Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lunch (again) with friends

It took me a couple of hours to get back to Melbourne ( collected a couple of things we had forgotten to get to take back to Aireys with me)- but it was certainly worth the journey as I was going to meet up with NYC mates and see Anne's new apartment.
The apartment is lovely and light and airy.
The view from her balcony
She has some lovely things already set up and has her things still to come from NYC as she has now moved back home.
Annie, Julia and Sue in the lounge area
We all had a lovely time we talked about work in New York, what is happening with work in Melbourne, what each of us has been doing- mainly eating and catching up with friends. Also compared the joys of flat beds on planes and the changes with AUSSIE's and the challenges with the visa process. If there was a prize I won the most difficulties with the visa application prize.
The table and BBQ area on the balcony
The lunch was great- I left around 4:30 and then dropped stuff back at Sue's as she had left her glasses and Jude's coat. Looked at their new Jazz car that they picked up after lunch and then drove back to Aireys in the rain. I was going to get fish and chips for tea but the fish and chip shop in Anglesea was closed so we had pizza cos we weren't too sure about Aireys fish and chip shop which had been shut when we were at the video library previously. While I was in the pizza place Mich rang the mobile but I'd left it in the car and the Aireys one was open but too late! Turns out the Aireys fish and chip shop is shut on Mondays which is why it was closed when we were at the video library with the dogs.
Just loved this accidental image got photographing the table

Monday, July 27, 2009

A walk

After our usual lunch of home made soupit was a great idea.... the walk to the River shops at the bottom of the hill in Aireys Inlet. We planned to walk there borrow some videos and stop in at the book shop then walk back up the hill buy some meat for dinner and back for a relaxing afternoon/evening.

The walk down to the shops went as well as can be expected. Through diverse areas of Aireys, along the path through the trees by the community centre, past the top shops and then down through the area lovely nature reserve that has great views of the lighthouse
Everything was going really well and we tethered the dogs outside the video library and began to peruse the shelves with a view to making an interesting selection. The dogs seemed a little agitated but then they believe that they are human and should be with us all the time. Next thing we see is Spencer proudly trotting into the video library. Little beast had chewed through his lead and made his way to be with us leaving Sponty-the dog that makes a fast get away; the dog that we are minding for Wendy; the dog that is the light of Wendy's life; the dog that Wendy has given us funds to have cremated as he is old and she is not sure that he will last until she comes back from her touring. However we don't think Wendy would be very understanding if Sponty was lost, wandering around and subsequently run over. The self same Sponty was sitting outside the video library watching where Spencer had gone. Spencer was brought out of the shop and the chewed apart lead was reattached and Michele completed our selections. I managed the two dogs while she did a superficial look in the book shop.

We then made our way back up the hill, back through the nature reserve
and to the top shops only to find no meat available in the store so we went home and made do with what was in the freezer.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

In our garden

The bird life here is incredible. Midway through a scrabble game, glancing out the window we spotted a lovely bird.
Grabbing the bird spotters guide we tried to work out what it is. I do not have the skill required to work my way through a bird watchers book- I couldn't work out an easy way to identify this gorgeous creature- of which there were three. They were attracted to the "old" breadcrumbs we had put out on the previous day. We had to "troll" our way through all the pages a number of times.
Link
While we were enjoying this treat of birdlife another large blackbird flew in and we were cursing as we thought these pretty creatures would disappear.
Although they all stayed around and we eventually found the entry in the bird book that informed us they were all Satin Bowerbirds. The blue/black bird is the mature male of the species.
Their striking plumage continued to fascinate.

Then another type of bird entered our garden......
Michele decided to do a little gardening or at least weeding. Due to her bad back she chose to sit on an upturned crate to save her knees and her back.

I spent the time trying to catch up on my scrapbooking pages. I'm way behind with the Everyday life pages but will be able to post three pages about life her in Melbourne after today.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Walks and talks

The capacity for joy at Aireys is endless for all of us, Michele and I and Spencer.

We head out with Spencer on his leash and release him once we reach the path along the cliff.

He sniffs the bush and runs back and forth checking on us all the way to the steps at the beach then he launches himself down the steps and into the waves.
As we stroll along the beach he rushes back and forth,
circling and lolloping and thoroughly enjoying the sand, sea and smells. We tend to walk to where the tide allows us and then head back via the road and home for a cuppa and a long drink of water for Spencer.

Friday, July 24, 2009

At home in Aireys Inlet

With my visa in hand.... at last!! It took three weeks and much angst, as opposed to two days compared with Sue!
Michele and I are now down at Aireys Inlet ensconced in our lovely holiday, eventual retirement place, and we're going to stay for a week.
The fire is glowing and we are starting to unwind- me after the stress of the visa process and the school year and she after the visit to the doctor to check out her BCC on her nose. It's small barely noticeable but nasty and needs removal. However the removal will only happen when I have removed back to USA.
The drive down was easy and pleasant. We came straight here instead of stopping at the supermarket in Anglesea, and within twenty minutes of being here had some lunch (delicious homemade cauliflower and bacon soup and fresh bread) and then unpacked all the bags of things we had brought down.
The things include rejects from our Footscray place which have been replaced by some of our mother's things and then other things straight from our mother's house, kitchen items and fortuitously bird books that have helped us identify the birds we spotted in the garden later in the day during our game of scrabble.
After the sorting and putting away of things we took all the removed items to the Anglesea Opportunity shop. Weren't they in for a treat. The shop has been expanded and even then they are overflowing with stuff and we added to it all.
The dogs we left at the house in Aireys which made the shopping journey much easier. By the time we returned to the house the dogs behaved as if we'd left them for weeks. Always lovely to have such enthusiastic greeting when one returns home.
And so we are settled in with only needing brief forays to the video library and the store for the paper, then walks on the beach, art journaling, catching up on scrap booking and reading.

Ah, Bliss thy name is Aireys Inlet!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sisters

It was a day dominated with sisters in one form or another.

We met up with former neighbours from our childhood. We had lunch at the Kent Hotel in Carlton. It was three pairs of sisters catching up on childhood events and memories. The time just flew. Sandra and Cheryl arrived just after Michele and I so we had a chat with them about how they are now and current events. Then Katie and Maggie arrived and we began talking about shared memories of our lives from the 50's to the 70's in Beaumaris.

Michele and I were rushing off to meet up with another friend to see their apartment in Docklands but plans are made to catch up again before I head back to NYC. The apartment was fabulous with great views of the city and parkland and way out of our price range!

The next "set" of sisters were Sue and her sister Sally who was down from Gosford NSW and who I hadn't seen since she stayed with Sue and I in NYC. We met up at a restaurant/ bar in called After the Tears. The other reason for going there was to hear the Stiletto Sisters. What fun! They look great and sound great. The link to a youtube video clip does not do them justice really. They circulated amongst the tables singing and playing and engaging us all.


It was a great way to end our day of sisters together!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cultural Saturday

Is there a better way to spend your Saturday than exploring the Arts with you sister? It was a lovely day... it began slowly and then into the city by train having parked at the station. We met up with Bridie and Sean (niece and boyfriend) and Tom and Cresten (Bridie's brother and mother) in the foyer of the Victorian Arts Centre. I love the entry to the Arts Centre- the arch and the water wall. Having looked at the queue we decided lunch was the best option and thus fortified we ventured into the queue which snaked around in the Great Hall. The ceiling of the Great Hall is always inspiring and such a treat. It wasn't all that long in the queue and we were into the next queue to get through the door to view the Dali- Liquid Desire exhibition. It is a wonderful exhibition with works from around the world- it ranges through the wondrous and the bizarre and was truly worth the effort and the cost. The catalogue is huge and going to be worth dipping in to over the coming weeks.
The train journey home gave us time to browse through the Age newspaper- a great article about Anthony La Paglia.

A bit of a relax at home and then back in to the city and a park right in front on the new Melbourne Theatre Company theatre complex. Michele and I had decided to have dinner there in the new restaurant. We managed to get a table and some photos of the diners?!
Obviously Script is the name of the restaurant and the food was good tasty although a little expensive but we expected that.
We went to see the play The Man from Mukinupin an Australian play that has had mixed reviews. It was a tad challenging in the staging and the concepts it addresses but I am glad we stayed to the end as rounded off well and explored racism and other issues and concepts well.

The play certainly rounded off a day of the arts well.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A night at home

It was a chance to finally catch up properly with Sharan and Anne Marie. We had a lovely lunch at Mecca Bah and talked about all manner of things both work and play and worries and good times. We laughed and consoled and worked at supporting each other. Well they more supported me and I was there. They are such lovely, busy people and we value our friendship so much even though we may not be often together it is just lovely to be there in the moment ... friends. So wrapped up in the moment that no photos were taken but I used the art journaling class prompts at Get it Scrapped to create a page about what I did during the day.

Then the evening was spent at home with Michele... the inevitable game of scrabble and the catch up on the day. Then a tea of sausages, mashed potatoes and zucchini- everything loaded with garlic and comforting on a cool Friday evening. Michele retreated with her book to read and her thesis to edit and I set up in the kitchen to meet the challenges and prompts set by Dina Wakley in Masterful Art Journaling.

I'm loving the class and getting heaps of pages done (and posted at Get it Scrapped) and I hope to catch up on the Everyday class when I'm down at Aireys Inlet next week.

Part of Dina's class was about doing your own self portrait (using a photo as a base) the gluing on my page quite ruined it, I think the glue must be water based and wrinkled the paper but still the end product is okay.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A long day of variety

The day was long one- well it only had 24 hours in it as all days do but I was up and about early so I could use Mich's car. I drove her to her usually walking point in Kensington then I drove to Beaumaris to put in a day's work on some clearing out our mother's house. The process is a long way down the track thanks to all the work Andrew and Michele have done but there are still cupboards of stuff. I made pretty good in roads into the end of the kitchen cupboards, the back porch area and most of the bathroom cabinets.
Needless to say I took my camera with me to continue my Thursday efforts of capturing the city and life back in Melbourne.
I managed to "snap" the city sky line as I was traveling towards Beaumaris and my self appointed task for the day.

I needed to be back in Kensington by 3:30pm so that Sue and I could visit Annie and see her apartment before her new tenants took up residence. Lovely place on the edge of Edinburgh Gardens in Fitzroy so views of the city skyline and close to "all amenties" as the real estate agents say. Of course as it was Friday we had to toast Melbourne on Friday. Sue and I then headed back to meet Michele and Jude after their hards day's work at the hospital and the bookshop respectively.
We all then piled in to Jude's car and went into the city to have dinner before going to Bennetts Lane Jazz Club.
The show wasn't starting there until 9pm (we thought 8:30) so we went to a bar/restaurant nearby, this venue is now called Trunk but the building used to house the Ethel Neilsen Child Care Centre of which Michele had been the director .... years ago so we located the spot where her office used to be ( it is now where the cash register behind the end section of the bar is ) and then found a table (in the former three and four year olds section) and had dinner. The food was great but it's very noisy (getting old!) and on our way out Sue took a photo of us. Yes we look alike- the older we get the more alike.

We meandered along Little Lonsdale Street to Bennetts Lane and the Jazz Club where not only did the show start later than we thought it was also late! I was dog tired but did enjoy the singing, singer and the show of Yvette Johansen Michele had seen her perform elsewhere and so knew we would like it... or at least hoped we would and we did indeed. The clip of her is a tad more theatrical than she was on the night.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Seeing it all with fresh eyes

It was a busy day ..... for someone on holidays.

Met Ian in the city for breakfast- we planned to meet at Young and Jacksons but they no longer have breakfast so after a short stroll around to De Graves Street we ended up in a lovely little cafe amidst other little cafes and had a long leisurely breakfast and catch up.
We then strolled along to the optometrists and there I picked up my new glasses. I had to tilt my head for the photo so the sides/arms of the glasses could be seen!

I left Ian and wandered back towards Flinders Street station looking at the world with fresh eyes and a camera lens....
The corner of Collins and Elizabeth Street
The train carriage.. they get far too crowded and the seats a ridiculously close together
The platform as we left the station

I headed back to Footscray and wandered through the streets to the Footscray Rotary meeting.
The corner shop on Copwer Street
A typical house (just like ours really) on Whitehall Street

Some old Row Houses often called miners' cottages although I doubt miners lived in these.

My self proclaimed photo shoot at an end as I was at the place for the Rotary meeting and was guest speaker talking about my life and work in NYC.
On the walk to the supermarket of the way home I passed this "sign of the drought" on a billboard near one of the local "watering holes" (read pub). I like the juxtaposition on the billboard content and the watering hole which only just occurred to me but more importantly I have been gathering photos of the signs of a country in drought.
It says "Every 45 seconds in the shower another bucket out of the dam."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Opening

I've always wanted to sat that I would "go to the opening of a handbag if it involved champagne" and on this particular occasion it did and I did!
In the morning Michele emailed information about Nicola Cerini's new store opening with the hours etc. I noticed that that evening was the official opening with champagne involved. So what could I do but email Michele back and suggest we attend.

We decided that we'd head over there arriving around 6ish and then if it was a fizzer we'd just go further down the road or head toward home and have dinner somewhere.

As the picture indicates it was far from a fizzer but did have fizzy stuff- champagne nice nibbles and lovely things to browse through.

Needless to say I bought a bag the Mom's Tote- no I am not breaking any world record news here it is just the bag is a really good size to use for work - it meets many requirements- large but not too large; waterproof for days in the snow and rain in NYC; different!; has handles and a shoulder strap and the added bonus of a change mat! Michele suggested I could place that on unsavoury seats in the subway.

So we had a lovely time chatting to Nicola whose bags we have and have admired for a long time and after our champagne and nibbles headed back to the car and off to find a place for tea along the route home.

We ended up at Citrus Mint a lovely little Thai restaurant neither of us had been to before. It was a delightful meal and lots of chat.

So now I can truly say I hae been to the opening of a handbag!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Difficult to believe

It really doesn't pay to be orgnized in fact it costs!
Finally the day of the "visa interview" arrived.

I had everything gathered together in preparation for the journey to the US Consulate and the interview. Heeding their advice Sue and I arrived with more than half an hour to spare- it took nearly all that time to get security checked and logged in and up to the 6th Floor. We chose not to take our bags and bits in with us as one needs to leave them securely at the front desk anyway.

We were totally unprepared for the process really- it is the third time we have gone through it but it took three hours!!! It was a bit of a nightmare really. The visa interview itself took about 2 minutes but we had to wait first for our paper work to be seen and filed and then to have have the interview and finally to make payment so it was the waiting that took up the three hours.

They have changed the cost of one part of the process on Monday (the day before) and so wouldn't accept the postal order for a greater amount. They gave me the option of paying by credit card- on the website they say they don't accept credit cards! or posting the new amount in.

I had to come home and return the postal order I had to the post office and buy a new one. I paid for everything on Friday at the Friday rate as I had to pay another amount then.... I didn't want to leave it all to the last minute- the day before the interview besides which I was down at Aireys Inlet and wasn't sure whether I could do all the money paper work at the little post office there.

So home I came .... The original postal order was for $147 and the new one needed to be for $136.50 but with the charge for the new postal order and the express post envelope to get it back to the consulate I got $1 back! Ain't bureaucracy grand!

Sue and I went at the same time and the waiting for our turn meant that Sue's parking meter ran out but fortunately she wasn't fined.

While we were whiling away the hours- read me trying to distract Sue as she got more and more impatient - Sue came to the realization of why they wouldn't let you bring any sharp objects into the area.... she decided it had nothing to do with the Consular staff being worried that the sharp objects would be used as weapons against them but in fact it was so that the people waiting didn't slash their wrists in frustration and sully the carpet with their blood!

I am now sitting with fingers crossed that they get the postal order, don't know how else to handle it really. This was supposed to be easier than this- it was complicated by the fact that I had an appointment with a publisher at 12pm and was late for that. A day I'd rather do without!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What do Thursdays hold?

Before heading to NYC I was an active member of the Rotary Club of Footscray. They meet every Thursday at 12:30pm so this Thursday meant I headed there for the weekly meeting. It was good catching up with all the "boys" and hearing the speaker, Ted Whitten Jnr, speak about men's health. His father was known as "Mr Football" and died i 1995 from prostate cancer. Since then Ted Jnr has established the EJ Whitten Foundation to highlight the issues of men's health and get men to go to the doctor as well as fund research into prostate cancer.

I walked there and back and managed to sort out the money I think for my visa. It involved going to the Post Office and paying two separate amounts one for the lodgment of the application (guess they have to pay the consular staff) and the other for the visa itself. I also had to buy a special envelope for the return of my passport once the visa is approved. Now I still need to gather other supporting evidence- like CV etc to get that ready for Tuesday's appointment.

I went with Michele (my sister) when she went to the hairdresser at 6pm yesterday. It was a drive that would normally take about 20 minutes but with peak hour traffic and the rain (yay rain at last!) it took about 40 minutes. We had to call the hairdresser to let her know we were running late. I sat with Michele while she had her hair cut chatting with the hairdresser about life here and in NYC and sipping on a glass of wine provided by the salon. We then drove back to Rathdowne St in Carlton and the Kent Hotel ( a link to see what it looks like)and had some dinner. We chatted a bit about Mich's plans for work which haven't changed from what she had said about going down to 4 days soon and getting her own consultancy business as a nurse practitioner, going.

We drove home to Footscray and as it was Thursday night we put the bins out- this week is recycle bin week (yellow lidded bin) so two bins wheeled to the front nature strip ready for collection in the early hours.

After coping with the greeting by the dogs (we are minding Wendy's dog Sponty while she travels around Australia) we settled back home. We had two games of scrabble and each won one game so things are fairly even on the game score I think.

To bed around 11. Spencer, our black cocker spaniel, often moves in under my bed to sleep when I am home. The bed is high enough that he just ducks his head a bit and moves in to a spot he likes but in the process sometimes knocks the double adapter to which the clock radio is attached so suddenly the time is swtiched off. He did it again this morning so I was working on approximate times. This photo is taken through a rather spotty grubby back door!

Today I'm going to get the washing done- change sheets towels etc and get that drying- all takes time and organization given that we do not have a clothes dryer and it is raining on and off most days, great for the opportunity it affords in terms of the breaking of the drought- lousy for getting the washing done.
Also have to get all the odds and sods of paper work done. Perhaps try a bit more art journaling...... messy but under control I think!

Scattered throughout this post are photos taken a couple of years ago when I was home in the winter (again) view of the back garden, the front of the house and down the street.