, I found Sue at HauteKeys selling these great custom-made bracelets, made from vintage typewriter keys and I knew the time was right.

I made my purchase, she emailed me a few options/combinations of keys, I made my decision, and a little under 3 weeks later my bracelet arrived.

And I LOVE it. Cool huh?

Saturday, 6 November 2010

I love snail mail...


I have had an amazing week of lovely things arriving in the post... special things. Things that I will post about (I promise) in the next few days.

Surprises.
Etsy goodness.
A book.
A favourite magazine.
Candy all the way from the States.
Tricks and treats.

And whilst I am grateful that this little guy avoided all my wonderful post, I wish he had managed to eat a few of the bills that arrived this week too!

Friday, 5 November 2010

What do you see?


It's important to keep your eyes open... and your mind.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

I used to believe in forever...































I used to believe in forever, but forever is too good to be true.Winnie the Pooh

To my beautiful brother on his birthday
I will love you and miss you always.
And more than anything,
I wish you were here.

xxx

Monday, 11 October 2010

Kilroy sure gets around...

























Do you believe this was actually engraved into the stone at the National World War 2 memorial in Washington DC?

Kilroy sure does get around!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Busy busy

It's been busy.
There have been...
visits to the hospital
catch ups with friends
settling into a new role at work
handing over the old role
organising my home
Etsy buys
Book buying on the internet
USA journalling
USA photos (posts to come)
emails galore

This weekend the diary is blank.
Any suggestions?

Sunday, 26 September 2010

No answers, just more questions...























Years ago I had a workmate who would take 2 weeks annual leave every year, the same time every year, and to much the same destination every year. He would talk about it for months before his trip. Off he would go with his family, returning 2 weeks later suntanned and looking relaxed. And within the week, he would be planning the next year's leave and the treadmill would start rotating again.

I used to look at him and think that was not the way I wanted to live my life. I was determined my life would be more than just 2 weeks of sunshine every year. That my work life balance would be... well, more balanced!

And yet, here I was (prior to my recent trip to the States) not having had a holiday for nearly 3 years! Not only was I not living his dream, I was living my nightmare! It is hardly surprising that people are now saying I look like a new person. That I look younger. That I am more relaxed!

It was long overdue, and the holiday was the break I needed.

Having said that, it wasn't quite what I had planned... I was hoping during my 6 and a half weeks away, to spend some time thinking about what it was I wanted to do. With my job, with my flat, with my (non-existent) relationship. With my life. My job, my home and my relationships all need change.

I had planned on taking time out to reflect... to really explore the things in my life that were making me unhappy. To make some decisions as to where I needed to go to start turning things around. And to put some plans together as to how to do it.

Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for all I have. My friends, my family, my home... even my job. But the fact is, I don't feel happy. I feel like I am treading water. Surviving. One day at a time.

And the thing is, in the end, it didn't quite go the way I was planning anyway... As I said, I had a great time, it felt like I was away f o r e v e r. And maybe just taking that time out, set things in motion.

Because just the day before I left, I was told that my job was changing. That by the time I returned, another person would be employed to run the studio and I would return to a more 'hands on' role. Back to being a mac operator while someone else took the reigns. It came as quite a shock. And of course, while I was away it was on my mind quite a bit. It left me in a state of uncertainty, over which I had absolutely no control.

True to their word, on the day I returned to work, there was a new studio manager starting in my old role, and my working life changed significantly.

What does this mean?

Where am I heading?

How do I feel?

What next?

Right now, I don't have a clue.

I am just going with it and enjoying being back as part of the team.

Letting go. Holding on.

Friday, 24 September 2010

No Standing Anytime...

Digital photography has changed the recording of everyone's lives. I love the fact that it's so amazingly simple and oh so travel friendly. It's fun to capture those moments that make you smile (whether they are of great interest or not), not to mention it's nice to be able to instantly delete what you don't like.

You can just click away to your hearts content and see what happens... take a few chances, where before (in the time of film and expensive processing) you may have been more conservative.

Of course that's how I now manage to have just under 1300 images from my trip to the States. Many of them are not that great, though there are a few pics I am especially happy with, many of which you will see in the coming days, weeks and months.

But most importantly, regardless of the quality or quantity, there are lots of special memories (and smiles) amongst them.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Nine words women use...

















(1) Fine:
This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

(2) Five Minutes:
If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

(3) Nothing:
This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

(4) Go Ahead:
This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It

(5) Loud Sigh:
This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)

(6) That's Okay:
This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

(7) Thanks:
A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says 'Thanks a lot' - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome' . that will bring on a 'whatever').

(8) Whatever:
Is a woman's way of saying...Go to Hell

(9) Don't worry about it, I got it:
Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to # 3.

Monday, 20 September 2010

(sigh)






































We arrived home yesterday morning.
27 hours after leaving our NYC base, we were driving away from Tullamarine Airport, homeward bound.
It was 10.30am, and a cold Melbourne morning.

I got home, did a minor unpack (read: suitcase exploded), made my bed, went out for the afternoon to keep myself going for as long as I could...
And finally...
After nearly 40 hours on the go...
At 7pm...
I crawled into bed.

And in the two minutes that it took for me to fall asleep, I curled into the warmth of my (electric blanket heated) flannelette sheets, snuggled into their soft embrace, and breathed a deep sigh of gratitude.

I love my bed.

Goodnight all.
(sigh)

Friday, 17 September 2010

Being a tourist is exhausting... I think I need a holiday!






































Well, the bags are all packed up and tomorrow we leave New York City and head home. Which is maybe a good thing, because after the last 10 frantic days in NYC, we both feel like we are in need of a holiday!

I dread the flight, and I hate to say goodbye to the USA and summer, but my glorious vacation is coming to a close. I had intended to post more, but I haven't done too badly, though I do have some catching up to do when I get home. It will be soooo much easier to post when I am back at at my (apple) computer and from the comforts of home...

So stay tuned there is more to come.

Such blog posts as...
Catching up with long lost friends in Canada...
and the USA...
The BEST french toast ever...
Saga of the journey to Detroit Airport...
Why to avoid greyhound bus trips...
I thought we were speaking the same language, what is it that you do not understand?
Tales of hanging out with a blogging friend in NYC...
Taste Test USA # 4...
Seeing the signs...
Advertising magic, USA style...

and even more of pics and stories about DC, NYC, Boston and other magical places, and maybe even travel tips, warnings and recommendations in case you are planning a trip...

Thursday, 16 September 2010

St Pauls Church, NYC - Hope and Healing at Ground Zero







































St. Paul's Church is located between Broadway and Church Street in downtown NYC. It is just across the street from ground zero, and is one of the only buildings in the immediate vicinity to have survived  the devestation unscathed. In the months following the tragedy it became a refuge and sanctuary for thousands of volunteers and service men and women as they worked endlessly in their search for bodies. They went there to pray, to eat and to sleep and continued to do so for nine months after the attacks.

This was also where well wishers and mourners created a makeshift memorial, posting photos of loved ones lost, and messages of love and support were also added onto the fence surrounding the small church. Many of those personal items were saved and are now on display inside the chapel in an exhibit called "Unwavering Spirit: Hope and Healing at Ground Zero."

We didn't go there on Saturday, but decided to visit Monday and I am glad we did. It was a moving tribute to all the victims and the workers alike, with messages and momentos from the months following the Setptember 11 attacks, it was an emotional experience that left me choking back tears and unable to speak. There was very little talking within the church and no-one was meeting anyone else's eyes. It was a very personal insight and yet the feelings seemed connected..

Photography was allowed and I took a few pictures, something I did not feel entirely comfortable with, but I have decided to post a couple of them so that you might see some of what I am talking about. Any of the personal pictures were posted by people for public viewing as a tribute to their loved ones, so I feel ok with sharing them here...






 
This is the graveyard at the back of St Pauls that looks onto the WTC site.


Tuesday, 14 September 2010

New York City, September 11, 2010...






































Saturday September 11, 2010.

Nine years since the terrorist attacks on The World Trade Center Twin Towers and I remember it well, as I am sure you probably do too.

The shock
The emotion
The disbelief
The imagination
The horror

The enormity of the event as it unfolded before our eyes. Visions that will forever be remembered. The horror of it all, and the realisation that lives were being destroyed and families torn apart.

And in its aftermath and the loss of so many people, the overwhelming grief and deep sense of sadness.

Visiting NYC, I was always going to go there. To see the site. To pause. To pay my respects. And to reflect. To be here on the anniversary, I wanted to go to the memorial and to stand alongside strangers in a moment of silence and to listen quietly as the names of victims were read by family members.

It was an odd sensation, to be standing there surrounded by thousands of people, in the city that never sleeps... in a city crowded with buildings and traffic, looking toward a gaping hole where the twin towers previously stood. And although traffic and the noises of the city never totally abated, I imagine it was as quiet as NYC ever gets.

A woman stood nearby holding an American flag and clutching a sign displaying the picture of a loved one lost, others walked by wearing T-shirt memorials. Police and firefighters stood scattered throughout the crowd and in small groups. And all of us remembering those moments nine years ago, as we stood together in the city streets and American flags flew at half mast.

I have included some images of the memorial below. The image at the top of the post* is an evening shot taken from the sunset ferry on the night of the 11th and shows the two beams shining into the heavens from the site of the WTC. (This is a once a year occurance)






This image was taken later in the day from the Statue of Liberty ferry on the way back from Ellis Island. And just to put it all in perspective, the black building to the left of the flag, is HALF the height of the WTC, which stood at 110 floors.

*Sunset photo taken by blogging buddy Patty who spent 4 days with us in NYC. Thanks Patty for sharing your pic. All remaining images are by moi!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Take me out to the ball game...

So, since we booked our flights I have been talking about going to a ball game. To pick up the All-American atmosphere. We weren't really sure until the day if we would make it there... would we get tickets? would we survive the subway? would we get to see the Yankees?

And we did. We managed all these things. Subway, crowds, tickets, the heat.
And it was a great afternoon. Thankfully we did not have to sit in the direct sun as it was baking hot, but the seats we had, had a great aspect and we enjoyed the game, cheering and standing (as per the other supporters!) and totally enjoying the atmoshpere of the Yankee Stadium. 

Wow! It looks like a pretty light crowd in this pic, but it was just warm-up time and the crowd grew too.


 So this was it - the winning moment.
New York Yankees 3, Baltimore Orioles 2.
*
‎"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,

Let me root, root, root for the home team,
...If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

The Big Apple chaos...























It's big.
It's loud
It's chaotic
It's brash
It's crazy
It's exciting
It's busy
It's smelly
It's colourful

It's hot.

It's amazing.



This is New York City!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Start spreading the news...

Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today
I want to be a part of it - New York, New York
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it - New York, New York

I wanna wake up in a city, that doesn’t sleep
And find I’m king of the hill - top of the heap

These little town blues, are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it - in old New York
If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you - New York, New York


Artist : Frank Sinatra Song

New York City... here we come!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Wonderful Washington DC...




























Oh my goodness... Two full-on days of hitting the tourist trail in DC  and I'm exhausted.

This city is amazing.



I wasn't expecting to like it so much, but I am actually really taken with DC. Firstly, it is easy to get around, and we have done that mostly by foot. Secondly, the weather continues to be superb, the skies are cloud free and bright bright blue and I am loving every moment of sunshine!. And thirdly, everything in DC is BIG.

The monuments are monumental, the art, the museums, the numbers of tourists and the number of tourist attractions... well, it really is amazing. We have 4 days in all here and after just 2 and a half, we have barely scratched the surface.

Yesterday, we walked for miles seeing the sights at ground level.

We walked from Capitol Hill (near where we are staying), to Washington Monument, The White House and the War Memorial and to museums and art galleries along the way. The Smithsonian Museums kept us busy all afternoon, highlights including the hope diamond, a paper engineering exhibit, incredible jewelery, Dorothy's red slippers from the Wizard of Oz, an amazing collection of First Ladies inauguration ball gowns and a stunning exhibition of former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright's collection of pins. Even Kermit the Frog was there!

Phew!

Today we decided to buy tickets on the double decker tourist bus to cover more ground and we headed first to Arlington Cemetary. If everything in DC is big, Arlington Cemetary is no exception. It's hard to describe.

The rows upon rows of headstones, stretching in perfect line, over hills as far as the eye could see were without doubt impressive (though this is NOT the word i am looking for). I think we were both quite overwhelmed by the visit, and for an hour and a half we walked around without much talking. We visited JFK's grave (and other Kennedy's), the unknown soldiers grave, memorials to Locherbie plane crash victims and to the Civil War, but for me it was the lines of identical headstones that had the largest impact. It really takes the breath away in it's sheer scale alone.

Next stop was Lincoln's memorial, just in time for lunch... and my camera's battery to run out of oomph! But really, whilst I could maybe have captured some of it's magic (amongst hundreds of other tourists), it was actually timely, as it made me pause a little longer and take it all in. Wow. I swear he was looking right at me! And not only did I feel small in stature, I felt rather intimidated by him too!

The rest of the afternoon, we spent at the American Art Museum & Portrait Gallery. We were so so lucky to be here at the same time as a Norman Rockwell exhibition which was fantastic. Collected by both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, the paintings and drawings have been combined in an amazing tribute to Rockwell's art. It was a treat to see them in 'the flesh'. He really managed to capture beautifully the characters and moments in time he portrayed. I didn't realise, but he actually auditioned his models, and used photography to capture faces and expressions and pull them all together to create the final artwork. Stunning. Both Mum and I are quite keen to return tomorrow to take another look.

And THEN (as if that isn't enough for one day), tonight there was a free concert by the National Symphony Orchestra on the west lawn of Capitol Building. As the light faded and "Star-Spangled Banner" echoed into the night, the crowd rose and turned to face the Capitol Building and sang the national anthem along with the orchestra. It certainly gave me goosebumps!

And the concert was a great way to finish off a big big day.