Tuesday, January 31, 2012


While clearing out the study at LB's place at Christmas I discovered a box of old bits and pieces from my move overseas as a young, green, twenty-something. A large number of the discovered items were binned, but some I thought it worth keeping.  Like a huge bunch of postcards, which I am using to embark upon a "Send-A-Friend-A-Postcard" project.  

But that's another post.  This post is dedicated to Directions.  Yes.  Directions.  Before the wonders of GPS there were paper maps. And handwritten directions.  Not always the most reliable of things, but then neither are Garmin and Tomtom.

When I first went to the USA in 1995, I took with me an Amtrak pass.  Seemed like the best way for me to cover as much ground as possible.  However, staying in a hostel in Santa Monica, I got to chatting with my fellow hostelers who all said that Amtrak was rubbish.  Trains ran at odd times, most of the stations were in dodgy locations of the city and not within easy reach of hostels, you had to use the whole pass up within a restricted time period and you couldn't go "off the beaten track" so to speak.

They (helpfully) suggested the best way to see the country was by car.  Trouble was, I wasn't 25, so I wasn't allowed to hire a car.  What to do, what to do?  Hey, I know... "buy a car" said a couple of my hosteling mates.  S'easy. 

So I did.  I bought a car.  A silvery-bronze Pontiac Sunbird.  It was a cracking little car.  Took me all around the USA - 32 states in total.  We went through a lot that car and I.  So many stories.

I had one enormous map book (which is still at LB's with all my markings of where I was going/where I'd been) and lots of those fold out maps for individual cities/towns which you'd buy for $2 at a gas station.  Don't know what became of those... think I binned them at the end of my time there.

Sometimes though, you needed a bit more detail to get where you were going.  And sometimes you just needed a cheat sheet for easy reference when you were in a car without a navigator (especially when you were still adjusting to driving on the opposite side of the road in a car where the gear stick was on the opposite side of where you were used to it being).

That's where these came in handy:




Hand-written directions to the places I needed to go.  Classic.  

1.  Directions to the Osbornes'. The Osbornes are my cousins.  I stayed with them most of the time I was in the States.  They. Are. Awesome.  Despite the fact that they're family.  They were on a work exchange program to Vienna, Virginia for a few years and I spent many happy days in their company, taking in the sights of the local area, sampling the the local restaurants/bars or even just picking up the mini-Osbornes from school and hanging out at Borders reading magazines and drinking Pink Lemonade Snapple.  Obviously after a week or so, I no longer needed these directions, and I'm pretty sure that even today I could drive you there from memory; but I like that I still have them.

2.  Directions to Michele Straka's.  Michele was introduced to y'all in this post.  She's my Blizzard of '96 buddy.  I did get slightly distracted on my way to her place - spent a day or two in Baltimore checking it out.  My favourite thing about this particular set of directions is the horseshoe diagram I've done to indicate which apartment she was living in.  OCD much?!

3.  Directions to Chris Sullivan's.  Sully, as he was soon to become known to me, was an old high school friend of Michele's who was studying at Georgia Tech, and offered me a place to crash when visiting Atlanta.  This "place to crash" was in fact, a frat house.  Yes. A FRAT HOUSE.  Not the one shown, unfortunately.  That one was built in 2010.  The one I stayed in was probably built in the sixties and bore more than a passing resemblance to the frat houses depicted in Animal House.  Never in a million years would I have expected to end up staying in a frat house.  Probably neither did anyone else who knew me at the time.  But I did and it was awesome.  Sully was awesome, all his frat buddies were awesome, even if they did nickname me "LK" (which stood for Little Kangaroo), and the frat's president (Retz - yes that was his name) had his best friend (Jenn) visiting the same weekend I was there, so I wasn't the only girl in the house.  

Good times.  Good times.

They're the kind of memories you don't get to keep when you've got GPS.  Although Garmin's placement of me on my most recent US trip did make me giggle.

I think another road trip may be on the cards.  Except I don't have a car.  Hmmm.  Slight problem that.  Perhaps I just need to find a willing partner-in-crime with wheels and a bit of spare time up their sleeve.  Any takers?


Monday, January 23, 2012

Sugar Sugar

So today I finally ticked off one of those really annoying fixit things from my to-do list. 

You know the ones.  Those little fixit jobs that you know will only take about ten minutes, a little superglue and a pair of steady hands to fix, but you put off. And off.  And off.  Until you wind up shoving the broken item away in a drawer/box/cupboard, only to be discovered years later when you're moving house.  At which point you throw said item in a box with a mental note to "fix that when I'm in the new house".  Except you don't.  You get to the new house, unpack the box and shove the broken item in another drawer (which you know you'll hardly ever open) with another mental note to "fix it later".

Well today... TODAY was later.

To be fair, I did open the drawer and discover the broken item wrapped in butchers paper about three days ago and sat it out on the kitchen bench; to remind myself to fix it.

Then yesterday I got the superglue out of the toolbox in the utility cupboard and sat that on the kitchen bench next to the broken item; to remind myself to fix it.

So essentially, "today" is actually three days in the making.  Well, three days and more years than I care to remember.

But what the heck.  Tonight, I fixed the item that's been broken for (I'm guessing) about eleven years.  

I'm giving myself a huge high five.  

Yep.  A HUGE high five.  


Eleven years and I finally have a sugar bowl with a lid again.  Sure, I could've binned the whole thing when it was smashed by an old flatmate (who was, bless her, rather on the clumsy side) and bought a new one.  Most normal people would have done that.*

It's the lid for a sugar bowl.  

It's not Wedgwood or Spode or any other brand of fine bone china you'd be thrilled to discover was worth a gazillion if you took it to those lovely chaps at the Antiques Roadshow.  It's just a regular sky blue china lid for a regular sky blue china sugar bowl.  

BUT... it was my grandmother's sugar bowl.  Every time I make a cup of tea I'm reminded of her and it makes me smile.  Grandma Nell was the sweetest, gentlest person I've ever known. I spent every summer with her as a kid and never, ever heard her raise her voice at anyone.  She also made an awesome cup of tea and the best scones this side of Cornwall.

I think she'd be pretty happy I refused to throw her old sugar bowl out.  Pretty ticked off it took me eleven-ish years to fix it, yes.  But pretty happy nonetheless.  

(Even if it is a bit of a botch job due to a few slivers going missing, so it doesn't quite fit together properly.  But then no one's perfect. Not even the lid for a sugar bowl.)


* And let's face it. Normal is not a word you'd ever associate with me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snails move faster...

This day has been ridiculously slow.  RIDICULOUSLY SLOW.


It's my second day back at Melbourne HQ of the biz of show, after three weeks in Radelaide, visiting my family and "working" on A Chorus Line.  I use inverted commas on the word "working", since I doubt very much that turning up for 1.5 to 2 hours and handing out a maximum of 3 tickets per show qualifies as actual work.  Still, it beats taking three weeks of annual leave.

There are no major musicals on in Melbourne at the moment.  A grave oversight by the producers of Australia in my opinion.  Melbourne is always packed full of interstate and overseas tennis fans in January and they're used to having their choice of shows to see when they want a night off from the tennis.  To come to Melbourne and discover there is nothing on in the way of musicals is incomprehensible to most of them.

Epic fail, Frosty, Rigby and co.  Epic fail.

So here I sit, contemplating my navel whilst I tell the rare person who does wander in that there are no shows they can see in the next few weeks.

It's very boring, but it has inspired me to do a little CV updating and job hunting.  Or at least figuring out what I'd like to do for a job.  Sure as hell can't stay in ticketing another year - it's doing my head in.

Stay tuned peeps.

In other news, I am about to embark upon a French Regional Cooking course with my friend Jerry.  Five weeks, including one week of "Cooking with Wine" and one week of "Cooking with Cheese".  If that's not reason enough to enrol, I don't know what is.  Can't wait.

I'm also investigating art courses.  As in, how to draw.  I'm the world's worst, even at stick figures (although I did do rather well in high school when we did cubism) and I have an idea for a story which would include illustrations (no - not a children's book), but I'd rather like to be able to draw them myself.  Any suggestions on good short courses, Melbourne people?

I'll leave you today with an article from the New Yorker, written by one of my favourite writers/actresses, Mindy Kaling.  I think she's hilariously awesome.  If we knew each other, I'm sure we'd get along swimmingly.