101 things about me

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


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.

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!


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.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Cape May Magic...

So, have you ever heard of Cape May? I hadn't.

During all the planning for this holiday I had been saying I wanted some time by the beach. I wanted a destination that was relaxed, not full of highrises, with good beaches, good food and great summer atmosphere. I had even considered going all the way to the Virgin Islands, but when it turned out it was going to take over 7 hours to fly there, that idea was shelved.

In any case, Cape May was amongst recommendations from friends in Boston* and when we did a bit more investigating it sounded like just the place... pretty, accessible, accommodation looked good and there was a long wide sandy beach to subdue my cravings. It's always a bit of a gamble relying on recommendations from friends, as likes and dislikes can vary so much, but this time the gamble paid off.

Unfortunately we had to travel via Atlantic City (which we both hated, mostly because of where we stayed, and the fact that Mum's luggage had gone walkabout) but 2 hours after leaving AC, as our bus drove into Cape May, we knew it was the right decision. Cape May was perfect.

For the first 2 nights we stayed at a place called the Carroll Villa. Accommodating people since 1882, it's an old style B&B with a relaxed atmosphere, great rooms for a range of budgets, and an awesome breakfast. Had it been available, we would have stayed here the entire time, but we had to move for the last 3 nights.

So, we stayed at the Victorian Motel which was located perfectly at the end of Washington Street (the pedestrian main street) and just one block from the beach. When the weather deteriorated as hurricane Earl headed our way, we spent a few hours by the pool so it was ideal.

Really we couldn't have hoped for better. We got to hang out by the beach and relax, we ate great food, the atmosphere was very laid back and the weather was spectacular. The town was so so pretty and has the highest concentration of victorian homes in the USA and has been awarded the prettiest painted places. If you are looking for a beach holiday whilst traveling the States, I would highly recommend Cape May. I would have stayed longer if I could...

However, more exploring beckons and we are now in Washington DC. The weather is sunshiny again and a full day of exploring awaits. From what we saw when we arrived yesterday afternoon, it looks like an amazing city... So have a good day everyone, talk soon!

*A big special thanks to Jeremiah and his lovely wife Jess for the Cape May suggestion... it was magic!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Good Day Sunshine...

Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine

I need to laugh, and when the sun is out,
I've got something I can laugh about.


We have been in Cape May for the last 5 days and loving the beach and the warm weather. Spent a couple of days at the beach and one by the pool as the weather started to deteriorate with Hurricane Earl nearing ever closer.

Also, for the last few nights I didn't have internet which is why I haven't updated the blog as much as I had hoped. Not to worry, it was a true holiday from all outside communication and the internet and the moblie remained silent.

We are now in DC for the next 4 nights... more warm weather... and lots of walking and doing all stuff touristy! So much to see and do here. Don't worry, I'll be taking some time out for blogging too!