Travel Snap Tuesday

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I saw this idea at Miss Posy's It's all Greek To Me blog, the idea is Little Miss Moi's and I love love love it!!!

I am a day late, but hey, call me a rebel. Travel is going to be my future. you know when you can just feel something is true? I can feel that I am going to see a lot of the world. Since I was a child, I wanted to see the world. I remember thinking, wow, this is just one tiny corner of the world here, I want to see it all!!!

I'm a novice, though. I've only travelled overseas once last year, to the USA. I saw San Francisco, a bit of Seattle, and Portland Oregon. In 6 weeks (SQUEE!) I am headed back there to see LA and New York. I am also desperate to see Italy, and most of the rest of Europe. When I am a more confident traveller, I'd also like to see some of the more remote, slightly more risky places. I just feel like I can't see enough. The perspective it brings! The world is a pretty cool place!

Anyway, my point is, this is an awesome idea, thank you Little Miss Moi!

It was hard to choose just one photo for this week, but I decided since I intend to do this weekly, I best not use them all up too fast anyway. This photo is of the San Francisco city hall. I took it right after the worlds longest parade for St. Patricks Day in 2010. There were celebrations going on all over the place, it was a great vibe. I love this building. You can read all the architectural details here. It looks just as grand inside as it does outside.

Grief came knocking today.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Grief came knocking today. I greeted him like the old friend he is. We've known one another for so many years now. Most always in his less common forms.
A loss is a loss. And grief comes knocking. He just sits. Weighs down my chest, puts the ache in my heart. The pain in my eyes. I know he wants to stay as much as I want him to leave.
That awful dull feeling he brings never gets easier. Sadness in it's most pure and basic form. Hooks dig deep in and he makes himself comfortable as my stomach churns at his proximity. This kind of grief only comes when you reach acceptance. that's why he's so painful to bear.
Grief came knocking today.

Being alone

This week, I have been confronted greatly by the issue of my loneliness. Sometimes, I like being alone, it recharges me - I am introverted in this way. But it is that deeper sense of being alone, that I struggle with. Not being able to share the details of your day with someone intimate, to get a hug when you're feeling down. Having someone to share the day with, to touch in passing, sleeping alone... And I guess that is just the relationship part. The lonely goes deeper than that. It's even just missing adult conversation. It's a fear too. Sort of hard to explain and I am not doing a great job of it. It's an ache, it hurts, and it's scary. Most of the time, I am okay, and in the past month or so, I have been coping better. I fill my days with the kids and my weekends with friends and outings. It doesn't solve that underlying sense of being alone, but it gives me hope, it makes me happy, and I can cope again. It's been a long road, but I think I am making progress. It's hard to tell, some days.

I came across this youtube clip this week. It was timely, and it's really beautiful. I am inspired to push on in my journey...

US trip, part 2.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I am currently planning my second trip to the states. One year ago (almost exactly) I went to San Francisco (and, very briefly, Seattle and Portland). It was a fabulous trip, and I am looking forward to going back over. I never thought the USA would be top of my international places to see list, but nevertheless. It's certainly a good start to travel rather than it being foreign speaking as well.

So, refining my plans I have come up with the below rough itinerary.

May 14 leave here. I get there May 14 thanks to time changes.
14-18 May = LA
18-19 May = Las Vegas
19-23 May = New York
23rd I fly home via LA. Flight leaves late. I get home on the 25th May.

These are my plans:
universal studios (maybe)
chinese mann theatre/ celebrity hands in concrete
celebrity stars walk
hollywood sign
venice beach
Beverly hills? (maybe)
baseball game - already have tickets to a Dodgers V Milwaukee game.

The strip
Bellagio Fountains
Red Rock Canyon

New York
Central park (maybe a carriage ride)
Broadway show (Thinking 'The Lion King' at this stage)
Ground zero
Empire state building/Top Of The Rock views
Times square
Statue of Liberty.

What am I missing? Anything else I must see that I haven't got on the list yet? I have little to no interest in Disneyland, does that make me a wee bit odd?! I suspect to fit things in, I may need to skip sleep altogether for 2 weeks. :/

Sons & Daughters

Friday, March 18, 2011

No, not that dodgy old TV soap show.

Two friends recently commented that they had heard that "you don't know what love is until you have a daughter." These friends were understandably bugged by the comment, since both have sons.

In my experience, it's different, but neither is 'better.' I was thinking about this just yesterday, when I was watching RJ race around the school yard. I am so much looking forward to our relationship over the years. I expect a lot of rocky patches, mostly because I know what I was like growing up, but I am sure we'll get through it. She already insists on sharing my nail polishes, moisturisers and so on. It's good fun, and I know that over the years, it will be an interesting to and fro between us of emotions and compatibility.

In a different way, my relationship with Finn is super special. He is far more affectionate than RJ is. I'm not sure if that is a boy/girl thing so much as his personality, but I know he will always take care of his old Mama. He's sweet, and giving, and considerate. I expect over time, whilst we may not have as much in common in terms of activities, I think our minds are similar, and we'll always have plenty to relate and discuss.

I love them both, obviously, but they truly are incomparable, so I am unsure how someone could make a statement like this. Unless she only HAS daughters...

Blogging for the love of it

Friday, March 11, 2011

I realised I'll never be a 'successful' blogger. I admire those who are, but in looking at the content of those blogs, I couldn't do it. I don't want to do it. I want to write about the boring (yet fascinating to me!) shit that goes on in my life. I want to swear when I am passionate. i want to tell stories of life and the funny, strange rambling that goes on in my head. I don't want to plug products all the time, I don't want to run giveaways. I don't want to be a virtual magazine.

This is a good thing, I can stop worrying about readership and stats and popularity and public eyes. I can just write my crap and amuse myself. Writing for the love of writing. Blogging because I want to, and it's fun. It makes me happy! Why do you blog? Blogging is a big business in some countries (helloooo America!) - especially the whole 'Mommy blogger' thing. It's likely to take off more and more in Australia. Do you want in? What are your reasons for blogging, I'd love to know!

Montessori at Home

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I know a lot of people are interested in doing montessori activities with their children but the centres are either inconvenient or costly. Personally, I am just not motivated enough so we go to playgroup. But, I thought I would share what they have there, since much of it can be done at home. That way, more benefit!

Painting, pasting (pics cut out from mag and glue and blank paper), peg puzzles, those egg things that have numbers in them, blocks... some things are montessori equipment specific, like the pink tower and the cylinder discrimination thingies. But practical life has heaps you can do at home. Some examples: a bowl of water, a sink and a float plate, and various things that will sink or float in water. Tongs are used for fine motor skills to put each n the water and then allocate it to the correct plate. A bowl of dried chickpeas or raw popcorn, an empty bowl, and a spoon. The child spoons the kernels from one plate to the next. Other dry beans can be used for this too. A little glass pouring jug with colored water and glasses (keep a sponge on this tray as well). 2 glasses, one with colored water and a dropper. Squeeze up the water in the dropper and transfer it to the other glass. A container of 2 groups of colored buttons. Sort them into color groups.

A board with different sized hooks placed on it (easy to DIY) and some different sized washers to hook onto them. A board with evenly spaced nails and some different color and size elastic bands to stretch between the nails. Cut out fish, attach a small magnet to each then use another magnet as a fishing rod. Write a number on each fish to introduce numbers. A tub of sand with plastic animals and rocks to bury and uncover (keep a dustpan and brush handy!)

I can't think of much else. There is loads of books of course, puzzles of varying complexity, crayons and paper, tongs and cotton balls to group and count, scales and corks to balance and unbalance...

Hopefully there are some ideas in there people can consider anyway. :)

Do gentlemen still exist?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I was thinking about this when I wrote the palooza post. Something I vaguely recall through my drunken haze, was that at the end of the night when we decided to leave, the group of guys we had chatted to that night, were leaving as well. When the cab pulled up, they bolted into it, and left us to wait for another.

I'm not saying we deserved the cab more - but we had been waiting longer - and surely the gentlemanly thing to do, would be to let the 2 drunken girls with sore feet take the first cab??

I don't know. I am all for equality, but being gentleman is attractive. Is it the increase in feminism and independent women? Are gentleman a dying breed? What do you think?

Soundwave 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011

So last night, J and I went to Soundwave. It's a festival of rock and metal bands, 67 of them I think I counted on the lineup. 6 stages of awesome. The problem of course, was trying to make a schedule where you could see all the bands you wanted, without too much conflict. So. Much. Choice.

We drove in, and the traffic was nuts. As was the parking. When we got to the front (and were still nowhere near the parking) J told me to get out and go in so I didn't miss the band I most wanted to see, and he'd meet me in there. I am glad I took him up on this, because he was gone another hour, and I'd have missed them. Them was Anberlin. I love this band, and according to the Brisbane and Sydney soundwaves, they were going to play my all time favorite song. I was SO excited. Imagine then, my disappointment when they dropped it and sang another song instead. I was gutted. They were great live, I enjoyed it and they sang some other great stuff, but I was really sad they didn't do :(

After Anberlin, I had to find J. My phone played up all day dropping in and out of signal, which made finding him almost impossible. He kept saying he was at stage 3 (Anberlin) but he wasn't, was so confusing. We eventually met at the breathalyzer van. He had followed the signs on the buildings that are there permanently, and assumed 3 meant stage 3. It did not. He was at the wrong stage. He then explained he had seen Bless The Fall and that they were playing British Bulldogs in the crowd. I was in hysterics. Wall of Death!!

We then decided to find main stages 1 and 2 and see Bullet For My Valentine. Only we got lost and ended up at stage 4 seeing Devildriver. Then we found BFMV, who were seriously good, and played Tears Dont Fall - which sort of made up for Anberlin not doing Sort of. We decided to hang around there for a few hours and after BFMV we saw Stone Sour. I'd never heard of them before but I really dug them. I'm gonna get some of their stuff now for sure. Next up was Primus. The dude can play one helluva bass but wtf? The singing was painful. We endured it... and got some food in the meantime. Including my awesome slushee cup which was a plastic, like, voodoo man or something. Hilarious. Had to take it home for Finn! After Primus we saw 30 seconds to mars. They sucked. It just wasn't any good. Jared Leto was all about Jared Leto. And his 'thing' is spinning in circles. And that's really all I can say about that.

Then Slash hit the stage. He was fan-freakin-tastic. And, I had to admit, I was stoked to hear him do some old GnR stuff. Classic Slash guitar riffs in Mr Brownstone, My Michelle, Sweet Child O Mine and Paradise City as well as his newer stuff. He rocked. Loved it. Dude is starting to look old though... After Slash, J went to nab his spot for Iron Maiden in a couple hours time whilst One Day As A Lion played. I made him a bet that he wouldn't reach the front, $100 that he'd not get there and if he did, I wanted proof! I missed a lot of the One Day As A Lion set but what I heard was phenomenal, and J said it was his fave set of the day. I have a thing for Zack de la Rocha's voice at the best of times so it was pretty awesome. I headed off to hear Coheed and Cambria, on a recommendation from a friend, and they didn't disappoint. Very tight and a great show too. Dug the dudes 'fro.

Then I headed across to stage 6 for my highlight of the day, Bring Me The Horizon. Christ those guys were good live. They played some brilliant songs too, and finished with my fave, Chelsea Smile. So Much Awesome. They had the circle pit going and then the guitarist stage dived off massive speakers. We were all told to sit down so they could find him again. So we all sat down. Pretty funny, especially when everyone got up into a massive crowd wide JUMP JUMP JUMP. I did my best growly REPENT REPENT singing. Win.
After BMTH, I hung around waiting for the next band, also on a rec from a friend. Meanwhile, J sent me a photo of his hand on the front barrier over at Stage 1. I lost the bet!

Protest The Hero were awesome, but I felt for them because the crowd had dwindled, and so the acoustics were kind of shot and had an echo. They still rocked it. Just as they were finishing up, I ducked back over to #3 and caught some Millencolin. They were super smooth. Very tight show. Really amazing live, another hit for me. Finally, back to 6 for some Asking Alexandria. Mid way through, J texted me saying he was ready to go whenever I was, so I bailed early and we beat the crowd trying to all get out of the carpark at once by a good 20 minutes or so. Cleverity.

Palooza photo post

Thursday, March 3, 2011

As promised! This is the view of Hyde Park from the balcony of our room. One day, we saw a guy sleeping down in the park for ages, until some old guy came and got close in his face and woke him and they talked for ages then left together. We couldn't decide if it was a homeless guy and a case worker, or a seedy proposition... Either way, it was intriguing.

This is the jetboat we rode on. So much fun! So much water. Goodbye Kelly's good sleek hair. :/

Obligatory Harbour Bridge shot.

Obligatory Opera House shot. Both taken at Circular Quay.

Fleur, Kell, and Anna - all soaked through after the jetboat ride.

See? Seriously, there was a body painted Native at Westfields in Bondi. I know!!!!

Ohhh yessss. First of many shots for the night.

"Shake whatcha Mama gave you!"

Cardboard Megs gets fresh...

Group shot after yum cha. Including cardboard Megs.

Post Palooza. Part 3.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sunday... Home time :(

Waking up on Sunday was a painful experience. I think the first words from my mouth were "are you still drunk?" and Fleur replied "yep." It took a while for the room to stop spinning. The headache and sickly feeling lasted far longer. We took stock of the night before, realized how much we spent, cringed at how intoxicated we were, and despaired at the far too early checkout time of 10am. It was so hard to get up, shower, and pack up. Fleur summed it up best: "This must be what Lindsay Lohan feels like every day."

At 10am, we were almost ready, but still packing the last of our gear up. The phone rang and Anna answered. The person said it was reception and we needed to be out NOW. Anna was apologising and freaking out when the caller started to laugh. And that pretty much sums Michelle up perfectly. Shes a ratbag. I've known Michelle for almost 10 years or so. We met online, and stayed friends through so much. Both of us had a lot of trouble getting pregnant, and we bonded over it (and our mutual feisty) to become really close mates. I was so excited to finally meet her in person after so long. And she was more awesome than I expected.

Chelle had volunteered to be our chauffeur for the day, and she drove us to yum cha where we were meeting up with some of our closest and oldest mates. There was 10 of us (11 including cardboard Megs who finally got out of the hotel room and saw some of Sydney). Dear friends who had shared my IVF journey (and I their own struggles): Sarah, Erin, Siew, Jo, Mez, Nat, and Chelle. Yum Cha was a scary prospect so hungover, but it actually went down really well. So yummy! And it was great to meet these girls in person, and hang out as friends. I miss them already. Whilst i was hungover and quiet (for me!) I valued that time so much. It was not enough. I really hope they follow through on the idea of coming down to Melbourne for their own palooza later this year.

We then took Megs about the city, being photographed with a random street performer and so on. I think real Megs enjoyed our attempts to include her in our adventures. We wanted her to come so much, and she was missed. This was the best we could do! Chelle dropped us off at the airport, and we checked our bags and far more subdued than our flight to Sydney, we flew home. I napped a little on the plane, but it took me well over a week to recover from the weekend properly. I'm old!

So that was palooza. One of THE best weekends I've experienced. Photos coming next post! We have made a pact to make it an annual event, so... we'll be back! Until then, we are already planning Megs bday bash next month. Sure to feature are Japanese food, burning the floor, and drinking. Oh la!!!!