Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Little Things

Small things that have made me happy today...

Getting my nails done
There are two nail places adjacent to my local Woolworths, one was offering shellac for $50, the other for $30. I went for the cheaper option, because they were less busy. Next time I'll go the more expensive option and wait patiently. It's not the worst shellac-ing I've ever had (pun intended), but it's not the greatest either. Still, my nails are a nice shiny brown-black colour and look way better than the weak, peeling, splitting mess they were.

An afternoon nap
More commonly referred to in my world as a disco nap, nanna nap, or kip. I was about to start reading my new book (Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project), when I had an overwhelming desire to close my eyes. So I set my alarm and forty minutes later woke up feeling refreshed and ready to get on with it.

Catching up on the blog rounds
In particular catching up on the blog of my gorgeous friend Debbie who has been re-doing The Artist's Way and has kept a blog of her journey. As someone who's done The Artist's Way quite recently, it's been fascinating hearing someone else's account of how they went and what they found easy/rewarding/difficult in comparison to my journey. I was also reminded today that we pledged to both do Walking In This World in February 2012 - I can't wait to get stuck into it!

Sock curls
On a whim last night while watching TV with freshly washed hair, I decided to do sock curls. I haven't done them since NYC. It's what my Granny would've called "rag curls" - only instead of bits of fabric you use socks. So today I've been walking around with curly hair, which (even when I'm wearing jeans and converse) makes me feel glamorous!

Talking to The Mater

My mama hasn't been very well of late. In fact she's spent more time in hospital in the last two months than she has out of it, and it's looking like a good portion of my trip to Adelaide at Christmas will be spent sorting her house out in preparation for the eventual downsizing that she's finally accepted will have to happen (let's face it, the upkeep on a 4 bedroom house with a granny flat and huge garden, is pretty demanding for a young couple, let alone a 72 year old widow living alone). Understandably, she's been feeling very flat and down, but today she sounded much perkier and was looking forward to an afternoon of Christmas cake preparation with her grandchildren, which will hopefully lift her spirits even more.

I often forget how much I love walking. Walking anywhere - the city (NYC - where I'd walk 40+ blocks a day), the country (Sussex - long walks through the country fields with my cousin's wife and her dogs), or just around Melbourne and its gorgeous suburbs. I only walked for about an hour today, but I felt so much better afterwards and full of ideas. It reminded me of what Nietzsche once said: "All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking".

Well, that's it. I'm off to make dinner. Pan fried haloumi and fresh salad. Yummmmmmmm. That's another little thing that will make me happy today!

What little things made you happy today?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Blizzard of '96

In last week's brief, but gushing post about my lovely new Coach wallet, I made reference to the story of The Blizzard of '96.

Yesterday, as I was framing my gorgeous poster obtained at the Alexander McQueen exhibition in NYC in July, I discovered some photos taken during that blizzard. (As an aside, heavy photo albums are great for flattening out posters prior to framing them.)

Thus I was reminded of my promise to tell the tale of the Blizzard of '96.

We'll start with an excerpt of my journal entry from Sunday 7 January, 1996:

"After dinner, Michele and I went to her friend Regina's house on E66th, between 2nd & 3rd, which was absolutely gorgeous! Three bedrooms, a big lounge, kitchen, dining area and is really, really nice. We just sat around until 2am talking - Regina is really nice and has offered to put me up when I come back. Which I definitely will - we saw jack shit today!

We got up late - around 10.45-ish and went to NYC Bagels to get breakfast (didn't see Cindy Crawford again though!). Afterwards Michele and I dropped our stuff back at her car and went to: (1) The Empire State Building (visibility was zero); (2) Rockefeller Center (skating rink was closed); (3) NBC (Michele's friend Kurt wasn't working and they'd cancelled the tours); (4) FAO Schwartz (we got there at 3.35pm, they were closing at 4pm so they wouldn't let us go upstairs to the '
Big' piano). We were freezing and it was snowing pretty badly by then, so we decided to ring Regina for advice. She said we should try to get out of the city ASAP so we did! Had to dig the car out, and it was a pretty hairy drive, but we made it to Michele's grandma's house [in Weehawken, NJ] and here we are!"

The following two and a half days were spent with Michele's grandmother - stuffing our faces with her yummy spaghetti and meatballs, watching soaps and shovelling snow.

And when I say snow, I mean SNOW.

Want proof?

View of NYC from the street outside Michele's grandma's house in Weehawken. That's Michele's car in the middle.

Me standing next to Michele's car. Yes. NEXT to it. That's how high the snow was. We'd already dug out the snow on the passenger side. (Remember, this is in the USA - the passenger side is the driver's side in Australia).

Post-shovelling. Our hair is frozen. Solid.

A day after this photo was taken, we managed to make it back to Philadelphia, where we then had to dig out my car, so that I could travel home to Virginia. That drive, much like the drive from NYC to NJ, was another "hairy drive", mostly due to the fact that the tyres on Michele's car were so worn that we had almost zero grip and were sliding around like a pair of first-timers on skis. It was alternately thrilling and terrifying. Actually, more terrifying than thrilling. I do recall at one point thinking "I can't die here, I haven't even been to the top of Rockefeller Center yet!". Still, at least it would have been an interesting way for a shy young girl from Radelaide to die.

But we didn't die. We weren't even injured. Just cold and tired and a bit sore from shovelling so much snow. My memories of that weekend are mostly (with the faded hindsight that comes with 15 years passing), of it being so much fun, of sharing such a crazy once-in-a-lifetime experience with a good friend. Someone, I am proud to say, who has remained a good friend, no matter how much physical distance is between us.

As Michele would say... "no worries".

Sunday, November 20, 2011

One in 8 Million

A sure-fire way to distract me from what I'm supposed to be spending this sunny Sunday afternoon doing (writing copy for a mail-out):

One in 8 Million

So many stories. So many amazing differences, yet so many amazing similarities.

So much inspiration.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Will you just lookit at what arrived in the mail for me today!!

That there is a Coach wallet. And a Coach keyring. Courtesy of my awesome friend Michele, who I've known since we were 20 and who survived the infamous NYC Blizzard of '96* with me.

She. Is. Awesome.

And I am
one capital S Spoiled capital B Brat.

Hells yeah. I make no apologies for being a label queen. I loves it.

* Remind me to regale you with the tale of the NYC Blizzard of '96 sometime. It's a fun story.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Almost There... or not.

Today was a public holiday here in lovely Melbourne-town. Something to do with a horse race. I could care less about horse racing, even though I was invited to a couple of lunches. To be honest, I was feeling a bit knackered after recent life events, so I decided to have a pyjama day.

I woke up at 11am, lazed in bed for a bit longer, then moved to the sofa and watched an entire season of Downton Abbey. I did have regular breaks for food, cups of tea, chocolate, etc, but essentially, I did nothing but watch TV all day. Well, to be technically correct, I watched my laptop, seeing as I have yet to purchase a TV. I'll get around to that eventually. Maybe next Tuesday.

But I feel very relaxed and refreshed and surprisingly guiltless. Normally when I have a pyjama day I'm beating myself up for not having actually achieved anything. Because I still feel house-wise that there are still things to be achieved. The TV being one of them. Getting the pictures re-strung so they will hang properly on the picture rails, which are much higher here than in my old place is another. Buying a proper chair for the study, some plants, a sofa bed for guests... oh the list is seemingly endless. And I always feel like I should be doing something productive, like write or do some research for the book I keep harping on about writing.

But today I've let all of that go, and I've just had a restful day for me.

Which is good. And necessary. Because I suspect that the coming months are going to be quite stressful. And I need to be prepared. And apply that Howard Jones Principle* like crazy.

* See other post.