Saturday, October 30, 2010

A fascinating fascinator tale

So many of me........our choir, Cool Harmonies, is making a calendar this year. No one else in my section was available the day we did the photo shoot, "stepping out with the sopranos" so I volunteered to do all the costume changes. I have a harder time singing all the parts however. One of these lovelies actually IS me, can you tell which one? Hint: I am not the one in the lower right corner letting a bit much of her middle aged upper body hang out.

Friends and Fam
A few nights ago was Tom's birthday dinner. We gathered at an Indian restaurant to toast the big 55.Tom noted the significance of this year, as he was born in 55. All his previous birthdays have been celebrated at a time of year when the nights are getting longer and colder, but here it's warming up daily. I can see the advantages for Halloween; those little ones dressed as princesses can skip the thick tights and coats over the costume. Our Aussie friends tell us Halloween is gaining momentum  every year.......a sign in front of the chemist attested to this,  "Save $ on Halloween fragrances." The other day I saw a nipper dressed in a jaws costume.  Mel and her friends are planning to dress up Sunday night and hit the streets, but she has been cautioned that it is entirely possible when they knock on doors they will receive quizzical looks and not candy.

the dome above the shot factory
Mel embracing modern art
Recently we spent a weekend in Melbourne visiting a couple of Tom's friends from his sailing days. The second largest city in Oz is  fantastically unique, with heaps of ultra sleek modern architecture often nestled next to quaint and well preserved historic buildings. Like Brisbane, there's a free city loop bus/tram for tourists,which is a great way to see the lay of the land, and  also nifty when your  feet are worn out from walking. Melbourne is truly a city that loves to shop. This 165 foot tall lead shot factory was one of five in the city and built in 1899. Inconveniently located in what became prime real estate, it has been preserved by being enclosed in a large glass dome, and  is now surrounded by numerous retail therapy opportunities. 

Nov 2 looms.....election day at home, and Melbourne cup day here. In California they'll be deciding which multimillionaire has had the most effective negative campaign for Governor, and whether some Humboldt county folks will be moving forward with plans to open bud n' breakfast establishments, if Prop. 19 passes decriminalizing marijuana. It seems this particular midterm election is fairly, uh, spicy. I admit I'm not sorry to be missing out on all the P.R. (promises and rants.) Australia gets points all around for gentler, much shorter, and less ridiculous campaign seasons.  If only the millions spent on campaigns could somehow instead used for improving education and paying down the debt....... for starters.

frocked up teddy
Melbourne Cup Day isn't actually a holiday, but apparently no work gets done as anyone and everyone is at the races and/or gathering with friends and family to watch it on TV. Friends here are having a party, but I'll be in the outback. Yup, I'm Charleville bound on Monday. Claiming 3500 residents, Charleville is the hugest thing around for many a mile.  I hear they have a dirt race track, so I'll be eating dust and  hanging out with folks I just met watching my first horse race. I'll be frocked up in my new fascinator and heels. A what? A fascinator is not one who fascinates, but the name of the hair doodly-bob that is part of going to the races. Watch this space for forthcoming photos......... I'm excited about my adventure but will be missing my family!  I've never been away from my kidlets for two whole weeks before. Tom will be in charge of continuing to seek solutions for Mel's ongoing foot/heel pain, which has her sidelined from dance for a couple of weeks. Also he'll be continuing to encourage/demand that  Eli spend at least a little time at home when he isn't eating or sleeping, as those are seemingly his primary reasons for being around lately.

Here are some shots of my new favorite tree, the jacaranda. The fluffy purple blooms are SO gorgeous, and they are gracefully punctuating the countryside everywhere! It's possible my previous swoon inducing botanical purple, the wisteria, has been usurped. 

Spoiler Alert: This is where I'm going to brag about our kids. Yesterday Eli brought home his grade for his Shakespeare test, and his teacher told him it was the best essay in all three English classes! We're chuffed, as this has not been standard behavior for our oldest this year, or any year actually. The Australian  public school system, from our perspective, requires quite a bit less homework than they're used to, but, when a project/assignment/test is graded, A's are not so easy to come by......
And for the daughter, she and her dance teacher were over the moon as she received a 'merit'  score for her Royal Academy of Dance exam in August. This score is above a 'pass', which is what she was hoping for. Yeah Melissa!

Countdown! We are both eagerly and sadly preparing to depart. Now that we are coming to the end of our year, we finally know our way around, have friends and find plenty to occupy ourselves. In addition we know where to get the best yogurt,  and have found new cool bike trails. All good things must end. Tom reminds me daily that even if we wanted to stay, our visas won't allow it and we wouldn't exactly look forward to a run in with immigration officials. So we ARE coming home, and we'll get that day back we lost when we came over: We'll be back January 13 at 3:45pm, which is an hour before we leave Sydney!!


  1. That group photo is a bit creepy!

  2. good luck trick or treating... even though it was your yesterday. :)